Summary: AU. Vacations are supposed to be fun… so why'd this one have to be troublesome?

Description: Inspired by all of the ghost/horror/supernatural movies I've watched… with an attempt to avoid some clichés though other still seeped through. Heh I can only do so much. It takes place in a highschool time-frame, the characters retain their canon ages of 15-16… which would put them in their Sophomore year if I am correct.

Rating: This fiction will maintain a Mature rating due to content and dark themes.


Prologue

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Shikamaru stuffed another shirt in the small duffle bag, heaving a sigh and grumbling out how 'troublesome' school trips where. This particular trip would be taking the sophomore history classes to the boondocks, for some 'first-hand' historical experience, or some crap. The trip was mandatory, and thankfully the class was comprised of only twelve students. However the school had a ten to one policy for students to teachers and so they also had a second babysitter coming with them. The whole thing screamed 'troublesome'.

"You about done packing, Shikamaru?"

The addressed snorted as he packed away one more shirt. Two weeks, that was fourteen days of too-much-contact with his classmates.

"I really don't see why you're making me go, not like I'm gonna fail for not going. I could just pretend to be sick or something."

Shikaku made a derisive sound, "And miss out on all the fun? Besides, it would do you good to get out and socialize some."

"I socialize." Shikamaru sounded scandalized, casting a petulant look over his shoulder that earned him a chuckle and lazy smirk.

"Chōji doesn't count as socializing, Shikamaru, you've known him since you were little."

"Don't forget Ino, she likes to shove her nose in my business every chance she gets." That girl was troublesome, they'd been rather close as children but had grown apart as they grew up. They still spoke and got along relatively well, when she wasn't nagging or pestering him.

"Regardless, it's required and I think it'd be good for you. Make sure to set your alarm nice and early so we make it in time."

Shikamaru groaned at the idea of waking up early for the first day of his short break that was being snatched from him thanks to Asuma's torture. Shikaku left the room with a chuckle, meandering his way downstairs as Shikamaru flopped on his bed with a sigh. Honey brown eyes traced meaningless patterns across the ceiling, dreading this trip as he'd been since the start of school when they'd been forewarned.

'Tch. Maybe it'll be somewhere boring, that way I don't have to do much and can just relax and watch some clouds with Chōji…or play some Shogi with Asuma.'

Hopefully it wouldn't become troublesome and he wouldn't be plagued with deformed specters popping up in his field of vision. It was a fucking curse, one he had to live with and one no one knew anything about. His father played it off as night terrors because really, what else could it be? Trying to make him believe that it wasn't some phobia would only land him with a shrink or a padded cell. Not worth the effort. 'Troublesome.' At least he wasn't deathly afraid of them anymore, he'd learned to avoid certain types of places and take warning cues from a gut feeling. Instinct, that intrinsic desire to get the fuck away from chilly air and negative 'auras'. 'Tch… thinking of it that way makes me sound like some spiritual loon. Whatever.' The specters, ghosts, apparitions, whatever one chose to call them, still plagued him though. Always leaving dread freezing his gut, knowing that yes he could see them and they could see him and they could hurt him and he couldn't stop it. It was more than a little frightening.

Shikamaru shoved the thoughts away and rolled onto his side with a sigh, within moments he was asleep.

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NEXT DAY

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Scenery soared by, city buildings that were all grey stone and metal and glass, people bustling by to work or just enjoying the temporary reprieve from studies. Shikamaru blinked slowly, not really taking in the familiar view as his father drove them to the drop-off point for the students. They would then board a shuttle and drive out to Hakone for two weeks of hell. Yes, that is what it was, two weeks of student-bonding time while learning, troublesome.

The young Nara sighed again as they turned into the parking lot. Anxiety was beginning to knot in his stomach, he didn't want to be here. He didn't want to go, he'd never been away from home for an extended period of time. As a child his father tried to send him to spend a week with his grandparents… three days later the man was picking him up in a fit of hysterics while his grandmother blathered in worry that something was wrong with him. Yes something was fucking wrong they lived in a house over one-hundred years old, add to that the amount of fucking giggles and knocks and creaks that haunted his nights would be enough to send anyone over the edge. Not to mention he was still one-hundred percent something tried to drown him in the bath. Shikamaru fidgeted in his seat as the car slowed, he really, really, really REALLY didn't want to go.

Shikaku sighed from the driver's seat, "It's only two weeks Shikamaru and Asuma and Kakashi will be there, so will Chōji. Things will be fine."

His father gave him what could pass for a comforting look, but really wasn't helping at all. Shikamaru forced his own half-smile and nodded before exiting the car to open the trunk and grab his duffle. He slung the bag over his shoulder and offered a final wave before joining the other eleven students gathered. Of course he was the last, he'd woken up late and drug his ass all morning to postpone the inevitable.

Chōji offered Shikamaru a wave and a big grin before returning to his breakfast and the Nara returned the gesture lazily, slouching up next to his life-long friend with a put-upon sigh. Chōji chuckled.

"Not looking forward to our vacation, Shikamaru?"

"Tch, it's gonna be troublesome and we have to learn something. Doesn't sound like a vacation to me."

Chōji chuckled again and offered Shikamaru a delicious looking donut, a shame he didn't even have the appetite to eat his toast that morning. He declined the sweet with a shake of his head and a yawn, the duffle discarded at his sneaker clad feet. Everyone was already so obnoxiously loud, Kakashi-Sensei and Asuma-Sensei were off to the side with a handful of pamphlets and papers, discussing something in hushed voices before Kakashi walked off with his cell to his ear. Shikamaru snorted and turned where there was a sudden burst of expletives and jumbled rage to watch the bright-orange blur that was Uzumaki, Naruto bouncing around Sasuke yelling and for all attempts and purposes, trying to start a fight. The Uchiha just glowered at Naruto, apparently Shikamaru wasn't the only one displeased with the early rising. Not far away Kiba was attempting to boost the morale of Hinata, who looked a bit green. Sakura and Ino were huddled together giggling and conversing in hushed voices. Shino looked to be ignoring everyone and was sipping on a steaming beverage Shikamaru assumed to be coffee.

Yeah, this was definitely gonna be troublesome.

"Okay, I need everyone's attention. I'm going to check attendance before we board the van, yes I know there are only twelve of you, it's protocol." Asuma's voice broke through the chatter, deep baritone easily overshadowing Naruto's shouts and Ino and Sakura's giggles. All eyes were on the Sarutobi who nodded, puffing a cigarette between his lips and clearing his throat.

"Aburame, Shino." Shino rumbled out an acknowledgement before shoving his bag neatly in the undercarriage of the van before silently boarding.

"Akimichi, Chōji." The Akimichi gestured and Asuma nodded, the boy ambled forward to toss his bag in with Shino's and climb aboard, keeping a smaller bag with him filled with 'snacks' for the road trip.

"Haruno, Sakura…. Erm… I don't think you needed that much luggage. It's only two weeks!" Sakura huffed indignantly at Asuma who stared in shock at the large purse slung over her shoulder and two rolling suitcases being lugged behind her.

"A girl's gotta have options, Sensei. I can't go around looking like a bum!" Asuma's brow twitched, he took a larger drag on the cigarette and sighed out, grabbing her bags and sliding them into the luggage area. Sakura giggled a 'thank you Sensei' before prancing aboard the van.

Shikamaru shook his head, bored expression only slightly tightening in annoyance. Why the hell were women so troublesome?

"Okay… Hyūga Hinata… Ah! I see you didn't bring as much!" Hinata turned three shades of scarlet at Asuma's obviously relieved exclamation.

"U-um… yes, Sensei… I didn't need much." The girl dropped her eerily white eyes to the ground, face heating up further when Asuma chuckled.

"Ahh, well that just makes it easier on my back, in ya go." He grabbed the Hyūga's luggage and slid it in with the others. Hinata smiled shyly before hurrying aboard the van.

"Inuzuka, Kiba." Asuma cringed as said student howled his presence and rushed aboard the van with Akamaru hot on his heels. A sigh broke the silence that followed the Inuzuka, 'I should have brought more cigarettes… this is going to be such a bothersome drive.'

"Nara, Shikamaru." Shikamaru raised his hand before ambling over and tossing his duffle under the van and trudging up the steps. Asuma's frown followed the Nara until he vanished within the van. He'd been fidgeting and seemed even more apathetic than usual… although, having known the kid for so long, it didn't take much for Asuma to catch the tell-tale anxiety wrinkling the edges of Shikamaru's eyes and the dance his hands did in the pockets of his jacket.

Inside the van, Shikamaru collapsed into a seat next to Chōji, who shifted over so his friend could take the window seat. The dark-haired teen offered him a half-smile of thanks before leaning back and closing his eyes with a deep sigh. He could distantly hear Asuma's voice calling out 'Uchiha, Sasuke… Uzumaki, Naruto… Yamanaka, Ino.' The last name was accompanied with a pregnant pause and more grumbling from his Sensei. The sound brought a small smile to his lips.

Asuma was always riding him about being a lazy ass and whining about everything but the man himself was equally as guilty! It was amusing and Shikamaru was just getting comfortable when Ino and Naruto bounced inside and all hell broke loose. Shikamaru groaned aloud and sunk down in his seat.

"So troublesome… they're gonna be loud the whole way…"

Next to him Chōji chuckled and shoved another donut in his mouth. "Probably, you didn't forget your iPod did you?"

Shikamaru snorted and dug around in the pocket of his hoodie to extract his iPod. "Yeah, but what if the battery dies? I might jump out the window…" Chōji stared at him a moment, but at the smirk his friend was offering chuckled and shook his head.

Shikamaru was about to shove the small ear buds in when Asuma decided to climb aboard, close the door and turn with a frown, the intimidating attempt was somewhat lost thanks to the cigarette half drooping from his lips.

"OI SHUT-UP!" Even Shikamaru flinched slightly at the sheer volume of the man's voice, who was now smirking, dark eyes glinting maliciously as he surveyed his wide-eyed audience.

"Now that I have your attention, this ride is going to be a little long. Four hours long to be exact and I'm driving. That means I don't feel like listening to your bitching," There were gasps and loose lips at this statement, after all teachers weren't supposed to 'swear' in front of their students. Asuma rolled his eyes with a groan, taking another long puff as he began to speak again.

"Ahem, indeed. Your bitching will cause me to pull over and kick your asses out. So, I suggest you all find time to draw up a truce or play some car game, hell I might even have a few in mind, but keep the noise down please." He had that glint in his eye again, more pronounced than before as he looked over all of their faces. The expressions varied from suspicion, unease, shock to disinterest. Shikamaru was already dozing, earning him a snort from his Sensei before the man turned and dropped down into the driver's seat.

"Hey, Sensei, why isn't Kakashi here?" Naruto shouted from the back, those closest to him cringed and glowered but the exuberant blonde was oblivious.

"Kakashi-Sensei, Naruto, and he is driving his own vehicle. We're bringing two in case of emergencies."

The van rumbled to life and pulled out of the parking lot. Everyone was buckled up and speaking in hushed whispers for the moment. Someone had given Naruto a handheld game, which probably attributed to the hushed tone of the van. Shikamaru was thankful, he decided to forego music and just sleep in the calm atmosphere.

The knot in his stomach wasn't as awful as before, considerably lessened by the bustle and noise and information being given to them. Now, the rumble of the van, passing of scenery and quiet discussion about what everyone was going to do once they arrived, were lulling him into a light doze.