Last time: "Yes, yes. I'll make sure she'll be part of my art for at least a couple of minutes."
"No. Make it seconds. I don't like waiting, so don't toy with her. Just end it within a second."
"No promises. I'll try, but I highly doubt I can do that." He snickered.
Author's Note: Thank you for reading my story once again! I'll be doing my best to update quick as usual. So basically, for the last couple of weeks, my life has been partially hectic. I had two weeks of spring break, and I went to the park everyday, which was pretty awesome because there are (some cute) basketball guys to watch. Other than that, school has been rough – if school be rough with you, be rough with school (Shakespeare; except it's love not school). As for this story, I'm doing my best to improve it each time.
Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto (the manga, anime and plot) or their characters.
- - -
Tenten made important mental notes in her mind while she sat down and chatted with the new people all around her. First of all, she noted that Neji and Sasuke did not like to talk or interact with everyone as much. They had something small to say occasionally, but other than that, they never responded much. Then there was Naruto and Sakura – the very opposite of Neji and Sasuke. While the latter two were quiet, Naruto and Sakura were very loud and, at times, aggressive towards each other. Tenten help but laugh every time they acted with silliness.
"But Sakura! I'm still hungry!" Naruto tried to win her over by giving her his saddest puppy face.
"Naruto! Stop eating!" She held the full bowl of ramen away from him. "You're going to become fat, and you won't be able to do missions anymore!"
Tenten chuckled half the time Naruto and Sakura were arguing. It was all good until Naruto made an attempt to grab the bowl – he pressed one hand on the table and reached over to the bowl with his other hand. Then, the next thing she knew, Sakura lost control of the bowl as it spilt all the soup and its content onto the floor.
It happened in a slow moment for Naruto, Tenten guessed. His yell of 'no' was extended. She imagined the soup slowly spilling and splashing Sakura, while the noodles and everything clashed onto the ground.
Naruto was terribly upset, but Sakura was furious. Naruto stared at his noodles while Sakura stared at her new white coat with brown soup all over it. Tenten and Sasuke synchronized the movement of standing up. Tenten ran over to the women's bathroom while Sasuke ran over to the men's restroom. Both heard the distant scream.
Tenten rushed out of the bathroom with a package of napkins in her arms. She made a slow stride over to the pink girl who looked very outraged even from the back. She looked over to the golden haired boy who was lying down on the ground – knocked out, but still alive.
Sasuke made out before she did and was helping her wipe off the broth smudges on her coat, but to no avail. It would be a stain that would be kept there for a long time. Tenten assisted her and Sasuke in wiping the marks. After a moment, Sakura helped them wipe off the stains.
Naruto stood up placing his hand over the bruise on his face. He made a small grin and said, "I'll treat for ramen?"
Sakura glared at him. "Along with the purchase of the new coat. Of course!"
Naruto laughed nervously. "Aw, Sakura, that coat looks expensive! Let Sasuke pay for it! I'm sure he loves you enough to buy you a new one!"
Sakura's eyes darkened even more, but she didn't say anything. "Sasuke… Can you buy me a new one?" She made her own nervous smile. "Please…?"
Sasuke took a breath and looked up to glare at Naruto. "Whatever." With that said, he walked away to the trashcan taking the soaked napkins with him.
Sakura took a sigh of her own and looked at Naruto. She stuck her tongue out at him and then hooked one of her arms with Tenten's arms. "I'm going out with Tenten. Tell Sasuke that it's okay." She dragged Tenten out of the place.
- - -
Sakura made a gloomy sigh. "I worked hard for that coat too!" She held it up and took a closer look at the stain. "It's all ruined now. And I only wore it for a day!"
Tenten patted her friend's shoulders. "I'm sure you'll be able to save up again and buy a better one next time." She laughed when Sakura puffed her cheeks and made a glaring face.
"Hey, do you want some food? I'm hungry. I didn't finish eating when we left."
Tenten nodded. "Doesn't matter. I'm quite full actually."
Sakura nodded back. "Okay. Stay here and I'll go buy something really quick." Sakura quickly pushed people aside to get to the smell of food.
Tenten stood alone in the mass of people. A tingling sense went own her spine as she held her arms around her. Her eyes shifted from left to right in search of something misplaced in the crowds. Her body quickly turned to her left side when she felt a brush of air and a presence.
Tenten's eyes traveled back to Sakura who was on her right. Her eyes paced back and forth trying to find something that wasn't there.
"Is there something wrong?" Sakura had a worried look.
Tenten looked again to her left to find nothing and no one there. She was so sure that she felt someone there next to her. "It's nothing." Sakura walked ahead of her as Tenten looked back at that spot.
"Are you okay, Tenten?"
Tenten looked back at Sakura with a confused face until Sakura pointed at her arm. There was a long scratch on her coat and long bleeding cut beneath it. "Wow, I didn't even notice it." Tenten took out a small cloth out of her purse and wrapped it around her arm.
"How did you get it?" Sakura stared at the wound.
"I'm not too sure. I felt a gust of wind right next to me and I thought someone was there. But when I turned, no one was there."
From Tenten's peripheral vision, she noted that Sakura shifted uncomfortably and had a hard expression on her face. "Let's meet up with Neji and them, okay?"
Tenten looked up at Sakura. Unsure what she was getting into, she nodded.
- - -
"Hey Neji, how come you like that girl?" Naruto made a wide grin and looked at Neji. Unfortunately, Neji only responded with a glare. "Aw, come on! She's not here or anything! Just you, and me, and the Sasuke right next to me."
Neji refused to answer but instead said, "Why do you love Hinata?"
Naruto's shocked face pulled down his smile. He closed his mouth and started to chuckle like the silly boy he was back in the old days. "I don't think words can describe my love for her." His arm scratched the back of his head, not sure what else to say.
"Exactly. I can't describe it either." Neji looked back at Naruto and included, "you look dumb chuckling to yourself and scratching your head."
Sasuke made a small smirk when Naruto 'hmphed'. "Well, at least acknowledged she liked me and I liked her back. Unlike some loser to the left side."
At this, Sasuke's head turned to glare at him. "It took you about three to five years didn't it?"
"At least it wasn't six." Naruto had a devious grin. "Right, Sasuke… kun?"
Sasuke could only wish that his glaring eyes could shoot through Naruto's brain. "I was aware of it. I just didn't want to acknowledge it."
Naruto nodded, "Right. Of course. So then what made you like her?"
"One of those 'caught-up-at-the-moment type." Sasuke heard a long 'eh!' coming from Naruto.
"You're a bastard! So, you're leading her on, but she doesn't know you don't like her that way?"
Sasuke took a breather and lightly jabbed Naruto's face. "One, I'm not leading her on in false dreams. Two, only she knows why I like her. Three, you should pay attention to where you're heading for once."
With that, Naruto looked ahead of him and only saw the color of brown with black cracks – the trunk of a tree, he realized. The first thing he said after walking into it was none other than, "Ow!"
Sasuke and Neji made a short stop to wait for Naruto. "They're coming, so hurry up."
Naruto rubbed his nose and said, "I know, I know."
- - -
Sakura decided to take a subway to find everyone else and pass through an empty city. "Hurry, we don't want to be too late."
"Too late for what?" Tenten looked at the area around them. It was empty and there was no one insight. Almost immediately, the ground shook violently and a loud crash could be heard. "What was that?"
Sakura looked at Tenten. "That's Sasuke, Naruto, and Neji, Tenten. They're battling right now."
Tenten was so confused, she couldn't resist asking, "Is this another mission?"
Sakura shook her head. "I'm afraid not." She looked at Tenten straight in the eye. "The enemies are after you. They're fighting to protect you, and for someone else." Sakura continued to move ahead of her before Tenten asked any more questions. "Hurry, you might want to see what's going on."
Her legs shook with fear and anxiety. She walked a couple of steps before realizing she was scared – scared of what had happened in the past and what would happen now. She didn't want to die, but she didn't want others to die either. With a deep breath and strong courage, she caught up to Sakura.
Up close, she could see exploding bombs and the glare of silver swords. She could see three people dressed in white outfits and one moving person dressed in black with red clouds. Sakura continued to walk closer, as if they weren't close enough.
It had been different for Tenten. With people fleeing and dying throughout her life, the fear inside of her built up. As much as she tried to urge herself closer, she couldn't bring herself to take another step. Memories of the past stopped her from going closer.
"Are you okay, Tenten? It's dangerous being alone." Sakura slowly walked back to Tenten.
Tenten slowly walked back. She realized the person she once knew wasn't the person she thought Sakura was. Tenten couldn't just forget the fact that her parents died because of them. Tenten shook her head, "Please don't come closer."
Sakura stopped in her mid-tracks. "Tenten. I understand you're scared, but they're out there fighting for you and not for themselves."
"You don't understand." Sakura's face told Tenten, she was shocked. "You don't understand especially when you're the ones killing all these people. You don't understand what it's like to be scared of being killed nor having someone else close to you get killed," glaring back at the woman before her. "I don't understand why they're after me, but I think it's for the best if I don't want to get involved anymore."
Sakura's face turned hard. "How can you say those bad stuff when you don't understand what I've been through? You say all those things as if you're the only one feeling pain and remorse. But you're not – I've been through hard stuff too. I've known more comrades who has died in the battles then you have known throughout your life." Sakura frowned. "You're not the only one who has lost people. That person they're fighting against is the one who killed Hinata. You were there to witness it and that's why they're after you. Will you not support them?"
Both stubborn, and both who have lost treasured people stared into each other's gaze with the same amount of fierceness. Tenten, who shouldn't have fallen in love with a serial killer, and Sakura, who shouldn't have left her. In the background, Tenten could see three men charging against – two now. She supposed another allied member of the enemy came to aid him.
"Please consider what you do from now out." With that said, Sakura fled to help her comrades in battle.
"Shit. Sasuke, Sakura, you guys go take on that old bastard down there. This blond is mine. He killed Hinata, so I'm going to repay him back at the cost of his own life." Naruto gritted his teeth with blue eyes that showed a mixture of emotions.
"You say that as if you're going to kill him. She's my cousin and I'm her first cousin. I think I deserve the last blow."
Naruto laughed as he said, "But you're not her lover. Besides, I was suppose to protect her. I must do this."
Meanwhile, Sakura leaped down while Sasuke stared at him. "Don't get too caught up with your emotions, Naruto. You know what'll happen."
Naruto made his signature grin and said, "Don't worry, Sasuke. I won't, but if I do, I know you'll help me. So how about you worry about your own fight, hmm?"
"Don't get too cocky, loser." Sasuke followed Sakura's path.
Neji went on ahead charging straight at the explosive artist's art. Naruto remained at the stay spot for a moment reminiscing. It was because he thought he had enough strength to protect Hinata – he was a cocky bastard to go that far. He didn't want to admit it, but it was because of his cockiness that Hinata was left unprotected. Naruto closed his eyes briefly and faced the sky.
"I promise you, Hinata. Your death will be avenged under the stars tonight."
With many things unsaid, he charged right into the battlefield. With a shout of, "Rasengan," a bluish orb surrounded by flickering white lights was being directed at the opposing artist. At the same time, Neji formed a divination ring, hoping to affect the man when he came falling down.
Tenten stood aside watched the people beneath her, legs quivering, but more steady. Sad eyes roamed over the battlefield as people she once knew and still adored were fighting. She was so confused about everything. She knew that emotionally, she was caught up with the past. But she also realized that there were people whom she cared for still alive and tempting death at the moment. She bit her lip and prayed. "Mother, father, please forgive me." She took one step at a time before she was able to run up to the battlefield.
"Yes sir!" The one-eyed artist was constantly attacked by two men who, in his opinion, were very annoying and in the way. Their mission was to kill the girl, not battle. "Sorry. It's been fun and all, but really, I think Sasori would kill me if I didn't kill her." He hopped onto his clay-made bird and started flying away.
The two heads turned to follow the bird's direction. Heading right towards the running girl. "Shit." Naruto sped off running beneath the bird with Neji closely following. Naruto held his sword above him, and beneath the bird, and jumped. The bird glided right into his sword as it was being sliced in half.
Neji raced faster and avoided the explosion behind him. He noticed Tenten stopped running as soon as she saw the man with a black cloak run up closer. Unsure of what to do, she stood there, yelling, "Neji!"
Tenten held her eyes closed, but heard an explosion and the sound of something swift. As soon as the explosion was heard, she opened both her eyes to see that Neji was in front of her with sparks exploding over his body and blood splattering over himself and her. The other man across the field had a sword cut through his arm.
However, she could only focus on the man in front of her. The sight of blood covering his body triggered her memory of her parents in the past. How when she went home, she found her parents' bodies laid on the floor surrounded by the red, warm color of blood.
She was speechless and couldn't find the strength to bring her forward. She didn't recognize Neji, who was kneeling down and spitting out red liquid. She was speechless.
She supposed the other man recovered quickly enough to do another run at them when he came charging at her and Neji with more bombs within his palms. She could only whisper, "Neji… move…"
He stared at the man running towards them. He stood up holding one arm with his other. He was never hit by this many amount of bombs before. He turned his head so that he could see that woman behind him. Frightened and scared he supposed. Who wouldn't be? He tried to react quickly by pinpointing the area where he would target.
Deidara, he supposed that was his name, was right in front of them ready to throw the bombs when he realized two things just happened. He heard many things happening: one female screaming his name and another male shouting in rage; a pair arms thrown around him to protect him and his teammate throwing the bombing artist to the opposite side of the field.
Naruto took deep breaths. "Damn, Neji. First, you avoid being bombed at. Then next, I see you throwing your body in front of bombs. Will you make up your mind?" Naruto grinned. Even in battle, he could not lose his spirit. "Sasuke and Sakura are just about done wrapping up, so we should finish up as well." Naruto then ran after the man he punched.
Neji was annoyed. Annoyed at the fact that he was bombed and couldn't stand up to fight for his cousin, and annoyed because he didn't know whether to be thankful Tenten was still alive. He could feel her shaky breaths before he felt her arms leaving his side.
- - -
Author's Note: As of right now, I am deeply upset with this chapter. I had it written out for months, but it's just not right. I'm sorry for making everyone go through with this… bad chapter. On another note, please check out my other story if you haven't already. Thanks for all your love and support. Again, comments are appreciated, as well as constructive criticism, and everything else you want to throw at me. Well, it's summer. Go out and have fun. (: