She could still say she was single if the need arose, just not as alone as she was before. Ino/Chouji fluff.
She scowled. He wasn't an "it" anymore, he was a living, breathing human being. An inevitability, she supposed. One could only be part of a team with someone else for so long before they stopped being a cesspool to fling negativity at and started to resemble a person, a comrade, a friend.
She had suggested that they not talk. If they didn't discuss anything, they wouldn't have to decide where they stood with each other. She could still say she was single if the need arose, just not as alone as she was before. She had a friend to keep her company, someone who fumbled over words around her, an open chest to rest her head on when she needed to watch clouds.
And she needed to watch clouds.
Maybe she would paint her nails, she thought. She decided that she liked purple. Purple nails, purple lips, purple eyeshadow. She crinkled her nose. Too gaudy. Perhaps pink would have been better. But pink was Sakura's color.
She wondered if her friend would notice, not that it mattered. Would he say "pretty" or "cute?" She was aiming for beautiful, but if he said it, he had better have meant it.
Of course, she imagined if she had really wanted his attention, all she would have had to do was wait in his room with nothing but a pair of gingham panties and a platter of barbeque ribs. A horrible thought. She laughed.
He stirred beneath her. "What's funny?" he asked.
"Nothing," she giggled. "It's nothing."
"Then why are you laughing?" he asked.
"When you talk, my head vibrates," she snapped. "So, stop it."
It was his fault, anyway. She had been eating a bag of potato chips, not that she should have, it cost her lunch and dinner the next day, but she refused to completely finish the bag. She managed to save the last chip and as a result, her pride had remained intact. Instead of just throwing the bag away like common sense dictated, she passed the bag off to him. A dreadful mistake.
She hadn't noticed the look in his eyes at the time, but it was an expression she was now well acquainted with. That gesture had affected him deeply. It began simply, him offering her the last potato chip in his bag, then it escalated. Bouquets of roses carved from apples, radishes and tomato peels left at her door, chocolate butterflies on her pillow. She had gained ten pounds.
He didn't seem to mind.
She liked to fancy that the majority of the gained weight went to her breasts. Probably not true, she wagered, but she had been too busy training, too busy cloud watching to see for certain.
She shifted from his chest to beside him on the grass when she heard footsteps. There was no need for anyone to get a false impression. Shikamaru appeared ready to join them on the grass until he caught sight of her. Instead, he simply raised an eyebrow, propped his hands behind his head and continued walking past.
That was it. She sprang up from her back and threw a hand out. "Wait! It's not what you think!"
Shikamaru paused. He turned around slowly to face them, his expression doubtful.
"Yeah," Chouji agreed. "She likes me too."
She glanced from Shikamaru in front of them, back to Chouji on the grass. She sighed.
"He's right," she said. "I do."
Shikamaru only shook his head as he walked off. That look, Chouji had that look on his face again. She propped her head back on his chest. It was her mistake and she had to admit that there was no way out of it. But underneath the bag of potato chips and his thick skin there were lungs and a heart. She could hear them. She giggled. Gingham and barbeque it was. She didn't think she minded.