#creeps out from under a rock# Er..people are still reading this right? I know that I said this chapter was going to be a lemon but sorry! It'll be next chapter because this chapter already got waaaay too long. You guys know my habit of rambling on and on. I like the story to be slow paced because otherwise it feels too rushed. Although Shikamaru and Ino are married, I don't like the idea of them just jumping into bed and...you know. #blush#

I have a question for everybody, are lemons allowed to be posted on ? Of course I'll litter the entire fic with warnings and this fic IS rated R for a reason........but I wonder if there'll be people who'll get offended and whine about it. The thing is, I don't have a website so I can't exactly post the lemon somewhere else. Anyone who knows the exact nature of 's position on lemons in R rated fics, please lemme know?

#BLUSH# I still can't believe I'm actually gonna attempt to write a lemon...I'm the type of person who can't even write a kiss into the fic without blushing....ergo this chapter is a slow warm up to my errrr..actual lemon.

Btw THANK YOU ALL THE WONDERFUL PEOPLE WHO HAVE GIVEN ME REVIEWS! You guys have given me the strength to continue! (and guilt when I get too lazy XD)

Naruto doesn't belong to me because if it did, more attention would be paid to the girls and the girls would actually have the drive and will to become great ninjas. Says who girls don't have the ambition to protect their village and become hokage!? Poor Tenten doesn't even have a last name...

Before I forget, after hiding my sketches in shame for a looooooong time, I've decided to send my sketches to a website for posting. Recently, I've been exchanging emails with a reviewer and showed her the sketches and that's why I decided I might as well see if anyone will post it for me. (Hey look Kim I've updated! #sweatdrops#)

My Shikaino fanart (however inferior cuz I'm too lazy to clean it up or color it) can be found here: http:ino.sayuri.us/

NOT my website but I DO love this site. It's so pretty and well done!

Ch. 7 Careful Perambulation: One Step At A Time

The reason that 'staring' was considered to be rude was because it unnerves people to be under continuous scrutiny. Exactly why being stared at makes one uncomfortable isn't clear. Possibly, it's because people worry that their flaws would be found out if someone were given enough time to inspect for it. But unlike others of the same predicament, Ino's reason for discomfort under the intense gaze of someone had no ambiguity. Shikamaru, whose behavior had been peculiar all day, had his eyes firmly fixed on her face—the unreadable emotion shining through his stare made her feel exposed.

He was standing in front of the bedroom door. Although he wasn't acting hostile, Ino couldn't help but feel like he was somehow blocking the main escape out of the room. With a hand still on the lock of the door, Shikamaru smiled at her in a non-reassuring way. His eyes hadn't left her since he entered the room.

Ino never knew it was possible for Shikamaru to have that kind of intensity in his dark depths, but as he maintained eye-contact, the smoldering emotions simmering in his piercing gaze made her feel like a prey vulnerable to getting eaten. From between the gentle curve of his lips came a brief flash of red when his tongue darted out and licked the corners of his mouth. He cocked his head towards her, then suddenly released his hand from the lock and started to approach her with purposeful strides.

Unsure of Shikamaru's state of mind, Ino backed away as he came closer until the enclosing wall behind the bed blocked her from further retreat. Breathing hard while the thumping of her heart pounded like muted drums in her ears, Ino looked wide-eyed at Shikamaru as he drew nearer.


'Ino is so cute when she's confused.' Shikamaru thought as he walked to her in the slow and deliberate pace he intentionally picked. He had chosen to saunter to her with a leisurely strut just to see her tortured by the apprehensive suspense aroused by the unpredictability of his actions.

As he walked forward, each footstep thumping solemnly on the hardwood floor like the slow beat of a death march drum, he noticed how she was even more attractive than usual—if that was even possible. Her flawless skin, normally the solid color of creamy milk, now had the tint of rosiness to her cheeks. The discomfiture that caused her blood to rush to her face, had the delightful effect of making her lips flush into a full, pouty red. Smugly, he wondered where she would kiss him with those lips once he got her into bed—and at that thought, he unconsciously licked his chops in a different kind of hunger. It was the first time he felt predatory—a forgotten streak of masculinity that Ino had dragged out of the recess of his laid-back soul.

The shift in the balance power amused him. Never once in all the years they've known each other, had he been the one in the position of control when it came to Ino. Whenever a conflict occurred between them, he had always gone along with his nature and gave in to her demands to avoid unnecessary troubles. But now, while Ino was looking uneasily back at him with the beautiful sapphire eyes he adored, there was no doubt that in the web of mind-games, he was the ultimate victor. Ino had played right into his hands and unexpectedly, he was starting to enjoy himself despite the troublesome things he had to do. Besides, his hard work was going to be rewarded now. What he planned to do next was anything but troublesome.

His unhurried amble stopped less than a feet away from Ino—whose frame was stiffening up in unease at his proximity. From where he was standing, a spot close enough to feel her radiating body heat, Shikamaru thought he could hear the beating of her heart as he leaned in. Languidly, his arms stretched out and wrapped around her waist—pulling her close in an earnest embrace. His head hovered over her shoulder and he pressed his face against her cheek. With his mouth near her left ear, his lips moved to form his breath into the sound of her name. "Ino........" The warm breeze from his mouth carried the aroma of fresh mint.

With a barely audible gasp, Ino abruptly slumped in his arms limply. Patient as always, Shikamaru waited for a response from her. When a few seconds had passed and she continued to stand impassively in his arms, a tingle of worry solidified in Shikamaru's heart. "Ino?" He asked with his voice higher than usual in an elevated tone of uncertainty.

And as if she didn't hear her name, Ino made no movement to reassure Shikamaru that she was fine. As Shikamaru's level of anxiety was steadily climbing, a cloud of white suddenly exploded before of him—the mist dissipating slowly in front his eyes as the tendrils floated away and diffused into the surrounding air.

A thought floated through Shikamaru's mind. 'Why did Ino feel so spongy and pliable like she was boneless?'

Blinking in puzzlement, Shikamaru pulled away to find himself hugging a pillow he recognized as belonging to the bed he shared with his wife.

"Huh? Kawarimi?" He exclaimed quietly to himself. Who would've thought Ino would have used such a jutsu in the bedroom to get out of a hug? Delighted by Ino's endearing eccentricities, laughter from deep within his chest bubbled forth without warning. Still laughing, the sound of a door swinging shut behind him alerted Shikamaru that Ino had escaped while he was distracted by her fake double. "Oh well, I give up." He managed to say between gasps of chuckling. "This is too troublesome for me anyways."

Breathing out a contented sigh, Shikamaru let his body fall backwards onto the springy mattress in the center of the room. Acting out of character was exhaustive work that required more energy than he possessed. Perhaps it was time to stop this foolish attempt at playing a game he had no interest in from the start.

Shikamaru closed his eyes and slung an arm over his face to block out the light source from the ceiling. He indulged himself by enjoying the clean scent of newly washed sheets that had the faint sweetness of Ino clinging to its cotton fabric. Surrounded by the peaceful ambience of his favorite room in the house, while the light fragrance of the bed soothed him, Shikamaru couldn't be more satisfied with his life—He had a good home, earned an ok living, Ino was happy, he was happy, the weather of the season suited him, and there was no work tomorrow. As he laid limply on the bed, too tired to remove his suit, the well-known fog of sleepiness weighed down on him.


Dragging his feet as he lumbered lethargically, Shikamaru watched Ino as she tottered ahead on her wooden clogs. By all rights, the constrictive nature of her yukata and the stiffness of the impractical wooden clogs should have forced her to inch along demurely next to him, and yet, Ino with the boundless energy still managed to skip around animatedly.

"Nee Nee Shikamaru?" She waved at something with the hand that held a stick of half eaten dango. "Will you catch me some goldfish?" She asked eagerly.

Shikamaru's eyes went to the direction Ino was pointing at and saw a small game stand with an old man presiding over low, rectangular basins filled with water and swimming small fish. Plenty of people were already crowded around the basins as they tested their luck and skill against the agility of the aquatic animals. "Don't you think it's rather barbaric to get entertainment by forcing animals to be escaping from grabby people constantly?" He asked in his characteristic seriousness.

For a brief moment, Ino looked contemplative, then a guilty look flitted over her face and replaced her cheerful smile. Although Shikamaru knew he was in the right, he still felt like an ass for ruining her carefree humor.

"I just thought...it'd be nice to have some pretty goldfish at home...." She murmured, shame kept her voice quiet. "Oh well" She was smiling again, determined to keep her gaiety. "How about we go get something to eat? If we don't hurry, Chouji will clear out all the snack stands."

Shikamaru wanted to nod and go with her but instead, he found himself walking to the fish-catching stand. The image of Ino's slightly depressed frown was burned into his mind and that frozen picture he saw with his mind's eye was making him do strange things.

He looked at the cardboard sign hanging on the wall. On it, scrawled in unsteady handwriting, stated that each try was priced at 500 en. Shikamaru frowned at the hefty price. These street venders always jack up the price during festivals because that was when they earned the most. However unwilling he was to do what he planned, Shikamaru still ended up digging around in his pocket until his hand grasp the heavy coin that was 500en. "Ojisan, one net please." Shikamaru said in his bored tone as he reached out with the money resting on his palm.

"No problem boy!" The old man took the money from Shikamaru with one hand and thrust forward the plastic handle of the small, paper net with his other. "Now remember, no using ninja skills!" He warned.

Wearing a grumpy frown on his face, Shikamaru snorted through his nose and inspected the small contraption he held. The net, in actuality, was only a thin plastic ring with an extending handle. Covering the open ring was a fragile sheet of white paper that the player was supposed to use to scoop up fish. The catch of the game was that the player had to move fast enough to net up the darting goldfish but not so fast that the movement of scooping would cause the paper to break in the water. "Mendokusee........"

Like a pleasant surprise, a pair of slender hands clamped down on his shoulders without warning before the natural fragrance of flowers and fruits wafted to him with a breeze. Shikamaru let his eyelids slid close as the aroma washed over him like caressing waves.

"If it's so troublesome, why are you doing it?" She asked, her breath tickling the hair on the back of his neck.

Tensing up at Ino's nearness and embarrassed of her hands on his shoulders, he fought to dominate the growing emergence of a blush on his face. 'How did she sneak up on me wearing noisy shoes like that?' Shikamaru wondered.

"Because I feel like it, ok?" Shikamaru replied with false irritation because he was too bashful to tell her the truth. He would die of mortification if she ever found out how much power she unknowingly possessed over him. Whatever he wanted to say to her, he could only express it with the soliloquy of his unspoken thoughts. 'It's because you said you wanted some pet fish.' His brain echoed silently, the real reason of his motivation. Instead of telling her what was really on his mind, Shikamaru opted to take on a sharp tone of annoyance. "Will you scoot back?" He snapped aloud. "You're invading my space."

"Oh...sorry..." Ino's bright eyes widened at his unexpected foul spirits as she took a few steps to the side.

Sighing at his own stupidity, Shikamaru crouched down and inspected the small shimmering bodies in the basin before he started to dip his net into the water. The key to catching anything, was patience—wait until there was a fish that was near the surface of the water and slide the net underneath the fish at an angle. When you retrieve the fish, the net should be raised at an angle also to prevent water resistance from breaking the paper. Until there was the perfect opportunity, the net should spend the least amount of time possible in the water.

Five minutes later, his enduring patience had paid off and there were three goldfish swimming in circles within his bucket. The paper of his net was still relatively sturdy which meant he could still continue. Right when Shikamaru was about to go for his fourth fish, a spinning coin soared in a straight arc—swooshing past his face and into the basket that held the street vender's revenue.

"Oi, give me a net, Ojisan." Said a youthful male voice.

As if his muscles moved independently from his will, Shikamaru's lips twisted downwards into an exasperated sneer. It was the annoyingly confident voice of his nightmares.

"Oh? Ok boy!" The street vender held out a fresh net by the stick to the young, dark-haired man standing behind Shikamaru. "Wow, you're a handsome boy aren't you?" The vender commented when he eyed the new customer over.

Shikamaru resisted the reflexive impulse to roll his eyes. The pretty boy always got that kind of attention.

"Ahhh Sasuke-kun!!" Ino squealed out with more affection in her tone than she ever felt for the forgotten teammate.

Seeing how Sasuke's presence caused Ino's natural spark of joy to flame into blinding radiance, Shikamaru bowed his head in defeat. The handle of the net slipped from his fingers and fell into the basin—the force of the collision against the water surface was enough to shatter the paper of the net as the plastic part drifted to the bottom.

Not noticing Shikamaru's discomfort, Ino sidled up to the arrogant looking Uchiha Sasuke and looped her arms around his. "How have you been, Sasuke- kun? I haven't seen you at all recently! I really missed you!" She prattled on, pausing once in a while to flash the man who was obviously ignoring her with sunny smiles he didn't deserve.

"Let go of me." Sasuke's voice was like ice—freezing the smile Ino had and distorting it into something less than perfect.

Discouraged by the command of the apathetic heir of the Uchiha clan, Ino silently withdrew her arms and stepped away from Sasuke—as if cowering from his frigid treatment.

When Shikamaru saw the pain in Ino's heart leak out via her expression, he wanted to punch the conceited asshole. But he wouldn't. Despite his fantasies, that would be too troublesome and it wouldn't be his way.

The flawless features of Sasuke's face was positioned to express cool indifference when he glanced from Ino to Shikamaru. Apparently, they weren't worth his majesty's time. Then, with unintentional elegance, Sasuke got down on a knee and thrust his net into the water in one fluid move. What came next had Ino gawking and Shikamaru watching with grudging admiration. With a flurry of movements that the human eye could only decipher as a blur, Sasuke had flung all the goldfish from the basin into the air where he caught them with a waiting bucket he held in his other hand. Within only the timeframe of barely thirty seconds, Sasuke had single-handedly caught every single one of the goldfish the vender had available.

Once again, the unvarying company of Shikamaru was forgotten as Ino fawned over Sasuke along with other appreciative women.

Brushing off Ino's precious attention, Sasuke unceremoniously dumped his catch from his bucket back into the vender's basin. Tossing the bucket aside, he crossed his arms and his lips lengthened into a perfected smirk. "I only felt like testing my skills." He said contemptuously, then left without a word. His groupies that followed him persistently chased after him—falling over themselves to get his attention.

Ino clasped her hands to her heart and sighed longingly at Sasuke's back as he merged into the main crowd of the festival. "He's just soooooo cool" She exhaled lightly. Blinking, Ino seemed to suddenly remember that she had come to the festival with Shikamaru so she turned to him. "Do you think Sasuke-kun noticed my yukata? I heard he liked the color blue so I made this out of the blue cloth decorated with little fans. Isn't it cute? Do you think he likes it?" She asked a string of questions eagerly—looking for some reassurance that she still had a chance with the adonis of Konoha.

Shikamaru lifted his head and looked at her blankly—his facial muscles were slack, giving him an inscrutable look. Behind him, was his own bucket filled with some water and three forgotten goldfish—swimming in pointless circles that lead to nowhere.


Angrily, Shikamaru swung the arm resting over his face away—the arm sounded with a dull thump as it smashed into the yielding bed with a solid wallop. Gritting his teeth, he rolled onto his stomach and nuzzled into the fluffy comforter—seeking escape from his current contemplations in the cool fabric. Wondering why had his brain had decided to pick this moment of contentment to bring forth an unhappy memory, he questioned his position in Ino's heart. "Kuso....I'm not an insecure eighteen-year-old anymore." He growled.

Had Ino really given up on Uchiha Sasuke or was she just bidding her time. Was he, the stupid, trusting, and desperate childhood friend—finally her husband because she settled for someone comfortable. Someone who would always be there even if she longed for a better man.

Because he had enjoyed himself too much playing the doting husband and making Ino dance like a puppet to setting of his music, he had carelessly forgotten the true mission of the scheme. It was to wipe all traces of Uchiha Sasuke, once and for all, from the dreams of Ino's heart. Although he suited perfectly, his role of the dispassionate genius to the smallest nook of the character, he had no intention of spending the rest of his life doubting Ino's love for him, or feeling inadequate when she compared him with the other genius—the one that had looks, money, and fame.

If he let his 'what will come, will come' nature get the better of him.......and he and Ino never achieve the equilibrium point of emotional understanding, she will spend the rest of her life trying to mold him into Sasuke and he would never measure up. It would breed discontent and bitterness. The disastrous end of such a relationship.................was divorce.

The tumultuous feeling of tension in his chest was making itself known again. He always had that discomfort behind his ribs when Ino started on one of her "Sasuke-kun is so great" rants. Grabbing a fistful of bedsheet, determination was seeping out like liquid from the hidden source locked within him.

Shikamaru was a relaxed, lazy, and nonchalant man who rolled with the punches and let insults flow off his back like rainwater...........until that is, he was cornered by critical situations and forced to take charge. Ino was important to him. His marriage was important to him. Without a doubt, this was a paramount situation in need of his immediate attention.

With a groan, Shikamaru used the muscles of his abdomen to sit up uneasily. Rocking his head to the left and right, the sound of shifting cartilage and popping joints signified that he was warming up in preparation for his task.


Of all the stupid things she had done in her youth, nothing made her feel half as brainless as she did now—hiding behind the couch and peering over the top of the seat to keep watch for Shikamaru. It wasn't like her 'hiding spot' wasn't blatantly obvious but she had nowhere else to go. Except of course, out of the house. But that was something she couldn't do because she felt bad enough using kawarimi to evade Shikamaru's advances to further shun him by running and screaming out of their home. So instead, she opted to squat behind the couch with the rest of the dust bunnies as they awaited their fate.

It wasn't that she didn't WANT to........with him.....It was that his mannerism had her intimidated albeit a little turned on. The normal dance of courtship between the two of them usually went something like this—She would repeatedly drop obvious hints at Shikamaru until she lost her patience and threw herself at him. Then predictably, he would give in to her amorous intentions and a night of passion would ensue.

The fact that he never initiated the bed ritual of married couples was another thing about him that had her dissatisfied with his behavior and the direction their marriage was going. The way he seemed to be disinterested in her body often made her feel unattractive—causing her to doubt her ability to bait desire out of the inattentive Shikamaru. Of course he would always erase those insecurities when they make love, that is, when the rare event actually takes place. But the thing is, after a while, she begin to tire of always having to put herself out like some lonely housewife desperate for attention. And when she gave up being the one who always made first move, the physical intimacies came to a grinding halt. Ino wondered if Shikamaru even noticed.

All of that changed when she created the little toy of Shikamaru and her husband's personality took a 180 degree flip. The featureless pace of their lives switched to the frenzied tapping of a romance novel where an exotic tale of passion unfurled from between the pages. Taking her to the club and dancing with her the way he did, he was a whole-heartedly dedicated husband with all the energy of a womanizing playboy. The best of both worlds in her opinion. Helplessly, Ino found herself falling in love with Shikamaru all over again. So why was she hiding from the one she loved?

Because she felt guilty.......

He had always been by her side—a constant, unchanging factor in a life where nothing else remained stable. From her earliest memories, she could always recall faintly, the presence of Shikamaru lingering in the background unobtrusively. It was normal to have him around—Sleepovers in their innocent days when the parents were away on mission and the child was handed over to the other family for temporary care, or birthday parties where invitation cards were never handed out because it was a given that Shikamaru and Chouji would always be there on her important days and she would do the same for theirs'. She, Shikamaru, and their friend Chouji had always been one entity made of three separate parts.

Ino's hand automatically went to her ear and touched the smooth earring, warm with body heat, that was dangling from her earlobes. These earrings, gray and lackluster, did not catch anyone's eye but she always wore it nonetheless because it was not one of a kind. There were two more sets of the jewelry, exactly identical to hers, belonging to Shikamaru and Chouji respectively. These earrings gave physical shape to the bond the team shared, binding them together with the perfect circle in which no end point existed.

The passage of time stopped for no one and as they grew older, Shikamaru became an invaluable friend who was important in a different way from Chouji even though she never treated him like one. They bungled along in their existence, running on the limited time of youth and categorized their lives with sequential epochs—such as when Shikamaru became the only one of the exam to advance to Chuunin status, or when she finally realized that the thoughts of Shikamaru had displaced her 'love' for Sasuke.

Growing awkwardly into their newfound responsibility of adult ninja-hood as the days of childhood graciously faded into the recollections of the past, they got married and Shikamaru treated her in the way all women deserved to be treated. He had never been anything less than gentle with her. And even though his laziness often grated on her nerves, causing her to frequently lose her temper with him like she was always fast to do, she would never tell him that sometimes, when he was napping in his various spots, she would watch him and a satisfying warmth would fill her. In return, Shikamaru never fought back when she lashed out at him for irritating her radically dissimilar outlook on life and always remained his grumbling, soft-spoken self.

So what right did she have to be disgruntled and to have the audacity to alter him into something he was never meant to be? The man she fell in love with was the indolent ninja with the terrifyingly high I.Q. And if he had remained true to his personality, maybe the problem laid with her.

The creaking of the steps alerted Ino that Shikamaru was coming down the staircase, probably in search of her. Unlike the slow clunks of dragging footsteps that she was accustomed to hearing Shikamaru make, the erratic sounds of descending thumps sounded unnaturally jaunty, as if he was dancing his way over from the upper floor.

Suddenly, from the other side of the concealing wall, Shikamaru stepped in front of the open door of the living room and into Ino's range of vision. With a gallant spin, he waltzed into the living room and Ino saw that he was dancing with the pillow she had used for kawarimi.

"Oh Ino-chan You're so fluffy and squishy! I could hug you forever!" He declared loudly in a dreadfully comical voice.

For a brief moment, Ino peered at him in perplexity from her hiding place behind the couch—wondering if she was already spotted. Then, she realized he was having a solo conversation with the pillow. "What the...." Ino whispered.

Shikamaru was light on his feet when he did a little jig and dipped the pillow in his arms forward like a dance partner. "Oh Ino-chan Your form may have changed but your genjutsu can't fool me! I know its still you inside!" He cried out before burying his face into the pillow in what Ino guessed was a crushing kiss.

Not knowing what to make of the situation, Ino shrunk even lower behind the couch—a bead of cold sweat slid down the side of her right cheek from her hairline. She was starting to really regret her choice to obey the instructions from the scroll Tsunade-sama had sent her. Now Shikamaru had gone insane and she hoped he wouldn't become an "evil" genius bent on taking over the world. Ino no longer dared to assume that she knew the way Shikamaru's mind worked because his acting like a cheerful idiot was making her doubt all that she thought were certain in the world. Cautiously, Ino continued to spy on Shikamaru until he suddenly turned his head and captured her gaze with his. With a chill, Ino realized that he did know she was there after all.....

Staring back at her with a deadpanned expression, Shikamaru tossed the pillow forward where it landed on the couch—bouncing a few times on the cushions. The tension in the room was nearing the point that would make Ino act irrationally when suddenly, his face spread out in the friendliest grin she's ever seen on him. With each push of his facial muscles, the grin he had grew greater in size and infected Ino with his apparent cheerfulness. Looking at Shikamaru, Ino felt her own cheeks tighten with a grin even though she had no idea what she was smiling about.

Dark eyes sparkling like unknown gems, Shikamaru spread out his arms and stayed in that position as if he was waiting.

Looking him up and down with slight concern, Ino wondered if he pulled a muscle in his back.

"Well?" Shikamaru asked.

"Well what?" Ino asked in return.

He closed his eyes slightly when the stretching of his toothy smile seemed to take up half his face. "Come to papa, Ino-chan!" He said as if it was the only logical choice. His feet tapped a bit in impatience.

Trying to jump up and away from the stranger wearing her husband's body, Ino realized in horror that her legs were weak with shock. So instead, she scooted backwards pitifully, half scampering and half crawling until her back was pressed against the wall.

"G-Get away from me you weirdo!" She held her hands up and used her fingers to make a cross as if it would ward off the amorous Shikamaru.

"Awwww Ino-chan don't be like this...." His oversized grin faltered a bit. "Come to me!" He urged. When she didn't move, he shrugged carelessly and decided that he would go to her instead. With the distance between them reducing with each of his steps, Ino could only look up at him with her mouth gaping in mystification.

"Y-You can't get to me!" Vaguely, the intelligent part in her mind questioned where she was going with her line of dialogue. "I have the couch in front of me and there isn't enough space for the both of us to be behind it!" She blurted out without the words ever getting process by her brain. The last word of her sentence clung desperately to her lips as her eyes twitched in mortification at what she said. But words are one of those things that can't be taken back once tossed out.

Trying to pretend that the sound of the forceful beating wasn't from the palpitations within her chest, Ino mustered what was left of her Yamanaka spirit and gathered all her energy into the focused points of her eyes as she fixed on Shikamaru, a narrow glare of blue ice in attempts to intimidate him. But Shikamaru showed no signs of even noticing the menacing look she wore. In fact.......... With a cringe, Ino swallowed uncomfortably. 'I don't like that smile of his...' she thought.

The sudden movement from Shikamaru made her jump but when she saw he was reaching his hands out to the couch armrest instead of her, she leaned back in bafflement. She saw his hands flex to verify his firm grip on the armrest—the determined countenance of his face made her want to reward him with a kiss.

Shikamaru narrowed his eyes, the muscles of his arms pulling taunt, then with a forceful fling, the couch slid with a long screech across the room—colliding with the sparse furniture that was scattered throughout. Turning back to Ino, there was a mischievous smile dancing on his kissable lips. "Now we have space, right?" He questioned her with an innocent look.

Ino bolted from her spot.


Shikamaru slapped his hand over his forehead in mock frustration when Ino dashed forward with the swiftness of a ninja of her status. But as she threw her body past him, charging straight to the opened door, she failed to notice the calculating upward quirk of the corners of his mouth.

Did she really think he wouldn't have predicted that she would run?

Closing his eyes, he knew he didn't have long to wait for what was going to happen. When he heard a strangled squeak, he chuckled deviously and turned around to face Ino—looking innocently at her pale mask of outraged.

"Y-Y-You...You suck!" She spluttered incoherently.

Still beaming, he gave her a coy wink. "Oh no....YOU suck....if you know what I mean..." He waggled his eyebrows.

Slowly realizing what he was implying, her face instantly took on the bright scarlet of a beautiful rose. Ino was fuming like a pouting child as the feelings of embarrassment and anger fueled the color of her face. Shikamaru could tell that she wanted to beat the fear of god into him but luckily for him, she was under the control of Kagemane no Jutsu.

"You're sucha pervert!......" She cried out, "anyways" she said, quickly glossing over the previous subject. "....how did you do it?" She demanded to know.

"Oh....I knew you were going to run....so I stretched out my shadow and had it creep along the edges of the room until it went across the opened doorway. You can't leave the room without going through a door therefore you can't leave a room without touching my shadow." He explained good-naturedly.

Ino wanted to wipe the self-satisfied smirk off his face by introducing him to Mr. Floor, then Mr. Door, and then maybe young Ms. Kunai.

"HUMPH!" Ino scoffed at him. The effect of her distain was dampened by her inability to cross her arms or look away haughtily. Eyebrows coming together to enhance her glower, her incensed visage faded into something else when she saw Shikamaru was raising his hands. 'Oh no...' She thought with apprehension.

"Saaaa What should I make you do......I suppose I could make you give me a striptease." He looked thoughtful, as if he was actually considering.

"HAH! You can't do that without giving ME a striptease!" She responded in retaliation. Unfortunately for her, Shikamaru's cheeriness only seemed to increase.

"I don't mind giving you a striptease, I. NO. CHA. N." He sang out gleefully, the syllables of her name, plus the affectionate suffix.

Almost having a mental breakdown because her mind couldn't process the improbability of Shikamaru behaving the way he was acting, she decided to confess all her crimes.

"I'm sorry Shikamaru! There was this scroll!" She babbled hurriedly. " Tsunade-sama said it was ok! The doll you saw was a voodoo doll! You're under a spell!" She paused to take a deep breath. "It was supposed to make you more romantic but now you're just crazy and freaky and the spell is evil and I should've never meddled with nature!!!!" She ended with an anguished wail.

"Ohhhh?" He cocked his head and pretended not to understand.

"SHIKAMARU!" She cried out in frustration. "YOU'RE UNDER A SPELL! Lemme go so I can try to reverse it!"

The expression bearing faint humor that Shikamaru happily wore started to die. "A spell......?" he asked softly, his tone was laced with bitter sadness.

Caught off guard by the drastic change that suddenly came over Shikamaru, the genuine note of profound grief Ino heard in his voice shot straight into her soul—leaving in its wake, a path of searing pain in her heart. "I'm sorry.....Shika-chan...Gomen...Gomen yo!" she apologized. "Honto ni gomen da yo!"

"A spell..." Shikamaru was talking to himself in a low voice. "A spell......I...put a spell on you...."

"Huh?" Ino could swear that she saw the last shred of sanity leave his mind.

Opening his mouth to inhale deeply in preparation, he broke into a song. " I put a spell on you Because you're mine"

"Ummmm.....Shikamaru?" Ino asked, trying to get his attention.

Ignoring her, he continued to sing. "I CAN'T STAND THE THINGS THAT YOU DO"

Ino's hands, which was going cold with the rest of her body, started to feel uncomfortably clammy. "Shikamaru?" She tried again in a timid voice.

"NO! NO! NO! I AIN'T LYIN NO" He belted out the song with vigor.

"SHIKAMARU LET ME GO!" Ino yelled at him, having completely lost her patience with his irregular behavior.

"I DON'T CARE IF YOU DON'T WANT ME" He wailed like he was a tone- deaf.




From within the surrounding houses near the home of Shikamaru and Ino, the residents were turning on their lights and muttering about youths who had no respect for resting elders. The neighbors were used to hearing the screech of an angry Yamanaka Ino as she harped at her husband, but at least she was quiet at night. The unnaturally horrible singing of an unknown man was echoing throughout the resting village of Konoha.

The dogs of the Inuzuka clan, upon hearing the exciting noise that called out to them, had thought it was one of their comrades baying at the moon—so in chorus, they joined in with their own howling. The cacophony of the irregular pitches of vocal noise ricocheted to and fro from between buildings before the sound waves merged in dissonance.

Half the sleepy ninjas of the hidden village made a note to find the inciter of wailing dogs the next morning, and kill him slowly with a rusty kunai.


Finishing his song somewhat breathlessly, Shikamaru took a grandiose bow—one arm waving in wide arcs as he bent forward and dipped his head precariously low to the ground.

For a while, all Ino did was stare at him—by now, she no longer knew how to respond to anything he did. She was about to ask him exactly how long he planned to stay in the bowed position when she noticed she wasn't forced to follow his movements. It seemed that sometime in the middle of his song, Shikamaru had released her from his jutsu. So, on tiptoes with the silence of a soft-pawed cat, Ino started to slide backwards out of the room.

Shikamaru looked up, his back still bent in the bow. "I won't let you escape so easily, Ino-chan." He said with his voice sounding hard.

Abandoning all attempts at sneakiness, Ino spun gracefully and ran off with a dismayed shriek. She almost got to the window when two arms appeared and pulled her back by her waist—causing Ino to topple, her back crashing into a taller body of solid build. She felt Shikamaru's chest heave with a chuckle before a warm tongue stroked her beneath an earlobe, then warm, soft lips flitted down the skin of her neck. The places he touched burned with the lingering sensation of loving contact.

"Ohhhhh.....Shikamaru....." Ino moaned instinctively. She heard him mumble something unintelligible as her body was pulled down to the floor by his weight. He was getting down on his knees and in the process, trying to get her to sit in his lap.

"Ino....." He was still kissing her—his arms made sure that she couldn't run and his lips scattered her concentration so she couldn't bring forth another kawarimi. Sliding his hands down to her hips, he pulled her down into his lap where their groins met intimately. When she stiffened momentarily, Shikamaru knew she had felt how 'ready' he was. Then moving his hands back up the front of her body, Shikamaru cupped her breasts through her dress and bra and begin to slowly stroke his thumbs over the hardening nubs of her nipples. The soft gasps from Ino, and the way her body was reacting seemed to signal her willingness, but her refusal to relax her body was a stark contradiction to the her signs of readiness.

"Do you not want to?" He asked gently, worried that she was actually afraid of him. Bothered by her lack of reciprocation to his kisses, Shikamaru leaned back so he could get a better look at her face. Ino was looking away, but a hint of her blushing cheeks was still visible through the layers of her soft hair. When Shikamaru's gaze fell lower, he saw her hands and his face contorted in heartache. Her small hands were clasped together and shivering from their resting place on her lap. With a sigh, Shikamaru's arms loosened and fell away from her body.

"I'm sorry...I didn't mean to upset you..." Although his cheeks were starting to burn with rejection, he still took care to keep the hurt and disappointment out of his voice. Ino slowly turned to face him but Shikamaru felt unable to meet her accusing glare, so in cowardice, he whipped his face to a different direction. The muscles of his clenched jaws were twitching as he alternated between gritting and grinding his teeth. He never expected to feel her soft hands stroke his cheeks, but they did as she slowly made him turn his face back to her. Still feeling humiliated, Shikamaru kept his eyes adverted even after allowing her to look directly at his miserable expression.

"Shikamaru...look at me." Although her tone was light, there was no mistaking the authoritative edge to her voice.

".................." He stubbornly refused to comply.


His dark eyes, by their own volition, reluctantly slid to Ino's face—and were greeted by a picturesque image he never expected.

Ino's eyes, normally the crystalline light blue of the summer sky, was now dark with emotions— resembling the deep indigo of the tremulous sea when the clouds were stormy. Her hair, grown to shoulder-length, was silk strands of gold that hung down to partially cover the spreading rouge on her face. But her soft locks were not able to conceal from Shikamaru, the sight of her full lips that were slightly parted as she breathed in tiny pants. Almost unable to keep his lungs working, Shikamaru swallowed to prevent his saliva from leaking out of his mouth. He had shamed himself enough that day to last a lifetime.

"Lets go upstairs....ne Shikamaru?" Ino asked him in a tiny voice—her already red cheeks darkened even more with her suggestion.


"Oh sweet Ino-chan! I want to boink your brains out!"

Asuma recoiled in horror. "I thought you said you were lip reading their conversation! Shikamaru would never say something like that!" He yelled at the white haired man who was crouching in the bushes.

Jiraiya sighed at Asuma, shaking his head at the younger man's stupidity. "It's called 'artistic liberty', don't you understand?" Without taking his eyes away from the window, Jiraiya scribbled something in his notepad—the pencil scratching noisily against the paper.

Kakashi cleared his throat. "Excuse me Jiraiya-sama but.....This is really wrong."

Turning his black eyes to Kakashi, Jiraiya froze the gray-haired Jounin with the determination that glinted in his dark pupils.

"Do you like my books?" Jiraiya's question had the steel tone of an interrogator.

"No." Asuma lied out of his need to maintain what was left of his dignity.

"Yes." Kakashi replied—a little confused over why the author of Icha Icha Paradise would ask such a question when he had the membership list of the Icha Icha Forever Club—a fan club of comprised of Icha Icha Paradise book lovers where Kakashi held the position of President.

"Well, lets just say not all of my novels were completely original." The aged Sennin confessed without shame.

Asuma crinkled his eyes in mild disgust. "You mean you went around and spied on people, then re-wrote events you saw in story format?" He asked incredulously. "Isn't that......breaking some sort of law?" He asked accusingly.

"Hey, there's no law against observing one's surrounding for inspirations!" Jiraiya retorted self-righteously.

Somehow, Asuma suspected that the Hokage-sama would disagree. "But-"

"Shush!" Jiraiya silenced the unwilling male with an angry wave of his hand. "We're getting to the good part!"

Kakashi turned away from the window and pulled his forehead protector down to cover both his eyes.

"What's going on?" Asuma asked worriedly. Kakashi's behavior was creeping him out.

"Oh hoho!" Jiraiya bellowed with merry laughter. "That boy is pretty good at getting women! I knew I made the right choice when we decided to follow him!"

Asuma frowned at the man's interpretation of the past. "You mean when you FORCED us to come along right?" He purposefully corrected the porn writing author.

Irritated by Asuma's nitpicking, Jiraiya decided to shut the man up with a threat. "Oh whatever will Kurenai-chan say when I tell her about the busty woman you were with...." His voice trailed off ominously.

Asuma's eyes widened at the unabashed blackmail. "I was sick! I was high on cold medicine! And you two just pushed some woman on me! Besides, I didn't kiss her. She kissed me!" He protested vehemently in protection of his innocence.

"Uh....Asuma..I'm sorry to say but..." Kakashi scratched his face through his mask, then raised his hand to make sure the forehead protector was still firmly over his eyes. "That was a man in drag."

".............................." Asuma stood like a statue while his mind processed the information.

The pervert Sennin stood up from the bushes. Leaves were all over his bushy white hair but he didn't care. "Well the kids are going upstairs so I guess we should leave now." He said with a sigh. "That Shikamaru boy is too lucky...."

"Ah." Kakashi replied with a curt nod. He slid his forehead protector back to its usual slant then gave Asuma a hard pat on the back. "Lets go."

Still standing there with his face deformed by terror, Asuma was frozen in time—stuck in the moment when Kakashi revealed the true gender of that woman.

Rolling his one revealed eye, Kakashi couldn't help but grumble a bit. "What am I going to do with you.." He muttered to himself. "I guess I'm the one stuck with the responsibility of getting him home?"

Looking unamused, Jiraiya nodded. "I'll just leave him here if you try to push him on me."

"Maybe we should tell Kurenai-san to come get him..." Kakashi pondered aloud.

The enigmatic Jounin and the openly perverted old man exchanged looks before finally shaking their heads. "Nah, we're not that cruel." They said in unison.

Thus Asuma dodged a bullet.

(#Choking# Gah this is so disgustingly sugary! I need to brush my teeth! The problem with long chapters is that I have no energy to edit all of it. Too darn long! Sorry that this chapter is kinda rushed.)

(If you review you'll gimmie the motivation to actually write instead of just thinking the stories in my head like I always do. Remember to introduce this fic to Shikaino lovers!)
Kawarimi: switching your body with something else.

Yukata: Kimono for warm seasons.

Dango: round, white snacks made of mushed sticky rice I believe. ( I once tried mashing the rice with one of those giant hammers but dude, it takes a lot of energy. But strangely, it's kinda fun. Maybe I have hidden anger towards rice XD)

En: Better known as yen. I don't know the unit of currency used in Naruto- verse so I just picked the Japanese currency.

Hontou ni gomen yo: I really am sorry!

Ojisan: Mr.

Kuso: Shit

The whole "I put a spell on you" song is by Marilyn Manson I think. I don't really know the song and just borrowed lyrics from somewhere off the net LOL

Important Notice:

I'm taking a class over the summer and this class has a really heavy course load and that's why my updates are so slow. Rest assured that I AM doing my best to juggle schoolwork and still weasel in some fanfic writing time. Reviews do wonders in giving me the motivation to organize my days so that I can work in at least 1 hour of fanfic writing time once in a while...#hint hint# eh heheheh...

Tasuki: You're so spoiled

Me: Mouuu Gen-chan...I can't help it! Recently I found out I've become addicted to reviews! I started out not caring but now...#blush#

ERRR back to main topic. Because this fic already has more chapters than all my other fanfics combined, after I post the lemon, I'll probably put this fic aside for some time while I update my other fics. I don't like how my other shikaino fics are totally neglected and I've been wanting to update my dark fic or my shika-centric comedy. But I WILL make sure to not leave this fic at a cliff-note when I turn my attention to my other fics.

AND OMG!!! The other day I noticed FOR THE FIRST TIME that I have "ganbare" spelled as "gambare". Suuuure pronouciation-wise it sounds like "gambare" but strictly hiragana-wise it's "ganbare". ;; All the fic reading has messed up my Japanese with romanji LOL. I was sorting through my chapters when I finally noticed for the first time they were all spelled "gambare" ;;. U know what they say about blind spots...since I wrote it I can't see my own mistakes. Should I alter the spelling? Hnnn I'll think about it. Well....Shikamaru-kun wa dou omou?

Shika: dochidemo iin da. (kuso mendokusee) #couldn't give less of a care#

Author Rambling:

I'm really ticked at how Naruto is a totally male-dominated anime even though it's popular with girls too. Guys get all the attention and cool background stories while all girls get to do is run around squealing "Sasuke-kun". When is Kishimoto-sensei gonna let the girls show off some cool moves? I was all excited to see Kurenai-sensei fight and I was totally disappointed with the battle scene. #SIGH# Tsunade is probably the strongest female chara (ambiguously good role model I guess) but I wish she had more aspiration in becoming the Hokage. And every time Tsunade says "A man can't go back on his word" I get irritated. Women shouldn't go back on their words either! That's like implying women are wishy-washy people with no dignity or something! Kishimoto-sensei needs to wake up and smell the new millennium! #GRUMBLES# Its my pet peeve.... I won't ramble long but you guys get my point right? I guess I can't help but always look too much into things. Bad habit.

Some Responses to Readers (read at ur own risk):

To Whoever Asked me to include Kiba/Hina: Gomen! Because I want this fic to be completely dedicated to Shikamaru and Ino, I probably won't include any significant KibaHina unless it worked to further the plot. I love kibahina too so if you're interested, I'm planning on writing a fic just for them. Wait for it ne?

To Tea Leaf: So you wrote ur first lemon a while ago? #blush# well I hope you don't judge mine too harshly when I DO write it.... #nervous laugh#

To Teckno: You're wondering wuz up with the scroll from Tsunade ne? Well....that is a secret XD you'll just hafta wait to find out MUAHAHHAHAHA

To Jeano: Yup I'm a cruddy speller. Whatcha gonna do? XD

To Ishime: Ur English is great! Thanks for the review!

To Athene Nanaki: In response to ur question of why Naruto and Sasuke are established as gay lovers in my fic, there's no real reason except that my friend is a narusasu fan. Personally I don't care too much for yaoi either but Fi-chan likes so Fi-chan shall get lol. Also, I can NOT stand Sakura. I am an avid Sakura hater (and I can easily support why Sakura is a horrible person and there is no way I can ever like her even though I gave her more than her fair share of chances to redeem herself) and I'm a bigger fan of KibaHina cuz I LOOOOOOVE kiba! Btw, thanks for reading this fic! Hope you check out some of my other fics! Shikaino forever!

To NeitherWinter: (T-T) Oh you've hurt my feelings soooo!!! Just joking! Yes I totally agree with ya! Why change Shika when he's already so great? But you've gotta remember, its not our opinion that counts, it's Ino's opinion that counts and she thinks he should change and so he did....... If you've noticed, from the very first chapter, I've been setting Shika up for something like this (MUAHAHAHAH). Why you ask? It's cuz although Shika and Ino are the greatest couple ever (my humble opinion) and they're meant to be (once again...opinion), their personalities are just too different for em to get along well after marriage without them making some compromises to meet each other halfway ne? Ino has always been loud and outgoing and easy to piss off while Shika is laid back, cranky and grumpy all around. If they don't at least make some changes to themselves, the marriage probably wouldn't last very long cuz it'd end up grating on each other's nerves. Marriage is based on compromise! (Well.....my opinion anyways). I'm sure I did show that Shika and Ino were a bit estranged for a while ne? ANYWHO, I hope this chapter went to help explain my point of view.

Although Shikamaru was HORRIBLY ooc in ch.6 (lol it was funny to write), was he really ooc? If you really think about it...he might NOT be ooc. If you remember from the Chuunin test (talking bout the anime), Shikamaru has acted horribly ooc also. When Neji showed up, Shika complied with Ino's (foolish) plan and tried ass kissing with Neji. ;;; Unless I'm horribly wrong, wasn't it shika who asked Neji "will you give me an autograph?" (Sign hoshii na I think he said. Unless it was Chouji...)

That wasn't like Shika at all but the situation demanded that course of action from him and so.....he complied. I think if Shika felt cornered or forced, he'll easily change his behavior (temporarily at least however much he may hate it). Just like when Tsunade asked Shika to go bring sasuke back. Shika didn't WANT to...he doesn't even like Sasuke...but Shikamaru agreed cuz it was his duty as a konoha shinobi ("sasuke wa nakama da!") Not only did he agree to the mission, he even acted like a leader in that he gave really cool awe inspiring speeches( I LOVE YOU SHIKAMARU!!!) and seized his leadership position with not too much prob (well Chouji supports him 100% that's a given). Who would've thought the lazy Shika who is always hiding in the shadowy background (and bushes) would take the spotlight and make even rowdy Kiba agree that Shikamaru was starting to feel like a chuunin to him.

Shikamaru is adaptive. If he thought his marriage to Ino was in danger, he would be willing to do something as troublesome as.......eh hehe U know what. Besides, what better way for him to show Ino that he's already great than by showing her what he COULD be? (the scary polar opposite). That way, maybe he and Ino can strike at a middle point and live happily ever after!! (I'm sucha sap....T-T)

And if you STILL disagree with the course this fic is going, well..gomen! Can't please everybody ne? XD or maybe I can......Nope Nope still can't.

EH heheh I kinda wanna watch Harold and Kumar Goes To White Castle. It seems to be pretty funny.