Authors Notes: Primarily a shounen ai writer, this is my first shoujo ai fic or implied shoujo ai anyway. It's angsty as it features unrequited love

Disclaimer: In no shape or form do I own the rights to Naruto or any of its characters.

The Way It Was Supposed To Be

Ino let out a soft sigh as she ran her hand carefully through her hair. No longer did she need to wear it back in a bun but could now tie it back in a pony tail, the style she had became so accustomed to. She hadn't liked tying it back at first. While she did want to continue to keep her hair long it did tend to get in the way of training. Thus she was forced to come to a compromise. Nevertheless, she found herself tying it back even on the days she wasn't training or out on missions.

She had just finished training for the day with her team-mates Shikamaru and Chouji who had decided to go to the usual place for dinner – Asuma-sensei's treat of course. She on the other hand declined – she was on a diet after all. Instead she found herself wandering through the forest with no real destination in mind until eventually she came to a clearing filled with numerous beautiful flowers, the same place their sensei had brought them to pick flowers all those years ago back in the academy. Out of everyone in the class, she made the best bouquets, although this was to be attributed towards the fact that her family owned a flower shop. Nonetheless, she prided herself on her vast knowledge of flowers, amazing her classmates with all that she knew.

Those days at the academy seemed so long ago now. Back then she hadn't needed to worry about training strenuously and fear for her life on every mission she and her team embarked upon. But such was the life of a shinobi. Those days in the academy while hard work, were relatively peaceful; fun even.

She continued walking through the field. It really was a beautiful day; a little windy but warm nonetheless. Deciding to enjoy it she sat herself down next to the nearest tree and leaned against it. Her mother hadn't mentioned anything about hurrying back after training to help at the flower shop so she decided to take her time and relax. She gazed up at the clouds and gave a small chuckle realising this was the kind of thing Shikamaru would do. Actually it was one of the few things he actually ever did… She remembered when she was a child she would stare at the clouds and try to work out what they resembled. Most of the time she could only spot animals, but there were also times when she and her friends managed to perceive more unique shapes.

She gave a sigh of content until suddenly something landed softly on her nose. Confused, she lifted her hand to find a small pink cherry blossom petal. It did make sense she supposed. She was sitting under a cherry blossom tree after all, and the wind was picking up slightly. She frowned as she looked upwards seeing the blossoms ruffle and blow away with the breeze.

Typical. The one thing she was trying not to think about and it ended up blowing right into her face. "Sakura…"

Even more so than her days in the academy this place reminded her of her ex-best friend, Haruno Sakura. Not long after she had given that ribbon to her they came here with the rest of the girls from their class. And it was here were she realised just how much she liked the girl. She was both cute and shy, and Ino liked the way she looked up to and admired her. A short time later they would become best friends. At first Sakura would follow her about like a scared little puppy but over time she grew more confident to the point were she could talk to the other girls without Ino there by her side to constantly reassure her. While she had been somewhat sad that her friend no longer needed her as much as she once had, over all she was pleased that she was able to bring the shy girl out of her shell.

Over the course of their friendship, she came to treasure the other girl more and more. However during that time she also developed a crush on Uchiha Sasuke, the most popular boy in their class unaware that this would lead to the break up of their friendship and the beginning of a bitter rivalry. She had been completely unaware that Sakura liked the boy. It wasn't something they really spoke about, and even when she had learned of the girl's crush on him, she hadn't thought of it as being serious. While she herself liked Sasuke it wasn't something she considered to be unique or deep. After all, over half of the girls in their class had claimed at one point that they liked the boy. She had thought that Sakura was just following the flock.

She had initially shrugged it off only to have Sakura approach her a few days later and tell her that they could no longer be friends but were instead now rivals. Ino had thought it was some kind of joke at first, that the other girls had put her up to it and that Sakura had no choice but to go along with it, but once she saw the determination in Sakura's eyes she realised how serious she really was. And although she refused to admit it, even to herself, it broke her heart. Had their friendship meant so little to the other girl that she was completely willing to disregard it all for some boy who was barely aware of their existence? In the end, the bud she had tried to help bloom into a beautiful flower had betrayed and abandoned her.

It was not long after this that the two girls began to act hostile to each other; the only time they ever spoke being when they argued. It was also after Sakura had declared that they were now rivals that Ino found herself growing more attracted to and eventually becoming obsessed with the mysterious, dark-haired Uchiha boy. She refused to let Sakura have him not matter what. She would be the one to win Sasuke's heart. This was what she wanted. Or what she told herself she wanted anyway.

She let out a groan as she pulled her legs to her chest. And it had been such a nice day too… Why did such memories have to pop up and ruin it for her? It was so different from the way she had imagined it. She had thought she and Sakura would be best friends forever. They would train together and even be on the same team. Sakura wouldn't be that strong but Ino would be there to encourage and help her through it. And the girl would continue to look up to her just as she always had. That was the way it was supposed to be…

Instead Sakura had been placed on the same team as the boy whose affections they were both fighting for, giving the other girl the advantage. Nevertheless, she was determined to beat Sakura no matter what, and as fate would have it just a few months later they were put against each other to fight in the Preliminary Chuunin exam. This was her chance to prove to the pink-haired girl once and for all that she was better, that she couldn't measure up to her no matter how hard she tried. But what she found both shocked and amazed her. The way she defended herself against that Sound-nin… Seemingly no fear, so confident… She had hoped to defeat the other girl easily in their fight only to discover that in terms of fighting they were evenly matched. It was a match that she hadn't lost, but hadn't won either. In all the time they had spent bickering, she had never realised it but Sakura had blossomed into a beautiful flower; perhaps even more beautiful than herself. And it hurt.

She had always known that Sakura would one day bloom into a beautiful person - it was only a matter of time. But in her mind she had been part of the reason. She would encourage her and Sakura would grow stronger, and when the time came she would say "You're beautiful. I'm so proud of you", and take her into her arms and hug her while Sakura would try her hardest not to cry and mumble a soft "Thank you". Yes. That was how it was supposed to be.

If things had been just so, she could have said those words with relative easy but meaning them all the same. Yet in reality it was impossible. She had no right to tell her such a thing. She wasn't important to her; she had no place in her life, not like Sasuke, not like Naruto… The closest way she had to telling her was whispering the words while she was close by, words that she would never hear; words that would be carried away by the wind just like the cherry blossoms that blew by her now.

She felt the tears begin to well up in her eyes and she hated herself for it. Hated herself for being so weak. But it hurt. It hurt so much and there was nothing she could do to stop. She buried her face in her knees and for the first time she allowed her heart to realise it. She hadn't just lost her best friend that day but also her first love…

Authors Notes: I hope that was alright. Constructive criticism or any advice on how I could improve would be greatly appreciated.

I'm now fairly determinded to write an Ino/Sakura fic were they actually get together... This pairing deserves more love than it receives.