The Best Medicine

Notes: Happy Belated Valentines Day everyone!

I wanted to post this early since I know some of you guys were a bit miffed as to how chapter two didn't really focus on Shikamaru and Hinata at all. As promised our lovely couple will be around a lot, but there will also be some explanation about the past- namely Hinata's past with Naruto. So sit tight and expect this chapter to be yet another long, yet hopefully enjoyable, one.

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Chapter Three:

The Anti-Date Part One

'How did I let myself get talked into this?' Shikamaru asked himself, not for the first time when it came to him following Grandma's commands; because in a sense, Yoshino threatened to do bad things to him if Shikamaru didn't obey, Grandma however would follow through with the threats…he was sure of it.

'How Granddad puts up with her, I'll never know.' Shikamaru thought, one arm behind his head to rub a stiff neck.

While his excuse of sleeping in late had some credence, it wasn't quite the whole truth either. The truth being Shikamaru found it difficult to sleep last night and actually didn't doze off until early hours of the next morning.

It bothered him…Hinata's sudden outburst of: Shikamaru isn't ugly or unattractive, I think he's kind of cute.

'But Hinata took it back, right after realizing what she said,' Shikamaru kept reminding himself, as if to strip away any importance that 'could' have been taken from the statement.

Yet at the back of his mind, Shikamaru knew Hinata well enough that she hated lying or filling silence with empty words. The girl still had difficulty getting out what she needed to say half the time, so why say something like that if it didn't mean something?

A heavy sigh escaped him and a felting thought of: 'I'm thinking too much about this': crossed the young Nara as he finally reached the front gates leading into the Hyuuga compound.

The guards must of recognized him from the few times he came by to pick up Hinata so they could go to Kurenai-san's place together for baby sitting duties; because they didn't give him any trouble, didn't ask him any questions, and simply opened the gates to let him in.

Shikamaru gave a brief nod of 'thanks'. He really wanted to avoid as much hassle as possible since Hiashi wasn't expecting him to show up in the first place.

A little bit too late, Shikamaru realized maybe it would have been better if he, or Grandma, had sent a scroll ahead. The Hyuuga clan didn't like visitors who came unannounced.

'Now…if I remember Hiashi's office should be this way.' Shikamaru mused, about the turn, until he heard girlish squeals and whispers coming a few feet right behind him.

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"See," Hanabi said while tugging on her elder sibling's hand, "I told you, Hinata. Now quit acting like a big baby and go over to him and say hello."

Hinata cringed, "But, Hanabi-chan, he can't be here just to see me. It could be some sort of clan business he has with Father. Or maybe he needs to recruit Neji-niisan for a mission. Shikamaru-kun has other…more important things to do than look for me…"

"Well," a voice drawled, "you're right about me being here on clan business Hinata…"

Hinata felt her face burn to an almost intolerable point, but still she tilted her head back.

Shikamaru tried hard not to smile as Hinata glanced backwards at him. She looked way too…cute; there he admitted it, that wasn't so bad.

Instead he smirked, hands shoved into the pockets of his pants, "But I think you're mistaken that I have better things to do than take the time to see you now and again."

'Nice one…' Shikamaru said to himself. Granted, flirting wasn't Shikamaru's preferred method of communication; but Ino kept scolding him for being so passive when it came to girls.

"You'll never get anyone…let alone someone as shy as Hinata, if you don't step up and at least 'act' like you're the hottest thing to come around Konoha. Even though we all know that you're not, you could at least pretend you are around Hinata..."

Ah good old Ino, she certainly knew how to make her friend- Shikamaru- feel like utter crap and at the same time dispense useful advice.

Hinata blush increased even more, making the girl's face turn red as her gaze went to look elsewhere. Obviously the older sister was floored, Hanabi on the other hand…

"Wow, Nara. I'm impressed, that was really corny even for you. Where did you get that pick up line from anyway? The back of a cereal box, maybe? Or is Kiba giving out free lessons on how to NOT pick up girls?" Hanabi snipped.

Shikamaru held the smirk in place, but now it looked more like a grimace: 'What the hell? I thought that was a pretty good line for being thought of on the spot.'

Still, not about to be defeated in a battle of wits by a teenager, Shikamaru's smirk returned looking more natural and at ease, and with a shrug he returned Hanabi's barb with: "And you should know more about Kiba than anyone else here…am I right?"

Wide eyed, Hinata forgot all about being flattered to pieces. Instead she wheeled on her younger sister, "Hanabi? …is that true?" she asked, looking shocked.

Slowly backing away, Hanabi had her hands raised high, "I…I plead the fifth!" she squeaked, while giving Shikamaru a death glare.

Unbothered by the look, Shikamaru motioned with his hands for the young Hyuuga to wander away and let the 'adults' talk.

Scowling, Hanabi did move along, but only a few feet. For once she rounded the corner of a building, Hanabi stayed in hopes of overhearing what was going on.

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Hinata was partly glad Hanabi was gone; she could talk to Shikamaru without having her cheeky and nosey sister interrupting them every other word. But, at the same time, Hinata felt ten times more nervous without her little sister chirping up beside her.

Hinata wasn't quite sure why but she had felt…"funny" since earlier that morning. And being around Shikamaru seemed to only fuel those funny feelings all the more. As of that moment, Hinata could feel her face all but burning from a blush. Rarely did she blush around Shikamaru. Sure he would say things which would cause her to blush, but not this much.

'It feels…almost like when I was around Naruto.' Hinata thought, suddenly struck with a horrible thought that maybe this was where her relationship with Shikamaru was going to next.

She would develop a crush on him. Get the courage to tell she liked him. They would go out for a few months…and somehow…things would fall to piece.

Closing her eyes and shaking her head, Hinata attempted to not think about that. It had hurt too much with Naruto, for Hinata to want to fall in love again, especially with Shikamaru.

'Shikamaru-kun is such a good friend to me. I don't want to…fall in love and ruin everything like last time.' Hinata told herself.

Watching the young Hyuuga woman, Shikamaru noticed the dark flush of her cheeks weren't dying down to her natural color.

Fearing her cold was coming back, Shikamaru dared to lean in closer, a palm pressed against the girl's forehead.

A small 'squeak' escaped Hinata, eyes still closed the girl dared to pry one open to look up at Shikamaru.

"You don't feel like you're running a fever…" Shikamaru muttered, "Are you sure you're over your cold though?"

Closing her eyes again, feeling oh so embarrassed, Hinata nodded.

"Um yes…sorry for making you worry, but really I'm fine."

"Hn," the fingers pulled away, the lack of contact made Hinata shiver.

"There has to be a reason your face is so red though. Is there is something on my face then? Clothes?" Shikamaru asked.

Surprised by the questions, Hinata opened her eyes fully this time. She looked at Shikamaru directly; saw no stain or crumbs, same with his clothes.

Hinata shook her head.

Shikamaru smirked again. Oh he knew the words about to leave his mouth were wrong…so very wrong; but it wouldn't stop.

"Is my fly undone then?" Shikamaru asked, looking to his pants.

Hinata, open-mouthed, didn't even dare to follow Shikamaru's gaze, closed her eyes for a third time- tightly- and shook her head violently from side to side; so much Shikamaru worried the girl was about to give herself whip-lash.

Hinata only stopped shaking her head, when two hands on either side of her face forced her to quit.

Opening her eyes yet again, Hinata bit back a small gasp when she found herself face to face with Shikamaru.

Dark brown eyes seemed to read her and it made Hinata feel flustered and uncomfortable. Her head felt light, while her insides felt heavy and all twisted up.

'Air…I need air… I have to get away from Shikamaru-kun so I can breathe.' Hinata thought to herself, yet while a part of her wanted enough space to take in oxygen, the girl also didn't feel like pulling away from his touch either.

A sigh escaped the young man, "Sorry…about that last part Hinata. It was just a joke. I didn't mean…" Shikamaru paused; he really didn't know what else to say. He wanted Hinata's attention, but not if she was going to act all shy and cagey around him.

Rather, Shikamaru greatly preferred how easily he could talk and understand Hinata. He would gladly take being able to strike a common cord with her, over the amusement of watching Hinata blush and all but stumble over herself when she was being flirted with.

'Maybe I should give up on this whole flirting thing.' Shikamaru thought as his fingers finally released her.

Hinata was surprised to find she actually missed the contact once Shikamaru pulled away. She shivered, 'I only missed having his hands on my face because it's so cold out here…yeah that's it.' Hinata assured herself.

Yes, cold. A much easier and more acceptable explanation as to why she wanted Shikamaru to touch her again…and why she wanted to touch him too. Seeking out warmth was only natural after all…well so was the desire for human touch, but Hinata wasn't about to go there.

Nope, not again.

"Now, I wonder where your bratty sister wandered off to." Shikamaru wondered aloud.

Hinata shrugged, causing her large winter jacket to shift, "With Hanabi-chan…it's anyone's guess. She has a way of moving around the compound while going completely unnoticed most of the time."

"Kind of like a mouse…" Shikamaru remarked with a sarcastic grin.

Hinata paused, her lips pursed, gaze turned upward; then nodded, "I suppose…"

"Hey! Who are you calling a rat, lazy Nara?!" a voice behind them yelled.

Looking over his shoulder, Shikamaru smirked, "Oh so that's where you've been hiding, Brat. Funny, I would think you'd rather hang out in the rubbish pile…"

"The only way I got into the rubbish pile the last time you were here, was because you pushed me in it, with your stupid shadow ninjutsu!" Hanabi yelled clear across the yard, obviously still angry at that particular incident.

"And as for you Hinata! Quit snickering behind your hand. I know you're laughing with him!" Hanabi yelled, catching her elder sibling in the act of giggling with a palm over her mouth.

An exhale of relief escaped Shikamaru's lips. To him this felt more natural, more comfortable, than him having to come up with something flirtatious and borderline 'wrong' to say every time Hinata was near him.

However, relief was soon replaced with surprise as Shikamaru felt a smaller hand curl around his glove covered one. Looking to his right, he wasn't surprised to see Hinata there, but her hand clasped in his was something new.

Sure he had touched the girl's face earlier. But pats on the head and face touching they had both become used to. Watching over Kurenai's kid made for three stressful years; so simple and innocent touches like that were often welcomed as reassurance coming from one very exhausted teen to another.

Maybe them touching each other so often was what helped start and kept the rumors going; but Shikamaru found it to be okay because Hinata, though for being shy, was a very tactile person. So brief touches to hair or face were common between them.

Hand holding was well…a different sort of expression and really had never happened between them, until now that is.

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Hinata could feel her cheeks start to warm up again, but she kept excusing the embarrassment away by thinking to herself that she was just out to keep warm. Nothing romantic or needy about it…nope, nothing at all.

'Denial…' a part of the girl's mind singed to her, strangely it sounded like Hanabi.

Batting that thought away, Hinata clenched Shikamaru's hand in hers, "Um...I almost forgot to remind you. But…do you know if Kurenai-san has any plans for a birthday party?"

"Birthday party?" Shikamaru questioned, an eyebrow raised as confusion set in. It was the dead of winter. Kurenai-san's birthday was during the summer months.

Then it quickly dawned on him, "Oh…the kid's?" he asked.

Hinata nodded, "Yes. He's turning four in a few weeks."

"No…" Shikamaru said, sincere in his disbelief. It just didn't seem real to him that the whiney little squirt he watched grow up was almost four years old already.

Hinata smiled, "Yes. Um anyway…" another squeeze to Shikamaru's hand, "I…I was wondering…do you wantogooutonight?"

Dark eyes slowly blinked as Shikamaru tried to process the quick and grabbled words that just came from Hinata.

Raising his free hand- the only Hinata wasn't clinging to- to his left ear, Shikamaru made a motion of cleaning it out with a gloved fingertip.

"I don't think I heard you, but…did you just ask me out on a date?"

Hinata froze in place.

'Oh no…what did I just say? I did say that didn't I? But…I…can't. No, I can't go through this again.'

So quickly, the girl released Shikamaru's hand, taking a few steps back, "Uh…what I meant was…it's a team thing. I'm going out with Kiba and Shino-kun tonight…"

'Liar,' Hinata's inner self whispered to her, 'You haven't talked to or seen your teammates in weeks, let alone arranged to go out with them for dinner!'

"So…if you, Ino-san, and Chouji-kun come along too…maybe we could plan a small surprise party….maybe?" Hinata repeated, now feeling more unsure than before.

"Oh…so it's both our teammates are going to be there too?" Shikamaru asked, knowing he sounded like a complete idiot for asking when Hinata had already said so.

But he was so damn confused. First the hand holding, then Hinata asking him out, only to change it up and say it was a 'team get together…thing'.

'But then again, women in general just don't make sense.' Shikamaru reasoned while nodding his head to agree with Hinata's arrangement

"What time and where?" Shikamaru asked.

"Eh…" Hinata uttered with a small 'oh crap' smile on her face, "Uh…what time is good for you?" she asked.

Shikamaru considered for a moment, "Well Grandma most likely won't let me leave the medicine shop until sunset, same for Ino at the flower shop. Not sure what Chouji's been up to recently; but I think six sounds good. You?"

"Six is fine." Hinata said all the while wondering when and how she'd be able to track down both her teammates and out of the blue suddenly ask…no beg them to go out to eat with her. Hinata didn't want to end up looking like a fool…or a liar if her teammates didn't show up.

"Did you guys have a place in mind as to where to eat at?" Shikamaru asked.

Hinata shook her head and opened her mouth to suggest something, but Shikamaru cut her off with one of his own, "The Korean Barbeque place? Normally I wouldn't ask, but Chouji loves that place and rarely eats anywhere else." Shikamaru said, self-consciously rubbing a hand against the back of his head.

Why did it feel to Shikamaru like they were making arrangements for a date…when really it wasn't one?

"That's sounds good," Hinata said, "but to be honest I've never tried Korean Barbeque before, so it will be kind of a new experience for me."

"Never?" Shikamaru asked.

Hinata shook her head, "No. Usually my team chooses to go to a small sandwich place so Kiba and Akamaru can order hamburgers."

"No offence against Kiba…or Akamaru," Shikamaru said, "but the dog will most likely have to stay outside the restaurant."

"Ah, it'll be alright. I'm sure Kiba will save Akamaru some scraps to make up for it." Hinata replied with a smile.

Shikamaru snorted, "Hinata, the way my team eats…I doubt there will be enough table scraps to put in a doggie bag."

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'Why are they just talking?' Hanabi inwardly whined as she continued to spy on her sister and Shikamaru. Even though the Nara had found out her hiding place, it wasn't long before the two Chuunins were so engrossed in their ongoing conversation they had forgotten Hanabi was even there.

'God, they act so weird around each other…' Hanabi thought as she watched her sister take Shikamaru's hand.

'And what on earth do they have in common to be talking for so long?!' Hanabi wondered yet again. Her hands were about to freeze off since she had forgotten to put on some gloves before going outside; yet Hanabi was determined not to leave in case she missed something big, like the two of them kissing…or something.

But, no. All they did was talk…and talk…and talk some more…hold hands…talk more.

'So…bored…about to…fall asleep…in snow.' Hanabi thought as she leaned up against the building for support. She would have hated to 'die' of boredom and end up having a bunch of snow up her nose.

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After making their plans. Shikamaru found their conversation winding around all the cute and funny things that happened when they were Kurenai's preferred baby-sitters.

Sure Hinata's former sensei did call on them occasionally to watch the kid; but now Konohamaru and his little group seemed to have shouldered the majority of baby-sitting, since his sensei realized baby-sitting meant D-ranked missions.

"He misses you a lot…" Hinata said suddenly.

"Who?" Shikamaru asked.

Hinata smiled, "Masura-chan. He talks about you all the time and asks me when you're coming back to visit."

Shikamaru cringed a little on the inside. It wasn't that Shikamaru was neglectful in his promise to Kurenai-san; but last year he was busy helping Naruto find ways to track down the still elusive Sasuke, and Akatsuki problems kept cropping up since the leader- Paine- had yet to be captured or killed.

"Sorry. I would say that I'm not over there a lot because I don't have a lot of time on my hands, but…I guess Masura wouldn't understand that."

"No, no I'm sure he would." Hinata said, though her smile was still warm and welcoming, "But, maybe if you were around more, Masura-chan would get your name right."

"I hope so," Shikamaru grumbled, "I'm getting tired of being called 'Shika-niichan."

A small giggle came from the pale-eyed girl, the fingers of her free hand tucking back wayward strands of indigo hair.

"Ah, I think it's a cute nickname." Hinata admitted.

"I'm a guy though. Guys don't like having people say things like 'cute' about them, Hinata." Shikamaru reminded his companion.

"Well…" Hinata started to say something, but a sudden and abrupt clearing of the throat behind the two young adults, startled both Shikamaru and Hinata into turning around.

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Hands hidden in the sleeves of his robe, Hiashi's pale gaze narrowed on his eldest daughter and the Nara boy.

A man who liked to quickly and cleanly get to the point, Hiashi took one look at Shikamaru and asked, "And to what do I owe the pleasure of having you visit our home…Shikamaru-kun?" he asked coolly.

Shikamaru swallowed nervously. He had run ins with Hiashi in the past. All of which concerned Hiashi threatening bodily harm to Shikamaru if anything where to 'happen' while the two teens spent the evenings at Kurenai-san's apartment.

So currently, Hiashi was high on Shikamaru's: People who scare the crap out of me List. The highest ranking persons being a tie between his mother and his ex Temari, but Hiashi was clearly a close second.

Hinata wasn't much help in this situation, since the girl was quiet and had her gaze turned to stare at the snow covered ground.

"Hinata…shouldn't you be training with Neji-kun?" Hiashi reminded, a not-very subtle way of telling the young woman to scram.

Quietly, Hinata gave a quick nod, her hand released Shikamaru's, bowed once to her father, then turned to walk on.

Left alone, Shikamaru knew his only hope for survival was that he was out in a open area in the center of a large clan, there would be witnesses should Hiashi decide to murder him for holding Hinata's hand. And it since it was the daylight hours, Hiashi would have a hard time hiding his body- again should the Hyuuga clan head decide to kill him.

Yet as Hiashi came closer to discuss the matter of business that brought Shikamaru to the Hyuuga clan, the young man couldn't stop himself from looking at Hiashi and thinking to himself: 'Oh please don't kill me…please?'

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Notes: Sorry for the short chapter and again, I know it isn't very exciting now; but it will get better within in the next few chapters, I promise.

Also, Hinata is feeling the effects of the 'vitamins', can't you tell?

Thanks for reading! Later!