Lost and Found [open, Tentsuke, Gaia]
Many people, upon meeting Maito Gaia, would dismiss her as a lunatic - a grinning, amiable idiot, who was jounin due only to her freakish physical capabilities. Others, more paranoid, decided that no one could POSSIBLY be that eccentric and strange, and that the whole thing was an elaborate, complex facade that hid Gaia's true plans - which were much too subtle and insidious for anyone's good.
The truth was that Gaia was a competent, intelligent, talented kunoichi, who had earned her rank by skill and hard work - but who just happened to have an inbound, rock-stubborn, optimistic faith that had been burned and carved out of most of her colleagues. She believed in the innate goodness of the world - that people (and perhaps the universe) still held in them the untainted goodness of youth, uncorrupted by the evils they may have experienced.
...it had been hard to keep believing when Tentsuke had disappeared, though.
Gaia had been out on an out-Village solo mission, a long one. She felt bad for leaving her two (last - no, no, she couldn't think that!) students behind, but she had to admit that the grueling mission had been a welcome distraction. She stopped to resupply at a small settlement called Igirisu, which was vetted by Konoha as a place loyal to the Fire Daimyou, and regularly swept for spies - in short, it was safe to resupply and rest there.
She was browsing the small but bustling market, contemplating the purchase of some fruit as a snack, when she felt the prickly sensation of someone staring at her. Casually, she moved towards a storefront - one with a window - so she could check out the reflection.
But it wasn't an ambush, it was only a fishmonger staring at the hitai-ate that she kept wrapped around her waist.
"May I help you?" she required, politely, but still wary - he seemed like an old fishmonger, but...
"Begging ye pardon, miss," he said, just as politely, his accent a strange, thick, rural one. "I was jus' wonderin' about that there symbol you have got about your waist. It is because there is a young boy we found in our village, he does nae remember aught, but he traces things in the sand, he do, an' one of the things he draws be the same as that carved there on yir belt buckle..."
She dared not speak a word as she carried the old fishmonger back to his village, letting him give directions as he rode, bemused and a bit frightened by the rapidity of her response and travel, piggyback. She was afraid that if he said anything, gave
any detail, it would disprove her hope that he was talking about Tentsuke. So she ran, and leaped, and hoped...
He was sitting at the shore when she found him - the old man had asked some equally old woman, "Where's tha boy? Th' little daftie?" and something in Gaia broke - and as she came nearer, his back was to her and a little voice in her head was yammering that Tentsuke would have noticed by now...
Then the boy, the one these simple fisherfolk called "th' daft one", turned around and gave her a sweet, trusting smile, and Gaia began to cry. He was thin - yes, much too thin - and his skin was burned bronze-dark and his too-short hair, unstylish as a battlefield cut made with a kunai and growing out with the promise of shagginess was bleached streaky by the sun - there were new scars stark on his dark skin and he had lost muscle...
...but it was him. It was her boy.
She set off for Konoha, Tentsuke in tow, not half an hour later.