Chapter 4

Sakura smiles as she stands up and stretches, closing the book on her kitchen table as she exits her kitchen as another knock sounds through her apartment, causing the emerald eyed woman to hurry toward her front door. Sakura quickly opens the door and her smile melts away as she sees a raven haired Uchiha instead of her Hyuuga crush.

"Sasuke what are you doing here?" Sakura asks her emerald eyes hard and her usually sweet voice icy as she appraises the man in front of her. Silence descends on the pair as Sasuke simply stares at the pinkette, but Sakura stands ridged unaffected by his roaming eyes.

After a few minutes of the silence Sakura rolls her eyes and turns to shut the door in the Uchiha's face, but he quickly catches the door and pushes it back open and moves on in to her apartment, leaving the bubblegum haired woman at the front door. "Oh please come in." Sakura says sarcastically as she looks outside and catches sight of one of Sasuke's anbu guards who signs to her and she nods back conveying that she was fine.

Sakura shuts her door and returns to her kitchen where Sasuke had made himself at home and was eating some of the bacon and eggs she had made a few minutes ago.

"Sasuke that is not for you, do you have any manners at all? First you barge into my apartment and now your eating food that is not for you. Now what do you want?" Sakura demands her hands crossed over her chest as she makes her way to the chair she had previously occupied and sits down pulling the book she closed earlier toward her and folds her hands on top of it.

"What happened to you?" Sasuke finally speaks ignoring her comments about the food and continues munching on bacon. Sakura blinks surprised and tilts her head to the side, pink locks falling over her shoulders.

"Sasuke what are you talking about?"

"What happened to you? You have changed; you're not the same at all."

Sakura stares and then bursts out laughing the sparkle returning to her green eyes, small giggles echoing off the pale blue walls of her kitchen, confusing the man in front of her. Once Sakura stops her incessant giggling she turns her laughing jade eyes toward Sasuke and meets his coal black eyes, so much like the one's of Itachi Uchiha who was like her brother.

"Sasuke this is so ironic on so many levels. I will tell you though why I changed so much. At first it was for you and to get you back, but that was just childish. I trained and trained and through that I found the truth. I found friends and strength in that truth and it changed me along the way. So if you came back expecting me to still chase after you like a fan girl, then I will gladly say that will NEVER happen." Sakura speaks leaning back in her chair a smile across her pale pink lips as she watches Sasuke think about her words.

"How is that ironic?"

"Well just like you I have had to look at the man, that was the reason my family was murdered, in the eye, the only difference is I did not attempt to kill him even though I could, because he's like family to me. Just like your brother." Sakura says sadly thinking of the reason her parents were killed as well as the death of Itachi, who she considered a brother.

The pinkette's parents were not ninja, but they were traveling to mist on vacation and ran into a sound ninja in combat with another ninja accidently. The chakra radiating off the two ninja had blown her parents into a lake, the chakra pressing down on them to the point that they passed out and drown. They were found by an anbu squad passing through who broke up the fight and pursued the sound ninja who was later found to be Sasuke Uchiha, fighting the Akatsuki member Kisami.

Sakura had a very hard time with the tragedy but had gotten through it, with a lot of help from her friends. Neji was the first person she had told, partly because he had found her in the woods one night crying, she had thought she had put enough jutsus up so no one would find her, but apparently not. Neji had watched her sadly when she finally noticed him, her small form covered in dirt and blood from an intense session of smashing things while crying, he had asked her what was wrong, but she had just started sobbing again and he had swiftly picked her up and whisked her away.

Neji had taken care of her for almost a week, making sure she healed herself and ate enough food. Finally after that first week the bubble gum haired fourteen year old broke down and told the white eyed fifteen year old about her parents deaths and the pair became almost inseparable for the following month, until Naruto, Sai and Kakashi returned from a mission and took up the task of comforting her.

"Sasuke I think you should leave, I need to make more food and I have things to do today." Sakura says standing up a steady stare fixed on the raven haired man, who glares at her.

"Why should I leave?"

"Well first of all if you don't, I will kick you out and second I have company coming over."

"Like you could kick me out and what is that Hyuuga coming over? Real good choice Sakura, choosing the guy that is most like me." Sasuke taunts rolling his eyes a smirk on his smug pale face until Sakura appears beside him and grabs him by the shirt hauling him to the front door. The pinkette not even noticing the resistance the Uchiha puts up and quickly opens the front door and pitches the man outside at the feet of an amused Hyuuga.

"Sasuke next time it would be wise if you do not challenge me like that, now that I have answered your question please stay away from my apartment. Hey Neji come on in." Sakura laughs and allows Neji into her house, leaving Sasuke with one parting comment, "He is nothing like you."

The fuchsia haired woman shuts the door and makes her way to the kitchen and grabs some more items to make more food. "Sorry Neji, Sasuke ate most of the food I made." Sakura says beginning to cook more food as the man just nods and sits down and watches her for the next few minutes.

"What did he want?" Neji asks finally as Sakura finishes making the food and sets a plate down in front of him, and takes a seat beside him with a plate of her own. Sakura smiles and picks up her fork and begins to eat slowly and Neji soon follows suit.

"Sasuke wanted to know why I changed so much." Sakura says nonchalantly finishing off her plate of food and standing to take her plate to the sink and continuing to speak, "Hey I need to go change, then we can go."

"Why do you need to change you look fine?" Neji questions continuing to eat his breakfast, as he watches Sakura turn around and lean against the counter top biting her bottom lip.

"These are my cooking clothes; I do not go out in them! I can't run around smelling like bacon the whole day." Sakura says like it was the most obvious thing in the world, glaring as Neji laughs.

"Is smelling like bacon a bad thing?" Neji chuckles as Sakura fixes jade eyes on the white eyed man, but she finally rolls her eyes and moves to take Neji's now empty plate. However a sudden flash of black at Sakura's feet trips her and she falls straight into Neji's lap, the plate slipping from her hand and shattering on the linoleum floor.

"You know for a kunoichi you are really clumsy." Neji states on hand on Sakura's lower back to keep her from falling back wards a smirk gracing his amused features, causing a Sakura's cheeks to turn tomato red.

"Oh whatever you try to stay standing when a wolf the speed of lightning trips you." Sakura hisses clenching her jaw to keep herself from smacking the smug smirk of the Hyuuga's face, until she notices how close their faces are. Less than an inch apart, Neji's breathe fanning out against Sakura's neck; if she just turned they would be barely centimeters apart.

"Why is she even here? I thought you said you weren't going to bring her into the village." Neji questions gesturing to the small black wolf licking up a few scraps of egg that had dropped on the floor. Sakura smiles and pushes up from Neji's lap using the table and his shoulder to pull herself up to stand finally turning to meet the pearl eyes fixed on her.

"Well I couldn't just leave Ebony out there with no one to take care of her. Now that Itachi's gone, I figured it couldn't hurt to bring her into the village; we have her trained in the basics, so she doesn't destroy anything. I am going to get together with Kiba a couple times a week and continue training her." Sakura explains moving to pick up the shards of glass on the floor, scratching the small black wolf on the head, causing the small animals excitement to rise as her tail swings back and forth faster and faster.

"She will do fine. Sakura I will get that, you should go get changed." Neji speaks leaving no room for argument as he picks up the exuberant puppy and hands her to Sakura to take with her. Sakura smiles and quickly exits the kitchen; she had found it never went well to argue with Neji.

The pinkette quickly goes to her room and sets the happy little puppy down on her bed, then races over to her closet. Sakura quickly changes into a black training dress, with red trim, and red spandex shorts and finishing it with a pair of black training shoes.

Sakura had agreed to train with Hinata today after she and Neji went through some more of Itachi's belongings. So Sakura grabs her weapons and straps on two holsters on her legs and places a few discrete weapons all over and finally straps on a basic katan on her back, but looks longingly at a beautiful black sword she so wished she could carry around all the time. Sakura sighs and tells Ebony to be good and leaves her a treat and grins as she recalls how she came by Ebony.

Sakura had been on a recon mission three months earlier and had wandered upon a small clearing and found Itachi standing on the far side near a few large rose bushes. Sakura had ambled over not even attempting to hide her presence, because not matter how hard she tried she could never hide from the Uchiha beside her.

"Itachi what are you doing?" Sakura had questioned looking over his shoulder to see a gigantic wolf dead on its side with a small black ball of fur moving around beside it. "Oh what happened?" Sakura asks sadly, she hated seeing anyone even animals injured or dead, it made her inner medic curl up and cry.

"I found a rogue fighting the creature; she was simply protecting her pups. Unfortunately before I got here he had already killed the mother and was attempting to reach this lucky little one. These wolves are a rare bread that is going extinct, but they are also the best fighting animals a ninja could ask for, so I am not surprised that he was after this pup." Itachi explains turning his ebony eyes on Sakura donned in her anbu gear.

"That is sad, but what are you going to do with the puppy?"

"I must retrieve it first without injuring it. These are no ordinary rose bushes; they are filled with a deadly poison."

"Here allow me." Sakura says a small smile returning to her face as a green chakra appears around her hands and she reaches into the vines surrounding the small animal and quickly extracts the ball of fur without harming it. Sakura smiles widely as she looks into a small pair of dark eyes as the puppy begins to cry the kunoichi hand the pup to Itachi.

"She will be very strong, here Sakura she is yours now." Itachi says handing the small creature back to a flabbergasted pinkette.

"What but I can't bring her into the village, I mean th…. Awwww she is adorable." Sakura begins trailing off as the small wolf nuzzles its fuzzy little head against her hand, causing Sakura's emerald eyes to soften.

"No need to worry I will help train her and for now she may stay with me. However she is yours, so you should choose a name."

"Alright then her name will be Ebony Rose, because she is completely black, which is strange since the wolf protecting her is grey and white, which I assume is the mother. And we found her in some rose bushes, oh and look even her little eyes are black how perfect." Sakura giggles hugging the little puppy. Itachi stood beside Sakura a smile on his thin lips chuckling as Sakura continued to cuddle the small fur ball.

Sakura smiles at the memory of Itachi and makes her way back to the kitchen where she finds the glass gone and the dishes washed, while Neji sits in a chair tracing the foreign words of the cover of the black book she had left on the kitchen table. Sakura smiles widely, Neji didn't mind cleaning, he did it all the time for his mother and he had helped her countless times to clean her home, mostly the kitchen, because she tended to experiment with food and a lot of the time it didn't go over well.

"Neji I'm ready." Sakura speaks catching the man's attention, his alabaster eyes catching sight of her and roaming down her figure, causing a light pink to overtake Sakura's cheeks. The pinkette never got use to the way he looked at her, she always told herself he looked at everyone like that but her inner self was very adamant that he defiantly did not and that look was solely for her.

Neji swiftly stands and walks over to the kunoichi, coming right into her personal space, their chests only mere inches away. Shocked emerald orbs shoot up to look into colorless eyes. Sakura inhales sharply as she sees the 'look' as Neji simply stares at her, her jade eyes drifting down to his perfect pale lips.

The couple stays like that until Neji breaks the deafening silence with a question, "Sakura what did you tell the Uchiha after you let me inside?"

Sakura turns ridged, she hadn't expected that question, but the young woman lets a small smile escape as she answers, "Oh that I just had to make sure Sasuke understood me about something he had brought up in our conversation earlier." Sakura replies cryptically not giving away that it had been about him, even though she was pretty sure the Hyuuga knew what she had said to Sasuke, he had something akin to super human hearing, and he could probably even compete with Akamaru.

The medic grins and steps closer to the man bringing them chest to chest, Sakura's fuchsia locks falling over her shoulders as she tilts her head up and asks, "I don't know though if Sasuke will believe me without proof."

Eyes unblinking neither relents as they merely stare, Sakura being the first to waver in her gaze as her inner comments on how Neji was so well built and how it would feel to have his arms wrapped around her waist lips on hers. These thoughts led to far less pure thoughts causing jade orbs to blink rapidly and Sakura to jerk back from the contact between them.

"It's a shame that I can't prove it to Sasuke quite yet though." Sakura says recovering from her foggy mind set, watching Neji as his snow white eyes pin her to the spot next to the front door, the 'look' sending buffalo trampling through Sakura's gut, causing a quiet intake of breath from the pinkette.

The Byakugan wielder advances on Sakura his eyes never wavering from her face, his hand coming up sweeping stray locks of hair behind her shoulder, his large calloused hand lightly running across her jaw. Then a smirk appears on Neji's face and he tilts his face toward a stunned Sakura and brushes his lips gently over her rosy ones.

I would deeply appreciate a round of silent applause for the moment at the end, however I would ask all of you wonderful people out there to brace yourself for the next chapter that will be out between now and the end of march! Yea for Neji/Sakura! Also I have a new story out called Begin Again (yes it is a Taylor Swift song fic, but don't hate just appreciate), it is a Kiba/Sakura story, but it's got some love for Itachi in it as well as Sakura's lovely dog Ebony (well sort of). Anyway I will edit this before posting anymore!

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