Disclaimer: I Don't Own Naruto.
Author's Note: Sorry for taking so long to update. School is evil!
Summary: AU: Once Upon A Time In A Place Humanity Forgot, In A Time No one Remembers, There Was a World Where The Tools Of War Were People Known Simply As ...Shinobis.
Pairing: Shika/Ino
Reviews: Always, always welcome! And thanks so much to those who have reviewed!
To Tench-Sama and The Prime Minister, I hope I improved my crappy grammar :)

You sigh again as you rest your head on your folded arms while you stare out the open window. It had been raining for days and though you are a great believer of rain, it keeps the flowers blooming; you have been cooped up for too long. You can not deal well with enclosed spaces for too long.

The rain lightens until it is a soft drizzle and you contemplate on venturing out. You weigh out the options. You could stay inside and perhaps go stir crazy or you could go out and perhaps catch a cold but in the process pick some beautiful wild flowers that flourish in this type of weather.

You twirl the freed strands of your hair. You are quite comfortable and warm with your blanket draped over your shoulders but as you watch the raindrops glisten against the fertile greenery, like a moth to a flame you are drawn.


You've spent almost half the day wandering through the mud and though you had quite a few mishaps, you look down at the mud caked to your chest; you had found some great plant life. You notice a particular bunch of vibrant violets but as you crouch down to reach for them a hand suddenly grabs you from behind.

Caught off-guard, years of ninja training and instinct put you in defence mode. You twist the hand off and whirl around to face your attacker with a side kick. Your leg is caught in mid-air while your upper torso is pinned against the trunk of a tree.

Your eyes widen as you come face to face with a white ANBU mask decoarted only with a single black slash under the right eye.

Your mind whirled into action, formulating plans on how to escape.

The face moves in closer. "Boo," It says.

There was something very familiar about that lazy drawl.


He releases you to pull back the mask, revealling his smirking face.

You want to jump up and hug him but instead you repress the small and smack him across the chest. "Idiot, what do you think you were doing?"

He shrugs.

"How'd you find me?"

He points to the ground and you easily see your foot prints imprinted in the mud.

"Oh." You nudge him out of the way to pick up the basket of flowers. "When did you get back?" You brush off the excess mud from the handle.

"Just now," he replies.

You notice he's still dressed in his ANBU uniform. "Your mask is disturbing."

"I knew you would appreciate it."

He grins again and you watch as his dark eyes crinkle up at the sides. You had always noticed that Shikamaru had sharp eyes. Despite his lethargic appearance he noticed and watched everything.

"What are you doing here?" You attempt to smooth down the front of your shirt with your free hand only to remember too late that it was caked in mud.

"Your mother told me you were somewhere out here and she insisted that I make sure you didn't fall into a ditch or something. But by the look of things," he raises his eyebrow at you and for the first time you feel slightly self conscious under his gaze, "I came too late."

You narrow your eyes and wipe your dirtied hand on his shoulder. "I didn't fall." Even to you that sounded like a lie.

He frowns down at your hand print but does not attempt to clean it.


You walk side by side silently before you notice him trying to suppress a yawn.

"Should I be surprised that you're tired?" You ask, as you attempt to keep an eye out for any puddles.

"I haven't slept for four days straight." He replies to the sky, somehow avoiding all obstacles without watching where he was going.

"Why didn't you sleep?" You brush your long fringe from your eyes. Temporarily vision impaired you feel his cool fingers curl around your neck and jerk you back. Unprepared you fall back against his hard chest and for a moment you stand, shocked, feeling the warmth radiate from his torso and his fingers pressed lightly against your throat.

"Because I couldn't," You finally hear him say.

"Why'd you do that?" You glare at him while rubbing your neck, it didn't hurt but you were making a point.

He nods his head forward and you look back to see a deep ditch filled with muddy water. "Couldn't you have warned me?"

"My way was faster. Besides, I know how stubborn you can be."

"I am not." You rub your neck again, "Why the neck?"

"You're a lot shorter then I remember." He scratches his chin like he's trying to recall some distant memory.


You were arguing again. You lost the point of it a few yards back and you don't think you're constructing coherent sentences let alone a convincing argument but you are not going to back down.

He just rolls his eyes and does one of his condescending smiles.

You drop your basket as you halt him in his tracks. You point at him accusingly. "Don't patronise me!"

"What?" He raises an eyebrow.

"Don't treat me like I'm stupid."

He holds out his hands in a form of defence. "I never said you were stupid."

"But you think it." You stab your finger at the air between you and him.

"You're telepathic now?"

"See? There you go again."

"What?" He looks like he wants to laugh which annoys you even more.

"Just because you have a supposed genius IQ does not mean you are better then me."

"Of course not, Ino," He shoves his hands into his pocket and looks away.

"Don't mock me."

He sighs. "I am not doing anything right today." He actually looks slightly annoyed too.

"You started it." You cross your arms and you feel the rain begin to fall again, barely sprinkling.

He snorts and you feel the knot at the bottom of your stomach tightening. You felt it form the moment you heard him say "Boo".

You were about to yell at him so more when he suddenly leant forward.

You press your fingers to your lips still feeling the sweet tenderness. You raise your eyes to meet his steady gaze. Shikamaru had kissed you. His hands, his strong calloused hands cup the sides of your face.

You want to ask him why but you stand before him, speechless.

You quicken your pace to catch up to him. "Why did you..."

"Because I don't think you're stupid, Ino." And he looks at you and you just know its true.

He brushes stray strands of your hair back behind your ear before he leans down to kiss you gently on the forehead. "You're growing your hair."

You're not sure if that's a question. "Yeah," But you answer it anyway.

He lets go and shoves his hands into his pockets. "I like it better short."

You bow your head in attempt to hide the flush of your cheeks. "I know." Your answer lost in the sudden downpour of the rain.


You're drenched to the bone, freezing and covered in mud but you're smiling. You're smiling so much your cheeks hurt. Your mum looks you up and down thoughtfully as you waddle into the kitchen.

"So... where are the flowers?"