Buttoning up her shirt, she gazed at herself in front of the mirror. It had been a week since the first day of school, the one versus one with Coach Kurenai. Already in that time, Tenten's popularity catapulted her into the center of admiration and jealousy.
So much for blending in…
She entered her kitchen, grabbing a piece of bread from the breadbox. There was no jam or butter to put on for flavoring. It was like this everyday, alone in a battered kitchen eating a measly breakfast. This was better than what she could ask for though; at least there was peace.
Tenten locked her apartment door as she scaled down the stairs. Her worn out sneakers pattered on the steps. It was early morning, the sun rising with cold breeze blowing her bangs out of her face. The walk to school was going to take awhile; her apartment was literally a one-hour walk away. It wasn't so bad though, the rising sun provided a breathtaking red light that shimmered everything it touched.
Lovely indeed it was. As Tenten turned the corner, she was greeted with a bright white light causing her to stumble back. Rubbing her eyes as tiny specs of pastel colors danced in front of her, she came face to face with a large boy around her age side by side with a blonde girl who seemed awfully familiar.
"Tenten Tamura! Ino Yamanaka of the Kyuubi Private Monthly, with a week into school, how does it feel to be the most talked about person?"
Ino Yamanaka? Isn't that Sakura's enemy or something?… Still dazed over the flash, Tenten shook her head straight and returned the question with an arched brow.
I have to score this exclusive or else someone else will!
The headstrong blonde pushed her recorder in front of Tenten. Sure she normally wrote about the latest fashion trends but this was something she couldn't ignore. The girl she was looking at was the newest craze. Scores of girls were donning buns on their hair, while the ones with shorter hair sported sprouts of pigtails. There was no way that fashionista Ino Yamanaka would let this scoop get away from her.
Or so she thought.
Tenten stared at her, dumbfounded as the blonde girl's blue eyes sparkled in excitement. How was she supposed to feel about being the most talked about item? Hell if she knew.
"Um, I'm sorry but I don't really want to be interviewed."
"Wh-what! Don't you want to give your fans a little bit of who you are? I-I mean you're THE most popular girl in school right now," retorted a shocked Ino.
I don't want to stick out anymore than I have now.
"I'm sorry, but I just can't." Tenten walked past an upset journalist and her tubby photographer.
Once she was out of sight, Ino couldn't help but feel hot air. How dare that girl not appreciate the popularity she has? Did that idiot know how many other girls in the school would die to have their names mentioned in her articles? This wasn't any other Kyuubi Private reporter. This was Ino Yamanaka, queen of the entertainment pages!
What's in and what's out, that's what it's all about.
Tenten was happy that the crazy girl didn't make any attempt at following her. Unbeknownst to her, another familiar person was following her footstep, observing her.
What's so special about her? So what if she's able to beat Kurenai at basketball, I could beat her too!
Truth was, he lost 20 times before Yuhi got irritated and kicked him out of the gym.
Stupid Kakashi and everyone else in school praising her. She's not THAT great.
Lost in his thoughts, Naruto Uzumaki didn't pay attention to the large pebble waiting to trip him.
Tenten heard a large crash accompanied with a low groan. She turned around to see her History class classmate rubbing his scratched face.
Why is it that I keep on running into all the blondes today?
He stood up, letting his mouth pout in annoyance, his blue eyes shut with a fox-like stare.
"I challenge you, right now, to a one versus one game of basketball!"
"But we aren't even close to a court, and school's still a 45 minute walk away."
"I don't care! I'll prove you're not that special!"
What was this guy's problem? Tenten remembered Naruto from the first day of class. She had heard the guy was a bit of an attention seeker, but never did she expect it to the extent of literally following her from her apartment. Ino, she could mildly understand, after all, she was a reporter. Naruto?…
"Who cares about being special? Why are you even following me around like this anyways?"
His eyes opened with his bright blues staring back at her. She didn't care? Naruto knew he had a bit of a one-track mind, but maybe he went too far this time around. Boy did he need some explaining to do.
"They say you're as good as Sasuke," Naruto confessed.
"Uh, who?" asked Tenten.
"You don't know who Sasuke is? That's a first; every girl in the school wants Sasuke. He's an idiot who everyone thinks is the best b-ball player as well as one of the smartest students or something," replied Naruto with a hint of dejection.
"Come to think of it, I think Sakura mentioned him once…"
"He's my biggest rival and my best friend," exclaimed Naruto. Suddenly his body shifted sheepishly, almost like he had forgotten something. "Not like he'd admit it or anything."
What a weird guy… Tenten really wondered if the boy in front of her had all his marbles in the jar.
"Uh..I have a question. Why are you here? Near my neighborhood?"
Naruto glanced back at her with fox eyes. "It was to challenge you of course, to a game! Eh..I didn't think things through though…no court in sight…"
The girl sighed as she walked started to walk on ahead. What an odd morning, getting pounced at by her two crazy blonde schoolmates. Through all of those distractions, she knew she wasn't going to get to class on time. Her first tardy in the first week of school, the joy coursing through her veins as her mood became darker.
What's the point in being popular if you can't get out of detention?
Her feet ached. She wished she could buy a new pair of shoes but her job didn't pay very much and the money she saved up went to paying for food and school supplies. It sounded pathetic; the whole reason why she managed to get into school was because of her skills as a basketball player.
How am I even going to play with my shoes torn up?
Tenten stopped at a bench near the corner of the street. She knew she was running late but her throbbing feet told her she needed the rest. The sun still glowered red as she starred ahead breathing in the cold air. She loved the crisp feeling of a peaceful early morning. Time, if only it could last a bit longer. At the corner of her eye, dark tinted windows caught her attention. A sleek white European style car slowly drove in front of her. A faint buzz sounded as the back window rolled down.
"W-would y-ou like a ride to sch-ool?" asked a timid voice.
She recognized the pale-eyed girl as Coach Kurenai's assistant, Hinata Hyuuga. Though the girl had a unique look, her shy nature and short stature made her invisible to anyone around her. Though, if reminded, her classmates would always refer to her as "that one weird girl." Hinata sat with a hunch as she glanced sideways at Tenten, unable to make full eye contact. The bun haired girl gave a nod as the door opened. Entering the plush blue interior, Tenten watched Hinata.
"Why did you come all this way to pick me up?" It wasn't wrong to inquire this; after all there were already two weird incidents.
"Mmm-iss Kurenai was w-or-ried ab-out you. She kn-nows you live fa-ar away," her stutter became worse as she started to cough harshly. Tenten watched in surprise as the girl started to buckle down, breathing like her life depended on it, her pale hands searching for her bag nearby. From the pockets revealed a small inhaler, putting it to her lips, her body calmed down.
Tenten put herself next to Hinata, holding her body to make sure she was steady. The frail girl sat back as she tried staring out of the dark tinted windows trying to find something to say.
"It's really been one hell of a morning. Had that crazy Ino girl chase me around for an interview and that Naruto guy wanted to challenge me to an early duel…"
Had Hinata turned to face Tenten, she would have seen a bright red flush on the blue haired girl's pale skin.
"…seriously though Hinata, even if Coach Kurenai asked you to, I think it's really nice of you to think about me. Thanks…"
A shy but proud smile formed on the small girl's face, something that Hinata didn't feel too often. Maybe it was her own awkwardness that made the words so strong for her, but all in all, a little bit of appreciation went a long way with her.
M-maybe I should..
The sounds of students talking rose higher as the car parked to the side. Tenten quickly jumped out as she turned around to make sure Hinata was stable. Both girls walked up to the front of the school, eyes of assorted emotions stared. The white-eyed girl drew a breath.
"W-would you like to do something after school?" Her voice quickened.
It was worth a shot, even if she put her own feelings on the line. Maybe, just maybe, someone would make the effort to know who she really was. Not as the weird girl, or the girl who always has asthma attacks, or that oversensitive girl who hides behind Coach Kurenai.
I am Hinata Hyuuga.
At the same time, the bun haired girl felt the same way about herself.
I am Tenten Tamura.
"Sure," Tenten said with a bright smile. "Let's meet up after basketball practice."
Author's Note: I wanted to do two perspectives that people had on Tenten. The first was the superficial (Ino) the second being jealousy (Naruto). (Ino being a reporter was due to the idea that reporters try to get into people's heads) Both of them only know her for one thing: basketball. However, Hinata's character is a parallel to Tenten's. Both of them wish people can know them for who they are, not what their exterior is. It's that desire that they both have that makes the start of their friendship. Hopefully people liked this, next chapter! Off to the Hyuuga's we go! Hi hoe hi hoe! Read and review!