Yamanaka Ino strode slowly to the top of the steep hill, upon which stood a gnarled old tree. She sighed deeply, sitting below it, in almost exactly the same spot she had all those years before, the day her team officially became genin. She smiled, seeing, in her mind's eye, the younger version of herself, flouncing angrily to this spot, still muttering about how she would kill Sakura for being on Sasuke's team.
I hope you come soon, Shikamaru... Ino thought to herself, leaning her head back on the tree's trunk and closing her eyes. Night was drawing in around her, but the dark didn't scare her. It felt like a soothing, cool comfort blanket, wrapping itself gently around her shoulders as she sat beneath the branches of the ancient tree. She glanced at her watch:
8:05. Please be coming...
The stars were starting to emerge in the vast, inky sky, tiny diamonds sparkling far away. Ino had always thought that they watched over everyone on the planet, and felt safe under their gaze.
I wonder what I'll say to you, when you get here...
She gazed across the grassy ground, her breath catching in her throat at the wonderful view you had of Konoha. Each tiny light could be seen in the village, and you could make out the academy, the Hokage offices, even the Yamanaka's flower shop. Ino sighed, letting her eyes wander off towards the woods to her right.
A twig snapped behind her, making her turn, her heart in her mouth.
I thought...it was you...
8:20. Now you're getting late.
The moon peeked out from behind a wispy cloud, casting it's eerie glow upon her spot, making her face look ghostly pale. She decided to wait a little longer, he might have been caught up in something. He could have been delayed by someone. Anything was possible. Her stomach flipped at the idea that he might not arrive.
Half past eight, and she bit her lip.
What if you don't turn up? I don't know how I'll be able to remain friends with you...I know...I know I said that we'd never speak of it again...but...
She shook her head. Shikamaru wasn't going to let her down. He would be here...surely?
But what do I say? What shall I do? All I want to do is hold you, but is it too soon?
Ino sighed deeply, playing with a twig, rolling it between her forefinger and thumb. She watched as it twirled in her hand, finally snapping it in two and casting both halves aside.
8:40. You're not coming...are you?
Ino rose to her feet, dusting herself off as she did so. A noise from the path below her made her freeze. Footsteps, definately.
You're here. But you're so late. Maybe this was a bad idea. Maybe you've just come to let me down...Maybe...
Ino stood stock still as Shikamaru emerged over the brim of the hill, not knowing what to do, not able to move. His skin was pale in the moonlight. He was beautiful.
Chapter notes: So here it is! The thrilling conclusion to our series! yay!
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