Summary: For the very first time, he has let go because that's what destiny demands. NejiIno. Implied ShikaIno.

To Ino, Neji is never the one in the first place.

Come to think of it, it is absurd that she even entertained the idea of actually being officially together with him when she knows for a fact that she can never have this amazing guy.

"You're getting married in three days," she tried to give him a real smile that he deserved but she ended up giving him an obvious fake one. "Congrats."

I hate this, no joke.

He nodded at her, "You've gotten the invitation, I see."

I'm sorry.

"I have," she didn't think it would hurt like this. "It was a pretty invitation – nice choice of colors."

Silly me for hoping.

To Neji, Ino could have been the one.

He never liked her at first but when they were sent to numerous of missions together, he learned to get to know her a lot better. And for some reason, he started liking pretty much everything about her because she has what he's never had.

After fighting against Naruto during Chuunin exam, he made Neji realized that it was matter of choice, not fate. That destiny had nothing to do with life.

That is until, his uncle demanded him to marry his own cousin to keep the pure blood of Hyuuga and their kekkai genkai. And as a Hyuuga, it is his responsibility to obey its head.

And this proves that Naruto is certainly and sickeningly wrong because destiny does control life after all.

"Neji," he didn't have to look to know that it was Shikamaru who called him. "Let's talk."

He turned around – he was sure that he'd never seen Shikamaru this mad. He sighed, "There's nothing to talk about."

And then a hard punch came across Neji's face.

"You hurt her," Shikamaru stated what Neji already knew. "And you're acting like it is no big deal. Seriously, what the hell is wrong with you?"

"It wasn't me who decided this marriage," Neji avoided his dark orbs. "Neither did I want this but in order to protect my clan, I shall do it."

Shikamaru scoffed, "You're pathetic – I really thought you were better than this."

Ino doesn't fall in love often. But if she does, she falls hard.

"I loved him," Ino sadly smiled at the male beside her. "I seriously did."

"And you still do," Shikamaru replied expressionlessly. He hated seeing Ino sad – he could stand anybody being unhappy but her. "Although, you don't deserve a guy who can't fight for you."

"But if he didn't fight for me," she paused as she felt discouraged and unimportant, "then I probably don't deserve to be fought for."

"You're an idiot," he was angry that Neji made her feel that worthless. "I would have fought for you if I were in his shoes."

She gave him a small smile, "You're supposed to say that because you're my best friend."

A best friend, Shikamaru thought. Is that all am I to you?

"But still," Ino continued as she leaned forward to give him a little kiss on his cheek. "Thank you."

Neji needs to see her for a proper closure of their relationship.

The wedding is scheduled the next day and he doesn't want to exchange vows with his own cousin unless he talks to Ino. When he told her that it was over for them, he failed to tell her everything she needed to know. That's why he needs to talk to her.

"So the wedding preparation is all done?" Ino beamed a little at him but the sadness in her eyes didn't go unnoticed.


"You know, Neji," she tried but she couldn't handle this anymore. "I really want to be happy for you but I just can't."

This is exactly why he loves her. Her honesty means so much to him. Unlike him, she says whatever the hell she wants. Whether it's needed or not.

"I didn't want to let you go," he admitted as he abstained his eyes from hers. "But I had to – "

She cut him off, " – for the sake of your clan, right?"

He nodded before replying, "I apologize for hurting you."

She knows that him hurting her is not intentional because he cares about her. When they were in a relationship for a year, she never doubted him for one second when he told her that he truly cared about her well-being. Cause he really did.

"Someday," she paused to look at his eyes, "I'll be able to forgive you for letting me go."

Right then, he realizes how much lucky he is to have fallen in love with her.

A/N: This is a part of my "Spread Love for Ino by Writing One-Shots" project. I know, it sounds totally absurd and like a charity case but yeah, Ino needs more love. This project is launched today and I still have a couple more Ino one-shot fics coming up next few days.

PS – I hope you write plenty of Ino one shots too. :)

And oh, it's my birthday today. -shyly smiles- Since I'm quite new to Neji/Ino section, you guys don't know that I usually write fics on my birthday as...souvenirs.

Um, reviews?