Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto, it belongs to Masashi Kishimoto. I only own the plot.

TESTS ARE A BEEP BEEP BEEP! (Cyberwing goes crazy with the ranting). I'm also working on my two Naruto stories; it's just that this story had been in my computer for so long that I'd decided to post it.

I'm debating whether I should add another part to this story or just let this story stand alone…Oh well, review and tell me whether I should or not!

And now, I'll shut up so you can read the story. Excuse me as I continue to rant in my little dark corner ;p.

I hope you'll like the story!

By the way, everybody is around twenty something.

Return to Innocence

Look at me--
Look at me in the eyes.
If you do not love me in the same way I love you
Then tell me…
With your harsh words
Shatter me…
With your bare hands
Destroy me…
So that I can take whatever is left of my heart
And start anew

Don't be so gentle with me this minute—
And tell me you don't care in the next
Don't leave me hanging—
On such a breakable thread
Don't make me…
Turn my love for you into hate—
Let me get out—
Before I fall too deep

Do it now
Make it quick
And painful

So I'll remember…
Never to fall in love with you again

"You're not supposed to say something like that to a woman who will marry tomorrow." Sakura said in the calmest voice she could manage. Slowly with her shaky hands, she placed her elegant white wedding dress back onto her bed. She moved toward the balcony, where her midnight intruder stood.

Sakura pushed the partly glass sliding door wide open and stopped before him. She appraised him for a moment, trying to find the reason why he would come here in the first place. He had told her his purpose, but she found it hard to believe…

His raven hair was done in the same style of the time when he was still a genin. He had definitely grown; he was a head taller than her. He was dressed in a navy blue shirt and black pants. His forehead protector reflected brightly under the moonlight. He looked…strong and masculine…

But at the same time…

He looked like…someone who was destined to be…out of her reach.

Now was not the time to think about this, Sakura scolded herself.

Once again, his indifferent poker face made it impossible to tell what he was thinking right now. It was as if the things he had just said made no difference to him. The only difference was the intensity of his eyes…the way how his eyes were boring into hers at the moment.

People say that eyes are the window to somebody's soul. Currently, Sakura wondered if that was really the case. It was as if Sasuke was trying to tell her something…but she didn't want to interpret it.

She'd already spent most of her early life trying to understand the man in front of her.

By all means, Sakura was not impressed with his late night arrival.

Sakura placed her hands on her hips and narrowed her eyes.

How dare he show himself and say those words to her after disappearing for so long?

"Get out," Sakura hissed and pointed to the streets below her apartment, "get the hell out Sasuke!"

"Saku—" Sasuke tried once more as he took a step toward the girl. No, Sakura was no longer a girl; she had grown into a beautiful woman. After all, it had been five years since they were able to see each other properly for once, not to mention talking.

"Shut up, Sasuke. Just shut up." Sakura snapped, her voice raising, not caring that she might wake up her neighbours. If he thinks that he had the upper hand, then he's wrong. She wasn't his stupid fan girl anymore. Unconsciously, Sakura balled her hand into fists.

"I just wanted to tell you…"

"Well, it's too late!" Sakura said bitterly, "congratulations, you are exactly five years too late."

After all these years, Sakura had no idea what had gone wrong in their relationship. When Sasuke had come back to Konoha, they had been close, so close…that even though Sakura had given up the idea of being his girlfriend she couldn't stop her hope from rekindling.

Then one day…

He left.

If Kakashi hadn't informed her about it, she would've stand in the park like an idiot waiting for him. Sasuke had send her a letter a few days later, saying that everything was too much for him and he needed time to think things over.

Time…it was something Sakura was willing to give…

But then…days turned to weeks, weeks turned to months, and months turned to years.

Just how long did Sasuke want her to wait?

She moved on. It was hard but she survived…after all, it wasn't the first time where Sasuke had deserted her.

Yet he…

"After I say this I'll go." Sasuke's eyes bored into Sakura's; motioning her to hear him out.

Even though Sakura was fuming inside, she pressed her lips together firmly. Sasuke was as stubborn as her, if she kept on interrupting; she knew she would never get to the end of this.

"I'm going to be waiting at the bridge tomorrow."

Sakura suddenly have the urge to laugh.

Who did he think he is? Most of all, who did he think she is? His slave, where she must remain by his side when he needs her and get discarded when he no longer wants her?

She felt bitter…resentment even. Who would have thought that one day Uchiha Sasuke would in turn wait for her--Haruno Sakura? If the news of her getting married would make him appear in front of her, then maybe she should've thrown herself at the first man that'd come across her path from the very beginning.

But she didn't…she'd thought things out before deciding to marry Neji.

Therefore…

"Sasuke," Sakura watched as he froze when she called out his name. Sakura looked at him for a moment, there was something flickering in his eyes, but before she could analyze what it was, it was gone.

Taking a deep breath, she continued…

"I'm not going to be there."

"I'll be waiting at the bridge tomorrow," Sasuke repeated, more forcefully this time. He turned around so that his back was facing her. "For the whole day."

Before Sakura could open her mouth to say something else, Sasuke had already disappeared.

Sakura closed her mouth and leaned against the railing. It was a peaceful night; nobody was walking down the street. The sound of crickets chirping could be heard at a distance.

She could almost see the parallel between a cricket and Sasuke. People would always feel his presence, even when he was far away. He was always catching the eyes of everyone, shinobi, woman, even criminals. It would virtually be impossible to ignore Sasuke especially when he wanted your attention…

"Sakura, I love you."

Sakura slammed her hands down onto the rail. She stopped her train of thoughts right there.

This is not fair; you're not being fair Sasuke! Sakura thought angrily.

No matter how tough Sakura had become, she was only a woman. She wanted the same thing as any normal woman. She just wanted him to say three simple words which had her name attached to them. Whether her name comes before or after would make no differences. She just wanted her name there.

"Sakura, I love you."

Five years ago, she would've given up everything she had to trade those four words from him.

Five years ago…

She wanted to believe what he'd said, she really did. However, he had already lost all his accountability.

What if he leaves her again once she'd gone back to him? What about Neji?

Suddenly Sakura had the urge to cry, yet no tears came out. She was simply too exhausted, both her body and her mind…

Why give her hope after she was so determined to give up?
Why destroy the tranquility in her life?
Why Sasuke? Why?
Why do you like to torture her so?


The moment I saw you at the Academy
I can't take my eyes off of you--
To me you're special
Too precious
Before I know it…
You'd become a part of me

Fear
That if I tell you
How I feel--
Will change our relationship
You will no longer be here…

No…
Cannot change
Mustn't change

Afraid of losing
I remain quiet
Standing beside you as a friend--
Your acknowledgement of me…
Is good enough
I was content
That's why
I continued to remain silent
When you are about to belong to another woman

It doesn't matter who I'm to you
Your wife, friend, or even just a team mate…
I'll be able to withstand the pain
As long as you let me to remain by your side

I know I can…
I know you well
But I know myself better

Yet sometimes…
I couldn't help but to wonder--
How well do you know me?

(Near the western gate of Konoha.)

"Lee, you don't have to come with me." Tenten said one last time as they head toward the gate. "After all…"

An unspoken message lingered in the air.

The wedding is tomorrow…

Lee raised his hand and stood in front of her. "I'm not going to let you go on a mission alone when you are in this state of mind." Lee shrugged. "Besides, you're not the only one who wants to ditch the wedding. I have no intention of going in the first place. This will be our perfect excuse get out of here and to prevent Neji from sending his wrath on us."

Tenten nodded understandably before giving a sad smile. Of course…Lee and she were the same situation. The person who they held dear was about to marry each other. Except that Lee had been trying to get Sakura's affection from the very beginning. Tenten watched him through it all. Although there were times when Lee's beliefs about love were bizarre, his feelings were, at least, honest.

He loved Sakura very much; he showed his affection through his body language and his declarations. It was a pity that Sakura had never given him a chance to prove himself.

On the other hand, she had never tried to show her love for Neji. In fact, she was always cautious of herself whenever he was around. She was afraid of showing too much emotion…being the man that Neji was, he'll figure things out quickly even with the minimum clues.

Tenten had loved Neji with all her heart but at the same time, when being compared to Lee, she was a coward.

There were so many chances of telling him and every time they had all gone down the drain. All she ever needed was to open her mouth and say things along the lines of 'Neji, I love you'.

After all, he was her team-mate. They had been together since the academy days. They practiced together, do missions together, hell, there were times when they all had to sleep together in a room. It wasn't as if the thought of him being her lover had never crossed her mind but she was happy, just being Neji's friend. Whenever he needed help, she will always be there for him no matter what…and she still would. She was one of the top three people Neji would seek when he needed help…in some ways she felt special.

Tenten had seen the warning signs.

She saw how Sakura began to show up during their training sessions. She saw how Sakura's eyes sparkled when she was talking to Neji and…how Neji's eyes turned gentle when he looked at Sakura.

She watched as Neji and Sakura spent more and more time together.

Then Tenten saw Neji smiled--the smile that was used to be reserved for her and her only-- at Sakura.

Tenten watched the whole thing unfolded in front of her…yet she did nothing. As time progressed, she found it harder and harder to intervene, and then she decided to stay out of it.

"Sometimes, even though you love someone, it doesn't mean you will get that person. You can work as hard as you can to try…but the final decision still remained on the person you love, whether or not they would return your feelings." Lee placed his hands behind his neck. "We shouldn't get tied down with regrets Tenten. But no matter what, I'm going to stay with you through thick and thin."

Taking a deep breath, she smiled. "Thank you Lee."

He was right. She'd already made her decision; she'd decided to stay out of it from the very beginning. Telling Neji that she loved him now would be too late and selfish. If she revealed her feelings to him now, he would be stuck in a difficult situation, in between wanting to tell her that he loved Sakura and not wanting to hurt her feelings. No, Tenten couldn't do this to him; she wanted Neji to marry Sakura with a smile on his face, not worrying about her insignificant feelings.

If Neji finds that being with Sakura can help him obtain the happiness that he couldn't get from her…then…

Let her love slowly fade as time past by; let her unrequited love return to the love for a friend; and let she, herself, bear all the pain…

She was not going to get herself smack between Neji and Sakura now. Playing the third person in a love affair was never her style. Instead of three people being in pain…it was better that she take the whole burden and remain quiet.

Tenten convinced herself that it was all worth it…

For Neji…everything was worth it…

As long as he is happy…

As long as he doesn't know about…

When Tenten and Lee reached the Western Gate, both were surprised that there was someone waiting for them.

"Neji…"

He had his arms crossed. "You are leaving?"

It came out more like a statement than a question.

"It's a mission that'd just come up," Tenten explained quickly, tucking a strand of lose hair behind her ear. "It's a short one; we should be able to get back for your wedding…"

It was a down right lie.

She begged Tsunade to give her a mission so that she could leave Konoha. The mission was rated to be C-rank. It was supposed to be done by a group of genin, maybe a chuunin. A C-rank mission was not something for a jounin and definitely never two jounins.

All of them knew.

But nobody said anything.

The amount of time they'd spent with each other weren't useless. A simple gesture, a simple eye contact was already enough for them to understand each other…

And Tenten was never a good liar.

It was obvious that the reason why Neji was here was because Tsunade had informed him…

Tenten prayed that Neji wouldn't question them.

Neji approached them, looking at them before turning his gaze to her. He stood in front of her. Feeling uncomfortable under his scrutiny, Tenten turned away from him.

If she didn't, she was afraid that the emotion that she'd been kept in a bottle might overflow. She was so close to succeeding in her plan, she wasn't going to turn back now.

Neji lifted her chin up with his index and forefinger, forcing her to look at him. Her eyes bored into his white ones. She could lost herself forever in his cloudy eyes…Yet at the same time, it was clear enough for her to see her own reflection through them…

She could spend her whole life time looking at him and not get bored of it…

She wondered when he looked at Sakura, would Sakura feel the same way she does…

Tenten bit her lower lip, preventing herself from…

From what?

Tenten didn't know anymore. She didn't want to know…

Maybe this was the last time where his focuses solely on her…It was short, even if Neji thought nothing of it afterwards…this moment will be a special moment for her…because he was looking at her with...

Love?

No, it wouldn't be love, more like a care for a friend.

And it all ended with him backing away from her and saying, "I'll see you at the wedding."

With that, he walked past Tenten and Lee.

Telling herself not to look back or to call out his name, Tenten steered herself to head out of Konoha with Lee after the Jounins verified their passes.

They were leaving Konoha behind…In reality, she was leaving him behind.

Lee and she hadn't spoken a word to each other. The only sound was the sound of their footsteps.

"Tenten…" Lee started.

"Hmm?" Tenten turned to face Lee as she realized something wet was dripping down from her face.

Tears…

Her tears.

Wiping them away, Tenten smiled weakly at Lee. "I'll be fine Lee. Don't worry."

With that, they sped off, going further away from Konoha.

She'll be fine…

As long as she doesn't go to the wedding…

She will be able to go back to the Tenten that Neji knew--his best friend once she'd return.

As long as she doesn't go to the wedding…

She would be able to keep her emotions in tact.

As long as she doesn't go to the wedding…

She would not say anything when the priest asks for objections.

As long as she doesn't go to the wedding…

She would not tell Neji that…

She loves him.


Liked it? Hated it? Should I continue? Please review and tell me what you think ;p.