A/N: . . . huh. O_- For some reason I was stricken by an irresistible urge to pair these two. Oh, wait, that's right- kinetik710! I blame HER and that doujin she's doing. Four lousy pages and still unfinished and yet, it pleases me so . . . @_@ I love her Shikamaru. And her Neji for some reason gives me blushing uke vibes, which is both fun and strange. XD

So, yes- it is a NejiShika. A NejiShika written NOT because I was forced to write it, but because I felt like writing it. *obligatory pause for shocked gasps from audience* I can't help being seduced into their 'ship. Neji's such a good little soldier for Shikamaru, after all. ^__^

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"Stealing Poetry"

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Neji's hair is loose, and it hangs in Shikamaru's face like a thousand arms reaching down to embrace him.

He's not poetic by nature, but Chouji, oddly enough, becomes so when enamored of someone, and he's been raving about Ino for months now. Shikamaru's own dialogue has started to be infected and elaborate metaphors are becoming another bad habit.

So Neji's hair drapes across Shikamaru's face, a thousand arms, a clinging black spiderweb, an extension of his lust- maybe even of his affection. And Shikamaru stares up at him and waits to be kissed.

"Such focused eye contact . . . means you want me," Neji says with a smirk.

"Do you have to be such a brat?" Shikamaru asks, sighing. "As if you didn't want it too . . ."

"But you want ME," Neji replies with absolute smugness, moving a little further down and brushing his nose against Shikamaru's. His eyes are perfect ivory, the same thick white you find in milk or cream or other things that Shikamaru really doesn't think are all that poetic.

"You are a pain in the ASS." He'd smack the other, but why go to the trouble?

"Is that an offer?" Neji raises an eyebrow and smirks again. Ah, THERE'S the reason to go to the trouble.

Neji catches his hand before it connects, but he needs the other arm to support himself so Shikamaru swings out with the other and-

And Neji is a bastard. Anyone else would have dodged, or switched supporting hands, or just taken the hit like a man. He, however, shoves himself up for a second and catches Shikamaru's hand with the hand that WAS supporting him and then drops right on top of the other. All the air is forced out of Shikamaru's lungs and, suddenly, for once, he isn't just irritated- he's actually angry.

Three seconds later, Neji is pinned facedown on the ground and Shikamaru has his shadow in his jutsu.

"Laaaame," Shikamaru mutters. "You can't do better than that?"

"Apparently not," Neji says dryly as Shikamaru sits them both up to face each other. And Shikamaru looks at his hair, spilled across the other's shirt like ink across paper, like lifeblood from a broken skull, like the very shadows Shikamaru himself manipulates, and reaches out distractedly to touch it. Then he feels Neji's pianoforte fingers against his jaw and breaks the jutsu in shock.

Neji snatches the hand away so quickly that Shikamaru should think his face was on fire. Maybe it is- after all, he can feel such heat rising in his cheeks right now.

Neji is holding the hand he touched Shikamaru with to his chest, looking almost . . . nervous? Is there any reason to be nervous? Shikamaru doesn't know.

For the first time, he wonders if the poetry in his head isn't only because of Chouji and habit after all.

Then Neji touches his face again, and he knows that it's not.

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* ende *

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. : love poetry- written in ink and paint and blood : .