A/N: Ino X Sakura, the premiere pairing of Naruto yuri. I've been writing Naruto yuri for well over a year now yet have until now never taken it on. It's such a great pairing and so obvious and there that I've actually touched on it quite a bit in the past; in Light and Shadow of Loneliness even though Sakura ends up with Tenten she comes first to the conclusion that Ino was her first love. In Guiding Light, Tsunade makes a comment to Sakura about how her and Ino's friendship was close to real love. In Truth in Flowers Ino casually remarks to Temari in regards to Sakura that she's "tried for that one". And then in my Strength Requisite of Lovers, I approached the subject directly, giving Ino the character of being almost obsessively in love with Sakura. Of course in that story Ino ends up with Hinata, but it still got a lot of people to asking why I just didn't go out and actually write some Ino X Sakura, and to tell the truth I didn't ever have a good answer. So here you go, I'm kinda scared in attempting a pairing I hold at this high a regard, but here's hoping it turns out good. Oh and in case your incredibly slow this is yuri, they're both girls they will end up romantically and sexually involved with each other, please don't read it if you're not into this sort of thing.
Disclaimer: Waffleman is my savior (and I do not own Naruto).
It was a clear bright day in the village of Konoha; a beaming smile shone on the face of a young child as she raced home in high spirits. As she walked this child's eyes caught sight of a familiar face; an older girl rested peacefully in the shadow of an old tree.
"Azami! Azami! Hi!" The child shouted energetically, her short blonde hair reflected the brightness of the spring sun.
"Heya little Ino, you sure seem happy. You have a good day today." The girl known as Azami said with a cool air that seemed unnatural for only fifteen years of life.
"Yeah! We were doing flower arrangements in class today so of course my teacher was really happy with me. Some of the other girls were mean to Sakura but I showed them who's boss. I helped her with the flowers too! She even said I was cute." The excited young girl recounted her day.
"Sakura? That's the girl you told me about before, right? The one you gave the ribbon to." Azami asked nonchalantly as she got to her feet and rest one of her hands on the child's head. Though Azami was only of average height she looked huge next to the younger Ino.
"Yup! Sakura Haruno is my best friend in the whole entire world!" Ino exclaimed with a wide open grin.
Azami cocked her head forward as she gave a judgmental sigh, with hints of melancholy she said, "As I see it friends really aren't much use to us in the end. You'd be better off finding you a man."
"I don't believe that. Being Sakura's friend makes me happy. Besides I'm too young for that sort of thing, Azami." Ino said in a pout, vigorously shaking the girl's hand off the top of her head.
"Ha you're not too young! In less than five years you'll be a ninja yourself, Ino!" Azami fought back. In a proud tone she added, "Take it from someone who's already a woman, already a ninja that friends end up getting you nothing while a man will be there for you."
"Friends are important! I mean you're my friend Azami and I always thought you were mine." Ino protested fiercely.
"Of course you are Ino! You know you're my favorite cousin in the whole world. But what good does that do me? As I see it, I get no benefit out of even knowing you." Azami said in a soft voice as she combed a hand through her mid-cut, burnt-orange hair.
"I can do lot's of stuff! I'm like the top rated kunoichi-in-training in like my whole class." Ino said boastfully.
Azami only smiled at Ino's words as she ignored them, in a somber way she returned to her prior advise, "Just try and focus less on this Sakura and more on keeping an eye open and looking at the guys in you class. I'm sure at least one of them you'll find interesting."
"I guess I'll try and at least look." Ino acquiesced with an aggravated sigh.
"That's it. Believe me; looking back on everything, you'll be thanking me, Ino." Azami smiled as she said this while once more patting her young cousin on the head.
Things had changed since then. Ino was a young woman, and she was also a full fledged kunoichi for three years now. Her hair though just as blonde was quite a bit longer now and she was a lot taller. Azami had left the village since then, but the biggest change was with Sakura.
Ino could now only with much reluctance say that Sakura Haruno was her best friend in the entire world. She had taken Azami's advice of that day and had developed an interest in a boy named Sasuke Uchiha. As luck would have it Sakura shortly thereafter had developed feelings for this same boy. Their friendship had disintegrated in an instant.
Sakura had broken their bond, declaring herself Ino's rival, declaring that she would be the one to win Sasuke's affection. So Ino competed with her one time friend. She had to. She couldn't be weak.
Years filled with painful animosity passed before eventually it happened that things settled for them both. A fight was held as part of their first chunin exam. In this fight it seemed they had reached an understanding, a level of respect, and afterwards efforts were made to restore broken bonds. Still even if they were "friends" once more, it was still an ugly friendship, combative and spiteful. Ino hated it.
Looking back on everything, Ino definitely did not thank Azami. Still she never had thoughts about how things would be different if she had not pursued Sasuke. Maybe she had made some mistakes she would sometimes think, but at least she was over them. At least for the moment Ino was content with the person she was.
Yes, Ino Yamanaka was content, yet at the same time she was also irritated. It was the dead of night. She was on a ninja mission. She had left her tent and the team's camp to enjoy the cool night air and escape from Sakura.
This was the first time it ever happened. The Hokage was becoming sloppy Ino could only guess. It no longer seemed to matter what ninja team one belonged to anymore, it now only seemed to matter who was ready to be deployed at that exact moment. As it would happen at the exact moment this team had been assembled, Sakura had been just as ready as Ino.
So here they were, both of them, on a mission together. Ino seldom remembered what the mission even was; something about delivering some sort of important top-secret message to a remote ninja village that had recently popped up on the Land of Fire's Eastern border. Ino's only thoughts were not on her mission but rather on avoiding her one time best friend as much as was possible.
Of course she failed hopelessly. The second Ino had found a nice tree to rest under she heard the rustling sound of footsteps in the grass. Seconds later she saw blur of pink break through the trees in front of her and soon Sakura was standing right before her.
"Here you are Ino." Sakura said with a relieved sigh as she walked toward the other.
"What, were you looking for me?" Ino said with a cold laugh.
"You just up and vanish from our tent without a word. What was I supposed to do?" Sakura said in protest.
"I'm a big girl. I can take care of myself, Sakura." Ino said as mockingly as possible.
"Fine be that way. I'll just leave you out here to freeze to death and get mauled by wild animals." Sakura said harshly but with a kind undertone.
"Fine by me. It's better than the alternative" Ino spoke bitterly.
"Is my company really that unpleasant, Ino?" Sakura asked now with anger in her voice.
Ino sighed loudly; she said in a jokingly malevolent way, "Of course it is. Why else do you think Sasuke was so quick to leave?"
Sakura became immediately infuriated; soon she was yelling, "Look here Ino you pig! That's going too far! He didn't leave because of me!" She stopped and fell to her knees, in soft whimper she broke down, "It wasn't me… I'm not the reason he, he, h-he…"
Ino hated seeing Sakura like this, even more so when it was her words at the root of it. In their youth when Sakura cried she'd rush forth and do anything in her power to comfort the girl. Now all she could do was make her angry again.
"Someone needs to toughen up. So the guy you were hot for turned out to be a real bastard. You just need to stop being such a baby about it and deal with it. All crying does is wrinkle that oversized forehead of yours." Ino said caustically perfectly masking her concern.
"Shut up you damn pig! Don't act like you didn't care about Sasuke just as much as I did." Sakura shouted, slamming her fist into the ground and leaving a small crater.
"Maybe I did, maybe I didn't. Either way that's all in the past. I could care less if Sasuke was dead now." Ino said in a cool voice.
"I still care. He'll come back to us some day. I just know he will!" Sakura said without wavering.
"Well even if he does come back, I for one am not particularly interested anymore." Ino said apathetically.
"Ha! So I've finally won." Sakura said with noted enthusiasm.
"Sure. Congratulations, you're now the only person in the whole village who gives a damn about that bastard anymore, you can have him. I'm sure if he did come back you'd be the only one who'd want him anyways." Ino said with a condescending air.
"Why do you have to be like that, Ino?" Sakura asked in indignation.
"You're the one who wanted me as a rival in the first place if you remember." Ino replied coldly.
"Well if you don't want Sasuke anymore doesn't that mean we aren't rivals anymore?" Sakura asked with a slight smirk
Ino really hadn't thought about that. If not Sasuke what other reason was there for her to act this horrible way towards Sakura save for the fact that it had over the years become customary. Still even with Sasuke out of the picture she doubted things could go back to how they once were; Ino doubted Sakura still saw her as the same person from back then; actually, in truth, Ino was starting to find it hard to remember her old self as well
"Hmm, well I don't see how that really changes anything. You still turned your back on our friendship, and I'm still better than you." Ino said haughtily with a confident laugh.
Sakura opened her mouth at once, most likely for a vicious retort, but when she had let Ino's words sink in for a moment she chose to instead say in a more soft tone, "Wait! Ino! Does that mean that all this time, you were... You fought so hard with me... all of it, all the anger; it was because you were mad at me for ending our friendship."
"Just shut up forehead girl! What do you know! Here you came out here so I'd go back to the stupid tent with you! So here you go you got what you want, I'm going!" Ino was downright frantic in her yelling; she felt embarrassed that she was reacting this strongly. A tear was rolling from her eye as she began her ran back to the tent; she prayed Sakura could not see it.
Apparently Sakura had realized Ino needed her space, for the pink haired kunoichi did not follow the blonde directly back. Ino was alone lying in her tent, thinking about whatever thoughts crossed her mind. It was of course that those thoughts converged on Sakura. She had no clue how that girl could get her so worked up.
Azami Ijiri was model kunoichi, strong, cool, fashionable, everything Ino had wanted to be in her youth. She was also really wise; Ino couldn't help but think as she remembered her one time role model's words: If only she would have never become attached to Sakura, if only she would have never tried to make friends, if only she had succeeded in winning Sasuke over, she would have never become accustomed to such pain.
A/N: Short introductory chapter. Really I didn't want to do much beyond the setup to start this fic so I apologize if it comes off as insubstantial. So you can kinda see how this thing is going to be built up. In case your wondering, this fic will be Ino-centric, as in all the chapters will be told like this one, with the focus on Ino. Why I'm doing it this way I don't know; probably because I'm having a bit of a Sakura overload at the moment (the other fic I'm currently writing also has Sakura), or maybe it's the simple fact that I like Ino better, or maybe it's that Ino X Sakura fics usually seems to work better when Ino's at the center of the pairing. I don't know. As for my OC this time round, I'm taking a different approach than usual, inserting an OC actually into a character's past. Azami, Ino's cousin and role model will be a force in this fic, and you'll probably see more scenes with her like the beginning one in the other chapters. Review and keep reading, expect the next chapter soon.