Title: Tie Me Down; Chapter 9
Pairings: ShikaChou, ShikaTema(is mostly over). A mention of ChouOC.
Genre: Drama, Romance.
Rating: R on the whole. Soft R/ Hard 14-A for this chapter. (o_0)
Warnings: Non-Beta-ed, Post time-jump (But you don’t need to have read it to understand, just beware of some minor spoilers), AU, Yaoi, Het, character death, OC’s (Realistic and not central). Very possible that I won’t finish.
Notes: Longest chapter yet, 13 pages. Also, maybe out of character? Too many plot devices in the form of OC's? Maybe too much drama? I'm an angst whore.
FANSERVICE ALERT LIEK HOLY CRAP!
WARNING: SUBJECT TO REVISIONS. NOT A FINAL DRAFT I may post a re-write later.
Being the head administrator of a Ninja Academy was anything but relaxing. Umino Iruka would be the first to tell you that between Exams, whiny pre-pubescent Hokage wannabes, regulating his own classes and breaking up fights between students (and occasionally teachers) it was almost as hectic as a nonstop A rank mission.
Still, he loved shaping young minds, seeing Students who were once talentless flourish under the schools training, and most of all, he loved knowing he was doing his part to help his village, and it was a big role.
After all, even civilian children are hard to control. Now imagine giving a couple hundred civilian children dangerous weapons and forcing them to sit behind desks for half the day, only to let them loose in the grounds in the afternoon and try to teach them practical lessons after they got really antsy.
If you examined the system you could see that it was flawed at best. It did however produce good results, and the children typically calmed down after the first few months or so.
Well, typically. There were, after all a few cases where a child like Naruto would come along; self-possessed, un-trainable, wild and starving for any sort of attention.
Iruka would take in these children with a smile and a guiding hand and, it was true, sometimes he couldn’t help but react to negative behavior, further egging these children on. It was only because, usually, it was the rebellious children who needed the most attention. He could relate to them, having grown up without parents from a young age.
He never would have, in his wildest dreams, considered Nara Shikari to be one of these children, but here she was, in his office.
He stared across his desk at the skinny, sleepy-looking girl. She was sitting with crossed arms and legs on the chair facing him. She looked completely unconcerned, even bored.
Shikari wasn’t in the academy yet, she was scheduled to start training next fall and as it was nearing graduation, and so that was only a few months away. She had never expressed any great desire to enroll or learn anything from the Academy, and complained thoroughly every time her father had brought her to class. So Iruka was understandably confused (and a little amused) at the situation.
“So, Shikari.” He began. “Tell me, why were you teaching your father’s class?”
By the time Shikamaru got dressed and ready for work it was well past his first class, Shikamaru was sometimes late and wasn’t that concerned, he knew Iruka would understand what with Chouji being back and all the chaos that provided…
What did concern him was that he seemed to be the only person in the house, the Akimichi’s were no-where to be seen and neither was Shikari. He opened to door to her room and looked inside, she wasn’t there; she also wasn’t in the study, his room, or the backyard.
“Shikari!” He called from the hallway. No answer.
“Troublesome girl…” He sighed and retrieved his planning papers from the study. Shikari did this a lot, he had always told her to leave a note but, well, children are difficult things to control, especially children as intelligent as Shikari, especially by parents as lazy as Shikamaru.
He head off to work secure in the knowledge that he was likely to find Shikari in one of three locations. With Ino’s son at the park, hanging out around the Aburame complex or else Chouza and Chouji had taken her somewhere, most likely on a tour of the town for Chouji’s benefit.
Shikamaru supposed the town and it’s people had changed some in six years. Of course, it’s hard to notice changes when you’re living them, but Shikamaru knew how even the smallest differences seemed a lot bigger when you come back to them, as opposed to experiencing the slow transformation from the very beginning. He had found that with Shikari…and Chouji.
The town had grown in size; new buildings had been erected to make room for new families, and as previously stated, no one had tried to destroy their peaceful village or wage war upon it in some years. Everything was very well-kept and the village as a whole gave off a feeling of pleasant, firm-handed welcome.
Children seemed to be everywhere, with Orochimaru and most of the Akatsuki supposedly defeated, people had felt it more safe to start raising families of their own, something that’s not easily possible in times of war. Most of the rookie Nine now had children of their own, though Shikari, by fault of a badly timed drink, was a year or two older than all of her peers.
This fact only added fuel to her fire of self-importance. Shikamaru knew she thought herself more intelligent and in fact, all around better at everything than her friends. That, at least, was something he knew he hadn’t passed on. He had never tried to be better at anything that anyone, never claimed he was smarter, and in fact tried to stay behind whenever he could. Not bothering to care if others thought he was intelligent or not.
She must have gotten it from her mother.
Shikamaru was nearing the school just in time to get ready for his second class of the day. It was a very nice day, wispy clouds covered the bright blue sky and Shikamaru watched them vacantly as he walked. For this reason he almost didn’t notice when a kunai whizzed inexpertly toward him, of course, he noticed enough to sidestep and avoid it easily. He looked down.
Meiko was a graduating student of his, a relatively sharp girl with fast reflexes. Shikamaru didn’t have favorites, but she had never caused any trouble, and he tended to like students that were easier to handle. When she saw that he had spotted her she ran up to greet him.
“I almost got you that time, Shikamaru-Sensei!” She giggled. He tried sparing a small smile; it felt forced.
“Almost. Who covered for me this morning, Meiko?” He asked, somewhat curious if they had found a replacement in time. He usually gave them a warning when he was going to be late.
She looked confused. “Um, is this a trick question Shikamaru-Sensei?” She counter-questioned. Shikamaru raised an eyebrow.
“Well, it’s just, your daughter taught our class this morning.”
“We thought you sent her to help her train,” Said Meiko. “She’s very smart for her age, but a little strange.”
Shikamaru groaned and rubbed his forehead. The sad thing was, it didn’t sound that unbelievable, in fact, it sounded like exactly the sort of thing Shikari did when left unattended.
“Is she still here?” He asked exasperatedly. Meiko shrugged.
Shikamaru took off toward to school at a slightly faster pace, if Shikari was still around she would probably be discovered by know, which meant that she’d be with Iruka.
“Shikamaru-Sensei! Where are you going?” Meiko called after him, he didn’t answer.
Sure enough he found Shikari in Iruka’s office, already being reprimanded by the brown haired principal. When he saw that Shikamaru was at the door he looked up and frowned.
“You didn’t tell your daughter to teach your graduating class for you, did you Shikamaru?” He asked calmly. Shikamaru shook his head.
“No, I definitely didn’t.” He answered, Shikari turned around in her seat and gave him a ‘What are you doing? I’m covering for you, idiot!’ kind of look. He walked up to her and tugged on her ponytail lightly, she whacked his hand away.
“She was actually teaching my class?” He asked staring down at his pouting daughter.
“Yes, and from what I hear from some of the students, her teaching methods were a little…interesting.” Iruka smiled.
“Hm? What does he mean ‘interesting’, Shikari?” He asked the girl, she glared up at him.
“I can’t believe you’re actually thinking of letting that group of uneducated simpletons graduate.” She spoke intelligibly. “I looked them over and decided they all need to repeat the year, every one of them.”
Shikamaru rolled his eyes. “You’re not allowed to make those decisions. You’re not a teacher, and they’re all a lot more educated than you are.”
“Not where it matters…” Shikari grumbled and drifted off, whispering moodily.
“In any case, it was a stupid thing to do. You should have woken me up, and you didn’t make your bed either.” Shikamaru lectured, Shikari continued to not look at him, muttering. “Go home, Shikari, we’ll talk about this later.” He concluded.
“Yeah, right.” Shikari snorted and hopped off the chair.
Once she had left the room Shikamaru sat down in her vacated seat.
“Sorry about that, Iruka-san.” He apologized; Iruka just stared back at him.
“…I know it’s not my place to interfere-”
“-I just think she needs a bit more positive attention, namely from you.” Iruka spoke calmly and without actual judgment, but Shikamaru couldn’t keep himself from feeling defensive.
“I have a class to teach.” He said finally, and got up to leave the room, Iruka didn’t try to stop him, only nodded and went back to his work; knowing it really wasn’t his place to interfere anyway.
“So where are we going, dad?” Chouji asked his father. Beside him Cho tottered along happily, singing under her breath.
Chouza smiled and pointed down the road.
“We’re going to the Yamanaka flower shop, Ino works there on Tuesdays.” He explained, smiling at the sound of someone calling him ‘dad’ again.
Chouji nodded “Oh, yeah. I remember now.” The two walked in companionable silence for a while, enjoying being together with the only family they had. A family that had been through a lot considering how small it was.
Chouji’s mother had died in childbirth, not many people knew that and Chouji didn’t want them to, for a lot of reasons. Shikamaru knew of course, as well as Chouza’s friends, Inoichi and Shikatou, but they were the only ones. Now reunited with his father, Chouji felt guiltier than he ever had about leaving town. He had taken Chouza’s wife from him, and then taken his son as well. It was almost enough to make him regret leaving in the first place.
Chouza, for his part, seemed completely undisturbed by any brooding or negative thoughts, smiling genuinely and rifling through a bag he had brought with him, which was really more of an extra large pouch than anything. When he had found his quarry he looked up at his son with a mischievous glint in his eye.
“I brought these for you!” He told Chouji happily, handing him a bag of Barbeque flavored chips, his favorite brand from when he was younger. Chouji grinned and took the bag thankfully. He looked at the label.
“You can’t get these in the hidden Stone!” He exclaimed, “Thanks dad!” He happily tore open to bag and began to eat, after having a few handfuls he passed the bag down to Cho so she could have a few. Together the three of them finished off the bag quickly.
“I remembered they were your favorite and I thought it would welcome you home properly.” Chouza chuckled, brushing the crumbs from his hands. “After all! You’re a Konoha Akimichi again! You should start eating like one.”
Chouji’s smile faltered slightly. “Yeah…”
Chouji didn’t know what to say to this. He had originally intended to stay but after everything Shikamaru said, maybe he should leave again. After all, Shikamaru was the smartest person he knew. He probably had already realized this would all end in chaos.
Then again, he was pretty far into it now, his father was calling him a ‘Konoha Akimichi’ again and almost everyone in the village knew he was back. Also, it seemed that they were welcoming him back with open arms. Everyone but Shikamaru of course, and Chouji could definitely see the irony. The one person who had completely and without question accepted him all of his life, was now the only one to turn his back to Chouji and refuse to accept him at all. It hurt Chouji a lot, but he certainly wasn’t going to admit it.
“I don’t know what they were feeding you over there in Iwagakure, but it can’t be as good as my cooking.” Chouza boasted playfully. Chouji grinned, and decided that today was not a day for thinking about Shikamaru; today he was just going to spend time with his father and enjoy himself for once.
“No, it definitely wasn’t.”
“I mean look at you, you’re practically wasting away.” Chouza motioned to his son’s frame, which by no scale could ever be considered lacking. By no scale but Chouza’s that was.
Chouji smiled, and easily spent the rest of the journey to Yamanaka’s flower shop smiling, laughing and avoiding every issue.
Shikamaru’s second class of the day was a group of very wily and excitable second year students, It was his least favorite class to teach for the sole reason that fights always seemed to be starting whenever he turned his back. He was forever keeping apart screaming, scratching, biting, kicking seven year olds from one another and despite his best efforts to keep patient and teach the brats, they seemed to get more disobedient every day.
Today was no exception; as soon as Shikamaru stepped through the doors he was confronted with a blast of sound that didn’t do anything to help his growing headache. A fight between two of his students was going strong in the third row, and accompanied by their cheering peers, the two boys seemed unlikely to stop on their own.
Shikamaru sighed and dropped his books and papers with a heavy ‘thunk’ onto his desk, the sound rattled the room and gained him the temporary attention of the students, the fight actually stopped in mid wrestle as everyone looked over at him.
“Everyone sit down!” He spoke assertively, looking to each of them in turn. “Do you want to play around like children or do you want to learn how to fight properly? Because I have no problem in sending you all back to first year. ” He finished threateningly and sat down, leaning forward and resting his head in his hand as the class grudgingly and noisily returned to their seats.
“Okay, so today we begin our last unit of the year; stealth.” There was a mixed reaction from the class, some children said things like “Yessss!” or “Finally!”, while still others proclaimed their disinterest with feigned yawns and angry mutterings under their breath.
“Whether you want to learn it or not, it is a trait that is key to any accomplished ninja. You wont’ last long at all if your opponent senses you coming from a mile away, and he would finish all of you off if you went for him at your current level.
As it is, most of you still have about five more years of school ahead of you, so we will only touch on the subject for now, you’ll be doing the real stealth training come your next couple of years.” Shikamaru recited lazily, his chin still in his palm; staring, unfocused, at the wall opposite him.
“Sensei!” Called out a boy in the second row.
“Well…when do we get to learn Ninjutsu and Genjutsu?”
“Ninjutsu you will be studying in your final three years at the academy.” All the students groaned loudly. “As for Genjutsu, many of you will not learn it at all, it’s a specialized area and can be taught successfully only by a one-on-one trainer.” There was an even louder groan at this.
“Sensei, that stinks!”
“Yeah, well, don’t whine to me about it. I’ve got enough to deal with.”
“Like what? All you do is sit around all day being lazy!” A mouthy brown haired boy named Sanzu spoke from the second row. Shikamaru particularly disliked the boy, he never did what he was told, and always complained about everything. To top that off, the boy had a brother who Shikamaru had been forced to keep back four years, so their father was rather unjustifiably venomous towards the boy’s teacher. At the outburst Sanzu’s classmates uttered tiny gasps and some let out appreciative “Ooooooh.” sounds.
Shikamaru frowned. “Problems that troublesome kids like you wouldn’t understand.”
The boy crossed his arms and stood his ground. “What problems? My dad says that you don’t care about anyone or anything, you’re just a selfish bum who mooches offa’ old man Akimichi and ignores his daughter!” Only a few kids were brave enough to egg him on at this point, most were looking away innocently.
“Sanzu, go to the office.” Shikamaru spoke furiously.
“No! I don’t have to listen to you! You’re a murderer and a rapist; my dad says so. He says you killed a girl from Hidden Sand six years ago! I think-”
“Go to the office. RIGHT. NOW!” Shikamaru stood up and pointed harshly at the door as he shouted. He hadn’t felt this angry with a student in his life, he wanted to strangle the little bastard right there.
Sanzu flinched a little, but continued to sit with his arms crossed, frowning. Shikamaru got out of his chair so quickly that he knocked it over; he stormed over to the boy and grabbed his arm, yanking him from his seat and dragging him out of the room.
As he hauled the seething, protesting child behind him, his anger came to a breaking point, he clenched his fingers tight around Sanzu’s arm. The boy let out a squawk of pain and Shikamaru was quickly brought down, his rage lessening slightly.
“That hurt! I’m telling my father!”
“I’m serious, you’re going to be in so much-!”
Shikamaru practically kicked in the door to Iruka’s office in his rush to get in. He pushed Sanzu in the chair opposite an annoyed looking Iruka and spat. “I’m taking a sick day.”
“You don’t look sick.” Iruka said obnoxiously.
“Well I think I’m going to be. Make sure he gets to tell his father all about how he got expelled. I’ll fill out the forms tomorrow.” And without waiting for a protest from either of them, Shikamaru left.
You did the right thing, he couldn’t be taught.
He was talking about Temari for crying out loud.
I should have even gone in today, I’m too compromised.
I’m not supposed to overreact, what am I doing?
Shikamaru stopped in his tracks, he was angrier than ever and wasn’t thinking straight. Finding himself in front of Chouza’s front door, he tried breathing to calm himself. He was a ninja; emotions like anger can get you killed. Once he was for the most part calmed down, he opened the door.
No body answered. He stepped over the threshold and closed the door behind him.
As he wandered the house, he began to realize that he was truly alone. Shikari hadn’t even come home like he’d told her to, not that he’d expected it…
It was a good things, he needed to rest for a bit and recharge, stop thinking so much and maybe just try to go back to how he used to be, slow-paced and easy-going.
Maybe that’s why I’m getting so irrational; I’m not relaxing enough and my mind is finally loosing it.
Shikamaru opened the door to his room and realized in a instant that relaxing would have to wait.
Chouji was in Shikamaru’s room, looking at himself in a full-length mirror. He was wearing an old set of armor, much to small for him now. Shikamaru guessed they were from when he was about 16, and they were so badly fitted for him that it looked almost comical.
Now that Shikamaru’s anger had left him, all he could muster up when he saw Chouji was a vague (but still self-righteous) regret. All he knew was, at the moment, he didn’t want to fight. He wanted a lot of things: to stop being angry, to start feeling happy and secure, to go back to being twelve, but he couldn’t find enough hate in himself to be mad with Chouji right now. So he changed his approach and decided to avoid confrontation for the moment.
“What are you doing?” He asked.
“Thinking.” Chouji replied, he scratched at the worn Akimichi symbol for ‘eat’ on his breastplate, frowning. “I’ve been gone a long time.”
“Yeah, you have.” Shikamaru agreed. “Why didn’t you answer when I called out just now?”
Chouji looked at him. “You wouldn’t have wanted me to.” He muttered and then turned back to examining himself.
Shikamaru walked around Chouji and stood next to him on his other side, peering into the mirror as well. To himself, he looked like he’d aged ten years and lost about ten pounds of muscle. Next to Chouji he looked especially pitiful.
“I don’t know.”
“Maybe I wanted to hear from you. I wanted to know you hadn’t left again.” Shikamaru hadn’t meant it as a cutting comment; he’d meant it as the truth. Chouji, however, seemed to believe otherwise.
Shikamaru raised an eyebrow; he didn’t think he’d heard Chouji swear more than twice in all the time he’d know him.
“I didn’t mean-“
“I know you hate me and we can probably never be as close as we were ever again but…do you have to rub it in so much?”
Shikamaru took a step back and the men faced each-other.
“…Chouji, when you left I-“
“‘When you left, Chouji, that’s the cause of everything bad in my life. I’m so tortured and tragic! Nothing is my fault; everything is Chouji’s fault!’” Chouji mocked.
“Hey, just… hear me out.” Shikamaru interjected.
“No! I don’t want to listen to your bullshit anymore!”
“Bullshit?! Chouji I-”
“You can’t keep blaming me for everything! I didn’t make you drink, I didn’t make you have sex with Temari, I didn’t make you keep your daughter and I …”
He paused for a moment, the words on the end of his tongue. His face was getting steadily redder and Shikamaru was getting frustrated again at not being allowed to speak.
“…I sure as anything didn’t force you to fall in love with me.”
Shikamaru took another step back. Chouji continued to glare at him and suddenly Shikamaru couldn’t hear anything other than the ringing in his ears from Chouji’s words, and could only feel his face getting hotter by the second.
“I’m not in love with you.” He lied. Chouji laughed low in his throat.
“I’m not stupid Shikamaru. I know you think I am.” He added in contemptuously.
“What? I don’t think you’re stupid, Chouji! Che.” Shikamaru half yelled, somewhat frenziedly, completely confused, but this only served to set Chouji off.
“No! You’re right; it’s not just me, it’s everyone! No one’s smart enough to understand you and everything you’ve had to go though, huh? All because you have to barely take care of a daughter you clearly resent so much! Because obviously no one’s EVER had to go through worse than having a child who LOVES AND NEEDS THEM!” Chouji ranted, his loud growl of a voice reverberating off the walls.
Shikamaru took yet another step back. Hurt by everything Chouji was saying but still trying to stay defiant.
“What right do you have to say that?” He responded, Chouji’s whole body seemed to do a double take, he looked at Shikamaru with the most frustrated, unbelieving expression Shikamaru had ever seen.
“Oh, I don’t know maybe because I’m your best friend, or at least used to be, and I actually care about you? You know, maybe I am stupid, caring about a conceited bastard like you!” Chouji stepped right up to Shikamaru and pointed a large finger into his chest. He looked like he was going to either cry or punch the shorter man out, probably the latter.
“I should leave you again, right now.” He spoke in a low and dangerous voice, leaning his face in even closer so their noses were practically touching, only a short gap between them. Shikamaru couldn’t take much more of this.
“Chouji.” He breathed. Chouji’s eyes just narrowed.
Shikamaru bridged the gap.
As soon as he kissed him, or even before, he realized that he absolutely, without a doubt didn’t want to fight with Chouji. He didn’t want to be angry with Chouji. Right now he just wanted, well... Chouji, without the huge pile of angst he’d immediately built around his return.
Chouji stood stiff for a moment then slowly returned the kiss, removing his hand from Shikamaru’s chest and replacing it was his own body, still foolishly covered in too-small armor, he had to bend down a bit to reach Shikamaru’s lips.
This was technically Shikamaru’s first kiss, at least, his first non-alcohol and drug induced kiss. Hell, if he knew what he was doing but it felt incredible. Awkward and completely troublesome, yes, but incredible.
He reached up and pulled Chouji down closer by locking his arms around his neck, bringing Chouji further into him. His lips were moving constantly. He could feel Chouji’s tongue doing its best to find every part of his mouth, he almost felt as if the man were trying to eat his face, and he quickly decided he didn’t mind it so much. Their lips were rubbing against each other’s so hard Shikamaru couldn’t feel his anymore. He broke away.
They stood like that, panting, Chouji slouching uncomfortably under Shikamaru’s death grip. Chouji’s lips were red and swollen, and very wet. Shikamaru knew that he looked the same, he couldn’t tell if the contents of his mouth were mostly his or Chouji’s anymore.
Shikamaru pulled his arms away and stepped a few paces back. Chouji looked similarly tormented, both of them battling their inner conflictions. There was every reason in the world to stop now, they were fathers of young children, the house would not stay empty for long, they were both going through very traumatic and difficult times in their lives…
But they were also two very lust-addled, sexually frustrated young men, and nature is hard to beat.
Chouji moved quickly and grabbed Shikamaru around the waist, covering the smaller man’s mouth, once again, with his. Shikamaru pressed his body into Chouji’s, wrapping his arms around his neck for a second time and kissing him back, he was backed into the wall harshly, and grunted with pain. Chouji whispered an apology against Shikamaru’s lips and lifted him up against the wall, gently moving one arm so as not to let him fall, Chouji used the other to hold the back of the other man’s head, keeping their faces firmly together.
Both men had their eyes closed shut, Shikamaru couldn’t trust himself to blink or breathe or do anything that might bring him back to reality.
He maneuvered himself and Chouji across the wall and to the bed, he slid himself down the head board until his neck rested on it, Chouji broke away from him to take off his armor and let Shikamaru slide further down and rest his head on a pillow. Chouji leaned over him…
…and didn’t do anything. He just stared at Shikamaru, who stared back, both men breathing heavily.
Shikamaru wondered, where was the sanity he had had a week ago, why was this happening? Really, either or both of their children could walk in at any-
His mind was silenced by Chouji kissing him again, softer, gentler and sadder than before. It was almost a question. Shikamaru answered it by kissing back for a moment then pulling away and awkwardly trying to unzip and get out of his jacket, which he threw on the floor, than lifting his arms over his head and letting Chouji pull off his shirt.
Shikamaru, now shirtless, began to undo the buttons on Chouji’s heavy red shirt, the man tensed, and Shikamaru knew if he was anyone else, Chouji wouldn’t be letting him do this at all.
Despite what he said, he must still be somewhat self conscious…how troublesome…this is so awkward already. All these thoughts and more ran through Shikamaru’s mind as he undid the last button and Chouji pulled his arms free of the sleeves and looked down at the bedspread, knees on either side of Shikamaru’s hips, blushing.
He was a big man, Shikamaru acknowledged, staring at Chouji’s exposed upper body, unabashed, he really didn’t care what Chouji looked like but there was just something about his size that made Shikamaru feel very comfortable with the whole situation (as comfortable as was possible, anyways). His body was just so…familiar and stable, while at the same time becoming something completely new and thrilling that Shikamaru had never witnessed before.
Chouji glanced up at Shikamaru, looking for all the world like he wanted to put his shirt back on. Shikamaru just took a deep breath and rolled his eyes, before puling Chouji down onto of him.
Chouji kissed Shikamaru deeply while trying not to crush him under his weight, Shikamaru ran his hands over Chouji’s chest and stomach, trying to find every little curve and dip, he shivered at this but didn’t protest.
They couldn’t last like this for long, both knew things had to either stop altogether or move forward. They moved.
Shikamaru panted and pushed Chouji away from him, quickly undoing his pants and removing them and his underwear in one go. Chouji took more time, facing away from Shikamaru and looking back over his shoulder occasionally, his hands were obviously shaking (with excitement, adrenaline, fear or all three, Shikamaru didn’t know) and so he fumbled a lot.
When both men were naked aside form the odd bandage, they lay next to each other, silently. Chouji took up most of the space on the double bed and Shikamaru grasped the covers to stay on, he looked over at his once best friend, a man about whom he used to know everything, now he knew so little. Chouji was staring at the ceiling, looking almost pained. Shikamaru was so sexually frustrated he could hardly think and was about to make a move when Chouji spoke.
“I’m sorry.” Shikamaru blinked then sighed and laid back down, joining Chouji in his ceiling inspection. Chouji didn’t stop at those two words.
“I met Chinatsu randomly but I really fell in love with her, I couldn’t believe there was a woman so amazing and…perfect for me.”
Shikamaru really didn’t want to hear this.
“I…but I loved you too.” He felt Chouji turn on his side and face him. He kept on staring straight up.
“She wanted me to marry her, I needed to know if you felt something for me before I made my decision.”
“I did feel something for you Chouji, I felt all that I could.” Shikamaru turned and glared at Chouji, who winced.
“Well, yeah I’ve got that now.” He muttered.
Things were very quiet for a long time after that.
What should have been.
“I guess I have to thank you for leaving though, if you hadn’t left I never would have had my daughter.” They looked at each other.
“I don’t blame you for it and there’s nothing to blame, anyway. I know you think I’m a horrible father and maybe I am,” Shikamaru admitted. “But I’m trying. Some of us didn’t have the best examples to learn from like you did.”
“You don’t know how much I missed you, Chouji. It was a really shitty thing you did.”
“I missed you too! You think I didn’t miss you? I thought about you every day! You don’t know how much I -”
“Tch, shut-up. You could’ve come back.”
“Well I didn’t, I had a family, I couldn’t leave them…but I’m back now, right?”
Shikamaru grumbled something under his breath.
“I said ‘only because your wife is dead and now you need comfort and support’.” Shikamaru spat, angrily. Instantly regretting the words once he’d said them, his eyes widened. “Chouji.”
Chouji was silent for a long time, then got up and began to get dressed. Shikamaru groaned and sat up.
“I’m sorry Chouji,” He apologized. “That was out of line. I didn’t mean it.”
“No. You did, and you’re right. Like always.” Chouji shook his head and finished buttoning up his shirt. “I’m sorry.” He left the room.
“God-dammit!” Shikamaru flopped back down onto his bed; he was angry, guilty and…really unsatisfied.
End of Chapter Nine.