More morbidity. There must be something wrong with me. There must be. Especially because I really like writing these things, in this format. And insomnia. I like insomnia.
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Dedication: To Eleni, because I love you, and to my brother, even though you're a fag. Also, to Erika, even though I know you hate this pairing.
The world is falling apart, Tenten thinks. Yes, yes, (fall-fall-falling apart, just like you) down-ways and up-ways and sideways and other ways she doesn't even want to think about.
Nothing can hold it together, because there is nothing that can stop the destruction of the world. Not even duct-tape, and Tenten knows that if it is not fixable by duct-tape and kisses, there is really no point in trying.
But the world is not fixable by duct-tape, and certainly not by kisses (and oh, god, you're trying so damn hard but it's just never-never-never enough, is it?), and Tenten thinks that maybe, just maybe this is what losing is like.
And Tenten hates losing (because it's worse then fall-fall-falling, and almost as painful). She always has, and she always, always will.
Because losing means she is weak, and Tenten is not weak. She is not beautiful like Ino (too many scars), can't heal like Sakura (nopatience for saving lives), not shy-but-dangerous like Hinata (Hinata? Not like Neji you mean, and that makes all the difference), and not the rough, gritty power that Temari constantly exudes (she beat you once; remember?), but she is not weak.
Tenten has worked, so long, and so damn hard to be strong, to perfect her aim, to be worth something.
Because if one is not worth something, then what is the point? Tenten may not be able to play the damsel in distress, but, then again, she has never wanted to. Tenten would much prefer to be the knight, saving lives and fighting off dragons, but, really, in the end, all she can do is protect Neji's single blind spot.
But she figures this is enough. It proves she is strong, because he would not trust just anyone with something as important as his life.
And even though this is the truth, and what they have is just friendship, Tenten can still feel herself (fall-fall-falling) losing control.
Tenten hates losing control almost more then she hates losing, in general. It's just a loss of a different sort; a sort she can not stand.
It is because of this hatred of losing of any sort that Tenten is who she is. She has had constant encouragement (yes, and you can still hear Lee cheer-cheer-cheering you on, even though neither of you had a chance), but she is not sure if it is enough.
Tenten does not want to be alone.
She wants Neji to stay, and Lee, and yes, even crazy Gai-sensei. Without them, Tenten feels like she is nothing. The other girls (Ino and Sakura and Hinata, yes? And Temari? Yes, of course…) feel the same way. Of course they do; the boys are really all they have.
Family is not something any true shinobi wants to hang onto, because when they do, they get dangerously emotional. Shinobi must stay cool and calm at all times.
But family does not make one weak. It makes one strong, because one with someone else to care about becomes ten thousand times stronger. Tenten has experienced this, and she wonders if anyone else sees it the way she does.
But she is very tired. So very, very tired. She's not even sure what she's tried of, just that she is.
She blinks at her bathroom mirror, and wonders what she is tired of. Is it the dirt-colour hair? Is it the nose? The same mud-colour brown eyes?
Tenten knows she is not beautiful (too, too many scars, just like mother always said), but to have it shoved in her face in such a way… that hurts. Yes, it hurts, but Tenten knows not to dwell on it.
Besides, she thinks, Ino got the worst of it. She was the one that the creepo's son wanted, and got, in the end. Tenten knows that Ino will not be able to think of herself the same way, because she did see the way Ino was so obsessively washing her hands…
But getting clean is so much harder then getting dirty; and Tenten wonders if there was anything she could have done to help her friend. She just hopes that the knives she gave will not kiss undeserving flesh.
Tenten has been there, in that dark, quiet place, and does not want to return (because that's where you fell in the first place, fall-fall-falling down that hole to the dark).
It was not a pleasant place (and you can still remember the horror in Neji's eyes when he first saw the scars, can't you?). Not a pleasant place at all.
And the world is falling apart. Tenten can see it, in the grim morning light when Lee is bleeding so much that she thinks he may just die (and you were scream-scream-screaming for someone to save him, but no one could, not even Sakura). It was merely luck that Ino (broken and bruised and empty-eyed Ino) was there stem the blood flow.
Lee will live, Tenten knows, but he won't really be Lee anymore. He's in a situation too precarious to really be Lee.
They have all seen, heard, felt too much, and it almost makes Tenten sick.
But of course, she's stronger then that. She tries not to think about the fact that she hated the sight of Lee's blood, more then she had ever hated anything. There was just something so utterly terrifying about it (are people supposed to bleed so much?! Go away, go away, go away, go awa-)…
And the worst part was the fact that Tenten couldn't do anything about it. She is not meant for healing, and she knows this, but really, it is so damn scary, especially when he's lying on a hospital bed, and she's holding his cold, lifeless hand, and-
But she shakes the thoughts away, and stares at her reflection again. Not pretty. Not beautiful. Scarred. So many scars.
Tenten reaches up, and traces the scar on her collarbone. It should never have happened. Never. If she had been paying attention like she was supposed to have been, it never would have happened.
And maybe Lee wouldn't be so damn close to dying.
Tenten looks away, ashamed. She does not want to see the almost-innocence that has always been part of her face. Almost innocent.
But never truly innocent, because the first time Tenten killed, she was only six years old, and she hardly even remembers it.
And that is why the world is falling apart (fall-fall-falling, just like the shards of glass from the broken window where Ino was scream-scream-screaming).
Not just because she doesn't remember her first kill - most shinobi don't, after all - but because of how old she was. No child should be killing at six.
And it led to some interesting things, least of all the scars that she inflicted on herself, and that Sakura say will never, ever go away. They will be there for the rest of Tenten's life. Sakura sighs, and shakes her head.
But Tenten knows that it is a good thing they will never leave. Perhaps they make her physically ugly, but they remind her of the fact that her personality is not ugly, and that she is a good person.
Not a clean person, but a good one all the same. After all, 'clean' and 'good' are two different things entirely.
So Tenten walks to her bed, and drops down there, limbs askew on the mattress. She is so very tired.
Perhaps she will sleep, she thinks, just for a little while. Just long enough to feel like she has given her body a chance to rest; she feels like a wound spring, tense and ready to explode.
So she closes her eyes, and takes a slow, soft breath. There will be time to see Lee and Neji and even weird, old Gai tomorrow.
Tenten needs sleep.
But she knows she will not get it.
She does not know when she falls asleep, just as she does not know when she wakes. Time is a questionable thing, to Tenten, and sometimes she thinks her memories may be a little bit… wrong (was it before or after the Chuunin exams that you realized you hated the sight of blood? You can't remember, can you…?).
But even if they are wrong, she knows that, at the very least, they happened.
Then again, lots of things happened, and Tenten has always been a dreamer. Sometimes, her dreams are so real, they take the place of her real memories, so instead of seeing Lee smiling, she thinks he's gone and died.
Then she remembers that it does not do to dwell on dreams, and shakes it away with a shudder. She doesn't know what the hell she's thinking.
But the world is still falling apart (ofcourseitis, did you think it would stop just because you realize that you're fall-fall-falling into something like insanity?).
It is grey outside, and Tenten despairs.
She is wearing a raincoat the colour of the sky in deep afternoon -a bright blue (happy-happy-happy, so unlike you)-, and she reaches the training ground almost half an hour later.
She doesn't care. The rain is not warm enough to dance in, when it's even there at all. It is a grey day, and it matches Tenten's mood almost perfectly. It matches her mood far better then the raincoat she is wearing now.
She doesn't let it get to her.
But Neji is not at the training ground, and Tenten realizes that she is really all alone.
She almost laughs, bitter and tired and (fall-fall-falling apart just like the rest of the world) so exhausted of everything. Then she sinks to her knees, to rest.
It is not long before she is lying on her back, staring at the sky. It is still grey, and Tenten thinks that it may start raining soon. If it starts raining, she may get sick. If she gets sick, she will not be able to train. If she is not able t train, she will be useless to Lee and Gai-sensei and-… and-… and to Neji, although, she thinks that she is already somewhat useless to Neji, because he isn't here.
And Neji never misses practice. Never.
So Tenten lays there, on the cold ground, and stares at the cloudy, grey sky. She traces pictures in those clouds, outlining them with a finger, and then she tells herself stories to pass the time.
She has decided she will not move from this spot until someone she cares about comes to find her. She knows that no one will come, because no one will miss her absence.
This thought hurts, and she winces as she sits up, to look around.
And then she sees Neji, staring at her bemusedly, a slight smile on his face.
Tenten studies him. He looks the same as always - immaculate white shirt, perfect dark pants, annoyingly perfect hair… He is also carrying a bag. This is new. But he is still Neji. Always Neji.
He walks over to her, also carrying an umbrella. So he thought it was going to rain, too, did he? Did he think the sky was going to cry for Lee, like she did?
"Can I sit?" he asks, and she nods (you would never say no, not to him, even if you did love someone else… which, sadly, you don't). He drops the bag next to her, and sits down (just so graceful that it hurts-hurts-hurts).
Tenten half-smiles at him. She does not have the energy to smile fully. It has all been taken up, worrying about Lee, and just what may happen to him.
She does not want the only brother she has ever known to die.
And it starts to rain, the cloudy (grey-grey-grey like your mood) sky cracking open and pouring out torrents of rain. Tenten can only close her eyes, and for a moment, she allows herself to pretend that they are just kids - that neither of them have ever killed, and that Lee is not dying in the hospital.
With the rain hitting her face, she thinks that maybe, in another life, it just might be alright.
But this is the only world she has, the only one she wants. Her voice cracks when she says "Look Neji, the sky is crying for Lee."
And then she almost sobs, because now she is allowed to cry, because when the sky cries, the whole world cries (even if it is fall-fall-falling apart). There are hot, wet tears running down Tenten's cheeks, and she hopes to god that he can't see them.
She would never want Neji to think she were so weak as to cry.
He doesn't say anything in reply, but the rain on Tenten's face cuts off, and she is surprised to see an umbrella-roof over her head. She almost laughs - a watery, broken, scared laugh -, but, of course she doesn't.
"You were getting wet," he says as way of explanation, but Tenten silently wonders if it is more then that.
But then again, perhaps he is just being Neji, just like always.
She looks at him, tilting her head to the side. She always does this when she examines something, and this is no different. She examines him the way she would examine a battle field; carefully, meticulously, checking every single possible way of intrusion, every possible means of failure.
But in the end, she doesn't find anything other then the Neji she has known for ten years. Of course; did she expect anything different? (The honest answer is 'yes', you know. You expect him to love you, but he's stupid and he doesn't and-)
The rain is warm, Tenten finds. It has changed, from how it was before. Not cold, anymore (or maybe it's just that your perception of 'cold' has changed…).
Even though her hair is soaked, and coming out of it's double-dun style that is so easy to move in, and even though her face is just as soaked as her hair, it is not cold (no, not cold, but you can feel yourself fall-fall-falling apart in the worst way).
So she turns to Neji, and, with another energy-lacking half-smile, she says "Do you want to come dancing with me?"
She poses it as a question, but she already knows the answer. Neji does not do thing as undignified as dancing.
Because she already knows his answer, just from the look on his face, she stands up, and dusts off her hands. Fine. If he does not want to dance with her in the rain, then she will dance on her own (you want him to dance with you, don't you? You want him to tell you it's alright…)
Tenten drops her robin's-egg-blue rain coat on the ground next to Neji. She won't need it; she is planning to get wet, and stay wet.
And so she closes her eyes, and raises her face to the sky. She does not cry. Tenten is too strong to cry.
But soon, the music of the rain takes over her body, and she forgets where she is. She forgets that Neji is still watching, and she forgets that Lee may be dying. She forgets the scars, and the mud-brown hair and eyes, and she forgets that the world is falling apart (just like you, fall-fall-falling to pieces of broken china).
She doesn't know how long she dances. She doesn't want to know, either. This is Tenten's time to be Tenten. It may be a Tenten held down by grief, a Tenten who is too weak to not cry, a Tenten who is not beautiful or perfect, a Tenten who can not fly… But it is a Tenten.
And she supposes this is all that really matters.
She hears soft laughter behind her, and she whirls around, to see Neji. He is still wearing the bemused smile, but now he looks contemplative.
Tenten silently dares him to really laugh at her. She knows where that blind spot is, and she knows exactly how to hit it. She thinks that he had better not make her mad; he would live to regret it.
"You're weird," is all he says.
"Yes," she says simply in reply, and then she turns her back on him. She does not need to elaborate. She is Tenten, and he is Neji and she is (fall-fall-falling apart; why can't he see you're falling apart?!) tired of trying to be something she is not.
She does not need to prove herself to him. It is really none of his business, anyways.
And then she feels someone gently slip their hand into hers, and she does not dare hope. She turns to look at Neji, and all he says is "You're right. The sky is crying for Lee."
And Tenten has never been happier.