Unspoken Rules

Chapter 9


Konoha Shinobi (Unspoken) Rule #16: Shinobis don’t watch sitcoms. They live it.


“Why do you smoke?”

“Do you want the melodramatic answer or the real one?”

“What’s the melodramatic answer?”

“The scent comforts me. It makes me feel like Asuma is still here with us.”

“Oh,” Neji, the angsty guy that he was, couldn’t comprehend how that was melodramatic instead of real. He gave his lover a puzzled look. “And the real one?”

“My brain works ten times faster and harder than average. Nicotine slows the heart rate. In effect, the heart pumps blood to the brain in a slower pace and-”

“Forget I asked.”


“Oh, hello Neji. What can I do for you?” Iruka said as he opened the door.

“I’m sorry to bother you, Iruka-sensei, but I was wondering if I could ask you for the recipe of that chocolate cake we had as dessert the other day, if it’s not too much trouble, of course.”

“Ah,” Iruka chuckled. “It’s no trouble at all, but you’ll have to wait until Kakashi gets back from his mission. He was the one who made that cake, after all, and- uh… Neji? Are you alright?”


“Well, well,” Genma said as he poured some sake. “You look happy today.”

“Hn,” replied Shikamaru while taking his seat in front of the cheerful jounin.

“Anything you’d like to share with the rest of the class?” Genma asked with a leer.

“Did you know,” Shikamaru started while lighting a cigarette, “that some tenketsu could give you a sensation no different, if not even better, than that of any physical pleasure spots when…stimulated?”

Genma stared at him, senbon waggling as he chewed furiously.

“One of the perks of dating a Hyuuga,” said the strategist with a smug smirk.

Genma chugged down his sake, grumbling about Nara lazy-asses being lucky bastards.


“Shit!” Neji scowled at the ketchup on the carpet. He was so dead.

Shikamaru peered from the kitchen. “Yeah, burgers do that. You spill everywhere.”

What? “Wait, you’re not mad about this?”

“Why should I? It’s not like we can’t clean it up.”

“It’ll stain.”


“But- but- you were so worked up about those stains the previous occupant left.”

“Of course I was. I had no idea what they were. I don’t care about stains, but I do care about what or where they came from. What germs I could’ve stepped on…”

Neji rubbed his temple in frustration as Shikamaru ranted on. Damn control freak.


“Hinata-sama, who’s this?” Neji pointed at a character in the shojou manga.

“Hm?” White eyes focused on the drawing of a tall and handsome teenager with dark, uneven, shoulder-length hair, cramped between long vertical narrations, imaginary flowers, imaginary sparkles, and ineligible large katakanas that represented imaginary sound effects. “Oh, that’s Sakimura-kun.”

There was a twitch in the corner of one of Neji’s eyes. “Sakimura?”

“He’s the innocent and romantic character in the story,” Hinata elaborated with a dreamy look. “He believes in true love and destiny. He’s shy, but he’s determined to always shower his crush with love and affection, blushing all the while. He gives her roses and presents, takes her to romantic dinners and walks under the moonlight, takes care of her when she’s ill- Anou… Neji-niisan? What’s so funny?”


Knock knock.

The strategist looked up from the maps and papers scattered all over his desk, cornering the small bottle of sake and ashtray. Why Shikamaru drank sake when he worked in the middle of the day was a mystery but hey, whatever works, right?

“Yeah?” he hollered.

“It’s me,” Raidou hollered back.

“Come in,” Shikamaru hollered again, finding getting up and walking across his living room to open the front door to be too troublesome. “It’s not locked.”

Raidou did so and spent a few moments walking around the apartment before finally finding the occupant in the second bedroom, which he knew was turned in to a small office and library when said occupant had moved in.

“Hey man,” greeted the tall bodyguard as he entered the room. “You got a minute?”

“Sure,” answered the tactician. “What’s up?”

“Well, ah, if you don’t mind me asking, uh, what did you give Genma last night?”

“Just oil,” said the younger man, picking up his half-way burning cigarette from the ashtray. “My clan’s lab developed it for sexual intercourse.”

“Oh, I see,” Raidou responded absentmindedly.

“Did something happen?” Shikamaru asked warily. “It’s fully organic and tested for all allergenic properties. Much safer than whatever lube you guys use and happened to run out of last night, so there shouldn’t have been any-”

“No, no, nothing bad happened.”

“Hn? So what is it?”

“Was it- was it also designed to ah, how do I put it? Give a more… pleasurable experience to um, the receiving party?”

The young Nara let out a slow, lecherous smirk. “You like?”

“Are you kidding?!” Raidou burst. “Where can I get more of that?!”


“You’re so lame, you know that?” Kiba grumbled, a stick in one hand. “Just because you’ve grown all big and tough doesn’t mean you shouldn’t play fetch anymore.”

Naruto laughed when Akamaru just looked away from his agitated master, comfortably lying on the ground while acting as a pillow for Shikamaru.

“Maybe you should offer food as a reward,” Chouji suggested. “Always works for me.”

Kiba just growled while Neji snorted. “Of course it does.”

Shikamaru opened one eye just in time to see Iruka stroll by, a grocery bag dangling from one hand. The lazy jounin stood up and walked to Kiba. “Akamaru’s not the only one you can play fetch with.”

“Huh?” Kiba grunted blankly as Shikamaru took the stick from his hand. The others watched him with outward interest.

“Here, I’ll show you,” the strategist said as he handled the stick. “Fetch!”

The stick flew firmly, though not with too much speed, straight in to an unknowing Iruka, and smacked him lightly on the…ass. The young shinobis present went from amazed to twitching to outright rolling on the ground laughing as nin-dogs materialized with a cloud of smoke in a flurry and attacked the pitiful stick, mangling it to bits and pieces without mercy. And there was no indication of them stopping anytime soon.

Iruka covered his eyes with one hand and groaned in embarrassment. Shikamaru’s ‘signal’ to fetch was loud enough to attract the attention of passersby, and while some kept walking with their hands covering their mouths to suppress their laughter as the scene unfolded, others were immoral enough to actually stop, stare and guffaw, in that order. He was going to kill Kakashi for setting that trap again. But he would take care of that later. As for now…

“Shikamaru!” the sensei roared. Unfortunately, the man in question was still too busy laughing and wiping his tears, one hand on the equally-chortling-Kiba’s shoulder as they supported each other. Roar unnoticed, Iruka turned his attention to another shinobi, one who had the power to make the strategist pay.

“Neji,” Iruka growled menacingly with a low voice. Not having built an immunity to the Wrath of Iruka-Sensei during childhood like the other four ninjas, the young Hyuuga promptly sobered up. “You will punish Shikamaru by denying him… fulfillment of a certain physical need for the next week or two, won’t you?”

Neji gulped as Naruto and Kiba froze at the implication. Chouji laughed even harder, chips flying out of the bag in his hand. Shikamaru paled.


“Hey, there he is. Shikamaru! Wait up!”

Shikamaru stopped and turned around to see Ten Ten trotting towards him, dragging a reluctant Hinata behind her. He greeted them in his usual lazy tone, “Yeah?”

Ten Ten was giggling. “Hinata here needs to ask you something.”

The strategist looked at the smaller kunoichi expectantly, waiting patiently while Hinata put her index fingers together and fidgeted. Ten Ten ran out of patience first and decided to take charge. “She asked me earlier who Neji’s girlfriend is, but I don’t know, and since you guys are pretty close I figured you'd know.”

“Girlfriend?” Shikamaru repeated with a raised eyebrow.

“W-well, you see, N-neji-niisan seems…um…different lately. He d-doesn’t brood…as much. He- he also converse…a little…instead of just answering with one or two obligatory words. So…uh…”

“So she thought Neji must have found lo~ve,” Ten Ten continued for her with a laugh, obviously finding Hinata’s romanticism ridiculous if not borderline delusional. “I just told her she’s been reading shojou manga too much.”

“B-but Ten Ten, I’m sure there’s a- a reason…um…”

“Oh, please.” The older kunoichi rolled her eyes. “So, Shikamaru, do you know who it is? Does he even have a girlfriend?”

Shikamaru snorted. “Nah, he doesn’t have a girlfriend.”


“Hi, Neji.”

“Hello, Ino.”

“Going to Shikamaru’s?”

“Yes. Are you going to see Yamato-san?”

“Uh-huh. By the way, how’s your throat? Sore much?”

“It’s perfectly fine, thank you. It’s been weeks, after all.”

“Good. How’s your ass? Sore much?”

Neji walked in to a lamppost.


“Hiashi-san, to what do I owe the honor of being invited to this lively tea house this joyful and lovely day?”

“Ah, hello, Gai-sensei. Please, sit down. I have a favor to ask of you.”

“Of course, Hiashi-san. By all means, I will help you in anything at all for is it not our duty as Konoha shinobis to help each other in times of need?” Nice guy pose. “Now, what is it that ails you so?”

“Well, actually it’s about my nephew.”

“Then this is grave indeed! What could have befallen my beloved student?! And to think that he is currently in the peak of joyfulness in his springtime of youth! Oh, woe is-”

“No, nothing has happened to him. I’m just concerned about his…lack of enthusiasm, I guess you can call it, to follow up or even discuss his duty to lengthen the Hyuuga bloodline. Neji is of age to marry, and it just so happens that one of his distant cousins is also of age.”


“Yes, I can’t seem to approach him at all about this. I was hoping you could help me talk to him. He respects you very much, so I’m sure he will listen to you- hm? Gai-sensei? Gai-sensei? Huh, that’s odd. He just suddenly disappeared. Oh, well.”



“Too far.”

Neji tumbled in to the couch, Shikamaru on top of him, both panting and practically ripping each other’s clothes off, and FLASH!

Both young jounin jumped and looked at the door to find… Mitarashi Anko. With a camera. What the hell?

“Oh, come o~n! Don’t stop. You’re not even naked yet. You guys look so good together. You’re replacing Kakashi and Iruka on the spot of honor in my yaoi photo album. Go on. Just pretend I’m not even here.”


When Yamato asked how Shikamaru’s couch got stuck in his doorway with a ranting kunoichi and his broken door under it, the renowned strategist merely said that apparently, couches can fly when placed in the vicinity of an angry Hyuuga, and that he would fix Yamato’s door first thing in the morning.


“Hey, kid.”

“Oh, hello, Pakkun. I take it he’s not back yet?”


“Hm. Well, his mission doesn’t even exist, much less scheduled. We can only wait.”

“Yeah. Hey, you don’t happen to know where he keeps the dog food, do ya?”

“Uh, sure. I’ll get it for you.”

“Great. Oh, and some milk would also be great, thanks.”

Neji went in to the kitchen, grumbling about paranoid older jounins and annoying pets.




“Another game?”


Silence as the pieces were set and a new round of Shougi began.



“You’re having a relationship with Hyuuga Neji.”

“Aa. How did you know?”

“A bug told me.”


The door was slammed open by an excited Aoba. “Hey, Shikamaru! You wouldn’t believe what just happened at Ebisu’s place upstairs! Man, what a mess! Anko actually barged in there and… Oh… Hey, Neji.”

Twin glare.

”Well, uh… I’ll just, um, be going then.” Aoba cautiously walked out. “Bye!”

Neji groaned in frustration as the door slammed shut again. “Why were we on your couch instead of your bed again?”

“Because I couldn’t wait to ravish you and the couch was closer?”

“Of course,” Neji growled. “However, seeing as your neighbors turned out to be barbarians not yet introduced to the concept of knocking, we are not going to do anything on the couch. Ever. Again.”

Shikamaru was seriously thinking about the slowest, most painful ways to kill said neighbors.



“Yes, Hinata-sama?”

“I- I just want to apologize.”

“Hn? What for?”

“Um, well, I know I shouldn't have pried, b- but you were different lately and I was so sure that you have a girlfriend.”


“I- I’m sorry, Neji-niisan. B- but I got so curious that I asked Ten Ten if it was her. She- she said it isn’t her and she doesn’t know anything about your girlfriend so we- we asked Shikamaru-kun.”

“Hinata-sama, calm down. I'm not angry, just confused, that’s all. So what did Shikamaru say?”

“Oh, well, he just said that you don’t have a girlfriend.”

“And that is very true, Hinata-sama. I don’t have a girlfriend.”

“Yes, I know. I’m really sorry for prying Neji-niisan, and if you do have someone, please know that I’m happy from you and that your secret is safe with me.”

“You don’t need to apologize, Hinata-sama. I know you mean well, and I thank you for your kind words. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some business to take care of.”

“Of course. Good day, Neji-niisan.”

“Good day, Hinata-sama.”

“Oh, wait, Neji-niisan!”


“Does Shikamaru-kun really look like that Sakimura character when his hair was down?”

Neji tripped on his own leg.


“Shikamaru. It’s good to see you.”


“You know, I can’t help but notice how often you visit us here in the lab these days.”

“I have my reasons.”

“Are you sure it’s ‘reasons’ as in plural? From what I’ve seen in the manifest, the only stuff you’ve been taking is that oil, if you catch my drift.”

“Stop waggling your eyebrows at me like that, you old pervert. You only do that with fellow perverts, and I’m not one. Besides, I’m here to restock on kunai.”

“Ah, yes. The ones made from a special metal that absorbs chakra. That was a great jutsu you created, the Kagemane Shuriken, simple yet useful. I can’t believe no one ever thought of it before.”

“Hn. Do we still have them in stock?”

“Yep, got some packed right here.”

“Great, I’ll take that. Thanks, Ojiisan.”

“I’ve also packed more vials of that oil, you know, incase a fellow pervert shows up. Not you, of course. You’re only here for kunai-”

“I’ll take that too.”


Afternoon sunlight glinted at a kunai as it whizzed through the opened window, ripping the closed curtain and pierced Shikamaru’s bedroom wall.

“What the-?” Neji jumped from the bed in alert. Shikamaru just padded casually towards the embedded kunai.

“Hn,” the strategist grunted as he read the attached message.

“What is it?” Neji wrapped a blanket around his waist. “ANBU mission?”

“No,” Shikamaru said, pulling the kunai off the wall. “Your uncle’s on his way here.”

White eyes practically jumped out of their sockets. “What?!”

“You better put your clothes on.”

“Wait, wait. How did you-? Who threw that kunai? What-?”

“This is a warning system I’ve established to avoid the worst case scenario. The kunai has an Aburame symbol on it so the one who just saved our asses is Shino, who probably got the heads up from Hinata. Now go get dressed.”

“Shit,” Neji swore as he gathered his clothes from the floor. “Why’s he coming here? You don’t think he found out about us, do you?”

“No, the message didn’t say red alert so I think it’s something else.”

“Like what?”

“Like him asking me to talk you in to marrying your cousin.”


“Well, that’s the most logical explanation. He tried that with your sensei, and failed, if what Gai vowed to me with tears in his eyes the other day were true. His next best bet is your best friend.”

“Wait, he talked to Gai-sensei?”

“Yeah. Invited the man to a teahouse. Gai escaped and gave me a long speech about him never standing in the way of true love in the springtime of youth, yadda, yadda, yadda.”

“Damn it,” Neji growled while getting his hair in order, already fully dressed. “I better get out of here.”

“You’re not going anywhere.”

“What do you mean? He’s going to be here any minute now.”

“Exactly, and I’d rather he caught you playing shougi with me in the living room than jumping out the window. The fact that you visit my apartment so often is common knowledge anyway.”

“Good idea,” Neji chuckled. “I knew dating Konoha’s War Leader has its benefits.”

“Shut up and go set up the board. I’ll go get our drinks.”


“You know, Neji, I’ve been wondering about this one thing.”

Neji looked up from his ramen to Iruka. “What is it?”

“How does Shikamaru look with his hair down?”

“Hmm…probably no different than how Kakashi-san looks with his mask off.”

Iruka chuckled. “Point taken. Sorry I asked.”


“So, as you can see, should the enemy find a way to bring trebuchets or undeployed cannons up the hill, this western wall would be-”

Tsunade pointed at the map. “You mean up this area on the hill that you’ve marked?”

“Aa. Now, as I was saying- Wait, what mark?”

“This white one- Wait, why is it… crusty?”

“Hn,” Shikamaru inhaled from his cigarette nervously. “It’s ah- I think Neji marked that.”

Tsunade blinked. And blinked.

Finally it clicked. “Ew! EW! Shizune! Go get a new map! And here! Take this with you and burn it!”


“This,” Neji stammered around a mouthful. “This is impossible.”

“What are you talking about?” Shikamaru asked as he picked up some vegetables with his chopsticks.

“They…” the young Hyuuga paused as he took in the unbelievable revelation. “They taste good! Really good.”

Shikamaru was puzzled. “Uh…yeah, so?”

“You… can cook! You- you eat ration bars! You’re not supposed to be able to cook!”

“What are you saying? Cooking is just a matter of quotient.”


“Of course. The right amount of A added to a certain amount of B, according to the effects given out by each element. There are also elements C, D, E and so on, yes, but it’s still only about quantity and proportion. Sure, there’s still a matter of condition which, in this case, is the right concentration of heat or time needed, but it’s still no different than all those times I worked in my clan’s lab.”

“Right,” Neji sighed. “I should’ve known.”


Hyuuga Hiashi was walking down the road, minding his own business and naturally oozing a don’t-even-look-at-me-because-I’m-noble-and-therefore-superior-than-you aura.

“Hey, Kotetsu. Have you seen Shikamaru around? I’ve checked his apartment but he wasn’t there.”

“Oh, hi Izumo. No, I haven’t seen him. Have you asked Neji?”

“Yeah, but Shikamaru’s not with him and he doesn’t know either. Isn’t that strange?”

“No, why should it be? Just because they’re lovers doesn’t mean they automatically know each other’s whereabouts all the time.”

Hyuuga Hiashi tripped on his own leg and banged his head on a lamppost.




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