"Shikamaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaru!!" a loud annoying voice yelled behind him. Shikamaru sighed and turned around to face his old teammate. Her longer blond hair was up in her usual high ponytail and for some reason she had an odd smile on her face. Shikamaru just shrugged it off, only wanting to get to his destination.

"What do you want now Ino? I'm on my way to something and I would definitely prefer not to be late," he said. It was true; he refused to be late, even if it meant running away from his old teammate and pissing her off. Ino pissed off he could handle, but he refused to make Sakura mad. 'That is one girl you did not want to piss off', he thought with a small grin.

"Awww, but Shika-kun, we're old teammates," she said trying to flirt when she noticed his grin. Not that Shikamaru noticed of course. He was too busy thinking about his evening with Sakura.

"Ino, I don't want to be rude, but either walk and talk at the same time, or go home. I seriously don't want to be late for this," he said as he turned and continued walking down the street. Ino caught up with him, and wrapped her arms around his, holding tightly.

"So what's so important Shika-kun that you have to rush off and leave me all alone?" she asked with a smile. Shikamaru just stared off into the distance toward her house and smiled.

"My date with Sakura, Ino. Now, as I said. Is there something you wanted because I'd rather not be late," he told her as they continued to walk. Ino almost lost her footing when he said that. Thankfully for her Shikamaru was too absorbed in his thoughts to notice her anger.

'How dare billboard brow try to steal my man?! Damn her! Shikamaru is MINE!' Ino screamed in her head, trying to think of a way to make sure Shikamaru was hers. Ino contemplated just beating up Sakura, but that wasn't the best idea, since at Sakura's current level, she could pulverize Ino. Suddenly Ino got an idea as she saw Sakura walking toward her.

Shikamaru began to smile as he saw Sakura walking toward him. With his free arm he waived at her direction and gave her his signature smirk. She smiled back at him and sent a small glare of questioning at Ino, since she was hanging off of HER man. Last anyone had heard, Ino was supposedly with Genma.

"Hey Sakur-"Shikamaru started, when suddenly he was pulled down into a kiss by Ino. Shikamaru's eyes widened in realization. Of course, figures the one day he stops thinking about Ino's old stupid crush is his and Sakura's anniversary and she pulls something like this. Shikamaru pushed her away, but looking over at Sakura out of the corner of his eyes, he could see that the damage had already been done. Ino had managed to pull it off in a way that made it look like it was a normal action for the two of them.

As Sakura ran off, Shikamaru sank to his knees in disbelief. If he lost Sakura over this, he would probably kill Ino for this. Or at least put her in the hospital. Shikamaru caught a glimpse of Sakura's tears before she ran off. Everyone knew Ino had a crush on him. But everyone also knew he constantly turned her down. Ino just had to pull something dirty and underhanded like this.

"Shika," Ino said softly. Ino watched as a single tear ran down his cheek. She wanted so badly to brush it off, but she was frozen to the spot by the look of anguish on his face. It was pure torture for her to look at. Ino took a step back from him as he stood up. People in the street could even see the anger in his eyes and how he shook with it. But no matter what, he wouldn't hit her. No matter how much he wanted to just backhand the bitch in front of him that has possibly lost him the woman that meant everything to him, he refused to let in to anger.

"You fucking bitch," he said in a dark whisper. Shikamaru hardly ever cussed. Everyone around them was quiet and hoped that he would be able to control himself. Neji and Choji walked up towards them not realizing what had just happened. They froze when they heard him call her that. Their eyes widened, and even they feared for Ino.

"You absolute fucking bitch," he said again, this time a little louder. "How the hell could you do something like that to me?!" he yelled. Neji and Choji looked at each other. What the hell could Ino have done now?

"Shika, I'm sor-"Ino started.

"I don't give a shit if you're sorry!" he yelled at her. "That was fucking uncalled for! I've told you time and time again, I HAVE NO FEELINGS FOR YOU! I put up with your SHIT because you're my old teammate. That's the ONLY reason! You seriously think I want to hang around my girlfriend's rival who just happens to have a stupid crush on me because she thinks I'm the next best thing to SASUKE?" Neji took a step back and his eyes widened to the size of plates. No one had EVER seen Shikamaru this mad.

"I hate to sound like Sasuke, I seriously do, but you're annoying Ino! And damn it, if you have made me lose Sakura…Ino, I swear, you will have lost ANY shred of trust I had in you left as my old teammate. I love her Ino. But I don't think you even know the true meaning of that word, do you? I've been with her for a year, and this has been the best year of my entire life, and if you have just shot that down…." He trailed off as he spun on his foot and took off after Sakura. He only hoped that she would believe him.

Choji walked over to where Ino had sunk to her knees as Shikamaru was yelling at her. Neji calmly walked up behind him and they extended their hands to her to help her up.

"What the hell did you do Ino?" Choji asked her softly. He knew Shikamaru had been with Sakura, but not many people did. It wasn't something to two of them broadcasted, but still. Ino did know he was with someone. He knew of her crush, but to go this far….

"I kissed him. Right after I smirked at her, like I knew something she didn't. I never knew he cared so much," she said in a whisper. Choji and Neji stepped back from her like she had the plague.

"No wonder he called you a bitch," Neji muttered. "You truly didn't know that he loved her?" he asked. Ino shook her head. "It's just as well. As we all know, Sakura and I are good friends, and there are some days I have to drag her out of a conversation that doesn't involve Shikamaru. She loves him as much as he loves her. She loves him more than she ever loved Sasuke, and we all know how much she had loved him."

"I…. I didn't know," Ino muttered. Choji looked over at Neji.

"Didn't Shika say he was gunna propose to her over dinner tonight?" Choji asked him. Neji's eyes widened and he let out a small groan.

"Damn, I forgot about that. No small wonder he's so pissed at you Ino," Neji muttered. "Come on Choji. Lets go find out if we can fix this mess this dumb blonde has created." Choji nodded and the two of them ran off, hoping to catch up to Sakura and explain, unless Shika got there first and managed to convince her otherwise about dumping him.

"Sakura, wait!" Shikamaru called out as they entered the training ground's forest. Sakura wouldn't stop running. "Please Sakura!" he called again as they continued to run. Shikamaru could hear her crying as she ran and it broke his heart. He had to dodge a well thrown kunai chucked at his chest. If he hadn't been completely focused on her, he would have never seen it coming.

"Go away Shikamaru!" she yelled out in between sobs. How could he!? And on their year anniversary no less. How could she have been so stupid to fall in love with him, when he was only just playing her for Ino? She chucked another kunai at him, trying to get him to leave her alone in her misery.

"Damn it Sakura, just please hear me out!" Shikamaru yelled as he dodged her kunai. As they hit a clearing, he put on a burst of speed and ran in front of her, catching her in his arms. She struggled against his hold and tried to break free. Shikamaru still had a few tears running down his face.

"Shikamaru let go of me right now!" she sobbed out. Shikamaru felt as though his heart would split in two. He shook his head and just tightened his hold. He could hear her crying as she tried to get away from him.

"No Sakura. Please, just let me talk. Just let me explain," he said softly.

"Let you explain what!? Let you explain how long you've been cheating on me with Ino? Or let you explain how you thought that it was ok to drag me around on an emotional leash? Damn it Shikamaru, I fucking fell in love with you!" she yelled. Shikamaru froze in his hold. That was the first time, in their entire year that they had been together, she had told him that she loved him.

"Sakura…." He started, but she punched him in the stomach making him double over in pain.

"NO! I don't want to hear it Shikamaru! I thought you were better than that!" she yelled as she jumped a few feet away from him. Shikamaru sighed. Somehow he knew she wouldn't listen to him. Shikamaru reached into his pocket and took out a small green velvet box, and set it on the ground.

"Ok Sakura. I'm not going to fight with you. If you don't want to hear me out, I understand," he whispered as he stood up. Sakura tensed warily as she watched him stand up. Shikamaru turned his back on her, so she wouldn't see his tears. Through when he looked over his shoulder at her she could see them on his cheek plain as day.

"I was going to give you that as a present tonight. I had everything all planned out. I guess I just forgot to calculate Ino's stupid old crush into my thoughts. All I could see in my head was you. I didn't care about Ino. I never have, and I never will," he said softly as he looked at her over his shoulder, his hurt showing through his eyes. Shikamaru took off through the forest till he came across Choji and Neji.

"Hey guys," he said softly. "Did you need something?"

"Other than a chance to smash the blond bitches face in without anybody getting pissed nope," Neji muttered. Shikamaru gave a weak smile.

"Sorry, but that's my job now Neji. I'll see you guys later. Looks like I have to go cancel some reservations and stuff like that," Shikamaru said as he walked past them. Choji turned to Neji after Shikamaru was out of sight.

"This is officially bad. I wonder how Sakura is," he commented. Neji looked toward Shikamaru had just come from.

"I don't know, but I suggest we watch before we just jump down and try talk to her," he said softly. Choji nodded and the two of them took off towards her.

Sakura sank to her knees in front of the small box. Tears ran down her face as he had left. She could hear the anguish in his voice and he spoke to her. Sakura tentatively picked up the box and put it in her pocket. It hurt too much at the moment to even look at what it could be. After a while, she slowly got up and made her way towards her house. She never noticed the two figures watching her every move.

One week passed, then two, and neither of them had spoken. People around them both could sense the difference in the two shinobi and it worried them. Sakura acted as if nothing was wrong, but you could see the sadness that always haunted her eyes as she worked on her patients at the hospital.

Shikamaru on the other hand, didn't even bother hiding his depression. The Hokage herself had even come to him to ask why he wasn't showing up for work, or requesting any missions. Though the minute she saw him, she crushed him into a hug and asked what was wrong. His hair was down and raggedy and his eyes were puffy and slightly red, like he had been crying all night. His apartment was as clean as ever, but you could practically cut the sadness that permeated the room with a knife.

He told her of what had happened, and Tsunade began to understand. She had noticed the change in Sakura, but didn't press it, since she had still showed up for work and claimed she was fine. But Shikamaru's question stopped her thinking in its tracks.

"Do you know if she even opened the box that I left?" he asked softly, his eyes downcast towards the floor.

"What box Shikamaru?" Tsunade asked him gently.

"The box that had the ring I got her to propose to her with. I was going to ask her to marry me that night at dinner. But then Ino had to go and ruin everything, and Sakura wouldn't even listen to me. Hell, she even chucked a couple of kunai at me to try and get me to go away," he muttered.

"I'm sorry Shikamaru, but I have no clue if she did or didn't. I haven't seen her wearing one, but that doesn't mean much. Try and pull yourself together, ok? I'll give you another week, but then I want you to at least try and come back to work," she said gently. Shikamaru nodded and walked her to his door.

"Good bye Tsunade-sama," he said as she left. Tsunade nodded and made her way over to Sakura's house. It was Sakura's day off, and Tsunade figured she would probably be there moping, just like Shikamaru. Tsunade knocked on her door, and sure enough, Sakura answered, looking only a little bit better than Shikamaru.

"I don't know which one of you looks worse, Sakura. You or Shikamaru?" she said shaking her head.

"Tsunade, please don't talk about Shikamaru around me right now. Please?" Sakura said, fresh tears threatening to spill over. Tsunade sighed heavily and didn't even bother to go in and comfort the girl. This was one time she figured Sakura needed to be the grown up, and pay attention to her surroundings.

"Have you even looked at the box he left behind after you so rudely chucked deadly weapons at him trying to get him to go away from you?" Tsunade asked, slightly annoyed at her student. Sakura shook her head no. "Well maybe you should. And then you should go talk to Shikamaru." With that Tsunade left and went back to her office, hoping that Sakura would do as she had said.

Sakura walked into her bedroom and stood in front of her dresser, where the small box was located. She grabbed it and walked over to her bed and sat down on the edge before opening it. Scrolled on the top of the inside were the words "Marry me?" Sakura choked back a sob as she looked at the ring. It was white gold, and had a diamond in the center and two small emeralds on each side.

Sakura picked it up out of the box and cradled it in the palm of her hand. As she continued to stare at it, she saw something engraved along the inside of the band. It was the words "As you wish". It was a line from one of her favorite books, and Shikamaru knew that. She had told him about it, and he smiled at her. There were even a couple of times she could remember her asking if he could get something down for her in her apartment, because she couldn't reach it, and he gave her a small smirk and said those words and kissed her cheek, making her blush.

Sakura began to cry as she realized what a fool she had been. She should have just heard him out. How could she ever think that he would cheat on her, and then that night ask her to marry him? Shikamaru had even told her that he couldn't stand people who cheated on others. Sakura brushed her hair again, and tried to splash some water on her face to make the puffiness of her eyes go away. She grabbed her keys and the ring and made her way out of her apartment towards his, hoping he would be there to forgive her.

Shikamaru was asleep when she let herself in. They each had a copy of the key to their apartments, so it wasn't a problem. She walked quietly through his house back to his bedroom. She gasped softly as she looked at his sleeping form. His hair was a complete mess, and his cheeks were stained with dried tears that he had obviously not bothered wiping away. Sakura figured that he had cried himself to sleep.

She crept closer to his bed and realized that he wasn't wearing a shirt as he slept. Sitting down she cringed as she saw new scars on his arms that were obviously from his short nails. How he must have been in so much emotional pain to want to have physical pain to take it away. Shikamaru turned in his sleep towards her, and his face was set in sadness. Sakura began silently crying as he mumbled out her name.

"Shikamaru……." She whispered as the tears continued to flow. His hand reached out in his sleep and rested on the back of her head, tangling his fingers in her hair. Sakura leaned her head foreword against the side of the bed, and let him hold her like that in his sleep. Shikamaru continued to mumble her name in his sleep and it just added to her guilt.

"I love you," he mumbled softly. Sakura stiffened slightly as she looked up at him. "Please," he muttered, his face contorted in sadness. Sakura sat there and softly cried as he continued to sleep. Soon, she cried herself to sleep sitting there next to his bed, his fingers still threaded through her hair, trying to keep hold of her.

Several hours later, Shikamaru began to wake up. The first thing he realized was that his fingers were weaved through someone's hair, and it wasn't his own. Fully opening his eyes, he looked over to realize that Sakura had fallen asleep beside his bed. Shikamaru pulled away, thinking that he was still in his dream. But at his sudden movement, Sakura slowly opened her eyes.

"Shika," she said softly as she struggled to wake up. "I'm sorry. Tell me what it was you were going to tell me that day. I ran away from you, you tried to follow me, but I pushed you away. Please, tell me what you were going to tell me now," she mumbled sleepily.

"I'm sorry Sakura. I don't know what Ino's problem is. Well, actually I do, but still, I don't know why she did that even though she knew I had been with someone for almost a year," he said softly. Sakura nodded her head and continued to listen. "I was walking to meet up with you when she came up and grabbed me. We were just talking. True she was hanging on my arm, but I figured it was just typical Ino crap. The only thing that was on my mind was you. I barely even heard half the crap she said."

Shikamaru sighed heavily. "I don't know where that kiss even came from. I saw you and everything went blank except for you. Then the next thing I know, Ino's got her lips on me, and you're running away from me, tears streaming down your face. I'm sorry that my old teammate is such a bitch. Please don't leave me," he whispered. His eyes strayed to her hand that sat on the bed and noticed that she was wearing the ring.

"I'm sorry Shikamaru. I shouldn't have run like that. I should have just listened to you. I guess I was just so scared that I was going to have to go through another Sasuke heartbreak, only worse," Sakura mumbled into the sheets. Shikamaru chuckled softly, and gently pulled her into his bed and wrapped his arms around her.

"It's ok Sakura. I understand. Just please tell me if you forgive me for my idiot teammates stupid bitchyness," he said as he held her close.

"It's not your fault Ino's a crazy bitch. Well, if you weren't so damn smexy, we probably wouldn't have this problem," she joked. Shikamaru chuckled and kissed her cheek.

"Sure, let's just blame the problem on my good looks. That works every time," he joked back. They laughed softly together and for the moment everything seemed to be just fine. "So did you just put it on today?" he asked her softly. Sakura nodded.

"Tsunade stopped by and said I should look at it. You didn't send her over my way did you?" Sakura asked. Shikamaru chuckled and shook his head.

"No, but she probably went straight over to your house, after she just done dealing with me wondering why I wasn't showing up for anything…" he said softly. Sakura winced, knowing that the reason for that was probably her. "So since you're wearing it, can I take that as a yes……if you still want me," he asked in a whisper.

Sakura smiled and kissed his shoulder from where she laid in his arms. "Yes. Yes, I do still want you," she told him. Shikamaru could feel himself smiling bigger than he ever had in his entire life. Shikamaru bent his head down and kissed her softly.

"Thank you Sakura," he whispered against her lips before kissing her again. "You don't know how much it means to me, to know that you're not leaving me," he said in between kisses.

"I think I've got an idea," she joked softly as he continued to shower her with kisses. "I think I've got a pretty good idea……………"