A/N: I've had this song stuck in my head for the last week or so. I figure if I write a song fic about it, it will leave. Here you go.
Song: Let's Make Out
Artist: Does It Offend You, Yeah?
Too many legs under the table
Too many reasons for trouble
Have I got a girlfriend and does she get real mean
Yes she does, yes she does
Nara Shikamaru was twenty years old. Long gone were the lazy days of his youth. The Jounin had more responsibility than he would have imagined just five years ago. That's why whenever he had free time, he would spend it lying around in an effort to accomplish…nothing.
As a Jounin, he was required to do a lot of field work. It seemed like each mission would take him farther and farther away from the village. When he was a Chuunin, he was pretty much guaranteed four months out of the year he would be stuck in the village with the Chuunin exams. While, at the time, he bitched about the mission; now, he would gladly take it and all of it's troublesome paperwork if it meant having more free time at home.
If you asked him if he had a girlfriend, he would have to say 'yes'. While, to him, Ino was more a friend than a girlfriend, time had a way of ruling things out. As the years went by, the two of them became mutually exclusive. It was the process of elimination or at least, that's what he called it. Take away all the wrong answers and what you have left is the correct one. That's the way he justified it.
She called it love but love was an ambiguous concept to him. Love could mean anything. Did he love her? He would gladly step in front of an attack to save her, but is that the kind of love they were searching for.
Did he want something else?
For as far back as he could remember, he had found her presence to be troublesome, but thanks to their current schedules, time together was few and far between and when they were together they were too tired to do anything as a couple. When she had the energy, she would find something to bitch about which irked him the most about her, but he couldn't fault her for it. That's the way she always was. And if he wasn't so apathetic about everything, he would consider her callous.
I guess that's what made them perfect for each other, right? They didn't have to worry about changing because they were fine with each other, right?
These were the thoughts that plagued his mind as he walked down the streets of Konoha looking up at the clouds. The clouds, that in his youth would be a form of escape, were now a metaphor for the thoughts in his mind rolling from problem to solution as they passed by over head.
He saw a vendor hanging decorations outside his shop and remembered what time of year it was. He should have known but with the busy schedule keeping up with the days was becoming troublesome.
The Chuunin exams
The festival was tonight.
"Oi, Shikamaru" a familiar voice called out.
Shikamaru stopped his walk and looked back just in time to catch a huge, white fur ball that had leapt upon him. Falling to the ground and getting licked in the face wasn't what he had on his agenda for his day off. Between licks, he was able to peer around the big dog's face to see the owner walk up.
"Hey, Kiba" he said trying to push the dog off of him.
"Akamaru's just excited to see you." Kiba laughed. "It's been a while." He pulled Akamaru off of Shikamaru.
"It has" Shikamaru replied as he stood up dusting himself off.
Akamaru struggled against Kiba's grip, panting heavily and slobbering all over the place.
Shikamaru wiped the remnants of dog saliva from his face with his left hand before depositing it on his flack vest with a few short rubs.
"I've finally got some time off" he told Kiba. "I almost don't know what to do with it."
His sly sarcasm was lost on his friend.
"Awesome, what are you doing this evening?"
Shikamaru thought deeply. He didn't have anything planned. Ino normally demanded his time but she was away on a mission herself. If he knew Kiba like he remembered him, he probably had something troublesome planned.
"I was just going to enjoy my free time." It sounded like a safe answer.
"Some of the guys are off tonight, too. We're going to have a few drinks, talk about old times." The last part Kiba raised his pitch as if he was asking him to join them.
He thought for a moment. He could tell Kiba they weren't that old. He could just tell him 'No'. He could even make up a story about how his mom had been begging him to come by and see her, which was partially true. However, in the end, Shikamaru just caved because, honestly, what was the worst that could happen?
"Great" Kiba exclaimed. Akamaru barked his approval, still struggling under Kiba's grasp. " We'll meet at the bar around the corner from my house at Eight-thirty."
Shikamaru nodded to let him know that he understood.
Kiba turned around dragging Akamaru away until he got the hint they were leaving.
Shikamaru shoved his hands in his pockets and continued his stroll.
He was a little apprehensive about this meeting. Not because of the meeting itself but because of the persons involved. He knew they were notorious for getting troublesome particularly when alcohol was involved but after being there for some time, he found he was rather enjoying himself. Kiba was…well…Kiba but he had managed to refrain from any troublesome behavior. Shino was there as well and he found that Shino had the most interesting stories to tell, probably because of his distinct point of view. Kotetsu was there minus his good friend Izumo, whom Shikamaru remembered was always around him. He thought to ask but was afraid to ruin the moment. Kotetsu's stories were filled with raucous laughter and tales of debauchery.
After a few rounds, he found the alcohol made this exchange more pleasant and made him feel warm inside.
A group of girls entered the bar and Kiba made a hand gesture so everyone would look. They were civilians. Shikamaru could tell right away by the way they carried themselves.
"I'm going in, fellas" Kiba said as slapped Shikamaru on the back.
Kotetsu wished him luck.
Shikamaru watched his friend at work. He couldn't hear their conversation but their body language spoke volumes.
Kiba was the epitome of self-confidence. As he approached their table, his gate spoke of assurance and self-reliance. He chatted with them casually and their reactions only boosted his swagger. Pretty soon he was waving for the rest of them to join.
If Shikamaru hesitated, it was only for a second. His friends were already approaching the table. He grabbed his drink and fell in line as Kiba was making all the introductions. He called out everyone by name. Some of the girls made waved or said high as they were introduced but Shikamaru noticed one girl blush slightly when his gaze fell upon her.
The gears in his head began to turn but no warning flags popped up. A smile crept its way onto his face. He was officially having a good time.
The sound of the door to the bar being opened roughly caught his attention as the guys were beginning to pull up chairs.
A face he hadn't seen in a while strolled in followed shortly thereafter by a distraught Chuunin.
"But, Temari-san, I'm not old enough to be in here" the Chuunin whined.
The bartender stopped cleaning his glass and looked over at the pair.
"I know that's why I came in here, gaki" she told him.
The frustrated Chuunin looked like he had been putting up with her shit all day. Shikamaru smirked at the memories that flooded his mind. He understood what the child was going through. He stepped forward.
"I'll take it from here" he told the young man. "You can head on home."
The Chuunin looked up and recognized who it was.
"Hai" he said standing at attention before leaving the establishment in a hurry.
Temari saw the smirk on his face.
"What's with the stupid look, Nara?"
The insult didn't bother him. He took a sip of his drink.
"Try to go easy on him, will you?" he told her. "Putting up with you all day takes a lot out of a man."
She didn't budge at his insult either.
"Well they don't make 'em like they used to."
He took another sip of his drink.
"You were lucky when you had me" he told her. "I was trained from birth in how to put up with troublesome women."
She didn't say anything back. She just looked at him as if she was sizing him up.
Had he won the argument?
Her teal eyes just stared back into his. He saw the moment she gave up.
He won and he was drunk, too. He idly wondered if being inebriated was the best way to handle the kunoichi.
"Would you care to join us?" he asked feeling brave.
"Lead the way" she consented.
He was having a great time. Old friends and new ones. Sharing beverages and funny stories. Good company made him forget about his troublesome life. Hell, it even made him laugh about it. He kept drinking because if he stopped the good time might end and nobody wanted that.
After a while, sitting at the crowded little table, he started to feel something moving up and down on his leg. The movements were deliberate so he knew it wasn't one of Shino's bugs. Akamaru had long since laid down in the corner. Someone at the table was trying to get his attention.
He gazed slowly across the faces at the table, trying to determine the culprit. Each one seemed to be engrossed in their own conversation.
That is until his gaze fell upon a set of teal eyes.
A/N: This will be multi-chapter.