Word count: 1150
Character(s): Tenten, Hyuuga Neji, Rock Lee; brief mentions of Maito Gai
Disclaimer: I own nothing but these words.
Note: Just a little something that simply would not leave my headspace until I wrote it out.
Dedicated to: Youko and Cager
He was so small.
It still amazed her just how such a tiny bundle that seemed to be engulfed in her arms could ever grow to become a full-sized, functional human being. And it still troubled the kunoichi that she would be the primary example he would learn from. Because while a son would most definitely idolize and worship the strength and prowess of his father, for the first several years of life, the child's heart would be guided by Tenten. And she had never been much of a leader.
"That's another thing..." she murmured quietly, a still shaking hand moving to lightly run her fingertips across the dark fuzz of hair. Because there was still the matter of finding out just who his father was.
Tenten cringed at the reality of it, knowing that it sounded bad on all levels at first glance. But the truth of the matter was that Team Gai did everything as a squad. Even finding love - a home - in each other. If asked, she would not be able to pinpoint the moment it all began, or who had been the first to take that initial step. Tension and passion were things that ran deep in all their souls. And the challenge of maintaining that delicate balance of friendship and professionalism amid the shifting emotions underneath the surface had been a trial all on its own without the self-imposed challenges they were bred to nurture.
But as all things go, friendship turned into loyalty, which gave way to love. Suddenly they were all falling into bed each night to the promise of needy touches and heated kisses in places she never knew could feel so alive in the dead of night. To the unspoken vows of so much more than any one of them had ever expected.
Reaching for the stars as they did, had its price. One that they could be forced to pay dearly for. As she looked on at the beautiful boy in her arms, though, the kunoichi could say without hesitation that it would be well worth the debt.
"Ten fingers. Ten toes." One by one, her fingers traced over the nubblets, counting them for the hundredth time as if expecting for the numbers to come out differently. But much to Tenten's relief, they remained the same, still. "Mouth. The cutest nose I've ever seen..."
And two eyes that had yet to open.
Understandable, of course. He'd gone from the pitch darkness of her womb to the bright and blinding world. And it had not been without some complications. Feeling the pull on her muscles early in the day, Lee had thought to be over cautious on the matter while Neji had been more prone to follow whatever decsion she chose. In the end, despite her contractions starting with the morning dawn, little baby Ren had not arrived until well into the night, with the moon high in the sky and the autumn breeze blowing in through the hospital window.
Regardless of that, everyone remained tense, hovering on the edge as the pressing anxiety seemed to close in on her from all sides while Tenten waited for that moment of clarity. For the answer to the question that had been on all of their minds since the moment she found out: Did the child belong to Neji or Lee?
"He has your nose..."
She smiled to herself at the cool, deep tone of her captain and lover, the dark sweep of his hair coming into view for a brief moment as she felt the light press of the Hyuuga's lips against her temple. They were followed by another pair touching at the crook of her neck, feeling a wordless squeeze of bandaged fingers at Tenten's shoulder before the second young man knelt down beside the chair and Lee's face filled her vision.
"I must agree. That is most certainly Tenten's nose."
"Hm. Maybe that's for the best." Ren chose that moment to yawn tiredly, shifting and curling into himself under the blankets, further melting her heart to the idea of giving her life for this little soul and endearing herself to him.
"He has not opened his eyes, yet?"
"No. And part of me hopes he never will."
It was a cruel statement, and she could feel the ripple of horror that ran through both men at the statement. But the truth of the matter was that the three of them could be better off for it. They would never have to worry whether or not the child was born a Hyuuga - whether or not he came into the world bearing the Byakuugan - and they would not have to maneuver around the maze of the clan's hierarchy in order to keep the child away from their politics.
Or the Seal.
It had been a cold reality thrown into her face when she told the boys, turning something that should have been a happy moment for them to one of dread. Because how could she hate the culmination of their shared love for each other?
"...Everything will be alright. I won't let them touch him."
"You can't guarantee that, Neji."
"Perhaps not. But if Gai-sensei has taught us anything, it is that there is nothing we cannot achieve as a team. Trust in that, Tenten."
Normally so unfailingly confident in her captain's conviction, she could not ignore the reality of the situation. The Hyuuga were a powerful clan - one of the most powerful in all the village - and if their child had any possibility of possessing the Byakuugan, he was as good as theirs. But Lee had a point as well. Team Gai was known for overcoming impossibilities and pushing past limits. And while this may come to be the most difficult fight of their young lives, there was no question that Tenten would go through fire and hell as long as she had these two young men by her side. And it might very well come to that should the clan set their sights on keeping Ren for themselves.
This time, the heavy touch of a hand on her shoulder was from Neji, pale and strong. Confident. Determined. Just like a true member of Team Gai. And despite the bright smile on his face, Lee showed the same sort of unwavering conviction burning deep in his eyes. Just before he leaned in and lightly touched at the fuzz of hair on Ren's delicate head. There was no doubt in her mind the love they both possessed, for her and their son - because no matter who his natural father was Ren would claim them both as his. She would make sure of it. And with these two powerful men by her side, Tenten could believe in such a future where they could all live happily. Together.
And for that, she could ask for no less.