Categories > Anime/Manga > Naruto > Stumbling Blind


by Virgo 0 reviews

On heirlooms and nosey fathers.

Category: Naruto - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Angst, Humor - Characters:  Ino, Shikamaru - Warnings: [!] - Published: 2005-05-08 - Updated: 2005-05-08 - 2700 words

Stumbling Blind
8. Traditions

bgm- "As Long as I am Breathing", The Rembrandts



"To the lucky bastard known as my son!"

"Here's to the lucky bastard!"


Shikamaru never knew his house could get so rowdy before. He never even knew his house could hold so many people and not start cracking at the foundations. It seemed to him that his dad had invited half the ninja in his company and bought out an entire liquor store. He scowled at their toast.

He sat on the torn couch that was pushed against the wall. The first thing the jounins did was shove everything to the sides, clearing out a big area for them to roughhouse around in and pass out once they reached their limit. Shikamaru really didn't want to be here, but if he made a move towards any exit, he knew his dad would notice.

He always noticed stupid things like that.

Shikamaru snorted and starred at his cup, glowering at the clear liquid inside. Some female- that seemed far too comfortable in the company of a bunch of drunk men in Shikamaru's opinion -was playing bartender and had giving him a gin and tonic near the beginning of the party. It was nearing midnight and the glass was only half emptied.

But the older shinobi were determined to have him- as they called it -call the dinosaurs (it wasn't until he asked his dad he found out it meant they were trying to get him to drink till he puked) and there were shots of tequila every hour. After the third hour, he was relieved that they were starting to get so drunk they were losing all track of time and memory that he was still there.

"Oh yeah! Shot time!"

He grimaced inwardly. Until that damned toast, anyway.

"Wait, wait, wait!" His dad got to his feet and held out his hands, swaying more on solid ground than he would on an ocean voyage. "Nah, this time, he's gotta take," he grinned in a way that made Shikamaru shudder, "the Four Horsemen."

The way the others' eyes lit up and went 'ooooooooh', made him really want to get away at that moment. But with ten pairs of calculating eyes and matching grins turned on him, he knew he was dead.


The cold night felt good, especially the cool metal railing against his head. After seeing how well he handled the Four Horsemen (falling short of tearing his own throat out), the jounin were then trying to pound any drink they could into him. In theory he should be feeling a lot worse at this moment instead of only having a slight headache and feeling really sleepy.

It had to have been the curry he had earlier that day, right before the party started. It was his mother's special recipe (she had a love of exotic foods) and her cookbook was one of the few things she had left behind. He smiled against the night breeze. No wonder she had wrote a note on the side: "Shikato's medicine", it left enough grease around the stomach to make Crisco.

"Ah, there you are, boy."

He didn't look up, but said, "Hi, Dad."

"Wondered where you went off to."

"You're surprisingly upright."

"Yeah, well," he grinned wickedly, words only a bare slur, "when you drink as much as I do, your body learns to stand up without you. Beside, I found your mom's curry in the fridge. Big help, even after you drink."


He sat down next to his son, dangling his legs over the porch. "You're a pretty good cook. I should have you make me dinners every night."

"You say that every time I make a meal."

"Really?" His brow furrowed. "What do you usually say in return?"

"'We don't have enough food in the house to cook a meal all the time.' "

"We would if you weren't being lazy and not go out shopping."

Shikamaru quirked an eyebrow. "Me? You're the one bringing in all the money and you're the one that spends every minute here asleep."

"It's a comfortable place to sleep, you can't dispute that."

"Hn." He looked back over the block, but a soft smile was on his lips. "No, you can't."

"You know boy," his father clapped a heavy hand on his shoulder, "I don't say this enough, but I'm really proud of you."

He looked back up at his dad, "Why?"

"Why?" Shikato looked genuinely shocked. "Why shouldn't I be? You're my son, you're incredibly smart, talented and you've got a good heart. What shouldn't I be proud about?"

"I'm lazy. I don't like to do things and people annoy me. That's not really stuff you should be proud of."

"But you're forgetting, I'm like that, too." He leaned against his hands. "I've learned to accept that in me. It's not really stuff I like about me, and maybe I could change it if I weren't too lazy to," he grinned, "besides, you can't let a couple of bad points make up your entire opinion of someone. You have to take the good with the bad, don't you?"


They sat quietly for a while, Shikato fingering a shot glass his hands had inadvertently brought out with him. The drop of liquid amber, perpetually rimming the bottom of the glass, slid down a knotted finger as he tilted it. Nights like this always brought about memories. A lot of things did.

"What part of me," he was surprised to hear Shikamaru speak first, "is like mom?"

He clutched the glass in a tight fist, feeling it strain under his grip. The subject of his mother was rarely breached, especially by Shikamaru. "Everything good, really." He left out a huff. "Around the eyes and when you smiled." He winced inwardly when he caught himself saying the past tense. Shikamaru rarely smiled and he felt responsible for it. "You look more like your mother than you might think." He laughed shortly. "When you look at us, you can tell we're related. When you where with your mother, the resemblance was uncanny. She was so talented and was the most loyal, most dependable person I've ever met. And so smart. She may even be smarter than you.

"She knew, right off the bat, you were special. She could tell from the moment you were born that you were going to be something great. You picked things up so quickly, it was amazing. She taught you so much before she left. How to walk, how to talk, taught you all your manners. She even got you to recognize characters. You couldn't read or anything, but you knew what some simple words meant, it was amazing." His soft smile took a sad turn. "And when she left, you closed yourself off. You wouldn't talk anymore, you wouldn't point at things and tell me what they were. Instead, you picked up all my bad habits, and whenever I wasn't there...." He shook his head, unwilling to remember.

"I'm really sorry for how alone you had to grow up. I love your mother dearly, it still hurts like hell. Sometimes, though, I think I could hate her. So many times I just sit there and think about her and miss her and wonder how she's doing. When you were little, I told you everything I could about her to keep you from missing her like I do. I know it doesn't really help, but I thought if you knew about her, you wouldn't wonder about her so much."

There was another pause. Shikamaru, again, broke the silence. "Being so serious doesn't really suit you." He gave his father a wry grin. "You're never serious."

The grin was returned in equal parts. "And you're never not serious. I guess we balance out."

"Hn." He looked back into the night. "....So I got my intelligence from mom, huh?"

"Well, you know me. Cleverness is something that just comes in a flash of inspiration. You and your mother are abundant with that stuff. I was actually kinda jealous." His thick arms crossed over the rail, chin resting on them. "She would've made a great ninja but she didn't like killing. She understood why I had to, but she never liked it. Maybe that was the real reason she left, I don't know. But you've got what she has, it's just all the years of solitude has you hiding it. People with good sense, though, they can tell you have it. When Asuma said he did an IQ test on you, I told him I didn't care." Shikamaru looked at him in surprise. "I told him I already knew you were smart and I didn't need any test to prove it."

Eyes wide, his brow smoothed out. "Really?"

"Yeah." His father broke out in a face splitting grin. "Then I told him to tell me what it was anyway so I could rub it in that know-it-all Kazuki's face and his little brat of a kid."

Shikamaru snorted and turned away, but a slight smile was on his face.

"I couldn't ask for a better kid. You never get into trouble- serious trouble, anyway -I never have to worry about you- though sometimes I wish I have to -and you always listen to people. That's why it always kills me whenever someone thinks you're stupid because I know you're not. I know you can run circles around those bastards, so I tried to teach you everything I could, keep you from acting in a way that would make people say that."

"Well, they can think what they want."

"And you'll be happy with that?"

Unconsciously, a hand went up to the locket around his neck. He found himself holding it more and more recently. "Unless it's people that matter, I'm fine with it. I'm not out to change people's opinions."

Shikato had a sly smile on his face. He knew about the locket. He knew more about it than Shikamaru did. "It's always that one person, isn't it? The person most important to you."

To his annoyance, he felt his cheeks grow flush. "You know about that, don't you."

He cupped his chin in a hand, lazy but deliberate. "The locket or important people?"

His son shot him a glare. "What about the locket?"

"The Yamanaka locket? Oh, I know all about it. After all, Inoshi's my best friend, he told me everything there is to know about it. How when they're little, they're told to give it to the person most important to them, their best friend, generally. Of course, not like a guy's gonna be handing out necklaces to his buds and all. They're also told that when they get older and find that certain person, when they're old enough to realize who that person is, they give them their locket." His grin got toothy. "At 'the age'," he said it as if Shikamaru would know automatically what 'the age' is, "they marry whoever holds their locket."


Oh. That age.

Shikamaru's blush darkened and he tried to cover it up by being pissed. "We're only 12! It's not like I'm the love of her life or anything." He scowled, not believing he just said that. "Besides, she's stuck thinking about someone else."

"Even if she is, they're apparently not that important to her."

"She only drools over the mere mention of his name."

"But that doesn't mean that he's important."

Shikamaru gave his father an incredulous look. "What do you mean by that."

"There's eye candy everywhere. There's people you admire and people you look up to. But an important person is someone you want to protect, someone you want to be with and make happy. But the biggest part is," he had a smile that was oddly warm- it made Shikamaru feel more like a child than before, "a truly important person thinks you're just as important to them. That's why you have it and he doesn't."

The boy looked down at his feet, fingering the locket that his palm had memorized long ago. He nearly jumped off the porch as a large hand damn near swatted him into the railing.

"Aw, don't look so glum!" His father cheered happily. "She already made her move. It's your turn now. She won't do anything until then." Shikamaru scowled. "And, seeing as it's late at night, it wouldn't be a good idea to go tell her now-"

"I don't have anything to tell her." He snapped irritably.

"-so," the older man continued on, "you'll just have to wait until morning, eh? Or until you're over your hang over."

"I didn't drink enough to-"He clamped his mouth shut.

"That just means you gotta drink more! C'mon, boy!" He guided his son bodily into the house. "Three hours 'till dawn. Plenty of time to get pissed!"

If Shikamaru ever thought about wishing he were someone else, now was the time.



immediately falls to her knees I know it's short! I'm sorry! I didn't mean for it to be this short, but I couldn't think of writing anything else that wouldn't really seem like it was forced! Next chapter, I'm certain will more than make up for the crappy quality of this and the last chapter. I /promise/!

I'm going off my own military knowledge on some of this stuff, here. Each team or solo ninja is part of a company which is part of a battalion which is then part of the entire organization known as Hidden Leaf Ninja. It's just easier for the higher ups to deal with. There's someone in charge of each company and someone in charge of each battalion. Though it's a bit more complex in the real military, I've simplified it here. Each battalion is organized by the skill each team specializes in. For example, a company made up of shinobi specializing in espionage (infiltration, gathering information, stealth) would be in the same company as those that are good at scouting (tracking, finding traps) and assassinations (stealth, getting in and out of areas quickly). I could get into it more, but I'm sure you don't really care. Though, just for the record, I'd probably lump Shikamaru's dad in a support company.

The Four Horsemen shot is something that some of my friends at work do. For someone to be officially part of their group and the bar (which is their prime hang out spot), they have to down and 'survive' the Four Horsemen which is made up of Jack, Jose, Jim and something I can never remember^^;;. It's a highly potent shot, as you can tell. Grease is a good alcohol absorbent, chili is an especially good thing to eat before and while you drink, but chili might be a bit to exotic, so I put in curry, instead (which is also a good stomach liner).

And on a note about alcohol, I don't know much Asian drinks except for the usual stuff. And brand name beers (like kirin and the like), so I just went with the stuff I know^^;;

Shikamaru's dad, in my mind, is a lot like Asuma, except- to me -he has a sharper feel. Little darker and more cynical, but never very serious and pretty lazy in his own right. Points that tend to annoy Shikamaru, as well. I wouldn't say they have a bad relationship, but time apart set an irreparable distance between them.

You will like the next chapter. I /promise/.
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