Me, Myself, and You
Title: Me, Myself, and You
Pairing: Shikamaru/Hinata, mention of Naruto/Hinata
Theme: Falling For You-November
Side Note: A bit of tweaking of Shippuden time line and OOC-ness
Disclaimer: I do not own rights to Naruto, characters included
A smoky exhale was soon followed by a sigh. Retreating to the rooftop was far from visiting Kurenai-san, like he had originally intended to do. But, awkward second guesses and guilt forced him to climb the firescape up to the roof. The cigarette between his fingertips was slowly burning out. He'd have to come up with a better excuse before then.
'I don't want to smoke around Kurenai-san...that sounded so stupid.' Shikamaru thought on his excuse.
Asuma-sensei had smoked around her and his impressionable Genin- now Chunnin- students, without a care.
'But I'm not Asuma-sensei.' Shikamaru reminded himself while taking another drag from the cig.
The bad habit was quickly becoming a crutch. Just like his cowardly nature.
Crushing the brunt-out cigarette between his fingers; Shikamaru tried to distract himself from taking another out and lighting up. Brown eyes looked out first at gold, red, and brown covered tree tops, then at fluffy white clouds as they lazily crawled across a blue sky.
As a kid he would have laid on his back and watch the sky for hours. Life had no meaning, no greater purpose back then.
Now he seemed to be stuck in adult world with a kid-sized understanding. His own father laughed at Shikamaru's promise to protect Kurenai-sensei and her unborn child.
"You don't get it do you?" Shikaku had said.
Shikamaru remembered looking up from the shoji board and answering.
Shikaku shook his head, clicking the winning piece in place.
"You're far from being an adult. You don't even know who or what you are. So, don't go making promises you can't keep, son."
What adulthood and broken promises had to do with anything, Shikamaru wasn't sure.
Hinata unconsciously bit her bottom lip, her fingers gripping the doorknob; but she lingered in the hallway. For a moment, she just watched Shikamaru as he finished one cigarette , crushed it, then pulled out another. He waited awhile before lighting the second one, then he didn't smoke until it burned down halfway.
Mustering up as much courage as she could, Hinata opened the door wider, sliding out. The sound of the door closing caused both teens to flinch, both guilty of being caught in two different acts.
The cigarette was quickly flicked aside and crumbled under foot, but it was too late. Hinata had already seen him with it.
And Hinata inched towards the door, but he had already spotted her.
Awkward silence settled in, brown and pale eyes avoiding each other.
"I...I thought you had quit."
"And I thought you only stalked Naruto."
Those words cut her to the quick, causing Hinata to squirm uncomfortably.
"I'm not here to talk about N-Naruto-kun," Hinata said, slowly lifting her gaze up from the rooftop beneath their feet.
"What then?" Shikamaru groused, obviously not in the mood to talk. Or maybe he was just tired.
Hinata found it hard to tell when Shikamaru was grumpy or bored, so she treaded lightly all the same.
"Um..K-Kurenai-sensei saw you climbing the fire escape. She wanted to check up on you. But, I said I'd go, since it's getting difficult for her to climb up stairs nowadays."
'Stupid.' Shikamaru scolded himself. He knew it was a bad idea to come here.
Outwardly, he shrugged as if to casually dismiss Hinata and her concerns, or rather Kurenai's concerns.
"I wanted to have a smoke before I visited her. Smoke is bad for pregnant women," he spouted off.
It was logical, even considerate. Yet, Hinata wasn't moved. She stood rooted, blocking his only exit- the door.
"Well..." she poked her fingers, "since you've already smoked one cigarette, you should be okay to visit Kurenai-san."
'She saw that too?' Shikamaru wondered. Either he sucked at being aware of his surroundings, or Hinata was a better shinobi than most gave her credit for.
Still, Shikamaru shook his head, "No. I've got to uh...let the smoke air out of my clothes."
The Hyuuga girl frowned, her gaze narrowing at him.
"Please stop with the excuses Shikamaru-kun," Hinata said, "Kurenai-sensei would like to see you..."
"Why?" Shikamaru returned.
Flustered by his curt response, Hinata floundered for a reason, only to come up with nothing.
"I thought so." Shikamaru said with a snort.
He turned away from her,"Look, why don't you mind your own business and leave me alone. If I want to visit Kurenai-san, I'll do it in my own time."
Shikamaru thought the silence meant he had won. He felt guilty for being so harsh towards Hinata; but he didn't want her to know why he couldn't see Kurenai-sensei.
The last time he saw her, was when he told her Asuma was dead. Even now Shikamaru could clearly recall the look on her face fade from surprised, to disbelief, then tangible anguish. He had watched Kurenai-san, a strong woman and kunoichi, inwardly collapse, falling to the floor on her knees. Shikamaru could still recall the taste of salty tears as she cried, cheek pressed against his.
Every time Shikamaru thought of Kurenai, he thought back to Asuma.
'It was my fault. I wasn't quick enough, strong enough. If I had only figured out Hidan's jutsu before...'
Shikamaru was shocked out of his doubtful thoughts, when two arms gently wound around his middle.
"What..." he asked, feeling Hinata resting her head against his back.
"What are you doing?"
Hinata wasn't quite sure how to answer him. She had thought about leaving when Shikamaru had snapped at her. But, she waited instead.
Shikamaru had turned away from her, assuming she was going to walk away.
She saw the slightest tremor of the boy's shoulders. On a hunch, Hinata slowly walked forward and hugged Shikamaru.
Alarm bells went off inside Hinata's head. She could feel Shikamaru tense up at her touch, so obviously a hug wasn't the answer. Yet, Hinata was determined not to be moved, even if this was turning out to be very awkward.
"I...just thought you needed this," Hinata tried to explain, the words falling flat on her tongue.
Shikamaru knew he could pull away. He wasn't a very strong, but he would have an advantage over Hinata.
He stayed though, why was a mystery even to him.
"Why are you bothering me anyway? Is Naruto out on another mission or something?"
The girl shook her head, but Shikamaru could guess Hinata was most likely blushing.
He sighed, loud enough so Hinata could both hear and feel it.
"Why then? And don't say it's because Kurenai-san asked you to check up on me."
Hinata didn't respond, she just held him tighter.
Against his will, Shikamaru found himself relaxing in her arms. Holding his shoulders up and back straight was just too exhausting, he excused.
Hinata noticed when Shikamaru stopped fighting her.
'You can let him go now,' reason dictated.
Hinata kept her arms in place. Circumstances aside, holding someone this close felt...nice.
Hinata felt her cheeks blush, shaking her head, 'This is Shikamaru-kun though. I don't feel anything for him. I love Naruto-kun.'
Her argument grew weaker though the longer they stood there together.
Finally, Shikamaru wiggled out of Hinata's reach. He wanted some personal space back, plus another nicotine craving had kicked in.
As he reached for the pack in his jacket pocket, Shikamaru looked up at Hinata.
Her face was flushed for some reason, she still manged to give him a disapproving look.
'Who does she think she is? My mother?' Shikamaru thought to himself.
Sour feelings aside, Shikamaru looked at the cigarette in his hand, looked back at the girl.
Although Hinata had surprised, annoyed, and confused him that day; Shikamaru knew he'd feel horrible if he disappointed her.
"Troublesome," he groused. While he complained, Shikamaru put the cigarette down, then fished out the entire pack to leave behind.
Hand stuffed inside his pockets, Shikamaru arched a dark eyebrow in Hinata's direction.
He hadn't expected her to smile back at him. So when the Hyuuga heiress nodded, her lips curved pleasantly, warmly in his favor, Shikamaru was momentarily taken aback.
"Yes," Hinata said, walking slightly ahead of Shikamaru to open the door leading down to the indoor staircase.
"Would you...like to come with me? To visit Kurenai-sensei?" she asked gingerly.
'He's going to say no.' Hinata thought, preparing herself for rejection.
Shikamaru paused, as if thinking over the offer. Then shrugged.
"Why not? I've run out of excuses, thanks to you."
Hinata smiled again, honestly pleased with herself.
"Glad I could help."
Notes: Not 'quite' romantic or friendship, but I guess a sort of in between/limbo relationship...thing? ...I don't know! Quit asking me questions!