Title: Sisters Series: Naruto Warnings: Yuri, Alternate Universe, lemon and lime (later)
Author: Snow Tigra Pairings: Ino Sakura, Sasuke Ino, Sakura Rock Lee

Chapter 1

The two met on one of those rainy days. You know, the rainy days that are dark and bleak and somehow always used to show that something important was about to happen in a person's life, or that someone close had died. Raincoats clinging to warm bodies and thick moisture in the air accompanied the car that pulled up into the driveway and she could only watch out the window as the two of them stepped out of the car and made their way toward the house. The taller man struggled to juggle holding his umbrella and stay dry as he climbed out of the driver's seat, while the young girl simply ducked her head and bolted to the door, arriving with only one slip to hide under the over hang.

A ring of the doorbell was followed by a warm greeting from her mother as the two of them stepped into the house, and Sakura found herself sitting on the stairs, quietly watching the two new people enter the house. She already knew who they were, and she knew that the trunk of their car was full of boxes and suit cases. These people weren't just visiting, they were moving in. Her mom had explained that the night before.

The taller man took off his raincoat to reveal a well pressed business suit, and he came off as one of those people who dressed up in ties and button down shirts even when it was causal day, because that's what looked the best on him and that's what he was comfortable in. His chin was covered with a thick but not half bad looking beard, that made Sakura think of those business men in the movies who always sat in the big chairs with a pipe between their lips, smoking small rings as they discussed educated things. His hair was cut short and larger eyebrows almost hid his brown eyes, which matched the shade of his hair and beard. Yet the beard didn't hide his warm smile as he shed his raincoat and then stepped forward to embrace Sakura's mom.

Sakura frowned and looked at the other girl, not willing to accept any evidence of what she and her mother had discussed the night before.

The girl standing next to him was the perfect image of papa's little girl. She wore a fancy purple dress shirt and a skirt that matched with it, obviously dressed up for the visit. Long blond hair flowed down her back from a high pony tail, brushed to a shine and showing quite perfectly that it was well cared for. Sakura would have guessed that her father brushed it every night to spoil her. A simple purse spoke of a wish to be more grown up then she already was as a young teenager and when baby blue eyes met Sakura's, she immediately found a reason to like her.

She was pretty.

"Sakura, come down and introduce yourself."

Sakura stood slowly to her feet and made her way down the stairs, not glancing up at them anymore. She felt selfconsious and completely out of place in her overalls and tee-shirt. Her mother hadn't told her to dress up. She wouldn't have in the first place but now she was reconsidering it. Great impression for the new family members, when they meet the other daughter who wasn't nearly as perfect, but rather normal and boring in her tomboy ways. She stepped down off the stairs and glanced up just a bit at both of them, letting her long hair work as a blanket to hide behind.

She didn't like meeting new people.

The taller man knelt down and flashed a warm smile at her, somehow managing to see her face through her hair, and he moved poking her nose lightly with his finger. Sakura looked up and rubbed her nose, making a face.

"You're just as cute as your mother."

It was meant to be a compliment, but Sakura didn't accept it as one. She didn't like the idea of anyone but her own father calling her mother cute.

"This is my daughter, Ino. I hope you two will get along, since you'll be sisters now."

Sakura's eyes moved over to the other girl and both of them just stood there looking at each other. Sakura still thought she was pretty, much prettier then the other girls in her classes or in the neighborhood, but then that could have just been envy.

Ino reached her hand forward with a smile. "Can you show me our new room?"

Sakura nodded, but didn't take her hand out of shyness. Turning she led Ino up the stairs toward the bedroom that had once been her own, but that now was filled with two beds and had all her stuff moved to one side of the room. Climbing the stairs she watched out of the corner of her eyes as her mother hugged and kissed the taller man.

Her heart sunk along with any small thoughts of these two only spending the night and then leaving in the morning. It wasn't a sleep over or something as simple as that. They were going to move in, and Sakura would have to rearrange her entire life to accomidate two more people. It wasn't just her and her mother anymore, eating on the couch and laughing at the tv. And it wouldn't be possible for her to sneak into her mother's room and snuggle next to her when it was too cold anymore. She certainly wouldn't be able to stay up late in her room with all the lights on.

Two more people in the house… and she thought her life had changed when they'd finally bought a cat.

"Is this it?" Ino asked, redirecting Sakura's attention back to the bedroom. Sakura nodded, then mumbled a soft yes, attempting to use her voice.

The room was simple enough, the only other bedroom in the house. It was nearly the size of the master bedroom, and had – until the day before – been quite spacious thanks to the fact that Sakura didn't own much but a couple of books and a handful of dolls. Now all of her things were pushed to one side of the room along with her bed, waiting to be arranged into a better order. The other side of the room simply held a bed, waiting for whatever things Ino had brought with her.

Ino stepped into the room and looked around, dropping her purse on the bed before wandering over to Sakura's side of the room and looking over her bookshelves. "You like to read a lot? Maybe that's why you don't talk so much."

Sakura frowned. "I talk," but the words came out small and soft, as she still wrestled with her own shyness.

The other girl glanced over her shoulder and smiled a bit more. "You hide too, it looks like you forgot to brush your hair this morning."

Sakura winced at that and ducked her head a bit more, not wanting to see the almost scolding look in Ino's eyes. That was what the other students at school said, but when she did pull back her hair they made fun of her face. She'd decided it was easier to hide behind the hair, then let them see her cry.

Hands brushed through her hair and Sakura looked up in surprise, not even realizing that Ino had stood up and was now standing behind her. She fidgeted and twisted her hands nervously as she felt Ino pull her hair back and tie a small ribbon in her hair much like a headband, then the girl circled back around Sakura and flashed a bright smile.

"You shouldn't hide so much."

Sakura blinked. "You're not… going to make fun of my face?"

"Only if you keep hiding it," Ino said with a wink. "You can use my ribbon for right now, but you should get more of your own. A girl's face is pretty, she should show it off, that's what papa says.

"That's because your face is pretty," Sakura said softly, glancing down at the floor. "Mine isn't."

"Silly, we're sisters now. Papa wouldn't have married into an ugly family."

Sakura looked up at her, a smile crossing her face. "Really?"

Ino nodded. "I've got a cute sister, who's my age. This'll be a lot of fun. Right?"

Sakura considered those words, then nodded very slowly. "R-right."

Ino smiled and moved back over, lying down on her bed. "It's going to be strange though, getting used to sharing a room. I'm used to having my own."

"Me too," Sakura agreed, taking a seat on her own bed. "But I don't snore."

Ino blinked, then started giggling, apparently thinking that comment was quite absurd. After a moment Sakura joined her, giggling with her at her own silly comment.

Maybe having a sister wouldn't be so bad after all.

It wasn't bad.

It was worse.

Three years later and Sakura wasn't feeling any better about her sister then she had when they'd first stepped in the door. Three years of sharing the same room wasn't the only source of the rift growing between the two girls, it was mostly due to Ino's behavior, or so Sakura said. In the three years they'd been living together she'd discovered more about her sister, including things she never really wanted to know.

Weren't sisters supposed to be sweet? Weren't they supposed to be friendly and share secrets and stand up for each other in different situations? Sisters were supposed to be close and they were supposed to be the best of friends. They weren't supposed to drive each other insane and make the other nearly homicidal.

Ok, so it wasn't always that bad, maybe that was a bit over board.

But three years had passed and Sakura now found herself thoroughly entrenched in Ino's perfect little shadow. Her initial thought of her new step-sister being papa's little girl had been right on, because their new father spoiled his real daughter to no end. Beyond that fact, she was the perfect student in school and everyone begged for the chance to be around her. Sakura had given up trying to follow in her sister's foot steps and had easily fit back into her quite role of being the silent tomboy in the front of the class who always knew the answers, but was never brave enough to raise her hand.

She's kept the ribbon and eventually used her own hair ties to keep her hair back from hiding and had actually gained enough self-confidence to not worry about that too much, but it hadn't changed how people reacted to her. She was still ignored and still too quiet to actually say anything about it. To make matters worse, her interests conflicted with each other and it caused even more people to avoid her.

Sakura was like any other girl her age that she knew. She liked flowers and she still loved to read her novels and actually enjoyed doing her school work. She would have loved to make comments about all the cute boys at school, but a lack of friends would have left her talking to herself and people stared enough as it was. Instead she was left all alone in her daily routine, finding gym class to really only be her favorite class because even if she was quiet, she was talented enough physically to spend most of the class in the boy's section. Sure they teased and made fun of her, but that was the only class where she could see the envy in the other girl's eyes and as shallow as it sounded, it gave her a bit of a good feeling.

Ino, on the other hand, was perfect. Perfect grades came as only part of the package, followed by perfect friends, complete beauty that she stood out in the hallway and even a perfectly girly fear of bugs, which gave the occasional laugh. But she didn't seem to have a single flaw that Sakura could find or that anyone else cared to notice. Even her elitist attitude toward others, which seemed well deserved, wasn't faulted. Ino did pick on the girls at school who were not up to her standards, but never Sakura. But then she never seemed to notice Sakura either.

Sakura couldn't decide if it was a blessing or a curse.

How does one live with such a perfect sister and manage to stay out of her shadow? No one would ever notice Sakura, not while Ino was so damn perfect and noticeable herself.

Sakura turned away from her desk in the bedroom and dropped back onto her bed. Her homework was left unfinished and laying out, but then it was usually like that at home. She wasn't even sure why she bothered anymore since she knew Ino was going to be a detraction. Attempting to get any kind of work done in the same room as her stepsister was futile.

"Did you see him today?" Ino asked, sucking on a piece of licorice as she flipped through a photo album of her and her perfect friends. Her homework was still in her backpack, she never even touched it until the sun set.

"See who?" Sakura asked, not glancing at her sister. She usually didn't care about whatever Ino's attention was focused on, but she was raised to be too polite to not return attempts at conversation, especially since they were so rare.

"Uchiha Sasuke, the new transfer student."

Sakura made a face at that. Yeah, she'd noticed him. How could she not?

Sasuke had transferred to their school the day before and already he was the talk of every locker room and bathroom retreat where girls disappeared to touch up make up and giggle over gossip. An athletic looking body and near perfect compared to the other boys, his head sported a messy and almost pointy hair style that looked like it killed most any comb that attempted to place it to order, with gravity being the only thing that gave it any sort of order. His eyes were a dark black, the color of garnet in the right light, giving an eerie color that probably wasn't natural, but could be. He even had a tattoo on the back of his neck, which sent all the teenage girls into a flutter of sighs and fainting. One day and the words 'hot' and 'sexy' were already cluttering the school air.

Sakura decided to not mention that he sat next to her in one of her classes.

"He's just so perfect. And he's single," she added matter-of-factly.

Sakura considered that thought. For Ino to say someone was perfect so easily… she'd never heard that before. She'd always thought Ino's standards were too high for that.

"He sits next to me in calculus," she blurted out softly.

"Really?" Ino sat up and for a very rare moment, focused her complete attention on Sakura. "What's he like?"

Sakura resisted a small smile. Who knew it was so easy to get her sister's attention. "He's real quiet, and tends to glare a lot. Actually a bit… well… pissy."

Ino giggled a bit. "He sounds just perfect. I wish I sat next to him in class."

"He's just like sittings next to anyone else…"

"I bet he's amazingly smart and gets all the questions right. Of course, he's not conceited or egotistical, so he barely ever raises his hand. That's how pissy guys are supposed to be." Ino didn't seem to hear Sakura, she just kept going about how Sasuke could do no wrong and how Sasuke had to be the most perfect person in the world.

So much for the attention. Sakura sighed softly and tuned her sister out, rolling over and retreating into the book which she kept near her bedside. But a moment later she was interrupted, surprised to find Ino leaning over her.

"You like him, don't you."

Sakura blinked. "W-what?"

"Admit it, you think he's cute." The smile on Ino's face was one that Sakura recognized quite well. It was the smile that her step sister gained when ever she was talking with her friends or discussing the latest gossip on the phone. Such times were the only time Ino ever smiled like that. She'd never smiled around Sakura like that before.

"Well… maybe a little," Sakura admitted shyly. She watched in surprise as Ino's eyes seemed to light up at finding a kindred spirit in the sister who always fell asleep in the same room next to her. It seemed, at least to Sakura, that suddenly they had something in common that Ino deemed worthy enough to notice.

"Well of course you do! I mean my father married into a family with good sense, didn't he? Anyone with good sense would find him attractive."

Sakura found herself smiling and nodding a bit. "You should see, it's really cute. He doesn't take notes in class, instead he just doodles little designs of ninjas down the side of his notebook with stars and daggers flying across the page."

Ino giggled and took a seat on the bed next to her sister. "He's so smart he doesn't need to take notes? I suspected as much. He did really seem that perfect…."

The conversation spiraled down into girlish remarks, giggling and dreaming. The smile never left Ino's face and Sakura found herself smiling as well, suddenly very happy to give Ino all the little bits she'd ever noticed about Sasuke while he sat next to her in class. When the information and gossip ran out, both of them dropped into the simple dreams of teenage boys. How they thought he would act on dates, how he acted at home, what was in his room and even occasionally dreaming about what kind of pajamas he slept in.

Sakura fell asleep that night with a smile on her face. For the first time in the last three years she felt like a part of Ino's life, just like a sister should be. It was a great feeling.

One she was determined not to lose.