A/N: I'm back again! This is a completely self-indulgent one-shot side-fic based on my NejiShika fic, Kindred. This chronicles the meeting which takes place between Neji Hyuuga and the shift commander, Captain Kakashi Hatake, concerning Shikamaru Nara's absence from work. Text in quotes is spoken aloud. Text in italics represents, for the most part, what Neji is actually thinking but doesn't vocalize during the course of the discussion. This is intended to expand on the final two chapters of Kindred. In order to really get the gist of this I strongly recommend reading Kindred first.

That said, on with the show.

Warning: unbeta'd; language; implied yaoi; gambling; angst

Neji Hyuuga walked into his shift commander's office, closed the door behind him and sat down on the burgundy leather couch that faced the masked man's desk. He crossed his legs and locked eyes with his captain.

Captain Kakashi Hatake was the shift commander for the day shift at the Konoha precinct. He was equal in height and build to the Hyuuga. He had silver hair he wore in spiky disarray, one blue eye and one marble-like red eye, and he wore a black mask on his face that covered it from his nose down to his clavicle. This morning he wore navy trousers, a long-sleeved, white button-down shirt, and a tie the same shade of red as his red eye. He sat behind his desk across from Neji Hyuuga with no discernible expression on his face.

"Now then…let's start with the basics", Captain Hatake began. "Where's your partner today, Hyuuga?"

"He's indisposed", Neji responded calmly.

I fucked him into a coma. You'll get him back when I've revived him.

"Indisposed, is he? That wouldn't be because of you, would it?" the captain asked.

"I beg your pardon?" Neji asked in response.

And if it is? What is it with everyone around here—can't a guy get some without being subjected to a damned inquisition?

Captain Hatake chuckled. "Hyuuga…permit me to paint you a picture of the past 24 hours of your life. Don't talk. Just listen."

I can't wait to hear this.

Captain Hatake held up four fingers on one hand for emphasis. "Four arrests yesterday and an unreal break in your case. Followed by dinner out with your partner, presumably to celebrate your hard work and something you don't normally do, at a restaurant where you two apparently caused a commotion and you decked a guy."

Mmm…I knew it wouldn't take long for word of that to get out.

"I know all the details, Hyuuga. You're news around here. You always have been. You're young, you're rich, you're smarter than anyone expects a male cop prettier than most women to be and you can kick the living shit out of anything. When you wipe your ass, it's news."


"So it came as no surprise when I got a phone call last night informing me about what happened. You know, you two weren't the only cops in that restaurant. Heh, come to think of it, someone should have warned Inuzuka what happened to the last guy who mistook you for a bottom."

My thoughts…exactly¹. That's a little creepy.

Captain Hatake leaned forward. "I heard that schmuck offered to bottom for your partner. I guess he didn't think that through too well."

You only know half of it.

Wherever he is, he had better hope I never run into him again.

"You left the restaurant without having dinner, and you didn't go to Nara's place. I happen to know he never made it home last night. I'm going to take a wild stab and say that you two spent the night together at your place."

Interrogation tactics 101. You've got nothing.

"I'm familiar with your neighborhood, Hyuuga. You have to pay a cover charge just to be able to drive through it if you don't actually live there. You probably took him home knowing you weren't likely to be disturbed once you got there."

Mmm, viable logic. Sometimes I forget I am a cop working with other cops.

"And now we come to this morning. You arrived for your shift in your partner's vehicle. Your partner, who hasn't missed one damn day of work in two years, is nowhere to be found--and that includes the trunk of his vehicle because I checked it, only to be sure the body of that idiot from last night wasn't in it, and only because you were the one behind the wheel. And the story you walked in here and handed me with a straight face is 'he's indisposed.'"

Well, when you put it that way it does sound like a crock of shit. Regardless, you still haven't explained to me why Nara can't simply just be sleeping off a hangover in my penthouse.

"And just on the off chance you don't understand what I'm telling you…" The captain held out one hand, depressing a finger as he made each point. "You went out on what amounts to your first date with your partner last night. You've been in not one, but two skirmishes in the past twelve hours--one, because some idiot made a pass at your partner on said date, and another because a different idiot made a pass at you this morning. You showed up for work today without a tie on, drank tea at muster, and you're wearing black. You never do any of those things."

There's a first time for everything, Captain, and I'm still waiting to hear something that doesn't sound like conjecture or coinci--

"And you smell faintly of coconut."

I thought I washed that off! Gods that stuff is like permanent ink! Wait a second—how the hell does Hatake know?!

"What, did you think no one would catch on? Your partner isn't the only perceptive one around here. I didn't just stroll in from a cabbage patch, Hyuuga. I'm the one in charge here for good reasons."

Shit. I think we're busted.

That was quick.

You are creepy.

"For the record, the only thing that surprises me about any of it is that it's taken you two so long to get here. Nara has been a walking hard-on for you since the day the two of you became partners, and you...you're ready to split a guy's lip if he so much as looks at your partner the wrong way."

Gods, do those freaky mismatched eyes of yours see everything?!

"Kiba Inuzuka isn't the brightest bulb in the box, but even he caught on. Of course, he has been stalking you like some horny teenaged boy…still; he managed to hit the nail right on the head, didn't he?"

Lucky guess.

Fat lot of good it did him.

"You know, I think you sprained his shoulder, Hyuuga. Now, two of my officers are incapacitated today because of you. You're a real beast."

I am the man.

And Inuzuka had it coming.

"Don't be too hard on the guy. You can't blame him for wanting to stake a claim, even if he wanted it in spite of himself."

Tch. Inuzuka smells like dog.

"Now I know you're probably worried about your partner, wondering how this will affect his career. I can't speak for anyone else and, truth be told, if it's a problem for them I think they may find out quite the way Inuzuka did this morning that they should keep it to themselves. But you are two of my best and brightest. When I send you out to get it done, you get it done. And you've managed that well for two years despite the nuclear levels of unresolved sexual tension between you."

Oh, Gods, don't let me blush. Don't bite your lip, Neji.

"I need you. The public needs you too. And I wouldn't be doing my job if I let your personal…" the captain gestured his hand haphazardly in the air—"whatever it is…get in the way of you remaining under my command. I'm counting on the two of you to do what you do, and not let your personal…" he gestured his hand again—"whatever it is…get in the way as well."

Wait a minute—did you just give us your blessing?

"Just so we're clear…it doesn't make a difference to me if you two plow it on a trapeze swinging from the rafters after you leave here every night from now on. But I'm short on manpower today because of you, which means you owe me. So you better have my special investigator back and functioning tomorrow morning. Got it?"

"Yes, sir", was Neji's response.

Fine, I'll give him a reprieve--but only a brief one. His ass is mine now.

"Now, if you've got any loose ends regarding yesterday's arrests to tie up, get it done so you can get out of here. I expect to see you both in the morning."

"Thank you, sir", Neji acknowledged. He knew a dismissal when he heard one. The Hyuuga got up slowly and made to leave. He opened the door and was about to step through it when he heard the captain speak once more.

"And Hyuuga? You seem to have discovered a remedy for Nara's insomnia. I'm very pleased."

Neji looked back over his shoulder. He couldn't resist the eyebrow lifted over that piercing pastel eye he aimed at his shift commander.

I am the man.

The Hyuuga turned and walked out, the door closing behind him with a gentle click.

Neji walked back to his desk in the bullpen, lost in thought. So the captain knew everything, and it was possible that he wasn't the only one. How is it that so many others could see what was developing between he and Shikamaru, and they themselves could not?

The captain had assured Neji that Shikamaru's career would not be jeopardized by the change in their relationship unless they allowed it to happen. It was reassuring to know that, even if the why of it was somewhat disturbing.

Neji finally bit his lip. The captain was right; Kiba Inuzuka did manage to figure it out. He was jealous and acting on that jealousy even as he consciously, consistently denied his attraction to men. Kind of the way Neji himself had denied being sexually attracted to his partner for so long. Maybe if he hadn't been, Shikamaru might have confessed his feelings sooner.

We are all fools.

Neji sat down at his desk with a sigh, and prepared to complete his paperwork. He needed to get home to Shikamaru.

Captain Hatake smiled a devious smile. He grabbed his telephone handset from its cradle with one hand and poked furiously at the keypad with the other. He placed the handset to his ear, sitting back in his chair.

"Sannin? Hatake here, not that you weren't expecting my call. I'm sure I don't have to tell you that you owe me five hundred bucks. I warned you not to let his long hair fool you..."

A/N: (1) Kindred, Chapter 13.

I would have put it into the fic but I didn't want the fic to drag on after the lemon any longer than necessary. I hope you enjoyed it.