"Anatomy of Clouds"

'One-Shot'

By: Emo Fox

They had been laying there for hours, they hadn't really talked and the silence was starting to wear on Ino's nerves.

This wasn't how she had wanted to spend her day off.

"Shikamaru."

Ugh. He knew that tone; it meant she was going to kick up trouble. "What?" He reluctantly asked, not opening his eyes.

"Why do you do this?"

"It's relaxation." Well, it should have been – would have been if Ino wasn't there. Even Chouji would lay with him quietly, or as quiet as a crinkling bag of chips could be.

"It's boring."

"You don't have to be here."

She ignored his response, "You don't even look at the clouds. You look like you're sleeping."

"The clouds will always be there when I open my eyes."

Ino eyed the brunette a moment before she turned on her side to face him, a hand supporting her head. "What does that mean?"

Shikamaru finally opened his eyes, looking dully up at the bright blue space above him. "Never mind."

"Some days there aren't any clouds." Ino pointed out, "Sometimes it rains and the sky is all black, what then?"

"Clouds are always there." Shikamaru murmured again watching a bright white cloud float by.

What does that mean?

For a genius Shikamaru didn't make sense sometimes.

Ino frowned but didn't feel like fighting anymore. With a sigh the girl fell flat on her back next to her lazy teammate, her teal eyes not really focused on the sky. Ino decided to change the subject, raising her hand and pointing at the wide space above them. "What does that one look like?"

"I don't know."

"You don't know?"

"That is what I said."

He was so infuriating!

"It looks like a cat." Ino said with conviction her voice holding an edge.

"No."

"No?"

"It looks like a cloud."

Ino frowned, "How can you lay out here every day off and not imagine what clouds look like? What other games are there to play with clouds?"

"That isn't why I lay out here."

"Then what is it?"

"Never mind."

"What?"

"I don't feel like explaining."

"So?"

"Leave me alone." He said in his usual drawl, his eyes closing and his brows pinching together in obvious irritation.

"Just tell me!" Ino said in exasperation.

"It's not important."

"I say what's important." She said hotly, "Now I demand you tell me."

"Demand?"

"Yes." Ino once again sat up on her side, looking to her friend whom had yet to open his eyes.

"So troublesome."

"You started it." She said easily, "Now tell me."

"Peace." Shikamaru murmured, "I lay out here to find peace, not to imagine stupid things."

"Peace?" Ino spat, "This is boring not peaceful." Though usually peace and boring usually went hand in hand not that Ino cared about that right now.

"It's a constant." Shikamaru said in that same low tone yet it sounded different somehow. "I can always come out here. I can always look up at the sky. The sky will always be here and so will the clouds."

Ino was quiet as she watched Shikamaru's pinched face.

"When we go on the field, everyday isn't the same. We could die tomorrow." Shikamaru was quiet a moment before he switched subjects, "The grass might die, the trees might get cut down, the hill might get flattened but the sky will always be there."

Ino wanted to reach out for him but didn't – knowing this new fear of the unknown, fear of change must have been birthed from Asuma's death.

But that had been two years ago.

Shikamaru must still be suffering.

"Our lives aren't constant." Ino said quietly, about to continue speaking when Shikamaru cut her off.

"I don't need a lecture." Shikamaru said, turning his sharp eyes on her before he looked back up at the sky.

Ino didn't know how to go about the situation.

She wanted to help him.

But…

Did he need help?

Ino laid back down looking up at the timeless blue sky, "It looks like a cat doesn't it?"

"No."

Ino took Shikamaru's hand, smiling despite everything they had started to discuss. "Sure it does." She insisted lacing his fingers with hers as she traced the outline of the cat in the clouds. "There's the ears, the body, the tail."

Shikamaru needed reassurance that she was there – she was his friend and he didn't have to worry so much about the future.

If they were going to die tomorrow they were going to die.

It couldn't be helped.

There was no point in worrying about it.

"What does that one look like?"

Live in the moment.

"A cloud."

Tomorrow could wait.

"You're hopeless."

--

A/N:

Just a little blurb in my head. Please leave a review if you liked it.