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I'll Be Waiting By Lynlyn-maru
Shikamaru closed his apartment door behind him and locked it, dropping the key into one of his many pouches. He took a minute to adjust his jounin vest, making sure that the little velvet box was still in it's place in his front pocket and started down the stairs to the street below.
Today was finally the day, he was sure of it.
No more putting it off or trying to make the moment any better.
He had to do it today, even if it killed him. After all, he'd been carrying the little box around for three weeks waiting for the right opportunity….to propose to Ino.
Shikamaru and Ino had been officially dating for almost two years now, commencing right after he had passed his jounin exam and she had passed her chuunin exam. Everything stayed the same though, with the added exchange of a few subtle first kisses. Chouji had no qualms and Asuma noticed quite the improvement in the teams' cooperation skills.
Eventually, Shikamaru had started taking on more and more dangerous missions, putting a damper on their relationship. He would be gone for weeks at a time and only home for days before departing again, as to keep up with the steady flow of missions following Orochimaru's recent defeat. (Sasuke is still missing though...)
But now, after nine months of seeing so little of each other, the missions died down and they were falling in love all over again.
Shikamaru had been home for almost six weeks consecutively, damn near a miracle for most jounin He had moved out of his parents house almost immediately after returning from his latest mission and decided that it was finally time to take his and Ino's relationship to the next step.
He fiddled with the little box in his pocket as he casually strolled to their usual meeting place on the hill where he liked to watch clouds, in his rare free time.
'Will you marry me?….How would you like to join the Nara's?….Listen, Ino, it's about time, right? No way, she'd kill me if I said that….dammit….some genius I am….how troublesome.'
Before he knew it, he was at the little hill. With no sign of Ino yet, he sprawled out on the grass and stared up at the clouds passing by. He got to thinking again and closed his eyes, trying again to find the right words.
"Ino…I…love you. I know that things have been….really hard on us ….for a while, but…I….think we did okay though and I was….wondering if….you would"
"If I would what?"
Shikamaru's eyes shot open to find Ino staring back at him from above, smiling.
'Shit!' "Uh….how long have you been there-I mean, here?" he stuttered.
Ino sat down next to him and rested her head on her knees, enjoying his discomfort. "I got here right after you. I thought you would've outgrown talking to yourself by now, Shika-kun."
Shikamaru blushed only slightly and looked back up at the sky. 'troublesome woman"
"So…" Ino breathed, laying down next to him. "Is this all you wanted to do today, or did you want to go get something to eat"
Shikamaru's mind raced. 'Propose at a restaurant? That would be way to embarrassing. Ichiraku? Nope, too many people we know there, we'd never get any privacy. At my apartment? …it's too dirty to be even slightly romantic'
"Let's just stay here for a little while, it's relaxing."
A few more minutes passed in silence, Ino twirling her hair and Shikamarucontinuing to fiddle with the box. After a few more minutes in silence, Ino leaned over and rested her head on Shikamaru's shoulder, breathing contentedly.
'okay…it's now or never! Just do it'
"Do you like March"
"What are you talking about, Shika?" She asked, opening her eyes curiously.
"I mean, like, the month of March. Do you like it? The weather and everything"
Ino raised an eyebrow. "Um…sure, I guess March is okay. But it's October, why are you asking about March?"
He pulled the little box out from his pocket and gripped it tightly in his hand.
'Just keep going. Whatever you do, don't stop'
"I was just thinking about it lately…that it would be a good month to get….married in, since the weather is nice and cool still"
Shikamaru took a deep breath and opened the box in his hand, sitting up and holding it up in the air above her, silently waiting for an answer.
Ino was silent for a moment, trying to decide if this was all real. She sat up and admired the pretty little silver ring, embedded with little diamonds and sapphires, her birthstone. She took so much time admiring that she forgot Shikamaru was there, still holding his breath.
"Ino…so…uh…would you marry me?" He said, breaking the silence.
Ino snapped back into reality.
"Yes…" She whispered, holding her hand out for him to place the ring on her finger.
He stared at her lovingly as she wiped happy tears from her cheeks. When she looked back up at him, they shared their first kiss has fiancés. They stayed out until most of the light was gone from the sky, laughing and discussing their new plans.
Shikamaru walked Ino to her parent's doorstep, finding it hard to say goodnight. He held onto her hand until Ino hugged him.
"I'll be here tomorrow you know. Come over and we can tell everyone."
Shika nodded but refused to let go, smelling the lavender in her hair. After a few more moments, she pulled away, gave him another kiss and departed through the door.
Shikamaru turned and headed past Ichiraku towards his flat. Chouji, Naruto, and Asuma were there, finishing up their ramen. Chouji looked up and saw Shikamaru heading for them, after swallowing, he asked, "So….you do it yet"
Shikamaru sat down next to his friend and smiled.
"You free in march?
Chouji smiled and put his hand on his friend's shoulder, Naruto looked confused.
Asuma grinned and put out his cigarette. "Order yourself a bowl, my treat, in honor of the occasion"
Naruto just gave up and began on his third bowl.
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