• "Shikamaru-kun!" I called cheerfully, making my way over to the boy currently stretched out on the ground. "Hey Shika!"
    Dropping beside him, I smiled happily as a single eye opened to meet my gaze.
    "Yep! How are you today Shika-kun?"
    "I was fine." His sarcastic comment and its implications washed straight over me and I frowned in genuine concern. Maybe he was just upset about something and that was why he snapped.
    "You were fine? Why aren't you anymore? What's up?"
    He sighed and stood up, meandering away casually as he threw his words back to me over his shoulder.
    “Ah! Shika wait up.” For someone who was reputably lazy, he sure could move fast when he wanted to, although why he had suddenly chosen to was beyond me. Usually, when he was here, it would be for a while, so I could keep asking him questions and generally have company without having to wander around Konoha all the time.
    “Yuko, I give up. I’ll tutor you ok?”
    “Yes! Finally. So what made you change your mind?” He turned around, body language suggesting annoyance as he looked at me, face for once serious instead of that lazy smirk.
    “Because you always following me around is troublesome. At least this way I can choose when you’re with me.”
    My smile fell from my face and I looked down. For some reason it hurt much more knowing Shikamaru didn’t want me around than it had when Temari had initially said the same thing. Uncharacteristically, I fell quiet with my shoulders slumped.
    “Ano Shikamaru-san. If you don’t like me being around that much I won’t bother you anymore.” Ignoring his attempts to placate me, I formed the hand signs quickly and just disappeared, leaving nothing but a hint of smoke. Back at home, I sighed and let myself sink back into the sofa, tucking my feet beneath me. The subtle sting in my eyes grew steadily until I could feel moisture track down my face. Hastily wiping away my tears, I planned to escape to my room before my mother found me, but I was too late.
    “Oh honey.” Her arms pulled me close against her and she patted my back soothingly. “What’s wrong Yuko?”
    I shook my head from side to side, fighting the hysterical urge to laugh. “I don’t know.”
    Leading me back to the couch, we sat and I began to explain.

    Temari’s POV

    “Shikamaru, nice to see you.” I looked past him expectantly, but frowned when I failed to see my friend. I knew she had taken a shine to Shika, and when that had happened to me, she hardly ever left me alone, so it was a surprise for her to be gone. It was rare that I came to Konoha, and I didn’t really have time to look for her. At least Shikamaru was predictable, so when I found him, I thought she would be there too. My gaze hardened. In fact, there was no way she wouldn’t be unless he had said something.
    “Shikamara-kun, where’s Yuko?”
    He rolled his eyes. “Troublesome girl. I agreed to tutor her and she ran off.”
    I frowned. That didn’t sound like her at all. “What exactly did you say Shika?”
    The Chuunin looked at me, clear irritation present in his expression.
    “Why?” He drawled, sounding as bored as ever.
    “Damn it Shika, that’s not like her at all. You must have said something to upset her.”
    He sighed. “I said her always following me around is troublesome and this way I could choose when she did.”
    My hand whacked him on the back of his head. “Idiot! She might look happy and mellow all the time, but she’s sensitive too, you know. Go find her and apologise.”
    He groaned. “What a drag.”
    “Don’t make me hurt you Shikamaru, because I will. Yuko is a good friend of mine.”
    “Whatever.” He lifted a hand as a goodbye, already walking away.

    Back to you

    My mum, after listening, had come out with something I had never expected. She thought that I liked Shikamaru, as more than a friend. The thought hadn’t even crossed my mind before now. I mean sure, I enjoyed spending time with Shika because his laid back nature gave me a chance to escape from my overly protective family for a while and just be me. He was smart and funny in a subtle way, so he was good company for me, but wasn’t that just because I wanted to learn? Kami, now I was definitely confused. It took me a while, but slowly I had to accept that she was right. It wasn’t exactly love or anything, but it definitely had the potential to be. With my endless curiosity he was exactly right for me, having the ability to answer my questions, maintain my interest. His looks were a definite plus point too. To be honest, I didn’t know why I hadn’t realised this before. My thoughts were interrupted by a soft knock at the door; it creaked a little as it opened, revealing my mother with a certain glint in her eye. I smiled softly, all traces of my previous upset gone.
    “Hey Yuko. Feeling up to a visitor?” I lifted a brow in question and she carried on. “It’s Shikamaru.”
    I looked down at the floor for a second and then nodded, standing up to follow her downstairs. There was no way I wanted an audience for what I was going to say to the Chuunin, but it had to be done. I was an honest person and there was no real reason for me to hide my feelings. Lifting a lazy hand in greeting, the Nara was slouched against the door frame, looking a little uncomfortable. I glanced at my mum, I question in my eyes and she smiled sheepishly before leaving us alone.
    “Hey Shika. You wanna take a walk?”
    We wandered aimlessly in silence, with me questioning why he had decided to visit me in the first place. Without even thinking about it, the two of us had ended up at the usual place, him laid back on the ground staring at the clouds while I sat, one leg brought up and the other stretched out in front of me. Just when I thought this was becoming pointless, Shikamaru’s voice met my ears.
    “I’m sorry about earlier Yuko-chan. That was cruel.”
    I smiled. “It doesn’t matter Shika. I just took it too seriously that’s all. I mean you say stuff like that all the time. We all know you hardly ever mean it. It just hurt when you said it to me specifically.”
    He sat up, turning to face me with a question written in his eyes. He didn’t have to prompt me to make me carry on. “Apparently, I like you.” I stated simply, narrowing my eyes as his mouth curved into a smirk. “Shut up Nara. Anyway, I guess I just didn’t realise and to be completely truthful, I don’t even know why I do. You’re lazy, infuriatingly calm and detached, smug and most of all, your intelligence drives me insane. You don’t even do anything!”
    While rambling on in my irritation, I hadn’t noticed the normally still male shift so that he was closer to me than was really polite. The second I finished speaking, his warm lips pressed against my own, taking me completely by surprise. It was only a few seconds before he pulled back, the slight curve to his lips still present. I took in a deep breath and smiled.
    “And that just makes me like you even more.” I finished weakly, before bringing his mouth back to my own, one hand on his cheek, the other resting in the crook of his neck. He pulled me onto his lap, forcing me to straddle his legs to be comfortable. Biting down gently, he flicked his tongue over my lip to soothe it, coaxing my lips apart as the muscle slipped inside, stroking and exploring teasingly. The slow, steady movement was torturous, forcing me to tug him closer, angling my head to deepen the kiss. He reacted in a similar way, the thumbs on my hips rubbing smooth circles before his hands travelled upward, slipping easily beneath my loose top. I was just thankful that I wasn’t in my training clothes, they were far too difficult to get out of. The fact that I was already thinking of removing clothes, and the betrayal of my hands which had mirrored Shika’s actions and were now caressing the firm muscles of his abdomen, made me pull back from his sensuous kiss. He gazed straight into my eyes, his own smouldering darkly, but still showing his confusion. I almost blushed at my next words.
    “Ah, Shikamaru. We can’t do this out here; anybody could see us.”
    He chuckled huskily. “I’m definitely going to have to tutor you Yuko. You’ve got a lot to learn.”
    I blinked, opening my mouth to retort when he took advantage of that and returned to kissing me. As his lips worked against my own, I felt the logic of my argument whirl and turn to mush, much like any other thoughts currently in my mind. I had the distinct feeling that much of my education would be focused on physical study.