Ino's eyes were focused on her knees. Shikamaru was resting his chin in his hand and looking at the door waiting for it to open. Ino decided that nothing is more awkward than silence between two people that are supposed to be making-out; somehow she managed to pick a topic. Ino laughed nervously, "Wow this is really dumb, isn't it?
"Yeah. Who would come up with such a stupid game anyway? So troublesome…"
"You're kind of right…but it could be fun if you had the right person," Ino said with a smile, thinking of how it would be like with Sasuke. Shikamaru looked at her like she was crazy, so she explained in a little more detail.
"I mean, someone you might think is cute, cool, and nice, someone who won't pressure you, or reject you, or someone you would feel totally comfortable with to kiss…"
"Like a crush" Shikamaru said, more of a statement than a question.
"Yea, like a crush. That would probably be the easiest thing, I think"
Shikamaru broke away from her gaze and stared back at the door. "So your perfect match in this closet would be Sasuke?" he said, eyes still staring at the hunk of wood that confined him in that damned room.
Ino stared at him for a second, the way he was staring at the door so intently without a care in the world, he kinda looked….cute. Well…at least what she could see of him since it was pretty dark. She shook her head, trying desperately to get that thought to go away. 'I can't think that way about Shikamaru! I like Sasuke…not Shikamaru. I mean, he's Shikamaru, the lazy ass who would rather stare at clouds all day than fight as a Shinobi. But…still...'
"Ino?" Shikamaru asked, returning his gaze her way.
"What? Oh, sorry," she said, laughing nervously.
He smirked. "And I thought I was the one who was suppose to do all the day-dreaming"
"I wasn't daydreaming," she said, crossing her arms and pouting.
"You didn't answer my question"
"What was your question again?"
"Your perfect match to play 7 minutes in Heaven with would be Sasuke…right?" He said again, sighing in mild annoyance.
Ino, for some reason, couldn't seem to keep her eye contact with Shikamaru, so she tore away from his gaze and looked at her knees.
"Yea, Sasuke would be...my perfect match."
A couple seconds of silence passed.
"Why do you like him so much?"
She looked up. "Why?" He nodded. "Well, he's the smartest kid in class, he's brave, a great fighter, has awesome body, he's mysterious, and above all, -she sighed happily- he's really hott.
"Yea, but how do you know he's your perfect match? 'And what am I, chopped ramen?'
Ino scowled. "I just told you, I thought you were smart, Shikamaru…"
"Have you ever thought about his bad qualities?" Shikamaru asked, wondering how in the hell Ino could be so dense at times.
"What bad qualities?? Sasuke's perfect!"
Shikamaru snorted at her comment. "Yea except for the fact he's arrogant, cold, self-centered, he hardly ever talks to you, he doesn't like it when you hang on him, he avoids you entirely, and on top of all that…he's a bastard.
Ino crossed her arms. "Sasuke's just playing hard to get! Besides, you can't blame him for being a little cold; he did have a rough past, ya know.
"That doesn't mean anything, Ino. He's not playing hard to get, he simply doesn't want you around him. He doesn't like you, Ino. If he did, he wouldn't treat you the way he does.
Ino looked at her knees again, letting all of what he's saying process, and now some of it was starting to make sense, but she still refused to believe it all. She still thought that Sasuke liked her, but in the back of her mind, she knew he didn't. She tried to fathom why he didnt seem to return any of her feelings. This made her start to sniffle.
Shikamaru stopped, realizing what he probably just did. "Ah, don't tell me you're crying. I didnt mean it like that, Ino." 'Ah, this is such a drag. Why do I always get stuck in situations like this?'
"I'm not crying. I don't cry over stupid things like that" She said, a hint of anger, and semi-sadness in her voice.
"Good, I don't need people thinking I made you cry. That'd be too troublesome..."
"Everything is too troublesome to you, Shikamaru," she said blankly, fidgeting with one of the coats.
He stared back at the door, ignoring her comment.
Another odd silence filled the air…
Shikamaru stared at the door blankly, deep in thought. 'How could she still like him after all I just told her? He's not her friend, he doesn't like her, and he doesn't care about her feelings or anything like that. He's the total opposite than how…I feel.' Shikamaru shook his head. 'She'd never like me like that...' But Shikamaru remembered something that Ino had said earlier.
"Hey, Ino," Shikamaru suddenly said, finally breaking the silence.
She turned her head to meet his gaze.
"You said earlier that the easiest person to play this troublesome game with was your crush, right?"
"Yea, what about it?" Ino asked, confused.
"Well, why would you think your crush would be the easiest person?"
"I don't know. Why?"
"Well, think about it. If you were in here with your crush…Sasuke, would you be all calm and collected?
"…No, not really," Ino said, thinking of how she would act. "What are you getting at, Shikamaru?"
"If you were with your crush, I doubt it would be perfect at all, much less easy. You'd be panicky, self-conscious of your actions, and be really nervous. Being stuck in a closet with someone you liked would end up being a bad situation for most people."
"Hmph, then who would be the easiest?" She asked impatiently, waiting for the "genius" to give another excellent answer. But she had to admit, he was pretty dead on. She looked at him intently, waiting for him to respond.
He thought for a second. "A good friend would probably be the perfect match."
"Why? Wouldn't that be awkward?"
"In a way, yes. But look at it this way: If you're stuck in a closet with your crush, you're self-conscious about everything. When you're with a good, trust-worthy friend, you're calmer, you know how they are, you know they're not going to pressure you to do anything you don't want to, you can trust them, and if you do kiss, you know that things won't drastically change between you if it doesn't work out. With a crush, you don't know what things will lead to, especially if you barely know them; you don't know if you can trust them or not. Having feelings for someone can overshadow your better judgment on them."
Ino looked at Shikamaru, dumbfounded. "That…makes a lot of sense. It would be easier"
"So...would I be your perfect match for this game? She said, looking up at him with questioning eyes.
He stared at her with wide eyes, surprised that she would actually ask that question. He was about to answer her, but then looked down. He couldn't really answer that question. She was both a good friend….but he still had a feeling that he liked her so much more. He couldn't tell though...he was confused about his feelings. And he never really took the time to question them...it was too troublesome in his mind.
"What? So I wouldn't be a good match?"
His head shot up. "What? I didn't say that!" he defended.
"But you didn't say anything so that may as well mean that you wouldn't want me to be your partner," she said, hotly while crossing her arms.
"No, that's not why I wasn't saying anything…" he tried to reason.
"Then why didn't you say anything?" She asked, anger increasing by the second.
"Because…I…because….just forget it….so troublesome..."
"Oh, now I'm troublesome?? I see how it is. You go through this big stupid speech about how good friends would be a perfect match for this game and then when I ask you a simple question, you don't even give me an answer, but---"Suddenly something pressed up against Ino's lips and she immediately stopped her rant.
She stared, eyes widening in shock, to see Shikamaru, kissing her. She closed her eyes, but he soon broke away from the kiss.
Ino looked up at him, bewildered. "W-why did you d-do that?" Great, she was adopting Hinata's stuttering habit.
"Because I wanted you to shut up," he said with a slight smirk and blush, but it was too dark in the closet for Ino to see it. He really just did it without thinking. I guess he finally decided to answer some of the questions running through his head about those annoying feelings, eh?
Ino smirked, she shifted her eyes to look into Shikamaru's. She crept a little closer, sliding the box she was sitting on closer to Shikamaru's. 'How come I never thought about my feelings towards Shikamaru? I felt something small for him after being on a team with him for so long, but I guess I was too into Sasuke to notice him like that,' she thought to herself. 'All this time I've never even noticed his awesome qualities…he's kind respectful, smart, and…pretty cute, too. Sure, he's a coward, but he's always there to help when he's needed. And I gotta give the lazy-ass props for being brave enough to kiss me. Hmm...I wonder.' She leaned in slowly and gently pressed her lips to his once again then broke it quickly. She pulled back and blushed a little. Shikamaru looked dumb-struck but smiled somewhat.
"So…what was that for?" He asked casually with a smirk on his face. He should explore his feelings about Ino more often.
"Just because…" Ino stated and smiled innocently. The two were obviously getting a little more comfortable with each other. Now that the ice had been broken they could finally get on with what they were supposed to do with the dare.
They gazed into each other's eyes, neither of them breaking away. Ino started to lean a bit closer to Shikamaru, and he slowly did the same. When they were about an inch away from each other, Ino stopped and pulled her head slightly back in hesitation, the butterflies in her stomach starting to act up. Shikamaru saw the nervousness on her face and gently closed his eyes and closed the space between them, finally coming into contact with Ino's lips for the third time.
Ino was a little taken back, but she soon closed her eyes and returned his kiss. Shikamaru gently touched his hand to the side of Ino's face, slightly pulling her in, starting to kiss her a little more passionately. He moved his hand from her cheek to run his fingers through her thick blonde hair. He then heard a faint noise from the other side of the closet.
A small chatter could be heard through the door as Naruto and Sakura giggled to themselves. He casually clenched his fist and pounded it hard against the wooden door, sending the two nosey, troublesome Shinobi flying back in fright, never letting this incident break the perfect kiss he and Ino were sharing. Sadly, this intimate moment didn't last long. As soon as they were getting to the 'best part' they heard the doorknob turn and broke apart, the two of them blushing insanely.
Hinata swung open the door and pointed to them and stumbled clumsily. "Hey!!!! You're blushing too!" she started to sway and fell to the side (again), Naruto quickly caught her before she hit the ground…just out of habit. No, he didn't fly back that far from the closet.
Shikamaru and Ino's faces were about an inch apart, everyone had a perfect idea of what they were doing in there.
"youuuu were…kiss..-hiccups- KISSING!" Hinata called out from Naruto's arms.
Shikamaru shoved his hands in his pockets and walked out the door, he took his seat, leaning his back against the wall. Ino walked out with her hands folded in front of her. She wasn't the type to be so revealing of her actions (ok, she kinda was, but she wasn't about to reveal this to anyone), so she walked over as if nothing happened and sat next to Shikamaru.
"OooooOOOOOooooh!" "AaaaaaaAAAAAAAhhhhhH," some of the others called out as the two took their seats. Yes, some were childish.
Shikamaru and Ino, unfazed by their calls took their seats and shifted their eyes and smiled at each other. It was as if the moment just never ended for those two. Shikamaru rolled his head on the wall to look at Ino. "Hey, Ino"
She looked over at him still slightly blushing. "Yea?" she muttered.
Shikamaru gathered up his self-esteem and turned somewhat red when he asked, "If it's not too troublesome...how'd ya like to go watch the clouds with me sometime…you know…just us?"
Ino smiled and pulled her knees to her chest and hugged them tightly as she nodded. "I'd like that."
Shikamaru smiled at her and gave a faint sigh of relief "cool." He turned back towards the group who was now returning to their seats.
To Be Continued…
Ok, here's the deal, we have had this chapter written up for quite sometime, but sadly, my computer got a virus and was taken into the shop to get fixed. Unfortunately during that process, everything on my computer was completely erased! So…sorry for the enormous gap between chapters. Again, we're sorry to announce that it will be a little while before we can get the next chapter out. Ideas are ALWAYS welcome, reviews too!! Writer's block sets in at the worst times --' but yeah, we hope you enjoyed this chapter, it was one of our favorites to write and read.