A/N: Once again, this story is dedicated to Ashley, my fellow shikaneji nut. I love you lots!

Disclaimer: Everything "Naruto" related is owned by Masashi Kishimoto. No copyright infringement intended


When Shikamaru was little, he used to pretend to be a dragon with Choji in the winter months. They'd puff out their cheeks and blew their steaming breath into the frosty air, laughing as they did so. That memory suddenly popped into Shikamaru's head when he walked along the almost deserted town market, carrying the supplies his mother sent him out to fetch. Neji, walking alongside him, glanced at his boyfriend curiously.

"Why are you smiling?" He asked, slipping his hand into Shikamaru's free one. Not many people were on the snowy streets to see, so the young Hyuuga felt comfortable with small displays of affection. Shikamaru grinned at him.

"Did you ever pretend that you could breathe smoke like a dragon, when you were a kid? In the winter?"

Neji raised his head haughtily and sniffed. "I did not." Even though being with Shikamaru had softened his prim and proper exterior a little, sometimes Neji snapped back into his stiff attitude. Most of the time, Shikamaru laughed it off, as he did now. He gave his boyfriend's hand a squeeze.

"Of course you didn't." Shikamaru said, amused. "You were probably one of those kids allergic to fun. Never played with toys, stuck your nose in a book at age 2, right?"

Neji shoved into his shoulder lightly. "That's not true. Hinata and I used to play lots of games together." Granted, the only games the Hyuuga had were meant to sharpen their logic thinking and quick reflexes, not for the children to have fun. But Shikamaru didn't have to know that. The Nara was about to reply when an odd figure moved towards them at an alarming speed. At second glance, they could see that it was Rock Lee who was walking on his hands. Neji relaxed a little as Lee hopped back on his feet.

"Hello, friends!" The energetic shinobi greeted them with a cheerful smile on his face. "Are you on your way to training, too?"

For a moment, Shikamaru was visibly perplexed. He held up the plastic bag containing his groceries. "We, uh.. were shopping actually."

Neji looked at his teammate with a quirked brow. "What are you doing running around in the snow on your bare hands anyway? You'll catch your death out here."

"Have no fear, Neji!" Lee flashed him a 1000 watt smile. "It is okay! Gai-sensei ordered me to walk 80.000 steps on my hands in the snow, in order to strengthen my stamina! He wouldn't give me an exercise I couldn't complete!"

Shikamaru and Neji exchanged a resigned glance. While they thought team Gai's leader more often than not went overboard with his training methods, it was clear that Rock Lee would always follow his sensei's orders without complaint. They shrugged.

"So.. how many steps do you have left?" Shikamaru asked hesitantly. Grinning widely, his fellow shinobi flipped back on his hands.

"Only 11.468 more steps to go!" Rock Lee announced gleefully. "I will see you when I'm done!" And with that he was on his way. Shikamaru stared after him, shaking his head.

"He didn't even notice we were holding hands." The young Nara muttered in disbelief. Neji smiled faintly.

"Even if he had noticed, Lee would've most likely missed the obvious. He sometimes holds my hand, too, when he's excited." Neji grimaced at the thought. "Lee would not suspect.. romance between us."

Chuckling, Shikamaru looked at his boyfriend. "He holds your hand? Should I be jealous?"

"You shouldn't be." After making sure that nobody was looking, Neji briefly touched his lips to Shikamaru's cheek. "I only want you, you know that."

"Mmmhh.. Doesn't hurt to be reminded of that every once in a while." Shikamaru smirked.

Neji leaned in until his lips almost touched the other boy's ear. "Shikamaru Nara, I love you." He whispered to him. The pressure on his hand intensified. When Shikamaru looked at him again, his heart began to stutter.

"Let's get home." Shikamaru said, keeping his voice low. "I want to kiss you properly."

Well, those are certainly appealing prospects, Neji thought and let Shikamaru pull him along the deserted street, snowflakes falling down softly all around them.


Right in front of the door, Shikamaru grabbed Neji by the collar and pulled him in for a sound kiss. When they broke apart, both of them were flushed and breathing heavily. The sight of Neji's cheeks tinted an adorable shade of pink made Shikamaru smile.

"Come on in." He said tenderly. "I don't want us to freeze."

"You'd freeze first, Nara. I'd survive you." Neji claimed with confidence.

"And then you'd weep beautifully over my corpse. Now come on."

Once they'd gotten inside, Shikamaru stored the groceries away and led his boyfriend to his room, although by now Neji could have found the way blindfolded. He rubbed his hands together and blew on them softly.

"Cold, are we?" The Nara teased, but Neji only scoffed. He sat down on the floor cross-legged and watched with curious eyes as Shikamaru rummaged around in a hidden nook of his room. When he faced his boyfriend again, he held two mugs of steaming hot green tea. Neji's lips parted in surprise.

"You.."

".. know that you like green tea, yes." Shikamaru finished for him. "I keep some and a kettle in my room now for when you visit." He smiled sheepishly while handing Neji his tea. Before taking a sip, Neji planted a long, grateful kiss on him.

"You are too kind." He whispered against Shikamaru's mouth. The other boy smiled.

"Tell me something I don't know. Drink up before it gets cold."

Neji furrowed his brows. "I know when to drink my tea, thank you very much."

After a moment of stunned pause, Shikamaru began to laugh. He gazed at Neji fondly. "You're hopeless."

They finished their tea in amiable silence, Neji studying the painted deer on the walls. Compared to his own room in the Hyuuga compound, this one felt so.. lived in. The walls weren't bare like his, even the furniture seemed to have been picked with more care. It was clear that this room was meant for Shikamaru to be comfortable living in.

Neji's room only existed so he had a place to sleep. Nothing more, nothing less.

"Are you warmer now?" Shikamaru's gentle voice ripped him out of the bitter thoughts. Neji had to blink a few times to get himself back to the moment.

"Yes, thank you." He said quietly. "I'm fine."

"You don't look like you are." Shikamaru studied him attentively. "Tell me what's wrong, please."

Neji remained motionless for the duration of a few heartbeats. Then, he carefully put his tea mug away and leaned over Shikamaru, kissing him with all expertise he'd gained over the past few months of them dating. The response was instant: Shikamaru buried his in the silky mass of Neji's hair, tugging him closer. Neji pressed himself tightly against him until they were chest to chest, feeling his heartbeat speed up under him. He almost lost himself in the kiss – until Shikamaru's hand travelled down his back, lower than he was used to. Sputtering, Neji pulled away. Shikamaru tilted his head in confusion.

"What's wrong?" He asked, tucking a stray piece of hair behind Neji's ear. The Hyuuga flushed red from his neck to the roots of his hair.

"I.. I'm.. I'm not used to you touching me there." Neji admitted, clearly embarrassed. "I haven't thought about us.." He waved his hand cryptically.

"Us having sex?" Shikamaru asked bluntly. The other boy blushed harder, but he nodded. "Well, why not?"

Neji turned his head so Shikamaru wouldn't see the conflict in his eyes. "In my clan.. We don't do this sort of thing before we're married." He chewed on his bottom lip. "I have no.. experience to speak of and.."

"Hey." Shikamaru cut him off by gently taking his chin between two fingers and turning his face back so they could look at each other. "I haven't done this with a guy before either. And your clan doesn't exactly allow men to marry, so I think we can safely say their rules don't apply to us."

Neji rested his forehead against Shikamaru's. "You have a strange sense of logic, Nara."

"That's why you love me, Hyuuga." He playfully bumped his nose against Neji's, but his eyes were serious. "You trust me, right?"

Taking in the hopeful look on his boyfriend's face, Neji breathed in deeply. He nodded. "I do trust you."

That was all the permission Shikamaru needed. He kissed Neji again, carefully this time, and let his mouth wander over the smooth skin of his throat and neck. Neji's breathing was unsteady, but he didn't pull back as Shikamaru continued to nuzzle him. He smiled encouragingly.

"Now you try."

Neji fumbled a lot more at first, but eventually, his tongue even darted out as he kissed down Shikamaru's throat and he alternated between kissing and teasing his neck. Shikamaru laughed hoarsely.

"Having fun there?" He asked and stifled a gasp when Neji experimentally bit down on the crook of his neck. He smirked to himself.

"Yes." Neji crooned against his skin. "I'm having lots of fun, actually."

The tone of his voice had changed, going from insecure to almost seductive. Shikamaru shivered with anticipation. He grabbed Neji's jaw and forced his head back up, kissing him more roughly than he usually did and Neji took it in stride, meeting Shikamaru's tongue with his own. Something in his body began to tighten.

"Are you going to run away if I try to take your clothes off now?" Shikamaru asked, placing kisses along the underside of his jaw. Neji's eyes fluttered closed, giving in to the feeling completely. He almost purred.

"I won't.. run." Neji promised, barely remembering how to speak.

"Good."

Before Neji completely processed it, he'd been undressed (and had undressed Shikamaru with shaky hands), their clothes laying in a pile next to them. He studied his boyfriend with a keen interested, his eyes always shying away once he got below his stomach. Shikamaru smiled patiently.

"You can touch me." He said teasingly. "Go ahead. Have the erotic gropefest you always dreamed about."

"I wouldn't grope you." Neji muttered, running his hand down Shikamaru's chest with a feather light touch. Every inch of skin, every muscle, the smallest hair, all of it felt like a miracle under his hands. Shikamaru held himself perfectly still, enjoying the administration. Once his hand passed below the navel, Neji pulled it back.

"I can't touch you there yet." He said in a strained voice. Shikamaru kissed him tenderly.

"You don't have to." He told him. "Neji, can I ask you something?" Curiously, Neji nodded.

Shikamaru took a deep breath. "Will you take your forehead protector off?"

The words hung between them like a magic spell. Eyes wide, Neji looked at Shikamaru. He opened his mouth once, twice, to speak, but no words came. Slowly, he raised his hand to untie the piece of fabric. It was shaking even more than when he'd undressed Shikamaru. With a clink, the item landed on the floor, Neji's forehead now bare. He was trembling.

Very gently, Shikamaru kissed the green mark that stood out on the fair skin. The warmth of his lips travelled through Neji's body, making him feel safer than he could remember himself ever being. Tears pooled at the edge of his eyes and he had to swallow down the lump in his throat.

"Thank you." Shikamaru whispered in the space between them. He took Neji's hand and pulled him to his feet, leading him to the futon that rested snugly under the window. His heart was hammering so much in his chest that Neji thought Shikamaru must be able to hear it, surely. He cast him an uncertain look.

"Now what?"

Shikamaru sat down at the edge of the futon, patting his knee with a smile. "Sit." He invited Neji, who hesitantly did so. Once Shikamaru had made certain that his boyfriend wouldn't slide off his lap if they moved, he began exploring him with his hands. Neji held his breath, the sensation of hands on his skin intimate and new. He hadn't wanted anybody to touch him like this, ever.

Trust that damn Nara to be the first one, he thought with a faint amusement. When Shikamaru's fingers grazed below his ribcage, he jerked instinctively. Narrowing his eyes, Shikamaru paused.

"Are you ticklish, Neji?" He brought his hand back to the spot and the other boy yelped helplessly. After that, Shikamaru launched a full-on attack. Neji struggled in his arms, laughing and gasping and the sound was like music to the Nara's ears.

"Stop that!" Neji demanded breathlessly. "Shikamaru, I'm serious!" The severity of his words was undermined by the fits of helpless laughter that kept spilling over his lips. Shikamaru only held him tighter.

"Never." He rasped against his neck. "You're mine and I can do whatever I want with you."

The words sent a shiver down Neji's spine. Without really realizing what he was doing, he grinded his hips down on Shikamaru's. The boys exchanged a surprised glance. A huge smirk spread on Shikamaru's face immediately. He bucked his own hips, making Neji let out a strangled hiss.

"Shikamaru.."

"Do that again, Neji. That was good." He kissed him briefly, biting down on his bottom lip. Neji groaned into the kiss, moving his hips again, this time with a little more force. Shikamaru took up the pace, matching his every movement.

"You okay?" He forced out, trying to keep his head together with that blissful feeling threatening to overtake him. Neji's eyes found his and there was pure awe in his eyes. Wordlessly, he bent forward and kissed Shikamaru again, tongue and teeth colliding. As they moved faster and more urgently, his breathing quickened until he was panting. Shikamaru swallowed the moan that vibrated between them.

Then Neji threw his head back, his hips jerking forward and he slumped against Shikamaru, shuddering through his climax. The look in Neji's eyes was enough to send Shikamaru over the edge too, an intense pleasure coursing through him that he hadn't ever experienced before.

It took both of them a while to calm down. They laid down next to each other on the futon, holding hands. Neji turned his head so he could look at Shikamaru, smiling happily. The other boy kissed his cheek softly.

"Did you like it?"

Neji laughed quietly. "I thought that was obvious." He scooted closer to Shikamaru, pecking him on the lips. Shikamaru grinned under him.

"Think you'd be up to do it again someday?"

The Hyuuga braced himself above him on his elbows, his hair falling forward like a protective curtain. He bent down until their noses were touching, a soft look in his eyes.

"Yes." Neji whispered. "Yes, absolutely."