Changeling, Shikamaru, The Nara are not like the ninja clans that must pay the Fae in blood, or gold, or a child from their clan: whenever a Nara child is stillborn, the parents are bound to foster a Fae child their place.

rsrw:

jacksgreysays:

rsrw:

jacksgreysays:

donapoetrypassion:

jacksgreysays:

A/N: Hm… I kinda want to both brainstorm and write a ficlet for this prompt, because the idea is very lovely (as per usual, dona) but the brainstorm I have is different than the ficlet I want to write?

Like the ficlet is just a straight up narrative prose exploring the idea of some Nara children being changelings and why their clan are the exception, etc. etc. Whereas the brainstorm is a more expansive plotty thing about how having a changeling character would affect the story.

Hm, I guess they’re not necessarily exclusive to each other so let’s do both… ficlet first!

~

To say that the Shodaime Hokage created the forests around what would become the sight of Konohagakure is an exaggeration at best and an outright lie at worst.

It’s true that the Hashirama trees are the first type that villagers learn to identify as children–prevalent in most parks and training grounds, a protective ring around the walls–but the forest itself is far older than that; far greater.

Far less human.

///

Yoshino is in labor for a grueling forty six hours–more blood, sweat, and tears than even the worst battle–but she knows it’ll be worth it, prays to every god she can think of that it’ll be worth it.

When finally it’s done, that last exhausting push, she can barely catch her breath, barely stay awake, and yet she claws at consciousness desperately.

Why is there only one baby crying?

///

The Nara clan live close to the earth: their herds and their trees and theirs shadows upon the ground. They are intelligent, taking their own time and space, and for that they are looked upon fondly.

Most of the time, that’s a good thing.

///

There is a tree, deep within the Nara clan compound, old and gnarled and kept secret.

In that tree, there is a hollow, cleaned monthly but left empty.

Tonight, with Kasuga and Sembei at his back, Shikaku places the small, shrouded bundle inside.

///

It has been a long time since the Nara clan were given a gift from the other side.

An honor and risk, both.

The rest of the village has no idea what they’re in for.

OKAY! So, now it’s brainstorm time.

I made it vague because I wasn’t sure if, because you specified Shikamaru, you wanted him to be the changeling or if you wanted his POV of changeling!Shikako… or, I guess, now that I think of it, if you even wanted DoS? Whoops.

Anyway! The ficlet above would be the prequel basically laying down the groundwork of your prompt for a much larger story. What that story is, I’m not entirely sure…

Actually, I’m thinking something like Danzo has somehow gotten to the other side and that’s where a lot of his ROOT soldiers are from–changeling children that weren’t so blessed to be placed with the Nara clan, which sort of explains the affinity Shikako has with Sai, etc. etc–and the Fae kind of point Shikako in that direction and just, go wild, dispense our wrath…

… but I’m worried I’m focusing too much on Danzo as the big bad. I mean, the Fae could also be GREATLY DISPLEASED with the giant evil bijuu eating statue and that’s another task the whispers in Shikako’s mind point her towards.

I do like the idea that while the Nara are the only ones who get changeling children as a sort of active, deliberate exchange, there are other places (including outside of Konoha) where changeling children appear where there isn’t any established and known protocols for it. And so, like how Naruto has his not-so-secret society of jinchuuriki, Shikako has a slightly-more-secret society of changelings.

Sai is one, definitely. I’m thinking also Juugo? And maaybe Isaribi to incorporate her more into the story… I don’t think there’d be any overlaps in changelings and jinchuuriki (the only exception might be Sora at the Fire Temple who is only a partial jinchuuriki or something like that?)

Hm…

I mean, this would be in Shikamaru’s POV so as to match your prompt and also him as an outsider but close observer of this phenomenon would lend itself well into the whole–changelings LOOK human, but they aren’t, kind of thing. Yes, they’re mostly taught how to interact in a socially acceptable way, but they’re still Other.

Actually, now I wonder if even the bijuu are a little scared of the Fae (and, by association, the changelings) because chakra is a relatively new power in the world. The bijuu aren’t that old in comparison to the Fae. SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT FURTHER 😀

~

Ask Box Event Now Open!

Awesome! A brainstorm AND a ficlet! I love this so much- I totally hadn’t thought about the ROOT thing. …Man, the Fae could be PISSED about that. And …not concerned, but irritated at the instruction of the Juno. Yes, irritated. (Your suggestion also now has me wondering about the au of this au, where Shikamaru finds out HE’s the changeling. Oooh.) But I love the Shikako-Sai connection you did there. And for some reason I am thinking about the logistics of hiding this from the hospital. (Either the Nara blatantly take over that wing of the hospital, or Tsunade is left affronted that the Nara never go to the hospital for childbirth. Which makes one wonder if other clans try to take over one aspect of village administration/services in order to conceal/uphold their dealings with the Fae.)

…Wow, imagine if BOTH twins were Fae. Brings the ‘and one looks like the mother and one looks like the father’ to a whole new creepy level, right? Some Fae thing they do so that the babies blend in- maybe it involves a blood sacrifice from the parents. Or- no. Just the little bundle at the root of the tree. That’s enough to work with.

I think it makes more sense if Shikako alone is the Fae, though. Does she even know it? Maybe not. She tries very hard to be ‘normal,’ for a chageling.

…I kind of wonder if Orochimaru was a changeling. And maybe that was what got Danzo interested in them.

image
image

Shikamaru as the changeling would be absolutely fascinating. Because Shikako is the “weird” one as compared to Shikamaru who is very traditionally Nara. But is he really? Or, rather, what is it to be Nara as compared to Fae?

After all, they do have the favor of the Fae, have had previously received changeling children as a gift. Perhaps it’s because they’re so similar?

There’s a post going around about how changeling children from the past were most likely autistic children which society at the time couldn’t put into any other words but having been swapped with a Fae child. And, well, the Nara are very… hm… the new Maori word for autism is “his or her own time and space” which I feel does describe the Nara clan as a whole.

They let their members grow as they feel, don’t push them to think one way or another, they’re very supportive when a member finds their calling, used to members switching between hyper-focus and scattered distraction. Cloud watching could very well be a way to reduce stimuli…

I think there are probably enough Nara who work in the hospital that whenever one is pregnant and giving birth, it’s not at all difficult to swap Nara nurses and medics into the delivery. Especially when it’s the clan head’s wife giving birth? It wouldn’t at all be suspicious for any Nara hospital staff to involve themselves in such a clan critical pregnancy, so then it wouldn’t be necessary to take over the maternity ward (just borrow it, for a little while).

Ooh, Orochimaru as a changeling… that makes a lot of sense, actually! Unfortunately for him, the Nara clan head at the time of his childhood hadn’t been as observant, or perhaps thought the stillborns for changelings swap was a myth, or was very clannish and didn’t consider it his responsibility to help. And it would, as you said, give an interesting spin on his relationship with Danzo and also his defection from Akatsuki. He’s definitely a Dark Fae, or a Fallen Fae, or whatever the terminology might be for a changeling that has broken so many Rules that the Fae no longer claim him as their own. Although maybe he redeems himself in their eyes (which explains better why he’s still walking around doing whatever he wants in Boruto)?

I’m a little hesitant about Gaara being a changeling as well as a jinchuuriki… maybe he’s of Fae descent? Like, Karura could’ve been a changeling… which explains why she died in childbirth (the bijuu chakra sealed into the as of yet unborn Gaara seeped into her own system, weakening her) but also how she was able to imbue her protection/love into his sand even after her death. And how cool would it be if that’s where Temari’s EXTREME WIND BADASSERY came from?

Shikaku is a very tolerant father, I feel like. Or, rather, accepting the fact that his clan has a weird trading system with the Fae means he’s just a very tolerant, not-easily-shaken man.

Adding a note or two: Fae are rather possessive. Which would explain some of Shikamaru’s actions/ thought process after the Gelel arc. 

Also I don’t think Orochimaru actually broke the Rules of Fae

He may twist words and make the sky seem green but he doesn’t lie, even when he has a seal on his tongue keeping him from speaking truth. Even his experiments with the Jugo’s blood-limit (that Orochimaru benefits from but that’ could be seen him working towards what he said he would that’s fae to) he acts as his name and within his power, and he doesn’t try to mess with Fae courts (not established courts anyway) and the actions he takes are very much in the Human Realm.

He even takes in others that were in some ways abandoned or betrayed (Kimimaro being one example). Which fae are acknowledged to do

just thoughts to add

Even before the Gelel arc, Shikamaru’s concern over Shikako could read as fae-influenced possessiveness–though it is also just the whole “my sister is nearly dying on a monthly basis and then one time ACTUALLY dies” situation.

I think there’s a certain generalization that can be applied if Shikamaru is the changeling because his personality is notably VERY in line with Nara-typical personalities which means A LOT of Nara over the years have been changelings/are descended from those changelings. Whereas if Shikako is the changeling then her unusual determination for a Nara matches up with those rare enough (but memorable enough) Nara who make the “motivated Nara” quote a significantly prevalent saying.

I dunno, I’m kind of waffling back and forth on this matter. Because the idea that the Nara as a whole all have even some percentage of fae ancestry is kind of fun. But also the idea that it isn’t so common, and they’re still just Like That is also very fun. And, like, there’s a certain level of tolerance if the “second-born” non-heir is a changeling, but I feel like there might be some backlash if the heir is the changeling. 

Then again, the idea of Asuma having to deal with changeling Shikamaru is hilarious to me for some reason. Kakashi is already on a team with a bunch of weirdoes, he’s used to it. Asuma would just be staring at Shikamaru–who he has specifically been training to be team leader–in utter bewilderment as his genin follow the strangest (fae) whims. AAAAAHHHH I don’t know :/

… True, true. Orochimaru is one of those characters whose Watsonian motivations must be more complex and fascinating than the Doylist reasons behind his actions. So the idea that he’s beholden to laws that aren’t human is absolutely compelling. All of the partnerships/promises he makes then breaks does give off a very mercurial vibe, and the fact that he doesn’t seem to be majorly punished for any of them does kind of go with the idea that his sense of honor/justice is somehow beyond human reproach. And that would explain why he is walking around in Boruto if he’s “only” broken human laws and those don’t really apply to fae/changelings.

I loosely follow @blackkatmagic’s fanon that Orochimaru’s backstory is as tragic as Tsunade’s with some added deliberate manipulation from Danzo to ruin one of the potential Hokage candidates, so Orochimaru can’t be as completely evil as we see on the surface (although there’s definitely a point where his actions are nobody’s fault but his own, and he doesn’t get held accountable for those at all). I suppose if I were more ambitious I would try to do an Orochimaru centered fic about his progression to cold, but that’s a lot of nuance that I’m not sure I can do…

Why make just have one be active Fae. have one be a Nara changeling ‘just like his father’ be jounin commander, and clan leader. Have one inherit from her mother, she who throws the earth at her enemies and willing to do/ put up with so much for her family. Similar but not; so easy to confuse when small but growing so different.

————–

For Oro’s backstory: add in that Orochimaru generally doesn’t break promises either until someone else betrays him first. He was the Sannin that stayed in the village the longest actively working, didn’t go gallivanting off to teach ninja that weren’t even part of his village (which in some ways is giving village secrets/training away {traitor}), and he didn’t break and run away when his family died/students died the first time /teammates left him behind (the only reason Tsunade wasn’t a missing-nin was because the third said so {she betrayed him to, she left him in the dark and even then he still offered her a twisted safety with him}).

He only betrayed the village after the LEADERS OF THE VILLAGE attacked him for following their orders (Hiruzen gave him to Danzo, and Danzo ordered so many things For the good of the Village) He didn’t break his word, he was run out.

When he kills Hiruzen’s because JUSTICE/VENGENCE/ LOOKATME (what you made me). He even told him that he would kill him for the betrayal

Orochi said that he would help Suna invade Konoha (he did), he never said that he would let their Kage live after betraying their treaty {being forsworn in a fae’s presence is NOT a good thing to be}

You could also argue the only laws he broke weren’t ones talking about NINJA either (because he kept those, though he went semi-Samurai with his teacher making sure none could mess with his fight (edo tense counts as a weapon not as interference) 

That’s true! ¿PORQUE NO LOS DOS?

So the Nara clan does have a lot of fae blood, but Shikako is the most recent changeling so the whimsy and extreme retribution is even more obvious in her. And I quite like the idea that Yoshino’s sheer humanity gave the fae more to work with than they had before (because the exchange happens when the clan head puts the body in the hollow, if previous Nara bodies have all been distant cousins marrying each other, then there’s not much in the way of genetic diversity. But throw in someone from out-clan, and suddenly the fae on the other side of the Forest are all like, OOH Earth natured chakra. Oooooh, she’s got a temper and pretty eyes!!! Yes, we can work with this 😀 )

Yes! Orochimaru was very dutiful and obedient up until the point where that backfired on him. Like, this is part of the reason why his reaction to being passed over for Hokage actually makes sense/is vaguely sympathetic (As opposed to Danzo’s tantrum) because Orochimaru did everything rightUnfortunately for him, “right” was based on a lot of what Danzo was doing with ROOT. And, like, as you mentioned, Jiraiya was that one taught foreign orphans how to be shinobi first and he was never punished for it–is it so weird to then scale that up into a full village. Now, I’m not saying that it’s Jiraiya’s fault that Oto existed. But Orochimaru is all about doing things bigger and more dramatic so…

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Changeling, Shikamaru, The Nara are not like the ninja clans that must pay the Fae in blood, or gold, or a child from their clan: whenever a Nara child is stillborn, the parents are bound to foster a Fae child their place.

laflenkenway:

jacksgreysays:

rsrw:

jacksgreysays:

donapoetrypassion:

jacksgreysays:

A/N: Hm… I kinda want to both brainstorm and write a ficlet for this prompt, because the idea is very lovely (as per usual, dona) but the brainstorm I have is different than the ficlet I want to write?

Like the ficlet is just a straight up narrative prose exploring the idea of some Nara children being changelings and why their clan are the exception, etc. etc. Whereas the brainstorm is a more expansive plotty thing about how having a changeling character would affect the story.

Hm, I guess they’re not necessarily exclusive to each other so let’s do both… ficlet first!

~

To say that the Shodaime Hokage created the forests around what would become the sight of Konohagakure is an exaggeration at best and an outright lie at worst.

It’s true that the Hashirama trees are the first type that villagers learn to identify as children–prevalent in most parks and training grounds, a protective ring around the walls–but the forest itself is far older than that; far greater.

Far less human.

///

Yoshino is in labor for a grueling forty six hours–more blood, sweat, and tears than even the worst battle–but she knows it’ll be worth it, prays to every god she can think of that it’ll be worth it.

When finally it’s done, that last exhausting push, she can barely catch her breath, barely stay awake, and yet she claws at consciousness desperately.

Why is there only one baby crying?

///

The Nara clan live close to the earth: their herds and their trees and theirs shadows upon the ground. They are intelligent, taking their own time and space, and for that they are looked upon fondly.

Most of the time, that’s a good thing.

///

There is a tree, deep within the Nara clan compound, old and gnarled and kept secret.

In that tree, there is a hollow, cleaned monthly but left empty.

Tonight, with Kasuga and Sembei at his back, Shikaku places the small, shrouded bundle inside.

///

It has been a long time since the Nara clan were given a gift from the other side.

An honor and risk, both.

The rest of the village has no idea what they’re in for.

OKAY! So, now it’s brainstorm time.

I made it vague because I wasn’t sure if, because you specified Shikamaru, you wanted him to be the changeling or if you wanted his POV of changeling!Shikako… or, I guess, now that I think of it, if you even wanted DoS? Whoops.

Anyway! The ficlet above would be the prequel basically laying down the groundwork of your prompt for a much larger story. What that story is, I’m not entirely sure…

Actually, I’m thinking something like Danzo has somehow gotten to the other side and that’s where a lot of his ROOT soldiers are from–changeling children that weren’t so blessed to be placed with the Nara clan, which sort of explains the affinity Shikako has with Sai, etc. etc–and the Fae kind of point Shikako in that direction and just, go wild, dispense our wrath…

… but I’m worried I’m focusing too much on Danzo as the big bad. I mean, the Fae could also be GREATLY DISPLEASED with the giant evil bijuu eating statue and that’s another task the whispers in Shikako’s mind point her towards.

I do like the idea that while the Nara are the only ones who get changeling children as a sort of active, deliberate exchange, there are other places (including outside of Konoha) where changeling children appear where there isn’t any established and known protocols for it. And so, like how Naruto has his not-so-secret society of jinchuuriki, Shikako has a slightly-more-secret society of changelings.

Sai is one, definitely. I’m thinking also Juugo? And maaybe Isaribi to incorporate her more into the story… I don’t think there’d be any overlaps in changelings and jinchuuriki (the only exception might be Sora at the Fire Temple who is only a partial jinchuuriki or something like that?)

Hm…

I mean, this would be in Shikamaru’s POV so as to match your prompt and also him as an outsider but close observer of this phenomenon would lend itself well into the whole–changelings LOOK human, but they aren’t, kind of thing. Yes, they’re mostly taught how to interact in a socially acceptable way, but they’re still Other.

Actually, now I wonder if even the bijuu are a little scared of the Fae (and, by association, the changelings) because chakra is a relatively new power in the world. The bijuu aren’t that old in comparison to the Fae. SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT FURTHER 😀

~

Ask Box Event Now Open!

Awesome! A brainstorm AND a ficlet! I love this so much- I totally hadn’t thought about the ROOT thing. …Man, the Fae could be PISSED about that. And …not concerned, but irritated at the instruction of the Juno. Yes, irritated. (Your suggestion also now has me wondering about the au of this au, where Shikamaru finds out HE’s the changeling. Oooh.) But I love the Shikako-Sai connection you did there. And for some reason I am thinking about the logistics of hiding this from the hospital. (Either the Nara blatantly take over that wing of the hospital, or Tsunade is left affronted that the Nara never go to the hospital for childbirth. Which makes one wonder if other clans try to take over one aspect of village administration/services in order to conceal/uphold their dealings with the Fae.)

…Wow, imagine if BOTH twins were Fae. Brings the ‘and one looks like the mother and one looks like the father’ to a whole new creepy level, right? Some Fae thing they do so that the babies blend in- maybe it involves a blood sacrifice from the parents. Or- no. Just the little bundle at the root of the tree. That’s enough to work with.

I think it makes more sense if Shikako alone is the Fae, though. Does she even know it? Maybe not. She tries very hard to be ‘normal,’ for a chageling.

…I kind of wonder if Orochimaru was a changeling. And maybe that was what got Danzo interested in them.

image
image

Shikamaru as the changeling would be absolutely fascinating. Because Shikako is the “weird” one as compared to Shikamaru who is very traditionally Nara. But is he really? Or, rather, what is it to be Nara as compared to Fae?

After all, they do have the favor of the Fae, have had previously received changeling children as a gift. Perhaps it’s because they’re so similar?

There’s a post going around about how changeling children from the past were most likely autistic children which society at the time couldn’t put into any other words but having been swapped with a Fae child. And, well, the Nara are very… hm… the new Maori word for autism is “his or her own time and space” which I feel does describe the Nara clan as a whole.

They let their members grow as they feel, don’t push them to think one way or another, they’re very supportive when a member finds their calling, used to members switching between hyper-focus and scattered distraction. Cloud watching could very well be a way to reduce stimuli…

I think there are probably enough Nara who work in the hospital that whenever one is pregnant and giving birth, it’s not at all difficult to swap Nara nurses and medics into the delivery. Especially when it’s the clan head’s wife giving birth? It wouldn’t at all be suspicious for any Nara hospital staff to involve themselves in such a clan critical pregnancy, so then it wouldn’t be necessary to take over the maternity ward (just borrow it, for a little while).

Ooh, Orochimaru as a changeling… that makes a lot of sense, actually! Unfortunately for him, the Nara clan head at the time of his childhood hadn’t been as observant, or perhaps thought the stillborns for changelings swap was a myth, or was very clannish and didn’t consider it his responsibility to help. And it would, as you said, give an interesting spin on his relationship with Danzo and also his defection from Akatsuki. He’s definitely a Dark Fae, or a Fallen Fae, or whatever the terminology might be for a changeling that has broken so many Rules that the Fae no longer claim him as their own. Although maybe he redeems himself in their eyes (which explains better why he’s still walking around doing whatever he wants in Boruto)?

I’m a little hesitant about Gaara being a changeling as well as a jinchuuriki… maybe he’s of Fae descent? Like, Karura could’ve been a changeling… which explains why she died in childbirth (the bijuu chakra sealed into the as of yet unborn Gaara seeped into her own system, weakening her) but also how she was able to imbue her protection/love into his sand even after her death. And how cool would it be if that’s where Temari’s EXTREME WIND BADASSERY came from?

Shikaku is a very tolerant father, I feel like. Or, rather, accepting the fact that his clan has a weird trading system with the Fae means he’s just a very tolerant, not-easily-shaken man.

Adding a note or two: Fae are rather possessive. Which would explain some of Shikamaru’s actions/ thought process after the Gelel arc. 

Also I don’t think Orochimaru actually broke the Rules of Fae

He may twist words and make the sky seem green but he doesn’t lie, even when he has a seal on his tongue keeping him from speaking truth. Even his experiments with the Jugo’s blood-limit (that Orochimaru benefits from but that’ could be seen him working towards what he said he would that’s fae to) he acts as his name and within his power, and he doesn’t try to mess with Fae courts (not established courts anyway) and the actions he takes are very much in the Human Realm.

He even takes in others that were in some ways abandoned or betrayed (Kimimaro being one example). Which fae are acknowledged to do

just thoughts to add

Even before the Gelel arc, Shikamaru’s concern over Shikako could read as fae-influenced possessiveness–though it is also just the whole “my sister is nearly dying on a monthly basis and then one time ACTUALLY dies” situation.

I think there’s a certain generalization that can be applied if Shikamaru is the changeling because his personality is notably VERY in line with Nara-typical personalities which means A LOT of Nara over the years have been changelings/are descended from those changelings. Whereas if Shikako is the changeling then her unusual determination for a Nara matches up with those rare enough (but memorable enough) Nara who make the “motivated Nara” quote a significantly prevalent saying.

I dunno, I’m kind of waffling back and forth on this matter. Because the idea that the Nara as a whole all have even some percentage of fae ancestry is kind of fun. But also the idea that it isn’t so common, and they’re still just Like That is also very fun. And, like, there’s a certain level of tolerance if the “second-born” non-heir is a changeling, but I feel like there might be some backlash if the heir is the changeling. 

Then again, the idea of Asuma having to deal with changeling Shikamaru is hilarious to me for some reason. Kakashi is already on a team with a bunch of weirdoes, he’s used to it. Asuma would just be staring at Shikamaru–who he has specifically been training to be team leader–in utter bewilderment as his genin follow the strangest (fae) whims. AAAAAHHHH I don’t know :/

… True, true. Orochimaru is one of those characters whose Watsonian motivations must be more complex and fascinating than the Doylist reasons behind his actions. So the idea that he’s beholden to laws that aren’t human is absolutely compelling. All of the partnerships/promises he makes then breaks does give off a very mercurial vibe, and the fact that he doesn’t seem to be majorly punished for any of them does kind of go with the idea that his sense of honor/justice is somehow beyond human reproach. And that would explain why he is walking around in Boruto if he’s “only” broken human laws and those don’t really apply to fae/changelings.

I loosely follow @blackkatmagic’s fanon that Orochimaru’s backstory is as tragic as Tsunade’s with some added deliberate manipulation from Danzo to ruin one of the potential Hokage candidates, so Orochimaru can’t be as completely evil as we see on the surface (although there’s definitely a point where his actions are nobody’s fault but his own, and he doesn’t get held accountable for those at all). I suppose if I were more ambitious I would try to do an Orochimaru centered fic about his progression to cold, but that’s a lot of nuance that I’m not sure I can do…

Maybe its just because my view of the Fae is heavily influenced by the Dresden Files, but I don’t think the Fae would be all that pissed about Danzo, he’s using them the same way the Fae often use their own children anyway. Also, as far as the courts are concerned, the Nara definitely deal more with the Summer court, I’m torn as to Orochimaru’s nature, on the one hand, his personality and tactics scream Winter, but the words “snakes” and “Winter” don’t even belong in the same paragraph.

-Fell.

I think the Fae would be pissed about someone else using their children as mindless soldiers. The actual treatment they don’t care about, but the fact that some mortal is going about doing something that is reserved for Fae only is what they’d have a problem with.

Visually he also is very Winter, so if we’re going personality, tactics, and looks he’s Winter. The snake thing can be handwaved away. Like how there are ice dragons in fantasy, but if dragons were really reptiles then they wouldn’t be icy?

But I don’t know much about Dresden Files, so my knowledge of Fae is very loose. 

Changeling, Shikamaru, The Nara are not like the ninja clans that must pay the Fae in blood, or gold, or a child from their clan: whenever a Nara child is stillborn, the parents are bound to foster a Fae child their place.

rsrw:

jacksgreysays:

donapoetrypassion:

jacksgreysays:

A/N: Hm… I kinda want to both brainstorm and write a ficlet for this prompt, because the idea is very lovely (as per usual, dona) but the brainstorm I have is different than the ficlet I want to write?

Like the ficlet is just a straight up narrative prose exploring the idea of some Nara children being changelings and why their clan are the exception, etc. etc. Whereas the brainstorm is a more expansive plotty thing about how having a changeling character would affect the story.

Hm, I guess they’re not necessarily exclusive to each other so let’s do both… ficlet first!

~

To say that the Shodaime Hokage created the forests around what would become the sight of Konohagakure is an exaggeration at best and an outright lie at worst.

It’s true that the Hashirama trees are the first type that villagers learn to identify as children–prevalent in most parks and training grounds, a protective ring around the walls–but the forest itself is far older than that; far greater.

Far less human.

///

Yoshino is in labor for a grueling forty six hours–more blood, sweat, and tears than even the worst battle–but she knows it’ll be worth it, prays to every god she can think of that it’ll be worth it.

When finally it’s done, that last exhausting push, she can barely catch her breath, barely stay awake, and yet she claws at consciousness desperately.

Why is there only one baby crying?

///

The Nara clan live close to the earth: their herds and their trees and theirs shadows upon the ground. They are intelligent, taking their own time and space, and for that they are looked upon fondly.

Most of the time, that’s a good thing.

///

There is a tree, deep within the Nara clan compound, old and gnarled and kept secret.

In that tree, there is a hollow, cleaned monthly but left empty.

Tonight, with Kasuga and Sembei at his back, Shikaku places the small, shrouded bundle inside.

///

It has been a long time since the Nara clan were given a gift from the other side.

An honor and risk, both.

The rest of the village has no idea what they’re in for.

OKAY! So, now it’s brainstorm time.

I made it vague because I wasn’t sure if, because you specified Shikamaru, you wanted him to be the changeling or if you wanted his POV of changeling!Shikako… or, I guess, now that I think of it, if you even wanted DoS? Whoops.

Anyway! The ficlet above would be the prequel basically laying down the groundwork of your prompt for a much larger story. What that story is, I’m not entirely sure…

Actually, I’m thinking something like Danzo has somehow gotten to the other side and that’s where a lot of his ROOT soldiers are from–changeling children that weren’t so blessed to be placed with the Nara clan, which sort of explains the affinity Shikako has with Sai, etc. etc–and the Fae kind of point Shikako in that direction and just, go wild, dispense our wrath…

… but I’m worried I’m focusing too much on Danzo as the big bad. I mean, the Fae could also be GREATLY DISPLEASED with the giant evil bijuu eating statue and that’s another task the whispers in Shikako’s mind point her towards.

I do like the idea that while the Nara are the only ones who get changeling children as a sort of active, deliberate exchange, there are other places (including outside of Konoha) where changeling children appear where there isn’t any established and known protocols for it. And so, like how Naruto has his not-so-secret society of jinchuuriki, Shikako has a slightly-more-secret society of changelings.

Sai is one, definitely. I’m thinking also Juugo? And maaybe Isaribi to incorporate her more into the story… I don’t think there’d be any overlaps in changelings and jinchuuriki (the only exception might be Sora at the Fire Temple who is only a partial jinchuuriki or something like that?)

Hm…

I mean, this would be in Shikamaru’s POV so as to match your prompt and also him as an outsider but close observer of this phenomenon would lend itself well into the whole–changelings LOOK human, but they aren’t, kind of thing. Yes, they’re mostly taught how to interact in a socially acceptable way, but they’re still Other.

Actually, now I wonder if even the bijuu are a little scared of the Fae (and, by association, the changelings) because chakra is a relatively new power in the world. The bijuu aren’t that old in comparison to the Fae. SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT FURTHER 😀

~

Ask Box Event Now Open!

Awesome! A brainstorm AND a ficlet! I love this so much- I totally hadn’t thought about the ROOT thing. …Man, the Fae could be PISSED about that. And …not concerned, but irritated at the instruction of the Juno. Yes, irritated. (Your suggestion also now has me wondering about the au of this au, where Shikamaru finds out HE’s the changeling. Oooh.) But I love the Shikako-Sai connection you did there. And for some reason I am thinking about the logistics of hiding this from the hospital. (Either the Nara blatantly take over that wing of the hospital, or Tsunade is left affronted that the Nara never go to the hospital for childbirth. Which makes one wonder if other clans try to take over one aspect of village administration/services in order to conceal/uphold their dealings with the Fae.)

…Wow, imagine if BOTH twins were Fae. Brings the ‘and one looks like the mother and one looks like the father’ to a whole new creepy level, right? Some Fae thing they do so that the babies blend in- maybe it involves a blood sacrifice from the parents. Or- no. Just the little bundle at the root of the tree. That’s enough to work with.

I think it makes more sense if Shikako alone is the Fae, though. Does she even know it? Maybe not. She tries very hard to be ‘normal,’ for a chageling.

…I kind of wonder if Orochimaru was a changeling. And maybe that was what got Danzo interested in them.

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Shikamaru as the changeling would be absolutely fascinating. Because Shikako is the “weird” one as compared to Shikamaru who is very traditionally Nara. But is he really? Or, rather, what is it to be Nara as compared to Fae?

After all, they do have the favor of the Fae, have had previously received changeling children as a gift. Perhaps it’s because they’re so similar?

There’s a post going around about how changeling children from the past were most likely autistic children which society at the time couldn’t put into any other words but having been swapped with a Fae child. And, well, the Nara are very… hm… the new Maori word for autism is “his or her own time and space” which I feel does describe the Nara clan as a whole.

They let their members grow as they feel, don’t push them to think one way or another, they’re very supportive when a member finds their calling, used to members switching between hyper-focus and scattered distraction. Cloud watching could very well be a way to reduce stimuli…

I think there are probably enough Nara who work in the hospital that whenever one is pregnant and giving birth, it’s not at all difficult to swap Nara nurses and medics into the delivery. Especially when it’s the clan head’s wife giving birth? It wouldn’t at all be suspicious for any Nara hospital staff to involve themselves in such a clan critical pregnancy, so then it wouldn’t be necessary to take over the maternity ward (just borrow it, for a little while).

Ooh, Orochimaru as a changeling… that makes a lot of sense, actually! Unfortunately for him, the Nara clan head at the time of his childhood hadn’t been as observant, or perhaps thought the stillborns for changelings swap was a myth, or was very clannish and didn’t consider it his responsibility to help. And it would, as you said, give an interesting spin on his relationship with Danzo and also his defection from Akatsuki. He’s definitely a Dark Fae, or a Fallen Fae, or whatever the terminology might be for a changeling that has broken so many Rules that the Fae no longer claim him as their own. Although maybe he redeems himself in their eyes (which explains better why he’s still walking around doing whatever he wants in Boruto)?

I’m a little hesitant about Gaara being a changeling as well as a jinchuuriki… maybe he’s of Fae descent? Like, Karura could’ve been a changeling… which explains why she died in childbirth (the bijuu chakra sealed into the as of yet unborn Gaara seeped into her own system, weakening her) but also how she was able to imbue her protection/love into his sand even after her death. And how cool would it be if that’s where Temari’s EXTREME WIND BADASSERY came from?

Shikaku is a very tolerant father, I feel like. Or, rather, accepting the fact that his clan has a weird trading system with the Fae means he’s just a very tolerant, not-easily-shaken man.

Adding a note or two: Fae are rather possessive. Which would explain some of Shikamaru’s actions/ thought process after the Gelel arc. 

Also I don’t think Orochimaru actually broke the Rules of Fae

He may twist words and make the sky seem green but he doesn’t lie, even when he has a seal on his tongue keeping him from speaking truth. Even his experiments with the Jugo’s blood-limit (that Orochimaru benefits from but that’ could be seen him working towards what he said he would that’s fae to) he acts as his name and within his power, and he doesn’t try to mess with Fae courts (not established courts anyway) and the actions he takes are very much in the Human Realm.

He even takes in others that were in some ways abandoned or betrayed (Kimimaro being one example). Which fae are acknowledged to do

just thoughts to add

Even before the Gelel arc, Shikamaru’s concern over Shikako could read as fae-influenced possessiveness–though it is also just the whole “my sister is nearly dying on a monthly basis and then one time ACTUALLY dies” situation.

I think there’s a certain generalization that can be applied if Shikamaru is the changeling because his personality is notably VERY in line with Nara-typical personalities which means A LOT of Nara over the years have been changelings/are descended from those changelings. Whereas if Shikako is the changeling then her unusual determination for a Nara matches up with those rare enough (but memorable enough) Nara who make the “motivated Nara” quote a significantly prevalent saying.

I dunno, I’m kind of waffling back and forth on this matter. Because the idea that the Nara as a whole all have even some percentage of fae ancestry is kind of fun. But also the idea that it isn’t so common, and they’re still just Like That is also very fun. And, like, there’s a certain level of tolerance if the “second-born” non-heir is a changeling, but I feel like there might be some backlash if the heir is the changeling. 

Then again, the idea of Asuma having to deal with changeling Shikamaru is hilarious to me for some reason. Kakashi is already on a team with a bunch of weirdoes, he’s used to it. Asuma would just be staring at Shikamaru–who he has specifically been training to be team leader–in utter bewilderment as his genin follow the strangest (fae) whims. AAAAAHHHH I don’t know :/

… True, true. Orochimaru is one of those characters whose Watsonian motivations must be more complex and fascinating than the Doylist reasons behind his actions. So the idea that he’s beholden to laws that aren’t human is absolutely compelling. All of the partnerships/promises he makes then breaks does give off a very mercurial vibe, and the fact that he doesn’t seem to be majorly punished for any of them does kind of go with the idea that his sense of honor/justice is somehow beyond human reproach. And that would explain why he is walking around in Boruto if he’s “only” broken human laws and those don’t really apply to fae/changelings.

I loosely follow @blackkatmagic’s fanon that Orochimaru’s backstory is as tragic as Tsunade’s with some added deliberate manipulation from Danzo to ruin one of the potential Hokage candidates, so Orochimaru can’t be as completely evil as we see on the surface (although there’s definitely a point where his actions are nobody’s fault but his own, and he doesn’t get held accountable for those at all). I suppose if I were more ambitious I would try to do an Orochimaru centered fic about his progression to cold, but that’s a lot of nuance that I’m not sure I can do…

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!

i feel like either danzo or orochimaru should have a cofagrigus lol.

I had to look up who this pokemon was, anon, because I didn’t know Yamask–who has the most existentially horrifying description ever–EVOLVES INTO SOMETHING ELSE?!

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As is, given the whole Edo Tensei, revive the Hokage and summon their coffins during the Konoha Chuunn exams, it’d probably be Orochimaru who has the Cofagrigus

Would you ever write a fic set in the “(They Call It) Soulless” ‘verse? (Caretaker!Shikako in a universe where most people start getting soulmarks as babies, blanks are either killed as babies or monstrously consume spiritual energy/souls from everyone around (including themselves), and she discovers her younger brother Shikamaru is a blank the night their parents die. She feeds him (eventually, recycles) her own spiritual energy and hides the truth of his condition from everyone, including him.

Whoa! O_O Okay! I… did not know this ‘verse existed… let me go check that out real quick. I mean, I know about Caretaker!Shikako, but not about this particular iteration of it so… wow.

To the index page I go~~

Okay dona, I had to do some sleuthing because soulmate/soul mark stuff is no longer on the main index page since it’s become it’s own forum thread, but I thiiiink I’ve found what you’re talking about over on this index post.

Are there only the three installments? If not, uh… then this answer is only based on these three installments:

OH MY GOD. OOOOOOOOHHHHH MYYYYYYY GOOOOOOODDD!!!

DONA! WHAT?!?!!? DONA WHAT?!?!?! DONA WHAT DID YOU MAKE ME READ? WHAT ARE THESE FEELINGS YOU MADE ME FEEL? WHY AM I CRYING?!?! GODDAMNIT, DONA!

The feels! You always know how to get me with them feels, dona.

I’m gonna say yes, because it is an amazing ‘verse, and because I’ve said yes, here is your ficlet:

~

The first time Kako agrees to take a mission that will bring her more than a day away from Konoha (away from Kamaru) she is fourteen years old.

She is fourteen when she meets–and fights and kills–her first (real) Soulless.

The gnawing, gaping hunger claws at her even as she fights, even as she burns away at its empty vessel. It is excruciating, her teammates have fallen, screaming, the agony of their souls being torn out of them, breath into the void. She thinks, for the briefest of moments, that she might finally understand why there is a set procedure for babies without soul marks .

But she immediately bats the betrayal away, shreds it before it can take hold. It is because of Kamaru that she can pull through. The thought of Kamaru, figuratively and literally:

She cannot die out here, not when Kamaru still needs her, not when she hasn’t figured out a cure not yet.

But also the way Kamaru needs her, the manipulation of her own spiritual energy to sustain him, recycling it out and through and back in, that she can withstand what the rest of her squad cannot.

Genma-taicho bursts through the treetops, hoping for the best but expecting the worst and gets something in between.

She is fourteen years old when she earns her first service ribbon for surviving (killing) a Soulless.

It is not her last.

Genma keeps a better eye out for Kako Kinokawa after that. Guilt at first, then curiosity, then honest fondness.

Chouza-sensei was friends with her father, which in the convoluted bonds of Konoha teams, makes her something like a cousin.

A better cousin, hopefully, though considering his competition in the Nara clan… it’s not exactly difficult.

The second time goes, arguably, both worse and better.

Worse because she makes the mistake of letting it touch her. She screams.

She cares less about the nails tearing across her face and more about the way her life essence is being peeled away in vicious layers.

She kills it. (She has to)

Nobody (else) dies.

Gai’s specialty is taijutsu.

He is ineffective against Soulless.

But he was as much a student of Chouza-sensei as Genma, and just because he cannot help Kako in this matter does not mean he cannot help her at all.

The third she doesn’t remember so well.

“Severe head trauma,” the medic tells her when she wakes up in Konoha General, that stupidly familiar box with a stupidly familiar service ribbon on the night stand beside her and Kamaru curled up on the visitor’s chair, his hand gripped tight around hers.

“It must have been worse than previously reported,” the medic continues, “It took you much longer to wake up than expected. Your brother visited every day.”

Kako can only remember bits and pieces of the mission, much less the fight with the Soulless.

Spiritual energy contains memories.

The third she remembers mostly as a catalyst: she has to improve her control, it must be perfect–no, beyond perfect–she has to be able to do it unconsciously.

Jiraiya returns to the village a few months ahead of schedule.

It’s hard to follow up on rumors of Konoha’s enemies when all everyone wants to talk about is the shinobi from Konoha who specializes in killing Soulless, so he may as well meet her for himself.

Better now than later.

For one horrific, heart wrenching second, she thinks the Soulless screeching across her senses from the Forest of Death is Kamaru.

It can’t be, she tries to reason with herself, he can last so much longer now, it’s only been a few days.

A few days of exertion. Of high stress situations and jutsu use. He’d eat through the energy she gave him at a much faster rate.

No! It’s not Kamaru. It’s not. She won’t let it be

She enters the Forest of Death, Anko and ANBU on her trail, but until she locks eyes on the Soulless, she’s sickened, doesn’t know if she’ll be able to go through with it.

It’s not Kamaru. She knew it.

But Kamaru is there, too close for her comfort, frozen the way the other kiddies of Konoha are (she forgets, sometimes, that not everyone has built up the same resistance she has.)

It’s wearing the Oto headband, the soulless husks of its former teammates already collapsed around it.

She doesn’t hesitate.

Long ago, Orochimaru was just a little boy, smart and, more importantly, curious about how the world worked.

But then his parents died and instead he turned inward. Surely, there must be a better way to solve the problem of Soulless?

(Does this sound at all familiar?)

She feels bad about dragging TenTen into the fifth.

She hopes TenTen’s first service ribbon is her only service ribbon.

No one else should have to go through what Kako has.

After Tsunade is sworn in, she gets a breakdown of her forces. For genin and chuunin it’s enough to know them as rough figures per department–she’ll familiarize herself with them as needed, she doesn’t have the time to go further than that–but for those ranked higher than that, she needs to know the individuals and their specialties to effectively utilize them. Thankfully, most shinobi only get up to chuunin, and so the list of tokujou and jounin is not too long.

For the most part, the specialties are to be expected: a few medics, a few genjutsu users, some intel, some sensors.

“What is this?” Tsunade asks, finger tapping next to Kinokawa, Kako. She doesn’t recognize the symbol beside it–it might be a new one, it has been a few decades since she’s had to actually do paperwork.

Her Jounin Commander, a Nara of course, scans where she points. A furrow between his eyebrows appears then disappears, quick as a flash.

“Slayer,” Nara says, because why use a full sentence when a single word is much less troublesome? “Five Soulless,” he elaborates.

Tsunade blinks in surprise. With that context in mind, she takes a closer look. She remembers the tales her grandmother used to tell her as a child.

Not a new symbol, no.

An old one.

Konoha deals with the problem of infants-born-Soulless in the traditional, practical manner as it always has.

But there were Soulless before that.

If Kako is successful, there won’t be any after.

~

A/N: I kinda jumped about in places, so it’s not as coherent or cohesive a ficlet as I would like. I had a lot of different ideas tugging at me for this ‘verse and I also wasn’t sure which iteration of Caretaker!Shikako this was (like her teammates, for example, if this Kako would push so hard and graduation early with Itachi or would she hold back since she has to be able to take care of Kamaru?)

Anyway, I hope you liked it 🙂

Check out the Ask Box Would You Ever!

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.