Shikamaru’s pained huff brought Yoshino’s mind back to present time and place. Her mind had gone horribly off track and, by getting lost in her memories, she had applied too much pressure to a large, harsh bruise on her son’s face. She mentally reprimanded herself, immediately retracting her hands from the young man’s face and dunking her too-dry cloth back into the ice cold bucket of water by her side.
“It isn’t often I find you going out and getting into a fight, Shikamaru.” Yoshino said, shooting her son a pointed look. Her grunted and subconsciously shrunk under her gaze. The woman sighed and brought the cloth back up to his face to wipe of what remained of the dirt, grime, and blood. “In fact, I’ve never seen you get into any fight. You’ve always avoided them. They were always 'too troublesome' for you."
Shikamaru scowled and looked at the ground. Yoshino sighed and hung the cloth on the side of her bucket. She continued to question her son as she reached a hand to her right and grabbed a soft, clean towel.
"What happened?" She asked, unfolding the towel carefully. "Did somebody insult Chouji-kun?" Yoshino gently patted Shikamaru's face dry, avoiding pressing too hard on his bruises and cuts.
Shikamaru averted his gaze. "No, Kaa-san. Chouji is fine." He said in his usual bored voice. Yoshino frowned.
"Did something happen to Ino-chan, then?" She asked, pulling her hands back and setting the towel aside.
"That troublesome woman is fine." He grumbled, slouching forward and leaning over his knees.
Yoshino resisted huffing in annoyance. Her son was injured; she couldn't just go hitting him in the head and demanding he tell her what happened. However, there were several things that could possibly have happened. The very few she had managed to narrow down as the most likely were being eliminated.
"Did Tsunade-sama assign you to catch Tora again to-" Yoshino gave her son a look as she quoted back to him his own words. "-‘appease her sadistic mind'?"
Shikamaru rolled his eyes. "No. Kiba is doing it this time."
Yoshino's lips twitched in amusement before setting back into a line. "Then what happened?"
"..." The Nara heir was silent.
Yoshino sighed and stood to retrieve the first aid kit from its basket in the pantry. The silence continued, only being interrupted by the Nara woman's soft footsteps and the rough sound of the basket being slid off the shelf. It was agonizing and her patience was waning, curiosity beginning to churn wildly within her.
"...did you get in a bar fight?" She asked, breaking the silence. Shikamaru looked up at her with a deep frown and a disbelieving look.
"I'm not Tou-san, Kaa-san." He said irritably.
"Did Ino-chan finally decide hitting you on the top of the head will only make you lazier?"
"Ino is too mentally preoccupied to think about that."
"Did Tsunade-sama get drunk again and throw a bottle of sake at your face?"
"Even while intoxicated, Tsunade-sama loves her liquor too much to use it as a weapon if unnecessary."
"Very true...did Tsunade-sama throw an empty sake bottle at your face?"
"Mendokuse. No, she didn't."
"Did Naruto-kun attempt to practice a new jutsu in public - again?"
"Naruto is in the hospital with a broken arm."
"Did you make the unhealthy decision of becoming a masochistic and met with Anko?"
"That's not a masochistic decision, Kaa-san. That's a death wish."
"Another truth. Very well, did you walk into the critical condition area of Konoha's asylum?"
"I interact with other shinobi on a daily basis, Kaa-chan."
"Than what the hell happened to you?" Yoshino screeched, slamming the bottle of disinfectant on the table. Shikamaru shoved aside the urge to wince and instead threw his head back to look at the ceiling.
"Mendokuse..." He muttered.
Yoshino's hands went straight to her hair and she tugged on the locks in frustration. "AGH!"
At that moment, the sound of the front door opening and closing echoed through the house. This caused Yoshino to stop her attempt at pulling all of her hair out as she yelled, "SHIKAKU!"
There was a thud, signifying that her husband had discarded his shoes carelessly by the front door - she made a mental note to yell at him about it later - and then the lazy shuffling of his heavy footsteps. The Nara head yawned as he dragged himself through the door and into the kitchen and dining area.
"Mendokuse. What's wrong now, you troublesome woman?" Shikaku drawled, retrieving a bottle from a cabinet above the stove and a glass. Yoshino ground her teeth together and stopped herself from throwing something at him.
"Shikamaru went and got himself in a fight and he won't tell me what happened!" Yoshino exclaimed, throwing her arms into the air and glaring at the man.
Shikaku looked over at his lazy son, face bruised and cut, and huffed. "Why didn't you just tell her, boy? Saves us both some trouble." He removed the cork and poured himself a glass of what was undeniably something alcoholic.
"It's too troublesome." Shikamaru replied easily. Shikaku nodded at the boy and took a sip of his drink.
"Alright." He said. Yoshino turned to face him in an instant.
"Alright?! Alright?! What do you mean 'alright'?!" She yelled, slamming her palm on the table. She eyed the kunai that was lying haphazardly on the kitchen counter and she considered that maybe throwing something wasn't all that bad of an idea.
Shikaku shrugged indifferently and took another drink. "You heard the gaki. It's too troublesome."
Yoshino screamed in outrage. "I don't care how troublesome it is! You'll tell me! I'm just being a concerned mother!"
Shikamaru looked at his father with what one would call a "pleading" expression. However, Shikamaru does not plead, and therefore his look was categorized as one of politely asking for help.
"What? You heard your mother. Just tell her whatever it is and this whole troublesome thing will go away." Shikaku told his son waving a hand through the air as if doing something as simple as that was too much effort. "Did Sakura decide to use you as a punching bag? Were you attacked by an enemy shinobi? Did Tsunade-sama throw an empty bottle at you-"
(Shikamaru groaned and shook his head with only an utter of, "Troublesome.")
"-? Was it a training accident? The answer shouldn't be too hard, son." Shikaku finished.
"It was a training accident." Shikamaru drawled reluctantly, realizing that if he didn't say anything he'd just get into more trouble.
Yoshino stopped pacing and looked at her son. "Who were you training with? I didn't you were training with Chouji-kun and Ino-chan until Friday."
"I'm not." Shikamaru replied. He leaned back in his chair with a sigh. "Temari is in town again. She just wanted a spar, that's all."
"That doesn't look like she 'just wanted a spar', son." Shikaku said, eyeing Shikamaru. "It looks she wanted to beat you up." He shrugged and took another drink. "Did a mighty fine job of it, from what I can tell."
A redness began to spread across Shikamaru's cheeks and the young man coughed, staring off to the right. Shikaku raised an eyebrow at his son's reaction.
"She was angry and needed someone to take it out on." Shikamaru explained.
"That doesn't sound like the sort of the thing Temari-chan would do, though." Yoshino said, eyebrows knit together as she thought. "Temari-chan has always struck me as the kind of person who wasn't too easily enraged. And if she ever took it out on anybody it would be the person who pushed her buttons in the first place." A thought suddenly struck the woman and she blinked.
"...troublesome..." Shikamaru muttered.
"I didn't think you were a masochist, son." Shikaku said, smiling lopsidedly. There was a twinkle in his eyes that Shikamaru had never had much of a liking for.
The blush his face had begun to take on strengthened. The tips of his ears felt incredibly hot and he just wanted to get the hell out of there. I should have just gone to the hospital. Shikamaru thought exasperatedly.
"Did you provoke Temari-chan, Shikamaru?" Yoshino asked, looking at her son with a small smile. The pineapple-headed boy's embarrassed 'Mendokuse' was all the conformation she needed.
"Tell me, boy - is she cute when she's angry?" Shikaku asked with a smirk. His son's face became a delightful tomato red.
Yoshino was silent for only a moment before the squeal erupted from her throat. Shikaku threw his head back and laughed before the realization hit him full force and stopped. He blinked and leaned back in his chair.
"My God…he actually likes a girl." He blinked again and looked at his empty glass. "I need another drink."
Yoshino was too busy smiling and talking to Shikaku at a rapid pace. Shikamaru scowled and stood up.
"Ugh. So troublesome." He said to himself before leaving the house and going to the hospital like he should have in the first place.
On his way, he wondered if perhaps he would see Temari again tomorrow. The blonde Sunan kunoichi was quite the beauty when angered and he began to think of ways he could go about enraging her the next time.
It took the Nara genius several long moments to suddenly stop in the middle of the road and realize his father was right; he had turned into a masochist.
(But it was an enjoyable kind of self-harm so he supposed it was okay.)