And this story's done!
Sorry for the delay but my muse's been a bitch lately.
Even though she had heard her male friends speak of the necessity of getting a cold shower when it came to calm down their bodies' urges, Sakura had never known exactly what it felt to really need one.
At least, up until now.
Turning the water just a little bit hotter, she sighed in resignation as she let the lukewarm liquid wash across her back. The cold water had helped her greatly, banishing all the jumbled thoughts that had been plaguing her mind as she made her way back to her apartment after training. Images of Neji's torso as he fought with Lee and the graceful way his body moved had been eagerly provided by her inner persona and the pink haired kunoichi had fought the onslaught as best as she could. It had taken all of her willpower not to turn around and throw herself on the Hyuuga right then and there.
But you wanted to do just that, didn't you? Inner Sakura pipped in.
'I told you a while ago to shut up!' she replied inside her mind.
I don't know why you hide it. You've felt attracted to him for some time now! You really should just go on and voice your attraction.
'I did say it, don't you remember? It was the blunder of the century!'
Her inner voice let out a dark chuckle. I'm afraid that doesn't count.
'Yes it does! He was there… he heard it all!' Sakura groaned out loud, leaning her forehead against the cold tiles of her shower wall.
You know how dense men are. You need to say it to their face or else they won't get it.
The thought of walking up to Neji and voicing her feelings was enough to make her heart start beating frantically and for her throat to start closing involuntarily. She'd had enough experiences of voicing her feelings for men… well, in fact she'd only had one experience, but it had been bad enough. She'd ended up spending the night unconscious on a bench while the man she loved walked out of her life forever.
She was never going to go through that again.
So you're just going to ogle and gape at the Hyuuga whenever you see him instead of doing anything?
'I've already been doing it for a while so it doesn't make a difference if I keep it up,' she replied sternly.
She could tell that her inner persona wasn't happy with that and before she could harden her resolve, she was bombarded by visions of a panting Neji, skin glistened with sweat while his silver eyes burned with desire.
Sakura turned the water down to the coldest it would go.
Her teeth started rattling after a few minutes and she was forced to turn off the shower in order to avoid a case of hypothermia. But she thought that suffering from the cold was worth the effort, especially when all the previous images of the prodigious Hyuuga were completely banished as her body went numb.
She guessed this sort of shock therapy was something positive. If her body learned to realize that every time it responded to the mental images of the ANBU Captain it would have to suffer the pain of a freezing shower spray, then maybe it would stop doing it altogether.
And you tell me I'm the one who's crazy Inner Sakura interrupted.
Patting herself dry quickly, the pink haired kunoichi wrapped herself in the towel and proceeded to walk out of the bathroom. Her cherry locks were still dripping with cold water but as she walked into her bedroom, she found that the late afternoon sun was shining through the window and day was warmer than she had expected. She sat down on the floor, directly beneath the patch of sunlight and allowed the golden rays to warm her up.
Letting the heat spread through her body, she forced her muscles to relax. She had been tense ever since she had walked away from the training grounds and it was about time that she unwound at least a little bit. Pulling her knees underneath her chin, she wrapped her arms around her legs and started breathing deeply, forcing the anxiety from her limbs.
She managed to keep it up for a while, enjoying the serenity that suddenly overcame her, but as the minutes passed, a sudden realization ran through her like electricity and she lifted her head up with a jolt.
She had forgotten to talk to Neji about his medical check up.
Dammit! How could she have been so stupid?
That just gives you an excuse to see him again!
'Shut up!' she exclaimed at her inner persona, completely serious.
Tsunade-shishou had asked her to hurry up with the updates of the ANBU archives and she had been neglecting her duty long enough. She really shouldn't let something as stupid as physical attraction to get in the way of her work and she berated herself silently for letting herself be distracted in such a way.
She was one of Konoha's top medic nins… she really should know better.
Hardening her resolve, Sakura stood up and walked up to her closet. She picked one of her most used outfits, red sleeveless shirt and black shorts, throwing the clothes on quickly. She hoped she would be able to get to the Hyuuga Clan residence quickly and get this whole business over with. Even if Neji wasn't home, she was sure someone would be able to tell her where to find him.
She combed her damp her back and tied her headband in place as she made her way downstairs, trying to locate her sandals among the living room. She found them next to the couch, where she had thrown them when she had come in desperate for a shower. Putting them on, she grabbed her keys and tied her shuriken pouch around her waist, intent on leaving immediately.
She opened the door and stepped out, thinking of the quickest route she could take to reach the Hyuuga estate…
…and came face to face with precisely the raven haired man she was in such a hurry to see.
His hand was extended in mid air, as if he had been about to knock on her door the moment she had opened it.
Sakura froze, green eyes wide with surprise. His black locks were damp, just like her own, evidence enough that he had just taken a shower. Neji was wearing one of the white long sleeved shirts he used to wear before he had become a jounin and she was suddenly reminded of their mission to Suna all those years ago.
Even though she had never said anything out loud, she had thought he had looked extremely handsome back then and it was that mission that had sparked her interest in him.
Startled silver stared into shocked emerald, neither of them saying anything as they stood there on the threshold of Sakura's door.
It was then that a soft breeze blew towards them and Neji felt it at its back, as if the wind itself was telling him to walk forward… to walk into her house and into her life.
As the cool wind reached her, the pink haired girl was immersed in the Hyuuga Captain's fresh smell. The scent of rain and forest was almost intoxicating and she vaguely wondered if it was the soap he used that made him smell so alluringly.
Neji would've been content to stare at her all day but he suddenly remembered his manners.
"I came to return these," he said after clearing his throat, lifting the black gloves he was holding in his hand.
Sakura blinked a couple of times, as if coming out of a daze. "Ohhh, my gloves! I hadn't realized I had left them."
"Well, you did leave in a hurry," he commented amiably and relished in the blush of her cheeks as she took the gloves from his hand.
"Thank you," she said, making no attempt to offer an explanation for her previous behaviour.
"I see you're going somewhere," he said, having decided to walk her to wherever she was going. He had a goal to achieve this afternoon and nothing or no one would get in his way.
"Funny you should say that," she replied, her lips turning up in a shy smile.
The ANBU Captain couldn't help but wonder at how beautiful she looked when she acted timidly. It was a complete contrast to the powerful and outgoing kunoichi he was used to and it was amazing to see how she had no qualms about showing her vulnerable side to others. It was as if she was even sure of her weaknesses. In that moment, he promised he would do anything in his power to protect that susceptible side she was showing him and would annihilate anything that might endanger her in any way.
"I was actually on my way to look for you," Sakura said, chuckling slightly in embarrassment.
The Hyuuga raised an elegant eyebrow in question and boldly took a step forward. "You were? And why would you go looking for me?"
It was an innocent enough question, but the way his deep voice rumbled as he spoke gave it a much deeper meaning. And he was doing it again! His close physical presence was starting to drive her senses insane. If she lifted her hand, she would be able to touch him but he always kept far enough away to prevent direct contact if they simply stood there.
And his scent… Kami-sama, his masculine and exhilarating scent!
'You're a trained medic nin, damn it!' Sakura shouted inside her mind.
"I was actually going to look for you so we can set an appointment for your check up," she finally answered, forcing her face into a calm mask. Thankfully, her voice gave nothing away and she was proud of herself for sounding so professional.
"I see," Neji said but made no move to put any distance between them. "When would you be able to see me?"
"Well, I really need to get it to it as soon as possible since it's urgent for the archives to be updated."
"You give me a time and I'll be there," the raven haired ANBU replied, compliant when it came to fulfilling his duty as a shinobi.
"I'm not doing anything right now," Sakura basically blurted out.
The grin he gave her was completely and utterly sinful. "I'm afraid I might have a problem with that," he told her.
"Oh, do you have other plans?" she asked, clearly disappointed that she wouldn't be able to get this task over with.
"As I matter of fact, I do," Neji replied. "You see, I was planning on taking you out for a cone of shaved ice. I saw the vendor down the street on my way over here," he finished, lifting his hand to point in the direction he had come.
Sakura almost choked at his statement and she ended up coughing slightly.
He was planning to do what?
She opened her mouth to speak but no words came out.
"What do you say?" he asked, that gleaming smile on his lips.
"Well, I really need to get this done…" Sakura replied, slightly confused.
"There were lemon flavoured cones," Neji told her innocently. He really didn't like to use her weaknesses against her, but given the circumstances, it was simply too tempting.
The pink haired medic couldn't believe what she was hearing. Here was Hyuuga Neji, Konoha's top and most responsible ANBU Captain, talking her out of performing her duties so she could slip away and enjoy a lemon flavoured cone (her favourite!) in his company.
It was completely and utterly ludicrous… but it was happening right in front of her eyes.
A smile crept its way to her lips when she finally realized something. He was asking her out on a date. It was a small, casual date, but a date nonetheless. And to think that a man who had been exuding so much testosterone a minute ago could be so intent on giving a girl a shaved ice treat.
The pink haired medic stifled a giggle. "I would love to," she finally answered, giving in.
"Good," Neji replied, his silver eyes shining. "If we hurry up, I think we can catch him before the children from the next neighbourhood begin their attack."
Sakura laughed out loud as she locked the door of her apartment after stepping out. "Is that the type of training you receive when you become ANBU?"
"Of course," he replied, humour in his voice. "You always need to stay one step ahead of your enemies."
"And children are enemies?" she asked, falling into step beside him as they started walking in the direction of the vendor.
"When it comes to shaved ice and ice cream they are," the Hyuuga prodigy said, feigning seriousness.
"If you use your byakugan on a five year old, the Godaime will have your head," Sakura replied.
They're mingled laughter echoed all the way down the street.
As she sat there on a bench near the edge of one of Konoha's green areas, Sakura idly wondered if she had slipped away into a world of illusions and daydreams. As much as she tried to put things together into a semblance of order, her brain simply couldn't reconcile the events she had recently experienced with the preconceptions she had harboured throughout her whole life towards the raven haired nin sitting next to her.
He was smiling… he was smiling like if he were just a little boy.
Hyuuga Neji, prodigious jounin and Captain, was grinning happily. He'd been doing so all through their encounter and the more he graced her with his alluring smile, the less she could pry her eyes away from it.
She'd always remember the first time she ever saw him, just before their first chuunin exam so long ago. He had been a perfect example of seriousness and professionalism, even at such a young age. His handsome looks hadn't gone unnoticed back then and Sakura had felt genuine concern for him when his family history had been revealed.
Things had changed significantly since those days, all thanks to Naruto, but even though Neji had opened up to others a great deal, he'd always had this reserve about him… a distance he placed between him and anyone who tried to get near him. He'd be polite and friendly but you'd never be able to get pass the threshold of his self-imposed guard if he didn't want you to.
And now, lo and behold! She was sitting next to him on a park bench, enjoying a shaved ice treat together while they amiably relished in each other's company. Suddenly, the events of the few past days were suddenly making sense to the pink haired medic and she berated herself for being so absorbed in her own denial to notice the way that Neji had been edging his way closer and closer to her.
As shocking as it may seem, he was inviting her to cross the barrier of the defensive armour he had created around himself willingly. It was a realization that slapped her right in the face and she was glad that she could feign interest in her cone to hide the flurry of thoughts running through her mind.
Sakura had been so caught up in her own issues that she had never really contemplated the possibility of having an actual relationship with the Hyuuga. Sure, she'd day-dreamed and wished but she never really expected it to go beyond that. Having spent so long trying to hide her feelings, the pink haired kunoichi almost missed the opening in Neji's demeanour, even when he had displayed it right before her eyes.
She would be ten kinds of fool is she didn't take this opportunity for what it was: a chance to fulfil the desires she'd had for months.
You need to make up for it, baka! Inner Sakura said as she nodded fervently. Only a moron would miss his signals!
Inwardly, the pink haired medic pouted at the insult but knew that her inner persona was right. She really did need to make it up to him for being such a dense idiot and for almost giving in to her apprehension. All the nervousness she had felt before was slowly dissipating since she now knew that her feelings were far from one sided… all she needed to do now was take the plunge.
And the knowledge that Neji would be there to catch her when she fell was enough to send a thrill of anticipation across her skin.
Sakura finished her cone with a satisfied moan, not missing the way silver Hyuuga eyes widened momentarily at the sound. Smiling mischievously and filing away that reaction for future reference, she edged her way closer to him on the bench until their legs were touching.
"Thank you Neji, that was delicious," she said, looking up at his face.
"You're very welcome," he replied as he gulped down the last of his own shaved ice cone. The slight flush that appeared on his cheeks at finding her so close was terribly endearing. But he composed himself in record timing and turned his intense eyes to look directly at her, no hesitation in his gaze. "I'd heard you were particularly fond of shaved ice cones."
"You heard right then," she said, still smiling. "It's one of my weaknesses."
"Hn," the raven haired jounin replied, leaning in towards her. He simply couldn't help but want to be as close as possible when it came to her. "I wonder what other weaknesses you may be hiding then."
Sakura chuckled at his comment, her voice a whisper as she leaned in his direction in return, their shoulders brushing. "I'm afraid a girl guards her secrets well… you're going to have to make an effort to find out."
The shameless grin he flashed her way made Sakura's knees weak for a moment and she was glad that she was sitting down.
"And what makes you think I won't enjoy that? Besides you forget a small detail: ANBU Captains are highly skilled when it comes to gathering information," he said.
She laughed openly at that, betraying only a small part of the nervous expectation that was suddenly engulfing her. "Don't worry, I haven't forgotten that," she said. "However, I have heard that a Captain's skills can sometimes be overrated."
Neji raised an eyebrow at that, silver fire shining from his eyes. "I'm afraid that statement is far from being correct."
"Is that so?" Sakura asked. They noses were barely touching now and she could feel his breath on her lips. "Are you going to prove me wrong?"
"I most certainly am," Konoha's top ANBU Captain stated, pride and arrogance in his voice.
He closed the gap between them then, letting his lips brush against hers softly, as if asking for permission. Never let it be said that Hyuuga Neji had kissed a girl without her consent. He tasted her answer a moment later as Sakura pressed her lips more firmly against his and swept her tongue softly across them. The Captain found his hand moving of its own accord as it made its way up her arm, caressing her gently, until he brought his fingertips to her cheek and held them there.
Sakura felt the goose bumps on her skin as his long fingers made their quick journey and a shudder of anticipation ran through her at the thought of what other kinds of caresses he was capable of giving. But her mind was brought back to the moment when she felt his tongue come out to meet hers and she tasted the orange flavour of the shaved ice cone he had been eating a moment ago.
Their kiss was gentle and sweet, not at all rushed or urgent. Of course, that didn't mean that it wasn't breathtaking. Neji's smell was once again sending Sakura's senses into overdrive and she thought that if she didn't tangle her hands in his hair soon, she would simply go insane.
But the onyx haired jounin had other things planned. Despite the fact that he wanted their kiss to deepen and for it to lead them wherever they wished to go, Neji was aware that it wasn't very gentleman-like to let it take place in the middle of the street. He didn't want strangers or known passer-by's to stick their noses where they weren't welcome and he wanted their first kiss to have at least some semblance of privacy. Especially with everything he intended to do afterwards.
Thus, in an amazing display of Hyuuga control, he broke their kiss and leaned back somewhat. The presence of people walking past and of children playing nearby suddenly tumbled into his awareness; he'd been so utterly lost in the feel of Sakura's lips that he'd completely forgotten about them. He made a mental note of that and he decided that he would need further training to avoid it happening again. It wouldn't do for someone, friend or foe, to sneak up on him when he was involved in this kind of pleasant activity. This, however, meant that he needed to practice kissing his pink haired love interest a whole lot more.
She was looking at him with slight confusion in her emerald eyes, as if she didn't understand why he had broken their contact. The slight flush of her cheeks let him know in no small terms that she had been enjoying their kiss as much as he had and he felt a momentary pang of guilt for bringing her pleasure to an end. He would simply have to make it up to her.
Bringing his fingers up to her hair, he brushed a stray lock of cherry hair away from her face as his other hand grasped her own on the bench. Neji brought it up to his lips and brushed his lips across her knuckles, kissing them softly before turning up towards her once more.
"You mentioned something about my medical check up earlier," he said casually… a little too casually at that. His shameless grin returned tenfold. "I think I might have some time for that now."
Sakura blinked away the cloud of contentment that had suddenly descended upon her with the after effects of his kiss and it took her a moment to comprehend what he was saying. But once she did, she matched his grin with a devious smile of her own and she chuckled at his unexpected, but welcome, forwardness.
"Of course. As a medic nin, my patients' needs always come first," she told him roguishly. "Where would you like to have your examination, Hyuuga-san?"
He raised his eyebrows at that and he leaned closer before speaking. "Well, your apartment is only a couple of blocks away."
She had to laugh out loud at that. "It is indeed," she told him and threaded her fingers through his as she stood up.
Neji followed her lead quickly and stood up in one fluid movement. Squeezing her hand tighter, he started walking back towards her home, Sakura at his side. In all honestly, he truly didn't care what the people around them thought when they watched them walk together down the street, hand in hand. It was actually good for them to find out really… it was good for them to realize that Hyuuga Neji had made his claim.
The walk back didn't take more than five minutes and when every step brought them closer to her door, Sakura couldn't help but shiver in excitement at the thought of what might happen once they were safely inside her apartment. Judging by his reactions, she had realized that Neji had kept their interactions to a polite level and she knew that he was actually holding back for the sake of propriety. She knew he had most likely ended their kiss for her sake and to prevent the gossip of their interaction from spreading like wildfire.
He didn't know, however, that if it had been up to her, Sakura would've straddled his hips while he sat on that bench right then and there, other people's opinions be damned. It seemed that she was going to have to teach him to loosen up a bit but she knew it would be difficult… especially with all that Hyuuga protocol that had been engraved into his skull. Nonetheless, she knew there was hope since the way he was behaving wasn't what one would call appropriate 'Hyuuga Clan behaviour' and if he already had a tendency to bend the rules, Sakura knew that a few pushes in the right direction would be extremely effective.
They reached her door and Sakura opened it for him, letting him go in first. Her theories of him holding back proved correct, in fact, when Neji pinned her against the door when she closed it behind her, his hands on either side of her head. He lowered his face to hers but refrained from kissing her just yet, letting his breath dance across her cheeks as he moved his mouth over her skin, barely touching her.
Sakura turned her head, trying to reach for his lips but he didn't allow it. He brought down one of his hands to her chin and held her there gently as he leaned in even closer and took her earlobe between his teeth. His breath in her ear sent a jolt throughout the pink haired kunoichi's body and she could feel the heat starting to pool low in her belly even with such a simply gesture from his part.
This man was going to be the end of her.
He released her earlobe only to lick his way down her throat, leaving a hot trail with his sinful tongue. Sakura could only imagine what it would feel like to have his burning mouth give its attention to other more sensitive places and she let out a low moan as Neji found the spot where her neck met her shoulder and suckled her skin gently.
She tangled her hands in his hair then, relishing in the feel of the black silk between her fingers as she untied his high pony tail and let his locks fall down upon his back. He pulled up then and the hand he had on her chin lifted her face up towards him as he finally lowered his mouth over hers.
And it was then that she realized how much she had needed it.
This was nothing like the kiss they had shared before. It was hot, pressing and needy. As Neji's tongue slipped between her lips, Sakura welcomed him like rain after a drought. His taste, his velvet softness as he brushed against her own tongue and explored her mouth thoroughly, made her knead her fingers even further into his hair, pulling him down towards her in an attempt to bring him impossibly closer.
It seemed that the ANBU Captain shared her desires and he brought down his left arm to wrap it around her waist, drawing her away from the door and up against him. Sakura could feel the toned muscles of his body through her clothing and she could do nothing but mewl in satisfaction as he brought his other hand down her side and under her shirt, his palm sliding over her bellybutton.
When his hand met her hot skin, Sakura couldn't help but arch her back in his embrace and he moaned approvingly as he continued to kiss her senseless. Neji moved his hand ever so slowly up and down her abdomen, making Sakura shiver with every pass of his fingertips. He continued to do so for what seemed like forever to her suddenly muddled brain but abruptly, she was bereft of his contact as he pulled away gently.
She voiced her complaint with a pout and a low whimper in the back of her throat but he simply smiled down at her, silver eyes smouldering as he took in her dishevelled appearance.
"You seem to be forgetting something," he told her deviously.
"What?" she asked, blinking several times in an attempt to regain her focus.
Neji pulled away from her then and walked into her living room, surveying his surroundings as if he were in no hurry. Sakura could only watch, completely mesmerized, at the way he moved with the grace of a cat, his hair a black river trailing behind him.
"Well, aren't you supposed to give me a medical examination?"
"Yes," Sakura replied, still standing by the door, her skin craving the contact he had taken away. "So?"
"Isn't the examinee supposed to take his clothes off for that?"
The pink haired kunoichi was about to voice something but her words were forever lost when Neji proceeded to take his shirt off in a single flowing movement. From one moment to the next he was standing, half naked, in the middle of Sakura's sitting room, loose hair cascading over his shoulders.
Sakura could only gape openly at the enticing picture he made.
"I've always been a cooperative patient," he said in a voice full of sin. "I'm in your hands, my medic nin."
And with that, he opened his arms, as if inviting her to come forward.
Haruno Sakura wasn't a girl that needed to be told things twice.
She ran forward and lunged herself towards him. As he caught her deftly in his embrace, she wrapped her legs around his waist and her arms around his neck as she proceeded to kiss him with all the passion inside her.
Neji lowered both of them to the sofa nearby after a moment and allowed her to thoroughly examine him, just like she had promised she would that day not long ago in front of a room full of people.
"Here you go, Tsunade-shishou," Sakura said the next morning as she placed Neji's folder upon the Hokage's desk. "My task is all done."
The Gondaime looked up at her former student and noticed something different about her. There was a shimmer around her that hadn't been there before and she was smiling more widely than she usually did. Arching an eyebrow, she regarded the pink haired medic curiously before taking Captain Hyuuga's folder and opening it, going over the information written there with the quickness of years of expertise.
The report had been signed by both examiner and examinee the night before, near midnight to be precise, and Tsunade's brow creased in confusion. She peered up at Sakura over the edge of the folder, only to notice a way too innocent look in her emerald eyes.
The Hokage simply had to smile at that.
"So, is Captain Hyuuga's condition satisfactory?" she asked, letting the girl standing in front of her know in no small terms that she was aware of the situation.
Of course, being her student, Sakura only turned to look at Tsunade with a mischievous grin and a dark chuckle. "It is more than satisfactory," she replied.
"That's good to hear," the Hokage replied with a smile of her own as she proceeded to add Neji's file to the large pile of papers next to her chair. "I assume we won't have any further delays with his check up results next time, will we?"
"Definitely not," Sakura answered, a smug look on her face. "I'm sure I'll be able to give you updates quite frequently actually."
"How frequently?" the Hokage asked, the wicked glint in her eyes matching Sakura's.
"Well, let me see," she replied, turning her head as if she were thinking deeply. "Maybe twice a night, at the very least?"
Tsunade nodded, looking suitably impressed. "Sounds acceptable."
"Hn," Sakura replied, her grin still in place.
"Just make sure you don't tire him out," Tsunade said, trying to feign seriousness. "I still need him for missions, you know."
With that statement, the pink haired kunoichi fell into a loud fit of joyous laughter. The Hokage couldn't help herself and joined in a few seconds later, making the occupants of the entire building wonder just what had made two of the most powerful medic nins in the world cackle in such a way.
Thanks for your patience guys! Hope you enjoyed this!