I don't own Naruto, which is too bad, because then I'd be rich and my room would be full of dancing little blue men.
Ino couldn't be more miserable. Not only had she been without a boyfriend for over a year and a half, which had been bothering her way more then she wanted to admit, but now she had agreed to be the maid of honor at the wedding of the man she had always thought she would marry. On top of that she had just been assigned a big mission a week before the wedding, so she was sure to be battered and bruised just in time for the celebration. Her bruises always started out a pale yellow jaundice color and gradually turned that beautiful dark purple eggplant about four days later. So, if she left for her mission on Thursday as planned, and returned on Tuesday, on Saturday, the wedding day, she'd be eggplant, which was going to look lovely against the sunshine yellow dress Temari had chosen.
In an attempt to forget her misfortune Ino had picked up a few shifts at her mothers flower shop, but that had turned out to be a bust. She'd had only one customer all day, and all he'd wanted were a dozen red roses. It had taken only ten minutes total to find out what he wanted, arrange the roses, wrap them up, and ring him up at the register. Within those ten minutes the man had managed to gush about his love so thoroughly that Ino had wanted to hit him over the head with his roses before he left. She had of course held her temper and smiled at him the whole time, her mother would have her head if she was rude to a customer, but she'd really wanted to hit him just the same.
All day, other then those ten minutes, she had brooded. It was all that was on her mind. She couldn't even believe Shikamaru had asked her. That mus have been why she accepted, she'd been so shocked to hear his voice on the other end of the phone when he'd called three weeks ago that she'd been in a daze. All day she had replayed the phone call over and over again in her mind.
She had been expecting a call from Sakura, so she'd answered the phone using a goofy greeting designed to annoy Sakura.
"Hello, this is Ino, sexiest konoichi in Konoha, what can I do for you?"
"You still haven't changed a bit." She'd almost choked at the sound of his voice, and had immediately felt like the stupid 16 year old girl she'd been 4 years ago when she had last seen him.
"Shikamaru? I wasn't expecting you to call. I thought it was Sakura."
"Like I said, you still haven't changed. Everything you're ever done has been designed to piss off Sakura." His lazy tone had held a hint of amusement.
"No I have not, Sakura is my best friend. I don't' do things to piss her off," she'd lied, and they had both known it.
"Whatever, Ino. I don't want to argue with you, its far too troublesome."
"Well what did you call for then?"
"I have something I want to tell you, and something I want to ask…."
Her heart had fluttered, for a second she thought he was going to say he was coming home, coming back to Konoha, coming back to her. And that he wanted them to give it another try. She knew she'd been a fool four years ago but maybe it had been long enough, maybe he'd forgiven her. And then reality hit her, like a ton of bricks to the head.
"I'm getting married, and I'd really like you to be part of the wedding. A big part actually. Would you be our maid of honor?"
Ummm…..congratulations, but ummm isn't the maid of honor usually the brides best friend?"
"Eh…" he'd kinda chuckled. "Umm…the thing is, Temari-chan doesn't have any girl friends. Turns out most of the girls here in Suna think she's stuck up and a bitch ("That's because she is," Ino thought to herself.) so she's asked Sakura and Hinata to be in the wedding. But with Gaara, Kankuro, and Choji being in it we need three girls, and since she's insisting on having Gaara as the best man, I told her I wanted you to be the maid of honor."
"I don't know, Shikamaru," she'd said. "It might be a little awkward."
"Don't be silly, Ino. You've been one of my best friends since I was five years old and I've known you even longer then that. You were my teammate for nine years and you've saved my life countless times. I could never feel awkward around you."
"I didn't mean you, Shika."
"You mean Temari?" he asked incredulously. "She knows about our relationship, but she also knows what we had was different. That it was just puppy love. Temari is my world, Ino, and she knows it. I've never been happier and so in love. I tell her that all the time. So there's no way she would feel awkward. Plus she has to be the most secure woman I've ever met. She'd never be so unsure of herself that she'd think you could steal me away. It'll be fine Ino. Just please say you'll do it."
In the end she had agreed. She had tried a few more times to argue her way out of it, but it was a lost cause, she should have known better. Shikamaru hadn't been sent to help Suna as their top strategist for nothing, he'd shot down all her attempts in mere seconds.
"Okay Shikamaru, I'll do it. I'll be your maid of honor. Just promise me I won't have to wear a pink dress." She'd hear the words come out of her mouth and instantly wished she could take them back, but she couldn't, it was done.
"Thanks, Ino. This is going to be so great, all the people I love are going to be part of this now. I'm so excited. Kurenai is even brining little Azuma to be the ring barer. We don't have a flower girl, but that's okay because Temari doesn't like flowers that much anyway. She's going to be so happy, Ino. She didn't think you would say yes, and she didn't want to ask Sakura or HInata because they aren't really that close, but I knew you would do it."
"It's going to be great Shika-kun," she lied, this time only she knew it though. "I can't wait to see you both."
They said goodbye and Shikamaru had no idea Ino felt like throwing up. "Temari is my world." It was those four words. Those four words that had done the damage. She hadn't seen him in four years but she'd always thought about him. Thought about how one day he would come home and they would be together. She'd always thought about him. Those four words had let her know he hadn't been thinking about her.