Who do you think would handle knowing the original timeline’s future best, not just in DoS, but in your other works, too? I say original timeline in large part because surely even someone who wouldn’t want to would still find themselves making changes, right?

I’m going to assume you mean Naruto canon when you say original timeline, because otherwise to go through all of my fandoms would be O_O

I think there’s a difference in handling the knowledge in an internal/emotional way vs handling the knowledge in an external/make-changes kind of way. The first largely depends on how a person finds out–whether it’s something that, in the case of DoS, Shikako tells them or, somehow they find out from, like, a vision from beyond or a canon character dimension travelling and exposition dumping from there–whereas the second depends on their resources (whether they even have the ability to make changes on a significant scale) and personality (whether they would even want to.

Like, I’ve mentioned previously that Shino would make a good confidante for Shikako, not because he would particularly make a lot of changes, but because he would, if not believe Shikako immediately, then at the very least accept the knowledge with a certain level of proof (which is easy enough considering the Aburame’s history with Danzo.) So he’d be the first type of “handling” the knowledge of canon.

All that being said… I kinda want to do both for all of them mostly because this prompt would help me further conceptualize characters in a way I hadn’t considered before. So, both Emotional Handling and Influential Handling for DoS, Externality, (In)Difference, and Counterpoise? Hm, if there’s another series you’re interesting in, lionhead, just let me know and I can add that later.

Dreaming of Sunshine:

Emotional Handling – I’m going to stick with Shino for this one, actually. Regardless of if he finds out from Shikako or from some other means. Second place I would say Ibiki, but I’m reluctant to do even that much because of my own fanon that Ibiki and Yoshino are BFFs so he probably would be second hand messed up by the changes of Yoshino’s family composition.

Influential Handling – I don’t know if there is a singular person I would say is best for this, but the ones I’m thinking of all have a certain… flavor to them. In no particular order: Iruka, Ibiki, Aoba, and Shizune. And the thing they all have in common is that they have influence within the village but not the combat prowess to handle S-rank nin by themselves. So they would have to make changes with a softer touch. Would Iruka emotionally handle canon knowledge well? NO WAY. But he is in the position to not only influence Naruto (and other former students) directly but also to affect administrative decisions. Also, Danzo would never think of Iruka as a threat.

Ibiki, Aoba, and Shizune would probably handle the knowledge with better grace than Iruka, but they don’t have that direct connection with the kids that Iruka does. And this could be a positive and a negative, but they’re all also better than Iruka combat wise so they may be tempted to make changes in person which may cause them to bite off more than they can chew.

Externality:

So the thing about Externality is that even I haven’t decided whether or not Tetsuki knows about canon, or how–was Naruto a manga in the KHR world or can she perceive the canon version of the world in her dreams?–so I’m going to exclude her for now.

Emotional Handling – Weirdly enough, I think Naruto would handle it best. Not because he would use it, but because he would be galvanized into doing better. Whether that means keeping Sasuke in Konoha or being a better teammate to Tetsuki and Komadori or making sure to protect the people he couldn’t save in canon. Although, I suppose it depends on WHEN he gets the knowledge. Like, if he gets it before the canon graduation time, then it’s unprovable and basically a really weird dream to him–why would he be on a team without Tetsuki and Komadori?–but if its after canon graduation time, that is, after a genin-for-a-year Naruto gets put on a team with recent graduates Sasuke and Sakura, then he might take it as a challenge.

Influential Handling – Ibiki, Aoba, and Shizune for the same reasons as in DoS–since Externality is in a similar vein of OC–but instead of Iruka, since he isn’t the teacher for Testuki, Komadori, and Team Gai’s year, I would add Anko to the list.

Specifically after Tetsuki has joined Intel/T&I. Well, I mean, Anko knowing about Orochimaru’s future movements is already pretty good influence-wise (although, I’m concerned that Konoha would be “concerned” about how she got that information) but if it’s after Tetsuki has joined Intel/T&I and become Anko’s kouhai then Anko will know that she can use Tetsuki to act on her behalf as well as passing Orochimaru’s future movements along to Ibiki and such.

And I guess, for similar reasons, Tsunade would be good but only after she’s already become Hokage. Because her hands are tied as far as throwing down directly with Akatsuki since she has a damn village to run, but she’ll know that Tetsuki is a piece on the board that she can use in a myriad of ways.

(In)Difference

Since Kiyoshi definitely knows about canon and is trying her utmost to not get involved during her first decade and a half, then doing an abrupt 180 and getting overly involved in specific people’s lives, I’m going to exclude her.

This probably won’t make much sense given I haven’t actually written enough of (In)Difference to have a firm timeline and, unlike Externality and Counterpoise, it doesn’t follow the usual stations of canon. Which brings up the main point: except for a few flashback type situations, most of canon happens decades in the future. Any changes, even minute, will have massive consequences. Additionally, in a way, it’s harder to prove but easier to stomach so… hm… let’s see…

Emotional Handling – When they’re younger, genin/chuunin age or so, Orochimaru would handle it best. Not because he really believes Kiyoshi (if it is, indeed, coming from Kiyoshi) but because on the unlikely chance that it is true then he is still capable of course-correcting. Also, if he was, as I suspect, Nawaki’s jounin-sensei (or captain, if we’re going with wartime terminology) then being able to prevent his death–which Kiyoshi somehow does–will help a lot in keeping him sane and not completely evil.

Team White Fang would also handle it okay but only as a team. I don’t know why I feel certain about this, but, I dunno, they’re 2/3 my characters so there.

Influential Handling – Actually, all of the above wouldn’t be too bad in terms of influencing things. Orochimaru, obviously, just has to not be a complete sociopath and never work with Danzo (or, even, just kill Danzo outright) and already he’ll make the future a better place. And Team White Fang is either A) Sakumo, father of Kakashi who is in line to affect ALL the things or B+C) a shape-shifter and genjutsu mistress. So, not too hard to make changes. But I think the BEST person to make changes might be Nawaki.

Because just him being alive would mean so much in terms of Senju presence. And even if he doesn’t have Wood Release (but which I’ve written that he does so…) what his continued existence means for Tsunade and Kushina personally (who can then influence Naruto directly or not). Or what his continued existence might mean for the Uchiha clan… I suppose it’s more a potential of influence than actual influence, I guess.

Counterpoise

Konran definitely doesn’t know about canon. Immediately I know she would emotionally handle it the worst, because basically it’s a world in which her twin brother isn’t even a twin or a brother. Here comes an existential crisis. Because she’d emotionally handle it the worst, I’d be reluctant to predict how she’d handle it influentially. Obviously she’s in position to influence Naruto most directly, but will she want to? Will she do so in a positive way? I don’t know.

Emotional Handling – Zakuro. Hands down. I considered Ringo, because of the two Ringo is the “calmer” one, but then I realized: he’s a medic. He’s a taijutsu using medic. He’s as pacifistic and selfless as a shinobi can be. If he did believe the canon knowledge, however he got it, he would view all the deaths in canon and try his best to prevent them and only destroy himself.

Zakuro, in contrast, is a genjutsu and trap specialist. He knows that perception is more important than reality and for all his brash personality, he can be patient. Traps don’t always get sprung–it’s about preparing for possibilities, not getting directly involved. Zakuro wouldn’t lose himself to the knowledge. He’d take it, absorb it, learn from it, adapt.

The only hitch in this is that he wouldn’t want to keep the knowledge a secret from his teammates, but given their personalities, he would have to. So it’s not the knowledge itself that he would have trouble handling.

But to be clear, Zakuro is ony best at emotional handling. He’s not really in a position to make significant enough changes, for all that he has the mindset to do it.

Influential Handling – … the three people who I think could best utilize the knowledge and make changes are also the three people (besides Konran and Naruto) who would emotionally handle the knowledge poorly. Ringo is one of them–because for all he is the same rank as Zakuro, he does have sort of bonds with both Obito, though he doesn’t really know it, and Kakashi, and if he can figure out how to leverage said bonds he can mitigate a lot of suffering on their and everyone’s parts.

The other two are Kakashi and Jiraiya. The reason why I didn’t bring them up in previous series is because the nature of canon vs Counterpoise is a missing Uzumaki child. Minato’s child. And yes, it’s true, that shouldn’t be such a big deal seeing as how they they ignored Naruto in canon. But I wonder how much of that was the Sandaime’s terribad “don’t discuss the Kyuubi even though everyone and their monkey summons know about it” and how much of that was the village plausibly denying Naruto’s heritage.

So DoS brings up how Naruto could have been named Uzumaki because of his jinchuuriki status not because he’s actually related to Kushina. Additionally I’ve read somewhere that some people thought Naruto took Minato’s appearance because the Kyuubi was being deliberately cruel and kitsune are all about shapeshifting (which is why Naruto’s specialty before kage bushin is henge). And also, while I don’t know how canonical this is, there’s the idea floating around that Minato and Kushina kept the pregnancy a secret so enemy villages couldn’t find out and such. So, like, the village could have just been handwaving the obvious connections between Naruto and his parents. And because Kakashi and Jiraiya don’t get involved with him, there’s nothing to contradict that.

But Konran doesn’t have the Kyuubi. Konran has bright red hair and goes by the name Uzumaki. Konran is so undeniably Kushina’s child that there is no handwaving this away. It’s for this reason that I’m kind of playing around with the idea that the Cloud ambassador tried to kidnap Konran in addition to/instead of Hinata (which also explains why Konran becomes so desperate to keep her hair hidden when she’s a genin).

Anyway. That incident and the lack of plausible deniability means that Kakashi and Jiraiya kind of have to get involved and canon knowledge would only help them if they would get off their asses and do something. Don’t get me wrong, love the characters. But they are capable of making great change, they just need a massive shove to do so.

~

A/N: Uh… that got long and rant-y towards the end. Hopefully this was what you were looking for, lionheadbookends, and if not feel free to send another ask my way 🙂

Ask Box Advent Calendar is now open!

Jiraiya and Naruto, #47, any AU

Remember to Sleep, 47) things you said in a hotel room

Jiraiya’s at the hotel bar–and, yeah, maybe it’s a little early in the day for a drink or three, but who’s checking?–when he sees it: the briefest glimpse of all too familiar blonde hair.

He shakes his head, mutters to himself, “Don’t get your hopes up,” and goes back to his drink. It’s impossible, what he’s thinking, and besides, there’s a pair of beautiful young ladies who look like they might appreciate some excellent company.

He signals for the bartender to send over some complimentary drinks (mimosas, apparently, not like the princess who would appreciate harder liquor) and gets ready to put on some moves.

Fifteen minutes and a double dousing of socially acceptable daytime drinks in his face later, he spots it again: bright and messy, even through the champagne and orange juice in his eyes. This is a sign, no doubt, destiny telling him to follow–why else would those lovely ladies reject his advances?

The bartender, unimpressed but dutiful, passes Jiraiya a towel to wipe his face. Taking the opportunity, he asks, “What’s going on in the ballroom?”

The bartender shrugs, “Some kind of science convention. Not too sure. I’m hoping it’s medical–doctors really know how to drink.”

Jiraiya rolls his eyes, “You’re telling me.” But that’s a sob story for a different bartender, maybe, and he’s got an entirely different blonde to chase down.

According to the signs, it is indeed ‘some kind of science convention’. More specifically, one for cybernetic augmentations and enhancements. It is, unfortunately, hauntingly familiar stomping grounds for him.

Most of the names listed for panels are old or uninteresting–one of the main reasons he’s stopped coming to these things, even if they do offer all expenses paid. How this is supposed to be about innovations when it’s the same people rehashing the same tech is beyond him–except one of the smaller rooms, practically in fine print at the bottom of the itinerary, has a name he’s never seen before.

Not new to him entirely (Nara is common enough, almost a household name given the reach of their pharmaceuticals and the fact that practically everyone is medicated these days) but definitely new to this particular arena. Cautious branching out, maybe? That would explain why they have a small room instead of space in the main ballroom.

Except when Jiraiya gets to the room listed, it’s packed. Overflowing, practically. If he weren’t who he was, and the staff at the door hadn’t recognized him, he might not have gotten in–as is, it’s a tight squeeze. Which he wouldn’t mind if it were a crowd of buxom beauties, but, alas, he is surrounded by sweaty nerds. But why is such a popular panel in such a tiny room?

Or, maybe, he should be wondering: why is this Nara panel so popular?

Except once he gets to the front–“it’s such an honor that you’re here, sir, and also a surprise. We weren’t told you’d be here, but of course you’re more than welcome. Such an honor, please, there’s VIP seating,”–even that question flees from his mind.

Because sitting just next to that (surprisingly young and pretty, nothing like that stony-faced punk Shikaku) newcomer Nara is Minato…

… but not.

That’s definitely Minato’s god-awful hair, and damned too blue eyes, but it’s in a face more like Kushina’s. That’s definitely her smile on that brat’s face, aimed with laser accuracy at the Nara girl beside him.

“What the hell is going on?”

Nara Shikako/Uzumaki Naruto – Shikako still doesn’t know the meaning of moderation (nevermind she is about to give birth at any moment) and Naruto is trying to convince her Boruto is a great name, is not and is not happening thinks an unamused Shikako.

Um… I’m going to respectfully decline this one anon. Mostly because this seems like you have a very specific ficlet in mind, and if so I think it would be better for you to bring it into the world yourself. But also because I’m still trying to belatedly fill all of my ask box things you said prompts left in my ask box. And also, also, this doesn’t quite match up with my own personal headcanons for what a Shikako and Naruto family would be like.

[Also times three: Boruto canonically exists as a Naruto and Hinata child so… unless you’re saying that any first child of Naruto would be named Boruto regardless of who the mother may be, I think that might be a little confusing. It’s why I named Sakako separately from Sarada (and also so Sarada could still exist)]

But in all fairness, I could go a little bit into said headcanon for what a Shikako and Naruto family would be like since my wave of next gen fic didn’t really touch on it. I mean, there’s Kareru of course, who I still think would be the Konoha Twelve’s first kid (mostly because the idea of Team Seven accidentally acquiring a baby seems too improbable not to be true) but that wasn’t really specifically Shikako/Naruto.

I think, like Shikako/Gaara, Shikako/Naruto would primarily adopt unlike Shikako/Sasuke in which Sasuke specifically wants to revive the Uchiha clan and thus have biological kids (but that’s what the Walking Around ‘verse is for). 

But my personal headcanon for Shikako/Naruto future fic predicates on the fact that Naruto realizes that becoming Hokage isn’t something that he wants anymore. Like. He wanted to become Hokage so that the village would love him. But the village already loves him, so he doesn’t need to be Hokage anymore. Then that way, Shikako and Naruto travel around the world being the badass power couple that Tsunade and Jiraiya could have been had their collective and individual tragedies/issues not driven them apart.

And then Shikako and Naruto just stumble on a lot of orphan kids with crazy powers/abilities that ostracized them from their small towns and accidentally become a traveling ninja version of Xavier’s Home For The Gifted. So I guess in a way they do what Orochimaru should have done instead of being a creepy and evil scientist. Rectifying the injustices Orochimaru and Danzo have done to orphan kids around the world…

Maybe at some point they do have biological children who absolutely love their bizarre family, but that’s not really the point. (Although now that I’m thinking of it, I kind of wonder what their names would be. I don’t think I would have them be named Boruto to prevent confusing canonically Naruto/Hinata’s son, but there’s nothing quite as simple and obvious as Sakako was for a Shikako/Sasuke daughter.)

The problem is, I’m not sure whether or not Boruto (and by extension, Himawari) would exist in this world. Like… Sarada still exists in the Walking Around ‘verse, because she’s still the genetic child of Sakura and Sasuke even if it’s through a repopulation program and not a traditional marriage+procreation. But for Boruto (and by extension, Himawari) to exist, Naruto and Hinata would have to get together at least once. Which, I mean, Naruto could very well be poly (and Shikako isn’t possessive of those she loves given my entire next gen stuff could arguably be in the same ‘verse) but I don’t know how Hinata (and by extension, the Hyuuga clan) would look upon that.

Hm… sorry anon. I just really like the idea of Shikako and Naruto traveling around and every so often they go back to Konoha with like… fifteen kids in tow all of whom have amazing and bizarre abilities.

It is absolutely hilarious that Shikako didn’t realize Sasuke moved in–that’s the best thing I’ve ever heard! ^_^ :D I’ll admit, I’m not sure why Naruto was resting moving in somewhere? What was going on there?

Thanks! 🙂 Shikako’s hyperawareness of danger versus her obliviousness to the most benign things is one of my favorite things of DoS.

I think it was more like, people kept trying to offer places to Naruto for free–and in the humble way of heroes, he didn’t want to accept it–and this kept happening because, hey, hero of the world or something like that, that he didn’t have time to find a place for himself…

Or, I just wanted a reason for all of them to end up in the warehouse… 😛

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“It’s perfect.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

~

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

team 7 moving into a house together tho. and then kakashi comes over and sleeps on the couch.

I kiiiinda ranted about something similar/related to this earlier (pre-Kinokawa’s birth, but the concept could still hold easily I think). It’s pretty short but it was fun to reread nonetheless, so hopefully you also enjoy it, anon 🙂

Hey there. Would you ever write a story where Shikako has to travel to the Land of HotSprings and see the damage she’s caused and the amount of lives she helped took? cause, ya know, I like when Shikako is in despair lol. I love Shikako but it can be argued, she has done more bad than good, for, uh, existing. However, I won’t change anything about Shikako, flaws and all.

@hbkmzk says: Hey! Thanks for the response. I’m anything but a writer but I’ll try. I have to admit, I’m curious with the idea of Shikako being a god. Maybe her shadow contained a God of vengeance and after her first shadow-split, the god has slowly been trying to take over her? I choose god of vengeance because since after her first shadow-split her, Shikako has been more vengeful? Example, Shikamaru’s arm incident or the logistic sealing scroll nightmare. That being said, you are correct. I don’t really see her returning to the land of Hot Springs or having a mission at that area. However, what if her shadow controlled by this God of Vengeance flea to The Land of Hot Springs the next time she shadow-split. This will force Shikako to travel to the land of Hot Springs. The god of vengeance probably went to the land of Hot Springs because it wanted to see the damage done to the monk for what they did to Aoba.
I tried, lol. I don’t know how helpful this is. Hopefully it makes sense to you

~

Imagine a bird, young and not yet able to fly, feathers soft and downy.

Imagine this bird is part of a mighty flock, the youngest and smallest and least of its members, but still part of it nonetheless.

Now imagine that flock is decimated–struck down nearly to its entirety–all for that young, flightless, useless baby bird…

… and the one that killed the rest.

In the wild, the baby bird would do its best to avoid that which had orphaned it. Would fear the beating of wings and the sharp cries of fellow birds.

That baby bird would certainly never devote the rest of its life to growing strong enough to kill that which had destroyed its flock.

Vengeance is such a human concept.

~

Shikako dreams.

In the rare moments she allows herself to sleep–mind too frazzled and paranoid and weighed down to do more than quick dozes–she dreams.

She dreams of the void, that which calls to every Nara. She dreams of the forest, her friends and the village. She dreams of the sun, Naruto so far away and the future drawing ever closer.

Sometimes she dreams of gray skies, razed ground, ash swirling on the wind.

She wakes to the taste of blood on her tongue.

~

Gelel is a young god comprised mainly of starlight, human ingenuity, and sacrifice. But even young gods can make their mark on the earth, life springing where once there was only death.

Imagine, then, what an old god might do.

~

I would kill anyone who hurts you, Shikako thinks, even as the silence stretches long and tense, I have killed those who have hurt you.

But that is not what Shikamaru wants to hear from her.

She doesn’t know how else to express her love.

~

The Cult of Jashin is old–older than the villages, older than the Sage of Six Paths, older even than the Empire of Gelel now ancient history, dust under the feet of the Elemental Nations.

But the cult itself is young, barely an eye blink, compared to the entity they revere, for Jashin is timeless. An elder god, ageless and unknowable.

But not undefeatable.

The blast radius where the Land of Hot Springs once was is a perfectly flat circle, there are no objects for the weakly filtered sunlight to cast shadows. And yet, at the center, where not even the bravest of shinobi have dared to tread, a shadow writhes and grows.

~

She couldn’t save Aoba, but at least she could do one thing for him.

~

Naruto is so forgiving. Too forgiving, she thinks sometimes, his ideals too impractical and too impossible.

But somehow he turns his enemies, those who would harm him, into allies–into friends–and so for him revenge is not only unwanted but also unnecessary.

Meanwhile Kakashi’s pain has always been a part of him, but the convoluted tangle of blame leaves no target for her.

Sasuke, though, is an entirely different story:

She interfered with his life not to stop him–she is more than happy to help him seek revenge–she just wants to make sure he does so carefully, correctly, and completely.

~

Nemesis, the inescapable. Goddess of revenge. She who enacts retribution against those guilty of hubris.

~

Vengeance is a very human concept and humans, in the grand scheme of things, are a new presence in the universe.

But gods transcend time.

Chaos and destruction and suffering may be older, but vengeance is more potent, more powerful…

… and she grows stronger with every victory.

~

jacksgreysays:

Yes… maybe? Well…

My immediate thought was to make it related to this ficlet aka, post-canon Kankurou and Shikako hanging out and trying to be less traumatized together.

And like, it would be sort of… Shikako goes to hang out in Sand ostensibly to research the Gelel phenom (and blow up shit in the desert and make a glass canyon) and Kankurou hangs around and is a Theatre Nerd and then when she finally is more at peace with herself, the two of them go back to Konoha and stop by Land of Hot Springs on the way…

Except then I checked the Naruto world map and that makes no geographic sense for Kankurou and Shikako to stop by Land of Hot Springs on their way back from Sand because it is on the opposite side of Land of Fire so…

I mean, I guess they could just be traveling around together for funsies? Like… she’s also been researching other places and Kankurou probably produced an international hit and there’s some pyrotechnics in his show which he might as well have Sparky do anyway…

But that’s kinda… I mean, don’t get me wrong. A lot of my favorite DoS ficlets are the canon-ish semi-compliant chapter responses / future speculation but I think what I just described above is more about Shikako getting closure from the whole shinobi lifestyle as opposed to specifically the Land of Hot Springs (although that is, in its way, the first unstoppable horror).

So I think for something more Land of Hot Springs centric… OH!

So you brought up how Shikako’s existence has done more harm than good in the world and combined with just the whole celestial back and forth of Jashin vs little god that occurred during that arc and also the whole vibe of this asx box event, especially yesterday’s post about mobius stories, I guess what I’m leading into is:

What if Shikako were Jashin?

Or, maybe, not Jashin specifically, but a god of chaos/destruction/suffering. (Although, the thought of little baby Shikako being born with the mark of Jashin on her forehead and it fading as she grows such that she doesn’t know about it, is pretty fun. Because then there’s the cool opportunity of Shikaku RECOGNIZING the symbol when Tsunade brings him in on the situation and it’s kind of this balance in which Shikaku the father and Shikaku the jounin commander are at odds. I mean, of course his father side is going to win–but still. Internal conflict and outside POV for unknowing literal god Shikako is GREAT)

The main problem with Shikako returning to Land of Hot Springs is that I’m pretty certain that everyone with even the slightest inkling of her mission and the aftermath take great pains to ensure that she NEVER HAS TO GO BACK THERE. So either she’s going behind everyone’s back to do so which… hm… canon Shikako would not want to any time soon, but perhaps literal-god-of-chaos-destruction-and-suffering!Shikako feels compelled to do so (either as a Jashin version, to go with that mobius vibe, in which she returns to the beginning and the end or as a non-Jashin version in which the god within her surveys the place of her victory against an older god and also one of her “greatest” acts) or this is, again, a post-canon future fic where people aren’t guarding her against herself as much.

I… would very much like to write this, hbkmzk, but I think I need. Hm… if you’re interested in this ‘verse, please send in a follow up prompt of maybe three or four other outside POVs or maybe a few details you’d like to add to this ‘verse or even a cool title/quote? Or, like, just ask me a few questions about this ‘verse and me coming up with the answers should be able to do the same. It’s like… this fic is almost there but I just need a few more pieces for that final push.

~

Help me out with this ficlet/check out the Ask Box Would You Ever!

A/N: Not quite what you want, but hopefully I’ve captured the vibe. Thanks for playing along with me 🙂

Check out the Ask Box Would You Ever!

Externality 6e/? (2018-01-18)

In the orphanage, family is an impossible dream. Adoption an unheard of miracle, passed down as whispers from the older children to the younger in the dark of the night. The closest thing to bedtime stories they get.

But a team is more attainable and nearly as good–better, if you believe the propaganda. Good teammates will be in your thoughts and in your heart, have your back and your trust.

Together, the ideal team functions seamlessly, different parts of a greater whole. Together, the ideal team can easily defeat an army ten times their size.

They are not an ideal team.

They are not even a team.

Frankly, in all the chaos, it’s hard to tell if they’re on the same side.

Tetsuki jerks backward to avoid a hit, only to duck and get knee to the nose while avoiding a set of shuriken from the treetops. They embed themselves perfectly into her opponent’s calf–he howls in pain and she definitely takes the opportunity kick out at his other leg, bringing him down completely–but they could have easily stuck into her shoulder instead.

TenTen’s aim is perfect, but it doesn’t account for allies getting her way.

Naruto Uzumaki learned this the hard way, kunai sticking out of his shoulder until he pulled it out and used it for himself.

The both of them are absolutely filthy by this point: dirt and blood, a fair share of it their own, staining their clothes. Neji Hyuuga doesn’t have this problem–a neat pile of paralyzed bodies clustered at his feet.

There’s so much going on–so many people and weapons and other metallic knickknacks, zippers and buttons and jewelry–that Tetsuki can’t tell if any of them have tokens on them. She doesn’t have the time to more thoroughly search them, either, not when for every opponent she takes down another two pop up.

It’s no longer just the mob they’re fighting at this point–the ruckus of large scale battle attracting the more active and eager of their classmates. Only the light of the moon and the occasional flash bang illuminates the space, with clashing kunai and the scent of blood in the air, it really is like a true shinobi battle.

At this point, it barely has anything to do with the exam, hidden grudges bubbling up easily without adult supervision. Tetsuki herself is not entirely immune to the fever of battle:

“Hey you,” she says to the sensible son of a bitch Komadori. All the warning she provides before punching him right in his surprised face. But tit for tat is not the way of shinobi, grudges are not resolved by simply balancing the equation, and so what should have been a simple surprise hit becomes a prolonged fight.

This time Tetsuki uses everything she has, doesn’t limit herself or conserve energy for running away. Genjutsu falls over him in layers, shrouding his senses, but his memory and practiced motions pull him through, chakra flaring to throw off her efforts. She responds feral, brutal, and so does he.

They are still fighting when TenTen runs out of weapons, the clearing liberally sprinkled with her efforts, and she has to drop into the fray herself. They are still fighting when Naruto Uzumaki and Neji Hyuuga stumble into each other–the latter’s Byakugan deactivated for some reason–and are forced to literally fight back to back. They are still fighting when the sun rises, sky blazing orange, and the exam officially ends.

They are fighting up until Yanagi-sensei and Hinoura-sensei bodily pull them apart, well-rested adult selves easily lifting their exhausted child bodies, and it’s as if she suddenly wakes up.

Her entire body throbs furiously, painfully, adrenaline wearing off and leaving her with the consequences of her actions. She squirms in Yanagi-sensei’s hold to search for Naruto Uzumaki, to meet his eyes and apologize because–she forgot about the exam. Forgot about his objective and the token. Forgot about him.

Failed him.

Externality 6d/? (2018-01-17)

TenTen is somewhat skeptical, approaching with both hands on her kunai–Tetsuki doesn’t take it personally, she knows kunai are more akin to comfort objects than weapons to TenTen–until she reads the crumpled up objective cards:

At Tetsuki’s, she blinks curiously. At Naruto Uzumaki’s, her jaw tightens.

Tetsuki can’t help but to smile at that.

Even if they can’t convince Neji Hyuuga to help, she certainly wouldn’t mind having an expert in ranged weaponry on their side. And it’s nice knowing that TenTen is just as pissed off as she is–their personalities may be different, but their backgrounds may as well be identical.

On the streets, no one gets what they want. But that doesn’t mean they can’t get even.

“Assurance that we’re not here for your tokens,” Tetsuki says, gesturing to the pair of dark purple armbands still on the ground. “Not that we would have been able to get them anyway,” she adds after a slight pause, jerking her shoulder, her chakra-blocked arm swinging almost grotesquely.

“If your fate is to fight half the class then I’m not going to interfere,” Neji Hyuuga states, Byakugan deactivated no doubt due to how nonthreatening she and Naruto Uzumaki are compared to him.

TenTen shoots a glare at him, but stays silent.

Tetsuki can feel her heart crawl into her throat, though she doesn’t know why. This isn’t exactly a surprising outcome.

She doesn’t know what to say.

“You’ve interfered already, asshole,” Naruto Uzumaki says, lifting up Tetsuki’s right arm–so numb she didn’t even feel him grab it. “You could just say you’re too scared to fight. You think you’re great ‘cause you get shit just handed to you in your fancy clan and the teachers kiss your ass? We don’t need help from a stuck up coward like you!”

Tetsuki stares at him in open shock. In her peripheral vision, she can see TenTen do the same.

You can’t just say stuff like that to a clan member’s face!

But maybe having a last name gives him some kind understanding because instead of walking away, figurative bridge burned between them, Neji Hyuuga’s hands dart out in quick succession.

And suddenly Tetsuki can feel the grip of Naruto Uzumaki’s hand around her wrist… before a flood of static sweeps across her nerves, chakra rushing back into her arm without the Jyuuken blocks to hold it back. She hisses in pain.

“There’s not enough time for me to explain how wrong you are,” Neji Hyuuga says, briefly reaching up for the wraps around his forehead before deciding against it.

There is a story there, an open secret of Konoha–the Hyuuga clan is hiding something, but only the upper echelons know what. Even if Neji Hyuuga were the kind of person to share his burden with others, they are barely acquaintances, much less friends.

Maybe in the future.

Naruto Uzumaki twitches, head tilting one way then the other as if in confusion or–more likely, as Tetsuki picks up the sounds herself–in concentration.

Neji Hyuuga is right, there’s not enough time:

The mob is coming.

~

A/N: Whaaaaat? It’s back?

On the forums dona reminded us of your changeling!Shikako idea. If you still need prompts, could we possibly get something else in that ‘verse? Thank you again for these ask box events!

A/N: Considering dona was the one to prompt it in the first place, it’s not really my idea. But I do enjoy that ‘verse so I’ll see if I can do something with it? It’s more world-building than plot, because I had some ideas about Fae in the world of Naruto that didn’t really fit in a Nara-centric ficlet, so I appreciate the opportunity! 😀

Sometimes–on the very rare occasions where their luck hasn’t set off a ludicrous Rube Goldberg of chaos–Shikako enjoys just… basking in Naruto’s presence.

Eyes closed, face turned towards him, it really is reminiscent of childhood naps on a sunny afternoon.

She is not the first Fae to be captivated by an Uzumaki, and she certainly won’t be the last.

///

The Uzumaki are vibrant–colorful both literally and figuratively–brilliant and beguiling and entirely human.

Normally, when The Court has a guest, the revelry starts on a high point: humans are, after all, easily charmed and quick to ignore their hardships for some carousing. But soon they grow reluctant, body weary, and when they are returned home they always complain about how everyone they’ve ever loved is dead.

So ungrateful.

But Uzumaki guests are eager from start to finish, dancing and drinking as well as any member of The Court, and when they are returned home they hardly blink an eye at the changes around them.

What is a century to a clan known for longevity?

///

Fae are subject to the strictest of rules, the only inhibitor to their preternatural power.

They cannot speak untruths, yes, but that does not mean they cannot deceive. They cannot take what is already claimed, but claims are easy enough to change:

A favor, a name, a face–how simple it is to gain possession of those iron-blooded surface dwellers.

///

No one really remembers much about Kakashi’s mother. It’s true his father was much more infamous, but it’s not entirely the fault of Konoha’s imperfect memory.

After all, it’s from her that Kakashi inherited his penchant for masks.

How unfortunate that he didn’t also inherit the reasoning behind it.

Not that it would matter much: as a changeling, Shikako is free to do as she pleases.

///

The Summer and Winter Courts are forever at war–or, perhaps, are the one and the same just with different adornments.

What do seasons mean to eternal beings? After all, conflict is just another kind of dance.

But the Fae are fickle, not foolish: they send changeling children across the veil for a reason.

///

The Uchiha, as all too clearly proven, were entirely mortal, but fearsome warriors whose reputation impressed even those beyond the forests.

The clan knew better than to get involved with the Fae. Sasuke is just a lone boy carrying the name.

Emotional bonds are the most powerful, crafted not from tangible materials or breakable promises, but from sacrifice.

Blood and heirlooms and secrets exchanged until there can be no more tally of debts, no method to untangle what is owed to who.

All these unwanted, broken orphan boys…

The finest Queen will have the strongest and most loyal of Knights.

~

A/N: Team Seven in the Changeling ‘verse! To be fair, changeling!Shikako doesn’t know about the whole… Fae machinations and turning her team into mortal thralls thing… (゜▽゜;)

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