ask box event 5. things you didn’t say at all. for Stars Also Dream

Stars Also Dream, 5) things you didn’t say at all

Attachment is discouraged–no, worse than that–attachment is blasphemous.

And yet, what could the bond between master and padawan possibly be otherwise?

Still, you keep such questions to yourself. No need to cause complications for Master Bant, and you are reluctant to prove yourself anything less than the perfect student. (Pride, that’s blasphemous, too.)

The bond between you and Master Bant grow even as missions turn from tense assignments to fraught battles, the galaxy going to war. She teaches you negotiating and healing and fighting and how to tell when is the right time for each. She teaches you how to survive, she teaches you to be independent, she teaches you that sometimes the most important things are the ones left unsaid.

You never told Master Bant “thank you” because the relationship between master and padawan inherently revolves around teaching. It would be like thanking gravity for pulling you to the planet, or thanking the stars for burning bright in the void of space.

You also never told Master Bant “I love you.”

You didn’t have the words for it until long after Master Bant’s light had gone out.

The couple who find you–you and the wreckage of your emergency shuttle–stare at you with wide, kind, and concerned eyes, not a drop of fear in them.

How foolish. You could hurt them. So easily. Your lightsaber unlit but steady in your grip. You are mourning, ravaged with your grief, and you understand now how Jedi could fall to the Dark side. You are nothing more than your emotions, your loss, and these people mean nothing to you.

But they are kind and fearless–oblivious–they see only a crying child, and not the battle-hardened warrior you truly are.

But perhaps they aren’t entirely wrong, either. When the woman draws closer, labor rough hands gently wiping at your tears, you do not attack. You collapse into her embrace, body wracked with sobs, grip tightly, desperately, to the fabric of her clothes, aching to hold on.

A few days later, you erase this particular moment from their memories to keep them safe from your past–or to keep your past safe from them–but maybe, you think, in the future you will tell them the truth.

A few years later, another war of a smaller but no less horrific scale breaks out.

You are the last Kinokawa.

You have learned by now about keeping things to yourself. You know so well the poisonous coursing of regret in your heart. Words bitten back and left to fester because those who would hear them are no longer alive.

You want to tell your family. Or, rather, you don’t not want to tell them before it’s too late.

That deadline approaches, tensions rise, the familiar vanguard of war. Your family sent out to the front lines, in the thick of it, already scarred by the dangers you couldn’t shield them from. You have your youngest child to think of, but what kind of mother would you be if you didn’t do all you could to ensure the world Eerin grew up in were as safe and peaceful as could be?

Send me, send me, you do not ask, do not say.

You do not need to. You send yourself.

~

A/N: the last one isn’t really SAD canon compliant with the whole “post-Gelel Yoshino involves herself with the events of Episode IV” plot… probably it’s part of the post-Jashin!AU?

Also! In somewhat related news: I’ve maybe figured out how to get the DoS podfic onto apple podcasts/itunes? Still working on it–will keep everyone updated!

trailblazers, 10YL, tetsuki+sasagawa sibs, 32) things you said I wouldn’t understand

Trailblazers, 32) things you said I wouldn’t understand

Ryohei doesn’t let himself get distracted for long, despite how fun it is to spar with these strangers. He returns to wait in the hallway outside Tetsuki’s door, patient, if neither silent nor still.

He chatters at the door, exercising all the while–at first shadowboxing on his own, then drills with equipment as the Vongola staff catch on and set up the space for him. While unusual and against the aesthetics of the mansions, they do so without asking. Partially because Ryohei is one of the elite Guardians, but mostly because he is one of the nicest and they are fond of him.

And so Ryohei waits, because while he may not be as stubborn as Tetsuki, he’s equally as skilled at persevering.

Kyoko is the one that seeks out answers, handing the supervision of the medics over to Shamal who complains even though it’s his job. And anyway, the stranger that Tetsuki-nee-chan has sent out–Sakura-san, the healer–is doing an excellent job at showcasing new techniques to keep them busy.

Plus, Tetsuki is both family and Family; there aren’t many who are due as high priority.

She calls Kusakabe-senpai first. Mostly because even if Hibari-senpai had a phone–which she highly doubts–he certainly would never answer a call with it. A few minutes of polite small talk and careful maneuvering around the topic of Tetsuki and she finally gets connected to Hibari-senpai.

“What happened on that mission?” Kyoko demands, steamrolling over Hibari-senpai’s less than pleased greeting, “She won’t leave her room and she’s not letting anyone else in and she keeps… making strangers to send out in her place. As if that’s what we wanted instead of her to be okay!” She finishes in a frustrated shout before immediately shutting her mouth–Hibari-senpai might not be that hard-headed violent teenager anymore, but he certainly wouldn’t appreciate such disrespect.

Her frustration isn’t at him, anyway. Not really at Tetsuki-nee-chan either. Perhaps it’s not frustration at all, just concern.

Silence reigns on the other end of the line and for a moment, Kyoko thinks that perhaps Hibari-senpai has hung up or simply walked away from the phone letting the call run through, until he belatedly answers, “Ask the pineapple.”

Another silence reigns, Kyoko waiting for more, prepared to outlast Hibari-senpai–he Sasagawas can be patient in regards to important matters–when finally, reluctantly, Hibari-senpai asks, “Should I send Tetsu?”

Kyoko can easily imagine the fierce scowl on his face, but the offer to send his second in command away for an unknown length of time only shows how worried he is for Tetsuki-nee-chan as well.

“No, not yet. Kusakabe-senpai can stay with you for now. I’ll call again if–”

The dial tone plays back to her. Kyoko huffs, irritated, but internally acknowledges that probably was the best outcome for this call.

Really the only reason why she tried Hibari-senpai first despite the unlikely odds of it working is because he’s easier to find. Getting in contact with Mukuro is going to be a greater challenge. Alas, such is the way of Mists–never mind she herself partially has that very flame type.

The chain goes as such: Kyoko asks Fuuta-kun–main handler for Vongola’s Guardians–who connects her with Chikusa and Ken, who still act as bodyguards for Chrome, who then consults with Fran and, eventually, somehow sends a message Mukuro.

It’s about a month, all told, for Mukuro to respond, appearing in Vongola Mansion and acting as if he weren’t the most infuriating person Kyoko has ever had to deal with–especially when Tetsuki has yet to come out of room, sending out more and more strangers as the weeks pass.

By the time Mukuro arrives, both of the Sasagawa siblings are chomping at the bit, held back only by the thought that Mukuro might be able to help Tetsuki. So when they ask him what happened, neither of them are in the right headspace to comprehend his answer.

“She died,” he says with an almost careless shrug, eyeing the door where his fellow Guardian hides. “But she’s always had a small flicker of Mist Flames, so I was able to ensure she would come back.”

“You saved her life?” Ryohei asks, hopeful, almost thankful to Mukuro, not understanding. Kyoko stays quiet, because surely there’s more.

“No she definitely died,” Mukuro answers, almost laughing. When he turns to face them properly, his red eye practically glows, the six all the darker for it, “And then I sent her off to die five more times.”

team 7 living together scenario, 22) things you said after it was over

Team Seven Living Together, 22) things you said after it was over

They walk slowly, father and daughter, a leisurely pace through the warehouse district of Konoha. Members of the Nara clan walking slowly is not and unusual sight in the village, except that these particular members happen to be Nara clan head and his internationally acclaimed war hero daughter. Those who do recognize them stare in awe, some even stand at attention, saluting or bowing.

Shikako tries not to flinch each time, tries to hold her head high instead of ducking behind her father like the shy little girl she once was, but it’s difficult. Luckily, it doesn’t happen too often; the warehouse district is mostly empty save for the genin runners from the merchant district tasked with hauling scrolls of stock back and forth.

The streets empty further as they go deeper into the district, smaller warehouses less used or possible even fully abandoned. It’s here that Dad finally comes to a stop, nicking his thumb and swiping the blood over a fuinjutsu array on   one such warehouse door.

The security seal recognizes him–or his blood, at least–and unlocks. Dad pulls the door open with a creak of metal, the sound echoing. Though loud, it almost seems more of a yawn than a roar, a long slumbering beast stretching to awake.

The warehouse is empty of all but dust and rust, in great need of cleaning and modernizing, but there’s something about the space that still stirs something within her.

“Wow,” Shikako breathes, a smile stretching across her face.

Dad, quietly triumphant, asks, “So you’ll take it?”

“It’s perfect.”

Naruto comes home from the battlefield not quite a conquering hero, but a beloved figure nonetheless and a practical shoo-in for Nanadaime Hokage.

Of course, it could also be said that he doesn’t come home from the battlefield at all because, as it turns out, Naruto is technically homeless.

He laughs and smiles, hand scratching sheepishly at the back of his neck, but he emphatically refuses every offer of hospitality whether it be guest room, couch, or–alarmingly, three different times–a more innuendo laden offer of hospitality.

It’s not that Naruto is refusing out of pride–Shikako knows better.

“Can you help me with something?” she asks, a casual head tilt to her warehouse. In only a few short weeks, it’s already become the best place to find her at any given time.

“Of course, Shikako-chan!” Naruto agrees without even asking for details, ever so trusting and eager to give a hand to those who need it. She’d never betray his confidence in her, but a worse person would find it easy to do so.

The main space of the warehouse has been converted to a workshop, the main table covered with notes and a prototype of her newest project: a natural chakra circuit.

“You’re the only other sage I could ask about this,” Shikako explains, pointing out the flow of natural chakra and how it’s drawn in, cycled through, then emitted by the circuit. Naruto may not understand her notes, but when he syncs his chakra to the natural energy of the world around them he can feel it clearly. “And it’s just that I’ve got a mission starting tomorrow but I don’t want to leave this project unmonitored.” She pauses, as if considering, “I guess if you’re busy, I could just shut it down and try again when I come back–but then I’d have to restart, and–”

“No way! I can look after your stuff, Shikako-chan, believe it!” Naruto interrupts, grin wide and practically glowing at the prospect.

Shikako smiles back, “Thanks, Naruto,” she says and doesn’t feel at all guilty that she specifically created the circuit so she could bring him here, “It’d be best if you could stay with it overnight, too,” she instructs, guiding him to the back of the warehouse. It was originally meant for only basic amenities, but Shikako has fixed it up to be a fairly comfortable living space. “Sometimes when I have intense projects, I just sleep here instead of going all the way back to the Nara clan compound.”

Naruto’s grin begins to grow strained, a flicker of that same hesitance appearing.

“But I get it’s kind of messy,” she continues even though she knows for a fact that Naruto’s apartment was far messier, “So if you just want to use the loft, I’d understand. I was thinking about maybe starting a small garden up there, but you know me,” her shrug is casual, self-deprecating, and entirely calculated, “I’m not that good with plants.”

An almost devious gleam makes its way into Naruto’s eyes.

A week and a half later, Shikako returns from her mission and is only outwardly surprised to find that the loft has become a veritable forest. “I picked these for you,” Naruto says, showing off the flowerbed of snapdragons in a multitude of colors.

Really, Shikako is more pleased to spot the actual bed and other furniture hiding among the plants, along with the rest of Naruto’s things.

In contrast, Shikako doesn’t actually notice when Sasuke moves in.

She would have sworn that the walled office space was still filled with the unused lab equipment that she had found in the beginning–equipment that she didn’t want, but couldn’t bring herself to throw away given the name on the labels. Except during a particularly rambunctious attempt at creating three dimensional shogi with a set of Naruto’s clones and earth pillars, the both of them freeze at the sound of shattering.

Eyes wide, Shikako exchanges a glance with Naruto. Or, at least, the Naruto wearing the white Hokage robes. “Shit,” she mutters, leaping down from her pillar to the walled off space.

Instead of the shattered beakers she expected, she finds a shattered teapot… along with a completely furnished bedroom designed in blues and reds.

“What?” She asks, turning, blinking, checking to see if perhaps there were a genjutsu active. “When did this happen?”

“Like two weeks ago,” says a Naruto in a black chuunin vest, looking at her skeptically.

“Yeah, Sasuke asked if he could use this room,” continues a Naruto wearing a henge of Kakashi-sensei, vest and headband in white.

Shikako strains her memory for that conversation. Mostly what she remembers from two weeks ago was not sleeping for a few days, then finally making headway on her glacial translation of the Gelel shrine photos from Sand, then eating what must have been her own weight in gyouza, and then maybe passing out?

A set of Narutos, all in henges to be younger versions of himself in either black or white, cluster around the shards of the teapot. As if they really were his twelve year old self, one of them loudly whispers to another, “Maybe if we hide the pieces, he won’t realize it’s broken.”

“As if, dobe,” says Sasuke’s voice from behind the crowd of shogi clones.

Almost in unison, the clones begin to blame each other, which Sasuke ignores with the air of long practiced poise. Shikako is still baffled that he lives here, frankly.

Sasuke rolls his eyes and shoos away the genin clones, all of whom make childish faces back. He sweeps up the shards with a broom Shikako has never seen before, discarding them in a rubbish bin Shikako has also never seen before.

“It’s okay, I bought multiple,” Sasuke assures her, pulling out an exact replica teapot from a set of shelves on the wall. “Yoshino-san told me I should be prepared for something like this.”

“You told my mom you were moving in?” Shikako asks him, bewildered.

It’s Sasuke’s turn to look at her skeptically, “She helped me design my room.”

~

A/N: I have no idea why this took me so long, anon. I’m terribly sorry, but I hope you enjoy! I kind of wanted to play with this idea I used in Painted Red (To Fit Right In)–except, of course, fluffier given the lack of zombies–in that different MBTI designations have different ways of saying “I love you.”

40, Kako and Kamaru, AU of (They Call It) Soulless in that a bunch of Shinobi have been in stasis in Konoha General since the Kyuubi attack

(They Call It) Soulless40) things you said when you met my parents

Kako says that a single action should, ideally, solve at least three problems simultaneously. “Power is one thing, but if you don’t apply it properly, efficiently, then it may cause more harm than good. And anyway,” she says with a smile, ruffling Kamaru’s hair, “if you only need one solution to multiple problems, then you have all the more time to be lazy.”

Kamaru understands this lesson immediately, but putting it into practice is slightly more difficult. He tries to look to Kako’s actions as an example and it only manages to bring up more questions.

Kako has been teaching him medical jutsu–another thing which Kamaru understands in theory, but struggles in application–whenever their free time overlaps, no matter how tired she is, so surely the problems it must be solving are either multitude or important. Probably both.

He thinks he’s figured out a couple of them: medical jutsu is a valuable skill, regardless of if he wants to be a field shinobi or not, and if he can reduce his medical costs then that will help with their financial situation. But what else?

Kamaru wouldn’t say he’s particularly rebellious or mischievous or anything like that. Yeah, sometimes he skips class with Chouji and Kiba and Naruto, but really it’s because lessons can be so boring and Iruka-sensei always gets angry when he naps. And anyway, Kako hardly ever minds; actually, it’s almost as if she approves, fondly asking after his friends and their chosen adventure of the day.

So Kamaru wouldn’t call himself a rule breaker, per se, but he can be–when the occasion calls for it–rather curious.

Kako never outrightly tells him not to go to Konoha General. She never speaks of Konoha General at all, really. Whenever either of them end up needing a fully trained medic, she brings them to the smaller Nohara clinic even if it’s on the other side of the village. As far as she’s concerned, Konoha General might as well not exist.

Kamaru doesn’t feel the need to borrow trouble, and so he stays away from Konoha General up until a genin runner interrupts class and gives a hushed but rushed message to Iruka-sensei… whose eyes dart directly to Kamaru.

Kamaru may want to avoid trouble, but apparently trouble has no problem going after his sister.

Kamaru knows that Kako keeps things from him. Not out of malice, of course, but because she doesn’t think he needs to know: she wants to protect him, thinks he’s not yet old enough. He trusts her, knows she only has his best interests at heart, but it can be frustrating.

It’s not a surprise, really, that the one who spills this particular secret isn’t Kako at all, but her weird senbon-obsessed senpai, Genma.

Kamaru thinks he should be angry at her–their parents are alive! Have been alive this whole time! Why didn’t she tell him sooner? Why didn’t she tell him at all–but she’s hurt and unconscious after taking on a third Soulless and she’s taking so long to wake up that any anger he does have dissipates in the face of his more overwhelming worry.

“It’s not a fair exchange,” Kamaru mutters to the door leading to the sealed off portion of the hospital–as close as visitors are allowed to get to those trapped in stasis, as close as Kamaru has been to their parents since the few weeks after he was born, “Knowing you’re here doesn’t mean anything. She needs to wake up,” he rubs at his chest, the fabric of his shirt suddenly rough against the patch of skin where his marks lay invisible, “I don’t care if you’re trapped here forever, as long as she’s okay.”

~

A/N: Ahahaha… haha… yeah, it’s not really “meeting” but uh… considering they went into stasis before Kamaru could talk, his first words to his parents are pretty harsh? O_O

Also, there’s only two prompts in my ask box for this event–I’ll list them under the cut so the anons who sent them in will know I am have received them. If you sent one in but neither of them are yours, then please resend them–tumblr probably ate them. Or, if you haven’t sent one in but you’d like to please go for it! I know I’ve been rather lax in the past few weeks (and will probably continue to be so for the next few what with it being May) but I do love getting prompts and I will get to them when I can. Thank you for sticking with me! 🙂

  1. anonymous: team 7 living together scenario, 22) things you said after it was over
  2. anonymous: trailblazers, 10YL, tetsuki+sasagawa sibs, 32) things you said I wouldn’t understand

Flip to the Last Page, Nara Twins, 32) Things you said I wouldn’t understand

Flip to the Last Page, 32) things you said I wouldn’t understand

“I just need some time,” your sister says, eyes looking everywhere but at you. She’s packing, grabbing things at random, placing then removing then folding then replacing, anything to keep her hands busy.

“I just need to be alo–I just need some space,” she stammers, and you can’t hear anything in your head to refute that mostly because she’s slammed a wall on your connection, metal bars and concrete.

As the two of you grew, so did your control over your connection. No more the constant, unconscious flow of childhood–thoughts more often impressions than words–now you can utilize it strategically: plans and intel, Jounin Commander in the making. Or, rather, you would if your sister weren’t blocking you out.

“I just need to think,” she says, and this third time hits the worst because you know if she were letting her thoughts seep through, you’d hear the added “by myself.”

Futilely, you try to send your arguments through her barrier: why can’t you think here? You’re already cutting me off, obviously you’ve made space for yourself. Why won’t you stay?

If she hears anything, she doesn’t respond beyond the flattening of her mouth into a tight, tense line.

The two of you are supposed to be a team, siblings, friends, partners. She makes it seem as if your twin bond is nothing more than a prison. One with a life sentence at that.

That makes her soften, her furrowed brow transitioning from frustrated to contrite, but no less determined.

“I just… need to know that I’m not making things worse.”

~

A/N: VERY BELATED, VERY SHORT, VERY SORRY DONA! Apparently there’s a little bit more needed from me for Geek Show and also May is a hectic month for me in general. Also, FttLP is a massive mystery to me still despite it being something I wrote…

19 for Team White Fang??

Team White Fang, 19) things you said when we were the happiest we ever were

“I’m going to ask Atsumi to marry me,” says an absolute stranger to Sakumo before sitting next to him on the park bench.

He doesn’t even blink, eyes fixated on the sight of Kakashi ever so seriously toddling after Tosa’s wagging tail, the rest of the pack lounging in a loose, protective circle. Sakumo is certain these are the kinds of moments he’ll want to remember forever, he almost wishes he has a Sharingan just so he could have the image literally seared into his brain.

“Hey,” says the strange man, jabbing two fingers into Sakumo’s bicep impatiently, “Are you listening to me?”

Reluctantly, Sakumo glances at the stranger, “Yeah, I heard you, Hozue.”

“Well?” Hozue says, expectant, “Don’t you have anything to say?”

Sakumo can feel his mouth twitch at the corners, a small curl of amusement making its way through the fog of exhausted satisfaction of being a single father of an overly intelligent toddler.

“It’s about time,” he responds, before turning back to watch Kakashi. His son has managed to get a pudgy hand on an indulgent Tosa’s tail and seems to be carefully contemplating his next plan of action.

Hozue doesn’t try to demand his attention again–never mind the effort she put into this latest identity–content to also watch the boy she’d happily call a nephew. But she does question, “What do you mean it’s about time?”

This time, the amusement bubbles up too quickly–Sakumo laughs, a huffing airy sound more suited to canine than human mouths, “I’m pretty sure you’ve been married to each other for years.”

The stranger’s face looks absolutely gormless shaped by Hozue’s stunned confusion. “What,” she utters.

“You live together, eat together, you’re each other’s emergency contacts, powers of attorney, and beneficiaries, you have sparring dates all the time, you have regular date night every week, every so often you’ll bring her flowers just because, you have three goldfish together that you call your children…” Sakumo lists, getting progressively sillier but no less factual as he goes on.

“Stop! Stop,” Hozue interrupts, blush bright on the stranger’s cheeks.

After a few moments of silence, Hozue murmurs, “Holy shit. Atsumi and I are fucking married.”

“Congratulations,” Sakumo finally adds, tone somewhat dry but no less sincere.

They let the silence resettle, warm and easy, watching as Kakashi somehow maneuvers himself onto Tosa’s broad back, the massive dog taking ginger, careful steps.

Sakumo knows that the future’s going to be bright.

~

A/N: Ahahahaha… so I don’t know if this is the HAPPIEST, but it’s definitely one of the happier moments before everything starts going to shit so… Sorry for no actual Atsumi presence!

Fire Fallow Cultivation, yoshino+sasuke, 58) things you were afraid to say

Fire Fallow Cultivation, 58) things you were afraid to say

None of Yoshino’s family–darling and miraculous and beloved they may be–have wings. Herself included.

Just as well, she’s never been able to articulate what the wings mean but she does know that those with wings tend to have… dynamic existences, to put it mildly. Which is not to say that those without wings are entirely without dynamics of their own–her daughter is proof of that–but there’s something mutable, even risky about the lives of those with wings and part of her is glad that her family do not have them.

After all, just look what happened to Sasuke’s family.

It takes her a while to figure out that Sasuke has the ability to see the wings as well. It’s not as if she’s never met a fellow watcher, but they’re rare enough that it’s always a surprise to find another.

It becomes apparent during dinner, when Shikako and her team come back from their first C-rank. The way Sasuke’s eyes follow the movements of Naruto’s bright wings instead of his wild hand gestures, how he reflexively winces when once such hand gesture passes through the already broken looking pair on Kakashi’s back.

But that night, and for many dinners after that, Yoshino doesn’t get the opportunity to speak to him alone and so she remains silent on the matter.

That’s just an excuse.

Fugaku’s wings were a sober, dreary piebald, about as boring as wings on a human being could possibly be; they were small, more scarf than cape, but far more expressive than his stoic face. Yoshino remembers how they would flare out, a futile, impossible attempt to protect the vulnerable of the village.

Mikoto’s were nearly the opposite, colorful and iridescent and sharp like a hummingbird but far larger and thankfully not so nearly as fast, or else it would have been a headache to look at her. Yoshino remembers how they drooped for weeks after the Kyuubi attack, mourning many, no doubt, but her best friend especially.

Yoshino remembers Itachi’s wings, massive for such a small boy, the plumage beautiful and nearly mesmerizing. She doesn’t know what they look like now.

She doesn’t want to know.

First, Yoshino hesitates. She needs to be certain, she thinks, can’t just assume and spill the secret.

Then, she prevaricates. If Sasuke doesn’t ask about his family, then there’s no reason for her to bring it up.

In most matters, Yoshino is bold. This is not one of them.

~

A/N: I’m back! 😀 Hopefully I can get back into the swing of things

shikako’s guide to deliquency & milatary insurrection, shikako+mikoto, 28) things you said but not out loud

Shikako Nara’s Guide To Delinquency and Military Insurrection, 28) things you said but not out loud

The girl is from the future. The future of a different dimension, she is quick to clarify, before going into a somewhat rambling and convoluted explanation of paradoxes and time travel.

Kushina, for all that she graduated from the Academy dead last, seems to pick it up immediately nodding along and asking questions about fuinjutsu techniques and something called causal stability conditions and relativistic spacetime. Hizashi doesn’t understand anymore than Mikoto, thankfully, but he appears to be content to just accept it as fact.

“She isn’t ROOT,” he dismisses with an affable shrug–a statement they had already confirmed by seeing the pile of corpses the girl had left behind, “And she looks… familiar enough that I’m certain she is also telling the truth.”

Mikoto frowns, “Just because she’s telling the truth doesn’t mean we can automatically trust her. ROOT soldiers is one thing, killing Danzo is another.”

Hizashi raises an eyebrow at her, “We don’t exactly have the luxury to turn away allies, even if she might not be as skilled as she claims.”

Mikoto bites back a surly response, surely no one could be as skilled as the girl claims, settling instead for a suspicious stare. Precaution as much as indulging her paranoia–the stare from an Uchiha is equivalent to an unsheathed blade from anyone else.

But she ends up not needing it, at least for the following days they travel with the girl, headed toward Land of Rain. The girl–Shikabane, she introduces herself with a resigned sigh–tells them what she knows of the organization called Akatsuki the current ruling force of the Land of Rain and how they, too, had a grudge against Danzo. How they, at least in the dimension she came from, welcomed missing nin–especially those formerly from Konoha. How they were led by an Uzumaki.

But she cautions them about their awful deeds. Their worrying ambition. “They went after the jinchuuriki,” she says, mindfully not looking at any of them. Still, Mikoto and her teammates exchange glances, “But they can’t go out of order, so you should be safe for a while… and hopefully the common goal of killing Danzo will be enough to divert their attentions.

“And plus,” Shikabane continues, as if she weren’t giving back and forth warning and reassurances, “Danzo did more to cause war and suffering than any other single person in history so that, at least, is in line with their original dream.”

“Have you worked with them before?” Hizashi asks.

Shikabane hesitates, “Not… this particular iteration, no.”

Mikoto asks, “Have you fought against them?”

“Yes,” Shikabane answers without pause. “My teammate was the jinchuuriki of the Kyuubi,” she says, again, very deliberately not looking in Kushina’s direction. Just as well, a conflicted expression blooming on her face.

In contrast to Mikoto or Hizashi–jaded by the clan systems as they were–Kushina had always wanted family. But the only reason for the Kyuubi to be transferred between vessels would be if the previous jinchuuriki were unable to contain it…

Still, Kushina was never one for shying away from something and so rather than continuing the somewhat worrying description of their new possible allies, Shikabane dutifully answers questions about Kushina’s successor–her son, Naruto–with as sparse details as she can get away with.

But not sparse enough.

“Who is Sasuke?” Mikoto interrupts as Shikabane is in the middle of an anecdote about her genin team.

Shikabane blinks, “He’s… your son.”

Mikoto can’t help the grimace that invokes, the idea that she had capitulated to the clan elders’ demands in some other life. Another thought crosses her mind and, with trepidation, she asks, “He’s not–was he the Uchiha clan heir?”

Bemused, Shikabane shakes her head slowly, “… No. Sasuke was never clan heir.”

Good, Mikoto thinks, at least that other version of her hadn’t fallen so far. Much easier to think she might have found someone she actually wanted to be with rather than end up brood mare for Fugaku Uchiha.

~

A/N: WELL. This certainly jumped around in places. I don’t think I had a real concrete idea about what exactly I wanted the things Shikako doesn’t say out loud to be, so I kind of just sprinkled a lot of different options in there.

ironwill, firenation tetsuki/azula, 21) things you said when we were on top of the world

Iron Will, 21) things you said when we were on top of the world

“Green suits you,” Azula says from behind her, voice as diverting as ever. Tetsuki doesn’t tense up, though with anyone else she would–hating the idea of anyone else putting her in such a vulnerable position. With Azula physical location means nothing.

And plus, her houndsnake continues to lounge lazily across her shoulders: he would not be so relaxed with just anyone. She’s travelled with the Freedom Fighters for months and he still growls when they draw too near.

Tetsuki turns around to face her princess, “It suits you far less,” she responds, smile immediately curling on her mouth at the sight of the Fire Nation princess in overly traditional Earth Kingdom garb.

“Yes, well, needs must.” Azula sniffs, adjusting the headdress she took from the Kiyoshi warriors, “Terribly impractical, honestly, but it’s not as if I expected any better.”

“It seems effective enough,” Tetsuki nods, gesturing at their surroundings. If she had to be honest, she’d admit that she much preferred the throne room in Ba Sing Se than the Fire Lord’s–though she had only been there once. Something about the solidity of the stone, as if this palace were as old as the mountains itself.

Too bad the same could not be said of its monarchy.

“Was your ticket to entry as impractical as mine?” Azula asks, though surely she must already know.

“I wouldn’t say impractical so much as annoying.” Jet–and the Freedom Fighters through him–have been useful in many ways, especially in capturing Zuko without expending too much effort on her part, but managing his ego to guide him has been tedious.

She’ll be glad to be rid of the both of them.

“You’ve done adequately with the resources available,” Azula says and Tetsuki blinks at her, surprised. That… was a compliment, perhaps?

“You seems to be in a good mood,” she remarks, hesitantly, not wanting to spoil it but unable to ignore it. Tetsuki always wants Azula to be happy.

Fortunately, Azula’s satisfaction is not so easily soured, “Why wouldn’t I be? My idiot brother has been handled, the Dai Li is mine, this city is mine, and soon enough the Avatar will fall. Our victory is assured.”

“Our victory?” Tetsuki reflexively repeats, internally scolding herself. Azula is always careful with word choice, to question her is to doubt her.

Instead of answering her, Azula meets her eyes and reaches a hand out. Tetsuki can feel a twitch run down her arm, an attempt to reach back swiftly aborted. Tetsuki’s houndsnake sniffs at Azula’s hand, tongue flicking against her fingers in greeting. Those fingers can wield lightning, can form flames so hot they run blue; it seems neither Tetsuki nor her houndsnake are afraid.

Finally, Azula says, “I knew it would be a good match.”

~

A/N: Not quite on top of the world, but definitely “before things started going to shit”–for Azula, that is. Mostly, though, I’m not sure how much impact Tetsuki would have in the world. Like… maybe Ozai still loses, but surely Tetsuki wouldn’t let Azula fail as in canon?

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54) things you always meant to say but never got the chance for the Nara twins?

Heart and Soul, 54) things you always meant to say but never got the chance

The transition happens too fast. One moment Shikamaru is dying, his heart destroyed, pain beyond imagining sparking along his neurons, blood clogging his throat in his death throes. The next, he wakes up, gasping, impossibly, his sister’s crying face the first thing he sees out of the void.

The next, her eyes go dark, expression flat. Her grief and relief erased, replaced by apathy.

Shikako dies instead of him, and Shikabane takes her place.

Shikabane plays the part, dutiful Konoha shinobi, dutiful Nara daughter, dutiful twin sister. It is a lie. Shikamaru knows this, but he still plays along because surely it’s better to have this fake than nothing at all?

But even in her new existence, the creature that was once his sister puts him first.

“You should say goodbye,” says Shikabane, tugging at his hand. His shadow hand, specifically. There’s some sensation in it, enough to tell there is contact, but not much in the way of detail. It can’t differentiate sensations: Shikamaru wouldn’t know if Shikabane’s hand is soft and warm like his sister’s would be, or if it’s as cold and hard as stone. As a demon’s lack of a heart.

“I,” Shikamaru hesitates. The face staring impassively back at him is still his sister’s. “I don’t think I can.”

It’s not as if Shikamaru wants to die. He very much enjoys living, thanks, he’s not that lazy.

He doesn’t want to die. He just doesn’t want his sister to hurt herself for him even more than he wants not to die.

But he cannot change the past.

He’s grateful to still be alive, he just wishes it hadn’t had such a high cost.

He’ll tell his sister thank you only when he manages to get her back.