Disclaimer: Does this word not suffice on its own?
Dedication
: To Sonya for putting odd ideas in my head, and because you wanted some angst. Betch. IF THIS IS NOT ANGST, WHAT IS?
Notes
: Too much Lady Gaga + Ke$Ha + Relient K = late-night weirdness?
Notes2
: iLike present-tense.
Notes3: I am losing it, people. This is not me coming back, seriously!
Notes4: I DON'T EVEN KNOW. WHERE IS THIS COMING FROM?

.

.

.

.

.

---

Ino will lie on the grass, arms behind her head, the scent of summer and heat in her nose, and it will be the best day of her life.

(He's dead, today, again.)

She's not really sure how long it's been – but it's been a long, long time, and the "he" and the "she" and the "we" – it all fell apart a long, long time ago, even longer then she remembers, probably.

And she's blue-white-yellow, extravagant, extraordinary, beauty incarnate – not brown. Not brown, the colour of mud and all that is commonplace. Not brown.

Not brown.

(He's dead, today, again.)

She's beginning to forget his face – forget the way his mouth quirked up when he smiled; beginning to forget the way the smoke from a thousand-million cigarettes curled out of his mouth and nose, and even though she always, always hated it, it was just – just there. She's even beginning to forget what his voice sounded like.

But it's probably better that way.

And it's all candles in paper boats on water, glimmering in the dark of the night. Their relationship, that is – candles and lamp-posts and incandescent light on water and late-night investigations into the way the human mind worked. That was what they were.

Ino sometimes thinks that maybe they both were wrong, in the end.

But the end was a long, long time ago.

(He's dead, today, again.)

Yes, a very long, long time ago.

She will look up into the sky, and will think that maybe it's about time that she moved on – because that is what she does best; she moves on, and on, and on, on the wind, caught like dandelion seeds in the breeze.

It will be the best day of her life.

She will sit next to a river, on the grass, the scent of summer and heat and cotton candy in her nose, and it will be the best day of her life.

She's beginning to remember how to lie to herself – she forgot how easy it is, and when remembering gets too hard and too painful… It's just easy to loose herself.

Ino tries to forget that; long blonde hair over her shoulder.

(He's dead, today, again.)

---

.

.

.

Misconceptions are an odd thing, she thinks, and her stomach twists and knots and she honestly just hates him, most of time.

She's never really hated anyone before.

Not like she hates Kiba.

(He's dead, today, again.)

There is no pause in her life – when the music shifts and sways, the world flickers and the sun is extinguished in a flash-flood of hopelessness. All that is left is the lingering sound of a siren, and tall forlorn buildings and leafless tress against a pale gray-almost-white backdrop of atmosphere.

The sky is an anagram of winter misery, and she will look up, and hate it all.

There is no time for dead boys with pretty eyes. There is no time.

(He's dead, today, again.)

She hasn't cried, yet.

They brought his cigarette light back – silver, it was silver, and she flicks it open just to watch the flame burn. A scent of burning flesh lingers, and she remembers smoke at dawn, across a calm, pre-sunrise sky. That was a long time ago, and she will smile his favourite red-lipstick razorblade smile of regret and anger and I loved you once – how long ago was it?

She hasn't been able to cry yet.

(He's dead, today, again.)

Things could still be worse, she thinks. The funeral – it could be over, already, and he's lost, gone, MIA. It could be much, much worse – there could be hope. It would kill her if there was hope.

Sakura –and the name stings the back of her eyes, because Sakura is her best friend, and goddamn, Ino knows she shouldn't be so goddamn envious that goddamn Sakura's lover came back– says that there still hope.

Ino knows there isn't.

People don't come back from being dead.

She's still never hated anyone like she hates Kiba.

(He's dead, today, again.)

---

.

.

.

Innocence is not something Ino remembers having. Innocence would denote goodness of some sort, and Ino never had that – that goodness.

Sakura might have had it, once. Hinata had it, even now. Karin, Tenten, Temari – they had it once, too.

But not Ino.

(He's dead, today, again.)

She will lay on the grass, next to a river, while the sun disappears beyond the horizon, the scent of summer and heat and cotton candy and lust in her nose, and it will be the best day of her life.

She swears it will be, because if it's not, she is fairly certain that the world will shatter and splinter to pieces around her.

It is a terrifying thought.

(He's dead, today, again.)

A year and a day. It has been a year and a day.

A very, very long time.

She sleeps the day away – no particular want to be awake, today. The sun begins to go down, and the first dark hints of dusk, purple-gray and calming.

Ino takes a candle and a paper boat down to the river.

A year and a day.

She carefully sets the candle in the paper boat, lights the wick, and sets it in the water. It's caught in the current, and Ino only watches it for a little while – only for a little while.

Ino thinks of paper planes and red balloons against the sky, and red tattoos, and the little boat floats away.

Someone else –the names blur together, until not even Ino knows, anymore– is getting married, today. It's caustic and it's painful and it's unfair – but Ino has never been one to brood. She sits still, on the river's bank, and plays with the silver lighter.

There will be laughter and sunshine and small children in nine months time.

For someone else.

(He's dead, today, again.)

Ino excuses herself to vomit.

(He's dead, today, again.)

---

.

.

.

She's poison and peroxide, today; venom in the form of powder laced across a bouquet of red roses; the path the alcohol burns down a throat after one, two, many shots. Temporary insanity leads to coffee rings on the tops of dark-wood tables, and Ino's beginning to forget who she is.

(He's dead, today, again.)

Three months pass like that – running on little more then caffeine, lack of sleep, and a broken heart – and it's all so cliché. Three months. Sakura is already four months pregnant.

Ino only hates her a little bit.

Autumn is such a dreary time.

The lamp-posts outside her window are grimy with the remainders of burnt kerosene. Things like that – they remind her and kill her and hurt her and haunt her.

(He's dead, today, again.)

It's too cold to lie on the grass, now, and summer is long, long gone – perhaps as long as it's been since the "he" and the "she" and the "we" fell apart.

And that was a long, long time ago.

Yes, a long, long time.

The silver lighter is on the desk –that damn light, that goddamn lighter; why did it make it back when he didn't?–, and she studies it carefully for a minute, robins'-egg-blue-eyes intent.

She really does hate him, she thinks idly.

(He's dead, today, again.)

Again and again, it's lamp-posts, and stitched-up-stars, and puppies. She forgets to remember, and the Misused Objects murmur that he's coming back, you know.

Only she doesn't know.

It's been a very, very long time.

(He's dead, today, again.)

---

.

.

.

Summer, again.

Time passes.

Seasons change.

There is a little girl, now, with gray eyes that flash red and black hair that flashes blue, and a boy with white eyes and hair the colour of the sun, and suddenly Ino is a godmother – responsibility. It is strange and a little confusing. Responsibility.

The word sits, strange and foreign, on her tongue.

Responsibility.

(He's dead, today, again.)

So she sits on a swing, near the grass, near another river, with the scent of summer in her nose, and tells stories about dragons and princesses and flowers that talk and little girls that fall down rabbit holes.

The children (there always seems to be more then one, around) listen to "Auntie Ino's" stories, because so few pay them any attention, and they like her, and she likes them.

She will sit there, and tell them stories, and it will be the best day of her life.

(He's dead, today, again.)

She looks out the window – the world moves and moves, does not stop for anyone, ever, a crescendo of sound and the plinking of a piano and the screech of a badly-tuned violin all in one, and yet none of them at all.

The children rest, quiet, and wait.

The incessant beating of her heart is calming to her, and them, even as the sun goes down, and the day dies.

Dusk, again.

(He's dead, today, again.)

She walks the sleepy children home, careful that they enter their own homes. She waves to Sakura –ignores the invitations, she's not in the mood, and they're redundant, anyways–, and then walks away.

She just wants to be alone, for a little while.

The night is already pulling her in, and Ino feels very young and yet very, very old – it will take carnival lights and little paper boats and hundreds of candles, before she has deemed herself worthy of something like forgiveness.

It will be a long time coming.

It's not hard – never has been, never will be, and she lays down on the grass, arms behind her head, the scent of summer and heat and sleep in her nose –if those things even have a definable scent–, and she's so, so tired…

(He's dead, today, again.)

---

.

.

.

"Hey," she hears, and she's slowly waking up.

Poison and peroxide, again. Red lipstick, again. A silver lighter, again. Smoke at dawn, again. Again, and again, and again.

Her eyelids flicker – the world is bizarrely disproportionate, and Ino wonders exactly where she is.

There's someone sitting in front of her.

Someone else.

Someone who is supposed to be dead.

(Wasn't he dead, today, again?)

She blinks at him – it's probably just another dream; she had a lot of those, when he first didn't come home.

"I hate you," she tells him, and he just shrugs. They both have changed, grown up, and he's supposed to be dead. The leather framing his body is shredded, and there's a wild glint in his eyes that she doesn't remember.

"I know."

"You're supposed to be dead," she tells him, again.

He shrugs again. "I know."

She thinks she's crying. Probably not. She's not sure – someone is sobbing, and mumbling angrily, but Ino's inwardly calm, and so it startles her when she realizes that it's all coming from her.

He's supposed to be dead.

He reaches out to touch her cheek, and it annihilates all sense of control she ever thought she had. She throws herself on him, then, and it's all butterflies and paper boats with candles on water and summertime and the hushed plinking of a piano in the dark.

It's everything and nothing, and they both are quiet, waiting for something to explode.

He wraps his arms around her, holds her silent, and she's shaking, lost in memories, and trying to reconcile this new person with the person she used to love, a long, long time ago.

And it was so very long ago.

(He was dead, yesterday, again.)

She's still blue-white-yellow; extravagant and extraordinary, beauty incarnate; and he's still brown and ordinary and tattooed and beautiful.

She doesn't want to know why he was away for so long.

There is time for that – later, maybe.

But right then, they both will lie on the grass. There is a river, there, where paper boats and candles will float in the current. The air sings summer and heat and cotton candy and lust and sleep – all the things she likes the best.

(He was dead, yesterday, again.)

It is the best day of her life.

---

.

.

.

.

.

fin.
Notes5
: A) I could care less. B) Don't ask. C) I STILL DON'T EVEN KNOW. D) Reviews will make me smile, yesyes?