A/N1: Just a heads up, this is a TenTen drabble based on the fanfiction Dreaming of Sunshine which isn’t all that different from the canon!Naruto world except for how it’s better. Seriously, go read it.
When Shikako asks TenTen if she has a moment, TenTen nods and goes along. She thinks that maybe they’ll spar, but instead Shikako wanders to one of the lesser used parks and sits at a table, gesturing for TenTen to do the same.
Shikako looks at her carefully, pauses as if scanning the area, then pulls up one of her sleeves. All along her arms are seals, and TenTen knows that she put seals on herself but it’s startling to see in person just how many. From what TenTen can tell, not all of it is only resistance seals.
Shikako gestures at a small mark, maybe the size of her thumb nail, a simple yet strange symbol–an uneven triangle with extending tails on the bottom right corner.
“This is a storage seal,” Shikako says, a polite gesture from a fuinjutsu expert who can blow up people’s heads with a single touch. With a little application of chakra, a small poof of smoke reveals an odd three-pronged kunai.
Tentatively, Shikako sets it on the picnic table between them, and when TenTen looks closer she can see that there are seals on the kunai.
“This is–” she gasps out, almost slapping her hand over the blade to keep it hidden. As if someone might see them, as if Shikako’s ever advancing sensor skills wouldn’t know if someone was nearby.
“I know that the advice I gave you before pushed you to be more lethal not less, and you’re looking for another way… I think this might help you with that. And, to be honest, you might have a better time with this.”
TenTen is too amazed by the existence of the Yondaime’s Hiraishin kunai in front of her very eyes to fully grasp what Shikako says, but there’s still something bugging her… Perhaps the confusion shows on her face because Shikako just smiles and says, “You should ask Haku how he met my team.”
TenTen wrinkles her nose, the Mist ambassador?
She remembers fighting against him in the second round of the Chuunin exams. It had been frustrating to fight someone who not only had throwing accuracy almost as good as she did but with an unmatchable bloodline and near impossible speed on top of that. He had been like a combination of her and her teammates rolled into one very polite and very pretty person.
“Or you could ask Sasuke about our first C-rank mission,” Shikako says wryly, smile somehow both a little sly and apologetic, knowing TenTen’s experience with him as a temporary teammate.
Mist ambassador it is.
While TenTen appreciates Shikako’s help, she thinks that they just really don’t understand each other very much at all. It’s not a bad thing, they like each other and they are friends, but it’s as if their thought processes are completely perpendicular to one another. It shows in their sealing, too.
Shikako’s approach to fuinjutsu is, frankly, completely baffling to TenTen. There are symbols that don’t make sense, which TenTen has never seen before, and even Shikako’s attempts to explain just don’t work. Similarly, TenTen’s attempts to teach her the Infinite Pocket (as she’s taken to calling the non-collapsing storage space she developed) have failed miserably.
“I guess Hammerspace just isn’t meant for me,” Shikako shrugs, honestly not upset with being unable to use something she had helped develop, “It suits your style more, anyway. Most of the things I use I only have one of.”
And maybe that’s why it’s TenTen who is the one to reverse engineer the Hiraishin, not Shikako. Because while Shikako circumvents normal thought processes–coming up with strange ideas or having epiphanies and working towards that–TenTen is the kind of person who gets inspired by those who have come before, eagerly learning as much as she can then… tweaking things until it suits her.
Not all of TenTen’s sealing ideas come from Shikako. Ino, during one of the kunoichi meetings which still occur even if not everyone can come, is the one that remarks– “That must be tiring”– after a spar has left a majority of TenTen’s arsenal scattered around the training field.
“It’s too bad there’s no way to just… summon them back to your pocket when you’re done fighting,” Ino says, even as she helps pick them up.
“Careful,” Sakura teases–and TenTen still kind of feels ambivalent towards her because, on the one hand, she’s very nice and knowledgeable and helpful, but on the other hand she is literally living TenTen’s childhood dream of being a kunoichi just like Tsunade-sama and that stings–“You’re starting to sound like Shikamaru,” she says which makes Ino flinch exaggeratedly.
“Being on a team with him is ruining me! Next thing you know I’ll be flopped over on the ground and wasting my time cloud watching!”
And even though the topic strays, it was a pretty good idea. So TenTen dabbles–some kind of summoning seal for her weapons. Something small that could easily be engraved on, but detailed enough to be effective.
Her first attempt goes… not disastrously, since no one was injured in the process… but that’s probably due more to Neji’s quick reflexes and Kaiten than any success of her own.
She does get it eventually, and in the end her Infinite Pocket really does match it’s name.
During one of their more typical meetings, less sparring, more discussion of medical techniques, Sakura brings up the seals in some of the more advanced hospital rooms and the fuinjutsu class which is plaguing her.
“It’s not the seals that are the problem,” she moans, hands fisted in her bright pink hair, “I have those memorized, but it’s a little frustrating because everything has to be so perfectly placed and it’s not like these can be used in the field and I want to be a field medic.”
Except, TenTen thinks, why not? The seals being field usable, that is.
The project that ensues, an attempt to make a surgery room on the field is… well… it works better at finally breaking the tension between her and Sakura–and she had always thought it was a one sided-thing, before, hadn’t realized that Sakura might be jealous of her being “a real kunoichi” and not just “a civilian who knows how to use chakra”–than the actual goal, but learning about medical seals and the things which hospitals need did open up some more options for her.
Like a sanitation seal tag–a modified flashbang tag that emits ultraviolet light instead–which doesn’t exactly sound impressive, but which Sakura assures her is actually extremely amazing and would significantly improve field medicine.
Or the anesthesia seals which function similarly to knock out tags without the necessity of skin contact–sure it’s slower and it requires multiple to work–but with TenTen’s expertise being a barrage of thrown weapons that is literally not a problem for her.
The collaboration with Sakura gets her thinking about other possibilities, and looking at the other two members of the study group, TenTen realizes she still has more to learn. Though, for Hinata and Yakumo, maybe she should be the one to take initiative for this.
A/N2: I wrote this last night in my continuously failing quest to sleep at a normal time. Uh… Yeah, as the ending implies, there is supposed to be some TenTen and Hinata interaction, as well as TenTen and Yakumo interaction, but I kind of just… stopped. So maybe I’ll come back to this or maybe I won’t. Also, maybe actually write the Haku and TenTen interaction as well? Who knows.
edit: Now on ao3 as part of the Dreaming One Shots collection here
HAVE SOME DRABBLE-SPECIFIC BRAINSTORMING/RANTING UNDER THE CUT.
So, SQ mentioned some facts/headcanons she has for TenTen in the forum, confirmed that Shikako is never going to learn the Hiraishin in Chapter 81, and in Chapter 94 had Shikako literally think “Maybe we had been trying to help TenTen the wrong way – suggesting ways to be more and more lethal. Maybe what she needed was a way to be less.”
And basically my brain is like… perfect precision but doesn’t want to be lethal. Who else in Naruto has perfect precision without having a dojutsu? HAKU. WHO IS ALIVE IN DOS. Hence, she should learn from him. But, he also has super epic speed. In a field of his own making. How can she replicate that? MOTHER-FREAKING HIRAISHIN!
But then I began to think more and even if that does seem like a perfect one to one match up, well, people are strange and complicated and they aren’t so easily interchangeable. So this is supposed to be TenTen sort of discovering her own style and self by befriending people.
Anyway, the interaction with Haku and TenTen wouldn’t be so much TenTen copying his style of non-lethal perfect precision take down (though maybe that’s what Shikako had in mind, in a sort of well-intended but ham-handed effort to help) so much as it is to get her to open up to other people and learn from them. He was, after all, the one who gave Naruto the whole “precious person” spiel, I’m sure he has other tidbits of wisdom floating about in his beautiful head.
In DoS, TenTen seems pretty settled with sticking only to her teammates, but she likes to be invited to things (sparring with Shikako, the kunoichi study group, Ino’s party). I figure she’s not necessarily anti-social as it is, she just doesn’t know how to reach out. Which, with Hinata and Yakumo, as previously said, she would have to be the one to do the reaching out.
I’m a little unsure how TenTen might collaborate with Hinata, exactly, considering she has Neji. But then again, Neji has only recently been less of a total tool so maybe TenTen figures if she wants to ask questions about the limits of the Byakugan or whatever Hinata would be the better bet. Or maybe… Hinata’s modified Heavenly Palm defense as TenTen taking a step towards barrier seals?
Then with Yakumo, I guess probably a connection between her painting genjutsu and seals. I’ve noticed recently that Shikako has been using genjutsu less–and with so much on her mind, the stray thought that she had of genjutsu-seals has likely fallen to the wayside. Simply put, in the face of the impending doom of Akatsuki, Danzo, Madara, and Kaguya, genjutsu-seals aren’t likely going to help. Maybe genjutsu-breaking seals but… I dunno, Shikako’s focused on getting herself to S-rank levels. So with TenTen… not that she’s stealing Shikako’s ideas–because I’m pretty sure Shikako never actually mentioned it out loud–but rather TenTen trying to engage with other girls her age in the only way she knows how.