Sakura Mochi

by Afrokane

Um...Hi! This is my very first fic. English's not my 1st language...I've already tried my best! So plz give me some suggestions so that I can improve.

Thanks for reading it! :D

And....Sakura Mochi is a traditional Japanese food that people would eat while they go to watch Sakura blossom every year. It is a sweet and sticky rice cake which used Sakura petals as one of the ingredients (correct me if I am wrong.); Therefore it is pink in color.

Disclaimer: I don't own anything.

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"If you only have one last breathe in your life, who will you want to talk to, and what are you going to tell?"

On the first day I became an ANBU, Rock Lee asked me this question.

That was a tradition of ANBU – to tell your testament before you started any missions.

My eyes wandered unconsciously to the nearest Sakura tree. Then, I raised my head to look at the clear blue sky.

Well, if I were going to die, I guess I only have one sentence to tell.

The only one sentence that I wanted to tell you--

"I want to try your Sakura Mochi."

Yes—it was as simple as that.

Because, I knew you would understand what I meant.

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I, Rejected

It should be the year when I was 15. A day which those beautiful cascade of Sakura petals flew around us everywhere.

I remembered seeing you holding a large package in your hand. As if carrying some kind of important assets, you carefully ran in a slow speed towards us.

You went to Lee and TenTen, who were panting heavily after training. Then, you opened the package carefully and started to give away the unknown objects from the package.

Sakura Mochi.

You used an over-exaggerated expression and some animated gestures to tell Lee excitedly that you have spent a day's time to make those Mochis.

Then, you turned to my direction, hesitated a while, and slowly walked towards me.

Maybe it was because my poker face. I could tell that you have gathered all the courage when you hesitantly asked me if I wanted to try one.

"No, "I said coldly. In my opinion, a ninja should take more time to practice their jutsus, rather than wasting their time on doing stupid things like this. And it was particularly true when it was a weak shinobi that we were talking about.

You stunned. Then, as if remembering some sad memories, your green eyes suddenly filled with a shade of grey.

You smiled bitterly, whispered "its okay". Lowering your head to take a bow, you then turned around and disappeared slowly into the Sakura rain.

--you know what? I stunned too. Until now, I still couldn't forget that bitter smile, those pairs of dull eyes and the sad and lonely figure that walked away from me helplessly. After all these years, they were still vivid in my mind.

That was the first year that I knew you.

And that was also the first time that I rejected your Sakura Mochi.


Since then, you kept changing.

You were no longer that noisy girl who only knew how to cry.

You were no longer that weak shinobi who was poor in any kinds of jutsus.

And you no longer mentioned the name of Uchiha Sasuke again.

You became Tsunade sama's student, training vigorously everyday.

You also came here to train with Lee whenever you have time, saying that Lee was a perfect teacher in improving your physical strength and stamina.

Then, one day, you became a Chuunin.

No one would have thought that the most unnoticeable girl in Team 7 would make it this far.

Except some of your close friends who always believed in you, who always gave you support whenever you need it.

Like Lee, like Naruto.

Of course, I am not your close friend. Yet, it did not surprise me at all when you passed the Chuunin Exam.

Because, for all those years, I saw your endless efforts to become a great Shinobi. Everyday, you almost trained yourself so harshly that even Lee would think that it was too much for a girl.

During those years, whenever I saw you training, I would think of myself—the boy who wanted to free himself from the cage so much that he would rather train himself to death if it was the only way to do so.

I realized that we were the same—we have the same will to become strong—and we shared the same belief that one could change his destined fate when we fought hard.

Then, one day, I suddenly didn't feel lonely anymore. In the long road of struggling with the Main House, you suddenly became my only companion. By just watching your expressive eyes, I would feel relaxed, no matter how exhausted I was. My eyes would automatically search for your pairs of green comforting eyes whenever I was tired.

And day by day I found myself doing this. It had become a habit—hack, it even became a ritual—a Byakugan religiously searching for a pair of powerless, green eyes for purpose of relaxing.

That was so ironic.

Because, other than that Uchicha Sasuke, I was the one who acted so cold and distant to you, as if I would never cared about you in anyway.

I never acknowledge your smiles and greetings.

I never really response to what you told me, even though you never seemed to mind.

And I never accept anything from you—not even a tiny thing like Sakura Mochi.

Because, that would just reveal my weakness, disclose my reliance on you.

Therefore, I chose to reject you—rejected your Sakura Mochi.

Every year—persistently, stubbornly.

Even though you persistently insisted to make Sakura Mochi during Spring.

Even though you stubbornly continued to persuade me to accept you—accepted your Sakura Mochi.

"Neji, don't you want to try one? They're all saying that it tastes good." That was what you asked me during the second year.

"Neji, you gotta try one this time. I've added some new ingredients in it..." Already 16 that year, I saw you blushed for some unknown reason.

"Neji, you have to try one this year, because these Mochis are special edition—you know, I passed the Chunnin Exam finally..." You wore the brand new Chunnin uniform, asked me excitedly. I could tell that your eyes shone especially bright this year.

"Neji, I think you should cherish what you have! After I become a Jounin, I will not making these Mochi anymore—you sure don't want to try one?" You told me half-jokingly.

This time, your words caught me. My white eyes assessed your green eyes for 2 seconds. Then, a conclusion was reached—you were just saying this to make me ate your Sakura Mochi. I was so sure that every year, there would still be a pink girl offering me some Sakura Mochis.

As a result, I rejected you again—just like what Uchicha Sasuke done to you continuously.

One, two, three, four, five—yes, that should be the fifth time.

And who would have expected that the sixth would be the last?

"Neji, this is the last time I make these Mochi." Your gazed those Mochi wistfully. Then, you raised you head, asked me seriously, "You sure don't want to give it a try?"

It was last year—the year that you became a Jounin—and also the year that I became an ANBU.

I stunned—because from your eyes, I knew you meant it. I realized that if I missed this chance, I probably would not be able to try anymore.

That moment, different emotions flooded my mind.

Betrayal. Refusal. Denial.

It was like something you granted—or take it as granted—has been taken away.

Yet, I still gave you the same answer stubbornly.

Do you know why?

Because Hyuuga Neji was scared.

He was scared by how he was out of control—he was the one who had the strongest sense of self-control.

He was scared by how weak and vulnerable he was—he was a genius. Not only he possessed the most powerful bloodline of Konoha Village, but he also was strong in every possible way that a ninja could be.

He started to understand why Uchiha Sasuke would treat her like this. That was because, he was scared too. She made them felt weak, vulnerable, clinging and out-of-control.

How funny was that. When did Uchiha and Hyuuga become so vulnerable?

As if you already knew my answer, you smiled bitterly and whispered "its okay". Then, a pair of unreadable eyes stared at me.

"Fine, then. Goodbye Neji." You said. That bitter smile still didn't fade.

And you turned away and left—sadly, disappointingly.

For the first time that I knew you for so many years, I could not read and understand the emotions from your eyes. They were so complex.

I stood there, thoughts wandered back to the first time that you smiled bitterly while I rejected your Sakura Mochi. It was until those sudden waves of Sakura petals flew to my face I started to turn around and headed back to my home.

"Fine, then. Goodbye Neji."

You know what? Since that day, your goodbye continued to haunt my mind.

Anywhere, anytime.

When I saw you.

When I wore my mask, holding my kunai to kill people.

When Naruto babbling to me.

When I regretted.

When I was imagining tasting your Sakura Mochi, and—

And when I realized that it was just too late.

You, a twenty years old Jounin this year, did not make Sakura Mochi anymore.

Did not ask me if I wanted to try one too.

Because, I rejected you.

That weakling Hyuuga Neji has rejected you.