The three children were all wearing forehead protectors. Tenten's first thought was that whoever decided to graduate them needed to have their pay docked, because if they were trying to hide from her, they failed.
She continued sharpening the kunai in her hand, but raised an eyebrow. The kids caught on a few moments later. They exchanged a look, hesitated, and then the girl huffed and strode across the street to Tenten's bench. The boys followed. All three of them looked a little pale.
"Yes?" she replied, looking up.
"Ah. We . . . well, we heard that--Gai-san was your team leader? When you were our age?"
Tenten stopped sharpening the kunai and squeezed her eyes shut. He couldn't have agreed to teach another genin team--he'll work himself into a heart attack.
She resisted the urge to press a thumb to the bridge of her nose. "Yes, he was."
"Well. Um. How . . . I mean. . . ." The girl floundered, and gave the boy next to her a dark look.
He valiantly took up the mantle. "How did you deal with it?"
Tenten blinked. "What?"
"See, we have--our team leader is Sasuke-sensei. Er, Saki-sensei. Um." He looked at the second boy, who just shrugged.
Oh, Tenten thought.
. . . Oh.
"You poor kids," she said sympathetically. She stood, brushing off her pants. "Okay, come with me, and we'll get Neji. We'll . . . try to help."
The kids flocked gratefully behind her.
They were about two streets down, and Tenten had just finished explaining that a jounin's behavior didn't necessarily reflect on his/her students, as long as they didn't start acting like her/him, when the second boy said: "Tenten-san? Like, what . . . name are we supposed to call him? Do we have to switch, or. . . ?"
"That," Tenten replied, "I can't tell you. You'll probably have to ask Naruto."
The kids grew slightly paler. Tenten patted the closest one on the head. "You
get used to it," she said helpfully.
Neji: "Pain and suffering are an inevitable part of a shinobi's fate. Endurance, misery, and privation are what drive you to develop inner strength. ...In other words, you are more fortunate than you realize." (pause) "...It may take years to acquire the ability to appreciate this, however."
Tenten (overhelpfully:) "And your sensei is quite talented at inflicting
endurance, misery, and privation. On everyone, in fact. So cheer up, you're
apparently in the accelerated course to ninja-dom. (We certainly were too...)"