Summary: She was not dumb; she just chose to be blind about it.

"Oh gosh, not that kind of denial again!" Sakura started rolling her eyes. "Are you that stupid not to see that he is in love with you?"

"I don't see or feel about anything special about us," Ino responded, obviously lying. "You are just too malicious, Sakura."

"Oh, as if I'm the only one that can see it, everyone can see it for heaven's sake," the medic rosette defended. "Give it up, you ugly pig!"

"For one last time, Shika doesn't love me," she said as if it was nothing. "We are best of friends, period. You guys are just misinterpreting things especially you, forehead!"

"Your 'best of friend' can fall in love with you, no?"

"Definitely not," she answered stubbornly. "He will never look at me that way – well at least not in this lifetime!"

"I freaking give up, I've had enough of you… for today," Sakura stood up. "I'm leaving for now because I have to go to Shishou's office but I am coming back for tomorrow to convince you again for the 41st time."

"Actually, it's 42nd," corrected Ino. "Did you forget how to count? You are convincing me that he loves me that way for 1 month, 1 week and 4 days now."

"Well, whatever," Sakura started walking away.

"Shika!" Ino brutally knocked on his door as she called him very loudly. "Open up, get off from your bed, you lazy asshole!

"I'm coming…" his voice indicated that he was still truly sleepy. "Troublesome woman."

He opened the door revealing Ino with an arched eyebrow. "Shika, did you say something…?"

"No, not at all," he stated, quite nervous. "Maybe it was just your imagination."

"I thought so," Ino smiled. "Okay, your mom told me to go here as usual and she told me to wake you up and bring this to you."

Ino handed him the fruit basket. "Your mom said you need more nutrients in your body, so you must eat a lot of fruits."

"Thanks," he accepted the fruits of basket with yawn. "Do you want to come inside?"

"Sure," Ino entered his apartment and sat on the couch.

"Do you want coffee?" he asked as he poured the hot water on the tea cup.

"Nope," she answered. "I'm good; I just ate breakfast at Ichiraku's ramen shop with Sai."

With Sai, eh? He thought, he was somewhat pissed. They were hanging out early in the morning?!

"Ouch!" the dark-haired boy screamed as he waved his hand. "It's hot! Man, what a drag."

"Shika, what's wrong?" Ino went to Shikamaru. "Did you get burn?"

"Sort of."

"Let me see," Ino held his somewhat burnt hand gently. "Jeez, what were you thinking? Weren't you paying attention?"

I was paying attention but I was just too jealous too concentrate, he answered her in his thought.

Shikamaru was looking at her flawless face, she was beautiful indeed. On the other hand, she was healing his burnt hand by her chakra. She was a medic-nin, remember? Thank goodness, the burnt was not anything serious.

"It is all good now," informed Ino. "Just pay attention next time."

She was about to let go of his hand but he was holding her hand tightly and that made her heart thumped like crazy.

He won't confess, will he? She thought nervously. This was one of the things she was utterly afraid of.

"I…" he started as he pulled her in a tight embrace. She didn't know what was the right thing to do at the current moment.

"Don't," Ino stopped him. "I don't want to hear you saying it. We are best friends along with Chouji. Nothing more, nothing less."

Nothing more…? That somewhat hurt him.

"…Why?" he inquired quietly. That was the question he wanted to ask her a long time ago. What were her reasons? Was he not good enough? He could protect her, and she even knew it. He was always with her especially at tough times.

"I am too good for you," Ino joked. "Just kidding. I am not going to lie; I know that you see me more than a teammate and a best friend ever since we were Genins. But I can't love you that way – well, I've been forcing myself not to love you that way but it didn't work," she sighed as she gloomily smiled. "If I go out with you and it didn't work out. I wouldn't just lose a boyfriend but also a best friend. Sure, we could be still friends after breaking up but everything wouldn't be the same anymore. I love you too much that I am so scared to lose you."

Shikamaru let go of her. She had a point and he was glad that her reason was completely reasonable. At least she saw him more than her best friend; that was enough for him. He was truly a simple and content man.

She heard someone knocked on her door. She knew who her visitor was this early. It was obviously Sakura; she was here again to convince her that Shikamaru was oh-so in love with her.

"Come in," Ino said. "It is open, hideous forehead."

Sakura entered. "Good morning, ugly pig!"

"Go ahead and tell me already the things you always tell me early in the morning," Ino inserted a frown.

"Shikamaru is madly in love with you since we were Genins," she explained. Sakura was already expecting what would be her best friend's answer. Of course, she was expecting her usual answer, that Ino would deny that he was in love with her and she was expecting that Ino would say that Sakura was just green-minded or malicious.

"I know," Ino answered the pink-haired lady in front of her.

"Are you too dumb not to see – WHAT DID YOU SAY?!" Sakura was shocked. She didn't expect to hear a different answer from her.

"I know it all along, I'm blond but definitely not dumb," Ino stated. "As you said, it is obvious. I'm not stupid… I just chose to be blind about his feelings for me."

"And why in hell would you do that?" Sakura inquired, obviously confused that.

"It's because I'm scared of losing him…"

A/N: Reviews and crticisms are so loved. :) Please point every grammatical error that I did. Sigh... I seriously need a beta-reader. :( I know it sucks that school is so starting but oh well, just enjoy it. :) ShikaIno is one of my top pairings. I so love this couple. :D Oh, and I made a poll, it's in my profile. Please vote. :)

Oh. This fanfic is for FairyTaleEndings, genuineme11, HanayakaXy and hellapretty08-- thanks for every support you guys give. This is also for ShikaIno and Ino fans!!