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Cough Syrup

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Ino feels good. Her girlfriends are with her, she’s in comfy clothes, and she has a nice drink in her mug. Sakura is laughing right beside her, the wine in her glass almost spilling onto the beige carpet. Hinata’s face is red, as usual, and she’s coughing. She just took a shot of tequila for the first time, and it’s dripping off her chin, staining the floor. Tenten rolls her eyes and sips her water. She’s notoriously straight edge, claiming that alcohol “has lasting implications on one’s health” and that people who drink are doomed to look like “old hags”. Well, Tenten never said the last part, but it’s pretty much implied. Ignoring the grouch, Ino smiles at Hinata, while taking a drink of her wine. The familiar little buzz comes to her and she leans back, head resting on the seat of the couch. Sakura has outlawed any kind of beverage besides water on her cream colored suede couch, moving the girls onto the floor. Not that they minded, though. They usually end up there anyway as the night goes on.
Ino stands up straight, chugging the rest of her wine in the mug, and turns up the volume for the speakers. The bass pumps in the room, resonating through her whole body. She pours more wine into her mug, taking small drinks at first while dancing before chugging it all in one go. She wants to get drunk tonight, she decides, while shimmying her hips in Sakura’s direction, who is belting out the lyrics to the song playing. Hinata cutely does her own dance, consisting of what looks like hopping from one foot to another. Her shiny hair bounces around. After the song passes, she decides to make her own drink, tired of the cheap boxed wine. She puts in too little of the strawberry juice, and too much of the vodka. She’s always had a heavy hand, but when she takes a sip, she chokes on it. It tastes like fucking cough syrup.
Ino’s back in the living room, guzzling down her gross concoction, trying her best to not let it sit on her tongue. First, she’s dancing again, singing her heart out, then she’s on the floor laughing her head off at Sakura. She snorts accidentally, and laughs even harder when Sakura comments on her being “even more pig-like”, because that is so false it’s funny. Tears roll down her face from laughing too hard and she feels good, her nasty, half-full cocktail put aside because she’s drunk enough. Hinata giggles like a bell, her own sweet drink in her hand. Besides seldom drinking, Hinata is by far the best at making them. Hers looks like it has raspberry syrup, soda, and vodka in it. It tastes heavenly too; Ino forced her to let her have a sip.
Now she’s sitting on the couch, gushing about how pretty Shikamaru is. “He’s got like, shiny black hair, and tan skin, and the prettiest brown eyes. He’s super cute, I think I love him and he told me that my skin was soft. He’s sooo cute.” She slurs, describing him to the girls, despite them knowing very well what he looks like. The other girls’ responses are drowned out to her as she thinks of Shikamaru.
“Sakura, we should take Ino to your room to lie down. She’s had too much. I’ll get Hinata.” Tenten comments, picking up Hinata. Sakura, slightly drunk, nods and puts her arm around Ino’s shoulder. “Come on, Ino. Let’s go lie down.”
“Okay, Sakura. We’re going to go lie down.” Ino repeats after her. “Are you drunk too?”
“Just a bit.” She replies. Ino sprawls out on Sakura’s bed, next to Hinata, who’s not even close to drunk. Sakura squishes in between them, with Tenten leaving to go clean up the mess they’ve made in the living room.
“God, I wanna talk to Shika, right now, you know?” Ino says.
“Don’t.” Both Hinata and Sakura say at the same time.
“I won’t, duh. He’s not here. I could call him, though? No, it’s too late for him. He’s in bed at like eight.” Ino flops onto her side. “Guys, am I fat?”
Sakura snorts. “God, of course not.”
“You look athletic, which is good, Ino.” Hinata replies.
“Thank god, being fat is one of my biggest fears. If I ever get fat, please fucking kill me.” Ino says. Sakura looks at her and Ino looks back and they break out into snickers, slapping each other’s arms playfully.
“Okay, we should sleep, seriously.” Sakura says after laughing. They then talk about seemingly nothing for hours on end, Tenten popping her head in to tell them that she’s heading out for the night at one point.
“Hold on, guys.” Ino stops them. She slides only her torso out of bed to reach the trash can, vomiting into it. When done, Sakura and Hinata walk with her to the restroom. Well, Ino crawls for some reason, dragging the trash can with her. After vomiting into the toilet, she looks in the trash can.
“Guys, I threw up blood!” Ino exclaims, laughing. Hinata nervously giggles with Sakura, only calming their nerves when they see it’s just the pink drinks she’s had that night. They take her to the kitchen and force water down her throat. Well, Sakura does. Hinata puts some bread in the toaster. After spreading some cream cheese on the toast, she hands it over to Ino, who graciously takes it and shoves it in her mouth.
“Oh my god, I love this!” She shouts with her mouth full of toast. She’s not as drunk as she was before, thankfully, but she’s still feeling the alcohol a bit. After they’ve all finished eating and Ino’s had all her water, they lie back down again. Sakura’s the first one sleeping (like usual), so Hinata and Ino whisper to each other.
“Yeah, I just think I really like Shikamaru, you know?” Ino says. “Kinda like you and sleeping beauty.” She glances at Sakura slightly snoring beside them.
Hinata blushes. “How’d you-?”
Ino holds up her hand. “Did you really think I wouldn’t notice a crush as obvious as yours on my best friend? So, what’s up with that? Moved on from Naruto?”
Hinata braids a part of her hair. “Um, yes. I still think he’s very cute,” Ino rolls her eyes, as if to say ‘no shit’, “But, I’ve always thought she was pretty, and I started thinking about her a lot after we became good friends. Then, it kind of hit me that I liked her more than a friend.”
Ino yawns. “Good luck with her. When she’s not studying, she’s training. Romance is totally not on her brain right now.”
“I don’t mind that, though. I still spend time with her through training. Besides, I can wait for her, if she’s into girls, that is.”
“She’s definitely into girls, don’t worry about that. After all, I used to have a crush on her when I was little.”
Hinata slightly gasps. “What? I never heard about this?”
“Yeah, I kept under wraps.” Ino stretches her arms up above her. “It was during the academy days, and I pretty much pretended I liked Sasuke. Someone heard me talking about how cute she was and confused her name with Sasuke’s and that’s how that whole thing started. I became close to her, and Sasuke found out I didn’t like him, so sort of win-win. He’s a smart person.”
“Oh my god, I never knew that. Wow, that’s cute.” Hinata smiles.
“Yeah, I guess. I don’t like her like that now, if it wasn’t obvious earlier.” Ino yawns again. “Should we sleep or just stay up for the rest of the night? It’s almost dawn now.”
“We could go watch the sunrise outside?” Hinata offers.
Ino slowly gets out of the bed, shaking the sleepiness out of her limbs. “Sure, that sounds fun. We gotta be super quiet, though.”
“Alright.” They creep their way out of the room, and then run all the way to the rooftop of Sakura’s apartment. It’s still slightly dark out, but the sun is just peeking out on the horizon. A few ninja flies past them, probably off to go train before the fields get crowded.
“Are you still drunk, Ino?” Hinata asks after the sun has almost risen. The sky is an array of light, colors blending into each other to make a magnificent pink.
Ino laughs. “God, of course not! I only feel a tiny bit buzzed. That feeling went away as soon as I threw up.”
“Good, I was just making sure.”
Ino flops onto her back. “I can kind of understand why Shikamaru always does this. Well, I’ve watched the sky with him a couple of times, but I’ve always fallen asleep. Now that I’m thinking about it, he always falls asleep too. It’s kind of calming, you know?”
Hinata nods. “Yeah, I do this with my sister sometimes. It’s a good stress reliever.”
They sit in silence until the sky turns a pale blue, then head back to Sakura’s. “Hopefully she’s not awake yet. She’s gonna be pissed if she is.” Ino says, and they both shudder. And thankfully, she isn’t when they sneak back in.
Hinata begins frying an egg and Ino makes the toast and coffee. The kitchen is filled with the sound of popping grease and the rich scent of coffee. Ino and Hinata eat their breakfast in silence, both nursing a headache. The mere thought of alcohol is enough to trigger Ino’s gag reflex. When they’ve finished, Hinata stays back to clean up after themselves (and to flirt), so Ino heads back to her home to shower. She takes a long, warm shower, and pulls on some old pajamas. Then, she naps for about four hours, waking only to eat whatever lunch her mother left for her.
Groggily, she runs a brush through her hair, painfully sheds off her pajamas, and shrugs on her usual training clothes. If she isn’t going to train that day, she might as well walk around a bit. It typically helps with her hangovers, flushing out the toxins and alcohol in her system. Not bothering to do anything with her hair (ponytails only make her headache worse), she steps outside into the sunshine. ‘Today is quite nice,’ she muses while pulling out loose hairs, letting them drift to the ground, leaving a trail of blonde hair behind her.
“Hey, Ino!” A voice calls her. She turns around. It’s Shikamaru. Her heart pounds slightly, annoyingly enough.
“Hey Shikamaru! What’s up?” She says, pausing long enough for him to catch up to her.
“Nothing much. Mom forced me out of the house, even though it’s my day off.” He puts his hands behind his head. “So troublesome.”
She smiles and they walk quietly, Ino picking at the split ends in her hair. “You’re hungover, aren’t you?” He comments casually.
“Bingo.” She says, not looking up from her split ends. “It was girls’ night last night, of course.”
Eventually, they end up walking to Ino’s house. They scarcely talk, however, it’s a comfortable silence between them.
“Well, see you probably tomorrow, Shika. You’re on guard duty in the afternoon, right?” She asks while opening her front door.
“Unfortunately, yes. You’re on the same shift as me.” He says, exasperated
She groans. “Bye.”
He waves a hand and walks away. “See ya, Ino.”
She watches him leave, still staring long after he’s gone. Then, she walks inside, wishing she could’ve spent a bit more time with him. A sweet, awful-tasting feeling.