A/N: I really don't know how to explain this oneshot, other than the fact that I have a thing for girls with really long hair and just sort of wrote through the perspective of Shikamaru in an attempt to make my penchant for this appear plausible. xD It also focuses on how in a lot of anime/cartoons (Naruto, in particular), some long haired characters seem to always wear their hair up no matter what their doing, e.g. Ino, Tenten, Shikamaru, etc. I dunno that's just something that's always kinda irked me a bit. :P

Anyway, this is my first Naruto fic, so... Woot for that, I guess. Don't be too brutal on me lol. But yeah, that's about it. Enjoy! =D

Disclaimer: I'm nineteen years old, fresh out of school and currently have no income, job or assets. I think we can all safely conclude that I don't own Naruto. D:


Musings

Shikamaru was in every sense of the word a genius.

A talented Konoha shinobi with an IQ of over 200, who was renowned for his tactical brilliance in battle and keen intellect. An individual who was considered one of the top advisors of the Fifth Hokage for defensive strategies.

Yet despite his undoubted intelligence there was still one concept that completely baffled the young Nara. Something that he had spent years to trying to comprehend.

He would never figure out why his teammate, Yamanako Ino, seemed to always have her hair tied back.

In all the time he had known her, Shikamaru had never been able to completely grasp this idea. From what he understood, Ino put significant time and effort into maintaining her long, silken hair. Considering that fact and the seemingly limitless self-confidence the young woman possessed, he figured she would have spent more time showing it off.

Initially, Shikamaru had dismissed this after to taking into account the fact that most of the time he saw her was when they were heading out on a mission together and she wore it up in order to keep it out of the way; a perfectly logical explanation.

Though, after awhile, Shikamaru started to notice a flaw to this hypothesis:

Ino's hair was incredibly long, so much so that even when she tied the flowing tresses back, she was still left with a thick, lustrous ponytail reaching all the way down her back as far down as her waist. With this in mind Shikamaru continued to observe Ino while they were out on missions, taking particular interest in her swift, agile movements during battles. Eventually, he came to the conclusion that this couldn't possibly be the reason. Because even with her hair tied back, the long locks still flew uncontrollably in the frays of explosions and hand to hand combat that made up their missions.

Not only that, but even with her hair tied back, her bangs fell in such a way that they covered not only her right eye, but the entire right side of her face! He couldn't understand how she was even able to see properly!

Shikamaru assumed that if it really was that much of an inconvenience, Ino would've cut it short again like she did during the Chunnin exams three years ago. However, not only had she grown it back since then, but it was much longer and fuller than ever before. He concluded that this couldn't possibly be the case.

Still puzzled by this phenomenon, Shikamaru continued to observe his teammate during missions, particularly as their squad leapt through the forest from tree to tree.

This was strictly for research purpose, obviously. It wasn't like Shikamaru was using this as an oppurtunity to spy on his female teammate; to feast his eyes upon her full, curvaceous hips, voluptuous breast, the tantalising exposed skin of her stomach and toned legs, or even the sight of her dirty, tangled, yet somehow still gorgeous long locks of blonde hair flying wildly over her crystal blue orbs... No, he definitely wasn't interested at looking at her for any of those reasons.

At least, that's what he tried to convince himself...

Ino and Chōji would both comment later on how they thought breaking focus and accidentally running into a tree was very uncharacteristic behaviour for him.

By this point, Shikamaru was determined; what had started out as a fascination for him, was now bordering on obsession. The young genius decided he wanted to take matters into his own hands.

Shikamaru would meet up with his teammate later at their training ground. Again, while pretending to run through his exercises; which had become so routine to him over the years, he could repeat them easily without requiring complete concentration; he studied his squad partner and childhood friend once again. Shikamaru watched her while she worked on jutsu, taking note of the thick beads of sweat that rolled slowly down the tantalising exposed skin of her toned legs and abdomen and the fierce, determined look that had overcome he breath-taking, crystalline blue eyes.

There was no doubt she was beautiful; he'd always been well aware of that fact. But despite this, he'd never actually felt any kind of physical attraction towards her up until recently. Could that have been the reason behind his recent behaviour? Was he falling for his longtime friend and teammate? He wasn't sure...

Shikamaru sighed heavily in frustration, suddenly deciding he'd had enough training for one day. However, this action did not go unnoticed by the young woman standing just a few feet across from him.

"Shikamaru, you lazy bum!" Ino admonished her teammate "Don't tell me you've given up already!"

"Troublesome, I'm taking a break," came the male's bored reply as he leant back against the firm tree trunk nestled in the earth behind him.

"Fine, just stop then!" Ino scoffed in response, before she reached up to the back of her head and slowly unfastened the hair tie that was securing her thick mane into its usual ponytail.

Shikamaru's breath hitched at the sight before him and he watched, completely mesmerised as the young woman's locks cascaded gently down her bare lower back as she shock her head slowly, allowing the luscious strands of simmering gold to tumble past her waist. He continued to stare, dumb-founded as Ino obliviously bent down to collect a few kunai she had strewn about the training area in her practice.

She was gorgeous; even with the occasional stains of dirt and sweat matting her otherwise flawless skin and hair. Shikamaru couldn't remember a time when she looked more stunning. Though, at this point, Shikamaru couldn't even remember what day it was or when exactly in her training Ino had been using kunai.

As he carefully observed the tranquil afternoon breeze sifting peacefully through the curtain of hair surrounding Ino's face and back, Shikamaru couldn't but ponder over how soft and smooth the blonde locks must have felt and how much, at that moment, he desired to touch them. To thread his fingers through the smooth golden tresses.

Once Ino had cleared up the last of her cluttered, weapons she couldn't help but feel Shikamaru's gaze lingering over her, something she found odd. Usually, by now, he'd be asleep or staring absentmindedly up at the clouds. But he wasn't...

Instead his gaze seemed to be locked on her.

"Shikamaru?" she asked eventually, breaking the silence between them "Is everything al-," Ino did not get an opportunity to finish, as her query was interrupted by a pair of soft lips desperately ravishing hers. Shikamaru's lips, to be more precise. Ino's eyes widened visually and she gasped, shocked by Shikamaru's sudden actions. Yet, she didn't pull away. She accepted his invitation, returning the kiss with just as much passion and fervour.

Shikamaru's hands ran down her back, pulling her as close to him as he possibly could before kissing her again. He relished the feeling of her soft, creamy, exposed skin beneath his fingertips as he traced them hungrily over her. He groaned in satisfaction at the sensation, content to finally be acting upon the desires that have building up within in over the past few days. Ino mewled softly at his actions and, not wanting to be left out, felt her hands venture beneath Shikamaru's Chuunin vest and mesh shirt, brushing over the firm, toned muscle of his abdomen. Neither teen was sure what exactly had come over them, or how it was they hand wound up in this position. But at this point, they didn't care.

Shikamaru pulled away from Ino and backed her slowly against the solid tree which he had been resting against previously, before his lips found hers softly once more, again and again in gentle, yet very fierce brushes. Ino gasped for air as Shikamaru pulled his lips away from her own, allowing them descend upon the fine supple, creamy skin of her neck, teasing and tweaking the flesh in a provocative manner.

"You look so beautiful," he murmured, returning the fervent caresses to Ino's lips. He gently laced his fingers through the long, blonde strands cascading down her lower back. They felt even softer than he had imagined. Ino felt her cheeks heat up considerably at his confession, a bashful smile lighting up her features.

"Shikamaru," she began, her face flushed and breath short after what had just transpired between the two of them "What are you-,"

"I've been meaning to ask you for a while now," Shikamaru silenced her, finally deciding to ask the question that had been festering at the back of his mind for far too long now "Why do you always wear your hair tied back?"

Ino pulled away from his arms, somewhat reluctantly with a smirk, before retrieving one of the kunai she picked up earlier and taking it in her hand. Shikamaru stared helplessly at the intoxicating sight of the alluring young Kunoichi stalking towards him, weapon drawn as if she was about to strike him down. When she finally reached him, she wrapped her arms around him once more, still with that same sultry grin upon her face. Shikamaru pulled her warmth closer to him, letting her rest against his shoulder as he inhaled deeply the sweet scent of her hair.

Shikamaru gave a contented sigh at the feeling of Ino's smooth, soft fingertips brushing gently over his throat, past his broad shoulders and up his neck, before stopping to sink themselves into his hair. Shikamaru's eyes closed and he groaned quietly at the reposing feel of her lean digits lightly massaging his scalp. He leaned further into her touch, suddenly not caring that Ino still hadn't answered his query as her actions left him overwhelmed by a great sense of calm and tranquillity. However, the peace didn't last long, as it was quickly broken by a loud snapping sound resonating directly at the back of his head. At the sound, Shikamaru's eyes snapped open and he looked down to see his own now broken hair tie, lying limp upon the ground after having been cut clean through by Ino's kunai. This was followed shortly by the feeling of Ino's fingers sifting gracefully through the long locks of brown hair now spilling out over his shoulder blades.

"I could ask you the same thing," Ino responded, beaming cheekily.


A/N: Haha, yeah randomness... Anyway, on that note, I hope you found this at least somewhat enjoyable. Please R&R!