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?”

Never Lookin’ To Come Back, shikako/kiba, 34) things you said in your sleep

Never Lookin’ To Come Back, 34) things you said in your sleep

Kiba doesn’t dream. Not in the literal sense, at least.

He’s heard other people talk about their dreams–their unconscious adventures or whatever–but he’s never been able to do the same. Usually he’s just out like a light. Maybe he wakes up in a mood, emotions filtering through as he sleeps, but nothing concrete or detailed enough to count as a dream.

He doesn’t think it’s much of a loss, really. What’s the point in having adventures in your sleep when you can have them in reality?

And, well, no dreams no nightmares.

Given what he’s seen, ain’t he lucky?

Too bad the same can’t be said for the captain.

They’re on a job–an easy delivery to some barely named pebble of a moon turned into a whole production. A miserly bastard exploiting a bunch of honest people who just needed a little help from the Shuumatsu’s ragtag team of heroes in order to find courage to stand up for themselves… the usual, really.

If he were one for business cards, Kiba would probably change his to say Big Damn Hero.

Right now it’s the evening before the final showdown. They’re taking turns on watch, because this isn’t their first rodeo that’s for sure–he wouldn’t be all that surprised if the bastard sent some muscle their way in the middle of the night–but they’re not all that worried. Kiba and Akamaru have this.

The captain murmurs in her sleep and Kiba, ears always tuned in to what she says, listens.

“… retreat… prince…”

Just those two words are enough to place when Shikako is in her mind, but the last is what makes Kiba’s blood chill.

“… Sai…”

Kiba doesn’t dream in the literal sense. Not so much in the figurative sense, either. Not anymore. He’s content with living on the bucket of bolts that is the Shuumatsu, making sure the captain has back up for her crazy schemes.

Because having a dream means getting your hopes up. Means getting invested. Means making your soft spots out in the open.

Having a dream means that you can be betrayed.

And failing your dream means reality becomes a nightmare.

Gambling Away the Past, 12!

Gambling Away The Past (part 10/?), 12) things you said when you thought I was asleep

Today is their last in the relative safety of Sangaku Outpost and, by unspoken agreement, all of Team Kakashi have decided to spend the day on separate ventures. Soon enough it’ll be back to being just their squad–best to get their fill of other company while they can.

Not that other company necessarily equates to better company, of course, especially given the way some of those stationed at the outpost still look at Kakashi with barbed, pointed glares, but there are a few people Shikako, at least, wouldn’t mind meeting with again in the future and she knows her teammates feel the same. At the very least, Kakashi certainly doesn’t mind the opportunity to summon his ninken in a more peaceful situation than he’d get to once they’re back on duty.

And so the team spends their last day at the outpost apart, helping out where they can or getting in some last minute training, before returning to their tent for the evening. They’ll leave at dawn, back to the camp that Ikoma-san runs and which Minato-san generally considers home base, before being sent out on their next mission.

And so Shikako isn’t surprised about being the first one back to the tent, late afternoon, nor does she feel at all bad about flopping onto her bedroll and immediately passing out. Exhausted after one last grueling training session for her and Wakakusa beneath Heijomaru’s steely hooves, Sembei-obaasan making less than helpful comments from the side.

A few hours later, she surfaces from the depths of unconsciousness at the proximity of other chakra signatures, but decides not to fully wake up when she recognizes her teammates. Still, their conversation filters down to her in her dozing state, words hushed but no less heated.

“–can’t believe you still think that! After everything she’s done?” Obito’s voice, the magma of his volcano bubbling ominously.

“Sensei thinks so, too,” Kakashi’s voice, a weak defense, barely any crackle in the ozone, “He said to watch her.”

“Because he thinks she’s some kind of secret fuinjutsu prodigy, not because she’s a spy!” retorts Obito.

Rin, as always, tries to break the tension, “Ikoma-san wouldn’t put her on our team if she were, and Minato-sensei approved it. He wouldn’t do that to us,” she reasons.

There is a moment of silence, Kakashi acknowledging and accepting her point, before he says, “Her story is inconsistent–what little of it she does tell us, anyway. How’d she end up near where our mission was? What happened to her previous team?”

The silence that follows this time is much longer.

Not because the answer is hard to think of, but because one particular answer comes to mind too quickly. Shikako can almost pinpoint the moment when each of her teammates stumble upon it: Obito’s volcano going dormant once more, temper doused immediately. Rin’s breath hitching, dual fire and water flickering and rippling in distress. Kakashi’s electricity flattening out the way it does when he knows he’s said something awful, but can’t apologize for it.

They are at war. There is one simple explanation for how a shinobi could end up all alone in enemy territory without any back up.

It’s morbid to think of as such, but how lucky for her that they’ve all come to the obvious, but wrong conclusion.

~

A/N: It takes significantly less time to break a good practice than to stop a bad one and that is no excuse. I’ll have to reform my daily writing behavior from scratch it seems :/

Sorry for the delay, @to-someplace-else!

33 (things you said at the back of the theatre) makes me think of ‘Primadonna girl (says no thank you)’

Primadonna Girl (Says No Thank You), 33) things you said at the back of the theatre

“Not bad, Sparky,” Kankurou says once the most devoted fans have left, giggling to themselves and satisfied. Some of them glance his way curiously, but most are too focused on the autographed paraphernalia clutched in their hands.

She blinks at him, overly polite and practiced smile still pasted on her face. Best actress of their generation his ass. “Would you like me to sign something for you, Kazekage-sama?” she asks, gesturing with the marker still in her hand. “There might be some posters left over if you didn’t bring anything with you.”

Kankurou raises a brow at her, “And would that be as Kako Heijo or Shikako Nara?”

Her smile drops, replaced with a displeased wrinkling of her nose. Finally a real emotion from her.

“What do you want?” she asks, finally leaving the roped off section at the theater’s back exit. A flimsy cage for one of the continent’s most powerful shinobi, but somehow the only one that she deigns to be contained within. 

“I like to consider myself a patron of the arts,” he answers with a shrug, before walking into step beside her. There are a few paparazzi lingering at the end of the alleyway, ready to pounce, but one look at Kako Heijo’s current conversation partner makes them turn their cameras away.

Suna still has a harsh reputation, after all, no matter what attempts were made to ameliorate that. And it doesn’t help that Kankurou’s own ascension to the hat was particularly bloody. None of it by his hand or command, of course, but sometimes the truth can be the less believable explanation.

Sparky scoffs at his response, but doesn’t do anything to escape from his presence.

The silence as they go from theater to hotel isn’t comfortable by any means, but neither is it fraught or tense. The issues between them have long ago been settled, if unfortunately, and now there is nothing but the ruins of their shared ties.

If asked twenty years ago, he would not have guessed correctly on which of the two of them would be an internationally acclaimed performer and which would be a kage, but here they are.

Both of them trapped in roles neither of them wanted.

At the hotel, Sparky’s manager flutters in her direction, immediately jabbering about bodyguards and scheduling and exposure while carefully trying not to get too close to Kankurou. For that, he grins and enjoys the way the civilian flinches back.

“Don’t be a bully,” Sparky berates, distinctly ignoring all of her manager’s own admonishments.

“Leaf nin, always so soft hearted,” Kankurou responds, never mind that they both know it to be anything but true.

After all, shinobi and actors don’t deal in the truth.

~

A/N: … well this was a fucking weird return from my hiatus… uh… yeah.

I’ll be honest, some of my delay is the QAF show, but a lot of is was that I didn’t really know how to fill this and then… this happened?

Some kind of dark future fic in which, Kankurou ends up Kazekage and Shikako becomes world renowned actress Kako Heijo.

I have a sort of backstory for this world/how these roles came about if anyone’s interested?

Uh, sorry for the VERY BLEAK and VERY BELATED fill anon. Also sort of for that other anon who asked for theater kid Kankurou headcanons even though I’m not really doing a headcanon event at this time…

Friendship is a (mutual) con. 20) things you said that I wasn’t meant to hear

Friendship Is A (Mutual) Con, 20) things you said that I wasn’t meant to hear

He doesn’t mean to trip.

Hardly anyone means to trip, but he especially didn’t mean to do so now, back stepping as quickly as he could after listening in on his sister’s conversation with her weird friends.

Mum sent him to the shop to bring some things for Shikako and remind her about family dinner on Saturday. He didn’t really think much about the closed sign or the locked door: Shikako’s been teaching him lockpicking, on the off chance he might want to follow her in her business and because it’s a handy skill to have, or so she says, and he knew she was there and thought maybe it was a test because it’s not as if business hours mean anything to family, right? Except she didn’t appear when the bell above the door jingled, and he heard yelling coming from the back room and so he went further into the shop (after locking the door behind him, of course) but when he got close enough to actually hear the words more clearly–to understand them–he realized it wasn’t an argument.

Well, it was an argument only in the sense that there was a lot of shouting and disagreements.

Mostly, it was a plan for a heist.

And at first it didn’t make any sense because… because Shikako’s supposed to build vaults and locks and safes not break into them! But there was her voice, logical and methodical, painting such a clear and feasible picture that eventually the argument–the planning–simmered down into agreement.

And in that silence, Kinokawa realized what he heard. And he tried to back away, so as not to get caught, but Shikako only ever trained him in lock picking not any of her other, apparent, criminal inclinations and so in his hurry, he tripped…

… and knocked over the stand of antique keys Shikako keeps to build custom modern locks for fun.

Naruto is the one who gets to him first–or rather, leaps over him to get between Kinokawa and the exit–but Sasuke is the one that pulls him to his feet. Roughly, at first, until he sees Kinokawa’s face, hands gentling almost immediately.

Kinokawa flinches anyway. Not so much out of fear but out of shock. Has everyone Kinokawa known his entire life secretly been criminals this whole time?

Shikako finally follows, her weird pale and quiet friend in her shadow, and the air suddenly goes taught like a string about to snap.

He wants to blurt out excuses, wants to wipe his memory, wants to undo time and just wait in the front of the shop where there weren’t secrets and criminal plans being flung about for little brothers to hear. He wants to apologize.

Shikako gets to it first.

“Ah, I should fix this,” she says, before kneeling down and beginning to pick up the scattered antique keys on the ground.

Reflexively, he does the same. Slipping out of Sasuke’s loosened grip and picking up keys. Shikako glances up, gives her friends–fellow criminals?–a look, and the three of them leave.

It’s quiet but for the soft clinking of keys in cupped palms, the stand being brought back upright, and the somewhat out of tune low humming Shikako does as she works.

It is weirdly soothing, organizing the keys by their labeled tags back onto the stand, that Kinokawa almost startles when his sister speaks again.

“I’m sorry, Kino,” she says, elbow lightly jostling his shoulder as she puts another key in its place. “You weren’t supposed to hear any of that.”

For a moment, Kinokawa pauses. He knows Shikako would never do anything bad to him, but that thought still flashes across his mind–Nara quick and prone to paranoia.

“I hope we didn’t scare you,” Shikako continues. Kinokawa feels relieved followed immediately by bubbling guilt at feeling such.

“No!” Kinokawa denies, assures, “I wasn’t–I’m not scared.”

Shikako smiles, but it’s a kind of sad, disbelieving smile. “You weren’t supposed to find out this way. Although, I guess there are worse ways.”

Another thought comes to Kinokawa, “Were… were you ever going to tell me?” And another, left unasked: am I the only one who doesn’t know?

Shikako answers both, sighing, “I don’t know. A part of me wanted to tell you–all of you, Shikamaru and Mum and Dad–about what I really do–I do so much good, Kino, I can’t even count how many people we’ve helped–but it’s not like I can just say it during family dinner.”

No, certainly not. Definitely not with their dad being the governor’s chief of staff, or Mum being a police sergeant, or even Shikamaru’s own budding career as a behavioral analyst with the FBI.

Kinokawa can see why Shikako would keep her job–hobby?–a secret.

“I can keep it,” Kinokawa volunteers, because he knows his sister wants to ask but doesn’t think she can. But he’s not a baby anymore, “I can keep it secret,” he repeats, “Until you’re ready to tell them,” he adds.

From the shaky smile on Shikako’s face, it’s her turn to feel relieved, and she pulls him into a hug.

ask box event 5. things you didn’t say at all. for Stars Also Dream

Stars Also Dream, 5) things you didn’t say at all

Attachment is discouraged–no, worse than that–attachment is blasphemous.

And yet, what could the bond between master and padawan possibly be otherwise?

Still, you keep such questions to yourself. No need to cause complications for Master Bant, and you are reluctant to prove yourself anything less than the perfect student. (Pride, that’s blasphemous, too.)

The bond between you and Master Bant grow even as missions turn from tense assignments to fraught battles, the galaxy going to war. She teaches you negotiating and healing and fighting and how to tell when is the right time for each. She teaches you how to survive, she teaches you to be independent, she teaches you that sometimes the most important things are the ones left unsaid.

You never told Master Bant “thank you” because the relationship between master and padawan inherently revolves around teaching. It would be like thanking gravity for pulling you to the planet, or thanking the stars for burning bright in the void of space.

You also never told Master Bant “I love you.”

You didn’t have the words for it until long after Master Bant’s light had gone out.

The couple who find you–you and the wreckage of your emergency shuttle–stare at you with wide, kind, and concerned eyes, not a drop of fear in them.

How foolish. You could hurt them. So easily. Your lightsaber unlit but steady in your grip. You are mourning, ravaged with your grief, and you understand now how Jedi could fall to the Dark side. You are nothing more than your emotions, your loss, and these people mean nothing to you.

But they are kind and fearless–oblivious–they see only a crying child, and not the battle-hardened warrior you truly are.

But perhaps they aren’t entirely wrong, either. When the woman draws closer, labor rough hands gently wiping at your tears, you do not attack. You collapse into her embrace, body wracked with sobs, grip tightly, desperately, to the fabric of her clothes, aching to hold on.

A few days later, you erase this particular moment from their memories to keep them safe from your past–or to keep your past safe from them–but maybe, you think, in the future you will tell them the truth.

A few years later, another war of a smaller but no less horrific scale breaks out.

You are the last Kinokawa.

You have learned by now about keeping things to yourself. You know so well the poisonous coursing of regret in your heart. Words bitten back and left to fester because those who would hear them are no longer alive.

You want to tell your family. Or, rather, you don’t not want to tell them before it’s too late.

That deadline approaches, tensions rise, the familiar vanguard of war. Your family sent out to the front lines, in the thick of it, already scarred by the dangers you couldn’t shield them from. You have your youngest child to think of, but what kind of mother would you be if you didn’t do all you could to ensure the world Eerin grew up in were as safe and peaceful as could be?

Send me, send me, you do not ask, do not say.

You do not need to. You send yourself.

~

A/N: the last one isn’t really SAD canon compliant with the whole “post-Gelel Yoshino involves herself with the events of Episode IV” plot… probably it’s part of the post-Jashin!AU?

Also! In somewhat related news: I’ve maybe figured out how to get the DoS podfic onto apple podcasts/itunes? Still working on it–will keep everyone updated!

trailblazers, 10YL, tetsuki+sasagawa sibs, 32) things you said I wouldn’t understand

Trailblazers, 32) things you said I wouldn’t understand

Ryohei doesn’t let himself get distracted for long, despite how fun it is to spar with these strangers. He returns to wait in the hallway outside Tetsuki’s door, patient, if neither silent nor still.

He chatters at the door, exercising all the while–at first shadowboxing on his own, then drills with equipment as the Vongola staff catch on and set up the space for him. While unusual and against the aesthetics of the mansions, they do so without asking. Partially because Ryohei is one of the elite Guardians, but mostly because he is one of the nicest and they are fond of him.

And so Ryohei waits, because while he may not be as stubborn as Tetsuki, he’s equally as skilled at persevering.

Kyoko is the one that seeks out answers, handing the supervision of the medics over to Shamal who complains even though it’s his job. And anyway, the stranger that Tetsuki-nee-chan has sent out–Sakura-san, the healer–is doing an excellent job at showcasing new techniques to keep them busy.

Plus, Tetsuki is both family and Family; there aren’t many who are due as high priority.

She calls Kusakabe-senpai first. Mostly because even if Hibari-senpai had a phone–which she highly doubts–he certainly would never answer a call with it. A few minutes of polite small talk and careful maneuvering around the topic of Tetsuki and she finally gets connected to Hibari-senpai.

“What happened on that mission?” Kyoko demands, steamrolling over Hibari-senpai’s less than pleased greeting, “She won’t leave her room and she’s not letting anyone else in and she keeps… making strangers to send out in her place. As if that’s what we wanted instead of her to be okay!” She finishes in a frustrated shout before immediately shutting her mouth–Hibari-senpai might not be that hard-headed violent teenager anymore, but he certainly wouldn’t appreciate such disrespect.

Her frustration isn’t at him, anyway. Not really at Tetsuki-nee-chan either. Perhaps it’s not frustration at all, just concern.

Silence reigns on the other end of the line and for a moment, Kyoko thinks that perhaps Hibari-senpai has hung up or simply walked away from the phone letting the call run through, until he belatedly answers, “Ask the pineapple.”

Another silence reigns, Kyoko waiting for more, prepared to outlast Hibari-senpai–he Sasagawas can be patient in regards to important matters–when finally, reluctantly, Hibari-senpai asks, “Should I send Tetsu?”

Kyoko can easily imagine the fierce scowl on his face, but the offer to send his second in command away for an unknown length of time only shows how worried he is for Tetsuki-nee-chan as well.

“No, not yet. Kusakabe-senpai can stay with you for now. I’ll call again if–”

The dial tone plays back to her. Kyoko huffs, irritated, but internally acknowledges that probably was the best outcome for this call.

Really the only reason why she tried Hibari-senpai first despite the unlikely odds of it working is because he’s easier to find. Getting in contact with Mukuro is going to be a greater challenge. Alas, such is the way of Mists–never mind she herself partially has that very flame type.

The chain goes as such: Kyoko asks Fuuta-kun–main handler for Vongola’s Guardians–who connects her with Chikusa and Ken, who still act as bodyguards for Chrome, who then consults with Fran and, eventually, somehow sends a message Mukuro.

It’s about a month, all told, for Mukuro to respond, appearing in Vongola Mansion and acting as if he weren’t the most infuriating person Kyoko has ever had to deal with–especially when Tetsuki has yet to come out of room, sending out more and more strangers as the weeks pass.

By the time Mukuro arrives, both of the Sasagawa siblings are chomping at the bit, held back only by the thought that Mukuro might be able to help Tetsuki. So when they ask him what happened, neither of them are in the right headspace to comprehend his answer.

“She died,” he says with an almost careless shrug, eyeing the door where his fellow Guardian hides. “But she’s always had a small flicker of Mist Flames, so I was able to ensure she would come back.”

“You saved her life?” Ryohei asks, hopeful, almost thankful to Mukuro, not understanding. Kyoko stays quiet, because surely there’s more.

“No she definitely died,” Mukuro answers, almost laughing. When he turns to face them properly, his red eye practically glows, the six all the darker for it, “And then I sent her off to die five more times.”

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.”

40, Kako and Kamaru, AU of (They Call It) Soulless in that a bunch of Shinobi have been in stasis in Konoha General since the Kyuubi attack

(They Call It) Soulless40) things you said when you met my parents

Kako says that a single action should, ideally, solve at least three problems simultaneously. “Power is one thing, but if you don’t apply it properly, efficiently, then it may cause more harm than good. And anyway,” she says with a smile, ruffling Kamaru’s hair, “if you only need one solution to multiple problems, then you have all the more time to be lazy.”

Kamaru understands this lesson immediately, but putting it into practice is slightly more difficult. He tries to look to Kako’s actions as an example and it only manages to bring up more questions.

Kako has been teaching him medical jutsu–another thing which Kamaru understands in theory, but struggles in application–whenever their free time overlaps, no matter how tired she is, so surely the problems it must be solving are either multitude or important. Probably both.

He thinks he’s figured out a couple of them: medical jutsu is a valuable skill, regardless of if he wants to be a field shinobi or not, and if he can reduce his medical costs then that will help with their financial situation. But what else?

Kamaru wouldn’t say he’s particularly rebellious or mischievous or anything like that. Yeah, sometimes he skips class with Chouji and Kiba and Naruto, but really it’s because lessons can be so boring and Iruka-sensei always gets angry when he naps. And anyway, Kako hardly ever minds; actually, it’s almost as if she approves, fondly asking after his friends and their chosen adventure of the day.

So Kamaru wouldn’t call himself a rule breaker, per se, but he can be–when the occasion calls for it–rather curious.

Kako never outrightly tells him not to go to Konoha General. She never speaks of Konoha General at all, really. Whenever either of them end up needing a fully trained medic, she brings them to the smaller Nohara clinic even if it’s on the other side of the village. As far as she’s concerned, Konoha General might as well not exist.

Kamaru doesn’t feel the need to borrow trouble, and so he stays away from Konoha General up until a genin runner interrupts class and gives a hushed but rushed message to Iruka-sensei… whose eyes dart directly to Kamaru.

Kamaru may want to avoid trouble, but apparently trouble has no problem going after his sister.

Kamaru knows that Kako keeps things from him. Not out of malice, of course, but because she doesn’t think he needs to know: she wants to protect him, thinks he’s not yet old enough. He trusts her, knows she only has his best interests at heart, but it can be frustrating.

It’s not a surprise, really, that the one who spills this particular secret isn’t Kako at all, but her weird senbon-obsessed senpai, Genma.

Kamaru thinks he should be angry at her–their parents are alive! Have been alive this whole time! Why didn’t she tell him sooner? Why didn’t she tell him at all–but she’s hurt and unconscious after taking on a third Soulless and she’s taking so long to wake up that any anger he does have dissipates in the face of his more overwhelming worry.

“It’s not a fair exchange,” Kamaru mutters to the door leading to the sealed off portion of the hospital–as close as visitors are allowed to get to those trapped in stasis, as close as Kamaru has been to their parents since the few weeks after he was born, “Knowing you’re here doesn’t mean anything. She needs to wake up,” he rubs at his chest, the fabric of his shirt suddenly rough against the patch of skin where his marks lay invisible, “I don’t care if you’re trapped here forever, as long as she’s okay.”

~

A/N: Ahahaha… haha… yeah, it’s not really “meeting” but uh… considering they went into stasis before Kamaru could talk, his first words to his parents are pretty harsh? O_O

Also, there’s only two prompts in my ask box for this event–I’ll list them under the cut so the anons who sent them in will know I am have received them. If you sent one in but neither of them are yours, then please resend them–tumblr probably ate them. Or, if you haven’t sent one in but you’d like to please go for it! I know I’ve been rather lax in the past few weeks (and will probably continue to be so for the next few what with it being May) but I do love getting prompts and I will get to them when I can. Thank you for sticking with me! 🙂

  1. anonymous: team 7 living together scenario, 22) things you said after it was over
  2. anonymous: trailblazers, 10YL, tetsuki+sasagawa sibs, 32) things you said I wouldn’t understand