Breaking The Shackle, a Shikako/Neji fic (2016-11-13)

aka, Shikako and Neji’s Revolutionary Crusade of Fuinjutsu and Great Justice

She’ll admit it wasn’t a particularly noble beginning–certainly not on her end–it wasn’t outrage at injustice, or empathy for the oppressed.

It wasn’t even the opposite: scheming to overthrow the largest and most powerful clan in Konoha, or gain the allegiance of over a hundred people with a blood limit.

It was just curiosity… and not a small amount of ego. Riding the high of her own ability.

Because if she could outmaneuver Danzo, could best Orochimaru in sealing, could survive battle against a literal goddess–

(could defy death over and over again)

–what were the Hyuuga clan’s laws to her?

TenTen is a fuinjutsu master in her own right, though with a different specialty and style.

She’s been friends and teammates with Neji for so many years, as close to family as she’s ever known–she has nearly as much a stake in his freedom as he himself does.

But she is an orphan without a last name; the Byakugan has great worth to Konoha.

Neji has long since changed his view on fate.

Or, at least, his relationship to it.

He still thinks fate exists, but who is he to say what it might be? Who is he to say who will fail and who will succeed?

Lee has long since surpassed the predictions a younger, brattier Neji had once made for him. So, too, has his cousin grown into her potential despite his pessimistic bullying.

He has watched, time and time again, as his friends and his village have defied the odds–rejected what should have been their fated ends–and lived despite everything against them.

But perhaps that is fate. Perhaps fate is kinder than he thought. Beneath his forehead protector is a curse, but perhaps fate will be kind to him this once.

But if its not–if fate is not kind–then he will do as he has been taught and fight against it with all he has.

Sai has a scar on his tongue, a remnant of the seal of secrecy that all ROOT members once had.

Given the placement and size, it’s not noticeable at all–more importantly, it doesn’t hinder his ability to speak.

Sai has a scar on his tongue, a remnant of Shikako’s attempts to remove the ROOT seal of secrecy.

Shikako has many secrets, some of which she shares and some of which she will keep beyond her last breath.

One of them is simply this: she did nothing to save Neji’s life.

Oh, she never put him in harms way, always had his back in battle–she treated him the way she treated all of her friends and allies.

She would’ve died for him, if such a thing had been necessary, but she never went out of her way to save his life. Never warned him of his future, never even hinted at the possibility.

She did nothing.

And yet, somehow, he still lives.

She doesn’t know if this is some kind of apology that only she’ll understand, belated and inexplicable as it may be. Doesn’t know if this is out of guilt or some sense of debt…

But she thinks: late though it may be, she should do something.

Lee remembers the first time he actively noticed Shikako–surrounded by carnage and flames, the bodies of her enemies lying at her feet.

It’s the kind of first impression that lingers, on which every interaction after that is influenced by.

No matter how approachable and helpful she is after that, Lee will always remember that at Shikako’s core is ruthlessness and efficiency.

It’s not as if Neji thinks Hinata will renege on her vow to change the Hyuuga clan–she is not that cruel, not like he used to be–nor does he think Hanabi, if she is to be head instead, will do the same.

But he thinks Hiashi-oji-sama must have once thought the same for his twin, for his twin’s son, and yet Neji still bears the brand.

He knows that the Main Family is more than just his uncle and his two cousins. The Hyuuga Clan is expansive, numbering in the hundreds.

While the Main Family is a small percentage of that, it is still a few dozen. A few dozen who can inflict pain or death on the Branch Family at whim.

The Hyuuga Clan Elders won’t let their elitism be taken away so easily.

Promises are nice, but actions are better.

Kakashi figured that if ever one of his students and Gai’s students got together it would be the end of the world. He was only a few months off, really.

Hm, is it too early to joke about that?

The aged scrolls Hanabi passed along to them have been much appreciated, necessary for Shikako’s endless notes working out different permutations and removal methods. But there is a time for theory and there is a time to put said theory into practice.

Neji removes his forehead protector, hands trembling minutely. Shikako takes a moment to marvel at how green the seal is, before berating herself.

She looks away, to give him the chance to compose himself, and when she looks back it’s to a Neji with closed eyes, sitting with resigned patience.

One way or another, this will end his world as he knows it.

Closed eyes doesn’t mean vulnerability for a Hyuuga, not truly, but she can appreciate the gesture for what it is.

Absolution. Faith. Trust.

~

A/N: For @cadalie who wanted that revolutionary Shikako/Neji vs Hyuuga Clan fic and got… this.

I tried to make it less feels based, but lets be honest here, isn’t that my wheelhouse?

Unsure if this is Shikako/Neji proper or more pre-Shikako/Neji…

Also, unimaginative title is unimaginative.

Post Word Count: 907, Running Word Count: 4874

Another anon, but reading your last bit about the ,er, logistics behind Sakako!verse reminded me that in DoS everyone loves Tsunade because she came up with an almost idiot-proof complete control over one’s periods, hence fertility. So baring shenanigans, Sakako must’ve been a planned baby. Huh prompt idea. Sauske and Shikako having a frank family planning conversation and Shikako being super methodical like taking vitamins at exactly -oclock or. Aka opposite of unplanned baby fic.

jacksgreysays:

jacksgreysays:

Oh, right! I forgot about that! Thanks for the reminder 🙂

I guess that means EVERY child born to a Konoha kunoichi is planned to some extent. (Some poor paper nin in charge of making Kareru’s records laughs hysterically that only Team Seven would find a way to have an unplanned baby.)

I actually have the idea that their usual approach to things would be reversed in the face of Shikako’s pregnancy. Like, Shikako’s cool with just asking her mom what to expect and then just listening to what the medic nin suggests, whereas Sasuke is the one to read ALL of the books and interrogate the medic nin for exact details on EVERYTHING and he’s the one that keeps time for Shikako’s meals/vitamins (because it’s been shown that when she gets into a research groove, Shikako has no idea what time or even, sometimes, day it is).

Shikako takes to hiding, but her stealth is severely reduced due to being massively pregnant. Sasuke tracks her down everywhere in the village, just like “Have you seen Shikako anywhere? It’s three o clock which means she’s supposed to take these vitamins and also eat kale.” (“Sasuke, kale is gross.” “It’s also nutritious.”)

(The Lee swap out evasion technique stopped working after the fourth time, which is unfortunate because he was just getting good at his pregnant waddling. He was going to try to incorporate it into a new taijutsu style.)

I’ll see about filling this prompt properly, anon, but it’ll probably just be more of the same silliness of above. 😀

image

I suppose no jutsu is 100% full-proof, that’s true; though it’s probably 99.99% since this is Tsunade we’re talking about and it wouldn’t be taught en masse to female Academy students if it hadn’t been thoroughly tested beforehand. It’s also something that is probably checked every time a kunoichi goes to the hospital which, considering who we’re talking about here, would be fairly frequently. 

Deliberate choice vs plan does seem about right for these two–though it’s probably more societal expectation than familial pressure. Especially since all of her friends were starting to get pregnant/have kids too?

I feel like Yoshino and Shikaku are probably way more liberal than the other parents when it comes to their kids–or at least, Shikako specifically–given their own beginnings and how they’re still a little surprised that their constantly quiet hyper-sensitive child became this grown badass woman.

Like, the “my tiny child wants to go to the Academy even though she probably won’t be able to become a ninja? Sure, whatever she wants” mindset is probably still strong. The twins don’t often want things so when they do (and it’s not actively harming themselves or their family) then Yoshino and Shikaku are probably just like, definitely go for it, I believe in you. Shikaku, in particular, is big on NO PRESSURE mentality for raising his children.

image

Unexpected periods would be EVEN WORSE as a kunoichi–ugh, having your position given away because your uterus will not stop bleeding. 😡

Yeah, I get that. It’s not ill-willed or anything, just a “what makes me happy might make her happy” kind of thing.

Hahaha, I should have known mentioning it would lead to something. I’ll add it to my list, cadalie, though I’m not really sure how I’ll pull it off. Like the subject matter is serious for obvious reasons, but “Shikako and Neji’s Revolutionary Crusade of Fuinjutsu and Great Justice” just SOUNDS like an amazing title. 😛

edit: filled here “Breaking The Shackle”

Another anon, but reading your last bit about the ,er, logistics behind Sakako!verse reminded me that in DoS everyone loves Tsunade because she came up with an almost idiot-proof complete control over one’s periods, hence fertility. So baring shenanigans, Sakako must’ve been a planned baby. Huh prompt idea. Sauske and Shikako having a frank family planning conversation and Shikako being super methodical like taking vitamins at exactly -oclock or. Aka opposite of unplanned baby fic.

jacksgreysays:

Oh, right! I forgot about that! Thanks for the reminder 🙂

I guess that means EVERY child born to a Konoha kunoichi is planned to some extent. (Some poor paper nin in charge of making Kareru’s records laughs hysterically that only Team Seven would find a way to have an unplanned baby.)

I actually have the idea that their usual approach to things would be reversed in the face of Shikako’s pregnancy. Like, Shikako’s cool with just asking her mom what to expect and then just listening to what the medic nin suggests, whereas Sasuke is the one to read ALL of the books and interrogate the medic nin for exact details on EVERYTHING and he’s the one that keeps time for Shikako’s meals/vitamins (because it’s been shown that when she gets into a research groove, Shikako has no idea what time or even, sometimes, day it is).

Shikako takes to hiding, but her stealth is severely reduced due to being massively pregnant. Sasuke tracks her down everywhere in the village, just like “Have you seen Shikako anywhere? It’s three o clock which means she’s supposed to take these vitamins and also eat kale.” (“Sasuke, kale is gross.” “It’s also nutritious.”)

(The Lee swap out evasion technique stopped working after the fourth time, which is unfortunate because he was just getting good at his pregnant waddling. He was going to try to incorporate it into a new taijutsu style.)

I’ll see about filling this prompt properly, anon, but it’ll probably just be more of the same silliness of above. 😀

image

I suppose no jutsu is 100% full-proof, that’s true; though it’s probably 99.99% since this is Tsunade we’re talking about and it wouldn’t be taught en masse to female Academy students if it hadn’t been thoroughly tested beforehand. It’s also something that is probably checked every time a kunoichi goes to the hospital which, considering who we’re talking about here, would be fairly frequently. 

Deliberate choice vs plan does seem about right for these two–though it’s probably more societal expectation than familial pressure. Especially since all of her friends were starting to get pregnant/have kids too?

I feel like Yoshino and Shikaku are probably way more liberal than the other parents when it comes to their kids–or at least, Shikako specifically–given their own beginnings and how they’re still a little surprised that their constantly quiet hyper-sensitive child became this grown badass woman.

Like, the “my tiny child wants to go to the Academy even though she probably won’t be able to become a ninja? Sure, whatever she wants” mindset is probably still strong. The twins don’t often want things so when they do (and it’s not actively harming themselves or their family) then Yoshino and Shikaku are probably just like, definitely go for it, I believe in you. Shikaku, in particular, is big on NO PRESSURE mentality for raising his children.

Random, not quite relevant thought – I really hope that Ino and Sai are still technically married and that he totally lives with her and Sakura as their house husband. Maybe he’s still in a relationship with Ino, but not Sakura which is why she did the Uchiha route? Or just really wanted to be there for his kid. But he totally retired from ninjadom for the higher calling of caring for children while indulging in art as a hobby.

Hm… personally for me, depending on how liberal Konoha’s legislation is on the matter of marriage, I’d like for Ino to be married to both Sai and Sakura. But if bigamy isn’t allowed (and I can understand why that wouldn’t be considering CLANS and INHERITANCE and… you know… that can be exploited horribly as it usually is in real life) then I think I’d prefer it if Ino and Sakura were the ones married.

Then again, Ino and Sai being married would be nice because Sai doesn’t really have a family and being married would mean that he’s now officially part of someone’s family. (I’m not crying, you’re crying). But than can also be achieved by Sakura and Sai getting married?

But, yeah, in their ménage à trois, it’s definitely Ino at the point of their V while Sakura and Sai’s relationship is nonsexual romantic or just plain platonic. They do like each other rather a lot, though, and DoS!Sakura is a lot more accepting(?) of Sai than canon!Sakura who saw him as a shoddy Sasuke replacement.

They all live together, along with Inojin and Sarada (and I just realized that in this universe, Sarada’s last name would probably be Haruno making her Spring Salad), and Sai definitely had to step up and take on most of the child-rearing duties especially since I also realize that in order for Sarada to be genetically-canon!Sarada, Ino and Sakura would have been pregnant at around the same time. So Sai would have had to deal with DOUBLE THE PREGNANT LADIES. But, luckily for him, he does honestly enjoy taking care of the kids.

I don’t think he’d fully retire from ninjadom–mostly because I don’t think that’s really possible in a Hidden Village–but he does definitely orient his missions/duties for, oh I dunno, maybe he becomes a teacher at the Academy (for the younger years) or he learns medic jutsu and works in the pediatric center of the hospital.

(Oh! Another thing I found from narutopedia: whenever Inojin plays roleplaying games he chooses White Mage who are literally medics so, you know, being son of three medics–one of whom is the successor of Legendary Medic Tsunade–is probably heaven for him)

He does also write/draw children’s books on the side, because if Jiraiya can write porn and be a spymaster, Sai can definitely be a father, an author, and a teacher/doctor.

How did Ino, Sai, and Sakura end up together? I’d say it probably went something like this:

“Beautiful,” the cute guy calls her, and Ino just barely controls her blush.

“Obviously,” she says, flipping her hair, “but you’ll have to try harder than that to impress me.”

The cute guy, Sai, nods as if noting it, all but writing it down. “Do you have any advice? A book, maybe?”

Ino smiles; how does Shikako find these guys?

“You should come by the flower shop,” Ino suggests, invites, beguiles, “I can teach you far better than any book can.”

Sai shows up at the flower shop the next day and maybe he didn’t really understand what she was offering, but it’s a nice enough conversation.

He actually listens to her, not just stares mutely and tunes her out. He asks follow up questions and by the time an hour has passed she’s discussing the pros and cons of various flower arranging styles as methods of poison dispersal to a boy who actually wants to know more.

She invites him to come back.

Maybe it didn’t turn out the way she wanted it to, but she finds she doesn’t mind at all.

And anyway, he still calls her beautiful.

Ino looks forward to the kunoichi meetings, tries to go to as many as she can–it’s good for networking and collaborating, true, but mostly she just misses it. Misses kunoichi classes at the Academy, and sleepovers at her house, and the way things were easier and brighter and happier then.

Ino knows she and Shikako have changed too much–seen to much and done too much–to ever really get that kind of innocence back. Not that theirs had been all that pure, honed and shaped the way all clan kids are from birth, but still.

Sakura still has it, that brightness that has nothing to do with the color of her hair and eyes. That core of strength and beauty that no poisonous flower arrangement could ever match.

Ino looks forward to the kunoichi meetings because, at the heart of it, she looks forward to seeing Sakura.

Things… happen.

No, that’s not right: Ino makes things happen.

She’s never been one for sitting back and pining–she’ll play things close to the chest like any proper Yamanaka, but she’s always been vocal about her likes and dislikes.

This time around, she gets liked back.

Once, Sakura visits her at the flower shop at the same time Sai is there for their meetings–Sakura is usually busy with shifts at the hospital and her lessons from Tsunade-sama, and Ino’s not entirely sure what Sai gets up to when he’s not at the flower shop or going on bizarre missions with Shikako.

Once is all it takes.

Sakura skirts around the counter, presses a kiss to Ino’s cheek in greeting, and for all that it’s chaste it makes her blush.

Sai tilts his head, observant as always.

Sakura nudges her in curiosity.

“Sakura, this is Sai, cute artist,” Ino introduces, “Sai, this is Sakura, amazing girlfriend.”

“It’s nice to meet you, Sai,” Sakura says with a sweet smile.

“It’s nice to meet you, too, Amazing Girlfriend,” Sai responds, a smile of his own, “I appreciate having a senpai in dating Ino. Please look after me,” he adds a polite bow, oblivious to the reactions he receives.

Sakura blinks in surprise. Mostly confused, but a little… considering.

Ino looks between the two of them and has a revelation.

aka, how Sai instigates a poly relationship without realizing it 😀

edit: adding this to ao3 Dreaming One Shots as “Take A Step That Is New”

Your writing for next gen sand sibs gave me so many feels; like the resentment they must all low-key feel for Shikadai, cause no matter how good they are, no matter that he’s from a foreign nation, no matter that they call the Kazekage father there will always be people who insist that Shikadai is the rightful heir by blood. On that note, I could see a lot of pressure for the Kazekage after one of the next gen sand sibs to marry a child of Shikadai, to restore the proper line in Suna.

jacksgreysays:

Next Gen Sand Siblings (NGSS from now on) are so much more compelling if you interpret them as adopted; either canon or DoS. There’s just something fascinating about the idea that the position of Kazekage is restricted to a clan and yet the oldest child of the previous Kazekage has married into a clan of a different village entirely. It’s all the fun of aristocratic inheritance/successions but with ninja!

As I touched on in Our Share of the World, it’s probably Shinki that has the most resentment for Shikadai and even his is kind of tempered by the knowledge that his biggest competition is his younger sister. Yodo, I think, probably just doesn’t like Shikadai as a person–his possible claim on the position of Kazekage has nothing to do with it. Araya and Shikadai are friendliest by default.

I feel like, considering the Council favors Yodo over Shinki (even though, as I mentioned, he’s the one with the blood limit) that they’re not too focused on the matter of blood lines at this point. Especially since Shikadai has been raised as a Leaf shinobi. Though probably, earlier on when he was just born or even a little before then, there were negotiations to decide on that exactly.

They probably conceded to Shikadai being raised Nara because they figured that either Gaara or Kankurou would have biological children eventually (hahahahahaha, nope) and then by the time they began worrying, Gaara began adopting the NGSS and then a whole other round of debates were instigated on whether or not they were valid candidates and, if so, which would be the better one.

I can see them possibly considering an arranged marriage another generation down the line or some kind of Kazekage clan repopulation thing like what’s going on with the Uchiha repopulation in Walking Around (Like Regular People). But I also feel like, given the trend towards more liberal stances of marriages and families and that Temari has already no doubt flouted the Council’s authority and married Shikamaru despite their likely protests, an arranged marriage won’t hold up unless the NGSS that becomes Kazekage is just like, yeah okay why not.

(You may want to check out this post thread speculating how various Kages may be chosen in the Elemental Nations, which started with me wondering about Shikadai’s possible claim to the Kazekage position. This was before I discovered the NGSS existed, of course, but still relevant.)

image

Yeah, Suna’s Council from what I understand are the stereotypical old men grouching at things they shouldn’t have any influence on. Unlike Konoha’s Council who were three old (evil) badasses who lived to see that age, Suna’s Council is probably mostly civilians.

I can actually see maybe one of the NGSS going for an arranged marriage–but with A LOT of veto power in the process. Like, they get to screen through who, they get to meet the other person multiple times, it’s a long engagement etc. etc. and at each stage either party can veto the arrangement. Like, arranged marriage isn’t always bad so long as those who are going to get married have power and aren’t just shoved together.

I can see either Yodo or Araya accepting such an arrangement, especially if they’re anywhere on the aro spectrum and don’t mind having a life partner so long as said partner understands and accepts that they’re aro. (Shinki for some reason I’m pretty sure is not aro. I don’t know why, I headcanon him as the kind of person who just falls in love–not frequently, but easily? If that makes any sense)

Your writing for next gen sand sibs gave me so many feels; like the resentment they must all low-key feel for Shikadai, cause no matter how good they are, no matter that he’s from a foreign nation, no matter that they call the Kazekage father there will always be people who insist that Shikadai is the rightful heir by blood. On that note, I could see a lot of pressure for the Kazekage after one of the next gen sand sibs to marry a child of Shikadai, to restore the proper line in Suna.

Next Gen Sand Siblings (NGSS from now on) are so much more compelling if you interpret them as adopted; either canon or DoS. There’s just something fascinating about the idea that the position of Kazekage is restricted to a clan and yet the oldest child of the previous Kazekage has married into a clan of a different village entirely. It’s all the fun of aristocratic inheritance/successions but with ninja!

As I touched on in Our Share of the World, it’s probably Shinki that has the most resentment for Shikadai and even his is kind of tempered by the knowledge that his biggest competition is his younger sister. Yodo, I think, probably just doesn’t like Shikadai as a person–his possible claim on the position of Kazekage has nothing to do with it. Araya and Shikadai are friendliest by default.

I feel like, considering the Council favors Yodo over Shinki (even though, as I mentioned, he’s the one with the blood limit) that they’re not too focused on the matter of blood lines at this point. Especially since Shikadai has been raised as a Leaf shinobi. Though probably, earlier on when he was just born or even a little before then, there were negotiations to decide on that exactly.

They probably conceded to Shikadai being raised Nara because they figured that either Gaara or Kankurou would have biological children eventually (hahahahahaha, nope) and then by the time they began worrying, Gaara began adopting the NGSS and then a whole other round of debates were instigated on whether or not they were valid candidates and, if so, which would be the better one.

I can see them possibly considering an arranged marriage another generation down the line or some kind of Kazekage clan repopulation thing like what’s going on with the Uchiha repopulation in Walking Around (Like Regular People). But I also feel like, given the trend towards more liberal stances of marriages and families and that Temari has already no doubt flouted the Council’s authority and married Shikamaru despite their likely protests, an arranged marriage won’t hold up unless the NGSS that becomes Kazekage is just like, yeah okay why not.

(You may want to check out this post thread speculating how various Kages may be chosen in the Elemental Nations, which started with me wondering about Shikadai’s possible claim to the Kazekage position. This was before I discovered the NGSS existed, of course, but still relevant.)