NejiXTenten. The instructions were clear. Eliminate any witness. It was starless that night.

Naruto is by Masashi Kishimoto.


Chapter Nine: Certain Destiny

Tenten watched the glistening scenery from her window. Konoha was white with the first snow and she was just on time to catch on the winter cheer. Her release papers were brought in by Sakura the previous day. It took her a while to get back to full health but her stay in the hospital wasn't a bore at all. She was frequently visited by friends, and Neji- who was also given some time off.

"Isn't he coming?" Sakura asked as soon as she stepped in the room.

"No. He has a mission today." She said, turning to look at the medic whom she had become quite friendly with.

"I'll help you pack then." The cherry haired kunoichi smiled.

She nodded and smiled back. Having no family meant that she had to take care of herself and do everything on her own. It wasn't really a big deal to her. She was quite independent to begin with. Neji was of help the past few weeks but the last time he visited her, he told her about his first mission as a squad leader. She didn't bother saying a word. She had wholly accepted him.

"I heard Naruto was included in his team."

"Naruto is not ANBU, is he?"

"No, but Sasuke-kun was recently admitted as a probationary member and well, you know Naruto, he said he wants to be one too." She laughed. "But I think Shissou is just testing Neji-san's patience."

She was glad to hear that Neji's mission didn't seem to be a very dangerous one. She was also glad that Sakura sounded like her relationship with Sasuke was improving. One year ago, Sasuke returned- though it seemed like he never really came back. Sakura slumped in more misery- unable to reach him. But her tips, though silly and even funny, probably had an effect. There was a common factor with all those geniuses apparently.


"The mission is to investigate the kidnapping of the new leader of the Wasabi Clan from the Tea Country. Of course, it might entail a rescue operation if you gather enough information and evidence." The Hokage's full attention was on the scroll she was reading. "It could get complicated but I believe you would do well in this A to B rank mission, depending on who the kidnappers are."

"I decline."

"I'm including Naruto in your team because my ear is hurting from his demands for an ANBU mission."

"Tsunade-sama…" Shizune said in a hushed voice.

"At the same time, I'm removing Sasuke because you might have a hard time babysitting two retards. In any case, the reason why I'm including either one of them is because they've been to the Tea Country before."


"What is it, Shizune?" The Hokage gave her assistant an annoyed glace. "I'm reading the request carefully, am I not?"

Shizune sighed.

"Godaime Hokage-sama, I said I'm declining the mission."

The Hokage looked at him with her eyebrows furrowed in thought.

"I have… something to do this week."

"Something important?"

"Very important." Neji said as he walked toward her desk. "I thought you might want an invitation."

He left two white envelopes on the desk, one with the Hokage's name and the other one with Shizune's. And after politely excusing himself, he went for the door.


She was walking absent mindedly on the straight road that at the end, will lead to her rented apartment. She had a huge bag with her. Sakura wanted to walk her home if only she wasn't fully booked with patients. It was fine though. Her bag wasn't that heavy but when she felt the weight slipping from her hands, she quickly glanced to her right. Neji gave her a smile.

"I thought you're leaving the hospital this afternoon?"

"I want to start cleaning up my place." She said as she went to his other side so she could hold his hand. "Besides, there's nothing to do there."

He nodded, lightly squeezing her hand.

"Nevermind me, I thought you're going on a mission today?"

"I didn't accept it."

"For what reason?" She asked, placing a hand on his cheek. "That's your first mission as a squad leader, you know."

"I'm busy." He said, letting out a soft huff of laughter at her reaction.

"With what?"

"There's a celebration at our place this coming weekend."

"Oh." She rested her head on his shoulder. "Sounds like a big one if they even got you to be involved."

"I'm thinking… hopefully, you're free this Saturday?"

"Of course I am! Am I invited? I'm really tired of doing nothing!"

Excitement rung in her voice and he was happy to hear that.

"It wouldn't proceed without you." He said as he gave her a white envelope.

"Can I open it now? What's the occasion?" She asked as she took the seal off.

"You're already opening it." He sighed.

She laughed as she slid the card out, suddenly turning quiet as she looked up at him when she realized what the invitation was for. He could refuse a mission upon his clan's request. Actually, she thought that it was the only instance that he would do so. He accepted several missions in the past even when he wasn't feeling well or wasn't fully recovered. He accepted that last mission too- even when she asked him not to. She stared at him for a while. He really changed.

"Our engagement party." He said as he walked on ahead- she was staring at him long enough. "Don't miss it."

The smile returned to her face as she imagined the embarrassed look on his face. Because he wasn't one to talk about those things, all the more that she appreciated every word he said. She ran up to him, taking her rightful place- beside the person that she very much liked, sometimes hated, always loved.

"I wouldn't miss it for the world."


My ability to distinguish fluff is currently disabled.

Well, we've come to the end of this story. A big THANK YOU to all of you!

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