Ascendant (2018-01-24)

Tobirama-sensei chooses Hiruzen and something you didn’t even know existed within you shatters.

Everything after that is just collateral damage.

The first is an accident.

Or, at least, that’s what the report will say.

A training accident, two wartime soldiers unable to readjust to peacetime sparring.

A misunderstanding, you say, still covered in your teammate’s blood. You thought it was a genjutsu, luring you into a false sense of security.

It’s not completely improbable, is the thing. Kagami is–was–the most mischievous of the now disassembled Team Tobirama, with a flare for genjutsu and tricks. A smile and bright captivating eyes that had nothing to do with the Sharingan.

An Uchiha that even the most stalwart Senju trusted.

The first is an accident.

Decades down the line, you’re not certain if that’s true anymore.

Second and third are easy, the wrong words whispered at the right time.

You are not the only one who got skipped over.

Why Hiruzen? How is he more worthy than us? Were we not all students of the Hokage?

Politics, you’ll hiss at them, a blade sliding between ribs right into their hearts.

An enticing weapon, but ultimately a trap.

Shisui’s eye is a redundancy.

Fourth bows out before you can do anything.

Torifu was there during the first, he remembers it as well as you do.

Better maybe.

He steps aside and for that you turn your attention away from him, from his clan, and their vassals.

In your last moments, you will wonder if that was your fatal mistake.

For a while, you think that is enough. Prove your worth and sweep away those in front of you, it is only a matter of time before Hiruzen’s weakness provides an opportunity.

But time does not stand still. Soon fifth through seventh arise.

Children, compared to you. Literally. Hiruzen’s students. What do they know of war? Of sacrifice? They do not have the experience.

But youth and talent–and pedigree in young Tsunade’s case–is not something so easily dismissed.

For now you can do nothing–nothing overt, at least–but they are primed to tear themselves apart.

It doesn’t take much to help that along.

Eighth, you almost regret.

He is the youngest, certainly, but you were once a child in war–surely if your sensei’s grand nephew were actually worthy, he would have survived.

Perhaps it’s the loss of the Mokuton that you regret.

The ninth was never truly a threat, a dreaming boy with no real claim.

But Konoha was built on dreams and you will not let some upstart stand in your way.

The White Fang of Konoha, a silly moniker that somehow strikes fear into enemy hearts.

As formidable on his own as Hiruzen’s brats are altogether.

No, this won’t do at all.

It is not enough for him to die, you need to destroy him utterly–his career, his reputation, his spirit.

You are ruthless with the tenth.

Every so often, you push them along–fifth and sixth and seventh succumbing to their own flaws–weaknesses that would have been exploited by enemies of Konoha.

Cowardice, fear, so quick to run away from what should be her only priority.

Obsessive and vain, so easy to distract and lead astray.

Foolish and sentimental, desperate for approval.

You are protecting your village by exposing them–what else reason could there be?

(You overreached with The Salamander, the man who titled Hiruzen’s students. You thought it would be a simple trade of services, a mutual extermination of brats.

But foreign shinobi are hardly worth the effort; the deal is dropped.

Konoha first.)

(Uzushio is a separate matter, but their lives are long and their memories longer.

Mito-sama was always biased against you.

Konoha will never be able to achieve its true potential with them forever poised above.)

Time marches on.

You uproot those you can, prune those you can’t, but they sprout like weeds beneath your feet.

That absolute infant that Hiruzen chooses may have made a name for himself during the war, but he is nothing more than dandelion fluff easily blown away in the breeze.

Konoha is better off without him.

You remember the first.

Uchiha that even the most stalwart Senju could trust.

There might as well be no more Senju, but the sentiment applies. Shisui follows in Kagami’s footsteps and the clan head’s brat has far too much potential.

You remember the first.

You remember that Konoha was built by two clans.

One is near to extinct. Surely the village can also survive without the other.

Hiruzen is old, weighed down by years and loss and having to put on the hat for a second time.

Or so he says.

You wouldn’t know, you’ve never worn it.

He is so completely unaware of all that you do for Konoha, so blind and soft. He walks amongst the villagers, a kindly, foolish grandfather instead of the unyielding pillar of strength that he should be.

He is a disgrace.

(He was your friend, once.

Now he is forever imprisoned within the belly of the Shinigami.)

(Kagami was your friend, once, too.)

Everything is just collateral damage.

~

A/N: … EURAGHRURH!! I’m disgusted with myself. But, okay, like. This is not meant to be apologetic or sympathizing for Danzo–I literally just wanted to experiment and see if I could get into his headspace and it… I dunno. Did it work? YEURGH, gross gross gross.

Brought about because of the massive hate-on for Danzo that’s going on in the discord, and the ongoing theory that he sabotaged every prospective Hokage candidate in the past fifty years. If it’s not clear who is who: 1 – Kagami Uchiha, 2 – Homura Mitokado, 3 – Koharu Utatane, and 4 – Torifu Akimichi were the other members of Team Tobirama. 5 – Tsunade, 6 – Orochimaru, 7 – Jiraiya. 8 – Nawaki (aka Tsunade’s younger brother). 9 – Dan Katou (aka Tsunade’s boyfriend). 10 – Sakumo Hatake. And then Minato who did succeed at getting the hat because his career trajectory was frankly ludicrous and too quick for Danzo to squash. And then Shisui and Itachi because those dang Uchiha.

I am not too keen on the ending (as per usual for me) given that I didn’t think I should end at the Chuunin Exams but I didn’t want to get into the whole Tsunade is Godaime and the whole constant undermining of her authority, even though I did kind of want to get to the point where Danzo dies? Should I have just stopped at the whole Uchiha it comes full circle thing? … maybe…

Arguably, if you ignore the line in the Torifu section, then this could be Naruto-canon compliant? But obviously I wrote it with DoS in mind. And I am hoping that Shikako is at least tangentially involved in Danzo’s downfall which is another reason why I didn’t go past the Chuunin Exams because… I have no idea what that downfall is going to look like. Fantastic, I assume.

Character Statistics: (In)Difference, Team TenChiKoku

Genin

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Chuunin

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Jounin

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Legend

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Kiyoshi Utsugi

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Dan Katou

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Kunugi Mokume

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~

A/N: Didn’t get home until almost midnight so I hoped to have this out for May 20th post but, alas, my pickiness got in the way…

My partially OC team of contemporaries to the Sannin from my series (In)Difference, aka Team TenChiKoku

Kiyoshi Utsugi is my SI!OC (and probably Kakashi’s mom?) but Dan Katou and Kunugi Mokume are canon. I don’t know if they were canonically on the same genin team and whether or not that genin team also graduated at the same time as the Sannin, but… well. Kishi didn’t specify and I doubt he ever will, so they’re mine now 😛

Spoilers(?), Dan still dies during the war.

Word Prompts (P12): Pen and Paper

Sometimes, especially in times like now, when she has a profusely bleeding leg wound and nearly depleted chakra, she’ll think about how none of this is real. In a way, it’s comforting–if it’s not real then her actions don’t have real consequences, she can make mistakes and do as she pleases.

But, in a completely opposite way, it’s terrifying: if none of this is real, then she’s not real; which means all of her pain–her impending death–means absolutely nothing.

“Hold on, Kiyoshi,” Dan says, pale hands pressed shakily over her thigh. Kunugi’s back is warm against hers, even through the layers of cloth. Or maybe she’s just that cold.

“I-I’m s-sorry,” she says, teeth chattering. For getting injured to the point of immobility. For thinking, even for just a moment, that neither of her teammates might be real–that they might just be drawings in a story in another world, “I’m s-so sor-rry,” she begins to slur, her vision greying out.

“Don’t be so dramatic,” Kunugi says, the vibration of his words and the rhythm of his breathing filtering through to her own unsteady chest.

“Yeah, that’s my job,” Dan tries to joke, but the concern in his voice is too audible.

She wants to laugh, anyway, to make him feel better, but all that comes out is a slightly harsher exhale.

“Hey! Stay awake Kiyoshi,” Dan says, breaking out what they like to call his future Hokage voice. The tone that would one day command a village.

But she doesn’t respond.

~

A/N: Something real quick because work was ridiculously bleurgh. And, as usual, the word prompt is still not in the actual drabble 😛

(In)Difference drabble (2015-07-12) [2]

The Utsugi clan compound is hardly deserving of the name. There are maybe eight smaller families, siblings and cousins and aunts and uncles to each other, and really it’s more of a massive extended single house than a neighborhood.

She was born during a low birth peak meaning that, unlike her other cousins who have at least three age mates to grow up with, the nearest Utsugi relatives to her on either side have a gap of over eight years. She’s far from lonely though, a trail of children not yet old enough to be at the academy beseeching her to play ninja. Older cousins ruffling her hair in congratulations for passing, their own flak jackets as new as her headband. An uncle, who may or may not be ANBU, gives her a booklet of shock tags, a handsome graduation gift indeed.

Her parents, as enthusiastic over their only child’s achievements as ever, have begun planning a clan wide celebration. Though, to be fair, there was a celebration for cousin Tetsuo’s promotion to tokujou last month and anyway, her father is the clan head; a celebration was expected.

It should be a good day.

But as she watched her friends get placed on teams obviously slated to fail, and herself put on a team with two of the better male students in their class, she couldn’t help but feel the weight of her plan twelve years in the making crumble around her.

She could have been a Nae-chan, she thinks. She would have been free. Instead, Kunugi Mokume stares dispassionately at her while Dan Katou smiles, young and very much not dead.

Her eyes flick between him and the only other viable team–the one with the Rookie of the Year, the frustratingly skilled dead last, and the Senju Princess.

Likely sensing her gaze, Tsunade looks back and smiles hesitantly.

She could have been free.

~

A/N: Aaaaand some Kiyoshi Utsugi feels, also brought about by my seven hour bus ride to my sister’s.

Also, this derailed itself very quickly. I was going to have it be about how minor clans operate within Konoha–but then I apparently felt like having existential “oh god, I can’t escape canon” feels.