They were both young, they were both genin, and they were both bored senseless.

Which led to cloud-gazing as it so often did.

"I swear on all that's ramen that that cloud right there looks like a freaking duck, man."

"And I'm telling you it doesn't."

"Just because you can't see what I can doesn't make it not there."

"Right. It makes you blind."

"What? It makes you blind!"

"You're seeing animals in the clouds and you accuse me of being blind? Troublesome thinking leads to troublesome people, glad to see that holds true."

"Alright, alright then! Whatta you see, you lazy bastard?"

The clouds continued to lazily float by as perhaps the laziest of ninja stared up at them, his eyes half-focused yet able to perceive with absolute clarity the scene being painted before him.

"I see… my life being played out from troublesome beginning to satisfactory end. I won't be rich, I won't be poor, but somewhere in-between. I won't be the most famous ninja there ever was but my efforts will cause me to be remembered by the people that matter most. I'll take calculated steps rather than frantic strides. I can see that I'm not done growing but I'll pause at every spurt long enough to appreciate what I've gained and learn how best to utilize it. I can see my wife, too. She's not like anything I always thought I'd wind up with. She's brash, outspoken, pushy… but pushy for all the right reasons. I can see some of the battles I'll be thrust into, whether purposefully or by proxy, and not only will I overcome them all but the wounds sustained and the lives touched will serve to enrich and broaden my own horizons, opening me up to a much wider world than what I previously knew. And when I die leaning back in some chair with a book over my face, passing in my sleep, my friends will miss me, my wife will curse me for dying in such a lazy fashion, and my children will smile through their tears. What I see… is a pretty troublesome future."

As the shadow of a cloud drifted over Naruto's face, temporarily shading him, he merely blinked.

"Dude. Are you on drugs or something? Level with me, are you? 'Cause if you saw all that from those clouds, I think you might be going crazy."

Shikamaru smirked.

"Like I said, you're blind."