OMG!! It's the finale!! Yeah, it's a bittersweet thing. T.T Thank you to all the reviewers who have put up with my cliffhangers and everything else. xD Enjoy, and don't forget to review the last chapter. Love all of you guys!!
--Chapter Seven: Finale--
Ino looked at the reflection in the mirror before her. Her blonde hair was pulled back into a balled-up ponytail. There was no long bang covering her right eye today, nor was she wearing her usual purple outfit. Instead, she was wearing the perfect white wedding dress. Everything about her was flawless. That is everything but her heart.
A long sigh escaped Ino's slender lips. "So the day's finally here." Ino's fingertips rose to touch her mouth. "Sasuke… No! I can't think about him anymore. I'm marrying Gaara now. There's no backing down."
The Yamanaka then heard a knock at the door. "Ino! Open up!" A loud male voice reached the woman's ears.
"Naruto?" Ino walked towards the door and turned the door knob.
"Hey!" The Uzumaki quickly entered and indicated the blonde to close the door. "I have to talk to you now."
"I talked to him. I talked to Sasuke."
"What? What did he say?" Curiosity was burning in Ino's eyes. She strained to keep her voice quiet, fearing someone might hear them.
Naruto took a hint and lowered his voice as well. "Same stuff he said to you, but I can tell this wedding is killing him inside. Then I dared him to fight for you."
"Do you honesty think he's going to do it?"
"Well, we'll see."
"Naruto!" Ino gasped. "What about Gaara?"
"Ino, don't worry." The blue-eyed man tried to reassure the woman before him. "I talked to him. No, not about how you felt. I just made him remember that he'd do anything to make you happy."
Ino's heartbeats turned to their regular rhythm. With a smile, the Yamanaka lunged out to hug Naruto. "You're the best."
"Well duh. What world have you been in?" A bright smile appeared on both their faces.
"Time to get going, Naruto." The two blondes looked at the clock above the door. They took one last look at each other, stood up, and nodded.
Naruto left Ino alone once again. Ino rearranged herself and sighed. "C'mon, Sasuke." She walked out the door and walked to the front door of the church.
Ino was greeted by her father and Maids of Honor: Hinata, Sakura, and Temari. Then the music began, the cue indicating the wedding was starting.
The doors of the church opened broadly. Ino began to walk forward and took note of all the details before her. Just as she had planned, there were flowers everywhere. She loved the smell inside the church.
As she looked around, Ino saw the familiar faces of her friends. There was Shizune, many of her fellow jounin, Iruka-sensei, TenTen, Neji, Lee, and many other people. Each of them had their attention to her.
Finally Ino arrived to the front of the alter. Gaara took Ino from Inoichi and smirked right at her. Ino smiled as she walked with him. 'Maybe, I could be happy with him. I do love him.'
From her standing position, Ino smiled at Shikamaru and Chouji, who were standing behind Gaara. Next to them were Naruto, Kiba, and Kankuro. Ino then turned her head and noticed who was going to marry them—Tsunade.
"Well, if everyone would be quiet, we can start this wedding!" Tsunade bellowed.
"Lady Tsunade, can you hold that thought?"
"Chouji? What are you doing?" Ino whispered.
"What are you talking about, Akimichi?" Tsunade looked at him with questioning eyes.
"Troublesome. Lady Tsunade, we just need to talk to Ino for a minute." Shikamaru leaned forward to talk.
Gaara, who had been glaring at Chouji, now turned to Shikamaru. His glare was filled with a little bit of bewilderment. "Why?"
Ino looked into her best friends' pleading looks and sighed. She looked at Gaara and smiled. "This will only take a minute." Ino grabbed Shikamaru and Chouji by the hand, dragging them outside the church room. She closed the door behind her and stared at the two men.
"Ino. As troublesome as it is to say, you can't marry Gaara."
"Yeah, Ino. Shikamaru told me everything."
Ino crossed her arms under her chest and rolled her eyes. She just had to be close to her teammates. "I'm up there already. I can't just not marry him."
"Ino, listen to me." Shikamaru looked into Ino's face. "You don't love him."
"How many times have we heard you say you love Sasuke?" Chouji raised an eyebrow.
Ino looked at her old teammates and threw her arms around them. "I love you guys; but Gaara treats me right, you know. Let me just do this."
"I mean it." With a sad smile, Ino once again took hold of their hands and went inside. They traveled to the alter and resumed their places. "Please, begin." Ino told the Hokage.
Everyone's confusion disappeared when the ceremony began. Ino smiled at Gaara as Tsunade began to speak. Gaara smirked in returned.
The Lady Hokage finally came close to ending the ceremony. The only thing left was their "I do's."
"Gaara. Do you take Ino to be your wife?"
The Kazekage nodded slightly and said, "I do."
"Ino. Do you—."
Everyone's heads turned to the back of the church. Standing there was a raven-haired man. There were many gasps and words murmured at seeing the man. That man was none other than Sasuke Uchiha.
"Uchiha. You better have a good reason to interrupt this wedding." An agitated tone escaped Tsunade's eyes. For Kami-sama sakes! This was the second time someone interrupted her. Though she sounded angry, her eyes showed a tinge of humor. 'I knew this was going to be interesting. Where's a bottle of sake when you need one?'
"It is." Sasuke began to walk up down the aisle and stopped once he was in front of Ino. Obsidian eyes met cerulean ones. "Ino. You can't marry him."
Gaara began to move in front of the Yamanaka. His glare on Sasuke was intensifying by the second. But then, he felt a hand on his shoulder. "Remember what you said yesterday." It was by Naruto's voice that Gaara finally understood their previous conversation. Ino did love him, he knew that. But she loved the Uchiha more. The Kazekage sighed and nodded. 'I love you, Ino.'
Next to the red-head, Ino stood transfixed by Sasuke's gaze. 'This…this is all too much!' The blonde's eyes began to sting as she looked at Sasuke. All the memories of the missions they shared, their conversations, and the night they spent together were piling upon her head. But the most vivid memory was that of their passionate kiss. That's when the tears began to fall down Ino's pale complexion.
"Look. I lied. My revenge is important and being with you would ruin that, but that's not the reason why I said I can't be with you."
"Why then?" Ino's voice croaked. She didn't even bother wiping the tears away.
"I was afraid. Afraid of losing you. But I didn't that that by saying no, you'd end up marrying Gaara. Ino…don't marry him."
"Sasuke…I gave you a chance. You blew it."
"Stop lying to yourself. I know you. You still love me." Sasuke's stern tone shocked Ino. The Uchiha knew Ino inside and out after all the missions they had spent together. Of course no one knew that, especially not Ino. It was Sasuke's little secret.
Ino dropped to her knees and cried into her hands. She knew Sasuke was right, but she couldn't just leave. She had Gaara to think about. Dammit, he loved her and would give her the world. What was she to do? Suddenly, she felt a presence kneel before her.
"Ino. Go." A deep voice entered her ear. She knew that voice anywhere. It was Gaara.
"But what about you? I love you, too."
"You love Uchiha more." Gaara's eyes turned sad. "Go."
Ino looked into Gaara's eyes and smile. He returned to gesture and wiped away her tears. That was rewarded by Ino encircling her arms around his neck. She leaned forward and planted a small kiss on the Sabaku's lips. They embraced for a while, and Gaara took this chance to inhale her scent one last time. They slowly stood up and Ino caressed his cheek. "I love you."
"I love you, too." Gaara watched as the blonde walked towards Sasuke. "Take care of her or I'll kill you, Uchiha."
"I will." The dark-haired man nodded as he linked hands with the gorgeous blue-eyed blonde. "Let's go."
Ino nodded and left the church with Sasuke.
"Where are we going?" The Yamanaka finally asked.
"To the flower field." Sasuke said with a smirk.
"The flower field?" Ino curiously asked.
Sasuke said no more but stopped walking to pick Ino up bridal-style. They finally arrived and Sasuke set Ino down.
"You look beautiful." Sasuke said as he intertwined his fingers with those of Ino.
"Come here." Sasuke put his hands and Ino's waist and started to lean towards her face. Ino raised an eyebrow and Sasuke slowly chuckled. He crashed his lips onto Ino's—savoring their taste.
The Yamanaka felt immense joy overcome her. Ino's lips melded perfectly with Sasuke's; Sasuke then forced his tongue into Ino's mouth. He diligently explored the walls of her mouth. She tasted so sweet. Sasuke began to pull away but Ino wasn't going to let go of him that easily. As the Uchiha pulled away, Ino slowly bit his lower lip.
Now it was Sasuke's turn to raise an eyebrow. Ino merely smirked. "I missed you, Uchiha."
"It's Sasuke." The onyx-eyed man said.
"Oh, I'll show you whatever." Sasuke pulled Ino into a tight embrace and kissed her lips over and over again.
Ino laughed and said, "I love you, Sasuke."
"I love you, Yamanaka." Now Sasuke laughed as Ino gave him her look. "I mean, Ino."
"Much better." The two lied down on the flowers and smiled fondly towards one another. Ino rested her head on Sasuke's chest and sighed happily. "Much much better." They slowly closed their eyes and fell asleep. There was no point in worrying what the villagers were going to say later. They had each other and could easily take down anyone who got in their way.