Stars Also Dream, 8/? (2016-10-09)

There is something to be said about the man who can, without any enhancing blood limit, become the head of T&I for a hidden village as large and as prosperous as Konoha. Ibiki is impressive: he’s patient and smart and–as the horrific scars from literal weeks of torture will attest to–so damned loyal; you know you’re lucky that he’s your best friend

He’s also stubborn and secretly sassy and an occasional pain in the ass.

“No,” Ibiki says, simply, as if you were asking him if he had any plans for the weekend and not, in actuality, telling him that you’re requesting yourself for a solo mission off-planet. Honestly, as if you’re being difficult–he’s let you get away with much worse.

“I’m the only one who is qualified for this,” you argue because factually this is true. Who else has all the relevant information, abilities, and history for this?

(Your daughter, maybe, has two out of the three, but you’d rather die than put one of your precious miracles in the Empire’s crosshairs.)

“No,” he repeats, walking ahead of you through the hallway, the tail of his silly overcoat flapping with every step. On either side of you, intel nin stop and stare or hastily bow, as if Ibiki were the Hokage herself and not the dork who, at seventeen, cried from too spicy curry and still picks corn out from a dish before eating it.

“But-”

“No.”

You’d smack him, but this is his place of work and you wouldn’t want to undermine his authority. Also, he’d take it as a sign that he’s winning.

Instead, you circle around to the front and stop, facing him with a watery-eyed pout. You know what you look like, with your small frame and pink blouse and wide eyes, and while Ibiki is far too familiar with you to fall for it, that doesn’t mean the other intel nin won’t.

Ibiki’s eyes narrow, irritated but reluctantly impressed, because he knows that he’s been outmaneuvered. Intel nin are–when it doesn’t concern work–absolute gossips, and the Head of T&I bullying the Jounin Commander’s wife is something that will easily make rounds.

He doesn’t sigh–Ibiki is much too controlled for that–but his mouth twists for a brief moment before he says, “My office, then.”

Which, in this case, basically means yes.

A lot goes on in Konoha that the Jounin Commander doesn’t know about. It’s not a slight against your husband or his capabilities, but considering the sheer number of shinobi, not to mention the many departments and their functions, it’d be impossible to expect one person to know about everything.

Of course, the Hokage is expected to do just that, but she has a retinue of department heads and commanders and assistants at her beck and call–delegation is a fantastic thing. In most cases, the Hokage keeps a loose leash on her underlings, trusting them to do their jobs to the best of their ability. In fact, its only in rare cases–such as your daughter’s genin team–that she gets involved in the minutiae of the shinobi under her command.

The existence of life on other planets no longer counts as minutiae.

Ibiki can keep some things secret from your husband: careful interpretation of jurisdiction motivated by the somewhat muted panic thrumming under your skin– 

(He’s always been able to read you just as well as you read him)

–but he won’t keep secrets from the Hokage: that way lies corruption.

You know quite well what results when corruption poisons a government.

But you’re still wary when you and Ibiki enter the Hokage’s office–a place you’ve not so much avoided as tried not to intrude upon–a hold over from your paranoid teenage years, so keenly aware of your status as an illegal alien… literally. You’re lucky Ibiki is letting you in on the meeting, never mind that you are the expert in this case, but your nerves are still wound tight.

“Figures,” Tsunade-sama says with a sigh, dropping her chin into her hand with almost elegant exasperation, “I knew your daughter had to have come by it naturally, and Nara aren’t exactly known for being harbingers of chaos.”

A slight exaggeration, but not wrong–the similarities between you and your daughter are legion.

“Go on,” she says, lazy wave of her other hand, “Let’s see how the original holds up in terms of bizarreness.”

It’s too fond to be insulting, and in this influx of memories from the past, you’re almost grateful for it. Grateful that your family has endeared themselves to the Hokage. Grateful for the way Tsunade-sama listens, analyzing yet understanding. Grateful for the way Ibiki stands beside you, as supportive and solid as always.

Grateful for the reminder of your present: you are a wife and a mother, a soldier and a friend, a shinobi of Konoha and proud to be all these things.

Ibiki doesn’t understand why you want to keep your past a secret from your family, but he respects your choice and helps you do so. To the rest of Konoha–to your family–this is just a short one-week mission for T&I, a routine check on a low priority contact in Land of Tea. Nothing risky at all–why would he ever put the Jounin Commander’s wife on a dangerous mission?

That being said, his leniency only goes so far, and both he and the Hokage refuse to let you go alone.

Your repeated argument, “I’m the only one qualified for this,” is soundly rebuffed with Tsunade-sama’s almost lazy, “Which is why you’re team leader. Now choose your second.”

Ibiki smirks–it doesn’t matter that it’s Tsunade-sama doing the arguing for him, he’s still winning. You try not to scowl.

And, well, you’re willing to accede to some extent that they may be right. Rescuing a princess from an evil empire isn’t exactly C-rank material, no matter that you’re mostly acting as observer and support to a Jedi master once renowned throughout the galaxy. You’re lucky they’re letting you go at all, really, but a threat to the planet is still a threat to Konoha and it’s true that you are the only one qualified to take point on this.

At least Ibiki isn’t trying to insert himself on the team–it’d make an obvious lie out of the cover, and for all that you’ve never done anything to him, you know he’s not immune to Force tricks.

Any shinobi worth their headband can keep up with a jedi physically and mentally, but when it comes to intangible matters of Force versus chakra, there’s only one obvious choice for this mission.

“I’ll need a Yamanaka,” you say, which is as much assent as Ibiki needs to begin working his weird powers of bureaucracy.

The both of you are summarily kicked out of the Hokage’s office; within the hour you are back at T&I with a newly released ragtag group of aliens and a bewildered Yamanaka chuunin.

Poor Santa-kun.

~

A/N: Okay, so I know I’m late by thirty minutes, but this totally counts because I didn’t want to have a third missed post in a row.

Ibiki and Tsunade’s reactions for @donapoetrypassion (still keeping it a secret from the twins for now, so none for them, sorry).

Santa Yamanaka is a jounin post time-skip, so @book14reader and I figured that he could be a chuunin pre time-skip who accidentally mentioned he wanted more experience to become jounin in front of the wrong person (ie Ibiki or, possibly, Anko) and got recruited onto the WEIRDEST MISSION EVER. Also, even without the Force immunity I’ve given the Yamanaka clan, if you’re going to put the Nara clan head’s wife on a dangerous mission, the best people to put on her team would be a Nara, Akimichi, or Yamanaka anyway because they’ll do damn near anything to make sure she comes back safely.

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