Sand Trails Ch 13: One Bored Shark

“Okay, gentlemen, and lady,” Shiranui-sensei nodded to a ridiculously tiny girl in the back of the room, “We are on week two, day three of our project month.”  He waved a hand around the large, twenty by forty room, particularly towards the various projects carefully stowed near the back half.  “That means… stop listening to me and get to work.”  He grinned and waved them off, amidst a chorus of chuckles.

Deidara was giggling excitedly.  Aside from Art—and perhaps even that—this was his favorite class.  “Oooh, yeah!  C’mon, let’s get the stuff.”

Sasori huffed, already heading toward the other half of the room.  “Shut up,” he replied, and knelt beside the bottom framework of their trebuchet.  “Kisame?”

Kneeling by the other side of the metal monster, Sharky was frowning down at the joint he was holding on to. “Hey…” He tapped the side of one of the brackets. “This one’s welded solid.”

Hearing Kisame’s words, Sasori blinked at him. “They are supposed to be welded. How else would it hold together?”

Blue boy gave him a look. “We haven’t gotten all the pieces put together yet. If we made a mistake in the measurements, we need to be able to pull it apart to adjust.”

Banging a knuckle against the joint, Kisame continued. “If it’s welded, ‘adjusting’ would be a pain in the ass.”

“Pick up the thing and move, Shark boy,” Sasori snorted. “I double checked everything already and Shiranui-sensei cleared it. We only welded that one joint.”

“Huh,” Kisame grunted and lifted. As they were moving it across the floor, he asked, “When did you do this?”

Smirking, Sasori shifted his shoulders in a careful shrug. “That time Gai and Ibiki caught your ass skipping.”

“Oi, hurry up, un!” Deidara said from the work bench, scowling at them.  He had looped his hair up a second time so it wouldn’t get caught while they were working, and the effect made him even girlier than normal.

Sasori shook his head as they reached the bench and carefully set the frame down on the floor.  Deidara was scanning the blueprints, frowning.  “Man…  Itachi made changes again,” he complained.  He didn’t bother pointing out that they were accurate changes, as that would be obvious.  “Now I have to go back over the material…”

“Stop whining,” Sasori retorted, straightening and going to stand by him.  “What changes did he make?”

Deidara pouted, letting them see the papers.  “Well, a change.  He adjusted the length of the rope for the sling, un.  That’s all I can see at the moment, but I’ll have to go over them again to be sure.”

Kisame leaned over the drawings and scanned over the careful numbers that were neatly noted by clear lines. He scanned the ones for the base, then checked the other papers. “The picky bastard didn’t change any of the measurements on the parts already built, so that’s a relief,” he muttered.

“How are you sure?” the redhead asked, curious. He tilted his head and tapped one of the notations. “Sure, you two work well together, but even you didn’t know he had made changes.”

Lips spreading in a smirk, blue boy tapped another of the numbers. “See that underline?” He waited until Sasori peered at the number and nodded. “I underline all the measurements when we work with them. If Itachi makes a change, he erases the entire measurement and doesn’t underline his new ones.”

Deidara scanned what they’d already built, very carefully, then nodded.  “Yeah, he’s right,” he said, sounding relieved.  “I swear I’m gonna kick that bastard if he screws anything up, un!”

Sasori snorted.  “And he’ll kick you back,” he replied.  “C’mon, let’s start….”

xXx

Not again, Shikamaru groaned as Kisame gleefully beat Kiba to the stool next to the already miserable boy. The race to the table nearly ended with the bigger teen toppling the stool sideways into Shikamaru.

“Dammit Shark!” Kiba snarled. “You can’t keep doing this!”

The offender smirked, “Down Dog, I can sit wherever I want to.” He waved at the class of meandering students. “We’re not having a group project today. Screw off.”

Shikamaru watched with sad eyes as his usual lab partner stalked away. Kisame turned with a grin and Shika promptly covered his ears and buried his face in his backpack, which was still sitting on the table.

Kisame cooed and hopped his stool closer. “Awww, does Shika-chan not feel so good after slurping down an entire knobbly green length of cum covered tenta—”

At that moment the door near them swung open and the gentle, smiling, Iruka-sensei walked into the classroom.

“—tively speaking, Nara-san, I don’t think that it would be a good idea to take a nap right now,” Sharky ended smoothly.

“Shikamaru-kun,” Iruka said, frowning slightly at the lazy boy.

Shikamaru cringed, lifted his head and let it drop back down onto his backpack.  “Sorry, sensei,” he mumbled.

“Stop wasting time,” Sasori hissed from one seat back and to their left, as Iruka headed towards the front.  “I will gut you if you do.”

Shikamaru flinched and scowled at the grinning Kisame. “Could you please leave the… porn to a minimum today?” the boy pleaded. “Or at least don’t talk about lunch?”

“Well, you ate the lunch,” the smirking teenager replied. “So, you’re the expert on it.”

“Ugh, how troublesome.”

The table and the height of the stool didn’t make resting one’s chin on a hand very easy, but somehow Kisame managed it. This actually put the two boys at eye level.

“Well,” he said magnanimously. “In gratitude of your sacrifice to provide me with some fuck—” he cut his eye to the front where Iruka-sensei was oblivious “—ing awesome laughs, I will relent. So what do you want to talk about?”

Blinking at the wide grin from his table mate, Shika bit back his first words which were, ‘You’re letting me choose?!’

Kisame watched the smart kid think his options through and snickered. Damn, this kid was so easy compared to ‘tachi! Look at the little cogs go!

“Homework?” Shikamaru proposed slowly.

“Lame,” he replied.

The other kid frowned and clamped his lips again. Kisame shut his own mouth and tried not to laugh.

Shikamaru looked away from Kisame, sitting back and letting his hands fall into his lap.  Safe topic, safe topic, safe topic—

Ah!  “Chess?”

Flat-line. “Dead boring.” Brow creasing, Kisame gave the other boy a pained look and lowered his voice. “Fuck man, you have got to be more than school and old people’s games.”

“They’re strategy games,” Shikamaru said, pouting.  ‘I bet if Itachi wanted to talk about them, you’d jump at it.’  Of course, he did not say this out loud.  No, what he said was, “Uh…  Food?”

Sharky shook his head and smirked. “Those strategy games can’t be helping you much if you can’t even avoid me.” Then his grin got wider. “Now food, what kind gets you interested?”

“Dango?” Shikamaru ventured, wisely ignoring the slight on his inability to play ninja.

Brows lifting, Kisame gave him a pat on the back. “Sticky, tan balls on a stick, huh?” he asked amused. “You are a closet pervert.”

Shikamaru also wisely refrained from pointing out that those sticky, tan balls on a stick happened to be Uchiha Itachi’s favorite treat (or so said Ino).  Instead, he took a breath for patience and sighed.  “You’re going to make perverted references no matter what I say, aren’t you.”

It wasn’t a question.

Kisame shrugged. “Actually, that was Itachi’s reply to when I said dangos. I’ve played this game before.” He pointed to the teacher turning around. “Pay attention now!”

Shikamaru groaned.  Gods give him patience.  Either that, or kill him right now… However, when the gods did not strike him down where he sat, he scowled.

“Shikamaru-kun!” Iruka said, exasperated.  “Are you hearing a word I say?”

Shikamaru panicked.  “Uh… yes?”

“Oh, really?  And what did I just say?”

Shikamaru’s eyes darted to the board… Frogs?  Really?  Kisame would be making tadpole jokes next.  The Nara boy just knew it.  “Uh…  The life cycle and stuff?”

Iruka narrowed his eyes, then huffed and turned back around, satisfied.

Shikamaru decided he was a very lucky guy.  And then Kisame opened his mouth again.

“Guess talking porn every class has paid off,” Kisame mused, keeping his eyes on the teacher. He poked his unwilling partner in the ribs. “Right, next topic.”

Shikamaru heaved a sigh.  Right, maybe if he gave the guy something he wanted to talk about…  “Wrestling.”

Silver eyes slid his way and one dark eyebrow crept up. “Really? What about it?” The bigger teen gave the kid a once over physical and figured the boy came up short. Then again, sometimes there were surprises.

Shikamaru shrugged.  “There’s a team of female wrestlers over on the outskirts of town…  They basically strip down to their underwear and try to get each other covered in mud.”  Last he checked, anyway.

Kisame sighed. He couldn’t blame Nara. He was in an odd fucking mood. With Itachi out of the picture for a week, things were so… unbalanced. He felt like he was walking off kilter without his friend there.

He shook his head and looked Shikamaru in the eye. “Are you really interested in homework?” he deadpanned, going back to the initial topic.

“Nope,” Shikamaru replied honestly, and cut Kisame a glower.  “But I am interested in chess.”

Snickering, the other boy pointed to Iruka who was scribbling something on the board. “Copy.”

The other boy scowled, but scrambled to write down what the teacher was putting down. With his luck, if he didn’t copy it down, Iruka would do a paper check.

The giant next to him was writing as well, but after a moment Kisame’s voice came slipping out the side of his mouth. “Fucking chess. What is it with you smart fucks and chess?”

Smart?  Well, maybe.  “I just like it,” he replied.  “It isn’t boring.  This crap,” he gestured toward the board, “is so easy that I just wanna fall asleep instead.  I’d probably get more out of that,” Shikamaru grumbled.  “Troublesome.”

“Really?” Kisame looked at him for a moment and grinned. “Itachi beats me in three moves on a regular basis,” he admitted. “You teach me, I get you out of here.”

Of course he does, Shikamaru thought.  Freaking Uchihas.  “How does getting me out of here today equate to making you a successful chess player?” Shikamaru asked boredly, trying to listen to the teacher.  He blinked slowly when he realized that he could both talk and remember what the man was saying… Why hadn’t he figured that out years ago?

Snorting, the blue teen replied, “Two things. One, I’m not looking to beat Uchiha, just last more than five turns. Two, you teach me today, and every day until Itachi gets back, and we only talk about chess.” Kisame turned and offered a hand. “Only chess until Itachi gets back.”

Inside, Kisame was throttling himself. Boredom and an unbalanced school life apparently drove him to do strange things. Learn chess for a week? Holy fuck, Hidan was going to kill himself laughing.

Shikamaru blinked.  “We’ll… what, skip class all week and I’ll teach you how to play chess—for longer than five turns—in that time?”  Simple.  He frowned.  “And you… Hm…”  He fell silent and idly scribbled down something the teacher had written on the board.  He barely even glanced at it, mostly focused on this interesting little deal.  “In less than three days, I really can’t teach you much… but I should be able to teach you enough to get you past five moves.”

Kisame turned his offered hand over and pointed the fingers to the ceiling. “Three days?” He closed the fist. “Today, tomorrow, Friday, Saturday,” Shika’s eyes narrowed, “Sunday.” The bigger teen held up all five digits. “Fucker says he’s coming back on Monday.”

Monday?  Hm…  “Less than five days, then,” Shikamaru allowed, calculating.  Would he be able to keep this from everyone?  Fat chance.  He sighed and leaned back in his chair.  “Fine.  Deal.”

“Good, look sick.” Kisame jumped to his feet with a clatter of a stool. “Iruka-sensei!”

The young teacher at the front snapped eyes on them and watched as Shikamaru stared back with wide eyes. The boy’s face was paling by the second.

Though, that may have been because of the lethal looks Sasori was aiming at the back of his head.  The redhead was sitting just close enough to have heard every single word of their whispered conversation.  And he likely done that on purpose.

“Yes, Kisame-kun?” The confused Iruka asked.

Kisame nearly cringed at the ‘kun’ but kept on going. “Nara-san isn’t feeling very well.” The big teen stepped in close to the other boy and ‘helped’ him off the stool. “You see, he tried some of today’s linguine.”

Iruka paled himself and observed Shikamaru’s twitching facial muscles and fumbling limbs. “Could you help him to the bathroom? Or maybe the nurse’s office?” Naruto had mentioned the green pasta.

Shikamaru felt his knees grow weak when he heard a hiss behind him.  “… Think ‘m gonna hurl,” he mumbled, playing it up only a little bit.  Good gods, Akasuna was gonna murder him.  He was going to die a horrible, painful death, and oh gods, was that a betrayed look Kiba was giving him?  Nooooo…  No, Kiba, wasn’t my idea!  I’m going to die…

“Hurry,” he whimpered.

“Go, go, please.  He looks awful,” Iruka said worriedly.  “Keep an eye on him.  You’re both excused.”

Way too perfect…  Shikamaru was glad he wasn’t Naruto; Iruka never believed a word the blond said.

“Of course, Iruka-sensei,” Kisame assured him. He quickly packed everything into his duffel bag and swung the weight to his shoulder. “Shika-kun, lean on me if you need to.” He actually offered an arm… He was also very nearly dying of laughter. Oh, Sasori would get him for this in Metal Working tomorrow for sure.

“I… think I can manage,” Shikamaru mumble and started walking with a robotic-like gait toward the door.  And then he was out it, Kisame right behind.  Gods, he hadn’t felt like this since he’d made the mistake of skipping gym once last semester….

“Don’t stop here you moron…” Kisame muttered under his breath, and pushed the smaller male down the hall with a hand in the middle of the smaller teen’s back. “Go, go, go, go…”

They rounded the corner, tripped down several flights of stairs and they did end up stumbling into the bathroom for the want of somewhere to laugh. Or at least Kisame did.

Shikamaru closed the bathroom door and leaned against it, still a little pale.  “Akasuna is going to murder me,” he said, wide-eyed.  “It was like he was staring daggers into my back… Gods, that guy is ice,” he complained.  “So troublesome.”

This wall is comfy, Kisame thought weakly. His vision had nearly blacked out from the running and the laughing and the effort it had taken to keep a straight face in class.

“Sasori,” Sharky paused to take in another breath, “is, what the fuck is the word, ah, a scary mother fucker.” Then he snickered. The fucker had been furious. Kisame had no doubt that the redhead had heard every single word of their deal. He was rather proud of their exit.

“I didn’t notice,” Shikamaru replied sarcastically.  His heart was slowly starting to calm.  “… Will he actually gut me?” he asked, looking faint.

Kisame grinned from the corner he had collapsed into and staggered to his feet. “He’ll gut me. You though? Naah.”

“Good,” Shikamaru said, relieved.  “I’ll make sure you have porn at your funeral.”

“Make it the mud wrestling chicks and I’ll go happily.” The blue boy smirked.

Shikamaru rolled his eyes and waved him off, straightening from the door.  “Whatever… Geez, you’re a bad influence.”  Forget Akasuna, if Ino and Sakura ever found out he’d skipped class… He shuddered.  Best not to think of such things.  “So this chess thing…?  Where do you wanna go?”  He paused, then added, “I have a collapsible board and pieces in my locker.”

“Let’s get to the locker first then,” Kisame decided, pushing himself to his feet. Shouldering the bag, he turned and looked expectantly at Shikamaru.

“Okay,” Shikamaru agreed, and peeked out the door.  “It’s near the cafeteria…  Should be deserted this period, so come on.  If anyone asks, I asked to get something from my locker.”

Kisame pushed the kid out the door. “Awww, you mean I gotta say the truth?”

“If you tell only lies, it’s easy to figure out,” Shikamaru retorted, and walked casually away, toward the cafeteria.  “Naruto skips sometimes; I know where he hides from Ibiki.  We can go there.”

Strolling with Nara meant that Kisame had to shorten his strides. It felt like they were crawling down the hallway.

“Hey, I was telling the truth,” Sharky protested. “You did eat that stuff.” He snorted, grinning. “Oh wow, Iruka’s face.”

Shikamaru cringed.  “How’d he—Oh, that’s right.  Naruto.  C-Lunch,” he said, answering his own question.  He sighed.  “Troublesome.”  He shook his head and rounded the corner to the hall outside the cafeteria, where his locker was.  A spin of the combination lock—done too quickly for Kisame to see, even if he’d been looking—a click of the latch and he pulled the door open.

He jumped back.  “Na-ru-to,” he growled angrily.  There was a plastic container of the day’s lunch sitting in the locker.  How had that idiot figured out his key?

Peering over the top edge of the locker, Kisame eyed the leftovers. He snorted, “Who needs enemies, huh?” He tapped the kid on the head. “Stop fixating on it and move your ass.”

Shikamaru huffed and made a mental note to stuff it in Naruto’s bag later.  He shook his head and reached into the locker, pulling out a plastic case from the back, roughly the size of one of his texts books.  He closed the locker gently, clicked the lock closed, spun the dial and turned away.  “C’mon, this way,” he said, heading out of the building, in the vague direction of East Wing.

Kisame chuckled and hung an arm around the smaller boy’s shoulders. He said grandly, “This is the start of—”

“Shut up.”  Shikamaru tossed the other boy a frown, then glanced over his shoulder as they crossed the quad.  No one, but…  “This way,” he added, turning an abrupt left and slipping around the West Wing building.  He lead Kisame around the building and back toward East Wing, through the doors and up to the third floor.  Then he started counting doors and opened a janitors closet.

Kisame was not impressed.  “This is way too-”

“Shut.  Up.”  Shikamaru motioned the boy inside the room and closed the door, then clicked on the small overhead light.  He grabbed a stool and stood just to the left of the light, then pushed up on the plaster square.

He shoved it to the side, revealing a trap door above that.  There apparently was an attic above.  He turned his head.  “Kisame, I forgot.  Over there, under the rusty metal pail, is a small key, hand it to me?”

“Colour me impressed,” Kisame muttered as he dropped the duffel bag softly to the floor and tilted up the pail. He stooped down to scrape the key off the floor and then stretched to pass it to the kid up the ladder.

“Who came up with this?” He wanted to know.

Shikamaru shrugged.  “Two years back, Naruto was hanging around with Neji and Tenten during school, and Ibiki caught him.  He chased him into the building and Naruto hid in this closet.  Ibiki was opening doors, so he panicked and started trying to climb into the ceiling—don’t ask me why, maybe he thought the plaster would hold him.”

Shikamaru ran long fingers slowly over the door, then fit the key into a tiny, barely visible lock and turned it.  There was a soft, rusty click.  “He found the trap door, and the key was already in the lock, so he hid inside.”  He pushed on the door and it swung up and open on surprisingly silent hinges.

“For a while, he carried the key with him, but when we started school here last year, he decided to share.”  He shrugged and climbed up through the hole, then leaned back.  “Hand me the stuff,” he ordered.

“Huh,” Kisame uttered softly. Then dragged the bag over and looped the handles into Nara’s waiting hands. “Interesting.”

Shikamaru pulled the bag through and scooted away from the door, then got comfortable on one of the many bean bags they’d placed there over time.  “He’s resourceful, I guess,” he allowed as Kisame climbed up.  “And lucky.  No one else would have found it, I guarantee it.  Not unless they were looking for it.”

The large teenager leaned back down to replace the plaster tile and close the trap door. Then he made himself comfortable on blue bean bag. “Huh,” he said again, surveying the hidey hole. “Why here?”

Shikamaru shrugged.  “He put noodles in my locker,” he replied, “And figured out my key to do it.”  He sighed and dragged the plastic container to him, then unfolded it to reveal a wooden board folded in half with black and tan colored squares on it.

He lay the board out flat on the floor between them and pulled out two tiny baggies of pieces, tossing the unpainted wooden ones to Kisame, while he kept the black-painted ones to himself.  “You know how to set the pieces, right?”

The pieces came tumbling out as Kisame upended the small bag. “Yeah, yeah,” he snorted as he placed the pawns on the board.

Shikamaru set his own pieces, and then a thought occurred to him.  “Hey, you went with Sasuke earlier, to find Naruto, right?  What happened with that?”

Kisame quirked an eyebrow at him and placed the rooks. “The deal was to talk about chess only wasn’t it?”

Shikamaru yawned.  “Well, whatever, it’s probably troublesome anyway.”  He paused, then pointed out, “Though I did just answer your questions didn’t I?”

Queen, king, bishops… Kisame set down the knights and smirked. “True.” He sat back in the bean bag, chess army assembled, and traced the rafters with his eyes. “Hmm, Sasuke took the nearest set up stairs and bloody sprinted up them.” He shook his head and grinned.

“The only reason why Hidan and I followed the twerp was cuz Ibiki was on our tail. Easiest course is to follow.” He shrugged. “No decisions necessary.”

He leaned down and picked up a pawn. “He went up three flights of stairs before coming down this hallway. He probably wanted to check here,” Kisame mused. He set the pawn down in a different spot and quirked a brow at Nara.

Shikamaru leaned forward and boredly moved his Knight out.  “Really?  Hm…  Well, I suppose you didn’t see him leave then?”  Sasuke wouldn’t have, if he’d known they were following.

Idly, Kisame picked up another pawn and moved it two squares forward. “Nah, we kept moving.” Kisame blinked and thought the events over. Ibiki hadn’t been hot on their tails as he usually was. “Maybe, the old man gave up the chase early, but he didn’t come hounding after us… at all actually.” Kisame ended frowning.

Shikamaru moved his Knight again.  “Ah…  Yeah.  He went… the other way,” he said vaguely, and shrugged.

“Ibiki lost a trail?” The other teenager said incredulously. “Ours? We didn’t even bother to threaten anyone to not talk. We just ran like bitches.” He nudged a bishop out between other pieces and out to the playing field.

Shikamaru moved his Knight once more and sat back.  “Check mate.”  He paused.  “And yeah, he… er, lost your trail.”

Kisame grunted and looked at the board. “Fuck and damn.”  He glared at the carved wood pieces. “This is why I play poker.”

Shikamaru gave him a shrug.  “Sorry,” he said, distractedly.  “Reset your pieces.”

The armies were resurrected and Kisame moved another pawn. “Anything else, non chess you want to say?” he invited cheerfully.

“No, but you should watch which pawn you move.”  Three turns later, and Shikamaru had won again.

xXx

This is insane. Fucking insane. Kisame wandered through the hallways, rubbing the back of his head. I’ve just signed myself up for five days of absolute torture.

His new chess instructor had packed up the game pieces and run off to Geometry, leaving the shark with nothing to do but hold his head and wonder if he had been the one to eat something weird. Not that there was any chance in hell he’d be eating any of the cafeteria’s food. Not after that mystery dish. Ugh.

With nothing else to do but wait for the others to finish class, Kisame meandered down random stairs, up stretches of silent halls, and around the quad.

Shit, this is pointless. He pivoted on his heel and headed off towards his locker. At least there he would find a few magazines and a deck of cards. Though playing Solitaire is pretty fucking lame.

When Kisame rounded the corner for the hall containing his group of lockers, he nearly ran into a familiar boy with a fake smile.  Sai managed to stumble backwards before they had collided, though.  His smile grew.

“Oh!  Kisame-san!  You know, I had no way to give it to you otherwise, so I just stuck it on the locker.”  He patted the male’s shoulder.  “Hope you like it!  I was told you would either really like it or try to kill me.  Well, that was Ino-san’s opinion, though…”  He grinned, and it still managed to seem fake.

Kisame blinked. “Give me what?” He looked towards his locker and saw that a crisp white sheet of paper had taped to his locker door. “Shit, what did you put on there?”

“Go see,” Sai said, smile turning gleeful.  “I would like to know what you think,” he urged.

“No kidding,” Sharky murmured, amazed the kid was still standing within arm’s length. He shrugged and walked towards his present.

Sai trailed along behind him, grinning still.  He’d skipped Drama for this shit.  Naruto would get mad at him for leaving the blond to the literal wolves (for a play), but it would be worth it.  Would Hoshigaki get mad?  Laugh?  Stare at him like he was a psycho (Ino did that…)?  Oooh, the mystery was killing him.

Peering at the paper as he got closer, Kisame still couldn’t figure out what it was until he came within five feet of it. He blinked. A shark? And was that… him? With swords? He cracked a grin and started to cackle. Well, one sword of scales and the other of flesh, both of them huge.

Turning bright eyes towards the beaming kid behind him, Kisame clapped him on the back. “Fuck man. You’re a better artist than Naruto.”

The blue teenager slung an arm across Sai’s shoulders and together they looked at the artwork taped to Kisame’s locker.

“I think you just made my day,” Hoshigaki announced.

“Well, then I am glad my artwork is appreciated,” the tall boy said.  And despite his height, he was completely dwarfed by the other boy.  “Ino-san complained about my research.”  Pause.  Smirk.  “She did not like my deductions on her lack of breast support.”

Kisame snorted. “They never seem to appreciate us appreciating them, do they?” Konan for example. Then he blinked. “Ino is the blonde girl right? She’s not wearing a bra today?”

“Nope.”  Sai grinned.  “She tried to beat me up when I told her I knew.  Thankfully, the bell rang.  She is slightly scary.”  Though, he mused, not as scary as Ugly.

“Hmm.” Kisame carefully peeled the paper off the metal and held it in his free hand. “You ever do watercolours?”

“Yes,” Sai responded, perking.  Would Kisame commission him?  He could use a few bucks for medical supplies.  And Art supplies.  Both of which were important to a man like him.

The bigger teenager hummed again, then opened his locker, pulling out a few magazines and a binder. He slipped Sai’s present into the latter.

“You got a portfolio?” Kisame asked bemusedly.

Sai nodded, swinging his bag off his shoulder.  “Yes,” he repeated, setting the backpack on the floor and opening it.  He rummaged for a minute before pulling out a sketchbook and a manilla folder.  He held it out, musing how the pressure map was the first page of the manilla folder.  “Here.”

Kisame chuckled, reaching out a hand for the folder and closing his locker with the other. “This should be interesting,” he said as he sat down to lean up against the lockers. “You wanna walk me through this or do I just browse?”

Sai seated himself beside the blue boy and motioned toward the folder.  “We’ll start with that,” he instructed, and Kisame opened it.  The first page was the pressure map, and Sai smirked.  “Ever heard of a pressure map, Hoshigaki-san?”

Tracing the lines with a finger, Kisame frowned. He looked down at the notations for the date and the subject matter. Ino? Today? His eyebrows went up and he looked at the picture with renewed interest.

“Can this be translated into a water sculpting program?” Sharky asked, ideas popping into his head.

Sai considered the map for a moment, tilting his head.  “We could try,” he admitted.  “I do not know if it’ll work though.”  His brow knitted into the first frown he’d had in a while (he tried ever so hard to smile all the time).  “Hm…  I’ll have to see, and I’ll let you know, but I will warn you that if Ino-san ever finds out, she will tell Ugly, and they will kill you.”

He tilted his head at the pale boy. “Ugly?”

Sai nodded, humming thoughtfully, then smiled at Kisame.  “You know her as the woman of brute strength and no control over her own arms; Sakura-san.”

“Oh, she’s got control,” the other said, thinking of Tobi’s trip across the beach logs.

Tucking both hands behind his head, Kisame grinned down at the little artist. “And, I think I can deal with that.”

xXx

Chapter 12 | Table of Contents | Chapter 14

Thank you to those who are still checking this blog!
I hope this makes up for the months of silence!

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