.: By: Panda-chan :.
: Standard Disclaimer Applies :
-Dedicated to: Shikyo no Amatsu Shinsei-
.: Story 1 :.
... Tenten ...
If I should die...
Before I wake...
You took my breath away…
Losing you is like living in a world with no air...!
"What?!" A brunette yelled frantically. Her palms slammed onto the mahogany based desk with a resounding bang. The blond woman that sat on the other side showed no signs of responding. Her angular face rested on her interweaved hands.
"We don't have the details yet." She responded, her voice sleek and sharp as a razor blade itself.
"How can you not?! How?! How could you send them on a fucking suicide—" The woman's deep caramel colored eyes hardened and she stood up, her face stern and relieved from all emotion.
"We do not have all of the details from the mission they were sent on. The mission is to be kept confidential and confidential it shall be kept! I will inform you of the team's situation once we get notice of it! Now, dismissed!!" Tsunade roared at a livid Tenten. The bun-haired girl thinned her lips and stiffly bowed, exiting the room without a backwards glance.
The girl closed the door behind her, standing unsettlingly still as she stared at the wooden ground she was standing on. Tenten took long and graceful strides as she reached the outside of the Hokage Tower.
With a spike of chakra, she disappeared with a whirl wind of leaves. In seconds, she was in her room. Scrolls were sprawled hastily on the richly furnished room, a disarray of clothes and ninja gear were all thrown at spontaneous places. A lone, white, Chrysanthemum lay inside a pool of clear and pure water.
Tenten wrapped her arms around herself, tears finally spilling over slowly, "Neji...!" She said in a quiet whisper. She walked to her bed where she sat on the edge, a mournful glint in her once deep and seducing hazel-dipped eyes.
"Imbecile! Why did you take a mission you knew you couldn't complete?! Why did you take it, if you knew you had a twelve percent survival rate?! Why!?" She yelled in strides of pain. The girl muffled her screams and frustrated yells with her soft, dark colored pillow.
"Why?" Came the broken question before a wail of grief and agony spilled over the walls and room as if silken liquid.
Can't live, can't breathe with no air...
It's how I feel when I know you ain't there...
It's no air, no air...
"We have received the results of the Mission to Otogakure." Tenten winced at her solid voice. "It seems that the mission given to Team 2... was a failure, even though the mission was completed successfully." Tenten's heart skipped a beat; her blood ran cold, her breath hitched.
She suddenly felt incomplete.
Lee looked at an ashen Tenten, pity in his eyes. "Tenten...-chan?" She made no response as she stared bleakly at the nothingness around her. Her hands curled so tightly into fists that her knuckles turned snow white.
Tsunade closed her eyes briefly when she glanced at Tenten, "I am sorry. There were no survivors..." Tenten's face contorted into what looked like sadistic amusement and agony. Lee squeezed her shoulder reassuringly, but it gave no comfort as Tenten abruptly stood, gliding over to the door before slamming it shut.
The frames and scrolls pinned on the wall shook slightly, a frame suddenly falling and hitting the ground with a startling crash. Shards of glass slid over the polished floor as the pictures frame broke in two.
"Tenten!" Lee shouted after her. He stood to run after when a sharp voice stopped him.
"Leave her be, Lee." His pure, rounded eyes stared at a solemn Tsunade in shock.
"B-But Hokage-sama! Tenten was in tears! I must go check if she—"
"—No." Her voice was thick with raw anger and sadness. Lee slowly sat back down. Gai stared at Tsunade with a blatant expression.
"I will go inform the family of this loss." The Hokage nodded stiffly, dismissing Gai—but not Lee, who sat with unreadable features.
"Lee." She said gently. The man looked up at her gravely. "I know that you want to go comfort Tenten. She must've had a very close relationship with Neji, but you must understand that the only comfort you can give her, is leaving her be." Lee opened his mouth to counter her comment, but was quickly shot down. "I understand how it feels to lose someone you love." Her eye's softened at the thought of Dan, her old lover; her dead lover. "And she will mourn greatly. And all you can do now is sit and observe. That is all." She dismissed a thoughtful Lee with a swoop of her hand.
Tsunade sat back down on her chair, a troubled look on her surprisingly unwrinkled face. "Tsunade-sama." Came a light, melodic voice. The woman glanced at her assistant with a guilty expression.
"I knew that they had a very little survival rate! I knew, yet I let them go! I let them go, Shizune! I feel horrible! I sent them to their own deaths!" Tsunade yelled out in a hoarse whisper. Shizune simply stared at her seriously.
"No, you did not." The blond woman looked up from her hunched position. "You did not. This mission was to be completed one way or another. They completed it... at the price of their lives."
Tsunade squinted her eyes in mild-understanding as she rested her face in her palm. "You don't know how bad I feel right now." She hissed in self-loathe.
Shizune looked at her sympathetically before averting her gaze to the large ceiling-to-floor window, her face filled with remorse.
"We shall always remember Team 2. Consisting of... Nara Shikamaru, Aburame Shino, and..." Tsunade looked up from her palms, her expression painful as Shizune uttered the last name.
But how do you expect me...
To live alone with just me...?
'Cause my world revolves around you...
It's so hard for me to breathe...
It was all about letting go... But to let go, she must go though the painful process.
"You stupid, stupid man!" Tenten yelled at the photo she had in her hand. It was the newly-taken picture of Team Gai. Though Neji was top ANBU, along with Shikamaru, Naruto and Sasuke, he decided to stay in his old team.
Being eighteen and single, Neji got a lot of suitors and fan-girls, which was a reason he decided to stay with Team Gai; they had a lot of missions to complete those days. So he would be away from Konoha for weeks at a time.
Tenten was also eighteen and single, but a Special Jounin. She was one rank away from ANBU, but Neji had told her to stay with her current rank. Of course, Tenten had fought for the right to become ANBU, but was quickly silenced when Neji had told her the risks and dangerous situations they were put in.
But now, what good did it do becoming ANBU, if she had no one to share her accomplishments with...?
"IDIOT!" She screamed in sobs as she threw the frame to her wall. It naturally shattered and toppled down a couple of feet from her. Tenten let her out-stretched hand drop to her side limply, her shoulders hunching as she cried silently.
"Idiot... Bastard... Asshole... Stupid..." She cursed as she let herself drop to the floor and sit. She buried her face into her knees before continuing on with her crying.
He was dead. Dead. Dead. She never knew that one word could bring so much pain and grief. She thought she would never hear the word 'dead' and 'Hyuuga Neji' in the same sentence. She was wrong. Oh, so very wrong.
"Baka..." She said in a broken whisper. The bright moonlight spilled into the room in slivers of silver and white. The darkening room's only light... was that of the moon, who Tenten despised. It reminded her of too much of him. The silver moon. His deep, silver eyes.
But did that matter now? He was dead. And nothing was going to bring him back.
Tenten's bang's shielded her eyes from the moonlight's glare as she sat in-front of her open balcony. The wind ruffled her chocolate tinted hair, her loose ribbons unraveling to reveal silky soft tresses of hair.
A gust of wind blew on her now loose hair, sprawling it all around her before calming and going back down the curve of her spine. Her longer bangs framed her face as one single drip of salty water trailed down her cheek.
The substance dripped off her angular face, falling to the ground. More came soon after as she started to cry again. Tenten's heart clenched at his promise. The promise he broke.
"Neji!" Tenten yelled with frustration. The Hyuuga male turned, his long hair going with him. Tenten felt her heart skip a beat as his amused eyes fell on hers. The girl looked down as she continued to walk towards the Hyuuga, a blush starting to stain her cheeks.
"Yes?" He answered smoothly.
Tenten growled, "You lied." Neji's eyebrows shot up at her bluntness. He stopped walking, turning completely and putting his broad hands across his sculpted chest. Tenten suddenly found it hard to breathe properly.
"How so...?" Tenten took a deep breath, trying to forget about her teammate's well-built anatomy.
"You said that the mission you took was a simple A-class mission." Neji tilted his head to the side curiously. Tenten flustered. "T-Then Lee t-told me that it was a-an S-class mission!" Neji shifted his eyes to the ground beneath him.
"Your point?" Tenten frowned at his tone of voice.
"My point?! My point is, you could've died." Neji looked up at her again, a small smirk tugging on his face.
"But I didn't." Tenten rolled her eyes and set her hands on her hips.
"That's not my point. My point is that if something were to happen to you, I would not know how to live with myself!" Tenten's eyes widened at what she just uttered. Neji's smirk drew more profound at Tenten's suddenly crimson face.
"What was that? A subtle love confession?" Neji drawled out slyly. Tenten felt her eye twitch at the humor in his voice. He couldn't know. Not even as a joke.
"No!" She shouted at his smirking face. "I meant that if you die, I would have to face Lee's idiocy alone and that would make me insane. Duh!" Tenten said in haste. Neji's face softened a fraction; he turned his heel and kept walking.
Tenten stared at him surprised. He had made no snide remarks; a first for him. "W-Wait! Neji!" She caught up to him, looking at him from the corner of her eye before continuing. "Promise me you won't die on a mission, yeah?" Neji let out a light chuckle.
"I can't promise that." Tenten pouted, rewording her request.
"Fine. Promise me you won't go on a dangerous mission without telling me, yeah?" Neji nodded, his hands getting stuffed inside his pocket.
"Okay." Tenten grinned while Neji smirked. "Now then, what's this about being head-over-heels with me?" His comment made Tenten burst into a ranting rage of how that wasn't true. Neji simply snickered and kept his pace as Tenten tired to clear her name.
"Neji!" She whined. "You're being mean!" Neji flicked her forehead and smiled crookedly.
"Am I?" He teased again, making Tenten growl.
Tenten looked up from her curled pose, her glossy hazel eyes reflecting deep guilt and grief. She swallowed the lump in her throat, her chest feeling heavier then it was suppose to feel. She ran her hand over her cheeks and eyes, a sniff to stop her nose from running again.
"Neji... Why do you let your pride get in the way of your life?"
Got me out here and the water so deep...
Tell me how you gonna live without me..?
If you ain't here I just can't breathe...
It's no air, no air...
"Tenten!" Sakura yelled as she knocked on her door. It had been three days and no one had seen Tenten, not even her teammate, Lee. The rosette furrowed a brow and knocked once more, her breathing a bit fast. "Please Tenten! Open the door! It's me! Saku!"
Sakura stood by her door, the packet she had pressed loosely to her chest tightened. She bit her lip and tried once more, even going as far as checking for any chakra signatures. She found nothing, and that made her worry.
"Oh! Tennie..." Sakura walked down the steps, her full lips down in a full frown. "Where are you?"
Tenten walked through the streets of Konoha with a blank face, her hands on her side, her heart left behind with her now dead love interest.
"Tenten! Oi! Tenten!" The girl ignored the person calling out to her, but did nothing to increase her tempo. The man panted and caught up to her, a wavering grin on his face.
"Tenten! Sakura-chan's looking for you! She has a... folder... to give you." Naruto slowed as he stared at her sad face. Tenten blinked and looked at Naruto; she could see the worry and sympathy in his azure eyes.
"Oh, okay." Tenten tried her best to smile, but it only made Naruto's face scrunch in sadness. "Um, I'll be in the forest. Okay?" Naruto nodded; he placed a hand on her shoulder.
"I'm sorry. I shouldn't have let him go." Naruto said gravely. "But I did. He was stubborn. He told me not to tell you. I'm sorry..." Tenten's eyes were wide, but she moved not a muscle.
"Aa." She uttered, her voice surely breaking. "I-I see." She patted Naruto's hand and kept on walking, leaving Naruto with his lingering thoughts.
You shouldn't have let him go, Naruto. You shouldn't have... You should have told him to stay... to stay, but you didn't... y-you didn't...
Neji... You're such an egotistic bastard! You're—you're a bastard... yeah... a bastard...
Tenten stared at the kunai's embedded into the tree. She missed. Not once, but twice. She missed the bull's eye by one inch. She missed. That realization made her feel suddenly hallow inside, even more then she was already.
She never missed. She had 20/20 vision, maybe more. But missing a bull's eye was something that never happened. Her fight with Temari was uneven; she knew that, so it was obvious that should lose. Not to mention, wind beats weapons. Tenten slowly jumped off the tree she had spent the last two days perched on, going out into Konoha to take showers or walks.
Tenten skimmed the kunai's edge with her finger tips, her mouth parted. "H-How...? Wh-Why did I... miss?" Tenten asked no one. The girl closed her eyes and took the kunai out, the knife's edge slicing though her soft palm.
She dropped it, hissing at the stinging pain. Blood poured out of the wound steadily, falling over her hand and down her pants' leg. The red liquid penetrated the silk-like fabric, making patches of it a darker red.
"Blood." She whispered as she stared down at her open wound. "It's what keeps me alive. The source of my life; blood." The girl clenched her fist, the crimson liquid spilling though her fingers as she added more and more pressure. Her nails cutting though the raw skin sliced, making the opening even wider.
"Itai..." She squeaked weakly. Tenten rubbed her hand down the side of her pant leg and picked up the kunai once more, ignoring the blood that kept seeping out of the injury she had. Tenten hopped back to the tree and aimed again.
The kunai fell to the dirt-ridden floor, the point digging itself into the ground, before falling to its side. Tenten's heart fell once more. She grabbed another kunai, throwing it at the many accuracy training boards she had up. The result was the same, if not... even worse.
"I... missed?" Tenten blinked her eyes, trying to stop her brimming tears. She coughed lowly and looked to the floor, a sardonic grin on her face.
She broke out laughing, "If you're not here... I can't even aim correctly!" Her laugher grew louder and louder, until it sounded mildly insane. Tenten slammed her fist into the tree, creating a crater. Her arm trembled as she continued to laugh.
"Hahaha!" Tenten clenched her fist and let herself fall to her knees, her smile breaking into a strained smirk. Slowly, but steadily, her face scrunched in pain again. She had tried to get over his death by marking it off as an honorable ending, simple as that. He never loved her, and neither did she.
But... she couldn't lie to herself. She reacted shockingly furious that she had even thought of that, knocking down her vase while in the blind fury. Tenten felt arms hug her from behind, she felt a woman's soft voice comfort her as the person stroked her arm caressingly.
"Tennie-chan..." Sakura muttered. "Are you going to be okay? I don't blame you for breaking down. If that happened to Sasuke-kun... I-I would have already gone insane." Sakura comforted. She hugged her again, her breath tickling Tenten's ear.
"I'm not." Tenten answered her forgotten question. Sakura squeezed her once, reassuring her before forcing her to stand.
"Come on Ten-chan! Let's go get you some chocolate and ice-cream and then we could—"
"—I hate this feeling." Tenten whispered. Sakura stopped and bent down, her voice too faint to be heard. "I hate this feeling of guilt and grief. It shouldn't hurt this way. It shouldn't, it shouldn't, it shouldn't!" Tenten screamed out; Sakura tightened her grip on the girl, feeling her legs give out.
"Tenten! Please calm down! Please...!" Tenten ignored Sakura pleas and kept talking, her voice dry and hallow.
"I feel... like—like I can't breathe." Sakura's eyes widened and she quickly pressed a chakra engulfed hand on Tenten's lungs. Seeing nothing wrong, Sakura sighed and patted her back, absentmindedly rubbing circles around the area.
They sat there for what felt like hours, when it was only three minutes. Tenten rested her cheek on Sakura's rising chest, her eyes still glossy but shut at an attempt to try and stop the tears. Sakura let her hand run down Tenten's back, patting it at times.
"Hai... That's how I felt when Sasuke-kun left." The rosette uttered slowly. Tenten opened her eyes, a blank look inside of them. Finally succumbing to the darkness that threatened to take over her heart, she spoke in an emotion deprived voice:
I'm still alive inside...
You took my breath away...
But I survived…
I don't know how…
But I don't even care…!
"... And may he dwell in our hearts for the rest of our days. Ahem." The Father said solemnly. Everyone stood in straight lines, a white flower in their hands. Their clothes were black for death, their faces bleak with sadness, their hearts hallow with lose.
"Let us have a moment of silence to remember the great times we had with these honorable Ninjas." The Father said, "They died in the line of duty, and will always be admired and praised about in the continuing years..." Tenten stood on the tree farthest from the funeral. But she could hear every word. She slapped a bang out of her eye, only to have it return back where it was before.
The girl had a deep frown on her lips, her eyes droopy with sleeplessness. Tenten rubbed her eyes, smearing the black eyeliner she had on. She looked down at her hands, finding them stained black from the make-up.
Just like her soul. Black. Black with unhappiness. Black with pain. Black with acceptance.
She had put on eyeliner to cover up the redness that covered the whole outer rim of her eye. Her cheeks were pink and he face deathly pale from lack of sleep and crying. Tenten ran the tip of her tongue over her dry lips, the frown she had on her face not disappearing.
Tenten looked back up, her eyes glossy once more. There were three pictures... One of Nara Shikamaru, another of Aburame Shino... and the last of—
"Hyuuga Neji..." She whispered as her two pig tails shuttered in the wind. The sky was oddly bright and sunny, not gloomy and depressed as she felt. The girl sat on her legs and rested her temple on the tree bark.
"... How depressing." Tenten said to no one, "The sky's so bright." A wail interrupted her train of thought. Tenten directed her trained eyes to the source, only to find a sobbing Ino on her hands and knees. The blonde screamed and sobbed as Hinata and Sakura tried to recompose herself.
Naruto and Sasuke paid no heed to them as they placed there flower on the temple they had built for them. The two men shut their eyes, said a small prayer, and went back in line. This happened for about an hour.
Tenten twirled the white, rose petal flower in her fingers. Tenten felt empty inside; hallow. The death of her beloved teammate had taken more of a toll on her then she had thought. She couldn't do anything anymore. Not a single thing.
Her aim was off, her mind was dull. Her smile was no more, her eyes now bleak. Tenten let the flower fall from her fingers like water, the petals separating from the stem and quickly falling down to the floor; twirling and fluttering.
Tenten looked down and sighed, standing up and jumping off the tree sluggishly. She turned her heel and walked down the slope until she stood at the bottom. The wind caressed her soft skin, the beautiful sounds of nature filling her ears.
"S-SHIKA-KUN!!" Tenten opened her eyes. Her heart in her throat as Ino cried out his name once more. Tenten shut her eyes again and smiled sadistically.
She chuckled, "Heh." The deep wounds that she was wearing on her arms were becoming harder and harder to hide as the days went by. It had been six days. Six days since Tsunade had told her that Neji had died. Six days that Tenten had cried non-stop. Six days full of agony and pain.
No air, air…
No air, air…
No air, air…
No air, air…
She couldn't take much more of this. Her body was tired and in desperate need of hearing Neji's voice one last time. To hear his smart remarks one last time. To hear his teasing comments once more.
She just wanted to see him, touch him, speak to him, inhale that sweet yet bitter fragrance that radiated off of him whenever he stood near to her. Her chest clenched.
"Itai..." She looked down at her bandaged hand as blood seeped into the white fabric wrapped around her hand. Tenten blinked and gasped, she was crying again. But she knew that it wasn't from the stabbing pain that pricked her injured hand.
A sob grew in her throat, soon more after came out as Tenten let her hand linger on the mouth; her palm touching her trembling lips lightly. She moved her index finger and placed it under her nose, to stop the running.
Another sobbed racked her small figure as she shivered. She slapped both of her hands over her mouth when a rather loud sob came out, her eyes shut tightly. She felt as if she was suffocating. Slowly dying. Slowly disappearing...
A hand appeared on her shoulder. It was broad and heavy. Another hand appearing on her other shoulder, then they embraced her in a tight hug. Tenten trembled even more as her eyes slowly opened, her eyes going wide at the chakra signature she was feeling.
The girl quickly turned, her tear-ridden eyes squinting in pure pleasure at the face she came to see, "N-NEJI!!" She screamed out roughly, her being suddenly overcome by a wave of emotions. She quickly wrapped her arms around him as she cried out of happiness.
She felt his arm rest on her waist as she shivered against him, her face buried in his neck. Another sob came out of her mouth, but now she didn't try to stop it as Neji cooed her quietly. The girl clutched the back of his torn and bloodied shirt as he rocked her side to side.
"I'm here Tenten, calm down." Tenten found that statement very amusing. Even when she was in tears and completely distraught, he never ceased to surprise her with his stern and demanding voice.
"S-Shut up..." She whispered, "You ha-have no r-right t-to sp-spea-eak!" Neji chuckled lightly and squeezed her tighter.
"Hn. The Great Tenten." He muttered. "Reduced to tears? That's the woman I knew a while back." A smile broke on Tenten's tear-stained face. A genuine smile. She struck her fist inside his stomach, making him topple over in pain.
"SHUT UP!" She yelled in fury. "Don't you dare ever do that to me you egotistic bastard! If I ever find out that—that you went on another mission like that! I'll rip your pride and glory out of your mouth asshole!" She spat out at a smirking Neji.
"There we go." He said hoarsely. "Now that's the Tenten I came to love." Tenten continued ranting, ignoring him until she heard the word 'love'. But, she chose to ignore it; he was probably being funny again...
Even though it was rare for the Hyuuga to even crack a joke, he usually only did it around her, which made her feel special.
"Huh?" She sniffed and ran a hand a hand under her nose again, her face confused. Neji let a small smile grace his face as he looked at Tenten's black streaked face.
Neji stood up straight, his face void of emotion, his voice steel-like. "I can't lie." Tenten kept her confused stare. "I got pretty bored waiting around with no one around." Her face went from confusion to shock as he leaned down smoothly and mended his mouth over hers.
At that moment, it seemed that all of her hurt and pain had disappeared. All of the black in her soul wiped clean by only his appearance. A bubbly sensation stirred inside of her as their mouths moved in sync.
It felt like all was going to be alright now, now that Neji had come back. She felt euphoric. Tenten wrapped her arms around his neck as Neji let his hand slide down the dip of her spine. Tenten felt like her old self again.
She felt the breath she had thought lost, come back again.
Suddenly, having no air was not as painful as it once was. Neji's tongue went deep into her mouth, a moan rising up her throat. Tenten felt herself get pressed against something ruff and hard; a tree she imagines.
With their lungs on fire, they separated, both of them breathing heavily. Tenten rested her forehead on his, her eyes closed and her mouth parted so she could get a good fill of oxygen. Neji stared at her serene face, his breathing also labored.
Tenten smiled and hugged him once more, making Neji stiffen at her sudden display of affection, but hugged back none the less.
"Welcome back! Neji!"
Got me out here in the water so deep...
Tell me how you're gonna be without me...?
If you ain't here I just can't breathe...
No air, air…
No air, air…
No air, air…
DemonicAngel08's Comments: Thank you for reading this fic and I will say that this is a two part fic, meaning there will be two different parts to it. This is part One; part Two is Neji's side of the story. Expect it out soon.
Please review! It keeps me going!
Song: No Air – Jordin Sparks ft. Chris Brown
Beta: SassySaku, the greatest beta a girl can have...
SassySaku's Comments: I'm honoured to have beta'd this story. I'm touched by this fic more than you will ever know, and it was very fun to have beta'd. And, Panda-chan…
You're the best person I've ever met. You're an amazing writer, very sensitive and protective of your friends, a great sister, and you're my best friend… I love you, girl.
ALSO! Check out Personal Assistant? please! We have up to Chapter 3 up, and 4 will actually be up in an hour or less! Thanks everyone!