Government Warning: Cupcake Consumption is Dangerous to your Health

Note: Why, yes, I am aware of how the title of this shot has nothing to do with the story itself. Thank you for noticing. Moving on...

Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto. I own the stanzas in italics.

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Doves raised their bosoms within the golden pillars that took them captive peacefully. Cold, piercing metal of distaste that could not be broken by wings, fingers, beaks. Not easily, at least. Nonetheless, no one would take their time, wasting it into prying the bars open or pulling them off at the middle for openings.

But if the doves desired freedom so much, they could use the cage door, trouble-free to unlock with the tiny one-move lock. But there was no pride in their work, then. What kind of freedom would it be without the effort, without the pain, the effort, the dedication…?

She thought the same way. She had to be free.

O.o.O.o.O.o.O.o.O.o.O

An orange-rust sky brushed with full cottons of dandelion clouds shed its hue onto the people below. Everyone had the misconception that such heavens spelled more sun. True, that it was the sun was responsible for the tangy feel of the celestial. But was it its rising or its hiding or its setting?

It mattered very little. To Tenten, she was just grateful that the sky was not falling on her. She was wary, unsure of whether to regret this all her life or live without any more a remorseful life to lead and dusty memories to conceal, to stash away desperately. But all she could hear now the cheering of her stilettos against whatever was beneath her steps, telling her to run faster, the rustle of the fabric in her hands—clumps—with the lanky stems of the promised dozen lilies and roses in her hold, and the anxious thumping of her heart.

Everyone had some insane right to find her crazy this time, to "throw away the best thing that's ever happened to her". She only laughed to herself as the people around her stared at the veil over her head and the costly shoes she left like a Cinderella. Hair still neatly in buns, with strands disoriented somewhere, she just beamed her way through people, running through crowds, running through with tears ruining her make-up.

Who gave a damn if they followed her? They'd just be too stunned to move once she stops…

O.o.O.o.O.o.O.o.O.o.O

I know I promised to
Never come on that day
So I wouldn't have to fill myself
With comforting, tasteless lies,

If ever I should show up
And have nothing to say,
Just look at me one last time but,
Please don't mind the tears in my eyes.

It wasn't his first initiative, but Neji found himself catching his breath, darting like he was being chased—he was by time—and dashing like he was after his own life—he seemed to be. His locks got into the air, his sweat in his eyes, his gasps stuck in his throat. Nevertheless, his heart hopped like a blossom in springtime, his bones doing more than it could to move.

The once beautiful sky had taken on a grayish tone. Sundown was one time he never missed. He'd be home from his paper work and missions by then, and the sun would rear its glorious eyes below the mountains. It would be a relieving way to end the day, to realize that it'd still be gorgeous beyond the dilemmas of life. He listened to his conscience. For once, the moron wasn't telling him to be wise in deciding. His conscience had gone with his scowl.

One last time, he would not end the day with business and serious matters in his head. One last time, he would not be held by the lonesome sheets of his one-man bunk at the conclusion of another lifetime done. He needed this, this relief, more than he needed himself. It built him. It made him who he was.

The sound of shuriken and kunai in his pouches seemed like bells aching at his shins. Joyful bells. His heart called, but the answer was faint. He could feel her, too, yearning as much as he was. He has been waiting for this second chance, this second lifetime. He was not going to waste it. Hopefully, it'd be worth it. No, he thought, whether it comes to the time when I'd have to really bid an everlasting farewell, it will still be worth it…

He just had to see her one last time. Before goodbye.

O.o.O.o.O.o.O.o.O.o.O

She saw him first. And it was hard to believe. To think she was on his way to his home. And when their eyes met finally, she screamed out his name and forced her feet to move on. Race, she urged herself, race as if nothing would matter if you didn't! Slicing her fingernails into the layers of cloth she held, she held back any welling tears. But she wasn't strong enough.

As for him, he ran towards her, too. Seeing her in that white ensemble, in five layers of lace, without a ring down her finger. Thank Kami, he could only breath as his stone face distorted to one of emotions he could not understand. Was it this, he wondered, that she felt all these years, all this time? What suffering, he can only imagine.

In the middle of the street, where they finally reach other, they collide in the other's arms, grips too tight for fear of letting go and losing. The flowers she held scattered at their feet, not the least withered. In fact, they seemed to smile. For them. She was tired of pretending to understand how things were, how she could not have him, how she thought she couldn't. Diamonds just studded her cheeks.

The clouds cried with her, bathing the world in water. As citizens around them began to open umbrellas and rush towards the nearest shelter, they remained. It was as if not even the rain could touch them. In her sodden dress, now flat and drenched and pressed against the ground, Tenten just found protection under Neji's chin, forcing to believe that she would be under this sanctuary for eternity. Neji, on the other hand, watched humongous drops slither through everything. He saw a number trickle down his nose. He was sure that there were also tears in them. Forgiven by his pride.

From afar, from up close, their white-clad figures—a wedding dress and a Hyuga robe—against the other under the saddening rain seemed like angel wings. No, doves. Doused, majesty of dove wings closed together, saving each other from the world, the misery it offers. Her hiccups and his consolations dwelt into the shrill of the rain against the ground. But everyone could still hear that they were actually saying goodbye. A goodbye they'd never get the chance to say again.

A goodbye that would separate them.

"Now, that," an old man at the corner of the street hiding beneath an oak tree said, ribbing a comrade beside him, "You don't see that everyday. Two youngsters, professing love under the rain," He heaved a sigh, one of an experienced but loveless geezer, "Do you think that if I had married my woman, I'd be glad, too?"

The stranger he had jolted simply shook his head in cooperation, "Those two don't seem glad."

The old man smiled at his friend, clapping a hand onto his shoulder, "It's a short-term kind of happiness, pal," he mumbled, compassionate, "It wouldn't matter to them if they were despondent for the rest of their lives. As long as they didn't throw away that last chance they got, that very last once-in-a-lifetime, they'll be fine. They're just blissful inside that small world of theirs. Even for just now."

He was opposed of, "Look at them, sir. They're crying…"

"Tears of joy, don't you think?" the elder mused, "And of sorrow. Factors no one can fully and truly comprehend. Don't you think?"

The two men only beamed at each other. They had no more to say.

O.o.O.o.O.o.O.o.O.o.O

One last goodbye…
It's all I've ever asked for…
Then, maybe, after that,
I can forget and you'll
Beat me to that.

Hopefully this will make
Me change my mind.
Then I'll be able to
Sit down and pretend
To not have tears in my eyes.