A/N: Been a long while since I wrote so I'm basically a noobie all over again. Damn that writer's block :X. Well, I'm back, for good I hope. Enjoy my newest fic, Handcuffed. A story dedicated to my newest obsession, ShikaIno pairings XD(and definitely JiraiyaTsunade ;;)
Italics within the story are thoughts or strong implications, depending on use in context. In plain English, most of the italics you see are the characters' thoughts.
Chapter 1. Prologue: Former Team Ten's Reunion
"Are you backing out again!" exclaimed a man with light blonde hair swept up in a ponytail. He leaned against the wall his eyes dancing mirthfully.
"No, in truth, I find it too troublesome." A man sitting by a window on the far side of the room replied and smirked. He had a high spiked pony tail and dark black hair. He stared lazily out the window and at the evening sky, watching the stars and moon peek out over Konoha.
The last member inside the room was a well-rounded man with a soft expression and a seemingly kind face with a mass of shocking red hair. While sitting at the table in the middle of the room, he watched at the other two men. He chuckled softly and shook his head while looking on passively.
"Don't you wish to see your Shikamaru lead a life happily married? Or at least help him along the way with a relationship?" the blonde said nonchalantly.
"Not really. I rather let him decide for himself. He's at an age where he's looking for the 'right' things in a life, like where to set his priorities. Where he belongs in this world, his goals, dreams, desires, wishes, and on top of all that he's a full fledge jounin now. He was admitted as a jounin soon after the recent chuunin exam we witnessed. Because he regulated and refereed the genins' matches extremely well, the Fifth decided to bring him up to the next rank. Knowing him, especially as his father, he most likely wants to watch clouds all day for the time-being before he gets assigned to missions. Even I'm surprised he became a jounin at such a premature age." Nara Shikato said as he fingered his chin thoughtfully.
"Geez. What happened to the Shikato I first teamed up with as a genin? Where's your ambition, your unpredictable personality?" Yamanaka Inoshi sighed softly all the while his eyes twinkling with playfulness.
"Inoshi, I have a wife and a teenage son already. Times are different now and I'm not that same headstrong and foolish genin I was, anymore. It's about time we all had settled down." the dark haired chuckled as he reminisced, yet his chuckled was twinged with sadness.
"That doesn't sound too convincing, does it? Akimichi." Inoshi asked while looking to Akimichi Choumaru.
"Well, I'll let you two decide and I rather not interfere. Just don't add my Chouji into this." He smirked. "He'd die if he was restrained like that." Shikato chuckled at that comment.
"Well Inoshi why did you propose this anyway? We rarely have such a formal reunion." Choumaru asked, sitting forward in his chair. Shikato turned his head and faced Inoshi.
Inoshi rubbed his neck gingerly, a light blush crept up his face. He rubbed his chin thoughtfully.
"Well, Ino is reaching womanhood pretty soon. She's surrounded by flocks of eligible ninjas, but she still pines for Uchiha Sasuke. She barely eats, sleeps, or talks as much anymore. I'm worried for her sake. She's all-smiles and happy when anyone asks how she's doing and how she is or anything about her. But once she enters her room, I can hear it, her muffled sighs and sobs." Inoshi looked away and rubbed at his temples wearily. Choumaru and Shikato looked on at their best friend, both very distressed.
"Inoshi, if that was the case you should've told us outright. You didn't need to have gone in circles. And since that is the case, don't worry. We'll try our best to help." Shikato said and sat down at the table next to Choumaru and sipped at a cup of tea.
"Shikato, are you serious? I thought you.." Inoshi wide-eyed walked over to them and sat down too.
"Yes, I am serious. It's been a while since we did something like this..and it really has been a while. Plus, it's one of those inevitable problems. And since I've already made up my mind, it's about time to do a little...shall we say, planning." Shikato smiled boyishly and the trio huddled together. After a long while of discussing, Shikato's wife broke up their discussion.
"Shikato!" she called up the stairs. "Get down here right now, and bring Inoshi and Choumaru with you. It's time for dinner!"
"Hai hai! Just give us one more min-"
"Don't you one more minute me, Nara Shikato. You need to remember tomorrow Shikamaru is coming back from his latest mission and you need to meet him. It's been a few months since we saw our only son! Hurry up and come down."
"Hai hai!" he called down, wincing at her tone. Choumaru and Inoshi grinned at each other.
"We know your pain, friend, we know your pain." Choumaru whispered to Shikato as they headed downstairs.
A seventeen year old with dark hair in a high-spiked ponytail stood in front of Konoha's gates. He stuffed his hands inside his pockets, and scanned the area lazily with his dark eyes. The wind played with his hair delicately as he walked passed the gates. Haven't been here for months now. Glad nothing much changed. It would've been troublesome to get lost in my own village, he thought. He strolled around town, remembering fondly of all the memories he had there.
"Oy!Shikamaru? Nara Shikamaru?" cried a very loud and brightly clad ninja with bright yellow hair to boot. He walked up to Shikamaru adjusting his head protector. "Eh? It's really you! Just got back from your mission?"
"Hey, Naruto. Yeah, I was heading over to my house. Right after I came back from my long as hell mission I need to head home right away, barely taking a moment to relax." Shikamaru sighed and looked at the sky wistfully. 'Hmm..cloudless..feels like a bad omen.' He shook his head, suddenly filled with worry. "Hey Naruto, sorry but we'll catch up on things later. I think my dad has something important to tell me." He said and jogged off with haste, leaving Naruto staring at him with his own hands threaded behind his head.
Yamanaka Ino, seventeen, walked quickly towards Shikamaru's house. 'Geez, why does dad want to meet me there. It's been a while since I've last seen Shikamaru. The last time was months ago, the day he was to leave for his mission. Today...is the day he comes back. Ahh, I hope I don't meet up with him. It's going to be awkward.' she thought. 'It's been so long already..years. Years since I've been admitted to Team Ten. Years since I've known Shikamaru and Chouji. Years since I've last seen Sasuke. Sasuke.' She clenched her fists and shook him out of her mind. Before she knew it, the Nara residence was within eyeshot. She quickened her pace her concentration trained on the name plate with the kanji letters Nara inscribed onto it.
Ino winced at the sudden impact and sharp throbbing pain at her right ankle. She was sitting on the street right outside the Nara residence. She rubbed her ankle gingerly then realization dawned on her. Who had she crashed into? The pair of blue sandaled feet that had stood in front of her had just unsteadily taken a few steps back. She looked up just in time to catch a pair of analytical deep dark eyes widening. A soft gasp escaped her lips.
Shikamaru was staring at the sky as he power-walked towards his house. 'I wonder what was so urgent that couldn't wait till tonight to discuss. It feels weird to be back. Even though the surroundings haven't changed something just feels..different. It's probably me that changed. After all god knows how many people in this village besides my family that recognizes me. For one day, I think I've had enough 'Oy!Shikamaru? Nara Shikamaru?'s and 'Eh? It's really you! Just got back from your mission?'s. Had more than enough of those on the walk here. Suddenly I'm feeling pretty forgotten. Troublesome.'
"Hmm..." he sighed. He really didn't want to bump into a particular someone just yet. It'll feel awkward, after all since so many didn't recognize him, why would she of all people.
As the pensive teen walked on, he didn't see the purple clad girl aiming for the same destination as him. Shikamaru was nearing his house.
'What the...' he thought and was knocked backwards. He faltered a bit, alarmed at being caught off guard and looked down to see who he collided with. His eyes widened alarmingly as he stared into a pair of drained, 'festering', blue eyes. He was in disbelief and a bit numb at the sight of her. As he stared at her, he finally came to his senses. 'Just my luck. Bumping into her of all the people..and in such a place too. Oh boy, this is going to take a while.'
The two stared at each other dumbfounded. Ino was the first one to come to her senses and tried to get up. Shikamaru quickly grabbed her arm to help her up, but he almost let go of her as if he touched electricity. 'What the hell, Shikamaru. Relax. She's just Ino. Ino.' he thought, scolding himself mentally.
"Sh-Shikamaru? Is it really you?" she asked, her voice barely audible.
"Y-Yeah, completed my mission. Ah, sorry about your ankle. I'll bring you inside and I'll take a look at it there."
"It'll be okay soon. By the way, Congratulations on your mission." she smiled at him warmly. He grunted softly in reply.
"By the way, what brings you here?"
"My dad called me here urgently for some reason."
"Oh, you too?" he asked.
Then there was silence. Awkward silence. He supported her into his house. As they entered he looked at the shoes inside. Only two pairs, and male styles at that. 'Mom's probably out.' he observed. He slipped out of his sandals, and held Ino's arms as she slipped out of hers too.
"Dad? I'm back!" he cried out.
"Shika? I'm up here!" a distant muffled voice called out.
Shikamaru and Ino headed steadily up the stairs, she was leaning on him heavily, the stairway a bit narrow. 'Geez. Why is he upstairs? Troublesome.' He was only too painfully aware of the fact that a woman was pressed up against him. 'Just how many more steps until the top.' he thought, a bit distracted.
Ino, too, was very aware of Shikamaru and how close they were to each other. Close didn't cut it. More like glued on to him. 'Thank god it is dark in this stairway.' she felt her face heat up.
Finally they reached to top and Shikamaru walked into the room. Shikaku was sitting at the table and Ino's father was sitting across from him. When they had entered they both turned around and looked at them. Inoshi raised his eyebrow at Shikato, who in turn shrugged. Shikamaru looked at his father and sighed.
"Eh, don't start getting any ideas. She twisted her ankle on the way here. I'm just helping her." he said as he helped her to a seat.
Shikato chuckled at his son. He walked up to Shikamaru and looked at him proudly.
"About time you came home, Shikamaru." he patted his son on the shoulder. "Good work, good work."
"A bit too troublesome if you ask me." he smirked.
"Well lets get on to business. Inoshi and I called both of you here for a top-secret mission assigned to you and Ino only, by the Fifth." Shikaku said as he walked over to his seat at the table and sat down. Ino looked at her father, then at Shikato, then back at her father.
"A mission to test something out for our village. Almost like guinea pigs, but assuming a much more critical role." Inoshi added, with a faint trace of a smile on his lips.
Shikamaru looked skeptical. 'Another one? The Fifth is ruthless when it comes to missions.' he thought.
Shikato nodded and took out a glittering item from behind him. Shikamaru felt his face drain. Ino screamed.
Shikato was holding handcuffs.
A/N: Phewwww, I'm finally done with this lengthy prologue...er chapter. Please review ! Took me a while to get my muse back, kekek, now that it has awaked again evil smile. I hope I kept the characters as close to their personalities in the series . Gomen if I distorted it and chopped it up in the blender for you guys. I tried T T. Okok, I hope you enjoyed this chappie.
I know you want to click that small button down there. That yummy little review button..;)
Edit: Ahh, sorry sorry if I messed up the parents' names before. Got them fixed! Thanks for telling me ; out of desperation I had to make 'em up. :P