Counterpoise drabble (2015-07-30)

This is our legacy, Zakuro thinks, as he watches Riichi-sensei’s indolent composure break to scream at his genin teammates. Anko-senpai and Satsuma-san do not hesitate to scream back.

“This is your fucking Exam, Anko, how do you not know when that bastard sneaks in as one of the contestants. He fucking spoke to you!”

“Don’t push this on me, Satsuma’s the one whose entire genin squad was a sleeper cell of his spies. They might as well have had Sound headbands on, you four-eyed idiot!”

“Riichi’s band of perfect little soldiers could hardly keep their covers through the preliminaries. Talk about not knowing your team–you didn’t even know what your student’s hair color is!”

“You have no right to talk about my team when they’re just cleaning up after the massive steaming pile of shit you call your squad!”

Back and forth the shouting goes, flinging insults and blame and accusations at each other. Yet no one actually says the name which started it all.

Orochimaru.

Konran, no longer quite as short as she used to be, yet still small enough to fit comfortably under Ringo’s chin–due to their own growth spurts–is huddled there. Her hood and bandana are in tatters, revealing the bright red mess that remains of a once neatly pinned up braid. Ringo, arms still shaking from nerve poison, tries to comfort her as best he can.

We don’t have to end up like them, Zakuro hopes, watching the adults tear open old wounds just to make each other hurt.

He joins his teammates, wrapping around them as best he can, as if so long as they were hidden they would be safe. He removes the shredded headband from Konran forehead, surprised it had stayed on even that long, and replaces it with his own, clumsily tying it in her preferred bandana style. For Ringo, he gently pulls his arms down, rubbing at biceps and forearms, in an attempt to massage away the pain.

It’s still obvious her hair is red, and Ringo’s the medic, not him, so he has no idea what he’s doing, but he tries. He wants to help.

They don’t say anything, both still in shock in their own ways, but Konran grabs the fabric of his shirt and pulls him even closer, and Ringo’s face presses into the curve of his neck and shoulder. Zakuro doesn’t ignore the spots of dampness, but he doesn’t say anything.

Every so often, Ringo gets gifts. It’s just… something that happens; has been happening since he was born and his parents decided to name him Ringo after his late aunt.

His father says they’re from Hatake Kakashi who, despite being an elite jounin, is kind of socially stupid. It’s survivor’s guilt, his father explains, because he was on a team with your aunt.

His mother contradicts: It’ll take a lot more than trinkets to make up for what he–

And that’s when father shushes her, at least when he can sense Ringo. Which, so far, has been every time.

But he can guess what mother was going to say. It’s… well… not public record, necessarily, but next of kin do get more details on cause of death, if not quite the full story. And, well, it’s hard to hide medical records from an entire clan of medic nin.

So, yeah, gifts. And despite what mother says they’re not really what he would call trinkets. Ringo gets a lot of really nice gear–top of the line mesh and weapons and the higher grade soldier pills. Not exactly out of his family’s pay range, but if he didn’t already get it for free, he’d probably end up buying the cheaper stuff for himself.

He also occasionally does get stuff that he would consider trinkets. Little pots of medicinal plants, books and scrolls, non-perishable food, and once, a particularly shiny and colorful rock. Small, inconsequential things, closer to annoying than useful, but he keeps everything regardless.

But… to be honest? He doesn’t think it’s just one gift giver. Ringo can tell which ones come from Hatake Kakashi–they usually follow after the occasions when he senses the familiar electric-bright shock of chakra on the roof opposite his bedroom. They tend to be… pointed, if not practical. If he tears one of his favorite shirts, a new, similar one will be given to him within the week. If he stares too long at the bookstore’s display for the next installment of Tokuina Bubun, then a brand new copy will end up on his windowsill.

But… some of them are really random. He doesn’t use senbon, but occasionally he’ll receive some. He doesn’t use elemental ninjutsu either, but D through B rank water and fire jutsu scrolls fill up his bookshelves. He wonders why water and fire, specifically, but he wonders why ninjutsu scrolls in general so… Or even, occasionally, girl’s clothing. Which is weird and which is the only stuff he doesn’t keep–unless sharing snacks counts as giving away. He passes those onto Konran who takes it with both confusion and aplomb.

So, yeah, possibly two gift givers. He’s not going to say anything, because this has literally been going on his entire life and there’s no need to make it an issue now all of a sudden. But he is curious. And… okay, maybe a little concerned?

Because if one of the gift givers is Hatake Kakashi who does it out of survivor’s guilt (or atonement)… then who is the second and for what reason are they doing it?

~

A/N: Oh god, I’m so sorry. I said I wasn’t going to do this series, but apparently I’m just a big liar face. So here’s some more Counterpoise! Featuring Zakuro and Ringo this time because, you know what? This series is about more than just Naruto’s twin sister, it’s her story and that includes the people that are important to her.

Aaaand, yes, I am implying that Obito is being a little creepy and giving Ringo gifts he would give to Rin if she were alive. Hahahaha. Are they courting gifts? Are they apology gifts? Who knows?

Well, I suppose Kakashi is also being a little creepy too.

And I firmly believe that Ringo will never refer to Kakashi with anything other than his full name. Always.

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