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The last blush of sunset slipped into inky night while Neji waited for the kettle to boil, gaze drawn out into the forest as details grew soft and blurred into the blanketing dark. His hip brushed the kitchen counter and he flinched a little as he bumped at a fresh bruise, hands bracing wide either side of the sink and fingertips tracing absentminded patterns in the woodgrain. He’d almost used all of Shikamaru’s hot water and his shoulders were still tense. He stretched his back, rolled up to the balls of his feet, uselessly tried to convince his body to do something an entire tank of scalding water hadn't managed. The afternoon training session at the compound had been going so well too, he'd had near-perfect flow and the kata he was working on for Hinata had been taking shape, all of it spoiled by an interruption that had rapidly deteriorated into ugly sparring, the dirty hits he’d received only landing because the verbal barbs had cut first. 

The fight certainly hadn’t helped matters, but if he was being honest his body had been wound tight since they’d returned from Suna last week and, tempting as it might be, blaming his tension on a vitriol-laced workout wasn't going to change that.

Can we wait? Just a little longer?

Shikamaru’s face had fallen for just the briefest moment before he’d sucked his bottom lip between his teeth and nodded, recovering to gift Neji a smile he was certain he didn’t deserve just then. 

Of course. Hey, of course we can, as long as you need okay?

It wasn’t okay. It shouldn’t have been, at least, giving into his panic like that. Suna had felt like a revelation and there he was asking Shikamaru to step back into the dark with him, to hide again, to keep their relationship secret when it had felt like perhaps they’d finally moved into the light. The understanding in Shikamaru’s eyes as he’d watched him, as he’d given his hand one final squeeze before letting it go and walking through the village gates with scant distance between them that had felt like a gaping chasm, had stayed with him late into that night, both comfort and agony to his restless heart. 

How one man could make him feel like his bravery, his strength, knew no bounds and simultaneously as though he were made from things too soft and fragile to withstand the coming battle was beyond him. So often he felt like a bystander, buffeted by the chaos behind his ribs while he waited to see which part of him would stand victorious at the end of things. He wanted to be stronger, to push back and fight, to take on every member of his clan who snarled insults in the training yard and leave them shocked speechless in his wake. But standing here now in Shikamaru’s kitchen, nursing bruises and fresh memories of just what his clan thought of someone like him he couldn’t ignore the sickly fear that still gripped him, the knowledge that they could do so much worse than this if they wished. He had no idea how to face them and keep him and Shikamaru safe, time hadn’t brought clarity like he’d hoped, just a crystallizing sense of powerlessness.

One couldn’t be brave without also feeling fear though, so perhaps this was the way it needed to be. Terrified of the odds of survival, of the unknown, and leaping into it anyway. 

Sometimes he wondered how he seemed to Shikamaru, to a man who had come out to his clan as a teenager, steel-spined and full of fire. Afraid, surely, but facing it head-on. He’d not been close to Shikamaru then but the rumour mill had circulated enough detail for him to understand that Shikamaru had fiercely held his line. That it had very nearly cost him his family.

Neji had felt fear for him when he’d heard, but more than that he’d felt in awe. Tenten had called it admirable and he’d agreed entirely. He’d thought that about her too, even when she’d insisted it wasn’t the same - I’m not in line to inherit clan leadership, I can be as blatantly queer as I want and it’s never gonna be the same kind of gamble - he didn’t think the strength it required to open yourself up like that could be diminished, particularly at that age, much as she preferred to downplay it. 

He had never been closeted but he'd also never said the words to anyone other than Tenten and Lee. Had never just laid I’m gay out on the table for everyone to see. His other friends had seemed to acknowledge it through nothing more than casual observation without any actual need for verbal confirmation or explanations, in much the same way that he understood their attractions without requiring labels, and it had simply never felt like something he needed to explicitly bring up. Why state the obvious? His clan, well, he’d been somewhat afraid of the repercussions if he were to be that blunt, yes, but more than that it had felt like a too-personal conversation to have with people who barely spoke to him on a good day. It had never been their business and regardless he was certain it would have been dismissed outright, autonomy had never exactly been an esteemed quality amongst his clan. 

He can’t help but think perhaps he should have said it anyway, made them acknowledge him, somehow. Their whispered remarks had become louder over the years, his lack of response clearly all the confirmation they needed. He’d realised too late that his silence had also been misinterpreted as shame and that they thought it would make a good weapon. Perhaps in some ways they were right. Not about the shame, never about that, but when insults falling from the lips of people who might as well be strangers were enough to break through his considerable defences perhaps he needed to acknowledge that the blades they’d sharpened were effective. Maybe if he’d been louder in his youth their attacks would now be about something else, something that didn’t make his lungs seize, maybe the news that he was in a serious relationship with someone would now be less problematic. 

Maybe not. 

The wailing kettle pulled his thoughts back to the present, the feeling of Shikamaru stepping up behind him and wrapping hands around his waist as he poured water into the teapot calling a smile to his lips. Shikamaru’s mouth found his bare shoulder where the silk robe had slipped loose, pressed a line of kisses over his shower-warm skin until a wholly different heat was simmering in his blood. 

‘Mmm, never get sick of seeing you in my clothes.’

He wasn’t sure that the robe, barely sashed at his waist and slowly working lower down his shoulder under Shikamaru’s attention, counted as clothing but the possessive gravel in Shikamaru’s voice spoke volumes about how little that distinction mattered. The strong hands flexing down to grip the jut of Neji’s hips and the open-mouthed kisses trailing up the curve of his neck were exactly the kind of encouragement that drove him to Shikamaru’s wardrobe on a regular basis. Shikamaru swayed closer to anchor their bodies from shoulder to hip, his bare chest pressed tight to Neji’s back, the silk between them sliding luxuriously with every shift. He hummed somewhere deep in his chest and it came out closer to a moan, Shikamaru’s hands tightening for a moment and then sliding around to band over his stomach, kisses feathering across his neck.

‘How are you feeling after the hot shower? Still sore?’

‘It helped a little. There are bruises already coming up though, he timed a few hits well.’

Shikamaru sighed against his hair, squeezed his arms tighter.

‘Your clan is full of assholes.’

He hummed in agreement and rested one hand over Shikamaru’s arms, stroked along the warm expanse of golden skin.

‘You know, I’ve never actually told them I’m gay, not in so many words. Sometimes I feel like I missed a step somewhere along the way. Not that it has ever stopped a select few from expressing their thoughts about it.’

Those lips were back to kissing along his shoulder.

‘You don’t owe them anything, you know that right? You don’t need to come out to them if you don’t want to, in precise terms or otherwise, ever, if that’s what works for you. You’re allowed to just be gay and date people and go about your life without sitting them down for a convo about it.’

He felt himself relax into Shikamaru’s hold, a little more of the tension in his shoulders loosening under the conviction in Shikamaru’s voice. He was right of course, and hearing an approximation of his own thoughts on the matter said aloud by another person settled the unease in the back of his mind.

‘You don’t need anyone to validate it before it’s allowed to be, doesn’t make you any less for not like, presenting it to them for their inspection. None of it gets to be directed by anyone else, it’s your queerness yeah? It’s your truth. Fuck people who say you gotta do things in a specific way. Make a fuss, don’t make a fuss, whatever feels right. As long as you’re being honest to yourself, honest to your partners, that’s all that actually matters, you know?’ 

He wondered if this same reasoning was at least partially why Shikamaru was taking Neji’s request for the extended secrecy in stride. He turned in Shikamaru’s arms, brought his own up to loop around his neck.

‘Not everyone thinks like you.’

‘Yeah but that’s cause a lot of people are fucking stupid.’

He kissed the smirk off Shikamaru’s lips, chased him for more until they were both a little breathless. 

‘So I lit a fairly unnecessary fire while you were in the shower but it’s awesome, come sit in front of it with me and let me read to you. I was three hours into a poetry binge when you arrived and I’m almost overflowing with it.’

Shikamaru was untangling himself and reaching for the teapot, stilling when Neji dropped a hand to his forearm, a question forming in dark eyes as they took in the serious turn of his expression. 

'I need to tell you I'm sorry. For asking you to wait, for still asking, even after Suna.'

'Neji...'

Shikamaru’s mouth thinned, brow furrowed, but he had to get the anxiety off his chest. 

'Let me finish, I need to say it. I know it's frustrating to be in hiding, I know you feel it, perhaps even more keenly than I do. It's harder than I thought it would be, honestly, and I feel guilty for bringing such a burden with me and asking you to shoulder it too. I am starting to think there may not be a way through that will protect us both, and I need some time with that before I can accept my inability to control the situation. I'm sorry to still be asking so much.'

Shikamaru took a slow breath and he found himself mirroring him, watching as Shikamaru let his words settle.

'Okay. May I?'

He nodded and Shikamaru took his hands in his own. 

'Look, I understand why you feel like that, like it's a burden, I do. And sure, of course it's maddening to not be able to relax out there with you, but we've been stuck with the reality of that freedom coming at a price and it’s not even remotely your fault. I appreciate the desire to apologise, but I gotta get you to understand that my feelings about the situation are directed entirely at your terrible clan. I love you and will wait as long as it takes, will give you as much time as you need, and that won't ever be a burden.'

Shikamaru squeezed his hands before letting go to cup his jaw, dropping a quick, soft kiss to his mouth and pulling back to meet his gaze.

'Yeah?'

He smiled and was nodding before he consciously thought about it, the mass of tension in his shoulders finally bleeding out as Shikamaru’s words burrowed into his chest, a warm weight that left no doubt in his mind that the man standing in front of him was the only idea of destiny he was interested in entertaining. 

‘Poetry, hmm?’

Shikamaru’s laugh washed over him like sunlight and ocean air and he couldn’t help the urge to tug him close and steal another kiss around the sound. 

‘Yeah, come on.’

He didn’t stop him this time as he gathered up the teapot and swept them out of the kitchen, watched with an undoubtedly soft gaze as Shikamaru settled down into a nest of pillows and books spread in front of the crackling fire and glanced up to meet his eyes with a lip between his teeth. Sometimes he was struck by the memory that there had been a time when he hadn’t put much stock in the notion of love. What a ridiculous, unimaginable thought that was now. 

Shikamaru’s hand reached out for him and he reached back, folded himself to his knees and reclined until he was almost laying down, propped up by pillows and taking an offered cup of chrysanthemum tea. He let himself drift as Shikamaru read to him, the sweet strains of his words gentle and passionate by turns, heavy pauses and song-like tumblings of wild emotion a surging tide that he gladly gave himself over to. He could listen to Shikamaru’s smoky voice spin him stories forever, a meditation guided by the only man who had ever shone a light into his heart and decided to build a home there. 

A longer stretch of quiet wrapped around him, the popping of the fire breaking through his haze as he realised his eyes had closed at some point and he’d sunk fully into the pillows. His eyes fluttered open at the gentle touch of Shikamaru’s fingers brushing through his hair, met the heavy gaze of eyes turned whisky-gold in the firelight.

‘There’s something about it, hey? Like they’ve spilled their hearts out onto paper and asked us to bear witness and all we can do is let go, fall into all that rawness knowing that some of it will sink inside us too. Maybe we need it to, all those brave thoughts and beautiful words asking us to listen, to connect. Maybe we need the lifeline.’

Shikamaru crawled closer, leant over him to brush a kiss over the hinge of his jaw.

‘It’s powerful, opening yourself up to be seen like that.’

It was. He couldn’t imagine granting strangers front row seats to his mind, his heart. He wondered if Shikamaru had ever had the urge to put the poetic words he was absolutely certain the man had tucked away in notebooks out into the wild. Oh how the world would be reeling in shock to discover that the Shikamaru they had painted as lazy and disconnected was, in reality, nothing like that at all. 

‘Mmm, it is. I’ve loved this, read to me anytime the urge takes you.’

The next kiss found his mouth and he slowly tugged Shikamaru into the space he made between his legs. 

‘Perhaps one day you might show me your own work?’

Startled laughter huffed over his cheek and Shikamaru flashed him a smirk and a raised eyebrow.

‘What makes you....yeah, yeah okay, I guess that’s not much of a leap of the imagination. One day.’ 

He buried a hand in the back of Shikamaru’s hair and angled him back in to seal their mouths again, let the sweetness build, the hypnotic rise and fall of Shikamaru’s chest against his setting a pace that grew heated as their tongues met and teased, as their hips slowly rocked together. Pleasure sent shivers over his skin as he began growing hard, responding shamelessly to the weight of Shikamaru’s body pressing him down into the pillows and the heavy line of his stirring cock through thin layers of fabric. He squeezed a hand between them and tugged at the waistband of Shikamaru’s pants, hummed in satisfaction as the hint was taken quickly and Shikamaru shimmied out of them before sinking back against him, brushing the silk of Neji’s robe aside as he did so. The skin contact made his head spin, the heat of the fire and the burn under his skin an echo of one another that stoked the desire sparking bright in his core. He moaned and arched into the next kiss, Shikamaru’s body moving with him even as he broke the kiss to gaze down at him. The look he fixed him with was utterly awestruck and he wondered if his own face held a matching expression.

'Gods you're beautiful.'

His eyes dropped away almost instantly, long-standing habit of dismissing compliments brushing up against something tight under his skin that flared hot whenever Shikamaru spoke like that.

'...hey, don't turn away.'

Whisper-soft knuckles against his cheek coaxed his gaze back, the gentle pleading too much to resist.

'Why do you do that? Hide from me like that?'

Kami. Where did he even start? Months of Shikamaru's devotion and he was still as wondrously overwhelmed by it as the first time he realised the depth of those feelings. The depth of his own. 

'I know I'm not the first one to say it.'

And yet it was like an entirely new language to his ears.

'It sounds different when it comes from you. It sounds like something more.'

A thumb travelled over his jaw, fingertips brushing hair behind his ear, sienna eyes hooded but watching him closely.

'Mmm good, I want it to sound different, want you to hear all the things I mean when I call you that.'

Part of him hoped he’d never get used to it, that it would always feel like the air had been knocked from his lungs and the axis of the earth had shifted, like Shikamaru was drawing aside a curtain into a whole other reality. The fire popped and crackled behind them, amber light dancing with the heavy night-shadows that blanketed the room, his senses sparking with something anticipatory building in the air. He felt the moment Shikamaru began to focus his chakra, a subtle shift in energies like the gentle lapping of waves and then the shadows took on a different rhythm, the tempo of their dance shifting as they answered the call of their master. Strong hands stroked at his jaw, throat, settled at his chest, fingertips tracing tripping patterns back and forth over his collarbone and he rested his own wandering hands at Shikamaru’s waist and held on.

'Because I mean so much when I say it. That you're gorgeous, of course, yeah? In a million ways that make me crazy, that make me feel godsdamned insatiable.’

He shivered at the heavy honey lacing the rasp of Shikamaru’s voice, at the tender touch of his hands that felt as though he were being tuned like an instrument.

‘Beautiful like I wanna cut myself on the sharpness of your cheekbones, get high on the softness of your mouth. Beautiful like I've seen colours in your eyes that I didn't realise existed…’

Fingertips skipped up to graze over his cheekbone, gaze catching his and holding, almost too much to bear.

‘...I could lose myself there, you know? Cloud-gazing into a sky unlike any I've ever seen before…’

Breath trembled from his lips, his heart pounding hard in his chest as Shikamaru’s fingertips continued to map the journey of his words.

‘Beautiful like the dip of your throat makes me want to put my mouth on you, feel you swallow heavy under my lips, feel you pull in breath as I make you shiver.’

Gooseflesh prickled in waves along his body, a call-response that made him moan, made Shikamaru’s hips roll against his in answer. He could feel the shadows move with them, sync with them, air growing heavy around them as Shikamaru strengthened his control on his jutsu.

‘First time I saw you naked I was struck fucking speechless. Spread out bare and wanting under the afternoon sun, all that power, muscles carving your chest, your stomach, those long legs that I wanted wrapping around me, the delicate turn of your wrists, fingers that I wanted digging bruises into me. I was so gone on you, on the way you trusted me.'

Shikamaru leant in to drop a lingering kiss to his chest, over his heart, hands bracketing his ribs. A slow breath. In. Out. The rise and fall of Shikamaru's lungs pressing their bodies close, the flow of chakra beckoning like the tide, and then there was feather-soft stroking of shadow-hands along his arms and Shikamaru's voice shifted, cadence turning melodic as he whispered words against Neji's throat. 

'A long time I have loved the sunned mother-of-pearl of your body.

I go so far as to think that you own the universe.'

Teeth grazing, a kiss lingering at his pulse point, his own hands tightening where they had remained anchored at Shikamaru’s waist.

'I will bring you happy flowers from the mountains, 

bluebells, dark hazels, 

and rustic baskets of kisses.'

Mouth shaping a smile against his neck, the bridge of his nose brushing along Neji's ear, teeth snagging at the lobe and tugging. 

'I want to do with you what spring does with the cherry trees.'

A shiver passed through him, full bodied, the words sinking hot beneath his breastbone, familiar in a way he couldn’t quite place. He moaned into it and Shikamaru rocked their hips together in a dirty sway, tone slipping into something more playful as they both sought the friction.

'Mmm, and I think I've made my feelings about your perfect cock abundantly clear.'

Another rockslide tremor ran through him and he arched up into the grind of their bodies, felt another pair of shadow-hands circle his ankles, wind up his calves, the sound that shook loose from him pulling a moan from Shikamaru's lips in response. 

'I could spend forever like this, you know? Worshipping you. In this body, in the one that time will shape and change if you’ll let me stay to see it. Yeah, you're beautiful, but as much as I want, it isn't your body that holds me captivated.'

Hips shifted a little, Shikamaru's fingers digging into his thigh to spread him further, lining them up closer until the burning length of him was dragging slick against Neji's own aching cock, Shikamaru’s moan echoing his. 

'Even though, fuck, the way you look when you come is probably the kind of ecstasy not meant for mere mortals to witness…'

There was laughter somewhere in there, he could feel the edges of it, but Shikamaru's voice was too rough, too ruined to sound anything other than overcome and a little desperate. Neji felt like he was coming apart at the seams, speechless in the face of Shikamaru working open the threads, loosening something in him to let the light in. 

'I hope when you hear me say it what you hear most is the way I love all the parts of you that can't be seen. Your gentle heart. Your deep, fierce strength, your passion, intelligence, kindness.'

Every pause held a kiss to his throat, his jaw, the corner of his mouth. It was too much, and he didn’t want Shikamaru to stop. The creep of the shadow-hands began to climb higher, wrapping like vines around his thighs, tugging him as Shikamaru gave one last roll of his hips before moving away and coaxing Neji over onto his stomach, stripping him of the robe as he went. The shadows continued their trail, a silky tease of pressure and electricity over his hip bones, circling his waist, embracing him as thoroughly as their master was pressing in against his back, blanketing him, sweeping his hair aside to mouth hot at the nape of his neck.

‘I love you. All of you. I want you to hear it. Want you to understand.’

His mind was spinning and he wanted to beg for more, wanted to see what Shikamaru saw. He shivered as Shikamaru trailed kisses over his neck, moaned as he sucked a bruise into his blind spot. The shadows tugged his thighs open, made room for Shikamaru to settle between them, the sensation of his body being at the tender mercy of Shikamaru’s jutsu like a drug setting his nerve endings alight. He rolled his shoulders into it, arched to feel every inch of skin on skin, let sounds spill long and deep from his throat as shadows spread him wider, Shikamaru grinding his cock against the cleft of his ass.   

‘Shikamaru…’

He felt like he hadn’t spoken in hours, time twisting into something he couldn’t grasp, his voice so gravelled it scraped his throat as it left him. Strong hands sought his and squeezed, Shikamaru’s weight keeping him pressed heavy against the floor, shadow-hands kneading at the muscle of his thighs where they held him open, twisting in bands over his stomach, his chest, teasing at his nipples, Shikamaru’s chakra warm against his skin as he reached for it with his own senses. He drew in a shaking breath, relaxed into Shikamaru’s hold.

‘That’s it.’

One more squeeze of calloused fingers and then Shikamaru ran his hands up Neji’s arms, massaged over his shoulders, began slowly mouthing a burning trail down his back while he shifted, tongue tracing over the notches of his spine as hands settled at his hips. Shadows tangled around his biceps and he clutched at a pillow, let his brow rest against his hands, panting breath heating the close space beneath him as Shikamaru’s fingers dragged over his tailbone, slowly, slowly down, over his entrance, thumb lingering there, stroking circles, making his breath come harder. Another kiss to the base of his spine, then Shikamaru’s mouth was following the same path his fingers had just travelled and before Neji’s brain could fully process what was happening that hot tongue was replacing fingers and he was biting off a startled gasp into his clenched fists. 

No one had ever. He hadn’t. Gods. 

Shikamaru ran a hand over his ass, a soothing gesture, waiting, giving him a moment to adjust before licking another swipe over him, another, circling his rim slow and steady. Neji pressed his brow harder into the knot of his hands, tried to will his body to relax where he’d gone tense, the steady pressure of Shikamaru’s tongue perhaps the most wildly erotic thing he’d ever experienced. His face flushed hot, desire and surprise rushing through him in waves as Shikamaru ran his tongue over him, the intimacy of it shockingly good. A tremor shook hard through him and Shikamaru shifted his mouth away, hesitating, and Neji sobbed at the loss. He needed words but they’d utterly abandoned him. Through the static clouding his brain he pushed his body to move, to spread his thighs a little wider, to rock back against the hand still cupping his ass. He could only imagine the sight he made, wanton and needy, chasing everything Shikamaru was willing to give him.

That hand squeezed once and he felt Shikamaru humming as he leant back in, his hot mouth settling back where Neji wanted it. He let himself moan now, shaped a yes with his ruined voice as Shikamaru licked at him, pressed his tongue inside him, shallow and then deep, deeper, fingers dragging sweet pressure over his perineum, tracing along the slick edge of his rim. 

The tease was incredible, fingertips stroking without pattern and dipping inside him to join that wicked tongue, one finger, two, spreading him, working him open as the relentless attention from Shikamaru’s mouth overloaded his brain. He distantly registered that he couldn't seem to stop moaning, that the shadow-hands were drawing him up to his knees, his focus so zeroed in on the pleasure Shikamaru was wringing from him that he was losing track of everything else. His gut felt tight, burning heat building beneath the base of his spine and then Shikamaru wrapped a hand around his cock where it hung heavy and leaking and the noise that tore from his throat was so wrecked it startled him, made him jump a little. Shikamaru shifted behind him, turned to bite at the curve of his ass, breath shaky as he exhaled over the wet mark. 

'You wanna come like this?'

It was barely even a question, really. He didn't think he'd ever wanted anything more in his life. 

'Please, gods, Shikamaru please.'

Shikamaru’s growl as he leant in and plunged his tongue back inside him sent a tremor shaking up his spine and he groaned into his fisted hands. His throat felt raw from the spill of desperate noises and he tried to take stock of the rest of his body, the heat flushing his chest and bare knees dragging on the rug, the stretch in his hips from being held wide, Shikamaru’s jutsu all over him. It all just made him moan louder, made him want with a ferocity that had him sinking his teeth into his knuckles around the drawn-out sounds he couldn’t hold back.

He was so close to the edge, a hundred points of stimulation blurring into a maelstrom, Shikamaru’s perfect mouth wet and burning and driving him higher and higher, slick tongue taking him apart. The hand wrapped loosely around his cock was overkill, fingers toying casually with the dripping head almost undoing him, so when Shikamaru’s focus suddenly seemed to turn sharp and that hand gripped him and began stroking fast, tongue and fingers plunging deep and staying there, working him tight, he barely held on for more than a moment before he was shouting Shikamaru’s name and coming hard, Shikamaru keeping up the attention until the aftershocks passed. He sobbed a little when Shikamaru moved back from him, uncertain as to whether he was overstimulated or if he wanted to ask for more.

'Fuck, been wanting to do that to you for a while.'

Shikamaru eased him down to the floor and slowly unwound his jutsu, let his hold on the shadows dissipate until they blended back into the edges of the room, crawled away to retrieve a bottle of oil from between the couch cushions that Neji would remember to tease him about later when his brain wasn't soaked in endorphins and his body entirely boneless. He hummed as Shikamaru returned to blanket him and drop open-mouthed kisses to his shoulder, his neck, the corner of his jaw.

'Wanna fuck you so bad. Can I?'

A night for unnecessary questions. 

'I think I need you there almost as much as you want it.'

'Gods, I doubt that, I'm about to lose my mind…'

Shikamaru shifted back with a soft huff of laughter and Neji could feel it then, the shaking in Shikamaru’s hands as he tugged him up to his knees again. His cock stirred with valiant interest at the show of desperation and he went without much pause, raised himself up on his hands now too and threw a smirk over his shoulder, meeting Shikamaru’s hungry gaze for a long moment before letting his head hang between his arms and listening to the sound of Shikamaru uncapping the bottle.

'...look at you, so beautiful, so ready for me. Fuck, Neji, you felt so good around my tongue, whole time I kept thinking about how good you'd feel around my cock…'

Slick fingers rubbed over him, thrust inside him, a generous spill of oil adding to the mess of saliva and kami Shikamaru was always an effort to take but right then he felt so thoroughly relaxed and ready it might be something close to easy. He almost took the thought back as Shikamaru lined his thick cock up and began to press inside him. Almost.

He moaned through the still considerable stretch, Shikamaru echoing him in a long, shaking stream until he bottomed out, fingers gripping bruise-tight at his hips and catching sharply at the marks left behind earlier in the day. Shikamaru gave him a minute to adjust, held there with twitching hips that rocked him impossibility deeper, powerful thighs pressed tight against the back of his own and shivers running through all that muscle. There was an itch building under his skin, an ache in his teeth and something in the deeper parts of his mind was growling. The urge to feel Shikamaru really let go, to feel all that strength, was becoming overwhelming. He rarely asked for roughness here, the urge towards being on the receiving end of that more Shikamaru’s taste than his own, but his whole body felt electrified and he wanted Shikamaru to bend it to his will. He arched back, rocked against Shikamaru’s body, sought the spike of too much amongst the pleasure and groaned.

'Take me hard, Shikamaru, make me feel you.'

Shikamaru's hips snapped forward, hands flexing over his hips. 

'Yeah? Might not last long if I'm rough with you, too strung out already.'

‘I don’t care, just…’

He reached back to cover Shikamaru’s hand with his own and squeezed, wanted fingerprints there for days, and it was like flipping a switch. Shikamaru withdrew almost entirely and slammed back inside him, the sound of their hips connecting drowned out by the cry that escaped his lips, his hand dropping back down to brace against the floor. Shikamaru held tight to him and set a punishing pace, pulling Neji’s hips back to meet every brutal thrust and sending his knees skidding on the rug, the soft pile turning coarse against him as his skin began to burn with the friction. Shikamaru was breathing hard behind him, the wrecked sound of his heavy breaths broken through with groans and cursing every time the angle changed and Neji let it wash over him, let the feeling of Shikamaru’s desperation for him take him out to sea.

Shikamaru shifted behind him and he could feel the adjustment as he moved to plant one foot on the floor, found leverage that suddenly made his thrusts that much more powerful, that much deeper, and Neji was screaming as he hit his prostate with devastating accuracy. Stars sparked across his vision and Shikamaru didn’t let up for what felt like minutes, Neji’s cock achingly hard again and dripping where it hung painfully untouched between his legs. When the angle shifted the intensity from his prostate it was only to allow Shikamaru to lean forward and fist a hand in his hair and pull, Neji’s back bowing with it, the sharpness sending another cry tearing from his throat. 

‘Fuck, Neji…’

The rhythm in Shikamaru’s movements was growing choppy and he yanked Neji back by his hair a little more, leant in to drop a messy kiss to his jaw and Neji turned to meet him, twisted to hook one hand up over his shoulder to grab at Shikamaru’s hair and bite a kiss against his mouth, licking at his tongue when it swept over his lips, the angle too awkward to maintain but both of them fighting to keep the contact as long as possible. When Shikamaru finally had to break the kiss it was with a growl and a sharp snap of his hips.

‘Wanna feel you come on my cock.’

The inferno in his core was so close to tipping him over, the ruined sound of Shikamaru’s voice hurtling him towards the edge, blood roaring in his ears. Shikamaru released his hair only to dig twin grips into his waist and slam deep inside him, merciless, again and again and again until his vision blurred, throat ragged from his cries and his body locking up tight as he came untouched, Shikamaru moaning and following him over a frenzied heartbeat later, burying his cock to the hilt and spilling burning hot inside him. 

The room was spinning when he opened his eyes, the sensation of Shikamaru gently rocking his slowly softening cock inside him, release trickling down his thighs, was the headiest kind of overstimulation and he whined in the back of his throat. The grip at his waist had eased and those strong hands stroked soothingly over his hips, his lower back, and Neji took a measured breath, sought calm as the wildness bled from his muscles. Shikamaru must have felt the moment he returned to solid ground, withdrawing from his body and guiding them both to the floor almost at the exact moment his breathing evened out, dragging pillows closer and coaxing Neji onto his back before tucking himself in close and pressing their brows together.

‘That was incredible.’

He hummed his agreement and found Shikamaru’s hand, entwined their fingers with the last of his energy. His body ached, it was perfect. Shikamaru dropped the soft sigh of a kiss to his mouth.

‘You are incredible.’

He could feel a blush heat his cheeks at the praise and it was completely ridiculous that Shikamaru’s adoration made him flush in the face of everything else they did together but he couldn’t bring himself to mind the illogical reaction, not when it brought a smile to Shikamaru’s lips like the one that passed over him then. 

‘Beautiful.’

Kami.

The sigh that shivered free was lost in the kiss that Shikamaru pressed in to claim and Neji melted into it, the embers in his core catching impossibly on the feedback loop of desire that never seemed to release the two of them. The kiss stayed sweet, gentle despite the soft noises they both let slip free that spoke of the hunger that never dulled no matter how much they fed it. When they parted it was only for Shikamaru to turn Neji in his arms, to tug him back against his chest and that was perfect too, the embrace of strong arms and the steady heartbeat pressed against his back inviting a particular kind of calmness that he only ever seemed to find wrapped up in this man. He knew they’d get up soon, use whatever water had managed to heat again to clean up and then make some dinner, but for now this was all he needed, to drift on the verge of sleep, body warm and head full of poetry and Shikamaru holding him like this was all that he needed too.