Complexity of Complexion
(Eleven Shades of Blonde)
Ino had always been proud of her hair—a beautiful crown of liquid gold around her head that she infallibly drew back in ponytails as not to sully its prettiness during training. She'd always taken special care of her hair, catering to its every need, spending enough time in doing so not to have any left to obsess over the fact Sakura was getting better than her, or that she hadn't had a real chance to say good-bye to Asuma-sensei. The glossy soft feeling of her hair put her mind at ease, made her feel like she had accomplished at least something.
She loved pulling her hair up in a ponytail because it played a good role of showing her when her counterpart wanted to sidetrack her from work.
He loved weaving his fingers between the brilliantly blond locks before engulfing her in one of his smothering kisses that shattered the earth she stood on from beneath her feet and she'd give into him completely, pale gold locks splaying on the bed around her lying form like a twisted version of an all-body halo.
And afterwards he would pull her exhausted, nearly asleep form to his chest and stroke her head affectionately while she drew lazy circles over his exposed abdomen where the seal had resurfaced in his excitement not even a minute ago. What he infallibly said next made all those hours standing in front of the mirror, applying balsams and softeners to her hair worth it and more,
"Ino-chan, your hair is so soft and nice to the touch."
As long as at least her hair remained glamorous, a beautiful mane of platinum, he would always want to touch it, always want to be with her.
Maybe it was silly, but Ino liked that thought, liked to give him a reason to touch.
Ino liked her hair.
She had never been considered neither a short nor a tall girl—she'd always been perfectly average height-wise. She had not appreciated it when she was a child and even less when she was an adolescent because kunoichi had to constantly prove their point and it's difficult when the sexist you're bashing is a good head or two taller than you are.
When Ino began going out with her significant other, she had finally begun to cherish her stature.
Because she found it incredibly cute how he'd have to bend slightly at the waist to kiss her while they were standing. Because she liked having to stand on her tip-toes to reach to him completely when she returned his kisses. Because of her much smaller form compared to his, when he embraced her, his arms could cocoon her completely in his warmth and she could feel safe, as though they were the only two people in the world.
Ino liked her height.
When she had been little, Ino had paid no attention to her hands. She had been too busy topping every class, helping her parents at the family flower shop or perfecting a technique or two to spare any thought to her growing severely callous hands.
Her mother had one time left her a hand cream without consulting with her first. She'd been so angry she'd nearly hurled the offending thing at the wall in hopes of shattering it into thousands of tiny pieces. She hated it when her mother pried and tried to lecture her. So who cared if her hands were rough—she was a kunoichi, it was normal!
It was amazing how quick her change of mind was once she hooked up with her fellow blonde Jounin.
She couldn't stand the thought of her coarse hands touching his smooth skin that was only hers for the touch; she hated the thought of letting him feel the roughness of her hands when his were so pliable and soft against her form.
The balm worked like a charm and she never felt insecure about following the angular lines of his features ever again.
For Ino liked her hands now.
Since she'd been taught how to use a file, she'd always taken care that her nails were shapely. She was a kunoichi but that didn't mean she couldn't take a little escape from the real world while focusing on her file moving with curt, sharp motions, rending away excesses of keratin. When accused of spending too much time on her appearance instead of training, she'd wave off the offender, not even interested enough in the accusation to acknowledge it with a coherent answer.
She knew training was important and she gave it her every waking hour of the day. But her looks were also important to her because taking care of herself made her forget how much she hated her incapability, how she hadn't been strong enough to save Asuma-sensei. She liked filing her nails because they became an additional weapon against attackers and if properly taken care of, could become a very useful tool for a win as well.
Most of all, Ino prided herself in her nails because whenever she dragged them against his skin he shuddered appreciatively and something of a purr emitted from his throat, heavenly music to her ears. She knew that on some primordial level—maybe even because of the beast that lay dormant inside of him—he actually enjoyed feeling her grooving the sensitive skin on his back and leaving crescent-shaped marks on his shoulders.
Afterwards he'd take her hand to his mouth and kiss every single digit, every nail that had broken the topmost layer of his skin and would smile foxily at her and she'd know.
Ino liked her nails.
Maybe it had been a gift for good karma or she'd just been lucky when she'd been merely a cell in her mother's tummy when these things were decided, but whatever it was that had granted her the creamy coloured, regally pale and smooth skin she had had since she had first wailed her way into the world, she was thankful to it.
She had never had to tend to the skin of her body in any way for it seemed wrinkle-protected as if by some omnipotent otherworldly power. Her pale complexion was not prone to change even when exposed to days upon days of the harsh weather of Sunagakure. It was neither dry nor moist and she'd never had to bother with pimples and such.
What she liked most about her skin was that it was very sensitive, attentive to the touch—a mere caress from that one person made it erupt immediately in goosebumps. He would then chuckle throatily—a pleasant sound that reverberated against her chest and resonated with her intermittent heartbeat, elating her further—and continue to worship that ivory coloured silk that covered her whole body, intent on memorizing every inch of it, every bit of her, so pleasant to be exploring, so gratifying to please.
For those reasons, Ino liked her skin.
She hadn't really done anything to enhance it but as far back as she could recall she'd always had a strong voice. Slightly high and definitely female, but intense and powerful.
Her lungpower had impressed not one team that she'd been put in charge of and even village elders felt compelled to avoid confrontation with her if possible. Her voice packed quite a punch and she had a quick wit to turn it into yet another weapon of hers against prejudiced people who dared look down upon her for her hair colour or gender. She wouldn't hear any of it and she'd made herself perfectly clear enough times to make it an impression to last for everybody, her temper and volume enough to make it a memory to last to all who had been subject to her fury.
She didn't use her voice only to yell and shriek at incompetent fools though.
When she wasn't verbally chastising her partner for his temporary idiocy or for putting himself needlessly in harm's way for one reason or another, she liked cooing in his ear, liked feeling the pleasant shiver that raked his spine at the sound of her melodic tone so near him, like the way his name rolled gracefully off her tongue, sounding almost aristocratic and important, the name of a true Hokage, loved screaming that name, undone, with all her might in their passionate nights together, and the sound of it undoing him too.
She loved the effect that just her voice had on him and how he became like butter in her fingers—hers to do with as she pleases—when saying the right things, when using the right intonation.
All in all it was safe to say Ino liked her voice.
Ever since she'd been little, Ino had taken up dieting. She'd thought it would be useful to be careful what she ate and considered it a healthy habit. Later on it had turned out a way to make her figure slimmer and more capable of catching the attention of those whose attentions she wanted.
People always complained that she was going overboard with her diets.
He always complained that she was very skinny already and she'd starve herself to death some of those days.
He didn't understand. He couldn't know how girls were judged if their figure was even slightly out of shape. Maybe he was right and she was skinny, but it was not in an ugly way. She could be bony but in a way that exuded grace and consistency. She was slim and full of sinewy muscle, just like every kunoichi should be. She was appropriately slender so that her busty bosom was enhanced further by the well-built abdomen and just rightly concealed rib-cage.
He constantly tried to cajole her into eating more during their nights out but she wouldn't relent. She wouldn't answer when he continued to assure her that her weight didn't matter to him because he loved her for what was inside and not for her earthly form.
He would say that and she would believe him but at the same time her determination wouldn't flag. Because she knew that it was far better to have someone pleasant to look at lying beneath you, walking next to you, living with you.
Because she'd always dreamed as a little girl that she'd become so light for her dearest Sasuke-kun so he'd always want to lift her off her feet and swing her around, both of them laughing giddily and happily.
She got her lithe form and she got Sasuke but he wasn't the type of person to indulge in such silly things as showing affection physically. Or maybe she'd never had his affections in the first place?
It didn't matter because she found what she'd really been looking for in his teammate, the one person who could read her heart's desires without any effort.
She knew he was strong and she didn't need to keep her diets to have him lift her up and about every time she came back from a successful mission, grinning from ear to ear. She knew but she still did it, afraid that if she stopped, he would too; afraid to break the cycle of the magic moments that she treasured dearly.
Because she was light as a feather, he liked lifting her every chance he got and that made her happy.
Because of that Ino liked her weight.
Emphasizing on light weight gave the blonde young woman a handicap if her form wasn't supple. She'd known that when she'd started dieting and so she'd taken up regular long exercises to enhance flexibility.
It had worked like a charm and she'd later found out it suited her well—yet another attribute to accessorize her gracefulness and fluid movements on the battlefield, a lethally beautiful mirage to all her ill-wishing opponents.
Her lissome movements and tactics also commanded respect and awe from those who would sneer at her for being a kunoichi in charge of important reconnaissance teams and would bring her many successfully won battles thanks to her foes' quickness to underestimate her upon seeing her.
But what she liked most about her innate pliancy is that it aided her in bringing his heart's desires true in games she would never understand but wouldn't even think of questioning. As long as she could make him happy in just one more way, it was worth all the effort. If she could complete him the way he completed her with just a little bit of exercise and stamina bodily-wise, she was more than willing to comply.
His happiness was hers and she knew the reverse was true for him as well. Compromises had never felt better.
This is why Ino liked her flexibility.
No one had ever been able to lie to her face without somehow giving themselves away. Ino liked to blame it on the severity of her cornflower blue gaze, a look that she had schooled herself into ever since she'd been taught that the shinobi world was essentially that of deception and treachery.
Her eyes—beautiful pools of icy waters with immeasurable depth to them—had a quality that made liars break into cold sweat or fidget, or look away whenever they tried to feed her false information. It was a talent—a gift—that was very much useful to one of the most important assets to the Interrogation and Torture department, the most capable head of reconnaissance known in the village's history. And it was certainly very handy at reducing badmouthing cowards to sniveling boneless heaps.
She most treasured her eyes for their ability to see through people and make perfect judgement of the character of a person she hadn't even known for more than a few minutes.
There were only two occasions in her history that her eyes had betrayed her, misled her, and they both featured males of a cell once dubbed "Team 7", long, so long ago anyone barely even recalled those days.
But she'd made up for one of her eyes' greatest mistake; she'd atoned for being a condescending, shallow child. She'd taken a deeper look, into the very soul of the one she had vowed her life and loyalty to and she'd seen incredible things, out of this world, things she would have discredited had she not walked into that mind herself.
She was glad that she had been endowed with eyes that could see beneath the surface, beneath the masks and crumble them, one by one, so she could give her one and only most important person in life the support he'd always so desperately needed, so hopelessly dreamt for. She was thankful from the bottom of her heart for being given this sight that could imbibe his tears into her mind's eye and for the softness she reserved in her gaze only for him that cast the tears and the fears away from him.
She was happy to give him even a tiny taste of the security that he brought her with him.
Ino definitely liked her eyes.
Perhaps it was her stunning appearance that subtly demanded it but she'd always been called by pet names by all those around her, the only exception being her former teammates and late sensei. Even at home, she was "Ino-dear", or "Ino-pumpkin" or some other random silly nickname her parents came up with on the spot.
But she'd never minded. Nicknames were ways of people to convey their feelings for one another as well and Ino appreciated sincerity above all else.
She'd had no qualms with Sakura calling her Ino-pig when they were in their 'obsessive-bordering-on-insane-rivalry' phase because she later found it endearing to remember and there were far worse things she could've been called. She liked her parents using cutesy suffixes or words with her name because it made her feel like a little, carefree girl again and it wasn't against the nindou to flee reality every now and then. She liked her subordinates and colleagues showing their respect for her by calling her "Ino-san" and such—everyone could use an ego stroke every now and then, after all.
She loved it when he called her "Ino-chan", so lovingly, in such a heartfelt manner. (Not that she'd ever tell him that because she'd never hear the end of it if she did.)
But most of all she liked being "Ino-chan" to him in front of everyone else because once they were alone, or when he was on top of her, breathing hard and hot against her neck and the suffix disappeared, she was glad she was already lying down because otherwise her knees would've given out beneath her for the effect he had on her just by changing something so little, so simple, so trivial.
All things considered, Ino liked the pet names she was given by those she knew.
She'd always heard people complaining about how they didn't approve of who they had become when she had been little and she hadn't wanted to grow up to be a person who begrudged who she had grown to be when it had been completely in her power to change that so she'd taken extra care to be pleased with whom she saw when she looked in the mirror.
And she had indeed grown up to be proud of who she was today.
She no longer judged people just by their appearance—a bias that everyone had to rid themselves of at an early age—and she didn't bear unnecessary grudges against others because those were unbecoming of a young lady. She made up with her best friend over something they shouldn't have even fought over because she'd been ready to give up that rascal if it meant keeping their friendship together because some things are just more important than temporary fancies.
She became a strong kunoichi and an important part of the taskforce of her village, a useful tool for her Sixth Hokage to use as he saw fit, serving directly under him. She was loyal, determined, just and a good team leader.
She was ready to grant anyone who made a mistake a second chance because she had made many on her own back in her day.
What she couldn't believe to this day was that she hadn't seen the star that had been shining right in front of her eyes throughout her whole adolescence, bright and brilliant, powerful and soothing.
What she appreciated most is the person he made her into, with his dashing foxy grin and his ramen fetish, and his selflessness and constant joyousness, and dependability.
She loved the Ino who forgave him his silly idiotic pranks and insecurities; who could smile and brighten his day when she couldn't brighten her own; who became gentler and nicer to mend the wounds that would never heal inside of him; the Ino who could take up a mop and sweeper and clean and cook and subject herself to house chores and not complain just because it was for that one person's sake, that person's happiness.
She loved the Ino who could give without worrying about getting something in return because she didn't need reassurance to know what she had chosen was right for her, that he was the One for her.
She loved this Ino who could smile with a smile as brilliant as the sun even when bad things happened because she always had someone to look forward to meeting back home, someone who always kept his promises, someone she could no longer live without, someone she would fight the world for, someone for whom she'd give her life without a second of hesitation and who she had no doubt would do the same in return.
She had finally become strong, both mentally and physically, and she could walk with her head held proudly high, a role model to all those who were still growing, still looking for that inner and outer strength to stand tall.
Ino loved this person that she'd become who could love one and only one person so whole-heartedly, so devotedly, so powerfully.
Yes, Ino liked her personality.
And, at the risk of being called a vain girl, she could say that she liked every aspect—even the bad ones—of this Yamanaka Ino that Uzumaki Naruto had fallen head over heels in love with.
THANK YOU FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART FOR TWO HUNDRED FAVOURITES! (grins idiotically) You guys just make my world revolve, you know? THIS IS MY (rather belated) FIC ENTRY TO SHOW YOU HOW MUCH YOU GUYS MEAN TO ME. Hope you liked it since Ino's topic of contemplation and what I wanted to convey to you are somewhat similar. (grins)
And I know I should be working on my other two-three stories but I somehow just couldn't get them creative juices flowing so I decided to give this idea a shot because it's been lurking in the back of my mind for a while.
I made it vague on purpose. And the many "and"s in topic number eleven are also intentional—they mean to convey that Ino's thinking becomes rather frantic when she starts delving so deep into her feelings regarding Naruto. And, I don't know if I managed, but I meant to make it somehow of a "from the superficial to the deep reasons of her liking that particular thing about herself" thing with all eleven reasons.
Anyway, that's that for this fluffy little one-shot. Hope it wasn't too sugary for your liking. And please DO say something about it—was it bad? Was it good? Did you find it boring? Comments are love!