Changeling, Shikamaru, The Nara are not like the ninja clans that must pay the Fae in blood, or gold, or a child from their clan: whenever a Nara child is stillborn, the parents are bound to foster a Fae child their place.

laflenkenway:

jacksgreysays:

rsrw:

jacksgreysays:

donapoetrypassion:

jacksgreysays:

A/N: Hm… I kinda want to both brainstorm and write a ficlet for this prompt, because the idea is very lovely (as per usual, dona) but the brainstorm I have is different than the ficlet I want to write?

Like the ficlet is just a straight up narrative prose exploring the idea of some Nara children being changelings and why their clan are the exception, etc. etc. Whereas the brainstorm is a more expansive plotty thing about how having a changeling character would affect the story.

Hm, I guess they’re not necessarily exclusive to each other so let’s do both… ficlet first!

~

To say that the Shodaime Hokage created the forests around what would become the sight of Konohagakure is an exaggeration at best and an outright lie at worst.

It’s true that the Hashirama trees are the first type that villagers learn to identify as children–prevalent in most parks and training grounds, a protective ring around the walls–but the forest itself is far older than that; far greater.

Far less human.

///

Yoshino is in labor for a grueling forty six hours–more blood, sweat, and tears than even the worst battle–but she knows it’ll be worth it, prays to every god she can think of that it’ll be worth it.

When finally it’s done, that last exhausting push, she can barely catch her breath, barely stay awake, and yet she claws at consciousness desperately.

Why is there only one baby crying?

///

The Nara clan live close to the earth: their herds and their trees and theirs shadows upon the ground. They are intelligent, taking their own time and space, and for that they are looked upon fondly.

Most of the time, that’s a good thing.

///

There is a tree, deep within the Nara clan compound, old and gnarled and kept secret.

In that tree, there is a hollow, cleaned monthly but left empty.

Tonight, with Kasuga and Sembei at his back, Shikaku places the small, shrouded bundle inside.

///

It has been a long time since the Nara clan were given a gift from the other side.

An honor and risk, both.

The rest of the village has no idea what they’re in for.

OKAY! So, now it’s brainstorm time.

I made it vague because I wasn’t sure if, because you specified Shikamaru, you wanted him to be the changeling or if you wanted his POV of changeling!Shikako… or, I guess, now that I think of it, if you even wanted DoS? Whoops.

Anyway! The ficlet above would be the prequel basically laying down the groundwork of your prompt for a much larger story. What that story is, I’m not entirely sure…

Actually, I’m thinking something like Danzo has somehow gotten to the other side and that’s where a lot of his ROOT soldiers are from–changeling children that weren’t so blessed to be placed with the Nara clan, which sort of explains the affinity Shikako has with Sai, etc. etc–and the Fae kind of point Shikako in that direction and just, go wild, dispense our wrath…

… but I’m worried I’m focusing too much on Danzo as the big bad. I mean, the Fae could also be GREATLY DISPLEASED with the giant evil bijuu eating statue and that’s another task the whispers in Shikako’s mind point her towards.

I do like the idea that while the Nara are the only ones who get changeling children as a sort of active, deliberate exchange, there are other places (including outside of Konoha) where changeling children appear where there isn’t any established and known protocols for it. And so, like how Naruto has his not-so-secret society of jinchuuriki, Shikako has a slightly-more-secret society of changelings.

Sai is one, definitely. I’m thinking also Juugo? And maaybe Isaribi to incorporate her more into the story… I don’t think there’d be any overlaps in changelings and jinchuuriki (the only exception might be Sora at the Fire Temple who is only a partial jinchuuriki or something like that?)

Hm…

I mean, this would be in Shikamaru’s POV so as to match your prompt and also him as an outsider but close observer of this phenomenon would lend itself well into the whole–changelings LOOK human, but they aren’t, kind of thing. Yes, they’re mostly taught how to interact in a socially acceptable way, but they’re still Other.

Actually, now I wonder if even the bijuu are a little scared of the Fae (and, by association, the changelings) because chakra is a relatively new power in the world. The bijuu aren’t that old in comparison to the Fae. SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT FURTHER 😀

~

Ask Box Event Now Open!

Awesome! A brainstorm AND a ficlet! I love this so much- I totally hadn’t thought about the ROOT thing. …Man, the Fae could be PISSED about that. And …not concerned, but irritated at the instruction of the Juno. Yes, irritated. (Your suggestion also now has me wondering about the au of this au, where Shikamaru finds out HE’s the changeling. Oooh.) But I love the Shikako-Sai connection you did there. And for some reason I am thinking about the logistics of hiding this from the hospital. (Either the Nara blatantly take over that wing of the hospital, or Tsunade is left affronted that the Nara never go to the hospital for childbirth. Which makes one wonder if other clans try to take over one aspect of village administration/services in order to conceal/uphold their dealings with the Fae.)

…Wow, imagine if BOTH twins were Fae. Brings the ‘and one looks like the mother and one looks like the father’ to a whole new creepy level, right? Some Fae thing they do so that the babies blend in- maybe it involves a blood sacrifice from the parents. Or- no. Just the little bundle at the root of the tree. That’s enough to work with.

I think it makes more sense if Shikako alone is the Fae, though. Does she even know it? Maybe not. She tries very hard to be ‘normal,’ for a chageling.

…I kind of wonder if Orochimaru was a changeling. And maybe that was what got Danzo interested in them.

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Shikamaru as the changeling would be absolutely fascinating. Because Shikako is the “weird” one as compared to Shikamaru who is very traditionally Nara. But is he really? Or, rather, what is it to be Nara as compared to Fae?

After all, they do have the favor of the Fae, have had previously received changeling children as a gift. Perhaps it’s because they’re so similar?

There’s a post going around about how changeling children from the past were most likely autistic children which society at the time couldn’t put into any other words but having been swapped with a Fae child. And, well, the Nara are very… hm… the new Maori word for autism is “his or her own time and space” which I feel does describe the Nara clan as a whole.

They let their members grow as they feel, don’t push them to think one way or another, they’re very supportive when a member finds their calling, used to members switching between hyper-focus and scattered distraction. Cloud watching could very well be a way to reduce stimuli…

I think there are probably enough Nara who work in the hospital that whenever one is pregnant and giving birth, it’s not at all difficult to swap Nara nurses and medics into the delivery. Especially when it’s the clan head’s wife giving birth? It wouldn’t at all be suspicious for any Nara hospital staff to involve themselves in such a clan critical pregnancy, so then it wouldn’t be necessary to take over the maternity ward (just borrow it, for a little while).

Ooh, Orochimaru as a changeling… that makes a lot of sense, actually! Unfortunately for him, the Nara clan head at the time of his childhood hadn’t been as observant, or perhaps thought the stillborns for changelings swap was a myth, or was very clannish and didn’t consider it his responsibility to help. And it would, as you said, give an interesting spin on his relationship with Danzo and also his defection from Akatsuki. He’s definitely a Dark Fae, or a Fallen Fae, or whatever the terminology might be for a changeling that has broken so many Rules that the Fae no longer claim him as their own. Although maybe he redeems himself in their eyes (which explains better why he’s still walking around doing whatever he wants in Boruto)?

I’m a little hesitant about Gaara being a changeling as well as a jinchuuriki… maybe he’s of Fae descent? Like, Karura could’ve been a changeling… which explains why she died in childbirth (the bijuu chakra sealed into the as of yet unborn Gaara seeped into her own system, weakening her) but also how she was able to imbue her protection/love into his sand even after her death. And how cool would it be if that’s where Temari’s EXTREME WIND BADASSERY came from?

Shikaku is a very tolerant father, I feel like. Or, rather, accepting the fact that his clan has a weird trading system with the Fae means he’s just a very tolerant, not-easily-shaken man.

Adding a note or two: Fae are rather possessive. Which would explain some of Shikamaru’s actions/ thought process after the Gelel arc. 

Also I don’t think Orochimaru actually broke the Rules of Fae

He may twist words and make the sky seem green but he doesn’t lie, even when he has a seal on his tongue keeping him from speaking truth. Even his experiments with the Jugo’s blood-limit (that Orochimaru benefits from but that’ could be seen him working towards what he said he would that’s fae to) he acts as his name and within his power, and he doesn’t try to mess with Fae courts (not established courts anyway) and the actions he takes are very much in the Human Realm.

He even takes in others that were in some ways abandoned or betrayed (Kimimaro being one example). Which fae are acknowledged to do

just thoughts to add

Even before the Gelel arc, Shikamaru’s concern over Shikako could read as fae-influenced possessiveness–though it is also just the whole “my sister is nearly dying on a monthly basis and then one time ACTUALLY dies” situation.

I think there’s a certain generalization that can be applied if Shikamaru is the changeling because his personality is notably VERY in line with Nara-typical personalities which means A LOT of Nara over the years have been changelings/are descended from those changelings. Whereas if Shikako is the changeling then her unusual determination for a Nara matches up with those rare enough (but memorable enough) Nara who make the “motivated Nara” quote a significantly prevalent saying.

I dunno, I’m kind of waffling back and forth on this matter. Because the idea that the Nara as a whole all have even some percentage of fae ancestry is kind of fun. But also the idea that it isn’t so common, and they’re still just Like That is also very fun. And, like, there’s a certain level of tolerance if the “second-born” non-heir is a changeling, but I feel like there might be some backlash if the heir is the changeling. 

Then again, the idea of Asuma having to deal with changeling Shikamaru is hilarious to me for some reason. Kakashi is already on a team with a bunch of weirdoes, he’s used to it. Asuma would just be staring at Shikamaru–who he has specifically been training to be team leader–in utter bewilderment as his genin follow the strangest (fae) whims. AAAAAHHHH I don’t know :/

… True, true. Orochimaru is one of those characters whose Watsonian motivations must be more complex and fascinating than the Doylist reasons behind his actions. So the idea that he’s beholden to laws that aren’t human is absolutely compelling. All of the partnerships/promises he makes then breaks does give off a very mercurial vibe, and the fact that he doesn’t seem to be majorly punished for any of them does kind of go with the idea that his sense of honor/justice is somehow beyond human reproach. And that would explain why he is walking around in Boruto if he’s “only” broken human laws and those don’t really apply to fae/changelings.

I loosely follow @blackkatmagic’s fanon that Orochimaru’s backstory is as tragic as Tsunade’s with some added deliberate manipulation from Danzo to ruin one of the potential Hokage candidates, so Orochimaru can’t be as completely evil as we see on the surface (although there’s definitely a point where his actions are nobody’s fault but his own, and he doesn’t get held accountable for those at all). I suppose if I were more ambitious I would try to do an Orochimaru centered fic about his progression to cold, but that’s a lot of nuance that I’m not sure I can do…

Maybe its just because my view of the Fae is heavily influenced by the Dresden Files, but I don’t think the Fae would be all that pissed about Danzo, he’s using them the same way the Fae often use their own children anyway. Also, as far as the courts are concerned, the Nara definitely deal more with the Summer court, I’m torn as to Orochimaru’s nature, on the one hand, his personality and tactics scream Winter, but the words “snakes” and “Winter” don’t even belong in the same paragraph.

-Fell.

I think the Fae would be pissed about someone else using their children as mindless soldiers. The actual treatment they don’t care about, but the fact that some mortal is going about doing something that is reserved for Fae only is what they’d have a problem with.

Visually he also is very Winter, so if we’re going personality, tactics, and looks he’s Winter. The snake thing can be handwaved away. Like how there are ice dragons in fantasy, but if dragons were really reptiles then they wouldn’t be icy?

But I don’t know much about Dresden Files, so my knowledge of Fae is very loose. 

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Shikako’s Guide to Delinquency and Military Insurrection: Really, Danzo had this coming.

Shikako Nara’s Guide To Delinquency and Military Insurrection

(Rule Four: No place is invulnerable. Keep your guard up, even at home.)

The sky has turned dark, the view from the tower’s top now of your village in its nighttime wear. The lights of businesses and houses twinkling bright, people overly loud as they go from restaurants to bars, interrupting the tranquility.

Disorderly.

Despicable.

This lack of discipline is what Hiruzen has allowed to fester Konoha. Weakness. No longer. You will have to make changes. Curfews and and harsher penalties.

You turn away from the window, the sight of your village still so tainted sickens you, enrages you, and so you must look away. But as you turn, you think you see a face in the glass. Behind you?

No, you dart a glance through your office, only your ROOT guards–all under chameleon jutsu and masked besides. When you turn back the face is gone.

Only a reflection, surely.

You put the thought from your mind, put the hat back on–though the veils often limit your peripheral vision and there is no one significant to see. You have much to do in order to make your village great again.

Nothing can stop you now.

The second time, night again, you are waiting for one of your teams to come back and report.

They are only ANBU, not ROOT, and while you were not expecting much, you are disgusted by how long it is taking them.

It should not be this difficult to apprehend one child, jinchuuriki status or not.

Another matter you must correct, Hiruzen’s indulgence of the creature. It should have been handled and trained properly from the start–even the strongest of weapons can rust from poor handling–but instead that foolish monkey had it pretending at a normal life. As if a jinchuuriki could ever be normal.

One of the proximity sensors sounds off, the ANBU team returning, finally, but when they appear…

“Where is the boy?” you ask, the sheer incompetence of these agents causing you to bite the words out, irritated. The four ANBU stand in front of you in various states of bruised and battered, filthy, not even bearing a single blonde hair from the creature.

They shuffle silently, nervously, uselessly in front of you before the captain utters, “He disappeared. We lost him in the sewers.”

“It was as if the shadows just swallowed him whole!” one of the others says inanely, before hunching down from the sharp glance of their captain.

If this is the quality of ANBU that Hiruzen’s administration produced, then it is no wonder that all their nukenin have been walking the Elemental Nations unharmed.

Displeased, you activate the seals on their arms, watch as they try not to scream, grip futilely at themselves before dropping to the floor of your office. A modification of the old design, incorporating what you could reverse engineer of the Hyuuga’s Caged Bird.

You summon another team–ROOT this time, though lately they’re running thin on the ground which is why you had to resort to standard ANBU to begin with–have them remove the bodies and assign them the incomplete mission.

For ROOT agents there is only success or death.

The jinchuuriki is never found.

You are running out of ROOT agents.

The village, frail from decades of mismanagement, crumbles under your steady hand.

This is not how your tenure as Hokage is meant to go.

You are returning to your office after dealing with Yuuhi’s idiocy–the man is too used to dealing with genin, clearly unable to handle the role of jounin commander as he always claimed he could–when you stop just inside the doorway.

Someone is in your seat.

Someone is in your seat, feet propped up on your desk, looking for all the world like she belongs there and not like she is committing the highest form of disrespect and treason.

“Guards!” you yell, and the fact that you must call for them just compounds the sheer frustration of this situation. Four masked and hooded ANBU appear.

They do nothing else.

“Seize her!” you add, enraged that you must instruct them on this most obvious order.

They turn towards you, instead.

It is at this point you realize you do not sense either ROOT or the updated ANBU seals on them. It is at this point you realize your shadow is stretching far longer than it should. It is at this point you realize you cannot move.

You realize all this too late.

The door slams shut behind you, a second shadow tendril snaking past you and returning to the girl.

The girl who casually removes her feet from your desk, gets up from your seat, and saunters around so she is standing in the center of your office, in the center of the four masked shinobi who are not yours.

The masks come off.

Still you cannot move.

“Honestly,” says the girl, “what were you expecting?”

~

A/N: … ugh, writing from Danzo’s POV is the worst. But also, like, I could not think of any other way to fill this prompt, lionhead. It’s a little bit spin-off-y of Ascendant, though not necessary. Just the sheer delusion of a man who has gotten what he wants and still can’t understand why things aren’t going the way he planned. :/

Anyway, hope you enjoyed!

Ask Box Advent Calendar is now open!

(seriously, i’ve got nothing in my ask box. I might start cross posting brainstorms onto ao3–for safety reasons–so if there’s any old brainstorm (like from all of the ask box fake fic titles event) that you want to, er, re-prompt in some way, they’re open season too)

Shikako / Sasuke – canonDOS – 3) things you said too quietly

Down Every Road (four: hunter and nukenin, the remix),
3) things you said too quietly

He couldn’t have stopped her.

He never could stop her from doing what she thought needed to be done. Never thought he would need to stop her, because as far as they’ve known each other–for as long as they’ve worked together, fought together, been together–she was always right about what needed to be done.

Or, at least, that’s what he had always thought.

“Shikako Nara attacked the Hokage,” says acting Hokage Councilor Shimura, “She is guilty of high treason and must be brought to justice.”

Behind him, Komachi and Towa make no noise, ANBU stealth and stoicism combined. Sasuke struggles to make Hawk do the same.

“Hunt her down,” Councilor Shimura continues, voice apathetic and so hateful to Sasuke’s ears, “Terminate her,” he finishes, eyeing Hawk specifically.

The three ANBU bow: dutiful, respectful, silent. If ANBU Hawk’s bow is a little belated, a little too shallow, then who is to say?

Red Team–short one member, of course, and now he wonders how long it will take Komachi and Towa to connect the dots, wonders at the wisdom and cruelty both of Councilor Shimura to send them on this mission, if the latter had been so important to him as to outweigh the former–has barely spent a minute at HQ before another bird masked ANBU approaches them.

“I have been temporarily assigned to Red Team to aid you on your current mission. I am codenamed Crow.“ 

Behind his own mask, Sasuke blinks, perplexed. He knows this is Sai. He just doesn’t know what the play is here. More cruelty, perhaps. He knows Sai is one of Councilor Shimura’s, so this could be extra insurance that Red Team does their job. But he also knows that, beyond all reason, Shikako trusted him anyway. That Sai had gone above and beyond to save Shikako from Councilor Shimura, to break her out from her own mind when no one else could.

Sasuke is looking at either a spy or a saboteur.

He’s not sure which he would prefer.

Red Team with Crow in tow depart from the village as soon as possible. Standard protocol for hunting missions.

Red Team isn’t designed for this–Red Team shouldn’t even be on this mission, for logistical and obvious, possible emotional compromising reasons–but that doesn’t mean they won’t at the very least appear to be completing their mission to the best of their abilities.

Everyone knows that the first seventy two hours are the most critical when it comes to hunting nukenin.

Hawk doesn’t have a moment of privacy to create a shadow clone and send it back until four hours later, and so by the time Sasuke is able to ask around the news has already been twisted around into rumors.

Shikako Nara has cracked under the pressure. Accelerated promotions getting to her, unable to handle her rank.

Shikako Nara has been turned. A sleeper agent from another country, she’s always been suspiciously friendly to foreign nin.

Shikako Nara is just like that snake. Didn’t you know? They encountered each other during the chunin exams.

Shikako Nara isn’t the villain here–it’s the jounin commander using his daughter, trying and failing to enact a coup.

None of it is right. All of it is useless.

The only pieces he finds to be true are that Shikako really did attack Tsunade-sama, who is even now still in the hospital, Shikaku-san is in T&I custody, and Councilor Shimura is acting Hokage.

But he already knew that.

He thinks maybe the worst part about all of this is that he doesn’t even know what the worst part is.

The first awful part of it is that he can’t figure out why. Why would Shikako attack Tsunade-sama?

Then there’s the terrible part in which he’s being sent to on a mission to kill her–which is both cruel and doesn’t make any sense to him, either.

And then there’s the whole disastrous situation with Sai and whether or not he’ll help or harm the mission… and whether or not Sasuke can convince the rest of Red Team to not fulfill their mission.

No, that’s a lie. He knows what the worst part is.

They catch up to Shikako in Land of Rivers.

No, Shikako lets them catch up to her.

Sasuke knows how easily it would be for her to stay ahead of them. Or to stay hidden from them. Or even to fight them, knock them out, and continue on her way.

She did this on purpose.

“Go home, Red Team” Shikako says, and if, somehow, Komachi and Towa didn’t already know the identity of Bat, then they know it now. “Tsunade-sama will need her best to protect her.”

“Protect her from what?” Komachi snipes back, quick temper flaring, “You’re the one who she needs protection from.”

Shikako shrugs, posture loose and casual and an utter lie. Then, bizarrely, she sticks her tongue out at them. No, at Crow. 

“Beware the strangling roots,” she says to them all, before melting into shadows. Red Team tries to pursue, but there is no further trail to follow.

The worst part is, she didn’t even ask him to go with her.

~

A/N: Belated fill is very belated and doesn’t really match the prompt, but hope you still enjoy, anon!

I know it says canonDoS, but my brain just really wanted to do a swapped roles version of Down Every Road two: hunter and nukenin, but obviously instead of Shikako being the hunter and Sasuke being the nukenin it’s the other way around. So it’s sort of canon compliant in an AU divergence kind of way? Or, like, I mean. It’s not been jossed yet so it’s not NOT canon? Uh…

Maybe I’ll go further down this road? I dunno, I have an idea for what probably happened, but since this is Sasuke’s POV I figure it’d be more in line if he just could not figure out what the hell was going on because… well… Sasuke.

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.

Hello! I’m prompting for DoS!Canon. The score is Ludovico Einauldi’s Primavera. The other score is the 23 minute Memoirs of a Geisha soundtrack. Thank you! Hope you have fun writing this!

So given these two songs/soundtracks are very, hm, traditionally instrumental (and, also, the fact that I’ve been reading a lot of Hikaru no Go fic lately), I’m getting a distinctly Tobirama Senju’s ghost–whether literally or figuratively–through Shikako’s life?

And also, you mentioned in our messages the idea of arch-nemesis soulmarks and how, in DoS, Shikako’s arch-nemesis would be Danzo and I kind of…

Let me try to articulate this properly.

The idea of legacies and rivals that aren’t necessarily pre-determined by fate, but marked by fate. So there’s the grander “Will of Fire” being an actual, physical mark on someone–an intangible optimism and determination passed from Hashirama to Hiruzen to Naruto–versus the more intimate mark of Dan on Tsunade to make the Medic Corps, to train Shizune, and be the kind of Hokage that he might have been.

But it’s not always what people expect.

For example, Danzo had Tobirama’s mark and thought that meant he would be Sandaime–literal inheritor/successor of the Nidaime–which is what drove is megalomaniacal desperation for the hat. Maybe instead it was supposed to be Danzo supporting Hiruzen the same way Tobirama supported his brother (the way Hiruzen actually though was happening), or maybe it was his destruction of the Uchiha clan (which a younger, more war-minded Tobirama had wanted once upon a time).

So the possibility that someone else might have the same mark isn’t necessarily a bad thing–after all, people have different goals in life perhaps different goals went to different inheritors–but it’s not very common and much less so a legacy mark from someone who died long before you were born.

Shikako having Tobirama Senju’s legacy mark is, of course, very unusual. And yet. Consider what she’s done so far: she’s a fuinjutsu master in the making, a community leader of sorts, she wields his legendary sword, she’s brokered peace with the Uchiha (sort of, in the sense that she’s prevented Sasuke from defecting) and is slated to rebuild the KMP, she’ll definitely support the next few Hokages in a way that Tobirama would have wanted (the way Danzo should have), so it’s not completely out of left field.

Obviously most everything else is the same except some people have legacy marks connecting them to people who have passed away. For example, most clan heirs are born with the mark of their clan just because that’s how it works–a continuation of the clan leadership all through the generations (which helps in the rare occasions when clan heads don’t have children because then the elders can just look for the child with the clan symbol on it and know that they’re going to be the next clan head). But not all legacy marks are there from birth: some people probably have multiple legacy marks and it’s not unusual for them to develop more as they grow.

I don’t know how the clash should go.

Danzo doesn’t immediately see her as a threat, but there must be a point where he starts to.

Unless the marks are hidden? I mean, I don’t think there’s any actual taboo surrounding legacy marks (why would there be? it’s not something private, necessarily, nor is it something to be ashamed of) but tactically it might be dangerous to so outrightly have certain legacy marks–killing the person with the Will of Fire mark would pretty easily cut the ideal line of Hokage succession.

And anyway, I enjoy the idea that Tobirama’s legacy mark is very understated. Like… given that Tobirama’s fanon summons are snow leopards, maybe it’s a few leopard spot on the forehead. It kind of just looks like bruises, really, easily hidden by bangs or headbands or BANDAGES (-_-).

So maybe it’s just that unless it’s something very obvious or very personal, people don’t necessarily know who the legacy marks are from. And unless the mark is very obviously a a symbol or a picture or a word maybe no one even knows it is a legacy mark.

Danzo knows what his is, of course, Tobirama was his sensei. But as far as Shikako and her family are concerned she just has an awkwardly placed birthmark. It’s hard to report legacy marks if they’re so ambiguous, so Danzo just doesn’t hear about the Jounin Commander’s daughter also having Tobirama Senju’s legacy mark. (And probably Danzo has been hiding his for so long that no one except people of an age with him remember what it looks like anyway).

And maybe there’s a hint of self-fulfilling prophecy in this as well.

People can share legacy marks without any conflicts–but it’s not until one party MAKES it a rivalry that it becomes one. Maybe fate decided that Danzo wasn’t properly fulfilling Tobirama’s legacy (or only fulfilling the most twisted versions of it) and so it gave Shikako the same legacy mark to correct that. If Danzo had just done it properly, there would be no need for that. Or if he had bowed out and accepted that he was already fulfilling it, then there would be no clash.

Sorry, I’m not sure if I’m conveying the idea fully or if I’m just going around in circles.

So, well, except for a few weird birthmarks on her forehead, Shikako’s life in this strange world would pretty much be the same as canon DoS. Her legacy mark wouldn’t become relevant until Danzo makes it so and given we haven’t yet seen a in person Shikako vs Danzo interaction (only his Big Brother-esque monitoring of her research on the Uchiha post-Tsukuyomi and, of course, his attempted kidnapping after the Land of Hot Springs) it could still be easily slotted into a canon plotline.

There’s just something about the Memoirs of a Geisha soundtrack in particular that makes me think it would be a good battle not between different ideologies but rival executions of the same ideology. That one ideology–in this case, Tobirama Senju’s–can be so twisted in one direction but still technically be the same as the original.

~

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Fake Fic Title: moral compass (says stand up, shake it off). Never Lookin’ To Come Back. p.s. all these brainstorms are so good

Immediately from the title, I’m thinking this is a Sasuke!B-side of the Never Lookin’ To Come Back ‘verse. Like, what kind of shit has he gone through after his planet was destroyed? And then growing up as part of the Organization and going on black op missions up until he winds up on the Shuumatsu…

Sasuke’s moral compass is not exactly one for giving up, clearly. It may not always guide him in the right direction, but it at least makes him keep going. Which… I mean, was a disaster in canon, but can be a good thing so long as someone else points him in the right direction.

This is where Kakashi would show up in this ‘verse. As the one who “rescued” Sasuke by putting him in the Organization (so that Danzo couldn’t get him) he’d feature prominently in Sasuke’s past–whether as himself or as Agent Wolf–and maybe he’s the one who runs interference between ROOT and Shuumatsu the more they get involved with the politics of Senju vs Danzo.

I wonder what Sasuke’s opinion on the Shuumatsu crew is. Even before Neji and Hinata show up, that is–though the Hyuuga chancellor’s missing daughter and her first cousin is pretty interesting. Like, he definitely knows that Shino–the nameless Teacher of the Will of Fire–is the grandson of the Aburame chancellor. He probably knows that Shikako Heijo is in fact Shikako Nara, the Nara moon minister’s daughter. He probably also knows that–while the Inuzuka have been hit hard by the war–Kiba is the alpha’s son.

… I don’t think he knows about Naruto mostly because NOBODY is supposed to know about Naruto. (Except, you know, Kakashi and Jiraiya, probably)… and I don’t know if I want to go with my once-considered idea of TenTen actually being Danzo’s granddaughter via a disowned/runaway child but Sasuke definitely doesn’t know that, either.

The point is, Sasuke knows many secrets about the crew that they don’t necessarily know about each other and he lives in their starboard shuttle enjoying the entertainment. Obviously, he helps out when it’s needed, but he doesn’t volunteer his aid. Given his own adolescence of watching masked people return to The Org’s HQ and make jokes about assassinating people or disclosing their for various crimes, Sasuke finds the shenanigans the Shuumatsu crew get up to absolutely hilarious.

Of course, once the Hyuuga cousins show up and Ino points them in the direction of Tsunade, it starts to get much less fun. He’s not going to bail–the reason for which has less to do with him getting the Shuumatsu as his official mission, and more to do with how he’s actually fond of the crew–but now he’s got to defend the closest thing to home he’s had since ROOT destroyed his planet.

~

Ask Box Event Still Open!

Something that struck me the first time I watched Moana was how similar the spiral on the boat’s sail was to the Uzumaki Spiral; they both look like a crashing wave if you look at them with the right mindset.

Given the importance of the ocean to both island cultures, its not surprising that both utilize spirals as their symbol of mystical badassery. But now that you bring it up, I’m imagining Uzushio also being a voyager society and that is SO DOPE?!

Like. I shouldered my way into a rant about how the Uchiha clan probably isn’t as extinct as it seems on paper and I’ve always had so many overflowing feels about Uzushio, so this is a FANTASTIC possible solution to that, anon, so thanks!

Because. Just. Obviously, a good chunk of Uzushio did die. But maybe not as many as we think. Maybe some of them did flee to the mainland, leading to the smattering of Uzushio descendants that we know from canon (and some that we don’t necessarily know–but I have separate headcanons for that). But what if the rest of them just left?

Maybe at first, they hid. Even if their barrier failed to stop the incursion from Mist (though I follow @blackkatmagic​’s theory on Danzo being involved in some internal sabotage there) there’s no way NO ONE was able to get to some kind of failsafe shelters for noncombatants. Konoha’s “secret” shelters/bunkers inside the Hokage mountain cannot be the only kind of fortified fallback.

So maybe they hid. They hid for as long as they could, for as long as their supplies would last. They waited for Konoha to send reinforcements or aid or anything that their alliance should have guaranteed for them. But nothing. Because Danzo(╬ಠ益ಠ)

And so, because they were mostly noncombatants–scared but all that remained of Uzushio–they decided to leave. They decided to revive their voyaging ways that had been nearly forgotten when Konoha was founded, when Konoha had falsely promised eternal sisterhood. Some of the noncombatants were elders who–while they may not physically kept their voyaging skills–still remembered the lessons that their elders had passed down. And so the remnants of Uzushio fled the Elemental Nations entirely, forsaking the continent that had forsaken them first.

Until, maybe, news of an Uzumaki–powerful, yes, but kind and determined and passionate–spreads even beyond the Elemental Nations. To where the flotilla of Uzushio can hear and begin to consider voyaging back home.