I’ve just discovered your DOS Pokémon team ideas (10/10 by the way) and I was wondering if you had any ideas for team 8?

Just got home from traveling, anon, so I appreciate this ask as a quick post for today. Also, thank you! I’m oddly proud of the DoS Pokemon ‘verse even if it’s mostly ranting and brainstorms.

Team Eight I have some ideas for, but not as concrete as Team Seven or Team Ten (given the “screen time” for those two teams are way more than the others) so the following are pretty quick and less specific than those ones… [[will maybe add more detailed reasoning later?]]

Hinata:

Kirlia (to become a Gardevoir–the Hyuuga clan Pokemon are Ralts and are generally trained towards becoming Gallade)

Whismur

Buneary

Litleo

Audino

Togepi

Shino:

Ninjask (and Shedinja)

Pinsir

Volbeat

Kricketune

Scyther

Heracross

Kiba:

Lycanroc (as Akamaru, particularly Midnight Form as the equivalent of when he eats soldier pills)
… but after that I don’t really know since I gave Kakashi the all dog team… I guess if I could break down Kiba and Akamaru’s attacks/abilities into Pokemon equivalents? 

Indelible, a Dreaming of S(oulmates) tangent (2017-08-27)

A/N1: So psych_girl commented on the ao3 version of Dreaming of S(oulmates) about expanding on the different soulmate AUs, and I gave permission to write double recursive ficlets based on them (hopefully I’ll be able to reblog/post links here), but it put my mind on the subject and I hope I’m not swooping a ficlet out from under them.

So this one in particular is based on the AU (two: inkblot skin).

~

Shinobi will try to weaponize anything, a subconscious mindset more than active strategy: the symbiotic relationship of Aburame and their kikaichu, Inuzuka and their ninken, are just two examples of such.

Fuinjutsu had originally been created to transport Uzushio’s limited, but varied resources across their islands.

Even something as innocuous as flowers–the Yamanaka as much feared for their poisonous arrangements as their mind jutsu.

Soul marks–the transfer of ink and scars and blood from one soulmate to the other–are not exempt either.

///

The main issues preventing soul marks from monopolizing intel communications is that they’re not comprehensive and they’re not immediate.

Sometimes, something as insignificant as scraped knees or absentminded grocery lists will transfer over, while death blows and I love you’s remain on only one half. There doesn’t seem to be any correlation in emotion or strength of bond to explain what gets send and what doesn’t. And so something as important as mission specs or front line movements could never be entrusted to soul marks.

On top of that, any of them may transfer in minutes, in hours, in days–the longest recorded gap being three weeks. Again, nothing explaining the inconsistency: not distance, or age, or emotion.

But still, that doesn’t mean that soul marks don’t have very real, very dire consequences.

///

When his children are almost four years old, they both begin to wear headbands and refuse to take them off in front of anyone.

It doesn’t take a Nara to figure out the why, but the what, exactly, he will later admit to being… hasty.

In his defense, soulmates tend to be born near each other and there’s only one forehead mark in Konoha that is regularly covered up. Given that Shikaku has heard about what ought to be an internal Hyuuga clan matter–the marking of Neji Hyuuga at an abnormally young age, cruel even for a clan that habitually enslaves their own members–it’s a fairly logical assumption to make.

What he does afterwards is less logical and more… fiercely protective.

///

The Byakugan may not have been as storied as the Sharingan, but the Hyuuga’s dojutsu was more dependable and with the decline of the Uchiha–in both numbers and reputation–the Hyuuga enjoyed a loftier, more lenient position than many other clans. Even the other noble clans.

In comparison to the Aburame–whose southern apiaries had been decimated during the Kyuubi attack–and the Akimichi, who spent as much time cultivating their financial and political enterprises as they did their martial prowess, the Hyuuga were more invaluable to Konoha.

But invaluable does not mean immune.

///

They meet, once, while they’re both still at the Academy.

It’s difficult. They’re in different years, which is part of it, but primarily it’s because all of Konoha is keenly aware of the political cold war happening between the clans and all of the teachers are taking measures to prevent any incidents from happening.

Further incidents, that is: a spar turned hostile in the graduating class, resulting in suspensions for the Akimichi and Hyuuga involved. Invisible lines drawn amongst the students from clans, rearranging friendships and even future genin team proposals.

As the pair at the heart of the problem, they are especially monitored. But just once, just for a short time, they manage to meet.

Neither of them will reveal what was said, but afterwards Neji goes without a headband: baring his cursed seal provocatively, almost incendiary.

Shikako becomes all the more paranoid about hers.

///

Eventually, it’s revealed that Shikamaru’s forehead is as blank as the day he was born but, one twin or both, that doesn’t alter the path Konoha is already on.

In contrast, the Uchiha clan, sensing the winds of change, circumvent their fate entirely: allying themselves with the enemy of their enemy and integrating back into, at least, half of the village. Hundreds of lives are spared, though only Danzo, thwarted, and Shikako know.

Not all is good, though: Hinata, already shy and secluded, is deliberately isolated. Where Ino leads, the other girls of the class follow; even though Shikako tries to mitigate the issue, Ino is ruthless in defending what she considers hers.

The mood of Konoha is fraught, tensions high enough for even the civilians to notice, streets of peace and prosperity now dangerous opportunities for public altercations.

Such a small action leading to such far reaching consequences.

Time marches on.

///

Konoha puts on a pleasant face for the Chuunin Exams, united only on the surface in front of foreign shinobi.

Team Seven meets the Sand siblings, Shikako sees the match to her soul mark.

She hesitates.

~

A/N2: I’m not very satisfied with the ending–I had the greater idea but not an actual plot, as you can see–so I kind of just… mreh?

I guess another reason for this ficlet is that I wanted to explore how even things that are supposed to be romantic–like soulmates and soul marks–have non-romantic consequences. So even if this is set in a Shikaara soulmate AU, this ficlet is gen.

I was actually considering some other repercussions of the misunderstanding: Hiashi possibly buckling under external and internal pressures and disavowing Hinata as his heir early on and marking her with the seal–which further splinters the already divided Hyuuga clan–but that seemed VERY CRUEL to Hinata who I already had shunned by everyone in class.

And also, would Sand and Sound still invade Konoha if the Uchiha clan isn’t killed? The Sand Siblings would still be at the Chuunin Exams, of course, but I don’t know if they’d be there as part of the invading force. Konoha isn’t as outwardly weakened, after all.

It seems more likely that if Orochimaru were to invade still, he’d probably have Danzo and ROOT make up the other part of the invading force, but even then if in this AU “I’m a pacifist” mass murdering kin-slayer Itachi is less of a giant hypocrite, I wouldn’t mind him being seriously considered for Hokage which would seriously deter both Orochimaru and Danzo, right?

I don’t know. They were vague thoughts at best.

If you’re still taking prompts… 969 for Hinata/Shikako?


People helping each other in the aftermath of tragedy,
is the only really convincing argument for people.
(Always in the shadow of a stronger argument against.)

There is beauty in kindness, even against cruelty.

Maybe especially against cruelty.

The strength to face adversity with grace, the wisdom to cease the perpetuation of hostility–it is honorable, admirable…

… entirely untenable.

Suffering needlessly isn’t her style. Eye for an eye might make the whole world blind, but against reality-bending dojutsu she’d easily make that trade.

For her, mercy is a luxury–spent sparingly and only on the rare occasions she can afford it–her main currencies are preparation and paranoia.

///

For a long time after The Incident, Cloud nin become the boogeyman for nearly all clan children.

Because they are shinobi, their parents do not use it so blatantly–they don’t use it consciously at all, too much tragedy surrounding it–it’s in the furrow of their brows, the tight, lingering hugs, the fearful hovering and grateful sighs of relief every time their children are back within their line of sights.

It is something not talked about but whispered, child to child: Cloud nin will come get you if you stray too far, if you don’t listen to your parents, if you are in the wrong place at the wrong time.

It devolves, the way things do, rumors and degrees of separation and time muddling things. Cloud nin will kidnap you if you don’t finish your homework, if you don’t eat your vegetables, or don’t go to bed on time. Small, childish things.

Eventually, they all grow out of it…

… nearly all of them, that is.

It was never just a childhood boogeyman for Hinata.

///

Konoha goes to war.

They are peacetime children, yes, but shinobi all the same–in a way, they have been training for this their entire lives.

And yet, there is caution. The clan heirs held behind the safety of Konoha’s walls. They are powerful, yes, but still vulnerable. Once they are sent onto the battlefield, there is no turning back.

For a moment–for a few months at least–she has held that inevitability off. Where she goes, the others can follow, and this is one path she does not want to trail blaze for them.

But all children must face their fears someday.

~

A/N: … I guess this is more… pre-Hinata/Shikako… I’ll be honest, the prompt is a little bewildering. Like… I don’t even know if I’m interpreting it correctly? And then making it match a ship I’ve only had a couple hours to ponder on is a little… so I kinda just ended up grasping at threads that didn’t match…

:/ sorry, anon.

Fake Fic for the girls of DOS ‘Nevertheless, She Persisted”

Nevertheless, She Persisted

There is no easy path to becoming a kunoichi; no open doors or vacant spots.

Or, how every woman creates her place.

So this would, obviously, be character studies for the ladies of DoS (or, even just canon Naruto seeing as how poorly treated they are) and their struggles to become the women and kunoichi that they are.

Unsure if I’d just stick to the Konoha Thirteen ladies or include some of the adults. But seeing as how I’m probably not going to write it anyway, I guess I might as well go into what I’d write for all of them.

So Tsunade, Yoshino, Kurenai, Anko, TenTen, Sakura, Ino, Hinata, Shikako? Maybe not Shikako. DoS is already from her POV and we already see her struggles so…

For Tsunade I’d probably go in depth about how she was the first combat medic. How, when she began studying medicine, everyone was kind of relieved? That the princess would be staying behind and healing in the village. Except, no… this princess wants to go out on the field. This princess wants to be on the front lines. She’s going to punch everything.

I wonder if Mokuton is actually a bloodline or a Hashirama-unique ability. Because if it is a bloodline, then Tsunade not having it would add to the whole–oh no, just stay in the village, you’re not as powerful as your grandfather–and her literally creating a super strength technique is a rebellion against that.

Yoshino… well… I suppose all my feels for Yoshino are in my Stars Also Dream series (never mind that it’s a Star Wars fusion/crossover) though otherwise as a non-clan kunoichi there’d be a lot of overlap with TenTen and Sakura’s stories.

Kurenai… there’s something to be said about a kunoichi who is so completely the typical kunoichi but still becomes a jounin. And, don’t get me wrong, I have a lot of love for women who defy gender norms and this applies to kunoichi as well. But there’s part of me that’s viciously pleased to see a woman excel not despite but through the gender norms. And I suppose this might apply to Shizune, too what with the poisons and barrier seals and all.

The difference between special jounin and jounin doesn’t seem like much, but I imagine for Kurenai it was huge. I have the feeling that she might have fallen into that trap that Shikako side-stepped. Genjutsu was her specialty and so she accepted a promotion to special jounin because of it early on (it explains why she’s only recently become a jounin even though she became a chuunin at fourteen I think?). And then she had to become even more of a master of genjutsu in order to make that leap between ranks. And it may very well have been something that people told her to give up on. Or tried to “help” her by telling her to expand her repertoire–essentially mimic Tsunade and get a combat specific talent to complement her genjutsu–but that’s not who Kurenai is. Of course she can fight, but she’s not going to stray from who she is just for a promotion.

Anko’s would be very much so a post-Orochimaru thing for her. She’s trying to be a good and loyal Konoha soldier but no one fucking trusts her anymore. No one wants her on their team, no one wants her for their mission, for a long time she can’t handle classified information. She can’t do shit. But of course she’s going to still try. Of course she is. If she gives up, if she defects, then that bastard wins. It doesn’t matter what everyone else thinks of her, she’s Anko Mitarashi, certified badass, she doesn’t need anyone else’s approval but her own.

I have a lot of TenTen feels but I don’t know if they’re cliche or not for a TenTen character study. It’s a lot about how she’s clawing her way up. Her pinpoint accuracy isn’t a natural talent, not a bloodline. It’s something she worked hard at. It’s something she suffered calluses for, scrapes and cuts and nicks. TenTen was running errands for the blacksmith and learning about different alloys alongside furtive, hesitant attempts to memorize flower types and their meanings. The girls were taught calligraphy to better go undercover and blend in with nobility, but TenTen forced herself to choke it down because it would help with fuinjutsu. She’s not good at the typical feminine arts, no matter how much she tries she’ll never be the next Tsunade, but she can be the first TenTen.

DoS Sakura is definitely different from canon Sakura so a character study of her would be different, too. But it’s still hard to shake the Tsunade parallels–I mean, they exist in DoS still as well so–especially since she’s a medic in training who wants to one day be a field medic and is learning a super strength technique to do so.

DoS Ino I would do post Sasuke Retrieval arc because I have a feeling that her being so adamant about Shikamaru not quitting as a shinobi might be a parallel to him doing the same for her. I think, maybe, Inoichi and the other Yamanaka clan members probably meant well? When they said she didn’t have to be a shinobi anymore. That she could retire. That after such a traumatic experience, it’d be understandable. And she was, maybe, considering it. If Orochimaru was influencing her, he’d want her to get stronger. Want her to insinuate herself even further into Konoha. Turn her into a sleeper cell. Retiring would mean she’s not a risk to her village. But retiring would also mean giving up, giving in, and she won’t let Team Ten go on without her.

Aaaand Hinata… it’s gotta be about her clan. Her awful, terrible clan. Man they’re the worst. THE WOOOOOORST. I mean… do I even need to write what this would be about? This is basically canon Hinata’s character arc (or what isn’t built around Naruto, anyway).

I guess I could add Shizune and Yakumo… but I don’t really know enough about either of them?

Fake Fic Summaries, 18/? the Sailor Shinobi edition (2017-01-14)

jacksgreysays:

A/N: I had originally thought of a crack version of this after a frankly bizarre dream, but the more I thought about it the more it worked pretty well for a… less cracky version, so the “summary” as much as it can be called such is for the less cracky but I’ll talk about both.

~

Sailor Shinobi

Fighting evil by moonlight
Winning love by daylight
Never running from a real fight
She is the one named…
… Hyuuga Hinata?

Luna has been waiting a long time for the reincarnation of the moon princess, watching the village of warriors grow around the destined location of her rebirth.

Finally she’s found her–as well as the reincarnated guardians, fortunately enough. Now, if only they’d stop sending her back to the Fire Daimyo’s wife.

So cracky version: I was on the topic of Sailor Moon and Dreaming of Sunshine because, well, canonically mentioned. And for some reason my brain was like… is Sasuke Sailor Moon?

Because, see, the Uchiha are the ones connected with the Neko-baa. And Tsukuyomi is related to the moon. And Sailor Moon’s colors are the same as the Uchiha colors.

And you can’t tell me Naruto wouldn’t make a fabulous Sailor Venus in that orange seifuku. (With Shikako as Tuxedo Mask, of course, because of that one art by AngelsFallBeforeUs).

While the idea of Sasuke and Naruto in seifuku with Shikako in a caped tuxedo is absolutely fantastic, I couldn’t really figure out which of the other boys were which scout. And the more I thought about it the more I thought… wouldn’t it work better with Hinata as Sailor Moon?

The Otsutsuki subplot bewilders me, but from what I understand it’s a clan of moon aliens? And they have the Byakugan as well? And the idea of Hinata being timid out of costume and confident in costume just gives me very strong Miraculous Ladybug vibes that I greatly appreciate.

To be honest, picturing Hanabi as Mini Moon really solidified it for me even though I know Chibiusa is Usagi’s daughter from the future. As for the actual scouts there’s Sakura as Mercury, Ino as Venus, Shikako as Mars, and TenTen as Jupiter. Maaaybe Yakumo as Saturn, Anko as Uranus, Isaribi as Neptune, and Kurenai as Pluto??

I don’t know who would have the honor of Tuxedo Mask, though. Do any of the boys have the panache for it? I mean, I know for parallelism sake, it ought to be Naruto. But would Naruto really engage in the secret identity thing? I don’t think so.

As for the plot, well, the fake fic summary does have it concurrently with being shinobi in the DoS ‘verse–though that wouldn’t be very practical, seeing as how shinobi don’t exactly have normal bed times–as opposed to a more “real world” scenario… hm. Maybe Luna/Tora has some kind of teleporting ability? Which, yes, explains why she keeps escaping so damn often, but also maybe the evil things the Sailor Shinobi are supposed to fight are on the ruins of the moon kingdom as opposed to invading the “Earth.”

I dunno.

I do REALLY love the idea of the Sailor Shinobi throwing around sparkling beautiful attacks and smacking down the Akatsuki.

-_-

*intense sigh of embarrassment*

Picture under the cut.

image

I should have been sleeping but I was not, which will perhaps explain how bizarre some of my decisions are once I do look at this again after going to sleep…

I know, the colors don’t match the planets, and there’s a very limited color scheme, and they don’t have uniform… uniforms. But I think its representative of the characters?

Also, I’m not saying Shikako gamed the system to get the least flouncy and most practical outfit… but she is genre savvy, so…

Fake Fic Summaries, 18/? the Sailor Shinobi edition (2017-01-14)

A/N: I had originally thought of a crack version of this after a frankly bizarre dream, but the more I thought about it the more it worked pretty well for a… less cracky version, so the “summary” as much as it can be called such is for the less cracky but I’ll talk about both.

~

Sailor Shinobi

Fighting evil by moonlight
Winning love by daylight
Never running from a real fight
She is the one named…
… Hyuuga Hinata?

Luna has been waiting a long time for the reincarnation of the moon princess, watching the village of warriors grow around the destined location of her rebirth.

Finally she’s found her–as well as the reincarnated guardians, fortunately enough. Now, if only they’d stop sending her back to the Fire Daimyo’s wife.

So cracky version: I was on the topic of Sailor Moon and Dreaming of Sunshine because, well, canonically mentioned. And for some reason my brain was like… is Sasuke Sailor Moon?

Because, see, the Uchiha are the ones connected with the Neko-baa. And Tsukuyomi is related to the moon. And Sailor Moon’s colors are the same as the Uchiha colors.

And you can’t tell me Naruto wouldn’t make a fabulous Sailor Venus in that orange seifuku. (With Shikako as Tuxedo Mask, of course, because of that one art by AngelsFallBeforeUs).

While the idea of Sasuke and Naruto in seifuku with Shikako in a caped tuxedo is absolutely fantastic, I couldn’t really figure out which of the other boys were which scout. And the more I thought about it the more I thought… wouldn’t it work better with Hinata as Sailor Moon?

The Otsutsuki subplot bewilders me, but from what I understand it’s a clan of moon aliens? And they have the Byakugan as well? And the idea of Hinata being timid out of costume and confident in costume just gives me very strong Miraculous Ladybug vibes that I greatly appreciate.

To be honest, picturing Hanabi as Mini Moon really solidified it for me even though I know Chibiusa is Usagi’s daughter from the future. As for the actual scouts there’s Sakura as Mercury, Ino as Venus, Shikako as Mars, and TenTen as Jupiter. Maaaybe Yakumo as Saturn, Anko as Uranus, Isaribi as Neptune, and Kurenai as Pluto??

I don’t know who would have the honor of Tuxedo Mask, though. Do any of the boys have the panache for it? I mean, I know for parallelism sake, it ought to be Naruto. But would Naruto really engage in the secret identity thing? I don’t think so.

As for the plot, well, the fake fic summary does have it concurrently with being shinobi in the DoS ‘verse–though that wouldn’t be very practical, seeing as how shinobi don’t exactly have normal bed times–as opposed to a more “real world” scenario… hm. Maybe Luna/Tora has some kind of teleporting ability? Which, yes, explains why she keeps escaping so damn often, but also maybe the evil things the Sailor Shinobi are supposed to fight are on the ruins of the moon kingdom as opposed to invading the “Earth.”

I dunno.

I do REALLY love the idea of the Sailor Shinobi throwing around sparkling beautiful attacks and smacking down the Akatsuki.

I once had this weird dream, where Shikako & Co. are on a haunted house mission. Turns out there’s an actual ghost taking people away into a parallel space, so Shikako starts panicking when she starts feeling chakra signatures just disappearing, one by one. Haha, I really can’t remember further than that, but I’d love to see if this can be extended?

A/N: I’m a bit late for your prompt, anon, because I considered it for few days and slept on it as well–which seemed to be in the spirit of it–and this is what my own weird dream shook out, so I hope you enjoy!

~

Shikako blinks. Dark then light.

Three kunai headed her way, she darts to the side.

Where is she? What’s happening?

More kunai follow. Trace the flight path. Keep moving.

Across the way is a smudge of color against the stark white room. Pink and brown and red. TenTen?

Ah, a spar, that makes sense.

She should pay attention.

TenTen isn’t saying anything, but that makes sense. Neither of them are particularly chatty.

She unfurls a scroll–a serious spar then.

“Earth Style: Earth Wall!” she calls out, chakra flaring, but nothing happens. The strange smooth floor is unchanged.

Where are they? Something is happening.

Shikako makes the sign for a timeout, but TenTen keeps going. She tries again with a forfeit sign, “Stop!”

That fails, too.

TenTen releases her armory, Shikako drops her resistance seals and runs.

Something is wrong.

They aren’t sparring, they’re fighting.

To the death, apparently.

Shikako wins. TenTen loses.

Which means TenTen dies.

Except.

Something is happening.

Shikako rushes over because, despite the fight, they are friends and she is so confused. In her arms, TenTen–still so strangely silent–begins to disintegrate.

“I didn’t mean to,” she says as particles of TenTen fade away into the expanse of the room, “I don’t understand.”

Before the body disappears completely, Shikako has one last thought:

Something is wrong.

Shikako blinks. Dark then light.

She’s on her knees in an impossible room, so empty and endless.

What was she doing?

There is a noise, like gears in a machine, and a doorway opens in front of her. Stairs.

There’s nothing for her here, and so she leaves.

Behind her, that same noise, the impossible room seals itself shut. Gone to the void like it never existed.

Upwards, onwards.

The stairs are smooth, white, surrounded by a void. They spiral up and up, unconnected steps of not stone and not metal.

A few more steps and the stairs just stop, nothing ahead but more darkness.

She extends a hand forward, meets resistance, and a noise like gears in a machine opens a doorway in front of her.

Another impossible room.

She looks back, there’s nothing there.

She goes in.

Shikako blinks. Dark then light.

Dodges out of the way of a chakra covered hand aimed at her heart.

“Neji?” She asks, startled, bewildered.

He doesn’t answer, but the silence makes sense. He isn’t particularly talkative.

But what is going on?

That was definitely a killing blow.

Of course he’d want to kill her, she thinks, she did just kill [||||||||||||||]

… what was she doing?

He makes another move–no doubt as lethal as the last–and somehow Shikako knows better than to try and reason with him.

Taijutsu is out of the question, she would surely lose (would surely die?) but she’s always been better at a distance.

This time (was there any other time?) Shikako watches silently as Neji dissipates. In comparison to the room, even his white clothes and pale skin stand out, the black of his hair a long tail of defiance.

Even then, the room wins out. And she watches in mute horror as he fades away.

Something is wrong.

She feels like she had that thought before.

Shikako blinks. Dark then light.

A noise. Then a doorway. Then a curving set of stairs.

Upwards, onwards. There is nothing for her here.

The stairs are continuous, spiraling for eternity. If she looks up, she can see the helix continue.

But if she looks ahead, there are only a few steps in front of her. A new one being added for each one she advances.

What a strange place. How did she get here?

The stairs come to a halt, impossibly, nothing in front of her.

And yet.

She reaches out. A noise. Then a doorway. Then an impossible room.

Shikako blinks. Dark then light.

She knows immediately that the creature in front of her is not Lee. Oh it looks like him, its green and orange outfit almost blinding in this stark emptiness, but it is not him.

Never mind that it is trying to kick her head off her shoulders, clearly trying to kill her. She knows this is not him because its face is blank and empty.

If this were a spar, Lee would be smiling. If this were a death match, he would be angry.

The real Lee would be furious at her for killing [|||||||] and [||||||||||||||]

… why does she think Lee should be angry at her?

No matter. This obviously isn’t Lee, which means that she has nothing stopping her from going all out.

It is faster than her, like the real Lee, but she has a few tricks up her sleeve still.

She doesn’t feel remorse as this not-Lee creature fades away. Particles and pigments disappearing as if it were never there.

If it were really him, then she would. She would be sick and horrified at herself.

But it is not him, she is sure of it.

Something is happening.

A certainty that has been building ever since she fought [||||||||||||||] and [|||||||], cemented further after her fight with [||||||]

… something is wrong.

Shikako blinks. Dark then light.

A doorway is open ahead of her, an impossible exit from an impossible space. Stairs leading upwards and onwards.

She stays put.

“I don’t understand,” she says, looking around, “This doesn’t make sense.”

Nothing changes.

“What’s happening?” she asks, instead.

Nothing changes.

Shikako blinks. Dark then light.

A doorway is open ahead of her, an impossible exit from an impossible place. Stairs leading upwards and onwards.

She leaves the room.

There is nothing here.

After an uncountable number of stairs, steps spiraling for an eternity upwards and yet never complete ahead of her, Shikako stops.

The steps appearing for every one she advances also stop.

“No,” she says.

“Something is wrong,” she says.

She stays put.

Shikako blinks. Dark then light.

She is on a set of stairs, smooth and pale and impossible like starlight. They spiral upwards and onwards in the void.

On the step in front of her is a little ink bird, black like defiance.

It hops about and flutters its wings but doesn’t make a noise.

She picks it up and sets it on her shoulder.

She begins climbing the stairs until she can no longer, the steps ending at an invisible wall.

She reaches out, meeting resistance, before a noise like gears in a machine sounds off.

A doorway opens.

Shikako walks through.

In this room empty of anything, with smooth floors that are not stone and stark walls she cannot perceive, only Shikako and the ink bird exist.

No matter how far she walks, there is no end. An impossible room.

Shikako blinks. Dark then light.

Immediately rolls out of the way of a swarm of tiny creatures.

The ink bird remains on her shoulder, but it tugs on her hair, impatiently. Frantic.

Scared?

Something is wrong.

Across the room is Shino. Or a creature that looks like Shino. It hasn’t moved and it hasn’t spoken and maybe that isn’t unlike the real Shino, but she learned her lesson with [||||||]

… the swarm attacks her again, and she backs away, confused.

The swarm of creatures, dark against the starkness of the room, somehow feel strange. Wrong.

They are not like her ink bird, a different sort of defiance. They are not like real kikaichu either.

These aren’t kikaichu and that isn’t Shino.

Which means she won’t feel guilty when she destroys them all.

The room is immaculate despite the battle.

The creatures that were not Shino and his kikaichu disappear, as if they never existed.

The ink bird on her shoulder remains. Now that she has the time and space to give it attention, it has stopped its antics.

Shikako blinks. Dark then light.

A black blur whizzes past her face. Reflexively, she ducks to the side, but nothing follows.

Bizarrely, it didn’t come from behind her, it came from her shoulder.

An ink bird flies ahead of her, a single point of defiance in this impossible room.

It flutters its wings and hops about, as if waiting, impatiently.

A noise. A doorway. Stairs.

The bird flies ahead, upwards and onwards.

Shikako follows.

Upwards and onwards, Shikako follows the bird. Against the void, it is difficult to see, but there is only one direction for it to go.

After an eternity it stops, landing on a step made of starlight. Waiting impatiently.

When she reaches the top step, it flutters to her shoulder.

Together they watch as a doorway appears.

Together they walk through.

Shikako blinks. Dark then light.

The chakra covered hand aimed at her heart almost seems familiar. As does the movement to get out of the way.

A creature that looks like Hinata stares at her blankly, before moving to attack once more.

If it were really Hinata, Shikako would hesitate.

If it were really Hinata, they wouldn’t be fighting.

The ink bird on her shoulder tugs at her hair.

But none of them (none of who?) were really themselves.

In comparison to [||||||]

… no matter.

This creature that is not Hinata is trying to kill her.

There is no hesitation.

It is not Hinata, but Shikako still looks away as it dies silently.

Something is wrong.

She does not feel horror, nor remorse, but there is still a sense of familiarity.

Of exhaustion.

Shikako blinks. Dark then light.

She cannot remember how long she has been in this room, but it feels like a very long time.

A noise. A doorway. Stairs.

The ink bird on her shoulder flies ahead and she follows.

There is nothing good for her here.

The stairs are a helix continuing upwards and onwards.

Even with the little ink bird, it feels as if she is alone. A small, insignificant existence against the impossibility of this place.

Void and starlight and a spiral to eternity.

Where is she? How did she get here?

Something is happening.

What is happening?

Something wrong.

At the last step, the ink bird stops and waits for her.

It hops and flutters and, when she catches up, flies to perch on her shoulder.

A noise. A doorway. An impossible room.

She doesn’t enter.

The ink bird tugs at her hair.

As she steps through, she thinks:

Haven’t I done this before?

Next (after what?) is Kiba. Or not-Kiba as the case may be.

“You’ve gotten shoddy,” Shikako says to the creature that is not Kiba, as it swipes a clawed hand at her face.

“Where is Akamaru?” she asks, dodging and weaving away.

The ink bird on her shoulder tugs at her hair. Impatient and frantic and not-scared.

Probably.

If it were scared, it would fly away, wouldn’t it?

“You’re not even trying!” Shikako shouts at it. Something is wrong.

“You don’t even know how an Inuzuka fights!”

Without their ninken, Inuzuka are half of themselves. It’s part of the reason why they can’t be ANBU, too loyal and honest to a fault.

The creature that is not Kiba stops.

So does she.

A noise, like gears in a machine, and a doorway opens behind it.

The ink bird leaves her shoulder and flies past the not-Kiba creature. It remains still.

Shikako circles around it, confused, but follows after the ink bird to the stairs.

As she begins to climb, she looks back.

The doorway is closing, but she can still see the not-Kiba creature standing perfectly still in that impossible room.

“That’s not how that usually goes,” she calls ahead to the ink bird.

It stops and lands on a step, waiting for her to catch up.

“The other fights. Before not-Kiba. The ones I had with [|||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||]

”… why did that happen? I remember Kiba. Because I didn’t kill the creature that looked like him?“

The ink bird hops and flutters.

“Why can’t you be more useful?” she shouts.

Shikako blinks. Dark then light.

She is on starlight stairs in an eternal void.

She is not alone.

“Sai?”

~

A/N2: This is longer than I thought it would be so here’s part one for now, and I should have part two up tomorrow.

But I suppose I ought to explain a little bit. I considered your prompt, anon, and I pondered the idea of the haunted house and I figured that DoS already covered it in a literal sense with the whole chameleon summons castle thing, and a more Scooby Doo interpretation with the Land of Birds. But I liked the idea of Shikako losing people and went a slightly more cerebral route a la Kingdom Hearts Chain of Memories.

In part because my brain went Shikako & Co. is Konoha Thirteen… Organization Thirteen? And then, hey wait, Sai was with her on both the chameleon castle mission and the Land of Birds mission. Does that make Sai Namine? Yes, yes it does.

Ask Box Three Sentence Fic, 11/? (2016-11-05)

image

(1 – anonymous – Shikako & Sasuke, police detectives!AU)

“Well,” Shikako muses drunkenly, leaning against Sasuke who sighs and resigns himself to being a wall, “I’m not much one for or enforcering order… enfordering… law stuff… but I do like solving mysteries.”

“No, Shikako, we’ve got that side covered, I’m just asking you to take a look at some seals that were on the scene,” Sasuke says, futilely.

“I’m gonna be a consoli-date, consulate… consulting detective!” she declares, before bursting into giggles.

image

(2 – anonymous – Shikako & Sai, canon!DoS, friendship moment)

“What is the purpose of these?” Sai asks, examining the bracelets closely, as if somehow the thread and beads will reveal hidden techniques or secrets.

“There’s no purpose,” Shikako answers, finishing up the green and black band before looping it around Sai’s wrist–he acquiesces, easily. “Well, except for signifying friendship.”

image

(3 – anonymous – Konoha Thirteen, polyamorous housemates!AU)

“Have you seen my sword?”

Sasuke, in the midst of cooking breakfast–which, considering the number of people living in the house, is no small feat–groans as if he’s been stabbed in the gut, but manfully keeps silent otherwise.

Kiba and, somehow, Akamaru both look incredulously at Shikako from the kitchen table, “How do you just lose track of the legendary Sword of the Thunder God?”

image

(4 – anonymous – Team Eight’s thoughts on Shikako)

Little lioness
hiding her face, looks upon
the doe with esteem.

Beetle, all-seeing,
watches and waits for the
queen of the forest.

Fangs sharp, wits sharper,
dog and doe run together,
a pack mate with hooves.

image

(5 – anonymous – even more 6.1, Shikako/Haku, Project Runway!AU, flustered!Shikako)

She can barely believe she’s at Fashion Week, much less presenting a show of her own original designs, but she’s made it and she can feel her lungs deflating like a popped balloon.

Everything is going impossibly smoothly, models strutting down the catwalk, Haku flawless with the finale, and suddenly he’s backstage and pulling her forward toward the audience.

A microphone is suddenly in her hands, all cameras and eyes and lights on her, she can barely breathe; a baffled wheeze escapes her mouth–way to go, Shikako, so suave.

~

A/N: I don’t think all of the Konoha Thirteen would be in a single polyamorous living situation, because–as I went into in depth with the Walking Around ‘verse–not everyone is poly… but I did also bring up how Sasuke would prefer Shikako’s other relationships to be with anyone but Gaara so…

Also, Team Eight & Shikako haiku?

Post Word Count: 313, Running Word Count: 1756

You and Me and Baby (Makes Fifteen), part 2/2 (2016-06-02)

It’s not exactly a problem, but considering the make up of Team Seven–the fact that she’s the only non-orphan and the only one with siblings who didn’t leave the village after slaughtering their entire clan–she probably could have handled the matter of introductions better.

Shikako’s teammates take the sudden appearance of a baby as well as she expected. Meaning, not with any measure of grace or dignity whatsoever.

“What do we do with it?” Naruto asks, his hands fluttering around Kareru without actually touching. In contrast, Sasuke’s stare has only become more suspicious, arms folded across his chest.

“He’s a baby,” she answers, exasperated, “not a kunai. We don’t do anything with him except, probably, raise him into a decent human being.”

“We?” Sasuke prompts.

“Oh, well, no,” Shikako says, amending her statement, “Not ‘we’ as in us, but ‘we’ as in people in general. I was hoping someone else would be willing to raise him. And I could just let them take over. It’s not as if we can, there’s other more qualified people.” Although, said out loud, it does sound an awful lot like she’s shirking responsibilities.

“Why not?” Naruto says, absolutely entranced by what might be his only living blood relative trying to eat his own foot. Shikako shifts her hold on Kareru so his infantile acrobatics won’t lead to him plummeting to the ground.

“Why not what?” she asks.

“Why not us?” Naruto clarifies, “Why can’t we raise him?” he asks, finally looking up, blue eyes full of conviction. “We can do this.”

Shikako and Sasuke glance at each other, expressions far less skeptical than the other would expect–neither of them have ever been all that successful at denying Naruto when it really matters.

And, yes, she may have been doubtful of Naruto’s ability to take care of a baby earlier–long ago D-rank babysitting missions flashing through her minds–but he’s not asking to take care of Kareru by himself. He’s asking if they can do it, together. And, well, together they’ve done some pretty amazing things.

She bites her lip, though, still unsure. This isn’t just some one-off mission that they can complete and walk away from. This is a baby, an actual whole other person who will be their responsibility for years. For the rest of their lives.

But it’s Sasuke who makes the decision, carefully extending a single finger in the baby’s direction. Fascinated, Kareru grabs it, a pleased squeal erupting from his mouth.

Naruto’s grin is wide and bright, “We can do this!” he repeats.

Shikako nods, an answering smile of her own spreading across her face. “But,” she adds, ever the pragmatist, “Probably not by ourselves.”

It wouldn’t make sense for the Hokage to be informed of every new citizen of Konoha–frankly, it’s an inefficient use of the village leader’s time and with this particular Hokage, time is something that his horde of administrative shinobi have to schedule with frenzied exactness–but when it comes to this particular citizen, exceptions can be made.

Or, well, Team Seven will make the exception for him. After all, it’s not everyday a jounin-sensei becomes a pseudo-grandpa via his students collectively adopting a baby found in the ruins of a fallen village.

… Well, it’s not as if the paperwork ninja didn’t already hate them.

“Maa, not the mask, Kareru-kun,” Kakashi says fondly to the baby currently seated on his desk and trying to unmask him. Except for gently pulling the tiny hands away from his face, Kakashi lets Kareru do whatever he wants, crawling across the desk and drooling on no doubt very important files.

“That’s all you have to say about this?” Naruto asks, impatient, the first one to crack.

“Hm,” Kakashi responds, stretching the noise out until Sasuke begins to scowl, “He’s a little young to learn the chidori,” he admonishes, just to see the team twitch in annoyed unison.

“Sensei!”

“I have a lot of free time,” Kakashi lies, blatantly, “I guess I could watch Kareru-kun occasionally,” he says, so nonchalant that it’s obvious he cares.

Not that Shikako was really expecting anything else, her sensei awkward but affectionate in his own way–but it’s nice to be proven right about things.

Team Ten, thankfully, is far less uncomfortable about sudden teenaged parenthood–skipping over origins and uncertainty of what constitutes family, going straight into how to raise Kareru. Which, isn’t really a surprise considering their clans are known for strong family ties.

“I always thought I’d end up with a kid first,” Shikamaru says, one eyebrow raised. But there’s a smile on the edge of his mouth, his shoulder brushing against his sister’s. It’s nice to know he’ll support her even in this somewhat spontaneous decision.

Chouji, in far fewer words, also expresses his approval by reaching out for the baby. His bulky arms a gentle cradle for Kareru to observe the world.

“Can you say Ino-neechan?” Ino coos to Kareru, who babbles happily in response.

“Neechan?” Naruto asks, as tactful as ever, “Wouldn’t you be Ino-bachan?”

“Excuse you,” Ino says, “If you want to be called uncle, then that’s fine. But I’m going to be Kareru’s fabulous older sister.”

“He’s not even old enough to talk yet,” Sasuke says, though he stands on the opposite side of Chouji from her. Strategically.

“I’m training him early,” Ino says with a shrug, before turning her attention back to the baby, “You can pull off purple, right Kareru-chan?”

Which starts Naruto in on the sanctity of Uzumaki wearing orange and somehow devolves into an argument about who will be Kareru’s favorite.

Well, at least he won’t be lacking for attention.

It doesn’t take long for Kiba to find them–hand on the pulse of Konoha’s rumor mill and having almost as good a sense for inane competition as he does smells–the rest of Team Eight follow after.

Preemptively, Shikako says, “No, this isn’t mine and Gaara’s kid,” which sends Kiba into a fit of raucous laughter.

Thankfully, it’s Shino who responds. “I did not think so. Why? First, because you have only been gone for a few months–not long enough for the human gestation period, or for the additional months this child has of age. Second, you were nowhere near Land of Wind, and it is well-known that the Kazekage does not often leave Sunagakure. Third, while it is true that the child and the Kazekage both have red hair, it is obvious, even within such a short period of time, that the child has more in common with Naruto in appearance than the Kazekage.”

There’s a beat of silence as everyone processes Shino’s statement.

“Thanks for the support?” Shikako says, more question than not, but Shino nods and she supposes it’s close enough.

“I-if I can help in any way, I’d like to,” Hinata offers, once the story has been repeated for Team Eight’s benefit. Shino nods again, in agreement, while Kiba is more vocal with his.

“And anyway, babies love dogs! Me and Akamaru will definitely end up this kid’s favorite.”

Which restarts the argument all over again: this time, with animal summons for added silliness.

It’s not as if Shikako ever planned for this–her entire life has basically been rolling with the punches–so it’s not like she’s actively recruiting people into helping out with Kareru.

Try convincing Lee that, though.

“I will run around Konoha one hundred times on my hands!” he declares, eyes bright and filled with determination. “I, too, will prove myself a worthy caregiver for young Kareru! Superior, even, to my rival, Neji!” He points, at said rival who, despite the look of deep disgruntlement, has not pulled away from Kareru’s curious hair tugging.

Instead, to rile up his teammate, Neji says only one word: “Byakugan,” which… is a fairly strong point. The Hyuuga bloodline would make literally watching a baby almost ludicrously easy.

TenTen huffs an exasperated laugh, “Of course they’d find a way to argue over a baby.”

“They might as well join the fight already in progress,” Shikako says, gesturing to where some of their friends have set up an impromptu sparring tournament to somehow prove which of them will end up as Kareru’s favorite. As if they were waiting for permission, Lee and Neji–untangling himself from tiny baby fingers–go and do just that.

“Mostly, I just wanted to see how your mission to Uzushio went,” TenTen admits, “I figured you’d bring back some seal samples, though, I didn’t think you’d return with a baby.”

Well, technically, she came back with both…

“My missions always end up really weird,” Shikako muses, before glancing over at the baby, still comfortably perched in Chouji’s arms. Kareru’s eyes meet hers and he smiles, a wide, toothless, drooling thing.

She can’t say it doesn’t tug at her heartstrings.

Within the hour, Sakura finds them–not that they were hiding–and she comes armed with paperwork and an unimpressed expression.

“I take it you’ve figured out what to name him, then,” she says, channeling as much of her shishou as Shikako tries to channel of her sensei. Given how infrequently Kakashi ever pulled one over on Tsunade, that was probably a poor decision.

“Aah, Sakura, I was just about to… you see, I was on my way home when–”

“Save it,” she interrupts, thankfully, because Shikako’s Kakashi impression isn’t all that good to begin with, “What’s his name and who should I put for his official guardians?”

With all of her friends around her, knowing that she’s far from alone in this, it’s less daunting to say:

“This is Kareru Uzumaki. And I’ll be his guardian.”

~

A/N: Sorry, y’all. It’s a little abrupt and clunky, but I kinda just wanted to get the full fifteen of the title at least mentioned so I can safely stow this two-shot away in my imaginary completed fic bin… still have a lot of prompts to go through. Oh, dear.

Okay, so I know it doesn’t really fulfill the prompt but… I kinda wanted to do more “reacting to sudden baby” fic than “raising sudden baby” fic, if that makes sense. And,Tth, I kind liked part one as is? But the title wouldn’t make any sense unless I actually wrote the others, so I just kinda use this as an opportunity to explore writing characters I never have before. It’s harder than I thought–less the actual characters and more having them interact in a group setting. One on one from now on, please and thank you.

Anyway… I think I’ll post both parts as one chapter in Dreaming One Shots on ao3…