Naruto belongs to Masashi Kishimoto.

Author's notes: The title refers to the Indian name for the life line. Just so everyone knows, I am not a palmist, so I had to do quite a bit of research for this drabble. If I've gotten any of it wrong, I apologize.

Jeevan Rekha

She had always had a good life line.

Leanly muscled hands, their palms perpetually dry and calloused by hard work, had deep grooves etched across them, a maze that only she knew how to decipher. Her favorite part of this labyrinth, the most important part, was her life line, the one that indicated a person's general nature and fate. Hers was ideal.

Beginning higher up, toward the index finger, it ran in an honest, gentle downward curve to end nearly at her wrist. At no place was it broken or wavy, nor did it fade out or fork at the end. Its proximity to the other lines of her palm was, like the rest, entirely positive. Unflawed. Perfect.

Until now, that is.

Presently there is an ugly gash, a deep defensive wound sustained during battle, marring the textbook life line. It runs from the fleshy mount at the base of her finger down to her wrist, and though she knows she should be grateful it did not nick her veins, all she can think about is the faultless line, now cut too short.

What sort of ill does this bode?

"What's wrong?" Neji's voice startles her, and she looks up, quickly blinking back tears. Her teammate gives the wound a cursory glance before lifting pearl eyes to her anguished, betraying face. "You won't bleed to death. Not from a wound like that."

It sounds like an accusation.

She takes a deep breath, and locks the momentary weakness away. Her heart hardens itself, and the shinobi mask falls back into place. "It's nothing," she replies, flexing and feeling a deep throbbing. "Just sore." Awkwardly, she begins to swath the tender flesh in layer after layer of gauzy bandages, trying not to wince.

Neji grabs the appendage, holding it firmly in his own larger one. She is so startled that she does not pull away, allowing him to carefully, masterfully, wrap the damaged palm. The clean linen goes round and round her hand in a mesmerizing pattern, and she finds herself relaxing. By the time he tucks the end away, she is at ease, the broken line almost forgotten.

"Thank you."

"You're welcome, but it will probably scar."

His casual words bring it all crashing back. Perfection lost, destiny altered. Why her perfect hand? It was not fair! Desperate to hide her distress from her friend's all seeing eyes, she shrugs her shoulders and turns half away. Her own eyes drop to the ground, and it is all she can do to mumble, "It isn't my first."

A hand, warm and surprisingly comforting, grips her upper arm. Still, she does not turn to face him, and he does not try to force her. "Tenten, Fate is not determined by the marks on our bodies. If it were, some of us would already be forever damned."

She holds in the little gasp, manages not to make a fool of herself. Here is Neji Hyuga, speaking to her in a disparaging manner about destiny! The thought is so ludicrous that she finds herself smiling, a tiny gesture that mends her heart and sends her spirits soaring. "Thank you," she murmurs again, the faintest blush coming to her cheeks.

Tenten had always had a good life line, and though it might now be scarred beyond repair, she will make do.

Her heart line, after all, is still perfectly good.