|10:51 pm - Fanfic100: 044. Circle|
Title: Perfect Circle
Prompt: 044. Circle
Word Count: 1,122
Summary: Shikamaru and his opponent move in a perfect circle.
Link To My Table: Here.
A/N: Very slight Shikamaru/Kiba, if you are so inclined.
Listening Recommendation: Beats Antique - Scratch Tail
Circle, circle, circle.
As if to drill his name into the other's mind, for as long as that mind is still going to exist - or part of his name at least; the perfect circle that maru stands for.
Shikamaru isn't cruel. He's well acquainted with his own slightly devious side - such as being amused by the idea when Naruto suggests eating the food from Chouji's gift basket in front of him because Chouji's too sick to have any. And he is aware that his ruthless way of dealing with Konoha's enemies might look like cruelty from the outside. But he figures that since he doesn't take particular pleasure in dealing out pain, he's not cruel by definition.
They're circling, circling, slowly revolving around a patch of sun-dappled ground in the clearing. And even though he doesn't consider himself cruel, Shikamaru feels a well-known thrill in the pit of his stomach at the thought that within a moment, it'll all be over.
Hunting down the enemy squad wasn't too hard - not with a skilled tracker like Kiba on the team and with Shikamaru to formulate a strategy to isolate the opponents and pair each up with whoever is suited best to the task. The battle itself turned out to be a challenge. He had to be on his guard all the time and work around the way the enemy uses balls of chakra he throws like shuriken and that have the annoying habit of emitting strong light and disrupting Shikamaru's shadows.
Summer-dry grass rustles underneath as they circle around each other, every step perfectly the same so they look like horribly distorted, three-dimensional mirrors of each other.
It's taken a while, but now Shikamaru knows that he's won. After a very tiring fight he finally has the man in his Shadow Possession. His Strangulation technique would have been quicker and cleaner, but there just isn't enough of his chakra left for that anymore. Even now, he can feel it slowly running out, seeping through the soles of his feet into the dark shadows pooled on the ground, connecting him and his enemy.
And nevertheless, he draws the moment out for just that little second longer. Just another breath of circling and seeing the recognition in those green eyes that it's over.
It's not even that he enjoys the fear. He doesn't really understand how people can draw pleasure from that or hurt someone without a second thought. He's become friends with Chouji because back on that day, he found himself once again wondering how on Earth causing someone unnecessary pain can be fun. It really isn't, he's convinced.
The kick he gets out of this is of an entirely different nature. It's the simple and profound pleasure of a craftsman seeing his handiwork complete; the contentment of a playwright observing his work played out on stage; the smirk sneaking onto his lips when the game isn't over yet but he knows that whatever his opponent does, within three moves Shikamaru will checkmate him, clean and flawless. It's in the adrenaline that floods his system when something doesn't go according to plan and the synapses in his brain start flashing their signals until a new solution is found. And the conclusion when it all pulls together just the way he wants it to.
It's a prickle down his spine and a deep, shuddering warmth in his core and a certain tightness in his muscles that's not too unlike the one he experiences when he touches himself, sometimes in the morning when he knows that the village is up and running outside but he's got a day off and all the time in the world to do just as he pleases.
It's the knowledge of completion drawing near, the snake biting its own tail to form a perfect circle around the enemy like the circle of his clan's crest.
And as with the more mundane pleasures of spending quality-time with himself, there's always the possibility of drawing it out too long, just more deadly, because reaching his breaking-point and running out of chakra now would mean his own demise.
That's why he savours the last panting breath he draws before completion and reaches into a pouch at the back of his shoulder. Fabric rustles when his opponent's hand grasps thin air, sliding uselessly against the fabric of his own shirt while Shikamaru brings the knife to the front. It glints dangerously and a moment later, it's over.
The body falls heavily to the ground and so does Shikamaru, collapsing on his back and breathing hard from the lack of chakra and the adrenaline rush of the kill that he knows he shouldn't enjoy, and doesn't. It's a rush that comes from the awareness of having ended a life, not from enjoyment. The day he can kill someone without any reaction to it, without feeling the least quickening of his pulse, he knows he has lost. As such, he holds the air in his lungs and allows himself to plunge for a moment into the spin in his own head, the swirl in his veins, staring up at the endless blue sky overhead, seamed with tree branches.
When Kiba's face appears over him, hair matted with blood and muttering an affectionate profanity at finding his team's leader on the ground, watching clouds next to the corpse of the man he's just killed, Shikamaru is aware of the adrenaline that's just wearing off in the other boy's body. He can hear it in Kiba's panting that is just beginning to slow down, see it in the looseness of his shoulders, imagines he can even smell it somehow in the reek of blood and sweat and dirt. He knows Kiba gets his own kicks out of combat, though of an entirely different kind. He has seen Kiba tear away at opponents, heard him snarl like an animal and felt his rapid pulse after catching him in his arms on occasion, when Kiba manages to get himself into trouble and needs back-up. He's well-acquainted with the way Kiba will bite his own hand until it bleeds in battle to focus himself with the pain.
He knows that as opposed to his own more mental focus, Kiba takes the thrill from the physical rush of combat and draws his pleasure from every cycle of inhale and exhale. And he figures that in a way they're also like the Nara crest - at opposite ends of the circle but connected through something that goes straight through the centre.
And with that in mind, staring up blearily at Kiba's silhouette blocking out part of the sky, Shikamaru knows it's time to complete the cycle and start breathing again.
Hope you liked it. Feedback will be loved until shiny and displayed on a shelf. (Concrit welcome!)
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