> *Well, at least that explains why Haruno looks like she could chew
> rocks, but why is Ino getting all bent out of shape over this?*
> Shikamaru wondered agitatedly, ignoring Kiba's pleading eyes for the
> moment. *Even if it's true, it's not _that_ big a deal. Ino's not petty,
> and Sakura's been her friend for a while... though maybe that's it.
> Maybe she's just upset that Sakura didn't tell her; dammit, why do girls
> have to be insane?*
Yeah, it's like they've all got split personalities or something!
> Sighing in exasperation, Shikamaru grimaced and pointed at the field.
> "Yeah, whatever- it looks like she's about to say something," he noted,
> successfully distracting Hinata away from the flustered dog-boy.
> Indeed, Ino had taken a step onto the road, and was getting Sakura's
> attention. The blonde looked like she was in a slightly more reasonable
> frame of mind than she'd been in earlier. She didn't look angry anymore,
> and while she was definitely unhappy, she was trying very hard to hide
> "Sakura, we don't have to do this!" Ino began, speaking low enough that
> only the people in the front row of their slowly growing audience could
> She glanced around self-consciously at the crowd of friends, townsfolk
> and curious foreigners that had gathered in the gate and along the
> village wall, before continuing. "I don't hold it against you or
> anything, really! I was just... surprised, and upset that you didn't
> trust me enough to tell me about... this, and... you." Looking
> distinctly uncomfortable for a moment, Ino waved a hand at Mitarashi
> Anko. "And I'm worried about you! I mean, she's so- so- _old_!"
> "_OLD_?! Why, you-" Anko sputtered, the suspiciously adoring look on her
> face transforming instantly into a mask of rage. "Don't let her talk
> about me like that, Sakura-chan! Kick 'er ass!"
> "_SHUT UP_!" Sakura roared, making even the gate guards jump as she spun
> around to give the jounin a terrifying glare of slow, painful death.
> While Kiba dashed off after a whimpering Akamaru and everybody else was
> busy stuffing their hearts back down their throats, Sakura closed her
> eyes and started muttering under her breath.
> Eventually, the white-knuckled fists that she held stiffly at her sides
> relaxed, and she opened her eyes to cast Ino a steady, determined gaze.
> "This is all just... a big _misunderstanding_, but we can talk about it
> later. Right now, all I want to do is settle _our_ fight, nothing else."
> Not waiting for her rival's reply, Sakura dropped into an empty-handed
> taijutsu stance. "I'm sick and tired of being left behind, but I can't
> move on without getting past _you_, so unless you'd like to admit defeat
> in front of everyone here, and get out of my way..." She trailed off, an
> uncharacteristically cocky, dangerous grin spreading across her face.
> By now, Ino had recovered enough to gape in disbelief at the pink-haired
> girl. "You- but- admit defeat to _you_?! Like Hell I will!" she
> bellowed, the pressure of a hundred eyes bearing down on her until she
> had no choice but to collapse or explode.
> "I don't have a clue what's going on behind that _huge_ forehead of
> yours, Sakura, but if you seriously think that you've got a chance in
> Hell of beating me just because of that freakish fluke at the exam,
> you've got another thing coming!" Her anger resurrected mightier than
> before, Ino took her own fighting stance, glaring daggers at her
> grinning opponent. "Bring it on!"
> *Well, I'll give this to Sakura: she really knows how to push Ino's
> buttons,* Shikamaru grumbled internally, wondering if Sakura had planned
> on their being such a large number of witnesses. More than being pushy,
> vain, and delusional when it came to Sasuke, Ino's biggest weakness was
> her pride.
> A lot of it was well-deserved, as she was one of the best female ninja
> in her generation,
Which doesn't exactly say a whole heck of a lot for the female ninja of
her generation since I'm pretty sure Chouji could turn her into a
pancake not to mention people like Rock Lee, Gaara, Sasuke and Naruto.
Ino's devastating in combination with Shikamaru, but on her own, not
> This was proven a moment later, as Ino wised up and reached for a kunai,
> finally forcing Sakura to give her a bit of breathing room. "Alright,
> Sakura, no more playing around! Time to get serious!" she shouted
> confidently, though Shikamaru could tell that she was getting nervous.
Doesn't seem that proves anything. Sakura's still ahead on points.
> "No... they're bunshin, not illusions, but none of them is the real
> Sakura. I don't see her at all.
Surely the Byakugan can see an invisible person. Isn't that what the
Byakugan does best?
> "That's not a very nice thing to say, Ino-chan," Sakura whined, a hurt
> look on her face as she leaned over Ino's back. Resting her chin on the
> injured girl's good shoulder, she loosely draped her arms around Ino's
> stomach. When blonde froze, blue eyes wide with shock, Sakura's pouty
> expression turned mischievous, and she turned her head to give her rival
> a playful lick on the cheek.
OK, so that's an echo of Anko looking like Sakura in Ino's mind.
> "Ne, Ino-chan, please don't be mad, okay?" Sakura prodded. When this
> provoked no response, she got a little closer. "Ino-chAAA!" Sputtering,
> Sakura danced away, but not in time to avoid a good dousing as Ino
> pressed her palm under the running tap in front of her.
> Spinning, the blonde was only mildly surprised when she found that
> Sakura had vanished once more, but this time she was prepared. Looking
> down, she spotted a trail of wet footprints leading to the bathroom
> door. She had neither heard nor seen it open, but that was probably part
> of whatever illusion Sakura was using to hide from her.
Footprints? That's some powerful hallucinating.
> "Waaah! No!" Appearing out of nowhere, _another_ Sakura slid to a stop
> in front of Ino, grabbing her feet. The new Sakura stared up at the
> blonde with huge, teary, beseeching green eyes. "Don't fight!" she
> pleaded, hugging Ino's legs tighter.
Hey. That's a new personality.
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