Title: Quit Crying, Ino!

Dedication: My baby sister. =)

Disclaimer: It's fanfiction, buddiessss: not my characterssss. =P

Summary: Kiba said and Ino looked back up at him. "When Shinobi like Sasuke kill, they kill for self ambition – or selfish reasons like revenge and desire for power. When Shinobi like you and me kill, it's to protect our families, our teammates, the waiter who serves us dinner after a long mission." KibaIno

Notes: This was inspired by reading the scene in the Manga where Kiba yells at Ino to stop crying. Sooo, if you don't read the manga, and just watch the anime, this'll be a spoiler. So, I guess, read on if you don't mind or already know what I'm talking about. =P
---Ps, if you're interested, I have drawings of two ooc characters of mine on my profile.

The whole village had been destroyed, countless shinobi and civilians had gone over the brink into death (but, luckily, were snatched back at the last minute), and now…Sasuke was an international criminal. His life was no longer under protection of Konoha. If another country found him, they had the right – no, the obligation – to kill him on the spot. It was like the final straw, the one that broke the camel's back, and Ino couldn't check her emotions.

Even after all those years, no matter how hard she tried to smother the hope that Sasuke would return and fall in love with her, she was devastated to hear of his death warrant. It was like a blanket being pulled out from under her feet, and she felt unstable and unsure.

How was Sakura going to take this? As much as Ino had hated to admit it, she'd been on Sasuke's team and much closer to the missing-nin. She had been making no effort to squash her hope for his return, and it was likely that she would take it hard. What about Naruto?

Her pain and the knowledge of others' pain reduced her to a child-like state, sobbing into her hands. She was faintly aware of Chouji and Tenten, sitting on either side of her, attempting to comfort her and was faintly ashamed.

"Quit crying, Ino!" Kiba's voice cut across her shield of pain and emotion, and Ino met his intense gaze with a startled expression. He leaned against Akamaru in a relaxed stance, but Ino could see agitation and frustration behind his eyes and in his tense muscles.

Immediately, Tenten jumped to her defense, shouting back, "Kiba, don't talk to her like that! Ino is-"

"What else can we do!?" Kiba cut her off. He addressed Tenten, but he was looking directly at Ino. His eye brows were angry slants as he continued, "It's not like it was before!"

"Are you sure? If Ino's like this…," Shino said. She didn't hear the rest of what he said because Kiba, seemingly overcome with anger and unable to control his emotions any longer, was stalking off.

After a short hesitation – she wasn't sure if she wanted to go after Kiba and find out why he was so upset, because in his angry state he was sure to say hurtful things – she got up and followed after him.

Chouji protested, but she waved him off before disappearing from their sight. She saw Akamaru's tail from around the corner and hurried to catch them.

"Kiba! Wait –" Ino called.

"I'm not going to take back what I said, Ino," Kiba said, not bothering to turn around to face her or even to stop. Ino picked up her pace so she could walk alongside him.

"I don't want you to take it back, I just want to know why you're so upset," Ino said. He stopped abruptly and glared at her with a look that seemed to say that he wanted to hit her. Ino took an involuntary step backward.

"I'm upset because people are still crying over Sasuke, like he was some poor soul who couldn't help what he's done. Or like he was some sort of hero. It's like what he's done doesn't matter," Kiba ranted. He grabbed Ino's shoulders and started to shake her. "Chouji, Neji, Naruto, and Akamaru almost died trying to bring him back, when he left on his own will! Lee almost lost his ability to be a shinobi!"

Ino pushed his hands away with an angry growl, offended by him implying that she didn't care about the risks her teammates had taken to retrieve Sasuke the first time. "Chouji and the others aren't as worked up as you over it! Shinobi are supposed to let things go!"

"Shinobi are supposed to let things go!?" Kiba shouted, throwing his head back and his hands in the air as if she's something outrageously stupid. "Shinobi aren't supposed to cry!"

"Well, two wrongs don't make a right!" Ino responded, jabbing him in the chest. "Killing Sasuke isn't going to fix things!"

"It'll stop him from killing other people!" Kiba said. Every muscle in his body was taut and Ino could practically feel the tension rolling off of him in oppressive waves.

Ino refused to be intimidated and, continuing to jab him in the chest to enunciate each word, she pointed out, "Have you heard any reports of Sasuke killing anyone?"

"He is Orochimaru's lackey," Kiba said, finally grabbing her wrist so she'd quit jabbing him. "It's almost certain that he's killed someone during that time. Probably more than just one someone. Hundreds of someones, I bet. They just weren't important enough to Konoha to be mentioned. Why should we care if civilians or Sound Ninja die?"

"Almost! There is no proof that he killed anyone. And, by killing him, we become the murderers. We become the ones obsessed with revenge," Ino reasoned. "Naruto would never let-"

"We're murderers anyway! You can't look me in the eye and honestly tell me that you've never killed anyone!" Kiba shouted, taking to pacing back and forth.

"Then we're no better than Sasuke," Ino said, her anger leaving her in a sudden whoosh as she remembered the people who've died at her hands. She often woke up in the middle of the night, and spent the rest of the night tossing in bed, seeing their faces.

"We are, though," Kiba said and Ino looked back up at him. "When Shinobi like Sasuke kill, they kill for self ambition – or selfish reasons like revenge and desire for power. When Shinobi like you and me kill, it's to protect our families, our teammates, the waiter who serves us dinner after a long mission."

Ino was surprised at Kiba's sudden philosophical speech and turned to look back at the ruined village. A large crater filled with debris now stood in place of her home and all her childhood memories.

"Killing Sasuke would be to satisfy our need for revenge. If we were really worried about him being a threat to us, we would have called for his death immediately. We're only doing it now to appease other nations and anyone else demanding revenge," Ino said. "There's no reason to be angry because I mourn for his death sentence. I'm sad to see him die for such baseless reasons. I'm also mourning for all the deaths I witnessed when the village fell. They're all back now, but I felt the pain nonetheless. Our village lay in ruins and we're worried about letting some missing-nin live or not."

"I could care less about that jerk! People like him just take and take and never give back. They don't deserve the love that others give them. They don't deserve the sacrifice. People like me – eh, people like Naruto give and give and receive the short end of the stick. Naruto has always been there for Sakura, but she continues to pine after the jerk who carelessly left her behind and didn't treat her any better when he was here!" Kiba said, getting worked up again.

"What do expect Sakura to do?!" Ino shouted, feeling anger stirring inside her again as well. "Just ignore her feelings and pretend she loves Naruto instead? She'd be unhappy for the rest of her life, faking love for Naruto when she really loves Sasuke!"

"She'd be unhappy anyway! I don't see Sasuke coming back at all, for her or not. And, Naruto would be unhappy as well," Kiba said. "And, if Sasuke did come back and fall in love with Sakura, where would that leave you!?"

Ino opened her mouth to retort angrily, but forgot what she was going to say in her shock. Kiba had cut right through all her anger and reason to the heart of her emotions. She'd dwelled on that very thought ever since Sakura was placed on the same team as Sasuke. Where did it leave her?

"Nowhere, I guess," Ino said finally.

"It's only nowhere because you're too stubborn to move on!" Kiba said.

"You don't know! You don't know anything!" Ino shouted, tears threatening to spill over again. "Quit acting like you know who I am! Don't try to tell me what my problem is, like you can solve it!"

"Ino –"

"Just go away!" Ino slumped down to her knees and covered her face with her hands in attempt to hide her tears.

Kiba knelt down and shoved her forcefully so that she fell on her butt and her hands flew away from her face to brace her fall. She glared up at him, tearstained and red-faced from anger.

"Damnit, Ino, if you just let go of your obsession with Sasuke you'd be able to see that other people love you. That you are free to move on and be happy!"

"Who do I move on with? Huh?" Ino demanded. "Who could I possibly be happy with?"

"Me. You could be happy with me."