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Tenten [ テンテン ] ([info]oriental_dragon) wrote in [info]last_stretch,
@ 2009-11-10 22:17:00

Previous Entry  Add to memories!  Tell a Friend!  Next Entry
[ Closed - Finished | Every tear falls down for a reason... ]
Who: Tenten and Naruto [Collaborative effort ♥]
What: Worried and acting on impulses, Naruto goes to China with Itoshii on tow in hopes of bringing Tenten back home.
Where: Cheungdu, Sichuan Providence, China
When: November 11th, afternoon
Warning(s): ...I don't know. Poorly translated Chinese? Of which I am so sorry for.
Note: Interactions approved by all muns involved. Because Naruto and Tenten probably have the majority of the logs in this comm.
Word count: 4589

The map was supposed to be in Japanese. It was supposed to be a Japanese map of China. Naruto was Japanese, who was supposed to be reading a Japanese map... of China.

So how did it come down to, Naruto, who is Japanese and speaks Japanese, reading a Japanese map of China written in Mandarin?

Twisting it didn't help the symbols make anymore sense than before. The rain didn't magnify the miniature names he was sure he couldn't remember even if his life depended on it. As if it didn't right now as he stood in the middle of a hectic vending street, a carrier hanging heavily on his shoulder and a kitten in tow. Yes, his life did indeed suck right now.

Again, because of a racist map that would not bend to his will and suddenly sprout beautiful kanji that he could read. Who could read this?! Certainly not anyone human. It looked more like alien scribble than actual words. The demon water from the sky had drenched the damn thing enough to make it near translucent and what would he do then? With damp tissue and a sad kitty in his man purse?

Glaring at the sky only made it rain harder. He vowed to kick it's ass after he found Tenten and... Well. He hadn't gotten that far. Actually he hadn't thought past getting here. Naruto still wasn't sure why he brought Itoshii along. What could a cat do? She certainly wasn't helping him find his way through the country!

However, she was cute. Cute made things better. Therefor Itoshii came along. Which reminded him that checking on the poor thing was probably a good idea. A good father Naruto did not make.

"Missy hasn't been making much noise. You didn't die on me did you?" he mumbled to the kitten as he crouched near a vegetable booth, reaching into his bag to stroke the poor, wet ears sympathetically. There was a bit of hesitance in his touch, hoping Itoshii didn't reject him for putting her through this torment. Instead, she nuzzled his pawn and licked his fingers. Like she was saying it'd be ok. Daddy would be ok.

For the moment that was perfectly acceptable.


The woman was old and he could give her that much. Old people were dense, wrinkly creatures and if he needed to repeat to her more than once that he was lost, wet, and hungry then fine. Naruto would do that. Loudly. While pointing at the map.

"Yes, map! The map, granny! Please tell me where to go on the map!" Holding it up in her face only made the woman furrow her eyebrows more, her finger waving in an aggressive way and her other hand pushing at Naruto's shoulder. What had he done so wrong?! There was only so much he could do besides getting right down on his knees and crying.

She said nothing. Her eyes boring into his soul.

Again, he pointed to the area on the map circled in red. "This is where. We. Are. I need to get to THIS DOT HERE. Can you help me find the dot?!"

Her purse must have been filled with led. Simple old hag materials like dusty mints and pill boxes did not feel like that when they're swung against your skull.

"Y'know what?! Fine! Fine you crusty old hag. I don't need you!" He moved to walk away, gathering his bags back onto his shoulder, his clothes positively drenched after having spent so long in the rain. Only with his back turned did he hear a muttering behind him. A foreign dialect, but it didn't take a few extra brain cells for him to know it was all negative. "What, you got something to say?! I'll take down an old fart, lady!"

This time she spoke. Her words were loud and went right over Naruto's head-

"Are you kidding me- Speak words!" -Unlike her purse which made perfect aim. "... Fuck you!"

Unlike every other moment in Naruto's life he had enough sense to turn away and leave it be. Because he would not punch an old lady. He would not... punch... an old lady. A little old lady who was still... bitching... behind him.

And yet just like the rain, it seemed to stop altogether when Naruto's middle finger waved towards the sun. The rays poking out to greet it.

Take that, hag. The sun is on the Uzumaki's side.


Most people she knew viewed rain as a curse. A blight on what could have been a beautiful and sunny day. Tenten liked to see it as a blessing. Because beauty could be found anywhere. Even in the dark and dreary. Even in a seemingly ruined day. Such were the thoughts that gave hope to all things discarded and broken.

Some of her most fondest childhood memories were of her family. Of afternoons spent enjoying a quiet rainy day inside, snuggled together on the couch. Her mother would read stories, a twin seated on either side. Her father would be on the floor with his back against the coffee table or his head in either one of their laps. And they would spend hours there, reliving tales of adventure and danger. Of impossible quests and daring heroes. The rain was Tenten's sanctuary.

And most of all, the rain was where she was able to hide her pain. Something she was attempting to do as she stood on the Anshun Bridge.

The gentle tinkling of silverware against ceramic plates hardly did anything to drown out the constant onslaught of rain against the restaurant's roof. Nor did it distract her from the unexpected but wholly unavoidable presence of Naruto, who was poised at the very edge of her vision.

It was merely by chance, and perhaps circumstances, that she had seen her wandering the streets -- the beautiful little kitten Tenten had left back in Tokyo -- as if Itoshii owned it. And for the better part of one month last summer, the young cat had. Walking the same paved streets for at least thirty days had accustomed the Scottish Folds to every dip and curve of Chendu's Jin Li Street. And, apparently, had committed to memory the very paths in which the kitten would be able to reach the heart of the city where Katsuro's restaurant could be found.

Question was, how did Itoshii get there?

The last Tenten had seen of Itoshii's carrier was just before she had gotten on the plane to China, Shino's fingers clenched tightly on the handle as if his -- and her -- life depended on it. And in a way, perhaps it did. Because in the short time he had spent with her, it was clear to Tenten that there was very little he was not willing to do to ensure that Itoshii was safe. A relief and an assurance that she had placed her trust in the right person with her charge: To bring the carrier to...

But of course. Because she had also sent along a note to him as well. One that, apparently incited a need for him to travel thousands of miles to see her. Maybe, even, to bring her back.


A simple world. A simple name. And currently, her greatest source of anguish.

She... had not wished to face him so soon just yet. It had been Tenten's intention to stay in China for at least two weeks or more while she helped tend to her uncle's restaurant until his money problems were resolved. To think things over and collect her thoughts. To prepare herself for the confrontation that would no doubt occur when she finally returned. And perhaps, even, to give her time to simply... let the situation fully sink in so that she could understand the reasons behind what happened and how she felt about it. Because Tenten was not exactly sure how she felt about the thought of Naruto and Neji having slept together for one night. Possibly more.

A well thought out plan that meant nothing if the thing she was trying to avoid came seeking her out. The greatest of ironies, Tenten thought as she knelt down to run her fingers through Itoshii's soft fur.

But his appearance was not completely unexpected. It was certainly the type of thing that he would do when there was a threat to his cherished friendships. After all, she had done the one thing that he would not tolerate. She had ran away without a word of where and how long. And it was, perhaps, childish of her to do so. Then again, if the young woman were to be truthful to herself, it had been a long time since she had acted as such. And she needed the moment. The impulse. Such is the burden of an old soul living in a young body.

Tenten only wished he had given her a few more days. A few more hours. A lifetime.

Instead, she could only sigh. "What are you doing here, Naruto?"

"I thought it would be obvious. 'Specially when you left me such a nice note."

It was wry in its delivery and in its meaning. Sarcastic. Snarky, even as he directed the comment towards her.

It was Naruto. Plain and simple. And by right, his feelings were validated. But Tenten could not bring herself to care. Because, ironies of ironies, she cared too much already.

"My uncle needed my help, what was I supposed to do?"

"You could've left me more than just a note."

"The phone works both ways."

A light scoff caused Tenten to turn her head a bit more towards him. Far enough to see the disbelief. To see the conflicting emotions and rising annoyance. "Like you would've answered it."

"No, I wouldn't have," she snapped with a quick turn of her head, sounding a bit harsher than she intended, "But at least I told you."

"There was nothing to tell."

"Nothing?" Here, Tenten stilled all movement directed towards Itoshii and focused it on the blond young man standing before her. All the while, a mix of anger, frustration, and... something else -- something she had not felt for a long time -- began to boil up inside of her. It was one matter to come here and confront her before she even had a chance to process everything. But it was another matter all together to imply that her own feelings were invalid. It may had not been Naruto's intentions to do such. But it was how Tenten took it. "Last I checked having sex with a close friend was not nothing."

"Look, Tenny - " he started to say.

"Why didn't you tell me?"

Normally, she refrained from interrupting anyone while they were speaking. Naruto especially. Because he held a great disdain at being cut off by anyone. Even her. It was one of the things that irritated him the most, she knew. And Tenten could tell that he had to take a moment to calm his own impulses before he ended up snapping back at her. Inciting an argument with her over something as small as that would only nullify his purpose for coming in the first place. But for the moment, as she turned to fully face him, Tenten could hardly bring herself to care.

When Naruto did not reply to the question, it became clear that he did not quite know the answer to it himself. Which only fueled Tenten's anger. Because there was no reason. There was no purpose that he could explain in words why he had kept something this profound from one of his dearest friends. "Ten months." That was how long ago Neji had said it had been. "Ten months, you had a thousand different chances, and you said nothing to me."

"It's no different than when we decided not to tell Kiba about Yamaki."

And with those words, Tenten felt something within herself snap. As if all of the control and calm that the young woman had tried to maintain for the past few weeks while mulling the situation over simply crumbled to nothing. Leaving behind just the raw emotions she had been trying to avoid flow out of her like water through a broken damn. And as the young woman took a step closer, it became clear that despite the obvious height difference between her and him, neither one held the distinct advantage in this.

"We were trying to keep him from going to jail for murder, Naruto. Because you and I both know Kiba would've killed him if he knew then."

"Kiba got over it," he retorted, "Why - "

"Why can't I?"

Here, Naruto crinkled his brows and nearly scowled at her for interrupting him again. "Stop doing tha - "

"Because. You kept it from me. Ten months, a year ago, two. Neji, Ino, whoever the hell else you chose not to tell me about. You kept it all from me when you never would have before. And I'm not supposed to be hurt by that?" She could hardly stop the words from coming out. And in all honestly, a great part of Tenten did not wish to stall them. Because this had been building up ever since dinner that night nearly a month ago. When Neji had told her everything. Why he and Naruto had fought at the party. Why there had been this unspoken tension between them for so many months. Why... why did it absolutely hurt so much that neither one of them felt the need to even...

"And all this time, I knew something was wrong, but I didn't push you on it." Tenten was getting so frustrated at this point, the words simply not coming to her fast enough to speak them out and perhaps make him understand. And she tried her best to force them out faster, to push her brain to work harder to get them out... no matter what language they were in. "由于我相信我们比那接近. Because I thought eventually you'd tell me on your own. But you didn't."

"It's none of your business, Tenten."

"None of my business? I am supposed to be your Best. Friend. Naruto. And it's none of my business? 您有一些神经. I can't believe you would even say something like that to me, 如我是正义的街道接界入您的生活的某些陌生人, 我不属于. 象某些的顽童. Is that all I am to you? Huh? 我是否是犯错误的人?"

It happened from time to time, mostly during cases of extreme stress, frustration, and annoyance. And often times, when all three occurred at once. Such was the side effect of growing up learning and knowing two languages. Most of the time, it would happen without Tenten realizing it. Because reciting the words stored in her memory was almost as easy as breathing. As existing. That they were in two different languages did not detract from their meaning or impact. In fact, it only emphasized it.

But all it was doing was confusing Naruto even more. And that only fueled his resolve.

"What the hell do you want from me? You can't just pick and choose what you do and don't wanna hear. You didn't throw a fit when I told you about the others. You never did. Now, suddenly, because you know them, you decide you can't fuckin' handle it and you run away? What the fuck, Tenny?"

"您是否没得到它? I don't care! I don't care that you slept with Ino, or Neji, or... whoever. 我对任何那不关心! I care that you didn't tell me. I care that you kept this from me. That you didn't think that I deserved to know."

And it was then that Tenten felt a heaviness press down on her heart at the words. The sentiments. Because it was a painful truth and a startling revelation. Believing that she no longer held such an important place in Naruto's life was devastating. But not as much as realizing how much she needed to hold that place. How much it meant to Tenten to always be that person for him. And perhaps it showed in her expression. Because the seething anger and irritation seemed to melt away a little from Naruto's face. "I... I didn't know if I could..."

"...That's never stopped you before."

"I know, but... it was different." He paused briefly, as if to rethink the statement and the implications behind it. Ultimately, there was no other words that could fit. "This was different."

"...More than you know." And with that, she turned and ran out into the pouring rain. Because given the choice between dealing with Naruto and the rain, Tenten would rather take her chances with the rain.

"Tenny - WAIT! Tenny!"


A lot could be said in the silences. With seven years of friendship under their belts, Naruto and Tenten knew that truth, and each other, all too well. It was not in the over exaggerated gestures, but in the little things. Small shifts in their eyes. Barely noticeable flecks of movement in their body language. The downward curl at the very edge that broke the straight, even line of her lips. The way Naruto blinked a little bit more than usual. How he would avoid looking at her one minute by focusing all his attention on Itoshii sitting in his lap, and then steal brief glances in her direction the next. They knew it all. Tenten could read them all. And that realization was both a blessing and a curse.

It soothed the old hurt away and yet only added to the sting.

The walk back to the restaurant was quiet. Wordless as their charged emotions seemed to wash out with the sheets of rain pouring down on them. Draining away into the gutters of Jinli Street where they could no longer burden their owners with shattered beliefs and false resolutions. At least in theory and symbolism.

But oh, if only it were that simple.

Emotions were endless, she decided. They were relentless and unforgiving. Cruelest of all things created on Earth. Because you could not hide from them. And any attempt to mask them only encouraged their cultivation until they became unbeatable monsters. Inner demons that continued to eat away at the soul until there was nothing left but a shell of who you once were. Even in the sanctuary of her temporary home above the restaurant, Tenten could find no solitude from them. Of her old room where she had cried and screamed silently so many nights as a young adolescent child at the monsters that tormented her.

She would rather face them than the creatures that haunted her now. They had been easier to fight.

"I don't know why I didn't tell you. I just... didn't."

"I noticed," she responded flatly.

Gently, she tossed a dry towel in his direction and placed another on top of Itoshii. A small trail of puddles had already been left downstairs, leading up to her very door where the biggest one of all pooled at their feet. Chilling their bones and wreaking havoc on their nerves as the air hit the droplets that still remained. Anger and frustration were one thing, but that was no excuse to risk them all getting sick because of it. And if he would insist on continuing the conversation, then they could at least do it while dry.

"Why does it matter so much?" the blond asked, his voice slightly muffled in the towel.

"...Because," she finally said after a moment of thought, "If you can keep something like this from me, what else..."

" - There's been nothing else, I swear!"

"After all this, can I even trust that?"

The blond quirked his brow. "That's a bit much there, isn't it, Tenny?"

With a huff and a sigh, Tenten plopped down on the soft cushion of her bed. Just a mere few feet away from where Naruto sat. "You and I have always been able to talk about everything. Everything."

At the emphasis, she finally looked -- really looked -- into his deep blue eyes. Focused and intent enough that she could nearly see her own reflection within them. So that he could do the same and see the mixed emotions that were raging within her. Fighting to escape the cage the young woman had placed them in."You broke that. And forgive me for being a little sensitive, but that means something to me."

"It means something to me too!"

Tenten opened her mouth to speak, but stilled instantly at the flash of lightning that streaked across the sky outside. And it was through instinct and some deep rooted fear that the young woman flinched before the crack of thunder boomed and shook the entire room. Like most other times, there was no panic or cause for concern. But she noted with a bit of annoyance that the rate of her heart had sped up an extra beat or two. And the sight of Naruto reaching out a comforting hand to her did nothing to alleviate the spark of anxiety.

It happened before she could make sense of it. Before Tenten could process the signals her brain was sending through her body. And in the next instance, the young woman's hand jerked away from his touch.

Another hundred words spoken without a single breath or sound.

"...Things are never gonna be the same again, are they?" he asked softly, his hand poised in the air for another split second before pulling it back. Rubbing through Itoshii's fur in an attempt to will away the sting of rejection, she supposed.

"...I don't know."

"What do you mean you don't know?" His voice sounded strained. Desperate. Angered. Exactly everything that she was feeling and more. And it broke Tenten's heart to know that he was suffering through this as well. "You know everything, Tenny - "

"I don't know, ok?!" Bolting up from where she sat, Tenten began pacing the length of her old room. More likely than not, it did nothing to help the situation. But at the very least, it would give her something to do. Something to control.

She wanted to fix it. To repair what was broken. Because more than anything, Tenten wanted her best friend back. Wanted all of them to go back to when they were all friends and happy and... not this. Not living in this suspended limbo of an existence. But there was nothing either one could do. At least not now. "Look, I wanna say yes. I wanna believe that we can go back to how it was before. But... "


These were the consequences of his choices. Of their choices. All that could be done was to simply wait and see where the path took them.

"...It's too soon." It was still painful to think of it. It still made no sense. She was still hurt and there were too many intangible factors that could easily influence her decision on the matter. Too many variables and not enough time to account for them all before making the final verdict. And frankly, Tenten was in no mood at that moment to find a resolution. "I need time. And you have to give it to me. It's the least you can do."

Naruto sighed and looked down at their adoptive daughter of a kitten. In consideration. In thought. In defeat. It was hard to tell, really. And she was in no position to guess. "...Fine."

And for now, that would be enough. For now, that was all they had.

"...Do you even know what this is?" she inquired, breaking the long stretch of silence that had come after, "This thing between you and Neji?"


"Right. And being who you are, neither one of you have figured it out yet, have you?"


"Of course not."

Sighing softly, she knelt down in front of the blond and reached out a slender hand to the kitten contently purring in his lap. Ever the protective mother and so accustomed to having her near by at all times and there to happily greet her after the end of a hard day of working, the young woman had missed Itoshii. Had wondered how she was fairing without Tenten. After all, Naruto was a very caring and doting father figure. But it had been a long time since he had spent any time with the kitten on his own. He had always come to Tenten when he wanted his daughter's love and affections. When he wanted to spoil both of his girls with attention.

"Were you ever gonna come back?" he asked suddenly, "If I hadn't come to get you?"

And Tenten had to stop and think about that for a moment. Because there was no way to be certain now that he was here. She had wanted time away, after all. To think and to process. To simply be away long enough so that these things would not effect her so much. But no matter how much time she might have needed, there was also school to consider. And work. And the fact that Tenten could not stay with her uncle forever. "...I was gonna come back next week."

Not exactly the full truth. But it the nod he gave said that it was believable enough.

"...Good. Then we can go back together."

She wanted to protest the idea. To argue that Naruto had missed enough school already with the classes he had been forced to skip in order to pick up extra shifts at his place of work. But just as she was about to vocalize against the concept, Tenten caught the gleam of determination in the blond's eyes. They were unmovable. Unrelenting. They said that he could not be persuaded otherwise from his intent.

They meant, she realized with a sigh, that there would be no argument on this matter. And it took everything within Tenten not to smile fondly at it.

Giving Itoshii's fur one last stroke, she stood up and reached for the extra apron that was hanging over the edge of her desk. Without much thought or any sort of explanation, Tenten pressed it against Naruto's damp chest and began walking out of the room."Come on, we've got work to do."

"H-huh?" was his reaction as he fumbled with the fabric, ultimately jostling Itoshii out of his lap.

"Well, if you're gonna be staying here for the week, you're gonna have to earn your keep. Now hurry up and get changed before my Uncle Katsuro starts yelling."

It was, perhaps, a small step to who they used to be. Maybe who they would once be again. And the look on Naruto's face was telling of his hope that they would have that sort of friendship again. But in truth, she was already beginning to realize. Things could never be exactly the same as they were before. They could be similar. They could be parallel. But after all the events that led up to that point, to remain the same -- unchanged and unaffected -- would be to disrespect the lessons that this incident had taught them.

"I don't know if we can go back to how it was before. But I'll always be your friend, Naruto. We can work from there."

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