Author's Note: This one-shot came into my head the other night, when I was looking through my old math book and saw the section on sine, cosine, and tangent. I hated those things, but I thought that they-- or, rather, math problems in general-- might make a cute ShikaSaku. I guess math can be kind of useful…
Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto. Wish I did. Don't.
Sakura hated math.
She'd always hated math, ever since her first days at the Academy, where the only regular school subject they taught was math. She could practice kunai and shuriken throwing, and she could read up and learn genjutsu, ninjutsu, practice taijutsu-- that was no problem. But math?
She failed every test she'd been given on the damned subject.
And now, five years later…
"What the hell d'you mean, 'solve these equations'?" Sakura demanded furiously of the Godaime Hokage, ignoring the huge, stapled packet of paper Shizune was handing her as she leaned against the side of the Hokage's desk.
"I think it's pretty self-explanatory, don't you?" remarked Tsunade disinterestedly as she flipped through a file, taking a sheet of paper and stamping it with the official Hokage's seal. "Solve the equations."
"B… but why?" the medic-nin fairly wailed, clenching her fists. "What do math problems have to do with anything?"
Tsunade gave a long-suffering sigh and cast her hazel eyes upon her apprentice. "Math is an essential part of being a good shinobi, Sakura. Why do you think they taught it in the Academy? Surely you've used math before-- in navigations, or measuring the right amounts of ingredients for a potion, or figuring out angles for attacks, or calculating an opponent's attack range during a battle…"
"Well, yeah… but that stuff just goes through your mind naturally. These are equations, and I don't bother with equations on the battlefield." She turned her body to grab the sheaf of paper Shizune was still holding and slammed it on Tsunade's desk. "What are these for, anyway? I'm not doing Konohamaru's homework for you."
Tsunade picked up the papers and chucked them at Sakura, who was forced by instinct to catch them. "These equations happen to be from the Kazekage, whose strategists are working on increasing attack efficiency on a large group-- for example, Sound-- by using angles with a variety of weapons." She folded her arms, glimmering red-painted nails poking from the sides as she leaned back in her padded chair. "They were stuck on a couple problems and wanted me to find someone to figure it out."
"Oh, and you think I'm going to do it?" Sakura sneered. "My math average at the academy was probably in the thirty-to-forty percent range. I hate math. I'm not doing it."
Tsunade shrugged. "Alright, then I guess I won't have to teach you Creation: Rebirth anymore. Shizune, would you be a dear and get me some sake?"
"Tsunade-sama, I've told you about drinking too much--"
"Get the damn sake."
As Shizune hurried out of the room, TonTon at her heels, Sakura sighed and folded the papers neatly. "I hate it when you blackmail."
"And I hate it when you're stubborn," Tsunade replied in a clipped voice, though a small smile graced her features. "I'll expect those done by tonight-- six o'clock sharp."
Sakura hesitated. "What if I'm horrible with these? I know I will be. I can't do math at all. Can't you get Shikamaru to do these?"
Tsunade examined a single blonde ponytail. "Why don't you?"
The pink-haired woman smiled as Shizune walked back inside, putting a cup of sake down on the Hokage's desk. "I think I just might."
As her apprentice left, Tsunade gave a blood-chilling smirk and took a sip of sake. Shizune raised an eyebrow. "What are you planning, Tsunade-sama?"
The busty woman looked up in mock surprise. "Me? Planning something? Never, Shizune, never. I was just thinking about math…"
Three raps sounded from the door into his apartment.
Shikamaru groaned and shifted his position on the futon, grabbing his pillow and putting it over his head.
The knocks intensified a little, and he sighed, eyes still closed. Why the hell wasn't Chouji getting it? He'd been back from training for a long time, eating his after-lunch, pre-dinner snack.
There was a short, muted growl of anger, and the knocks turned into poundings.
There was only one person that did that…
Shikamaru leapt from the bed and ran uncharacteristically frantically to the door before Sakura broke it in half-- she'd done that before, when he had refused to answer a summons to the Hokage's office. He reached for the door handle and made sure his face was arranged in a look of tired annoyance before wrenching it open, catching Sakura's oncoming fist with one hand. It forced him back a little, and he realized that he had just saved his door from a crushing blow.
Sakura loosed her fist and shook it out by her side, watching her fingers as she flexed them. "Damn it, Shikamaru, it's two o'clock in the afternoon. When do you get up, anyway?"
"Later than this, I promise you," he answered dryly, and she looked up to retort.
And nearly gasped.
Because Shikamaru topless was a thing to behold.
He was only wearing a pair of boxer shorts, and his muscles-- not too buff, but definitely not weak-- flexed as he stretched the hand he caught her punch with. "Yare, yare," he sighed, looking up at her (she quickly looked at his face instead of his abdominals), "d'you have to always try to break down the door?"
"You weren't answering, and I knew you were in there," she complained, folding her arms and jutting out one hip in a particularly Tsunade-like style. "I met Chouji on the way up. He told me to tell you he was going to meet Ino for dinner at seven, and not to wait up for him."
Shikamaru stifled a groan; that traitor. Leaving him at Sakura's tender mercies for Ino? Hardly forgivable. He rubbed his head and fixed brown eyes upon green. "And why are you here?"
She held up a thick packet of paper with a cheery smile. "Tsunade gave me math problems from the Kazekage on attacking at angles."
"So?" he said, even though he had a very nasty suspicion as to where this was leading.
"Well, I suck at math, and you're a genius, and with the fact that I can break down your door or your nose with a single punch fresh in your mind, I knew you'd be happy to help." She smiled again and pushed her way inside his apartment.
Shikamaru shut the door and sighed for the third time that day, pressing the heels of his hands against his eyes. "I'm ecstatic," he replied sarcastically. "Can I take a shower first?"
She shrugged and sat herself down on his couch. "Sure. I'll wait."
Once he was gone from the room and the water was running, Sakura got up and took a look around. The living room, where she was sitting, had a couch and one big chair all facing a television that was currently broadcasting a commercial for a kunai sale. Behind that area was a raised floor on which were a couple more chairs surrounding a fireplace. Above the fireplace, the mantle was decorated with pictures: of the Ino-Shika-Cho team, of the Rookie Nine, of Chouji and Shikamaru's respective families-- and, to her surprise, one of Ino and herself from not too long ago. She guessed that Ino had given it to them as a present of some sort.
She left the living room and kept looking-- the kitchen was fully stocked, probably thanks to Chouji, and the rotund shinobi's room was neat, though filled to the brim with snacks. A mini-fridge was right by the futon. Chuckling, she turned to Shikamaru's room. It was plain and neat, with a window seat next to a huge wall of glass. Probably for cloud watching, she thought with a smile, and crept further in.
The sound of running water stopped and she turned her head, looking straight into Shikamaru's bathroom-- where Shikamaru himself had on only a towel and was brushing his teeth at the sink.
His hair was down and arranged about his face like a shorter version of Neji's. Shower water curved down the rope of muscle in his arms and dripped onto his stomach, trailing down to the towel, so loosely tucked in and--
Sakura snapped out of it and fairly ran from the room, fighting down a blush of vast proportions as she heard the sounds of Shikamaru dressing. The image of him, shower-dripping and muscled, entered her mind again, and she had to fight down a girlish squeal.
MATH. Think math. Mathmathmathmathmath…
She sighed and stretched, arching her back and pulling her arms behind her head, touching the futon's back as her shirt strained against her chest.
Sakura gave a little yelp and snapped back into a regular sitting position, not noticing the faint blush Shikamaru sported on his cheeks.
Shikamaru recovered with some effort and pulled up one of the chairs, turning off the TV and sitting across from her. "What do you need me to do?"
She handed him the stapled packet with a groan. "Whatever it says. I just barely got through the first page alone… I don't get all this math-jargon. What the hell do they mean by 'use the sine, cosine, and tangent equivalents to solve these equations, using the variable x as the unknown sine, cosine, or tangent'..." She shook her head in frustration.
Shikamaru looked over the page. "Troublesome. We just have to find the measures of these angles-- the sine, cosine, and tangent values."
Sakura rolled her eyes. "And how, exactly, do we do that?"
Shikamaru grabbed a pen from her hand and wrote on the side of the paper: SOHCAHTOA.
"Sohcahtoa?" Sakura hazarded, cocking an eyebrow. "What's that?"
Shikamaru circled the S, the C, and the T of the word. "S is sine, C is cosine, and T is tangent. O is the opposite side, H is the hypotenuse of the triangle, and A is the adjacent side."
Sakura shook her head. "…I still don't get it."
"If we wanted to find the tangent value of a triangle, we would have to find the side opposite to the angle we don't know and divide that by the adjacent side," he explained, sketching a rough triangle onto the paper and labeling it. "This isn't too bad."
Sakura smiled. "I get it, I get it! And to find the sine, you need to put the opposite side over the hypotenuse, right?"
"Correct. You're better at math then you let on, Sakura."
Sakura flashed him a grin. "I have a good tutor, ne? Give me half of that. We can work together."
Shikamaru ripped half from the packet, and the two began working.
A little later, Shikamaru scribbled the last answer on his packet and threw his pen aside, rubbing his hand to prevent writer's cramp. "Oy, Sakura, are you finished yet?" He looked up.
She was sleeping.
"Troublesome," he muttered, and yet couldn't help but smile a bit at the sight. She was slumped against the couch lengthwise, so that her feet touched the other end of the thing, and the packet of work was lying on her stomach. Her hand was over it, saving her page, and a pencil dangled loosely from her fingertips. Sakura's face was peaceful, her mouth slightly open and her eyes closed lightly, dark pink lashes brushing against each other.
Sakura wasn't outrageously beautiful, as Ino was, with sparkling blonde hair and crystal dark-blue eyes and a thin figure, but she was certainly good to look at. She had high cheekbones in a soft oval face, a sprinkling of freckles over the pale skin and rosy-red cheeks. Her body was muscled and small, at about five feet and two inches in length, with a helping of puppy fat she'd probably never get rid of, and yet it seemed to suit her…
Shikamaru stared at her for a long time, as if trying to memorize the features of her body, before snapping out of his trance and getting up. Better let her sleep, he figured, and went towards the kitchen.
Once at the door he hesitated, sighed, and turned around to grab a blanket from the chair and cover Sakura with it.
There was a hint of a smile on his face as he closed the door to the kitchen.
What's that smell?
Sakura's eyes fluttered as the scent of something delicious wafted under her nose, rousing her like a more pleasant version of smelling salts. She shifted, and pencil and paper dropped to the floor.
A little more awake, Sakura opened her eyes. Strains of someone whistling came from a closed kitchen door along with the aroma of baking, and she sat up, looking with surprise at the blanket that fell from her shoulders. Shikamaru's chair was empty. Must've fallen asleep while we worked, she reasoned with a wide yawn, and stretched. I wonder what that smell is?
She rose from the couch, wrapped the blanket around her shoulders to retain its warmth, and opened the door to the kitchen, where the delicious scent hit her like a tidal wave. There, with his back facing towards her, wearing an apron and pulling out something that looked suspiciously like apple pie from the oven, was Shikamaru.
Sakura was hard-pressed to fight back a vicious bout of laughter. Shikamaru cooked? She'd always thought he'd be the kind too lazy to do anything around the house.
Shikamaru turned around, whistling serenely, and placed the pie on a cooling rack before releasing the potholders on his hands and putting them on the stove. His eyes flickered up once, and he did a double-take. "Ah, Sakura," he greeted, slightly in shock. He glanced, mortified, at the pie, and then at her smiling face.
The green-eyed kunoichi giggled. "I didn't know you were a baker, Shikamaru," she said with more than a hint of laughter in her voice. "Smells delicious."
A small blush crossed Shikamaru's nose and spilled onto his cheeks, and he turned around, straightening the potholders. "Chouji's famous for his cooking. He taught me some basics."
Sakura nodded, though it was plain she was keeping her face straight with supreme effort. "What time is it?"
Shikamaru glanced at the clock on his microwave. "Five o'clock."
"That late?" Sakura looked surprised. "I guess I was tired."
Now that his cheeks were under control, he turned back to her. "You didn't sleep that much. We only stopped working at about three-thirty." He hesitated. "Did you finish?"
"Aa, I did. Thanks to you." She gave him a grateful grin and clutched the blanket tighter. "Thanks for the blanket, too."
"No problem," replied Shikamaru, taking a serrated knife from a drawer. "You ready for a math test, then?"
Sakura scowled at him. "Tell me you're joking."
He said nothing, but smirked at her as he cut the pastry.
She marched over to him, folding her arms, the blanket staying in place at her shoulders. "What kind of math test?"
"If you get the cosine, sine, or tangent of the angles of this piece of pie," he said, "you'll get to eat it. But only if you get all of them."
Sakura snorted. "I don't like pie that much, Shikamaru."
In response, he put a thick slice on a plate and put it under Sakura's nose. Immediately, the enticing smells of cinnamon and fresh autumn apple and sugared crust assaulted her nose, and she salivated. "Shikamaru, that smells amazing!" She reached for it, but he held it out of her reach.
"Ah, ah," he said with a raised eyebrow. "You haven't passed your test yet."
Sakura smiled slightly-- since when was Shikamaru so teasing? He took off his apron and led her into his room, where they sat at the window seat, the steaming baked good right next to him. He held it up as she sat across from him. "If this side is six, and this side is ten, and this side is x, find x."
Sakura looked at the pie with nothing short of desire, her stomach rumbling uncomfortably. "Um… point six."
"Wrong." Shikamaru took a fork from his pocket and took a bite of the apple pie himself, making exaggerated moans. "Mmmm. SO good."
"Another one, then. If this is eight and this is forty-eight degrees, and this is x, what is x?"
Hunger making her brain cloud, Sakura sighed, performing quick calculations. "Point… six repeating?"
"Wrong." Shikamaru took another huge bite.
"What's wrong, hungry?"
"Nara, if you don't feed me…"
"You'll what?" He looked at her pointedly. "I can freeze you right now, if you'd like, and force you to watch me eat all of this all by my lonesome."
Sakura's eyes narrowed, and she drew the blanket closer, reminding herself of his shadow-manipulation.
But oh, god, was she hungry…
And that pie smelled so good…
"SOHCAHTOA, SOHCAHTOA, SOHCAHTOA," she whispered in a mantra, clutching the blanket in her fists.
Shikamaru lazily took another bite. "This really is good, I didn't think it would be… you know, SakuraaAAAGH!"
Sakura had leapt from her position on the window seat and tackled him to the floor, her quick reflexes saving the pie from certain disaster. She straddled his waist and picked up his fork, taking the first bite with a sigh of dreamy relief.
It really was delicious-- who knew Shikamaru would be such a good cook? The apples were crisp and flavorful, the cinnamon and sugar turning them into heavenly bursts of juice, and the crust melted hotly on her tongue. She groaned in relief.
Shikamaru blushed profusely-- her groan, plus the fact that she was currently straddling him, created a number of unpleasant (?) situations in his mind, a couple of which were NOT suitable for conversation.
…But, at the same time, he could help but admire the way her head tilted in bliss with each bite, the way her green eyes sparkled before she took the next bite to those full lips. He inwardly rejoiced in the fact that he was the one to conjure such an expression to her face, making her look all the more beautiful… and he longed, for some reason, to do it again…
Sakura enjoyed the last bite of the pie slowly before putting the plate and fork back on the window seat. She looked down at Shikamaru with a smile. "That really was good pie. You're an amazing cook." She swiped a last bit of crust from the plate and finished it off, moaning. "Yum."
"Erm… thanks." She noticed that his voice was slightly rougher than usual. "Sakura?"
She yelped in shock as the tables suddenly turned; now he was crouching above her, and she was on the floor, nonplussed as to how she got there.
"You've really got to stop moaning like that."
Sakura blushed and tried to look away-- but, to her great surprise, Shikamaru's hand came up and touched her cheek.
She immediately looked back up at him, staring at him, those dark brown eyes, so like a deer's eyes… so enticing. And his fingers were now running down her face, the calloused pads of his index and middle and ring fingers trailing up and down her cheek while his thumb went over her cheekbone.
Her heart pounded; what was he doing? Why was he looking at her like that, with those dark eyes strangely… strangely passionate? He looked rugged and… and simply gorgeous, with that single silver hoop and the tanned skin and the sprinkling of freckles across his nose as he touched her. And why was her body responding? Why did a strange and not fully unpleasant shiver go down her spine whenever his rough fingers caressed the smooth skin of her face?
His thumb brushed against her lower lip, and she shivered, wishing she still had the blanket around her shoulders.
And then he kissed her.
A feeling of warmth bloomed in the pit of her stomach and her heart flipped over as his lips pressed against hers; it was a simple, open-mouthed kiss, but she felt completely out of breath when he pulled away.
"Sakura," he murmured, and she felt his breath warm her lips, increasing the tingling in them.
He leaned down again, capturing her lips with his own again. She responded this time, tilting her head. His tongue moistened her bottom lip, and she let out a breathy sigh into his mouth as she slid hers out to meet it.
Their hands wandered without abandon-- one of Shikamaru's stayed on her face, rubbing at her hair while the other went around her waist, hoisting her up into a sitting position so that she was half in his lap, with the same hand going down to her hip. In turn, Sakura wrapped her arms around his neck, her fingers playing with the hair at the nape of his neck.
She tastes like apples.
Shikamaru moved his mouth from her lips to her neck, his kisses leaving blossoming scents of apple on her skin. Sakura felt herself arch her back in response to his tenderness and sighed into his shoulder, letting out a small moan and rubbing his shoulder blades with her thumbs.
Almost subconsciously, one of Shikamaru's hands raised her shirt up just a bit, and he rested his hand on the warm curve of her waist. Sakura smiled at the contact, and she felt him chuckle at the way her body trembled at his touch.
BAM. BAM. BAM.
The two shinobi pulled away reluctantly at the sound of the knocks on the door, smiling slightly sheepishly and staring at each other with mixed expressions of shock and desire.
"Shikamaru-san, open up!" Shizune's voice seeped through the door. "Tsunade-sama wants those papers."
Shikamaru sighed and planted a chaste kiss on Sakura's nose, helping her up. "One minute." They moved slowly and in unison, hands entwined. Shikamaru had one arm around her waist. He grabbed the papers from the floor, and on the way to the door Sakura kissed him on the cheek, the temple, the jaw, the side of his mouth-- sweet, lingering kisses that left him strangely winded.
She let go of him, and he opened the door.
Shizune took the papers and smiled at Sakura's swollen lips, the way Shikamaru reached back to grab her hand. "You two having fun?"
Sakura's eyes widened. "Fun?"
Shikamaru raised an eyebrow. "How troublesome. We're just making some pie."
"And talking about math," Sakura added.
The genius next to her nodded solemnly. "Yes, math. A lot of math."
Sakura laughed. "We'll see you later, Shizune." She shut the door, and Shikamaru immediately resumed kissing her, his enthusiasm surprising even him… she smiled as he nibbled at her earlobe and wrapped her arms around his broad chest. "You know," she said quietly, "I think I get this whole SOHCAHTOA thing."
"Really? That's a shame," the genius rumbled, looking at her directly.
She frowned. "Why?"
He kissed her forehead and made his way down, trailing the lightest of kisses down her face, and then went back to her ear to whisper something so simple and yet so undeniably sensuous it made her knees buckle to hear it.
"I was looking forward to teaching you more."
Sakura had always hated math… till now, anyway.