Hi everyone, sorry, I have a new job now and my studying is in full swing so writing takes a back seat as I wanna get my course done as soon as possible! I hope you all enjoy this chapter, I think this chapter has always sort of going to be the true turning point for Ino regarding both Konoha and her blooming relationship with Deidara. I also really hope I get a certain someone's character right in this.

I wanna thank my kind kind kind reviewers as per always: Indigo Yamanaka, Yuti-Chan, Gerren, SunflowerIce, DeiDeiArtistic, Tuonetar Star, Emma and anonymous reviewer who didn't leave a name but I thank ye anyways!

The dog days are over
The dog days are done
The horses are coming
So you better run

Run fast for your mother run fast for your father
Run for your children for your sisters and brothers
Leave all your love and your longing behind you
Can't carry it with you if you want to survive

Dog Days Are Over – Florence And The Machine

"I can't go back there again." Ino stated, "Sakura will have to report this to Tsunade, once they know I'm voluntarily working with you I'll be on their wanted lists." She was upset by this factor, leaving on her own accord was one thing, but after the Sasuke fiasco she really didn't think the elders would abide any more defections. Being cast out by her village stung hard. She tried to ignore the feeling and will it to go away but it continued to linger in her chest on the continued journey back.

She hoped, dearly, that swapping her old blissful, care-free life for the power and the will to make something out of herself was worth it.

Inoichi's pace was rushed as he made his way to Tsunade's office. He had been called there suddenly and wasn't looking forward to what had to be said. Obviously it was news of Ino, but where from he couldn't imagine. He had heard nor seen nothing and his searches had proven absolutely futile. On one hand he had been hoping for news every day, his wife she was desperate for her daughter back, it seemed nothing could console her... it had only been a few months but... he shook his head and thought of the reason why he didn't want to hear of news of Ino; because he had no idea how to break the news to his wife if the news was that Ino was...


The head of Yamanaka clan stopped and turned around. "Shikamaru?"

"You are going to Tsunade's?" The teenager asked, making his way lazily towards the adult.

"Yes." Inoichi nodded. Shikamaru had made a fine recovery, of course; with Tsunade and Sakura the answer to his injuries it hadn't taken long for him to get better at all. The first moment he could he had joined Inoichi in the searches, he had been a valuable asset to have; even if he was young; he was almost as experienced as Shikaku and as determined as himself to find Ino.

Shikamaru looked perplexed as well as solemn, as most of them had since Ino's disappearance. "Do you care to walk with me?" Inoichi asked. "I could do with company."

"Yeah." Shikamaru answered. "Me too... I wonder what on earth it could be..."

Whilst both had the same question in their heads, Shikamaru was absolutely certain that the answer wasn't going to be good. Ino hadn't been seen in months and the reports that she had aided Hidan and Deidara in battle were not good. Shikamaru wondered what on earth could have possibly happened now. Surely he couldn't believe Ino had actually killed someone. Pushing the question to the back of his mind, silently he and Inoichi finally made it in front of the fifth Hokage's office and after a brief knock; Inoichi pushed open the door.

Tsunade was looking solemn, Inoichi could tell it wasn't good and whilst the elders looked stony faced and irritable he noticed Sakura sobbing in the corner. Shizune was patting her shoulder comfortingly but even she too was pale and miserable.

"Tsu-Tsunade." Inoichi spoke softly as he entered. Shikamaru surveyed the scene before him and grimaced, bracing himself for the news to come.

Tsunade's arms were crossed as she stared out of the large window her office had down upon the village. With Inoichi and Shikamaru's entrance she turned to face them, unfolding her arms and clearing her throat. "Ino has been sighted." She stated. Inoichi gulped and held onto his nerves with every fibre of his being. He took a deep breath clenching his palms tightly as Tsunade went to continue. "Sakura found her, with Akatsuki members Deidara and Hidan near your family's headquarters."

"Impossible." Inoichi replied.

"They were exiting the building when Sakura saw them." Tsunade continued casting a look at her pink haired apprentice with sad eyes. "It seems... For whatever reason. Ino has left the village for good-"

"NO!" Inoichi slammed his fist onto the table. "If she is alive, then they are making her do these things! Ino would never!-"

"She took a scroll." Tsunade stated calmly.

The head of the Yamanaka clan, and Shikamaru also; paled considerably. Inoichi was at a loss for words, Ino couldn't have possibly... she knew how dangerous the scroll was; they were supposed to guard it; the techniques were... they were forbidden.

"There are forbidden technique's on that scroll." Shikamaru said quietly. "For generations the combination of Ino-Shika-Cho has forever guarded the three secret scrolls held dear to our families. They were used only once during the great Shinobi war... with dire consequences."

"Exactly." Tsunade replied. "With that power, Akatsuki are... well Ino is..." She shook her head to clear her mind of doubts and continued. "From now on... I have had no choice but to class Ino as an S-Class missing nin and add her to the Bingo book."

"Ino." Inoichi was at a loss for words, and sunk slowly to the floor in despair. The room was silent save for Sakura's continuing sobs. What Inoichi had been praying for, whatever wishes he still had for Ino and against his better judgement... he couldn't help but thinking that his beloved beautiful daughter may be better off dead.

Blood was pounding through Ino's head and sweat was dripping from of every available pore. She had never trained so intensely before in her life. She had broken through the pain barrier hours ago and was no longer taking any notice of the ache in her muscles or the forming bruises on her body.

Clothed only in a pair of shorts and a cropped top, her body was not looking pretty, there was no clothing to protect her and Katsumi was hitting every part of her body exposed that would deal the most damage. The idea was for Ino to regenerate herself whilst fighting to ensure the long length of the fight. So far it was working well; but Ino was too slow at healing and needed to pick up the pace. She had to do it subconsciously all while concentration on her fight. It was insanely difficult, as Naruto would say it was like looking left and right at the same time. But Ino had better chakra control and better concentration than Naruto, and she personally felt proud knowing how much she was achieving.

They had started training immediately once she had returned, and Ino had only been able to briefly read through some of the techniques of the Yamanaka clan. She was desperate to try them out but first Katsumi had insisted they complete this type of training until Ino was proficient in it, knowing full well that Ino would not be able to cope with the other techniques until she had mastered this one.

She was determined, and was refusing not to give up and any ninja could tell how much she was overexerting herself. She would take time to heal properly and that was one drawback of the technique, but it was one of the ways medical ninja could fight better. A dangerous one, but effective if used correctly.

With no other missions to start, Deidara had taken to watching her progress. He was still positive that she was a masterpiece in the making and was desperate to make sure that he didn't miss any part of her evolution. "You seem extremely preoccupied, your time would be better spent training or preparing for war, Akatsuki doesn't have the time for such luxuries as watching two women train." A chuckle followed and Deidara turned his head.

"Hello Kisame," Deidara welcomed him to join him; gesturing nonchalantly with his left hand. "I'm studying art."

"Oh." Kisame sat down perching Samehada to his side and leaning on it interestingly. He had always been quite fond of Deidara, the young teenage boy showed a lot of promise and as exceptionally adept at dealing with sticky situations. Kisame often thought he was older than his years, although usually with geniuses came madness; this was definitely true with Deidara. Kisame didn't really understand the concept of art; but was far too polite to comment on this to Deidara. "What type of art?" He asked.

"Evolutionary." Deidara answered dreamily as he continued his observation.

"Her training is progressing?" Kisame asked curiously.

"She is blooming." Deidara answered, "Like a weed into a strong and powerful tree. I am waiting for when it finally all builds up and explodes in a bang of courage and strength."

Kisame was slightly confused, "You mean when she completes her training?" He asked.

"Well no, great art can occur at any time." Deidara answered sighing, "It could happen soon or take years, I am sure it will be beautiful."

"The art you mean." Kisame said carefully. "Not her."

Deidara turned to him irritably. Kisame couldn't work out if the red hue on his face was a blush or he was simply flushing with anger. "Of course not her." He snapped before turning back to watch again. The two women eventually came to a halt and Ino fell forwards onto the floor, covered in sweat and gasping for air.

Katsumi stood back wiping some blood from her mouth and looking down with a pleased look on her face. "Acceptable," she commented. "But you are long past the wall and need time to recover. You should go over carefully the techniques you have been reading from your scrolls whilst you recuperate." The older woman paused and looked up to spot Deidara and Kisame and looked somewhat surprised to see them there.

Ino could barely crawl, let alone stand. But despite her fatigue she was pleased with herself, she had lasted longer than she had lasted before during training, but was no feeling the downside to the technique. She could see why Tsunade had never bothered to teach her a technique that put her in such a dangerous position. Having said that Tsunade suffered from fatigue after she healed herself with her special chakra storage; but even Ino could understand that this was different. This would require a partner whom she could trust with her life; and she really didn't think she could do that with anyone in Akatsuki.

"I didn't realise that you were observing our training." She stated stepping over Ino and walking towards them. "Welcome back Kisame, I trust your mission went well."

"Very well." Kisame answered leaning on Samehada to stand up.

"Deidara." Katsumi said turning to him, "You've taken an interest in Ino. Take her back to her room and entertain her while she heals will you? I have information to discuss with Kisame."

Deidara stuttered for words, not impressed at being told what to do and eventually as Kisame and Katsumi were leaving the room, finally found his voice. "I'm not a dogsbody!" He cried.

Katsumi turned around and shook her head at him annoyed, "Don't make me ask twice."

Deidara grumbled as he stood up and walked towards the girl. He sighed in exasperation and shook his head before bending down to scoop her up in his arms and carry her towards the quarters she'd been provided. "Weak." He said "What is the point of a good technique if it renders you useless." This he really couldn't understand.

Ino shook her head. "It's a complicated technique, I can't explain it well... only a medical ninja would get it." She continued to concentrate on her breathing, wanting nothing more than the clean comfortable sheets and pillows on her bed to curl up and sleep her fatigue away in. Hopefully she wouldn't be disturbed; Deidara deposited her down softly; adjusting her positioning so she was comfortable before making a disapproving sound and leaving the room.

When Ino awoke she felt a lot better, she had the feeling she had been sleeping for a long while and had no idea what the time or day was. She shifted around blearily and sat herself up in bed on the palms of her hands, to do as Katsumi said while she had the spare time and study her scrolls some more.

The technique's were astounding and she already knew how she was going to put them to use with her medical abilities, the two went hand in hand and as she read through them again she swelled with pride. She knew she would be able to complete them, and she knew she was going to be able to make them work in battle.

Forbidden techniques were forbidden for a reason but she really couldn't see the problem with using these types of fighting styles. Konoha could benefit greatly from them; she couldn't understand why the Yamanaka clan had hidden them. She suddenly thought of Sakura and what she would say; she would probably tell Ino it wasn't worth it and talk her out of it. Sakura wouldn't know though; she didn't come from a prestigious Konoha clan like Ino did. It didn't mean that Ino looked down on her; it was just that she would never be able to understand the passion Ino felt. She really wanted to be the one to master and use them in battle.

She was prepared to alter them slightly to suit her needs. She really hadn't figured out yet how she was going to protect Konoha with them, there was no real way she could take out the entirety of Akatsuki on her own. But there had to be something she could do in order to help Konoha from the position she was now stuck in.

She would have to worry about that later when she was more confident and much stronger. She had more training to complete and in order for her to do that she had to get up and resume her daily on goings. Spending so much time underground in their dingy hideout had resulted in a lack of vitamin D and Ino had resorted to eating more fish and taking pills to compensate for that. Knowing her medicines; Ino thrived on making sure her body was healthy, it made her feel stronger and able to accomplish more in day to day life.

She was still wearing the clothes Deidara had left her in and after freshening herself up with a quick bath and change of clothes, she pulled her hair back into a pony tail and then looped it once for good measure so it was out of the way. Then it was time to eat, Katsumi had said she wanted her fully healed, and Ino knew her chakra was still lacking so headed to the kitchen to fix herself something that would help.

Overall, she was pleased with her progress, she had come so far in these short months that she knew would have taken her years if not decades otherwise. The secret techniques... she was desperate to learn, despite the dangers. She hoped she had her nine lives because she believes in curiosity killed the cat... and she was more than just curious.


Ino turned and Deidara entered the room. His long cloak was missing and Ino made an all too obvious attempt at trying not to stare. She had enjoyed training with Deidara... perhaps too much, and it had been excessively difficult not to notice his defined muscles, strong chin and his eye that stared right through her. She knew Akatsuki was the last place she should develop feelings for anything, especially not one of her new comrades who given the order; would probably kill her in an instant... but she was a teenager, and unfortunately she didn't choose those urges.

"You seem perplexed, un." He commented sitting opposite her and peering at her inquisitively.

"Yes... sort of." She answered. Out of all the Akatsuki members she had met, it was of course Deidara who she related to best. He was the one she had first met and despite his catastrophic destructive tendencies; he was the one who treated her as an equal, maybe not in terms of pure power, but at least within terms that she had been drafted into Akatsuki all the same.

"You fear for Konoha still, yeah." Deidara stated.

Ino didn't answer immediately... when she did, Deidara was somewhat confused by her answer. "I am no moron." Ino answered. "I understand that to Akatsuki I am a hindrance with wavering loyalties... but if being here as taught me anything at all, I know how to stand on my own two feet now, and I know I must be wary of everyone. The moment I complied with Akatsuki I made everyone my enemy."

Deidara studied her resting his chin on the palm of his left hand. "You don't have to go through life making everyone your enemy, un... Kisame... Sasori... Tobi... I got on well with them, I held no grudges."

"But given the order you would betray them in an instant." Ino answered. "I don't think I will be able to live like that for the end of my days."

"No one retires from Akatsuki, un."

"I gathered that." Ino replied warily. "But I cannot give myself over to power so easily that I rely on it more than anything else. You have to have friends and allies... there's nothing worth fighting for otherwise."

"I fight for art, yeah." Deidara answered. "I need nothing else."

"Perhaps." Ino answered, "But I think you will find, greater powers come to those who fight for love, it means more."

Deidara wasn't certain he understood the meaning behind her words, but he had come to recognise the determination that showed clearly on her delicate face when she forcibly believed the resolve behind her words. "What do you suggest, un..."

"Find something more meaningful to believe in." Ino answered simply. "Art may be unmistakingly beautiful, but once you lose it what else is there if you cannot love another? If I lost Konoha, it would be up to me to find something else worthwhile to believe in... but if you only believe in the fleeting world of your art, and are incapable of loving something more meaningful then... there will be nothing."

Deidara narrowed his eyes at her. "You are..." He paused. "Captivating."

"What?" Ino asked, frowning at him in surprise.

Clearly Deidara had a different view of the word than she did, as he shrugged and reached for a piece of fruit from the bowl on the table. "Well it's true." He stated. "You have held my attention for a long time, one day you will become as beautiful as my art... or maybe not, un... we'll see."

"You're treating me like a piece of art." Ino announced reading his thoughts like an open book.

He was not at all embarrassed or concerned that she knew his inner desires and looked at her as though it was obvious. "So, un?"

"You plan on blowing me up?"

"No." Deidara answered, "I won't need to, yeah."

Ino didn't like the sound of it but willed herself up to follow him as he stood and began to walk from the room. Determined as she was, there was no way she was letting him go from her inquisition now. She wanted to know what he was thinking; she wanted to feel like she could trust him... even though her head was telling her trusting anyone in Akatsuki was a ridiculous notion.

"You're following me, yeah." Deidara smirked a little as she caught up with him in the dimly lit corridor.

"Well... well yes!" Ino puffed indignantly. "We aren't finished."

"No?" Deidara stated. Ino knew he was toying with her... again. He seemed to like doing that, on missions, or training... he knew perfectly well how to crawl under her skin better than anyone else. It was slightly infuriating.

"No!" Ino reached out and grabbed his hand pulling him to a halt. Unprepared for him to suddenly stop and turn around she landed against him with a soft bump as he peered down at her with hsi one eye. "Sorry." She mumbled taking a step back.

Deidara made a disgruntled face and using his other hand placed it a little forcefully on her back. Ino stopped and looked about wildly, "ah, um-"

"I really like..." Deidara began. Ino blushed a beautiful shade of crimson as Deidara peered down at her closer. "Making you feel uncomfortable, un."

He face contorted up angrily and she pouted at him. "That... that's just rude!"

"Ino." Deidara said.

"W-what?" She stuttered uncomfortably.

He gave a sigh and shook his head, "You're really something, un; you know that?"

Ino could only stare blindly for those few minutes whilst he gave her a really long hard look. Eventually after those uncomfortable moments he removed his hand from the arch in her back and raised it to the fringe that covered his left eye. He swept it aside carefully and Ino yelped in shock, he grinned and using the camera took a few choice photos of her whilst she accepted the mechanism that was in place of his eye. "Your... Deidara your eye!" She exclaimed.

"This, un?" He asked pointing at it casually. "I've had this for ages, yeah?"

"Uh... well... I... it's." Ino thought hard for something to say to him and then sighed in defeat as she could think of nothing. Gingerly she lifted her free hand to touch it, Deidara eyed her curiously as she became accustomed with it. "Why did you...?" He question trailed off as her other hand holding him dropped and he stepped back away from her.

"It's not a big deal, un." Deidara gave her dejected look. Ino could tell he clearly wasn't impressed with her attitude.

"No, I know." She said quickly. She wasn't entirely sure why she was trying hard to defend herself to him, granted it was an incredibly strange thing to do to one's self, and she couldn't really say it was all that attractive but... "I'm sorry I was just surprised that's all." She gave him a wide forced smile and with a small irritated grunt he span around to walk off again.

Ino sighed and went to follow him but this time found herself bumping into his back. "Deidara-"

"So this is how you spend your time? Playing silly games with silly little girls... no wonder you didn't beat me."

Ino froze and she felt the breath escape from her lungs and her palms begin to sweat and her eyes begin to widen. Her mouth formed a small silent o shape as Deidara growled and stepped aside. With this notion her head lifted slightly in more shock. Words escaped her as she could hear Deidara growl evilly and threateningly besides her.


"What are you doing here? Akatsuki only has need for strong ninjas... both of which neither of you fall into." Sasuke looked at her with a disgusted look on his face, Ino knew in an instant that Sakura had been right, he had changed. Perhaps she had constantly annoyed him, and maybe; yes, she could say that he had never liked her; but the way he was acting now... his stance, the look of contempt upon his dark features that blatantly told anyone he thought they were beneath him, the sorrow... yes Ino could see sorrow in his ebony orbs, told her this was no longer the teenage boy she had once had a crush upon.

If this was truly the reason Sakura had ended their friendship, Ino was disgusted with her... and herself for being so stupid to let him come between them. But a batter question was-

"Our fight isn't over, un." Deidara commented snarling severely. "You and I haven unfinished business, yeah?"

"I have no business with a weakling like you." Sasuke snapped. "Stay out of my way."

Before Deidara could retort Ino got there first. "What are you doing here?" Deidara turned to her his blonde hair whipping about his face.

"I have my own reasons for being here." Sasuke replied, "I owe Konoha a huge debt."

"Konoha?" Ino asked, her blue eyes blinking rapidly. "Everyone there is worried for you, Naruto and Sakura-"

Sasuke moved like a bolt of lightning and even Ino's new advanced reflexes were too slow to out manoeuvre him as too late did she see out of the corner of her left eye his hand reach behind him.

There was a clash.

Ino had bent over backwards, her right hand balancing herself on the floor, she watched with surprise as a clump of hair fell slowly to the floor. As she tried to get hold of the situation she realised the clang had indeed come from Sasuke's chokutō, and against it was a single kunai held strongly and aloft by no other than Deidara.

"You, have no right, to touch a hair on her head, un."

Ino had never seen Deidara so angry before and frankly as she regained her composure it was a little bit unnerving. Sasuke's black eyes shifted to him and then back to Ino again who gazed at him as confidently and as defiantly as she possibly could muster. "I can do whatever I want." Sasuke answered.

Deidara gave a satisfying smirk. "Don't think just because you're Madara's bitch you suddenly receive jurisdiction over the rest of us, yeah. We were Akatsuki before you arrived, un, we're Akatsuki while you're here; and we'll sure be Akatsuki when you're long gone dead and buried, un and as you can plainly see; we aren't that easy to kill, un."

"Deidara stop." Ino found herself saying. "He's not worth it..." She found herself peering at Sasuke with pity, not because he had lost his entire family, but because of the way he had bought his awful future upon himself. Ino couldn't help herself as she added uncharacteristically. "You think everyone is beneath you... but you're pathetic."

There was absolutely no denying the anger that flared up in Sasuke's eyes, Ino had seen it before, the anger that he'd had when he lost control against the sound ninjas during the second trial of the exams. This time, she wasn't afraid; she was stronger and more confident, she didn't love him; she never had, she would not be intimidated by his anger issues. "Yamanaka..."

"Ino." Deidara warned.

"You can't even comprehend my reasoning for being here." Sasuke growled, Ino noticed the he pushed harder against his sword, Deidara shifted his legs slightly to push more power against his own kunai.

"Let it go Sasuke." Ino warned. "You may have defeated Deidara on your own but I'm not so noble anymore than I wouldn't gang up on you if I had to protect my friends."

The Uchiha boy suddenly started laughing, his grip slackened and he pulled back. "You ridicule me? About Naruto and Sakura? When you call this piece of trash your friend?"

"At least I have friends to believe in Sasuke." Ino stood upright and clenched her fists. "What do you have to believe in? Other than hatred and revenge? It will not get you anywhere; you may have killed Itachi but what now?"

Sasuke's sword was soon pointed in her direction once more. "Do not talk to me," he threatened, "About Itachi... you would never understand, he was more the man than the rest of the village would ever be, the elders destroyed him and I will destroy them."

"You plan to destroy Konoha?" Ino frowned in confusion.

"Yes." Sasuke answered. "You will not get in my way."

"I won't let you destroy Konoha." Ino growled at him. "I came here to protect it."

"Then your effort will be in vain." Sasuke responded dryly.

Ino could see the evil in his eyes and shook her head slowly and disbelievingly. "I would never have believed that you of all people could fall so far." She mumbled. "You were always strong and fearless... but you won't get my pity for your hatred. I don't care what story is behind your revenge it is meaningless..." She trailed off and bit her lip. "You have no excuse, you have no reason. You and Naruto... you are not so different, the difference is growing up... people admired you, we may not have understood you but you could have had all the friends you wanted. People wanted to be with you and be around you; because you were from a good respected and powerful family. But you chose to look the other way and cast us aside."

"What are you trying to say?"

"Naruto was hated!" Ino spat at him, "Hated and feared! No one liked him; he wasn't lonely because he chose to be, he was lonely because we made him like that. He had a reason to hate us! But instead of hatred he turned his loneliness into resolve and tried to prove himself to the village and even now he tries to protect us! He is more than you will ever be!"

"I want to be nothing like Naruto!" Sasuke cried launching himself at her again.

This time Ino was ready, Sasuke's sword plunged through her chest and as she saw Deidara's shock, her body turned to a puff of smoke and Ino reappeared behind the Uchiha. "Falling for a substitution technique?" She asked shaking her head. "Ridiculous."

Sasuke span around again. This time his sharingan was activated. Ino drew in a breath of air, getting caught by that would be the end of her-


All three of them span around the eruption of the voice behind them.

Kisame had his signature shark like grin across his face; one hand was clasped around the handle of Samehada and he was chuckling lowly to himself. "I could shave a bit off of them if you require."

"Thank you Kisame but that won't be necessary." Katsumi answered. "I hope." She added at the three of them. Sasuke sheathed his sword and turned off in the opposite direction without another word. Looking hatefully at his retreating back Katsumi commented most uncharacteristically, "I detest him." After a moments subdued pause she flicked her head in Ino's direction. "I told you to recover and regain your energy, not get into fights."

"I'm sorry." Ino bowed as low as she could in apology.

"Heehehehe." Kisame commented. "There's never a dull moment with you around Deidara, I knew I always liked you."

Deidara gave a hmpf and walked off brushing past Kisame and Katsumi irritably, Kisame wrapped his arm around the shorter mans shoulder laughing with him down the corridor as the other woman gave a sigh and followed calmly.

"Are you coming Ino?" She called behind her after Ino stopped frozen for a few minutes.

Jumping out of her stupor she broke into a small jog to catch up with her teacher. "Y-yes!"

Casting a saddened and concerned look behind her, Ino could only stare into the darkness of where Sasuke had walked into, knowing full well that one day; like Naruto, he may possibly become the man she would have to defeat.

When Ino next had time to spend with Deidara, he was in a much better mood; and had seemingly moved on and forgotten about the incident with Sasuke; although she herself certainly had not. Every moment she had spare she could only think about Sasuke's words and how Deidara had defended her from harm.

This time they were training once more and even Deidara could tell that the girls mind was preoccupied and elsewhere. Usually she had the ferocity behind her punches and kicks like a lioness but he was struggling to find any sort of way to drag that ferocity out of her and eventually he grabbed her foot as it swung towards his head and glared at her. "There is something wrong, un."

"What?" Ino asked.

"You are different, troubled, yeah." Deidara answered releasing her ankle and turning away from her.

"I am?" She asked. Truthfully Ino knew she was thinking of other things, but really hadn't taken into consideration how it may have affected her otherwise, especially not training. Deidara went to sit on the bench on the other side of the room and bent down to pick up the large mug of water he kept there. Taking a few slow mouthfuls he gulped it down thirstily as she came to sit next to him; looking down at her lap wearily.

"You may discuss with me what you feel, yeah." Deidara stated, "If it will improve your training, un"

Ino was silent for a few moments, knowing she really couldn't trust him, but considering the circumstances she really had no one else to confide in. "I think of Sasuke's words." She answered truthfully. "I have to stop him; if he destroys Konoha my betrayal means nothing."

"Is that all, un?" Deidara asked.

"Yes." Ino answered. "I told you... my love for Konoha... it makes me more powerful, I cannot let him destroy it."

"But you said to me that you could find something else to love, yeah?" Deidara was confused, he didn't understand her meaning at all, although inwardly he secretly put that down to her being a woman... although he wasn't going to admit that to her.

"Yes." Ino stated sighing and trying once again to explain herself to a man who just clearly didn't get it. "That doesn't mean I have to take this lightly, I have to fight for all it's worth... know I have done right by my beliefs."

"Oh all right, un." Deidara put his chin in his hand again bored.

Ino sighed for the umpteenth time; knowing she wasn't getting through. "Deidara?" She asked cautiously. "What would you do to defeat Sasuke?"

Deidara perked up, Ino's heart raced, she would have given anything for power and she was willing to bet Deidara would do the same to defeat his arch nemesis. "I would give everything to be rid of him, un." Deidara replied.

Ino nodded, "In that case." She said turning to him, "I will do everything I can... when I'm strong enough, I will be ready to help."

WOW, that was kind of tough. I hope that you all enjoyed it regardless. I really hope I got Sasuke's character right... he was kind of difficult to write, so anyway, I think it turned out ok. The story is finally nearing its end now believe it or not I have only a few more chapters planned, maybe four or five depending on how it goes.

I also hope people are enjoying like the little song snippets I've been using at the beginning of some chapters. The next chapter includes the song I think really defines who and what Ino is and will become when she is an adult, although I guess she'll probably just end up becoming mum to Shikamaru's baby or something incredibly boring. She totally deserves more than that.

But any who! Please read and review as always! I always appreciate it and if you guys have any requests or ideas or questions let me know I'll always answer them or see if I can use them. :) Although it's all pretty much planned there are always bits I can edit slightly if an idea or request fits in!

Loves! Wiggle xxx