Who do you think would handle knowing the original timeline’s future best, not just in DoS, but in your other works, too? I say original timeline in large part because surely even someone who wouldn’t want to would still find themselves making changes, right?

I’m going to assume you mean Naruto canon when you say original timeline, because otherwise to go through all of my fandoms would be O_O

I think there’s a difference in handling the knowledge in an internal/emotional way vs handling the knowledge in an external/make-changes kind of way. The first largely depends on how a person finds out–whether it’s something that, in the case of DoS, Shikako tells them or, somehow they find out from, like, a vision from beyond or a canon character dimension travelling and exposition dumping from there–whereas the second depends on their resources (whether they even have the ability to make changes on a significant scale) and personality (whether they would even want to.

Like, I’ve mentioned previously that Shino would make a good confidante for Shikako, not because he would particularly make a lot of changes, but because he would, if not believe Shikako immediately, then at the very least accept the knowledge with a certain level of proof (which is easy enough considering the Aburame’s history with Danzo.) So he’d be the first type of “handling” the knowledge of canon.

All that being said… I kinda want to do both for all of them mostly because this prompt would help me further conceptualize characters in a way I hadn’t considered before. So, both Emotional Handling and Influential Handling for DoS, Externality, (In)Difference, and Counterpoise? Hm, if there’s another series you’re interesting in, lionhead, just let me know and I can add that later.

Dreaming of Sunshine:

Emotional Handling – I’m going to stick with Shino for this one, actually. Regardless of if he finds out from Shikako or from some other means. Second place I would say Ibiki, but I’m reluctant to do even that much because of my own fanon that Ibiki and Yoshino are BFFs so he probably would be second hand messed up by the changes of Yoshino’s family composition.

Influential Handling – I don’t know if there is a singular person I would say is best for this, but the ones I’m thinking of all have a certain… flavor to them. In no particular order: Iruka, Ibiki, Aoba, and Shizune. And the thing they all have in common is that they have influence within the village but not the combat prowess to handle S-rank nin by themselves. So they would have to make changes with a softer touch. Would Iruka emotionally handle canon knowledge well? NO WAY. But he is in the position to not only influence Naruto (and other former students) directly but also to affect administrative decisions. Also, Danzo would never think of Iruka as a threat.

Ibiki, Aoba, and Shizune would probably handle the knowledge with better grace than Iruka, but they don’t have that direct connection with the kids that Iruka does. And this could be a positive and a negative, but they’re all also better than Iruka combat wise so they may be tempted to make changes in person which may cause them to bite off more than they can chew.

Externality:

So the thing about Externality is that even I haven’t decided whether or not Tetsuki knows about canon, or how–was Naruto a manga in the KHR world or can she perceive the canon version of the world in her dreams?–so I’m going to exclude her for now.

Emotional Handling – Weirdly enough, I think Naruto would handle it best. Not because he would use it, but because he would be galvanized into doing better. Whether that means keeping Sasuke in Konoha or being a better teammate to Tetsuki and Komadori or making sure to protect the people he couldn’t save in canon. Although, I suppose it depends on WHEN he gets the knowledge. Like, if he gets it before the canon graduation time, then it’s unprovable and basically a really weird dream to him–why would he be on a team without Tetsuki and Komadori?–but if its after canon graduation time, that is, after a genin-for-a-year Naruto gets put on a team with recent graduates Sasuke and Sakura, then he might take it as a challenge.

Influential Handling – Ibiki, Aoba, and Shizune for the same reasons as in DoS–since Externality is in a similar vein of OC–but instead of Iruka, since he isn’t the teacher for Testuki, Komadori, and Team Gai’s year, I would add Anko to the list.

Specifically after Tetsuki has joined Intel/T&I. Well, I mean, Anko knowing about Orochimaru’s future movements is already pretty good influence-wise (although, I’m concerned that Konoha would be “concerned” about how she got that information) but if it’s after Tetsuki has joined Intel/T&I and become Anko’s kouhai then Anko will know that she can use Tetsuki to act on her behalf as well as passing Orochimaru’s future movements along to Ibiki and such.

And I guess, for similar reasons, Tsunade would be good but only after she’s already become Hokage. Because her hands are tied as far as throwing down directly with Akatsuki since she has a damn village to run, but she’ll know that Tetsuki is a piece on the board that she can use in a myriad of ways.

(In)Difference

Since Kiyoshi definitely knows about canon and is trying her utmost to not get involved during her first decade and a half, then doing an abrupt 180 and getting overly involved in specific people’s lives, I’m going to exclude her.

This probably won’t make much sense given I haven’t actually written enough of (In)Difference to have a firm timeline and, unlike Externality and Counterpoise, it doesn’t follow the usual stations of canon. Which brings up the main point: except for a few flashback type situations, most of canon happens decades in the future. Any changes, even minute, will have massive consequences. Additionally, in a way, it’s harder to prove but easier to stomach so… hm… let’s see…

Emotional Handling – When they’re younger, genin/chuunin age or so, Orochimaru would handle it best. Not because he really believes Kiyoshi (if it is, indeed, coming from Kiyoshi) but because on the unlikely chance that it is true then he is still capable of course-correcting. Also, if he was, as I suspect, Nawaki’s jounin-sensei (or captain, if we’re going with wartime terminology) then being able to prevent his death–which Kiyoshi somehow does–will help a lot in keeping him sane and not completely evil.

Team White Fang would also handle it okay but only as a team. I don’t know why I feel certain about this, but, I dunno, they’re 2/3 my characters so there.

Influential Handling – Actually, all of the above wouldn’t be too bad in terms of influencing things. Orochimaru, obviously, just has to not be a complete sociopath and never work with Danzo (or, even, just kill Danzo outright) and already he’ll make the future a better place. And Team White Fang is either A) Sakumo, father of Kakashi who is in line to affect ALL the things or B+C) a shape-shifter and genjutsu mistress. So, not too hard to make changes. But I think the BEST person to make changes might be Nawaki.

Because just him being alive would mean so much in terms of Senju presence. And even if he doesn’t have Wood Release (but which I’ve written that he does so…) what his continued existence means for Tsunade and Kushina personally (who can then influence Naruto directly or not). Or what his continued existence might mean for the Uchiha clan… I suppose it’s more a potential of influence than actual influence, I guess.

Counterpoise

Konran definitely doesn’t know about canon. Immediately I know she would emotionally handle it the worst, because basically it’s a world in which her twin brother isn’t even a twin or a brother. Here comes an existential crisis. Because she’d emotionally handle it the worst, I’d be reluctant to predict how she’d handle it influentially. Obviously she’s in position to influence Naruto most directly, but will she want to? Will she do so in a positive way? I don’t know.

Emotional Handling – Zakuro. Hands down. I considered Ringo, because of the two Ringo is the “calmer” one, but then I realized: he’s a medic. He’s a taijutsu using medic. He’s as pacifistic and selfless as a shinobi can be. If he did believe the canon knowledge, however he got it, he would view all the deaths in canon and try his best to prevent them and only destroy himself.

Zakuro, in contrast, is a genjutsu and trap specialist. He knows that perception is more important than reality and for all his brash personality, he can be patient. Traps don’t always get sprung–it’s about preparing for possibilities, not getting directly involved. Zakuro wouldn’t lose himself to the knowledge. He’d take it, absorb it, learn from it, adapt.

The only hitch in this is that he wouldn’t want to keep the knowledge a secret from his teammates, but given their personalities, he would have to. So it’s not the knowledge itself that he would have trouble handling.

But to be clear, Zakuro is ony best at emotional handling. He’s not really in a position to make significant enough changes, for all that he has the mindset to do it.

Influential Handling – … the three people who I think could best utilize the knowledge and make changes are also the three people (besides Konran and Naruto) who would emotionally handle the knowledge poorly. Ringo is one of them–because for all he is the same rank as Zakuro, he does have sort of bonds with both Obito, though he doesn’t really know it, and Kakashi, and if he can figure out how to leverage said bonds he can mitigate a lot of suffering on their and everyone’s parts.

The other two are Kakashi and Jiraiya. The reason why I didn’t bring them up in previous series is because the nature of canon vs Counterpoise is a missing Uzumaki child. Minato’s child. And yes, it’s true, that shouldn’t be such a big deal seeing as how they they ignored Naruto in canon. But I wonder how much of that was the Sandaime’s terribad “don’t discuss the Kyuubi even though everyone and their monkey summons know about it” and how much of that was the village plausibly denying Naruto’s heritage.

So DoS brings up how Naruto could have been named Uzumaki because of his jinchuuriki status not because he’s actually related to Kushina. Additionally I’ve read somewhere that some people thought Naruto took Minato’s appearance because the Kyuubi was being deliberately cruel and kitsune are all about shapeshifting (which is why Naruto’s specialty before kage bushin is henge). And also, while I don’t know how canonical this is, there’s the idea floating around that Minato and Kushina kept the pregnancy a secret so enemy villages couldn’t find out and such. So, like, the village could have just been handwaving the obvious connections between Naruto and his parents. And because Kakashi and Jiraiya don’t get involved with him, there’s nothing to contradict that.

But Konran doesn’t have the Kyuubi. Konran has bright red hair and goes by the name Uzumaki. Konran is so undeniably Kushina’s child that there is no handwaving this away. It’s for this reason that I’m kind of playing around with the idea that the Cloud ambassador tried to kidnap Konran in addition to/instead of Hinata (which also explains why Konran becomes so desperate to keep her hair hidden when she’s a genin).

Anyway. That incident and the lack of plausible deniability means that Kakashi and Jiraiya kind of have to get involved and canon knowledge would only help them if they would get off their asses and do something. Don’t get me wrong, love the characters. But they are capable of making great change, they just need a massive shove to do so.

~

A/N: Uh… that got long and rant-y towards the end. Hopefully this was what you were looking for, lionheadbookends, and if not feel free to send another ask my way 🙂

Ask Box Advent Calendar is now open!

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Missed Post / Ask Box Event? / OC Dolls (2017-10-26)

… I need a push to do some writing! Let’s reprise one of the ask box events, shall we?

What do we think: a softer ask box OR ask box fake fic titles?

(And so it’s not a complete missed post, dollmaker pics of OCs under the cut)

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Konran (from Counterpoise), Tetsuki (from Externality), and Kiyoshi (from (In)Difference)–aka, my three kunoichi OCs.

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Lark, Oleander, and Vinn from various RPG campaigns

Character Statistics: Counterpoise, Team Five

Graduation

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Kiri Chuunin Exam

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Konoha Chuunin Exam

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Shippuden

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Riichi

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Konran

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Ringo

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Zakuro

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~

A/N: Here is Team Five aka the “Retrieval” Team from my series Counterpoise.

In this series, my main OC Konran takes the Academy graduation exam two years early (because Naruto has somehow canonically failed the graduation exam three times but is still in the same class as his agemates?) and somehow barely passes. She, along with two other OCs–Ringo Nohara and Zakuro Yuuhi–become a genin team under the jounin Riichi who is a minor canon character that I have co-opted as my own and tweaked slightly (or, rather, conflated with a different unnamed minor canon character) to give a cool backstory.

They end up taking the first Chuunin Exam which, because it’s two years earlier than canon, is not in Konoha but in Mist (I’m unsure about how much of a disaster Mist infrastructure was before Mei took over, but I imagine it’d be a HUGE faux pas if any of the big five shinobi villages passed up their year to host the exam. The smaller villages can get away with doing so, which is probably how Akatsuki stayed under the radar as leaders of Rain for so long, or rather it’s not as much of a surprise if they pass it up, but one of the big five? That’d just be embarrassing).

The Konoha Chuunin Exam is just a really good marker of time–since it’s not as if their team has changed Orochimaru and Sand’s plans, so the invasion is still on–and then ambiguous Shippuden point in time just to round it out.

Konoha Team Designations (2017-05-23)

I went into this a little before on this post here, but I’d like to go into more detail just so I don’t keep making stuff up and then not writing it down anywhere and then forgetting.

So here’s the basic list for the teams again:

Team One – Medic

Team Two – Vanguard (Stealth/Speed)

Team Three – Defense (Genjutsu/Barriers/Traps)

Team Four – Automatic Fail (code for ANBU/assassination)

Team Five – “Retrieval”

Team Six – General Support

Team Seven – Heavy Hitter

Team Eight – Tracking/Hunting

Team Nine – Escort/Courier

Team Ten – Infiltration/Siege

And as I said before, the Academy does actually try to create genin teams that students would be well suited to, but it depends on the assigned jounin sensei and their standards if they actually pass (except for Team Four who really just are leftovers and pretty much auto fail into the Genin Corps).

Mostly the reason why I’m doing this is because I have three different Naruto fanfiction series–Counterpoise, Externality, and (In)Difference–featuring three very different OCs who end up on very different genin teams, and since I’ve been doing the Character Statistics I’ve had to really hammer down just what each character’s strengths and weaknesses are and resolve that with the other characters as a team.

Teams Seven, Eight, and Ten, obviously, are based on canon: Team Sevens are the traditional “heavy hitters,” the ones who become legends–the Sannin, Naruto-Sasuke-Sakura, even in Boruto that carries over (I think?). Team Eights–based simply on the Aburame-Hyuuga-Inuzuka formation–are most likely meant for tracking/hunting, though no doubt they can form this team without those three clans specifically, with other sensor types. Team Ten are, of course, Ino-Shika-Cho, though for the years there aren’t a set from those clans they can still use that number for teams who might have a similar set up or potential–very people based tactical abilities.

I don’t know where exactly I got this from, but I feel like Team Gai was fanonically made to be Team Nine? Or, at least, given the other teams it kind of make sense to have them fill in the blank and since their team set up is very different from the other three they’d have a different number. And their specialization of escort/courier fits quite nicely in a weird spectrum of tracking/hunting and infiltration/siege–if that makes any sense?

My Team One designation is based off an, admittedly, insignificant throw away line from Dreaming of Sunshine’s early chapters regarding Sakura’s placement given Shikako’s presence–which lead to @kuipernebula​ and I collaboratively brainstorming the simply named Team Medic ‘verse.

Which leaves Teams Two through Six.

Given the superstition about the number four, that team would just be dooming a group of kids for death. And it kind of makes sense in a ruthless kind of way that there would be some students who just… don’t have much potential at all, so Team Four–as an Academy proposal–is just an automatic fail into the Genin Corps. (But maybe that designation is used as a code for temporary teams doing assassinations or auditioning for ANBU).

Itachi was canonically stated to be placed on Team Two with a boy who basically called himself Tenma Lord of Speed and a girl who studied medicine in the Academy but, given the awful awful sexism in this series, got shunted into retiring to become a waitress for some reason?! which is a very distinctive team set up vastly different from the other teams we’ve already seen.

But that Team Two was stated to be “formed out of the best genin at that time and they were given the symbolic position of guarding the Fire Daimyo during his annual visit to Konoha.” Which would make an argument for them being a Team Nine–or, rather, making Team Gai who specialize in mobile guarding type missions a Team Two–but it’s specifically noted to be a symbolic position and more about showing off to the Fire Daimyo their shiny new Uchiha prodigy.

So what do you do with a team of the best genin from the class that aren’t heavy hitters? They aren’t specialized enough for a medic team or a tracking team, and they don’t quite have the same vibe as an infiltration/siege team. They might be a decent escort/courier team, but that wouldn’t really take full advantage of their potential. You have a fast kid, an Uchiha, and a medic–you can’t move faster than your client for escort missions, to fully utilize the Sharingan you want to pit them against other shinobi not just bandits, and escort/courier missions aren’t high enough risk to need a medic.

Thus, vanguard: a stealthier, speedier strike force who can handle themselves in dangerous times but are more subtle than the walking tanks and explosions of Team Seven.

So Three, Five, and Six are free game.

It made sense for there to be a general support team–because while a team of all medics is the easiest way to train combat medics and would make sense for large scale troop movements (when multiple medics would be needed for an entire battalion), it’s not practical for smaller scale battles–and I made them Team Six because I figured they’d be deployed alongside one of the other higher number teams. Teams One and Two wouldn’t need a general support team because it’d be redundant for One and slow down Two, whereas Seven and higher could use support for more variety if the mission calls for multiple teams.

With that mentality in mind, I figured Team Three ought to also be a specialty such that they also wouldn’t need a general support. Or, rather, to break down what general support team even means? I headcanon that Kabuto’s team were a Team Six–a medic with high genjutsu skill, a guy who can absorb chakra, and a guy who can stretch his limbs–which shook out to, besides the medic, genjutsu and close range non-destructive abilities. Hence, defense for Team Three.

And, finally, Team Five which I literally made up because I wanted a team of Leverage-esque thieves. I mean, I’ll justify it in a second, but I figured I ought to be honest about my motivation for all this ranting; I wanted practical problem solving ninja thieves.

Obviously the Academy isn’t going to make a team of assassins to be. While they are training child soldiers, it’s not as if they can tell which preteen is going to be better at assassination than another. And while there is Team Two who would be good at the straightforward get in, get the target, get out, that doesn’t leave much room for the other assassination requests of “make it look natural” or “frame this other person for it,” etc. etc.

So the best way to train toward that mentality would be missions for “retrieving” objects. This team would need to be not quite a support team, but neither an outrightly offensive team either–kind of like a smaller scale, less destructive version of Team Ten. It’s still very people based tactics, but more subtle (Yamanaka personalities may be all about nuance, but their ability is not so much. At the very least, I don’t think the person they possessed loses their memory of the possession? So it’d be very obvious afterwards what happened).

In Counterpoise the Team Five I created is “the genjutsu specialist with a fondness for traps, the medic with a talent in taijutsu, and the fuinjutsu user with chakra reserves four times the size a ninja twice her age”

In Externality, Tetuski accidentally helps Naruto graduate one year early, leading to the both of them and another OC becoming a Team Two under Kakashi. (I actually have what is probably an unpopular/unheard of headcanon that Team Minato was not a Team Seven but rather a Team Two)

In (In)Difference, Team TenChiKoku is a Team Ten that doesn’t directly mimic the Ino-Shika-Cho dynamic but would have a similar function in wartime.

Okay, that’s a weird thing to end on, but thanks for reading this far!

Hey, which stat would you put Sakura’s medical jutsu under? I’m not entirely certain where it would end up, but none of the stats seemed to have the kind of jump I would have expected form Tsunade’s tutoring.

I get what you’re saying, lionheadbookends… the different stat options are both too vague and too specific to really show that apprenticeship. I tried to represent the medic training by putting it in ninjutsu and intelligence–which itself I interpreted as a blend of academic knowledge, experience, and “natural” mental ability.

So Sakura’s INT stat doesn’t change numerically from her canon data, mostly because I figure in DoS while she does get more academic knowledge she has less of that experience from not being on Team Seven. But, considering what you’ve said (and comparing to Shizune who would be a more realistic analogy for Sakura in Shippuden) I did increase her ninjutsu for both “Second” and “Third” instances.

Thanks for catching that, lionheadbookends! I’ll make sure to include it in the cleaned up version 🙂

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Hell yeah meticulous quantification for fun! *high fives back*

I did also make charts for my / @kuipernebula’s other characters in the Naruto world (namely Team Medic–which has a Sakura with, yet again, different stats from her canon self–Externality, and Counterpoise.) I might post those up if I need a break from writing and if anyone’s interested in those series.

[I might also do charts for my team (In)Difference if I have yet another sleepless night, though I am a little reluctant to do so because that team is contemporaries with the Sannin as genin and I think that means I’d have to do charts for the young Sannin too, then, to make sure I’m staying realistic.]

Counterpoise Remix (2017-03-20)

Your first night in Konoha, you do not cry.

Still, you sit up and clutch at your face, desperately trying to stay quiet, so keenly aware of how close your bedroom is to that of the Namikazes’ and how thin the walls.

Despite having had a largely nomadic lifestyle, you are overcome with homesickness.

Iruka normally finds the hour before classes soothing. The warm sunlight streaming through the windows, preparing for the day’s lessons, and appreciating the calm before the storm that is a day of teaching preteens how to be soldiers.

Normally, he’s fond of the time before classes begin. Now the silence is dragging, suspenseful and ominous, and he both dreads and hopes for the clock to move faster.

The Uzumaki princess will be joining his class today.

He’s not starstruck or anything like that–almost half of his class are the clan heirs or seconds–one of his students is the Hokage’s son!

He has long since gotten used to instructing the children of the elite. It’s hard to be intimidated by their family name when you remember them as six year olds with snot running down their noses.

Which might explain why he’s nervous about the Uzumaki princess, though he knows that only contributes part of the reason.

His grandmother had been from Uzushio.

His dad frequently reminisces about childhood visits to Uzushio, family reunions dozens of members strong. Iruka would have grown up the same, had the islands not fallen before he was born. As it is, all he has are the stories that his parents pass down to this day.

Uzumaki Konran is princess of an intangible kingdom–memories and legacies–which makes her all the more intimidating.

On the back of every Konoha flak jacket is a spiral the same bright red of Uzumaki hair, an oath of alliance given form.

This is not a coincidence.

Konran’s first morning in Konoha went as thus:

Following silently, uncertainly, in the trail of the Hokage’s son. Watching the villagers turn to him, like flowers to the sun, smiling and calling out greetings that he easily returns: he grew up surrounded by so many people, loved; the village steeped with his presence, familiar places as much part of him as his very body.

This is his home, and she is a stranger.

At the Academy–and how strange, such formal education; she learned around a campfire, the road was her classroom–Naruto’s friends call him over. At first, he goes toward them, but his steps falter, he hesitates and looks back at her.

Her, the intruder in his life.

She waves him off, perhaps more dismissive than she intends, and steels herself. Umino-sensei has her introduce herself, she struggles to match the stares of thirty different faces. They have known each other for years, have developed friendships and histories all without her. She finds an empty seat close to the window.

An outsider looking in.

Uzumaki Konran meets Nohara Ringo and Yuuhi Zakuro entirely by accident. Hatake Kakashi meets her deliberately.

Her decision after graduation shouldn’t have been a surprise to any party involved.

And yet.

Dear reader, know this:

There is no fate, there are no soulmates, no guarantees or warrantees; but in this vast, infinite universe there may be something that ties us together.

Something like resonance.

I did not love her at first sight, nor second, nor third. I did not even like her immediately; though that is not to say that I disliked her immediately, either. She was interesting, and fascination became fondness became affection.

Once I loved her, I could not stop.

~

A/N: Okay, that should be it by now… thanks for being patient and humoring me, everyone 🙂

Counterpoise Remix (2017-03-19)

Namikaze Naruto and Uzumaki Konran meet for the second time in the spring before their twelfth birthday.

It is not an entirely auspicious event.

In the first memory I have of Uzumaki Konran, it is not, as the reader might presume, her hair that I recall best, though such a notion is not unfounded.

Like her mother before her, Konran had worn her hair long and loose then, a red curtain more vibrant than any other hue found in nature. And it is true that to this day her crimson locks are often considered her signature–only to those fortunate enough not to face her in battle, of course, for they would know her better by her chakra chains, fuinjutsu, and stark determination instead.

But her hair, while eye-catching, is not what first comes to mind, for her cousin had accompanied her then, Uzumaki Karin’s own tresses hewing to the familial standard.

No, what I remember most clearly of Konran’s first day in Konoha are the bloom of cherry blossoms all around and the unassailable look of anxiety on her face.

A little over a decade ago, the status quo of international politics changed when the Land of Rain ended their self-imposed isolation; at their head, daimyo and commander in chief both, was an Uzumaki.

This is not his story.

Shizune knows its not her place to decide, but surely in the privacy of her own mind she’s allowed to cultivate her mutinous opinions. Shishou and Kushina are using her and her team as courier, so she deserves this much at least.

But her indignation evaporates quickly enough when she glances over at her team’s young charge. The only thought left afterward is: Poor Ran-chan.

She doesn’t know what they told her, but Konran seems determined to embody some untouchable ideal of an Uzumaki heiress. Normally, when she’s anxious, Ran-chan will edge closer to Juugo as if to borrow some of his calm. Now head raised, shoulders straight, Konran walks firmly in the middle of the diamond formation Shizune’s team has made–protected like a noble princess, and all the more apprehensive for it.

Karin flutters around her cousin, sensing her mood but not knowing how to fix it. She picks at fallen petals instead, as if to maintain Konran’s immaculate appearance, but that seems to be making it worse.

Perhaps out of a heretofore unseen emotional sensitivity, Suigetsu snaps at her, freeing Konran from her attention. Then again, Suigetsu hardly needs an excuse to annoy Karin.

Shizune knows her team well, almost as well as she does Konran, the young girl very near to a sister, so she knows this:

Shizune won’t be the only one who misses Ran-chan during her time in Konoha.

The Uzumaki clan, though highly diminished, are no less storied or prestigious for it. Hosting the Uzumaki heiress would be an honor for any Konoha clan, one highly suffused with political implications.

For that reason, it was decided that she would be hosted at the Hokage’s residence, to maintain neutrality without causing insult.

What other reason could there be?

You are not surprised when the Hokage meets with you and Shizune-nee in person, not really. You are important because the people you are related to are important, and Shizune-nee is Tsunade-oba’s only disciple–the Hokage would be foolish to delegate such a duty to someone else.

You are surprised that he stays with you after Shizune-nee and her team leaves Konoha, that he guides you to the Hokage’s residence and ushers you around the house, describing all the rooms. You’re quite sure this is actually him and not a clone of some sort–his chakra signature deeper than clones tend to be, and that of his bodyguards’ brushing against your senses–and so you’ve begun to grow confused.

Surely the Hokage has better things to do with his time than play tour guide to an unwanted guest?

He pauses in his commentary, expression shuttering to blankness.

Impressive. Less than one day in Konoha and you’ve already insulted their leader.

But his smile returns, if smaller and somewhat pained, a slight wrinkle in his brow.

“You are not unwanted,” he says simply, before resuming his narration after a pause. She keeps her response to herself, taking in as much of the information as she can stand.

After all, this will be her home, too. For the next year, at least.

Minato’s daughter looks at him with familiar eyes that see only a stranger. She doesn’t know better, was never told otherwise, and so she doesn’t know how swiftly and thoroughly it breaks his heart.

That pales entirely in comparison to when he witnesses his children speak to each other, voices filled with polite disinterest.

~

A/N: I had this weird persistent dream remixing Counterpoise into a “more peaceful but not necessarily kinder world” AU in which both Kushina and Minato live but, for reasons that may or may not eventually be written, they each take a child and don’t see each other for over a decade. Then, in order for Konran to “complete her training” she’s sent to Konoha for a year (what is Naruto/Konoha Twelve’s last year at the Academy.

And it started with weirdly flowery prose–I don’t know who exactly the first person POV is, except for a strange Lemony Snicket-esque narrator–but then it kind of bounced around to different POVs so it didn’t feel right to maintain that.

I might write a little more–I have some thoughts about Zakuro and Ringo in this ‘verse, as well as how Naruto and Konran’s relationship develop, and a lot of miscellaneous details of what Kushina and Minato’s survival would change in the world–but not consistently since the idea is kind of embarrassing and I’m mostly writing this one so it stops plaguing my brain :/

But hope someone out there enjoys it, at least.