Why We Fight: Ino

A series of shorts on why our ninjas... are ninjas. Spoilers some of them up to recent manga. I'll put an asterix (or something)in the chapter title when there is one so you can pick and choose. Multi-part fic. Many shorts.

Ino fights because its a family tradition. Her father hadn't wanted her to become a professional ninja but she was (not to be cute) pig-headed and she got her own way. She was glad of the opposition actually, it made her feel she was doing the right thing because you don't derserve anything unless you fight for it. That's a philosophy Ino's never given up on, one that defines who she is and who she'll become and she's proud to hold it in her heart.

It's the semi-finals of the Chuunin exam and she and Sakura are fighting with all they have to prove that they deserve to fight at all. There's blood on both their faces, and a grin there too because this is how its meant to be. This is how Ino knows she'll earn the right to be everything she wants to be in her life: a ninja, a friend, a rival, a winner. She's already learned so much about Sakura in this fight, seen so much of what she helped this pink-haired little flower become, and she's amazed and daunted and more than anything she's realizing she's proud.

Ino and Sakura have been fighting for almost two years, and look at what they've managed to become. Look how far they've come and how far they have to go. This is perfect, this is everything and this is the life Ino knows she's meant to lead. She raises her fist and races forward and Sakura does the same; they lash out in that final strike and she realizes she's fighting for her friendship with the other girl and she knows she's always been right.

As the blows connect Ino sees stars and counts all of them as battles she's fighting and has every intention of winning. She sees herself racing out to fight for Team 7 in the Forest of Death because she doesn't deserve commrades if she isn't strong enough to fight for them no matter the risk. She remembers all the times she's fought for Shikamaru and Chouji (sometimes against herself) because the three of them are tied together by destiny and she knows it, and she doesn't deserve a destiny if she isn't willing to fight for it. She knows she'll always fight for Asuma-sensei because if she deserves to inherit some of his strength (alright, alright he's got some redeeming qualities) she'd better prove she's as fearless as he is and fight for it.

Her head hits the ground after her shoulders and the pain just makes the stars brighter. Right before everything goes black she sees Sakura hit the ground at the same moment, and Chouji and Shikamaru watching her with wide eyes, and Asuma-sensei grinning at her and she's never felt better in her life.

Ino fights because that's the only way to live.

As always, please read and review to help me improve. Thank you!

This chapter dedicated to Chevira Lowe who said something about Ino being intriguing. I totally agree!

Edited: Because ff dot net ate some of my spaces (as Chevira eloquently put it) and messed up my punctuation. But it is fixed now! Yay! Also, 'ino' is another word for 'boar' in Japanese (I believe) so when Sakura calls Ino, 'Ino-pig' that's what she means. hugs for reviewing Gavin Gunhold and Chevira! I didn't even have time to go through the edits!