Shikamaru has discovered with mild amusement many years ago that his son is a sight even more captivating than the clouds. He watches him now, too.
And well, when his son watches sulkily as Inojin hurries to end the Ino-Shika-Chou training because he has some plans with Sakura’s daughter, being his mother’s son and all, Shikamaru knows all his son is thinking of. After all, he used to think all the same things when Temari was always busy with her brothers and later Kazekage’s business.
But Shikamaru also knows that, first, love is every bit a battle, second, a battle is always won by brains, and third, Shikadai is his son. Many people think that they are not fighting the battles they know they can’t win. What use is arguing with that? But Shikamaru knows that it is opposite - all the battles they decide to fight at, will be won. Sooner or later.
So when Shikamaru sees how Shikadai takes up his fan and starts practising mundane moves he could perform years ago, he knows Shikadai is not practising. He is thinking. And well, he is his mother’s son, as much as he is his.
Shikamaru would never choose to move.
Shikadai is terribly lazy, same as him, terribly smart, too. In few years he’ll be a player Shikamaru will want to play against. Shikamaru loves all the bits that he has gotten from Temari, too. He likes his inner fire, and almost overwhelming confidence, even when the laziness is occasionally trumped by something else.
In almost everything Shikadai is better than him, he is less lazy, less grumpy, while equally careless, he is also nicer and watches the world with an amazement Shikamaru himself is simply incapable of. He has inherited everything Shikamaru loves so much about Temari. He isn’t as skeptical as he is, which Shikamaru hopes will make his son’s life even better than his.
Shikamaru thinks he has chosen well, he and Temari created a wonderful child.
He loves this mix even in Shikadai's appearance, because while he is a spitting image of him, Temari’s lines have smoothed their child’s face. Shikamaru knows that all parents are supposed to be extremely fond of their children, but he has capabilities to be just about everything he sees. And he knows that Shikadai is more beautiful than he is. He hasn’t had even a slightest idea that Nara clan could have such high hopes in appearance until the birth of his son. Few generations of good choices, after Shikamaru, and their clan is going to be competing with Uchihas.
Shikamaru thinks about Inojin. A sweet boy, taking more after Sai in it, rather than after Ino. And, well, easy on eyes. Even more than that.
Shikamaru knew that Ino thought something was going on between Inojin and Sarada, but Shikamaru was sure it was not true. Sarada was only her mother’s daughter, and Inojin his mother’s son. Shikamaru thought with amusement if Ino has had some unresolved ambitions regarding Uchihas she hoped to achieve through her son. After all, she was crushing on Sasuke quite badly in academy. Heir of Yamanaka and Uchiha. In any case, she was mistaken. Anyone could see that Sarada crushed on Boruto, and considering the intensity with which her parents loved, she will never back off from that road.
Shikamaru has just realised that he has been watching with endless fascination on all the love deals the upcoming generation started making. But it was fascinating, trying to predict the outcomes of so many battles.
But no matter what, Shikamaru firstly has had his bets on his son.
“I can’t believe this!” - exclaims Ino, barely walking through the door.
Shikamaru knows about tons of things Ino wouldn’t believe in, but he only raises his hand in a greeting. And drops it down immediately.
He is thinking what Ino came to complain about today. The majority of the probable variations can be cut down by the fact that she hasn’t demanded for Chouji to be here, so it’s not about work. The other things can be cut down, because Ino would rather go to Sakura for a talk, instead she came here, because it is clear, she can discuss it with him only.
Only one thing is left.
“So they started dating,” - draws Shikamaru. Good job, son.
“My son with your son!”
The tone she uses should be offensive, but then it is Ino.
“He is also Temari’s son, and Kazekage’s nephew,” - offers Shikamaru.
“Yes, that’s the only redemption,” - she snarks. Shikamaru actually looks at her here. One day he’ll get back for that. It is his son Ino is talking about. She seems to be forgetting herself.
Shikamaru knows by the sound of her voice, she isn’t actually too worried about any of that. She only doesn’t know how to react to the news of her son dating anyone. So here and now he decides to play along with her.
“Who were you hoping he’d be with?”
Ino laughs maniacally. The laughter says she hasn’t thought about her son ever being with anyone. Ino probably thought he’d be with her constantly. Today she glimpsed the future where her son would eventually leave her.
“I obviously wished to better my bloodline,” - she says instead.
“Hm. Uchiha’s heir?”
Shikamaru thinks that even if Ino wished for Sarada and Inojin to be together, it was more about the desire to be one family with her best friend. Ino and Sakura probably dreamed about marrying their children when they both were pregnant.
“Plus, what should I care about Kazekage’s nephew, when Hokage’s daughter was not too out of reach,” - she says. Shikamaru thinks it might be true. Inojin was perhaps the most good-looking out of the peers his age, little Himawari wasn’t alone in her little crush.
“But then you’d be one family with Naruto,” - Shikamaru knows he himself would never wish for such a blessing to happen. Shikadai was often playing with Boruto, while both of them were waiting for their fathers to be done with work. Shikamaru thinks it was around that time that he noticed the preferences of his son. Thankfully that particular missile has missed it’s course. He would take Ino and Sai into the family any day before Naruto. He was having enough of him at work.
“You are absolutely right,” - she sighs and then drops down to sit. She groans loudly and then says: “Make me see anything good about it.”
“Well, my son is not me,” - Shikamaru shrugs.
Ino agrees animatedly.
“I would never let my son date somebody like you,” - she agrees. Nor I would let my son date somebody like you, thinks Shikamaru back at her. The basis of their friendship was founded by them never pretending to be in any sort of awe of each other.
“Plus, you have to admit, such match will be safer for Ino-Shika-Chou formation to live on. If your grandchild had to awake sharingan, he’d rather be busy with that than capturing somebody’s mind.”
“There are so many Uchiha techniques,” - Ino nods seriously.
And then Shikamaru thinks about something that should cement his words.
“Hinata has told me that Boruto doesn’t even want to learn the 128-point battle. He is all about rasengan and huge frogs,” - absolute truth, though Hinata hasn’t been worrying. She doesn’t seem to think all too much about being the heir of her clan, not the way Ino does.
“Oh. That’s true. They would never want to practice our techniques, not when they could learn sannin and hokage’s level techniques. Truly, Sakura has told me that Sarada will learn how to summon both the snails and the snakes… Oh!” - shit, she only started to chill. - “But how, what?…”
“There are egg-donors, surrogate mothers and adoption always available,” - Shikamaru replies calmly. He has researched all about his son’s options in case if he decided to ask his father for advice.
“But they’ll need to have two kids. Preferably at the same time, so that they would all end up at the same team!”
Ino herself has hurried to get pregnant when she learned about his and Chouji’s family awaiting.
“Ino, twins exist.”
“Yeah, you’re right, and with the surrogate mothers…” - she looks in the distance. And then she shakes off her head, and looks at Shikamaru without a single trace of humour. Her tone when she says the next words is completely changed.
“I never even thought about it, not really. My son…” - she wants to say she already misses him. She says something he understands well - this dread that their children have grown up… Suddenly Shikamaru understands all too well everything Ino feels.
Damn you, son.
Could he not have grown up? His Shikadai. The child that he carried on his arms. Shikadai slept a lot then. He used to brag at Temari that their son had more of him. But then, whenever he would open his green eyes, he looked at the world with the curiosity Shikamaru hasn’t known. And joy, too. Shikamaru found that he loved playing with him then, he started laughing more because of his son.
He even loved, when Shikadai, as he grown, gained the most annoying quality of Temari of making another person feel inferior with quick smart replies and disinterest in his eyes.
“They grow too fast,” - Ino concludes. And Shikamaru couldn't have said it better.