title: the edge of reason
pairing: ShikaIno, implied SasuSaku
Shikamaru on chemistry, romance, and the language of love. He doesn't get it, but maybe he doesn't have to. She translates just fine.

notes: I don't think written this POV before. OMG CAN YOU GUESS WHO'S TALKING?


Why does Neji frequently lose the (second-)most amount of dignity in my fic? Oh that's right, because I rather like him. :D

Also, I'm going to write Shikamaru as many times as it takes me to understand him.

(um, fear?)

Finally, I've been watching ISWAK. AND IT OWNS MY SOUL. I was inspired by that as well.

disclaimer: not mine.

I've never been much of a romantic. I guess it comes with the territory of being so analytical all the time.

But yeah, it's difficult for me to fathom the idea of something as irrational as love.

At least, her idea of it.

Oh, I'm well aware of what love is—on a physiological level, at least. It's a series of chemical reactions that eventually send a rush of endorphins to the brain, thereby inducing a false feeling of euphoria. Or, if that isn't your style, you can go by the plethora of psychological models floating around out there—Sternberg's Triangular Theory, Love Style, Phases…whatever floats your boat. Despite psychology being a soft science, these all still have some evidence—some support to back them up.

She doesn't. Or rather, her ideas don't.

She talks in meaningless metaphors—in the language of sappy movies and florid prose. The brunt of her research consists of ridiculously cliché plots, corny on-screen "chemistry,"

(I hate the way that word gets more devalued every single time she uses it)

and paperback novels emblazoned with pictures of overly-inflated, plastic men, waif-thin, pale-haired ingénues, and ornate illegible script, usually printed in some garish shade of red.

("It stands for passion! For romance! Obviously something you'll never understand, you absolute jerk! "she'll screech at me, anytime I make comments regarding her choice of "literature." Whatever. She's so annoying, sometimes.)

So yeah, she and I don't see eye to eye on this. Or most things really. It comes as a result of being complete opposites, like two sides of the same coin, or like oil and water, or being as different as night and day.

Yeah, pick your simile.

Sometimes, when I walk by the teashop and see her talking to Sakura, I can't help but overhear.

(No, I'm serious. I'm not actually trying to listen in. Those two are so ridiculously loud that even the owner of the music store a few blocks down has to periodically tell them to lower their voices because they're interfering with his business.

The guy blares his CDs out of two BOSE sound systems. Go figure.

And what's up with those two, anyway? I thought they hated each other. You know what, whatever, I don't care.)

Anyway, whenever I happen to hear those two sweet dulcet tones coming together in perfect harmony—

(Yeah, shut up. I never said I was a poet. That was sarcasm in case you didn't get it. Oh, you did? My mistake.)

I get this irrepressible urge to beat myself unconscious.

See, there's this new…thing in Konoha.

Apparently, all the girls are doing it, which obviously means that she and Sakura have to be at the forefront of the "revolution."

(Believe me when I say that's the best word to describe just what the hell's been going on around here.)

I can't even really pinpoint what's so great about it. According to her, though, it's like, the new black! whatever that means.

Che, girls.

I mean, granted, it only takes up about an hour of your day, so you can't exactly say it's time-consuming. You can pause it whenever you want, and restart from the same point without having to work your way up to the same frenzy you were in before you stopped. Well, then again, I guess it depends on the girl. She always has to restart it.

And she can't even get up the energy to do it herself.

I swear, there have been moments when I happened to come to her apartment while she in the middle of her "break," and she's made me come into the living room from the kitchen to do it for her.

So freaking troublesome.

And, it's a closely guarded secret but, from what I hear, they've even got Hyuuga doing it. Which has got to be some feat. But then again, he's got Hinata, Hanabi and Tenten riding him, so I guess it was just a matter of time.

I have, however, taken the liberty of finding it hilarious that he likes it. A lot, actually, if the gossip around the Mission Room is to be believed.

Next time I see him, I think I'll say something about it.

If Naruto doesn't first. anyway. Honestly, that guy has a death wish.

(Like what he did last week. Apparently, he finally figured out that Sakura and the Uchiha were going out, and he what did he do?

Sneak into Sasuke's apartment and burn all his underwear as some twisted form of retribution, that's what. What a moron. Doesn't he realize he's just helped Sasuke with his clan-restoration?

oh, God, the images…)

But I'm getting off topic.

Anyway, this new it!thing has just added fuel to her already out-of-control fire.

Seriously, ninja dramas?

They're making ninja dramas, now?

(and what the hell, Neji likes them, why?)

What I want to know is, who has time to watch them, because I certainly don't. Not that I'd ever want to. I'm a no-nonsense kind of guy, remember?

(Though now that I think about it, there haven't been many really serious missions lately. Where're the psychos plotting world domination when you need them?)

But yeah, the brains over at the TV station suddenly realized—after years upon years upon years of our establishment of a shinobi nation—that they were ignoring the professions of the majority of the people in their service area, and therefore not providing programming that directly appealed to them.

(And no matter what Kakashi-san and Jiraiya-sama say, Icha Icha Paradise: Live and in Color! doesn't count.)

Apparently, this was a mistake that needed to be rectified immediately.

Hence, Shinobi Passions.

(I know. I gagged when I first heard the title, too. Neji is definitely going to be hearing from me.)

The plot is as convoluted as any self-respecting

(Are you really? Really?)

kunoichi could want.

From what I can gather from her ever-increasing

(and unwanted)

synopses, there are two main storylines, and about sixty thousand different sub-plots.

(OK, not really. But it seems that way.)

The main-main plot revolves around this guy named Kenji. He's well on his way to becoming the best ninja in his village, only he's something of a moron, and there's something about him, some kind of stigma attached to him that makes his village hate him.

Cue in angsty entrance music. Or maybe not quite yet.

Because Kenji's best friend, Hikaru, is definitely the queen of this drama. He's the moody, Byronic, anti-hero—you know the type. Dark eyes, pale skin, jet-black hair. The whole package.

(I heard that the casting director came around to Sasuke's place to see if he was willing to audition but Sakura kicked him out when she realized how many more fangirls she—and Sasuke, to a lesser degree, if that makes any sense which it doesn't, but whatever—was going to have to deal with after he got the part.)

He's absolutely obsessed with surpassing his cousin Yuki, in terms of strength and intellect.

(He's also a whiny bitch, in my humble opinion.)

Their mutual friend, some insipid girl named Ayame, is caught in this ridiculous love hexagon…thing with several stock-characters.

There's Jin—Kenji's wild, brash childhood friend.

Ichigo, this reformed bastard who used to be a mercenary.

Hikaru's cousin, Yuki.

Ayame's teacher, Yamada-sensei, the pervert.

And of course, Hikaru and Kenji themselves.

(One has to wonder where they have the time to do any actual missions what with all the drama surrounding them. Che.)

Then, there's this one guy, Kyou.

Now, here's a character I can identify with. A little, anyway.

All he wants to do is write his novel. Just sit down, under the quiet shade of a nice, big tree in between missions and write his book. He doesn't want to deal with all the nonsense that surrounds his friends, all he wants to do is finish his book in peace. That's all.

Of course, he doesn't get it.

See, he's in the center of a major sub-plot, if such a thing exists. Ayame's friends, these two girls named Rin and Kagura, fight over him. Constantly. Both girls are convinced that he is meant to be with her. That he's their soulmate. Their destiny.

Gag me.

And of course, Kyou has no say in the matter. No one ever stops to think that maybe he doesn't want to be with either of them. Or that he might not be interested in a relationship with anybody at that point.

Or that he's gay.

(I would laugh. Loudly. And dodge her fist, because she absolutely adores this guy.)

She's crazy about him—and she's rooting for Rin. She says that she complements him, or some such nonsense. That he completes her, that he's her happiness.

Now, assuming that I go with her theory—that I step into her impossibly high-heeled shoes and attempt to think in rainbows and butterflies, and happy endings…

(Wait for it…


Nope. Nevermind. Can't do it.)

But in any case, I don't like the idea of it. Destiny implies a sense of complacency, and as lazy as I am, I've never been one to condone that. You make your own choices—that way, both the accolades for your successes and the regrets from your failures can only be laid at the foot of your door. No foisting the blame on someone else when something bombs, and no need to share the glory when your plans come to fruition.

Really, if you think about it, destiny is much more trouble than it's worth.

But she doesn't see it that way. She's determined to see the so-called "beauty" in their "inevitable"—her supposition, not mine—get together.

And honestly, she acts like her happiness is contingent on what happens in the lives of these fictional characters.

So what happens if the producers decide that the guy who plays Kyou looks better with the actress who plays Kagura? Or what if there's a contract dispute and "Rin" walks?

Is she going to swear off love? Pack up the pink lace and the homemade chocolate kits, and subscribe to radical feminism?

(…oh God.)

And what's so amazing about needing someone else to feel whole? It sounds unbearable, that sort of dependence. Yet, she talks as though she'd revel in being subject to that sort of rule. Considering the sort of girl she is…

(wild, free…and…I guess, unfettered, unchained and…despite myself, utterly…indescribable, and get that sappy look off your face because I don't mean it…that…way)

I don't understand her.

She's impossible. Illogical. Irrational, to say the least.

(She wears skirts in autumn, uses blankets in July, fad diets year round, and expects chocolate on every day but White, and I try not to look at her when she smiles.

She's troublesome.)

Ridiculous. Absolutely insane.

But, yeah, yeah, I've learned how to deal.

She finds him sprawled under the fickle shade of an old oak tree, indolent as ever, with a faded blue notebook covering everything but the brown eyes she's learned to wake up to.

(smiles, because he's familiar and comforting, and he knows her, even if he doesn't quite agree and—)

"Shikamaru! Where are—Oh, there you are! Where've you been?"

He looks at her, tries vainly to stop the small smile that spreads across his face at the sight of her blonde hair unkempt, the mixed scents of fertilizer and damp earth wafting to meet him far before she gets close.

He wrinkles his nose, and she tries not to find it cute.

"You smell like shit."

She ignores this, and flops down next to him, a bundle of white blonde-energy and too blue eyes, and lays her head on his chest.

Her hair still smells like strawberries, and he checks the sky for time.

"Isn't it about time for your daily dose of hormonally-challenged, hopelessly-inept, why-the-hell-do-they-even-call-themselves-shinobi show?"

Her pretty pink mouth forms a small 'o' at his reminder, and she grabs his hand and leaps.

"That's right! We'd better go or we'll miss it!"

He rolls his eyes.

"And wouldn't that be a tragedy?"

She pouts.

"Don't you feel even the slightest…I don't know, need for that sort of—what did you call it?"

"Cliché display of ridiculous irrationality?"

"Yeah, that. Don't you ever get tired of thinking in absence of feeling?" She peers up at him, blonde hair shielding one eye from view.

He does not falter in his steps.

"Why should I? I've got you to think that way enough for two."

She stumbles, and he walks on, hands in pockets, a small smile on his face. After a moment, she catches up, face tinged pink.

"Yeah…yeah, you do, huh?"

She takes his hand, and slowly leads him home.



So yeah.