Because she really wanted to go there.

She wasn't moving, he noted dully.

Her hair obscured half her face. One eye glazed over with something akin to acceptance.

He crawled over, lifting her broken body and settling close to his own.

"Hey Shikamaru, you're a genius, right?"

Though her pale hair obscured part of her face, he could still see one eye. It always sparkled like the sun overlapping the pond by the side of his house.

'Or the sky,' he mused as he squinted towards the heavens. 'She had eyes of a cloudless sky.'

Today it asked him, 'Where do you think we're headed?'

She sat beside him in the cool grass.

"Where do you think we go," she pressed closer, "after all of this."

He glanced at her.

"Geez Ino, does it really matter?" He looked at his hands. They had been covered in blood yesterday. "I mean, we could be anywhere."

Annoyance flitted across that eye.

"You know that's not what I meant."

Maybe not, but he knew three years ago, she would have believed him.

She doesn't like to believe anymore.

He waves his hand vaguely in the direction of the clouds.

"Probably up there somewhere," he mumbled. "Why would something like that be created if it didn't have a purpose?"

She nodded.

"So," he glanced at her eye. "When are you planning to leave?"

She glances at him, her hair shining and her face smiling.

"Don't be silly," she laughed, and touched his cheek very gently to her own. "If we have to go, we'll go together."

He cradled her pale hair, now smeared with blood and dirt. Ash and smoke were smudged across her brow, and that one horrid blank eye gazed towards the sky. There were no clouds.

A tear slid down her smooth cheek, caked with mud and regret and remembrance.

Her lips parted.

"Shikamaru, I don't thin…"

She shuddered as tiny flecks of blood dropped from her mouth, hitting Shikamaru in the chest. He didn't wipe them away.

"Well," she gasped, "at least you're here to take care of my body when I'm gone."

He pulled her body even more tightly against his own, and she wrapped her arms around his neck and gently touched his cheek with her own. He knew he should be applying pressure to her stomach to stop the bleeding, but then again, she doesn't have much of a stomach anymore.

That clouded eye looked into his own, and she leaned very close to his heart.

"I've always wondered who it was beating for," she was smiling again, "I know you're too lazy to keep it going on your own."

Tears began to slide across his beaten cheeks, dropping onto her lips and chin.

Don't go, they beg

I must, she bleeds

Her chest contractions were becoming increasingly sporadic. It seemed that every time she managed to suck a breath into those mangled lungs, it rushed out before she had finished inhaling.

She closed that eye.

He brushed a kiss across the eyelid.

"Wait for me."

He closed his eyes and frowned.

"Why would you want to go there anyway?"

"I will."

She exhaled.

"Because you're always staring at the sky," she whispered.

"I'd like to go somewhere that beautiful."