His love saved her and hers healed him. He helped her to see it was aright to love again. She taught him how to feel simple joy in life again. SasuIno

Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto.

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Ino stood in front of the entrance gates towering above her. When she used to stare at it before, the image of her dead loved ones always managed to move her to tears. Now, when she stared at it, she felt nothing. Pushing open the gates, she strolled down the streets, immersed in her own thoughts.

Everything had changed when Asuma sensei died. There was no one to believe in her anymore. She was once again the useless damsel in distress. Things only worsened when her father, the only source of happiness she had left, was brutally killed. She had put her pride on the line and begged, fallen on her knees to at least have a grave for him. But, no, they couldn't, didn't. The rage and grief, the guilt ate away at her until she had nothing left but the mere shell of former self. Nothing but a façade; a lie.

To kill the pain she threw herself at nameless strangers. One for every night. It didn't matter to them that every time she came another's name left her lips. She was deemed as one of the sexiest woman in Konoha after all. She hated, hated the looks they cast on her. She didn't need their goddamn pity. Every time she heard the hushed whispers behind her back it was just another stab at her heart. It didn't matter at all.

She'd never shed a tear for anyone. .

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"Hey Ino!" Sakura shouted, her voice radiating with happiness. Beside her was an equally happy Naruto. As Ino stared at them, the pain she worked so hard to bury started to spread through her veins. How dare she? How dare she show her face? How could she? Not when she herself was so miserable and she was damn happy. What did she lose? What did she know? Would she ever feel the pain she was feeling now? Even as she forced her lips to curve into a sickly sweet smile, her finger were curling into tight fists.

"Sasuke was released today. Do you want to go and see him?"

"No." She replied curtly and whipped around. As she walked away, their loud chattering and laughter echoed back at her. It was the most awful thing she heard.

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For some reason Ino found herself in the barbeque stand she used to go to with her Genin team. Perhaps it was the sweet memories that lingered here.

'Asuma-sensei…..'

She was ever so surprised when she felt someone slide into the seat across her. 'Well, speak of the devil.' Smirking slightly she eyed the Uchiha in front of her and raised an eyebrow in question.

"What? I'd rather sit with you then with Naruto." He snapped, annoyed with her stare. He had enough today to last a lifetime. When she heard Naruto's voice echo in the restaurant, she couldn't help but inwardly groan.

"Likewise Uchiha." She spat in the most venomous tone she could manage. Her anger only increased when she saw his eyes widen in disbelieve. How dare he label her as a useless fan girl? Did he expect her to melt at his feet just because he had spoken to her?

The silence between them stretched and the more Sasuke studied the blonde in front of him, he began to realise the shocking similarities between them.

"Yamanaka…" He trailed off unsure if he should continue. She wanted to ignore him but the emotions mixed in his voice stirred her curiosity.

"Yes Uchiha-kun?" Her sugar-coated words made him cringe inside. But he refused to back down.

"I…I understand." The words were said so softly she barely caught it. Memories of a distraught Sakura crying surfaced in her mind.

"You asshole! What do you understand? You had every single fucking thing. Respect, Love, Friends and everybody were willing to fall on your feet but you turned your back on us. What the hell do you understand?" She hissed. The tears she ruthlessly held back burned the back of her eyelids.

If he was shocked by her outburst, it didn't show. "You're right. But I just wanted to say I understand what it's like to have everything and then lose it all. I understand how one day you are so confident and the next you have no more purpose in life." The tears slipped one by one past her cheeks. Strange, she had always felt humiliated crying when others were present but crying in front of him made her feel human; normal.

She didn't bother to look up when he got up. She didn't want anything to with the Uchiha. But she felt compelled to spend more time with him especially when he hit the home of her problems.

"Sasuke….The flower shop opens at 7 every day." It was a small invitation. If he declined, she will simply go back to her life. If he agreed they would spend some time together.

"I'm an early-riser." She smiled at his reply. No one had quite replied to her invitations like that. It was…Interesting.

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Sasuke was amazed at the change in Ino when she was around flowers. It the one thing she understood best and it gave her a sense of comfort. His whole morning was spent trying to get the meanings of different flowers right. Did he have any comfort? Training usually helped him take his mind off things. Ino had showed him her world of pleasure so it was only right that he invited her to his. And that was the only reason he invited her to train with him. That was the only reason. It was not the fact that he enjoyed hearing her laugh, a soft, rich sound that skimmed his skin and it was not how he enjoyed her presence, her company, and it was not the fact that he felt they were connected somehow.

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Ino hated these kinds of missions. How she envied Hinata and Sakura who had protection from their clan and the Hokage herself. She shuddered inwardly as she remembered the lecherous old bastard's hand trailing up her body.

Sasuke was already standing at her doorstep waiting. She could see the anger swirling in his eyes. He had almost shouted at the Hokage for giving her such a mission and she was truly touched by his over-protectiveness. The anger in his eyes changed into concern that moved something deep within her. Tears gathered in her eyes and she shook her head to ward off any questions. But he couldn't let her go like this. Grabbing her elbow, he whirled her around and kissed her, hard. It was brutal and hungry. She stiffened under him and he immediately pulled away astonished at his lack of control. Even as he opened his mouth to spew out an apology, she grasped his shirt and fused their mouths together. "Take me," she gasped out, "Wash away the feel of his hands."

That was all he needed. Kicking the door open he carried her to the bedroom. Bracing her against the door jamb he crushed his lips to hers and took the kiss many layers deep until her moan echoed his. "Slow down." Her whisper was barely heard over their ragged breaths.

"Why?" He smirked. "Too much for you?"

"Because, you egoistical pig, I want you to take time to take me, touch me and savour me. Appreciate me for who I am." Her quiet request had him slowing down. If that was what she wanted, he would give it to her. Sighing, Ino let herself sink into comfort.

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He knew he shouldn't. But he couldn't do anything about it. It was wrong. It was wrong to fall in love with her. It was wrong to be in love with her. But he'd already gone and done that. Broken her first rule: No commitment and no attachment. Glancing at the blonde sleeping peacefully beside him his heart did a long slow tumble. Oh dear, he was hopelessly in love with her and there was nothing he could do about it.

When he woke she was usually up and about already. Often he caught her coming out of the bathroom towelling her glorious, blonde hair that fell in a long sweep down a back and framed her face. That was the sight he woke up to the next morning. As he stared at her the words just slipped. "I love you." She whipped around to stare at him. Before he knew it she was already out of the door and possibly out of his life.

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Almost two weeks had passed and Sasuke and Ino were beginning to feel the pinch of the absence of their regular meetings. He just had to say it didn't he? Ino sighed as she made her way to Hokage tower. Training with Sasuke had improved her skills greatly. People began to see her in a different light. She really ought to thank Sasuke. He often gave her tips and corrected her flaws. She felt comfortable around him. In turn she helped him with social life by teaching him how to approach people and she also taught him about meditating and the importance of the mind. You can't just fight with your body, your strengths. You have to fight with your brains and your mind as well.

"Hokage-sama, you called for me?"

"Yes. I have a mission for you. You will be going with a partner. The mission is pretty simple. You are to track this C-class criminal and kill him. You will have a partner to assist you in this mission." She was about to ask who her partner was when the doorknob turned. Her breath hitched in her throat as she met Sasuke's eyes. To ease the tension building around them, she tore her eyes away from his.

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It was surprisingly easy to track him down. It was really a wonder how they could label him as a C-class criminal. A million thoughts crossed Ino's mind as she sat crossed legged in the room they had rented at a Hotel Inn. It was more convenient and less suspicious to choose a room for married couples.

"Sasuke." It was scary how his name which sounded so foreign a few weeks ago now slipped past her lips so effortlessly, fluidly. He turned to her with a raised brow.

"You're talking to me again?" She deliberately chose to ignore that and continued with her question.

"Why did you defend me? When the man said those…things about me you should not have come to defence. He…he was right…I am a whore."

"Never degrade yourself that way. If those things were true, what does that make me? A monster?" The bitterness in voice shocked her. He looked away. "I've done some…undesirable things...Things I can't take back…"

The mask slipped and Ino saw the lost little boy inside him. The side of him he kept locked away. 'Oh Sasuke…' Enveloping him in her embrace she whispered soft sweet little nothings in his ear to ease the pain. Why did it feel as if her own heart was breaking when she felt his tears on her shoulders?

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"Sakura?" The pink-haired girl turned around. It had been a while since Ino had spoken to her. There must be something wrong.

"Oh, Hi Ino. Is there something you want to talk about?" Ino walked up and slumped into the seat beside her. She honestly didn't expect to see her at the bar today. Usually she went to either Shikamaru or Choji for help. But this time she was forced to admit she wanted a woman's shoulder. Sakura was better than nothing.

"Did you hear what they are saying?" Squeezing her eyes shut to ignore the growing headache she ploughed on. "They have started to call him a man-whore. Because of me. I'm ruining his reputation and the name he worked so hard to achieve. It's all going to crumble because of me."

"Who cares about what they think? This is not the Ino I know."

"Sakura…I think I'm in love with him. And I don't know what to do about it."

'So, that's the problem.' Sakura shook her head. "You will do the right thing."

"He has to go. I won't make him throw away his dreams." Because she trusted Ino, Sakura gently placed her hand over her, offering a reassuring squeeze, felt the pulse of love and fear. Her own heart ached with sympathy.

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When she knocked on his front door he looked slightly surprised. Walking past him she headed straight to the kitchen. The smell of coffee tickled her senses. "Want some?" He asked offering a mug to her. Accepting it without a word she proceeded to do what she had planned the entire night yesterday.

"Listen, Sasuke. I know it's been fun and all. We had some really great times but I really think it's time for us, for me to move on." She paused to watch his reaction. He looked mildly interested.

"Okay, let's move on." She could feel her heart cracking at his simple response. Hadn't she meant anything to him at all?

"Figured you for the reasonable type. Probably why you are not my type." It came out a little sharper than necessary. But she couldn't help herself.

He moved so fast she only saw an after-image. His mouth was hot and demanding against hers. Mildly interested? Had she thought he was mildly interested? "Hands Off!"

"Why are you lying to lie to me?" He backed her up roughly against the refrigerator.

"Why are you trying to hurt me?" It did hurt, a sharp pull at her his heart and a dull throbbing pain that flooded his senses.

"I am not trying to hurt you. But if you don't let go I will hurt you."

"No. I can't let you go. Tell me why."

Her temper and patience snapped. "Because I'm in love with you, moron!" He starred at her, stunned. Pleasure trickled through him.

"Well, you idiot, I'm in love with you too."

"Did you hear what people are saying about us? The whore and their precious Uchiha! "

"I don't care what they say. We are all that matters." He lilted their intertwined hands and pressed a kiss to each of her knuckles.

"Don't make me cry. I hate that."

"Let me court you Ino." Her lips curved into a smile.

"No. Marry me."

"Even better."

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Finally! It took me a while to complete this so I really hope you like it!! Please review, your comments and feedback are greatly appreciated. Actually I wanted Sasuke to die when Ino realised her feelings form him but SasuIno deserves a happy ending. I know the ending is a little abrupt. But hell, I really wanted to finish this and I couldn't think of any other endings.