Author's Note: To my GOL readers; I know I have to finish the gift of life and I promise I will. This little piece and the holidays distracted me but the next chapter will be up soon. As for this one-shot I hope you enjoyed it. I really liked writing and I couldn't get it out of my head. I had to write it down. So if you like it let me know. Their age isn't all that important but let's say that they are in their 20's or so.

Disclaimer: I don't own anything to do with Naruto.

On an average Wednesday morning Sakura and Naruto were walking down the road together, just as they did almost every morning. Naruto was on his way to the training grounds and Sakura was on her way to the hospital. Naruto finished downing his milk carton and Sakura finished her coffee.

The hyper blonde stretched his arms over his head and then folded his hands to support his neck. He looked over to his teammate curiously. For ages now she had been floating on cloud nine, and there was only one explanation. She started dating Hyuuga Neji about a year ago, and ever since then she'd been happier than he'd ever seen her.

It was not that he did not want to see her happy. He just did not get it. The man was a block of ice! Logically this happiness should not have had anything to do with the Hyuuga but it would seem that logic didn't have anything to do with it this time.

Every explanation he could think of led him back to Neji in some way or another, because, as far as he knew, nothing else in their lives had changed much. Well, there was one thing, but that definitely wasn't it. So it had to be Neji, but Naruto still hadn't figured out how the two of them had ended up together or how they had stayed together. He had known Sakura since they were children and he knew that she liked romantic gestures, whether she admitted it or not.

Hyuuga Neji and romance just did not go together. So why on earth was Sakura in such bliss? His brow furrowed in thought and his nose scrunched up. He was not getting anywhere. Every time he began to think about it he came up with the same basic question.

He stopped dead in his tracks and turned to face Sakura fully. "Sakura-chan, how can you date someone so… emotion-less?" He closed his eyes, prepared for the impending punch, but it never came. A few seconds later he carefully opened one eye, just enough to see if the coast was clear, and saw her standing in front of him with her hands on her hips.

She waited for him to open both eyes and relax a bit. When he had stopped flinching in anticipation, she spoke. "You know why Naruto. I love him," she said confidently before starting to walk away. With a pause, she looked back over her shoulder saying, "And he's not emotion-less."

For his part Naruto stood in the street, slack jawed for a moment before following after her. "What?! I didn't know that!" His yell made her wince. He used that time to jump in front of her and block the road.

"Know what?" she asked, crossing her arms under her chest with forced patience. As she watched the man who might as well have been her brother, his shock and confusion were clearly reflected in his eyes.

Naruto shook his head trying to sort out his thoughts. "Either! Both!" His shouts did not deter her. She was quite used to them, but they did disturb an elderly woman on a park bench. Both he and Sakura decided it was time to start moving again when the woman, waving her cane, got up and began shuffling her way towards them with crazy eyes.

Naruto linked arms with Sakura, determined to see the conversation to the end. "But more importantly that you love him," he said, with excitement in his voice. He still did not understand why she felt that way, but since she did he was going to support her and her new found love. He bobbed his head in confirmation of his own statement.

She just smiled and shrugged. "I told you a few times." Her words got him thinking back on previous conversations. Now that she mentioned it, he had heard her say it before and more than once. If he thought harder, she had probably hinted at it and referenced to it regularly.

Why hadn't he remembered something so important? Damn his brain's capacity! But he would be damned if he was going to admit that he forgot what she had said or that he had not been paying attention at the time. He moved his eyes to the skyline and sniffed loudly. "I thought you were exaggerating."

He felt her chuckling at his expense, and bad memory, before he heard it and turned back to her sheepishly. She squeezed his forearm with the crook of her elbow before letting go. "Well, I wasn't." Her comment was jovial with a serious undertone and Naruto decided to let go of all his misgivings when it came to his Sakura-chan and the Hyuuga.

He gave her a big foxy grin as they approached the main road. She really was beautiful, especially now that she was not trying to hit him every ten seconds. When the news got out that she was serious about Neji there would be some broken hearts in Konoha.

With that thought, his smile lost some of its sparkle. He had forgotten all about Sasuke, the one thing that had changed in their lives recently. Not too long ago they had brought the Uchiha back, kicking and screaming through the gates, slung over Kakashi's shoulders like some errant child. Sasuke had been brought to his limits, Naruto had seen to that himself. Sasuke had to be healed and tried by a court, but through out it all he was obstinate. He had been placed under surveillance and was confined to the village, which had not helped his mood in the least.

When the man had calmed down a bit and realized that he was in Konoha, whether he wanted to be or not (chakra limits had been put on him and a guard of ANBU were with him at all times), there was one thing on his mind, and he had not been terribly subtle about it. But it had not turned out like any of them had expected.

Naruto took in the woman next to him. In the months that Sasuke had been back there had been no change in her routine. She never made it a point to ask after the man nor did she ever seek his company. Only when Sasuke made it a point to find her were they ever seen together, and more often than not she walked away from those encounters.

Naruto lifted his free hand to scratch the back of his head and quietly said, "Sasuke's been asking after you, you know."

Sakura didn't seem phased by this news. Of course, she would not be; it was no surprise to her. The man had been haunting her steps, or at least trying to. People were constantly telling her that he was looking for her or wanted to talk to her, but Ino, Tenten, Kakashi, and Tsunade-sama had her back and were all continuously throwing him off her trail. "Tell him I said 'hi'," she said with an off-handed wave into the air. She unlinked their arms as the stark white walls of the hospital loomed over them, making her natural coloring stand out even more.

Naruto stuffed his hands into his pockets and kicked a rock off to the side. "That's it?" he asked with a twinkle in his eye. Oh, to see the look on Sasuke's face when he was informed that was all Sakura had to say to him. And then there was the even bigger news, which Naruto would obviously be passing along as well. The Uchiha would be livid, and that made Naruto want to cackle. There was something so fun about poking holes in Sasuke's pride, possibly because until recently he had not been actively able to.

"Yep," she said definitively. The sound of the school bells from the academy sounded and Sakura looked towards the direction of the sound before pushing a lock of hair behind her ear. "Naruto, I gotta go. My shift's starting," she said, moving to stand on the steps of the hospital.

One hand still in his pocket and the other hand waving, he began to walk off. "Dinner at Ichiraku?"

She waved back and called out to him. "Yeah, I'll bring Tenten." She watched him walk off into the early morning light and noted that she should make him get a new outfit soon. That black and orange one was beginning to look more than a little shabby. Maybe she could get him something in a different color! Her excitement dwindled when she realized what the chances of that where. With a heavy sigh she headed inside to start her eight-hour shift in the emergency ward.

The bar stools at Ichiraku were full, as was normally the case. The usual suspects were members of the Konoha 12, their senseis, Sai and Yamato. Tonight was no different. Moving inwards from the left was Shikamaru, Naruto, Tenten, Sakura, and Sasuke. The last chair had been filled by Sasuke's ANBU guard for the evening, who was silent and unidentifiable due to the mask he had in place over his features.

When Sasuke arrived, the chair next to Sakura was open just had he had hoped it would be, but he had not expected her to be chatting with Tenten constantly. He could not get a word in edgeways. Finally, their incessant talking ceased when their orders of ramen arrived.

His voice interrupted her meal about two or three bites in. "How is the Hyuuga?" he asked as she swallowed her mouth-full of noodles. She placed her chopsticks down at the edge of her bowl and leaned back in the stool.

"You mean Neji?" The lack of formality in her address made him frown, but she did not seem to notice. In fact, she was completely ignorant of his displeasure. He watched as she drifted into her thoughts for a moment, clearly distracted as a giddy grin slowly spread across her face. "He's great," she chirped before diving back into her food.

She could feel his stare burning into her cheek and she knew the conversation was not over. "So he's not concerned about me?" The low drawl was filled with disbelief and cockiness.

The snort that came from the pinkette in response to his question surprised him slightly. "I highly doubt it." The two girls looked at each other, smirking, apparently agreeing about something.

With a black brow arched, he waited for them to finish conspiring before moving his inquisition along. "Why is that?" The question lingered in the air while Sakura took a sip of her tea.

She placed the porcelain down on the counter and turned her head to look directly into his obsidian eyes. She held a finger up and said, "Firstly because he has no reason to be." A second finger joined the first and she finished her explanation, as if the answers were painfully obvious. "And secondly because he's Hyuuga Neji."

A giggle from Tenten drifted over to them and Sakura's fingers lowered. "Yeah, if he had any more confidence he'd explode." The teasing in the brunettes voice sent both girls into laughter.

Sakura's head tilted back and the light from the stand made her skin glow as the two women laughed at the absent mans expense. No one could deny that the Hyuuga genius was brimming with greatly deserved confidence, and even Sasuke had to admit that Hyuuga Neji was one of few he deemed worthy to fight head on, that is when ever he got the majority of his chakra back.

The sparkle in Sakura's green eyes was back as she nudged Tenten gently. "He would not," she said on the dying notes of her laughter.

A smirk spread across his face. "So, he is just like me after all." His words caught the attention of the rest of the table but Sakura didn't seem swayed by his egotistically snide remark.

She scoffed and rolled her eyes. "Hardly. He's completely different." She lifted the last of her noodles into her mouth and then grabbed the sides of the bowl, bringing it to her face.

He took a good long look at her. It truly bothered him that she had not waited for him. She was the one he wanted. He had never been turned down by a woman before, and he had always thought Sakura would still be the one left standing after every one else had left him. When he saw her for the first time after he had been dragged back, all he could think of was that she was his first choice for reviving his clan, only to be informed that she was not interested. She was running around Konoha on the arm of a man who, in all apparent categories, was exactly like him. It was then that he determined he was going to make her realize that her actions were fruitless. Deep down she clearly still wanted to be with him, and in his mind he knew this to be true. At the very least, he was going to keep telling himself that until he saw evidence to the contrary. "I don't see how," he said as she began to drink the remaining broth in her bowl.

He caught the warning glare she sent his way despite the porcelain bowl. Shikamaru propped an elbow on the counter and turned in their direction. "I hate to agree with him, but they are similar. Arrogant, prideful, closed off, competitive…" his voice trailed off lazily, not bothering to finish the list that was growing in his head.

She set the bowl back on the counter and dabbed the corners of her mouth with a napkin. "None of you get to see what I see." The small smile on her lips was enough to set Shikamaru's mind at ease. The others were even more curious now then they had been before, and Sasuke's brow furrowed momentarily.

Tenten elbowed her friend and leaned in close. "And what is that?" she inquired, moving her brows up and down slightly, causing Sakura to laugh.

"None of your business." With a light heart, she pushed the pouting brunette back onto her chair. Tenten proceeded to send Sakura puppy dog glances, but with no success.

Ayame leaned over the counter and took Sakura's mug to refill it with more tea. Sasuke placed his chin on his hand and looked forward. "I think you have a problem." All heads turned in his direction, different reactions on each face, but all thinking that Sasuke must have lost his mind. He was prodding the dragon, and eventually he would witness the flames of Sakura's wrath first hand.

Ayame quickly placed the refilled mug on the counter and turned away, determined to remove herself from the crossfire. "Excuse me?" Sakura asked incredulously.

Sasuke turned in his chair to face her. "You like men who don't love you, so you make it seem like they do. Why else won't you explain it to me?" he asked condescendingly. "It's because he's just like me." Sasuke watched as pity entered those bottle green eyes. He was about to snarl out a response to the look, when a sharp tone intercepted him.

Naruto's voice was filled with warning when it sounded from beyond Tenten in a growl. "Teme, that is enough." The blue eyes that pinned him down did not frighten the Uchiha. This was between him and Sakura and all three of them knew it. In the end, it would be up to her whether or not Sasuke got what he wanted.

Sakura locked eyes with her best friend and silently told him it was alright. The tension at the bar loosened when she turned back to the Uchiha with genuine smile. "I know what you're getting at and there's a huge difference," she said, still looking him dead in the eye in an attempt to make him understand. "I know he feels the same way I do." The conviction in her voice was unwavering and one part of him respected her for continuing to resist him. She was still looking right at him as she continued, "Back then I knew you didn't love me, but I hoped you would eventually."

He leaned in, invading her space, placing his hand on the counter near her own, attempting to box her in. "You still hope, don't you."

A big smile crossed her features and her eyes were closed, looking eerily like Sai during one of his fake smiles. "You only wish I did." Her eyes opened and the smile she sported turned very dark very quickly. "Now back off." Her statement left no room to argue and he had never seen such a deadly look come from her.

Knowing he had crossed the line, he smirked and leaned back, attempting to lighten the mood a little bit before he ended up with a shattered rib cage. He would try again later. "I'd love to see this 'other Neji'."

Tenten took this opportunity to bring to conversation to something more pleasant. The agitation and blood lust rolling off of Sakura was nothing to scoff at and she understood why the Uchiha had made the medic so mad. He was severely underestimating the woman, implying that she was still stuck on him after all these years. It was insulting, to say the least.

She stretched her arms and caught Sakura's attention. "Have you heard from him lately? He's been gone for a while now…" Her dark brown eyes looked up at the sky in an attempt to remember exactly how long her ex-teammate had been gone.

The happiness was genuine when Sakura excitedly replied. "He just sent me a message a few days ago. He said he'd be home soon." Sakura pushed some of her hair out of her eyes and moved to run her fingers over the simple silver bracelet Neji had given her for her birthday.

"Among other things, right?" Tenten asked, hoping to hear all the romantic details that Sakura never told. Every chance she got she tried to weasel stories out of the pink haired woman. The idea of a romantic Neji was just too weird and Tenten was dying to know what had Sakura so over the moon.

Sakura opened her mouth slowly and then teasingly wagged her finger. "Not telling," she sing-songed, leaving Tenten gapping at her.

"You're no fun," Tenten said before sticking her tongue out playfully.

"And how are things with Lee?" Sakura asked as she leaned forward, bringing the tea up to her lips for a taste.

"Good. I'm working on getting him to wear normal clothes every now and then," Tenten admitted, after she swallowed a mouthful of noodles.

Sakura tilted her head back and let out a short, bold laugh. "Good luck with that."

A loud sigh escaped the brown-eyed woman in response. "Tell me about it." Tenten blew her bangs in exasperation, suggesting exactly how hard her self-appointed task really was.

The disapproving grunt that erupted from the last Uchiha was one they had heard many times in the past and did not surprise any of them. "Are all women's conversation always this vapid and shallow? Or is it just you?"

The pink haired medic shrugged and dismissed him with a wave of her hand. "Don't like it, then don't sit next to me." He frowned at her, wanting to make her take him more seriously.

Shikamaru groaned in agitation before glancing at the man furthest away from him. "Quit being a dick, Sasuke." His voice was flat and his eyes were dull showing just how annoyed he actually was with the situation. That he had bothered to voice an opinion spoke volumes.

Sakura caught the strategist's attention with roll of her eyes and the deadpan of her voice. "He can't help it, it's in his nature." The four individuals burst out into laughter, leaving Sasuke to frown at them in agitation.

With the laughter at his expense dying down, his frown lessened but never fully left. He did not appreciate being made fun of. "What do you have against me?" he asked. His voice was low in hopes of leaving the others out of the conversation as much as possible, knowing the likelihood of that was slim.

Sakura tilted her head to the side and pursed her lips in thought. Eventually, she shook her head lightly before picking her mug back up. "Nothing, other than the fact that you always try to undermine my self-confidence in order to convince me to leave the man I love for you."

"And you tried to kill her," Tenten added from over Sakura's shoulder. She didn't bother to look at the man under her scrutiny. Fact was fact and when he realized he could not refute it, a sour disposition settled on his person.

Sakura lifted a finger in conjunction with her brows as she looked up at the ceiling in remembrance. "There's that too. Besides, you started this," she reminded him, her tone implying that his presence next to her was neither welcome nor shunned as she could not be bothered to care that much. She was here to see her friends and his presence was not going to hinder that, unless he made it a point to interrupt her conversations with ill placed jabs at her or her current relationship, which all of them had a problem with.

Naruto sniggered from the other end of the counter before boisterously resuming the teasing he had subjected Sasuke too since they were children. "Yeah, teme, don't pick a fight if you can't handle a little backlash."

"Shut up, dobe." Sasuke's curt response was received about as well as it always had been. Naruto, now slightly riled up, crossed his arms over his chest and frowned.

The pair of blue eyes narrowed and glared into the obsidian ones, challenging his rival. The faint whiskers on his cheeks appeared more prominent when he frowned, berating his moron of a friend for his actions. "You shut up Teme, and let us eat our ramen in peace! I didn't tell you we'd be here so you could belittle Sakura-chan and a piss everybody off."

The muffled sound of Tenten's voice managed to convey her opinion, even as she was slurping up the last remaining noodle in her ramen bowl. "Amen."

When he was positive Sasuke was not going to continue in his quest, Naruto rubbed his half-full belly in satisfaction, fully prepared to be more satisfied with another bowl or two. "So, where are we going after this?" he asked, knowing some of them would have places to be in the morning.

"The bar," Sasuke suggested, in dire need of a drink. Sakura had turned him down again and didn't seem like she would be changing her mind anytime soon, so a stiff drink would ease some of his frustration. He had nothing to do and nowhere to go anyway. That thought made him even more frustrated. To avoid execution as a traitor he agreed to put a block on his chakra and confine himself to the village. He couldn't even activate his sharingan at this point. He groaned internally. He needed a few very stiff drinks.

The two brunettes at the counter exchanged looks quickly before Shikamaru went back to sipping his drink. "Can't, we've got a mission tomorrow," Tenten announced with a glance at both Sakura and Naruto.

Sakura shrugged and held her mug up to Ayame, sliently asking for another refill. "I'm alright with staying here for a while."

Naruto stopped slurping from his bowl to express himself verbally. "Me too," he said, diving backing to his food, signaling to Ayame that he wanted another bowl after the one he was on got placed in the finished pile of bowls on the counter.

Shikamaru and Tenten exchanged glances again and settled into their seats. "We can stay a bit longer," he said, his teammate for the mission nodding her head in agreement to his statement.

The weapons mistress looked at the menu with a finger on her chin in thought. "Either one of you wanna split something with me? I'm still hungry." She looked at Sakura and Shikamaru in hopes of having one of them split the cost with her.

Sakura shook her head, content with her tea, and Tenten turned to Shikamaru in hopes of an affirmative response. "Nah, I'm full. Get it anyway though. Naruto will finish whatever you don't." Eyes closed, he lit up a cigarette, a habit he'd developed over the years, and placed his hands behind his head.

Tenten smiled and waved to get Ayame's attention. "Good point." The brunette went about placing her order, confirming with Naruto that it would be something he would want to eat.

"Sakura." She turned to find the dark haired man regarding her carefully, as if he was trying to figure something out. For the first time that night he did not seem to have an agenda or any ulterior motives.

Despite that, she was tired of answering his questions, especially when she knew that they were all centered on why she refused to be with him. She thought the reasons for that would have been obvious, but apparently they were not to him. The first time she said no should have been enough, but she knew he didn't take no for answer. "What Sasuke?"

"Why-" His words were cut off by a voice from the street.

"Sakura." Her green eyes lit up and she turned in her chair to face the outside world.

The long black clad legs of Hyuuga Neji entered Ichiraku, heading straight for the chair occupied by his pink haired girlfriend. He didn't acknowledge the others, his eyes trained on her as he pushed the awning aside to avoid hitting it as he walked through.

"Hn." His guttural sound was gruff as he approached her, but not with anger. Rather, there was a longing in his deep voice that left the group speechless. There was a need in his white eyes as he crossed the last step to get to Sakura. He didn't wait for her to say anything, instead closed the distance between them in a heartbeat, and seared his lips against hers. One of his hands cradled her head as they melded together passionately. The others watched this openly affectionate display unfold in front of them while Sasuke turned away with a glare.

When the two unlocked their lips, Neji let out a sigh and opened his opal orbs in order to look into her emerald pools. "You are a constant distraction, woman…" he said quietly against her lips, as she clung to his broad shoulders slightly breathless.

Sakura sent him a saucy grin and kissed the corner of his mouth, which twitched up in response to her touch. "You don't mind," she said twinning her fingers with his.

He tenderly kissed her lips and then pulled back to stand up. "No," he said, brushing the back of his knuckles of his free hand over her cheek. "I don't." His hand trailed down her arm and wrapped around her waist, pulling her to stand with him.

She stood on her toes to bridge the gap between their heights and he bent down to meet her, inhaling deeply when her neck was close enough. She closed her eyes and wrapped her arms around him. "I missed you," she said with a breathy sigh.

The man squeezed her tightly, his tall, heavily sculpted frame enveloping her, before releasing the tension to gaze at her face. "I missed you too my love."

The squeal from Tenten brought his attention back to his surroundings. Much to Sasuke's chagrin, the coffee haired man's eyes glided over him lazily, unconcerned by his presence, before nodding to the other three amicably. Neji bent down and whispered something in her ear, which made a very becoming light pink color dust over Sakura's cheeks. The couple smiled at each other before he turned to guide her out of the stand, one arm still wrapped around her waist while the other placed a crisp note on the counter.

As the two exited the stand, Sakura turned to wave at them. "Bye guys!" Her voice echoed in the night as she turned back to her partner, leaning into Neji's embrace as they walked away, quietly talking to each other as they went.

The group sat stunned for a few minutes, looking at the space that had suddenly been vacated.

Tenten drifted out of the daze first, only to beam at their friends' retreating forms. "I'll be damned…" her words, spoken in a pleased state of semi shock, brought them all out of their thoughts and back to the real world.

Shikamaru leaned towards them and allowed a mischievous grin to drift across his lips before letting out a billow of smoke. "Who knew Neji could be like that?" he asked rhetorically, amused and generally happy about the whole situation.

Naruto, who had been gaping like a guppy fish, let out barks of laughter as he spoke, not caring that the question didn't needed a response. "Not me, that's for sure."

The slam of money on the counter halted Naruto's gales of laughter as Sasuke stood. The man glared at each one of them, daring any of them to say another word about the events that had just transpired. When he received no challenge from them he sniffed and turned away sharply. With a sullied expression, he stormed out of the stand's confines with his hands shoved into his pockets, his guard trailing behind him every step of the way. Shikamaru turned in his seat and clapped his hand down on Naruto's shoulder in an attempt to comfort the blonde. "Don't mind him. He's just doesn't like being proven wrong." When the man turned to face him he found that comforting wasn't necessary and that his words had been for nothing. Naruto and Tenten both had dreamy looks in their eyes and were ready to discuss the entire event in detail.

Shikamaru rolled his eyes, preparing himself for the rest of the evening, as his two companions began to gush.

The next morning Sakura was walking down the road with a bounce in her step and a glow in her cheeks. Naruto could not help but smile as he watched her.

The man Sakura had chosen had officially banished any worries Naruto may have had about their relationship. Neji was his friend too and he was happy to see two of his most important people happy together. After last night's escapade, he thought they suited each other very well. The only worry he'd ever had was that Neji would be cold towards Konoha's resident beauty, but that had proven to be anything but the case.

He reached out, grabbing her around the shoulder, and pulled her in for a relaxed hug. "I get it now." His words reached her as he stared straight forward, an unexpressed smile lighting up his blue eyes.

Sakura looked down with her lips tilted up lightly. "Good." Their footfalls fell in sync as he continued to walk with her down the street.

The chuckle that emitted from Naruto was thoroughly amused as he thought back the night before. "He must really love you to do something like that in public." His statement brought a grin to her face.

Her voice was full of pride and unmitigated joy as she said, "I know."

He brushed his nose with the back of his hand, and straightened his shoulders. "And you love him." His statement lingered in the air for a few seconds, as if they were both taking it in.

Her eyes caught his and her smile was almost blinding. "I do, Naruto. I really do," she confessed with unrestrained honesty.

Naruto looked over to her and took in her complete appearance, noticing that her shirt was buttoned up a little higher than usual today, covering the lower half of her neck completely. "I am so happy for you Sakura-chan." His eyes narrowed for a moment when the wind blew her hair away from her neck and revealed a dark purple bruise just under her jaw line on her neck. A bright pink crept onto his cheeks when he realized what he was looking at. He quickly looked away and scratched the back of his head anxiously before carefully pointing to the spot with a finger. "By the way, you missed a hickey."

She brushed the hand that was pointed at her neck away and then continued walking. "Let it show. I only covered up the other ones because of where they led to."

The blush on his cheeks darkened before he cried out in embarrassment. "Sakura-chan!"

End Comments: What did you think? Again, I hope you liked it. I really enjoy writing these one-shots and most of the time they are just a bit of fun for me. So I hope they are fun for you to read. I would love to hear constructive criticism or just general reviews, but please, no flaming. I recently received a very negative review, which gave no reason as to why the person didn't like the story. And I always miss some grammatical errors and spelling mistakes no matter how many times I check, so if you see any that are really noticeable let me know and I'll go back and fix it. Anyway, thanks for reading!