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A Reel of Film to the Light (HungryTiger)

Oh God what am I doing awake? I've been coding and coding since nine last night without stopping and I've made almost no progress. Taking a break and editing this now, but why am I not asleep?

Ah well, I have a Warren Zevon song for these evenings, and I suppose that's all I really need.
HungryTiger fic below the jump


The thing of it was- he got it. He understood the crying.

Really.

Hell, he’d been there at the Uchiha (Either don't have "Uchiha" here at all, or make it a possessive: Uchihas'. I think I like the first option better but it's up to you.) funeral too and had seen the face that that last, small, insignificant Uchiha had worn. It had been like looking at film exposed and eaten up by light. Everything had burned away; what was left was not worth the trouble to take. And Ino? Shikamaru remembers fancying he could feel the pulse through her wrist when her hand brushed against his at the sight of that other boy, at that long-ago funeral. Both he and she had been searching for someone, anyone, to remind themselves they were not as alone as he was (alternatively, "as alone as him"). So she might have been able to understand loneliness or even ambition- but Uchiha Sasuke?

No.

She’d never understood him.

So when Shikamaru started laying out this last plan, he was not surprised to make his oldest friend cry. And if it broke his heart just the same, well, that was not a surprise either. But Chouji stood behind him on this, and Neji-san too. His failures agreed with him. Time to try it again.

So he kept talking, pausing only for an odd question here or there, and then he was done. Taking a deep breath, he walked away from the mostly silent group gathered around Ino and her tears. There was another girl to make cry.

Shikamaru winced a little, listening to the muffled voices behind the tent flap. The half of the conversation he could hear was all harsh words, but- there was still work to be done. Pushing the fabric aside, he didn’t know if it helped or makesmade (tense agreement with "didn't know" and "helped", alternatively "he doesn't know if it helps or ... she is already sobbing") things worse that she was already sobbing when he walked in.

Ignoring the sound, hoping this small stalling of time would be enough to let Sakura-san regain some face, he carefully took in the Hokage (ex-hokage? His mind raced with different political meltdowns that could spark though outthroughout the city), and the tired lines at Shizune-sensei’s eyes. He glanced at this Sai-san’s face too. He didn't really know the man well, beyond one crashed dinner party. Were there harsh lines to match his tongue? But no, there was a rather forgettable look to him, all said and done.

And then, after he gave her what little time he thought they could waste, Sakura-san still was a contorted face, a real mess. He sighed. It wasn't like he hadn't tried.

With no preamble, Shikamaru began laying out the same plan given just minutes before to the only ninja that last Uchiha may have been able lay claim to as friends in the entire city. All the while, her face never changed. Sakura-san had been crying too much before to see if for him to see whether what he said made things worse or better. But he's watched these girls for years; he doesn't really need a smile or sigh to tell him what this wass was doing. Worse. It was making things worse.

He continued on anyway and when he came to an end, she surprised him.

She begged him to let her take his place, or rather, to have them switch places in his plan, so that she could be the one to talk to Naruto, and Shikamaru hesitated because Naruto iswas (Tense agreement with "hesitated") his friend.

It comes down to this: Shikamaru still didn't know what made Uchiha do it, leave these last people, his team, behind. And because he can't know that, in the intimate way he knows he must if he is to understand this man they are hunting, he knows too he can't understand the heartbreak this betrayal means. What would he say if Naruto came to him and told him they had to killed kill Chouji? What if Ino came to him to say himtell the same?

What circumstances could even make it feasible to imagine Chouji pulling a turncoat, and killing those he’d vowed to protect? (I would, at the very least, change "feasible" to "possible". The practical, formal business connotations "feasible" carries robs the sentence of a lot of emotional force. I would also, if you want to go a step further, try rephrasing the sentence so you could simply use a word like "conceivable" or "imaginable" instead of "possible to imagine", and then adjust the end of your sentence to go with that. "Chouji pulling a turncoat, and..." is also a bit long, is there anyway you could shorten the the "Chouji pulling a turncoat" part?) His mind, seeing every scenario, can't lay this one out. Sakura had woken and slept again with betrayal every day for three years. So Shikaramu released himself from some small part of his responsibility.

He gave a grim smile.

"Take two of the others with you when you go."

He watched her leave, Sai-san a silent follower, and ignored the sound of sniffling from, of all people, Shizune-sensei. Instead, his mind whirled with what minor adjustments needed to be made to the plan; it was only the smallest of responsibilities he gave her, after all. He could not waste time trying to understand women’s hearts, or their motives. Their emotions, like Uchiha's, were film in the light-blotted out when you most wanted to clearly see. Anyway, it didn’t matter. Uchiha Sasuke, either way, would soon be dead.