Warning/Spoiler: Sasuke left. Wow. Like we all don't know that. Oh, and there's character death. And mild SasuSaku, if you squint. And use a magnifying glass.

Disclaimer: I wish I owned Tenten's armory… but I don't.


It took a death to bring them back together.

Funny, isn't it? The end ending an end. Or creating a new beginning. Whichever you prefer.

It took a death.

A stop.

An end.

He always wanted to fly.

Ever since he was a little boy, flying was his greatest dream. To go into the sky, to take off and be free, to feel the wind rushing in his ears—yes, flying was what he desperately tried to learn, ending in bruises and scrapes and yelled swearwords that no little kid should know (but he did anyways).

But he never takes off. He never gets off the ground. Instead, his feet are firmly planted there, staring up at the sky.

He tries hard to learn how to bound from tree to tree in the Academy. After all, that launch, that leap is so close to getting off the ground and into the air and flying, so it's the only real ninja skill in which he totally dominates. No one can match his leap, his launch from branch to branch, not even that stupid stuck-up teacher's pet Sauce-key.

But it still isn't enough, because he still can't fly.

So he gets placed on a ninja team, with a pretty pink-haired girl and that teme, and he works so hard and listens to that one-eyed pervert, because maybe this training session he'll teach them how to soar.

But the teme leaves and his teammate is heartbroken and the perv starts up ANBU and instead he goes off with another white-haired pervert, but even though he's the "Great Jiraiya-sama", he doesn't learn how to fly.

And two years later he comes back and his teammate is strong (she can crush boulders, she creates earthquakes and he proves that upsetting her will end in a broken skull) and the one-eyed perv starts teaching them again and they go off to find the teme (best friend/brother/Sasuke) and this time, they'll bring him home, this time, they'll be together again.

But they can't find their teme, and then he's being chased by the men in those coats, and suddenly they all end up on the battlefield with jutsus and whirlwinds and summons.

And he's fighting when one of those Akatsuki freaks takes off, so he follows on Gambunta when suddenly he's being launched and then, as he pushes the rasengan through the freak's throat (he's screaming, yelling for Gaara and his parents and all those poor unknown souls who died and for him), he realizes he's air-born.

(…So this is how you fly.)

She hates crying, but she does it anyways.

It drives her nuts, when all she can do is cry and weep and sob when she should be standing up and breaking her tormentor's nose.

But she does it anyways, and she hates herself for it.

She's crying when she meets her best friend. Her throat is scratchy and her cheeks are blotchy and she just hurts inside, when someone picks her up and takes her in and dries her tears, all the while telling her she's beautiful.

Only a few years later, they're fighting each other in an arena and they knock each other out, waking up to find each other side-by-side, as if they'd never parted. And as they trade those passing insults (more like endearments, more like nicknames used to keep face), she realizes that she's crying.

She's crying when she meets her best guy friend (yes, there's a difference). Ami was teasing her about her stupid forehead when a blur in orange saved her.

She doesn't recognize him when she meets him in the Academy, and because everybody else ignores him, she does too (but something nags inside, saying you shouldn't, you shouldn't), and when they're on a team together, it's natural to hit him and call him an idiot.

But they split, and it hurts because something says that she should've treated him better, should've acknowledged him (because that's all he wants, isn't it), and when they meet again, she apologizes.

And as he smiles and hugs her (and this time the smile reaches his eyes like it should), she feels the tears run down her face.

She's crying when she meets her first crush. They are only children in the park, and she just fell, but he pulls her up and runs away, embarrassed.

Later, she's crying when he leaves. He breaks her heart in two, because it hurts so bad, and all that emotion is raw and painful, and on instinct, her eyes tear up as she's left on a bench.

The third time, however, she doesn't break down.

They are in a battlefield, with those damn Akatsuki fighting and Kohona-nin rushing and the remnants of the Sound battling to the death. Her hands are bloody, and her face is streaked with dirt, when she looks up from the soul she just sent to the grave. And sees him.

Their eyes lock. He looks at her; she looks at him. He's saying something, but she can't hear. But another enemy is struck down, and she goes back to the blood and the battles. Her mouth twists, but she only lets a single drop escape her eyes before plunging her fist into a missing-nin's chest.

(…So this is how you cry.)

He is always trying.

He is always trying, but he almost never accomplishes anything real, anything worth anything.

His trying is useless.

When he was a child, he was always trying to make his father proud. Nothing could make him happier than a smile on his father's face as he said 'that's my son'.

So when his father begins to teach him the katon, he tries as hard as he can to master it. If he can get this, his father will smile and be proud, so he stands on the dock and keeps trying and trying and trying, burning his hand and his mouth to the point when he can't hold a pair of chopsticks and can't even swallow broth.

He tries and tries, and when he finally gets it, his father smiles and he is the happiest kid in their house, heck, in the world.

But his family dies and his brother gives him that look and there's nobody home anymore, so he barely tries anything in school anymore. He knows it all, and there isn't anyone worth impressing anymore.

He's placed on a team with that idiot and that pink-haired girl, with a one-eyed perv for a sensei, and somehow, he's under the impression that life just can't get any worse.

But eventually he starts trying to be a little nicer, because even though he's an idiot and she's weak, they might, just might, be growing on him. (Maybe. Don't push it.)

They enter the Chunnin exams, and that… that snake attacks him, and so he tries to repress the seal, because he doesn't want to hurt anyone, doesn't want to attack his teammates and lose control.

But he finds himself leaving, because he just stopped trying to resist, because he's trying to kill that man who hurt him so bad and left him with blood and bodies and nothing, nothing, nothing at all.

He sees them first. On the battlefield, amidst the carnage and craters, he steps away from that man's body and sees a flash of orange and a wisp of pink. He watches as the flash of orange is catapulted into the air and the wisp of pink plunges her fist into some man's chest.

He makes eye contact with green, green eyes, and suddenly, has the inexplicable desire to redeem himself (to make things right again). And as he turns around, he slams his fist into a Sound-nin's face.

(…So this is how you try.)

He's dying, and he feels the blood pump steadily through his chest and out the open wound.

He knows that he's doomed.

His stoic prodigy is trying to redeem and atone, and he batters away those missing-nin attackers because they can't touch his sensei. His pink-haired beauty is crying her eyes out as she places her hands on his chest, but he knows it's useless. His loud-mouth is flying, and as he lands, he screams, because dammit, that perv isn't supposed to die

Funny, how a death brings his kids, his students, his prodigy and his beauty and his loud-mouthed loser together.

Funny, how it has to be his

He pulls off the mask and the hitai-ate, because he thinks that it's about time they see his face.

Keep trying. It's okay to cry. You could always fly.

The world blackens, and he feels his last breath fall from his lungs.

(…So this is how you die.)


A/N: …This has no dialogue. …Wow. But it's Team 7 angst, so that makes it all better. XD (Oh, and continere: Latin for hang together.)

Review. Because I say so. And my word is law. XD