Best Laid Plansr

by Rellielake

"NARA SHIKAMARU!!"

He'd thought his fortutiously timed mission would've given her a chance to cool off. Unfortunately he now realised he had been very, very wrong. Apparently all it had done was give Ino an chance to work herself up into a legendary temper.

He looked up at the figure who stood over him, murder clear in her eyes and decided his very best bet was to play it cool. Closing his eyes again he concentrated on pretending he was half-asleep, maybe then she'd leave him alone. It was a very long shot but it was the only tactic his supposed genius brain could come up with currently.

"Eh, Ino. What's wrong?"

". . . you kissed me," Ino said, her voice dripping with accusation "In front of everyone-"

"Wait," Shikamaru cut in, cracking open an eye to stare at the ranting woman. "I kissed you?"

"Yes, that's right," Ino said, glaring down at him "Surely you've not forgotten *already*?"

"No," he said, shaking his head. "You're not going to pin this on me, woman. You were the one who kissed me."

She let out an enraged gasp. "I did not!"

"You did," Shikamaru insisted irritably. His recently scarce cloud watching time was being cut into by this pointless and troublesome arguement, "I remember it well enough. You threw yourself at me."

"I would never..*ever* throw myself at a lazy-ass bum like you, Nara Shikamaru! And if I did you really think I'd do it somewhere so horribly public?" Ino retorted, her eyes blazing. *Jeez, she was *really* pissed off.*

"Troublesome. I don't get why you're making such a fuss over it anyway," Shikamaru informed her crossly. "Because it was a good kiss."

"Huh don't flatter yourself. Besides that's not the point," she said sternly though her cheeks were now tinged pink.

"Then what is the point? Troublesome.." he closed his eyes and leaned his head back against the cool grass. *Hopefully soon she'll run out of steam and leave me alone*.

"You took advantage of me!"

Shikamaru let out a short, barking laugh and propped himself up on his elbows to look at her incredously. "Took *advantage* of you?"

"You did!" Ino insisted, her voice getting louder as she got more worked up. "You took advantage of my weakened emotional state! I was upset over Sasuke-kun and...you took advantage of me, plain and simple!"

"That's not taking advantage," Shikamaru protested heatedly, the way she was accusing him starting to rile even him. "That's being your friend and teammate."

"Well! I don't see Choji grabbing me and kissing me in front of half the village do *you*? So *clearly* it's not what teammates do! " Ino snapped.

"Sorry." he retorted shortly, staring stonily at a spot just above her head. "It'll never happen again."

She looked taken-aback for a moment, clearly she hadn't been expecting that responce.

"Well...good."

For a moment he thought she might actually let him off the hook, leave it at that and walk away. But no such luck.

"Don't *think* for one minute I forgive you though. You stole my first kiss."

She sat down next to him, far enough away to clearly convey the fact she was still angry, her arms folded tightly across her knees.

"I didn't steal anything. You gave it to me."

"As if I would! I was saving that kiss for Sasuke-kun, as if I'd ever give it to someone like *you*."

Her voice was accusatory and he couldn't help getting angry. After all he'd been through with Sasuke, after the betrayal that treacherous bastard had inflicted on the village, after all the pain he'd caused... Ino *still* thought that Uchiha bastard was better than him.

"I think you need to face the fact your *precious* Sasuke-kun *has* never and *will* never want you. And even if he did you'd have to be insane or desperate to go near that traitor.."

She punched him. Hard.

He felt the flesh of his face rip apart. Intense agony shot from the nerves and the crimson liquid oozed down his chin. *Damn it.*

The ring she was wearing had ripped a long gash in the side of his face and for a second mortified horror swept across her features. It had obviously gone furthur than she had intended it to.

"Shikamaru..."

She reached out a hand toward him but he batted it away irritably, pressing against the gash with his other hand. He'd had worse certainly, but the fact this one had been inflicted by a friend and teammate over something so ridiculous as him dissing Sasuke....

"Just forget it Ino. I'm going home."

He saw her face harden as he got up and purposefully turned his back to her

"You deserved it!"

She yelled after him. all trace of remorse gone from her voice.

******************************************************

He trudged the streets of Konoha, head down and hands in his pockets trying to think of a solution to his current predicament.

Maybe he should apologise...

For what exactly? His face getting in the way of her fist? Huh.

And technically she had started it... she had been the one to kiss him after-all. However he acknowledged he'd been the one to turn it from a light kiss between friends that could be easily shrugged off into something alot deeper.

He'd done it because...he'd decided he wasn't going to be a coward anymore.

He was no longer Konoha's number one ninja at running away after all.

From anything.

Even something as potentialy troublesome and downright scary as the fact he *liked* Yamanaka Ino.

Which was something he still hadn't quite figured out the reasons for.

Okay...maybe he could admit she was attractive. It wasn't like he was immune to it. When she flounced around in those revealing outfits, batting her eyelashes and tossing her hair (albeit never at him) he couldn't help but realise she was... pretty.

Fine. Beautiful.

*But most of the time,* he thought *she's just an over-bearing bossy troublesome woman*. The very last sort of girl he ever thought he'd fall for because he'd seen exactly what marrying that kind of woman can do to a man.

Guess it was true: Like father, like son.

********************************************************

He finally spotted her playing half-heartedly with a bowl of Ramen in Ichiraku and took a deep breath.

*Returning to the scene of the crime Nara, great idea... she's going to kill you*

Nevertheless...only a coward would run away now...so as much of a good idea as might seem, however tempting it was to make a sharp about face and go hide in his room until he was too old and decripit to think about girls anymore... hmm the more he thought about the more appealing it seemed...

Then she glanced up and he froze like a rabbit caught in a bright light.

They stared at each other for a long moment, until her eyes skipped sideways across the gash she'd put on his cheek and her expression softened marginally.

*It's now or never..*

He made his way over and pulled out the stool next to hers, leaning his elbows on the countertop.

"Hey."

For a long moment she didn't answer, simply moving her noodles around the bowl with her chopsticks. He considered getting up, leaving her to it. Then suddenly she whipped round to face him and demanded almost angrily, "How's your face?"

Unconciously he reached up a hand to touch the gash, which was already beginning to show signs of scabbing over.

"Fine."

She was staring at the cut on his face, her expression turning gentle now and she reached toward him as if to touch it, then caught herself and returned her hand to her lap.

"Are you sure, maybe you should get it looked at," she said, her brow furrowed as her eyes raked over the wound.

"I said I was fine, Ino," he reminded her, irritated.

Her face immediately darkened.

Damn...

"You don't have to get short with me," she said angrily. "I was just asking. Excuse me for expressing any concern."

"Sorry," he told the counter-top but he was aware it sounded very forced. He hated apologising and why should he anyway? She's the whole reason he had this stupid wound and that he was here instead of doing something more enjoyable like... well... anything really.

She rolled her eyes, muttered 'baka' under her breath, and went back to her bowl of ramen.

Well, she'd abandoned him in favor of lunch. And she hated food. This really boded well for him.

He wished he knew something to say that would magically make this all alright but of course he'd never been great with words. That's what got him into this mess in the first place actually. At the time, kissing her had seemed like a stroke of genius... it let her know how he felt without him actually having to articulate it.

It had occured to him it wasn't such a masterful plan however when their former classmates had burst into laughter, whoops and catcalls and Ino had screamed 'Baka!' at him and fled the stand.

So much for the master tactition eh?

How was he supposed to outthink top-ranked ninja's when he can't even outmanoveour one annoying blonde genin?

Now he thought about it maybe he should have tried to be...romantic. Ino liked that kind of stuff didn't she? Flowers, chocolates, pointless things like that... Then again Shikamaru wasn’t exactly sure that he could have managed ‘romantic’. Or something even vaguely resembling ‘romantic’. Not with all his friends around (particularly Chouji, who frequently reminded him he was interested in Ino at random, frequently inconvenient times. ‘Come on, Shikamaru, just ask her out already!’), there was no way that ‘romantic’ could be pulled off successfully.

So romantic had been out of the question.

Okay what other options had he had? Talk it out with her perhaps...if he'd managed to force the words out.

No. He wouldn't have said anything, he'd tried that option a few times before and had ended up just annoying her by starting questions then refusing to finish them.

So really he'd had no other option and when she'd leaned in to kiss him on the cheek and he'd *accidentally* moved his head so she landed on his lips instead... well it was the perfect opportunity.

Or so it seemed.

With a sigh he turned towards her, noting she hadn't actually eaten anymore of her ramen.

"Hey..."

With a scowl she looked up at him, her eyes flashing dangerously. Great he was going to be killed...

"I'm not sorry."

For a moment she stared at him like he'd grown an extra head or annouced plans to elope with Naruto.

"*What*?"

"For kissing you."

"Oh."

He decided he was going to do it this time. Come what may. And when she said no, he'd be ready for it. He was genius after all, and personally he couldn't think of a better use of his 200 IQ than convincing the girl he wanted more than anything that dating him wouldn't be so bad. He quickly thought through all the possible outcomes, all the reasons she could come up with for turning him down. Most of them would be easy to deflect.

Time to put that brain to good use, Nara.

"Eh, Ino."

"*What*, Shikamaru?"

"Do you want to go out sometime?"

She blinked. Once. Twice.

"...okay."

He barely heard the word as he launched into his pre-prepared 'battle plan'

"Ino, I'm sure I can convince you w...What?"

She scowled at him, even though her lips were twitching like she was trying very hard not to smile.

"I said 'Okay' what are you deaf? Great I'm dating an idiot."

He couldn't help the blush that surfused his face at the word 'dating'.

'Dating'

He was 'dating' Ino.

They were a couple.

Ino was his...girlfriend.

Nope, no matter how he said it he just couldn't make it sound real.

"I... thought you would say no." he admitted grudgingly and his blush deepened.

Great now all his plans were useless.

Not a single one of them had dealt with the idea that she'd say yes straight away...

And consequently now he'd got the girl fo his dreams, he didn't have a damn clue what to do with her.

"Shikamaru..."

Ino had her arms folded and was looking at him, pointedly taping her foot. He stared blankly at her until she gave an exasperated sigh and grabbed his arms, pulling him towards her.

"Honestly! Kiss me you idiot. For heavens sake you can do it at the most inapporiate time but you can't...mmmmph."

However perhaps there *was* something to be said for acts of spontineaty.


Shikamaru and Ino are copyright to Kishimoto Masashi. This is simply a fanlisting/fansite.