Just as Shikamaru loved cloud watching, Ino loved stargazing. She always spent a little time staring out at the stars before she went to bed, and sometimes would sneak out her house to go to the Hokage monument to stare up at the beautiful midnight-blue sky. Sometimes on missions she would spend so much time looking up at the stars that she often skipped out on hours of needed sleep for the following day.

This mission was no exception. Here she was, laid back on the grass with her hands behind her head and her blue eyes staring up at the sky. Her other teammates and sensei were sound asleep, leaving her to enjoy her hobby in peace. She smiled, a light breeze blowing past her and lightly brushing her blonde hair against her cheek.

"Shouldn't you be asleep?"

She gasped lightly and sat up, eyes meeting sleepy-like brown. "Shika-kun!" she exclaimed softly, "What are you doing up?"

Shikamaru yawned, "I could ask you the same thing. You should be sleeping and getting rest for tomorrow; we got a long trip home." He sat down beside her, brushing a hand through his hair. She stared at him for a moment before smiling and looking back up at the sky.

"Ever went stargazing Shika-kun?"

"Can't say I have. I stick to clouds."

"Too bad. Stars are so much more beautiful."

He turned his head to stare at his teammate, watching as she stared up at the sky and tapping her fingers lightly on her knees. "It's the best feeling. Wind blowing lightly, clear skies with no clouds to hide the view, the calm sound of grass's wonderful," she said softly, the smile still on her lips and her cerulean orbs alit with happiness and calm.

She laid back in the grass, her eyes still up at the sky, "Watch them with me, Shika-kun." With a bit of a lingering gaze on her, Shikamaru copied her stance, looking up then at the sky. Silence over came them as the wind blew past softly, rustling the grass and Ino's blonde hair brushing against her cheek again.

"Ne, can you name all the constellations?"

"No...I guess you can."

"Mmhmm, yep."

Ino pointed up at the stars, "You can see the Big Dipper and Little Dipper right now. They're right there; can you see the stars that are in the form of a pot of sorts?" Shikamaru scanned the sky, piecing together the formation.

"Yeah. That's actually pretty neat."

"Mmhmm. My father and I studied the different constellations and such together. We used to sit on top of the Hokage mountain and try and find them all, using a flashlight to look at the maps in our book."

She looked over at her teammate, "When we get home, I'll let you borrow it. I think you'll be surprised by what you read in there." Shikamaru smiled through a small chuckle, then sat up and stretched out his arms.

"We should be going to sleep now, Ino. It's a long way home, and we start early."


Ino turned over onto her side, closing her eyes and positioning her hands under her cheek, "Night Shika-kun." He muttered a good night before crawling over to his original resting place.

Before closing his eyes, he looked up at the sky again, 'She's right...they are more beautiful than clouds.' With a sigh, he closed his eyes, letting sleep start to consume him.

'I think I will take up stargazing.'