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Thank You for Everything

By Rose Duchess

Romance

Part 1: Beginning

The sound of metal hitting metal can be heard in a clearing of the forest outside of Konoha. There were two people sparring together, one had a purple outfit, blond hair that was put into a high ponytail, and bandages wrapped around her waist. The other, had spiky, black hair tied in a ponytail as well but shorter, a green flak jacket over a small jacket and net shirt, and brown pants. They were in taijutsu stances, blocking each other's attacks, meaning they were holding each other to a standstill.

"We should probably take a break Ino, besides you haven't beaten me yet," Shikamaru said as he was holding her off.

"No way, I'm sure I can beat you this time," Ino exclaimed. She was about to swerve her fist to his stomach but she suddenly felt frozen.

"You were saying?" Shikamaru asked amusingly. His shadow had caught her fist before she could strike.

Ino let out a frustrated growl, "Why can't I beat you?"

"It's because I always have a strategy in case one backfires, which your opponent may have if you're not cautious and think carefully. Now let's take a break, there's no point in wasting too much energy and chakra trying to beat me," Shikamaru replied lazily.

"Fine, now let me go," Ino retorted as he released his jutsu. He handed her a towel, which she used to wipe the sweat off of her face. Shikamaru laid himself on the grass and started cloud-watching, putting his hands behind his head. She followed his example and relaxed with him. She looked over at him and saw that his eyes were closed.

"He looks peaceful when he's relaxed," she thought. "Come to think of it, Shikamaru has grown a bit handsome with that flak jacket. Wait, what am I thinking? He's just my childhood friend, but he knows me better than anyone."

To take her mind away from these thoughts, she sat up and she decided to speak, "Hey, Shikamaru?"

"Hm?" Shikamaru replied.

"I just wanted to thank you for training with me for the next Chūnin exam. I know that it was your week off and with Choji and Asuma-Sensei out on different missions; I hope it wasn't too much trouble. I really appreciate it, so thank you," she explained honestly.

Shikamaru opened one eye to look at her and smirked, "Well, it's not like I had anything important to do; besides my mom would kill me if I didn't do something that's not sleeping. But you're welcome." He turned back towards the sky, closing his eye again.

Ino was just staring at him with a soft smile, "He may be lazy, but he can be really sweet when he feels like it. I wonder what he would be like as a boyfriend. Wait a minute, where are these thoughts coming from?! Have I just been thinking this because he is helping me? No, somehow I always had these thoughts but Sasuke has always clouded my judgment. He has his flaws, but he is intelligent, loyal, he claims himself a coward, but he is the bravest person I've ever known, he cares about his friends and he has always done everything I asked and I never thanked him for that. Maybe there is a way I can thank him and to answer my own questions."

She looked over at him again and saw that he was watching the clouds this time. "Okay, I think I'll try this," she thought but she asked out loud, "Shikamaru, could you sit up for a minute?"

He looked at her with one eyebrow raised and asked, "Why?"

"I have something to give you to thank you," she replied shyly.

Shikamaru sat up and said, "You have already thanked me for training with you."

"This is for something else, and you need to close your eyes," He gave her a questioning look then she added, "Please?" Shikamaru sighed, "Troublesome," but he complied anyway by closing his eyes.

Ino began to get a little nervous; she was preparing to do something that could either ruin their friendship or take it to a whole new level. "Well, here goes nothing," Ino thought to herself as she slowly, tentatively leaned in to touch his lips with hers. There was an instantaneous jolt that a shockwave went throughout both of their bodies.

He was wondering what was taking her so long and was about to ask what it was until he felt something soft touch his lips. He opened his eyes wide and realized what it was, "No way, Ino is kissing me?" He was in shock that his childhood friend would kiss him when he knew that she liked Sasuke before. But he felt that shockwave when their lips touched and he found that he liked it. Slowly, he kissed her back softly but when Ino took the kiss up a notch, he matched it. Soon, he wrapped his arms around her waist, while she wrapped her arms around his neck. She even took it further by nipping his bottom lip and slipping her tongue in his mouth. He engaged in wrestling with her tongue and when she pulled out of his mouth, he followed her tongue into hers. Exploring her mouth with his tongue caused Ino to let out a little moan, which he must admit he liked that he made her moan. Finally, after a full minute, which felt like a year to them, they slowly parted and gazed into each other's eyes, breathing heavily.

"What was that for?" Shikamaru asked breathlessly.

Ino smiled and replied, "It's to thank you for everything you have done for me. I know I can be a bit bossy, and order you around, but I really do appreciate you Shikamaru. Also, I did it to confirm my real feelings."

Shikamaru asked, "What feelings are those, Ino?"

She looked away with a blush on her face, but she smiled and answered, "That I like you more than a friend, Shikamaru." She couldn't say she loved him, at least not yet, because she was afraid it would freak him out.

Shikamaru had stared at her in complete bewilderment; he never dreamed that she would say something like that to him, him, of all people. Shikamaru Nara, the laziest shinobi in all of Konoha.

When he didn't say anything, she feared the worst. So before she felt like bursting into tears, she said, "I understand if you don't feel the same way. You probably like that Sand ninja Temari. If you do, then I won't…" but she was cut off with him initiating a kiss this time. It was a sweet simple kiss to signify that his feelings are the same as hers.

He broke it and looked straight in her eyes and said, "I like you too, Ino. Do you know why I didn't like Sasuke? It was because you liked him and I felt like I didn't have a chance. I always thought you were fine the way you are and you didn't need to be on those stupid diets. You are a lot stronger than you realize and I don't think that you are useless. I may not be much of a romantic person but I think you are strong, smart and a beautiful kunoichi. You may be troublesome sometimes but that is what makes you who you are and I wouldn't trade you for anybody."

Ino smiled wide and instantly enveloped him in a hug, and exclaimed, "That is the sweetest thing anyone has ever said to me. Thank you, Shikamaru."

Shikamaru was a bit hesitant but he slowly returned the hug and smiled. They broke the hug and Shikamaru asked, "This is troublesome, but would you like to go to Yakiniku Q for lunch with me?"

"Shikamaru, are you asking me out on a date?" Ino asked playfully.

Shikamaru blushed a light pink and retorted, "I never had to do something like this, and it's embarrassing."

"I'd love to, Shikamaru." Ino replied happily.

Shikamaru got up first, held out his hand and helped Ino up. Then they started walking back to Konoha hand in hand when Ino asked, "Shikamaru, was I your first kiss?"

"Why ask me when you already know?" Shikamaru replied feeling embarrassed again.

"I know but for your first kiss, you're a really good kisser," Ino complimented.

Shikamaru smirked "Really?"

"Yeah, I know it was my first kiss too but that was amazing. How did you know what to do?"

Shikamaru shrugged, "I just did what came to me and I figured out how to make you moan."

He smirked at Ino's blushing face when she exclaimed, "That just came out suddenly and you don't know how to make moan every time." Then she felt her head being pulled forward and Shikamaru's lips came upon hers once again only this time, it was a bit bolder than the last kiss. He sucked on her bottom lip and slid his tongue in her mouth, wrestling with her tongue. As he explored her mouth again, this caused her to let out a few moans. He broke the kiss leaving Ino speechless and he smirked cockily, "You were saying?"

Dazed, she replied "You really are a genius aren't you?"

"I guess I am," he agreed as they continued onward to Yakiniku Q, hands linked together.

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