---Perhaps a Mystery, Not yet a Feeling---

Disclaimer: I own nothing.

Warnings: Not edited, I only went over it once…nothing else, I guess.

Yeah…don't expect much out of this…I've been under so much stress lately, and no, I'm not trying to avoid updating 'Road to an Eternity of Wars' …This is more of a release to my stress, since I have a piano exam later on today… at 3pm. I need to relax, if only for a brief moment, so I just started writing…

They're older now, not their younger teens, and they're really OOC.

This is dedicated to KuraKitsune, because it's her birthday today! Happy Birthday to you! Sorry I didn't do a YYHIY crossover… I couldn't find the right mood for that…

Shikamaru was very observant.

He would watch the citizens of Konoha everyday as one of his pastimes when the clouds weren't up in the sky, and would assume their thoughts or personalities by the way they moved and interacted with others.

It was surprising what he would find.

Sometimes, the happy, smiling Sakura would only be a façade of her feelings. The slightly hesitant hover over a book before she picked it up at a stall and the frown she diverted to the ground afterwards concluded that she was troubled, most likely by Sasuke, Shikamaru figured.

One, who would normally notice things to avoid acting foolish, seemed too deep in thought to notice. Shino had seemed normal and unsatisfying to Shikamaru at the time, but the Nara caught the Aburame's nearly non-existent jerk when he came within a meter of a tree, swiveling around and continuing along as if nothing had happened.

Shikamaru wondered why the bug-user was so distracted.

Naruto's confident stride would usually mean he was headed out to the training grounds, and if he used his chakra to get there faster, then you would have to expect a new jutsu to be tried out when he got to the deep foliage. If he stopped at the Ichiraku halfway there, then he was waiting for that legendary sannin to come.

Oh yes, Shikamaru was lazy, but it didn't mean he wasn't smart. He was just very laid-back and easy going. It wasn't as if he was stalking the poor villagers anyways; that was too troublesome.

As observant as he was, there were some mysteries that he had no answers to.

Like, why his dad stuck to his mom, even though, in his point of view, his mom was always harassing his dad, and the man would just shrug it off.

What was the point of that? Why did they stay together, even with their daily quarrels?

Shikamaru sighed, slightly irritated.

And…there was also that lady that lived a few houses past his. She was slightly younger than him, Shikamaru could tell, and had black hair with deep brown eyes.

He had caught snippets of her conversations, so judging by those sources, her name was Kagome. Either way, he already knew her name in the first place.

Kagome walked with a confidence deep inside of her, and her eyes never failed to match up with her smile and spread it throughout the neighborhood. It was infectious, but Shikamaru couldn't understand why.

He felt drawn to her, ever since that time when she had visited their house with a basket of cookies, smiling at the Nara family and introducing herself to them, explaining that she was a new neighbor.

At the time, he had just looked up and yawned, but Kagome glanced his way and waved, turning around to leave, and he couldn't help but stare. Now they knew each other. So what?

Maybe the overall mystery was not Kagome herself, but woman?

He would ask at least Chouji, but his house was quite far away from where he was at the moment.

Too distracted and in deep though, Shikamaru unexpectedly walked right into a lamp post, tumbling to the ground, and sitting there, dazed.

A small, muffled laughter was heard to his left, causing him to turn his head in the direction of the noise. He scowled at his carelessness, and just got up.

"I'm sorry…I'm so sorry, but…I…can't stop laughing!" Kagome stood there, hands covering her mouth as she tried not to be rude.

Shikamaru's slight scowl still held, but softened as he approached her, "What was so funny about that?"

Kagome took a few breaths calming down, "You were looking straight at the pole, and just continued walking as if you would walk through it! And even when you made contact with it, you didn't even register that fact until a second later!"

The Nara brushed the dirt off his clothes, "I guess I was just thinking too hard"

"That sure explains it"

The two just stood there, silent for a few moments before Kagome suggested, "Want to have lunch at my house? It's just across the street…think of it as a apology for my rudeness"

Shikamaru stuck his hands into his pockets and shrugged, "Whatever"

She didn't seem troubled at all…Her smile didn't have any fault to it, and her posture was straight…

He felt calm and collected around her, and so Shikamaru unconsciously took a step closer, feeling more comfort by her side.

"Are you feeling well? You've been staring off into space for quite a while now…"

Shikamaru seemed to snap back into reality quickly, stretching his muscles, "Tch, I'm fine"

Kagome rolled her eyes, "I was just wondering"

Was there are bond here? Any connection between them that made him feel this way?

She was an enigma, no doubt, and for a moment, Shikamaru contemplated the feeling, wondering if this was how his father felt.

"Shi-ka-ma-ru…" Kagome drew out his name and tried to capture his attention, beginning to walk on her toes to reach up and mess up the hair on top of his head.

He found himself sharply snapping back into reality yet again, waving his arms around to swat her hands away from his head, "Thanks a lot…"

She pouted, "Well, you zoned out again…is this how you always are?"

"Yes Kagome, this is how I am…and-" His eyes roamed up to her pouting face, stopping him in the middle of his sentence, "Never mind"

"What…? Okay… Anyways, we're here!"

Shikamaru slipped off his shoes and stepped into a whole new environment. Being a very observant person, his eyes wandered into every nook and cranny, from the paints on the walls to the extremely unique ceiling light with what looked like a wooden Fuuma Shuriken attached to it.

Sensing his curiosity, Kagome followed his gaze, "That's a ceiling fan. You turn it on and it circulates cool air around the room"

He nodded as if he knew exactly what she was saying.

"Have a seat, I made some sandwiches earlier; I'll get them out of the fridge"

As soon as they were finally seated, Shikamaru questioned, "What is the style of this house? I've never seen anything like it"

Kagome smiled, "It's what I know as 'modern style'. I don't think you know it, but when I was traveling, I discovered it at a non-traditional feudal lord's home, and decided to make a replica of it"

Shikamaru nodded in interest, "It's quite nice"

She took a sip of her drink, and set it on the table.

Was she now nervous? Excited? No…Kagome seemed calm enough to Shikamaru. What was she feeling? Thinking?

It frustrated Shikamaru that he could read everybody but her. This one enigma that he so wanted to figure out, because he didn't why he reacted to her a certain way, and…so many questions circulated throughout his head.

"…This feeling?" Shikamaru accidentally blurted out, while in deep thought.

"Pardon? Are you sure you're feeling okay, Shikamaru?"

"Oh yeah, yeah…I'm fine" He nodded distractedly.

Kagome shot him a pointed look, "Yeah, You're sure fine, you're putting a cookie in your sandwich and eating your lettuce separately. That's so normal" Her sarcastic voice caught his attention.

"What?" A look down at his hands made him abruptly place his lunch onto the table, wiping his mouth. Shikamaru's face flushed a little.

Why…if Ino and Chouji saw him now…they'd be laughing their heads off and mocking him!


"You know, don't you, Shikamaru? Don't be ridiculous, of course you don't know. I like Sasuke-kun. I know I love him, because I feel safe around him, and he gives me this indescribable feeling, even if he doesn't mean to…and I can't let Sakura have him first!"

…Did this mean that he loved Kagome? He didn't know this feeling, and thus, he didn't know how to react to it.

He faced Kagome, giving her a slightly strange look, "Kagome…what would…what would you say if I told you I loved you?"

There was utter silence inside the house and Kagome's eyes widened. In her deep brown eyes, an unrecognizable emotion flickered across for a brief moment.

Thinking that he had hurt her in some way, Shikamaru attempted to cover up what he had just said, "I…I mean…I don't really…but…I was just wondering…"

Her head shot up and her eyes locked with his. Kagome whispered, if almost hopefully, "…Do you really?"

Shikamaru bowed his head down, "I can't explain it, but I think I love you…"

A serene smile spread across her face, "…I think I love you too. Ever since I saw you…"

Yes, Shikamaru was very observant.

So, of course, he was the first to notice the signs, several years later after their marriage…signs that showed a child was in the making…

After all, Nara Shikamaru is a mastermind.

Yes, nonsensical ending and story overall…I tried to tie it altogether in the end, but I think I failed…

…Now it's back to my stressful life again. (Sigh) Wish me luck on my exams!

Read and review onegai!