A/N: After a much needed inspiration search, I finally turned to a friend who told me "Have Ino beat the hell out of everyone" and I was like "Huh?" at first, but I'm actually inclined to do that...Through a tourney!...Tournament, tourney, however you want to say it...Oi vaye, I'll just get on with it and explain things AFTER the chapter TTFN

...Oh, and in case you didn't know, as of today I own your soul, but still not Naruto -coughcough- On with the chapter!CHA!Well...First review replies of course:

mizikisan: Can't help that fact. I myself /am/ a drama queen (Sarah Burnheart, eat you heart out -) I enjoy drama and every aspect of emotion. It adds a certain something to any story, maybe that's just my opinion. I don't know. Anyway, I need to start adding romance soon... It sucks that I have yet to add it, but hey, I'm Tennessean, I'm naturally slow with these things.

LostsoulofRegret: YAY! COOKIE! lol, sorry for not adding spaces. I'm not typing on word right now, so I forget. Thanks for the reminder ;;

aki-child: Thank you! Finally someone who agrees. I hate getting flames based strictly on a pairing, it gets really annoying after awhile, am I right?

Writingcritter: Thanks...I think... xD no, seriously, thanks. I'm glad I can write to a point that people can really see the character performing these acts. It makes me all fuzzy inside ;3

...: Sorry it took me so long

Key: 'thoughts' "ANGRY RANTS" -flashbacks- "Speaking" POV's


-Chapter 4- Anything Goes

Neji watched as Ino poked at her ramen. She was under the impression he was going to take her somewhere fancy. He nudged her slightly, "Eat it, Ichiraku's pretty good... Since you made it clear that this isn't a date, I thought I'd take you here as a friend. Is that okay?"

Ino sighed inwardly and rolled her eyes at his comment. He was blaming this on her, "Yeah, it's fine. Really."

He raised a skeptical eyebrow, "Did you really want this to be a date?"

'YES!' "No... You're right, I'm sorry." 'Tease...' She picked up a noodle with her chopsticks and slowly allowed it entry into her mouth. She wasn't a huge fan of ramen (mostly because it was fattening), but she decided Neji made the extra pound worth it.

The Hyuga gave her another light nudge, "Hey... Why are you always on diets?"

"Ne? Because, I need to be skinny to look pretty of course... Why?"

"If that's your only reason... You realise dieting puts you in danger when you train or go on missions?"

She glared at him, pointing a chopstick at him accusingly, "Since when do you care?"

He gave her a once-over and sighed, "I think you look nice anyway...You should really stop dieting."

She felt her cheeks flare at his comment, "...Thank you." She looked back down at the ramen, avoiding Neji's gaze.

"Oi! Ino, Neji!" The loud-mouthed blonde took the seat between them and gave his fox-like grin, "I didn't know you guys ate Ichiraku! It's actually a weird coinsedence, aye?"

Ino's blush instantly left her face and she stood to take her leave, "This was great of you, but I need to get going." She was forced down by a pair of masculine arms, that wrapped around her afterwards. She flushed, losing what little color she had,"N...N... Who?"

She looked up at her assulter, and turned beet red with anger, "KIBA! GET THE HELL OFF OF ME!"

The boy shrugged off of her, sitting beside her, "Sorry, couldn't resist, you were going to leave with a full bowl of Ichiraku Ramen."

She growled, picking it up to throw at Kiba, but a small barking by her ankles made her pause.She smiled, giving the bowl to Akamaru, "Go ahead." She glared at Kiba and smacked his head, "Don't EVER touch me like that again! Got it dog boy?" She stood, readying to grace the street with her presence.

Kiba held up his hands defensively, "Geez Ino, I was just joking! Don't you have a sense of humor anymore? Or did Sakura take it with her?"

With a slight pause, Ino faced the canine-looking male and smacked him across the face, the impact echoing through the small stand. She breathed heavily on the verge of tears, slowly drawing her hand back, "Kiba... you... you... IDIOT!" She spun on her heel and attempted to rush out.

The boy gripped her wrist, "Ino... I didn't mean it...I realise it wasn't right of me to take a stab at you like that but...but..." He gave a low growl, "You need to get over it! Staying in the past won't help Kanoha's situation! You know as well as I do that we need all the shinobi we can get and greiving won't make you stronger! What would Sakura do if she were here and knew you were throwing your life away?"

Ino stayed whimpered, "She'd..." She shook her head, "Let go... I want to go home."

Neji stood, prying Kiba's grip from the blonde's arm, "Calm down Inuzuka, she'll realize it soon enough."

Naruto blinked as Ino rushed out, shrugged and went on with his ramen. Then sighed, "Maybe we should do something for her I mean... I may not be her closest friend, but I can't help but feel sorry for her."

Kiba rubbed his cheek, "Hell no, she doesn't need pity... She freaking slapped me!"

"You deserved it." Neji glared at him in his usual cold way.

Kiba twitched, "Since when are you on her side? Do you like her or something?"

A barely noticable color reached his cheeks, but left as quickly as it showed, "Hn."

Naruto stood, "Oi! I've got it! Isn't her birthday in two days? Why don't we throw her a huge bash...You know, and invite everyone she knows just to show how much we really care!"

Neji shrugged, "I suppose that'd work..."

Kiba rolled his eyes, "Don't expect me to come."

Naruto and Neji both glared at him, but Naruto voiced what came to both minds, "On free will, maybe not...But I'll drag you along if I have to."

Akamaru barked in agreement, grinning cruelly at Kiba.

He twitched, "Great... Even you're on their side..."

/----------o.O-----------

(A/N: Just to cut in for a quick note, I'm listening to 'Light the Candle' from RENT, so this is going to be slightly(laughs loudly at this"Slightly heh...try mucho grande!") perverted.)

/----------O.o-----------

-Ino-

"A-Ano Hinata...Yeah...Talk to you later...Bye.."She hung up her phone and sighed. The female Hyuga had attempted at being Ino's new best friend ever since she had come back from the fatal mission. She smiled at the window, seeing the visable Hyuga compound. they were quiet neighbors, very peaceful people in her opinion. She preferred the company of Hinata's cousin rather than herself, no offense to the shy girl. The lights in her apartment flickered, breaking her trance to focus on them. She flushed as the power went out, "What? Ah man! They can't cut off my power right now! Bastards..."

She went to search for a candle and came out victorious, "Ha! I win now! Eat this electric company!" A knock at the door broke her train of thought. She sighed, "Coming!" She kept hold of her candle and searched for the door. When she got there, she opened it, "Hello? Oh... Neji? What are you doing here?"

He invited himself in, "I didn't realise we were neighbors. Why's it so dark in here?"

She stomped in a pout before just closing the door and letting the prodigy have his way, "I forgot to pay my electric bill... They cut my power." She fiddled around when they reached the kitchen for a match. She found one and struck it, lighting the candle as soon as it lit, "There... Sorry, but seriously, why are you here?"

He turned to face her, "Just to check in on you. I got your address from Nara, and just noticed we were neighbors."

She sighed, "Note to self: Kick Shika-kun's ass." She jumped, "Ouch!"

Neji blinked in realization, "I assume the wax is dripping."

She waved her finger wildly, "It's hot..." She put the candle on her counter to examine her now red finger.

Neji moved closer, taking her hand to examine her wound, "You look fine... Does it really hurt?"

She nodded her head hesitantly, wanting to pull her hand away.

He chuckled, "You're as bad as Hanabi-chan. Though, she's only about eight." He kissed the red spot, earning a wince from the Yamanaka, who was turning a pink that would make Sakura's hair look dull, "All better?"

She laughed, wiping her eyes, "Yeah."

He regained his straight-spined posture, "That's good." He turned to leave, "Well, since you're all better. I suppose I'll be going now."

Ino winced, "W-Wait... Neji..." She stepped forward and gripped the material of his white robes, mumbling just above a whisper, "I don't like the dark... Would you maybe stay the night with me?"

Neji smirked, "I thought you didn't like me."

She sighed, "If I didn't like you, I wouldn't have even spoken to you in the first place... Please?"

He turned to face her once more, "Hn. I don't know... It all depends on if you really like me or not. If you catch my drift."

She rolled her eyes, "Listen you perv, I won't do anything to you or with you. Now stay."

He sighed, "I suppose I could."

She gave a greatful smile and pulled him closer until he was close enough for her to hug.

He blushed while she had her face buried in his shoulder, "Yeah yeah. Let me call the compound first."

She blushed, "I'd let you use my phone but..." She laughed nervously, "No power, no phone."

He pulled out his cellphone and shook it, "I've got it covered."

She rolled her eyes, "Show off. While you call, I'll be upstairs, okay?"

He gave a short nod and dialed the number.

Ino lit another candle, leaving it with the prodigy as she took the older one. She gave Neji a final wave before heading upstairs. She sighed deeply, changing into her pajamas. She'd go to the bath house tomorrow early, she decided. With a final breath she looked down at her attire of a simple lavender camisole and black 'booty shorts'.

He came in a few minutes later, "Oi, Ino. It's all been okayed. I can stay...with...y-y-y..."His sentance was cut off by the drool leaking from his mouth as he unintentionally gawked at the blonde.

She blushed, "Stop staring at me, you perv!" She picked up her candle, "You left the candle I left you down stairs..."

"I c-can see without it... B-byakugan, r-r-remember?"

She rolled her eyes, "Loser." At that she had the candle raised a bit too high, and accidently blew it out as she spoke, making the room pitch black, "... Neji... If you can se so clearly," She paused and cleared her throat, "Get. Your. Hand. Off. Of. My. Ass!"

He raised his hands defensively, "Sorry, sorry. Couldn't help it." He took the fireless candle and put it on her dresser, "Do you have any flashlights around?"

She laughed, "Uh, no. Unless the last owners left one."

"You're so unprepared...And you're a kunoichi. I'd expect more from you."

She rolled her eyes, "Spare me. I'm tired, would you mind if I went to sleep?"

He shrugged, "Not at all."

She smiled and walked to her window, opening it. The room lit up with the moonlight. She smiled at Neji, "G'night."

He nodded in response.

She crept to her bed and curled into a ball, but patted the space net to her and looked at Neji, "There's enough room for you."

He sighed, walking over and sitting beside her.

She instantly clung to him and fell asleep.

He simply watched her sleeping form with a small smile etching his usually sullen features and fell into a peaceful sleep beside her.


A/N: Awwww so sweet Neji is such a gentleman at times...He needs to lighten up though in the anime/manga, frowning gives you wrinkles...We wouldn't want those flawless features ruined now, would we? Hn, I never explained Ino's age did I? She's turning eighteen in my story so that makes Neji about nineteen, twenty... Somewhere along those lines. ANYWAY, about the tournament. It's nothing big. Just a festival kind of thing where Ino shows Neji how strong she is...Or at least attempts to. Other than that, I'm thinking about four possible things that happen... I need help deciding though:

1. Shikamaru attempts to rape Ino dun dun dunnnnn and then gets his ass kicked by Neji before anything /too/ terribly bad can happen

2. Tenten forces a kiss on Neji and Lee sees. Lee, feeling depressed as far as Tenten liking Neji and not himself, cries onto Ino's shoulder(oddly enough), and Ino beats the hell out of Neji then tells him to leave her alone, causing a big problem for them and they tear apart.

3. Naruto confesses his undying love for Ino O.O and then Kiba says that he loves Ino more O.o;; and Ino kick their asses for 'lying'

4. The Atkatsuki pick her up after finding out her clan's abilities. Then threaten Tsunade by being all "We'll give you the girl for the Hyuga prodigy and the kitsune!" and (Wouldn't you know it) the two team up with Kiba and Shika-kun to saaave her

Or I may not do any of them xD w/e I'm done so... R&R and do whatever you do...

Lots of Love,

HANL