A/N: OMG, I can't believe I actually finished this. I'm so happy! XD And it's all thanks to all my wonderful readers. Without your support and reviews I would have never come this far, you guys rock!
This last chapter was a pain in the ass to finish but somehow I did it. I'm sure it is easy to tell the parts where I was just like "screw this!". Yeah I had a lot of those moments -_-' But I finished and I'm oh so happy!
Thank you to all those who answered my question regarding the gender of Ino's baby. To see the winner, please read below ^-^
So here it is, the conclusion to Nine Months I hope you guys enjoy it!
Disclaimer: I hope to one day own the rights of Naruto, but until then I just own this story.
Uzumaki Ino shifted uncomfortably on the cold surface of the examining table she had been sitting on for over 15 minutes. The wait for the medical-ninja in charge of her was becoming unbearable and she felt if she had to sit in the room any longer, she would probably freeze. The only cover for her shivering body was a disgusting gray gown that unfortunately protected only the front, leaving her bottom exposed to the frigid temperature of the room. As if it was not cold enough outside.
Ino shifted once more, wishing she were back home on her overstuffed couch, a slice of chocolate cake to keep her company. Yes, back home where it was warm and cozy, unlike the room she was currently confined too.
With a sigh of frustration, Ino eased herself off the icy table, giving up on ever finding a comfortable position. She began pacing slowly around the small room, twiddling her fingers impatiently.
A visit to the hospital had not originally been on her agenda, but loneliness and anxiety had finally driven her out of the warm haven of her bed and she had made the agonizing trip through the snowy streets of Konoha.
The nurses had not been surprised to see her when she arrived, even though she had not called ahead. Ino had visited the hospital countless times during the last few weeks and they were used to her random arrivals. They were surprised however, to see she had come alone. No matter how busy, Naruto always accompanied his wife on her trips to the hospital. He could not always stay the whole visit, but he would always be sure to drop her off and then pick her up as soon as she was finished.
His devotion to his wife always made the nurses sigh in envy and curse their negligent boyfriends. So when Ino had walked through the double doors without her hyperactive and perpetually bouncy husband in tow, all work had been dropped and all stations abandoned as the nurses of Konoha General rushed to the blonde woman, advice, insults, and plenty of comfort prepared.
"Did he cheat on you? That bastard!" one nurse had cried, a short dark-haired woman.
"He chickened out, didn't he? Men have no backbone!" yelled another
"How did he pass? Was it peaceful?" added one of the male nurses
It had taken Ino several moments to calm down the gaggle of women and men that threatened to overwhelm her with their inquiries and opinions.
"No he did not cheat on me, he's too scared to, and no, he did not chicken out either. Considering the amount of S-rank missions he has done, this baby is hardly a scare. And no, he is not dead". Ino had pressed on as she saw the skepticism etched on many of the nurses faces.
"He's on a mission right now. A classified S-rank. He should be back any day now, so no worries". Ino had given a small smile, hoping to ease the worries and bring some peace to the atmosphere.
However, she had received just the opposite as the nurses broke out into a fresh wave of questions and angry statements.
"How long has he been gone?"
"Fuck that, the real question is how could he leave her like this?"
"I still think he ran away, why else take a mission when she's so close to her due date?"
"A suicide mission perhaps. In order to escape the terrors of fatherhood?"
Ino had groaned as a million and one theories regarding Naruto were presented, ranging from he ran away to he's having an affair, with a man.
The real reason for her husband's departure was a simple case of financial insurance. The Uzumakis had a relatively stable income (most of the time) and they enjoyed a comfortable lifestyle. However, with Ino on leave from work, there had been more pressure on the budget the past few months.
The baby was due soon and Ino wanted to make sure that they would be covered until she could start working once more. So when she had seen the payment for the S-rank mission, she had persuaded her husband to take it.
"I'm not so sure about this Ino-chan, "Naruto's face had been lined with worry, "I would hate to leave you at a time like this".
"Don't worry about me," Ino reassured him, "worry about yourself. This mission has a 40% survival rating".
"I can see why you're so eager to send me off then" he had replied dryly.
Ino encircled her arms around her husband, "Naruto, don't you know I have the utmost confidence in your ability to succeed? I never falter in my faith in you and my belief that you will come back home".
"And what about that day when I don't come back?" he had asked in all seriousness
"Then I'll just have to go out and drag your ass back home", she had replied in a just as serious manner.
The conversation had ended with laughter and the next morning Ino had happily waved off her husband.
She had not been able to sleep since. The babies kicking and her own fears had kept her up until the early hours of the morning when she would finally drift off, only to wake up one or two hours later, sweat-soaked and shaking.
Naruto was due back within the next two days and Ino eagerly awaited his return. Until then, she would have to occupy herself with tedious tasks in order to keep the depression at bay.
However, as she attempted to quiet the growing mob that surrounded her, she had wondered if coming to the hospital was such a good idea.
"What's going on here? Don't you people have jobs to be doing? This is a hospital and patients need attending!" A sharp voice had cut through the air and everyone including Ino had turned to face an angry Sakura.
"Oh Ino, it's you," said the medic-nin, once she spied her blonde friend. "Trust you to be the center of the disturbance, eh piggy?"
"Don't be so jealous forehead. Bitterness will only make those wrinkles develop faster", Ino had grinned wickedly as Sakura made her way towards her, the vast crowd that once surrounded her disappearing and people fled to the safety of their posts. The tension in the air was thick enough and the two best friends/rivals made the atmosphere almost unbearable with their challenging glares. No one wanted to be in the middle of that catfight.
"Wrinkles are easy to take care of. You should really do something about those fat ankles though". In the past, a comment such as that would have been an instant trigger to a full-scale battle that would last until chakra exhaustion took place or Naruto managed to pull the girls apart.
Ino had neither the energy nor the will to grind the pink-haired girl face into the dust. At least not until the pregnancy was over. For now, scathing comments would have to suffice.
"Don't worry, they'll be back to normal once I have the baby. I can't say the same about that blubber around your chin. Have you been packing away those cookies I sent you Saku-chan?" Ino loved watching the other girl's reaction. Sakura was as pink as her hair. The nurses and medical students cowered behind their desks as the Sannin's apprentice had drawn herself up to full height (an impressive 5' 3''!) ready to release and onslaught of insults.
But it never came. They had watched in horror as the two women dissolved into a fit of giggles and embraced like the best friends they were.
"I miss doing that", Sakura had said wiping her eyes.
"I know, but who has time for banter when 're all so busy". Ino had smiled sadly.
"We are desperately in need of a girl's night out. I should start planning one now". Sakura was all business as per usual, already checking off the list of bars they would hit.
Ino had rolled her eyes. "You do that. I'll be so tired after this baby I will probably fall asleep into my drink. Bar hopping with a woman suffering from post-partum depression! Wohoo!"
"Don't be so cynical Ino. Women with babies can still have fun. Now, what can I do for you?"
"I actually have an appointment with Aiko-san. Noon".
"That's perfect. You're room is on my way". They had linked arms as if they were 14 years old again, their voices echoing off the floors and ceilings of the hospital as the two friends made their way down the hallway.
Now Ino paced the dimly lit room she had been confined for the past hour and a half. She really should have just stayed home. Overdue by three days was really not a reason to come to the hospital, especially when it meant waiting and waiting and waiting...
Ino's pacing was interrupted as the door to her room banged open, flooding every corner with fresh light.
Watanabe Aiko was a petite woman who carried herself with a confidence that even Ino admired. The dark-haired woman had been specially assigned to her by Tsunade who was a great friend of the Uzumaki family. Aiko was the best medical ninja in her profession and Ino had come to adore her and her no-nonsense attitude.
"Everything seems to be normal Yamanaka-san," formal as always, Ino attempts to get the woman to call her by her first name were always in vain. "The baby should be arriving anytime within these next two weeks. If you have not delivered by the end of two weeks then please stop by and we will see if we can do anything. Any questions?"
Ino shook her head.
Aiko nodded and was already out the door before Ino could manage so much as a "How's your husband". Medical ninja never had time for small talk. They made you wait for hours on end and when they finally did come back, they were in and out in no less than 1 minute, no more than 5. Then they were off to their next patient.
With her own experience in the medical field, Ino knew how hectic the life was. She always admired Sakura for her devotion to it. Her life was no easier though. Depending on the individual, interrogations could take up to 48 hours. She had had some take a week. More, if they were dealing with a particularly closed mouthed criminal.
Although her job was nowhere near simple and it often required long hours, Ino missed it. She even missed Ibiki and that sardonic humor of his. Her anxiety to get back into active duty was another reason Ino could not wait until the pregnancy was over. She had already decided that she would hassle Tsunade for an A-rank mission the first chance she got. That would be great start on the agonizing path to losing the baby weight.
Sighing in relief, Ino quickly shed the hideous hospital gown and threw on her own equally hideous-but-more-colorful maternity clothes.
'I'm so going to burn these when this is all over', she thought to herself and she pulled the purple blouse over her swollen stomach.
She collected her belongings and started down the hallway towards the lobby. She waved to Sakura as she passed by the room where her friend was currently examining what looked like a nasty foot fungus. Ino giggled as Sakura made a disgusted look over her shoulder.
She paid her bill at the front desk and barely made it through the front doors. The nurses were back and they tried to cram in last minute advice as Ino tried to make her escape.
"He doesn't deserve you! Single moms are the hottest!"
"If he doesn't want you, I'll take you!"
Ino gave them all a quick smile and a small wave before ducking through the double doors. They were only looking out for her and she truly appreciated their concern but sometimes the nurses really got out of hand. She would have to tell Tsunade to give them more to do. Obviously they had too much time on their hands now.
Ino trudged down the road, truly unsure of her next destination. Home was out of the question, it was much too dull there without Naruto. Sakura was working and the rest of the girls were off on missions. She paused to contemplate her next step.
It was snowing again and Ino found the falling white flakes thoroughly distracting. All around her it seemed the rest of Konoha was enjoying the strange weather. Being only three days from Suna, Konoha had generally mild weather. It got a little chilly in the winter but snow was a rare site indeed.
Ino mused over any hidden meanings and scowled at the fact that she would be giving birth during such horrid weather. Being the flower lover she was, winter was definitely her least favorite season. It depressed to see the whole earth so dead like and cold. At least there was always spring to look forward to.
Ino ducked, narrowly missing a snowball that would have hit her head. Thanking her ninja skills, she whirled around and shot her best glare at the genin who had thrown the offending object. The poor boy blushed darkly under her fierce gaze and muttered a quick apology before taking off after his friends.
Once they had disappeared around the corner, Ino allowed herself a small smile. Pregnancy had truly made her a bitter person. Yet another reason why she couldn't wait to get the goddamn thing over with.
Grumbling to herself, she continued on her way. As she reached the end of the street, Ino suddenly knew where she would go. Chuckling she made a left; there was a certain lazy ninja who she knew was home and would just love to have her company.
Shikamaru groaned as the pounding on his door, and Ino's voice, got louder. He knew it was only a matter of time before she knocked the whole structure down. Then I'd have to get a new door. That would be so troublesome...
With a deep sigh, he heaved himself off the couch where he had been laying most of the day. It was the best place to watch the snow falling from the window. Falling snow was almost as good as floating clouds. Shikamaru could watch for hours.
"I know you're there Shikamaru! Do you really think you can ignore me forever? I can and I will stand here all day!"
Shikamaru opened the door as Ino drew her fist back for another good knock on the door. She smiled as she saw the irritated look on her friends face.
"Well, it's about time!" She pushed past him, not waiting for an invitation inside.
"So troublesome..." Shikamaru groaned as he closed the front door.
"What was that?" Ino yelled from the kitchen.
"Nothing, nothing". Shikamaru smirked to himself. Things were always more interesting, if more chaotic, when Ino was around.
He entered to kitchen to find his friend already settled in. A pot of water was on the stove and the ingredients for tea were already laid out.
"You sure know how to make yourself at home".
Ino waved off his comment with a simple gesture. "Yeah, yeah, whatever. So where's Temari?"
Shikamaru sat in the chair opposite her and laid his head on the table. "She's visiting her brothers back home. You know how she feels about this weather".
Ino nodded. At least she could tolerate the frigid temperatures. The Suna princess had been racked by sniffles and a horrible cold since the snow had started. Ino did not blame her for retreating to warmer climates.
"Then we're both alone. Yeah! We can bond over our loneliness!" Ino laughed cheerfully at Shikamaru's unenthusiastic expression.
"You are seriously the worst company ever you know that?" Ino poked his head as he laid it back on the table.
"Then why do you always come back to bug me?" the lazy Nin muttered.
"Because I know you secretly love it and your fun to annoy".
For the next hour the two friends chatted casually. Well it was mostly Ino doing the chatting with a few murmured comments by Shikamaru. A stranger would be confused at this seemingly dull exchange, but anyone who knew the two would know that this was just how they communicated.
There were not many people Shikamaru would relinquish a day of snow watching for. Ino was special. Although he would never admit how much he enjoyed the cheerful blondes company, fearing that would just make her more inclined to frequently harass him.
As Ino was complaining about the loss of her walk-in closet due to baby renovations, there was a frantic knock at the door.
Ino scowled at being interrupted and Shikamaru groaned at being once more disturbed on what was supposed to be a peaceful day.
When he opened the door he was shocked to find a frantic Naruto fidgeting on his doorstep.
"What are you doing here", he asked without thinking. Duh, he's probably looking for Ino. But it's too troublesome to say that now...
"Shikamaru, Ino's disappeared! I can't find her anywhere. Sakura-chan said she left the hospital right after her appointment but now she's gone! Do you know where she is?"
Naruto was a pathetic site. In his haste to find his beloved, he had forgotten his jacket and now stood shivering, his hands rapidly rubbing his arms to keep warm.
Shikamaru rolled his eyes, wondering why he even called these people his friends. No one had any common sense anymore.
"Come inside...before you freeze to death in front of my house. That would be so troublesome..."
Naruto bounced in in a manner that made the genius ninja's eye twitch. He had to cover his ears when he heard the overly hyperactive blonde squeal in delight.
Ino looked up from her cold tea only to be assaulted by a blonde blur that was her husband.
"Whaa? Naruto? What are you doing here? What about your mission". Ino gasped as she tried to push away the large mass that threatened to smother her.
"I finished early. S-rank my ass, that mission was hardly worth a B-ranking. But I couldn't wait to see you again Ino-chan!" Naruto continued to smother his wife with kisses, oblivious to her frantic attempts to wiggle out of his iron hold.
'N-Naruto, I love you but if you don't stop squeezing me, I'm going to asphyxiate". Naruto instantly pulled away, allowing Ino to draw in a much need lungful of air.
"Sorry about that Ino-chan", Naruto smiled sheepishly, rubbing the back of his head.
Ino glared at him and he tensed up, fearing a verbal/physical assault. However, her frown quickly dissolved into a bright smile and she enveloped her husband in a hug.
"I'm glad your back Naruto, I missed you too", she whispered in his ear.
Perhaps it was the loss of precious snow watching time, or perhaps even a tinge of jealously, but the sight of the couple that looked just oh-so deeply in love, made Shikamaru roll his eyes and scoff is disgust.
"I'm glad you two are happy to see each other but don't forget there is another person in the vicinity. Please take your affections elsewhere".
Ino made a face. "Oh Shika, you're so bitter. I do not know how Temari stands it".
"You can ask her next time you see her", Shikamaru replied dryly, "Now if you don't mind..."
"Fine, we get it!" Ino huffed gathering her bags, "Come on Naruto, let's leave pineapple head to wallow in his loneliness". She grabbed her coat and marched out the door.
Naruto shot his friend an apologetic grin and said, "It's the hormones".
"Are you sure? Hasn't she always been like that?" Shikamaru smirked.
Naruto chuckled lightly and opened his mouth to say something but was interrupted by Ino's shrill scream from the front of the house.
"Naruto! I said let's go! I'm freezing here!"
"C-coming Ino-chan!" With a quick wave, Naruto dashed out of the house. Shikamaru winced at the sound of the door slamming behind him.
He sighed and shook is head. Then he returned to his spot on the couch and contently watched the snowflakes drift silently down from the sky.
Finally, peace and quiet...
Ino gave the half-empty carton of ice cream a last mournful look before dropping it into the wastebasket. The "thud" made by the carton as it struck the bottom sent an ache through Ino's body. Sighing she closed the lid of the wastebasket and returned to her previous spot on the couch.
Although she would have liked nothing more than to indulge in the sweet treat, Ino's lack of an appetite had made it difficult to consume the ice cream. She could only make it halfway until nausea threatened to overcome her and she was forced to get rid of the chocolate delight.
She had not been plagued with morning sickness since the end of the third month, but in the past three days since she had left the hospital, she had had headaches, back pain, and fatigue. Although these ailments were nothing new, they brought on a wave of depression that Ino could not control.
Her father said she was just anxious, Sakura teased her about being scared, and Naruto assured her that all new mothers probably felt that way. Whatever the reason, it did not change the fact that Ino would have liked nothing more than to crawl under a rock and sleep forever.
Nine months! Nine long months of cravings, cramps, irritability, moodiness, sickness, and weight. Lots of weight. And with the end so close Ino did not know whether to jump for joy or cry. Her emotions swirled in her and she wondered if she would ever be in control again.
Just as she felt the first tears leaking from her eyes, the front door slammed open and she quickly wiped them away with the back of her hand.
"Ino-chan! I'm back!" Just the sound of Naruto's voice lifted Ino's mood. She quickly pinched her cheeks to give them color and with a grunt, she hefted herself off the couch.
"Were you able to get it?" she asked as Naruto dumped the bags that he had been carrying on the floor.
"Yep, we were really lucky; this was the last one in stock. I never knew they were in such high demand". He handed her a package that was wrapped securely in brown paper.
"Me either, "she replied, carefully peeling off the paper, "I had one as a kid and it never appeared valuable to me. If I had known, I would have been more upset when I broke it".
She ripped off the last of the brown paper and smiled in delight at the tiny box in her hand. Expertly crafted from fine porcelain, the box was covered with a beautiful rose design. Rose vines were carved into the sides and the latch in the front was rose in full bloom.
Ino carefully lifted the latch and the small apartment was filled with a light, tinkling melody. In the box, a rotating platform depicted two figures, a boy and a girl. The red-cheeked boy was presenting a flower to the bashful golden haired girl who had a hand out to accept it. The two figures spun in happiness to the lovely melody that flowed out the music box.
"It's beautiful", Ino said dreamily, her body swaying slightly to the music.
"I'm glad you like it", Naruto grinned, happy to see his wife out of her gloomy mood.
"It's just like the one I had. It'll be perfect for the baby". Ino smiled and closed the music box. The music ended but its melody still rung in their ears.
"Speaking of baby, how are you feeling?". Naruto picked up the rest of the bags and began arranging a variety of groceries onto the kitchen table.
"Tired and cranky, as per usual", Ino grumbled carrying the music box to the nursery.
Once she returned she examined the items on the table, ensuring Naruto had picked up all the things on her list.
"Have you come up with a name yet?" Naruto voiced came from the cupboard where he was digging for a snack.
"I was going over a few, but I'll make my final decision once we know if it is a boy or a girl". Ino began arranging the groceries into their appropriate locations.
"I still say girl," Naruto said sitting down at the table, a box of miso ramen in hand.
"Then I still say boy" Ino replied.
"Yep, that's right"
"Damn you!" Naruto scowled at his wife's triumphant face, "You never fall for it!"
Ino laughed and ran her hand through Naruto's hair, mussing up the golden locks. "Cause I'm smarter than you Naruto-kun".
He huffed and busied himself with preparing his meal. Ino grinned and began tidying up the kitchen. As she reached for a rag on the top shelf of a cabinet, a sharp pain assaulted her stomach. She let out a small cry and let her arm fall.
"Are you okay Ino-chan?" Naruto was by her side, supporting her as knees threatened to buckle.
"Y-yeah. Just a contraction. Don't worry; I've been getting them all the time these days. I'll be fine". Ino straightened up as her breathing returned to normal.
Naruto's face was still pale and worried. "Are you sure you don't want to go to the hospital? It could be time..."
"No, no. I'm fine, I'm-" She winced as she was hit by another wave of contractions. She gasped at the short interval between them.
"Ino-chan!" Naruto was as pale as Sai, his eyes full of fear and worry.
"I'm fine! It's just, it's just...well, um, my water broke this morning and-"
"What?" Ino winced as Naruto's voice thundered through the apartment. "And you didn't say anything?"
"I didn't think it was such a big deal! The baby books say that labor could be hours, even days away! I was just at the hospital three days ago and I didn't want to go back if it wasn't important..." Ino's voice dropped to barely a whisper as she shrunk from the wave of anger that radiated from her husband.
Naruto's face was bright red and his blue eyes were blazing. From where Ino was, they almost seemed red.
"Not a big DEAL?" Naruto yelled, "Ino, I think going into labor is a BIG deal! We're going to the hospital, NOW."
"Naruto, come on, let's just wait a couple hours-"
Ino immediately gave up fighting back. Naruto did not often get this way, but she knew than his anger was dangerous and it was best when she just went along.
"Fine, fine". Ignoring the pain in her body, Ino walked to her room and gathered her things. Her fuming husband was waiting for her when she returned. She glared at him as he opened the door for her.
"If we get sent home, I am going to be so pissed".
She could hear the sound of the nurse's voice in her ear. She wasn't sure what she was saying but it sounded somewhere along the lines of "you're going to be alright". Ino resisted the urge to strangle the woman because she definitely did NOT feel all right.
Oh the pain, it was there again. Ino tried to steel herself against it but it shattered all her barriers. Finally, she succumbed to it, a scream flying out of her mouth.
It was so hot, she was burning. She couldn't tell where she was, it was light then dark then light again.
"Someone stop playing with the lights," she murmured. Ah, the pain was going to drive her insane. It hit her repeatedly until as one point she was sure she was dead.
Disembodied hands flew in and out of her distorted vision and snatches of conversation flew into her pounding ears.
"...just in time...any longer...too late...no time for prep...now". Somewhere in all the jumbled conversation, she heard Naruto's voice and she clung to it for dear life.
"Everything's going to be fine Ino-chan. I'm here".
There was water on her cheeks and she knew she was crying. Oh, she was going to die, she was going to die.
More pain, more screaming, more pain, pain, pain!
Until relief and she felt as if she was floating away, light as those clouds Shikamaru loved to watch.
And somewhere in all the peace, there was the sound of cry, and she knew she had been successful.
"I think an 'I told you so' is in order", Naruto grinned smugly at his wife.
"Oh shut it, you'll wake her up". Ino brought the tightly wrapped bundle closer to her and peered at her daughter's face.
She looked like Ino but underneath her sleeping lids, her eyes were same color as her fathers. At the moment they were unsure whether the short wispy blonde hair that adorned her head would remain its pale color or become more yellow as she grew up. To Ino, she was perfect.
"She really is something," Naruto whispered.
Both parents gazed in silent awe at their daughter until they were interrupted by the sound of an argument in the hallway.
"I'm sorry Haruno-san but at this time I cannot permit you to enter. Hospital rules". Came the voice of the attending nurse.
"Hospital rules my ass, I practically run this place! Now let me through!" Sakura's voice had reached a dangerous level and Ino felt sorry for the poor nurse that had to deal with her.
"Please Haruno-san, perhaps tomorrow-"
"What's with all this noise?" Ino's eyebrows shot up at the sound of the third voice.
"Tsunade-sama! What are you doing here?
"I heard the brat became a father and I decided to check out the child myself. Now out of the way".
The door to the hospital room flew open to reveal a grinning (and thankfully sober) Tsunade and a still fuming Sakura. The nurse glared at the pair but she valued her life and kept quiet. She shut the door quietly behind the two women.
"Really forehead, making such a racket, have you no respect for your patients?" Ino quipped once they were alone.
"Right now, no", Sakura bounded happily over to her friends bed. A small gasp left her lips when she saw the baby. "Oh Ino, she's beautiful". Sakura looked back at her friend, "Are you sure she's yours?"
"Very funny forehead".
"Well congratulations brat, I never knew you had it in you!" Tsunade walked over to Naruto and gave him a cheerful pat on the back, causing him to fall to the floor.
"Uh, thanks baa-chan, I think..."
"Can I hold her?" Sakura asked softly. Ino nodded and placed the baby delicately in her friend's arms. She had never seen Sakura look so scared. It made her smile at the clumsy manner the medical-nin held the baby.
"What's her name?" the pink haired girl asked, still enchanted by the sleeping bundle in her arms.
"Nami "(1) Naruto replied, picking himself up from the ground.
"That means 'wave', doesn't it?" Sakura asked, finally looking up.
"Yes, we thought it would be most suitable". Ino said. Sakura nodded in approval.
"Uzumaki Nami, I like that. No doubt she'll be a trouble maker like her parents," Tsunade said, taking the baby from Sakura, who appeared as if she might start crying.
"You mean like her father, I'm the good one" Ino defended herself.
"Hardly piggy. Although she might look like you, let's hope she doesn't have your attitude". Sakura grinned at her friend, further infuriating her.
"And what attitude is that, forehead?". Before Sakura could reply, the door opened and the angry nurse stepped in.
"I'm sorry Haruno-san, Hokage-sama, but visiting hours are over and we must ask you to leave". The woman looked anything but sorry and matched Sakura's glare with her own.
As Sakura opened her mouth to challenge her, Tsunade silenced her with a gesture.
"Yes, yes, we'll be out in a minute. I have to be getting back to my office anyway". The Hokage passed the baby to her father and after congratulating the couple once more, exited the room, a reluctant Sakura in tow.
Once the door closed, the new parents sighed. Ino slumped back onto her hospital bed, her body weary. A good rest was in order.
"Those two..." Naruto muttered.
Tsunade and Sakura proved to be the least of their troubles. Within the next few days, the hospital room was a bustling center of activity. Flowers and gifts arrived daily and visitors were a constant sight. It seemed the whole village wanted a glimpse of the daughter of the nine-tailed fox. Ino felt as if a 'fast-forward' button had been pushed on her life and everything was moving agonizingly fast.
It didn't stop after they left the hospital either. For the next few weeks, Ino hardly slept. During the day, there was housework to be done, the baby to feed, clothes to be washed, diapers to be changed, and a large amount of visitors to endure.
Sakura was one of the more constant ones. The medical-nin stopped by at every chance she had to play with the baby. During her third visit in one day, Ino swore to ban her forever from their house if she didn't stay away for at least 24 hours.
Inochi was ever worse. Ino had always thought his protective nature was smothering when she was young but now it had morphed to a new level of paranoia. Her father insisted on being around at all times and at one point threatened to move in with them. No visitor could pass through the door without him launching a full-scale interrogation. It was only Ino's pleas that kept him from examining the inner workings of the minds of everyone who walked through the door. And unlike Sakura, Ino could not so easily ban him from the apartment.
Despite being constantly swept away by the blur that was her life, there were a few moment that Ino had to sit back and appreciate what she had.
She stood in front of the mirror ( they had finally taken the covers off) one morning and examined herself from all angles. This must be some sort of record of something, she thought to herself.
It had been six weeks since Nami's birth and Ino had successfully managed to take off every inch of baby weight; even her ankles had returned to normal. In truth, it had not been that difficult. She had spent the last few weeks on her feet and she certainly missed a good meal or two some days, but it was worth it. She had the most beautiful daughter in all of Konoha as well as the most wonderful husband.
Naruto deserved a gold star for all the chaos he had been put through. Not only was he forced to tackle diaper duty and late-night feedings, but Ino's lack of sleep made her extra-violent, resulting in quite a few bruises and broken bones.
They had both persevered and now the rush that had been with them since they left the hospital was beginning to die down. Nami was sleeping longer hours and Ino had slowly been returning to her training. She would ask Tsunade for a mission within the next few weeks, but for now, everything was somewhat peaceful.
Ino spun around in front of the mirror, smiling in joy and glad to be back to the size of pants she was most comfortable in. Instead of burning all her maternity clothes, she had stuffed them all in Sakura's closet. She had gotten a good laugh when the pick haired girl had knocked on her door, Ino's oversized blouse in her hand.
"Keep it forehead, I think it fits you better than me" Ino had laughed so hard tears had sprung to her eyes. She had laughed even harder as Sakura has launched into a fit of curses.
Ino stopped spinning and placed a hand to her ear, listenining. Everything was silent. For once the sound of crying did not echo in every corner of the apartment. Ino's heart swelled in delight.
"Good, that's how it-"
"Ino-chaaannnn!" Naruto wailed from the living room, his cry mixed in with that of the baby's.
"Baka! What did you do now?" Ino growled, marching out of the bedroom, fist positioned for a blow.
"It wasn't my fault!"
And so ends month nine.
A/N: (1) Thank you CelticReaper for this name. It was so cute, I fell in love with it ^-^
Edit 1: I forgot to include this the first time I posted this chapter. I used information from the book The Breakable Vow by Kathryn Ann Clarke when I was writing this story, mostly in the last chapter. It gave me information regarding the whole labor thing and after effects and such. So yeah I just wanted to make sure I added this :)
Wow, I can't believe it's all over. I'm a bit worried about the ending though. I hope it's not abrupt. I wanted to end on a funny note :)
I truly enjoyed working on this story and I'm sad that it has come to an end T.T
A big thank you to all those who made this story great. That means you my lovely reviwers. And of course a big thank you for everyone who put this on their favorites/subscribed to it. And of course a big thank you to all those lurkers out there. I LOVE YOU!