I know I said that I'm gonna take a break until my exam is over but I just couldn't help myself. Guess what I thought after watching the newest episode of Naruto Shippuden?

I. Hate. It.

Gah! K. Masashi! Why did you have to put some ShikaTema moment in there?!!! Please… Don't make me hate you.

Made this fanfiction up out of irritation towards my most hated pairing. Spoiler for manga 312. (force my lazy butt to finish this fic all in one night!)

Dedicated to aki-child. Yeah, I'm here to share your anger, buddy.

Shikamaru x Ino. Don't read this if you hate this pairing.

Disclaimer: Naruto © Masashi Kishimoto.


FASHION STATEMENT

© ArAshiMitArAshi


"So, tell me," Sakura said with a wicked smile formed between her lips. "Who do you like more, Ino? Sai or Shikamaru?"

Ino knitted her thin brows, feeling slightly odd at the question. "Why'd you suddenly ask me that?"

Sakura popped her elbows on the counter. "You mean, you haven't noticed?"

Ino frowned. "About what?"

Sakura studied her clothes keenly. "There's something about your clothes reminds me of them."

"Care to tell me what it is?" Ino asked, puzzled.

"You really haven't noticed, have you?" Sakura sighed.

Ino rolled her eyes. "Stop giving me riddles, Sakura. Just spill it out."

"Tell me who do you like more first, Ino. Sai or Shikamaru?"

"What the hell does liking Sai or Shikamaru have to do with my fashion?!"

Sakura gave a menacing laugh and leered at her best friend. "Some say if you like someone, you try to be like that person, if not, you try to dress like that person. To put it short, what you wear resembles the person you have in your heart."

"So, what're you trying to say?"

"What am I trying to say is," Sakura pointed at her best friend. "Your clothes, your fashion, your style resembles two person; Sai and Shikamaru. Sai; because your outfit is almost similar to him, barring you middle part that is, and Shikamaru; because your hair is just like him, wearing the same earring and…" Sakura smirked. "You wear fishnet on both your arms and legs just like him."

"Ah…" Ino smirked back, slowly getting what Sakura was trying to tell her. "So, you assumed that I like either one of them just because what I currently wear right now is so close to their appearances?"

Sakura nodded.

"That is so damn ridiculous!"

"No, it's not!"

"How could you tell that I like that person by just judging from my fashion?!"

"Because you've been there, done that."

"What the hell do you mean?!"

"Remember our genin days, Ino." Sakura still had the smile Ino hated so much when she knew she was going to win their debate. "You liked Sasuke-kun back then, so you wore the same arm warmers her wore. You followed his style." Sakura noticed Ino's cheeks reddened a bit. "Doesn't that indicate that you like him so much? That you had him in your heart? People could tell by just looking at what you wear! Besides," Sakura was enjoying this. She loved making Ino felt like she was at the bottom of her feet. "Konoha is not that cold! So, there is no point in wearing those!"

"So, you concluded that I wore those arm warmers just because I tried to dress like Sasuke-kun…because I like him?"

Sakura nodded.

"That's not solid enough." Ino shrugged, picking up flowers after flowers, arranging a bouquet.

"It is!" Sakura stubbornly kept her ground. "After Sasuke-kun ran away, you discarded your arm warmers immediately! You never wore them anymore! Don't think I didn't realize that!"

"I did wear those arm warmers again!" Ino insisted. "Once!"

"Once is almost never, Ino! That doesn't count!"

Ino laughed out loud. "So after seeing me without those arm warmers after Sasuke-kun ran away, you assumed that I stopped liking him?"

"Something like that."

"So now, after seeing me with my new fashion, judging from what I wear and based on your theory," Ino scrutinized her best friend. "You concluded that I have someone new in my heart?"

"Yeah." Sakura nodded. "It's crystal-clear."

"So what you had in mind right now, about this…someone new is either one of the boys you mentioned earlier?"

"Exactly."

"So tell me, genius," Ino smiled evilly, didn't intend to answer the very first question Sakura uttered to her but asked her back instead. "Who do you think I like more? Sai or Shikamaru?"

"I think…" Sakura tapped her finger against her lips. "I think you like Sai more, though your fashion resembles Shikamaru more."

"And why'd you think that?"

"Well, Sai's handsome! You like cute guys, don't you? Not to mention that he looks like Sasuke-kun…"

"Shikamaru's good looking, too." Ino defended her teammate. "Why would you not think that I wouldn't go for him?"

"Duh, Sai is better looking, obviously." Sakura rolled her eyes.

"So, you assumed that I like Sai more?"

"Right." Sakura nodded. "Right?"

Before Ino had a chance to answer, a loud thumping sound emanated from the back stairs, which connected the shop with her house, attracting the girls' attention. The sound was more like dragging footsteps, strolling on the floor lazily.

Sakura opened her mouth to question, slightly puzzled at the sound because she knew that there was nobody else in the house at the moment except Ino. Ino's father was on mission whilst Ino's mother was visiting their relatives at the nearby village. Wondering who the hell the person was, the Godaime apprentice whipped her face towards the direction the same time a familiar face came into view.

And her question died on her lips.

The lazy chuunin, Nara Shikamaru appeared in front of her puzzled eyes. But what shocking her more was his appearance. He looked like he just climbed up from bed, with his hair tousled freely around his nape, eyes blinking lazily and his clothes were just not right.

His brows arched high seeing her.

He mumbled something incoherent as he approached them two. Then wordlessly, he wrapped his arm around the blonde's waist and gave her a swift kiss on the lips. "G'morning, Ino."

Sakura quickly turned her head around to another direction, suddenly embarrassed at the affectionate gesture Shikamaru directed towards Ino.

"G'morning!" Sakura almost could see Ino hugged the tall chuunin back in return, smiling cheerily at him with her eyes gazing lovingly into his.

"I'll go back to my house to take a bath first then I'll come back to pick you up for lunch." Shikamaru said gruffly, stifling a yawn.

"Okay!" Did Sakura hear it right, that Ino's tone sounded excited?

Shikamaru walked past the pink-haired medic, nodding his head in acknowledgement then headed towards the exit.

"Wait, Shikamaru!" Ino called out before he left fully from the shop. "Have you tidy up my bed?"

Shikamaru glanced a little over his back. "Troublesome…"

"You lazy bum!" Ino glared furiously at him but Shikamaru just smirked in response and shrugged hastily, then left the shop with a simple wave.

Ino focused her attention back to the bouquet in front of her, not noticing her suddenly turned silent friend. But it was just a matter of time Sakura was like that. In a minute, she came to life.

"Yamanaka Ino!" Ino jumped at the loud call of her name. Sakura had her cornered and she was glaring furiously at her. "What the hell just happened? Why'd Shikamaru…"

Ino was stunned for a full second before she got what exactly Sakura meant. Smirking, the blonde pushed the roseate-haired lightly forward, making a room between them.

"Kissed me?" She finished Sakura's words.

"No!" Sakura sprang forward and cornered her best friend once again. "I mean, what the hell is Shikamaru doing in your house? And did he just come out of your bed? Did you two spend the night together? And yes! What's with the kiss he gave you just now?!!"

Ino opened her mouth to answer but she was silenced by Sakura. "Are you seeing him? For how long? Since when? How?"

"Give me a break, will ya?" Full-forced, the blonde escaped from Sakura's murderous glare. "Why are you so surprised?"

"I'm not surprised, Yamanaka Ino." Sakura followed Ino to the farthest side of the shop, watching the blonde calmly picked up some fresh flowers from the pot. "But I'm shocked!"

"You don't have to scream," Ino wanted to laugh seeing her furious friend. "I heard you."

"Why didn't you tell me that you are dating him?!"

Ino shrugged carelessly. "I thought everybody knew. I thought it was obvious."

"It's not! It never crossed my mind that you will go for Shikamaru, Ino! And I thought all these times he's seeing somebody else!"

"Somebody else?" Ino's gaze narrowed. "Who?"

"Duh!" Sakura rolled her eyes. "Temari, obviously!"

Ino laughed out loud at her statement. "What? Say that again? Temari? Hel-lo? Are you out of your mind or what? What makes you say that?"

"In case you didn't notice, let me lay it out for you. Shikamaru and Temari are close one of these days."

"So?" Ino shot a puzzled look. "That proves nothing. They are close because they work together for the Chuunin exam. Shikamaru and I are much closer! How come you didn't get the idea that instead of going out with Temari, he going out with me?"

"Because I never saw you guys so intimately together!"

"But you saw Shikamaru and Temari instead?"

Sakura bit her bottom lip. "No! I didn't mean it like that. From what I saw, they just walked together every time with a distance between them… But- Hell, they just looked like they were in a relationship!"

Ino sighed. "It's just your imagination, Sakura. Shikamaru's currently going out with me."

"But…since when?

The blonde suddenly smiled triumphantly. Quickly, she swung her elbows in front of the furious jade eyes. "Ever since I put these on."

Sakura eyed her mesh-covered elbows and raised her eyebrows. "But that was…six-seven months ago, Ino. Just after we made chuunin! Are you saying that…?"

Ino nodded. "Yup."

Sakura's eyes bolted out. "And you never breathed me a word?"

"Like I said," Ino rolled her eyes. "I thought it was obvious. I thought you'll notice yourself."

"Still, you should've told me, Ino! After all, I'm your best friend!" Sakura still didn't satisfied. "I bet Chouji knew!"

"Yeah, he knew." Noticing Sakura turned much madder, Ino quickly added, "but that's because Shikamaru and I just couldn't keep a thing from him! He knew us too well!"

"What a lame excuse!" Sakura hollered.

"But now you know so can you just cut it out?" Ino shot an apologetic look. "Besides, you should be happy."

"Happy for what?"

"For your theory about me is right, forehead." Sakura's eyes quickly lit up. "Now you got your answer right? About the person I like, the person I have in my heart…"

"Who is none other than the lazy genius Nara Shikamaru."

"Heck, where did you possibly got the idea that I like Sai more? If it's because of our outfit, well, you got it wrong because I developed this fashion ages before I knew him."

Sakura smiled sheepishly. "You're right at that part…"

Ino picked the last flower she needed for the bouquet and walked back to the counter with Sakura followed her closely behind. "But, Ino…" There was doubt hanging on that tone. "All these times we've been chatting and gossiping about boys in Shikamaru's presence, I never saw him getting jealous or mad or something even once…"

"He just didn't show it. Too troublesome." Ino answered easily, picking up a pair of scissor and began cutting the ends of the flowers. "Remember the first time I met Sai? At the hospital, in Kakashi-sensei's ward?"

"Yeah. What about that?"

"You did see that I was all over him that day, didn't you?" Sakura nodded. "Seems like I fell in love with him at once and Shikamaru was as neutral as ever… Well, the truth is he got all messed up inside."

"Ah…" Sakura recalled the event back. "That's why he didn't show up at the Yakiniku?"

"Yup." Ino nodded. "Chouji said he went home because he had to help his dad get some antlers to use for medicines…" The blonde shrugged and sighed. "Actually, that's just an excuse. He didn't go home to help his dad. He went to watch the clouds instead –sulking. He was really mad at me. Took me the whole night to calm him down."

Sakura's eyes sharpened. "The whole night? You mean…"

Ino chuckled, almost shyly. "Um…yeah. That night we –you know."

"Ooh…"

"And back to our discussion before, I wore these mesh guards just because Shikamaru talked me into wearing them. He just couldn't stand seeing my bare skin and mostly, he didn't want any guys to see. Also, these mesh guards are kind of a mark that I'm his. That's why I thought our relationship is obvious, that's why I didn't tell you because I knew that you'll figure it out someday."

Sakura leered. "Looks like my theory about your fashion statement is right after all."


Shikamaru startled when suddenly Ino held her hand out to him.

"What's that for?" He asked, putting their walk on the street into a halt. They just had their lunch at Ichiraku ramen and now he was walking Ino back to the flower shop.

"To hold." Ino replied. Her hand was still hanging in the air.

"Why all in a sudden?" Shikamaru still puzzled. Ino never showed her affectionate gesture towards him in public. When he told her that he wanted to keep their relationship out of anybody's ear, Ino took his words seriously and remained to be just his friend in front of the public's eye. But looking at the amount of time they spent together and how intimate the two acted whenever they were in each other's radius, people could just conclude that they were certainly not just friends –obviously.

"Sakura told me that our relationship is certainly not obvious, Shikamaru." Shikamaru slowly nodded, finally understood that Ino's sudden act was caused by that morning's event. "And she clearly misunderstood that you are going out with somebody else, not me."

"I'm going out with somebody else?" Shikamaru kept his stare at Ino's hand. "Who?"

"The Suna kunoichi; Temari."

"That's ridiculous!" Shikamaru spat. "Who wants to go out with that oneesan? It's the most troublesome thing in the world!"

Ino shrugged.

"And if anybody sees me and Temari together, surely it's only because of work, mission. That's all!"

"Whatever. Are you going to take my hand or not?"

"What a drag." Shikamaru complained but took Ino's hand in his at last, continuing their walk hand in hand. "So, are we going to announce our relationship to the world?"

"What do you think?" Ino smirked.

"Ah… I guess it cannot be helped." Shikamaru tightened his hold and slowly inching his body closer to Ino. He just noticed a few male colleagues whom walked past them threw some questioning gazes and some disappointed looks. Triumph rose in his chest, secretly feeling glad that it was his hand Ino whom appeared to be one of the most beautiful and desired kunoichi in Konoha held. "I'm getting tired of keeping it as a secret myself."

"Glad you think the same way I do." Ino almost bounced, happy because finally she could walk on the streets proudly with her boyfriend by her side.

"I heard about some guys are planning to ask you out again." Shikamaru sighed, recalling the moment he was at the Chuunin exam meeting. A few people were talking about a certain blonde he knew so well and successfully ticked him off. "Geez… Couldn't they just see that you're mine? I mean, we both wear mesh on our hands and legs…"

"Nobody could easily notice what our fashion states, Shikamaru."

"Troublesome…" Shikamaru sighed. "I guess you're right."

In the middle of their walk, Shikamaru and Ino bumped into a certain loud, energetic blonde. Naruto was walking towards their opposite direction, obviously heading to Ichiraku ramen. His eyes lit up seeing the couple and instantly he flashed his famous foxy smile and waved once he was two-three feet away from them.

Followed by some wicked plus meaningful look upon realizing that Shikamaru was walking alone with a girl again and that jolted something in his mind.

"Shikamaru! Ino!" Naruto greeted. "Good morning!"

"It's already noon, Naruto." The couple answered in unison.

"So, are you two going out on a date?"

Shikamaru and Ino exchanged a glance. Then with a triumphant smile on each of their faces, they swung their tightly clasped hands towards Naruto's face and hollered, "Duh! Obviously!"


FIN


Can people get anymore clearer?

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