Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto.

Title: A Man Called Father

Pairings: Various

Summary Notes: I've been wanting to do something like this for a while, and now I'm focusing on the older generations, I figured I should go ahead and do it before I ran out of time. As a fatherless child in a sense, I've always been drawn to father/child relationships. Thus, the following chapters will be any of the Naruto characters and their father, and everything in between. If I've forgotten anyone, let me know.

Now, for any of you dobbers out there, this is *not* a challenge of any kind. It's simply inspired by the following quote:

A father never feels worthy of the worship he sees for him in his child's eyes. He's never quite the hero his daughter thinks, never quite the man his son believes him to be, and this worries him. So he works too hard to try and smooth the rough places in both himself and the road for those of his own who will follow him, more precious than his own life...his children.

And now, onward!

Shikamaru/Shikaku

Nara Shikaku is not a demonstrative man. He is a Nara, and Nara are reticient. That aside, it is simply his nature; he is a quiet, reserved personality, preferring to slip quietly about like his shadows. Even to his beloved wife, he is somewhat shy at times, though fortunately, Yoshino is a perceptive woman, and perfectly willing to love him unconditionally.

Thus, he finds little reason to be troubled by the display of deep emotions. One would even go so far as to say he is wary of emotional outbursts, disliking the disruption towards or around his calm disposition. It affects his mind, and when his mind is affected, his body follows, and with it, his fighting capacity.

All in all, Shikaku likes to think he has complete control over his emotions. He will become ruffled on his terms, and no one else's. Nothing is allowed to unbalance his sharp mind.

And yet, he finds his emotional self-control strangely lacking as he stares down at this little form. This...creature of reddened skin and skinny limbs and a thin mop of black hair, that is far, far too small and fragile for him to hold in arms rough and hard from shinobi training.

"His name is Shikamaru, Shikaku."

Shikamaru.

The little creature opens his eyes and glares up at him sleepily, those narrowed, dark eyes clearly conveying his displeasure at being awoken by his father shifting about. Dark and narrow and sleepy...Nara eyes. His eyes.

My son...he's my *son*...

Nara Shikaku is not a demonstrative man. But in this one, brief yet overwhelming moment, Shikaku bows his head to Shikamaru's just as small, chubby hands reach up to touch the scars on his face.

And he cries.