Author: Snow Tigra
Pairings: Shikamaru & Chouji, Shikamaru & Ino
Warnings: Leaning toward horror, but not so much. Inspired by the movie “Unleashed” but bearing almost no similarity to it whatsoever. Alternate Universe.
Previous chapters: http://www.narutofic.org/viewuser.php?u
Note: Sorry for the short chapter. More coming soon ^_^
The night came quickly, the darkness settling around him. The boy waited until the light was completely gone before sliding out of the closet, and moving into the room. Silence was around him and it took him a moment to realize that Chouji was laying in his bed, curled up tightly under the blankets. The boy tilted his head, thinking that was odd… and why wasn’t the lamp on?
He moved over toward the bed, his feet not making a sound as he crossed the darkness. He found Chouji laying there, his eyes closed and a piece of folded paper crumpled in his hand. It had writing on it, writing that the boy couldn’t really read. And there was something else… something shiny on Chouji’s face.
The boy reaches forward, touching one of the lines on Chouji’s face, and he could actually feel it. It felt… cold? Wet? He’d never felt that before… what was this?
The boy jumped back, shaking his hand. It wouldn’t come off! What was this stuff? Why was he able to touch it and why was it sticking to his hand? He moved quickly, shaking his hand back and forth, near panic crossing his face. He wanted it off! He didn’t want anything sticking to his hand!
The boy stopped, glancing back at the bed. Chouji was sitting up now, sniffling as he wiped his eyes. The boy watched him wipe the lines from under his eyes, leaving small sparkling smears. The boy frowned softly and stepped forward, touching Chouji’s cheek again and looking at him in question.
“Oh… yeah… sorry… I was crying.” He whipped his face again, sniffling once more. “I didn’t mean to bother you, I was just sad.”
The boy tilted his head in question and pointed at the folded paper in Chouji’s hand.
“I should be happy, it’s the first mail we’ve received in this house. Which is really neat and all, because it means that we do actually live here. But, well… it has my mother’s name on it.”
Mother. He’d heard that word before. The other one had mentioned it once before, possibly, when they were rambling on about this or that. He hadn’t completely listened, so he didn’t know what the word meant. But Chouji was crying – was that the right word for the wet stuff? – so it must mean that that person was important. He didn’t like seeing Chouji cry. The wet stuff didn’t feel right on his fingers, but it looked worse on Chouji’s cheeks.
The boy sat down on the bed next to Chouji and reached up, touching his cheek again. It wasn’t wet this time, he ended up just smearing it a little more on his face. He watched as Chouji’s eyes widened.
“You can touch me? I-I felt that!” His voice was soft, a whisper really. The boy found himself smiling at that and he was soon smiling even more when Chouji smiled back at him and finally started to look happy again.
“Her name was Shizune, she was really nice. The picture on my night stand is of her… oh! And she made the lamp you like so much! Papa loved her a lot, I did too, but she got sick a while ago and died. So now it’s just me and papa. This letter was supposed to go to her… I know it’s silly, but it made me really sad that the first letter we got had her name on it.”
The boy listened to Chouji talk as he looked at the lamp. She must have been nice, this Shizune, to make something so beautiful.
“Do you have a mother and father?”
Mother and father? He didn’t hear those words often, but he vaguely understood what they meant. He thought about the other shadows, the mass of conscious thought that obeyed the light and dark without really considering what it meant. He couldn’t pinpoint the time he’d come into existence, he could only pinpoint when he’d been burned and taken away from that part of his life. If he’d had a mother… or a father he didn’t know. He shook his head.
“Do you… have a family?”
Family? The boy watched Chouji for a moment, playing with that word in his mind. Family? He stood up a second later and moved over to the shadows. Was it his mind or did they pull away from him? Was he betraying them by telling Chouji about where he’d come from? What he was? Or, rather, what he had been? The boy shook his head more to clear his thoughts and pointed to the shadows.
Silence filled the room as Chouji didn’t speak and the boy watched the shadows react to the fact that he was pointing at them, betraying their position. He could hear them whispering, their words just out of his reach as they usually were. He wondered if they were whispering about him, what were they thinking?
“You can be a part of our family.”
The boy jumped a little at that, turning back to him. But he was a shadow, that didn’t make any sense. Only humans could be part of human families.
But didn’t he want to be human?
Chouji responded with a simple smile, holding out his hand toward the boy. Minutes passed between the two of them, and yet Chouji’s smile never wavered. The boy looked unsure, nervous even, not wanting to be burned again. Still, the thought was nice.
The boy nodded and stepped forward and placed his hand in Chouji’s. He could lightly feel Chouji’s skin and from the delighted look on the chubby boy’s face he was sure that he could feel his hand too. That was nice. The boy smiled a little more and sat down on the bed next to Chouji, swinging his feet a little.
“Do you have a name I can call you? But you can’t talk… maybe I should make one up. Like Kage? It means shadow.”
The boy smiled even more at that. He remembered the other one giving him a name before, a long one that really made more sense to him. But this, Kage, made much more sense. It was short and easy… like Chouji.
Kage. He liked that.
Chouji spent the next half hour or so telling the boy, Kage, about his family and different cute stories about himself and them when he was younger. School projects, family trips, holidays, Chouji talked about everything he could think of and just enjoyed watching how his new friend reacted. He never realized how many different types of smiles a single person could have. Each smile was new and more vibrant then the rest. The best appeared when Kage tried to laugh and though no sound came out, the expression was just priceless.
Kage. The boy was a shadow, that much Chouji had figured out. He wasn’t a boy or a ghost at all, he was a shadow which had somehow obtained human form. He’d never heard of such a thing in any stories to fairy tales or anything like that, but he was sure that’s what had happened. Either way, he thought a shadow was better anyway, because now there was absolutely no reason to be afraid of him. Kage was nice, and sweet and even good looking for a shadow. If Kage had been a real boy Chouji had seen at school he was sure he would have been the subject of many quick glances and after class whisperings.
The oddest thing, and biggest clue, as to what this boy was, was how the shadows moved whenever he pointed at them. It was like they were pulling away from him, shunning him for how he looked. That right there had sealed it and that was when Chouji had decided to offer to make Kage part of his family. He wasn’t sure yet how he was going to explain it to his father, but he figured he’d worry about that later. Right now he just wanted to forget about the letter and his mother’s name and how finding that had really just felt like a harsh stab to his heart.
He finally had to admit that maybe his father wasn’t the only one who was hiding from the fact that she was gone.
“Kage? Were the shadows your family?”
He watched the shadow boy nod as they both laid there in bed, facing each other.
“Did you feel bad when you left? When you’re away from them?”
The boy nodded again, his smile fading to a sad frown as he glanced over Chouji’s shoulder to the shadows behind him.
“That’s how I feel,” he whispered softly. The look on Kage’s face fit perfectly to describe how he felt. Just complete and total loss and helplessness with the current situation. He wanted his mother back, but he knew it was never going to happen; that seemed to be the same way Kage felt about whatever his current situation was. Still, having someone who felt the same and understood felt much better. Chouji found himself scooting closer to Kage, and sliding an arm around him, barely able to feel him, but able to hug him even if he felt like air.
Both of them lay there silently, watching the light from his mother’s lamp move slowly around the room. It was peaceful, safe and comfortable. Everything seemed perfect and Chouji slowly began to drift off to sleep.
The peaceful and happy moment was at that moment shattered as three rocks crashed through Chouji’s window. Chouji gave a small cry and quickly rolled off the bed, ducking behind it as glass flew through the room. A second later his door flew open and Chouza was in the room, glaring at the mess.
“I’m ok papa.” Chouji stood up and brushed himself off, looking around the room. Kage was gone and he was left alone in the room which now had a broken window and a littering of glass across the carpeted floor. In a second both Chouji and Chouza were at the window, watching a figure run away across the yard, dressed in black with blond hair.