For the entirety of their relationship, whenever a mission wasn't getting in the way, Shikamaru and Kiba fucked every single night—sometimes more than once, when Kiba was feeling especially frisky. Often times Kiba didn't even bother making it to the bedroom, knocking Shikamaru out of his chair, ripping the other man's pants open with his teeth, and fucking the shit out of him… or riding him into the floor, whichever mood happened to strike him at the time.
But shortly after their two-year anniversary, it stopped.
The first week, Shikamaru barely noticed. It was probably just one of those things.
The second week, Shikamaru began to get a bit curious. After all, Kiba and sex pretty much went hand in hand, and rarely did the man neglect his animalistic needs.
Three weeks had now passed, and curiosity had blossomed into worry. Kiba had always been a creature of instinct, and this was… this was just not right. But Shikamaru didn't say anything, kept his mouth shut as Kiba walked past him through the doorway that lead into their small, cluttered apartment with only his usual toothy grin. Akamaru rushed past him, almost knocking the bags of ramen from his hands, but Kiba's reflexes were quick, and without a moment's pause he'd lifted the bags just high enough that the styrofoam bowls inside wouldn't tip or spill. He carried them to the kitchen without any further incident, setting them on the counter so he could hurry back to his lover and give him a big bear hug and a quick peck on the cheek.
"What do you want to do tonight? I was thinking stay in and watch a movie or something?"
"Sounds fine." Shikamaru said, flatly, following the Inuzuka to the kitchen, where their dinner was waiting for them. They never really cooked for themselves anymore, seeing as Kiba couldn't cook to save his life… and Shikamaru, well, who knew if he could cook, he was far too lazy to try. Anyway, it was just easier for Kiba to pick up food on his way home.
"Hey, you feeling okay? You look kinda sick." Kiba quirked an eyebrow, removing their dinners from the plastic bags and setting Akamaru's on the floor by the refrigerator.
Shikamaru shrugged, apathetically. "I'm fine."
"No really, you look like shit. What's up?"
"Thanks." Shikamaru rolled his eyes, ignoring the question completely.
"You're like a woman when you do that."
"Fuck you, Kiba."
"Ooh, somebody's got his panties in a twist." Kiba chuckled, handing off the second bowl of ramen to the black haired man, ignoring the frown on his face as he did so.
Shikamaru sighed deeply, taking his food to the living room and sitting down on his favorite chair. "Whatever." He cracked open his bowl and began to eat without uttering another word.
He hated worrying. Worrying was troublesome, time consuming and just annoying in general. If he could have flipped a switch on the back of his head and turned it off, he would have done it. If he could have done what Kiba always did and shrug it off like it never happened, he'd have done that, too. But no, he had to be cursed with one of those minds that worked nonstop, twenty-four hours a day. And with that came the worry, the thoughts that maybe Kiba was seeing someone else, maybe Kiba had finally gotten bored with him, or maybe Kiba had suddenly become complacent and boring himself… fat chance. Kiba was always such a hassle, sometimes Shikamaru wondered if he wouldn't be better without him…. That wasn't true. As much of a pain as Kiba was, he knew without a doubt that he needed the other man. He kept Shikamaru from becoming dull, he kept him from giving up on life, and most of all… Kiba was the only person who could put up with Shikamaru for an extended period of time. Shikamaru needed, no… loved that hard head on Kiba's shoulders… and he had always, always and without a doubt believed that Kiba felt the same way. That is, until now. Now he was doubting, worrying and chewing the inside of his cheek. He didn't want to worry. Kiba was supposed to be that one thing in his life that was certain, the one thing that would always be there, no matter what.
The thought he could be losing that was killing him.
Shikamaru didn't even pay attention to the remainder of the movie. His head sat, propped up on his fist in feigned attention, eyes set on the screen, but mirrored to the inside of his skull. The credits began to roll, but only when Kiba got up to turn off the movie did he actually snap back into reality, watching his boyfriend's every subtle movement.
"Shit, I'm tired!" Kiba stretched his arms out as far as his body would allow, just for good measure. "I'm gonna go to bed."
When the Inuzuka looked over at him, expectantly, Shikamaru lifted his head from it's resting place. "Yeah, sounds like a plan."
He got up from his chair slowly, and followed Kiba into the bedroom. Like usual, Kiba flopped down on the bed hard enough that the entire mattress jounced beneath him, and like usual he curled onto his side, one arm out toward Shikamaru's side of the bed, looking up at him with those adorable 'come to me' eyes that nobody but Shikamaru ever got to see.
Well, not necessarily.
Shikamaru grimaced, suddenly wanting to pound his head against the bedpost until he lost enough brain cells to stop thinking entirely. But, since that was obviously out of the question, he instead resigned to rolling onto the bed and onto his side of the pillow, which just happened to mean settling his neck over Kiba's outstretched arm. This had always been the same way… which was maybe the worst part. It wasn't even strange when Kiba then pulled him in, kissing him gently, wrapping arms around his neck, and pressing their foreheads together. And within fifteen minutes… Kiba was asleep.
If something was wrong in their relationship… why didn't anything else change?
"It sounds to me like he's holding out on you." Chouji said, still smiling, and his eyes not settling on anything in particular.
Shikamaru's gaze lifted from his tea, glancing up at his best friend with a slightly unsettled, but otherwise bland look etched on his features. "What if there's someone else?"
Chouji looked across the booth at the Nara. "I've been in your shoes, you know…" He said softly. "It's hard. Maybe you should just… ask him what he wants?"
"Troublesome. I don't think it's that easy, Chouji…"
"But maybe it is." When Shikamaru looked again to meet his friend's eyes, he found that Chouji's gaze had wandered into the restaurant again, probably hoping for their orders to magically emerge from the kitchen. "He's not gonna leave you if you're worried about that… but you do wanna have sex again, right?"
"God, I do." Shikamaru groaned, his head sinking into his arms. "Three weeks. It's driving me insane. I don't know how straight guys do it."
Chouji sputtered into laughter, but soon managed to quell it to a controlled chuckle. "Yeah, well… let's just say it's worth it in the end, though. As soon as you figure out what Kiba wants from you, I guarantee you're in for the best makeup sex of your life. At least that's always been my experience."
Shikamaru lifted his head, quirking a brow curiously. "How… often does this happen to you, Chou?"
The larger man started tapping on the tabletop. "Maybe… every other month or so." Shikamaru's jaw dropped, and upon noticing this, Chouji couldn't help but snort out a small laugh. "C'mon, look who I'm dating."
"I guess that's true." Shikamaru sighed. "I sure hope Kiba doesn't end up like that…"
"I doubt it. He's not the type."
"Hn…. You never know. If he finds out it works, he might start using it all the time." That was a bad thought. Shikamaru propped his elbow on the table, just so he had a place to rest his cheek. "It sounds like a pain but… I think I'm gonna take your advice. It's a better plan than anything I've been able to come up with."
"From you, that's a compliment."
The thoughts had been brewing in Shikamaru's head all day, the plans had been set, and unlike most people, he was able to think and plan without faltering in his tasks. Whether it was the C class missions the Hokage had thrown at him without warning or dealing with the various nuisances of everyday life, he was completely unhindered. That is… until he got home. It was later than he usually got back, the sun had long since set and the street lamps were burning brightly. He stepped up the two flights to their apartment without hesitation, but when he reached for that knob… his breath suddenly hitched. He had never been one for confrontation… so what the hell was he doing? His brow knit tightly despite himself. This was something he HAD to do, difficult and troublesome or not.
When he opened the door, he let out a lungful of air in one fluid motion. He had to simply get it over with now. The longer he procrastinated-the longer he danced around the subject, the more miserable he'd become, and the more troublesome the situation would be to remedy. Really, unless he wanted to put even more effort into it, it had to end as fast as possible.
Of course, he hadn't expected the image he'd seen when opening the door.
It was one of those things they did. They never spoke it out loud, it was just one of those understandings they had. Kiba had stayed up waiting for Shikamaru to get home. An hour had gone by. Then two, then another. Kiba, being the restless mutt he was, had gotten bored. He'd given up playing running games through the apartment with Akamaru on the grounds that such endeavors were absurdly lethal, and he definitely wasn't the type to just sit there watching TV or reading… so he'd done the only other thing he could think of. He'd started working out. He started with crunches, three types, which he'd lost track of shortly after one hundred, seventy squats, ten sets with the free weights, and then he'd moved on to pull ups on the doorframe into the kitchen.
Somewhere between number thirty-five and thirty six is when Shikamaru had walked in. His hand tightly gripped the metal doorknob until his knuckles went white, and he fought hard to keep his jaw from dropping. Kiba had always been a good-looking guy with a smokin' body, no doubt about that. Shikamaru thought about it every time the man took of even the slightest article of clothing, but this… this was wrong. Unfair. Evil. Still unaware of his lover's presence, Kiba had repeated the process, up and down, perfectly sculpted chest and stomach muscles rippling with every motion, beads of sweat outlining the flawless copper tone of his hairless skin, letting it glisten in the low light and painting an entirely irresistible picture in the process. He swallowed hard. Didn't Kiba realize just how difficult he was making things? Didn't he realize just how much it was making Shikamaru want to give up on trying to fix things, yank him off the doorframe by those sweatpants that already hung way too low on his hips, and just fuck him until he couldn't think anymore?
… Probably not…. While being supremely confident in most respects of his life, Kiba was one of those rare creatures that was oblivious of how ungodly gorgeous he was. How he was overlooked so often completely baffled Shikamaru.
"Oh hey, Shikamaru, you just get back?" Kiba's fingers slipped from the doorframe, shaking his sweat drenched hair once and smiling, wolfishly. A single drop of sweat trailed down the tattoo on his right cheek and down his neck. Shikamaru nearly fainted.
"Yeah…" He mentally shook himself, and when that didn't dislodge the image of a sweating sex god from his thoughts, he mentally slapped himself. "Long day…" No! Why did he have to phrase it like that?! He was going to kill himself, if Kiba didn't do it first. He dropped his head to the floorboards and stepped past sullenly, not wanting to risk losing control… as much as he'd like to, in actuality. He pushed into the bedroom, shrugged off his vest, and threw himself, face first, into the bed.
Kiba blinked a few times and, still a bit stunned, decided to follow his lover into the bedroom. "You—you okay, Shikamaru?" Nabbing the towel draped over the space heater, Kiba almost missed when Shikamaru's head shook 'no'. Kiba crawled onto his side of the bed and sat back on his feet. "Why?"
Shikamaru rolled his face out of the pillow, but didn't look the Inuzuka in the face. "You…" He murmured.
"Me?" Kiba stopped ruffling the towel through his hair, possibly caught off guard by the sincerity in his lover's voice. "What the heck did I do?"
"Don't play dumb with me. You don't hold out like that and not know it." Shikamaru's frown was almost a pout, though he was trying his hardest to keep it from looking that way.
"Hold out?" Kiba's brain clicked a moment later. He sighed. "Well, then you shouldn't be upset with me. This is your fault."
"Yeah, I decided to hold out. Not that I had to work very hard at it or anything." Kiba's face took on an uncharacteristically stern look.
"How is that an explanation?" Shikamaru returned the stony look with a glare of his own, though in reality, his chest felt like it was ready to implode.
Kiba wanted to cry out, but instead he looked away abruptly. "Figure it out for yourself, smart guy." He stood up from his place on the bed, stomped out the door, and slammed it shut, leaving Shikamaru alone in the pitch darkness… on the empty expanse of a bed.
"What do you want from me?" Shikamaru whispered into the darkness, burying his head in his pillow.
The next morning was water under the bridge, much to Shikamaru's surprise. When he'd nudged Kiba, who'd slept curled up on the kitchen floor with Akamaru, telling him coffee was ready, the man had only smiled sleepily and motioned with his hand that he wanted help up. There was no lingering animosity from the night before, and once again Shikamaru was struck with that eerie sense of normality. He'd mulled Kiba's words around his head all night, and though he was no closer to an answer, he had a feeling that this was somehow all part of it… that maybe things weren't supposed to change. Either Kiba was cleverer than he'd expected, or he was missing something ridiculously obvious. He sure hoped it was the former…
Kiba pulled himself up with the aid of Shikamaru's hand, only frowning for a split second when the Nara stiffened into the kiss he placed on his temple. He wouldn't brood on it, of course, but it didn't mean he had to like it, either.
"Want breakfast?" The Inuzuka offered, flashing a toothy grin.
"We both know you can't cook."
"I didn't say anything about cooking!" Kiba gave his lover his best shit-eating grin before bounding off into the bathroom, leaving Shikamaru in the kitchen with only Akamaru for company.
For a few moments, Shikamaru finally found some contentment in the charcoal black of his coffee and the sharp sound of the shower water echoing from the other room. He let out a sigh, brushing fingers through locks of hair that had fallen loose during the night. Truthfully, he needed a shower himself. He'd forgotten to take one the night before in the midst of his foggy thoughts. Kiba never took long to wash himself, though, so there'd probably still be hot water by the time he got his turn.
Thinking of the bathroom… if he wasn't mistaken, he'd left his hairbrush in there the previous morning… and damn. He had to brush his hair before his shower, call it an obsessive compulsion. Lifting himself from his stool, heavily, he managed to trudge his way into the bathroom. And of course, there it was, carelessly lying across the countertop. Normally, it would have been an easy task to just grab the brush and be done with it… but as his fingertips closed in on their target, Shikamaru was suddenly distracted by a sound. Not a strange sound, per se, but an out of place sound. A low, throaty groan… followed by a series of panting breaths. He had no doubt as to who it was. He turned toward the shower, slowly, forgetting his previous task in lieu of something slightly more intriguing. A vague outline of Kiba's body could be seen through the distorted glass… but not enough to see what he was doing, or to catch even the simplest detail.
Deep down inside, Shikamaru knew what was happening behind that glass, but all that frustration that had pent up inside his body in the last few weeks seemed to be muffling that knowledge… or at least stifling the part of him that gave a crap. He stepped close to the shower door, pushed his shoulder against the tile wall, and opened the door a good six inches. He shouldn't have been surprised to see Kiba there, features flushed, head back, one hand bracing the wall and the other trapping his heated erection between his body and the cool tile… but a small bit of him was, indeed, surprised. It faded quickly, just as the mirroring look on Kiba's face did once he felt the cold rush of air and turned his head back.
At that moment, something finally snapped.
Because it wasn't fair and it wasn't right and it was burning his entire body to ash. Because he wanted him, loved him, needed him and didn't know what to apologize for. Because he felt guilty, and hopeless and so scared he could barely keep his body from shaking to pieces. Because Kiba was the only person who could shut up the voices in his head and make everything in the entire world just fade away… Shikamaru found himself caught tightly in Kiba's arms, his hands on Kiba's face, kissing him deeply, pouring all of the fire of his pain, worry and need into his lover's lips.
It probably wasn't the best idea to jump into the shower almost fully dressed, but Shikamaru didn't even think about it. He simply shed himself of soaked layers of clothing, untangled his half knotted ponytail and replaced his hands on his lover' neck to resume their kiss. But that wasn't enough. Could never be enough. His hands trailed down Kiba's perfectly sculpted chest, the tips of his fingers ghosting against every hill and valley of his ribs and stomach. He knew every inch of this man like a roadmap, and yet it never failed to amaze him, never failed to make him want more. Three weeks might as well have been an eternity. Shikamaru had never, ever wanted anything more than he wanted Kiba right at that moment.
He pushed closer to Kiba's body, pulling up one of the Inuzuka's hands and pushing the index finger into his mouth. He sucked on it gently for a moment, then much harder, scraping his teeth against the flesh when he finally decided to pull it out. Kiba gasped, lightly.
"You gonna fuck me or what?" Shikamaru's voice was deep and breathy, desperation not so subtly peeking through every syllable. God it was hot. Kiba had never seen this side of Shikamaru, and truthfully, it was exciting him in ways he never would have guessed.
"What made you change your mind?" Shikamaru laid flat on his stomach, eyes closed and his arm slung lazily over Kiba's prone form.
"About holding out?"
"I didn't change my mind." Kiba said with a shrug, folding his hands behind his head, smugly.
Shikamaru cracked open a single eye. "What?"
A grin spread across the Inuzuka's lips, as if he'd tried to hold it back as long as he could and finally failed. "I got exactly what I wanted from you." Shikamaru slitted his eye in response. "I got you to take initiative. It's something I was a little worried about… like you weren't really interested…. So I wanted to see you take control. Not even all the time, ya know? Just… once in a while…"
"Initiative? Are you kidding me?"
"Nope." Kiba rolled his head toward his lover. "I almost gave up, though. It was frickin' hard…."
"How the hell did you manage without going insane?"
"A lot of masturbating. A LOT."