Disclaimer: Hi, my name is blacksyryn…I like many things—like music and Green Day, I like shrimp and reading…I dislike people who write interesting stories then stop when only one person reviews them (the story is interesting dammit! Why can't you continue?)…I own many things…I don't own Naruto.
Gaara: What kind of messed up disclaimer is that?
Sakura: Didn't you know that's the sort of stuff you put on your profile?
blacksyryn: Shut up both of you or I write a crossover using Shaman King and pair you both up with that sex crazed, bouffant hair-do having, motorcycle riding maniac Ryu.
Sakura: We'll be good! We promise! (runs away in fear)
Gaara: What's a bouffant?
Sasuke: Look it up. (doesn't look away from reading his book: So You Want To Kill Your Brother and Avenge Your Clan: 10 Ways to Get Strong Fast)
Gaara: Okay…(looks up bouffant in the dictionary...complete with picture)
Sasuke: See? (still not looking up from his book)
Naruto: Hey! Whatcha lookin' at? OMYGOD! Get it away! (runs crying into the darkness)
blacksyryn: I might as well warn you guys that a crack pairing is coming up. I haven't been sleeping well lately and this is the bastard child of my insomnia. BWUAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!
Ino: Um…get to the story! It's about me after all!
Ryu: Who wrote a story about what now? (looks over at Hinata who is standing next to Gaara) AAAHHH! SO CUTE! C'MERE PANDA MAN!
blacksyryn: What are you doing here? (throws confused looks at the fanfiction admins) You should be in a different category!
Ryu: I must find my Special Hang! This could be it!
blacksyryn: Get…out…freak! (pulls out a shotgun and loads it with chocolate syrup)
Hinata: Um…ano…e-enough talk…h-he-here's the st-story.
Shino: This story is dedicated to Ox King for thinking that I should be in more leading roles.
The Wonders of Horticulture
Yamanaka Ino lay on the grassy field staring at clouds. She knew the pastime was more suited for her teammate, Shikamaru, but there were times when a girl needed to relax. This is definitely one of those times.
She, Anko, Shino, and Naruto just got back from Wave Country after taking care of the so-called Ocean Demon there. Turned out that the Ocean Demon was a girl who had the misfortune of being one of Orochimaru's sick experiments. Ino didn't hate the girl for doing what she did. If it were she, she would have killed her own parents for the chance to become human again.
Luckily, Isaribi, the girl who was the flawed experiment, was treated by Tsunade-sama. The medic couldn't completely cure her, but at least she now looked human. Isaribi chose to return to her country and help the people there using her powers.
People like her and Naruto amazed the blonde kunoichi.
They're like…tulips, Ino decided. Many people thought that she was strange. Granted, every one of the Rookie Nine was strange in some way. Ino's way was to compare people to plants and to constantly think in terms of flowers. Sakura was used to this, since they used to be friends when they were little, and didn't think much of it.
She turned her head when she felt a small insect crawl over her wrist. Ino smiled and kept her limb still so that the tiny creature wouldn't freak out. She watched as it made its way to a small flower and giggled when it fell into the bloom's deep petals. She sat up and placed her finger on the edge of the petal, waiting until the insect crawled onto it. She looked around and quickly set the bug down on another flower and watched as it fell into that bloom as well. She wiped her hands on her skirt and turned when a deep voice sounded behind her.
"What are you doing?"
Ino saw the insect she moved fly over to the teenager standing on the hill above her and smiled.
"Thinking," she said.
Shino looked down at the pollen covered insect and frowned. He came by this field regularly looking for more of the chakra-consuming bugs the Aburame clan used so often. But he never encountered the blonde-haired, blue-eyed kunoichi before. His head tilted a bit as the insect told him what happened.
"Why did you move her to the other flower?" he asked, sitting down next to Ino. He took care not to crush any of the flowers around him.
Ino frowned at a fat caterpillar near her flowers and moved it to a patch of grass that looked like it needed a good weeding. Shino raised his eyebrows at this. He expected the high-maintenance kunoichi to cringe at the sight of bugs,not touch them. She noticed this and laughed, hugging her knees to her chest.
"I moved her because she fell into the first flower and I wanted to try some cross-breeding," she answered.
"Insects are nature's way of pollinating plants and flowers," she said. "My family runs a flower shop. Bugs don't creep me out, Shino-san." Years of being on the "I Love Sasuke" bandwagon allowed her to translate the grunt. It was Shino's way of asking for more information.
This time the sound was one of contemplation and Ino slid into silence. She sat with her head on her knees and looked up at the sky again. The companionable quiet was broken when Shino spoke.
"What were you thinking about?"
"Tulips," she answered. "Naruto and Isaribi-neechan are tulips."
She correctly interpreted this as "WTF?" and smiled.
"I was thinking about them and their situation," she explained. "They both had circumstances that were…less than ideal. They were frozen, so to speak, by the actions of the villagers around them. But they grew and blossomed over time."
She could tell that the bug user was still a bit confused and elaborated further.
"Tulips need to be planted before freezing weather. They need a period of cold in order to grow." She looked off into the distance and Shino could tell that she didn't see the forest or the landscape. She was looking at something in her mind. "Naruto's like that."
"He's a Species tulip," Shino stated, understanding now. "Those are the kind that thrive in soil that has less nutrients in it than the kind other flowers need."
"You're right," Ino agreed, happy that he knew enough about plants to go along with her little game. "How do you know about horticulture?"
"How do you know about insects?" he asked back.
Ino sighed at his observation and casually laid her head on his shoulder. She didn't notice how he stilled or how some of his bugs came out of his jacket to crawl along her skin.
"You're right," she said, absently moving one bug to a flower and watched as it slid into the pollen. "Insects are tied to plants and vice versa. Did you take the Saturday supplemental classes the Academy gave on Environmental Symbiosis and Parasites last month? I wanted to, but my mom wanted me to help out at the flower shop on the weekends."
Shino was surprised at this side of the girl. He always thought that she was one of Sasuke's empty-headed fangirls, but then again, she was considered the top kunoichi from their graduating class. Her taijutsu and ninjutsu skills were better than Sakura's, even if her grades weren't.
"Yes," he answered. "Kuranai-sensei was the teacher, so Kiba and Hinata took the course too. Chouji was there as well."
"Really?" she asked. "He didn't tell me."
"He probably thought you'd try to steal his textbook or his notes," Shino replied. "Of course, he would've given you both if you took his chips from him."
"Prolly. Wait, did you just make a joke?" Ino raised her head off of the warm shoulder and looked at the bug user. She didn't realize how close they were until he looked down at the same moment and they paused with their lips one inch away from each other. Shino's breath was warm against her lips when he spoke next.
"I can be funny," he said, turning a little red. "Two spiders walk into a roach motel—"
"Shut up, Shino-kun," Ino interrupted. She grabbed the sides of his face and smashed her lips against his. She licked his bottom lip and smiled when he groaned. She pulled back for air and looked at the lenses of his sunglasses. At the look on her face, he reached up and placed the glasses in his pocket.
Ino found herself looking into the deepest, bluest eyes she'd ever seen. Shino grabbed her shoulders and pulled her in for another kiss. She gasped as he fell back onto the grass, so he took advantage and slipped his tongue into her mouth.
This time it was the blonde who groaned as she grabbed handfuls of Shino's jacket. They spent the next few minutes making out on the grassy field. Ino finally stopped when she felt Shino's hand try to make its way up her shirt.
"Hey!" she said, pulling away. "You haven't even taken me out on a date yet!"
"Wanna go out?" Shino asked, panting beneath the girl.
Ino jumped up and pulled the bug user with her. "Where do you wanna go?" she asked.
"They opened a small biosphere based on the environment in Suna on the east side of the village," he said. "We could go there."
"How'd you know I wanted to see the Suna exhibit?" she asked, amazed at how the boy knew her so well already.
"I didn't," he admitted, placing the sunglasses back on his nose. "I just wanted to see the insects they brought over from Suna along with the plants as well."
They walked off of the field hand in hand, Shino's bugs flowing into his jacket as they walked. Ino didn't mind in the least. When they reached the village gates, Shino placed his arm around her waist and she leaned against his side as they altered their strides so that they matched the other's.
"You know that they're gonna talk about 'Shino and Ino' now," Ino joked as they passed by Ichiraku where they saw a stunned Naruto and Kiba. Naruto choked on his ramen while Kiba just sat there. Akamaru kept rubbing his paw across his eyes and snout as if to clear his vision.
"I know," she agreed, once more translating the monosyllable. "Sounds too cute for the two of us."
They continued to walk to their destination, which was on the other side of town. Whenever they saw a member of the Rookie Nine, Team Gai, or any of their jounin senseis, jaws dropped and eyes widened. Shikamaru even jumped up from his lounging position on a bench to do a triple take. Ino was starting to get pissed.
Did they look that weird together?
Shino smirked behind the high collar of his jacket and squeezed Ino's small waist.
"Ino," he said softly, stopping in his tracks and facing the kunoichi. "If Naruto is a tulip, then what am I?"
"What?" she asked, distracted from her growing anger.
Shino just raised an eyebrow and waited. He knew she heard his question.
"Well," she said, thinking about it. "You're not a flower at all, Shino-kun. You're a honeybee that pollinates the flowers."
The tall shinobi knew that she would answer his question in this manner and smirked once more. He leaned over and whispered into his girlfriend's ear.
"Can I pollinate you then?"
Ino sweat-dropped and slapped Shino upside the head.
Not only did she get a boyfriend who made lame jokes. She got a boyfriend who made lame, perverted jokes.
He recovered from the slap and kissed Ino hard on the lips. She sighed and placed her arms around his neck. When he licked her lip, she opened her mouth and the kiss deepened. They forgot that they stood in the middle of the street in front of the Chestnut Sweet Shop where Team 10 usually met.
Shikamaru almost had a heart attack at the scene and Sakura, who heard about the couple and came out to investigate, simply gawked. The other genin, who followed the couple, looked on with the horror and interest that was usually reserved for sideshow carnivals and road accidents.
The girls sighed at the romance of it—as soon as they got over the fact that it was Shino kissing Ino. While the boys avidly watched and filed away Shino's technique when the blonde began mewling and grabbing his jacket to pull him closer to her body.
Kakashi, Asuma, and Gai wondered at the boy's expertise and Kuranai just smirked.
When the couple disengaged, Naruto began a slow clap that soon included everyone on the street. Ino blushed and Shino ordered his bugs to chase Naruto and devour his chakra until the boy fainted. They then turned back to their destination hand in hand.
"We should hurry if we want to see the whole Suna exhibit before it closes," Ino said, excited to see the new plants.
"Hn," Shino said, equally excited to see the insects that came with the plants.
The group dispersed and went back to their everyday lives.
Naruto's screams echoed through the village long past sunset.
Shino's bugs didn't have to consume any chakra for the next two months.