AN: Somebody asked for a happy ending. I figured it was within my power to do so. I really don't know why weddings have been the theme of my last couple of fics, but I guess they're here to stay (sort of) and so yeah I'm rolling with it. Finally, I've come to realize how freaking epic Maito Gai is and thus, this simply had to happen. Therefore, I give you the last chapter and happy ending of sorts with Ino and Neji for down the rabbit hole.
Maito Gai's face was bright, gleaming even and teary eyed. His tan face held his red cheeks, as he eyed his former student and his newest intended to be with glowing pride...literally he was beaming and it was starting to hurt Ino's eyes. It didn't help that his teeth were blaringly white, adding to the problem, and Ino could've sworn she heard some sort of a ping sound whenever he exposed those pearly whites, though she might be insane. Gai grinned, beaming that million watt smile, with the annoying ping, that grin stretching across his face as streaming tears streaked down his crimson cheeks in his passionate emotional response to their most happy and joyous news.
"My beloved student has finally discovered the flower of his youth!" He proclaimed to the world on one bended knee his other hand raised up to the sky. Ino choked trying to stiffle her laughter as Neji turned red with embarrassment at the naïve wording of his former sensei.
"And now they will discover the power of their youth and make passionate flames that will burn like the fire of the sun, brightly and shine more fiercely than the Konoha stars!" Gai blubbered, though he still had enough semblancy about him to remember his good guy pose, ping resounding again as his thumbs pointed up, as he rose.
Neji was smirking whispering an "I told you so" Whilst Ino held her head in her hands, shaking her head at the raucous display of affection that Konoha's sublime green beast of prey, was professing. Gods people had to hear him from across town. Embarrased, but trying to do the best she had with what little social grace and standing she had left, Ino forced a smile, as Neji put his arm around her, bringing her next to him.
Gai brought them both in a bone crushing hug, Ino protesting and flailing helplessly in the air stealing hug, whilst Neji, used to the treatment of the affectionate albeit awkwardly dressed sensei of his, did nothing.
"If you don't fight it, he'll let go eventually" He said, to his flailing wife to be as Gai cried quite loudly and vehemently, spouting more of his ridiculous nonsense at obnoxious length.
Ino gasped sucking in the air she so desperately needed, as the man finally released them, and she stumbled back on her heels. She couldn't believe she'd actually gotten dressed up for this nonsense. She shot a glare to her intended, who merely smiled and winked from behind his former sensei's back.
"Oh happiness! The burning youth of my former student and the beautiful and deadly flower of youth, the successor of the Yamanaka clan!" Gai praised, nearly singing.
Ino was briefly amused by the idea of Maito Gai in a musical, hideous green jumpsuit and all. Neji bumped into her elbow, coughing discreetly. Ino rolled her eyes. She'd get to it in good freaking time.
"Gai sensei, how have you been?" Neji asked, affection in his voice obvious from anyone who knew Neji beyond the surface level. As much as Neji complained and grumbled about the old man, she could tell he still respected him. Ino had traveled in depth into his mind, for pete sakes, so she would know.
"The flames of my youth have been terribly distinguished since the passing of my precious students." Gai couldn't hold the tears that streamed and Neji hung his head.
Lee and Ten Ten's death had been tragic, both of them dying because of their knowledge of the cure to the cursed seal. Uchiha Sasuke had killed them, and was still at large, an issue that both Neji and Ino planned to put to right after the wedding, which was coming whether they wanted it or not. Ino scowled. She had other business that had brought them here, business Neji had suggested and one Ino would rather gouge her eyes out with a hot poker than admit, and furthermore follow through on....but one that was important to him, and would, more importantly, be important to the man who had only Neji left in his life.
Ino's scowl deepened, as Gai would probably end up being their children's sensei as well as the role of grandfather to her children. Gods he would grow into a fiestier geezer and she and Neji would have to pull him off the roof from flashing the town when he finally did lost his mind. Ino's eye twitched. If even one of her children started spouting about the flames of youth, she'd beat them black and bloody blue until they got it out of their system...Neji nudged her again.
Ino sighed and took a deep zen cleansing breathe. There were worse people her children could follow after, her thoughts circling around the dark Uchiha. Ino resigned herself. There were worse habbits to pick up then those from Maito Gai. He was the stunning epidemy of the classic good guy...albeit awkward, and fashionably retarded, but well intentioned good guy nonetheless. Ino's eye twitched again. Gai was always hanging around Kakashi these days. If her children had those Icha Icha books she'd kill them both, and make it look like an accident...
Neji coughed, prodding her a bit harder this time.
"Ahem.." Ino cleared her throat herself, trying to summon the courage and the resolve to follow through on this. She couldn't believe she was doing this...Ooooh. She closed her eyes.
"Gai-sensei..." She began, opening them as she looked at him from beneath black lashes.
"Yes, oh beloved intended rose of my former students youth" Gai kissed her hand, and Ino felt the horror cling to her at such an unsightly gesture. You couldn't wash something like that off. It would take a cheese grader and a serious helping of jose cuervo to forget this incident. Ino shivvered. This was going to be harder than she thought. She shook her head to clear it, her mane of golden hair settling over her shoulder.
"Gai.." Ino began again. "Um...As you know my father passed away..."
` "A sad day for the ninjas of Konoha. Your Father's undying flame of youth will live on in you and your children, and your children's children-" Gai began, starting to get passionate and loud again.
"Yes, Yes..." Ino interjected peevishly, blood vessel blaring. "What I wanted to ask you..."
"Yes?" He said, black eyes bright as he waited for her response.
Ino looked to Neji who only grinned and motioned back at Gai. Avoiding the eyeroll she felt at Byakugan user, Ino turned back to Gai.
"Well" She started again, pausing. "I have no one to give me away, you see. And since Asuma is dead, and my father too, um....I-er- that is We, were wondering if you would be willing to walk me down the aisle and...possibly give me away..." Ino said, not looking at him.
The subject of her father not being alive was still a sore subject and since there was no possible way to alleviate that situation, with Asuma dead as well, Ino knew Neji's idea was a good one. Though he would owe her the world and all of its entirety for doing this.
She watched as Gai's eyes filled with tears again, and he hung his head, choppy mop bangs falling into his face, his fist clenched, as a choked sob escaped of tears streamed from him, though for a creepy moment Ino could've sworn they were glowing. And suddenly he sprung to life, burning background spurring his passionate flames of youth. It might have been a techno show for all of his flashy light.
"Oh...my...god...I think might have a seizure, Neji, look at him" Ino said trying to look between the spaces of her fingers, but wincing as Gai flared and sparkled and flashed, quite possibly his ultimate good guy background. He began his passionate speech of stepping in as her father, his voice resounding across the area. If people hadn't heard him before, they were definitely going to hear him now. Ino raked a hand through her bangs. What had she done? Oh the horror of it all...
"Gai?" Ino said, trying to get his attention. The man was too lost in his justice speech to reply.
"Ahem...Gai sensei? ...Gai sensei? Gai? GAI! MAITO GAI!" Ino snarled loosing her patience, and Gai paused briefly in his tirade to consider the honey blonde in front of him.
"There is one stipulation to this." Ino told him, ice blue eyes steeled and unwavering in their intensity.
"Anything oh flower of my former students-" Gai began
"You CANNOT wear the green jump suit. You will be fitted for a tux, and we can find you a green flower or something instead. Oh or the orange leg warmers. Okay?" Ino interrupted, overruling with an accusing finger pointing at the offending article of clothing.
Neji was surprised by this new angle Ino had, but he supposed those were fair stipulations. He didn't want any of their guests being offended by Gai's attire and he certainly didn't want to think of the wedding pictures with his sensei's lack of fashion taste.
"I accept this mission with grattitude, oh petunia of my former students, I will be fitted for a tuxedo to woo the fair maidens of Konoha and to give you away properly as your stand in father. The flames of my youth have been greatly ignited because of this happy occasion. WE WILL CELEBRATE OUR PASSION WITH MY CURRY OF YOUTH!" Gai proclaimed.
Neji paled considerably, but Ino smirking in superior satisfaction, was a step ahead of him.
"Gai sensei, don't you want to tell Kakashi the news?" She began.
Gai stopped and was quite clearly shocked, the confusion on his face apparent by his rather large bushy black eyebrows.
"Well, I just figured you might want to tell him, after all you've finally beaten your eternal rival at something." Ino replied with a smug grin.
Gai was off and bounding down the street shrieking about his greatest defeat of his eternal rival.
"Have I mentioned how much I love you lately?" Neji turned to the beautiful Yamanaka blonde with a grin.
Ino smirked. "Not nearly enough" She purred, milking it for all it was worth.
"About how incredibly smart, and capable you are of bailing your poor fiance out of complicated workings with my former sensei..."
"Go on." Ino smirked, twirling a lock of her blonde hair around her finger.
Neji's eyebrow rose as he shot a challenging look at his fiance.
"Look pal, Maito Gai, the green jumpsuit wearing, bushy brow-ed, black mop haired beast of Konoha is walking me down the aisle AND more than likely going to be the instructor and grandfather to my future children, I'd say some groveling is in order, Bucko." Ino told him, yanking his collar and bringing him close.
"Well when you put it like that" Neji said, with a mischevious grin as he thoroughly kissed his wife to be.
It was with streaming tears, that Maito Gai witnessed the two share the kiss of fate, sealing their lips with vows and their mouths, joined and walking down the aisle, husband and wife.