Categories > Anime/Manga > Naruto > Stumbling Blind

Another First Time

by Virgo 0 reviews

Maybe a little smooth.

Category: Naruto - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Drama, Romance - Characters:  Ino, Shikamaru - Published: 2005-05-08 - Updated: 2005-05-08 - 4937 words

Stumbling Blind
12. Another First Time

bgm- "Hand in Hand", 98 Degrees with Lashanda Reese

He liked looking at her, she had come to find. He never actually said anything, but from the corner of her eyes, she would catch him watching her, looking at her. Ino learned to read those looks quickly. When she found a color that looked particularly good on her, he tended to pull back a bit, watching how the color brought out her eyes or compliment her pale skin. When she had an outfit that he loved to see her in- not too eye- catching, but enough to tell you that yes, indeed, she's got something worth looking at -his eyes would be warmer and he'd stand closer to her. Shikamaru rarely touched her, in or out of the public view, but his presence was enough to warn away any would-be suitors.

But there was always a hesitant look in his gaze whenever she looked close enough. As if he were wary of something- Ino wouldn't think he was 'afraid' because she didn't know what he could be afraid of. But being wary.... she could understand that with this being their first relationship. They knew how it was suppose to go, but neither really knew how to go about doing it.

Whenever he was there, Ino loved the attention she got from Shikamaru. Even when he wasn't looking or talking to her, somehow it seemed that everything he thought of was centered on her. Somehow it seemed his focus on her was tangible and warm. She had never felt so belonged to in her life and- while Ino liked to think of herself as no one else's but her own and a competent individual -she loved the feeling of someone wanting her for himself.

Maybe it was just his way of showing affection that allowed her to want to be Shikamaru's alone. The way he dropped little hints about her, about himself. Or the rare times when he's show unabashed feeling to her.

Lounging on a hill once, Ino sat next to Shikamaru as he dozed lightly in the sun. She had reached up to let her hair down and when she replaced a hand in the grass, she was surprised to feel Shikamaru holding onto it gently. Blinking, she looked down at the boy, blushing slightly at his gaze- far more forward than his normal, subtle stares. Ino noticed that his eyes were following the movement of wind through her hair and she couldn't help a little, nervous giggle.

"What?" She said playfully. "Do you prefer my hair short?"

"When you had it long," he admitted, "it looked good up. Now that it's short, it looks good when it's down." He took his hand away from Ino's, twirling a finger around a satin-soft strand, knuckle a bare pressure against her cheek. "I can't decide which one you look better with."

It wasn't often Shikamaru said things like that and every time he did, it always made Ino blush. And every time he said something like that, he always had that same strange look in his eyes. A sort of hooded look, drawing, compelling, something he wanted her to realize.

It didn't take long for her to realize what exactly it was, either.

And it was then that Ino realized that she was really, embarrassingly enough, /shy/. Whenever Shikamaru looked at her like that, it made her limbs go weak and her insides twist up in a way she couldn't tell if it was pleasant or frightening. And, in a way, she was afraid of what would happen if she followed through. And every time a moment like that passed with nothing changed between them, a part of Ino felt unbearably disappointed, like her heart would twist until she cried.

In a way, she was sort of glad that he got called away a lot, it meant that she had time to think. Obviously he wanted to up their relationship a bit, but he wouldn't force her into it. Not that he had to because she certainly wanted to go up that next level, but she couldn't help but feel hesitant about it. For them to make that step.... it was a big step for kids that young.

So what was there for a young girl to do?

Except for talking to her friends about it.

Sakura's brow creased. "I'm surprised. You really seem the affectionate type....."

"Yeah, well," Ino tried to keep the indignation out of her voice, "even the affectionate type have their shy moments."

Through prodding from both Shikamaru and her parents, Ino made that last effort to mend the rift between her and Sakura. Even though they still treaded lightly around each other, Ino had found that they really hadn't not been friends the entire time. They still ribbed on each other- teasing, playing, insulting -but Ino realized that though Sakura wasn't the mousy little brat, once they got into the groove of it again, she was just as easy to laugh around as before.

"I mean, I would've thought you would've had one kiss by now!"

And just as annoying.

"I mean, at least /ONE/."

Maybe even more so.

"Look, are you going to be helpful or what?"

Sakura shrugged. "What am I supposed to do? You know what you have to do, you know you're shy about it, how am I supposed to help? Give you directions?"

"I don't know!" Ino scrubbed her face in her hands. "I'd at least think you'd be some help!"

"Ino, really." The other girl said with a little smile. "All I can do to help you is let you vent. But you have to make that step yourself. You know that."

"But......" She bit her lip. It was embarrassing that it was embarrassing.

"Try talking to him about it. Shikamaru's a good guy, after all. Even if he doesn't act like it, he's always listening. Of course, you should know that better than anyone."

The blonde rolled her eyes. "And what exactly am I supposed to talk to him about, o omnipotent one?"

"Well.....kissing, obviously."

She couldn't help but to color a bit. "First kisses are supposed to be special, you know that! I can't just go up to him and tell him I want a kiss!"

"Yeah, but," Sakura spread her hands helplessly, "sometimes guys are clueless. Especially when they try to gentlemen."

Ino blinked. "What do you mean by that?"

"Because they don't want to 'force' you into anything, so they don't press. Even something like a kiss they won't do anything until you show them that you're ready."

She crossed her arms and scowled. "Shikamaru's not a gentleman. He's just lazy."

"Well, talking to him certainly can't hurt."

Ino looked over at the other two girls in a vague sort of surprise. Somehow (she still couldn't really understand how) making friends with Sakura again somehow roped her into making friends with Ten Ten and Hinata. Ino decided that she shouldn't be too concerned with why it happened like that so long as no one got on each other's nerves.

"There's somethings you can't talk to a boy about."

"Those 'somethings' usually don't include a relationship with the guy." Ten Ten replied.

"You could at least try." The white eyed girl said. It was probably the second thing Hinata had said since the three of them went to see Ino asides from 'hello'.

The blonde frowned and irritably snipped the excess leaves from a daffodil. The other three knew that meant she really didn't want to pursue this line of conversation much further. Exchanging glances, they decided that she needed to get out of here.

"I know what'll make you feel better!" Ten Ten slapped her on the back. "We can go down to the creamery on the corner and get some ice cream then spend the rest of the day shopping!"

Sometimes, for all the bluntness and tomboy attitude she possessed, it was hard to remember the Ten Ten loved going clothes shopping.

Ino frowned. "How's that supposed to make me feel better? Spending all my allowance?"

"It'll keep you busy, get your mind off of everything. Sure, it's good that you're seriously considering this, but sometimes worrying too much does just as much good as not worrying at all. Besides," she gave Ino a sly grin, "you may find a new outfit he'll really like."

She rolled her eyes. "He doesn't really care about clothes or how I look. He's not into flashy girls."

"But that doesn't mean that he wouldn't want you to look extra good every once in a while."

The blonde shook her head. "Look, don't worry about me, okay? I have things to do around here, anyway. You go have fun spending money."

The other three girls' expressions seemed to deflate.

"Aw, but Ino~!"

"I'm just not in the mood for it, all right?" Her stern expression turned into a repentant smile. "I don't want to bring the rest of you down with me, that's all."

Sakura sighed, knowing there was no changing Ino's mind once she got set. "Fine, if that's how it is." Hinata was already backing away into the door, bidding her farewell.

Ten Ten put her hands on her hips. "Don't think we won't get you out sometime, Ino."

But she just forced on a cheery smile. "Bai-bai! Don't worry about me and fun, okay?" She knew they wouldn't buy her expression, but she just wanted them out. After the door shut and the girls were well out of sight, Ino sighed and slouched.

Somehow, it felt as if she were running the same narrow circle.


The next day was much the same. The three girls would come by to the shop and talk to Ino. They'd tease her a bit, but then they'd turn right around and try to encourage her. Really, all it did was annoy her because- /yes/, Ino had found that she was actually more than a little shy, but she didn't need pep talks every day! She just needed some time to gather her courage, that's all. If word got around that there was something she couldn't handle, Ino didn't think she'd be able to face anyone.

Again they tried to get Ino to go out with them, this time it was to go the one of the gardens among the Hyuuga sprawl for a little sunbathing and girl talking. And, again, Ino turned them down.

But this time it was because "Shikamaru has some free time this evening, so we're going to go out," Ino told them. Which she quickly regretted when she was suddenly bombarded with questions, suggestions and more than her fair share of encouragement.

By the time Ino finally chased them away, she was ready to tear something apart. "ARGH! I'm not some clueless little girl! I know what I have to do!"

The problem was if she was going to actually do it.

So, as she waited around for Shikamaru to pick her up for their date, she thought, playing scenarios out in her head. But, dammit, everything she dreamed, she couldn't get Shikamaru to act like Shikamaru! He wasn't a gentleman! He wasn't a romantic. He got annoyed by things, he didn't like expending effort, he was a lazy bastard!

If this was going to happen, Ino realized, she'd have to be the one to do it. Even though he wanted to go to the next level, as well, he definitely wouldn't make the first move.

This was killing her......

By the time Shikamaru had gotten to the shop to pick her up, Ino was in a horrible mood and he cursed at himself. He couldn't back out now because he gave his word they'd spend time together. So now, because he'd feel unbearably guilty if he didn't, he was sufficiently stuck with a pissed off Ino. This was going to suck.

This, he knew, was going to be a problem. Whenever Ino got in a bad mood, Shikamaru's instinct was to just back off until she got over it. However, now that he was her boyfriend (he still wasn't completely sure what all the implications of that meant) it meant that if he started getting withdrawn around her, she'd get even angrier and he'd have to be the one to deal with it.

Hiding a scowl and a groan, he reached a hand out of her, holding open the door. Ino just ignored him and stormed out. That caused Shikamaru to blink. Seeing Ino angry was pretty much a usual thing, but the look on her face was something rare. She was thinking about something, so much that all her focus was on it, and whatever she was thinking about was making her upset.

Lengthening his strides he quickly caught up with the blonde and put a hand on her shoulder. His other arm went up to block an instinctive strike.

"Oi, Ino." The frown on his face turned to a bland sort of worry. "Calm down."

Some of the anger seeped out from behind her eyes and she mumbled a little 'sorry'.

"What're you thinking about?"

Slightly surprisingly enough, she blushed. Shikamaru felt a tinge of warmth crawling across his cheeks in response. He loved the way Ino blushed, it didn't make her appear as untouchable as she wanted and it made her face glow. But he couldn't tell her that. Despite how mature she liked to appear, there were still so many things Shikamaru thought she wasn't ready for, yet.

They were silent on their walk, shoulder to shoulder. Ino wrapped up in her thoughts that focused on him and Shikamaru in his that focused on her. The streets were crowded during the hours before evening and Shikamaru took Ino by the elbow, taking her down a vacant alley. A shortcut through a normally busy street.

With no one else around and the thought still weighing heavily on her mind, Ino opened her mouth and popped out a question that made her want to curl up and die in mortification:

"Why haven't you kissed me, yet?"

The boy rocked to a halt, not turning towards her as he asked, "What?"

"Kiss. Why haven't you?"

"You want me to kiss you." He stated blandly.

"Well yeah. After all," she said to his back, "it's what couples do."

For a long moment, Shikamaru said nothing. Nor did he move. Then, suddenly, one of his arms shot behind him, a thin sound against the wall by Ino's shoulder. He turned slowly towards her, face right in front of hers. "Ino." He drawled slowly, breath warm against her burning cheeks. "Does it mean that much to you?"

With the expression of an indignant child, Ino glared at him. "Yes! You're my boyfriend, after all and I still haven't gotten my first kiss yet! It's supposed to be something special, and I want to share it with the person most important to me."

Shikamaru moved closer to her and Ino pressed her body back against the wall. It was then she noticed Shikamaru seemed to have gotten taller, another inch or so separating them. "So it's that important?"

His presence was overwhelming. Ino couldn't look even look at him because all her will was focused on keeping her wobbling knees from collapsing. She never felt so embarrassed and anxious in her life. And she was more than shocked to realize that actually felt a little fearful, as well.

Then, just as suddenly, Shikamaru backed away, continuing their walk down the street. "C'mon," he said, a hand rubbing his neck, "I'm getting hungry."

Ino's eyes were wide, surprised at his sudden change. "Wha-What was-"

"Your first kiss is important to you, right?" He looked at her over his shoulder. "You want it to be special, you want it to really mean something." The corner of his lips quirked a bit. "I won't take it until we're both a little more prepared for it."


When the girls came by the next day, Ino's mom practically threw the girl out of the shop. But, she figured, that was fine because she was actually considering going out with them anyway, if not just to keep them from bugging her.

Idly she wondered if this was why Shikamaru went along with a lot of her dumber ideas.

The four of them were walking down the street, planning on getting some lunch before they hit some of the stores. Sakura and Ten Ten were ahead, talking and laughing. Ino wondered when the two of them had become friends. They seemed somewhat at home with each other. But, she thought, the only way one could not like Sakura was through conscious effort and Ten Ten was a very open, friendly type of girl. She supposed it didn't much matter when because both were so easy to get along with.

Beside her, Hinata fidgeted. She seemed to be shy (might as well say afraid) just by walking next to Ino and the latter couldn't help but wonder how that could happen.

"Ino, can I tell you something?"

Really, she didn't think anyone could be this old and still so self- conscious.

"Sure, what is it?"

Hinata, after all, was like an older version of the little timid mouse that turned into Sakura.

"It's just something Kiba-kun told me."

Except Hinata didn't have the confidence to even take that first step like Sakura had. Maybe, Ino thought, it was because Sakura had Ino. Hinata, maybe, didn't have anyone.

Instead of being so jealous and competitive with all the other girls, Ino wondered would would've happened if she had made friends with all of them so many years ago. Or what would've happened if she had made friends with Hinata instead of Sakura.

"He told me that everything will stay the same until you change them." She blushed and looked down. "It-It's not very good advice, I know. I think it's supposed to be encouragement, even though I didn't think so at the time." Shyly she looked up at Ino with her colorless eyes. "But Kurenai- sensei said it's a good way to think for some people. Even though she says Kiba-kun has a hard time with words because they do things he doesn't."

"Really?" Ino raised an eyebrow. "I think it's more like he doesn't do what the words say."

Surprised, Hinata said, "Kurenai-sensei said that, too."

Giggling, she patted Hinata's shoulder. "Kiba's a nice guy, isn't he?"

"He is. He's a little rough at times, but he always tries to be kind to me."

She pulled the dark haired girl in for a quick hug. "Then none of us has a thing to worry about, do we?" Ino said with a grin.

"Wh-What do you mean by that?"

"Nothing! Nothing!" She danced ahead. "C'mon! Sakura and Ten Ten will leave us behind!"

'Everything will stay the same until you change them', huh? That was good advice, actually. A warm day will always suck to train in unless you force yourself to ignore it. You'll never improve your abilities unless you force yourself through the barrier.

And she'll always be embarrassed of this situation until she hurls herself into somewhere she's never been before.

Shikamaru already broke through, waiting on the other side for her to follow. He knew telling Ino his feelings would be bothersome, that it would be annoying and embarrassing. It always would be, no matter the situation, no matter how long he waited. And he knew this, he knew it wouldn't change until he broke through.

And he was still waiting for her on the other side.

I don't want to keep looking at someone's back, Ino thought. I don't want to be the one people wait for. I want to strive ahead, I want to reach our bravely and grasp what's in front of me, even if I don't know what it is. I always told myself that because I want to be the greatest kunoichi. But even the little things I'm too afraid to force myself passed, because I can't see the other side.

Ino looked over at Sakura. Then at Ten Ten and Hinata. And seeing how they laughed and talked, she wondered how things would've been different. She blinked as they said something to her, then grinned, bumping Ten Ten slightly as she teased right back.

The four walked down to the market, arms linked and spirits high. And behind them laid Ino's broken world of 'ifs'.


The week passed by and it felt more fulfilled than they had been for months. Though Sakura had once again taken her place as Ino's best friend, she still enjoyed her time with the other two girls. She had a nice, friendly with Ten Ten going on and between the three of them and her team, Hinata was slowly being pushed out of her tiny shell. Things felt like they were actually changing, and Ino with them.

It took the entire week for Shikamaru to finally get a day to spend with her and she sat across from him on the patio of some casual restaurant. She still felt shy and uncomfortable at the thought of having to press the 'kissing issue' herself, but she forced herself to make this night the night. Even if she had to take it herself, she was determined to have their first kiss.

As the night grew older, her courage wanted to falter, but Ino resolutely told it to stand the hell by and told the butterflies in her stomach to take a hike. A good portion of them did what they were told, but the rest still fluttered about, just to spite her. If Shikamaru noticed her fidgeting (which he did, but knew better than to press Ino before she was ready), he didn't say anything.

Instead, just as their drinks and soups came out, Shikamaru's dark eyes flickered up and Ino felt the presence of three people behind her. From the look on Shikamaru's face, they weren't going to be people she liked.

Turning in her seat, she found herself looking into the lower pocket of a chuunin vest. An unsympathetic but wary face looked right down at her. Though each upper level ninja was used to having to tear others from personal matters for a mission, word got around quickly that the Nara's kid's girlfriend had a very, very bad temper about it. The chuunin in question forced on a neutral face as he saw Ino getting some scathing remarks prepared.

Instead, a huff from the other side of the table got their attention. "What is it this time?" Shikamaru asked. They way his fingers drummed on the table indicated he was getting beyond his threshold annoyance level.

The older chuunin straightened a bit more. "Hokage-sama wants you to lead another mission. There's some suspicious movement going between the borders of the Leaf and Stone villages. We're to meet up with Stone team and do a co-op investigation."

From between his fingers Shikamaru groaned. It was probably just another team of bandits being dumb again.

As he was pushing himself to his feet, Ino panicked, shooting up right. If he left now, she wouldn't be able to go through with her plan! And if that happened, she didn't know when she'd get enough courage to pull through with it again! She had to stall them, she had to make them go away! Argh! Why did Hokage-sama like her boyfriend so much, dammit! There's gotta be other intelligent guys she could've gotten for this mission!

Ino whirled on the chuunin, indignation in her eyes. "That's not fair!" She felt like she was a child again, begging the ninja not to take her father away. "Can't you get someone else? We've barely-"

"Oi, Ino." She turned her head at the sound of Shikamaru's voice. And felt a hand against her chin, thumb gentle on her closed lips. And Shikamaru's lips brushing against the edge of her own.

Pulling back he gave her a small smile. "I'll give you a real one when I get back." He said with a little wave, making his way to the other chuunin.

Stunned, Ino fell heavily into her seat, a deep blush crawling it's way up her cheeks.

"Kyaa! He's so smooth! I never thought I'd be jealous of a girlfriend of /Shikamaru's/!"

Ino sat up straight, turning to the voice. She covered her face in embarrassment. "What are you guys doing here?"

Ten Ten grinned at her. "You said this was where you wanted your next date to be."

"We had to see how you were getting along!" Sakura added. "After all, not just anyone's good enough for a kunoichi." Between the two, Hinata blushed and giggled, not wanting to admit that they were there to look for something to gossip about.

Ino tried to hide behind her hands, but she couldn't help the giddy laughter from bubbling out. She couldn't even mock scowl as the other girls crowded around, teasing her, her heart felt so light.

Shikamaru may not be a gentleman and he may not be a romantic, but he certainly had a way of surprising people.



Somehow this chapter reminds me of Kare Kano. I'm not entirely sure why, but it does o.O;; I've also come to notice that the fist half (first two thirds?) of this story revolves more around what Shikamaru is thinking while the rest of it centers more on Ino. Kinda funny, huh? Not really.

Er..... Shikamaru's pretty smooth, isn't he? Something no one expects from a lazy bum like him, ne? XDD

Anyway, I have come to realize (after someone had mentioned it) that chapter 11 really didn't have much of a point to it. Rereading it, I see that they are correct and I apologize for it. Therefore I shall make a public announcement that you should not try to make a very fulfilling and meaningful chapter while under sleep deprivation and posting it up while still slightly sleep deprived and not checking it over. It seems pretty rushed to me, as well, so I decided that I would make it a chapter that has just as much meaning as any of the others.

Therefore! Chapter 11 has been extended! Now with point! And exclamation points following the announcement! Hopefully now you'll be a little more fulfilled. There really is a point to that chapter as with all the other chapters. Really. :P Also, changed the formatting of some of the more recent files (realized the format changed somehow after chapter 6) and also some changes had been made to chapter 2, 3 and 7. Nothing really major, just some small things to either make more sense or to follow a little better with the series. So basically, it's just an announcement for people that have to be up-to-date^^

Anyway, I'm reiterating here that I'm going off the manga seeing as I've barely seen any of the anime. So, you see all the little changes that've been made in the anime? crumples it into a giant wad and drop kicks it out a third story window and into a toxic waste dump Wooohooo! Three points!

Despite the little time she's had, I really like Ten Ten. She reminds me a lot of Ino, but I somehow feel that she's more of a tomboy. In fact, for some reason, I get this distinct feeling that Ten Ten's got at least two or more older brothers. In my mind, she's got a lot guts and a very bold personality. From her fight with Temari and some page spread of the team, I'd say that she's a weapons expert, and is very confidant in her abilities. I'd also say that she probably would use taijutsu more than the other jutsu- not just because of her skills in weapons, but also because Neji and Lee are very proficient in it as well as Gai. And what's smarter than putting good taijutsu-ists under the care of a taijutsu expert?

The only thing I can really say about Hinata is that she's cute. And I really love KibaHina. Asides from that, she kinda annoys me^^;; I mean, I'd have to say I like her better than Sakura, but I don't really like the homey, mousy type. But, she's cute and she does have spirit when she has the proper confidence booster. I think it was just the fight between her and Neji that made me respect her, mainly because she doesn't see a lot of action after that. I just can't do that damn shy type! Get some confidence so it's easier for me to write! >
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