"Welcome to J’s Java! How may I take your order?"
He looks at the bubbly blonde standing behind the counter smiling like it’s her duty (it is) and his eyes roam upward to the menu.
"I’ll take a mocha expresso, in your biggest size, and substitute the extra sugar with nutmeg."
"Would you like to add a pastry to your order?"
The barista — Ino, the nametag on her green apron reads — gestures one handedly at the display case full of tarts, rolls, cookies, and cakes.
"No, that’s it."
"That’ll be $4.75."
He hands her the cash as she rings him up and he turns to find himself a seat while she gets started but she calls to him before he can take a full step.
"Wait! What name should I put on the cup?"
He looks at her silently for a moment, wondering why she doesn’t just announce Mocha Expresso with Nutmeg! when she finishes like every other coffee place does. It doesn’t really matter though, so he gives her his name.
She grins at him and he turns back and wanders the small seating area until he finds a free table along the wall, in the back. Cracking open his Economics 250 textbook, he barely gets four pages into studying before he hears his name called and has to return to the counter to collect his drink. Ino flashes him yet another smile as she hands him the drink — be careful, it’s hot! — and Sasuke goes back to his corner to try and absorb as much information as he can before the quiz in twenty minutes.
He takes his first sip nearing the end of the fifth page and is jarred out of his studying when he realizes she’s botched his order. Sprinkled on the surface of his expresso is not nutmeg, like it should be, but cinnamon. He twists to look at the counter, watching Ino ring up the first of five people in line, frowns, and keeps sipping. It’s fairly full in the small shop and she’s only human. It’s reasonable that mistakes will happen on occasion. When he finishes the chapter, he gets up and leaves without a word.
Later, during the quiz, he curses as a thick black smear transfers onto his paper from his thumb. How the hell? He hasn’t used a marker all day long; even now he marks his multiple choice bubble answers with a pencil. Where did the ink on his finger come from?
What name should I put on the cup?
Marker ink. He glares at his hand, seeing now that there’s quite a lot of residual ink on his fingers, not just his thumb. He wipes off what he can with the hem of his shirt and finishes his quiz.
The next time Sasuke visits J’s Java the same girl is at the counter. He stares at the menu as he falls in lane, remembering her error last time, and decides to simpilfy his order. As he reaches the front of the line she brightens.
"Welcome to J’s Java! How may I take your order?"
"Mocha expresso, venti."
She cocks her head to the side with an odd expression.
She starts to tell him the price but he puts the money on the counter and retreats to the back corner. He expects her to call to him, asking his name again. She doesn’t.
Halfway into the answering the second question on his homework he hears his name being called and goes to get his drink.
This time, he is nearly done with his homework by the time he takes the first tenative sip, careful to hold the cup close to the rim. Not only has his coffee cooled, but it’s wrong. Again. Who puts milk in an expresso? Hadn’t she learned how to make the drinks properly? He glances at her from his spot, watching her chatter happily with a customer as she hands them their drink. Maybe she’s new he thinks, feeling unusually merciful and returning to his homework. He forgets to hold the cup by the rim when he stands to go, doesn’t even think to grab a napkin to wrap around it when he scoops it up and tries not to knock anyone over when he realizes he’s running late for his next class. He doesn’t notice the ink on his hands until he straightens his shirt during a cramped ride on the campus bus —
his white shirt.
Sasuke fumes all throughout the lecture.
A couple of weeks pass before he chances going to J’s Java again. He’d sworn it off after it ruined his shirt (and who uses permanent marker for a freakin’ cup, anyway?) but his morning class had run long, midterms were approaching and his stress levels were rising. Only coffee or Absinthe would help, and he doesn’t think the TA for his next period would appreciate him walking into class utterly drunk. Coffee it was.
He stepped into the coffeeshop seeing it half empty for once and made his way to the counter. Ino was there, as always (didn’t they have any other baristas? Sasuke was starting to think not) and, hoping the slow pace today meant she would have time to pay attention, Sasuke very precisely told her his order.
"I want a mocha expresso. With nutmeg. No milk, no cinnamon. And don’t write on the cup!"
A flash of hurt crosses her face but Ino smiles anyway, tells him the price, and accepts his money. This time, Sasuke stands near the counter, watching as she makes his drink. Her process seems flawless as she performs all of the right steps, her hands moving with a confidence that came from making the same thing many times over. Sasuke was feeling confident she would get his order right this time and only looked down for a moment to check a text message on his phone. When he looked back up, his expresso had foam at the top and Ino was writing on the cup.
"Hey! Stop, what are you doing? That’s an expresso, there’s no foam! And I specifically asked you not to write on the cup!”
He glared at her, not believing how this could happen a third time. What was wrong with this girl?
Ino looked at him, stunned to have been caught, and placed the cup on the counter sheepishly.
"I know." she said quietly, not looking nearly ashamed enough in Sasuke’s opinion.
"If you know then why did you do it?" he snapped, five seconds away from demanding his money back.
Her lips drew into a small smile and Ino turned the cup so that the inked side faced him. For the first time, Sasuke realized his name was not written on the cup. Instead, there was a number.
"Because how else would I get you to call me?"
I just came up with an idea for a loosely fairytale-based ItaIno oneshot.
Oops. Guess I know what I’ll be doing with the rest of my
night week. I have a feeling the rest of my Ino Week stuff will be late
I blame Kaara and her Metallica-screaming mermaids, got Fairytale!Ino spinning ‘round my head.
The wind whips her ponytail, the light of the sinking sun highlighting the anticipation on her face.
“What did you say?”
He’s in for it now. He is so, so in for it and he’s never going to hear the end of this, not for the rest of his life.
"Oi, Shika! Look at this coin pouch, isn’t it perfect? I love it!"
Ino holds up a small pink pouch beaded within an inch of it’s life in a floral design. It’s a bit too small to be practical -if she’s going to seriously carry money in it anyway- and flashy in his opinion, but it’s not like she wants a genuine answer from him. Just a nod and a mutterance of agreement is enough for her. A bit of flashiness is all it takes to buy her ‘love’. It is the most used and abused word he can think of.
"Really? I knew it. I am definitely buying this."
"I LOVE their onigiri. It’s to die for!"
She cups her hands on the glass and peers into the small restaurant but, if the deep shadows inside mean anything at all, it appears to be closed. It’s no inconvenience — if she were really hungry she’d simply try her luck at the meatbun stall a few feet away — but she won’t, because she’s Ino and she only really wants it because of how cool it looks. Shikamaru shakes his head and keeps walking.
"Shika, wait up!"
Ino bounces towards him from down the street and Shikamaru slows to a stop, stuffing his hands into his pockets as he turns towards her. He had returned from a mission a half hour earlier and hadn’t had time to check in with his old teammates yet. He supposes that means he’s due for some nagging
—but in her hands is a small cloth bag, black and unmarked. Shikamaru levels her with a curious glance when she hands it to him without a word. He loosens the drawstring and dumps the contents into one hand. A pair of trench knives tumble out.
Ino grins, tips her head to the side the way she does when she’s pleased with herself.
"I figure it’s always good to have a backup pair. Do you love it?"
“I said, ‘I love you.’ “
a sleeping beauty au where ino is the princess and she pricks her finger on her sixteenth birthday as is expected from the curse. what the fairies don’t know is that she has a little bit of magic herself. when she falls into the enchanted sleep, her soul somehow escapes and becomes some sort of a projection. an out of body thing. she can’t go far so she ends up as a grumpy companion to her physical body.
which is a terrible thing because she keeps criticising every single prince (and princess) who has come from far and wide to kiss her out of the curse.
"his teeth is not straight and he’s smelly, don’t you have a nose”
"you’re kidding, right? if she puts those lips on me, I SWEAR I WILL SCREAM"
"HE’S AT LEAST THIRTY YEARS OLD"
so on and so forth.
GHOST QUEEN INO
I AM HERE FOR ALL OF THIS
Inoichi was a very handsome individual back in his young golden years. Always a man capable to play with any mind, he sure knew how to sweet talk and attract the ladies. It had been love at first sight when he met her, and soon after he was notified that he had changed status from an available…
"Please don’t leave."
Ino stops just a step away from the door, looking back at it uncertainly. Her gut tells her to go, she can sense the person sent to relieve her of her shift just down the hall and she’s already tired and a tired mind isn’t much good for playing warden, but the voice comes again and Ino’s heart twinges a little.
She bites her lower lip and turns back around, waving off the jounin coming around the corner to not bother. He frowns and asks if she’s sure she’s okay for another shift. She nods and he leaves. A small part of her wants to smack herself for committing to another eight hours of Watch. She shoves that part down, pulls her keys out of her pocket, and lets herself back in.
Beyond the door is a large room bisected across the middle with a floor-to-ceiling wall, a small rectangle at the bottom of it for the explicit purpose of shoving in food trays. Behind the wall, wrapped in more chains than all of the other prisoners put together, is Jūgo. The adjoining rooms are empty of prisoners, instead occupied by two AnBu agents each, armed to the teeth in case of…necessity.
Ino only steps in far enough to close the door behind her — many feet clear from the wall — and seats herself on the floor. She rests her chin in her palm
"He was never going to cure me, was he?"
He asks, sounding depressively somber and small.
Ino doesn’t know for sure, but she has her doubts. In all of her training in the medical field, Ino has never come across a single cure attributed to Orochimaru. It was all in the discovering, for him. Once he figured out something or someone, he quickly lost interest, often disposing of them.
"I don’t think so."
A minute passes with nothing but the sound of his breathing as he thinks. Ino assists him, tamping down the harsher thoughts; keeping his rage at bay. It’s why he asked her to stay. I can think freely when you’re here.
"Maybe I’m not worth it."
His entire existence is burdensome to others. The time that Kimimaro and Sasuke invested in him, he’s beginning to think it was pointless. He’s no longer a science experiment and no longer a body guard. He has outlived every purpose he’s ever had.
Ino sits up straight and gazes at the wall sympathetically.
"You are! You are worth it."
"But it would be easier to just kill me, wouldn’t it?"
Not exactly. It would take a team of very strong shinobi to take him down, both of them know that. She side-steps the question.
"We can help you."
Neither of them say what they both know: being imprisoned is not helping; is no different than how he lived with Orochimaru. They are no different.
But maybe Ino is. She stays when he asks, listens without judging, and gives him hope when he despairs.
Ino projects happier, more soothing thoughts into his mind until she feels Jūgo drifting into unconsciousness. His last thought before sleep overcomes him echoes in Ino’s mind:
Is this a place where I can have a future?
She decides then that if it isn’t, it will be. She’ll make sure of it.