A/N : After a long time of not writing anything.. I came up with this fic.. yes my first ever fic that is not aone-shot ficcie.. ! >. Dedicated solely to all Neji-Ten fans..! You guys rock! m/-

Disclaimer : I would definitely wish that I'm the owner of Naruto... but wishes seldom do come true.. I do not own Naruto... >.

It has been a year since that mission, the mission that changed this kunoichi's life completely. Even her tiniest bit of views had completely changed.
"Hayaku! Hayaku!" shouted a medical nin.

A group of shinobis carrying a bloddy kunoichi rushed to the hospital for they cannot treat her anymore.

Everything was a blur. The mission was a failure and only a few survived. However, those who survived were all in the most critical condition.

"Tsunade-sama!" her panic-stricken assistant barged on the door, "They need your help!"

Whether it was worry or agitation that painted her face, no one knew, for she fled to the hospital the way she used to do without a trail of hesitation.

Silence filled Tenten's room as she gleefully stared at the trees outside her window. Her only company is the genin who takes care of everything in the apartment.

"Tenten-sempai," the genin approached her slowly, "food is now ready."

Tenten answered with a smile as she stood up and patted the genin's head.

"Tenten-sempai?" the genin looked at her with curious eyes.

"I told you to call me 'nee-san' instead, Hikari."

The young genin smiled shyly.

"Everyone, leave." ordered the strong-willed Godaime.

"Tsunade-sama…" Tenten tried to sit but instead fell back on the bed. An image of agitation crept on her face.

"Tenten," Tsunade tried to hold back everything to calm this kunoichi in front of her.

The kunoichi stared at Tsunade's face with eyes al filled with anxiety.

"I tried everything that I can do to get you back to normal…"

Tenten held her breath and bit her lip.

A knock echoed all around the apartment and halted the buoyant lunch of the genin and the chuunin.

"It must be Sakura." Tenten told Hikari.

"I'll go get it." Hikari stood up and left the kitchen.

A few moments later, Hikari appeared with the pink-haired girl at her back.

"Konnichiwa, Sakura." Tenten smiled brightly.

"Konnichiwa." she smiled back.

It has been a year now, but still, I can't understand. I can't understand how she can smile like this despite… despite everything. Sakura said to herself.

"Tenten, one of the missing nins…" Tsunade took the deepest breath she can take "had injected something into your bloodstream."

Tenten stared at her, waiting for every word that the woman she respects will say. Curiosity filled her mind, her eagerness to know kept her alert and awake. Fear filled her heart which tells herself to not listen anymore for what will be delivered to her will state her life and her future.

"It is something we cannot identify. We tried to remove it to your bloodstream, demo…" Tsunade tried to make it as sympathetic as she could, "It had already affected some of your body parts and is now scattered throughout your whole body."

Tenten held back everything that she had felt. "W-What will it do to me?"

"It will slowly break down your systems and through time, it will totally break your whole body and eventually…"

"I'm going to die…?" Tenten asked bitterly

Tsunade had lost her grip of words and just answered with a bitter nod.

Ever since Tsunade-sama explained everything to me and appointed me asTenten's personal medic, I can't help being sorry for her. But when I saw her, I started to doubt she was really ill. She was smiling happily as if… it was just an ordinary day. I tried to ask her how she can smile like that but she always answers me with another smile… just another smile. Sakura thought as she stared blankly at Tenten.

"What's the matter?" Tenten asked Sakura worriedly.

"N-Nothing!" Sakura forced a smile on her lips. Tenten definitely had changed.

Sakura continued Tenten's treatment which helps Tenten's body to be a bit stronger. It continued for a few more minutes before it was done.

"Tenten, take care of yourself, alright?" she reminded her friend, "Do not expose yourself outside, it's harmful to you."

Tenten only answered with a simple, "I know."

"And…" Sakura continued warily, "do not expose yourself to the sun."

"Has it affected my skin too?" Tenten asked with a pint of sadness in her tone.

"I'm afraid so…" Sakura suddenly grabbed Tenten's hands, "but I know you'll be fine! We've always known you to be the toughest kunoichi in Konoha!"

Another smile.

"Is there any way to stop it?" Tenten asked even though she knew that the only answer will be a hard and bitter 'no'.

Tsunade shook her head. "The only thing we can do is to slow down its process." she sighed, "And if ever we would find a cure, it may be too late."

"Who knows what will happen…"

Tsunade's eyes grew wide, surprised on this kunoichi's words. She will definitely do everything for this kunoichi… everything.

To be continued

Vulnerable : Chapter 1 : An Introduction

By: - amethysian -