The Girl Known Only as Tenten
Tenten fell onto her fluffy mattress, sighing. She looked out of her window and at the clouds.
'The clouds are nice to look at. They always look the same, always feel the same, and always act the same,'
Her eyes then went to the picture of her team sitting on her mantle, next to several kunai and shuriken. She chuckled at the sight of Rock Lee and her sensei, Gai, in the exact same pose and smiled sadly at the sight of the scowling Hyuuga Neji. And then her eyes passed over to herself, the nobody, the person who blended into the background. She wasn't strong and she wasn't beautiful, at least, back then. Now she had blossomed into a beautiful woman and into one of the most valued and skilled kunoichi of her generation. But she still longed for that one special person. Her fingers felt the gold locket worn around her neck, a reminder of her first love.
'Neji, how I used to idolize you, just like Sakura and Ino idolized Uchiha Sasuke before he became a traitor. But then I finally got to know you, and I was finally working up to a proposal when...'
Neji had been forced into an arranged marriage with his cousin Hinata a year ago. He had fought with Hyuuga-sama persistently and fiercely, but he then threatened to excommunicate Neji from the Hyuuga family, which would mean Neji would lose his Byakugan and all of the techniques that he required it for.
'He had fought at first mainly out of hatred of his cousin, but then he later fought because we belonged together. And it was that day, the day I was to propose to him, that he gave me this necklace; a symbol of his love. I was so happy, but then he informed me of Hyuuga-sama's threat, and my spirit was broken, for a time at least.'
She then inhaled the sweet scent of strawberries mixed with sake from the scented candle in her room. It was held in a special place; the sake bottle that Lee had cut the top off of and had given it to her when they were friends, really good friends.
'Lee, you always were an odd one, ever since our first day together as teammates; with your green jumpsuit, humungous eyebrows, your bowlcut and your eerily radiant smile. Even though you were odd, you were always kind. Especially when I became depressed after Neji broke the news about his engagement. You had taken me out for dinner that one time after I refused to leave my house except for missions, you had rehabilitated me. You made me truly happy, at least, I thought you did. I thought that we could have a happily ever after ending, like in the fairy tales. But, like in real life, happy endings never come, do they?'
Silent tears fell down her cheeks as she remembered the mission. It was Lee's and hers first A-ranked mission, and their first mission as jounin. They were assigned to attack a group of Iwa-nins that were ferrying information regarding Konohagakure to Otogakure. It turned out that there were more Iwa-nins than they expected, and her, Lee, and another chuunin, Yotsubume Rei, were outnumbered by three. The three of them were able to kill one each before anyone became seriously injured. Then Rei had been incapacitated by an earth jutsu, the only person who knew extensive first aid had been knocked unconscious. Somehow, the duo of Tenten and Rock Lee had defeated two more ninjas, with only one ninja remaining.
However, they had underestimated him. None of their jutsu could even scratch him. Tenten was preparing a fireball when the ninja used an earth jutsu that caused a watercourse of mud that rushed under her feet, knocking her off balance. She was heavily damaged and another strong jutsu would probably mean the end for her and Lee wasn't that much better off. The Iwa-nin then used the katon: karyudan, a jutsu she had only ever heard of being used by the former Sandaime Hokage against his fight with the sannin Orochimaru, A dragon head came up from the mud and spewed out flaming balls of mud at Tenten. She thought how life was too short and how she wished she could have been noticed more, like Sakura or Ino. She prepared for the scorching flames to engulf her, but it never came. She opened her clenched eyes to find Lee in front of her, completely scorched.
He had taken the fatal blow as a scapegoat for Tenten. He then fell to his knees and whispered something to Tenten. He told her that despite his death, she should let the fountain of youth engulf her mind and body, and then he fell limp. At that moment, only one emotion ran through her veins, and it wasn't grief, it was pure malice; the wish to mutilate the person who could do that to the person she loved and not feel any regret about it. She then used a jutsu she had been experimenting for quite awhile; katon; nenshou shoshoryu. She used her scrolls to summon her vast artillary reserve, and like with Uchiha Sasuke's technique, she used a katon: gokakyu no jutsu to set the chakra strings connecting the weapons together on fire, which eventually spread to the weapons, giving her an array of flaming shurkien, kunai, katanas, and wakizashis. It took maybe five minutes for the enemy to catch on fire from the flaming weapons. Tenten recalled her artillary and basked at the sight of her friend's killer die a slow, painful death. She then left, battered and bloody, for Konohagakure, somehow carrying the corpse of her dear friend and her unconscious teammate. Rei had retired after that mission, Gai had never smiled again after that mission, and Tenten had never loved again.
That is, until now.
Her mind wandered to the certain boy on her mind.
'All of the villagers seemed to ignore him and spite him, but for what reason she had no theory on. Everybody acts like they know him, but they don't. Not even his friends do, because his friends aren't really his friends. His previous sensei had literally given him away, his friend Sasuke tried to kill him for his own twisted reasons, and Sakura never liked him in the first place, and now only mourned for the loss of dear old Sasuke. Godaime Hokage-sama, Jirayia-sama, and Iruka-sensei are the only ones who know him, if only a portion. However, nobody truly knows him, because he's like me; nobody seems to know him, but everybody claims they do. I wonder if he watches the clouds too. Maybe we're both watching the same cloud but we don't even know it.'
She once again peered out her window to find that the clouds had congregated and started to look very menacing. She sighed and thought about him; the mask wearer, the deceiver, the one who knew one knew;
"How I long to know what's behind that mask of yours, Naruto-kun. Do you even know who I am?" she wondered aloud.
"Tenten, Neji-san is here!" her mother called. The nineteen year old kunoichi jogged down the steps, jumping over the last two.
"Tenten-chan," greeted Neji, with a smirk.
"Neji-kun," replied Tenten, smiling.
"Hinata-sama just delivered our first child," Neji announced, for once in his life smiling and not smirking.
"Oh I'm so happy for you Neji-kun! What did you name it?" inquired Tenten, ecstatic at the news of her friend's news.
"Hinat-sama named him. His name is Hyuuga Lee," smiled Neji. Tenten's eyes held back tears mixed with happiness and joy at the news. Happiness of Neji allowing his wife, Hinata nonetheless, naming their child, at Hinata commemorating the child after Neji and Tenten's old teammate, and sadness out of remembrance of Lee's death.
"Did you tell Gai-sensei yet?" aske Tenten.
"I was hoping you would come with me," suggested Neji.
"Of course," answered a smiling Tenten. And so the two walked to Gai-sensei's house to give him the news, when the passed a certain somebody. Tenten smiled at him, and he smiled back. She then turned her gaze up towards the clouds, which were starting to turn slightly less dark.
"Is something the matter, Tenten-chan?" inquired Neji.
"No, I was just looking at the clouds."
Chapter notes: I do not any of the characters except for Hyuuga Lee and the mysterious boy Sasuke (not Uchiha Sasuke) or the idea of Naruto. I do however own the main plot to this story. I have no connection whatsoever to the owners of Naruto and all copyright infringements (if any) are completely unintentional. Spoilers for Episodes 130 and up.