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30 June 2008 @ 04:32 pm
159: (fanfic) Succession  
Title • Succession
Rating • PG
Character • Naruto's 奈良シカマル
» prompted by 28Jun08's "at the end of the day, you're another day older" from 31_days...which I fugging missed =_=;)
» spoiler warning for the latest chapter 406

It was a long time ago.
I have almost forgotten my dream.
But it was there then,
In front of me,
Bright like a sun--
My dream.
(L.Hughes, "As I Grew Older")

• • • •

He remembered the cold sweat that formed along his forehead the first time he had witnessed fresh blood.

He had been the only one in the outpost that day; the price he paid for slacking off. His father was out on a mission, as was his mother; his older cousins were training hard for their examinations. His first class as an Academy student would start with the rise of the morrow, and he had filled the dwindling days of his week with what his mother laughingly called, "vigorous slacking."

"It's troublesome," he had whined for the upteenth time, for which he received a smack upside his head.

"At least learn how to lengthen your shadow a good meter or two," his father berated him roughly. "It's your family's skill, and a fine thing to bring with you on your first day."

"It's tiresome!" he argued, although he really meant it, as he had barely the energy to lift himself from where he had slumped, exhausted, the day he managed to reach the other end of the room with his shadow alone. After careful thought he had decided he would only do it again when he was older, and more inspired (or threatened); and that working himself up to such a state was also troublesome.

His father had smacked him again.

He knew by the cry that had resounded in the wood that it was the doe. He knew furthermore what she was making noises for, and he dreaded it, not for what it was but for the fact that he was the only one in the compound. Yet he knew that if he did not run to where the herd was kept in the grazing pens, that the whole clan would be upon him when they returned. So he dropped the scroll he had taken from his father's study and bolted out the door and to the wood.

She was the herd's It had been triplets, something he had never seen, or encountered before. The doe had managed to squeeze the first two out, but there was a problem with the third; it was stuck in the womb, and would not budge no matter how hard its mother contracted.

The rest of the herd had backed away; the grass beneath her had acquired the deep stain of fresh blood, and the stink of it wafted up to mix with the twilight dampness of the ground. It was the smell, along with the sight, that would stay with him all his life.

For a full minute or two he stood there, paralysed, watching with bizarre fascination as the two that had been born stumbled along on skinny legs, while their mother continued to labor. Another pained bleat snapped him back to his senses and he knew he had to do something. He had seen the uncles and the cousins manage, every once in a while, and quickly applied small hands to the struggling doe's underbelly, massaging clumsily and frantically along the stretched skin, along the bulge that told him the third was stuck. She was bleating helplessly; and a child did not need words to understand that another being was in pain.

"You will be okay, you will be fine," he murmured as he'd seen his cousins do, willing the fawn to slide out miraculously somehow, and wishing an adult would come home and take over. Yet a part of his mind that stayed immune to panic told him coldly: it was stuck. There was no amount of massaging that would pull the calf out, and he certainly did not know any medical jutsu to apply to the situation let alone--

He swallowed hard as the thought settled logically and urgently in his mind, and he stilled, stared at the bulk of the doe's heaving belly, and then shifted to look at the bloody, clogged opening.

The shadows were long on the ground when they found Shikamaru in the forest, blood dried all the way to the boy's upper arm. Three fawns, newly born, grazed beside their mother, and one of them, a little slighter and slower than the rest, huddled close to the doe.

"Your first team," his cousin had said later over dinner, celebrating a successful autumnal birth of triplets nonetheless. "Very good Shika-chan, you're to be depended now."

"It-it was...troublesome," he'd replied in the most put-upon voice he could muster, though he couldn't help the slight rattle of his chopsticks against his bowl.

It was a weird time-vertigo that returned the sensation of exhilaration and relief, even after so many years. The strange giddiness that came with the saving of a life, though not quite like what one would encounter in a routine mission. His hand twitched a little even now, although they were unbloodied, as he held the match.

"That's not very nice," Ino retorted, frowning both at his comment and at his lighted cigarette.

Chouji chuckled, his heavy bulk shaking. "Let him, let him. We're in the balcony anyway. Besides, this will be the last he'll be carelessly puffing from now on, as he'll be taking care of the rookie." He inclined a head towards the inside of the hospital room, and smiled.

The newest member of Shikamaru's team, as yet smaller than the rest, had the blood-red eyes of its mother. When the doctor lifted the child overhead against the dwindling light, there were four shadows that stretched across the small recovery room, stark like trees in the sun.
◎: stressedstressed
.rgb on July 9th, 2008 08:05 pm (UTC)
There seems to be a part of us that identifies with mendokuse Shika.

Omg, I find mammal deliveries most terrifying. The way those lanky
animal limbs stick out of the mother's anus is just horrifying D8

A red-eyed aka-chan! X3 /ahemahem/ I wonder if Kurenai's child will
be a boy or girl :3