This is about 2 years after Naruto's departure with Jiraiya. So if you haven't seen to the "Sasuke's Betrayal" arc, you really shouldn't be trying to read fanfiction, or at least not this one. You should be snooping around for Naruto episodes or the manga itself. Its licensed now so good look trying to get it.
Disclaimer: Don't own Naruto. Pishaw.
I'm not sure how it started. Hell I'm not even sure when it started. But it happened. I'm not exactly pleased. But then again, I'm not displeased either. Lee, as fond of the little green bundle of sunshine that he is, he's not my type. Don't you dare say it's because I believe him to look strange. That's not it. I deeply admire his hard working attitude, his strength, but believe it or not..He's dull. Okay I know that sounds really stupid and ignorant since my other teammate is Neji, but he really is dull. All he ever talks about is training, Sakura, beating a genius, and did I already mention training?
Don't even get me started on Neji. If you think Neji is a silent calm collected warrior, you're as wrong as seeing your grandparents go at it in your own bed. Don't ask. I already burned the sheets…
Back to Neji. He's not as quiet as you think. He's got one hell of a mouth. He has nothing against putting down others harshly. His sarcastic tongue has even made Gai-sensei bow his head in shame.
He'll pick you apart. Shredding you piece by piece.
Half of his battles he won through his mouth. That Byakugan of his even makes it easier for him to tear his opponent's ego to ribbons.
I'll admit it though. I did have a crush on him. Can you blame me? Top of the class, hansom, fiercely strong… In the beginning I went so far as deluding myself saying every harsh word from Neji to Lee was to spur Lee to work harder. I was such a fool. But he's mellowed out some. Ever since his fight with….
That short little blondie. Actually, he's not so short anymore. In fact, he's really tall. Really tall. Wait a minute. What the hell am I talking about? I haven't seen him in years. Damn fantasies.
Its so odd how his name just slides out of my mouth like I've known him for so long. Even though I have, but nothing more than a "Hello" and "How you are you" every few months. That does not really equal to knowing someone. Meh.
I think I first heard of his name nearing the end of my first year of a being a Genin. My team and Gai-sensei just came back from the forest after looking for a pendant some old fool dropped. Took a long, long time.
"Look!" He pointed to the Hokage Monument. "Somebody painted graffiti all over the Lord Hokage's faces? Who could be so irresponsible, who could be so reckless who cold be so-"
"WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU'RE DOING, YOU IDIOT? GET DOWN FROM THERE AND GET BACK TO CLASS!" Some Chunin we didn't know yelled. Sounded really motherly though
"Whoever he is, he certainly has odd taste in clothes." Neji said sounding slightly amused, Byakugan activated staring in that general direction. "Orange jump suit, if I didn't know any better I'd say he was trying to get Gai-sensei's attention. Someone should tell him he's got the wrong color." He finished in a sneer.
I suppressed a giggled. But not at what Neji said, but at what this stranger had done. It made the Monument so less boring looking. It wasn't that funny but when your old academy class didn't even have one comedian, and then teamed up with those three, looking at a blank piece of paper was fairly amusing.
The giggle turned into a laugh.
The laugh multiplied.
Soon enough I was rolling around on the ground with tears coming out of my eyes.
Gai-sensei had the nerve to look at me funny. I quickly recomposed myself and said, "I think I know who did that. Only one person could have done that…I think his name was Uzumaki Naruto." Gai-sensei visibly stiffened. "A few months ago somebody had poured water on almost every singly toilet paper in the public restrooms. Even the spares. Everybody was fuming and the name Uzumaki Naruto was whispered all over the place." I neglected to mention how everyone seem to really detest him for doing something so trivial, and even went as far as calling him a demon. I just thought he did stuff like that all the time.
"Ah Uzumaki Naruto.." Gai-sensei started, "If you see him say hi to him every now and then. He's a good kid. Just a tad lonely."
The three of us never did heed his words. Lee, Neji, and I were walking to our team's meeting spot and passed by the academy. It was already after six pm for crying out loud, but Gai-sensei said it was important.
I didn't expect anyone to be there but when I first looked to the swing I saw someone, in orange on the swings all by himself. I felt like I knew the person but the name just couldn't pop up. From what I could see, he had blond spikes and was wearing a jumpsuit that was a mixture of orange, blue, and white.
Lee said something.
"Did you say something Lee?" I asked.
"No, never mind.."
"Hey guys do you recognize that person by the swings?" As I turned to look by the swings the person vanished.
"Tenten, what are you talking about? You must be seeing things." Neji, clearly annoyed.
I met him again at the Chunin Exams. I didn't notice him. I couldn't help it. Sasuke-the-jerk-who-must-not-be-named was looking so cute, who the hell would notice him?
He did eventually get my attention. When we first walked right into the first exam room, Neji and Lee decided that going deep into the room with other foreign ninjas was a grand idea.
Those bastards nearly made me wet myself.
Like hell I was going to show that though.
That was when he yelled.
(1)"Listen up you bastards! I'm Uzumaki Naruto and I won't loose to ANY of you!"
I couldn't help but laugh, I felt weird being the only one laughing but relief washed over when I noticed a few other girls laughing as well. They must have been nervous being around other foreign shinobis as well.
He got my attention again during the written test. When I saw a large number of other people about to raise their hand and quit, he yelled again. His little speech gave those little spineless cowards a confidence boost and ended up having that …woman.. Complaining about how many students were still left.
I remember once believing Sasuke to be cute. In the Forest of Death, that got shot down to hell. Lee, as usual was an idiot and nearly got himself killed fighting those Sound guys. Before Neji had a chance to step in, Sasuke was glowing purple and had black tattoos all over his body. At first, I thought it was kinda fruity, until he went nuts. The way he attacked and disabled that loud mouthed Sound shinobi was horrifying. He even enjoyed it. If there's one thing I hate more, it's anyone enjoying hurting other people. Its one thing to do your job, but you know you're going a bit overboard when you enjoy doing things like that. I then spotted Naruto on the ground unconscious. I had this weird squirmy jerk deep down, but I shook it off and left.
When Neji was fighting in the preliminaries.. Naruto…He stood out again defending someone be didn't even knew that well. Never remembered anyone, let alone Naruto defend Hinata. I thought it was sweet. Gai-sensei was over there crying muttering something about why couldn't Naruto have been on his team instead of Neji. Men.
Still, I was actually agreeing with him for once. Neji was so cruel in that fight… Poor Hinata..
Then there were the finals. I felt so sorry for him. Someone so spirited to get pitted up against Neji of all people. I felt guilty for helping Neji develop the Kaiten, but since I didn't know Naruto all that well I helped him anyway. Besides, I was still fairly infatuated with Neji at the time. But that gradually disappeared. I didn't even get a thank you for my help.
It was a little hard watching the fight. Naruto couldn't even lay a finger on him. I'm pretty sure everyone gasped when they figured out Naruto's clones weren't normal ones. They were solid. Hell, I was so jealous. That's supposed to be a kinjutsu! How could he have learned it? Anyway, I guessed Neji was getting bored with just pummeling him so he used his blood limit's specialty. After I saw him get into that stance I didn't pay much attention.
Just when I thought it was all over..So what I doubted? That wasn't the first time Neji did that. Everyone he did that to, they couldn't even stand, let alone fight. Naruto had done the impossible. He summoned chakra, bizarre chakra at that, even though Neji closed up his Tenkutsu points. I was baffled. I couldn't even ask Gai-sensei, the weird old coot wasn't ever around when I wanted him to be!
The shock and frustration was so much, I didn't even realize Naruto managed to heal all of his cuts and bruises.
Then he got fast. Real fast. I didn't even see a blur when he moved. I then spotted Naruto rushing Neji head on. I was thinking it was all over, getting knocked with one of his Kaitens that close was a one-hit knockout. After the huge explosion, it looked like Neji won. I couldn't have been more wrong.
The ground seemed to just spit up something orange and you could barely make out Naruto knocking Neji in the chin. And won. With one hit! How unbelievable is that! After staring at them with my mouth hanging out for God knows how long, I was expecting Naruto to start rubbing it in. But..
Naruto didn't gloat. He didn't look at Neji with disgust, or trashed talk him while he was down. He just pranced around like a little kid, like he just got invited to a party or something.
I fell for him right there.
I think. Emotions are difficult things to understand.
Maybe it was because of his strength? His dorky personality? He is rather funny. You don't see too many shinobi with a sense of humor now days.
They tend to get perverted. Or just plain twisted. Meh.
And as time grew on I grew subtly more obsessed with him. Okay maybe not obsessed, but definitely more attracted to the blond.
My greatest hero, Tsunade-sama, was brought back to Konoha to become Godaime. Rumor was it that Naruto had been traveling with Tsunade-sama's old teammate Jiraiya just to go look for her. I didn't believe it until I saw Naruto walking with him and Tsunade-sama. She even looked fond of him, it was brief and disappeared as fast as it appeared, but I saw it.
All that did was make me yearn for him more. All those "Dead-last" remarks seem so stupid now.
Would a "dead-last" looser be traveling around with two sannin? Jiraiya was probably training him too. He was already strong.. Just how strong would he get with Jiraiya training him? Jiraiya was the one who taught Yondaime after all….
The next couple of days was a blur. Well, not really, I managed to befriend Shizune. That's a plus. Big plus. Still, it was really confusing that week.
The last Uchiha defected.
The demon's fault.
Just who the hell was the demon?
He's not a demon…
THAT BUM MADE CHUUNIN?
HE'S LEADING THE SQUAD?
I learned all that in one day. It gave me a damn headache.
I was loitering around the gates when it was suddenly opened to admit Kakashi with something orange and red on his back.
My heart skipped a beat when I saw him. He looked dead to the world. The red I saw was blood all over him. With a feeble squeak, and berating myself for my Hinata-like behavior, I bolted to the hospital. I remembered Neji being brought here earlier so I thought I'd visit him, at least that was the reason I told myself I was going there.
At the hospital, I spotted Shizune. She looked extremely tired. Slumped on the couch like that, you'd think someone told her that her mother died.
"Tired?" I asked softly. She wasn't exactly sleeping, but I think I could have gotten away with giving her the finger.
"To a certain extent, yes." She retorted, a bit snippy I might add.
She gestured her hand towards the empty seat besides her.
"Sit." She droned.
I didn't have the heart to say no, so I complied. I didn't know what to say, having not knowing her for long, but the silence was comfortable. Shizune turned towards me and was about to speak when Kakashi busted through the front door.
Shizune immediately stood up and ran over to Kakashi, who was talking to some nurse. I didn't want to seem rude so I stayed put. Kakashi must have said something rude since the nurse looked really annoyed. Shizune was eavesdropping on the conversation and looked like she was about to hit the nurse..
"What sort of nurse are you!" With that, she took Naruto from Kakashi and stormed off to the upper floor rooms. I tried to follow but that damn receptionist wouldn't allow it. But me being me, I simply placed a Genjutsu on myself to look like a doctor and walked passed her. She didn't even give me a second glance.
Great. Just great. I don't know what room he's in. I nodded to a few nurses and doctors until I spotted Shizune walking out of one of the rooms. I was just about to walk in when Tsunade and Sakura rounded a corner. I hadn't spoken to her yet, so you can't blame me since I was staring at her slack jawed. She noticed me staring but ignored me and went in. I'm pretty sure she saw through my genjutsu, but I guess she was too busy to care.
I checked Naruto's clipboard on his door read he was fine. I breathed a sigh of relief. Right when I dropped the disguise I bumped into Gai-sensei.
"Ah, Tenten. Visiting your teammates? If only those too fireballs could be as supportive as you." He sighed and walked off before I could even respond. I glanced at a clock and grimaced. It was well over 9:00pm. I found Neji's room simply enough, but the guy was asleep. With a yawn I decided to go home.
Regretted like hell the next day. It's the day..He..Left..
The next morning I vowed to at least speak to him. On second thought, I better visit my own teammates first since I didn't even talked to either of them yesterday. I remembered what room Neji was in so I just asked a nurse nearby to make sure he was in. I let myself in the door and stifled a gasp.
Neji never looks content, yet there he was, lying in the bed without a care in the world. He hasn't even noticed me yet! Or at least, it seemed like it..
"How are you?" I ventured, afraid I might take him out of one of his "rare" moments.
"My left part of my body is numb. They said it is an after effect of the healing seals they used." He still was looking rather content, and he still hasn't looked at me yet!
"Oh. Seen Lee around? Is he alright?"
"He went somewhere with Gai-sensei. He's doing fine as well." He finally looks at me, with a hint of a smile there as well. About bloody time, if you ask me. Rude to not look at someone when they're talking to you. I guess I can forgive that though, I have no idea what sort of fight he went through….
"How long are you gonna stay in here?"
"Hiashi-sama is supposed to pick me up soon."
I grinned. "Mister Top Rookie needs to be taken home by his uncle?" Neji flushed.
"No. Tenten," He hesitated, not exactly sure what to say next, "… I won't be with the team often this year."
"Hm? Why, what's wrong?"
"Nothing is wrong. Hiashi-sama is just taking me under his wing for a while."
"Oh. You're still going to do lame old missions with us, right?"
He changed positions so that he was sitting up and staring blankly at the window.
"I don't know."
"You make it seem so depressing. It's not as if you're going to leave the village or something." If he was, I vowed to kill him on spot. Leaving me alone with Gai-sensei and Lee. Grr..
"I may not be leaving, but someone I know is." He turns to look at me, with an annoying smirk stretched across his face. "Uzumaki, Naruto."
"He's WHAT!" I nearly fell over. Byakugan or no Byakugan I'm so going to squeeze the life out of him if he's just jerkin' around.
He frowns. "I thought you knew? You still might be able to catch him.. before he leaves. He could still be at the gates.."
He might have said something else, but I was already out the door. Now that I think about it, it was in a small tiny way, funny. It took me three weeks later to realize that he knew I got over him and knew who was currently running in my brain.
While running, my traitorous mind kept telling me I was stupid. Chasing some guy who most likely doesn't even remember my name. Neji seemed like a new person. You should still be all over him. Stupid brain. There is no point in pining after someone with little to no feelings towards you anyway. It's just a waist of time. Besides, guys like Naruto were one in a million. By the time I got there I was too late. He's gone and for who knows how long.
I spent the rest of the day moping around with Lee and Gai-sensei. I didn't really show it, we're supposed to do that anyway, but it felt so weird giving a fake smile to everyone.. Working with Gai and Lee was cruel. Overly cruel. I had to drag myself home. I appreciated Neji's company hell of a lot more after that.
My parents left an official looking letter addressed to me on my table. I scanned it and there was supposed to be a meeting with Godaime next week. The letter didn't say what it was about.
I arrived at the meeting early. There were a large number of people here. Most of the Genins, about half of the Chunin, and about a third of Jonin, and higher ups. I even saw some normal civilians.
I spotted Lee in the crowd and walked over to him. Who could miss him?
"Ah Tenten! Glorious morning, is it not?" Loud as usual. Its good to know some things never change.
"Yeah sure thing Lee.."
I didn't see Tsunade-sama around so I got bored rather quickly.
"Tenten, wake up! Hokage-sama is about to speak." Lee whispered.
I was instantly awake. When did I dose off?
"Good morning everyone. Lets get straight to the point, shall we? I know of the rumors spreading like wild fire, and quite honestly, it's irritating to hear them. As you all know, last week there was a retrieval mission for a defected shinobi. With experienced shinobi low, I was forced into sending a team consisting of a newly selected Chunin and four Genins. Though they were all handpicked."
She allowed the crowd to murmur a bit.
"In the last moment, Sand's peace offering arrived in the form of three of their top Genins. I sent them to aid them as well. Without their help, there is no doubt that we would have lost some of the village's most promising shinobi."
She cleared her throat. "The defected ninja was none other than Uchiha Sasuke. He left with four sound nin escorts. Not Uzumaki, Naruto. Uzumaki was part of the team sent to retrieve him."
"That's ludicrous! This Uchiha is nothing like his brother! This one even saved us from Shukaku the Sand Demon during the Sand and Sound attack! Its that..that..Uzumaki! He must have done something to delude the Uchiha!" Yelled a Chunin, a large number of other people agreed with him.
I wanted to smack him. So rude.
There was a muffled scream. All eyes was on the disrespectful as the Chunin was choked to death by ..sand? I gasped, Gaara?
ANBU looked ready to attack but Tsunade-sama waved them off.
Gaara was nonchalantly staring at the offending Chunin. Still as intimidating as ever. How the hell did I not notice him before? Looking at him, he was dressed pretty normal. White long sleeved shirt and black pants tucked at the ankles. His siblings held a look of disgust on their face. It wasn't directed at Gaara.
"Gaara, put him down." To be honest, Tsunade-sama didn't look mad at him. It's as if she forced herself to say that to him.
"Uchiha Sasuke cannot and did not defeat me." With that he calmly walked out, siblings in route.
Lee raised his hand. Tsunade-sama nodded towards him. "Hokage-sama, if Uchiha did not defeat Gaara, who did?"
"See for yourself. Complimentary of Jiraiya of course."
She pulled out a scroll, unraveled it, did a few hand seals, and suddenly a picture showed from the scroll. Almost like a projector. You could tell you were looking through a scope of some sort from the way the boundaries was set.
Everyone watched in silent horror as Gaara transformed into some sort of brown ugly thing. Everyone gasped when Sasuke, with those freakish black tattoos struck Gaara in his right shoulder with the Chidori and shake it off like it was a fly.
Just when it looked like Sasuke was done for, Sakura appeared which made Gaara distracted enough to get a fist slammed into him by Naruto.
Gaara swiped Naruto away and slammed Sakura into a tree. This seemed to really piss Naruto off. They were talking, but we couldn't hear. It was a tad frustrating.
I swear I saw the council, Kakashi, and Tsunade-sama smile when Naruto poked Gaara in the ass with a kunai and literally blew his ass up when the explosive note went off. Neji smirked. What a second, when did Neji get here? Must have been when I dozed off..
"I'm glad I didn't take anyone hostage when I fought him." He chuckled.
Everyone who heard gave a nervous but genuine laugh.
Lee kept staring with his mouth wide open.
I kicked him in the shins. "Lee that's rude!" I pointed at his mouth. He complied.
Everyone else visibly cringed. Hell, I did too, that had to have hurt.
Gaara must have said something to piss Naruto off again. The Kage Bunshin was already an amazing feat already, but to have made THAT many was astonishing.
Despite the pounding those clones did, Gaara did the unthinkable.
He got huge.
The view changed and we were now all staring at someone's foot.
"Shit. I better go help." That someone said. Must have been Jiraiya.
The perspective shifted again and we were all staring at a huge cloud of smoke.
There were a lot of gasps in the crowd. Wasn't all that surprising really. There aren't too many in the world that can call themselves a summoner. I was more than impressed to say the least.
Neji stiffened. "He was holding back.." He whispered. He took a deep breath. It must have been a major blow to his ego to go all at it at someone to not only get the shit beat out of you, but to know they weren't even using their full potential? Ouchies.
I saw Kakashi's eyes widened a bit. Why would one's own teacher be surprised of his own pupil?
Jiraiya said something again. "Sheesh. Gamabunta two times in a row."
There were startled gasps again. Wasn't it Gamabunta the toad boss that helped Yodaime defeat the Nine-Tails?
It was amazing to see the summoned toad battle it out with Gaara. What happened next I doubt anyone saw it coming. The toad transformed into the Nine-Tails. I thought it was just a regular fox at first, but its hard to miss nine swaying tails. No one knew why until they saw it bite and dig into Gaara.
Naruto jumped off the transformed toad and gave Gaara a savage blow to the head that should have put him back into unconsciousness after waking him up, seeing what it did to Neji after all..
A head butt later, the scrolled sealed it self-back up and the lights were turned back on. Didn't even notice it was turned off in the first place.
"Now that we got that cleared up we can finally get down to business." Tsunade-sama stated smugly, then turning to glare at those idiots from before.
"As of today, Uchiha Sasuke is a traitor. He is to be treated like any other traitor of a village. If he is seen, do not attempt to engage with him unless you're certain you can take him. If not, just file the standard report for spotting them. On a side note, after reviewing other scrolls from Jiraiya, the council and I have come to a unanimous decision that Aburame Shino shall receive the rank of Chunin."
That came out of thin air.
"WHAT? But he DIDN'T even FIGHT anyone!" A kid whose name I can't remember roared. I did remember Naruto beating him in the preliminaries.
"As I stated before, Inuzuka, I have reviewed other scrolls recording his fight with Kankurou. They had a run in after Kakashi assigned them to stop Sasuke from fighting Gaara. He performed well. Now everyone dismissed. Aburame Shino, stay behind."
"Hai, Hokage-sama." I assumed Shino stated dully somewhere in the room.
I was jealous. I was pissed. Some weirdo just made Chunin. Naruto was gone…. I was even more flustered when after seeing how powerful he actually is, some people resented him even more. I hate people with ego trips like that.
A year crawled by. Missions, training, missions. That's what that whole year was about. It wasn't that bad. Getting to know the remainder leftovers of the "Rookie 9" helped it go by a bit faster; they all had a bit of that legendary class since all rookies made it to the preliminaries.
We had skipped two Chunin Exams just because Neji and Lee wanted to wait for a certain blond to come back. And I thought I was the one with the crush. Boys. Them and rivalry. They weren't being held in the village so we didn't really want to leave just yet anyway.
Now its two years since he left. There is some sort of party at Chouji's house. I lazily put some jeans on and a hot pink shirt. I call Neji up and drag him along to come with me. No way in hell am I going to show up by myself.
I randomly move around the gigantic house. There's a fight. Never mind, it was just Ino and Sakura again.
I finally spot Neji. Slugging down drinks like there's no tomorrow. He dodges cups and arms while still drinking. Classy bastard. I wonder what's he looking at so seriously at. Ah. Lee. No way in hell are we ever going to let Lee drink again. I'm pretty sure we still owe that bar money! Thank God Tsunade-sama made it illegal for him to drink.
Some time later, I spy Ino in the corner with Shikamaru. Lazy bastard that he was, but still managed to get his tongue halfway down her throat.
Feeling a bit envious, I snag Neji and force him to dance with me.
"Tenten, you know I detest dancing."
"Yeah well, I'm a lonely girl and am not going to stand alone in the corner waiting for some guy to ask me. Just follow my lead. Sheesh."
After prancing around with Neji a bit, I let him go. I walked over to where the drinks were and start downing. As if it was my fault my schedule is so damn tight I don't have much time to socialize with anyone outside of my teammates and the nine-gang? Besides, I haven't met anyone yet whom I can honestly say was cute and was sincerely attracted to.
I see Lee talking to some girl. She looked cute. It's a wonder she was still talking to him. I spot a crutch near her. Oh…Poor girl.. Go Lee. I guess.
Unlike Lee, I can drink. I'm six-teen damn it. It's nearly three in the morning when the party is starting to wind down. I think. Shit. I lost track of cups I've had. That's not good. The last thing I remember, some stranger whose face I can't even make out is asking me if I was all right.
"I'm perfect." I drawled. I choose that time to pass out.
Sun crept through my eyelids. "Fucking sun. Fucking hangover." I roll over.
"Colorful vocabulary you got there." Who the hell is that? Neji? No..The voice was too deep and lacked that certain eloquence..
"Shut up. Too loud." I whispered, rubbing my aching head.
"You had a shit load of drinks last night uh.. this morning. I'm surprised you're awake. Its only eight in the morning."
I groaned. Lucky for me it's Saturday. My parents aren't home. Yet. Bah. I'm old enough that they don't really care where I'm at.
I still haven't gotten around to opening my eyes.
"This usually helps my master when he gets hangovers." His footsteps are like jackhammers on my skull. I groan again.
His hands are doing..something..to the back of my head, and oh God it felt so much better than that nasty headache. This time a moan slipped out.
I practically heard him smirk.
I stiffen. Just where the hell am I? Who the hell is touching me? Damn drinks. Brain doesn't even want to work right!
I quickly turned around, grabbed his wrists and put him in a basic choke hold from behind. Still holding both his wrists I begin my interrogation with the stranger. I idly notice that he actually smells nice and has golden hair.
"Where am I?"
"Jeez! Why are you so rough! I pi-"
"Where am I!" I took note of my surroundings. I was definitely sleeping on a bed. There's a window, and a weirdly familiar dummy that looked like it went through hell and back. I checked if I still had all of my clothes on. I did.
"I'm not saying nothing until you let me go Tenten-san."
"Who the hell are you?" Shit. That headache is coming back.
He made a sigh.
Before I know it, I'm on my back, arms are pinned down, he's straddling me, and I'm staring at the most captivating sapphire eyes I've ever seen.
I hope you enjoyed the first chapter!
(1) I'm not sure exactly what he said so bear with me.