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02 December 2009 @ 11:52 pm
[neji/tenten] the looking glass  
title: the looking glass
fandom: naruto
genre: romance/adventure
pairing: hints at nejiten
rating: t
summary: sometimes second chances aren’t always what they seem. (AU)

authors note: here's to my first multi-chaptered fic in what feels like forever. :') dedicated to assassinate

The Looking Glass
on revelations

Tenten woke up to the sound of a high-pitched wail coming from somewhere at her side. Her first thought was of Lee, whose wail of distress was rather similar except for one small difference. Lee was not a girl (despite what Kiba liked to insist). And the cry had most definitely come from a child, if not a small animal.

With a sinking feeling of dread in her stomach, Tenten slowly opened her eyes and was immediately blinded by the pure ivory walls of the room she was currently lying in. Through the corners of her eyes, she could make out Neji’s unconscious form lying on a hospital-like bed on her left and two blurry figures a few feet away from her to her right. Perplexed and fighting down the urge to panic, Tenten remained as still as she could and let her eyes flutter close to a narrow squint, still watching the pair on her right.

“But they’re so young!”

The taller figure bent down to scoop the smaller one in its arms.

“They are, aren’t they,” a deeper voice agreed mournfully. The small child clung to the tall man’s neck and looked at Tenten with a tearful expression, one that, for some reason, made her stomach plummet once more. “Hush now, Jin, they’ve awakened.”

As the man spoke, he made his way towards her with the child, his sky blue eyes locked firmly onto hers. Tenten froze, startled by the man’s serious and knowing gaze. There was a sudden rustling beside her, and she knew that Neji was awake and alert without even having to look.

“Shi-chan,” the child murmured fearfully, stuffing a small thumb into the older male’s mouth as he reached for his older companion’s face. “That one’s angry.”

“Jin, let go of my—”

“Don’t be mad!” Jin wailed, bursting out in tears and pointing a tiny finger at Neji. At the child’s outburst, Tenten opened her eyes and stared at the ivory ceiling, utterly confused as to where she was and how exactly she got there. She turned her head and found herself face-to-face with her teammate, in his full and completely annoyed glory. His expression visibly calmed at the sight of her face, despite the bawling child in the background.

“Really, child,” the older man said, reprimanding the small figure in his arms. The tiny redhead let out a small squeak in surprise at the stern tone and immediately fell silent. When the child in his arms quieted, the man lifted his gaze towards them, his eyes softening with an emotion Tenten felt was sincerely kind.

The slender stranger took a slow but fluid step closer, his step echoing in the grand marble room. She stiffened in anticipation, knowing that Neji was just as wary right beside her. Despite the fact that her mind was racing with a stream of thoughts, she couldn’t seem to comprehend the situation.

“Nothing seems to make sense,” the small child said solemnly. Tenten looked up sharply, her eyes locking onto the toddler’s in barely contained surprise. His golden eyes seemed to empathize with her and the reassurance Tenten suddenly felt somehow sent a wave of goose bumps up her arm.

And somehow, Tenten couldn’t help but feel as though something bad had happened.

“So you both can’t remember.”

The slender man had a voice that felt like the sun and the sky, and as much as Tenten wanted to be cautious about him, she couldn’t help but feel calmed by his presence.

“To answer your questions,” the man spoke softly. “Prior to your arrivals here, you two were ambushed and mercilessly attacked on the way back to your village after the completion of your mission. Which was to escort a daimyo and his daughter back to the Village Hidden in the Clouds.”

It was then that everything came rushing back to her. She let out a gasp of pain and clutched her head as visions of the attack flooded her mind. Neji was at her side in an instant, a hand firm on her shoulder voiced his silent concern. Tenten peered up at his face through her panic and found herself frightened further at the noiseless panic that was mirrored in Neji’s pearl-colored eyes.

Heroes never died. Or at least, that was the popular belief because heroes were people that the heavens blessed, and those people just weren’t supposed to die. But Tenten knew better. Humans weren’t invincible, no matter how blessed or how great; humans were mortals and accidents happened. That was life.

There were no exceptions for anyone.

She felt her heart plummet even before the words left the stranger’s lips.

“I’m sorry.”

And she knew.

to be continued.