Disclaimer: Naruto and its characters belong to Masashi Kishimoto

This story is my contribution for the "Show Me the Love" Challenge. I designed this challenge in hopes of spreading the word of the Fanfiction Review Movement and the benefits of the positive constructive review.

I encourage all who are interested to use the links on my Profile page and visit other author's who are participating in this event, then do your part in helping spread the review love. Reviews are a great motivator and a wonderful way of giving back to those who share their stories on this site.

Fun Fact: I considered submitting a romance or a humor story for this challenge, but after some thought, I decided to give a little love to the less popular Hurt/Comfort genre instead.

This story will be a two shot. Part One: Show Me (released today to kick off the challenge), and Part Two: The Love (to be released at the end of the week).

Here's keeping my fingers crossed you'll enjoy it!

Chapter 1: Show Me

There were a million other things Shikadai would rather be doing with his free time, and by far, cleaning out the old Nara shed wasn't anywhere near the top of his list. Still, it was easier to go along with the plan rather than make a fuss. His father rarely asked anything of him, and because this task ultimately benefitted his dear grandmother, Shikadai kept his grumbling to himself, and focused on what was asked of him.

"Let's separate the things that will go back into the shed from those we'll toss and get rid of," his father suggested. "Things we'll keep should be put here," Shikamaru pointed to an area next to the shed, "and things we'll get rid of should go over there," he gestured toward the stack of sticks ready to be burned on burn day.

Helping his father carry out the larger equipment used to tend the deer, a whole lot of other "junk" seemed to pop out of the nooks and crannies of the shed's walls, making Shikadai groan inwardly. Really?

Shuffling through boxes of old baby toys, half open boxes of seeds, gardening tools, a mishmash of forgotten kid art supplies, and what not, Shikadai was ready to throw everything out just to make the work go faster. One large box was particularly heavy to move, and it only added to the aggravation of how big this task of cleaning really was. Carelessly prying it open, he discovered some old photo albums, and near the bottom, a dusty wooden box.

"Why is this stuff in here?" Shikadai grumbled to his father.

Dusting off his pants, Shikamaru approached his sweaty son. "What do you mean?" he replied. "What 'stuff' are you talking about?"

"It looks like a box of Grandma's old photo albums and a wooden box with something in it."

Shikamaru looked uninterested. Just some more old stuff that must have come out of his mother's closet when she cleaned it out the last time. But when he saw the wooden box Shikadai was holding, his eyes nearly popped out of his head. Wait a minute. Is that? It can't be!

Hurriedly, he strode up to his son and took the box from Shikadai's hands. Gingerly, he lifted its top off and his eyes grew wide as he jerked back. No way!

"What is it, Dad?" Shikadai questioned, now clearly interested in what was within the old box that caught his father's attention.

"It's nothing," his Dad said, trying to be blasé about it as he slid the cover back in place, but the worry in his voice clearly indicated otherwise. "Son, keep working and I'll be back," Shikamaru told him as he began to walk away.

Where's he going with it? Shikadai wondered. And why the rush?

Of course the one time Shikamaru needed to sneak away, a familiar form appeared, and he quickly did his best to hide the box behind his back. Silently he hoped and prayed his mother hadn't noticed anything and she wasn't under the impression anything was amiss.

"Shikamaru!" Yoshino yelled, causing him to stop and address her.

"Yeah, Ma?" he returned as casually as he could.

"Just where do you think you're going with that box?" she asked, and Shikamaru's heart sped up.

"What box?" he replied, trying desperately to play it dumb and keep it hidden from her.

"The one behind your back," his mother pointed out, with a frown. "Now, stop playing games, son," she chastised. "Come now," Yoshino demanded, "hand it over."

Shikadai never saw his father look so stunned.

Silence reigned as his Dad and Grandmother stood and stared each other down.

"Sorry, Ma. I can't do that," Shikamaru finally replied.

"What do you mean, you can't?" Yoshino accused. "That box you're holding is from my closet," she let him know.

"I know, but it's not yours," he shot back. "It was Dad's!"

Yoshino's breath caught. And immediately her son could see the sadness in her eyes. Shikamaru didn't mean to be so insensitive but he was in a panic. Years ago he promised his father he would get rid of the 'certain something' in the wooden box he held. The fact that it was his father's dying wish and the box and its contents still existed confused and shocked him all at once.

Yoshino read the hurt in Shikamaru's eyes and softened. She surmised her late husband, Shikaku, may have asked her son to dispose of it before he died. There would have been no other reason for her son to have tried to sneak off with it.

To his credit, Shikamaru almost got away with it, but he forgot to factor into account that Yoshino was once a ninja too, and to top off everything, she was his Mom, and there was no way she didn't know if he was up to something.

Standing there, Yoshino briefly reminisced. A decade ago, when the Fourth Shinobi War ended, her son had stolen the box from her shared closet with her husband. She had watched from the shadows as Shikamaru buried it within the stack of brush outside to be burned the next day. Unbeknownst to him, she retrieved the box that night and hid it with a few other mementos at the bottom of an old box in the shed. The next morning when her son lit the mound on fire, Yoshino knew he believed the box and it's contents were long gone. She never intended to tell him she retrieved the box that night, but today it seemed, fate had other plans.

"Shikamaru," Yoshino said softly. "I know that's true, but if you give me a chance, I'd like to earn the right to keep it."

Shikamaru's insides twisted uncomfortably. He made a promise to his Dad, one he just realized just now, he did not fulfill. What kind of son would he be if he didn't grant his dying father's last wish?

Shikadai sensed the tension in the air and quickly made his way over to them.

"What's in the box, guys?" he asked curiously.

"Nothing," Shikamaru insisted.

"Letters," Yoshino told him, causing Shikamaru to pale.

"Letters?" Shikadai questioned. Thinking that was an odd thing to be haggling over.

"Love letters," Yoshino clarified, causing Shikamaru to cringe and Shikadai to hide a blush.

It was definitely odd the way his father and Grandmother looked to be having a showdown, and Shikadai wondered... Why would his own father keep his Grandpa's love letters from his Grandma?

"Grandpa Nara was a romantic?" Shikadai asked to break the ice.

"Shikamaru," Yoshino said, seeing how hard all of this was for him. "Come," she gestured. "Have a seat," she pointed to an old log. "It's time I shared something with you. You can come too, Shikadai," she offered.

"What's this all about, Grandma?" Shikadai questioned.

"No, Ma," Shikamaru refused. "I'm sorry, but I promised Dad I would get rid of this box and its contents, and I want to keep my word."

Yoshino saddened but stood her ground.

"Please, Shikamaru. Just hear me out. I'd like a chance to earn the right to keep it. It means more to me than you know... In all honesty, if your father were here and could speak to you, I think, he would agree to let me have it. All I'm asking for is an opportunity to show you why this box should come back to me."

Shikadai's concern did nothing to help Shikamaru stand his ground, and with both of their pleading eyes glued to him, Shikamaru's stance weakened.

"Ma..." Shikamaru complained.

"Please?" Yoshino pleaded.

"Dad, why don't you give her a chance?" Shikadai asked, coming to his Grandmother's aid.

Shikamaru always taught his son to do his best to be fair, and to respect his elders. Normally Shikamaru would never dismiss his mother so easily, but this was clearly an exception. All the same, he didn't want to seem callous to her request so he caved a little.

"Fine," he grumbled. "I'll hear you out, but I doubt I'll change my mind," he told his mother, and he reluctantly sat down.

"Thanks Shikamaru," Yoshino said gratefully.

"Ma, you have my attention but remember, I will be the one to make the final decision on the fate of this box, and this will be your one and only chance to show me...," Shikamaru challenged.

Author's Note:

How many of you had guesses as to what was in that infamous box when the episode aired? I'm curious what you thought was in it.

Stay tuned for Chapter 2 for my take on things. In the meantime, I look forward to seeing what other stories are entered in the challenge and can't wait to spread the review love. I invite everyone to join in on the fun. Read, review, and... of course, take it upon yourselves to embody the spirit of the FRM and Show Me the Love!