disclaimer: uhm. no.
notes: okay, my biggest oneshot ever. yay! =D well, uh, i really don't know what to think about this. basically, i just thought what if ino had 'loved' Shikamaru since the very beginning? so this is where this oneshot comes. just a series of events happening through the years. please review! it means a whole lot to me! so, yeah, review. thanks!
author; visionary dreams
"Do you love me?" It was an innocent question, and they never expected it to hold so much meaning.
The spiky-haired five year old wrinkled his nose at the suggestion. This tiny, loud girl - ew, cooties - didn't really expect him to answer that, did she?
She pouted, of course. She always pouted.
"Answer me!" she stomped her foot on the playground, her tiny chubby hands on her tiny child-like hips, imitating his loud mother.
"…No." he almost, almost regretted it when he saw the look on her face, he thought for a second she was going to yell 'daddy!' but nope, instead she got this determine look on her pretty little face.
"One day," she poked his nose, making him blink, "You're going to love me." And she titled her head, smiling a crooked little girl smile and left him standing there.
He wrinkled his nose again, flopping down on the grass, his hands behind his head. Couldn't she be more like clouds? Quiet, peaceful, and no cooties.
"You're a lazy bastard, y'know that right?" the blond bombshell poked his arm, barely making the ten year old boy move from his sleeping position.
"Shika!" she whined and his cheek twitched slightly. He didn't open his eyes.
Ino frowned, "Shika!" she tried again, "Shika…Shikamaru!"
He jumped, almost falling out of sitting position, blinking, and his hair was just a little disarrayed.
"Troublesome," he glared, sleep slipping through his voice, "I was busy."
The girl beside him snorted, crossing her arms over chest, pouting. "Well, who cares?" she waved her hand carelessly in the air, "I'm bored."
"Take a nap."
She rolled her cornflower eyes, slapping him in the arm, "Let's do something!"
He rested his head on his palm, his eyes drifting close…
His eyes snapped open; he made no sign of moving though.
"I know!" Ino jumped up seconds later, her eyes lit up in excitement, "Let's play truth or dare!"
"No, Ino -"
"I'll go first!" she ignored him, grinning, and titled her head sideways, smiling a perfect-tooth smile, "Truth or dare, Shika!"
He pursed his lips, didn't she just hear him? He sighed, he guess one game would be fine… "…Truth…"
She bit her lip, looking into his eyes, "Do you love me, Shikamaru?"
His face went into shock…what? "Ino, no, I-"
"That's okay!" she stuck her tongue out at him, leaning over to flick his forehead, "One daaaay!" she chimed playfully, wondering out of the living room.
Shikamaru shook his head, rolling his eyes, that girl…
"Oh kami," Ino moaned, rolling her eyes, crossing her arms over her now barely there developing chest. "I'm stuck with you guys," the thirteen year old spat.
Chouji pursed his lips, digging into his potato chip bag some more and Shikamaru looked up towards the cloudless sky. If he was being honest with himself he would say he missed the other Ino.
Ino pouted, "Stupid forehead! Stealing my Sasuke-kun!" she complained, "Even the blond idiot would be better than you two! Worthless, my team is!"
Chouji avoided her eyes, and Shikamaru just didn't say anything. He knew she didn't really Sasuke, she never did, it was only to spite Sakura and he thought it was pretty stupid.
"Not only do we have the fatty -" Chouji's eye twitched, "But we have the lazy bastard too!"
Shikamaru crossed his arms, leaning on a tree, just how long was this dude going to be? He didn't think he could stand another minute with Ino. She changed. She wasn't the same Ino he grew up with; she was this entirely different person. And when he looked into her eyes he saw nothing but hurt. And betrayal and maybe something just a little more.
"Ugh!" Ino stomped her foot and Shikamaru honestly wanted to smack her. How annoying can one person get?
"Wow, I sure have my work cut out for me," A deep, smoky voice behind them chuckled, "A loud brat, a lazy slug, and a boy who eats constantly…Well," he grinned, "I don't think we can get a better team, you?"
Ino made a strangled sound and Asuma - they later learned - laughed, "Hey," he put a hand on Chouji's shoulder, "Let's go get something to eat, ne? Oh! I'm Asuma."
And as the two trailed behind him, Shikamaru could've sworn there was an underling question in Ino's eyes.
You love me yet?
He avoided her eyes and stuck his hands into his pockets.
Shikamaru breathed in and out, they did it - they did it. They made it and they did it.
He and Chouji shared similar smiles and Ino was too shock to say anything. They made it to the tower and even though it wasn't over yet Shikamaru felt extremely proud of his team.
Because while they didn't know if they were going to be chuunin's they can at least say they gave it their best shot and they did.
"Thanks guys," Shikamaru gives a lazy, tiny smile, his lips twitches upwards just slightly.
"Aw, man, we love you, too!" Chouji grins good-naturally, slinging an arm over his best friend's shoulder and they both laugh and share secret smiles.
Ino tries to fake-frown and say they need to stop playing around and get serious, but seeing the two laugh and joke makes her happy. It makes her want to be the old her. The her before Sasuke and broken-friendships, the kind, gentle, happy her.
"I guess you're not that much of a lazy bastard afterall," she finally settles for, a crooked smile in place, and Shikamaru shrugs, smirking back. Knowing that she was apologizing and that this was the start of Team 10 for real.
She locks eyes with Shikamaru for a split second, a second too long before looking away.
"Naruto's back," Shikamaru says easily, slipping into the booth besides Chouji who chokes on his ramen a little.
"Really?" he asks excitedly, "Haven't seen him in awhile!" he chuckles and Shikamaru gave small grin. He glanced over towards a frowning Ino. He frowns himself, wanting to see her smile because she always looked better with that crooked grin of hers.
"What's with you?" he asks, flicking her in the forehead, and he swore he could've seen her lips twitch slightly. She wasn't backing down that easily though.
"Nothing," she frowns, crossing her arms over her chest - something she always does when she's bored, mad, and pouty. He knows her too well.
He crinkled his forehead, "Did you and Sakura get into a fight or something?" he shrugs, what else could there be?
Ino pursed her lips together tightly, rolling her eyes, "No."
"What's wrong then?" he asks and him and Chouji exchanged glances. Ever since Sasuke left, he had to admit, Ino had turned back into the old Ino - his Ino. And ever since her and Sakura made up there always seemed to be a noticeably sparkle in her eyes.
…There wasn't one right now.
He waited a couple of moments, staring out the window.
"I saw you!"
He blinked, turning his head towards her, "What?"
"I saw you! With her! Talk about robbing the cradle much? I knew you liked her! I knew it!" she bit her lip, her face red from yelling and he didn't know what to say, just stared at her.
"No, you don't have to explain. I just thought…never mind." she shook her head, her eyes cloudy, "Just, just - don't let Gaara-san kill you, okay?" she laughed a humorless laugh, before storming out of the restaurant without a second glance.
Chouji glanced at him, "What just happen…?"
Shikamaru shrugged, blinking bemused, "I dunno."
"Well, uh, let's go see Naruto, ne?"
Shikamaru nodded, getting up out of the seat.
I like you.
Not even a year later - their sensei died. They're fifteen and he's barely thirty - it's not fair.
"It's about to rain," Chouji's emotionless voice piped up in the earth-breaking silence.
Shikamaru shrugged and Ino didn't know what to say.
Chouji forced his eyes on the ground, if not, he was afraid he might start bawling right then.
"We've been out here for two hours," he continued, this was weird, abnormal, this wasn't them. Silence was never them.
He looked at his teammates with sorrow eyes, blinking back the tears, "I think…I'm going to go, okay? My dad's probably looking for me." He didn't expect an answer, so he left without a backwards glance.
"Shika," she says and his head whips around, she hasn't said his name like that since they were little kids.
"I miss him," she chokes, her voice raw and open, and she wipes fiercely at the tears threatening to fall.
"C'mere," he says slowly, wrapping her arms around her shivering frame. She doesn't cry though. Doesn't sob, doesn't scream, doesn't say anything. And for the first time, he's scared.
"Shouldn't you be with your girlfriend?" she bites suddenly, her voice slightly muffled in his chest.
"What?" he asks, swallowing, and raindrops started to fall.
"Temari! Your girlfriend!"
The rain suddenly gets heavy and in moments their soak, standing there in the middle of the field, their arms wrapped around each other. Neither one tries to move.
"She's not my girlfriend."
She doesn't say anything until a couple minutes later, "Asuma always told my dad we'd end up together." her hair is tangled and wet, dripping around her already wet face.
Shikamaru tightens his hold around her.
He's not exactly sure when he starts to fall for her. He wasn't even exactly sure when he started to likelike her.
Right now they're twenty-two, jounin's, and they could die at any minute. Take a chance, his mind chimes, take a chance.
One sunny afternoon she walks into their medium size apartment that their team shared - he was off for the day and Chouji was on a short mission with Naruto - sweaty, tired, and bruised; just getting back from her training session with Sakura.
He looks at her though, her white-blond hair tangled and mattered, sticking to her sweaty face, blue eyes exhausted and tired, pretty lips twisted into a small frown. She hasn't changed much, she's taller, more curvier, but she's still the same bossy Ino. The same Ino with the crooked grin and pretty eyes. His Ino.
And he does something unexpected, something so un-him, something so, so, so dangerous.
He kisses her.
And she kisses back.
"Is that my answer?" she giggles softly on his lips, wrapping her arms around his neck, she's exhausted and tired and drained, but that's okay because she's here with him.
Finally, finally, finally.
He just kisses her again.