Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto. And Never Will.
A/N: This is the second to last chapter. I want to move on but I don't feel right leaving this story hanging so I will finish it! Review!
It rips right through me,
How you lie right to me,
Will this world make better sense?
Once you mean nothing to me...- Betrayal, The Black Maria
Betrayal was the first emotion that passed through his body. Though in this case it would seem he had no reason to feel such a way, he could not help the ripping betrayal he felt to his very core. Followed soon after was anger. He thought she was hurt yet here she was kissing another man and willingly from the looks of it! Gaara all of people!
Neji's hands curled into a fist that began to shake in his rage. Was it all just a game? She was just playing with him the entire time, leading him on and then had the nerve to appear furious when she happened to stumble upon him and Tayuya. Hypocritical!
His initial reaction was to confront the woman and his supposed friend. Yet for some reason he remained rooted to the ground. This was what his mother warned him about and being the idiot he was he had gone against he warnings. It had started out as a game!
Now…he felt like he was the one being played all along, not the other way around. His face fell into a neutral look, wearing a mask to hide his emotions. It was over between them obviously. The Hyuga turned and began walking back towards the street with the intents on catching a taxi home.
Waving down a taxi, he entered the vehicle pushing all thoughts of a particular blond to the far regions of his mind.
It had been several months since that day of the incident. Both had returned to their daily lives, Neji, throwing himself further into his work, and Ino, spent most of her time letting her mind wander. Occasional Ino would contemplate whether to call Neji or not, she would dismiss the thought however. They hadn't spoken for so long, it was obvious that things between them were over.
Now she sat at her desk, chin propped up by her hand as she gazed out the window of the office with a glazed look in her eyes. What was he doing? She wondered, did he still think of her or had he gone off with the many admirers he had? The thought of it made her chest tighten.
As for her and Gaara, she had declined his offer at a relationship. She didn't want to be in another one so soon after her bitter depart from Neji and she valued Gaara as a friend more than a romantic interest. Gaara had understood and responded that he would wait until she was ready to accept his affections for her, whenever that was. She didn't think she would attempt at falling in love again anytime soon.
Love…did she really love the Hyuga? She knew he loved his dry sense of humor; he was expressive through his eyes despite not being so in his face. She even loved his arrogant nature as annoying as it could be at times. Then that night, after months of meeting over and over, they had made love and she loved the tender way he had handled her.
How could it have happened? She hated him at first, or at least she wanted to. Things never work out as planned however as she was beginning to see. She released a sigh, catching the attention of her co-workers and friends who looked at each other with worry.
Ino had not been herself for so long it seemed and they missed it terribly. From what they had heard from their own lovers, Neji as well was not himself, or rather he was himself that was the problem. More distant, he rarely spent anytime outside his office and barely spoke three words to people unless required to do so.
Temari finally released a frustrated growl. She was tired of all of this. Those too deserved each other that were for sure, they were good bringing others down with them. This place used to always be lively, that was the reason why she went there in the first place, and she didn't work there. Temari's brown wrinkled; Wasn't Gaara supposed to be with Ino? That was what he informed Kankuro and her, that he had finally made a move. Did she reject him? If so why did he seem content? She didn't know but she did know was that she was tired of the depressing air and was determined to break it.
"Alright, Ino, I'm sick and tired of your moping I know the others feel the same way!"
Ino turned in her chair to look at her fellow blonde. Almost in that instant, she hides her feelings, putting on a forced smile.
"Who's moping? I think your going crazy, Temari."
It was at this moment, Sakura decided to step in.
"She's right Ino, you're not the same after that whole Neji incident. Why don't you tell us what happened?"
Ino waved them off, looking completely nonchalant about the entire conversation.
"It's not a big deal."
"Look, your miserable, Neji's miserable, we're all miserable! Stop being stubborn like a pig!"
Ino remained silent, her eyes drawn to the ground staring yet not really seeing. Perhaps she was being a little stubborn, after all she had done no better than him running into Gaara's arms like she did…and poor Gaara, and she had no right to lead him on.
"Fine, I'll call."
Ino looked towards the newly entered Hinata, who looked as though she was about to burst into tears. Being the compassionate person she was and especially towards Hinata, Ino was on her feet in a moment rushing over to the dark haired female's side.
Hinata bit her lip. In her hands she was clenching tightly to a small white envelope until her knuckles began to turn white. Ino frowned, wrapping an arm around her shy friend.
"What is it?"
Finally Hinata slowly released her grip on the letter. With shaking hands she lifted the envelope and handed it to Ino. Ino grasped the letter with her free hand, pulling back her arm in order to use both hands, she began to open the letter.
"Dear Hyuga, Hinata…" Ino slowly began "You are cordially invited to the union of Otokuni Tayuya…and Hyuga Neji in holy matrimony."
Ino stopped. She felt as though she couldn't breath. How stupid had she been to believe she actually meant something? Had actually mattered to him? Now she understood she was just another face, nothing more.
The air once more fell and this time no one made an attempt to lift it. Ino gently placed the letter back into Hinata's hands before walking back towards her desk. Sitting, a slow smile made its way across her features.
"Well that was that, glad to know he's moved on."
It didn't matter how much Ino smiled. Behind it you could still see the tears even if they never fell.
"What did you want to talk to me about, Hinata?"
Here they were, once again, in a restaurant having dinner. Once again, Hinata was nervous and once again Sasuke was curious. Sasuke was mainly curious because Hinata herself had asked him to dinner, leaving a cryptic message that she had something tell him desperately. Hinata fidgeted, she had to tell him now. The lies, she couldn't keep telling them to him, and she couldn't keep telling them to herself.
"Sasuke…I-I…I'm…in love with Itachi. I'm sorry but I tried to force my self not to, I really did! The feelings though…these feelings kept coming and I can't dent them anymore…"
Hinata felt better for releasing the truth but the silence that followed after made her want the earth to open up and swallow her. She refused to look up, opting to stare at the table with intense concentration.
"Hinata…Hinata look at me."
The command in his voice made Hinata look up immediately yet still feared the anger that she was sure to be in his eyes. However, instead of seeing anger, there was understanding.
"Hinata, I knew you were love with my brother."
"I was hoping that it would end quickly, I thought Itachi had simply seduced you, but I would have to be blind or like that idiot Naruto not to see the connection between you two."
Hinata couldn't help but blush. So he knew all along.
"So you better go, Itachi is packing up for America."
Hinata's eyes widened and she shot to her feet.
"He decided to set up a branch of our company in America. His plane is due to leave in about three hours."
He hadn't even finished his sentence before Hinata had rushed out. Sasuke chuckled, lifting up his saucer of sake and taking a sip. He had always knew the connection between Itachi and Hinata, he knew his brother better than anyone else and it was obvious Hinata had an effect to him. Every move that he had made towards Hinata has been too simply to get Itachi to step up to the plate. However, much to Sasuke's surprise, he never did. It showed how much he cared about Hinata and didn't want to ruin her life. Now, now things could start to go back to normal. Someone sat in front of him and over the saucer; he beheld a familiar head of long dark hair.
"That went well."
"I thought so."
"Wondered how long it would take to get their heads out of their ass. Think she'll make it?"
"Most likely. Sake?"
Hinata's heart felt as though it was on fire in her chest. She had taken a cab and had urged the cab driver to go as quickly as he could. She didn't reach her destination as quickly as she would have liked but she had made it and was now running up the stairs of the Uchiha mansion towards a room she was very familiar with. She had never felt such fear as she did now, at the thought of losing Itachi. If he had gone to America, she had no doubt he would become involved with someone else. Now she knew how he felt when he saw her with Sasuke. The door she wanted was just ahead and a thought came to mind. What if she had missed him? What if he had already left? Her throat tightened as she arrived before the door without a moments hesitation she threw open the door hoping it wasn't too late.
And it wasn't.
There was Itachi, standing by his window looking out towards the grounds below. He barely spared her a glance and didn't look surprised to see her.
She couldn't move but she did release a breath she didn't know she was holding. She wasn't too late, there was still time. Then she could move, running into him wrapping her arms around his form tightly.
"I'm sorry, I'm sorry! I've made so many mistakes, you were right. It's you, not Sasuke. Itachi, I l-love you…"
She had never really said it out loud and it felt odd coming from her, but she meant what she said and refused to back down. The silence that followed was unnerving and the minutes seemed to tick by slowly. Why wasn't he saying anything? Finally Hinata released her hold on the Uchiha, taking a step back blushing profusely and looking down.
Maybe he didn't feel the same way anymore. Perhaps she was too late. Her eyes began to tear but halted by the sound of chuckling. A hand reached out and tucked itself under her chin, lifting it until their eyes met.
"So you finally came to your senses. I've been waiting."
And that time she did cry, reaching towards him again and relishing in his warm embrace.