The Hunt

Summary: Ino – the broken interrogator who just came back from her two-year mission in Suna. Sasuke – the former traitor who surrendered himself to Konoha a year ago. Both aren't looking for love, but love is on the hunt for them.

Warning: It's the last chapter.

Dedication: For everyone who never fails to review since the first chapter.

"Gaara's dead."

"D-Dead?" I gulped, wishing to every God there was that I'd misheard. I didn't know if my heart was crushing, or it was just beating way too fast. But I was certain of one thing, my heart was aching so bad. "W-What do you that?"

"Suicide." The pain in Naruto's eyes were so visible, but I knew I wasn't doing better than he was either. "I..." Naruto's eyes started watering, and his tears were making me weak. "I knew it was coming and...and I should have tried harder to make you go him." He buried his face into his palms, trying to hide all the frustrations and hurt that he was feeling. "It was all my fault."

"No, it wasn't your fault." This answered my question why he'd butted in my business with Gaara when he was here. He'd known all along that Gaara would rather die than not have me. "You were a good friend to him, Naruto." I bit my lip. "I'm sorry."

When Gaara had said what we had was the only thing that kept him going, I'd hardly listened because he had a lot more reasons to keep going than he'd thought – for one, he was the Kazekage and all of Suna had learned to love him and accept him; he also had many friends. But he apparently hadn't seen or realized these.

"When he first came here in Konoha," Naruto paused to wipe his tears away, "he told me how much he loved you. That he'd die without you in his life." Naruto gave me a sad smile. "He really, really loved you, you know."

I nodded. "He really did but as I said, his love wasn't for me. His love killed the baby inside – it made me suffer." I didn't feel responsible of his death, but that didn't mean this news wasn't hurting me because it really was. "I'm not regretting that I chose not to be with him, Naruto."

That probably pulled the trigger because Naruto suddenly stormed off my apartment. What was Naruto expecting anyway? That I would kill myself because he'd killed himself? Was he forgetting that I had been the victim all along? This wasn't my fault.

That night, Sasuke came over again to check up on me and I'd told him everything. How I was hurting but I knew for a fact that the blame shouldn't be on me. "So yeah, Naruto's probably thinking it's my fault too."

"He's just hurt." Sasuke attempted to defend Naruto. "Understand him for now. The hurt he's feeling makes him want to blame his death on someone." It was a human thing, I realized. He was trying to put the blame on someone because no one was responsible for his death but Gaara himself. "He'll come around and apologize when the hurt lessens."

I put my head on Sasuke's shoulder. He really was the one who always made me feel better. We'd been friends for a month now and I hoped that our friendship would last. "I didn't want him to die."

"I know." Sasuke put his hand on my shoulder to remind me that he understood. "Because you loved him."

"I thought I had him figured out," I confessed as the tears started streaking my cheeks. I couldn't fathom why I was crying now that Sasuke was comforting me. Why I felt weaker than ever all of sudden, I didn't understand. "I thought when he left, everything would be better from then on just like what Shika said." Apparently, I was disgustingly wrong because I didn't think he'd kill himself. "Am I destined to hurt forever?"

Sasuke hugged me as I continued sobbing on his chest. It was a crappy feeling, thinking that I would never be happy again. The streak of my bad luck seemed endless. "It'll get better."

I sure hoped so.

"It's been a year since he died," Karin pointed out. Sasuke was right when he said it'd get better. Because it really did. "How do you feel?"

"Can't really change the fact he's dead, even after a year." I tried to smile a little. "At times, I miss him. But you know, I realized that this was what he wanted...I just wish he'd wanted something else better than that."

"He did want something better than that." Sasuke's eyes were on me. "And I couldn't exactly blame him."

Karin, Sakura, and I raised our eyebrows at him. "What?"

"Did you just compliment me?" I questioned, almost amused. Although, I was sure Shikamaru wouldn't be happy with that, if he'd known. "Woah, slow down with the saké." He must be drunk as all hell to carelessly compliment anyone. He was Uchiha Sasuke; and Uchiha Sasuke never complimented anyone, let alone me. "I think you've had too much to drink."

It seemed as though Sasuke just realized what he'd done because he was kind of blushing. Not super red, but anyone could tell he was regretting it. "I did not compliment you."

Karin made a face. "You're just delusional, Ino. Sasuke-kun will never compliment you...or any woman for that matter."

Sakura agreed with Karin. Ha, jealous bitches.

"Whatever, losers." I smiled – my friendship with these three was one of the best things in the world. Not that I loved Shikamaru or Chouji any less because really, I loved those two like crazy too. "Sasuke's got the hots for me, it's so obvious."

"Wait, you knew?" Karin asked as Sasuke spitted the saké he'd been drinking.

"No, I was just joking," I admitted. But really? Sasuke really had the hots for me? I wouldn't have known. "Oh my God..." I turned to face Sasuke, who ran his hand over his face out of annoyance over Karin's big mouth. "Really?"

"Oh shit," Karin cursed.

"You're one dumb cunt," Sakura told Karin. Sakura had known too? "Ino's obviously too stupid to put malice in her friendship with Sasuke-kun. Now the chance you've got with Sasuke-kun is all gone."

"Just great," Sasuke sarcastically remarked.

"So, Sasuke-kun plans to tell her anyway!" Karin argued. "It's not like Ino hadn't already taken away our chance with Sasuke-kun when they became almost best friends."

"I wasn't planning anything," Sasuke filled Karin in. This was just straight up awkward. I felt such an idiot not to notice anything. So all the time he'd visited me was not only because he cared for me? Call me a dimwit but I'd never thought Sasuke could actually like any woman for real. Not because I'd thought he wasn't a human or anything, but because he was Sasuke – and it seemed so out of character for Sasuke to like someone.

Sorry, Karin mouthed to Sasuke.

"So..." I tried to lessen the awkwardness that all of us were feeling. "Anyone up for more bottles of saké?"

In unison, everybody silently agreed by just nodding their head.

After a couple more bottles of saké, we'd all decided that we'd had enough. So right now, Sasuke and I were headed to our apartments. We were drunk, but not shit-faced enough not to be able to walk or talk properly.

It would have been less awkward if we weren't strolling all alone at midnight in the gloomy street of Konoha. I tried to open a topic because the silence was killing me, "You drank awfully lot today."

He really did. He usually drank but not as much as today. "I needed it."

"Why didn't you tell me?" Enough with all the bullshits, I wanted to know. "We're friends – you can tell me everything."

"Exactly why I didn't tell you because we're friends." Unlike Shikamaru, this guy couldn't risk friendship over love. "And that's not the only thing."

I waited for him to continue so he did, "With how you dealt with Nara. He's in love with you but you turned him down because you were scared to completely lose him if you two didn't work out as a couple."

"My friendship with you is different with my friendship with Shikamaru." Because to me, Shika was more than a best friend. He was a sibling to me. "Shikamaru's friendship is one that I can't live without."

"And you can live without mine?"

"It'd be hard but I could."

"Did you just tell me that you're willing to give me a shot at this?" He stopped walking, so did I. We looked at each other. "You just did, didn't you?"

Must be the alcohol. But then again, why wouldn't I want to give him a chance? He was always there for me; he truly cared and accepted me. And besides, he wasn't the Kazekage...and nobody would disapprove. Not even forehead or Karin. "I guess I just did."

Since Gaara, I had never been involved with any male. I deserved to be happy too, and Sasuke could give me that happiness. Unlike what I had had with Gaara, which was not thought-of and fast-phased, what I had with Sasuke had a strong base. Genuine friendship and full acceptance of one another. Also, I'd loved Sasuke years ago and I couldn't see why I couldn't fall for him again.

Without any words, Sasuke pulled me into him for a securing embrace.

"Uh, Sasuke-kun?"


"Promise me not to commit suicide if we didn't last."


He smiled, and I did as well. Pulling back from him, I stared at his face – I was one lucky woman.

A/N: Done! Finally. Thank you for the undying support you guys have given even though I wasn't a constant updater. I hope you had fun reading this. The inspiration of this came from my aunt who had miscarriage twice in a row in less than two years. So yeah.

And oh, I want to explain it here if you don't understand her friendship with Shikamaru. What she basically means is that her friendship with Shikamaru is way too precious. She treasures her friendship with Sasuke but her friendship with him isn't as deep as Shikamaru's. She can risk her friendship with Sasuke while she can never do the same with Shikamaru. I guess every girl that has guy best friend understands this.

Also, I will try my hardest to come up with a GaaIno oneshot since I feel bad that they ended up tragically in this story. Just like always, I'm gonna start a new multi-fanfic because this one has come to an end. And I want to know which male character do you want to complete the love triangle? (Sasuke/Ino/?). I need to know.

I just realized that tomorrow (April 15th, 2O11) is the third birthday of my Fanfiction account. After three long years of writing, I'm still holding onto this account. I wish I could hold onto a guy as well as I could hold onto a Fanfiction account. Because seriously, none of them lasted this long.

Please review this chapter. I really want to know what your overall impression of this story. Thanks so much.