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Summary: Request done for TaoEmpress for the prompt “Forever is just a place in someone else's story.” My guess at post-canon (since I haven’t finished the manga yet AHA) with a familiar AU twist, aaayyyy. Sasuke + Tenten.

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“I thought you might’ve forgotten.”

He expects to see some subtle indication of surprise -- a light tensing of her shoulders, her fingers curling swiftly but casually around one of the weapons tucked away at her sides -- but she does neither. She gives no sign of having been caught off guard, but after a few seconds pivots on one foot to face him.

Sasuke is unsurprised to find she matches his last memories of her perfectly. A little taller, a little leaner, maybe, but her face is unchanged. The same sharp angles, the usual collected expression, the familiar dark eyes that learned to give nothing away. After a couple heartbeats, however, the look in that gaze shifts just enough for him to predict some sarcasm.

“It’s hard to forget a place where you spent several years of your life.” Her voice is the same, too: cool and level, but with that underlying trace of skepticism saved just for him. She considers his statement a stupid one.

Unfazed, he descends the last few broken steps at an easy pace, only stopping once the two of them are on the same ground. The whole time he holds her stare, but once he’s still again, he lets his attention wander to the shattered earth around them, the star-peppered sky overhead peeking in through the ruins. “Assuming you don’t force yourself to forget,” he replies in his usual monotone.

In the corner of his eye, Tenten cocks her head. “If that were possible, you’d have stopped having problems a long time ago.”

Sasuke doesn’t stop the corner of his mouth from quirking slightly. “You haven’t changed.” There’s a slight ring of reluctant amusement there, but it’s not clear whether that’s a compliment or insult.

“I could say the same. I thought being back in the village might knock something into you. Or out.”

“It’s not like I’ve been there often.” Neither of them have. Despite losing touch with her for so long, Sasuke still has his sources. He knows she’s been abroad just as much as he, scattered among the countries in neverending post-war efforts. He could have confronted her before now if he chose; more than once they happened to be in the same relative vicinity on separate assignments. Instead, he always avoided her.

Until now.

“So what made you come looking for me now?” she wonders, as if following the same train of thought. “Unless you were also assigned to dig through Orochimaru’s leftovers.”

No, he wasn’t. And they both know well that there’s no need for him to come back here in the physical sense; he won’t glean any more information from these ruins than from his memory. “I could use your expertise,” he says bluntly.

Could use, not need.

Expertise, not help.

Even now, he has his pride.

Tenten crosses her arms, shifting her weight -- whether that body language is skeptical or curious, Sasuke can’t say for sure, but he would wager it’s a bit of both. “About?”

“There’s a weapon smuggler working out of Rain. Rumor has it he’s been doing a lot of private business around the borders of Sound.”

“Isn’t ‘private business’ what smugglers are all about?”

Private meaning even his closest flunkies don’t know much about it. He’s been dealing under a lower table than usual. If I’m going in, I need to know specifics on his business -- and no one knows weaponry better than you.”

Her mouth remains a flat, expressionless line. “Compliments aside,” she says slowly, “something tells me this isn’t an official assignment.”

“Does that matter?”

Tenten holds his gaze, bold and direct, for a few heartbeats. “...These aren’t the old days. I’m not jumping in on blind loyalty alone. What’s your personal stake in this?”

Honestly, he wasn’t expecting her to agree easily. Their history aside, she has every right to be suspicious -- and to turn him down. “I’m tying up some loose ends,” he answers coolly.

“Meaning?”

“You’re not the only one who’s been digging around these old sites. Three other hideouts showed signs of recent tampering -- but it’s different from the usual passerby thieves. Whoever this was tried to cover his tracks. Pretty poorly,” he adds with the slightest air of disdain.

Turning that over, Tenten doesn’t reply right away. When she does, it’s clear that old habits die hard. She still thinks like a Sound shinobi. “You think that was accidental? Or it’s some kind of trap?”

“That’s what I intend to find out.”

“...Hm. Loose ends or not, I didn’t think you’d be hung up over Sound matters.”

“I just don’t like leaving things open-ended. And I thought you might feel the same -- about our story, at the very least.”

“It was never ‘our’ story, Uchiha. It was always yours, with people like me working behind the scenes to make sure it stayed that way.” There’s nothing bitter there. It’s matter-of-fact as though she’s pointing out an oversight, or reminding him of a scheduled event that he’s forgotten. Just like old times.

“You were good at what you did.” Sasuke doesn’t often give compliments -- and this isn’t one, either. It’s a fact.

“I know.”

He cracks another light smirk at that. Has he missed this? It’s hard to say. It’s hard to think of days gone by without a mess of emotions getting involved and this is no exception. Not by a long shot. “I’m heading to Rain in the morning, with or without you,” he throws in, turning back towards the staircase.

“Gee, don’t give me too much time to think about it.”

Their friends may say otherwise, but neither of them has changed. Not really.
Title: Scripted
Series: Naruto
Rating: G
Pairings: THAT DEPENDS ON HOW YOU WANT TO LOOK AT IT, GOOD SIR
Genre: General
Word count: 950
Spoilers: sort… of?? What are Naruto spoilers anymore?? lol.
Summary: Request done for :icontaoempress: for the prompt “Forever is just a place in someone else's story.” My guess at post-canon (since I haven’t finished the manga yet AHA) with a familiar AU twist, aaayyyy. Sasuke + Tenten.

Good night my Naruto knowledge is so rusty!! I hope there’s nothing blatantly contradictory to canon D’8 up to when I stopped, anyway, fff.
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Submitted on
October 9, 2016
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