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…
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 Sasuke is back in the village.
Also, thanks so much for all of the reviews and ideas. Keep them coming! I love to see what you come up with. I already have some great ideas I plan to use. Credit for some of the ideas in this chapter go to Windschild8178. Some of the rest comes from my demented little mind. There's two reasons for the title of this chapter. XD And please feel free to let me know what you think of this one.
Disclaimer: Kishi owns it all...not me. I just like making the characters dance to my own tune.
THE ODD COUPLE
Ch. 4 - Hot Water
Sunlight streamed into the bedroom uninhibited since no shades hung from the window. The glaring light made a path right across the body of the sleeping blond. Naruto frowned at the offending brightness and blocked it by putting an arm over his eyes. Unfortunately it didn't help much. He groaned softly and turned on his side, away from the light, hoping he could continue from where he left off. But, unfortunately for him, the damage had already been done. He was awake now, and he knew from experience that once he was awake, he would not be able to go back to sleep.
"Just great..." He mumbled. "Stupid sun." He just slightly cracked his eyes open and sat up. On mindless autopilot, he got up and grabbed a towel that he purposely left partially hanging out of the box the night before and made his way out of the bedroom. He practically sleepwalked to the bathroom. It was amazing that he got there without bumping into a wall or two considering this was his first morning in the apartment. Apparently his subconscious was more awake than he was. After taking care of nature's call, he, as habit dictated, turned the knob of the shower as far it would go. With a yawn, he stretched his stiff body and then pulled off his clothes and sleeping cap. Then he stepped into the shower, expecting the shockingly cold water to awaken him as it always did.
Shikamaru jumped up at the sound of the scream, his ninja senses wide awake. He ran to where the source of the noise was, with a kunai ready in his hand, and threw the door open.
He immediately threw a hand up over his eyes. "Aw jeez, Naruto..."
"AAAAHHHHH!!!!" Naruto jumped and turned at the sound of a voice and almost slipped and fell from having jumped out of the shower the moment the water touched his skin. His eyes went wide when his mind caught up with his body. "EEP!" With a blush, he grabbed the first thing he could find, his t-shirt, and held it up to his body to hide the important bits. "What the hell are you doing in here?"
Shikamaru slowly cracked opened his eyes. He was somewhat relieved that Naruto was at least a bit covered. "You were screaming."
"Oh...yeah...heh heh. Uh, sorry about that." Naruto was about to raise one of his hands to rub the back of his head.
"Dont!" The other male warned just as the fingers of Naruto's right hand were about to release the fabric. He squeezed his eyes shut. Naruto blushed again in embarrassment.
"Oops...sorry..." The brunet sighed.
"Whatever.... What was that about anyway?"
"Oh...uh...the water...it was hot." He looked even more embarrassed.
"Huh? That's all?" That's it?! That's what he jumped out of bed for? Shikamaru groaned and ran a hand over his face. "It's too early for something this troublesome," he muttered and turned around without another word to the blond and closed the door behind him.
Naruto could now add guilt to his list of feelings at the moment. He'd have to apologize later for rousing his lazy roommate. Right now though...
He slowly turned the knob back in the opposite direction until the water was no longer scalding. Then he happily got in the shower.
It was heaven!
He closed his eyes and moaned as the very warm water hit his skin and soothed his muscles. He couldn't even remember the last time he had the privilege of taking a hot shower. No matter how much he complained or how much rent he paid, he never had hot water for a shower. With a happy sigh, he turned around and let the water run down his back. No wonder people sang in the shower. He'd never understood such a thing before since he had learned at a very young age to make quick work in a cold shower. Jump in, lather himself down and rinse as quickly as possible, then jump out with goosebumps on his skin and teeth chattering from the cold.
Maybe he'd have to try singing in the shower sometime.
Naruto stayed in the shower for so long, the water began to get cold. With an extremely satisfied sigh, he turned off the shower and got out.
He was going to love living here.
In his bedroom, Shikamaru was on his bed slightly dozing after the early morning excitement. Man, he had hoped that finally being out of his parents house would give him a chance to finally sleep longer. Obviously not this day. He definitely hadn't planned on his first time waking up in his new apartment to be due to a scream. And he surely hadn't planned to see his roommate in that position. That was not something he wanted to see again. He sighed.
What in the world was the big deal with the water being hot? He didn't have to scream. All he had to do was turn down the water. He didn't have to go waking him up. And it was his one day off from training too. It would've been nice to sleep in for once. And now that he thought about it, what was taking him so long? He's been in there forever.
Of course, now that his mind was awake and all of his questions were out of his head, he was reminded of the task that he would have to deal with today. Unpacking would most likely take him all day.
"What a drag." He groaned.
He heard the bathroom door open. 'It's about time,' he thought.
"Shower's all yours Shika." Naruto yelled from the hallway.
Unfortunately, he had to go through the trouble of finding a towel. It only took him five minutes of searching in the front room to find the box labeled "bathroom" but it was five minutes too long for him. After finally getting a towel, he closed the bathroom door behind him.
He stepped into the shower and turned on the water.
The water was cold.
Shikamaru sat on the floor and actually put forth the extra effort to glare at Naruto. He usually wouldn't bother, but this was a special case.
He hated taking cold showers.
Naruto was completely oblivious to his roommate's glare and happily slurped up his second cup of miso ramen from his stash he'd brought from his apartment. It took until after he finished the second cup and was opening the third for him to finally feel the pair of eyes on him. He looked up at the dark eyes boring into his own. "Huh? What's wrong?"
"My shower was cold." Naruto's head tilted to the side in confusion.
"Really? That's weird. Mine was nice and hot."
Shikamaru rolled his eyes. "Obviously." He heard the evidence of that earlier. "But you stayed in there so long you used up all the hot water."
"Huh? You can use up hot water?"
He would've punched him, but he noticed the blond did look completely clueless about it. Naruto wasn't joking. He felt the sudden urge to face palm. As it was, he raised an eyebrow at the blond. "Of course you can."
How did he not know that? Everyone knew that! Then it hit him. Everyone who had a family knew that. Naruto never had the privilege - or punishment - of being the last one in the shower in the morning and being shocked by the cold water because the rest of the family used up all the hot water first. He had always been on his own. He never had to compete for the hot shower. In his family, whoever was the last to get into the bathroom in the morning always ended up with the colder shower. Naruto would never know about that. 'Insensitive ass,' he thought to himself.
"Oh. Sorry. It's just been a while since I had a hot shower."
Shikamaru's earlier thoughts derailed. He looked up sharply at the blond. Just when he thought his roommate lived on hot showers every day.... Wait, exactly how long was 'a while'? Well, now that he thought about it, his apartment had been scheduled for demolition. Maybe they turned off the gas early...but that didn't make much sense.
"Oh? Guess they turned off the gas before you moved out, huh?" He saw the slight blush on the blond's face and knew he was embarrassed. Maybe he didn't want to talk about it. Troublesome...maybe he shouldn't have asked.
O...K.... Now the wheels were really turning in the genius' mind. The only other reason to be without hot water was if he didn't pay the bill. With the embarrassment written all over his friend's face, that might be a more likely explanation. Or maybe the landlord was a real jerk and was being cheap. The place was a mess after all, long before being slated for demolition. Well, now he felt kind of guilty for bringing it up at all. But that didn't stop the next question from leaving his lips. "Hey Naruto, exactly how long have you been without hot water?"
Naruto's shrug was his answer.
He thought about it. He'd only been to Naruto's apartment once. That was about a year and half ago, back after Jiraiya the sannin had died. Even then, there were only a few tenants in the building, from what he saw. How could they all go without gas for so long?
"Why didn't anybody report it?"
Naruto looked down and gave a mirthless chuckle. "There was no reason for anyone to report it."
"Ah." There were moments that Shikamaru hated being so astute. With just those few questions and responses he had read between the lines and gotten the explanation for everything. The conclusions he reached made him definitely wish he'd never brought it up. Again, the Kyuubi. It made him wonder what else Naruto had done without because of his demonic tenant. He looked over at his new roommate whose head hung low, probably still embarrassed he figured. With a sigh, he stood and stretched. "Well, you won't have to worry about that anymore. Just don't spend so long in there next time."
The blond looked up with a surprised expression. Then he slowly smiled at Shikamaru. "Alright."
Another true smile. The second in two days. Shikamaru was beginning to grow a bit fond of that smile.
Sakura hummed as she made the long trek to her teammate's apartment on the other side of town. She needed someone to be her guinea pig and Naruto would be perfect for the part. Hanging on her arm was a basket covered with a cloth napkin. Inside was the latest version of her homemade chakra pill. It would hopefully be even better than the last ones she created. But for some reason, Sai seemed to always disappear every time she looked for him to test it out.
But, there was always Naruto. He would do anything for her. He would be happy to be help her.
She got to the building and sighed in dismay at the dismal state of the place. She shook her head. Why did Naruto bother continuing to live there? There had to be somewhere else he could go even with his...um...extenuating circumstances. Especially now, since less people bothered him after the Akatsuki attack when he'd proven himself. She climbed the rickety steps up to the top floor. The bright note at the door stopped her from knocking. Demolition? Her eyes widened and she knocked at the door with urgency.
There was no answer and she pounded on the door with her fist. Her idiot teammate was known to sleep like the dead at times.
"Naruto! It's Sakura. Open this door before I break it down."
There was still no answer, despite the threat. She tried the doorknob, just on a whim, and the door opened. Her eyes narrowed and she pulled a kunai, just in case. Naruto never left his door locked. She crept inside the small apartment, on alert for anything unusual. The usual old furniture was in place. But...as she glanced around, she noticed the place looked empty. The pictures, the plants, everything was gone.
Where could Naruto have gone? She wanted to kick herself. Lately, she's been so busy at the hospital and working on her new pill, she hadn't taken any time to visit either of her teammates. She didn't even know Naruto's home was about to be demolished. Hmm...now where could he be?
Maybe she should find Sasuke.
It was only 11:00 and Naruto smiled as he put the finishing touches on his bedroom. There wasn't much he had to do anyway. All of his clothes and weapons went in the closet. He had one box of things in the corner of the room that would have to stay there until he could afford some shelves and a bed. His plants went into the window. They would have as much sun as they wanted.
He sighed as he stood in the middle of his room and spun in a slow circle. A room with no holes, no leaks, fresh paint, no broken windows. It caused Naruto to do something completely unmanly. He giggled. He couldn't help it.
Unfortunately, he wasn't the only one who heard it.
Shikamaru walked past the room right as his roommate made the less than manly sound and he poked his head into the room. The blond was spinning slowly in the middle of the room. It was quite an interesting sight and the lazy man couldn't help but shake his head a smile. He wasn't about to ruin the moment. He knew this was probably the first time Naruto had such a nice place to stay. He leaned against the doorway and watched with a small smile.
Naruto finished his slow turn and stopped abruptly when he caught sight of his audience. His eyes went wide and his face turned red. He glanced to the side.
"Uh...hi," he mumbled. Shikamaru smirked and raised an eyebrow. Naruto raised a hand to the back of his head and tried to stop blushing. The lazy nin decided to give the blond a break from his silent teasing.
"Well, looks like you're all done here."
"Lucky you. I've hardly gotten started."
Shikamaru left after that and went back to living room. Naruto ended up following and chuckled at the mess. Obviously he hadn't been kidding. It didn't look like his friend had put much of a dent in the time they'd been unpacking.
"Uh, Shika? Did you actually start?"
Shikamaru turned to glare at Naruto until he saw the grin on the blond's face. He ended up rolling his eyes instead. "Shut up. It wouldn't be as much of a drag if I had some help."
Naruto crossed his arms. "Are you asking?"
"Are you offering?"
Naruto shrugged and got on his knees next to a box. "I'll help. It's not like I had much to unpack anyway."
First Sakura went to Sasuke's. She never spent much time on the Uchiha grounds, definitely not like Naruto did. So she had to wander around for quite a bit in order to find her teammate. She eventually found him training on his personal training grounds. He had built up a sweat as he worked out and it glistened in the sun and highlighted his shirtless muscular frame. Sure, she was supposed to be asking him a question, but she couldn't help admiring - aka, staring - at her teammate as he trained. He looked so good with his dark hair blowing in the wind as he jumped, flipped and moved from one stance to another. Sure she'd gotten over her crush on him, but she still couldn't deny his attractiveness.
Sasuke had felt her when she first showed up, but he continued his routine in the hopes that she might go away and leave him alone. But his wish wasn't granted since he could feel her staring at him and it was making his skin crawl. He had hoped she would've gotten over her obsession with him while he'd been gone.
"What do you want Sakura."
The pinkette stepped out of the bushes she had been hiding behind with a blush. "Uh, hi Sasuke. How are you doing?"
"Hn." The Uchiha raised an eyebrow as if to say 'Get to the point or go away.'
"So...uh...I was looking for Naruto."
"Well, as you can see, he's not here." He replied with a wave of his hand around the grounds.
"Well, yeah. But I was wondering if you knew where he was."
"Why would I know that? I'm not his keeper."
"But, I checked his apartment and it looks like he left for good."
Sasuke sighed. He knew the only way he could get rid of her was to give her the information he had on the Naruto. The stupid dobe always made his life harder.
"He stayed with me for a couple of days when he knew his apartment was going to be demolished. But he found an apartment and moved in yesterday."
"Where?" He shrugged.
"Don't know. Don't care. He's sharing with Nara."
"Hn." Sasuke walked off into the trees. Sakura had learned enough over the years to know that it was his version of a dismissal. She turned and walked away.
It was time to go talk to Ino.
For the next two hours they both worked together on unpacking. In that time they got most of the boxes unpacked. They were just starting to work on putting his array of books and scrolls on the bookshelf when they got a knock at the door. Since Shikamaru was too lazy to move fast enough, Naruto went and opened the door to Chouji.
Shikamaru raised a hand in greeting.
"I come bearing lunch." Chouji said and raised a big bag in his hand for emphasis.
"Yep. I was about to come over to see if you needed any help unpacking when my mom stopped me. She felt it was her duty to make sure we had a good meal while we unpacked."
"Your mom's the best Chouji!" Naruto said with a grin.
"You haven't even tasted her food yet."
Ino sighed as she watched everyone walk by the flower shop from her stool at the counter. She was so bored. Her mother took advantage of her only day off training and asked that she watch the store so she could run the errands that had been piling up. It's not like she could say no.
And it just had to be one of those slow days.
She'd rather be training than sitting here bored to death. She gave another sigh and looked down at the magazine she had already read more than once. The picture of the beautiful woman on who knows what page it was stared at her unblinkingly. She had the urge to chuck the whole thing in the garbage.
She flipped another page. Great...the newest fashion, blah, blah, blah....Ugh!
The jingle of bells had her looking up as the door opened. Finally! A customer. And then at seeing who it was, she grinned. Her day had just gotten better. There was a god after all.
"What are you doing here forehead?" she asked with a grin.
"Shut up Ino-pig!" Sakura yelled while making a fist.
It was their standard greeting. The greeting was almost as famous as Konoha's most well known duo of nicknames - Dobe and Teme.
Sakura glared at her best friend. "I would but your parents would probably kill me for destroying their shop."
"Hmph...as if you could."
She cracked her knuckles loudly. "Don't try me Ino."
Ino started laughing. Sakura joined her.
"Thanks. I needed that." Ino said with a smile. "I've been soooo bored. Mom's got me stuck here while she runs errands. So, what are you doing here?"
"Actually, I was looking for Naruto."
"Huh? Naruto. Why would he be here."
"No, I don't mean looking for him here. I mean, I'm looking for where he lives. Sasuke said he and Shikamaru moved into an apartment. But he didn't say where. I figured since he's your teammate and all, you would know."
"Ah yes, well, I do happen to know where they live. I helped Shika find the place, after all. How about you do me the favor of hanging out here and keeping me company until mom comes back. Then I'll take you over there."
Sakura shrugged. "I guess that's ok. You really must be bored."
"Yes, I am. So bored I can hardly stand it. Now let me in on some juicy gossip." Ino leaned forward with a conspiratorial grin on her face. Sakura responded with a grin of her own and leaned her arm on the counter. There's always time for some good gossip.
After filling themselves up on great Akimichi cooking, all three went back to unpacking. Soon Naruto and Shikamaru had developed a routine. Naruto got the books out of the box and passed them to Shikamaru who put them on the shelf in some semblance of order that Naruto didn't understand. Meanwhile, Chouji was organizing the kitchen. Once they finished their respective tasks, that would be that.
Popular music played from the radio they eventually found amidst all the boxes. Naruto and Chouji did their best to sing along while Shikamaru cringed at the sound of their voices and shook his head at his troublesome friends.
"Come on Shika! I know you want to join in." Naruto yelled with a grin at his counterpart.
"Aww, don't be a spoil sport."
The shadow nin stared at his best friend. "Oh no, not you too."
Chouji grinned and grabbed his friend by the arm.
"What a drag. Chouji, I said no."
"Not taking no for an answer."
Meanwhile Naruto had found a big spoon and started singing into it like a microphone and dancing around. Then he took another spoon and tossed it to Chouji who took it and started singing as well. Both of them sandwiched their friend and sang the chorus. Then they thrust their spoons in Shikamaru's face.
He gave a long suffering sigh. "You're not going to leave me alone until I do this are you."
Both of them grinned. "Nope." Naruto replied for the two of them.
"You're both troublesome, you know." With a roll of his eyes, he grabbed one of the spoons and started halfheartedly singing the verse. Chouji and Naruto started laughing and Shikamaru glared at both of them. It was bad enough he even knew the lyrics to this horrible pop song. But singing it aloud....
"I hate you both."
"We love you too Shika." Naruto replied.
Ino and Sakura stood at the door waiting. They had already knocked twice, but the noise obviously kept the boys from hearing. Sakura was now tapping her foot as she got more irritated. She was just about to knock the door off it's hinges when Ino's voice stopped her.
"Argh! Whatever." Ino pulled a pin from her hair and knelt in front of the lock. Sakura raised an eyebrow at her friend.
"What in the world are you doing?"
Ino smirked. "What does it look like I'm doing, forehead? I'm picking the lock."
"What? You want to see Naruto or not? I'm not going to stand here all afternoon waiting for those idiots to open the door."
Sakura shrugged and let her do what she wanted.
The blonde concentrated on her criminal act, jiggling the pin in the lock until she soon heard the click that told her the lock was successfully disengaged. She gave her companion a self-satisfied smile and stood up.
"All done!" She twisted the knob and opened the door. Sakura and Ino's mouths dropped open as they walked in on the strangest sight.
Chouji and Naruto had an arm around Shikamaru and all three of them had spoons in their hands as they - well, the latter seemed like he got dragged into it - danced badly to the music. Both tried to hold it in. But then Ino snorted and that triggered Sakura's giggles. Then they started laughing hysterically.
All three males jumped at the sound of laughter and turned to see the two girls standing there holding their stomachs as tears rolled down their faces. Naruto was used to attention like that and now that Sakura was there, he hammed it up even more. Chouji, the most easily embarrassed of them, blushed and stopped singing. Shikamaru wasn't embarrassed about it, but he still groaned. He knew Ino would hold this over his head forever. He'll never hear the end of it. And knowing her, it'll somehow end up all over the village.
"Oh wow...If I only had a camera!" Ino said through giggles.
"Better yet, a video camera." Sakura replied.
Shikamaru grumbled. "Ino, what are you doing here?"
"Sakura was looking for Naruto. I figured I'd be a good friend and show her where he lived."
"Hi Sakura-chan!" Naruto yelled with a smile and bounced over to her.
Sakura responded by hitting him over the head. "Idiot! You could've told me you were moving. I was worried when I came to your apartment and found out it was being torn down and couldn't find you."
Naruto pouted and rubbed his now sore head. "Sorry Sakura-chan. I didn't have much of a chance to see you between trying to find a place and all."
She gave him a smile in response and shrugged her shoulders. "Well, I'm glad you found a place. Somehow, I just can't see you two as roommates though. It's just...odd."
"No, what was odd was what they were doing just now." Ino snickered. "Naruto I expect to do something like that. Maybe even Chouji, as long as it's not a lot of people watching. But Shika? I never knew you had such talents."
"Shut up troublesome woman." He moved to the safety of the kitchen, away from the girl's teasing, with the guise of putting away the used spoon.
"You were looking for me Sakura-chan?" Naruto asked. Sakura smiled and held her basket up. He paled slightly.
"What is that?" Chouji asked, not knowing that he was digging his own grave. Naruto was already looking for a way out. Maybe he could do a substitution and run away. Or maybe shadow clones can distract her. Shikamaru saw Naruto pale from his spot in the kitchen. That was enough to send him danger signals and he figured he was better off staying out of the way.
"Oh, this is my new creation. I've been working on making a new chakra pill that would be even more enhanced than my last ones. You should try one."
Naruto slowly moved closer to the door, hoping Sakura would continue to focus on the larger male. Poor Chouji, he didn't want to feed him to the wolves, but survival of the fittest and all...
"Ok." Chouji took one.
"You too, Naruto. I was hoping you'd test them out for me."
Naruto stopped at the voice and cursed to himself. He had almost made it to the door too.
"Please Naruto? I was hoping Sai could help me, but he's never around."
'Probably because he's running as far away from you and your poisonous pills as he can.' He thought to himself. But then she gave him that Sakura sad smile and dammit, he fell for it again. He couldn't resist those eyes. He sighed and did his best not to cringe at what he was about to do.
Ino, meanwhil,e went and grabbed her lazy teammate by his arm and pulled him out of the kitchen. "You might as well let Shika try it too. Then you'll get three opinions."
"That's a great idea Ino!"
'Oh hell.' Shiikamaru thought. He looked at Naruto who glanced at him with an apology in his eyes. That didn't make him feel any better. He had been thinking how bad could it be, but after that look, even he was scared.
Sakura handed the two of them a pill each about the size of a large gumball. They were a very unappetizing looking brown and Shikamaru did his best not to look too disgusted. Naruto was already starting to look a bit green and he hadn't swallowed it yet.
"Well, come on. Try it. Tell me what you think." She said while looking hopefully at the three males.
The three of them took a gulp first and then took the pill.
Chouji turned red.
Shikamaru used all of his training to keep a straight face, but sweat suddenly appeared and trickled down his face.
Naruto looked even more green as he swallowed.
"Well?" Sakura asked, her eyes wide in anticipation of a glowing review.
"Are you trying to-" Shikamaru got a painful elbow from his roommate.
"It's great!" Naruto said with a raspy voice. "Better than before."
"Really?" She asked. The three of them put on convincing (or painful) smiles and nodded in agreement. Chouji had a huge grin on his face. Or was that a grimace?
"Thank you, thank you, thank you!" She said as she hugged all three of them. And then she was out the door.
Ino smirked at the three of them as if she knew that they had just gone through torture. "I'll be going now. Don't fight over the water now, you hear?" Then she laughed. Right before she closed the door, she poked her head back inside and gave them a geniune smile.
"You guys really are good friends."
And then she shut the door.
Naruto instantly ran for the toilet, gagging.
Chouji ran for the kitchen and grabbed a cup and started drinking water like he was parched.
Shikamaru didn't even bother with a cup and drank straight from the faucet.
At some point the three of them found their way to the floor in the living room. They still looked quite pale. Ino was only partially correct. They had to be the greatest friends ever to endure such torture.
"Kami! I swear she's trying to kill off all the ninja in Konoha." Naruto groaned. Chouji moaned and held his stomach. Even someone with his palate had lost his appetite after that.
"What a drag. In one day I've been awakened by a scream, had a cold shower, got caught singing by the two biggest gossips in Konoha, and got poisoned by the chakra pill from hell."
Shikamaru was beginning to wonder if he might've been better off staying at home if this was his preview of what he'd have to endure by having the most unpredictable ninja, Uzumaki Naruto, as his roommate.