Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto.
Dedicated to ShikamaruIno lovers! Put me in too, of course!
I, Nara Shikamaru, think everything is troublesome. And when I say everything, I mean everything. Maybe except some things I didn't even know existed.
But shopping with a girl is terribly troublesome.
Especially when you're shopping clothing.
And especially when the clothing she's trying on are bikinis.
"... Shikamaru, do you think this one is good?"
Ah. That voice.
I looked up and met eyes with Yamanaka Ino, the girl who had her way to take me out shopping with her. She was wearing a two-piece bikini with the background color of light pink and pure white dots sprinkled all over it. I can't deny myself that she looked good. Better than good, maybe, though it's too troublesome to say that to her.
"No." I replied.
Ino pouted a little and returned back to the dressing room.
I looked at the calendar on the shop's walls as I threw my arms up in the air. Now that I think of it, it had been terribly long since I first teamed up with her.
Was it five years? No, longer than that, I assumed. Maybe even twelve years.
Yes. I'm twenty-four now.
And maybe that was why my father always brought up the topic of marriage every time we had dinner together. I had chosen to live outside of the apartment, and my parents had granted it as a present for succeeding my jounin exam. But yeah, twice a week I returned home to have dinner with my parents, and each time he always brought up that subject.
I didn't remember clearly when he had started that, but I still remember the last time he asked me that thing, since it was only last month. They hadn't brought marriage up on the table ever since.
"Shikamaru." He had said as always, "What do you think of marriage?"
"... Troublesome." I shrugged as I cut the fillet on my plate.
My mother sighed. My father grunted. I looked up.
"What?" I asked in a bored tone.
"Do you plan on getting married, then?" It was my mother who asked that.
I stared at my plate. "No."
"Well, you have to." My father said with a little hint of impatience in his voice, so that I looked up and stared at his eyes. He continued, "We are the last descendant of the Nara clan, Shikamaru. You have to get married to rebuild the clan. Whom you marry is not that important, as long as you can build up a happy family and have lots and lots of kids."
Marry? Family? Kids?
I stared at him. "What?"
He shrugged it off.
My mother sighed.
And that was the last time marriage had ever appeared on the table.
To say I was the least relieved of never hearing about marrying again. It was such a troublesome topic, and I don't like it one bit.
Sure, nearly all of my friends are married right now.
Naruto had married Hinata.
Kiba had married a girl who is his father's cousin's grandfather's friends' niece's child's daughter.
Sasuke had married Sakura.
Neji had got engaged to Tenten just some days ago.
Chouji had even cleverly got himself engaged to some girl from Suna.
Shino had been engaged to a random girl from Yazuku Clan. It's an arrangement, of course. He dislikes physical human contact, so he never even thinks of getting a girlfriend. Let alone marry!
Lee had devoted himself to taijutsu training forever with Gai-sensei for his company.
It left me.
Oh, and maybe Ino.
But I knew she had started dating some guy I don't bother to ask about.
So it left me, the number one coward, alone.
That voice again. I looked up. "Yeah?" I arched my eyebrows in a bored tune.
"This one, how is it?"
This time she had changed into a light blue stripes bikini.
She looked incredibly sexy.
I did not just say that.
No. Of course not.
No. Not her. Please.
NO. She doesn't look incredibly sexy, perfect, gorgeous, goddess-like, nor beautiful. She just looked... Yamanaka Ino-ly.
"Hey!" She waved her hand impatiently in front of my nose, accidentally touching my cheek in progress.
I blushed hotly.
She stared at me in confusion. "Shikamaru?"
"Hey. What is it, shadow boy?" Her voice rang ever so sexily in my ears that I blushed. Again.
Damn it, what is wrong with me?
"You look..." I started, mulling words over in my mind. "... Ino."
"What?" She gasped.
"I said, you looked Ino."
"I am Ino!"
"Whatever." I shrugged. "You shouldn't bring me shopping. I wasn't the type you could ask for opinions."
"I know." She agreed bluntly as she nodded her head. "But Sakura is having her daily check-up with the doctor. She's four months pregnant now. Hinata is finding a new house to stay in with Naruto. And Tenten... she's having a date with Neji. Their last date as boyfriend and girlfriend, I think. They're getting married next week."
"Next week?" I stared.
"But Neji had proposed to her not long ago."
Ino nodded, and her lips curved into a dreamy smile. "Neji wasn't one to take things slowly." She commented, "I would like to marry some guy like him. He's quick-handed, clever, good-looking, and sexy on top of all that." She laughed.
I coughed loudly. "Watch it." I told her, "You're talking about someone unavailable."
"Of course." She rolled her eyes. "Tenten's not going to mind, anyway. She probably agrees with my opinion. After all, Neji is hot!"
She glared at me sharply at my silent attitude and returned to the dressing room.
Why was she talking about Neji, anyway? It's not like it's her who will marry that genius friend of mine in a week! And why am I feeling cross? It's not like I'm jealous!
Please, let her make it quick.
The longer I spend my time with her, the weirder I seemed to get.
Do you call it weird when my heart started to throb like crazy when she's around? Or when she touched me I blushed? Or my heart seemed to sink to my stomach every time I heard her talking or interacting to some other guy?
Well. I do.
Or maybe I have some stupid incurable sickness.
I should do a check-up with a medic.
You know, just in case.
I don't wanna die yet.
"No?" I stared at Sakura, who was practically giggling by now. "I don't have any sickness?"
"N-no!" She managed to say between her loud laughter. And when I say loud, I mean loud. I can't believe that the silent Sasuke chose to marry this loud girl when he loves silence. Maybe she brings balance to the family. You know - one loud, one silent?
I don't know. Don't care either.
I glared at Sakura. "So what exactly is your diagnosis?"
She waved her hand up and down in front of my face as she stopped laughing. "You do have a sickness." She said seriously, "Unfortunately, currently I don't have any medicine in hand to cure that sickness."
My heart started to throb faster. "I am not going to die yet." I told her grumpily. "Is this sickness deadly or contagious?"
She smiled. "Contagious, no. But deadly, maybe." She shrugged, "It depends on how deep is your sickness."
Now I'm feeling a little scared. "How deep is mine, then?"
"Not very deep." She smirked cheekily. "But deep enough that even time won't heal it."
"What?" I narrowed my eyes.
"Yes." She shrugged again. "Well, how do I put this..." She looked thoughtful for a while, before continuing, "Your sickness."
"... is love."
I was stunned. A few minutes of silence passed, and then I asked. "What?"
"You!" She smiled dearly as she stroked her stomach. "Of all the available girls, I never think you would fall for her!"
"Her?" I asked her dumbly. "What her?"
"Ino." She said the name clearly, loudly as she gazed into my eyes.
"You love Ino." She laughed.
"I do not."
"Oh, you do."
"You do!" Sakura insisted as she put away her medical equipment. "If not, why do you... you know? All the signs point that you are falling for her." She looked at me firmly. "Believe it or not, Shikamaru, you love her."
"Unfortunately, you do." She said quickly. "Listen quickly. You love her. And if you want to cure it, there's only one way at this moment."
I arched my eyebrows at her cockily.
She ignored my eyebrows.
"Well?" She demanded, "Are you going to ask what is it?"
"What is it?" I asked at last.
She grinned. "Tell her."
"No." I replied without thinking twice. There's no way I'm going to tell that loud brat that I love her. It wasn't even true. Hell.
She stared at me, a little taken aback by my no-no reply. "Tell her." She repeated, thinking that I must have not heard her 'advice' clearly.
"No." I replied again.
"Why?" She asked.
She looked at me, dumbfounded. "There must be a reason." She concluded after several seconds of silence. "What is it, Shikamaru? You can trust me."
"It'll be too troublesome." I shrugged as I stood up.
"Not pestering my wife, are you, Nara?" A voice called out jokingly. I flinched. Nobody called me Nara.
Suddenly, Uchiha Sasuke appeared behind the door. Judging from his wet clothes, and several blood splats here and there, he must have been back from some random mission.
"No." I said to him.
"He loves Ino!" Sakura said happily.
"No, I don't."
I shrugged. "Whatever, Sakura."
She smirked. Sasuke smirked too.
Ha! What a couple!
"Good bye." I said as I proceeded to the door.
"Are you not going to pay me for my diagnosis?" Sakura called.
"No." I answered firmly as I went out of her house.
She's not the only medical ninja around.
"Hey, Shikamaru!" Naruto greeted happily as he led me into his new house. "What the hell are you doing here? You're visiting me, huh? You're such a kind man!"
"No. I'm not visiting you." I said to him, but he seemed like he doesn't hear my words. Instead, he called Hinata down. "Hinata-chaaaaaan! Shikamaru is here!"
The next minute I know, the shy girl was standing inside the hallway. She entered the living room and smiled shyly when she met eyes with me.
The reason I was here was that Hinata has been studying medic under Tsunade for the past four years. She should have be a little better than Sakura, if she did trained seriously under that old woman.
"Hinata." I said to her, "I need you..."
Before I finished my words, Naruto had rushed to her wife and hugged her protectively as he held out a feet to me.
"You're not taking my wife anywhere!" He said.
"I'm not, Naruto, so calm down."
Hinata blushed. "W-what is it, Shikamaru-kun?"
"Listen." I said hastily, knowing that I have to make this quick. Then I noticed Naruto was listening tentatively. "Naruto, please let me have a five minutes talk with your wife. Alone." I said as I turned to him, putting emphasis on the word alone.
He glared at me and whirled out of the room sulkily.
"Hinata." I began again. "Could you... uh, do a check-up for me?"
She looked surprised. "Why?"
"... I seemed to get this sickness that Sakura is being all troublesome about." I said to her quickly. "So can you... probably... you know?"
"Err... okay." She nodded. "So, what is it?"
I told her about what I felt when Ino's around. "... You see... I probably have some heart sickness or what. Is it cancer?"
She looked thoughtful.
"Is it?" I insisted again.
"Well..." She started, and blushed in process, "What did Sakura-chan told you?"
"That I'm in love with Ino." I shrugged. And as I noticed the change of expression on her face, I said quickly. "Hey, it's not true!"
She smiled a motherly smile. "I-I think it's true, Shikamaru-kun."
"..." She silenced, but her eyes dawned on me as in saying 'But oh yeah it's true!' in Hinata-ese.
"... No, no, no and no." I repeated.
"No." I concluded. "It's not true."
"Damn it, Shikamaru!" Naruto appeared behind the door, "Why was it so hard to even agree to your feelings? It's true, damn it!"
"I did." He nodded. "But I'm very happy I did! You are stupid!"
"... Hey!" He pointed at me. "It didn't even took me long to realize that I love Hinata!" -the pale-eyes girl blushed hotly at this sentence- "Why would it takes long when it comes to you and Ino? You're a genius, they said!"
"Maybe I'm not." I told him calmly. "Don't bother about it."
"Damn it." He cursed.
"Whatever." I stood up. "Well, thanks for nothing, Hinata. Bye, Naruto."
I slammed the door behind me as I exited the Hyuuga compound. Yes, they were living there until they could find a house suitable for the now one month pregnant Hinata. It shouldn't be hard, I know. But maybe it is hard, especially when the examiner is Hinata's dad.
I looked around.
There should be a sane medical ninja around.
Or maybe I shouldn't ask a sane medical ninja.
Maybe a sane girl could solve my problem.
"What?" I arched my eyebrows, not satisfied with the answer Tenten gave.
The weapon kunoichi stared at me as if I was dumb or what.
"I said, you're stupid." She repeated as she twiddled her kunai playfully. Then she gazed at her boyfriend, who was looking bored, drinking a cup of hot tea beside her. "He is, right, Neji?"
"..." The Hyuuga boy silenced and shrugged.
"See? Even Neji said yes." Tenten said quickly.
I frowned. "He didn't open his mouth."
"I know better than that." She interrupted. "But yeah, you're stupid."
"You can't say that love is troublesome."
"But it is."
"You're lying to yourself."
"That's not even sane."
"Then tell me, are you sane?"
"... I should think not." She smirked. "Well, maybe the best way to make you realize your own feelings is to play 'Shoot' with you."
I eyed her suspiciously. "Play what?"
"Shoot." She grinned and nudged Neji. This time, he turned to look and me and smirked evilly. "You could do that." He responded.
"Okay." The weapon mistress said quickly. "But let me do a little explaining and interrogation first, Neji."
Without waiting for her silent boyfriend's answer, she gazed at me. "Well. First of all, you do love Ino, no matter what you say to be against it. Secondly, I know you know that it's true, but you're going to deny it forever. Third, there's only one other explanation why are you this weird if you're not loving her. That is, you're insane, and will never be sane again."
"That's it." She smirked like Neji did. ''So are you going to agree to it or not?"
"Then it's play time." She grinned happily. "Shoot is a very easy game, believe me, Shikamaru. You just stand over there and we'll start throwing my collection of weapons to you."
"You could kill me." I pointed out.
"Depends on your luck." She shrugged.
"She has nearly one hundred percent accuracy." Neji butted in, "But I don't. So chances are, I may hurt you. Then again, if you have one hundred percent pure luck, you're not going to be killed."
"There's no way I'll play that troublesome game." I said. "You guys are insane."
"Maybe." Tenten grinned. "You should put more respect to your seniors, Shikamaru."
"We're older than you." She rolled her eyes. "Practically."
"You're not my seniors."
"... Whatever." I chose to stop the arguing. It happened every time, now that realization dawned on me. "Then, good bye."
"Hey!" Tenten called loudly.
I chuckled. "What?"
"Are you not going to pay for your hot drink?"
"... Right." I said, proceeded back to the table and left some money there before I went out of the mini cafe.
So they're insane.
There must be some sane people around.
Or maybe, I should ask her.
The cause of all my problems.
But of course I could use some time walking around before I did that.
"What are you doing here, Shikamaru?" Ino asked in confusion when she saw me in front of her house. "It's almost midnight."
She yawned as she waited for my answer.
"You see." I started, but was stopped by a sudden throb in my heart.
"I have eyes." She said bluntly. "Of course I see."
As she said that, she pointed to her magically beautiful blue eyes.
I said beautiful.
"... You see." I started again, not letting my own troublesome thoughts to occupy my mind. "I have been... err... sick lately."
"Sick?" She asked, in her voice a hint of concern. "What sickness is it, Shikamaru? Have you try going to Sakura to have a check-up?"
"And what did she said?"
"..." I silenced. "Her answer does not satisfy me. So I went to Hinata."
"Ah. Okay. So?"
"... Her answer also does not satisfy me." I shrugged. "They're all troublesome."
She narrowed her eyes at me. "If Hinata's answer doesn't satisfy you, what else will?" She asked me, now really worried. "Actually what kind of sickness do you have, Shikamaru? I'm not a medic, but I have listened to some of Sakura's useless babbling about first-aid, so maybe I could help."
"I even asked Tenten." I continued, ignoring her words.
"You asked Tenten." She nodded carefully. "What did Tenten said?"
"She said the same thing as Sakura and Hinata." I told her carefully, watching the expression on her gorgeous face. She smoothened her silky blonde hair and put her fingers on my shoulder.
"Then it must be true." Ino concluded, her eyes sad, tears forming on the edge of her vivid eyes. "I'm very sorry, Shikamaru. I promised, for the last days of your life, I'm going to treat you nicely. I'll fulfill every wish you have if I could, and I..."
"It's not deadly." I cut her out.
That surprised her.
She was stunned. "It's not?"
"Then why are you being so not-easily-satisfied by it?" She asked carefully.
"They said I love you." I shrugged, as it was no big deal.
"They... what?" Ino stared at me as she mulled over my words in her mind – I could tell, because she always furrowed her eyebrows when she's thinking, and now she was. She blushed when she had finished.
I shrugged again. "They said I love you."
"... Then is it true?" Ino asked as she stepped closer to me, our bodies practically touching right now. She held up her hand and caressed my cheek slowly, her eyes shiny while she waited for my answer.
I looked at her.
She stared at me.
"Well?" She questioned, breaking the silence. "Is it?"
I tilted my head as I examined her face. She looked beautiful in the gleam of moonlight. Her body was not as tall as mine, but the top of her head reached my chin.
She gave me another smile. "Shikamaru?" She asked, "I'm waiting."
I smirked. "It's true."
Ino smiled. "Good."
"Why?" I asked.
"Because I do too."
I smirked once more. "You troublesome lass."
"Oh, am I?" She arched her eyebrows cockily. "But I bet you love troublesome lasses."
"I only love one troublesome lass."
I smirked again. "You're troublesome."
I pulled her into a warm embrace. "But I love troublesome things."
"Oh, I bet you do." Ino replied as she returned the embrace.
I guess I really love troublesome things.
"Can you accompany me shopping again tomorrow?"
Of course, there are some exceptions.Fin
Yay! Completed! I love this thing! Don't get me wrong – I really do. I don't know why. I just… you know, like this piece so much. Is this fluffy enough? (Grin).
Oh, and currently I'm writing a piece of sequel for this one-shot. This is a first from three series I will write about ShikaIno!
I hope you like this!