Around three in the afternoon, on the outskirts of Konoha, a young man with a spiky ponytail was headed towards the village. He had on a dark green Jounin vest, signifying his status as Jounin Commander. Shikamaru had just returned from Suna for a week- long mission to attend a discussion of the Shinobi alliance and where it stands after the war had ended.
"This is so troublesome, I'm gone for a week to Suna, only to be needed for a day and I missed my birthday. I don't usually like parties, but I know Choji throws me and Ino one every year. I hope that he isn't too disappointed that I couldn't make it." He solemnly thought to himself as he got closer to the village.
Yesterday was his eighteenth birthday, but he couldn't be home for it. He at least made it back in time to celebrate Ino's birthday which is today. He also had hoped to speak with her about a certain thing that happened during the war.
Flashback (Shikamaru's POV)
"Troublesome, I can barely move," I thought as I lay on the ground while Choji was holding my head. I was drained of chakra from the God tree of the Juubi and I thought I might die. All seemed hopeless when Hashirama's words could not encourage the other shinobi. But then I felt through Ino's jutsu, Naruto's thoughts and memories. I saw how Naruto regretted about not bringing back Sasuke, how he had suffered through his childhood, Asuma's funeral; the one I never attended and how he was determined to end the war.
As Ino worked to heal me, I heard her nearly sob, she was holding back tears as she said to me, "Please Shika, I already lost a lot; our teacher and my father, and I can't lose you too."
"Shika? She hasn't called me that since we were kids," I thought as he lay on the ground. I felt her healing me because Ino had asked Sakura to let her heal me. Then I suddenly felt something wet hit my cheek, I struggled to open my eyes but I could tell by her quiet sniffling that she was crying, no longer holding back her tears. I don't want her to cry so I did the only thing I could think of; I cupped her cheek and wiped her tears away.
"Troublesome woman, you know I hate to see you cry," I tried to comfort her.
Then something happened that I didn't expect nor did Choji for that matter; she held my face in her hands and kissed me on the lips. I was so dumbfounded that my mind went blank, my heart was pounding and I liked it. I responded to her kiss until we pulled apart and I looked in her eyes.
Ino then said, relieved, "Don't scare me like that again, Shika."
I smiled and replied, "Sure, now let's finish this war." Then I continued my job as strategist by coming up with a strategy by watching Naruto and Sasuke attack the tree.
End flashback and POV
After that, they never really brought it up again nor have we talked about it. The only other witness of that kiss was Choji but he knew it was between the two of them.
Then he thought, "It's not like I didn't like it, I personally wanted to kiss her for years but I didn't think it would happen like that."
This has been on his mind for almost a year now and he can't take it anymore. He couldn't take this gnawing feeling in his heart. Ever since they were Genin, he fell in love with her but he never told her his feelings because he thought she was still hung up on Sasuke.
"Well, since it would be troublesome to leave this issue unresolved, I'm going to tell Ino I love her," Shikamaru thought as he gripped a present in his pocket.
He didn't even notice a presence in the trees that suddenly flashed away. He went through the gates, greeted Izumo and Kotetsu and went to the Hokage tower to report to Lady Tsunade Then he thought of going home to take a nap.
"That's weird, it's so quiet, maybe Mom is out?" he thought as he approached his house.
He opened the door, and stepped through when suddenly a lot of people shouted, "Surprise!"
He was surprised all right when he asked what he now saw was the Rookie 9 and remaining members of Team Guy, "Why did you do this? My birthday was yesterday."
"We know that Shikamaru, but I always throw a party for both you and Ino, so enjoy it," Choji answered his best friend.
Shikamaru smirked and replied, "Thanks Choji, this means a lot to me."
Then he talked with everyone else and talked about what has happened until he spotted Ino in the kitchen with his mother
"Hey Ino, did you help Choji with this?" he smiled as she blushed.
She replied, embarrassed of the question, "Well, we celebrate our birthdays together and I knew you would get home today, so we planned it yesterday."
He smiled, not a smirk, but a genuine smile at her, then he went to her and kissed her cheek.
"Thanks, Ino," he whispered in her ear.
Then he talked with her without it being tense between them and he had to admit that he missed talking with her and was glad that she was talking like herself. After they ate, they had the cake out that says "Happy Birthday, Shikamaru and Ino," on it. They blew out the candles together Shikamaru couldn't help but smile at her excitement. Since it was officially her birthday, he let her open her presents first. He saw that she loved a lot of the presents she got and he knew that there was a sparkle in her eyes whenever she was happy.
Then he opened his presents and thanked his friends, only he noticed that he didn't receive one from Ino until she approached him and asked him, "Can we talk in your room?"
He was a bit confused and he thought that she was a bit nervous; she was never nervous but he answered, "Sure."
They went up to his room and he closed the door behind them and they sat on his bed. There was a tense silence so he asked, "What did you want to talk about?"
He saw that she was fiddling with something in her pocket before pulling it out. She had his present in her hand, then she said, "Before I give you your present, I just wanted to tell you something that has been on my mind. In the war, I was really scared that you could have died that day. It may have been almost a year ago and now it is your birthday, which I thought you would never experience your eighteenth birthday. I'm relieved that you survived and now you are eighteen, I hope you can experience more birthdays with us, with me."
He was shocked; he didn't know she felt scared of losing him, that she was still holding that bit of information from him.
He smiled and patted her shoulder saying, "Don't worry Ino, I'm still here and I wouldn't leave you or anyone else. Thank you for telling me that."
Ino smiled her biggest smile that he loved and handed him his present saying, "Happy Birthday, Shika."
It was a thin rectangular box wrapped in blue wrapping paper and a blue ribbon. He unwrapped it slowly and opened the box to reveal a silver chain with a silver pendant shaped like the symbol of his clan.
She said to him, "I hope you don't think its too girly or anything…I just,"
He cut her off by giving her a hug and he replied, "I really like it Ino, thank you."
So he took it out and he tried to clip it on, he doesn't usually wear necklaces so he had trouble putting it on when he heard Ino ask, "Need help?"
He rolled his eyes but he nodded so he let her clip around his neck and she proclaimed, "It looks nice on you, Shika."
"Thanks and don't think that I forgot you," Shikamaru replied as he took Ino's present and gave it to her.
"Thank you, Shika," she exclaimed excitedly.
He watched as she tore the paper and opened the box and then she gasped, "Shika, it's beautiful."
Ino's present was a necklace also but hers had a heart pendant with sapphires outlining the pendant. She was admiring it before Shikamaru said, "Look on the other side, Ino."
Ino flipped it around to see that there was an engraving that shocked her, on that side it said, "Ino, I love you."
"Shika? Is that true?" Ino asked.
Shikamaru was really nervous now but he answered truthfully, "Yes, I wanted to tell you that for a long time. I wanted to tell you after you kissed me in the battle but it never came up. I understand if you don't feel the same way, I just wanted to get it off my chest."
He feared the rejection that he thought would come but it didn't. Instead, he found himself embraced by a crying Ino.
Confused he asked, "Ino why are you crying?"
She replied to him, "I'm crying because I'm happy that you love me, that's because I love you too."
His eyes widened but then he had a smile on his face as he wiped the tears from her eyes. He took the necklace and put it around her neck and he admired how it made her even more beautiful than ever. Then he asked, "Will you be my girlfriend, Ino?"
Ino gave her biggest smile ever and exclaimed, "Of course, Shika!"
Then he stroked her cheek, gazed into her eyes, and leaned in to softly capture her lips with his and in an instant, there were fireworks. There was no better way to describe it as far he was concerned. Then he was surprised when he felt her tongue on his lips to ask for entry, he smirked and gave her permission and he was wrestling with her tongue. It was so passionate that they found themselves lying on his bed with him hovering over her still ravenously kissing her. Finally, after at least two minutes they broke apart for air, he was just looking in her eyes with a loving gaze.
He kissed her forehead and whispered, "Happy Birthday Ino, I love you."
He admitted that he didn't expect to have Ino as his girlfriend after confessing his feelings but he was happy that she accepted his feelings. This was certainly a pleasant surprise for him and the best birthday present he could ever receive.
Then he felt Ino kiss his neck and he shuddered in pleasure as she was leaving open-mouthed kisses on his neck.
"Shika, do you know what else I want for my birthday?" she asked as she stared up at him seductively and then she unzipped his flak jacket and caressed his chest through his shirt.
He smirked and thought, "Well, it still is her birthday after all."
Then he locked his bedroom door with his shadows and then gave her what she wanted and evidently what he always wanted to do.