Well, minna, this looks like the last chapter. I'm so pleased that so many of you liked this story enoughto review. I was planning to write another story, but I'll need to change some things, since it ended up being too much like episode 192...should I be mad or honered that one of my stories is close to the story?
Anyways, this turned out to be so much more sucessful than I thought! I'm so happy! Thank you to all of you that reviewed. And a small note. I have been known to respond to requests for sequels. I'd have to think really hard, but I'm sure I could try. Or if anyone has any suggestions for a story, let me know, I accept requests!
Disclaimer- I don't own Naruto or Shikamaru or Ino. The mind-switch technique is mine though, i think. Since no-one else has thought of it to my knowledge.
Shikamaru tossed and turned in his sleep, trying to ignore the cold he felt without another body next to him. He hadn't slept well for the entire night actually, he still felt unsettled.
He glanced at his clock…7:13 am…late enough to get up, he supposed.
He moped his way to the kitchen, sifting through the refrigerator for something to fill his stomach for breakfast. Some of the leftovers from Ino's stay were still in there, so he grabbed them and started eating the cold noodles and rice, they still tasted okay.
He flopped on the couch, slurping the noodles loudly, not caring that they were splashing onto his bare chest.
'Chouji was going to stop by before going to the training grounds', he thought, so he finished up his meal and got dressed slowly, letting the time drag out.
He was putting on his first shoe on the couch when Chouji opened the door, accustomed to picking Shikamaru up and not bothering to knock anymore.
"You ready?" He munched, finishing up his own breakfast and standing in the doorway.
Shikamaru sighed and stood, following his friend out the door and locking it behind him.
Shikamaru and Chouji rarely talked during their walks, time spent was not wasted, even if no words were exchanged. Chouji was perfectly content with munching on snacks and Shikamaru liked to multi-task and watch the clouds as the navigated through the streets. It wasn't until halfway through the journey that Chouji decided to break the silence.
"Should we stop by and pick up Ino?" He asked as they approached the turnoff to the Yamanaka house.
Shikamaru's head drooped. "No, I doubt she really wants to see me right now…" He mumbled.
Chouji blinked. "Why? What did you do?"
Shikamaru sighed and told Chouji the story of how he had made Ino think that he liked being switched because the missions were easier. Chouji just nodded.
"Well…why didn't you want to switch then?" He finally asked.
Shikamaru was silent. "Uh….Well, it's because…"
" Because you love her, right?" Chouji smiled.
Shikamaru landed on the floor, tripping over air.
"What! No way!"
Chouji grinned. "Yep, I knew it. You love her, that's why you didn't want to switch back, you liked having to be around her all the time, right?"
Shikamaru picked himself up, blushing profusely.
"Don't act so surprised, I've known for a while now. I'm an observer." Chouji slapped his friend on the back.
Shikamaru rubbed his shoulder. "Um, Chouji? Do you think you could keep quiet about this for a while? I mean, to Ino?"
"I haven't told her yet, have I?" Chouji smirked.
The pair neared their old training grounds, once more, an oh-too-familiar place to Shikamaru. They were obviously the last to arrive, because Ino, Asuma and his new genin squad were already warming up. Ino turned the other direction upon noticing their arrival. Shikamaru sighed.
"So, Asuma, what's this about, huh? What do you want us out here for? How troublesome, on my day off." Shikamaru mumbled, sitting on the ground nonchalantly.
Asuma flicked the cigarette he had been smoking and smirked. "These are my new pupils; Renji, Tomaru and Keiko. We're going to start our training soon and I thought it would be good for them to witness a few sparring matches between my most improved students. Kids, you all must've heard of the genius ninja who passed the Chuunin exam before all other genin in his class? This is Nara Shikamaru. Akimichi Chouji is an accomplished ninja, who uses his family's enlargement techniques. And Yamanaka Ino, a feisty little Kunoichi, and very successful on Solo missions."
Shikamaru grunted, Chouji beamed and Ino giggled.
"Now, it's hard to believe, I know, but these three were once genin like yourselves. And not very good genin, I might add. Shikamaru was the laziest kid in the village, Ino's skills lacked discipline and Chouji was just a glutton."
All three of their heads drooped upon hearing the description of their formal selves.
"It just goes to show you that ANYONE can become a successful ninja. Now, Ino, you and Chouji fight first, don't overdo it and-"
"Sensei? I really want to see the genius guy fight!" The boy pointed at Shikamaru, who sighed.
"Alright, Chouji, lets get this over with."
Shikamaru turned to Chouji, who was sitting on the ground beside the children, waiting with an overly large smile on his face. The shadow-user turned his head across the field to Ino, who stood alone, at a loss for words.
"Alright, I guess Ino and Shikamaru can go first." Asuma said, plopping down behind his students, a perfect place for him to point out things to them.
Shikamaru turned back to Ino, whose eyes were narrowed in a glare. She tightened her stance and charged at him, kunai already in hand.
Shikamaru's eyes widened, he barely drew his own kunai to block before she reached him. Her teeth clenched, Ino jumped back to strike again, taking out two more kunai in her other hand.
Shikamaru dodged hopelessly, feeling her attacks barely graze his skin.
"Oi! Ino! Knock it off! This is just a sparring match! Hey!" Shikamaru ducked as one of her kunai whizzed past his head.
"You insensitive jerk! Using my body to get out of your missions! How dare you!" She yelled, punching and kicking at the boy mercilessly. Shikamaru thanked whatever god there was up there that he was used to her rage and could dodge them.
"I'm sorry! I didn't…mean…what I…said before! I just…didn't want to tell you…the truth!" He said between dodges.
"I bet!" She continued to lash at him, aiming a kunai strike at his shoulder.
Shikamaru's eyes narrowed slightly and he reached for her targeted area.
Ino's eyes widened and Shikamaru winced.
Behind them, Asuma and Chouji got up and ushered the three genin back towards the village.
"Alright, training starts tomorrow Get lots of rest!" Asuma joked as her pushed the kids forward.
"Aww! Sensei! It was just getting good!" The kids complained.
Shikamaru's grip tightened around Ino's blade, cutting deeper into his hand. With a lightning-fast motion, he jerked the weapon out of her loosening grip and tossed it to the ground.
"You didn't dodge it…"
Ino snapped to reality and turned, feeling tears begin to well up in her eyes upon seeing the blood drip from his cut hand. She took off in a determined sprint, but jolted as she felt her body go stiff. She looked down to see a dark shadow connected to her own.
"Let me go, Shikamaru! I hate you!"
Her body turned, against it's will and she forced her eyes shut, refusing to look her captor in the eyes. She unwillingly took a few steps forward and halted, still refusing to open her eyes.
She could feel his body heat in front of her, his breath, steady on her face.
"I lied to you before." Shikamaru started. "I didn't like being in your body because of the missions. As a matter of fact, I find your missions even more troublesome than my own." He sighed.
"Beyond troublesome, actually, I hate knowing that you're subjected to that without my knowing."
"I wasn't lying when I told you that I didn't want to switch back though. I liked being with you every moment of everyday, even if you were in my body. It was your spirit I liked. I enjoyed it so much…that when you left, I didn't feel the same anymore."
Ino felt her body soften, being released from the shadow bind, but before she had a chance to turn again, strong arms enveloped her and held her in place. Shikamaru wrapped his arms around her waist and placed his head on her shoulder, hugging her gently.
'Shikamaru?' She thought, surprised by his action.
"Apparently, I've been in love with you for a long time, Ino. I've just been too stupid to bother to realize it."
Ino's eyes snapped open. She pushed him away, putting an arms length between them. "Shikamaru…" She whispered, tears beginning to form once again.
He only smiled and turned his head, looking up to the clouds.
"I already know you don't feel the same way, it's alright. I just didn't want us to fight over this anymore. I just-"
"I love you too." She interrupted.
Shikamaru's eyes widened and he turned to look at her again.
She was smiling, tears still clinging to her closed eyelashes.
"I think I always have. I wanted to switch back so I could tell you in my own body. It felt so weird being attracted to myself. I wanted you back in your body so I could go back to liking you, not me."
She reached up to brush a lock of his hair from his eyes, smiling softly.
"Is that really so hard to believe? We've been friends for so long, it was only a matter of time, right?"
He smirked and chuckled. "Right."
This time, she hugged him, tugging his neck down to her level, holding him tightly. He gladly returned, wrapping his arms around her waist once again.
"You should move back in, my apartment is empty without you making a mess in it."
"Well, when you put it that way…" Ino giggled.
Back In Konoha, Chouji beamed, puzzling his former instrustor.
2 months later….
"I'm home." Shikamaru mumbled.
"Rough day?" Ino greeted him, sitting on the couch, reading a book.
"B ranked mission, I'm all sweaty and dirty. I think I'm going to go take a shower."
Shikamaru stomped past her and started the water, undressing quickly and inspecting his body, looking for any recent injuries.
"You have one on your left shoulder."
Shikamaru jumped at hearing his 'roommates' voice.
"What are you doing in here? I thought we decided showers were off limits." He blushed, attempting to cover himself.
"Well, it's not like I haven't seen any of…this before." Shikamaru winced as her cold hands ran over his stomach. Ino giggled.
"May I join you?"
"As long as your not on your period…I can't ever seem to be gentle enough anymore…after experiencing it for myself…" Shikamaru joked.
"You're safe." She cooed, kissing the dirty ninja sweetly and pushing past him into the shower.
'Finally, I get to see this again.' Shikamaru mused, joining her in the water.
Well, what did you think. It's way different from how I intended, but A lot of people wanted a mushy ending...with them getting together! I write to please!
Please review! And thank you for reading!