Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto.

Full Summary: She was a geisha, who just happened to accidentally kill a famous criminal. Now she needs protection from the criminal's partners. Naturally, she is forced to get a bodyguard. Okay, he's not really knight-in-shining-armor material, and he's promised to another woman, but Ino can't help falling in love with Shikamaru.

Pairings: TemaShikaIno, NejiTen, NaruHina, SasuSaku

Rating: T (may go up)

Started: July 10, 2006

Finished: July 11, 2006

Author's Notes: I confess, I got the idea for this fic after watching Memoirs of a Geisha. But thankfully, the plot for this story is different than the movie. I apologize if some parts aren't as great as others because I'm very tentative about this story, seeing as I have no idea what the whole plot is yet.

I'm so sorry if anyone seems OOC. This is my second Naruto fic. And please correct me if I make any mistakes on names or ninja terms and what not. Like I said, this is my second Naruto fic, so it's not gonna be perfect or anything like that.

Enjoy!


A Troublesome Fairytale

By Lily-Finn Prologue


"Watching clouds again, Shikamaru?" Nara Shikamaru turned his head a little to see a chubby young man sit down beside him on the hill next to the camp where their troop was stationed.

Watching the clouds was Shikamaru's favorite form of entertainment. While regular men decided to waste their time in brothels and pubs throughout Konoha, Shikamaru was always tilting his head upward to stare emotionlessly at the fluffy patches of white in the sky. One of the other men in Asuma-sensei's troop had once asked him why he liked clouds so much. Shikamaru had given him a blank stare and answered, "It's too troublesome to explain."

Akimichi Choji was Shikamaru's only friend. Their fathers had been in the same ninja troop when they were younger, so they had pretty much known each other since they were infants. The two men had grown up doing everything with each other. They had gone to school together, become shinobi together, and were assigned to the same shinobi squad led by Sarutobi Asuma.

"We're leaving now, aren't we?" Shikamaru sighed, not taking his eyes off the sky. Choji nodded, and Shikamaru, seeing his friend's gesture from the corner of his eye, mumbled, "Troublesome. I can never watch the clouds peacefully anymore."

Choji chuckled. Shikamaru's statement was the truth. Ever since he had started courting Sabaku no Temari, Shikamaru had less time to partake in his favorite hobby. His limited cloud watching time had been cut even less once he had actually proposed to her. Now, between preparing for his upcoming wedding and the thousands of missions he had to complete, Shikamaru didn't have any time to do any of his favorite hobbies. There was no more cloud watching or shogi playing now that he was getting married and becoming a rather prestigious shinobi.

The genius sat up from his lying position on the grassy hill. Behind him, he could hear Asuma-sensei's other shinobi packing their things, taking down their tents, and talking excitedly about what they were going to do once they reached Konoha.

Choji left to pack his things. Shikamaru had already done so earlier that morning. They were only two hours away from Konoha, and he knew that Asuma would rush his squad just so they could get to Konoha earlier than scheduled. Asuma did, after all, have a fiancée with child waiting for him.

"Shikamaru." A brisk voice called out several feet away from where Shikamaru sat. The Nara heir looked over to see his sensei, Asuma, walking towards him, a cigarette between his fingers as he let out a long stream of smoke. "Will you be stopping by later to play shogi?"

"I'll just go to your house with you, Asuma-sensei. It's too troublesome to go home and then go to your place." Shikamaru knew his sensei wouldn't object to his reasoning, or ask him any questions. Because the truth was, Shikamaru did not want to go home to Temari, and tell her that instead of picking out flowers with her for the wedding, he would be playing shogi with Asuma. She would, no doubt, forbid him to go and drag him to every possible flower shop in Konoha. She was, after all, a forceful woman.

Asuma nodded before leaving Shikamaru to himself. The Nara heir looked at the sky once again. The clouds were passing by, due to the breeze that was winding its way through the sky. Shikamaru let out a small, barely audible breath. If only time would stop right at that moment so he could watch the sky for just a little bit longer.


Yamanaka Ino was taking a long walk throughout the hanamachi district. She walked slowly past the many okiya, watching as maiko and geisha walked in and out of their homes. She admired their silk kimonos and many kanzashi. She looked at her own sky blue kimono with the pale embroidery, and wished she had worn one of her prettier purple kimonos. But then she would have had to go through the trouble of finding a suitable kimono and by the time she found one in the storeroom, Tsunade or Shizune would have been able to stop her before she could leave the okiya.

Tsunade-sama had a harsh rule about leaving the okiya. Only accomplished geisha could come and go as they pleased. Maiko like Ino had to ask for permission, and that was rarely given. Sneaking out was a much easier than getting permission from Tsunade-sama.

Still, Ino would've liked to have the men staring at her as she walked down the street. She did like attention, after all.

"Ino! Ino!" a female voice called out to her. Ino ignored the voice of her best friend and kept on walking down the street. Maybe she could lose Sakura. "Ino-pig!"

Ino stopped walking, her eyes narrowing in hate as she whipped around to see Haruno Sakura running down the street (well, running as best as she could in her yellow kimono). When the pink-haired young women caught up with Ino, the blonde slapped her arm. "Forehead girl, I told you not to call me that! I am much more beautiful than a pig."

"Whatever you say…Ino-pig." Sakura muttered the last part of her sentence quietly so Ino wouldn't hear. "Anyway, you've got to get back to the okiya right now. Tsunade-sama is going to kill you if you don't get back in time to get ready for the party tonight."

"You can tell Tsunade-sama I'll be back in time. I was just taking a short walk. I was going to visit some friends." Ino waved a hand carelessly, giggling.

"Knowing you, Ino, you'd take forever to visit a friend." A new voice announced behind them. The two apprentice geisha turned their heads to see one of their many friends in the village, holding a package in her hand. Tenten was the one and only blacksmith in all of Konoha, and her reputation was amazing. Most recognized her from the two buns she styled her hair in.

Ino and Sakura smiled upon seeing their friend. Tenten had lived at the okiya for four years after running away from home six years before. She had become a talented blacksmith in the previous two years, and had left the okiya to live on her own.

"She's right, you know." Sakura agreed. "Last time you visited Hinata, you stayed for over two hours and you almost were late for the Aburame clan's party."

"But I hardly see Hinata anymore." Ino whined.

"And there was that time you snuck out and spent half the day at Choji's home." Tenten contributed.

"I take every chance I get to see Choji because he's always on missions."

"And that time when you spent the whole day ogling Sasuke-kun." Sakura said with more than enough jealousy in her voice.

Ino couldn't argue with that. But it had been such a joyful day, indeed. First, she got to see Sasuke kick the living crap out of his rival, Uzumaki Naruto. Then, she saw him eating ramen at the Ichiraku. After that…

"So I can't let you visit anyone today because I know you'll get back to the okiya really late and Tsunade-sama will get very mad. She might even forbid you to go to the party tonight." Sakura interrupted Ino's thoughts about the Uchiha heir. A new light shone in Sakura's emerald eyes. "And then, after I leave, your fairy godmother will appear and help you get to the party where you will meet your true love!"

Tenten and Ino sweat-dropped. Tenten was the one to tell their pink-haired friend, "Sakura, I think you've read Cinderella too much. Whose idea was it to get that for her birthday?"

"Unfortunately, it was me." A newcomer announced. All three women turned to see their friend Akimichi Choji standing before them with an onigiri in each hand. "She saw it at the bookstore one day and really wanted it. I couldn't help but buy it for her."

"Choji, you're such a sweetie." Tenten giggled, making the chubby man blush. He did not receive such nice words from females that often.

"Choji!" Ino ran forward to hug her best guy friend. There was a twinkle in her baby blue eyes as she smiled brightly at her friend. She squeezed him tightly and asked, "When did you get back from your mission?"

"Asuma-sensei made us get up early this morning just so we could get here earlier. We arrived almost an hour ago." Choji explained, holding his hands out to the side so Ino wouldn't endanger his onigiri. He was very protective of his food.

"Asuma-sensei! I have to go visit him." Ino said cheerfully. Then, her smile widened. "And this gives me the perfect excuse to ask Kurenai-sama about the baby." She started to run towards Asuma's house. Then, she stopped and turned around to call out to her friends, "Choji, maybe we can go out to eat sometime this week. Sakura, tell Tsunade-sama not to worry. Bye, Tenten!"

Tenten and Choji waved goodbye as they took a couple of wary steps away from the pink-haired maiko. They could literally feel the anger radiating off of her as she yelled for Ino to get back that instant.

"I should be going now, too. I have to run this new kunai set over to Hiashi-sama." Tenten held up the package in her hand.

Sakura raised an eyebrow. "Going to see Neji again, are you?"

Tenten blushed lightly as she held the package to her chest and told Sakura, "What do you mean? It's nothing like that. Hiashi-sama wanted a new kunai set for Hanabi. I was just going to go give it to him. I didn't say anything about Neji!"

"But you were thinking about seeing him again, weren't you?" Sakura teased, poking the weapons mistress's shoulder. She laughed evilly when she saw the flustered look Tenten was giving her as she left for the Hyuuga compound.

"Well, Choji, I've got to go—" Sakura started to tell her friend, but stopped when she saw the anxious look on his face. "What is it, Choji?"

He looked over at her, and said, "It's nothing. I just remembered that Asuma-sensei has a guest at his house, that's all."


Ino arrived at Asuma's house only ten minutes later. She was overjoyed at the fact that he was home. He was, nonetheless, like a father to her.

Ino had known her parents for the first seven years of her life. Her father was a shinobi and her mother worked the family's flower shop. Shortly after Ino turned seven, a gang of enemy ninjas had raided the shop and killed both her parents, leaving her an orphan.

After that, Tsunade had taken her in at the Hana okiya. There, Ino had met Sakura, who had been sold to the okiya when she was six. Then, Tsunade had both girls trained to become geisha.

Now at the ripe age of seventeen, only ten years later, Ino and Sakura had both successfully been trained to become geisha. They were the two most popular and desired maiko in the hanamachi district. But they wouldn't become official geisha until they got a danna. And Tsunade-sama had told them several hundred times that she wouldn't let them have a danna until they were eighteen. Tsunade was very protective of the two young women who would take over the okiya when she retired. She was very much like a real mother to Ino and Sakura.

Ino had met Asuma-sensei when he was visiting Kurenai one day at the okiya. Normally, Tsunade wouldn't allow one of her geisha to be visited by a man, but she was friends with Asuma, and trusted him. The day Ino had first met Asuma, she was only eleven. She had been putting away one of Kurenai-sama's kimonos. He had helped her when she couldn't reach the shelf the kimono belonged on.

Ino knew that Asuma was Kurenai's danna, the man who supported her with his money and the man who had ultimately turned her into a true geisha by taking her virginity. And it was only a matter of time before Kurenai had become pregnant with his child. Shortly after he learned about the pregnancy, Asuma had proposed to the geisha and she had accepted.

The blonde had been happy for Kurenai at the news of the engagement, but she had been slightly sad. Kurenai was like the big sister she had never had. She was kind and encouraging, and she always had advice for Ino and Sakura whenever they needed it. It was a sad day when she had moved out of the okiya and into Asuma-sensei's home.

She didn't bother with knocking on the door just to have a servant answer it for her. They knew her well enough to just let her walk into the house on her own. She was welcomed in Asuma's house just as family was. She practically was family.

She closed the door behind her, seeing as there was no servant around. They were probably all in the kitchen preparing a feast for Asuma-sensei's homecoming. She went to go take off her okobo. In her rush to escape from the okiya, she had quickly thrown on her okobo, the black lacquered wooden clogs that she had the most trouble walking in. So just as she had gotten the first one off her right foot, she stumbled on her left foot. She tried to get balanced, but her attempt was pitiful and she fell to the floor in an unceremonious fashion.

Ino inwardly groaned. She was supposed to be an apprentice geisha, a graceful beauty, not a clumsy oaf. She just hoped no one was around to see her careless fall.

She hoisted herself off the floor, wincing as she found she had twisted her ankle. That couldn't be good. She couldn't be limping at the party, now could she?

She then noticed a pair of feet in front of her, and she cursed mentally. Someone had seen her.

"And I thought geisha were supposed to be graceful." A bored voice spoke above her head. Her eyes narrowed angrily as she shot a glare at the man. He stared back at her with a bored expression that matched his voice. His dark eyes betrayed no emotion he might've been hiding, and his posture was slumped in a careless, casual way. He wore the outfit of a shinobi, complete with a green vest that Asuma-sensei only gave his high-ranked shinobi. His dark, unruly hair was tied back securely in a ponytail.

Ino flinched mentally. Not only had a man seen her fall, but an ugly man had seen her fall. She couldn't stand the agony of having been seen by someone with such unflattering looks.

But, at least Sasuke-kun hadn't seen her. Now that would've been awful.

She imagined how she must've looked at that moment. Her legs were spread out behind her in an ungracious manner, her kimono bunched up mostly by her knees so that most of her legs were showing (Tsunade-sama would kill her if she found out a man had seen her legs unclothed), and her hair falling out of the traditional shimada style. She felt like a total wreck. She looked like a total wreck. And she knew it, too. She could tell by the way that the man's mouth was twitching in the corner as he took in the sight of her.

A hand was in front of her face. She looked up at the man again and found it was his hand. He wanted to help her up.

Ino pushed his hand away with a forceful slap as she snapped, "I can get up myself."

The man raised an eyebrow but said nothing as he watched her get up slowly due to her twisted ankle. She was aware of his gaze, but chose to ignore it. She did not deserve to be observed by such an unsightly man. Once she was on her feet again, she glared at him and demanded, "What are you looking at?"

The man turned away and muttered, "How troublesome."

Ino's glare became more lethal, if that were even possible. "What do you mean by that!" she screamed at him as she raised her hand and let it fly at him, hitting him squarely on the side of his head. He looked startled, then annoyed, and Ino seriously thought he was going to harm her. She kept her stance though. Nothing this man would do or say could keep her from beating the living daylights out of him.

He sighed and rubbed his head where she had hit it. "I never thought geisha could be so troublesome."

And with that said and over with, he proceeded to put on his shoes.

Ino blinked. That was it? Wasn't this man going to defend his pride? Any other man would've told her she was a mindless brat or they would've hit her for her impertinence. But he was just going to do nothing? Say nothing to defend himself? Strike her for being mindless?

That…that's pure laziness! Ino mentally screeched. What is wrong with this man?

Just as the young man was opening the door to leave, Asuma came around the corner with Kurenai following close behind. Ino smiled at the sight of her older friends. Asuma blinked when he saw her but then smirked. Kurenai greeted her immediately with a bright smile and a small wave. "Ino, it's nice to see you again."

"Kurenai-nee-san!" Ino jumped excitedly as she hugged her friend in greeting. She looked over Asuma. "Welcome back, Asuma-sensei."

Asuma smiled at the maiko before turning to the young man at the door. "Shikamaru, you forgot your kunai pouch. Stop by tomorrow if Temari will let you." Asuma threw the pouch in his hand to the young man at the door. The man, Shikamaru, caught it with ease before leaving. He took one last look at Ino. She was angered to see the small smirk playing on his lips.

As she was led into a small living, she looked at the door where the shinobi had once been standing before he left. She frowned at the thought of him and hoped that she would never have to see him again. Because if she did see him again, she'd be sure to beat him until his own mother didn't recognize him.

Hey, just because she was an apprentice geisha, it didn't mean she had to act like one all the time.

Unfortunately for Shikamaru, the day when the two would meet again was going to be really soon.


Please tell me your opinions! Did you think it was good, bad, so-so, could've been written better, whatever…just leave me a review & tell me how you liked it!

If you want, you can read my first Naruto fic. It's called The Kunoichis' Animals and a lot of people seem to like it, so if you haven't read it yet, then you should. I've also recently finished a new ShikaIno oneshot called Pineapple Monstrosity. If you like the ShikaIno pairing, then you should definitely read it.


Translations:

Maiko: apprentice geisha

Okiya: geisha/maiko boarding house type thing

Hanamachi: district where geisha/maiko live

Danna: a geisha's patron; a man who pays for a geisha's training

Okobo: black lacquered wooden clogs

Kanzashi: hairpins