Exes and Messes

By: an1m3.4sp

Summary : Ino/Shika One Shot. They had only begun dating, yet her relationship would be tested, along with her insecurities and flaws. Will their relationship survive the visit of an old flame?

The beating of his heart, the scent of his skin, the movements of his chest as he breathed. Shikamaru Nara, the Shadow Ninja and Konoha's top strategist, slept peacefully after the night's vigorous activities. A look of contentment graced his face, unlike his usual pensive restless nights.

The reason for his spark of happiness lay across his chest listening to him sleep; Ino Yamanaka watched the sleeping man's face as she fought a battle with herself. Her pale skin glowed next to his tanned chest, and her light blue eyes lined with worry as she thought about the coming events.

They had only begun seeing each other a month, and already she would be tested. She would have to endure watching Shikamaru with another woman, his ex no less, for over a month. Temari of the Sand, was coming to the village for the first time since their break up last year, to make plans for the upcoming chunnin exams.

He hadn't said much when he told her, only that he would be Temari's escort during her stay and they would be planning the chunnin exams together. He hadn't reassured her, he hadn't expressed any emotion what so ever. And this only frightened Ino more, Temari had been his first love, his first everything…

Ino's POV

Shikamaru had visited me every night for the past week. We would go out to eat, drink sometimes, spend time talking, and then we would lock the door to my bedroom to become intimate. He usually instigated the love making, since I haven't been my whole self since the moment he told me about his coming assignment.

However, he acted as if nothing was different. As if I wasn't pulling away, and searching for more ways to keep my distance. He would try to spend all his free time with me, but I pulled away fearing the pain my heart would have to endure if he realized that he really wanted Temari. That he wanted to leave 'troublesome' Ino.

He pretended nothing was wrong and my fear grew every coming day. Today was the last day I would see him, after today he would have to be with 'her.' He would have to see her every day, and work with her for hours on end. They will talk and talk, and reminisce about old times they had together. I will be easily forgotten.

I pulled my tired body off of his chest, feeling my limbs protest. My body loved being close to him, the warmth was loss. He grunted, shifting over as I gave my back to him, moving to the edge of the bed. His arm was around my stomach, pulling me back into the middle of my bed, against his hard naked body. "Sleep with me Ino," he mumbled half asleep, laying his head over mine, cuddling closer. I relaxed instantly, my body molded so perfectly with his.

I closed my eyes knowing full well that when I opened them he would be gone to see Temari. He would be with her from then on, and I will avoid him to avoid the pain. I will protect myself, and recover. I love Shikamaru, but if he loves her more I won't hate him. I will cry myself empty then I will live again, and move on. Life goes on.

As expected, he was gone. Sighing, I pushed up my tired body from the comfortable bed grimacing. He had sworn I would remember him for a while and I shook my head, forcing my sore legs to move. I showered in hot water to relax my sore and tired muscles, and dressed in my usual purple training gear.

"Ino, open up!" someone pounded at my front door urgently, sighing I opened the door to find Sakura.

"What do you need, Sakura?" I asked, opening the door wide to give her entry, she followed me inside.

"I came to see how you are; I know you are pretty stressed about Shikamaru having to spend a lot of time with his ex. I'm here for support," she smiled, pushing her pink bangs behind her ear. I grinned, but the smile didn't reach my eyes, and, of course, being Sakura she noticed, "Come on Ino cheer up. Shikamaru loves you."

"You don't have to do this Sakura, its okay. I've mentally and physically prepared for this," I waved away her concerns, looking out of my window at the birds singing outside. "I've decided to avoid him from now on; I don't want to see him anymore." Her hands gripped into fist unlike mine that were folded limply on my lap.

"That's ridiculous! That will only drive him to her! Why are you acting like this? You aren't the Ino I know," she scowled crossing her arms.

I looked at her dismissively and walked into my kitchen. "You don't know anything Sakura, I appreciate that you are trying to help me make it work. But maybe I don't want it to; I don't want to be second to anyone."

"Ino…" I avoided looking back, I knew her eyes would have softened and her expression would be worried.

"I am fine, Sakura." She nodded, looking away, not believing me.

"Another reason why I stopped by is to drag you along for Hinata's and Naruto's wedding preparations," Sakura changed the subject, saving me the effort; "you are our wedding planner after all."

"I was just getting ready," I smiled, glad to have a distraction. I hadn't remembered about the meeting this morning, some wedding planner I was turning out to be. Why would they choose me? Sakura was closer to the couple than I was; maybe it had something to do with my better taste. I smirked ready to tease her about it, but decided not to when I noticed that worried expression still on her face. 'Ugh, I need friends that won't remind me of Shikamaru.'

We made our way to the Hyuga mansion, which was on the other side of the village from my apartment. The streets were crowded and noisy, "The chunnin exams are going to be popular this year." I commented, spotting many Rain, Sand, Sound, and Mist ninjas.

"Yeah, it should be grand!" Sakura nodded, also looking around. She stopped staring at the street ahead in shock; her hand had appeared on my arm, stopping me with her.

"What is wrong-" I was about to ask when I spotted the problem. Shikamaru and Temari were walking from the opposite direction towards us, they hadn't spotted us and I was unsure what to do. "Don't be so obvious Sakura, just keep walking. If you want to stop and chat do so, but I will keep walking."

She nodded, placing a pleasant look on her face, as I looked away from the couple that neared us. "Oh hi Shikamaru! Temari, so nice to see you again. Well, we are in a hurry; I hope you find everything accommodating." Sakura waved as I walked ahead of her.

"Ino…" Shikamaru's strong voice called, but I had walked fast enough to act as if I hadn't heard him. This still didn't explain why I had completely ignored him while passing.

"Ino that was rude…" Sakura mumbled, worriedly looking back.

"Hey Sakura…" she stopped talking and looked at me, "How far can you go before looking back?" She gave me a weird face, and then concentrated on the question.

"Not far," she admitted, smiling lightly, probably remembering Sasuke.

"I've always been able to lock away memories, and I don't tend to look back often… At first I thought there was something wrong with me for not mourning what is lost… when Sasuke left, when the Third died, when Asuma died… I always felt I didn't mourn enough, I wasn't sad enough. But then I realized this fault was a gift, I look ahead and keep moving forward. When Asuma died, Shikamaru collapsed… and I didn't. But that made him stronger; collapsing would have made me weaker and unreliable… I'm glad I don't allow those feelings in, because if I had, I probably wouldn't be alive today," I mumbled, watching the clouds as we walked. I could feel her staring at me with surprise, but she kept quiet. I was glad.

We made it to the Hyuga mansion in silence. The doors were open and we walked in to find Naruto talking with an annoyed looking Neji.

"Come on! You have to be the second best man! Hinata has two maids of honor, and I need just one more," Naruto begged wearing his signature smile. He had become very handsome along the years, with his bright blue eyes, manly jaw, and full lips. His body was a major plus to his looks, and his personality had matured so much that he seemed like a completely different person. Yet he had kept that innocence in wanting to be friendly and fair with people. For a ninja that was rare.

"Hey Neji just say yes, he won't leave you alone till you agree. It'll be less troublesome to just agree. I'm doing all the work anyway. You'll just have to help with the bachelor party and make sure you are dressed and be ready for the day of the wedding, which you'll have to do anyway," I shrugged, walking over to the two very handsome men.

Neji Hyuga, Konoha's top bachelor. He was so handsome it was borderline beautiful, his long hair was the envy of everyone and his pale blue eyes were intense when they looked at someone. I remember I used to have such a huge crush on him, Sakura had always wondered why I had given up on such a catch for Shikamaru. The reason had been because Shikamaru had always been in the back of my mind, my curiosity since he was such a close friend. Plus, he was manlier to me; not saying that Neji wasn't, he was just too close to being beautiful. Shikamaru's strong jaw, sexy scars, and that personality!

"You sound like Shikamaru," Neji frowned, but relented, "Fine, fine Naruto…" he shrugged. I had visibly paled and looked back to Sakura who laughed at the comment. He had been right, I had sounded like Shikamaru. Neji, nor anyone else, knows about Shikamaru or our relationship, only Sakura since I had confided in her. No one would ever guess that 'Ino and Shikamaru' was a couple, that was simply impossible in everyone's mind.

"Thanks for the help Ino, you girls here for the planning?" Naruto turned to us smiling, I cursed Sakura for having such handsome teammates, and such powerful ones too.

"Yeah, who's your other best man?" I asked, needing to keep my list updated on who was in the wedding party. Naruto has many friends, but his closest had either left or died: Sasuke, Kakashi, Jiraiya…

"Shikamaru, he agreed to it already," Naruto smiled, I felt Sakura stiffen next to me, but I ignored her reaction. She was acting like I should be acting in the situation, yet I kept my face calm and nodded, pulling out my wedding notebook and scribbling in his name. "What's wrong Sakura?"

"Nothing," she mumbled and I scowled in her direction, she was being way too obvious, 'Was she seriously a ninja?'

"Check, so all you need now is 5 grooms' men. My suggestion is Shino, Kiba, Chouji, Lee, and Sai… But you decide, it's yours and Hinata's day, later," I waved, leaving the shocked Naruto behind as we made our way into the main house.

"Why 5?" Sakura asked keeping up with my quick pace.

"Because that's the number of Naruto's closest friends. We'll just have to find Hinata 5 other girls as well… Tenten, Hinata's younger sister, and three other pretty faces. All they need to do is walk down the aisle without tripping or ruining the mood," I smiled, having put some thought into this when I had avoided thinking of Shikamaru.

We found Hinata in her room, reading some pamphlets; she smiled as we walked in, closing the door behind me. Planning this wedding was going to be hard. Especially with the huge number of guest... That Naruto was too damn popular.

A few hours later I sighed, tired, heading to my parent's shop for more work. As I rounded the corner I spotted Shikamaru leaving my parent's shop with his hands in his pockets, smoking a disgusting cigarette. I hid my presence and waited for him to walk away, I really didn't want to have to talk, and I just didn't want to see him.

Once inside the flower shop my mother came out to greet me, "Shikamaru came by, I didn't know you were going to stop by today. So I told him you'll be in tomorrow, he's such a cutie," she giggled, watching me teasingly.

"Hey mom can I work today instead of tomorrow, I might have a mission soon and I need to train tomorrow," I stated ignoring her teasing; she raised an eyebrow, but consented. I wasn't really needed in the flower shop anymore, since there was extra help, but I enjoyed coming by to help out. I loved flowers.

"Well you should go and find Shikamaru then, he would have waited here if I hadn't said you weren't going to be in. It looked important, maybe he'll ask you out finally," she smirked; I let my mouth drop feeling my cheeks burn. My mother was maybe the only person in Konoha that would imagine that, allowing my shock to pass I rolled my eyes.

"Yeah right, Shikamaru's an emotionless jerk. I have better options and so does he," I stated nonchalantly, "Where's Kin?" I asked looking for the only employee.

"She ran after Shikamaru, screaming her love for him," my mom stated, decorating some vases with various flowers. I looked at her shocked and, of course, she took it the wrong way. "Don't get jealous, he looked set on finding you," she winked.

I had seen Shikamaru, and Kin hadn't ran out to follow, "I'm not jealous, she wouldn't have a chance even if she did follow," I said following my mother's example, decorating a vase with a bow, passing it over for the flowers. She looked at me delighted, as if I had admitted to something she suspected. "He's seeing Temari again," I wanted to laugh and cry at the same time as I watched her face turn from happy to shocked to annoyed in seconds.

"What!? Why? Is that why he's looking for you? To ask for advice on how to handle that-that awful girl!" My mother demanded, outraged, breaking a rose branch in her hand. "And I thought he was here to see you, that Shikamaru, he's going to get hurt again," she shook her head disappointed.

"Maybe not," I whispered as she continued to arrange vases.

I walked home that night in a daze; I was beyond exhausted at this point. We had ended up receiving so many bouquet orders in that one night that I had begun arranging flowers while my mom was at the counter. It had been a good turnout.

I entered my apartment complex drowsy once I reached my front door. "Ino," I turned to find Shikamaru leaning against the wall, probably having been waiting for a few hours.

I recovered quickly from my shock closing my face of all emotion. I need to act normal, push him away little by little. "Oh Shikamaru, you scared me. What are you doing here?" I asked, turning back towards my apartment door, jingling my keys into the lock.

"I was looking for you," he stated, pushing off the wall to stand right behind me as I opened my apartment. I felt nervous.

"Really? I'm one of Hinata's maids of honor so I had to help with some planning today, and then I went to my mom's house to help out. She mentioned you had passed by," I stated, cringing, why was I explaining myself to him?

"Hn," he grunted, following me inside. I sat my sash and equipment on the kitchen table, stretching my arms. I was so tired, how long was he going to stick around for? I yawned for effect.

"Shouldn't you be patrolling Temari's temporary housing?" I asked, rubbing my eyes, again for effect. "I thought you were going to be busy this next month," I mumbled.

"I got a few ANBU to post as lookouts, including Sai. He's reliable enough," Shikamaru shrugged, watching me, his arms were crossed. He looked like he wanted to say something, but I'm glad he wasn't the type for confrontation. He wouldn't ask me up front why I ignored him today. He knew I would say something troublesome and that would probably lead into an argument.

"Are you going to spend the night?" I asked, going around him towards my room. I needed him to leave, I was so tired. I knew he couldn't spend the night, come on, he was on a mission. By asking if he would be spending the night he would get the hint that I was turning in to sleep.

"Yes," he said calmly, unfolding his arms, following me into my bedroom, I tensed a little surprised. I hadn't expected him to want to spend the night. He wasn't acting himself.

"Is that okay? I mean, aren't you on a mission," I mumbled, looking away as he watched me a little too intensely.

"Do you want me to leave?" he asked, void of emotion, he wouldn't care either way.

"Maybe you should, you don't seem to care either way, so it probably be best to prioritize on your mission," I shrugged, removing all my clothing unembarrassed, leaving on only my underwear. He watched shamelessly, and to my annoyance emotionless. My skin was flawless, soft and irresistible to males. I took care of my body, not being too skinny or too fat, just the way Shikamaru likes me to be. But he just stood there, and I moved into bed, under the covers, resting on my soft pillows as I stared at my ceiling.

"Do 'you' want me to leave, Ino?" he asked again, this time emphasizing the 'you.' Did I want him to leave? Hmm, yes and no.

I waited a few seconds before answering, "No, of course not Shika."

The stress on his shoulders that I hadn't noticed was released as he came to me, he stripped quickly, flicking off the lights and joining me under the covers. I sighed in exhaustion, actually cuddling into him as his arms went around my body, touching my bare cool skin with his feverish touch. He was on fire; I looked up to him feeling his forehead.

"You feel hot…" I mumbled worriedly, moving from his forehead to his cheek. He pushed his face into my hand, he really wasn't acting himself, a fever was probably the reason.

"I have a headache, but I'm fine now," he smirked moving over me, his eyes darkened and I felt mine do the same. He leaned down and kissed me, only a touch of lips at first, which became hard and desperate almost bruising. Excitement shook my body alive to the very core, only Shikamaru could do this to me.

His hands caressed my curves, tightening his hands on my hips making me gasp to invade my mouth. I moaned into the kiss, lifting my hips to beg him for more contact. My wish was granted, as his calloused fingers found their way down my body and pulling the panties aside to rub my already swollen bud. All my emotions and feelings had intensified; I hadn't thought I would have another day like this. And so I took careful pleasure in every little touch and kiss he gave. I was living in the moment, as if it were the last day alive.

"I missed you today," he murmured breathless, kissing my heated flesh, moving down my neck, to my chest, stomach, and opening my thighs wide. He bit the inner sensitive skin of the thighs, making me moan his name. Then he kissed my lower lips as if it were a second mouth, exploring me with that skillful tongue, making my back bend in ecstasy as he played with me so expertly. Not many men could make me orgasm, I was high maintenance in that department, and it had been a shock that it had been so natural for Shikamaru to make me scream. He wasn't as experienced as I, but I guess a genius can do anything; noticing every sensitive area, memorizing my whole body, and repetitively touching the places that drive me to the edge. For example, I loved when he went down on me… Having a man between my legs, rolling his eyes up to watch the pleasure he inflicted on me; with a look that only a man could make when seeing his woman enjoy his ministrations.

I came with such a force, that it took me longer than usual to reopen my eyes and set my eyes on my target. Shikamaru looked pleased, smirking knowingly at my flustered and breathless state. I smiled back, knowing what I wanted to do. He raised an eyebrow at my smug look, but let me pull him back into bed as I climbed over him; 'accidentally' rubbing my wet womanhood over his stiff member. He grunted, closing his eyes and placing his hands on my waist, trying to pull me down, but I resisted.

Smirking knowingly, I slowly kissed my way down his body, much like he did with me. He grunted, trying to pull me back up and keep control of the situation, but again I resisted. When I wanted something, I got it. Shikamaru never asked for it, he was cute that way, still shy about having me suck his manhood. This showed how inexperienced he really was with women; I could wager that he only had one past lover… Temari. I pushed that annoying thought away, licking the head and tasting myself from when I rubbed against him. This alone made Shikamaru suck in a breath of air, he was so sensitive. I loved having this much effect on him, sliding him into my mouth until he reached the back of my throat. Shikamaru wasn't small or even regular size, he was thick and a bit longer than normal. Whatever I couldn't fit into my mouth I massaged with my hand, licking him like a lollipop, I like that term.

I could feel him close; the way his muscles bunched, how he gripped the sheets, and the way his manhood pulsated and thickened even more in my mouth. I was enjoying this foreplay so much I didn't notice his hand that pulled me away from him and flipped me over the edge of the bed, spreading my long legs and bending my upper body onto my high bed. Without warning he slammed into my womanhood without remorse, he hit that delicious spot in my womanhood that only he could find so easily. Going over it, over and over, making me hold onto the sheets for dear life, I became breathless and weak in the knees so easily.

One of his hands stayed at my hips as he found a good rhythm, the other traveling down the crack of my buttocks, pausing near my puckered entrance; almost thoughtful. I have never allowed anyone to even consider the 'back door,' but at the level of arousal Shikamaru had me, I began to feel curious. He moved passed it, probably deciding against it for the moment, I was both relieved and disappointed; both excited and afraid.

He pulled out of me slowly, making the feeling of emptiness great. I actually whimpered at the loss, as he moved us further onto the bed and pulled me over him, positioning me over his manhood. As soon as he entered me again, and this time reached the back of my vaginal wall making me hiss in pleasure. He quickened the pace quickly, making my back arch and forcing my eyes closed in ecstasy. I'm not sure how many times I had an orgasm, but he kissed me fiercely turning us over so that I'd be underneath him. Far from done, he was definitely my sexual equal…

I always kept a knife under my pillow, just in case Konoha was attacked by surprise again, and I was still in bed. I heard him come into my room, holding my knife firmly I moved quickly, throwing the knife at the intruder. Shikamaru who had been sleeping very deeply jumped awake because of my sudden movements. The knife hit the wall as the intruder dodged and turned the lights on.

"I mean no harm; I just came to retrieve Shikamaru…" Sai raised his hands reassuringly, showing us he was weaponless. I sighed in relief, keeping my naked body covered with the thin sheets.

Shikamaru frowned, moving around the bed to gather his things. He had pulled on his boxers before going to sleep unlike me; I enjoyed sleeping naked. I looked back to Sai who had been staring at me; I raised a questioning eyebrow, feeling the smirk pulling my lips. "What's wrong Sai? Never seen a naked woman before?" I teased, embarrassed at being in this situation but not willing to show it.

"I've seen plenty of naked women, just never a friend," he shrugged, not looking embarrassed.

"Is it any different?" I wondered out loud not really a question, still smirking.

"Yes, more intimate."

"And it doesn't hurt being in my room huh, I need better locks," I sighed, laughing lightly. I turned away laying back down allowing the sheets to line the curves of my body from one side. I closed my eyes feeling the exhaustion come back, adrenaline had allowed me to throw the knife, but now I was crashing.

"Sai, get out. I'll meet you outside," Shikamaru snapped, glaring at the ANBU captain. He wasn't usually this easily annoyed.

"Sure, sure," the young man agreed, leaving the room, still watching me.

"You shouldn't do that with other men," Shikamaru sounded angry, I opened an eye to look over to him.

"Do what?" I asked feigning ignorance; I knew what I've done.

"Tease," he actually growled.

"You shouldn't have told him where you would be, and you should have told him to get out the moment you woke up," I retorted, closing my eyes again, too tired and sore to really worry about Sai.

"Pst, I'm leaving," he stated walking to the door. That's it, it's always like this. He gets mad and leaves; why waste his time arguing with me, I'm just the girl he's fucking anyway.

"Good, don't bother me anymore," I mumbled loud enough for him to hear, fisting my hand in the pillow; trying to stop my temper, trying to act like I didn't care.

"If that's what you want," he must have shrugged.

"Hurry, don't make Temari wait at two in the morning," I stated sarcastically, as he closed the door behind himself calmly. Fury ripped through me, it burned my blood and hurt my stomach, I hated that he never defended himself. He never cared enough to prove me wrong, to make me feel reassured. My heart beat quickened and adrenaline ran throughout my body, making me shake from the frustration and anger. I bit my lip a little too hard, tasting the metallic flavor of my blood, and gripped the pillow too tightly ripping the fabric.

'I'm not going to cry, I'm not going to cry, I'm not going to cry,' I repeated to myself over and over, opening my eyes wide so that the tears wouldn't overflow. I hated feeling like this, I hated doing this one sided thing. When I went on missions I reassured him, I'll come back to him; I always reassured him in everything. I told him everything, but he doesn't, and I'm tired of being insecure and afraid.

My eyes overflowed and I convinced myself that I wasn't crying; tears were rolling down my cheeks, but I wasn't crying.

"So have you seen him yet?" Sakura asked me again, it had been almost two weeks since the incident in my apartment with Shikamaru. He hadn't tried to see me since, and of course I wasn't going to go looking for him.

"Nope, stop asking Sakura," I sighed, we were fixing the reception tables for the wedding, which was tomorrow. The reception would be held in the Hyuga property outside; I looked around at all our hard work and smirked. Everything looked perfect. "Ok, did you make sure all the groomsmen tailored their suits properly?" I asked Sakura, focusing on the flower ornaments in the middle of the tables.

"Yeah, grooms men are a go," Sakura smiled proudly, sitting down in one of the many chairs. Hinata's color would be purple and white, so the decorations surrounded those colors perfectly.

"Good, and we all got our dresses ready, now all we need is for them to get married," I sighed, relieved, taking a seat, tomorrow I would have to get up early and help Hinata get ready. "You will be walking in before me, since you are the first maid of honor. You're partner is Shikamaru since he is the first best man. I'll be walking in with Neji, ok."

Sakura nodded, "Yeah, yeah, I know. I still don't get what happened between you two," she looked at the clouds overhead, not going further.

"Things changed and we were too different from the beginning. It'll be weird to see him tomorrow," I mumbled.

"Tell me about it, I'm more nervous than you are," she smiled, then grinned evilly, "Do you still like Neji?"

"I had a small crush on him, who hasn't?" I grinned back, locking away all thoughts of Shikamaru.

"Hi Neji," Sakura smiled waving at someone behind me, my eyes widened as I turned to look back as if in a scary movie. Just behind me stood Neji Hyuga, my face instantly reddened visibly and I was frozen on the spot. I saw movement behind him and to my horror spotted Shikamaru… I was going to die.

"Uh… Well I better find Hinata, we need to experiment with makeup," I murmured, jumping up from my seat. Neji looked amused, but Shikamaru looked ready to kill. I will kill Sakura.

I made it into their mansion without falling on my face from the embarrassment. Why should I care what they think, sure I had a little crush on Neji, but nothing I would pursue. And Shikamaru… This didn't concern Shikamaru. Whatever I do is none of his business. I had already experimented with Hinata's make up, I had nothing to do here till tomorrow.

I walked out of the Hyuga estate as fast as I could, trying to get away from Shikamaru as fast as I could. Outside stood Temari, she looked bored, probably waiting for Shikamaru. "Hi Temari," I greeted, being polite. 'I need to get out of here before he shows up and sees us together.'

"Ino," she nodded her head in acknowledgement, watching me as I walked by quickly. "Are you running?"

I stopped, narrowing my eyes, "What do you mean?"

"Last time I saw you, you were walking that same way, but you ignored us. This time you're walking the same, but you acknowledged me. So you're running, but not from me. Is it from Shikamaru?" She asked, too well informed. I scowled, if I kept this conversation it wouldn't end well.

"I don't run from anyone, I'm in a hurry," I stated, unwilling to admit it.

"Oh, so that's what you call it," she stated sarcastic, smirking knowingly; the look pissed me off. "Well if you're in a 'hurry' don't let me stop you," she said dismissively, making me see red.

Taking a deep breath I smirked back, calming down. "Ok Princess, you seem to want to 'chat' with me, I'm actually avoiding Shikamaru. Is that what you wanted to know?" I smiled, getting on her nerves with my sweet voice.

"Why would you ignore my poor Shikamaru?" she asked, raising an eyebrow, my eye twitched. She just said my poor Shikamaru…

'Leave… Leave she's looking for a fight, this won't end well and you'll be the one looking bad,' I told myself breathing evenly. "Let's just say I'm not interested in 'your' poor Shikamaru," I smirked, that pissed her off. Turning away I continued to walk away. She didn't say anything more.

I yawned as I waited for Hinata to get out of the shower. I had found her still asleep and thanked the gods for waking up extra early. She must have been up most of the night nervous. She came out smelling like lavender. I dried and combed her hair straight, calling the hair stylist to work it. I was already in my light purple kimono with my hair in a tight conservative bun. I had applied light make up covering the rings under my eyes from lack of sleep, and applying lip gloss and blush.

We were finished in two hours, which I hadn't expected. Hinata's make up was perfect, and her hair flawless. I giggled when Sakura ran into the Hyuga house, panicked that she had been late. From the look of her disoriented complexion she had apparently overslept.

Neji and Shikamaru sat outside, already dressed. They told Sakura that they had dressed too early and were waiting for the other groomsmen to meet with Naruto. I had scowled as I could see that they were peeking into the room where we were all rustling about, fixing minor details. Neji I understood, he was Konoha's top bachelor, but Shikamaru? He was Temari's little puppy, why did I feel like he was trying to find me in the crowd? I shouldn't give myself that much credit; he was probably trying to catch some skin like Neji.

I glanced over to where Shikamaru and Neji stood talking for the 100th time and found a different sight. Temari had joined the two men and was pleasantly chatting circling her arm around Shikamaru's arm. 'I don't care, I don't care, that's why I let it go,' I hissed to myself, looking away from the couple who decided to show public affection by standing so close together. The nerve of Shikamaru, to allow this here, in front of me.

"Shikamaru, let's go take a walk together," she actually begged prettily, making my eye twitch, as she had said that loud enough for everyone to hear. Sakura scowled at them, looking worriedly in my direction. Everyone else watched them, amazed at Temari's sudden personality change.

"What are you doing Temari?" Shikamaru asked, looking back into the room; I had my back to them, gripping my fist, clawing the inside of my palms. I wouldn't cry, the pain in my palm was better. "Ino, it's not like that," Shikamaru spoke to me for the first time, hearing his voice directed at me made my eyes water.

"I could care less what your relations are," I said emotionless, helping Hinata put on her shoes. Smiling reassuringly at the confused bride to be, I stood and walked out of the room into the main house. I needed to get away from all the eyes, wiping away the few tears that slipped I was careful not to ruin my make-up.

"Ino don't misunderstand. I'm not sure what Temari was trying to do back there, but I'm sorry," how did he get behind me so quickly? I turned, cleaning my face clear of emotions and giving him my best Ino smile.

"Why are you suddenly coming to me, Shikamaru? Please go back to Temari, our relationship was short but fun… Don't make things weird," I tried to move around him, but his body blocked my path and cornered me. I frowned looking up at him, hating the influence his presence had on my emotions. 'Why did he have to make this so hard?'

"What are you talking about, short but fun?" he asked in a low voice, aware of our friends listening in through the paper walls. Something I had actually forgotten about the house, it was an old Japanese styled home; meaning everyone could hear us.

"Today is Hinata and Naruto's wedding, don't ruin the mood with this breakup," It was hard to say, especially with the confused face he had been giving me. He hadn't thought I would go this far, he had thought that after his mission with Temari everything would fix itself. The truth was that it was my issue and this was my way of fixing my problem of insecurity; terminating the relationship that makes me go insane with insecurities…

"Breakup…?" he repeated, looking thoughtful as he thought over the past argument. It really hadn't been reason enough to breakup, but I've always been a confident person and the relationship made me face too many personality flaws and insecurities. "About last time… I was angry because the job called and you teased Sai, I'm sorry. But that isn't reason enough to just break it off," he really didn't understand, and why would he? Shikamaru wasn't really smart when it came to women and relationships.

"Of course you wouldn't understand, let's get back to the wedding party," I sighed, going around him but only to have him catch my arm in a steel grip stopping me forcefully. "You're hurting me," I hissed, knowing I would wake up with bruises on my arm the next morning.

"Explain it to me, and help me understand," he hissed back, but loosened his grip considerably. I didn't understand why he even cared, remembering how he looked so comfortable and satisfied with Temari only made my anger rise and resolve stronger.

"Not today," I pulled my arm away forcefully, glaring death at him as I rubbed the pink skin.

He slammed his fist against the closest wall, making me jump in surprise at the sudden outburst and show of feeling. "This is bullshit," he cursed, dismissing me as he turned away and left me alone in the hallway.

My heart was still beating so hard it hurt enough to make my eyes sting, quickly dabbing my eyes dry I rejoined the wedding party. I smiled and shook my head at the questioning looks the girls gave me. "Nothing important," I said dismissively, as Shikamaru passed through the room to join Neji and Temari waiting outside. I couldn't help but stare after him, as he allowed Temari to get close to him and even looked interested in whatever she was talking about. He even caught me looking; I turned away quickly, applying makeup on every bridesmaid, even Sakura who watched me worriedly.

My blood boiled. I was so angry that the only face I could make to my friends was the perfectly trained empty smile I'd perfected at a young age. It made me look beautiful, but my friends knew me enough to notice something was off. However, today was Hinata's day and everyone was too busy making sure everything went perfect to worry about my issues; I was relieved.

I walked besides Neji, only glancing up at Shikamaru's broad back once before smiling at the many Hyuga relatives and friends. Cameras flashed all around us, and I prayed that my face didn't portray my quiet sadness. Shikamaru's face was completely empty, of course it was easier for him, he didn't care about anything other than Temari.

The wedding was beautiful, elegant music played as they signed a marriage agreement and we slowly moved towards the reception hall within the Hyuga halls. After everything that required my assistance was over, and the lights were finally dimmed as the real party began, I took my leave. Everyone was too drunk to notice, and I wanted to leave unnoticed.

I reached the exit without any interruptions, and even made it out of the Hyuga mansion safely. It was in the gardens that I paused, noticing the couple in darkness, embracing? My eyes narrowed trying to make out the figures, a man slouched on the outside bench of the Hyuga garden and the woman before him sat on his lap giggling. Giving up my curiosity at their identities, I turned away ready to end this horrible day and sleep, when I heard his voice.

"Troublesome, you've had too much to drink," it was Shikamaru, I would have recognized his voice anywhere. I felt my anger blaze all over again, wanting to go back and slap him for choosing her, but I held my ground and continued to walk away. If only the twig beneath my foot had not split and made a noise loud enough to get their attention.

"Who's there?" Temari asked playfully, her arms around Shikamaru's neck as she strained her neck to see into the shadows. When I didn't answer, and continued to walk away Shikamaru stood, placing Temari on the bench, and hurrying in my same direction. I hurried my stride, stepping into one of the many rooms within the main Hyuga mansion. I heard him hurry past, before sliding down the wall in relief.

"What up with that?" I jumped, shocked, and slowly turned to the familiar male voice within the darkened room.

"Neji! You surprised me," I breathed out, placing a hand on my racing heart and pushing myself up from the floor. The room was white and plain, with no personal items to show that it belonged to anyone. "Is this your room?" I asked, trying to avoid the awkwardness of the situation.

"No…" he paused, noticing I was changing the subject before it began."It's a guest room… I don't live in the Hyuga community anymore, there is more privacy for a bachelor in an apartment," he shrugged, sitting on the bed near the window; I could see him because of the moon's light.

"Why aren't you at the party?" I asked, trying to keep up normal conversation and avoid the obvious curiosity on his mind.

"I could ask the same thing," he closed his eyes, laying back down on his back; with the simple gesture he'd agreed not to pry into my business if I didn't pry into his. His indifference made me want to tell him, made me want to confide in someone what I was really feeling… I'm really messed up mentally.

"Shikamaru and I were dating, and we broke up because of my insecurities and his ignorance…" I blurted, feeling my eyes moisten instantaneously as I hurried to rub them dry. "I'm angry at myself because I couldn't trust him enough to try harder, and I angry at him because he doesn't understand my feelings…" I was crying now, and he still lay motionless in the bed, his arm covering his eyes as if he were asleep, but I knew he was listening. "And just now I saw him with Temari on his lap, not even bothered about our breakup like I am… It hurts that he didn't even care… it makes me so angry and sad, I just don't know what to do anymore," I hurriedly wiped my tears, because at this point, I couldn't even see.

I didn't even notice when Neji stood from his position to wrap an arm around my body and hug me against his chest. It was a nice hug, the kind you get from older brothers or long time friends; the warmth made me sob harder into his chest, finally allowing me to release all the insecurity, jealousy, anger, and sadness I'd been feeling alone. He didn't say anything, only listened.

I don't even remember when I drifted off to sleep, because I woke the next morning in the same room, but alone in the bed.

Stretching out my tired limbs, and quickly gathering my things I left the Hyuga mansion unnoticed. Firstly, I didn't want anyone to know I borrowed a room without asking, and secondly I was embarrassed about crying in front of Neji. I made it out safely, breathing a sigh of relief once outside the Hyuga community.

I walked home quickly, calculating by the level of the sun that it was still early in the morning. My eyes felt raw, but I felt much better even, if I had to avoid the Hyuga for a while. My better mood didn't last, as I spotted Shikamaru standing outside my apartment building, watching me approach with a blank expression on his face.

"Where have you been all night?" he asked, with barely contained rage, as I passed him, heading towards my apartment door. He followed close behind me, I'd never seen him act like this; he was actually looking for a fight.

"I don't have to explain myself to you anymore, Shikamaru. I'm not asking you what you were doing with Temari in the gardens," I stated back, opening the door to my apartment and turning to him so he understood he wouldn't be coming in.

"So it was you, why did you run away? Where did you go? Because I know you didn't return home," he snapped, his fist clenching at his sides. Usually he wouldn't ask so many questions or even bother worrying about irrelevant things. I couldn't believe that he was angry because of me, I wasn't that conceited to think I had any effect on his emotions.

"I didn't want to interrupt the busy couples, and again, it's none of your business. I'm really tired, go back to Temari," I sighed, trying to close the door but failing as he pushed it open, almost violently, then slamming it behind him.

"I'm tired of hearing that same bullshit, go back to Temari, what is your fucking problem?" he was really angry… Shikamaru never cursed, especially not at me. I actually took a step back, as he came closer.

"Get out," I tried to call my anger, but my voice cracked nervously. I didn't know how to handle an angry Shikamaru, much less explain my problem.

"I'm not leaving until you tell me where you were last night," he grabbed my arm, keeping me from escaping to my room. I struggled, trying to break free, but he wouldn't let go and I couldn't break the bruising grip.

"You're hurting me," I hated how my voice sounded so weak, but it did hurt.

"This is nothing compared to what you're doing to me," he snapped without thinking, than repeated his question again.

"I stayed at the Hyuga mansion," I whimpered, his gripped tightened before it loosened slightly.

"With who?" my eyes widened, someone had told him something, that's why he was this angry. "Tell me with who!" he nearly screamed, the grip becoming painful again.

"Get away from me," I finally screamed, my tears finally back and rolling down my face as I fought him. "I don't owe you any explanation! We're over, leave me alone!" the more I fought against his hold, the more I would be hurt but at the moment I didn't care anymore. I just wanted to get away, something I've learned to do from him. Avoid conflict or problems, because now I agreed… this was too troublesome.

"We aren't over. I'm not leaving," he stated, pulling me into the bedroom and throwing me onto the bed. "I was told by a maid in the Hyuga house that you spent the night with Neji," he said in a rage, removing his shirt and unbuckling his pants. I moved farther into the middle of the bed, raising the sheets over my body as if they would protect me from this stranger! "I won't let you leave me, even if you did fuck him. I'll make sure you remember who you belong to."

My eyes widened, did he just insinuate something horrible? Was he that angry?

I was too shocked to react, "So it's true, you did go to Neji." I opened my mouth to at least clear up this misunderstanding, but he was already over me, ripping the sheet from my body and forcefully removing my dress leaving me in undergarments before him. "He saw you naked, he touched you, tasted you, felt you…" his voice cracked, and he paused as he closed his eyes holding both my wrist on either side of my body, "Why did you do this to me? Why do you make me go insane? I hate you…" His hold was loosening; I had been too frightened and shocked to do anything. "But I won't let anyone else have you," his anger was coming back, his hold tightening.

"Wait… Shikamaru," I whimpered, I hadn't stopped crying but it didn't matter how weak I sounded. He'd just expressed my same angers… But I hadn't done anything wrong, "Neji and I didn't do anything like that, he only listened to me and let me sleep in one of the guest rooms of the Hyuga mansion…"

He was still for a long time over me, processing what I've just said; he knew how to tell if I was lying and I clearly wasn't. "Why didn't you say that in the first place?" his head fell to the croak of my neck, trying to calm his own temper. "Why did you provoke me, and make me so angry? I'm going insane because of you."

"You make me insecure, especially with Temari around… I hate that feeing, it makes me hate you," I stared at the ceiling, my heart beating in my neck where Shikamaru's cheek touched.

"I don't care about her anymore… If I did, I wouldn't have pursued you," Shikamaru had never been a complicated guy, but his explanation seemed too simple. Feelings didn't just die so easily, why couldn't I trust him enough?

"I'm not mature enough to be with you," I cried pushing at his chest, it was the truth. I couldn't handle his level of maturity, making things that had mattered so much in the past as irrelevant in the present. I certainly couldn't do it.

"It doesn't matter," he held on tighter, my legs on either side of his hips. "I'm not letting you go, even if you hate me…" I wanted to just give in, and accept it as simple… but nothing was simple; nothing in a relationship was simple. Especially when it involved me, I was the most complex person I knew.

"Why do you tell me those things?" I sobbed, blinded by my own tears as they burned hot, streaming down the side of my face. His words gave me hope I couldn't bare to have again.

"Because their true," he stayed quiet for a long time, listening to me cry and smelling my skin and hair. "I quit being Temari's escort… I'd rather the Hokage and Temari be angry with me than you, you can drive me crazy; they can't…" He'd pulled away from my neck and looked down at me; I blinked several times, trying to see his expression, but the tears wouldn't stop.

"I'm selfish."

"I know."

"I have a horrible temper."

"I know."

"I overreact a lot…"

"I know," I could finally see his face over mine. He looked calm now; the anger had seeped from him as easily as it had from me. But I still cried from the relief that it was finally going to be okay.

"Then, why do you want to continue this troublesome relationship?" I couldn't help but ask, he always gave up troublesome things.

"Because you are the only person that makes me care enough to be troubled…" he kissed my tears, releasing my wrists and slowly wiping my face.

"Anyone can make you troubled…"

"No, only you can drive me insane," he said seriously, his eyes slowly darkening with something other than anger.

"Am I going to be punished for letting Neji console me?" I asked, a slow grin curving my lips as his face became even darker. The rise in him both excited and frightened me…

"Yes, I'll make sure you never do it again," he growled, running a hand down to my womanhood…

"H-how?" I gasped, feeling his fingers touch the sensitive skin.

"You'll find out soon enough," he smirked darkly, before stealing my breath away.

Author Notes: It's been a while since I put up a story, =P. Thanks to Ray by Another Name for beta-ing this story for me, and also thinking up of the title. I hope you enjoy, I really had fun writing.