Disclaimer: All Naruto characters are the copyright of Masashi Kishimoto. I'm just borrowing them to write up a story with no intention of making any money. This is for fun. That's all. :) No copying of my story is allowed. That's stealing if anyone copies my story into his/her own story. Write your own story without taking others' works! (angry glare)

Pre-story A/N: Just want everyone to know that I'm not abandoning "Whatever It Takes II". My Muse keeps banging my head with a frying pan to write up this story, so to make it happy, I'm writing this baby up. Since Tenten is one of my favorite kunoichi (next to Temari and Sakura), I pretty much love to see her pair up with my all-time favorite shinobi, Naruto. :)

And yes, this is a NaruTen fic. If you do not like the notion of Naruto being with Tenten in a romantic way, stop reading this fic. The pairing code in the summary should have already given you this hint.

Second Note (Added June 5, 2012): Due to FFnet cracking down on lemony fics, I'd removed all lemon scenes from this fic. This fic can still be read without the lemons. Yet if anyone wants to read the story with the lemons, check it out at AdultFanFiction Org. You can search for the fic's title or my author name of JPMod. Or find the link to the lemon version of this fic in my Author Profile. :)

oooooooooooooooooooooooooo – Indicates scene change

– Indicates beginning of backward time-skip

Story rating: M (R)(for sexual themes)
Written: February 2009 - July 2010

Summary: Love can pop up unexpectedly with someone you least imagine to fall for. NaruTen.


Unexpected Love
Chapter 1 – The Beginning
By JuPMod (aka JPMod)

Sleep. It was one of the many basic everyday requirements for humans in their lives. In order to replenished energy for the body and have the mind be well rested, the average human gets as much as eight hours of sleep per 24 hours cycle. Some could manage to go without a need for sleep in times of need, while others just could not do without it. Nevertheless, no one could deny that sleep was so vital of a prerequisite that most took it for granted.

Yet for the owner of a pair of sky blue eyes, he woke after only a few hours of rest. He blinked up at the ceiling of his dark apartment with only the moonlight shining through the windows, thus everything he saw was bathed in the soft glow of the Earth's moon.

However, the warm body, which was resting on him, made him gaze down to the female head that was using his chest as a pillow. A loving smile spread across his face upon seeing the tousled shoulder-blade length brown hair and the restful expression that showed happiness and satisfaction. She looked so beautiful with the moonlight glow reflecting somewhat off her hair that he couldn't help but think she looked like an angel.

For Uzumaki Naruto, 18-year-old Jounin shinobi of Konohagakure no Sato, he couldn't help but to lean his head down to plant a warm kiss on the top of the woman's head. She stirred a bit but did not wake up, and with a small purr, she resumed her slumber. Her actions made Naruto broadened his smile and his heart beat in love for the woman he gently hugged with his arms – 19-year-old Jounin kunoichi Tenten.

As he watched the beautiful naked female ninja sleep, her body warmth and smooth skin feeling wonderful on top of his own, Naruto remembered the day when it all began for the two of them. It has been exactly one year ago that a simple shopping trip has started the unforeseen process, which gradually transformed the nature of their relationship, from friendship to one of deep love. He thanked Kami for this wonderful change in his life, for it brought Tenten into his heart, and being honest to himself, the blond man could not had have imagined then that out of all the women he knew, this brunette would eventually be the one to bring so much joy into his life.

ooooooooooooooo (Backward time-skip: 1 year previous) ooooooooooooooooo

Walking down the street under nice sunny skies, Naruto grinned as he took in a breath of fresh air. At 17 years old, he knew his life was good, far better than it was when he first started out as a genin at 12 years old. He has been a chuunin for more than year now, missions for him and Team 7 has been great, especially since the defeat of the Akatsuki and the Sound Village, most people in Konoha has recognized him as a worthy shinobi, and to top it off, he had brought his best friend back to the village, as he promised.

The grin on his face faltered upon thinking about his best friend/rival. It had not been easy to get Sasuke to listen and be reasonable regarding his revenge against Konoha. With Itachi and Madara dead, Sasuke was the last of the Uchiha Clan, and after an intense battle where Naruto won but refused to take the raven-haired boy's life, Sasuke realized that Naruto was right. What good would he achieved by killing every man, woman, and child in Konoha? Would it help revive the clan? Would it help knowing he would be just as bad as Madara himself? In the end, Naruto's uncanny ability to make people change has once more done its job, and the last Uchiha decided to stop the bloodshed and end the circle of revenge permanently.

Of course, given the state of the village and the news that the Uchiha Clan had planned to overthrown the Hokage in a coup d'état, most of the villagers were very reluctant to have the last Uchiha back among them. Yet to satisfy the villagers that no special treatment would be given, Tsunade offered that Sasuke be banned from any shinobi duties or services for five years or so, and be supervised by a jounin for two years under house arrest until he proven he posed no threat to Konoha.

The arrangement was perfectly fine with Sasuke, given he decided he wanted to focus on reviving his clan than anything to do with power, and given his clan's large assets, the last Uchiha was freed to focus on his last goal in life. He had enough of the bad history and strife his clan had caused, so he made a promise, not only to himself but also to Naruto, to head the new Uchiha Clan in a good direction than the arrogant way of thinking it had before.

Naruto chuckled at the memories. Of course, the promise didn't stop Sasuke from still being somewhat a stick-in-a-mud, but the blonde knew it was just an act, for underneath the exterior was a young man he was proud to be called his best friend.

Yet best friend or no, Naruto was somewhat surprised that Sakura has wormed his way into Sasuke's heart. Seeing the pinkette has grown tremendously, from the silly fangirl she had been at 12, has made the former Avenger look at his former kunoichi teammate in a whole new light. So it came to no shock to the blond shinobi that Haruno Sakura has slowly fallen for the Uchiha, but this time it was for real and not a silly crush.

Sighing, the Kyuubi Jinchuuriki had known somewhat that there was a chance Sakura would go to Sasuke. He thought he had a chance with the beautiful pink-haired girl, but it seems it was unavoidable. So with a heavy heart, he had dropped Sakura from that part of his heart and kept her as one of his closest friends.

A devilish grin appeared on Naruto's face. "Now Sasuke has two quick-temper kunoichi for girlfriends and future wives. Man, I never thought the Teme would be so bold to have a harem."

It was known to everyone that Sakura was not Sasuke's first girlfriend/fiancée. Upon returning to Konoha, the Uchiha has brought an ex-Sound kunoichi, who went by the name of Karin, and the redhead girl was also a medic as Sakura was. Not only did Karin help advanced Konoha's medical knowledge but also provided a rare bloodline ability not seen before. It was hard for anyone to say "No" to a person with such abilities. Of course, it soon came apparent that the redhead was quick-tempered much like Sakura and Tsunade, thus when Karin and Sakura butt heads, it was a good sign for everyone to clear the area.

With a snicker regarding his best friend's future marriage, Naruto entered a weapons store. It was the only weapons store, which didn't turn him away with hostility when he had first started at the Konoha Ninja Academy. As a student, he had been required to get his own set of shuriken and kunai, and this store, which was the final one he had checked, had turned out to have a wonderful owner, who had treated him well and didn't see him as 'demon' as most of the villagers saw him back then. Since then, he had always come to this store to stock-up on his shinobi weapons.

The ringing of the simple bell above the door alerted the person behind the counter, and upon seeing the whisker-faced blond, her lips formed into a large smile. "Hello, Naruto! I haven't seen you in quite awhile."

Naruto returned the smile with a smile of his own. "Yeah, it has been sometime since I've last seen you, Tenten." The bun-haired kunoichi nodded in agreement, her radiant expression making him feel welcomed.

"So, what can I do for you?" Tenten began casually before her lips quirked upward on one side teasingly. "Come to make a large order of kunai and shuriken?"

The teenage boy softly laughed, as he approached the counter. "Not as many as you use, Tenten. I definitely know I do not have the money to purchase such a large arsenal as you have stored in your scroll."

The brown-haired young woman giggled at that. "True, I certainly have yet to meet another shinobi with the same number of weapons on their person as I have. To do that, one has to have more money than the Fire Daimyo in order to constantly replenish the weapons lost in battle."

"Pays to be a daughter of a weapons smith and shop owner, eh?" Naruto quickly ribbed good-naturedly.

"You bet," Tenten winked slyly, before both laughed together at the joke. It was a laughter anyone could tell was shared between good friends.

After her mirth died off, the Weapons Mistress of Konoha eyed the blond chuunin for a moment before speaking. "So, what do you really want, Naruto?"

With a small grin, the young man spoke the reason why he came to the shop. "Simply put, I'm looking for a chakra sword."

Tenten blinked in stupefaction. "Say what?" she asked with a raised eyebrow.

"A chakra sword," Naruto repeated, clearly confused why she asked.

"I know that," Tenten replied, raising a hand to forestall her friend. "Just, why a chakra sword, Naruto? Kenjutsu is not your forte." Ever since she had known Naruto, it was clear his shinobi expertise was in ninjutsu with some minor taijutsu. Only in the past two years he had started learning fuuinjutsu, the art of seals, especially after Jiraiya's death, so this request for a sword was quite baffling.

Seeing the confusion on her face, Naruto started explaining. "Well, I know I'm not skilled in kenjutsu, but I've been trying to find new wind jutsus, and it had me thinking that maybe I should use something much like Temari uses her battle fan."

Understanding now dawned to Tenten. "You're talking about using a medium to channel and focus your nature chakra in order to create wind techniques without the need of using hand signs."

"Exactly!" a smiling Naruto pointed to Tenten, like she has won the grand prize.

She has to admit that Naruto's idea was sound. After all, if a ninja could conjure up jutsus without the use of hand signs, he or she wouldn't have to worry about anyone copying the techniques, much like the Uchiha Clan or Hatake Kakashi had done. Yet Tenten also knew it takes time with long hours of training to even master using a medium, thus why most shinobi opted for the easy way by using hand signs. There was no doubt that Sabaku no Temari must had trained for years prior to her appearance in the Chuunin Exams five years ago, for such training certainly explained why the Suna kunoichi was able to use a large battle fan as a medium to create wind techniques.

Thinking about the blonde Suna jounin had conjured up an image, which made Tenten giggled with a hand over her mouth while looking at her fellow Konoha shinobi. Naruto, with a confusing grin, asked, "What's so funny?"

"Wellllll," the bun-haired girl drawled out with a teasing smirk, "if you want to emulate Temari, you can buy a similar battle fan and dress-up in black with a sash around your waist."

"Eh?" Seeing that surprised look on his face made Tenten laughed out loud. "No, no, no!" Naruto nervously chuckled, now he knew his friend was playing him. "I certainly will not carry around a large battle fan or dress-up like Temari! I like to be original, thank you very much." He mentally shook off the weird image of him dressed like Temari, although he did admit to himself that Temari's fan looked cool.

Just as Maito Gai's female student was about to speak after her laughter died off, another feminine voice spoke out with a witty voice. "That's no way to treat a customer, Tenten. Shame on you."

Both young ninjas quickly turned their heads to the door leading to the back of the store and the stairs to the living quarters on the next floor above, and there stood a woman with brown hair in a ponytail and green eyes. She appeared to be in her mid-forties and her simple outfit was what most housewives in Konoha wore these days. Her radiant smile and the hair clearly would make any stranger knew immediately that she was Tenten's mother.

"Kyohaku-kaasan!" Naruto called out with a grin to the woman, who walked over to stand besides her daughter behind the counter. Chuckling, the young man rubbed the back of his head. "You know we were just joking around."

"I know," Kyohaku replied, still grinning. "I was just driving home the point to my daughter." Naruto laughed loudly, while Tenten took the joke in stride with a narrow-eyed grin at her mother.

Calming down a minute later, the teenage boy grinned at Tenten's mother with affection, knowing she was one of his most precious people. She had never looked down at him, ever since he had first walked into her store those many years ago, and even after he had found out the Kyuubi was sealed inside of him; Kyohaku still had treated him like a person despite the lost of her husband during the Kyuubi attack. She ranked up there along side the Ichiraku's and The Third as the very first 'family' he ever had growing up in the village.

"So," the female blacksmith began, getting right down to business, "did I hear you're looking for a chakra sword to use as a medium for your elemental chakra to create wind jutsus?"

"That's right," Naruto confirmed with a single nod. "Do you have any?"

Tenten frowned. "That's the problem, Naruto. I don't think we have any chakra swords. Chakra weapons are specially made and crafted compared to regular weapons, and it takes a lot of time to forge them. This is why they are quite expensive to anyone to buy." Her hand gestured to her mother. "Mom has some skills in making them, but it was my Dad who was the real master craftsman in chakra weapons."

Naruto frowned in disappointment. He was hoping Kyohaku would have some chakra swords in stock. He certainly did not want to do business with any of the other weapons shops in Konoha. Even if they might view him now differently, thanks to him being a hero during the wars against the Akatsuki and Oto, he rather spent his money in Kyohaku, whom he trusted as a friend as well as a weapons maker.

A raised finger prompted both young adults to focus on the older woman, who grinned knowingly. "I know I have something that might just suit you, Naruto-kun." With that said, she strolled into the back storage area, leaving behind a hopeful Naruto and a baffled Tenten, wondering what her mother knew that she did not.

As they waited, the Kyuubi Jinchuuriki grinned softly at his female friend. "So, how's everything going?"

"I'm fine," Tenten grinned back reassuringly, and seeing the sympathy in those expressive blue eyes, she immediately elaborated further. "I mean it, Naruto, I'm fine. I appreciated everyone's support and kindness, but the break-up was two months ago. Neji and I have come to an understanding regarding the situation, and we've moved on since then. I certainly did, given I know it's not productive to keep moping over something that I have no control over."

A nod from Naruto told her he understood. "Well, given the reason why you broke-up and what is today, I thought you still would be somewhat down."

Sighing with a warm grin, Tenten was reminded again how much Naruto cared deeply for all his friends and comrades that he considered like a large extended family to him. She happened to be one of them, and it warms her being to know the blond would always be there to provide emotional support to anyone within his family who needed it.

Reaching out, she clasped his hand that was resting on the counter. "As I said, I'm fine," the brunette repeated. "As you know, it came as a shock to Neji and I, when his clan arranged for him to marry one of his distance cousins. Least it's someone he knew and certainly not Hinata or Hanabi, whom he would not have been comfortable to marry.

"As for today, it's no big deal for me," Tenten shrugged slightly. "After the break-up, I'm not looking to suddenly find a boyfriend." One side of her lips curled up slightly. "After all, I'm still young. It's not like I'm an old maid." Both young adults chuckled at that.

Letting go of his hand, Tenten grinned teasingly at her fellow chuunin. "So what about you?"

Knowing what she was referring, Naruto shook his head with a tiny sad grin. "No one and you already know why."

Dropping the teasing expression, Tenten nodded with a slight sympathetic grin. "Yeah." Everyone knew how much he loved Sakura, so it was easy to tell Naruto's heart was crushed when the pink-haired kunoichi became Sasuke's second girlfriend/fiancée. It was just too bad, in Tenten's opinion, that Hinata had started dating Kiba a few months before Sakura and Sasuke became an item. If Hinata had waited just a little longer, the Hyuuga heir would have gotten her chance with Naruto.

So the two young shinobi stood there quietly, until the silence was broken upon the return of Kyohaku, who was holding a wrapped clothed bundle. "Here we are," she grinned as the older brunette placed the bundle onto the counter before untying the strings. The two young shinobi noticed the cloth appeared to be dusty, indicating it had been in storage for many years, and once the cloth parted, Tenten slightly gasped while Naruto raised his eyebrows at the contents.

There laid two elegant kodachis in their equally stylish sheaths/scabbards. The hilts were wrapped with intertwined white and gold leather strips to provide easy grip, while the butts and guards were exposed silver steel. The sheaths were black and embroiled with gold & white Japanese designs, particularly two striking dragons, whose bodies wrapped around the sheaths with the tails starting at the tip and heads ending near the mouths. Overall, the two short swords appeared to be made for display purposes and not for combat use.

Taking one in hand, Naruto unsheathed the sword and held it up as he and Tenten admired the gleaming steel. "It looks like they have not been used," the blond commented, while his female friend nodded in agreement to his observations.

"No, they haven't," a grinning Kyohaku confirmed. "These chakra kodachis were crafted by my husband under a special order by a famous Konoha ninja." Her grin and eyes became a bit depressed. "Sadly, they were finished the day before the Kyuubi attacked the village, thus their owner, who paid in advance for the swords, died fighting the fox along with my husband. These swords have been sitting in storage ever since then."

"And who was the customer Dad made these swords for?" asked a curious Tenten, whose eyes didn't stop admiring the steel blade of the kodachi in Naruto's hand.

A proud expression appeared on Tenten's mother. "The Yondaime Hokage."

"SAY WHAT?" both young ninjas shouted as they trained wide eyes on the older woman.

"Th-The Fourth?" Tenten sputtered in awe before eying the sheathed kodachi on the counter. "Dad made these for The Fourth?"

Kyohaku bobbed her head once at her daughter. "Yes, he did. The Yondaime owned several swords, but none of them were chakra blades. He'd thought of experimenting with a pair of chakra konachis to see what kind of jutsus he could come up using his elemental chakra. Your father was proud to do the job, for he was also responsible for making a special order of kunai for The Fourth. What those kunai are for, I will not say, but I can say they helped win the war against Iwa."

His mind reeling, Naruto sheathed the kodachi he held and placed it back next to its twin. "I… I can't accept this," he stammered, his eyes never leaving the two short swords. "I can't buy this."

A reassuring grin came to Kyohaku's face. "There is no need of payment, Naruto," she said, causing her daughter and the blond man to once again look at her in astonishment. "The Fourth already had paid for them, and I can not think of a better person more suited to wield these blades than you."

"Are you serious, Kyohaku-kaasan?" Naruto questioned, not truly believing what he was hearing. Even Tenten couldn't believe it, for who would even give away anything that belonged to The Fourth Hokage? After all, such items would be treasured artifacts.

The warm grinning, 40-something woman nodded. "I'm sure, Naruto. Everyone knows now that The Fourth had sacrificed his life to seal the Kyuubi in you." Both young adults became somber on that. "He had wanted you to be viewed as a hero, but you know that didn't come to pass. Think of this as his way to help you protect yourself as well as everyone you love and care deeply. Knowing The Fourth, I have a good hunch he would not mind you having the blades to continue protecting the village and uphold The Will of Fire."

His cerulean eyes locked with emerald ones, the young Hokage-wannabe saw the hidden message Tenten's mother was conveying in her words and in her eyes. I do not think your father would mind. The swords are your heritage. Take them.

Warmth of love and family slowly bubbled into his heart. Naruto knew Kyohaku was one of a few who knew the Yondiame was his father. It bolstered his being that she would give him something of his father's to help him protect his precious people and achieve his goal in following his father's footsteps – to be Hokage.

With a determined grin slowly appearing onto his face, Naruto nodded gratefully at the wise older woman. "Thanks, Kyohaku-kaasan." She simply nodded with a pleased grin and began rewrapping the kodachis in the protective cloth. No other words were needed to say.

Not fully understanding what went on between her mother and her friend, Tenten let it go and focused on the fact that Naruto was now in possession of The Fourth's custom-made chakra blades. "You better take care of those, Naruto," she slightly teased. "It would be a shame if you neglected the kodachis that anyone in the village would highly prize."

"I will," Naruto grinned back fiercely. "I swear it on my word. Dattebayo!"

Both women smiled at that. There was no doubt now that Naruto would take care of the two short swords with all his being. After all, it was known by all that when he gave his word, he would always keep it. It was part of his nindo, his ninja way.

"Well now," Kyohaku nearly sing-sung as she finished tying the swords up, "that's that." As she pushed the bundled kodachis toward their new owner, the female blacksmith raised an eyebrow. "So tell me, Naruto. From what I overheard you telling Ten-chan, you have no kenjutsu training at all. How are you going to handle them?"

Blinking in stupefaction at first, the whisker-faced young man then shrugged. "Just wield them around, I guess."

Letting out a breath of disbelief, both women sweatdropped and closed their eyes. It seems Naruto really did not understand. It was Tenten who opened her eyes and started explaining.

"My Mom has a point, Naruto," the bun-haired girl began. "I know you wanted to use the swords to create new wind jutsus, but what happens if an enemy manages to get in close to use a sword or a weapon while you have both hands occupied with the kodachis? If you know a form or two of kenjutsu on how to use the kodachi, you could able to defend yourself against such attacks, long enough for you to put some distance to use wind jutsus or free your hands to use any of your ninjutsu."

Kyohaku nodded at her daughter's explanations. "You do not wield the blades as they were mere weapons, Naruto-kun. They become an extension of your body, and any shinobi, who becomes one with his or her weapons, is not to be taken lightly."

"Take Asuma-sensei," Tenten added, mentioning the late-jounin who died two years ago against the immortal Akatsuki Hidan, "he wielded a pair of chakra knuckle blades. He didn't thrash them around wildly with his elemental chakra extending the blades. He knew how to use them, and he became quite an expert on wielding those blades."

Naruto nodded in understanding. "I see. That makes sense." He frowned as a thought occurred to him. "But I do not know anyone to teach me kenjutsu."

Tenten's lips curled into a knowing smirk. "I can teach you."

"You can?" the blond raised his eyebrows in surprise.

"Duh, Naruto," the brunette rolled her eyes, still smirking. "With all the weapons I carry in my scroll, I do have a few swords, so I have to know some forms of kenjutsu in order to use them properly."

A bashful Naruto rubbed the back of his head. "He, he. Good point," he chuckled.

Ignoring the chuckle from her mother and the unintentional pun Naruto produced, the young weapons mistress sighed before continuing. "You do not need to become a master in order to properly wield the kodashis. I'm no master myself on any forms of kenjutsu. I do know a couple of forms to be use with the kodashi, and knowing the forms might help you create wind jutsus. I doubtful Temari had created her wind jutsus by just wielding her fan carelessly."

Naruto brightly grinned. "Thanks, Tenten."

"That's what friends are for," Tenten mentioned with a friendly grin. "To be there to help and support one another. I don't mind at all helping you, for you are my friend."

The bright grin on his face became a friendly one. "Right. Friends stick together." Tenten nodded in return, pleased that she would be able to help Naruto with his training.

"So," Naruto said while picking up the wrapped swords, "where and when do you want to start the training?"

"We have to agree first that training with our perspective teams and missions for the village come first. I don't think our teammates and Tsunade-sama would appreciate us skipping out on them just for me to teach you kenjutsu." Naruto nodded, showing his agreement and understanding, before Tenten carried on. "Good. Other than that, I might be required to help Mom mind the store, so there will be days the training will be early in the morning, late in the afternoon, or none at all."

Kyohaku mock scoffed at her daughter. "Never mind me, Ten-chan. If both of you are freed to do the kenjutsu training, you tell me and I'll be okay to mind the store for the day."

Tenten smiled gratefully at her mother. "Thanks, Mom." She turned back to her would-be student. "I'm freed tomorrow. You?"

"Yep," Naruto grinned.

"Good," Tenten chirped. "Meet me at the Memorial Stone training field at 8 tomorrow morning. I'll start on teaching you the stances for a kenjutsu form I know, and in the afternoon, you can start trying molding elemental chakra into the swords to begin getting use to using the kodachis as a medium. From what I know, it takes a lot of practice for anyone to use their elemental chakra to form jutsus through a medium."

The blond man smiled his trademark foxy smile. "No sweat, Tenten! I'll learn that kenjutsu form, and I'll soon be pumping out wind attacks out of these two swords in no time flat! Dattebayo!" With that said, he waved good-bye at the two women as he headed toward the exit. "I'll see you tomorrow, Tenten! Bye, Kyuhaku-kaasan!" Both women waved and said their good-byes in return, before the blond boy left the store.

Sighing, Tenten shook her head in amusement. "I think Naruto will soon learn that learning kenjutsu is no easy task. Not to mention that it takes control to properly channel the right amount of chakra into a medium to form a particular jutsu on top of finding the right stance to launch the jutsu." Sighing again, Tenten chuckled. "He'll have his work cut out for him."

"Indeed," Kyohaku concurred prior to proudly grinning at her daughter. "Yet, if anyone has the patience to teach Naruto-kun kenjutsu, it'll be you."

Tenten grinned at that. "Thanks, Mom." She then left to journey into the back room and upstairs to fetch something to drink.

Left behind to look after the store, Kyohaku smirked, knowing well that things were going to be quite interesting from tomorrow onward in the village.


TBC (End of Chapter 1)


1) First off, I want to make things clear regarding how I made Naruto 'available' for Tenten.

I know canon-wise, it is possible Sakura might end up being Naruto's girlfriend by the end of the series, I do know it is very likely Kishimoto would end the series with Naruto convincing Sasuke to not destroy Konoha, etc., thus Sasuke would return to the village so Naruto could fulfill his promise. If this happened, there is a chance Sakura might go to Sasuke.

Yeah, I know this feels like a deus ex machina, but I really can't think of anything else that could fit canon to allow Naruto to be free from his love for Sakura. Then again, all fanfics are dues ex machina in some way or another. My way, IMO, is better than the Sakura-breaks-Naruto's-heart plot, Sakura-is-dead plot, or the most used Sakura-hates-Naruto plot. Same thing regarding Hinata, given IMO, she would have been the next likely candidate canon-wise to be Naruto's girlfriend if Sakura was not it.

2) To make things clear, the story is not a flashback. Flashbacks are when characters remember events from their POVs. This story is what I considered a Backward Time-skip. This way, I can write up how the events unfold over the course of the year without writing it from Naruto's perspective only.

As for the story itself, I will be time-skipping to certain events over the course of the year. Exactly when the year started I will not say. I already gave a 'hint' in this chapter, and the next chapter will give another major 'hint'.

3) I took the idea of Tenten's mother being the weapons blacksmith and shop owner from the wonderful fanfic "Stranger Than Fiction" by DsirinWsdm. I like the notion than the usual fics of Tenten's dad or both parents being the black-smiths/shop owners. :)

4) 'Kyohaku' means 'star' in Japanese. If 'Tenten' closely resembles the Japanese word for 'heaven', I thought it would be fitting if her mother would have a name along the same lines.

5) Tenten's mental image of Naruto dressed to resemble close to Temari is nothing new to me when I wrote this chapter up. I got the idea off of an art at DeviantArt titled "Naruto: Uzumaki Wind" by MsKeller. You can find it at

mskeller . deviantart art / Naruto-Uzumaki-Wind-43129078

If anyone is too lazy to copy-and-paste the URL and remove the spaces, the link to the art can be found in my author profile. :)

As anyone can see, it's a very nice art of Naruto holding a battle fan and wearing black with an orange sash. :)

6) Last, I chose the kodashi because I thought it might be cool to have him be using two swords, and two long swords just don't feel right, especially if Naruto wants to use one sword while freeing his other hand for a Rasengan, etc.

Asuma's chakra knuckle knives inspired the idea of Naruto using swords as a medium, and when I finally saw the anime 'Rescuing Matsuri' filler arc and that bad kunoichi using the swords to create wind jutsus, I knew I have to write Naruto having a pair of swords to do the same thing. At first I thought of maybe having a sword similar to what Zuko has in Avatar: The Last Airbender, but I thought that would be corny. I'd done online research and came across the kodachi. :)