Title: Silence is Golden
Author: desbutterfly
Genre: yuri, romance
Pairing: InoTema
Rating: M
Summary: 'If Ino was going to break things off between them, she could at least do it looking strong and brash and heartless, not all small and vulnerable...'

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The first hint Temari had that something was wrong was the quiet.

Ino was never quiet--not when she was mad, not when she was happy, and certainly never while they were making love (or "girl-fucking", as Kankurou so crudely liked to put it when Temari came down in the morning to the lower apartments to raid his fridge). Ino took great pleasure in being vocal during sex, ever since she found out that it made Temari's brother incredibly embarrassed.

"What's the problem?" she'd said the first time Kankurou had complained. "I thought this would be a straight guy's wet dream; two extremely hot girls having sweaty, loud sex right above his bedroom."

"Not when one of 'em is my older sister," he'd muttered, while Temari rolled her eyes and handed Ino a plum from the ice box.

Since then, there hadn't been a single quiet night she'd spent with the blonde. Until now.

Temari shifted up between Ino's legs and rested her head on a white shoulder. "What's wrong?" she asked.

Ino's hand came up to trace the line of her jaw, card through the frizzy strands of hair catching against damp skin. Her voice was soft, almost a whisper when she replied.

"Nothing's wrong."

"Bullshit, Yamanaka." Temari sat up, frowning as Ino's sharp nails scraped against her forehead as she rose. "You've been quiet tonight."

"Can't I be quiet for once?" Ino said, her lashes lowering as she avoided Temari's gaze, and something sank and burrowed deep in Temari's gut, like a worm.

She hated the moonlight, all of a sudden, and how it made Ino's body look soft and delicate…fragile. If they were going to fight about something—

"No," Temari said, her voice flat and loud in the dark room. "You can't."

If Ino was going to break things off between them, she could at least do it looking strong and brash and heartless, not all small and vulnerable. It was the least she owed after two years of climbing into Temari's bed.

"What's going on, Ino?"

The blonde curled on her side, bracing her neck on her arm, fingers drawing slow circles on the sheets between them. "Tough assignment today," she said, changing the subject completely. "With Fuijuko."

"Which is why we asked Konoha for assistance," Temari pointed out, wondering how long she should let the other woman avoid her question. It wasn't like she really wanted to hear the answer anyway. Not if it was as bad as she thought it was going to be.

Ino laughed sharply like she was spilling shards of broken glass from between her pink lips. "A fat lot of help that was," she said. "That fucking trap almost exploded you into little pieces all over the goddamn desert."

The comment made Temari stiffen on her haunches, and her chin rose almost defiantly. Was that it? She hadn't had many chances to fight side-by-side with her lover, but she didn't know that making a stupid little error in judgment would be enough for the other girl to declare her weak. If that was the case, Temari could bring up a few choice examples of Ino's various combat mistakes, just to level the playing field. She held back though, not quite ready to burn the bridge between them with her own words.

"Gaara stopped that from happening," she said instead.

"Hm." The non-committal noise stabbed like a lancet, right up behind Temari's breastbone. "And what if he didn't?"

"Then I guess you'd be out a fuck-buddy," Temari snapped, unable to bear it any longer.

It had been a long and shitty day of trying to outwit a former Anbu operative gone batshit insane, and now it was midnight and she needed to be awake and in Gaara's office in six hours. If Yamanaka was going to break up with her, she wanted her to get it over with and get out so Temari could pretend to be sleeping instead of moping.

Ino was sitting up now, her hair tumbling down around her shoulders and between her breasts like a cape, almost blue in the moonlight. Temari closed her eyes and wished she was close enough to turn on the lamp with its harsh halogen glow. She heard Ino shift, and the bedsprings squeak.

"You're not a fuck-buddy. Not anymore." 'Here it comes.' "I love you."

"What?" Temari's eyelids snapped open and she blinked back the blurred dots of colour and strove to make out Ino's expression. She couldn't be serious…. "What did you just say?"

"I love you," Ino repeated. Slowly, like she was speaking to a not-too-bright child. "We've been together for two years. If it was just about sex, I could have had my pick of hot asses a little closer to home. Do you really think I'm the type to stay so long with someone I wouldn't want to spend forever with?"

"I…" Temari blinked and swallowed, something thick lodging in her throat.

"If you're mad, you can wait until the morning to yell, okay?" Ino continued, mistaking Temari's flabbergasted silence for disapproval. "It's not like I planned to fall in love with you anyway. Settling in with Chouji would have been much more convenient, you know."

"Why would I be mad?" Temari finally found the voice to say.

Ino suddenly looked sheepish, hunching her shoulders so that her bangs hid everything but the part of her lips. "Well you've never asked me to stay with you for longer than the night. I know you don't like complications—"

"I never knew you wanted to stay for more than that," she interrupted. "H-how long have you wanted…?"

"I think," Ino said, "for a long time now. Fuck, stop looking at me like I've just said something incredibly disturbing. You're mad, aren't you."

Temari reached out and brushed her fingers over the other girl's knee, then thigh, then hip where she rested her whole hand. When she pulled Ino forward and pressed their mouths together, the only thought running through her mind was that Ino kissed like a brand against her skin.

When they separated Ino's laughter puffed warm, damp air unto her cheek, and Temari swallowed the sound and felt the vibration of Ino's throat against her tongue.

"You're not mad," Ino stated matter-of-factly, pulling Temari's thighs apart with cool fingers, both of them slipping on the sheets in a clumsy tangle of limbs.

And Temari sighed, circled Ino's waist with her arms and said, "Be quiet."

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fin.

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