A/N; I was inspired to write this after reading Yugao's Crossing Stars.
Disclaimer; I do not own Naruto, or anything affiliated with it. Him. Whatever.
Dedication: Shikyo Yaiba, my fellow ff and LJ goer.
The brush hovers above the large square of cloth, and the hand that holds it stills. She is pondering, as well as trying to ignore the presence at her door. The young woman blinks once, her dark brown eyes locking on the piece of material in front of her, and she puts the brush to work.
After she has put three black symbols on the cloth, she turns to her doorway.
"Come in, Neji."
The man complies, stepping into the dimly lit room. He silently walks to where she is, and kneels on the tatami mat beside her.
She nods, and points to each character. "These repeating ones are Xing Xing, star. This, qi, is the inner self, or the soul. Aren't they beautiful?"
Neji glanced at her. "I didn't know you liked to do calligraphy." She glanced back. "I was taught a long time ago. My mother was an expert in writing, and my father was a genius in the ways of poetry. Writing and poetry combined- that is calligraphy," Tenten explained, looking back at her work. She smiled lightly. "I am not their finest creation; that is." The woman turned and gestured toward a large scroll mounted on her wall. It reached from the ceiling to the floor; Neji's eyebrows rose. Tenten grinned and stood, walking over to the scroll.
Pointing to each symbol as she spoke, Tenten began:
"Sky white, mountains purple, trees green, clouds blue
Flowers arranged in chaos, every hue
Woman, goddess of the heavens, hair like the earth, eyes like the sea
In the garden, woman sitting, robes of flowers, hands of angels
In her arms, sleeping child, dark eyes, dark hair, skin like the sand
Beautiful." She smiled sadly. "It goes on, as you can see, but... that's the gist of it. Isn't it..."
"Beautiful?" Neji put in, smirking. She laughed. "Yes. Beautiful." Turning back to him, she clasped her hands behind her. "Did you need something, Neji?
"You want to spar. Alright, just give me a second," she said, gathering up her calligraphy tools and striding into the next room. Neji followed slowly, peeking through the oak doorway. His lavender eyes widened at the sight. Every wall in the room was completely covered in pictoral Chinese-covered stationary, except a few small squares. A couple has pictures tacked to the wall, and some were just blank pieces of wall. Tenten was sticking her newest work to one of the empty patches. Her utencils were strewn around her bare feet, and when she was finished hanging the paper, she scooped them up in her arms.
"There," she said with finality, shutting the drawers to her art bureau. The woman turned to find Neji looking at the two pictures, placed side to side. She smiled lightly and joined him.
"They," she said, pointing to the one on the left, "are my parents. Obviously, I got my hair from Mother. Baa-chan used to say that I got my chin from Father, but I got my eyes from her. And, I'm sure you know who those good-looking folks are," Tenten stated, gesturing toward their team picture. He smirked.
"You only have two pictures, Tenten?"
"Yes, but I make up for them with these." Her eyes flitted from one paper to another. "Poems and discriptions."
"My family," she said quietly. "If I didn't have them, I'd forget."
Tenten looked at Neji for a moment, searching his face. And then she smiled. "Yes."
"That one," Neji pointed. Tenten grinned.
Long hair of soil and clear water, smooth as rose petals.
Eyes of the sky, pure and good.
Skin of golden sunlight.
She is always watching, forever listening, never resting.
All for me."
"That one." He pointed to another paper.
"Father is everything.
His arms are long and strong, lifting the world on large shoulders.
His love, his smile, his face, him. Everything.
"Small wood house.
Father built the small wood house on the hill. Much grass, many flowers, bright sun. Perfect.
Small stone house.
Father built the small stone house in the valley. The mountains are tall and purple. There are few flowers.
Large family house. New land.
Father brought us here, in the Leaf village. Many people, many friends. Shiny weapons, all mine. We stay here."
Tenten siad nothing. He turned to her, only to be surprised by her pink cheeks.
"Shouldn't we get to sparring now?"
"Hn. Read it, Tenten."
"Ano... Okay." She looked at it for a moment, and placed her finger on the first character to begin her poem.
"A boy. The first I have seen like me.
Long dark hair, like Mother. Eyes like lightning in this light, like the light mountains in that.
Hands stronger than other boys, more worked. Eyes fuller than other people, wiser.
No smile, much feeling. His face is white, beautiful. Perfect.
Words unsaid, but I understand.
Like Father." Tenten clapped her hands. "Right! Training!" She began to walk briskly toward the door, only to be jerked back by Neji's hand. It was wrapped tightly around her upper arm, and as she was returned to her original spot, she made an "erk!" sound. "The hell?" she said loudly, glaring at Neji's hand, reflexively grabbing at his own arm.
"Don't play dumb. Who was that poem about?"
"Does it really matter in the grand scheme of things?" Tenten tried desperately. Neji's look sufficed as an, 'Uh, no. Try again.' She sighed. "You, alright? I wrote that after I met you. I wrote one about Lee, too, see?" the woman said, pointing out a a paper three feet up and two to the right of where she was standing.
"Hn." I don't care about Lee's. "Let's go, Tenten." Why would you need to write something about me if the others are to remember your past? Her eyes were bright, and she yanked him out the door by the hand. She made no move of letting it show that she knew his silent questions.
Someday, Neji, I'll have the courage to express my feelings other than through my secret language. Someday, but not today. Today, I'll leave you wondering. Maybe you'll figure it out.
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Xing Xing is prounounced shing shing, by the way, in case you were curious. This was also spawned by an incredible book I just finished called Bound by Donna Jo Napoli. It's an original Chinese version of Cinderella, but... wow. It's so good, and just about the length of a fic, if you read long ones. I adore it, and am so glad that it is in my permanent possession so I can read it again and again. You'd love it if you read it; honest to gravy.
Time to review, folks. You know you want to!