Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto
A/N: Gomen-nasai! I actually finished this chapter a long time ago but just kept forgetting to post it. This is the unedited version, by the way, so forgive me if you can find some grammar mistakes here and there. I've been really busy and I'm pretty sure Skye-chan is the same too. Don't worry though, I'll try to write the next chapter soon! Enjoy reading! :)
Tokyo is beautiful at night.
Although, the streets are busy, it's not the kind of view that would make someone feel agitated or disappointed. The people are busy closing up their shops and some are stuck in traffic on their way home but they're not entirely at loss because they got to see the beauty of the city which was only available during night time. The rich lights of white, yellow and red would eliminate any feeling of loneliness and emptiness. These lights almost illuminated the blanket of darkness that occupied the night. Well, almost.
There's still darkness nearby. Lurking and waiting for the perfect opportunity to reveal itself. Darkness takes on many forms. It can be as simple as a black cat, an omen of bad luck, or as enigmatic as a man in a dark alley, alone.
The man stood patiently, obviously, waiting for someone. He took another look at his expensive wristwatch and sighed. The person he's supposed to meet is late but not by much. Still, it's insulting to let a man of his stature to wait in a stinking place like this. He shouldn't be kept waiting in the first place, anyway.
Finally, he heard faint footsteps from the dark path in front of him and finally, a silhouette, a familiar figure rushed towards him.
"You're late," The already impatient man stated the obvious.
"..Gomen-na," The boy with spiky black hair tiredly replied, "You called in such short notice, what's the rush?"
"I have a very special assignment for you," The man said while pulling something out of his pocket and handing it to the boy, it was a photograph.
It was a photo of a smiling pink-haired girl.
"Hey, isn't this Crypz' new lead vocalist?" The boy inquired while raising an eyebrow, "Can't quite remember her name.."
"Haruno Sakura." The man continued solemnly.
"Oh yeah, that's right," The boy replied with annoyance for his own stupidity, "The one who was featured all over the news tonight, the girl who won your little brother's heart."
The older Uchiha smirked, "I'm surprised, Nara, I strongly thought that with your field of expertise, you would know the cruel truth behind the glitz and the glamour of show business, it's just a sham."
"Yeah but, for you information, I'm retired," The man lazily sighed while trying to return the photograph, "I don't do those stuff anymore."
"It's such a shame, trying to get rid of an extraordinary talent," The man chuckled, "I'll pay you handsomely and make sure that this will be your last operation.. with my protection."
"How generous can you still be?" The boy inquired with an interested look.
"Enough for a new and richer life," The man smirked.
The boy was silent for a while. He's trying to weigh the situation. Just one last troublesome assignment to destroy an innocent person's reputation for a new and clean life sounds reasonable. He took the picture from the Uchiha again and sighed, "This will be the last."
"Of course," The man placed his hands on his pockets, "You'll begin tomorrow. She'll be at the Fujiwara palace." He turned his back on his and started to walk away.
"..Haa, the usual," The boy spoke with seriousness while looking at the photograph at hand, "What has she ever done to you?"
The Uchiha stopped, "Nothing yet. Though, her downfall is necessary for my plans. I trust you do your job well, Nara." He finally disappeared from the dark alley to the busy streets of Tokyo.
"Hai, Itachi-san," The lazy boy with spiky black hair tied at the back replied with a whisper while still looking at the picture of the smiling starlet, she looked so innocent and unaware of the world she got into. It stabbed him with guilt, "How troublesome.."
Nothing personal, girl, I'll just be doing my job.
Crypz' lead vocalist lay on her extremely comfortable pink bed inside her cozy room. She looked really serene while she slept quietly. Her cherry-colored hair were scattered on a white pillow that supported her head and a small portion of her face was illuminated by the faint morning light that came from the window beside her bed.
She stirred slightly then shifted her whole body sideward while hugging another pillow that was originally given to her by her two best friends, Ino and Hinata. She felt like she hasn't had a decent sleep for such a long time. All the events that happened yesterday and the days before that made Sakura think if all of those were reality, or was it all just a dream?
'It must be a dream,' Sakura thought with a lazy smile on her lips, 'It seemed too good to be true.'
Since the day she tried out for the audition to be a certain band's lead singer, it's most certainly a start of a dream. A dream that kept going on until her contract signing, the day she met two interesting men, a certain blue-haired Uchiha and a chestnut brown-haired Hyuuga, the days she practiced with the band and up until a nerve-wracking press conference. It was all nothing but a dream.
Especially that twisted time when a really, really handsome man confessed to everybody that she and he are dating.
'Yup,' Sakura thought while giving out a small yawn then slowly stretching her arms, 'It's definitely a dream.'
Sakura's silent morning thoughts were temporarily ceased when the door of her room violently flung open. Next, her green-colored eyes shot open then her body automatically sat up straight then looked at who's rushing at the door.
She yelped, "What the hell?!"
Sakura's blonde friend, Yamanaka Ino, was the first one she saw came in from her door, she was holding a magazine and was rushing towards her. Outside her room, peeked a shy Hinata and whispered at Ino, "I-Ino, you forgot to knock!"
"Huh?" Ino looked behind her then at Sakura, and then giggled, "Oops, gomen-ne Sakura-chan, I forgot! I was too excited!"
Sakura scratched her head then whispered, "Oh Ino, honestly, I could just skin you alive."
"I'm the one who should be telling you that, traitor!" Ino joked then jumped on Sakura's comfortable bed and grinned, "You sly fox, Hina and I really have to hear it from the news, huh? We live in the same house for Pete's sake! It'll be easy for you to inform us!"
Sakura blinked while racking her brain for further understanding, obviously, she's still having a pretty hard time to comprehend, "Huh?"
Hinata came inside Sakura's room and sat beside her bed, "It's all over the news, Sakura-chan."
Sakura blinked again. 'They attacked me for this?'
"Baka!" Ino happily laughed at Sakura, "You don't remember? We mean this!" She pointed out a magazine.
"Kami," Sakura felt like she couldn't breathe while she stared at Cool Teen Magazine's cover photo. It was the group photo of their press conference yesterday and below that cover photo was another small teaser-like photo (the type that pulls readers to buy a certain magazine) of Haruno Sakura and Uchiha Sasuke "romantically" holding hands.
"My, my, you certainly did it this time, Sakura-chan!" Ino grinned while flipping the pages of the magazine, "You managed to have fame and the hottest bachelor at the same time! If I'd known, I would have tried out for the audition too!"
Hinata looked puzzled, "W-When did this all started, Sakura-chan? I thought you and Uchiha-san didn't really get along well."
Sakura shook her head and almost gave a nervous laugh when her blonde friend beat her to it.
Hinata and Sakura were surprised when their blonde friend suddenly started laughing. In fact, Ino's laugh was sinister! She rolled onto her back on Sakura's bed while clutching the magazine in her hand.
Hinata leaned over to look at what made Ino laugh so hard, "What's so funny, Ino-" She paused, evidently, trying to stop her laughter.
"Hey, you two," Sakura raised an eyebrow, "Mind sharing those thoughts?"
"G-Gomen-ne, Sakura-chan," Ino tried controlling her laughter, she bit her lips but tears from her previous laughter were obvious, "Here, take a look for yourself," She handed Sakura the magazine.
The pink-haired starlet wanted to die at that very moment.
Inside one of the pages of this very exclusive magazine which was sold for almost every person in Japan was an extremely embarrassing one-page photo of her at the press conference.
A photo of herself clad in one of Hinata's glamorous dress and beautified to perfection by a very famous beauty expert, Mitarashi Anko.
A photo of herself tripping.
"I can't believe they posted this photo!" Sakura dropped the magazine on her lap then covered her face with her hands, "Don't they have a heart? This is overly embarrassing!"
"At least, you didn't get hurt, "Hinata rushed in comforting her friend right away.
"And," Ino added with a smile, "They kinda made it up to you, they wrote a really nice article of Crypz' here." She pointed at the article, "Go ahead, read it."
Beautiful green eyes scanned the written article inside the magazine:
'New Singer, New Intrigues, New Crypz!
It's official! The record-breaking Crypz is reborn! Although, now with a new lead vocalist, Haruno Sakura, new songs and new steaming hot intrigues circling within the band! All legal formalities are already finished and yesterday, their official press-conference was also a complete success provided by Ms. Haruno's grand entrance (See picture below). They concluded yesterday's press-conference as Ms. Haruno's pre-launching period but the reporters present in the event, including yours truly, knew otherwise!
Sorry girls, but HE's taken! YES! The handsome, rich and famous Uchiha Sasuke, co-owner of KTV Corporation and lead guitarist of Crypz, just revealed that he's dating the beautiful and talented Haruno Sakura. Uchiha Sasuke was forced to reveal his current relationship with Ms. Haruno out of the shadows to cease the untrue gossips regarding the old and new Crypz' singers.
With Crypz composed of such intriguing and talented members, we can definitely expect surprises from this band. We at CTM feels that Ms. Haruno's refreshing personality blends well with the band that makes us Crypz fanatics have something to look forward to!
It's true that Ms. Haruno has the personality and the looks to qualify but we have yet to witness her talent. Is it enough to continue Crypz legacy?
Check out Crypz' next gig at Fujiwara Palace tonight, the exclusive event will be aired on Channel 2 and Channel KTV!
-Cool Teen Magazine'
As soon as the words 'Fujiwara Palace' registered her mind, everything seemed to come back to her. Haruno Sakura instinctively jumped out of her comfortable pink bed, looked at her alarm with a face full of disbelief and rushed towards her bathroom while temporarily forgetting the existence of her two closest friends inside the room.
Hyuuga Hinata looked at Yamanaka Ino with a confused gaze, the blonde only replied by shrugging her shoulders.
The bathroom door instantly opened and revealed the Crypz' singer with her beautiful locks tied up in a messy bun, her right hand clutching a toothbrush and the other with a toothpaste. She hurriedly ran towards them.
"G-Gomen- ne!" Sakura spoke, "I completely forgot to tell you both the details last night! I was so excited to spill the beans but when I got home the two of you weren't so I guess, I dozed off."
"I was at work," Ino sighed while glancing through the magazine again.
"I was at the groceries, Sakura-chan," Hinata answered with a smile.
The pink haired girl nodded, kneeled on the clean floor, held her friends hands and looked at them in their eyes seriously, "Look, the article about Sasuke and I is a sham."
"What!" Ino and Hinata chorused.
Sakura nodded, "It's complicated," she took a deep breath and whispered, "Everything was a mess yesterday and the press people kept pushing me and pushing me to Neji."
"You," Ino gulped, "You were linked with the famous Hyuuga Neji?"
"Hai," Sakura sighed, "And it's completely untrue! I was nervous and afraid of making a fool of myself and the band, which I almost did, until Sasuke rescued me."
"H-how?" Hinata asked with a confused look.
"Sasuke," Sakura gave a smile and a faint blush, "H-He sacrificed his reputation for me."
With a short period of time enough to skim the Uchiha Sasuke's cold and uncaring personality, Hinata is shocked in what he did for her friend. 'Could it be that Uchiha-san is starting to- yes, it's possible. However, it's a little bit too early because Sakura is still in the process of healing from her first heartbreak.' Hinata sadly thought.
"Whoa," Ino blinked, "What a surprise."
Sakura nodded and grinned, "And, are you ready for another?" she stood up and forced her friends to stand up too, "Tonight. Tonight is a very special night because it's Crypz first ever presentation in Fujiwara Palace!"
"Fujiwara Palace? Oh, Sakura-chan!" Ino gasped in disbelief and hugged her friend, "I-I'm so happy for you!"
"That's awesome, Sakura-chan!" Hinata smiled while small tears are starting to form from the corner of her clear eyes.
"It is," Sakura nodded sadly, "But tonight, people will judge me whether I am truly fit to be Crypz' lead vocalist. I-I don't want to disappoint them, especially Sasuke because he's the one who sacrificed a lot for me."
"Sasuke taught me everything I need to know but still," The singer whispered shakily while hugging her friends closer, "I'm scared."
There was a brief silence among the three girls when a knowing smirk suddenly appeared on Ino's lips, "Silly girl, you don't have to be afraid because you'll have the beautiful and very sexy Yamanaka Ino at Fujiwara Palace to cheer you on!"
Hinata giggled, "I'll be there for you too, Sakura-chan, I'm pretty sure that I could whip up something decent for Ino and I to wear for the occasion."
Ino grinned, "Wild horses couldn't stop us!"
Sakura held her head back and smiled at her two dearest friends, "Aw, you guys!"
Ino and Hinata started pulling back and headed towards the door, "We'll be ready in thirty minutes, Sakura-chaaaan!" Ino chirped happily.
Sakura glanced at her pink alarm clock and gasped.
'Make it fifteen, guys!'
A soft knock on the band room's door was heard by three famous music artists who were busy practicing. The door opened and it revealed a smiling pink-haired girl in plain sweatshirt and pants with her two friends following behind her.
"Sakura-chan! Good morning!" Uzumaki Naruto greeted happily behind his drums.
"Good morning, guys." Sakura greeted back.
"Tsk," Sasuke mumbled, "I expected you to be late.. again."
"Well, I'm not!" Sakura stated proudly, "Thanks to Ino-chan for waking me up in a rather disturbing way." Her innocent comment earned her a poke by her back.
"Ino-chan?" Kakashi asked.
"Oh yeah," The beautiful lead vocalist smiled sweetly while pulling her two dearest friends from her backside after entering the band room, "I believe you haven't met my other friend, Yamanaka Ino?"
The raven-haired guitarist was the first one to glance up from strumming his guitar, examined the blonde girl beside their lead singer and stood up. He slightly bowed as a sign of courtesy, "Sakura has talked a lot about you. We're glad you and Hinata-chan could come and support her."
"I-I," Ino stared at Sasuke, dumbfounded. Sakura had expected this to happen since Ino's actually a big fan of the band in the first place and seeing the band in person is definitely a dream-come-true opportunity for her, "Y-yes, you can expect support from us not only for Sakura but for the whole band, as well!"
'What? That's IT? Is that even Yamanaka Ino!? No screaming like what she'd done earlier this morning in my room?' Sakura thought silently.
Another reason for Ino's surprising speechlessness must be the fact that Sasuke looks so terribly handsome today. And so does Naruto and Kakashi.
'Wipe that drool off your face, Ino-pig!' Inner Sakura laughed hysterically.
There's an unexplainable glow present in their faces, even the stoic Uchiha Sasuke, which makes them look more handsome. Not even a single ounce of nervousness can be seen through their faces. Excitement and happiness are the only ones visibly present.
That makes Sakura wish that she can steal their confidence for herself. Is she, honestly, the only one in the band worrying?
"Yo," Kakashi smiled to greet Sakura's friends while holding his bass guitar, snapping Sakura from her short daydreaming. He looked at Sakura's white-eyed friend and spoke again, "Oh, Hinata-chan, arigato for the dress designs. Your lastest submission will definitely look lovely on Sakura-chan tonight!"
"T-Tonight? In Fujiwara Palace?" Hinata gulped, knowing that her work will be worn by Crypz' lead singer and will surely be showcased to different famous people. She then nodded shyly with blushing cheeks, "I'm glad you all like it."
"Of course, Hina-chan!" Naruto beamed happily behind the drums, "Your designs are all so wonderful!"
Upon hearing Naruto's compliment, it strangely made the shy girl's blush deeper than ever.
Sakura giggled when she saw Hinata's flushed face; she casually rushed to her rescue, "I'm really glad you guys let me bring Hina and Ino with me tonight," the pink-haired girl smiled to her two childhood friends, "These two are my lucky charms!"
"Hn, I'm sure they'll lessen your nervousness later when you see them amongst the audience," Sasuke nodded and sat back again with his guitar, "I noticed before that you always seem secured and happy when you're talking about your friends."
Sakura playfully skipped beside Sasuke and jokingly placed her hand on top of his raven hair then patted him softly and laughed, "That's true and since I consider Kakashi, Naruto and even you as one my friends, you also make me feel secured and happy!"
Sasuke blinked in surprise at Sakura's words, he then dared not to look up to see her honest and attractive green eyes because he knew.. he very well knew that his face would betray him. He then only lowered his head to cover his face with his bangs, pretending to play with the strings of his guitar.
Since I consider you as one of my friends..
He couldn't even understand why her simple and joking words have that kind of impact on him. He knew that what she recently said was sudden and wasn't given enough thought but still, it made him feel awkward. And now, he realized, it was never only her words, but oftentimes it's even her careless touch, striking eyes and especially her angelic voice.
You also make me feel secured and happy.
Ino, who just witnessed the innocent scene, looked aghast with the kind of relationship Sasuke and Sakura already shared. It's like they have this invisible bond of trust between them. The trust that Sasuke has for Sakura to revive the band and the trust Sakura has for Sasuke, to protect her. If they're not cautious, this beautiful bond that they already established might grow into something else.
'Something deeper,' Ino thought sadly, 'that Sakura might not be ready to handle yet.'
The silver-haired bass player glanced at the speculative blonde in front of him and with an amused look in his eyes; he concluded that the two of them are thinking of the exact same thing.
An awkward silence would have occurred when Naruto didn't expertly play his drums to catch the Uchiha's attention.
"Show-off," Sasuke muttered.
"Ne? Sasuke-teme!" Naruto yawned, placed his sticks on his back pocket then stood up from his stool, "Let's take five, I'm beat. We've been practicing since this the morning!"
Sakura abruptly dropped her hand from Sasuke's head then smiled, "I'm guessing I should go find Anko now."
The younger Uchiha finally found the courage to face her and the moment he did, his lips played his usual smirk, "You've guessed right. She's somewhere downstairs."
Kakashi placed his guitar safely on a container beside another bass guitar. Sakura examined the guitar beside Kakashi's and by the looks of it, unused and stored, this seems like the one referred by Neji. His Tybalt.
"Hey Kakashi," Sakura smiled casually and pointed at Neji's guitar, "Who owns this one? Do you?"
Sasuke slowly turned his face to look at what Sakura was talking about. He then frowned with her sudden interest in Neji's bass guitar. But still intended to keep his cool for maybe she's just being curious or naïve.
'Yes,' Sasuke thought, 'that's just it, curiosity, because she already promised me she wont' talk to that –'
Kakashi raised an eyebrow, "Why the sudden interest, Sakura? It's been here ever since the first time you've entered the band room. Why ask now?"
"Oh," Sakura suddenly blushed and laughed awkwardly, "N-Nothing, of course! Just trying to answer curious questions in my mind, you know. Well, we got to go now. I can't keep Anko-san and Naruto's stomach waiting!"
Sasuke mentally smirked, 'You're such a terrible liar, Haruno Sakura.'
"Yes, we better," Kakashi proceeded towards the door and opened it while looking at Hinata and Ino, "You girls like some ice cream? I think there's some more left in the kitchen."
"W-what about Sakura-chan?" Hinata asked.
"Anko will be doing some stuff to her that may take awhile, then after that Sakura will be in the evil clutches of Uchiha Sasuke for her reviewing of songs then we'll all just meet up at the rooftop," Kakashi smiled.
"Huh?" Ino inquired, "Why the rooftop?"
"Fujiwara Palace is on an island surrounded by water," Kakashi explained, "it is only accessible through air travel or sea travel. Naturally, we'll be flying in one of KTV Corporations private jets for us not to be late."
"We can't afford to be late." Naruto nodded with seriousness.
"Oh my goodness," Ino gasped, "We'll be riding in a private jet, Hina!"
Hinata merely nodded but inside, she's pretty much excited too.
"Excited, Hina-chan?" Crypz' drummer ran beside her, "Cmon, let's go raid Sasuke's kitchen!"
"Oh wait," Sakura spoke before she reached the door, "What about you, Sasuke? Aren't you coming? I still have to go to Anko so you still have time to go eat something."
The Uchiha merely looked up from his guitar and Sakura saw his lips form one word, "Practice."
"Oh," Sakura nodded. She paused for a few seconds while waiting for the others to have a decent distance from her. She then gave Sasuke a comforting smile and said, "Your dedication is admirable and I really respect your passion."
Brief silence dominated the room.
"I admire your passion with singing, as well," Sasuke replied without looking.
Sakura nodded then slowly turned around to leave the room. 'If you could just see me paint before, Sasuke..'
"Sakura," His deep voice that called her name echoed through the band room. They were already at the far ends of the room while Kakashi and the others are already on the hallway.
"What you've said earlier," He pretended to fix the strings of his guitar when he cleared his throat, "Was it true?"
"Is what true?" Sakura asked innocently.
He sighed a little while still trying to not keep eye contact with her, he then mumbled "About me being one of your friends."
"Of course," She answered simply.
"But.. Did I," He whispered but loud enough for her to hear while narrowing his dark eyes on his guitar's strings, "really make you feel secured and happy, Sakura?"
He really didn't know if those things she said earlier were true because as far as he can remember, he had always made her cry because of his coldness and strictness. With the unexpected meetings they had before the actual audition for Crypz' new lead vocalist, he knew he had always hurt her, in a way.
He had always thought of her of someone talented who will just make the band rise from its terrible downfall after that Hyuuga Neji incident. He had always thought of her of a mere replacement and he felt like it's his responsibility to at least, protect her from possible harm from the people who wish to destroy Crypz namely his own brother, Uchiha Itachi.
Uchiha Sasuke never expected that a plain and simple green-eyed girl, who once bumped into him not knowing who he is then fought with him for nearly destroying her painting and slapped him once, would make him feel and do things that he does not usually do for anyone, ever.
He cursed himself, 'How irritating,'
He waited for her reply but none came. He couldn't stop himself from looking up because of curiosity. He wanted to see the shocked look on her face for what he has done. He had to know though; if he wouldn't ask then it'll haunt him forever. He wanted, for some childish reasons, to know whether what she just said earlier was just a joke. Or was it –
He couldn't take it anymore, for a mere second, he looked up.
She was smiling at him and he knew it was the answer.
'You still do, Sasuke.'
After the two hour ritual of skin care and pampering of Crypz lead singer from the famous Mitarashi Anko, after another two hours band practice and after a while for Naruto's grumbling stomach to be filled, Crypz and their friends are ready to load the KTV AIR. Several men were carrying equipments and instruments into the plane (with the addition of a nagging Anko always on their back).
Haruno Sakura, still on her comfy sweatshirt and pants, was the first one to ride the plane. She was feeling really excited and the insides of the aircraft is exactly like in the movies she pictured where there' s a small bar in one corner, comfy chairs and even some entertainment stuff.
The vocalist was awed. Ever since she entered the music world, it's been too glamorous for her own comfort. Sakura felt like she needed time to absorb this stuff because everything's revolving too fast.
"Sakura," Sasuke snapped behind her, "Get used to it."
She then grinned, "Oh, but I'll be having a hard time doing that though."
As it was Hinata and Ino's time to enter the plane, Sakura almost laughed at them because they were as stunned as she was earlier. Sakura invited them to sit beside her in a couch filled with soft throw pillows.
The last passenger was Mitarashi Anko but she decided not to join the group. She placed herself beside the comfort of a handsome pilot instead.
The engine started and after a few minutes, they were off.
"I could get used to this, Sakura-chan," Ino grinned, "I could never experience something like this if that single piece of paper didn't reach my beautiful face before!"
"What paper?" Sasuke asked while Kakashi handed her a glass wine.
"Oh, the paper for your audition," Ino laughed, "It was pure accident. I was asking for a sign that could help Sakura-chan that day and that paper just flew right into my face!"
"So," Kakashi smirked, "If it wasn't for you, we wouldn't have found our beloved singer. I guess we're indebted to you now."
"No, I did it all for our Sakura-chan," Ino laughed, "But maybe, that wine over there can suffice that debt you're talking about."
"Are you sure, Ino-chan?" Naruto asked skeptically.
Hinata and Sakura giggled.
"You're underestimating me," Ino finally came out of the shell, "I can handle my liquor."
"We can prove your strength at the party, Ino-chan," Sasuke suddenly appeared with a CD player and earphones, "I can't afford to let these guys be drunk before the performance."
"Maah," Naruto whined, "You're no fun, Sasuke-teme."
"Baka," He then turned his attention to Sakura then handed her the CD player and inside was the rough copy they recorded before, "Here, keep reviewing, Sakura. The more you listen to it, the more you'll feel the song and lessen the risk of mistakes."
"Sure, Sasuke," Sakura obeyed and got the CD player.
Kakashi excused himself to the other room with Sasuke, obviously, giving the final touches of their presentation. Because they constantly do that, Sakura felt a sense of relief that everything's going to be okay. They planned all of it well and it seems 100% foul proof.
"Hey," Hinata pointed at the CD, "Are those the songs sang by you, Sakura-chan?"
"Yup," Sakura smiled proudly, "Although, it's only a rough copy. Would you like hear the songs?"
"Of course we do!" Ino sat in-between the two and smiled innocently.
"Okay," Sakura handed them the earphones, "Maybe you can recognize some of the songs in the first half, Ino. Those are Crypz old lyrics but revived by me." Sakura blushed.
"Hmm," Ino hummed the tune and smiled, "Oh Sakura, I remember these songs, of course! It's different when a girl sings it though. I feel more connected with it; it's not like the shouting kind of rock music. It's different."
Sakura giggled, "I don't think I can see that as a compliment."
"But it is," Hinata smiled, "I'm familiar with the tune but I don't memorize them like Ino does. You executed it so.. so strangely wonderful! I-I can't quite describe it though."
"Oh Hina, Ino," Sakura smiled, "I know you're only saying this because you're both my friends. Neji is much more experienced in this field; I couldn't possibly outdo him or even reach to his level. No way, even at least for now."
She didn't hear any replies from her two closest friends. As Sakura looked to them, she saw the two of them completely engulfed with the music. The music that Crypz, which she as their vocalist, made! Sakura can never complain to the talents of Kakashi, Naruto and especially Sasuke with their corresponding instruments. It's only she who's insecure about her own talent.
They actually liked it. They liked the song she sang!
And her friends never lied to her before. Even if it's the brutal truth or frankness, so be it, especially with Yamanaka Ino.
After a few minutes, they finally ended the whole CD, the entire dozen songs. The first half was the old stuff and the second half is the new ones made by Crypz in their times of inactivity.
Ino and Hinata removed their earphones and then looked at Sakura. The pink-haired singer was waiting for a reaction and she received a hug instead.
The blonde whispered seriously, "You are great, Sakura-chan."
"Oh, Sakura-chan," Hinata added with a smile, "There's nothing to be afraid of."
Sakura managed a "thanks" before they pulled away. Hinata smiled, "Which was your most favorite song?"
"I honestly love them all," Sakura laughed, "It's hard to choose because the lyrics are all so beautifully made."
"Oh cmon," Ino grinned, "Pick one, the best for you."
Sakura looked up then smiled, "W-ell, there's one that I particularly liked singing because I was able to relate to it."
"What track was it?" The two asked.
"The final track," Sakura said with a smile, "Track 12."
"Thought so," The both spoke in unison, and then they giggled.
Sakura laughed, "That's the most recent thing Sasuke has done, you know?"
'Thought so too'
KTV Air flew above the fabulous and exclusive Fujiwara Palace. The view from the top is fabulous. Kakashi's description of it earlier was partly true but there are some things that he left out and forgot to include. How could he forget to mention the complicated yet beautiful maze of trees at the back of the Palace? How could he also forget to describe the beautiful long and grand stairway that shined as if it was made of gold? The height of the Palace seems to be twice the size of KTV Corp.
There was no mistaking naming it Fujiwara Palace, all right. The place is fit for kings and queens, princess and princesses and the likes.
It's like a place that was able to withstand the test of time.
Pink locks are visibly seen in one of the small windows of KTV Air which was encircling the whole island, trying to find a landing spot. Sakura's face was almost glued to window as she looked out at Fujiwara Palace. She couldn't believe a place as beautiful as this could ever exist. Now, she realized it did exist, and not only does she have to set foot on those marbled floors but she also has to actually perform there.
The pink-haired vocalist felt like she's going to faint.
Yet, she held on. Thinking that they've already gone this far. There's no turning back now. No more options. What more does she need? All of her friends are here. Everyone is here, for her. She couldn't possibly disappoint them.
She looked at her right and left side. Judging by the awed look in her best friends' faces, they must be totally shocked as well.
"So?" Kakashi gave a knowing grin from her back, "What do you think?"
"Unexplainable," Sakura breathed, "Are we really going to perform there? Maybe we got the wrong address."
"Nope, that's the Palace, all right," Kakashi gave a knowing grin, "As far as I can remember, it was built in around 1800's, I think. The property is owned by the Fujiwara family for many years now and it's like the point where artists and bands like us like to have our grand ending performance or something."
"But we're different," Sakura added happily, "It's not our "grand ending" performance, it's only the beginning!"
"That's right," Kakashi half-smiled, "Although, I'm a bit worried."
Sakura looked up, "With what?" 'With the performance that I'm about to give?'
"With this sudden stroke of good luck," Kakashi replied, "We're the only band allowed to play for today, which has never happened in the history of the Palace."
"What's weird with that?" Sakura asked, "You guys were great even before I was the lead singer! You deserve this!"
Kakashi chucked, "Oh, Sakura-chan, you're too trusting. In this industry, we must always be cautious with the things that are happening around us."
The beauty specialist, Mitarashi Anko, suddenly stood behind the bass player of Crypz. Her black hair was tied up in a ponytail and her arms are crossed while tapping her right foot.
"Anko," Kakashi lazily looked at his left.
"Kakashi!" Anko raised an eyebrow, "Don't you think you're old enough to know the rules when inside an aircraft?"
"What rule do you think I'm violating?" Kakashi raised an eyebrow.
"No one's supposed to stand up when it's time for the aircraft to land," Anko stated knowingly.
"But," Kakashi chuckled while pointing at her, "you're standing too."
"Arrgh," Anko pushed him to a seat at the back of Sakura, "Just sit down! The pilot says so."
"So, you call him 'pilot' now," Kakashi grabbed his portable Icha Icha Paradise then grinned underneath the pages of the book, "You sure are flexible. I bet you could be a flight stewardess and a beauty specialist at the same time."
Kakashi grinned when Anko angrily pointed to him, "I almost forgot what I originally came here to say to Sakura-chan!"
"What is it?" Sakura asked while seeing Sasuke walking towards them.
"Sasuke! You're supposed to take a seat during landing," Anko reprimanded.
"Yes, Sasuke," Kakashi spoke without leaving his eyes on his Icha Icha Paradise, "Listen to the pretty stewardess."
Sakura heard the lead guitarist yield a soft grunt when he sat beside the empty space beside their lead vocalist. "What were you saying, Anko?"
"Oh yeah," Anko looked out the view, "The owner of the Fujiwara Palace is going out to meet us as we land."
"Really?" Kakashi raised an eyebrow, "Is it just me or is this getting a little awkward?"
"Hn," Sasuke nodded.
"Why? Maybe they're just friendly," Crypz lead singer sat there confused, "I really don't get it, why don't we just take advantage of the opportunity? What are we going to lose, right?"
They are all sat silent as they contemplate their thoughts. The only noise they could hear was the sound of an aircraft landing safely on the ground and the snore of a blond drummer.
A red carpet, a lighted tunnel overhead, black men in tuxedos and trees almost everywhere beyond the landing site was the first things Sakura's beautiful green eyes had seen. There's nothing interesting to see for now. Sakura was the first one along with Hinata and Ino by her side, who came down the stairs from the KTV Air.
The rich-colored carpet touched Sakura's flats. She and her friends waited as Mitarashi Anko along with the rest of her band mates finally came down. The men in tuxedos lined up to greet them looked awfully familiar.
Sasuke then stood in front of the three girls and searched the area; he then saw a shadowy figure in the walls of the lighted tunnel. At first, it was a tall shadow but it was running rapidly in their direction.
"Stand back," Sasuke instructed Sakura, but she insisted to look through his shoulders, "He's coming towards us."
The tall figure no longer remained tall as it approached Crypz. It turns out that the shadow belongs to a child of around seven to eight years old. A girl in a red dress, matching red shoes and a Sunday hat stood proudly before them.
She has beautiful brown hair, Sakura realized, but the upper portion of her face is covered by the hat. She was smiling though. Everybody could tell.
"Who are you, kid?" Naruto asked.
"What! I am NOT a kid!" The girl frowned, "You tell em', Sakura-chan!"
Everybody looked at Sakura with surprise looks on their faces. The vocalist slowly walked towards the girl and kneeled before her so at least; they could face each other eye to eye.
"G-Gomen-ne," Sakura whispered, "Do I know you, little girl?"
"Neh, Sakura-chan!" The girl grinned, "How could you forget? I told you not to forget a helpless kid! They might be of help in the future!"
'Huh,' Sakura thought, 'Helpless girl? This can't be-'
The seven-year-old slowly removed her hat and finally revealed herself. She flashed a huge smile to Sakura and finally she hugged Sakura. Crypz, Anko, Ino and Hinata were all shocked as well when Sakura hugged the kid back.
"Mameha-chan!" Sakura exclaimed, "I can't believe it's you!"
"Of course, it's me," Mameha pouted, "I was beginning to wonder how many 'helpless girls' you know already."
Sakura giggled, "You're not helpless. You never were. By the way, what are you doing in a place like this?"
"Oh," Mameha wondered, "Haven't I told you yet? Didn't you get my daddy's business card that day?"
"W-what are those two talking about?" Hinata asked.
"I really have no idea." Ino whispered.
"Your dad's business card?" Sakura clapped her hands, "Oh yeah! I remember! Your dad gave me a card back then but I unfortunately misplaced it."
"Oh okay," Mameha sighed, "That's okay, Sakura-chan, the important thing is that Crypz is here now."
"Gomen-ne," The deep voice of Sasuke interrupted the two, "Sakura, who is this kid?"
"I am NOT a kid!" Mameha frowned, "My name's Fujiwara Mameha."
"WHAT!?" Both Sasuke and Sakura looked at her with shocked faces.
"Fujiwara? You're the owner of Fujiwara Palace?" Naruto approached Mameha and asked, "But you're just a kid!"
"Dobe," the Uchiha muttered.
"For the last time, I am not a kid!" Mameha stared at the blond drummer, "Y-you baka!"
Sasuke smirked, "For once, I have to agree with this ki- ehrm.. girl,"
"I still can't believe a kid manages things around here," Naruto mumbled.
"Oh," Mameha laughed, "I'm not that old enough either! My dad owns Fujiwara Palace. I am merely the heiress."
Sakura gasped, "M-mameha, are you.. really?"
Mameha nodded and hugged her once more, "But, you still helped me without knowing who I am and where I came from, Sakura-chan! It doesn't really matter now, does it?"
"So, what does have to do with us?" Sasuke asked coldly.
"I want to repay Sakura-chan for her kindness," Mameha smiled while hugging her closer, Sakura was still too shocked to comprehend, "You see I, once, ran away from home. Sakura-chan found me and took me to many cool places and stuff!"
"Oh, Mameha," Sakura laughed softly at the memories, "We were chased by your bodyguards!" She then realized that these men in tuxedo's greeting them are her bodyguards.
Mameha then faced everybody with a smiling face. It was as if an adult was talking to them, "She opened my eyes to reality. While we were together, we had fun and I also discovered that she's the new lead vocalist of Crypz."
"So," Kakashi interfered, "You wanted to help Sakura-chan launch her career, as well as Crypz', by organizing a huge party here in Fujiwara Palace with every famous people and media present, and the only one who'll play throughout the whole party is us?"
"Bingo," Mameha grinned.
Kakashi smiled then bowed a little, "Arigato Gozaimasu, Mameha-chan, this will surely help a lot in Crypz' especially with Sakura-chan's blooming career."
Haruno Sakura could feel tears from the corner of her eyes, "Mameha-chan, I-I don't know what to say, honestly."
Mameha smiled, "Sakura-chan, you don't need to say anything. Just promise me one thing."
"What is it?" Sakura asked.
"Don't ever change, please?"
Sakura nodded, "I definitely won't."
The heiress smiled, held Sakura's hand and started leading the way towards the lighted tunnel.
Ino shivered, "It's scary how an eight-year-old kid can think and organize such plots."
'I'm NOT a kid!'
"Kami," Anko, and her two assistants, gasped as she got the gown for Sakura from a hanger, "Hinata-chan's so creative."
The pink haired starlet stood speechless at the sight she beheld in front of her. Hearing Anko's comment about Hinata being creative is an understatement. She clutched the gown carefully as ever made by her best friend, Hyuuga Hinata. She couldn't believe that her shy and quiet friend could whip up something extraordinarily bold and elegant such as this. This only proves that there's absolutely more to Hinata than what meets the eye, not that she's not aware of that or something.
Hinata has a knack for fashion but for her to come out of her shell and be proud of the hidden talent she has, Sakura couldn't feel any more proud to wear the dress her friend designed.
The gown is, in no question, the most beautiful and fashionable of all of Hinata's designs so far. It's has a beautiful white tube in the upper part and a black leather belt by the waist. If you continue to look down it continues to flow into slight perfect waves until it reaches below the knee for the front part and in the back part, it continues to flow up until the ankle.
It is elegance, sophistication and spunk all rolled up in one design, in one dress. A dress made for her.
A dress made for a special event such as this.
"Go on, Sakura-chan, we're in a bit of a rush today," Anko handed her the gown and pushed Sakura behind a little changing corner, "We only have 30 minutes to fix your hair and make up!"
Upon hearing the time check, Sakura hurriedly removed her clothing and carefully tried on the dress, there weren't any mirrors in that small changing corner that's why Sakura couldn't tell what she look like so far, "It fits nicely," Sakura smiled.
"Well, that comes to no surprise," Anko replied while ordering her assistants to unpack their beauty products and accessories, "Hinata-I knows you very well, it was an advantage for her part. She knows what will look best on you."
"I guess you're right," Sakura smiled as she finished putting on the gown, she then stepped out of the dressing corner, "How do I look so far?"
The beauty specialist and her three assistants looked up and examined the lead vocalist, the specialist then nodded and gave an approving look, "Oh, I just have the perfect hairstyle and make-up in mind, something light and elegant, that's for sure."
Sakura almost made her way to the full length mirror to see herself while wearing the gown when one of Anko's assistants held Sakura's arm and shook her head, "Gomen-na, Sakura-chan, we have to get the make-up and hairstyle done first before you see the full effect."
"Oh okay," Sakura grinned at the sight of the comfortable chair being presented by Anko's other assistant, "Do you mind if I practice some more while you fix me up?"
Anko smiled, "Of course, Sakura-chan," She saw her client sit down in a chair in front of her and put on her earphones and turned on the CD player Sasuke gave her earlier.
'Sakura-chan, you really are something,' Anko thought while her assistants handed her a pair of plastic gloves and "the kit", 'I have no doubts. You will do just fine in this industry.'
Although, Sakura wasn't entirely focused on the songs she sang because she's been practicing that since.. ever since Sasuke gave brief vocal lessons to Sakura. She knows these songs by heart already. What troubles her mind at this very moment is the upcoming presentation later.
She never expected the stroke of good luck she held, she never imagined Mameha Fujiwara to be the daughter of that famous billionaire! Now, because of that, Crypz was given a perfect opportunity to launch themselves again, there's no problem regarding Naruto, Sasuke and Kakashi though, the problem is within herself. Of course, she's nervous. Who wouldn't be?
They have to perform in front of a famous crowd, where there would certainly be critiques and media persons present to watch and judge her every move, and they would also be aired live in television.
But most importantly, all the people who care and love her are just outside, waiting for her to appear and make them proud. The band and of course, her two dearest friends, Hyuuga Hinata and Yamanaka Ino, who've always been there since the day Gaara and she broke up.
'Gaara', Sakura thought with a happy sigh, 'There's no more bitterness at the mere thought of your name now. I know, I just do, that I've grown a whole lot stronger after what happened between us.'
Sakura's green eyes drifted at the CD player she held at her hand when her inner self started occupying her mind again, 'Are YOU sure, forehead girl? Gaara will surely see you live tonight!'
'So what?' Sakura countered, 'Whatever I do now will have no effect on his part.'
'Baka! Admit it!' Inner Sakura screamed, 'You WANT him to see you tonight!'
Sakura's lips smirked a bit while Anko's assistant started applying foundation on her face, 'Of course, I want him to see me tonight. I want him to see me changed and had moved on.. definitely without him.'
'Right on, girl!' Inner Sakura cheered, 'Let's show him and let's show that brunette girl as well, I'm sure she'll be watching tonight too!'
Sakura groaned, 'Why do you have to spoil the moment? We were getting along just fine a moment ago! And you just HAVE to bring that girl up! But you're right, we'll show her!'
'Atta girl! We'll show that boyfriend stealer who she's messin' with!'
"Sakura-chan," Anko laughed, "I don't know what you're thinking but you got to stop it, it looks like your holding back your laughter or something."
The vocalist laughed, "Gomen-na, Anko, I was just thinking about something."
"Quite moving," Anko concentrated, "I'm almost done."
Sakura quietly obliged and while Anko and her minions are just making the finishing touches, she gave her sole and undivided attention to the songs again, mentally practicing each and every word that Uchiha Sasuke composed.
Her thoughts suddenly drifted to Track 12. She really enjoyed singing that piece and she felt grateful because it was like Sasuke made the lyrics especially for her. Of course, the day she asked Sasuke about the lyrics he simply denied it with a simple statement of 'Just practice it.'
But, she knew otherwise.
"Sakura-chan," Anko gave a satisfied grin while removing her gloves, her two assistants rushing by her side, "You're done, take a look at yourself."
The pink-haired vocalist removed the earphones and placed the CD player by a small table nearby. She walked over the full-length mirror at the far end of the room. She stood still while fixing her gaze from her heeled boots and slowly rising up to her beautifully styled hair.
She looked elegant and slightly bold, in a rock star type of way. Her beautiful pink hair, messily but stylishly, flowed down until her waist and the red streaks in it made it very unordinary. Her green eyes just seemed to pop with the black eye liner and dark but elegant eye shadow applied. However, Anko just applied lip gloss to her lips just to soften the whole dramatic effect so far.
Sakura wore a black choker and her white dress was complimented by another black leather belt and her black high-heeled boots, completely hiding any sight of her creamy legs.
Sakura felt confident. Hinata and Anko combined can definitely bring out the best in any person! Even in a plain girl such as herself. She knew that she's now ready, both physically and emotionally.
"I can't believe that's me now," Sakura laughed, "Arigato gozaimasu everyone!"
"No, no" Anko shook her head with a smirk playing on her lips, "I won't accept that, Sakura-chan! I want you to do your best later, for all the people who support you, okay? That'll be enough."
Her green eyes shined with great determination and confidence, Sakura started her way out of the room and to finally meet up with the band and the people who are waiting for her.
'I will not fail them. I'll give it my all.'
The huge lobby of the famous Fujiwara Palace is filled by enthusiastic celebrities, already impatient reporters and important people, either rich or famous enough, for their presence to be requested by the Fujiwara family. The outside of the Palace were presently invaded by helicopters, some were for a last-minute appearance while others were media men waiting for a great video footage not only on the insides of the Palace but on the outside as well.
As one would enter the Palace, famous celebrities will walk on a long red carpet and were already bombarded by flashes and lights of cameras and videos. Many artists were placed on the spotlight while only some were given the privileged to be given a brief interview. After that tedious crowd, one will see a vast space made up of marbled floors and full-length windows that would enable one to see the beautiful dark night and heavy-clouded skies outside. Weird though, there are no stars visible tonight. There just might be a slight drizzle afterwards.
Inside, there are also refreshments almost everywhere. There's also been quite a spread. Men in tuxedos would also serve some famous drink or snacks. There were also a few things that could certainly make one entertained. One is that there's this lengthy dance floor right in the middle. Food and beverages placed on the sides and so much more. It came to no surprise when the once ghost-like floors are now occupied with famous personalities with great haste.
It's a social event, a party, where everyone seems to know everyone else. A celebration only the Fujiwara family is capable of giving.
The crowd or audience is a mixture of people garbed in the finest and hippest clothing. It's most certainly a formal event. Everyone is required to dress up a bit, all starting from the famous personalities, to the media people and even important and invited guests just like the famous beauty specialist, Mitarashi Anko, with her client's two childhood friends, Hyuuga Hinata and Yamanaka Ino.
"W-wow," Hinata blushed as she wore the black dress she designed that complimented her fair skin and her braided hair, "There are a lot of people here, Ino-I."
Ino, whose wearing a blue simple gown made by Hinata and whose hair is styled and curled by Anko's assistants, drooled, "Oh Hina! This is haven! Hunky models just within my reach!"
Hinata blushed, "Shhh! Ino-chan! We're here to give support to Sakura-chan and not to dally and –"
"Oh Hina," Ino laughed, "This is a party! Liven up! While Sakura-chan's not on yet, we're free to enjoy ourselves, I'm sure she won't mind."
"That's right, Hinata-chan," Anko smiled and patted Hinata's head, "Sakura-chan wouldn't mind the least if you enjoyed yourself a bit. You've both done so many things for her which she's truly grateful of!"
Hinata just blushed deeper.
"Oh, Anko-san!" A booming voice from behind the beauty specialist was heard that made the three of them look around, "It's good to see you here too! Could you please pose for a few pictures with your friends?"
Ino and Hinata looked at each other with a surprised look and were even caught by surprise when Anko laughed and pulled the two together closer to her, "Of course, say cheese, girls!"
The two were caught by surprise by a flashing light that came from the camera of that certain photographer, "Arigato Gozaimasu, Anko-san, please enjoy the party!"
"Gosh, this is really so glamorous and everything," Ino smiled nervously, "I hope I looked good in that photo! I think I was looking down at that time."
Hinata nodded, "I-I was caught by surprise too."
Anko laughed but then someone tapped her from behind. It was a tall, middle-aged woman garbed in furs and heavy jewelry, "Anko, dear, how are you?"
The beauty specialist smiled a bit, trying to bit down her laughter, "I'm doing very well, how about you?"
"Fine, I'm very well. As you can see your staff is responsible for a fabulous job on my hair and for caring for my skin," She flipped her long and lustrous black hair at her back and smiled, "Dear, you must absolutely tell me who designed your gown at once. It's totally breathtaking."
Hinata blushed and Ino gave her a soft push, "Hina! She's talking about the clothes you designed."
Anko quickly grabbed Hinata's shaking hands before she would even try to escape because of too much nervousness, "Here is the girl responsible for this beautiful dress that I'm wearing."
"Oh," The woman examined her, "Dear girl, did you study in Paris or somewhere for fashion design? You have wonderful taste, I must say."
Hinata stammered, "N-No ma'am, I'm actually a graduate of culinary arts. I only design dresses whenever I-I have free time."
"A cook!" The woman exclaimed, "How interesting and yet peculiar!"
"Not odd at all," Anko intervened while trying to give Hinata confidence, "She's working under KTV Corp. and is currently the designer of Crypz' new lead vocalist!"
"Truly interesting," The woman clapped her hands, "Anko, you must let me interview her for my women's fashion magazine, The Closet, I insist!"
"W-what!" Hinata stuttered in disbelief, "B-But, I.." she managed to look at Ino who simply encouraged her by giving her a thumb's up and a wink.
"Nonsense, come on, dear," The woman held her hand excitedly, "Anko, you come as well."
"This won't take long," Anko looked back at Ino and whispered, "We'll be right back, just help your self with drinks over there."
The blonde Ino waved at her shy friend whose being dragged away by a tall woman in furs. She gave a soft sigh. There she noticed that the place is gaining more and more people, she couldn't even walk straight without bumping to somebody.
She made her way to a tall man in black tuxedo who was serving some drinks. He offered her a glass of expensive wine and she took it right away. He was shocked when she drank it immediately without even pausing for a second. She asked for another glass of wine and her eyes gave no clue of giving up.
As soon as Ino got her second glass of wine, she played with it a little bit. She didn't drink it as fast as the first glass. She made her way towards the window and looked out at the view.
'Not that I'm jealous or anything but,' Ino thought as she played with the glass of wine she's holding, 'I kinda feel left out a bit.'
She bit her lip and drew a heart shape on the window, 'I've been too busy with work that I don't help Sakura or Hina with their stuff,' she sighed, 'I wish I could be of more help to those two.'
Her sad thought was set aside when she heard her name from afar. It can either be Anko or an embarrassed Hinata asking for help. She shook her head with a smirk on her face then swiftly turning around, at first, failing to notice the boy with spiky black hair in a plain brown jacket and jeans, and then accidentally spilling her wine on the back of his jacket.
Ino noticed that he was talking to his cellular phone too, and the moment she spilled her drink at his back, it caught him by surprise as he turned around to face her.
"K-kami!" Ino gasped, "Gomen nasai! I didn't see you there!"
The boy with spiky black hair was still holding the phone to his ear, he was waving his hands at Ino as if telling her that what she'd done with his jacket is all right.
"No," The blonde shook her head and her blue eyes insisted, "You must send a laundry bill to me and I'll– "
He sighed and he pulled the phone out of his ear for a moment, "No, It's all right, that would be troublesome."
Ino was taken by surprise by his frankness and directness, "Oh well," she replied audibly, "Your loss then."
The guy then sighed again and tried to get back to the phone, "Gomen-na, Itachi-san, you were saying?"
Ino wasn't that too far away either when the man mentioned the name of Uchiha Itachi, Hyuuga Neji's manager and Crypz' rival. She had decided to keep an eye on that man. She's getting a bad feeling about him and to the famous man that he's talking to.
She vowed to keep an eye on him but was momentarily ceased when the lights went dim and a there was a spotlight on stage.
It showed the Fujiwara Family.
The crowd went silent for a while but the flashing of lights from the cameras were blinding. Nevertheless, the Fujiwara head, beside him was her wife, held the microphone on his right hand while patting the head of her daughter, the heiress – Mameha Fujiwara.
"Good evening, ladies and gentlemen," The refined man spoke, "I would like to thank everyone for coming in this little soiree that we've organized."
"Little?" Ino whispered to herself as she scanned the preparations and glamour of the place, "Hardly."
The elegant-looking woman beside the speaker spoke with a smile on her face, "This event is actually a pre-birthday party for our only daughter, Mameha, all her close friends and contacts were invited."
The crowd clapped a bit, while some raised their glasses to Mameha. Mameha smiled at all of them and then gently took the mic from her mother, "Uhm, I really do appreciate those who came to my party! I hope you all enjoy yourselves!"
The brown-haired child then looked up at her parents, and with a nod from them, she smiled at the audience, ".. And to make this event unforgettable. I've organized, no,I've specially requested for a great band to play for us tonight!"
"They are a group composed of extraordinary individuals," Mameha beamed, "And now, with their new lead vocalist, who is also my personal friend, they are striving to be on the top and I believe, that there's no stopping them now!"
Behind the curtains, Crypz' could hear the lovely and enthusiastic praises of Fujiwara's heiress. The pink-haired vocalist held the mic stand as if it was the only thing that keeps her from fainting. She took a deep breath and looked at her back. She found a grinning Naruto, dressed in white formal long sleeves with a cute black ribbon by the collar, black pants, and a black side swept hat, behind the drums and gave her a thumbs up.
Her green eyes landed next on her right side and saw a cool and composed manager, who gave her a wink. He was dressed in a white shirt with opened buttons at the front, he was wearing a black formal jacket over that. He looked really handsome especially with his bass guitar with him.
Lastly, Sakura glanced by her left, and saw a pair of dark eyes staring at her, watching her intently. Not only because of startlingly beautiful she looked tonight but also because of the nervousness that's written all over her face!
She, however, focused on his style. She stared at the cool and very handsome boy almost a few steps from her. He was wearing a white shirt like Naruto and Kakashi and black pants. Although, what made him different was his necktie, stylishly loose.
'She's nervous,' Sasuke thought, 'Understandable though. It IS her first performance.'
"Sakura," He approached her.
"Sasuke.." She looked up at him.
He held her gaze, "Don't be nervous," he smirked, "Don't think of the people out there, and just think of us. Just think of the band, think of your friends and think of.. him."
Sakura's brows furrowed, "Huh?"
"Gaara," Sasuke spoke, "We'll first play Track 12."
"Uchiha Sasuke!" Her green eyes softened at his remark, "I knew it! That song is for me!"
Sasuke simply nodded, "Just think of the day you've tried for the audition. You told us that you wanted to forget that.. Gaara, correct?"
Sakura nodded while stunned that he remembered her words.
"Then, Haruno Sakura," Sasuke smirked, "Show me."
'Show me you've moved on'
Everyone stared at the smiling heiress. Mameha then clapped her hands, "Well then! Let's not keep the suspense up! I now proudly present to you – the brand new Crypz!"
There was a slight clapping from the audience and the spotlight shifted. The red curtains then slowly opened, revealing four famous figures. A lead vocalist at the center, who was closing her eyes and holding on at the microphone stand, a bass guitarist on her right, a lead guitarist by her left and an expert drummer at her back.
The spotlight was focused on them and a slow presence of dry ice appeared on the stage. The audience went totally silent and their gazes were all focused on the foursome. There was still, of course, the flashing of cameras. The awkward silence was then broken when the beautiful pink-haired vocalist started singing with a soft tune.
She still looked down but her mouth was parallel to the microphone as she held it with both hands. Sakura then heard the soft beat of Naruto's drum. It then became a certain series of beats while Kakashi joined in the building rhythm with his bass.
I saw the look in your eyes
And I just know that it's all over
You came, I saw and now I'm wondering
Did you ever love me from the beginning?
Sasuke then entered with great expertise on his guitar. It was a simple entrance but it made the music deeper than before. Sakura then lifted her head and sang with a voice louder than the former.
How could you say right on my face?
The things that once were so in place
I never knew you'd turn out this way
Naruto's drums seemed to be bringing the beat into a new level. He started showing off for a while until the two guitarists took over for a bit. Sakura's voice then was louder than before.
I hate myself for trusting you
I hate the way you made me do
But please, now go
Before I say
I told you so
There was a slight pause for a while then Sakura opened her beautifully expressive green eyes and sang the chorus with so much feeling, so greater force than before that she surprised Sasuke and everybody else in that party. One could tell that it was almost painfully sweet. The crashing of the guitars and the drums with her voice was perfect.
Cause I'll be moving on
Even without you
I'll be strong enough
I will forget you
I'll not shed
One more tear
That, I promise you, my dear,
And I should just start
Then again, there was silence from the band. Sakura then betrayed what Sasuke told her and glanced at the audience. She tried searching for her friends but she couldn't find them amongst the crowd. The vocalist then closed her eyes and just thought of Gaara, without any bitterness in them. She took the mic out of the stand and when she heard the soft beating of Naruto's drums and the entrance of Kakashi's guitar, just like the rhythm in the very start of song.
I leave my past behind with you
Forget the way you made me blue
I never knew you'd turn out this way
Sasuke's guitar, once again, came in. He coordinated with Kakashi's guitar at first then with Naruto, again, forming another series of soft to complicated beats. Sakura then tried finding strength to the comfort of her band mates. She glanced behind her and saw the happiness in Naruto's eyes and a serene look on Kakashi's face.
I hate those times I've spent with you
I hate the way you made me do
But please, now go
Before I say
Lastly, she looked at Sasuke. He couldn't see her watching him because he was busy with the lead guitar but then didn't care. She felt somehow relaxed then she smiled at him as she said the next four lines.
I loved you so
The clashing of the instruments started once again and Sakura finally decided to give it her all. She couldn't find the guts to let these passionate artists be disappointed at her. She was smiling, she's genuinely happy. She felt at bliss and without problems. She had moved on. She had forgotten him. She had forgiven Gaara.
I'm not angry
Nor I'm lonely
But don't you think you've done enough?
Can't you see me?
I am happy
After that, Sakura heard a series of clapping from the bewildered and satisfied audience.
Sasuke managed to smirk behind the dark locks, he whispered to himself, "Very good, Sakura." As Sakura managed to sing the next notes with ease and with a smile, he felt pride and he doesn't even know why. He's afraid to know why.
Sakura tried again to search for her friends and finally she saw them. By the window, she found the blonde Ino, she was smiling back at her. And on the other corner, she found Hinata, pushing back proud tears from her eyes. Sakura can see everything.
The glowing vocalist repeated the chorus this time better than ever. She was actually having fun and until the song finally ended. Somehow, she felt relieved and satisfied. She took a deep breath and smiled at the crowd.
The audience gave their support and appreciation by clapping their hands madly, waiting for the next song. Sakura looked at her band mates and nodded, they then began to sing another.
At that very moment, everyone knew and everyone accepted.
Crypz is reborn.
A/N: I'm not going to say so much because it was already a very long chapter. Thanks again for those who reviewed and added this story to their favorites! I can't thank you enough.
Votes: I honestly lost count. I'll just give the updated count next chapter. Gomen. :P