Theme 46 – family
Once upon a time, Ino thought she would marry Chouji. Or Shikamaru. She hadn't decided.
Once upon a time, Ino assessed each man she knew or met as a potential mate. And Chouji and Shikamaru, having long since proved able to at least tolerate her, were obvious candidates.
Once upon a time, Ino discovered something much more precious than a possible future husband.
It was in the way that Shikamaru let her sleep on her shoulder and gave her suitors uncharacteristically menacing looks when he thought she wasn't looking. It was in the way that Chouji listened to her talk about flowers for hours on end and smiled at her even when she was in sweatpants and a threadbare t-shirt.
It was in the way that they both never questioned her presence in a fight and trusted that she'd back them up, just as they would for her.
With them, Ino was more than ass-length hair and a sultry figure. And after all the heartbreak and the inequality and the missions the older kunoichi were sent on, Ino treasured the feeling of being valued. Accepted. Loved.
Once upon a time, Ino found herself two brothers.
And who said you couldn't choose your family?