Author's Note: Ok. I've decided I'm writing this story reviews or no reviews. To me, this is one of those stories that drives you insane if you don't write it. So yeah. Unfortunately for you and myself, I am both a SasuSaku fan and a NejiSaku fan. So no, I don't know how it's going to turn out yet, seeing as I swing between the two pairings constantly. It's like moodswings or something. Heck, they might all end up alone. Who knows. Anyway. But NaruHina is a definite pairing and I'm thinking a slight TemaShikaIno triangle too. I haven't decided though, so you let me know. Use your magnificent powers as a reviewer, you who can make or break a writer. Uh...yeah.
By the way, I'm planning on writing at LEAST 15 chapters for this story. But there will probably be more. I've actually already started writing chapter 5. n.n But yeah. Don't expect this to be a short cutesy-putesy little fic. It will get darker and more serious as it goes on, but I'll try to inject some comedic relief.
Pairings: LeexTenxNejixSakuxSasu NaruxHina Possible TemaxShikaxIno etc...
Disclaimer: Don't own Naruto. Don't own any of the characters. Don't own scripts, rights, voice actors' contracts or anything affiliated with it. These things are all on my Christmas list.
Ama no Kagerou
The Shimmer of Heaven
Chapter 2 - Do Me A Favor
Traitors. Liars. Fools.
What other words can I use to describe my so-called "best friends" who betrayed me with each other? How can I possibly trust these two backstabbers with my life, when I obviously can't trust them with my heart? I foolishly allowed myself to become vulnerable around them. Never again. Not with them, not with any human being. Humans are so fickle, are they not? And my former teammates are prime examples of human depravity.
Even after we attained the rank of jônin we still continued to act as a team. It had always been that way and we didn't see the need for things to change. Tenten...I really did love her. But I don't know anymore. Fool that I was, I fell into that tangled web of false promises and meaningless affection. I let myself become weak. Vulnerable. Can I really consider any form alliance with them for this?
Love. Hmph. A fool's game. For the weak and needy. I thought they were above that. Clearly not. Clearly not above the petty amusements of the flesh. But there is always a price to pay for happiness. I can see it in their eyes. They feel "guilty" for shoving a knife in my back and then twisting it. They feel "remorse" for their "unavoidable" circumstance. But they won't give it up.
They think their stammered apologies are enough? Hardly. That will never suffice. I demand retribution. Let me twist the knives in their backs. I believe it's been referred to as "A Man's Revenge". Give it any name. They think what they're feeling now is overwhelming? Let them know the meaning of "pain". Let me show them what it is to suffer agonizing torture, knowing that they cannot let go.
Do they believe this whole incident is tearing me to shreds inside? Hardly. I need neither them nor anyone else. Once alone, always alone. This is just another test of the strength of my will. As a former devout fatalist I say that my destiny will not break me. I will not be dragged under by the scum that infests this filthy village.
This is wrong. Neji's my best friend! But I couldn't sit there anymore and let the injustice pass me by. I've always loved Tenten but I never told her because I had always known that she was meant for Neji. But after watching him push her farther and farther away, I knew that I was wrong. I would always walk in on her crying, and it was always over him.
What kind of boyfriend makes his girlfriend cry without even trying? I know Neji's a good guy, he just has no idea how to handle the fairer sex. Unlike I, Rock Lee, who would give the whole world to them if it were possible! And so I took matters into my own hands. I realize that this may have upset Neji a teensy bit, but surely he'll realize that I've done him a great favor that benefits our whole team?
Obviously not, judging from the reaction I got when I told him this.
Lee stood stock still as he stood facing down his now former best friend and team mate. The Hyuuga's gaze burned into him, searing his insides and turning them to jelly. Sweat rolled down his face in bullets, making him look like he'd run 500 laps around Konoha, even though he'd only woken up 30 minutes ago. If Neji was being friendly, he certainly wasn't showing it.
"Eh heh...heh...hey,uh...You wanna spar?"
"C'mon Neji, don't you think you're overreacting a little bit?"
Neji's right eye twitched slightly. He was pissed. Lee gulped, smiling nervously. Then, unfortunately, he got an idea. He flashed his "million dollar" smile. A very scary sight indeed. Especially when there was an extremely pissed off ex-boyfriend standing on the other side of the clearing trying to kill him with a highly potent death glare. With the vague notion that he was somehow doomed, Lee began his speech.
"In all actuality Neji, I've done you a great favor. When you and Ten-chan-" Yeah. "were together you were always complaining that you never had any time to train, right? And you always said that when you were together you never had any time to yourself, correct? Well, this way you're happier because you've got time to yourself to train, and Ten-chan and I are happier because we have each other! So really, there's nothing to be upset about in the first place! See?"
Convinced that his logic was faultless, Lee stood back with his arms folded across his chest, waiting for his magical speech to take effect. It took effect alright, but not the one Lee wanted. There was definitely some kind of tick with Neji's eye. Lee thought absentmindedly that he should get it looked at.
The Hyuuga was now wearing a very nasty expression on his face, something that looked very close to hatred. He was an inch away from flaying Lee to within an inch of his life. But, being who he was, he would rather wear Lee's underwear and cut his hair like Gai-sensei's before he lost control. So instead he settled for scaring him shitless.
Very subtly he cracked his knuckles, not to where Lee could see them, but where he could hear it plainly. Lee gulped. He was starting to think that maybe Neji hadn't really been swayed by his marvelous and well-thought out eloquent speech. Needless to say, if Byakuugan eyes could fry, Lee would be sunny-side up.
"I..think…I'm just gonna..go. Now. Later!" And in a whirlwind of sparkling colors, Lee was gone, leaving Lord Hyuuga to seeth.
At the hospital meanwhile, Sakura was kept busy by a steady influx of patients demanding to see her. Being the Hokage's protege was a very demanding position and carried quite the reputation. But Sakura didn't mind all that much, seeing as how she got to use the VIP break room and bathroom at the hospital. Which was probably shallow thinking, but she didn't particularly care because the vending machines in the VIP break room carried whole slices of cake. Not the crappy kind either. And it was always fresh. Not to mention the bathroom had powder blue tile and had a jacuzzi tub built into the floor. Nope. Sakura didn't particularly care whether it was shallow thinking or not. Being Tsunade-sensei's apprentice definitely had its perks.
At the moment however, she was dealing with a particularly ornery patient who refused to allow her to seal his wounds with her chakra and insisted point blank that she use only a certain kind of ointment on them, as other oinments gave him "hives". Up to her wits end, Inner Sakura was ready to give the idiot more injuries to whine about, when a loud crash was heard down the hallway.
"Excuse me, sir. I need to go investigate this." She planted a falsely sweet smile on her face and exited the room, her facade dropping at once, giving way to annoyance and eye rolling. "Ugh. Natsumi, can you take this guy for me? I'm going to see what that noise was." Natsumi frowned. "Not the ointment guy!" Sakura snorted. "Yes. The ointment guy. You know, on second thought, forget the ointment. Put salt in his wounds." Natsumi laughed. "Yeah yeah, I'll handle him for ya." "Thanks."
Jogging down the hall, Sakura quickly discovered the source of the disturbance. She sighed. Why was she not surprised? There was Lee, upside down with his butt in the air, tangled around a destroyed counter table and a vase precariously balanced on his foot. Taking the vase and setting it in a Lee-free environment, Sakura returned to help disentangle him from the remains of the table. Lee wheezed and clutched his side.
"Lee. What in the world were you doing" She stood there with her hands on her hips, her foot tapping impatiently. "You know that's coming out of my paycheck, right?" He laughed weakly."Heh heh...sorry about that.I just came to talk to you." Sakura looked him up and down. "What the hell happened to you? You look like you've just run 500 laps around Konoha."
Poor Lee stammered and shuffled his feet. "I talked to Neji. He got kinda mad at me." Sakura sighed again and rolled her eyes. The boy was just too dense and naive for his own good. "Lee. I don't think he'll forgive you even if you manage to get the entire population of Konohagakure to acknowledge his masculine superiority and erect a gigantic statue of him in the middle of town. Face it Lee. He's probably never going to want to be within a 20 mile radius of you again."
The taijutsu master's head drooped in depression, and her eyes softened towards him. "Hey, don't worry about it. You've got Tenten, right? Why don't you go talk to her? She'll probably make you feel better." She smiled at him and Lee felt himself cheer up slightly. "Yeah, but I still feel awful." Suddenly his face brightened in that eerie way again, filled with hope much like Naruto's whenever he asked Sakura out. And Sakura had a very bad feeling about where this was going...
"Hey Sakura! Maybe you could talk to Neji! You're smart, you can make him see reason!" Lee did a little diddy of joy in light of his "brilliant" idea. Sakura scoffed in disbelief. "Me. Are you insane! I don't even know the guy that well! I can imagine it now : 'Uh hi, yeah, I'm that chick from Team 7 back a few years ago. I'm here on behalf of Lee to rejoin you two in the bonds of blissful friendship.' Yeah. I can see that conversation going well."
Lee pouted. "Pleeeeeeeaaaaaseeee! Pretty please with sugar on top and a cherry and rainbow sprinkles on top?" Damn he was annoying. And persistant. The kunoichi threw up her hands in exasperation. "Lee, this will NEVER work! He will not listen! Nothing I could say would ever change his mind. It's impossible. Just forget it and be happy with what you've got."
And even though Sakura knew she could argue and point out all logical reasons why this plan would never work, she knew she'd do it anyway. She owed Lee a lot. At the top of the list, her life. He had once promised her that he would protect her with his life, and even though he had Tenten now, Sakura knew that he would keep that promise anyway. She still remembered the incident in the Forest of Death, how he'd defended her and saved her life. He'd been one of the people that had inspired her to be stronger. And she owed him a lot for that. It was time she started giving something back to him.
Lee's whole body seemed to droop, like a wilting flower. Sakura was surprised. His friendship with Neji obviously meant a lot to him, and he was very remorseful about what he'd done. When he spoke again, even his voice seemed to have lost it's happiness. "Alright. Sorry to have wasted your time. See you later." He turned and slowly trekked down the long hallway. Sakura groaned mentally. The things she did for people, sometimes she just couldn't believe it.
"Lee, you idiot, get back here. Of course I'll talk to him." "REALLY?" His whole face lit up and he came charging toward her, prepared to give her a crushing bear hug. Sakura, however, wanted to keep her fully functioning lungs, and sidestepped his "attack". "Oof." Sakura giggled. He'd crashed into the wall."Really, oh really really? Thank you thank you thank you! This means so much to me, Sakura! You really are an angel."
Her cheeks turned slightly pink at the compliment. "Nah. Now get going. Tenten's probably waiting for you. And I'm supposed to meet Naruto at Ichiraku. Said he wanted to talk to me about something. See you later." After kissing her hand and thanking her profusely, Lee went skipping off down the hall. Leaving Sakura to wonder what in the world she'd gotten herself into.
Naruto sat waiting nervously on a stool in his favorite ramen restaurant, Ichiraku. Sakura had promised to meet him here for lunch. He sat twiddling his thumbs thinking about what he was going to ask her. He had no idea what he was doing. But if he had to ask anyone, it might as well be Sakura. She was the expert on all things female. And she was late, which was very unlike her. But she wasn't Kakashi-late, which really would have worried him.
He heard the bell above the door ring and hoped feverishly that it was her. And the fates must have been smiling on him, because she took a seat on the stool next to him. "So. Shall we talk first or eat first?" Naruto's stomach chose that moment to rumble loudly, giving the kunoichi her answer. She grinned and called over the waitress. They ordered one plain, two with miso for Naruto.
Finishing with a loud belch, Naruto sat back and patted his bulging belly. "Ah. That hit the spot." Sakura just shook her head. The knucklehead must live on ramen and sour milk alone. Gross. "So. You wanted to talk about something?" Naruto gulped and laughed nervously, rather like Lee. "Heh..uh..yeah. I figured I should talk to you about this, since you know about all this stuff and you're a girl and and and..." Sakura poked him with a chopstick. "Get to the point. I don't have all day."
"Well, see, I need some...uh..advice." She arched an eyebrow. "About?" The blonde fool looked like he was about to start hyperventilating. "...rl..." "I didn't hear a word you just said. Say it louder." Naruto's face was cherry red now, and he was ripping his napkins. "Um...uh..." "Spit it out, Naruto." "Ack, alright! I need advice about..about...GIRLS!"
As he shouted this last word, the entire restaurant went silent and stared. Naruto started sliding off the stool and under the bar counter. Sakura growled and yanked him back up by the collar. "Is that what this is about? What's so scary about girls? Eh?" The blonde shinobi just scratched the back of his head and giggled nervously. "Ugh. Naruto. I don't have time for stupid games. I've got stuff to do. So ask me whatever it is you wanted to ask or I'm leaving."
Naruto took a deep breath. Time to brace himself and be a man. Time to ask a girl for advice. "I uh...there's this girl I really like..." "Uh huh." "..and I want to ask her out." "I'm not seeing the problem yet." "Yeah, well...I wanna ask her out, but I don't want to be obnoxious about it and I don't know if she likes me back. I want you to help me woo her."
Sakura stared at him. Well. This was a change. "Okay...well, why don't you tell me who she is." He turned beet red again and sputtered. "..na...ga.." Sakura rolled her eyes. "I need more than two syllables, Naruto. Just take a deep breath and tell me her name. It's like diving in the river." "Yeah..okay...I'll try." He took several deep breaths, choking on most of them. "Hinata. I..like Hinata. But I'm not sure she likes me back and I need you to help me make her like me." His eyes were pleading, and Sakura could tell he was actually serious. But still.
What. . He didn't know if she liked him? Hinata had had a major crush on him for how many years now? Sakura had to fight the urge to beat him over the head. But he looked so miserable sitting there with his head flopped on the table that she just couldn't keep up the impulse. Men sure were causing her a lot of stress lately. "Alright, Naruto. I'll help you. But this is going to take work. Are you willing to restrain yourself and not be obnoxious and gross?"
Naruto sat up straight, his misery being replaced by determination. "You know, I'm always competing to be the best. I want to be the Hokage. But fighting all the time with Sasuke and trying to one-up him all the time makes me think. I want to be strong, sure. But what am I gonna do with all that strength? And then, sometimes, when we're done with our sparring sections, I'll see her out walking by herself, like she's waiting for someone. And she looks so fragile...and she helps me out sometimes, you know? She buys me a bowl of ramen, or bandages a wound or something for me. And..I realized that I want to protect her. Does that sound stupid?"
Wow. Sakura had no idea that Naruto could be this serious. Especially about a girl. Sakura smiled. "No. It doesn't sound stupid at all." He grinned. "Hey waitress! Another bowl of ramen, please!" UGH. 'It's amazing how he can go from being so sweet and mature to so MORONIC AND IMMATURE! ARGH!' Inner Sakura ranted onwards. Sakura stood and left her share of the bill on the table. "I'll see you tomorrow at the clearing. 3 o'clock. Don't be late."
He waited until Sakura had gone before whooping loudly and sending the whole restaurant into a frenzy and getting kicked out. "WOOHOO!"
Author's Note: W00t. I went to this anime store the other day and got a Naruto pillow. It's so soft and squishy and I can hug all the characters whilst I sleep. Booyah. Anyways. Review. Or else I'll lock you in a dark room with a hormonally crazed Lee. Mwa ha ha ha ha ha ha. ...Er...yeah.