34 or 35(?) for waking up starstruck verse, tbh i’m not really experienced in understanding softer world prompts and the last one with narukako hurts so badly so i was hoping that either of those two would be fluff-ish

When you’re around I don’t know how to hide my feelings.
I count in binary in my head. zero one one zero one one
and you count clouds
(while you count clouds)

He learns a lot on his travels with Ero-sennin–cool ninjutsu and how to fight better, yeah, but lots of other things, too: like how to gamble and how to drink and how to figure out which brothels have valuable intel and which ones don’t.

Not that he went inside any of them! But the ladies who work there always appreciate it when he brings coffee and snacks, and he never minds acting as security and kicking out asshole perverts.

He learns about different people, about their ways of life and their personal stories. He learns about different cultures and their values. He learns about the things he didn’t pay attention to at the Academy and things they never mentioned at all.

He learns about himself. About being a jincuuriki, about his parents, about all the things that were denied him in Konoha–about legacies and secrets. But he also learns about himself.

As in, what he likes and what he doesn’t, his limits and his strengths and how to go beyond both, and what distances he’ll go to protect the people he loves.

When he returns, it’s not a surprise the rush of fondness he feels–Konoha, despite its sins, is still his home–and it’s not unexpected, the excitement he gets gets from seeing all his friends again.

But most of all, when he sees her, its like realizing something he already knew, like going to a place that he’s never been to before  but was made just for him.

Naruto learns a lot on his travels, but the most important is waiting for him at home.

///

I hate trying to put my desire into words
when my body knows exactly what to say.
Come home.
(You can’t start a fire without a spark.)

She’s not just waiting.

That’s part of it, yes, but not the whole of her, not the entirety of who she is, not even the majority. She has to get stronger, has to keep things running, has to try not to get tangled in all the different threads, stuck and futilely struggling like a fly in the web.

Things don’t stop just because these three years are a giant blank. Time keeps moving on, people growing and changing (and dying), like a river flowing even without someone there to witness it.

But it’s a definitive event. A start line. A point in time that creeps ever nearer and signifies the beginning of… something. Everything. The end of the world.

Sometimes it’s something to dread–when he comes back, that’s when it all goes to shit, that’s the make or break moment. She’ll have to find out if she did enough, if she trained enough and changed enough and made everyone strong enough to survive the oncoming storm.

Other times it’s something to anticipate, eager, when things stop being a vast unknown and her knowledge becomes relevant. An almost hunger to have it over with, the suspension looming over her heavier than her guilt. Make it now, she thinks, before I ruin everyone beyond the point of saving.

But that’s not really fair, is it? Reducing him to the harbinger of some story’s plot from a long ago life–he’s a person. Her friend. Its hard to remember that when he’s so far away, out of sight out of mind. It’s as if all she can think of is the name of a character and not the sound of his laughter or the gleam of his grin, strong arms wrapping around her.

It’s hard to remember his warmth when she feels so cold.

She lives and she fights and she survives, regrets and near misses and encroaching war and the fear that maybe she’s made mistakes so beyond herself that not even he can fix it, but somewhere in all of that she waits, too.

Shikako needs him to come home.

~

A/N: … this ship is like pulling teeth, I swear.

Anyway! I hope you enjoy this, anon, even though it’s not entirely fluffy. At least its not as painful as the last one?

Number + Character/Ship + (optional) AU –> my ask box

[If anyone else wants to do a softer world prompt that isn’t on the list, you can just send the page id number for the original comic instead.]

946. ‘You and I will never / be a great love story. / That’s ok! / Let’s see what kind / of story we’ll be. / (Oooh! Oooh! I hope it’s science fiction!)’ KibaxShikako

You and I will never be a great love story.
That’s okay!
Let’s see what kind of story we’ll be.
(Oooh! Oooh! I hope it’s science fiction!)

(Never Lookin’ To Come Back)

“Again?” Shikako says, stepping out from the shadowed cover of the ship, “You don’t get hazard pay for starting a fight with a bunch of civilians.”

Kiba’s hackles don’t quite rise–never against her, not after what they’ve been through–but he does scowl something fierce, “It’s my shore leave, cap’n, I can spend it how I want.”

Akamaru, the traitor, wags his tail at the sight of her, whining a plaintive request to stop this whole disaster in the making.

“And what are you doing bringing Akamaru?” she asks, crouching down to scrub at his ears, “They don’t serve ninken on this rock, and it’s not fair to make him clean up your mess when he can’t even have fun, too.”

Akamaru barks an agreement.

“Get on back inside,” she says to him, head jerking toward the gangway, “I’ll deal with this idiot.”

He goes, claws clacking against the metal of the ramp as he heads back inside the ship.

Shikako stands up, meeting Kiba’s eyes in a familiar way that almost makes him want to bare his throat, “I’m not here to lecture you.”

“Sure feels like it.”

She rolls her eyes, “Come on,” she says, walking away, the tails of her long brown coat flapping behind her, “let’s get drunk and fight some Rooters.”

There’s a difference between being a part of Konoha and being a Rooter: the first is like a pair of shoes, too tight and constantly chafing, blisters forming, and yet unable to take them off.

The second is a knife to the back.

They’re not the same, and of course the latter is far worse, but it’s terribly easy to stab someone if they can’t run away, isn’t it?

On the bucket of bolts that is their ship, there are the following:

Two “reformed” brown coats whose ferry and delivery service may or may not include smuggling contraband.

Two mercenaries for hire who have never so much as killed a single person between them and have accidentally inspired, on more than one occasion, cult followings about their heroic deeds.

One mechanic from a far off moon who swears that no matter how talented she is, the ship is going to crash without a replacement grav unit, she means it this time.

One Organization member who rents the starboard shuttle and might be a high class escort or possibly an assassin, the jury’s still out on that one.

One Teacher of the Will of Fire who knows a suspicious amount about the inner workings of Konoha and is far more connected than a man who has given up his last name should be.

And one ninken who is way too skilled at opening locked doors, that food’s not for you, damnit Akamaru, spit it out.

On a somewhat fairly routine smuggle and ferry, their number goes up by two.

The four core planets of Konoha were Aburame, Akimichi, Hyuuga, and Uchiha.

During the Uprooting, the planet of Uchiha was destroyed, the blame pinned on the rebellion.

Whether they believed it or not, the tragedy galvanized the other three core planets into putting their full power behind bringing a swift end to the war…

… and Root, the jingoist half of what remains of the Senju Administration, filled the gap of the fourth power in Konoha.

“Go get me some passengers,” Shikako commands, waving an imperious hand out towards the town they’ve landed near. It’d be more impressive if she weren’t curled over face down on the table, awkwardly trying to eat porridge without lifting her head.

Regardless, it’s not exactly a new or surprising sight, not after the years of being her XO and the year before that of being her lieutenant. Still funny as hell, but not unexpected.

“Aye, aye, cap’n,” Kiba shoots back, not moving from his seat whatsoever. Akamaru huffs a doggy laugh, nosing upward for some rehydrated meat substance.

“I have to get some parts,” TenTen says, ignoring their captain’s disgraceful posture and petulant groaning, “I think I can make do with the current rotator belt, but the grav unit won’t survive another atmo crossing, captain.”

Shikako grunts.

“And I’m running low on duct tape,” TenTen adds, which, apparently, makes the request of vital importance: the credits are dispensed immediately.

“Lee, go with her. Now everyone leave me alone, I’m trying to eat.”

Four hours later, Naruto returns with a small herd of passengers practically throwing money at him–thankfully, after Kiba already stowed the contraband away, otherwise that’d be a disaster–and Lee and TenTen return with a different grav unit, a crate of duct tape, and a suspiciously posh looking man with suspiciously large luggage looking for a quick and discrete way off the planet who is willing to pay five times the rate. Suspiciously.

“We need the money,” Shikako mutters.

“I’m not saying we don’t,” Kiba argues, “I’m just saying that we definitely don’t need the trouble that comes with it.”

“Oh, now you’re worried about trouble?” she asks, a sardonic eyebrow raised.

“This is a different kind of trouble,” he says, nose wrinkling, “I can smell it.”

“How bad can it be?”

The daughter of the chancellor of the planet Hyuuga is missing.

Kidnapped, all official reports say.

It is a very bad kind of trouble.

~

A/N: Presenting the brand new ‘verse, Never Lookin’ To Come Back, a FireflyxDoS fusion featuring a Kiba/Shikako relationship that can be romantic or platonic–it’s up to the readers to decide for themselves.

So… the ratio of Kiba/Shikako to worldbuilding perhaps wasn’t the highest it could have been, but I got carried away with trying to adapt the Firefly ‘verse into a fusion with DoS. Which I think is totally an acceptable excuse?

Anyway, what should I name the spaceship?

Number + Character/Ship + (optional) AU –> my ask box

[If anyone else wants to do a softer world prompt that isn’t on the list, you can just send the page id number for the original comic instead.]

42 + Sasuke and Shikako + Time Loop!AU

I would love you more
if you were someone who could love me.

(buy your love by playing make believe)

The first go around, Shikako doesn’t trust him. Not completely.

That’s fine–Sasuke doesn’t trust her completely either. (Not yet)

He wants power more than he wants her trust, and so he succumbs to the temptation. Takes the serpent’s offer. Follows the destined, straying path.

He becomes more powerful than he could ever dream.

The first go around, he hasn’t yet learned that Shikako’s trust will make him even more so.

///

The second go around, he’s in shock.

He must be.

That can be the only explanation for why he lets his family die.

It’s less about revenge and more about self-destruction when he follows that same, straying destiny.

///

The third go around is when he starts trying to change things. Hope, like poison, coursing through his veins.

But for all his suffering he doesn’t know enough (not yet) and so it’s all just empty flailing.

///

Fourth through sixth he starts to suspect that he’s not the only one who knows what’s going on.

Shikako reacts differently from everyone else, reacts the way someone whose expectations have gone unfulfilled.

Which means she has expectations.

Beyond the expectations for Sasuke Uchiha, youngest son of Fugaku and Mikoto Uchiha. Beyond the expectations for Sasuke Uchiha, Itachi Uchiha’s younger brother. Beyond the expectations for Sasuke Uchiha, best fighter, most popular boy, and second ranked student of his class.

She knows something.

And as he’s learned over and over again, knowledge is what he desperately needs.

///

The seventh, Shikako disappears.

He only speaks to her once: two children on a playground, not even at the Academy yet, no possible threat to anyone.

The official report is that Cloud ninja took her, but Sasuke isn’t that foolish boy he once was.

(It was Danzo, of course it was; he’s the only one Shikako ever truly feared. And for good reason.)

He never forgives himself for that one.

///

Eighth is about atonement.

(Aren’t they all about atonement?)

He focuses on his friends, on their happiness and their safety.

He is kind and he is loved and he is killed very early on.

(But not after Shikako, this he makes certain)

The world is not a peaceful place. (Not yet)

He has to make it so.

///

After a while, it becomes less about succeeding–whatever that might mean–and more about learning.

He learns, in depth, about the Uchiha clan politics (and later decides not to revive the system)

He learns, no matter how heartbreaking, about his brother’s internal struggles (after so many lives, he knows that Itachi was just a child torn in too many directions).

He learns, to his own surprise, about the ghosts of Kakashi’s past (the traumas as much a part of him as the Sharingan in his eye socket).

He learns, pieced together from crumbs and rubble, far more about Naruto’s heritage than he himself ever does (how much grief would they all be spared if Sasuke could actually travel through time instead of just loop).

But most of all, he learns about Shikako.

///

Power is nothing without wisdom.

~

A/N: … this was going to be a very different ficlet, anon, about Sasuke and Shikako’s relationship in different loops. Except then I realized that I have the Down Every Road series and a lot of the things I was coming up with would fit better there rather than in a specific ‘verse in which Sasuke was looping.

And also it’d get kinda skeezy after a while.

Erm. But it does kinda make this anticlimactic, I suppose…

:/

It was a lovely prompt, anon, I’m just sorry I couldn’t do it justice.

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[If anyone else wants to do a softer world prompt that isn’t on the list, you can just send the page id number for the original comic instead.]

23, with the Shika Twins (Not romantic, obviously)

We talk in the dark as we fall asleep,
and we are objects in the night sky
outside of time.
(it is the exact opposite of alone.)

(Remember To Sleep)

“It’s been a while,” Shikamaru says, once the table has been cleared, the two of them washing up afterwards just as they always have ever since they were old enough to be given chores.

Everyone else has relocated to the living room with little plates of dessert and cups of tea, Naruto exclaiming flattery over food he can’t really taste.

“Yes,” Shikako responds simply enough, and tries not to break the glass between her soapy hands.

Not that it would be difficult–she’s not the one with the cybernetic arm.

“You don’t have to keep punishing yourself,” he says, “It wasn’t your fault.”

Shikako bites back the denial, the frustrated honesty that wants to sting, wants to make herself miserable even at the cost of her brother’s happiness.

“Okay,” she says instead, still light and terribly brittle.

Shikamaru sighs. It’s resigned more than frustrated–he’s beyond the temper of his teenaged years. “I’m glad you joined us tonight.”

This, at least, is not a controversial statement.

“I am too.”

///

(Dreaming of Sunshine Switch by Lady Hallen and Fragile Dreams)

“We have a little brother,” the woman who both is but also isn’t his sister says, “Kinokawa Nara.”

“After mum’s family,” Shikamaru responds, the connection coming easily: the recent appearance of one family member made researching the rest relevant. How many secrets have been kept from him? How many siblings is he missing?

“Bingo,” Shikako says, smile gentle and warm. He wonders if she’s like that with the other him. Her actual brother. Or if it’s just because of the age difference. “He likes you better,” she says, “though he’s in his terrible twos now, so I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or not.”

The calculation is easy, but he doesn’t want to get his hopes up without confirmation.

“It’s not time yet,” Shikamaru leads, hesitant but still eager to know, “he hasn’t been born yet.”

Shikako’s expression falters, slightly, perhaps realizing the extent of the desperation in his tone, on his face. “Things are different,” she hedges, “Your parents are different people. Have experienced different things. They may not…”

They may not want to try for a third child, after losing one already.

“… Alternate universe. I certainly don’t remember meeting a time traveling version of my sibling.”

And, of course, Shikamaru is an only child in this one.

~

A/N: OH MY GOD, THIS IS DEFINITELY NOT WHAT YOU WANTED, ANON, I AM SO SORRY FOR THIS ANGST.

ANGST, EVERYWHERE. WHY DO I DO THIS? T_T

Dreaming of Sunshine Switch is by Lady Hallen & Fragile Dreams and is about DoS!Sasuke and Shikako swapping places with canon!Sasuke (and no one because there is no canon!Shikako… OR IS THERE?)

It’s full of deliciously sad Nara family feels and I just recently reread it, so it was very much so on my mind.

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[If anyone else wants to do a softer world prompt that isn’t on the list, you can just send the page id number for the original comic instead.]

14 – Poly!Lucky Sevens


I think I’ve got fireflies
where my caution should be.
(Instead of slowing down, I just shine brighter)

(Insuperable)

She’s thrown through a wall–one, two, three–comes to a rolling, tumbling stop against the crumpled steel of a dumpster.

She groans, body shrieking in pain–her floating ribs are probably broken, shit, and her vision is hazy with a definite concussion–but at least she’s still alive. Her armor has held up well: TenTen is definitely getting a raise.

A roar sounds through the streets, reverberating and ominous, straight out of her childhood nightmares of monsters under her bed.

What she wouldn’t give to be asleep in her bed right now.

Shikako coughs, brick dust and rubble in the air, ribs protesting angrily. She steels herself. Flipping onto her hands and knees nearly makes her weep.

She can’t do this.

Human criminals are one thing–she’s better trained and better equipped than anyone on the street–but creatures of this size? Rogues with superhuman abilities? Magic and other things beyond the laws of physics?

She can’t do this alone.

An extraterrestrial object crashes into Konoha’s Central Park during an R&D presentation to the board–Shikako’s presence is mandatory no matter how many wide-eyed looks of panic she exchanges with TenTen.

And so when the alien emerges, blindfolded and shackled but rampaging madly, it’s not The Dark Knight that makes first contact, but a graffiti artist on the run from the cops.

A graffiti artist that also happens to be a demigod.

By the time the presentation is over–rushed through as quickly as possible, but still far too long–the rampage turned battle has expanded to downtown Konoha.

Shikako arrives on scene and curses, futilely: there are news cameras–stupid and brave–and a ring of police cars–less stupid, but braver–lights spinning a dizzying red and blue.

Most of her power comes from reputation, the growing rumors of an urban legend that haunts the nights and minds of criminals. This is so public, too public, out in the bright glaring sunshine.

The officers that spot her, rumbling motorcycle engine loud and impatient, face their weapons her way for a moment. The Dark Knight, after all, is still a wanted vigilante–one that has caused conflicting opinions within the force. But their captain is quick to brush them off, in part for her benefit, but mostly for theirs.

“I hope you have better firepower than we do,” the captain says, opening up the barrier with a wave, “Because both of them are bulletproof.”

She does, but that’s not what is going to resolve this.

She goes through, prepared to enter the fray even if it means surrounding herself by people who want to throw her in prison, because maybe there’s a way to salvage this situation.

~

A/N: … I didn’t get to the actual relationship so much as it is the set up to it? Sorry, anon… 

Also I did try to write a third section to this but it didn’t fit so well and I already felt like this was taking too long so there’s a paragraph under the cut. I may use that eventually if I write more Insuperable, but so I don’t lose it I’ll just hide it here.

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[If anyone else wants to do a softer world prompt that isn’t on the list, you can just send the page id number for the original comic instead.]

The walls of their headquarters are covered in paint. Vibrant swirling colors and symbols that don’t match any living language. Naruto sees these shapes in his dreams, grasping at images that evaporate during his waking hours.

He is desperate for any hint of his past.

Sasuke wishes he could forget his own.

9, Platonic Kakashi/Shikako? If you’re cool with that, of course.

CAN’T STOP
WON’T STOP
NOT SURE HOW TO STOP
(WHY STOP)

“You’re getting out of hand,” the Hokage says, irritated furrow in between her brows.

The both of them stand in front of her desk, backs straight and eyes forward.

Kakashi doesn’t respond.

“This isn’t what either of them would have wanted,” Tsunade tries instead, gaze settling on Shikako, “Surely you realize that.”

She doesn’t know why people assume she’s someone who can be reasoned with. She’s logical, sure, but not nearly as much as she is determined.

And plus, it doesn’t really matter what either Naruto or Sasuke would have wanted them to do.

They’re dead.

Shikako doesn’t respond either.

Tsunade sighs, resigned and heartbroken, before signing off on their requests for admission.

“Like teacher like student.”

Singular student. Which is the entire problem.

Naruto and Sasuke die.

Maybe it’s apart–thousands of miles away–completely unrelated incidents; Naruto with his high risk training, Sasuke on his dangerous assignments.

Maybe it’s together, battling side by side, giving their all and sacrificing themselves for the good of the world.

Maybe it’s in the middle of the night, assassination, unexpected attacks in the middle of Konoha where they thought they’d be safe.

It doesn’t really matter, does it?

Only Shikako and Kakashi are left.

Wolf was a legend in ANBU. An open secret. The honing of the blade that would become Sharingan no Kakashi, internationally renowned.

It was a time in his life when he needed the mask. Needed the danger. Needed to know that even if everything he touched died then at the very least he could make that talent useful.

That’s not who he is anymore.

The mask he gets this time has sharper marks; the facsimile of a thinner face with smiling teeth and three whiskers on either cheek.

Kakashi has a lot to atone for.

Fox is another open secret.

Shikako’s choice in mask is even more of one:

ANBU Hawk is smaller, not as strong but just as fast, and no longer in possession of a Sharingan.

Still, Hawk flies once more.

~

A/N:… um… my bad, anon…

I did honestly try to think of a light hearted version but this one was the only one that my brain would work with.

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[If anyone else wants to do a softer world prompt that isn’t on the list, you can just send the page id number for the original comic instead.]

4 with your favorite platonic ship

i don’t know what the fuck true love even is
but i do want to hang out with you
for basically the rest of my life.
(let’s hang out – TO THE DEATH)

Kankurou’s arrival in Konoha is quiet, understated, and nearly overlooked.

“Which just figures,” he says with a shrug, straddling that line between self-deprecation and wry complaint. He’s nowhere near as loud a personality as either of his siblings and he knows it, but something would be terribly wrong if he let an opportunity to take a dig at Leaf pass him by.

He’s put under Shikako’s watch because supervising a friendly ally is the height of light duty and whenever he speaks, Tsunade frequently gets the urge to take him by the scruff and shake him like an unruly dog.

“That means she likes you,” Shikako assures him, well out of earshot of the Hokage.

Kankurou raises an eyebrow.

“Well, tolerates you,” she corrects, “She doesn’t want to punch you in the face full strength?”

Tsunade’s strength is an international legend. Kankurou shudders and accepts the compliment.

The two of them get looks as they walk down the street, not more than when she was with Sasuke or by herself, but there’s a different flavor to them. Kankurou is an oddity in the village, not an overt novelty anymore, but not outrightly familiar either. People are curious and surprised to see him, and in comparison they don’t much care about the Nara girl beside him.

Her shoulders are relaxed.

Sand is their ally, but Sand is recovering from internal strife and recession and their greatest strength is having a near unassailable defense. Kankurou’s presence is more than generous given the circumstances. Shikako, as a highly connected shinobi of Konoha, is very grateful.

Shikako, as a person, is even more so.

Kankurou doesn’t ask about the cane. He doesn’t ask about the light duty or the lack of armor or the way people look at her then refuse to meet her eye.

He doesn’t even ask about the way Sasuke checks in on her a few times a day, even though he’s no longer her bodyguard and must be far too busy to do so.

He does ask about explosions, though.

“Damn, Sparky, it’s been a whole week and not one thing blown up. This must be some kind of record for you,” Kankurou says, flipping a pen round and round his fingers.

She freezes, eyes staring almost desperately at the reports beneath her hands.

They’ve both been authorized to share a rough approximation of their respective villages’ forces and resources (not the exact or entire report, god no, alliance or not, that’s just unheard of) and to come up with inter-village strategies in case of certain situations. Shared border patrols and multi-village platoons, maintaining and protecting the trade routes between Wind and Fire, etc.

Now she’s just stalling.

“Um.”

It’s not his fault that explosions are kind of her specialty. How would he know it’s become a touchy subject for her?

Kankurou waits.

Then again, this is Kankurou she’s talking about: no doubt he’s heard the rumors flying around and put the puzzle pieces together.

“I just. It’s not really the right atmosphere for it, you know? And I can’t really experiment with them safely, not so close to the village.”

Neither of them bring up the barren, rocky flatlands just two hours outside of Konoha.

Kankurou hums, “Well, whenever you want to try for some large scale bangs, you can come over to the desert. There’s nothing but fucking sand out there. Go wild.”

It’s probably the nicest thing she’s ever heard him say.

It’s also the most absurdly optimistic, given there’s an impending war, but maybe if they both survive and the offer’s still open she’ll take him up on that.

A world war turned international alliance against an S-rank organization of missing nin later–wounds and scars and even more and touchier subjects later–Shikako goes out to the desert and goes wild.

“First The Garden and now whatever this is,” Kankurou says, honestly admiring of what can only be called a canyon made of glass, “Sparky, you are great for Wind’s tourism industry.”

~

A/N: Normally, when I’m given a prompt that doesn’t specify DoS I like to expand to other series. But, anon, you asked for my FAVORITE platonic ship and I cannot deny the amazing BroTP of Kankurou and Shikako 😀

I guess this is sort of inspired by Dreaming of S(omething) and Chapter 134

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2. + Shikako/Naruto

At my worst, I worry you’ll realize
you deserve better.
At my best, I worry you won’t.
(I’ve never been better.)

First rule of Team Seven: no dying.

But Shikako’s already broken that rule, a repeat offender even, so really what’s to prevent her from breaking others?

Even the ones left unspoken.

The problem is, Naruto is an optimist.

No, more than that: Naruto is a believer.

A believer of his nindo, of his friends, of a kinder, better world where peace is not only possible but within reach.

Some of it is naivety–for all his tragic background, death is not something Naruto has experienced firsthand–but most of it is an impossible, unshakeable faith that there is always another way.

She knows it’s not realistic; shinobi are warriors, assassins, killers at heart.

But gods, wouldn’t it be nice?

Or maybe the problem is that he’s the hero.

Not just a hero–though she would be the first to advocate that, has witnessed the way his courage and compassion have inspired hope in those around him, has been inspired herself–but the hero.

The protagonist of a story that she once knew from a previously life. A lovable character whose adventures she enjoyed, but still someone whose world was different from her own.

Someone whose world if not depended on him, then at the very least was greatly influenced by his actions.

The only thing that makes her different from anyone else in this world is the knowledge of Naruto’s character journey as the hero.

If he strays from that path, what would that make her?

(What would that make him?)

At the root of Naruto’s personality is a single emotion, the seed from which all of his other thoughts and feelings stem.

Naruto wants to be Hokage, this much everyone knows, he shouts it from the highest point and shares it with everyone who listens.

He wants to be Hokage because the Hokage is the strongest. Strong enough to protect the village, strong enough to protect their precious people.

He needs to protect his precious people, because if they get hurt, they might leave him.

He doesn’t want to be alone.

Never again.

“What did you do.”

She’s numb, can barely understand what she’s seeing, the wreckage that is before her.

“Naruto, what… what did you… what did you do? Why would you…”

She’s in shock, repeating herself, unbelieving.

“I can’t lose you, Shikako,” Naruto says, and maybe there’s some anguish in his tone–voice rough and raw and mourning for what he’s done (what he’s become)–but he is unapologetic, “Not you.”

There’s always another way.

She used to think that was such an optimistic way of looking at things: foolishly believing that life could be improved with a little hard work and luck and faith.

No one ever said that the other way wouldn’t make things worse.

She’s always wanted to be special.

She just never considered at what cost.

~

A/N: … sigh… sorry for the delay, anon. And it’s kind of short, too? I don’t know why this ship is so difficult for me? :/

I hope you enjoy anyway? Which sounds odd considering how bleak this is, but I hope an enjoyable bleak?

Number + Ship + (optional) AU –> my ask box

[If anyone else wants to do a softer world prompt that isn’t on the list, you can just send the page id number for the original comic instead.]

I’m prompting you again because I CAN but if you don’t write something that’s 100% legit. AND because I like to make myself cry, 18 + Strong in the Real Way. Thank you for the Pokemon drabbles, btw, I loved them!

I don’t know how to make things right.
So I’ll just keep pretending
that nothing’s wrong.
(you know that I’m no good)

Kakashi wakes up with a paw to the face followed by the slobbery swipe of a dog’s tongue. Three thumps of furry bodies jumping up onto the bed and he’s edged out to the floor.

Better than an alarm clock.

“To the pound, all of you,” he groans into the floor, before Naruto comes running in behind Guruko, laughter loud and bright. Kakashi gets stepped on twice more, and in moments his bed is filled with seven dogs and one kid and no Kakashi.

“All of you,” he repeats, vowing revenge, to an audience of overly pleased faces, “even you Naruto.”

His vengeance is ignored.

“First day of school! First day of school!” Naruto cheers, and all of the dogs start barking and howling along because this is Kakashi’s life and so nobody in this house is well behaved whatsoever.

When Kakashi is eight years old, his father commits suicide, leaving him orphaned.

It takes a few months, but he’s lucky enough to be adopted by Minato, who was nice and patient and far too good for the surly, angry mess that was a child Kakashi.

A decade later, Minato dies, leaving Kakashi orphaned once more, this time with a baby to take care of.

He tries his best, really, but just because Kakashi is no longer so surly or angry, doesn’t make him any less of a disaster.

Kakashi drives an SUV, top of the line, with all the latest tech and safety features and a healthy coating of dog hair on the upholstery no matter how many lint rollers and vacuum cleanings he attacks it with.

He used to ride a motorcycle with a sidecar for his dogs, but the first (and only) time Gai saw him trying to load a carseat in it, he was highly encouraged into buying a real vehicle.

Normally, Kakashi would ignore Gai’s nagging, especially considering Gai’s definition of cool is vastly different from his own, but given Gai had recently gotten custody of his nephew, one year older than Naruto, he’ll gladly defer to the one with slightly more experience.

(And if that means he can foist Naruto off onto Gai for weekly playdates with Lee, well, nobody’s complaining).

The thing is, he did like Kushina, strange as she was; a weird rock lady with mystical abilities and a literal alien mindset. But she was fun and interesting and kind and made Minato so happy. She made life exciting.

Maybe too exciting.

But that’s not fair.

It’s not Kushina’s fault that the Kyuubi attacked.

There’s a room in the house that Kakashi can’t open. There is no door handle, no hinges, just a single cabochon the same color as the gem on Naruto’s belly.

He probably should have been more worried when dinner passed–ramen, even!–and Naruto didn’t appear. But none of the dogs were concerned when he asked them, waving their tails and hoping for leftovers.

At the very least, he should have put two and two together.

Three hours later, when Kakashi’s on the brink of forming a search team despite the dogs’ blasé attitudes, the door bursts open: Naruto rolling across the ground, inelegantly fighting a kid with an obsidian in his forehead. They bust a hole in one wall, knock over a shelf of books, break the bathroom sink, and nearly flood the whole first floor. The dogs remain unconcerned, Kakashi is far less amused.

Later he’ll learn that inside the room he can’t open, Naruto found an obsidian inside a bubble and popped it. Because that’s the kind of shining example of decision making prowess he’s been living with.

This is how they meet Sasuke.

Meeting Shikako requires a lot less clean up, but raises far more questions than answers.

Kakashi never really considered the implications of Naruto’s existence, beyond not accidentally poisoning or otherwise killing the small life he’d been put in charge of. And he tried his best because Naruto was Minato’s son, and Kakashi couldn’t do less than that.

But Naruto is also Kushina’s son and that has an entire legacy that Kakashi can’t possibly comprehend.

~

A/N: Hell yeah you can prompt more than once, to-someplace-else! ( ˘ ³˘)♥ I’m glad you liked the Pokemon ficlets and I hope you like this one, too.

Human disaster Kakashi trying to raise a half human half gem kid (with the help of seven dogs and Gai).

Number + Ship + (optional) AU –> my ask box

[If anyone else wants to do a softer world prompt that isn’t on the list, you can just send the page id number for the original comic instead.]

51. “I don’t know if your wings are real / but I’ve never seen you without them / and I follow you everywhere.” Fire Fallow Cultivation

I don’t know if your wings are real,
but I’ve never seen you without them,
and I follow you everywhere.
(you have a nice living room)

When eight year old Sasuke wakes up after his aniki… after That Man killed… After…

When Sasuke wakes up After, hollowed out and muddled and crushed under the weight of his own grief, he thinks maybe he’s just dreaming. Not about what happened–he knows the truth–but now, currently.

Either that or maybe, instead of sparing him, That Man really did kill him. Maybe he’s dead.

The medic who checks on him has wings, feathery and small and light brown like a sparrow’s. He’s never heard of a bloodline like that. He must be dreaming, then.

He is not.

It takes a while for him to figure out what is happening, mostly because there are so many possible explanations for it and, frankly, he has other more obvious matters to worry about. But on the few occasions when everything grows to be too much, or he needs to just take a break, or on those lighter days when he can pretend that this mystery is the greatest problem in his life, he can ponder it freely.

It’s not a bloodline: The medic from that first day was civilian born, and more besides, he sees other people with wings around Konoha, none of whom are related to each other whatsoever and some of whom are in different clans.

It’s not a genjutsu either, he’s already learned how to dispel them with a kai, and the hospital would never let a patient leave while they’re under one.

He wonders for a while if maybe it’s the Sharingan. Other people can’t seem to see it, not even the Hyuuga, and its not as if it’s so far a leap.

But he doesn’t remember anyone from his clan talking about wings Before, and besides… he doesn’t have the Sharingan yet.

Not everyone has wings and, while he hasn’t exactly been taking notes, there doesn’t necessarily seem to be any correlation between the person and their wings’ size or colors.

Some people match what he’d think of them:

Kakashi-sensei has small, grey wings. A little darker than his hair but just as messy, feathers ruffled and out of alignment. Frequently they look like they’re broken, except they can’t be because they’re not real.

Naruto’s are a riot of color–though not yellow like his hair–they’re always up and reaching as if, maybe this time he’ll actually be able to fly.

Some people don’t:

Sai’s wings are fluffy, a white so bright they nearly hurt to look at, and constantly moving around.

Sakura’s are sleek, plumage dark but iridescent like the surface of a bubble in the sun. They only flare out when she’s angry, but are otherwise still for the most part.

Yamato-taicho doesn’t have wings–which somehow doesn’t seem like much of a surprise–but neither does Shikako, which is one.

Sasuke doesn’t either, and he’s not sure how he feels about that.

Tsunade-sama’s wings are massive, wide enough to touch either end of the Hokage’s office at the same time, and ever so expressive. There’s a few patchy, ragged places, but her wings don’t look any less magnificent for them.

He’s never seen her in battle–not one outside the political arena, that is–but he thinks such a sight would be awe inspiring.

This is what a Hokage is, this is what a Hokage should be.

(The Sandaime visited Sasuke in the hospital, once, After, but before the wings became his norm. Now, looking back, Sasuke remembers that there were no wings behind the robe and hat.)

He may be Hawk, but Tsunade-sama is the one who looks like she could rule the skies.

(The first time he sees wings without feathers, skeletal and horrific, sharply painful things, they are jutting out of Orochimaru.

The second time they’re on the back of That Man, a terrible silhouette to an already nightmarish figure.

It doesn’t take much to figure out what that means.)

Whenever he uses his Sharingan, Sasuke can no longer see the wings.

He’s not sure how he feels about that, either.

~

A/N: Um… so… very little Tsunade in this, anon, except for the section with Sasuke’s fanboying, but I guess my brain caught more on the “wings” part of the prompt and ran away with it. Please enjoy, regardless.

Highly influenced by the BBC Sherlock fic (written in 2010, so before all the awfulness of the later seasons) called A City on the Head of a Pin by Mad_Maudlin. I tweaked it a bit so that going bad didn’t lead to bat like wings but rather just skeletons.

Because bats are cool and fuzzy and great.

I guess if you really tilt your head and squint this isn’t necessarily canon noncompliant? (And if you tilt your head the other way and clap three times you can maybe consider this as part of the Walking Around aka Sakako Uchiha ‘verse. Sakako sees dead people, Sasuke sees angels in the living.)

Number + Ship + (optional) AU –> my ask box

[If anyone else wants to do a softer world prompt that isn’t on the list, you can just send the page id number for the original comic instead.]