"I—I, j-just," she stuttered. Her mind was skipping all over the place from what he had just confessed and what she had just said.

Shikamaru held up his hand, "It's okay, I understand. I'm sorry for making things awkward. Now can I still walk you to your car?" he asked, trying to seem unfazed by her rejection. But really, it was burning inside of him, like the pain of losing Temari again.

"Yes you may—but Shikamaru! Let me explain!" she rushed.

Shikamaru nodded, giving her the okay to continue.

"Well it's not that I don't like you, I'm just done with dating in high school. Do you remember when I told you that my story wasn't over? Well it's not, it's just beginning. I just now realized that a few days ago. I don't need some boy in high school to make me happy, my future is going to be so much better than high school, and then I can find someone to mature enough to truly make me happy.

And if I don't date you, then no one can come in and mess our relationship up, and we can be together much longer if we stay friends. Don't you see it Shikamaru? I like you enough not to do that to you," she smiled, grabbing his hand and staring at his dark eyes.

Shikamaru smiled and looked down at her, with her golden, bouncy curls and purple long sleeve shirt with skinny jeans and boots.

"Then I guess that's good enough for me. Because I don't want to lose you either," he agreed.

Ino's smiled widened even more and she dropped his hand before continuing walking down the hall.

"Hey Ino," Shikamaru asked. Ino looked at him so as to give him her attention, "What do you want to be so badly that requires so much time and effort invested in the future?"

Ino pulled her keys out of her pocket and looked up and him as she leaned on the bar of the exit door, "An engineer," she told him, before hitting the bar with her hip and walking out the door.

Shikamaru held the door open and followed her out, "So that's why you're in Pre-Calc as a sophomore,"

Ino smiled, "Yup, and that's exactly why I have no time for boys in high school anymore. I have a bright future and big plans, I don't have any time to be caught up with the present when my future is looking so good!" she exclaimed, twirling around and glancing at Shikamaru.

Shikamaru shoved his hands in his pockets and smirked at her, "Well I guess that I should follow your lead. I want to be a neurosurgeon, so I'd better buckle down too,"

"That's a wonderful thing Shikamaru! Let's stay friends then, because I'll never need more than your friendship to make me happy," she told him. And then she smiled up at him, as he smiled down at her and they had reached an understanding.

They weren't going to focus on high school, because it wasn't going to matter what happened with Kiba and Kankuro, it wasn't going to matter what advice Ino gave in math class, all that was going to matter was that they had earned their diplomas, and that they were moving onto bigger and better things.

Kiba and Hinata stayed together for the two years that was left in Ino's high school career, and Ino paid no mind to them. She had great new friends, like Shikamaru, Naruto and Neji that were more permanent than the two's temporary state of euphoria.

After all, aren't relationships a countdown until you can be lonely again?

Eventually, Ino decided that she wanted to be an engineer, and teach piano on the side while attending college. Shikamaru, being the clever guy that he is, went to college and eventually became a neurosurgeon.

He and Ino still kept touch, and they had talked about getting together, as their friendship withstood the trivial test of time. However, Shikamaru had bigger plans than just being in a relationship with her.

Hinata and Kiba eventually broke up, and Kiba tried to come back to Ino after seeing how well she was doing without him, but Ino told him that she was involved with someone else.

Kankuro, being the selfish drop out that he is, had to go to community college and get his priorities straight, as he graduated that year. Ino was glad that he was gone, because she could get her studying done much quicker without Kankuro's annoying ego ruining her concentration.

Naruto and Neji never got their exes back, but they didn't date anyone new either. Ino convinced them that high school relationships were obsolete and all four of them agreed to boycott relationships for a while. But of course, Naruto almost broke a few times when Sakura started being friendly with him again.

Both Neji and Naruto went to college after they graduated and their future is looking very bright indeed.

As for Tenten and Temari, they eventually moved on and became friends with Neji and Shikamaru, as well as Naruto.

Ino was glad that she could make such a big impression on everyone, because she was right about most things. Like all of their current lives were a lot better than high school, and for those whose lives didn't get any better than high school… Well, they're sad drop outs attending community college, just waiting to get their priorities straight.

Author's Note: So how'd you like the story? I told you that it had a happy ending! ^-^ in my life, I didn't date "Shikamaru" instead we stayed friends and that was all that I needed, because I realized that my life was going a better direction than "Kiba's" or "Kankuro's". ;)

I hope that this inspired a lot of people. Don't get down about some stupid boy or girl leaving you! There's so much in life! So much to be! And don't get down about some "Kankuro" not treating you like the great person you are! They're the lost ones, not you!

Remember, high school isn't that big of a deal, but your future is. So make your story worthwhile!