Not Hungry
A Naruto Fanfiction by Infinite EnemySummary: (Challenge) Sasuke and Sakura are married now…so where does that leave Naruto…and Ino? (one-shot)Disclaimer: I don't own NarutoRating: PGA/n: This was written for a Fanfiction challenge on It's a bit odd, takes place some appropriate number of years after the storyline ends, and contains no spoilers. Enjoy!

Not Hungry

Ino had never actually carried on a real conversation with Uzumaki Naruto until the day of the Haruno-Uchiha wedding. They were best man and bridesmaid respectively, and had to dance together at the opening of the banquet. Ino's natural grace more than made up for Naruto's clumsiness, and they managed to get through it relatively nicely. When the dance was over they took their seats at the table near the bride and groom, dinner began. Surprisingly, Naruto wasn't hungry. He looked at his food and chopsticks, and then over at Sasuke and Sakura, where they were talking quietly. He knew he could have made her happy. Instead of solemn, quiet talks, they would have tickle fights and play games. Instead of dancing perfectly across the clearing, they would laugh and giggle all the way, stumbling over each other's feet.

Still staring at them, he uttered a soft sigh. Was his eternal optimism waning at last?

"I thought you were hungry." Ino commented, raising a dumpling to her mouth carefully and arching a blonde eyebrow at the boy. "Disappointed that they didn't serve Ramen?" She was doing a much better job of hiding her own disappointment.

Naruto glanced up at her. He'd forgotten that she liked Sasuke. When they were younger, Sakura and Ino had both competed for the Uchiha's heart. Sakura, it seemed, had won.

"Of course." he said vaguely, trying to smile. "I just...I guess dancing with you took away my appetite."

Ino rolled her eyes. "Yes, Dead Last. You have a lot to complain about, having to dance with me." She tossed her long hair over her shoulder and continued to eat. Normal conversations were apparently not possible with Naruto, her mistake.

Naruto's hair bristled, face reddening. It had been quite some time since anyone had called him that. He glared over at Sasuke; the nickname had been his invention. "At least the one I love didn't reject me." he muttered.

Ino continued to eat still, trying not to let her temper flare. As resentful as she was of her best friend, she really didn't want to ruin the reception by causing a big ruckus and beating up Naruto.

"Sakura and I are still friends, despite her choosing Sasuke."

Naruto grumbled for a minute, then glanced back at Ino. Did she just say...? Was she insinuating that...? That she and Sakura...?

He choked, and then slammed his hands on the table, causing everyone along it to look towards them curiously. "Sakura was a lesbian?" he whispered urgently. Boy, if this was true, then all these years of jealously had been directed at the wrong person.

"Of course. The Sasuke thing was just a cover up." Ino joked. Was Naruto really that gullible? She narrowed her eyes at him, hardly believing that he was this dense. Sakura was marrying Sasuke. How the heck could she be a lesbian?

"But she's marrying Sasuke!" Naruto exclaimed.

"That's right, oh wise one. This is their wedding." Ino replied calmly.

Naruto was silent for a moment, staring across the way at his two best friends. They were really married now. They'd go on their honeymoon, and they'd sleep together. The two people most important to him in his life, who he'd die for and had nearly died for...were leaving him behind. Perhaps because of this intense feeling of remorse, or perhaps because he really was just clueless when it came to matters of love, Naruto turned to Ino.

"So you loved her." He said, feeling a bit sympathetic. He could identify. They had both loved her, and lost her. "I...I did too." He looked down at his plate, hands in his lap. Naruto wasn't sure what made him tell Ino that. Maybe it had just slipped.

Ino was taken aback. Naruto, moments ago had been raging with disbelief...and now he was confessing his heartfelt feeling to her? She smiled a little. He was really a sensitive guy. Dense, but sensitive. He had lost the one he loved as well; try as he might to cover it up with his fun loving attitude and attention seeking actions.

"Naruto?" she asked, a bit awkwardly. He raised his gaze to hers, eyes solemn. "How about, tomorrow, we go out for Ramen." It was a hitch, asking him out. It was random, it'd never work. He loved Sakura, and she loved Sasuke.

To her surprise, however, Naruto's eyes lit up just a bit, and he smiled. "Y..yeah, I'd like that." He said.

Ino smiled. It was like cheering up a little kid. She knew she was being much too nice as well. Normally her way with boys was to order them about. Well...that would come later. For now, they both just needed someone to turn to, when their best friend and their one true love were gone from them forever.

Naruto picked up his chopsticks and began to eat, the bit of himself that had been disappointed and remorseful lessoned. He had something to look forward to now, even if it was just Ino and Ramen. He needed someone to turn to. She was there.

Fin

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