Title: Goodnight and Go

Characters: Nara Shikamaru, Yamanaka Ino, Tenten, Rock Lee, mention of Hyuuga Neji and Akimichi Chouji

Song artist: Imogen Heap

Summary: The shadow manipulator didn't realize that he was staring at her, a lazy smile plastered on his otherwise bored-to-death face, until Ino suddenly squealed somewhere to his left.

Shikamaru was having a bad day.

It wasn't as much an it's-too-sunny-and-there-is-not-a-single-cloud-in-the-sky bad as it was an I-have-a-troublesome-friend-who-would-not-shut-up bad. It was just that Ino had literally dragged him out of his house that morning, the one day he was allowed to take a day off to actually do some decent cloud watching, and had forced him to accompany her to seven different boutiques in search of the perfect dress for her date with Sai by the end of the week. To make matters worse, Chouji was away on a mission with his father, and so he was stuck lugging heavy shopping bags for the Yamanaka heiress alone.

"Don't you have any girl friends?" he had grumbled when Ino threatened to castrate him after he refused to get out of bed.

"Of course I do," Ino had snapped, yanking at his arm. "But I want a guy's opinion, and unfortunately, I'm severely lacking in that department."

Shikamaru had tched, before pointing out that the reason Ino did not have platonic relationships with a lot of guys was because she had already dated most of the men she knew.

Ino had ribbed him with a pretty elbow, before yanking his hair, effectively dragging him out of his cot.

And now he was forced to sit and wait for his troublesome childhood friend in the newly open café in the busiest street in Konoha, as she checked some jewelry in a shop two blocks down. She would have dragged him along in there too, but he had refused, clearly stating that he was not going anywhere near a shop filled with sparkly, girly accessories, their friendship be damned.

"Damn troublesome woman," the Nara genius muttered under his breath, shoulders hunched, chin propped against his right palm, his eyes watching the clouds drifting past the café's wide window.

That was when he saw her.

It wasn't as much as she attracted his attention as what she was doing did. He was, after all, acquainted enough with the sole girl in Team Gai to know her signature twin-bun hair style, her usual pink top, her overall cheerful demeanor that lighted a room whenever she walked into one. It was just that, at that very moment, Tenten, budding weapons mistress, was currently dragging a semiconscious Lee by the scruff of his green spandex, like it was the most normal thing in the world to do.

Shikamaru had to chuckle despite himself. There weren't many people who would have the capacity to stick around the young green beast for too long, what with his overzealousness about everything, especially with matters of youth and more youth. He guessed he admired Tenten, in a way, because she not only has enough patience to stay with the hyperactive taijutsu expert, she also has the ability to keep him in check. Add to that the fact that she was probably the only kunoichi that the stoic Hyuuga Neji actually got along with, Shikamaru was rather impressed with her.

The shadow manipulator didn't realize that he was staring at her, a lazy smile plastered on his otherwise bored-to-death face, until Ino suddenly squealed somewhere to his left.

"You like her!"

He inwardly grumbled. And to think that his day was starting to become not-so-bad instead of very bad.

Caught between wanting to smack himself on the head for being caught staring, and finding it too strenuous an action to do so, Shikamaru settled for a tch, threw Tenten (and Lee, by extension) one last glance, and faced his giggling friend.

"Troublesome woman."

And it's here! My promised ShikaTen series! The updates may come out slower than the updates in Beginning and Talk on Corners, but I promise that update I will. And speaking of Talk on Corners, I haven't decided if I should (or could) write an Epilogue, thus the hanging status of the series. But fear not, because I promise to decide before February ends, or I will do one hundred pushups and two hundred squats!


Anyway, let me know what you guys think. I want to make this more lighthearted, because Beginnings was kind of (but not really) depressing. And when I think of Shikamaru and Tenten, I think of candy sprinkles and clouds and happy thoughts, as opposed to when I think of Neji and Tenten, when all possible romantic angles need a good dose of angst to go with it.

/coughs again

Reviews will be lovely, and flames will be used to roast marshmallows.

(Yes, I have finally restocked my supply.)

021512 update:

Due to an /cough/incident/cough/ that I'd rather not go in detail with, I have decided to take out the lyrics in this, and the succeeding, chapters for this series. I'll still post the artist of the songs though, so feel free to look them up wherever. It won't have the same effect, but in the interest of, uh, fair use, I'm going to do just that. Right.