A Simple Game of Shougi

By: Clever Audrey

Disclaimer: Do not own Naruto.

Rating: PG (just a couple naughty words)

Pairings: ShikaTemari, hinted SasuNaru

Warnings: slight OOCness, WAFF?


"Hmm…" Naruto scrunched up his eyes and pouted down at the shougi board. "I don't get it!"

Shikamaru rolled his eyes. "You're so troublesome, Naruto. Why am I trying to teach you this again?" He sighed and looked around at the room, crowded with a mix of their friends and teachers. Asuma was busy talking with Kurenai. Gai was telling a very intent-looking Lee something, and Kakashi was perched on a windowsill reading his perverted book. Kiba and Hinata were playing with Akamaru. Neji was involved in a conversation with Gaara, surprisingly enough, as the Sand Siblings were visiting. Kankuro and Chouji were both snacking happily at a table to the side of the room, as Ino, Sakura and TenTen giggled in a far corner. Temari was sitting by herself a little ways away from her younger brother, and appeared to be observing the room at large.

"Because no one else will play you anymore," Sasuke said wryly from his seat next to Naruto, and then smirked. "And apparently you're hoping the dobe here will turn out to be some secret tactical genius who can actually give you a challenge."

Naruto stuck his tongue out at the dark-haired teen. "I am not a dobe, baka."

"You are when it comes to shougi, though not at other things," Sasuke scooted closer to the blond, and murmured something in his ear. Naruto grinned suggestively at whatever Sasuke said.

Shikamaru eyed the two with some apprehension. "Oi, save it for your apartment. Are you gonna learn this or not, Naruto?"

The whiskered shinobi grimaced, but nodded and examined the board again. Sasuke stayed close to him, and spent the next half hour murmuring instructions and tips to his lover.

Finally, a scowling Naruto stood up in exasperation. "Enough! I just don't get it! How can you possibly enjoy this game, Shikamaru?"

Somehow combining a sigh and a smirk, Sasuke also rose and followed Naruto, who decided that going to pester Neji and Gaara for awhile would prove more entertaining than shougi.

Shikamaru rolled his eyes in resignation. It was hopeless…he could beat everyone here…most of them so quickly there wasn't even any point in playing. Still, he really did want to play. "Anyone else up for another game?" he asked, his tone expecting a negative answer. A chorus of "no" greeted him, and he sighed, not surprised.

Then, there came an unexpected female voice from across the room. "I will," Temari rose gracefully to her feet, grabbed her fan, and strode over to join Shikamaru at his game board. He raised an eyebrow at the older girl.

"You know how to play?" He was skeptical.

She eyed him for a minute before grinning. "Yes."

That grin worries me, Shikamaru thought, returning her gaze warily. Looks way too much like Naruto's when he's up to something…I hope this isn't going to be troublesome. Still…no one else will play, and I've never played her before.

If he were to be completely honest with himself, the older Sand kunoichi intrigued him. First with her intelligence in their match at the Chuunin exams, and then later when she had saved his life from the Sound nin who was about to beat him on their fated "retrieve the-stuck-up-idiotic-dumbass-who-is-more-commonly-known-as-Sasuke" mission (as it was so dubbed by the five boys after they returned).

Besides, she seemed intelligent enough to last a little longer than most, plus her strategies would hopefully be new. The lazy jounin nodded to her, and together they set up the board.

"I'll go first," she smirked at him, "since you're the genius." Shikamaru shrugged, and they began.

When twenty minutes had passed and they were still playing, a few of the others began to peer over at them interestedly. Forty minutes after that, they had most of the group gathered around them in an excited but quiet audience.


Temari watched Shikamaru frown down at the board, a happy glint of challenge in his eyes. He made his move and looked up at her.

Dammit, he's backing me into a corner! Temari swore silently. She scrutinized the board, looking for a way out of it. No good. He's at least twenty steps ahead of me, I'm sure. There's only one move I can make to get out of this, and he knows it! The Sand nin let her eyes roam over her pieces, before stopping on one particular grouping. But what if…what if I don't do what I should here? What if I…moved something else?

Carefully keeping her sudden excitement off of her face, Temari examined the board carefully twice more. No…no, I think this might…. She could tell that their audience was getting impatient, though her opponent seemed quite content to let her take as long as she needed. Running through it one last time, she made up her mind.

If he falls for this, I'll win the game. The thought made her stomach flutter and she had to contain a fierce grin. She checked herself quickly. Calm down, woman. He won't fall for it…but still, there's a tiny chance, and I'm sure to lose if I do what he expects.

Taking a deep breath, Temari leaned forward and carefully took her turn. Completely ignoring what the conventional response to Shikamaru's last move would be, she set up her trap.

Shikamaru blinked at the unexpected move. Then he frowned. He studied the board for long moments, his expression openly perplexed. Temari tried not to hold her breath. Just this once…I'll never beat him again, but just this once…if I could….

Abruptly, the Leaf jounin settled back, closing his eyes and putting the tips of his fingers together, held upside down in front of him. Temari's eyes widened. I know that stance…well, at least I pushed him that far, if nothing else.

A ripple passed through their audience, which began to drift away, chuckling and muttering to themselves. Temari caught snippets of their talk, which consisted largely of "Good game, but…" "…over now" and "-no chance against that stance…." The Sand kunoichi ignored them, and focused on the board or her opponent.

By the time Shikamaru came out of his planning session, everyone had pretty much gone back to what they were doing before. With a small smile of triumph, he leaned forward and took his turn.

Temari, head bent, looked at the board for a long moment, a slight frown crossing her features. Then, slowly, she looked up at Shikamaru, and smirked.


Shikamaru took in the woman's smirk, and slowly looked back down at the board. His eyes went very wide.

"Oh…shit!" he muttered, staring, realizing his mistake too late.

Everyone in the room stopped what they were doing and turned to look at the two facing each other across the shougi board.

Smirk becoming a full-fledged grin, Temari reached out and took her turn, finishing the game. Shikamaru continued to stare, trying to comprehend what had just happened.

"I…lost…."

Still grinning, Temari held a hand out to him, which he took without thinking. Grip firm and warm, she shook his hand.

"Good game, genius," she said, sincere and teasing all at once. Then she rose, grabbed her fan and headed for the door. "Well, boys, I think it's time we got back to the inn for the night," she called to her two brothers, who rose and followed her in awed silence.

Shikamaru slowly let his amazed eyes drift from the board up to the woman heading for the door. "I think I'm in love…" he mumbled, gazing after the only person who had ever beaten him at shougi.

Although he couldn't see her slight blush or her pleased smile, he did notice the break in her walk as his words reached her. Then she continued on her way, waving a hand at the group.

"Don't worry," her dark eyes flicked briefly to his, "we'll be back."

Shikamaru couldn't stop a responding smile from creeping on to his face. This is going to be troublesome, but…it might just be worth it.

Owari.

shougi Japanese chess

kunoichi female ninja

shinobi another word for ninja

AN: I know absolutely nothing about how to play shougi, so this is very blatantly made up.