CompromisesAuthor: desolate butterfly
Genre: gen, ficlet
Pairings: Ino/Chouji, Ino/Shika/Chou
Summary: Ino was the only one that could get away with calling Chouji "fat".
Ino was the only one that could get away with calling Chouji "fat".
Well, she supposed that Shikamaru could get away with it as well, but he never seemed inclined to comment on Chouji's weight in the first place. Perhaps it was too troublesome.
But Ino could remark testily on Chouji's food choice, poke at his stomach, and sigh about the bulges around his middle without arousing his anger, or making him mad at her. There were things Chouji was willing to put up with from his friends, and Ino suspected that he knew that her remarks (well most of them anyway) were made out of concern.
Ino hated watching other people make fun of Chouji for his weight, or dismiss his ability to fight, and she hated how Chouji's solution to dealing with these slights (after rolling the malefactors over with his favorite jutsu, of course) was to grab a bag of potato chips and start stuffing his face.
And Ino especially hated the news that Sakura had brought her from Tsunade's medical files on the Akimichi clan, about how most male members died before the age of fifty of heart failure, trying to carry around their massive bulk.
So Ino whined and cajoled and scolded, and Chouji looked abashed and promised to watch his weight, only to eat a ten course meal later on in the day as Ino watched. She began to despair of ever getting her friend to slow his eating habits. Even Shikamaru seemed convinced that it was a lost cause.
Over time, Ino stopped calling Chouji fat. But she still worried. Especially on the day that Team Ten was issued their ANBU uniforms and Chouji had to have his special made for his size.
Ino sighed, but kept silent. She was hardly one to talk, anyway. She had ordered the smaller sized uniform and the pants were giving her trouble. It must have been that dango Sakura had made her eat earlier that day.
'I'll have to ask Shika if he'll train with me tonight in order to work this off,' Ino thought to herself as she sucked her stomach in and examined herself in the mirror.
"Come on Ino," Chouji called from the hallway. "We're going out to celebrate! We'll miss the half-price appetizers if you stare at yourself in the mirror any longer."
Ino pulled the tight black sweater off and slipped into her regular skirt and top.
"Coming," she called, as she swept her hair up into a quick pony-tail and headed for the door.
Chouji and Shikamaru greeted her as she stepped outside and the three made their way to
one of the more expensive Konoha restaurants.
Shikamaru raised an inquisitive eyebrow when Ino just ordered water at the restaurant, but didn't say anything about it.
Chouji, however, was less inclined to let it go as another "girl thing" he didn't understand. He complained.
"You can't just have water Ino!"
"Oh, and why not?" Ino replied, watching in disgust as half the contents of the menu was placed before Chouji by a rather muscular waitress. "Maybe I'm not hungry, did you think of that?"
Chouji frowned and stabbed a chopstick in her direction.
"You have to be hungry. We didn't eat lunch because Tsunade-sama wanted to talk to us, and I know you didn't eat breakfast either. You were just getting out of bed when Shikamaru and I picked you up from the house," he pointed out.
Ino sighed and rolled her eyes. It was just her luck that her team mate would pick today to be so very observant and not yesterday when they were actually on a mission that required observation skills.
"Look," she said, "I'm on a diet. I've gained a few pounds and now I can't fit into my uniform so I'm just going to have water today, okay?"
"That's stupid, Ino," Shikamaru piped up, but he shrunk back in his seat and shut his mouth when she glared at him.
But Chouji just wouldn't be quiet.
"Shikamaru's right, Ino," he said. "You haven't gained any weight. You're practically a stick as it is. All this dieting stuff is stupid and unhealthy."
Ino saw red. She slammed a fist against the table, making the plates jump a bit at the impact.
"Who's unhealthy!" she shrieked, pointing a long, manicured finger at Chouji. "I'm not the one that's gonna die in thirty years!"
Shikamaru and Chouji glanced at each other with identical expressions of what the hell is she talking about? Ino groaned and put her head in her hands. Obviously she was losing the battle. Why were boys so very stupid?
Then Ino got an idea. She raised her head and smiled at her boys.
Both of them quailed instantly, sensing danger.
"Fine," Ino said, sweetly. "I'll make you a deal Chouji."
Slowly, Ino reached out with a chopstick and took a dumpling off of Chouji's plate. The Akimichi's eyes narrowed and all his attention focused on the dumpling. Chouji didn't take well to people stealing his food. Frankly, Ino was amazed he hadn't punched her yet.
"I'll eat," Ino replied, still holding the dumpling carefully, "But I'll only eat off your plate."
Chouji considered this for a second. His face brightened.
"Alright Ino," he beamed, shoveling a mouthful of rice into his mouth.
Ino frowned. "Chouji," she interrupted.
"You aren't allowed to order more then your usual share."
Chouji's face fell and he stopped his enthusiastic chewing. Ino kept her hold on the dumpling, ready to place it back on Chouji's plate as soon as he rejected the deal. From the side, Shikamaru observed all this carefully and Ino was tempted to ask if he was taking notes.
Then Chouji was taking another dumpling in between his own chopsticks and placing it on the tablecloth before Ino. She stared at it in shock, losing her grip on the dumpling she held in her own utensils.
"It's a deal Ino," he said, smiling widely. "So you have to eat that now."
Ino blinked and put the dumpling in her mouth. It was very spicy. Her eyes were stinging with tears, it was so hot. She took a gulp of her water and gave Chouji a nod, but by then he had turned back to his plate.
Across the table, Shikamaru smirked and Ino kicked him in the knee. He gave her a dirty look and she smiled sweetly at him in return.
'Served him right.'
Ino took another dumpling from Chouji's plate and resigned herself to the fact that she was going to have to order another ANBU uniform. But looking at Chouji's face as he slurped his ramen noodles and scooped some daikon into his mouth, Ino decided it was a small price to play.
And she also decided that she had won that argument.
No matter what Shikamaru thought.
Any commentary is appreciated.