Disclaimer: I, Lady Sassy Sas, do hereby disclaim all rights to the wonderful world that is Naruto.
Step, block, under, elbow, up and pivot, open-fisted punch to side, swivel, open-fisted punch to other side, two back-flips, crouch and throw.
"You're amazing, Hatake-san!" a member of the group shouted.
He got this kind of reaction all the time and quite frankly? He was sick of it. Couldn't they just keep their fan worship to themselves? Of course not. They were girls and they did what girls did best; irritating the hell out of the male race by fangirling. He shook his head in irritation and despair. Apparently they would stop...but his father had never mentioned when and if he hadn't been around other women other than Aunt Ino he wouldn't have believed it to be true. She still seemed to obsess over that Uchiha Sasuke guy...and Genma...and countless others but he had long ago learned to ignore that.
Shikashi stuck out his hand for the other boy he had been sparring with to take hold off and helped pull him to his feet, "Good fight, Akio." He smiled.
"Yeah, you beat me. Again." Akio rubbed his jaw and held his right side while looking like a puppy who had been told off.
"Ah. Don't take it so hard; I'm sure you'll beat me sometime. If you want, I could help you? Or maybe even get my dad or Uncle Naruto to train you," Shikashi looked over at Iruka-sensei who was assessing the next pair.
He rubbed his pale pink hair and looked at the academy in thought. Both his dad and Uncle Naruto had said they would help him and anyone he thought needed it. The only thing was they were both extremely busy men. Kakashi was out on missions constantly and Naruto was in ANBU and so was away for weeks at a time and when he was home he was either with Hinata or training to be Hokage and any extra time he had inbetween those he gave to Shikashi. Shikashi was pretty sure neither of them would have the time and even if they did they'd be too tired to actually train properly.
"Alright everybody. Back inside! We're going to be going over a new technique for genjutsu!" Shikashi looked over at Iruka and frowned. He was the best at genjutsu in the class; he had yet to come across anything he couldn't do within one or two goes. Iruka looked up and caught Shikashi's eyes, giving him a soft smile and an apologetic shrug he headed toward the academy with the class.
Well, at least I know mum would be proud. I love you, mum. Keep watching over me.
"Again! But this time lessen the flow of your chakra but keep the amount the same," Shikashi's face scrunched up in concentration and Naruto would have laughed if he hadn't known Shikashi was trying his utmost to accomplish this move.
He watched as Shikashi corrected his chakra and channelled it into the balloon filled with water. The water within started moving and contorting the balloon out of shape. Naruto smiled as he remembered when he had done this with Jiraiya. It had been one of the most frustrating times of his life but also one of the best. He missed Ero-sennin. There was a pop, a groan of frustration and then a thump. Naruto shook his head and brought himself back to the present where he saw his sensei's son slumped on the ground, hanging his head.
He couldn't understand it. He had done everything Uncle Naruto had told him and corrected everything he had been told to and he still couldn't get the hang of it. Needless to say he was feeling rather under-accomplished but as his father had told him: he was only six years of age. And he knew his father didn't expect his son to be able to accomplish countless jutsu's right of the bat; there was no great need to.
But Shikashi felt like he needed to. He needed to be as great as his parents before him. His father was a prodigy and his mother had been one of the best chakra manipulators about. How could he not try and live up to their reputations?
"Shikashi, why not give it a rest. We can try again later," Naruto knelt beside him and placed a hand on his shoulder.
And then there's Uncle Naruto. His generation is filled with shinobi who excelled in all areas. And then there's mine...
Shikashi sighed and growled as he curled his hand into a fist and slammed it into the ground. Why couldn't he do it!?
"It's alright. It takes a long time to accomplish, and even then some never are successful. By the time I got it down, only my dad –the creator of the jutsu and the Yondaime; Jiraiya – one of the three Sannin, my dad's sensei, and the author of the Icha Icha series, and myself, could only do it. Your dad can make the sphere and all but he can't hold it for very long because he doesn't have a lot of chakra. Konohamaru can also use it but I think that's all who've been successful," Shikashi felt a hand under his chin and then looked up into the deep blue eyes of the ANBU operative, "Shikashi, you have it in you. I know it, your dad knows it and so does everyone else who knows you; your mother definitely knows it."
"That's right. Sakura is watching over you all the time, Shikashi. She's extremely proud of you,"
"Hmm?" Naruto was staring at a Sakura tree off to the side of the field.
"..." Shikashi opened his mouth to speak but then closed it again after hesitating. He didn't know what to ask...or how.
Naruto glanced at him from the corner of his eye and smiled lightly as he saw the frown on his face and the distant look in his eye that told him he was thinking. Naruto didn't and wouldn't push the boy; asking about ones parents when they didn't know them was difficult and confusing at times.
"I know mum was one of the most intelligent in your year, and she was incredible with her chakra control and genjutsu but what was she really like?"...not the right phrasing.
Naruto stared up at the sky and a contemplative look crossed his face, "You're going to have to be a little more specific, I'm afraid,"
Shikashi scrunched his face up as he tried to think of a way to phrase what he meant better, "What...was she like?"
Naruto sighed wistfully as he thought how best to answer the young boy. There was so much he could say about his former team-mate/sister but where to start? Or how to start?
"Well, when she was 12 she was very hot-tempered and volatile and completely obsessed over Sasuke. She was rivals with Ino –I still don't really understand it. She wasn't the most useful team-mate to have back then but none of us were. I wanted nothing more than to be Sasuke and had an absolute crush on Sakura. Sakura hated me and worshipped Sasuke, and Sasuke?...Well, Sasuke can be left to another time – his story would take months to tell and a lot of things would have to be explained, some of which is classified; as you know." Shikashi nodded and Naruto took a breath, " Well, as I was saying, Sakura hated me and worshipped Sasuke and had this ...rivalry...thing going on with Ino. She was clueless about pretty much everything else and was totally annoying but then so was I. She kept on ranting about Sasuke and always wanting to be paired with him and how he was so cool and how he was the best at everything. This didn't really help when it came to the damn bell test your dad put us through; we barely passed."
Shikashi smiled faintly, imagining his mother acting like that.
Naruto inhaled deeply and exhaled before continuing, "Our first real mission was a challenge somewhat. I envied Sasuke to no end and was acting like a prat and he ended up saving my hide. After that, I fumed but came to respect him more. It wasn't until we fought Zabuza that he and I started to work together, Sakura was ordered to protect our client. Your father managed to beat him back and we safely got the old man back to his village. It wasn't until a gang of thugs who thought they owned the place showed up that we really worked together. Sasuke and I fought Haku and Sasuke was badly injured trying to protect me and your dad fought Zabuza and incapacitated his arms. "
"...Wait! This wouldn't be the guy who built that bridge in Water and named it after you, would it?" Shikashi stared up at the blonde with wide eyes.
"The very same! Hahaha, " Naruto scratched the back of his head in embarrassment, "It also helped all three of us understand just how important teamwork was and strengthened and –in some cases- changed them."
All was silent for a few minutes as Naruto let this sink in for the pink haired boy beside him; it was a lot to take in for a boy of seven.
"So, what about mum? What did she do?"
"She was ordered to protect the old man, again. She cried her heart out when she saw how badly hurt Sasuke was; I'll never forget that scream...anyway, she was still a cry-baby and pretty useless. She was the first to walk on water and up a tree out of the three of us, though. We came back here and soon after that the Chunnin exams happened. It was during the second part of this exam where she found her resolve and became a proper and serious shinobi. Sasuke and I were badly hurt and exhausted and out-for-the-count. She was protecting us. Sound-nin came and ambushed us, looking to take Sasuke away but your mother...she stood her ground against them and got beaten up pretty badly but from what I heard, she was amazing to watch.
"After that incident, it was the one-on-one matches and she got put up against Ino. That fight was interesting to watch as it showed the rivalry, determination, strength and wits they both carried with them. They surprised everyone by how fierce they were to win and how strong in their resolve to become shinobi they were. It was a spectacular match, that's for sure," Naruto smiled fondly as he remembered the match.
"Neither. They both knocked each other out at the same time. They both lost. The only one to make Chunnin that year –out of Konoha- was Shikamaru."
"Why doesn't that surprise me?"Shikashi muttered sarcastically.
Naruto laughed. The wind blew through the field and ruffled their hair and blew cherry blossoms around the place. Naruto could almost feel his two team-mates there with them.
"Anyway, it wasn't until Sasuke left and I went to try and bring him back and failed that Sakura really grew up and became more like an adult. I went training with Jiraiya – although, it was more to keep me out of reach from the Akatsuki- and Sasuke was off in Sound with Orochimaru and Sakura was left by herself. Team 7 was disbanded for the time being. From what I heard, Kakashi was sent out on more missions and Sakura got up the courage and asked Tsunade baa-chan to train her.
"Two to three years later, I returned and Sakura had grown. It shocked me to see how much she had grown and when Tsunade told Sakura and I that we were going to prove just how much we had learned by fighting an old acquaintance, I was excited by the prospect of seeing how much and just what she had learned. We were up against our old sensei and Sakura shocked us both by her monstrous strength. Granted, at the time it was short of Tsunade's strength but Sakura had grown in all ways. She was more patient and less volatile and harder to piss off. Not much harder, but...anyway, I still loved her but never really acted on it."
"...I had grown. I wasn't that big of a pest anymore and had matured. Besides, she was still besotted with Sasuke."
"What age was she?"
"Sixteen. And she accomplished quite a lot at that age. She cured Gaara's brother and then proceeded to make an antidote for the poison he came into contact with. She went after one of the Akatsuki: Sasori of the Sand, and defeated him. It wasn't long after that that Kakashi was sent on missions and we gained two new team-mates...that was an interesting development. Sai and Yamato.
" Soon after that, I developed Futon: Rasen-Shuriken with Kakashi and Yamato's help...and Asuma's. After that Asuma-sensei was killed and Kakashi took Team Ten out to track down and help avenge Asuma's death, and after I achieved Rasen-shuriken Yamato, Sakura, Sai and myself took off after them. Sakura looked after me and helped me a bit after that occurrence as I hadn't exactly completed it fully yet and it damaged my arm as much as it destroyed Kakazu." Naruto stopped and looked Shikashi straight in the eyes with one of the most serious and heart-filled expressions the young boy had witnessed from the blonde man.
"Your mother, although easily angered, was one of the most caring people I ever knew, Shikashi. She had such a big heart and cared for all her friends and family and always put her own life in the way to protect the ones she loved. It was a long time before she realised she actually had feelings for your father as she was still trying to be at peace about Sasuke but when she did, she was devoted. They went through very hard times before you came along and they were ecstatic when they found out you were coming. You were and still are, their miracle, Shikashi. You won't ever know or understand how much until you have your own children; it's a cliché, I know but it's completely true. You're still too young to understand a lot of things but as you grow, you'll realise what the people of mine, your dad and the Godaime's generation are talking about."
They sat for a while after this, Naruto reminiscing about things in the past and Shikashi mulling over the things Naruto, his father and some other people had told him.
One thing was for sure: he wanted to live up to his mother for sure and make her as proud as he could.
His eyes were glued to the scene in front of him. He was absorbed with what was happening and was dying to ask questions but he and the rest of his class had been told to keep absolutely silent while the adults worked. The room glowed green as the medics worked over the injured body.
It was at times like this when he wished he had the Byakugan, then he could see how they used their chakra to heal the body and how much of it was used and on what. Oh, how he envied Aiko right now. They had only just started to learn a bit about healing and medic-nins but he had been eager to learn about them for a while. All the stories he had heard of his mother when she was on the field and healing all the shinobi in the Allied Shinobi War, had made his thirst for all knowledge in the medical profession, insatiable. Anything and everything he could learn, he absorbed like a sponge.
He watched as four of the medics moved away and out of the theatre as two others stayed and continued their work. Another four entered to cover the ones who had just left, among them were Tsunade-sama, Shizune and Aunt Ino. His eyes widened and he pressed his face right up against the glass, trying to get the best view as he possibly could.
"Where have you gotten to?" the Godaime's stern voice sounded through the silence of the theatre.
"We've managed to stabilize his heart and breathing. The bleeding is under control and we have just fixed the tear in the stomach. We can't get control of the brain haemorrhaging and the poison is spreading too quickly and scattering sporadically that we can't extract it by normal means. Mina-san has gone to get the antidote prepared." One of the other two medics informed the blonde pig-tailed medic as she prepped herself to help.
Tsunade nodded and joined the two medics already at the bed and soon green chakra pooled into her hands and she started to scan his body, "Shizune, Ino. Try to stop the bleeding in the brain while I try my hand at this poison."
Shikashi was completely absorbed.
"I want to be a medic-nin."
Kakashi slowly lowered the book from in front of his face to stare at his son. The black around his pupils had lightened to a steel-ish grey colour. They were unusual eyes but they suited him.
"I want to be a medic-nin." The boy repeated, looking down at his father who had sprawled out on the couch. His face fell into an annoyed pout, "Aren't you supposed to be with baa-chan and Uncle Naruto in a meeting, right now?"
"Hmm, something like that," and with that the older man returned to reading the book. But he didn't get very far before it was forced down and he felt a slight weight as he felt Shikashi kneeling on his chest.
"Then why aren't you? And why are you re-reading this stupid book again? Aren't there any other books you like?"
Kakashi stared at his son with indifference as he rattled of his questions. For all the times his son acted the adult, he was still very much a child and had an insatiable thirst for knowledge on anything that caught his interest. He sometimes forgot that he was only seven. The only thing that reminded him of the boy's age –apart from irritating questions on everything and anything- was the amount of energy he had. He never tired.
"This book is special to me."
Why, indeed..."You're mother bought it for me the last birthday I had before she died. It's a very good book,"...very, very good.
"Can I read it!?" Shikashi asked while bouncing slightly, causing his knees to dig into his father's chest.
"No," Kakashi sighed and put it down on the coffee table before sitting up and pulling his son onto his knees.
"Why not?" the boy's eyes bored into his own with such a questioning intensity.
Shit...Kakashi raced for an appropriate answer other than 'It's an adult book.' Or something to the same extent. "Eh...well...you see..." Crap.
His son sat patiently on his lap looking at him with a curious expression. And Kakashi was still scrambling to come up with a good explanation and failing miserably. Sakura, where are you when I need you? You're son has put me in a difficult situation and I don't know how to deal with it...
"It's about...deadly butterflies, scary stuff." he muttered the last part and scratched the back of his head, "Why do you want to become a medic-nin, then?"
Shikashi stared at his dad dubiously before his whole face lit up with excitement and he beamed, "We went to the hospital today for class and we got to see the medic-nins work on a critical case. I saw,
baa-chan, Shizune-nee and Ino working...it was amazing dad. Shizune and Ino managed to control the bleeding and baa-chan managed to extract most of the poison that none of the others could. It was amazing to watch. Baa-chan said that he was stable but not out of the woods yet." The young boy stared at his father's face and the animation left slightly, "Mum used to do that, didn't she? She used to be a medic-nin, right?"
All was silent while the boy waited for his dad to answer but Kakashi was absorbed with a memory of Sakura healing Naruto after he had fought with Muku on Tenrou Island. How she had cried out as she healed him and then how she realised that she didn't have enough experience or chakra to completely heal him. Of course, Tsunade had taken over and Sakura had gone to try and heal Ryuuzetsu but the girl was had given her life to Naruto.
"Hmm? Yes, she was. One of the best there was, she was close to surpassing Tsunade and Shizune. She was in the top ranks of Medic-nins in the village. Her chakra control made her a perfect candidate for the job as well as her compassion to help. Chakra control that she passed on to you, Shikashi," Kakashi smiled fondly at him, "But why do you want to become a medic-nin?"
Shikashi looked at him blankly, obviously not understanding the question, "Because I want to be like mum."
"Is that the only reason?"
Kakashi chuckled at his son. Shikashi was still young and had much to learn. He still didn't understand what it meant to be a shinobi of Konoha but he would someday. He would come to gain the Will of Fire and be one of the most talented shinobi in the ranks. But for now, he was a child and still learning the way of life and the way of shinobi and Kakashi would do everything to make sure he walked down his own path but also the right one.
Glancing at the clock he sighed and looked back down at the pink-haired child, "It's about time I go to this meeting. Shikashi, you don't understand yet, but you will. If you really want to become a medic-nin when you're older, then we'll discuss it in a bit more detail, then, alright?"
Shikashi nodded his head vigorously, "Yes!"
Kakashi smiled and ruffled his head before standing up, "Want to come with me to the meeting?" and as Shikashi nodded his head again, Kakashi picked him up and put him on his shoulders, thanking the Kami that he had deflected –
"Dad? What is that book really about?"
Shikashi was now a chuunin along with Aiko and Akio. They were Team 9 and had Akamichi Chouji for their sensei. And they were on a mission to the Hidden Village of Cloud, in the land of Lightening. It was a B-rank mission but that was only due to the scroll they had to deliver. Akio kept complaining how boring the mission was and how much he wanted to fight. Aiko kept quiet but she was observing everything around her and listening for the slightest change out of the norm. Chouji-sensei was explaining how he, Ino and Shikamaru had fought in the Allied Shinobi War in the land of Lightening and Shikashi?
Shikashi was going through the main parts of the body and how they were affected by certain jutsu's and how to reverse the effects – if you could. He knew you had to wait for the chakra pathways to open up again after an attack of Hinata and Neji's gentle-fist technique; he had experienced this first hand from Aiko.
He knew in order to break a relatively simple genjutsu you had to surge chakra, make the hand-sign and say 'Kai'; that or someone had to force their own chakra into you to break it. Some of the more complicated genjutsu's were hard to dispel and some, you had to wait for it to dissipate by itself.
He also knew that ninjutsu could have major physical and mental effects depending on what was used. He knew his father's Chidori could kill, he had seen it. He also knew it could paralyse and sometimes it was useless, depending on the opponent of course. It also required a lot of concentrated chakra in one area and you had to be able to move at an incredible speed for it to work to your advantage.
He knew how to heal the most basic wounds and was working on how to extract poison from a body but that was very tricky and he tired very quickly every time he tried. Of course, Tsunade and Shizune were teaching him and when they couldn't, Ino or Mina took over but he was desperate to learn from his mother; he couldn't and he knew it but it was frustrating. There was so much he wanted to ask her, so much he wanted to show her and discover new ways to heal and develop new antidotes.
The man turned to face him, "Yes, Shikashi?"
"How does your clan transform into giants? Does it have any adverse affects on your body or does your body just adapt naturally to the change?" he jogged to catch up to his sensei to walk beside him. Out of the corner of his eye he saw Aiko turn her head slightly so she could listen in and continue to ignore Akio's prattling.
"Mmm," Chouji squinted at the sky and pursed his lips in thought. He had never really thought about it, "I'm not sure how we transform, exactly but we need the help of pills for some of the transformations. There are no bad effects that I'm aware of; body just naturally adapts."
"Is that why you eat a lot?" Shikashi questioned.
"Yes," came the clipped reply and Shikashi was about to ask why when he saw something shiny racing towards him out of the corner of his eye. He was knocked over before he could have a chance to react to the flying kunai and heard metal clang as his sensei deflected it with his own kunai in hand, "Battle formation!"
And like that, Shikashi, Aiko and Akio were in their battle formation. Akio went through a rapid series of seals and then released his ninjutsu. The earth groaned and then it shattered all around the enemy. While they were caught off guard, Aiko went in and used her Gentle Fist technique to disable their chakra pathways. Then Shikashi casted one of his stronger genjutsu's on them. The fight was over before it had even begun.
"Good job guys. Your formation timing is getting better and better." Chouji made his way over to the ambushers. He knelt down beside one of them and grunted, "Rogue ninja." He removed all of their weapons before binding their hands behind their back and covering their eyes, "We'll be taking them with us to Cloud. The Raikage can deal with them,"
. . .
"Raikage will see you now," Samui led them to the spacious office of the Raikage, bowed, collected papers from his desk and said something to him before leaving.
The burly man glared at them for a while before speaking, "So, Tsunade has decided to respond and she sent a team of gennin to deliver the document containing her answer. Pitiful," he snorted.
"Raikage-sama, she has indeed sent my team with her reply but she has also sent a request pertaining to a certain incident involving Konoha and half of the Cloud nins against a mutual foe twelve years ago," Chouji bowed respectfully and held his hand out for the scrolls that Aiko carried. She passed them to her sensei who then set them down on the desk in front of the Kage of Cloud.
The Raikage sat with his fingers interlaced and his chin propped up on them. He stared at the scrolls for a few seconds before opening them and reading them. Team Ten stood in respectful silence as the powerful man read their Kage's reply and request.
"Hrrgh," there was a loud banging sound as the Raikage slammed his hand down on his desk, "Samui!"
"Hai, Raikage-sama?" she was by his side in an instant, ready to answer his beck and call.
"Take this to the Daimyo. This..." he eyed the request of Tsunade and twirled it around the desk with his finger as he thought about his answer, "Take this to the head of our archives. I shall decide what my answer will be later."
"Hai, Raikage-sama!" and just as quickly as she came, Samui left.
"That incident twelve years ago...we still don't know how it exactly started or why. In fact, I was under the impression that we weren't going to investigate it because it was too risky for both countries, so, why is Tsunade asking for information now?"
Chouji bowed his head and shifted a bit, "She's looking into the death of a shinobi who shouldn't have been out in the field. That shinobi died and she's investigating as to how and why she was out there. She's only got some information from Cloud's part in it and would like some gaps that could potentially help with the investigation, filled. In return, she has agreed to give you any information on the battle should you wish to look into anything,"
Shikashi looked back and forth between the men as they continued to discuss the situation. It peaked his interest. What battle had occurred at the time of his birth? Had his parents fought in it? Was it big? What had happened? Had his mother been healing the injured shinobi? Had they been away on a mission at the time? Had it been before he was born? Or during or after?
I wonder if dad would tell me if I asked him about it?
He thought about it while they travelled home. It was an uneventful trip except for him having to heal Akio when he tripped over his own feet and scraped his arm with the kunai he had been fiddling with. How can a shinobi be so clumsy?
"You're natural affinity is earth,"
"Is that good?"
"It's not bad but I won't be able to teach you any jutsu's to do with it. I have an affinity to air. You're dad could probably help considering his Sharingan and summons but his natural affinity is lightning."
A sigh, "Then who has an affinity for earth jutsu's?"
"Hmm...Yamato-taichou definitely has it...who else...?"
The young boy sighed and fell to the ground on his bum. He had been looking forward to finding what element he had a natural affinity for but now he was despairing. What use was an element affinity if there was nobody who could teach you how to use it!? Honestly, for all the hype that surrounded him, Naruto wasn't very intelligent. He had his moments and when he really put his mind and heart to something, he was brilliant but on normal days? It was like talking to a five year old at times.
He stared at the blonde man and scowled. He was annoyed and very irritable today. He knew and he was trying his best not to take it out on the people around him but it was hard. He had tried to ask his dad about the war that he had heard Chouji-sensei and the Raikage talk about but his father just told him he'd find out later. Which pretty much translated into: never. His scowl deepened and he growled a bit. His dad could be very infuriating; he wondered how everyone put up with him.
"Shi, what's bothering you so much? You've been tense all day and you haven't stopped scowling since I collected you from the tower." Naruto lowered himself down beside Shikashi.
They were in the park. Shikashi had originally wanted to go to the training fields but Naruto had said that they weren't going to be doing any training today; just learning what affinity Shikashi had and how that would work to his advantage and how to best utilize it. They had only got to the 'Finding-what-affinity-he-had' bit.
He didn't know if he wanted to talk about what was bothering him. He knew he could trust Naruto not to tell anyone of any of the conversations they had but at the same time, Naruto was the only one who really opened up about his mother and told him about her. Tsunade, Shizune, Ino, Genma, Shikamaru, Hinata, his dad...they answered some of his questions and then most other times they gave him very vague ones that were useless. He needed to know more but he didn't want to keep badgering Naruto about it.
"It doesn't matter. Forget about it. Are we finished?" Shikashi made to move but a hand on his arm made him stop.
"No, we're not," And with that, Naruto yanked him back down beside him, "What's bothering you, Shikashi?"
"We won't be leaving here until you tell me." Naruto said in a serious voice.
Shikashi scowled then frowned. He really didn't want to talk about it...at least not with Naruto but if not with him then who? Naruto shifter beside him but didn't speak.
Shikashi inhaled, "I- I asked dad about the battle that happened the year I was born..."
He heard Naruto exhale quickly and loudly and swivelled his head around to see his face. Shock, pain, anger and confusion were etched on his features. He had never seen the blonde so tense and negatively emotional before. It was...weird and worrying.
"What did you ask him?" Naruto asked tightly albeit calmly.
"I just asked what it was about and what happened...if mum was in it," Shikashi replied in a small voice.
"What did he say?"
"He told me that I'd find out when I was older. Which means never."
There was a pregnant silence and the sun blazed from above. It was the hot season and Konoha was boiling. There was no relief in or outside. A lot of people who came to Konoha for a trip or business purposes ended up in hospital with heat-stroke. Only those from Sunagakure or anywhere in the Land of Wind could stand the heat.
Naruto leaned back on his hands and studied the clouds in the skies, "Your dad probably wasn't the best person to ask about that particular battle. A lot happened in it and I think it's affected him nearly as badly as the Third Shinobi War...perhaps more so." He looked at the boy from the corner of his eye and saw him open his mouth to ask a question or comment on something but shut it again and furrow his brow, "You've got to understand that your dad is a very complicated man who has been through the wringer multiple times. He's damaged to a certain extent. Your mother helped him a lot, Shikashi, she was great with and for him. He helped her through hard times as well but she was what kept him together and kept him fighting. When she died...he shattered into more pieces than anyone could count.
"But, he pulled through. He's still shattered but not as much as he was then and he's still picking up the pieces and taking them to the place where they belong. Because of you, Shikashi. You're his light. Sakura was his sun but you're his light. And while you're still here, he'll keep fighting and mending."
Shikashi took this in and put it away to analyse later but now.."But what happened in that battle? Who or what started it? Why has it affected everyone so badly? Who was the shinobi, who wasn't meant to be in it, that got killed? Why is baa-chan investigating it? Were they close to her? Were they important?"
Naruto sighed and stood up. He held a hand out to Shikashi, who took it, and pulled him up. Then he put a hand on his shoulder and started to push him gently towards the exit.
"Where are we going?"
"Somewhere private and secluded."
"Why?" Shikashi stumbled.
"Because, what we're talking about is not for people to become nosey about. It's highly sensitive and classified,"
They spent the rest of the time walking in silence through the village until they reached their destination.
"The Intelligence and Encryption Corps?" but Naruto just continued to guide him in through the door and through many corridors before they came to a room. He raised a hand and knocked on the door. There was shuffling, a bang and a couple of curses. Another two minutes before the door opened and Shikamaru appeared with Temari standing behind him, both looking dishevelled.
"Naruto? What're yo- Shikashi?" Shikamaru looked confused as he looked back and forth between the pair, "What are you doing here?"
"Temari, could you excuse us, please?" Naruto ignored Shikamaru as he pushed passed the couple and walked into the office before and crossing to a particular filing cabinet. Shikashi stood in the centre, feeling highly out of place, eyes darting around the room constantly and fast.
"Fine. I better see you after this is over, Nara. I won't be here much longer," and with that, Temari turned on her heel and proceeded through the door. Shikamaru closed it and turned to face the other two males in the room. He saw where Naruto was and his eyes narrowed, "Naruto, what are you doing? You know you're only allowed to access that cabinet if-"
"I know, Shikamaru but I'm ignoring that protocol for now."
"What's going on?"
"It's time we let her son know a bit of what's going on and what happened. Why she was there and why what happened, did. Why she died and who killed her. Shikamaru, it's time to start telling Shikashi about his mother, properly."
Shikamaru looked at the boy standing awkwardly in the middle of the room looking around in confusion. He looked like her too much. He still remembered that five month old baby who had been delivered in the middle of a hostile area, in the middle of a forest. He still remembered Sakura and how bad she had been; how she had told him what to name her son. How she had entrusted him to help keep her baby safe. He would never ever forget.
He sighed, "This is going to be troublesome. I just know it is."
Crossing over to where Naruto stood he opened the cabinet and gestured for Naruto to go to the desk at the side of the room. He rummaged through one drawer then another. He came to the table carrying three folders filled with scrolls and various other things with him and set them down on the table before sitting opposite the boy and the ANBU operative.
"Where are we starting? And how much detail?"
Naruto furrowed his brow as he thought. Finally, he sat forward, "The beginning but only answer the necessary bits. We're not going into a great amount of detail for now. We'll go further as he becomes older but I also need to speak with Kakashi. He's got to be informed of what we're telling him so he can choose whether or not to answer any other questions that arise,"
Shikamaru nodded and opened the top folder and sifted through some scrolls before pulling out one from near the bottom and showing it to Naruto, "I think here would be best to begin, ne?"
Naruto nodded and shrugged, "How long do you have?
Shikamaru looked at the clock for a few moments, "I think an hour will do for today."
"Hn. Right, well, you begin."
"Troublesome," the dark haired man shook his head before looking at Kakashi's son, who was thoroughly confused as to what was going on, "Shikashi...what do you know about that battle?"
The boy shrank back against his chair. He didn't like this place or environment. It was too dark and enclosed. He wanted his dad.
"It's alright, Shikashi." Naruto put a hand on his shoulder, "You wanted to know about the battle, right? Wanted to know about your mum?" his answer was a hesitant nod, "Well, that's why we're here. I can't answer those questions directly because I wasn't at that battle. Shikamaru was. He has the answers you're looking for. Not all of them, but a lot of them. And it can only be discussed here,"
Shikashi nodded again and looked at Naruto before turning his gaze to Shikamaru, "I- I don't know much. Just that it happened in the year of my birth and that nobody will talk about it or answer any of the questions I ask. Especially my dad..."
Shikamaru bowed his head in acknowledgement and closed his eyes. He knew Kakashi would be the last person to talk about what had happened. It went to deep and it was still too fresh for him...for all of them. He still didn't feel like talking about it but he knew why he had to and why Naruto had brought him here. And he agreed with the blonde. Shikashi was old enough to start learning what had happened on that field and start to understand why certain people weren't open to him asking questions.
"Shikashi, first, you must understand that what's said in this room mustn't leave. You must not talk to anyone about it outside of here or in another very secure area and with the people who are entitled to talk about it." Shikamaru gave him a stern look. Shikashi nodded, "Do you understand, Shikashi?"
"Good. Secondly, Naruto and I are committing borderline treason here. Technically, we aren't allowed to talk about this at all without verbal and written consent from the Hokage herself, the elders and Head of ANBU...and we're supposed to have parental consent but that one doesn't really apply. So, again. No. Mention. Of. This. To. Anyone. Outside. Of. This. Room."
Shikashi shook a little, "Yes, sir."
"Good. Right, I'm going to start from the very beginning so you understand a little of what went on before all hell broke loose, alright?" the boy nodded, "Naruto?"
Naruto nodded and went to the door and flew through some hand-seals before pressing his palm against the door and muttering something. He turned back and nodded at Shikamaru before returning to his seat.
Shikamaru sighed and looked down at the scroll in his hand and frowned. He knew the information by heart but he felt better when he had the scrolls in his hand, "Alright. Sakura –your mother- was sent out on a mission a year before the battle occurred. Tsunade had sent her to collect some information that was important and very much related to the research they were working on for a new medical technique to use in the field. Once she had the information, she was to return to the village straight away," he took a breath, "But something happened that impeded her. It took her two months to return from what was supposed to be a one week mission,"
Shikashi leaned forward listening to Shikamaru intently.
"When she returned there was a bit of an uproar. She was injured quite badly. After she got initial treatment she went to Tsunade to give her the information she had collected and to explain what had her returning so late. Something was said between them because they didn't speak to each other for weeks after that meeting," Shikamaru rested his head in his hands, while Naruto nodded absently remembering the incident.
"From what I remember and heard, she never told Kakashi what happened to her. I don't know if that was because Tsunade ordered her not to or because she didn't want to tell him but he wasn't best pleased by it," Naruto added.
"Hn, troublesome." he agreed, "Anyhow, it was a while before she and the Godaime were on talking terms again. There was still tension between them but no hostility. They continued their research and came up with the technique they had been working on. Sakura was the first to use it on the field when she went out with her ANBU team. It went well but not to her satisfaction and it became clear it wasn't to Tsunade's either so they went back to researching it and trying to improve it."
"What was the technique?" Shikashi asked, his eyes bright with interest and curiosity.
"I can't tell you that,"
"Because, you are too young, yet, to be allowed to know,"
Shikashi was about to protest when Naruto held out a hand and shook his head, telling him to keep quiet, "Quiet Shikashi or we're going to have to leave and you won't find out more until you're at least eighteen,"
Shikashi pouted but remained silent.
"They corrected the jutsu and had it perfected about five months before the battle emerged. It was taught to all ANBU field medics and a select few within the hospital. Sakura was sent out on another mission but with her ANBU team this time round. They headed to Sunagakure and spent two weeks there so Sakura could train a select few of their medics this new medic jutsu. Your mother was very talented in what she did, Shikashi and she had a knack for teaching medics different techniques and how to make antidotes. Thanks to Naruto and Gaara, Konoha and the Hidden Village of Sand are great allies and will hopefully remain that way for a very long time.
"Tsunade had got confirmation that her team had arrived safely. When two weeks had passed and Gaara informed her that Sakura and her team had left the village and were heading back to Konoha, she was relieved and was awaiting the arrival of her team. Again, Sakura came home two weeks later than planned and without the other members of her team. Again, she was injured but worse than the last time."
"I don't think I've ever seen anyone so beaten other than the time Lee went up against Gaara. The image still haunts me to this day..." Naruto whispered.
Shikashi's eyes widened and moisture gathered in them. He imagined his mother, with her pink hair and vibrant eyes, beaten and bloody. He shivered and closed his eyes and inhaled deeply to calm himself.
"Do you want me to continue?" Shikamaru asked him gently.
When the young boy nodded, he continued, "We still don't know how she ended up in that state. She never told anybody what happened. Not Tsunade, Shizune, Ino, Naruto, myself or your father. We're still trying to figure out what happened. Her team completely disappeared without a trace and anytime we tried to ask her about it, she freaked out and closed herself off completely to everyone."
Shikamaru watched Sakura's son closely and saw how horrified he was already. Although he had never met her, he had seen pictures of her and Shikamaru knew he was imagining the scene of his mother badly injured in his head. He cleared his throat to gain Naruto's attention and then tilted his head in the boy's direction. Naruto followed his movement and saw how close to tears Shikashi was. He met Shikamaru's gaze and nodded.
"I think that's enough for today. Kakashi will be back from his mission soon and I'm sure he'll be wanting to see his son. Want to come back to mine while we wait for him?" Naruto crouched in front of his sensei's son and looked at him with heart-felt sympathy.
Shikashi looked at the blurred blob that was Naruto and nodded but not before a whine escaped his lips and then the tears flowed and he flung himself at his uncle and clung to him for all he was worth.
Naruto held him tightly while Shikamaru put the documents back where they belonged and came and leant against the desk while he watched Shikashi cry his heart out on Naruto's shoulder. He felt the numbing pain spread through him again as he recalled the moment Sakura had held her son and died with him in her arms while her husband held them both and wept. It was something he knew he would never forget.
"Shikashi?" Naruto asked gently and pulled the boy back a bit so he could look at him properly, "Your mother is safe now. She's resting peacefully and she's not in pain. You were and still are her pride and joy. You should have seen the joy in her eyes when she held you after you were born. Nobody can hurt her now, okay?"
It was three minutes before Shikashi calmed down enough to nod and wipe away his tears and nose.
"Come on, we'll go and get dinner."
"Can we get tempura!?" Shikashi instantly brightened at the idea of having tempura and Naruto couldn't ignore the hope emanating from him.
"Sure. You coming, Shika?"
"Nah. I promised my mother that I'd be over for dinner tonight, and I have to bring Ino and Chouji too. Troublesome, woman."
"Haha, okay. Say hi to them for me! Ja ne," And Naruto sauntered out the door with Shikashi by his side.
Shikamaru stared at the open door while he contemplated all that had been discussed from when Naruto had arrived. Shikashi was a lot like Sakura in appearance. But the rest of him was pretty evenly split between Sakura and Kakashi. They had both passed their chakra control onto him, he had both their intelligence. He got his speed and stamina from his father. He definitely got his compassion and social skills from Sakura as well as his temper. He had the stubborn streak in double from both of them.
He heard the rapid stamping of feet and a few seconds later, Shikashi appeared again. While he panted, Shikamaru raised an eyebrow in question.
"..I...have...one...more...question," Shikashi managed to get out in between pants.
"Just one?" Shikamaru asked sarcastically.
Shikashi looked at him in confusion for a second before shaking his head and straightening up, "Have all the missions my dad's been on been related to this case?"
"Okay. Do you know why she was out there?"
This time Shikashi looked the dark-haired genius in the eyes, "Do you know who killed her?"
A glint entered the young boy's eyes as he asked the next question.
And here it is. The second sequel to Shattered. Phew. That took longer than I had anticipated. I could have made it longer but I think it's long enough...and I wanted to be evil and end it on a cliff-hanger XD *cackles evilly*
I know Shikashi's personality jumped around a bit in this but it's how he is. He has Kakashi's laid back persona but also Sakura's naivety along with the intelligence from both so I figured this is how he would and if you disagree? Go give off to somebody who actually cares. My story, my character, my choice.
Also, I know all of the original characters probably seem very OOC but! I think they would have all grown up to be quite serious, especially after the way this current war is going on...
I also apologise if I've spewed a lot of crap when Naruto was explaining to Shikashi what Sakura was like. I didn't have internet connection while I was writing it and I cba to go and look everything up so don't give off if things are wrong. I may come back and change it in the future if I care that much but I very much doubt I will.
Reviews and such are greatly appreciated!
Hope you enjoyed it and thanks for reading!
Lady Sassy Sas xXx