A/N: This idea popped into my head after reading a review for one of my other ff's, 'Signed: From A Very Scared Lazy Ninja Suitor'. So I want to thank WatchingAsYouFall for prompting this idea in my head! :)

This won't be cannon to Shikamaru's journal from 'Signed', and is a completely different story. (While I'm at it, I want to thank The Kazekage of Suna, as Shikamaru's journal was an idea adopted from them to begin with.)


Shikamaru picked up the wooden box his from his father.

Shikaku had kept it away from Yoshino, which made Shikamaru idly wonder if it maybe contained some pictures or magazines he hadn't wanted to her to see. That sounded like something his father would do. Then again, he wouldn't put is past his dad for the images to be of Yoshino, for that matter. He hoped not.

When Shikamaru opened the box, though, he found a book with his name on it. Three pictures fell out when he picked the book up and opened it.

He scooped them up with a sense of foreboding, and was both relieved and a little surprised by what was on them.

One was his ninja academy picture, taken on his first day. Shikamaru couldn't help but grin when he saw it. His posture was stiff yet still lax, his eyes a little wide...he remembered he'd been scared out of his mind at the time, but had been too tough to admit it. It was funny, thinking about it now, how something so trivial as his first day of school had scared him.

The second photo was of him as well, this one taken on the day he had graduated the academy. He looked lazy and bored in this one, hands in his pockets, though he was standing at an angle (probably at the request of whoever was taking the picture) so the camara could see the shiny new Hidden-Leaf headband fastened to his arm. Shikamaru unconsciously touched his, no longer shiny, but scuffed and a little worn.

It took him a minute to recognize the last photo, though after looking at the other two, he knew it must have been him. He was a baby, probably not more than a few weeks old. He was asleep, his thumb in his mouth, and after staring at it a minute Shikamaru realized what he thought had been a blanket he was sleeping on was actually his father's fuzzy old vest.

Shikamaru gazed at the pictures for another minute or two, then turned his attention back to the book. It was a handwritten journal, and when he flipped it open to the first page, he was again surprised at what he saw.

It was addressed to him, in his father's lazy handwriting.

He had no idea what this was, but clearly it had been meant for him.

So he leaned back in his seat, and read.

Dear Shikamaru,

Today, you graduated the academy.

You're a full-fledged ninja now, though by the time you read this, it'll be old news.

Congratulations anyway.

Your grades were terrible, but I have a strong suspicion that has more to do with you taking after your old man and being too lazy to actually answer any of the questions on your test.

Ahh, anyway, as I watched you take off today, it struck me that it seemed like you had just enrolled into the academy.

Guess you're growing up fast.

I'm not getting sentimental, now, I'm just thinking that must mean I'm getting old. Well, older.

But I began to think that soon you would be going out on missions.

Nothing dangerous at first, of course. You'll probably pick up some old lady's garbage, or rescue someone's dog, but eventually, probably sooner than I think, you'll leave the village on some hazardous mission.

And I won't be there to keep an eye on you.

I won't be there to give you a pointer on how to move your shadow better, so the enemy won't be able to see it easily.

I won't be there to tell you your left side is wide open to an attack, remind you to keep the wind in mind when you throw a kunai, or to tell you to zip up your fly before someone else sees it and you look like a fool.

Well, you get the point.

I'm not trying to baby you. You of all people know I've never actually done much of that.

But it does worry me a little. You see, it got me thinking...there's not much I can do for you anymore, is there, son?

Except maybe give you a little advice here and there.

So that's what I'm going to do. I'm going to fill this book up with a some wisdom of mine, or at least some words I think would be helpful to pass on.

Some of it might seem trivial, or maybe just strange, but trust me, if there's one thing you learn as you get older, it's that you wish life came with a helpful guide.

I'll give this to you when you turn twenty. (So I guess, Happy Birthday, too, eh?)

That way, even when I'm not there, you'll still have something to turn to for advice.

Your Father

A/N: This chapter was a little sappy, and is probably going down as the most serious. The rest of the story will now consist of Shikaku's journal entries, and his 'advice' to Shikamaru. They also won't be as sappy.

In my mind and for this story, this is the box Shikaku mentions in Naruto Chapter 616. :)

Updates are going to be totally random and on a whim, though reviews always have a way of guilting me into updating faster! ^_^