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

rsrw:

jacksgreysays:

rsrw:

jacksgreysays:

rsrw:

jacksgreysays:

donapoetrypassion:

jacksgreysays:

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

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

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

~

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

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

Far less human.

///

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

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

Why is there only one baby crying?

///

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

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

///

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

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

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

///

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

An honor and risk, both.

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

OKAY! So, now it’s brainstorm time.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hm…

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

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

~

Ask Box Event Now Open!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

just thoughts to add

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

————–

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

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

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

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

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

That’s true! ¿PORQUE NO LOS DOS?

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

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

You know, I never considered the reason for there being an Otogakure being Jiraiya, but when it’s said it makes more sense then just naming his labs because “why not” it would also make a great “f* you” to Konoha when they realize/are told…

Also while that is a Great thought process for Shikako/Nara clan (and I would read it) I more meant something like… Shikaku was a still born heir, but his mother/aunt was able to get him to The Tree fast enough that barely any power was needed to make him breath again/for the first time barely one of the fae not enough). His son takes after him, except Shikamaru being twice born to the Shadow and given in partial exchange as a second so close to the first after so long, well… as much as he is his father’s son, he takes after the Nara-Fae lineage more than Shikaku ever would. 

And Yoshino, orphan, near abandoned, left by a mother whos line she will never know, is as much a fae as her husband; a bare trickle, enough to survive but not to live as one of them. Her daughter though? She who chokes on the air so tainted by the remnants of old battles forgotten beyond myth, she takes more after the Fae in ways she would never, will never know because that’s her legacy as Yoshino’s child. Both will move earth for their love ones; for a fae touched, such as Shikako, that means far more than any would realize.

So similar (the boy a child of a twice given line so close, given away, dead to the world. the girl dead in truth, come through the earth, of a line of earth callers, movers, born to a shadow touched line) so different (he given to shadow so he may survive, her so regularly given to death so that others may Live)

How they grow.so well and twisted.

After all why choose just one?

Okay, I definitely like the idea that Shikamaru by blood is as Nara as can be, but there was a little hitch during the birth that required him to have a fae/shadow resuscitation of sorts. Like, Sunshine Sidestories does mention that Yoshino being pregnant with twins would have issues with one or both, so it’s not being overly tragic/dramatic to say that both twins could have been stillborn. As someone who was born with water in their lungs, my first breath was particularly fraught, so perhaps something similar happened with Shikamaru?

I don’t think they’d need to get all the way out to The Tree, especially if all the medics attending the birth were Nara and knew of the myriad of possible complications. Maybe Kasuga was there? If he’s the closest to a spiritual leader as the Nara have, then that would kind of make sense.

Ah, I love Shikamaru being “twice born to the Shadow.” He is one of two–half of a birth–but being twice born brings him to one whole.

But Shikako is definitely the one who was exchanged in The Tree.

I still think that Yoshino being entirely, utterly human is what makes this particular changeling (ie Shikako) particularly exceptional. I mean the idea of Yoshino being stone and steel, iron-blooded, as opposed to the more flora and fauna and forests of the Nara is so compelling. Fae can only create changelings out of what they have–so most of the other changelings (Orochimaru and Sai, for possible examples) are nature and art, snakes and poison and ink–but because the Nara actively participate in an exchange that gives the fae more to work with.

And I like the idea that Yoshino’s unquestionable humanity is something entirely new to them. Maybe I’m leaning too much on this idea of the iron in human blood being the only natural defense against fae. Like, other clan bloodlines are too tinged with other concepts–Inuzuka and Aburame are of course very obviously canine and insects, the Nara are shadow and deer and trees before in that order–but civilian born, entirely human Yoshino is Iron. The Fae have never been given iron to create with.

Just like when humanity were given fire: Fae being given Iron is revolutionary.

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

rsrw:

jacksgreysays:

rsrw:

jacksgreysays:

donapoetrypassion:

jacksgreysays:

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

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

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

~

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

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

Far less human.

///

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

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

Why is there only one baby crying?

///

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

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

///

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

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

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

///

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

An honor and risk, both.

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

OKAY! So, now it’s brainstorm time.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hm…

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

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

~

Ask Box Event Now Open!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

just thoughts to add

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

————–

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

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

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

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

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

That’s true! ¿PORQUE NO LOS DOS?

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

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

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

rsrw:

jacksgreysays:

donapoetrypassion:

jacksgreysays:

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

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

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

~

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

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

Far less human.

///

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

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

Why is there only one baby crying?

///

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

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

///

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

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

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

///

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

An honor and risk, both.

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

OKAY! So, now it’s brainstorm time.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hm…

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

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

~

Ask Box Event Now Open!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

just thoughts to add

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

~

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

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

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

Flip to the Last Page, Nara Twins, 32) Things you said I wouldn’t understand

donapoetrypassion:

jacksgreysays:

Flip to the Last Page, 32) things you said I wouldn’t understand

“I just need some time,” your sister says, eyes looking everywhere but at you. She’s packing, grabbing things at random, placing then removing then folding then replacing, anything to keep her hands busy.

“I just need to be alo–I just need some space,” she stammers, and you can’t hear anything in your head to refute that mostly because she’s slammed a wall on your connection, metal bars and concrete.

As the two of you grew, so did your control over your connection. No more the constant, unconscious flow of childhood–thoughts more often impressions than words–now you can utilize it strategically: plans and intel, Jounin Commander in the making. Or, rather, you would if your sister weren’t blocking you out.

“I just need to think,” she says, and this third time hits the worst because you know if she were letting her thoughts seep through, you’d hear the added “by myself.”

Futilely, you try to send your arguments through her barrier: why can’t you think here? You’re already cutting me off, obviously you’ve made space for yourself. Why won’t you stay?

If she hears anything, she doesn’t respond beyond the flattening of her mouth into a tight, tense line.

The two of you are supposed to be a team, siblings, friends, partners. She makes it seem as if your twin bond is nothing more than a prison. One with a life sentence at that.

That makes her soften, her furrowed brow transitioning from frustrated to contrite, but no less determined.

“I just… need to know that I’m not making things worse.”

~

A/N: VERY BELATED, VERY SHORT, VERY SORRY DONA! Apparently there’s a little bit more needed from me for Geek Show and also May is a hectic month for me in general. Also, FttLP is a massive mystery to me still despite it being something I wrote…

I feel sorry for this Shikamaru. He’s grown up around Shikako like a vine around a trellis.

I’m still trying to work how how different he is from DOS Shikamaru- he must be, at least in the “does not instinctually trust the village” sense.

…I don’t know if he even looks at his dad as a guide as much as he does his sister. He admires him, yes. But he wouldn’t instinctively go to him for things the way DOS Shikamaru would. And when he thinks about being Jounin Commander, it’s as a set. Even when he disagrees with Shikako, he’s responding to her. He’s not deciding things on his own.

I’m not sure he’d deal with losing her as well as Hiashi did. (To the extent that Hiashi was able to deal with it “well.”)

…I’m a little curious that Shikako might seek Hiashi out on this. She’s not gonna be able to go to anyone when she worries her existence will disrupt the future. But worries that she’s stunting her brothers growth as a person (and that Shika may be letting her)… maybe she can share that. I definitely got the feeling she was talking about both things when she said “making things worse.”

FttLP!Shikamaru is very different from DoS!Shikamaru (who is very different from canon!Shikamaru, of course). I wouldn’t say FttLP!Shika is more dependent than DoS!Shika–since I interpret a lot of DoS!Shika’s current frustration to be that he can no longer consider himself “Kako’s protector”–but there’s definitely a weird dynamic going on. Like, FttLP!Shika knew from the beginning that Shikako is a reincarnated adult and that she has knowledge that no one else does. While FttLP!Shikako had the same issues with chakra and some social anxiety like DoS!Shikako, which would prompt a similar protectiveness in FttLP!Shikamaru, there was still a sort of… he looked to her as the font of knowledge/experience whereas, as you said, DoS!Shikamaru would definitely go to their dad for instead.

The Nara twins would not be nearly as good at dealing with the other’s loss as Hiashi arguably was. Mostly because Nara are… not “designed,” per se, but trained? encouraged? to rely on strategic/critical thinking whereas the Hyuuga are more about full sight and reflexes… I probably ought to write more about the comparison/contrast of the different sets of twins…

Flip to the Last Page, Nara Twins, 32) Things you said I wouldn’t understand

Flip to the Last Page, 32) things you said I wouldn’t understand

“I just need some time,” your sister says, eyes looking everywhere but at you. She’s packing, grabbing things at random, placing then removing then folding then replacing, anything to keep her hands busy.

“I just need to be alo–I just need some space,” she stammers, and you can’t hear anything in your head to refute that mostly because she’s slammed a wall on your connection, metal bars and concrete.

As the two of you grew, so did your control over your connection. No more the constant, unconscious flow of childhood–thoughts more often impressions than words–now you can utilize it strategically: plans and intel, Jounin Commander in the making. Or, rather, you would if your sister weren’t blocking you out.

“I just need to think,” she says, and this third time hits the worst because you know if she were letting her thoughts seep through, you’d hear the added “by myself.”

Futilely, you try to send your arguments through her barrier: why can’t you think here? You’re already cutting me off, obviously you’ve made space for yourself. Why won’t you stay?

If she hears anything, she doesn’t respond beyond the flattening of her mouth into a tight, tense line.

The two of you are supposed to be a team, siblings, friends, partners. She makes it seem as if your twin bond is nothing more than a prison. One with a life sentence at that.

That makes her soften, her furrowed brow transitioning from frustrated to contrite, but no less determined.

“I just… need to know that I’m not making things worse.”

~

A/N: VERY BELATED, VERY SHORT, VERY SORRY DONA! Apparently there’s a little bit more needed from me for Geek Show and also May is a hectic month for me in general. Also, FttLP is a massive mystery to me still despite it being something I wrote…

54) things you always meant to say but never got the chance for the Nara twins?

Heart and Soul, 54) things you always meant to say but never got the chance

The transition happens too fast. One moment Shikamaru is dying, his heart destroyed, pain beyond imagining sparking along his neurons, blood clogging his throat in his death throes. The next, he wakes up, gasping, impossibly, his sister’s crying face the first thing he sees out of the void.

The next, her eyes go dark, expression flat. Her grief and relief erased, replaced by apathy.

Shikako dies instead of him, and Shikabane takes her place.

Shikabane plays the part, dutiful Konoha shinobi, dutiful Nara daughter, dutiful twin sister. It is a lie. Shikamaru knows this, but he still plays along because surely it’s better to have this fake than nothing at all?

But even in her new existence, the creature that was once his sister puts him first.

“You should say goodbye,” says Shikabane, tugging at his hand. His shadow hand, specifically. There’s some sensation in it, enough to tell there is contact, but not much in the way of detail. It can’t differentiate sensations: Shikamaru wouldn’t know if Shikabane’s hand is soft and warm like his sister’s would be, or if it’s as cold and hard as stone. As a demon’s lack of a heart.

“I,” Shikamaru hesitates. The face staring impassively back at him is still his sister’s. “I don’t think I can.”

It’s not as if Shikamaru wants to die. He very much enjoys living, thanks, he’s not that lazy.

He doesn’t want to die. He just doesn’t want his sister to hurt herself for him even more than he wants not to die.

But he cannot change the past.

He’s grateful to still be alive, he just wishes it hadn’t had such a high cost.

He’ll tell his sister thank you only when he manages to get her back.