In the Hospital
By: Chaos and Raven

Chouji had been admitted to the hospital earlier in the day for stomach cramps so ostensibly, he was visiting his teammate. That didn't explain why he was in a different ward five hours later. And had been there every day for the last three.

It was probably telling that the nurses recognized him by the end of the first day. Typically Shikamaru made a point of not being memorable.

He looked over at the bed and shook his head. That guy... The timer finished draining and he flipped it again, turning to the other side of the game board. Naruto's breathing stuttered and then evened out.

If not for his sister who worked there, Shikamaru wouldn't even have known that Naruto was in the hospital. It was certainly a pain to come every day and be stuck watching the other boy breathe. And yet... if he had found out later it would have been worse. Definitely so. Naruto murmured in his sleep.

It was sleep, the nurses assured him, and not a coma. And any moment he was sure to wake. Any moment. Shikamaru sighed and leaned back in his chair. He was about to stand up and go to the bathroom when he was alerted to movement on the bed.

"Where... Shikamaru?"

Shikamaru scowled and folded his arms over his chest. "You're in the hospital, dumbass. You've been unconscious for three days."


Naruto acted as predicted, rushing around the room and yelling his head off. Some things would never change.

"Stop being an idiot," Shikamaru commanded.

"But the exam..."

"Tomorrow. Considering how worn out you were when you got here, it was probably a good thing you slept for three days."

Naruto settled on the bed looking distinctly ill. With an unhappy sigh, Shikamaru turned to look at the patient. He couldn't believe how much he had inadvertently given away.

"Hey, are you okay?" If Naruto was upset about Shikamaru's visit... He didn't know what he'd do.


It was hard to keep the relief out of his voice when he replied. "I have this fruit basket... It was for Chouji but he can't eat such things yet."

Naruto's smile could have lit up the entire sky.

"Hey Shikamaru?"


"Let's go eat this in front of Chouji," Naruto suggested with a wicked grin.

"How about we don't?" He returned. "You should take it easy for now."

Naruto frowned. "It's boring, though. I want to go out and do things."

"I have go," Shikamaru told him, knowing Naruto would refuse.

"I'm not good at it."

"Well, stay in bed anyway."

"Shikamaru, you..." Naruto burst out laughing. "You were worried about me."

"Don't be ridiculous," he protested.

The bright blush told a different story, however.

That was not something he expected from Naruto. The boy was notoriously oblivious. Of course it figured the one time he realized something, it would cause Shikamaru problems. Typical.

"You were!" Naruto crowed triumphantly.

He launched himself at Shikamaru, flinging his arms around the other boy's neck. Unconsciously, he reached out to catch Naruto and settle him in his lap. "Shikamaru?" He mumbled, his head buried in Shikamaru's neck. "Thank you. No one else would have... I didn't expect..."

Blushing furiously, Shikamaru silenced him with an awkward kiss. "You're welcome."

Things could only get more troublesome from there but Shikamaru didn't think he'd mind too much.