A/N- I apologize for the late update. I've noticed that I haven't updated in over three months! Anyway, I have a multitude of authors that have put this story on their alert list, so I guess it's time for a new chapter! I hope you enjoy!
The only sound that could be heard in the dark, frigid tunnel were the drops of condensed liquid that had fallen down, splashing up onto the stone pathway. All was silent, until Keiko's voice was heard by the four Konoha shinobi.
"Wipe that smirk off your face, Naruto. You're going down sooner or later." Keiko threatened, a glare shooting from her eyes.
"Oh, we should be saying that to you." Shikamaru defended, stepping a little closer, although it goes unnoticed to her.
Reina scoffed. "So you really think you can beat us?" she challenged them.
"We know we can beat you." Naruto stated, a large sum of confidence dwelling up inside of his eyes.
Mayumi seemed to understand now. "So you're doing this for...those girls?" she said, face scrunching up in disgust.
"Yes." Neji said plainly.
"Why do you even bother? I mean that 'Tenten' girl doesn't even have a family!"
"Shut up!" Neji demanded, not wanting to hear any more negative things about his teammate. "How dare you say those things about her!"
"And I mean Hinata's so...weak!"
"Ino looks like a slut!"
"Sakura's just obsessing over things she can't have!"
The boys had well over enough. They attacked, not enough to kill them, for they felt pity that they were much too foolish for their own good. Just a slight punch to the back of the neck would've been enough to knock them out.
They finished up quite quickly, leaving no more time to talk. The sped right through the door (after Neji had to jyuuken it down), and were almost brought to tear at what they had just seen in front of them.
Sasuke quickly disposed of the ANBU members.
"Ino." Shikamaru said, stunned as he saw her wounded body. There was an enormous gash trailing from her stomach, right up to her heart.
"Shikamaru, what are you doing here? Where are the girls?" Ino asked, blood oozing out of her mouth. She was going to die soon, and both of them knew it. Shikamaru, however, just didn't want to believe it. Ino was strong, but not strong enough to withstand her wound.
"They're not who you think they are, Ino." Shikamaru tried to explain, but she didn't care. All she needed was to be in his arms during her final moments. She didn't want to be like this, but what choice did she have? Besides, it was to save him...at least he realizes that she exists now.
Shikamaru wrapped his arms tightly around Ino; though being careful not to squeeze too tightly for the predicament she was in was far too vulnerable to even try.
"I'm going to miss you, you know."
Ino tried to laugh, but the pain restricted it. "Yeah, I know. Who wouldn't miss me?" Even at her darkest of times, she still found a way to gloat about herself.
"Ino, don't waste your energy speaking boldly about yourself." Shikamaru warned, gliding his fingers down her blood-stained blonde hair. Even like this, he thought she was beautiful.
"Shikamaru, leave. The Cloud ANBU will be here soon to check up on us." Ino informed, pushing his hands away from her. The last thing she wanted for him to be is injured.
"No, Ino. I'm staying with you until..." he trailed off, not wanting to say the final words.
"Shikamaru, before I go, can you say something?" Ino asked, her head drooping down, along with her eyelids.
"Sure, anything." He complied, holding her tighter, forcing her eyelids to open again.
"Say that you love me."
He paused. 'Why the hell would she want me to say that?'
"Shikamaru?" Her eyes were filled with hurt.
"What a drag..." he muttered to himself, but Ino heard. So, she elbowed him in the gut.
"I'm still alive you know!"She was beginning to sound inpatient.
"I love you." He said, showing no signs of hesitation.
"Thank you Shikamaru, even though I know you don't mean it."
Her body stiffened, then her mouth let out a deep breath...and she died that way, still limp in his arms.
"Ino." Shikamaru shook her body.
"Ino!" he said a bit more loudly, but it was no use. She was already gone.
"Ino, I meant what I said...I do love you." He said, hoping she could still hear him.
A/N-So, that was the twentieth chapter! Let me know what couple's scene you want me to do next! Please Review!