"Her throat felt like it was aflame, but that didn't matter- The pain in her heart was much, much worse." Slight AU, NejiSakuNaru, Oneshot
Her throat felt like it was aflame, but that didn't matter- The pain in her heart was much, much worse.
How could he!?
She darted from tree to tree, speeding through Konoha in a desperate attempt to find him before he made it home. Her hair whipped behind her by both the wind and her momentum, roseate tendrils wildly swirling and dipping.
Her eyes, once a lively and cheery emerald, were now a furious and pained olive green. Her mind was on the events of last day- no, it hadn't even been a day. A mere few minutes, it started, and her world came crashing down on her.
I'll... I'll kill him!
Such vehement thoughts weren't common with her character. Haruno Sakura was an all around happy woman, her optimism the most prominent trait. She had gotten over Sasuke a few years back, and grown ever closer to Naruto. They were the best of friends, the cutest of couples-
``Were' is right.`
Silently cursing her Inner self, she knew it was the truth. He probably would never speak to her again, and she couldn't blame him. What he had heard, she was surprised he even bothered to confront her.
I'm so sorry, Naruto...
Tears threatened to spill from those magnificent orbs of hers, and she closed her eyes in an attempt to keep them in.
The cry came all too late. Sakura had been in midair, and smacked right into a tree branch. She plummeted to the ground, landing in the grass with a somewhat soft thud. The girl lay there, trying desperately not to cry, cursing herself inside.
Damn it! Damn me! Damn... Damn...!
Her eyes opened upon the sound of approaching footsteps. His face came into view, and she felt the anger gnaw at her heart.
He held out a hand to help her up, his silver gaze piercing her own. Finally, after a moment's tension, she turned her head away, pushing herself up.
"No, shut up!" she shrieked. "Your voice makes me sick! You make me sick!"
He stepped back, and she felt both relieved and annoyed by the action. A part of her just wanted him to go away, to disappear, and yet, another part wished for him to say something more, and try to make amends.
'Try' being the key word. Nothing could go back to the way it was before.
Sitting upon the cold, stone bench by the city gates, the wind sauntering by, carrying fallen leaves, she waited. It had been a good number of years since she had last seen her best friend, the exuberant container of Kyuubi. He'd stuck with her through thick and thin, and even had sparks flying between eachother. It would send waves of joy to hear him say "Saku-ai!" once more- just so that she'd know he was alright.
That's why it shocked her when she saw feet in front of her. Blue sandal-clad feet. Naruto's feet. He appeared without calling the pet name he had christened her with.
Sakura rose her head, thinking he'd say those simple syllables once their eyes met. But emerald crashed with unforgiving azure, and she knew something was wrong.
His face was solemn, but she could see the pain clearly through his eyes, as clear as if someone was jumping up and down inside his skull yelling "It hurts!!".
She blinked. What happened to 'Saku-ai'? Since when was she '-kun'? Sure, she was weaker than Naruto, but he still had yet to pass his Jounin exam, and she already had. Such honorific use was idiotic, even for him.
"He told me."
She blinked, confused at first, brows furrowed in worry, and then the pieces clicked together. He/ told Naruto. He told /Naruto.
He told Naruto!
"Naru-ai, I... I... I'm sorry, Naruto, but I-"
He turned away from her, his head bowed. Then his foot came forward, then the other, on and on, one after the other, before he turned the corner and disappeared into the depths of Konoha. Sakura stood where she had, watching his retreating form, her heart throbbing uncontrollably.
How could he have told him? She didn't even- It wasn't even her fault! Sure, it was a horrible thing to do, but they'd agreed to keep it under wraps!
Besides, it was more than a year in the past...
Images of Naruto's face flashed through her mind- Lips curled into a tight frown, blond brows tapering up toward the center in worry, sapphire eyes filled with the utmost torture- and she felt a piece of her break.
She could almost hear the pieces of her heart start to crack.
... Naruto... Naruto, I...
Then there was the clink of her heart's shards falling onto some inner surface; Her heart appeared to be hollow, with nothing left inside. Served her right.
... I'm so sorry...
That's when she started to run.
"Sakura, you're crying."
She hadn't noticed the tears, not even when she felt the salty substance cling to her lips. Her mind was lost on the past, and somehow, something that had been spared earlier had just been demolished.
He stepped forward, reaching out to wipe the tears from her cheeks, and she stared numbly into the distance. His touch felt horribly abbrasive, but she didn't care. She deserved it, she knew she did.
"Why... Why did you do it, Neji?" she whispered. The wind blew a portion of his terracotta locks into her blank gaze, affecting her in no way whatsoever. Nothing would affect her right now, not even if Itachi came and Mangekyou'ed her.
He didn't answer, only leant forward a bit to wrap his arms on her waist. This intamacy made her crack now. She shoved herself out of and away from the Hyuuga, glaring at him, green eyes swamped with contempt.
"You- You bastard! Don't touch me!"
"No! Shut up/! Don't call me that- How /dare you call me that!?" she cried, quite literally at the top of her lungs. The tears had stopped, seemingly dried up by the raw disdain within her. "You have no right to call me that! You never did!" He stepped back, and for the first time, she saw the unsure emotion contort his features. Pride flooded through her, and was immediately tackled down by the anger and hatred within her.
And then ripped to shreds by her guilt.
Suddenly, he stepped forward and pulled her toward him, crushing his lips to hers in an almost desperate kiss. She shoved him back again, her face a painting of consternation.
"What the /hell/- Who do you think you /are/, huh!? What are you /doing/!? Are you /insa/-"
He interrupted her again with another kiss, and she felt her knees almost melt. Good thing he had his arms wrapped tight around her midsection.
'What're you doing, idiot? Why're you letting him kiss you? Don't you remember Naruto?'
The tears began to fall again, rushing to leave her closed eyes and drip from her chin. But Neji's kiss was fierce, passion hidden within the folds of his desperation.
'Don't, Sakura, don't... You can't let him...!'
Even the rage was draining from her Inner, she could hear it in her voice. Her legs almost gave way then, and his grip got tighter. Her arms hung limp at her sides, pinned down by his grasp, and all she could feel was his lips on hers, and her once powerful will fall.
As if on cue, so did the rain.
Each droplet of water representing all her tears unshed; Each one measuring the hurt inside; Each one a piece of herself, her inside self, her real self, fallen.
He pulled away, leaning forward to rest his chin on her shoulder, hugging her even more tightly than earlier. She still cried, her head still slightly tilted toward the sky, eyes still cold and spilling a river of tears.
"Why..." Her voice was a whisper now, wavering, as unstable as she was. "... Why, Neji...?"
"I..." The uncertainty in his voice was highly prominent, and she could somehow sense that he was having a great struggle with his words. That was a surprise- Hyuuga Neji was the composed one, the arrogant one, and self-relying and self-confident one, never without a quip. But now, in true matters of the heart, it seemed that he was finally fighting a losing battle.
"... I was jealous..."
Her head began to droop, but still he held her, whispering into her ear in a voice that held a hint of the wavering hers had.
"... /I was selfish/..."
He began a trail of butterfly kisses down her neck, his arms never releasing her. And then he rose his head to meet hers; Pink and silver met and locked; Sorrow and regret; Guilt and pain; Confusion and honesty. A quiet "You bastard..." managed to escape her lips before he silenced them with his own.
Hands slid over drenched bodies, ran through waterlogged locks; Bodies pressed together to share the little warmth they each held, or to get as close as possible; Tounges battling in a fierce quest for dominance.
And then, after they were worn and out of breath, they held the other closer still, his chin on her head, her face buried in his chest, tears soaking through his already damp yukata. He stared up into the endless gray sky, a brow quirking in the worry that had came along at the sense of foreboding the heavens drew. He then wrapped an arm behind her knees and her back, picking her up and jumped into the trees, rushing to a safe, dry place- his home. She draped her arms over his shoulders and around his neck, holding on as though for dear life, silently sobbing into his chest.
"Bye-bye, Saku-ai, keep safe!"
Naruto grinned at her, and she smiled back.
"Bye-bye, Naru-ai, come back!"
He took her into a lingering hug, planting a kiss on her forehead before giving a two-fingered salute and darting off with Shikamaru, Choji, and Kakashi. They had been assigned a mission in the Snow Country, the duration of which unknown. Worry tugged at her heartstrings- What if Naruto came back hurt? Or, worse yet, dead? She couldn't bear the thought of another loved one disappearing for good. Sasuke had never come back, but Naruto always had.
She hoped nothing would change.
Sakura made her way down the streets of Konoha, taking a more scenic route, waving to most people she knew and flashing a contagious smile. Naruto was happy, not cooped up in a stuffy job in his hometown, and she took comfort in this.
She tilted her head back to take in the sky, a beautiful, infinite mass of pastel blue, blobs of clouds dotting the vast canvas. It would be so nice to fly up there, her hand in Naruto's, just soaring...
Suddenly, her bottom made friends with the sidewalk, and she found herself staring at a familiar man in front of her. His face was molded into a look of extreme annoyance, and he tossed a stray strand of brown hair back with aggravation.
He didn't even turn his head to search the sidewalk before reaching back a bit and snatching up a bundle of papers. Then he stood, turning his haugty gaze onto the still sitting Sakura.
She blinked up at him, slightly offended by the tone he was taking with her. "'Well' what?"
"Aren't you going to apologize?"
'What? /Me/, apologize? To /him/?'
"What're you talking about, why should I?" she frowned, picking herself up to stare him down- The action didn't have the effect she would've wished it to, seeing as he was a good head taller than her.
"Well, obviously. You're the one with her head in the clouds."
"And you're the one with his head on a up his ass, you could've easily seen me!"
His lip quirked, the anger mingling with his annoyance. "I have more important things to attend to than a ditzy kunoichi."
'/What/? What did that guy just say? "Ditzy"!?'
Sakura narrowed her eyes, putting her hands on her hips. "'Ditzy', did you say? I beg to differ!"
"Then prove it." He smirked, not expecting her to take him up on such a challenge.
They made their way to a clearing deep in the forest for their battle, not wanting to disturb city patrons. The two locked eyes from opposite sides of the clearing, before Sakura darted forward, kunai bared. Neji sidestepped the attack and threw a punch toward her back, but feinted and drove his fist skyward, were it connected with the real Sakura, and sent her flying. He then leapt up and threw a kick, but she caught this and mustered up enough of her strength to chuck him at a tree. Sakura landed easily on the grass, crouching low, before leaping up and dodging the kick he sent after rebounding off of the tree's trunk. Then she leapt toward her original side of the clearing, and the two reverted back to their beginning stances.
"Suprisingly well, Haruno-kun," he said, spitting out the honorific. She felt her cheeks flush- Of course, Neji was an ANBU now.
Leaping forward once again, Sakura twirled in midair and threw a rush of shuriken at Neji. He jumped back, dodging each one and the explosions that came following. It was his turn to leap forward, and he grabbed Sakura by the arms and roughly sent her at another tree. She jumped up off of it and he followed. Their fists met, again and again, and they hit the ground in a heap, one hand holding the other's fist.
Neither had even broken a sweat. They watched each other with penetrating eyes, both of them trying to pick at and dismantle the other's psyche. The wind blew forth, bringing with it loose leaves and renegade blades of grass.
By the time the wind changed directions, moments later, Sakura and Neji were in the throes of passion, too heated to remember their location, their anger, or...
Neji planted his elbow in his pillow so he had a better view of the person next to him. Despite the cliche, he actually found her to look quite cherubic in her slumber- A halo of bubblegum locks, soft lashes, porcelain skin, toned arms wrapped protectively over a pillow, lithe body curled into the fetal position- it almost shocked him to remember how feisty she was. The corner of his lips quirked into a smirk as he remembered all too well their 'first impression', but it fell before it was fully formed whence he recalled the damage it caused.
He frowned, realizing that, though the truth had to come out, it wasn't his truth to confess- He hadn't known anything about Sakura's relationship with Naruto, despite Hinata's depression, at the time. Guilt twisted his gut, and he shifted uncomfortably. He should've have told Naruto, it wasn't his place, but...
Sakura had grown too far for his tastes.
After Naruto returned, Sakura seemed to become more entranced with him. She proclaimed her love for him without even the slightest hesitation, fought for him, almost never strayed form his side. The two were quickly becoming the hottest couple in Konoha, and they took glory in being in the public eye, though Sakura shyly clung to Naruto's arm and never looked directly into any cameras.
He'd destroyed all that. Reduced it to such a pile of dilapidation with only a few simple words. A house, once stood proud and tall, was now only a debris-covered lot with no hope of being rebuilt.
He had to do something to clean it up.
Neji lifted himself from the bed, careful not to disturb Sakura, threw on a yukata, covered his forehead with a leather cloth, and headed out to make amends. Of course, there would be looks thrown his way, probably even glares by now- With a mouth like Ino's and ears like Kiba's, the news would have spread to the outskirts of the city. Nontheless, he carried on, heading for Naruto's house, hoping to fix things- Well, at least make things right.
Usually, Neji would've never gone to such short distances like these to help someone unless he got something in return, but... The green-eyed monster of envy wasn't usually so beautiful, either.
-kunoichi = Female ninja
-Mangekyou = Itachi's l33t ass type of Sharingan
-kun = Used to adress underclassmen; Rarely used with females
-ai = Not an actual honorific; Literally "love"
-[nothing] = No honorific means a great deal of intimacy or relationship, like a family or marriage
-noise = doesn't own anything Naruto.