Title: Three Times Shikaku Caught Inoichi (And The One Time He Wished He Hadn't)

Author: Lovesrainscent

Rating: T

Pairing: Shikaku/Inoichi (yes you read that right. Pairing as in "pairing" as in shonen-ai as in ZOMG - did I actually WRITE this?!?)

Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto and I do not stand to make any money from posting this story. Also 100% Yoshino approved (she understands me - she's merrily writing shonen-ai herself for all the boys in Jiriaya's Icha Icha books.)

Summary: Shikaku remembers the first time he caught Inoichi when the blond was practicing his jutsu. Other important moments stand out in his memory as well. It's an old old story. Boy meets boy. Boy catches boy in his arms. Boy kisses boy. Because who can resist that beautiful blond? Shonen-ai.

Three Times Shikaku Caught Inoichi (And The One Time He Wished He Hadn't)

Shikaku remembers the first time he caught Inoichi when the blond was practicing Shintenshin no jutsu. They had been about twelve years old, recent graduates from the Academy just learning to work together as a team.

Inoichi already knew the jutsu. He had learned at home with his own clan members, of course. When sensei had them all demonstrate their respective ninjutsus he'd assigned the task of catching the Yamanaka to Shikaku.

"Why me?" Shikaku had complained, grumbling that he had more work to do than Chouza.

But sensei had correctly pointed out that Chouza's techniques would always require use of his hands and arms in some way whereas Shikaku, being a quite skilled kagemane practitioner already, would soon advance to the point where he would no longer require the hand signs. Thus, he was the logical choice.

Shikaku grumbled again. He hated having his beloved logic turned against him but he had to agree with his sensei's reasoning.

Bracing himself to catch the taller boy he completely misjudged how much sheer dead weight the blond boy would be when he sank into his arms upon targeting a nearby squirrel. The two boys' bodies collapsed in a heap, with Shikaku knocked breathless as Inoichi's inert body landed on top of him.

Squirrel-Inoichi chittered angrily from a tree trunk then darted away as Inoichi released the jutsu and returned to his own body.

"What the hell was that, Nara?" Inoichi had huffed angrily rising and pushing Shikaku back down as soon as the dark-haired boy got to his own feet.

A scuffle ensued which sensei quickly broke up. Chouza diplomatically refrained from taking sides.

And that was the first time Shikaku remembers catching Inoichi.

The second time that stands out vividly in his memories occurred a couple of years later.

The team had gelled into one of the most reliable chuunin teams in Konoha. Rumor had it that all three stood a good chance of being made jounin at the same time, an unprecedented achievement in the village especially considering their youth.

By this time Shikaku had become quite adept at working with Inoichi. One evening the two of them were practicing together at their customary training grounds. Inoichi was working on acquiring targets further and further afield. It was just the two of them, Chouza and sensei were on a brief escort mission for the next couple of days.

Inoichi sited a hawk that was just a speck in the distance against the sunset. Shikaku caught Inoichi as usual but for whatever reason this time he looked down at his face. It was startling, really, how...striking he was. Shikaku would not allow himself to admit that the word he wanted to use was 'beautiful.'

Blond hair spilled over his right forearm. Sooty lashes that belonged on a girl dusted against pale skin. The high cheekbones and angled planes of his face were strangely androgynous, attractive. His teammate was warm in his arms and Shikaku felt betrayed by his own thoughts not to mention his own teenaged body at the moment.

When Inoichi returned to his body and opened those pale blue eyes to meet his, Shikaku was horrified that his friend might realize what he'd been...thinking.

If he did, he didn't show it. He simply straightened up and asked the Nara boy if he would help him try again.

Shoving his hands in his pockets and turning to walk away, Shikaku called back over his shoulder that he couldn't stay any longer. He said he'd just remembered something his mother had told him to do.

Shikaku lay awake long hours that night staring at the moon and thinking. He felt awful..., ill..., sick...love-sick.

He'd always thought of girls as bothersome, troublesome, bitchy and bossy. Who needed them?

But the alternative had never crossed his mind.

Until he'd looked at Inoichi that day.

God his teammate was beautiful. Achingly beautiful. And he ached for him right now. Slipping his hand beneath the sheets he sought relief and when his release came it was Inoichi's name that he whispered out into the darkness.

The third time that's blazed into his memory occurred the very next day. Once again it was just he and Inoichi. They'd had individual assignments during the day but met again at the training fields that evening.

Sparring together first, practicing tai-jutsu they had gotten in a good workout. The sun was just below the horizon, the sky a pale blue that heralded the twilight to come when Inoichi spied the birds heading off to roost in the far distance and told Shikaku that he wanted to try again.

Terrified that he wouldn't be able to conceal his feelings from his friend, Shikaku hesitated for an instant then agreed. After practicing a few more times, the twilight had deepened so that there were no longer any birds for Inoichi to use.

Still holding Inoichi, pleasantly warm in his arms, Shikaku looked at the lengthening shadows, "Guess we should be heading for home." The shadows were safe. He could hide in the shadows, hide his thoughts, his feelings, the expression on his face. The shadows were home.

"Yeah, I guess so," Inoichi answered. As Shikaku released him and the Yamanaka boy stood he said, "You know, Nara, I don't even have to read your mind to know what you're thinking."

Stunned, Shikaku froze, almost as if he himself were caught in kagemene. "What...what do you mean?" he spluttered.

"What I mean is....," Inoichi shouldered his pack that was laying at his feet and turned to face him, there was just enough faint light left for Shikaku to see the quirky smile on his friend's face, "I don't mind."

"I still don't know what you're talking about," Shikaku lied.

Inoichi leaned over to him. "Sheesh, Shikaku, for someone so smart you sure are so stupid. All your talk about troublesome women and I'll bet you've never even thought about boys. I'll bet you've never even kissed a boy."

That statement was true for the length of time it took Inoichi to finishing closing the distance between the two of them and dip his face to Shikaku's, lips brushing against the Nara boy's.

Inoichi smelled like grass and sweat and sunshine. When he slipped his tongue against Shikaku's parted lips, the brown-haired boy realized he tasted sweet and salty at the same time.

Inoichi's cheek was warm against his, body hot against his as the blond whispered in his ear with a laugh, "Like I said, I don't mind."

The fouth time he remembers catching Inoichi came at the end of that same summer. It was purely by accident. He'd been walking home in the early evening from a solo assignment he'd had. He decided to short cut across the same field where he and Inoichi had spent so many pleasant sweaty hours all summer, pursuing one form of training or another.

Whispers and soft sounds from up ahead made him alert, but not concerned for any danger. The noises certainly didn't sound threatening. Curious, he approached quietly only to come upon Inoichi quite literally rolling in the hay with a village girl.

The girl opened her eyes and saw him and gave a tiny shriek. Wriggling away from Inoichi she tried to cover herself, clutching her yukata to her chest. Startled, Inoichi jumped up, jerking his pants up over his hips.

Realizing who it was it was his turn to be stunned into near speechlessness. "Shikaku, man, I'm sorry. I....I....I should have let you know..."

Shikaku took in the scene and understood that what they had ... what he had thought they had was over. "It's...okay," he mumbled softly, turning to walk toward home.

Inoichi followed him as the girl struggled into her clothes. One hand closing warmly over his shoulder, he said, "Shikaku, honestly, I'm sorry. You shouldn't have found out that way..."

Shikaku shrugged him off. "It's okay," he reiterated, "I don't mind."

"Shikaku?"

The shadow ninja was walking away. He called back to his friend, "Like I said, I don't mind."

The team dynamics were off for quite a while but eventually sorted themselves out. It was awkward for some time between the two of them but they both realized that in the end their friendship remained. It's been years since Shikaku bedded Inoichi but that doesn't mean he doesn't still think about it.

And he's learned an important lesson. Just like the scars on his face there are scars on his heart that will never heal.

The End

A/N: Okay, this bunny had fangs and has been gnawing at my ankles for some time now. But I've never actually written shone-ai in Naruto fandom before so please let me know how I did.