Title: Your Are The Only
Pairing: Sasuke Uchiha x Tenten
Universe: AU (Ninja verse)
Collection: Part one of the Starcrossed Lovers Trilogy
Tenten woke up to ringing sound of footsteps on the stone floor above her. They were not the sharp click—clack of a woman’s heel but heavier, more masculine tread. She heaved a sigh of relief with the realization that it couldn’t be Karin—the woman who had shut her up in this horrible little hole.
At first she thought she would have suffocated. But there was air, musty and cold, coming through a small slit. It had been a whole week since she was lured and held captive by her red headed captor and her cronies; or had it been two weeks?
She couldn’t tell—it was impossible to distinguish between days and nights within her now pitch black surrounding. She had never been afraid of the dark, but she had never known darkness like this. It was complete.
The Weapon Mistress thought that she would’ve gone stark, raving, lunatic mad with being shut up in such a small place—there was barely enough space to turn around. As the days rolled by the huge rough stones seemed as if they were actually moving, closing in on her—she’d eventually be crushed to death slowly, agonizingly by the big stones.
And if that didn’t kill her, hunger and thirst would certainly do the trick. She couldn’t remember what food tasted or smelled like. Death permeated the air, leaving the horrid taste of decay and rot on her tongue.
Honestly she would have preferred if Orochimaru had killed her on the spot after learning that his young apprentice had caught the intruder who had been causing the stir in his hideout.
Instead he had decided that the honour of disposing of their little ‘parasite‘ should go to Karin, since she was the brunette’s captor.
The redhead was intent on making her death as slow and as painful as possible.
A ninja must not show emotions, it’s a sign of weakness; she kept chanting to herself but it was pointless. The tears came anyway. She’d cry until there were no tears left, just dry sobs. Surprisingly it made her feel better. Her mind was clearer, her morale steadier. Soon began to accept the fact that in a matter of days, her body would eventually give in to the lack of nutrients and she’d die.
In fact, she looked forward to her death. It would grant her the oblivion she craved. The only thing that she’d regret was having to make her teammates and friends search for her in vain. She’d be a pile of bones gathering cobweb before they could even infiltrate Orochimaru’s hideout.
Occasionally Karin would stop by to mock and insult her—telling her how much of a worthless kunoichi she was. It was true, she thought grimly—she was useless, she had always been useless. Not having a family or possessing any unique abilities. Always playing backup and never being assigned to any top-ranked missions.
It came such a shocker when Tsunade had assigned her to this S–ranked mission. Perhaps she had finally realized Tenten’s worth or lack thereof and decided to put the poor kunoichi out of her misery by sending her to her death bed.
“A jutsu have been casted upon these rocks, your chakra will literally be sucked out of you if you try to use it,” Karin had told her, then there was that cruel laughter that Tenten had grown accustomed to hear ringing in his head. “But don’t go trying anything funny missy, Sasuke-kun would be heartbroken if a captured Leaf shinobi didn’t die by his hands.”
How ever did she forget about him when both Sakura and Naruto devoted their lives to being stronger shinobis just for the sake of bringing him back to the village. Tenten knew for a fact that she had never played such a significant role in anyone’s life for them to be so devoted to her.
She had been there that night—that night Uchiha left Sakura on that bench. And he had looked directly at her through the bushes she had hid behind. There had been tears in his dark eyes.
The memory still haunted her. It stained her consciousness. Prideful Uchiha Sasuke, in a moment of vulnerability had looked her dead in the eyes, as if he had wanted her to see him like that.
The footsteps were getting louder.
Her heart started beating fast with expectation. She had reached the point where just having the stone rolled away would be bliss. That point where space, air and light would seem heaven–sent; where to see another human being—no matter whom—would have been comforting.
Then fear set in. What did this person want with her? What would he do to her? She might be safer in her little burrow than in his hands, whoever he was.
The footsteps were coming nearer.
“Tenten?” the gruff voice demanded.
She began to whimper. It sounded like Kabuto. Maybe if she kept quiet he’d leave.
The voice was more urgent now. “Tenten?”
Mustering all her strength she bent her head to peek through the slit. Instinctively she jerked her head back from the red glare that stared her in the eyes. In an instant, she knew with terrible, stupefying clarity that it was Uchiha Sasuke. And he was angry; she could sense it in the flare of his chakra.
“I know you’re in there.”
With a harsh rasping noise, the stone rolled back.
The absolute, stygian blackness gave way to the glorious dimness. It took her eyes a while to adjust to the sudden burst of light within the hole. It took her mind a much longer time to fully acknowledge the fact that Uchiha Sasuke was standing at the opening of the hole, Sharingan activated with a scowl darkening his pale features.
Her heart throbbed unrhythmically in her chest and her stomach wouldn’t stop turning over. It made her feel nauseous.
“What are you doing here?” his voice seemed to sting her sensitive skin.
Apparently they had forgotten to fill the Uchiha in on their latest catch.
She crept further down into the hole if that was possible. This was a confrontation that she was not looking forward to. If the rumours were true, then she had every reason to be afraid of this man. He was dangerous. With just one look he could kill her or send her off into a world of insanity—not that she wasn’t on her way there already.
“Just kill me and get over with it,” she suggested with a slight tremor in her voice.
“Don’t tempt me,” he warned deadly, studying her for a moment then held out his hands for her to take it.
Brown eyes widen and her mouth gaped. Sasuke was offering her his hand. What for? She shook her head furiously and bumped her head on the stone roof. “No.”
“Come out,” he instructed, his voice like steel.
“No,” she challenged shakily.
“It wasn’t a request child. It was a command,” he told her gingerly. Sasuke stood on his side of the hole, grating, unable to get his large frame through the opening.
“Get out now Tenten, or I’ll sent these rocks down on you,” she felt the ground beneath her began to tremble, and in that moment she knew he was not joking, if he said he’d kill her, he’d do it—in fact he might actually enjoy it.
An eerie chill crept up her spine and she was suddenly—genuinely afraid of dying by his hands.
Tenten rushed out of the hole, forgetting to stoop and bumped her head in the roof once again. She squeezed through and fell into his outstretched arms.
She was shaking so badly, he had to hold her very tight to hold her at all. She felt his hand stroke her hair and she knew in her bones that he was someone to fear, so why was allowing herself to feel secure?
“Please just kill me,” she said fiercely, her voice trembling.
“I will—” he assured her with a low grunt. Then he swooped her up in his arms, and began to walk steadily down what looked like a well lit hallway, she didn’t see much of it. “—eventually.”
“What are you doing?” she felt curiously passive and inert; her body sluggish, her thinking slow and lethargic.
Sasuke took her to what looked like his room.
Tenten blinked in confusion as he placed her in a chair and told her to stay there. She would have bolted out the door the moment that he had left except she couldn’t. Her limbs felt languorous and she hadn’t the courage to disobey the Uchiha—she was paralyzed by the fear brought on both by his intimating aura and the ordeal that she had just endured.
He returned with a bowl of steaming hot ramen and placed it in her unsteady hands. “Eat it,” he ordered.
She flushed and refused; a little confused. “I’d rather die.”
“That’s fine by me,” he growled and sat down on his bed frowning at the stubborn brunette. Even on her death bed she was still as stubborn as he had remembered her to be—never wanting to accept aid for anyone as it made her feel powerless.
In truth, looking at her as she barely managed to sit upright in the chair, made him see some sembleance of his former self in the brunette. It infuriated him. It unnerved him. He hated it. But he supposed there had always been a clandestine affinity between himself and the weapon wielder.
The room felt silent.
An irrational yearning tempted the avenger to use his Sharingan to compel her to eat.
She just sat there staring at the ramen as though it was nothing. She was still shaking, her skin was drained of all its colour and she looked a little under weight. How long had they kept her cooped up in that hell hole?
He shot her a disapproving glare but she just looked blankly into his dark eyes.
He felt an unfamiliar tug in his chest when their eyes locked and he had to clench his fist at his sides to refrain from physically forcing her to eat.
Why he felt so constrained to not allow her to starve herself to death, Sasuke didn’t know. He reckoned that a part of him would slowly deteriorate knowing that he’d watched and allowed her to drive herself into ruination.
“If you don’t eat you’ll die,” he told her solemnly.
“Then let it be…” she insisted feebly, but it came with a bite. “It’s not like you care.”
His smirk was merciless, “You’re right, I don’t,” he admitted savagely. “But I don’t want to have to clean up a corpse.”
The remark came as no surprise; in fact it humoured her. “Then you should have just let me rot inside that hole,” she told him, hazel orbs looking paler than the last time he had gotten the chance to look at them.
“Maybe I should have,” he conceded, and in the space of a heartbeat he was by her side, roughly grabbing her by her shirt collar.
She found that her feet now hung in mid-air. The bowl of ramen fell from her hands and spilled its contents unto the concrete floor.
“Don’t tempt me Tenten. I will kill you without a second thought,” his red eyes bore into her bronze ones.
He snaked a hand around her throat and fought with himself to keep from strangling her. He felt disconcerted by the fact that he kept seeing himself suffering in her place. As if the stronger half of himself was clutching the weaker half’s neck—trying to annihilate it.
Sasuke looked down at her dirt–encrusted clothes and grimaced, “I want you to go get cleaned up and you will eat the next bowl of ramen without any resistance,” he said sternly, Sharingan spinning.
Tenten nodded in compliance and he released her, letting her fall to the ground with a heavy thud. She gasped and scramble to her feet.
He truly did not know how else to express himself, violence was his way of nature.
The young Uchiha never intended to wage war against his friends. However, since they insisted on defending the village that destroyed him, he had no choice. Whoever got in his way would perish along with the place they had grown to call home.
Tenten wasn’t an exception, she was a complication.
He watched as she staggered towards the direction of his bathroom and doubted that she could even handle to take a shower in her condition.
There would be hell to pay once Orochimaru found out that he was entertaining the prisoner in his quarters but he didn’t care. The snake was the least of his worries.
He would not allow them to continue mistreating the girl the way they had been. Perhaps it was because he still felt a little attached to all things Konoha—perhaps it was beacause of personal feelings towards the kunoichi, but he thought there was just something severly barbaric with they had been treating her.
Tenten went into the bathroom and took off the pink shirt and the dark pants that she had been wearing for as long as her nearly unconscious mind could remember. They were mouldy and damp. Her bra and underwear followed afterwards.
She sat on the edge of the tub, staring apathetically at the pile of clothes. She felt like the empty shell of a human being. It was ridiculous, but suddenly she didn’t have the strength to turn on the tap. She didn’t even trust herself to not slip into the tub and fall.
A numbing listlessness stole over her. She felt claustrophobic. She realized it was her minds way of protecting her from the ordeal that she had been undergoing for so long. Later she would be able to confront it, but not now. It was like a combat fatigue. She tried to rouse herself, but was unable to. So she just sat there, for how long, she didn’t know.
Her mind was a complete blank.
When Sasuke tapped on the bathroom door, she didn’t answer. She had forgotten everything for a moment and was wondering who was knocking on the door.
She was reaching for her clothes when he came in.
His look changed from worried to consternation when he saw her. Then the furrowed lines in his face vanished, but the activated Sharingan was still in place.
He took a large bath towel off the rack and wrapped it around her. His hands were strong and reassuring on her body; the towel deliciously warm and soft. Tenten closed her eyes a moment, relishing the sensation.
Taking her by the shoulders, he half lifted her from the edge of the tub. “Sit over there,” he commanded harshly. “I’ll run the water for you.”
He felt that unfamiliar tug in his chest again as those traumatize chocolate eyes dead-bolted with his. He deactivated his Sharingan and gave her a look of understanding.
She sat down obediently and listened to the rush of water as Sasuke turned both taps on.
“Alright, Tenten,” he said and she stood. The towel dropped and she stared down at it stupidly. I really ought to pick that up.
Sasuke looked at her, his glance running down, then up her body. He felt an uncharacteristic sting at her cheeks when he it finally dawned at him that he must have been gawking at her.
She was incredibly beautiful. Slender, with waist you could fit both hands around, but with full up tilting breast and long, elegant legs. He helped her in the tub and turned away, mentally punching himself. He wasn’t just a ruthless, rogue ninja, he was a man as well. And no man who claimed to be a real man would pass up the opportunity to acknowledge true feminine beauty when he saw it.
For a second, the idea of sleeping with her right then and there flashed across his mind. She wouldn’t resist—in the state she was in, she’d hardly know what was happening. The idea left just as quickly as it came, washed away by a tide of repugnance at the very thought of doing such a thing.
Tenten sat dumbly in the tub of water staring at nothing in particular.
What Sasuke did next, he had swallowed a lot of his pride to do. He knew it in his heart that if it were another female, he wouldn’t be in here.
But he was completely hopeless against the certain power that she held over him. He didn’t know when it started. Somewhere between escaping Sakura’s advances and challenging the Hyuuga, Sasuke had found himself taking joy in the simpler things in life—and Tenten was as plain as simple as they came.
He had admired that about her, because before the Uchiha massacre, his life had been just that—simple. He desired those days above all, though he knew the likes of which would never return to his clutches.
He always found comfort in knowing she was safe because the truth of the matter was that Tenten functioned as his second half—a sort of preservation of his youth—a completion of what it was that made him Uchiha Sasuke the avenger.
He had tried to shove the thought aside, banish it from his mind. After all he had never had any sort of relationship withthe girl for her to assume such significance in his life. But as their genin days rolled by, he acknowledged—from afar—bits and pieces of his old life in her; he could no longer escape the truth.
She took the form of his mother; without judgement, nurturing, fair and honest. That was the side of her that had drawn him at first. He envied the Hyuuga for always being the one at the end of such kindness. It could be argued that Sakura was nice to him as well, but she was only ever like that because she had an ulterior motive. She saw him as a prize to be won over and something to flaunt at the other girls to make them feel jealous. There was nothing sweet about her infatuation, it was manipulative and strictly superficial.
Tenten on the other hand, selflessly gave without expecting anything in return. She didn’t make a nuisance out of herself either, he reasoned to himself.
He soon discovered that her expertise with weapons and her willingness to lend a helping hand to others in that regards, reflected his exact memories of his brother. But what had disgusted him most about her likeness to Itachi, was her patriotism. Her loyaltly to the Leaf Village was sickening. Once when they were much younger, Sasuke overheard her saying she wanted to be Hokage.
He hadn’t heard her with it since then and hoped she had realized exactly how corrupt and bias politics in Konoha was.
Like his father, Tenten disliked any sign of weakness. This was the side of her that he could relate to the most. While not callous, her delicate features, twin buns and brown eyes served as a lethal combination that could trick her opponent into underestimating her abilities. Then she went in for the kill.
He had seen how easily she overwhelmed Sakura in battle when the two sparred. Not that his former teammate was much of a step up from training dummy.
In some ways Sasuke supposed he had always envied Tenten. How was it that she could live with the knowledge that she had no one? How was it that she could go home with a smile on her face knowing that there was no one there waiting for her?
She grew up without ever knowing the love of a family, of a bond; of anyone. How did she survive it all—living in the shadows of her team mates and not being fully recognized for the potentials that she truly had? How?
She made it look so easy to be insignificant and yet she was in every possible way, the only one that mattered. To him.
Why was that?
Because she was the lost half of himself.
“Open your eyes!” he instructed when she started tilting to one side, lack of sleep finally catching up to her.
He sighed when she flung her eyes open only to have them helplessly fall back shut.
Sasuke glared down at the pathetic creature sitting in his bath tub and felt himself burn with an unwanted need to protect her. To keep that half of himself locked away from the rest of the world.
He hated the feeling. It made him question his readiness to go into battle with Itachi. If he couldn’t wash a mere girl out of his thoughts, how would he fare against his brother in battle, a brother whom he loved his entire life?
Reluctantly he began to pour water in her hair, watching it cling to her face, drenching her pale skin. He couldn’t believe what he was doing.
She shuddered, when the water unexpected made contact with her cold, dirty flesh. She tensed when she felt his fingers in her hair as if she thought he would snap her neck any minute now.
But he didn’t—he was actually—Uchiha Sasuke was massaging her scalp? Shampooing it and washing away weeks of grime and muck that had taken up residence in her long brown locks.
His fingers creating a mesmerizing motion that seemed to mesh with the unsteady beat of her heart.
He soaped her breasts and abdomen, her long, firm thighs and back. He washed her feet carefully and her slim arms and hands. The he rinsed off her body with a bath sponge, lifted her out of the tub and gently towelled her dry.
He grabbed a big cotton shirt in his closet and eased it over her head, past her shoulders, and down her slender sides. After she got cleaned up he prepared another bowl of ramen and he roughly fed her. She offered no resistance.
He found himself readying his bed and when she laid down, he pulled the covers up over her.
Then he sat on the bed next to her shaking his head at his odd behaviour.
Orochimaru was not going to like this at all, but he too would come to see hat one man’s trash could indeed become another’s treasure.
The village had shunned her, deemed her unworthy of the ninja name. And for that Tenten should at least share a common goal. That was, watching Konoha fall to pieces.
“Are you going to kill me now?” she asked, sounding a little too hopeful for his liking.
He placed his hands on hers and quickly drew it back when he realized what he was doing. “Don’t appear so anxious, you might give me the wrong idea,” a smirk played at the corner of his lips.
Suddenly it all hit her. Sasuke had given her a bath. She had been stark naked and he had washed her, touched her everywhere, held onto her so she wouldn’t fall while he patted her body dry.
She closed her eyes against the embarrassment of it. Heat, like liquid fire, swept her body. She raised the blanket to her chin, so he wouldn’t see her trembling beneath it. But it wasn’t shame she was feeling now—it was a sense of peace, an eerie sense of relief.
As he was about to get up, he felt a fragile hand clasped his elbows. “What is it?”
He saw her stiffen, “Don’t leave. Please,” she whimpered.
“No one will bother you in here Tenten. No one is that daring. Go get some rest,” he ordered.
But she wouldn’t release his arm, no matter how much her limbs were protesting. “Please…”
He shrugged her off and scowled. Tenten’s soft gaze vanished and her lips came firmly together.
Their eyes locked again. “It is not in your place to request anything of me,” his voice was crisp and reeked with authority.
But his brain sent a completely different message out to his limbs for he took her in his arms when all her protective mechanisms had caved in and she started to cry.
“A ninja must never let his or her emotions get in the way of anything,” he said more to himself than her.
She sobbed non-stop, berating herself as pathetic, dumb and a host of other words she would soon see did not describe her at all. Sasuke would make certain of it.
He lay back on the bed and held her against him, smothering her hair, hating himself for being so weak towards her tears. “It’s okay Tenten. Please don’t cry,” he was torn between annoyance and sympathy.
She cried without stopping, and he simply sat there, listening to her ranting, whispering words that held no meaning but told her that he was there. And no matter how much he wanted to abandon her and the strange feeling she was coercing into his chest, he couldn’t.
It was like being reunited with the broken half of a soul. The half that felt, that cared, the half that he had neglected because it would’ve held him back.
She was the half that gave him purpose—the half to gave him drive. On look at her and he’d remember what Konoha had done to him. They left him an orphan—alone. Like Tenten. And though he wished he could bend his mind to his situation the way she had to hers; he couldn’t allow the death of his clan to go like that.
The difference between himself and the brunette was that she had never known the comfort of a family; hence she wouldn’t know the hurt he felt after losing his. No one deserved to feel as alone and as empty as he had felt. But he supposed the depth of her misery surpassed his own since she was brought into this world alone.
Not knowing who she was of ever truly feeling that sense of belonging everybody craved.
That was precisely why they would make the perfect team. He’d teach her to cope with the pain, to not care, to not feel and in return she’d help him regain the ability to do exactly those things. After all, what’s life without a little humanity?
He would need no one, nor would she; heck, they wouldn’t even need each other—they were already one.
Later after she had finally finished sobbing and emptied her insides of her fear, terror and sadness, she felt fatigue. But they both just laid there basking in the comfort of utter and complete soul–consolidation.
“A ninja must never allow personal attachments to deter his goals. However, some goals are more important than others.” Sasuke said. “And those that are not as vital have to be delayed in order to facilitate the more significant things in life.” He was now holding her hand, his strong fingers tightening their grip. “I was sent to kill you tonight,” he admitted and she gasped. “That was my goal.”
Did the temperature in the room suddenly drop?
“I’ve never failed an execution mission before,” he leaned closer. “Nothing gets in my way,” she heard the sound of metal against metal, a sound which would have been like music to her ears, but given the situation it was her death call.
“But I think I’ll risk the consequences this time…”
She watched his lips descend to hers in a crescendo of excitement. His breath was warm against her lips before she felt the gentle pressure of his mouth over hers.
“…Because, you are the only exception.”