Title: Troublesome Truth
Fandom:
Naruto
Character(s): Tenten and Shikamaru
Dedicaded to: lazynin and sasukekun'sgirl16
Disclaimer: The usual stuff I say about not owning Naruto.

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"I guess I won," Tenten declared as she pulled out and opened the first-aid kit.

She was sitting under the shade of a tree located on Team 14's training grounds. One hand was pressed firmly against her newly made wound as the other fumbled through the contents of the container. Standing just a few feet away was Shikamaru, leaning against the trunk of that same tree the older girl was sitting under. He watched the clouds overhead float across the sky, dimming the sun's rays for brief moments before turning his attention back to his injured companion.

"You may have won, but at least I came out of it without a scratch," he commented, eyeing the kunoichi bleeding arm.

"You got in a lucky shot, that's all," she stated defensively, "No need to get cocky over it."

"Who's getting cocky?" the young Nara countered, "I was just stating a fact."

Tenten spared a glance towards the lazy genius as he slipped his hands into his pockets before turning her attention back to the first-aid kit. With the same hand she had been using to cover her would, the weapon master reached out to grab the roll of bandages with her bloody fingers. It was only when she started unwrapping the sterile cloth from its bindings that Tenten began to realize how difficult the task would be. Watching her carefully the entire time, Shikamaru let out a tired sigh and took a step towards her.

"Here, let me see," he ordered softly.

Quickly grabbing the roll of bandages from Tenten's grasp, the younger shinobi sat down and started wrapping her arm before she had a chance to protest against the idea. Finding that she had little choice in the matter, the older girl simply sighed and patiently waited for him to finish. Finally taking notice of the drying blood that coated her fingers she casually wiped them on the fabric of her pants, uncaring of the fact that it left a red streak.

"There," Shikamaru announced, "Good as new."

"Thanks," Tenten said appreciatively, taking a moment to examine his work, "You know, you're pretty good at that."

"You get a lot of practice when you have someone like Ino complaining about scarring every time she gets a cut," the Nara explained. Then mumbling to himself, he added, "She's troublesome that way, among others."

The conversation ended there was both turned their heads to the sudden sound of more battling in the distance. Occasionally, they would see bits of dirt fly up and flashes of chakra, soon followed by shouts indicating whether the attack hit or missed its target.

"Well, I guess Shino and Kakashi are still at it," Tenten commented, "How much longer do you think they'll be?"

"If I know those tow, it's going to be a while," Shikamaru replied lazily, "Might as well take a break now until they're done."

Without another word the young Nara stretched out on the cool grass, using his hands as a pillow. Tenten watched him quietly as the shinobi made himself comfortable, a little in awe at how easily he was able to relax despite all the noise being made in the background. But as a gentle breeze caressed her sweat-covered brow, she glanced up at the sunny skies and began to understand.

"Well, it is a nice day for it," the kunoichi admitted.

"You know you're welcome to join me if you want," the shadow user stated nonchalantly, "It doesn't matter to me either way."

"Hm," Tenten snorted with amusement, "I'll take that as an invitation."

Quietly, the kunoichi turned around so that she had her back to the dark-haired shinobi. Without any warning, she leaned back and laid down so that her head rested comfortably on the Nara's stomach. A little startled by the sudden invasion of his personal space, Shikamaru glanced down at her with a mixture of both curiosity and annoyance.

"And what exactly are you doing?" he asked, raising a thin brown at her actions.

"Watching the clouds," the older girl replied casually, sparing him a glance before turning her gaze back to the sky, "What does it look like?"

"Whatever," the genius mumbled quietly, "It's too troublesome to move you."

"I had a feeling you'd say something like that," Tenten stated with a chuckle.

Letting out a defeated sigh and rolling his eyes at her, the shadow user settled back down on the cool grass. But though he blamed his laziness for making no attempts to move her, the proclaimed genius couldn't deny that there was a small part of him that enjoyed the warmth she brought. So it was with that in mind Shikamaru returned to his peaceful rest, the sounds of battle faded into the background.

Though it broke through the quite atmosphere, Tenten wasn't very bothered by the noise as she indulged in the rare moment of leisure. The slow rise and fall of her companion's stomach with every breath he took did well to soothe the kunoichi into a calm state of mind as the stress of her busy shinobi life floated away with the passing clouds.

"Hey look," Tenten called out softly with a laugh, "That one kind of looks like our head."

Shikamaru opened a careful eye to look down at her with mild irrigation for disturbing his rest. The laid-back shinobi had just gotten comfortable, finally adjusting to the small weight on his stomach and settling into his nap. But quickly deciding that it would be too much work to get mad at her, the Nara simply shifted his head upward to scan the skies for the indicated cloud.

"You mean the one that looks like a pineapple?" he corrected, raising a brow with inquiry.

"Exactly!" the weapon-goddess exclaimed.

With a soft growl, he turned away from the offending cloud to the filed they were currently occupying. Spread out all around them were the tell-tale signs of their last sparring session. Shikamaru smirked at the fact that neither one of them cared about the thousand and some odd number of sharp weapons surrounding their tranquil forms. Then again, what could he expect from a kunoichi that specialized in weapons and a genius who was too lazy to care?

"Hm," the young shinobi snorted as he reached out and plucked a nearby shuriken from where it was embedded in the ground, "If I actually cared, I might've reacted to that comment."

"That's why I said it," the older girl stated truthfully, turning her head briefly to look at him, "Because you don't care."

Turning back towards the clouds above, Tenten took note of the Nara's pause as if he were taking her statement into consideration. Smirking at his expense, the kunoichi felt rather than saw Shikamaru shrug his indifference to the thought.

"Good point," he commented nonchalantly while running his thumb along the sharp edge of the shuriken.

Tenten simply shook her head and scoffed at his dismissive behavior, amused by his casual attitude as opposed to Neji's usually serious disposition. After years of training with Team Gai, it was a nice change of pace from what she was used to. The kunoichi soon found that she could actually relax and enjoy the scenery for once.

"Remind me to thank the Hokage for coming up with this," she stated cheerfully, "That was the shortest and toughest spar I ever had in my life."

"I must admit, even though she was drunk at the time, she came up with a good idea to mix up the teams," Shimakaru agreed, smirking at the thought, "Training has never been so quiet."

Offended at the snide comment aimed at her fellow kunoichi, Tenten thumped her fist against the young Nara's chest for his rudeness. She had to lift her head off of the shadow user's stomach soon afterwards as he coughed through the pain, rubbing his chest to soothe the newly bruised area.

"Ouch!" he stated flatly, sending her a half-hearted glare.

"That's what you get," the older girl retorted as she resumed using the young shinobi's stomach as a pillow, "You should know by now, we kunoichis defend our own."

"Troublesome woman," was his mumbled response.

"No more troublesome than you." Tenten countered, reaching out to take the shuriken from Shikamaru.

Said shinobi jerked his hand back, playfully keeping the sharp-edged star out of her reach. She pouted irritably, earning her an amused smirk from the young shadow manipulator. But the playful exchange only lasted for a moment as he willingly handed over the shuriken to her outstretched hand a second later. And for an instance when his fingers trailed over her open palm, there was a spark of something neither one could ignore.

Blowing past the awkward moment with a cough, Tenten diverted her attention to the finely crafted weapon in her hand. She could feel the heat in her cheeks, lightly dusted pink with a blush. But in spite of herself, the kunoichi couldn't help but smile at the feeling. The only problem with that was how the young Nara felt about it.

"This is nice," she mused softly, fidgeting with the shuriken in her hands, "Maybe we could do this again."

"Stop it right now," Shikamaru said sternly.

"Stop what?" the older girl questioned with confusion, a bit startled at his sudden demand.

"Stop trying to analyze this," he replied in a more gentle tone, "Just let it be what it is."

"And what exactly is this?" the weapon goddess asked curiously.

"This is just you and me laying in the middle of the training field enjoying each other's company," he explained plainly, "Nothing more and nothing less."

The idea in its simplicity brought a small smile to Tenten's face. She glanced down at the reflective surface of the throwing star as the image of her companion that appeared in it smiled and winked back at her. The kunoichi couldn't help but chuckle at his actions while she threw the shuriken into the nearest tree, so unexpected and out of character as they were.

"You know," Tenten commented idly, "I'm starting to think they were right to call you a genius."

"You better believe it," Shikamaru stated confidently, casually reaching out to take a hold of her hand.

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Afterall, a genius like him needs some lovin' too.