Disclaimer: this is a fan fiction.

Can you Hear the Bells?

Chapter 1: Rin

Rin is the catalyst - she is where it begins and ends. Tenten is the ellipses - she is what comes afterwards, the flicker of something more.

Rin is about to leave on a mission when her mama calls her name.

"Rin! I have great news, you're going to be a big sister"

She smiles, pleased by how happy her mama is. Rin can't help teasing the older woman, however. "From what I've learned at the hospital, aren't you a little old?"

"Daughtet dearest, don't you dare think that age prevents me from riding your otou -"

"- Right. Forget I said anything. Let's plan some prenatal care when I get back from my mission, alright?"

"You're always so diligent, aren't you my darling Rin-rin? You're my amazingly talented daughter and you'll be the kindest older sister in all of Leaf, no, the entire world!"

"I'm 13, kaa-chan, I've been a chunin for 2 years! I'm not your little Rin-rin anymore."

"You'll always be my sweet Rin-rin. Be safe, I love you."

"I'm really happy for you and papa. I'm looking forward to being a big sister, I promise. Bye kaa-chan, bye baby-chan!

Rin doesn't get to be a big sister. Instead, she dies. Two sharingan eyes immortalize her demise as two black and red pinwheels morph and weep tears of blood. The unwilling human sacrifice dies for her village and in turn, leaves behind her team, two heartbroken parents and an unborn sibling.

Rin was born in November while Tenten is born in March. Rin's parents name their newborn daughter Tenten in hopes that she'll live a more auspicious life than Rin. Little Tenten is born without her mother's clan markings. It's one of few factors that help them distinguish her from their dead daughter. She's not marked like a Nohara. She's not Rin. She's Tenten and her parents love her so much.

Nohara Akane is an independent woman. She married for love and lives her life on her own terms. Unfortunately, her steadfast nature couldn't protect her daughter. No parent should suffer the tragedy of burying their child. Her purple markings accent her laugh lines and crow's feet and she knows she's too old to be a mother again. Akane is so very tired and sad. She probably has postpartum depression, or is it simply the fatigue of living past her first child? They lost Rin almost two years ago. Little Tenten is an inquisitive and cheerful baby. Her chubby cheeks are so squishably pink and her cute voice giggles and babbles along, "Tentententen? Tentententen! Tenten! Ten! Tententen." Akane almost expects Rin to enter the room with a smile but reality comes back and she knows she'll never see her Rin-rin again. Poor Tenten will never know her older sister like she should've.

Daichi is a simple man. He loves his wife and his two daughters. Some men would want a boy but as a previously nameless orphan, he sees little importance in requiring male heirs. In addition, the Nohara's are matriarchal so there isn't any reason for customers to harass him about his kids. It bothers him sometimes when customers remark on his 'excess' of daughters as if it's a bad thing. They seem to forget Rin died less than two years ago. How dare they forget her while dismissing her as valueless? His Tenten-chan is adorable and will grow up and do great things. Yes, she will grow up. She'll outlive him and Akane and she'll live a long fulfilling life. She'll live. She has to. His heart can't take losing her too.

Tenten is a cute baby. Her cheeks are tinged pink and she smiles often. She doesn't seem to notice the melancholy looks her parents share. She's a happy baby, bringing life to the otherwise quiet apartment.

Rin is the catalyst - she is where it begins and ends. Tenten is the ellipses - she suggests what comes afterwards, the flicker of something more.




AN: first posted on 08/29/17. This will be progressively AU to canon as Tenten develops as a character. There is no current update schedule as I'm going to school full time in addition to working 2 part-time jobs.

Sneak peak for an upcoming chapter:

Kakashi is shocked when Gai introduces him to the youthful lotus blossom, Tenten. Her big brown eyes look at him curiously but all he can see is Rin. His hand is warm with her blood as her chest is ripped open by his crackling Chidori. He blinks, slowly, and the illusion of death disappears. He's not ready to face a girl that reminds him so much of his failure to protect his precious people.

Reviews, comments, suggestions for improvement, etc. are welcomed and appreciated.