The Land of Heaven
(A Heaven Country rewrite)
Chapter 3: Bonds and Relations
Summary: Tenten is not the orphaned girl everyone thinks she is. She's actually from a prestigious clan, and hails from the legendary Ryogakure of the Land of Heaven. She ran away because her father wouldn't let her become a ninja, as was the clan rules with women. Now her best friend from Ryogakure has come to get her after eleven years, and she has no choice but to go back. What will her friends think? Will she reveal her secret at all? Takes place in Shippuden, before Jiraiya goes off and dies. NejiTen, ShikaTema.
Disclaimer: Don't own.
It was about ten minutes since the mission briefing in Tsunade's office, and the people assigned to this mission were walking down the streets of Konoha, talking amongst themselves. Sakura, determined to impress the foreign kunoichi and to wheedle out information from her, kept up with Jin-cai's fast steps while the rest of the group lagged behind. Yamato had tried to keep up with the two high spirited kunoichi to find out something about the Wood Release style in the Land of Heaven, but had soon given up to come back and walk with the rest of them.
Tenten sighed, annoyed, and Neji gave her a questioning glance. She inclined her head towards her right, where Lee and Sai were attempting to talk to a still-shocked Naruto, attempting being the key word. The usually hyperactive ninja had been replaced by a silent one, walking with a dull glaze over his eyes. Tenten chewed on her bottom lip, indicating that she was worried about him.
Neji closed his eyes briefly and nodded. He'll be fine, was what he was saying.
Tenten puffed up her cheeks then let out a breath. I know, but I'm still worried, she told her teammate. Neji and she had, after being teammates so long, developed a way of communication that only required small gestures and facial expressions, in Neji's case that being replaced by raised eyebrows. Tenten smiled. But I know he'll be fine. He is Naruto, after all.
Neji saw through that. Damn, Tenten thought. He was now looking her, his left eyebrow raised higher than his right. He was asking her what she was hiding. Tenten scrunched up her face to cheekily grin at him. Nothing! Nothing at all! Her teammate relented, looking up once to give a slight smirk. Neji's version of rolling his eyes. Tenten let her attention go back to the shinobi clad in orange and black.
It had obviously been a shock for him to find that Sasuke had killed Orochimaru and had approached a different ninja village after that, a village that was not Konoha, not Konoha at all. That and the fact that Sasuke now led his own four-man team, composed of a strange mix of shinobi who had been experimented on by Orochimaru.
Tenten shuddered. That had been a surprise for herself as well, that Sasuke had approached the nin-cats residing in the ruins of a city in the Land of Heaven, in the Mu clan's district.
Mu clan. She grimaced again, remembering just how their rather large group had been forcibly thrown out of the office.
"I do wonder, though." Jin-cai had spoken up out of the silence that had fallen after Tsunade's short explanation on the Sasuke situation.
"Yes?" The Hokage acknowledged her, and Jin-cai inclined her head towards Yamato.
"You can use the... Wood related jutsu, yes?" Yamato nodded.
"Yes, that's right."
"So are you related to the First Hokage then? Last I heard, the only one left of the Senju family was your current Hokage..." Jin-cai trailed off until Tsunade nodded at her.
"That is correct, but what is it that you were wondering about?" Jin-cai smirked at her.
"Well, your clan, your people, are originally from Ryogakure. From a branch family of the Mu clan."
Jin-cai gloated a bit as the rest of the shinobi in the room stared at her. Even Tenten had not known this information.
"What I'm wondering is..." Jin-cai turned to face Tsunade again. "If Yamato can use the bloodline now, how come you can't? You're more directly descended from them, are you not? I wonder..."
Tenten winced at the memory of the door slamming on them. Obviously, Tsunade did not like the loss of the Senju bloodline mentioned. She wished Jin-cai would have shown at least a bit more courtesy to the Hokage...
Said foreign kunoichi had currently managed to shake off Sakura to head over to Naruto.
"Hey, you okay?" she asked, concerned. Naruto looked up at the sound of her voice.
"Huh?" It only took a moment for his brain to register that everyone was staring at him, and he hastily pulled on a smile on his face. "Yeh, yeah! Of course I'm fine!" The others stared at him pointedly. "What?" Naruto asked aloud.
Sakura, belatedly running up to Jin-cai, hit Naruto on the head.
"Idiot!" she screeched, startling everyone else, "I know it's hard that Sasuke's gone over to a different hidden village and everything, but we have a client! Be cheerful!"
She perked up again, smiling at everyone else. "So, Jin-cai, about the herbs you mentioned earlier..."
She trailed off, realizing that it wasn't going to work. Everyone had seen the glimmer of hurt in her eyes, not to mention Naruto's.
Naruto chuckled slowly. "Sorry guys... I'm just..."
"Yeah, Sasuke. We get it," Temari budged in, "But think. You get to meet him on this mission, so just try and bring him back again!"
"You think we can bring him back this time?" Sakura seemed doubtful, sending glances at Naruto. Naruto's eyes, however, seemed to have a blaze in them. He was determined once more.
"Of course," Temari graced him with a rare smile, "You guys brought my brother back from the dead, after all. We of the Sand will forever be grateful for that."
"Yes!" Lee suddenly jumped in. "Comrades will never abandon each other! With the power of youth we shall prevail and..."
"Shut up! Lee!" Sakura shouted at him, hitting the back of his head. Lee made a comical expression, rubbing the spot where she hit him.
"Ouch..." he complained lightly, while everyone else laughed.
Tenten smiled. Of course Lee would bee the icebreaker. She then froze, eyes going wide. No. He wasn't. She sent an alarmed glance at Neji, who returned it. Oh gods, no.
Neji lurched forwards to try and grab Lee's wrist before he moved... he was too late.
Lee had taken out a full body green suit from his shinobi bag, and was currently holding it up for Jin-cai to behold.
Sakura and Yamato looked as if they were going to be sick.
"This!" Lee exclaimed, "Is an outfit made of stretchy spandex, which my former sensei has passed on for me to wear!"
Jin-cai eyed the mass of green warily, poking it. "Okay... and why are you showing this to me again?"
Lee's eyes lit up. "This is the answer to your earlier question! This green spandex makes it easier for us to move, allowing faster, unhindered movements! It is the ultimate shinobi outfit and I present this pair to you!"
Before Neji or Tenten could say anything, Naruto butt in.
"Yeah!" he exclaimed, "Bushy brows' sensei gave a pair to me too! It's really awesome, but the Perverted Sage wouldn't let me wear it."
Jin-cai's eyes twitched. "Uh. Yeah. Okay, I get it... but I'll decline the offer." She glanced at Tenten, who was furiously nodding. While it was good that Naruto was initially over Sasuke's... defection, it wouldn't be nice, or even funny, to force those things on Jin-cai.
"Uh... Lee, I don't think it's a great idea to offer..." Tenten began, only to be cut off by Neji.
"Lee. Gai might be around the dango shops today. Why don't you go and inform him about our mission? I'm sure he'd like to know."
"Yes!" Lee was gone before they could react.
"Um..." Jin-cai blinked, turning to Tenten, "What... was that?"
"Something our former sensei wears all the time. All the time." Tenten shook her head. "It's really ridiculous, but... Gai and Lee think its some kind of amazing thing."
"Hey!" Naruto shouted at her, "It is awesome! You guys just don't know it!"
Tenten raised an eyebrow. "Somehow, I highly doubt that."
Sakura laughed at Naruto's expression.
"Yeah, so that was my other teammate." Tenten told Jin-cai.
Jin-cai blinked. "He really is... exactly how you described him. Although, I thinkthe word crazy would suit him better?"
Tenten rolled her eyes. "Tell me about it. My Genin team was full of training addicts. Workaholics, the lot of them, including this one right here. Right, Neji?" she turned to her teammate with a smirk on her face. He glared back at her.
Shikamaru groaned. "Oh, by Kami. How did you even put up with them in the first place?"
Temari laughed. "You're right, they do need a break sometime. Even Gaara isn't that much of a workaholic."
Neji turned his glare to the Konoha-Suna liaison, who looked at him with innocent eyes. This time, Naruto started laughing.
"Ha! You're so right; Bushy brows's team is really hard working. They need a vacation."
Sakura and Yamato seemed satisfied that Naruto had recovered, but Sai decided just then to throw in his spoonful.
"You yourself train mindlessly, Dickless."
Naruto turned to Sai, furious. "You... Don't call me that!" he shouted at his teammate, flailing his arms and sending the girls present into fits of laughter. Even Neji and Shikamaru quirked a smile at his antics.
"Besides!" Naruto exclaimed over the din of laughter. "I haven't seen Neji train, but Bushy brows and his sensei are really crazy!"
Jin-cai turned to him, curiosity apparent on her face. "Why do you keep calling Lee 'Bushy brows'?"
Although this would have normally have Naruto shouting at the person who had asked for not noticing the obvious, Tenten had blocked his mouth before he could say anything. She grinned at Jin-cai's raised eyebrows.
"You'll see, if I'm correct, in five... four... three... two..." she took a large step back, just in time to avoid two green blurs from running over her toes. Shikamaru wasn't so lucky and he fell to the floor, clutching at his feet. Temari laughed.
When Tenten had brushed herself down she looked up to see Sakura staring at her as if she had spoken an entirely different language. No doubt the same expression would be on her face if she met Tenten as Tian-tian.
"What?" she asked instead, feigning ignorance, "I just know them well enough to expect when and how they're coming."
A loud guffaw caught her attention, and Tenten and Sakura turned to see Jin-cai and Naruto howling with laughter, clutching at their stomachs. Lee and Gai stood, quiet for once, identical looks of confusion on their faces.
A quick glance at Neji's facial expression confirmed Tenten's suspicions. She sighed. "Of course she'll laugh over such a nickname..." Jin-cai had been the one to convince the others close to her back in Ryogakure to call her Bo-bo. Steam buns. Tian-tian had been furious for a while, until finally consenting to the nickname when her brother told her it was cute. She only let her friends call her that, though, not that she had had many friends at all. A sudden thought crossed her and she frowned. Would the friends she left behind call her that still? Her eyes narrowed. They'd better not.
"So, Naruto," Jin-cai had finally calmed herself down and was struggling not to openly stare at Lee or Gai, "why were you so upset that Sasuke defected? I wouldn't give a shit about a bastard like him. Who is he to you?"
A heavy silence fell on the group and and the Konoha ninja present turned their heads to Naruto and Sakura, both of whom had frozen in mid-step.
Tenten inwardly cursed herself. Why had she not explained this to Jin-cai last night?
Tenten pushed through to the front. "Jin-cai! Let's... come on... No! Naruto! It's okay! I'll explain it to her..."
Naruto held up his hand, stopping her.
"Sasuke was..." he started to say, just to be cut off by Jin-cai.
"Your teammate, I know, your best friend, I know. Someone who defected to Orochimaru, I know." She looked at the incredulous faces around her. "What? I served in the spy force a few years back. Of course I know this stuff."
"Then... why'd you even ask in the first place?" Shikamaru raised an eyebrow at Jin-cai, who shrugged it off.
"Just to see his reaction. I saw that it wasn't gonna be pretty, so I just cut him off. There's an entirely different question I want to ask him." Jin-cai looked around for Naruto, who appeared right next to her.
"What is it?"
"Just..." Jin-cai stared Naruto straight in the eyes. "Are you gay?"
A silence fell upon the group and everyone turned to look at Naruto. Said shinobi was currently opening and closing his mouth repeatedly, face slowly going red.
Temari broke the silence, throwing her head back and letting out a loud laugh.
Shikamaru snorted, and Tenten started snickering as well while Naruto, Sakura, Gai and Lee stared, aghast, at Jin-cai. Yamato, Neji, and Sai held neutral expressions.
True, Naruto had been chasing Sasuke ever since the latter had left, but since he always professed his love for Sakura like Lee did...
"Wh...what?" Naruto exclaimed when he found his voice, eyes growing wide.
Jin-cai snorted. "Ha, no denials. Thanks for coming out clean!"
"Oh... oh! This is rich!" Temari started wiping tears from her eyes, still shaking with laughter.
Naruto flushed. "I am not gay!"
"Suuure you aren't." Jin-cai leered at him.
"No!" Sakura interjected. "I... I made him promise that he'd bring Sasuke back, no matter what! I... It's my fault!"
Both Sai and Jin-cai's eyes glinted, each taking note to eventually bring this information to their superiors.
"So that's it." Jin-cai said, a satisfactory grin on her face. Temari, Shikamaru, and Tenten were still holding onto each other, laughing. "But not many shinobi go that far for one promise, you know."
"But Naruto does." Neji stated quietly.
An awkward silence followed, the shinobi of the group sending furtive glances at each other whilst still walking.
Yamato and Gai looked at each other, moving slightly away from the group to talk about a previous mission the two had shared. For once, Yamato wasn't minding Gai's loud antics, glad to have another person to talk to for once.
"So!" Jin-cai uncomfortably cleared her throat. "What else can we talk about?"
"What's the Land of Heaven like?" Sakura started shooting out questions. "Do you get fair treatment as a kunoichi? How much free time do you have?"
"I wonder... do you have a boyfriend?"
Everyone turned to stare at Sai as he smiled back at them.
"As a matter of fact, I don't. I used to, but... let's just say we have different... destinies. My job is to protect the Tian family, and his is to..." She trailed off, and a strange look flitted onto her face for a few moments before she turned to face the group again with a smile.
"Anyway! Our country is kind of, like, more traditional than yours, I guess..."
As Jin-cai continued on with her small speech, Tenten looked around at the small group around her. Sakura, Lee, and Gai stared, enraptured, at Jin-cai's lavish descriptions about their home country. Yamato, Shikamaru, Sai, and Neji still held looks of contemplation on their faces as if trying to decide whether to trust the foreign kunoichi or not. Yet Naruto and Temari stood apart from the others, Naruto still looking downtrodden and Temari seeming awkward in a mission team composed of shinobi aligned to a different hidden village than hers.
"So, what do you think?" Tenten asked Neji, peering over at him.
Tenten hit him.
After a while, the group had scattered, each gone to their own homes to prepare for the mission ahead of them. With everyone else gone, Jin-cai finally came up to Tenten. "Tiantian'r gongzhu."
Tenten looked at her and motioned for her to continue.
Jin-cai looked reluctant to speak. "The... blonde kid. He said his name was Uzumaki... Is he? Who I think he may be?" She looked questioningly at Tenten, who sighed.
"Yes... he is a true Uzumaki. But I never told him. He doesn't even know who his parents were."
"Well then," Jin-cai demanded, "Which one is he descended from?"
Tenten closed her eyes briefly before answering her. "He is Uzumaki Naruto, son of Uzumaki Kushina." She looked Jin-cai squarely in the eye. "His father was Namikaze Minato, the Fourth Hokage."
Jin-cai took a sharp intake of breath. "So that means..."
"Yes," Tenten sighed again, "Even if he isn't the one... you know... It doesn't matter. He is not going to be welcomed."
Jin-cai suddenly jabbed Tenten's elbow, and Tenten's eyes snapped up to glare at her. Before she could rebuke her friend, however, Jin-cai made a quick nod towards a figure standing in close proximity to them. Hatake Kakashi.
Tenten stared for a few seconds, then looked back to Jin-cai.
"Oh," she stated rather simply, and looked down at the ground. "Forgot about him."
Jin-cai sighed, exasperated. "Sometimes I wonder if you trained at all." she said, glaring lightly at Tenten, "It's not that easy to, you know, forget about someone right there, someone barely even masking their chakra at all?"
The two of them turned to look directly at Kakashi, who only stared back. It was impossible to tell what exactly what he was thinking, but he blinked, once, twice, then shrugged. It was as if he didn't care, but all three of them knew better.
He then disappeared.
He would be at the Hokage's office soon.
Never mind about Chapter 2, this chapter was much harder to rewrite. Most of original chapter 3 was mindless, idiotic dialogue that was funny because it made absolutely no sense. So I took the liberty of rewriting most of the dialogue. I had originally intended to take out all the humor from this fiction, but that wouldn't make a story, would it?
I am well aware that those of you that liked Lee's costume change in Heaven Country may be disappointed, yet I have no regrets. I had to take out something. At least Lee's dialogue isn't all in capslock now.
If I had to take out humor, however, I would. I think. I would rather this become a adventure with not much humor than it be idiotic. Not that my writing now is so much better, it's just that it doesn't sound like I'm a mindlessly gushing fangirl anymore.
Oh, I am still a fangirl. Just not a mindless one anymore.
I wonder how many of you remember how old Jin-cai is, though. If not... I'm going to ask you to guess how old she is, so that I know whether I made her seem appropriate for her age or not. Here's a hint. She's older than the Konoha-11.
Oh, and yes, for all those people that reviewed asking for Neji's name in Chinese... It was on a Wikipedia spree that I discovered the kanji for Neji's name, which would be 捩. Now, when read in Japanese it is read Neji, but read in Mandarin, it is read Liè. Not 'lie' as in 'she lied to me,' but sorta like 'lee-eh' said quickly. See, told you it isn't that funny. I just laughed because it was so radically different, compared to Tenten and Tian-tian, for say. :)
Please review! See that button down there? Yeah, it's there for you to press. x)
Besides, more ideas, faster writing. And I think we all know you want faster updates than this… near one-year hiatus.
Would it kill you if I told you that I had this chapter done four months ago, but hadn't been able to upload it because I had misplaced my hard drive?
I thought so.