A/N: I know I'm not supposed to start a new story when I haven't finished my other stories. But this is just an experiment. If people like this story, then I will continue. This is something I write a few months back. Actually, I meant this to be a oneshot but it was too long so I had to cut it into a few chapters. I've written enough to fit until chapter 5 but this story is still halfway to finish. I will update (hopefully) each time I log on. So stick with me guys. Sorry for any grammar errors. Adapted from the Japanese series "A Song to the Sun". Dedicated to Shikamaru and Ino for their birthdays—waaay too late though! (they're gonna kill me!) HAP-HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAY!!!
Naruto © Masashi Kishimoto
Fanfiction © ArAshiMitArAshi
When the last ray of sunshine disappeared behind the thick, dark curtains, a body of a teenage girl emerged from between the blankets. She was in average height, pale-skinned, slim and slender. Her long blond hair cascaded down her pajama-clad back and big, blue eyes lit with excitement after taking a peek outside. Through the narrow opening, she saw the darkness had wiped away every single trace of daylight. Crescent moon replaced the bright sun, dark sky embroidered with million of stars.
With a smile, she spread the curtains wide and pushed the heavily tinted windows up, breathing in the warm night air mixed with a faint scent of beach and sea.
"Good morning," she said to herself.
"Ino!" A girl her age suddenly burst into her room. "Guess what? I have something for you!"
The girl named Ino laughed. "Oh, Sakura… Can it wait? I want to take a shower."
"Okay, but hurry up!" Sakura shooed her to the bathroom, holding a videocam high in one hand. "This cannot wait!"
After Ino reappeared and now was dressed in a simple homewear instead of pajama, she settled herself next to Sakura on the carpeted floor, watching the recorded video from the videocam Sakura had connected to the screen. It showed the beach and huge crowd of people at it. "I recorded this just for you. Look! It's the beach opening ceremony!"
"Whoa…" Ino watched with wide eyes, rubbing a UV-block lotion on her skin. "Looks like fun…" There was a hint of envy in her tone.
"It is!" Sakura exclaimed. "Too hot, though…"
"Yeah, I can see that." Ino smiled, noticing that that day was too bright than usual. The first day of summer had come.
"Look, look!" Sakura neared the screen and pointed at a bunch of guys in beachwear were lined on the sand. They were sun bathing until one of them – a blonde – got up and grabbed a canned drink, drank half the content and poured the rest on his friend next to him. The attempt seemed to break the peaceful moment because the boys quickly got up and began spraying each other with cool drinks. "Aren't they all gorgeous?" Sakura spoke dreamily.
So that was what Sakura wanted to show her, Ino thought. Half amused, she watched the rest of the video with mild interest. Sakura was right, the boys were definitely gorgeous. The blonde was energetic and sweet-looking, the brown-haired had a playful grin and the raven-haired seemed serious but couldn't live with the teasing. Ino noticed he was extremely handsome and couldn't help admiring his features. He was the palest of them all but he got magnificent body; tall and lean. The three were savagely wrecking each other, forgetting the rest of the world until the blonde stumbled on the fourth in the group, who was still lying on the sand.
Ino and Sakura both laughed. The fourth, also raven-haired jerked up quickly with lines of frown marred on his forehead. His hair was longer than the rest but he kept it neat on top of his head. Scowling, he whacked the blonde for good measure then dusting the sand off his body and stood, leaving the spot.
But he didn't get very far because in a second, someone had jumped on him from behind, laughing. It was a girl, a matured girl with dirty blond hair and tanned skin wearing a two-piece green bikini.
The boy gave another scowl and tried desperately to escape from her death grip with no luck. Behind them, two other teenagers had joined the crowd and the blond boy greeted them joyously, slapping a red-haired boy so hard on the back.
"Ah, I'm in love…" Sakura stared at the screen dreamily. Ino snorted.
"Oh, yeah? With who?"
"No doubt. The blonde, of course!"
Of course, Ino thought sarcastically. Sakura always had this crazy obsession towards blondes – thank goodness she was straight. Her gaze fell on the pale raven-haired.
"So, he's your pick?" Sakura queried, following her gaze. "Thought so. He's the most handsome."
Obviously, Ino silently agreed though now she was studying the brown-haired with playful grin and acknowledged that he was handsome, too. The other brown-haired who just arrived was quite buffed and averagely good-looking while the redhead was undoubtedly cute.
Turning her attention to the struggling ponytail-haired boy, Ino noticed that he, too, was handsome. He had pointed eyebrows, small sharp eyes, visible jaw lines and tall. His skin wasn't pale instead nicely tanned and without a doubt he had the most amazing torso among the five others.
"I don't have any pick," said Ino. Finished with the lotion, she picked up a guitar case from behind and took a black guitar out, and began strumming it. Her eyes were half-watched the screen, half-watched her fingers. Every now and then she jotted down something on her opened notebook in front, trying to finish any of the songs whenever inspiration struck.
"Oh, come on!" Sakura whirled at her. "Just pick one!"
Humming, Ino glanced at the screen and sighed, "Okay, I pick the brunette."
"Which one?" Sakura asked eagerly.
"Umm…the girlfriend-less one."
"There's a mail for you, Ino dear," her mother handed her a white envelope when Ino came down to bid Sakura goodbye. Ino took the envelope and tore it open.
Her eyes widened. It was from one of the record company she sent her demo CDs to! Heart hammering with excitement, Ino read the letter quickly. However, the excitement she felt died down when she discovered that she had been rejected again.
Four-Leaf Clover wasn't the first record company that rejected her. But because of the company had the best producer in the music industry, Ino tried and tried and tried to get a record deal. Again and again and again. It was something she wanted more than anything.
Before she died, she wanted at least accomplish something. And a singer was what she aimed to be.
"Oh honey," Ino didn't realize that her mother was still watching her. She must've noticed her crestfallen face. "Don't worry about it. I'm sure they'll notice your talent soon enough. Don't lose hope. Keep trying. There's still time."
"Yeah, I know," Ino nodded vaguely. "I just had to…write better songs – I guess."
And for that, she needed an inspiration.
"Ino, guess what?" Sakura ran into her the next day. "I've figured out who those guys are!"
Ino slipped into her jeans. "Oh, yeah?" She asked uninterestedly, now tugging a deep purple sleeveless top through her head.
"Yeah, and the guy you fancies is Sasuke!" Sakura's green eyes brightened. "Naruto, the blonde approached me today. Said I was cute and all and wants to be friends. He suggests a double date, said to bring my friend - and that is you - and he'll bring his, too. So what do you say?"
Ino checked her appearance in the mirror and gave her reflection an approval. "I pass the chance," she replied, now packing her guitar into its case and headed out the room. She paused at the bottom of the stairs to slip into her sneakers when Sakura appeared from behind.
"Oh, Ino!" She whined. "I knew you would've refused but please! You have to come with me! Please don't ruin my first date with Naruto!"
"Then why'd you agree to a double date knowing I wouldn't come?"
"Cause I want you to have fun, that's why! I want you to meet new people, make new friends! And besides, I don't trust Naruto yet so I need company! So please, please come with me? He'll bring Sasuke, I promise!"
Ino laughed at her best friend's pitiful expression. "Okay, okay. I'll come. But because of you, not Sasuke."
Sakura threw her arms around her. "Oh, you're the best!"
"I know. Now please get off me. I need some fresh air."
"Want me to come with you?"
"Oh, no. It's okay." Ino shook her head. "It's not like I never went out alone."
"Okay, so have you put the lotion on?"
"Yeah." Ino pushed the door opened, half-out till Sakura shouted, "Wait, Ino! You forgot something!"
A denim jacket was thrust into her arms. "Don't ever forget to bring your jacket. It's essential," Sakura reminded her. "Make sure to be back on time."
"I will." Ino nodded and took off.
Because it was night, the beach was deserted. A bit lonely but Ino preferred it that way. Nobody will disturb her. Walking on the sand to her favorite spot - a huge rock at the end of the beach – she smiled at the passersby although none of them knew her.
Ino had lived at the beach for almost nineteen years but very few people recognized her. Because of her sickness, she rarely went out especially in broad daylight. At the age of three, her parents had discovered that she would have some kind of burn marks on her skin when she went under the sun. Her parents brought her to a doctor and ran a diagnosis and later found out that she had XP.
XP or its scientific name Xeroderma pigmentosum was a kind of skin disease, which the body's normal ability to remove damage caused by ultraviolet (UV) light was deficient. This led to multiple basaliomas and other skin malignancies at a young age. Sunshine, or more specifically UV rays was very dangerous to XP patients, thus they cannot stay under the sun. XP patients should avoid contact with sunshine because it can cause skin burning and very fatal. As XP patients grow up, some progressive neurological complications will occur including development disabilities, mental retardation and high frequency hearing loss. Worse, bring death. Class A XP patients could only live until 20.
Ino was in that class and until now, XP had no cure.
She had known long ago that her life was short. When she was little, she'd tried to live like a normal kid; going to school and playing under the sun. She had to wear special clothes though; something like an astronaut would wear, medically called 'space suit'. Ino called it 'a funny raincoat'. At first she didn't realize she was different from the other kids in the neighborhood. But when they started making fun of her, laughing at her appearance, calling her a freak, she ran home and cried and blamed the sun for hating her so much.
She'd spent great deal of time enduring all the humiliations she received and at the same time trying to accept her fate. When she finished elementary school, she'd dropped out of school.
Without any schoolwork or school activities, life was absolutely boring. Although her parents encouraged her from time to time to continue her studies, Ino backed out. They suggested home school but she refused. She didn't want to spend her entire life studying what she could not be. So she searched everywhere to make her life meaningful and found one: music.
It was music that kept her alive. Without it, Ino was like an empty shell. She had no friends other than Sakura, which Ino considered their friendship was a little pity from heaven. Sakura had just moved to her place when they met. If it wasn't because of Ino saved her from a great black dog chasing her, Sakura would not have offered to be her friend. But Sakura was unlike the other kids around. She was nice and understanding and she supported Ino all the way. She also happened to be a distant relative of Ino's doctor, Tsunade and she knew a little bit of medical work so she always helped Ino with her disease from time to time. She was like Ino's personal nurse.
Because Ino couldn't be exposed to the sun, so her chance of going out of the house was only at night. So every night when people were sleeping, she lurked around freely, spending her time mostly at the beach. Since her only friend Sakura was always busy during school days, she couldn't keep her company so often. Ino considered making some more friends but since teenagers her age very much preferred spending their time at the busy clubs in the suburb rather than the beach, there wasn't much opportunity. They were also (Ino realized) back off as soon as possible when they heard about her sickness. There was a boy however living next door but he was a freak and didn't socialize much, so Ino only knew him on first name basis – Sakura used to have a big crush on him secretly though.
Passing her neighbor's house, Ino saw the boy was painting at his front lawn.
"Hey Sai," she greeted cheerfully. "Nice moon tonight." The shirtless boy only nodded.
Ino continued her walk and headed to her favorite spot. Inhaling the beach scent, Ino sat down on a flat surface of the rock, taking out her guitar, playing it and singing along her strumming, a list of her favorite songs.
Closing her eyes, Ino imagined herself standing on a big stage. Ever since she discovered her love and talent for music, it was her dream to be a singer. She truly had an amazing voice but luck still wasn't on her side. Ino didn't know how much longer she could wait for such an opportunity to sing for real. Although her mother claimed she still got time, but seemed like it wasn't enough. These days, Ino felt like the time was coming closer.
Fear; she felt it everyday, each and every second.
Ino recalled a postscript at the end of the letter she received yesterday. Have you ever really loved someone?
Funny, Ino thought sarcastically. Who would write something like that? Was it the way of telling her that her songs weren't good enough?
But maybe it was true that she wasn't good enough. Ino had never really been in love. In fact, she had never met someone so special. All the boys in the neighborhood were mostly taken and Ino never really wanted to fall in love. She didn't want to give someone a false hope, knowing that she will leave the world one day. Her experiences in love were mostly from reading love novels, watching romances and tales from Sakura, tiny bit was her own imagination.
Ino was going through her fourth song when she realized she wasn't alone in that area. Somewhere in the darkness, a silhouette of a figure lying on the sand appeared in front of her eyes. She didn't know how long the person had been lying there, if it had been twenty minutes then he/she must've listened all her singing.
Curious, Ino left her guitar and walked towards the figure. Within two meter distance, she noticed that it was a boy.
And it wasn't any other boy. It was the raven-haired boy from Sakura's video!
Not the girlfriendless one, Sasuke, no…but the boy with hair all up in a ponytail who got the sexiest abs, the one with a girlfriend!
…to be continued.
Xeroderma pigmentosum, or XP, is an autosomal recessive genetic disorder of DNA repair in which the body's normal ability to remove damage caused by ultraviolet (UV) light is deficient. This leads to multiple basaliomas and other skin malignancies at a young age. In severe cases, it is necessary to avoid sunlight completely. Unrepaired damage can lead to mutations, altering the information of the DNA. If mutations affect important genes, then this may lead to cancer. Since in XP patients the frequencies of mutations is much elevated, these patients have a predisposition for cancer. The most important part of managing the condition is reducing exposure to the sun. (information taken from Wikipedia)