I'll Carry the Weight of the World With You
Summary: She was willing to offer him her own shoulder to help him carry the pressure of life. She was going to bring the fun life loving man back, even if he was lost and alone. She will succeed.
Inspiration: You can hold onto me, baby I'll never leave. If you take my hand, I won't let go until you tell me when. Until then, you can hold onto me.
-Nikki Flores: Hold Onto Me
She watched him, analyzed him, and sympathized with him.
She could see the way his eyes glazed over in regret and sadness hiding those bright blue irises. She could see his once tanned skin turn pale over the months since the war. She saw the way his lips, once holding an almost perfect smile rivaling hers, was flat and unmoving. She noticed his determination to be something great, diminished with a blink of an eye. She realized his laughter, so joyous and full of life, ended abruptly or ceased to exist at all. His touch was so warm before, but the heat in him seemed to evaporate into the air around them.
She smiled to him, so soft and gentle.
"Are you hungry?" she questioned as if she was speaking to a child.
She saw his eyes blink at her and she held back the sadness that was creeping into her eyes.
"What?" his voice, she found, was too monotone from his emotional one.
"Are you hungry?" she questioned again.
She had learned patient throughout her life. She had learned to be empathetic and kind. She knew she already had all these attributes within her, but some were just seen by those who want to see them. Like her father.
She smiled softly at that thought. Her father had always seen her for who she was; underneath all the possessiveness and anger, he saw strength and will. He was always there for her, even if she never wanted him too. She recalled their days together and relished in her father's warmth and his tender kisses on her cheek.
"No," his voice brought her thought back to him.
She saw him look away and to the wall to his left. She sighed through her nose and watched the way his head dipped down before his eyes looked to the floor. This wasn't the first time she had seen him like this. Since the war, she had opted herself to watch him for the village. Yes he was a strong capable ninja and yes he saved everyone from losing any more people, but even the strong gets weak. Even hope disappears. Even power becomes a curse.
"No ramen?" she questioned jokingly with a playful smile and a lift of an eyebrow.
His love for the noodles was almost comparable to his love for Sakura.
They go hand in hand, she mused.
He had always enjoyed his noodles and he had always enjoyed his times with Sakura. Though he has changed and so has the pinkette, his feelings were always present even if it was a different type of love. Noodles were a part of his life just as much as being a shinobi was, but his love for the food has also changed to a different love: food satisfaction love.
"I'm not hungry," he spoke softly not removing his eyes from the ground.
She found it hilariously pathetic. Here was the boy who claimed to be the Hokage and stuck it into everyone's head that he would and could surpass anyone because he was just that determined, just that strong, just that invincible.
Granted, she only saw him as a no good prankster with too much good luck on his side, but like life, everything changed. Her thoughts about him changed. Her feelings of him being incomparable to the Uchiha or even her lazy friend had changed. She changed.
"Okay," she nodded and stood up from the floor they were sitting on.
She heard him shift behind her and knew those eyes of his were curious of what her intent were. She had none. Not anymore.
Before, when she started watching him to make sure his mindset was at a normal scale, she would push him, bribe him, taunt him, and even scream at him. It all failed. He was even more introverted. She even threatened to give up on him like everyone else, but she stopped short in her temper as she saw his eyes. So much pain and remorse she saw in those orbs, that she immediately apologized and hugged him. She really didn't mean it. Their friends do care.
They really do.
She heard him walk toward her and paused a few feet away from her. She glanced at him and smiled before facing the pot with boiling water. Turning the stove off, she grabbed the handle of the pot and walked over to where there were two bowls with uncooked ramens. She poured the boiling water in each bowls before placing the pot back on the stove to cool. Grabbing the lids, she placed them on their rightful containers.
"Do you want to know something?" she questioned as she turned to him.
He looked lost in her eyes. It was strange seeing someone like him in this state, but he was. He is.
"You can't lie to me," she laughed softly, "… I thought we established that unique ability of mine, or have you forgotten?" she quirked an eyebrow.
He didn't change his blank expression as he continued to stare at her. She kept her smile on as he observed her. It wasn't like she was faking her smiles whenever she produced them for him. It was a smile that says, I am here for you.
"I know," he nodded softly after a few moments had passed.
"Good!" she chirped punching him softly on the shoulder, "… I would've kicked your butt if you did."
She turned back to the bowls and grabbed both in her hands. Walking over to the table, she placed both down and took a seat. She looked expectantly at her housemate to see him staring at the bowl. She shrugged and opened her lid.
"Mm…" she sounded as she smelled the aroma.
She looked over to the blonde who stared at her bowl full of noodles. She realized she didn't grab the chopsticks and spoons. So pushing back the chair, she was about to stand when his hand touched her shoulder.
"I'll get it," he announced and went into the kitchen.
She watched him with keen eyes and noticed his stiffness, his muscles tensing every now and then as he walked, and the tightness of his jaws. When he returned, he brought two pairs of chopsticks and two spoons.
She thanked him and was about to eat, when she saw the lid to her container come into her view before it landed on top of her bowl. She looked at him questioningly.
"Is it not finished?" she questioned.
"Another minute," he replied slumping over the table as his elbows rested on the surface.
"You know," Ino said it softly and waited until his eyes met hers before she continued, "… you've lived with me for almost three months now."
He blinked at her as if realizing how long he was living with her.
"It's nice, you know," she said softly looking away from him and to the clock on the wall, "… you being here," she faced him again to see his gaze soften a little, "… thank you Naruto."
There in front of her, she witnessed his smile. It wasn't the large grin or the wide smile she was used to, but any upward curve of his lips told her he was smiling. That made her happy.
"Let's eat," he announced as his lips went back to straightening.
She nodded and said her thanks before eating.
She had found his silence to be unnerving at first. It was daunting and annoying, but after a while, he grew on her. She finally looked and stared into the very essence of him to see him so beautiful and so disastrous. She soon found herself comparing him with Sasuke.
Both so full of potential to be someone great; someone respected.
Both so full of darkness nested in them created by others.
She wasn't able to do much with Sasuke. She was too young to see it coming. She was not strong enough for him. But with Naruto, she may have a chance at saving him. She may be strong enough for him. She may succeed.
She will succeed.
Ino suddenly stood from where she sat and stared at Naruto who was looking at her. She was looking down and he was looking up. She grabbed his face in between her palms and stroked his cheeks with her thumbs.
"You're beautiful Naruto," she said it softly as she leaned closer to his face.
He didn't want her close. He didn't want anyone close, but he didn't move. His eyes were alert and focused like it once had; focused on her eyes and her face as she inched closer and closer to him.
"No matter what happens or what is bothering you," her voice sounded so sincere in his ears, "… I am here for you."
Her eyes held the understanding that he seek, held the light he tried to find.
"The walls may fall and crumble into nothing," she smiled and he found her much more interesting that those unanimated objects he was staring at, "I'll be right here by your side."
He found his throat tightening and his fingers clenched against his pant.
"You can hold onto me," she kissed his forehead and he cried.
That was the first time she admitted to him her intentions.
That was the first time he let go of his.
So here is a NaruIno story! I hope it isn't confusing. This story is basically about Ino helping Naruto figure out what he needs to do, by being there for him. Hope it peeks your interest!
It would be four chapters, i'm estimating.