A Dream Date

One-shot

If I owned Naruto I'd get better English voice actors.

A pink-haired figure raced through the village. A pale hand flew up, framing the back of a tall young man.

"Lee! Lee, wait up!"

The teenaged ninja turned. "Yes, Sakura?" (My angel?)

She was flushed, a delicate pink of exertion and embarrassment tinting white cheeks. "I was…um…I was wondering…," she looked up into his face "…if, maybe, you'd like to go on a date today?"

Lee almost fainted.

Minutes later, the boy was in heaven, his hand clasped in hers as they walked the streets. (It's wonderful…but….there's something….off…)

All doubts vanished as that sweet face directed a near blinding smile to his eyes.

Despite his joy, as their date progressed, Lee's feeling of wrongness followed suit. Even his ecstasy at having the joy of his heart by his side for almost six hours – as they hit the ramen shop, the park, movies, and even the florists' – was beginning to fade. It wasn't that she was only fit to worship from afar, it was….it was….

It wasn't that almost all the others had gone out for various reasons either, that the village was bereft of anyone that might embarrass his love over their tryst. Not even Ino, come to think of it, who was still here…

The sun was beginning to set – he would have shown her, but there was nowhere in the village clear enough to watch it, and all the best places would take too long to reach. Instead, they'd gone to the playground – her on the swings, rocking slowly and dragging her toe in the dirt, he on a bench across from her, watching her with a mild expression.

She looked…not uncomfortable, but upset. No, more…sad. He ached to wipe the sorrow from her guise, but he had a feeling something was about to happen.

He wasn't wrong.

"Lee?" He looked up.

"Yes?" She turned her face away, a little to the left. Lee was suddenly reminded of the lesson saying when someone shielded their left side, they shielded their emotions…

"I…I'm not…" She looked into his adoring eyes and sighed.

"I'm not Sakura." She met his eyes once more – and looked away even faster.

"I'm…I'm Ino. I'm possessing Sakura's body."

"Why?"

Her head jerked to look at him this time. A simple, quiet word…

"Was it to embarrass Sakura?"

"No! It was…"

Another sigh. "I truly enjoyed our time together. That was the whole point. I couldn't…I wasn't brave enough to ask you up front."

She'd stopped swinging by now, sat more rigidly and spoke with more strength. "Sakura had figured out by now. How when I said I loved Sasuke…I lied. She realized how perfect today would be – almost no one around to begin with, and part of it was I promised to set people straight if anyone asked – I would, like you said, pretend I possessed her to embarrass her." She chuckled. "She offered to give me a few bruises to make it look convincing."

"But…I knew there was something wrong, but you acted so much like HER…."

"That was part of it. She drove most of the time; only when interacting with you, talking with you, walking with…" she blushed "…um…that's when I was in control. And we stopped in front of my place a few times so I could switch back and take care of myself – straight view from the window and all…"

She looked down again. "Plus, I…I wasn't sure you'd accept if I asked you…I know my personality's kind of bad, and you might have thought I'd been joking. Or…"

She let that hang. Lee kept his eyes on her, gaze level.

"I'm going to let her go now."

A shiver ran through her – he jumped forward to catch her before she fell off the swing, but she didn't need his help. This time, when she looked into his eyes, he knew for sure who she was.

"Thanks, but I'm fine."

Now she stood, staring into the distance. He crouched in the sand, trailing designs with a twig.

"Go to her."

His head jerked up. "What?"

"Go to Ino. She needs…she needs to know it's alright. That you're not angry."

He locked eyes with her one last time – and nodded. He knew for sure now that it wasn't some elaborate joke.

Tan knuckles rapped the door. A pale, meek face showed through when it opened. "Hi, Lee."

She sounded shy. She looked shy. Her hair was tied back, but she hadn't dressed – she wore a pair of large flannel pajamas.

He stepped in. "Ino, hi." She blushed.

"Are…are you angry at me?"

He shook his head. "You were honest, in the end, but I must say…," he rubbed the back of his head, "you never struck me as the shy type."

She blushed. "I, um…" Her eyes met his – for real this time. "Would you like to come in?"

And she smiled.