Title: Shades of Red
Character(s): Tenten, Uchiha Sasuke
Notes: 33 things that happened during Redshift.
o1. – Ring
Tenten smiles weakly, through a whirling in her head that she thinks is a concussion; she is down, but Sasuke is hedged in by a circle of swords.
o2. – Hero
She used to daydream about someone from Konoha coming to rescue her – her team, or Naruto who dares the impossible, or Neji alone with his white eyes and cool invincibility – but she stops after a while.
o3. – Memory
What she remembers of her time in Sound before Sasuke are incoherent, stuttering snapshots – pain, and screaming, and extremes of sensation.
o4. – Box
Sasuke never restrained her – but he knew, and she knew, that there was a point beyond which she must not go – that she lived inside an invisible box.
o5. – Run
When he tells her to go, she hesitates too long – the Sound knows she is escaping, and she has to outrun too many ninjas.
o6. – Hurricane
She summons four smoky dragons that whirl and twine about her – watchers think of being in the eye of a storm.
o7. – Wings
When she sees Sasuke in his second-level Curse Seal form, she only remarks that his wings cannot possibly enable him to fly – and launches into a long discussion about aerodynamics, bone density, and weight-to-lift ratio.
o8. – Cold
Although they are underground she is never chilled – living near a fire-user, she is often overheated, though.
o9. – Red
His eyes begin to haunt her dreams.
1o. – Drink
Once, some Sound shinobi sneaked a potent liquor into her flask – Sasuke coolly crippled them for it, not for the drink but for what they said they would do to her when she was drunk.
11. – Midnight
They often spar at night – midnight becomes just as common to her as noon.
12. – Temptation
Kabuto develops a new aphrodisiac, meant for use in interrogations and seduction missions – Sasuke hesitates for a moment before refusing the little test-bottle Kabuto offers him.
13. – View
Sasuke strips off his white tunic and uses it to mop his streaming forehead, while Tenten pretends she is still unconscious.
14. – Music
Sound Village was full of music – but Tenten never forgot that it was meant for use in battle.
15. – Silk
She never does find out what happens to her clothes from Konoha; but Sasuke dresses her in black and red, and she learns to be content with that.
16. – Cover
She learns to lie for him, to protect him against even his own fellow Sound-nin.
17. – Promise
Sasuke promises her things all the time: "I will hurt you, you will learn this, you'll be sorry, you'll learn to stop missing them."
18. – Dream
His Sharingan lets him play with her mind – sometimes he does it while she sleeps, catching her eyes in between one REM blink and the next.
19. – Candle
When she's back in Konoha, the wavering light of a candle-flame is enough to cast Tenten into a deep reverie.
2o. – Talent
'I'm not like you, I'm not a prodigy,' she protests when he demands she learn; he sneers and says she is too used to hiding behind her teammates to let herself fully embrace her potential.
21. – Silence
She thinks the reason she gets to understand Sasuke's unspoken words so well is practice with Neji; but that does not explain why, when she gets back to Konoha, she can no longer translate the white-eyed boy's movements.
22. – Journey
One day, she just paused, and looked down at the younger ninja sleeping easily beside her – sprawled on the grass, sweat from their recent training-session drying on his face – and wondered how they had gotten from there (anger and hate and fear) to here. (And where was here?)
23. – Fire
Sasuke – child of the Uchiha clan that he was – knows every fire jutsu in Konoha, and since Karyuu Endan is (as yet) beyond her, Tenten begs him to teach her the Ryuuka no Jutsu.
24. – Strength
After a while – and after four casualties: two slain, one crippled and one blinded, all of whom had been prone to speculating wildly about "Sasuke-sama's new whore" - Sound learns to respect the Konoha weapons-user, for her power if nothing else.
25. – Mask
Hidden Sound is more than missing-nin and power-grabs – there are shops, and eateries, and music-halls there, and Tenten actually visits some of them under henge.
26. – Ice
The first time she pins him is forever engraved in his mind: the silence of the forest, her exercise-flushed face hovering above his, and how the edge of her katana – no cheap, short ninjato for her – felt ice-cold against the skin of his throat.
27. – Fall
When, she wonders with something that might be despair or might be a wild, wild joy – when did she decide she would stay with him?
28. – Forgotten
She realizes, with a start, that it has been almost a full week since she had thought of Konoha.
29. – Dance
Sasuke watches Tenten sleepily make her way towards him, automatically dodging the heaps and piles of weapons – a pile of kunai there, twinned kodachi over there, a six-foot-tall zweihander from across the seas sunk half a foot into the wooden floor – scattered all over her room, and thinks that, just crossing the floor, Tenten looks like she's dancing.
3o. – Body
"The human body isn't meant to take so much punishment, Sasuke-kun," Kabuto warns him, hands hovering above an unconscious Tenten – Sasuke only ignores him.
31. – Sacred
"She is not for the likes of you," Sasuke tells a group of Sound-nin eying 'the prisoner' with hungry eyes, voice cool and mocking rather than warning.
32. – Farewells
They didn't say goodbye – she just backed, and turned, and ran, while around them Sound bayed for her blood.
33. – World
For the first few months, Sasuke is careful to keep the injured, wounded, broken kunoichi away from other elements of Sound Village – his rooms, and him, and their sparring-grounds out in the deep forest make up her entire world.