I know I'm early, but I wanted to get this out of the way before the idea left me. No time for idle chit-chat, I'm not supposed to be on the computer! Read, Enjoy and Review.

The Bundy Syndrome


Phase 4

Something was definitely not right – he could feel it. Everyone was going on as if a killer wasn't out there but Shikamaru was more than aware of its presence. He knew it was lurking around, blending in with normalcy so perfect it was almost undetectable. It couldn't hide much longer though; he knew where to find it. He knew its disguise and saw right through it.

He knew he had to tell someone what he had picked up on, but he couldn't go around accusing it without proper proof. Because of who it was, it would be hard for anyone to believe him. It was preposterous even – he had also had a hard time believing it too. The monster had the perfect cover up, the perfect ruse to hide from the world; no one would ever suspect sweet and innocent Hyuuga Hinata.

The police claimed to be doing everything they could to find the murderer, but it had been three months since the pinkette was slaughtered in her apartment. Many were staring to believe that the police would never find out who it was. He had heard his father and some of the other men on the force discussing the case but none of them had any leads. They had tracked down all the people they thought might hate the pinkette enough to wish ill onto her but none of them gave them anything they could truly work with. The fact that they hadn't even considered the Hyuuga princess pissed him off, though he could understand why they hadn't. Who would? The girl seemed so small and fragile, he was willing to bet money she had never even been with a man. The whole thing was frustrating. She was the perfect murderess. Or else she would have been had he not figured her out. She was clever, he'd give her that, but it was only a matter of time before she was figured out.

The day was bright and sunny, contrasting Shikamaru's thoughts. He found himself with his two closets friends – Chouji and Ino – resting in the park. The three of them laid on their backs, staring up at the puffy balls of smoke in the sky, watching as they drifted slowly. It was silent between them save for the occasional crunch Chouji and his chips made. They had been there for quite some time, relaxing under the warm sun.

"It's still weird," Ino said.

Shikamaru and Chouji didn't have to ask what she meant by that. The only thing anyone had been able to think about was Sakura. Letting go was hard; they all learned that in the months that followed her death. None of them had really known how much a part of their lives she truly was until she died. It was like a part of them had died with her, lost with her soul.

"Yeah," Chouji said, resting the bag of potato chips beside him.

Shikamaru gave no comment. Often he had wanted to express to them his ideas on who was responsible for their friend's death, but he knew it was better not to. The town would have a hard time acknowledging that the murder was none other than the sweetest girl any of them had ever known. She was so meek and quiet, always blushing and stuttering and falling all over herself. The fact that she had actually murdered someone and covered herself so well only led him to believe that she was smarter than any of them had given her credit – she was the most vile human being as far as he was concerned.

"Her birthday is coming up," Ino mentioned, playing idly with a strand of long blonde hair.

Chouji turned his head to look at her. "You planning something?"

Ino nodded. "I wanted to have a party for her, at her place. I'll need to clean it up first."

"Isn't there police tape still around it?"

"No, they took it down a long while ago."

"Need any help?"

The blonde seemed to think about it for a moment then shook her head. "No. I want to do this by myself."

Chouji didn't argue with her on it. He knew all too well what this would be like for Ino. She wanted to reflect on her best friend by herself, get over her death and if cleaning up her apartment was the way to do it then he'd let her. And when she fell apart, he'd be there for her as always.

Shikamaru listened to his friends in silence, giving no comment. He simply laid on his back, watching the clouds as his thoughts began to turn. He had to find a way to expose Hinata for the monster she truly was. He needed to do this for Ino, for Sasuke, for Naruto – everyone. They all needed closure. But if he pounced on her now with no real proof, they'd all attack him. No one would believe him – sometimes he didn't want to believe him. But it was true. Hinata was a wolf in sheep's clothing and she needed to be brought to justice and if it was the last meaningful thing he had ever done with his life, he would expose her. He would see to it that she was given whatever inhumane punishment she deserved.

Things with Sasuke were uncertain. The Hyuuga was sure she wasn't his girlfriend but was more than his friend. After she had lost her virginity to him he hadn't touched her like that again, however he did kiss her when no one looked. It was frustrating to an extent, but again she reminded herself that she needed to be patient. She couldn't rush his love, it would be more meaningful if it came about on its own. That of course didn't stop her paranoia.

It had been months since the beast – Sakura – had been slain and the police had yet to pick up on her. It was only by luck that they hadn't found her yet. She had been so sloppy, so careless. She hadn't even dumped the weapon. This had worried her, why had she been so lazy? It wouldn't have taken much for her to get rid of the knife. She had tied it up and stored it in the closet. It was only a miracle, an act of God's kindness, that the police had been so stupid as to not find it.

But God doesn't grant the same gift twice, Hinata told herself. She would have to go back there and get rid of it. It was risky, going back for the murder weapon – hell, going back to the crime scene was risky. It would look suspicious if she randomly showed up there. She would have to come up with a good reason, something without any holes in it. She couldn't risk becoming a suspect.

The princess found herself walking around the familiar halls of Sakura's apartment building. It smelled the same as it had that night, like fresh paint and air freshener. She ignored the strong scent and arrived in front of the pinkette's door. She stood there for a while, flashbacks of that night skipping through her memory.

She knocked softly a few times on the oak door. A few minutes rolled by before it finally opened to reveal the tall, lanky pinkette. She looked surprised at first to see the Hyuuga princess, but her expression soon changed to a pleasant smile.

"Hina-chan, what are you doing here?"

The princess nibbled her bottom lip softly, looking down and blushing a bit. "I n-need your help with something…"

Sakura was silent for a moment before a sly grin tugged at her lips. "Is it about Naruto?"

Hinata's face turned beat red and her eyes watered slightly. Sakura couldn't help but giggle at Hinata's cute expression. She was always so shy when it came to Naruto. "Come in," she said to her, standing back and allowing the small girl to walk in.

Hinata blinked a few times, pushing the thoughts away as she turned the handle on the apartment door. It was open, but the landlord had yet to put it up for sale. No one wanted to rent it when they knew a murder had taken place in it only a few months ago.

The murderess walked in and examined the room. It was the same as she had remembered it. There were white sofas with pink throw pillows, a glass coffee table with a black mug on it. A large TV was mounted on the wall above a shelf with a few pictures of the pinkette with Ino and a few others with her, Naruto and Sasuke. Turning down the hall she found a coat rack that she hadn't noticed before with a tan rain coat hung up and a black umbrella beside it. She ran her small fingers over the rain coat, noting how expensive it must have been. Flipping it over she found the Gucci interior. The murder took it down and tried it on. It would have been long on her, but her large bust made up the difference so that it fit perfectly. Leaving it unbuttoned, she continued on her journey through the apartment, looking around at things she had missed before. It was ten minutes before she heard the front door pushing open again.

Her pale, white eyes widened in fear. Who the hell would be coming her? Hinata panicked, her eyes darting around as she considered hiding. But then she remembered her excuse; she had a reason to be here. That's right, she was looking for a pair of shoes she had loaned to Sakura, she only wanted to get them back. Yes, everything was okay.

She walked out to the living room again, but not before hanging up the Gucci raincoat, to spot Ino coming in.

The tall blonde was dressed in a gray, cotton dress and pink and white wedges. Her blonde hair was curly and she wore just a few hints of make-up. When she spotted Hinata, she stared.

"Hina-chan? What are you doing here?" she asked, shutting the door behind her.

"I w-was just l-looking for a p-pair of shoes I l-l-lent Sakura-chan."

Ino looked at her. "Wow really? You couldn't have just left them?"

Hinata blushed. Why couldn't it have been anyone other than Ino? The blonde was such a bitch. Hinata didn't know how on earth anyone put up with her. Sakura was annoying, but her blonde friend took the cake.

"I n-needed it…" she said softly, looking down.

Ino kissed her teeth. She never liked Hinata, not really anyway. She was such a goody-goody, always doing what was right. To be honest, Ino thought she was impossibly boring and dull. Nothing stood out about her except for those huge knockers. Really, she was a waste. She could do so much with her looks but instead hid behind that long hair of hers.

"You and Sakura don't have the same taste," she remarked.

Hinata bit her tongue. The verbal lashing she was ready to unleash on the blonde would not have been pretty. If she wanted to maintain her innocent persona, she would have to put up with whatever snide comment that left the blonde's mouth.

"I doubt she would have wanted to borrow anything of yours. What are you really doing here?" she questioned, setting her bag down on the counter in the kitchen.

"I-I told you…" Hinata answered her, pushing her index fingers together.

The blonde kissed her teeth. "That wasn't the truth, was it Hina-chan?"

Hinata swallowed past the lump that had lodged itself in her throat. "I-it is."

"You're probably here to steal some of her stuff so you can move in on Sasuke, I've seen the way you look at him now. You're probably glad Sakura's dead, aren't you? No one to get in your way now, huh?"

Hinata stared at Ino. It was obvious her accusations were coming from frustration; she was hurting and missing her best friend. Hinata however, couldn't let that get in the way of what she was here to do. Tears bubbled in her eyes, sliding down her cheeks slowly. She looked down at her feet, and rubbing her eyes, sniffling softly.

"Oh, boo hoo. In this world, nobody cares if you cry Hinata. Grow up," the blonde snapped, her brows wrinkling together.

Hinata turned and ran back, heading for the closet. Ino followed her, watching as she opened up the coat closet and dug around the shows at the bottom. "What are you doing?" Ino questioned, tugged at Hinata's arm.

The princess let out a soft cry as she was pulled up, a tiny black bag in her hand. "I-I'm g-getting my shoes. L-let me go," she sobbed, more tears sliding down her face as she pulled at her arm.

The blonde tightened her grip, pulling the princess to her more. "No you're not. What's in the bag, Hinata?" she questioned her.

Hinata shook her head. "Sh-shoes. Ino-san, y-you're hurting m-me," she sobbed softly.

Ino frowned. "Stop lying. What are you hiding," she demanded, tugging on the princess more.

"P-please, stop," Hinata cried.

Ino ignored her and ripped the bag from her hands, letting the princess fall to the ground with a soft thud. Tearing the bag open she spotted the butcher knife, dried blood crusting on it's blade.

"What the fuck is this, Hinata? What is it," she screamed, dropping the bag on the ground and pointing at it. "Tell me. What the fuck did you do?"

Hinata was silent for a long while, drying her face with the dark blue sleeve of her cardigan. "It's a knife," she answered, her voice steady, no trace of a stutter or that she had been crying.

Ino was silent; her eyes narrowing and tears burning the back of her eyes as she watched Hinata standing to her feet. Her expression was different, not that same sad face she had on before, or the shy or embarrassed one she usually wore. This expression, this mask, was different, unlike any she had ever seen.

The murderess pushed a few strands of hair from out of her face and with the pink scrunchy on her wrist, she pulled her hair up into a ponytail.

"You should have just let me leave, Ino-san," she mentioned, picking up the bag and pulling out the knife. "I never intended on hurting anyone else, but you wanted to be difficult."

Ino took a few steps back before running towards the door, trying to get around Hinata. The princess caught her around her waist and pushed her back, sending the blonde to the ground. Ino looked up at her in horror – she was a lot stronger than she let on. She was a lot different then she let on. She never would have suspected Hinata of doing such a thing. She would have laughed if anyone had told her that Hinata was a killer, the idea was just plain stupid – laughable. Hinata was always so quiet and shy, jumping at the sound of a mouse; she could never, ever hurt anyone. That didn't stop her heart from pounding in fear, or sweat from beading on her forehead.

"D-don't come near me you psycho bitch," Ino warned, crawling back as Hinata began moving close to her.

A smile tugged at her lips, a smile Ino had never seen Hinata make. Under any other circumstances, she would have thought that smile made her look pretty, but now she looked like a monster. "I'm not the bitch, Ino. You are," she mentioned.

Ino frowned and spat at her, standing up on her feet, ready for a fight. Hinata looked at her, cocking her head slightly. She never thought Ino was the fighting type, sure she got into catty girl fights, but this sort of fight would mean life or death. A simple hair tugging wouldn't solve this.

"You're not serious are you?" Hinata asked, amusement laced in her voice.

Ino only continued to frown and spat at her again, this time the spit landing near her feet. "That's disgusting," Hinata said, frowning at the blonde.

Ino, deciding it was now or never, lunged herself at the blonde, swinging and missing her face. Being the heiress of a mega corporation meant Hinata was the target for many kidnapping attempts. Her father, though difficult, loved his daughters and nephew and had them all study martial arts as a means of self-defense. Hinata hadn't been the best at it, but she had learned enough to be able to duck and block a few attacks whenever the need presented itself. She easily twisted her way around the blonde, laughing at Ino's futile attempts.

"Stop laughing you bitch," the blonde growled, reaching for Hinata' neck, but the princess was too fast.

When she reached for her, it gave Hinata the perfect opening to stab deep into her side with the knife. Ino was silent, her movements still. She looked down at her side where the knife protruded from her skin and bile rose in her throat. Unable to hold it in, the blonde lost her lunch all over Sakura's white carpet.

"She did the same thing," Hinata mentioned as the blonde crumpled to the floor, holding her side.

She struggled to breathe as she laid there, her blue eyes staring at the knife and soft sobs of pain rolling out of her throat as her hand closed around the knife's handle.

"Let me help you," Hinata said, brushing the blonde's hands away and ripping the knife from her side.

That's when Ino screamed. Her blue eyes rolled in the back of her head as blood gushed out, staining her gray dress and the white carpet.

"Oh, don't be such a big baby," Hinata said, studying the fresh blood on the blade.

"Bitch…" Ino hissed, spitting at her again.

Hinata turned her white gaze onto the blonde, no more of her pervious amusement there. "That's the third time you spat at me. I'm going to kill you."

Ino's heart stopped then started up again. It wasn't until just then that the idea that she was going to die hit her. She was going to die, just as Sakura had. Hinata was going to kill her.

"Please…" Ino begged softly.

"Didn't I say 'please' to you too? Did you let me go when I asked you?" she patronized her, squatting down beside her and wiping the blood off on Ino's face. "Why should I be nice to you?"

Ino began to sob, tears sliding down her cheeks and mixing with the blood. "Please Hinata. Please don't kill me," she cried, her eyes shutting.

Hinata was silent for a moment or two, pressing the blade against Ino's arm, not hard enough to penetrate but enough to cause some pain. "Why? You were never really kind to me. Even when you walked in here you were being rude. Why do you deserve to live? Aren't there enough bad people in the world?"

"I'm not a bad person, Hinata. I'm n-not," Ino sobbed, her eyes opening and pleading with her.

"What nice thing have you ever done?"

"I volunteer d-down at the homeless shelter," she said softly, sniffling and trying to ignore the pain in her side and on her arm.

Hinata clapped her hands together in mock congratulations. "You only do that because it makes you feel better about yourself."

Ino sobbed hard, her body shaking. "Hinata! Please! Please don't do this," she cried. "I won't tell anyone. I swear, I won't tell anyone about Sakura!"

"Sakura? Tch. No one would believe you anyway."

Ino sobbed again. It was true. No one would believe Hinata killed the pinkette. There was no way she would do something like that. It didn't add up, made no sense.

"Hinata, please…! Please don't!" she cried, but it wasn't enough.

Without wasting anymore time the murderess took the knife and plunged it into Ino's neck, finally shutting her up.

It was quiet, the same daunting silence from when Sakura was murdered hovered over them. Another one of their friends had been killed and in the same place. It was like the world was falling apart around them.

"Ino too? This is just fucked up," Kiba hissed, brown eyes narrowing.

The group of men – and Hinata – nodded their heads.

"Killing not once but twice is unforgivable. The very idea that the killer returned to the crime scene is disgusting," He continued to rant, anger showing on his face.

"It's true, it's getting out of hand now," Naruto mentioned, folding his arms across his chest.

Hinata studied him. His blue eyes looked tired, as if he hadn't gotten much sleep the night before, and his blonde hair was messy than usual, signs that he had been pulling on it. Her eyes shifted to Sasuke who's expression looked grim. She could see the wheels turning in his head, she'd kill – no pun intended – to know what he was thinking.

"The police aren't doing enough," Kiba went on to say. "They're not looking at the right people, at all the evidence!"

The men nodded.

"There's a serial killer out there, he's picked off two of our friends already, how many more is he going to take?" Shikamaru's voice came.

The group turned their attention on him. He hadn't said a word the entire night, neither he nor Chouji. They had known Ino the best, they were her two closest friends other than Sakura and many had assumed she and Chouji were together. The round man's face looked drained, his eyes tired and red from what they all suspected was lack of sleep and tears.

Hinata couldn't say she felt bad for Chouji. If anything Chouji should be thanking her. The woman wouldn't even acknowledge their relationship because Chouji was fat. That kind of shallow person didn't deserve a nice guy like him. The way she saw it, she did him a favor – with Ino out of the way he could find someone who would treat him better, someone who didn't care if he had a few extra pounds on him.

Her eyes lingered for a while longer before drifting to Shikamaru who had been eyeing her. Their gazes locked and a chill went down her spine. He knew. Hinata didn't know how she knew he knew, but he did. It was obvious. The way he looked at her, sized her up, she could tell he was suspecting her. She wanted to tell herself that no one would believe him, but Shikamaru was a genius, is words would carry some weight if he brought her up.

I'm not scared of you, she thought silently to herself, staring back at him before his gaze shifted away.

"The killer could be after more of us if not all of us. It's our job to think of all the people who might have a grudge against us – don't eliminate anyone because you think they couldn't possibly do it," he continued, his gaze shifting to Hinata then back to the group. "Anyone who you might have pissed off, anyone who Sakura or Ino could have pissed off."

The group fell silent. It was then Hinata decided that she could have some fun with this.

"I-Ino-san a-and Saku-kura-san were s-so nice… who would w-want to kill them?" she stuttered out softly, tears building up in her eyes.

The men in the group all turned their eyes on her. All this death was probably eating her alive. Their poor, sweet Hinata had to deal with far too much.

"Don't worry Hina-chan, they'll find who did this," Kiba said, coming up to her and allowing her to hold his hand.

Sasuke, who had been silent the entire night, cleared his throat, noticing the physical contact the two had made. True, he had avoided showing his affection for her around everyone else, but that hadn't meant he wanted others to do it. He felt as though he was the only one who had the right to touch her, she was his. And she knew it too because as soon as she noticed his eyes on her she let go of Kiba's hand. He folded his arms over his chest, looking away from her.

"I h-hope so," she said quietly, looking down and worrying her bottom lip between her teeth.

"Me too," Shikamaru chimed in.

Hinata looked to him then back down before standing up from her seat on the couch in Naruto's apartment. "I'm g-gonna head home."

"Let me take you," Kiba said. "We don't know who the killer will come after next."

Sasuke kissed his teeth, taking her hand and pulling her to him. "I'll take you."

It wasn't a suggestion, something she could

negotiate. He would be taking her home. The princess nodded her head, flashing a small smile at Kiba before being pulled away by Sasuke.

He brought her outside, stalking down the street towards his car before letting go over her and slowing down. It was silent between them for a long while before he finally spoke.

"You and Kiba," he started slowly. "What's going on?"

Hinata blinked a few times, trying to understand what he was talking about? "Wh-what do you m-mean?"

He rolled his eyes. "I figured out that there was nothing between him and Sakura – but I've seen the way he looks as you. Don't pretend you don't notice it. What's going on?"

He was right, she did know how Kiba felt – but that didn't mean there was anything happening there. "N-nothing… he's my f-friend."

Sasuke stared at her, brows crunching together. He couldn't very well tell her who she could and couldn't be friends with, but God he wanted to. He hated the way other men looked at her; only he had the right to look at her.

He suddenly found himself crushing his lips against hers, pulling her small, soft body against him. Her small hands slid up his back and clung to his shoulders as she pushed herself to her tip-toes, returning his kiss. He sighed against her lips, feeling all the stress from recent events melting away. She was perfect, his little piece of heaven. Ever since he had allowed himself to want her and to have her he had been less tense. He felt at peace with her, as if everything would be okay as long as no one took her from him. Slowly, she was starting to become the only thing that matter to him.

He broke their kiss, watching as her eyes slowly rolled open, her minty breath falling against his lips as she fought to catch her breath. He brushed her bangs back from her face to truly look at her.

"You're mine. You know that right?"

A pretty smile tugged at the corners of her lips. "Hn."

Phase Four : Complete.