11/04/07: I went through and fixed stuff I didn't like.. Also, I tweaked the ending.

Will you believe in me tonight?

The door opens. The door closes. A shirt rises, hangs in mid-air, and falls with two bodies onto the side of the bed.

A long, lily-white leg jutting out of a too-short skirt tucks up and hooks hard around a waist as fingers interposed with jewelry and interlocked with his hair sink drag down his neck and into his skin, pressing into his chest and palming hollow of his back.

He lets out a small, contented hiss against her lips. She smiles and grabs the curve of his ass, drawing crescents of red pain sex pleasure want against his skin, carving her desire into him and holding him tight against her neck as he licks and nibbles and worships ivory skin the shines in the pale half-light of the room; her other hand clawing at his back and tapering down and around his neck like a lost child looking for solace or sanctuary as he makes her shiver and shake and spasm in his arms.

She's so beautiful. So perfect, like a solid marble stature some decadent goddess of battle and seduction decided to breathe life into.

It happened by random happenstance.

She said Hi, he said hi, they talked. He was lonely, she was friendly; overly friendly, and he knew not to trust people like that from experience so he said Bye but she followed him because she had nothing better to do and, you know, it was "Okay to have company on your birthday Naruto" and dammit, she had to get him something he would remember her by because he shouldn't look so fucking depressed all the time.

Ino didn't like to be forgotten. Or for her friends to angst over people who didn't deserve their attention in the first place.

Naruto didn't like to be remembered sometimes. He also thought that Sakura finally telling him point blank that he would never be as good as Sasuke hurt worse than not being able to bring Sasuke back in the first place.

It was strange, the way they compliment each other even then; but it worked and the whole day went by faster than either cared to admit.

All the bite marks impress a need to be with her; a set of lips glossed-over and painted-peach- plum-rose-petal-pink lips press so tightly against his neck that they make breathing impossible.

He gasps and sighs and smirks and smiles and it feels so right when she kisses him so hard because that gives him a chance to be just as rough with her and that's something Uzumaki Naruto, Container of the Ninetails, cannot be with anyone else.

The Fox is a thing that scars.

And yet because she tastes like a hundred-thousand different flowers -- not a single one tainted beautiful by blood and blood loss; rose petals on her breath, baby's breath on her skin and a rain forest of wild, untamed scents in her hair like the smell of wild, wet-furred predators stalking through the forest in the darkness of the night or the sweet silver bell-taste of that first mist during January in her hair – the fox doesn't seem to care.

She's so vibrant.

So alive.

He can almost taste the beat of her heart between his teeth, can almost smell the forest in her breath, and the fact of the matter is that unconsciously, the Fox approves of its container's mate because she reminds it of its own.

They started seeing more of each other after their impromptu hang out session but said nothing more than Hi or Goodbye or How are you today as they looked at each others eyes and thought: Does it hurt to breathe when your near me too?

She smells like the forest and she smells like the wilds he dreams of at night when the Fox is lonely; of the neat forests and crystal clear-lakes and endless fields of sunflowers that the Fox likes and therefore amplifies in his mind so that she is perfect in everyway even though he knew that she couldn't be.

She is human

He is not

He accepts that.

And though he already knew that there was something different about her from the moment they found themselves alone on Team Seven's Bride and she said to him, smiling a smile that reached her eyes and pulling him towards her in the moonlight: "...Even though Sakura runs after the shadow of her shattered prince, I hold in my arms the fire of a Hokage and I won't settle for less than that. I won't settle for second best, so stop looking at me like that and kiss me now. Kiss me now and make it mean everything it's supposed to mean, Naruto."

"Kiss me and tell me that you love me because I'm not settling for second best again."

The pain intensified in passing.

A passing touch.

A passing glance.

A passing conversation.

A low fire that smoldered in their stomachs, hiding somewhere behind their navels like embers on the tails of a dying phoenix just before it ignited in one last blaze of glory.

Though they didn't know each other, though they barely spoke to each other since their first meeting, it felt so completely right for Naruto to ask her out on a date in that shy, boyish way of his that she couldn't (didn't) have the heart to say no to him because he obviously didn't know that you had to court the girl first to get her to like you and then ask her to date you, to be with you, maybe even to love you.

(Ino forgot Naruto never followed instructions, explicitly stated or otherwise.)

Teeth gnash and grind and bite and nip and take skin between lips; crush and press and seal furiously against each other as tongues that taste of cyanide and alcohol intermix and intermingle and dance a dance of passions-war. He runs his tongue over her teeth, over her lips, across her tongue and all around the cavern of her mouth, controlling and explorative, and most of all defiant. She doesn't let him have any power over her because she is a kunoichi and kunoichi are not weak little flowe rgirls; they are warriors, and now they're kissing so hard it hurts and he's bleeding and he loves it.

His little amazon.

Her warrior-prince.

It started with his arm resting around her shoulders during a movie he thought was boring and fell asleep halfway into.

It started with her hand coasting over his as they walked through Konoha and then her entire hand gripping his wrist to lead him to a store she wanted him to go into.

It started with him buying her a small bracelet to said 'Sorry for sleeping on you/drooling on your during the movie -- Naruto' and it started with a hand that stayed locked around his for the rest of the afternoon, neither remembering how or why it got there.

It started with little things, with small glances and half-smiles, and mistakes and apologies and blushing at words that, in-context, were perfectly innocent and sane.

Her top is made of leather, her bra is made of cotton, and her skin is made of silk. They hit the bed (again?) and she wraps both of her legs around him as he presses his hardness down into her center. With a sigh, with a moan, with a small smile she looks up at him and rolls her hips in a fluid liquid rush that grinds into his sex so hard he's seeing stars and seeing spots and panting for breath through an invisible straw too small to supply him with any.

As he fumbles with her bra, fumbles with her top and fumbles with her breasts like a blind man looking at the world for the first time with eyes that aren't his, he can only think of one thing.

She's so soft, and so small, and so willing yet she's so strong, and so craven, and so beautiful and ravenous for a taste of his skin that only cupping her breasts makes her scream and only tracing the edge of her areola with his tongue makes her buck her hips and bite her lips and rip off his belt to plunge her hands into his pants without a hint of caring about decency or personal space.

Beautifully dangerous like a sunrise over a battlefield.

He loves it.

Though Ino knows Naruto would never hurt her, she will admit that the one time she was ever afraid of him was the time Naruto went Kyuubi on her during a mission and annihilated; not killed, not wounded, not massacred but annihilated, an entire company of Grass-Nin that had gotten the jump on them during a routine scouting run.

They had been outnumbered forty to seven, with three wounded.

In a matter of seconds, the entire clearing was deserted.

When Naruto had finished killing them all, he had looked at her; blood streaking his face and his hair like painted on stripes of thick paint and his eyes glowing with the fires of hell itself.

Admittedly, she had frozen, but then his eyes… Those eyes so fiery and incandescent that they burned right through her, turned downward and he said:

"Oh…Oh god…Ino…I...Ino I'm sorry..."

Though his voice was darker, deeper, like the rumbling of thunder off in the distance, the words were all the same. The boy was all the same. She took him in his arms and said, for the first time: "I love you Naruto"

To this day she thinks it was the only time she saw that Uzumaki Naruto had been so shocked that he cried until there was nothing left wet inside of him.

He is thick. Not long, but thick enough to make her have to wrap both hands around him. Every part of his body is firm, toned, pale bronze muscle; nothing marring a perfect tide of flesh but a strange tattoo around his navel and scar right next to his heart, and she is envious of his perfection but selfish of it all at the same time.

She revels in the power she has over this man who could kill her with a mere flicker of her power as her jerking hands bring him to his knees, to the bed, all over her stomach in a white-hot tide.

Her parents don't approve of Naruto, but she doesn't care.

Kakashi and Iruka approve of Ino, and that's all that matters to her.

She wants to look good for her eventual in-laws, after all.

When Naruto hears her say this, he can't stop laughing.

She thinks he's beautiful when he smiles.

Naruto, tired but not spent, leans down and pulls apart her legs. She manages a half-smile that he returns into the curve of her hip, and then everything goes electrical.

Uzumaki Naruto does not need to use chakra to excite her, but it just so happens to work. She makes a sound like "oh-god-I've-never-been-touched-this-way-before" -- knowing she has been before but not caring -- her head tilting back, her lips parting and grinning and her spine shuddering as he makes a growling noise somewhere in the dank dark recesses of his throat that vibrates against her insides and around her breasts like a warm, static blanket of sound.

His hands surf the smooth expanse of her stomach, his fingertips and hot, finger-tipping and molten tide that makes things below her skin tighten and twist and that answers him without words, clearly saying if-you-want-it-harder-I'll-be-more-than-glad-to-oblige.

They hit the floor, and he obliges. And obliges. And obliges.

Though brain-death is found in drink, absolution is found in sex -- sex to forget; sex to remember; sex that means everything to no one and nothing to everyone.

Sex that matters because he's been afraid so afraid to tell her that he loved her for longer than he could remember. And sex that matters because she's been reluctant to admit to herself that she prefers this, that she has always wanted this, that she needs and craves and loves the feel of his body, hard and built for war, beneath her fingertips because Uzumaki Naruto cannot lie with his body, and that, more than anything, more than his words and his creeds and his goal in life, is an honesty she can trust.

They compliment each other by challenging each other to do better.

Naruto trains Ino to be strong, so that when the Jounin exams come around and they end up facing each other in the finals, Naruto only gets by because of luck, the skin of his teeth, and a handful of waters clones that, because Ino didn't know that he knew the jutsu and he won because of it, she tells him he has to make up for it later -- in bed.

His words, his breath, his chakra, his everything coalesces somewhere white-hot inside of her. Her pulse races, her stomach that answers to him in a purring cascade of breath that captures his name in her throat and sends it up towards the sky.

Ino teaches Naruto how to cook, and how to clean, and how to live life like a normal person, making sure that he knows that he is not just a shinobi; not just a Jinchuuriki – he is human. And where everyone else is afraid of him, where even his own teammates constantly doubt and belittle him, Ino accepts Naruto for who he is, not what, and it is this that turns her into more than Naruto's lover, friend, or wife.

She rides the pulse of his orgasm, rides the movement of his hips and the loosening of his body as he comes.

Ino is his love, his sister, and his soul mate, and neither would have it any other way.

When its over, when he slinks down on top of her and they lay on their bed, tired, and spent, and bathing in the afterglow, Yamaneko Ino has an epiphany, and it is thus:

Uzumaki Naruto is her everything.

Uzumaki Naruto makes her feel perfect.

No, I'll believe in us forever