One Night at Break -- An Undercurrents
Main pairing is Neji/Shikamaru.Word Count:
Set in Monoshizukanohi AU, D/s relationships, spanking, toys, anal, BDSM, body mod, oral, rimming, language. Among other things.Spoilers:
Neji's taking Shikamaru to Break for the first time on the night of the Annual Poker Tournament. Will Shikamaru's past come between them or will the experience bring them closer than ever before? Story written for MayaNara for her kiriban gift.Note: This story takes place after Undercurrents and on the same night as "Breaking the Rules." Crossover elements with Bleach. Touches upon elements found in Rhythm & Bruise and Deprivation. Not necessary to read any of those stories to enjoy this one, however.
"I'm all in," Naruto said in a dull monotone. He pushed his meager stack of chips forward and leaned back in his seat. Neji glanced at Naruto's expression, saw the twitch of his eyebrow that meant the man was trying to bluff, and adjusted his strategy accordingly.
"That's ten thousand to you, Master Asashi," said the dealer, a slim, dark man in a fitted leather suit jacket and pants who sat rigidly straight in his chair. The whites around his eyes gleamed in the dim light of Club Break, and he spoke in precise syllables that were both efficient and polite. Neji hired Brandon back every year for this event, and the man thoroughly enjoyed his one-night pass into the world of prestigious underground kink.
Tenzou slid his cards to Brandon. "Fold."
"Master Asashi folds. To you, Master Hyuuga: ten thousand to call." Neji didn't move, didn't blink, and he kept his breathing deep and even. He could feel Shikamaru standing behind his chair like a warm wind at his back, and he fixated on the calm that sensation brought as he gathered a stack of chips and set them forward.
"Call and raise, side bet of ten thousand. Twenty thousand to call main and side pots, Master Kuchiki."
Vaguely, Neji noted that the CEO of Kuchiki Stone called, but Neji got distracted as he watched Sasuke talking to Kiba at the bar on the far right side of the room. Kiba went out early in the game, before the heavy betting began, and though Sasuke made an effort to speak discreetly to the Inuzuka, Neji could smell negotiation a mile away.
Shikamaru bent down until his mouth was next to Neji's ear, his loose, curling hair tickling Neji's cheek. "Trouble at the bar, Sir," Shika murmured.
Good boy, Neji thought, bringing up one hand to slide over the side of Shikamaru's neck. Kiba grabbed Sasuke and dragged him toward the middle of the room, and Neji shot a hard look at Brandon just before Kiba's voice rang out through the club.
"What?" Naruto yelled at Kiba, spinning on Glow's wooden floors to look back at the table. A waitress with blue hair nearly ran him over, and Naruto jumped to the side, hand going to the back of his hair in apology.
"Bring me another," Kiba demanded, holding up his empty beer.
"Fuckin' A," Naruto groused. "Anybody else want a little service while I'm up?"
Shikamaru raised his empty, nodding at Naruto. The blond threw his hands in the air and stalked off toward Kakashi to get another round of drinks.
Kiba chuckled. "Bitch whines too damned much."
"Mm," Neji agreed, arm slipping around Shikamaru when the Nara leaned against him in the booth. It was Friday night, and somehow Kiba convinced both Shika and Neji to join the group at Glow to hang out and play pool. Neji went along as he worried for the Inuzuka, his usual blasé attitude recently gone and replaced by quiet introspection. Kiba thinking so hard about anything troubled Neji, especially after his recent radio show where Kiba had done everything but scream he was in love with a semi-reformed, murdering, redheaded sociopath.
"What'd you do to your hand?" Shika asked Kiba.
"I fell," Kiba answered.
Sasuke snorted and sipped his water.
"Fuck you, princess," Kiba muttered.
"I don't screw outside my species," Sasuke retorted.
"Really? Must be pretty fuckin' limitin'. I don't see too many walkin' assholes out 'n about."
Sasuke moved with a fluidity that Neji nearly envied and punched Kiba on the arm. The impact was hard enough to make Kiba shift on the seat, and he grunted.
"Fuckin' hell, bitch!"
Sasuke elbowed Kiba in the ribs, sipping his water as though nothing was amiss.
"Yer so gonna pay fer that!" Kiba squawked.
"The hell's he done, now?" Naruto asked, returning to the table with beers.
"Yer brat's got a mean left hook," Kiba grumbled, rubbing his arm.
"Tell me about it," Naruto muttered, setting down the drinks. He leaned and fisted a loose handful of Sasuke's shirt, and Neji saw the Uchiha's lips part and eyes lose focus. Neji squeezed Shikamaru, and the Nara's hand covered Neji's thigh and stroked over worn denim.
"You causin' trouble, baby?" Naruto husked, head tilted back and eyes down on Sasuke's face.
"Maybe," Sasuke replied, his shadowed eyelids dropping as he stared at Naruto's mouth.
Naruto grunted. "Good thing we got the tournament this weekend, then huh?"
Sasuke met Naruto's gaze and smiled. Genuinely, Neji thought.
"Yeah…" the raven replied.
"Guys!" a boisterous voice bellowed before Lee bounded over to the booth. "The second pool table's free." His grin made Neji's lips twitch in a wannabe smile. May the gods bless Lee's enthusiasm for oxygen.
"A'ight," Kiba said, nudging Sasuke to get him to move out of the booth. "Me 'n Naru 'gainst you 'n yer King 'a Spring."
"Done," Lee said, beaming.
"One game," Naruto said, taking Sasuke's hand as he got out of the booth. "Then Sas and I have to go. Work bullshit."
Sasuke rolled his eyes, and Naruto hugged the Uchiha closer, kissing dark hair in apology.
"Whatever. Ya comin' Neji?" Kiba asked. "Kankuro could take the Princess 'gainst you and your boyfriend?"
"He calls me that again, and I swear to Christ, I'll--" Sasuke started before Naruto grabbed his wrist and dragged him after Lee. Kiba grinned and shrugged one shoulder. Touchy bitches,
the shrug said. Whatcha gonna do?
Shikamaru started to get up, but Neji gripped him tighter and the Nara immediately stopped moving. "We're good here, thanks," Neji answered.
Kiba grunted. "Ya sure?"
Neji felt a pang at the disappointment that flickered in Kiba's jade gaze. "I am," Neji replied. "Last time I played pool with Lee, I took a cue ball to the face."
Shikamaru sputtered and twisted to stare at Neji with brown eyes that danced in undisguised amusement. "Seriously?"
"Aw, hell," Kiba laughed. "I'd forgotten that shit. Fuckin' hilarious. Lee does this trick shot, ball bounces, smacks His Majesty in the head, and Neji goes down like a ton 'a bricks."
"Thanks for the recap, Inuzuka," Neji said dryly.
"Yer welcome, Hyuuga." Kiba raised his beer, winked, and spun to follow the others. Neji sighed when they were gone, sipping his Scotch.
"So what's wrong?" Shikamaru asked, sitting up and fixing Neji with narrowed eyes. His hands folded on the table, and Neji quirked an eyebrow.
"Something's wrong because I don't want to get hit in the head by Lee's projectile balls?"
Shika snorted a laugh. "No," he answered. "Something's up because you've been too quiet all day, touched me when you don't even know you're doing it, and you're drinking Scotch instead of wine or some fruity cocktail." Shikamaru's eyebrow went up to mimic Neji's.
"The power of observation is strong with you," Neji quipped. Shikamaru just looked at him, and Neji's shoulders dropped in defeat. "I'm concerned about tomorrow." His voice was far softer than he intended.
"That again?" Shika asked, shifting closer. Neji raised his hand to tuck a stray strand behind his ear, and Shikamaru caught it. Reaching, the Nara tucked Neji's hair back with a gentle sweep of his fingers, and Neji felt pieces of himself melt into molten warmth.
"I want to see this place," Shika whispered. "See you there and be…with you." He dropped Neji's gaze.
"I know," Neji replied, irritated with himself. They'd discussed everything from clothing to protocol. Neji and Shikamaru switched from playing chess to Texas Hold 'em, and Shikamaru was almost good enough to kick Neji's ass after minimum amounts of practice. Shikamaru understood that if he wanted to do anything while they were at the club, all he had to do was ask, but nothing was expected of him. Neji wasn't going to bother with leads or anything so obvious, and Shikamaru was the one who insisted on adding the green velvet collar to his ensemble. Gave Neji some excuse about texture and wanting Neji's mouth on his neck, and it'd been hard to say much of anything after that as lips were otherwise occupied, but still Neji worried.
Shikamaru's only experience with clubs was Haze, and his only experience with public play was with monsters. That left marks, and Neji was on guard despite doing everything by the book with plenty of discussion.
"I'll be with you," Shika said before leaning in to whisper in Neji's uncovered ear. "Sir."
Neji chuckled. "You're getting as bad as Sasuke with the manipulation."
"Not true," Shika contradicted. "I'm actually good at it." Lips smiled against Neji's cheek, and Shikamaru sat back.
"Touché," Neji said, raising his glass and taking a sip. "Though I'll be interested to hear what you think of our friends' abilities after seeing them in very different circumstances."
Shikamaru shrugged. "I've thought about most of that and determined the worst would have to be Naruto and Sasuke, and those two play games all the time. Everywhere."
Neji smirked down at his glass, thinking the Nara would be in for both a shock and a treat, though he wondered what Shikamaru would make of Kiba. A couple of dates and minor dominance games as teenagers could not possibly prepare Shika to watch the leather-clad Inuzuka take a flogger and make a submissive beg for mercy.
"True," Neji agreed. "Though they might still manage to surprise you."
Shikamaru pulled a face.
"Oh, really?" Neji answered the unspoken denial, the whiskey and the Nara's naiveté making the urge to toy with Shika irresistible. He drew Shikamaru closer, heard the Nara's breathing catch. "So it wouldn't shock you if, say, I let Naruto bend you over a table and smack your ass? Have him do it the way I know gets you hard?" Neji let his tongue flick to taste the skin behind Shikamaru's ear, pulling a shiver up Shika's spine.
"You wouldn't do that," Shikamaru replied, leaning closer to Neji, who slowly smiled and hummed.
Cruel and delighted laughter filled the club. “Fuck yeah," Kiba called from where he stood with one boot pressing Sasuke into the floor. "Always happy to put an arrogant little bastard on his knees."
Neji stood, assessing the table, the room, and Naruto, whose body language screamed that this was not
a planned turn of events. Neji mentally cursed Sasuke's insolence. Couldn’t the brat realize just for fucking once
that Naruto loved him more than life itself, and he should enjoy what he had? Honestly.
"Strike the hand," Neji said to Brandon and smiled expansively to the table. "Gentlemen, ladies, I do believe the first show is about to begin a little ahead of schedule. I suggest returning bets and cashing in so we may all relish the rest of our evening."
A delighted giggle made Neji's nostrils flare before he turned to look at a long-haired blond who wore nothing but diamond netting woven into his tresses, a dark blue thong, and thigh-high boots. "Does that mean you win, Master?" Deidara asked the seated redhead in front of him, voice manic.
Sasori shook his head: a tiny, mechanical jerk.
Neji's smile grew feral. "We're dead even, I believe."
Deidara scowled at Neji, and Sasori reached up to yank the blond down to eye level by his hair, speaking and making Deidara moan at the words. Neji and Brandon exchanged a look before Neji stepped away from the table, repressing a shudder. Sasori made his skin crawl; Deidara was worse. But they played hard, bet harder, and it served Neji well to invite them away from Haze once in a while so he could keep tabs on them.
"He's all yours," Naruto said to Kiba as they set up the impromptu scene.
"Nice," Kiba replied, rolling his shoulders. “Ya mind a little blood or ya want I should just blister him around the edges?” Kiba's smile was vicious.
Pausing near the tournament table, Neji watched Sasuke breathe fast on his knees while Kiba went to get his equipment bag. Neji kept his face neutral, but when Shikamaru knelt beside him and leaned into his leg, Neji felt the Nara shiver. Eyes rolling downward, Neji pet Shika's hair and saw his lover staring at his friends as they commanded the attention of everyone in the club. His eyes were wide, his brow faintly furrowed, and his lips parted.
Neji chewed the inside of his cheek. He couldn't tell if it was avarice or aversion, so he clutched a loose fist of thick brown hair. "Come, pet. Let's get a little closer."
The Nara stood, Neji took his hand, and together they glided through the gathering crowd. Neji stopped behind an unoccupied chair and pointed to the floor, and in the next instant Shikamaru was back on his knees with his cheek against Neji's leather-clad hip. Neji stroked his fingers through Shikamaru's hair, gently scratching his nails along the Nara's nape. Shika pressed closer to Neji and watched as Kiba and Naruto got Sasuke rigged to a tower in the lounge area, bantering and playing to the voyeurs. Neji watched Shikamaru, expression deceptively calm as he searched for even a hint of distress.
“Beautiful,” Kiba said, as he stepped behind Sasuke. From the corner of his eye Neji saw Kiba set a ball gag to Sasuke's lips. “Open wide, honey.”
Knowing how Sasuke felt about gags and blindfolds, Neji's upper lip curled in appreciation and sympathy -- the latter for Naruto. Kiba and the blond stepped away from the bound Sasuke to discuss limits and toys, and Neji mentally mapped the Scene's intent and potential outcomes. With a squeeze to Shikamaru's shoulder, Neji leaned to grab a folded sheet of plastic from beneath an equipment table, waving it at Kiba and Naruto.
Kiba laughed, looking every inch the confident torture master in his all-black ensemble and with his gleaming eyes. "It'll save on the cleanin' right?"
"Indeed," Neji said softly, coming back to Shikamaru. The men turned to spread the splash guard, and Neji's lips pulled back in a grin when he saw Sasuke tense in anticipation.
A low whine tore Neji's attention from the setup to Shikamaru, and concern iced through him when Shika wrapped his arms around Neji's legs and hid his face in Neji's thigh. Flashing back to what he knew of Shikamaru's time at Haze -- both from the video he'd seen and the whispered confessions as the Nara lay in Neji's arms -- Neji let go of a tender sound. His hands swept over shoulders, arms and neck. His thumb rubbed over the strip of velvet about Shikamaru's throat, and then Neji took Shika's face in both hands. Shika didn't meet his gaze, and Neji smiled before he bent to be heard.
"We have business in the 'combs, boy. Keep your back to the room, stand up, and follow me."
"Yes, Sir," Shikamaru mouthed, the words lost on a whisper drowned by the music and murmur of the crowd. He obeyed Neji, not looking at the men behind him as he got to his feet, and Neji inclined his head in approval before turning to walk out the door.
Bliss wasn't open tonight because of the tournament, but guests could arrive via that entrance nonetheless. The coat check at the bottom of the stairs was busy, and Neji nodded to Rose behind the counter before turning to walk down the long hallway. The Catacombs were crowded with chatting patrons and people making their way to the restrooms or doors into Break. Neji smiled politely and listened to the footfalls of Shika's soft boots as he turned the corner, walked the length of hallway along the back side of the club, and then turned again as though heading toward his private room.
Just past the Tomb entrance, Neji stopped. He eyed the closed doors leading to ground level, and observed that only a handful of people made use of this hallway. Most of them were occupied, whispers and low sounds of need filling Neji's ears, and he reached for Shikamaru.
"Business, Sir?" Shika asked quietly, sighing into Neji's embrace. Neji ran short nails lightly up and down Shika's spine, and the Nara's grip tightened, his face turning toward Neji's neck.
"I wanted to touch you without distraction," Neji husked as he brushed lips over Shika's hair and cheek. "The club's atmosphere can be overwhelming, and you are far too tempting." Shikamaru shivered, Neji smiled, and slowly he walked Shikamaru backward toward the wall. He kept his hands between Shika's bare back and the stone, knowing it'd be chilly, but goose bumps broke over the Nara's skin despite Neji's efforts.
"Mm," Neji hummed, heart beating faster as one hand slid from back to side in a caress before he stepped closer, fingers seeking a pebbled nipple. He brushed the skin with his thumb and Shikamaru gasped against Neji's neck, hands gripping the silk of Neji's gray shirt. The deep "v" of Neji's neckline allowed a strip of skin-on-skin, and Neji sighed in delight before pinch-twisting the sensitive nub between his thumb and forefinger."Mmph,"
Shika whimpered, and Neji kissed the very tip of Shika's ear and rolled his body in a slow grind. Shika's hard cock was clearly visible through the velvet pants, a delightful pressure against Neji's hip, and the Nara grunted when Neji gave him friction.
"You're so gorgeous like this, boy," Neji praised.
Shikamaru panted, hands making slippery noises on the marble countertop of Neji's bathroom as he sought purchase. Neji's fingers pushed deeper into the Nara's body, flexing, and Neji smiled when Shika trembled and cursed under his breath.
"Now, now," Neji said quietly before he brought the palm of his hand down on Shika's reddened ass cheek with a resounding smack."Shit,
" Shikamaru hissed.
"Toes, boy," Neji reminded. "I don't tolerate laziness."
The Nara's calves stood out in stark relief as he rose higher on the balls of his feet, head falling forward. Neji watched the muscles in Shika's back dance and ripple, and he bit his tongue on a moan. He undid the towel about his waist, and his long hair dripped down his back, the sensation making him shiver.
"That's better," Neji murmured, fingers resuming their slick, sensuous rhythm. He bent over Shika, damp skin pressing and catching as Neji kissed between Shika's shoulders. "Is this what you wanted, love? What you imagined while you knelt as I bathed?"
"N-no, Sir," Shikamaru managed.
"No?" Neji clucked his tongue. "Didn't want to be bent over the sink, ass in the air, cock hard to dripping while I spank and fuck you with my hand?" Neji twisted his wrist, fingers moving within the heated tunnel surrounding and flexing down upon them.
--no." Shika's body rolled back to meet Neji. "Sir…no…."
"Then what, boy?" Neji drew back and smacked Shika's ass again in the same spot with the same force. Shikamaru's spine arched, mouth open in a silent cry that Neji could see in the fogged mirror above the counter. The Nara's eyes were closed, face a mask of bliss, and Neji felt a surge of heat and control sizzle up his spine.
"Wanted to…" Shika swallowed. "Be with you, Sir. Wash your…hair and maybe get to…taste you, Sir." Dark eyes barely visible under heavy lids, Shikamaru nibbled his lower lip, breathing around the words. "Suck…you…Sir."
"Very pretty, pet," Neji said adoringly. "And now that you mention it…" Neji licked along the ridges of Shika's spine. "A taste does sound delightful."
Kneeling as Shikamaru tensed to obey the command he thought was coming, Neji's fingers pulled out, replaced quickly by his tongue, and Shikamaru's unfettered howl made Neji grip Shika's ass with both hands. Groaning, Neji used mouth, teeth, and lips to torture his Nara for long, breathless seconds before he sat back on his heels.
…" Shika breathed, other syllables of need filling the air with a thick cloud of want. Neji grinned, stood up, and laid down four swats to Shika's ass in a line from check to top of leg.
Shikamaru gritted a slurred, "Fuck, yes, Sir
," after the second strike, and Neji leaned over Shika again, kissing his neck. One hand reached down to play light fingertips over the Nara's balls while the other grabbed a handful of curling, damp hair and tugged back until Shika's throat was exposed. Their eyes met in the mirror for an instant, and Shika froze.
"Good boy," Neji whispered, and Shikamaru relaxed into Neji's grip. "One more thing and then we'll finish getting ready for the tournament and Break." Neji purposefully groaned, licking his lips, and Shikamaru writhed for him. "I do want to see you in those pants, want to hold you while the car takes us to the club." Neji stopped teasing Shika to caress hip and flank. "Show you off as mine," he whispered, kissing Shikamaru's neck.
"Please…Sir…yes…" Shikamaru said, voice thick from the angle. The notes of desire made Neji's heart swell, his cock ache, and his arms want to encircle Shika and keep him safe, protected, content.
"Turn around when I release you, and get on your knees," Neji commanded. Carefully and regretfully he let go of Shika, hands already itching with the urge to touch as he stepped back. He watched Shikamaru closely as the other man obeyed the command. The Nara's knees were weak, but he used the counter to lower himself to the ground. Hair mussed and skin flushed, Shika's lower lip trembled when Neji's cock was eye level.
Catching Shikamaru's chin in one hand, Neji stroked Shika's cheek with his thumb. The Nara leaned into the simple touch, and Neji sighed. "Always so perfect for me, my Shika," Neji murmured and moved until the head of his dick was a breath away from Shikamaru's mouth. Pride and raging lust rode Neji hard when Shika did nothing but await Neji's word.
"Listening to you got me wet, boy. Lick the head of my cock dry and taste what you made."
The warm, rough touch of Shikamaru's tongue on his head and through his slit made Neji tremble. He gasped and watched as Shika reverently lapped pre-come, circling the crown once when he was done. A tongue tip hesitantly teased Neji, and Shikamaru made a sound Neji knew to be curiosity and frustration.
"Stop, now," Neji ordered and immediately Shikamaru withdrew, chin still in Neji's grasp. "Excellent. Now, let me help you stand so you can comb my hair and help me dress."
"Thank you, Sir," Shikamaru whispered, groaning again when Neji continued to roll Shika against his hip, pushing him against the stone wall of the 'combs.
"Enjoying your evening?" Neji asked mildly, though he was eager to hear Shika's answer. He skimmed his hands over shoulders, arms, sides, and reached to squeeze Shikamaru's ass.
"Yes, Sir," Shika replied, head falling back and eyes closed.
"Better out here than it was in there?" Neji kissed the front of Shikamaru's throat.
"Anywhere you are is -- ah
"Glad to hear it, boy," Neji husked, relief washing through him. Shika seemed fine; not plagued by bad memories or old emotional scars. The hallway was more private than the club, so Neji hoped that would ease any part of Shika that might have difficulties with public displays of submission. And perhaps it was just seeing his friends play out a scene that made Shikamaru turn away and cling to Neji.
Or, Neji considered as he pressed soft kisses to Shikamaru's neck, lips outlining the velvet, perhaps it was the want of such a thing for himself. Despite practice and praise, Shikamaru still sometimes had trouble asking for what he wanted, and these were definitely unusual circumstances.
Neji leaned back. "Look at me."
Long lashes fluttered and black-brown eyes met Neji's: trepidation, anticipation, heat and hunger. Neji's insides unwound from their coiling spring of worry.
"Safewords?" Neji asked.
"Canary and rouge." Shikamaru's tone was level, and he searched Neji's face.
"Very good, Shika." Neji cupped the Nara's cheek. "Tell me the main rules for the night."
"Safeword out if anything makes me uncomfortable and ask should I want anything more than what you do."
Neji smiled. "Beautiful." The response or Shika, himself, Neji didn't clarify.
"Sir--" Shikamaru began, caught himself, and stopped. His gaze remained trained on Neji's, but Neji saw the effort that took.
"Tell me," Neji commanded, but he brushed his thumb over Shika's cheek, which turned pink while Neji watched.
"I want…could you please…" Shikamaru stumbled over the words, and he blinked, rapid-fire.
"It's okay, love," Neji said, heart beating a suddenly frantic rhythm, and he bit his tongue on ordering Shikamaru to spit it out. "You're free to look and say what you like."
Shikamaru took a deep breath, and Neji noted the faint scowl, the tightness of Shika's jaw, the cadence of his breathing. They could be symptoms of two very different things, and Neji ran through every piece of equipment on the floor tonight, thinking of the most likely candidates if Shikamaru wanted a Scene. Simultaneously, he got ready to tell Shikamaru that leaving was fine, too; he'd taken care of the Tournament. A quick word to Iruka, Kakashi, and Tenzou, a message sent to Gaara upstairs, and a fast explanation to security would cover all Neji's bases.
"Please…" Shikamaru said, pushing away from the wall and tentatively wrapping his arms around Neji. Immediately, Neji pulled Shika closer, hand cradling the back of his head.
Neji frowned at the wall and kept his voice tender. "Go on, boy. Tell. Me."
"…hold me," Shikamaru muttered, so quietly that at first Neji didn't think he heard right. "Sir, that's…what I…"
Shika didn't get to finish because Neji pressed them closer, hugged Shika tightly, and hummed softly. He kicked himself for not anticipating something so simple but let it go. Self-recrimination took too much focus away from the most important task at hand.
"I love holding you," Neji whispered and closed his eyes when all the tension drained out of Shika, and he slumped against Neji. "Thank you for telling me what you want; you did that beautifully."
Shikamaru trembled, and Neji held on while the war of panic and pride continued within him. "It would please me to no end to hold you all night, Shika. It's one of my greatest pleasures, and in it, you make me quite happy."
Neji caught Shika when one of his knees gave, and Neji frowned, thankful Shika couldn't see the expression. Something was off. Praise and tenderness mixed with command and control was the formula that worked best for both Shikamaru and Neji. And being told that Shika pleased could earn Neji as much of a response as any number of pleasures or dominance games.
But Neji couldn't shake the nagging feeling that he was missing something, and that threatened to drive him crazy. He calmed himself by rubbing Shika's back, whispering soft sounds against the Nara's hair, and placing gentle kisses to cheek and temple.
"Let's get back in the club and to a couch, boy," Neji murmured. "That way I can--"
The back doors into Break opened, letting out a rush of music and a rumble of voices. Neji's arms tightened instinctively around Shikamaru, and he blinked when Naruto rounded the corner with a long gait. The blond had an armful of gasping, trembling Sasuke, but Naruto didn't look like a man whisking away his submissive lover to a more private venue for further games.
Naruto looked like a hell hound bent on destruction. He stalked by, not even acknowledging Neji, and both Neji and Shika turned to watch Naruto make his way down the hall and around the final corner, heading toward the owner's rooms.
Footsteps pulled Neji away from his concern for his friends and back toward the Tomb exit. A tall, slender man with gray eyes and blond hair stood nearby. Neji had a second to admire the sleeveless black shirt with wide lapels, the muscled arms, and the well-cut, flowing pants before Urahara Kisuke wrapped himself in a coat. He inclined his head.
"Quite the game."
Neji didn't miss the double entendre. "Pleased you enjoyed it."
"Oh, a good show always endears itself to my cold, cruel heart. Pleasant returns to you and yours." Kisuke tipped an invisible hat, turned, and slid a fan out of his coat pocket. He waved it over the sensor, paused for the beep and click, and then took his leave.
Neji sighed and hoped Kisuke had left a report on gang activity in the boroughs in addition to the suitable amount of cash in Neji's chip stack. "Come on," he said, hugging Shika one last time before letting go. "Inside."
"Yes, Sir," Shikamaru answered, and Neji could feel calculating eyes on his back as he walked into Break. Well, at least the puzzle would keep Shika occupied from whatever was bothering him for a moment or two.
Kiba wiped down the tower in the lounge area, and Neji paused to greet a woman whose name he didn't remember. He shook her hand with both of his, smiled, complimented her ill-fitting corset, and watched Kiba. Maybe to others the Inuzuka looked calm and collected, but Neji could practically see the man tremble from where he stood, and he dropped the cleaner twice.
The woman moved on, Shikamaru's hand snaked into Neji's, fingers intertwining, and Kiba tossed the bottle back under a table. He turned and stared at the other entrance into the club, and that's when Neji understood:
Above those doors was a camera, and upstairs in the DJ booth, someone might be watching.
With a minute shake of his head, Neji pushed Kiba and the man's personal challenges aside. He'd check in on the situation later. "This way," Neji directed as he glided across the room to a couch. He spun, sat, and gestured for Shika to lie down. "Face me," Neji directed.
Awkwardly, Shikamaru climbed onto the leather and into Neji's awaiting arms, and Neji sighed when he settled the Nara against him. "Much better," Neji said. Shika said nothing, but he buried his face in Neji's chest and shirt.
"You feel so good under my hands, pet," Neji murmured in Shikamaru's ear while he stroked skin. Shika breathed hard against Neji, the warmth blooming through the shirt against his nipple, and Neji closed his eyes on a spike of arousal.
"My good boy," Neji said, kissing Shika's hair.
The low thud of music changed, got slower and heavier, and Kimimaro strutted onto the catwalk stage. Tonight ribbon laced down his back through rings piercing his skin, and he wore a clear g-string with fake stones that caught the swirling lights. Neji admired, looked around, and spotted the shadowy figure he knew would be watching. The elder Uchiha declined the card game, but he accepted the personal invitation to the event. Neji smirked, plotting to himself, before he turned to watch Tenzou sit down in a chair next to the couch.
The architect smiled at Neji, raising his bottle of water in salute. He wore a plain button-down shirt, the color detail gone beneath the dim light, trim slacks, plain boots, and absolutely no frills. Sympathy, sorrow, and unease swirled in Neji's gut, and he tightened his hold on Shikamaru as Neji glanced down at Tenzou's left hand. The fingers played with a seam in the leather, and Neji saw the simple band of gold on the fourth digit.
Shika shifted, and he rubbed his face against the silk. Neji bent down. "A little business, love, if you're feeling secure enough here?"
The nod Shika gave Neji was firm, but still Neji frowned. When he looked up, Tenzou watched both of them. His large, dark eyes seemed to swallow them whole, taking in more detail than even Neji could assess, and Tenzou's smile was hollow. Lost.
"Good of you to come tonight," Neji said. Tenzou leaned forward to rest his forearms on his thighs. He nodded once and ran a hand over his brown hair.
Neji waited, breathing in sync with Shikamaru and watching Tenzou stare at the floor. Kimi finished his set, applause went up around the stage, and the music dulled into a background thrum.
"First night," Tenzou stated without looking at Neji or Shika.
"Yes," Neji replied.
"That's always an adventure." Tenzou sat up.
"I'm glad you're here to offer your support."
Tenzou's fathomless expression didn't change. "For the game or for you?"
"For the club," Neji replied.
Tenzou nodded as though conceding the point. Neji stayed silent until he couldn't help himself any longer.
"Is there anything I can…do?" Neji asked, and he felt Shikamaru tense, interest piqued. Neji hadn't told Shika much about the fourth owner, other than he was an ex-marine, lived alone, and no longer participated in the Scene.
Tenzou seemed about to smile and say the polite thing, but he stopped. He gazed at the man in Neji's arms with naked longing for a moment, and Neji knew it had nothing to do with Shika and everything to do with what Tenzou had lost.
"He's beautiful," Tenzou said, soft and reverent. "Reminds me a little of…" Tenzou broke off, grimaced, and took a long drink of water before he could continue.
"There is one thing that you can do."
"I'm delighted to try and oblige you," Neji said respectfully.
Tenzou gave Neji a look. "You spend too much time around politicians, Neji."
Neji shrugged, not wanting to get into the old debate with the man who'd been his mentor in many things. "You know my circumstances and the choices I've made, Tenzou. Being political is part of my life."
"It's not as important a part as the one you're holding."
"I know that," Neji said, working hard to keep his voice neutral.
"You only think you do." Tenzou stared at Neji, and Neji's throat worked in a thick swallow. It was fascinating how Tenzou's mouth could move completely independently of the rest of his face. His gaze, the lines around his eyes, nothing else was moved or affected.
"We always think
we know what people mean to us, but in truth, we take them for granted," Tenzou continued. "It's not on purpose, most of the time, and it's usually the little things. Smells, smiles, bad driving habits." Tenzou gazed affectionately at Shikamaru. "How it feels to hold someone; be held."
Neji sighed through his nose, hurting for the man for the millionth time and still at an utter loss on how to help. Tenzou viewed his life in strict terms: he loved, the man was no longer with him, and so that part of his life -- that happiness -- was over. Forever.
"And you know that when one plays the kinds of games we play, Neji, it's even worse to take anything for common occurrence." Tenzou's lips worked into a painful smile. "So I ask that you take care of each other. And don't fool yourselves into thinking that the trust you have to play, control, or hurt is left on the bondage table. Relationships require faith. But for people like us, being with someone requires our own religion."
Neji blinked, drawn into Tenzou's words like he always was when Tenzou taught a lesson. When Asashi spoke, it was best to listen. Shikamaru shivered and pressed closer to Neji.
"I'm…" Tenzou sighed, looking down again. "Just an old man, Neji. Who sees a room full of kids and hope that I can't touch."
The architect waved his hand in a dismissive gesture. "Advice that you don't want from someone who knows it to be too true." Their eyes met, and Neji's fingers flexed on Shika's skin to find ground beneath the wave of the drowning gaze. "When you find someone who can be your everything, hang on to every good second you have." Tenzou stood up. "They hold you like you're holding him when the bad times come calling."
"Thank…thank you," Neji stammered.
Tenzou looked at his feet, unhappy expression twisting his features. "Sorry," he said at last. "It's…been a bad…I should go."
Neji nodded. "Always good to see you."
"I'm glad you think enough of me to say so." Tenzou turned on his heel and headed for the exit, shoulders slumped like a man beaten down and made to carry the weight of the weaponry that tormented him.
Impulsively, Neji curled over Shika, kissing any skin he could find. Shikamaru's breathing hitched, and Neji nosed Shika's jaw.
"Tell me who you belong to, boy," Neji whispered, replaying all the times Shika answered that question; all the ways it made Neji feel good, solid, and real. Recalled Shika saying that answering the question always made the Nara relax into anything they did because Shika knew he was safe, held, treasured.
"You, Sir," came the reply, and Neji moved them until their lips met, a careful brush and nothing more. He smiled down at Shikamaru, and shock struck him when Shika tilted to meet Neji's gaze. And a storm flooded his brain when Shika opened his mouth and deliberately said in a clear voice: "Rouge."
Neji's heart skipped, stopped, and found a pattern that made his ears ring. He froze, not understanding a damned thing and terrified for it: Shika wasn't in pain, he wasn't uncomfortable, he didn't seem sick. He made no attempt to move away from Neji, and his gaze was steady, eyes clear of tears or signs of distress. Neji loosened his arms, wrists bending and fingers spreading so he wasn't touching bare skin. His mouth opened and closed without sound while his train of thought ran over cliffs.
"Neji," Shikamaru said firmly. "Get me out of here."
"Of course," Neji answered, lips numb. Shikamaru sat up and stood, and Neji didn't see any evidence of weak knees or sore anything. Sure, Naruto had given him a few playful swats, but for heaven's sake, those weren't…No, that couldn't be it; had to be something else.
"Walk in front of me, please," Neji said, gesturing with a sweep of his arm. Shikamaru obeyed, and a path cleared for the men as they followed in Tenzou's footsteps. Neji watched Shika move, saw no evidence of discomfort, and thought of water, food, stress, and sleep patterns. He replayed every second of the night from getting ready to the word that made ice form in Neji's guts.
"Ya okay?" Kiba asked when they passed close to the bar. Without looking, Neji waved one hand in a rough gesture, and tried not to feel the Inuzuka's perplexity follow them out the door.
"Do you need to go home?" Neji asked.
"No," Shika said with a shake of his head as he walked purposefully past the exit. "To our room."
"…okay," Neji said, hurrying to keep up with Shika. In seconds they were at the door, and Shikamaru turned to Neji, waiting.
Bending, Neji pulled a jeweled, steel kunai out of his boot, the sharp end capped, and waved it over the sensor. It beeped, the lock released, and Shikamaru opened the door and held it for Neji.
Frowning, Neji walked inside, flicking a switch that turned on a lamp by the bed. The room was sparse, but full of cushioned surfaces, thick rugs, warm light, and two trunks of toys. Neji started to turn when the door closed.
Shikamaru cut Neji off with a kiss that threatened to fry every nerve in Neji's stunned body. Hands roamed and gripped, fingers dug and dragged, tongues met with moans of heat and confusion, and Neji finally reached to wrap shaky arms around Shika's neck, loathe to break the kiss despite the anxiety that made voices screech and demand to know what in the hell was happening.
"I'm sorry," Shikamaru gasped when he broke the kiss.
"Mind cluing me in, Shika?" Neji breathed.
Air left Neji's lungs as he got crushed in Shika's embrace. Lips found his neck, his jaw, his cheek, and Neji shuddered, cock going hard and skin getting hot. Hands yanked at his shirt, slid under it, pet over his back. Too many things misfired at once, and Neji snarled a curse.
"Shika," Neji said in warning.
"I underestimated what being yours in a place like this would mean to me," Shikamaru answered in a rush. He stopped moving, heavy breathing filled the air, and Neji's mind raced toward understanding in giddy gratitude.
"I see," Neji said, head tilting toward Shika, who kissed Neji's throat. So, Neji thought, it wasn't the scenes, the club itself, the want for more or for less. "Go on," he said.
"Naruto," Shikamaru whispered as he pet Neji's skin in utterly distracting ways. "When he had me over the table…he said something…"
An ice pick of worry darted through Neji, but he didn't let it show. "Oh?"
"Said I was worthy of you; that he was happy you found me because we match." Shikamaru started walking toward the bed, and Neji went along for the ride.
"I do recall saying your friends may surprise you," Neji affectionately teased.
Shika snorted. "You and your damned foresight."
That didn't see this coming, Neji thought wryly. "You must remind me to strangle Naruto later for inspiring a safeword," Neji said, sucking in a breath when Shika's hand stroked over Neji's ribs and a thumb brushed his nipple.
"Choke him if you like, but it wasn't just him."
"Of course not," Neji replied. He caught Shika's hand, a clamp about the Nara's wrist, and wrenched back to look at Shikamaru. "So tell me what happened."
"Please?" Neji asked.
"You're going to have to walk me through this one, Shika," Neji deadpanned, though he suspected he knew what was going on. Hoped he did.
The tone earned Neji a small, knowing smile. "I hate the way you make me tell you things you already understand."
"You know why I do it. So talk."
Shikamaru took a deep breath, pulled Neji closer, and kissed his cheek. "I'm your friend, boyfriend, lover, and…submissive." He muttered the last word, and Neji smiled.
"At home, I'm the first three in every room of the house except the dungeon. There, I…do what you want. What we
want, and I love it. You know I do." Neji nodded.
"But here, tonight, I was yours
. In all senses of the word, and not just in your eyes but in everyone's. And I thought that would feel…different."
Neji bit his lip, wondering if he would make it through Shikamaru's realization without breaking into needy pieces. "Thought it would make you feel somehow weak or angry?"
Shikamaru sighed, and Neji shivered. The Nara made a soft sound and hugged Neji tighter. "Thought I'd feel like an idiot, but I could put up with that for you. But instead, I was…"
Neji held his breath.
Neji exhaled a sound suspiciously close to a whimper, and Shikamaru kissed the corner of Neji's mouth. Brown eyes full of keen intelligence and too much perception fixed on Neji's face, and Neji's lips parted.
"Proud standing behind your chair, following around while people worshipped the ground you walk on, knowing I was the only one who gets to see the way you look when you sleep."
Shikamaru's hands started moving again, and Neji rolled into the firm body pressed against his, fighting for some control and quickly losing the battle.
Lips pressed to Neji's ear. "You're my…everything, Neji. Just like Tenzou said…and that means…"
Neji didn't let Shikamaru finish. He kissed Shikamaru with a tender press of lips that grew hungry and desperate when tongues touched. They fell to the bed, crawling toward the center in unison, and looked at one another before hands flew to rend clothing from skin. Twisting and rolling, mouths met and teeth nipped as they worked. Neji's breath left him in harsh pants, and he shoved Shika onto his back, lips finding a nipple and sucking hard as he yanked off his last boot. Shikamaru gasped a gritty syllable of need, pressing Neji closer before they rolled again. The Nara stripped the leather off Neji's legs, threw it to the side, and Neji called out when a hot mouth covered his cock.
"Shika -- nnngh, Christ…
" All the teasing delay of the entire day and night thundered through Neji's veins, and he arched as Shikamaru swallowed him down in a fast bob and bend of tongue, lips, and suction. Shika's hand shoved against Neji's thigh, and fingers ghosted over Neji's balls, one digit sliding lower to tease wrinkled skin.
Neji growled, gripped Shika's hair and arm and yanked him off Neji's cock and up Neji's body. Flipping them on the bed, Neji ground their groins together, mouth fastening onto Shika's, and the Nara coughed a cry that Neji eagerly swallowed. Bodies moved, sweat slicked skin, Neji's fingers pinched nipples, clutched at Shika's lower back to push them closer together. His blood pounded so loudly in ears, gut, and cock that it deafened Neji to anything except the sweet sounds his Shika made.
"Neji--" Shikamaru gasped, wrenching his mouth away from the kiss. "I -- gah
-- wait, I…fuck…I have something for you…"
Pausing and panting with his hand wrapped around Shikamaru's cock and his mouth on the Nara's neck, Neji grit his teeth. "What?" he asked, breathless and impatient and wondering how in the hell Shika had enough sense left to articulate full sentences. That wasn't fucking fair.
Scrambling, Shikamaru untangled himself from Neji and clawed at the drawer in the nightstand. He retrieved a small black box tied with satin ribbon, and turned to hold it out to Neji with a trembling arm.
"You want me to open this now
?" Neji asked, incredulous and creeping closer.
"Yeah…" Shika nodded. "'fraid I'll fucking chicken out later if you don't." He blushed, his jaw flexed, and Neji got himself together enough that he ignored his flabbergasted hormones and took the gift. He made fast work on the ribbon, jerked off the lid, and pushed aside the tissue paper.
Then Neji stopped, frowning.
"It's probably stupid," Shika grumbled.
Neji picked up the plain, white gold locket by its thin chain, twining it around his fingers until the pendant rested in his palm. He turned it over, saw two sets of initials engraved on the back, and his heart came up into his throat, rendering him unable to speak.
"I don't mean it as a…it's not…like…" Shikamaru fumbled. "It's just a necklace," he said, finally, and Neji used his thumbnail to open the locket. He gasped.
"You like texture," Shikamaru said, tone imploring. "You can't pet a freakin' picture, so I thought…"
Neji's fingertip traced the curl of brown hair fixed with a tiny band of gold within the jewelry, and for a second, tears stung his eyes.
"Look, I saw it, I thought of you, and this crazy idea hit me, and fuck, Neji, you don't have to--"
"Put it on me." Neji's voice was a whisper.
Shikamaru didn't say a word, and when their eyes met, he looked terrified and hopeful. He reached for the necklace, Neji swept aside his hair, and it took three tries for Shikamaru to get the clasp fastened. Neji covered the locket that fell over his heart with his palm. He stared at the bedspread and thought about control, power, give and take. Neji heard Tenzou's painful words, and his fingers wrapped around the locket. The night flew through his brain, and he understood why Shika called the safeword. Not because he was uncomfortable, but because he wanted even ground. To speak freely or show Neji he cared, give him this gift, or maybe claim a little of himself back after a night of revelation, Neji didn't know. Maybe all of the above.
But it didn't matter, and Neji shoved aside the calculating voice that told him the timing of the gift was no accident; that Shikamaru would know what something like this would mean to Neji, despite his reservations. Shika's hesitation was real, too, and when Neji finally looked the Nara in the eye, Neji not only knew what they both needed, he knew he wanted it.
Neji wrapped his arms around Shikamaru and pulled him down until Shika's weight settled atop Neji. The kiss was slower, sweeter, and Shikamaru broke the contact to cry out softly when Neji wrapped his legs around Shika's waist.
"I'm a better man that you are mine, Shika," Neji whispered into Shikamaru's ear. The Nara's breathing grew moist, and Neji smiled. "Now take what's yours, boy."
"Oh God…yes…please…" A hot mouth suckled at the spot on Neji's neck that made fire dance down his spine, and he groaned.
"Master…Sir…Neji…" Shikamaru fumbled for the nightstand, and Neji rolled with him, kissing throat, jaw, lips. He lost track of motions, let himself get swept up in Shikamaru's mouth, in the feel of weight pressing him into the bed, in the smell of Shika, sweat, and sex.
Shifting, moving, low sounds of need and frustration, and Shikamaru's slicked, blunt cockhead pushed at Neji's entrance. The Nara trembled, waiting, and Neji nodded, breath blowing fast against Shika's face while his embrace encouraged the other man forward. Strong arms pinned Neji's legs up, back, and wide, bent his body at a vulnerable angle that made Neji choke on a tenuous cry. Neji's breathing rushed from him in ragged pants as Shikamaru began to move within him.
" Neji's teeth found Shikamaru's shoulder, and the Nara gasped as he pressed deeper. The burning stretch made Neji twist and arch, caught as he was by Shikamaru's hold, and he sucked back his breath in small gulps. Shikamaru paused halfway within, withdrew, and changed the angle. Neji's eyes flew open, sightless, when Shikamaru thrust again, moving deeper, and aligned for a drag over Neji's prostate that ignited sparks in his vision and made him feel impossibly full. His hands clutched at Shikamaru's back, nails digging and leaving welts, and Shika grunted in satisfaction.
"Like that, Sir?" Shikamaru whispered, rocking harder and faster.
Neji moaned, head falling back and eyes slipping shut, and he shuddered when Shikamaru licked the front of his throat. The Nara kept the slow pace, taking his time despite the trembling in his arms and the tinged whimpers that escaped his lips. Neji looked up to see Shikamaru lost in body bliss, sweat dampening his hair.
"Tell me who I belong to, Sir?" Shikamaru pleaded, when their gazes met, and he picked up the pace, making Neji's eyes widen. "Please…"
Neji's breathing grew erratic, and the urge for sweetness or care blew away on a hot wind. A beast of need gripped Neji with claws, tore apart composure, and Neji grunted when Shikamaru continued to fill him, take him, make his body sing and sizzle. Teeth gnashing at the rhythm that was still entirely too careful and torturous, Neji grabbed a handful of Shikamaru's hair, brought their faces an inch apart, and bit at Shikamaru's lower lip until the other man whimpered.
"Mine," Neji rasped. Shikamaru fumbled the pace, thrust harder, and Neji hissed. "You're mine
, boy…now stop with the goddamned teasing and fuck. Me."
An unintelligible moan bubbled up Shikamaru's throat, and he ducked his head. Shika shifted his weight, and gripped one of Neji's legs with a bruising clench. The movement opened Neji wider and held him still, and Shikamaru struck deep, fast, and true.
!" Neji called out, vision going white and balls drawing up. Shikamaru kept the chaotic pace, and he began crying out with every dip into Neji's body.
," Shikamaru slurred, and Neji's hand reached down to encircle his own cock and stroke. He thrashed against Shika's hold, gasped when all he could do was take, feel, and shove himself toward the inevitable edge, and he fisted Shikamaru's hair and pulled
when release was another hard thrust away.
"Mine," Neji snarled.
"Yours," Shikamaru gasped.
Neji bit his lip bloody as he came, hand furiously stroking beyond the point of too much. The spasms wracked and rode him, and just as Neji's orgasm began to loosen its grip, Shikamaru thrust hard enough that Neji saw stars.
," Shika half-yelled, and another pulse hit Neji and shoved a sobbing sound of need and pain from his lungs. Shikamaru nearly collapsed, and Neji worked with him to disentangle limbs. They lay together in a spent, heaving mess, and Neji held Shikamaru tightly against him.
Neji made a sleepy sound when Shikamaru finally struggled out of Neji's arms. Both men winced as they shifted, and Neji chuckled at their state.
"Clean up and stay here tonight?" Shikamaru whispered, voice hoarse.
Neji nodded, swallowing. Shikamaru touched his face, tracing a cheekbone. Neji looked up, and Shikamaru smiled: wide and content.
"I love you," Shika said.
Picking up the locket, Neji kissed their initials on the back. "I love you, too."
And it meant everything in the world.
You can read Undercurrents
over on A03 by clicking here
. Check out the "Extras" section for that story on the sidebar here (*points to the left of her page*) for a layout of Club Break and other details. Much love. <3