A/N: Hello readers... sorry about the ridiculously long delay in updates. Yes, I am still working on this story, other real life related things have prevented me from writing this. Thanks again to all who have reviewed and those who will be reviewing in the future. Much love. Also, I encourage you all to write your own KakaTen, I love to read as much as I love to write.
An insistent gray dawn prodded her awake. Rolling onto her stomach her nostrils flared as she took a deep breath and inhaled the rich mossy scent of the forest after rain. The brown-haired kunoichi grumbled drowsily, "Don't want to get up"
A cold drop of rain on the back of her neck caused her to sit up with a jolt, her dark eyes stunned. She glanced around quickly, momentarily confused that the woods around her was not her apartment and that drop was not from the leak in her ceiling. Dawn found her in the middle of the woods, situated in a damp bedroll on top of a bed of moss, definitely not her bed. She pulled her knees up to her chest and rested her forehead on her knees, replaying the previous night's events over in her head.
Idiot. Idiot. Idoit. She scolded herself, banging her head against her knees to accentuate the point.
Not only had she had a complete breakdown, probably blown their cover, which was bad enough, but she had also let herself fall victim to a stupid, impulsive desire. Well, I'm sure you're not the only girl who's had a one-night-stand with Hatake Kakashi. That's all it was nothing more not even a little you were vulnerable and he was there, nothing to freak out about, just go back to being professional! Right? Right! That's what I'll do. Who cares if he's seen all your defenses down, he won't tell, right? She nodded to herself and with a sigh; she pulled herself out of the bedroll, and discovered that she was still undressed.
"Oops." She muttered to herself and let a little sheepish laugh escape her lips. Glancing around the impromptu campsite, which was suspiciously lacking a certain silver-haired shinobi she found her pack. She pulled on a pair of loose dark pants and a dark gray sleeveless shirt with a high collar, somewhat reminiscent of the bright Chinese inspired outfits she wore when she was younger.
Just as she was pulling her hair into her twin buns, Kakashi, who was now dressed in his usual attire, strolled into the little clearing.
"Morning" she mumbled, trying to avoid eye contact.
He glanced over at her; his dark eye lazily examining her body language. She frowned at the knowledge that he was studying her and wondered what conclusion he'd come to. After a moment he nodded, and took his hands out of his pockets and approached her, causing her stiffen more than she would have liked to.
"Time to go" he said quietly, his face carefully emotionless and then reached down and scooped up his pack that was sitting next to hers.
She nodded wordlessly and hurriedly prepared, doing her best to break camp quickly and avoid looking at Kakashi, who was now leaning against a tree, watching her every movement. Within a few minutes she was packed and ready to go. Her last action was to tie put her forehead protector in place with a satisfied sigh.
Slipping the last of her weapons into place she glanced up and said "Ready, where are we heading anyway?" brightly, trying to bury her embarrassment underneath a mask of cheerfulness. He didn't nod or respond; he just turned and led the way through the thick forest.
The woods here was very thick, she didn't remember seeing anything like this very close to the hotel they had been staying at. Puzzled, she glanced from Kakashi's back to the foliage, wanting very much to know where the hell they were. Her mind hopped from wondering where they were, to where they were going, to what happened the night before, to worrying about the implications that would have if that bit of juicy gossip got out back in Konoha. So distracted was she, that she didn't notice his slight limp, or the way he favored his left side.
The rain was still beating down obscuring Kakashi and the sleeping girl in his arms, but he knew it was only a matter of time before the people they came here to stop put the pieces together and came after them, and he intended to be as far away from this place as possible when that happened. Though, for the moment he didn't want to move, despite the turmoil of the night, he felt more comfortable and at peace with this tomboyish, slightly unbalanced, somewhat obnoxious, beautiful, graceful girl in his arms. Though he knew the peace wouldn't last, the world would start turning again soon, and the world was currently a very dangerous place.
Gently, he untangled himself from Tenten's sleeping form, surprised that his actions didn't wake her. "Deep sleeper, neh?" he whispered with a small grin as he brushed some of the strands of hair away from her face after situating her beneath a tree to try to shield her from the rain. The rain was coming down hard, and he could see despite her deep sleep, she was shivering. Glancing around he tried to locate her clothes, but after a few minutes gave up the search. With a small frown he simply draped his shirt over her.
He sped off hurrying to their room to gather up what gear he could find, as quickly as possible, and then return to her, and get them both the hell out of this place until they could figure out a better plan.
It only took him a matter of a few minutes to gather their gear, leaving the expensive, albeit useless finery behind, with the exception of some very nice lingerie that he found stuffed in the bottom of Tenten's bag. Just as he pulled the mask over his face with a small sigh of relief the hairs at the back of his neck stood on end and he could feel that same oppressive feeling of hate that had been following them since they entered the small city.
Dropping into deep stance he slid both his bag and Tenten's to his back and moved quickly and silently to the doors leading to the outside, hoping to slip away before he was noticed. Holding his breath, he slid open the door. His dark eye scanned the darkness and found a lone figure standing barefoot in the rain like a statue on the far side of the private hot spring. Slight of build with a calm expression over his catlike features, a small figure for so much hate.
"Kuso" he muttered under his breath, knowing any chance of slipping away unnoticed had just dissipated as quickly a morning mist.
"Good evening, Hatake-san" came a soft voice that send shivers up the experienced ninja's spine.
Frowning, Kakashi slid the door open further and straightened, sliding one foot behind him in a casual, but guarded stance, fixing the man on the other side of the pool with a stare, "Ah, I suppose it is. ."
"Gomen, but I can't allow that, you and your very pretty partner will not be leaving this place", came the quiet, bone-chilling response.
Kakashi's eyes narrowed as he suddenly shifted his weight and threw himself forward, hoping to catch the figure on the other side of the pond off guard. He brought his hand together and formed a series of seals with blinding speed.
A twisting serpent of water burst from the surface of the hot springs and flew toward the man standing casually on the rocks on the other side of the hot springs. The figure dashed aside at the last second and sprung at Kakashi.
There was a flash of pain behind Kakashi's eyes as a pair of bare feet planted into his ribs, knocking the wind out of him. 'Too fast…' Kakashi thought to himself as he rolled, trying to displace some of the inertia from the blow and skid to a stop.
Once he stopped himself, he pushed up his headband, and whispered "..Sharingan"
After several hours of walking in silence she suddenly blurted out, "Kakashi-san, I um just wanted to say, about last night… umm, I think it would be best if it just stayed between you and I."
His footsteps stopped falling in front of her; andhe turned and pivoted smoothly, so that she ran into his chest, letting a surprised 'sqeak' escape her lips. She looked up at him and for a split second saw an emotion play across his face that she couldn't define before his carefully schooled expression of lazy indifference fell across his features. He took a step back and studied her for a moment.
"If that's what you want, I won't say anything." He said, finally and she found herself wondering what he would have done if she hadn't said anything.
"Thanks, its just, you know how they are…"
"Yes, I do know how they are"
Turning and continuing through the dense underbrush, Kakashi sighed and rubbed his ribs, knowing that the skin beneath was covered in one solid bruise and that he probably had more than one broken rib. He only hoped that they wouldn't encounter all that much resistance before their backup arrived. Before Tenten woke up he'd sent Pakkun with a message to send some support, which he hoped included a medical nin. However, his injury wasn't the only thing troubling him, it bothered him that she was so embarrassed at having been with him; and it bothered him more that it bothered him.
Dappled light shone through the thick trees and gave the world a surreal quality. It seemed that the forest here dampened noise completely, because the sound of their footsteps on the mossy ground made almost no sound. They also didn't hear the enemy until it was almost too late.
A shuriken whizzed past Tenten's left ear, if she hadn't turned her head to look as she adjusted one of her kunai holders, she would have most probably died instantly. She sprung into action, noticing out of the corner of her eye that Kakashi was doing the same. The pair of ninja took to the trees.
Unfurling a small scroll from her hip, Tenten bit her thumb and smeared bright red blood over the thin material, summoning a dozen mean looking blades. She grinned and with a flick of her wrist so fast that a normal eye would never catch it she made several seals and sent half a dozen blades soaring in the direction that the shuriken had come from. As the blades hit the trunks of trees, not one actually hitting flesh, though she never intended them to, they exploded into thick, black, choking smoke.
Crouching on the branch she occupied, she waited. She had lost sight of Kakashi when he reached the leaves of the tree next to her, but knew he was there, waiting, just as she was. Soon, her ploy worked, 2 ninja wearing oni masks jumped out of the smoke, heading straight for her. Resisting the urge to jump away the instant they starting moving towards her, she bided her time.
When they were 3 quarters of the way to her, she threw another half dozen of her blades, this time with explosive tags on them, and aimed them between thm, she made a seal when the kunai reached between the two, the weapons exploded in midair, forcing the two ninja to separate or be hit by the blast.
"Perfect" she whispered with a smirk.
Whipping out a slightly longer blade, she dashed along the tree-branch, following the escape of the one ninja to the left. He was quick, but she was fairly certain she was quicker. Before she reached the trunk of the tree, he was after her again. He was on her in an instant, they exchanged a vicious series of blows, and she gauged they were fairly even in skill.
As he made an attack with on hand, he made a seal with the other and shot a blast of light into her eyes, momentarily blinding her. She stumbled backwards and barely managed to bring up her sword to parry the strong thrust of a kunai at her throat, but she managed it, and shot out with her free hand at one of the masked man's chakra points.
While she couldn't see the man's chakra system, when one spent enough time around Hyuuga Neji, one learns where the most effective ones to strike quickly are; and while she would never rival her teammate's skill at shutting down chakra systems, she knew enough to do some damage. She had the first hand experience of getting her chakra points closed enough times that she knew the concept better than most shinobi ever would.
The man infront of her grunted, obviously surprised by her attack. Though the surprise didn't last for long. He swung around and brought his leg up in a quick, snapping kick, she dodged under it, only to be caught by a second, much more devastating kick that she didn't expect. It pushed her a few feet and she winced as she felt a rib crack, she screwed up her face for a half moment, then pushed the pain down, the time to acknowledge pain was in the hospital, after a battle, where lots of pain medicine was readily available.
With a feral little growl she grabbed the offending leg and drove her chakra-infused blade into it, just behind the calf muscle. The man's awkward position didn't allow him to counter immediately; he let out a strangled yowl of pain as she dragged her blade down his leg, making a deep gash all the way to the bone, separating the muscle from its connecting tendons.
She grinned dangerously, enjoying the surge of adrenaline at the fount of blood from the man's wound and the fact that he still managed to try and counter, his attacks already weaker than they had been. He was now trying to fight her on one foot. He was already dead; he just didn't know it yet.
Kakashi watched from his hidden perch as Tenten, drew out the enemy and stared them down without flinching, most ninja would have hidden, waiting to split them, not use themselves as bait, and she didn't even use a shadow clone to do it. When the two split, dashing in different directions to avoid the blast, he would make sure that one now headed in his direction would never make it back to help his partner.
A jolt of pain from his leg shot up his side, reminding him of the battle the night before he had barely managed to escape. He ignored it as he leapt from the branch he was hiding on. The enemy was just below him now, and was starting to turn back towards Tenten, who was exchanging blows with the other oni-masked ninja.
Kakashi would not allow that. He attacked from above, charging chakra into his kunai; he struck at his opponent who, after freezing for a moment from shock, suddenly seemed to remember that there had been more than leaf ninja when they attacked. Idiot thought Kakashi as his blade bit into the other man, only to have it disappear in a puff of smoke.
His eyes widened as he continued to fall, coming to rest on a branch below him. A scream from above drew his attention, he glanced up to see Tenten several yards away, with her sword stuck into a man's calf muscle with a grin on her face that send a shiver up his spine. Kind of scary… but, kind of sexy at the same time… I have issues … he thought to himself, watching the other mans blood spray onto the brown haired woman's face.
Suddenly, his reverie was broken as he was attacked from the shadows, with super-heated jets of steam. This one perhaps was smarter than his partner above. Leaping to the side, he avoided the worst of the attack, despite some slight burns on his left arm and hand. While in mid-air he formed a series of seals and spun around and delivered a swift lightning blade to the man's chest.
The smell of burning assaulted his nostrils before he got a good fix on his opponent with both eyes. The oni-masked ninja was on one knee grabbing his right shoulder. Kakashi grinned, rushed forward and dispatched the man quickly, with a kunai through his throat. With a sigh of relief, he took a moment to press his hand against his thigh, it came away sticky with blood, his own. He frowned; they needed this to be done, quickly. Putting his injury out of his mind, he cast his eyes up to a higher branch where his partner was getting ready to finish her opponent.
Tenten pulled the blade from the oni-masked man's leg and he stumbled backwards, she stood her ground, resisting the urge to put her hand up and brace her injured ribs. She the frustrated feral growl from behind the mask and grinned wider, he knew now, in what deep trouble he was in now.
She had always been taught, she should never underestimate an opponent; she slid one foot behind the other, giving the injured man less of a target to hit should he choose to strike out at her. She held her blade in front of her defensively.
She waited. When he didn't move at her, she decided to take the initiative and rushed forward, her blade pulled back, ready to swing in a killing arc. She was no more than 3 feet from the man when she felt her footing give way, her eyes inadvertently flicked down to the branch below her, there was a paper seal she didn't recognize plastered on the branch with what looked like a thin oil.
It exploded in a scalding oily blast. Tenten's eyes widened and threw her arms up to protect her head and chest from the worst of it, but that was the only defense she could manage before was blown across the forest canopy and slammed into a tree-trunk, hard.
The dazed kunoichi slid down the tree, fighting for consciousness. She could feel the hot oil biting into the skin of her bare arms, burning its way through her clothing and her world was only pain.
Kakashi looked up just in time to see the branch explode with Tenten in the middle of it.
"Shit" he growled and leapt back to avoid the falling wreckage and the worst of the heat of the blast.
Immediately, he started scanning for her, not sure if she'd been able to avoid it, but judging by how committed she was to the charge, he doubted that. He didn't see her falling along with the splintered tree branch. Frowning he started scanning the area around the blast radius. The oni masked man who Tenten had been fighting was nowhere to be seen.
A sickening thud of a body hitting something solid, and a bitten off yelp of pain gave him his answer a second later. His eyes trained on the spot and he hurried there as quickly as his own injury would allow. By the time he got there he could see her falling, with no attempt to stop herself.
His stomach leapt into his throat, seeing the awkward angles her limbs were splayed in as she fell, and realized he wouldn't make it there in time to catch her and stop her fall before the forest floor would break her fall and her with it.