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before it hurts

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They’ve always been together, they didn’t even know why, or how does their family teamwork started; they were just one generation more of the famous Ino-Shika-Chō, but they loved it. Having the unconditional support of someone else was always reassuring, and they valued it. 

 

When they were younger, Ino didn’t really like Shikamaru and Chōji, she thought they were dumb and useless. Even though their parents always tried to foment their friendship from an early age, Ino couldn’t feel anything for them, not even respect. Since she was the first woman born into the Ino-Shika-Chō, she thought she didn’t have to be part of that team. When she found out she had, she felt disgusted by them, she considered herself superior, and being paired with them would make her be less noticeable to Sasuke. However, she ended up loving them. The way Shikamaru was always helping Chōji and her with any problem they had, and how unconcerned he was with the rest of his surroundings. How Chōji was always trying to make everyone feel good with themselves and loved, and his big appetite. 

 

Shikamaru had always been in his own world, his nonchalant personality made him uninterested in both of them at first. He actually started hanging out with Chōji after that incident when the other boys wouldn’t let him play; he dislikes people who discriminate and make people feel bad about themselves, so he just stopped playing with them. Chōji and him became inseparable after that. 

Shikamaru had always been aware of the Ino-Shika-Chō as well as Chōji, they knew from the beginning they would all be paired together and they were thrilled about that. 

 

Chōji had always liked both of them, and since he knew they were going to work together, he liked them even more. His heart is so big that he’s always trying to make both of them feel good and to let them know he is there for them. Shikamaru has always accepted any type of loving demonstration Chōji has made, like that time when Chōji gave him his last potato chip, that time he knew he really was his best friend. Chōji has tried to make those kinds of demonstrations with Ino, but always got a horrible outcome. She would either yell at him, ignore him, she even punched him twice. But still, Chōji tried his best. 

 

They’ve been through each other’s ups and downs. And most of that closeness was thanks to Sarutobi Asuma. He was the best sensei they could’ve asked for. He taught them a lot of valuable lessons, not only related to missions and fights, but life lessons. Team ten became really close to their sensei in an inexplicable way. Asuma was always there for them, like that time when he gave Ino dating advice, or that time he helped Shikamaru talk to his father about his multiple failed tests, and also that time when Chōji felt bad because he ate too much and Asuma helped him with some medicines and looked after him until he felt better. Asuma knew his team like the palm of his own hand, and he made sure each team member did the same. Knowing how your teammate thinks and works helped a lot on missions, and thereby, they ended up knowing everything about each other. 

 

Each team member developed into a better person through the course of the years. Ino was not anymore that judgy and bratty girl she used to be, she turned into this gorgeous, strong and independent woman who could do whatever she put her mind into. Chōji didn’t change that much, he just became less obsessed with the word fat, he tried working out more and he discovered that his strength and abilities were countless. Shikamaru realised he could do better than what he had been doing, and he did, he held his laziness back a little bit, it was not a huge difference, but it was better from where he had started. 

 

Watching them grow up wasn’t always flowers and rainbows. During puberty, humans go through a lot of changes both physically and mentally. Teenagers are vulnerable and susceptible to emotional disturbance and confusions due to the adjustments happening on the brain, and their parents knew that. Each member of team ten went through that ugly phase. The terrible odors, the pimples and greasy skin, and the one that never failed to make Shikaku and Chōza laugh, the voice cracks from the guys. Since Ino was the only girl from the team, that process was a little bit harder for her. Chōji and Shikamaru could share advice with each other, Asuma, Shikaku and Chōza could also help them, but Ino would be too embarrassed to talk about what was going on with her. Besides, the rest of her team didn’t know anything about puberty in girls, but still, from time to time, Inoichi would ask for some advice with Ino’s transition from kid to teen. He tried to understand her and be supportive with her. He knew adolescence in boys was a bit easier than with girls. 

 

There are various stages of adolescence in humans. One of them is early adolescence, during this stage, kids become more self-conscious, they become more vulnerable to bad influences, and tend to have impulsive behaviours. 

During this next stage, physical and mental changes continue. Physically, their bodies start to change, boys become more bulkier and taller, while girl’s bodies start to develop and prepare for maternity. Mentally, teens are more likely to conflicts with their superiors, and they start caring more about romantic relationships and sexual experimentation, also, during this period, teens feel powerful and become more reckless with their actions. 

Traumatic events during this period of time can have dramatic and long-lasting effects on the adolescent, making him or her more likely to PTSD, depression, anxiety, and disorders. The Fourth Great Ninja War was the trigger. 

 

Grief is the reaction to losing someone, each person deals differently to the death of a loved one and sometimes that journey can be more than what we can bear, becoming an exhausting, sad and draining process. The death of both Shikaku and Inoichi was a tough hit, in addition to this, their beloved sensei was brought back to life, only to be killed again by them. For team ten, dealing with the death of their loved ones was the hardest mission they’ve ever been assigned to.