A/N: Once again, I have no preface for this chapter. I don't own Naruto or any other thing mentioned in this fic except the words themselves and the plot. Also don't own the song Danger Zone by Kenny Loggins.
Oh and, spoiler-not-spoiler to avoid confusion: Tenten has the power to manipulate things made of metal, magnetic/electrical forces, and all other things related to that (think of/google Magneto from the X-Men franchise).
"So, you just weren't gonna tell me that you can fly, huh?"
Tenten rolled her eyes and shook her head. They were five hundred feet in the air, and holding onto Ino proved harder than she would have expected. She silently wished to have been upgraded with abilities of super-strength instead of flight. Flying might've been faster, but at least driving with more than one person wasn't a challenge. "It's a relatively recent development, actually. I don't like to talk about it."
"I think I see them!" Ino exclaimed, pointing at the ground. Naruto was lying behind the cement wall of a destroyed building while Hinata stood a few feet away, in between Naruto and two people wearing black cloaks patterned with red clouds. Tenten recognized the uniform instantly as that of the Akatsuki.
"Naruto's obviously hurt and Hinata looks to be struggling," Ino added. Tenten hummed in wordless agreement.
"Hold on tight, we're making a superhero landing." Tenten held tighter onto Ino's waist with one arm, the other extended straight ahead of her and headed for the ground. Ino wrapped her arms around Tenten's neck and tried to keep from screaming in her friend's ear. Once they got close enough to the ground, Tenten put her hand underneath Ino's knees and held her bridal-style. She moved so that her feet were facing the ground and landed in front of Hinata. Her and Ino stood and faced the two men.
"Ugh," one of the men in the black cloaks sighed. He was pale, with glowing red eyes and jet black hair. "More children."
"Tenten, I think I know this guy," Ino said, holding onto Tenten's elbow. She looked pained, her eyebrows furrowed together as she tried to figure out why the man looked so familiar. She glanced at Tenten, who stood frozen, her mouth slightly agape. "What is it?"
Tenten raised her finger and pointed at the other man, who Ino hadn't been paying attention to until then. He was even taller than his partner but, more astonishingly, he had blue-grey skin and distinct curved facial markings beneath his white, circular eyes. His hair, a darker color than his light blue skin, was spiked. "I didn't think the Monster of the Mist would be a literal freaking monster!"
"Itachi, let's kill these freaking brats."
Kisame Hoshigaki unsheathed a large sword from his back. It was completely wrapped in bandages. He pointed it at Tenten and grinned, showing off his sharp, triangular teeth.
"Itachi?" Ino whispered, icy blue eyes widening. Tenten ignored her and directed her attention to Kisame.
She raised a hand in front of her, spreading her fingers apart. Her arm begun to shake, but Kisame's weapon didn't move. She glowered at him, eyes narrowed, and strained further. A fire hydrant nearby broke out of the ground and came flying toward her, as did several street signs and Itachi's necklace.
"Not metal, huh?" Tenten said, as the men exchanged considered attempting to manipulate electric currents in the air to disarm Kisame, but thought against it. It would require too much energy, and she didn't want to grow too fatigued in the midst of battle. There was only one of her and two of them. "Too bad. What is that weapon?"
She closed her palm and all of the metal objects stopped in their movement. They floated in the air between her and the two men. Outstretching her fingers again, she levitated one of the street signs towards her. She used her powers to break the sign off the pole and shaped it into a bo staff. She grabbed it with one hand, using the other to manipulate the floating metal objects.
"You're not killing anyone today, dude," she said, smirking. She sent the objects flying at them. While they moved, she turned to Ino, who was still frozen by her side. "Ino, what's wrong with you? Go get Naruto and Hinata, and get out of here, quick!"
Ino shook her head and blinked rapidly as if trying to prevent tears. "I'm not leaving you here, they'll kill you!"
"I've got this," Tenten responded and turned back to Itachi and the blue-skinned man. She looked around her for more metal objects to send at them. She wrapped the pole of one of the street signs around Kisame's neck.
Ino raised her eyebrows and whistled. "Yeah, you got this. Let's go, Hinata!" She ran over to Hinata and grabbed her hand and the two ran to where Naruto laid unconscious.
"Goddamn it, I can't get close to her with all this shit flying around!" Kisame shouted at his partner. "Itachi, get her."
Tenten turned to the dark-haired man but before she could restrain him, he took a deep breath and when he exhaled, fire shot out of his mouth. Tenten's dark chocolate eyes widened, the flames were coming at her too quickly for her to move. Before bracing herself for the heat of the flames, she sent a car flying in the direction of the men, but couldn't see if it made any impact. She closed her eyes, relieved that, at least Naruto, Ino, and Hinata would be safe.
The flames never came. When she opened her eyes, she was looking into the milky white irises of Neji Hyuuga. The veins around his eyes were protruding. She blinked as he set her down. They were standing in a large crater, a large distance between them and the two Akatsuki members. All of the metal objects had fallen to the ground when she lost her concentration, including the pole that she was using to strangle the blue-skinned man.
"What just happened?" Tenten asked, touching her forehead, "and why do I feel so dizzy?"
"I just saved your life and it required a lot of spinning," Neji replied, nodding at Kisame, who was pointing his sword at them, "but that's the least of your worries. We should go, that dude looks bloodthirsty."
Itachi put a hand on Kisame's shoulder to stop him just as he was about to charge towards the two younger adults. "Neither of them are the Nine Tails, killing them would be a waste of time. Let's go."
The two disappeared, a family of crows appearing in their wake. Tenten watched the crows fly away with a frown on her face. "That was really weird." She turned to Neji, he was string at her with an intense look in his eyes. The veins on his face were no longer protruding. She blinked at him. "Why are you looking at me like that?"
"You," he coughed into his sleeve, looking away from her, "you fight good."
Tenten nodded and looked away as well, equally embarrassed. "Uh, yeah, I sure do."
"I would've jumped in sooner," Neji continued, sparing a glance at where the Akatsuki members were once standing, "but you seemed to know what you were doing."
Tenten walked up so they were standing side by side, lifting her head to stare up at his face and follow his gaze. She nodded again, wondering where he was going with this line of thought. "Yes, I did."
"You seemed to know those two men," Neji continued. He still wasn't looking in her direction, but Tenten felt as though he were staring right through her. She turned away from him, not feeling obligated to answer, and started walking in the direction of Ino's apartment.
At last, Neji turned away from the scene and followed her, quickly matching her pace in a few quick strides. Neji noted that Tenten, despite the power she displayed in that short encounter, was rather compact. He didn't know how old she was, but she was shorter than his cousin, and Hinata was the shortest person that Neji knew. She walked in a uniform way, with her back straight and her arms behind her back like a soldier.
Speaking to Ino made Neji feel like he was losing precious brain cells, but he had to ask about her strange friend from college.
"Ino, what was up with you back there?" Tenten called out when she and Neji returned to Hinata's apartment. Naruto was laid on Ino's chamberlain velvet sofa, a lavender pillow under his head and baby blue blanket thrown over his body. Tenten walked into the kitchen, where Ino and Hinata sat with coffee mugs in front of them. Hinata glanced up at Tenten and Neji, flashing them a tired smile before looking back down into her tea. She looked defeated, the dark bags under her eyes contrasting with her pale skin and light eyes.
Ino sighed, shoulders slumping. She leaned back in her chair and stared up at Tenten, bright ocean eyes shining. She chuckled, shaking her head slightly. "The dark-haired guy looked familiar and I couldn't place why until I made it back here. He's my ex-boyfriend's older brother."
"Jesus," Tenten responded as she pulled out one of the empty chairs and sat down. Neji remained standing in the doorway of the kitchen, his arms crossed in front of his chest. Tenten glanced back at him, shrugged, and turned back to Ino. "If it makes you feel any better, he told his friend not to kill us."
"Gonna be honest with you, that does not make me feel better at all," Ino said. "For all I know, maybe my ex is involved with the Akatsuki now, too. He was very secretive about his past, so I don't know if he and his brother were close or not."
Neji pushed himself forward and walked in front of the table. All three women faced him as he spoke, his arms still crossed. "That doesn't matter now. Clearly these people are serious about getting Naruto, if they're attacking in broad daylight. We need more information on them, otherwise we can't do much."
Tenten made a sound of agreement, nodding. Neji eyed her, white eyes narrowed suspiciously, but she ignored him. "Knowing your enemy is the easiest way to defeat them."
"Speaking of knowing," Neji continued as if he had planned for her to say that, "as I mentioned before, you seemed to know those men. Do you have any information on the Akatsuki that you have failed to share with us?"
Tenten glanced up at Neji while Ino and Hinata both turned to look at her. After a few seconds of silence, when it was clear that Neji would not waver, Tenten sighed and looked away, shoulders slumping slightly. "Look. With the exception of Ino, I don't know any of you that well. My past is my business. With that said, I know some of the names of some Akatsuki members, I have encountered one or two of them in the past, and my dads know some of them. I can't answer any questions, especially any about what they plan on doing to Naruto. I can ask my dads but that's about it."
Neji raised an eyebrow. "Dads?"
"I have three," Tenten shot back, eyes narrowed, "what are you, homophobic?"
Neji's mouth fell open and he looked away, cheeks reddening. Before he could respond, Ino leaned forward, snapping her fingers and pointing at Neji. She leaned toward Tenten, raising out of her seat slightly.
"How can he be? He looks just like your ex-girlfriend from junior year! What was her name?" She slammed her hands on the table, falling back into her seat, as the memory hit. "Kin!"
She cackled, throwing her head back and placing her hand on her chest. Neji rolled his eyes but otherwise ignored her, redirecting his attention to Tenten after composing himself.
"To answer your question, no, I am not," he replied, "but I digress. Call one of them and ask him what he knows about the Akatsuki."
Tenten didn't respond right away. She had, of course, sent a message to the family groupchat informing them that she would be in Konoha visiting Ino for the weekend, but she gave no specifics about her short trip. Aside from Lee wondering how they would fend for themselves without her (to which she responded by suggesting they order take-out), no one asked any questions. When she first started using her powers for "heroism", she kept it a secret from her family for the first few months. Yamato and Kakashi were equal parts proud, worried, and upset about being lied to when they found out. Gai was ecstatic, and he was the most devastated when she decided to retire after only three years. She made her departure from that lifestyle seem permanent and, to support her, Yamato suggested they move to Suna. She wasn't ready to tell them that she might be getting involved with it again.
But she wasn't, she reasoned. This was simply a favor for a friend. She didn't know how they were going to stop the Akatsuki or if it was possible, considering how long they'd been operating, but once this was over and done with, she would wipe her hands clean of this life for good. In fact, she considered not using her powers at all after this. She would lead a truly normal life with her family: getting a full-time job, discovering new hobbies, and maybe, eventually, getting married to a nice man or woman and starting a family of her own. After she helped Hinata and Naruto, she would walk away.
She wasn't eager to explain this to neither Kakashi, Yamato, nor Gai, though.
"I can't," Tenten responded finally, not looking into Neji's intense gaze. She couldn't think of an excuse and, even if she had one, she got the sense that Neji would be able to see right through her. "It's not that simple. I promise I'll probe them when I get back to Suna on Monday and tell you what I learn but that's the best I can do, Neji."
Hearing Tenten speak his name so gently struck a chord in Neji. He relaxed, the tension leaving his body slightly. She wanted to keep her past in the past and he couldn't fault her for that, he was the same way. Many people considered him mysterious, he couldn't be suspicious of Tenten just because she was equally so. In that moment, noticing the softenness in her eyes and voice, Neji decided he could trust her.
"In any case," he said, finally looking away from Tenten, "we need to get serious about protecting Naruto. All hands on deck, now - that means Shikamaru, Sakura...any other allies we can recruit." He looked each of the girls in the face, glaring. "If anything, we know that the Akatsuki are planning something sinister."
End note: Idk if it's very noticeable but, at first I was (unintentionally) writing this in third person limited point of view with a focus on Tenten. As Neji has a larger presence than the previous chapter (and will continue to), I had to also include some of his thoughts, so I've changed to third person omniscient. Hope this isn't confusing!
Also, the fic title is the name of a song, as are all the chapter titles. However, I'm probably gonna run out of song ideas very soon so please shoot me with recs!
Also, in case it wasn't clear from the prologue, yes, Kakashi, Gai, and Yamato raise children together. If that bothers you, stop reading. They're not major characters but they will appear, especially as Lee becomes more involved in the plot. Even tho this is a NejiTen, there will definitely be same-sex relationships explored in the future so if you're a homophobe, kindly fuck off!