They sat there across each other on Shikamaru's table. Ino's legs were crossed and her hands sat on the table curving themselves—making it look like she was praying. Her back was stiffened and for the first time in a long time, she remained silent.

Why am I here again? She questioned herself

Shikamaru sat across from her. He couldn't stand her straight posture. It was easy to observe her tenseness. He wasn't tense…just shocked and speechless. Silence filled the space between each end of the table.

"So?" she asks finally "How's life?"

Come on Ino! Do you know how retarted that must have sounded? It's been years and you asked 'How's life?' That was STUPID STUPID STUPID!

"Okay…I guess" Shikamaru mumbled.

Ino was still embarrassed at her question. She turned her head to hide her blushing face.

Huhn? She had immediately spotted his desk that two photos stood on.

The first one was their Team 10 group picture. There was her, him…Chouji and Asuma

The one next to it, was a portrait of him..and Temari all giggling and cheerful.

Flashback 10 years ago:

Both girls sat across each other on the hospital benches, patiently waiting for results. Ino was a nervous wreck. Her fingers rattled themselves and her legs were shaking uncontrollably.

Shikamaru…please be okay.

Although hiding it, Temari felt the same way. She stared at his teammate.

She must need you a lot..she thought

Suddenly, Sakura had exit out from the door. Both girls immediately shot up asking "How is he?!"

Sakura didn't get the chance to breath while walking out.

She smiled "He'll be ok" she announced. Both girls let a out a sigh of relief.

"I've got to go see him, Sakura-chan!" Ino demanded. Her smile turned to a frown.

"I'm sorry Ino," she said "Only one person at a time"

"So?" she asked impatiently

"Well, he asked for Temari first," Sakura turned to her. Temari stepped forward, awaiting to see Shikamaru.

"You can go after her" Sakura assured

Ino angrily turned her hands into fists, eager to punch Temari.

"That won't be necessary then!" she shouted "That says it all!"

Ino finally walked away from her best friend.

Ino, why are you acting like this? Sakura wondered

End Flash back

"Ino, are you okay?" Shikamaru asked his teammate, staring at his photos.

She turns to him. "Of course," she stated "why wouldn't I be?"

She replicated a smile. And Shikamaru was smart enough to know. But there was so many questions he wanted to ask her. Like, Where were you all these years? Why turn up now? What did you do? Why are you acting all weird and polite? That's not like you, Ino.

"Shika-kun—you've changed" Ino announced softly

"So have you, Ino" he remarked

There was a momentary peaceful pause. But it wasn't peaceful at all.

"Ino.." Shikamaru couldn't cover it any longer "Where were you all these years?"

Ino looked down. "That doesn't matter" she announced "I'm here for business anyway"

Shikamaru stopped asking questions after that—knowing she wouldn't declare real answers anyway.

"Well, how long are you staying for?" he asked

"Until tomorrow" she declared "Sakura is letting me stay at her house"

That's good to know he thought

Flashback 10 years ago:

" Shikamaru," Sakura blurted "Ino is gone"

"But she wouldn't run off mysteriously! She's crazy, but not that crazy"

Oh, but she is, Sakura thought.

"It's the truth. I'm sorry. Ino is sixteen and is independent" she said "Plus knowing Ino, she'd come back in about a day, so don't worry"

It was one of those rare occasions where Sakura was wrong.

End of Flashback

"So, how's Temari?" she asked curiously "Where is Temari?"

"She's back home in the Sand Village" he assured her

Ino didn't care anymore. It was time for her to let someone else take care of him. It was the right thing to do, and she wouldn't dare interfere.

Why should I come back to his life if he's got Temari?

Ino then stood up, sliding her chair backwards. "I'd better go" she announced

Shikamaru walked her to the door. "I'll see you someday" she promised

"You take care, Ino" he said planting a quick kiss on her forehead. "Visit me anytime"

Ino grinned and said. "Don't break her heart okay?"

She finally shut the door on her way out. Her back pressed on the door as she stared into the brightest night.

Then she whispered softly "Like you did mine" A small tear trailed along her left cheek.

Meanwhile, Shikamaru leaned his back on the other side of the door and sighed. "Like you did mine"


A/N. I had to write it. That's all I've got to say.

edit: okay fine. you win. I'll continue with this story. It's gonna take a long-ass time becasue I'm working on a KakaRin fanfic,(check that out as well) but I'm almost done with that. Meanwhile, here's a preveiw from upcoming chapters so you stay interested:

"Sakura, you didn't tell Shikamaru why I left right?"

"Ino..just..don't go back"

"It's time, you leave me the hell alone."

"Hello Ino" Temari greeted with a devious smile