First Kiss: Ill-Conceived Holiday Misconducts

The blonde haired duo simultaneously heaved a great sigh, faces drawn into the perfect visions of dejection embodied. This was definitely not what Valentine's Day was supposed to be like…

When Naruto had asked Sakura out to lunch it was so they could have an early start to their wonderful day of celebrating their late-blooming (but finally palpably existent! At least according to the blonde shinobi…) love. How could he have foreseen that Ino and Sai would have opted for the same restaurant for their own romantic relapse?

It went without mentioning that the Hokage-would-be was petrified by the sheer notion that his taste coincided with Ino's when it came to romantic resorts because that kind of similarity was just plain creepy. Even though he no longer held any silly grudges for the girl as he did back in the day.

There was also hardly any chance he would've predicted that, once Sakura saw the other couple, she'd make the current team Seven and Ino put their heads together to come up with a good plan for Group Kakashi's next mission together because their leader hardly gave the most important stuff—like planning ahead, as Sakura referred to it—any thought at all, choosing to let his subordinates fare for themselves instead.

And so, after a brief period of complaining, whining and general disagreeableness from the two blondes, the four of them were huddled together over a stack of napkins with plans. Well, Sakura was huddled, at least, chattering away enthusiastically about formations and tactics that no one seemed to care enough about to listen raptly; Sai was being Sai, listlessly staring at the pink-haired medic and her excited instructions, probably unsure whether he should say something and risk offending her and landing himself in hospital for more than a week over it or just to remain blissfully uncaring and unfeeling of everything that happened around him.

Needless to say, he settled for the second, as he always did.

Naruto and Ino, on the other hand, were not into what was happening at all. They sulked and nudged their romantic partners but no good came out of it—Sakura wouldn't even listen before waving him off and Sai wasn't exactly the kind of guy who would be very invigorated about a day devoted solely to the celebration of any type of emotion, least of all that of affection.

Having raised the white flag, the previously boisterous boy had slumped, his head resting on the wooden table the four of them were sitting around, his confidence tinier than an ant, while his fellow blonde was fuming. Regardless of their difference in attitude, they were sharing the same thoughts—they hated to be ignored and they were longing to just shout atop their lungs at their significant others, 'Look over here, I'm right here, damn it! Why can't you see me?! Look right over here to prove me I'm not invisible or all the same to you!'

And that was a depressing line of thought and Yamanaka Ino did not like to get depressed. It made her frown and frowning brought wrinkles to her pretty and smooth forehead and that was just not right because wrinkles were for old hags, not for a beauty extraordinaire in the zenith of their splendor like her. This was why Ino was very much averse to depression and did everything in her might to battle it when it reared its ugly head.

Even if it meant throwing temper tantrums like a petulant child.

And those she could do startlingly well for some reason…

"Sakura-chan…" moaned pathetically the sad excuse for a man that she currently had no idea how Sakura agreed to going out with. "Let's ditch the planning and do something just the two of us…" The rest of the sentence was rendered unintelligible because of him mumbling it against the tabletop but she could hear something about 'Valentine's day' and 'couple-like things'.

"Do you want to die in this next mission, Naruto?" snapped Sakura menacingly, glaring daggers at the petty puddle of unhappiness that was previously a radiant man. She—unsurprisingly—took his incoherent mumbling for a roundabout negative answer. "I didn't think so either. So if you really want to live you better let me do this for us. If you have nothing brilliant to impart on us, I suggest you can leave now before your whining starts really grating on my nerves."

And strike out for the man in the black and orange outfit. His spirits dampened even more than they were before and Ino was genuinely surprised that was even possible.

The blonde girl couldn't help but roll her eyes in aggravation at the melodrama that Sakura was starring in. Ever since that last mission of which she had been put a leader in, she'd become really obsessive about this 'planning ahead' thing. So much so that it was beginning to grind on Ino's very last nerve.

It was enough that the pink-headed nightmare was insane enough to indulge in this kind of paranoid exercise. Why, oh, why did she have to drag her man into this as well? And it definitely didn't help that Sai was disconcertingly obedient when it came to Sakura's demands even though the epithets he used in addition to her name were usually anything but flattering. If Ino didn't know any better, she might have actually felt alarmed at that thought.

But it is Sai we are talking about after all, so jealousy over Billboard Brow was definitely out of the question.

Yet there was only as much infuriation as one could take before bursting.

That and Ino wasn't really one of the people really good at keeping her discontent to herself.

"Sai?" Zero attention. A little vein popped into existence at the side of her temple. This definitely wouldn't do if they wanted their relationship to work. "Sai, if you do not pay me some due attention on this day, I am going to leave here right now and you'll never hear of me again!"

"Don't feel obliged to stay, Ino—it is a cell meeting, after all," her 'boyfriend's' voice informed her while checking out rather thoroughly the sketch of the fighting formation Group Kakashi was supposed to use should they happen to be assaulted out of the blue on their upcoming mission.

The blonde girl shook with indignation and failed to notice that the other despaired occupant of the table had put himself together somewhat, enough to stare at her with a very much puzzled expression.

"I mean it when I say that this will be the last time you ever see me if you don't do some serious damage control now, Sai…" she trailed off, expecting some kind of sign—or even celestial guidance although she was one of the greatest atheists to have walked this Earth—that she shouldn't storm off.

Predictably, she received none.

Growling rather unlady-like in her indignation, she stood up abruptly, glaring daggers at her raven headed partner. He actually had the audacity to look bewilderedly up at her upright form as if her reaction was completely unexpected.

Everyone missed the panicked expression that seized Naruto's features.

"Fine then!" she ground out between her tightly gritted teeth. "Have fun in your 'Team Seven Only' activities. I am going to find someone who would appreciate his luck in having me as his date for tonight and please his every whim—somewhere far away from you, Sai!"

She huffed and sniffed snobbishly, turning on her heel to make a dignified exit from the place before she decided that pounding her boyfriend's confused mug in wasn't such a bad idea after all but she didn't manage to go too far before a large hand grabbed hold of her slender elbow. It was all she could do to submerge the self-satisfied smirk—there was no man alive who could resist her charisma alright—as she turned around…

… To be greeted by the wrong face.

"Please, Ino-chan!" pleaded pitifully Sakura's only remaining original teammate, his face fixed into a demented expression of desperation. "Don't leave! You're the only reason he's laying off the snarky comments and penis jokes and I don't know how many of those I can take before I snap!"

The young woman sized the guy skeptically, her annoyance not at all dissipating. Sure, over the years she'd come to respect Naruto for his no-longer-as-hidden talents and she'd even forced herself to stay in his company long enough to get to know him a bit better and grow closer to him but they weren't close enough for her to put her every nerve cell on the line for him.

These things just didn't happen. And she was determined to make him understand that.

"I'm really sorry about your predicament, Naruto," even though she didn't look sorry at the very least, "and I'd love to stay so you could hide behind my skirt from Sai's horrible, horrible attacks," her fellow blonde was now rolling his eyes with mounting irritation, "but I will not linger around a minute longer where people don't even look at me when I speak to them!" She had purposefully raised her voice to gather some attention with at least that remark but it did not achieve its goal. Sakura was still in deep—mostly one-sided too—conversation with her artful cell mate.

She lifted her arms up in defeat and looked at Naruto with an irked expression.

"I will be humiliated no more—this was supposed to be a great day and I will make it just that!" She glared pointedly with her cornflower blue eyes that were currently ablaze with fury at the raven headed youth who seemed completely oblivious to her rampage as he corrected plans on a napkin with one of his brushes that he infallibly carried along with him regardless where he went. That he had enough care to spare a moment but not to look at his gorgeous to goodness doting girlfriend? The nerve of that guy… "Somewhere away from this imbecile because we're through!"

"Don't," Naruto made a grab for her arm again before she could flee the scene, "go, Ino! We could find a way to get Sakura-chan off her row but I can't do this alone! Please, stay!"

It was really sad, how pathetic this guy looked as he begged her but his words were what brought on a new thread of thought in Ino's twisted mind.

"Hmph…" she snorted contemplatively, an impish smirk stretching her pinkish lips as she looked at her man and his teammate going over battle plans and then at the pleading blonde future Rokudaime.

An idea had already formed in her devilish mind and Naruto should've known better than to have asked for her help, knowing that Ino had her spurs of complete unpredictability (and temporary insanity, if we have to be downright frank) when rubbed the wrong way. Which was exactly what Sai had done to make her want to storm out on him like that on the holiday most cherished by girls in the whole year.

"You're absolutely right you can't do this alone." Her smirk subdued into a forcedly coy grin. "And, actually, I already have the perfect plan to get their attention."

Cerulean eyes widened in fascination.

"You do?" he asked in amazement, leaning in conspiratorially. "What is it?" he whispered eagerly, hands itching to rub together in anticipation.

"This," Ino announced before taking a grip on his neck to balance herself on her toes and to bring him on level with her.

Somehow, the unnatural startled squawk of her blonde teammate made Sakura come out of her reverie for long enough to look up and around to stop the light haired menace and tell him to quit complaining and help so they'd sooner go on to their date. Instead, she was greeted by the sight of her best friend and her once rival locked together in a passionate kiss, Ino's filthy paws buried in his hair while his hands rested on her dainty little shoulders.

The pink-haired apprentice of the Godaime inhaled sharply but her sudden attentiveness obviously did not suffice to part the making out couple.

"What the hell do you think you're doing, Ino-pig?" the short-tempered girl demanded, shouting, cracking her knuckles as she stood up, napkin-plans forgotten at once.

When Ino finally released Naruto from her smothering kiss, they were both considerably robbed of their breath and the poor boy looked like he had just been told that the Yondaime was his father. His make out partner, though, looked very pleased with herself as she turned smugly towards her rival.

"What did it look like I was doing, Forehead Girl? Naruto-kun was being such a darling and, since it's a day to celebrate love and spread it and you didn't look like you were going to spread some of yours for him, I gave him a kiss to express my gratitude for his kindness." She was positively beaming while she watched her life-long friend and antagonist shake in barely contained fury. "I can see nothing wrong with that."

"Well I do!" the pink-haired Haruno daughter hollered, her eyes squinting in malignance until they were mere angry slits. "His girlfriend and your boyfriend are right here and you still go on and snog him senseless! Have you no shame?" By the time her voice had dropped to a hiss and her brows had narrowed so deeply that there were ugly creases on her abnormally large forehead.

"If either of you were listening to me, you would've heard that Sai and I are through." She crossed her arms under her chest, as if to emphasize mockingly she was bustier than the other kunoichi, as if she had more to offer her man than Sakura ever would. The bubble-gum haired girl flushed a shade of red that put her crimson coloured vest to shame. "And since you were being a terrible girlfriend to poor old Naruto, I decided to show him what having a real girlfriend could feel like and offer him a choice—something he didn't have before when he got together with you."

Throughout the whole exchange the male in question was staring blankly in space, still very much shaken up by what just happened. Not only did he get kissed by the least likely girl and not push her away even though he had his dream girlfriend—all due to the shock, no doubt—but he had also quite enjoyed the contact.

At first, his hands had jumped up to her shoulders to push her away—if anything, out of reflex—but then he'd noted just how tiny her shoulders actually were, fully encompassed in his palms' grips. And his mind had wandered somewhere from there, though he'd be loathe to admit where exactly.

"That's it, Ino-pig, you boyfriend-stealing slut!"

"Ha! It's not called stealing when you're not even interested in him enough to want to spend some time alone instead of scheming for missions, Forehead Girl, you prude!"

The other girl gasped, affronted.

"From this moment on, we're rivals again! I don't want to see you anywhere near me or Naruto anymore!" She huffed and stormed off, grabbing her boyfriend's arm on the way and dragging him along with her with the words, "Come on, Naruto—we need to have a serious talk."

As they retreated, just before the door to the restaurant closed, the blonde Kyuubi vessel looked over his shoulder, an adorable little blush spread on his features, at Ino before dazedly giving her a thumbs-up. She smiled in return and replied with a mute victory sign of her own. The guy had just enough time to see her do it when Sakura shoved him roughly forward, positively fuming as she trudged onward.

The door closed and Ino thought that those guys had just needed a tiny nudge in the right direction, that a kiss from the right person in the right time was all it took to make Sakura look over at him.

As the blonde girl looked at the deadpan expression of her boyfriend's face, though, she knew that it would take more than one single little kiss to fix that guy's eyes on her, to make him really look her way…

She could feel a head-ache coming on.

And to think that all she wanted was for him to just look over here, at her

A/N: You're probably going to hate me for starting a new fic when I have one already actively going on and it's never a good thing for me to be doing two stories at the same time but this one is for the "Thirty Kisses" LiveJournal challenge that I took up a while ago and never got round to writing. That was because I planned to make this into a grand, possibly epic-length completely chronologically sensible story. A very wrong decision—it crippled my muse to a point. So, instead, now I'm going to go along with just the spur of the moment kind of thing, see where it takes.

Come along for the ride or not—it depends solely on you.

This is also my CONGRATULATIONS ON BECOMING THE SEVENTH MOST POPULAR COMMUNITY fic for the most amazing C2, "A NarutoxIno Collection" – a very complete archive of some of the most wonderful stories on this couple there were ever written. So, if you haven't jumped the bandwagon yet, now's your chance—help us climb up another place.

Thank you for the attention and expect a new installment soon, I hope… xD Yours sincerely, Dark Hope Assassin.