Hello, readers. This is the first multi-chapter story I have started in a long time. I hope you like this chapter and don't think things are moving too slowly. I wanted to take the first chapter for character development and display the beginning of the problem. There is going to be Shikaino romance in here, but it's not going to be super fast, because I think that the romance in this situation needs to be paced and will be important. I'm taking a lighter tone in this than with some of my other stories.

Kill Me or Kiss Me

Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto or any of the characters, though I do have a twin like the creator does…..

Chapter 1: Rational is Part of Irrational

"Mermaids?" Shikamaru inquired skeptically, raising an eyebrow as the words were spoken.

"Mermaids?" Ino repeated, her face distorted in disbelief. Her thin eyebrows were furrowed down and her mouth was opened wide. The two turned to each other and shared a confused glance.

Tsunade coughed under her breath, uncomfortably, and preceded to intertwine her fingers as her elbows rested on the wooden desk. "Err…yes," she replied, trying her best to sound convincing and professional, despite her own slightly obvious opinions. "A client wants assistance in hunting mermaids." She was attempting to treat this like any other mission, but she was failing horribly. There was an odd smile on her painted lips. It appeared as if she was going to crack up at any moment. "He has offered quite a large sum of money, so, naturally, the 'case' was accepted." She slipped one hand out of the others grasp and waved it in a-matter-of-fact way, drawing her eyes closed at the same time.

"But Hokage-sama," Ino blurted out. "There's no such thing as a mermaid." Her jaw was tense as she spoke and she flung her hand through the air for emphasis.

"Yes," Tsunade grunted as she cleared her throat, "well, our client's beliefs differ." Her eyes narrowed and her lips relaxed, finally she seemed to have retained the mature look she was aiming at. She no longer appeared as if she thought this was a silly matter. Ino still remained restless and unconvinced. She shook her head slightly with a gaping mouth. Her long blonde ponytail wiggled behind her head as she made the movement. Shikamaru stood next to her, hands in his pockets and a quite peculiar expression on his visage. It was something between boredom, depression, shock, and complete disbelief on the oddness of the assignment.

Tsunade continued. "Since we can't afford to have our ninja escapading around on a hopeless search for the rest of their lives, we have set a time limit. You will search with the client for two months and after that time has expired, return to the village." She smiled, a slightly mocking grin. "Better get ready. You leave in two hours."

She dismissed them with a wave of her hand and reluctantly the two shinobi exited the office. Ino stopped as soon as they were out of earshot.

"This is ridiculous!" she shouted. She gritted her teeth together and clenched her hands into tight fists at her sides. Her whole body became rigid and Shikamaru swore that smoke was emitting from her body. She turned to him, face furrowed with rag. Ino was always scary when she was agitated. "Why? Why us?" she demanded, as if he had an answer. "Why not Naruto? He's the type to really try in a wack-job case like this!" She continued with more possible candidates.

Shikamaru just watched the rant with no motivation to stop her. A distant look was on his face. He could speculate why they were chosen for this assignment. Maybe it was because someone like Naruto or Lee would put too much heart in the mission. They'd search forever if they could, wearing themselves out on a fruitless mission. Many others were all ready out on missions of their own, so they couldn't possibly be chosen. Others, if they slightly believed the story, couldn't possibly stand killing a creature like a mermaid. Hinata came to mind. He understood the reason they were paired up, instead of the usual team of three. The village couldn't waste too many ninja on a silly mission. The team had the standard medic and someone that could easily capture a mermaid, if they existed that is. No doubt he was assigned just to give the client the reassurance that the officials weren't laughing in his or her face at the proposal. Really anyone could replace him. Any ninja could hunt or track. He, to his displeasure, was just the one they chose.

What was even more annoying was explaining to the client their no doubt future failure of the mission.

He sighed, catching Ino's attention. "I don't know, but there's no doubt about it. This is going to be troublesome."

Soon the two departed to their own homes to gather supplies, neither really sure what to bring. In no time their packs were full of basic ninja gear: kunai, shuriken, bandages, scrolls, and necessary items such as cooking utensils and spare clothes. Ino packed a bit more hygienic supplies than her companion. Then the two said goodbye to families and left home, with packs on their backs. Ino was standing outside the building that held the Hokage's office waiting for their client long before Shikamaru got there. He strolled over to her about five minutes before the two hours was up. He had taken much more time to pack and had even managed to put in a nap. He was in no hurry to go on a mission, which was obviously a waste of time.

As they waited for their client, who was late far beyond the degree of a pleasant wait (He was pushing three hours currently), Ino walked back and forth impatiently, her ponytail whipping out dangerously at each turn around. Then she tried to rest against a wall, but tapped her foot rhythmically and violently for over twenty minutes. Shikamaru, ignoring Ino's actions, sat on the ground and took this time to take another nap. He doubted that he'd have much peace on the mission. One glance at the young girl told him that he'd experience little tranquility at all.

A shake from the girl awoke him from his sleep. When he rose his head, which had been leaning on his chest, he was looking into the cerulean eyes of Ino. Her eyes were gentle and reminded him of the sky on a clear day. There was no smile on her face, however. She wore a plain expression.

"This is the team they give me?" someone sneered with a tone that sounded loopy and unsteady. It was a deep rough voice. A laugh followed. It was a sort of pathetic laugh. It was muffled by something. It was almost as if some liquid was in the person's mouth. A cough followed, yet it was closer to a choke. Shikamaru raised his head to look at who had spoken and felt a pain in his neck from the movement. He tried to crack his neck to remove the crank, but it remained. It wasn't a good idea to sleep like that, he noted. Ino also turned to look, her hands still rested on his shoulders from when she awoken him.

"He's here…" mumbled Ino under her breath. Her voice revealed her dismay in a distressed whine.

A man of middle age stood before them, leaning on the end of a sheathed sword and gurgling down a bottle of sake. He had a mustache and shoulder length hair, which were graying at the ends and were almost all ready white everywhere else. He had a giant backpack on his shoulder. He wore heavy duty boots and gloves and on his belt was all kinds of knives and other weapons that were used both for slashing and bashing. He appeared a man ready for anything;; ready for war and ready to kill.

He spoke again, his mustache moving up and down with his lip, in an intoxicated tone of voice, "A little girl and some slob?" Shikamaru frowned at the comment. He glanced over himself. His clothes were clean at least. Slob? Where'd that come from? He wasn't the one that was at fault. He wasn't three hours late. The man gave a dry laugh. "Ninja don't seem to deserve the reputation they have." He frowned and then took another swig from his drink.

Ino rose to her feet and Shikamaru barely dodged her whirling slap of hair. She began breathing heavier, trying to retain her anger she had gotten from the insult. She clenched her hands into fists. "I'm sixteen!" she barked and then glanced at Shikamaru. "And Shikamaru is a great strategist!" The client had insulted both of them and the pride of the ninja.

The man stared at Shikamaru, giving him the once over. Shikamaru stared back, a customary not too pleased expression on his face.

The older man scoffed, "Then do some strategizing and strategize me some mermaids!" Shikamaru's lip fell further into a frown.

Ino opened her mouth to retort, but was stopped by Shikamaru.

"Ino!" he whispered and then sighed.

"But he was the one who was late!" she whispered back. Her eyes narrowed in annoyance and there was slight disbelief in her voice, accompanied with a shocked expression.

"I know, but…" He let the sentence hang. He rose to his feet and stretched quickly, cracking his neck and shoulders. Then he grabbed his bag that had laid on the ground next to him and flung it over his shoulder. "Arguing is troublesome." He walked over to the man. Ino glanced over at him then reluctantly grabbed her bag and walked to the side of him.

"So what's your name?" Shikamaru inquired in a voice that displayed more disinterest than actual interest.

"Heh," the man laughed as he whipped his mouth of dripping sake. "They don't teach ninja manners either. The name's Takuya." He raised a hairy eyebrow. "And I've all ready heard yer names." He paused. "Shikamaru," he said as he looked at the young man with a bit of disgust and then turned to the young woman next to him. "And the little girl's Ino." Ino's face twisted into an annoyed expression at the words "little girl." She seemed to be attempting to withhold her anger.

Shikamaru put a hand on her shoulder and instantly her rage fled. Shocked, she turned and looked at him, but he didn't say anything. Instead he removed his hand and started walking down the street.

"Yeah, that's right! Get going!" Takuya muttered. Then louder he said, "You've all ready wasted most of today's light!" He shot down another gulp of drink.

Shikamaru glanced back at him with an agitated look. He gritted his teeth and his eyebrows drew down. If only beating the crap out of him wasn't so troublesome…Ino also sent the old man a dirty look. She then ran over to Shikamaru and kept pace with him. Takuya drank more and then put the cork on his bottle before falling in sync behind them, wobbling off balance for the first few steps and zigzagging to the sides before finally walking in a straight line.

Boy, this was going to a long two months, Shikamaru sighed internally.

The ninja followed Takuya through the forest. He was determined to lead despite the fact that he didn't know the area in the least bit. The leaves crunched under his every step. Their new companion didn't seem to care for stealth. He stomped along, seeming to walk as heavily as he could. The two shinobi were much quieter, but that didn't matter much. Takuya made enough noise for them and a hundred other people. They could easily be tracked and couldn't track anything themselves, for the creature would run away in fright.

"Where are we going?" Ino asked, quickening her pace to keep up with the rough man so she could speak to him.

"To the mermaids!" he thundered back. Ino rolled her eyes. The man stopped suddenly and Ino barely avoided ramming into him. Shikamaru came to a steady stop behind them. Takuya whirled his head around in a frantic search. His eyes scanned everything, taking in every tree and every rock. "Isn't there a river or something around here?" he grunted.

Shikamaru sighed and turned around. "This way," he muttered and began leisurely walking in the way he suggested. It was obvious the old man was a poor tracker. He couldn't even find evidence of water. He was just a silly man with a kooky fantasy.

"These young people think they know everything," grumbled Takuya under his breath. "Fine! Lead the way strategist-boy!" he shouted so they all could hear him. Shikamaru looked back momentarily to see Ino quickly approaching him and their client grudgingly stumbling through the brush. Strategist boy? he thought. The new nickname was a step up from "slob" he supposed.

They were silent for a long time. The sky was darkening. Soon it would be time to step up camp. However, one glance at the old man told them he wasn't ready to call it quits yet. Where a man his age would be usually exhausted, he was stomping along at a pace that matched both Ino's and Shikamaru's.

It seemed Ino couldn't take the silence anymore. Her gregarious nature had had enough. She turned to the old man and asked with a curious yet skeptical face, "Why are you looking for mermaids, anyway?"

He glanced at her a moment then returned to looking straight ahead. He grunted, "You're the type that think that mermaids don't exist. Ya think I'm crazy, but I'm telling ya, I've seen them!" It wasn't necessary to point out that the statement would cause people to consider him just a little off his rocker. "I've been looking for them fer years! Ever since the first time I met them bastards." Shikamaru took a bit more interest when he heard the negative words. There was no need to ask about the reason behind the particular usage of the words, because Takuya was ready to tell. A fire had started within him. He appeared to enjoy telling his story.

"I was a young man," he began and with a glance at Ino added, "Very handsome. Popular with the ladies." She frowned at his comment. He turned away from her with a small chuckle. "We were fishing - my buddy and me. Just getting any fish we could find. Then we saw the biggest fish we ever seen splashing about in the water. Only saw the tail, mind ya. So somehow we caught it and, boy, was we shocked. It was a woman-" He turned to Shikamaru and covered half his mouth with his hand, whispering, "Naked!" The young man's expressions didn't change, so he continued at regular volume, "-with a second half of a fish! Well, we had never seen a mermaid before and felt sorta sorry for her, so we were untying her from the nets, but that damn thing, as soon as she was free, bit my buddy and before I could do anything, lept into the water. Bit him in the neck, ya see. He died shortly after."

He glanced back and forth between the two, hopeful for pitied looks. However, the two didn't give him any such pleasure. Maybe if he's tale wasn't a complete lie they might have. He was disappointed a moment, but then raised a hand into the air, alcohol bottle in hand. "So that day I swore to hunt them all down!" He lowered his hand. "Their carcasses pay quite a nice price too. Some stupid noble loves to have it all stuffed in his house."

Ino raised an eyebrow. "And have you actually ever seen anymore?"

"Of course I have, girl! How do you think I know nobles like them?" She shook her head slightly in disbelief and her lips parted a little. "I've killed quite a few of them bastards!"

"Have any proof?"

"I told you, I sold them!"

She dropped the conversation even though she was still not buying the story.

Shikamaru spoke suddenly. "If you can hunt them by yourself, which you've theoretically proven, why order the assistance of ninja?" He glanced over the old warrior man, eyes taking in every weapon. "You look prepared enough to do it on your own."

I don't need ya!" he barked back. "You're just the back up. Hoping to find a slew of them this time. Needed to hire someone to carry them!"

Shikamaru's face fell and he couldn't help thinking, why of all people did he have to be chosen for "backup?"

Suddenly Takuya stopped. His body became rigid. His eyes cast about, looking for something. They fell over trees, brush, rocks, the ground; every spec of dirt; anything and everything. Shikamaru and Ino stopped also. Had he heard something? At first they believed he was just bluffing, pretending to act like a good tracker, but then they heard a rustling through the grass. Their eyes searched the area and they instictivey reached down to the holsters on their thighs, which contained their weapons. They were ready to grab one at an instant.

Suddenly a man appeared out of the brush. His hair was long and brown. It appeared dirty. His clothing was ragged. He had an arm's length knife in hand, ready to strike. Several other men, appearing just as much of rogues as him, jumped out after him.

Instantly, Ino and Shikamaru leapt in front of Takuya, deep in fighting stances and kunai at the ready. Their faces were serious. They were ready to fight.

"Just give us anything of value," said the raspy voice of the man who first appeared, "and nobody will get hurt."

Bandits of course, thought Shikamaru and Ino. Protection of their client was their top priority.

"Ready, Ino?" Shikamaru muttered to the girl by his side. He glanced quickly at her and saw she was completely ready to fight.

"Ready," she chimed, with a nod.

"Okay," he said with a smirk. It was best to end this quickly and there wasn't much need to kill the bandits. Knocking them unconscious was good enough. He flung his hand into his hand sign, right hand fully clamping over his left index and middle finger. "Kagemane no Justsu!" he muttered. In an instant his shadow lengthened and spread out over to the feet of the bandits. Before they knew what had happened they were locked in his movements. Their visages appeared baffled when they discovered they had lost control over their own bodies.

"Now it's my turn," Ino said. She drew her hands together so her fingertips touched their counterparts. She was just about to unleash her mind-switch jutsu when she felt her feet leave the ground and a tug at the back of her shirt.

Panicked that she had been captured by the enemy, she flung her head back to see Takuya's face directly in front of her view. He was only a few inches away. He held her by the middle of her purple top, pulling it up in the back, and causing her to reveal more skin than usual. Her back was arched from the position and her arms and legs dangled under her. She couldn't help but feel like a rag doll. "What are you doing?" she shrieked.

"I don't need yer help! I can do this by myself!" he grunted back. Ino's eyes widened. "Little girls should stay out of man business."

"Ino, what are you waiting-" Shikamaru began as he turned to see what was the holdup, but stopped. His eyes widened as the blonde young woman was flung at him by Takuya in a whirl of violet and yellow. She let out a scream as she flew through the air. Shikamaru somehow managed to raise his hands to catch her. However, they both crashed to the ground with a loud thump. Several grunts of pain followed from his mouth and Ino let out her own whine of agony. His jutsu was lost as soon as they hit the ground and the bandits rushed to their fallen foes.

Ino tried to clamper off him, but only managed to trip and fall back on him, sending another wave of pain through his all ready squished body.

"Dammit!" he muttered, as he tried to push her off and get to his feet. The enemies were too close for comfort and gaining ground quickly.

Then a figure was before them, a glistening blade in both his hands. Takuya slashed at the approaching enemies. They were unsuspecting and under the old man's surprising good swordsmanship, fell when the metal cut across them. All four men fell to the ground, covered in blood; dead. Shikamaru and Ino stared in shock from their confused position on the ground nearby.

Takuya turned to them, whipping the blood off one of his swords with the end of his shirt as he did. "Stop making out over there!" he roared, giving them a look over. Ino was looming over Shikamaru with one of her legs under one of his. "We have to get to that damn river!" He began walking away.

Ino blushed a deep red at his words, but anger seemed to be building in her as well. Shikamaru grumbled something incomprehensible. In an instant she untangled herself from him and was on her feet. She dashed over to the old man with a great fervor. Her companion slowly rose to his feet. Every movement caused him to feel every spot a rock or bump had dug into his skin when he hit the ground.

She stopped the man in his stride by barging in front of him. "What's your problem?" she yelled in his face. "Why'd you throw me?"

"I told ya, ya backup!" he spat back and shoved her out of his way, sending her off balance. She regained it a moment later.

"You're our client! We're supposed to protect you! Not the other way around!"

He didn't answer, only causing Ino to be more annoyed at being ignored. He instead looked up into the sky and saw that it was pitch black. The moon could be seen glowing its silvery rays up in the depths of the atmosphere. "Look, ya wasted all the daylight now and guess what? No mermaids! You better get camp ready!"

Ino and Shikamaru stared back at him in shock and disbelief. A nerve was tugging on the young man's lower lips.He was ordering them around now? And what really upset Shikamaru was that he was being forced to work. Takuya was an extremely troublesome person.

"What ya waiting for? Now!"

Ino grinded her teeth together and turned her hands into tight balls until they were white. Shikamaru frowned and mumbled a complaint. Then reluctantly and grudgingly they went about setting up camp.

Yep, neither Shikamaru nor Ino was looking forward to the next fifty-nine days with this man.

Early the next morning they had found the river and had from then on trailed it cautiously in search of fabled mermaids. Days passed and Ino and Shikamaru had never felt more useless, yet used at the same time, in their whole lives. He had them carry his gear, which wouldn't be so bad if it didn't consist of heavy weapons and gallons of sake and the fact that they had to carry their own gear at the same time. He wouldn't let them fight if they were attacked by bandits or dangerous animals. But he did give them the wonderful pleasure of setting up camp, cooking, and then taking down camp. He complained about the food, coming close to beating Shikamaru's record, and made them trudge along at his every whim. It was an unspoken, but definitely felt in the atmosphere, sensation of hate. He had better be giving Konoha one hell of an amount of money.

"This is troublesome," complained Shikamaru as he stuffed a pot into his bag. He had been assigned, which was code for "ordered," to clean up the camp area for the umpteenth-thousandth time. Ino had already completed her half. They had decided to divide the work into halves so it would be fairer. Though complete fairness would be thirds. She had finished fast because, unlike him, she had some vigor when she worked, and didn't take any breaks. She had then taken the opportunity to bathe in the river, while she had time. She had been complaining about being dirty for quite some time and putting a stop to that for a while was A-okay with him.

He glanced about the area. Most everything was packed away. However, the third member of their group was missing. He had been there a minute ago, sharpening a sword or something, but now he was gone. "Where'd he go?" mumbled Shikamaru. He stuffed the last couple of items into his bag. That man was more trouble than he was worth. It was a bother to look for him, but he decided it was for the best. It occurred to him that two things were going on. One, Takuya was looking for mermaids and two, Ino was bathing. Cancel the common factor that both involve water and the result was that Takuya might see Ino which would lead to screaming and more trouble.

It didn't take him long to find him. He heard some drunken laughter in an area full of bushes. Shikamaru approached soundlessly.

"What are you doing?" he asked with an eyebrow raised. Being interested wasn't evident on his face. He was much better at looking bored.

The man was looking out at something. He turned to Shikamaru with the strangest expression. He had a wide smile. "I guess she isn't a little girl," he whispered. "There's a whole lot of woman there!" He shot down a few swallows of sake.

Shikamaru raised his head and peered out in the direction that Takuya had previously been looking in and realized that it was the perfect spot to watch Ino from. His face turned red as soon as he saw her slim form. Her body was protruding from the water from waist up. Her blonde hair was flowing around her and hanging off her shoulders, but it didn't cover anything that it should be covering. Her reflection appeared in the blue liquid along with those of trees and bushes. He quickly looked away, heart racing slightly.

Forget the idea of them running into each other by coincidence. Takuya was a first rate Peeping-Tom.

"Why you dirty old man!" Shikamaru hissed, reaching for the man. He felt angered by the man's actions. Ino was his teammate and friend! Her honor should be protected. Now usually it was too troublesome to do anything, but this was pretty low and called for an exception. However, the old man was uncannily fast and avoided Shikamaru's grip. He dashed off into the forest. The young man was just about to go after him, when he heard a scream pierce the forest.

"Shikamaru!" Ino roared in horror. By instinct he turned to see her face red with anger and embarrassment. She had sunken into the water so only her face remained visible and one of her arms wrapped around her chest. Somehow she gotten a rock in her free hand. Shikamaru felt a horrible pain in his head a moment later as the rock was flung at him. He collapsed to the ground with a thump.

On the ground he stared up into the sky, looking at the clouds. Yup, clouds were lucky. They didn't get into situations like this and they didn't get rocks thrown at them. And they wouldn't be yelled at or given the cold shoulder after this. They didn't have to do unnecessary work. They just floated along. He really wished he was a cloud.

"I wasn't watching you," Shikamaru grumbled over the fire. Night was beginning to fall, but the sun was still low in the sky. It lay at the base of the horizon, shining vibrate shades of orange, yellow, and red. They had traveled a bit further up the river and had set up camp before night fell completely. Takuya made them set camp early every day, because as he said, "It wasn't good to hunt mermaids at night." He didn't say why. It didn't seem like it would make any difference. They weren't real at either time of the day, but the two ninja secretly thought that in his mind they hide at night. Ino hadn't uttered a word to him all day and had did her best to stay as far away as possible. They were currently finishing up the remainder of the dinner Ino had made.

"Sure, you weren't," she sneered sarcastically. Her eyes were full of distaste. He didn't think it appropriate to point out to her that if he was watching her, he wouldn't have been caught. He was a ninja after all. "Daddy's gonna snap you in half when we get back to Konoha," she threatened in a whisper.

He remained calm. "If Daddy's going to be snapping anyone in half, it should be him." He glanced over his shoulder at the old man who was sleeping under a pile of blankets, halfway under a blue tent. "Probably wasn't the first time he's peeped on you. Only the first time he'd been caught."

She must had believed him because her visage took on an expression that showed how mortified she was. Why she believed him so easily he wasn't really sure. Then again, thinking about it hard, he wouldn't put anything past that man, and he was sure her ideology was similar. She backed away a few inches, increasing the gap between her and Takuya. The realization that the world wasn't all sugar and ponies must have been dawning on her.

Then her face settled and she looked at Shikamaru with puppy-dog eyes, eyes that said she was sorry, so forgive her. "So you were just putting him in his place?" she whispered, sounding a little uncomfortable.


She looked at the little area around the fire. Her eyes rested on the empty bowl with a fish bone in it and other evidence of food. Her mouth fell a little and her eyes became low as well. She appeared to be thinking about something that upset her. Her eyes seemed to twitch a bit in annoyance. "He's a real piece of work, you know." Her tone sounded disgusted, "Going to sleep so he doesn't have to clean up. It's not even night yet." She looked up at Shikamaru, and this time her voice sounded amused as she said, "He's lazier that you."

"And that's pretty hard to beat," Shikamaru mused, a smile coming on his face. Finally she was happy and no longer angry at him.

She grinned and then crawled over to him. She whispered slyly in his ear," I say we poison him." She glanced about, making sure Takuya didn't hear.

"But the paperwork would be so troublesome," he mumbled. And they both began chuckling softly.

"Come on," she said and grabbed his hand. He glanced down at it, liking the feel of her soft, delicate flesh against his rough, calloused skin. "Help me clean this up." His face fell a few levels. More work. With a sigh he gathered some of the bowls near him and walked to the river to wash them in the water.

They bent down to their knees and scrubbed the grease and other stuff off them with a towel. Their hands rubbed over the plates through the clothe. The water was cold and calm.

"We could say that he experienced an 'unfortunate drowning accident,'" Ino said in a low sly voice. Her eyes gleamed with a glint of malice.

He glanced at her, a small smile on his lips. Then something rang in his ear. She was about to speak again, but he put a finger to her lip and stopped her. She stared down at it in a little bit of shock. "Do you hear that?" he asked. He looked around, eyes taking in everything including the water, the trees, and their camp. She gave him a skeptical look. "It's some sort of music…" he mumbled, sounding unsure and a little uneasy.

He could hear this odd sound. It was a faint melody. String instruments were being strung and voices were being blown to him by the breeze. It was an alluring sound. It was slightly calming. It was almost as if it was calling him. It caused his heart to beat faster. It excited him. Why? He didn't know, but he did know he wanted to follow the sounds.

He rose to his feet and began walking towards it. Ino rose as well. Confusion was displayed on her visage. She strained her ears, but she didn't hear the enchanting beats. "I don't hear anything," she said softly, stating it like a fact. It didn't stop him. "Hey, I don't hear anything!" she shouted this time. "Shikamaru! Shikamaru!"

He continued despite her calls. It was like he was being drawn to the sound. He wanted to follow it. It was as if he needed to follow it. His feet were moving continuously even though his mind wasn't really set on going in that direction. His body seemed to have a mind of its own. He could hear her footsteps behind him, pounding the ground. But the rhythm of the music was a greater drum.

The sound rose louder and louder as he walked on. It was at its highest volume when he stopped, heart racing and breathing fast. He paused and then slowly drew his hand up and pushed aside some green bushes. He gaped at what he saw. Ino came to his side, annoyed at him and ready to yell at him, but stopped when she saw what he was looking at. Her mouth also fell open and her eyes widened.

There on the rocks, basking in the bright gleaming rays of the orange horizon was several beautiful women, with long flowing hair and scaly fish tails; mermaids!

To be continued…

Thank you for reading chapter one. I hope my multi-chapter story turns out good. Maybe I'm better at one-shots. I'm learned a long time ago not to make promises about when I update. However, I do really want to update this! I have a challenge fan fiction to finish in the next week. Hopefully I can get back to this when the challenge is none. I just have to type up and drastically edit two stories. Please review!