"Sonofa-"

The sound of Naruto's swearing inside was enough to rouse Ino from her task; the more time she spent at Naruto's place, the more often she found herself tending to the flowers. Call it professional respect or call it love- Ino didn't even question the dingy little watering can anymore. She'd said it before and she'd say it again, the man had a gift with plants.

"H-hey, uh- Ino?..."

She stepped out of the cool Autumn air and into Naruto's apartment- the man was sitting at the countertop, right arm splayed out on the tile, a grimace painted across his face. Between his left hand and his teeth was wedged a tangled assortment of bandage, the end thereof being valiantly subjected to his right forearm. Ino giggled.

"Still having trouble?" She asked. His eyes answered with unmistakable- if comical- clarity, and Ino stepped over to him to take the wrap in her hands. Her fingers worked with a long-forgotten professional delicacy- it wasn't the first time she'd helped him out with it, and at the rate they were going it wouldn't be the last.

"There you go. Eventually, you will need to do this on your own, you know." She smiled.

"That mean you're leavin' sometime soon?" He challenged.

"You gonna kick me out?"

"Pfft, right. And miss out on this?" Naruto took her hands in his and pulled her onto his lap, stifling a yelp with his kiss. He appraised her for a minute, then went in again, a grin fighting it's way between their mouths. Her continued presence in his apartment the few weeks after his injury did not in any way dampen their desires for one another- Ino sure didn't mind, as Naruto showed off his recovery by lifting her up and into the nearest wall.

"Arm feels better," He grunted between kisses- she felt his body tense when her teeth found the crook of his neck. This sensation only served to increase her aggression.

"So I see." It was her turn to gasp as he ground against her, testing her ears with nips of his own. She was embarrassed the first time she'd let a soft gasp escape her, but with enough practice…

Ino dropped from him and spun, taking him with both hands by the collar to the couch. She fell back and encouraged him to follow suit.

"Ino."

She wrapped herself around him again, hooking her calves behind his legs and practically tearing at his shirt.

"Ino."

She sighed. She could hear the quiet distress in his voice, and (enjoyably) worse, feel it pressed between them. Her arms slid from his back, and she felt her cheeks go red.

Lately, stopping themselves had been the norm. There had been a few…tense moments, sure, but… as Naruto put it, they "gotta wait 'til it's right."

"How will we know?" Ino had asked between kisses.

"We'll know." He'd said.

Ino was beginning to wonder if that were the case. Naruto stood up, red faced, and Ino wondered just what was going through his head.

"Naruto."

"Y-yeah?"

Ino studied him for a moment, and then gracefully got to her feet, her blue eyes level with his. She put a hand to his cheek and grinned.

"Sit down, Uzumaki."

"What?" He looked at her quizzically. This was not how their game normally played out- certainly, this didn't qualify as 'cooling it'. She took his hands and led him to the couch.

"Sit. I'll be back." Without considering any further questioning glances from Naruto, Ino stepped into his bedroom and closed the door. She went to his dresser, still slightly unfamiliar, until her hands found what they were looking for. The red in her cheeks slowly receded in favor of a devilish determination.

After a few moments in the bathroom, Ino appraised herself. Naruto's mesh undershirt was only slightly bigger than her old ones, but as she studied the way it hugged her- and in that sense, exposed her- she straightened her back and raised her chin up high. She was going to enjoy this.

"Close your eyes, Naruto!" Her voice raised just enough for him to hear.

"... what?"

"Just shut 'em!"

Ino forced each step to be even- her footfalls deliberate, the sensation of carpet between her toes made new as the chill crept over her exposed chest. She felt goosebumps run down her back.

"Are your eyes closed?" She was behind him now, half-afraid he'd turn.

"Y-yeah." He said. Ino walked until she was in front of the sofa opposite him, and sat down. His face was filled with strain- eyes scrunched in a confused grimace. Ino took a deep breath.

"Naruto."

He let one blue eye peek from behind an eyelid, his brow raising curiously- and then as his eyes grew slowly wide, his mouth only slightly agape, Ino exhaled, relishing the final gravity of her decision.

"I-Ino… Wh- why- that's my-"

"You did tell me to try it on sometime…"

He stammered a bit- Ino could feel his gaze searing her skin, lingering on that which he'd until now yet to see- and his eyes before long rose to meet hers again.

"Ino, you're beautiful."

Her chest seemed to swell- it was as though her ribcage could no longer contain the sheer emotion coming from her heart. Her eyes fell, briefly overcome- she looked at him and wordlessly held up her arms, palms outstretched. Naruto did not waste any time rising and coming to her, and Ino was glad her arrangement had placed them on the larger of his couches.

His kisses- fierce, and hungry- trailed down her lips, her jaw, her neck… as he descended, she found her face buried in his hair- her hands forcing him a momentary pause in an effort to remove his shirt. Moment by moment, his attention drew her nerves to the apex of her ability to focus; the sensation of his hands, his lips, his teeth the only thing that existed. As he reached her navel and she cupped his chin, he looked at her- they held eyes for a brief aeon, the muscles in his back tight, chest pushing against the weight of his own breathlessness- and at a silent nod, his fingers deliberately hooked her waistband, his nails dragging down, down against her thighs, his lips leaving a trail behind what was left of her clothes, chills running back up her body. He knelt before her- his hands unconsciously finding purchase on her hips once more- and he paused as if distracted by his own actions. With a quick caress from Ino, he brought his lips first to her knee, between her legs, the soft inside of her thigh, returning up, up, until-

"Naruto."

His thumbs worked small circles in her flesh as he gripped his hands around her, pulling her closer- closer than Ino had thought possible- she let her fingers find purchase in his hair, let her hips relax her legs and let her head fall back, eyes straining against shut lids- she heard herself gasp, and rather than hear she felt his growl of approval. Her stomach danced as the muscles contracted, and her legs twitched around her lover's cheeks, ankles hooked together, her toes curling in erratic pleasure. The sensations came like the tides, her world pulsing in and out around his touch, his motions slower now, delicate- her core danced as one with his movements, the room around them gone, the couch beneath her gone, only him- with one final wave, Ino gasped, her spine betraying her as it arced in one last spasm, her hands taught against his scalp- and then, gradually, it left her, legs shaking, his kisses again on her stomach, her breasts, her neck-

"I love you." He whispered as he rose to her ear. Ino could do no else but draw him close. Sightless, her lips found his and their kiss brought life back into her bones, kindled a fire that grew from her belly and shone through her eyes. When they broke, she looked at him, and there was no question.

"I love you too, Naruto."

They rose, knowing, and Ino realized that he had been correct all along.

She knew when it was right.

Author's Notes

Thank you for reading. This is where I will end this story, and go on to write something different. Perhaps as time goes on I'll get better at endings! I'll be back soon with something just as fun to write as this was. You're all wonderful, and thank you again.