Because Ino can never get out of the love triangle, no matter how hard she tries.

And it's totally crackish. It's ShikaKarin…kind of.

"Is there something seriously wrong with me?" asked Shikamaru plaintively, to a very sympathetic Chouji, "Is there something about me that tells strange women that 'this guy is too much of a coward to say 'no', so give it all you got?' Is there? Huh?" He rubbed his eyes frantically. "I mean, this Karin freak is in the village for less than two days, as a prisoner no less, and the second she spots me; I'm suddenly fair game. Tell me; what the hell is wrong with me?"

"I don't think so, even if you do give off an 'I'm gonna be so whipped' vibe." said Chouji, chewing his barbeque. "They could just think you're attractive, you know."

Shikamaru twitched. "No, definitely an ulterior motive," he said, plaintive. "There has to be."

"Well, I can say this for you," said Chouji, with the air of a psychiatrist diagnosing a patient, "You," he pointed dramatically, "Have a type. Loud, annoying, lot of curves, blonde or redheaded preferred, glasses and enemy allegiance optional."

Shikamaru lifted his head from where it had been resting against the table to stare at Chouji. "You can't be counting Kin and Tayuya. That is utterly ridiculous."

Chouji shrugged. "Maybe. But it seems rather appropriate, considering your…situation."

There was, Shikamaru thought mournfully, all too much glee in that last word.

Unfortunately, his musings were interrupted by what was fast becoming a familiar cry.

"Oh Shika-kun!" Both boys froze instantly. Though he couldn't see her, Shikamaru could already picture her terrifying visage, glasses flashing, red hair whipping around, lips curled back in an evil leer.

"She's behind me, isn't she?" he asked, his lips barely moving. Chouji simply nodded confirmation.

"Use my house; it's unlocked."


And Shikamaru, using three years of carefully honed shinobi skills, bolted.

"You know, you really shouldn't be laughing right now, forehead girl."

"Oh really?" Sakura asked, eyes widening, the picture of innocence. Ino scowled at her friend, inwardly wishing she could throttle the girl.

This whole situation, after all, was her fault.

Well, technically it was Sasuke's. But still!

"Yes," Ino popped a strawberry into her mouth before continuing, "Let's recall…you fall in love with Sasuke. We have a three-year rivalry that only ends when that ungrateful ass leaves Konoha. After two years of training you and Naruto encounter Sasuke several times, most of which he is accompanied by that Team Hebi."

She spat the name, as though it left a bad taste in her mouth. "You convince him to come home, and you two somehow—you still need to explain this for me, by the way—get together. So Team Seven is reunited and Hebi's incorporated into Konoha, and blah blah all is right with the world, the angels sing, etcetera, etcetera."

"Sounds good to me!" chirped Sakura, sipping her tea, still smiling that smile.

"Well, duh." Ino rolled her eyes, "It's just all peaches and cream for you right now, isn't it? I mean, it's totally not fair. You're the one who's supposed to be having doubts and angsting and dealing with bitchy rivals, not me."

"What should you be doing then, Pig?" asked Sakura, looking so pleased with herself that Ino thought it indecent.

"What should I be doing?" Ino's voice raised a pitch, "I'm supposed to be the supportive best friend, and give you advice and help you kick the slut's ass and get to make out with my hot boyfriend. Our roles are completely reversed, except you're not that supportive, and you don't kick her ass for me." She pouted, "It's totally not fair."

Sakura patted her on the back. "I'll try harder. Believe me; I thought it would end up the same way."

Ino just made a pathetic noise and let her head hit the table with an audible thud.