Naruto © Kishimoto

A/N : I'm having the hardest time kicking myself out of this writers block, but I promised this story over a month ago so here goes...


- WATERMELON -

by: I-Heart-Hatake-Kakashi

Team Gai never did anything the easy way. It just wasn't in their nature.

Easy wasn't a challenge. And to the students of Maito Gai, who took after their sensei considerably (despite the reluctance of a certain two who refused to acknowledge that fact), life was all about the daily challenges. Everything had a potential for being a challenge to overcome, a battle to fight, a unique form of training, some manner in which one could push themselves to be better, faster, smarter, stronger...

If it was easy, then they weren't doing it right.

So it stood to reason that when asked to bring watermelons for Team Kakashi's big end of summer celebration, instead of going to the supermarket to buy some, like most people would have done, Tenten, Neji, Lee and Gai decided they would go out to the small farming plots on the outskirts of the village to personally pick their own fresh watermelon. Oh but it didn't end there...

"Yosh! Gai-sensei! We should each carry two watermelons for the festivities!" the bowl-haired boy loudly bellowed, not realizing his beloved sensei was nowhere to be found. And as he spoke, the spandex-clad young man picked up what appeared to be the largest watermelon in the field. It was about the size of a full grown teen, the shape somewhat resembling a younger Chouji during their chunin years, both in height as well as girth. "eeh, like this..." the nineteen-year-old boy grunted as he picked up the oversized melon. Turning from side to side, swinging the enormous fruit over his head with some difficulty, as he searched around for his former teacher to show the older man the one he had chosen.

"Lee, put that down," Tenten scolded, rolling her eyes as she watched the boy struggle with the large fruit. It wasn't so much that the watermelon itself was too heavy for the bowl-headed boy to carry, actually Tenten had seen Lee carry many times his weight in the past. The problem, however, was that the watermelon in question was still tangled up in the vine that connected it to all the other watermelons on the farm, most of which were of comparable size and weight. So while he was only carrying the one watermelon in his arms, in fact Lee was also pulling at the weight of all the other melons attached to it. "You're going to hurt yourself if you strain too much," the bun-haired girl warned her overeager best friend.

But the boy didn't seem to hear her, as he unknowingly continued to pull at the vines, trying to turn in order to face his sensei, whom he was certain was standing behind him.

"He's not there," the white eyed prodigy, who had just finished picking out the perfect ten-pound watermelon from a nearby neighboring farming plot, said as he walked over to them. How he knew it was perfect had nothing to do with the fact that the green skin was smooth and bright, there wasn't an inch of yellow on it, indicating that it had received the correct amount of sun on all sides. No, what made it perfect was the juicy bright red fleshy center that only the Byakugan eye could allow a person to see without cutting into the thick rind.

"He is not?" Lee dolefully questioned, his lower lip quivering at the sudden knowledge of his idol's disappearance. It wasn't long before tears were brimming in his eyes, and soon after spilling like waterfalls off his determined-looking face. "Oh Gai-sensei! He must be searching for the perfect watermelon within these vast fields. I am certain he will find one as big as a house!"

The young kunoichi standing besides him just about fell face first into the muddy ground at her younger teammate's declaration. How he always seemed to turn anything that had to do with Gai into some heroic adventure never ceased to amaze the girl. "Lee," she groaned, half-heartedly glaring at her bowl-haired teammate. "He probably just got lost in these farms," Tenten mumbled, not entirely kidding as she could easily imagine Gai losing himself out in unfamiliar locations. That was partly why during their genin and chunin days it had always been Neji's job on missions to track where they were going. Of course he and Tenten always lied and said it was because of his Byakugan, to spare their sensei the embarrassment of being known as a directionless oaf.

"Lee," the stoic white-eyed teen walked up besides his sparring partner. "A large watermelon may seem impressive, but it will likely have begun to dry up inside and will not be as tasteful as something that would be less cumbersome to carry," the Hyuga added. His eyes were fixed on Lee's fruit; Byakugan active, evident by the pulsating veins on the side of the handsome young man's temples. It was clear he was suggesting that Lee's watermelon was not up to par, and it would be best that he give up on that particular piece of fruit. But of course, the taijutsu specialist was not the type who ever gave up. And despite his cheerful and always eager to please nature, Lee was a rather stubborn boy.

For some reason, unknown to his two teammates, the bushy-browed boy had long since developed a belief that bigger was better. "We shall see, my eternal rival!" Lee exclaimed as he took a 'good-guy' pose, proclaiming to his teammates, and the world (or at least as far as his big booming voice could carry), that he accepted Neji's challenge to see who could pick the better watermelon; despite the fact that the Hyuga neither desired nor set forth any such challenge.

Ignoring the two men, as one glared menacingly and the other beamed blindly with his huge toothy grin, Tenten turned and quickly surveyed the area. There was very little else other than what appeared to be acres and acres of farm land as far as the eye could see. The land itself was community property, belonging to the Hokage as village leader, but it was all sectioned off and divided amongst any villager who cared to plant and harvest whatever they chose to farm. There were different sections that belonged to specific types of plants, like the medicinal herbs, which were planted closer to the hospital.

The particular field they were standing in was where most of the village planted it's vegetables. Fruits, most of which grew on trees, were generally planted more southwesterly, but since watermelons, like grapes, grew on vines, they were placed along side of the tomatoes and other berry-like plants. Visibility was, thus, well enough that Tenten could see for miles. The one thing she didn't see, however, was Gai.

"Where could he have run off to?" the bun-haired girl wondered as she scanned around for any sign of her former sensei, trying to remember if he'd even arrived there with the rest of the team.

The only place she could imagine Gai to be hiding was within the 2500-square foot farming plot they were currently on. The reason for this, was that it was the only plot that happened to have oversized watermelons. And by 'oversized', it wasn't that they were two or even three times bigger than the average watermelon; no, these watermelons were quite literally the size of person. They had stood out so much over the acres of farm land, that it was hard not to spot them. How anyone could grow watermelons this size, or what kind of lunatic would even want to, was beyond Tenten.

"Oh no," the bun-haired girl groaned, as she walked over to the small plaque at the edge of the farming plot.

"What is it?" Neji asked, following the kunoichi with he is eyes, ignoring the still shouting Lee as he continued to profess the four winds that would at long last defeat his eternal rival and prove to his former sensei how far he had come in his training.

"I think I know who owns this plot..." Tenten wearily replied as she tilted her head over the side of the plaque to confirm her suspicions, blocking the glare of the sun's rays over the metal sheet with one of her gloved hands. After reading and rereading the metal carvings to make sure her eyes weren't playing tricks on her, the weapons mistress let out a deep and exasperated sigh, as she turned back to face her white-eyed companion. She gave him a meek smile that the young man was all too familiar with, having seen it on the girl's face ever since their genin days. "And somehow he still got lost on his way here..."

- FIN (sort of...) -


A/N : It took me almost the entire day to finish it... I'd say on and off for about 10 hours (more off than on since I kept hitting the wall... figurative of course). I'd like to thank Billy (cos you were ;p it was Friday) for helping me tear down the wall (even if it did keep building itself back up).

Oh! and the "sort of" part... well this is technically a oneshot but it's also a collab, do it's going to be a 4-chapter story. I'm writing chapters 1 and 4, and my good friend Stephanie ( aka Rikku9314 ) is writing chapters 2 and 3... and each of us is drawing fanart for the other's fanfictions.

So yeah. Sorry Steph that this took so incredibly long! But It's up and I'm pretty happy with it... then again at 2am I think I'd be happy with anything (no not true ;p).