Newly finished and raring to be posted. hope you guys enjoy!
Summary: Through carelessness, Tenten is stabbed in the back. Who will come to her rescue and give her what she needs to survive?
It happened quicker than any of us could see. One minute the three of us were standing back to back, ready and alert to face off with the unseen enemy hiding in the shadows. The next minute Lee was getting side swiped by a kodachi coming towards him at a speed that matched his own. And that’s when it happened. I was too busy keeping my Byukagan open for another attack from the kodachi wielder that I didn’t see the sai sailing towards Tenten’s unprotected back. I cursed my own blind spot when I heard her pain-filled cry as she fell to the ground, her blood squirting out when the weapon hit it’s target.
“Tenten!” both Lee and I shouted at the same time.
I went on the defensive as Lee bent down to evaluate her condition. From all the blood that was spilling onto the ground and the frantic look on Lee’s usually confident face, I knew that her injury was serious. She hadn’t said a word or even made a sound since the wound was inflicted, she couldn’t. either by the amount of red liquid she was losing with each passing second or because of the impact of her fall afterwards, Tenten was unconscious.
“What’s wrong with her, Lee?” I demanded in between each Kaiten.
“The sai hit an artery,” Lee informed me, “I can’t stop her bleeding.”
The kunoichi usually pink shirt was now stained red, drenched in her vital fluids. What we thought was a small group of ninjas had turned into an army of enemies determined to keep us there so that we could watch Tenten die of blood loss. There was no way Lee would be able to get Tenten past them if the kodachi and sai wider were any indication of their advanced skill level.
“We need to get her to the hospital,” I said, stating the obvious.
“How are we going to do that?” Lee asked, the obvious question to follow my declaration.
“Fear not, my students!” came a familiar call, “I, the Green Beast of Konoha, Maito Gai, have arrived with the Flames of Youth blazing behind me!”
And with that, an entire ANBU regiment emerged from the bushes, battling through the enemy line towards us. As we were encircled in their protective ring, Sakura emerged from the bushes, her medical pack in tow.
“What happened?” she asked automatically as she set her pack down.
“She was attacked from behind, “Lee replied, still clutching the unmoving Tenten in his arms, “We think the sai hit an artery.”
Glancing down at the offending weapon protruding from Tenten’s blood-drenched back, Sakura winced involuntarily. Quickly searching through her pack, the younger kunoichi pulled out an immense amount of gauze and a bottle of iodine. Pulling out a kunai from her thigh holster, she began cutting away at Tenten’s shirt so she could survey the wound. As Sakura began peeling away the layers of cloth, I turned my attention to the battle that was waging around us. My eyes darted to a bird of prey as it screeched above us. I looked to anything and everything to divert my concerns from my bleeding teammate.
“Crap!” Sakura exclaimed.
“What is it?” Lee asked, voicing both of our concerns.
“She’s lost a lot of blood and I didn’t think to bring any blood packs,” the pink-haired kunoichi replied, “I don’t even know what her blood type is.”
“B positive,” I responded automatically.
“What does this mean?” Lee asked, his mind obviously more focused than mine at the moment.
“It means if we don’t get some blood in her soon, there’ll be no point in me trying to remove the sai from her back,” she replied, her frustration bleeding through much like the blood flowing out of Tenten.
We were all silent as the reality of the situation set in. Tenten wouldn’t survive without more blood. Looking down at Lee who still held Tenten in his arms, the gears in my head began to sort through our options. Lee was A negative so he was out of the question. I turned to Sakura and quickly dismissed that thought after realizing that she had to remain coherent to remove the sai. And then it hit me…
“Sakura,” I called, breaking our trance, “Do you have an IV tube?”
“Yeah, why?” the young medic-nin inquired curiously.
“Set it up,” I ordered calmly.
“But I don’t have any-“ she started to say.
“Hook it up to me,” I interrupted.
“What?” was the reaction I got from both Lee and Sakura.
“My blood type’s O,” I said simply. After seeing their confused faces, I elaborated by saying, “O blood can be donated universally.”
“Neji, no,” Sakura protested.
“Just do it,” I demanded, silencing her with my outburst. Softly, I added, “It’s the only way to save her.”
For a while, neither one of them said a word as Sakura eyed me warily. Finally, with a sigh, she nodded her approval. Quickly sitting down next to Lee, I held out my hands as he passed Tenten’s unconscious form to me. It was then that I was finally able to see all the blood staining the taijutsu user’s usually green attire. Despite that fact, Lee was still able to give me a thumbs up, his smile obviously lacking the ‘ping’ of his bright smile.
“Lee,” Sakura called as she applied alcohol to the inside of my elbow where the IV would go.
“Yes, Sakura?” Lee responded, immediately coming to attention.
“We left a pull cart a couple miles back so that we could get her quicker,” the medic-nin explained, “Find it and bring it back here.”
“It would be my pleasure,” Lee said before he zipped off in search of the mentioned cart, “You can count on me, my lovely Flower of Youth,”
I couldn’t help but smirk at Sakura’s exasperated expression to Lee’s comment. The smirk quickly disappeared as I turned my attention to the task at hand. Noticing how exposed Tenten was without her shirt, I carefully fitted my jacket around her so that her arms were snug in the sleeves while the sipper allowed room for the protruding sai. I was slightly surprised when I saw that the IV was already in me, the red contents in the clear tube flowing towards Tenten’s end. Turing to Sakura, I was greeted with her smirk.
“A little trick the Hokage taught me,” she explained with a wink, “Catch them while they’re distracted.”
“Hm,” I responded emotionlessly, unable to think of anything else to say as I averted my attention back to Tenten.
“She’s going to be ok now, Neji,” Sakura added softly, “Thanks to you.”
“Well isn’t that a lovely sight,” an enemy-nin commented while jumping over the heads of he ANBU soldiers, “Too bad you won’t live long enough to save her.”
While still in the air, the man had reached back and unsheathed his nonachi. He held it high over his head, prepared to strike a fatal blow to either me or Sakura. But he was never able to as Gai came into view, knocking the man down with a swift and powerful kick in the head.
“Ah, the Flames of Youth burn bright during battle,” my teacher said with a smile and ‘ping’ of his teeth.
Sakura flashed him a smile of relief in return before she went back to her duties. It wasn’t long after when Lee appeared in a cloud of dust, the pull cart in tow. By this time, the ANBU soldiers had managed to disable the enemy ninjas. Bodies were scattered all over the area on the ground and in the trees. By all that mattered was the teammate lying in my arms.
I soon found myself in the back of the pull cart with Tenten’s head resting comfortably in my lap as we made our slow trek back to Konoha. Sakura reprimanded the ANBU soldiers after hitting a bump in the road before turning back to Tenten’s punctured back.
“You doing ok, Neji?” she asked, snapping on a pair of rubber gloves.
“Just concentrate on her,” I replied, “I’ll be fine.”
“Is there anything I can do?” Lee asked softly.
“Yeah,” Sakura answered flatly, “Pry to Kami I can get this thing out without damaging her even more.”
“What do you mean?” me green-clad teammate asked in confusion.
“Look at where the sai is, right next to the spine,” the medic-nin replied, “That’s the main component to the central nervous system.”
“And if we damage it, she could end up paralyzed,” I added, realizing what she was getting at.
“And after that, we might as well let her die,” Sakura said with a nod.
“What?” Lee questioned in shock.
“She’s right,” I explained, “Tenten would rather be dead than have her ninja skills taken away from her.”
“So, now you know why I want this ride to be as smooth as possible,” Sakura said.
“Take your time,” Lee managed to rasp out with a nervous gulp.
Seating herself beside Tenten’s body, Sakura leaned over the sai and quickly went to work removing it. How and when she was able to get the offending weapon out was a mystery to me because my eyes were on Tenten’s face the entire time. I didn’t register what was going on around me until my vision began to blur.
“Neji, are you ok?” Sakura asked with concern, “You’re looking paler than usual.”
“I told you I’m…fine,” I said in annoyance, stumbling over my words from my lowered blood density.
“That’s a load of crap,” the young kunoichi stated.
“Look, I’m…” I started to say.
“Lee!” the medi-nin called in alarm at my uncharacteristic pause.
Lee’s response was drowned out by the sound of a thumping ringing through my ears. I tried to blink away the sudden dizziness that hit me. The last thing I saw was Tenten’s angelic and peaceful face before I lost the battle to unconsciousness. Then there was darkness.
The thumping could still be heard, but it was more muted than it was before. My head, on the other hand, was throbbing. I barely had the will to open my eyes and join the world of the conscious. But when I did, I was greeted with the brightest hazel eyes I had ever seen, and it was all worth it.
“It’s about time,” Tenten said cheerfully, “And you complain when I sleep in.”
“The difference is I didn’t have a choice about how long I slept,” I countered.
“Touché,” she responded with a nod.
“What are you doing out of bed?” I asked with disapproval, “You shouldn’t be here.”
“I wanted to se how you were,” the kunoichi explained with a pout.
“I’m not the one who took a sai to the spine,” I stated, trying hard to ignore her protruding lower lip.
“No,” she agreed, “But you were the one that gave me the blood I needed to last long enough for Sakura to remove it.”
My teammate looked down at her hands resting in her lap, a small smile gracing her face at the thought. It was then that I noticed that her hair wasn’t in its usual bum style as her hair slid to cover one eye. Swallowing hard, I resisted the urge to tuck it behind her hear.
“Thank you, Neji,” Tenten said suddenly, lifting her head once again to look at me.
“I would do it again,” I responded truthfully.
He nodded at my statement, her smile growing a centimeter wider. I found my fingers fidgeting like Hinata usually does as the silence stretched on. Though I was usually comfortable in silence, there was something about this quiet moment that was unsettling.
“Looks like you really are a part of me, now,” Tenten commented with a laugh, breaking the uncomfortable silence between us, “Now all you need to do is donate blood to Lee and Gai will finally get the unified team he always wanted.”
“…I don’t think so,” I responded flatly, earning another chuckle from the girl sitting beside me.
The room quieted down once again, the both of us settling down with the unsaid understanding that existed between us. Suddenly lifting her head to face me, I saw a hidden emotion flash in her bright hazel eyes. I thought to question her about it, but quickly waved it away when I was greeted with her warm smile.
“Neji Hyuuga, my lifeline to this world,” she mused, “What would I do without you?”
“…Let’s hope we never have to find out,” I replied softly, giving forth one of my rare and genuine smiles.