a/n THANK YOU for the reviews

a/n THANK YOU for the reviews. I love each and every one. I apologize for future spelling/grammatical errors. This is chapter two.

Shadows danced across the gate as Ino approached it. The high stonewalls seemed to taunt Ino with every step she took. They seemed to ask "Where have you been Yamanaka?". A deep voice boomed from above.

"What is your name and what is your agenda with the village hidden in the leaves?" the voice asked.

"My name is Ino Yamanaka, I have just returned from a mission" Ino stuttered out.

"I'm afraid your name is not on the list for ninjas returning from missions" the voice boomed out.

"I've been gone for three years, please let me in" Ino pleaded.

"I believe you Miss. Yamanaka, but I will have to send an escort with you. The escort will lead you straight to the Hokage's office" The voice stated.

Immediately the gate began to slowly creep open. Filled with relief Ino darted in. The familiar smell of the village invaded her senses. Paper lanterns of every color were strung across the streets. A lone man stood in the streets with his hands in his pockets. The man was concealed by shadows. The only visible item was the dim glow from the ember of his cigarette. Ino felt déjà vu when she saw his shadow.

"You took up Asuma's bad habit Shikamaru?" Ino asked with her hands on her hips.

"Ino is that really you?" Shikamaru asked as he stepped closer.

"Of course it is I still look the same" Ino chuckled sarcastically as she looked at her reflection in a store window.

Ino's thin white tee shirt was drenched with sweat and clung to her body. A plain navy bra shown through her damp shirt. Navy spandex shorts hugged her lower half and hardly left anything to the imagination. Ino's blonde hair was cascading down her back in ringlets.

"Of course you do. Come on I want to get this over with" Shikamaru said as he pulled Ino towards their destination.

"Try to contain your excitement Shikamaru" Ino mumbled as the duo began to hop across various roofs.

"This village hasn't changed at all since I left" Ino thought as she continued to follow Shikamaru.

Growing used to the awkward silence Ino peered down at the village she had ran away from. Every street corner held a memory. Memories of Team 10 flooded her mind. A dumb smile appeared on Ino's face as she thought of their many adventures.


Team Ten sat in a corner booth towards the back of a barbeque restaurant. In front of Asuma and Shikamaru was stack of ribs. Ino's plate held a small salad with light dressing. Chouji's didn't have one plate, he didn't have two or three or even four, instead five large plates full of various meals lay before the young man.

"Chouji, maybe if you didn't eat such a disgusting amount of food you might have a girlfriend" Ino sneered.

"Maybe if you didn't eat like a rabbit Sasuke would ask you out" Chouji snickered as he began to feast on a rack of ribs.

As Ino's face turned into a bright tomato, Shikamaru and Chouji exchange high fives.

"Ino, Chouji is right to a certain extent. You don't need to starve your body just to impress some boy," Asuma said in a parental like tone.

"What would you know? Have you ever been a teenage girl?" Ino said with venom.

"Personally I like a girl with a bit of meat on her bones" Shikamaru stated as he ate.

"Who cares about your opinion Shikamaru?" Ino screeched from across the table.

"I hate to break up this little love session but we do have a mission" Asuma said as he rose from the table.


"Ino are you okay?" Shikamaru asked.

Ino nodded and was surprised to learn that she was standing on a rooftop gazing at the stars with an absent mind.

"I only dazed off. I'm sure you could relate" Ino said playfully as she darted towards Tsunade's office.

"Hn" was Shikamaru's reply.


Ino clumsily landed on the steps of the Hokage's office. Brushing dirt off of her knees Ino turned to face Shikamaru.

"We should catch up sometime Shikamaru" Ino smiled sincerely

"Yeah sure we'll catch up sometime," Shikamaru mumbled as he turned to leave.

"Bye" Ino said to no one.

Darting up the stone steps Ino made her way towards the domed building. Navigating through the winding hallways Ino was stopped two men. The men were breathing heavily and blocked the hallway to Tsunade's office.

"Now what is a beautiful girl like you doing in a horrible place like this?" the man with his mask covering his chin asked.

"Are you lost? I can take you back to my house if you want?" A man with a white strip covering his nose asked.

"If you wouldn't mind I need to speak to Tsunade urgently" Ino said as she attempted to move pass the men.

"My name is Izumo and this is Kotetsu" Izumo said as he wrapped his arms around Ino's hips.

"I'm sure Tsunade can wait till the morning" Kotetsu said.

"It can't now let me go or I will hurt you" Ino threatened.

"I like a girl with fire" Izumo said as he tightened his grip.

"Can't say that I didn't warn you" Ino chuckled as she began to squirm out of Izumo's arms.

Grabbing Izumo's and Kotetsu's arms Ino threw them both into the wall causing them to crash through the wall and left a large hole.

Ino giggled as she heard them yell as they fell to the ground. Tsunade's door swung open with an angry Tsunade in the doorway.

"WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON!" Tsunade yelled at the top of her lungs.

"I-I-I'm sorry Tsunade but two men were groping me so I threw them through the wall" Ino stuttered out.

Tsunade's eyes softened and her body relaxed.

"Oh Ino, I'm sorry. Kotetsu and Izumo were drunk so pardon their manners. Come inside and we'll begin to debrief" Tsunade ushered Ino into her office.

Ino walked into Tsunade's office and sat down in the same chair she had sat in three years ago. The office had been furnished differently the last time Ino saw it. The office now had a warmer tone. The walls were a warm yellow with red trim and hardwood flooring. A mini bar was located in corner of the room stalked with various alcoholic beverages. The chair Ino was sitting in had worn out over the years. Tsunade's oak desk had beverage rings from meetings past. Tsunade pulled out a weathered folder from a drawer. The folder was stained with coffee. Briskly flipping trough the pages Tsunade pulled out Ino's papers.

"So lets start with the basics, was the mission a success?" Tsunade asked.

"The mission was a success. I slit the throat of the head of the clan" Ino said with a hint of remorse.

"Good job. Did you collect any data on the clan?" Tsunade asked.

"I was never involved in the with the clans government. I mainly did chores preformed by the women such as cleaning and cooking. However I did learn that the clan had a major rival that they were trying to dispose of" Ino reported.

"They had a rival? Was there an heir to the clan?" Tsunade asked.

"Kisuke had a younger brother named Tatsuhiro. He is twenty-five and doesn't have a girlfriend/wife. The clan had a rival but Kisuke never let me know their name. Kisuke always told me not to worry about those type of things" Ino recalled.

"He has a brother? We'll have to send someone to monitor him. So the mission was a success that is all that matters. You did a fantastic job Ino. Since your mission was so long I advise that you take a little time off to rest and train. I'm proud to inform you that you have been promoted to Jounin. Now go on home and rest. I'll see you soon" Tsunade said as she lead Ino out of the office.

"THANK YOU so much Tsunade. I promise, I won't let you down" Ino said as she scurried down the hallway.

Once back outside Ino let out a sigh and stared at the night sky. Beads of sweat rolled down Ino's fore head as the wind let out a howl. Ino Yamanaka was finally able to go home. Ino checked her watch and let out a sigh.

"Shit it's after midnight. Mom and Dad are probably asleep and I really don't want to deal with them. The loft above the flower shop is easy enough to break into" Ino thought.

Darting through the village Ino made her way towards the family flower shop. Passing Ichiraku Ramen and other places Ino soon found herself in front of the flower shop. Peering through the dark windows Ino felt a horrible chill run through her spine. The phrase that haunted Ino echoed in her head.

"Shh, Ino everything will be alright"

"Leave me alone. Please leave me alone. LEAVE ME ALONE" Ino screamed.

Tears streamed down Ino's face as she clutched her stomach. She couldn't help but sob as the voice invaded her mind. Ino's body shook as she wobbled towards a lamp pole. Ino's sweaty palms grabbed the pole and held herself up.

"Get yourself together Ino. You're a fucking Jounin now. I can't let my emotions effect me. The best way to get into the loft is through the roof. All I have to do is get into the loft and then I'll be fine" Ino thought as she gripped the pole.

Using one last boost of energy Ino propelled herself to jump onto the roof. Once on the roof Ino lifted up the skylight window and let herself into the loft. Darkness enveloped Ino as she stumbled through the loft. Her parents haven't changed the furniture so it was easy to navigate through the darkness.

"The bedroom should be right here" Ino said as she pulled open the bedroom door.

Moonlight shined through the bedroom window. Ino finally saw what she was looking for, her futon. Ino jumped onto the bed and pulled the covers over her body. Not being able to hold on to consciousness any longer Ino slipped away.

"Shh, Ino everything will be alright" the shadow said. Ino turned around only to see darkess.

"Who's there" Ino said meekly.

"Shh, Ino everything will be alright"

The shadow grabbed Ino and slammed her against the counter.

"Ino. Ino. Ino wake up. WAKE UP. WAKE UP"

Gasping for air Ino sat up in her bed. When Ino looked to see who woke her up Ino saw her father smiling down at her. His face had barely changed over the years. Wrinkles had appeared around his eyes and mouth. They showed that he had lived.

"Sweetie you were having a nightmare" Inoichi said.

"I was?" Ino asked.

"Do you want to tell me what is was about?" Inoichi asked.

"No, let's not talk about something like that. Tell me everything that I've missed" Ino smiled as she said this.

"She's hiding something. I'll have to watch her carefully," Inoichi thought.

"Nothing really interesting has happened to me and your mother. I mean we went on some missions that weren't really exciting. Oh wait we did expand the store. We've started shipping in flowers from the village hidden in the mist," Inoichi said.

"Daddy you know that's not what I wanted to hear. What happened to the Akatsuki?" Ino asked.

"Oh so that's what you wanted to hear. Well as you probably know that they were defeated. I'm afraid that I don't know the details dear. It was a classified mission. If you really want to know what happened you would have to ask Team 7. Now enough about what happened to the village. Tell me what happened to you, how was your mission?" Inoichi asked.

"My mission was tough but I think it built character. Just like you always told me. I'm glad I took the mission Dad" Ino said cheerfully. Even as Ino smiled Inoichi noticed that her eyes were sad.

"That's terrific Ino. Now I'm afraid I can't stay. I have a "meeting" with Chouza and Shikaku. Now I know you just got back home but could you go down stairs and manage the shop till I get back?" Inoichi asked.

"Dad, you still have your weekly "meetings"? Well since you asked nicely I'll open shop. Is my apron still in the same place?" Ino asked.

"Oh my darling girl I love you so much! I don't care if I'm ridiculed because I didn't have a boy! I love you so much. Shikaku and Chouza don't have such helpful children! I'm so proud of you!" Inoichi shouted as he picked Ino up and twirled her around.

"Dad put me down, dad I said put me down, DAD I SAID PUT ME DOWN! Thank you now go have fun with your friends. I'll take care of the shop" Ino said.

"My precious flower I'll be back soon, I promise!" Inoichi shouted as he darted down the stairs.

"I swear he has the maturity of a twelve year old," Ino said as she made her way down the stairs.

The smell of fragrant flowers invaded Ino's senses as she walked in to the store. Ino noticed that when her father had said he expanded the store he meant that he added an extra room for planning flower arrangements. The walls were painted pine green with white trim. White plush carpet covered the floor. Calla lilies were abundant around the room. Ino stepped back into the storeroom to get her apron.

"Shh, Ino everything will be alright" echoed in her mind.

"Don't think about it, just find your apron. Nothing will happen to you. No one is ever going to hurt me that way again" Ino thought as she maneuvered through the storeroom.

Finding her apron Ino quickly put it on and began taking out the displays. Since it was spring the displays were so colorful. Starting with the tulips Ino made the displays on the store counters and windows. After she finished the tulips Ino repeated the process with Irises. Then Ino moved on to Daffodils.

"Such a pretty flower should not mean unrequited love. I can relate though. Unfortunately my entire life has been filled with unrequited love" Ino mumbled.

Quickly finishing the displays Ino moved the sign so that it said open. Taking her seat behind the counter Ino flipped open a garden magazine that was lying on the counter. As soon as she flipped open the magazine Ino heard the sound of twinkling bells. Turning towards the door Ino saw a sight that almost killed her.

"Sakura we don't need flowers for the nursery. The twins aren't even born yet," a voice said.

a/n I know I'm mean to end the chapter that way but I will update soon I promise. I would like to know if anyone knows Ino's mother's name or if her mother is even alive. PLEASE REVIEW they compel me to write.