Author's Note: Caution, gentle readers. Lemony scene ahoy.

Part Six - A Private Debriefing

"One hour. After that, I don't care if you're finished with her or not - you clear yourselves out or else. Got that?"

"Yeah, yeah."

The door swung shut with a creaking thunk. Shikamaru stood still, patiently listening to the trudging footsteps moving away down the corridor. When they had completely faded, he crossed the floor to the bed and laid Ino's unmoving form upon it. Then he immediately returned to the door to bolt the lock, and followed that with an intense inspection of the room. Several minutes passed until Shikamaru was reasonably satisfied that they were secure, which caused him to smirk in wry amusement - these people truly didn't suspect them of being anything more than two foolhardy teens.

Their mistake.

Shikamaru turned his attention back to Ino. She was as yet lying supine on the bed under the effects of the jutsu, her face radiantly serene within its halo of blonde hair. An aching need began to build inside Shikamaru as he watched her. How many times had he seen Ino like this, particularly after a glorious afternoon spent rolling on a blanket with her...?

He came to sit on the mattress besides her.

Another minute passed as Shikamaru silently gazed down at Ino, observing the steady rise and fall of her chest, until he reached out his hand. Sure fingers drew themselves along her cheek, lingering over her lips in a feather-light caress, and then continued to move over her chin. Shikamaru could feel his hunger growing more insistent, as he slowly traced a line down her chest into the valley between her straining breasts, pausing just at the zipper. One good tug and they would finally be released to him...

Pulling back his hand, Shikamaru groaned.

Hurry back, Ino. It's no good when you're not around.

With a determined grunt, Shikamaru quickly rolled onto his side and scooted next to Ino, his manner more perfunctory than before. Propping himself up against the headboard, he pulled Ino back against his chest and then lightly rested his hand against her temple. That's more like it, he congratulated himself. He was back in mission mode with Ino, protecting her body just the way he'd been disciplined to for so many years. Now all he had to do was wait.

And try not to think about all the other things he wanted to do to her...

Easier said than done, thought Shikamaru sourly. It helped, though, that he was still a bit annoyed with himself for having been caught off guard by Ino's simple ruse; he certainly would have spotted it right away if he hadn't been so inflamed by his lust for her. It was unfair, really, how easily Ino could have him at her mercy. Sometimes it seemed that all she had to do was move in a certain way, and all his higher instincts were undone as he became mesmerized by how her whole body seemed to be offering itself to him. He had no desire to resist her then.

But it wasn't fair of Ino to take advantage of his weakness... or at least, not without his foreknowledge, under the circumstances. Fun and games aside, they were in the middle of a mission, and Shikamaru wasn't pleased at Ino taking him so lightly by not filling him in on her entire plan. That was unnecessarily risky and even potentially dangerous. True, he had to admit that she had given everything more thought than appearances might suggest. Each part had gone smoothly, even the last step when, as predicted, no one had stopped him from carrying her "drugged" body upstairs. Some in fact had given him knowing winks as he passed (the bastards). Nevertheless, he wanted her to understand that she couldn't play on his feelings for her, even for the sake of a job.

An idea suddenly struck Shikamaru, and he broke into a wolfish smirk as his eyes travelled hungrily down the length of her body. Oh, doubtless Ino wouldn't be happy, but it would get the point across...

And he'd have fun doing it besides.

Ino sighed as she sensed the familiar rush of spiritual pressure flowing throughout her body. Before she was fully roused, however, she felt her mouth being swallowed in a deep, fiery kiss that stole her breath away. She gasped when it broke.

"Welcome back," murmured a husky voice.

"Mmmm... that's the nicest greeting you've ever given me."

Shikamaru gave a low chuckle. "This is special."

Ino smiled as a warm, sensual feeling heated her blood in response to his tone. "In that case, let me return the favor," she purred. She began to raise her arms (which were strangely stretched out past her head) in order to throw them around his neck - but the action was abruptly arrested.

Startled, Ino opened her eyes fully and saw Shikamaru sitting on the mattress besides her, wearing a peculiar grin. His eyes held a burning glow that sent an alarmed shiver down her spine. She'd seen that look many times before, especially when she was completely...

Ino gasped again, this time with shocked suspicion. Arching her back, she spied that her hands were tied to the headboard. Thinking to bend into a position to untie herself, she next tried lifting her legs and experienced identical resistance. Desperate, she lifted her head to look down her torso - and then her eyes went alarmingly wide.

"Oh my... where are all my clothes?" squeaked Ino. She shot him a furious glare.

"Missing something?" Shikamaru asked innocently. Then he tilted his head and gave her an appreciative once-over. "Mind you, I'm not."

In spite of herself, Ino blushed furiously and attempted to twist away from him. Even if he'd seen her naked many times before, it was still different when she was so plainly vulnerable before him. "Shikamaru, you dirty -!"

He smirked unrepentantly. "Scream all you want. Thanks to your scheme, they all think I'm up here violating you anyway." The bastards, added Shikamaru silently. "Shrieking will just add to our cover."

Ino bit back a curse and began to struggle, hoping to loosen the binds. After several minutes spent writhing futilely beneath Shikamaru's amused gaze, she finally gave up. "All right, you jerk. If you don't untie me now, you're going to regret it!" she threatened, her lips pressed into an angry pout. "And why are you doing this to me anyway?"

But instead of the expected answer, Shikamaru chuckled darkly. Then he reached down and coolly slid his hand between her legs. Keeping his eyes fixed on hers, he began to move his fingers in practiced ease until Ino's lips parted in a silent "O" of startled pleasure. She fell back against the mattress, her hips moving in a slow grind against his hand. It was a wonderful, maddening kind of agony, feeling his touch without being able to return it. Within minutes the tender sexual ache grew into smoldering burn, and Ino almost cried aloud when he abruptly stopped his ministrations.

"Please Shikamaru," she begged, blinking at him through heavy-lidded eyes. "Don't torture me like this."

She saw that his smile had grown serious, and watched helplessly as he teased his fingers along her inner thigh. "Just a reminder to be gentle whenever I'm at your mercy, Ino... because inevitably there are times when you'll be at mine."

Ino swallowed, unconsciously straining her pelvis towards his resting hand. So Shikamaru was upset about the scene downstairs... well, she had known he would be. "You wouldn't have gone along with me had I told you everything from the start," she moaned in her defense.

"I might have, if I'd known the whole reason for it," said Shikamaru quietly, reaching for her again. He had thought about that one a lot, surprised to discover that it was true. "I did in the end."

"But you don't like public displays of affection," contradicted Ino, who shuddered as Shikamaru began to toy with the fine curlicues of hair covering her. "No matter how small they are," she managed to add, but a bit more sulkily.

Shikamaru stopped his teasing. Ino watched with bated breath as he leaned in closer, looking at her seriously. "You know I'm private guy, Ino. But I could bend on that... if you could agree on keeping certain types of displays just between you and me. And promising not to let our personal relationship stray inappropriately into our professional one - a mission's still a mission. Deal?"

Forgetting that she was still tied up, Ino tried to sit up and was immediately jerked back against the mattress. But she didn't care. "Do you really mean that?" she asked excitedly, staring at Shikamaru as if she hardly dared to believe him. "So you won't freak out if we hold hands in public? Or hug me? Or if I kiss you in front of Choji?"

Thinking about what the expression on his best friend's face would likely be, Shikamaru winced. He would be teased mercilessly. Then again, he suspected that Choji already knew about them anyway and was just as likely to say, "What took you so long?" And aside from the friendly ribbing, it would be kind of nice to have a trusted pal he could brag about his sexy girlfriend to...

Shikamaru smirked. "Yeah, Ino. That'll be fine."

Ino curled back against the mattress, a dreamy smile on her face. This was what she had secretly wishing for, for what had seemed like ages (minus being tied up, of course.) At last everyone would know that Shikamaru was her boyfriend - her brainy, dangerous, sexy boyfriend, whom she couldn't help falling more in love with day by day. She could hardly wait to start bragging about him to Sakura. In fact, they had to get back to Konoha as soon as possible, and that meant wrapping up this Gaijo business posthaste. Life could start moving forward again, once this was out of the way...

"Listen, Shikamaru. While I was listening in on the meeting, I over- mmph?"

Shikamaru withdrew the fingers he had pressed to her mouth, and Ino gave him a puzzled look. "Er... don't you want to hear what they were talking about?"

"In a minute. We've got other business to take care of first."

Before Ino knew what was happening, Shikamaru reached down and pried her legs apart. Her heart began to beat faster as she watched him positioning himself, then it jumped wildly as he slipped his fingers inside and bent down low over her.

"Business?" Ino's cheeks flushed as her body resumed its grind beneath his intimate caress. "Weren't you the one insisting just now that we should keep our relationship from interfering with the mission?"

But Shikamaru only paused briefly on his downward decent to flash her a cheeky grin.

"Silly girl, haven't you figured it out? This is part of the mission."

~ The End ~

Author's Ending Note: As usual, thanks to all who read and reviewed this silly little story.