Disclaimer: Naruto and all Naruto related stuff is (c) Masashi Kishimoto. All OCs and original storyline/plot/imagination (c) of ME!!!!!
A/N: Hi! Yes, I know the last chapter was the last chapter… but because of all the wonderful feedback (and one person who shall remain nameless, saying that it was disappointing that thee story ended where it ended… which kind of hurt my feelings, but I could understand), I decided to write another chapter… an Epilogue… it took me a while cos I kind of got a bad case of writers block, but I finished it… I hope you enjoy it; though I still kind of preferred the pervious chapter's ending…
THANKS FOR THE REVIEWS!!!
"Remind me to say no, next time you ask me to come to Suna with you." Shinemuri irritably stated as he and Hitori hurriedly leapt from tree to tree on their way back home from the sand village.
"Hey." Hitori stopped, mid-stride; before turning back on the tree branch he'd landed on, to face the lazy Nara. "You owe me for having known who Tsuzaku-chan was the whole time and never telling me." The younger Hyuga twin reminded his best friend.
"Tch." Shinemuri scoffed. He had already tried explaining to the Hyuga, that he had never really known that it was his cousin Tsuzaku, who Hitori had seen that day at the festival. The description of the girl, as well as the fact that she disappeared without a trace, from a Konoha festival with Suna, had given Shinemuri reason to believe it was the flame-haired daughter of the Kazekage; but he had never been certain. "Probably saved your life…" He mumbled under his breath as he ran past Hitori.
"What was that?" The Hyuga questioned; apparently having not heard what the irritated Nara had said. Shinemuri was sure if his friend had, he probably wouldn't have looked as blissfully calm as he did at that moment.
"Hn." The Nara grunted. "Whatever." He dully replied. "I don't know why you go through all this trouble though." He added before following Hitori's signal to drop down to the forest floor to begin a brisk walk. "Sooner or later uncle Gaara is going to figure out why you keep visiting Suna. Is it really worth facing your death for a woman who keeps rejecting you each and every time?" Shinemuri pointedly asked; grateful for the break in their nonstop running; even if it was just going to be the usual five minutes.
"…" Hitori scratched his chin as he considered his friend's words. "She almost said yes this time." He optimistically pointed out.
"Tch." Shinemuri scoffed again; rolling his eyes in disbelief at his friend's unrealistic confidence. "After how many months?" He asked with a hint of cynicism.
"Doesn't matter how long it takes." Hitori unworriedly replied. "Eventually I'll win her over." He confidently asserted.
"And then?" Shinemuri questioned; certain he didn't need to elaborate on what he was referring to.
"Then…" Hitori began. "Then, I'll no longer need you to distract your uncle for me." He smirked as he noticed Shinemuri's back stiffen upon hearing his reply.
"You're really going to face him?" Shinemuri disbelievingly asked.
"When the time is right." Hitori nodded.
"And that will be…?" Shinemuri pressed; inwardly hoping that his continued questioning might distract Hitori from realizing that their five minute break had already passed.
"As soon as she agrees to marry me." Hitori smilingly replied.
The wide smile on his friend's face told Shinemuri that the Hyuga felt certain, when the time came, he would be more than capable enough to deal with the intimidating Kazekage; but Shinemuri doubted his friend had yet realized the full extent of how overprotective the red-headed Sand-Kage could truly be, when it came to his precious daughter. Nonetheless, Shinemuri knew his best friend well enough to realize that nothing he could ever say would stop him once he had set his mind to something…
"Haah." Shinemuri sighed. "Just be careful…" He whisperingly added.
"Huh?" Hitori turned, again, to face the lazy shinobi; who had fallen behind as they briskly walked through the forest floor. "You say something?"
"Nah." Shinemuri shook his head. "Hey…" The lazy Nara reluctantly called out as he leapt toward the nearest tree branch. "Weren't we supposed to be in some kind of hurry or something?" He changed the subject; getting tired of imagining how horribly dead his friend was bound to get himself, if he continued chasing after the troublesome daughter of the Kazekage.
"huh…?" Hitori stared confused at his friend. The glazed look on his face, (indicating to Shinemuri that the Hyuga had been thinking about Tsuzaku again), had slowly began disappearing. "OH YEAH!" Hitori jumped excitedly. "We've got to go!" He exclaimed, before leaping to the nearest branch ahead of Shinemuri and taking off running toward Konoha.
"Haah." Shinemuri sighed again. "Troublesome."
"No, wait! Gai-sensei! Lee!" Tenten ran toward the two green beasts, as her former teammate and sensei began moving two giant ice sculptures into the middle of Neji and Tenten's backyard. "They're fine where they are." Tenten exclaimed, as she attempted to stop the insane duo from 'assisting' her.
"Those two never change, do they?" A teasing voice from behind Neji called his attention away from his wife and former teammates.
"Oushi-san, Tereya-san." Neji startledly greeted the newly arrived couple; surprised to see them home early, from their most recent honeymoon adventure. "You made it."
"Well," Oushi smirked. "We couldn't miss Mai-chan's twenty-first birthday party, now could we?"
"Hai." Neji nodded. "Thank you for coming." He gratefully smiled at his guests. "Please," Neji began gesturing for the couple to follow him in, when a sudden chill ran up and down his spine, as a large shadow abruptly covered him from behind. "…" Neji visibly stiffened; knowing full well whose shadow that belonged to.
"ehehe." Oushi softly chuckled. "Looks like Gai and Lee aren't the only ones who never change." He quietly whispered toward his blue-haired wife.
"Oushi-sempai. Tereya-san." The looming shadow greeted his former teammates, before turning his attention toward the white-eyed ANBU Head. "Hyuga?" Ryoku addressed the younger man.
"Yes?" Neji turned to face his intimidating father-in-law.
"Where is my granddaughter?" Ryoku asked the white-eyed shinobi, as Neji attempted to recompose himself.
"She will be arriving momentarily." Neji informed the retired-shinobi.
"Someone was charged with distracting her during the preparations?" Ryoku inquired, as he looked around the crowded garden, observing everyone the kunoichi knew assembled; ready to jump out and surprise the girl as soon as she arrived back at the house.
"Hai." Neji nodded. "Her teammates arrived early this morning to take her away." He replied; following Ryoku's eyes as he scanned the surrounding crowd.
"I see one of her teammates has already arrived." Ryoku indicated toward the spiky-haired Akimichi boy, as Izuma stood beside his pink-haired girlfriend, patiently waiting along with the rest of the crowd for Mayuki to arrive.
"So it seems." Neji replied; slightly wondering why Izuma had arrived earlier than Nao and Mayuki.
"Hn." Ryoku scrutinizingly observed his son-in-law, as Neji attempted to conceal his agitation by taking a sip of the glass of water in his hand. "Is she dating the Rock boy?" Ryoku asked; breaking the short silence that had fallen upon the pair.
"…" The glass of water Neji had been holding in his hand fell crashing down onto the cement floor, shattering into tiny pieces as the younger man remained frozen in place from the shock of his father-in-law's blunt questioning. The sound of the crashing glass, silenced the crowd and turned their attention toward the pair, as Neji and Ryoku stood face to face in a near parallel moment to that which they had had many years ago when Neji first met the intimidating man.
"Mom, dad, I'm home!" Mayuki yelled out as she walked through the doors directly behind her father and grandfather.
The white-eyed man broke from his trance to quickly face the young kunoichi. "You're dating my daughter?" Neji incredulously addressed the startled Nao; who seemed to have forgotten to let go of Mayuki's hand, before the two walked into the backyard.
"Ahh…" The poor boy stiffened at the utter shock of seeing the expression on the quickly enraging ANBU Head's face; as well as the unexpected question. "umm…" Nao nervously began backing away, as he noticed the elder Hyuga and a now, equally enraged Ryuuken, both menacingly approaching him.
"Nao." Mayuki tightened her grip on the boy's hand, in what he had, at first, assumed to be support and encouragement. "Run." She whispered, before tugging at his hand and pulling him up to the rooftop with her. Instantly, the two took off running as fast they couple possibly go.
"GET BACK HERE!" Neji and Ryuuken yelled out in unison, before both of them jumped up onto the rooftop; quickly following after the runaway couple.
"Mayuki-san and Nao?" Lee disbelievingly rejoiced; falling into Gai's arms, in exaggerated tears of joy.
"Oh my dear students… first Neji-kun and Tenten-san," Gai tearfully began. "Now…" He chocked on the sentimentality of the revelation that all his students would soon be a true family.
"Oh lord." Tenten rolled her eyes in disbelief, at the sight of her former teammate and sensei's antics, as well as Neji and Ryuuken's overprotective behavior.
"KAITEN!" Neji and Ryuuken were overheard shouting from a distance; almost in unison.
"hahaha." Hitori burst into laughter from besides Matsumi and Shinemuri.
"What, you're not going to join them?" Matsumi asked; as if it was the most natural thing in the world to see her husband and father-in-law chasing off one of Mayuki's suitors, (which is was).
"Nah." Hitori shook his head as he continued laughing at the unfolding scene.
"Why not?" Matsumi asked; curious as to why the younger 'Terror Twin' wasn't living up to his former reputation.
"He already knew they were dating." Shinemuri uninterestedly responded for his friend.
"mhm." Hitori nodded in acknowledgement. "For about two years now." He added.
"And you're okay with that?" Matsumi stood astonished at the revelation; wondering if perhaps that meant someday Ryuuken would also outgrow his insistent need to protect his beloved baby sister (something which Matsumi worried might carry over toward their own child).
"Ah, don't worry." Hitori reassuringly smiled, upon seeing the blond kunoichi's right hand fall protectively over her growing midsection. "I don't think Ryuu will have enough overprotective jealousy left for anyone after Yu-yu." He remarked. "Then again…" He activated his Byakugan to see his father and brother fighting against Nao from a distance; the younger boy actually seemed to be putting up a good fight, though Hitori doubted it would last very long. "Hopefully, it's a boy though." Hitori smirked playfully.
"Sure," Matsumi scoffed; rolling her eyes as (what seemed like) an explosive tag went off in the distance. "Just what we need, another terrorizing little Hyuga boy…" She replied; rubbing her pregnant belly… hoping dearly for the child she carried to be a girl.
"Considering the parent's, I doubt it would make a difference." Shinemuri quietly remarked under his breath. "Haah. Troublesome." He sighed.
A/N: Eh… not sure if the ending was exactly any better than the pervious chapter… but at least I dealt with some of the issues people were asking about… anyway, Thanks again for all the reviews and the favorites… I was going to add more on the Nao and Mayuki relationship, but you know what, I thought it was a fitting ending to have Neji and Ryoku face off against one another one last time… and did anyone notice the parallel in that breaking glass scene?...
I'll make no promises, but I might, possibly, do a Nao and Mayuki oneshot in my NejiTen collection, but not for a long long time… I want to put this story to rest for the time being… Thanks again to everyone for reading and reviewing… XD