As I was making my New Year's resolution to finish all my open fics (including Dazed and Confused) before starting anything new ….I got an idea. Now it won't leave me alone.
So much for resolutions, and yes I know it's only the first day of the year. O.o
Disclaimer: I own no rights to NARUTO. Zip, zilch, nada, nothing. I may cry.
Sakura and Ino sat dejectedly at the outdoor café in the middle of the Leaf Village. Neither looked very happy as they waited for their tea to be served.
"Are you sure?" Sakura asked softly, wincing.
Ino nodded sadly. "I heard him tell Chouji that he wasn't sure what he was going to do, since he had a date with both me and Temari for the Winter Festival. Apparently, he's too lazy to break up with one of us and is waiting for one or the other of us to break up with him, then marry the girl who stuck around."
Sakura whistled at Shikamaru's stupidity. "And here we thought he was smart."
"He is. Except where women are concerned." Temari interrupted as she grabbed a chair and pulled it up to the table. "I got your note." She said, glaring at Ino.
Ino stiffened her spine, then sighed and slumped back in her chair. "When I first heard, I blamed you. Then I realized that if you didn't know about me dating him, and I didn't know about you dating him, then HE was the jerk. Not us."
Temari nodded, as she signaled for fresh tea and new cups. "I tore apart two whole training fields after I got your letter. It's good I was in Suna or I would have come after your blond hide."
Sakura shook her head sadly at the two girls. "I knew Shikamaru was lazy, but this is ridiculous." She picked up her tea cup, then sputtered a bit and then pursed her lips together to keep from laughing.
Ino growled while Temari just rubbed her temples. "So? What's so funny about Nara being an idiot? A dead idiot." The Sand kunoichi said gruffly.
The pink-haired girl shook her head and used her napkin to wipe her mouth. "No, no, you're not funny. I just thought it would be cool to put a big sign over Shikamaru's door warning off all girls because he is now 'undateable'."
"That's not funny." Ino muttered, then thought about it. In her inner mind she could see a bright flashing sign with Shika's face and a big red 'X' painted right across it. Her lips trembled a bit. "Fine. It's a little funny."
Temari nodded as she sighed. "That's not all I'd like to do to him. But if I do what I want, it would be seen as a declaration of war between Konoha and Suna. As it stands, I'm done with him. Over. I have nothing for a man I can't trust. Yamanaka wins."
"No. Shikamaru loses. Both of us." Ino groused. "I'm sick to death of chasing after him. First Sasuke and now him? I give up."
Sakura cringed. "Speaking of Sasuke …"
"What, you've heard from him?" Ino asked. "That jerk. I thought I loved him and he goes and abandons us for the man who murdered our Third Hokage."
"And my father." Temari sipped at her tea which had just been delivered to their table. The Sand kunoichi looked thoughtful a moment before speaking again. "Although, I'm not as mad about that as I probably should be. Father was a jerk too."
Sakura nodded. "I …I looked at Sasuke's picture the other day."
"Yeah?" Ino said. "Still pining over him?"
"That's just it. No, I'm not. I looked at him and all I felt was anger and sadness that he was gone. I love him like a teammate, but …deep in my heart, when I looked at his picture. Nothing."
Temari chuckled. "We're going to have to put an 'undateable' sign over him as well. That's two down. Eligible bachelors aren't exactly thick on the ground, you know. We'll probably end up fighting over someone else now."
"Fighting? Are you all setting up sparring schedules without us?"
Startled, the three kunoichi looked over at where TenTen and Hinata had stopped beside their table. TenTen laughed at the look on their faces. "Sorry, sorry! Didn't mean to interrupt."
"No, no. It's okay." Ino grumbled and scooted over to make room at the table for the two newcomers. "It's just hard for us unattached women to see you being all happy with your guy."
Hinata blushed and shook her head, knowing they meant TenTen and not she. She didn't have a boyfriend. Then she paused, puzzled. "I thought you were dating Shikamaru?"
Temari coughed bitterly as Ino winced. "So did I. So did Temari. Jerk-off was too lazy to choose between us. Thought it too 'troublesome' to break up with one of us, and so was seeing us both."
TenTen's eyes widened, horrified. "That's awful! Did you leave him alive?"
Sakura laughed without much humor behind it. "Yes, unfortunately. Ino can't kill her own teammate and Temari can't kill him without starting a war."
TenTen shrugged. "We're ninja. Hire someone to do it."
Temari blinked then actually smiled. "You're more cold blooded than I thought. I like that. But no, if I can't kill and dismember him personally, then I don't want anyone else to have the pleasure."
Ino nodded. "Sakura said something about having him declared 'undateable'. I like the idea of him being shunned and growing old alone. That appeals."
Sakura nodded and smirked a bit. "Although the 'undateable' list is too short. I feel it needs expanding."
"Uchiha Sasuke." Temari sneered as she nodded. "Good idea. I can't believe you girls were chasing after him while my brothers can't get dates at all." She said, ignoring the fact that she'd at least considered the Uchiha 'cute' when they first saw him. Temari comforted herself with the knowledge that at least she'd never been one of Sasuke's fangirls. She'd thought she'd been so lucky to fall for the 'smart' one. Shit. Dumb Nara jerk.
TenTen looked puzzled. "This surprises you? Gaara was a homicidal monster and Kankuro, well, no one knows what he really looks like under all his Bunraku stuff."
"He's hot." Sakura said, then frowned as every eye turned curiously on the pink-haired girl. "Well, he is. I saw a lot of him while I healed him from that poison Sasori used. He's actually really nice looking. He's just rough around the edges, that's all."
Temari looked intrigued. "Why don't you ask him to the Konoha Winter Festival then? I'm sick of the girls at home only trying to get close to him because he's the Kazekage's brother. He ignores them all though, said he's sick of people trying to use him."
Sakura blushed and shook her head. "No, I treated him. I don't know if I could see him as anything other than my patient now."
Hinata looked over at the medical ninja curiously. "But Sakura, you've treated almost all the male ninja in the village at one time or another."
"Shy girl has a point." Ino said, looking eagerly over at her long-time friend and some-times rival.
Sakura shrugged. "Mostly cuts, bruises that sort of thing. The healing I had to do on Kankuro was intense. I had to not look at him as a friend or ally, but just as something that I had to do. I had to separate my feelings. I don't know if I could date him." She paused, thinking about it. "But you could, Ino."
"Look, this is all very interesting." TenTen interrupted, then grinned devilishly. "Maybe we should set up a Kankuro tournament. Winner gets to ask him to the Winter Festival."
Temari looked startled at that, then started laughing, her mood finally lightening a bit. She'd been in a horrid funk ever since she'd learned of Shikamaru's perfidy. Cheating ass. The thought of her baby brother as a prize in a tournament just tickled her. "Wait, wait. I can't win a date with my own brother!"
"Who says you'd win?" TenTen sneered, laughing.
Ino chuckled and put up her hands between the two kunoichi. "Back down. TenTen already has a boyfriend."
The weapons mistress sighed and settled back. "Got any more of those 'undateable' signs to pass out?"
"No!" Sakura breathed, shocked. She and Ino exchanged wide-eyed looks.
"What gives?" Temari asked, point blank. "I thought Hyuuga was all about you. You're the only one he ever escorts anywhere."
"Sorry, Hinata." TenTen whispered loudly to the purple-haired girl at her side. "Truth? Neji uses me as a screen to keep fangirls away."
"He likes guys?" Ino said, making Hinata choke and sputter as she shook her head madly.
TenTen laughed, patting Hinata on the shoulder. "No, not that. He's just relationship lazy. Neji never asks me out, he just shows up and expects me to be free. He only wants me around when it's convenient to him and things like that. As a teammate he's perfect. But I'm tired of being taken for granted. I don't think he even really likes me all that much. As a boyfriend he's …he's …"
"Undateable." Ino sighed. "Our list grows longer."
"Add Naruto." Hinata said quietly, then blushed as all eyes fell on her. "He doesn't know I exist. And when I finally got the courage to ask him out, he didn't even notice. Blew me off to train."
"You finally over him?" Temari said, in what was almost a gentle manner.
Hinata nodded silently, even as she blushed a bit. Her chin was firm though and her pale eyes never wavered.
"About time." Sakura said firmly as Ino nodded in agreement. "So. For our list of guys that are no longer dateable we have: Sasuke, Neji, Naruto, and Shikamaru."
Ino nodded and pulled out a pen and picked up some napkins. "Now. Who's left? We need dates for the Winter Festival. We divvy up who we want and no one fights. Then Neji will show up alone and Shikamaru can fall into desperate bachelorhood forever."
"Kiba and Shino." Hinata said firmly. "I can't date them, they're teammates. But they're good guys."
"Cute too. One's too loud and the other's too quiet. But both are handsome enough." Temari nodded. "I want my brothers on that list too though."
TenTen raised a hand to object. "Kankuro sure, but Gaara? Remember? Homicidal monster?"
Temari shook her head. "He's much better now, especially with that demon finally gone. He just has been too busy as Kazekage to date much and, as with Kankuro, the girls all want him for political reasons. I'd much rather see him date one of you."
Ino nodded as she added the names. "I'm putting in Chouji. Now, no one object because he's really a great guy. Handsome and sweet all at the same time."
"No one's objecting." Temari said, thinking of the gentle Akamichi ninja. "I got to know him through Shikamaru. He's quite nice and caring, though not really my style."
"Lee." Sakura said firmly. "Put him on there."
Ino paused and looked around the group. "If we put Lee in here, that's one too many names."
Temari thought about the mini-green beast of Konoha and …well, shuddered a bit. "He's …energetic."
"Kind." Sakura pointed out.
"Loud." TenTen mused.
"Sweet." Sakura added, getting a bit desperate.
"Persistent." Ino said quietly.
"That's not a bad thing!" Sakura pointed out, her voice rising.
"Then you take him." Hinata said, not unkindly.
Sakura sighed and gave up. "Fine. But if for some reason one of the other boys don't work out, Lee is first alternate."
"Agreed." They all said together, then laughed at each other.
Ino then reached out and grabbed Sakura's and TenTen's hand. She glared at everyone else until they all joined hands across the table. "Solemn oath. No one dates ANY of the 'undateables'. Clean breaks. No going soft. They're out in the cold and we leave them there."
Temari grimaced, but nodded. Sakura nodded as well. TenTen thought of Neji forgetting every birthday she'd ever had and how he'd never asked her out, just assumed she'd be there for him. "Agreed." TenTen said.
Hinata chewed her bottom lip a moment, then nodded. "Agreed." She said, silently bidding farewell to Naruto in her mind. She needed this.
"This is what we'll do." Ino said, thinking feverishly. "We all need clean breaks. So. We all choose a new boyfriend and date him for no less than three months. No cheating, three full months. Give them all a chance. These guys aren't used to girls like us chasing them, so they might be skittish at first."
Temari raised one brow in amusement. "You're serious?"
Ino nodded. "Deadly. At the end of three months we meet back here and compare notes. Go from there."
Temari nodded. "That's actually good. Nothing permanent. We're having try-outs for new boyfriends. I like it!"
Sakura nodded in agreement as well. "I can do three months."
Everyone else quickly fell in with the plan. Temari shook her head as she laughed. "This is stupid, but I'm definately in. Just as long as Shikamaru has no one to warm him up at the Winter Festival." She warned them all.
They all grinned and sat back. Ino smiled wickedly. "Now. How do we divide up the guys we can date?"
Temari shrugged. "Obviously I can't date my brothers, ew. And I have to let Chouji go as well. He's Shikamaru's best friend. I could do that to the Nara jerk, but not to Chouji."
"That leaves Kiba and Shino." Hinata said quietly. "They're both wonderful."
Temari raised an eyebrow at that. "Sure you don't want one of them?"
Hinata shook her head, smiling, and not even blushing. "No, they're both like wonderful brothers to me."
"Fine." Temari thought it over and made a fateful decision. "I like quiet better than I like loud. Anyone object to me taking the bug ninja?"
Ino shrugged, though Sakura was a little relieved. She wasn't much for bugs. "One down." The blond stated happily. "I think Hinata should go next. Kiba and Shino are out for her."
"That leaves Kankuro, Gaara and Chouji." TenTen pointed out to her Hyuuga friend.
Hinata shrugged, unable to make a choice.
Sakura sighed. "Look. I think we should draw names, leave Kiba's out while Hinata draws then the rest of us takes a turn."
"That's hardly romantic." TenTen groused.
Sakura shrugged. "Nothing about this is. This is about making a clean break and dating someone new. Not a crush, not someone we've wanted from afar. This is about choosing a NICE guy to date for a change." She paused and remembered how Gaara had nearly killed her once. "Well, relatively nice anyway. They're not 'undateable' like the others are."
Temari nodded. "This is about dating someone for three months. Then we come back together and compare notes. If the guy you have is not right, we can always switch it up then. This isn't a life-time commitment here. Oh, and NO sex."
Hinata nodded, actually relieved to hear it all spelled out like that.
"Can we kiss?" Ino said slyly, making the others groan.
"Kissing yes, but nothing you'll regret if it ends in three months." Temari said, choking and wondering who Ino would end up with.
Quickly they made up the lots to be drawn. Ino held out the teacup with everyone's names written on small scraps of napkin. "I forgot to take Kiba's name out, so if you draw him just let us know and you can draw again."
Hinata bit her bottom lip as she reached for the names.
"Wait! No Byakugan! No cheating!" Ino said sternly, making Hinata blush even as TenTen laughed.
"This is Hinata we're talking about, not you." Sakura chided her friend. "Go on, Hinata."
The Hyuuga girl smiled and closed her eyes, though that was not actually an impediment to her clan's bloodline limit. Still she didn't cheat as she took a name.
"Well, aren't you going to look?" TenTen asked her.
"I want everyone else to go first." Hinata said shyly.
Ino shook her head. "We need to know if you have Kiba's name first, remember?"
"Oh." Hinata said and opened her slip of paper. Her heart about stopped until she saw the name there. She actually smiled and held up her name. "Chouji."
Ino frowned. "I don't know. He's quiet too, lacks confidence in himself with women. Two shy people together?"
Temari frowned and thought about it. "No, remember this is only for three months. Maybe she needs to cut her teeth on someone quiet and nice. Gain confidence in herself and in turn maybe he'll feel more confident too. Hinata's a very pretty girl, this might be good for both of them."
Ino nodded reluctantly. "Just remember, Hinata. This is not a game. We're really dating these guys for three months. Oh! There's always Lee if you want to switch!"
"No!" Hinata giggled, clutching Chouji's name in her hand. "No. I'm fine."
Sakura groaned. No matter who she dated, she'd still have Lee running after her. Damn it! "Okay, TenTen, you go next."
The weapons kunoichi nodded, took a deep breath and chose a name. She looked at the other girls and Sakura nodded back at her. She too took a deep breath before choosing one of the two final names. Ino eyed the last scrap of paper warily, then steeled herself. She couldn't wimp out, it had been mostly her idea anyway.
"Well?" Temari demanded, curious.
TenTen peeked at her name, and raised a brow as she smiled. "You did say Kankuro was hot underneath his black outfit and make-up. Right?"
Sakura grinned and nodded even as she nervously looked at her own destiny. Well, short-term destiny at least. "Kiba." She said, feeling a bit relieved. At least she knew him more than she did the Sand siblings.
Ino didn't even bother to look at her paper, knowing who was left.
Temari grinned over at her. "Lee's still available."
Ino laughed outright, though she was a bit nervous. "So. The homicidal monster part IS in the past. Right?"
Well? Is it worth continuing? REVIEWS make my day, and help me write my stories. Hope you enjoyed!