Truthful Deception

By Paris Lee

Hello everyone…

I am very sorry it took me so long to update. I have just been through the worst three months of my life. My father was confined in the hospital for quite some time battling cancer. He died on March 30, 2008 – his birthday. Ironic, huh?

Anyway, let me thank you all for still reading 'Truthful Deception'. Thank you so much to those who faithfully waited. Thank you. It was really heart-warming. I could only hope that this chapter is worthy of your long wait. I was actually planning to go on a formal hiatus and not post this chapter anymore because, well…I'm just not confident about this chapter (that and I fear that I may have lost my writing skill – if you guys deem me having any) BUT I figured that I owe it to you guys. You reviewed and waited for so long that this is the least I could do. And if, after reading this chapter, you figure that I have indeed lost my, erm, writing skill, well…better hear it from you guys now, ne?

Ugh. Drama, much?

Gomen, gomen…

So, here is part two of the Mr. and Mrs. Perfect Chapter.

I do not own Naruto.

Chapter Ten

Mr. and Mrs. Perfect

Part II: What Makes Sensible People Do Foolish Things

How dare he say he was sorry about kissing her a while ago? How dare he? Sure, she got that she obviously didn't have any effect on him whatsoever but to tell her outright that he was sorry? The insensitive git. Oh, he was sorry alright. Sorry he kissed her neck and jaw and not somebody else's. Somebody beautiful, sophisticated, and experienced no doubt. The cad.

The kunoichi took a long, deep, calming breath in an effort to collect herself and focus as she sat on one of the crafted garden rock seats in wait for her date who realized he forgot his coat just as they had stepped out into the garden. He had apologized for the slip then and politely excused himself for a few minutes to retrieve said coat to which she mutely nodded in reply. It had only been around two minutes since he left but it was enough for her to let off steam and remember her conversation with Ino and TenTen.

After having told them both everything that had happened so far between Neji and her, his attitude towards her and the kisses he stole from her, she was surprised by their reaction and was rather annoyed by it. She had been expecting them to sympathize with her and join her Neji-bashing but no, they exchanged knowing looks instead and then looked at her – Ino with a dramatic long-suffering sigh as she shook her head and TenTen with a slightly raised brow with a smile.

"Well, surely, you weren't expecting him to put up with your passiveness, were you?" TenTen started tentatively in reply to the medic-nin's look of disbelief as she helped her friend get in her gown. "While I admit that it was not the best way to go about it, it most certainly delivered a real reaction from you."

"What exactly are you trying to say?" Sakura asked in a measured tone.

"I'm sure TenTen had informed you of your recent evaluation." Ino replied in a whispered business like tone just to be in the safe side while she pried her pink-haired friend's fingers from the slowly deforming brush and roller she unconsciously gripped. "But I'll gladly inform you again. You're like a maiden who has accepted her fate as a sacrifice to some hideous monster instead of a blooming woman in love. And, in case you forgot, part of your mission is to portray the latter."

"I…I'm sorry." Sakura finally managed to say after the silence which usually came after a good chastising. She didn't know herself why she just couldn't get her act together for this mission. She really didn't know shy she just couldn't connect herself to Hyuuga Neji. She wanted to figure herself out but the situation just wouldn't permit it. They were on a strict time table and she would just have to do better.

"You know, I think we're going about this the wrong way." TenTen, having just finished assisting Sakura with her gown, said with a mischievous smile playing on her lips after she and Ino gave their friend the proverbial squeeze of understanding and encouragement on the shoulders. "I've known Neji all my life and, from what you've told me, it seems he's enjoying pushing your buttons."

"I think I see where you're going with this." Ino said thoughtfully as comprehension dawned on her. Slowly forming a mischievous smile of her own, she picked up where the Weapons' Mistress left off as she began unrolling her friend's pink silky hair, a bit disappointed that she won't be able to attend the party to witness first hand the effect of their plan on the young Hyuuga. "You should return the favour. You did say you wanted to one-up him, right? He's, more or less, starting to enjoy the mission at your expense so you should, too!"

"Exactly!" TenTen seconded merrily.

Sakura looked at their excited faces with uncertainty. "So, you want me to say disparaging comments about his looks and experience straight to his face? Wouldn't that make our relationship hostile? And wouldn't that defeat the purpose of the mission?"

"No, no, no." Ino and TenTen simultaneously negated with earnest.

"Okay, first of all, couples who almost always get themselves into a spirited argument almost always last longer than those who seldom do." The blonde kunoichi stated in a matter-of-fact manner before smiling at the fond thought of her own relationship with Naruto, unconsciously bringing her hand to her belly.

"Second," TenTen continued. "– disparaging his looks and experience won't work. He couldn't care less what others think of him."

Sakura recognized the truth behind their words as Ino finished unrolling the last rolled portion of her hair. "So what would you suggest?"

"Smile." TenTen answered. "Be more friendly. In other words –."

"Use your charm to throw him off." Ino interjected with a careless wave of her hand as though it were the most obvious answer in the world. She then motioned for her to stand up and walk with her to the corner of the room where TenTen was already facing the full-length mirror Ino had requested from Hinata earlier that afternoon.

"Use what?" The second-best healer in Konoha asked after ten seconds of silence. "You want me to do what?"

The three of them were now looking in the mirror, two of whom were dressed in evening gowns while the other was dressed in a Hyuuga-custom made yukata.

"When it comes down to it, he's still just a man after all." Ino declared impishly and then giggled playfully at an afterthought. "So, is he a good kisser?"

Sakura smiled at the starry evening sky as Ino's question echoed in her mind. She hadn't been able to answer it, much to the disappointment of the girls, because Kotetsu suddenly arrived with instructions from the Godaime. So, was he a good kisser? The corner of Sakura's eyes crinkled as she guiltily bit her lower lip in an effort to prevent her smile from turning into a full-pledged grin.

"You have a lovely smile."

The pink-haired medic-nin's grin could no longer be contained into a simple smile then, his earlier transgression forgotten. Not when her soon-to-be boyfriend just paid her a compliment. She turned to where the voice came from and saw him comfortably leaning against a plum tree, his left hand in his pocket and his right casually holding his coat over his shoulder.

"Thank you." She replied as her traitorous feet started taking her towards him, thinking that maybe being friendly with him may not be so difficult after all.

"You should smile more often." Neji articulated smoothly once she reached the immediate space in front of him. "It suits you perfectly."

'Wow, two compliments in a row. He seems to be on a role here!' Her inner voice piped in delightedly as she willed her brain to say something quickly for fear that she'd look like she's staring and incapable of speech. Her brain did not fail her. "Maybe I will."

There was a rather awkward silent interval of six seconds before anyone had spoken again.

"Sakura –."

Hyuuga-san –."

Then there was that awkward fifteen seconds when both lightly insisted the other should go first. For a moment, Neji looked like he was about to win the minor deliberation. Using the society rule 'Ladies first', Neji won the battle. But Sakura won the war when she used 'A gentleman never refuses a lady's direct request'. She even had 'Men should respect the wishes of women' in her pocket if the first one didn't work.

She did have a point.

And so the Hyuuga prodigy superficially cleared his throat, a sure sign that what he was about to say was uncomfortable, if not difficult, for him. "Well, first of all, I think it would be best if you begin addressing me by my given name. Especially now when we have been instructed to 'step up our game'."

"Right, of course." She agreed and practiced saying it in her mind. She wasn't averse to it.

"Yes and, well," He started and cleared his throat again before continuing. "…how should I say this? A while ago, in my quarters, I –."

"Hyu – I mean, Neji," Sakura interposed while unconsciously wringing her hands together, a sure sign that she was uncomfortable as well. 'That's right. I almost forgot what happened a while ago. While being friendly with him won't be difficult, the effects of being friendly with him are a whole different thing. But there's no turning back. Lives are depending on us. I'll just have to be more careful.' Finally working out some of her issues and realizing that she may have mistook his apology a while ago for entirely something else, she returned to the task at hand with a new smile and renewed confidence and started by apologizing."I'm sorry. I'm sorry I've been difficult. I know what we're doing is very important; a lot of people are counting on us. From this moment on, I promise I'll be more cooperative; I'll really work harder."

After the last word left her mouth, she realized how much she meant everything she said. She really was sorry. There was no excuse for her selfish behaviour. But she now accepted the fact that there was a chance for her to make up for it.

Nothing could have prepared her for his reaction.

His face was devoid of expression for the first three seconds which came after her mini-speech and then he closed his eyes and took a deep breath. When he released the air he took in, it almost sounded like a sigh of relief but she wasn't sure. And then, when he finally opened her eyes, his eyes crinkled ever so slightly as his lips formed into a small soft smile. Almost the same smile he used when he was with Hinata but not quite. "Thank you. I am in your debt. More so when the mission succeeds."

She could merely smile in reply to his gratitude, only later would she ask herself just what meant by his words.

For now, she could only smile.

Because she was once again reminded why Hyuuga Neji was the undisputed bachelor, the only one, who was on par with the lone angsty Uchiha in all levels.

Yes, she could only smile.

Because when it came down to it, she was still just a woman after all.


The Hyuuga Clan were known for their exceptional skills in physical combat and battle tactics. They were known for their unforgiving pride, their strict discipline, their interminable perseverance, and their unfailing loyalty.

They were also known for their cool, almost uncaring, reserve and their aversion to fraternizing with those who did not belong to their clan or immediate clique. They mostly kept to themselves, if it can be helped at all.

Still, the Hyuuga Clan were known to open their gates to outsiders once every few decades to formally present to society – to the world – their chosen Clan Successor. So, once every few decades, important people invited from all over gather at the Hyuuga Manor to witness the Clan's Elders recognize and confirm the chosen Heir or Heiress.

And, of course, in true Hyuuga fashion, this would simply translate to the highest seated member of the Elders introducing the chosen successor to the guests, just before the chosen enters the room, claiming that he and the rest of the Elders have deemed him or her worthy and proficient.

The chosen would then bow to the elders in respect and, as simple as that, become the Clan Successor.

And that was exactly what happened a few minutes after they had arrived.

Their fashionably late entrance together caused quite the delightful stir. The handsome Byakugan Wielder escorting the enchanting powerhouse Medical Kunoichi. Not long after their arrival, the latter was immediately whisked away by her species – no doubt eager to get details regarding their relationship in order to oil their rusting gossip mills – while the former allowed himself be led to the other side of the hall to be briefed on how he was going to be recognized and confirmed – something he already knew, of course, but the event organizer seemed as though he would breakdown if he didn't cooperate and so he complied. He was in a good mood after all.

After the fidgety event organizer explained to his heart's delight, the Ceremony began and then ended with Hyuuga Neji, after renewing his Clan's Pledge of Allegiance to Konoha and Konoha's Hokage, being swarmed with people who wished to extend their congratulations.

And while she clapped proudly with the rest of the crowd, Sakura couldn't help but feel genuinely glad for the Byakugan Wielder. This way, according to TenTen, he was hitting two birds with one stone. He gets to be the future Clan Head – something he had always worked hard for – and he gets to keep his soft-hearted cousin from the dark and cold world that comes with the title.

After all, a dark and cold world would be like a walk in the park for Hyuuga Neji. The pink-haired kunoichi had to stifle a laugh at the thought and take a deep breath to clear her thoughts.

She had to focus. As much as she liked chalking up the man's good points, she still hadn't forgotten his bad ones.

It was time to put their plan into action. It was time for her to play her cards. It was time for her to enjoy. It was time for her to get even.

It was at that thought when she noticed that her future boyfriend/husband was looking at her and she couldn't help but admire just how handsome he was in a suit with his hair pulled up.

'Stop it!' Sakura commanded her inner voice. 'Do not let the enemy distract you. Tonight is the night we're going to get even. We're going to use our charm to throw him off.'

The plan was simple. The plan was easy.

There was no way it was going to fail.

"Yosh!" Her inner voice seconded eagerly. "So, how exactly are you going to use this charm of ours to throw him off?"

The intelligent kunoichi's self-assurance made a major dive before she blinked blankly in reply. She had absolutely no idea.

Seeing that the new Hyuuga Clan Head was still looking at her, she feigned confidence and wordlessly pointed to her empty champagne glass, smiled, and left for the bar.

She was going to need a stronger drink.

And a better plan.


Hyuuga Neji would have given anything to know what she was thinking. She seemed so engrossed in her thoughts that it took a while before her eyes finally met his. She had such a happy expression. Which was replaced by something slightly mischievous that actually almost made him dread their talk later. The expression she had clearly appeared as though she was planning something.

After that she blinked.

And then frowned.

And then forcibly smiled again.

And was now making her way to the bar in the middle of the hall. Or at least that's where it looked like she was going before she disappeared in the crowd.

What was she thinking about?


It took another ten minutes before his last well-wisher came up to him – a beautiful, well-endowed, and well-rounded red-head garbed in a deep red sleeveless China dress with mid-thigh slits on both sides bearing the crest of a prominent family from one of the provinces of the Fire Country.

She was well-endowed and well-rounded and, from the way her arm was slinking around his and the way her body leaned into his as she whispered something in his ear, she seemed to be well-experienced as well.

Would you look at that…

….Hyuuga Neji was talking to his ideal woman.

That stupid je –.

"I-I didn't mean to offend you, Haruno-san."

Sakura looked up to see the son of a wealthy merchant from the neighbouring city looking at her with a flabbergasted expression on his face and remembered that she was in the company of several men who appeared one by one as soon as she settled herself on one of the seats in the bar a little earlier.

That had been ten minutes ago. Three cups of punch and two glasses of champagne ago thanks to these men who had been gallantly offering their fetching services and whose names she couldn't keep track of anymore. She had been on auto-pilot since – smiling and nodding on all the right moments. She couldn't help it. Thoughts of how to use her charm to throw the Byakugan Wielder off kept going through her mind. These were the type of men who only wanted to brag and talk and not listen anyway.

But then that…that…thing – she refused to call it 'woman' seeing as it was shamelessly flaunting itself on the man and brazenly using its assets on him as no respectable woman would – appeared out of nowhere jarring her out of her scheming.

The fact that the man – she refused to call him by his name seeing as he didn't deserve to be called by it at the moment – did nothing to encourage such attentions held no bearing on his defence since the man was not doing anything to discourage it either.


Well, no use giving too much thought on the not so foreign emotion that was gradually crawling up on her because she had absolutely no plans of acknowledging it. Might as well distract herself for the meantime with those who consider her the moon and star of their life.


The newly appointed ANBU Captain and Hyuuga Heir crossed his arms over his chest to prevent himself from inflicting insurmountable bodily pain on a merchant's son, three of Shikamaru's overly appreciative subordinates and six of Genma's. They, along with half of the single males currently present, had been ogling her since they arrived and the brave ones were either constantly flattering her or asking her if she wanted to be fetched a glass of this or a cup of that.

But what was really infuriating him was that she actually seemed to be enjoying it, the blasted woman. Neji's frown deepened when he realized how…not like him that sounded but she was even encouraging them, smiling and talking to them like that for crying out loud. It was unacceptable. Her behaviour was utterly unacceptable. They were on a very important mission and, as her partner, it was his duty to inform her of such unacceptable behaviour.

Taking a sip of his drink, he politely excused himself from the overly clingy woman trying to engage him a senseless conversation – something about leaving the party for something more fun – and began to walk towards his partner on the other side of the bar who had just accepted her third glass of champagne. Oh, yes. He had been counting.

As his future girlfriend – no, as his future wife – she was supposed to be…she was supposed to be, well, she was…okay, so he couldn't really think about what she was supposed to be right now but he certainly knew what she wasn't supposed to be.

He knew she wasn't supposed to be entertaining those men. She wasn't supposed to be smiling at them either.

And he most certainly knew that she was not supposed to be wearing that dress.


He was but a several feet away from the still growing group when he was finally able to catch her eye, motioning for her to move away from the group. Her response to which was a finely shaped brow calmly arched in defiance. And if that wasn't enough, she even had the courage to slightly raise her chin as though daring him to make her.

His eyes instantly narrowed soon after. Not breaking his pace, he started to clench and unclench his fist in an effort to relax and rationally think things through. She was clearly angry. But why?

She had always been difficult but it was as though she was determined to be more difficult this time and just when she promised to be more cooperative, too. Doesn't her promise equate to her not leaving his side and him being the sole recipient of her smiles and attention? Which is in accordance to the mission, of course. So, wasn't he the one who was supposed to be angry? Giving all those smiles and attention to those good for nothing bast –.

"Oh, that's very kind of you, Takeshi-san, but..."

The Hyuuga Heir was suddenly pulled out of his thoughts at the sound of pink-haired kunoichi's voice, which he was very thankful for. Why, his flow of thoughts almost suggest him being j –.

He cut the flow there and scoffed at the idea and its absurdity. He wasn't given much time to ponder on how absurd it was though because he had finally reached the group just a glass of brandy was short of being shoved in front of Sakura by an already inebriated admirer, the rest waiting and wondering which direction the event would turn to.

"Oh, come on, Har'no-shan." A drunk teen, Neji recognized as one of Shikamaru's desk-job Chuunin interns, pleaded, after snatching the glass from 'Takeshi-san' and almost spilling it on the Medic-nin's chest. "Pleaeesh? Ishn't it shome kind'f dishreshpect chu turn down'n offered jrink?"

Just a mere millisecond before the Byakugan Wielder could stop himself, the glass was swiftly removed from Sakura's line of vision, before any were spilled, and was downed in two seconds.


"She said she has had enough." Neji reiterated the kunoichi's earlier statement in a tone that brooked no argument as he lightly shoved the glass back to the man's chest causing him to stumble backwards and bump into those behind him. He took a deep breath to take in the spirit of the drink and to calm himself. It wouldn't do to bring attention to them in their current condition and so, in forced patience and gritted teeth, he civilly asked them to excuse themselves from their presence.

A freckled blonde, either too drunk or too stupid or quite possibly both, forgot that an angry Hyuuga's – this Hyuuga's – word was law to those who were of lower rank and birthright and those who were not his friends, asked why.

But was wisely, and quite hastily, dragged away by those who were smart enough.

He started counting to ten to balance his tipped equilibrium as he situated himself right in front her. The sudden dispersal of the crowd of admirers that had surrounded Sakura just moments ago brought about curious stares. He certainly could have handled that better – had his logic reached his brain a millisecond faster than his emotion did, which was curious, really. It was disturbing and undoubtedly something to be analyzed later.

Well, what's done is done. They could turn the unwanted attention to their advantage anyway.

When he finally trusted himself to speak, he realized that the damsel he rescued from what he considered distress had not said a single word since his rescuing, which was good. If she said anything right now, he might just snap. And that thought alone rather boggled him since he had always been in control of his temper.

Taking another deep breath, for good measure, he rested one hand on the countertop just an inch from his partner's bare arm. He proceeded to do the same on the other side – effectively caging the pink-haired kunoichi in her seat.


Her heart was beginning to slam against her chest.

Their eyes locked together the moment he trapped her in her seat and she found that she couldn't look away. They were the most amazing eyes she had ever seen. They were the lightest lavender in colour and they seemed to look straight into her soul.

She wanted to squirm but pride dictated otherwise.

She almost faltered when he started leaning down, not once breaking eye contact, but her pride just wouldn't let her back down. With determination giving a firm set to her jaw, she faced the predicament she was in head on despite her wildly beating heart.

His face was slowly inching closer and closer to hers as though waiting for her to back down. This only made her chin rise slightly in defiance, still maintaining eye contact. For a moment, it almost seemed as if he stopped and looked amused but she wasn't too sure.

When his face was just a scant inch away from hers, she thought she would crack. He was so close she wouldn't be surprised if he heard her rapid heartbeat. He was so close she could smell the intoxicating scent of brandy from his lips. He was so close that if he moved any closer, their lips would meet.

Her eyes were beginning to fall on the thought when he suddenly moved his lips to her ear and whispered, "Correct me if I am mistaken but I believe your exact words were: From this moment on, I promise I'll be more cooperative; I'll really work harder."

Sakura's half-closed eyes snapped open at the veiled accusation. Noting several on-lookers avidly watching them, she pasted a well-rehearsed smile on her face as she replied softly with forced geniality. "If you have something to say, say it. This is neither the time nor place to play guessing games."

"I am talking about those men surrounding you not too long ago." He whispered into her ear again. "I do not consider your smiling so quickly at other men and laughing so easily at their pathetic attempts at comic stories to be cooperative nor do I consider them hard work."

The medic-nin listened to the ANBU Captain's ridiculous string of words with mild fascination and just a tinge of irritation. It was safe to assume that the tensai was either trying to push her buttons once again or just seriously prone to saying the wrong things at the wrong time.

She was not going to let him rile her up. She was not going to rise to his bait. She was going to get the upper hand.

"I see." Sakura began to say seriously as though in deep thought and then, this time, inched her lips closer to his ear as she tried to keep the amusement off her voice. "In other words, you want me to smile only at you and to laugh only at your jokes?"


"Doing a pretty good job, aren't they?" Kiba commented with a wolfish smile as he discreetly continued observing the cosy couple at the bar everybody else not in the know was openly staring at.

And why not? They were two of Konoha's top guns – exceptionally skilled, outstandingly intelligent, and remarkably attractive.

And they appeared to be enjoyably flirting.

"Urusai." Sasuke growled before finishing off his fourth glass of Vodka, completely ignoring the canine trainer's loud 'What did you say, jerk!' and his even louder 'Why the hell are you in our table anyway?'.

Hinata mildly sweatdropped as she placated her former team mate. He was so much like Naruto at times. Turning her attention to the raven-haired shinobi seated beside her, she noticed that the death glare he was giving the crowd of men surrounding his former team mate a while ago paled in comparison to the one he was giving her cousin now.

She rarely interacted with the Uchiha Heir but was not surprised by his show of protectiveness for Sakura. Although, she couldn't help but wonder if there was something more to it. Suddenly realizing that it was none of her business anyway, she mentally shook her head just in time to see Sasuke, her recently appointed partner, stand up.

The Godaime had deemed it fit to pair up the 'supporting actors' in the mission for efficient and effective results a while ago just before the party started.

"I'm going for a perimeter check." He said to nobody in particular and suavely left the table, hands in pockets.


"I – ." Neji began to reply when he realized just what it was the woman in front of him was trying to say. "What?"

"Well, if you didn't want me talking to other men, you should've just told me." She explained in a deceptively solemn manner as she began dusting off the non-existent dust on her lap. "Just tell me. It certainly wouldn't do for you to scare off every man I meet, now would it?"

"I beg your pardon?" He carefully whispered in her ear with the small smile still on his face, aware of the busybodies watching them. The Byakugan Wielder's eyes nearly widened at her remark and would have laughed at the absurdity of its implication had he not been trained in the arts of containing one's self. "Are you insinuating something?"

"Insinuating?" Sakura repeated the word slowly as she slightly tilted her head in mock consideration, savouring the hint of incredulity the Hyuuga Heir could not keep off his voice and the ever so mild stiffness of his body. "Am I? All I know is that I never figured you to be the jealous kind, Neji."

Man in topic's smile faltered at that. She said the 'J' word. And she actually used it on the same sentence as his name. His given name. Which actually sounded quite nice, oddly enough, when it came from her lips.

He scoffed at the thought. Yes, it was beside the point. The point being that she actually thought he was being jealous. How ridiculous.

"Is there anything else I should know about you?" The second-best medical ninja in all of Konoha asked, inadvertently interrupting his thoughts.

She wasn't too sure if she was actually gaining the upper hand at the moment but if his lack of response was any indication at all, then she supposed she was.

The idea fuelled her confidence and her taunts. "You know, I really never would have thought you'd get jealous considering that I'm not your ideal woman after all. You…"

Our hero decided to tune her off then. He might just strangle her from frustration if he didn't. He needed to regroup. This was definitely not how he imagined she'd react. He thought she was going to just flip the top again. She looked incredibly cute whenever she did – reason he enjoyed infuriating her.

But now she was sorely testing…his patience. Neji mulled over the notion and almost snapped his finger in realization. That was it. She was testing him. She was actually egging him intentionally!

"…you jealous kinds almost always are, you know." Sakura ended knowingly.

"I see." He replied with an understanding nod before turning to face her, the small genuine smile on his face representing triumph. It was like he finally figured out a puzzle.

"You do?" The kunoichi asked with ill-contained surprise and then saw the victorious smile on his face. Busted.

"Well played, Sakura." The exceptionally skilled shinobi acknowledged, not missing the quick and tiny flash of disappointment at being caught so soon pass her face.

He almost applauded her for the innocent expression she was now sporting.

He suddenly had the strong and tempting urge to kiss her. Highly inappropriate of course and un-gentlemanly but would undoubtedly prove worth it, he was sure.

The powerhouse kunoichi's flow of thoughts was thrown in mild disarray as she watched his lips starting to close in on hers, undecided whether she should be alarmed or not for finding it harder and harder to resist him and his inappropriate advances. She mentally raised an eyebrow at her notion. Were advances ever appropriate?

"They never are." The Hyuuga Heir answered with his lips half an inch away from hers, amused by the blush slowly spreading across her face. "But that is what makes it effective."

She couldn't believe she actually asked that out loud. Sakura would have wished the ground to open and swallow her up had she not been on the receiving end of a possible kiss from the undeniably handsome shinobi in front of her.

Their lips had barely touched when a rather shrill voice effectively cut through their moment the same way fingernails scratched against a board would a peacefully sleeping class.

"There you are, Neji!"

Sakura opened her eyes to see said man slowly stand straight. She fought off the strong urge to close them once again when she caught sight of the red…thing…just behind him. She just knew that shrill overly sweet sing song voice belonged to no other than…it.

"I see you're already on a first name basis with it, I mean her –." She remarked with a raised brow and a forced smile, which was replaced by a subtly clenched jaw when the…thing…hooked her arm on his. " – and more."

As much as he wanted to ponder more on Sakura's interesting reaction, our hero held on to his remaining patience while peeling of the wandering hands of the extremely bothersome woman from his body instead. It was proving to be as easy as removing the Godaime's highest level chakra seal.

"Ne, Neji, who is that?"

"Excuse me?" Sakura asked with deceptive calm and illusory smile as she stood from her seat, mentally congratulating herself for not asking the red…thing…what it was.

"Ah, yes." Neji cut in as he moved closer to the pink-haired kunoichi, red…thing…in tow. Damn her grip. He could easily remove it but it would result to broken bones. "Harada-san, please meet the number one student of the Godaime Hokage and my lovely girlfriend – Haruno Sakura."

Again, he would have given anything to know what was coursing through his girlfriend's mind right that moment. She looked rather dazed just for an instant before blushing and getting all shy – just like how somebody's new girlfriend would react if she were introduced to other people for the first time. He wondered if she was just acting. Then, he wondered why it would even matter if she were.

Harada, on the other hand, did a wonderful impression of a blowfish at the introduction, her grip loosening considerably.

An opportunity our dashing hero wisely took advantage of. As soon as he freed himself from her grip and wandering hands, he took his position beside his girlfriend and deftly caught her hand in his before raising it to his lips.

"She is the lady I was telling you about, Sakura." He lied smoothly, her hand now intertwined with his and idly resting against his chest. "Meet Harada Akiko-san, daughter of Harada Oishi-san. Remember, the man Naruto escorted for a month earlier this year?"

"Why, yes." Sakura answered, finally herself once more albeit a bit distracted by the warm hand encompassing hers. She remembered Naruto singing praises about Harada Oishi-san. Who would have thought he had a daughter like…this. "Naruto has said nothing but good things about your father."

The response she got was another imitation of a blowfish. The poor girl was probably still in shock at the revelation.

She couldn't blame her.

She was still just recovering from the unexpected introduction herself.

So, how was it? I want your honest opinion but please don't be brutal. Harsh words equate to hurt feelings and unproductive mind.

Oh, and did you notice the slight change in writing style at the latter part of the chapter? I usually just stick with one POV in a scene but I tried putting both Sakura and Neji's POVs in the bar scene. I didn't know it could be so difficult. Whew…