/Waves to Sushi/ Here it is! They are a bit older like um...maybe...um...18 19 ish I guess to allow it to make sense.
Damn, she was going to be late. Sakura calculated the distance she had remaining to her goal and groaned. She wasn't going to make it. Still, she wasn't called intelligent for nothing. When the general route would not serve her purposes, she would take the conveniently placed shortcut that lay before her.
So it was definitely the right choice and she tried to convince herself as much. Besides, she considered as she jumped cautiously off the wall surrounding the Hyuuga Manor, Hinata had given her permission to come by and enjoy the grounds. She would pass by on her way back and mention her intrusion to avoid all self accusations of trespassing, a simple solution. She smiled and tried to admire the gardens as she broke into a run.
Then again, perhaps it wasn't going to be as easy as she had originally assumed. Several seconds after she had made it thought the winding paths and courtyards with no confrontations and become immersed in the shadows of the pine forest bordering the property she heard movement directly behind her.
Spinning on her heel she turned and surveyed the blank surroundings and shivered. A combination of wildlife and paranoia was doing nothing for her nerves. Turning back she collided suddenly with a firm and pale shirted chest. In an attempt to regain her composure she tried to step backwards before she fell but felt herself held in place by her shoulders.
"At present the only reason I'm making no attempt to deem it permanently impossible for you to trespass here again is that I assuming you may have some sort of pitiful excuse to explain your presence." Sakura was still dazed but was able to look up into the face of the speaker momentarily to acknowledge who it was.
She of course recognised him instantly. Her special patient, Hyuuga Neji. She had worked in the Children's Ward and had fewer complaints when she was healing. The only times he stopped complaining were to sit in a broody silence or to inform her of how annoying she was. Despite his knowing however, she was perfectly aware that even on returning from missions he requested her to heal him.
"Neji." She took the time to shove at him and free herself from his grasp. "Don't you mean you're not pummelling me because you would miss your little welcome home party?"
"Welcome home party? I'm generally unconscious or drugged to the point of delusion by the time you get to me."
"And we all know you still love my company!" He scowled at her.
"Right, I take special care to make small chat when I'm undergoing major surgery."
"I'm not rough with you Neji, take it like a Ninja." She winked at him.
"You still have not explained why you are here?"
"To visit you!"
"And you couldn't use the conventional method and arrive at the door? Convincing argument Sakura, what do you want to do, nag me to take my vitamins?"
"Would you cause me any mental or physical damage if I was to hypothetically mention that I was taking a shortcut?"
"Right! Well, visit it is then!" His eyes narrowed. "I was in a hurry, it was important."
"You speak in past tense."
"And you speak as though you aren't planning on not letting me pass without a fight."
"True. Pity your foresight won't help you against me any further."
"Pity a Replacement Jutsu makes as terrible conversation as the real Neji." She slashed casually and a garden ornament fell to the ground and shattered. "Nice variety Neji! I was sick of the logs anyway!" He was behind her again and she felt his breath brush against her neck.
"Glad you approved. I'd try it again if it hadn't have been one of a kind."
"Attempting to display your wrath to the Main House by breaking antiques?" She stood still but was ready to move. Truthfully she was surprised he hadn't begun to attack again
"No, attempting to resist the urge to Juken you unconscious right now." His fingers rested at the base of her neck. Well, that explained his lack of movement. She plotted her escape and played a well aimed kick at his stomach that allowed her to run to and shelter behind the undergrowth. However she already knew how ineffective hiding was against Byakugan and ducked the kunai thrown at her.
"Neji! I don't have weapons! Don't be mean!" He answered her by dropping from the branch above.
"My apologies." She barely had a chance to groan as he began to attack her again and she could only defend.
"Alright Neji I think you've proved your point." She was beginning to struggle, no way equipped or prepared for a fight.
"Which...point?" He grunted concentrating almost entirely on trying to weaken her defenses.
"The one that I'm a stupid little girl who is weaker than you and shouldn't be playing in forests that I'm not allowed to be...IN!" She shrieked as she lost her footing and slid down a muddy bank clutching onto a root for support.
"Pathetic." He spat. She snarled up at him after he had spoken.
"Thanks Neji! You certainly couldn't throw me in the mud nicely!"
"Not you me! I couldn't even get you into the river when I was trying." She glanced downwards into the rushing water.
"You...BASTARD!" She lunged at him and was pleased to note he seemed to be taken by some sort of surprise. Still, a lunge from her fallen, semi buried position was less than effective and she only managed to pull him down by his ankle. He splattered her face as he fell.
"What are you doing you stupid girl!" One side of him was caked in mud as he struggled to sit up.
"What you just did to me! Don't glare at me like that!"
"It's how you glared at me!" He smiled suddenly and her instinct and general knowledge of Neji's behaviour informed her it wasn't friendly.
"What?" He glanced back down at the water before smirking at her again. "No...Neji, don't even consider..." She began to try to skid backwards up the slope but he had a hold of her leg. She clutched the root again but he continued to clamber after her and this time wrapped his arms around her waist and tried again. Apparently the root had other ideas and snapped inappropriately at that moment.
As she began to fall, turning and taking a hold around Neji's neck, she acknowledge that she would never be able to forget the look on his face as they plunged into the river together. Damn, if it wasn't her as well she would have laughed. She writhed in the water for a moment before Neji was able to haul her up to the surface. Grinning broadly at him as he prevented her from being washed down with the currents she spoke.
"Shall we call it a truce maybe?" He didn't even give her an answer, instead he began to haul her back to shore, one arm still around her middle.
"I wasn't actually going to do it I hope you realize. Now look at what you have done."
"You're right, my fault. I must've telepathically connected with the root and forced it to snap." He grunted and allowed her to drop unceremoniously onto the bank before climbing away.
She lay there for a moment wondering if there was any know insult that would properly express how much she hated him at that moment. As far as she was concerned it was his fault she had missed her appointment and was know so wet she could take up residence as a frog without notice or question. That was why it came as a shock when she heard him speak again.
"I'd hate to disrupt your continued wallowing but you are beginning to try my patience."
"Your patience?" She struggled to stand up again. "What are you talking about?" His eyebrows shot up again and she tried not to be annoyed by the patronizing expression.
"When one extends an offer of hospitality it's best not to keep them waiting." Hospitality? The cold had addled his brain. As she overcame the crest of the bank she was startled to find him still there extending his hand. She accepted it gratefully and he hauled her up.
"I didn't realize you would try to be so nice." She felt her hand dropped suddenly.
"There is a difference between common courtesy and manners and being 'nice'"
"No need to get offended! I didn't mind you know!" He was striding away again.
"Keep up or did I defeat you well enough that you are incapable of movement?" She ran.
Sakura remembered the first time she and Ino had visited Hinata. From the moment they had walked through the front hall she had been thinking more about not breaking anything than providing polite conversation. She had trailed dust onto the polished floors and stuttered in front of Hinata's family. Neji however led her behind the main complex and into a much smaller building.
"Wait here, I will get you something dry." He left her and she examined her surroundings. It was clean and very neat. The only indications of someone's living within it were scattered Ninja essentials. He returned a few minutes later with a bundle of white linen.
"Where are we?"
"My wing. The shower is through here." He led her to another door swinging it open.
"Uh, are you sure you don't want to go first, I'd feel bad..."
"Sakura." He said her name in low growl.
"Alright." She scampered in and snapped the door shut.
She turned and was almost blinded by the pristine white of the entire room. The tiles were practically gleaming and the towels were folded neatly or hanging on a rack doubled over. She really hoped he had some sort of servant working in here or he really did have no life. She smiled and dropped her clothes into the puddle she had already formed on the floor.
With the water turned on hot to its full capacity she slipped in and peered at the shelf in one corner. Selecting a bottle she wondered if using Neji's shampoo would bring about her hairs full shiny capacity. She was willing to try.
"You've been using my shampoo." Well, at least he didn't dance around the point. She coughed rather than answering. To her surprise he just smiled slightly. "Jealous are we? Wait where you like, I doubt you'll find anything of interest anywhere." She was left gaping by his manner.
The door behind her led to what appeared to be his bedroom. She let herself through and switched the light on, dropping her clothes again as she stepped inside. It was smaller than her own but neater and with finer furnishings. He had a futon rather than a mounted bed like herself and seeing no other options she perched herself on the edge experimentally, legs thrust in front of her, covered by the yukata Neji had provided.
By the time he had returned she had sprawled herself across the covers and was making use of his pillows. He ignored the fact and picked up her dirty clothes and left the room again. He could almost be her mother at the rate he was going. She settled herself again admiring just how comfortable she was. Although she knew Neji from her work at the hospital, she couldn't imagine him doing anything other than training or complaining about the amount of time she was keeping him. For this reason his bed seemed quite a discovery. She just couldn't picture him settling down with his rugs and a cushion to sleep, it seemed un-natural, like he should be training through the night as well.
"What was so important you were sneaking around the property in the first place?" He was back and sat down next to her. She turned her head to look at him.
"I was going to the Hot Springs." He gave her and incredulous look.
"Yes, I had a voucher for a treatment there from Ino."
"Oh, that makes everything alright then." His sarcasm was not lost on her but she opted to ignore it as she did most of his attitude.
"That's correct Neji, not only did you make me miss the appointment, the voucher is probably half way out to sea by now."
"I let you have a shower what else do you want?"
"Well, it doesn't really suffice for the springs but it will do I guess." She rolled onto her stomach and towards him. "You could always give me my massage..."Flipping onto her back again she began to loosen her yukata's belt. She had once watched her mother boiling lobsters and they had turned red in a similar fashion as what Neji was doing now. He turned his head quickly. "Lighten up Neji! I was joking!"
"Hm." He kept his face turned away still in a pitiful attempt to hide his blush.
"It was only a foot massage." She stated bluntly and swung her feet onto his lap to assure she had his attention. He choked and let out a sound that reminded her remotely of the sound Ino had made as she had tightened the corset strings on her dress. "Well?" she wiggled her toes in what she hoped was an inviting manner.
"You cannot be serious."
"I am or do you need to be reminded of how you have ruined my afternoon...That was a birthday present you know?" He remained impassive. "It was almost dark by the time you got me out of that river. I'm probably going to get sick and we'll all know who to blame."
"I don't even know how." She sighed loudly trying to tease him further enjoying his discomfort.
"You should have some sort of sorbolene cream in your medical kit." He nodded carefully. "It will do, fetch it." She flapped her hand indicating he should follow through with her request. He stood and returned soon after.
"Is this what you wanted?"
"Yes, sit down again." She flung her legs up again and leaned back into his pillows. "You'll need some of that on your hands."
"And you need to stop playing diva or you'll find yourself on the doorstep." She didn't reply but a few seconds later felt him tentatively poke her foot.
"I'm trying okay!" He tried running his hand down one side.
"You'll have to go in the other direction I think."
"Hm." He did so with both of his hands this time.
"Oh! That's right..." she flexed her feet appreciatively. He repeated the method several times on either foot before she felt his hands flip so his thumbs rested on top. Then he began to work his way down massaging between the tendons.
"Neeeji..." He jerked when she moaned but regained his composure and continued making circles on the bottom of either sole. He ran his hand down them again applying more pressure with each stroke. She whimpered and he retracted hurriedly
"Did I hurt you?"
"Nooo..." She kicked pathetically. "Go on." He paused to apply more cream to his hands before concentrating on each toe, exercising it sufficiently. He then returned to the all over approach taking care to give each foot equal ministrations, continuing until he rested his hands near her ankles.
"Hmmm." She couldn't even force her eyes open until he stood up again and exited swiftly. Her feet were still tingling. She watched him as he stood framed in the doorway looking at her making her feel suddenly self conscious.
"I'm sorry, I should leave."
"It's late and it is going to take a pack horse to pull you up from there." She watched him. "Just stay...I trust no one is expecting you?"
"I will..." He coughed "See you in the morning." He backed out of the room closing the door.
"Neji!" It re-opened a crack
"I'd feel awful, kicking you out of your bed..."
"Don't." He went to leave again.
"Stay?" He didn't answer or move. "You have a double bed; you could at least make use of it some times." Without speaking he stepped back inside and switched the light off before making his way towards her. She felt the covers move as he slipped in next to her. She wriggles to one side so she could curl up beside him.
"I really hate you."
"I doubt it." Sakura could only mumble a reply as she clutched onto the front of his shirt.
"Hm, you would." They lay in silence for a few moments before Sakura felt him put a tentative arm around her. She smiled in the dark.
"Thank you Neji, for everything."
"I really thought you said you didn't know how to massage like that."
"Natural talent I guess." She giggled quietly.
"You know, I may just have to take you up on that full body massage another day...You know, to execute your 'Natural Talent'."
"Go to sleep."
"I'll take that as a maybe then..."
"No, take it as a 'be quiet or I will smother you with a cushion.'"
Sakura finally shut up.
Nut2: Happy Birthday Sushi! I think this is going to be late by your standard of time over there! Hopefully at least you weren't born at exactly mid-night (insert sweatdrop here) Well, I hope I carried out the challenge okay (which for those of you who aren't 'lilmisssushi' was to include 'A foot massage and Neji blushing with Neji and Sakura ending up at least half together') Hard work! But worth it! Happy Birthday again!
I may have another chapter too when I write it...I mean of course I've written it, just spreading the birthday love XD
Ugh, I can only hope it isn't full of errors and too rushed and actually makes some sort of sense...if you squint your eyes a little... XD Please review!
Thank you for reading!