From the moment he initiated “conversation”, Itachi maintained his distance, arms still folded and demeanour very much aloof. He had meant to make peace earlier on a much lighter note, but had gotten sidetracked, and then aggravated yet again by the florist.
Nobody would wish for such unwanted attention.
He had demonstrated this enough times.
All the same, he remained calm throughout their exchange, and even gave a brief nod in acknowledgement at her words of appreciation. At the very least, there was no instance of smugness that existed during their last argument.
He hesitated, fingers tapping against the side of his arm.
Finally, he relented, and seated himself on the bed.
"Let’s see it."
Ino’s anger had all but evaporated. Especially when she held the bag- it was so pretty! A present always cheered her up. She was already smiling at him, even though he still looked like he was sulking.
The florist could see the struggle, and yet, loved him more for sitting on the edge of her bed than walking out. After all, a book was sort of boring to get as a present instead of a bag. But Itachi was impossible to shop for.
Her lips spread into a wider smile at his answer. This was progress.
"Ah- let me read it to you!" She began, flipping over to the relevant page.
Ino cleared her throat.
“Fitful gusts of wind are blowing
Across the mountain-range," she began with a soulful look, waving an arm away from her body to demonstrate a mountain range.
“And night after night I lie alone,
Yearning for my love-" she clutched her chest dramatically and then turned to him again-
Finally, the spirit of some old, melodramatic ghost lifted and she flipped over to another one.
"Want me to read you a long poem?"
What was this?
She looked from the box to Itachi and when he made no sound, decided it must be for her. Unwrapping it only made her feel like a bitch.
It was a cute, white bag with a flower on it.
He had gone to buy her a present and she had just been feeling jealous of his popularity.
"It’s lovely. Thank you." Ino pulled the drawer of the bedside cabinet open and held out a hardback copy of a book called The Manyoshu.
"For you. I meant to give it last night but…"
She had folded a tiny corner of Prince Ikusa’s poem and placed a rose petal beside the small verse marked ‘Envoy’.
Ino had just came out of the shower, towelling her hair dry, when her foot slid over three, juicy spiders instead of her usual slipper.
A high-pitched shriek could be heard through the entire street.
There were so many! It was like that Harry Potter movie with all those spiders. She used the bottles of shampoo as weapons and aimed with deadly accuracy at the creatures; all the while using chakra to perch sideways against the wall.
How did they even get in??
"IF I HAVE TO TELL YOU THEN YOU DON’T DESERVE TO KNOW! DIE!"
"Truth. Some people need to hear more of it."
Itachi had to bite the inside of his cheek and exhale calmly to dispel any need to provide a retort. He knew very well that taking such a route could potentially lead him to dangerous waters.
Ino always maintained she had fallen in love with him at first sight. Arguing any further on the issue would have meant the possibility of looking like he was dismissing her feelings- which, even if he did find difficult to believe and understand, was never his intention.
She was different from the others.
"—Fine. Just don’t get carried away."
Wow. That was rich coming from Itachi.
"Oh, you’re asking me not to get carried away?” She snapped, throwing him a look that could freeze lava. He had some nerve.
"You should be saying that to the girls that flutter around you. Maybe then they wouldn’t practically move in with you."
Ino finally found her bag and threw it over her shoulder. She doubted he would miss her, what with his fans being such regular visitors to his house.
You know what? She was going to buy that dress. She would rock it.
"Do any of those things sound appealing to any man? I don’t recall being overjoyed when she gave birth in my room.”
"… Aside from being polite, I give them tea to distract them. I don’t even know these women, Ino. Why would I automatically assume they’re that deeply invested in a stranger? It doesn’t make any sense.
"I don’t even recall the last time I’ve hugged any of them."
"I don’t know! YOU seem appealed by them- well, they have your attention!” Ino stressed, losing her calm, can’t-care-less voice. He was being very annoying by answering like it didn’t make any sense.
"Does he never look at himself in a mirror? The man is practically Sexy-San and ugh."
It made SO much sense to everyone. Except this oblivious man right here.
"Please. Like some tea will distract someone from your face. Itachi… this will not make sense to you. Ever. So let’s just quit it. I’m going shopping."
Itachi raised his hands.
"Aa. Calm down."
"I just don’t believe she’s interested in me in that manner. You have to admit she’s done nothing for months now.
"As for the rest of them… I don’t like how aggressive they are either. I’m doing the best I can to keep them out."
"… Itachi, that’s because apart from stealing your child like rumpelstiltskin, there’s nothing else she can do to you! She’s already lived in your closet, given birth in front of you and came as a baby on our first anniversary.”
You know. If he was going to pretend to be oblivious, then he was very welcome to.
"Yes. Of course you are. By giving them all tea and warm hugs. That’s definitely discouraging them."
The idea was so ludicrous Itachi almost snorted at it.
"Please. It’s the exact opposite. Her hobby is to mortify me."
Sure. Let him suffer the consequences of his actions by himself.
"The next time a woman just arrives in your bedroom or house uninvited, don’t expect me to hang around."
"It’s all a big joke to you, after all."
shintenshin replied to your post:[TAKES OFF SHIRT]… [to reveal another shirt 8)]. (≧ヮ≦✿)¬_¬ It’s because you’re like this.
He wanted her to tell him about the giant elephant in the room?
"No, it’s fine. I just… thought she wanted to give you a show."
Fake cockroaches, mind.
Itachi glanced back at Ino, and took note of the fear that was clearly etched on her face. Not just her facial features, but her entire body also positively displayed this. From the faint glimmer of light, he was able to assess the trickles of cold sweat that slid down her forehead, her cheeks. Even her eyes were wide with horror as she stared at the fallen glass jar. She looked as though if given the appropriate shock, she might just collapse from the entire experience.
… And then there was the vice-like grip that he was caged in…
He examined his surroundings once more— and sighed. He supposed that there was nothing else for it.
Itachi said not a word as he carefully removed himself from her hold— only to lift her into his arms.
He did not know the extent of her fear of the supernatural (nor did he even know her phobia of this existed prior to this very moment), but he was not about to bring her much further than this room. It was evident that with her extremely excitable nature, continuing would only worsen the situation. —For both herself and the actors of this attraction.
He would not have been surprised if in her fright, she would actually stomp on their hands if they so much as tried to grab her ankle.
"Time to leave," he said, as he kissed her chilled forehead. "We still need to straighten up for tonight."
So he gave up their tickets to the closest member of the staff within the vicinity -they were stationed there in the case where one of the customers were unable to handle the experience-, and once they were outside, added gently, “Think you can stand on your own?”
No amount of curiosity was worth frightening her.
It had been nauseating to watch the tiny creatures scuttle about in that eerie way that they had. They crawled up the walls and around her sandalled feet. They also made such an odd sound- almost mechanical and- Ino shivered and grabbed a fistful of Itachi’s robe. This wasn’t what she had signed up for. Hopefully, with a few, calming breaths they could continue the tour and there would be no more creepy things.
Except that her boyfriend had other plans. He had gathered her shaking limbs into his arms and lifted her clean off her feet. Had the girl not been so anxious, she would have been very happy to note that she was being carried like a princess (even though it was out of a Haunted House).
Ino nodded, reluctant to be out of his arms, but also didn’t want to make Itachi feel like she was a baby. So that was why she cautiously pressed a toe to the ground and then settled her weight back on her feet.
She was outside and away from the cockroaches. Just the rustle of leaves, the caress of the wind against her cheek… the florist certainly felt more at home here. She dragged her fingers through her hair and turned to Itachi, a little woeful that he had to even witness that.
“Sorry… I just hate cockroaches…” she shuddered. Ino knew he had not really had any problem with gross things (but then he was a double agent of the Akatsuki and probably had plenty of occasions to meet gross people like Hidan and Kakuzu), but she would rather that her time spent with such things be to the barest minimum.
To show that she was really quite fine now, Ino plastered a smile on her face and agreed that they ought to prepare for the dance. Now that was something to look forward to- not some freak show!
“Oh oh! I hope they play nice songs!” she sighed dreamily, walking away from the haunted house and towards the meadow where the dance ‘floor’ was.