-1The Secret Code of the Heart.
Hey everybody! I'm totally in love with this pairing so I'm excited that I finally managed to write a story for them! And the good news is, I found another one I wrote a while ago, so I'll probably post that one too! I'm excited! Either way, I hope you like it!
Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto or Naruto Shippuuden I only own the plot bunny!
Sighing Shikamaru made his way through the crowded streets of Konoha. Once more Tsunade, the short tempered Hokage had burdened him with a troublesome task. He was now on his way to report to this matter.
He'd been locked up with his own thoughts for hours in complete silence, so the current crowds slightly irritated him. Furthermore, the report currently in one of his vest's pockets, looked enormously troublesome and even a fool would realise he hadn't seen the end of it.
After getting out of Tsunade's office he ran into a member of the Cipher Corps, people he'd gotten to know pretty well from the moment he achieved the rank of Chuunin.
"Oh, Shikamaru-san." he greeted.
"Hey. How's it going?" he asked casually.
"With me everything's fine. The Corps is fine as well, except for…"
Shikamaru raised an eyebrow. "Except for…?" he asked, mentally giving the man a slight push in the back to speak up.
The ninja gave him a thoughtful look, worrying whether or not it was appropriate to tell.
"I guess I could tell you." he muttered, clearly bad at ease.
And so, Shikamaru found himself in front of the Cipher Division's door. He found it rather quizzical that the news had this effect on him. Wasn't he old enough to realise this practically was what his life was going to consist of?
Sighing, he gripped the handle, trying to ignore the nagging feeling in his gut.
She was trying to focus on the combination of letters and numbers on the page in front of her. She'd done this continuously for a week already, running them through the thousands of known codes of Konoha, trying to break the code that would lead them to the valuable information inside. She took off her glasses and rubbed her eyes, knowing she must've looked terrible, well, worse than normal. Her untameable dirty blonde locks even more ragged than normal, with bags under her eyes and wearing clothes that she hadn't even bothered ironing.
All that in order to not think about that. She couldn't get herself to think about them, knowing she'd crumble if she did. That, she was sure of, her crumbling. For now even though her parents wouldn't want her to, she'd keep herself occupied, only returning home when she was on the verge of collapsing of fatigue or when her co-workers chased her out.
Shiho had always been sociably awkward, unsure of how to act in situations, shutting out emotions. Even the most important. Her sociably awkwardness was what was keeping her for letting out some of those emotions, even though there were some she only recently found out about that she couldn't deny. It scared her somewhat because it brought down all her defences and she felt vulnerable, her female side fighting to get the upper hand, and sure enough, she was giving into them. But even those feelings were now hurting her. How could she think of those emotions when they brought back the memories of her parents? So, she stuck with working her thoughts away, burying herself in countless stacks of codes.
Suddenly she heard the door of the room open and she spoke up.
"Just a minute, I'll crack this thing."
Silence. Only the sound of slowly approaching footsteps and the footsteps of the other ninja that had been working with her hurrying out.
What the hell was going on?
She didn't feel like turning around thought. Instead, she desperately focussed on the code in front of her. Standing up she reached for the farthest corner of her desk, getting the particular forms laying there. She ignored the sound of someone calmly pulling out a chair and sitting down. From the sound, she visualised him leaning on the back of the chair with his elbows. Somehow she just knew it was him, yet she wouldn't break the silence and instead kept focussing on her work.
"How long are you going to keep quiet?" he finally spoke, tired of looking at her back as she kept working.
"It's not like I'm 'Keeping Quiet'." she replied, voice scaring calm. "I'm working."
"Sure you are." he sighed. A long silence overtook the room.
"I know Shiho. I know you're hurting and I know how much it hurts." Shikamaru spoke up, his calm, deep voice taking over the room reaching for her very core.
She stopped moving. 'He knows? How…?' Once more she didn't dare to turn around and look in those dark, piercing eyes.
He sighed, the silence only proving him right.
"So, will you tell me, or do I have to go through all kind of trouble?"
"T-There's nothing to tell." she replied silently as along with her stutter, tears started to sting behind her eyes.
"Hmm, that so?" he questioned, standing up and walking over to her until she stood right in front of him, her back facing him.
"Y-Yes, that's right." she unconsciously clenched her fists, trying to keep the tears at bay.
"They why does it look like your silence is hurting you?" Shikamaru decided to ask straight-out.
"I-I don't." she stuttered.
She heard him sigh and only then realised just how close he was as she felt his breath in her neck.
Then his arms wrapped around her shoulders and he whispered: "Don't hold it in Shiho."
Shiho desperately bit her lip. 'I mustn't cry.' she mentally told herself over and over.
"T-They w-were…g-good p-pe-people." she started and he gently rested his chin on her shoulder.
"Aah." he replied.
Her tooth pinned too deep into her lip, inflicting a wound that immediately started to bleed.
"They only did as ordered…t-they…"
Shikamaru's hands shifted, softly taking her by the shoulders and turning her around and Shiho found herself unable to resist his kind, but strong guidance.
She didn't dare to look up at him. How she must've looked! Puffy eyes, messy hair, a bleeding lip…
Once more he silently ordered her -by putting a finger under her chin- to look up at him. Shyly she did so.
"Shiho, what happened is most regretful, but neither you or I are to blame. You understand that, right?"
She nodded weakly, taking off her glasses to rub the tears away.
"I-I'll be strong." she told him weakly, trying to put on a brave smile. He didn't buy her act and pulled her into a tight hug. She burst into crying.
"Better?" he asked as her final sobs turned silent.
She pulled back and nodded. "Yes, thank you Shikamaru-san."
"Just Shikamaru's good enough." he told her, wiping the blood from her lip with his thumb. A blush crept onto her face and she cast her eyes off.
"Thank you, Shikamaru."
Later that day as the sun was setting Shikamaru headed home. He'd wound up in something troublesome again but despite that was happy he'd gone to Shiho. He knew well enough those feelings weren't meant to be bottled up. His father too had forced him to let them out, so, out of experience he knew how to deal with it. Yet, as Shiho had taken off her glasses he'd been surprised to say the least. They weren't a dazzling blue like Ino's, nor were they a blazing dark green like Temari's. They were a kind dark brown and had given him a kick to his gut. He was a lazy man, as everyone knew, and that was exactly why he immediately admitted his feelings to himself and damn, this one sure was troublesome one.
He stopped in his tracks and looked up at the slowly setting sun.
'Troublesome Shikamaru.' he told himself 'Seems you've gotten yourself into a big troublesome mess.'
And even though these were the thoughts flooding through his genius brain, a smile crept up his face.
That night Shiho was awoken by someone hastily knocking on her door. Drowsily she made her way over.
"Captain? What's wrong?" she asked.
"Special mission Shiho." he told her "Get ready."
"Get ready?" she asked "You mean, gear up?"
He nodded, understanding her confusion. She's on the Cipher Corps after all, they rarely go out on missions.
She ran into her house swiftly getting dressed into her short sleeved purple shirt with underneath black short which ended right above her knees with her usual white coat hanging from her headband which she wore -as usual- around her waist, giving it a skirt-like feeling to it.
"Ready." she said as she reappeared in front of her captain.
He nodded. "Let's go!"
Shikamaru was brutally awoken by his father who roughly shook him.
"Shikamaru." he grumbled.
"Hmm, what?" Shikamaru retorted, trying to push his father off and turn onto his other side.
"There's an emergency meeting." his father continued.
"Dad, they can do without me for once." Shikamaru grumbled. "Unless the Hokage specifically asks for me, I'm staying right here."
Shikaku crossed his arms and grumbled. "And you call yourself a man?"
The only reply that came was some incoherent grumbling Shikaku didn't even want to comprehend.
Shikaku arrived at the office where a few others were already waiting. Tsunade sat down with her hands folded, chin resting atop.
"Shikaku, I'm glad you came. Didn't…" she never finished her sentence because the Captain of the Cipher Corps walked in, subordinates in tow.
"As expected." Tsunade began "Right on time." The Captain bowed in response.
Tsunade regarded them all before she nodded at Shizune.
"Ass you all know we're dealing with a rogue nin from the hidden village of the land of grass."
Every ninja nodded.
"His objectives are uncertain, but he is a threat, taking down shinobi from every village. We can say that the ANBU already found his hiding place, but that's where their mission stops. Apart from that the only thing we know for sure is that he put a seal in the form of a code onto his base, keeping us from entering. Many Shinobi have died trying to get close to him." Shizune turned to a map.
"His base is here. He's rounding up rogue ninja from all over the countries." she said pointing to various places.
"Is he rounding up an army?" the Captain asked.
"It sure looks that way." Tsunade commented. "We must stop this at once. That's why we not only called up for some skilled Jounin, but also for a specialised Chuunin, in this case a Decipherer."
Shiho suddenly felt like everyone was looking at her and she suddenly felt like a huge weight was loaded onto her shoulders.
"I'm assigning Shiranui Genma, Raidou and Shiho to break into the base and inform us of anything important so that we can take down these Shinobi." Tsunade said "Shiranui! You're the leader! Find a way into the base, report and infiltrate. From the moment you're in, we'll send backup depending on the situation!"
The brown haired laid-back man named Genma nodded, senbon hanging from his mouth.
Raidou, a man whose scars adorned practically his whole face nodded too.
"Get ready and leave ASAP!" Tsunade ordered and with that a taken aback Shiho was guided out of the office by Raidou.
As all this was going on Shikaku could only wonder, worrying feeling annoying his gut. If he had known more details, like his son, he would've spoken up without permission, but now…
To say Shiho wasn't at ease was an understatement. It had been ages since she last left on a mission and then to be sent of onto a big case where fail or success rested upon her and her deciphering skills was stressful to say the least. Adding to that her team mates were as used to manoeuvring through enemy territory as sauntering through the village. Was she going to be able to keep up? She could only wonder.
Sauntering through the village Shikamaru sighed. Five days had passed since his father tried to wake him and the last day the man had really spoken to him. In the days that followed, the only things his father would ask him were about the rogue nin case he'd worked on. Somehow, how troublesome it even was, it started to bother him.
He yawned. 'Why don't I check out the Cipher Corps?' he thought starting the short walk there.
Upon arriving there he found the people working there tense, the atmosphere difficult to read. He looked around, taken aback by finding Shiho's desk unused, documents lying there as if she'd hastily left.
He turned towards her chef. "Where's Shiho?" he asked.
The older man looked up rather amazed.
"You…do not know?"
Shikamaru suspiciously raised an eyebrow. What he heard shortly after nearly gave him a heart attack.
"Why didn't you tell me?" Shikamaru yelled, grabbing his father's collar and pushing him against the wall.
"You never asked." his father replied calmly, only slightly taken aback by his son's behaviour. Somehow, he'd known this was coming.
"She's not supposed to go on missions!" Shikamaru yelled.
"She's a ninja, Shikamaru. She does go on missions."
"Not this kind!" Shikamaru replied eyes wide with rage. "Do you realise just how dangerous the guy is?"
"Not at the time." his father replied, getting Shikamaru's hands off of his vest. "Remember how I tried to wake you up?"
Shikamaru's eyes widened. "Was it then?"
Shikaku nodded. "I tried to wake you up since you had researched the guy's characteristics and thought patterns."
"Shit." Shikamaru grumbled, the full weight of his responsibility falling down onto his shoulders. Was it really his fault that Shiho was currently on a life-threatening mission? He could image her, jumping somewhat uneasy from tree to tree, how she would try to focus on the seals and codes in front of her while her team mates covered for her. Would she be able to calm herself enough to quickly get the answers they needed and then infiltrate the hideout? God, if they really did manage -which they would, knowing Shiho and her code breaking skills- would they be able to survive the unknown numbers of enemies that would be waiting for them inside?
All those questions whirled around in his mind while he stumbled backwards leaning against the opposite wall.
"Shikamaru?" he heard his father's deep voice speak up.
Absentmindedly he looked up at his father.
"You? Do you like her?" he asked.
Without thinking, which was rather rare for him, he nodded. His father smiled, albeit a bit sad.
"Come, let's go to the Hokage. Maybe she already has some Intel."
Shikamaru nodded, following, without really registering what was going on, or where he was going.
Five days ago they'd left on this mission and only now did Shiho feel like she could somehow fit in. She got her rhythm back from before she became a professional decoder, and her awareness started to awaken as well. Things she hadn't noticed -or no longer paid mind to- before now seeming so obvious.
Today she'd finally gotten a view of the place where they were supposed to break in.
"Just remember." Genma spoke up "To keep to the plan."
She nodded, already gotten used to the demanding way Genma acted. "I know." she replied, pushing her glasses up her nose.
Finally getting their hands onto the code Shiho got out her small notebook and pen. Her eyes scanned the many markings as her hand moved swiftly over the sheets of paper. Not a sound was heard as her two team mates held their breaths.
After half an hour Shiho's hand stopped moving and a frown appeared.
"What's wrong?" Genma questioned, alarmed. He didn't get a response, only the sound of Shiho's pen that once more made contact with the paper in hasty moves.
"You're being careless." Shikaku mumbled as he moved a pawn and easily took over a Golden General from his son.
Shikamaru didn't respond. Clearly his mind wasn't with the game.
"Still worrying?" his father questioned.
"It's been six days."
"News could come any day now." Shikaku replied, trying to cheer his son up in that calm way of his.
Once more Shikamaru didn't reply.
A letter arrived at the office soon after, and both Shikaku and Shikamaru were summoned by the Hokage.
"It seems like Genma's team has gotten itself in some trouble." the Hokage began and fear started eating at Shikamaru's insides.
"It seems they were able to break into the hideout and were able to finish off some Shinobi, but…" Tsunade trailed off.
"But?" Shikaku asked, sensing his son stirring up.
"But Shiho seems to have gotten captured."
"Captured?" Shikamaru brought out, eyes widening.
"Genma mentioned them blending in perfectly until the main target took an interest in Shiho's person or who she was acting like."
"An interest." Shikamaru repeated silently, fist clenching.
"Genma and Raidou are still in character, leaking Intel for us as much as possible, but they do not know what's happening to her. They're doing whatever they can to get her back, without destroying their covers."
"What do you want us to do?" Shikaku asked.
"To assemble a team that cannot only blend in if necessary, but can also wipe them out if possible."
"Then let me go." Shikamaru said.
"I was hoping you'd say that." Tsunade admitted.
It was terrible. Genjutsu after Genjutsu was released upon her, trying to get her into talking. She should be grateful though that the leader respected her just as much as the image she'd been using and so didn't let his henchmen torture her with tools. It was all dark around her, and cold. The steel bars she was leaning against were not only cold, sending shivers up and down her arms and spine, but also hurt, slowly cutting into her upper arm that leaned against it. Tears stung her eyes, but she felt too tired to cry. On the other hand it was better that way. Shiho had always praised herself as an emotionally strong young woman and a logic using ninja, so she clenched her teeth and bit through.
Jumping from tree to tree Shikamaru's team made its way towards the base. In a record time he had made up a team and headed off. They'd been travelling for two days so they were about to reach their destination. He had received word from Genma that he would already head out of the base, so that he could lead them around in the various hallways which he had already memorised. Shikamaru clenched his teeth.
"Hold on Shiho!"
"You really are a tough one." Shiho's interrogator, a Shinobi in mid thirties said.
"I'd usually feel flattered, but not this time." she countered, her voice lacking strength.
"Even tough ones crack." he replied coolly, once more creating Genjutsu, disrupting her chakra flow and all of her senses.
Outside the base Shikamaru's team got ready to break in.
"Shikamaru, we're still unsure of where she's being held." Genma said apologetically.
Shikamaru just nodded regarding the drawing Raidou -who was still an unnoticed infiltrant- had made.
After a short study from the rooms of which the uses were known he tapped one room in particular.
"This is where she is." Shikamaru said.
"How do you…" Genma stopped in mid-sentence. It was unnecessary to ask. Shikamaru was a genius, so he wouldn't doubt him. "Then let's get going."
"Come on honey." the leader spoke, putting a finger under Shiho's chin to make her look up. Her eyes were vacant, tired, but he kept his gaze tightly on them. Earlier his subordinate had removed her glasses and crushed them after which Shiho told them they were custom-made. Sighing she had said it would once again take a months earn to get a new one. All of that without the least bit of emotion. The continuous string of Genjutsu had cleared her of that a long time ago.
"I told you you could stay with me since I like you and that intelligence of yours, but then you'll have to tell me everything.
Shiho cursed mentally. She knew she wouldn't say anything, not even if she was about to get killed, but never before had she felt so weak.
Without her wanting Shikamaru's face popped up inside her head.
What the hell was wrong with the hideout? All the hallways had seemed so easily on the map, but once inside the various ridiculously attention seeking drawings on the walls distracted you more than you wanted.
Shikamaru's mind and awareness would not waver though, his mind only focussed on one goal. To get Shiho back.
His team divided in two. A team to take down the ninja and a team -in other words, only he- that would find and rescue Shiho.
"You know you remind me of two other Konoha Shinobi." the leader spoke up, getting Shiho's attention. "Also two smart people, yet not smart enough."
Shiho's eyes widened as he mentioned their names.
"Mom? Dad?" Shiho bit her lip. "You. Killed. My. Parents?" She launched at him, but because she no longer had any real strength left , was easily pushed back.
He closed in on her, dangerously. Anger, lust and a bit of pride shining through his fiercely dark eyes. A mad glint. Shiho panicked.
A kunai came flying and immediately Shiho could feel herself being brought to safety. She was sad, tired and to say the least confused, but she did hear a known, warm voice through the thick darkness that was her eyesight.
"Just stay here and sit still." Shikamaru told her.
She felt cold in his arms and she didn't seem to have any more strength. It made him mad. Made him want to kill whoever did this to her. Luckily, the guy wasn't too far off.
"Leave it to me." he told her, recognizing the tears of pain. She nodded, grateful.
The next thing Shiho knew was that the scent of fresh air as she got carried out of the base.
"Did you finally wake up?" Shikamaru asked her glad she was slightly moving on his back.
"I-I can walk." she retorted.
"Yeah, right." he replied, tightening his grip on her. "It's troublesome, but I'll carry you."
"You don't have to go through something troublesome just for me." she said, her voice barely above a whisper, but he had clearly heard, stopping in his tracks.
"To be honest Shiho, I don't want to hear you say something like that ever again."
Her eyes widened. "Why?"
"Because taking care of you sure is troublesome, but it is something I just have to do. Something I want to do."
"What are you saying?" she asked, tears stinging in her eyes.
He put her down and -noticing that she was absolutely helpless without her glasses- gently manoeuvred her until she stood right in front of him.
She could only stare at what his frame was, since she could only make out the shadow that should be him.
"I'm saying that…" he sighed while rubbing the back of his neck "Next to the children of Konoha, you're the King, the One that must be protected at all times." He felt extremely stupid for saying that out loud so, seeing a smile and an adoring blush appear onto her face, he felt glad.
She stumbled forwards, nearly falling.
"But really, how did your eyesight become so bad?" he asked, grabbing her upper arms just in time for her not to fall flat onto her face.
"Poison to the eyes, in the form of gas."
His eyes widened. "I'm sorry."
"Don't worry about it. But truly Shikamaru…"
"Are you sure you feel that way…about me?"
The way she emphasised the word 'me' irritated him.
"You're troublesome." he mumbled before pressing his lips softly onto hers.
She giggled happily, yet tired as he got her back onto his back.
"But truly, I've gotten myself into something damned troublesome." he said, yet a smile was plastered onto his face, certainly as she hugged him gently with the strength she had left.
I hope you've liked it. To me it feels a bit rushed and perhaps even a bit OOC (which I hope isn't the case!). Still I've enjoyed writing this and I'm extremely happy I did get ANYTHING for them onto paper! Please tell me what you found of it! Oh, and if there are a lot of mistakes, it's probably since I wrote this on paper and as I finally finish typing it over, don't want to re-read it. ^^" I'm lazy, I know. ^^"