A/N1: So psych_girl commented on the ao3 version of Dreaming of S(oulmates) about expanding on the different soulmate AUs, and I gave permission to write double recursive ficlets based on them (hopefully I’ll be able to reblog/post links here), but it put my mind on the subject and I hope I’m not swooping a ficlet out from under them.
So this one in particular is based on the AU (two: inkblot skin).
Shinobi will try to weaponize anything, a subconscious mindset more than active strategy: the symbiotic relationship of Aburame and their kikaichu, Inuzuka and their ninken, are just two examples of such.
Fuinjutsu had originally been created to transport Uzushio’s limited, but varied resources across their islands.
Even something as innocuous as flowers–the Yamanaka as much feared for their poisonous arrangements as their mind jutsu.
Soul marks–the transfer of ink and scars and blood from one soulmate to the other–are not exempt either.
The main issues preventing soul marks from monopolizing intel communications is that they’re not comprehensive and they’re not immediate.
Sometimes, something as insignificant as scraped knees or absentminded grocery lists will transfer over, while death blows and I love you’s remain on only one half. There doesn’t seem to be any correlation in emotion or strength of bond to explain what gets send and what doesn’t. And so something as important as mission specs or front line movements could never be entrusted to soul marks.
On top of that, any of them may transfer in minutes, in hours, in days–the longest recorded gap being three weeks. Again, nothing explaining the inconsistency: not distance, or age, or emotion.
But still, that doesn’t mean that soul marks don’t have very real, very dire consequences.
When his children are almost four years old, they both begin to wear headbands and refuse to take them off in front of anyone.
It doesn’t take a Nara to figure out the why, but the what, exactly, he will later admit to being… hasty.
In his defense, soulmates tend to be born near each other and there’s only one forehead mark in Konoha that is regularly covered up. Given that Shikaku has heard about what ought to be an internal Hyuuga clan matter–the marking of Neji Hyuuga at an abnormally young age, cruel even for a clan that habitually enslaves their own members–it’s a fairly logical assumption to make.
What he does afterwards is less logical and more… fiercely protective.
The Byakugan may not have been as storied as the Sharingan, but the Hyuuga’s dojutsu was more dependable and with the decline of the Uchiha–in both numbers and reputation–the Hyuuga enjoyed a loftier, more lenient position than many other clans. Even the other noble clans.
In comparison to the Aburame–whose southern apiaries had been decimated during the Kyuubi attack–and the Akimichi, who spent as much time cultivating their financial and political enterprises as they did their martial prowess, the Hyuuga were more invaluable to Konoha.
But invaluable does not mean immune.
They meet, once, while they’re both still at the Academy.
It’s difficult. They’re in different years, which is part of it, but primarily it’s because all of Konoha is keenly aware of the political cold war happening between the clans and all of the teachers are taking measures to prevent any incidents from happening.
Further incidents, that is: a spar turned hostile in the graduating class, resulting in suspensions for the Akimichi and Hyuuga involved. Invisible lines drawn amongst the students from clans, rearranging friendships and even future genin team proposals.
As the pair at the heart of the problem, they are especially monitored. But just once, just for a short time, they manage to meet.
Neither of them will reveal what was said, but afterwards Neji goes without a headband: baring his cursed seal provocatively, almost incendiary.
Shikako becomes all the more paranoid about hers.
Eventually, it’s revealed that Shikamaru’s forehead is as blank as the day he was born but, one twin or both, that doesn’t alter the path Konoha is already on.
In contrast, the Uchiha clan, sensing the winds of change, circumvent their fate entirely: allying themselves with the enemy of their enemy and integrating back into, at least, half of the village. Hundreds of lives are spared, though only Danzo, thwarted, and Shikako know.
Not all is good, though: Hinata, already shy and secluded, is deliberately isolated. Where Ino leads, the other girls of the class follow; even though Shikako tries to mitigate the issue, Ino is ruthless in defending what she considers hers.
The mood of Konoha is fraught, tensions high enough for even the civilians to notice, streets of peace and prosperity now dangerous opportunities for public altercations.
Such a small action leading to such far reaching consequences.
Time marches on.
Konoha puts on a pleasant face for the Chuunin Exams, united only on the surface in front of foreign shinobi.
Team Seven meets the Sand siblings, Shikako sees the match to her soul mark.
A/N2: I’m not very satisfied with the ending–I had the greater idea but not an actual plot, as you can see–so I kind of just… mreh?
I guess another reason for this ficlet is that I wanted to explore how even things that are supposed to be romantic–like soulmates and soul marks–have non-romantic consequences. So even if this is set in a Shikaara soulmate AU, this ficlet is gen.
I was actually considering some other repercussions of the misunderstanding: Hiashi possibly buckling under external and internal pressures and disavowing Hinata as his heir early on and marking her with the seal–which further splinters the already divided Hyuuga clan–but that seemed VERY CRUEL to Hinata who I already had shunned by everyone in class.
And also, would Sand and Sound still invade Konoha if the Uchiha clan isn’t killed? The Sand Siblings would still be at the Chuunin Exams, of course, but I don’t know if they’d be there as part of the invading force. Konoha isn’t as outwardly weakened, after all.
It seems more likely that if Orochimaru were to invade still, he’d probably have Danzo and ROOT make up the other part of the invading force, but even then if in this AU “I’m a pacifist” mass murdering kin-slayer Itachi is less of a giant hypocrite, I wouldn’t mind him being seriously considered for Hokage which would seriously deter both Orochimaru and Danzo, right?
I don’t know. They were vague thoughts at best.