Smile At The Stars — Yoshino, Shikaku and their grandchildren

A/N1: … like a Yoshino&Shikaku!POV of Our Share of the World?

I mean, I guess I could try to come up with a plotty brainstorm of Yoshino&Shikaku with their grandchildren, but this just seems like a collection of five scenes of Y&S with their grandchildren.

Sorry this took so long, but since this isn’t really a fake fic title prompt, I just tried to fill it like a regular prompt. Enjoy!

~

Shikaku is the last to find out about his first grandchild, heading home after work to find his wife and daughter surrounded by piles of storage scrolls.

“This is archaic, Mum,” Shikako says, unsealing a scroll, glancing over the contents, then resealing them again. “Toddler clothes.”

“Oh, set those aside, dear, he’ll need them soon enough,” Yoshino instructs, going through her own set of scrolls–linens, hideous, but an heirloom of the clan head’s line–and putting them away.

“How are you supposed to find anything like this? I can make you a new set of sealing scrolls–or a custom Hammerspace!”

“These work just fine still, Shikako, it’d be a waste to get rid of them–ah! I think this is it.” From Yoshino’s scroll appears a crib, sturdy and steady and capable of withstanding a D-rank jutsu, the same one that carried all three of their children.

That seems like just yesterday, surely it’s not already time to pass it down?

“What’s going on here?”

He can’t possibly be that old already.

His wife and daughter both turn to him before glancing at each other, Yoshino’s expression clearly urging Shikako to explain.

“Well… Dad… um…”

His sons enter the hallway, Kinokawa making silly faces at the baby in Shikamaru’s arms. The red-haired baby in Shikamaru’s arms who reaches out towards Shikako upon spotting her.

He passes the baby over to his sister almost reluctantly and Kinokawa follows, adoringly.

“This is Kareru Uzumaki, he’s my son.” Shikako says, steeling herself unnecessarily; both of Shikaku’s sons take after him.

///

Shikako’s pregnancy is a frustrating, frightening time for all within her vicinity–nothing inspires crankiness and bizarre seals like consecutive nights of sleeplessness. Yoshino remembers being much the same during her own time with the twins, so she is patient.

Still, there comes a point when a mother is done indulging…

… which just so happens to be the same point as when said mother finds her pregnant daughter on the roof of the house in the middle of the night armed with buckets of paint and a brush.

It takes promises of hot cocoa and secrecy to coax her down, safely bundled in a blanket on the sofa, but Yoshino feels much better now that she’s on the ground.

“I’m so tired,” Shikako says, voice cracking with desperation, and so Yoshino tops up her mug.

“You can rest here, sweetheart, you’re safe.” She remembers the paranoia of her daughter’s earlier teen years, perhaps her hormones have kicked it into overdrive.

But Shikako just shakes her head. “I can’t, I can’t,” she repeats, “She needs me, she needs my chakra, I can’t go to sleep. She needs me.”

Yoshino feels a chill go down her spine.

“How does everyone else do this? I’m so tired.”

Pregnancy is supposed to be difficult, yes, but not like that. Not so consciously, actively, impossibly involved.

No more indulging, no more patience.

It takes more than hot cocoa to get Shikako to go to the hospital, but Yoshino knows best.

///

They do not often see their grandchildren from Sand, almost never altogether–that one trip to Wind Country aside, of course–and so it’s a pleasure to have the house full again.

Shikaku enjoys having extra sets of hand to feed the deer–especially ones that still find novelty in the chore, awed at the shy creatures and their forested homes–and Yoshino enjoys having victims to run through her morning stretches.

It’s unfortunate for them, of course, as they are not as flexible as their Konoha siblings and cousin, but they complain far less. Or perhaps are far quieter about it.

Shinki, at least, seems to take it as an opportunity to improve himself–never mind that his almost literal iron spine makes it more difficult–but Araya and Yodo spend more time trying to push each other over while Yoshino looks away.

Not that she isn’t aware of their little competition, but why not let them have their fun?

Shikaku is the one who rescues them and gives them a tour of the village, no better guide than the retired former Jounin Commander after all, before bringing them back to the Nara Clan compound where both their parents await them.

Which is still an odd thought–if anyone had told them that the Kazekage would one day be father to three of their grandchildren, well, the future is an interesting place, indeed.

~

A/N2: … so, um, it’s been a while everyone. Sorry about how long it took. Holidays then being ill and then three days of overtime which caused me to relapse… I’m not fully satisfied with this–much fonder of the original Shikadai’s POV, but hopefully it’s still nice.

Also, since December is approaching and I’ve got a few more prompts in the ask box, instead of sticking with the Ask Box Fake Fic Titles I might as well segue into the Ask Box Advent Calendar so send in those prompts! 😀

Dreaming of S(haring the World) 1/3, (2016-09-15)

Shikako doesn’t notice him at first. Just another face in the crowd of children that flock to her even here in the Ikioi-En; small and eager and easily pleased.

Though he is the smallest and youngest of the group; the most eager to try and help her even after her shadow puppet show is over and his peers drift away.

She doesn’t think he can read yet, much less understand the fuinjutsu of a long dead ancient civilization, but it helps to think aloud while analyzing the recovered chunks of Gelel shrine rubble and, unlike the Sand researcher assigned alongside her for this joint-village mission, he does honestly seem happy to just listen to her talk.

Then again, she treats him to dinner whenever she realizes hours have already passed, sky growing dark, and he has a soba addiction nearly as bad as Naruto’s obsession with ramen.

She should have realized there was more to it than that.

(He remembers his first Father a little bit: a large man with gentle hands who tried his best, despite the disease plaguing him. The illness making movement and speech and, eventually, thinking difficult.

It’s why they had moved to the Ikioi-En, hoping the healing springs would cure him. But it didn’t. Instead it left Araya alone, surrounded by strangers who didn’t care.

He doesn’t remember his first Mother at all.)

One day, her littlest fan doesn’t show up.

She notices immediately.

She doesn’t think it’s vanity when, after a few hours of distraction and concern, she goes to find him. She knows it’s not when the endeavor turns out to be more difficult than expected, worryingly so.

“His name is Araya, he’s four maybe five years old? Brown hair, green eyes. We eat here like, at least twice a week.” She says to the woman at the soba stand, whose interest waned as soon as it became clear that Shikako wasn’t planning on buying anything.

“Then shouldn’t you know where he is?” She asks, apathetic but not cruel.

Not wrong, either, but Shikako doesn’t appreciate the thought when she’s going out of her mind with worry.

Desperate, she unfurls her chakra sense as far as it can go, even though being so close to where the Gelel shrine used to be and the resulting healing springs is like trying to listen through white noise.

Araya is young, not much chakra to speak of, but familiar after so many weeks researching in the Ikioi-En. The smooth surface of porcelain and polished wood, subtle and beautiful.

She finds it, small and wavering and feverish, surrounded by other signatures which feel sickly, too. She runs, as fast as she can–uses shunshin when that proves to be too slow–and barely skids to a stop in front of a small clinic, one of many that have cropped up around the healing springs.

The medic startles, goes for a kunai–the Ikioi-En is almost an off-shoot of Sand, the healing springs and attached clinics shinobi-monitored if not outrightly controlled–but relaxes when he notices who she is. She’s the only Konoha shinobi here not on medical leave, and somewhat famous besides.

“Araya?” she asks, too keyed up to ask a proper question, honing in on his chakra flickering ever so precariously like a candle in the wind.

The medic rolls his eyes, beckons her to follow him to the back where, on one of the cots, Araya is curled up. Shikako drops to the floor next to it, hands glowing green with a diagnostic jutsu.

“It’s just a cold,” the medic says, “He probably caught it from one of our other patients. He’ll be fine in a few days.”

Her jutsu tells her the same, but she still keeps a hand on Araya’s hot and clammy forehead. He leans into it, no doubt seeking some relief against the fever.

“It’s gonna be annoying taking care of him, though,” the medic mutters, loud enough for Shikako to hear him and shoot a glare in his direction.

“Isn’t that your job?” she grits through her teeth.

He looks far less intimidated than she’d prefer. “No. I run a clinic, not an orphanage.”

Immediately the fight goes out of her–that answers her other question.

(Araya wears a mask, feels more comfortable with a barrier between him and the rest of the world. Likes knowing that something as basic as his appearance is a secret for him and his family.

He also likes how all it takes to disappear in the village is to remove it. Easily becoming just another face in the crowd, a stranger nobody can find.

Except for Mother.)

The next couple of days Shikako takes off from researching–she’s ranking leader on this mission, she’s allowed to do that; and even if she wasn’t allowed, she’d do it anyway–and spends it watching over Araya.

They’re kicked out of the clinic on the second day–the medic none too happy with her loitering. Thankfully, the inn that she’s been staying at provides an extra futon when she asks; the owner also allows Shikako use of the kitchen.

It takes four days for his fever to break, her journals and errant thoughts keeping her company until then. She plans then hesitates, writes letters that she doesn’t send.

Shikako has never thought of herself as particularly maternal. Taking care of people is a necessity not something that gives her enjoyment. But Araya is all alone in the world, and when has she ever let that stand?

When he’s awake and lucid, she asks him a very important question. He says yes–eager and easily pleased.

When he’s well enough to travel, they go to Sand to make it official.

(He’s been with Mother and Father for long enough that he barely thinks about his early years. It’s mostly a distant memory, but something he can remind himself of easily by simply looking in a mirror and unmasking himself.

Mother found some information about his first Father, and every year on the day he passed they light a stick of incense for him.

He’s no longer hungry and alone and constantly sad. There’s so much life around him now, noise and smiles and gentle touches. Araya is happy being a part of this family, and he thinks his first Father would be happy for him, too.)

~

A/N: *SCREAMING* Okay, so, I swear to god I was going to post all three of their parts together in one singular Dreaming of S(haring the World) but it is getting TOO LONG, so here’s Araya’s part so I can post something before midnight. I will definitely be posting at least one part tomorrow if not both Yodo’s and Shinki’s.

The feels weren’t as expansive as I thought it would be since apparently ~plotty things~ like how the NGSS got adopted in the first place wanted to be written instead. Even though feels would have been easier… :/

Wait. In your Sakako spinoff, Sakura still had Sarada. Via being a surrogate? I would imagine so, given how you stated that Sasuke was strictly mono. If that’s the case…what’s stopping Shikako from being a surrogate for Gaara? She knows that he makes a decent father (though he’s probably never dealt with infants), and Sasuke can’t have a problem with it if he has made use of surrogates himself… Perhaps she doesn’t want to give the meddling old men what they want?

I am. I’m what’s stopping them. >:)

But in all seriousness, anon, if I’m going to be frank, it took me a while to understand your ask in a way that didn’t make me cringe or side-eye it. I know there was no offense meant and that you’re sincerely curious about why Shikako and Gaara don’t have biological children in my weird DoS next gen spinoff, but something about the word choice or maybe just the subconscious assumption beneath the ask itself just kind of… I’ll do my best to answer you, but please keep in mind that my first reaction to this ask wasn’t exactly positive and I had to step away for a while before I could answer.

Okay so let’s go:

Yes, in the Walking Around ‘verse aka the Sakako Uchiha ‘verse, genetically-canon!Sarada does still exist. Sakura wanted a child, but is romantically involved with Ino (who is also romantically involved with Sai). While Sakura could have asked Sai to be sperm donor for her child, Konoha is already trying to establish an Uchiha repopulation program and Sakura, being part of the Medic Corps (and possibly in charge of the program?) would no doubt know of it. So the efficient thing was for Sakura to be a surrogate so she could both have a child and contribute to the Uchiha repopulation. Or perhaps “surrogate” is the wrong word choice since Sarada is HER child that just happens to be half Sasuke’s genes and a member of the fledgling Uchiha clan 2.0

Sakako might or might not be an artificially inseminated baby. My interpretation of Sasuke is demi-romantic bisexual, and Shikako as demi/bi-romantic demi/asexual. So the demi part for Shikako’s sexuality is a little up in the air. (And anyway, it’s not as if ace people can’t have or enjoy sex, they just don’t actively feel sexual desire). But the point is, Sakako’s existence isn’t as premeditated as Sarada’s is–Sakura PLANNED to have a child, and DECIDED to be part of the Uchiha repopulation program. SAKURA was the active party between her and Sasuke in Sarada’s origin.

In contrast, I’m not entirely sure if Sakako is “officially” part of the Uchiha repopulation program so much as she is someone who just happens to be born Uchiha. If that makes any sense. Whether Sakako is the result of a night of passion, or Shikako acknowledging that Sasuke wants biological children with her and agreeing to bear A child for him, it was mostly SASUKE who wanted Sakako to exist.

Keep in mind, if all five of Shikadai’s cousins exist like in Our Share of the World, then Team Seven (+friends) have already collectively raised Kareru to approximately Academy age. Maybe, parenting Kareru made Sasuke baby-crazed, and seeing as how it was Shikako and Naruto who helped him with this first child, he turned to them (who are his “one and done + exception” anyway) for another child. Hence Sakako’s existence, even if it’s not specifically the Uchiha repopulation program.

In summary, Sarada is Sakura’s child who just happens to be part of the Uchiha repopulation program, Sakako is Sasuke’s child with Shikako.

Now what’s stopping Shikako from being a surrogate for Gaara? Nothing. 

Nothing’s stopping them from having biological children through sexual intercourse, either (even if they were both asexual–again, asexual people can have and even enjoy sex–it’s just that they don’t feel the desire for sex)

It’s not that Shikako thinks Gaara would be a bad father or that she thinks any potential kid would inherit his bijuu-related madness; it’s not that she loves Sasuke more than she does Gaara, either. She already has children with Gaara. Three of them, in fact. They don’t need to be biologically related to her for her to be their Mother. (This is what Gaara, in the deepest recesses of his mind, fears. But it’s doubt brought along by his shaky self-esteem and knowledge that Sasuke low-key resents him, and thus not true at all).

This isn’t about Sasuke not being okay with it or about Sasuke being a hypocrite or about Sasuke not giving her permission or whatever. This isn’t about Sasuke at all. Shikako just doesn’t want another child–she already has five children. (FIVE CHILDREN IS A LOT, OKAY. That’s more than a standard shinobi team. (Though I should say that her not wanting more children doesn’t mean that she wouldn’t totally step up and love and parent any additional kids that come along, but she doesn’t actively want to get more children. She’s content with the number she has.))

If I had to put motivations behind it… Gaara just wants family–he doesn’t want more clan, doesn’t want to pass on his blood limit–actually, Gaara just wants love? And, obviously, family helps with that. But biological children aren’t more valid as family, they aren’t somehow intrinsically more lovable than adopted children.

In contrast, Sasuke “wants to revive his clan.” That’s specifically the Uchiha clan with the Sharingan bloodline. If he just wanted (sorry to be crass here) bodies in houses, he’d just go to an orphanage and adopt all the children and make them Uchiha. But the premise of the particular spinoff world that Walking Around ‘verse is in has an Uchiha repopulation program specifically for the Sharingan.

Different motivations, so different goals, so different solutions, so different family structures.

I think Shikako doesn’t want biological children. Or rather, she doesn’t have a preference for biological children over adopted children. A close enough version of her genes are going to be passed down to the next generation anyway via Shikamaru’s child(ren) and a slightly distant but still related version of her genes comprise an entire clan. Her bloodline is fine–there’s no endangered blood limit attached to it, and so there’s no necessity for her to have biological children. To be somewhat crass again, she’s not a baby-making machine (and she’s especially not going to be one for the Suna Council.)

Let’s see… as a more concrete example: you might have noticed in Walking Around (Sharing the World) that bit about the empty room. The one that both Sasuke and Shikako were keeping silent on the matter. The way I see it, that room can be filled in different ways. If Sasuke found an Uchiha baby in a sealing scroll and decided to adopt it Shikako would agree to be this baby’s Mum.

Or, if someone volunteered to be a surrogate for the Uchiha repopulation program but didn’t actually want to raise the baby (maybe they’re a kunoichi who had been injured and would need to take a year off and decided, hey, why not get paid to be pregnant since she’s not going to be able to do missions anyway), Shikako would agree to be this baby’s Mum. Or, hell, if Sasuke decided to adopt any kid and raise that kid as Sakako’s sibling–Uchiha genes or not–Shikako would totally be okay with being that kid’s Mum, too. But if Sasuke asked for another biological kid from Shikako? … I don’t think she’d say yes.

I mean, there’s in vitro… like if Shikako donated some eggs and Sasuke donated sperm and then the zygote was implanted into some other woman. But at that point… it’d be better for the Uchiha repopulation program and Sasuke’s dream to revive the Uchiha clan if that other woman just… became one of the mothers in the program. Especially so that, if a generation or two down the line, the plan is to have the descendants reproduce with each other. Far enough that their relation to Sasuke isn’t too recent and possibly resulting in genetic problems due to inbreeding, but not so diluted that the Sharingan is lost. If there are two Shikasuke kids then their descendants are invalid to reproduce with each other without additional generations separating them.

But that’s getting away from the heart of the matter which is… I hope I answered your questions?

If you’d like to write about biological Shikaara kids, don’t let me stop you. The reason why I didn’t was because I found the NGSS while researching and it just felt right to me that the NGSS are adopted–in canon or DoS future–and in a Shikaara world, Shikako is an active enough parent that they do acknowledge her as Mother (I dunno if anyone noticed, but I figure it’s a regional dialect thing that people in Suna use Mother/Father and people in Konoha use Mum and Dad).

Our interpretations of the characters are different, so our predictions for their future will probably be different. I mean, I can even interpret the characters differently leading to different predictions–I can see a possible future where Shikako and Kiba end up together and have no children but are wildly and hilariously happy together. I can see a possible future where Shikako and Neji end up together and take on the fucked up system of the Hyuuga Main vs Branch families with fuinjutsu and REVOLUTION. I can see a possible future where Shikako doesn’t end up with anyone and is happy with her life and revels in her freedom.

Biological Shikaara children can definitely exist in some possible future; but in the particular future that I’ve somehow developed in the Walking Around/Sakako ‘verse there aren’t any.

Oooh!! Your Sakako ficlets gave me so many feels! Their family’s relationship just seems so real, and then Shinki! Poor guy. I can imagine him and Sakako becoming really close (same with Sakako and Kareru, their relationship would be too cute) if Sakako gets her Mangekyou, I’d imagine that it would be something happening to Shinki that would set it off

Gotta spread the feels, you know? 😀

I’m glad that you think it’s realistic–I didn’t want their situation to be perfect but I didn’t want it to be awful, so I was trying to keep to believability. Sakako is observant but she’s still a child and she doesn’t know everything–especially doesn’t pick up on certain nuances since this is the family she’s grown up with so she thinks this is normal–but I hope I was able to give enough clues that the readers can get a sense of the picture for themselves.

I don’t know why, but Shinki is my favorite of the NGSS to torment with feelings. Like, Yodo definitely suffers from occasional insecurities and self-doubt, but usually they pass. Araya–well, when I write Dreaming of S(haring the World) I’ll get into his dealio–but Shinki! He’s just going to have all these deeply running feelings. So many feelings.

Sakako is probably closest to Yodo–because they understand each other since they are both brilliant but isolated young girls–but I do think she and Shinki end up close as well. Definitely closer than Shinki and Shikadai end up, and possibly more than Shinki does with Yodo. Given the whole… passed over for Kazekage thing. (What if Araya is the one that ends up Kazekage? Wouldn’t that be great?)

I’m sorry about forgetting Kareru in Walking Around (Sharing the World) it wasn’t part of anon’s prompt so he just kinda slipped my mind. If I’m doing the math right, though–then again, Kishimoto is really bad at ages and timelines–the Konoha Twelve should be about mid/early thirties during the events of the Boruto movie so… Kareru is at least five years older than the next gen. He may also already be a chuunin, so he’s not around as much during the time when Walking Around (Sharing the World) happens. Which explains why Sakako feels alone more often than not.

But I do like to think that Sakako and Kareru are good for each other–even if I’m pretty sure Kareru is benignly haunted by a significant chunk of the Uzushio population. Uzumaki are good points of concentration for ghosts to haunt, I imagine.

I haven’t quite decided what sets off her Mangekyo, but I do think that of the NGSS it would be Shinki that is involved somehow.

image

~FEEEEEEELS~

As I said above, I am planning on writing a Dreaming of S(haring the World) but it will be more about the Shikaara side of things and their POV of their parents and their roles in their family and the village etc etc–I’m not sure if I’ll touch on the matter of the Uchiha since, you know, I’m not really sure if this is the same universe or not. (From the responses I’ve been getting, though, it does look like people are totally on board for all of Shikadai’s cousins to exist in the same universe. So… ?)

And, well, I feel like Walking Around (Sharing the World) already has enough of the NGSS that readers can kind of get an idea of how the NGSS feel about Sakako and Sasuke? Like, they’re wary of Sasuke definitely, and a little nervous and uncertain around Sakako. Because even though it’s not the candidacy for Kazekage, this is still their Mother’s biological child and the father of said child–they don’t doubt Shikako loves them, but it’s this thing separating them still. It’s not like Shinki’s low-key resentment of Shikadai… it’s more an insecurity about where they stand, especially when they’re in Konoha and face to face with the Uchiha clan of two.

As for Sakako’s meeting with Gaara, I left that open ended for a reason. Namely, because I don’t know what I want to do with that exactly and also I figure it’ll happen during one of those international crises when she’s already a genin and I don’t really want to write that. As it is though, they’ll probably stumble into each other, fight side by side, get saved by Shikako and Shinki and then have a very reticent but amicable talk.

They both find the night sky soothing; there are so many more stars to see in the desert.

image

Sakako is growing on me, too. I’m surprised by how much people like reading about her, actually, I did not expect this much excitement about her.

Yup, Sasuke is jealous of Gaara. Well, it’s a little… the way I understand their characters, Naruto is very free about loving people even if they don’t like him back. Shikako is a little more logical about it in a very basic sense that having more people that like each other is better than less people. Sasuke is very possessive about the people he likes. He only likes a few people and those he doesn’t like he’s just–get away don’t touch them *hiss*

In DoS the number of people he tolerates is much higher than in canon, but it’s still pretty small in comparison. Gaara is definitely not one of them in either iteration so… you know.

If it were Naruto that Shikako had another family with (not including Kareru who is the communal child of Team Seven/Konoha Twelve) Sasuke would be a lot less jealous even though he is staunchly monogamous. Er, maybe that’s a bad example since Naruto basically is his exception to the rule.

If it were Kiba, maybe? Yeah, as an example only, if it were Kiba–who Sasuke at the very least trusts in battle (which he never will with Gaara) and has friendly banter with–that Shikako had another family with, Sasuke wouldn’t mind nearly as much. It also doesn’t help that Gaara is Kage of a different village and Shikako splits her time between the two villages as well as her travels.  

That being said, his POV is difficult for me in normal fic, I don’t think I’m going to tackle a bitter and jealous Sasuke and especially not with him and Gaara interacting. Mostly because I think they take great pains never to do so? (I speak out loud when I type and my voice just went to high pitched and anxious I literally went outside of my range. And if you’ve ever heard me voice, you know that’s really fucking high)

Um, but I’m glad you like Walking Around (Sharing the World) it was… difficult but satisfying to write 🙂

Walking Around (Sharing the World), a Sakako Uchiha spinoff ficlet (2016-09-09)

Once, when she was younger, Sakako had asked Dad,

“Are you lonely?”

He had frozen in his seat, chopsticks halfway to his mouth, eyes gone wide with surprise.

Sakako knows her family isn’t like other people’s families. And not even in the way that clans are different from non-clans; or how Ino-oba, Sakura-oba, and Sai-oji are different from families with one mum and one dad.

People–even those close to her parents, even Baa-chan and Jii-chan and Shikamaru-oji–used to look at her and Dad with indignation on their behalf. Then with pity. Then just muted, ongoing confusion.

Dad put his chopsticks down, breathed, then turned his hand over so she could place hers in his.

“Why would I be lonely,” he had responded, fingers gentle around her own, “when we have each other?”

It’s not until later that she’ll realize that he didn’t answer her question.

She doesn’t ask again.

Sarada both is and isn’t her sister–shared genetics, but not shared homes or heritage or lives. She’s not quite a stranger–their parents are friends, after all–but despite blood, they’re not quite family either.

Yodo both is and isn’t her sister in a different way.

Sakako has never been to Sand–for somewhat obvious reasons, Dad’s jaw clenching at even the thought of it though he never says anything against it out loud–but Mum is still a shinobi of Konoha and besides, Temari-oba is Yodo’s aunt as well. Again, in a different way.

Whenever her siblings-but-not visit from Sand, they stay at the Nara compound.

Some nights, Mum does, too.

Sakako joins them, when Dad works night shifts, and it’s like having a sleepover. It’s nice.

“Your hair is so long and soft,” Yodo says, as she brushes the damp and wavy strands. Sakako leans into the touch.

They’ve pulled their futons together into a makeshift large one, their blankets mussed and overlapping. Mum’s futon is a few meters away, made up and untouched–she’ll join them later, after debriefing at the Tower.

“It’s hard to have long hair in Suna,” Yodo continues, exchanging the hairbrush for fingers, beginning to re-braid Sakako’s hair, “The wind and sand and all, but Mother taught me how to do this on her hair and I don’t think I’m too bad.”

Yodo is one year younger than Sakako and already one of Sand’s experts in engineering. Braiding hair is easily within her capabilities, but she sounds uncharacteristically shy, unsure.

When her hands pull away, Sakako checks her work: a single braid is more Mum’s style than Sakako’s, and it’s slightly loose and lumpy in places, but… it’s nice.

“My turn now,” Sakako says, wielding the hairbrush and a smile. Yodo gives a hesitant and somewhat bewildered smile back.

Mum returns to find both of them singing and dancing along to Yodo’s music player, short blonde braids and long dark braid bouncing in time to the music.

Once, when they didn’t know she was listening, Sakako overheard her parents fighting.

Fighting as in arguing, not fighting as in sparring. They let her watch their spars, so long as she’s finished all of her schoolwork and she stays behind the barrier seal. Arguing is a different story.

“I told you–years ago–that I’m not going to promise anything I can’t keep.”

“The situation has changed since then, Shikako, things are different now!”

“Things are always different, Sasuke! It’s only because you’re expecting something that I never agreed to.”

“You’re always away and she misses you, our daughter misses you–”

“Don’t put words in her mouth!” Mum shouts, a flare of chakra like the heat of a Grand Fireball, like the roar of an exploding tag. Sharp and bright and crackling like a sword.

The argument stops then, silence settling like ashes.

Her parents are too skilled as shinobi to make sounds when they move, but she knows they must have stepped closer to each other because their voices are quieter now. Intimate.

“I miss you,” Dad says, low and apologetic, confessing.

“I do love you,” Mum responds, steady and emphatic.

Sakako will wonder about the extra word for weeks.

Sakako doesn’t need to see Araya’s face to know what he looks like. Which is good, since she’s never seen behind his mask.

“He looks like me,” the ghost hovering behind Araya’s shoulder says, intangible hand resting fondly on his head, “Though he has Tomoka’s eyes.”

This must be his biological father, then.

The porcelain mask tilts, an obvious expression of confusion.

“Yes,” Sakako answers belatedly, “I’ve been learning kenjutsu from Dad. Sorry,” she says, pulling her eyes away from the ghost, “I must still be tired.” It’s earlier in the day than she’s usually awake, especially after a night of stargazing, but her siblings-but-not from Sand tend to rise with the sun.

Araya tilts his head in the opposite direction, this time emanating incurious skepticism. He shrugs, straightens out, asks, “Do you want to spar? Kenjutsu only,” he adds.

She hesitates, looks around. The clearing in the Nara clan compound isn’t technically a training ground–it’s okay to practice shadow jutsu in, but not much else. Unfortunately, the actual training grounds in the village can only be reserved by ranked shinobi, and both of them are Academy students still–Araya a foreign Academy student at that.

Sakako considers her options, before channeling chakra to her wrist. Kisuke-san appears after a moment and Araya startles back, sword at the ready.

“It’s okay,” she says, hands out in a pacifying gesture, readying herself to reveal one of her secrets. She took one from him, even if he doesn’t know it–it’s only fair that she give one in return.

“This is Kisuke-san,” she introduces, and her mentor bows shallowly. After a beat, Araya does the same, albeit with far more caution. “He’s a shinobi of Konoha… and a ghost.”

Araya takes to the revelation much better once she explains that Kisuke-san can reserve a proper training ground for them and supervise their spar. Afterwards, they are both equally eager for his observations and advice, the other ghost watching serenely from the side–no longer hovering, but definitely not forgotten.

A few days later when Araya and Mum leave, Sakako sees them off at the gates, even though it means she’ll have to run to get to the Academy before classes start.

Sakako gets a hug from Mum, breathes in her scent as she holds on tightly.

She pulls away, looks at Araya. “Until next time?” she asks him, offering her hand, the same one with her summoning bracelet looped around.

His grip around hers is firm. “Until next time,” he agrees.

Before they depart, Araya lifts a hand to his mask’s mouth–a promise to keep her secret. She grins back.

Once, when Dad had a break from work and Mum had returned from researching in Uzushio, the three of them went on a trip to Sora-ku.

Technically, it was a C-rank mission–transporting supplies for the Neko-baa–but while her classmates were jealous of her for going on a mission before graduation, she knows it’s really just the Hokage letting her family go on a vacation. They’ve been given more than enough time; they’re planning to visit Otafuku Gai on their way back.

For such a large city, there’s hardly any living beings. No ghosts, either, which is more unnerving to Sakako. She’s not afraid, because her parents are with her, but she can’t help the way she looks around, desperately trying to find a ghost, any ghost.

Ghosts, even without speaking to her, tell her much about a person or a place. Fallen enemies versus lost family members haunting a person; the old Uchiha compound has dozens of her kin, though they’ve begun to move onwards to the Pure Land in groups.

No ghosts, no knowledge–she’s going in blind.

Her parents notice her unease, glance at each other and nod. Dad takes point, Mum steps back, Sakako ends up in the middle of a standard protective formation.

Nothing actually happens–well, there was the whole thing with the black marketeers and Mum kind of demolishing a building and Dad ended up having to send a hawk to Konoha’s Police Force telling them to send a follow up team–but nothing they couldn’t handle easily and nothing to do with ghosts or the lack thereof.

Sora-ku is still unnerving for her, but she got a neat kusarigama out of it and she got to spend time with both of her parents, which makes it a trip she’ll remember fondly.

Until Araya and Yodo graduate from the Academy, Shinki is a genin without a team. Two years is a long time to wait, so until then, he’s to be Mum’s apprentice–an unusual arrangement given that they’re shinobi registered to different villages, but the few words of protest don’t actually have any power to prevent it.

Three days after Shinki and Mum arrive in Konoha–three days of Sakako splitting her time between the Nara compound and home–Dad goes to meet with Mum during work.

Sakako doesn’t know about this until she gets out of class for the day, coming home to find Dad and Mum and Shinki sitting around the table. It’s not a tense silence exactly, but she can tell that her arrival makes things easier, makes the air lighter.

“Dad,” she greets, his hand smoothing over her hair in return, “Mum,” she adds, leaning in for a brief hug.

She smiles at Shinki, silent, never sure exactly how to address him–if she should call him big brother or not–especially not with Dad in earshot. Shinki gives a nod of acknowledgement, which is about as much as she’s ever received from him before.

“Sakako,” Mum asks, “Can you help Shinki with the guest room?”

She knows that it’s really just a way to get the both of them out of the room, but the obviousness takes out any malice.

“Sure,” she says, because right now Sakako is glad for the excuse, on her behalf and on Shinki’s whose spine is rigid and hands curled into fists, “It’s upstairs,” she beckons, and her brother-but-not stands to follow.

The empty room next to hers isn’t really a guest room–they don’t really get overnight guests, and the occasional times that Naruto-oji sleeps over, he ends up sprawled on the couch downstairs anyway–it’s just a room waiting to be used.

Sakako knows Dad is keeping it available for a maybe-one-day potential sibling, though as far as she knows he’s never said as much out loud. She thinks maybe Mum knows it, too, and has been purposefully keeping just as silent on the matter.

When they get there, Sakako begins pulling out the futon, and Shinki shakes out of his weird robot act to help her.

With his help, they’re done in a few minutes, and they sit in not entirely comfortable silence. Mostly because they’re both sitting seiza style which Sakako hardly ever does–generally only during kunoichi lessons–but something about Shinki inspires proper manners even with his dusty brown clothes and armor.

“How long are you in Konoha for?” she asks. Usually Baa-chan or Jii-chan will tell her since, usually, that’s where her siblings-but-not stay when they visit. This is a new development and she’s not quite sure how to act.

“Another week,” Shinki says, “Mo-… Shishou said that she needs to formalize my apprenticeship so that I can get credit for any missions we do even if its from Leaf.”

“You can call her Mother, you know. I don’t mind. She’s your Mum, too, isn’t she?”

Shinki’s eyes flick in the direction of the kitchen, then back up to her face quickly. Nervously.

“She’s your Mum, too,” Sakako repeats, no longer a question. Firm and sincere and willing him to understand.

He nods in agreement, which is as much as she’s ever received from him before, but this time she thinks she sees the tiniest hint of a smile.

One day, when she’s old enough and strong enough and she can be sure that Dad won’t see it as some kind of betrayal, Sakako wants to go to the Village Hidden in the Sand and meet the Kazekage.

~

A/N: THROWS FEELS AT YOU THEN RUNS AWAY. I HOPE YOU’RE CRYING, ANON, LOOK AT WHAT YOU MADE ME DO!

Hahahaha, no, so… I hope I didn’t make anyone into a villain here, that’s not what I was trying to do.

The way I figure it is that Sasuke is monogamous. Suuuper monogamous–like, one and done. Maaaaybe he’ll make an exception for Naruto, but basically Shikako is it for him.

In contrasat, Shikako is poly, obviously, but more than that she doesn’t like being tied down. Technically I don’t think Shikako is married to either Sasuke or Gaara and I don’t think she’s likely to ever marry anyone. She’s very pragmatic about these kinds of things–she’ll make a vow to serve Konoha and the Nara clan and protect her teammates etc. But she won’t make a vow to love someone forever because even if she does love someone for the rest of her life, she doesn’t want it to become something that’s an obligation, you know? Something that’ll turn bitter and grudging with constant exposure.

Sakako is more like Shikako in that way–in the sense that she’d rather have her Mum only around one week every month and concentrated time together, than four weeks every month and maybe seeing each other only at dinners if that. Basically: the opposite of canon Boruto and Naruto.

I also realize that I kinda didn’t mention Kareru at all here. And that some parts wouldn’t really make sense if he did exist so… I mean… maybe he is mostly raised by Yoshino and Shikaku? Or at the very least, that’s where he lives and then the age gap between him and Sakako explains the rest of the distance?

Uh… I might have to reorganize Dreaming One Shots if I write more next gen stuff… or make a separate next gen collection on ao3

Your writing for next gen sand sibs gave me so many feels; like the resentment they must all low-key feel for Shikadai, cause no matter how good they are, no matter that he’s from a foreign nation, no matter that they call the Kazekage father there will always be people who insist that Shikadai is the rightful heir by blood. On that note, I could see a lot of pressure for the Kazekage after one of the next gen sand sibs to marry a child of Shikadai, to restore the proper line in Suna.

jacksgreysays:

Next Gen Sand Siblings (NGSS from now on) are so much more compelling if you interpret them as adopted; either canon or DoS. There’s just something fascinating about the idea that the position of Kazekage is restricted to a clan and yet the oldest child of the previous Kazekage has married into a clan of a different village entirely. It’s all the fun of aristocratic inheritance/successions but with ninja!

As I touched on in Our Share of the World, it’s probably Shinki that has the most resentment for Shikadai and even his is kind of tempered by the knowledge that his biggest competition is his younger sister. Yodo, I think, probably just doesn’t like Shikadai as a person–his possible claim on the position of Kazekage has nothing to do with it. Araya and Shikadai are friendliest by default.

I feel like, considering the Council favors Yodo over Shinki (even though, as I mentioned, he’s the one with the blood limit) that they’re not too focused on the matter of blood lines at this point. Especially since Shikadai has been raised as a Leaf shinobi. Though probably, earlier on when he was just born or even a little before then, there were negotiations to decide on that exactly.

They probably conceded to Shikadai being raised Nara because they figured that either Gaara or Kankurou would have biological children eventually (hahahahahaha, nope) and then by the time they began worrying, Gaara began adopting the NGSS and then a whole other round of debates were instigated on whether or not they were valid candidates and, if so, which would be the better one.

I can see them possibly considering an arranged marriage another generation down the line or some kind of Kazekage clan repopulation thing like what’s going on with the Uchiha repopulation in Walking Around (Like Regular People). But I also feel like, given the trend towards more liberal stances of marriages and families and that Temari has already no doubt flouted the Council’s authority and married Shikamaru despite their likely protests, an arranged marriage won’t hold up unless the NGSS that becomes Kazekage is just like, yeah okay why not.

(You may want to check out this post thread speculating how various Kages may be chosen in the Elemental Nations, which started with me wondering about Shikadai’s possible claim to the Kazekage position. This was before I discovered the NGSS existed, of course, but still relevant.)

image

Yeah, Suna’s Council from what I understand are the stereotypical old men grouching at things they shouldn’t have any influence on. Unlike Konoha’s Council who were three old (evil) badasses who lived to see that age, Suna’s Council is probably mostly civilians.

I can actually see maybe one of the NGSS going for an arranged marriage–but with A LOT of veto power in the process. Like, they get to screen through who, they get to meet the other person multiple times, it’s a long engagement etc. etc. and at each stage either party can veto the arrangement. Like, arranged marriage isn’t always bad so long as those who are going to get married have power and aren’t just shoved together.

I can see either Yodo or Araya accepting such an arrangement, especially if they’re anywhere on the aro spectrum and don’t mind having a life partner so long as said partner understands and accepts that they’re aro. (Shinki for some reason I’m pretty sure is not aro. I don’t know why, I headcanon him as the kind of person who just falls in love–not frequently, but easily? If that makes any sense)

Your writing for next gen sand sibs gave me so many feels; like the resentment they must all low-key feel for Shikadai, cause no matter how good they are, no matter that he’s from a foreign nation, no matter that they call the Kazekage father there will always be people who insist that Shikadai is the rightful heir by blood. On that note, I could see a lot of pressure for the Kazekage after one of the next gen sand sibs to marry a child of Shikadai, to restore the proper line in Suna.

Next Gen Sand Siblings (NGSS from now on) are so much more compelling if you interpret them as adopted; either canon or DoS. There’s just something fascinating about the idea that the position of Kazekage is restricted to a clan and yet the oldest child of the previous Kazekage has married into a clan of a different village entirely. It’s all the fun of aristocratic inheritance/successions but with ninja!

As I touched on in Our Share of the World, it’s probably Shinki that has the most resentment for Shikadai and even his is kind of tempered by the knowledge that his biggest competition is his younger sister. Yodo, I think, probably just doesn’t like Shikadai as a person–his possible claim on the position of Kazekage has nothing to do with it. Araya and Shikadai are friendliest by default.

I feel like, considering the Council favors Yodo over Shinki (even though, as I mentioned, he’s the one with the blood limit) that they’re not too focused on the matter of blood lines at this point. Especially since Shikadai has been raised as a Leaf shinobi. Though probably, earlier on when he was just born or even a little before then, there were negotiations to decide on that exactly.

They probably conceded to Shikadai being raised Nara because they figured that either Gaara or Kankurou would have biological children eventually (hahahahahaha, nope) and then by the time they began worrying, Gaara began adopting the NGSS and then a whole other round of debates were instigated on whether or not they were valid candidates and, if so, which would be the better one.

I can see them possibly considering an arranged marriage another generation down the line or some kind of Kazekage clan repopulation thing like what’s going on with the Uchiha repopulation in Walking Around (Like Regular People). But I also feel like, given the trend towards more liberal stances of marriages and families and that Temari has already no doubt flouted the Council’s authority and married Shikamaru despite their likely protests, an arranged marriage won’t hold up unless the NGSS that becomes Kazekage is just like, yeah okay why not.

(You may want to check out this post thread speculating how various Kages may be chosen in the Elemental Nations, which started with me wondering about Shikadai’s possible claim to the Kazekage position. This was before I discovered the NGSS existed, of course, but still relevant.)

Prompt: Shikadai and/or Shikako’s child/children. Gaara/Shikako, Shilamaru/Temari – learn your family’s relationships in history class, or the most awkward history lesson

jacksgreysays:

jacksgreysays:

jacksgreysays:

Hi anon, thanks for the prompt. Awkward kidfic sounds like it’ll be fun! 🙂

Though I think I’m going to have to do something like “Five Cousins Shikadai Might Have Had” kind of thing instead of just one strictly Shikaara kidfic…

It’ll probably have some Kareru from You and Me and Baby (Makes Fifteen), the as of yet unnamed but brainstormed Shikasuke kid, and… well. I dunno yet, we’ll see?

Okay, anon, so I went and did some research and I’d kind of like to get your opinion on something but since you’re anon I obviously can’t message you hence reblogging this post. So here’s the issue:

I’m looking at the Narutopedia pages for Gaara’s kids and it’s very easy to interpret them as being adopted (in part because none of them look like him and also because it only says that they’re part of the Kazekage clan and that Gaara’s their father but no mention of a mother). And I personally headcanon that Shikako and Gaara would adopt anyway. So I guess what I’m saying is, do you mind if I just use the canon second-gen Sand siblings as Shikako and Gaara’s kids?

I mean, it’s not like we know very much about them anyway. So I can just make up how Shikako and Gaara (and probably Kankurou) would raise them in Suna…

What do you think, anon?

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Excellent! 🙂

Aaand I might as well say that “today” (September 3rd) is a missed post because I’m still working on this ficlet–should be posted up for September 4th’s post.

Filled here!

Hm… well… 

Trust me, anon, when I get to the next gen Sand Sibling installment of Dreaming of S(omething) there will be enough feels about heritage and succession and family that I don’t think biological relation is necessary.

I may borrow original!anon’s idea that Shinki is from an illegitimate branch of the Kazekage clan–because he’s clearly the one I want to pick on most–but other than that… I dunno, it just doesn’t vibe with me?

And, well, there will probably be more drama than fluff–but I will try my best to make it happy resolution drama? 😀

Our Share of the World: Or, Five Times Shikadai Didn’t Regret Having Cousins (2016-09-04)

“Tadaima,” Shikadai calls out tiredly, shucking off his sandals and trying not to drip too much on the floor.

“Okaeri,” a voice calls back in a musical tone, and Shikadai’s already aching muscles tense painfully. He just barely refrains from groaning out loud.

“Little cousin!” Kareru sings, head peeking out from behind the wall of the kitchen before the rest of his body follows. Instead of the standard Konoha chuunin vest, over his purple uniform he’s wearing a bright orange apron decorated with little fans.

It’s absolutely hideous, Shikadai has no idea how he can stand to wear it. The worst part of it is that it wasn’t a gift from any of Kareru’s parents, it was from Shikadai’s mum. Probably just to see the matching faces of horror her husband and son made.

Temari finds Kareru absolutely hilarious–it also doesn’t hurt that he loves to cook, is quite good at it, and tends to take over their kitchen to do so.

This early in the day, though, Kareru’s presence means that most likely both of Shikadai’s parents have gone visiting to Suna.

“Kareru-nii,” Shikadai responds, sullen. It’s not that he doesn’t like his cousin, it’s just that being around any of the Uzumaki–adopted cousin or not–is absolutely exhausting, and after today’s training, Shikadai really doesn’t have the energy to spare.

Kareru’s smile drops off his face, a look of concern replacing it quickly. “Oh no!” he cries out, turning his hand and summoning a pair of light blue towels. He darts forward, draping one around Shikadai’s shoulders, the other over his wet hair. “Water walking?” Kareru asks, beginning to scrub.

Shikadai doesn’t shrug him off, even though he’s not a child anymore. “No,” he sighs, “Moegi-sensei wanted to do some elemental training. Inojin has water nature. Obviously.”

“Mirai was annoyed at me, too, the week we did elemental training,” Kareru reminisces, before clicking his tongue, pulling the dampened towel away, and giving his cousin a smaller, softer smile. “There we go, now Temari-oba can’t get mad at us. Up to the bath with you, I’m making miso eggplant today. It’s my specialty–well, it ought to be, considering how often I make it for Kaka-jii-chan.”

Kareru is the only person in the village that can get away with calling the Rokudaime that.

Despite the awful day, Shikadai can feel his mouth twitch into a smile of his own.

“Shika,” a voice says, before a body drops down beside his in the grass.

He keeps his gaze skyward but greets back, amiable enough, “‘Kako.”

She shifts her arm, close enough to his that he can feel a line of warmth, but not so close as to touch. He shifts his own so that they do.

Shikadai and his cousin do not always get along, but he can appreciate the times when they do.

“I’d switch places with you, if I could,” Sakako offers, which prompts his thoughts to spin off into futile, impossible directions. He shuts those down quickly enough, no use wasting time on things that can’t be changed.

“You’re just saying that because Inojin’s your best friend,” he says, too heated to be teasing. They both know he doesn’t actually mean best friend.

Sakako doesn’t take offense. “Just like Boruto is yours,” she responds, pointedly.

Shikadai glares at the clouds that have failed to magically solve his problems.

“And anyway,” she continues, defusing the silence, “I’m as much Nara as you.”

Almost reluctantly, Shikadai barks a laugh. “But I’m not half the Uchiha you are.”

Sakako laughs as well, though the exchange is too routine to actually be funny. She sits up, bits of grass caught in the dark strands of her braids.

Automatically, Shikadai begins picking them out for her, but only the ones easily in reach. “Did you want to play video games?” he asks, because watching clouds isn’t nearly as entertaining as his dad makes it seem.

She shakes her head, but smiles to soften the rejection, “Mum came back home yesterday and Dad’s getting out of work early–the three of us are going to celebrate me making genin and come up with some new Uchiha clan traditions.”

Shikadai blinks, unsure if he should be jealous or guilty that the Nara clan’s traditions are so set in stone. He shrugs. “Say hi to Shikako-oba for me.”

“Will do,” she agrees, getting to her feet, “I’ll see you later, Shika.”

He sits up. “Later, ‘Kako,” he answers then, as she leaves, quietly adds, “and… thanks.”

She waves, doesn’t look back; Shikadai appreciates it.

Of his Suna cousins, Shikadai meets Araya first. They are both four years old, and even at that tender age, Araya has already begun wearing a mask–though his first one is cloth and only covers half his face, unlike the full porcelain hannya mask he will one day have.

Araya stands behind Shikako-oba, clinging shyly to her coat, but his eyes dart around in curious amazement. Shikadai doesn’t know why–it’s just the Nara clan woods, it’s nothing interesting. In contrast, he is being carried by his mum, head drooping sleepily every so often to the crook of her neck. It’s very early in the morning, sun barely peeking over the horizon, but Shikako-oba only rarely returns home.

His dad has already rushed forward, arm curling around his sister in an embrace she returns just as strong. They separate after a long moment, Shikako-oba’s hand dropping down to curl protectively around Araya’s head. He seems to calm, settles even closer to her.

“This is Araya,” she introduces, “Sabaku no Araya.”

Shikadai’s mum gasps softly, grip tightening to the point where he complains wordlessly and squirms to be put down. She complies, places him on his feet, and unfortunately he didn’t think this through because now he has to stand up with his own ability.

He really just wants to go back inside the house now, back to bed preferably, but he knows better than to interrupt the adults talking about adoption and clan registers and succession.

During their discussion, Araya has let go of Shikako-oba and made his way toward Shikadai swaying listlessly in his spot. His stomach growls; Shikadai is already keen enough to spot an opportunity when presented to him.

“Hungry?” he asks, grabbing onto Araya’s hand and already leading him toward the house, “We have bread.”

Araya hesitates, glancing back at Shikako-oba who sends him a nod and a smile, before eagerly following Shikadai into the house. “Do you have melon? It’s my favorite.”

It takes both of them to drag a chair screeching into the kitchen, but they succeed and reach the bread box easily enough. They do, in fact, have melon bread.

The first time Shikadai visits Suna is a miserable experience for the most part–he hates the heat, the dryness, the sand. He’s not yet a genin, hasn’t learned the chakra trick that allows temperature regulation, but the worst of it is the sand especially–it gets into his handheld and makes it malfunction within the first few hours of entering the desert.

It really does not bode well for this two week long visit.

But his mum looks happy in a way that he’s only seen a few times before–or, well, maybe happy isn’t the right word. Comfortable would be better–a result of being back in her homeland.

She walks through the village with confidence and familiarity; even after the years of living away the people recognize her and visibly defer to her; respect her, admire her. It’s nothing like the way she’s treated in Konoha, even now a stranger in a strange land.

For her, he tries not to complain too much.

Araya is busy with training even though Academy’s on break–Shikadai is already overheated without physical exertion so he turns down the offer to join. And plus, he’s not interested in kenjutsu.

Unfortunately, with that option removed and his handheld still busted because of the sand, he’s absolutely bored.

He’s languishing even in the air-conditioned hotel room, laying sideways on the couch, head lolling over the armrest.

He hears a snort from the doorway, spots Yodo smirking, ever present headphones around her neck. “Mother said most Nara were lazy, but this is pushing it, don’t you think?”

Except for a sigh, Shikadai doesn’t respond, closing his eyes as if that will make her disappear. Of his cousins, Yodo is his least favorite, which is just fine since he’s pretty sure she dislikes him, too.

“You’re usually playing games, at least,” she says, not taking the hint and actually coming into the room, perching on the back of the couch.

Shikadai grunts, waves at his handheld, “Can’t. Sand.”

Yodo snorts again, pulls her music player out of her pocket and gestures with it, “You think we haven’t found a way to deal with sand in our tech?” She makes a grabbing hand motion, “Give it here,” she demands.

Shikadai considers their rocky relationship, shrugs, then hands it over. It’s already not working, it’s not like there’s much she can do to make it worse.

But she takes it apart with care, expression going focused and nearly serene, checking over each piece and extracting grains of sand. Her fingertips glow with chakra as she concentrates on certain parts, smoothing away scratches.

When she reassembles it and switches on the power successfully, she smirks again and drops it onto Shikadai’s chest. He doesn’t even mind that much.

“You’re welcome.”

Shinki is only two years older than Shikadai, but he’s always seemed so much more mature: serious in a way that’s impressive, almost intimidating, rather than the annoying way Inojin constantly wants to train after school.

If one of Shikadai’s friends showed up with makeup like Shinki, he’d probably laugh at them, but on his cousin it looks fierce–like proper warpaint; a true shinobi, not a child playing at one.

The cloak of iron sand certainly doesn’t make him any less impressive. A mass of tangible shadows for all that he doesn’t use any of the Nara clan jutsu. No, Shinki focuses more on his father’s heritage than his mother’s–not that Shikadai has any room to throw stones.

Over all, it’s not surprising that the two of them aren’t close, but it’s a distance that Shikadai doesn’t know how to bridge and it rests uneasily on him.

Especially now, when it’s just the two of them, Shikako-oba having been called away by a frantic looking chuunin. She had hesitated for a moment, glancing between the two of them–worried less about their lack of a relationship and more about leaving a recent genin from a foreign country and an Academy student unsupervised–but it’s not as if they’re in any danger in the Nara clan head’s house, even with said clan head out of the village.

“Don’t–” she says, pauses, reconsiders, “… try not to get into trouble without me,” then, as she follows the nervous chuunin, mutters to herself, “Or at least not my level of trouble.”

Shikadai had looked at her in confusion but Shinki, having been her apprentice for three months already, only nodded obediently.

That was ten minutes ago.

“Video games?” Shikadai suggests hesitantly in the awkward silence. Though maybe it’s only Shikadai that thinks its awkward–Shinki looks like he’d be comfortable sitting and not saying anything for a couple hours more at least.

“No thank you,” Shinki answers, which puts that idea in the ground.

Shikadai fidgets, looks around desperately.

Shinki notices, puts him out of his misery. He counteroffers with, “Shogi?”

Shikadai sighs but leads the way to where his dad keeps the board. Of all the Nara traits Shinki decided to take, it’s this one. But even though it’s painfully old fashioned, Shikadai at least knows how to play–which is more than can be said for his classmates.

They set up the board and play but the silence turns awkward once more.

“You don’t like me very much, do you?” Shikadai asks, because it’s not as if there are many opportunities for the two of them to be alone.

His cousin is already a study in stillness, but the question prompts a tension which looks painful.

There’s a pause before Shinki answers, carefully considering his words before he speaks, “I don’t dislike you.” It’s a backhanded compliment at best, a confession at worst.

“Why?” Because sometimes even Shikadai gets curious.

This time, the answer is much faster, accompanied by a small, undiplomatic frown: “You’re firstborn of the firstborn.” Shinki says, as if that explains everything.

For a moment, Shikadai is confused: What would Shinki care about the Nara clan head succession? It’s not as if Shikako-oba ever made any attempt on the position, and it’s not like he even uses shadow jutsu anyway.

But then he realizes, Shinki’s not talking about Shikadai’s dad. He’s talking about Shikadai’s mum.

Shikadai’s mum who very easily could have been Kazekage if she had wanted to.

As if spotting Shikadai’s understanding, Shinki continues with a sigh that finally makes him seem human. One with emotions, even, “It doesn’t really matter, the Council would rather have Araya before someone raised Leaf. But it’s been…” he sighs again, “They prefer Yodo anyway and she doesn’t even have Magnet Release.”

Oh. That’s…

“That’s rough, buddy,” Shikadai tries, then automatically winces. Talk about awkward.

Shinki snorts, a smile creeping onto his face, before it turns into full blown laughter. Shikadai stares in amazement–he’s never seen Shinki do either–before he starts laughing, too.

When Shikako-oba returns, Shikadai is carefully coaching an uncertain Shinki through the tutorial level of the newest game he bought, even though Shikadai hasn’t yet played it himself.

~

A/N: Obviously these are not in chronological order.

Anon, I hope you enjoyed this because now I have all these next gen Sand Siblings raised by Shikaara (and Kankurou) feels and I hope it was worth it. – I’ll probably write it as a Dreaming of S(omething) installment so I won’t be in Shikadai’s POV.

Agh, this was so difficult yet satisfying to write. Like… I kept coming up with so many head canons as I was writing it and I had to refrain from shoving everything in and just blathering on about my feels. MY FEELS.

Also, I mean, if you squinted and looked sideways, all of these could be in the same universe. They’re not entirely mutually exclusive.

Uh…

Some head canons for the first two cousins under the cut!

Kareru and Sarutobi Mirai (Kurenai and Asuma’s daughter) were on the same genin team! 😀

Kareru has Water Nature chakra (because… Uzumaki).

Sakako–yes, I just mashed their names together, but I went to check and it’s an actual legit name. Probably, they’d use these kanji 祥子 which means auspicious/good fortune child. And considering she’s the child of two of the Lucky Sevens? She’ll definitely need that luck.

I just really wanted Shikadai and his cousin to have the same nicknames for each other that the twins do. My feels.

I’m not saying I ship Shikadai and Boruto. But in this weird parallels being drawn everywhere in next generation, if Boruto is meant to be the Naruto then Mitsuki is the Sai and Shikadai is the Sasuke. Okay, who am I kidding, I totally have stumbled into shipping Boruto and Shikadai. (If I cared a smidgeon more about Boruto as a character, I’d probably write some drama/betrayed fic about him cheating in his Chuunin Exams match against Shikadai)

Does Sakako actually have a crush on Inojin? Maybe? I dunno, I literally just made her up yesterday and I barely skimmed through Inojin’s narutopedia page. If she does, it’s probably something that she grows out of, or realizes that it’s super epic friendship.

(Just had the hilarious thought that Kareru can’t give anyone in the generation relationship advice because basically EVERYONE is his “little cousin” and it’s so incestuous, he can’t do it, Mirai, he just can’t!)

Since Sasuke isn’t weirdly exiled from the village, and I have the head canon that Shikako would be the one to travel around being a badass ninja/scholar/adventurer, Boruto’s canon dream to be a ninja like Sasuke instead of his father is now a dream to be a ninja like Shikako instead of his father. Which is sooooo good for me (though I’d hope DoS Naruto wouldn’t be as horrifically depressed/terrible a father).

Sasuke probably has rebuilt the Konoha Police Force but with far less discriminatory hiring (for obvious reasons). Probably some kind of accountability/rotation thing with ANBU to make sure the whole Danzo and ROOT problem never happens again ever.

I’m not super set on this, but I think Sakako’s Uchiha-Nara/Sasuke-Shikako epic bloodline combination has resulted in her being able to see ghosts. Maybe.