Author's Notes: This is probably something Shikamaru's father would never do, but yeah.... Just something to help my juices. Kind of cutesy. Kind of... weird. I guess. No yaoi, no sexual puns, no language, rated K+ for the kiddies, and relatively short with the exception of the paragraphs.

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The day after Asuma's funeral, and the day after Shikamaru's breakdown, Shikaku came walking to the room he'd left his son to weep in for the night. The door was shut, just as he'd left it before, and he was worrying on how his son was doing. He'd hoped that Shikamaru hadn't done anything rash: That wasn't the impression he was trying to instill.

Slowly, he opened the door to the room, fearing that if his son were still asleep, he didn't want to wake him. Much to his surprise--or was it a lack of--he found his son lying on the floor, his hands used as pillows. He was curled in a fetal position, facing away from the doors so that Shikaku could only see the back of his son, the shirt to his pajamas pulled up slightly. With soft feet, he walked over to his son, kneeling down when he was in front of him. He leaned his head forward in order to see how his son looked, realizing that his eyes were red from the tears. Had he cried himself to sleep?

With care, he reached a hand forward and grazed his fingers on his son's cheek gingerly. He didn't stir as Shikaku ran his fingers softly atop of Shikamaru's head, almost like petting. He let out an inaudible sigh as he looked at his son, having pulled his hand back and let his arm rest on his thigh. He knew that Shikamaru wanted to act more like an adult, not crying and acting like a child, but... he was still just a teenager. At fifteen, you could only expect to be so much, despite the intelligence and maturity he might have. He let out an inaudible sigh again, eying the sleeping boy with sympathy, before standing up.

He noticed that the Shogi pieces were still scattered about against the wall, noticed that Shikamaru hadn't touched them. He debated on picking them up, but wasn't sure if the sound of the pieces would wake Shikamaru. He recalled what he'd said on the other side of the door--"I'll pick up the pieces"--and thought about how he would help put his son back together. Would he be able to help, or should he let Shikamaru handle it on his own? He knew how smart the teenage ninja was, but how could he go through with a revenge plan? It was stupid and immature and Shikaku was sure that it would result in his son's death. He didn't want that.

He walked over to the Shogi board, setting it upright, and took care of the pieces. There was a shuffling behind him, and he looked to see if his son was awake. He let out a quiet sigh when he saw that Shikamaru was moving, though hadn't actually stirred. Or had he? Should he look? No, thought Shikaku, let him sleep. There is no reason to wake him up from your curiosity. He finished cleaning up the mess and took another look at the sleeping figure on the floor. He considered bringing a pillow and blanket for him, but he was sure that Shikamaru would wake within the next hour or so, maybe less depending on how late the young Nara had stayed up sobbing.

Shikamaru listened as he heard his father's soft footsteps, trying to be quiet and keep him from waking up. Although, the young Nara had woken up the moment he heard his father open the door. His eyes were still closed to help keep the ruse that he was still asleep--he didn't want to talk to his father about the previous night. His eyes were already swollen from the tears, and his throat hurt. How much more would he have to endure? If he could make his peace and seek revenge for Asuma against Hidan, then that would make his life a little less troublesome. But he knew his father wouldn't approve. After all, it was Shikaku who had said that Shikamaru wasn't stupid enough to get himself killed. Would that make him stupid?

"Shikamaru."

Shikamaru held back a flinch at hearing his name. Should he open his eyes? He didn't want to. Instead, he remained quiet, didn't move, and kept his eyes closed. He didn't think his father would continue to call his name--he would have stirred at the first sound of his name. His father didn't call his name again, and he didn't move; though on the inside, he felt relieved. However, when he felt hands reach around him, he nearly let out a gasp. He remained quiet, though, as he felt his father pick him up and carry him somewhere. His room he supposed--Where else would he take me? He felt the bumps of his father walking, and his mother asking a question, but he didn't open his eyes. If he did, he would blow his cover and he would have to talk to his father; or worse, his mother. He wanted neither.

He could hear the door sliding--most likely as a result of his mother--and the sounds of his father's footsteps as he walked into the room. He could hear the shuffling of a blanket, and knew that his father was putting him in his room. His father let Shikamaru down gently, removing his hands when the sleeping Nara was on the bed, before covering him with the blanket. Shikamaru remained asleep, eyes closed, breathing regulated as he felt his father moving the blanket up to the start of his arms. It felt awkward being carried, Shikamaru had to admit, but it felt nice. It was nice to know his father still had a sentimental relationship with him, despite it only being exposed behind his back, or when it was thought that he was asleep.

Shikaku ran a hand across his sleeping son's forehead, feeling sympathetic towards the boy. Was he still broken? Would he stay broken? Shikaku wasn't sure. Everybody healed at a different rate, but there were people that didn't heal at all. Would Shikamaru be one of those people that never healed? He whispered his son's name, looked at him one more time, and then left the room, closing the door behind him. He would rather his son slept all day if it helped his healing. But there were days where dreams hurt more than reality. What did he want for his son? If he wished that he wanted his son to sleep all day, then his nightmares would catch him. If he wanted his son to be void of emotion, then he would never have Shikamaru back. What more could he do? Give him time, he thought. Wounds heal with time. Just not every wound closes.