Summary: Shikamaru is moving out of his family home. Naruto's apartment building has been slated for demolition. Neither make enough on their chuunin salaries to get a place in a decent part of Konoha. Together though...

Pairings: ShikaNaruShika

Notes: Just for the record, Naruto is 17, Shikamaru is 18. Everyone else who appears I'm sure you can figure out from there. This is somewhat AU I guess, since for purposes you will soon see, Sasuke is back in the village.

Don't hate me! Yes, I know I should be working on other things. However, this is the first time I've had inspiration since my mom passed away. I'm glad to have that finally. So I figured I'll write this until my inspiration points me elsewhere. But, just to appease you all, I am in the process of editing Hiding Behind Masks. I'm figuring by the time I get done editing it all I'll have the new chapter in my head. I'll do the same with my other stories.

Disclaimer: Kishi owns it all...not me. I just like making the characters dance to my own tune.


Ch. 1 - Apartment Hunting





Ino's eyebrow twitched. Not a good sign for the dozing chuunin. Finally, she reached out and yanked him by his ponytail.

"OW! Dammit woman!"

"Shut up! You deserve it you lazy bum! You're the one that's planning to move out, not me. I'm only here to help you search for a place, not do all the work!"

Shikamaru yawned. "It's too troublesome to look."

"Then quit complaining and stay at home with your so called 'nagging mother.' I swear, I don't know why I agreed to help you. I should've just left Chouji to do it. I could be shopping right now, or painting my nails, or hanging out with forehead-"

"Oh fine, just give me the paper." Anything was better than hearing his teammate go on and on. He didn't want to be bothered with all this work. But he was tired of his mother bugging him all the time about stuff. How his father dealt with her, he had no idea. All he knew was that he needed his own space so that if he wanted to lay around all day, he could do it without having to hear his mother complain about it. Or he could leave his clothes on the floor and she wouldn't bug him to pick them up.

He checked out the things Ino had circled so far. Just great.... They're all in the best parts of Konoha. He couldn't afford that. He rolled his eyes and took a pen and started crossing those out and circling some other choices.

"What are you doing? Those are nice apartments. Don't cross those out!" Ino grabbed the paper back.

"Ino, you think I'm rich or something?"

"Of course not. But-"

"I can't afford these."

"Well there's no way you're moving over here." She pointed to the ads he circled. "It's disgusting over on that side of town."

"So? Naruto lives there." He pointed out as he propped up his head with his hand. Ino snorted.

"Your point? I don't even know why he still lives there. His building looks like a strong wind would blow it down. Why would you want to live somewhere like that?"

"Because it's cheap. And I won't be bothered."

"You know, if you weren't too lazy to become a jounin, you'd have more money."

"It's too much work."

"Everything is too much work for you."

"That's true." Shikamaru put his head back on the table, ready to doze off again.

Ino sighed and rolled her eyes, then pulled on his arm. "Well, come on then."

"What Ino?" He asked as he opened one eye. He would shake her off, but it was too much of a pain to bother.

"We're going apartment hunting."

"Can't I just call?"

"No Shika! You have to see how a place looks. You can't just agree to rent an apartment without seeing how it looks. Now let's go!" She hauled him up with surprising strength and pulled the unwilling male along.

"What a drag..."

Naruto slowly walked home, tuckered out from hours of heavy training. Kakashi really worked him to death today. He remembered back when he wanted Kakashi to be serious when it came to training him. Now he was starting to wish the man would give him a break. Who would've thought that the man, just as well known for his laziness as Shikamaru, could wear even him out? All he wanted to do was soak in his bathtub for as long as he could, eat some ramen, and then sleep for days.

He walked through his building's front door, which was just hanging on one hinge, and ignored the sign haphazardly taped to the door. There was always some random note or ad plastered on the doors and walls and he never bothered to read them. He climbed the many flights of stairs to the top floor, cursing Kakashi with every step as his already sore muscles burned. No one met him along the way since there were very few tenants left in the building - some because the knowledge that the Kyuubi holder lived in the building was a deterrent, and others...well, the building hadn't been taken care of in a few years. He wasn't even sure who the landlord was anymore. He just left his rent money in the payment slot at the end of the month. Since he still had an apartment, he assumed the rent went to the right person.

When he finally reached his floor, he pulled out his key to unlock the door when he actually looked at the door. What got his attention were the words in big bold black letters against a red sheet of paper.



There were other details he didn't bother reading. The important part was the date, which was five days from now.

FIVE days from NOW...

His eyes got wide. Five days! How could he find a place and move all of his things out in that time? He didn't even have enough money to get another place. He spent most of his last mission's pay on new weapons, some new jumpsuits, and ramen. Beyond the money he was saving for rent, he was flat broke.

"Well crap..."

"...and the bedrooms are through here."

A whack on the back of the head kept Shikamaru from dozing off while standing up.

"Wake up! At least act like you care. This is for you after all." Ino told him with her hands on her hips.

He rubbed the back of his head with a grimace. "Ino, this place looks the same as the last place, which looks the same as the place before that and the place before that."

"Very funny, Shika. This is definitely the nicest place so far. And it's got a great view of Konoha. And the bathroom is huge!"

"Is this apartment for me or for you?"

"Don't be stupid Shika. Anyways, this is perfect!"

"And it's 15,000 ryo."

"You act like that's a lot."

"Probably because it is."

"You're just cheap!"

Shikamaru sighed and shrugged, then turned and started to walk out the door.

"Wait, where are you going?"

"Ino, it's too troublesome, not to mention a waste of time, to keep looking at places I can't afford."

The blonde ran and intercepted him before he could open the door and leave. "Ok, ok, just wait a second." She blocked the doorway, not that it meant much. If the shadow user really wanted to, he could move her out the way, but it was too much work. "Look, you say you can't afford it."

"That's right."

"Well, there's an easy way to solve that problem."


"Yep." Ino smiled and nodded her head. This apartment was too nice to let him pass up. Besides, her team needed a nice place to hang out. "Get a roommate."

Shikamaru looked at her blandly. "No."

"But Shika, it's the perfect solution."


"Give me one good reason why."

"It's too troublesome to have a roommate." Except Chouji, of course. But he knew his friend had no plans to move outside of his clan's home.

"I said a good reason."

"I like my privacy."

Ino wanted to yank on her hair in frustration. "ARGH! Why do you have to be so stubborn?"

"Why do you have to be so bossy?" Shikamaru retorted. A blonde eyebrow twitched with anger.

"What did you say?!" Ino growled.

"Well, what do you both think?" Fortunately for the shadow nin, they were interrupted by the cheery woman that was showing the apartment. Ino gave her teammate a glare promising pain, but even still, Shikamaru didn't budge.

"Thank you for your time, ma'am. I need some time to think over it," He replied. Ino looked depressed. She wanted to scream at her idiot of a teammate.

"No problem. Don't take too long though. Places like this don't last very long."

"Yes ma'am."

Naruto towel-dried his hair while he walked to the kitchen. A few drops of water still made silvery trails down his bare chest until it stopped at the waistband of his gray sweats. He whistled a tune as he pulled out a pot and filled it with water from the sink. After turning on the burner, he placed the pot over the fire and walked away. While the water slowly heated, he took the waiting time to clean up a bit. Those who were friends of Naruto would be shocked to know that he'd finally learned to clean up after himself. He wasn't even sure what started it really. Maybe it was that one day his apartment was so dirty he couldn't even find his hitai-ite. He remembered spending hours cleaning up in order to find it. Ever since then, he had kept his small apartment relatively clean.

He heard the water boiling and ran back to the kitchen and turned off the burner. He reached up into the cabinet above.

"OW!" Even his shoulders hurt. Damn Kakashi!

Pulling out four cups of ramen, he went about filling the cups with hot water. Then came the three minute wait. He still hated it, even now. So he entertained himself by tapping his fingers to some random beat in his head until the time was up.

Finally, the torturous three minutes ended and he grabbed up his cups and sat down at his rickety table. He slurped down the first and second cups with gusto. He was starving after all.

Now...what to do about an apartment....

He never had to worry about an apartment before. When he was a child, he had to move quite a bit - some of the Konoha residents could be quite cruel and had destroyed his home more than once. But in those instances, old man Hokage would help him move into a new place. And he'd been in this apartment since he was twelve. So he had no idea where to start.

Maybe he could get baa-chan to find one for him.

He slurped down the last two cups and sighed happily now that his tummy was satisfied. He shrugged off his thoughts and tossed the cups in garbage.

"Eh...I'm too tired to care."

He'd ask her tomorrow. Right now he just wanted to sleep.

Shikamaru was lying on top of his roof looking up at the stars. It wasn't as relaxing as the clouds, but it would do. It was quiet and that was all that mattered at the moment. And no one would find him here.


Or not...

He sighed, but didn't move. As long as he stayed quiet, his mother wouldn't know where he was. Unfortunately, because of the quiet, he could hear his parents quite clearly.

"Shikaku, where's your lazy son?"

"How should I know? And why is it that whenever you're mad at him he becomes my son?"

"Because he's just like you. Lazy! I swear, I don't know why I put up with either of you."


"Troublesome..." Shikamaru echoed his father. Was it really so hard to get some peace and quiet?

A few minutes later, he saw his father hop onto the roof and walk toward him.

"Should've known you'd be out here."

Shikamaru didn't say anything.

"Hiding from your mother?"

"Nah, just looking for some peace and quiet."

The older Nara smirked. "Uh huh...hiding from your mother." Shikaku sat down beside his son with a sigh. "You know, you can't hide from her forever."

"I don't see why not."

Shikaku chuckled. "You know, your mother, she's not all that bad."

"Uh huh."

"She's just opinionated."

"Uh huh."

"And fussy."

"Uh huh."

"But she does care about you."

"Uh huh." The father looked down at his son.

"I'm not convincing you, am I?"

"Not really."


"Oh hell..." The man groaned.

"Lazy idiot, get in here and bring your lazy son with you!"

Both males groaned.

"Troublesome woman."

Shikamaru mentally agreed.

He really had to hurry and find a place.


There's the first chapter. I hope you enjoyed it. Please tell me what you think. Any and all feedback is appreciated. Just trying to get myself out of this rut. :) - T.V.