Just remember that it's not all what you think it is.


"What just happened?" Sakura's voice filtered down the staircase as she descended slowly, her eyes wary and eyebrows scrunched together.

"Ino's gone." Hinata sighed again, knowing that it was only fair for Sakura to know. "With Naruto."

Sakura promptly crouched down and burst into tears.

Cameras immediately zoomed in on Sakura who had her face buried in one hand as she tried desperately waving the cameramen away from her with the other. Tears streaked down her cheeks and created smears and unattractive blotches on her usually blemish free visage. It stunned Hinata to see Sakura, her tormenter and the bitch who had haunted most of her life, so vulnerable. Through her haze of confusion all Hinata could do was think that this was an act. This whole thing screamed dramatics and attention, something Sakura had depended on throughout her life like her own lifeblood, always needing the centre spot light.

Turning her head and snorting softly, Hinata did what she could to avoid crossing her arms and just walking away from the situation. Obviously Sakura's fit of attention craving was created with the secondary goal of pissing her off not just with what she probably hoped to be Sasuke's (non-existent) sympathy but the fact she was able to prove time and time again that she could get her way with a bat of an eyelash and a casual flick of her finger.

Nope. Not going to work this time, Hinata resolutely decided and merely stood there stalk still as Sasuke huffed quietly and reluctantly walked over to the seemingly distraught woman.

"Are…you okay?" He asked her in a voice Hinata didn't find exactly sincere and reached out a hand warily towards her shoulder.

Obviously Sakura didn't either as to the surprise Hinata was unable to hide, the former model jerked her arm back viciously and choked out a noise that was somewhere between a desperate laugh and a strangled sob as she hissed, "Don't. Just fucking don't." She stood up unsteadily and murmured in a voice so quiet and unsteady that it hid itself beneath her sobs, a voice Hinata could barely hear, "This just always happens doesn't it? Always fucking happens."

Hinata watched as she stood tall and rose above everyone on top of those stairs and was reminded why she had always been the queen bee throughout Hinata's life as she glared at everyone beneath her; not just because she was beautiful, or manipulative, but she was powerful. She could command attention with a simple narrowing of perfectly shaped and shaded eyes and people wouldn't even see it coming.

The tears now confused Hinata as they sprung up again in Sakura's enviously emerald eyes as she glared at Hinata with so much rage it seemed palpable in the air around everyone, an entity unto itself as it stalked around people's legs snapping at the light nerves on the tips of hair follicles. Her gaze shifted to Sasuke who in his mirrored confusion had stepped back next to Hinata and she murmured, "Don't you dare. I know what you're trying to do, and itwon'twork. I won't let it. I won't let you."

Hinata more felt than saw Sasuke stiffen with those words as his body went rigid next to hers, only the subtle scrunching of his eyebrows gave away what Hinata interpreted as a pained look. Now beyond confused and a little bit frustrated, Hinata snapped her gaze back and forth between the two before Sakura spun on her heel and dashed down the upper hallway to what Hinata remembered was the direction to her room. The last flash of her face that Hinata saw was one she recognized fairly well and had become familiar with it in the past year, that look that expresses that acute loneliness that could only really be described to feel like attempting to hold your breath for as long as possible so your heart wouldn't just shatter everywhere.

What the hell was happening?

Without thinking about it really Hinata bounded up those steps, not even caring if she was being followed by a stampede of cameramen all eager to catch a slice of the action. Doors flew past until she was suddenly in front of number seventeen, her hand already grasping the brass handle. Too late, several thoughts forced their way into her rational conscious as she swung that door open.

What the hell are you thinking?

Sakura is going to kick your ass. Remember that time she knocked that one girl from Sound High out with one punch to the face?

Lies remember, all lies! She doesn't mean those crocodile tears! She's doing this for attention!

No she's not; that loneliness she exposed, you can't fake that. You really can't.

Who cares! She's Sakura Haruno; she spent years making you feel like that. And she's going to kick your ass.

Seventeen's a stupid number to have as your favourite, you bossy bitch.

She really wasn't sure what she was going to find once she entered that room, but it certainly was not Sakura lounging on the leather couch coolly as if expecting Hinata's uninvited arrival, her ruined makeup still left untouched and eerie as her face never even betrayed the sobs and dramatics of before.

As the cameramen rushed in and blocked her escape, Hinata realised that perhaps this was a bad, bad idea and shifted awkwardly on her feet before croaking out, "Are…are you okay?"

"You know, I never hated you at first, not even back in high school." Sakura glanced down at her perfect nail beds and ignored the directed question completely. "You were annoying. So goody goody all the time, but really, I never even really disliked you, you just happened to get on my nerves."

Gee, thanks, bitch.

"But you know what really pissed me off?" She stood up as she said this and stalked over to Hinata who suddenly knew what it was like to know a bomb was waiting to explode right in front of you and there was nothing you could do about it. Sakura stopped a foot away from Hinata, her arm carefully placed on her hip as she tilted her head and laughed quietly. "You always played that poor little rich girl card. Poor me. Poor Hinata, she has that loyal band of friends and family who stood by her as she got teased by the big bad Sakura, poor Hinata never once had anyone else hate her before in her life, poor Hinata, she always gets the guy doesn't she?"

Hinata's jaw went slack as Sakura continued, her voice rising pitch by pitch as tears sprung back full force. "No, I didn't start to hate you until after high school when I realized just how much you seemed to take for granted. Oh, your father is 'disappointed' in you. That's a shame, because you know, none of us had that ever happen to us either." She spat sarcastically and approached even closer. "Butyouhadasister! You had that sister who worships the ground you walk on and you could fall back on through it all, you had a cousin who could take over your fucking business because your pathetic ass couldn't handle the responsibilities."

She lowered her voice and hissed, "You aren't the only heiress in this house."

And she suddenly remembered. Sakura was the heiress to her father's entire fashion industry. It was shy she was the supermodel she was. It was why Sakura had strived and somehow managed to receive unfailingly perfect grades throughout all of high school. A sense of inferiority and shame spread through Hinata. Sakura had the exact same issues to deal with, but she had won, she had won because she hadn't broken down like Hinata had.

Until now.

"So, first you take everyone's sympathy." Sakura continued, "Okay, I can deal with that. You have everyone's sympathy, but I have everyone's will. Let's face it; I could really have cared less at the time." She paused and stepped back slightly, letting Hinata breathe for one grateful moment before continuing her tirade, "But then you had to take Naruto."

At this Hinata was the one to pause as she examined her enemy since the tender age of twelve years old. Naruto? She heard the story from the man himself. Sakura didn't want him. Didn't need him.

"Don't look at me like that." Sakura snarled, "I may not have loved Naruto in the way you did, but he was one of my closest friends. He made me feel like I was the most wonderful person in this world." She looked wistfully at Hinata, and somehow she understood. You didn't have to love Naruto like that to fall in love with him. He just drew everyone in like the brightest fire. "He broke it off with me, those little flings, as soon as you guys started up. It didn't really hit me until the night he proposed to you he came over and told me he wasn't going to see me again. Ever. For any reason. He couldn't do that to you."

As much as Hinata's heart went out to Sakura for this (losing Naruto at that time…she couldn't imagine what it would have been like), her heart swelled for her faithful ex-husband, something that was somewhat smothered by the sense of disorientation she was experiencing at this entire surreal experience. Was Sakura…?

"And now, now you've taken from me my best friend." Sakura shrieked and would have probably slapped her had she not first seen the lamp on the table next to Hinata and hurled it off the stand, startling the terrified woman. "You've taken them both! You've had a life, had people stay with you." She trailed off in a sob and scrunched her shoulders in on herself.

She was. The impossible thought dawned on Hinata that yes, Sakura Haruno, was jealous of her. Jealous of her life and friends. Sympathy swelled in her chest as she reached over and lightly placed a hand on one shaking shoulder. Sakura was a bitch, but maybe she wasn't to everyone, and somehow, Hinata could somewhat understand and even accept why Sakura hated her. Without Neji, Tenten, Hanabi, Gaara, Naruto, somanyothers, she didn't know what her life would be right now. If she would have one.

Her hand was flown off as Sakura sprang back and clutched her fists into tight balls, breaths heaving out in her rage. "Don't you dare fucking touch me. You have no right to even pretend to feel for me." She straightened up, regal neck lengthening as she stared Hinata down. "Because I don't need it. You took my best friends, but you will not take my husband." She laughed suddenly. "You can't. I won't allow it."

With that she walked out of the room, brushing past a stunned Hinata and the cameramen. Distantly she could hear Kakashi congratulating Sakura, declaring the blow up reality TV gold.

The profound words Sakura muttered back were mimicked in Hinata's thoughts as the supermodel spat back, "Oh, fuck you."


Slowly, Hinata uncurled herself from the ball she had rolled herself into in the middle of her bed and peered around her shoulder to the doorway that had opened a crack. She closed her eyes again and turned back around, ignoring the askance of an invitation into her room. It wouldn't matter if she said yes or no anyways.

Proving her point, Sasuke opened the door fully to step in and closed it quietly behind him. The ceasing of his padded steps and the weight that pulled her closer down on the mattress next to a warm body indicated he had sat down next to her, keeping his hands to himself for once.

"Kakashi showed me the tapes." He said to the night table next to them as an explanation. When she didn't reply he continued, "Don't feel bad for her. Whatever you do, just…don't."

"…I stole Naruto from her." She mumbled into his thigh and turned her face further away. "I think I would feel better if he had been her boyfriend or something, but he was her bestfriend." She turned around and looked up at Sasuke, pressing her cheek against his leg further she bit her lip. "If…if someone told me I was never going to see Gaara, or Kiba, or Tenten again in the same way…I think I would hate them more than anyone too. I don`t think I would be able to forgive them ever either."

"No." He pulled her up by her shoulders and brought him close to his chest. "No." He repeated and pressed his forehead against hers, closing his eyes in a pained expression. "Please, don't let Sakura make you give in. What she lost…that was her fault. She is the reason she has lost her closest friends, not you." He nudged his nose against the side of hers encouragingly. "You care about everyone else more than you care about yourself. That is why you've had this…this perfect family and friends. She's never had that because there is no one she cares about more than herself." He sighed. "Just…don't take blame for her mistakes."

She stared at him, really stared at him. She was in a constant state of confusion about this man, even when she thought she had figured him out, he would do something to throw her off again. She mulled over this for a moment as he stared back steadily, sometimes he made her want to cry and scream, but it was times like this when he talked her through her self-esteem and exposed the part of him that wasn't multi-billionaire bachelor of the decade that she could completely understand why she had blurted out that she loved him back in Whistler.

Her lack of response seemed to unnerve him as he closed his eyes in defeat, unable to continue and fumble for words that would dissuade her guilt. It filled her heart with gratefulness, for his consideration, for everyone she had and loved… and for him. Slowly, she tilted her head and gently slid her lips against his, moving against them softly, oh so tenderly, thanking him for just being there.

He didn't deepen the kiss, he didn't even move his hands from the gentle grip on her shoulders. He merely followed her pace and poured back his reciprocated affection in the soothing and warm strokes of his lips and the thumb rubbing against her arm.

Dinner was an awkward affair to say the least.

Perhaps not that way to the cameramen, but the underlying tension of what had occurred earlier lingered like a stench. Sakura didn't even so much as look in the direction of Hinata as she played along and bantered with Sasuke as if nothing had happened before, something Sasuke painfully returned with little choice.

Was this what it would be like in the future? Hinata stared dully at her plate, wondering. Would she attend business lunches with him as the wife and be expected to laugh at the jokes he obviously loathed to make but was required to as part of his position?

Would she be able to?

The scraping of a chair against marble tile floor had Hinata glancing up at Sasuke who now stood before the two of them, a small smile on his chiselled face. "Sakura, Hinata." He gave a respective nod to the each of them. "It's been close to six months and we are down to you two. You've both shown me that you're both beautiful women who are equally deserving of being loved, but unfortunately," He laughed hollowly and gave an apologetic shrug. "I can only marry one of you."

Kakashi suddenly swept into view sporting a horribly clichéd striped top, beret and even a perfectly waxed and curled moustache carrying a silver platter in one hand. Hinata couldn't help but choke slightly on her water as she sputtered up in ill suppressed laughter at the sight, who the hell thought of this costume idea? Kakashi himself, no doubt.

"So for the next week, the final week," Sasuke sighed and grimaced at the sight of his executive producer in the ridiculous costume. "We'll be in the French Riviera." He pulled the top off the silver platter and produced for the two tickets for first class; one one-way, the other, a return ticket.

Haha oh my god I had to basically reread through this entire story to remember what was happening before writing this. I got to a point where I just hated it so much, I mean, I started this when I was fourteen ferchrissake, there are just so many mistakes and immature structures and themes that I wanted to just tear it all down. But you guys, you guys and your reviews mean so much to me. Like, I still had people reviewing to keep going after a two year hiatus from this!

I love you.


I won't promise frequent updates. But I promise I will finish this. Even if it does take me another four years.

(I swear to blog one day when the idea doesn't sound so painfully daunting, I am rewriting this entire thing.)

Love, love, love, love, so much love,