Um, let's just say this is the product of staying up too late.

I hope you like it, nonetheless.

Disclaimer: M. Kishimoto owns all characters and places.

"She totally slept with him. You can just tell."

Ino's mouth grew thin, but she tilted her head a little higher.

The whispered rumors that everyone seemed intent to tell when she was near made Ino angry. It was not her fault that her virginity had to be given away for the sake of a mission. She was not the whore everyone assumed she was.

Ino made eye contact with the gossipers as she passed, allowing a small smile to play on her lips.

Shikamaru frequently told her not to spurn them like she did, but something in Ino rebelled at this. She was definitely not the type of person to back down from a challenge, even when the odds were stacked against her.

Ino was not an idiot. She knew she couldn't win this war.

Many claimed that she was a sex addict, but this was entirely untrue. Ino was addicted to the feeling of being wanted.

Sure, she'd given her body away as a bargaining chip for the country, but in the end, did it really matter? She was kunoichi—the shinobi with the highest stealth and undercover success in all of history. And Ino—Ino was the most skilled out of her age group in the Fire Country.

She could bend men's wills and passions to suit her own with the faintest bat of an eyelash. With one demure look, she could turn heads to her pleasing figure. And her body could satisfy any need any man had.

There was a pseudo-pride Ino possessed about her abilities. It was nice and all, to be exalted for the dreaded "pleasure" missions, but truly, after you got out of bed the next morning, it just left a sour taste in your mouth.

Ino never brought it up personally, unless to her teammates, but every once in a while Sakura would say something.

"It's just . . . don't you feel impure?" the pink-haired girl would question.

Ino would say something vulgar, causing Sakura to scoff and shake her head in disgust. This was a pre-emptive measure.

Of course Ino felt impure. She took pieces of every man she fooled around with, and they took pieces of her. It felt like her soul and her resolve was consistently being stripped away from her. Sakura would never understand that, because she had never had to undergo it.

Ino was fully aware that some people envied her for her looks and her abilities, but Ino envied them too. She envied their unbroken spirits.

Ino missed her innocence.


She ducked into her parent's flower shop when she reached the door, thankful for the cool air that met her skin.

The shop was empty save for one person.

Shikamaru was behind the shop counter, resting his head on the tabletop. His eyes were closed.

Ino felt a rise of excitement as she tiptoed over to him.

She hadn't seen him in a couple of weeks because he'd been away in Suna doing envoy nonsense for Tsunade.

Ino admired his sleeping face for a moment.

Truly, it was ironic, she thought wondrously. The whore in love with the best friend who would never want her in that way? It was perfect romantic comedy material.

Besides, Ino was almost convinced Shikamaru was in love with the Sand princess.

Carefully, Ino lowered herself to Shikamaru's level and prodded him awake.

Shikamaru groaned and slowly opened one eye to consider her.

Ino tried to breathe normally as that dark eye fixed itself to her face.

"Woman," Shikamaru began, "I'm trying to sleep."

Ino cast some hair over her shoulder in an air of superiority.

"Why are you here? I'm sure your mother is dying to see you after you've been gone so long," Ino said, ignoring him.

Shikamaru gradually straightened and stretched, loosening his tight limbs.

"Why do you torture me with that crap?" he replied flatly.

Ino shrugged brightly and lifted herself to sit on the countertop.

"How was your mission?"

Shikamaru rolled his eyes.

"Tsunade-sama insisted I attend a bunch of boring meetings. It was all a waste of time," he exhaled.

Ino was used to this routine of Shikamaru's. However much he complained of work, he secretly liked being depended on. He was all sorts of irony.

Shikamaru fixed her with a dull stare. His forehead creased in thought.

"Didn't you have a mission too? How'd it go?"

Ino said nothing, letting her blue eyes do the talking.

Shikamaru sighed.

"You really should talk to Tsunade about this. You aren't the only kunoichi in Konoha," Shikamaru muttered.

Ino shrugged slightly, focused on his expression.

Shikamaru turned and raised an eyebrow at her.

"How was Temari?" Ino asked quickly.

Shikamaru's eyes narrowed. He could tell when she was avoiding something.

"She's fine. What's with you?"

Ino broke the gaze Shikamaru was holding with her.


Shikamaru's hand squeezed her upper arm.

Ino gritted her teeth and swatted his hand away.

"Stop," she said in a deadly voice. "That hurts."

Shikamaru released her reluctantly, eyes hard.

Ino rolled her eyes and turned Shikamaru's gaze to her arm. It had gone unnoticed before, but now that Ino pointed it out, Shikamaru saw the bruises.

"Dammit, woman."

"Not my fault," Ino replied, miffed.

Shikamaru pulled away from her, bored expression in place.

"I'm going to talk to Tsunade," Shikamaru said, treating Ino to a challenging glance.

"You're overreacting," Ino responded.

Shikamaru laughed, but there was no humor in his voice.

"Overreacting? Troublesome. Handle your own problems, then," he retorted, starting for the door.

Ino scoffed aloud.

"No goodbye kiss?" Ino called out over her shoulder, snarky.

Ino heard Shikamaru chuckle, and whipped around, wide-eyed.

He hadn't left as she had expected, but was striding towards her with purpose. His eyes were dangerous.

Ino was frozen where she sat on the countertop, watching him advance.

Oh, God. What do I do?

Shikamaru arrived in front of her and easily pulled her off the counter; she easily slid into his arms.

Ino's eyes were wide as Shikamaru surrounded her, placing his mouth on hers with a firmness she'd always expected him to possess.

At first, she was shocked, but presently, Shikamaru was demanding all of her attention.

Ino angled her head more and lost herself to Shikamaru.

Damn, she thought as she kissed him back.

Shikamaru let his fingers wander through her hair, down her back, to her backside. Ino was embarrassed to hear a moan escape her lips.

Ino felt Shikamaru's tongue dance over her lips before he pulled away, serving her a smug smile.

"Happy?" he asked, voice dark as he turned and left the shop.

Ino collapsed against the counter, dazed.

What the hell was that?

I might add to it, I might not. . . Probably not.

A review would be nice :)