title: ice cream and polish
characters // pairings: Haruno Sakura + Yamanaka Ino, hints of SakuSasu
rating: K+
summary: And they put away their kunai, their shuriken, their flawless paper masks. For a moment, they are just two girls, again. Sakura and Ino, and rebuilding bridges.

disclaimer: No. Not mine. But today is my birthday. Maybe if I wish really, really hard…

That's all you really need to know. Read on if you're so inclined. :)

notes: I've always loved the dynamic between Ino and Sakura, and I kind of wish Kishimoto focused a bit more on it, though, he did give us their back story. Even romance needs to take a backseat every once in a while (though there are hints of SakuSasu here—I can't resist) and this is something I've always wanted to write. Also, I love the idea of Ino as a big sister-type figure. She'd make a great one, I think.

I wanted to include Hinata and Tenten, but I don't know if the series really ever has all four of them interacting.

Oh well. Maybe next time?

Finally, Sisters before Misters. Always, Sakura darling. Even if Sasuke-kun is delicious.

Sometimes, Ino and Sakura forget that they are kunoichi.

They stow away their weapons

(except for the odd shuriken, because old habits die hard, and they're a just a little wiser than they were at nineteneleven when the world was made of posies, and death was more theory than practice and)

slip into dusty heels

(and Ino laughs a little when Sakura totters on lethal black stilettos, because really, kunoichi had more grace than that and it's nice to know Sakura still needs her—even in these small things)

and they become Girls.

Ino dresses up, and wears her hair down, a shining waterfall of white-blonde hair, and too-blue eyes, and she is beautiful, and Sakura wonders aloud whether she'll catch up to her in that.

Ino laughs, light and clear, delighted because they are Girls, and Sakura's words build her up as easily as her hits could probably tear her down.

(and there you go again, she says to herself, there you go thinking in steel and death and too slow breaths and can't you give yourself a break and)

"Silly girl, have you looked at yourself, lately?"

And Sakura smiles, because for a moment, they are young(er) and Ino's opinion means mountains and infinite stars and faraway worlds.

"Let's just have fun today, yeah?"

"Yes. Let's."


They go to a sweet shop.

Ino orders tea and dango, diet forgotten as she laughs at one of Sakura's anecdotes.

"—and then Sasuke just blows up, like, goes absolutely red with embarrassment and Naruto doesn't even stop, he just keeps going and going like that little pink bunny thing, and the next thing I know, half the freaking forest is on fire!"

She sighs, amused.

"And guess who had to patch them up?"

Ino smirks.

"Well if it was such a hard job, you could have just sent Sasuke-kun over to me."

Because right now they are girls, and they are allowed to bicker over silly things like That Boy's heart, even if—

Sakura smiles, sadly, wistfully.

"Oh, Ino…you know that's the absolute last thing he needs right now."

And the blonde looks at her, really looks at her and sees—

"You love him, don't you. Even after all this time, after all your tears."

It is a statement, not a question, though there is wonderment in her eyes, because how how how could she, after everything he has put her through, how could she still want that sad broken boy? That almost-puppet with the too-cold eyes, and the one-track mind, and Ino thinks she would go insane dealing with such apathy. And she looks at Sakura, whose green eyes are clear, and is that a smile on her face?

"He's Sasuke-kun," she says, as if it's that simple, and Ino thinks, maybe to her, it is.

It does not stop her feeling a little bitter. Sakura is so willing to forgive Sasuke for his faults, for his frayed relationships, is so willing to

(try to)

sew him whole again.

It took them years to move past what had broken them apart.

(and she hates her sometimes, for the handful of forgotten birthdays, for the awkward silences in the halls of the Academy, for throwing them away for the sake of a—)

But Ino tries not to dwell on that—there is time enough for ugly things.

Right now, they are Girls.


"What happened to us?"

"What do you mean?"

"I mean…we just…it was like it was over. Just done."

"I was…"



"Why didn't you ever come talk to me?"

"I…can't really explain it."

"Pfft. Sure you can. You're smart. At least try for me."

"I…I just…"


"I guess, I couldn't face you. I mean, how could I expect you to forgive me, when I hadn't even forgiven myself?"


"And I knew it was my fault. Knew it was me that chose to break it off that way. And for such a silly reason."

Sakura sighed. And Ino didn't want this. She wasn't out to make anyone feel guilty for water already under the bridge. She threaded locks of golden blonde hair through her fingers.

"Yeah…we all know he's going to pick me."

And Sakura laughs, and smiles, because Ino always knows what to say, and Ino breathes lighter, breathes easier because she's finally got her answer.

(and she's done with wishing on too-brilliant stars)


The park is cool at twilight, and their only company is the sound of the end of day.

They walk along the pathway, relaxed, at ease, because there are no lives to save here, no dying teachers, no broken teams. There are no mission specifications, no masked pretenses, no targets to seduce.

Here, they are just two girls with small smiles, and bright eyes.

Their ice cream is melting.

Ino laughs because the cold chocolate cream is slowly dripping over the red of Sakura's nails

(and the laughter, she thinks, feels sweeter since for once, it is only nail polish that stains the pale peach of her best friend's fingertips)

And Sakura scowls, but there is no anger there, and after a while, she is laughing too.

"Oh, shut up. The only reason yours isn't dripping down either is because you've eaten most of it already."

"Yeah, yeah, screw you."

The moon is full and so are they.

"I've missed you, Ino-pig."

"Likewise Forehead. Likewise."



Sigh. Yes. I loff. And it's not meant to be taken as shoujo-ai. But all's in the eye of the beholder.

Do tell me what you think?