by Landlady of the Universe
Summary: Neji and Sakura's fantastical, fraternal, fabulous adventures in marriage. Sakura … what are you doing with that kunai?
Genre: Silly-ness, and stuff
Spoilers: None for the series, plenty for the other fic, Between
Disclaimer: I offered to promote Kishimoto-sensei to Grand Minion, but he still wouldn't give me Naruto. Hff. Silly boy.
A/N: Sequel to Between, but it stands on it's own pretty well. (Go read Between anyway, you know you want to.)
Ok, so this was supposed to be a one-shot, right. But I was writing away and suddenly realized that it's over 7 pages long already, so I figured that I'd split it up. It'll probably be only one more chapter, maybe two.
Heh, this was also supposed to be finished forever ago. Kudos to Lasaire for sending me some pretty Neji/Saku pics to drool over and thus guilt-tripping me into working on this. *waves flags*
The blond ninja turned just in time to catch a glimpse of pink hair before he was attacked. A body slammed into him at full speed, arms flinging themselves around his neck, and he instinctively slid an arm around the slim waist before they both fell to the ground. He opened his mouth to ask what was going on, only to discover it full of pink hair.
"'Morning to you too, Sakura," he said, swiping the pastel strands away from his face. "Ah, Neji isn't around is he? 'Cause if he sees us in this position, he's going to kill me."
Sakura at least had the grace to blush as she stepped away. But even that didn't wipe away the grin plastered across her face. She bounced on her heels excitedly, just grinning.
Naruto rolled his eyes, "Ok, I'll bite. What's up?"
"It's a secret," she sing-songed, grinning.
One silken eyebrow raised as he sized her up, sneaking forward and pouncing. True, they were in the middle of the marketplace, but no one was really paying attention. The people of the Hidden Leaf Village had long since realized that anything involving Naruto was bound to be insane. The blond grabbed his friend and attacked her mercilessly. "Come on Sakura-chan," he said sweetly, "You know you want to tell me."
"Ahh! Stop it … hahaha … that tickles … haha … stop …" she gasped, struggling against Naruto's iron grip. "I am so going to… hahaha … kill …" She batted at him as best she could, considering that he was behind her. Still, she managed to land one good blow to his temple.
"Oww! What the…?" Naruto grabbed the hand that had just whacked him, inspecting it. A gold ring rested innocently on the ring finger of said culprit hand. Sakura grinned at him when he looked at her questioningly, "What's this?"
"Naruto, what are you doing to my fiancé?"
The two friends looked up into the white eyes of one Hyuga Neji. They straightened, Naruto smiling innocently and Sakura pouting. "Mou, Neji, I wanted to tell him."
He looked back at her with his usual blank expression, "Then you should have. You had plenty of time."
Naruto glanced back and forth between the two of them before grinning widely and leaning back with his hands behind his head. "So you two are finally getting hitched, huh?"
Neji draped a possessive arm around Sakura's shoulders as she nodded vigorously, a wide smile still plastered firmly on her face. Naruto couldn't help it; he pounced, hugging the couple in his excitement. "That's great! I'm so happy for you!"
The Hyuga removed Naruto's arm from his shoulder. "Don't ever touch me in public again."
"So in private it's ok?"
Neji glared. Sakura smirked, hiding her smile in her fiancé's shoulder.
She looked up suddenly, "Oh, keep it a secret for now, ok? We haven't had a chance to tell Neji's mom yet."
"Yea, sure. My lips are sealed," he flashed a thumbs up sign at them.
"Naruto! What the hell? I look away for one second and you disappear!" The screeching blond woman stalked up to the group, her attention wholly focused on the blond man. Her short ponytail was practically standing on end in anger.
Naruto shrunk backwards towards Sakura, seeking a shield, "But Ino-chan, I got attacked."
Ice-blue eyes flicked toward the couple, "Oh, hey Sakura-chan. Neji." They nodded to her, while watching in fascination as she rounded on Naruto. "That's no excuse!"
Sakura watched the couple with a small smile, unconsciously leaning toward Neji. Ino and Naruto went well together, he was stubborn enough to stand up to her, and she pushy enough to keep him in line.
Neji tugged her back suddenly to avoid the flailing limbs as Ino whacked Naruto upside the head. "It was important!" Naruto defended, while blocking Ino's blows. "Sakura and Neji got engaged."
"Aww, fuck, Sakura-chan! That was my shin!" Naruto, clutching his leg, turned his puppy dog eyes on the pink-haired shinobi. But Sakura was strong, she crossed her arms over her chest and frowned sternly at him.
"You deserved that," she told him.
Ino, on the other hand, was stunned speechless.
Suddenly, she squealed, glomping her friend tightly. "Well, it's about damn time." Then she looked up, waggling her eyebrows at Sakura's fiancé. "Neji, you dog, took you…" A sharp jab to the ribs shut the blond woman up.
But not for long. Ino whirled on Naruto, shoving a finger in his face and demanded, "How come we aren't getting married!?"
Naruto laughed nervously … and bolted.
"Get back here you coward and propose!" Ino took off after him, calling back, "See you later Sakura-chan! … Naruto you ass! I'm gonna…"
Sakura snickered evilly as she watched them disappear. A sudden pressure across her shoulders made her look up, meeting Neji's solemn silver eyes. A jolt of … something wonderful shot down her spine and she smiled happily, slipping her arm around his waist as they began to walk home.
"And why did you have to tell him?" Neji asked her as soon as they were out of the marketplace. Frowning, she glanced up at her fiancé, only to see a playful smile ghosting his lips.
Sakura snorted. "You were the one who told him," she reminded him dryly. "Besides, Naruto is my best friend. It's not like I can't tell him the very first second possible."
Sakura rolled her eyes, "Come on, let's go tell your Mom before the entire village knows. Think she's up yet?"
"Five hundred yen says she tells you it took you long enough."
Neji looked down at her, unable to quite contain a small smile. "You're on. More likely she'll ask when we're going to have kids."
Sakura giggled, drunk with happiness. Neji smiled.
It was kind of hard to believe. They were getting married.
As it turned out, neither of them won the five hundred yen. For, when Guren was informed, all she said was, "Oh, well, that's nice." Granted she hadn't yet had her morning coffee at the time.
When she did finally wake up, Guren tracked Sakura down, finding her in the dojo with her son. "What are you doing training?" she asked, scandalized. "You're getting married! You have to set a date for the wedding, decide who you are going to invite, make invitations. Do you have a dress? No, wait, before that, are you going to have a traditional wedding or not? And…"
"Mother," Neji broke in, not hiding his amusement, "do try not to asphyxiate yourself." He looked over at his fiancé, who was trying desperately not to laugh out loud. "You too, Sakura. Think of how it would look if both my mother and my fiancé died just before my wedding."
The two women glanced at Neji, then at each other, bursting into fits of laughter. "Oh yes," Sakura gasped, "because you are so worried about what others think of you, Neji."
"Hmph," he snorted. "If you are going to giggle like children, then do it somewhere else; I have work to do."
"Fine then," Sakura huffed, leading Guren out of the training room. Just before they reached the door, she turned, as if just remembering something, "So, that pink tuxedo is ok with you, right?"
Guren grinned as her son bowed his head in defeat, trotting over to them. "Perhaps you'd like some help?" he asked, deceptively mild.
"Oh, Neji-kun! That's so sweet of you!"
"So, who have you told?" Guren asked casually while they were compiling a list of people to invite.
Sakura chewed on a pen absently, "Besides you, just Naruto and – apparently by default – Ino."
"Oh. So the whole village knows then."
Neji smirked at Sakura. She smacked him lightly on the arm, but nodded her agreement. "Yea, pretty much. Still, there are a few people that we should give a formal announcement to, out of courtesy, don't you think?"
Neji watched her lazily, "Like who?"
"Uhn, Kakashi-sensei and Gai-sensei for sure. Hinata, Lee-kun … oooh, Lee-kun's gonna kill you." She smiled broadly at him.
The Anbu smirked, "He can try."
"Oh! And Shikamaru! You've gotta let me tell Shikamaru!"
"He's on my squad; it'll be easier for me to tell him."
Sakura pouted, "I wanna come with you. The look on his face will be priceless!"
"I didn't know he had expressions," Neji said, feigning surprise.
"Not any more than you," the pink-haired woman retorted.
Guren watched the couple with a small smile. Since they had begun dating, Neji had become more relaxed, and it showed in his actions. That almost smug smirk that seemed constantly plastered across his face whenever Sakura was nearby. His posture wasn't nearly as rigid as it had always been; he was lying on his side, head propped up against Sakura's arm. And all of it seemed to be unconscious.
"Hey, Neji! Stop tickling me!"
Well, most of it anyway.
"Hey, Sakura-chan. Packing already?"
Sakura looked up from the box of junk that she had pulled out from under her bed. Ino was leaning nonchalantly in the doorway of her room. Sakura still officially lived here with Naruto, however, more often than not, she was over at Neji's place and Ino was here.
She smiled up at her friend. "Not just yet. Why, are you all set to move in once I'm gone?"
Ino hopped onto her bed, watching as Sakura sifted through the box. "Of course. Not that I practically haven't moved in already. What are you looking for?"
"I've got an old bridal magazine in here somewhere that Mother gave me a long time ago. I need some ideas for my dress, so…"
The blonde giggled and leaned over the edge of the bed, "Bet you never thought you'd find a use for it, huh?"
Sakura pulled the magazine out, dusted it off and snorted while looking at the thing with a slightly disdainful expression. "No kidding." Making a motion for Ino to scoot over, she climbed up onto the bed and spread the magazine out so that they both could look at it.
For a while, the two women flipped through the pages, oooing over some dresses and discarding others. Finally, Ino couldn't take it anymore. "So, you're gonna tell me right?" she demanded, poking her friend.
Sakura shot her a confused look, "Tell you what?"
"About the proposal, stupid! It must have been so romantic." Ino sighed dreamily. If only she could get Naruto to propose…
Her friend laughed softly. "Romantic? Neji? You can't be serious."
"Hmm, you have a point." Both women collapsed in a fit of giggles.
Ino was the first to sober up, and promptly poked at her friend again. "Come on, Sakura. Spill. I'm your best friend, well, your best girl friend, you're practically required to tell me."
Sakura flopped over onto her back and sighed happily, remembering. "Oh, fine. But it really wasn't romantic or anything, just to warn you. We were in bed, and I was practically asleep…"
The pink-haired ninja grumbled slightly, rolling over and curling up into Neji's side. "Mmph?" His arm draped over her of its own accord, toying with a few strands of her hair.
"How long have we been together?" he asked.
"Six months," she mumbled into her chest. Then she pushed herself up to look into his eyes. Where was this going? Though she didn't want to admit it, Sakura could feel her heart racing in fear. What if he didn't want to be with her anymore? She knew that she could be difficult to get along with at times, and the perks of being her boyfriend probably weren't all that he had expected. Her time among the Red Lotus had dealt her some very deep emotional wounds, and while Neji had been very understanding thus far, maybe he was getting tired of being understanding. After all, in six months, they still hadn't been more intimate than kissing and occasionally a hand up the other's shirt. Neji always broke things off if he saw that her less-than-pleasant memories were beginning to resurface, and Sakura had yet to get up the guts to face those memories and deal with them once and for all.
The Anbu clearly saw her fears reflected in her eyes and swept them away with a light but firm kiss and a quick brush of his fingers against her cheek. Sakura leaned gratefully into the kiss for a moment before pulling away. "So what's up?" she asked quietly.
His fingers slid up and down her back a few times while he prepared an answer. "I've been thinking lately," he began. Sakura could sense the nervousness tightening his thin frame and wrapped her arm across his chest, hugging him encouragingly. He smiled in response. "And, there's something I want to give you."
Twisting slightly to the side, Neji reached over and grabbed something off the small table beside their bed. When he returned, he didn't just stop at his former position, but continued to twist until Sakura lay flat on her back with Neji hovering just over her. Ruthlessly, Sakura pushed down the uneasy feeling that plagued her, making sure that none of it showed on her face or in her actions. The next thing she knew, Neji was holding her left hand, where an unfamiliar weight had settled over a certain finger…
Sakura gasped as she looked down, sitting up in surprise – and barely missing bashing her head against Neji's. "It was my grandmother's. Do you like it?" Unexpectedly, a slight note of uncertainty wormed its way into his voice.
She tackled him, the force of her impromptu hug knocking them both backwards. "It's beautiful! Does it …? I mean … Are we…?"
Neji silenced her with a finger to her lips, a smirk playing over his own. "Yes. Sakura, I want you to be my wife."
Sakura squealed, smothering him with kisses.
"I suppose I can take that as a yes…"
A fond smile played about Sakura's features as she recalled the proposal. Beside her, Ino sighed dreamily. "Wow," the blonde said softly before breaking into a wicked grin. "So, did you, you know?"
She frowned petulantly at her friend. "That's a 'no', isn't it?" Ino sighed, "Sakura, I don't want to be the one to lecture you, but you've got to get over your fears; you're marrying the man and you haven't even slept with him yet!"
Shyly, Sakura traced random patterns on her comforter. "It's not that. I would have … but Neji said he wanted to wait."
"I didn't ask you to marry me because I wanted to get some, Sakura." His lips then curved into a devious smirk as he lowered his voice to an intimate whisper. "When I do take you, I want you to belong to me in every possible way."
Ino gaped at her friend. "Not romantic, my ass!"
Neji sighed softly as he tried to concentrate on the paperwork he was supposed to be doing. He wasn't having much luck, and it wasn't helping that he hated doing reports anyway. So he decided to take a break. At the rate he was going, he wasn't getting anything done anyway.
Stopping by his room, Neji made a point to ignore the empty bed. It was still early in the afternoon, but seeing it reminded him sharply of Sakura's absence. She was away on a mission, nothing difficult or overly dangerous, just a simple escort mission. However, since they had agreed to get married, it seemed that every second she was out of his sight he worried about her. It was stupid, Sakura was perfectly capable of taking care of herself, but that didn't stop him from fretting.
He found his mother outside on the porch, basking in the sunlight. A scroll was opened across her lap and a pile of invitations by her feet. In Sakura's absence, she had volunteered to get them ready.
"Hard at work, I see," he commented with a small smile.
"Same goes for you." Guren opened her eyes and looked up at her son with a grin. At her bidding, Neji took a seat next to her, enjoying the afternoon sun and the quiet atmosphere.
"What is it?" he asked after a little while. "You're twitching." A wry smile twisted his lips as he looked up at her, only to meet a slight frown.
"I probably don't need to ask you this, but … you have informed your uncle, haven't you?"
Neji returned the frown as he looked away. "Not yet. He was out on a mission when I proposed, and I want to wait for Sakura to get back, so he can meet her."
"Neji," Guren said, leaning forward to clasp his shoulder. "You should tell him as soon as possible. I know you don't like him, but putting it off isn't going to make it any easier."
He nodded his reluctant agreement. "You're probably right."
"Of course I am," Guren was quick to assure him. "That reminds me, what about Sakura's parents? She hasn't mentioned anything about them…"
Neji glanced around the small park anxiously, wondering if he was going to recognize the man he was looking for. His teammates were positive that he would be here, but Neji had sort of forgotten to ask them for a description. The Anbu would never admit it, but it had taken all of his will to track this man down and prepare to confront him. It wasn't like this was a normal battle, after all.
An older man passed by him on the small path the meandered through the park. There was no mistaking the high cheekbones and bright green eyes.
Clenching his fists to still them, Neji stepped forward, "Excuse me."
He stopped, eyes widening as he set them on Neji. But he quickly composed himself, "Ah, yes?"
"You are Haruno-san, are you not?"
The man nodded, shifting his weight back on his heels, as if planting himself to stay for a while. "I am. You're Hyuga Neji, aren't you?"
The Anbu inclined his head in a formal nod. Before he could say anything, the older man continued, "What can I do for you?"
Neji's fist clenched harder at his sides. "I would," he swallowed, "I would like to ask your permission to take your daughter Sakura as my wife." The words rushed out, almost out of control, and he finished with a deep bow.
Haruno chuckled softly, "You have asked her haven't you?"
Neji straightened, keeping his face blank. "Of course. She'd kill me otherwise."
This time Sakura's father laughed outright and clapped him on the shoulder. "I like you. Come have a drink with me."
"Is that a yes?" Neji retorted.
Sakura ground her teeth together to keep them shut. She was tired, hungry, really needed a shower, and if Ino didn't shut up in two seconds, she was really going to let the woman have it. The fact that she really missed Neji wasn't helping her temper much either.
Fortunately for her – and Ino's teeth – walking just around the next bend would put Leaf village's huge gate in sight. Why was it that all of her escort missions went horribly? From that first one with Tazuna-san, all those years ago, she'd never had a mission that included escorting in any way, shape, or form that didn't leave her either completely exhausted or unbearably pissed. Or both. And while this one hadn't involved any dangerous ex-ninja criminals, or any battles at all, their charge had been a noble woman with a penchant for being snitty, and it had assuredly turned out to be one of those 'or both' situations.
So sleepy, Sakura grumbled silently. Wanna go home – a small smile flitted across her face as she realized that she thought of the Hyuga residence as 'home' – take a bath. Must not fall asleep in bath and drown… "Neji!" her musings had carried them through the gate, where said Hyuga was waiting for them.
Without a though, she launched herself at him, flinging her arms around his neck. He caught her easily, sliding his hands discreetly down her sides. It took her a moment to realized that he was not, in fact, feeling her up, but checking for injuries. "I'm in one piece," she whispered in his ear with a smirk.
"So I guess this leaves me to take the mission report to Hokage-sama all by myself," Ino said, smirking at them.
Reluctantly, Sakura released her fiancé. "No, I'll go with you."
The blonde snorted. "No, no. It's fine. I'm sure you've got lots of planning to do, after all." With a wicked grin and a wave, she sped off.
Sakura turned back to Neji, more sedately this time. Slipping her arms around him, she kissed him softly, reveling in the feel of his lips against hers. When they pulled apart, she sighed, hugging him, and whispered against his shoulder, "Missed you."
Neji said nothing, merely running his fingers through her pink hair.
Sakura looked up at him, "What's wrong?"
His silver eyes met her worried green ones. "Nothing," he replied, smiling softly. Then a pause as he looked away and brushed his fingers through her hair again. "My uncle wants to speak with us."
The Jounin stiffened. That couldn't be good. Neji looked down at her again, a hard glint in his eye. "We're still getting married, Sakura. I promise."
She smiled back at him, an equally dangerous glint in her eyes. "Of course we are, Neji-kun," Sakura said sweetly. "The destruction of Konoha couldn't stop our wedding, you can be sure of that."
The Anbu laughed before kissing her firmly. "I love you, Haruno Sakura," he declared.
Sakura turned red. She couldn't believe that he'd actually said that in public where everyone could hear. Not that she was complaining of course. Adopting a smug expression, Sakura hooked her arm in his and led him away, "Better not keep your Lord Uncle waiting."
Neither of them noticed the pair of depthless black eyes that followed them until they were out of sight.