Her father had been furious, of course. His daughter with that thing that had attacked the city and inadvertently killed most of the Yamanaka Clan all those years ago? But he had performed no mind jitsu to rearrange matters more to his liking, and so now Ino wondered. What did they see in Uzumaki that would combine so well with her that the sure thing of an Ino-Shiki-Cho team would go overlooked?
She glanced over at Sakura sitting by Chouji and Sasuke, still waiting for their new sensei to arrive. It was rather lonely feeling, sitting here without Chouji or Shikamaru. She’d never thought about it; her family had always just assumed, but then this morning word came there’d been a testing mistake and Shikamaru and not Uzumaki was the lowest scoring student, and, as the 10th student, was the one with no place with only 3 3-man teams.
And then, of course, there was Sakura, who hadn’t talked to her in over a year. Ino’d had to resort to squabbling over Uchiha just to get her to say a thing to Ino. And now that Sakura had gotten what she’d wanted-Sasuke! It just-
Ino jumped, then felt guilty. She was a ninja, a real one as of today. Ninjas didn’t jump. Uzumaki didn’t seem to notice though.
“That,” he spit out, pointing to her ex-best friend. “He’s got the prettiest girl in the school hanging all over him, and he doesn’t even notice.”
“She’s not that pretty,” was all she could think to say. Again, Uzumaki didn’t notice. Someone else did though.
“Careful Naruto-kun, I think you hurt Ino-san’s feelings,” Inuzaka said elbowing the boy beside him. “’Sides, its Uchiha-sama; everything he does is perfect. All the chicks are hot for him, even Ino-san here.”
“I’m not,” she said automatically. After thinking about it a moment, she found it true, even. Inuzaka and Uzumaki turned to stop staring at Sakura and start stare at her. It was an entirely different kind of stare, though.
“What? Can’t a girl have an opinion?”
“Oh, she can. I just didn’t expect such an unusual one.”
“I hope they fail!’ she blurted out, feeling a little bit defiant and a little bit annoyed and guilty all around for thinking such a mean thing. Its rubbish of course; she can hope whatever she wants, but Sakura’s read all the scrolls in the school’s library, and Sasuke’s some genius and Chouji- for all people teased him about his cheek markings- was certainly no slouch in the fighting department. It doesn’t matter a thing what she hoped-
Except, perhaps to them, because they broke into manic grins at hearing that.
“Well, I don’t know ‘bout that,” Kiba said, cuffing the other two on the back, “but we’ll probably pass as a team before them.”
“Why’s that?” Ino asked, trying to shove his arm back off her shoulder.
“Because there’s a jounin-sensei waving us down and they’re still cooling their heels. I think our new teacher is here.”