Gambling Away The Past 3/? (2015-12-19)

Ikoma has only recently been made clan heir, a second son obediently falling in line, but already he is being called Shikakeru–to challenge, to start, to set traps. It is a good Shika name, a name worthy of a future Nara clan head, but it doesn’t quite fit right.

It fits Ikoma’s brother better, even though he already has a Shika name given to him since birth. His brother, Shikaku, the one who should have be clan heir, had he not been disowned for breaking his betrothal. Over some non-clan kunoichi, and a mere chuunin at that.

It’s not that Ikoma agrees–frankly, he doesn’t see why the elders bring up her rank so often, considering most Nara only ever reach chuunin themselves–but he does think that Shikaku could have handled the situation better. Should have, because then this way Ikoma wouldn’t be stuck stepping into a role he’s unprepared for.

It’s not that he’s unsuited–Ikoma is smart, he wouldn’t be a jounin at eighteen if he were an idiot. He can observe a person and know their story without a word, he can analyze dozens of reports and form a strategy to success. He’s smart, okay, so he knows what he’s looking at.

A girl capable of the Nara shadow jutsu, with the same looks as the woman his brother left the clan for, and a Shika name. He knows what he’s looking at and it shouldn’t make any sense but, then again, Ikoma shouldn’t be clan heir either.

Ikoma has a decision to make, an important one. And it doesn’t matter whether or not he is clan heir–doesn’t matter what implied fate is waiting for him–even if he is using the clan heir’s authority. He made an oath: to protect his team, the clan, their allies, and the village. In that order of priority.

In a way, it doesn’t even matter that Konoha is at war, he would protect his clan. He would protect Shikako, even though Ikoma knows what her existence means for his future.

Shikako wouldn’t be named that if she had cousins.

Minato is confident that Ikoma knows what he’s doing in assigning Shikako as a fifth member of his team. It makes sense, after all. Minato is often called away to other skirmishes and battles which his team isn’t ready for, and given the near miss that almost occurred… well, Minato isn’t ungrateful.

But he’s also pretty sure that the two of them are lying. Not about Shikako being a Nara–that’s readily evident and, anyway, it wouldn’t make sense for Ikoma to cover for her if she weren’t part of his clan. But there is something off.

It’s not her name or her allegiance–regardless of if he is lying, Minato trusts Ikoma as a fellow Konoha nin. It’d be irresponsible for Shikako to claim a higher rank or overrate her skills–it’s dangerous, to a shinobi and their team–but it’s also clear that those aren’t the lie either.

Minato doesn’t doubt her capability–she saved his team when he couldn’t–especially not after their quick assessment spar. Though it is something about her skills which are questionable.

He recalls the way she aided them in the destruction of the bridge. He notes the lack of sheaths or extra storage spaces beyond the pockets of her flak jacket and compares that to his team’s reports of her fighting–sword and kunai and scrolls.

Surely, as one of Konoha’s three fuinjutsu masters, he’d have at least heard about a girl on her way to becoming the fourth.


A/N: So, here’s more of this…

It’s not quite what you asked for @byebyebriar, but it kind of is?

I really love Gambling Away the Past. Maybe the next section can be from Minato’s point of view? I’d love to see his thoughts on Shikako’s touch blast/sealing.

Anyway, thanks for the prompt!

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