Title: Ten

Pairings: Sasuke/Ino, Ino/Shikamaru, Lee/Sakura, Sakura/Sasuke

Other possible pairings: I read it over and, well, depending on your interpretation there could be Ino/Chouji, Ino/Naruto, Naruto/Sasuke, Sasuke/Itachi, and maybe some others I missed.

Disclaimer: I do not own "Naruto."

A/N: This was written for 30kisses LJ community, theme #10.

Ten

Ino Yamanaka's life is defined by the number ten.

Ten is the number of fingers she uses to make quick hand seals for her mind jutsus.

Ten is the number of respectable flower shops in Fire Country, but everyone knows her family's is the best.

Ten is the number of the team she had been put on after her genin graduation.

Ten is the number of cigarettes Asuma-sensei smokes every day. Ino knows it is only a matter of time before he contracts lung cancer unless he is using some special ninja genjutsu to protect himself.

Ten is the number of meals Chouji eats everyday. He is a bottomless pit with no manners whatsoever.

Ten is the number of times Shikamaru rolled his eyes during a training session. Ino suspects it is even more than that because her teammate is just so darn lazy.

Ten is the number one more than the number of rookie genin from her year that passed and participated in the Chunin exam.

Ten is the number of missions she has ever gone on with Naruto.

Ten is the number of times Ino hears Naruto complain about Sasuke's supposed greatness.

Ten is the number of times she has worn the ribbon Sakura gave her.

Ten is the number of times in one week she has been dragged by Chouji to Ichikaru's Ramen Bar after the owner came out with a new recipe.

Ten is the number of bridesmaids Ino planned to have at her and Sasuke's dream wedding. Shikamaru thinks she's being a stupid, little girl when she tells him. Ino punches him in the face and doesn't tell him of her elaborate daydreams about her beloved Sasuke anymore.

Ten is the number of arguments she gets into with Ms. Forehead over her Sasuke during the Chunin exams.

Ten is the number of months it takes for her to lose what happiness and childhood innocence she has left…

…Ten is the number of hours Ino sits beside Chouji's bedside, begging him to wake up after his fight with the Sound Five.

Ten is the number of years it takes for Sasuke to finally become stronger than his brother. But when the time comes for the killing blow, he cannot do it. He cannot kill his aniki. So Naruto does.

Ten is the number of Konoha ninjas-number of ANBU-Sasuke murders. He tells her during his interrogations he hadn't felt a thing when he did it.

Ten is the number of days before Sasuke's execution after he finally comes home.

Ten is the number of tears she cries when Sasuke dies. She has to be strong for Sakura, but watching the young man she had hopelessly pined after in her youth die and the majority of Konoha cheer for that death, she cannot stop the tears.

Ten is the number of seconds Naruto arrives too late to stop his best friend's execution. He never forgives himself or Tsunade.

Ten is the number of times she hugs Sakura that night. Her former best friend and rival cries for a year and two days.

Ten is the number of weeks Naruto lasted before he succumbs to the vicious fox demon inside of him. He has been fighting the monster more and more over the years, but when Sasuke dies, he just doesn't have the heart to keep resisting. He dies chained to the ground and surrounded by his fellow graduates, his friends, who are armed and ready.

Ten is the number of teams Kakashi-sensei fails after the official end of Team Seven before Tsunade does not give him anymore. The only team he ever passed he ended up letting down just like his own team, and he doesn't want to ruin any more lives.

Ten is the number of times Shikamaru asks Ino to marry him. She accepts him on the tenth time. It is her dream wedding with ten bridesmaids and everything is white and beautiful. The only problem is the groom is not the man she wanted.

Ten is the number of children Shikamaru tells her he wants. He is joking, of course, because Shikamaru has neither the patience nor the enthusiasm to care for even one child, let alone ten, but Ino starts crying. It is a silly thing to cry over, but it is the culmination of all the pain she had been holding in. Shikamaru is not supposed to be the father of her children.

Ten is the date at which Tsunade steps down from her position as Hokage, and Sakura Haruno becomes the Rokudaime. Sakura doesn't want it, but there is no one better qualified.

Ten is the number of times Ino tells Chouji that she loves Shikamaru. It's late and he invites her to a couple of drinks. Chouji does not say anything when she tells him she loves Shikamaru because she means it, but the way he looks at her and gently kisses her cheek makes her wonder who she is trying to convince more-Chouji or herself.

Ten is the number of drinks Sakura has at her wedding reception. She throws up on Lee, and he takes her home early. Ino watches them go and knows that no matter how much Lee loves Sakura, no matter how much he swears to take care of her, Rock Lee is not Sasuke Uchiha.

Ten is the number of fresh flowers Ino places beside the black memorial stone every morning. Naruto has jaggedly carved his best friend's name on the stone despite the Hokage's protests. Because he is a traitor and his body has been burned, Sasuke has no grave. Ino decides this is the best she can do to honor and mourn him.

Ten is the number of kisses Sasuke never gave her. Ten is the number of hugs she can never give him again.

Ino Yamanaka hates the number ten.