Summary: 'I'm losing my touch. Tch, this is bad, so very bad.' The Nara thought dourly. Sequel to 'What is Mine'. Shikamaru tries to wade through the politics of the Hyuuga Clan whilst freeing Chouji and himself from their own unwanted marriage tradition.
Disclaimer: If anyone here is actually the author of the inspiration to all these fanfictions; I respect your anonymity. I'm simply not amongst your numbers; though I wish I were.
There were many things Shikamaru hated about childhood; being incapable of stopping your mother from dressing you was at the top. Unfortunately the pushy woman had shown up at five, five mind you, in the morning with multiple kimono, haori, geta, zori, tabi socks, and the whole nine yards.
With a scowl deeply etched into his cheeks Shikamaru dutifully stood straight in his nagajugan as kimono after kimono was placed on him and the collar changed out. So far a butter-yellow kimono had been discarded. Another that was a rich forest green with subtle maple leaves had been set aside as well. She tried stiff brown obi's, orange soft ones and then swapped the collars to hakama-both the pant and skirt style.
"Perhaps you should wear a brown kimono with a black obi and white hakama. No! You don't have a good collar to go with the color schemes," Yoshino declared more to herself than her son. Shikamaru yawned in order to hide his grimace. What was his mother thinking? He really didn't want to know but he treacherous mind produced an image anyway.
Tired, cranky, and more than ready to scream 'who cares' Shikamaru barely contained any potential rude gestures. All aware of her son's waning patience Yoshino called for a break and handed her son a grey yukata and snap on dark blue obi.
"Shika-kun, have you eaten yet?" Yoshino spoke sternly. Shikamaru openly gaped at his mother as something in the back of his brain snapped.
"Mom you woke me up at five in the morning and you're asking if I ate breakfast yet?" the Nara heir realized his stupidity the moment his mouth shut. Nostrils flaring and eyes widened in humiliation Yoshino bowed, apologized, and pardoned her way to the kitchen. Shame was a terrible power-hold and he had just gifted it over to his mother. Now he was at her mercy for the rest of the day.
"Bad move, son," the rich baritone of his sire broke his self-incrimination. Without opening his eyes Shikamaru nodded and snatched up his smokes. Silently the two entered the living room and sat on the window sill; the same one Shikamaru and Chouji had perched upon the day before. Shikato cracked open the casement to let the smoke out.
"Chouza gleaned that Uzumaki and you are having difficulties," Shikato articulated as he blew a smoke ring. Worn out the young man nodded his head briefly. Chou-ji-san and all of Konoha probably; maybe even a few outlying villages or sub-prefectures had heard Shikamaru and Naruto couldn't make any headway with their Hyuuga and liberal campaigns.
Then again if Shikato were to hear anything remotely rumored it wouldn't be from Inoiichi but Chouza. Something about the way Inoiichi gossiped, and subsequently his spawn, just made the Nara duo stop listening. A really bad habit Shikamaru was trying to quiet so he wouldn't be deaf by twenty.
"Understatement," the heir groused for a number of reasons; all of which he had explained with his beloved Chouji and therefore didn't need to explain all over again to his father. Yes, perhaps the older man could have helped him in providing ideas or taken over supervision of one project or another; but Shikamaru was really hoping his dad would manage his mother until he had to accept the proposal of one omi-ai or another. Although it would be great if Shikamaru didn't have to at all, but realistically the statistics were stacked against Shikamaru; but maybe future generations would benefit.
"Need anything?" Shikato inquired and Shikamaru took a moment to thoroughly think out all potential angles to whatever his father could give. Yoshino was a stay at home wife who had dropped out of the academy the eve before the genin exams: she had been coerced out of it and therefore failed. She stayed fit and chatted with the other wives but held no real status among them; smart in her own right she was exceedingly conservative.
"Yea," Shikamaru decided after a moment of deliberation. The Nara heir never once doubted for a minute that his progenitor wouldn't help to amend the old arranged marriage laws. After all, they are what kept Shikato away from his old childhood sweetheart Aburame Shibi. Plus Shikato saw the folly of the Hyuuga seals, "Mom."
"Anything else?" Shikato inquired, right eye twitching so indiscernibly Shikamaru nearly failed to detect. Almost, but by now he knew the signs to look for. Shikato would have his hands full dealing with his spouse. He was a whipped beau. That he was willing to do more indicated he was so on-board it was touching, in a way. Logically Shikamaru knew this but all he could think was that his father was a masochist.
Nonetheless that would explain why the man sustained the charade of his nuptials. It is not like he reviled Yoshino, he truly loved her; but it was glaringly evident to Shikamaru that Shikato loved Shibi more; and had been so clear since he was six. Aburame Shibi and Nara Shikato were the pairing of the century in Konoha. Both were powerful and respected shinobi known for their strategy and leadership skills. Being so similar hardly seemed it would work out, but it did; and still does.
Only six people knew the two had been intimate; Shikamaru, his grandparents, Shino, and Shino's grandparents. Yoshino guessed and second guessed so often that Shikamaru actively strove since he found the two out to keep their clandestine past relation from the homophobic woman. Yes, Shikamaru would in no way dare utter it aloud but he was a Daddy's Boy.
"Keep an ear open for me, would you?" Shikamaru requested as he exhaled, the scent of tempura beginning to mingle with the tobacco. Shikamaru hated tempura so he really pissed his mother off. Yoshino was a very temperamental female, more so than anyone Shikamaru's ever met. Was it any wonder he was a Daddy's Boy? Shikato who was just as slothful as his offspring?
"Naturally," Shikato maundered as the two began to ponder the circumstances with unerring accuracy. Shikamaru had guessed as much, but officially requesting it meant Shikato would double check the sources for legitimacy and minute details. Nodding off Shikamaru was helpless but to dream of Chouji. Until the unctuous calling of his mother brought him out of his thoughts and into his kitchen for breakfast. Where did she find the ingredients to make tempura? Shikamaru was at a loss to explain because he knew he didn't buy it.
Apparently Yoshino knew her son would piss her off.
Breakfast was a drama in and of itself. Shikato purposefully sat between his offspring and companion. Yoshino gave him such a cloy smile it looked painfully and raised little red flags. Eating the fried squid tested Shikamaru's gag-reflex in a very awful manner. Washing it down with pickled plums or cup after cup of ginseng tea did not help. After 'itadakimasu' and complementing the 'delicious' meal there was nothing to be said; not even by Yoshino who would demure with 'it was nothing'. That raised the second little red flag.
Having Ino barge into the room with a mission scroll in hand had never been more welcome by the Nara heir; especially in the morning. Although on any other day Ino barging into Shikamaru's apartment would piss him off; today it was more than just forgivable.
"Oh! I'm so sorry! Am I interrupting? I apologize but unfortunately this can't wait. Hello auntie Yoshino and uncle Shikato how are you?" Ino abashed sweetly, saddling up to the older woman. Shikamaru stood as quickly as he dared, snatched up the scroll, and fled for his bedroom to change. After closing the door he fist-pumped the air, the closest he would come to a 'happy dance'. Shikamaru read the scroll, memorized the contents, snapped it closed and changed so quickly he set a new record for himself.
"Hurry the hell up!" Ino screeched from kitchen it sounded like. Rolling his eyes Shikamaru shrugged his shoulders to relax the stress-build up he padded back to the battlegrounds.
"It is so impolite to be calling us auntie and uncle several hours before a scheduled omi-ai," Shikamaru heard his mother complain to Shikato.
"Relax, it's probably just reflex for Jo-chan," Shikato countered carefully. Satisfied by the repertoire of his travelling pack Shikamaru re-entered his kitchen expecting to see the kunoichi. Ino wasn't present. She must have run ahead to the main gate.
"Gochisosama," Shikamaru bowed to his parents and shuffled to catch up to the blonde. In his rush, for him anyway, he scarcely averted from bowling the girl over. The provocative blonde stood scowling, tapping her foot in irritation, arms crossed tightly over her breast.
"What kept you? No, don't answer I know this is the fastest you've been without the prompt of someone dying," Ino corrected herself with a flip of her ponytail, "Let's get this straight. I don't want to marry you. My heart is still reserved for Sasuke-sama. Yet if it comes down between Temari and I, I'd sooner you marry me to steer clear of that Suna whore."
Shikamaru stared and decided he should have moved much slower. One- that anyone would refer to a crush as 'sama' clearly had mental problems and a full blown obsession. Two- that Ino still lusted for the two-faced, double-crossing, and back stabbing reject just pissed Shikamaru off. Three- Shikamaru would rather choose Temari and move to Suna rather than see Chouji married to someone other than himself.
I have no truly apropos excuse for disappearing on any of my readers but here is a brief re-cap of what life has currently been like for me: car accident, death of pet, loss of job, stress, finding job, bills, getting job, got the job, and then trying to recapture the muse that was Sill.
Life, as they say, goes on. I am still in a rough patch and so I request some patience and I pray you don't experience all the above ever, but especially not in such a short amount of time. Thank you!
P.S. I suspect I have two, maybe three chapters to go on this version and then I'll likely swap to short stories, maybe poetry.
P.P.S. If you don't understand any of the Japanese babble above then here is, more or less, a reference.
Gochisosama means: "you are a superb person for offering/giving me such wonderful food" especially when it is free. Basically Shikamaru is sucking up to his mother.
Nagajugan: Feudal Japan's underwear equivalent.
Kimono: A robe-like garment worn in Japan made of silk or thick cotton for special events or winter respectively.
Yukata: Similar to Kimono but worn during the summer and made of light cotton or intended for leisurely activities. Traditionally improper to wear outside though currently as I understand it now it is acceptable outdoor wear.
Haori: Short, silk jackets to go over Kimono; but not really Yukata.
Hakama: The infamous 'pants' samurai wear over their Yukata; occaisionally designed to look like a skirt.
Tabi socks: The socks with a split for the big toe so one can wear geta or zori easily.
Geta: Wooden sandles with the two 'blocks' underneath, named after the 'clack, clacking' you hear when walking.
Zori: Sandles essentially, but with a flat bottom and made out of either tatami or now-a-day's vinyl.