Disclaimer: Don't own. Not even going to pretend I do.

A/N: I can't decide which ship I like better, Ino/Chouji or Ino/Shikamaru. Regardless, it's all about the Team 10 love. Although, this time, it's all about the Ino/Chouji.

Five Times Ino Didn't Go Home to Chouji, (And One Time She Did).

Occurrence

0. you've been around enough to know/ that if i want to leave, you better let me go

She didn't seek him out that night. That wasn't how it started. He had found her in a bar on the outskirts of town, freshly back from a mission that no one knew about save the Hokage, and it was only to Tsunade she would divulge the details. So she sat in a booth that was nestled in a back corner, and let herself be lost under the hovering clouds of smoke and disjointed voices.

Mid way through her third drink he sat down across from her. Surprised to see him (it had been months since they last really talked, not just exchanged greetings in passing), but not unhappy, she found herself responding to his small talk and answering questions in the way kunoichi were trained to, with slightly parted lips, a half lidded gaze and a voice that hinted at rumpled sheets and a warm, wet mouth.

She couldn't blame alcohol on the fact that she ended up in his bed later, with her legs stretched taut around his wide hips as her nails dug into his shoulders and her hair spilled in loops and circles over his heaving chest; she had never finished that third drink.

Afterwards, with her hair twined around his thick fingers and her face pressed against his chest, eyes watching the clock glow the time at her from the bedside table, he told her, in a quite voice, shy, but honest, that he loved her. Had for a long time. He said she didn't have to say anything; he just thought she should know, and that, if she wanted, there was always a place for her here, with him.

She continued to watch the clock until he fell asleep, and in the grey hours of the morning she left her former teammate in his too big bed with it's rumpled sheets and went to report to the Hokage.

i. ophelia was a rebel girl/ a blue-stocking suffragette/ who remedied society/ between her cigarettes

Her target leans on the wooden counter of the bar as he lifts his hand to light her cigarette. She inhales once, twice, and lets a steam of warm smoke slide through her painted lips. She smiles at him the way she was taught, says the words he wants her to say, and lets him think he picked her up (the concise file with his picture sits hidden in a pack concealed in her hotel room).

After she slit his throat and erased the evidence of her existence, she looks over the scrolls one last time, committing them to memory, before burning them. She pauses on her way out the window, fingertips resting lightly on the sill and looks back at his bloodless body in the bed, pale skin stark against the crimson that has seeped into the sheets, and thinks he could've been handsome to her once.

ii. when she walks down the street/ she knows there's people watching

She only had a two-day down period between her last and upcoming mission, and she spent it in the commercial district of Konoha, sometimes doing deliveries for the flower shop, and sometimes just wandering aimlessly. She ran into a few people she knew, but most of her former classmates were away on missions. The village was utilizing the most promising generation of shinobi well. So far they all had come back alive, if not worse for the wear, but it was a war and things changed. Every face she didn't see was a face she might never see again (she tried not to think about the face she left one morning, tattooed cheek still pressed into a pillow).

But when she spots Shikamaru watching her from a doorway, cigarette hanging from his lips and eyebrows drawn down over his eyes, she decides she's had enough of reconnecting with the town and finds a bar where she can get drunk for cheap, maybe start a few fistfights, and go home with someone who will fuck her into a mattress and never care about knowing her name.

iii. and wanting something warm and moving/ bends towards herself the soothing

This time she finds herself in bed with a woman, face pressed between warm thighs as her target moans and writhes against her tongue. As the final waves of orgasm pass through the body below her, she moves her hands in quick seals and leaves her body.

When she opens her eyes again it is in a body that is still loose and relaxed from pleasure. She forces the heavy limbs out of the bed, ignoring her own body crumpled on the sheets and walks over to a wall, pausing only to send a pulse of charka into it, releasing the seals and opening to a hidden vault. She retrieves the scrolls she needs and closes the wall, reactivating the security system. On her way back to the bed she pulls a small case of pills from one of the discarded dresses and swallows it. Before the body completely succumbs to sleep, she releases her justu.

Back in her own body, she takes a moment to readjust to her smaller limbs, sinking into the familiar feeling of bones and flesh and muscle that she has conditioned her whole life. The woman on the bed flickers her eyelids briefly, fighting the fast coming sleep the pill provides, and smiles at her, stretching an arm towards her.

She lets herself be pulled back into a soft embrace, hip against her stomach, cheek resting on the bone stretched between breasts, and closes her eyes. She'll allow herself a moment or two of simple comfort before she dons her painted mask once again, returning to Konoha and the beds of strangers they send her to.

iv. give me two shots of whiskey/ and a beer chaser/ love will be the death of me

She has come to find, over her many travels, that all bars are the same, regardless of what country she's in. And all the bars bring in the same type of people, so it isn't hard to find what she'd looking for on any given night. What is unusual is running into someone she knows. So when she finds herself in a back alley bar located in a rural district of Wave Country, that last person she expects to run into is Naruto.

She doesn't pause too long in the doorway, instead simply raises her eyebrow at his expression, and slides onto the stool next to him, flagging down the bartender as she does so. They don't ask what the other is doing here; she can't answer and he won't share the futility of his search for Sasuke with anyone. But they do drink in companionable silence as people trickle in and out around them.

When she asks, towards the end of the night, the two of them a few of the remaining patrons, and she has drunken far too much to be completely tactful, why he was so determined to go to all ends of the earth looking for someone who would never love him in the way he needed, he only looks at her with narrowed eyes before downing the last of his drink and pulling her away from the bar and towards the stairs.

Later, when they are both sweaty, sore, and sufficiently less drunk, he turns to her, nails digging slightly in their path up and down her spine, and asks why she was so determined to run away to all ends of the earth to escape the one person who could love her the way she needed.

She doesn't respond, just rolls back on top of him, closes her eyes and rides her pleasure into the early morning, pushing everything else (everyone else), far from her mind.

v. no hounds to guide me/ no army at my back/ this how you made my heart a hunter

When she opens her eyes not to the tree branches she had originally left her body, but to a cave with two large wolves curled around her and a man with tattoos snaking their way down and across the muscles of his naked chest, dressed in pelts and bones, she reacts accordingly. They finally still their movements when she is pressed against the cold stone with his dagger at her throat and her kunai at his. He bares his teeth and her eyes immediately lock onto his fangs. She hears his voice then, low and gravely, telling her he found her body while patrolling the borders of his clan's land. She only retracts her kunai after he's sheathed his dagger.

She follows him from the caves into the clearing where more wolves and people dressed like him are milling around. She takes the seat he directs her to and continues to observe the campgrounds. She is reminded greatly of the Inuzuka clan back in Konoha. The man sneers at her mention of this, insulted at the comparison to such a domesticated people, and hands her a piece of meat still sizzling from the fire.

She stays with the wolf people for three days, discussing the possibilities of an alliance between them and Konoha. They are, for the most part, uninterested. Their clan is a solitary, wild one, preferring to stay away from any type of civilization and their problems. But, they admit grudgingly, the war has been creeping into their woods, and if keeping it at bay means dealing with people like her, they suppose it's better to join with a village that is home to their brethren (despite how domesticated they are).

At the end, they send her on her way with a letter for her Hokage and the man who found her as her guide. She tries to ignore the way her eyes keep following the path of his tattoos as his muscle twitch and flex with his movement.

They have barely made it to the borders of his land before she is slammed into a tree and his hands, with their sharp nails and rough calluses, are quickly pulling up her skirt and pushing her aside underwear. She barely has time to breath before his is in her, hard and thick and brutal. Her hands scrabble at his neck, frantically gripping at his hair as his body moves hers' with such force that her breath is knocked out of her lungs with each thrust.

The tree is digging sharply into her back, and in the back of her mind she registers that she is bleeding, but her eyes are rolled back in her head, and her hips are meeting each frenzied motion with equal strength. The pleasure builds rapidly in her and she presses her self closer in a desperate attempt to push herself over the precipice and into the orgasm she knows is waiting.

But she can't. She hovers there for a few long, agonizing moments, mentally pleading for completion. The body moving against hers is beginning to lose its rhythm, and she knows the end is coming up quickly. She tightens her legs around his waist (which is too narrow), and kneads her hands into his shoulders (which are too thin), and moves, hips circling and thrusting, her muscles tightening around him, and as her eyes flutter closed, she imagines that the face in her neck, with its sharp teeth and jutting cheekbones, is softer, wider, and that the tattoos aren't thick black lines, but smooth, red spirals.

The orgasm that shatters her body leaves her weak and boneless and devastatingly empty.

vi. nobody knows/ home or away/ what i'm waiting for

She makes her way quickly through the woods, stopping only to wash the seamen from her thighs in a stream. If she cries as she's scrubbing her skin raw, she doesn't acknowledge it.

It is well past midnight when she crosses through the gates of Konoha. The guards nod at her and welcome her back. She barely hears them over the thundering in her ears. Her first stop is the Hokage office, dropping off her report and the letter to the chuunin on duty, promising to return first thing in the morning to meet with Tsunade.

As she exits the building she pauses, breathing in the cold night air and letting in settle in her lungs. After a few deep, calming breaths, she begins walking towards her second, and hopefully last stop.

It takes five minutes for him to answer the door after she knocks, but when he does she finds herself frozen at the sight of his still sleep-ridden body. His clothes are wrinkled, his hair a mess, and his eyes are puffy as he blinks and regards her blearily. She swallows once and tries to speak. When she fails, he just leans against the doorframe and rubs at one eye absently. The silence that stretches out between them is vast and every minor noise from their surroundings echoes loudly through out the hallway (or maybe it's just in her ears).

Finally she steadies herself, takes a deep breath, looks him right in the eyes and says okay.

Okay.

Chouji pushes away from the door then and lets her inside, murmuring as she passes

'Welcome home, Ino.'

The sound of the door closing behind them is the most perfect thing she has ever heard in her life.

0. the most remarkable thing/ about you standing in the doorway/ is that it's you/ and that you're standing in the doorway

Header Credits:

"Girls! Girls! Girls!" by Liz Phair

"Ophelia," by Natalie Merchant

"Stella Was a Diver and She Was Always Down," by Interpol

"Communist Daughter," by Neutral Milk Hotel

"Bartender," by Regina Spektor

"Fallen Icons," by Delerium

"Call Me," by Throwing Muses

0. "Going to Georgia," by The Mountain Goats