A/N: This is not going to make all that much sense to anyone who hasn't heard Ino and Sakura's backstory, but it doesn't really have any particularly noteworthy spoilers either. ^_^;; Written to celebrate the birth of the naruto_yuri community, the existence of which makes me a happy duckling.

*subliminal message for other fanficcers* Write teh yuri!

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"Ino's Ribbon"

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Ino takes very good care of her hair ribbons. She washes them by hand and folds them neatly and keeps them all in a special box on her dresser.

Except for one.

One ribbon she keeps wrapped around her ankle, tucked inside the cuff of her sandal where no one can see it. She knows that some people have noticed how that ankle is a little thicker than the other- she does, after all, live in a place where a person's life may depend on their ability to notice little incongruities like that- but most likely they assume she has some kind of hidden weapon there and leave it at that.

Once, she was in a three-way spar with her team and the knot loosened. When she reached down to yank it tight again, Shikamaru automatically jumped out of throwing range and ended up tripping over Chouji. It turned out that a not-so-hidden "weapon" could be a good distraction technique, because she ended up winning the fight. She's used it a couple of times since then in different ways. Once she pretended to be going for a kunai there when she really already had one in the other hand. Once it saved her life when it stopped three poisoned acupuncture needles from getting all the way to her skin.

It's the oldest ribbon she owns. The others all eventually get thrown out or given away or lost, but the battered one around her ankle, the one with the tiny acupuncture needle holes and several years' worth of sweat and bloodstains in it, the one that is faded and worn but still strong as ever . . . that one will never leave her. She will be buried with that ribbon.

Because that ribbon is her love, and that love will not die until she herself does. Because that ribbon is more important than any boy or any fight. Because that ribbon is the same as her most precious person.

And what Ino takes the best care of are her precious people.

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. : they make fun of you more because you try to hide it : .