Title: Nothing Wrong
Warnings: angst, sexual things between guys, and spoilers to manga chapters 321+ and (I think) Shippuuden episodes 75+
Pairings: Shikamaru/Choji. Asuma is there in thought.
Setting: canonverse, post-Timeskip
Written for the fourth Naruto kinkmeme at an anonymous request.
It's three in the morning, and he is having his regular snack-break from sleep, when there is a tap on the window. If they hadn't known each other for so long, Choji would be surprised Shikamaru knows so well which room to look for him in.
Balancing a plate on his other hand, he quietly slides open the window. His friend has his back to him, and a familiar but out of place smell hangs in the still night air.
Shikamaru draws a new breath from the cigarette, choughs –unused to it– and whispers: "Can I come in?"
"Of course," Choji breaks himself from the daze. Of course he can, and he has, a few times, just like this. But something is wrong, more than it usually is when they decide to pay each other an unplanned visit. It doesn't particularly surprise him, as things have gone very wrong just recently. He knows he will never get used to seeing his friend the genius so upset and lost.
They make their way to his room, and Choji brings the food with him. He offers his friend a bite, but Shikamaru declines.
He still has the cigarette in his hand when he sits on the bed, though it's stubbed out, and Choji wonders if he even notices.
"What if... what if you had a friend who..." Shikamaru finally starts, but hesitates, and there is another silence. Choji waits patiently with a hand on his shoulder, doing his best to remind him that he at least has a friend he can tell anything to, whatever it is this other, hypothetical friend has done.
"Man, why is this so..." Shikamaru snaps, at himself.
"Yeah," he turns a little, with the smallest hint of a smirk, but it's soon gone.
Choji gives his shoulder a squeeze, and Shikamaru isn't stupid. He gets it.
"I had... a dream," he says, his voice shaky but determined to not give out. "About Asuma-sensei."
Choji nods. It hasn't been a day since the funeral, and their teacher and team leader hasn't left Choji's mind for a moment, either. He guiltily remembers his promise to him to go on a diet, and shifts the plate of snacks under the bed with his foot.
"But, it's not what you think," Shikamaru continues. "It's not what I think either, at least I didn't think I did, I don't understand it..."
Yes, it must be bad. So far the only thing Shikamaru has told him he doesn't understand is women.
"I kissed him, Choji. I had a dream of kissing Asuma-sensei."
Choji freezes. Then he realizes Shikamaru is waiting for and dreading his reaction, and that he can't disappoint him. "It-it's okay," he says, trying to sound convincing. What is one supposed to say to that?
"And we did other things, too, I– this is insane..."
"No," Choji disagrees.
"It doesn't mean I'm gay," Shikamaru says like he just now decided it.
"No," Choji agrees.
"A-Asuma-sensei was important to me; he was like a second father or something... I'm dealing with his... his death! The dream is symbolic."
Shikamaru has always been good at quickly making sense of things.
Choji nods. "It's okay," he repeats, and he means it. The young man beside him has always been there for him when he has needed understanding and support, and the least he can do in return is to accept his trust without judging. "You can't control how your dreams turn out."
"Yeah." Shikamaru lowers his head to his shaky hands, and seems to only then remember he's still holding the cigarette butt. Choji offers him an empty plate from his bedside table, and reluctantly, he relinquishes what is left of the white stick.
"If you had a dream like that of someone else important to you, even if nothing had happened to them recently, that could still just mean you like them a lot, right?"
Shikamaru nods, staring at the wall in front of him.
"I'm... I'm sure a lot of people have weird dreams about their teachers, or their best friends, they just don't talk about them," Choji reassures, staring at what he can see of his feet. "But there's nothing wrong with that. Or with talking about it."
He says nothing at first.
"Uh, have you had a dream like that... about someone you shouldn't?"
And Choji knows he can trust Shikamaru, and he wants to believe just as much that there is nothing wrong with that, or with talking about it, so he nods, and he says it. "You."
When Shikamaru is silent, he goes on. "You're my best friend, and you always make me feel good about myself, so I guess it symbolizes that..."
"Dreams mix mental and physical closeness," Shikamaru eagerly recites.
"Yeah, so it doesn't mean anything, and even if it did..."
"...there would be nothing wrong with that."
Choji blinks. That isn't how he meant to end the sentence. He was going to say that nothing would happen, and that Shikamaru wouldn't have to worry about his friend hitting on him just because of a dream, and... Well, he isn't really sure what he was going to say, but it isn't that. Did Shikamaru really just tell him he would be okay with Choji having feelings for him besides friendship?
"When Asuma-sensei said he and Chiriku had been as close as you and I are, I understood how terrible it must have been for him to hear about his death. I wouldn't risk losing you to anything," Shikamaru says quietly, and with hands that are still shaking, he digs another cigarette from his pocket. He doesn't light it, because they are indoors, just chews on it idly. To tell him he won't lose him, and because he needs to tell himself he isn't, for the first time, feeling self-conscious in his best friend's presence, Choji moves his hand to Shikamaru's other shoulder so that he is halfway hugging him.
Shikamaru leans into the touch a little, and Choji hugs him tighter. He doesn't know what to do next, or how to go about doing what he might vaguely want to do. Shikamaru takes his hand and looks at him, for the first time since he reminded him of his catchphrase, and Choji can tell he doesn't know either.
"It's okay," Choji reminds him, not really sure what he is referring to, but somehow knowing that everything between them is.
He gets to say nothing more because on that cue, the cigarette drops to the floor, and Shikamaru kisses him.
It's only a light pressure on his lips, an awkward closeness, but it's unmistakably a kiss –his first– their first.
Shikamaru moves back a little, but only enough to speak. "Is it still– "
"This doesn't have to– "
Choji pushes forward impatiently, and this time he remembers to close his eyes. His blind aim is good enough and he finds the corner of his friend's mouth, which to his relief quickly responds. He tries to remember every little bit of intel he has on kissing, including his own dream, but it's hard to think of anything other than that maybe this just might mean something more, to both of them.
They won't tell anyone, and this may never happen again, but right now, it's what they both need.
Shikamaru opens his mouth, and Choji can still taste the cigarette, and something lingering that tells him his friend may have even been crying. It's not a particulalrly pleasant taste, but it's fading, and being replaced by what can only be the person he is kissing, stripped of all artificial flavors.
The arm he has around those slimmer, more angular shoulders pulls the other boy closer, and their linked hands have settled to both curl into a fist around the fabric of Choji's pajama pants. He feels one of them begin to open and clench, and he can't be sure whose hand it is.
Their heads have tilted to the side to allow the kiss to deepen, but they keep pulling away and diving back in, allowing the other chances to stop this and back out. Neither of them does.
It's when Shikamaru's free hand brushes the front of his pants that they finally open their eyes again, and then immediately look away.
"Sorry," is grumbled, and Choji, a little disappointedly, expects him to say he went too far. But his best and oldest friend surprises him again. "C-can I...?"
"Will you let me?" he hears himself ask in return.
Shikamaru shifts on the bed so that his body is facing him more. He slowly looks up again, and nods.
They wait for the other to make the first move for what must be two seconds, but feels like two minutes. Then they both reach forward at the same time, but stop again. Shikamaru bites his lip, and at this moment, it's the most delicious things Choji has ever seen. He never was good at staying away from treats for long, so he kisses him again, and suddenly it's easier.
The hand in his pants only touches at first, as if to confirm it's found what it's looking for. Then it grabs, and they both let out a muffled yelp as he tries to mirror the things done to him. They may have done this to themselves before, but more complicated when you get the sensory feedback from your touch through another person.
It doesn't matter anymore whether this makes sense. He should feel guilty for taking advantage of his friend when he is upset, but they are taking advantage of each other, and neither of them mind.
The fingers around his penis travel up to the head and rub it, to bring another sound their mouths silence half of. He realizes it doesn't need the grasp anymore to stay up, and that it's the same with Shikamaru's. Confidence growing, they begin to stroke each other up and down, and the groans escape more and more often. They always did have good teamwork.
For one strange second he wonders if Asuma-sensei and Chiriku ever did this.
The kiss breaks, and they are panting. Choji tries to stay quiet, but can't help himself, and can hear that's one more thing he isn't alone at. His eyes are squeezed shut, but all other senses are on overload and more than compensate.
Faster. He doesn't care if he is ripping the back of Shikamaru's shirt. He sure can wear out the front of his pajama top if he wants to, even if Choji can't remember when exactly that other hand ended up on his chest and started massaging it.
His eyes flicker open, to meet Shikamaru's staring at him half-lidded. His friend's mouth hangs ajar, gasping for breath, and there is a sheen of blush and sweat on his cheeks. His head rocks back and forth a little in time with his heavy breaths. The movement of their hands speeds up, and Shikamaru's brows tense a little and a few of the strangled moans that follow rise in pitch.
It's strange looking at him in the eye like this, but Choji can't look away, and neither does Shikamaru.
It doesn't last long, and his eyes force themselves shut again, fingers clenching in Shikamaru's shirt until it does tear from the seam of one sleeve. When he comes back down from the high of his release, his friend is leaning against him with an arm around his shoulders, as spent and out of breath as he is.
He risks holding him, and Shikamaru allows it, so the exceptional circumstances of their relationship must not be over yet. Choji pets the back of that black hair that has halfway escaped from its high ponytail, and sighs as the gesture is returned.
"Thanks," is whispered in his ear, and Choji knows better than to say 'you're welcome'.
Shikamaru doesn't stay, and Choji doesn't expect him to. In ten minutes he is alone again, and if it wasn't for the fact that he definitely needs to change his pajamas, he would be wondering whether it was all another dream after all.
The next day Shikamaru has another cigarette, but is no longer confused about why. They meet Ino at the Konoha gates, and set out to face the reason Asuma-sensei can only be with them as smoke and dreams now.