Huh. Don't really know where this came from. Oh well.
Disclaimer: Naruto is not mine, because Neji is alive in my world. Forever alive. FOREVER. And I also ship NejiTen because it's completely noncanon, and they look hella good together.
Thanks guys, for the reviews on Adventures of Obito! You really make my day. :)
Chapter 3: Horsing Around, Making Bets
"I swear I'm being productive!" Naruto whined, ducking from behind the stall door. The currently distressed, blonde jinchuuriki cowered behind the door to the harness room, trying to get out of Tenten's line of aim.
"Oh really?!" hissed the weapons mistress, her fingers curling, itching to grab a scroll and beat the living daylights out of the idiotic Uzumaki. She, Naruto, Neji, Lee, and Yamato, of all people, had been sent on a D-rank mission to…brush fine racehorses.
Tenten didn't mind it, really. She had nothing against horses, and thought them beautiful creatures. Hey, even Neji enjoyed the presence of the sleek, elegant Thoroughbreds contently munching on their oats and hay. Lee was vigorously turning dusty mares into sparkling beauties, his cries of determination often spooking the horses instead of "encouraging them to become more shiny", whatever that meant. Captain Yamato remained silent, wide-eyed, whilst currying the poor pony he'd happened to grow fond of.
But Naruto, oh great sage master Naruto, could not do a single thing without messing it up one way or the other. And it wasn't his fault, really. He had an ulterior motive going, here, thanks to losing a bet and letting the girls decide on his punishment while Sasuke looked on smugly, Kiba sniggered, Shino explained very carefully why he'd lost, and Akamaru barked. Chouji had continued munching his chips furiously, while Shikamaru could've cared less.
With Lee and Yamato on this mission, it seemed that Naruto was either going to fail the girls' assigned job for him, or he was going to need an extension.
The last conversation he'd had with the Konoha 11, minus Tenten, Neji, and Lee, had gone along the lines of:
"So what do I do, shove them in a closet together?"
"Uh, yeah, sure," Sakura had answered.
"Well, I don't know, spice it up a bit," suggested Ino. "You're perverted, you can think of something."
"Hey!" Naruto snapped, but was cut off.
"I don't really care if you turn off the lights and throw them on top of each other, just do it! And there have to be results, or else the whole thing doesn't count," Ino continued. She smiled at her own idea, satisfied.
"How do we know they're not already together?" Naruto whined.
"We have spies," Sakura deadpanned. "Everywhere."
"How would you know if I failed?"
"We have spies," Sakura repeated, eyes narrowing. "Everywhere."
At this, Naruto felt a shy pair of eyes alight on the back of his head, and he whipped around to find Hinata entering the ramen shop, tentatively waiting to see if they'd invite her over. Naruto grinned and waved her to their end of the shop, nodding eagerly.
"Hey, Hinata-chan, tell them that Neji and panda-girl are already together, yeah?" Naruto smiled encouragingly.
"Don't harp on the poor girl just because they're cousins!" Sakura scolded.
"It's not like she stalks them," simpered Ino, eyes narrowing so that she and Sakura looked somewhat identical. Their condescending glare reminded Naruto of Tsunade, and he cowered, not wanting to be punched through a wall.
"Why doesn't she stalk them?" Shino buzzed. "That's because, Hinata is respectful of—"
"Why don't we change the deal and have Naruto stay in the Hyuuga complex and see if weird noises—oh yeah, you know the ones I mean—come from Neji's room?" Kiba interrupted rather cheerfully. Shino sulked visibly.
"Um, I'm pretty sure he might die if he did that," Sakura sighed.
"Wait, who said anything about dying?!" whimpered Naruto, hands held up in front of his chest defensively. "Are there like, ghosts in the Hyuuga complex that'll possess me and leave my own soul wandering eternally?! W-w-what if Neji's dad possesses me and I start stalking Neji?! WHAT IF—"
"Oh shut up," Shikamaru droned, "you're so troublesome."
"Ghosts don't exist," Chouji said through munches. He finished another bag of chips, tossed them in the nearby trash can, and whipped another one out of nowhere.
"They do!" insisted Naruto, nearly shrieking.
"Just shut up," Sakura snapped. The blonde shut up.
"Well, why would Naruto die? That's because—"
"Wouldn't old man Hyuuga slaughter him if he saw Naruto anywhere near Hinata at suspiciously late hours?" blurted Kiba, cutting off his Aburame teammate a second time.
"Um," Hinata began. She never finished. Shino felt a deep connection with his shy, Hyuuga teammate.
"I told you, that plan wouldn't work," Ino said, rolling her eyes. Sasuke snorted in the background, a smirk pulling at his mouth.
"Just throw them on top of each other," he said, waving nonchalantly at the fox boy. Naruto glared, but agreed anyway.
"Can't guarantee anything," he mumbled.
"That's pretty true," Ino supposed, musing. "Tenten likes keeping missions straight, and Neji's pretty much an idiot with romantic clues, so…"
Ino patted Naruto on the shoulder.
And he would need all the luck he could get, because at the moment, he was nowhere near his goal. Currently, Lee was pulling at the edges of his eyes, and then rolling his eyeballs up into his head, exclaiming "Bya-ku-gannn!" in a horribly deep, exaggerated voice that could've been used in a horror movie (either that, or he sounded terribly constipated). Neji smacked the back of his head, simultaneously with Tenten.
"Ow, ow! What if my eyes were stuck that way?!" cried Lee, horrified.
"Hn," came the regular Hyuuga answer. It went something along the lines of: No one would care, Lee. Except maybe Gai-sensei.
"Hey guys, can we take a break?" Naruto asked as politely as he could. His patience was wearing thin, but he was trying to get Lee and Yamato out of the way.
"You haven't done anything!" screeched Tenten, chasing Naruto with a crossbow, which she pulled seemingly out of nowhere.
Oh, I get it now! Chouji summons potato chips via space-time summoning ninjutsu!
"Oh crap," Naruto cringed, pushing all irrelevant thoughts out of his friends out of his head. Ah, but this was part of his plan, you see, because contrary to popular opinion, Naruto was not an idiot (most of the time, anyway). The blonde sprinted out of the barn, causing a few horses to balk nervously. He ignored the animals and lured Tenten to the more secluded foaling barn, where there were only a few pregnant mares milling about in the large, airy stalls.
In a display of incredible skill, Naruto sidestepped Tenten, as if luring a bull in a bullring, struck her at the base of her head, knocking her out, and locking her in a second harness room.
"Yeah! Got her!" he cheered to himself. And then, he realized, that he now had the problem of getting Neji in there too. He groaned.
"Where's Tenten?" The Hyuuga eyes that bore into Naruto were so intense that he wanted to crawl into a hole. There was no hole, but however, he was able to duck behind a pretty black gelding that bobbed his head and drooled on Naruto's shoulder.
"I dunno, she hit me on the head and then stormed away. I passed out for a few minutes," Naruto explained. He vaguely gestured to the bump formed on his head, a cover-up device created by ramming himself painfully against a tree, and actually passing out for a minute or two. Poor thing, yet such a great actor. Naruto thought, proudly to himself, that he was rather good at this—though he'd never hold a candle to Obito, of course.
"Did you see where she went?"
"Uh. That side barn over there?"
"The foaling barn?"
"Uh, yeah, I think so, -ttebayo."
"NARUTO-KUN! LOOK AT THIS!"
At Lee's call, Naruto was out of the black horse's stall and sprinting down the aisle, despite Yamato's creepy stare and Neji's glower. The Hyuuga, however, made his way to find Tenten in the foaling barn.
When Tenten came to, she was in a dark, musty space, with a small, clouded window and a few visible horsey items in sight. What the heck was that? Why did Naruto just throw her in here and—
She had no time to contemplate, because a second after she got her bearings, the door whipped open, and a struggling Hyuuga was thrown backwards right on top of her, and the door was slammed shut again. Oh, and locked from the outside.
"Hey, Naruto!" both Tenten and Neji screamed at the same time. And then, Neji realized that he was literally sprawled on top of Tenten, almost crushing her, and Naruto sniggered to himself and snuck away.
Kiba owed him fifty bucks, plus interest from a previous bet.
Comments, questions, burning concerns?!