Rating: High T/PG-15, but nothing overt. Just Neji's inner thoughts
Notes: Part of what has somehow become a series of fics about Neji and him (somewhat OOC-ishly, but I plead that this is crack, as most of my works are) wanting Tenten - and never seeming quite able to get her.
Team Gai had done so well on their recent B-class mission that their grateful client had not only thanked them profusely, but had actually given thanks in more material form - he'd offered Team Gai an all-expenses paid vacation at a tropical island resort he owned, and simply would not take no for an answer. Team Gai, after checking in with their Hokage via messenger-hawk, took the offered vacation gladly.
And they were all happy to go. Lee and Gai had often gone on training trips to the shore, using crashing waves and the resistance sand and/or rocky ground offered to help them in their never-ending quest for improvement. They had once spent three whole days seated on a rocky spar, letting waves crash over them as they sought enlightenment and insight into life and taijutsu (which was, for them, the same thing nearly). Their skin had dried out and gotten sunburned, and their brows turned white with salt, and Lee caught a cold, but they emerged from the experience happier and more at peace with the world than ever before. They liked beaches.
Tenten was happy to go because she wanted a vacation, pure and simple. Team Gai was one of those teams that often fell victim to its own success - they'd been out on successive missions, all high-ranked, for almost a month and a half straight, and this would be their first chance in even longer to truly decompress. Plus, their nice, grateful, rather sweet client (he reminded Tenten vaguely of a great-uncle) was footing the bill. She fully intended to spoil herself as much as possible.
(Because if she didn't, who would?)
And, surprising everyone, Neji agreed to go without even requiring any arguments. (Lee sadly packed away the five page flowchart he had labored over the entire night specifically to talk Neji into accompanying them).
Neji hated beaches. He disliked sand ("No other sort of ground is as annoying as sand, except maybe quicksand.") and he disliked the way sand got everywhere. He disliked saltwater (it made his Byakugan eyes burn with pain). He disliked the tiny creatures that lived in beaches and the allergic reactions he had to most of them, he disliked the way sun glaring off water and sand irritated his sensitive eyes, he disliked the way he was nearly guaranteed a sunburn.
But he had said yes. More than that, he had said yes cheerfully. His team was shocked but pleased, and immediately set out for Bora Bay lest Neji regain his senses and then refuse to go.
They might have rested easier had they known Neji had a good reason to agree and that he wasn't at all planning to withdraw his support from the planned beach-trip. They might have, but how Neji could inform them that he had overheard Tenten inquiring if they stocked bathing suits at the resort, and that it was really the thought of Tenten in a bikini that was changing his mind?
He couldn't. So he kept quiet, and daydreamed a little as they traveled to Bora Bay.
The thing with Tenten, Neji now found himself thinking in the very back of his mind (the front bits were engaged in other things) was that for her, weapons were not items, or objects, or anything so non-dynamic. For her, weapons were a philosophy, and she saw the world in 'possibilities of usage to maim/destroy/batter/slash' ways that others did not. People saw a stick - she saw a bludgeon or the staff for a pole-arm. People saw a table, she saw at least seven different weapons waiting to be pulled out of the 'raw material'. Tenten, he realized, took things and made them weapons.
And so, he wondered, why hadn't he realized that her swimsuit would be similarly deadly?
It was white. Neji, a Hyuuga, had a noted predilection for the color. (Or, more technically speaking, lectured a voice in his head quite like his pedantic teammate, white which was no one color at all, but the amalgamation of colors and oh god he had VOICES IN HIS HEAD that sounded like her!)
For soft white material stretched over his teammate's fascinating curves, hugging her skin-tight, the color making such a wonderful contrast against skin turned bronzed by the sun - Neji's brain melted.
It was so - brief. So tiny. It covered up so little, and one would think that a Hyuuga with x-ray vision wouldn't be so affected. But the truth was he had been trained never to use his powers in that way, and he never had, and now of course he was going to be training to obtain the necessary control so he could refine his vision enough for - wait, no he wasn't! He wasn't a pervert! But then his eyes traced up and down more of Tenten's figure than had ever been on display for his benefit (no, wait, she wasn't doing this for him) and he realized rather morbidly that yes, yes he was a pervert.
He wondered if it would turn transparent in the sea, like her white top (he had loved that white top) had in their fight against Kisame...
Yes, he was a pervert, it was verified. He wondered idly if Kakashi-sensei ran a club for them.
All these thoughts yammered in the back of his mind, while most of it was busily and happily engaged in forever preserving the image of Tenten emerging from the beach-house in that white bikini. He took stock of the most minute details, filing them away in his mind like a man hoarding precious jewels. Brown hair still up in those adorable buns, gleaming a hundred different autumnal shades in the white tropical sun - long graceful neck as she craned her head back to admire the blue sky (he wondered how the skin there would feel - taste...) - slender shoulders bared - flat stomach, soft indents of abdominal muscles visible underneath the unbelievably perfect (especially for this particular pale Hyuuga, who burned so easy in the sun) tanned skin - and -- his mind screeched to a halt.
"Tenten," Lee asked for him, and he almost gave his teammate a grateful look. And then he realized that if Lee had noticed at the same time as him, it meant Lee had been looking just as hard and just as intently...
"Tenten, why do you have a weapons holster on?"
Tenten pouted, and Neji was jolted out of his murderous thoughts by an internal squealing (and he was very disturbed by it) of how cutely that expression sat on her face.
"I just - I just want to be prep..." She sighed as she saw the non-believing looks on her teammates' faces. They knew her too well to be fooled by a flip explanation.
"Fine. It's just - after all these years, I - I sort of feel naked without a weapon on," she confessed, hoping that it would satisfy them. "Can we go now?"
Unfortunately the two boys were too busy reeling from the mental images her words had conjured up to respond.
annnnd I'm back in Vancouver baby! And actually, contrary to my thoughts, spent some nice time on a beach. Specifically Garry Point in Steveston. HUH. So my friends dragged me there.
Next drabble will be the last beach one, promise.
Neji went for a walk, ostensibly to get away from Lee and Gai and their Volleyball Game of Life, really to look for Tenten. She'd gone off early that day, even before he'd woken, leaving only a note taped to the door-frame for her teammates. (Gone to the beach, see you later. -Tenten, with that little dragon, half-stick figure and half-icon, that she absent-mindedly scribbled on all sorts of surfaces if she was left alone)
He'd been unexpectedly miffed by this, and had resolved - childishly, he now recognized - to avoid her as she had avoided him. Yet within a rather short time, he'd been driven to seek her out. He was slowly realizing, as he trotted down the white-sand beach, and his Byakugan strained to find Tenten's now familiar chakra system, that he had grown rather...dependent on her company. He had, he thought, slightly wistfully, grown accustomed to the sight of her face...
His eyes caught the sliding blue light that was Tenten's chakra, and he perked up (though he would have glared evilly at anyone who applied that term to him). He picked up his pace, adjusting his gait for the soft sand underfoot, and began to hurry to her.
"Tenten," he called out. "Tenten...!" He paused.
Tenten was sitting on a rattan lounge, surrounded by a complex latticework of floating mirrors. He blinked, then blinked again, his eyes growing wide in his reddened face.
(Her skin was glowing.)
"Neji?" Tenten said, looking up and then waving. "Heya!"
(Her legs went on forever and ever. One was curled up to her chest, and she was smoothing suntan oil on it. He wished he had a camera - or, for the first time ever, he wished that he had the Sharingan and its ability to forever store every visual detail of a moment.)
"What's all this?" he asked, nodding towards the floating mirrors. His voice squeaked a little at the end and he hurriedly began to clear his throat.
Tenten gave him an odd look, but seemed to dismiss it. "Oh. I just rigged up a little something so I tan better," she explained, and twitched her fingers. The mirrors subtly moved, and there was a subtle shimmering - Neji realized the mirrors were held up and connected by a glowing web of chakra strings, so thin as to be nearly invisible even to his Byakugan.
(She was wearing that bikini. Neji's mind segued, for a moment, into a fantasy-world where she always wore that bikini. Training would be so ...fulfilling.)
Neji cocked his head to the side, pretending to examine her mirror-net but really taking the chance to look over her bikini-clad body. He was a moment late in providing a reply that had any sort of intelligence to it.
"...you're directing light under the chair."
"Under the lounger, Neji, the lounger. And yeah. This way I can tan on both sides at once!" Tenten chirped brightly, proud of herself. Neji's lips quirked into something like a smile - leave it to Tenten to search for efficiency even in sunbathing.
And then his smile dropped, as Tenten lay down on the lounge, stretched as lithe as a cat, and gave him a pleading look.
Neji feared, really feared, for a moment, that he was drooling.
"Can you help me put suntan oil on my back?"
Half of Neji - more than half - exploded into raucous cheering and urged him to offer to 'help' to put it on more than just her back. The other part of him told him to flee - flee at once - before Tenten realized the drooling pervert waiting to be unleashed underneath Neji's surface gentleman.
He swallowed hard. "O- of course."
She smiled at him, and handed him the bottle of suntan oil. He swallowed hard again, knelt beside her chair, and set to -- work.
Somehow, rubbing oil onto a relatively small surface area (of soft, tanned skin) had taken much longer than Neji thought it would. Perhaps it was some sort of time dilation. Maybe the oil had psychotropic properties. It was only when Tenten began to purr that he came back to himself.
His hands were flat on her back, slick with oil and he could feel the heat from her sun-warmed skin. He had also - he realized - gone from kneeling beside her to practically straddling her hips. Her back was glossy with the oil, and he'd spread quite a bit more than enough - he was no longer applying, he realized, but actively massaging her, his hands kneading and pressing into the fascinating curve of her spine that he'd wondered about for so long.
She was enjoying it. He was enjoying it.
And that scared him more than anything else.
Abruptly he swung off her, reeling mentally. He opened his mouth to say something - anything - to her, but the disappointed, puzzled look on her face as she looked at him stole his breath and words. He turned on his heel and - ran away.
Tenten sat up, blinked, and watched him go... and then a slow, wicked smile spread across her face.