Gambling Away The Past, 6/? (2016-12-07)

They get to Sangaku Outpost with minimal disruptions–the pair of Sand shinobi they almost literally stumble over notwithstanding (for this, Shikako hangs back, unsure exactly whether the Sand-Konoha alliance is on or off or even existent at this point)–just in time for a dinner of watery okayu.

The four of them are shuffled into the line by an Akimichi with scars and wrinkles and a kind smile on her face. “It’s not much,” she says, “but it’s delicious and it’s warm–”

“–and it’s not ration bars,” finishes her Yamanaka partner. It’s better than that (though not being ration bars is a huge pro) given that there’s an array of toppings: scallions and umeboshi and dried, shredded pork. In wartime, that’s practically a feast.

He glances between the clan crest on Shikako’s uniform and Kakashi’s distinct hair color, considering, before ushering the team to the table where his Akimichi has already settled.

It brings a different kind of warmth to Shikako, knowing that even decades out of place, some things do not change.

Kakashi is taciturn as always, but Obito’s natural affability more than makes up for it along with Rin’s polite inquiries of the infirmary situation. Shikako hardly has to talk, though she comments about Ikoma-san when prompted and circles around to Sembei-obaasan after a bit.

Like her deer summons, Sembei-obaasan has adopted a more crepuscular schedule, and given her advanced age (the specific which still remains a mystery), Shikako won’t be able to meet with her until tomorrow morning.

With dinner savored as much as can be, and their welcome committee off to fulfill their roles in the outpost, the four are left to their own devices. As team leader, Kakashi goes to report with the jounin in charge, while Rin–ever dutiful–checks in with the medics and offers her services.

Which leaves Shikako alone with Obito in a peaceful place for what might very well be the first time ever.

They grin at each other, perhaps a tad awkwardly (definitely on her part, anyway) fully realizing that they have been fighting side by side for weeks without having had a conversation that didn’t somehow include the war, their teammates, or a shared appreciation for explosions.

Well, at least they have that.

It’s not as if she’s been avoiding him–not as if such a thing is really possible on a team of four–but she hasn’t exactly gone out of her way to befriend him. With Rin, it’s easy–minimal prior knowledge means there’s nothing to bias Shikako one way or another. With Kakashi, it’s easy in an entirely different way: then and now, he’s always been steady yet standoffish; she can’t push him too far, but she can trust him to be there.

With Obito? She knows entirely too much about what he might have been, and nothing at all about who he currently is.


A/N: Something about this series just makes me think about wintertime… or the wintery theme of my writing makes me think about this series?

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