Silent Partnership

Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto…

Clouds are nice. Another day without training is nice. Most of all, being away from Ino, Chouji, and Asuma is something much better than nice. It wasn't that Shikamaru had a problem with them, he just was a believer in isolation. The lazy ninja finally escaped from the responsibilities of Konoha and lay in his usual field. Spread out in the lush grass, he looked up at the sky and the clouds. He always liked to admire the clouds. In his mind, they had everything he wanted. All the clouds had to do was float, not really putting a lot of effort into being something else or becoming something…they just went along the sky. What more could you ask for? However, the clouds aren't important. The future events that soon occur to the laziest ninja in Konoha are. This is how it all began.

Much to Shikamaru's delight though he didn't express it, Asuma had nothing for the group to do. As soon as that was known, he was nowhere to be found. As usual, Shikamaru was laid out in his favorite spot looking up at the clouds for a while then dozing off for a while. It was the most fun he had all day. Awkwardly enough, someone else was soon near Shikamaru's spot. That person, even more out of the ordinary, was Neji.

"Shikamaru? You're my training partner." Neji stated plainly, tossing a packet on Shikamaru's chest.

The lazy ninja picked up the paper and read it. Apparently a lot of the genin didn't have any assignments. Instead of finding assignments for the groups, the Jounins and the advisors felt that they could easily create fake missions to train the younger ninjas and give them experience. Shikamaru's expression changed to a frown. Judging from Neji's expression, he wasn't any happier.

"So basically we have to train together and we have missions to do together?" Shikamaru muttered, looking up at Neji.

"You don't have to do anything. I don't need anyone to train with me. Someone inferior to me wouldn't bring about any improvement in my abilities." Neji replied in all seriousness.

The words didn't really elicit any kind of reaction from Shikamaru. He shrugged slightly then closed his eyes.

"What could be so interesting about some clouds that make you waste time here?" Neji asked a little offended that Shikamaru barely acknowledged his presence.

"Doing anything else is troublesome." He responded back, his eyes still closed.

Neji shook his head and walked off in smooth confident strides towards the village.

Shikamaru looked briefly at Neji as he left. This would definitely prove to be troublesome. He couldn't..not.. train with him after all. If he did that, Asuma would somehow find out and that would be troublesome for him. After a while of just sitting idly in the field, Shikamaru headed back home.

Shikamaru woke up and all the things he had to do, rushed into his head. Just the thought of how much effort he would have to put forth made him cringe. Why did he have to get such an…active partner? All of their training times were already on the paper so Shikamaru got dressed and headed to their designated area.

Neji was standing there seeming to be waiting for Shikamaru to be considered a no-show so he could begin his solo training. They had been assigned to a deserted area in the forest for their training. As soon as Neji was about to start training Shikamaru, in his usual attire, slowly walked toward the young Hyuuga with his hands in his pockets.

No words were exchanged. They both stood a good distance from each other.

Suddenly, Neji's voice broke the silence, "Why did you show up? Your presence is hindering my training. Fighting someone who has no chance of winning is pointless." He said emotionlessly though he meant every word.

Nonetheless, Shikamaru stayed and the training began. What started out as training, became Neji trying to punish Shikamaru and prove that the lazy ninja had no business. Shikamaru played right into Neji's idea of him, taking a few hits and appearing very weak.

"You can barely stand. If I hit any more of your Chakra holes, you will surely lose." Neji gloated, enjoying his impending victory. Just as he was about to go in for the kill, Shikamaru was nowhere to be found. Neji immediately spotted him with his Byukagan. He charged at Shikamaru and was about to end the match when he stopped short. He looked around frantically, "What's going on?" he said, upset over the smirk on Shikamaru's face.

"Shadow bind." Shikamaru muttered nonchalantly. He turned his back to Neji and started to walk away. The bind on the Hyuuga vanished and he was left standing there. Obviously he had just lost to the laziest ninja but Shikamaru didn't have the decency to even end the match. Neji was fuming.

Shikamaru knew that may never happen again that easily since Neji wouldn't underestimate his ability again.

Shikamaru sat at home, doing nothing when he heard a knock.

The ninja went to the door and opened it.

"How did I not see that with my Byakugan?"