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Jigsaws with Missing Pieces

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At some point, they discover it’s not enough to be in love with the same person, and by that stage it’s too late; Naruto thinks they’re as happy together as he is with Sakura.



"Why don't you just marry her and be done with it, if you want kids that badly?"

The sneer on Temari's face could have sliced through bone.

Shikamaru sighed. Then, without a word, he rolled off the bed. Picked up the articles of clothing scattered around the room. Had to look around a moment before he found the pack of cigarettes.

Temari's eyes had narrowed, he noted once he'd pulled his shirt back on.

"Run away all you want, asshole!"

He didn't answer, and she made no gesture to detain him as he made for the door, only shouting louder.

"One day you're gonna have to answer that question for good!"

Temari's words echoed like a threat even after he was out.



Ino is still there. Night has already fallen but Ino is still there, and her smile grows more desperate with every passing second.

Neither Shikamaru nor Chouji mentions it.

"I don't want to get back," Ino finally blurts out. "I don't--"

But she doesn't finish her sentence; only looks away, out of the window of Chouji's room. Her gaze loses itself in the cold darkness out.

"It just -- it's never going to end, now, is it?"

Neither Shikamaru nor Chouji answers. Ino isn't expecting an answer anyway.

Naruto and Sasuke are dead, Sakura is left behind, and Ino is not enough.

They've already had their ending.



Yes, Hinata-sama. Thank you, Neji-niisan.

They're so wrapped up in trying to break (out of) the Hyuuga that they end up breaking themselves.



Anko tried. Anko tried so hard. She tried to put it all behind. She tried to believe in what she had left. She tried to love him.

He was a good man. An accepting man. He was a good ninja. Heck, he'd even be a good father, if she ever sprung it on him that he'd knocked her up.

So Anko tried.

If anyone could make her happy, it should be him.

He would even accept her for what she was - for what she had been.

She didn't.



When they're alone together, Tenten always feels like there's something missing, and when they're with their team, Lee always feels like he's lying.



Gai does his best, and he thinks that maybe, if it was just him and Kakashi - the challenges, the silences and the companionship - it might work.

But they have students framing their encounters - the team Gai is guiding, and the children Kakashi isn't.



She’s a normal girl. She thought she’d got used to silence, bloodline limits, and never knowing where you stood. She’d thought wrong. But he doesn’t say anything, and Tenten doesn’t want to be the bad guy. So she doesn’t leave and tries harder.



He doesn't understand why he hasn't killed her yet.

He isn't sure he understands why she hasn't killed him yet, either, and that is almost more unnerving; Tsunade proved years ago that she was able to make a plan out of killing him, and he isn't sure he likes what it says that she has changed so much.

At the very least, she should want to kill him for being the reason her apprentice died; for being the reason the Kyuubi vessel was caught by Akatsuki, even if she'd stopped blaming him for Jiraiya's death. In that, she had more of a responsibility than he did.

But Tsunade's habit always was to automatically blame Orochimaru for everything Jiraiya did that went out of hand.

She should want to kill him for wearing the skin of the one her apprentice and the Kyuubi vessel gave everything to try and save.

For allowing Konoha to be destroyed.

He should kill her, he muses sometimes when he sees her spending sleepless nights working silently in the laboratories of Sound. Tsunade is nothing but a memory of things he's since long outgrown.

He should.



Genjutsu can make her sleep fitfully when she’s having regrets. Sometimes, Hinata isn’t sure she’s ever awake.



Neji can never leave the guilt behind. He can't leave Itachi, either.

If he did, it'd mean everything he sacrificed is meaningless; and that a golden cage really sometimes is better than a costly freedom.

It'd mean that some people really are happier in slavery.

But still, sometimes, he's jostled out of sleep by Hinata's empty eyes, her dead stare boring holes through him across the corpse-littered compound.

He finds Itachi awake, looking at him. Itachi never speaks; just looks at him with eyes almost as dead.



“Why don’t you find yourself a nice girl to settle down with?”

Hana’s tone is sarcastic, but her words aren’t.

Kiba looks away, and doesn’t reply, ‘one day she might need me’.

Instead he says, “we’ve already talked about that, right?”



He never liked her before Obito's death. (That is the crux of the matter, isn't it? or it has to be, because he doesn't know what else could be. tell him what it could be.)

(Or if he did, it wasn't the way Obito did.)

Was it?

It still isn't the way Obito did. (does.) (He thinks.)

He doesn't know who she likes in him, either.

(She still likes him. Them, he corrects.)

(She puts her warm arms around him, and looks into the Sharingan with a perfect open smile she never wears when Kakashi's hitai-ite covers the left eye that isn't his.)

When she dies and her name is a few lines under Obito's, he never goes to the cenotaph for her.

He doesn't know which part of him misses her. (It's easier to miss her in his dreams, even if his dream self has black hair. It's the only colour that can be told in the red dream vision.)

(But his hands still look red.)