Ino falls in love, easy as breathing.
Falling out of love is a lot harder.
If she were less self-aware, she’d blame it on her clan’s bloodline: there is a certain amount of empathy needed to do their family jutsu, a keen sense of observation, and a fluidity of self.
Yet, conversely, knowing oneself–maintaining and cultivating what makes her Ino instead of whatever body she may inhabit–is vital. It’s why she knows, for a fact, that her propensity to fall in love has nothing to do with her bloodline, and everything to do with her own heart.
Ino is an only child without any cousins close to her in age and an awful lot to learn even before she gets to the Academy.
People tend to forget that, or never even consider it, that maybe her sociability isn’t an expression of a natural friendliness. It’s a skill, honed and polished like any other, and one that serves her well.
Which is not to say that she’s faking it all the time, but there’s a reason why even though she’s popular she only really has a few close friends.
On her first day of kunoichi classes, Ino meets Shikako and Sakura.
She never stops loving them.
Ino thinks she knows true love when she is eight. Sasuke is handsome and so cool, like a tragic hero from the stories just waiting for the healing touch of the right woman (Mum doesn’t even bother trying to hide her romance novels anymore).
But she is her father’s daughter–the future seventeenth leader of her clan who will carry on the Yamanaka name and bloodline–nothing can come of it.
Still, a girl can dream can’t she?
And even though later, years from now, she’ll know definitively that it can never be. Well, she’ll still love him, in a different way, and maybe one day he’ll love her back, too.
They are Ino-Shika-Cho.
It’s not something they’re born into, not really, not mandated by their blood nor written in their bones. It’s something they choose, something they work towards, a gathering of compatible hearts that beat as one and say, yes, this is where we will build our home.
How could Ino not fall in love?
But they’re not each others’ everything. They live their own lives and love their own loves.
(She will watch the next generation with pride and a bit of wistfulness: what if?)
Ino falls in love, easy as breathing, and never stops.
A/N: … please enjoy this Ino ficlet, anon 😀