Naruto belongs to Masashi Kishimoto.
"Okay kids, today we're going to meet the class one year above you! Since summer vacation is almost— yes, I know, I know you're excited— LET ME FINISH TALKING!— you guys are going to see a little preview of what you're doing next year. Now, everyone line up! Wait, Naruto— no running in the hallways! Chouji, you're supposed to eat during breaks— GIRLS! NO MOLESTI— er, I mean, I'm sure Sasuke-kun would appreciate it if you respected his personal space…"
Eventually, Iruka managed to herd his pack of little demons out the door and down the hall. Much too busy managing the miniature typhoon of midgets, the academy teacher had no way of noticing a certain pineapple head missing from the crowd. Back in the original classroom, Shikamaru slept, dreaming of falling asleep. Which was rather redundant, but not surprising for a Nara. It was a good half an hour later before Iruka noticed he was one brat short. Panicking, he did a hasty roll call, discovering that the resident lazy ass was AWOL. Explaining the situation to the other teacher, he was just about ready to grab one of the prepubescent devils and wring their little necks with nothing but a—
"Um, sensei, I could go fetch him for you… if you would like," a voice snapped Iruka out of his dark musings. He looked down to see an academy student who wasn't from his class, nothing very eye-catching about her appearance besides the fact that her hair was tied into two round buns at the top of her head. He stared, wide-eyed, for a moment. There was a student in front of him, speaking politely, offering to help a teacher who she hadn't even met until today. She was, for lack of a better word, normal. Brown hair, brown eyes, average height. While his class was made up of the angsty little brother of a mass murderer, the most hyperactive jinchuuriki he'd ever had the pleasure of meeting, and the heir to practically every single ninja clan of Konoha. Iruka felt like throwing a tantrum. Why did he get all the odd ones?
Iruka gave her a teary approval, watching her leave the classroom forlornly. Meanwhile, Tenten walked away hurriedly. She'd just seen a grown man cry. Was it something she'd said?
The main reason she offered to help the sensei was because of the rather disturbing amount of killing intent leaking out of him. Afraid that he would snap and murder everyone in the room, her classmates offered her up as a sacrificial lamb ("It is your pitiful fate to be the one to— " she left before the melodramatic Hyuuga could get started). She trotted down the hallway, arriving at the designated classroom. Poking her head inside, she scanned the seats for the brat who managed to elude his chunin instructor. She soon spotted… a pineapple?
Upon closer inspection, she realized the pineapple was, in fact, a head. The head of the very student she was to escort back, as a matter of fact. As she approached the kid, she realized that he was asleep, as indicated by the rather loud snores emanating from the boy. The future kunoichi scrunched her nose up in disapproval; she never cared much for slackers. Even Lee, despite his… exuberant nature, managed to gain her respect (somewhat) through the fact that he was a hard worker. But she figured she shouldn't judge a book by its cover.
She sighed and shook the boy's shoulder, "Um… hello? Your class already left…"
The boy tossed and turned, mumbling something along the lines of 'troublesome'. Tenten's brow furrowed a bit in annoyance. She shook his shoulder again more forcefully, "Hey! Wake up!"
The boy groaned and blinked his eyes drowsily. He let loose a yawn that could rival an animal coming out of hibernation, regarding her with half lidded eyes. The female academy student found herself reminded of the cat she often saw prowling in the lot beside the academy. It would come and go as it pleased, constantly basking in the sun with a lazy, somewhat endearing expression on its face.
"So… what's your name?" Tenten found herself sitting in the chair next to him. The boy continued to stare with an expression of slight disbelief on his face. She wondered why he seemed so surprised by the fact that she was talking to him. You'd think he'd never spoken to a girl before…
The young girl was partially correct in her assumption. It wasn't that he'd never spoken with a girl before; it was just that he'd never willingly engaged in a civilized conversation with a person of opposite gender. Of all his previous encounters, 90% of them were of his mother yelling at him. 9% was of Ino yelling at him. The other 1% was… some random girl he couldn't really remember the face of yelling at him. So you can see why the young Nara was shocked by the female speaking to him in a perfectly casual manner in a voice that did not threaten to rupture his eardrums.
"… Nara Shikamaru," he replied hesitantly. He felt completely out of his element, treading in unknown territory. Was she trying to lull him into a false sense of security and take him by surprise? Did she, dare he say it, actually have the brains to back up her feminine schemes? Shikamaru wisely kept his typical lazy drawl out of his voice for once, he had to be careful with this one.
Tenten, for one, was unaware of the paranoid thoughts going through the Nara's head. She happily introduced herself, glad that there was someone who could just reply without some crazy self introduction. Seriously, you'd be surprised by the number of people who ended up spouting their life story when all she wanted was their name ("I'M GONNA BE THE GREATEST HOKAGE THAT EVER— ambition is to kill the man who slaughtered my— w-want to live up to my father's expecta— I WANNA MARRY SASUKE-KUUUUUUU—"). They managed to engage in a fairly normal conversation, typical small talk such as 'Does your sensei regularly display homicidal tendencies' and 'Yes, on a daily basis'.
Shikamaru actually found himself relaxing in this girl's presence, kind of similar to how he felt around Chouji. He didn't feel the need to pretend to be listening while actually staring at the clouds out the window. His voice eventually returned to his normal, lackadaisical drawl. Tenten didn't seem to mind that much though. They talked of each of their class's troublesome teachers, hyperactive overachievers, and emotionally stunted ice cubes.
Shikamaru found himself thankful that Sasuke at least didn't actively preach about things like 'fate' and 'destiny'.
Somehow, they ended up on the topic of future goals/dreams. Tenten talked about how she wanted to be a weapons mistress and follow her role model, the legendary Sannin, Tsunade. When she asked Shikamaru, he paused to think for a moment before replying:
"I want to become an average shinobi, marry an average girl who isn't too ugly or too pretty, have a boy and a girl, and retire when the girl's married and the boy becomes a chunin." Not really expecting such a… specific answer, Tenten just blinked in response.
"I guess I'd be the perfect candidate for your wife then," she quipped, her voice holding a sort of self-deprecating humor. She meant it as a joke, but Shikamaru seemed to interpret this otherwise. After a few moments of silence, Tenten realized that the boy was actually taking her comment seriously.
Panicking, she tried to discredit her previous statement, "Um— I didn't mean to sound like I'm flirting with you or anything like that, uh, not that you wouldn't make a good husband, I'm sure that— um, that… oh god this is getting awkward…"
Shikamaru just looked at her with a sort of 'dead fish' expression on his face, sighing, "No, I understood what you meant, I was just thinking that you don't really fit the description I gave all that much."
Tenten just stared at him blankly, causing Shikamaru to self-consciously rub the back of his neck, a habit he got from his father, "I just mean that… um… that you're not, well… as troublesome as other… y'know…"
Tenten's eyes lit up in understanding, Shikamaru imagined a figurative light bulb lighting up above her head, "Oh! You mean that I'm not…" her eyes darted from sided to side as if she were being watched. She leaned in and whispered conspiratorially, "… a fangirl."
Shikamaru snorted and started laughing in a very un-Shikamaru-like manner. The female academy student's eyes furrowed in confusion, not understanding what was so funny. "What? It's true! There're so many of them, it has to be a disease! Fangirlitis! They should put up warning posters or something…"
Shikamaru's laughs had died down chuckles by the time he replied in an amused voice, "I guess they would be considered 'average' since there are so many of them." He got a thoughtful look on his face, "Although I'm not sure if it's an actual disease or not…"
"It has to be!" The future weapons mistress proclaimed, "What other reason could explain why they've become so obsessed with those emotionally stunted girly guys? They were perfectly sane when I first met them!"
In face of the undisputable evidence, Shikamaru's analytical mind had no choice but to agree. His young face became lined with worry, "This… this is a serious problem…"
Tenten nodded fervidly in agreement, "Yeah, I know! Finally, someone understands! All my friends have already fallen for it, and I can't find any cure! And… and…" she gulped nervously, "And what if I end up getting it too?"
Shikamaru's eyes widened. He met a perfectly companionable female, only to lose her to the clutches of some mental disease? No way was he going to let that happen! Thus, the two academy students plotted ways to fight back against the forces of male-female attraction. Their hypotheses became wilder by the minute (From bathing in cherry-balsamic vinegar to sacrificing rabbits to some god named Jashin), until Shikamaru finally came up with an idea.
"Wait… so we know that Fangirlitis only appears in children and somehow disappears after they grow up and get married, right?"
"And we also know that all females will inevitably fall for this disease no matter how rational they were beforehand, right?"
Tenten nodded again.
Shikamaru closed his eyes in concentration, bringing the tips of his fingers together in his familiar thinking position. Tenten waited quietly in anticipation, the tension so thick you could cut it with a blunted kunai. Finally, Shikamaru's eyes opened.
"I got it." The young Nara smirked triumphantly. "The cure to Fangirlitis is the commitment to another guy. So all you have to do is choose to marry another male before you go mental over one of the pretty boys in your class."
Despite the ridiculous sounding claim, Shikamaru spoke with utmost conviction, and both academy students honestly believed that they had made the discovery of the century.
Tenten's eyes lit up and her smiled widened to the point where it seemed to go from one ear to the next, "You're brilliant Shikamaru! Now all I have to do is—" Tenten's smile froze and turned into a contemplative frown, "… where am I supposed to find a guy to marry?"
Shikamaru's face mimicked her's for a moment before the idea dawned on him, "How about me?"
The female was utterly shocked by this proposal, "Y-you'd do that? But, there are so many other smarter, prettier— "
"—Troublesome-er girls as far as I'm concerned," the Nara clan heir interrupted her with his typical lazy drawl. "We both benefit in this case. I get a wife I can hold a civilized conversation with and you don't go bat-shit crazy from some mental disease."
Tenten blinked, "What's 'bat-shit crazy' mean?"
Shikamaru shrugged, "Dunno. Heard my dad say it before when he was talking about this lady who was trying stab someone with a dango stick."
Tenten nodded. The term seemed to fit.
"But I think we're too young to actually get married…" Tenten mumbled, chewing her lower lip thoughtfully.
"Then we can get engaged." At the girl's quizzical expression, Shikamaru elaborated. "We basically promise we'll get married when we get older."
"Cool! So, do we get to do, like, a blood ritual or something?" Tenten asked excitedly.
Shikamaru gave her an odd look, "Er… no. We just exchange rings."
"Oh… okay then." She seemed a little disappointed. But she quickly forgot about it and moved onto the next issue on their agenda: rings. "I don't really have a diamond ring or anything in my pocket right now…"
"Doesn't really matter what it is as long as you can wrap it around a finger," the male academy student replied.
The two ended up spending the next ten minutes searching for objects to substitute as rings ("Ooh! How about this?" "… I think wearing a shuriken as an engagement ring would be kind of painful…"). They eventually settled on two pieces of string, courtesy of Tenten's hair ties. It was a nondescript shade of red, thick and durable so it wouldn't break too easily.
Tenten, whose long brown hair now fell freely down her back, beamed. She held up her left hand with the red piece of string tied around her ring finger, "I, future Mrs. Nara, pledge to become a wife who doesn't nag!"
Shikamaru smiled appreciatively, "And I promise to prevent you from contracting Fangirlitis."
And the girl gave the boy a quick peck on the lips to seal the deal. Shikamaru just blinked confusedly before shrugging it off as he figured this was typical married couple behavior.
Yoshino gave her son a critical once over, as she did everyday after he came back from school. She was about to mentally check her son off as fine before she noticed a small piece of red string wrapped around his ring finger. She blinked. She didn't remember him wearing that when he left for school in the morning…
"Shikamaru? What are you wearing on your finger?" The mother inquired in, for once, a voice that was neither scolding nor harsh. Her lazy son just glanced down at his hand and looked back at her with a disinterested gaze.
"It's to ward off Fangirlitis," he stated bluntly.
Yoshino could only stare after her son's retreating back in bewilderment. From somewhere in the living room, she could hear Shikaku laughing his ass off.
A/N: I'm not very good with romance, but I wanted to try writing about a non-canon couple ^^". Updates will be erratic, I'm not really known for my consistency = =…