Title: Girl Talk
Rating: T
Word count: 667
Summary:One-shot. "So, like, I don't get it," Ino says, leaning over the back of the couch. "Why him?"


"So, like, I don't get it," Ino says, leaning over the back of the couch. "Why him? He doesn't buy you flowers or chocolate or pay attention to your birthday and his idea of a date is leftovers and a walk in the park and he's about as romantic as a box of socks. Not the sort of guy to win applause, here."

Sakura arches an eyebrow. "Stereotype, much? And he's so much worse than Shikamaru? You can't tell me that you think Shikamaru is romantic and I know for a fact that he doesn't do any of that stuff."

Ino puffs out her cheeks in frustration. He doesn't, that's true. And yet, she knows that Shikamaru is, because that's found in the way he'll walk her home after work, one hand resting on the small of her back and in the way he smiles at her and how he pays attention to her even when she's being ridiculously, unbearably silly.

"Shikamaru's different," she says, knowing that without backing up any of it, Sakura will never believe her. And while she could give proof… she doesn't want to. The things Shikamaru does for her are things that it feels wrong to just share like they mean nothing.

"So you say," Sakura replies pointedly. "And you're known for lying."

"I wouldn't lie about that," she says defensively. Shikamaru deserves better than her lying about him, but she'll be damned if she's saying that to Sakura.

"Then you'll just have to deal with the fact that I like who I like," Sakura says, "and that trust me, they're romantic enough to suit my tastes." She leans back and flicks her hair in a gesture that's meant to be casual but, Ino thinks, just looks a little silly.

Not that she'll tell Sakura that. Well. Maybe later.

"Sakura," Ino says, focusing on the important part of this, "he's most popularly known for reading porn in public. That is not a rousing endorsement. And he was your sensei."

She pauses. Wait…

"Ino," Sakura says, "don't you dare-"

"Oh my god," Ino says, "that's why you like him, isn't it? You're kinky."

Sakura flings a pillow at her face, blushing furiously all the while. "Don't say it like that!"

Ino ducks the pillow and rolls over the top of the couch to sit next to Sakura. "I would never have guessed," Ino marveled, "my shy little forehead-girl all grown up and hot for teacher. I mean, I guess that makes sense, since you've always been super into all that learning and stuff. Tell me, does he teach you lots?"

"I'm going to kill you," Sakura says, her voice strangled. "Very slowly. Painfully."

Ino ignores that. "Does he make you dress like a school girl? In one of those civilian uniforms? Do you wear your hair up in pigtails to make you look younger?"

"I'm not answering any of that," Sakura says, punching Ino's shoulder hard. "And you'll shut up or I'll tell Shikamaru that you've been flirting with Sai again."

Ino narrows her eyes. "That's a low blow."

"All's fair in love and war," Sakura says primly, which clashes with the flush that hasn't yet faded on her cheeks.

"It's not like I'm cheating on him," Ino mutters, crossing her arms over her chest. "Sai's just fun to talk to. I don't want to kiss him or anything."

Sakura gives her a skeptical look.

"At least," Ino snaps, "I'm not in a relationship with my teacher. And I'm not cheating on Shikamaru."

They're both silent for a while after that, staring at the TV like it holds the answers to life.

"Ino?" Sakura says, during the next commercial.

She looks over. "What?"

"He doesn't make me wear a school uniform," Sakura says, not looking away from the TV. "But he has had me call him sensei."

It's a peace offering.

Ino sidles over to lean against Sakura. "Oh really?" she says. "Tell me more."

Sakura laughs and shoves her. "You're impossible."