Hello, everyone.

I apologies, I have no excuses for how late this chapter is. Naruto is not the fandom at the forefront of my mind right now and is therefore a little more difficult to write. I have some of it written out on paper though, so I'll try to be quicker with the next update.

Disclaimers: Neji would still be alive so no.


Sky sat up in her hospital bed, staring blankly out the window, lost in thought. Her clothes had been discarded and replaced with a pair of scrubs. Without her mask and long sleeves, her mark was clearly visible, the black lines easily seen against her pale, ivory skin.

A knock on the door jolted her from her thoughts.

"Come in," she called without turning away from the window.

Sakura walked into the room, followed closely by Ino, Hinata, and Tenten. The pink haired girl walked over to the bed and laid a hand on Sky's shoulder.

"How are you doing?" she asked.

Sky tore her eyes away from the window, turning to face her friend. She saw the three girls behind Sakura stiffen at the sight of her mark, saw the horror that briefly crossed their eyes before they managed to hide it. She smiled sadly. "I'm as well as I can be," she answered softly. She peered around the medical ninja and smiled at the other girls. "Hey guys."

Ino walked forward and placed the flowers Sky just noticed she was carrying into a vase on the table next to the bed. Sky smiled when she saw what they were. Three white roses. Ino grinned at her smile. "I know they're your favorite," she said.

"Thanks, Ino," Sky said.

When Sky turned to the other girls, she saw that Hinata had activated her Byakugan.

"How do I look?" she asked the timid girl, already knowing the answer.

Hinata shook her head, a look of surprise on her face. "You have next to nothing left in terms of chakra."

Sky just shrugged, this wasn't news to her. "No surprise there."

Tenten placed her hands on her hips, a look of realization crossing her face. "So this is why you've been training with Lee," she said.

Sky nodded. "Lee's training is completely focused on taijutsu. It's all physical and doesn't require a single drop of chakra."

Tenten's jaw dropped. "You mean you kept up with him without using any chakra?"

Sky blinked. "Uhhh…yes?" she said sheepishly, rubbing the back of her neck.

Tenten just stared at her, as did the other girls. Sky couldn't help but laugh at their expressions. Her laugh caused the atmosphere shift, the tension finally lifting. The girls all crowded onto her bed and they hung out, doing nothing but talk and gossip like friends.

"By the way, where's Kiba?" Sky asked after an hour or two. She had been in the hospital for about five days now and Kiba had visited every single one of those days. Except today.

Sakura grinned. "I told him he wasn't allowed," she announced smugly, "Today is girls only!"

Ino clapped her hands together and smirked mischievously. "Speaking of Dog-boy," she said, "Now we can get down to business."

"What kind of business?" Sky asked warily. She had a feeling she wasn't going to like where this was going.

Sakura and Ino grinned. "Boys!" they exclaimed in unison.

"More specifically," Tenten continued, pointing a finger at Sky with a knowing gleam in her eyes, "Boys and you."

"Me?" Sky asked, looking to Hinata for help. The shy girl just grinned timidly and shrugged.

"Yup!" Ino chirped, "We all know you have a crush."

"On someone you've known since you were little," Sakura said.

"Who loves dogs," Tenten added.

"And who happens to be on my squad," Hinata finished softly.

Sky blushed and looked away from them, refusing to make eye contact as she fidgeted with her sheets.

"Are we getting warm?" Ino asked with a smirk.

"Uh…I really…don't know what you're talking about…" Sky tried to deny. Her friends just stared at her. She sighed and her shoulders slumped. "Is it really that obvious?"

"Yes," they all said.

"To us at least," Tenten said.

Sakura nodded. "Boys are notoriously stupid when it come to this kind of thing."

"They never notice," Hinata mumbled in agreement, "Or, if they do, it takes them a very long time."

Sky sighed. "I don't really think that's the issue here, guys."

"Eh? Why not?" Ino asked, "You like him don't you?"

"Well, yeah," Sky said.

"So go tell him!" Tenten exclaimed.

"Well Kiba's not here at the moment and I can't exactly go find him," Sky drawled. Tenten rolled her eyes. "Also, I don't think it's such a good idea," she finished softly.

"Why?" Hinata asked. "I know that he likes you back, we all do."

"It's not that," Sky said, shaking her head, "I know he wouldn't reject me. But that's the problem. If I confess, wouldn't that just make it hurt that much more when my time finally ran out?"

The girls fell silent, finally understanding Sky's problem.

"But wouldn't you regret not telling him more?" Sakura asked quietly.

Sky stared at her hands, tightly gripping the sheets as tears started to stream down her cheeks. "Yes," she choked out, "I would."

"Well that settles it then," Tenten said and Hinata grinned.

"Before the month's up, you're going to tell him!" Ino cheered.

Sky couldn't help but laugh at her friends.