Note: Epilogue.

Summary: Painting her, he decided, was something he loved to do. He never even stopped to think of the word obsession,

Warning(s): Spoilers for manga chapter 328,

Disclaimer: Clearly, I do not own Naruto. Seeing as I am neither male nor Japanese.

Kaiga Kanojono


For Ino now, it was always a question of what if…?

What if she had simply stopped being so stubborn and admitted to Shikamaru that she loved him too rather than just shoving him out of the flower shop like she had around three years ago now?

What if she had never met Sai? If he had never been in the reformed Team Seven. If he had never been in Team Kakashi. If he had just been another face in the crowd, still handsome but just as inconspicuous and unnoticed to her as any other male she had ever randomly passed?

What if she had never loved Shikamaru? Would he still be alive today, still in the same team? Would Temari still be hanging around, still able to bear the sight of the other blonde female? Or would her relationship with Temari be as it was now, broken beyond repair? She knew Temari blamed her for his death, and she still had the nagging doubt in her own heart that if she had never been born, never came into existence even Shikamaru would be alive. If there was a way to make it like that, she would. Not because she welcomed death, but because she had cared about him more than herself.

What if she had been in love with Sai? Would he have ignored the existence of Shikamaru after he began to feel again, swept her off her feet and made her care about him? Would he have flattered her, changed her at all? Would Shikamaru have fallen in love with Temari instead, or continued pursuing her and have been noticed by Sai anyway? That way, it always felt that nobody would have been hurt at all. Nobody would have died.

Her eyes scanned over the three separate graves around the cemetery she was to visit that day, then to the three single and separate flowers she held in small wrappings resting on her arm at just the right angle so that she could not drop them.

On the grave of her father, the flower placed down was a verbena. It had a simple meaning. Will you get your wish? He had always told her he wished for her safety every birthday when he blew out the candles on the cake she made for him, he wished for her to have peace every time he saw a shooting star and each new year he wished for her to lead a good life in which she would find somebody she loved just as much as he loved her mother. Overall, he wished for her to be happy. She smiled at this thought, hoping he could see her wherever he was doing that for him before she walked a small distance to another grave.

Her eyes lingered on the grave of Sai for a moment before she placed the anemone down. She had never been a fan of capital punishment, but just perhaps in this one case it has been fitting. Nobody had wanted to hurt him, scared of what he had done. So she had taken the job on herself, and although she said she hated him for everything he done she still imagined his blood on her hands and scrubbed at herself every night to remove the red spatters she had covered herself in. All she could remember were his dead eyes, staring into some unknown oblivion before he told her she really was perfect now. His meaning was much more cruel, but the memories he haunted her with were the same way. Forsaken. She hoped her memories of him would be one day.

Finally, she drifted over to the last grave she was to visit that day. Shikamaru, would he be proud of her? Knowing that she had done something so vicious, she had to wonder about it. She placed down the acacia. Concealed love. It had been as well, had it not? They had always danced about until that week, avoiding any situations where they could be alone together without the chance of anybody else walking in. Darting around, preventing them from telling each other preventing their eyes from meeting, determined to stay as just friends. Yes, until that week when everything had gone wrong.

She had never really known what she had until she lost it.

With that thought in mind, she looked up at the skies that she could hear crackling sounds emitting from. Just like on that day she had refused to let Shikamaru walk her home, but then let Sai do so. It was almost as though it was mocking her, until the downpour came. She smiled as she thought of something she had once heard Shikamaru say when it had been raining after Asuma had died.

"Hey, Shikamaru. The sky is crying for us."

The sky only rumbled in response.

"It can see our wasted perfection."

Yes, and for all of them it had started with one thing that Sai had been doing.

Painting her.

It is finished. To those who did not know, 'Kaiga Kanojono' means 'Painting Her.' Thank you to all those who reviewed, added this to their favourites and alerts lists, you get the general idea.

It is finally over. :)