Summary: Just like honey, Yamanaka Ino is an acquired taste.

Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto.

Note: I requested Nara Shikamaru x Yamanaka Ino, on LJ thirty kisses. Then strangely, my request was accepted! I half expected the community leader to be like 'No, you suck seeing as you only joined LJ to ask that.'

But anyway...the point is that it was accepted. Although I have an L x Misa and Neji x Ino (it won the poll, thank you to all those twenty-two or so who voted) the LJ thirty kisses theme one comes first. Although the L x Misa is near finished.

So, here it goes – my attempt at the LJ thirty kisses for Shikamaru and Ino. This is also to be posted on my LiveJournal, so please do not threat those who are reading this on there!

So, get ready for Theme One: Look over here. :)


The Anyone

He knows.

He knows that she knows that he's staring at her, just like many other men do. But it isn't because she's pretty, or deadly, or anything they usually think. Usually she's comfortable with his stare, because it's his acknowledgement that she is not just Yamanaka Ino. She's not a nobody, somebody that no-one takes the time to look at, or even glance in the direction of. She never has been, and never will be a nobody.

Yamanaka Ino is a somebody.

She's a runner, a joking pretty-eyed fake rebel whose legs carry her in any direction whatsoever until she simply feels like resting to regain her energy. Yamanaka Ino is a somebody because people care about her, they love and adore her. He doesn't always understand why, and he's pretty sure she never expects him to. Because she is a somebody, a person worth knowing and he is most defiantly not.

But she's like honey. Yamanaka Ino is an acquired taste, overly sugary and too sweet. Ready to be there when she felt like it, but not any other times because she did not feel inclined to be. Therein laid the problem. During the times she did not feel like being kind, she was the cruellest and most vindictive person he had ever met. She knew it too, but never bothered to make the effort to be even just a little kinder. Because there were no rules saying that a somebody should be nice to a nobody.

Nara Shikamaru is a nobody.

He's the lowest of the low, the smart and not exceedingly attractive male. He seems the most unlikely person for her to care about, the most insignificant person for her to even bat an eyelid in the direction of or grace with the beauty of her unearthly stare. He's the one that's nothing like her, not handsome like she is gorgeous and not flawless like she is perfect. He's not good enough for her, because she's something different to everyone. It's almost like she's not human, because nobody should look that good in real life. Only people in magazines are supposed to look like that.

For a nobody like him, a somebody like her is almost untouchable.

Notice the almost, because that was how this all started.

I, Sai, have been told that I am a somebody.

Because she likes to play with me, just as I like to toy with her back and we'll each keep playing until one of us falls for the other. Then one of us won't return the same feelings, and one of us will be broken. But she doesn't seem to mind, because she knows how it feels to lose and do it badly but still manage to pick herself back up again. She knows that I can't even feel emotion to begin with. Her eyes are glued to me half of the time like the eyes of others are glued to her, and I'm pretty sure that I know why. Sasuke was a somebody, and I've been told that I look like him a fair deal.

It would be logical if she had liked Sasuke. He was a somebody and so was she. They were good-looking, graceful, and powerful because you would bend to their will if it meant you could be like them. They were simply both popular, really. That was all it came down to, and in the end she hadn't been good enough for him because he didn't desire the same power she had. He desired something more carnal, the sheet instinct of cruelty and knowing that he could inflict pain. That he could kill, primitive as it was.

But personally, I don't think that either of them are all that great. Sure, Sasuke is powerful just as he wanted to be. Sure, Ino plays her mind games as she pleases. But with Sasuke, his power has no purpose. He can kill his brother, but it will only make him all the more a wander and even more the little lost child he always was. Ino can always play her mind games, but eventually the people she plays them with won't be so willing to participate. You see, adults can play games just as children can. But it's no fun if they can't get anyone to play along with them. I'm almost certain that she will end up losing at some point even if they do, because I know what she's like.

For a somebody, she sure is fickle. All it takes is a gentle push in the direction you want her to go in, and she'll follow it unquestioningly. Because no, she would never suspect anyone among her friends to try and hurt her. That would be unthinkable, silly, insulting – it would be just what Sakura had done, choosing Sasuke over her. She simply would not allow herself to think that something like that could happen again. So to me, although she's a somebody she's stupid. She needs to learn when not to fall. So does a certain nobody.

He hates me. He hates me for being a somebody, for being the one she adores. The apple of her eye that she dotes over, the person who she'll latch on to in the hope of a compliment or two being thrown her way. She loves attention, and he's not the one who ever gives her it. She thrives off of it, it makes her happy. Or it looks like it does, anyway.

So on one day, not one in particular I had decided to ask him.

"Do you hate me?" I had asked, and my blank expression seemed to unnerve him due to the fact that I was asking such a blunt question. He had been training with her that day, and scratches were lining his skin where she had thought it important to use brute force at some points. His vest was ripped in several places too, but at least it had stopped him from being dealt the worst of her blows. Though he didn't seem to think of it that way.

Training with her appeared to take tolerance, so much tolerance that it could be considered an art. Much like my own paintings and drawings, carefully planned and executed to an excellent calibre. But just like my own paintings and drawings, I could see flaws in it. She was vicious, bent on winning. Yamanaka Ino did not take kindly to losing, even in a fight that she knew could not possibly be fatal. Infact, I believe she hates even the idea of losing.

"No, Sai. I don't hate you." Is what he told me, and he sounded uncertain about it. His eyes had looked to his blonde team mate, complimenting a bashful-looking third member of their team in one of her nicer moments. I gathered the idea she was running on simply from the way her eyes shifted to mine and a menacing grin grew to go with it when she though I had looked away in discomfort. Give the impression that you're always available, even if for them you are unobtainable. Even if you know that you're too good for them. It makes something seem good in their lives. That is, until you turn them down. Did she have no sense of morality or decency whatsoever?

Although he told me he didn't hate me that day, I was pretty sure he wanted to hate me. Or if he was not capable of that, he wanted to hate her. She would treat him just like she treated their friend Chouji. She would be perfectly adorable, wind him around her little finger until he bowed to her every whim like a well-trained dog. He wanted to, he really did. You could tell it a mile off.

But he couldn't bring himself to. He simply could not bring himself to loathe the seductive, wily creature that is Yamanaka Ino. I know why, too. Because although she is the way she is, spoilt and sadistic he's known her since they were both young and he's long grown used to it. Or so he likes to tell himself, I've heard the rumours.

But he still sat across the bar from me and her one night later that week, staring at me with disgust and her with some sort of unreadable expression I'm not sure that he even knows what emotion he wants to portray with.

Yes, he wants to hate me. He wants to hate me for being a somebody.

But at the same time, his eyes were pleading to both of us. It gave away every vague ebullition of anger and hurt that he wanted to feel, he was asking me to ask her and her to just do it. He wanted me to tell her to look over there, give one look in his direction. It didn't appear that she had noticed it yet, but sooner or later she would, I thought bitterly.

She knows that sense of desperation, the thought that she has a lot to outdo and even more to prove. So although just for that one night I wanted to unravel the rest of the mystery that Yamanaka Ino is, I couldn't stop myself from glancing at him in pity. I knew what he was thinking.

Look over here, Ino. Just one look to show that you actually care about me, that I'm not just another one of your game pieces.

Yes, I had thought with an air of what was almost contempt, that's what he's thinking. She always boasted about the ability of being able to read the minds of her team members to the hag, but it did not seem she could do it as well as she thought. But perhaps I was wrong, I remember wondering, perhaps she does know his name and perhaps because he is her team mate it is something more because she's already looked around in the time I've been mentally debating this issue. A small smile was on his face, and he hid the smug thing away. He knew it was better that she approached him and not the other way around. The hair on the nape of my neck was still sticking up on end of its own accord, my hands aching and mind telling me to find a way to get rid of the nobody but I ignored it. I didn't really care about what Yamanaka Ino did.

Her eyes had met his, and all of a sudden it began to look that the entire time she had been sitting there she had been wishing for something that's been missing all along. It looks like she had been waiting for him, waiting to ask him to stay by her side. At least for that night. But even so a piece of me still aches, and although I still don't understand why I felt like that night wasn't going to be a night when some things I used to call dreams come true.

"Hey, Shika! Come and join us, eh?" She called out, the loud decibel count of her voice stinging my ears but that's not what bothered me. What bothered me was that he had following her instructions, coming over and taking the seat by her other side. She had been sitting in between us two, looking odd and out of place between two men but she doesn't seem to care. She likes to be different, because if that little piece of different becomes a trend then she's the would-be fashionista responsible for it. Making her seem like the village expert of the clothes department, not just the vanity one.

I didn't think I had ever felt like that before. Perhaps this is envy or jealousy, but I can honestly say I feel more hostile towards Shikamaru than any civilised man should ever feel to another – it was my strongest thought of the evening so far - especially just because he had just sat on the other side of the woman who was trying to carry a conversation with me before he had turnt up and everything had changed without me immediately sensing or seeing it.

So just for that moment, I had decided to let Shikamaru follow through with his reckless dream that seemed to be tearing me up inside. That whole time I'd been so innocent in the entire situation, so why did it bother me what she done? It was her life; she could live it the way she pleased. But even so, it had felt sickeningly wrong to close my eyes because in that split second I did something could happen. Then I had remembered that book I read some time ago before that.

All that time I had supposedly been a somebody and I didn't even know the rules.

I had made it seem like for this entire night that I had nothing to hide, when the very thing I knew I did need to was right in front of me in plain sight. I really did have emotions, dormant as they were. Her games had woken them up, and played with them. All the while when I thought she'd just end up hurting and breaking herself like some kind of porcelain doll, because I thought that I had no emotions for her to play with.

But in reality, her games had worked perfectly and I'd been ensnared in her web of faked charms. Hung out, ready to be taken off and carved into another wooden doll for her toy box. Of course, there was that side to her that I much preferred that I'd seen her use around him before. The natural Ino, who laughed and joked around without any worries about her looks and who was always fairly argumentative. The real Ino was stubborn and bratty, but not to an extreme extent that a not even a single good thing could be said about her.

Then all of a sudden, she had been looking at him. Paying him attention, making sure he was okay. Making sure that he was fine, that with him everything was just perfectly wonderful and dandy. How long has she known him now? Since they were children? Their parents were close friends. I had frowned, and she still did not look around at me in an attempt to offer some mild form of comfort or even ask why the scowl was marring my usually blank face so violently. Then with some disgusted horror, I had found myself thinking it.

Look over here, Ino. He's a nobody, I'm a somebody. Why do you care more about him than you do about me? Show me that you actually care, that to you I'm not just another figurine you bought to play with simply because you were bored and wanted a new toy. Prove it, Ino. Go ahead. All you have to do is look over here.

I could feel a roar like that of a lion who had lost they prey it had been stalking for hours, angry and agitated rising in my throat although it did not emit. Whilst they just sat there, now barely seeing that I existed. It made no sense. Why did I care what she done, this ignorant girl who chose looks over strength? This stupid, insignificant moron that seemed to care for her – why did I care what they done together?

Maybe I was terrified to even think why I now know it is.

"Sai, are you there? You look spaced out; maybe you should go home and get some rest." The last sort-of question sounded slightly more like a barked out order from a warlord, demanding although she probably meant it in my best interest. I couldn't bring myself to see it that way. It felt almost too convenient hearing those words, like she wanted to get rid of me. She wanted me gone.

You don't even want to meet my eyes, do you?

It was almost true, though probably for not the same reasons that I was so focused on that night. Her eyelids were drooping, she wanted to go home and get some rest. It was just an excuse at the time for her to go home and sleep, but make it look like she wasn't the tired one. Because it would never befit her to look tired, that was what people who were not so pretty done. Going without sleep would not only make her even more tired, it would give her dark bags under her eyes. But at the time, I did not see it like that. I thought that she was trying to get rid of me to spend more time with Shikamaru. Of all the evening, then came my most presumptuous and my greatest mistake of the entire train of thoughts that had ensued since Shikamaru had joined us.

"You don't like me, because I'm not really a somebody." I had said. She had looked at me as blankly as I looked at them everyday, probably confused. At the time I had thought she was simply too stunned to know how to reply.

"Sai, what are you on about?" She had asked, her cobalt blue eyes widening and her eyebrows both raising in unison to give the look of unknowing innocence that she had perfected too well for my own liking even now.

"I'm not like Sasuke. He was a somebody." Then I had left them sitting there, staring at my retreating back and probably wondering what in the hell exactly was going on. But that wasn't even the worst part of it because I know what had happened when I had finally but quietly stormed out for some unexplainable reason.

He was staring at her, and he knew.

He knew that she knew that he was staring at her.

Now, he still knows.

He still knows that he's staring at her, and that she knows that he's staring. She still knows that other men stare, and she still knows that his stare is different from the others. But somehow, she can feel it just as well as I can. It isn't the same difference that we can both feel him staring at her because of, it is for a strange, foreign reason neither of us know.

Yamanaka Ino is still a somebody.

She's still a runner, a joking pretty-eyed fake rebel whose legs carry her in any direction whatsoever until she simply feels like resting to regain her energy. Yamanaka Ino is still a somebody because people care about her, they love and adore her. He still doesn't always understand why, and he's pretty sure she never expects him to. Because she is still a somebody, a person worth knowing and he is most defiantly not.

But she's still like honey. An acquired taste. But now, she's even stickier and sickly sweet. Even more difficult to handle, she's somebody you still have to be careful with. She's still the most vindictive person I've ever met, and even after thinking all this over in such a short few seconds of my time that seemed like hours in my head. Because there are still no rules saying that a somebody should be nice to a nobody.

Nara Shikamaru is still a nobody.

But that doesn't seem to matter to her, and I suppose it never really did. I was just too ignorant (like she still sometimes is) to read between the lines and see what they were really like, and what the are still like now. He's still the one that's nothing like her, not handsome like she is gorgeous and not flawless like she is perfect. He's still not good enough for her (to me anyway), because she's still something different to everyone. It's still almost like she's not human, because nobody should look that good in real life. Still, only people in magazines are supposed to look like that.

I can guess what you think I'm going to put next. You think I'm going to put 'Still, for a nobody like him, a somebody like her is almost untouchable.' But you would be incorrect to make that presumption.

Yes, he still knows that other men stare. I'm one of them. I stare in jealousy because his stare is different from the others, just as mine is. She felt the change of his, and she will never see mine because whenever she decides to look over here at Sai, all by himself, sitting on the park bench all alone like a nobody instead of a somebody she won't see me. She'll see a young man, burning with rage that the guy who she is currently sitting on the lap of is not him.

She won't see the somebody that she used to think I was, when I called her Miss Beautiful and she thought it was adorable. She'll see a nobody, just another face in the crowd of people who are forever staring at her Goddess-like face and body but will never be able to come close to touching it like Shikamaru is right now. It almost makes me sick. But I make myself sick too, because by now I know that the terms somebody and nobody mean absolutely nothing whatsoever and it was really just that listening to the conversations of those little gossiping and backstabbing girls that hung around at the ramen stall in hope of something interesting happening when I couldn't feel anything that had made me this way. Or so I like to think.

Because with Ino, there is no such thing as being a somebody or a nobody, there never was and there never would be. To her, Shikamaru was one of the most precious things in her life. He wasn't just there due to fate, because so many people could use the word fate and to her there was no such thing. He wasn't just a guy she wanted to date because he was 'cute' or because he had far more money than he actually needed.

Shikamaru was now the one she was in love with, the one who was allowed to stare at her in that different (loving) way because she loved him too. To her, he was a necessity. He was like oxygen or water, going too long without them would affect her badly. Even lead to her death, infact. Too bad I never realised earlier, that I was too terrified to admit to myself the true reason I wanted to be a somebody just like I thought she was. The sole reason I thought she only saw him as a team mate or friend, nothing more.

Because just like Shikamaru, I love her.

Go ahead, laugh. I dare you. I deserve it. Each and every chuckle that rises from your throat to erupt, I deserve. Because I was stupid and childish and although I'm still eighteen years young I was still younger and very much more foolish than I am now.

He's kissing her again.

Me? I'm just sitting here on the bench, still envious. Still wanting to be him. So selfish that it makes me sick to my stomach, really.

But Shikamaru is kissing Ino.

A nobody is kissing a somebody.

So I'm wishing that she'll look over here, just like she looked at Shikamaru in the bar when she invited him over. It was that night that he asked her to be his girlfriend, after all. Three years now, was it? Three years I had watched them do this, over and over until it felt like I could barely stand it any more. What makes it even worse is that I never realised all along that there was never a difference.

Making me neither a nobody nor a somebody.

Making me just Sai.

Just Sai, who wants to be anyone.

Anyone she'll look over here at.

Anyone but me.

I brutalised Sai's character for the second time in my fandom writing – first in Kaiga Kanojono, and now this. I should feel bad, but the strange thing is this. I do not. He needs to get some emotions really quick, or he will never see how awesome he is!

Reviews are loved. :)