“You have nowhere to run, you idiot.”
Tenten doesn't listen to the masked Rain-nin who holds her closed umbrella like she would hold a katana. There is poison in the needle-like end that means death if the other kunoichi gets in a lucky stab, but so far Tenten hasn't even removed the scroll from her back. She wishes their strategy was different; she has fought another woman since she was seventeen.
But things will just have to go her way another time. That is, she inwardly relents as she looks over the edge of the precipice she stands on, if things go her way this time.
There is a river beneath her, but it's so far down the impact would crush her bones, the shock would close her lungs, and she would drown. Sometimes Tenten believes that will be her final fate, drowning. She has narrowly escaped it enough times now...
“What's the matter?” demands the Rain-nin. “Face me! Or do you have to depend on your men for everything?”
She rolls her eyes; here goes the usual talk. Tenten is all for girl power and the strength of a true kunoichi, but she was trained with more useful ideology. Waving over her shoulder at the infuriated Rain-nin, the weapons mistress angles forward. The cliff slides away from beneath her feet.
There is a moment – before she feels warm, skillful hands encircle her waist – when Tenten is nothing but air, free-falling. It is so freeing, that sensation of weightlessness. She will never tell anything how she loves it, how empowering it is.
Pallid eyes meet her own, and she smiles back at Neji's smug expression. Teamwork is better than any job alone. Already, she can hear Lee whaling on that mouthy woman above the crevice in the cliffside, where Neji pulls in her just a little closer than necessary. As soon as he's finished, their green-clad friend will pull them up and congratulate them on a glorious distraction technique.
For now, Tenten leans into Neji's side. There was never really any chance that he would not have caught her.