Picture Perfect

A.N. Hey-oh, minna! Chippie's out with an all-new story! It's just a one shot, and I thought of it when I was thinking of how to put the next chapter of my other story, 'Body Swap' in words. Also because I have a sort of writer's block that…err…never mind…XD

Okay…I started this around Valentine's Day, so this of it as a REALLY LATE Valentine's Day fic! PLEASE DON'T HATE ME!

Thank you to all my reviewers of 'Body Swap', I'll get on the next chapter…hmm…after my French final…:P


Disclaimer: Naruto, the series, and the character, and all characters in the series belong to Masashi Kishimoto. This fan fiction, and the storyline, and EVERTHING THING THAT HAPPENS IN THIS FANFICTION belong to me. ME! NOT YOU! ME! MOI! BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA—(hack, cough)

Lazy eyes rolled over the current scene before him. He propped up his arm, and leaned his face on his hand, while four people sat before him, bickering about some predicament that he felt was totally unnecessary. In fact, to him, it was just plain troublesome.

"But Godaime-sama! Shikamaru simply MUST be in the picture!" A girl with blond hair and teal eyes exclaimed. She was the main reason why he WAS here in the first place.

The young man began to lose interest in the argument. What were they arguing about, anyway? He sighed as his mind involuntarily drifted to a different subject. His eyes once again found their way to the four people sitting in front of him, and among these people, he picked out the new person to occupy his thoughts—the blond girl with teal eyes…

'Yamanaka Ino…why do you bother?' He thought as he slowly blinked. Ino was one of his best friends since early childhood, along with Chouji. But why did she bother asking for him to be in the picture, with the rest of the team? This act, he did not understand.





His thoughts were interrupted. "Huh?" He dumbly replied. It was Ino, and she was standing before him. She looked pissed.

'Then again…when does she never look pissed?' He thought. A smirk graced his lips.

"What the hell are you smiling about?" She asked him. "Geez…we're talking about something that includes you, Shika. Can you at least LOOK interested? And stop staring at me!" Ino said with her hands on her hips. She sighed morosely as she turned on her heel and walked back to her seat.

Shikamaru sighed. "Gomen, gomen. Where were we?"

"We were talking about whether you should be in Team 10's picture." Tsunade replied. She then turned to look at Ino once more. "Now that's nice and all, but does Shikamaru actually WANT to be in the picture?"

Ino huffed a bit. "Of course he does!" She exclaimed.

"You can't decide things for other people…" Chouji quietly remarked. He was immediately smacked upside the head.

Shikamaru sighed. Ah yes, the team pictures…every year, each team of shinobi was to take a team picture, and Team 10 was in an awkward situation. Shikamaru, being part of the team, was now Chuunin, and was technically not part of the team. T'was a weird situation indeed. He was part of the team, and yet, he wasn't. This brought up troubles with the team pictures, as no one knew if he should be in the picture of Team 10 or not.

Completely befuddled by why people were making such a big deal of it, he sighed. Either he was going to be in the picture, or he wasn't, simple as that. Why did they need to bring the Hokage into this?

He leaned back, going deeper in thoughts. It had been a year since the last photo was taken, and that was when they were still rookies. Even though it was just a year ago, a lot changed since then. Asuma's team, along with the other members of 'The Rookie Nine', was so naïve then. Chouji ate a lot more junk food then, Naruto was a bigger idiot, Kiba was more jealous of Naruto, Hinata was much more shy, Shino…didn't seen to change at all…Shikamaru himself was much less driven to be a successful ninja, while Sakura and Ino were such big rivals over Sasuke.

Shikamaru frowned. That name alone sent tiny shocks of anger up his spine. The team he had assembled to retrieve him worked SO hard, and some of which came to near-death experiences—just to get his ass back to Konoha. All that work, sweat, blood and tears—all for Sasuke. All for nothing.

Closing his eyes, he wondered why girls like Ino and Sakura bothered to admire the lonesome Uchiha. It was pointless really. Each day, they would ask him out, he'd reject them in the coldest way possible, and they would go home, disappointed. Rinse, dry, and repeat.

Believe it or not, Shikamaru was actually the person Ino went to when she was first harshly rejected by the lonesome avenger. It was so long ago, yet for some reason, Shikamaru remembered it as if it was yesterday….

Begin Flashback

A nine-year old Shikamaru was lying down on a grassy hill, both hands behind his head, and his legs crossed. His eyes were directed to the large, usually white sources of condensation that soared and drifted above. He was alone, but he wasn't a few moments ago. His friends, Ino and Chouji had left to attend to other business—Ino's being to swoon, ask out and stalk Uchiha Sasuke, while Chouji's was to buy 56 more bags to chips. This left the little Nara to cloud-watch in peace…and…other…stuff…

But the still-rookie, cloud-watching shinobi was suddenly interrupted when he heard soft sniffles. A delicate sound, but the sound was soon met by a voice. His voice.

"Ino, what's wrong?" Shikamaru asked. His head tilted a bit to the side to look at her.

A sniffling Ino came into view. Signs that she had started crying not too long ago were visible. As she slowly made her way to her friend, her feet picked up speed, and soon she broke out into a run. She crash-landed on Shikamaru in a fit of tears.

"O-oi…Ino, that hurts!" Shikamaru gasped out. The troublesome, girl crying on his chest shifted her position a little, just enough so he could breathe.

Shikamaru awkwardly patted the crying girl. He honestly didn't know what to do in this situation, and just a little bit scared. What caused Ino to cry? His eyebrows immediately furrowed. If anyone hurt her…

"What's wrong with me?" Ino suddenly said. Shikamaru looked at her in surprise.

"Nothing's wrong with you…" Shikamaru said reassuringly. Ino smacked his chest with her fist.

"That's not good enough!" She cried. Shikamaru sighed. Ino started to smack her fists on his chest, increasing in speed and power each time her fist hit him.

Shikamaru kept trying to talk to her, but Ino wouldn't listen. He grabbed her wrists and flipped her on her back. He locked her legs together between his knees, and held her arms out on either side of her. His face was so close to hers that their noses were almost touching. Ino looked up at him with scared eyes, her body tense.

"Look. You need to relax." Her eyes softened and her muscles loosened.

"Good. Now tell me what happened." Shikamaru said, loosening his grip, not all the way, however, as she may pounce on him and attack him as he did her.

Ino looked away. "S…Sasuke-kun…said…that I…was…annoying…and…ugly…" She said. A stray tear rolled down her cheek as she said so. Shikamaru frowned. He closed his eyes and sighed.

"Ino," Shikamaru started. "No matter what anyone says, YOU ARE NOT UGLY."

Ino blushed. "So…are you saying that…I'm pretty…?" Shikamaru blushed in turn. He loosened his grip on her even more, and sat upright.

He was in a predicament now…Ino was no doubt a pretty girl…in fact, the PRETTIEST girl he had ever met…but he couldn't possibly TELL her that…he blushed even more at the thought.

"Well…you're certainly not ugly…" Shikamaru said, looking away.

"Shika." Ino said, impatient. "Am. I. Pretty."

"Err…" Shikamaru said, looking away. He had to figure out what to say to her without telling her that he 'like liked' her.

He opened his mouth to say something, but the same delicate noise from before beat him to it. He looked down, and a silent tear trailed down Ino's face.

"So…I'm…NOT pretty…?" Ino said. Another tear flowed down the same track as the other one.

'…Crap…' Shikamaru thought. He sighed as he decided what he was going to do.

"Don't listen to Sasuke…" He said. He lowered his head so that their foreheads were touching. Ino blushed at the contact. "He wouldn't know what a pretty girl looked like even if one went up to him and kissed him…"

Ino still cried, but this time she was smiling. "Thanks, Shika…" She said. Then her expression changed. Her eyebrows furrowed, and she stared right at him.

"Now tell me if YOU think I'm pretty." She said seriously. Shikamaru raised a brow.

"What does it matter what I think?"

"You're one of my best friends. I think I should hear what YOU think about how I look."

"…Err…" Shikamaru said. "…Uhh…"

"Shika…" Ino looked away. "You…don't think I'm attractive, do you…?"

"I…Ino…" Shikamaru couldn't seem to finish his sentences. (LOL SECRET KEEN) He let go of her arms and freed her legs from his grip. They both sat up straight.

Ino sniffled. "I-it's okay…you don't have to tell me…that I don't physically appeal to you…"

Shikamaru was at a total loss for words. Was she playing games with him? He didn't want her to think she was ugly, nor did he want her to think that he didn't think she was attractive, but there was that single chance that he could spill the fact that he cared for her just a bit more than a friend.

Ino smiled at him, and looked happy, though her eyes showed otherwise. "It's okay. I'll go now…" She stood up to leave him. Shikamaru got up as well.

"Ino…" Shikamaru started. She turned on her heel and walked away.

Shikamaru got himself in front of her. He held her shoulders in place as she looked at him with sad, confused eyes.

Shikamaru sighed. "Ino…you're not pretty…" She her head drooped as more silent tears fell.

She felt warm arms wrap around her. She looked up in surprise.

"You're not pretty…"Shikamaru started again. "…You're beautiful…"

Ino stared straight ahead. Did she hear correctly? Nara Shikamaru, the lazy-ass ninja she knew her whole life, called her beautiful. Before she could think more of it, her own arms wrapped around him in turn.

They broke apart. Shikamaru leaned his forehead on hers. "Now…" He said quietly. "Don't you let anyone tell you that you're not attractive, okay?" Because, dammit, it's troublesome when you get like this…"

Ino faked an offended look. She playfully smacked Shikamaru on the arm. Shikamaru smirked. "Well, well…looks like you're feeling better…" Ino smiled at him.

"Thanks Shikamaru…I'll never have a better guy friend than you…"

"Damn straight you won't…" Shikamaru said with a smirk. His face turned serious. "And uhh…don't tell anyone about what I said, okay? Gotta keep the slacker reputation…."

Ino just smiled and laughed.

End Flashback


"…Hn…?" said Shikamaru. He looked up and saw everyone staring at him with weird expressions on their faces. Except for Ino, whose face was red and showed signs that she had been calling his name for a long time.

"Pay attention, dammit!" She yelled. He gave her a drowsy nod.

"Well," Tsunade started. "We don't want to drag this conversation on any longer, so we have come up with a solution."

"Shikamaru, YOU will decide whether or not you will be in the picture." Asuma stated. "It's your choice."

'Wow…it took them this long to come up with that?' Shikamaru tiredly thought. He slowly considered the two, almost non-important possibilities. He shrugged.

"Whatever. I'll take the picture with team 10." He simply stated.

"Hah! Told you he'd want to!" Ino gloated to Chouji, who was eating his fifth chip bag. Chouji shrugged.

"Ino." Said girl turned around, with a questioning look. Shikamaru approached her and shoved his hands in his pockets.

"Why." It was a questioning statement—not quite a question, more of a demand.

"Why what?" Ino raised a brow.

"Why did you want me to be in the picture so badly?" Shikamaru asked. He was hoping his assumptions of her reason were right…but to find that out, he needed to ask her.

"…Hmm…" Ino said thoughtfully. "Well…a bunch of reasons…"


"Hmm…hey wait—why do you want to know so badly?" Her hands found their way to her hips, and she leaned in to add to her 'Interrogation Effect'.

Shikamaru shrugged. "Just wanted to know. I haven't heard you argue so fiercely before, so I just wanted to know the reason." Ino leaned back as a sign of resignation. Shikamaru inwardly sighed. He almost blew his cool and lazy demeanor.

Ino got into a thinking pose. "Well…you're a part of team 10, and part of Formation: InoShikaChou!" She explained enthusiastically, with her hand in a fist, and a determined expression on her face. "There's no way we could've taken the picture without you—I would never allow it. We stay a team, and no amount of shinobi ranking is going change that. Just felt right to keep you with us."

Shikamaru was touched. He never knew that the team meant so much to Ino. He also didn't think that she'd fight for it to stay together. But most of all, Shikamaru was surprised. He didn't think that Ino would be so…deep, and caring. He had thought of her as just another 'Sasuke-fan girl' instead of a friend at one time, and standing where he was now, he could've slapped himself. Oh wait…he already did a year ago…people were staring at him as if he was a freak. (Then again, I guess you ARE a freak if you slap yourself for apparently no reason…)

Anyway…the lazy Nara was impressed. He had never seen this side of Ino since about two days ago, when the whole predicament of whether he should be in the picture was first brought up. He was seeing an all-new Ino, a mature woman. Finally.

Then another thought made itself apparent. Was it not the old Ino that he had sprouted feelings for? This new thought gave him an uncomfortable feeling…like everything he once knew and loved was slowly slipping away…and he could do nothing to stop it…


"Dammit, Shikamaru!" Ino screamed in his face, pulling back her hand from giving Shikamaru a good ol' 'One-Two Slap In Da Face'. "Here I am, trying to explain my actions in a serious manner, and you just go off in a daze! DON'T YOU EVEN CARE?"

Shikamaru stumbled. Of course he cared about what she said. He cared about her, all she was, all she is, and all she will be…


"Stop it!" Ino yelled once again. Shikamaru opened his mouth to defend himself, but was interrupted.

"My, my! What's going on over here?" Asuma stepped into view. "Mr. Nara and his future bride already bickering like an old couple?" Said people reddened dramatically.

"Haha, just joking, kids. But seriously…what were you doing in the dark corners of the Hokage's tower…alone…?" Shikamaru and Ino reddened again.

Ino crossed her arms in a stubborn manner. "Ask him." She said, referring to Shikamaru. "He's the one who held me back to talk…" Her expression changed. "And then he wouldn't pay attention when I was explaining something to him, and dammit, that's flipping' infuriating!" She said as she gave him another slap in the face. She then turned around and walked away, obviously agitated and frustrated.

When she was out of sight, Asuma looked at Shikamaru with an amused face. Shikamaru gave him a look.

"What're you looking at?" He said grumpily. Asuma just chuckled and patted Shikamaru on the back.

"You really ought to tell her sometime…" Asuma said.

"Tell her what?" Shikamaru said, though he knew the answer very well. Asuma smirked and walked away.

Shikamaru put a hand to touch where he was slapped. He sighed and thought to himself:

'I guess some things don't ever change…'

Ino tiredly opened the front door of the Yamanaka flower shop. Greeting her mother at the cash register, she asked for a day off, and lucky for her, it was a slow day for business, so her mother obliged. Going through the back door, the fourteen-year old walked through halls of the Yamanaka household and climbed up a flight of steps. Ignoring the 'Do Not Disturb' sign that she herself made for her door, she walked into her bright yellow room, and flopped onto her bed. The open window let in a breeze that relieved her of her stresses in a calming manner.

'Next week we will take the pictures…' She thought. She sighed and closed her eyes. Feeling the uncomfortable bump on the back of her head from her ponytail against her mattress, she reached back and pulled the scrunchie from her hair, letting her once again long tresses free.

'Thank Kami-sama, it's not a formal picture.' She tiredly said to herself. If it WAS a formal, she'd probably internally combust right then and there. Sure, she loved shopping for gowns and dresses and all kinds of things, but right now she had something else on her mind. Something that was bothering her. It stressed her out to an all-new extent.

She got out of bed and took a look around her room. The sun shone through her window and bounced off something, causing glare. She looked over, and found the source of her worries—the old picture of team 10.

Picking it up, Ino stared past the plastic covering and into the faces of three naïve children, unaware of the steps of adolescence just before them. Behind them, their teacher, Asuma laughed as they took the picture. Ino smiled as she encountered a wave of nostalgia.

Instantly, she felt better, and decided to put down the frame, and instead pulled out a small book with leather covering. Undoing the latch, she got out a pen and flipped to a fresh new page, and began to write.

Dear Diary,

Today, team ten ran into a predicament. Shikamaru, who as I have constantly referred to as the 'Lazy-Ass' in past entries became a Chuunin, and Asuma-sensei rounded us all up to talk with Tsunade-sama about it. You see, the new pictures of all the shinobi teams are going to be taken next week, and Shikamaru, being part of the team, is also a Chuunin, so we didn't know if he was supposed to take the picture with us or not.

She thought a while, and decided to take a shortcut to the conclusion.

After discussing things with Tsunade-sama, we decided that Shikamaru was going to take the picture with us. Simple, huh? Well, that's not all I wanted to discuss. The whole time we were discussing, Shika wasn't even paying attention. Now THAT pissed me off. But anyway, the whole time he was daydreaming, he was staring at ME! I found it creepy. HE BETTER NOT HAVE BEEN OOGLING AT MY CHEST!

Now, this whole predicament has been bothering me. I'm afraid that Shika likes me, but not in a way I want him to. Well, it's not that I don't WANT him to…it just…kind of feels…RIGHT…well, part of it does…err, it's really hard to explain.

What's got me bothered about it? Well, I wouldn't mind going out with Shika…but…I'm just afraid that if we break up, our friendship is lost. Also…I'm sort of afraid of the fact that I may be falling for him, as well…

One thing's for sure, though. I'm over Sasuke. He's way too cold, and besides…he's a TRAITOR. He had so many things to cherish here in Konoha, and he left. Poor Sakura…

Another thing has been worrying me. One of those shinobi from Suna visited about five days ago. Her name was Temari. She visited Konoha to deliver a message to Tsunade-sama, and when I bumped into her, she said she wanted to talk with me. We sat down, and she was telling me about how she met Shika earlier, and that he seemed in a daze. I told her that he always looked dazed, and she just laughed. She said something along the lines of this:

'When a guy stares up into the sky like that, it's not just any stare. He's love-struck.'

I gave her a puzzled look. 'So why are you telling me?' I asked her. She just laughed. She left Konoha before I could ask her anything else.

So it appears that Shikamaru has feelings for me…but I don't know for sure. I don't really mind…but do I have feelings for him? I don't know…I honestly don't know.

Putting down her pen, Ino flipped back to other entries in her diary. One mentioned something about Sasuke; another mentioned something about her and Sakura being friends again, another about the start of the Chuunin exams. She kept flipping through the pages, occasionally stopping to read some entries. She stopped at one page entitled: 'My Hero'.

'What the hell?' Ino thought. Looking at the date, she realized it was from a long time ago. Perhaps when she was eight years of age? Nine?

She eagerly read through the entry. It was about the first time she was rejected by Sasuke. Looking up from her old, bad penmanship, she thought about what she did that day.

'What happened that day…?' She pondered on until flashbacks came.


Ino was under him, his forehead touching her own. "Sasuke wouldn't know what a pretty girl looked like even if one went up to him and kissed him.


Ino was crying. "I-it's okay…you don't have to tell me…that I don't physically appeal to you…"


He was embracing her. "You're not pretty…you're beautiful…"


Ino smiled with tears in her eyes. "Thanks Shikamaru…I'll never have a better guy friend than you…"

Ino stared with wide eyes. Looking back down at the diary she held in her hands, she skimmed the page until she got to the bottom. The last line of her journal entry was:

I think I love Shika…

"Chouji, what're you looking at?" Shikamaru asked with a hint of annoyance as one of his best friends stared at him. It was bad enough that he was staring at him, but Chouji was also eating a big bag of chips, which meant that a sharp, loud crunching noise was heard ever nanosecond. Also, bits of spittle would collide with Shikamaru's face occasionally, as Chouji would reach into the bag for another chip.

After five more minutes of speculating, Chouji finally put down the bag of chips, and swallowed his mouthful of chips. He finished his ritual with a big burp, much to Shikamaru's dismay. Turning his head a little to his left to look at his friend, Chouji began to explain himself.

"I thought you'd show even a little sign of worry." Chouji said. Shikamaru raised a brow.

"Why would I?" Shikamaru said with his arms crossed. They were sitting on a bench in the park, where they would take their teams portraits the next day. "Just because Ino's claimed to be sick doesn't mean that I have anything to worry about."

Chouji smirked. He leaned his head on his arm and gave Shikamaru a smart look as he said: "I didn't say anything about Ino's absence. I just said that I thought you'd worry about something."

Shikamaru's eyes widened. 'Kuso…' He thought. How could he have fallen for one of the oldest tricks in the book? It was almost impossible. Almost.

"So…Asuma was telling the truth." Chouji said. "You really do like her."

Shikamaru twitched. Asuma told Chouji of what he saw in the Hokage's tower? Well, he had nothing to worry about, but you never know what Asuma's planning sometimes…

"I never said I did." Shikamaru denied. He could feel his cool demeanor slowly slipping away, and he was trying his best to bring it back.

"Yep…sure…whatever you say..." Chouji said, crossing his own arms.

'Damn…so now everyone thinks that I like Ino.' Shikamaru cursed to himself, though he knew very well that it was true. He closed his eyes as he cursed his damned hormones.

Uncomfortably, he slowly raised his eyelids and quietly admitted to himself that he was just running away from the truth, and that it wasn't his hormones. He liked Ino, and heck, maybe…just maybe…he loved her.

Shaking his head violently, Shikamaru cursed himself again. There's no way he could love Ino. After all, they WERE only fourteen years old. He was just slowly going out of his mind. Of course, that explains it all…his mind was simply going out of whack.

Chouji studied his friend carefully. He had just witnessed the Nara shake his head violently, and was worried that his head was going to fall off. Chouji was going to ask Shikamaru whether he was okay, but decided against it, and thought that he might just sit there for a while, and let his friend ponder his own feelings. Then Chouji got bored and decided against that, and got out his bag of chips again, and continued his torture toward the poor, emotionally confused Chuunin.

Shuffling uncomfortably, Ino came into view. Looking around to check if he was around, she nervously walked around the park of which they were going to take the shinobi team photos that very day.

'Why am I so jumpy?' Ino questioned herself. 'I've got to be strong. Don't show weakness!'

"Yo." Ino jumped. She turned around to see the very person she was hiding from.

"H-hey…" Ino mumbled. Shikamaru raised a brow.

"What's up?" He asked. "You usually aren't so jumpy."

Ino crossed her arms. "None of your business!" She said haughtily. Shikamaru shrugged and walked past her to sit on a nearby bench.

Ino sighed in relief. Perhaps Shikamaru DIDN'T like her…maybe it was just all in her head…

As the sudden realization that Shikamaru might not have feelings for her, Ino felt a strong wave of loneliness…it wasn't that she wanted someone to like her just so she can feel welcome…it was a different type of loneliness…almost like the time Sasuke rejected her. Like…her feelings weren't being returned…




Ino shook her head. What feelings? She had no feelings of which were to be returned…absolutely no way.

"Oi, Ino." Shikamaru called. She turned and he patted the seat next to him on the bench.

Thinking to herself that she WASN'T going to take the seat, he decided that that would just show her that she DOES like him, and that she's just avoiding him. She took a deep breath and sat down.

'I am NOT in love with that lazy-ass…' She thought to herself, looking away from him uncomfortably. 'Wait a second…since when did LOVE come into the situation?' Ino sighed to herself. What on earth was going on?

Footsteps were heard, breaking Ino from her self-reassurance. She looked over and saw Chouji and Asuma. They both looked at each other and smirked when they saw the two together.

"My, my! Looks like the bickering couple has made up!" Asuma said. He laughed a hearty laugh and nudged Chouji in the ribs with his elbow. Chouji joined in his laughter.

"Ahahahaha…" Ino mocked. She didn't need this. But it would all be over with soon, when the photo was taken. Then she can go home and just forget the whole situation. Speaking of which, where was the photographer? Judging by the clouds, it seemed like it was going to rain soon…

"Yo." Coming into view, the photographer came along with a regular non-digital camera in his hands.

"Hey, Genma. Looks like you were stuck with the photography job this year." Asuma greeted. Genma sighed.

"Well…I can't argue with Tsunade-sama. She'd have my throat." He simply stated. Asuma nodded in agreement.

"Well, enough chit-chat, kids. Gather 'round, just like you did last year." Genma said morosely. Team 10 did as told.

So Ino was in the middle, with Chouji to her right, and Shikamaru to her left. Asuma got them into one big 'group hug' position, squeezing them all together. Ino nervously looked up at Shikamaru, who incidentally was looking at her as well. They both looked away quickly, faces flushed.

"Alright. On the count of three, say…GENMA RULES!" Team 10 sweat-dropped.

"Well, if we WERE going to say that, our faces would look like this:" Asuma said, making an 'O' shape with his mouth. Genma sighed.

"Fine, fine. Count to three…"





At last! The picture was taken! They were free!




"Awesome! I'll get these pictures made and delivered as soon as possible. Now I'm going to get out of here before the negatives get ruined, so I suggest you guys do the same." Genma said, 'proofing off.

"Yikes! I'm gonna go too, kids. Training starts again two days from now. Bye!" Asuma said, running off, just missing the first few drops of rain.

"Yeah, I'm gonna head back too. Dinner's almost ready. See ya later guys! And have fun..." He said, adding the last part slyly. He then ran home, dodging a few raindrops along the way.

So all who were left in the rain were Ino and Shikamaru. Ino, wanting desperately to get away, hopped out of her seat, gave a brisk goodbye to Shikamaru, who had already started walking to his own house, which was across the street from the park. (Convenient, ne?)

Ino, on the other hand, had to walk a couple blocks in order to get back to her house. Running up the couple steps before the door into the flower shop, she tried opening the door. Finding it unable to open, she reached into her back pocket to get her key. She found that it wasn't there. Feeling a sudden rise in panic, she violently knocked on her door. Then something suddenly made itself apparent. Her mother was out for about a day to find some new specimens for the flower shop, and her dad just left on a mission. She was locked out, and she had no way to get inside. And it was raining.

Ino slumped down onto the ground and sat with her head to her knees and her back to the door. What was she going to do? Her dad's mission was probably going to take about a week to finish, and her mom wasn't going to be back until the next day. She could always go to someone's house to spend the night…yes! That's what she was going to do!

Sakura was out of the question, as she was gone with her family on a trip to a different village. Hinata? Nah. Hiashi-sama was way too scary…and the Hyuuga family's eyes were kind of creepy. Plus, the Hyuuga compound was on the other side of Konoha, and Ino couldn't get that far without getting soaked. Tenten? Well, they weren't great friends, and Ino didn't know where she lived. Chouji? His house was really far away from hers as well. It usually took at least five minutes to get to the other's house. Asuma-sensei? No way! That would be just wrong…Ino cringed at the thought…so all that left was…

…Shikamaru's house…

'AH! I cannot believe this!' Ino screamed in her head. She was trying to get AWAY from him, not spend the weekend with him!

Ino sighed. With the way things were going, it seemed that she had no choice. Standing up, she built up chakra in her feet, and then released short but powerful sparks of it when her feet left the ground. Using chakra to speed up her running would make her a little less wet. At least there was one good thing that happened today.

"So let me get this straight…" Shikamaru said, already washed up and wearing his PJ's. "You're locked out of your house for the night, and you need a place to stay during that time. And you came to my house, because it was the closest, and clearly the smartest option."

Ino nodded enthusiastically. "Please let me stay! It'll only be for one night, I swear!" She said, bowing to Shikamaru. Bowing? Well, a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do.

Sighing, the cloud-watcher gave her passage into his home. "This is going to be troublesome…" He said. She rejoiced and hugged him, and after realizing what she did, she immediately let go of him and the two blushed. He shut the door behind them.

After two seconds of being in the house, Ino realized that it was empty. It was only herself and Shikamaru within the household. Oh joy.

"Where're your parents?" She asked. Shikamaru shrugged.

"My dad's on a mission with your dad, and my mom's gone grocery shopping. Since it's raining right now, she probably won't come back until it stops, and if it rains all night, she'll probably spend the night at Chouji's place, or something like that."

Completely flabbergasted that Shikamaru's mom would stay overnight at Chouji's, she looked around eagerly for a bathroom. "Do you mind if I take a shower here…?" She asked rather shyly. Shikamaru shrugged again.

"The bathroom's upstairs, the first room you see on your right. I'll go get you a towel. You can sleep in my room for tonight. There's a mattress that we can put on the floor."

"Why can't I sleep down here? Like, on the sofa?"

"Well, it gets really cold down here. I assumed you didn't want to freeze yourself, so I suggested that you sleep in my room. My parents lock their room at night. Don't ask me why."

Ino sighed. So she had to choose between freezing her butt off, and sleeping in the room of someone she was trying to avoid. Well, her currently being soaking wet, it wasn't a big surprise when she said that she'd sleep in Shikamaru's room.

Taking the towel from Shikamaru, Ino quickly rushed up the stairs and into the bathroom. Shikamaru predicted that. That's why he walked up to his room, opened up his drawer, and picked out a long red t-shirt and a pair of grey cotton pants. As expected, a couple minutes later, Ino screamed from the bathroom, "I NEED SOME CLOTHES!"

Clothed in Shikamaru's sleepwear, Ino walked around his room, inspecting every nook and cranny while Shikamaru went downstairs to fetch the extra mattress. As expected, Shikamaru's mother was forced to spend the night at Chouji's house, as the rain had not stopped, but instead had come down much harder.

"Hmm? What's this?" Ino questioned herself as she picked up a book with a leather lining from a shelf. A latch was over the opening of the book.

"No way! Shikamaru has a diary?" Ino said, completely bewildered. And Ino being Ino, she crept over to the door, quietly closed it, and put a nearby wooden chair under the knob. She then sat on his bed and undid the latch.

When she opened the book, it was already marked on a specific date. Ino began to read.

Shikamaru climbed up the stairs with the extra mattress in his hands. Cursing to himself about how troublesome it was to dig through the basement to find the 'stupid thing', Shikamaru arrived at his door to find it closed. Trying it open, he found it locked. He knocked on the door.

"Oi, Ino. Do you want your bed or not?" Shikamaru asked. He heard shuffling behind the door. Soon enough, the door opened, and a sniffling Ino came into view.

"Eh? What's wrong?" He asked worriedly. He set the mattress down next to his bed.

Ino sniffed. She went up to him and hugged him, causing him to blush.

"I-I'm sorry…" She said. Shikamaru was REALLY starting to worry now. What was Ino apologizing about?

Shikamaru hugged her back. After she had calmed down, he quietly asked, "What are you saying sorry for?"

Ino hiccupped. "For n-not seeing what was right in front of me…for not seeing what I really needed…for not seeing you…"

Shikamaru immediately let go of her, but held her at arm's length by her shoulders.

"How do you know about that?" He asked briskly. Ino guiltily played with her fingers.

"…I…read…your diary…" She said shyly. Shikamaru tightened his grip on her.

"You…you shouldn't have done that, Ino…" He said. "You…just shouldn't have…" He let go of her and turned his back on her, facing his desk and put his hand to his face. He couldn't stand to look at her. She read his journal, where he kept his darkest secrets. She just found one of them.

"Shika…I'm sorry…" She said. "You must hate me now…" Shikamaru chuckled bitterly.

"Ino…I could never hate you." Shikamaru sighed. "I could be annoyed with you, I could get mad at you, I could yell at you…but I could never hate you…" He said, tilting his head slightly to the side to look at her.

"If girls were judged by personality, I'd probably be the ugliest…" Ino said. Shikamaru turned around to look at her. He went up to her and put his forehead on hers as he held her by the arms.

"Remember what I told you…? Don't let anyone tell you that you're ugly. Appearance wise OR personality wise." He touched her nose with his. They both blushed.

"You're not pretty, and you're not cute." He said. "You're beautiful." Ino blushed. She understood now. He was right in front of her the whole time. He was everything she needed, and yet she didn't see him. But now she saw. She saw him, and he saw her. They both knew it…but tried to deny it…that they…loved each other.

He pulled back. "Wait…you're not beautiful." Ino's eyes widened.

"What…?" She uttered in disbelief. What had she just realized? Did he just reject her?

He touched her nose with his again. "You're not beautiful…" Silent tears ran down Ino's face.

His lips neared hers.

"You're perfect."

And he kissed her.


Yeah…well anyway, I hope you enjoyed this one-shot! Cheesy, I know…but sometimes the most cheesy love stories are the best ones…yesh…

Grag! The characters are kinda OOC…Blah! I spent too much time on this story. I must get started on the next chapter of Body Swap!

And since you're done reading this story…THE NARUTO FILLERS ARE OVAH! YES YES YES YES YES!!!!!!

Yeah…SO ANYWAYS! Please leave reviews! I'd love to hear what you guys thought! So as they say…SEX UP THE PURPLE BUTTON!