Decided to attempt a ShikaIno one-shot... Hopefully I am not copying off of any ideas that someone has already wrote...if so I would like to be notified immediately. And I know it has been a while since Asuma's death...but this idea just came to me, so I hope you enjoy.

It wasn't everyday something like this happened.

A normal day in Konoha would be a bright and sunny day, full of laughter, missions, and relaxation. Today however was different...the sky was dark and gray, a light drizzle had actually begun to rain down on her, and the streets themselves were deserted of any life whatsoever. Ino noted that even the stray animals that lived in the area had taken shelter. A soft sigh escaped her lips as she looked down at the bouquet she was holding tightly against her chest...

It wasn't everyday that she lost someone close to her...and that is exactly what had happened.

Their sensei...someone that had always been there for them, someone who was always there to guide them no matter the danger, the man who became their ally in battle...had been killed in front of them...taking away by the Akatsuki.

She fought back the urge to cry...it was what she had been doing for the past day and a half since they had returned from their mission. Crying wasn't going to bring him back...this was the way of the ninja...she knew this...yet it didn't make coping with the reality that she would never see her sensei again any easier.

Ino walked down the familiar streets of Konoha...her powder blue eyes devoid of all life. She really wasn't in any mood to be out of the house after what happened, but she didn't want to be alone anymore. She looked down at the bouquet in her hands...a different variety of flowers had been thrown into it...she had made it herself...for one purpose. She was aware of the fact that someone else was grieving...placing all the blame upon himself. And she thought it to be her mission to prove him wrong. It was all of their fault...not just his.

Ino knew...she knew he shouldn't face something like this alone...and she hoped that her words could somehow comfort him.

A deep breath that she had been holding escaped her chest as she approached the gates to the Nara residence. She quietly let herself in like she normally would. It was brightly lit...but one could sense the gloom and dreariness that the youngest resident of the clan was feeling at this particular moment.

"Ino..."

The blond girl looked up from the bouquet she had been staring at since she walked in...her feet were unconsciously leading her to her comrade...she knew her way around the manor, so she didn't really see the point in looking up.

"Shikaku-san..." she muttered softly, she was surprised actually at how foreign her voice sounded to her.

Scratchy and sore...like she had been crying for days.

Shikaku merely studied her for a few seconds with the calm facade that he always seemed to have...no matter the situation. He closed his eyes for the briefest of moments.

"I don't believe it is a good idea for him to have visitors at the moment..."

Ino nodded, "I know that..." she looked down at her bouquet once again.

A sigh escaped the older man's lips, "But...trying to persuade you to go home would be a troublesome task for me. Once women make up their minds there is no changing them. I know this because my wife is the same way," he muttered, shoving his hands into his pockets, slowly walking past her.

Ino stood there for a few moments, staring blankly at the newly waxed wooden floors.

"He's in the shogi room...you know where it is."

Ino nodded, "Right..."

It seemed that he had just come from that direction...the closer to she got to the said room, the darker the hallways seemed to get. Like his despair was spreading around the house, swallowing up every gap of light that shined in it's path.

She was in front of the room in moments, standing outside...something made her hesitate. She bit her lip, taking a deep breath. It had to be done...Shikamaru was hurting more than anyone. She knew how close he was to Asuma-sensei...how responsible he must have felt. After all, their sensei was killed right in front of him...

Ino opened the door slowly...

"Shikamaru?"

She called into the darkness, receiving no answer...this made her walk in further, sliding the door closed behind her. Her baby blue eyes scanned the area...shogi pieces had been scattered all over the floor, the table had been knocked to the other side of the room, and Shikamaru was sitting in the middle of it all in a feedle position, his back turned to her. He gave no acknowledgement that he had heard her call to him, but she knew he was aware of her presence.

She sighed, walking over to him, taking a seat directly behind him...her eyes scanning at the scatter pieces laying undisturbed on the carpet. The only source of light in this dark room was the pale moon shining through the thin sheets of the doors.

"I..."

She looked to him, placing the bouquet on the ground, the crackle of the paper around the flowers was almost deafening in the otherwise quiet room.

"I brought you something..."

Ino immediately looked away, waiting for his response...something.

'Come on Shikamaru...please...'

"You know I find flowers to be troublesome Ino..." he muttered, his shoulders slumping even further.

A hollow chuckle escaped her lips, "I know..." she smiled faintly, "I know you do...it's just..." she played with one of the soft petals, "I made this...for you...hoping to comfort you..."

Shikamaru remained silent for a while.

"It was all my fault Ino...don't you understand?"

Ino immediately shook her head, "No...no it isn't. Stop blaming yourself..." she bit her lip, holding back the tears, "It was everyone's fault...we all played a part...we all could have done something."

A single tear slid down her cheek. He still remained silent. She picked a single flower out of the bouquet.

"I set this bouquet up with a purpose..." she twisted the flower through her fingers gently, "I made it for you."

She carefully set one the flower down next to him, "A marigold..."

His eyes looked to it for a brief second before returning his gaze to the wall.

"It represents one's pain and grief..."

And she could sense...at this moment, his pain and grief outmatched hers tenfold.

Ino slowly pulled out another, laying it on top of the marigold.

"A striped carnation..." she stated, looking down at the pink and fuchsia flower, "It represents refusal...refusal to believe that he's gone..."

It was hard for her to believe it...just today...she had refused to think that right before that mission...would be the last time she would ever see Asuma alive. A part of her still refused to think that way...and she knew Shikamaru was feeling that as well.

Shikamaru's eyes wavered slightly, shutting them tightly, gritting his teeth.

Ino watched him for a moment before pulling another flower from the bouquet.

"Aloe..." she spoke, her voice slightly stronger than when she had entered, she placed the green leafy plant on top of the marigold and the striped carnation, "Meaning grief...representing the grieving period for the lost loved one..."

She bit her lip, swallowing the sudden lump in her throat.

"Ino..." he spoke up, "No more...I don't...want to hear it..."

"No..." she shook her head, "I have to go on...I need you to listen to me..."

Despite this call for her to stop...she pulled another flower from the bouquet.

"Arbor vitae...or an evergreen branch..." she placed it gently with the others, "Unchanging friendship...the good times we all had together...they are still there in our memories. It won't ever change...even when he can no longer be with us."

Shikamaru made no movement, his eyes still glued to the wall, he couldn't bring himself to look at the pile by his side.

The blond looked at him for a few moments before looking down at her odd bouquet...she made it to represent his feelings...her feelings as well...she slowly pulled another one out, laying it before him.

"Apple blossom..."

She sighed.

"Hope...one can only hope the day will be better tomorrow...even though today it seems like the world is crashing down on us...we can only hope that the future will be brighter..."

Shikamaru finally shifted slightly to view the pile of flowers, but his back was still turned to her.

Ino held another flower in her hand, "China pink..." she spoke, playing with the rough edged pink petals of it before placing it down with the others, "Heartache...the heart will ache for a long time...it will take a long time to recover..."

It was a devastating blow to them...no matter what...the heart would ache and wish for the return of their sensei. After a while though...it would slowly mend and heal.

This time she pulled out two flowers...she was almost done. Hopefully he would let her finish.

"A white clover...and a Forget Me Not..."

She stared at them carefully, "The clover being a promise...I promise to not let you suffer alone..." her blue eyes stared into his back, "The Forget Me Not...remember me...I'll always be there...don't forget me."

A few tears slid down her face...dropping the two flowers at the ground, she moved closer to him, wrapping her arms around his waist...crying into his back. She felt him tense at the contact, but she didn't care...she knew...just knew that he needed this.

"I don't want you to suffer alone...we all lost someone important Shikamaru..." she said in between her struggled breathing, "Don't bare this burden alone...please..."

She rested her cheek into his back, moving one hand to, pulling out an Ivy branch,

"Dependency..." she said, moving her arm over his shoulder, so he could get a good view of it, "That is what an Ivy branch represents..." she held him tight with her one arm, "I want you to depend on me...just this once..."

Shikamaru said nothing, slightly moving his head to look at the crying girl. He placed one of his hands on top of hers, turning around so he was facing her.

"Ino..."

His eyes wavered slightly, both hands placed on either side of her shoulders.

"Thank you..."

She looked up at him after several minutes with her tear stained face, smiling slightly.

"I'm sorry..." she wiped her face, "Here I go crying again...I know that a ninja is not supposed to show emotion. No matter what the situation may be…" she bit her lip.

He shook his head, "There's nothing wrong with it...in this situation...crying wouldn't be considered something troublesome..."

He looked at the crinkled paper that Ino had brought the flowers in...seeing that there were three left. A red and a white rose...it seemed that the two of them had been carefully twisted together and another rose...of a different color.

"Ino...you missed some..." he said, carefully moving his arm over her shoulder, being careful not to prick himself with the either of the two flowers thorns...

Ino immediately looked away, "That one is unimportant..." she sniffed, "I made my point clear at the Forget Me Not," she replied with a sigh, "You'd only think me troublesome if I went any further..."

There was no point on telling how she felt now...she had gained the response she wanted...going any further into the meanings of the roses might bother him.

He looked at her, "I see..."

Shikamaru sighed, "Ino...thanks again...you...did some good. Even if I didn't want to hear it..."

He looked around at the scattered shogi pieces, "I think now...I can finally find a way to beat them...and avenge Asuma-sensei..."

He slowly stood up, handing her the intertwined roses, picking up the table and pieces to the shogi board.

Ino didn't pay attention to him much...her eyes solely focused on the two flowers in her hands. These two probably had the most important meanings to them...they were to indicate her feelings towards him more than his...

A red rose...by itself represents love...apart of her had always loved him...ever since they were kids.

A white rose...by itself represents purity and secrecy. Her love was a secret...one she had hidden very well...it just showed more in this situation...

If the two were wrapped together...it signifies unity...they were one.

Ino sighed, keeping her eyes on the flowers, until something soft slid across her shoulders. The final flower of her bouquet...a dark pink rose.

"Here..." he said, merely above a whisper.

Shikamaru sighed, "I may not know the meaning of most of these flowers...but I know that a dark pink rose means gratitude...and you have mine."

She smiled slightly, taking it in her other hand.

Through this...and the death of her sensei...she felt like they had been pushed a little closer together. She looked up at the ceiling as if say to Asuma...that they would be alright.

'Thank you sensei...' she thought to him, feeling like he had been there the entire time.

Ino knew...somehow...he had a hand in making her get through to him. She looked down at the red and white roses that she had carefully threaded together.

One day...her feelings would be spoken aloud...and her sensei would give her strength...he would help unite them closer. Just like the red and white rose symbolized.

Okay...so...hopefully it wasn't too terrible. I did a lot of research on each of the flowers meanings. And yes...I know their characters may be a little off...but I believe the death of anyone changes your personality slightly. Hope you liked it though.