Shikamaru was lost in the feel of Hinata's lips against his. 'This feels really really...good,' he thought to himself as his brain turned to mush. Sure he'd been kissed before, but the action had never really done this to him.

When their lips separated Shikamaru noticed that his breathing was more ragged then usual. It felt like he had run a lap to the Hokage's tower and back. Vaguely he heard Hinata say something.

"Yeah," he said, smiling like a sap. Then her words reached his brain. "For what?"

Hinata giggled slightly and took his hand. "You're going to walk me to the door, then possibly meet my father, who is currently waiting for me to return. It's rather odd that he's doing that though, he never waited by the front door on any of my other dates."

"Wait, does that mean I'm special? Is that a good thing?" Shikamaru asked, feeling a little nervous.

"Well, for me it's a good thing. Guess we'll find out if my father feels the same way."

"Yay," Shikamaru said sarcastically the couple made their way to the door. Hinata reached for the door as they stepped onto the porch, but it was opened before her hand touched the nob.

"Hinata," her father greeted her, then turned to look at Shikamaru. "Nara." Shikamaru nodded acknowledgment.

"Mr. Hyuuga."

"Father, Shikamaru was just walking me home from our date."

There was a long silence as Mr. Hyuuga studied Shikamaru. Shikamaru could feel his body begin to heat up under the scrutiny, but not in a good way. 'Don't start sweating,' he ordered himself. B.O. was the last thing he needed to worry about when meeting Hinata's father.

"I suppose you were going to invite him in," Mr. Hyuuga stated, addressing Hinata.

"If it's not to much trouble," Hinata answered back. Mr. Hyuuga nodded stiffly. Giving them just enough room to squeeze past him and into the house. The closing of the door sounded vaguely ominous to Shikamaru's frazzled mind. He wasn't really sure what to do with himself anymore.

They removed their jackets and headed into the sitting room. Hinata gently lead him to a sofa and motioned for him to sit. She smiled at him sweetly and squeezed his hand..

"I'll just make some tea," she said as she moved towards where he assumed the kitchen was. "I'll be right back."

Mr. Hyuuga sat across from Shikamaru, staring at him as though he were a specimen under an microscope. Shikamaru definitely didn't like the feeling, but he'd be damned before he said anything about it. He didn't want Hinata's father hating him.

Vaguely he saw Mr. Hyuuga's eyes widen. 'Maybe he saw something that he likes,' Shikamaru hoped. Instinctively he sat up straiter and puffed out his chest a little. All he knew was that he needed to make a good impression on this man.

"I've heard that you were a genius," Mr. Hyuuga said simply. There was an awkward pause as Shikamaru waited for him to continue.

'Apparently that was it,' he thought, unsure of how to respond. "That is what some people say," Shikamaru hedged. If he bragged too much, Mr. Hyuuga would think he was arrogant. If he was too modest Mr. Hyuuga might think that the rumors were exaggerated.

"I've also heard that you were the number one coward of Konoha."

Shikamaru couldn't tell if this was a good thing or a bad thing based on Mr. Hyuuga's tone of voice, although he supposed it was a bad thing. "I prefer to avoid needlessly endangering my comrades."

"Hmmm," Mr Hyuuga said, staring directly into Shikamaru's eyes. Even though it made him a little uncomfortable, Shikamaru maintained eye contact with the older man, until he heard Hinata enter the room. Gratefully he broke eye contact and stood to help Hinata in anyway that he could.

Hinata waved him off gently and started serving everyone. First her father, then she turned to Shikamaru. "You like your tea with two sugars, correct?" she asked quietly. Shikamaru was impressed that she had noticed.

"Actually I only like one sugar," Shikamaru answered. "Ma's just trying to sweeten my disposition." There was a polite chuckle from Hinata and stony silence from Mr. Hyuuga. It was after he said that joke that Shikamaru realized just how nervous he was. 'Great, now they'll think I'm a bitter old man.'

It was silent as the three began sipping their tea. Shikamaru was tempted to allow himself relax, but he knew that the second that he did, he would loose. Somewhere in the time that Hinata had left to prepare tea, Shikamaru had decided to approach this encounter as though it were a battle. The second he let his guard down Mr. Hyuuga would attack.

"So, you had a date," Mr Hyuuga said, putting his tea cup down with more purpose then Shikamaru deemed necessary. 'A feint,' Shikamaru thought.

"That is correct," Shikamaru answered calmly, smiling at Hinata. She blushed prettily and smiled back.

"Did you have a good time?" Mr. Hyuuga asked, trying to sound jovial, but utterly failing.

"I had a very good time Father," Hinata answered cheerfully. She smiled sweetly at Shikamaru. 'Can she not feel the tension in the room?' Shikamaru asked himself as he smiled back at her.

"I'm glad to hear that. Although the question was directed towards your date." There was an awkward silence that followed this statement. Hinata stilled momentarily, but kept the happy smile on her face. It was at that moment that Shikamaru knew that Hinata had felt the tension of the meeting the entire time.

"I also had a good time," Shikamaru asked slowly. He had thought of the possibility that the encounter would go this way, but he had dismissed it as well. 'Is he trying to force a situation where Hinata has to choose between us?'

"Good. Did Hinata comport herself in a manner appropriate to the Hyuuga name?" Hiashi asked.

"What do you mean? Hinata and I had a good time. Why do you need more information?" Shikamaru asked.

"I want to know how Hinata acts on a date. She is the last in her peer group to become engaged and married. I would like to know why that is." Mr. Hyuuga's voice remained calm and clinical during his explanation. With each word that Mr. Hyuuga said, Shikamaru saw Hinata wince.

"You feel that you will be able to get an understanding of why Hinata isn't married yet after just one date with me?" Shikamaru asked, watching Hinata out of the corner of his eye.

"Obviously she has a defect," Mr. Hyuuga said coldly. "She is a Hyuuga, she should have been the first of her peers to be married."

"So, you're going to try and fault your daughter for having good taste?" Shikamaru asked, raising an eyebrow. Mr. Hyuuga didn't respond to Shikamaru's question. More then anything Shikamaru wanted to leave and take Hinata with him. 'And I thought my parents were bad.'

The next ten minutes or so were incredibly strained. Just the sound of teacups going up and down. By the time Shikamaru finished his tea, he could feel his eye twitching from the pressure. He was reminded of his battle with Tayuya, several years ago. Even now he still had the habit of holding out hope that someone would come and rescue him. He knew that it was not going to happen, but he couldn't stop himself. 'At least if I loose this battle I wont lose my life,' he thought wryly. 'Just, you know, the chance to keep dating Hinata.'

"What are your intentions with my daughter?" Mr. Hyuuga asked suddenly. Shikamaru was a little more prepared for this question then Hinata had been earlier, so his only reaction was to set his cup down.

"Father, don't you think it's a little early to ask such questions?" Hinata tried to intervene. Shikamaru could have told her that it wouldn't work, but he was glad for her effort.

"I asked you a question," Mr. Hyuuga stated, ignoring his daughter.

"Are you asking as her father or as head of her clan?" Shikamaru asked.


"Hinata is heir to the Hyuuga clan. She will lead the clan when you step down. However if she were to marry someone who couldn't be adopted as a Hyuuga, she would have to step down as heir. This is something that you very well aware of. It's possibly even something that you're hoping for, what with your obsession with why Hinata is still single," Shikamaru stated coldly. "So, I would like to know if you are asking the question as a concerned father or as a concerned clan head."

"How will that information affect your answer?"

"It won't really. Mostly I was just curious."

"What is your answer?" Shikamaru could see veins begin to form around Mr. Hyuuga's eyes. It was a habit he noticed that most of the Hyuuga's had. The byakugan started to activate when they became agitated. 'Not the outcome that I wanted when I entered the house with Hinata,' he thought ruefully.

"I intend to get to know Hinata better. I intend to allow Hinata to get to know me better. That is all that can be said at this point in our relationship."

"You think you have a relationship?"

Shikamaru glanced over at Hinata, silently asking her the same question. She didn't move or smile or anything. She just stared back at him. It was rather frustrating that she wasn't giving him a clear yes or no to the question. He turned back to Mr. Hyuuga, whose eyes had returned to normal. Briskly Shikamaru nodded, hoping that he was giving the right answer.

"Father, it's late. I will see Shikamaru to the door," Hinata said slowly as she stood up. Shikamaru quickly followed her example. They returned to Shikamaru's jacket, then to the front door. Hinata opened it and stepped out.

Shikamaru hesitated. The night air was crisp, and he had wanted to stay in the warm house a little longer. Hinata hadn't put on her jacket, so it was obvious that she wasn't walking him home. What was she doing? When he finally stepped onto the porch, Hinata shut the door and started making hand signals. She lightly touched the door, sending chackra flaring across its surface, before turning back to him and smiling.

"Now we have some privacy from those inside the house," she said simply. "Do you want an apology for my father's behavior?"

"Only if he means it. I don't want any empty words from him," Shikamaru said, looking at the door, not her.

"Oh," Hinata said, drawing his attention back to her. "What about me?"

"Huh? You got nothing to apologize for," Shikamaru scratched at the back of his head. "Do you want me to apologize?" he finally asked.

Hinata was silent for a while, contemplating his question. "Only if you mean it. I don't want empty words from you," she answered, parroting his earlier words. She grinned up at him. "So, what did you think?"

"I don't think I earned any brownie points tonight. If anything I think I now have negative brownie points."

Hinata giggled a little at that, "Probably. But if it's any consolation, I still like you."

"Good," Shikamaru asked. "Because I really like you." He reached out and gently cupped her cheek in his hand. He leaned in close and asked, "So, do I get a kiss goodnight?"

Hinata looked as though she were seriously considering his question. There was a hint of mischief in her eyes that intrigued him, making him draw closer. Finally when they were just centimeters apart she answered.

The feel of her lips pressed against his was just like her remembered. But she tasted even better this time, all sweet with a hint of heat. Like a cinnamon bear, but not as sticky. Shikamaru wanted to loose himself in the kiss. To continue kissing her until he didn't know where she started and he ended. To mold himself against her softness, but he knew that he couldn't. They were standing on her front porch, with nothing to hide their activities from prying eyes.

With a mutual groan their kiss ended. They stared into each others eyes, panting slightly. Shikamaru ran his thumb against her plump lower lip, wanting nothing more then to dip his head and have another taste. Only the sound of footsteps pounding from the other side of the door stopped him.

The steps were abruptly cut off. "But Father," a teenage voice whined. "I want to see them kiss!"

"That's probably why Hinata went outside and posted a ward against prying eyes. She wanted privacy," Mr. Hyuuga responded in a voice that was totally different tone then the one he used earlier.

"You told me not to post wards in the house," Hana bi pouted.

"Which is why we aren't in the house little sister," Hinata said quietly. She looked up at Shikamaru and giggled. "I had better go back before she tries to break the ward."

"Yeah, uh, goodnight," Shikamaru muttered, before bending down quickly and giving her a quick peck on the cheek. He started backing away slowly, not really sure how to end the evening.

"Wait!" Hinata called, jogging over to him. "Do you wanna do something like this again?" she asked him awkwardly, but with a hint of mischief. Shikamaru remembered asking her that very question about a week ago.

"You mean like a date?" Shikamaru teased back. "That's be nice."

"Good," Hinata declared before turning around and heading into her house. Shikamaru watched her leave before leaving for his who home. 'Best date ever.'