Naruto Uzumaki was special and though Shikamaru Nara was a genius, he didn't need much intelligence to recognize that fact. Naruto looked different, acted different, and was treated different than anyone else in the village. For a while the blonde was a puzzle that Shikamaru frustratingly did not have all of the pieces to, but later that puzzle became one Shikamaru realized would never be solved. Naruto was constantly growing and changing. Finishing that puzzle was a futile adventure because Naruto knew no boundaries and therefore had no edge pieces.
Shikamaru lived with that. He laughed for the boy's eternal optimism, cheered Naruto during battles, showed the correct amount of awe at the newly formed toad sage's unorthodox battle strategies, and put up with the overly annoying Ramen addiction. Shikamaru believed in his friend and the dream the orange clad shinobi clung to despite the chaos of war and the hateful glances of the villagers who were ignorant to the sunshine they destroyed. It was the genius' honor to stand by Naruto in battle despite his own tendencies towards laziness and it would be the ultimate honor to one day call Naruto Uzumaki Hokage.
Asuma told Shikamaru to fight for the spirit of fire, to live as a shinobi protecting the younger generation who would one day take Konoha further into the future. Asuma told him to protect Konoha's hope and by extension Shikamaru believed Naruto would be the harbinger of a Golden Age. The young jinchuuriki changed people. Shikamaru was only one in a large crowd who owed the blonde boy their allegiance.
Now, however, Naruto struggled. Though he was a beacon of light in the darkness of the Great Shinobi War, the future Hokage had perhaps the heaviest burden upon his shoulders. The enemy Akatsuki and Orochimaru sought the Kyuubi sealed within Naruto as the key to world domination. Promises made, waiting almost eternally to be kept, buried themselves within the forefront of the blonde's mind. Then there were the expectations of his people. The horrid expectations of the villagers who hadn't yet accepted Naruto were balanced precariously with the heavy expectations of Naruto's own precious people who expected one miracle after another from the shinobi. One misstep and Naruto would tumble too far away from himself whether into the arms of scorn or overestimation Shikamaru could only guess. Naruto carried all these things along with the impossibly heavy burden of the Kyuubi sealed within him and still had enough gumption to run from battlefield to battlefield. Yes, Naruto struggled and kicked and screamed and smiled all while being an untamable force to be reckoned with. He struggled and persevered where Shikamaru knew no others could.
So as he watched Naruto take down yet another enemy the genius of Konoha was proud and glad. The blonde boy slung out chakra like it was air, but his attacks were more effective than any other shinobi on the battlefield. Shikamaru was proud that one day that boy would be recognized for who he was, but most of all Shikamaru was glad that he was on Naruto's side. Fighting someone like that would be troublesome.
-AN: This one is pretty straightforward. I'm thinking of doing some flash fiction to span multiple fandom and not just Naruto, but I don't want to get too overwhelmed. These one pagers help me de-stress after all. Anyway, I hope you guys liked this shot. Until Next time!