Author's note: It's not the original Idea I had for this, but I think it worked out okay. Thanks for reading, and Enjoy!
I came in from the long mission, and the house was quiet. It was still early for dinner, and Yoshino was probably out in the back yard. I set my stuff near the door way, and headed to the kitchen for a drink. After filling my cup, I turned, seeing the little boy staring up at me. "Hey." I greeted, setting the cup on the sink, then looked back at him. "No 'hi' for your old man?"
The kid just watched me, his hair was barely long enough for the short ponytail.
"Don't you talk yet boy?"
He just shrugged.
I turned back to the sink and grabbed a bag of peanuts that Chouza gave me for Shikamaru. I held the good sized bag out, and set it on the counter. "A little present from Chouza."
Little Shikamaru cocked his head slightly, then pulled the closest chair over to stand on.
"So, you finally decided walking was better than crawling hu? When did you decide that?"
Shikamaru paused long enough to look at me. It was as if he was saying that he always knew. Then he just crawled up the chair and opened the bag.
I just shook my head.
Yoshino came in. "Ah, You're home."
I nodded, and looked at our son. "Crack it open and eat the inside."
The little boy looked from the nut, to me, then back to the nut. He turned and held it out to his mother, making a little grunt sound.
Yoshino walked over to Shikamaru.
"He's got you trained well." I stated.
Yoshino turned to me in shock. "Excuse me?"
"One grunt and he gets attention. No wonder he doesn't talk yet."
Yoshino took the nut from our son. "He's got the hang of walking finally."
I reached over with a hand and took hers. "Let him do it."
Yoshino sighed, and dropped the nut back on the counter. "Can't I do anything?" She said sounding rather annoyed.
"It's the best thing for him right now Yoshino." I ignored the pouty glare I received from my own son.
Yoshino shook her head. "He'll talk when he's ready."
"He's almost two years old."
"He Is two years old." She corrected me. "Today."
I looked back at the boy, who now sat in the chair, rolling the peanuts across the counter like a toy.
Yoshino sighed. "Look, I know you're busy helping the third Hokage, but can't you at least remember your own son's birthday?" She reached over the boy into the bag of peanuts.
Shikamaru perked up, leaning forward to see. He was very disappointed when Yoshino kept the nuts for herself.
"It's just another day before you die." Both my wife and Son just looked at me. I pointed to Shikamaru. "Eat."
The boy took a nut and cracked it open.
Yoshino glared at me. "Maybe for you and me, but not to our Shikamaru."
I glanced, seeing the boy watching us from the corner of his eye. He was eating quietly, trying to make it look like he wasn't listening. This was a smart boy.
I turned to walk away from the coming argument. Unfortunately, the argument followed me.
Her lecture went through one ear and out the other. I knew what she was saying because we had this conversation before. What she didn't understand, was that after a talk with the third Hokage, I was doing this all FOR my son. He was the next generation. The Will of fire will be passed on, but if there is no one to pass it on to, it would be distinguished. The village would fail. And if the village fails, so would the next generations. It was much like a Shogi game. The king is the most valuable piece, yet he can only do so much. Like all the kids in every village. Like our son.
Shikamaru could be heard making his noises to get attention. Yoshino was still talking.
I finally held up my hand. "Yoshino. You're right, I'm sorry. I'm going to get the village back on it's feet, and then I'll spend some time with him."
Yoshino didn't look any happier. "It's his birthday. Can you set your research work aside for just an hour or so?"
I looked towards the pile of papers the Hokage had given me and wanted back tomorrow. "... ...Fine. Let me put my stuff away first."
Yoshino smiled a little, then kissed me. "Thank you."
I put my arms around her, looking at her. "Maybe we can have a little you and me time too."
Yoshino turned, still hearing Shikamaru's whining. "If we can get him satisfied first." she turned to go, but I still held her. "If he needs us, He'll have to come get us."
Yoshino put her hand over my mouth. "He's barely two. You don't want him to see us kissing yet!"
"It won't hurt him."
Yoshino kissed, then quickly escaped to see what Shikamaru was whining about. I just shook my head and went to put my paper work and ninja gear away. Shikamaru fell quiet, and I went into the office putting my work away. Then Yoshino screamed. "Shikaku!"
Running into the room, Shikamaru was siting on the chair, his mother cupping his face in her hands. I stood beside her and tilted Shikamaru's head up. The neck and jaw was swollen, tears running down his round cheeks. I glanced at the small pile of nut shells. "Yoshino, get my deer cream." I put my hands on the boy's neck, supporting his head, and used my chakra to sooth the healing. Yoshino ran without a question.
"Listen, it's time to calm down, okay? You'll be fine."
The boy looked down. Saliva dripped from his mouth and he whimpered slightly.
"Well, no more peanuts for you."
Yoshino handed me the cream container. "There's only a little left."
"It'll be enough." I assured her. Reaching with one hand, I got some cream on my finger. "Open up boy."
Shikamaru turned his head away.
"Come on Shikamaru." Yoshino prodded gently. "This will make you feel better."
Shikamaru looked at his mom, and slowly opened his mouth the best he could. As soon as it touched his tongue, he wheeled back, and wiggled out of the chair. I stood up after him and caught him on his way crawling away.
I laid him on his back, and strapped him down with my leg. I put my hand under his chin using my chakra. He grabbed my wrist and stopped wiggling. ...until he saw the canister.
My chakra eased the swelling, and I quickly rubbed the medicine on his tongue. Shikamaru cried.
Letting him go, I stepped back. "That would keep the swelling down until it get's out of his system."
I looked at my son realizing that as I was working with him I didn't even see him as my son. Just another boy. A patient.
The boy rolled over onto his stomach and cried, pressing his face to the wood floor.
"Come on, let's get you to bed."
Shikamaru continued to cry.
I nudged him gently with my foot. "Stand up." he just went limp and continued whimpering and crying.
I reached down to stand him on his feet. He bent his legs so he couldn't stand. "Come on Shikamaru, stand."
The boy leaned forward, nearly hitting his head. I held him so his knees touched the ground. Shikamaru's whimpering quieted, then he threw up.
"...That works too." I held him until he finally finished. His body was still limp, and his crying was quieter.
I wiped his mouth and picked him up. I felt him reaching for Yoshino as I carried him into the bed room.