Title: Pigs in a Blanket
Author: desbutterfly
Genre: gen, fluff
Characters: Ino/Shika/Chou
Rating: G
Summary: It's Ino's first away mission and she has to share a tent with Shikamaru and Chouji. And she's not happy about it.

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It was their very first away mission.

It was their very first away mission, and her first time spent away from home overnight (except for sleepovers with Sakura when they were seven and that really didn't count). It was also the first time Ino had ever been forced to share a sleeping space with boys and she was quite certain that this was not the way it was supposed to happen.

Weren't kunoichi supposed to get their own separate tents?

How was she supposed to change into her night clothes? What if she talked in her sleep? What if they talked in their sleep?

She shot a suspicious glance at Shikamaru, who was quietly setting up his bedroll with all the single-minded contentment of one who knew that blessed, uncomplicated sleep was mere moments away.

Ino strongly suspected that Shikamaru snored.

"This isn't fair, Sensei," she said to Asuma, as she pouted and fluttered her lashes and generally did all the things that made her father melt into a little puddle at her feet and give her anything she asked for. "Shouldn't I get my own tent?"

He grinned at her and ruffled her hair. "Sorry Ino," he said, with all the patronization he could muster. "You'll just have to endure it. It's good for team work for you guys to stay together."

"But they are boys," she hissed through her teeth. "What if one of them tries to grope me while I'm sleeping?"

"Then you have my full permission to punch them in the face. Goodnight, Ino."

And then Asuma was leaving the tent for his own (totally unfair) private accommodations which he jokingly referred to as "the smoking section". Ino watched her sensei go with something approaching panic.

"Hey Ino." She turned to see Chouji watching her curiously, a bar of something (chocolate? granola? protein?) clutched tight in his chubby fist. "Aren't you going to fix up your bedroll?"

Her eyes followed his pointing, grubby finger to a pile of bedding and frowned. There were crumbs on it.

"Alright, let me make some things absolutely clear," she snapped, taking up the bedding and shaking it viciously. Shikamaru and Chouji watched her with equally wary expressions, although Shikamaru's was tinged with boredom and it was kind of hard to tell what the expression on Chouji's face really was with his cheeks all crammed with food like that.

Still. She was sure they were wary.

"That," she jabbed a finger at them, "is your side of the tent. This—" Her arms waved to indicate the spacious right side. "—is my side of the tent. No coming on my side for any reason."

Chouji frowned and put up his hand. "But what if—"

Her eyes narrowed dangerously and Chouji fell silent.

"Any reason," she repeated, holding one finger up in a menacing manner.

He gulped noisily and she watched with satisfaction as his hand fell to his side. Boys were bothersome, but at least these ones seemed to be willing to take orders.

"Also," she continued, "there is to be no snoring and no groping in the middle of the night. This means you, Shikamaru."

He scowled at her and muttered something that sounded suspiciously like 'as if I would want to' before flopping down on his own bedroll and promptly turning his back on them both.

"Whatever," came his muffled voice from the bedding. "Just turn out the lamp before you go to bed. It's on your side, after all."

Chouji shrugged and polished off the last of his something-bar before parting the covers on his own bedroll next to Shikamaru.

"Goodnight, Ino!" he said, the words distorted with chewing noises as he slid underneath his blanket and settled next to the other boy.

She made a face and then dragged her bedroll as far away from her team mates as possible before putting out the light.

It was difficult changing her clothes in the dark, and completely beneath her blanket to ensure that even the best kind of night vision would not be able to get a glimpse of her pink polka-dot pyjamas. Her fingers fumbled impatiently at the buttons and she considered sleeping in her clothes, like her team mates, but decided that she would not be wearing sleep-wrinkled smelly clothing the next morning. Even if they were in the middle of nowhere and no one would be there to see. A kunoichi should always look her best, regardless of the circumstances.

Finally undressed and redressed in her night clothing, Ino drew her thin blanket closer around her body and curled on her stomach, trying to ignore the unfamiliar setting and the slightly wheezing breaths of the boys five feet from her bedroll. The night air was cold, and the tent walls weren't nearly thick enough to keep out the chill.

She curled tighter in on herself and closed her eyes, shivering. It was her first night without her family close by. Was it really possible to be lonely in a cramped little tent with two other people?

Some unsteady feeling settled in Ino's stomach and in her throat and she swallowed it thickly.

"Hey, Ino?"

A moment of silence, and then rustling as she adjusted herself under the covers.

"What is it Chouji?" she snapped, hoping the strain in her voice could be construed as due to tiredness and not homesickness.

"It's kind of cold in here."

"Yeah, I noticed."

There was a pause and then a whispered conversation she couldn't quite make out. Then Chouji spoke up again.

"Shikamaru is afraid of the dark, you know. Are you sure you don't want to move closer? It would help us out a lot…"

It was a horrible lie. Shikamaru had never been afraid of the dark even when he was little (what kind of shadow-jutsu user was afraid of the dark anyway?), and Chouji's massive body weight made him practically a living furnace so he couldn't be cold.

Ino lay in silence for a few long minutes, considering her options.

Then she picked up her bedroll and stumbled her way across the darkened tent to elbow herself in between the two boys with a sigh.

"Fine," she grumbled as she curled up against Shikamaru's side and tucked her cold feet under Chouji's legs. "But I'm only doing this for your sakes."

"Whatever. Just go to sleep already," Shikamaru said, but he allowed Ino to steal some of his blanket and wrap an arm around his waist.

Chouji only grunted happily, squishing up against Ino like a comfortable, living heater with his soft stomach pressed against her back. She found her eyes sliding shut within moments, a hazy warmth spreading through her chest, making her smile in the darkness where no one could see.

The last thing she heard before she dropped off to sleep were the quiet snores rattling from Shikamaru's open mouth.

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fin.

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