Ascendant (2018-01-24)

Tobirama-sensei chooses Hiruzen and something you didn’t even know existed within you shatters.

Everything after that is just collateral damage.

The first is an accident.

Or, at least, that’s what the report will say.

A training accident, two wartime soldiers unable to readjust to peacetime sparring.

A misunderstanding, you say, still covered in your teammate’s blood. You thought it was a genjutsu, luring you into a false sense of security.

It’s not completely improbable, is the thing. Kagami is–was–the most mischievous of the now disassembled Team Tobirama, with a flare for genjutsu and tricks. A smile and bright captivating eyes that had nothing to do with the Sharingan.

An Uchiha that even the most stalwart Senju trusted.

The first is an accident.

Decades down the line, you’re not certain if that’s true anymore.

Second and third are easy, the wrong words whispered at the right time.

You are not the only one who got skipped over.

Why Hiruzen? How is he more worthy than us? Were we not all students of the Hokage?

Politics, you’ll hiss at them, a blade sliding between ribs right into their hearts.

An enticing weapon, but ultimately a trap.

Shisui’s eye is a redundancy.

Fourth bows out before you can do anything.

Torifu was there during the first, he remembers it as well as you do.

Better maybe.

He steps aside and for that you turn your attention away from him, from his clan, and their vassals.

In your last moments, you will wonder if that was your fatal mistake.

For a while, you think that is enough. Prove your worth and sweep away those in front of you, it is only a matter of time before Hiruzen’s weakness provides an opportunity.

But time does not stand still. Soon fifth through seventh arise.

Children, compared to you. Literally. Hiruzen’s students. What do they know of war? Of sacrifice? They do not have the experience.

But youth and talent–and pedigree in young Tsunade’s case–is not something so easily dismissed.

For now you can do nothing–nothing overt, at least–but they are primed to tear themselves apart.

It doesn’t take much to help that along.

Eighth, you almost regret.

He is the youngest, certainly, but you were once a child in war–surely if your sensei’s grand nephew were actually worthy, he would have survived.

Perhaps it’s the loss of the Mokuton that you regret.

The ninth was never truly a threat, a dreaming boy with no real claim.

But Konoha was built on dreams and you will not let some upstart stand in your way.

The White Fang of Konoha, a silly moniker that somehow strikes fear into enemy hearts.

As formidable on his own as Hiruzen’s brats are altogether.

No, this won’t do at all.

It is not enough for him to die, you need to destroy him utterly–his career, his reputation, his spirit.

You are ruthless with the tenth.

Every so often, you push them along–fifth and sixth and seventh succumbing to their own flaws–weaknesses that would have been exploited by enemies of Konoha.

Cowardice, fear, so quick to run away from what should be her only priority.

Obsessive and vain, so easy to distract and lead astray.

Foolish and sentimental, desperate for approval.

You are protecting your village by exposing them–what else reason could there be?

(You overreached with The Salamander, the man who titled Hiruzen’s students. You thought it would be a simple trade of services, a mutual extermination of brats.

But foreign shinobi are hardly worth the effort; the deal is dropped.

Konoha first.)

(Uzushio is a separate matter, but their lives are long and their memories longer.

Mito-sama was always biased against you.

Konoha will never be able to achieve its true potential with them forever poised above.)

Time marches on.

You uproot those you can, prune those you can’t, but they sprout like weeds beneath your feet.

That absolute infant that Hiruzen chooses may have made a name for himself during the war, but he is nothing more than dandelion fluff easily blown away in the breeze.

Konoha is better off without him.

You remember the first.

Uchiha that even the most stalwart Senju could trust.

There might as well be no more Senju, but the sentiment applies. Shisui follows in Kagami’s footsteps and the clan head’s brat has far too much potential.

You remember the first.

You remember that Konoha was built by two clans.

One is near to extinct. Surely the village can also survive without the other.

Hiruzen is old, weighed down by years and loss and having to put on the hat for a second time.

Or so he says.

You wouldn’t know, you’ve never worn it.

He is so completely unaware of all that you do for Konoha, so blind and soft. He walks amongst the villagers, a kindly, foolish grandfather instead of the unyielding pillar of strength that he should be.

He is a disgrace.

(He was your friend, once.

Now he is forever imprisoned within the belly of the Shinigami.)

(Kagami was your friend, once, too.)

Everything is just collateral damage.

~

A/N: … EURAGHRURH!! I’m disgusted with myself. But, okay, like. This is not meant to be apologetic or sympathizing for Danzo–I literally just wanted to experiment and see if I could get into his headspace and it… I dunno. Did it work? YEURGH, gross gross gross.

Brought about because of the massive hate-on for Danzo that’s going on in the discord, and the ongoing theory that he sabotaged every prospective Hokage candidate in the past fifty years. If it’s not clear who is who: 1 – Kagami Uchiha, 2 – Homura Mitokado, 3 – Koharu Utatane, and 4 – Torifu Akimichi were the other members of Team Tobirama. 5 – Tsunade, 6 – Orochimaru, 7 – Jiraiya. 8 – Nawaki (aka Tsunade’s younger brother). 9 – Dan Katou (aka Tsunade’s boyfriend). 10 – Sakumo Hatake. And then Minato who did succeed at getting the hat because his career trajectory was frankly ludicrous and too quick for Danzo to squash. And then Shisui and Itachi because those dang Uchiha.

I am not too keen on the ending (as per usual for me) given that I didn’t think I should end at the Chuunin Exams but I didn’t want to get into the whole Tsunade is Godaime and the whole constant undermining of her authority, even though I did kind of want to get to the point where Danzo dies? Should I have just stopped at the whole Uchiha it comes full circle thing? … maybe…

Arguably, if you ignore the line in the Torifu section, then this could be Naruto-canon compliant? But obviously I wrote it with DoS in mind. And I am hoping that Shikako is at least tangentially involved in Danzo’s downfall which is another reason why I didn’t go past the Chuunin Exams because… I have no idea what that downfall is going to look like. Fantastic, I assume.

Fake fic title: ” Point of No Return ” ( inspired by the Starset song ), Team 7 ( including Sai and Sakura too )

I don’t want to do another Friendship is a (Mutual) Con ‘verse, because I’ve done a lot for this ask box event and there’s also another post in that ‘verse on the way. Not that I don’t love that ‘verse, but I’d like to explore others.

… or come up with new ones?!

So I know you mentioned Sai and Sakura so that I wouldn’t exclude them, but I thought about it and I like the idea of a ‘verse about the two of them specifically.

Like a post-bad-guys-win/comeback/time travel!AU except instead of Shikako going back in time, it’s Sai and Sakura. Or, alternatively, a dimension travel!AU more in line with this anon’s original ask

But so as not to just recycle previous posts, let’s go in depth into this Sai and Sakura Save The World.

It’s pretty interesting because Sai has shown up early in DoS and yet he and Sakura haven’t met yet (as far as I know?) and their relationship would be inherently different from their canon relationship because while we consider Sakura as part of Team Seven still, in universe, nobody except Shikako would think that.

I mean, Project Miracle–she did help save Kakashi’s life–but she is firmly Team Anko now so…

Why would Team Seven send Sai, a ROOT trained spy, and Sakura, an elite combat medic taught by Tsunade, back in time instead of the three walking forces of nature that is the “core” Team Seven or even Kakashi (or Tenzo!) who have years more experience/information?

Maybe BECAUSE they’re a ROOT trained spy and elite combat medic taught by Tsunade.

So then we have to consider when and where such a pairing would be more effective than the other possible combinations…

The night of Naruto’s birth would be the most recent, I think (the Uchiha Massacre is already too late, they have to show up before then to be effective and stop the underlying political tensions and machinations). Sakura would be there to heal Kushina and Minato on the night of, and the both of them would be able to advise them in, primarily, getting rid of Danzo much earlier on and preparing for future catastrophes.

Reverse chronologically, the other possibilities are during the Third Shinobi World War, specifically when Team Minato are in danger, and maybe whenever Sakumo’s failed mission but at that point the information would be spread so thin and the repercussions so difficult to track that it’s unlikely.

And, anyway, I quite like the idea of Sai and Sakura hanging out with Kushin and Minato and seeing all of their friends as babies. It gives them a tangible reason to keep going because, frankly, by changing the timeline they no longer have a home to go back to.

And just the idea of irreversible time travel makes the title very ironic and sad and lovely 😀

To make it more sad, I wonder if the baby!Sai and Sakura die when time traveler!Sai and Sakura appear–like, the universe self edits and there can only be one of each, and obviously the babies don’t have as strong existences as these badass teenagers. And, also, there’s an excuse. Now I’m morbidly curious as to how many babies might have died due to Kyuubi chakra in the air.

Additionally, I wonder whether or not, because there are time travelers and the universe doesn’t need an SIOC to correct problems (not in a the-universe-is-sentient kind of way but in a balance-the-scales kind of way), Shikako’s existence is the same. Maybe there is a Shikako Nara but no SQ soul attached. Or maybe, even though they went back in time to help, their actions meant the Kyuubi was out longer and thus the baby that would have been Shikako (and Sai and Sakura) died from bijuu chakra exposure.

… I don’t think I want to go that far, though. Maybe no SQ soul at most, but no dead!Shikako, only because I think that’d be such a major blow to the time traveling team so early on that they wouldn’t want to make any other changes for fear of killing any more of their friends. And the whole “replacing their younger selves in the time stream” thing is already pretty bleak, for Sakura especially, since she actually grew up with her parents.

Anyway, I just quite liked the idea of Sai and Sakura time traveling together to save the world by saving Team Seven before they even know it. And also, Sai dismantling ROOT over a decade early and saving Shin.

And the possibility of Sai and Sakura getting swarmed by baby versions of Konoha Twelve is just too cute to pass up.

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.

So in the reminder to dream au what would have happened to his parents lab? Attacked by the corrupt police with Kurama? Oh maybe the tailed beasts are actually part of an ancient entity that the police stumbled upon and had put a piece in an Android to try and control. The one they used to attack Naruto’s parents escaped so they uploaded it along with Naruto?

@donapoetrypassion’s questions:
(I’m just gonna float some ideas/questions your ways as they occur to me): Shikamaru has a new cybernetic arm- in this verse, how did he lose his flesh one?

Does Shikako’s hypersensitivity diagnosis have an in-universe equivalent?

Oooh… Danzo’s stolen mind-control eye… in a universe where so much runs on robotics and (presumably) many people have robotic limbs…

If the word ‘enslaved’ possibly applies to Naruto, what word applies to this world’s equivalent of Sai? And why?

Shikako seems like an adult with a job- that do the other Konoha 12 do?

(Does the internet affect what kind of shogi/strategy games Shikamaru plays? Who he plays? Are there competitions? Is he a professional shogi player who doesn’t actually need an income from another kind of job?)

(As you can see, I took that invitation and ran with it. I’ll stop bugging you now, though.)

Oh wow, okay, I totally asked for this and I’m grateful for the questions, so let me just wade through these first… (Also, dona, your questions are in no way bugging me. Actually your questions almost always make me contemplate deeper ramifications for my AUs, so thanks!)

I’m still not entirely sure what happened to Naruto’s parents exactly, but I do think they were probably working on something to do with the Kyuubi. The problem is I don’t know what it is exactly, either, beyond something like a… sentient “nature-made” AI. Like… something on the scope of the internet. Or The Machine from Person of Interest. A sort of cybernetic eldritch horror that lives in machines and consumes code… so maybe the bijuu are a virus?

Um, yeah. So whatever Kyuubi is, the Uchiha probably had some kind of secret epic code to control it and the Kyuubi in turn took over the lab Naruto’s parents were working in?

Maybe they were working on putting the Kyuubi in a robot body so it could properly “live” except the Uchiha found out about it, wanted the Kyuubi robot, tried to buy it from Naruto’s parents, and ended up just taking it by force. Leading to the deaths of the Namikaze-Uzumaki family. (Unsure if I also want Naruto to have physically died but been uploaded into the robot body along with the Kyuubi, or if he’s still alive but doesn’t know it and his body has some kind of uplink connecting him with the Kyuubi robot body).

Shikamaru probably lost his flesh arm in an incident involving Shikako. I’m thinking something like… a tech expo and an overzealous rival/fan attacked her? But then Shikamaru got on the way and so there’s still guilt on Shikako’s end, as per canon–maybe this was pretty recent and the reason why she hasn’t gone home for family dinners in a while?

Shikako’s hypersensitivity diagnosis… it might be that she can’t have any cybernetic implants/mods. I know in cyberpunk universes, nearly everyone is modded to some extent, so the people who aren’t are unusual for some reason. Everyone has a ID chip, at the very least, but Shikako doesn’t even have that? (Which does make it a little ironic that she’s a genius with cybernetics)

Yup. Danzo’s got a Sharingan. I think in this AU the Uchiha clan are still alive, but Danzo might have stolen more the design for the Sharingan than actually plucking out Shisui’s eyeball. Then again, that imagery is gruesome enough to fit him.

“Enslaved” does also fit Sai, though perhaps it’s more… oh no… “groomed.” Danzo’s ROOT are actually human, but they have an implant that basically lets him wipe their memories and such and turn them into meat puppets.

All of the Konoha Twelve? I guess it depends mostly on what the clans would be in this ‘verse… except for Sakura who is, like in canon, a doctor/medic, TenTen who is also an mechanical engineer (though not so much cybernetics), and Lee who… what does Gai do?

As for the clans, they are probably like companies (or yakuza crime families) in the sense that the clan as a whole runs a business and the clan heads/heirs are probably the CEOs/training to be CEOs or are major shareholders who CAN live off the company but decide to work anyway. So for example, the Nara clan is probably a huge pharmaceuticals company (beginning to branch into cybernetics due to Shikako) but Shikamaru is also a professional shogi player.

Hm… what do the other clans do?

omg, i just read the steven universe prompt and i don’t know why it made me feel hyped (probably bc i just drank coffee and the direction the newest episodes are going aren’t really exciting right now) i have so many questions so i’ll try to not be overbearing and too much. would team 7 be poofing gem monsters? who’s the gem, minato/kushina? how would kakashi fight, like sadie or maybe he found gem tech or is he trained by minato (if he is the gem)? would the plotline be same as canon? thanks!!

Oh thank you! I thought no one would ask questions about that ‘verse (even though I literally said I’d like to answer questions)! 😀

Between Minato and Kushina, Kushina is the gem (Amber to go with the Uzumaki vitality and the fact that Amber can have non-mineral inclusions *cough* jinchuuriki *cough*).

I don’t think there are gem monsters in this ‘verse, simply because the events of the Gem “Invasion” thousands of years ago didn’t go in the same direction. It wasn’t a civil war that scared off Home World, but the bijuu, and so there was no Corrupting Light and so there is no corruption/gem monsters.

I’m sure Kakashi can fight–not as well as canon since he is baseline human and not semi-magical shinobi–but probably the equivalent of peak martial artists IRL. (Minato as well)

All that being said, the plot wouldn’t be the same as canon since–no gem civil war, aside–Naruto’s story is different from Steven’s story so…

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The team dynamic wouldn’t really be the same since Kakashi has known (and raised?) Naruto versus only meeting Sasuke and Shikako recently. Additionally, since the three genin/gems didn’t grow up with each other there is a sense of newness and uncertainty that isn’t present in canon. But a lot of their dynamic is personality based and seeing as how their personalities would be the same (otherwise it wouldn’t be the same characters in a DoSxSU fusion fic, but a bunch of OCs in a Steven Universe fic).

I don’t think there will be very much one-to-one adaptations for the events of DoS, but there are some equivalents in SU that I’d want to explore with this cast instead. The crumbling remains of the Gem Colony all across Earth, for one, and while there aren’t corrupted gem monsters there might very well be some kind of enemy for the team to face.

I think only the extended Team Seven (minus Kakashi) would be gems–Shikako, Naruto (half human) Sasuke, Sai, Sakura, and Tenzo. I know Shikamaru exists for sure, because Shikako as young Tourmaline was adopted by the human Nara clan many generations ago, and she kind of acts as the clan head family’s guardian/mascot/ward. Probably the rest of the Konoha Twelve are also humans and residents of the city that they’re in–although I don’t see why it would still be Beach City and not Konoha.

The bijuu are an entirely Earth phenomenon. The way I see it, imagine if–instead of going to the planet Earth that would one day be Steven Universe’s home–the Gem colonizers landed on a different planet Earth that happens to have bijuu on it. It’s not exactly the canon Naruto/DoS planet, but it’s definitely not the canon SU planet.

On a scale of 0 to Pearl, Kakashi will angst over the death of Naruto’s parents a solid Kakashi amount. Whether you think that’s more or less than Pearl… well.

Unsure if Shikako will explode things, but she does have earth controlling powers on par with Lapis Lazuli’s control over water–and considering she stole ALL THE OCEANS, is not only massive in terms of power but especially horrifying when you realize that gems are made out of the minerals in earth and there’s a very real possibility that if Shikako focuses/is pissed off/desperate enough to do so she may be able to shatter a gem with her mind. Which is probably more horrifying in this world of sentient rocks than exploding stuff. Though she may very well explode things for the hell of it.

My headcanon for the Kazekage line thing was that it wasn’t actually law – the hat had passed through the family because they were actually the most powerful. However precedence combined with Gaara and siblings popularity made the elders worry that the people of Wind, if not the people of Suna, would demand the bloodline continue which could put them in a bind but gave them no legal standing to make demands about Shikadai.

jacksgreysays:

jacksgreysays:

[regarding the second Author’s Notes of Dreaming of S(elfishness)]

That does sound a lot more practical than what I understood of it. Like, I thought it was a weird monarchy-esque divine right sort of thing. Which is also why Gaara was made the jinchuuriki as opposed to a random baby–it wasn’t a “this is most convenient” + “if I can’t sacrifice my own child what right do I have to ask someone else to do so” like with Minato–because with Gaara it was planned. So they could have put it in a different baby, but I suppose only their bloodline is “strong enough”

And then Temari’s choice to marry Shikamaru and live in Konoha was kinda the equivalent of abdicating? Not that eldest child is first in line or anything but that between her and Kankurou, if anything should happen to Gaara, she’d be the best suited to be Kazekage, since she is more powerful than him. And then kinda in that line, her children–even one born into the Nara clan–would probably be stronger than any of Kankurou’s children?

Or something like that.

Part of me kind likes the idea that Sunagakure is designed more like a monarchy? Because the villages having different laws of succession just seems really interesting to me–the villages probably weren’t created the same way, you know? Like while Konoha was essentially a giant alliance of Fire Nation clans so as not to continuously kill each other, I kinda figure Kiri has always been more cutthroat. Because you have to be pretty damn fearsome to get multiple islands to listen to you rather than each individual island having their own mini-village. Or, in contrast, my headcanon for Uzushio is that it was basically like a university and each island had a specialty and the Uzumaki were basically the only ones who were generalist enough to be objective leaders.

With Suna I kind of imagine that it was originally an oasis that the Sabaku siblings’ ancestors controlled with a (literal) iron fist and that’s why they reign. Obey me and my descendants and you have access to our water. And then the village formed and even though the water disappeared by that point it just became obey me because I am powerful…

Sorry for ranting, anon. ~WORLD-BUILDING IS GREAT~

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Well it is canon that the Wind Daimyo and Suna haven’t exactly been on good terms–what if there’s a historical reason for that? Like, they’ve just never been on good terms as much as reluctantly cooperative terms. Maybe the Wind Daimyo’s Court was grown around a second oasis–one whose owners used business and trade rather than raw power to cultivate their control and eventually turn into the nobles. They’re not fully rivals–because merchants need protectors and soldiers need supplies–but they don’t particularly like each other. And as soon as the Daimyo could drop Suna and switch to a different, cheaper source of protection they did so–hence the economic struggles leading to the attack during the Konoha Chuunin Exams.

The Gaara thing was, well, Shukaku wasn’t transferred from jinchuuriki to jinchuuriki–he was sealed in some item (a giant kettle?) and then sealed into the not-yet-born Gaara through his mother’s womb (which… what). According to the Naruto wiki the Kazekage just wanted a jinchuuriki to make the village powerful and couldn’t use Temari and Kankurou because they weren’t compatible. I don’t know how he decided Gaara was, or if they just went ahead with it regardless, but :/

Konoha I feel like there’s not really an immediate equivalent that comes to mind because the hat wasn’t really limited to certain families. Like, the Yondaime was basically one step up from being a nameless orphan–as opposed to the many clans of Konoha who never had a member become Hokage. I mean, the Senju aren’t even one of the Noble clans of Konoha (Aburame, Akimichi, Hyuuga, and Uchiha) but they’ve had three Hokage while the others have had none.

But, yeah, for the others I totes agree. I also really like your Kumo idea that it’s a straight forward challenge for leadership, or, at the very least, it’s a very out in the open transition from leader to leader so theoretically other people could step up and make an attempt but probably don’t because there’s already an obvious contender in mind (apparently all of the Raikage are named A? And according to the wiki the Nidaime Raikage was the Shodaime’s guard… although the Yondaime was the Sandaime’s son so…). Iwa probably thinks the Sandaime has made a golem of himself which isn’t exactly a problem, since literally no one else is old enough to know what it’s like to not live under his rule, but it’s also very creepy.

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I always figured that it was just the current Hokage kinda pointing and being like–that one, that’s the one who get’s my job. Then again, after the Sandaime died, the council did try to make Jiraiya into Godaime (and only accepted his rejection when he threw Tsunade under the bus… in a kind way). And that sort of explains why Danzo didn’t just swoop in and take the hat for his own.

I also now headcanon that it was the Uchiha clan that were most vocal against Danzo being Hokage (despite or, maybe, because an Uchiha was Danzo’s teammate?) and so the massacre was revenge–in a dish best served cold kind of manner.

I wouldn’t say Suna has only one major bloodlimit–we probably just haven seen them due to the Konoha-centricity of canon–but it is probable that the Metal/Sand manipulation is the most outrightly powerful. I mean, arguably, the Byakugan isn’t an offensive bloodlimit–it’s just really good at seeing things. Even the non-Mangekyou versions of Sharingan are passive abilities–copying jutsu and seeing chakra and maaaybe augmenting genjutsu. Actually, except for the Senju’s Wood Release (which basically went extinct) the most offensive bloodlimit in Konoha is… the Akimichi Multi-Size ability, I think?

Anyway, the other bloodlimits of Suna are probably very passive or not all that helpful outside a desert. 

I kinda like the idea of Minato full on having basically popped out of nowhere. I mean, not literally, but him being total civilian stock and outstripping all of his peers not because he’s stronger or faster or has more chakra or a bloodlimit, but because he was such a goddamned genius and he worked hella hard. His claim to fame was the Hiraishin–which arguably anyone could use if the could just understand how the hell he did it. It’s not constrained by his bloodline or ridiculous amounts of chakra, just no one can figure it out. (Fingers still crossed for TenTen, but I’m trying not to get my hopes up).

And it also makes Orochimaru being passed up for Hokage all the more cutting–because basically the only thing different between Orochimaru and Minato is that Minato had a conscience.

Gambling Away The Past 3/? (2015-12-19)

Ikoma has only recently been made clan heir, a second son obediently falling in line, but already he is being called Shikakeru–to challenge, to start, to set traps. It is a good Shika name, a name worthy of a future Nara clan head, but it doesn’t quite fit right.

It fits Ikoma’s brother better, even though he already has a Shika name given to him since birth. His brother, Shikaku, the one who should have be clan heir, had he not been disowned for breaking his betrothal. Over some non-clan kunoichi, and a mere chuunin at that.

It’s not that Ikoma agrees–frankly, he doesn’t see why the elders bring up her rank so often, considering most Nara only ever reach chuunin themselves–but he does think that Shikaku could have handled the situation better. Should have, because then this way Ikoma wouldn’t be stuck stepping into a role he’s unprepared for.

It’s not that he’s unsuited–Ikoma is smart, he wouldn’t be a jounin at eighteen if he were an idiot. He can observe a person and know their story without a word, he can analyze dozens of reports and form a strategy to success. He’s smart, okay, so he knows what he’s looking at.

A girl capable of the Nara shadow jutsu, with the same looks as the woman his brother left the clan for, and a Shika name. He knows what he’s looking at and it shouldn’t make any sense but, then again, Ikoma shouldn’t be clan heir either.

Ikoma has a decision to make, an important one. And it doesn’t matter whether or not he is clan heir–doesn’t matter what implied fate is waiting for him–even if he is using the clan heir’s authority. He made an oath: to protect his team, the clan, their allies, and the village. In that order of priority.

In a way, it doesn’t even matter that Konoha is at war, he would protect his clan. He would protect Shikako, even though Ikoma knows what her existence means for his future.

Shikako wouldn’t be named that if she had cousins.

Minato is confident that Ikoma knows what he’s doing in assigning Shikako as a fifth member of his team. It makes sense, after all. Minato is often called away to other skirmishes and battles which his team isn’t ready for, and given the near miss that almost occurred… well, Minato isn’t ungrateful.

But he’s also pretty sure that the two of them are lying. Not about Shikako being a Nara–that’s readily evident and, anyway, it wouldn’t make sense for Ikoma to cover for her if she weren’t part of his clan. But there is something off.

It’s not her name or her allegiance–regardless of if he is lying, Minato trusts Ikoma as a fellow Konoha nin. It’d be irresponsible for Shikako to claim a higher rank or overrate her skills–it’s dangerous, to a shinobi and their team–but it’s also clear that those aren’t the lie either.

Minato doesn’t doubt her capability–she saved his team when he couldn’t–especially not after their quick assessment spar. Though it is something about her skills which are questionable.

He recalls the way she aided them in the destruction of the bridge. He notes the lack of sheaths or extra storage spaces beyond the pockets of her flak jacket and compares that to his team’s reports of her fighting–sword and kunai and scrolls.

Surely, as one of Konoha’s three fuinjutsu masters, he’d have at least heard about a girl on her way to becoming the fourth.

~

A/N: So, here’s more of this…

It’s not quite what you asked for @byebyebriar, but it kind of is?

I really love Gambling Away the Past. Maybe the next section can be from Minato’s point of view? I’d love to see his thoughts on Shikako’s touch blast/sealing.

Anyway, thanks for the prompt!