AN: Hey guys! I've decided to throw a little KibaSaku into the mix until Sasuke gets back. Don't worry, the story will still have a happy ending, but this is something that the characters will have to work for-don't blame me, blame my crazy psycho of a mind! Anyway, here's chapter 2. ENJOY! Oh, I don't own ANYTHING you recognize! DISCLAIMED!
Chapter 2-If I Die Young…
The sharp knife of a short life, well I've had just enough time –The Band Perry, If I Die Young.
'Neji!' Tenten screamed after the blast when she saw her teammate lying on the scorched earth. Abandoning her thoughts about how her reaction would look, Tenten rushed to Neji's side. 'Gai-Sensei! Neji's not breathing!' Tenten's heart slowed, maybe even stopped altogether. Lying in the grass, possibly dead, was the one boy she ever really wanted. Of all the guys who had approached her all these years, the only who she really wanted to notice her was Neji. Quiet, serious, sexy Neji-one of the only people who truly believed in her, and laughed when she did something stupid.
Moments of Neji flashed like scattered scenes from the movie that was her life. Her and Neji training, the one time he managed to leave her completely defenseless; her and Neji eating lunch, laughing under an apple tree; Neji kissing that stupid whore Layla, then looking disappointed when his eyes met hers. The images grew faster and faster, and before she knew it, Tenten was panicking. Before she did anything drastic, Kakashi-Sensei appeared at her side. 'Calm down, Tenten. It's going to be okay,' he murmured, hoping to get Tenten away from the dark place she was in.
'Sorry, Kakashi-Sensei,' Tenten replied, swiping at the tears threatening to spill from her eyes.
'Don't worry about it, Tenten. You care about Neji; it's nothing to be ashamed of. I'm pretty sure that if the roles were reversed, he'd be just as worried,' Kakashi's soothing voice made Tenten eerily calm.
'Thank you, Kakashi-Sensei. Do you need me to do anything?'
'Just stay calm and don't get in the way. He's been burned pretty badly. Is Sakura still here? I need her to take a look at these burns.'
At the sound of the girl's name who had possibly stolen Neji's life, Tenten turned bitter. 'Why the hell should I go get her? She's the one who hurt Neji-kun and there's no way in hell that I'm going to have her help save him!'
'Tenten, deep breaths. She's training to be a medical ninja. I will need her expertise if I hope to at least save Neji from a lifetime of burn scars.'
'Fine,' Tenten muttered, racing off to find the girl who had started all this chaos in the first place.
After searching diligently for five minutes, Tenten returned, finding Gai-Sensei, Kiba, Naruto, and Rock Lee at Neji's side. 'I couldn't find her,' she rushed out in one breath, breathing heavily, trying to slow her racing heartbeat.
'Call Tsunade. She needs to hear about this. Tell her to send a few teams of medial ninja here, too, Gai,' Kakashi's calm, soothing tone made Gai-Sensei actually respond to Kakashi's command.
'I'll be back in a second,' he said seriously, probably for the first time in his life, as he took off towards the Fifth Hokage's quarters.
Tenten waited in agonizing silence, pacing the blackened earth as she waited for her sensei to arrive with the medic-nins. 'Neji,' she whispered to herself, 'I can't lose you, too. Everyone I love dies.' With those last few words, the unshed tears began to fall. She sank down on a stub of a tree that was left, and cried. She cried for Neji, she cried for herself, she cried for Sasuke, she cried for everything that was wrong in the world. She was still sobbing when Might Gai arrived with the medic-nins. She cried so hard that she didn't even realize that Neji's life had been saved, and he was being taken to Konoha General Hospital.
'Tenten,' a voice said, making her look up. 'Neji's at the hospital. Do you wanna go see if you can go talk to him?'
Tenten stood up on shaky legs and took Rock Lee's hand. 'Thanks, Lee.'
'It's what teammates do for each other,' the other ninja responded.
When the doors to Konoha General opened, Tenten raced towards the receptionist's desk. 'Can I help you?' the quiet voice of Shizune asked.
'Where's Neji Hyuuga? I need to see him!'
'I'm sorry, Tsunade-sama just took him into surgery. A team of highly trained medic ninja is operating on him as we speak. Do you want to wait for him with your friends?' Shizune told Tenten, motioning towards the group of people quietly seated on the uncomfortable waiting room chairs.
'Sure, I guess,' Tenten conceded, walking towards her teammates and friends.
'Tenten, I'm so sorry!' Ino's voice made Tenten cringe; she wasn't in the mood for sympathy.
'Yeah, me too.' The resigned tone in the girl's voice made Ino worried.
'Have you see Sakura?' Just the name set Tenten's time bomb of rage off.
'SAKURA? NEJI'S IN THE HOSPITAL AND THE ONLY PERSON YOU CAN ASK ABOUT IS SAKURA? DAMMIT, INO, I WOULD'VE THOUGHT YOU WOULD AT LEAST HAVE A LITTLE DECENCY! OBVIOUSLY NOT!' Tenten screamed at the blonde, releasing all of her bottled-up rage and anger at the unsuspecting girl.
'What's wrong?' came a soft voice from behind Tenten.
'Well, well. Speak of the devil.' The icy tone Tenten bit out wasn't missed by anyone in the room.
'What, Tenten? Who the hell did this to Neji?' The innocence in Sakura's voice didn't go unnoticed by the other girl.
'Really, Sakura? You really don't know? Figures you wouldn't take responsibility for anything.'
'Just what the hell are you implying, Tenten? That I hurt Neji?'
'Oh, my God! You bitch!' Tenten screeched, launching herself at Sakura.
Sakura threw an uppercut into Tenten's hunched form. The other girl shrieked but didn't slow. Tenten's momentum threw Sakura off balance, and the two fell onto the floor, each struggling to best the other. In the distance the two girls heard a voice call out to them. Quickly, both girls were pulled away from each other. 'What the hell?' Tenten's hoarse voice croaked at the boy keeping her from kicking Sakura's ass.
'Tenten, violence isn't the answer,' Might Gai whispered into his student's ear. In the comfort of her sensei's arms, Tenten broke down for the second time that day.
'Sakura,' Kiba muttered from behind her, 'get a grip. You already injured one team member of Gai's team, don't do it again.'
'Lemmego!' Sakura whispered fiercely, wishing Kiba would release her arms from his grasp.
'Nope. Not until you promise not to hurt Tenten. She's going through basically the same thing you've been going through for the past two weeks.'
'Whatever. I'm outta here. Let me know when Neji wakes up.' The pink-haired ninja walked furiously towards the doors of Konoha General. Kiba had thoughts of running after her and comforting her; she was in so much pain. It wasn't a good idea to get involved with a girl who was in love with another guy, Kiba reminded himself. Still, he couldn't stand seeing her lock away all of her feelings in a box and throwing away the key. In a few weeks, she was bound to turn into the very person who had hurt her the most, and Kiba didn't want to see that happen. He had made up his mind; he was going after Sakura. Leaving a sobbing Tenten and roomful of somber ninjas behind, Kiba went off in search of Sakura.
Kiba found Sakura sitting under a tree, pulling the grass out of the ground. 'Hey,' he whispered softly, not wanting her to push him away.
'What do you want?' The bitter tone to her voice made Kiba cringe. Maybe this wasn't such a good idea after all.
'I just wanted to see if you wanted to talk.'
'I'll live. It's not like my life is depending on whether or not I talk to you or anybody,' Sakura said so softly Kiba wasn't sure he had heard her speak.
'It helps. Just talk to me about anything.'
'Okay. Um, I miss Sasuke. The only thing on my mind is if he's okay, where he is now, basically anything and everything that has to do with Sasuke. I never imagined he'd leave. I always thought he'd be my teammate and my friend.'
'You loved him, didn't you?'
'I don't know if it was love, but I definitely felt something for him. God, sometimes I feel so pathetic that I just wanna end it all.'
'Wait. You want to kill yourself?' Kiba didn't realize his mouth fell open.
'Sometimes. Not all the time. Only when I feel like this.'
'What do you feel like?'
'Pathetic. I couldn't stop him from leaving. I can't believe I actually thought that he would listen to me; he never had before. God, I just wanna go back a few weeks, when everything was okay. When I didn't have to worry about getting through the day without crying or showing weakness.'
'You do realize it's okay to cry?'
'Yeah, but after Sasuke left, I made a promise to myself that I wasn't going to cry again. He always told me that I should grow up, and so now I'm taking his advice and I'm growing up. Whatever, I don't even know why I'm telling you all this.' A wave of emotion overwhelmed Sakura and she began to cry. Two weeks' worth of unshed tears washed down her face until she couldn't cry anymore. Kiba held her in his arms as she cried, silently cursing Sasuke for leaving his teammate in such a horrible state. It was at that moment that Kiba vowed to protect Sakura until Sasuke returned.