Chapter 4: "Slips of the Tongue"

    Naruto bypassed the kitchen-- which he doubted had been given a very thorough cleaning job by Ino --and headed straight for his friend's room.
    He wasn't surprised to find Shikamaru sitting cross-legged on his bed, blanket pushed into his lap while he concentrated on the video game in his hands. "Is she gone?" he demanded without looking up.
    Naruto rolled his eyes, crossing his arms over his chest and propping himself against the doorframe. "You're un-fucking-believable, man. Your girlfriend comes over to take care of you and you can't wait til she leaves? Don't you know this coulda been your chance?? You're all 'vulnerable' and shit now! Chicks dig that. You probably could've gotten laid tonight."
    Shikamaru didn't even look up from his game. "She's more distracted by the idea of her party than me, and anyway, if you think she should get laid so badly, why don't you go do it yourself?"
    Naruto made a face. "Jesus, no offense, but... No way."
    A faint smile of amusement hovered on Shikamaru's lips, but he was still absorbed in his game. "Did she leave anything edible? I heard her crashing around the kitchen earlier."
    "Was afraid to go in there and check," Naruto admitted, coming over to drop gracelessly on the bed. "It figures you'd be faking it. That's pretty sad, man."
    "Faking?" Shikamaru finally glanced up with a frown. "Nah, I only faked sleeping when I heard you knocking at the door. I'm not pretending to be sick, you dipstick. Wanna go sniff around the bathroom? It probably still stinks from where I puked this mor--"
    "Thanks for that," Naruto interrupted with a wince. "Gross. I'm pissing in the bushes next time I have to pee." He got to this feet and reached out, slapping a palm across his startled friend's brow.
    "O-oi!" Shikamaru jerked back. "What--"
    "Yeah, guess you are," Naruto admitted reluctantly. "Sick, I mean. Your forehead's pretty hot, anyway, and you're a little flushed."
    "It's just a bug," Shikamaru muttered, eyes back on his game. "It should be gone by tomorrow. I don't need a goddamn babysitter."
    "If you don't need me..." Naruto rose halfway to his feet, mind already on the ramen shop.
    Shikamaru scowled. "Some friend you are. Leaving a sick man all alone. What if I choke on my own vomit? What if I die of fever? Thanks."
    Naruto rolled his eyes. "Don't be a drama queen." He huffed, scratching at his scalp. "Look," he snapped, "if you're bored or lonely or whatever, just freaking say it."
    Shikamaru hunched his shoulders slightly, an unconscious but embarrassed reaction Naruto caught but didn't comment on. "Who said I'm lonely?" he grumbled. "Whatever. Go if you've got somewhere to be."
    Naruto snickered, spinning on his heel and striding off, hands clasped behind his head. "Fine, fine... do you think you could get any food down you, doctor denial?"
    "Do I look like a chef?"
    Shikamaru sweatdropped. "If you think pudding is cause for national acclaim in the cooking world, maybe you should avoid my kitchen altogether."
    "I can only cook one thing real well, and that's ramen," Naruto said firmly. "But I don't feel like having you barf noodles and junk up all over me."
    "Instant ramen, you mean," Shikamaru drawled. "Look, there should be soup in the kitchen somewhere."
    "Yes, master," Naruto mocked as he headed out of the room.
    "What now?" Naruto made a face over his shoulder at the boy on the bed.
    Shikamaru's eyes were glued to his game, but his fingers had stilled. "...Thanks," he muttered.
    Naruto grinned and left the room without another word.


    He wandered back in about twenty minutes later to find the boy flipping through magazines, looking thoroughly bored.
    Naruto paused in the doorway, chopsticks jutting out of his mouth, holding a bowl in one hand and a cup of instant ramen in the other. "Shikamaru unable to sleep?" he teased. "Will wonders never cease?"
    Shikamaru glanced towards him from under hooded lids. "Too hungry to sleep," he admitted.
    Naruto padded over and offered the bowl, grinning around his chopsticks. "Ta-dah~! The genius Uzumaki Naruto has thought of a way around the puking problem."
    Shikamaru took the bowl dubiously and gave it a wary sniff. "...Broth?"
    "Yeah, whatever soup you used to have, Ino managed to either spill or curdle or she added shit to it that made it smell pretty gross." Naruto seated himself at the foot of the bed and began slurping his ramen noisily. "So I just strained the noodles an' shit from one of the ramen cups. That's the broth."
    "..Ah." Shikamaru took a careful sip of the hot liquid. "Good thinking."
    Naruto grinned again and resumed his enthusiastic eating.
    Shikamaru carefully sipped the rest of his broth, still scanning the magazine in his lap. Naruto finished his own ramen, smacking his lips appreciatively, then tilted his head to examine the magazines strewn across the bed. After a moment he found an interesting one and snagged it, flipping through the pages curiously.
    For several minutes there was a comfortable silence, broken only by the steady rustling of pages.
    Shikamaru glanced up once or twice, studying his friend pensively. Abruptly he tossed his magazine aside and set his empty bowl firmly on the floor by the bed. "I heard alcohol helps you when you're sick."
    Naruto blinked, looking up. "Wha? Where'd you hear that?"
    "Kakashi-sensei, actually," Shikamaru admitted. "When he had a cold. He was telling Iruka-sensei that all he needed was some sake and he'd be good as new. Iruka didn't agree, if the yelling match that came after that was anything to go off of."
    "That's stupid," Naruto snorted. "Besides, you don't got a cold. What if alcohol only makes a stomach bug worse?"
    "It won't," Shikamaru insisted, sliding off the bed and heading for the door. "But it might help me sleep quicker and longer."
    "What??" Naruto bounced to his feet and hurried after his friend, following him to the kitchen. "Hey, hey, I don't think that's such a good idea," he fretted as the slightly taller boy began rummaging through cabinets. "Your dad would kick my ass. Then he'd kill you."
    "Not if he doesn't find out," Shikamaru pointed out rationally. "I just wanna try it. Besides, it's no fun drinking by yourself. You want some too, right?"
    "Me?" Naruto hesitated. His one experiment with alcohol had not been pretty. He'd stumbled home, picked a fight with Sasuke-- and lost miserably, his instincts and reactions stunted from his buzz --puked his guts out, and passed out on the cold floor, only to wake up sometime the next day with a pounding headache. "I'll pass."
    Shikamaru snorted. "Don't be a baby. I'm not saying you have to drink half the damn bottle. Just have one or two drinks with me. It won't get you drunk."
    "Here it is." Shikamaru turned to face him, holding up a bottle in triumph. "If we break my dad's sake set, he really will kill us. As long as you promise you don't have any Uchiha cooties, we can just drink out of the bottle. Unless you're chicken."
    Naruto flushed. "Don't be a jerk," he snapped, snatching the bottle away. "Cooties?? How old are you, five? Anyway, Sasuke and I haven't, um... kissed or.. anything. Not for awhile." He scowled at the bottle in his hand.
    Shikamaru shrugged, fetching a few bags of chips from the cabinet. "Fine. C'mon, we can drink it in my room. You don't have to drink a lot if you're that much of a scaredy-cat. I'll just drink until I'm tired. Dad will never know."
    "Who's a scaredy-cat?" Naruto growled. He hesitated, then took a quick swig straight from the bottle. He coughed harshly at the bitter burning taste of it, wiping a hand hastily across his mouth, eyes watering. "Shit!"
    Shikamaru smirked, taking the bottle back. "Pussy."
    "Shut up! You try, then!"
    Shikamaru shrugged and took a big gulp to show off.
    He almost spat it across the room in his ensuing coughing fit, his eyes red and watering. "Shit," he wheezed.
    "Told you," Naruto jeered, reaching for the bottle. "Now put it up."
    "No way." Shikamaru scowled at him, holding the bottle out of immediate reach. "I'll get used to it. Don't be a wuss, Uzumaki. It's not like anything bad'll happen. What's wrong with having a few drinks? I think we both need it, anyway, considering the lunatics we're both dating."
    Naruto hesitated, eyes lingering on the bottle. "...Fine," he finally relented. "But we're only having enough to make you drowsy!"
    "Yeah." Shikamaru sniffed at the bottle distastefully. "I don't think I could handle much more than that, anyway."


    Alcohol, they soon discovered, tended to lose some of its bite the more one consumed.
    Therefore, they decided in their slightly tipsy wisdom, if they drank enough of it, soon it would taste great. Less than two hours later, the bottle was nearly empty, and neither boy could see straight, much less stand on their own two feet. They lay sprawled across the bed, laughing hysterically although they couldn't remember which of them had made the joke, or even what the joke had been.
    It had had something to do with Ino, though, that much Naruto was fuzzily aware of. "She's soooo nosey," he drawled, managing to halt his rather childish giggling with some difficulty. He waved a hand in the air above his head. "I mean... Wha' fuckin' busi... business is it of... hers? Who dates who, I mean."
    "Yeahhh..." Shikamaru was still laid-back, even when intoxicated, but he tended to smile and joke more, which Naruto appreciated. He wriggled, shoving a magazine off the bed from where its spine had been digging into his shoulder blade. "I dunno. She's jus'... I dunno. She's a girl, yanno?"
    "Yah, girls are weird," Naruto agreed, and snickered for no reason. He shifted his weight, dropping his head heavily on one of Shikamaru's thighs because the other boy was hogging the pillows. "Sakura, now-- she's cool. I like Sakura."
    "You used t' have a thing for her," Shikamaru reminded him solemnly.
    "Nahhh, jus'.. jus' puppy love," Naruto slurred, picking curiously at a thread on his shirt's hem. "I mean, she's real nice an' pretty an' nice an' all that, but..."
    "You like Sasuke now," Shikamaru said suddenly, as if it had been a forgotten fact.
    "Yeah." Naruto frowned at the thread he was tugging at. "I mean.. I think I do. I did. Now he jus'... pisses me off, yanno??"
    "He's a bastard," Shikamaru muttered, shoving Naruto's head a bit more towards his knee to alleviate some of the pressure on his thigh. "I nev' liked him much. I don't know what you see in that emo brat."
    "Emo??" Naruto burst into hysterical laughter. "Hey, hey, you can't blame Sasuke for bein' all... all... Damn it. Gloomy!" Naruto twisted his head around to gaze up at his friend with what he hoped was a serious expression. "I mean, he wen' thru some bad shit when he was little. An'... that damn brother of his...." he trailed off with a scowl.
    "He doesn't hafta take it out on everyone else," Shikamaru retorted with a scowl. "'Specially you. I mean, you love the bastard, right?"
    Naruto heaved a loud sigh, throwing his arm over his eyes. "I dunno anymore," he groaned. "I dunno... Maybe not... I jus'..." He fumbled blindly for the bottle. "Where's th' sake?"
    Shikamaru lifted the bottle and squinted down the opening. "Think it's gone."
    "Damn." Naruto huffed and let his arm fall to the bed, still covering his face with his other arm. "Woooo the room goes all spinning when y' close your eyes."
    "Then open them," Shikamaru snorted, letting the bottle drop to the ground carelessly. "If you puke on me, I'll beat the shit outta you."
    "I'm not gonna puke-- an' anyway, you can't beat ME!" Naruto scoffed. "Don' be stupid."
    "Says who??" Shikamaru gave his friend an abrupt shove that sent the blonde tumbling to the ground with a squawk. "Don't be so cocky, you squinty-eyed--"
    "WHO'S A COCK??" Naruto stumbled hastily to his feet, struggling to focus on his friend.
    "COCKY!" Shikamaru corrected loudly, shoving himself into a seating position. "You moron."
    "Don' call me a--" Naruto swung a fist without bothering to finish the sentence.
    Shikamaru lurched backwards to avoid the clumsy blow and ended up slipping off the bed and hitting the ground hard. "OUCH! DAMMIT, NARUTO!!"
    Naruto came around the bed quickly, one hand on the bed to keep himself upright. "Don't call me stupid, damn it!" he snapped furiously, aiming a kick at the boy sprawled on the floor. "Lazy punk!"
    Shikamaru gave an "oof!" as the foot connected with his side, not quite hard enough to really hurt, but enough to stir his own temper. He stumbled a few times before making it to his own feet, lifting his fists. "What the hell, you looking for a fight?? Dobe!"
    "I'll beat your ass!" Naruto shot back angrily. "Don' call me dobe, you lazy-ass jerk!" He swung again. Shikamaru dodged, jabbing out his own fist, and they ended up punching each other in the face simultaneously.
    "OUCH!" Naruto stumbled back and tripped over his own feet, crashing to the ground.
    Shikamaru, hands covering his smarting nose, also fell back and slammed into the wall. He managed to keep himself standing by sheer stubborness. He glared furiously at his friend over his fingers. "Damn it, Naruto--"
    "Don' CALL me dobe," Naruto was snarling, attempting to find his feet again. "Sasuke-bastard calls me dobe-- and stupid-- and moron and useless and and--" He gave up and landed heavily on his ass again, face suddenly scrunching up in an obvious attempt to hold back years' worth of frustration and hurt. "Just shut the hell up, Shikamaru!"
    The anger and the blow to the face had helped take a bit of the drunkeness away, but seeing the reason behind his friend's anger cleared his head a bit more. Shikamaru lowered his hands from his face, staring at the boy with a sudden pang of shame. "...Sorry," he muttered, glaring half-heartedly at his feet. "I didn't really mean it. You can act like an idiot sometimes, Naruto, but... you're not stupid."
    Naruto looked up at him sharply, but when no smirk or smartass remark followed this quiet allowance, he allowed himself to cool down. He heaved a loud, aggravated sigh, averting his eyes as if embarrassed by his own reaction. "Yeah, yeah," he grumbled. "Um.." he winced slightly. "I didn't break your nose, did I?"
    Shikamaru laughed, sliding down so that he was sitting on the ground, resting his elbows on his knees. "Whatever. You can't hit worth a damn when you're drunk."
    "Neither can you," Naruto shot back, making a face.
    "Your nose is all red," Shikamaru protested.
    "Isn't." Naruto reached up automatically to cover his nose, glaring over his hand at the other boy. "Yours is."
    Shikamaru rolled his eyes, unable to keep a grin off his face. "Dork."
    "Feh." Naruto crawled over, and Shikamaru watched his approach with curiosity for a moment until Naruto reached his feet and kept coming. He jerked back so fast he cracked his head against the wall for a second time. "Ow!" he yelped, reaching up quickly to touch the back of his head with one hand while holding the other out to fend his friend off. "H-hey! What do you think you're--"
    Naruto frowned at him impatiently from where he was crouching practically between his friend's legs. "I'm seein' if it's broken," he snapped. "Cuz you're a liar. I know I hit you hard."
    "You didn't! It's not!" Shikamaru tried to scoot back, but his back was already against the wall. "Hey, you drunk retard, haven't you ever heard of personal spa--"
    Naruto reached out and pushed his hand aside, leaning forward to peer at Shikamaru's face. Shikamaru froze, waiting tensely for the other boy to finish his inspection. It was hard to focus on Naruto's face in his current state of inebriation. He was not as sober as he'd thought.
    Not good, the rational part of his mind informed him grimly from behind the haze of alcohol.
    Naruto's nose crinkled slightly. "You smell nice," he observed.
    Shikamaru yanked his hand free and shoved Naruto with a sudden burst of desperation.
    "Hey!" Naruto barely managed to keep himself from falling flat on his back. "What's your problem??"
    "No one told you to get in my face like that," Shikamaru stammered, scrambling to his feet. "Don't get that close to people unless you're looking for a fight."
    Naruto stared up at him blankly. "You're bright red," he said in disbelief.
    "I'm not!" Shikamaru said angrily, seating himself on his bed huffily and reaching for a magazine.
    Naruto rested his elbows on the bed, propping his chin on his arms as he grinned like a fox at his friend. "You're blushing!" he crowed. "What'sa matter, Shikamaru? It's just friendly concern~"
    "Shut up, monkey-idiot," Shikamaru grumbled, lifting the magazine to block Naruto from his view.
    Naruto heaved forward, throwing half his body onto the bed-- and consequently across poor Shikamaru's lap --as he snatched at the magazine, laughing loudly. "You did, you blushed! Quit being so in denial, you freak. Hahaha that's kinda gross; why's a straight guy blushing when--"
    Shikamaru twisted suddenly, and Naruto gave another squawk of indignant surprise as he was flipped neatly off of a warm lap and onto his back. Shikamaru was straddling him in the next instand, pinning Naruto's hands to the bed. "Don't lay in people's laps, noodlebrain," he exclaimed in a mixture of impatience and amusement. "You're way drunker than me."
    Naruto tried to wriggle free. "Am not! Get off me!"
    Shikamaru looked smug. "Say uncle."
    "What?? You sleepy-eyed pervert, I'm not sayin' shit!" Naruto shouted. "I can beat your ass any day! Think you're stronger than me? I'm gonna be the Hokage, dammit!"
    "Pervert??" Shikamaru gaped at him. "Who's a pervert??" He tightened his grip on Naruto's wrists and leaned more heavily against him when the boy almost slipped free again. "You--"
    Later, after he had finished beating himself up about it, Naruto would blame it on the alcohol and the situation. He'd heard that heavy drinking could make one horny. He just didn't recognize it in himself until too late.
    The position he found himself in was all-too familiar, and he responded as he normally did when pinned in such a way. He arched his body up to press it firmly against the one hovering over his own, and lifted his head to press his lips roughly to Shikamaru's.
    Shikamaru's entire body went tense as a wire in shock, and his mouth opened for-- a shout, a gasp, an insult? Naruto didn't give him the chance for any of it, shoving a tongue past slack lips to inspect a foreign mouth.
    Whether it was an instinctive reaction or something else, Naruto was never sure afterwards. But in the next moment Shikamaru was practically crushing him into the mattress with his own body, mouth moving against Naruto's in sudden desperation and lust.
    Naruto groaned into the mouth claiming his own, wriggling a bit more for leverage before jerking his hips up against his friend's. Shikamaru gasped into his open mouth even as his own hips twisted instinctively, grinding against Naruto's.
    Naruto's head was swimming with the sudden rush of lust and the alcohol. "Shit--" he panted, managing to yank one hand free and seize a fistful of dark hair. He jerked Shikamaru's face down once more, seizing his mouth in an almost savage kiss. A hand skimmed roughly down his side and latched onto the sharp jut of his hip, and a whimper rose in his throat.
    Yesyesyes, this was what he needed. It had been too long since he'd been laid-- Sasuke had been so goddamn cold lately and--
    Realization seemed to strike both boys at once. Shikamaru leapt off of his friend as if he was hot to the touch, and Naruto scrambled backwards until his shoulders hit the wall at the head of the bed.
    They crouched on opposite ends of the bed, still breathing harshly, pants still tight against obvious erections as they gaped at each other in dawning horror.
    "I'm sorry--" Naruto blurted, but Shikamaru was already getting up and heading for the bathroom door in quick strides, practically running. Naruto winced as the door slammed and locked, burying his face in his hands in humiliation. "Ohhh shitshitshitshit," he hissed.
    He sat scrunched in a ball on the bed for almost thirty minutes, mentally beating himself up and waiting for his friend to reappear, but it soon became obvious that Shikamaru had no intentions of facing him just yet. Snatching up his sandals and jacket, Naruto ran from the house without a backwards look.

Ch. 1
Ch. 2
Ch. 3
Ch. 5
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