Ughhh the lateness makes me feel terrible.

As always I own nothing.

As always this is for the lovely Amber

The next day passed in agitation for Ino, she couldn't spend her time with Sakura because her test had started at six that morning, and Hinata had decided she was going to train until her test at eight that night. From what Ino gathered, though for the first time in her life her father wasn't telling her everything, the tests were being done on the training grounds each numbered area was booked for the day by three separate teacher's to train their possible students. She had gotten out of her father that hers, Sakura's, and Hinata's teachers were all using the same grounds, something she couldn't help but wonder if it was good luck.

After yet another hour of meandering around the shop and irritating her father in the process of rearranging it Ino stalked up to her bedroom. She was used to being alone part of the day but never had she been alone for all of it. Turning into her room she sighed with relief when she realized she only had an hour to go and could easily pass that with getting her things ready. Turning to her mirror she quickly tied her hair up allowing part of her bangs to fall over her eye, a slight hazard her father and Sakura both always chided her for but a comfort.

Changing from her light dress for the shop into training pants and loose fitted shirt she quickly wound bandages around her upper thigh before restocking her kunai and shuriken hostler and strapping it on before finally tying her forehead protector over her waist. Taking one last look in the mirror Ino smiled before racing downstairs. Though she hadn't taken up the full hour, she had killed enough time so that she could meet Shikamaru and Chouji before the test.

She hadn't had time to reflect on it before but the more that the flaxen haired girl thought about it the more sense her team made. The Nara, Akamichi, and Yamanaka families made up the Ino-Shika-Cho formation something she was taught from an early age, Ino and Shikamaru had been born not just out of love, though that was absolutely necessary, but to be matches for Chouji. It explained the day age difference between Ino and Shikamaru perfectly while Chouji was about 4 months older than them both. It also explained why their teacher held the signs of a Sarutobi. Ino was so lost in her thoughts she would have walked past the two if not for Shikamaru reaching out to grab her.

Turning around quickly she blushed lightly before falling into step between them. She'd grown up with these boys, they threatened to beat Sasuke up when he kissed her at the start of the year, with the excuse that he needed to get Ami's taste out of his mouth, though they didn't actually get to him before Sakura and Hinata. They were a comfort like brothers to her, and so with them she could speak easily, without fear. Taking a breath Ino waited for Shikamaru to start to speak because out of the three of him he would always be the first to start a conversation. "Maa…I'm hungry. Why do you think he didn't want us to eat?" Ino only shook her head while Chouji scoffed before speaking, "he didn't want us to go into this at our absolute best probably, he wants us a little hungry and going at the heat of the day."

She wondered silently why Chouji seemed so sure of himself, had his parents told him more than Ino's father had told her and from the looks of it more than Shikamaru's told him? "W-Well at least we work well together, it's a relief to be placed with you two." Smiling she tilted her head and leaned forward, intending on encouraging team work between the three. "Yeah! Ino's right Chouji we all work well together we were trained together!" While Shikamaru pumped his arm up excitedly Ino and Chouji both laughed amusedly.

The rest of their walk passed in mild silence with Ino's mind racing about their upcoming test and Shikamaru's attention being pulled frequently and Chouji was timing his walks and how long they'd been walking. They might have been on odd group but Ino was confident of their ability to work together, after all wasn't that what they were made for? Cringing slightly Ino noted that they were rapidly approaching the training grounds, fear started to creep up Ino's throat and for a split second Ino debated returning home. The thought was followed by shame, Ino Yamanaka was not a coward she did not run from anything she was the second best student in the academy just barely below Sakura.

Straightening her spine Ino and her newly made teammates marched into the training field, there was no doubt in her mind, nor was there any shown in her walk. While her shyness remained the Yamanaka heiress had been raised to approach everything in the shinobi world with a strong and intelligent manner, leaving no room for her to shirk back and hide her face from peering eyes. It only took a brief moment for Shikamaru to straighten as well, the three reached the training grounds together, a united front forged from years of training and conditioning, to Ino it was a comforting feeling, they were her other best friends even if they did fight to much for her liking.

Ino had thought of a million things they would be walking into but she hadn't thought they'd just see their teacher relaxed and waiting, a big smile bursting across his lips as he saw them. "So, it seems your parents decided to start your training early?" Ino quietly wondered if their teacher's mother had any relation to the Nara's, maybe a close relative of Shikamaru's, because he seemed too much like the pampered Nara heir for it to be a happenstance. Realizing his companions weren't going to speak Shikamaru flashed a grin and nodded. "Yeah! The old men thought it would help out if we all grew up together."

The two chattered for several minutes before Ino's impatience started to grow, beside her she could feel Chouji's own growing as well. "Are we going to start this test soon?" His voice rang out clear and authorative while still remaining respect. "Oh…that, well to be perfectly honest you've already past, I don't need some long drawn out battle like Kakashi or Kurenai to know that you three will work together."

A quiet part of Ino's mind whispered that they should be tested still, could he really know how strong they were otherwise, but the louder part was too fixated on the fact that her friend's teachers wanted long drawn out battles, a jounin against a genin wasn't fair, even if there were three genin. "Alright well I guess we better clear out, I'll let Kurenai know that the field is open for her team now." Nodding her teacher disappeared as Ino turned around, a light frown marring her face.

"I-I should make sure Sakura-chan and them don't need anything." "I doubt Sakura's team got hurt Ino but you should yeah." Chouji voiced his thoughts carefully fully intending to keep the flaxen haired girl calm lest she go around searching for the teacher intending to use her family's jutsu's to humiliate some poor man. Something Chouji didn't put past Ino if her friends came out of a situation worse for wear.

With that in mind Ino took off for her friend's apartment, trying to get there as fast as she could. With her back turned to her teammates she wouldn't know that they followed her stopping or stalling anyone who intended to get in her way, be it for a question or to flirt, so that she could reach Sakura faster. When the now anxiety ridden girl made it to the apartment she rushed in using the key Sakura had given her years ago and was stopped in her tracks by the scene unfolding before her eyes.