I went into it a little bit more here, anon, but I appreciate your enthusiasm 🙂
So I finished watching Travelers season 2 on Netflix, and it’s still… I think I’ve mentioned before in some random A/N after watching season 1 that it’s an interesting premise but overall not… I like it, but I’m not moved by it, if that makes any sense? Mentally, everything is good, A or B for the most part, but it’s not something I would enthusiastically recommend. (Like, if someone didn’t have Netflix, I would tell them to get Netflix in order to watch Stranger Things, but I don’t know if I would do the same for Travelers. Whereas if someone who already has Netflix just wants a recommendation for something interesting to binge watch I’d maybe say Travelers, it depends on their taste)
Anyway, so the reason that I bring it up is that while the canon show itself isn’t exactly compelling, I just watched the finale and had an idea for an AU that I personally think would be based on the same premise.
So this is spoilers for Travelers season 2 finale–if you care to watch any of the show and don’t want to be spoiled, TURN BACK NOW.
Basically, different hosts!AU. In which instead of the canon hosts, it’s the “loved ones” kidnapped in the finale that are the hosts for the time traveler team instead.
And certain storylines carry over still–Travelers 3468 and 3465–are still in love, but instead of Grant MacLaren and Carly Shannon they’d be in the bodies of Kathryn MacLaren and Jeffrey Conniker. Traveler 0115 still marvels at the potential of youth but instead of being in teenage Trevor Holden, she gets to help shape multiple teenagers as guidance counselor Grace Day.
And, yes, that does remove the storyline of Traveler 3569 being sent into a “compromised” host of Marcy Warton, but considering she was tortured and traumatized by Traveler 001 it would be an interesting ongoing mission from the get beginning. As Marcy’s social worker, David Mailer is the closest person to her and the best one to protect her and figure out Traveler 001’s whereabouts as Vincent Ingram.
That would also remove the addiction storyline of Traveler 3326, although Ray (last name unknown?) being a gambling addict with known debts would be an equally as good target for the team’s historian. And it’d be pretty easy to tweak his and Philip Pearson’s backstory such that they know each other anyway…
Because, see, imagine it: instead of being an FBI agent, the team leader is married to an FBI agent instead. The whole “secret organization of terrorists” thing would feel much closer to home if it’s Traveler 3468’s husband doing the investigating rather than some kind of throw away thing in the last few episodes.
Traveler 3465 whose entire job is to keep his team safe is living a life of a man who abused his girlfriend and is absolutely scared of him–and also, it kind of makes sense to have the tactical officer be a cop.
Instead of Traveler 0115 being devastated at losing his guidance counselor who he (maybe?) had a thing for, it would be Grace Day trying to help Trevor Holden cope with the fact that the football coach molested his players and convince him to testify. And when Traveler 0027 overwrites him it’s a greater blow–she was helping him heal. And yes, the team can still just hack the coach’s computer, but that doesn’t help the fact that a teenage boy died before justice could be done (instead of bringing in a new character entirely).
… Anyway. IF I were to write this different hosts!AU, I would probably do it from the POV of the canon!hosts being interviewed/interrogated by Traveler 001, interspersed with flashbacks of how certain missions or plot points would be different because of the different hosts.
Also, imagining actual!FBI Agent Grant MacLaren stuck in a kidnapping situation with four of the most civilian civilians to ever civilian is pretty hilarious.
I had to look through my entire Sabaku no Gaara tag because I foolishly didn’t tag either AUs with a specific tag, mostly because I was probably hoping I’d make a title to attach to them and just never bothered…
Definitely Royalty!AU. I’m getting a vaguely Princess Bride vibe? But, like… also Titanic vibe. In the sense that it’s an older Gaara telling the story of his first love to, probably, the NGSS and the plot twist is that hey, what up, there’s no sad ending. Everyone lives, everything worked out, hooray, Gaara’s first love aka Shikako is in fact their adoptive mom so it’s all good.
Like a less bullshit/skeezy version of How I Met Your Mother, basically. But because Gaara is very solemn and surprisingly poetic it’d sound like an epic in the literal sense and not just a creepy guy complaining about his failed relationships.
I guess this would be a good title for the more action-filled version of Royalty!AU where, along with the sweeping fairy tale romance tabloid drama, there is also a sub-plot of the Akatsuki being an anti-monarchy terrorist group and feeling of betrayal when Shikako is believed to be involved in an assassination attempt against Temari.
But that’d basically be cheating on my part, so let’s see…
I guess this could just straight up be a bad ending!version of the Royalty!AU? Not ~dead~ bad ending, but a “it just couldn’t work out” bad ending… but that’s dissatisfying.
Hm… I don’t know, anon…
This actually feels more like a TemarixShikamaru B-sides of Royalty!AU than the A-sides that is Shikaara. And, like, in this AU Temari can’t abdicate her role so it is a “bad ending” for them…
OH! So it’d be more like the ClarissexJoe subplot from Princess Diaries 2–in that they never allowed themselves to be together because of ~duty and propriety~ until after her heir was established.
Which means it would still be a story to the NGSS (one of whom is taking up the throne) decades after the initial meeting and falling in love, but it’s not entirely cliche “this is how it happened” because their story isn’t done yet! 😀
Like. Everyone’s eyes were on the fairy tale romance of the century that was Shikaara, unbeknownst to nearly everyone else there was this drama of firstborns resisting love because of their duties. ¯_(ツ)_/¯
Hm… I haven’t really considered this, anon, mostly because in my head the royalty!AU is, specifically, a Shikaara!AU so I hadn’t even really though of the rest of Team Seven.
But, like… I guess now I’m wondering how much carries over to this AU. Did the Uchiha massacre still happen? Did the fall of Uzushio still happen? Are the bijuu even a thing in this AU? And then after deciding those, to match everyone with their respective clan prestige, Sasuke would be much the same–second son of a Noble Clan Head–and Naruto would be… I guess he’d be the lost prince of Uzushio?
Um. Which sounds pretty cool, if I’m going to be honest…
Oh. I know.
So this would probably happen before the actual Shikaara events–that is, before Temari’s coronation–because I’m pretty sure Shikako and her age mates are approximately university age which means late teens at youngest (but preferably in their twenties because tabloid speculation about minors is skeezy and makes me sad).
And I guess the idea is that as actual teenagers (secondary/high school age) with Kakashi as bewildered and skeptical chaperone, Team Seven goes on some kind of Nancy Drew-esque escapade to solve the mystery of Naruto’s past. Because, even though he does go to the same upper class Fire Country school that all the other noble kids and various scholarship kids do, he’s mostly known as the weird kid that the eccentric Lady Senju dotes on.
Aaaaand then it turns out he’s the prince of Uzushio-now-Wave (because for simplicity’s sake, it makes sense to conflate them) and his family had been overthrown ages ago by Gatou?
And more escapades in which the people of Wave/Uzushio rise up against Gatou’s tyranny and reinstate Naruto… who doesn’t really want to rule just yet? (Why yes, I am just adapting the Snow Country plot into this ‘verse, but didn’t the Snow Country plot just basically copy paste the Wave Country arc?)
So, I mean. Shikako’s encounter with Gaara isn’t her first brush with actual royalty.
I think in this AU Fire Country is run by a five clan oligarchy–with the Senju, Uchiha, Akimichi, Hyuuga, and Aburame–instead of a single monarchy. So her friendship with Sasuke and Naruto actually elevates her status, even though that’s obviously not at all why she befriended them.
Erm… I guess brainstorm fill instead of prose fill, if that’s cool with you, anon.
Check out the Ask Box Author’s Cut event!
I see you, anon, and I like what you’re thinking. ໒( ͡ᵔ ▾ ͡ᵔ )७
Shikako tries to return to her seat without catching anyone’s notice–restless feet is no excuse for further international faux pas–but considering she’s sitting right next to Ino, there’s no escaping it.
Especially not when she stumbles right into her, eyes still dazed from the multitude of camera flashes. Shikako’s just a minor peer–those picture probably won’t end up in the news, right?
Ino lends her a steadying hand, one eyebrow raised in appraisement, “What were you doing?” she murmurs beneath her breath.
Shikako flushes, embarrassed again at the memory, “I just ran into someone,” she says. And looked like a total idiot, she doesn’t add.
Ino holds a stare for a beat, Shikako’s cheeks turning further red, before letting the matter drop.
She’ll find out soon enough, anyway.
“The prince!” Ino shouts, bursting through Shikako’s bedroom door without any hesitation. Cruelly, she walks over to the window and flings open the curtains. “You ran into the prince?”
Shikako groans, curling into her pillows and away from the light.
There’s an indignant flapping of paper, before Ino heaves a sigh and pounces.
She’s not heavy, but with a high enough trajectory and the element of surprise, Shikako’s breath leaves her in a rush, “No…”
“You didn’t tell me you ran into Wind Country’s prince. Spill now or else,” Ino threatens, yanking a pillow from beneath Shikako’s head and brandishing it like a weapon.
What torments could she possibly inflict that is crueler than waking someone up?
Well… it is Ino.
“Wind Country has two princes,” she says instead, just to be contrary.
Ino smacks her with the pillow. “You know who I’m talking about! The dreamboat with the gorgeous eyes and perfect cheekbones,” another smack, “Just what happened?”
“Nothing happened… I just bumped into him, said sorry, and then returned to my seat?” Confused, Shikako finally cracks open her eyes.
In Ino’s hand is a newspaper, the front page dominated by a color photo of Shikako and the younger Wind Country prince, his arm around her waist, her hand on his shoulder: they had literally bumped into each other and just barely managed not to fall to the ground in a flail of limbs. That’s all.
Ino looks less gleeful, now; she hands over the paper, “Not according to this.”
Check out the Ask Box Author’s Cut event!
Something is strange about the town of Konoha, though you’re not sure what exactly. It niggles at the top of your head, a phantom thought that is there one moment and gone the next.
But you stay silent. Who are you to cast judgement on these people, on their lives? Especially when they’ve been so hospitable.
They will aid you as best they can, so long as you do not look too closely.
The stranger is the first of a wave, coincidentally, soon after follows a troop of hunters on orders from the emperor.
Eternal life in exchange for killing a god.
They just need a weapon strong enough to do so.
Your father is restless. Prowling around and making ominous statements more than usual, picking fights with the other clans and snapping his fangs at empty air.
You do not dare sneaking into the town while he’s like this, possessively paranoid, constantly on your tail.
You don’t understand what’s happening. You’ve never seen him like this before.
Something terrible is coming.
You’ve never seen him afraid.
The stranger is your responsibility, and she’s an interesting one at first–you’ve grown tired of the same people and the same rhythms. The stranger is a breath of fresh air in your stagnant life, and you appreciate the change.
But you notice, after the second day, that there is more to this duty your family has assigned you. You are more distraction than tour guide, and vice versa, it seems.
Your brother and your parents stop talking whenever you enter a room, stranger at your side or not.
They do not trust you.
Heijomaru was the one that brought you here, footsteps certain for a reason beyond your knowledge.
Still, you have faith.
The town does not have what you need, or if they do they aren’t saying.
To the forest you go, then.
A/N: it’s been a while since I watched Princess Mononoke, though it is one of my favorites…
(Never Lookin’ To Come Back)
If asked, each of them would say that it was the other who started it.
The smuggling, that is.
Sure, Kiba was the one who “found” that first crate of rations–marked as heading towards ROOT training facilities (and if they needed it so badly, they should have kept better track of it.) He was just being a dutiful XO when he brought it to the captain.
What happened after that was entirely her decision.
“I couldn’t just let that town starve,” she argues, magnanimous for a fleeting moment before continuing with, “… and we needed to offload it somehow.”
Kiba laughs, no matter how many times he’s heard it and the fact that he was there for it. It’s the telling of the story that makes it great, not the event itself.
According to the system, Lee has violated his parole.
The fact that someone as good and kind as Lee could ever even be arrested shows how flawed the system really is. The citizens of the small moon Lee calls home would say, too strict.
They would not say corrupt.
(Lee was arrested for defending a young girl from the mayor’s unwanted attentions.)
Not out loud, anyway.
The people of his hometown loved him, loved him enough to pool together their meager money and send him far away in a ship that could use another hand and didn’t look too closely at one’s legal background.
One day, Lee will go back home and free them from tyranny–until then, he sends the townspeople money and always wears the ugly orange leg warmers they send back.
No one outside of the Organization is actually sure what they are.
(“I’m putting my money on fancy hookers,” Kiba says, grin sharp and toothy and itching for a fight.
Not even the blankness of his face can mask the sheer irritation in Sasuke’s eyes.
“You better hope so,” TenTen responds, shifting over on the bench where Shino has kindly enough made space, “because if you’re wrong, you’re really gonna get it.”)
They’re beautiful and well trained, always on the arm of influential people and frequently at the scene of major incidents. Twice, they’ve had to make a quick get away at Sasuke’s behest, hours before news broke of some scandal and a sudden death.
Shikako learns it’s better not to ask.
Still, he does have very good connections to various port authorities, and so long as he pays his rent on time, she doesn’t mind what he might get up to.
According to the system, Naruto doesn’t exist.
If they knew he did, they’d kill him immediately.
None of them know it yet, but the most illegal thing on their ship isn’t the Hyuuga chancellor’s missing daughter, or the crates and crates of contraband.
No, it’s the key to the Core’s greatest and worst secret: the conspiracy to end all conspiracies.
The truth behind the destruction of Uzushio–the would have been fifth member of the core planets.
A/N: Just little sprinkles of backstory–I didn’t think TenTen would be an outright criminal, and Shino works more outside the law than against it so…
Thanks for the prompt, anon! 😀
(Reasons To Keep Living)
The forests around the growing town of Konoha are haunted. At night, there are sounds and shapes and lights and movements that make their way out of the thick curtain of trees; it is eerie and fearsome and beautiful.
If a man goes into the forest, he is never heard from again–or so it is said.
Good thing you are no man.
The stranger has travelled from far away lands, dressed in strange clothes and riding a long horned deer.
She comes in search of a cure for her brother and she knows she is in the right place:
Either it will be found in the town at the forefront of progress, or it will be in the forest of magic and miracles.
All your life you have been told to stay away from the forest. There are dangerous things in there, beasts and monsters and horrors–a good son would not make his parents worry so, just look at your brother, what an upstanding young man.
But they are too enamored by him to notice you, and you are ever so curious about what secrets are within.
When you are told to act as the stranger’s guide, you see an opportunity to fulfill a lifelong dream.
You’ve been to the town before–it’s your best kept secret, because if your father knew, he’d eat you, just as he’s always said.
You love the forest, of course you do, it’s your home: the cave where you and your father curl up together for warmth, the rivers where the otter clan chatter and play their tricks, up in the treetops the monkey clan howl and down below the boar clan stampede.
You love your home, but you want to see the world outside of it.
The kodama come out at sunset, when the Shishigami walks the forest and begins to transform; they watch and click their curious little heads, observing a phenomena that has happened daily for centuries and yet is still so breathtaking.
Sometimes, the fox boy joins them, head tilting in unison, mesmerized.
Sometimes, from the very top of the town walls, the second son can see the top of the Night Walker’s head breaching the canopy.
They both wait, though they don’t know it, for the stranger to arrive.
A/N: Out of order sections–they were written as I thought of them, sorry, and it seemed weird every time I tried to put them in chronological order.
I don’t know about you, anon, but I got very strong Princess Mononoke vibes from the prompt? Or was that just me? Regardless, new AU! 😀
… I might have turned Naruto and Sasuke into Disney princesses what with the whole “wanting to see the world outside my forest/town/castle.”
(Friendship Is A (Mutual) Con)
Shikako stares at Sai, the breath for her response caught in her throat, more confused than concerned, but a healthy amount of both.
Sai stares back, guileless.
“… we can work on that,” Shikako finally says, hesitantly. She is angry and horrified–but not at him, it’s not his fault–and it takes effort to keep it out of her voice.
“I’ve read many books on this subject, so I’m quite confident I’ve mastered the theory,” Sai responds, holding up his tablet which proudly displays the title: Love and Other Mysteries.
“… that’s…” this time there is no hiding her skepticism, “Well… think of it as needing field experience. Cooperation leads to teamwork, teamwork leads to friendship, and friendship is a great step towards love.”
Sai nods as if what she’s saying actually makes sense and isn’t something she’s just making up on the spot.
And it’s not like anyone else on the team–besides Sakura, that is–is emotionally competent enough to dispute that.
Shikako realizes she still has her comm on ten minutes after the screaming fight with her brother has already ended.
Mostly because Sai, showing his developing social acuity, quietly clears his throat before asking, “Did he not like your gift?”
She sighs, exasperated and embarrassed with herself and, maybe, a little unapologetically petty at Sai for eavesdropping–let him deal with the audio feedback–but if he had to wade through that awful argument then she does sort of owe him an explanation.
“No, he was grateful for it. It’ll speed up his recovery by months, if not years, and it’ll definitely make his PT easier…”
“That didn’t sound like gratitude.”
Shikako’s chuckle is more bitter than amused, “He’s worried about how I got it, instead of focusing on his own health which is what really matters…”
She sighs again, exhausted. It’s been months of this, she just wants that easiness that they used to have.
“… sometimes love is hard.”
This is their final heist as a team–or as this team, at least: Sakura returning to her previous team, Yamato clearing his name and getting reinstated, and Kakashi finally obtaining the peace that had eluded him for so long.
“Will you be staying?” Sai asks her as he packs up his rig–there is a strange lack of urgency and so he takes his time to stow everything away neatly instead of just shoving things in his bag as someone else drags him away.
“Yes,” she answers, swiftly, simply, no consideration needed. She tilts her head over at Naruto and Sasuke, who are both saying their goodbyes and trying (and failing) to be professional about it. “They need me, still.”
There is a pause as Sai continues to pack and Shikako watches, not wanting to interfere.
“And you?” She finally asks, as the last zipper is zipped.
He shoulders his bag, two hard shell cases in either hand as well, and answers–swiftly, simply–
“I haven’t finished my lessons, yet.”
A/N: I don’t know why this was so difficult for me, anon… it’s not the pairing that’s the problem. I think maybe because this prompt was already asked with a blank check platonic pair and I had to NOT do the same thing here…
Anyway, hope you enjoy!
We are terrible for each other, and, yes, we are a disaster.
But tell me your heart doesn’t race for a hurricane or a burning building.
I’d rather die terrified than live forever.
(mistakes aren’t always regrets)
“My brother had magic,” Sasuke says, muted, staring into the campfire. Naruto and Shikako look at him, attentive and enraptured: Sasuke never talks about his past.
Kakashi looks away–he already knows this story.
“My parents. Our entire kingdom. They were so proud,” The words are stilted, as if dragged out of him, but he pushes through, “The first prince in generations to have magic…”
The silence is so long that for a moment they think he’s stopped, that’s all he will say on the matter.
“…it overwhelmed him, turned him mad. He cursed everyone.” Sasuke closes his eyes, clenches his fists, “That’s why I have to kill him.”
He stands up quickly–the sudden movement causing the other two to flinch back–and stalks off.
“Not too far,” Kakashi calls after him, getting only a dismissive grunt in return, but he does stay within shouting distance and returns to their campsite after an hour.
He is still silent, sullen. For the next two days, the three of them don’t hear another word from Sasuke, but at heart his mood isn’t regret.
He doesn’t know it, but Naruto comes from a long line of legends: foresters who protected children who strayed off the path, knights who slew monsters, seventh sons who cured kings, princesses that outsmarted trickster demons, all the way to heroes whose names grew beyond any single act.
They were there whenever an injustice needed to be righted. They were on the front lines in wars against evil. They were wanderers who faced the worst the world had to offer and gave their all to make it better.
And then they gave some more.
Sometimes, fortune favors the bold.
Other times, fortune is feckless and all consuming, taking and taking and granting only rarely with the highest interest rate.
Kakashi knows, but will never tell him: on the day of Naruto’s birth, despite all the sacrifice that was made, that debt harshly grew.
He is the last of his line: any luck that falls his way will exact balance upon him…
… and on his precious people.
Shikako does not have a tragic background. Her lifestyle has always been, if not gentle, then fair and without strife.
She has enjoyed much from her station and she knows, one day, that she will have to take up the duties expected of her and return the privileges that have been afforded her.
But not yet.
“Please,” Shikako whispers, small hand clutching at the rough fabric of his cloak, “Not yet.”
He doesn’t know where the misunderstanding arose–Shikako intent on fleeing an unwanted arranged marriage, her father sending search parties and hiring an, if he’s going to be honest, overpriced hunter to make sure she hasn’t been taken against her will–but it’s both a hilarious and heartening situation that he thinks he’ll keep track of.
That is what he does, after all.
“The world can be a scary and overwhelming place for young highborn ladies,” he says, just to gauge her mettle. If she really can’t hack it, he’ll deliver her to the Nara stronghold himself.
The same hand that clung to his cloak for comfort now tugs sharply, jerking him down closer to her level. He bends with it, because why not?
“I may be a lady,” she responds, quiet but fierce; she brings her free hand between them, and in her palm blooms a small green flame “but I’m far from helpless.”
A/N: Are they a train crash waiting to happen? MAYBE?!
Sorry for the late response, sociallinkmax, I had the first part done and then got waaaaay swamped with RL… stuff.
I was debating whether or not Big Bad Wolf Kakashi was literal or figurative or a mix of both (like some kind of Ladyhawke situation?) so I just went the ambiguous route.
[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.]