For Renalin. Happy birthday! And surprise!
Disclaimer: Don't own it.
EDIT: I completely forgot Shikamaru was born just a day before Ino. I finally fixed it; thanks for pointing it out!
The first time Shikamaru meets Ino, she's only a few days old and he only one more than that.
Suffice to say, he doesn't remember it very clearly.
He remembers loud voices and imposing men. He remembers a blond wagging his finger at him and scooping up the tiny baby Shikamaru was watching so curiously. The blond man says something to him, he remembers this. But what he says, he doesn't.
The first time Shikamaru can truly understand the warning, he is three years old and already so smart and so lazy and Ino is fond of commenting only on the latter.
Not that he listens to her, because ew, she's a girl, and she has cooties and not to mention girls are so troublesome—but he won't tell her this because she might cry and he doesn't like when she cries, especially when it's his fault…
So when she talks, he listens, though he isn't happy about it.
And when she hugs him, he doesn't move away, even if he doesn't quite reciprocate.
And when people ask him if he likes her, he'll say he does, even if she is bossy and loud and annoying and angry and so, so troublesome.
But he forgets that other people, not just Ino are watching him and listening to him.
Inoichi is a terrifying man, Shikamaru thinks at the time (and twenty years later, still does), as the much, much taller, older man stands before him, his arms folded across his muscled chest. Ino has disappeared into the house at the promise of chocolates, and isn't around to protect him.
"You," Inoichi booms, pointing a large finger down at the boy, "No flirting with my daughter."
Shikamaru doesn't fully understand what he means, but he decides to take the safe route. For the next week, he avoids Ino.
But this doesn't work out too well – and so Shikamaru never tries it again, the next so many years he knows Ino – because she cries, and he sulks, and eventually she makes her dad take her to see the boy she is so fond of.
And Inoichi complies, because Ino is his baby girl and he loves her.
But while Ino tugs on Shikamaru's little ponytail and screams in his ear, he glares at the young boy. Because not even his best friend's son is allowed to touch his daughter.
Not until she's thirty, at least.
And he will make sure Shikamaru knows it.
Shikamaru is very careful to treat Ino much like he does Chouji, but it's hard. He can't be too nice to her, otherwise Inoichi will appear, as if summoned, to ground out another warning. He can't be too distant, either, or Ino will tug on his ear and yell at him.
Sometimes he isn't sure which Yamanaka is scarier. Her father has more muscle, but Ino has a loud voice.
So he tells Ino she is troublesome, but he treats her to a meal whenever she asks, to reach some sort of compromise.
And even though he thinks he might really like Ino, with her so-blue eyes and soft hair and way of making people feel good when she wants to, he doesn't want to risk the wrath of her protective father, with his menacing scowl and calloused hands and those same eyes that have seen so much…
So he compromises with himself, too, and takes on the role of Ino's best friend.
This works until they're thirteen, and other boys discover what he already knew: Ino is gorgeous.
He knows people like Naruto and Lee and Kiba might disagree – they have other girls to admire – but he also knows that Ino, with her shiny hair and bright eyes and natural charisma is the most attractive girl their age to most people.
And although this annoys him for obvious reasons, it is also a relief, because now Inoichi has other boys to chase off, and so must trust Shikamaru.
Especially after one day when Shikamaru intercepts one infatuated boy bringing Ino flowers and chocolate. Ino accepts the gifts with a smile, even though the flowers are from her family's own shop, and makes to politely decline the boy's request for a date, but he won't take the rejection.
Shikamaru wanders by on the way to his favorite cloud-watching spot (even though Ino's house isn't really on the way), and sees the boy grasping Ino's wrist and pleading for her to give him a chance.
And so he steps in.
"Oi," he calls out, coming up the walk, his hands stuffed in his pockets. "Don't you have any dignity?"
The boy scowls at him, but by now Ino has yanked her hand out of his grasp, and is beaming—but at Shikamaru, and he knows that he's lost.
When he's gone, Ino looks at Shikamaru, smiles, and offers him the chocolates. "I am never going out with someone so clingy," she informs him. "Remember that."
Trying to ignore the lurch in his gut when she says that, Shikamaru asks—as if he doesn't care, though he most certainly does—"Why?"
"So when it comes down to it," you can find me a suitable boy," Ino tells him prissily. "That's what friends do, isn't it?"
"I'm not a matchmaker, Ino," he reminds her crossly.
"But you're a genius, which is better." She holds up the red roses given to her. "I better put these in water. Later, Shikamaru!"
And then she disappears back into her house, slamming the door in his face. Shikamaru wonders if that's symbolic, but quickly discards the idea: that's just Ino.
They're sixteen, and Ino's still popular, and Shikamaru still likes (not loves, not loves) her. He still hasn't found her the perfect guy, though she continues to add to the list.
"He needs to have good hygiene," she had told him one afternoon, when they were on a mission and a Chuunin from Sand with horrible body odor (obviously, he hadn't had time to hit the showers yet) had asked her to join him for a drink.
Shikamaru made sure he always smelled good after that.
"He should know what I like," she grumbled on her fifteenth birthday, when she received dark chocolate and an emerald necklace.
He got her truffles and a pair of diamond earrings. She loved it.
"He should be smart," she muttered, more to herself, when she had gotten a love-letter and her name was spelled "Eeno."
Shikamaru's ego inflated at the thought of his IQ of 200.
Now he sits with her at Ichiraku, where she is turning down a boy she has never seen in her life, who keeps turning her to face him and holding her by the shoulders.
"Are you keeping up with that list, Shikamaru?" she demands when she finally gets rid of The Toucher. Not bothering to wait for his reply, she goes on, "Add this: I don't like touchy-feely."
Shikamaru looks at his hands. He has never touched Ino, unless it was to help her or she did it first. And this prompts him to say, "Why don't I just take you out?"
Ino stops with a bite of ramen halfway to her mouth. "Huh?" she says, ever so intelligently.
Shikamaru rolls his eyes. "Well, no guy seems to fit your expectations. If take you out, I'll have fulfilled my 'duty,' and you'll be unsatisfied and get off my back, won't you?"
Ino scowls prettily at him; a talent only she has mastered. But then she grins deviously, abandoning her noodles and standing up. "Alright, Shikamaru. I'll see you at seven tomorrow night, shall I?"
He shrugs, partly in well-concealed shock and not really listening to her babble. But then her parting words get to him, and he stiffens.
"Just in time for Daddy to get home."
This would be why he has never asked Ino out, why he was never a part of the group so devoted to her:
Shikamaru is unable to sleep at night, even knowing it may be the last time he gets the chance to do so, and the next day, worries, agonizes over what to do.
And although he is a genius, it never occurs to Shikamaru to cancel the date.
So when seven o'clock rolls around, he is exhausted, anxious, and a plain old wreck. He walks towards the door, steeling himself, but even then, when Inoichi answers the door, he feels the urge to run away.
Ino's father is still as scary as ever, and he still frowns at Shikamaru, and his frame still takes up the whole doorway.
"What do you want, boy?" Inoichi asks, but it's obvious from his gruff tone that he already knows.
Shikamaru stays silent. He doesn't trust himself to speak.
"Well?" Inoichi barks.
So Shikamaru stammers out an "I'm here to take Ino out," and Inoichi explodes.
"Oh, no you don't," he says, stepping forward and slamming the door behind him. "No one is allowed to date her, you understand?" And then he bellows for emphasis, "No one!"
And then he cracks his knuckles, and Shikamaru feels like a little boy again, so he does what little boys do:
He gets the hell out of there.
And as he runs, he sees Ino hanging out of her window, laughing gleefully and blowing him kisses. "No date then, Shika-kun?" she calls down.
Shikamaru would hit her if she wasn't Ino. As it is, he just feels sorry for himself.
But suddenly she's in front of him, smiling that smile of hers that's just a little shy and a little sweet, and holding her hand out to him.
"Dinner? My treat," she says.
And he grumbles about how she's disturbing him from his nap, but goes with her nonetheless.
Because she's Ino, and he hasn't been able to refuse her anything since they were four.
One date turns to two, which turns to three, and then to four, and suddenly Ino and Shikamaru are attached at the hips. Or, to be more precise, the lips.
He can't quite believe it when he goes to pick her up for their second date and Inoichi opens the door, glowers, but doesn't say a word.
And then Ino comes dashing out, calling a merry farewell to her father, and looping her arm through Shikamaru's to drag the poor, shocked boy away.
And he realizes she must've talked to her dad, but he still keeps an eye out when they stroll through the streets, when Ino latches on to his arm, and especially when she suddenly leans over to kiss him at the end of the night.
It takes some of the enjoyment out, but not enough, since he pulls her closer and kisses her again and again and again.
They're getting married. He proposed and she said yes. More like screamed it, actually.
She tells the whole town, including people she doesn't know. She sends word to her relatives and friends outside of Konoha. She invites the Kazekage.
Ino is very excited.
But Shikamaru is very nervous, because even though he and Ino have been dating for over four years, her scary dad still glares at him whenever he has the chance. And even though he has yet to get physical, Shikamaru figures it is only a matter of time.
Which is why he sets up a number of alarms around his apartment the days leading up to the wedding. But, surprisingly, they're unneeded, because the big day arrives and he's still alive.
And the day goes off without a hitch. Ino looks beautiful, the weather is perfect, and they share their first kiss as a married couple under the eyes of the Hokage and the rest of the village.
But then he spots Inoichi, the only one not smiling or clapping, and he wonders how much longer he will last.
It's only a few months.
Shikamaru and Ino are the perfect married couple. Really, nothing much has changed. Ino still hugs him in the morning and kisses him at night. She still yells at him when he doesn't come in and help her work, and she still takes any chance she can get to escape the house for a mission.
Except for one thing. They're a family now, and that family needs to grow.
"Ino…" Shikamaru begins slowly. He isn't quite sure what he's going to say, but surely it'll come to him. After all, he is a genius.
Unfortunately, Ino knows him all too well. "Quit whining, you. It'll be fine."
And then she tugs on his arm again so he nearly bumps into her, and raps on the door.
Seconds later, it creaks open to reveal a scowling face Shikamaru knows and Ino loves.
"Daddy!" Ino says brightly, sounding like a little girl again.
Inoichi's face breaks into a wide smile at the sight of his precious girl, and he stoops down to hug her tightly. "Ino!"
Their reunion is touching, but all Shikamaru wants to do is run. But then they break apart, and Inoichi's face is blank again.
"Shikamaru," he says stiffly.
"Sir" sounds polite, so Shikamaru goes with that to try and win the man over. It doesn't work.
Inoichi raises his eyebrows, and Ino tries to smother her giggles as she leads an embarrassed Shikamaru inside her parents' home.
Ino smiles all through dinner, but won't answer her parents' inquiries about her good mood. She wants the moment to be perfect.
So just as her mother brings out the cake she had bought earlier in the day, Ino drops he bomb.
Shikamaru, beside her, sees Inoichi stiffen and whip his head around to glare at him. He groans inwardly. Of course it would be too much trouble for Ino to give him a warning…
Her mother recovers much more quickly. "Oh, really?" She shoots her husband a warning glance and turns back to smile at her daughter. "How far are you?"
"Two months," Ino says proudly. She is about to tell her mother everything she plans to buy for her baby, but she doesn't quite get the chance, because her father has finally reached his limit.
"YOU'RE PREGNANT?" Inoichi bursts out. His eyes bug out rather alarmingly, and they're fixed on Shikamaru. "YOU! You violated my daughter! I could have you sent to jail for that!"
Shikamaru wants to point out that he and Ino are married, so Inoichi can't do anything, but he doesn't. Because he's still scared.
"I'm sorry!" he yells, jumping up and running for his life. He covers his head with his arms as Inoichi chases after him, throwing all the kunai at his disposal. He's sure he hears Ino's mother yelling for them to calm down and come back, and Ino laughing and cheering her father on, and he can't help but wonder why he ever got involved with this girl and her crazy father.