A/N: Wow. I never expected for this fic to be THAT popular. 14 reviews? That's a lot to me, for 1 chapter. THANK YOU!

As I said, this is the end. for some reason I don't like this story. Dunno why. Except the ending, I like it.

Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto


Ino yawned lazily, refusing to open her eyes. The place she was currently in provided her with warmth and safety. Softness was encircling her from every side and it was just begging to be cuddled tightly. The scent of spring rain, mixed with ground and something distinctly familiar, only added to the great pleasure of resting in warm rays of sun.

Oh, that's right. Now she remembered. That scent belongs to Neji.

When the statement got registered, all the blissful feeling was gone. Everything from the previous day came crashing on her-who she really is, what she's doing and, most importantly, what she's supposed to do.

Certainly not lying in a warm bed, with her leader tightly pressed to her body.

The second that thought passed her sleep influenced mind, Ino shoot up, blushing furiously. However, the moment her gaze fell on the other side of the bed, she discovered that there was nothing to be flustered about. All that was left, were crumpled sheets on her side. No Hyuuga in sight.

She held back the feeling of disappointment that grew inside her like a bubble -threatening to burst ever second now. A lump was growing in her throat.

Why?

That's when she noticed some stuff lying on the night desk. There was a note, folded in two. When Ino picked it up, a cookie fell on the floor.

Her cookie.

Hesitantly focusing on the paper, she began to read the familiar, neat handwriting.

Ino,

As planned, you go to the East side of the town. No seducing, just ask for gossips. It's an order and if you go against it, I will personally see to your punishment. We'll meet here at 3 p.m. Don't make me go looking for you again.

Neji

The whole letter was addressed in a formal, almost cold way. Ino shuddered, feeling goose bumps on her skin.

Neji, what did you do to me?

Why was it always like this? An order, punishment, don't make me go looking for you...Why did he always treated her like he was only a leader?

She thought they were friends. After that cookie accident, she was sure of it!

Then, her gaze fell on the baked good on the floor and she swallowed hard, picking it up. Rolling it slowly in her hand, Ino read the letter once again.

And whether it was PMS, the fact that her last cookie got dirty on the floor or that certain cold-hearted, white-eyed prodigy treated her so coldly, it didn't matter. Ino just did what she felt like doing; she always was straightforward.

So, she sat on the bed and cried.


Neji quickly wandered through the West side of the town, although not too quick as to not appear suspicious. He had the normal stoic expression on his face, nevertheless for someone that knew him, it would be obvious that he's very disturbed. The almost invisible frown was evident.

What was he thinking?

It was the 100th time the Hyuuga asked himself that question and still, there was no answer. He was her leader, damnit!

I'm her leader damnit!

What was his brain thinking when he slipped into bed with her? What fucking, crazy idea was born inside his brain that made him cuddle up to the blonde for two straight hours and even then he was reluctant to let go?

What was it?

His facial expression softened when he remembered how she shivered under the fabric. Thanks to Byakugan he could see everything- a fact he often took advantage of. Like yesterday.

His teammate was cold, shivering in the bed so it's natural that he wanted to warm her up. Ino is under his command, after all. She's his responsibility.

The whole monologue, full of excusing himself that just took place inside his brain, only made it sound worse. He knew that it wasn't the cold that made him go to the blonde-well, maybe not entirely.

For, would he cuddle like that to Naruto if he were under his command? Or Tenten? Sakura? Chouji?

Or Lee? Would he give Lee a big, bear hug if he were under his command?

Even worse, Gai?

No chance in hell.

Why Ino then? Why only her?

Why always her?

Neji didn't know...and that frustrated him greatly. Before his intellectual debate could go any further, his mission subject had appeared so the Hyuuga pushed all thoughts out of his head. No time for that now.

He'd broken enough rules during this mission.


Ino looked around the busy street, searching for potential gossip-source. Old women who were selling goods at the market would've been perfect...If only Ino was in the right mood.

Her eyes wandered to the window shop. A reflection of depressed, sad, young woman could be seen. Blue eyes were a little red from crying and cheeks were flushed.

Ino smiled bitterly. Baka...she thought to herself, touching her face on the glass.

It was almost the said hour when Ino slouched to her room in the hotel. Standing for hours at the fishing stool just listening to some old woman ramble about her grandchildren was not considered as fun in her dictionary.

Search closer to 'Slice my wrists now'.

Basically, Ino just managed to confirm the previous information she got. It wasn't something special, but it was something at least. Her tiny recorder hidden inside clothes, was the evidence in case someone decides to sue them for killing an innocent human. Such things happened, rarely but they did. That's why assassin/spying missions took twice longer than needed. The time was needed to gather evidence.

The blonde finally made it to the room, barely in time. As expected, Neji was already there, lying on the bed with his eyes open.

Act normal. Nothing happened, right?

Right. Nothing indeed happened and that was the problem. Although, that's a little misunderstanding here. Something happened with her.

Something that made her feel happy and sad when her gaze landed on the slim body on the bed. Something that made her heart squeeze with longing when she glanced at his face, eyes lingering on thin, bloodless lips...

Something happened, which wasn't right.

Act normal. Don't lose that little thing you both share...as comrades.

"So!" she chirped, obviously startling her teammate. The Hyuuga twitched and merely glanced at her before turning his emotionless stare back at the ceiling. "I gathered essential information. We can leave tomorrow, if you'd like." That last sentence, subtle hope that he'll offer her one night more in this hotel with him...

"Hn."

Figures.

Ino sighed inwardly and, with fake cheerful voice began to enlighten every detail of her day.


"So, then she said that those fish aren't fresh just like the ones that guy brings, so he couldn't be fishing like he claimed..."

Neji warily closed his eyes, the silver voice ringing inside his head non-stop. His eyelids felt just so heavy. The Hyuuga had various reports to write during the night...as well as watching over Yamanaka's sleep. She often had nightmares, and judging by the sounds she made, they were about her own way of spying. Another reason to forbid her from doing so.

Slowly, his muscles unwind. He took a deep breath, relaxing his tensed body. Words got slowly mixed in his brain, bumping into each other, especially that she was speaking in a fast motion...now it's only her voice, ringing sliver tones,

Ringing...ringing...ringing...

For the first time in his life, Neji didn't notice when he fell into a peaceful slumber.


Still chatting about something randomly, Ino came out of the kitchen, with a warm bowl full of noodles. Again, her longing gaze fell on the bed- and the sentence she was currently saying, got choked on.

Neji was sleeping.

Placing the bowl on the nearby desk or shelf, or whatever, Ino neared the bed on tiptoes. She eyed him carefully, with breath caught in her lugs.

This is the first time I'm seeing Neji's sleeping face.

She noticed the lack of frown on his forehead. Now, what stood out most were the dark circles under his eyes, perfectly visible on pale skin.

A wave of tenderness that washed over her was so strong that Ino had to bit her lip to not make any sounds and be back in control.

That's right; the one who got the most tired, is Neji.

She kneeled by the bed, brushing bangs of hair from his forehead with trembling hand.

Feel safe and sleep; even if just tonight.

For tonight, I'll be watching over you.


"You stay here. I'll go inside." A curt voice brought her out of dreamland. Ino glanced at her leader, remembering the past night's events.

Neji woke up in the morning, pretending not to notice her body slumped on the wall by the bed. Just as usual, he got up swiftly and prepared to finish their job. Ino followed, also not feeling like talking with the Hyuuga. Silence is sometimes better than words.

And that was it.

"Why am I only standing outside while you do all the work? I'm not weak!" That was the casual conversation they had before every mission. His answer was always the same.

"Someone has to be, in case I'll miss one of them. Not my fault Konoha is short of jounins and there are only two of us in the group. Besides, that's an order."

Ino sulked a little, while he made a use from his eyes and scanned the area. "Stand from the South side of the building. Someone had to warn the bastard, because there are many people inside. With weapon. They are likely to run to the South exit. I'll attack from the North."

Ino nodded and jumped on branched towards her position. Neji followed her a little with his eyes, an uncharacteristic glimmer of anxiety in white orbs. When she positioned herself comfortably, the man turned towards the entry, not making any sound as his feet neared the object.

As expected, the guards surrounding his mission aim, were mere bandits. Not even ninjas. Certainly, not someone who could match with a well-skilled Konoha jounin. The real problem was the amount of them.

Not wasting anymore time, the Hyuuga jumped right into the center, using his Kaiten to shove opponents onto the walls, crashing them. If they had no shinobi ability, it should be enough to make them unconscious. His assignment was to kill one, particular person not a whole bunch.

The person that was now trembling violently in the corner paralyzed by shock.

Inwardly, Neji shook his head at the easiness of accomplishing this mission. A metallic, sharp object appeared in his hand. The man couldn't even scream at the quick attack.

With a swift motion, the mission ended. And still nothing between them changed, except themselves.

What the prodigy failed to notice, was the big man, well equipped with weapon who run towards South exit.


Ino pouted, hearing the crashing noise coming from the house. Neji always did everything by himself, never letting her have some of the fun.

Booooooring.

Her brain did a turn when something like a knife slashed her arm. She twirled, surprised, only to notice an enemy-no, it wasn't a ninja. She couldn't detect any chakra. Just a random, hired guard.

She smirked a little and gracefully landed on her feet, right before he made another slashing move. "Bye, bye" she said in a sickly sweet tone as her fist made contact with his nose. The fighter was send flying backwards, crashing some fancy fountain with his muscular body. She smiled with self-satisfaction, turning around to return on her position-only to be met by a familiar sight of someone's neck and collar. Glancing upwards, her blue eyes were met with a stern glare.

Ino flinched. Did she do something wrong this time? But then, when her eyes traveled carefully to the direction of his glare, she notice that it was the still bleeding cut on her arm. Nothing deep; nevertheless still hurt a little.

Then, his eyes turned towards the body lying in the water and Ino had to use all her will not to back away. The killing lust that emanated from Hyuuga was so strong that she could almost see his chakra flaming red.

Before she could question the strange behavior, he already turned towards the garden gate. The mansion they were currently in, was pretty huge.

"Come on," He tossed a mere glance over his shoulder, "Let's get back before someone comes here and our cover will be blown."

They quickly made it into a secluded street. Before Ino could react, Neji had draped his arm over hers.

"It's to hide your blood. If I was shirtless, it would look a lot more suspicious."

Ino nodded, scooting a little closer to him than necessary. She inhaled. Definitely nice scent... she breathed deeply, moving in harmony with the Hyuuga. His grip on her tightened, piloting her through crowds and making sure no one could touch her too intimately.

They made it to the hotel quicker than the blonde wanted. After the door closed behind her, she moved away only to be dragged to the bed.

Chakra slowly seeped from his hands to her wound, healing it almost immediately. The strange, tensed silence that surrounded them got impossible to stand. Ino blurted out the first thing that came into her mind.

"I didn't know you had medic abilities, Neji."

"All members of my clan are blessed with great chakra control. It'd be a waste not to use it, so everyone learns at least the basics of medical treatment." All two sentences were said without him looking at her. Ino slowly began to grow frustrated. Come to think of it, he never looked at her while speaking about something else than missions. He didn't even hand her the cookies face to face!

"Hey!" she snapped, "Look at me when I'm talking." When he still acted like he hadn't heard, Ino simply grabbed a strand of his hair and forcefully turned his pale face towards her, stopping his healing process halfway.

That's when it happened. Their faces got close to each other...too close. Something was bound to happen. It didn't matter if it was Ino or Neji; or both of them.

What matters is that at this very second their lips connected.

That's what everyone calls a kiss, right? When two lips are connected, a wave of electricity washes over you and you just can't seem to live without getting more...

More...more...more...MORE!

So, when you can't survive without getting more of it, your mouths part, right? Tongues dance with each other and you feel like your souls speak by connected lips mouth, their messages going straight to you heart only to be returned with more heated passion, right?

Right. Oh, so totally right.

Well, if this is how a kiss feels, then that's just the thing Neji and Ino experienced. Everything described was in there and even more. Unspeakable things. For, don't actions speak louder than words?

Ino's hand slowly traveled to Neji's shirt, lifting it a little and letting fingers tickle hard muscles. She was really getting into the moment and needed everything he could offer. By the way his fists were tangled in her hair, her leader felt the same.

Or maybe not. The kiss was broken and, slightly panting, Neji commanded with his stern voice. "Ino. Stop this."

Her heart felt like a smashed bug. "Why?" she managed through tight throat. And it sounded like a squeak in her ears.

He sighed, still tightly holding her hair. "Because we can't. Not yet. Not now. Even though I want you"-here his grip turned possessive-"...it isn't right to Konoha and our families. We're comrades on a mission and I'm your leader. Rules of my clan and Konoha Military Force do not allow-"

In silent understanding, she brought a finger to his thin lips. He got the hint at once and quieted down. Grip on her hair loosed and his hands went down to her back instead, pushing her into his muscular torso.

"Couldn't you... just for one night pretend that there are no clans, no rules...no Konoha? Only us?" Her hand drew circles on his body monotonously. He pushed her body even closer to his, his hand wandering to her waist.

""If that's what you really want...then I don't need to pretend. Because I'd sacrifice everything and break every rule for you, if needed. Besides," He slowly brought his head down to hers, his warm breath whispering last coherent words this night, "You're the only one who means something to me."

And this is it. Actions speak louder than words, true? True. But, when you combine actions and words, my friend, you'll speak in the loudest, most clear way.

And there's no way in hell your call remains unanswered.


A/N: Please review?