Ohayo!

I'm no Japanese but I would like to tell you now that I might consider inserting some Japanese expressions to make the conversations sound more interesting.

While I would tend to make the characters become OOC, I'll try to be faithful to their orginal behaviors. However, since this is a Shika-Ino pairing, I think you could grant the two to be a bit more sappy at times, ne?

Some of the formats you may expect to find in my stories are:

Italic TNR text indicate inner thoughts.

Normal TNR text indicate normal story and conversations.

Underline TNR text indicate narrative points.

Other important stuff would be indicated later on.

Oh yeah, just to make things clear all throughout the story and so I don't repeat myself, I do NOT own Naruto. If Shikamaru was my brainchild though, that would really be cool.

Anyway, I may not make the greatest summaries and stories, but I hope you enjoy! Oh, and reviews would surely be appreciated!


Memories

Troubles of a Lazy Shinobi

Prologue : In Need of a Leader

In a hidden village beyond the borders of the Fire and Wind countries…

Five men were sitted around a table in what seems to be the ceremonial hall of a certain hidden village. One of them had the traditional white robe and headgear with the light blue seal that everyone would recognize as the one donned by their most respected Kage, while there were two advisers by his side. The remaining two, on the other hand, were such fearsome-looking jounins, awaiting word from their respected leader.

Finally, the Kage broke the silence.

"I think you already know why I have called you here."

Immediately, the jounins snapped and began to listen carefully.

"It has come to my attention that our country is steadily growing. However, as you may have noticed, this hidden village is but a rabble of talented but untrained nins. I would have to say that our performance lately was… shall we say, poor?"

The jounins were struck by this remark, but defeatedly admitted that the training of their village's potentially great genin was rather… pathetic.

"Every year," one of the Kage's advisers began, "only a dismal fifth out of the average twenty-five students in our academy get to graduate and become genin. Also, the number of able chunins and jounins are steadily decreasing due to the increasing number of casualties we obtain from our missions. I daresay that poor improvements in our medical methods make the situation any better."

"Considering our performance," the other adviser interjected, "we are dramatically losing our clients. Lately, even our country's daimyos are looking for ninjas from the foreign lands to do their work. The Kage has therefore decided that we should improve on our ninja training and tactical strategy divisions."

The Kage spoke once more. "While we do have our own brilliant men, I have observed those of the other countries' intelligence divisions, and frankly, we pale in comparison to them. Thus, I would like for you to-"

"Kage-sama," one jounin interrupted, "with all due respect, could we not simply diplomatically ask for advice and help from the leaders of Konoha? Surely the Hokage-"

"-Surely I have made myself clear before," the Kage a bit irritatedly said, "that we are to ally ourselves with neither the Wind nor the Fire countries, nor with any other country for that matter. I'm sure that you have heard the unfortunate events that had taken place in Konoha…"

"But Kage-sama, that was already three years ago."

The adviser butted in, having been aggravated by the jounin's disrespect, "Three years ago, yes. However, both the Fire and the Wind countries are still not in good terms with one another, recalling the treachery of the former Kazekage. Allying ourselves with either one could make them think that the other is establishing diplomatic ties to attempt yet again another act of war."

"The Sky country," the Kage calmly said, "has tried its best to go unnoticed by the other great countries. We make sure that our clients do not leak out our services to the other nations. We secure our own borders by silencing any spy the moment we spot them. We even continue to develop our own technology to hide any hint of our existence. Surely you understand that getting their attention now is not a wise option."

The two jounins agreed and decided to stay silent.

"Therefore, if neither of you has anything else to say… as I have already briefed you, you are to capture this man…"

One of the advisers handed the two jounins the profile of the wanted man, including his relatively recent picture. The ninjas were both stunned, having seen who they were ordered to capture for this obviously risky mission.

"Kage-sama," one of them asked, "are you sure that we should dare do this? I thought we are trying to prevent another outbreak of war? Why should it be this man?"

"Yes," the Kage replied, "we want to prevent an act of war. I, however, would want to bolster our ranks and expertise among the nin. If we are to prepare ourselves for any strike by the unstable countries and increase our strength and number, we need him. He is after all, a great tactician…"

The two jounins simply swallowed what they were about to do…

"I'm sure you two have seen this man's performance during their recent examination, haven't you?"

The Kage laughed to himself. "Sure he does not look the part, but he has been making a name out of himself recently…"

The jounins nodded to one another, recalling the impressive movements this man had executed during the chuunin exam that they have secretly sneaked into.

"Why…" the jounins began to whisper to each other, "Of all the countries… why do we have to get this man… from Konoha?"


A/N: So, does it get interesting so far? Don't worry, the romantic parts would appear soon enough. For now, I want to show you the plot, albeit short. Please review! Arigato gozaimas!