The Library

Written in response to a meme on LiveJournal. This was in response to Jamjar's request.


"Well, well. Didn't expect to find you here."

Naruto looks up from where he's kneeling, looking through the lowest shelf of the bookcase. Shikamaru is standing there, hands in his pockets, watching him with one eyebrow arched in that half-sarcastic, half-uncaring way of his.

"What, I can't be in the library? You think I can't read or something?"

He pulls a red leather-covered book out, frowns at it, opens it quickly to scan the pages, then puts it back and takes another one.

Shikamaru winces. "Didn't say that. It's just that at this hour, I'd expect you to be trying to con your lunch out of someone."

"Hey! You say that as if I never pay for my own meals, or something." Naruto looks offended, but there's a glimmer of amusement in his blue eyes as he mock-glares at Shikamaru. He has invited himself several times in the last month. "So, what are YOU doing here?"

"What, you think I can't read or something?" Shikamaru replies, leaning against the bookcase and watching Naruto pull out another book, check it, put it back.

"Nah, just thought you were too lazy to be bothered even just lifting one. These things are heavy, after all." Naruto grins up, and nudges Shikamaru's leg as he crawls forward to reach the books at the end of the shelf. "Unless, of course, you're here so you can tell your mom that you did something else than watch the clouds today."

Shikamaru snorts. "You got me. So, have you found your free ramen ticket yet?"

Naruto gapes at him for a second, then laughs, ruffling his short spikes ruefully. "Heh. Not yet. I swear the librarian must have thrown it away when I returned that book." Sighing, he sits back on his heels, shoulders slumping slightly. His stomach rumbles. "I'm never going to find it. Say, Shika...?"

Shikamaru pushes off the bookcase with his hip, hands still in his pockets. "Fine, fine."

Naruto jumps on his feet and bounces after him, grinning. "You're the best! I'll swear to your mom you spent the whole afternoon here."

"As if she'd believe YOU were around long enough to vouch for that."

They walk out of the library, bickering amiably.

A free ramen ticket slips out of the red book.