Hello. Here is the final chapter of this story. Hope it's to your liking. An epilogue is to come in the near future.
"Did you expect him to just jump in your arms?" Hinata reprimanded from across the table. She had her arms crossed and her leg was tapping the floor impatiently.
"I sort of did." Neji said a little embarrassed that he was having that conversation with his cousin.
Hinata sighed. "Men." She said. "He's just going through the shock of finding out his friend and love interest isn't who he thought." She started to say.
"But we talked about it. He forgave me for it all. It was his idea to watch movies at his house. He was the one to slide up next to me." Neji defended.
"Did you think that he might have just wanted comfort or the familiarity of having 'Tori' back?" She asked. "Not everything is a sign for sex." She insisted.
Neji thought about it. He'd never felt this clumsy nor clueless. "I should take him something to apologize." Neji said and shut his eyes. This was so hard. That's why he never wanted to get involved. A ninja in love was a ninja lost.
"What an asshole." Sasuke said as he ate from Naruto's plate.
"He's not. I mean I kinda know what he was trying to do, but it just felt so wrong, too fast and even though at first I was enjoying it, after I saw him all over me I just felt gross. I didn't want him to touch me any more. I felt like some kind of slut." Naruto shuddered.
"You are some kind of slut." Sasuke teased to lighten the mood. "I had you in bed quick. I only had to ask once." Sasuke said and took another piece of food from Naruto's plate.
"Bastard, if you're hungry order your own food." Naruto said and pulled his plate closer to himself.
"I'm not that hungry." Sasuke said and reached over for yet another piece of Naruto's food.
"And sleeping in your bed doesn't make me a slut. I was sleepy and nothing happened." Naruto said after he caught on to what Sasuke was insinuating.
"Maybe you guys just aren't meant to be." Sasuke said and finally ordered himself the same Naruto had.
"I like him, Sasuke. He keeps saying he loves me and I just don't know." Naruto rubbed at his face.
"I think starting 'where you left off' or however he put it, wasn't the right way to do things." Sasuke said. "The truth is that regardless of who he is now and who he was before he was never the same person. He had to act as Tori. Even if he likes the same things and all that, he isn't Tori and he's never going to be. And that is who you're in love with." Sasuke said.
"That makes no sense." Naruto replied.
"You love Tori not Neji. Neji isn't Tori no matter how hard he tries. You didn't like Neji touching you so fast because he wasn't Tori and he is never going to be. There is nothing to pick up where you left off. You have to start all over." Sasuke said in a few clipped sentences and smiled when his food arrived.
Naruto always hated when Sasuke was right.
Neji knocked on Naruto's door. He had asked Hinata to wait up for him just in case he would need her healing chakra's help.
As he stared at the flowers in his hand Neji felt silly. He should have brought ramen. Just as Neji was preparing to leave the door opened.
"Hi." Naruto was the first to say. He looked a bit tired and like he hadn't slept.
"Hey." Neji said and promptly held out the bouquet of yellow and white lilies. "These are for you." He said and smiled at Naruto.
Naruto took the flower and held them. "Thank you." Naruto said and pulled open the door. "Come in." He said.
The calm was worrying Neji. He would have preferred a passionate Naruto punching him than this subdued one asking him inside.
"Are you feeling okay?" Neji asked.
"I'm fine." Naruto said from the kitchen. There was a vase and his flowers on the table in no time. That Naruto owned a vase surprised Neji.
"I wanted to apologize about what happened." Neji said. "I got carried away. I should have been listening to you. I just thought that since we were-" Neji stopped as Naruto waved him off.
"It's alright, Neji." Naruto said and took a seat next to him on the couch. "It's partially my fault." He said and smiled kindly at Neji.
"It is?" He asked.
"Yes. I never should have agreed to pick up where we left off." Naruto said.
"Wait. Wait. You don't mean that." Neji said in a panic. "I'm so so sorry. Naruto please, don't say that." Neji was finding it hard to breath as his eyes burned and his throat felt tight.
Naruto took a breath. "I talked to Sasuke and -"
"And whatever he said is a lie. He doesn't like me. Please, Naruto." Neji couldn't believe he was begging. Somehow he couldn't seem to mind enough to stop as his heart ached for Naruto. He would have done far worse than just pleading with Naruto to keep him.
"and he said that we didn't have anywhere to pick up from. Neji, I'm in love with Tori." Naruto said and shrugged.
"I am Tori!" Neji said. "I love you too." He insisted.
"You aren't Tori and you're never going to be him again." Naruto said and once again the calm voice he was using was only making Neji feel more on edge.
"What do you mean?" Neji asked.
"I like you Neji." Naruto said and blushed. He didn't know why but he felt his face heat up at finally saying it. "I always have. I liked you even after I knew what you thought of me."
"I don't think that anymore. Things are different now." Neji said.
"Maybe that's the good that came out of this whole thing. I liked you and now you know the real me and are willing to give me a chance, just like I wanted you to do at first. I want to give Neji a try now. I want to forget about Tori. He isn't here now and he won't be again. I want- I want you now." Naruto said and hoped he was making sense to Neji.
Neji nodded even though it sounded like a break up or a friendship request. "So, where do we go from here?" Neji asked with trepidation.
"We start again." Naruto said. "Neji, will you go out with me?" He asked.
"Of course." Neji answered with confidence.
Naruto smiled and Neji smiled back. He finally understood. Things couldn't go back to the way they were because things could never be the same again, but he was getting a chance to start over with Naruto and this time do it right.
Thanks for reading.