To be forced into silence for a minute or two is nothing but a menial task: ninja are expected to quiet themselves during times of great turmoil or when lives are at stake. But when forced into a lengthened period of silence, a ninja may not respond as well as they would have in a shorter session. They may start to fold under the pressure of not having the freedom to speak, not having the liberty to say what they mean. They slowly begin to lose their minds, and when the invisible rope holding their lips together is loosened, they may say nothing at all, as all that was ever needed to be said has died in the back of their mind.

This method of self-destruction is very common in war-prone lands, where the ninja are constantly being put into situations where capture is all but a possibility and the threatening glare of enemy eyes is all around. The ninja who endure this torture become distant after their safe return home, never speaking, never showing that something is internally wrong. Families break apart when one of the pillars collapse in on themselves, and this event becomes traumatic for all who ever interacted with the family.

Silence is called a virtue, something that only the extraordinary can achieve without fail. Ninja are some of those who can do the given task beautifully, but their minds cannot hold up against the pressure for very long...

The words on the wall were the same as they had been only minutes before, yet she knew they held a different meaning now then when she had looked earlier. Midnight had just passed, and for the next five days, she would be putting herself up against the wisdom of the words. What had started as a silly joke turned into a verbal contract, forcing her to obey the rules it set or else she would be put through real pain.

After all, being quiet for five days wouldn't be that hard. She had done it before when she was younger, but that time it was out of necessity, not order. When she was facing the fact that someone dear to her had died, she had the strength to keep her lips closed, so how hard could it be to do it after she was told to in a play upon what she had spoken only hours before?

The only difference was circumstance, and she knew that all too well. Circumstances changed, and with them, so did the rules of the game.

A sigh escaped, almost followed with words of encouragement, but she stopped herself before she said anything. She was, after all, a ninja trained to be silent when necessary, and she was sure that her challenge wouldn't be ended so quickly.

With another glance at the wall, she sighed again. A door opened behind her; she turned to see the person that she had set the contract with entering the room. Her eyes shifted to the floor, and the person spoke.

"Hello there," he said, and the voice sent shivers down her spine. "I didn't expect to see you in here, looking at the wise things our ancestors said." She, keeping with her silence, did not reply.

"You don't really need to follow through with your silly promise. I can assure you that if you do speak, I will not keep up my side of the deal." Her heart pounded loudly as he continued with: "However, I must say this. If you do choose to continue, you must stay here. Just as a little friendly treatment from one teammate to another."

She looked up at him and mouthed, "You can keep me here all you want, but I will not back down." He chuckled to himself as she glared into his eyes and added. "I mean it, too."

"Sure, you mean it, but you're just a girl with a need to talk. Face it: you won't last a single day in your solemn hell. I guarantee it." He took a glance at the wall. "There is too much at stake for you to do so."She shook her head defiantly. "Oh? You really think you'll survive? Tenten, I know you almost as well as I know myself. There is no way."

"Five days?" A nod. "Here?" A second nod. "I think he's right, Tennie. You'll lose your mind before you even get to tonight." To that she shook her head, and the person grabbed her hand. "I live with him. I should be able to tell you these things."

The person, Hinata, grinned as the girl squirmed, trying to resist her grasp. "Don't think you can outsmart a Hyuuga," she warned. "We're tricky creatures by nature, and we love to be challenged by people like you. Of course, this isn't my battle to fight." Her head tilted backwards, and she let out a loud laugh, her dark locks cascading down her back. "I'm just here for moral support, I guess."

Tenten rolled her eyes. "Oh, you don't believe me?" Hinata asked, to which the other girl nodded. "Then maybe I should just step out and let my cousin do all the talking on the matter. Wouldn't that just make you happy?"

As there should have been, there was no answer. However, there was a knock on the door to the room in which they were in. "You girls in there?"

"Yeah!" Hinata let go of her and pushed her towards the door. "She's coming out now!" It was a silent second before she whispered, to Tenten: "Go on out there. After all, he's waiting for you."

She groaned and opened the door just a crack. On the other side was him, the man she had made this entire deal with.

"Oh hello there," he said, pulling her out of the room and closing the door behind her. "Welcome to day one of life here." He looked at her and smiled, as she was rolling her eyes again. "You'll love being in my company. Now talk, so we can stop this."

Arrogance took over her mind as she stomped on his foot. "Now, that's not very nice, is it?" he asked, glaring at her. "If you're going to do that, I guess I will not follow through with my end of the bargain."

"Try me," she mouthed. "I dare you."

His eyes, a pure white in color, did not lift their gaze. "Well, I am trying you, so your threats really mean nothing."

She mimed a long, curse-laden tirade, but did not speak. "I'll play nice after you lose this bet, you know. I don't want to hurt such a sweet little girl like you over something so stupid."

"Yeah, well," her lips motioned, "I swear you all are crazy for doing this to me."

"Us all? It was my idea, Tenten. I came up with this whole thing. Including the rules, regulations, and the contract. However, I may have been swayed with the ideas of my cousins and uncle..."

Her jaw dropped. "You can't be serious. Neji..." No words came out, but her lips moved as she tried to silently explain her thoughts.

"I am serious. Have fun living here for the next five days."

A/N: Figured I should post this now while I remember it. :) My new side project. Hope you like it.

I don't own.