Shikako / Sasuke – canonDOS – 3) things you said too quietly

Down Every Road (four: hunter and nukenin, the remix),
3) things you said too quietly

He couldn’t have stopped her.

He never could stop her from doing what she thought needed to be done. Never thought he would need to stop her, because as far as they’ve known each other–for as long as they’ve worked together, fought together, been together–she was always right about what needed to be done.

Or, at least, that’s what he had always thought.

“Shikako Nara attacked the Hokage,” says acting Hokage Councilor Shimura, “She is guilty of high treason and must be brought to justice.”

Behind him, Komachi and Towa make no noise, ANBU stealth and stoicism combined. Sasuke struggles to make Hawk do the same.

“Hunt her down,” Councilor Shimura continues, voice apathetic and so hateful to Sasuke’s ears, “Terminate her,” he finishes, eyeing Hawk specifically.

The three ANBU bow: dutiful, respectful, silent. If ANBU Hawk’s bow is a little belated, a little too shallow, then who is to say?

Red Team–short one member, of course, and now he wonders how long it will take Komachi and Towa to connect the dots, wonders at the wisdom and cruelty both of Councilor Shimura to send them on this mission, if the latter had been so important to him as to outweigh the former–has barely spent a minute at HQ before another bird masked ANBU approaches them.

“I have been temporarily assigned to Red Team to aid you on your current mission. I am codenamed Crow.“ 

Behind his own mask, Sasuke blinks, perplexed. He knows this is Sai. He just doesn’t know what the play is here. More cruelty, perhaps. He knows Sai is one of Councilor Shimura’s, so this could be extra insurance that Red Team does their job. But he also knows that, beyond all reason, Shikako trusted him anyway. That Sai had gone above and beyond to save Shikako from Councilor Shimura, to break her out from her own mind when no one else could.

Sasuke is looking at either a spy or a saboteur.

He’s not sure which he would prefer.

Red Team with Crow in tow depart from the village as soon as possible. Standard protocol for hunting missions.

Red Team isn’t designed for this–Red Team shouldn’t even be on this mission, for logistical and obvious, possible emotional compromising reasons–but that doesn’t mean they won’t at the very least appear to be completing their mission to the best of their abilities.

Everyone knows that the first seventy two hours are the most critical when it comes to hunting nukenin.

Hawk doesn’t have a moment of privacy to create a shadow clone and send it back until four hours later, and so by the time Sasuke is able to ask around the news has already been twisted around into rumors.

Shikako Nara has cracked under the pressure. Accelerated promotions getting to her, unable to handle her rank.

Shikako Nara has been turned. A sleeper agent from another country, she’s always been suspiciously friendly to foreign nin.

Shikako Nara is just like that snake. Didn’t you know? They encountered each other during the chunin exams.

Shikako Nara isn’t the villain here–it’s the jounin commander using his daughter, trying and failing to enact a coup.

None of it is right. All of it is useless.

The only pieces he finds to be true are that Shikako really did attack Tsunade-sama, who is even now still in the hospital, Shikaku-san is in T&I custody, and Councilor Shimura is acting Hokage.

But he already knew that.

He thinks maybe the worst part about all of this is that he doesn’t even know what the worst part is.

The first awful part of it is that he can’t figure out why. Why would Shikako attack Tsunade-sama?

Then there’s the terrible part in which he’s being sent to on a mission to kill her–which is both cruel and doesn’t make any sense to him, either.

And then there’s the whole disastrous situation with Sai and whether or not he’ll help or harm the mission… and whether or not Sasuke can convince the rest of Red Team to not fulfill their mission.

No, that’s a lie. He knows what the worst part is.

They catch up to Shikako in Land of Rivers.

No, Shikako lets them catch up to her.

Sasuke knows how easily it would be for her to stay ahead of them. Or to stay hidden from them. Or even to fight them, knock them out, and continue on her way.

She did this on purpose.

“Go home, Red Team” Shikako says, and if, somehow, Komachi and Towa didn’t already know the identity of Bat, then they know it now. “Tsunade-sama will need her best to protect her.”

“Protect her from what?” Komachi snipes back, quick temper flaring, “You’re the one who she needs protection from.”

Shikako shrugs, posture loose and casual and an utter lie. Then, bizarrely, she sticks her tongue out at them. No, at Crow. 

“Beware the strangling roots,” she says to them all, before melting into shadows. Red Team tries to pursue, but there is no further trail to follow.

The worst part is, she didn’t even ask him to go with her.

~

A/N: Belated fill is very belated and doesn’t really match the prompt, but hope you still enjoy, anon!

I know it says canonDoS, but my brain just really wanted to do a swapped roles version of Down Every Road two: hunter and nukenin, but obviously instead of Shikako being the hunter and Sasuke being the nukenin it’s the other way around. So it’s sort of canon compliant in an AU divergence kind of way? Or, like, I mean. It’s not been jossed yet so it’s not NOT canon? Uh…

Maybe I’ll go further down this road? I dunno, I have an idea for what probably happened, but since this is Sasuke’s POV I figure it’d be more in line if he just could not figure out what the hell was going on because… well… Sasuke.

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yeah i definitely meant that sai wasn’t just /saying/ it, but that he was speaking in, like, coded language. ‘perfectly innocuous’. it’s the subtext that’s important. it’d take a second for her to realize just /what/ he was saying then she’d be not quite sure it was /really/ what he was saying or if she was just imagining things because ‘he can’t really mean- but what if-‘. also dona mentioned this on recursive and discussion has begun! o/

I understood the coded/innocuous statement, but considering how dangerous Danzo is/was it just seems like something Sai wouldn’t talk about at all outside of, like, a specially warded room.

Then again, I guess if it’s to reassure one of the tiny!would-have-been-ROOT-agents that the evil man won’t take them away then I could kind of see that? And if Sai is an Academy teacher, Shikako could very well be there.

Like, if it’s lunch time at the Academy, and one of the tiny!would-have-been-ROOT-agents starts panicking and Sai is there to comfort them and Shikako happens to be in earshot. But by that point the fact that tiny!would-have-been-ROOT-agents are fellow students at the Academy would already give away that Danzo has been taken out? Then again, except for Sai it’s not like tiny!Shikako would recognize a child who would-have-been-a-ROOT-agent.

okay so i was thinking about the Point of No Return, and the suggestion that yoshino just didnt have twins in that one, and i just can’t help but rebel from that idea. because for them that would mean that the reailty they’re changing isn’t really ‘theirs’ it’s a mostly-similar-but-still-different one. (which they would know for certain if it was somethign that happened before they arrived) So i was thinking about it, trying it make a scenrio where it really is just linear time travel.

(2/6) and i liked that option where they come back to interfere with the kyuubi attack. so they show up and sakura sees to kushina, who is not doing that great but will live through the night. meanwhile sai helps to harry tobi, which can either go the way of him still escaping or the Surprise Extras provide enough of a momentary distraction that minato gets enough of an upper hand to knock him out. (and seal his chakra, beacuse it would be foolish not to)

(3/6) i was thinking that maybe the future they came from didn’t get as far as the four war stuff. what actaully happpened was that danzo took over somehow and things got really really bad really fast. so what happens is that in the first few years sakura and sai help to thoroughly deal with everything danzo realated. meanwhile tiny!shikako calms down from her panic about being in naruto because it obviously not naruto-naruto since the fourth is still around.

(4/6) and then once the uprooting has been preety much finished (as much as they can, the rest will take time) sai indulging in a bit of sentimentality (which is encouraged for him now, they’re working on it) and when he comes across the nara in, idk the market, he hangs around and talks to, air? sakura?, saying things that are perfect innocuous and have absolutly no secret meaning whatsoever no sire(about how they took down danzo and things are better now, or they will be, or theyll never get

(5/6) the chance to be bad) and tiny!shikako cant stop herself from turning around and staring right at him, wide eyed.

(6/6) then maybe some stuff happens, shikako has people who safe to tell all the things /she/ knows to and they work on doing what they can to fix that stuff. and shikako gets to grow up without this huge terrifying pressure on her. they’re still shinobi, bad things still happen (like gelel, because this needs to be a constant- maybe nobody could find it until they had a shikako guide towards the music?) but the big bads have either been (mostly) dealt with or are works in progress (akatsuki -nagato-)

Yeah, I think I prefer it being a linear time travel instead of a diagonal time and dimension travel because then there wouldn’t really be any point for them to go back in time and make changes (it would just be them running away). It does seem weird for them to end up in a world without Shikako–because then at that point it would be like… why is (non)existence of the Jounin Commander’s daughter so important? If everything else is the same then why not this?

I don’t think Sai and Sakura would be so careless as to talk about the uprooting of Danzo out in the open–or, rather, their role in it given I doubt the uprooting of Danzo could be so completely hidden–especially if there’s the possibility that Danzo has contingencies in place to avenge himself, but I do think a tiny!Shikako would make the obvious connection of older!Sai and older!Sakura existing and the changes in her knowledge.

She would have to be the one to approach them because as far as they know, she’s perfectly normal Shikako and not Shikako-who-knows-a-version-of-the-future (which is normal Shikako). Although I think, given how cautious she is in the earlier chapters of canon DoS, she wouldn’t do so just yet.

I think after the Danzo Uprooting, Sai and Sakura would be on a destroy oppression kick and would be after the Hyuuga clan next–or, at least, stopping the Cloud kidnapping Hinata thing so that Hiashi and Hizashi can deal with their issues and get on that themselves–which is maybe when Shikako first learns about the existence of older!Sai and older!Sakura tangentially through her father but she’s not entirely sure yet.

(older!Sakura, being a loyal Team Anko member, does work on helping out her teammates much sooner as well, while Sai gets to be the proud guardian of two dozen would-have-been-ROOT-agents including his “brother” Shin)

She definitely does not make contact until after Academy, though. Whether that’s because A) there’s a sudden increase in new students because the would-have-been-ROOT-agents have been added to the school as a new class and one of them is tiny!Sai who Shikako knows DEFINITELY wasn’t here before in her memories or B) the Uchiha massacre never happens because not only has the uprooting already happened but also Kushina and Mikoto have always been best friends and it’s hard to alienate an entire clan for the murder of the Yondaime Hokage and his wife if both of them are still alive and also close friends with that clan.

What I’m saying is, Shikako probably doesn’t approach them until maybe RIGHT before she needs their help (and maybe even then, not really) so it’s a lot of older!Sai and older!Sakura trying to chase her down and help her, damn it, we’re the adults, you’re the child, we’re supposed to help you. Stop running towards that obviously dangerous situation, small child, why do you have exploding tags?!

I quite like the idea of Sai becoming an Academy teacher (they’ll need another one, after all, with the influx of would-have-been-ROOT-agents students) and then Sakura becoming a jounin sensei–but not for her younger!self because she’s already made it so that Team Anko is a thing from the beginning–but maybe for younger!Sai and… uh… other people. Ami would be a perfect match, I think–or, at least, my headcanon version of Ami.

… I think I’ve gotten off track… but I really appreciate reading your thoughts about Point of No Return, wildtabbykat, so thanks! 😀

~

Check out the Ask Box Advent Calendar!

What if when they arrive, Yoshino never had a twin pregnancy at all (even though they arrived after the birth)?

T_T

Just. Sadness.

Although, that would bring up the question (in universe) about how different DoS is from canon. SQ has already stated certain things from canon are not the same (specifically the matter of Obito) and probably other things before Yoshino’s pregnancy that would trickle down bizarrely.

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

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

… or come up with new ones?!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Title: Sell It With a Smile. Friendship is a (Mutual) Con.

lionheadbookends:

jacksgreysays:

I’m getting very strong Naruto-and-Sai vibes from this title. Part of me thinks that this would be an “episode” in which for some ~mysterious reason~ Sai and Naruto are the only ones who can actually interact with the mark without blowing their cover, but another part of me thinks this would be a heartfelt yet hilarious “what shenanigans do these two get up to by themselves while the rest of the team goes home to maintain their daytime identities/throw off family suspicion”

Ugh, phrased like that, though, I just made myself feel sad.

But, still, Naruto and Sai back together again! I haven’t thought much about this pairing since all the Colour Time brainstorms!

I can’t just copy paste their Colour Time from that into Fia(M)C, so what is it that they get up to when left unsupervised? Hm… well a cat burglar and an shadowy government agency hacker. There’s not much that they CAN’T do, crime-wise, which means it should be something ludicrously mundane or, at least, start that way. Like. Grocery shopping and Sai notices that, hey, the person in front of us is buying all the ingredients to a home-made bomb? Let’s go stop them!

Mrgh, no, too extreme.

When lives are potentially at stake, they’d definitely call in the rest of the team even if it “their day off,” so that wouldn’t work.

… I mean, I’m already stealing (heh) the premise of Leverage, so why not borrow a little further? The Broken Wing Job has Parker stuck at home with an injury and she tries to thwart a robbery mostly by herself–so this could be something similar?

… oh! So, Kakashi sends Sai and Naruto off to buy a birthday cake for Yamato (never mind that his birthday was four months ago–why are we tailing them, senpai? Is this some kind of test?)

And while they’re at the bakery/cafe, they notice that, given the angle of a photographer’s camera, he’s not taking pictures of the food or the supposed, well-lit subject, but the building across the street? And that building is a bank/jewelry store/art gallery?

Or, hm, maybe minus the fake birthday cake errand. Maybe they’re just at Ichiraku’s–which is the closest thing to family that Naruto has that he’d spend his week off with (and there I go making myself sad again)–and some random person keeps showing up at the same time and the whole photography thing. And first off, Naruto is very bored, but second of all he DOES NOT APPRECIATE the sanctity of his favorite place being so violated. Ichiraku’s is the only crime-free place, as far as he’s concerned.

Sai is also a little bored and feeling awkward about the lack-of-family thing, so… yeah, sure, why not he’ll help.

(Kakashi and Yamato are probably just lurking nearby–Kakashi for funsies, Yamato reluctantly)

I have a feeling–in a series typical plot twist–that the alleged thief is, in fact, not casing the building but actually stalking an employee who works there. Which is EVEN WORSE and Naruto gets EVEN ANGRIER.

I like the idea that for some reason Sai was the one who had to go on-site and actually speak to the employees there (maybe because assumed thief/stalker guy had already seen Naruto or Sai needed to be there on location in order to hack into the bank’s security system back when they first thought it was a robbery) so Sai’s the one who interacted with the stalker’s victim and he’s the one who has to explain the whole… well, we thought he was going to rob your place of employment but instead he was stalking you, don’t worry, my friend will make sure he’ll never bother you again. Also, your shoes are very nice today?

Sai makes his first civilian friend! (IS IT SHIHO?)

Sorry anon, there’s a lot of gaps in this one, but here’s a short summary!

Sell It With A Smile

More than lock picks, explosives, or computers–a con artist’s best tool is their people skills.

I love this pair for this fic title, especially because both of them use fake smiles to deflect negative attention.
(whoops I made myself sad, too)

It’s very easy to make yourself sad with these two… T_T

Title: Sell It With a Smile. Friendship is a (Mutual) Con.

I’m getting very strong Naruto-and-Sai vibes from this title. Part of me thinks that this would be an “episode” in which for some ~mysterious reason~ Sai and Naruto are the only ones who can actually interact with the mark without blowing their cover, but another part of me thinks this would be a heartfelt yet hilarious “what shenanigans do these two get up to by themselves while the rest of the team goes home to maintain their daytime identities/throw off family suspicion”

Ugh, phrased like that, though, I just made myself feel sad.

But, still, Naruto and Sai back together again! I haven’t thought much about this pairing since all the Colour Time brainstorms!

I can’t just copy paste their Colour Time from that into Fia(M)C, so what is it that they get up to when left unsupervised? Hm… well a cat burglar and an shadowy government agency hacker. There’s not much that they CAN’T do, crime-wise, which means it should be something ludicrously mundane or, at least, start that way. Like. Grocery shopping and Sai notices that, hey, the person in front of us is buying all the ingredients to a home-made bomb? Let’s go stop them!

Mrgh, no, too extreme.

When lives are potentially at stake, they’d definitely call in the rest of the team even if it “their day off,” so that wouldn’t work.

… I mean, I’m already stealing (heh) the premise of Leverage, so why not borrow a little further? The Broken Wing Job has Parker stuck at home with an injury and she tries to thwart a robbery mostly by herself–so this could be something similar?

… oh! So, Kakashi sends Sai and Naruto off to buy a birthday cake for Yamato (never mind that his birthday was four months ago–why are we tailing them, senpai? Is this some kind of test?)

And while they’re at the bakery/cafe, they notice that, given the angle of a photographer’s camera, he’s not taking pictures of the food or the supposed, well-lit subject, but the building across the street? And that building is a bank/jewelry store/art gallery?

Or, hm, maybe minus the fake birthday cake errand. Maybe they’re just at Ichiraku’s–which is the closest thing to family that Naruto has that he’d spend his week off with (and there I go making myself sad again)–and some random person keeps showing up at the same time and the whole photography thing. And first off, Naruto is very bored, but second of all he DOES NOT APPRECIATE the sanctity of his favorite place being so violated. Ichiraku’s is the only crime-free place, as far as he’s concerned.

Sai is also a little bored and feeling awkward about the lack-of-family thing, so… yeah, sure, why not he’ll help.

(Kakashi and Yamato are probably just lurking nearby–Kakashi for funsies, Yamato reluctantly)

I have a feeling–in a series typical plot twist–that the alleged thief is, in fact, not casing the building but actually stalking an employee who works there. Which is EVEN WORSE and Naruto gets EVEN ANGRIER.

I like the idea that for some reason Sai was the one who had to go on-site and actually speak to the employees there (maybe because assumed thief/stalker guy had already seen Naruto or Sai needed to be there on location in order to hack into the bank’s security system back when they first thought it was a robbery) so Sai’s the one who interacted with the stalker’s victim and he’s the one who has to explain the whole… well, we thought he was going to rob your place of employment but instead he was stalking you, don’t worry, my friend will make sure he’ll never bother you again. Also, your shoes are very nice today?

Sai makes his first civilian friend! (IS IT SHIHO?)

Sorry anon, there’s a lot of gaps in this one, but here’s a short summary!

Sell It With A Smile

More than lock picks, explosives, or computers–a con artist’s best tool is their people skills.