Chapter 1

Shikamaru opened his eyes and glanced over at the clock. He had one hour before he had to meet Asuma-sensei at the training grounds.

Mendoukusai na. This is so troublesome that Asuma asked me to help him train his new team of Genins. After he, Naruto, and Sasuke became Chuunins they were formed into a team to begin training for Jounin status under Kakashi. Those that did not pass the Chuunin exam were shuffled into new teams. Sakura, Ino and Chouji were put together under the advisement of Asuma.

What a team, Shikamaru thought to himself. Whoever decided to put those two girls together must have been nuts.

He packed supplies and equipment because Asuma mentioned something about survival training. He sighed, blindly grabbing several shirts and pants and a couple of packs of ramen. He slipped on his new Chuunin vest, glancing at himself in the mirror. He smirked, Who would have thought I would have earned this. It was a lot of effort, but it looks good on me. He slung his pack over his shoulder and headed out.

Upon reaching the training grounds he noticed that Asuma, Ino, and Sakura were already there. Chouji could be seen from a distance, potato chip bag glinting in the sunlight.

"Shikamaru?? What are you doing here? Asuma-sensei isn't making you redo your training is he?" Ino asked.

"No, I agreed to help him teach you guys. Rather unwillingly though." He stole a glance at Asuma who was smiling.

"It will be good for you." Asuma said slapping him on the back. "I don't think your ready to deal with the wrath Kakashi will put you through next week." He laughed heartily. Shikamaru rolled his eyes and sighed.

Chouji finally ambled up and looked surprised to see Shikamaru there as well. "Don't ask....I'd rather be taking a nap," he remarked. Chouji shrugged and turned to listen to Asuma's instructions.

"Now, one of the best ways for you to improve yourselves is to work on your individual skills. You need to increase your strength and stamina to be able to last in a battle. So what I have decided to do is divide the four of you into two-man teams to work together. As partners you will figure out what each other's weak points are and find ways to improve. You will be sent to different areas of the forest. You will work alone over a span of........FIVE DAYS."

"FIVE DAYS!!!!!" Jaws dropped. And the whining commenced.

"Why do we have to be split up? Why five days? I didn't bring enough clothes!" The two girls whined.

"I will be keeping an eye on you during this period. The teams will be as follows:

Sakura and Chouji will go to the East end of the forest. And Ino and Shikamaru to the West."

The girls gasped. Sakura looked like she wanted to puke. Why couldn't I have been paired up with Ino? Or Shikamaru at least? Instead I get stuck with a munchie freak.

Ino glanced over at Shikamaru with a grimace and he shot her a look back. Great, he thought. Alone in the woods with HER for five days. I think I'd rather die. And no Chouji to share my pain.

"I want to see improvement at the end of the training period. I will be testing you shortly after we return to see for myself who is taking this seriously and who is being a slacker." Asuma looked at Shikamaru, who was looking up at the sky.

"Okay, now GO!!!"

Shikamaru scooped up his pack and proceeded to follow Ino who already was heading into the forest.

"Shikamaru...." Asuma had grabbed his arm. He looked up at the sensei.


"I want you to be tough on her. She needs the most work of the three, and I'm counting on you to take this seriously. She has potential. I want you to bring it out and challenge her."

"I'll do what I can," he replied as he walked away. Then he looked back, "You owe me, big time, Asuma-sensei."

"We shall see...." He said to himself with a smile after the Chuunin disappeared into the forest.