Bending the Shinobi Ways

From outside, you'd think the forest was peaceful at that time, animals were running around freely, doing nothing but their own thing; look for food, care for their young or even escape from a predator. Speaking of predators, one human being, a criminal of Konoha, tried to escape a group of ANBU team.

"Kso, I can't shake them off!"

Again, he tried to run away, dodging a few kunais that were thrown at him and hopping from branch to branch. He was determined to lose them and as he saw an opening of the forest, his determination grew and his frown turned to a smirk. "Hah! I win!"

As soon as he jumped off from a thick branch, a kunai came in contact with his left thigh and a few more to stop him from running away. "Damn it!" he yelled, landing on the ground face down as he tried to get up and remove the kunai that was shot at him.

"Don't bother," a voice said as the owner came right out of the thick bushes and trees that surrounded the area. The victim looked up with angry and horrified eyes as he saw the figure emerge from the darkness and pull off his ANBU mask to reveal his eyes red with 3 black comma-like shapes circling around his eye pupil. "You're caught."

"Uchiha…" he muttered icily and spat on the ground as if the name was a dirty word. Sasuke twitched and resisted to punch the guy square on the face. Unfortunately, he didn't have such resistance when it came to his family name.

WHAP!

That sure gave the criminal a taste of his own medicine and to never ever insult the name of the Team Captain of ANBU.

"Geez, you didn't have to go that far Uchiha."

Sasuke just grunted and placed his mask back on. "Let's go back team, Hokage-sama told us not to kill him, yet." The group nodded and they headed back towards Konoha, carrying their target with them.


"Yep, great job ANBU team! You did well, you're all dismissed, except for you Uchiha Sasuke" The Hokage, Uzumaki Naruto, said to them as they gave their respects and left, leaving their team captain behind. "So, you used the old trick again eh, Sasuke-teme?"

"Hai, Hokage-sama." he replied. As much as he wanted to call him dobe, he really couldn't, He is, after all, lower than him, the Hokage. "Damn respects…" he cursed at it in his mind and turned back to his best friend and former rival.

"Oi, Sasuke, no need to be formal and respectful when we're alone! How many times must I tell you that?"

"Sorry Naruto, but if I get used to it, I might start losing respect to you even in the presence of the other ninjas." He said, giving a sigh. "Anyway, what do you want? You wouldn't tell me to stay behind for nothing."

"Ah, yes, that," he said, putting a scroll down and turned to face him. "How come you always go straight home without seeing a medic nin first? Didn't I tell you and everyone else that every ninja who comes back from a mission must have a check-up?"

"I don't need it."

"Oh really?" he asked, giving his infamous foxy grin "Then how come you have lots of bandages wrapped around your hands and arms eh? Even if you gloves do hide them, I can still tell Sasuke, and I think you also have bandages around your abdomen."

"…"

"Am I right?"

"She told you, huh?"

Naruto remained silent for a while before giving a grin, then a light chuckle until he laughed, his kid-like self returning. Sasuke glared at him with a slight blush creeping through his cheeks. "Shut up," he said and added "dobe." He smirked as the blonde stopped and gave a menacing look. "I'm no longer a dead last, I'm a dead first!"

"True, but you're still an idiot."

"Fine, fine, say what you want," he said, pouting and then smirked again, turning to face him. "So, having feelings for our little Sakura-chan yet?"

Again, he blushed and glared. "No," he snapped "A shinobi mustn't have feelings or emotions."

"Yes, yes, I know that crap thing." Naruto said, waving a hand at him lazily. "But that rule is only meant for missions, I mean, look at me! I've got Hinata-chan as my wife and I'm happy! You've already accomplished one of your goals and now, all you need to do is resurrect your clan and you certainly can't do that on your own!"

The Uchiha prodigy just gave a sigh and narrowed his eyes at his best friend. "You're Hokage, you are the rules, but I, like any other ninjas out there, must follow and live by the rules. So don't expect me to have a feeling like that you did towards Hinata-san."

Though not used to adding suffixes to names, he still had to give respect to those who are higher than him, as what his team does to him. He looked down and gave another sigh. "Are you telling me to break those rules?"

"Break, no! I meant bend the rules!"

He raised a brow. "And how?"

Naruto grinned. "I know your secret Sasuke," he recalled the last talk they had when he was so thirsty after an A-rank mission that he grabbed a bottle which he thought was water inside but was really truth serum. "You told me yourself that you like her."

Sasuke couldn't counter that, he could clearly remember how embarrassed he was when he confessed it right in front of him and a few of his ANBU team. Oh how he wanted to say that it was only an infatuation but Naruto had a solution to almost all of his loopholes.

"So, what exactly is the reason why she goes to your house every night?"

"I just… want to avoid those nurses there… they keep on looking at me with hearts in their eyes…"

Naruto laughed and pointed at him. "You're an ANBU captain, don't twell me the man who doesn't fear anything fears girls!"

"I do not!"

"Yes you do."

"Do not!"

"Do so!"

"Not!"

"Prove it by going there to the hospital right now!'

"Shit," he cursed, again, Naruto had caught him. "When did you get so smart?"

"Since it involved you and Sakura-chan," Naruto answered. "So, there is something going on between you eh?"

The Uchiha prodigy snorted. "No, Naruto, and if that's all you're going to say, can I go home now? I'm really tired."

"Yeah, but you still have to pass by the hospital!"

Sasuke sighed, "Fine." And to the hospital he went. After he walked outside his office, he sighed and leaned on the door. "Bend the rules, huh?" he began to walk out of the building and towards the hospital, hands in his pockets and ANBU mask covering his face. Not that it really prevented some of the nurses to find out but at least they hesitated, thinking that it might be someone else.

He entered a patient's room where Sakura was talking to Hinata who stayed in the hospital for a few days since Naruto insisted and that in case the baby was to come, at least she's already there. Sasuke pushed the lower part of his mask upwards, removing it from his head and placed it inside his backpack. "Hey Sakura, Hianta-sama."

The two girls turned to the voice to see a slightly smiling Sasuke as they returned it with a warmer smile. "Good to see you, Sasuke-san." Hinata greeted as he walked towards them and gave a slight bow as a sign of respect, even if the former Hyuuga told him it wasn't necessary.

"Were you able to escape your fangirls out there?" Sakura asked and got up to place her record down on the bedside table.

"Aa," he answered, placing back his hands in his pockets. "I was just glad they hesitated at glomping me."

The two giggled at him as he gave a horror-stricken face at the thought of all the nurses leaving their patients or post just to get a hug from him. "How annoying…"

"Hey," Sakura said, giving a poke on the forehead. "You once thought of me as that."

"Yeah, once."

"Did Naruto-kun ask you to go here Sasuke-san?" Hinata asked, looking at him as he turned to face her and gave a nod. "Aa, he did."

"Okay Hinata-sama, I just need to check your blood pressure and you can get some rest." Sakura said and turned to Sasuke. "Maybe you should wait for me at home."

"Iie," he replied, shaking his head. "I'll meet you at the bridge." With that, he got up, made a hand seal and disappeared in a puff of smoke. Hinata sat up as Sakura began to check her blood pressure.

"Sakura-chan,"

"Hmm..?"

"Do you still love him?"

She didn't answer for a while before giving a bright smile. "Yes, I tried to forget about it but I can't, and you know what, my love finally got through him."

Hinata wasn't able to fully understand but she somehow had a feeling that what she thought of was the right answer. "Perhaps she and Sasuke-san are already in a relationship without us knowing." She smiled to herself. "I'm happy for you Sakura-chan."


The moon that night was shining bright and the stars added lights to the dark sky as a warm wind blew over the streets of Konoha. "Still as peaceful as ever," a man thought, walking around the place as he reached his destination. He hesitated at first before walking towards the bridge, the place where his old team usually met, when he was still a genin.

"How many years has it been since I last went to this place?"

Resting a hand on the railings, he looked down below the calm river that flowed continuously, never seeming to come to an end. His eyes stared at it, looking as his reflection did the same. He reminisced the past after he closed his eyelids; this was also the place where he told her how he really felt, after he came back from his goal in killing his brother.


Flashback:

Sakura had decided to walk around that night. She had been tired after tending to a few injured ninjas and Tsunade-sama had given her a break. The medic nin, with her hair up in a bun, thought of walking toward the bridge where she and team 7 would usually meet, such a thought brought a sad smile on her lips as she continued to head towards the old place.

Upon reaching there, she didn't expect to see someone, more so to see that someone on the bridge, clinging to the railings as if for support as he continued to cross the bridge. "Could it be..?" her heart raced as she walked faster, her feet breaking a jog, then to a run. Sakura had reached the middle of the bridge and stopped as the approaching figure did so as well. Both their eyes met and widened as she fought the tears that tried to flow down her eyes.

He, on the other hand gave a small smile, a smile that she and team 7 only saw, a smile he always reserved for close friends of his, however, it not only showed happiness but also pain and sorrow, as well as guilt.

"Who would've thought," he began, inching towards her, his right hand clutching to his left side that was badly bleeding. His lips still had that smile on his face as he was only a few inches apart from her. "Who would've thought that the last person I saw here before I left, will also be the first person I'll see when I come back…" he whispered so as she could be the only one to hear. He continued before she could say something. "I'm sorry, Sakura, and again… thank…you…" she knew he was wounded badly and had a hard time to speak yet he still spoke, just for her, just for her to know what he feels and felt back then.

He collapsed onto her after he whispered a soft "I missed you…" and everything went black as he felt her arms catch her and wrapped around his body, he knew right then and there that he was safe, just the way he felt back in the forest of death after Orochimaru gave him the curse seal and before he fainted, it was like déjà vu but that didn't matter to him, he just knew that she won't let anything happen to him, after all, there were only 3 people whom he really trusted and one of them is her

End of Flashback


"You're so deep in thought, ne, Sasuke-kun?"

He was interrupted in his train of thoughts when he heard a feminine voice. Sasuke smirked and turned his head slightly towards his former teammate. "Are you sure? I asked you to meet me here remember?" Sakura blinked and placed a finger below her chin, a gesture that showed that she was thinking. "Oh, right."

He laughed a bit and turned his whole body to face her. "You told him, didn't you?"

"Yeah, he wouldn't stop bothering me, but not everything about…us…"

"I figured as much," he said, looking to meet her gaze. "What exactly did you tell him?"

"That you wanted to avoid some of the nurses there so I decided to go to you instead."

"I see…" he whispered more to himself than to her. He faced the water below again and rested both elbows on the railing, hands clasped before him like his usual pose back in the Academy except he was standing. "So, ready to tell them yet?"

"About what?"

Sasuke smirked "What we talked about last night, what I asked you, and what you answered."


Flashback:

Sakura had just finished treating his wounds by wrapping bandages around his arms and abdomen. She and Sasuke had agreed to meet here in his house instead of him going to the hospital. Sasuke hated the thought of the other girls trying to capture him in their arms and Sakura was jealous of it, even if she knew he wasn't interested in those girls. Just the thought of it angered and irritated her that she wrapped the bandage around his most severed injury too tight that the pain was too much for him to ignore.

"Sakura, that hurts! Are you trying to kill me?"

"O-oh, s-sorry Sasu-kun!"

She fixed the bandages again and then took the first aid kit to set it aside. They both heard the tea kettle whistle that she stood up to get it and so that they could drink and just relax that cold stormy night. Sasuke gave a sigh and leaned back the couch, looking up at the ceiling. He placed one hand inside his pocket, fingering the small thing inside it as he tried to think of what to say.

The medic nin came back with a tray full of two cups of tea, the pot and a few snacks for them to eat and drink. It's been two years since they had a relationship and no one seemed to know except for her parents and those who have noticed their behavior lately. He stared at her as she began to pour tea on one cup, her hair was held up in a bun by two black chopsticks that he had given her last year in a festival. She only had on a white long-sleeved button-up shirt that went just an inch above her knees, he only had the bandages on and his black ANBU pants but they didn't seem to care, they were sort of, used to it. She stayed over most of the time, after all, she does live on her own right now and though her parents refused to let her, she had convinced them that she was old enough to take care of herself and that she'd still come and visit them. Sometimes, it would be him staying over at her house.

"Sakura,"

At the mention of her name, she stopped pouring the tea and turned to him. "Yes..?"

"There's something I've been meaning to ask you for the past few days."

Her green eyes sparkled with enthusiasm as she thought of a few possible things he would be telling her that rainy night. "What is it?" she asked, looking down to hide her blush. He got up and took her hand, pulling the now strong, yet still fragile girl up into his arms but still kept a good distance so he could continue. He raised his hand to brush away her bangs that covered her eyes. "I really love your eyes, someday, I'd make sure your bangs won't be able to cover them, then again, maybe you do that so that I'm the only one who could get a better look at them." He grinned and she smiled back shyly. "And when the others said that you have a wide forehead, they were just jealous because they wish to have one like yours so that they could get my attention to kiss it." He indicated by planting a short and sweet kiss on her forehead. "Then your hair, it's soft and has a unique color, most of all, I like it whenever it comes into contact on any part of me." This, he pulled the chopsticks out as her long hair fell down slowly. "Whoever said that I like girls with long hair was wrong, in fact, it should be I like a girl with long hair and who goes by the name of Haruno Sakura," he said, earning a slight blush from her as he knelt down on one knee, taking out the object he was fingering at a while ago from his pocket "Soon to be," he opened the navy blue box and revealed a simple yet elegant silver ring. "Uchiha Sakura." He knew that she didn't like anything fancy or most precisely, preferred simple jewelry and silver, more than gold. It wasn't as nice as a gold jewelry but to her, silver was still one that she'll most likely appreciate. "Sakura, will you marry me?"

Lost of words, she clasped her hands on her mouth as tears formed in her eyes and she gave an enthusiastic nod. She pulled him up, tackling him to a tight hug and planting a kiss on his lips before she spoke "Of course I will." And he smiled at her answer. He took the ring, grab her left hand gently and placed the ring on her ring-finger. "Good." Was his answer, it usually was and she didn't care. She just slowly closed her eyes when their foreheads touched as she felt his warm breath caress her face and the gap between their lips gone when he kissed her gently but with love and passion. To make things more intense, she pulled him on the couch and right then and there did things began to heat up, hotter than the now forgotten tea.

End of Flashback


She blushed a bit before walking towards him and leaned on the railings. "Are you sure I'll say I do?" Sasuke again, smirked and closed his eyes, feeling the cool breeze blow at his face and his bangs being pushed away by the night wind. "Yes, I'm positive you will."

"Are you sure I'll be happy?"

"Very happy,"

"Will you say you love me occasionally?"

"Always,"

"Will you get mad if I show affection in public?"

"I won't be satisfied with just that."

"Are you ready to let them know?"

"More than you think."

"Will you love me forever?"

"Not even death is enough for us to part."

"Then, I'm ready as always."

"Good." He answered and straightened himself up. "It's getting late, you should go home." He added, matter-of-factly, "Unless you still want to check my wounds?"

"Good guess." She said. "Not only your wounds though." She said slyly and gave a wink.

He smirked; eyes still closed "Hn." And with that, the two walked towards his home, Sasuke still thinking of what Naruto had said earlier. "You know what, Naruto told me I should bend the rules about a shinobi not supposed to be showing emotions."

"And..?"

"I forgot to tell him that I already broke it,"

"Oh really?" She asked as he stopped and pulled her towards him; she twirled around as if they were dancing until she was in his arms, gazing at each other intently. "Since when, Sasu-kun?" as if she didn't know and slowly closed her eyes when his forehead touched hers, it was usually a gesture that he was going to kiss her. "Since I said I love you." And he captured her lips into his, arms wrapping around her small waist whilst she did the same around her neck.

After they parted to catch their breaths, they held each others hand and walked on home, his home. "Just so you know, I'm actually a rule-breaker,"

"And you always will."


A/N: Not sure if there'll be a sequel, let me know if you want one.