It was a normal day in Konohagakure, with the village going about its usual business. Children frolicked in the streets, restaurants tended to hungry villagers, guards manned the gate, and shinobi went on missions. However, for one particular Nara clan-member, the day was quite unusual. It was common practice for Shikaji to meet up with his best friend Chojiro at the gym each day. From there, they would break into various competitions, tasks, or missions. While each one was always a little different, the same general style of routine was always followed. Today, that routine had been completely upended. His typical mission partner was out of the village today, visiting Tanzaku Town for a special food-and-culture festival, though Shikaji knew it was the first part of that festival that interested Chojiro. Normally, Shikaji would have tagged (or been dragged) along, but his schedule was too preoccupied this week, having to tend to the Nara clan's forest and deer. It wasn't an all-day affair by any means, but the fact that it needed to be done, and that it took a few hours every other day to do, meant that Shikaji couldn't leave the village for several days to attend an out-of-town festival.
The end result was that Shikaji was left alone in the village for the first time in what felt like quite a while. And, with his partner gone, he had been tasked with doing something particularly uncommon. He was to do mission work on a temporary team with another jounin. Shikaji had never been on an official team without Chojiro on it, but he had worked on other temporary assignments before, so the concept of working with strangers or without Chojiro wasn't entire foreign. It was, however, uncommon and a somewhat unpleasant experience. It pushed Shikaji out of his comfort zone, which he certainly would have preferred to remain in, and it almost made him feel a little bit guilty. He hoped that, when Chojiro returned and learned about the events that were transpiring, that Shikaji wouldn't be accused of cheating on him.
And so, Shikaji waited outside the Nara clan estate, leaning against the compound's walls as his eyes glanced around the street. It wasn't particularly busy in this part of the village, since it was a residential district, doubly so at this time of day, just passed noon. Most people were already out, going about their day's work, but the Nara were a notoriously lazy clan. If Shikaji were forced to sheepishly admit it, he would reveal that he had only gotten out of bed an hour or two ago. He normally got up quite early to go and meet with Chojiro each day, but with his Akimichi pal out of town, Shikaji found it difficult to muster the energy to get up particularly early, and he had elected to sleep in instead. But now, he was finally awake, and he found himself waiting outside of his house for his assigned temporary partner to arrive.
He knew his partner's name, Inuzuka Ayla, and he knew the details of their mission, but he had never met the woman before. All he really knew about the situation was what the short briefing in his assignment had said. Normally, Shikaji wouldn't be working a mission without Chojiro at all, but with the village particularly empty due to the Chuunin Exams, it seemed that Shikaji was needed to do missions with or without his usual partner. The briefing had told him a little, though not much, about his temporary partner, and when they were to head out on their mission. It was approaching that time now, and so Shikaji had exited his house to stand outside on the street, his eyes searching for anyone that looked a little wolfish, or enjoyed the presence of what he assumed would be a particularly large dog. The streets of the residential district, Shikaji figured, would be as good of a place as any to meet up. After-all, the Nara clan compound and the Inuzuka clan compound weren't that far apart.