Disclaimer: Do you really think Tenten and Neji would still be not together and Itachi would be dead? Of course not! So I don't own Naruto.
The Art of Relationships
by Amor Deliriousa
There was something almost unbelievably constant about their relationship. Shikamaru wondered how two polar opposites could be so attracted to each other and have it, well, work.
God knows he had tried the whole polar opposite thing and that didn't turn out too well for him. Sure, he loved Temari, but it was just so tiring. When he had tried to point out that cursing out the kazekage for not washing behind his ears properly was unreasonable and probably unwise, she had thrown a pan at his head. A pan.
He skeptically observed Hyuuga Neji, scanning for signs of stress or wariness on the young man, or at least a few cuts here or there considering his girlfriend was the friggen weapons mistress of Konoha and quite frankly, the fire country.
But the widely-renowned Anbu captain's skin seemed impeccable, or as impeccable as you could get from a profession that required constant fighting. Squinting, Shikamaru stared as Neji coolly leaned against the tree, arms crossed, watching Tenten grab a very expensive looking weapon from the back of a very disgruntled looking prisoner.
"Hey, this is cool! Look Neji, it has three blades!" She held it up for him, an excited glint in her eyes, to which he responded with a small nod. "Wow, this is going to be great for my collection!"
"Um, miss, I got that from-"
The prisoner glanced at Neji and quickly shut his mouth at the glare on the Hyuuga's face.
A glare practically daring any of the three prisoners to speak up to the giddy girl who had practically stripped them of all of their weapons without a second glance.
"Neji, that's got to be like ten different serious offenses against the treatment of prisoners."
The captain didn't respond and Shikamaru warily turned his attention back to the bun-haired girl as she fished around in one of the blond prisoner's weapons holsters. The captive looked like she was bordering on tears as Tenten practically gushed over a particularly beautiful shuriken.
"We could go to prison."
Shikamaru waited in silence as Neji's eyes slid over to glance at him before landing back on Tenten. With an almost inaudible sigh, the Hyuuga pushed himself off of the tree and slowly made his way towards Tenten and her growing pile of stolen weapons.
She giggled as she polished a kunai with the bottom of her Anbu cloak.
Again, the Hyuuga was ignored. Shikamaru winced as he waited for the inevitable temper tantrum the girl would throw when Neji repeated himself for the third time. Girls were so troublesome.
"Tenten, honey," Neji's voice was so low that Shikamaru almost didn't hear the term of endearment as Neji lowered himself to sit beside Tenten, one hand on the small of her back and the other slowly ushering the kunai out of her hands. "You need to give these back."
Her head snapped up to face him, huge wide doe eyes staring up at him. "What?"
Shikamaru stared in disbelief as Neji's hand rubbed small soothing circles on Tenten's back. "These weapons aren't yours darling, they belong to the prisoners."
Shikamaru almost gaped at the reassuring tone in Hyuuga Neji's voice. He not only said honey, but darling in almost the same sentence. Hell, the fact that it was in the same conversation alone was amazing. He could feel his mouth drop as Neji continued to whisper reassuring things to his girlfriend, rubbing her back, and slowly pushing all of her newly acquired weapons away from her and closer to their rightful owners.
He watched as Tenten dejectedly stood up, shoulders slumping, claiming she needed to go take a bath and no he was not to join her.
When she was safely out of sight, Neji stood up, sighed, and took the few steps to the weapons pile, furrowing his brows as he began sorting out the pile of weapons according to which prisoner she had stolen it off of.
Shikamaru opened his mouth to comment on the scene that had just unfolded in front of him, but Neji quieted him with one, blank look before turning his full attention to sorting the weapons.
"Help me with these, Tenten's going to be back in fifteen minutes and if she sees these laying out she'll try to sneak one."
Shikamaru stared at him.
"Nara, I do not feel like fishing poisonous throw darts out of some God forsaken crevice she finds on the way home and I assure you if that happens, you will be the one climbing down whatever cliff, river, cave, and/or manhole she decides to stash them in."
Shikamaru wordlessly plopped down next to Neji, offering a weak, "the blonde one's got all four-star shurikens."
Shikamaru decided to pretend like the whole thing had never occurred, but Neji, Tenten, and Shikamaru had become a popular trio for Anbu missions and he couldn't help but to notice that Tenten's robbery and Neji's comforting occurred on every single mission.
He finally decided to speak up once he realized hearing Neji murmer "It's okay sweetie, really, it's okay" seemed normal to the young Nara.
Shikamaru leaned against the tree trunk next to a tired Neji as the Hyuuga silently strapped the two katanas back onto the prisoner's back.
Neji paused in his work to send a glance towards the Nara.
Shikamaru scratched his head. "Why do you...put up with Tenten's well-you know."
Neji raised an eyebrow as he arranged some stray kunai and senbon into the enemy's pack. "There is nothing to put up with."
"Last week she grabbed a scythe straight from a prisoner's back, whirled it around claiming it had good dexterity, and at the sound of your approach she proceeded to grab some senbon, laced with poison I might add, chuck them at you with the precision of an assassin, and the only explanation she could offer afterwards, while she was cleaning out your poison-laced wounds, was that she needed a head start when she ran from you."
Rolling out his sleeping bag, Neji didn't even turn towards the Nara when he offered a, "What's your point?"
Shikamaru almost cried at the thought of the poor Hyuuga boy finding being almost slaughtered by poisonous needles normal. "I just don't know how you can find it worth it, man."
The Anbu captain slid into his makeshift bed and after a moment of silence, he sat up.
"Tenten and I are... supposed to be with each other," was the only explanation he offered.
Later that night when Shikamaru could hear the sounds of Tenten's sleeping bag being dragged next to Neji's, minutes of whispered conversation, and the murmuring of an "I love you," he chose not to comment.
Maybe he would give Temari a call once they got back.
A/n: This was kind of a spur of the moment story, because I was rewatching some Naruto shippuden the other day and I remembered that chapter where Tenten just picks up the banana fan and starts killing people. I thought it was hilarious and hopefully my play on that chapter will make you laugh too! Enjoy, read, and as always, PLEASE review!