The Springtime of Youth

A/N: I've missed all of you (nonexistent readers!)! But nevermind that. I love Shikamaru, I love Tenten. I love these two together. Hurr!

Disclaimer: They're not mine, but they should be. Maybe for Christmas.

One would have thought that the heir to the Shadow clan would be subtle and smooth, given the nature of his bloodline limit. One would have also presumed that as one of Konoha's best strategist and championed genius, Nara Shikamaru would be well versed in the art of subtle interaction and nonverbal communication. Unfortunately, not only did the genius lack a certain finesse when it came to nonpolitical and tactical stratagems, but he was also physically clumsy at times. Thankfully, his girlfriend understood this about him.

The magnolias were gently swaying in the early summer night, the fallen, decaying petals releasing their heavy, swollen scent into the air. Tenten smiled as she inhaled in the night, reveling in the good weather and the beauty of the isolated path. As per their custom, Tenten was going to walk Shika to the halfway point between their apartments, where they'd take their leave of each other, after a lot of sly nudging, grinning, shuffling and urging of the other to start walking back first.

The heavy branches of the trees lining their usual route were bent under the weight of the blossoms, and the tall deer boy found himself ducking more than once to void being hit in the face, while his girlfriend merrily walked along beside him, oblivious to his trials and troubles. At one point, Shikamaru had to abruptly release Tenten from underneath his arm when one branch succeeded in smacking him in the face, getting his hair tangled in a few errant flowers.

At the next low hanging branch they encountered however, Shika decided to do something smooth and cool – like Neji or Sasuke would do – and reached out and plucked a fully bloomed magnolia. Smiling at her, Shika turned to Tenten, fully intending to place his prize behind her ear. But accidentally jabbed her in the eye.

"Shit! Shit! Ten, are you okay?" he beseeched imploringly as his girlfriend bent over, hand clasped over a watering eye as she began giggling uncontrollably.

"Yeah, yeah I'm okay, don't worry!" she assured him as she straightened, wiping away the tears, "don't feel bad – and definitely stop hovering over me like you're scared." To assure him that she really was indeed, alright, she let her well meaning boyfriend take her face between his hands and do a full inspection of her face – complete with a few kisses in lieu of an apology. Plucking another flower, Shikamaru gingerly eased it behind her ear.

"Aww, Shikamaru, I didn't know that you were trying to be romantic," Tenten teased when they had resumed their walking, flower carefully tucked behind her ear and hands linked together in Shika's vest pocket.

"Can I get a kiss for that?" he asked, pointblank. Tenten smirked and grabbed him by his vest collar, pulling him down for a warm, quick kiss against his mouth. "How was that?" she smiled, fluttering her lashes at him.

"You women are troublesome," he replied. Tenten laughed, seeing the traces of a smirk around the corners of his mouth and feeling the way his fingers tightened their grip on her hand, hidden away in his pocket.

A/N: Please don't kill me if this wasn't as fluffy or as cute as it could be. My brain and fingers aren't really agreeing on much today. ;_;