Author's Note: This is my first Naruto fanfic, and of course, it's a Shika/Ino. This is a bunch of short scenes following the theme of "10 times" but in a loose story format. I might do this sort of thing again with something else; we'll see. So expect 11 chapters. Enjoy!

Ten Times Shikamaru Though about Kissing Ino
(and the one time he did)

Chapter 1
Her Departure

Ino looked back at him and smiled flatly, like she was hiding all her worries behind a mask and if that smile fell there would be no stopping the tears. They stood at the village gate, her facing the world beyond their home, him facing her.

It was a dangerous mission. Her most dangerous yet. Hand-to-hand combat she could take. Espionage she'd mastered. But this one was new. This one was a seduction. Her first of what was likely to be many. He hoped. And feared. Shikamaru was more than worried. He was jealous. It wasn't fair for someone with Ino's fairytale visions of love to have her first time be with a stranger. A stranger she then had to kill. And more than that, he had secretly hoped her first time would be with…

But as a good kunoichi did, she accepted it. As if he'd ever doubted she would. So now here they were, and she stood at the gate to Konoha and shone that awful smile at him.

"Aren't you going to wish me luck, Shikamaru?" her voice wavered.

Not for the first time, he thought about kissing her. He thought about walking up to her in two long strides, taking her face in his hands and kissing her desperately, begging her not to leave. And she'd be startled, but she'd kiss him back with as much fear as he felt, folding her body into his embrace, fists clenched in the front of his shirt. He'd kiss her for the first time as if he'd never see her again. And when he would finally pull away, he'd rest his forehead against hers, their eyes still closed, their breathing frantic and worried. And he wouldn't need to look to know she'd let her awful flat smile fall away.

She'd let out a nervous, breathy, "Shikamaru…" and he'd cut her off. "I know."

"I'm scared."

"…I know."

"What if-"

"No. No what if. I believe in you, Ino." It's what she needed to hear and what he wanted to tell her. But of course there was more- much more. There are things that should be said if someone might not be coming back. But admitting them to her meant he really didn't expect to see her again. And he wanted to believe he'd see her again. He had to.

So he would hold his love inside of him and say nothing. Even in his mind, in his fantasy of the boldest move he could ever hope to make, he wouldn't tell her that. Not now. Not yet.

He'd suck in his breath and let go of her face. He'd step back and open his eyes. And instead of love, he'd say,

"I'll see you when you get back." And she'd smile, this time less fake, and then she'd nod.

But in reality he didn't do any of that. He did nothing he wanted so desperately to do. Instead, he cocked his head to the side lazily, the crease between his brows deepening as he said, "Che. Yeah, good luck, Ino. How long is this one?"

And she looked off into the distance, expression firmly neutral, not meeting his eyes. "About three months if all goes well." He tried to ignore the last part. Three months was not a long mission. But three months of not seeing her face, worrying if she'd been discovered and killed and praying she was going to come back safe and sound and unscarred would feel like forever.

He mumbled under his breath how troublesome it all was, and her eyebrows creased together for half a second, misunderstanding, as she always did. "Well, at least I'll be out of your hair for awhile and you can watch your clouds in peace. I gotta go. Bye, Shikamaru." And with that, she took off into the trees. And Shikamaru did nothing but watch her go.

Author's Note: Please review! It's my first story online and I'd like feedback so I can know if I'm any good at Naruto stories, and you guys are the only ones who can tell me! Thanks ahead of time!