Naruto Fanfic – "Candy"

Written April 2010 by Astra M.

Author's Note: I'll be the first to admit that sometimes "new" writing winds up retreading old stories, even if you don't deliberately set out to do that. But if said story involves my favorite couple... you think I really care? ;) Anyway, here's a little Shika/Ino treat for you all - a late Happy Easter everyone!

Choji trudged along in awkward silence, listening to the argument between his two teammates escalate. It seemed to him that it was only a few minutes ago that they had been making innocuous small talk, heading towards the Yakiniki-Q after finishing another successful mission. How they had gone from talking about their weekend plans into an argument about this subject was beyond him.

"Yes, I do."

"No, you don't."

"I do!"

"Do not."

"Do so!"

"Yeah, right."

Halting abruptly, Ino whirled on Shikamaru and shot him her fiercest glare. He merely returned it with his own sullen scowl. From the safety a few steps back, Choji glanced anxiously between his best friend's skeptical face and Ino's piqued one. This wasn't looking too good.

"I do so know how to kiss!" said Ino hotly.

"Practicing on your mirror doesn't count," retorted Shikamaru snidely. "It has to be done on an actual live body."

There was a dangerous moment of silence. Resigning himself to the inevitable, Choji pulled out a bag of chips and began munching away as Ino leaned in angrily with her hands on her hips.

"What is that supposed to mean? Of course I've kissed other people!"

"Yeah? Like who?"

"Like... people," answered Ino forcefully, though Choji thought she sounded a bit defensive. "No one you need know about."

Putting two and two together, Shikamaru let out a rude snort. "Uh-huh. Kissing cousins is not something you want to brag about, you know."

"It's not like that!" cried Ino, flushing. Then recovering herself, she fixed him with a haughty sneer. "Besides... the only kisses you get are from your mother!"

"None that I can recall," shrugged Shikamaru. "And it's not like kissing your father is any better. In any case, kisses from relatives don't count." He sent her a knowing smirk. "Admit it, Ino. Your kissing experience is about as extensive as mine."

Ino's face twisted threateningly. Choji quickly took another surreptitious step backwards, all the time wondering at his best friend's surprising recklessness: normally they both would be cowering by now. But instead of the usual evil eye, Ino crossed her arms and assumed a maddening air of superiority.

"For your information, Shikamaru, it just so happens that the only reason I haven't let myself be kissed by anyone outside my family is because I've been saving myself. When I finally have my first real kiss, it's going to be special. And what girl in her right mind is going to waste something so precious as her first kiss with just any boy?" Then she pointed dramatically at his face. "Plus it's not like you can practice for that in the usual way!"

"Basically proving my point, thank you very much," muttered Shikamaru as he rolled his eyes. "Face it - you can't call yourself a 'good kisser' without any experience to back it up. You may think you know how to kiss, you may want to kiss really well, but bragging about kissing you haven't even done?" He shook his head in an exasperated way. "You're spouting nothing but a lot of hot air."

Ino stared at him incredulously, her fingers beginning to twitch in the manner that precipitated a throttling. "You think I'm full... of hot air?"

"I'll retract that and be perfectly blunt, Ino. When it comes to kissing, I think you're full of - mmph!"

Choji gulped. Predictably, Ino was in the process of cutting off Shikamaru's air supply by seizing him about the collar. Then with a swift, well-practiced move, she threw him to the ground - a variation from the usual vertical stranglehold that she only employed when she was really angry. Proceeding to straddle his waist, she pulled the startled boy upward by his shirt, took a deep breath...

And began to kiss him.

It took a few seconds for Choji to process what he was seeing, and then he almost dropped his chip bag. Unexpectedly true to form, Shikamaru wasn't resisting Ino's assault; in fact, it seemed to Choji that he was more passive than usual as Ino bore down on him. Then not long into it, her grip on his collar loosed and she slowly wound her arms around his neck as the two fell back gently against the ground.

Choji wondered if he had become an unwitting witness to something indecent. Looking squarely down at his chip bag, he thrust a handful into his mouth and started to count off each crunch, hoping this would distract him from the faint moaning sounds coming from the pair. When he reached one hundred and forty-two, he heard a light popping sound as Ino uncoupled her mouth from Shikamaru's. As she got unsteadily to her feet, Choji noticed that she wore a slightly glazed expression.

"See?" said Ino breathlessly as she carefully brushed her hair back into place. "I am so a great kisser!"

"Yeah," agreed Shikamaru, still spread-eagled on the ground, his voice sounding suitably awed. "You sure are."

Looking pleased and little flushed, Ino merely nodded. Then casually resuming her walk towards Yakiniki-Q, she called back over her shoulder: "So what are you guys waiting for? The best seats will be taken if you don't hurry up!"

Not until Ino was out of earshot did Choji finally approach Shikamaru, who was still lazily stretched out in the road. As he reached out a helping hand to his friend, Choji was not surprised to note that Shikamaru was gazing up at the clouds with a slight grin on his face.

"You did that on purpose, didn't you?"

Shikamaru's smirk widened. "Like taking candy from a baby."