C.I. Works
Troublesome Shadows

Chapter 2 .:♠:. Chapter 4

Chapter 3 - Suspicion and Questions

The next morning Nanami woke up, it had taken her a while to gather all that had happened last night. She rolled over to see Shikamaru next to her still sleeping. Nanami reached over Shikamaru for her watch on the floor with her clothes. It was one in the afternoon; she stared back at Shikamaru in amazement to see him still sleeping. 'How can he sleep so late,' she thought. She began to poke and prod him out of curiosity. He seemed to be out cold, 'hmm, guess I should change out of his clothes,' Nanami thought to herself. She hopped out of bed and began to change. Nanami was just about to zipper up her dress, "Any particular reason you wanted to poke and prod me?" Shikamaru asked annoyed.

"AHHH! How long have you been awake?!!" Nanami screamed.

"Since you poked and prodded me," Shikamaru replied.

Nanami's face was completely red; she had changed her underwear and everything.

"OWW!" Yoshino and Shikaku heard Shikamaru scream. "Oh my, I wonder what's going on up there...?" Yoshino said.

"Sounds like a fight to me," Shikaku said turning a page in a book he was reading.

"What was that for?!" Shikamaru asked angrily.

"For being a pervert!" Nanami stammered as she zipped up her dress and grabbed her things.

"Where are you going?!" Shikamaru asked still angry. He was rubbing his face from being slapped so hard.

"HOME!" Nanami replied. She then jumped out of the window and ran off. Shikamaru watched as she made her way to her house. He gave a deep sigh and returned to his bed, "Humph! What a troublesome girl...she seems so bi-polar," he said as he proceeded to go back to sleep. Just as Shikamaru lay down on his bed, his mother came up stairs into his room, "Shikamaru...? What was all that yelling I heard earlier?"

"Nothing," Shikamaru answered apathetically as his mother looked around his room, "Where's Nanami?" she asked.

"Gone," Shikamaru said.

"WHAT?! Shikamaru Nara!! How could you let her go?! She was just attacked last night, there could be more people associated with that man that attacked her last night!!!" his mother screamed at him. She stormed out of his room in anger that Shikamaru had been so careless. Shikamaru gave a deep sigh and got out of bed, "How troublesome," he muttered.

Nanami was so angry with Shikamaru, yet she felt sad to not be around him anymore and began to wish she hadn't slapped him. She soon reached her house and entered it since she had left it unlocked to go out earlier. She went to her room and plopped on her bed face down and rolled over placing her hand on her forehead. She gave a deep sigh and felt guiltier by the moment for slapping Shikamaru as hard as she did. Nanami then heard a tapping on her door. She got up and went to the door wondering whom it could be; no one ever came to visit her unless it was an appliance issue. Before she answered the door, she heard the person knock again, "Nanami...It's me, Shikamaru," he said.

Nanami quickly opened the door to see Shikamaru's face slightly red. "Look, I'm really sorry about earlier, if it makes you feel any better, I didn't look," Shikamaru said grudgingly.

"No, I'm sorry for slapping you so hard, I shouldn't have," Nanami said staring at the floor.

"It's alright, what do you say we get some lunch?" Shikamaru asked. "My treat."

"Oh, yeah, I'm starving!" Nanami replied in excitement.

The two of them walked together into town and headed to the ramen stand. As Shikamaru walked into the ramen stand first, he saw Naruto and immediately turned around dragging Nanami with him.

"Hey, Shikamaru!" Naruto said as he waved to Shikamaru still dragging Nanami.

"How troublesome," he muttered just before Naruto ran up to them. Shikamaru then let go of Nanami and she stood up and hid behind him.

"Huh? Who's that hiding behind you Shikamaru?" Naruto asked obnoxiously.

"A friend, why, what's it to you?" Shikamaru replied annoyed.

"HEY, HEY, I was only curious, you don't have to be so angry about it," Naruto yelled.

Naruto then peered behind Shikamaru to get a better look. As he did so, Nanami hid farther away from his sight. She was afraid of him because he seemed to bother Shikamaru. Naruto still tried to get a better look at Nanami as she began to hide more behind Shikamaru until they were running in circles around Shikamaru. Nanami screamed and ran astray from her circular path around Shikamaru as Naruto followed her. Shikamaru sighed, "Right..." he said as he went into the ramen stand, "I'd like two ramen to go, what kind do you want Nanami?" Shikamaru asked.

"I DON'T CARE, PICK SOMETHING!" she screamed still running from Naruto.

"Make that two pork ramen," Shikamaru adjusted to the order.

In a few minutes, the ramen was up and bagged, "here you go, thank you and come again," said a young lady as Shikamaru handed her some money to pay for the food. Shikamaru then took the bag and stood in front of Naruto as Nanami clang to him from behind. "Quit it!" Shikamaru said angrily to Naruto. He then turned to face Nanami, turned her around, and made her walk in front of him so as to watch Naruto behind him to make sure he stayed put.

"Where are we going?" Nanami asked.

"Somewhere to eat in peace. Eating with Naruto is far too troublesome, more than I like to deal with," Shikamaru replied. They approached the same field at which they met and Shikamaru sat down as well as did Nanami. They both grabbed their ramen and pulled apart their chopsticks. "Hey Shikamaru?" Nanami asked as they both slurped on ramen.

"Hmm?" he answered with a mouth full of ramen.

"Let's be good friends...forever," Nanami said.

Shikamaru slurped up some noodles, "heh, heh, sure, it's a deal." They both smiled and ate their ramen together.

While Nanami and Shikamaru proceeded to have lunch, Shikaku had reported in to see the analysis of the person that attacked Nanami the previous night. "Ah, Shikaku, you're just in time for the analysis of the intruder you killed," the hokage said.

"So what was he doing here?" Shikaku asked in a serious tone.

"Well, he was a kitsune hunter," the hokage replied.

"What would a kitsune hunter want with a little girl?" he asked.

"What was this girl's name?" he asked Shikaku.

"I believe her name was Nanami sir, but I don't know of her last name," he replied.

"There's only one Nanami in this village as a registered citizen, and she's of the Uchiha clan. So, was she wearing the Uchiha symbol, they all wear it on some spot of their clothing," the hokage asked.

"No, I can't say that she was, so, does that mean she's not a registered citizen under Konoha?" questioned Shikaku.

"Exactly. That kitsune hunter was after her for a reason, she's not human," he replied to Shikaku.

"She's only a child though," Shikaku exclaimed.

"That makes no difference, she's still a threat to the village. Kitsune take on many forms, even that of children. I'm going to inform the anbu and request that she be retrieved at once," the hokage said.

Shikamaru and Nanami had finished their lunch and Shikamaru offered to walk Nanami back home. They walked for some time since her house was practically on the other side of town. They conversed and smiled as they walked; both of them with not a care in the world it seemed. Upon reaching Nanami's house, there was something strange and suspicious in the air around her house. Neither of them thought anything of it as they said their goodbyes and both turned backs with plans of seeing each other tomorrow.

Shikamaru had only gotten roughly a mile away and heard a scream that pierced his ears. Fearing the worst since it had come from the same direction as Nanami's house, Shikamaru ran as fast as he could to see what was going on. He'd only gotten half way to Nanami's house when he saw her running and trying to fight off an anbu ninja. She'd managed to be lost from the anbu's sight for only a moment and at that same moment; Shikamaru dragged her into the bushes and covered her mouth. The anbu looked around and seeing that Nanami wasn't there, disappeared into the scenery as if he had vanished into thin air. "What's going on?!" Shikamaru exclaimed,

"Why are anbu chasing you?!"

Nanami didn't answer and stared sadly at the ground. She began to cry; tears trickled down her cheeks and as they rolled of her chin, they seeped into the dirt on the ground below.

"What's the matter?" Shikamaru asked concerned in a soft voice.

Nanami sniffled up her tears, "It's because I'm a monster."

"Huh? What do you mean by that? You're no different from any other girl in the village," Shikamaru replied.

"But I am...I'm not a human like you are," she said still sobbing.

"You don't look any different."

"Of course not, this isn't what I really look like, it's only disguise to cloak my true form."

"So, then...what are you?"

"I'm a fox demon," Nanami said sadly. "A couple of years ago, there was an attack on Konoha by a ferocious fox demon. It was my father, and he was only looking for the bounty hunter that murdered my mother and had taken me from him. Although he had managed to kill the bounty hunter, he hadn't found me. Shortly thereafter, he was sealed up by a powerful human and placed inside an infant. So, for the past few years, with no where to go, I fixed up that house and cloaked my true form; so that I would blend in and just live peacefully. I'm sorry that I didn't tell you, I would have eventually, but I didn't so as to keep you safe."

Shikamaru suddenly hugged Nanami, "I don't want you to, but you should go so that nothing bad happens to you," he said, "but promise me...that I'll see you again...because we're friends and friends don't abandon one another," he said a little choked up and squeezing Nanami tighter.

"I promise," she replied sadly with some more tears falling to the ground from her soft cheeks.

"Here, I want you to have this," Shikamaru said as he reached into his pocket. He pulled out something and placed it in Nanami's hands, "I was going to save it for a special occasion like your birthday, but I think now is as good a time as any."

In Nanami's hands was a tiny mahogany box. It had been beautifully crafted with a mold of wings and ribbons upon the top of the lid. There was also uniquely painted lines and sprits of gold drops around the mold. On the corners of the lid farthest from the hinges, dangled two tiny bells.

"It's a music box," Shikamaru said, "so that if we meet again, I'll know it's you."

"Thank you...so much," Nanami said as she hugged him tightly.

"Now you'd better go, it won't be long till the anbu realized that you're here. I'll make a distraction so that it will be easier for you to leave the village," Shikamaru said standing to his feet.

They said their goodbyes before their departure and both turned their backs to each other to do what needed to be done. Nanami had safely evaded the anbu from Konoha and Shikamaru had done his part to keep them distracted. She stared down at Konoha from a far away hill and sighed. Leaning against a tree, she opened the music box to hear it's sweet melody that filled the air around her. She closed it so that the sweet sound ceased, and she ran farther and farther away from the village as tears still trickled down her tiny face.

Chapter 4