Mistletoe

(A Christmas Fic from Senko)

A/N: Yay, Christmas time is here and I bring the gift that keeps on giving (if you know how to use it). That's right, the gift of Yaoi. Well, shonen-ai.. But still. Uhm, spoilers probably maybe for some people. Have some happy ShikaChou and merry holidays to you all. Its likely to be a bit (or a lot) OOC, and I have no spell check, so I did as best as I could...

For a season of such cold weather, plants certainly seemed to play an overly large part. There were the trees, of course, and wreaths made of parts of trees… and of course, those troublesome bits of ugly parasitic flora strung in the doorways. The life of a shinobi was never easy, but even ninja should be alowed to walk through their own home easily, without having to worry about which guest might chance to pass under the same arch as he.

Yes, mistletoe was a troublesome thing. An enemy to be feared, if truth were told. It was a sneaky bastard too, hiding amongst innocent holly, and lingering high in the middle of shops. Shikamaru had learned to keep a sharp eye out for it… and for the annoying females who seemed to make it their business to catch a kiss from every single boy their age they passed. This year, thank god, he hadn't been caught.

The season was good for a few things, though. For one thing, the lights that so many people strung up in and on their homes were very pretty, expescialy set against the white snow. And that same snow also gave a nice oportunity to stay indoors, which narrowed the chances of being caught beneath the wrong doorway by the wrong person considerably.

Thinking this comforting thought put the mildest of smiles on Shikamaru's face, and he sighed in a content way.

"Huh? What're you smiling over?"

Chouji's voice brought him out of his reverie, and he only then remembered that his friend was here, staying with him.

"Eh, nothing really." He said easily, watching his friend for a moment. For once food was absent from Chouji's hand, and he was clothed much the same as he had been when they were younger and still genin- the oversized shirt and shorts, but he wore no headband and the bandages were gone from his arms and legs. But the armor too was gone, and it was still interesting to see his friend in this almost muscular form… although he had watched the slow transformation, it was still interesting. Infact, Shikamaru realized with a small bit of surprise, it was amazing that Chouji wasn't as plagued as he was by the female stares. Perhaps it was the hair- long and unrully, Shikamru knew that though he found it rather suiting and even somewhat charming, many women would simply write it off as unkempt and probably unattractive.

"Nothing must be pretty funny." Chouji said, a dryness in his voice that spoke enough of the discomfort he felt, and Shikamaru realized he'd been staring at his friend.

"Sorry, Chouji. I was just thinking about this weekend… All this family coming into one house, man what a drag."

The staring problem wasn't new; it started out with stolen glances as they lay around somewhere to watch the clouds. It hadn't mattered much when they were younger, Chouji had never noticed (too absorbed in his food and the clouds and the idea of friends) and Shikamaru had been too young to have to think about what the staring might mean.

"Yeah. But it's kinda nice to see everyone together."

Because the thing was, the more he thought about it the more it made sense. Chouji, who was more than strong and brave, but was a true friend and loyal companion, willing to give his life for the sake of others, meant much more to Shikamaru than anyone else ever had. His feelings for the Akimichi boy extended far beyond those of mere friends.

"I guess." Shikamaru admitted, returning his attention out his window. He felt his friend's gaze remain on him, and wondered (not for the first time, or even the tenth) how Chouji would respond if he told him how he felt.

"Hey, Shikamaru… what'dyou want for Christmas?"

The sad fact of the matter was that Shikamaru was pretty sure somewhere along the way he'd fallen in love with his larger companion. He'd worked out a hundred different situations in which he could try to say something, a thousand different ways to work it into a conversation. But no matter how he worked the situation out, no matter how he phrased it in his mind, he still couldn't figure out how his friend would react. And that not knowing was horrible, but loosing his friend would probably be worse. Pessemistic outlook though that was, Shikamaru knew that it was best to keep the worst outcome in mind when it came to decision making.

"Shikamaru?"

He turned back to look at Chouji again, and perked an eye brow. "I don't know." He said after a moment. "I hadn't really thought of anything. What about you?"

Chouji shrugged, smiling a litte now. "I hadn't thought of anything either."

I could say something. Right now, I could. It's pretty much perfect. Shikamaru thought, shifting slightly and looking back to the window. Say something or do something. But I have no idea how he'll respond. So once again, he left it unsaid.

Silence stretched between them, but it was a comfortable, easy silence- the sort of silence two people who prefer the sound of falling snow and distant clouds to trying to talk. It was as it always was between them, so neither was really aware of the quiet. After a long time in the quiet, Chouji spoke again. "Shikamaru?"

"Uh?"

A pause, as if Chouji wasn't sure what he wanted to say. Finally:

"D'you think we could get something to eat."

The darkhaired boy chuckled and sat up, stretching his arms over his head. "Meh… why not."

In the kitchen, Shikamaru busied himself with the troublesome task of being a good host and trying to find something to eat. Chouji stood quietly against the counter, his eyes roving the familiar terrain. More often than not, Shikamaru felt the gaze end up on him.

The Nara boy's hand lingered over a plate of cut passionfruit, when he was struck with what some might call an epiphany. Chouji, he knew, was his friend. Chouji had almost died for him, Chouji had stayed with him through everything else.

He pulled the plate of fruit from the refrigerator and set it on the counter, before turning back toward Chouji.

"What's funny?" Chouji asked, seeing the smile that pulled at Shikamaru's lips as he crossed the kitchen.

For his part, Shikamaru was still very nervous on what he planned to do. But his new resolve helped him stay calm, and he replied easily. "I was just thinking how stupid some people can be," He said, and it was true: he'd been very stupid trying to keep this a secret. "You could put them in a room with six doors and they'd still walk into the walls."

Chouji smiled back, and looked like he might say something. Whatever it was, Shikamaru didn't care to hear it, and Chouji forgot at the feel of his friend's hand slipping bhind his neck, pulling him close. There was a moment of warth as their lips brushed, and then they moved apart just slightly.

"Uhm… W-why did you…" with the soft, uncertain tone to his voice, Chouji sounded suspiciously like Hinata. Shikamaru lazily pointed to the ceiling, and watched his friend look up in slow surprise. The Akimichi boy looked back to his friend with a slow smile and any uncertainty banished from between them.

"Merry Christmas, Chouji," Shikamaru murmured before their lips met again in a second, much fuller kiss.

Perhaps, all things considered, mistletoe wasn't quite as troublesome as he'd thought.

-Happy holidays-