Rain is falling for the first time in weeks in Konoha. The gray skies are so boring to look at but it's all that Sakura can do. She's been trapped inside her own house as Konoha is drowned in rain. It's by choice that she is here though, but she doesn't want to admit it. She's been trying to avoid someone close to her for over a month now. One night's mischief was no way to start a relationship and ever since she has been spending hours going out of her way to avoid the blonde girl she had kissed.

The memory is so fresh in Sakura's mind that she can still taste Ino's lightly miso flavored lips. She unconsciously lets a hand wander over the contour of her own mouth, idly thinking about Ino and trying to recall why she was spending so much time avoiding her. Maybe it was because she didn't want to admit to liking her or girls in general for that matter. But it was something she hadn't been able to get out of her mind. The question that burned most was, why Ino and not any of the other girls that had been there that evening?

As Sakura watched the slow rain drops race down her bedroom window that was what she was thinking. Why Ino and not say Tenten or Hinata? They had been there too and Sakura would swear she had seen the two kiss. It was all a blur though. One night out in Tanzaku town and then, then everything went blank. It was more like snapshots rather than a movie playing through her mind. But there was one thing she recalled with perfect clarity. The press of Ino's chest against her own, the warmth of Ino's body and the heat of passion in their kiss.

What was it about one small thing that confused her so much though? She just couldn't accept the fact of how much she really loved Ino and how much she wanted to kiss the blonde haired girl again. Just to feel that passion again and to revel in its warmth. It was driving her crazy how badly she wanted this. She knew she wanted to get up and go see Ino but her mind was making up excuses and she had yet to move despite going through this repetition for the past five hours.

On the other side of Konoha Ino is staring out her own window at the rain. She too is thinking about the kiss she shared with the pink haired Sakura. She at least remembers that night fairly well. Hinata had definitely headed home with Tenten and who knew what they had done in the wee hours of the morning. Ii had been around ten at night after all by the time they had left the restaurant. Ino remembers the kiss so well it plays what Sakura is watching in broken snapshots like a movie. The sounds of Sakura's quick, short breaths, the feeling of her lips meeting Sakura's, the faint taste of cherry and a look in Sakura's eye that showed just how much she had been wanting and waiting for this. Ino too knows she should go and see Sakura but the rain is picking up and Konoha is awash in falling leaves and water. But she decides to brave the weather and go see Sakura. After all, there had been nothing all that innocent about that kiss.

Sakura is still sitting where she has been for the past few hours and is still watching the rain roll down her bedroom window. Everything in her house sounds muffled but the light knock at her door gets her attention. She turns to look at the door, at first not believing the sound. Then the knock came again and she slowly got up. Her loose pajamas still managed to show off her curves nicely and were a light pink color. It had just been one of those days where she hadn't bothered to get changed. She opened the door and the blonde haired girl she had kissed is standing at the door.

"Ino, what are you doing here?" Sakura asks as she looks at the rain drenched girl.

Ino smiles and shakes some of the water out of her hair lightly. "We need to talk about what happened between us."

Sakura goes over to her closet and gets a towel for Ino and as she hands it to her she asks, "What is there to talk about. All that happened was that innocent little kiss. Well all that happened for us anyway. I can't remember what happened between Hinata and Tenten."

Ino dries herself off as she says, "I don't recall the kiss being all that innocent Sakura. You had a look in your eyes like you really wanted it. Like you really loved me and wanted to show that with the kiss."

Sakura stares at Ino with her pale green eyes. Had she really wanted the kiss? Of course she had but that wasn't the point. She was trying to remember something she couldn't. "Ino, I can't remember most of that night. All I can recall are just little snapshots here and there and the only thing I remember with any clarity is our kiss but that doesn't mean I wanted it."

Ino looked a little hurt by this as she says, "Does that mean you never wanted it? Does that mean you never wanted me?"

Sakura walks over to Ino and gently puts a hand on her shoulder. "It's not that simple Ino. Part of me wants to just scream yes and ask you to be my girlfriend but another part of me is screaming 'no, don't do this to yourself Sakura. What if she doesn't return your feelings?' It's like being torn apart inside. I like Ino I really do but my heart is being torn in half on this."

Ino sighs heavily as she says, "Is there anything that I could do to help you make up your mind?"

Sakura edges closer to Ino and softly bites her lower lip in contemplation. "You could kiss me again and we could see if it feels the same as it did."

Ino edges closer as well as she says, "But what if it doesn't feel the same? What if it feels different this time? What if it feels different every time?"

Sakura smiles and says, "That is a chance I am willing to take."

Sakura leans in and let her lips meet Ino's. The feelings are just as intense, the flavors and smells are even the same. It is another kiss unlike any other Sakura has experienced. There is passion in it but there is something more than that in it. Something she just can't put her finger on. She knows know that the kiss of the other night and the one happening right now are the same. She knows that the first one hadn't been just an innocent accident brought about by too much saké. She wanted it then just like she wants it now. She wants to feel this sense of passion, this sense of something else with Ino. She is falling in love with her.

Ino feels the passion in the kiss as well. Everything is the same to her as well. The smell of Sakura's orange scented shampoo and the taste of cherry on her lips are the same now as they were then. She knew already that the first kiss hadn't been innocent and this one was proving it to both of them. It is the other feeling involved that she hadn't felt the first time, a feeling she can't describe. She knows she is in love with Sakura and had been for a long time but this is more than that. It is the mystery of love and the sensual aspect of this one brief moment that leaves Ino wanting to truly let Sakura into her heart.

The kiss slowly breaks and Ino is staring into those pale green eyes and thinking to herself, 'I love this girl. I am just unsure of exactly how I'm going to tell her.' She smiles as she says, "I think that was the same but there was something else in it too. Something I just can't put my finger on."

Sakura returns the smile as she says, "I know what you mean. But now I know something. I really do love you Ino. Would you, oh I feel like an idiot for asking. Would you go on a date with me and be my girlfriend?"

Ino smiles and gives Sakura a hug as she says, "Of course, I would love to. I love you as well Sakura. I have for what feels like forever."

They spend the rest of the rainy afternoon sitting on Sakura's bed planning their date while the rain patters against the window. Their date is going to be something they will both enjoy as they decide on going out to a restaurant and then to a movie. It is a typical date to be sure but the couple is as far from typical as it gets. Their innocence is what makes them so different and the date far from ordinary.

(Author's note: A pairing I swore to myself long ago I would never write because I knew I would never be able to get it just right. I still don't think I got it 'right' but what author ever does get what they write perfect? Ino and Sakura as a pairing is something I decided to do some reading on before really sitting down and writing it. Some of it was really good, some of it not so very good and some in-between the two. I hope that I have taken the best of what each story I read had to offer and none of the bad. 'Innocence' as the title was something that just struck me about the third paragraph. It fits because as this story goes along you'll see what really makes them so innocent about some things. Hopefully you all enjoy this story. Chapters for this are going to be a bit shorter than my normal two thousand five hundred plus range simply because of a writing class that is taking up a lot of spare time that I normally put into writing fanfiction. Still I hope it doesn't detract too much from this story. Read and enjoy.)

Shinobi of the Onyx Sands