Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto.
They've always been good enough of friends, and things haven't changed much over the years. Their friendship that is, other things have happened. The death of Sasuke Uchiha still weighed heavily on all their minds. But that was years ago. Yep, good friends. So how can he tell one of his best friends…that he's in love with his girlfriend?
Unheard of. He shouldn't even like that girl, she's loud and obnoxious. Ridiculously strong, and did he mention loud. But she has a big heart and is fiercely loyal. Not that his own girlfriend wasn't…just…
"What ya thinking about Shikamaru?" asked Naruto, slopping up some ramen.
Shikamaru released a held in breath, "Ino."
"Oh! How ya guys been?" he smiled.
"Alright I guess, you and Sakura?"
"Just great! I still can't believe I got her to go out with me!"
"Yeah, women can be a real drag." muttered the lazy ninja.
But he didn't think Sakura as being troublesome. Okay, maybe she was, but not as troublesome as Ino.
"Hi guys!" a girl with long pink locks wrapped her arms around Naruto's neck, giving a kiss on his cheek.
"Sakura! Want a bowl of ramen!"
"That's okay Naruto, I'm not hungry right now." she smiled at him, taking a seat next to him.
All Shikamaru could do was frown at the 'happy couple', and try to inconspicuously stare at the medic nin. She's beautiful. So is Ino. But Sakura…he's liked her for so long. He liked Ino too, but…the chemistry just wasn't the same as with Sakura. He could actually have an intelligent conversation with the cherry blossom, with Ino, it just wasn't the same.
"How have you been Shikamaru?" came the soft sultry voice.
He looked into her eyes, "Hokage wants me to teach a gennin squad, but it's far too troublesome."
"Really! You should do it, you'd be a great sensei Shikamaru! As long as you don't fall asleep during training!" she chuckled.
Shikamaru smirked at this, while Sakura and Naruto laughed at his lazy habits.
"Man, what a drag."
"So, where's Ino-Pig?"
"Flower shop I guess."
"Hmm…well, I'm going to go see her. I'll see you later guys."
Should I? "Wait Sakura, I'll walk with you." said Shikamaru standing with her.
"Okay, bye Naruto!" she said as he pulled her into a hug and a quick peck.
Shikamaru looked away, he could barely stand seeing them together. It shouldn't be like this, he shouldn't feel this way for her, she's taken. And worse yet, she's with Naruto! His friend. He shook his head and walked out the door. Ino Ino Ino! Think of the pretty blonde HE'S with. He knew being with either Ino or Sakura meant not having an average leisure life like he always wanted. But he knew with Sakura, it was well worth it.
"Ready Shikamaru?" she asked, linking her arm with his. He nodded and they were silent until just a few blocks from the flower stand. He asked himself over and over again why he chose to go with her, it's not like he wanted to see Ino.
"You've been really quiet Shika, more so than usual. Is everything okay?"
"Yeah," he stated, hand scratching the back of his head, "So, how's the hospital been lately?"
Stupid, he knew. But she responded anyway, "It's been great! Not too many shinobi have come in, so that's a good thing!"
"Yeah, things have been pretty peaceful around here."
"Right, hey, what did you get Ino for her birthday?"
"…" he sweat dropped, 'birthday?'
"Oh, don't tell me you forgot!? Really Shikamaru, she's your girlfriend!"
"Oh man, this is going to be so troublesome!" he frowned.
"Shikamaru…" she spoke so soft and low he barely heard her, "What's going on?"
"…Eh, nothing. Don't worry about it Sakura, everything's fine."
"I like to think we're friends Shikamaru. I'm not just friends with Ino, and I can tell something is bothering you. Which really has me worried because it's you. You never worry over anything."
What the hell was he supposed to say to that? Women were a pain, that's for sure.
"You're not happy." she whispered.
"I won't say anything to Ino." she said, while looking at the ground in front of her feet.
He stopped walking altogether, a few steps ahead of him she turned and slowly met his gaze.
They both recognized it. Longing, wanting, an aching need. And a strange familiarity. Almost a full minute they stared into each other's eyes. Her emerald green ones, and his…a dark brown gaze. She found such intelligence in those eyes, intelligence and security. He slowly closed his eyes and took small steps to reach her side.
"…Everything is fine, Sakura."
"I'm sorry, I shouldn't have said anything, please don't be angry."
He stopped walking again and looked down at her from the side, eyes searching hers, "You have nothing to apologize for, don't be troublesome. I just forgot her birthday is all, but I forget a lot of things."
"No you don't" again, a whisper.
"No. You don't forget things easily Shikamaru, don't lie."
He let out a deep sigh, "…Man, what a drag."
She laughed at him, and they resumed their walking. "Actually, I already picked up something for you to give to her." she smiled.
He completely halted his movement, didn't breath in, nor allow air to escape. How could she…just do that? For him? Was he that lazy that his girlfriend's best friend had to pick out a birthday gift for 'him' to give?
"They are some really cute hair barrettes, she will love them, don't worry Shika!"
"But why did you…"
"Huh? Oh, don't worry about it. See I had already bought her some new training attire, but when I saw these hair clips, I just had to get it. I got you covered, and don't worry about paying me back."
They finally reached the flower shop and entered in together. Ino's face lit up at the sight of her best friend, and she smiled softly at her boyfriend. Then a thought entered her mind, and she frowned. She hadn't seen Sakura smile like that in a while. Sure, she was happy with Naruto, but he was no Sasuke. Then her frown turned to a smirk, but neither was her own Shikamaru, the lazy man. At least Naruto had spunk, she secretly admired him for that.
"Hi Ino!" piped Sakura.
"Hey." came the slow draw.
"What are you two up to?" she asked smiling.
"…Eh," Shikamaru suddenly panicked, why?
"Oh, just walking together to come see you. Do you get off soon?" Sakura to the rescue, Shikamaru sighed to himself.
"Um…okay. Oh my gosh Sakura!"
"What?" she asked wide eyed.
"Your forehead is HUGE today!"
"Wha…?" Sakura winced while gathering her anger.
"INO!" yelled Shikamaru, "I can't wait for the two of you to stop this insult game, it's such a drag."
"Shika…Shikamaru?" said a concerned Ino.
"Shikamaru." Sakura stated in confusion.
"Man girls are troublesome. Both you girls are pretty, do you have to keep putting each other down, what a pain."
Sakura immediately lost all her anger, it was a childish game, but usually it was almost in fun between her and Ino. But her friend really caught her off guard today. And why did he stick up for her like that? Then she started thinking…he makes it sound like its in both our interests, but he really was just trying to stick up for me, he is a genius. She grinned.
"I forgot I have to meet with the Hokage for training, I'll catch you guys later." she rushed out the door. Leaving behind a worried Ino and a frowning Shikamaru.
Naruto finished off the last of fourth bowl of ramen. With a deep satisfied sigh, he leaned back in his chair, hands behind his head. After a few minutes, he kindly thanked the chef and made his way into the village streets. Walking by the flower shop owned by the Yamanaka's he heard faint crying from within. Curious, he walked in and found Ino crouched down by some lilies. He walked up to her and he could see her tear-stained face.
"Ino…what's wrong?" he asked quietly.
Her head shot up and looked up at him, into his deep blue eyes. Her own light blue orbs spilling with renewed tears. She stood up and threw herself onto his chest, clinging to the collar of the ever present orange jumpsuit. She sobbed loudly, wetting him through. He could feel her hot tears absorbing into his skin. With a deepening frown, he slowly placed comforting arms around her waist. She slowed in her tears and looked up at him.
"Please Ino, I can't help you if you don't tell me what's wrong."
"It's…it's nothing Naruto. I'm sorry." she said trying to pull away.
He tightened his grip on her, "Hey. When I see that you're crying, I know something's wrong."
"I just fell is all." she said looking down.
He moved his right hand to capture her chin, forcing her look into his eyes again. "I don't believe you."
"Oh Naruto. I screwed up is all.""Tell me."
"I got into a fight with Shikamaru." she admitted, "We didn't break up, but I know its headed that way."
"I know its not my business, but what did you guys fight about?"
"Naruto, can I ask you a question?" she laid her head against his chest, and he shifted his arms around her tightly.
"Of course Ino, what is it?"
"…Is…is this how Sakura feels when…you hold her? Safe? Is that what love is like? Shikamaru never holds me like this."
He paused, held his breath. She sounds so sad to him, and honestly, he never really held Sakura like this before. They only held hands, and kissed every once in a while. That was it. The weird thing was, it felt right to hold Ino this way, how would it feel to be with Sakura like this? He felt her start to pull away, and he instinctly pulled her closer to him.
"I don't know Ino, don't worry about it now. And I'm sure things will work out with you and Shikamaru. He's a really great guy." he could feel her nod.
He held her like another ten minutes or so, and finally they released each other. She didn't go into more details on the argument they had, but still Naruto stayed and talked with her a while longer. He even walked her home for the evening, giving her one last hug before going home himself. Hands in his pockets, he strolled the streets until he came to his apartment building. Where he came face to face with…
Shikamaru muttered to himself while sitting in his favorite spot, watching the clouds pass by above him. He sighed in a deep breath. That was a bad fight between him and Ino, maybe he should go apologize. It's not like him at all to get upset like that. Hell, he shouldn't even be concerned with it now, but here he was. Thinking of the two women who were such a pain in the ass.
To make matters worse, he didn't feel that bad about what was said. And, he completely forgot, but Ino's birthday is in a few days. How could he let that slip by him? But he knew Sakura's was in a few months? Man, but he really liked Sakura. He thought back to their argument.
Sakura had just left the flower shop, and Ino was fuming. But surprisingly, so was Shikamaru.
"What the hell was that?" she demanded, fist in air.
"I don't know, what the hell was that crap you said about Sakura?" he answered rather calmly.
"Why do you even care Shikamaru? We always throw insults at each other."
"Don't I know, because of Sasuke."
She gasped, "Maybe, but we're best friends. I don't get why it bothered you so damn much that I said that to her."
"She's a nice girl, and doesn't deserve to be treated like that."
"What about me Shikamaru? Or have you forgotten I'M your girlfriend!?" she yelled.
"Man, stop being such a drag! I don't like it when she talks to you like that either. But its obvious that you always start it."
"Kami Skikamaru, if you think so highly of her, why don't you just date her instead!"
"You would say that Ino, I'm too lazy for you…"
"This isn't going to work is it?" she said, trying to hold back tears.
"Not with you acting like this, it's troublesome."
"Kami! Everything with you is 'troublesome'! I can't take it! When you stand up for me like that? When will you look at me like you do Sakura? WHEN?"
"Sakura is just my friend, last I checked I was dating you."
"Could have fooled me."
"And to think you call her your best friend, Ino, well I give. I'll get my lazy ass out of here, so you can go on with your day. Talk to you later." he said, stalking out the door.
Was he so obvious that his girlfriend knew he had feelings for another? Not that he would ever act on them, he could never do that to Naruto. Other than Chouji, Naruto was his best friend. This is such a pain. And how did Sakura even know that he wasn't happy with Ino. But he'd stay with her, anything was better than that sand ninja girl who liked him for some damn reason. He felt shudders run down his spine at just the thought of her. He immediately let images of a smiling peaceful pink haired medic ninja take over. He closed his eyes, and gave a slight smirk and silently fell asleep.
She damn near bolted from the flower shop, tears evident in her eyes. She hadn't dared to cry since Sasuke died. She was supposed to be stronger now, and it's not like she hadn't heard that from Ino before. But, they way she did it, shocked her to her core. It was even more embarrassing to have it said in front of Shikamaru. For some reason, it was really really embarrassing for the kunoichi.
But he stuck up for her, the whole day was weird now. She thought maybe if she just spent some time with Naruto she'd feel better then. His cheery personality worked wonders for anyone who was under the weather. But maybe again, she should just go talk with Ino to make sure everything was okay between them still.
So soon, she found herself in front of the stand, only to find that Ino wasn't alone. Nope. Her own boyfriend, Naruto, held Ino-Pig tightly against him. Sakura gulped, and she couldn't watch any more. So she turned on her heel and sped off.
How could he? With her best friend!? No!
She panicked. She didn't know what to do, where to go, or even what to believe. Maybe it wasn't what she thought. But Naruto was holding onto her for dear life it seemed. And she, clung to him. She violently shook her head, it couldn't be that. It just couldn't! She would give Naruto the chance to tell her about it.
With that she head off to his apartment, to wait for him.
"Want to come up?"
"Sure." he nodded and unlocked the door for her to enter first, as he locked the door behind them.
"I got some fresh juice, like a cup?" he offered.
"Yeah, that would be nice Naruto."
He immediately went into the kitchen and poured them both a glass of the juice. He set it down on the small kitchenette table and they both sat there.
"So, anything interesting happen at the ramen shop after we left?"
"Uh…no actually." he said, hands on his head.
"Oh? I guess that's too bad."
"So how was your visit with Ino-chan?" he asked.
"Fine I suppose. I left early so she and Shikamaru could spend time together." 'so it's Ino-chan to him now?'
"Right, they probably needed some time together."
"What do you mean by that Naruto-kun?"
"Uh, just that," even he didn't know why he was keeping it to himself that he comforted Ino, "they don't really see a lot of each other. Shikamaru is always away on missions."
There was an awkward silence, as they both continued to sip at their juice. How had this come between them so suddenly? Did she love Naruto? Her heart was always for Sasuke, but he was dead. She always thought of Naruto as her friend, brother even. But things were fine, it felt good to have something solid in her life. And Naruto always made her feel better.
But what about Shikamaru? She could honestly say that he made her feel the same way. And she never thought of him as a brother in the past. He was intelligent, a little lazy, but he got the job done. An excellent strategist, and she had to admit, damn sexy. As most of the village's shinobi were. She came to adore his casual talk, and leisurely personality. And she loved those earrings of his.
"Well, if there's nothing else you wanted to talk with me about, I'll be going."
"Wait…Sakura. I…I'll see you tomorrow."
Sakura took a long look at Naruto before opening the door. He'd grown rather handsome over the years. His blonde locks were still choppy, but longer. His big blue eyes would make most girls swoon. His cute little whiskers on his face. His body was taller and very muscular. But he wasn't as tall or as built as Shikamaru. She didn't really care what their bodies looked like. Naruto's heart made him loveable. Shikamaru's head and heart made him loveable. Naruto wasn't stupid, but wasn't bright like Shikamaru by all means. She would not compare the two. They were each special in their own way. But she needed to sort out her problems on her own. Needed to figure out what she really felt for the lazy ninja.
She sighed at the click of the door behind her. He didn't tell her.
That night, four uneasy hearts never found sleep. As thoughts of the day's events unfolded. What the hell happened exactly? Everyone was happy. Each of them sorted through their thoughts but never came to a conclusion. Well, that's not true. Shikamaru did come to a conclusion. Many conclusions actually.
First, he and Ino would eventually settle and marry. Second, he could somehow convince Sakura that she loved him, and marry her. Third, he'd just end up all alone. He considered all available options, and decided on a particular plan of action.
So that morning, they all showered in their apartments, and had a light breakfast. Sakura went off with Tsunade for more training. While Ino met up with Chouji while he ate a huge meal and went to train. Naruto found himself looking for Kakashi for a spar. But gave up looking for him after a few hours, that's when he ran into a familiar face.
After training with Tsunade, Sakura was tired and was on her way home from leaving the Hokage Tower when a smooth voice called out to her.
"How was training?"
"Huh?" man he found that adorable. She looked beat, "Oh, hey Shikamaru."
He pushed off the wall and walked lazily towards her. "Wanna get a bite to eat?"
"Sure." she smiled and again she linked her arm with his, and walked on.
Neither noticed the slight blush on each other's cheeks.
"So…uh, I wanted to thank you. For what you did yesterday. I know that you stood up for me and…"
"Don't worry about it." he shrugged, "Although, Ino isn't too happy with me."
"I'm sorry." she said, looking at her feet.
He stopped walking, and spun her around to face him "Stop apologizing Sakura, you did nothing wrong."
She gulped at the warm look in his dark eyes. "Okay." She sounded meek.
"You know, I really need to talk with you. Mind if we delay lunch a little while?"
"MmHmm." she nodded.
He led her to his favorite cloud watching spot. They sat down and made eye contact every once in a while.
"Alright, so we got into a fight last night. Usual I know, girls being troublesome and all, but this time it was different."
"Different how Shikamaru?"
Man he liked the way his name sounded rolling off her tongue. "You remember our conversation yesterday afternoon, well, you were right in saying that I'm not happy. Not with her."
Of course, she thought. And he wanted her to break it off with Ino for him. So that he can go off and be with Temari from the Sand village. She couldn't blame him really. Temari was tall and beautiful. And a strategist like him. But the thought of them being together, and him wanting her to break things off for him, really pissed her off.
"I don't think its going to work out with me and Ino." he supplied.
"Fine, I'll do it." she said standing up, starting to walk away.
"Woah, what do you mean?" he stood up and grabbed her arm.
"I said I'll do it, let go of me before you get a face full of my fist!"
"What the hell are you talking about?"
She struggled under his grip on her wrist, "I'll end it with Ino for you, but this is pretty low."
"Hey, I'll break it off with Ino, I never asked you to do that."
"Whatever. But remember she is my best friend Shikamaru."
"Will you stop!" he yelled.
Now he didn't get angry that often, but with these troublesome women its becoming a usual occurrence. Out with it he decided.
He pulled her closer to him, their faces only inches apart, he noticed the wide look in her eyes.
"Tell me why you are angry? I thought you understood that I haven't been happy with Ino for a while now."
"I do understand that, but I just don't…just let me go. Go be with her."
"Be with who, Ino?"
"Temari." she all but whispered. Looking down.
He pulled her closer still, his mouth an inch from hers. Her chest flush against his, and his eyes staring deeply into hers.
"I don't want Temari. Isn't it obvious that I want you? What a pain, Sakura…"
She gasped, his breath hot on her face. A breeze wrapped around them, and his lips softly met hers. A spark. Both their eyes closed, and he moved his lips over hers, taking in the reeling feeling. Their lips parted and their tongues met and danced together in their mouths.
She tasted so sweet, better than he could have ever imagined. He was finally getting a taste of the cherry blossom he longed for.
His mouth was just like him, he made all the right moves. His taste was carefree, and wild. She relished in the feeling of him against her. It felt right.
Both parted for air, and to judge the other's reaction.
He pulled away from her slightly, taking a step back. But kept his hands around her, "I'm sorry."
"I don't know what to do." she admitted.
"Whatever you decide, I'll go along with. But, I had to let you know how I felt about you. I've thought about all the repercussions. But damn it all, I wanted a chance with you. But seeing the look on your face now. Sakura, I'm sorry I made you do this to Naruto."
"Naruto." she repeated again. "I need time."
He nodded and let go, and he watched her walk away. With a sigh, and shoulders now shrugged, he lay down to watch the skies. Only to find it's going to rain soon.
"What a drag."
The rain started to pour over Konoha, soaking the villagers and ninja's alike. Naruto was stuck at his favorite ramen shop, after he indulged on three bowls of pork ramen. Wondering to himself why he didn't tell Sakura about what happened with Ino. It's not like it was something major, and really he thought that Ino deserved her privacy. But Sakura was her best friend, and he himself shouldn't keep stuff from his girlfriend. Then the thought of how it felt to have Ino in his arms, to have her head on his shoulders.
He took a deep sigh sunk in his shoulders. He never ever felt anything towards any girl besides Sakura. And now that he had her. He let a small smile to himself, but it wasn't like what he thought it would be. They never actually talked. But they were still a new couple, and they just needed some time to adjust from just being friends to being romantic.
The blonde haired blue eyed ninja looked up from his lone spot, and was met with deep aqua blue eyes.
Said girl just stood there, she was on her way home from training that morning with Chouji, Shikamaru was no where to be found, when the rain started pouring. She ducked into the first shop for cover, and was surprised to see only Naruto there. Well, she should have guessed really, it was his favorite ramen shop. She just didn't realize that when she came in.
He took in her appearance, she was soaked head to toe from the rain. He couldn't help but notice her rain soaked skin, her long blonde hair sticking to her face. The purple training wear clinging to her every curve. He should not be having these thoughts. Then the shivering, she was cold, and he couldn't help but notice the hardened peaks of her breasts.
"Uh…Ino, come over here, you're freezing. Would you like a bowl of ramen? It'll warm you up a little."
"I'll buy it for you, don't worry."
"Th..thanks N..Naruto." Kami, she sounded like Hinata.
So they ordered her a bowl and they chatted fondly while she slowly ate. And indeed, her body warmed up. Her hair was even starting to dry. And the result amazed Naruto. For he'd never ever seen it this way before.
"Ino, I didn't know you're hair was curly."
"Yeah, it does that sometimes. I don't have my brush on me, otherwise, I could straighten it out."
"I like it, it looks nice like that."
"Oh, well. Thank you Naruto."
"How are you feeling today? Have you talked with Shikamaru?"
"No, he wasn't at training today. But I've been thinking, I don't think that I. I just don't think I'm happy with him. We're just friends you know. We tried to make things work, but, it's hard to overcome just being friends. I probably sound stupid."
"Actually you don't."
Ino noticed how Naruto's shoulders sank lower, and the far away look in his eyes. Could he be feeling the same with Sakura? No way, he's liked her for so long. But…look at him. He looks almost sad.
"Hey thanks again Naruto, for talking with me yesterday. I usually talk about that stuff with Sakura. But, after seeing them together like that, I don't know. I just felt…"
"What do you mean seeing them together like that? Tell me Ino."
"Oh, Naruto, don't take it the wrong way. They weren't doing anything like that!" she exclaimed, waving her arms to ward it off.
"What do you mean then? Obviously something happened to make you upset."
Her shoulders sank this time, she felt so horrible. "Naruto…it was all my fault. They came in all happy, and I haven't seen either one of them laughing like that for so long. Especially Sakura, but don't get me wrong. She's happy with you, oh no. Forget I said anything."
"Ino, please talk to me." he said, placing his hand over hers.
The slight contact sent a spark through both of them, what was this happening?
"Uh…I think I'm just insecure about our relationship. And…I'm sorry Naruto, but they looked like…"
"Yeah, go on."
"Like they were supposed to be…"
"With each other?" he finished.
She nodded, "But it was just the way I felt yesterday. Hey, don't let my thoughts put you down Naruto. I'm so sorry for even dragging you into this."
"No, it's okay Ino." he assured her, by moving closer and putting his arm around her shoulders.
She smiled up at him, and leaned into his warmth. She felt so safe, so protected in his arms. Now she just felt like crap. How could she explain this to him? And Kami, this was Naruto! The man was so in love with Sakura, she hoped she didn't just strain things between them because of her own insecure thoughts. She frowned. Then teared up. How could she do this to her best friend?
"Ino, what's wrong?"
"I'm so sorry I dragged you into this!" she cried into his chest.
"Ino…please. It's alright." he soothed.
"How can you say that Naruto! I just…I don't want to come between you and Sakura. I didn't mean it the way it came out and…" she choked.
He shushed her again and he laid down his money. He used his speed to get them to his apartment, barely getting wet from the drenching rain. He hurried them both inside, Ino still sobbing into his chest. He set them both down on his futon and held her. He knew this was what she needed. And Sakura couldn't be the on to do it for her. Well, she was his friend too.
He kept thinking about what Ino had said. It was true, even he wasn't as dumb as everyone thought. He knew Sakura was still upset, and not the happy girl she once was. But he was so excited to finally have her to himself, he didn't notice it right away. It was plain though, now more than ever. And he questioned if he was really so in love with Sakura, like he thought he was. Then again, it sure felt nice to have Ino here in his arms. He barely knew her, but it felt right.
"Naruto?" Ino finally released herself from Naruto's tear-soaked shirt, "Why?"
"Why? What do you mean Ino-chan?" she closed her eyes, and savored her name on his lips. These feelings were wrong.
"Why are you…doing this for me?" she asked, tearing up again.
He pulled her closer to him, placing her head under his chin, "Because Ino, this is what you need. Someone to listen to you, and to support you. No matter what. I can be that for you, believe it."
He leaned down, and grabbed her chin in his hand. Then moved his palm over her cheek, looking into her pale blue eyes. He tilted his head down, and softly touched his lips with hers. It was a slow testing kiss, and both found the fire there. A silent promise of what could be. He pulled away slightly, gazing down into her depths.
"I…I do believe. But…"
"Don't worry about it Ino. I know."
"You do? But I don't even…"
"SShhh…try to rest Ino-chan. You'll feel better if you get some sleep."
She was thoroughly confused, what were they talking about again? She frowned, but took his advice, and let her heavy eyes close. She was fast sleep within minutes, while Naruto held her body close to his, giving her his warmth. He knew there would be hell to pay if Sakura would see them like this. He knew what he had to do. For both their sakes.
She made her decision, and she hadn't even seen Naruto for several days now. He was on a mission with Kiba and Neji. The moment she decided she ran to his house, and knocked loudly.
He flung the door open, and was surprised to find the kunoichi of his affection attached to his chest. He laughed slowly and wrapped warms arms around her, and brought her up for a kiss. Passion, pure and simple. Exploded between them. He slammed the door shut behind them, and pushed her against it, leaning his weight onto her, letting his instant hardness press against her.
"Are you sure?" he breathed out. Pulling away to look into her emerald eyes.
"I'll take care of it."
"We need to do this together."
They formed a plan and gave another kiss before she left.
Little did they know that other plans were also being made.
He came to visit her when he returned from his mission, and somehow, he wasn't quite sure, but they ended up on her sleeping futon, making out full on. His hands roaming her every curve, and her mouth discovering every muscle he bestowed. He halted, they needed to slow things down, before it got too out of hand. They still had get it over with the others.
It was decided then, he made plans with everyone involved, and they met at a small waterfall just inside the city gates.
The four faced each other, Naruto and Sakura faced each other, while Shikamaru and Ino faced one another. Sitting in a + shape, things were quiet for some time. Until a certain blonde couldn't stand it anymore.
"Look, I'm sorry to call us together like this. But." Naruto started.
"There's something I need to say…" whispered Sakura.
"I need to talk with you Ino." Shikamaru looked at his girlfriend.
"And I you." she answered.
Again silence, this was so awkward. Naruto finally broke his intense gaze with Sakura, and he turned to Shikamaru, "My friend, I'm sorry."
Shikamaru gave Naruto an odd look, of all the people to apologize, it should not be Naruto. If anything…"No, I should be the one who's sorry." he muttered.
"Sakura, I…I didn't mean for this to happen." a teary Ino said. She never remembered being this emotional before.
"What do you mean Ino? Do…do you already know then?" she asked.
The four friends looked around, Naruto held his gaze finally with Ino. He wished to hold her hand, but knew it would be uncomfortable if he did so.
Shikamaru wished to gather Sakura in his lap and kiss her, she looked so beautiful in the sunset, the waterfall crashing down behind her.
Ino saw the longing in Naruto's eyes, and she knew her own gaze matched his. This was going to ruin her friendship with Sakura, over a guy, again. But this. This was real, this was…so different from before.
"Shikamaru," Naruto never broke his gaze with Ino. And he finally grabbed her hand, "I'm sorry, but I've fallen in love with Ino. Sakura, I'm so sorry." he finally spared her a glance.
"What?" she mumbled, shocked beyond belief. She knew that he hugged her that one day, but…in love?
"Ino?" asked a stunned Shikamaru.
"I'm sorry Shika, I am. But…"
"I love Sakura." he stated.
"What?" said Naruto, his grip tightened on Ino's hand, as they stared at their exes.
Shikamaru placed his hand over Sakura's, "It just happened. But, I've liked Sakura for a long time now. I'm sorry if I hurt you Ino, this is so very troublesome."
Sakura laughed, and Ino sighed.
They went back to staring at each other, talk about awkward.
"So…hehe," Naruto used his other hand to scratch the back of his head, "This is a little weird, huh?"
"A little, and nothing but a drag." muttered Shikamaru.
"Are we…still friends then?" asked Ino.
"I don't know? I mean technically, we all just broke up with each other." mused Sakura.
"To go out with the other's ex." said a slightly confused Naruto.
"Well, we need to determine if anyone of us have hurt feelings over the whole thing." Shikamaru concluded.
"I'm fine. Just worried that our friendship will be over again." said Sakura.
"I was worried about the same thing." said Ino.
"Me too, Naruto, you're one of my best friends." drawled out Shikamaru.
"And you my troublesome lazy friend, are one of mine." smiled Naruto.
Staring again. Each taking turns staring at the other.
"So Sakura, are you angry with me?" asked Naruto.
"Ino?" Shikamaru asked the same.
The two girls looked at each other, and both smirked.
Together they launched themselves into the laps of their loves and kissed them full on the mouth. That was one way to get over the awkwardness.
Eventually they all laughed and decided they were all still friends. Together, the four people lay, together in their lovers arms. Laughing, and kissing and teasing each other the rest of the evening.
They each enjoyed spending their time with Shikamaru's past time, as clouds roll by.
A/N: Alright, so this is my first Naruto fanfic, sorry if its really OOC. Thanks for taking out the time to read it!