Getting Revenge Without Being a Total Prick
Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto.
Note: I'm not entirely sure where this came from. I was thinking about how Sasuke's turned into a revenge-obsessed moron recently (seriously, enough is enough!) and how Shikamaru went out and got revenge in, like, a week and how Sasuke really could do with some advice.
Shikamaru was lying lazily under a tree, trying to decide if it would be more troublesome to wait for Choji to wander by with some food or to go get some himself.
"Shikamaru!" a vaguely familiar voice whispered urgently.
Shikamaru didn't move, pondering where he had heard that voice before. It hadn't been in quite some time, he was sure, and probably not whispering, so the answer was not immediately clear.
"Shikamaru!" the voice hissed again. "Are you even awake?"
"Of course I'm awake," Shikamaru replied. "Why wouldn't you think I was?"
"Oh, I don't know," the voice whispered sarcastically. "Your eyes are closed, you're not moving, and you didn't respond to my call."
"I was trying to figure out who you were but it was far too troublesome to open my eyes and look at you," Shikamaru explained.
"…You haven't changed, have you?" the voice said, sounding surprised. "So how in the world did you manage-?"
"Manage what?" Shikamaru deigned to prompt.
"I'll get to that," the voice promised. "I'm-"
"Wait, don't tell me," Shikamaru interrupted. "It's no fun if I don't have to work it out."
"Sasuke," Sasuke said, completely ignoring him.
"You clearly haven't changed either," Shikamaru grumbled, reluctantly opening his eyes and turning to face the missing-nin. "Always sucking the fun out of everything. What are you even doing here?"
"I need your help," Sasuke confessed, looking vaguely ill at the prospect.
"I thought Orochimaru was keeping you under lock and key so you wouldn't run away and take his new body with you," Shikamaru said amiably.
"Oh, h e was," Sasuke confirmed. "But then I killed him. Kind of."
"How can you kind of kill somebody? You either kill them or you don't," Shikamaru pointed out. "Although, I suppose there was that thing with Hidan…"
"I attacked him, beat him, and sealed him, okay? He's mostly dead," Sasuke explained.
"Mostly dead people have a bad habit of coming back at the absolute worst moments and generally making a nuisance of themselves," Shikamaru said sagely.
Sasuke rolled his eyes. "I'll keep that in mind. Now, I need your advice on-"
"Hold on a second," Shikamaru interrupted. "My first mission as a Chuunin and as a squad leader was trying to bring your sorry ass back to Konoha three years ago. Thanks to you, I started off my career as a Chuunin a failure! And Temari yelled at me!"
"Hey, it's not my fault Naruto passed out before me," Sasuke defended. "Well, actually, it kind of is, but mostly it's just because he sucks."
"He's gotten better," Shikamaru said loyally. "And what makes you think that after all of that, the fact that everyone else who went after you was hospitalized, and the fact I had to put up with everyone crying and bemoaning your absence for the last three years, I'm going to help you with anything?"
Sasuke sat down next to the lazy boy. "Because I'm not going anywhere until you do," he declared. "Troublesome, huh?"
"What makes you think that I won't just tell the Hokage that you're here?" Shikamaru challenged. "I'm sure she'd love to get her hands on you after you pulled an Orochimaru on her and for everything you've put Sakura and Naruto through."
"Because that would be even more troublesome," Sasuke said simply. "I'm too powerful now for anyone less than the absolute elite to take down and you know that Naruto at least will draw it out into some epic battle that will just be a rehash of the day I left."
Shikamaru sighed. He REALLY didn't want to deal with that. Besides, even if he wanted to, Sasuke could probably incapacitate him before he managed to get a warning out. He cursed the fact that it was midday so there were no shadows for him to utilize. "Fine," he bit out. "What do you want?"
Sasuke looked vaguely uncomfortable again. "As you know, I have a slight interest in vengeance."
Shikamaru snorted. "That's like saying Naruto has a 'slight' interest in ramen, I'm a 'little' lazy but brilliant, and Temari is a 'little' troublesome."
Sasuke shrugged. "So I have a great interest in vengeance."
"You defected from Konoha to go chasing after some sort of snake pedophile who had previously given you a curse hickey and made you wear revealing outfits because of revenge," Shikamaru pointed out. "That's called an 'obsession.'"
"Fine, I'm obsessed with revenge," Sasuke admitted with a long-suffering sigh. "But how did you know about-?"
"Sai showed me the manga-style reenactment he did of that time he and the others found you," Shikamaru explained. "Although I'm hoping that some of that was artistic liberties he took…"
Sasuke chose to ignore that. "As I was saying, I'm interested in vengeance. My brother needs to die. Unfortunately, though I've been working nearly exclusively on this noble goal for half of my life already, I'm not really making much progress. Now that Orochimaru is gone and I've gotten exponentially stronger, I'm ready to hunt him down and face him."
"Yeah, that's great," Shikamaru told him, bored. "What's this got to do with me?"
"I heard about Asuma," Sasuke said frankly. After a moment, he added a half-hearted, "It was very sad."
"Your concern is touching," Shikamaru said dryly.
"Anyway, I heard that you got revenge on his killer, Hidan, in under a month," Sasuke said eagerly. "Is that true?"
"It was actually a week," Shikamaru corrected. "And that's only because Hidan spent the first six days sealing the second and third-tailed Bijuu."
"So that makes you an expert on vengeance." It wasn't a question.
Shikamaru treated it like it was anyway. "I wouldn't say expert, exactly," he said modestly.
"I would," Sasuke told him. "And since you're clearly so very good at this and I'm not making much progress, I'd like some tips."
"You want me to give you tips on how to get revenge on your brother?" Shikamaru raised his eyebrows. "Sasuke, I've never even met your brother."
"So?" Sasuke didn't get it. "If you're wondering if he deserves it or not, he does, believe me. He's a total prick, killed 318 people the night of the massacre, his best friend shortly before then, and has been a missing-nin for eight years."
"You've been a missing-nin for the past three," Shikamaru pointed out. "And you almost killed your best friend who still likes you for some obscure reason that nobody but Sakura seems to understand."
"But I didn't," Sasuke countered. "Besides, all of my issues can be blamed on him."
Shikamaru considered. It was true, really. If Sasuke hadn't been so tragically orphaned he wouldn't be so angsty and depressed all the time, nor would he have been so consumed by revenge than he'd leave Konoha and go join Sound. "It's not that simple," Shikamaru sighed. "I know very little about him and thus I could not really create a very effective method for taking him out."
"Why do I need a plan?" Sasuke asked, confused. "Why can't I just kick his ass?"
"You could," Shikamaru agreed. "Maybe. But then what do you need my help for?"
"Because you wanted revenge and you went straight out and got it. Very little delay," Sasuke said. "I would like there to be very little delay between finding my brother and killing him as every time I see him he keeps making me relive the massacre."
"Don't you do that all the time anyway?" Shikamaru asked.
Sasuke shuddered. "That's flashbacks due to him constantly making me relive it."
Shikamaru winced sympathetically. He would certainly hate it if someone kept making him have flashbacks of Asuma's death. "I fought Hidan before when he killed Asuma. I was able to figure out his strengths and weaknesses and in the week between our two battles, I trapped him there with careful planning and exact precision."
Sasuke looked disappointed. "So…it was just all strategy?"
Shikamaru shrugged. "What do you expect from me? My Shadow Imitation Technique requires a great deal of strategy and I really can't be bothered for more impulsive styles of conflict."
Sasuke slumped. "So you can't help me."
"I can't tell you what to do, no," Shikamaru allowed. "But since I've heard you tend to fly into a rage around your brother anyway, you probably wouldn't listen if I could."
"I can't help that!" Sasuke defended. "I swear, it's like he's trying to make sure I hate him or something…"
"There might be something to that," Shikamaru suggested. "But in the meantime, focus on what you know about his fighting style and personality. Are there any subjects you could bring up that might distract him?"
"He mostly fights with genjutsu," Sasuke said after thinking for a moment.
"Fighting by standing around and staring at people," Shikamaru sighed blissfully. "That sounds like heaven…"
"It's a lot more than just standing around and staring at people!" Sasuke said affronted, even though it totally was. Or perhaps because of that.
"Whatever. Now do you need to make eye contact to be affected by any of those techniques?" Shikamaru queried.
Sasuke nodded. "Yeah, the Tsukuyomi does, I know, possibly the other genjutsu, I'm not sure."
"Then avoid eye contact," Shikamaru instructed. "Try to avoid flying into a mindless rage as that leads to mindless suicide charges and any half-decent opponent could avoid it."
"Is that it?" Sasuke demanded.
"Quite frankly, I doubt you'll find yourself capable of just those two," Shikamaru confessed. "Besides, I already told you I don't have enough information, you don't want a plan, and I don't even want to be doing this anyway."
"Then why are you?" Sasuke challenged.
"Because you threatened to not go away, remember?" Shikamaru reminded him.
"Oh yeah," Sasuke said. "I actually got the idea from Naruto. I had no idea it was that effective."
"It's only effective if the person in question is annoying," Shikamaru replied.
Sasuke chose to ignore that. "Well, if that's all, then it's been great but I've got to be going. It's not like my brother's just going to drop dead of his own accord, you know. Thanks for the help and congratulations on your revenge!"
Shikamaru just closed his eyes again as he heard Sasuke leave. "Congratulations on my revenge? Who even says things like that? Troublesome…"
Note: I wasn't trying to Sasuke-bash, but poor Shikamaru just wanted to be left alone, not have to deal with everyone's favorite (at the time) unofficial missing-nin. Too bad Sasuke didn't take the advice, huh? :p