So I went back and realized some of the holes in my earlier story.
I wrote it so that Naruto and Sakura were together and had killed Sasuke as a team when he refused to return to the village…so far it seems like Kishimoto did not agree with my plot outline.
Please remember, this story was started in 2008! So forgive me for the inaccuracies from the current canon storyline. (Not that any of this really has to do with canon, haha)
Recently Kishimoto also threw a curve ball my way with the death of a character which deeply affects Ino. So from now on that death is canon in this fanfic and WILL be referenced!
(Do not read on if you don't want that spoiler)
As for the Sasuke thing, unless I eventually go back to rewrite all the instances of it….
(not gonna lie, it's unlikely unless I upload it to my deviant art account)
I'm going to plead my case as such:
This is written with the Shinobi in their early 20's so it's set at least 6 years past the current storyline.
) Even though Sasuke returns to fight for the village in the current manga, that vengeful Uchiha blood gets the best of him and he once again goes rogue as Naruto takes steps towards becoming the next hokage.
I'll try to clarify the events a bit later.

-Shino Aburame-

Beetles marched across the splintered wood. He nodded a greeting at them as he too utilized the post, leaning his back against it. The long tails of his trench coat fluttered around the base, brushing one of their brethren off.
The Aburame quietly apologized. The beetle didn't seem to mind.
He shifted his position so as to not disturb their path and tucked his hands into his pockets.
If it would have been any other tall dark shinobi, it would have been a very cool pose.
But it was just Shino.

He was slightly bitter today.
Ino was late, as he had expected.
Then again, he had shown up early.
He frowned, knowing that he couldn't reprimand her for it….if she showed up soon.
He almost wished she would, he was once again dangerously alone with his thoughts.
Then he wished she wouldn't, because his dangerous thoughts involved her.
Then again… they were going to spar today.
He finally settled his mind on hoping that she showed up, pushing thoughts of beating her into the back of his mind.


Those words came blaring out of nowhere.
His kikaichu hummed.
He took a deep breath and closed his eyes to calm them.
He reasoned with himself that anyone would be upset.
It's one thing to insult a ninja. But to insult their clan is another matter entirely.
The Aburame's are a proud people…in Shino's opinion, a MUCH more proud people than the Yamanaka….


That jab reverberated in his brain.
He knew the Aburame were a proud, intelligent, and skilled people.
No one in their right mind would consider an attack from one a joke.
He thought about it coolly and if he were someone else, his thoughts might have broken his own heart.
He realized she was right.
No one liked the Aburame.
No one really liked him.
None of his teachers, none of his classmates, and certainly not Hinata.
Even those he admired barely noticed him.
He looked down, feeling as small and as low as the beetle he had knocked off earlier.

Is this the cost of logic?

He heard a noise, the soft thud of a bag hitting the ground nearby. He snapped his head back down to see Ino, as expected. What wasn't expected was her sheepish demeanor. She held her hands tight at her sides and stepped nervously as she let her bag drop. It took her a second to look up

"Oh, hi Shino.. I didn't notice you there."

He felt his ears turn red.

_/Ino Yamanaka3?/_

She tried to act casual.
But there was a storm brewing inside her mind.

Damn me and my big mouth!

The more she thought about it the more she felt terrible for going off on Shino.
As she made her way to the training grounds, she tried to whip up an appropriate apology.
Her pride was making it difficult.

I'm sorry I said that about your clan, they may be creepy and gross but they're not a joke.
I mean, I would never say any of those jokes to your face!

She heaved a sigh.

Classic Ino, too pigheaded to apologize.

She entered the clearing and looked up to a surprising sight.
Shino had arrived before her, but that wasn't the surprise.
He stood leaned against a post. His head was tilted towards the clouds, the rim of his jacket falling below his chin, exposing a somewhat appealing jawline. The curve of his figure was more relaxed than usual and a gentle breeze played with the tails of his trench coat. For a brief second she wondered if he was watching the clouds, like Shikamaru.
She had to admit he almost looked cool.
But instead he just looked like Shino.
She gently dropped her bag, not wanting to startle him with her voice and the scrambled thoughts she was fighting.
His focus snapped towards the sound, returning his posture to his usual stiff and robotic state.
She suddenly felt obligated to say something, knowing he wouldn't.

"Oh, hi Shino…I didn't notice you there."

From his reaction, she had said the wrong something.
He paused for a moment, before a swift movement slid his left foot to the front. His arms rose slightly from his sides.

"Are you ready?"

-Shino Aburame-

His words came out as more of a growl, surprising himself as well as his opponent.
Her mouth hung slightly agape.

"What? Right now?"

He nodded, remaining in his stance.
Her stance changed to her hands on her hip.

"Shouldn't we discuss our strengths and weaknesses first?"

He almost put his arms down.
But then he remembered the day before.
The words she'd said.
The paper thrown in his face.
He also remembered that she was easily provoked.
A small tingling sensation ran up his spine as he prepared to do something out of his character.

"Are you afraid of me?"

Her eyes snapped onto him. Her eyebrows met angrily.
He felt a small flash of excitement at actively agitating someone.
He wondered if that was why Kiba seemed to enjoy provoking him so much.
As much as he disliked Ino's character, he had to admit things were more exciting when she was around.

"Yeah right, FREAK!"

She lowered her head and stomped her foot behind her, clenching and raising both of her hands in a fighter's stance. Hers appeared more aggressive, but he was used to that.
An Aburame's strength is in their subtlety.
He prepared to strike first, but in the back of his mind knew he wouldn't have to.
Suddenly a flash of yellow and purple flew at him. Her fist whizzed past his ear as he dodged to the left.
He whipped his body around, advancing backwards.
He wanted to use a long range attack but she was advancing too quickly.
Maybe he had provoked her a little too much.
He prepared to dodge another punch, but almost too late realized it was a distraction.
Her leg flew past his face as he barely managed to jump backwards in time.
He had to admit her taijutsu was impressive, particularly for one who primarily used a mind altering jutsu. It was almost like fighting himself, as strange as that was to accept.
His jutsu's were usually long range, but he was no stranger to hand-to-hand.
He decided their abilities would be suitable as a team, but their personalities were another story.
Once again her words echoed in his mind
Another one of her kicks nearly made contact; he slapped his fingers around her ankle and flung it back at her. A look of surprise crossed her features; before he knew what he was doing his right hook struck her across the face. She sailed backwards only for a moment, looking up with fire in her eyes.
Shino was surprised with himself; he nearly crossed the line of a friendly spar.
He opened his mouth to apologize and stepped forward. Suddenly Ino sprung back up, a low kick sweeping him off balance. He hit the ground hard, cursing himself.

He never misjudged an opponent; that included taking it easy on one.
In his eyes, a ninja who was afraid to face a Kunoichi at full force was not a real ninja.
He'd been criticized by Kiba and Kurenai for his brutal sparring sessions with Hinata.
But as she grew stronger, she respected him for it.
Then again…she'd chosen Kiba, who always took it easy on her…

His opponent was on him quickly; he advanced back towards the trees with an angry Ino in pursuit.

-Ino Yamanaka-

She let her anger get the best of her too often.
But this time, it was appropriate.
She advanced mercilessly; he dodged each one, but just barely.
She could tell he was angry. She could feel it.
It set her off, but when he asked "Are you afraid of me?" there was no malice behind it.
If he thought he could make a joke out of her, she'd prove him dead wrong.
She feigned a punch that caught his focus; following with a kick that he didn't see coming.
Right when she was about ready to kill him for taking it easy on her, a pair of steely cold fingers grabbed her ankle. She turned to spin out, when his fist came at her, full force.
She was blinded by the blow before springing back to her feet.
She couldn't help but grin a bit as she watched him hesitate.
Men were always so timid when it came to fighting her.
Chouji's gentleness had irritated her to no end; she much preferred Shikamaru's gender neutrality.
He always came at her full force.

She took advantage of Shino's hesitation and ran towards him
Before he could prepare himself, she lunged forward; her fist making contact with his stomach.
Instinctively he swung his elbow at where her head had been.
She ducked under it, sliding to his other side.
She went to strike again, but his kick caught her ankle, knocking her off balance.
He jumped backwards, she advanced forwards.
They exchanged several glancing blows, their match looking like a boxing bout.
He caught her cheek; she knew it'd leave a mark. Her new goal became leaving a mark on what little of his face was exposed. She started head-hunting, aiming high, feigning low.
Shino managed to protect his head, his longer reach proving to be an advantage.
She tried to control her temper, but he was able to block hit after hit.
He'd taken the hint and the only way she could stop his fists now was to give him all he could handle.
He stepped back into defense; she whipped kick after kick at him after her arms had failed to close the distance. Shino made a bold move, striking down and forward to stop her leg. She spun; rotating her opposite leg upwards. His fist missed and his miscalculation cost him.
Ino's shin smacked straight up his face, striking from chin to nose.
She smirked as blood sprayed across her skin.

-Shino Aburame-

He saw a blinding white light, then red.
Ino had pulled her leg back into her fighting stance by the time he saw anything else.
He was in that special place between his brain and the unconscious; everything appeared in slow motion as if in a dream.
He saw the small smirk on Ino's face fade as she painstakingly realigned her core.
Her palm moved front and center.
He realized he was just standing there as she prepared to finish him with a palm in the exact spot her kick had landed.
He looked down and watched his blood drops as they hit the ground.
Time snapped back into place and he ducked under her palm, flitting to her left.
She turned with him, hunting for her finish.
Her palm flew at him once again, he leaned backwards to dodge it.
He kicked at her shin, the same one that had drawn his blood.
They began to fall, Ino went with it Flinging her weight down into her fist.
Shino saw black.
Only for a second, then he heard a woman screaming.
He blinked, the air was filled with flapping wings.
Sound returned to him and a buzzing intermingled with bloodcurdling screams.
His mind returned and he realized it was Ino's voice.
He looked up to see his kikaichu swarming her.

Speaking of the canon storyline I caught a quick scene in one of the anime episodes (201) that warmed my heart! The scene opens with Ino sobbing about some Sasuke related news, all the Konoha 11 are around and naturally some of them think she's being ridiculous. (Including me! Come on Ino, I thought you were over that by now, have you met my friend Shino? ;D) Kiba gives her shit about crying (Of course, gotta love him) Tenten defends her and out of freaking nowhere they show a close-up of Shino's face with EMOTION! I'm not freaking kidding, when I say it was the most emotion I've seen on his features. He was looking at her with a real look of sorrow and more so than the others. I also caught an awesome screen shot of her and him looking up in surprise during the war:
Between those two nuggets and that one filler episode where Shino holds her bridal style, I'd almost say Kishimoto is specifically trolling me. But more likely, I'm driving myself delusional with this fanfic haha.

I would like to thank all of you wonderful, wonderful people.
I write this because I enjoy doing it, but I wouldn't have continued for so long if no one else was reading it.
You're all fantastic!