::Chapter 1::

From the moment Ino befriended Sakura, she knew her life would never be the same. The pink haired girl was so shy and self-cautious, Ino felt bad for her the moment she saw her. Ino never had any problems making new friends. At age eight, she had her own group of followers that did whatever she asked of them.

Like any group of girls they had their mean streak and giggled over foolish boys like Naruto and Kiba who did silly things to get attention. Ino felt comfortable in the midst of girls but often found herself annoyed by them as well.

It all started on the playground. Ino was sitting on top of the jungle gym with her friends playing below her in the sand. It was a nice spring day with a gentle cold wind blowing across her face, playing with her hair like her dad often did when he would read her a story. She was blowing bubbles quietly watching the colorful orbs be carried off by the breeze and then burst into a delicate spray.

"Can I try?" Ino turned to the hesitant voice to see a paled-eyed girl she knew to be Hinata Hyuga. Ino lifted a brow, finding it a bit odd that she was even talking to her. The girl rarely came to the park without an escort from her clan glued to her side and she hardly ever talked to anyone. The only reason she knew her was because of her title as the next heiress. That information was drilled into her because of the Hyuga's bloodlimit. Bloodlimits were always important as well as clans.

Ino handed over her bottle of solution just to see what the girl would do. Hinata settled on the bar just below Ino and swirled the pink wand in the bubble syrup and blew, sending a stream of bubbles dancing in the wind. Ino smiled at Hinata's proud flush and watched as the bubbles drifted toward a girl who was playing by herself in the sand at the very edge of the playground. Her pink hair fell in a mess in front of her face and down her skinny shoulders. She was making a sand castle, wincing whenever someone would come close to her or her castle.

"Hey, who's that?" Ino turned to Hinata and motioned toward the girl.

Hinata glanced over. "Her name is Sakura Haruno. She's in Riku-sensei's class." It was probably why Ino never noticed her before.

"Sakura huh?" She mused, thinking that her mom must have named her that because of her rare pink hair. But even with her blaring pink hair, Ino never once seen her around the village before and she usually knew every single girl in her age group including most of the girls in Riku-sensei's class.

"Miss, we must head back." Hinata practically jumped at her escort's soft voice and when she saw Ino staring at her she quickly lowered her eyes and blushed.

"Excuse me." She politely murmured and handed the bubbly bottle back to her, carefully climbing down. Hinata stopped a few steps away and turned back to her. "Thank you!" She called out before she was lead away.

"Hey Ino!" Someone called out to her. Ino sighed and looked down to see Kiba with an armed sling-shot in his hands. She narrowed her eyes.

"Don't you dare!" She yelled. Her friends jumped to command, tackling him to the floor. Kiba protested but Ino saw him smile in the frenzy. Ino let a grin grace her lips as she climbed off the jungle gym, walking past the scuffle in the sand without glancing down.

A boy a little older than herself stopped at Sakura's castle and plucked a flat square stone that served as a window before snickering and running off. Sakura didn't move an inch to get it back, just hunched her shoulders even more.

Ino caught the bully by the shirt as he passed her.

"Hey!" He protested but Ino yanked him back and tripped him. She put a foot to his throat.

"Give that to me now." She threatened. His watery green eyes narrowed and he tried to roll away but she pressed the heel of her shoe down making his eyes widen. "Now." She insisted, steadily putting more pressure on his throat before he held out the stone. She snatched it from him and lifted her foot. The boy scrambled away, calling her a bitch. She smirked at him in triumph as some of his friends razzed him about being handled by a girl.

Ino pocketed the rock as she made her way to the pink haired girl. Her shadow descended on the little castle and Sakura stiffened and brought herself to sit up straight. Ino could practically feel Sakura's nerves jump all around her.

"What are you making?" Ino asked. She felt the girl's surprise and she kneeled in front of her. "Did you hear me?" She cocked her head to see if Sakura was even listening. She whispered something.

"Say it again." Ino demanded making the girl glance up in shock. Ino mentally smiled, finally able to see jade green eyes peek though her messy long bangs.

"A castle." Sakura said in a stronger voice.

"Eeww! Ino! Why are you talking to her?" She turned around and saw her friends surround them in a half circle. Apparently they grew tired of Kiba and had watched her come to see Sakura. Ino glowered at them and stood from her crouch.

"I have to ask your permission to talk to someone?" She shot at them with a hand to her hip.

"But she's so gross!"

"Yeah, look how dirty she is!"

"And her hair is so bushy! I bet she has lice! What is she hiding behind those shaggy bangs of hers?"

"Probably her huge forehead!" One snickered, eliciting giggles from everyone else except Ino. At all the other comments, Sakura never once visibly flinched, but this last one made her flinch…hard.

"Stop." Ino barked at them which completely halted their annoying cackles. "Do I ever tell you I think your eyes are too far apart?" She pointed at one of the girls and then moved down the line, singling out each and every one of them. "Or that I'm surprised you can actually get into that shirt? Or that you have buck teeth or when you run you look like a lame duck?" Her friends all looked at one another. "Yeah, that's what I thought." It dismissed them. Ino didn't even watch them leave, instead she turned to Sakura.

"And you!" She made her jump with the bite in her tone. "Learn to stand up for yourself. Be here tomorrow morning." She commanded and tossed the square rock down. "I thought you could use this back." Sakura picked up the rock and rubbed one of the sides with a dirty finger.

"Thank you." Ino crouched again and lifted Sakura's bangs with a soft hand.

She studied the girl's face before commenting. "Your forehead is not that big. Covering it up serves no real purpose you know." She smiled and left Sakura staring dumbly after her.

After a few days of meeting with her, Ino knew what her problem was. Sakura was like a little baby who constantly needed someone there to watch out for her. Ino supposed that the damsel in distress trait wasn't so bad, but who could fill such a big role? Certainly not her. Besides, Ino knew the whole damsel in distress routine needed to be shed and to do that, confidence would need to build. It would take some time. From the way Sakura still hunched when she spoke, Ino knew it would take a lot of time but she had to start out somewhere. That's why she was in her favorite accessory shop running her fingers through an array of hanging ribbons.

"Anything you like?" A sales person spoke. Ino gave the briefest glance up in acknowledgment before pointing to a satin red ribbon. The lady reached in the front pocket of her apron and pulled out some scissors. "How long?"

Ino smirked before giving the measurement. She bought some bracelets and hair pieces for herself before exiting the store, smiling at the jiggling bell.

It was late afternoon, just enough time to squeeze in some practice. She stopped by her house to gather her training weapons and headed to a nearby training field her dad often brought her too. Weapons training wouldn't officially start until she turned ten, but a lot of students already gained some experience with weaponry. Her aim was pretty good; each kunai hit the targets that littered the field (though not always in the bulls-eye). Her dad said she was a natural. She was probably the best in the class when it came to the girls but she could never be the top, not when a reputed genius always nabbed the spot, but Ino never dwelled on it much. Just because he always took the spot didn't mean she was any less talented. Her dad said that everyone had some kind of ability that could never be copied. If all ninjas were the same then the ninja world would crumble from it bearings.


The class had one of those rare days off. It had been three days of nothing but tests and the teachers knew the kids needed some time to be kids.

The girls were in a meadow of newly blossomed flowers, putting together a bouquet which was pretty easy to do considering her family owned the only flower shop in Leaf Village. Floristry came natural to her and she loved putting together arrangements that reflected anything she wish them to.

Her grandma taught her the art of Ikebana when she turned four. Ikebana was one of those rare things that made her forget everything in the world because of the silence displayed when creating the shape she wanted. It gave her control, knowing that every line and form she created was created by her…by her will and her desire and it always turned out perfect in her eyes. Flowers were always pretty, massive wreaths and such overshadowed simpler things. She knew that once she became a ninja…calm and simplicity would be hard to come by.

Ino spotted Sakura with her own with a handful of bland, colorless flowers. It was a mundane set of girly pinks and yellows, a safe style because that's what most of the other girls chose as their colors. Ino never really liked safe and trying to be like everyone else was not what she wanted Sakura to be like. "Here add this." She held out some blue and purple flowers along with three strange spiraled branches she found and a massive orange daisy that dwarfed the other flowers. Sakura cautiously took them and weaved them into her bouquet. "See? It doesn't always have to be average Sakura. Average is lazy, remember that."

"Thank you." Sakura said quietly.

"Here" Ino pulled the red ribbon from her pocket and held it out in front of Sakura. "Your forehead isn't going to change and your just brining more attention to it." She kneeled in front of Sakura and began tying her hair back. The bow was arranged perfectly and Ino grinned at her accomplishment. Sakura's big innocent jade eyes blinked in astonishment. "See? It's not as bad as you think."

Sakura still looked hesitant and awfully self-conscious, but Ino knew it would be some time before the girl gained some confidence. "Anyways, if you're going to hang out with me, I can't have you looking like a shaggy freak. Friends don't embarrass friends."

If it was even possible, Sakura's eyes grew even rounder and bigger. "Friends?"

Jeeze how alone was this girl of the idea of friends was so foreign to her? "Sure" Ino said nonchalantly, hiding her frown. The teacher yelled for everyone to line up and Ino held out a helping hand to her new friend. Sakura slowly took it with a smile…

For two years they were best friends. They did everything together like best friends did. It was when they turned thirteen that things started going downhill.

Like Ino had predicted, Sakura finally came out of her shell. Her confidence did grow and she grew into her name, blossoming like Ino had wanted her to. However, Sakura still hadn't quite grown out of her damsel in distress trait because most of Ino's longtime friends felt the need to constantly be at her side. While Ino still commanded most of the kunoichi in her class, Sakura had a small following herself. It was a little off setting to have her authority threatened by someone. Especially her best friend. She tried not to resent the pink haired girl but it was hard not too. Sakura began to excel in a lot of things in her social life, sometimes going out without even inviting her. Ino had to be the top one, the best. She had to keep her pedestal above everyone else. Even Sakura. So she pushed herself harder in school, she trained even harder, studied harder to make sure she would not dip into anyone's shadow.

At lunch, she still sat at the head of the table of girls, but their attention was always divided between her and Sakura. For the most part, Ino acted indifferent, but inside she was beginning to fume. Jealousy and resentment simmered just below the surface.

She moodily picked at her lunch, her gaze roaming anywhere but her lunch table. The outside lunch tables were full of students, each in their own groups. Strangely, she found that her eyes landed on one table where the Uchiha sat. He was never by himself but he seemed like he was always alone.

Of course everyone knew what had happened to his family. It was such a sad thing that happened. She felt bad for him. She knew the whole village looked to him as some kind of superior being that totally encompassed every aspect of the whole Uchiha clan. Must be a lot of pressure Ino thought returning to the conversation at her own table. Her blue eyes landed on Sakura who was blushing and giggling at what one of the girls whispered to her. Ino watched them closely and saw that Sakura's eyes slid across the lunch area to the table where Ino just finished looking at. Eight of the eleven girls at her table turned to giggle amongst themselves when his annoyed dark eyes gave them a glare. He picked up his tray and left the lunch area with a couple of boys following close behind.

Suddenly Ino knew what she wanted to do. It would be a bit mean, but Sakura needed to be reeled in and put back in her place.

Later that week, Ino told Sakura to wait for her by the big tree by training area three, where they always met up before doing something together. Ino did know why her heart was hammering so hard in her chest as the pink haired girl approached.

"So, I heard you like Sasuke too." She managed to say after Sakura halted in front of her.

Sakura blinked like an owl, shifting on her feet uneasily. "Who told you that?"

Ino smirked and played with the ends of her hair. "You're not the only one who has eyes for him. A lot of our friends have crushes on him. If you want him to notice you, you have to make sure you stand out from them. Love is a tricky thing Sakura and a lot of people, especially girls, play dirty to achieve what they want." She paused. "I heard he likes long hair." She shrugged and turned from her. "Just a little suggestion."

She was a bit disappointed that Sakura didn't stop her. Halfway through the training fields she heard someone move from the trees.

The startled breath that stuck in her lungs was whooshed out when she saw who it was. "Jeeze Shikamaru! You startled me!" She exclaimed before glaring. "Don't do that again!"

"What are you doing?" He asked with his dark eyes sparkling in the fading light. Ino gave him a strange look, half knowing what he was getting at.

"What do you mean?" They began walking together.

"I heard what you said to Sakura." His dark eyes locked on to hers and he stuffed his hands into his shorts pockets.

"Were you spying on me?" She loudly accused, causing Shikamaru to roll his eyes.

"Are you deliberately sabotaging your friendship?"

Ino's pulse sped up. "What makes you think that?" When he simply raised a brow Ino sighed.

"I'm doing this to make her finally fight for something. She's been like this for too long."

"Like what?"

Ino shot him a side look, noticing for a moment how pretty his profile looked in the light orange and pink glow of the early sunset. "You know, hoping for something but never making an effort to get it. I know that a lot of girls like Sasuke. I just gave her a reality check."

"And you think that if Sakura and the other girls fight over him, there will be a ripple in the ranks and you'll be able to retain your hold on the female student body without Sakura toeing her way to be your equal?"

Ino sucked in a sharp breath, wondering how the hell Shikamaru caught onto her plan so easily. "Even if that was true, their bickering would only last for a little while." She defended. "We'll all be graduating soon and sorted into teams. Things like this will just go away because they'll have more important things to fight for." She tensed, waiting for a rebuttal. But he didn't say anything so she linked their arms and pulled him close to her side.

"Come on, let's get something to eat."

"But I already ate!" He protested, but without really any heat or strength.

"So? Boys are always hungry. Come on! I don't want to eat alone like a loser!" She whined, capturing him with her cutest pout ever.

"Troublesome." Shikamaru muttered and Ino smiled at her victory…


What Ino learned one day was that you can't have you cake and eat it too. All her planning came crashing down when Sakura held out the red ribbon on the same hill where Ino first gave it to her. Ino didn't know what to say, she was totally confused. When Sakura told her that they were going to be rivals from now on, Ino dumbly nodded and the ribbon dropped to the ground. Sakura had ended their close friendship over a boy. A boy Ino never said she liked, nor did she show any interest in. Just how did Sakura see her? Like the other foolish girls that giggled over him? She was lumped in with those girls? The ones Sakura was commanding like the underlings they were?

The blonde picked up the ribbon before it blew down the hill and brutally wrapped it around her hand, letting it cut into her blood circulation until her hand grew cold and numb. She tried not to let her anger rule her next decision. Shikamaru always said she let her emotions rule over her actions and she really wanted to change that but this…this could not go unpunished. She thought their friendship was worth more than anything, especially a boy.

"Rivals huh? Do you know what real rivalry is Sakura?" She stared at her hand, the red ribbon greatly contrasting against her pale skin and blinked back the bitter tears that began burning her eyes. She tore her eyes away and glared at Sakura's retreating figure, already disappearing into the distance. "I'll show you what real rivalry is!" She yelled at the top of her lungs…


The lunch table was split after that. Sakura and Ino's falling out strained the rest of the girls so Ino snapped the tension by starting to hang out with the boys. Mostly Shikamaru and Choji, sometimes even Kiba. The change didn't go unnoticed by the class. Nosey people would try to find out the reason why but Ino was unwilling to tell them anything. Actions spoke louder than words and when they all began the school year together in Iruka-sensei's class Ino began her self-proclaimed mission.

When Sakura would get close to Sasuke, Ino got closer. When Sakura managed to get him alone, Ino was there with a group of people to interrupt her moment.

Sasuke's annoyance didn't matter to her. She wanted to annoy Sakura and to see how far the pink haired girl would go in getting Sasuke's attention. She wanted Sakura to show her just how valuable Sasuke's attention was over their friendship. But Sakura never went far, always chickening out when she had the perfect moment. It was then that Ino knew Sakura had jumped in to the water of competition without knowing how to swim. Still, it didn't sway her resolve to make Sakura pay for her mistake of putting boys before friendship. She would let Sakura drown in her success.

When they had to do projects, she was always the one to get Sasuke as her partner. Granted, part of the reason why she could even do that was because the guy was so moody and anti-social no one dared to ask him. Even the braver girls tittered foolishly when they tried to even speak to him. Honestly why did they like him? Ino wondered staring intently at the boy in question as he worked out the problem Iruka-sensei gave them. He always hogged the paper Ino thought moodily.

"What?" Sasuke's irritated voice made her come back from her thoughts. She had been staring blankly at him for some time.

She coolly shrugged. "Just thinking about something."

"You should be thinking about how we're supposed to get out of this situation." He flicked the paper showing her that he already had his own solution for the problem.

Ino's eyes lowered, quickly reading the scenario. "It is evening so the shadows grow longer. If I stay close to the bigger objects of the forest I can blend into the shadows, picking up speed as they blend together and then proceed into full sprint to make up for the time I hid. Honestly, I would think Iruka-sensei would give us something harder." She leaned back in her chair, stifling a bored yawn.

Sasuke looked a little surprised. "It's obvious tools. That was the whole point of the lesson today."

Ino looked past him to see Sakura stiffly sitting in her chair. Little eavesdropper, Ino thought and leaned into Sasuke so they were close together.

"Let's turn this in." She smiled quickly jotting down her answer under his, finishing by writing her name next to his on the work sheet. "Iruka-sensei said that once we're done we can leave for the day." She pulled on his arm to make him get up from his seat. He gave her a testy look, but didn't make an effort to be free of her. She gave Irkua-sensei the paper and looked over her shoulder at Sakura, flashing the bristling girl a victorious smile before leaving the class room, still holding Sasuke's arm.

Once outside, out of Sakura's line of sight, she let go. "Do you want to do something?" She offered.

"Why would I want to hang out with you?" He shot at her. Ino eyed him, again wondering what was so damn appealing about him. Sure he was cute, but with a cold personality like his, looks could only go so far. And that was saying a lot considering Ino was superficial when it came to pretty things. In truth, she resented him for taking away her best friend.

"I just asked to be nice." She moodily shot back, knowing that if she thought too much about it, she would likely smack him or worse, break down in tears. They wordlessly parted ways.

She and Sasuke weren't the first ones done. A couple of teams finished before them and were playing on the training grounds by the gymnasium.

Shikamaru and Choji were propped against a bench with Shikamaru reclined on the seat watching the sky and Choji munching on some chips watching dancing butterflies flitter across the rich emerald grass.

"Hey!" She greeted them, leaning over Shikamaru with a grin. "How come you're still here? Dodging chores again?"

He opened his eyes and squinted at her. "Yes. Finally finished?"

"Yeah. Do you guys want to do something? I'm so bored!" Shikamaru gave the faintest smile at her whine.

"Let's go eat!" Choji declared and stood up, brushing the dirt from his shorts.

Ino groaned. "But we just finished with lunch!"

"Two hours ago!"

"Choji there are other things to do besides going to eat all the time." Ino reprimanded him.

"Ah don't start arguing." Shikamaru sat up. "We'll stop at the dango shop on our way to wherever Ino wants to go."

"The river! It's such a nice day and we haven't gone swimming in a long time." She beamed.

"Oh the river! Can I come?" The three turned to see Naruto careen toward them.

Ino eyes him warily. "I guess so." She never really hung out with him before. Naruto was always loud and brash, but she had to admit his pranks were priceless. "Just don't get on my nerves or I'll smack you." She hit him on the shoulder to make her point. Naruto just grinned and jumped in the air in excitement.

Ino rolled her eyes. "Meet us by the gate in fifteen minutes. I have to get my swim suit. Shikamaru, you go with Choji to get his snack."

"Whatever." He answered and the boys left before her. She was just about to leave for home when she saw Hinata slowly walking to the gate.

"Hey Hinata!" Ino waved to the young girl. "What are you going to do for the rest of the day?"

Hinata shrugged. "Go home. Class is over."

"That's so boring! Come on." She pulled Hinata's hand startling the little bunny-girl.

"W-where are we going?"

"To the river to swim." Ino chirped merrily.

"B-but m-my father—"

"Doesn't know that Iruka-sensei let us go home early. You can come and swim and then get back home on time."

"B-but I don't have a swim suit." Hinata was tugging her hand out of Ino's but she tightened her hold.

"You can borrow one of mine. Quit making excuses, I don't want to be the only girl going to the river with the boys."

If it was possible the pale girl paled even more. "B-boys? W-who is going to be there?"

Ino held up her other hand, counting off the names with her slender fingers."Shikamaru, Choji and Naruto." She heard Hinata suck in her breath.

"N-Naruto is going to b-be there?"

Ino raised an interesting brow at the reaction to Naruto's name. "Yeah. Look there's my house." She said and pulled her along.

The whole river outing picked up a few more people. Shino Kiba and his puppy Akamaru joined. The quiet boy, Shino, didn't get wet but Ino suspected that Kiba made him come and he didn't have the right clothes. Over all it had been a fun day. Hinata even stayed longer with them despite fearing she might get into trouble with her father for not coming directly home after school ended. The group ended the day by stopping a little dinner shack to catch a meal. To be honest being with these people was a lot more fun and fulfilling than being with her other friends. Still, it would have been even better if Sakura…no, Ino stomped on that thought.

"Man it's getting late. My sister is probably going to bitch about my curfew." Kiba picked up little Akamaru and placed him in his jacket.

"Yeah, we better head off." Shikamaru nudged Choji, who was picking at the crumbs on his dish.

"Would you mind if I walk with you?" Shino asked them quietly.

"Come on." Shikamaru shoved his hands in his pockets and the three left right after Kiba.

Ino stopped Hinata from gathering the plates in a pile. "They have busboys for that." She scolded. Naruto seemed a little depressed and Ino leaned over the table to flick his goggles.

"What's up with you?" She frowned.

He shifted his eyes to the side. "My place is so boring. Why does everyone have to go home so early?"

Ino looked at the clock. "Early? It's almost even-thirty!"

He looked up at it as well and sighed. "I guess it's late. I was just having too much fun. I just don't want today to end." He pouted with a strange strain in his voice and in his big blue eyes.

Ino frowned again and she and Hinata exchanged looks. "T-there is a-always tomorrow. W-we can all hang out again." Hinata was blushed darkly when Naruto looked at her.

"Yeah. At lunch we'll sit together." Ino declared firmly.

He eagerly leaned forward. "Really?"

Ino rolled her eyes. "Of course dummy. We're all friends.

Naruto's eyes grew big and Ino wondered if he was alright. Naruto was strange, she wondered what Hinata saw in him. They were complete opposites, loud and quiet, brash and thoughtful…

"Alright! I'll see you guys tomorrow then!"

The two girls left right after Naruto, walking in pregnant silence down the dark streets of a sleeping village. Ino was picking through her thoughts, something that Hinata instantly noticed.

"What's wrong?" Ino found that she had stopped in the middle of the street. Ino gave her a sideways look, contemplating everything that was going though her mind before she answered.

"Why do you like Naruto?"

The dark haired girl paled and took a step away. "W-What? H-how d-did you know?"

Ino felt like Hinata was going to bolt like a scared little doe so she quickly grabbed her arm and pulled her along, continuing their conversation. "I like watching people and I noticed that you like watching him a lot. Why do you like him?"

At first, Ino didn't think Hinata would answer so when the girl finally sighed, Ino's ears perked to the soft, hesitant voice.

"I like him because no matter what happens, or what people say, he never loses hope. He always has a smile, even when he's greeted with nothing but glares of contempt. He has dreams and works hard to meet them." She declared proudly with her light eyes sparkling in a way Ino had never seen before.

"Wait." Ino frowned. "When you said that he smiles even when he's greeted with glares…"

"You never noticed how most of the villagers treat him?" Hinata stopped them with a defensive air about her.

Ino shook her head, thinking back to all the times she even noticed Naruto. But she never really paid any attention to him. She never really talked to him until they joined Iruka-sensei's class. Just how long has Hinata had a thing for the hyper-active blonde? When was the special moment that Naruto found a place in Hinata's heart?

"I guess I never noticed." Ino heard the apologetic tone in her own voice. In truth she was kinda sorry. Naruto seemed like a nice guy despite his crazy shenanigans. She could see why some might not like him considering his pranks and such but…that couldn't cause so much disdain among the village. She would have to pay more attention from now on to see what Hinata was talking about.

"Okay then why do you think Sakura likes Sasuke? I mean he's never gave her any indication that he knows she's alive and girls flock to him like he prince charming." Ino pouted darkly. "He's a big loner, I mean I get why he is the way he is. Losing your whole clan in one night must have been excruciating but always living in the past's shadow isn't healthy. How long will it take him to get over it?" Ino abruptly stopped, a sudden ache in her heart when she imagined losing her father. She instantly regretted what she said. "Never mind." She said quickly. "I don't know what I'm talking about. He has his reasons I guess." She was sullen; wishing she never even approached the subject. "Must be his wounded soul that attracts their maternal instincts or something."

Hinata sighed. "Yes, I think girls like him because they think that can change him and save him from his loneliness."

"Well they're going about it the wrong way. Besides you can't change anyone who doesn't want to change." She yawned and rubbed her grainy eyes.

"I'm sorry Ino, but aren't you like…president of his fan club?" Hinata asked innocently.

Ino blinked before she exploded into laughter. "I guess I am!" She managed to settle down and yawned again. "It was never my plan to be the president. The girls think I like him so they follow my lead to be included."

"Y-you don't like him?" Hinata was uncharacteristically incredulous.


"Then why do you pretend like you do?" Hinata interrupted but then blushed and put an ashamed hand over her mouth. "I'm sorry."

"I have my reasons." Ino murmured. She wasn't about to spill her secrets and was relieved that the girl didn't press her.

It was a little past midnight when Ino finally settled into her bed. I was dead quiet in her house. Her dad had been gone for a week on a mission and she was left alone. In truth she didn't mind being alone. She liked the peace quietness brought to her. She tried not to think that it was too quiet this time. Fridays Sakura would always come to spend the night…but that was over now. Bitter, hurt tears stung her eyes…and she fell into a fitful sleep…


AN:So I uploaded the short chapter 1 on accident. Originally I was going to have this chapter be two chapters but the longer version seems better...