Stars Also Dream, 5/? (2016-09-01)

interlude I

Of the clans, the Nara aren’t the first to notice Yoshino. Actually, it could be argued that they’re the last to notice her. And then, of course, she ends up married to the clan head so…

But that’s a different story for a different time.

So no, of the clans, the first to notice Yoshino isn’t the Nara clan, but their allies the Yamanaka.

After all, when a clanless teenaged rookie kunoichi appears with the ability to sense truth from lies with absolute certainty, there’s no way T&I would ignore such a prospective recruit. It definitely doesn’t hurt that her best friend and most frequent mission partner has notes in his Academy file for high aptitude in information gathering and interpersonal communication.

Inoichi isn’t Head of T&I yet, but his aunt is. It’s from her that he learns to keep an eye on people with potential and Yoshino Kinokawa’s name as one such person.

(It’s from Shikaku, a few years later, that he learns Yoshino Kinokawa has a temper, a penchant for earth jutsu, and, apparently, beautiful brown eyes. Objectively, of course, Inoichi why are you laughing?)

It’s during Yoshino’s first mission outside Fire Country that she properly meets Hizashi Hyuuga. And promptly slaps him in the face.

He laughs and even lets the strike connect, because that’s the kind of person Hizashi is.

It’s true that most civilians and even non-clan shinobi don’t really understand how the Byakugan works. They understand it’s powerful, can see nearly all angles at once, and can look through things.

The more foolish mutter snide things about voyeurs. The less foolish still talk about invasions of privacy.

Yoshino is neither, but she certainly doesn’t appreciate Hizashi taking one look are her via the Byakugan and calling her chakra coils feeble.

Feeble!

She knows an insult when she hears one.

“You know that’s the Hyuuga Clan Head’s son, right?” Ibiki asks dryly, no move whatsoever to stop her.

“I don’t care if he’s the Sage of Six Path’s son,” she retorts, using one of the epithets she picked up from the members of the Genin Corps. She continues threateningly, “Talk shit, get hit.”

Hizashi laughs, absolutely delighted.

(The mission goes FUBAR within the hour, but all three of them manage to survive it. Next time Yoshino and Ibiki snag a three person B-rank, they invite Hizashi to be their third. He doesn’t even hesitate to accept.)

The Uzumaki, technically, aren’t a clan anymore. Or if they are, they’re a pale shade of themselves; only a handful of members far from their destroyed home. It’s not something to actively mourn anymore, but Kushina still carries it with her in the line of her shoulders and the curves of her fingers in a fist.

Yoshino tries not to show how much that resonates with her, but in two decades her daughter will be confronted with a bluer version of those observant eyes, and Force or not Yoshino doesn’t stand a chance.

And, anyway, it’s kind of nice to have a female friend who isn’t a series of immaculately crafted lies.

Not that Yoshino tells her the truth–Force, no, she can’t tell anyone that–but it’s as if Kushina has seen enough of a kindred spirit in Yoshino to decide that, yes, they are going to be friends now. Whether she likes it or not.

Luckily, Yoshino does like Kushina–enough to withstand frequent exposure to the malevolent Force signature sealed inside of her; which means quite a lot, actually.

(An October several years later, she experiences an unfiltered version of that signature–angry and caustic and heartbreaking because Yoshino knows she has another person to mourn)

~

A/N: Went to my local NaNo writing meet-up at the Dublin Panera which was very nice; trying to psyche myself up for NaNoWriMo without also psyching myself out like two years ago. 😛

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