Flip To The Last Page, 2/? (2017-01-31)

They are far from the first twins born in Konoha–far from the first twins born in the Nara clan even–but it is the first time that twins have been born to the clan head’s family.

The last time something similar happened was a generation ago with a different clan entirely.

And so it is only somewhat a surprise to the Nara twins that the first move is neither theirs nor any enemy’s, but that of Hiashi Hyuuga.

It is not only unusual but also, somehow, simultaneously presumptuous and deferential for a clan head to seek a private audience with a different clan’s heirs.

And yet…

Hizashi Hyuuga has been dead for less than a year.

Shikaku is not unkind.

(And if this will in any way help his children, well.)

Hiashi knows better than to underestimate the Nara twins, for all that they are only children. The Nara are not a threat because they choose not to be, not because they are incapable.

The children are silent.

That means nothing.

Hiashi remembers what it was like to be a twin.

In battle, he and his brother were unstoppable: overlapping Byakugan and a complete sphere of divination, constant fluid shared knowledge.

The strategic mind of a Nara with double the capacity–no, the ability squared–a seamless loop of thoughts, instantaneous infinite computations.

Hiashi will not underestimate them.

He does anyway.

(In his defense, the truth is beyond what anyone could possibly imagine on their own.)

“Does Neji have the cursed seal?” The girl child asks, gesturing to her own forehead in a disturbingly accurate portrayal of the Hyuuga clan’s Caged Bird Seal.

A lesser man may have flinched–at the audacity of the question, at the viscerally horrifying idea, at the clear yet inexplicable leak in clan secrets and to a child at that–but Hiashi is no such thing.

As is, perhaps his own brow furrows, jaw clenching for a moment before he answers, “No, of course not,” he says and does not clarify.

Clarification is not necessary–or at least, not from him–for the girl child turns to her brother with a look that no doubt has an accompanying mental gloat.

Before too long, the boy child shoots an unrelated, yet equally concerning question of his own, “Have you had any dealings with Councilman Danzo?”

His answer is the same as before.

Bizarrely, this seems to make the children smile.

Hiashi misses his brother keenly, fiercely, mind both loud and lonely, his own thoughts echoing back to him without Hizashi’s presence to temper them.

But he thinks, even with his twin, this meeting would still have been confusing.

~

A/N: … still not entirely sure where I’m going with this, but it’s definitely not headed in the original direction I thought it was so…?

Flip To The Last Page, 1/? (2017-01-30)

In a world where twins are born with the ability to read each other’s minds and telepathically talk to each other no matter where they are

… Shikako’s biggest secret isn’t.

Her first thoughts in this new world are–where am I? What’s happening? Who are these people?–and so Shikamaru’s first thoughts, infantile but still keen, are full of curiosity and confusion.

It changes, when they grow. Both of them learning enough of the language to organize their thoughts. Streamlined into sentences and ideas instead of the burbles of emotions from before.

Shikako has come to accept her new place in life. Shikamaru has always known his.

Until she recognizes the faces carved into the mountain.

There is no hiding from your own thoughts.

You can deny things. You can compartmentalize. You can even forget, for a time, what it is you were thinking.

But there is no hiding from your own thoughts.

And so there is no hiding from your twin’s thoughts.

Shikako sees it as a story she can change. Edit particular sections and completely rewrite certain chapters. Characters and themes and plot points that can be adjusted, improved.

Shikamaru sees it as a game, of course. Pieces and set moves, rules and strategies. An ultimate goal, with acceptable losses in exchange for necessary gain.

Sacrifices must be made, but they have different definitions for it.

There is a delineation made, subconsciously or not, of what is most important at any given time.

A fork in the road. The known–with the costs and benefits tallied, just enough to be deemed acceptable–or the unknown, with all the risks and rewards that entails.

How do you decide which path to go down?

Shikamaru wants to play it safe. He is only a child, with childish strategies–one day he will beat his father at shogi, but that is many years from now–and he thinks that they have been handed the key to success.

Why diverge at all?

Shikako knows they must. Her existence, her knowledge, means they already have.

If they play it safe, they would need to remove her from the equation.

There is more than one way to take a character out of a story.

The problem with games is that there’s always someone playing against you.

~

A/N: … to be continued?

No but seriously, where should I go with this? Because I have some ideas, but I realize that they’d mostly just end up pale imitations of @donapoetrypassion‘s In Which Someone Attempts to Kidnap Shikamaru, Instead

Maybe this could be like a choose your own adventure type fic, where I try to incorporate reader suggestions?