Don't Hold Your Breath
"Are you ever going to speak to me again?" Sakura asks, not particularly bothered.
"Of course not," Ino huffs, painting her nails. "You gave in to the jerk of jerks, traitor…"
"Are you two done, we have to leave now," Ten Ten frowns. "Unless you want to miss the performance."
"I won't miss missing out on time with that guy," Ino shudders. "He's so creepy Ten Ten, he has no eyebrows. I don't know anyone as stupid as to over-pluck."
"How on earth did we get onto this conversation," she sighs.
Sakura laughs. "Don't worry, we'll get there. The prince of asses is lending his car,"
"See, Ten Ten, you see what they've done to her!" Ino shrieks.
"He's driving us, and he got us tickets, can you at least pretend to be grateful?" Sakura frowns. "You know Ino, it doesn't hurt to be nice every now and then."
A soft knocking comes to the door. Ino grabs Ten Ten's arm, refusing to let her go. Rolling her eyes, Sakura slides the door open. Sasuke's already smirking, having listened in on their conversation. He extends his arm, gesturing for them to follow him out. Despite her earlier, impassioned statements, Ino's the first out the door. Ten Ten rolls her eyes and follows the hyper blonde out.
"They aren't always like that," Sakura tells him.
"Hn," he smirks.
She laughs. "Come on then, let's go,"
She takes his hand and pulls him, and he doesn't resist.
"It's a left," Ino instructs though gritted teeth. "It clearly says left."
The black car rolls to a stop. A tense black air of frustration hangs over the car.
"We need to go right," Sasuke growls. "I've been this way before, it's right."
"We'll be going onto a one-way street the wrong way!" Ino snaps. "You can't do that!"
"Alright," Ten Ten interjects, squeezing between the two. "We'll get out, and we'll walk. Sasuke, Ino, let me make this clear; you're not too good for walking."
Seeing their reluctance to move, Sakura leans over and snatches the keys. She pushes the door open and she gets out, with Ten Ten following. Ino and Sasuke glare at each other before exiting the vehicle. They glance around the darkened alleyway cautiously.
"I think we've come to the wrong place, let's go home now," Ino suggests.
"It's a one-way street," Sasuke smirks at her, and she fumes.
Sakura's phone rings loudly. "I thought I told you already, you can't… Hmm, alright, I understand. Thanks,"
Sasuke nods to a black backstreet. "Let's go, it's this way,"
"You are kidding us, right?" Ino glares.
He doesn't respond, knowing that it'll only make her angrier. Sakura quickly skips to his side. He glances down at her, watching as she looks about warily. A smirk spreads across his face. He somewhat likes the strangely innocent child look about her now that she's somewhere unfamiliar. Loud splashing comes from behind them as Ino and Ten Ten rush to catch up. Sasuke grasps Sakura's arm firmly and looks ahead. He squints, searching for light, and it soon shows itself.
The group emerge onto another backstreet. To their right is a flickering street lamp. However, to their left is a door to what looks like a pub. In the small porch, the light buzzes. Above that is a great neon sign. The light from the sign burns their eyes. The building itself is crafted of red bricks, and is in no way a new build.
Ino turns to Sasuke. "You think we're going into that dump? Are you crazy?"
"You can stay out here if you want," he shrugs, not particularly caring. "We'll probably only be a couple of hours anyway."
"Sasuke, don't be so mean!" Sakura laughs, following him.
Ino shoots Ten Ten a burning, fierce glare. In response she shrugs and heads towards the building too. All Ino can do is gawk, mouth wide open in horror. She shakes her head and huffs. In the dim flickering light she can see that there's plenty of hiding places. Her mind instantly takes her to horror movies full of gangs and gore. Suddenly feeling intimidated, she races in after her friends.
On her way, she doesn't notice the eyes following her every move. Nor does she hear the soft splash, splash, splash of that person trailing in her wake. She's already inside by the time the person emerges. She isn't who he's after anyway. He has no qualms with her; he's only there for a surveillance job. His duty is to spy on Sakura.
A bored Ino huffs and kicks a wobbly chair leg. To almost everyone's surprise, Shikamaru jumps up just before it collapses. He turns, shooting her a glare and meanders over to another chair. This time he makes sure to stay away from her. Neji rolls his eyes at their antics, ignoring Himeko as she whines in his ear. In a dark corner of the bar, Ten Ten sits, watching them. Her eyes are full of unshed tears. She knows she shouldn't be watching them, but she can't tear her eyes away. It hurts her, piercing her shattered heart, even though he isn't pleased with Himeko's presence.
"You're a good friend," Sasuke comments.
"Hm?" Sakura frowns at him.
He points to Ten Ten's lonely table. "You're so concerned that you can't even enjoy yourself,"
She smiles at him. "That's what friends are for. We look out for each other, and we support each other…" she watches Ten Ten, growing distant. "Who's your friend, the one who looks out for you?"
Sasuke turns, jolting her back into awareness. "You were right; I don't have anyone who cares about me. I don't have anyone like you do,"
She takes his right hand in both of hers, and looks into his eyes. "There are always people who care, Sasuke, but they aren't always in plain sight. Sometimes you have to look in places you wouldn't ever think to,"
She can see something stirring in his eyes. She struggles to stay composed as his appreciation becomes apparent in tiny gestures. A loud drum roll pulls them from their thoughts, and away from each other. Two dim lights turn to shine on the greasy red stage curtains. She sighs quietly in relief, keeping her gaze firmly ahead. It seems like she managed to get away with saying that to him. She feels so guilty about asking him, especially when she knows the answer. She freezes suddenly, casting her eyes over to her bag. There was a note that she wanted to pass onto Gaara's sister. It's too late for that now.
Ino slides into the seat next to her. "Don't worry Sakura, our hard work wasn't wasted; I gave her the note,"
"How did you get it, it was in my bag?" she whispers, incredulous.
Ino nods towards Sasuke. "He kept looking at your bag; I think he saw you put it in. Be glad I passed it on before he got his grubby hands on it,"
Sakura rolls her eyes at her friend's antics. Deep down, she wonders what she would do without them. One day she might have to find out. She's always known that. It's why she always dragged her friends to her house. She wanted to build memories in case she had to leave. It seems likely that will be leaving them soon to study further. She blinks away some stray tears as the curtains pull away.
"She…" Gaara's sister steps into the light. "She ain't real. She is a stranger. We have history, or don't you remember?"
A smaller light turns to her backing singers. - Oh, she has it all, but is that really what you want?
"She's made a fool out of you, and she's bringing you down. Oh boy, you're cold to the core," She turns and points to Neji. "Now rumour has it she ain't got your love and you know it."
The backing singers settle into their four word part. - Mmm, rumour has it
"I've heard that you're missing me. I guess that's why you're saying things you shouldn't be," she grins. "Like when we go out, when she ain't around. Haven't you heard the rumours?"
Ten Ten stares at her hands. There's no doubt in her mind that her friends have set her up. She knows that Neji won't be happy with this spectacle. She's sure that he'll yell at her and make her look like a fool. She looks up, glaring at Ino who catches her gaze and gives her a thumbs up. Then she looks over at Neji, his hands are fists on his lap. He's clearly furious, and beside him, Himeko is clearly oblivious. It makes her angry, for him to have chosen someone like Himeko over herself.
A loud trombone solo rings out. The overzealous musician has no idea that he's deafening the audience. Gaara's half-sister, Temari, hops off the stage. She winks at her audience, and the pubs regulars are putty in her hands. She laughs quietly and lifts the microphone to start singing again.
"You made a fool out of me, and I'll be bringing you down. You made my heart melt, but now I'm cold to my core. I'm the one you should be leaving her for," Temari signals to the band, turns and points at Neji. "Rumour has it she's the one you're leaving her for."
Neji follows Temari's eyes over to Ten Ten. A blush quickly covers her face and she tries to look away. No matter where she turns her gaze, his burning stare sears through her. Somewhat timidly, she looks back at him. As they watch each other from across the room, it finally dawns on Himeko that something isn't quite right. She clutches Neji's arm tightly, pouting at him. He pushes her away and storms out of the pub. Feeling a bit guilty for making him angry, Ten Ten quickly follows him out.
Temari laughs, clapping. "Good job everyone, take five,"
"You had this planned all along," Sasuke comments, not wanting to express his surprise.
"Of course, what did you expect?" Ino grins. "Oh! Temari,* you were great! I think you sing amazingly! Oh, you are so talented… I feel so jealous."
"Wait, Neji, please slow down!" Ten Ten calls to him.
He grits his teeth, and reluctantly slows for her. She jogs over to his side and takes a soft grip on his arm. He growls viciously, but doesn't push her away. She pauses to catch her breath and looks up at him. Her breath catches in her throat as she stares at him. The only time they were ever that close was a few weeks before they broke up. They had been sitting on a pier, and in the peace she had begun to fall asleep. She lets go and steps back from him, bowing in respect.
"I'm sorry, Hyuuga-sama, I didn't know that this would happen," she whispers, holding back tears.
He looks over her. This is how any person who isn't of noble blood is supposed to treat him. He looks away as that strange feeling grows in his heart again. He doesn't want to feel for her. He was told again and again that she's nothing but a commoner. He already feels guilt, and he doesn't want that list of feelings to grow. For the sake of his clan's place he can't afford to care about people as low as her.
"Stand up," he mutters. "… You look pathetic like that."
She forces a smile, her broken heart shattering. "I know; that's why it's Himeko instead of me. I know I'm low, and not worth your time, but you still gave me your time. I haven't been able to thank you for that. You helped me to make such fond memories. I owe you a lot, so to bother you now, I really am sorry,"
She quickly walks away. The tears have turned against her and now flow freely down her face. She refuses to sob, and make a noise to show how weak she is. It doesn't obey her wishes either. He grabs her hand, holding her gently. She waits for a moment, but only silence awaits her. She pulls out of his grip, walking back into the pub. It wasn't much, but he had never shown care for her before.
She pushes the second door open. Temari's talented vocals instantly greet her. Ten Ten catches Ino's worried expression and smiles, hurrying over. She knows the blonde won't stop bothering her for gossip for a long time.
Sakura stares at a small brown parcel in her hands. "Are you having second thoughts?"
She smiles, laughing humourlessly. "I don't think; I act… I always act,"
"It's good to know that we can trust you," the dark voice chuckles. "Until next we meet."
She turns the parcel delicately. Her eyes are fixated on it, but her eyes are dull. She caresses the wrapping and forces a smile. Suddenly she turns around and glares into the shadows. A soft thump emanates in the exact place that she's watching. She lowers the package, holding it behind her. Her expression starts to change, turning haughty and contemptuous.
"What do you want, blondie?" she glares.
A quiet laughing whispers and the person moves. "I was concerned about your worth, little blossom. You seem to have doubts about this, but remember, you're the one who wanted him gone," he pauses, and then laughs loudly. "Don't tell me you want to help that stupid Uchiha? Oh, what's this? You're not answering me. I'm right aren't I; you want to help him… You care, don't you?"
She scoffs. "I wouldn't let Itachi know I said that, if I were you. Then again, no one would ever want to be something so stupid. You should leave now, before you make any more enemies,"
He chortles. "As you wish, but, I must admit, that last sentiment is a two-way street,"
She keeps her eyes fixed on the shadows for a few seconds. She exhales, relieved now that she's sure that he's gone. She walks backwards, making sure that he doesn't come back. The sound of a door closing drags her from her thoughts and paranoia. She turns around to see Sasuke coming towards her. She smiles, without having to feign it. The parcel is promptly shoved carelessly into her back pocket.
She walks over to him. "What are you doing out here; its cold,"
He frowns at her. "Then why are you out here?"
"Ten Ten is terrifying when she gets angry. I thought it was better to hide out here until she calms down,"
He wraps his jacket around her shoulders. "Good, because she isn't angry. You can come back in now, and we can get warm again,"
"You didn't have to come for me," she whispers.
He smirks. "What makes you think that I came for you?"
She smiles warmly. "You can't lie to me…"
She starts walking back to the pub, but he pulls her close to him. She doesn't have time to protest before he kisses her.*
As the two enjoy being close they let their guard down. That is why, as they might later insist, that they didn't realise they were being watched. The spy grits his teeth in anger and frustration. A deep, black hatred boils up inside his heart. His hatred engulfs him entirely and he stands abruptly. Now in the light, the person is clearly Sasori. He snarls and quickly takes his leave of them both…
IMPORTANT Note: Hello everyone, I'm sorry that I'm so late. I do have a good, valid reason, and that is… I'm getting a book published! Yay! To anyone who wants to get a book published, I highly recommend Author House.
So, yes, I'm sorry my fanfiction and fictionpress stories have fallen to the side. I promise that I'll be getting these chapters out as soon as possible now. You won't have to wait so long for another update; I swear on that.
*Yes, they do know Temari. Think of it as bumping into someone at the village the square, or common green as we call it here. I'll go more in-depth next chapter, just you wait and see!
*Large romantic / love scenes are not a part of my talent. My talent is tragic love that ends badly, and surprisingly, Wŭxiá. Oh how I love Wŭxiá...
Adele – Rumour Has It. It's a great song with cool sound to it. Like I mentioned before, I'll probably use up her entire album. Sorry to those who don't like her songs and music, but, hopefully you can understand why I've added them. They correspond well with this story, and it isn't because of favourite this, or favourite that. Adele is a great singer, but in no way is she my favourite.