Kawako
A Naruto Fanfiction
By: GoldenDragonClouds

At eighteen years old, Tenten is declared MIA after a mission gone wrong wipes out her entire mission team but her body is never found. Team Gai breaks up afterwards, but six years later they are reunited for a mission to Sunagakure where they find that Kawako, a civilian girl and the Kazekage's girlfriend, looks unsettlingly alike to their missing teammate...

Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto.


Prologue

The team of shinobi sped through the forest, barely registering that they had just passed the border between Rain and River Countries and were now technically on neutral territory. Each of the four members were gripping nearly identical scrolls, only one of which held the full mission report and the scroll the team had stolen for information.

Hence why this team was being chased by a group of Rain Country Jonin.

"They're catching up on us, senpai!" one of the members shouted at the leader, panic creeping into his voice. "I can see them!"

"Stop panicking, Takeru! Keep your eyes ahead of you!" the leader shot back. "Nari's shadow clone left a few traps for them back there." Nevertheless the leader picked up the pace, his hurry echoed by the three members of his team.

"Daikichi!" Nari shouted, panicked. "My clone just-!"

"Tenten-san!" Daikichi cut Nari off to address the fourth member of their team. "What about your-"

"I managed to leave a few traps behind but they weren't strong ones, and those were designed for Rain Country terrain, not River Country." Tenten replied, her voice calmer than her teammates' but still rushing her words. "I don't know how long-" she was cut off as the sound of an explosion echoed over to them from a distance back. Tenten winced. "That was one of them."

Takeru threw another panicked glance back at her. "Are you sure? How would you-"

"I know because I've heard that sound too many times to count. Keep your eyes ahead." Tenten replied, feeling a bit panicked herself. This wouldn't do - she needed to calm down. "Nari-san! How many of them are there?"

"I counted six, but definitely more than that!" Nari shouted back. "Daikichi! Do you have a plan yet?"

"We stick with the plan from before. This is vital information - it needs to reach Konoha!"

"Speed up the pace, Daikichi-san!" Tenten yelled to the team leader. "They're definitely catching up!"

True to her word, there were hostile shinobi speeding up to them - currently only specks in their vision, but catching up fast.

"We've reached the ravine!" Daikichi shouted back to them, and Takeru audibly breathed a sigh of relief.

"Good!" Nari exclaimed in what could only be called a relieved tone. "We'll veer here to follow the ravine due East until we reach the border to Fire Country! We'll be safer then!"

"Oh no you won't!" Tenten shouted. "Just because you're in Fire Country doesn't mean enemies will hesitate to attack you! You'll have to keep going or hide!"

Several minutes after they started to follow the ravine it became increasingly obvious that the enemy ninja would catch up to them soon.

"They're catching up!" Takeru voiced, panicking. "Daikichi-senpai!"

Daikichi said nothing, only silently giving a signal that Tenten nodded at firmly.

"As planned, Daikichi-san!"

"May the Will of Fire watch over you, Tenten-san!" Nari yelled at her as Tenten grimaced, slowed her pace and pulling out a scroll from her pouch to unfurl it around her in the air.

"Shoryu!" she shouted, unsealing and launching her long-distance weapons at her approaching enemies. They were quick to doge, she noted, but noticed with a feeling almost akin to pride that one had fallen. She shook her head, willing herself to focus as she finished launching the long-distance weapons and switched her hands to the symbols sealing her mid-distance weapons, including her innumerable kunai and shuriken.

Metal rained down on her enemies, nicking them here and there but most of them managing to block her attacks with their own weapons. She grimaced again and pulled out her explosion-tag attached kunai, activating them with a small burst of chakra before throwing them out towards the hostile ninja. Explosions racked the trees around the shinobi in a specific pattern and Tenten absently wondered if Daikichi-san would have gotten that coded message while unsealing a pair of swords she quickly strapped across her back. These would probably be her last resort.

"Where's the scroll!" a man demanded of her before she threw a kunai at him. It sunk into his shoulder and he fell back cursing. A woman who looked vaguely like him slapped the back of his head while she passed him by, herself speeding up.

"She doesn't have the scroll, moron! She's stayed behind to sacrifice herself, this stupid bitch. Like that'll work." she snickered.

"Kana! Sentaro! Stop your bickering and get ahead! We'll lose track of the other Konoha bastards at this rate!" a man barked at them briefly before turning his attention to Tenten. "Let's see how well you dance, Missy."

He jumped at her with a sword in his hands, and Tenten had no choice but to draw one of her twin swords to defend herself. A moment later they were locked in position, hilt-to-hilt and growling at each other's faces.

"You're pretty strong for a little girl," he growled, and Tenten spit in his face.

"And you for a boy!" Tenten blurted as she ducked to try to knock the legs out from under the Ame ninja. It didn't work and she tripped, falling down a couple branches before she found a foothold on a lower branch. Shit. He had higher ground and an advantage. She just hoped he was an idiot enough to keep fighting her instead of joining the rest of his team.

It seemed she was out of luck.

Tenten jumped up to the level she had previously been on before pulling out her scroll to launch a barrage of weapons at the back of her enemy, forcing him to turn around to defend himself. Uttering a battle-cry and unfurling her scroll she launched herself at him, determined to stop at least this one ninja from reaching her teammates. She sent barrage of shuriken aimed in the general direction of his eyes and he roared at her in frustration, turning to face her fully this time. There was blood dripping down the front of his face, surely obscuring his vision at least somewhat.

Grinning darkly Tenten swiped her hand over a seal to release a shrapnel bomb and activated the explosion-tag, ignoring the blood pouring down her arm as she gripped one of the exposed kunai points to aim it directly over the man's chest as she prepared to slam into him. By some miracle she landed exactly where she had planned to do so, but a miscalculation on her part snapped the branch under them and sent them hurtling down towards the forest floor - and then the explosion from her shrapnel bomb rudely threw them - a burning and blistering Tenten and a now dead enemy nin - into the air and - Tenten suddenly noticed in alarm - what seemed like hundreds of kilometers above ground.

Tenten panicked.

The explosion had pushed her and the enemy nin's body out into the ravine and although she was close to the side she had fallen of of, she could see that the walls of the ravine were slick with moisture from the river she could hear miles below her in the darkness. Maybe someone with perfect chakra control, like her teammate Neji, could have managed, but Tenten knew that after such a taxing battle, her chakra control was not nearly fine enough to gain her a steady footing on such a wall. She took a deep breath and drew out her swords, stabbing them against the wall in an effort to slow her momentum - it didn't work. The side was too sleek, too slippery for anything to take hold.

She took out her remaining weapons scroll - only barely registering that she had somehow lost the other - and started unsealing weapons at random - kunai, shuriken, sai, kusarigama, and even the katana Gai had presented her for her eighteenth birthday just weeks ago- anything, anything that might help her stop flying down this awful trench!

Tears prickled at her eyes and she had even started to wipe away a few leaked tears from her uninjured eye when she heard it.

A hissing noise, a fizz and crackle, the crinkle and distinct smell of burning paper - Tenten widened her eyes in alarm - the Ame ninja's body! A self-detonation tag! Why hadn't she checked for one before?

She threw up her arms to defend what was left of her already burning face to defend and curled up her legs against her body just before she heard the explosion meant to blow up a human body, the force of it throwing her back and slamming her head on the slick wall of stone behind her. Her last thoughts were if there was anyone nearby to hear her scream…


"Kankuro, why'd you stop?" a blonde woman asked, annoyed. "We need to reach home before tomorrow."

The man called Kankuro merely stood still, cocking his head to the side. "I thought I heard…"

"Heard what?"

"A scream?"

Temari raised an eyebrow. "And you're saying that as a question because…?"

Without another word Kankuro took off in the direction they had already been going on, but suddenly veered off into a different direction, startling his sister.

"Kankuro where-!"

"The stream from the ravine!"

"What!"

"The scream! It echoed from the direction of the ravine - we could probably help!"

"Kankuro, we don't even know if they're our allies or not!"

Kankuro merely sped up, ignoring her. Temari growled under her breath, knowing that her brother would probably not stop after this. She picked up her pace as well, following her brother who was just in her line of sight.

Kankuro suddenly dropped out of the trees and Temari blinked.

"Kankuro?" she called out, not quite expecting an answer. Her brother did things like this at times.

"Temari! Temari! Hurry over here!" he shouted urgently and Temari frowned but sped up nonetheless, wondering what could be wrong. There were no sounds of combat so-

She dropped out of the trees where the forest met a large stream that was not quite a river, crouching on the ground for a brief moment after impact before standing up to address her brother.

"What?" she asked. "If this is something stupid this time-"

"No- come over here!"

Temari gasped. The girl Kankuro had just dragged out of the water was in horrible condition. Her hair was strewn all over the place and burnt close to her skull on her right, a horrible burn blistering across the right side of her face from forehead to cheek, nose to ear. Her right eye was irrefutably damaged, there were burns and gashes down her torso, and her lower left leg looked as if it needed to be amputated. The body showed mild signs of hypothermia, not a surprise considering the freezing temperatures of rivers in this time of the year, but she was breathing. And that's what mattered.

"Is she an ally?" Temari asked softly as Kankuro knelt, administering what first aid he could to the burns on the girl's face.

"I don't know," he said, frowning. "I don't see a forehead protector and all she has with her is this weapons pouch and the scroll she has in her hand - I can't get that out of her grip. It's burnt, but I think it's waterproof."

"She looks familiar."

"I know."

"I mean, really familiar."

Kankuro said nothing, continuing to spread salve on the girl's burns, and Temari wordlessly got up to look around the area for further clues. A minute later she found the forehead protector floating in the stream, caught on a rock by the bank.

"She's from Konoha." she called out. "Probably got caught in a confrontation with Ame-nin, seeing as we've found her in River Country."

"Open her shirt to check for dog tags," Kankuro said, standing up to stretch. "I thought she might have been from Tea, what with her clothing and all, but I guess not."

He looked away while Temari opened the girl's shirt, or what was left of it, fishing out the tags that had been passed out to every shinobi of each nation after the Fourth Great Shinobi War had ended. She gasped, cursing.

"What?" Kankuro was instantly by her side, eyes wide and questioning. Temari was gripping the dog tags in her hand tightly, her hands shaking. "What?" he repeated, stronger this time.

Temari looked up at him, something akin to fear in her eyes.

"It's Tenten."


Kotetsu and Izumo bolted from their chairs at the guard desk as they saw the lone, haggard-looking and bloodstained shinobi approach the West Gate of Konoha. Kotetsu caught the teenaged boy in his arms when he stumbled, not even blinking when the boy coughed blood all over his arms.

"Takeru-san! What happened! Lets get you to the hospital now-"

"No!" Takeru coughed out, shakily holding out a scroll at Izumo, who was standing in front of him. "Take… take this to… Hokage-sama…"

"What happened to your team?" Kotetsu asked in a more patient tone, earning a whimper from the boy.

"Everyone… picked off… one by one… Me last…" he coughed again, spraying blood on Izumo's vest this time. "Outnumbered by five. Don't take me to hospital - dying anyway…"

"Takeru-san!" a new voice sounded, footsteps bounding over to them. "What happened!"

"They were either chased or ambushed from what he's telling us." Kotetsu said, straightening up and holding Takeru in a standing position.

"Chased," Takeru managed out, and another new voice butt into the conversation.

"What happened? Where's your team?"

"Fighting, coming, or dead." Takeru gasped out. "I have… the scroll… had to deliver…"

The two new voices stopped in their tracks, eyes growing in horror.

"Lee-san, could you take Takeru-san over to the hospital? Izumo, give Neji-san the scroll to deliver to Tsunade-sama - we can't leave our posts. We need to try and save him if we want further information."

Fifteen minutes later and a scant four minutes after Lee had arrived with Takeru to the hospital, sixteen-year old Matsumoto Takeru was declared dead. It was a miracle he had survived so long, the medics had declared. Sheer force of will had allowed him to continue until he knew his mission was complete.

A five-day search party, lead by Rock Lee, Hyuuga Neji, and Might Gai, was held around the estimated track the mission team had taken in Fire and River Countries, but while the bodies of Nagasaki Daikichi and Kaneyama Nari were found easily, the body of one Tenten, Special Jonin and Weapons Mistress of Konoha, was never found and the search party was called back.

The shock of losing a teammate was not dealt with well by the younger members of Team Gai - Lee and Neji, firmly maintaining the belief that as long as a body was not found, Tenten was still alive somewhere, rejected every possible replacement member Tsunade or Gai suggested to them, soon earning a reputation as Konoha's most difficult team to work with because of their high expectations. Soon only those a year younger than them - the Rookies in their first Chunin exam experience - were willing to work with the two, and the official "Team Gai" was disbanded, a new team with that name forming three years later when Gai was asked to take on a new set of Genin to train.

Six years after Tenten's disappearance, Neji, Lee, and Gai were reunited on a diplomatic mission to Sunagakure with Naruto, the next-in-line to become Hokage, as his three Jonin escorts. Although interactions were at first awkward, the travel to Sunagakure was pleasant and Naruto had even managed to bring up talk of perhaps assigning them on group missions more often, a conversation that had surprisingly (for him) ended in a positive note.

None of the four suspected what surprises were waiting for them in Sunagakure.


Author's Note:

This was in the works for a while, but here it is. I also have absolutely no idea what Kankuro would call Temari as I don't recall him calling for her ever in the manga or the anime… but I don't think he would call her "nee-san", "nee-chan", or "aneue", so "Temari" it is.

Reviews are love!

Ja Ne,
~Golden