Is this any better, Kishi? I made this one... WITH MY TEARS

dead flowers

The connection is lost and Ino's breath hitches and suddenly she's trembling.

She's wobbly on her feet, shoulders hunched and body curling into itself almost protectively and she can feel her heart vibrate through her system, slow and fast all in one. Her body's racking and her chest feels like it will collapse onto her heart and kill her instantly, right then and there, where she stood a couple of feet away from Shikamaru.

And she can't breathe—she swears she can't breathe.

Everything is happening too fast—she remembers arriving, remembers taking control of the enemy's mind long enough for her to direct its attack away from them. Save them all some time to regroup. She remembers Kiba, she remembers Sakura, she remembers everyone—her friends, Naruto—

Stupid Naruto with his big grins and his immense, impenetrable hope.

She closes her eyes.

She remembers Shikaku in her mind—in the minds of everyone—voice hard and vibrating as he mutters plans and plans and plans. And her mind would hum because it was a connection with her father and it was just something that always happened—it wasn't a dense feeling of someone intruding, weighing down and suffocating. It was soft and gentle and, and—

Ino stops breathing.

What does she remember after that?

She can't decide because suddenly she's remembering making flower arrangements with her dad, planting seeds in the gardens, listening to him explain each name and its meaning, helping her pick the right one to describe herself, helping her pick out a flower for Sakura, laughing because she kept Shikamaru and Chouji in line, grinning because she knew she had all the men in her life wrapped around her fingers. And she remembers him being proud, remembers him saying it every day when she'd show up home battered and bruised from a mission, smiling because she had another story to tell.

She remembers the somber look in his eyes when she told him she's growing older and bolder and she couldn't ever do it without him.



But she's biting her lip and tears are streaming down her cheeks and she doesn't remember it happening. She doesn't remember losing her composure and letting it get to her because it's there. Laid down in front of her, those ugly, blood-stained facts. She knows but she can't accept.

She's lost too much and she's given too much and received nothing.

The jagged wound Asuma's death left has not healed and it's only grown larger and more aching upon having to fight him and say goodbye one more time.

But this…


"Daddy," she whispers into the wind, but there's no one to receive it no matter how far it travels.