I know all of these new stories are hard for you all to keep track of, but I swear this one will be memorable.

And it's update times will be at its own device. :) Meaning, if I'm not feeling it, it's not getting posted. :D

I'm hoping this will be shorter as well, but you regular readers know my writing goes awry more often than not.

This is the result of way too many cop shows and hour-long specials on the Discovery channel that featured life inside maximum security prisons.

Note: There's nothing my mind can't cover with imagination.

Yeah. . .

I'll leave it there for now and let you read. :)

Disclaimer: I make no profit from writing about Masashi Kishimoto's characters. If I did, I'm sure I'd have a better day job by now.


When TenTen had imagined her life, she never expected jail to be a part of it.

She had gone to college, went through the police academy, applied for jobs. . .

TenTen had never thought she would be sitting at the admissions desk of the county jail.

Her job was simple enough.

She made sure the detained that came in had their paperwork in full order, their medical histories were arranged, gathered their fingerprints, had the detained photographed. It was an extra perk that by the time they reached her, the detained were thoroughly pissed off.

TenTen was good with people. She always had been. That's what made her so good at her job.

She could do other things too; she didn't go to police boot camp for nothing. TenTen wore a gun on her hip and a baton at her waist. She knew hand-to-hand combat and thirty-four ways to injure someone enough to where they couldn't hurt her back.

The county jail she worked in was notorious for getting the brunt of gang members, prostitutes, and drug addicts.

There wasn't anything TenTen hadn't seen, heard, or experienced in that jail that could derail her to quitting.

She had put up with all of it this far; she was in no way going to fail now.

TenTen stared up at her bedroom ceiling unblinkingly.

She had the night shift tonight.

TenTen yawned and impatiently yanked off her bed sheets, dragging herself to her bathroom.

It was unusual for her to feel this exhausted, despite the fact she'd went to bed early the night before.

TenTen absently kneaded her shoulder.

A few days before a female gang member had escaped her grip and slammed TenTen into a stone wall. Her shoulder was still bruised and hadn't yet recovered.

It was Saturday, the highest night of crime in their city.

TenTen would have her work cut out for her.

When TenTen pulled into the parking lot of the jail, it looked like things were already in full swing inside.

With a heavy sigh, TenTen slid out of her car, grudgingly pulling on her windbreaker.

She shoved her keys into her pants pocket and started for the front door, holding up her keys and phone when the metal detector went off. The police at the front door waved her through, calling out hellos. TenTen smirked and shook her head, starting for the staff room.

Sakura, the jail's doctor, was making coffee.

She glanced at TenTen over her shoulder, stirring liquid in a styrofoam cup.

"Our lovely inmates got started early tonight. Lockdown in Block C," Sakura began.

TenTen sighed and slid her timecard in the machine.

"Great. Gang fight?"

"Nope. Hoe fight. Two prostitutes went at it. The tape's floating around somewhere if you want to see it."

TenTen winced uncomfortably.

"I'll pass. You can see much better on television, with just as much rage."

Sakura shrugged and tried some of her coffee.

"Kiba was looking for you earlier. I told him you didn't come in until later."

TenTen made a face at the wall.

"Did he say why he was looking for me?" she asked, keeping her voice blank.

"Nope. Didn't say."

TenTen sighed and put down her timecard.

The staff room door opened.


TenTen turned and raised her eyebrows.

Naruto was leaning into the room, hand resting on the doorknob.

"Swipe your timecard and let's go. We just hauled in a whole bunch of ugly."

Naruto couldn't be any more right.

The group they'd brought in was from a sting in a drug house.

By the time TenTen got done with all of them, she was exhausted and brooding.

Not a second later though, Kiba was leading in another prisoner.

TenTen focused on the water she was drinking, averting Kiba's eyes.

"Sit down," Kiba muttered brusquely. TenTen knew the tone well. He was upset with her. "You will refer to her as 'Officer', understand?"

TenTen set down the bottle, a little harder than need be.

She glared at Kiba.

"Thank you, Inuzuka. Now please wait outside until my interrogation is over."

Kiba flinched like she'd hit him, but he left, shutting the door behind him.

TenTen rubbed her temples, trying to soften the migraine she was getting. If anything, it flared more.

She looked up at the prisoner.

He was her age, and his hair was long and dark. His eyes were pale. And staring straight through her . . . or, at least, that's what it felt like.

TenTen quickly broke the gaze, picking up a new file.

"What's your name?" TenTen asked.

When the pause lengthened, TenTen reluctantly looked up again.

"Are you lucid?" she inquired flatly, trying to see if his eyes were dilated. She was disappointed; she couldn't make heads-or-tails from those peculiar eyes.

The man before her smirked slightly.

"Very. My name's Neji Hyuga."

TenTen pursed her lips, but wrote down his name.

"Date of birth?"

"July third. But I'm sure my police report clarifies all of the details."

TenTen set down her writing utensil.

"I don't have your police report. Unfortunately, the people who brought you in weren't the officers who booked you. I won't have your report until your original officers show up. Which is why I need your information. Now, tell me what you did to land in jail, Hyuga."

He said nothing.

TenTen's jaw clenched, irritable.

"Listen, Hyuga, you're already in jail. You have nothing to lose by telling me what you did to get here; I can put you where you need to be. I dictate where you go, understand? If you don't tell me what you did, then I'll put you in a holding cell for the night."

Neji nodded.

"Put me in the holding cell," he murmured.

TenTen stared at him, incredulous.

"You're not going to tell me what you did?"


TenTen's forehead wrinkled, confused.

"Why? Why won't you tell me?"

Neji exhaled quietly, blinking once at the table in front of him.

"I can't say."

TenTen stared at him, shaking her head.

"You realize the holding cell I'll put you in will have at least ten other people in it. I just interrogated a large group of crack addicts. They'll be going through withdrawals."

Neji studied TenTen thoroughly.

"I'll be fine, Officer. Though I admire your concern for my well-being."

TenTen scoffed and popped the cap on her water bottle, draining the rest of the container.

She sighed and set it down on the table between them.

"You get your phone call now. Who are you going to call?"

Neji shook his head.

"I don't want my phone call."

TenTen openly gazed at him, bewildered beyond comprehension. All of the people she interrogated took their phone calls when offered. All of them.

"Why not?" she asked, blatant.

A corner of Neji's mouth lifted.

"I don't require one."

"Because of what you did?" TenTen cornered.

His smirk widened.

"Did they teach you all of these tricks in the police academy, Officer?"

TenTen narrowed her eyes.

"Some of them," she answered.

The smirk turned into a wry smile.

He stared at her unflinchingly. It was enough to make TenTen feel intimidated.

"A word of advice, Officer? Mind games won't work on me."

"And why is that?"

Neji's smile was driving her crazy.

"I'm too intelligent for you," he replied simply.

TenTen nodded bitterly and stood, grabbing him forcibly by the elbow and escorting him to the door.

She swiftly moved him through fingerprints and photographs, ignoring the penetrating looks he kept giving her.

Before Kiba received Neji, he murmured lowly to TenTen, "Have a good night, Officer."

TenTen was relieved to see him gone from her sight.

. . . Yeah.

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