Unspoken Rules

Chapter 8


Konoha Shinobi (Unspoken) Rule #13: Please keep in mind that this is a ninja village. There are restricted areas. Stay clear of such areas or your date under the night sky, where the moon shines brightly and the stars sparkle, won't be as romantic if not plain disastrous.

Konoha Shinobi (Unspoken) Rule #8: ANBU and/or ex-ANBU operatives are prone to neuroses, commonly shown by their display of odd quirks. While most are harmless (i.e. the urge to read smut novels in public), some could be hazardous to their health (i.e. the urge to chew a sharp, pointy object) or even to their surrounding habitat (i.e. the urge to eradicate one’s own clan and torture one’s own younger brother mentally). Caution is advised.


“You’re trespassing.”

Neji stopped in his tracks. He spoke to him. Shikamaru spoke to him. Shikamaru, lying down on the ground, eyes closed, and a burning cigarette between his lips, obviously no longer a walking dead, spoke to him.

“You didn’t give me much of a choice,” Neji answered as he walked closer, finally stepping out from the trees and in to the small clearing. “I’ll get my uncle to write a formal letter of apology on behalf of the Hyuuga clan tomorrow.”

Shikamaru snorted as he opened his eyes and looked at his visitor. “Aren’t you supposed to be in the hospital?”

Neji walked closer still. “I’m fine. This is more important.”


“This.” Neji sat himself down beside Shikamaru. “Us.”

Shikamaru raised an eyebrow at him, and Neji just realized how much he liked seeing that small gesture. “I have to apologize. I’m sorry for lashing out at you when I was angry at something else. I’m sorry for losing my temper and…attacking you. I’m sorry for…I’m just sorry. For everything.”

Neji waited for a response but Shikamaru just looked at him. He then realized that the Nara wasn’t looking at his eyes as one would when confirming an apology. Shikamaru was looking at his neck. Neji silently cursed the moon and the stars that were shining brightly that night, bright enough to show the discoloration around his throat.

“This,” he gestured towards his throat, “is not your fault. If anything, I’m lucky that you have perfect restraint so you were able to pull back in a split second before the damage became fatal. In fact, I’m grateful for your pertinent response to the situation which has saved my life.”

The younger jounin merely shifted his gaze back at the night sky, quietly taking the cigarette out of his mouth and blew a trail of smoke. Neji waited, but Shikamaru just laid there silently, looking very much like his bored, sleepy self on any other day.

“Shikamaru,” Neji sighed quietly. “Say something?”

“Troublesome,” mumbled the other man. Neji felt like he wanted to scream.

“Shikamaru,” he tried again. “You don’t usually get angry. Hell, I never even knew you can be angry. Seeing you angry at me is just- surreal. So, again, I’m truly, very sorry.”

“I’m not angry,” a response finally came.

The older jounin tread carefully. “Then why won’t you accept my apology?”

Shikamaru shrugged. “It’s unnecessary.”

Such crisp words, yet with so much meaning. ‘There’s no need for apologies,’ it meant. ‘I’m okay now,’ it meant. ‘We're okay now,’ it meant. That was just so very Shikamaru that Neji wanted to do the hula and invite everybody to the luau.

He still had to make sure though. “So then- best friends?”

“If you want,” answered the pony-tailed shinobi, infamous smirk forming.

“Of course,” Neji replied firmly, relief and utter glee rushing through him. The luau was getting so big it had roughly pushed aside all his fear and insecurities about losing his best friend. Maybe that was the reason for the lack of common sense when he decided to take the plunge and quietly, slowly, tentatively asked, “Boyfriends?”

Shikamaru turned his gaze back at him, and Neji promptly prayed he hadn’t heard that last idiotic question. The young strategist looked at him intently, eyes boring into his own white ones. He could practically hear the grinding of nuts and bolts in Shikamaru’s head, calculating, planning, and predicting whatever it was that needed calculating, planning, and predicting.

The young Hyuuga berated himself inwardly. Why had he done that? There wasn’t any indication that Shikamaru felt the same way he did. The only thing he had to go by was Genma’s words, which was unaccountable seeing as the man was borderline insane. The one liable source, which was the normal, caring Akimichi who had been friends with Shikamaru since birth, never said anything about how Shikamaru felt. Neji started to get horrified as he waited for a response from the Nara beside him.

Finally, just as tentatively, Shikamaru said again, “If you want.”

The normally stoic Hyuuga couldn’t stop his smile. It wasn't a beam or even a wide grin, just a small, contented smile that came with the words, “Of course.”

Shikamaru put out his cigarette on the grass and raised an arm in a ‘come here,’ gesture. Neji complied. After all he’d been through that night, which included suffering both mental and physical trauma, not to mention running and teleporting all around Konoha on a cold night, the warmth of body contact is exactly what he needed right now.

The kiss was different, although still familiar, Neji considered. It was still firm, yes, but much more languid, unhurried. It almost felt like the tactical genius was using his lips to study every texture of Neji’s own, memorizing it by touch alone. The arms around him were unyielding as usual, but more pliable, urging instead of taking him closer. By the time Shikamaru’s tongue came into the picture, he was no longer half on top but already straddling the younger man, inwardly demanding why they hadn’t become a couple sooner. Damn, but the man can kiss.

Neji let himself fly up to cloud nine, enjoying how his lover’s -- insert mental whoop of joy here -- tongue did to every surface inside his mouth what the lips did earlier to his lips. When it coaxed his own tongue to move, he made it so, following the rhythm set by his counterpart. Slow, easy, yet strong and deep- mmm…this was good. This was definitely good. Very good.

“Wait, hold on,” a voice cleared Neji’s blank confusion at the sudden separation not a second ago. Now what? He gave Shikamaru a questioning look.

“Hang on to me,” Shikamaru ordered breathily. Neji did so obediently, embracing Shikamaru as the younger jounin sat up a little. He then felt a small wave of molded chakra and movements behind his back as Shikamaru formed some seals, and in a blink of an eye, the grass was gone and they were on…a bed?

“Sorry about that,” the aforementioned shinobi said with a smirk. “That forest is always monitored, and I’m no exhibitionist.”

“You should’ve told me before we- you know,” Neji retorted with a little blush while taking in his surrounding. They were in Shikamaru’s bedroom. In Shikamaru’s apartment. Shit. The young Hyuuga quickly activated his Byakugan to see if people were still in the living room. To his relief, the apartment was already deserted. Wait, what was that on the couch? It’s moving. It’s…a dog?

Neji could see the dog jumped down from the couch and padded towards the bedroom door very clearly, and now he found that the old pug was very familiar.

“Pakkun, tell Kakashi that everything’s okay and not to come here, would you?” Shikamaru suddenly said, not even looking at the door while casually running his hands allover Neji’s sides.

“Hmph, youngins,” the old pug grumbled before jumping out the living room window.

Neji had to stare at Shikamaru. “Does that happen a lot? Pakkun waiting for you?”

“Yeah,” answered the strategist while pulling off his hair-tie. “I always found him hiding somewhere after every mission. He didn’t budge the first couple of times I called out to him, but he finally caved when I offered some dog food I had bought on the way home.”

Neji chuckled and Shikamaru continued as he untied Neji’s hitai-ate, “Since then he just waited somewhere comfortable and we’d talk like old buddies when I got back. We agreed to just let Kakashi think he’s still watching over me in secret.”

Hitai-ate safely situated on the bedside table, Shikamaru unclasped the holster on Neji’s thigh. “Kakashi does that to Naruto, Sakura, and Sasuke too, but they don’t know it.”

Neji smirked, “I doubt Sasuke doesn’t know.”

“That’s what I told Pakkun,” Shikamaru replied as he put the holster next to the hitai-ate and started to unbutton Neji’s shirt. “He just grumbled about how rude it was of Sasuke to ignore him and all that shit.”

Neji actually laughed as he removed his and Shikamaru’s sandals, somehow remaining where he was, perched on Shikamaru. “He didn't actually think Sasuke would give him dog food too, did he?”

Shikamaru snorted, pulling down the zipper on his vest. “I think he did.”

As Shikamaru pulled himself up a bit to shrug off his vest, Neji became transfixed. He never noticed how…pleasant it was to observe Shikamaru undress. Sure, he’d seen it many times, but he never actually watched. He made a mental note to do that every chance he had.

The young Nara threw his vest haphazardly to the floor, loose hair following his movement. Neji was, in a word, mesmerized. Again, although he’d seen Shikamaru with his hair down many times, he never actually took a moment to see. After all, he’d only seen it when they were having sex, and he was always too out of it to notice anything. Shikamaru always pulled it back up as soon as they were done. In the case where they both collapsed to slumber, Neji always woke up when Shikamaru had already puttered around making breakfast, hair tied neatly on the top of his head.

Now though, Neji was able to see how…different Shikamaru was with his hair down. It wasn’t cut evenly, reaching below his chin, to his shoulder and to his shoulder blades. The locks were thick, but not coarse or unhealthy in any way. All in all, Shikamaru looked everything like a bishounen from Hinata’s manga collection.

Neji often heard how people regard him as the embodiment of male beauty. How his looks attracted both men and women. He wondered how people would regard Shikamaru if they ever saw him like this. Not beautiful, that’s for sure. Not with those sharp edges framing the delicate features and elegant eyebrows. The young Hyuuga mulled it over in his head as Shikamaru glanced at him with that distinct serene look. He came up with ‘handsome’. Further inspection on Shikamaru’s lips, thin upper one and full, ever-slightly-pouting bottom one, and the word ‘kissable’ came to mind.

Far be it for him to deny himself the privilege, Neji thought as he lowered himself to do just that. Shikamaru was more than happy to comply. The intoxicating, languid kiss was longer this time, deeper. Neji let his body follow when Shikamaru flipped them over, idly wondering if this move was the reason Shikamaru had bought a queen-sized bed instead of a single. Not that he was complaining or anything.

It took a moment for Neji to realize that Shikamaru wasn’t exactly lying on top of him. The man kept his weight off of him, bracing himself with one elbow while running a hand inside Neji’s already unbuttoned shirt, kiss unbroken. Almost automatically, Neji’s arms and legs decided to rectify the situation. One hand pressed gently at the familiar curve between Shikamaru’s back and buttocks while a foot sensually ran up one leg, urging the younger jounin to descend.

Shikamaru did so leisurely, chuckling a bit, and Neji wondered if that rich throaty laugh from deep in the man’s chest had always automatically traveled to his groin or if that was a new development. Then he wondered why the hell he was wondering anything when his groin was mere millimeters away from Shikamaru’s and closing.

As the young Nara lowered, Neji slowly rocked against him, grinding mercilessly in a way that made his eyes close at the pleasure. He had to break the kiss as his intake of breath became a shaky hiss, eyes shut tightly in an effort to gather back his shattered control. He didn’t see the smug smirk on the Hyuuga’s face, but he’d bet his entire arsenal of specially made kunais that the smirk was there.

Neji was fully taking pleasure in the friction between them when he saw Shikamaru opened his eyes. The dark brown orbs were almost black, darkened in lust, and they were focused on his milky white ones, trying to convey something he couldn’t comprehend.

“Neji...” Shikamaru murmured, the bottomless ring making the owner of the name shiver and unable to reply. “I…”

The hesitation made Neji focus. What was Shikamaru trying to say? It couldn’t be…


Holy crap, Neji thought as butterflies started a major infestation of his stomach. This was just too bizarre. He wouldn’t mind hearing it, sure, but this was Shikamaru! The man would probably eat his own burning cigarette before saying stuff like that.

“You don’t have to say it,” he said in an effort to help Shikamaru out of the self-imposed torture. “I understand.”

“No,” Shikamaru refused. “I have to tell you this. You need to know.”

Neji frowned to belie the gooey feeling he was having. He never knew the reposed and detached shinobi was a closet romantic. He tried again, “Shikamaru…”

“No, just give me a minute,” he sighed stubbornly. “You need to hear this.”

Oh, well, Neji thought gleefully, who was he to rebuff the assessment of Konoha’s own War Leader? He never expected it from Shikamaru and just seeing the effort was enough to melt him, but it would be nice to hear those words. Now who’s the closet romantic?

“I…” Shikamaru paused and took a deep breath to gather some resolve. Neji waited.

“I…” Shikamaru looked in to Neji’s eyes before the words finally came out…

“I don’t do uke.”

Whoa, wait, what? “What?”

“I don’t do uke,” the younger jounin tried again, slower.

Oh-kay, Neji thought. That wasn’t really what he was expecting. “You don’t do uke.”

Shikamaru nodded dejectedly, obviously not liking himself too much at the moment. Neji tried to get his head around the statement. Every time they had sex Shikamaru had always been seme. It just went that way and neither of them ever thought about it. However, Neji finally realized, they were only fuck buddies then. Now that they were lovers though…

“You mean, as in, at all?” Neji tried to confirm. Shikamaru nodded. “So if…say I want to uh…try something different…you know…once in a while…you won’t…?”

Shikamaru flinched. “I don’t…no, scratch that. The truth is…I can’t.”

Neji stared at him. “You can’t.”

“Yes,” Shikamaru said warily. “I’ve tried, but…” he trailed off in defeat. “You need to know this before we go any further. A relationship with me won’t be fair for you. I’ll be taking and taking and you’ll be giving and giving and-”

“Well, technically I’ll be the one doing the taking,” Neji said in an amused tone. He was actually trying not to laugh. He still wanted to live, thank you. But still, in the end, the pun was too much and he couldn’t hold the chortle from blurting out. “Get it? As in, taking it up the ass?”

“Neji,” Shikamaru sighed exasperatedly. “I’m serious. I won’t be able to-”

“Shikamaru, I don’t care,” Neji butted in, desperately trying to soothe his lover with his eyes. “Seriously, it’s not like being your uke isn’t rewarding. Not with the-” he rocked his hips again “-package you’re offering.”

Confidence restored, Shikamaru smirked. “Well said,” he replied with a small kiss to Neji’s sealed forehead.

Neji had to smile at the little gesture of gratitude. Apparently, Shikamaru was really bothered about it. He really didn’t care about his lover’s inability to play bottom. It was probably one of those ANBU quirks he kept hearing about. Or maybe it was just a Shikamaru quirk, like ration bars and pristine carpeting. Whatever it was, Neji decided, he could live with it.

Shikamaru was taking off his shirt when Neji returned to the moment. After that, off came the mesh under it, and the young Hyuuga couldn’t take his eyes off the man currently kneeling between his legs. The muscles were lean yet well defined, shifting gracefully with each movement of slender limbs, a seal on the left arm dancing along. Golden skin decorated by thin lines of slight discoloration. Too slight, Neji noticed. Those scars must’ve been very old; too old.

Neji tried to reach those scars, unconsciously wishing his touch could just erase it somehow, but Shikamaru caught his hands and lowered them. Sure fingers opened his shirt further, and Neji obliged the silent request by sitting up slightly and shrugged his shirt off. Shikamaru let the shirt join his articles of clothing on the floor before taking a good look at his long-haired jounin.

Hair mussed, eyes glazed, cheeks and lips flushed, bared chest heaving. Neji knew he must look a sight to the Nara gazing at him, yet the look wasn’t one of amusement or disinterest. It wasn’t even mild interest. It was raw hunger suppressed behind quiet appreciation, as if he was looking at something to be treasured, not the scarred and battered pale torso of his fellow shinobi.

“You’re beautiful,” breathed with such an air of awe Neji knew it wasn’t a lie and yet hadn’t the ability to believe it. He leant up for another kiss and wallowed in it before returning the compliment, “And you’re very sexy.”

Shikamaru chuckled and started a journey of languorous kisses from the Hyuuga’s lips downward. It was particularly soft when the lips reached his throat, Neji thought, apologetic somehow, as if Shikamaru was trying to kiss it better. He gently ran his fingers through the familiar thick locks, murmuring, “It wasn’t your fault.”

The tactical genius looked up in to Neji’s eyes, a wisp of air from his lips grazed the older jounin’s chin as he whispered, “It was my hand.”

Neji didn't have a chance to object to that statement before Shikamaru’s lips found his skin again and tortured him with pleasure-filled attacks from his ear to his shoulder, lingering over areas he was sure would be marked with possessive bruises by morning. His retort was altered to gasps and needy moans. The Nara kissed lower still, but stopped at a rather noticeable round scarring tissue just under his shoulder and opted to trace a finger on it instead.

“That wasn’t your fault either,” Neji muttered.

“That was my responsibility,” came the quiet reply.

Shikamaru went back to his journey, this time lingering over each nipple. Neji decided to argue about faults later; a lot later. At that point, all he could think was ‘mm’, and that it may even be years until he argued in any way, shape, or form if Shikamaru just kept doing that thing with his tongue to his navel.

The strategist, unfortunately, didn’t continue. He went to the next move as he pulled away, taking the older jounin’s pants with him. Neji would later be grateful as he was, at the time, too busy not pouting at the loss of body heat to remember to feel self-conscious that he was sprawled naked with a very obvious erection before Konoha’s War Leader. Instead of blushing and feeling at all flustered, he went from annoyed at Shikamaru’s withdrawal to captivated as the Nara began to slowly slide his black pants inch by inch down his long legs. All the while, Shikamaru was studying him and he knew it, yet he didn’t care. He was too busy exploring the tactician with his own gaze.

Propped up on his elbows, he watched the slow striptease, licking his lips appreciatively as everything came into view. He was not at all disappointed by what was offered. In fact, he couldn’t be happier though the sheer size inspired some awe. Again, he berated himself for never taking notice. Smirking, a true and tested smug Hyuuga smirk, he murmured, “You, Nara Shikamaru, are a god.”

Shikamaru just smiled. His slow, sexy smile that could melt just about every part of a man’s body but one, which twitched to demonstrate its utmost interest in the matters at hand. And as the younger jounin crawled over the bed towards him with feline grace, there was an utterly predatory air to Shikamaru's movements that made Neji groan all on his own. At that moment, he was content to simply watch and admire the advance until the Nara deposited a small vial on the pillow beside his head and covered him once more, making him sigh at the blessed feel of skin on skin that captured him.

Their kisses were lazy, coupled with a slow grinding against one another, fuelling their arousal as mouths met with wet sounds, tongues tangling and parting in a tireless dance. The pace suited them. The build up each time, only to ease back again, yet the need was still building, an ever-present itch that demanded to be scratched. That was what provoked a noise akin to pleading but not verbal from Neji’s lips, what led his hips to grind up against Shikamaru’s insistently, determined he’d be understood and his desire sated.

And he was, the brilliant man over him obliging. There was a lingering kiss imparted before Shikamaru shuffled back, slicking his fingers and urging Neji’s legs apart. It was a request he could easily comply with, lazy and relaxed as he was. The first finger slipping inside didn’t pain him, the second caused only mild discomfort, and the third little worse than the second.

However, Shikamaru wasn’t to be quite as accommodating as he’d hoped. Rather than withdrawing the fingers and giving Neji what he craved, he seemed content to finger fuck the older jounin slowly, watching him writhe and moan as his pleasure spot was hit repeatedly. Neji could find no breath, no voice to complain with. All that mattered was that it felt so good, spots exploding in front of his vision with each brush and low, almost desperate sounds issuing forth from him. In that instant he just let go of any remaining control, giving in to Shikamaru.

As it turned out, that was what the Nara had been waiting for. With Neji’s surrender, he withdrew his fingers and pressed his arousal gently against the stretched entrance. A slight push back, an acceptance, was all the further encouragement he needed. Neji’s entire attention was focused on Shikamaru sliding forward, filling him and leaving him feeling complete. While it hurt, it was as it had been before: that slight edge of pain making a beautifully enjoyable contrast to the absolute pleasure he felt. Pleasure he was sharing, if the look Shikamaru had was anything to go by.

Slow, deep, and angled to rake over that spot with every stroke. Shikamaru had found the perfect pace and Neji knew he wouldn’t last long. Still though, he greeted each impalement, rocking back to meet the strategist as he was ground into. Helplessly he let the moans and the sighs, the purrs and the gasps, the groans and the softly spoken cries all escape without any effort at suppression. He had surrendered voluntarily, every sound, every smile. It was all there for Shikamaru to take in and preserve if he wished.

Neji did smile, too, smiles as lazy as the pace Shikamaru had set them, still visible in his eyes as the Nara claimed his lips time and time again. Their passion and fervor varied in a way their lovemaking didn’t. Their orgasm was held at bay for so long, built slowly as they moved together. That unhurried build up made Neji feel it all the more when it finally hit him. White light seemed to explode behind closed eyelids and he felt himself tightening and trembling about Shikamaru’s length. He found himself spilling into the golden skinned hand that had barely touched him before he was tipped over the edge.

He didn’t pass out, although he did know he had come close. He felt Shikamaru’s release warm inside him as his lover came barely moments after him, shuddering with the force of it, a force that the older jounin felt sure matched his own. He didn’t think there were words to describe how incredible that had felt, and how dazed, sated and indescribably happy he was as he lay there beneath the panting strategist.

Eyes closed and breathing started to slow down, Neji regretted, for probably the tenth time that night, how long it took for them to get together. Shikamaru fucking him was gratifying, but Shikamaru making love to him was a different experience altogether; a better experience, one that he prefer to repeat again and again so long as their bodies allow them.

Neji felt Shikamaru shifted and took some weight off of him by propping himself on his elbows, and he opened his eyes to see the younger jounin looking at him, that damn sexy smile melting him all over again. Gentle fingers ran slowly through his hair as a long kiss warm his temple with a murmured, “Beautiful…” before his genius lover finally sat up.

The young strategist pulled out carefully, unwilling to cause any more pain after everything that had happened that long night. With a quiet, “Wait here,” he padded to the bathroom and returned with a warm wet towel and a small container adorned with a Nara laboratory symbol. He then proceeded to clean them both, eliciting a sigh from Neji at the warmth and comfort it provided.

“What's that?” Neji asked as Shikamaru sat beside him and opened the small jug.

“Just a salve,” Shikamaru answered distractedly, taking a small amount of mushy substance from the jug and applying it gently to the bruise on Neji’s throat. “It helps reduce bruises.”

Neji scrunched up his nose because of the alien scent, mumbling, “Smells weird.”

Shikamaru chuckled, “Hence the waiting until after we make love before applying it.”

“Jerk,” Neji scolded teasingly. His taller jounin just smirked.

They were soon laying side by side, Neji half on top of Shikamaru, safe and warm under the blankets. They were tired, both physically and mentally, and contented after a bout of passionate we-just-realized-we’re-in-love-which-is-cliché-but-see-if-we-care sex, yet sleep still eluded them. After lying quietly for a while, enjoying the lazy circles Shikamaru’s finger was drawing on his lower back, Neji called out softly, “Shikamaru?”


“You’re going to make me a promise.”

Shikamaru frowned. “I won’t make a promise to always come back alive and/or well.”

Neji snorted, “Yeah, right. You’re lucky I’m too sleepy to hit you right now for thinking I would even consider such a thing. Who do you think I am? Naruto?”

The younger jounin had to laugh at that one. Neji went on, “Promise me- just promise that when you’re upset or angry at me, you will. Be angry, that is. Yell at me, hit me, whatever. Just don’t- don’t go…ANBU-mode…or whatever that’s called.”

Shikamaru shifted a bit to look at Neji right in the eyes, face stricken and full of regret. “It wasn’t because I was angry at you. I wasn’t even angry.” Neji’s eyes urged him to continue, so he did.

“You fell,” he said. “You fell and you couldn’t breathe, and I…I panicked. Everything just rushed in to me. The fact that I’d hit you. The fact that you were dying. The screaming in my head that Ino just had to be there. I lost focus. I actually. Lost. Focus.”

Neji looked at him questioningly and Shikamaru sighed, “That never happens. That wasn’t supposed to happen. No matter how severe the situation, I always automatically think. That’s just how I am. That time though, my emotions were running wild and I couldn’t think. In middle of that chaos in my mind, all I wanted was my focus back so I’d be able to think. So I used the technique…locked all emotions away….”

Shikamaru took a deep breath, wishing he was smoking right now but feeling too lazy to get up and look for them. “It was cowardly of me, I know. I never meant for any of my friends…you…to see that. I’m sorry. And I promise you will never see that again.”

“It’s okay,” Neji said gently after Shikamaru went quiet. “What happened after that?”

“I went to think, to analyze. I…well, I deduced what had actually pissed you off so much,” Shikamaru chuckled and Neji whacked his chest playfully. “I analyzed how you would deal with it, whether or not my shinobi career was over. But the thing that kept me from leaving my solitude was the conclusion my brain gave me about why I panicked and lost focus.”

“Hn? What was that?”

Shikamaru gave Neji a look. “What do you think?”

The older jounin smiled and went back to his hiding place at the crook of Shikamaru’s neck. “Guess I'm not the only dense one around here.”

“Guess so,” the Nara sighed contentedly. “I still can’t believe those idiots saw it before we did.”

Neji snickered, “Heh, and now that they think we’re not a couple, we actually are. This is just messed up.”

Shikamaru went quiet for a while and Neji could feel tension in that firm shoulder. He lifted his head again. “What’s wrong?”

The taller jounin looked at him intently. “You do realize that now I have every right to help you deal with your clan, don’t you?”

Shikamaru waited some moments for a response but, to his dismay, Neji just gave him a little apologetic kiss on the chest and smiled an unreadable smile, saying, “I’ll be fine.” And then, with his smile intact, Neji asked sleepily, “Hold me until morning?”

The strategist was indignant, but the man lying half on top of him looked so damn beautiful when smiling he didn’t have the heart to make that face scowl should he argue. In the end, he decided to just kiss the hell out of his lover so they’d both stop thinking.

“Hmm…” Neji blinked dazedly at the rush of an unexpected breathtaking kiss. “What was that for?”

“Beautiful,” Shikamaru murmured, arms tightening around the older jounin as he laid his head on the pillow and closed his eyes in finality. Neji sighed happily and hid himself in the crook of Shikamaru’s neck again, closing his eyes and following his handsome Nara in to peaceful slumber.


Just don't think I don’t know
That I should let you go
But you’re beautiful tonight
So, lie… It’s alright

--- “Lie… It’s Alright” by Bo Bice


“But Iruka…” a distinct whine could be heard in the hallway.

“Shut up, Genma,” reprimanded Raidou from his doorway, tying his hitai-ate as he was preparing for work.

“But- but-”

“Genma,” Iruka scolded, picnic basket in one hand and teaching materials in the other. “This is the least we can do after the mess we’d somehow created last night. If you don’t think Neji deserves this, just butt out. Besides, it’s not like you woke up early like the rest of us and helped with this.”

“But it’s- it’s-”

“What?” Kakashi asked sleepily, leaning against his own doorway, dressed in nothing but loose sweat pants and mask.

“It’s our traditional Special Breakfast Basket!” Genma wailed. “It has pancakes and french toast and bacons and eggs and waffles and fresh fruits and coffee and juice and-”

Kakashi yawned. “So?”

“So? So?! That stuck up Hyuuga doesn’t deserve this! I’d give it to Shikamaru, sure, he needs the pick-me-up. I’ll even gladly help him eat it. But the hair guy-”

“Genma,” Iruka sighed exasperatedly. “You’re being ridiculous.”

Kakashi scratched his head. “Yeah, Pakkun said they’re okay. More than okay.”

“Besides,” Raidou chimed in, buttoning his black cloak. “You agreed to this last night.”

“I didn’t know Hyuuga was going to be here last night!” Genma’s senbon nearly fell at his outburst.

Another door opened and Ino stepped out, still wearing what she wore last night, which was nothing but Yamato’s large shirt. The owner of that shirt just peeked from his doorway, unwilling to get involved as his girlfriend asked, “What’s going on?”

Raidou rubbed his eyes. “After Neji and you two left, we decided that if Shikamaru went back to his apartment we’d give him a Special Breakfast Basket in the morning. You know, as an apology of sorts, and maybe to cheer him up. After all, it was most likely our fault they had an argument to begin with.”

Genma nodded furiously. “Yeah, yeah, and nowhere in our discussion last night was said he’d be sharing it with Hyuuga.”

“Wait, wait, why do you hate Neji so much?” Ino asked innocently.

“He hurt Shikamaru!”

The young blonde snorted. “Oh, please! Shikamaru isn’t a baby. He can take care of himself. Besides, Neji was the one who nearly died of a ruptured windpipe. You sound like a psychotic older brother.”

“I know he’s not a baby and- Hey, what do you mean, ‘psychotic’?”

“I meant exactly that: Psychotic,” Ino answered nonchalantly, bitchiness level rising.

“Are you saying I’m insane?”

“Ah, so you do know the meaning of the word.”

“Listen, you bitch-”

“Watch it, Genma,” Yamato suddenly entered the fray, glaring at his senpai.

“Come on, guys…” Kakashi tried to straighten the situation.

“Urgh,” Iruka groaned, obviously frustrated. “Idiots! All of you!”

“Okay, look,” Raidou tried while straightening his cloak. “Maybe we should just-”

“SHUT UP!” Everyone jumped and went quiet at the roar from another door. The only other door on that floor that hadn’t been opened yet. Funny how, at the exact same time, six brains could utter one same word: Shit.

Everyone slowly turned to look at the aforementioned door, shrinking at the sight that greeted them. Shikamaru stood at his doorway, chest bare and hair tied messily. The sleepy look on his face contrasted incredibly with the holler he’d just let out, and…are those love bites?

An excerpt from the mind of Shiranui Genma: Fuckin’ A! I just called his best friend -- or is that ‘boyfriend’ now? -- stuck up and the girl who’s practically his little sister a bitch! I am so dead! Raidou, baby, I'm so sorry. I love you. Please don’t forget me, but you must go on with your life, etc, etc, etc…

All shinobis present waited for the storm that was to come. They flinched when he looked at Iruka, imagining the sensei’s body parts thrown out to different directions. But, to their surprise, the young Nara only smirked and grabbed the picnic basket from Iruka’s hand.

“Thanks, Sensei,” he said lazily while giving the basket to Neji who just showed up behind him. The young Hyuuga took it and disappeared inside the apartment again.

Iruka stammered, “Uh, sure. It’s- ah, you know, that is-”

“Oi, Genma?” Shikamaru calmly called out before Iruka had the chance to finish. The man in question actually jumped in surprise, prayers and last words fleeting through his head. He cringed when the strategist idly raised a hand, a senbon spinning leisurely between his fingers, tranquil eyes locked on the cowering examiner.

Genma was still busy deciding which body part he needed to protect when suddenly Shikamaru stopped turning the offending needle around his fingers, held it out to Genma and casually said, “Here, you left this in my wall.”

Let it be noted that, at that exact moment, the renowned tactician had successfully turned six experienced Konoha shinobis into…carps.

Genma took the proffered weapon blankly, mouth opening and closing in synchronization with the others’. Shikamaru just stepped back and closed his door, leaving four jounins and two chuunins standing like idiots in the hallway.




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