Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto.

Curtains and Clouds
By Silver Sailor Ganymede

Shikamaru knew he'd probably get in trouble for it later, but to be honest he didn't care. It was too troublesome to go up on the roof again – it was raining and his mother would probably shout at him if he did, and he knew that if she kept on snapping at him like she did, he'd probably have grey hair by the time he was in his twenties. But he wasn't allowed on the roof anymore, so that's why he was lying on the windowsill of his room, hiding behind the drawn curtains, and staring at the clouds.

He liked sitting in the windowsill. Most people would have found the narrow ledge between the curtains and the window to be very uncomfortable, but Shikamaru found it nice. He'd fallen asleep on there more than once when he was watching clouds and stars: that was why his mother didn't like him sitting there; she was afraid he'd end up falling out the window sideways or something. As if he'd be daft enough to lean on an open window, honestly…

"Shikamaru," a voice called. Shikamaru immediately brightened up a little; it was always nice to have someone to cloud-gaze with,
especially if that person was Chouji. "Shikamaru, where are you?"

"I'm here," he replied, trying not to yawn. All this cloud-gazing was making him tired even though it wasn't at all troublesome.

"Shikamaru, I can't see you," Chouji whined. "Your mother said you were in here so I came to look, and now I can hear you but you aren't here…"

"I'm behind the curtain."

"What?"

"Behind the curtain," Shikamaru replied, sticking his head out from behind the piece of cloth covering the window. It was so troublesome to repeat things, better just to show Chouji where he was.

"Oh," Chouji blinked, walking over to Shikamaru. "What are you doing sitting on the windowsill? It looks really uncomfy…"

"It's not," Shikamaru shrugged. "Want to join me?"

Chouji nodded, quickly perching himself on the other end of the windowsill from Shikamaru so they could both stretch out. Shikamaru pulled the curtain shut behind him.

"Why are you closing the curtain behind us?" Chouji asked.

"So my mother doesn't see," Shikamaru replied, yawning, as Chouji began to munch on a bag of crisps.

"Why don't you want her to see?" Chouji frowned.

"She doesn't like me sitting on the windowsill. Thinks I'll fall out the window or something."

Chouji laughed. So did Shikamaru.

"I wouldn't be surprised if you did fall out," Chouji stated. "You're always falling asleep when you cloud-gaze."

Shikamaru shrugged, "It's too troublesome to stay awake at times."

"So it's troublesome to stay awake, but it's not troublesome to risk your mum yelling at you for cloud-gazing?" Chouji asked, confused.

"Of course it's troublesome," Shikamaru replied. "But I like the clouds, and this is the best place to see them when I'm at home."

"What about the roof?"

"I'm not allowed on there," Shikamaru shrugged.

"Why not?"

"The stupid woman's worried I'll fall off again," Shikamaru replied.

"Again?" Chouji raised an eyebrow.

"I fell off the roof last week. It didn't hurt though; I was on the lower part of it."

"How did you manage to fall off the roof?" Chouji tried not to laugh. "You're a ninja, Shikamaru."

"We haven't become ninja yet; we need to graduate first," Shikamaru replied. "And as for how I managed it? I fell asleep, only woke up when I hit the ground."

Chouji couldn't help but laugh then. "You really are a klutz, Shikamaru. No wonder your mum's worried about you falling out of a closed window; you could probably manage even that."

Shikamaru rolled his eyes. "Don't be troublesome, Chouji. It's not like you're any better."

"True," Chouji chuckled.

Soon the two boys had lapsed into a conteneted silence, just watching the clouds and the outside world as a whole float lazily past Shikamaru's bedroom window. Shikamaru always liked cloud-gazing with Chouji; it seemed more fun somehow, even when they didn't talk at all.

"Shikamaru!" his mother's shout rang through his room, causing Shikamaru and Chouji to jump at the same time and fall sideways off the windowsill, landing in a heap on the floor with the curtain on top of them. "What have I told you about sitting on the windowsill to cloud-gaze?"

"Troublesome woman," Shikamaru muttered, disentangling himself from the curtains.

"What did you say?" she snapped. "The two of you come downstairs right now; dinner's ready." Chouji immediately brightened up at hearing that. "But you've got to put the curtains back up straight afterwards."

She walked out of the room, leaving Shikamaru stunned that she hadn't grounded him again or something. Of course he wasn't that lucky, as it was a matter of seconds before his mother called up the stairs to him.

"And no playing shogi or go for a week, got it?"

Shikamaru groaned. Without his games he'd have nothing to do for the next week but cloud-gaze. Damn troublesome woman. Why couldn't women be more like clouds, serene, tranquil and far away from him?

"Shikamaru!"

Yes, Shikamaru though, he was right. He really was going to have grey hair by the time he reached twenty if everything was as troublesome as this.