Author's Note: Getting close to the end now (phew!). Only 2-3 chapters to go and I am READY for my two favorites to be together. Though I've really started to enjoy writing Sakura and Ino the more they've appeared so I'm looking forward to writing them more in the future. Y'all enjoy and I'll see you all again next week!


Chapter Twenty-two

Sakura and Ino had unfortunately come to a standstill outside the restaurant that Naruto and Hinata had entered.

"We should just go in and demand a table," Ino said. "It's not like people don't know who we are."

"We can't make a scene! If we make a scene then everyone will know we're there including Naruto and Hinata!"

"Oh, please. Did you see those two? They're totally in their own world. And now they're in a private booth saying who knows what because you won't let me go in there and get close!"

"Ino, your main role is gathering information. How can you possibly think something other than stealth is what we need here?"

"Exactly, I do this all the time. And I'm telling you they won't even know we're there! But if you're so worried about it then why don't we just go in and join someone else's table? I see a couple of tables of boys and all we'd need to do is unzip our jackets a bit and 'accidentally' press our boobs against them. Well, my boobs. I'm kind of surprised yours never did the Tsunade thing. Or is that part of the jutsu she uses to get young? How did I never think of this?!"

The sound of wood cracking broke Ino out of her latest amazing theory (that she was definitely going to verify later) and she saw Sakura had broken part of the windowsill of the window they were peering into. Oops, it probably wasn't ideal to start talking about her boobs.

"Don't worry bestie, there's nothing wrong with your body. Men love that lean athletic look you have. Plus your pink hair really sets you apart because really, how many other people have you seen with pink hair? So I still say we just go in there and flaunt our amazing looks and seduce some poor chunin guys into letting us eat with them. Easy peasy."

Sakura still shook her head.

"What, do you have a better idea?"

"Y - well, not exactly," Sakura said, looking to the side.

Blue eyes narrowed in suspicion. Sakura definitely had an idea and the fact that she was hesitant about it meant it was probably devious and amazing.

"What is it?"

"It's nothing. We can't do it so let's keep brainstorming."

"Look Forehead, you are going to tell me what it is because Naruto and Hinata have been in that booth for a while now and I'm not sure what's going on with Hinata, but Naruto is definitely into her and I. want. to. know. what. is. happening. So if you don't spit it out in the next sixty seconds I'm going to waltz my beautiful self in there like I own the place and get myself some food and information."

Sakura sighed. "Fine, I'll tell you but we can't do it anyway."

Ino just looked at her impatiently and gestured for her to continue.

"...You could use the Mind Body Switch technique on the hostess to erase someone's private booth reservation and write our names down under it instead. Then whenever those people come in it'll just seem like someone either forgot to write their names down or put them at the wrong time or something. It happens often enough it wouldn't be suspicious."

Ino's eyes were wide and she stared at her friend slack-jawed for a moment.

"I know, okay?" Sakura hissed. "It's illegal to use our techniques on civilians. That's why I wasn't going to say anything, because we can't do it anyway."

"Sakura that's BRILLIANT," Ino half whispered half screamed. "That'll totally work!"

"Yes, but we can't do it so it's pointless."

Ino flipped her ponytail over her shoulder and leaned closer. "Sakura, how badly do you want to know what's going on between Sasuke and Hinata and Naruto?"

"Not badly enough to go to jail, Ino-pig."

"You said yourself that restaurants get reservations mixed up all the time. No one would even know what happened."

"It's illegal. The law is there for a reason!"

"It's there so that we ninjas don't cause irrevocable harm on civilians with our exceptional strength. I hardly think a reservation mistake is what the law was written to protect against."

"Oh my kami I can't believe you're even considering this!"

Ino just gave her a look. "Oh, honey, you wouldn't have even breathed a hint of that idea in my direction if you weren't totally desperate. We won't actually be hurting anyone and no one will know any different. We're doing this."

Sakura's distress was evident by the fact that she didn't say anything else in argument. She just looked to the side and worried her lip with her teeth.

Ino put her hand on her best friend's arm. "Hey, everything's going to be fine. I know things seem fishy at the moment but how long have you known Hinata? Sure she's gotten a lot stronger over the years, but I can't believe that she randomly turned into some kind of super floozy with no regard for the feelings of others. So let's just get to the bottom of this so you can stop worrying and as a bonus, we can stop all the nasty rumors going around about her."

Sakura rolled her eyes, but gave Ino a half smile. "Fine, but if this goes wrong I'm going to tell Sai that the time he accidentally walked in on you while you were naked was not an accident and that you did it on purpose to seduce him."

"Oh please, he already knows that. Though he thinks it was more to convince him to paint me than it was to seduce him. Either way my body was worshipped as it should be."

Sakura had to stop herself from dry heaving.

"Alright, what if I tell him you bleach your hair."

"I'm a natural blonde!" Ino shrieked, before remembering what they were doing and thanking kami they were still outside instead of in the restaurant.

"You know I don't bleach my hair," Ino hissed.

"Not the hair on your head," Sakura said innocently, looking to the side while feigning nonchalance.

"Oh, that's old news. I just get waxed now."

Sakura was tempted to hit her head repeatedly on the wall next to her. Her friend had no shame and she was coming to the conclusion that it was useless trying to threaten her.

"Fine, fine. We're screwed no matter what if this goes wrong so let's just get it over with and get in there."

"Now you're talking," Ino said with a wide smile. "You watch over my body and I'll be back in just a few minutes!"

The Yamanaka made sure she had a clear line of sight to the hostess and put her hands together to form the seal that was by now second nature. Seconds later she was slumped over next to Sakura who was rubbing her temples to soothe the headache all this anxiety was causing and lamenting that she felt she had to do this in the first place. Would it be so hard to just talk to Sasuke or Hinata and figure out what was happening? Ino had ambushed her while exhausted and now that she'd had a decent sleep and some real food she was starting to think they were making this more complicated than it needed to be.

True to her word, Ino was back in just a few minutes.

"I took care of everything! There was a reservation for the booth right next to the one they were in and it's for fifteen minutes from now which means they should have it ready or at least close to ready by now."

"I hope you didn't ruin someone's dinner," Sakura said, though at this point that was the least of her worries.

"No worries, I just moved the couple's reservation that I snagged to an hour from now. It's a different booth but that shouldn't matter and either the hostess will think the time was written down wrong or the person who made the reservation will think they remembered it wrong. If it makes you feel any better I can pay for a dessert or something for them."

"It's fine, let's just get this over with," Sakura said. The stress of her mission and the long return journey coupled with the day of spying and tension was starting to get to her. She would definitely be heading to the hot springs tomorrow.

"Yes! No turning back now!" Ino said, grabbing Sakura by the hand and leading her into the restaurant.

Maybe now they would get some answers.