I do not own Naruto. Disclamer done. It applies to all my chapters!.
A/N: Here is my dabble in the sidestory of Tenten and Shino, from my earlier story "Unwritten". I hope it doesn't disappoint.
I do wan to warn all readers and future reviewerss that I'm uber busy with stupid school crap, so I will update a bit more slowly than before. And, by slowly, I mean a couple times per week (at least). I wanted to elaborate on the already hinted at story of two shinobi who are in much need of lovin'!
Tenten stared at the ceiling. Her mind was fuzzy with the frenzied events that had just taken up the past hour of her time. She inhaled deeply, smiling as she recognized the familiar scent. He smelled of crisp autumn woods, and, if she breathed deeply enough…orange spice. His smell was intoxicating. She closed her eyes, enjoying the feel of his warm heart beating against her soft cheek. He was an amazing specimen of the male gender, she could confirm. How had she never noticed him before the mission to retrieve Naruto? It was that mission, after all, that had forced them together.
It had been months since she, as a member of ANBU, had infiltrated the tiny village with Ino, Sakura, and Shino. The time had passed quickly since then, and she didn't regret one single moment of it. Up until that point, she had only said a few words to the Aburame heir, nothing more, nothing less. She was close with Hinata, and spoke to Kiba often—but Tenten had never really noticed the other, former, member of Team Kurenai.
Right now, though, she was really noticing him as they lay entangled in her bed. She snuggled against his chest, enjoying the few moments they would share until he left for his new mission. Oh, to be jonin and ANBU—always some mission or interrogation, never a moment alone. It was rare that they could enjoy these few hours of solitude, and they definitely took advantage of that fact.
Her smile grew as she recounted the months she had spent with this wonderful man. How had she come to be so lucky?
"Shino?" she drawled lazily, eyes closed; her body content from his wonderful ability to drain it of any tension.
"Yes, Tenten?" he replied, his voice still hoarse from their love-making.
She smiled, it should be her voice that should be raspy—she was doing all the screaming. "Don't go," she quietly pleaded.
"Excuse me?" he murmured, absentmindedly pushing her long chestnut hair from her face. He had yet to open his eyes.
"Stay. Screw the mission. Screw the Hokage's orders," she mused. "Stay here with me."
"Tenten," he sighed, "You know that it would not be advisable to cross the Hokage in such a manner."
She rolled her eyes as she propped herself up on her forearms, looking at his face. "I know that. Can't you just play along for one minute?"
"Play along?" he echoed, his brow furrowed in confusion.
Despite the fact that she could not see his eyes behind the dark glasses, she could tell that he was definitely not looking at her face. Her complexion was still flushed from their throes of passion, so her blush was safely masked from the rubor. "Yes, you know," she rolled her eyes again as she sighed emphatically, "humor me. Pretend like you'll really avoid duty."
"Oh. I see," he replied, his concentration elsewhere.
Tenten immediately sat upright, slightly annoyed at how easily the jonin could be distracted by a pair of breasts. She pulled the sheets with her as she faced away from him, her hair cascading over her shoulders and down her back. Shino watched her fluid movement, his eyes following the coppery highlights that shone in her hair as the sunlight hit it at the right angle. It was what he loved most about her: her hair. It was really quite beautiful.
It wasn't that didn't appreciate the rest of her, she was an attractive woman by any man's standards. But, her hair was breathtaking on its own. Perhaps it was because, after all of these years, she still wore it confined. When they were genin, she wore it pinned high on her head in two distinct buns. Now, she modified it by plaiting it into one long, thick braid that fell down her back. It was as if no one ever saw her like this. But, he…he was blessed with being able to see it unpinned. And that was a great gift indeed.
He reached out, wrapping a curly lock around his finger. He watched her skin raise with gooseflesh as his outstretched fingers gently stroked her skin. He licked his lips, it was going to take him forever to leave, at this rate. Perhaps they did have time for one more—
"Are you going to see Kushina?" Tenten interrupted, changing the subject. She didn't turn to face her lover as she spoke to him.
He rolled onto his side, facing her. He propped himself up onto one arm, while the other hand twirled her silky chestnut-colored tresses. "I was hoping to see her before I left. I promised Sakura and Naruto I would stop by before my mission."
He watched her shoulders droop slightly as he said this. He knew that she was disappointed that their time together was dwindling. Between his duties and her ANBU responsibilities, it was becoming increasingly frustrating to find time to spend with one another. The past few months had been wonderful, he would admit. He had never felt so loved in his entire life.
Tenten was unlike any woman he had ever met. She was filled with grace, poise, and intellect—the latter being the most important to him. He could hold an actual conversation with her, and she could follow his every word. She was both sharp and witty, and her skills in weaponry were deadly. She was not a woman to trifle with, as she could go from cheerful to lethal in less than a few seconds. And, most of all, she was not afraid of him. During his early childhood, he was often shunned due to his clan's Kikaichu. As he grew into his teens, and most of his peers began exploring with the opposite sex, he was left out of that trend. Being someone who uses insects was not popular amongst the young women in Konoha.
Not many shinobi went out of their way to befriend him, instead chalking it up to his aloof nature. It wasn't until he was asked to partake in that fated mission that his luck had changed. He had managed to fall in love, twice. Once with the tiny being that was growing within Sakura, and the other to the woman who was dangerously close to being ravaged again. He closed his eyes, trying to focus.
"You are welcome to come with me, Tenten. Sakura and Naruto would be more than excited to see you. In fact, Sakura continually asks me to bring you when I visit. Because you are my..er, significant other."
"Significant other?" Tenten said softly. "Is that what you are calling me?" she turned, a smile creeping across her face. Her eyes shone with excitement and temptation.
Shino could feel himself respond. "Would you prefer I address you as something else?"
Tenten lazily shook her head, laughing as she reached for her hair pins. They were haphazardly strewn across the nightstand next to her bed. Shino felt his stomach sink, he hated when she tamed her hair.
"You really are wonderful with Kushina," she told him.
He remained silent for a few moments, as if in contemplation. "I am her godfather. That is an important responsibility," he replied thoughtfully. He could still remember the emotional moment when Sakura and Naruto had asked him to fulfill that role for their unborn child. He felt his throat tighten with that memory.
Tenten automatically pinned one side of her hair into her normal style. "Admit it, it suits you," she smiled warmly. She had watched the young Aburame interact with the infant; he fit the role perfectly. He was tender and caring around the young girl, and Tenten knew that a beautiful relationship had blossomed from the moment the two had met.
"You were overjoyed when she was born," she reminded him of that day, in the hospital waiting room.
He smiled, remembering the first cry that was expelled from the tiny baby's lungs. It was melodical to his ears. Even his kikkai had hummed with anticipation and excitement. "I enjoy my duty," he conceded. "Very much."
Tenten's hands trembled as she braided her hair, fastening any strays in place. She closed her eyes, forcing the words from her mouth, "Does it make you want to become a father?"
"Me?" She could hear Shino's sharp intake of breath, but was unsure of whether it was from shock or fear. "What is the meaning of that question, Tenten?" his voice was hard—cold, almost. She felt her heart skip a beat.
"N-nothing," she waved her hand into the air. "I just thought that maybe it brought out your paternal side. You know, made you want to have a child. Even Ino and Hinata are talking about wanting to settle down and have children."
"I do not wish to have children," his reply was curt.
Tenten turned to look at him, in shock, her eyes studying the angles of is soft, yet well-defined, face. His jaw was clenched, and she could see the muscles tensing in his neck. "You don't want children?" she asked carefully. What? How could he say that?
"You heard me correctly," his voice was monotonous. "It is not something for which I aspire."
"I-I don't understand," she studied her own reflection in his glasses. It was times like these that she wished she could see his eyes.
"What is there to understand, Tenten? I do not wish to have offspring of my own." Something about the tone of his voice made her think that there was more to this story than he was letting on.
She looked at him through narrowed eyes. "There has to be a reason you think that," her voice dripped with suspicion.
He didn't reply for a few moments. "It is my decision."
"But, surely, if your wife were to get pregnant…you would be accepting of that child?" her voice sounded more hopeful than she had intended. Years of ANBU training had prepared her for emotional detachment, but this was not something she could easily distance herself from.
"I would prevent that from happening," he confided. "Besides, there are ways to terminate a pregnancy, are there not?"
Tenten's jaw dropped open. Shino? Was this really Shino? "You are joking! You cannot be serious!" her voice was becoming more high-pitched with each exclamation.
He shook his head slowly. "I do not wish for a child," he reaffirmed. It was almost as if he was trying to convince himself of that fact.
"I-I can't believe you would advocate for an abortion!" she gasped, her hand absentmindedly settling on her bare abdomen.
"I do not advocate for abortions, Tenten, but I would choose my wife's life over that of a child's," he responded softly.
So that was it! "Why would it come down to choosing one life over another?" she asked, suddenly confused by his cryptic answer.
He said nothing, as he silently studied her from behind his glasses. "I think this discussion is marring our remaining time together before my mission," he replied cautiously. "If you would like to continue this discussion when I return, we can do so. But, I would like to enjoy my last few hours in Konoha. With you."
Tenten nodded weakly, as she studied his face. There was definitely something she was not quite grasping with this conversation. She was startled by his sudden, ardent denial for wanting offspring, and she was determined to get to the bottom of it. She had intended to share the good news with him before he left on his reconnaissance mission, but this discussion had put a damper on the mood. If this was how he felt, how would he take her confession? She suddenly felt the urge to vomit, and had to fight the trembling in her legs.
He reached up and quickly untied her braid, running his fingers through the soft length of it. Her hair tumbled loosely, spilling around her shoulders. He stared into her eyes the entire time, carefully watching her expression. Shino could tell that something had changed from their discussion, but he pushed the concern from his mind. Her sudden fervor had left him aroused, and he intended to enjoy the time they had left.
"Shino," she whispered as he cupped her breast, running his fingers over the smoothness of her curves. Part of her wanted to resist his sudden, passionate gestures. His arousal hadn't passed by her unnoticed, either. She averted her eyes, her mind screaming that this was not the moment to become intimate with her lover.
You just discussed children, and he denied wanting a child! the voice reprimanded her. He can always change his mind. Besides, I'm sure he has a reason for his argument, she silently replied. I bet it is has to do with his mother. The mother he never spoke about. The mother that Tenten knew had died when he was an infant. The mother that Sakura suspected was the motivation behind his rejection of the medic's involvement on the retrieval mission (as Sakura had shared with her). It had to be.
His lips trailed along her neck, his breath eliciting an automatic response in the pit of her stomach. As he softly bit the sensitive skin on her neck, whatever resolve she had held immediately crumbled away.
Tenten brushed the tears from her eyes as she raced toward the Aburame compound. She had always felt this emotional when they were to be separated for even the shortest periods of time. This time, however, it was worse. Far worse. Despite her ability to push their earlier conversation from her mind, it kept creeping back to the forefront.
She had accompanied Shino to Naruto and Sakura's cottage, watching him carefully as he held tiny Kushina. Sakura looked at her warily, her eyes silently asking if Tenten had told Shino. She had merely shook her head in confirmation that she had not. Sakura smiled as she watched her daughter gurgle at her godfather, uknowing of the Aburame's denial for a child of his own. Tenten wanted to cry to Sakura, to tell her everything—but the time was not right for such conversation. Perhaps after Shino left…
She sobbed, wiping more tears from her face as she weaved through the compound, avoiding the well-placed traps and other protective measures the Aburame Clan took to guard their dwellings. She hiccupped as she felt the hysterics coming on. She remembered the sadness of their last embrace before her left. She hadn't wanted to let him go without telling him. But, she couldn't. No, there was someone she needed to speak with first. There was something she needed to know. To understand.
She reached the manor, slipping inside unseen. Her feet silently took her through the hallways and into the study. That's where she found him: his back to her as he dipped his pen into the inkwell. With the lighting and the angle he looked like a much-older Shino. Would Shino be this stoic and composed in his older years, she wondered.
"You do not have to take such measures to have an audience with me." She jumped as his voice cut through her thoughts. She immediately felt guilty for practically breaking into his home, as well as for the thoughts that were just running through her head.
"I am assuming you have good reason to trespass on my property, young lady," his tsk-ed as he laid his pen on the mahogany desk. "The penalty for such behavior is quite pricey. I may have to negotiate your marriage with my son."
Before he could utter anohter word, Tenten quickly kneeled at the front of the massive desk, her head bowed in respect. "I-I'm sorry, Aburame-sama," her voice was weak.
From the coloring of her face, Shibi immediately knew that this was not time for light-hearted humor. He quickly sobered. "Have you been crying, Tenten-san?" his voice was softer; filled with concern, even.
She did not meet his gaze. "No," she whispered.
When he did not reply, she knew it was because he did not believe her. "Yes," she sighed.
"Look at me, child," he pleaded.
When she raised her sore and puffy eyes to meet his, she could see the concern etched into his features. Like his son, Shibi also wore dark glasses, though his face was accented by neatly trimmed facial hair. He was not wearing his traditional confining attire—his was face clearly visible. In fact, this was the most dressed down that Tenten had ever seen him. He was wearing a dark crimson kimono with a gold-patterned haori. She blinked as the pattern moved in the dim lighting of the room.
"What is it?" his voice was soft and searching. "Has something happened with you and Shino?"
Tenten shook her head as she hoarsely replied, "You're the only one who can advise me. I need your help."