[[A/N]] This is a short drabble-y type thing that I got the idea for about half an hour ago. I wrote, left it alone for 10 minutes and edited it slightly (I fixed glaringly obvious spelling mistakes), that's it. Enjoy!

Can You Hear Me?

I was always watching you. Every single day I would watch as you and every other girl in the class fawned over Sasuke. Every day I would say hello as you rushed past me and tried to get the seat closest to him. You never heard me; not when he was around.

Then, when we were twelve, we both passed our Genin tests and I knew, I knew, what was going to happen. I smirked as you watched your precious Sasuke-kun was placed in a different team and I thanked whatever gods had decided to make us who we were. And as Iruka-sensei placed us in the same team, I made a smartass retort. You were too busy cringing at the thought of being in the same team as me to hear it.

Years later we're on the still on the same team. The infatuation I used to have with you has died down now, it's only when you catch me off guard that it simmers to the surface. Most of our missions depend on people listening to me and doing exactly as I say. You listen to my instructions every time, but I can't help but wonder if you still don't hear me.

We're getting older now, we're in our 20's. And I can't hold it in any longer, I have to ask you.

"Ino, do you hear me at all when I talk?"

"Yes, Shikamaru, I'm listening."

"I know that, but can you hear me at all?"

You turn to look at me and there's an expression on your face that I don't recognise.

"Shikamaru, I hear you, you're just not saying anything anymore."

God, we're getting so old now. We're both married (to different people) and the next generation is almost ready to take over. We're sent on a mission that will change our lives.

You'd proved what you said all those years ago, you heard every word I said. It made you hesitate for a moment. A single deadly moment and everything I'd lived my whole life for was slipping away in a growing pool of blood.

I hold you close as my tears soak into your hair and beg you to answer me.

Can you hear me?