Shikamaru originally only thought of Ino as an annoying, loud, troublesome Sasuke fan girl that was the daughter of one of his dad's best friend. However, after years of training with her and holding her as she went unconscious, Shikamaru started to repsect Ino, even admire her. Sure, she was one of the most troublesome women he'd ever met, but weren't all women troublesome? And her determination was limitless. One day during training, when Shikamaru was holding Ino as she practised her mind-transfer jutsu, he looked down, and for the first time noticed how beautiful she was. If only she'd put on a little more weight...

Contrary to what many people believe, Ino isn't a slut. She hasn't even had her first kiss yet. ("I'm saving it for that special someone", she'd always say.) Unfortunately, since she used to throw herself at Sasuke at every moment she could before he left, people got the wrong idea of her.

Ino was walking down the street after picking up some groceries since she was staying home alone. Her parents were both out on missions, so she was thinking of having a slumber party. She was planning on phoning everyone after she got home. I think there's a shortcut over thereā€¦ She turned down an ally, only to face a dead end. Ino shrugged and turned around to go back, but she bumped into someone much bigger than her, who was standing much to close for comfort. "Hey. You're that slut everyone's talking about, right? And you're a ninja too. So, how about you and me go do something somwhere?"

Ino was terrified. Even if she WAS a ninja, this man had a firm grip on her shoulder and was much stronger than her. Ino took in a big breathe and said "I'm sorry, I have to get home."

An even bigger man appeared behind the first. "Aww, the little mouse is scared! Don't worry baby, we'll take good care of you."

Ino struggled and broke free of the man's grasp, only to be shoved backwards so she hit a wall. "Get up," the first man ordered. When she didn't respond, he started kicking her. Hard.

Soon, both of the men were kicking her, and blocking her way out. Ino tried to control herself, but she couldn't help crying a little. This made the men smile and kick her even harder.

"Stop kicking her, you bastards!!" The men and Ino looked up in surprise. Shikamaru was standing in the opening of the ally, glaring at the men. "Don't you dare do anything to her!"

Ino was just as surprised as the men. Unfortunately, they just smiled more. "Oh, so the little slutty mouse has a boyfriend? How sweet! But now, you'll have to be killed." They obviously thought they could take Shikamaru, since he was almost half their sized and there were two of them, and only one of him. They must have forgotten he was a ninja, and a genius. "Ino's no slut, you bastards! She never will be!" Shikamaru yelled back.

Ino was scared. They would surely kill Shikamaru! He was only good at his shadow jutsu, what could he do? And why was he risking his life for her?

Shikamaru continued to glare at them, until the larger one kicked Ino again and she cried out in pain. Something changed in Shikamaru's eyes as he saw how much pain Ino was in, and how many bruises were on her body. "Jack-ass... You'll die for that!"

Shikamaru ran at the smaller one, and pulling out a kunai, he slashed the man's overly large stomach. The man doubled over in pain, but the large one wasn't quick to back down. He pinned Shikamaru against the wall with one hand, and started punching him with the other. Shikamaru struggled but the man was too strong; too big. Then suddenly the man stopped. He turned around and started kicking his friend. "Go, Shikmaru!" he said. Shikamaru understood what was happening, and as soon as the man came back to his senses, Shikamaru stabbed him with a kunai. When he was sure both men wouldn't be getting up anytime soon, Shikamaru dropped to his knees. "Troublesome..." He then remembered Ino and whipped around. She was unconscious. "Ino... Ino!" When she didn't respond, he went over to her and took her in his arms, like he had done so many times before. After a minute or two, she slowly opened her eyes. "Shika...?" She was obviously in more pain than he was, so he just put his finger over her lips and carried her, bridal style, back to her house.

They were both silent as Shikamaru carried her back. He managed to get her spare key from behind a bush without putting Ino down, and he opened the door. He walked up the stairs and placed her gently into the bathtub. He left, saying she should take a bath to relieve herself. "Why did you do it?" Ino called after him. He didn't answer.

By this point, Ino was very confused, but she did as he told her to, and undressed and took a long, hot bath. She slipped into some comfy pyjamas and look around for Shikamaru, hoping he hadn't left yet. She found him on her bed, fast asleep. "Silly boy... you should have at least bandaged your wounds."

Ino sighed as she gazed at the sleeping teenager, and then crawled onto the bed with him, curling into his chest. Right before she fell asleep, Ino realized she'd never felt as safe as when she was in his arms.

Shikamaru woke up first at dawn, from the sunlight streaming in from the window. He heard someone breathing softly and look down to see Ino asleep, huddled into his chest. Instead of waking her, he decided to let her sleep and smiled to himself. How nice this has all turned out...

A couple weeks later at Ino's sweet sixteen birthday party, she received an anonymously sent rose with a note. Ino blushed when she read it, because she had a pretty good idea of who sent it. She went off to find him, and when she did, they both shared their first kiss.

"I will always be here to protect you, no matter what. Happy Birthday, Ino.

I will always love you.