A/N: This was a long chapter. 2800 words I believe and about 8 pages. I hope everyone's happy. I also added some NejiIno lovin'! I hope everyone enjoys this chapter! REVIEW!
Disclaimer: Now if I really owned Naruto do you think I would be writing fanfiction?...I didn't think so.
Even though I try I can't let go
Something in your eyes
Captured my soul
And every night I see you in my dreams
You're all I know
I can't let go – Can't Let Go, Mariah Carey
She had to get away. She had to get away from him, from her thoughts, from herself, from everything. The wind pushed against her whipping her hair around in an almost abusive manner. Her lungs hurt from running so much and her legs felt as though she was about to collapse, but she kept running.
Ino stepped up onto the curb of the sidewalk, bending her head slightly to look at her purse while she rummaged around for her keys to open her apartment. A slight frown that had begun to crease her face soon smoothed out as the clinking of the keys sounded. Pulling them out she continued to walk towards the building. However, she saw the blur before she felt the impact of being ran over, her body colliding with the sidewalk scrapping the bottom of her best skirt and the skin of her elbows.
The blonde's first reaction was to yell at the offender, her eyes opened in a glare preparing to bite the person's head off. Suddenly her eyes softened and went wide. Upon her, looking quite mussed and messy with tear tracks down her cheek was the usually reserved Hyuga, Hinata. The way those large white eyes looked upon her almost broke her heart. Sitting up and placed her hands on the kneeling Hinata's shoulders.
"Hinata-chan, what's wrong? What's the matter?" she asked, and then her eyes narrowed "Is it Sasuke?"
Hinata hiccupped and shook her head in a negative. Ino's look softened once more; a light sigh escaped her lips as she looked around before making motion to stand. Once erect, she gently coaxed Hinata into rising as well.
"Come on, let's go inside."
At first Hinata seemed hesitant but after a moment she complied, following her best friend into the apartment.
"Here…" Ino murmured, handing the distressed girl, now sitting upon her couch, a cup of tea.
Ino sat in the chair opposite, a bottle of water in hand as she looked over Hinata.
Hinata's grip on her cup tightened so much her knuckles turned white. She looked fearfully into the cup as though ashamed making Ino's suspicions rose. Then she set the tea on the coffee table before placing her head into her lap wrapping her arms around her head.
"I-I had an a-affair…" she murmured into her lap.
Ino strained to hear to the girl but she knew what she said in almost an instant. Then it hit her. The calls Hinata would receive and would whisper to in the corner, the moments of disappearance, and the skipped plans. It all made sense now. Ino rose, walking around the coffee table to sit beside the other girl.
She wrapped her arms around Hinata's form, patting her back tenderly and smoothing her hair.
"Shh, Hinata it's alright. I'm sure Sasuke will forgive you."
"I don't care about Sasuke!" Hinata cried in a way Ino had never heard, "I…I just want Itachi back…but I can't, not anymore…"
Ino was overwhelmed. Not only did her sweet little Hinata have an affair but with Sasuke's brother Itachi! Granted, Hinata never had any real relationship with Sasuke whatsoever and it was simply an arrangement, she could still see things tearing her up inside.
"Do you want to talk about it?" Ino murmured soothingly.
Hinata raised her head from her lap, rubbing her eyes wiping away the tears. The dark haired girl shook her head once more.
"No, this is something I need to figure out myself…"
They sat in silence for a few moments, Ino still hugging and petting Hinata while she welcomed the comfort feeling the burden of the secret lifting just a bit. It felt good to get it off her chest. Hinata managed a small smile, looking at the blond whom she admired so much.
"Thank you, Ino…So, how are you and Neji doing?"
Ino was a bit taken aback at the change of subject. She looked away awkwardly and oddly enough a light hue of red painted her cheeks. A small smile tilted then ends of her lips as she looked back at the other female.
"I hated him, he was so infuriating but I couldn't help but see him," she started with a frown which caused Hinata's own brows to crease, "Now though…" Ino shuddered at the thought of her next words, but it was only Hinata here and she felt as though she could depend on her friend to keep the secret, "I think I might actually like him, I could fall for him…"
Hinata's face split into a grin, her whole mood changing at this new knowledge. She had been rooting for the two since the beginning. Personally she believed that Neji needed someone who could compete with him on equal footing and Ino needed some stability in her life. The two seemed to fit together perfectly in her opinion.
"That's great Ino!"
"But don't tell him! That jerk is smug enough!"
Ino turned to look out the window that showed a beautiful view of the city. The sun was setting below the ocean making everything look breathtaking. Unbeknownst to her, the sight was also being watched by the very person on her mind.
"Wine?" Neji asked his guest sitting at his kitchen island.
Lee's nose wrinkled his hand waving the glass offered to him off.
"You know I don't drink."
Neji shrugged, putting the bottle away and placing the two glasses filled onto the opposite side of the kitchen island. The Hyuga took a seat, hands wrapping around the steam of the glass and raising it to his lips sipping at it. Lee watched the Hyuga intently, his face showing bits of confusion as he watched his best friend. Something about the Hyuga was different.
His manner seemed a bit softer, less defensive and he wondered if it hand anything to do with a certain blond.
"So Neji, how are things going?"
Neji removed the glass from his lips, the wine filling only half now, placing it on the table. For a moment he said nothing, simply staring at the glass as though he was hypnotized by it before he opened his mouth in reply.
"Everything fine, it's all going according to plan."
Lee shook his head. Why did his friend insist on playing these games? They were at the peak of springtime of youth! They would only get this chance and this chance only. That's why he was so happy when he found he had feelings for Tenten and chose to pursue a relationship with her rather than Sakura.
"You don't feel anything? Anything at all?"
"Of course not," Neji replied sharply as though trying to convince himself.
"You do! You're falling for her. I can see it, your changing."
Neji seemed indignant, looking at lee as though he had just proclaimed that his entire business was going bankrupt. The thought however was planted into his head and he found himself contemplating it. Was he? Was he really falling for Ino?
His thoughts however were interrupted by the ringing of the telephone on the table top beside him. The Hyuga picked it placing it between his ear and shoulder as he picked up the unfinished glass of wine.
"Hello Neji," a deep voice on the other line replied.
"How is the Branch Corp.?"
"They're doing quite well."
Things were always like this, tense and formal. Neji never did have a real relationship with his uncle despite him being the only male born between his father, Hizashi, and his uncle. He supposed his uncle was always had a sour note as he never had a son and neither daughter possessed the skills Neji had. Neji's tense manner was due to the fact that his uncle only called for important reasons.
The last time he had called was to tell Neji that his father had died
"Well, I suppose I'll get to the point. I have arranged a marriage between you and Tayuya Otonokuni. This will give us way to Otonokuni's sources which are highly valuable at the moment."
"What? I refuse to be lured into such a thing," Neji replied in a chill voice that had Lee eyeing him warily.
"Do you want to be apart of this family?"
Neji's grip on his glass tightened to the point Lee feared it would shatter in his hand.
"Then you will do it. It was good of us to catch up nephew. Good bye."
There was a click. Neji grasped the phone in his hand, staring at it for a moment before placing it down onto the counter top almost too calmly. Lee looked worriedly at Neji. Whenever the man was calm like this it was never good.
It meant that he was hiding his emotions, putting a wall up around himself.
"Neji, what happened?"
Neji stood from his seat. Taking the two glasses and placing them in the sink.
"Nothing, I'm going somewhere."
Lee looked positively puzzled.
"Don't worry about it, Lee."
Lee wanted to press the issue more but decided to back off of it. A pissed Neji was not a good Neji.
Ino softly closed the door behind her. She leaned against it sighing, closing her eyes. She had finally coaxed Hinata into going home and thinking alone to clear her mind. She didn't need input from anyone but her heart.
It made Ino think about her own feelings. It had been at least 2 months since she had first seen Neji, how did she feel? A knock on the door stopped her from thinking any further about the subject. Wondering who else was going to be on her doorstep.
Pushing herself off the door, she turned to open it.
Outside her apartment door was the handsome Hyuga. He looked at her and though his face seemed to show emotions, his eyes were vivid and expressive.
"Can I come in?"
Ino nodded slowly, a bit surprised by this visit. Neji quirked a brow at her, looking back her into the apartment, then cleared his throat. Ino jumped a bit when she realized that she was standing in the doorway. She moved to the side, allowing him to step through the door.
He walked into the apartment as though he lived them, brushing past her and making his way into her living room. Ino bristled at the way her entered but let it go, simply closing and looking the door and following him into the living room. It was going to be a long night.
Neji was sitting upon the couch looking quite stiff and formal. He seemed to have something on his mind which intrigued Ino as it seemed Neji never had anything on his mind besides business and sex. Approaching the older man, she stopped before him placing her hands on her hips as though impatient.
"Okay, spill. What's wrong with you?"
"What makes you think something's wrong?" he replied flatly.
"You have been you usual ass self."
"I'm not an ass."
Ino rolled her eyes but said nothing in response. She walked on the side of the Hyuga, taking a seat beside him on the couch.
"So tell me what's on your mind?"
"You really pressing the issue aren't you?"
"I just like to know what's up with my friends."
Neji raised a brow.
"Friend? That's all."
"You're too girly to be anything else."
Neji scoffed, his lips curling into a light scowl at the insult.
"Expectations, the pressure to live up to them for me is immense."
Ino thought about this for a moment. Not knowing exactly what to say as she had to worry about such things little.
Neji looked at her like she was crazy.
"I' am Neji."
"No, I mean be just Neji. Don't be the business leader, the player, the suave, the prodigy, anything. Just be Neji," she retorted simply.
Neji stared at her with a thoughtful expression. Just be himself. No one had every told him to be otherwise. He was always something to be admired and shown off. Somehow those words meant so much more than what anyone else could say to comfort him.
"Hn…" despite his grunt reply, a small smile made its way to his lips.
Ino smiled as well, seemed like she managed to do something right with this man.
"Are you thirsty?" Ino asked as she rose from the couch, her arms lifting above her head in a stretch.
Neji shook his head watching her admiring her figure and beautiful face, not only that but he had come to admire her personality as well. In a flash his hand reached out, grasping onto Ino's wrist and tugging on it lightly. Ino looked at her wrist and then down at the dark haired man with a frown.
"Hey! What's your-"
Her words were never finished as she was pulled down onto the Hyuga's lap. His arms wrapping around her waist to keep her seated as his lips meet against her own. Ino's eyes widened. Her first instinct, judging by the curling of her hand, was to punch the offender. This however was not an offender, it was Neji. Slowly her eyes closed and she returned the kiss, pressing her body against his own and wrapping her arms around his neck.
Neji smiled into the kiss, pleased with the results. His tongue snaked out rubbing against her bottom lip begging for permission into her mouth. It was granted. The kissing turned feverish, pent up frustration coming out, feelings coming to the surface.
Small gasp could be heard from a room an hour later. Walking down the hall and turning to the third right one could see a door slightly cracked. Within in laid upon a large white bed was Neji and Ino. Their limbs entangled and face inches apart. Neji's right hand gently and slowly trailed up Ino's naked body.
Exploring places he had just discovered and finding more he would like. Blond and Black were mingled as they were strewed against the white pillows. Ino's hand was wrapped around Neji's left hand, pulling it up to her lips and kissing the knuckles gingerly. Neji's face softened, he leaned foreword pressing a soft kiss against Ino's lips.
Freeing both his hands, he wrapped his arm around the blonde and pulled her closer. Ino sighed with content, resting her head against his chest. The only sound was the beating of their hearts. There thoughts similar but the words not escaping their mouth.
"I love you."
Hinata tapped the table top nervously. Her eyes watching Sasuke's back as he finished up a small meal he had finished cooking. Hinata had gone home and contemplated her options. In the end she decided to tell Sasuke of her affair and her feelings towards Itachi. Though she had all this figured out it did not ease her anxiety. Even though she didn't love or have any romantic feelings towards Sasuke she still valued him as a friend and feared that that friendship would be destroyed.
"Alright, it's not much but I'm not chief like you…" Sasuke murmured as he picked up to plates filled with rice and sauce toppings walking towards the table and placing one before his chair and in front of Hinata.
He did not sit however when he was finished. Hinata looked at him with wavering eyes, her confidence and nerve slipping from her quickly. She bit her lip and steeled herself.
"Sasuke, I have to tell you something."
"And I have something to ask you," Sasuke replied.
Hinata blinked in surprise. Her eyes widened in even more surprise as Sasuke feel to one knee, he reached into his pocket and pulled out a small velvet box. Hinata sucked in a breath prying that it wasn't what she thought it was. Deep down she knew it was though and it made her sick to her stomach.
"Hinata, I'm asking you this properly. Will you marry me?"
Hinata wanted to burst into tears. If only Sasuke knew her secret he wouldn't be on his knees at the moment. The word "No" was on the tip of her tongue, but the expression on his face made her pause and think. Did she honestly have a future with Itachi? She would be a disgrace to her family and who was to say that Itachi was completely faithful to her? The more she thought about it the more upset she became. Focusing on Sasuke once more, she forced a smile.
The sound of breaking wood caught their attention. Both turned their heads towards the doorway to see a livid Itachi standing within it.