Chaos herself's note:
Luckily, I'm not dead yet (or is it 'alive again'? o.o). It feels like creeping out of hibernation after being occupied with real life for so long. At least, this Shikamaru chapter is quite a bit longer than usual. :3
As you are about to see, quite a lot of things are going to happen in the near future of this story. So, if you get the feeling that it is a bit rushed, you're quite right, and the faster pace is intentional.
Also, I'd like to point out, that - just like Aoba - I don't have anything against Hinata. Actually, I like her more than most Kunoichi in the series. Somehow, though, I seem to have a slight tendency to throw even more trouble at characters I like than others... o.o
At least, this chapter has also more M stuff in it. ;3
So, go have fun!
Annotation: I looked up the flowers with the meanings I wanted to convey, but the different sources were partly confusing, partly contradicting themselves. So, if the message still doesn't make sense to you despite my descriptions, feel free to PM me.
Time was almost up and he had yet to make a move.
As much as he might have wanted to, he just couldn't keep stalling anymore. He knew the importance of his decision very well, he understood the significance and urgency with which the matter was treated and he estimated and evaluated the possible consequences of his selfishly defiant behaviour towards his superiors with high accuracy; without doubt, the weight was heavy on his mind. However, he didn't intend to forsake his hopes and expectations until the end, no matter how troublesome it might become: he couldn't give up on Hidan so easily now.
During all this time he had been trying quite hard, effortfully yet seemingly lazily leewaying and sidestepping, taking his time putting thought into each step to be taken, carefully beating around the bush, purposefully hesitating, feigning ignorance and evading the trouble, excusing himself to protect his aims, pushing the deadline as far and as hard as possible, postponing the inevitable just a bit more... quietly, patiently waiting, hoping for the desired outcome!
Still, if he was playing the Hokage, there was no hope of winning for her subordinate, was there? Then how could a mere knight dream of escaping the firm imperative grasp of the players and move on its own, detached from the other pieces? That was impossible! If there had been a loophole, he would have spotted and taken it for sure - for Hidan's sake, and for his own. And it wasn't just the Godaime's orders but the Kazekage's, no, the General's special request, too. Thus, he couldn't wiggle out of it if the Shinobi Alliance's forces were involved in the issue.
So, with this in mind, he had done everything within his capabilities to at least play for time. But it wasn't enough. He didn't make it in time. Neither did Hidan.
The mission was already tomorrow.
How troublesome. If he was going to make a move, it had to be now! Or else this last chance to do so would be taken away from him...which would be even more troublesome. So, the final decision was made. And this time, Shikamaru wouldn't back down but enter the fray with determination - and a bunch of flowers in hand for now.
"It's about high time for you to finally show up, lazy-ass!", the blonde greeted him with a hiss even before his foot had so much as crossed the threshold. He sighed and proceeded towards the counter. "Troublesome. If I'd come right away you wouldn't have accepted my apology, would you?", he stated with a faint smile while observing her rummage about the room and trim the flowers as if he was invisible. "Who said I was going to, anyway? How could I ever forgive you, damn liar! Traitor!", the florist shouted, suddenly twirled around and pointed the sharp pruning-shears at him as if ready to clip off his head by his throat like a putrid bud any second.
But the fact, that Ino was finally willing to talk to him at all, already meant Shikamaru was halfway to absolution. Surely, the Kunoichi was still hurt badly and grieving from what she could only have interpreted as his treason to his teammates and Asuma.
But here he was, after all...going out of his way, reaching out to his best female friend, trying to mend the dent in her trust he had caused. "I understand. Now, calm down, troublesome...why don't you put these away and at least take a look, Ino. If you don't tend to them, flowers will wilt, right?", Shikamaru murmured and lifted the bouquet like a defensive shield. The blonde snatched the poor flowers out of his hands with a scowl and turned her back on him. While she was looking for a suitable vase Ino obviously gave him the cold shoulder.
"Ino-...", he tried therefore, but she only threw a tattered stem of fern at him to shut him up. "Beat it, Shikamaru! I know you don't like talking at great length, you lazy-bum! So I'm not going to listen to your awkward stuttering, anyways", she gritted her teeth, then continued rearranging the bouquet he had gone through the trouble of picking. "...at least, I hope, you're really triple sorry for betraying our friendship like this, picking these tons of pepper mint, squill and chestnut blossoms...", the florist pouted quietly. He made an affirmative noise and approached her cautiously.
So Shikamaru was right to convey his message through the flowers and he was glad he had looked up their meanings before plucking them in the woods earlier.
Surely, the mallows and myrtles wouldn't go unnoticed either and she'd instantly understand how he still felt about their friendship... When he saw Ino's hunched shoulders tense more, he knew she was trying to suppress a sob and he owed her to say something, anything at least. The strategist chose the truth to be the best he could offer for comfort: "You know, I truly am. It's very troublesome for me, too, because I didn't mean to hurt my best friends. So I chose to not tell you for the time being. I swear to the Will of Fire, I certainly did not abandon our team, nor did I betray Asuma's heritage... I do have my reasons for keeping Hidan, though." Helpfully he reached around her seemingly fragile form and gently pointed at the Venus's hair, corn poppies and the white rose to underline his calm words.
After Ino had finally spilt her bitter tears and had clung to his side until the worst was over, Shikamaru then knew for sure she would come around eventually and their friendship was still good. Yet, he better left in time before her husband came back from his atelier, got any wrong ideas and set his ink beasts at him for making Ino cry... Sai still could be quite troublesome at times, especially if he misread the atmosphere. Again.
So, Shikamaru rather turned his previous resolve into action and headed home in order to spend the last night before the troublesome mission with Hidan. It might do them both good, he figured... However, the troublemaker was out later than expected and the lazy Jonin fell asleep while waiting for the older Genin to return. He had another dream then, but it was more realistic this time, for it was roughly based on facts and incidents that had occurred in real life some time ago. His subconscious had then put everything together with his current situation and concocted and distorted the information into an entirely new story.
The strategist was urgently summoned to the Hokage office to receive orders for a special mission. There was an outbreak of a yet unknown and highly infective disease in Konoha. Twenty-one people were sent to hospital immediately after collapsing in the streets on the first day, of which nine had already died in intensive care within the next two days so far. The Medic-nin were pouring every ounce of Chakra into healing the rapidly growing number of patients, Shizune, Sakura and Ino never left the research labs these days and the whole village was closed off and put to quarantine. But the effort was futile without a real cure and the mortality rate was increasing to 75% already while the dangerous infection was spreading even faster.
When the boy fell ill just last night and the kid was barely clinging onto dear life, Kurenai and her husband were devastated!
Apparently, though, the last sparkle of hope was the secretion of a rare lice that might provide an antidote if cultivated. Thus, in a hurry a team of four was formed to capture that insect and retrieve as much of the secretion as possible. The Godaime assigned Shikamaru to be the captain while, of course, Shino's vast expertise on the subject and Hinata's extraordinary eyesight would be just as crucial to the success of the mission.
However, the rarity of the lice aside, there was another problem to it, which lied in its size: the troublesome creature was so extremely tiny, that it could even fly - or rather: hop - under the otherwise all-seeing radar of the Byakugan. The genius finally came up with an experimental variation of Henge-no-Jutsu, that would shrink the entire mission party to bug-size and last for about forty-two hours tops. Which left Shikamaru barely enough time to save the boy!
Since the Jutsu was still untested and more of a forced makeshift than anything, it was a risky feat. But they had no time left to spare with everyone's lives on the line.
Swiftly, preparations for leave were made and Chakra seals were painted onto the team's skins, so the Godaime's, Kakashi's and Yamato's combined force could activate them: the four Shinobi very probably wouldn't be able to spare even an ounce of their own Chakra on the Jutsu during the mission.
When everything was set, Shikamaru just sighed and closed his eyes in an attempt to relax and wait for the effects of the Jutsu. Shino's Kikaichuu were agitatedly buzzing around the place, sensing the tense atmosphere and the inner nervousness of their master. With one of his senses closed off, the humming noise was growing louder steadily, stinging in his ears. Until the strategist felt as if he was witnessing an earthquake of sound and his whole body was resonating with the low tingle. Then tingling turned to trembling, while trembling turned to shaking. A hot white, sharp pain unlike anything else spread through his body as if every bone shattered into microscopic shards, as if his very flesh turned to jelly and his blood boiled, bubbling in its vessels, by mere vibration.
It was unbearable.
Tortured cries, hardly human anymore, added to the cacophonic mix. Shikamaru didn't know if they were his teammates' or his own. The searing pain shredded any and every coherent thought; it was overwhelming. He just passed out.
And when he came to the world was completely different.
Still exhausted from the pain, the strategist wearily heaved his body up and steadied himself on a boulder, that seemed to have appeared out of nowhere. His ears were still ringing with the deep hum and he shook his head to get a grip. Taking a deep breath the team captain then looked around for the other three Shinobi.
At first glance, he was by himself in an unfamiliar place - some kind of strange forest wilderness, he perceived. The dim light shone in shades of green due to the sheer amount of plants; high green trunks and overgrown thicket everywhere, whereas the ground was rocky, gnarled and moist. Nature smelled fresh and foul at the same time, and so much more intense than he was used to. Somewhere in the far distance above the huge tree tops the sky seemed to consist of even more giant tree tops instead of clouds. If the night sky didn't have one already feel small, this more than supersized jungle surely would! How troublesome.
Shikamaru sighed, shouldered his pack and infused the soles of his feet with some Chakra, so he could access higher places and find his way better. There was a lot at stake after all! With this new perspective navigation was a rather troublesome ordeal, even on grounds that once were so familiar from a different point of view. However, soon the lazy Shinobi spotted his fellow teammates crawl about not too far away from his vantage point. So he hurried there, secretly relieved to see them alive.
When he arrived, Hinata was awkwardly bumping from one giant leaf to another as if they were jumping-sheets, while Shino silently watched her on her way down. The bug master was sloppily crouched on a small boulder, which they once had considered a mere crumb of dust, and two of his Kikaichuu had obviously stayed with him and were feasting on his Chakra. The Shinobi seemed tired from the Jutsu, but otherwise well.
"Let's get on with the troublesome mission, then. We don't have much time", Shikamaru lazily murmured once everyone had gathered, "Shino, please lead the way: you know best where to find these troublesome lice. Hinata, your objective is primarily to detect our targets, so we can bring home as much secretion as possible. Have Shino tell you what to look for specifically. Also, everyone, please, be aware of yet unknown numbers of predators lurking out there: due to our current change in size we have all taken backwards several steps on the food chain, troublesome as it is. Treat this mission as if in war - with Mother Nature herself as our enemy!"
In pairs they climbed onto the backs of the Kikaichuu and shortly after they took off abruptly, accelerating fast and faster. In their current state, the bugs seemed to Shikamaru like elephants with the flying speed of a kestrel. So he had to hold on very tight to get a hold somewhere on the hard, smooth exo-skelletons in order not to fall off.
"Wow! This is fucking awesome!" At least Hidan was having fun. The strategist doubted whether the immortal maniac understood how grave their situation really was, but he was glad to have him on his team. His powers and skills would be a helpful resource to delve into when fending off dangers.
Somehow, with Hidan around Shikamaru felt more confident that they could actually succeed, albeit the chance was slim enough. The fate of the whole village depended on them, for the disease was spreading further. Many people were dying, his boy was dying... But there was no time to worry, if he couldn't do anything about the circumstances back there! Instead, he had to focus on the things he actually could do, here and now.
For once, Hidan's cackle resounding over the roaring of the Kikaichuu's wings was capable of calming his troubled nerves down. At least to Shikamaru it was the right choice bringing the Genin.
They flew until dawn without finding any trace of the lice. Shino was still drained because the (in comparison to his size) relatively big Kikaichuu had fed on his Chakra almost too much and Hinata's eyes hurt due to nonstop Byakugan use. Shikamaru could see that. So he considered a short rest soon. He also was tired, since Hidan had helped him fight a couple of curious and hungry mosquitos, tall as a man and troublesome as burdock.
Finally, it started to drizzle.
Heavy with gravitation the droplets splashed down like liquid bombs in a crossfire cascade and exploded on impact into thousands of even tinier bubbles of water messing up the ground and having the swarming mass of insects, worms and other little vermin wiggle and scurry for their dear lives, so they wouldn't drown in the pooling puddles of mud and rainwater that quickly joined to torrents. A strong Suiton-Jutsu couldn't have been any more of a deathly threat than what the simple rain had become to the microsized Shinobi. And the harder it rained the more trouble the Kikaichuu had evading nature's wet air-raid.
"This is getting troublesome", Shikamaru muttered ducking his head behind Hidan's broad shoulders just in time to be barely missed by one of those water missiles. Apparently, the Hyuuga heiress was not so lucky, he could tell by her pained, yet muffled cry and Shino's alarmed voice when the Kunoichi was violently thrown off the bug: "Shikamaru-taichou!"
"Ah!", the genius replied affirmatively and instantly performed the required hand seals relying on his disciple to hold him tight, "Kageyose-no-Jutsu!" His shadow vines stretched quickly and reached out to catch the falling Hinata. But along with his body size the maximum range of his shadow had shrunk drastically, regardless of how fast he was or how much he exerted his abilities. There was only so much he could do.
He missed her by an inch's width and the unconscious Kunoichi disappeared within the mossy thicket below. "No! Hinata!" "We've got to go down there and find her quickly. If she survived the fall, she might still drown in this weather", Shikamaru called out, refusing to give up just yet, and Shino commanded his bugs to u-turn and spiral down.
Entering the undergrowth of the giant meadow, it soon became obvious that the earth had turned into some kind of swamp or stream delta shaking with the continuous eruptions of watery bombs. It was almost pitch-black and the dripping, gnarled moss made it hard for the bugs to navigate in midair, too.
Finding Hinata's body seemed almost hopeless.
"Ne, Shikamaru-sama..." The remaining team members were soaking wet, exhausted and hungry by this time, and they were still putting themselves out in danger without knowing if it wasn't already too late to save their lost comrade. So, the strategist was not surprised to hear Hidan complain; the Genin didn't even know the shy Kunoichi in the first place. "Shikamaru-sama... Oi, oi!"
Still, it was so very frustrating! So troublesome! After failing to retrieve Sasuke on his first mission as a Chuunin captain, Shikamaru vowed not to fail his team ever again; after loosing Asuma, he vowed not to let his comrades die ever again. Yet, here he was, Konoha's supposedly smartest strategist, General Gaara's proxy, a Jonin captain - and still his team member was literally down the drain, injured, maybe even dead! With Hinata gone the success of the mission was endangered, so were everyone's lives.
And he was only being pathetic again. "Tch. So troublesome, troublesome, troublesome."
"Damnit, Shikamaru-sama! You fucking listening?", Hidan's voice boomed loud enough to alert him into attention. When the other two were about to give up hope, the older Shinobi had plunged even further into the open rain, waded through the mud and debris without fear of the deathly raindrop bombs and mercilessly chopped his way through the moss and fungus thicket with the scythe Shikamaru had donned him. "What the fuck am I supposed to do with that evil stare-maneater-chick, now? For being so short she's fucking heavy!"
For just an instant Shikamaru's heart stopped. His head whipped around and he could all but stare into the semi-darkness, hoping he was not seeing things he wished to be there. But after a couple of rain-rimmed blinks the silhouette was still there: scooped in Hidan's strong grip there truly laid a lithe female body. Pale and limp like a porcelain rag doll, Hinata was soaked and smudged as if dragged through a cesspool, but aside from being unconscious she looked only slightly bruised and battered. It seemed like a heavenly miracle that the Genin had found her alive and breathing in this troublesome deathtrap!
Shikamaru was so very relieved and grateful, he could have kissed Hidan then and there. It really was a good choice to have his follower on the team, after all. "Let's find some shelter for the night, get out of the troublesome rain and have some rest", he decided with a small smile, patted Hidan appreciatingly on the back and nodded at Shino, who wordlessly relieved the Genin of the Kunoichi and took care of her body.
It was pitch-dark when they found an unoccupied knothole in an oaktree that was barely big enough to house a salamander, but to the microsized Shinobi it seemed as if they were residing in royal halls - minus all the modern conveniences, of course. The deathly rain had become even heavier by then, so they were rather chilled to the bones, dripping wet like a pack of drowned rats and caked with dirt and mud from head to toe when they entered the uninviting draughty, gnarled place. Exhaust was already showing in their eyes and this was only the first day. Hidan's comment couldn't have been more on the dot: "Holy shit! You pussies look miserable as fuck!" But he wasn't one to talk either. Shikamaru could tell, so he let it slide.
They couldn't afford to catch a cold or worse - not here, not now! - so the Shinobi wrestled off their soaking wet attires and tried to make themselves as comfortable as possible on a makeshift cushion consisting of the crumbling remnants of a dried leaf from last autumn, they discovered somewhere in the back of the knothole. Shikamaru considered a fire to dry them off and keep them warm too risky, because the light would likely lure numerous predators to their current hideout and make them sitting ducks. Instead they repeated after the Kikaichuu and huddled together in pairs. Conveniently, Shino volunteered to take the night watch, and the team captain approved gladly. In his own taciturn way the introvert bug expert would fuss over his female comrade, anyways, so he might as well stay up and keep an eye on things. With a tired smile and a heartfelt yawn the lazy strategist left Shino and his longtime friend to themselves and silently hoped for Hinata to fall out of love one day...
Right now, he had other and more urgent problems to solve. And even when this trouble was all over and done with, he certainly would not start meddling!
Closing his eyes he tried to get some rest, but the cool night wind was howling and blowing moist air into their little refuge. Also he was feeling the strain of the shrinking-Jutsu on their bodies: the clock was ticking fast against them, and the more time they spent microsized without finding the troublesome lice the more the reaper's ghastly grip around their necks became palpable. His nerves were quietly running borderline on frenzied devastation, when on his mind's eye he imagined the kid suffering and dying miserably in Konoha's hospital while his 'daddy' was out there listed as appetizer on today's menu for frogs, woodpeckers or even ants. If it wasn't so fatally serious, he would have laughed at the irony of his fate.
Trying to shut out the slowly growing grating in his bones and the slight stinging in his lungs and blood vessels caused by the longtime effects of the Jutsu, Shikamaru shifted closer to Hidan beside him. Somehow, the warmth and sounds of familiar breathing patterns and heartbeat were a bit comforting, soothing even... And they clung to each other as if it was for dear life - maybe it was!
But none of the four Shinobi were able to get any sleep that night.
As soon as dawn was breaking they popped in one of Sakura's disgusting soldier pills each, left the knothole and continued their mission. The rain had lifted, luckily, but the air was still very moist. If they had had their normal size, they wouldn't have noticed, but right now it seemed almost hazy to the tiny team. Breathing became a hardship when they inhaled almost half a gulp of water each time their lungs demanded oxygen. And their unaccustomed hearts were pumping too fast to keep their systems running for their own good. At least the occasional painful and pitiful wheezing and coffing was drowned out by the booming buzz of the Kikaichuus' wings, as they sped through the supersized thicket and undergrowth. However, it became more and more obvious that human bodies were not made for the life of a bug.
By noon Shikamaru's head was throbbing with the rhythm of his pulse and he was blinking against the troublesome dizziness swimming before his bloodshot eyes, but he willed himself to ignore. They still hadn't found anything yet to save the village, to save the boy! Next to him, a cursing Hidan snorted repeatedly and tried unsuccessfully to pull the blood back up, that was running from his nose and down his chin. And another glance to the second flying elephant of a Kikaichuu told him, that the slightly recovered Hinata might collapse again any second, and her bespectacled teammate wasn't looking any better.
They needed to get a hold of these troublesome lice before their bodies revolted too much against the Jutsu and got them killed. And if that happened, all hope was lost!
The genius refused to give up so easily, but the burden of responsibility did not exactly help him think straight as he tried to recall what little information he had on the insect. Then suddenly it hit him hard like the horrible stench of putrid, rot and decay that entered his nose and almost had him throw up instantly: the lice lived and fed on a special kind of fungus, that was characteristic for its very distinct stink. "Shino, let's go down here! I think, we're finally on the right track", he hollered over the deafening thumping of the bugs and pointed at the mossy shrubbery of fungus beneath them. The Chuunin agreed with a nod and commanded his Kikaichuu into a nose diving landing approach. Shikamaru could not distinct if his stomach was churning because of this manoeuvre or due to the disgusting stench, but he had to fight his retching reflexes until his eyes watered. Obviously, the poor Hyuuga heiress lost to hers once they landed in the middle of the hell of stink. But the strategist could not spare any time for sympathy right now and turned away.
For there they were: a whole herd of small, grotesquely formed creatures hopped and crawled between the gooey stems of fungi suckling here and there on the smelly beads of juice. Even relative to the shrunk Shinobi the sickly white lice had the size of a rabbit - they even moved like one. Shikamaru felt utter relieve seeing them, but he did not dare sigh or breathe deeply, or else he would probably join Hinata on the sidelines puking his guts out. So he unfastened his Hitae-ate and used it to cover his nose and mouth. His teammates did likewise. The horrible stench was still overwhelming and almost unbearable, but there was no way about it and they knew it: the troublesome lice hunt and milking began...
Together the team of four captured and squeezed the quick, struggling insects dry, then packed as much of the life saving secretion into as many scrolls as they could carry and more. Time was almost up, Shikamaru could feel it in every fibre of his being, and they were all on the verge of either collapsing from exhaust or bursting from the conflict between their bodies and the Jutsu.
If they made it back to Konoha in time, he did not know - and probably never would. For he woke before the nightmare was truly over. Troublesome! It was still dark outside, but Shikamaru got up never the less to reassure himself that the boy and his wife were safe and sound. It did the world of good to see their peacefully sleeping faces.
Afterwards he groggily waddled over to Hidan's room to check on his favourite troublemaker as well. When he noticed the older Genin was still awake, he decided to stay with him until it was time to get ready for the troublesome mission.
The lazy Jonin had hoped the religious Shinobi could have made Chuunin at least by then. If that had been the case, he would have simply grabbed his follower and taken him, so his superiors could have shoved their troublesome nagging right where the sun didn't shine: off they would have been for as long as that troublesome mission lasted...just the two of them. Hardly anyone would have been able to cross their combination, so the bet would have been relatively safe.
Shikamaru had intended to bond with Hidan then, to hopefully deepen and change their weird relationship into-...something more equal, perhaps.
But the Hokage had had other plans, obviously, and stubbornly insisted Shikamaru rather went the day before yesterday than the day after tomorrow! So, begrudgingly her loyal Shinobi mumbled his complaint and asked for the team constellation, that at least was available to him and still likely enough to succeed, instead.
Early the next morning, the lazy genius said goodbye to a still sleepy Kurenai with a brief embrace and a kiss, while Hidan and the boy were already at their mission briefing with Aoba. "Take care, okay?", she murmured into his protective vest, gently brushing imaginary dust off the thick olive fabric, "I don't think I could bear a repetition of eight years ago..." Shikamaru fondly, yet sadly smiled at that, his thoughts with Asuma for a fleeting moment, and gave her another reassuring kiss on the forehead. "Well, it's just a troublesome diplomatic mission, not a manhunt for S-class criminals, that I'm off on...", he replied, shouldered his backpack and trudged towards the village gates just in time to meet the also departing Team 1.
"Hey, Dad! Are you leaving on a mission, too? What a coincidence!" The boy waved at him happily, once he noticed his stepfather's approach. "Where are you off to? Maybe we could go together for a while. That'd be awesome!", he grinned. Shikamaru stopped in front of him and caringly ruffled the Genin's fuzzy dark hair, then calmly locked eyes with Hidan. He was about to answer, when Aoba cleared his throat. "In fact, we get to travel together the whole time: Nara Shikamaru-kun has the very same destination we have. That's because he is Team 1's client this time, and it's him we escort to the semi-annual Shinobi Alliance Assembly's Congress and back", the squad leader stated and adjusted his sunglasses. "For real?", the boy beamed even more, hugging Shikamaru's waist out of joy. The lazy Jonin simply nodded, his stern gaze never leaving his follower's unblinking eyes, that kept staring back at him with a manic glint in them. But otherwise Hidan stayed surprisingly silent and serious, that it almost seemed eery.
A couple of hours later the strange atmosphere had completely lifted: the two little Genin and the Kunoichi were obliviously chatting about what Kumogakure might be like and if they would have time to go sightseeing, their Sensei was quietly taking rearguard and Hidan was staying devotedly close to Shikamaru like the perfect bodyguard and disciple to his 'god'. He noticed the religious man was in quite a good mood and it seemed to brighten further the farther they left Konoha behind. Obviously, the taller Shinobi just needed some time for things to finally sink in...
Taking the kids' stamina into account, they took a few breaks throughout the first day until they finally settled camp in a secluded clearing for the night. The sun was still up, but the campfire atmosphere was just as nice during field dinner and Shikamaru approvingly observed, how the three little Genin unreservedly and carefree included their older teammate in their conversations and seemed to look up to their 'Hidan-senpai' the way only a child could. Especially, and almost ironically, Asuma's son appeared to be fond of the madman. Sometimes, Hidan would retort with his usual bickering and colourful cursing, but to the strategist it seemed as if they got along just okay.
However, Shikamaru was also glad for the little distraction, because his follower had been literally crowding him ever since the village Gates had closed behind them, and he was tired due to the constant attention on his person. He wasn't feeling that well and he seriously needed some rest before the dull headache became more troublesome. After all, an escort mission was just the right trouble for an object of fanatic idolatry like him! Still, he wouldn't have it any other way, if it meant spending time together.
Yawning deeply, he put his field dishes and chopsticks aside, stood and crawled into his tent to unfold his sleeping bag and prepare for the night. Hidan, however, was right on his heels and Shikamaru all but bumped into his chest with a little surprised yelp, when he half-turned to unzip his vest and unbuckle his gear. "How troublesome. What are you doing in here, Hidan?", he asked warily and still a bit startled. The taller Shinobi didn't budge in the slightest but started to take off the short-sleeved netshirt he agreed to wear as minimum Shinobi attire, instead. "It's my fucking duty to guard Your holy ass 24/7, Lord Shikamaru. So, that's what I'm doing, obviously", he replied unfazed, eyeing the now very cramped tent.
Shikamaru sighed and rubbed his temples. "Well, I do appreciate your trouble. But this is just a troublesome diplomatic mission, and I really don't expect someone, anyone at all, to come and try to ambush someone like me...I'm not a Kage or something. It's a long way to Kumo. Why don't you take it as a paid holiday and relax for a bit?", he relativised, then added after considering Hidan's bared torso: "Besides, I don't see how it is necessary to undress during your watch."
The religious maniac clicked his tongue and put his fists on his hip. "Well, duh. I'm sleeping next to my Lord, of course, so I can stay guard all the time. This stupid thing looks a bit measly for the two of us, though. But, honestly, I hardly care shit: You know I fucking like having You close at night...", he nudged the sleeping bag suspiciously with his toes, then grinned broadly at the tired strategist.
Shikamaru only facepalmed. "Hidan, seriously. We're on a mission, and right now I'm your client, not your teammate. You can't stay here and share my bed like we used to at home. Please, go sleep at your team's tent like you're supposed to", he murmured through gritted teeth as he felt the foreboding twinge of a migraine forming behind his ears and at the front.
However, oblivious to his idol's suffering, Hidan decided to be stubborn, his lips curling into a defiant pout: "Don't be such a pussy, Shikamaru-chama! That damned trio of doom is annoying as fuck, and bugeye-sensei is such a weak pansy, I can't fucking stand it! Why can't I just stay with You? How the fuck am I to fulfill my duties and be of service to my God, if I'm not around, huh?!" His arms flailed in wild gestures as he tried to make his point. "Come on, Shikamaru-chama! I don't even see You that often anymore. And just last night it was still okay to sleep together and You wanted it, too, I know that. I'm not fucking stupid."
Shikamaru was just sick and tired. He had no energy left to argue with the headache thudding more and more prominently. "So very troublesome!", he groaned in an annoyed tone, slumped backwards onto his sleeping bag in a most space-claiming way and covered his closed eyes sluggishly with one arm. "Well, Hidan, since I'm your 'god' you have to abide by my will, regardless of whether you want to or not, so go suck my dick! This is troublesome. I won't argue with you anymore, so take it like a man without troublesome bickering and just do as I say for once", he hissed irritably with pain and hoped he would be finally left alone for now.
At least, that shut Hidan up, for a long and heavy silence ensued afterwards.
When after a while Shikamaru heard the other Shinobi shuffling quietly and slowly, he expected him to leave and sulk, so he would finally be able to sleep the headache off. Thus, he didn't bother to move at all and instead tried to relax and doze off...
It didn't register as what was really happening, at first, when out of the blue his pants and netleggings were yanked down to his knees in a single movement. But he was wide awake with a surprised gasp, once a hot mouth assaulted his privates! "H-Hidan! What the-...wai-...! I didn't m-...mnnh!", he could barely get a thought straight, when words were almost being sucked out of him. Why did his insane disciple of a troublemaker have to take his words so literally? Troublesome! His toned legs were tensing instinctively, toes curling into the ground as if to gain momentum for a backlash, hands clenching into fists and his upper part of the body jolting up. But Hidan strongly cupped his hip with his big hands, holding him down, thumbs tracing his hipbone, while he devotedly knelt between his thighs bowing deep to put those troublesomely sinful lips all the way over where he liked it best.
And Shikamaru just couldn't fight it.
He simply liked head. He was deprived of head. Ever since Kurenai had been trying to get pregnant, she wouldn't give anymore, so he wouldn't waste sperm like that - and that was years ago. He knew she was right and he had been hoping, no, longing for an adorable little baby girl just as much as she had... But he still missed head.
In an instant his body was on hellfire, all the more that he knew, it was not his wife but his disciple causing him to quickly harden inside that deliciously hot and wet mouth, giving him finally what he wanted! So, he involuntarily moaned, shutting his eyes tightly at the overwhelming dark sensation coiling and uncoiling inside him and he let it happen.
Shikamaru could very much feel, Hidan was not quite experienced doing this sort of thing - and he would have been surprised, if that had been the case! But those slightly clumsy kisses on his shaft and balls, those curious laps and licks at his glans with just that bit of a flick, those soft yet manly lips sliding over his skin as if saying a prayer while sucking him in! They had just the right amount of fervour and passion to drive him almost insane, to have his body shaking with hot sparks of desire, bucking up ever so slightly when Hidan did quite perfectly.
"Oh! This is-...hnnn! Do that again! I'm almost-...", he half whispered, half moaned. And Hidan willingly complied with a grunt that vibrated right through his groins.
It was like another mad dream, his shrewd mind playing a wicked trick on him. But at the same time he felt it was real, for his brain was almost short circuiting and so happily succumbing to pleasure, it couldn't have concocted this wonderful trouble. Even though his vast imagination had a big say when it came to lust and usually helped it to skyrocket. But this time, it was all Hidan's doing (and his deprivation) that had him going. He did not need additional pictures, at all. His nads were already tensing in anticipation, preparing to release, while his follower was bobbing, circling his lips tighter around his slick shaft so his teeth were scratching over the sensitive skin just so-...
And how could he possibly last any longer!
With the force of a hurricane he was suddenly there, faster than he could have warned his follower, groaning out, as tsunamis of pleasure roared down his spine and through his body in searing dark waves and left him in hot squirts, while he still rode on their tide gasping for air and his heart thundering a mile a minute. In the back of his mind Shikamaru registered Hidan making a muffled, surprised noise, but he didn't flinch.
Still very much overwhelmed he reached for the older man and pulled him up. "Seriously, Hidan. You're so...troublesome...", he huffed, slinging his arm around Hidan's neck and shoulder and leaning his forehead against the nape of his neck, but his lips slightly curled into a smile. He could smell his unique scent and hear his quick paced heartbeat from this close. "But thank you...", he murmured.
At least, he had not entirely (unintentionally, but still) abused his role of a 'deity' and his disciple's loyalty and devotion to him and forced himself onto his follower: against his thigh he could feel Hidan evidently was just as excited as he had been seconds ago, a huge boner poking through his pants and the other body involuntarily writhing ever so slightly whenever their bodies were connecting down there.
Shikamaru sighed deeply.
He did not know if he was willing or ready to go down that road, with Hidan no less, and return the gesture in due kind. Or even beyond that. But there was something else, he indeed could do for him... "Here's a Commandment to my so very loyal first disciple: 'Give, and you shall be given!'", he stated seriously, but smirked mischievously at Hidan, who soon afterwards let out a quite perplexed yelp.