From Regret to Challenge to Clubbing?
"Checkmate" Shikamaru claimed placing his last chess piece in place.
"Ahh!" Asuma cried displeased, "I still can't win!"
Shikamaru grinned happily and then stood up, "Alright, let's start training"
Asuma, still seated, looked up at him with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth, "You sure are enthusiastic today. More so than usual"
Shikamaru simply shrugged, "Meh" he replied avoiding a proper answer
Unfortunately, Asuma didn't stop there.
"So what have you gotten yourself involved in huh?" he grunted as he got up from the floor and started stretching his legs, "it was unusual enough that you even wanted physical training, but now you're actually getting up from a chess game asking for it. Breaking that lazy air of yours huh?"
Shikamaru paused not really knowing what to say. He wasn't sure if Asuma was really asking him the question or just saying it; and even if he was asking properly, Shikamaru wouldn't know how to answer anyway.
Either way, the genius was stumped.
After the noticeable pause, Asuma sighed.
"I see, it's that serious huh that you can't even tell me..." Asuma said as he looked up at the sky
"It's...complicated..." Shikamaru explained finding that it was the only answer he could muster.
"Hmm..." Asuma crossed his arms, "I just need to know where your hearts at. Before I can really train you, I need to know what you're exactly putting so much effort into. What has exactly gotten you so motivated. I've never seen you in such a confused state before; and if the genius is confused, well we're all doomed"
Shikamaru joined Asuma looking up at the sky at the clouds, "You're right, it feels like forever since I've looked up at the clouds. They really have an ideal life"
"Ah, but Shikamaru..." Asuma disrupted, "Even clouds get angry and cry"
Shikamaru paused again.
He never really thought about it.
There was a silence.
The air was somewhat humid, but not unbearably.
Crickets' chirping could be heard.
Shikamaru liked Asuma's house.
It's a bit out of the way from civilisation, so no cars or trains could be heard.
"Have you ever gone into a situation where there is no way out" Shikamaru finally spoke breaking the silence, but didn't break his gaze towards the sky.
Asuma looked at him and laughed, "countless times"
Shikamaru didn't react to his laughter as he paused and spoke again, "Then have you ever felt as though someone else's life was completely in your hands sitting on your shoulders. Almost as if they are the piece on a chess board and you're the one determining all the moves to protect them?"
Asuma stop laughing. He looked back at the sky, "So you've found your 'king'"
Shikamaru focused on a cloud that was shaped like a fan, "I guess so"
Another silence broke out.
"Is this what you're eagerness of training all about?"
Shikamaru squinted as the fan shaped cloud started to distort in shape, "I feel as though my shoulders aren't strong enough to hold such weight. This is the first thing I have ever made my own responsibility and I'm already finding it all too troublesome, but I can't just call it quits. I just don't know where I'm at. Am I strong enough? Am I fast enough? God, I'm even doubting if I'm smart enough"
Asuma paused, and then smirked, "Man. I want to meet this girl that has somehow achieved the impossible and confused the man with all of the answers to everything"
Shikamaru ripped his gaze off the white blob that was originally a fan, "Who said anything about a girl?"
Asuma laughed hard with his chest shaking, "It's obvious that it's a girl. It's the only thing on this Earth that even a genius cannot comprehend"
Shikamaru grinned, "You can say that again"
There was a slight pause
"So how is Kurenai, Asuma?" Shikamaru asked
Asuma yelped in surprise, 'How did you find out about that?"
It was Shikamaru's turn to laugh, "It's obvious...even to a genius like me".
Asuma threw his head back and laughed.
"Wait here" Asuma ordered as he walked off back into the house.
He then came back holding a box; "I never answered your question" he spoke
"What question?" Shikamaru questioned replaying their conversation in his head
Asuma beat him to it, "You asked as if I've ever felt like someone else's life was in my hands hanging in the balance"
"Oh yeah" Shikamaru simply replied recalling the exact quote
Asuma sat down again on the floor of his backyard patio, "I have to say I have a few times, but there was one in particular that is still vivid in my mind 'til this day"
Shikamaru looked straight at him.
"Her name was Rin. She was utterly beautiful. When she ran, her long hair flicked side to side in the wind almost as if it was taking on its own life. It was only natural that I fell for her amongst many others"
Shikamaru stared at Asuma.
They have never mentioned women in their conversations before; it was unfamiliar.
"But then one day," Asuma continued, "She was kidnapped by a couple of ruffians who obviously wanted to make use of her beauty for themselves"
Shikamaru's eyes widened in response
"They pulled her off a footpath and into van. Luckily I was there and witnessed it and called the cops, but I knew they weren't going to make it in time. The only one who could save her was me"
There was a slight pause
"So what happened next? Did you save her?" Shikamaru asked carefully
Asuma smiled a sad smile, "Yes and no. I chased after them and gatecrashed their place. I was able to get there in time before they did anything to her. One of them had a knife though and stabbed me right here as I guarded her"
Asuma then lifted his top slightly showing a large scar on his side
"At the time I didn't even care. The only thoughts I had were to protect her disregarding myself. The police then walked in at that time and we were saved. I was immediately admitted to hospital and then one day she came to visit"
Shikamaru crossed his arms, "I don't understand. What did you mean by 'yes and no'? I'm only sensing 'yes' here"
Asuma looked at him and grinned, but his eyes looked so sad, "Well apparently she had been in therapy during the time I was in hospital recovering from trauma. She then bowed her head thanking me over and over; and then she told me 'I can't see you anymore'"
Shikamaru gave a stomp, "Why? You saved her LIFE. How could she just leave you?"
Asuma grinned sadly again, "It's because every time she looked at me, she'll be reminded of the fact that I was stabbed because I was protecting her. It was pretty gory. Blood splattered on her face and all over the floor. So every time she saw me, she would be reminded of the horrific event and all she could see was blood red."
Shikamaru stood in silence not knowing what to say or if he should say anything at all.
"I mean I can't really blame her. I probably would've reacted the same, but the point is, it's because I didn't value my own life the whole time"
A shocked looked crossed Shikamaru's face again.
"I mean, if you don't value your own life, how could you value anyone else's? It may sound silly, but if I didn't just walk in front and let the guy stab me, then who knows, she may have only needed a week to recover and she could look at me again as her saviour. Even if you really didn't care what happened to yourself, it can still affect the other party"
Shikamaru was deep in thought taking in all of the information he was given.
"And I haven't seen her ever since" Asuma then handed Shikamaru the box he was holding, "so I give this to you"
"What is it?" Shikamaru wondered
Shikamaru unclipped its lock and opened the box.
Inside was a pair of brass knuckles.
They looked kind of old and slightly worn out, but yet sharp and full of unexplained emotions.
"I used those exact pair of knuckles to protect and save Rin. Even though things didn't turn out exactly how I would've liked it, they still saved her for another day, and that I'm thankful to them. I've treasured them ever since"
Shikamaru continued to stare at the knuckles. He carefully took one out.
They were quite heavy.
"I'm entrusting them to you. I want you to use them and every time you do, remember this conversation we had. Just because you're fighting for someone else's life, it doesn't mean yours means nothing. If you were gone due to saving that person, I'm sure she'll be left very sad and regretful for not being strong enough, instead of being thankful"
Shikamaru grinned, 'Yeah, I can imagine Temari raging, constantly repeating herself saying how much of an idiot I was and that she was fine on her own'
"Hopefully you won't make the same mistake I did"
Shikamaru looked at him.
Asuma looked at him back.
"It wasn't a mistake. You were protecting the girl you loved and that's what you did. I'm sure she's living a very happy life right now and it's all thanks to you" Shikamaru comforted
Asuma's eyes widened, and then he laughed whole heartedly, "Yeah..." was the only thing he could manage to say.
The repeating silence reoccurred.
"Well, shall we begin training?" Asuma asked jumping to his feet, "Lets learn how to use them first"
Shikamaru's grip on the brass knuckle tightened.
They suddenly felt slightly lighter.
"Yeah..." he replied.
He looked up at the clouds again as if it was for the last time.
The previously fan shaped cloud had turned into a deer.
"YEAH! THAT'S IT, YOU'VE GOT IT!" Asuma yelled at Shikamaru who was holding a pair of brass knuckles
Shikamaru dropped his hands on his knees panting, "Finally...these things are hard to use when you try to use them properly"
Asuma grinned, "Already tired? We've just gotten started! Though you've picked up how to use them very fast, typical you Shikamaru"
Shikamaru looked up at him and grinned, "This is hardly comparable to chess Asuma"
Asuma chuckled, "Well I still haven't beaten you yet, even at the very first game you ever played you still beat me! I couldn't believe it!"
Shikamaru recalled the first game he ever played in his mind and laughed, "Yeah I remember that"
"Alright, let's continue this training" Asuma lifted his hands into fists
Shikamaru was about to take his own stance until he felt a vibration in his pocket, "Wait, let me read this text"
He shoved his hand in his pocket and took out his mobile.
There was a message from Naruto, "OI! SHIKAMARUUUUU! WE GT A LETTR FRM DA AKATSUKI BOUT DAH CHALLENGE THINGO. CME OVR 2 INO'S HOUSE YEAHHHH?"
Shikamaru shook his head in dismay, 'Naruto and his horrible spelling and punctuation. Sure it's a text, but you still have to make it comprehensible...and why is he always yelling at me?'
"What's up?" Asuma asked lowering his fists slightly
"Sorry, I've got to go. Something important came up" Shikamaru shoved his mobile back into his pocket and carefully placed the brassed knuckles back into their box and clipped the lock back.
Asuma grinned and took out another cigarette and lit it up
Shikamaru watched the smoke snake through the air towards the sky, "Well I guess I better leave now before I get my ear yelled off"
He walked through the house and out the front door.
Shikamaru looked back at Asuma
"Don't ever forget what I've taught you today. Now go out there and get 'em!" Asuma gave Shikamaru a reassuring grin
Shikamaru grinned back, "Yeah. Thanks Asuma"
And he walked off heading to Ino's house.
When he got there, he could see that everyone was already there.
"OI! YOU'RE LATE SHIKAMARU!" Naruto yelled out to him
Shikamaru blocked his ears with his hands, "Yeah yeah"
He took a seat next to Temari
For some strange reason, he had trouble looking at her in the eye
Temari looked at him with concern
"Alright guys!" Ino called out, "We've got the letter from the Akatsuki about what the place and time will be so gather around"
Everyone started to gather around Ino, "Wait, did they send the letter to you Ino?" Chouji asked
"Nah, they sent it to Sasuke's house" Ino replied
"Well, seeing as his brother's in the Akatsuki and would know where he lives" Tenten shrugged
"Well open it! Open it!" Naruto excitedly jumped up and down
"I'm opening it as fast as I can!" Ino snapped back
When she finally opened it, the letter read: Meet at school upcoming Saturday at 6:30pm
"Heeh, is that all?" Sakura frowned
"They're keeping this a secret 'til the day huh? The bastards!" Kiba sniggered
Hinata looked at the letter displeased, "And I was hoping to find out a bit more..."
Temari looked at the letter reading it over and over, "Why the school?"
"It's a pretty big ground and it would be pretty deserted on a weekend, especially at night" Neji answered
Everyone stopped to think.
"I don't understand what's going on but I will fight with all my youth for our team!" Lee cried out
Everyone looked at him.
"Shall we fill him in?" Naruto asked
"Don't even bother..." Sakura smacked her palm on her forehead shaking her head in dismay.
"What I want to know is what you guys are doing here?" Temari asked as she looked at her siblings Gaara and Kankurou
Kankurou and Gaara frowned in sync.
"Come on sis! We're a part of this too!" Kankurou continued to frown
"Well I'm not too worried about your group's pride, but I do need to settle the family matters with Sasori...and I should be there to help protect you as well" Gaara monotonously explained
Temari snarled, "I told you guys already! I don't need to be protected! I am able to protect myself"
"This is no time to be prideful, Temari..." Kankurou reasoned
"This isn't about pride!" Temari snapped back
"Now, now guys...let's not fight within the group ok? Leave that anger to go against the Akatsuki later..." Kiba nervously interrupted
All three siblings' death glared him releasing an evil aura at him
Kiba cowered in a corner
Akamaru went up to him and licked his hand
"Ahh Kiba, you should know not to interrupt family matters..." Sakura laughed nervously
"Are you ok...?" Hinata asked hesitantly
"S-S-So...sc-sc-scary" Kiba murmured as he continued to rock himself back and forth
"Look guys, can we get back on track now?" Ino beckoned
Everyone looked and her and fell quiet
"Well what do we do now?" Chouji asked
A silence hung in the air
"Since we don't know anything, there really isn't much that can be done" Neji said matter-of-factly
"Neji's right. Until we know what they have in store for us, we can't really do anything" Shikamaru sighed in disappointed
'I've been stumped a bit too many times today' Shikamaru thought to himself shaking his head
"Alright! Enough of this boring depressing stuff! Life's too short to be depressed! Let's all go out somewhere and have fun!" Ino gleamed
"But where exactly?" Sakura asked, "I like the idea of having fun, but it's getting quite late so nothing will be open"
"Yeah and we're not exactly dressed for a 'night out of the town'" Tenten sighed looking at her tracksuit pants
Everyone looked down at their relaxed clothes.
Shikamaru's had a bit of dirt on his shirt from training in the morning.
"Ah, and again you guys underestimate me..." Ino laughed evilly
'Oh dear...' everyone thought
'This is going to be troublesome...I can tell already' Shikamaru thought to himself
"I'm leaving" Gaara claimed and walked out of the house before he could be dragged into anything
"Ah! Wait up Gaara!" Kankurou yelled after him
"My daddy is opening up a new night club tonight and he could use a few extra girls and boys to attract a bigger audience" Ino explained
Sasuke gave a wince of a disgusted look
Naruto's eyes widened in excitement
Neji repeated the look Sasuke gave
Shikamaru cocked an eyebrow
So did Temari
Chouji looked rather passive
"Clubbing...? Aren't we a bit too young...?" Sakura pointed out
"It's MY families club so it's MY say about who can get in or not, so age is not an issue as long as we don't drink" Ino smiled reassuring
"You still haven't solved our 'clothing' issue" Temari stated hoping to get out of the situation
"Oh Temari! I guess I can forgive you since you're new but lack of clothes is definitely not a problem that occurs in my household" Ino giggled
"Yeah...because you go shopping every second day..." Tenten remarked
"Yeah~ But every other day I'm helping out at my mum's florist" Ino reasoned
'Well at least she works...' Temari thought to herself
"Do you have anything my size though Ino?" Hinata asked uncertainly
"Same goes with me. I'm not quite as thin..." Temari added as an another attempt to not go
"Don't worry! We'll figure something out" Ino winked
Neji coughed, "I have very important duties to attend to tomorrow morning before school, so I will have to deny your offer"
"I'm not going" Sasuke simply stated leaving no room for argument
Kiba chuckled, "I'm so in!"
"Me too! Me too!" Naruto jumped up and down excitedly as usual
Sasuke stared at him
Shikamaru crossed his arms and sighed, "It's too troublesome. I'm not going either"
"WHAAATTTT?" Ino yelled at the top of her lungs
"Now Ino, calm down. I can't go either because I told mum that I'm going to celebrate with her and dad tonight at dinner as a celebration for dad's win at the sumo wrestling championship" Chouji raised his hands in defence.
"I cannot go either!" Lee stated, "I told Master Gai that I will join him in training tonight! Sorry!"
"It's fine with you two, you guys have legit reasons; unlike the rest" Ino glared at Sasuke, Shikamaru and Neji
They all looked to the side uncomfortably
"Yeah Ino, I'm not too keen on the idea either..." Temari interrupted uneasily
"Geez Temari. I already have to deal with the boys! We will work out your clothes so come!" Ino huffed
"Clothing isn't an issue...I just don't want to go" Temari rolled her eyes
"Seriously Temari, I will personally owe you one if you go. Plus, I have something you'll DEFINITELY like and I won't give it to you if you don't go" Ino snickered
Temari paused curious to what Ino was talking about, 'She may be lying...but I guess I can go briefly and pretend that I had to leave early or something whether she is or not' she thought to herself, "Ok, I'll go"
Ino squealed in glee, "You're awesome Temari"
Then Ino noticed the boys starting to inch away
"Excuse me for a second girls, I'm going to have a little talk with the guys. Follow my butler, he will show you the way to the clothing room" Ino snapped her fingers and surely a butler appeared out of no where
"Follow me" the butler asked as he led the girls away.
Ino quickly turned to the boys as the girls had left the room, "Now you guys can NOT be serious..."
"I'm not going" Neji repeated
Sasuke flicked his head away in protest
"There's nothing you can say to convince me to go" Shikamaru stated
"Oh really?" Ino replied accepting the challenge, "After I'm finished organising the girls, they're going to look super hot. Then we're all going to go to the club and do you know what clubs have a lot of?"
No one replied
"Guys. Many, many men older than all of us hoping to find some hot girl to hit on"
"And did you know that security doesn't even bother checking ID's of young girls now since most men want to go to clubs with young looking girls. Are you really going to leave all of us girls alone at a night club filled with men?"
Shikamaru's eyebrow twitch
"Fine, I'll go" Neji reluctantly agrees
"Beh so troublesome. You'll keep nagging if I say no anyway..." Shikamaru complains
Sasuke paused, "I don't care. I refuse to go"
"Come on Sasuke! It'll be fun partying it up!" Naruto cheered
Sasuke stared at Naruto and sighed, "Fine I'll go since I'm the only one who can keep Dobe in line"
Ino cheered in success, "Alright. Follow me as I take you to the men's clothing room where you can change into some nicer clothes for tonight"
She hummed as she led the boys to a room and then marched upstairs.
"Get ready quickly. We're leaving at 6. The opening's at 7" Ino ordered
Then she left the boys and entered the room where the rest of the girls were at.
There were clothes absolutely EVERYWHERE.
Revolving racks and all completely full.
"Hey, so did you convince them to go?" Sakura asked
Ino held a peace sign up, "You bet I did"
Tenten cheered, "Go Ino!"
"Alright girls, enough celebrating! Let's get our clubbing gear on"