Green Tea: Ah, this story has been in my head for a while. And now I finally got it out! Yay! So happy! I don't think this one went too badly, so I'm eager for your comments. Please read and review. And like always. Enjoy! (I should trademark that. XD)

Disclaimer: I do not own any of the Naruto characters, or the main canon plot. However, this plot is mine.
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Two Purple Dresses


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Shikamaru sighed. How did he get into this predicament again? Oh, yes. The ball.

It was all that troublesome Hokage's fault.
Troublesome women. Honestly, a ninja village having a Spring Ball. It was almost laughable. No, wait, it was.

But women will be women, and Tsunade-sama was no exception. And to top it off, this ball was Lady's Choice.
Ugh. Blatant sexism.

"Shiiiikkkaaa! Pay attention!"
He was jerked out of his thoughts by a sharp blow to his head.

"Itai... Ino, what is it now? Have you finally decided yet?"

Another slap to his head.
"NO! You have to help me! That's what you're here for!"

The chuunin was currently sitting on Ino's purple heart-shaped bed, supposedly "helping" her pick out which dress to wear to upcoming ball tomorrow night.

Ino stomped her foot and huffed back to her closet.

After a few minutes, she re-emerged.
"Shikkaa-kunnn! How about this one?"

The blonde pranced out of the closet in a cute pink dress.
Then, to Shikamaru's horror, she struck what she thought to be a "sexy" pose.

"Sasuke-kuuun..." She crooned, winking.

Shikamaru felt an incredible urge to gag. He kept his face still, however, and sighed.
"Pink suits Sakura better."

Ino's little fantasy shattered, and she stomped back to her closet.

The boy leaned back on the bed and stared at the ceiling. How troublesome it was to help Ino! Why couldn't she get a girl to do this?

"How about this?"

Ino walked out in a blue polyester dress that clung to her body. It was a long, slick dress, trimmed with faux fur.

"You look like a polar bear crossed with a grizzly bear."

The girl narrowed her eyes."Well, Mr. Picky, if you're so great, why don't you pick out something for me?" she spat back venomously.

Shikamaru was about to point out that he never said he was great, and that it was, in fact, her fault that he was here at all.
He caught himself in time, however, and banished the thought to the back of his mind.

"Try purple." He said at last.

Ino grimaced."Purple? But I wear that everyday!"

The chuunin shrugged."You asked for my opinion, so..."

"But, I only have two purple dresses..."

Shikamaru rolled his eyes and returned to his assessment of the ceiling.
Only
two? How many dresses does a girl need, anyways

"Mendokuse... Is it that important? Just close your eyes and pick one."

BAM!

"Shika! You insensitive twerp! I finally get to go to a ball with Sasuke-kun, and you spout out nonsense like this! BAKA!"

With that, she stomped off to her closet, leaving the chuunin absently rubbing a growing bump on his head.

A few minutes later, she reappeared from the closet, wearing a loose fitting, light purple dress. It was a pretty thing, light and dainty, coming to about her knees. She looked rather fairy-like in it.

She twirled in it once, causing the hem of the dress to fly up a little.
"Ok, Shika, this is choice one. I think the other one is a bit better though... but it's a bit small... "

Shikamaru rolled his eyes."This one's fine, just wear this one."

The girl scowled.
"You know what? I'm going to try the other one on, just to piss you off, so there."

With that, she hurried back to her closet again.

The boy rested his chin on his arms and sighed.

"Okay, here's choice two!"

Shikamaru turned to face her, and his eyes widened..

She was magnificient.

This dress was a floor-length, dark purple gown. It had long, sweeping sleeves and the collar of it swept off her shoulders, exposing her graceful neck, while at the same time, hinting at somethingmore.

As she stepped from the closet, it seemed like everything moved in slow motion... The way the fabric shifted and stretched as she walked towards him, the high slit on one side of the skirt, riding up and down, almost teasingly... The sleeves, how they flowed like water off her slender, graceful arms. They fell back as she raised one arm up, exposing her pale, smooth skin... Oh, the hand was coming closer... closer...

SMACK!

"ANSWER ME! How do I look? I've asked you like... a gazillion times already!"

Shikamaru rubbed his head again.
"Eh... Well..."

Ino stepped away and turned slowly. The dress rippled as she turned, accentuating her figure, her curves...
"So? Which one should I wear? The first one or second?"

The boy frowned. This was difficult.

It was obvious that the second dress was the better choice. But there was a problem:
What if Sasuke actually fell in love with her?

Not only would that be bad for Sakura, but also he... Well, he didn't like the thought of it.

But, Ino wouldn't want him to lie to her.

But it was a sort of a good lie, wasn't it?
Besides, she didn't look so bad in the first one. Well, she looked a lot better in the second, but there was the matter about Sasuke...

-Ino would want to look pretty for him... She loves that Sasuke. I should be honest.-
But what about me?
-What about me? Not like I stood a chance in the first place...-

In his mind, he imagined the Uchiha's infuriatingly cool smirk, mocking him. Ah, how he hated cool people...

His brain processed all this within a second, and he knew his answer. He set his jaw and answered.
"The first one."

Ino narrowed her eyes, and for a moment, Shikamaru was afraid she would see through his selfish lie.
"Ok, if that's what you think. I'll wear that one..."

When her back was turned, he let out a small sigh of relief.

"Well... Now for jewelry!"

The boy sweatdropped.

"Mendokuse..."

But, for the rest of the day, matter how much he tried to ignore it, he couldn't help but feel the pangs of guilt boiling in the back of his mind...

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Sakura sighed, fingering the smooth silk of the kimono she chose to wear to the ball.
"I suppose I'll have to go by myself... Naruto is going with Hinata-chan... and Sasuke-kun... Sasuke-kun... he..."

A lone tear dropped onto the pink silk, temporarily darkening it to a rich magenta.

She hastily wiped her face.
"No, no, I shouldn't think that way. I should be happy for that silly Ino-pig. Besides, it's Lady's Choice and she got to him first, so she has full right to go to the ball with him."

The kunoichi ran a manicured finger over the light pink Sakura flowers decorating the darker pink of the kimono. She then picked up the white obi belt and hung it up neatly with the dress.

It was such a pretty thing, and she'd been saving it up for something like this... except... now that she could wear it, there was no one to see...
"No, Sasuke-kun must go to the ball with Ino, just as Naruto must go with Hinata, and I will go alone."

Sakura closed her closet door resolutely.
"I'm sure I'll have a good time anyways."

But something in her mind told her differently.

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+The Night of The Ball+

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Shikamaru re-adjusted the sleeves of his plain, striped yukata. Sighing, he headed off to the town square for the ball.

Upon arriving, he searched the swarm of people for a head of platinum blonde. After a few seconds, he spotted her, and his eyes widened.

She was wearing... THE dress. The second dress. The OTHER dress. The one he asked her NOT to wear.

A million questions swarmed his mind as he walked toward her.

She smiled when she him.
"Shika-kun!"

"Ino..." he replied weakly. "You're wearing the second dress..."

She laughed.
"Oh! Yeah! I asked Hinata-chan about it after you left.. You know, to get a second opinion. She told me the second one was better, and insisted... So! I guess I listened to her. You're not miffed, are you? But then again, why would you be mad? You don't care at all, do you?"

She laughed uneasily and before Shikamaru could respond, she already turned to leave.
"Well, there's Sasuke... So... I'll see you around, Shika-kun!"

With that, she ran off toward the dark-haired Uchiha.

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It was the first slow dance of the night, and clusters of entwined couples drifted gracefully over the dance floor in beat with the slow, seductive music.

Shikamaru sat in one of the many empty chairs surrounding the dance floor, gazing at the colorful paper lanterns that encompassed this outdoor dance hall.

He gaze wandered to one couple, a handsome young man with jet black hair, and a beautiful lady dressed in royal purple. He quickly averted his eyes back to the lantern.

Ino… She's probably having the time of her life…

He sighed, and his gaze drifted back the couple once more.

And was it just his imagination… or was Ino looking at him?

Naw… Why would she look at little ol' me, when she's got super-wonderful-handsome-as-hell Sasuke in front of her?

Shikamaru leaned back in his chair, but then remembered he couldn't see clouds at night. He straightened up with a grunt, and chanced another glance at the couple- and met a pair of bright blue eyes.

Their glances met only for a moment, before Ino jerked her gaze back onto Sasuke, a flush tinting her cheeks.

So she was looking at me... Why?

-Flashback-
-Shika! You have to help me!-
-But then again, why would you be mad?-
-You don't care at all, do you?-
-End Flashback-

And then, in that one moment, it all snapped into place.

Women are so troublesome...

The boy felt like he was in a daze, as he stood up and walked to the dance floor, shoving past several couples, who indignantly complained as he pushed them out of the way.

When he got to Ino, he took her hand, and began dragging her away from her dark-haired partner.

"Shika!- What do you think you're DOING?"

Sasuke didn't seem to protest. On the contrary, he seemed happy to be rid of her.

"Ino, we have to talk."

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Sasuke blinked a couple times.

Well. He had no date now. That was a good thing, wasn't it?

Not like he wanted to dance with that blonde bimbo anyways. But Tsunade threatened to give him nothing but D-rank missions for the next year…

But, he was free now.

Why do I still feel like I have to stay?

He stole a glance across the dance floor, his eyes coming to rest upon a lone figure, sitting in one of the white plastic lawn chairs. She was elegantly dressed in a beautiful pink kimono, but she looked incomplete. Something was missing…

Sasuke jerked his eyes away.
You're being stupid, Uchiha. Get a grip on yourself. You have no reason to stay, so just leave.

He stole another glance at Sakura, and was surprised to see that she was gone.

On instinct, his eyes darted frantically around the edge of the dance hall, looking for her, but she was no where to be found.

Where did she go? Did she –

A voice interrupted his thoughts.
"Sasuke-kun."

He jerked around to see Sakura.

"Ah. Sakura."

She blushed, and averted her eyes shyly.
"Do you want to dance?"

He didn't object.

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"Shika! What are you doing? Stop dragging me! Ouch!"

Shikamaru finally let her go when they were isolated in a nearby garden surrounding the town square. The music could still be heard, wafting over from the dance floor.

"You better have a good explanation for this, Shikamar-!"

"I told you not to wear that dress."

She stopped and blinked.
"What?"

He turned around and took her hand.
"Because, if you did, I would have to be the one dancing with you."

Ino stood there for a moment, and Shikamaru waited for the words to sink in. And then it dawned on her. She turned bright pink.
"Well… That is… you know... Uhmm... I mean-"

The boy laid one finger on her rosy lips, silencing her.

"Don't talk. Just dance."

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And dance they did.

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Green Tea:
Yay! Here you go, sorry for the wait! Please Review!