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.

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. 😀

Down Every Road: Or, Some Ways Shikako and Sasuke Get Together, 2/? (2016-06-06)

jacksgreysays:

(two: hunter and nukenin)

She couldn’t have stopped him.

Maybe it’s something she’d always known, albeit subconsciously, still so aware of her circumstances, of the future she only knew as fiction.

Some things cannot be changed.

She stopped him from going to Orochimaru–oh, that was the easy part. What is some stranger with false promises in comparison to his team–his friends? How could poisonous words and double-edged power ever compare to their history of trusting each other and facing dangers together, side by side?

No, that was the easy part. This Sasuke–her Sasuke, the Sasuke that she tied to herself and to Naruto with delicate strands of loyalty and friendship and vulnerability–would never leave Konoha for Orochimaru.

But that doesn’t mean he would never leave for a different reason. And if Orochimaru–some stranger who only ever spoke to Sasuke once, and in a fight at that–couldn’t match their importance as Sasuke’s teammates, then how would their short time together as friends compare to his clan? To blood and to revenge and to finally putting old ghosts to rest.

Sasuke wouldn’t leave Konoha–leave her–for Orochimaru. But for Itachi? For family? To fulfill the only goal he’s ever allowed himself to have?

Sasuke goes. Shikako stays.

She has never felt so insignificant in her life.

She thinks maybe the worst part about all of this is that she still doesn’t know what she should have done instead. If she handled it wrong, or if there just never was a right way to go about it. An imaginary series of actions and words that would have resulted in a bearable fall out.

But she had tried, at least, to prepare Sasuke for the truth, to minimize the impact. Little hints and whispered warnings; should she have done more?

Could she even have done so? Danzo waiting and watching, Sai sent years before he was meant to appear. Sasuke made paranoid by her own, seemingly inexplicable, suspicions. Had she made it worse instead?

The truth would have come out, one way or another. That at least she couldn’t and wouldn’t change. She had even tried to reveal it on her own–the most tenuous connections she could make, grasping at threads and hoping they wouldn’t snap–but not without risking her own secret.

And maybe that’s what the problem was. She knew everything there was to know about Sasuke–knew him better than he knew himself, even–but she hadn’t been willing to give him anything of herself. She was always holding back: maybe he could sense that.

Maybe it was easy for him to let go because she had never given him anything to keep.

When the truth behind the Uchiha Massacre is revealed, to say things went south would be a vast understatement.

Of course, things went differently this time around than she remembers. Or perhaps the political fall out wasn’t worth the ink on paper, especially not in an action-packed story loved for it’s characters.

But, unsurprisingly, there was turmoil amongst the clans–for obvious reasons, Danzo’s plots leading to nauseating implications. Even if she isn’t the clan heir, she had gotten tangled up in her family’s reactions–her father had been jounin commander, then, too. Had heard rumors of the Uchiha clan’s discontent, but hadn’t realized the extent of it, hadn’t been included in the response.

That relief–and how horrifying, that she had ever considered the opposite to even feel relieved–had been a slight breath, not even a sigh, before again she had been swept up in the consequences.

Clan politics is one thing, but for Sasuke? It was only ever going to be personal.

Sasuke goes. Shikako stays.

But only long enough to prepare herself–learn and train and plan. Maybe she couldn’t have stopped him, maybe some things cannot be changed.

Maybe it’s too late to reach out, to offer herself to him and hope that their brief shared history–moments of honesty and scraps of affection and their bond of trust, strained as it has become–will be enough to make him come back.

But she’ll be damned if she isn’t going to at least try.

~

A/N: So it’s… not really how they get together so much as… Shikako chases down Sasuke. Actually, it’s not even that either… but it still works, I think?

For @book14reader who wanted “regrets” and all I could think of was, well, she couldn’t save him completely: Orochimaru is one thing, but family? How could she compete against that? Especially Itachi. But even Obito/Madara are technically his family, too.

And I know, the style’s not the same as the first installment, but it really seemed to flow better like this and, well, considering each installment is basically separate, I don’t HAVE to make each part the same.

I will add this to ao3… later.

Further Down Road Two, (2016-07-25)

There’s always been something about Shikako.

Something between him and Shikako, to be more specific. Not. Not romantic. Not really. (Not yet?) But something…

It’s different than what’s between her and Naruto, though it’s similar in a way. The three of them intertwined.

If Naruto is the flames of a Grand Fireball, then Sasuke is the shuriken hidden within, and Shikako the shadow that stretches behind their enemies.

He didn’t need to be guided and encouraged like Naruto; he and Shikako are–not opposites, but not the same–complements, maybe, set on paths that wind around each other. Different trees in the same forest.

Equals, at least.

He thought the thing between them was trust.

She said wait. He asked why.

She wouldn’t answer.

He thinks that’s when it all started falling apart.

He thinks about regret and failure and betrayal. (He’s always thinking about that) Usually it’s featuring That Man and That Night, but lately it’s been about more recent decisions. (Mistakes.)

Maybe the worst part isn’t that she knew and didn’t tell him. Maybe the worst part is that as he left, she understood.

Second children of the clan head–similar but not the same. If it had been her clan, what would she have done?

She had known the entire time that the true killer of his clan was sitting secure in Konoha, his influence stretching throughout the village. She had suspected so early on, but hadn’t warned him at all.

He trusts her enough to know that it wasn’t out of ill will. Knows that her clan wasn’t involved in the destruction of his clan. But she still hadn’t told him the truth.

Did she not trust him to keep it a secret? Did she not trust him to watch her back? Did she not trust him to handle the truth?

Had she ever trusted him?

In all of Konoha, she was the most important to him. That still holds, even despite the strained thing between them.

But fractured trust and friendship doesn’t hold a candle to family and revenge. Nothing ever has, nothing ever will.

One man ruined Konoha for all the Uchiha.

One girl, no matter how impressive or important, cannot make up for it.

But she chases him. Their eyes meet. They fight.

She speaks, but it’s nothing like Naruto’s sermons. It’s facts and reasoning and logic, but no less emotional for it. His teammate’s suspicions finally out in the open.

The answers he asked for, a little too late.

Or is it?

Can he change his path once more? Can he return to when they were complements instead of at crossroads? Can trust be repaired?

She says wait. He asks why.

This time, she answers.

~

A/N: For the anon who wanted Shikako meeting up with missing-nin Sasuke… but I guess this is more like vague rantings from Sasuke’s POV instead…

I’ll add this to ao3 later?

Down Every Road: Or, Some Ways Shikako and Sasuke Get Together, 3/? (2016-06-11)

(three: ANBU partners)

ANBU are trained in pairs–this, at least, Danzo did right in his perversion, ROOT.

ANBU candidates are inducted in pairs. Share a call sign and a mask design. They are taught together, fight together; succeed or fail together.

Live and breath and die together.

At least, until they leave ANBU.

But even then…

How could anything or anyone compare after that?

Trainees Mouse aren’t the youngest ANBU trainees in Konoha’s history, nor are they the strongest or smartest or the ones with most potential. No, Konoha has seen its fair share of genii, and while Trainees Mouse might be on the list, they are certainly not the top of the list.

But they are… something. Something interesting and compelling and powerful, just waiting to be unleashed.

Or smothered completely before their prime.

Or appropriated for someone else’s benefit.

The problem with being famous is that, when it comes to being part of an organization where anonymity is the key to success, all sorts of actions become all the more difficult.

Never mind faces and names–if an enemy combatant doesn’t recognize Nara shadow jutsu or instant-touch fuinjutsu, they must have been living under a rock for the past few months. And even then–Iwa has been fairly obsessive when it comes to gathering information about Konoha’s budding fuinjutsu master.

“I’ll never be allowed on the field,” Shikako groans, all but collapsing to the ground, body cover in all sorts of new aches. For now, Raccoon-taichou allows it, but only because even he must be bored of knocking her around the training room so easily. Taijutsu is not her best skill; and its for that reason why she’s being drilled in it.

“Don’t say that,” Sasuke mutters, dropping into a crouch beside her and rearranging her so her muscles won’t seize up in an awkward position. “If you can’t go out on the field, I’ll never get to, either. And that was the whole point of me joining ANBU.”

Shikako groans again, a wordless thing muffled into the crook of her elbow, before picking herself back up and readying herself for another round of getting her ass kicked.

The worst thing is? She asked for this.

Shikako really shouldn’t be complaining, because it’s true: Sasuke’s only chance of leaving Konoha again–barring the sudden and definitive death of Orochimaru–is by being ANBU.

There are no such limitations on her. In fact, due to her reputation and showing during the Grass Chuunin Exams, Shikako might very well be better off going on missions with her own face and name. She knows there have been some clients specifically requesting her, though due to the rank and nature of them, they’ve been politely redirected to other more suitable shinobi.

As far as the rest of the world knows, after Shikako’s sudden sky-rocket to the rank of special jounin, she’s been set aside as inactive for some much needed training. And, well, they’re not wrong. She does actually do shifts in Intel and train with the other sensors and both she and Sasuke have morning kenjutsu practice with Kakashi-sensei. But mostly?

That’s all just a cover for her real training to become ANBU.

Even within ANBU there’s a hierarchy:

There are the ones who are in it only for a year; chuunin hoping to get some experience, a quick and dirty way to qualify for a promotion.

There are the ones who–knowing they’ll never become jounin, and certainly not one of the elites ones with their names whispered in fear and awe–devote themselves until they break.

And then are the ones who, despite the masks and the codenames, become legends unto themselves.

ANBU Wolf was one.

So it’s no surprise that everyone watches his students with such expectant and interested eyes.

Everyone. Even the unwanted ones.

Shikako knows, more than most, how poorly Sasuke reacts to things being kept secret from him.

But she also understands, more than anyone, that some secrets do need to stay secret. At least for a while.

And so, until then, Shikako will do her part to keep them from her partner. Unless her guilt gets to her first.

Or Danzo gets to them both.

They make it through training. Through monstrous taijutsu spars and sleep-deprivation tactics. They memorize the entirety of ANBU’s codes and hand signals and protocols, undergo poison resistance treatments and pain tolerance augmentation. They survive and thrive and make it through completely.

Sasuke has increased his jutsu lexicon to respectable levels and Shikako has fended off Danzo’s overtures to join ROOT at least half a dozen times. Truly, there is no better measure of success, and so when it’s time for them to officially become ANBU she can’t help but be eager.

“Your new codename is Sheep,” Raccoon-taichou says, presenting Sasuke with his new mask. Despite the cuddly name, it does look rather fierce–or at least, now that she’s learned to interpret the swirling lines of color. There is the general shape of a face, and spirals at the temple to represent horns. A ram, maybe, which is not so bad.

Sasuke steps back, settling his new mask on his face, so she can step forward.

Raccoon-taichou holds out her new mask and startles, a minute twitch of his shoulders; in anyone else, that’d probably be a full-body judder and him dropping the mask.

He is silent for a moment.

“Taichou?” Shikako prompts, concerned but wary.

Again, he startles, an almost imperceptible shake of his head.

“Your new codename is Weasel,” he says, holding out the mask.

She almost doesn’t want to put it on. She can feel the way Sasuke has tensed at the name, knows her shoulders are just as tight.

This is Danzo’s last move, but it’s a good one. Terrible, but smart. A simple way to put a strain on their partnership, but easily within his means and something he can plausibly deny.

But she will not let this last shot in the dark hurt her, will not give in to him. She takes the mask and the name, turns to her partner and nods.

They can get through this. They can get through anything, so long as they are together.

~

A/N: I don’t know what Yamato/Tenzo’s ANBU call sign is, but I’ve decided on Raccoon if that’s okay.

For anonymous who wanted some Shikasuke and Stress… though I didn’t really get into the feelings of it so much as I just blathered on about ANBU. Buuut hopefully my point has gotten across. 🙂

Hey JackSGreyson! This is the anon that requested all of those Shikasuke snippets. I love what you wrote so I want to thank your talented self. Thank you! And I also love the hunter and nukenin verse (hoping that you would continue with that – Shikako meeting up with missing-nin Sasuke by chance). Oh, and I hope you still write about Grass Chunin Exam in Down Every Road verse. Thank you.

Hiya and you’re welcome! I’m glad that you enjoy my writing! 😀

I will try to do a Further Down Road Two, though I’m not sure how long that will take me to get to (especially given how, you know, I have a lot of other Shikasuke prompts to get through :P). As for the Grass Chuunin Exam…

Oh man, okay, so… I mean it’s probably been… not obvious per se but rather conspicuous how I keep trying to avoid doing the Grass Chuunin Exam (from now on referred to as GCE) and it’s. Well. I guess part of me is just like it’s still so new to me somehow?

It’s not like the Konoha Chuunin Exams which everyone and their grandmother knows by heart and so any changes to it is almost welcomed AND completely understood. Like, in the first Hail To The Queen installment I was pretty damn vague about what Shikako actually did and yet, somehow, people understood exactly what I was trying to convey.

With GCE I’m a liiiittle reluctant to change things but, at the same time, I wouldn’t want to not change things. If… that makes any sense whatsoever. Like, okay, witchbreaker’s The Grass Chunin Exams series is absolutely lovely because it does explore alternate POVs in depth and with such skilled turns of phrase that I don’t want to do a similar Sasuke POV of it and fall short.

And also because that doesn’t really appeal to me writing-wise. A lot of my writing is–”well what if this small thing was tweaked, let’s explore that”–and yes there are some introspective parts but it’s in reaction to those tweaks, you know?

I have maybe ONE idea for how to do a Shikasuke GCE fic but at the same time I’m reluctant to make any changes to the canon DoS GCE because Silver Queen crafted it soooo perfectly I almost don’t want to break it. 

Also, I guess subconsciously my brain has linked the GCE with my Shikako x Gaara feels seeing is how that is what inspired my very first DoS recursive fic… it’s a little hard to untangle that, you know? Like–gosh, their fight against each other? And even the night before? *dreamy sigh*

Uh… sorry, I didn’t mean to rant at you… I mean, I’ll probably do it–that one Shikasuke GCE fic, that is–but it’s kind of on par with my Hail To The Queen series? Like–pretty far out there in terms of AU. And it might take me while to get into the right Sasuke headspace for it–because this is very distinctly DoS Sasuke still, not my weird un-traumatized baby Sasuke from Even Further Down Road One.

Down Every Road: Or, Some Ways Shikako and Sasuke Get Together, 2/? (2016-06-06)

(two: hunter and nukenin)

She couldn’t have stopped him.

Maybe it’s something she’d always known, albeit subconsciously, still so aware of her circumstances, of the future she only knew as fiction.

Some things cannot be changed.

She stopped him from going to Orochimaru–oh, that was the easy part. What is some stranger with false promises in comparison to his team–his friends? How could poisonous words and double-edged power ever compare to their history of trusting each other and facing dangers together, side by side?

No, that was the easy part. This Sasuke–her Sasuke, the Sasuke that she tied to herself and to Naruto with delicate strands of loyalty and friendship and vulnerability–would never leave Konoha for Orochimaru.

But that doesn’t mean he would never leave for a different reason. And if Orochimaru–some stranger who only ever spoke to Sasuke once, and in a fight at that–couldn’t match their importance as Sasuke’s teammates, then how would their short time together as friends compare to his clan? To blood and to revenge and to finally putting old ghosts to rest.

Sasuke wouldn’t leave Konoha–leave her–for Orochimaru. But for Itachi? For family? To fulfill the only goal he’s ever allowed himself to have?

Sasuke goes. Shikako stays.

She has never felt so insignificant in her life.

She thinks maybe the worst part about all of this is that she still doesn’t know what she should have done instead. If she handled it wrong, or if there just never was a right way to go about it. An imaginary series of actions and words that would have resulted in a bearable fall out.

But she had tried, at least, to prepare Sasuke for the truth, to minimize the impact. Little hints and whispered warnings; should she have done more?

Could she even have done so? Danzo waiting and watching, Sai sent years before he was meant to appear. Sasuke made paranoid by her own, seemingly inexplicable, suspicions. Had she made it worse instead?

The truth would have come out, one way or another. That at least she couldn’t and wouldn’t change. She had even tried to reveal it on her own–the most tenuous connections she could make, grasping at threads and hoping they wouldn’t snap–but not without risking her own secret.

And maybe that’s what the problem was. She knew everything there was to know about Sasuke–knew him better than he knew himself, even–but she hadn’t been willing to give him anything of herself. She was always holding back: maybe he could sense that.

Maybe it was easy for him to let go because she had never given him anything to keep.

When the truth behind the Uchiha Massacre is revealed, to say things went south would be a vast understatement.

Of course, things went differently this time around than she remembers. Or perhaps the political fall out wasn’t worth the ink on paper, especially not in an action-packed story loved for it’s characters.

But, unsurprisingly, there was turmoil amongst the clans–for obvious reasons, Danzo’s plots leading to nauseating implications. Even if she isn’t the clan heir, she had gotten tangled up in her family’s reactions–her father had been jounin commander, then, too. Had heard rumors of the Uchiha clan’s discontent, but hadn’t realized the extent of it, hadn’t been included in the response.

That relief–and how horrifying, that she had ever considered the opposite to even feel relieved–had been a slight breath, not even a sigh, before again she had been swept up in the consequences.

Clan politics is one thing, but for Sasuke? It was only ever going to be personal.

Sasuke goes. Shikako stays.

But only long enough to prepare herself–learn and train and plan. Maybe she couldn’t have stopped him, maybe some things cannot be changed.

Maybe it’s too late to reach out, to offer herself to him and hope that their brief shared history–moments of honesty and scraps of affection and their bond of trust, strained as it has become–will be enough to make him come back.

But she’ll be damned if she isn’t going to at least try.

~

A/N: So it’s… not really how they get together so much as… Shikako chases down Sasuke. Actually, it’s not even that either… but it still works, I think?

For @book14reader who wanted “regrets” and all I could think of was, well, she couldn’t save him completely: Orochimaru is one thing, but family? How could she compete against that? Especially Itachi. But even Obito/Madara are technically his family, too.

And I know, the style’s not the same as the first installment, but it really seemed to flow better like this and, well, considering each installment is basically separate, I don’t HAVE to make each part the same.

I will add this to ao3… later.

Down Every Road: Or, Some Ways Shikako and Sasuke Get Together, 1/? (2016-04-09)

jacksgreysays:

jacksgreysays:

(one: arranged marriage)

Shikaku’s daughter is a quiet creature. Content, but silent; solitary. She would rather read books or watch the grazing deer or follow in his and Yoshino’s footsteps than go outside and play with the other children.

It’s nothing to be worried about: Shikamaru is much the same, switching shogi for books and deer for clouds, though he, at least, has Chouji. Shikaku had been self-contained as a child, too, it is the way of most Nara children, he thinks, though he remembers, hazily, how Ikoma had been a little more active.

Eventually Shikako will come out of her shell–or perhaps she won’t, there is no rushing these things, pressure will only make the matter worse–Shikaku is prepared to be patient with his daughter.

Patience is not the problem.

“You want… what?” Shikaku asks, blindsided for the first time in three years–the last time had been when the ambassador from Cloud double crossed them and tried to kidnap the Hyuuga heiress–and by his own daughter no less.

His tiny, quiet daughter, who looks up at him, head tilted slightly, as if he’s the one acting oddly. “An engagement,” she says, with an odd twist to her mouth, as if the very word is bitter on her tongue, “to Sasuke Uchiha.”

He looks at Yoshino who also has an expression of bewilderment on her face.

“Shikako, sweetheart,” she says, stalling for time, trying to parse her thoughts, doing a better job than he is at the moment. “Just because you have a crush on this boy, it doesn’t mean you need to marry him. You can,” she pauses, glances at Shikaku, finding some sort of comfort from him, “Start small, honey, try being his friend first.”

It’s sound advice, truly; it probably would have ended the conversation if this were in fact a discussion about a girl with a crush on a boy.

It is not.

“I don’t have a crush on him,” Shikako says, entirely honest, no hint of embarrassed denial in her tone, “I don’t want this for me, I want this for…”

She drifts off. Neither he or Yoshino want to interrupt, and so they stay silent as she thinks. Searching for the right words.

“It’s the smart thing to do.”

[She is only a child, an untrained child, but what is the point of having this knowledge if not to save lives? She cannot stop this as a shinobi, not with her chakra hypersensitivity and her less than a year’s worth of training, not against S-class ninja who would sooner kill her than look at her.

But in this world she is not only a child. She is a Nara. The clan head’s only daughter, and that means something.

The Uchiha were isolated, seething and resentful, planning for a coup against a village that had already betrayed them. But what if she could change that? What if somehow, she could bring them back into the fold? The Uchiha were one of the founding clans of Konoha, and they just have to be reminded of this fact.

She is a Nara, and with her comes her clan. And where her clan goes, the Akimichi and the Yamanaka follow. And four clans is enough, has to be enough. Danzo cannot kill them all, not when the Akimichi are so deeply entrenched in the civilian sectors. Not when the Yamanaka pervade every branch of the shinobi forces. Not when her father is the Jounin Commander, as his father was before him, as, likely, his son will be after him.

She can do this. This isn’t something that requires chakra and jutsu and strength she doesn’t yet have and might never get. And, anyway, marriage is such a small thing to sacrifice to save so many lives and to prevent so much grief and hardship. It may not have to be a sacrifice at all. Sasuke, as she knows him from the past, was a product of his tragedy, twisted and angry and bitter but still with some moments of kindness and courage. Sasuke as she knows him now is just a little boy, but there is still kindness in him, and maybe some courage. More smiles, that’s for sure.

She will marry him and maybe they’ll become friends, maybe they’ll grow to love one another, maybe they’ll be happy together. But even if they don’t, even if they are cold to each other, civil colleagues forced to live together, then she’d still do it.

It’s the smart thing to do.]

~

A/N: Well… that was a quicker turn around time than I thought it would be. Also… I was supposed to go to sleep three hours ago but… oh well.

This is for you, anon, who wanted some Shikako/Sasuke. But that’s not all! As you can tell from the title I will be doing more installments of this in the future. Probably not as quickly–but it will definitely happen! Though, I’d definitely appreciate some Shikasuke-specific prompts to help with future installments

Title (or at least, the main title, not the subtitle) is from the song “The Only Dream” by Tyrone & Elina because it’s one of the few love songs in my favorites playlist and also it kind of works really well for the Shikasuke ship. Not this particular ficlet, but the general vibe I get of the ship from DoS.

Further Down Road One, (2016-04-15)

(shogi)

Someone is testing his patience–unfortunately, Danzo doesn’t know who.

His plan to destroy the Uchiha and steal their Sharingan–justified by preventing a coup, of course–has been thwarted by a single engagement. Which ought to point out the culprit as that upstart Nara clan head, especially given his tenacious tracking of supplies Danzo has appropriated for ROOT, except there is more:

The Merchant’s Guild, primarily a civilian organization, has begun making inquiries into some of Danzo’s less legitimate businesses–though they are several times removed from himself. The Intel Division, who aren’t worth the title shinobi, are enacting a stricter review over mission assignments and reports, restricting his soldiers’ movements.

The Uchiha Police Force–yet another reason to exterminate those overpowered menaces–have received anonymous tips, turning certain deaths from “accidental” to “potential foul play.” Most are easily avoided, but some lead directly to the younger recruits recently orphaned on his orders.

It is too many instances to be Shikaku Nara, beyond his scope as Nara clan head and Jounin Commander. And yet, the timing is far too suspicious to be merely coincidental.

Someone is testing his patience.

[She is still a Nara, no matter what she’s consigned herself to be in the future, and there are some parts of her heritage that she refuses to lose. Shogi may seem like such a small thing, but it is a connection she refuses to sever. She will remember these soft, lazy days with her parents and her brother fondly.

Also, the lessons are useful.

She has stepped into a shogi game spanning the entire village. Danzo has his political contacts, his wealth, and ROOT as his pieces. In opposition are her clans–present and future–their allies, and herself.

Danzo is paranoid, increasingly so, but not enough to correctly guess the identity of his opponent.

Shikako is piece and player, both.]

(friendship)

He is so busy straddling the line between clan heir and loyal ANBU that when news of his little brother’s engagement finally makes it’s way through the fog of stress and desperation, Itachi is completely blindsided.

Shisui is, too, so it’s not like he has any high ground to stand on. “Your little sister in law is very cute.”

“Future sister in law,” Itachi says back, just to be contrary, “Also, she’s six.”

“Yeah, which is why I said cute; smart, too, quiet, though,” he smirks, “She reminds me of you, actually,” he says pointedly enough that Itachi meets his eyes in curiosity.

There is danger in speaking out loud, unsure of who may hear, and so Itachi and Shisui have developed their own silent language.

Shisui can’t actually be thinking about bringing a six year old into their counter conspiracy, can he?

“She’s six,” Itachi repeats out loud.

“And what were you doing when you were six?” Shisui responds, dryly, “Anyway, I’m not saying we do anything until you actually talk to her.”

Itachi hums noncommittally.

“Ask her about the engagement,” Shisui suggests, “about whose idea it was.”

[She isn’t really expecting to make friends, doesn’t have the time to, what with the silent war she’s undertaken. She has her brother, she doesn’t really need anyone else. And anyway, allies are one thing, but friends? Not likely.]

(cats)

Mikoto has always had a soft spot for Sasuke: he is her baby, after all, unlike Itachi who has the weight of Fugaku and the clan elder’s expectations. Which is why she keeps such a close eye on her daughter-in-law to be. Mikoto is not against the engagement–Shikako Nara is a good match for her youngest son, and a sweet girl from what she’s seen–but she’ll be damned if her baby ends up in a marriage that makes him miserable.

As it is, perhaps she is too busy expecting the worst, focusing on Shikako instead of Sasuke, because he seems to be quite content with the engagement. Happy, even. Maybe even in love–though they are both only twelve and it is too early to say–at the very least, on the path to it.

Sasuke is her baby, so she was planning to pass down her summoning contract to him, but it appears as if he has other ideas:

“It’s an Uchiha contract,” Fugaku denies, never mind that it’s not even his decision to make, trying to divert his youngest son from this notion with a cold tone of voice.

But Sasuke holds his head up, standing firm against his father, and easily says, “Shikako will be my wife. She will be an Uchiha.”

The confidence, the devotion, the clear, pure conviction that he is right, that he will do this for his bride-to-be, no matter what his father–who might as well have been his god–says. It doesn’t matter what Mikoto thinks of Shikako Nara, not really, because she knows enough about the girl from this single moment to know. Sasuke may not love her yet, but he’s definitely on the way: as far as Mikoto is concerned, if Shikako is worthy of that, then she can be worthy Mikoto’s other legacy.

[She knows there is a deer summons. Knows that, because of the engagement, she will never be allowed to sign it. She may be a Nara for now, but she will not be in the future, and and children she has will be Uchiha not Nara. The deer contract should remain in the clan, she knows that, it’s enough that she still gets to learn shadow jutsu.

It’s a minor thing, anyway, summoning. There are powerful shinobi who don’t have summoning contracts and it’s not like she was guaranteed to have the deer summons, anyway. It was just a spare thought. Something that would have been nice to have–not something she needs. She resigns herself, something she’s been doing a lot of, to never being a summoner.

Except Sasuke changes that. His mother has a contract, and while it was originally meant to be for him, he’s convinced her to offer it to Shikako. And that still doesn’t guarantee anything–maybe the cats won’t like her, maybe they’ll reject her as a summoner–but it’s far more than she was expecting.

Cats are not deer, and being an Uchiha bride is not the same as being a Nara daughter, but it’s more than what she was expecting. More than enough.]

~

A/N: @book14reader and I had a very lengthy discussion (transcript here) about the consequences of a Shikasuke engagement. Primarily? The Problem of Danzo. And while I still basically sidestepped the issue, I thought it was important enough to brush over. In a way, this AU’s ultimate Big Bad isn’t Akatsuki or Madara, it’s Danzo. So… there you go.

Also, the other two were just kind of cute thoughts… and two POVs who I probably wouldn’t be able to do otherwise? Given… the obvious.

Even Further Down Road One (2016-06-04)

(friendship–jealousy)

“Little brother,” Itachi says, barely a warning before he musses Saskue’s hair. Now that he’s a genin with the forehead protector to go with it, his brother can no longer do his usual greeting flick. But Itachi has adapted easily, finding another way to simultaneously express fondness and casually exert dominance.

“Aniki!” he complains, trying to straighten the mess.

“Little sister. Naruto-kun,” Itachi continues, instead, gently tugging on Shikako’s braid. Which is, frankly, unfair. The idiot also gets treated to a hair ruffle, but considering his hair is always a mess, it hardly makes a difference.

“Itachi,” Shikako says with a smile, “What are you doing here?”

Here being Team Seven’s usual training grounds, sans their jounin sensei since no one knows where Kakashi might be at any given point in time. Certainly not where he’s supposed to be.

“We both just got back from missions and we wanted to check up on our favorite genin,” Itachi answers, with a smile of his own.

An evil smile.

“We?” Sasuke repeats, dread already pooling in his stomach.

“Sasuke-chan!” A terrible voice rings out before, yet again, a hand ruins his just neatened hair.

Shisui.

Fortunately, the offender moves on to a different victim. “Naruto! What embarrassing things has my baby cousin been up to?” Never mind–it’s unfortunate.

“Shisui!” Shikako says, delight in her tone and eyes. She doesn’t even flinch away when the bastard pulls her into a hug. “I thought you weren’t coming back for another week.”

“Well,” Shisui half shrugs, one arm staying around Shikako’s shoulders. Unnecessarily. “I couldn’t just let my adorable little sister languish without her favorite Uchiha.”

Okay, that’s it.

“Go away!” Sasuke shouts, just barely resisting the urge to physically shove Shisui away because that might jostle Shikako with his proximity. “Go bother your own team!” Because maybe that’ll work. “And she’s not your sister,” he adds.

“Little brother,” Itachi sighs, shaking his head in disappointment, “There’s no need to be rude.”

Shisui, infuriatingly, just smirks. “It’s okay, Itachi. I understand,” he nods, smirk growing wider, “Puberty.”

The inarticulate noise that claws its way out of his throat does more to ward off his brother and cousin, because–after yet another set of hair ruffling–they leave.

“Jeez, Sasuke,” Naruto says, because he never met a situation that he didn’t decide to aggravate immediately, “What’s wrong with you?”

Shikako is too tactful to ask, but looks equally interested in his answer. Sasuke tries not to blush, already embarrassed at how easily flustered he was.

“Nothing,” he mutters, “Let’s just spar already.”

Hopefully by the time Kakashi arrives, she’ll have forgotten his complete lack of cool.

(shogi–respect)

Sasuke has known–ever since they were children at the Academy, even before their engagement–that Shikako is a genius.

Sure, it probably started as a childish, self-absorbed acknowledgement–anyone smarter than him had to be a genius by default–but now that they are older, Sasuke has realized just how much of a genius his fianceé truly is.

She is constantly working on one project or another, always improving herself to tackle even bigger challenges. She sees beyond what everyone else can, always three steps ahead. So why would she do this?

“I’m not going to fight my brother,” she repeats, after returning to the viewing area, after forfeiting to Shikamaru of all people–the laziest person Sasuke has ever met.

He doesn’t understand. Even if her relationship with her brother is different from  his relationship with Itachi–which is, admittedly, probably more of a one-sided competition than a true sibling rivalry–that doesn’t mean she was only left with the one option. The preliminaries are hardly death matches, and it’s not as if she couldn’t have at least sparred against Shikamaru. Chances are, if it had required even a modicum of effort, Shikamaru would have been the one to forfeit first.

Sasuke doesn’t actually say so out loud, wouldn’t want to verbally undermine her decision in front of so many people, but she can probably see the confusion in the slant of his eyebrows, the twist of his mouth. Shikako’s always been able to read him so easily.

She smiles back at him, a poor attempt at reassurance given the tightness in the corners of her eyes. He likes to think he can read her just as well.

“Who knows the next time my brother will ever get close enough to a promotion?” She tries to joke, and while that’s enough to put off the others, it’s not enough for him.

Softer, so only their team can hear, she adds, “There’s a different battle I need to prepare for,” her tone tamped down to something serious, almost concerned.

He doesn’t understand, and neither does Naruto from the look on his face, but Kakashi seems to. For now, at least, Sasuke will trust their jounin sensei on this matter–at least until Shikako is ready to reveal more.

Somehow, even though she’s the only member of their team not part of the third round, Shikako trains harder than either of he or Naruto during the month long gap. Sasuke’s time is split between Itachi and Kakashi, Naruto’s split between Kakashi and some weird old pervert he randomly happened across, apparently, but Shikako? Has been participating in training with Kakashi, Itachi, Naruto’s old perverted mentor, Shisui, her parents, and even Sasuke’s mother. He would call it major overkill if it didn’t seem so important to her.

Just what is she preparing for, anyway?

The answer comes soon enough when, in the middle of his fight against Gaara, a genjutsu falls over the arena.

An invasion–by Sand and the snake bastard who tried to bite him in the Forest of Death–what the hell?

Sasuke goes after Gaara and his siblings because, well, he’s already fighting him so why not? Shikako and a bunch of the other Rookie Nine appear not long after, and if he weren’t so glad to see her, he’d probably be confused as to how easily she steps up and takes charge of the situation. As is, he’s still pretty damned impressed. Also, proud.

Now he understands why she forfeited during the preliminaries. An exam? A promotion? Those don’t mean anything in the grand scheme of things.

This is the Shikako he knows–observing everything, three steps ahead and already reacting. A genius.

And he’s going to marry that girl.

(cats–affection)

Usually when Shikako and his mother train together, Sasuke tries not to hang around. He doesn’t want to distract them and, plus, he gave up his right to the cat summons. Also, sometimes, their training devolves into his mother regaling Shikako with baby stories which he’d rather not be around for. Bad enough that she hears them; if he’s not there to witness it, at least he has plausible deniability.

But given that they do train at the house and he, well, lives there, he can’t always avoid it.

Thankfully this time the two of them are actually summoning cats.

“Summoning Jutsu!” Shikako calls out, a familiar pattern of ink spreading from her fingertips. The chakra smoke is minimal, because Shikako has always had excellent chakra control, but the result is still… less than ideal.

A kitten mewls curiously, before shakily walking around.

Shikako sighs.

“Well,” his mother says diplomatically, “At least this one’s capable of moving.”

Shikako sighs again, even louder. Disheartened, she sits: legs crossed, elbows on her knees, head propped in her hands. She watches the kitten makes its sluggish trek across the floor.

“You’re actually doing quite well,” his mother tries again, “I didn’t even start learning how to summon until I was older than you.”

It doesn’t appear to be working, even though Shikako nods politely.

And it’s not as if Sasuke thinks he can do any better, but he hates seeing her so dejected. So he takes a seat beside her, scoops up the kitten, and holds it out to her. He tries to smile at her: it’s only strained as it is because he’s risking hearing really embarrassing childhood stories about himself and also the kitten apparently hates him and is using it’s tiny claws and teeth on his hands. What the hell, it might be breaking skin.

Shikako understands, because she gives a soft chuckle before taking the summon from his hands. Unsurprisingly, it stops fighting, rubbing it’s face affectionately against her skin.

Sasuke doesn’t need to say anything: he just sits quietly at her side and lets her know he’s there for her, no matter what.

~

A/N: God, Sasuke, way to be SUPER obvious about how totally in love with Shikako you are! That’s embarrassing… 😀

For this anon–I tweaked the prompts a bit, but hopefully you’ll still enjoy this. But seriously, y’all need to let me go down the other roads already. 😛

I’ll upload this to ao3 later.

I’d love to see anon’s idea about Down Every Road!Grass Chunin Exams, because enraged and emotional Sasuke is always a delight to see. As for other prompts… (Can I just list a bunch? Pick & choose as you please) Some insight on their interactions; maybe Ino/Naruto, or Itachi seeing their mutual desire to protect Sasuke? Or maybe an older Sasuke on a long mission and sending a hawk summon with a letter or sumthing to Shikako? Basically anything is gr8, because Shikasuke is consuming my soul ;o;

Oh, wow, anon. This is a lot! Okay… let me see if I can unpack this:

1) enraged/emotional/protective Sasuke (does it have to be Grass Chuunin Exams?)

2-4) Ino, Naruto, and Itachi’s POV of Shikasuke

Or, alternatively,

5) Ino, Naruto, Itachi and Shikako bonding over being part of the “protect Sasuke” squad

Or, even more alternatively,

6) Ino, Naruto, and Itachi bonding over being part of the “get Shikako and Sasuke together” squad

And then finally,

7) long distance relationship Shikasuke (via letter writing and unamused summons, no doubt)

Did I get everything? Well, these all sound like pretty good ideas, anon, though I may make first prompt outside of the Grass Chuunin Exam context, if that’s okay.

Thanks! 😀

Hey Jack! For the continuation of Down Every Road, I have some prompts: 1) Sasuke gets jealous that some prince from some land or even Gaara are becoming too close to Shikako and gets grumpy. Shikako is just confused while Naruto is laughing. 2) the Grass Chunin Exam from this universe. 3) Shikako successfully learns how to summon the cats and shows Sasuke. Sasuke is proud. Thank you.

Hello anon!

I definitely like these prompts for an Even Further Down Road One installment, though I may tweak them a bit, if you don’t mind.

Thanks, anon, I know exactly what I want to do with these. 🙂