A/N: Just a cute fluffy one-shot that you'll hopefully like. Strictly NaruIno, so if you don't like them together and aren't open to a different opinion, I don't suggest you read on. The characters are eighteen or (much or not) older. Whatever suits your fancy, as their ages don't have any relevance to the story. That said, I'm out of your way.
When the Reward Justifies the Means
He had no idea what had driven him to offer her his help with anything he could aid her with the last time he saw her.
He fancied blaming it on his growing crush for her and also on his mouth that infallibly ran quicker than his wit. If he'd spared just one second to think it over, he would have realized the hazard for his health hidden beneath such an innocent-looking offer.
But none of that mattered really while he and five of his shadow clones (he couldn't believe that she had blackmailed him into using up his chakra for daily chores; this definitely wasn't why he had learnt the jutsu from the Scroll of Sealing) each carried a bag of fertilizer (Sugarcoat it, why don'tcha, grumbled the youth inwardly, as to him it was clearer than a cloudless sky he had a bag of horse, cow or whatever other farm animal dump in his hands) almost half his own weight towards the Yamanaka flower shop.
Once all that was over and done with, the blond boy allowed himself the luxury of thinking he was done with his help for the day and collapsed back-first onto the wooden floor, eyes pinned to the bleak ceiling of Ino's family's shop.
Naruto truly had no clue how he'd managed to get himself into this mess. And he didn't just mean the flower shop torture.
It would remain a mystery to him how this platinum haired vixen had managed to break through his blissfully shortsighted nature when it came to women and enlightened him that his dearest Sakura-chan wasn't the only fish in the sea. It was even more bizarre how she'd managed to convey to him that, perhaps, maybe, presumably he stood a chance with Konoha's sexiest kunoichi at the present time, while not really saying anything forwardly at all.
At first he'd been reluctant to let go of his dream of hooking up with Sakura, convinced that the day she would appreciate him the way he appreciated her would come sometime, but as this day never came while the weeks rolled into months and they into years, the thought that he try his luck with the prettiest girl in town who just maybe considered him good boyfriend material too became more and more appealing.
This, though, definitely wasn't his idea of a date. It didn't even come close to 'having a good time' in his books either.
But how could he have said 'no' when she had looked with her round corn-flower blue eyes at him, glinting with hope, and that adorable pout on her lips? There was no way anyone could deny that face anything.
And, just at that moment as he was thinking how pathetically easy he was to manipulate, the object of his musings swam into his vision, blocking his view of the ceiling above.
By the furrowed finely shaped brows and severe frown he could tell he was in trouble.
"And just what do you think you're doing, lying around not helping whatsoever?" she asked him a low icy tone that made him believe that there was some right answer and if he didn't come up with it, he might end up grotesquely maimed.
She could do that just with her glare and tone to him and all those years he'd thought Sakura-chan was scary …
Poor Chouji and Shikamaru.
"I was just letting my back rest a bit, Ino-chan. Those bags were really heavy." He grinned sheepishly up at her and tried not to concentrate much on the fact that, thanks to his position on the floor, should he shift his gaze just a little to the left he'd be able to see clearly the creamy flesh of her thighs beneath the apron she was wearing over her working clothes.
Luckily for him, the Yamanaka daughter seemed not to have realized that fact at current and just snorted unbecomingly at his antics.
"That coming from the man who boasts twenty-four seven of becoming the next Hokage…"
His grin melted into a sour smirk while he debated with himself the chances of survival should he choose to peek just to annoy her. He decided against it almost the moment he came up with it. The fleeting feeling of accomplishment wasn't worth his life.
"Get up—I need you to help me repaint the front of the shop before we can start making shelves for the newly arrived plants," she ordered passionlessly, going towards the entrance of the shop.
Naruto groaned as he sat up. He noticed the testy glare of his fellow blonde as he did so.
"Don't offer your help if you don't plan on keeping to your word." She crossed her arms stubbornly over her ample chest and the young man tried not to pay much attention to how drawn his eyes were to lingering there longer than was good for his well-being. "Next time I'll just ask Shikamaru to do it."
Comparing him to the laziest ninja there ever was would have stung if there was even a tiny chance that the aforementioned male would have agreed to this slavery in the first place.
"He would never agree to such torment to begin with," he said with a smirk, quite convinced in his words. A sly grin spread on Ino's cute face.
"I think you're underestimating my powers of persuasion."
He'd be damned if she really wasn't implying anything with that statement. And, hell, he really was falling hard for her if an unclear hint was all it took to get him to self-destructive devotion in slave-labour.
Ino looked on amused while six Naruto clones painted the entire flower shop in short succession, five dealt with the shelves for the new flowers while two more concerned themselves with sorting seed packs in alphabetical order for easier access when need came.
The girl had known for quite a while that the blond demon-vessel had taken a liking in her as he wasn't exactly subtle in these matters. He'd never been—not with Forehead-Girl and not with her now either.
She wasn't entirely opposed to the notion of giving him a chance either, especially after seeing how easily he complied with anything she made him do when given the right motivation. And, it was a fact he had grown to be quite handsome over the years, well-built and good natured as ever yet with the definite bad boy aura of a former delinquent hiding behind that mischievous grin of his.
Ino hadn't exactly been really close with Naruto before but Forehead-Girl's treatment of him on the romantic side really made her sense of justice bristle and had her decide that the pink-haired medic didn't deserve someone as deeply affectionate and devoted as her fellow blond. And she'd proceeded to tell him that, in very intricate detail.
She had no clue how her elaborate lecture had changed his mind so quickly (or was it? Maybe he'd known all along and had just needed someone to spell it out for him to prove it true) but she didn't mind that as she had herself a very dedicated part-time worker whom she didn't have to pay.
Which did not mean to say that she wasn't going to give him a reward for his trouble. She did have a thing for him as well, miniscule as it was at that point in time.
That and she was quite the tease.
When all the work was finally done, Naruto was truly drained, suffering a (very) minor case of chakra depletion (though he probably had only himself to blame for that as he had rushed to do all sorts of things a bit too quick than was absolutely necessary) and felt like his body weighted a ton when he collapsed in Ino's comfortable soft cushioned arm-chair. The sun was already setting upon them and he wanted nothing else than to go home and eat some quick ramen before retiring in his bed for the day.
He did feel quite fine about proving himself to be nothing as lazy as Shikamaru but now he barely had the energy to breathe, not to mention move a single muscle in his body.
He didn't notice the azure eyed kunoichi approach him with a cheeky grin on her face before she straddled his lap, startling him abruptly out of his reverie.
The self-proclaimed future Rokudaime Hokage blinked several times to assure himself that he wasn't having a catnap and it was indeed Ino who was currently making herself comfortable against him, well-toned forearm draped across his chest for support as she inclined her face close enough to his for him to feel her warm breath tickling his oversensitive whiskered cheek.
"Say, did I tell you yet how grateful I am for you doing a month's worth of work for me in just a day?" she muttered huskily against him, free hand's forefinger tracing languid lines over his neck and said sensitive cheek.
"Not yet," he somehow managed to breathe out while resisting the urge to lean into her caress or purr. This was a challenge too, right? He never backed down from a challenge, no matter how difficult it seemed.
Though, when she smiled in that positively tantalizing way he was very close to surrendering to her every whim.
"That won't do then," she whispered and their proximity was so close that he could almost feel the words reverberating in his chest.
Just then, just like that, she closed what little space there was between them, soft lips claiming his. He relished in the feeling of their sweet union before she timidly allowed him to invade her mouth, each fighting a battle for dominance which grew increasingly more passionate with every passing second, neither quite willing to give in, reveling in the singeing emotions running through them.
It didn't even occur to Naruto that he didn't feel remotely tired once Ino was on him.
When the young woman finally had to face the fact she needed to breathe again sometime, she pried herself away from her partner just enough to rest her forehead against his while trying to reclaim her breath again. It pleased her to no end to see the gentle upward curve of his deliciously sweet lips from up that close.
With another quick peck on the mouth she untangled herself from him and it was all he could do not to look disappointed.
"What would you say about me taking you for some ramen as a show of my gratitude for your work today?" she asked him with that foxy look on her lovely face. Naruto sprung to full attention once more. It was understandable, considering what she'd just offered to take him to.
"Is that a date?" he inquired keenly while following her out her abode.
Ino smiled coyly while locking her hands behind her back.
"I'm paying for just one bowl for you though, just so you don't get the wrong impression of stuffing yourself for free." She quickened her step so her companion wouldn't see the silly grin that was seizing her.
The young man pouted and jogged a bit to match her stride. Kunoichi, he reminded himself as he thought of her evasiveness of his question.
"Say, really, is it a date?"
She kept teasing him and refusing to reply but he felt the happiest he'd been in ages.
All things considered, he thought a broken back was very much worth the small victory she'd awarded him with in his quest for her attentions.
Now all he had to do was work a little harder still to win the war.
A/N: So, did you like it or I have some further honing to do with my skills at NaruIno? xD