Pointless Shikamaru, Gaara, and shougi. And why they might move move the way they do.
Warnings: No plot, no point. Unfortunately not a PWP.
Notes: My mind has been trying to distract me from my goal of finishing a different fic with pretty images. Sadly it's working very well. Therefore I give you; Pointless Shikamaru and Gaara!
Why You Move
Asuma-sensei thinks that Shikamaru has never lost a game of shougi. The jounin has played countless games with him and greets each loss with the same sighed lament, "No one can beat you at shougi."
Shikamaru knows it's how he deals with being so thoroughly beaten by his own student on a nigh constant basis. Though Asuma-sensei would deny it, vehemently, it's how he saves his pride with each loss. 'No one can beat Shikamaru at shougi,' therefore it is alright for him to lose.
It doesn't bother Shikamaru much. Even if Asuma-sensei is wrong.
He has lost before.
Not, as Asuma-sensei would assume, when he first started playing against his father, who thought he was teaching his son a new game. He hadn't really. The rules had been a little strange at first, but it didn't take young Shikamaru long to realize it was the same as the ninja games the other kids liked to play. The ones where they would always fight over whose team he'd be on.
No, his losses were more recent. Only a handful of games but they'd all been against the same person, and Shikamaru knows he's looking at another loss right now. It's not a question of if he will lose, it's a matter of when and how much damage he can inflict on his opponent before then.
If it were anyone else he would have already resigned. No point in playing a game that is already lost. Shikamaru arches his back feeling his spine pop as he considers all possible moves. Konoha is silent and dark as it's only one in the morning. They've been playing this game for hours already.
If it were anyone else he'd concede defeat, but against Gaara of the Desert his next move is the one that will prolong the game for the longest time possible. Shougi with the Sand nin had never been about who was better, after all. It was mostly just a way to pass the time.
Shikamaru watches the red head consider the board with an impassive face. Between the two of them they've been averaging about twenty minutes between moves for this game. Gaara is the only person he's ever played against who has managed to take even more time to think than himself.
But then Shikamaru supposes that when a person doesn't spend half their life unconcious like everyone else, they learn that time is pretty meaningless. Shikamaru can't even begin to imagine what it's like. He gets bored out of his mind during a normal day, and he spends as much of it napping as he can possibly manage.
It's one of the reasons why he doesn't protest being pulled out of his own bed in the middle of the night. Never mind how waking up to see the ghostly spectre of Gaara looming over him pretty much guarantees he won't be sleeping easily for the next week. He wonders how he can put words to the fact that, homocidal or not, Gaara is still a freaky and scary looking person to the newly concious and could he please not do that again? Probably for the best that he can't quite find an acceptable way to word it as Gaara would either give him his "and people think I'm crazy" look or the other one. The one that looks angry but is really just Gaara knowing he's failed at something simple and wondering what he did wrong.
Shikamaru realizes he's been spending far too much time in the other nin's company when he was able to name more than one expression. Never mind the fact that most people would consider the fact that Gaara had more than one expression as being too much information.
And his mind is wandering far too much. Which is one of the many reasons why he's losing this game tonight. Shikamaru sighs as he considers the move Gaara has decided on. He's lost two key pieces and is now firmly backed into a corner. He can either continue to move defensively or he can use what pieces he has left to launch an all out assault.
Gaara watches him silently, green eyes flat and already bored with the game they're playing. Bastard. Shikamaru sighs in annoyance and attacks. He's not really in a good position to do so, but it would at least make Gaara think about his moves more closely. Plus if he moves the way Shikamaru is expecting him to move he'll lose quite a few of his own pieces to the trap Shikamaru's had set up since the first turn.
The truth is they haven't really played eachother very much, and Shikamaru has won as many games as he's lost. A late night that turns to morning game in Konoha. A game inside while sands raged outside in the Sand village. Even a few games away from the villages, an inn when missions crossed. About a dozen games in all, but sometimes it seems like they've played more.
He can predict which moves Gaara will make. Nothing extrodinary about that, he can do that with anyone. But he can not only see which moves Gaara will make he also sees which ones he will not. He can see which moves Gaara will notice and which ones he will not. Most importantly he's beginning to understand why he moves the way he does.
Gaara moves into his trap, but not the way Shikamaru was expecting him to. Shikamaru has to only move one piece to take several of Gaara's more powerful ones, but doing that would have him lose the game in three turns. Too soon. And Gaara knows that.
Shikamaru sighs and carefully considers the board. It's such a pain that Gaara seems to be learning why Shikamaru moves too, but that's just another one of the many reasons he doesn't mind these late games.