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The Way the World Runs

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“We need more flowers, Ino!”

Cheerful voice chimed from the entrance to the shop and Ino sighed deeply, because of course he needs more, but she smiled nonetheless to greet the man. Naruto the Merry Reaper, as the Konoha townsfolk preferred to call him, local funeral director and “Meet With Your Lost Ones” organiser  could never have enough flowers. Ever.

Yamanaka Flower Empire was the best floral supplier in the city and for that reason Ino was well acquainted with the man. She also held a healthy amount of respect for his commitment to the job and the heed he paid to the details.

Because there wasn’t a funeral Uzumaki was in charge of, that wasn’t as uplifting as such an even could’ve been.

She’s been on a few herself.

A lot of her family members were associated with the bureau investigation force and lived a pretty dangerous life because of that. And often a short one.  

Ino was just a simple flower lady, though, and she didn’t really understand why fancy burials were a thing. Spending two months worth of salary on flowers for someone who couldn’t even appreciate them anymore seemed a little over the top for her, but Naruto paid a huge portion of her bills singlehandedly, so she wasn’t about to complain either.

“Golden chrysanthemums?” she asked warmly, preparing to fill in the usual order. But Naruto bounced to the counter way to enthusiastically for that to be the case and Ino prepared herself for an upcoming apocalypse.

“I need lilies, Ino-chan!” he boomed happily, slamming hands on the counter and leaning forward   until he was almost bent in half. “Pretty and white and a whole lot of them! All you can get me for yesterday!” Ino was pretty sure the man would drape himself all over her if the counter wasn’t as board.

Really, that one… Ino couldn’t help the fondness she felt for this pure, precious man, even when he was being a headache.

Sheer, childish joy radiating from Naruto’s big eyes that accompanied his blinding smilewas already flooding her personal space, though, and gathering thoughts proven harder than just a minute before.

“I can’t sell you any white lilies right now, honey,” Ino answered getting herself together and trying her best to keep her facial expression friendly-neutral. She really didn’t want to disappoint him. Damn. “Sasuke’s booked them all for the Hyuuga wedding this weekend. You have to try somewhere else.”

“Sasuke was here?”

Ouch.

Seeing all the sunshine surrounding the man almost double the blasting power with just one word was almost painful to experience. The overwhelming happiness beaming from Naruto’s slim form  right now could probably power the whole city for a good portion of the upcoming year.

But somehow it was Ino who had to handle its whole intensity.

“He called,” She corrected and the extra sunshine was instantly gone.

They should nickname me Ino, the Beast Tamer for that, she thought briefly to herself, sighing internally.

“Oh.”

It was an open secret that Naruto was trying to woo Sasuke for years now, only to be talked down on every occasion.

Sasuke didn’t do relationships.

In fact, he didn’t do anything that would even remotely remind him of his disdained job, and that included eating cake and attending flower shops personally. But Naruto should’ve known that, since he used to basically stalk the guy.

“Can’t help it, then. I’ll be on my way.” And with one last smile Naruto hurried off the shop.

It’s not like Ino could blame him.

o0o

It wasn’t until winter that Ino saw him again, though.

Wearing suspiciously absent smile and a smudge of printer ink on his cheek, Naruto chose thirteen roses from her finest batch and left without one overenthusiastic statement.

It happened three more times before the rumours have finally reached Ino’s shop.

o0o

In January Sasuke called for golden chrysanthemums.

In February Naruto booked her whole Valentine’s Day red roses supply.

In March he came for cute bouquets of forget-me-nots.

In April Sasuke smiled to her for the first time.

 

In May both of them were on a leave and Ino had to deal with the assistants. And boy, was Konohamaru a handful.

 

In June they came to the shop together, unshakeable satisfaction leaking through the signature smile on one face and peaceful resignation on the other, that Ino couldn’t really understand until Naruto handed her a glittery, black piece of cardboard.

A wedding invitation.

In black.

“We want you to come, Ino-chan!” he beamed at her, throwing his hands in the air. “We’re grateful it was you that finally brought us together!”

“Me?”

Ino couldn’t remember being this dumbfounded before in her life.

“The lilies, Ino-chan! The bought out white lilies! I had to make the bastard share that one time he booked the entire city’s supply.”

“…shut up, loser,” was the only thing Ino could gather from Sasuke’s mumbling in the background. He was uncharacteristically cheerful, too, judging by the lack of the gloomy aura usually following him around.

Huh.

“Lilies.”

She smiled accepting the invitation along with the absurdity of her life.

“When should I book you two a supply, then?

Happy End