I Was Blind Before I Saw the World Through Your Eyes




For when Shikamaru would marry, he hoped that his wife would be perfectly average. Average looks, average intelligence, average personality. Anything else would simply be too troublesome to deal with.

Shikamaru always knew he would marry eventually. Not because he trusted in his charm or his looks and certainly not because he was a romantic at heart. The answer was a more logical, a more boring one. It was written with black ink on white paper.

Actually, he'd never seen it, but he knew that the Sandaime's and his father's signatures were written under the text that stated that he, Shikamaru Nara, would marry a certain girl. He was never told his fiancé's name.

Shikamaru always knew it would happen since his parents had never kept it secret from him. In some ways, he thought, it was a much better option than suddenly being told by the time he was seventeen. If it had been that way, he probably would've had dreams and expectations for his future which would've been crushed by the sudden revelation that his life had been planned all along.
This way however, Shikamaru always knew what to expect and accepted his future marriage like the fact that he was going to die. It was what it was and there was no way to stop what would happen from happening. Therefore, there was no use in spending energy brooding over it when he didn't have the power to change the outcome anyway.


He was six when he was, as usual, lounging with Choji on the roof of the Akimichi estate; him watching the clouds, the other boy eating a bag of chips.

Shikamaru had always gotten along with Choji. They knew each other for as long as he could remember since their fathers were very close friends and visited each other frequently. Choji was uncomplicated, nice and, unlike many other kids their age, calm and not too troublesome.

From their current resting place they could spot two figures turning around the street corner. Even though they weren't in close distance, it was easy to recognize them as Ino and her father Inoichi by their platinum blonde hair that was fairly rare around Konoha.

Shikamaru groaned. Inoichi probably had something to do and his wife was busy, as well, so he brought Ino to the Akimichis to be taken care of. It wasn't unusual for their parents to entrust their children to each other.

"Great. Get ready for her to talk your ear off." Another groan.

Choji grinned. Shikamaru knew that the boy didn't mind Ino as much. He always believed her heart to be at the right place. It didn't change the fact that she was annoying though.

As the two figures came closer, Ino's nagging voice became gradually louder. She sounded like she was complaining about something, again. Knowing her, she was probably whining about having to spend time with them. After all, she didn't like their company any more than Shikamaru liked hers. They simply weren't compatible, at all.

He closed his eyes, enjoying the vanishing silence while it lasted.

"Ugh, I can't believe I have to spend my time with you guys, again. Rumor's saying Sasuke will be at the playground, but here I am, stuck with you two."

Another point on his wish list for his future wife: Please do not have an obnoxiously high voice.

He'd somehow started to keep track of things like that. Whenever he'd experience annoying behavior, he couldn't help but think about his future wife possibly having the same traits.
Still, he didn't actually want to set any expectations for his fiancé; he didn't want to be disappointed when she'd turn out to be anything but what he could tolerate.
And him tolerating her was the best case scenario. He didn't want to think about the more likely one.

"Isn't Sasuke going to start Academy this year, too?" Choji asked and scrunched his empty bag of chips into a ball.

Great, encourage her even further. Ino started a long speech that they both droned out. By the end of it Choji sighed wistfully.

"I wonder whether Ruka's joining, too." Ruka was the friendly confectioner's daughter whose family had a shop near the Akimichi estate.

"Probably not, her parents are civilians," Shikamaru mused. "If I hadn't been born into the clan I wouldn't be planning on becoming a shinobi either."

Ino grinned cockily. "Feeling cranky 'cause you'll be forced to hang out with us normal kids? Hey, who knows, maybe you'll find the love of your life like I did with Sasuke."

Shikamaru kept his features neutral. "Unlikely," he retorted.

"You mean because of your fiancé?" Choji blurted out.

Shikamaru whipped his head around, his gaze pinning his friend down with fierce anger. The other boy threw his hands over his mouth, as if that would take back the words he had spoken.

"Oh my- Oh God, I'm sorry, I'm sorry!" Choji stammered.

Shikamaru relaxed and let his features slide into their usual nonchalant state. No point in getting upset now. Not only did it require energy, but it also wouldn't change what had already happened. He knew that Choji slipped that piece of information on accident.

"What?" a high-pitched voice screeched. He had almost forgotten about Ino's presence. "You're engaged?"

He suppressed his urge to groan. Great. He shrugged. It only caused Ino to become even more agitated. "What does that mean? Are you engaged, or aren't you?"

He averted her eyes. "Yeah, I am engaged," he admitted quietly while being painfully aware of how awkward that sounded coming from the mouth of a six-year-old boy.

"What? With whom? Since when?" she questioned excitedly.

Shikamaru sighed. Damn. At least he didn't have to – couldn't actually tell that. "No idea. Since I was a baby."

If possible, her eyes seemed to enlarge even further. "What do you mean no idea?"

"She's from another village, okay? I don't know her."

She was quiet then, trying to process what she'd just found out.

"But why?"

Shikamaru shrugged.


The next time he was at the park - not to play with the other hyperactive kids, but to escape his mother and lie on the grass while watching the sky - was probably one week after. He immediately noticed the other children and their parents gazing at him carefully. They, or at least the parents, tried to be subtle about it, but he could sense their eyes on him.

Then, someone finally seemed to gather enough courage to speak up. Shikamaru idly acknowledged that he was an Inuzuka, what was his name? 'Kiba,' he remembered.

"Hey Nara, is it true you've got a girlfriend?" It was so blunt, it was almost funny.

"Kinda," he answered. No point in hiding it now, obviously everyone knew, already. Konoha was a big village, but it was a village nonetheless; most people knew each other. I told you to keep your mouth shut Ino.



The buzz died down quickly. But in the few weeks it lasted, Shikamaru became trashy gossip material for the whole town.

When the whole ordeal came out, everyone was baffled. He didn't believe that all reactions were completely honest. At the very least, the clan heads, the council and other political leaders in the village must've known of the arrangement.
After all, his fiancé came from another village. To assume that his father would organize something like this without giving those people a heads-up was a little naïve

Sure, they were currently at peace, but that didn't mean that anyone trusted each other on any level. Each village had spies in other villages and everyone knew it. It is more than possible that the girl he had to marry was being raised to send information on Konoha to her hometown. After all, she had no reason to be loyal to Konoha; on the contrary, she was probably livid at having her life planned ahead by a couple of strangers.

That would mean that the higher-ups in Konoha consider her important enough to risk this probable threat. Everything pointed to this being a result of political scheming.

But that wasn't why the villagers were so surprised when they heard of Shikamaru's engagement. Arranged marriages were archaic, something that belonged to the past. Only very traditionalist and conservative clans still organized them if they were strictly necessary.

Now the Naras were known as a rather laid back family.
It could only mean that this marriage somehow played a role when considering the bigger picture, the bigger picture being village affairs. In no way concerned this matter only the families involved.

The only explanation that Shikamaru could think of was that, for some reason, Konoha wanted to get this girl to come and stay in Konoha. Marrying her off to the clan heir whose family wasn't only influential but also deeply loyal to the village was a perfect way of assuring that.


Shikamaru was intrigued, already.


He was twelve years old when he finally graduated from Academy. However, he knew that his graduation didn't mean that he had become an actual Genin, yet. After all, it didn't take a genius to recognize that most of the students who had supposedly 'graduated' returned to the Academy some days later and stayed there till the next graduation exams.

That was why he waited until he was assigned to a team and met his new teacher. When they had finally passed Asuma-sensei's test, too, he decided to make his move.

When he entered the compound he saw his father sitting on the timber floor board of their terrace playing Shogi with himself. Shikamaru walked over and sat down cross-legged at the other side of the board. After contemplating for some time, he finally moved the stone on his side of the board and met his father's eyes.

Shikamaru had always respected him. Not only because of his intelligence that the man was renowned for, but also because of the decisions he made as the head of their clan and as a father. It must be hard, holding all of these positions and titles. Shikaku, however, had always kept a level head and made smart moves.

Shikamaru was thankful that his father had never pressured him by reminding him of his duties as the future clan head. The man had not even spoken to him about Shikamaru holding back at the Academy and keeping his grades intentionally low, although the young Nara knew that his father knew what game his son was playing.

In return, Shikamaru had tried to be a good son. Sure, he was lazy and nonchalant, but he knew that his father didn't care whether people thought he was dumb as long as he wasn't. The Naras weren't a flashy family. No dramatic back story, no kekkei genkais. The only trait that each member of their family possessed was their cleverness.

But it was good the way it was. He'd rather not be known in the whole country for his abilities. The less his enemies knew about him, the better. He didn't want to gloat, he wanted to survive.

He knew that his father felt the same way. As long as his son was actually able to defend himself in a fight, Shikaku didn't care whether his son put up an act and pretended to be a good-for-nothing slacker.

Shikamaru knew that he was living up to his father's standards. Not once had he whined, rebelled or acted childishly and accepted even the arranged marriage without protest. Never had he been a particularly difficult child to handle.
Today he wanted to reap some fruits of the seeds of his endurance.

"So?" Shikaku finally broke the long silence.

"I passed." Subtle pride shone in his father's features as he smiled gently.



His father finally made his move on the Shogi board.

"Time has passed quickly," the man noted in a rarely melancholic tone.

Shikamaru nodded. "I'm twelve already. Only five more years."

His father's head shot up, his face mirroring the surprise he felt. It was the first time for Shikamaru to actively bring that topic up. His father was still gazing at him, silently asking what his son's intentions were. Finally, Shikamaru moved his own player on the board and looked up to meet his father's gaze.

"I think I deserve to know."

Shikaku sighed, as if having hoped to evade this conversation.

"You know that it's a secret and even if I wanted to tell you all about it, I'm not allowed to."

"I won't speak to anyone about it," Shikamaru countered.

"I don't know son." His father sighed again. "It didn't take long for the news of your engagement to spread around town and I was the target of questioning glances for quite some time." There. That word was out: Engagement. Shikamaru hated it.

"I couldn't control your best friend's son blurting it out, only so that your other best friend's daughter could spread the news, although I told her to keep it secret."

His father cocked a brow, visibly holding himself back from commenting on how much of a smartass his son was being. Another sigh, another move on the Shogi board.

"I cannot tell you everything, not even much. But that what I can tell you, you mustn't tell anyone, not even your mother. I trust you, Shikamaru."

The younger Nara nodded, feeling responsibility laying itself on his shoulders. "I promise." After contemplating for some time, Shikamaru moved another stone.


He had to know. Why did someone even arrange a marriage? What was the reason behind all of this?
His father carefully gazed at the board, seemingly thinking about his next move. But Shikamaru knew that the older man thought about how to word his answer so that he'd avoid lying while not giving too much information away. Finally, he took a breath and spoke up.

"Her parents were from Konoha. They used to be very important and strong shinobi." Interesting. So the girl he always thought to be a foreigner actually had her roots in Konoha? "However, the night the Kyuubi attacked, they passed away. After that, there was a big discussion as to what should happen to their daughter. She had become an orphan and she didn't have any other relatives in Konoha."

He immediately sensed that something was off. Why was there a big discussion as to what should happen to a random orphan? Many children had lost their parents that day; his fiancé was only one of many. What made her special?

"We knew she had distant relatives in Uzu and the Sandaime believed that it would be the best for her to grow up with them. However, the council was against sending her away. They wanted for her to become a Konoha-shinobi."

His father sighed again, as if only thinking about those discussions exhausted him. "So we compromised. The council would agree on sending her away, if she was going to return and become a Konoha citizen."

Shikamaru understood. "So marrying her to a Konoha citizen is only a means to tie her to the village?"

His father nodded. "Yes, that was how the idea of the marriage came up. As the council wanted her to become a kunoichi, they wanted her future husband to be of a ninja clan. For the happiness of both husband and wife, the Sandaime wanted the boy to be around the same age as the girl."

So at least she was his age. He saved the additional piece of information for later evaluation.

"With these criteria, the number of candidates had shrunk to a handful. Understandably though, everyone was reluctant about arranging the future of their children. The Inuzukas, for example, backed out immediately. Then the Hokage came to me in private and asked for you to carry the burden of this messy situation. And I relented."

It made sense. The Naras were an influential clan and deeply loyal to Konoha and the Hokage. They constantly made decisions that were beneficial for many people and not solely for them. Considering the prerequisites, he was the best choice for this affair. He couldn't see his peers taking an arranged marriage as good as he was.

But there was one question that wouldn't leave his mind: Why did the council want to tie her to the village?

His father had mentioned that her parents were talented shinobi, not that that meant anything. Although genetics played a role, they didn't determine anything after all. Just because her parents were good shinobi, didn't mean that she would become one, as well.

Unless, she had something like a kekkei genkai. If that was the case, if her kekkei genkai, or whatever made her desirable as a ninja, was some extinct trait, it would make sense for the council to try and get her into the village.

But if she was that important, then why even go through all the trouble of sending her away? Shikamaru knew that politics didn't care about a single girl's happiness when her misery served the benefit of Konoha.

He knew that his father wouldn't answer these questions, though. The information Shikamaru had received had been worded deliberately vague. His suspicions were confirmed.

"That's all I can let you know. Even what I've just told you is a secret that I shouldn't have talked about."

Shikamaru looked him in the eyes. What he was going to ask his father was a needless question, one that didn't hold any meaning; there was no use in knowing the answer, yet he couldn't help but wanting to know, anyway.

"What's her name?"

Shikaku frowned slightly, his voice became reluctant. "Shikamaru-"

"At the very least, I'd like to know the first name of the girl who's going to be my wife in less than five years." His voice was unusually bitter, his words harsh.

He felt a little bad about guilt-tripping his father in order to gain information. Obviously the man hadn't agreed to this whole arrangement lightheartedly. But hey, no one even asked about his opinion and he'll be the one getting married.

Shikaku sighed. "Naruto."

Naruto. Suddenly the whole situation seemed too real. Before, his future wife had just been an unknown person, a vague concept; his wedding ages away. But only the presence of a name suddenly gave the anonymous girl an identity and made him realize with full force I am going to marry Naruto in less than five years.
He kept silent for a while after that, gazed at the shogi board, but didn't really see anything.

"Shikamaru, help me with the bags!" His mother was standing in front of the gates, two big shopping bags in each of her hands.

He looked at the board again and then at his father.

"I guess we'll finish that another time."


A/N: Thanks for reading :)

For anyone who's interested, I want to give an outlook into how this project will continue to develop:
Although this is taking place in the Naruto universe I don't plan on including some canon storylines (Madara, Obito, Akatsuki etc.) into my story. I just see no need in rehashing what has already been dealt with. The characters in my story will face hardships, but I'll mainly focus on the romance.

Please leave a comment; I need all the motivation I can get!


RE-EDIT: 19th November 2016
- Clearing up some grammar mistakes and anything that made me cringe in retrospect. God bless you all for reading and supporting this chapter back when it was a mess lmao.