Well, I was sort of thinking of the Kyber Crystal and the sword as sort of, well, there’s a semi-tradition of seeing them as almost alive, in-and-of-themselves, of seeing sailing ships, for example, as having personhood. I guess, if I were to narrow it down more, the question would be better worded like so: Would you ever write a story from a very non-human perspective?

Ooooh, okay. So it’s not a human reborn as a non-human thing, I think that’s where I got confused.

It’s definitely a fascinating concept, anon. I like the idea of sentience not necessarily meaning sapience and how there are perspectives in the world beyond human.

Hm… I think if I were to ever write such a story it’d probably be from the POV of a tree, a space ship, or a place–though the last one is specifically fanfiction and more specifically Konoha from Naruto or Vulcan from Star Trek–someplace that gets energy from the people that live there. Either that or a cool family heirloom–a weapon maybe?–that follows its owners down the bloodline/succession.

But I don’t think any of them would be very long. Or, rather, they’d be only a part of another story that is primarily human–or sapient, if we’re talking sci-fi/fantasy.

Hm… here’s something?

~

Watch. Wait. Ever present, eternal.

Today I am created, but I have always existed.

I am infinite and reaching.

The one who will wield me does not yet live. She is the one who designed me.

I will wait. I am already with her.

///

The woman who makes me does not truly understand what it is she is creating.

She has seen me before, but does not know the power that lies within. She thinks me only as metal and glass.

My face is shining, my hands are steady. The gears within my body run smoothly.

I am well crafted. Were I able to speak, I would tell her so. But I cannot.

The woman who makes me will not wield me, but she is skilled and her hands are sure.

My wielder will have the same sure hands.

///

There is a chain.

There is a box lined with velvet.

There is a cold, locked room deep underground.

Silence.

I need not be patient.

She will come for me soon.

///

The woman who made me brings with her a boy. Her child.

Neither of them are my wielders.

But they come to the cold, locked room deep underground.

They open the box line with velvet.

They look upon me and the chain that binds me.

The woman who made me tells her son that I am a secret.

A legacy.

To be passed down until the time is right.

If I could laugh, I would.

///

Generations pass.

The line of the woman who made me visit only to show me to their children, onward and onward.

None of them are my wielder.

Soon.

///

Once, a group of masked thieves enter the locked room deep underground.

They begin to open the other boxes, Empty riches into their bags.

Useless material things.

They are stopped before they reach me.

My wielder is there. She glances my way.

I do not skip a beat.

She looks away.

No need. I am already with her.

///

A woman brings her son to see me.

This boy will die. Not in the way that all of their line die–as a simple matter of age and time. This boy will be killed.

My wielder will be the one to kill him.

Soon.

///

The boy who will be killed by my wielder has grown into a man. He brings with him his own child, a daughter.

My wielder.

But not yet.

The man will die. My wielder will come for me. Then she will kill him.

It is too early.

///

I have already told you what I am.

~

A/N: Surprise! It’s Leanne Peridot’s pocket watch from Counterclockwise.

… so I realize now that trying to do the POV of an inanimate object is probably not helped when said object is capable of time travel/is the concept of infinite time. Whoops.

But it was an interesting little exercise, anon, so maybe I’ll try to incorporate more non-sapient perspectives in my work from now on 🙂

Check out the Ask Box Would You Ever!

Would you ever write a story with a character reborn as a nonliving object, like a Kyber Crystal from the Star Wars Universe, or … a sword or something?

Hm… probably no?

I mean, I have written some snippets of a story in which a person is reborn as non-human–B*tch Please has my SI!OC reborn as Akamaru’s littermate– but not to a serious level.

I don’t think I would know how to go about a non-living object.

Well, okay, mechanics aside are we talking about an SI!OC reborn as a nonliving object or a character from that ‘verse reborn as a nonliving object (robots/androids not included, of course).

Because there’s a difference between, using your example, someone from our world being reborn as a kyber crystal versus Obi-Wan Kenobi being reborn as a kyber crystal.

And then, on top of that, are they restricted to just being the heart of a lightsaber or can they also project a vision of themselves a la Force ghosts so as to interact with whoever wields them?

I think it’d be interesting to write as a one shot–or as a side story within a larger ‘verse–but not as a full story of its own… and probably not in the Star Wars universe, though it works quite well as an example.

… sorry this is so short, anon. Feel free to send in another prompt–or an add on to this one?

~

Check out the Ask Box Would You Ever!

Would u ever write yoshino and sasuke interacting? Weather its canon dos or an au his ever so slow intergation into the nara fam is smth about alot

Yeeeeees. Yes I would.

I think really the only hesitation is that I’m not sure, as you mentioned, which ‘verse it should be in?

They have/would have a very interesting dynamic given that Sasuke deliberately curated his existence around his clan (or lack thereof) while Yoshino is a non-clan kunoichi married into one. It’s very different backgrounds. But they are united in their love/concern for Shikako which I imagine helps cross that bridge. And I think because of that, Yoshino helps Sasuke be himself as a person and not just the heir to a clan of madness and murder.

Which–that boy very much needs any help he can get.

That being said, here’s some small ficlets in various ‘verses because… funsies.

~

(DoS canon compliant)

Yoshino watches the boy, watches as he tries–so hesitant, so clumsy–to play along with her daughter’s whimsical mood. It is a bittersweet feeling, more bitter than sweet to be fair, that burbles up within her.

She smiles and tries to make sure there is no sadness on her face.

A part of her is ashamed. The Last Uchiha is not a person: the Last Uchiha is a symbol, an ideal, a risk in the making. The Last Uchiha certainly isn’t a child who doesn’t remember what it’s like to have family dinners. The Last Uchiha isn’t a younger brother who never learned to stand up for himself. The Last Uchiha couldn’t be this boy in her house so broken and scared but trying, trying so hard, in need of just one person to look beyond that title and see the truth.

There was no Last Uchiha, there was only Sasuke, struggling under the burden of his name.

Yoshino draws closer, places a hand on Shikako’s shoulder–a close yet not close enough proxy for the comforting hug she wants to give to her daughter’s teammate instead. Sasuke still startles at affection, though at least he no longer looks as hunted as used to in the beginning.

“Will you be staying over for dinner?” Yoshino asks, no pressure one way or the other. Still, he dithers, and so she has to add, “I bought some wonderful fresh tomatoes at the market.”

Neither her husband or any of her children have any strong feelings for tomatoes.

After another considering beat, Sasuke nods.

///

(Somewhere Down Road One)

Something about the situation still sits uneasily with Yoshino, even though she’s received assurances from everyone involved.

Fugaku and Mikoto are kinder than she had expected–than she had feared–polite nearly to the point of stiffness, but just as shocked by the proposal as she and Shikaku had been. Originally they were suspicious–perhaps they had heard about Shikako’s hypersensitivity–but soon enough they became not only accepting but excited… relieved?… at the idea.

Shikaku, she knows, only wants what is best for their daughter. He has no doubt run through all the possible outcomes and decided that if this is something Shikako wants–and it is, even after the tediousness of the discussions, something their daughter wants–then of course he will do his best to arrange this engagement.

Never mind their own rocky history with such things. Never mind that Shikako is still a child and yet devoted to this plan with a steely determination that has nothing to do with a newly blossoming crush.

Sasuke is a good boy, sweet and intelligent. He may one day be a good husband; Yoshino would understand her daughter having a crush on him. But Sasuke as a person barely seems to factor into the equation at all.

“Hello, Yoshino-san,” Sasuke greets her when she opens the door. She guides him inside and prepares some tea while he waits for Shikako. He is shy and a little nervous and halfway in love with her daughter already.

“Take care of your heart,” Yoshino says, warns, but does not ward off: she may be fond of Sasuke but Shikako is her daughter.

“Not Shikako’s?” Sasuke asks, innocently curious.

She shakes her head. No, it’s not her heart that Yoshino is worried about.

///

(Fire Fallow Cultivation)

“They’re beautiful, aren’t they?” Yoshino-san says, and Sasuke glances up at her confused.

They are sitting at Shikako’s hospital bedside–a distressingly frequent settings for them–and until this moment Yoshino-san has been silent. Even during Tsunade-sama’s explanation, right before the Hokage left to deal with–in her words–literally any other patient.

“You don’t think they’re beautiful?” Yoshino-san asks, prompting Sasuke into responding lest he be considered rude.

“Think what is beautiful?”

Yoshino-san eyes him carefully and Sasuke has to remember to keep breathing: it’s far from hostile, but the assessing gaze is different than what he’s used to from Shikako. Similar to Shikamaru’s pointed analysis.

“Tsunade-sama’s wings, of course,” Yoshino-san says simply, as if she weren’t turning his world on its ear.

During his occasional research he was never able to find even a reference to the wings–for her to just casually mention them…

“You can see them, too?”

… he’s not alone.

~

Check out the Ask Box Would You Ever!

Would you ever write more of Doctor Kaiza’s backstory or how she became so cold-hearted?

Hm… this is kind of a no and kind of a maybe, anon, because I suppose it depends on what you mean?

In the greater timeline of my original fiction universe roughly centered around Cadmium City (which I hope isn’t a real place, if so my bad?) Doctor Ellen Kaiza’s backstory is deliberately meant to be a mystery.

Actually, this kind of relates to this untitled ficlet in the sense that Zelia had three options for an apprentice. Ellen Kaiza had the temperament of a Grey Witch but her power levels couldn’t really compare to the other two candidates.

This is far in the past for the rest of the “current” Cadmium City ficlets–at least a few centuries–and knowing what happened to Ellen Kaiza during this time would be A) a lot of stuff seeing as how literal centuries, B) not as compelling as the “current” Cadmium City ficlets, and C) would detract from her air of experienced, all knowing wisdom and mystique.

I mean, don’t get me wrong anon, those ficlets were fun to write and did help me form a better understanding of both the character and the world as if formed around her, but I think at most that’s all I’d ever want to do with her as the main character: small snippets of her over the long stretch of time, her looking back on events from a stretch of decades or centuries.

That being said, while I don’t think I’ll ever devote an entire series to her as the main character, she is in many other series as said wise mystic and I think the passing of time between those other series is a good a way to get outside POVs of her immortal life. And most likely she will show up frequently in Counterclockwise given Leanne can travel through time and Kaiza is one of the few constants in her world.

So… maybe, anon? Is there something a little more specific you’d like to see of Ellen Kaiza–let me know, I’m always interested in exploring more of the original fiction world.

~

Check out the Ask Box Would You Ever!

would u ever write fire nation tetsukis interaction with zuko? or maybe the gaang? im so intrested in this verse

It’s a fun ‘verse isn’t it, anon? I think I like it better than the “original flavor” 😛

So let’s see… for the first, I’m gonna say yes–and give you a ficlet in a bit–because FN!Tetsuki meeting Zuko has a sort of drama that is entirely different from original Iron Will. But the second I’m going to say… hm… maybe…

It’s partially no mostly because the first meeting Tetsuki would have with the Gaang, regardless of FN version or original version, would be as part of the Freedom Fighters, so not much difference there. And then every subsequent meeting after that–as far as the Gaang are concerned–she’s just one more Fire Nation girl who is trying to kill them. Not much difference than what their brief interactions with Mai and Ty Lee are, then.

But it’s also partially yes because… well… FN!Tetsuki really is a lot more fun than the original flavor Iron Will and so if I ever properly write Iron Will I may just go the FN!Tetsuki route completely. Like with (En)Closure, a lot of the ficlets on here are me throwing stuff at the wall and seeing what sticks, and the fact that Tetsuki being Azula’s bodyguard is so compelling is, frankly, sticking really well.

So maybe on the Gaang, which for all intents and purposes of this ask box event means no. But maybe one day I’ll get to writing Iron Will in a coherent, consistent manner. (HAHAHAHAHA, uh, my poor series, what have they done to deserve me as a writer)

Anyway, here’s that FN!Tetsuki meets Zuko ficlet:

The first time you come to court is as Azula’s–friend, follower, servant, plaything, you’re not sure, you don’t much care–you try not to gawk at the sheer opulence like the absolute hoyden you are.

Your origins were humble, for all that your bloodline says otherwise, your early years were spent in forest camps and rough villages with barely enough people to be considered such. Your father worked best on the frontier, amongst people who would never know or care about what kings and lords got up to so long as they could take care of their basic needs.

In another life, you might have been much the same.

But even going from that to your grandparents’ holdings–their mansion only one in comparison  to the utterly tiny buildings in the town around it–is nothing like the adjustments required here.

“You’re making a scene,” Mai sighs, informing but uncaring. Hypocrite. Her family is better off than yours, but they’re nouveau riche–the court is an entirely different sort of splendor than she’s used to as well.

“Who needs ceilings that high?” You respond rather than feel chastened. You’re not the one making a scene, you are insignificant in the trail of Azula as it should be. “How do people even get up there? The servants must, there would be cobwebs otherwise.”

“Who cares what the servants do?” Mai says, a droll sort of thing meant to shame you once more. She is not Azula, her words have no bite.

Ty Lee giggles, “Maybe they stack on top of each other to reach the ceilings.”

You consider the thought, smile at the image, “I doubt it,” you disagree, but temper it with flattery, “I don’t think any servants are as skilled as you are.”

“Obviously,” Mai says–less in agreement to the compliment and more out of disparaging those inferior–but it still makes Ty Lee grin brightly.

“Quiet,” Azula says, not even turning around to address you to your faces. It gets the job done anyway. “I don’t have to remind you to be on your best behavior, do I?”

It is threat more than question, but plausibly deniable permission on top of that.

Then Azula turns around, a small, sideways smile on her lips. “Let’s show the court exactly what we learned at the Academy.”

Nothing catches on fire–both surprising and not in a hall full of benders–but Ty Lee does manage to get up to the ceiling by way of hanging banners and three tactless young officers end up with stab wounds.

Only one of them was your fault.

Bizarrely enough, you meet the Dragon of the West before the Fire Nation prince. Or perhaps it is not so odd given the way the boy avoids his younger sister.

It is incidental when you meet him, the Dragon of the West, the would-have-been Fire Lord were it not for his lost son.

You wonder, briefly, what it must be like to have a father who would ruin himself at losing you. But, of course, you would have no idea where to begin.

It is as you are wandering the halls–not lost, merely… exploring–that you happen upon each other.

“Your eyes,” says the Dragon of the West, surprised, and you look away quickly, flushing, self-conscious. Your eyes are grey and green and nothing at all like flames.

“Please excuse me, your highness,” you murmur before scuttling away.

You get even more lost before a maid happens upon you and is kind enough to guide you back. As befitting your borrowed status, she does not look you in the eyes.

You will never know this, but it was not the color of your eyes that surprised the Dragon of the West but rather their age.

He would have said they were old eyes in a young face.

He would have been right.

The first time you meet Zuko it is from two steps behind Azula as is your place. He barely even notices you–which internally you sneer as a lack of situational awareness, but you know has more to do with the way he practically flinches away from his younger sister.

This? This is supposed to be the future Fire Lord?

Pathetic.

Unfortunately, it’s not so much about him as a person as it is him as a symbol–there is no argument that Azula is the better heir, more talented, more compelling, the kind of leader that would bring greatness to the nation. But there will still be traditionalists and opportunists who prefer him over her. Those who cling foolishly to birth order and sex, those who would rather have an easily manipulated Fire Lord.

His mere existence is a threat to Azula’s reign.

The second time you meet Zuko, you actually exchange words.

In plain clothes and a houndsnake coiled loosely around your shoulders, you look nothing like a royal attendant.

He recognizes you anyway, if belatedly, apparently not so unobservant as you thought.

“Fire Nation Prince Zuko,” you say to the Freedom Fighters, most of them too thrilled at capturing their prey to pay any attention to his face or yours.

“Let me go,” he says. He struggles with the ropes. Futilely tries to burn them away.

“I wouldn’t bother,” you say, “they’re enforced with wire. You’d only end up burning yourself.”

Jet laughs at the irony and, after a beat, so do the others. He takes over at this point, as is his wont. He still thinks he’s in charge. It’s useful, so she’ll let him. “Listen up, Fire Nation scum,” he starts on his spiel, “we are the children of those you killed, those you oppressed. We’re what happens when–”

“Did Azula put you up to this?” Zuko asks, interrupting Jet, and if there is anything bitter in his tone, resigned and expectant, then it is too mild for you to hear.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” you say, because why would you ever give up your cover at his behest, “I’m just an Earth Kingdom orphan trying to strike back against Fire Nation tyranny.”

In another life, you wouldn’t be lying at all.

~

A/N: Check out the Ask Box Would You Ever!

Hola! Me again. :) Would you ever write a story in which you follow a characters development through the storyline only to find out they were the villain of the story the entire time?

Ooh… probably? It really does depend on the character doesn’t it? Well…

I mean, no one thinks of themselves as the villains even though–depending on what they’re doing–the reader will immediately understand that the character is in fact an unreliable narrator and that their actions cannot be in anyway misconstrued as good. So for this concept to work, for the twist to actually be a twist, the readers would have to honestly think that the character is the hero for the majority of the story.

I actually have a reblog post saved in my drafts (only a one line concept written)–this post–for an idea kind of like this. The OP concept is that kids take from “our world” and summoned/pulled into another one full of magic and adventure are then sent back against their will after their purpose is done. And, like, they are back in their original state physically–no scars no missing limbs, but also no muscles no magic–but mentally they’re still traumatized.

And OP continues how, fed up with pretending in “our world,” the hero tries to find their way back to that world of magic and adventure and finally–after hundreds of worlds later–they make it home.

And the one line concept I have to say to this is: what if this is how villains are created?

Because sure the hero makes it back home, can feel their magic restored, is relieved to be back where they’re meant to be.

But this world has changed while the hero was gone. The adventures they went on were decades, maybe centuries ago–legend but intangible–and so while it might be home it’s not the same.

And I wonder if the hero might take it upon themselves to “fix” that.

But they’re playing with an out of date rulebook, the things that were considered evil back then are now better understood or considered okay now. Or maybe when they were the hero, the evil they fought was a monarch and to see that the same royal family still rules is an injustice that needs to be rectified–not knowing that this current ruler is good and kind, etc, thinking the rumors are just propaganda.

It’s very much in line with the “die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become the villain.”

Oh no. I just had an idea. I am worried and horrifically pleased by it: Given the premise of The Many Gardens of Shikabane-hime, and my own outside POV series based on it, I might sort of now want to do a “Shikako appears and wrecks Danzo’s shit and is thus the villain”

(Uh… maybe later? I’ll put it on my to do list)

But I digress.

I think the only thing holding me back from a full yes is that, similar to the problem of the For Better For Worse / Desperate Endeavors mash up, there has to be enough of a prologue for the hero’s actions to seem… heroic and not just self-righteousness and habit.

I mean, this is why it would work in fanfiction. Just take a character who is unquestionably on the good side and then throw them into a situation where they might not be. Digressing again–speaking of fanfiction, I did write this Hail To The Queen which isn’t quite “Shikako turns out to be the villain” but could very well be the beginning of such a story.

… Actually probably the main issue is that in order to have this sort of reveal, I’d have to commit to a story long enough to get near enough to the end for that twist to make sense. Curse my attention and commitment issues! 😡

Sorry I couldn’t do more for this ask, eruditeempress.

~

Check out the Ask Box Would You Ever!

Would you ever write a fic set in the “(They Call It) Soulless” ‘verse? (Caretaker!Shikako in a universe where most people start getting soulmarks as babies, blanks are either killed as babies or monstrously consume spiritual energy/souls from everyone around (including themselves), and she discovers her younger brother Shikamaru is a blank the night their parents die. She feeds him (eventually, recycles) her own spiritual energy and hides the truth of his condition from everyone, including him.

Whoa! O_O Okay! I… did not know this ‘verse existed… let me go check that out real quick. I mean, I know about Caretaker!Shikako, but not about this particular iteration of it so… wow.

To the index page I go~~

Okay dona, I had to do some sleuthing because soulmate/soul mark stuff is no longer on the main index page since it’s become it’s own forum thread, but I thiiiink I’ve found what you’re talking about over on this index post.

Are there only the three installments? If not, uh… then this answer is only based on these three installments:

OH MY GOD. OOOOOOOOHHHHH MYYYYYYY GOOOOOOODDD!!!

DONA! WHAT?!?!!? DONA WHAT?!?!?! DONA WHAT DID YOU MAKE ME READ? WHAT ARE THESE FEELINGS YOU MADE ME FEEL? WHY AM I CRYING?!?! GODDAMNIT, DONA!

The feels! You always know how to get me with them feels, dona.

I’m gonna say yes, because it is an amazing ‘verse, and because I’ve said yes, here is your ficlet:

~

The first time Kako agrees to take a mission that will bring her more than a day away from Konoha (away from Kamaru) she is fourteen years old.

She is fourteen when she meets–and fights and kills–her first (real) Soulless.

The gnawing, gaping hunger claws at her even as she fights, even as she burns away at its empty vessel. It is excruciating, her teammates have fallen, screaming, the agony of their souls being torn out of them, breath into the void. She thinks, for the briefest of moments, that she might finally understand why there is a set procedure for babies without soul marks .

But she immediately bats the betrayal away, shreds it before it can take hold. It is because of Kamaru that she can pull through. The thought of Kamaru, figuratively and literally:

She cannot die out here, not when Kamaru still needs her, not when she hasn’t figured out a cure not yet.

But also the way Kamaru needs her, the manipulation of her own spiritual energy to sustain him, recycling it out and through and back in, that she can withstand what the rest of her squad cannot.

Genma-taicho bursts through the treetops, hoping for the best but expecting the worst and gets something in between.

She is fourteen years old when she earns her first service ribbon for surviving (killing) a Soulless.

It is not her last.

Genma keeps a better eye out for Kako Kinokawa after that. Guilt at first, then curiosity, then honest fondness.

Chouza-sensei was friends with her father, which in the convoluted bonds of Konoha teams, makes her something like a cousin.

A better cousin, hopefully, though considering his competition in the Nara clan… it’s not exactly difficult.

The second time goes, arguably, both worse and better.

Worse because she makes the mistake of letting it touch her. She screams.

She cares less about the nails tearing across her face and more about the way her life essence is being peeled away in vicious layers.

She kills it. (She has to)

Nobody (else) dies.

Gai’s specialty is taijutsu.

He is ineffective against Soulless.

But he was as much a student of Chouza-sensei as Genma, and just because he cannot help Kako in this matter does not mean he cannot help her at all.

The third she doesn’t remember so well.

“Severe head trauma,” the medic tells her when she wakes up in Konoha General, that stupidly familiar box with a stupidly familiar service ribbon on the night stand beside her and Kamaru curled up on the visitor’s chair, his hand gripped tight around hers.

“It must have been worse than previously reported,” the medic continues, “It took you much longer to wake up than expected. Your brother visited every day.”

Kako can only remember bits and pieces of the mission, much less the fight with the Soulless.

Spiritual energy contains memories.

The third she remembers mostly as a catalyst: she has to improve her control, it must be perfect–no, beyond perfect–she has to be able to do it unconsciously.

Jiraiya returns to the village a few months ahead of schedule.

It’s hard to follow up on rumors of Konoha’s enemies when all everyone wants to talk about is the shinobi from Konoha who specializes in killing Soulless, so he may as well meet her for himself.

Better now than later.

For one horrific, heart wrenching second, she thinks the Soulless screeching across her senses from the Forest of Death is Kamaru.

It can’t be, she tries to reason with herself, he can last so much longer now, it’s only been a few days.

A few days of exertion. Of high stress situations and jutsu use. He’d eat through the energy she gave him at a much faster rate.

No! It’s not Kamaru. It’s not. She won’t let it be

She enters the Forest of Death, Anko and ANBU on her trail, but until she locks eyes on the Soulless, she’s sickened, doesn’t know if she’ll be able to go through with it.

It’s not Kamaru. She knew it.

But Kamaru is there, too close for her comfort, frozen the way the other kiddies of Konoha are (she forgets, sometimes, that not everyone has built up the same resistance she has.)

It’s wearing the Oto headband, the soulless husks of its former teammates already collapsed around it.

She doesn’t hesitate.

Long ago, Orochimaru was just a little boy, smart and, more importantly, curious about how the world worked.

But then his parents died and instead he turned inward. Surely, there must be a better way to solve the problem of Soulless?

(Does this sound at all familiar?)

She feels bad about dragging TenTen into the fifth.

She hopes TenTen’s first service ribbon is her only service ribbon.

No one else should have to go through what Kako has.

After Tsunade is sworn in, she gets a breakdown of her forces. For genin and chuunin it’s enough to know them as rough figures per department–she’ll familiarize herself with them as needed, she doesn’t have the time to go further than that–but for those ranked higher than that, she needs to know the individuals and their specialties to effectively utilize them. Thankfully, most shinobi only get up to chuunin, and so the list of tokujou and jounin is not too long.

For the most part, the specialties are to be expected: a few medics, a few genjutsu users, some intel, some sensors.

“What is this?” Tsunade asks, finger tapping next to Kinokawa, Kako. She doesn’t recognize the symbol beside it–it might be a new one, it has been a few decades since she’s had to actually do paperwork.

Her Jounin Commander, a Nara of course, scans where she points. A furrow between his eyebrows appears then disappears, quick as a flash.

“Slayer,” Nara says, because why use a full sentence when a single word is much less troublesome? “Five Soulless,” he elaborates.

Tsunade blinks in surprise. With that context in mind, she takes a closer look. She remembers the tales her grandmother used to tell her as a child.

Not a new symbol, no.

An old one.

Konoha deals with the problem of infants-born-Soulless in the traditional, practical manner as it always has.

But there were Soulless before that.

If Kako is successful, there won’t be any after.

~

A/N: I kinda jumped about in places, so it’s not as coherent or cohesive a ficlet as I would like. I had a lot of different ideas tugging at me for this ‘verse and I also wasn’t sure which iteration of Caretaker!Shikako this was (like her teammates, for example, if this Kako would push so hard and graduation early with Itachi or would she hold back since she has to be able to take care of Kamaru?)

Anyway, I hope you liked it 🙂

Check out the Ask Box Would You Ever!

Would you ever write about an AU where Haru Kuwabara survives and how things would be for her afterwards?

Yes.

So the reason why this one is an easy answer is because the (En)Closure series as it is now is still me just throwing spaghetti at the wall and seeing what sticks.

Actually, to be entirely honest, (En)Closure originally started as one of Tetsuki Kaiza’s reincarnated lives–which is why she’s originally slated to die during the Kira vs L disaster, because I am awful to Tetsuki Kaiza and never let her live beyond 25 years old.

But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that the person I wanted for (En)Closure doesn’t work with Tetsuki’s personality. Haru is nosy and loud and greedy, she wants to help because she does believe in humanity as a whole but she is terribly rude and awkward. Whereas Tetsuki tends to be sullen and overly polite and she only gets involved when individual people she loves are in danger.

Vastly different people, as you can see.

As it is right now, I consider the (En)Closure ficlets as prototypes–me trying to figure out what might work, what details I want to include, what thoughts persists but don’t actually fit: Haru’s death is one that is changeable.

I think, beyond the Tetsuki Kaiza curse, the reason why I originally proposed Haru dying was because I wanted to express that even with her medium abilities, she ISN’T a genius. She solves crimes because she has more clues, not because she can make impossible but true deductions off of what little clues exist.

But her not being able to keep up–or her only barely keeping up because of her network of ghosts–can be shown in other ways. And it’s not like Light and L are working completely on their own: they both have their own teams. I guess instead of thinking of it in terms of Haru vs Light vs L, it should be the dead (guided by/via Haru) vs Kira (as created by Light) vs the law (led by L). So it doesn’t matter that Haru as a person cannot keep up with Light and L as people–she is a vessel through which spirits work through, she does not need human intelligence to win/survive.

I do think, however, there may be sacrifices. Maybe she survives because her medium abilities come from being “born dead” (water in her lungs) and because of that she can’t be killed via the Death Note. But no doubt Shinigami have other abilities besides that.

Maybe instead of Sai asking Haru to help him move on he sacrifices himself such that she doesn’t die. Like. She knows she can’t keep up, but she didn’t realize how outclassed she was until then.

And it would kind of lead into why Hikaru doesn’t show up so much–because she did distance herself from him to keep him safe, but also this time there is a concrete reason for why Sai is gone. It’s not Haru, of course, but she won’t tell Hikaru the truth. She has to keep him safe (it’s the last thing Sai asked of her).

During the Hikaru no Go part of (En)Closure–aka her teenage years–she was confident in the knowledge that she was one of the strongest mediums (if not THE strongest) in Japan. But mediums being able to interact and even control spirits doesn’t mean shit against gods. And that’s where the Death Note part of her life–aka, her twenties–starts to shake her faith in herself, forces her to confront the fact that her abilities do not make her invincible.

But there’s something appealing about her surviving despite her lack of genius. And maybe, true, it’s because she wasn’t really the primary target of Kira, but it’s a mark of… skill? luck? composure?… to be someone who has survived Kira.

All that being said, I should probably admit that I never actually finished reading Death Note. O_O Which is why this is a giant rant and not a proper brainstorm. I got up to where L dies and some intro of Near and Melo, but not any farther than that so…

However, I might be able to do some quick and vague “after the danger has passed but now we have to deal with the consequences” feels stuff? Let’s see…

~

Haru kneels beside her parents and tries to focus on being the perfect image of a bereaving granddaughter.

She shuts her eyes, squeezes them tight, lets the phosphenes paint pictures behind her eyelids.

Fuck, what a horrible thought. As if she weren’t honestly grieving. As if she were just up here for looks, out of obligation, maintaining the reputation of a man already dead. Or, worse, to maintain her own reputation.

Her own stupid, useless, overblown reputation.

Gods–and they do exist, she’s seen some–she used to be so proud of that reputation.

And then look where it got her.

She takes a shaky, steeling breath and opens her eyes. Sees the crowd of faces that have come to pay their respects.

This is the first funeral she’s gone to in what seems like an eternity that had absolutely nothing to do with Kuwabara Haru, the professional medium, and instead Kuwabara Haru, the person.

She has nightmares sometimes.

After what she’s seen, what she’s had done to her–worse, what she had to do to others–it’s no surprise.

Her cousin Shizuru says it’s a natural reaction, her subconscious mind trying and failing to process the trauma.

Haru is pretty sure it’s punishment.

The worst nightmares are the ones in which everything is exactly the same but above everyone’s heads she sees their names and remaining times in glowing, ominous red.

Most of the visitors are, unsurprisingly, from the Go Institute.

Ogata-juudan, of course, who was finally able to rip the Honinbou title from her grandfather away before losing it, almost immediately.

Grandfather had laughed so hard that day, she thought he might have actually hurt himself.

The retired former Touya-Meijin and the current Touya-Meijin, and of course the current Honinbou.

She used to hate knowing so much about the Go world–had considered it an unnecessary distraction from her fate given role. Now she wishes it were still the safe and comfortable haven it used to be.

The Honinbou steps forward to give his condolences:

“I’m sorry for your loss,” Hikaru says, so bland and dry and empty.

She hates this most of all.

Sai was the oldest ghost she has ever and, most likely, will ever meet.

In his own way, he was also the most powerful.

He was kind and wise, caring and honest, and probably the best person she could have the honor of considering a friend, dead or alive.

She may not have destroyed him directly, but it’s because of her that his soul will never find peace.

Hikaru doesn’t know the truth.

Hikaru can’t know the truth.

Grandfather and Sai and Hikaru.

She misses all of them so much.

~

A/N: Check out the Ask Box Would You Ever!

Would you ever write that for better for worse/desperate endavours mash up u talked about during the for better for worse brainstorm?

((For Better For Worse brainstorm post))

Ooh, starting off with the hard ones, anon. Hm, to be honest? The heart says yes. The brain says no. And I think given that it shakes out to a maybe, I should at the very least do a brainstorm.

But here’s why the brain says no, first:

A) Ideally, in order to do a mash up of two fics, the two fics should probably be written before doing said mash up – but, I mean, that’s hand waved away because mostly that’s to get the necessary background/premise across and I suppose so long as someone reads the brainstorm first or I insert it into the mash up fic then I should be okay…

B) It’s Kakashi. DOUBLED.

And, okay, so. I love Kakashi. He is my favorite disaster string bean. And I definitely know that he’s internally always mourning and externally irreverently apathetic, but it’s somehow very difficult for me to capture his voice. I know what a good one sounds like when I read (definitely looking at wafflelate/frolic’s Kakashi voice which is phenomenal!) but I can’t quite seem to grasp it for myself.

I mean, those are the main two, really. I have a few more world-building issues… but those are less concerns and more puzzles that I’d happily sink my mental teeth into for a few minutes/hours (primarily how to structure the Tsukuyomi coherently).

Now as for a proper brainstorm for the mash up… hm… I don’t know what else would be in this that I haven’t already at least briefly mentioned in either the original FBFW and Desperate Endeavors brainstorms.

Maybe if I do more of an outline storyboard kind of thing?

First Scene: Kakashi, at the beginning of Tsukuyomi, the canon awful experience of being drawn up and stabbed a whole lot by Itachi. And given that this is Kakashi who is like, the worst at not antagonizing people with how casually dismissive he is, no doubt he’s not going to make a sound even if it’s ~LITERAL TORTURE~. That is, until the Itachis announce that they’re going to do it all over again. And at that point Kakashi probably says something like “I’d rather you not.” Or something to that effect, coughed out in bloody gasps but still dryly unimpressed.

Except it’s not just the one Kakashi that says this. It’s BOTH Kakashis. And so Kakashi, the Kakashi that we’ve been in the POV of, finally  notices that he’s not the only one getting tortured. End scene.

Second Scene: Flashback. Snippets of canon!Kakashi’s life as he Dreams of DoS!Kakashi’s life. And, like, for a good decade or so after the Dreams start they’re pretty much the same (because I’m gonna go off the idea that Dreams only start happening when an Anomaly, aka Shikako, exists to create a difference between worlds. Or, rather, it starts after the Kyuubi event which most people think is the cause but actually it’s the Shrödinger’s Shikako who died due to Kyuubi chakra exposure in one world but survived in the other because of SQ soul) since Kakashi never directly interacts with Shikako until graduation. But he does see differences between how happy Naruto is, or his occasional interactions with Shikaku vary a bit. And I think actually this first flashback “scene” would end after canon!Kakashi wakes up from Dreaming of his assigned team genin being VERY DIFFERENT.

Third Scene: Both Kakashis, now highly aware (and unimpressed) with each other, sort of plan how to escape. In a version of this torture in which they are by themselves, I don’t think they would bother, but I think being with another person (even if that other person is himself) would sort of spur on his “can’t let anyone else see how much I hate myself and think I deserve awful things” (because Gai once told him that that’s maybe not so good to air out in public and if GAI thinks something shouldn’t be screamed to the village en masse then it’s probably something to be suppressed violently). And at first they don’t quite understand what’s happening (but Kakashi is a very smart string bean) and as soon as one of them says something like–Itachi’s not going to be satisfied with just me. He’ll go after my adorable little genin. And canon!Kakashi would say something like, “Sasuke would throw himself headfirst into this situation.” And DoS!Kakashi responds with something like, “Not if Shikako beats him to it.” Boom. That’s the difference between the two of them.

Fourth Scene: Some more flashbacks from canon!Kakashi’s POV of living in canon but Dreaming of DoS and preferring the latter (because… oh canon… you had so much potential). And however someone with a better Kakashi voice would say he would express (or not) his envy at DoS!Kakashi. And he Dreams of how the Chuunin Exams shook out differently in DoS (although, he did Dream of the warning that Orochimaru was there, so in the month of preparing, he did pass along Shikako’s warning and such so the village does fare off better than actual!canon). And I think there’s definitely some canon Kakashi and Sasuke training where they both wake up from Dreaming out in the desert and stoically don’t mention how in their Dreams yesterday Shikako trained with them. Anyway, etc. etc. The morning before Itachi arrives to ruin everything, canon!Kakashi wakes up from a Dream and idly wishes that he could meet Shikako. He is about to get that wish.

Fifth Scene: The Kakashis, both being geniuses (genii?) even better than Itachi (also, these Itachis are weird pre-programmed automatons so they’re especially inferior) do manage to escape. Now they just have to find their adorable students. Canon!Kakashi tries not to passive aggressive too much about HOW DARE DOS!KAKASHI PUT SHIKAKO IN DANGER SHE’S PROBABLY THE BEST THING THAT’S HAPPENED TO HIM IN LITERAL DECADES, but DoS!Kakashi is just like. Hypocritical much? I don’t know. I’d use the word snark, but that seems too friendly for where they’re at right now. And arguing is a little too active. Sniping at each other, maybe? I dunno. But that segues straight into…

Sixth Scene: Shikako, seven years old, running away from an Itachi automaton.

(It’s at this point where I’m not sure if I would switch POVs to see what Shikako did to escape her torture bubble or stick to the canon!Kakashi POV since that’s what the past five scenes have been. But regardless of if it’s show via Shikako’s POV or tell to canon!Kakashi’s POV, it kind of is just that Shikako and Sasuke’s torture bubbles were near each other (since they were intended to be the same thing) and like with the Kakashis Shikako could hear Sasuke. Unfortunately, Sasuke–being the traumatized literal child that he is–couldn’t hear Shikako. So Shikako could “escape” her torture bubble, but when she tried to break Sasuke out of his, the Itachi automaton programmed to torture her wouldn’t let her. So she was tactically retreating to plan a better attack when she stumbled upon the Kakashis.)

Which then segues into…

Seventh Scene: Story time has delayed all of them and now the horde of Itachi automatons have caught up. At first they try to run, but eventually the Kakashis have to fight while tossing Shikako back and forth to each other because she is in the body of her 6/7 year old self and has very short legs. canon!Kakshi has a thought, something about how–even though he was berating his DoS self for not protecting her–now that he’s partially responsible for not getting Shikako killed he is absolutely terrified of fucking up. (Because… Kakashi) And a very powerful thought of “I can’t let her die.”

Eight Scene: Flashback. The day after what would have been the family dinner post Wave mission at the Nara household. canon!Kakashi doesn’t mean to loiter outside the Nara clan compound like the most awkward and sad string bean that he is, but he just Dreamt of the best night of his life. He was actually happy. And that hasn’t happened since… shit. Before Obito died? And the Nara guards (or watchers) vaguely understand because it’s no surprise that everyone in the Nara clan Dreams of what it would be like if the daughter had survived and know that Kakashi would have been her teacher, but they don’t exactly know why today he is loitering. Except Yoshino does. And she comes to the gate and invites Kakashi for tea in such a way that he can’t awkwardly run away from, as is his usual response, and so there’s the two of them. Staring at a camera that doesn’t have a picture of DoS Team Seven. It’s all very sad and very lovely.

Ninth Scene: Haha! Tricked you, I just didn’t want to write an entire fight scene. 😛 Anyway, the Kakashis successfully defeat this batch of Itachi automatons but being paranoid for good reason means they suspect that more are incoming. Shikako is a little nauseated from being thrown around like a hot potato during the fight, but she takes charge because otherwise the two Kakashis would get too caught up in their passive aggressive fight to get anything done. They have to figure out how to save Sasuke from his torture bubble.

… and then I would end it here because open endings are cool… and also it’s at this point that I have no idea what to do next. I mean do they save Sasuke immediately or do they have to outsmart the Itachi automatons because they’re all acting the way the immune system does.

Basically I’m trying to figure out whether or not they should have Sasuke with them while they go around on their information scavenger hunt. Would it be better to for Sasuke to know that Danzo ordered the Uchiha Massacre because they were planning a coup? Or is it something that canon!Kakashi has to decide whether or not to share? (Oh god, Kakashi is going to fuck this decision up real bad no matter what he chooses)

~

A/N: Check out the Ask Box Would You Ever!