Author's note: I really suck at endings; I lose my vision half way through writing the story if it takes too long…haha it's fluffy, but enjoy anyways.

Ch. 9: Reborn

"So you're leaving in a few days?"

"I'm afraid so." Sai and Ino were sitting in the kitchen. The village wasn't what she expected it to be, but then again it wasn't disappointing. She had learned not to trust alcohol, and she had seen Temari holding onto Shikamaru happily, a dazzling ring on her finger. So maybe when the dust settled, there was happiness in love after all.

"I wonder how we're going to keep in touch," said Sai.

She sighed and gave him a sad smile. "I don't think that's possible." She put her hand over his. "It's been nice knowing you, Sai."

"You too, Miss Lovely," said Sai. "So this is your decision?"

"Yes," said Ino firmly. "It took me a while to get to this choice. Do you listen to your heart or to your brain? But, I don't want to live a fake life or play the role of a monster no one understands." She had told him what had occurred last night. He was her best friend, after all.

"You may be a clone, but that doesn't make you any less human. People have been expecting you to be exactly like Yamanaka Ino, but you've got your own identity. Mold it into something you'll be proud of. I'm sure that you made the right decision." He smiled at her.

She knew that was his fake smile, because she knew him that well. "I wish you could come…"

"But my place is to stay here," finished Sai. He reached into his pack and pulled out a sketch pad. "I want you to have this." He pushed it forward.

"But this is your sketch pad," said Ino, staring at it wide eyed. "I mean, there's got to be months of hard work put into it."

"Yes, and I'd like for you to have it." She was about to flip through it, but he stopped her. "Wait until you've gone. Promise me, okay?"

She nodded. "I promise." She put it away in her bag. "Will you see me before I leave?"

He shook his head. "I have a mission that I'm departing for tonight. This is probably the last time I'll see you."

"Sai, can you do one last thing for me?" asked Ino.

"What is it?"

"Do you think you could just make a grave for Ino…next to her father's?" The funeral that was held was bigger than she expected. She had went alone when she was still angry with everyone. Even if she didn't know the man, she wanted to pay her respects to the father of the woman she was modeled after.

"Of course."

"So I guess this is good bye."

"I guess so."

"Good bye, then Sai." She reached up and hugged him, giving him a kiss on the cheek.

"See you, maybe, Miss Lovely." As he left the place, he could feel something in him shatter. The books he read could never describe what he felt. Maybe Tsunade could fix a broken heart.

[insert ruler

"Ah, Sasuke…?" asked Suigetsu, panting. It was their third day walking away from the village. It was now time to find Itachi.

"What is it this time, Suigetsu?" asked Sasuke.

"Can we just…stop for a second?" Out of everyone else, his pack was the largest. He had tried to cram as many bottles of imported, non-mineral water into it as he could. Plus, Zabuza's sword was not feather, either.

"Geezes, it's your fault for carrying all of that crap," complained Karin.

"Yeah, well, I'm surprised you can walk so far with your big mouth," smirked Suigetsu.

"Oh really?" She kicked him right in the family jewels.

"SHIT! I can't turn that area into water!" He started tearing up as he fell to the ground as Karin smiled triumphantly.

Sasuke sighed. Those two would never stop. Juugo looked amused, and Ino just laughed. It was settled. They were going to take a break. Anyways, it wasn't like Suigetsu would be able to get up for another two hours. "Well, let's eat, then," said Sasuke.

They all reached into their bags (except Suigetsu) for food. As she took out her third day package of food, a book fell out.

"Hey, what's that?" asked Karin.

"I dunno," said Ino. She opened to the first page. It was a picture of her, color and all. There were more pictures. Some were of mountains and flowers, others even included pictures of Sasuke and the team, and one even had Karin and Suigetsu bickering, but most of them were of her in different poses. The last picture was one of Ino and Sai, together, smiling.

"That's Sai, isn't it?" pointed Karin. "I knew he was an artist or something. Did he make it for you?"

"Yeah," said Ino. She turned the picture over and saw there was writing on the back. It said:

Miss Lovely,

I cannot say that anyone has taught me more than you have. By the time you've read this, we will probably have a great deal of distance between us. I started this book shortly after I met you. Your innocence when we first met astounded me, but as you flip through, your eyes show that you have matured and learned how rough life can really be. Life has been most unfair to you, the person who is the most undeserving of it.

Ever since I came to Konoha, I've been unraveling each feeling as I go along, but there was one that always escaped my grasps. But through you, I had a taste of what it really was. You can learn only so much from words. By the time I've given this to you, I would have already felt heartbreak. It is a pity that we realize the things we have been blind to for so long when the time to depart comes.

I have never truly believed in fate, but as I write this, a spark of belief has awoken in me. It was fate that we met, and I hope fate brings us together again. There hasn't ever been a time when I've needed to write these words, but here they are: I love you. Remember me.

Yours truly,

Sai

She closed the pad and returned it to her bag. "Sai says he loves me," said Ino, in amazement.

"OoO," said Karin. "Well, it's a little too late to go back."

Suigetsu was finally up from the ground. "Ah, poor unfortunate lovers, finally realizing their love, only to have already departed," he said dramatically.

"No," said Ino. "I'm sick of getting the short end of things. I'm going to go back. If it's alright with you, that is, Sasuke?" She looked at him.

"Go. It's your choice," nodded Sasuke.

"I'm going to miss you all," said Ino, getting up. She had spent her whole lives with these people. Literally. "Thank you, for everything." She embraced them all, hugging Suigetsu the tightest, not caring if she made his arm hurt even more. "I'll miss you the most."

"Right back atcha," he said. He gave her a brotherly smooch on the cheek.

"I think I'll actually miss you, Yamanaka," said Karin. "Good luck." She gave her the thumbs up sign and smiled.

"Be happy," said Juugo.

"See you around," said Sasuke. He gave her a real smile.

"See you," said Ino, waving as she left. She was going back to where it started; not the village, but to Sai, who had been there the whole time.


"Hey, pretty boy!"

It was late, and Sai had just gotten back from giving Tsunade his mission report. He looked up and saw a figure up at the rooftop. She jumped down to where he was. He shook his head, closing his eyes, thinking the figure must be an illusion. But she was still there when he opened his eyes.

"Surprised to see me?" she asked, beaming at him.

"What are you doing back?" he asked, shocked.

"Oh, why, yes, I am doing fine, thanks for asking," said Ino, sticking her tongue out at him. "I just realized something, that's all." She thought of Temari who gave up everything, only to go through pain at the hands of another. But in the end, she had found her fairytale ending. It was her turn to take the chance. "You were the first person I ever said it to…and I'm hoping you'll be my last. I love you, Sai."

The two embraced and kissed under the moonlight, and she felt as if she had been reborn again, into someone who was sure at last of everything. And though she knew staying here in the village wouldn't work out because her secret was out, her problems melted away as she was in his arms.


Author's Ending: So yeah...that's my story. Haha, be sure to read A Year of Celibacy and I'm working on a SuixKa fanfiction too, stay watch out for that (: