Ino lay on her bed, just staring up at the ceiling, try as she might, she just couldn't get to sleep. Tomorrow, all Leaf shinobi were to be put on the battle field to participate in The Fourth Great Shinobi World War to protect Naruto and Killer Bee from Madara. She just couldn't get the fact that this will be everyone's first war out of her head. It was her first war, it was her friends' first war as well, and nobody will even know of the outcome. They have veterans from every nation, that is true, but that still didn't ease her nerves. Finally she sighed, got out of bed, changed into her usual outfit and put her sandals on to get some fresh air. She snuck out her window and walked the streets of Konoha that was still under construction from Pain's attack. It was past midnight and the streets were mostly empty except for a few stragglers. She walked around, musing about the entire war situation, she thought to herself, "I wonder if everyone will be alright. Will we even win? What if one of us..?" She shook her head to try to rid herself of those thoughts of anyone of her friends dying. She had already suffered through the death of her teacher; she can't let thoughts like that go through her head. If she were to lose anyone else she cared about, she wouldn't know if she could handle it.
When she thought of the people she cared about, there were many; her father, Sakura, her teammates of the Rookie nine, and her own teammates of Team 10, Choji and Shikamaru. Though, she figured that if there was anyone she didn't want to lose most; it would be Shikamaru. Throughout the years that they have known each other, she somehow had this different feeling towards him more than Sasuke. When she reflected on this fact, she came to the conclusion that the person she really loved wasn't Sasuke but she loved the lazy shinobi himself. She knew him for years even before they were genin, and she knew that despite his laziness, he was capable of great things and he wouldn't hesitate to fight back if he needed to. Lost in her thoughts, she didn't realize that she was at said shinobi's favorite hill for cloud-watching until she shrugged it off and laid herself on the grass to look at the stars and the crescent moon.
She smiled thinking to herself, "I would make Shikamaru come with me to stargaze all the time. He would come along because he thought it was "troublesome" if he let me go out at night alone and that his mother would scold him for not being a gentleman. He may find a lot of things troublesome, but he is really sweet when he wants to be. He is really smart, strong, loyal, and personally I think that he is very handsome despite how plain he dresses. He may be lazy, but I love that lazy guy. Though, I don't know if I should tell him or not. I really don't want to burden him with this information." She had been contemplating about whether to tell her feelings for him or not for weeks, but she always decided not to because she's scared that he'll reject her and it could ruin their friendship. Then she added, "With this war about to start, I don't want him to lose his focus in the middle of battle."
"Well, this is a first," a voice said from behind her. She bolted upright; startled that someone suddenly was with her. She looked around and she stared up at the very same person she was thinking about. Shikamaru was standing behind her with his hands in his pockets as usual, with an amused smirk on his lips. Ino then asked him, "What are you doing out this late?"
"I couldn't sleep, as hard as it is to believe. What about you? You couldn't sleep either? Usually you would find me here," he replied as he laid himself next to her, putting his hands behind his head.
"Yeah, I just thought I could get fresh air to clear my head, so I came out here to look at the stars," she answered, laying herself down again. Then they were just looking up at the stars like they used to when they were kids.
Until Shikamaru broke the silence, "Were you trying to not think about the war?" This question stunned her making her sit upright, "I swear that he must be more of a mind reader than I am, she thought silently. But she answered truthfully, "Yes, I was trying not to be nervous about it but I keep thinking of these different scenarios. I mean this a war, what if there are many casualties? What if we lose people we care about and we..?" "Don't say it." Shikamaru cut her off while sitting upright and looked at her eyes.
"I know that it is scary, I'm scared about it too, but we must have faith in the experienced veterans and we mustn't falter in our resolve," he placed his hand on her shoulder and tried to reassure her with a smile, "I also know that you never back down from a fight no matter how dangerous it is. So I know for a fact that you are strong, but if you do need help, you know that I'll always be there for you."
Ino's face had lit up in a pink flush and she smiled, "Thanks, Shikamaru, I needed that pep talk."
"It's no problem, Ino. I just hope it won't come to that many deaths. So we'll just have to be ready for anything even though it's troublesome," he replied. He took his hand off Ino's shoulder and laid himself back down on the grass. Ino was smiling at him while his eyes were closed and she thought that maybe it was time to reveal her feelings for him, he might as well know about it in case anything did happen in this war. Of course, she was still terrified of the result of this confession, but she knew that he wouldn't take her feelings lightly.
"I'm just worried that's all, about all of our friends, our families, and everyone in the village. If anyone I cared about died, I wouldn't know what I'd do, especially you, Shikamaru," Ino had whispered his name. Shikamaru immediately opened his eyes and sat upright looking at Ino in surprise; he even had a small blush on his cheeks. He stumbled on his words but he asked, "What do you mean by that?"
Ino was a little hesitant but she looked at Shikamaru in the eyes, put her hand to his cheek and answered, "If I were to lose you, I would never be happy again. I couldn't bear with the pain of losing the boy who was most important to me. So, before we have to go to war, I just wanted to tell you one thing that I think you should know."
Shikamaru was completely dumbfounded, he knew that Ino wouldn't lie about anything that she deems important, his heart had somehow been pounding in his ears at a fast pace, and he was nervous of what she wanted to tell him, "It couldn't be that..she..." he thought but he asked, almost terrified, "And what would that be?" He watched as Ino leaned in closer to him, her hand still on his cheek, until she stopped where her lips were about a millimeter away from his own, then she whispered, "I love you, Shikamaru." Then she closed the gap between them, pressing her lips to his, to pour every emotion she felt for this boy in one kiss.
Shikamaru was shocked, but when he felt her lips against his, he responded with just as much passion he didn't even know he had, kissing her back to express his own feelings. There were suppressed feelings that surfaced as he kissed her, he never thought that he would be able to kiss the girl he loved for most of his life, but he was and he couldn't be happier. He brushed his tongue across her lips to ask for entry into her mouth, to which she gladly obliged. His tongue explored inside her mouth, burning everything into his memory so that he'll always remember. Their tongues wrestled with each other, as they both embraced each other tightly, not wanting to let the other go. Finally, after what seemed like years of bliss, they parted, and looked into each other's eyes.
Shikamaru then smiled his usual smile and then replied to her confession, "If there was anyone I didn't want to lose in this war more than anyone, it would be you, Ino. That's because, I love you too."
Ino was surprised but she was happy that he felt the same way. She replied, "Then promise me something. Please don't die on me in this war."
Shikamaru chuckled, amused that she request something like that of him but he answered, "What did you think I was going to do, let myself get killed? I'm fighting for the village and I'm coming home with you when this war is over. I'll even take you on a date when we get back."
Ino let out a little laugh, "Are you sure it wouldn't be too troublesome for you?"
"If I'm with you, it will be, but then I wouldn't want it any other way," he replied before kissing her again for the night. Then after another make-out session, they both stood up and Shikamaru walked Ino back home, hands intertwined.
They got to her house and she turned to him and said, "Good night, Shikamaru."
"Night, Ino," he replied before she pulled him down for a good night kiss.
They broke the kiss and she turned around and went back to her room through her window. When Shikamaru saw she got back in her room, he started walking back to his house with a smile on his face, thinking of Ino. "I promise that I'll love her always, it may be troublesome, but that is what love does to you I guess."