A speculative drabble, set in the far future. Ino and Shikamaru have two children: Shikari, 9 and Inosuke, 4. I'll get more into their descriptions at a later time.
He was always alone in the meadow, but he didn't mind. He was used to it, mind working clearly despite his age. His mother worried about how much he was closed off, even to his own parents. His father said not to worry, but he knew his father was also worried behind his eyes. He heard the talk, the ones that the adults didn't want him to hear.
He was already learning the basics of ninjutsu, at the same level his sister already was at. His father said to learn to pace himself, his mother wouldn't teach him anymore. Not until he was old enough to enroll into the academy, anyway. Not even Tsunade-bachan ("That's Hokage-same in public, sweety," he remembered his mother saying) would let him learn more. Only Shikari would teach him every time she learned something new, though she was often discouraged when he'd always grasp the techniques better than she could.
But, sitting in the meadow he would imagine. Think and piece together bits of what he knew and come up with something new. He supposed he should tell someone what he knew, that he'd go into his father's study and look at the books, or he'd spy on classes when no one was there to take care of him.
A shadow fell over him and he looked up, a small daisy he was playing with bobbing idly between his knees. His gray-blue eyes turned the color of storm.
The person knelt down next to him, hands on their knees. "What are you doing out here on your own?" They asked- he didn't know what to make of them, their voice was like a chorus of people, a range of deep and high that wove to a pitch that made for an oddly enchanting voice.
But he said nothing in response. Not because he was taught to not talk to strangers, but because he rarely said anything, even to his own family.
"Don't you get lonely," they asked, "here by yourself?"
Again he said nothing, just watching the wind pass through their unbound, dark hair. He looked up into their face and couldn't seem to remember it. It was as if it kept moving every time his eyes focused on another part of the face and his brain couldn't wrap around the entirety of it.
"I've heard a lot about you." A hand lifted from a knee, but dangled down by the grass, careful not to touch anything.
He just cocked his head.
"I know you want to learn so many things. I could teach you, if you'd like." There was a grin, almost like fangs but it was just the play of a wet tongue behind curling lips. "I could teach you anything you want."
And slowly that hand came up toward him, glistening and changing colors in the dance of the light. Pale then bronze then brown then ashy.
From the other side of the meadow came a growl.
"Inosuke." The boy turned at the sound of his father's voice, a tone he had never heard before. "Come here." Standing, he saw his father, stance too tense to be casual yet still not aggressive. By him stood four ANBU. One of which was an Inuzuka, their wolf-dog baring its teeth in the boy's direction.
He didn't feel any fear, he knew he wasn't in trouble. Slowly he got to his feet and tottered off to the direction of his father, grabbing a pant leg obediently. He turned back to the stranger.
The stranger in question smiled and it seemed to crawl on their face, unable to keep still. "You've found me so soon. I'm impressed."
His father's eyes narrowed. "We have your scent. No matter whose face you take, you can't hide from us anymore."
"Does that mean you've come to capture me?"
"Don't be stupid." The grip on the boy's shoulder tightened and he worried briefly why his father would get so upset. "Even with the five of us, we wouldn't match against you, and I'm not about to start a needless battle in front of a child."
The stranger tilted their head down. Even their hair, falling over their shoulders, could seem to decide what length to be. "I suppose I'll have to be dully warned, then?"
His father growled, almost louder than the wolf-dog, and the ANBU tensed in response to the sudden aggression in his form. "Keep away from my son, Orochimaru."
They just smiled lazily and turned away. "For today, at least." They said over their shoulder. Except, somehow, all the melodies turned into one. It wove into his ears and nestled into his brain, haunting him while he ignored it.
His father picked him up gently, but the strain was still in his face. Curious and worried, he put a slightly pudgy hand against his father's cheek.
"Papa." He said plainly.
"It's not your fault." His father placed a rare kiss upon his brow. "I'll take you home and you can just forget about this."
But he wouldn't. Because he knew that he father wouldn't, either.
A/N II: Like I said, purely speculative. I don't know how long Orochimaru will last, I'm not even certain how this entire 'face taking' thing works, but shrugs eh.
Notes on the kids: Shikari is five years older than Inosuke. She's got Shikamaru's inherit laziness but she still has Ino's drive. She gets annoyed easily, especially by herself because she tells herself she's going to do stuff but then doesn't get around to doing it because she's too lazy to. One of the smartest kids in her class, she's only a mediocre student because she can't seem to get herself to try hard enough, even though she wants to. She knows how much Inosuke likes to learn though she doesn't understand why their parents won't teach him so she tries to teach him what she knows. Though she gets very annoyed when he can do better than her without even trying. She has dark brown eyes and sandy blonde hair that she keeps in a low ponytail that reaches halfway down her back.
Inosuke is very quiet and reserved. As a baby he rarely cried and, even though he's fully capable or speech, rarely talks, even to his own family. He inherited all of Shikamaru's intelligence and, though he doesn't have Ino's exuberance, with her unyielding nature coupled with a lack of Shikamaru's laziness makes him wanting to learn in order to keep his intelligence sated. He seems closest to Shikari, though it may just be because she's willing to teach him when everyone else is trying to keep him with the rest of his age group. Tsunade has a special interest in him because of his skill (even at his age he has fairly good control over both his parents' blood skills) and is worried he might draw unintentional attention to himself. He has long bangs that frame his cheeks but it's short in the back.
As far as blood line skills go, with Inosuke's genius, he'd probably found a new blood line skill. Like how the Uchiha Sharingan was derived from the Hyuuga Byakugan, it would mostly likely mean that new skills are developed through 'mixed breeding', you could say. What one could come up with a cross between the Nara and Yamanaka skills, few..... we could only guess^^
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