Missed Post / Ask Box Event? / OC Dolls (2017-10-26)

… I need a push to do some writing! Let’s reprise one of the ask box events, shall we?

What do we think: a softer ask box OR ask box fake fic titles?

(And so it’s not a complete missed post, dollmaker pics of OCs under the cut)

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Konran (from Counterpoise), Tetsuki (from Externality), and Kiyoshi (from (In)Difference)–aka, my three kunoichi OCs.

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Lark, Oleander, and Vinn from various RPG campaigns

Character Statistics: Counterpoise, Team Five

Graduation

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Kiri Chuunin Exam

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Konoha Chuunin Exam

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Shippuden

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Riichi

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Konran

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Ringo

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Zakuro

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~

A/N: Here is Team Five aka the “Retrieval” Team from my series Counterpoise.

In this series, my main OC Konran takes the Academy graduation exam two years early (because Naruto has somehow canonically failed the graduation exam three times but is still in the same class as his agemates?) and somehow barely passes. She, along with two other OCs–Ringo Nohara and Zakuro Yuuhi–become a genin team under the jounin Riichi who is a minor canon character that I have co-opted as my own and tweaked slightly (or, rather, conflated with a different unnamed minor canon character) to give a cool backstory.

They end up taking the first Chuunin Exam which, because it’s two years earlier than canon, is not in Konoha but in Mist (I’m unsure about how much of a disaster Mist infrastructure was before Mei took over, but I imagine it’d be a HUGE faux pas if any of the big five shinobi villages passed up their year to host the exam. The smaller villages can get away with doing so, which is probably how Akatsuki stayed under the radar as leaders of Rain for so long, or rather it’s not as much of a surprise if they pass it up, but one of the big five? That’d just be embarrassing).

The Konoha Chuunin Exam is just a really good marker of time–since it’s not as if their team has changed Orochimaru and Sand’s plans, so the invasion is still on–and then ambiguous Shippuden point in time just to round it out.

Counterpoise Remix (2017-03-20)

Your first night in Konoha, you do not cry.

Still, you sit up and clutch at your face, desperately trying to stay quiet, so keenly aware of how close your bedroom is to that of the Namikazes’ and how thin the walls.

Despite having had a largely nomadic lifestyle, you are overcome with homesickness.

Iruka normally finds the hour before classes soothing. The warm sunlight streaming through the windows, preparing for the day’s lessons, and appreciating the calm before the storm that is a day of teaching preteens how to be soldiers.

Normally, he’s fond of the time before classes begin. Now the silence is dragging, suspenseful and ominous, and he both dreads and hopes for the clock to move faster.

The Uzumaki princess will be joining his class today.

He’s not starstruck or anything like that–almost half of his class are the clan heirs or seconds–one of his students is the Hokage’s son!

He has long since gotten used to instructing the children of the elite. It’s hard to be intimidated by their family name when you remember them as six year olds with snot running down their noses.

Which might explain why he’s nervous about the Uzumaki princess, though he knows that only contributes part of the reason.

His grandmother had been from Uzushio.

His dad frequently reminisces about childhood visits to Uzushio, family reunions dozens of members strong. Iruka would have grown up the same, had the islands not fallen before he was born. As it is, all he has are the stories that his parents pass down to this day.

Uzumaki Konran is princess of an intangible kingdom–memories and legacies–which makes her all the more intimidating.

On the back of every Konoha flak jacket is a spiral the same bright red of Uzumaki hair, an oath of alliance given form.

This is not a coincidence.

Konran’s first morning in Konoha went as thus:

Following silently, uncertainly, in the trail of the Hokage’s son. Watching the villagers turn to him, like flowers to the sun, smiling and calling out greetings that he easily returns: he grew up surrounded by so many people, loved; the village steeped with his presence, familiar places as much part of him as his very body.

This is his home, and she is a stranger.

At the Academy–and how strange, such formal education; she learned around a campfire, the road was her classroom–Naruto’s friends call him over. At first, he goes toward them, but his steps falter, he hesitates and looks back at her.

Her, the intruder in his life.

She waves him off, perhaps more dismissive than she intends, and steels herself. Umino-sensei has her introduce herself, she struggles to match the stares of thirty different faces. They have known each other for years, have developed friendships and histories all without her. She finds an empty seat close to the window.

An outsider looking in.

Uzumaki Konran meets Nohara Ringo and Yuuhi Zakuro entirely by accident. Hatake Kakashi meets her deliberately.

Her decision after graduation shouldn’t have been a surprise to any party involved.

And yet.

Dear reader, know this:

There is no fate, there are no soulmates, no guarantees or warrantees; but in this vast, infinite universe there may be something that ties us together.

Something like resonance.

I did not love her at first sight, nor second, nor third. I did not even like her immediately; though that is not to say that I disliked her immediately, either. She was interesting, and fascination became fondness became affection.

Once I loved her, I could not stop.

~

A/N: Okay, that should be it by now… thanks for being patient and humoring me, everyone 🙂

Counterpoise Remix (2017-03-19)

Namikaze Naruto and Uzumaki Konran meet for the second time in the spring before their twelfth birthday.

It is not an entirely auspicious event.

In the first memory I have of Uzumaki Konran, it is not, as the reader might presume, her hair that I recall best, though such a notion is not unfounded.

Like her mother before her, Konran had worn her hair long and loose then, a red curtain more vibrant than any other hue found in nature. And it is true that to this day her crimson locks are often considered her signature–only to those fortunate enough not to face her in battle, of course, for they would know her better by her chakra chains, fuinjutsu, and stark determination instead.

But her hair, while eye-catching, is not what first comes to mind, for her cousin had accompanied her then, Uzumaki Karin’s own tresses hewing to the familial standard.

No, what I remember most clearly of Konran’s first day in Konoha are the bloom of cherry blossoms all around and the unassailable look of anxiety on her face.

A little over a decade ago, the status quo of international politics changed when the Land of Rain ended their self-imposed isolation; at their head, daimyo and commander in chief both, was an Uzumaki.

This is not his story.

Shizune knows its not her place to decide, but surely in the privacy of her own mind she’s allowed to cultivate her mutinous opinions. Shishou and Kushina are using her and her team as courier, so she deserves this much at least.

But her indignation evaporates quickly enough when she glances over at her team’s young charge. The only thought left afterward is: Poor Ran-chan.

She doesn’t know what they told her, but Konran seems determined to embody some untouchable ideal of an Uzumaki heiress. Normally, when she’s anxious, Ran-chan will edge closer to Juugo as if to borrow some of his calm. Now head raised, shoulders straight, Konran walks firmly in the middle of the diamond formation Shizune’s team has made–protected like a noble princess, and all the more apprehensive for it.

Karin flutters around her cousin, sensing her mood but not knowing how to fix it. She picks at fallen petals instead, as if to maintain Konran’s immaculate appearance, but that seems to be making it worse.

Perhaps out of a heretofore unseen emotional sensitivity, Suigetsu snaps at her, freeing Konran from her attention. Then again, Suigetsu hardly needs an excuse to annoy Karin.

Shizune knows her team well, almost as well as she does Konran, the young girl very near to a sister, so she knows this:

Shizune won’t be the only one who misses Ran-chan during her time in Konoha.

The Uzumaki clan, though highly diminished, are no less storied or prestigious for it. Hosting the Uzumaki heiress would be an honor for any Konoha clan, one highly suffused with political implications.

For that reason, it was decided that she would be hosted at the Hokage’s residence, to maintain neutrality without causing insult.

What other reason could there be?

You are not surprised when the Hokage meets with you and Shizune-nee in person, not really. You are important because the people you are related to are important, and Shizune-nee is Tsunade-oba’s only disciple–the Hokage would be foolish to delegate such a duty to someone else.

You are surprised that he stays with you after Shizune-nee and her team leaves Konoha, that he guides you to the Hokage’s residence and ushers you around the house, describing all the rooms. You’re quite sure this is actually him and not a clone of some sort–his chakra signature deeper than clones tend to be, and that of his bodyguards’ brushing against your senses–and so you’ve begun to grow confused.

Surely the Hokage has better things to do with his time than play tour guide to an unwanted guest?

He pauses in his commentary, expression shuttering to blankness.

Impressive. Less than one day in Konoha and you’ve already insulted their leader.

But his smile returns, if smaller and somewhat pained, a slight wrinkle in his brow.

“You are not unwanted,” he says simply, before resuming his narration after a pause. She keeps her response to herself, taking in as much of the information as she can stand.

After all, this will be her home, too. For the next year, at least.

Minato’s daughter looks at him with familiar eyes that see only a stranger. She doesn’t know better, was never told otherwise, and so she doesn’t know how swiftly and thoroughly it breaks his heart.

That pales entirely in comparison to when he witnesses his children speak to each other, voices filled with polite disinterest.

~

A/N: I had this weird persistent dream remixing Counterpoise into a “more peaceful but not necessarily kinder world” AU in which both Kushina and Minato live but, for reasons that may or may not eventually be written, they each take a child and don’t see each other for over a decade. Then, in order for Konran to “complete her training” she’s sent to Konoha for a year (what is Naruto/Konoha Twelve’s last year at the Academy.

And it started with weirdly flowery prose–I don’t know who exactly the first person POV is, except for a strange Lemony Snicket-esque narrator–but then it kind of bounced around to different POVs so it didn’t feel right to maintain that.

I might write a little more–I have some thoughts about Zakuro and Ringo in this ‘verse, as well as how Naruto and Konran’s relationship develop, and a lot of miscellaneous details of what Kushina and Minato’s survival would change in the world–but not consistently since the idea is kind of embarrassing and I’m mostly writing this one so it stops plaguing my brain :/

But hope someone out there enjoys it, at least.

Word Prompts (I25): Introduction

Konran Uzumaki – Counterpoise

(Spiral in, storm out.)

She wears wire in her hair, braids of red and metal winding round and round her head. Pins blunt against her scalp, sharp points outward, everything hidden under a bandana rigged to blow.

Uzushio’s legacy, beneath dark cloth.

Kiyoshi Utsugi – (In)Difference

(Neutrality brings peace.)

Lightning thrums under her skin, running along her nerves, writhing. Wind at her fingertips, whipping at her cheek, waiting to be unleashed.

Conscious clear, target in sight: shoot.

Tetsuki Kaiza – Trailblazers / Externality / Iron Will

(Fate worse than death.)

The first time around she is furious-regretful-afraid-satisfied, at least, she will be swiftly avenged.

The second time she is desperate: she doesn’t want to go, doesn’t want to do this again, doesn’t want this curse.

By the third she is hollowed out and resigned.

Aomi (Inuzuka) – B*tch Please

(Humanity is beastly.)

The rage in her has nothing to do with the fangs in her mouth or the growl in her lungs. She dreams of hunting intangible things–justice, strength, the future–plans like shaky ground beneath her paws.

Truth and loyalty require sacrifice.

Windy Strife – Into Thin Air

(Steps ahead, left behind.)

The suit sits heavy on her shoulders, fabric stiff and blue still new. The bow, long carried, doesn’t quite match but it fits perfectly in his hand.

Zie is a weapon, forged and honed, then and now.

Reyniero Chason – Running Backwards

(Battle fiercely for the king.)

There are no options, train on the track, future written down and read in the past. And yet, here I am, poised to defy the fate put on him.

If anyone is the spare, it’s me.

Branton Evans – Growing Strong (Burning Bright)

(Thorns, sparks, and silver linings.)

He knows much about regret, had felt it even as he continued to walk away, needing to follow through. Time doesn’t always heal, sometimes it erodes instead.

Nevertheless, things can still be salvaged.

Haru Kuwabara – (En)Closure

(Winning might be everything.)

Go is a battle, is a conversation, is life–according to her grandfather anyway. But she knows death, so she knows that despite all the drama, go is just a game.

But against gods and murderers and the stark face of justice, it’s a nice thought.

Ember Ketchum – A Year With The Moon

(Knowledge is double edged.)

Sight beyond does not make her immune, does not make her anything but a liability. Her entire existence is a dilemma and now, it seems, she has made the wrong choice.

Behind a glowing wall in her mind, she watches herself attack her brother.

~

A/N: Surprisingly, the word prompt is relevant to the writing! Except for the last one, each section is basically a motto + three sentence fic (or four sentence fic) summarizing my various OCs. Almost like little trailers for the different series… (The last one isn’t because I realized that Ash having a twin during the first Pokemon movie, ie the one featuring Mewtwo, would have the potential for EPIC FEELS).

Basically, after my weird breakdown/rant/fit of low self-esteem that I had yesterday I kind of wanted to make up for that. Sorry, again, @to-someplace-else, it wasn’t your fault, I go through moods, I hope you (and other readers) enjoy this.

Post Word Count: 422, TOTAL Word Count: 10860

So… last day of November. Unsurprisingly, did not meet the NaNo quota but that’s okay because a lot of my posts this month (like this one) were three sentence fic and for some reason I wrote a lot of poetry…

Counterpoise drabble (2015-10-22)

Zakuro is the fastest on their team. So it’s unsurprising that, after the explosion, he’s the first by her side–slowly helping her sit up from where she had been thrown.  

“You idiot,” Zakuro says, half fond, half worried, before smacking the back of Konran’s head. The blow is cushioned by three layers of cloth and hair so she hardly feels a thing, not that it was terribly strong anyway.

Konran coughs in response, a puff of thick, dark smoke leaving her mouth. Her face and the front of her jacket is likewise covered in soot, making her grin a bright sickle of white in contrast. She tries to talk, but only succeeds in agitating her lungs–she coughs again.

“Stop it,” Ringo admonishes, before gently laying a chakra covered hand on her chest. The first time he had hesitated and Zakuro had nearly turned purple with laughter, the implications obvious even if she hadn’t hit puberty yet. But they’ve been a team for years, and even if her chest isn’t as flat is it once was, Ringo’s her medic.

That strange contradictory sensation of cold warmth seeps into her skin, her muscles, her ribs, her lungs, repairing the damage she’s done to herself.

“Now exhale,” he orders, and she obeys, pleased to find her breathing restored.

“Thanks,” she says, as they both absently reach a hand out to Zakuro, who easily pulls them off the ground. She looks down to check over the state of her jacket and frowns, “I don’t think this one’s salvageable.” Even if she washed it, there would still be stains in the fabric–where it isn’t completely incinerated, anyway–and the zipper teeth are fused together.

“Sweet. Can I have it?” Zakuro says, because he’s kind of an jerk, “I’ve been meaning to make some kind of dummy trap, and I was considering using some of my stuff, but if that’s wrecked then I might as well use it,” he explains, because at least he’s a productive jerk.

Ringo punches his arm anyway, which leads to a short scuffle between the two boys. “We should head to my place,” he suggests, casually, as if he didn’t have Zakuro in a headlock, "I got some more clothes for you,“ he adds with a shrug.

For some reason, Ringo occasionally receives girl’s clothing as gifts. Which he then re-gifts to Konran because, well, he doesn’t want it and she’s always up for getting free stuff.

As they head towards the unofficial Nohara clan neighborhood, Konran chattering away about how she’s sure next time the one-touch barrier seal will work, Zakuro suddenly stops. Turns around. Stares at an innocuous looking patch of road. Then reaches out and shatters an area genjutsu so strong it makes his two teammates shut their eyes lest they become nauseated by the chakra backlash.

When they open their eyes, they see what Zakuro uncovered. There’s a hatch in the road.

~

A/N: Yup. I have no idea where this is leading, or if it leads anywhere at all. Is it an ANBU tunnel? A ROOT tunnel? An abandoned Senju secret base filled with cool stuff?

I dunno.

Shout out to @cheloneuniverse who sort of reminded me about this series by liking all of the previous installments.

Counterpoise AU drabble (2015-09-04)

“Be careful,” a mother says to her daughter, “Stick to the paths we’ve marked. If you stray, you might end up in danger,” she warns. But the mother lets her daughter go, anyway, because how will her daughter ever learn if she doesn’t go?

The daughter–perhaps she is named after a flower–heeds her mother’s words; for a while. But there is much to explore in the forest, so many sights and sounds and scents to follow that she before she knows it, she has gotten quite lost.

Normally this wouldn’t be a problem–everyone in her family can retrace their steps, follow the route they’ve taken by the lingering remains of themselves in the air–but she finds that her scent has disappeared.

No, it’s been washed away.

It’s as if a rain has fallen, drops of water still clinging to leaves and bark, turning the ground a shade of moistened darkness. But the sky had been sunny the entire time, and she hadn’t heard the percussion of rainfall.

She reaches out to touch a tree, damp from the mysterious not-rain that washed away the traces of her scent. The water is cold against her fingertips, as if only one degree away from becoming ice. She pulls away quickly, rubbing warmth back into her hand.

“What are you doing here?” A voice asks, low but sweet, like the juices of a fruit lingering on the tongue.

The daughter, the girl maybe named after a flower, startles. Turns to face the other.

The questioner is a little girl as well, smaller and younger than herself, with brilliantly bright red hair.

“I’m lost,” she answers truthfully, trustingly.

And the other girl, with hair so red and eyes so gray, smiles. It should be nothing to a girl whose own mouth is filled with fangs, and yet…

“I can help you, if you’d like,” the little girl says, hand outstretched beseechingly.

And when she takes that hand in her own, all she can think of is the feeling of water so close to ice.

~

A/N: I’m… not sure exactly? I had a vague idea of sort of reversing the Little Red Riding Hood story, but it sort of adjusted itself to become a Counterpoise AU in which Hana Inuzuka (okay, I know the Hana is supposed to be nose not flower, but I liked the parallel because in some versions of LRRH she’s named Rose Red) gets lost and a creepy, amoral!Konran (who has a water affinity) basically scares the crap out of her.