Following the Anniversary Events 2022 on discord, especially E3 - The Shinobi Games, I thought it fun to start a little short story series ba
Maybe you want to join me in exploring these ideas, too?
Just grab one (or more) of the pictures in the #e3-shinobi-games thread on discord and write a little something you can post right here.
Have fun reading and writing!
E3 - The Shinobi Games
Day 1, morning: Shikamaru and Kakashi
Once the final bell of the countdown echoed through the Forest of Death, things turned already into a mess. People either grabbed whatever they could and ran, or started killing each other already, making short and bl00dy work of the more unfortunate tributes.
Right before all of this happened Shikamaru counted his odds, glancing furtively around in a readied stance, reading the others’ intentions to estimate who was an immediate threat and best be avoided, who would try to get which supplies, who was set on flight in which direction, and determining from those information which route to take.
Landing more to his
right and on Kakashi during the last few seconds before the countdown
ended, he noticed the man was looking back – and instantly he knew,
seeing likewise that Kakashi understood as well. They didn’t even
have to nod or bl
As the mayhem unfolded, Shikamaru bolted, taking what he could access the easiest and using the chaos of the fights to evade the combatants, throwing only a last glance at his former team mates in the hope that Ino, Choji and Asuma survived at least the first day – though he estimated that his Sensei had the highest chance of doing so out of the three. He grimaced; the thought of eventually having to face and kill them was revolting, but still he silently wished them luck.
Running for the treeline, he saw Kakashi heading in the same direction – just as he had expected him to; not in pursuit but in quiet company.
They kept on running
at top speed for a good while to put as much of a distance between
them and the initial battlefield before daring to slow down to a
halt. None of them spoke, only sharing another glance as they caught
their breaths and bracing themselves against a tree or their knees.
Kakashi then unstopped his water gourd to take a swig, turning away his masked face as he did so, before holding it out to the Chunin. Shikamaru nodded at Kakashi acknowledgingly, knowing full well the Jonin might have very well tried to single him out, overpower him and kill him instead of forming this temporary alliance. In turn, Shikamaru might have been shrewd enough to outsmart Kakashi and get rid of a potentially very dangerous opponent early on… but he, likewise, chose not to.
So Shikamaru accepted the water gourd with the hint of languid smile curling his lips and sipped before handing it back.
As they decided to head on and find a good place to hunker down for the remainder of the morning, they covered their tracks as best they could. And when they found such a place behind a rock formation on a small rise, so they could take cover and hopefully notice oncoming assaults early enough, they dared make a small fire to have brunch and replenish their energies.
Thus Shikamaru had time to ponder as his gaze drifted upwards in the faint hope to glimpse a few clouds beyond the thick and lush canopy: before the Shinobi Games he hadn’t had much interaction with Kakashi outside missions when Team 10 worked together with Team 7, and even then there had not been much time or reason to talk and get to know each other.
What he knew about the man were basically the things people talked about him behind his back, only being able to verify odd bits and bobs from the anecdotes Asuma told him about his former classmate and Jonin friend.
But now he had the rare opportunity to get firsthand-knowledge. Leaning back against the rocks he drawled: “Asuma-sensei said, he saw you every day at the memorial stones of your old teammates… With that Obito guy apparently still alive and participating in these games as well, I’d thought you might want to team up with him again. But I guess, there’s still too much troublesome unresolved stuff between the two of you?” And while Shikamaru exuded a relaxed and calm demeanour, his eyes were sharp when he regarded Kakashi.
Kakashi remained quiet for a moment then sighed heavily as he lifted his slanted headband enough to rub at the closed lid over his Sharingan as if it was itching or the eye-muscles were too tense. “I’m not sure I can ever go back to the way it was between us...I still blame myself for what happened to Rin, and I know so does Obito. He probably rather kill me than work together,” he mumbled regretfully.
Shikamaru released his breath slowly, easing into a more comfortable position against the rocks. “That sounds troublesome. But seeing you rather team up with me instead of confronting him head-on, you seem unwilling to let him do just that to have some twisted form of revenge...” he grinned lazily at him. “Much appreciated, by the way. I certainly don’t want to cross you if I don’t have to. That’d be much too troublesome.”
The Jonin turned towards him slightly, and noticing Shikamaru’s apparent benevolence, the tension in his shoulders eased a little and the gloom of sorrow receded from his eyes. “You’re right,” he acknowledged, nodding, “I don’t want to die just yet. And despite all the regrets that I hold, I can’t repent for my mistakes if I don’t live to correct them.” He reached into his pouch to pull out his copy of Icha Icha Tactics. “Also, I’m likewise glad for this little reprieve our alliance gives me. I’m not sure we’ll have much of those later,” Kakashi added, his eyes softening into crescent moons of a genuine smile, before he flipped the novel open to read.
Shikamaru watched him for a while through half-lidded eyes, arms crossed leisurely behind his head. “You sure seem fond of Jiraiya-sensei’s novels if you’ve even brought them on a life-and-death-‘mission’ where lack of attention might cost you everything,” he observed, then shrugged. “Can’t say I’ve ever read them, so no idea what’s so thrilling about them.”
Kakashi glanced up and over the margins of the novel to scrutinize the Chunin, before his eyes turned even more all smiles. “Want me to read it to you?” he suggested almost cheerily.
A good couple hours
later into the novel, they had still not been ambushed, luckily, but
now the two of them sat in a rather awkward, yet still kind of
pleasant silence. As much of a weird experience that reading session
had been – Shikamaru could still feel the heat on his cheeks and
ears –, he undoubtedly felt closer to the captain of former Team 7,
and he could tell that Kakashi felt the same about the bond they had
forged through sharing that story.
“Alright,” Shikamaru murmured, cleared his throat and stood to pack his belongings, “I think it’s time to go hunt some tributes before I set camp for the night. Should be around noon by now; I estimate that to be enough time for others to have decimated the amount of opponents by about 15.6 percent. It’s still troublesome that we have to do this...” His words trailed off as he tried to catch a glimpse of the sky above.
Kakashi stood likewise and stowed the book away safely. “I agree,” he said gravely, “but those are the rules of these Shinobi Games...” He sighed, his heart heavy at the thought of who he might have to kill.
“Well, rules are there to be interpreted, right?” Shikamaru smirked slyly and winked at him. “Maybe we can find another way, when we see each other again. So take care and stay alive!” He shared one more glance with Kakashi, then turned to leave with one hand raised in greeting.
“Good luck, until we meet again!” Kakashi remained at their hideout for another while, his gaze lingering on the spot where Shikamaru disappeared into the underbush, then he set out on his own path.
These shared secret moments would surely remain in their hearts until the very end…
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