Summary: Tenten wears white as a warning.
A/N: I came across this interesting bit of Chinese myth. It only took me about a year to write this, on and off. XD

Lady in Red

When Tenten had changed her usual outfit of a pink tank-top and dark green pants to a longer, white three-quarter sleeved shirt and looser, dark red pants, some people were puzzled with the color choice. The red they could understand – it would help mask the color of dried blood - but the white they continually questioned. Usually Tenten could thwart off most people by saying it was her favorite color (and it was), but there were some people that just would not stop.

Why choose a color that would make Tenten such an easy target?

It isn't, she tiredly protests. Many of her attacks are aerial, and the white helps camouflage her against the sky. Similar to the white bellies of high-flying falcons and eagles, the white masks her as one of the clouds, far above.

But why choose a color so hard to clean?

It actually isn't, Tenten explains again and again. The red trim comes easily off, and the gold snaps as well. Then she can just bleach the hell out of it. With all the training and missions and abuse Tenten puts herself and her clothes through, the cloth will wear out far before the bleach damages it. The red trim isn't that hard to sew back on later; a needle is also a weapon, and she is a weapons mistress.

It's against regulation.

Like that made any sense. The prospective-hokage wore bright orange jumpsuits, one of her teammates chose green spandex, and the Hyuuga on her team wore even more white than she did, so why were they harping on her? Are they being sexist, thinking a kunoichi should be wearing something sensible – heavens above, she wore one of the most practical outfits to fight in (loose for freedom of movement, lots of room to hide weapons), and they wanted to argue about color? Where's her battle ax...

The questioning usually ends about there. Tenten's happy with that.

She doesn't ever tell anyone the real reason, though her teammates suspect. They should, because it is for them that Tenten wears white.

The real reason is because Tenten knows she will be the last one standing.

It's not a happy thought.

Gai will be first. He is their sensei, their master, and to him it would be the greatest thing in the world and the greatest sacrifice to protect his precious students, to ensure they will live in their springtime of youth and pass it on, and to go out in a blaze of glory.

He never wanted to grow old anyway.

Lee and Neji will be next. Lee has the most idiotic, stupidest chivalrous streak ever, and Neji – well, Neji's usually almost the complete opposite to Lee, but this is one thing the two of them will agree on. They will protect her when the time comes, and they will put in every bead of sweat and give up every drop of blood to ensure that she will stay alive.

And no matter how much she rails against them, how many times she bashes Lee on the head and tries her damnest to skewer Neji to bits, they absolutely refuse to stop (dammit, she hates this) protecting her, even though they know very well she doesn't need it. They do it anyway.

In this, they are absolute.

And what, she wails and seethes inside, will I do when you're all gone?

She doesn't ask, and so her teammates needn't answer.

Maybe her teammates know very well what she will do when they are gone.

She will be a lady in red.

Blood-red. Theirs. Theirs, and hers, drenching her formerly white clothes into glistening crimson. To dry later into murky dark-brown-red, and it will be her color and calling sign; a sign of vengeance.

Legends say that a women who dies in red can return as a white ghost to haunt the ones that wronged her.

The nu gui.

Tenten wears white as a warning.

When that time comes, when she is the last one alive, when at last the enemy turns their blades on her while her teammates' lifeless bodies cover her and her heart, Tenten will have one more weapon.

For if you dare to touch her boys – if you dare take them away from her – if you stain her with their blood

If her enemies dare to make her teammates' sacrifice in vain, she will become a nu gui, sworn to bring retribution. And this time, nothing in the world will be able to stop her. Not even death.

Tenten will have her vengeance, in this life or the next.