Tormented by her memories, Anko didn't sleep. She laid there, trying to not make a sound. Hoping Ino was asleep.
After the mission, she had no idea what she would do. She couldn't go on as she was. The memories, they were to much.

But she couldn't end it. She wouldn't. No matter what, that was the one thing she couldn't do.

- After the mission -

Ino waited for Anko outside of Tsunade's office, wanting to ask her something. She hadn't meant to listen to their conversation, but she heard it anyway.

"I don't think I can do this anymore." Anko's voice.

"Why do you say that?" Tsunade.

"The memories... What he made me do. All that I've done. I can't... I just... I can't..." Anko sounded close to tears. Which was totally unlike her.

"We all have to deal with the memories Anko. All of us."

"What do you do? How can you take it?"

"I drink, I gamble. But that's no life. Not really. People need me. Just as they need you. The people of this village, villagers and shinobi alike, they need us."

Anko didn't reply, walking to the door and out of it, oblivious to Ino. Ino followed her to her house. Anko walked in and laid face down on to her couch. Tears spilling from her eyes. So much regret. So much death. All because of her.

She was alone.

But then, warm arms encircled her, held her close to a strongly beating heart, smooth hands stroked her hair softly. She didn't care who it was, she let herself be held, she let herself cry. No words were spoken, only their breathing could be heard, and even that was soft.

Hours later, Anko awoke. She was laying with her head in someone's lap. She blinked a few times, her eyes adjusting to the darkness of her house.
She was on her couch, she sat up and faced the person on the couch.

It was Ino. She smiled at Anko.

"Thanks...," Anko said softly.


"Do you mean that?" Anko asked softly.

"Of course."

They said no more, Anko laying back down, Ino softly stroking her hair.

"Did you hear what I told Tsunade?"

"I did."


"That's why I'm here," Ino replied.


"To help you if I can, if you'll let me."

Anko was silent for a time.

"Just don't leave...," Anko said softly, burying her face into Ino's stomach.

Ino didn't reply, simply stroking the older woman's hair softly.

"I won't leave Anko."