Hey. I was dead and still am. I managed to finish this quicky oneshot for you guys though. :I It's not edited yet. Freshly (sort of) written over the span of 1.5 years. Yeah. I know. Slow. So if there are any mistakes or this I didn't clarify or stuff. Sorry! orz
Maybe, one day, I'll get more serious about writing (in general) and being consistant about it.
Anyway, thanks for all the reviews for any of my stories and all the other support! w You guys rock!
This little story was inspired by Vienna Teng's "Green Island Serenade" and lots of bad weather.
DISCLAIMER: :/ i dun own naruto, maaaan.
Have a Little Faith
"Tenten, I'm sorry to bother at a time like this but I thought it would be important for you to know…"
It was only a few hours after midnight. The rush of Konoha fell into silence. Night had fallen and all was peaceful. One kunoichi had only fallen asleep an hour earlier, returning from a harsh training regimen to help her keep shape while her sparring partner, Hyuuga Neji, was gone. The brown hair that she had adorned on her head, like two Chinese buns, was quickly undone. She stripped off her clothing and without bothering to take a shower; she fell upon her bed in her bandages, bruises, and underwear.
She grumbled to be awakened by an obnoxious knock on her door. Although she had been saving money and had enough support to move to a better apartment complex, she chose to stay in her small two room apartment. It was enough space and comfy for her. However, the walls were thin and noise outside traveled in quickly. She could bear the sound of the harsh rain pattering; that was rather relaxing. But not knocking.
Tenten dragged herself out of bed, dodging weaponry and clothing that was strewn on the floor. She managed to find a fairly decent pair of pants and a long robe to put on before opening the door.
Inuzuka Kiba stood there, drenched with rain and mud. She felt that something was wrong. Kiba spoke in a rush and Tenten stood as helpless as she felt.
"Where is he." She stated directly, it was not a question.
Kiba began to explain that Neji was still in critical condition and no visitors were allowed, but Tenten ignored him. Without bother to put any more clothes, a coat for the rain or even shoes, she stepped outside, shut the door and ran down the stairs.
In a figurative manner, she basically 'flew' to the hospital. Kiba couldn't help but admire her desperate calmness. She hadn't cried or yelled out or screamed at him. She kept a straight face as she jumped from rooftop to rooftop. He then realized it wasn't calmness. It was shock.
When she finally stepped into the hospital, barefoot and wet, she looked ridiculous. Her eyes were big and mud had splattered from her feet up. One hand kept her robe closed, in sense to keep warm, but the numbness did more to focus on the reason she was here. Kiba came in behind her, equally wet. She looked at him.
"Where." She uttered one word. It held sudden desperateness.
Kiba motioned for her to follow and the two nin, like wet rats, scurried silently down the hallway.
Sakura had just exited the room. Sweat clung to her body as she had exerted almost all her chakra. Her arms felt tired from concentrating. 'Still unstable…' Haruno Sakura worried. She'd already taken two shifts and the patient's health had not grown any better. She didn't dare think about how he had gotten injured or who had injured him. For now, she just had to clean up a bit. And check if Kiba had come back.
"Oh, another mission? Didn't you just get back?" Tenten inquired curiously. Her sparring partner, friend, and team mate had recently returned from a scouting mission of Akatsuki activity near Leaf borders.
"It's what Tsunade requests."
"So? You can decline." Tenten nonchalantly flicked a kunai up in the air and caught it with her finger through the ring hole when it came down.
Tenten let out an exasperated sigh. "You worry me too much. I swear, and when you're not, you're training me to the bone," Tenten smiled brightly at him. "You're going to be the death of me."
"Well, I hope not."
Tenten laughed. It was a misconception that the prodigy didn't have a sense of humor. Neji could reply back without missing a beat with snarky comments. "Yeah, I hope not too."
Sakura had a slight heart attack when she suddenly saw two soaked beings in the gloomy hallway. She realized the first face, Kiba. The second one took time to register, with the hair down and different clothing, Tenten looked different.
Sakura rushed over. "Did you tell her?" She looked up at Kiba. Kibd nodded and opened his mouth to say something, but Tenten beat him to it.
"Where." In the same trance-like voice, Tenten demanded with a bit less passion than before.
Sakura too Tenten hands and led her down the hallway to the waiting room. There were already a few people there: Hiashi and Hinata.
Maybe it was the realization of seeing those white eyes that really brought Tenten to her sense, but before she knew it, salty tears covered her face and as Sakura leaned into a hug to comfort her, Tenten sobbed into her shoulder. Kiba stood uncomfortably.
The sudden wave of emotion left Tenten seemingly vulnerable and extremely weak. Although he wasn't on very close terms with her, he still couldn't help but feel he was witnessing something that was personal.
For the first time, Tenten stepped into the Hyuuga compound. It was more like castle to her. It had taken her forever to get even near the front doors, let alone knock and wait for someone to answer. But she was there for an important reason.
Hyuuga Neji, only 15, had suffered from a recent leg injury that also fractured his hip, from the last mission. Tenten felt it was her mistake that led to her friend to becoming immobile. So of course, guilty Tenten had come all the way to apologize and see if she could do anything. She didn't expect much, Neji like solitude over company unless it meant training. He didn't like pointless conversations.
Tenten stood in awe at the huge house and it took the Hyuuga that answered the door to ask Tenten who she was three times until Tenten snapped out of it and told them her name.
It seemed that the Hyuuga families were just as amazed as she was, for different reasons.
Neji rarely talked about his team mates, let alone any friendships or even girls. Tenten just crossed many lines and opened up a million questions, but she didn't know that. To Tenten, the Hyuuga family seemed marvelous. It seemed like the certain grace and stoic beauty was all around her and this odd symmetry made it seem like the compound was a new universe, rather than a house.
She felt like the odd one out. In her pink Chinese top and brown eyes and hair, she stood out from the white marble, white robes, and white eyes.
She taken to Hiashi first; he wanted to meet her. Tenten felt nervous, after all, it wasn't everyday that one met one of the most influential people in Konoha. She realized why he was the leader of the Hyuuga clan. As soon as she entered his office, it was clear she had entered his domain. Maybe it was the slight tension or different aura, but she suddenly became self-conscious.
Tenten kept quiet, silently fritting about everything about herself and her imperfects.
"You seem nervous, relax. I am Hiashi, head of the Hyuuga clan."
Tenten stopped immediately. Despite his approach in a nice manner, the words still felt like an order. Tenten cleared her throat to buy time before she spoke, "Um, I'm Tenten, Neji's team mate."
Hiashi took this in and then asked, "Is there any particular reason you are here to see my nephew today?"
"Well," Tenten paused, truth or lie? She decided to go with the truth; after having Neji a team mate, she knew no lie could go unnoticed with a Hyuuga. Especially Hiashi. "Neji recently got injured. It was from our mission and I was being stupid and I made a mistake and Neji tried to make up for it but he got hurt instead and I felt horrible that he was getting my consequence and I realized it just wasn't fair and…" Tenten meekly looked up after the rush of words. "I wanted to make sure he's okay, at least be partly responsible, anyway."
"Ah, so it was your fault my nephew is hurt?"
Tenten wanted to go hide. "Um, yes. It is."
"Even if you do go see him, you'll be bothering him. It wouldn't help him from recovering from his injury and apologizing would not reverse past events."
Tenten wanted to die. She now had even greater admiration for Neji and Hinata for putting up with Hiashi. "That may be so, but…" Tenten chose her words slowly. "I'd rather give my attention and sympathy than ignore something that was my fault…" She let a slow smile slide onto her face, "And Neji won't mind. I know that for sure."
"Very well, you may go." Tenten had no idea what Hiashi was thinking and she didn't want to stay and find out. She bowed and left, having a Hyuuga branch member take her to Neji's room.
Inside the office, Hiashi smiled slightly. When he had questioned Neji on his injury, Neji had simply said it was his own fault. He did not mention any interference or mistake from his team mates. But what Tenten had said at the very end intrigued him. That his own nephew wouldn't mind. Hiashi chuckled. He was getting behind the times.
Tenten had stopped crying, but the slight sobs that followed didn't. She sat a couple chairs from the Hyuugas and kept to herself. She was taken by Sakura to clean up and get a set of cleaner clothes. The brown haired kunoichi sat with a towel in her arms, dressed in a washed out blue long sleeved shirt and a pair of brown pants. She had tied her hair up in one sloppy bun.
Sakura had come by with some warm tea for the people in the waiting room; Tenten accepted but the tea didn't make her feel any warmer. Instead, it made her stomach feel even more bottomless.
Kiba was sitting on the other side, apparently he was waiting for Tsunade. He was on a duo mission with Neji and they had been separated when the attack happened. Although Neji was the only one who knew, Kiba had a close idea on what had happened in the situation. He was to promptly report to Tsunade as soon as she was free.
Naruto, surprisingly, had also come. Apparently Sakura had called him. Although Naruto Uzumaki was not on close relations with Neji, they were still comrades and companions. Naruto, half-awake, came into the waiting room two hours after Tenten. He sat down and as he slowly became fully awake, his eyes narrowed into a distant, but serious gaze.
The room was silent and solemn.
The kind of feeling, Tenten knew, that came right before death. She would give anything for that intuition to be wrong. Anything.
It was late morning when any kind of announcement was made. By then, most of the ninja of Konoha had gathered in the waiting room. All the old three-man cells and few older shinobi, including Kakashi. Hinata had gone home with the news some time earlier, but Hiashi stayed in his chair, as still as ever. The atmosphere was gloomy. The only chatter was Ino, talking with Shikamaru, on how it had all happened. She had been the last to arrive.
Tenten had stayed up the entire night. Lee and Gai had gone out on a mission and would not be returning until next week, so there was no one from her former team to comfort her. She, strangely enough, didn't feel tired.
She felt alert for any new footsteps, getting her hopes up every time. And it worked.
A very tired Tsunade came through from the double door and said, "He's stable." She gestured for Inuzuka to follow; Kiba stood up and left with her.
Tenten felt relief flood her. She got glowing smiles and remarks of happiness. A few minutes later a nurse came in and talked with Hiashi and room number and visiting hours. The nurse then made it clear that only family could see him first, but after the first couple of days, friends would be allowed as well.
Tenten let her shoulders slump and she let out a sigh. 'He's going to be okay. He'll be fine.'
It wasn't until Tenten walked into her apartment room that the meaning of those words hit her and she started to cry. Cry in happiness.
"Tsunade-sama! Something wrong!"
Tenten was surrounded by friends. At a local bar, her friends were celebrating her 22nd birthday. With cheap shots and laughter, they sang a round of 'Happy Birthday' and gifts were given. It was late into the night when good-byes were finally said. Tenten teetered out of the bar. She felt a strong hand grab her arm. Even in her sluggish mind, Tenten acted on instinct and turned around, ready to hit her attacker in vital points.
Instead she saw the familiar pale white eyes.
"Neji." She stated the obvious, slightly confused.
"You're drunk." He said.
Tenten shook her arm free. "Yup, drunk and 22. It's wonderful…" She took a huge inhale of the night air. She laughed.
And almost fell again.
Neji took hold her and started to lead her onto the main road to her apartment.
"Carry me." Neji stopped and looked at his team mate, one eyebrow raised.
"Carry me, like a bride. A princess." She looked at him with a pleading gaze.
"It's my birthday."
"Actually, it past midnight."
"For me, please," Tenten slumped her shoulders and looked at Neji with puppy dog eyes. "All I'm asking if for you to be my prince."
Neji flushed a bit, but Tenten was a bit too drunk to notice. "Fine."
Tenten wrapped her arms around his neck as he carried her home. Before he'd even gotten to her apartment door, Tenten had already fallen asleep.
The brown-haired kunoichi found herself back at the hospital. It was only two days after Neji had become 'stable'. But apparently not. His heart rate was slowing and he'd been in a coma-like state. His health was just slowly decreasing.
As of an hour ago, no change had happened. They couldn't figure out how to stop it.
It would only be another three hours later that Tsunade would come back out and declare him terminal. His room would be open to family and friends for as long as he lasted.
Tenten sat in a chair by the bed next to Hiashi. In most cases, she would have let him have a little room. But if this was going to be the last time, Tenten wanted to be near Neji.
Hiashi stood and left abruptly, but not before he put a sympathetic hand on Tenten's shoulder. He was going to give her some time alone with him. A single tear fell from her eyes. She took Neji's hand and began to cry.
She began to sob words out. Confessing everything and telling everything.
She told him about her parents. About her mother and her death. She spilled everything out. She didn't know why, but she was going to tell him someday. She knew so much about him, but in truth, he didn't know much about her. In case he could hear her, she told him.
She told him all her dreams and how she'd admired him.
And how that admiration grew into a crush.
And a love. And that despite she knew Neji didn't care for relationships, that she'd rather have him know.
She talked about past memories spent together and finally her voice quieted.
"I-I don't know if… if you can h-hear me, but on-on my twenty-second bir-birthday, I asked y-you to carry me home… Th-thank you…" She had pretended not to remember, all these years. She didn't want to show that alcohol had gotten her to spill her secret. So she denied it. Oh the crazy things you did when you are in love.
But not now. She wouldn't deny now.
"Th-thank you f-for everything…" Tears came on stronger. Although she was already an adult, she felt more mature than she had in years
Night enclosed the hospital. People came in and left. Tenten stood outside the room as family members visited.
She'd cried enough tears. All she had now was time. Time to wait.
Tenten felt angry.
She felt sad.
She felt confused
She felt horrified.
Most of all, she wanted to completely destroy herself.
It was right after she had been pummeled to nothing in the Chuunin exams. If she had no pride, she could have cried her heart out. But she knew that there was nothing to cry about except herself. That wasn't a good reason.
But it finally put things in perspective for her. She was weak. She didn't want to face it, but that was the bottom line. She hadn't grown in her chakra control, which was still horrible. She hadn't grown in weapon accuracy or in knowledge. She had tried, yes, but grown? No. She was just a good-for-nothing kunoichi.
She'd fallen out of league with Neji and Lee from the start. She was just hindrance to them. They wouldn't admit it (or Lee wouldn't) and they would comfort her. Or the other kunoichi would.
Exactly what she didn't need.
"Ah, you're awake." Tenten opened her eyes to see pale ones.
"Neji…" She murmured. "Neji!" Tenten pushed herself up, only to fall back slightly from the pain shock in her abdomen.
"Rest." Neji just sat next to her bed and Tenten wondered why he wasn't preparing for the final exams before she looked away in shame. She'd get stronger for sure. One day. Maybe.
And then she might not be so out of league from Neji.
Sakura stepped in quietly. Solemn thoughts were laid out on her face. It was a long couple days for everyone. Dark shadows had already started to show under her eyes, representing the toll it had taken on her.
"Do you want to stay, Tenten?" On most occasions, the hospital shooed everyone out. But this was just… it was a different situation.
Tenten looked up with the most painful eyes, eyes of sorrow and memory. "Is it okay?"
Sakura nodded. Too much words would ruin the situation. At first, Sakura wasn't sure if the Hyuuga family would've wanted it, but Hinata had actually requested that Tenten stay.
The medic nin knew she'd clock overtime again. She'd wait and mark time of death, cause of death, and give her condolences in the silent handshakes because words were never enough and once spoken too much, they were empty.
The clock ticked close to two in the morning. Sakura heard a soft voice coming from Neji's room. She walked to see who it was. Tenten was holding tightly to Hinata's hand as the two sat beside Neji's bed. Hiashi sat on the other side, quiet but completely focused on his nephew who looked so serene in the bed.
Sakura could hear the words and almost widened her eyes when her mind connected that it was Tenten who was singing it. The words sounded foreign.
"Zhe lü dao xiang yi zhi chuan, zai yue ye li yao ya yao…" Her voice was soft and Sakura moved away from the door. She felt invasive.
"…zhe lü dao de ye yi jing zhe yang de chen jing. Gu niang ya, ni wei shen ma hai shi muo muo wu yü?"
It was a lullaby. Sakura didn't even have to ask what it was about because after a short silence she could hear Tenten speak.
"That's the only thing I remember about my mother, Neji. She sang that to me. I don't know when or even why, but do you know what the last line means?" Tenten choked on a sob and the pink-haired medic heard Hinata say something soothing.
Tenten continued, "'This green island night is so calm and serene… my darling, why are you silent, saying nothing?'"
Tenten had to stifle the oncoming sob. Right, she couldn't get emotional right now. She'd had plenty of time to do that. Right now was sitting in vigil with Neji's closest relatives. She couldn't get angry or sad or mad. No, this was a time for respect.
Tenten felt the tears threatening to drop on her already swollen eyes when she felt her hand being squeezed. Hyuuga Hinata, looking solemn as ever looked straight ahead. Tenten took in a breath of air and sat silently as well.
Tsunade came in a put a strong hand on Tenten and Hinata. She met Hiashi's eyes, "I'm sorry, but I'm going to have to ask you to wait outside. We'll do one more check up and the room will be open again." She kept her words short and formal.
Hianta didn't like how that happened in times of sorrow.
She didn't like silence.
Silence held too many words that she didn't like. When things were loud you knew what was happening. When it was quiet, you didn't know anything.
When eyes fluttered open for the first time, the light was blinding. He wanted to groan and roll over, away from the light that was streaming into his room. But it hurt to do that so he just closed his eyes and then groaned again as around him was sounds of panic and flurry.
"I just saw him-"
"Get Tsunade, she will-!"
And within minutes, or hours, he wasn't really sure actually, he was attached to tubes, bandages were being rewrapped and he was being fed liquid awfulness. This part seemed to go by a lot faster a finally, the first soothing voice he heard was that evening when his room was in a tinted red glow. His cousin, he was surprised, has eyes that were filled with tears. She didn't say much, but it made Neji a bit embarrassed and unsure of what to do.
The entire day was about him and being fretted that he was going to die again and the severity of his injuries or what his injuries were.
"I apologize…" Neji simply said and Hinata just shook her head, wiping tears furiously, with a small smile on her face.
The second face that he was that of an insane woman. Or Tenten. He hair was a mess and so were her clothes. She had bags under her eyes and looked liked she had camped in the wilderness for a month. However, she didn't even act like it.
"For the sake of Kami, Hyuuga Neji! This is not even the first time you've done this to me! This is unacceptable! I refuse- and I mean it this, to ever, ever, ever be your friend. Because obviously, being a nin isn't going to kill me. It'll be getting a heart attack every single time you come into this hospital with blood everywhere!" She was yelling at the top of her lungs and outside, Hiashi couldn't help but chuckle.
His nephew did have people that care about him.
To Tenten, Neji simply replied, "I doubt you could die of a heart attack more than once, Tenten." In which she glared at him and said that this better meant that she didn't have to train for a week before huffing and leaving.
"So you were the one that sang that song to me when I was on the brink of death?"
Tenten stopped mid-block, confused that her sparring partner would say a sentence that long during a fight and that he would remember something like that. "Wha-?"
Neji took the opportunity, and pushed his foot behind her and tripped her, positioning his kunai just above her throat. "Yield." He simply said.
Tenten sourly replied, "I yield." And got up to dust herself. So it was just a distraction after all…
"You didn't answer my question." Tenten looked up, surprised.
She gave him a snarky grin before getting back into a sparring stance. "Maybe."
R&R, thanks! ;3