Who do you think would handle knowing the original timeline’s future best, not just in DoS, but in your other works, too? I say original timeline in large part because surely even someone who wouldn’t want to would still find themselves making changes, right?

I’m going to assume you mean Naruto canon when you say original timeline, because otherwise to go through all of my fandoms would be O_O

I think there’s a difference in handling the knowledge in an internal/emotional way vs handling the knowledge in an external/make-changes kind of way. The first largely depends on how a person finds out–whether it’s something that, in the case of DoS, Shikako tells them or, somehow they find out from, like, a vision from beyond or a canon character dimension travelling and exposition dumping from there–whereas the second depends on their resources (whether they even have the ability to make changes on a significant scale) and personality (whether they would even want to.

Like, I’ve mentioned previously that Shino would make a good confidante for Shikako, not because he would particularly make a lot of changes, but because he would, if not believe Shikako immediately, then at the very least accept the knowledge with a certain level of proof (which is easy enough considering the Aburame’s history with Danzo.) So he’d be the first type of “handling” the knowledge of canon.

All that being said… I kinda want to do both for all of them mostly because this prompt would help me further conceptualize characters in a way I hadn’t considered before. So, both Emotional Handling and Influential Handling for DoS, Externality, (In)Difference, and Counterpoise? Hm, if there’s another series you’re interesting in, lionhead, just let me know and I can add that later.

Dreaming of Sunshine:

Emotional Handling – I’m going to stick with Shino for this one, actually. Regardless of if he finds out from Shikako or from some other means. Second place I would say Ibiki, but I’m reluctant to do even that much because of my own fanon that Ibiki and Yoshino are BFFs so he probably would be second hand messed up by the changes of Yoshino’s family composition.

Influential Handling – I don’t know if there is a singular person I would say is best for this, but the ones I’m thinking of all have a certain… flavor to them. In no particular order: Iruka, Ibiki, Aoba, and Shizune. And the thing they all have in common is that they have influence within the village but not the combat prowess to handle S-rank nin by themselves. So they would have to make changes with a softer touch. Would Iruka emotionally handle canon knowledge well? NO WAY. But he is in the position to not only influence Naruto (and other former students) directly but also to affect administrative decisions. Also, Danzo would never think of Iruka as a threat.

Ibiki, Aoba, and Shizune would probably handle the knowledge with better grace than Iruka, but they don’t have that direct connection with the kids that Iruka does. And this could be a positive and a negative, but they’re all also better than Iruka combat wise so they may be tempted to make changes in person which may cause them to bite off more than they can chew.

Externality:

So the thing about Externality is that even I haven’t decided whether or not Tetsuki knows about canon, or how–was Naruto a manga in the KHR world or can she perceive the canon version of the world in her dreams?–so I’m going to exclude her for now.

Emotional Handling – Weirdly enough, I think Naruto would handle it best. Not because he would use it, but because he would be galvanized into doing better. Whether that means keeping Sasuke in Konoha or being a better teammate to Tetsuki and Komadori or making sure to protect the people he couldn’t save in canon. Although, I suppose it depends on WHEN he gets the knowledge. Like, if he gets it before the canon graduation time, then it’s unprovable and basically a really weird dream to him–why would he be on a team without Tetsuki and Komadori?–but if its after canon graduation time, that is, after a genin-for-a-year Naruto gets put on a team with recent graduates Sasuke and Sakura, then he might take it as a challenge.

Influential Handling – Ibiki, Aoba, and Shizune for the same reasons as in DoS–since Externality is in a similar vein of OC–but instead of Iruka, since he isn’t the teacher for Testuki, Komadori, and Team Gai’s year, I would add Anko to the list.

Specifically after Tetsuki has joined Intel/T&I. Well, I mean, Anko knowing about Orochimaru’s future movements is already pretty good influence-wise (although, I’m concerned that Konoha would be “concerned” about how she got that information) but if it’s after Tetsuki has joined Intel/T&I and become Anko’s kouhai then Anko will know that she can use Tetsuki to act on her behalf as well as passing Orochimaru’s future movements along to Ibiki and such.

And I guess, for similar reasons, Tsunade would be good but only after she’s already become Hokage. Because her hands are tied as far as throwing down directly with Akatsuki since she has a damn village to run, but she’ll know that Tetsuki is a piece on the board that she can use in a myriad of ways.

(In)Difference

Since Kiyoshi definitely knows about canon and is trying her utmost to not get involved during her first decade and a half, then doing an abrupt 180 and getting overly involved in specific people’s lives, I’m going to exclude her.

This probably won’t make much sense given I haven’t actually written enough of (In)Difference to have a firm timeline and, unlike Externality and Counterpoise, it doesn’t follow the usual stations of canon. Which brings up the main point: except for a few flashback type situations, most of canon happens decades in the future. Any changes, even minute, will have massive consequences. Additionally, in a way, it’s harder to prove but easier to stomach so… hm… let’s see…

Emotional Handling – When they’re younger, genin/chuunin age or so, Orochimaru would handle it best. Not because he really believes Kiyoshi (if it is, indeed, coming from Kiyoshi) but because on the unlikely chance that it is true then he is still capable of course-correcting. Also, if he was, as I suspect, Nawaki’s jounin-sensei (or captain, if we’re going with wartime terminology) then being able to prevent his death–which Kiyoshi somehow does–will help a lot in keeping him sane and not completely evil.

Team White Fang would also handle it okay but only as a team. I don’t know why I feel certain about this, but, I dunno, they’re 2/3 my characters so there.

Influential Handling – Actually, all of the above wouldn’t be too bad in terms of influencing things. Orochimaru, obviously, just has to not be a complete sociopath and never work with Danzo (or, even, just kill Danzo outright) and already he’ll make the future a better place. And Team White Fang is either A) Sakumo, father of Kakashi who is in line to affect ALL the things or B+C) a shape-shifter and genjutsu mistress. So, not too hard to make changes. But I think the BEST person to make changes might be Nawaki.

Because just him being alive would mean so much in terms of Senju presence. And even if he doesn’t have Wood Release (but which I’ve written that he does so…) what his continued existence means for Tsunade and Kushina personally (who can then influence Naruto directly or not). Or what his continued existence might mean for the Uchiha clan… I suppose it’s more a potential of influence than actual influence, I guess.

Counterpoise

Konran definitely doesn’t know about canon. Immediately I know she would emotionally handle it the worst, because basically it’s a world in which her twin brother isn’t even a twin or a brother. Here comes an existential crisis. Because she’d emotionally handle it the worst, I’d be reluctant to predict how she’d handle it influentially. Obviously she’s in position to influence Naruto most directly, but will she want to? Will she do so in a positive way? I don’t know.

Emotional Handling – Zakuro. Hands down. I considered Ringo, because of the two Ringo is the “calmer” one, but then I realized: he’s a medic. He’s a taijutsu using medic. He’s as pacifistic and selfless as a shinobi can be. If he did believe the canon knowledge, however he got it, he would view all the deaths in canon and try his best to prevent them and only destroy himself.

Zakuro, in contrast, is a genjutsu and trap specialist. He knows that perception is more important than reality and for all his brash personality, he can be patient. Traps don’t always get sprung–it’s about preparing for possibilities, not getting directly involved. Zakuro wouldn’t lose himself to the knowledge. He’d take it, absorb it, learn from it, adapt.

The only hitch in this is that he wouldn’t want to keep the knowledge a secret from his teammates, but given their personalities, he would have to. So it’s not the knowledge itself that he would have trouble handling.

But to be clear, Zakuro is ony best at emotional handling. He’s not really in a position to make significant enough changes, for all that he has the mindset to do it.

Influential Handling – … the three people who I think could best utilize the knowledge and make changes are also the three people (besides Konran and Naruto) who would emotionally handle the knowledge poorly. Ringo is one of them–because for all he is the same rank as Zakuro, he does have sort of bonds with both Obito, though he doesn’t really know it, and Kakashi, and if he can figure out how to leverage said bonds he can mitigate a lot of suffering on their and everyone’s parts.

The other two are Kakashi and Jiraiya. The reason why I didn’t bring them up in previous series is because the nature of canon vs Counterpoise is a missing Uzumaki child. Minato’s child. And yes, it’s true, that shouldn’t be such a big deal seeing as how they they ignored Naruto in canon. But I wonder how much of that was the Sandaime’s terribad “don’t discuss the Kyuubi even though everyone and their monkey summons know about it” and how much of that was the village plausibly denying Naruto’s heritage.

So DoS brings up how Naruto could have been named Uzumaki because of his jinchuuriki status not because he’s actually related to Kushina. Additionally I’ve read somewhere that some people thought Naruto took Minato’s appearance because the Kyuubi was being deliberately cruel and kitsune are all about shapeshifting (which is why Naruto’s specialty before kage bushin is henge). And also, while I don’t know how canonical this is, there’s the idea floating around that Minato and Kushina kept the pregnancy a secret so enemy villages couldn’t find out and such. So, like, the village could have just been handwaving the obvious connections between Naruto and his parents. And because Kakashi and Jiraiya don’t get involved with him, there’s nothing to contradict that.

But Konran doesn’t have the Kyuubi. Konran has bright red hair and goes by the name Uzumaki. Konran is so undeniably Kushina’s child that there is no handwaving this away. It’s for this reason that I’m kind of playing around with the idea that the Cloud ambassador tried to kidnap Konran in addition to/instead of Hinata (which also explains why Konran becomes so desperate to keep her hair hidden when she’s a genin).

Anyway. That incident and the lack of plausible deniability means that Kakashi and Jiraiya kind of have to get involved and canon knowledge would only help them if they would get off their asses and do something. Don’t get me wrong, love the characters. But they are capable of making great change, they just need a massive shove to do so.

~

A/N: Uh… that got long and rant-y towards the end. Hopefully this was what you were looking for, lionheadbookends, and if not feel free to send another ask my way 🙂

Ask Box Advent Calendar is now open!

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Fire Fallow Cultivation (2017-03-27)

In the early morning hours as the sun begins to lighten, dawn slowly crawling into the sky, she sits on the veranda and breathes. Morning dew glistening on the grass, bird song filtering from the treetops.

For a few moments she can imagine that she is a child once more, those simpler happier times. When the house was fuller than just her and Shizune and the ever present ANBU guards, when the silence would be broken by the sounds of her family beginning to awaken.

Instead stands a copse of trees, the youngest nearly two decades old–for her cousin, Kohari–the next youngest after that for Nawaki.

Hers will be the last tree planted here. The end of a tradition, the end of a clan.

For a few moments, Tsunade drinks her tea and imagines.

Of the Lucky Seven brats–Hatake included–it’s obvious that the Uchiha brat is the least troublesome. She loves Naruto, and it’s not just professionalism that has her keep bringing Kakashi and Shikako back from their stupidly persistent death wishes, but Sasuke is the least problematic and she’s not ungrateful for that.

Of course, he still is a Lucky Seven brat: least troublesome does not mean not troublesome whatsoever.

“It’s a routine patrol,” she says to the impassive ceramic face of ANBU Hawk, “it’s been run every day for decades! Probably since Konoha itself was founded!”

Still, ANBU Hawk’s face does not change. His posture, though, slouches just that tiniest bit.

She softens her tone, “Better for it to be discovered than not, of course, I just don’t know how this could have stayed hidden for so long.”

Neither of them mention the Sharingan. The whole point of ANBU Hawk is anonymity.

Before, Uchiha in ANBU were sent out immediately on ops. An Uchiha on a routine ANBU patrol would have been inefficient, underutilizing their abilities… or so Danzo would have said.

If there are any hidden caches and tunnels that only a Sharingan can see around the Hokage’s residence…

“Bodyguard duty for you,” Tsunade says, and tries to make it sound like punishment.

Seeing her face on the mountain–alongside her grandfather’s, her granduncle’s, her sensei’s, and that Namikaze brat’s–she thinks about legacies. About responsibilities and inheritances and the cloying, clawing threads that tie her down.

Konoha was her home. Konoha was her hell. Konoha is in her blood, in her heart, in her bones. In every word she speaks and every person she heals and every desk she shatters under her fist. All the paperwork blurring beneath her eyes, every face that looks up to her, every building every weapon every tree.

She is Hokage, she is Senju, she is Konoha.

Konoha was not just one clan’s dream, Konoha is not just one clan’s inheritance.

Shizune adjusts to living in the village easily enough, but Shizune has always been adaptive. It helped on the road, when Tsunade was more drunkard than mentor, and it helps now when Tsunade has to allocate more and more of the hospital’s running to her first apprentice.

First apprentice. How strange to think of Shizune that way when she is more than that–her confidante, her friend, practically her niece–and yet it’s not inaccurate.

Tsunade never thought she’d have a second apprentice, but there’s something about that Haruno girl. Potential, yes, but a joy and love for life that she can barely remember having herself.

She certainly never thought she’d have third one, and not even for medicine at that, but the Uchiha brat has an eye for administration. She’s not just talking about his Sharingan, either, though that certainly helps with the paperwork.

Tsunade was raised to be head of a waning clan, groomed for the position, no matter how futile it turned out to be. Sasuke never had that.

He was the spare, the youngest. A child with a hyper-competent older brother, a fully functioning clan, an entire infrastructure that had no need for him.

And yet.

There is no formal invitation. She does not leave confidential information lying around, though it’s not as if there’s much of a Senju clan to manage anyway.

But if she voices her decision making processes out loud more often. If she’s become observant of customs long set aside. If she has two cups of tea prepared for the early morning hours, well.

Everyone adapts eventually.

In the backyard of the Hokage’s residence is a copse of trees, a holdover from a past era.

She remembers digging for every single tree: scoops of soil in clumsy toddler hands, crescents of dirt beneath her nails as she clutched her newly orphaned brother close.

Trying so hard not to cry on Nawaki’s because it would devastate her if his tree withered from salt. (Dan should have a tree. A few months more, maybe, but she’s done with pleading for an impossibility).

She came back long enough to plant Kohari’s tree (and regret that she didn’t know what the Uzumaki traditions were) and leave with Shizune in tow.

It might be blasphemous, might enrage all of her Senju ancestors, but what does she care what a bunch of dead people think? If she wants to have an Uchiha plant her tree, well, who is going to stop her?

She’s the last of her clan; she wants someone who will remember her as such.

~

A/N: Less Tsunade and Sasuke bonding and more implied bonding and character analysis? Hope you enjoy anyway, @future-tongue!

Fire fallow cultivation, aka slash-and-burn agriculture, is when fields are burned so that the ash can enrich the soil for future crops to grow. 😀

Counterpoise Remix (2017-03-19)

Namikaze Naruto and Uzumaki Konran meet for the second time in the spring before their twelfth birthday.

It is not an entirely auspicious event.

In the first memory I have of Uzumaki Konran, it is not, as the reader might presume, her hair that I recall best, though such a notion is not unfounded.

Like her mother before her, Konran had worn her hair long and loose then, a red curtain more vibrant than any other hue found in nature. And it is true that to this day her crimson locks are often considered her signature–only to those fortunate enough not to face her in battle, of course, for they would know her better by her chakra chains, fuinjutsu, and stark determination instead.

But her hair, while eye-catching, is not what first comes to mind, for her cousin had accompanied her then, Uzumaki Karin’s own tresses hewing to the familial standard.

No, what I remember most clearly of Konran’s first day in Konoha are the bloom of cherry blossoms all around and the unassailable look of anxiety on her face.

A little over a decade ago, the status quo of international politics changed when the Land of Rain ended their self-imposed isolation; at their head, daimyo and commander in chief both, was an Uzumaki.

This is not his story.

Shizune knows its not her place to decide, but surely in the privacy of her own mind she’s allowed to cultivate her mutinous opinions. Shishou and Kushina are using her and her team as courier, so she deserves this much at least.

But her indignation evaporates quickly enough when she glances over at her team’s young charge. The only thought left afterward is: Poor Ran-chan.

She doesn’t know what they told her, but Konran seems determined to embody some untouchable ideal of an Uzumaki heiress. Normally, when she’s anxious, Ran-chan will edge closer to Juugo as if to borrow some of his calm. Now head raised, shoulders straight, Konran walks firmly in the middle of the diamond formation Shizune’s team has made–protected like a noble princess, and all the more apprehensive for it.

Karin flutters around her cousin, sensing her mood but not knowing how to fix it. She picks at fallen petals instead, as if to maintain Konran’s immaculate appearance, but that seems to be making it worse.

Perhaps out of a heretofore unseen emotional sensitivity, Suigetsu snaps at her, freeing Konran from her attention. Then again, Suigetsu hardly needs an excuse to annoy Karin.

Shizune knows her team well, almost as well as she does Konran, the young girl very near to a sister, so she knows this:

Shizune won’t be the only one who misses Ran-chan during her time in Konoha.

The Uzumaki clan, though highly diminished, are no less storied or prestigious for it. Hosting the Uzumaki heiress would be an honor for any Konoha clan, one highly suffused with political implications.

For that reason, it was decided that she would be hosted at the Hokage’s residence, to maintain neutrality without causing insult.

What other reason could there be?

You are not surprised when the Hokage meets with you and Shizune-nee in person, not really. You are important because the people you are related to are important, and Shizune-nee is Tsunade-oba’s only disciple–the Hokage would be foolish to delegate such a duty to someone else.

You are surprised that he stays with you after Shizune-nee and her team leaves Konoha, that he guides you to the Hokage’s residence and ushers you around the house, describing all the rooms. You’re quite sure this is actually him and not a clone of some sort–his chakra signature deeper than clones tend to be, and that of his bodyguards’ brushing against your senses–and so you’ve begun to grow confused.

Surely the Hokage has better things to do with his time than play tour guide to an unwanted guest?

He pauses in his commentary, expression shuttering to blankness.

Impressive. Less than one day in Konoha and you’ve already insulted their leader.

But his smile returns, if smaller and somewhat pained, a slight wrinkle in his brow.

“You are not unwanted,” he says simply, before resuming his narration after a pause. She keeps her response to herself, taking in as much of the information as she can stand.

After all, this will be her home, too. For the next year, at least.

Minato’s daughter looks at him with familiar eyes that see only a stranger. She doesn’t know better, was never told otherwise, and so she doesn’t know how swiftly and thoroughly it breaks his heart.

That pales entirely in comparison to when he witnesses his children speak to each other, voices filled with polite disinterest.

~

A/N: I had this weird persistent dream remixing Counterpoise into a “more peaceful but not necessarily kinder world” AU in which both Kushina and Minato live but, for reasons that may or may not eventually be written, they each take a child and don’t see each other for over a decade. Then, in order for Konran to “complete her training” she’s sent to Konoha for a year (what is Naruto/Konoha Twelve’s last year at the Academy.

And it started with weirdly flowery prose–I don’t know who exactly the first person POV is, except for a strange Lemony Snicket-esque narrator–but then it kind of bounced around to different POVs so it didn’t feel right to maintain that.

I might write a little more–I have some thoughts about Zakuro and Ringo in this ‘verse, as well as how Naruto and Konran’s relationship develop, and a lot of miscellaneous details of what Kushina and Minato’s survival would change in the world–but not consistently since the idea is kind of embarrassing and I’m mostly writing this one so it stops plaguing my brain :/

But hope someone out there enjoys it, at least.

If Sakura is Morganite, maybe Inner!Sakura is some variety of black Beryl – maybe even just called Beryl? – to call back to her animation style, i.e. all black with white lines? Then when they fuse, the colors from Morganite’s pale pink and Beryl’s black would naturally flow into a darker red, meaning she could be called Bixbite. (Sorry, I only just saw you’d replied to that post – Whoops!)

(No worries, kuiper!)

Hm… see the thing is, black beryl is actually white/colorless beryl (Goshenite) that has a lot of black spinel inside. So Black Beryl would be a pretty cool fusion idea for a Goshenite and a Spinel but not really a good component gem in and of itself.

Maybe we could use that same color theory reasoning, though? So Sakura is a permafusion Morganite and her two component parts are Goshenite and Bixbite (so white/colorless dilutes the red to make pink)? Goshenite’s white/lack of color could be Inner!Sakura’s monochrome animations style or Bixbite’s red could represent Inner!Sakura’s passion. Hrm, but Goshenite means truthfulness while Bixbite is about harmony so that’s the opposite.

… maybe Shizune is Black Beryl and since both she and Sakura share the Goshenite aspect that could represent their medical training from Tsunade? (Or the sassiness they’ve gotten from her.)

~

@kuipernebula: given sapphire and rubies are somehow different types of gem despite both being corundum, i don’t think we have to worry too much about what make the gem the color it is

That’s true, canon SU is pretty lax about gemstone naming/choices…

as for a title how about something like: You can only hold a smile for so long (after that it’s just teeth)

image

Monster Smiles (blood in my teeth)

Loyalty, teamwork, and the Will of Fire–all just pretty words to hide the truth:

The foundation of Konoha’s strength is child soldiers.

And some children are stronger than others.

Mashing up your title offerings since they’re both kind of long but I did like their vibes. So for your prompt in which child genius shinobi reluctantly (or sarcastically?) say “I require an adult” I’m thinking an anthology of various adults of the Naruto world during their time as frighteningly deadly children.

And I know you suggested Kakashi, Itachi, and Tenzo, but technically–seeing as how average graduation age is twelve (in peacetime, nine(?) during war)–all shinobi were child soldiers at some point.

I’d definitely want a scene of basically the Worst Night of Young Shizune’s Life. Because even though she can kill or heal a person in over a dozen ways, life outside of Konoha with Tsunade has a lot less to do with fighting or healing and more to do with finding her shishou in sleazy bars or avoiding debt collectors. Which is made more difficult when, according to civilian standards, she is too young to enter either establishments.

I imagine there’s a lot of Tsunade drunken shenanigans and Shizune having to outmaneuver these DUMB CIVILIAN LAWS and she ends up maybe breaking up an illegal animal fighting ring? And she finds TonTon who was SUPPOSED to be the reward for two dogs (bears?) but is now Shizune’s pet. Basically, the story of why the honorable Godaime Hokage and her first apprentice are banned from one city in particular for eternity.

I would like a section for… aw, I’m already making myself sad… Aoba. Because can you imagine how much of a chatterbox Gossip King Aoba must have been as a child? Just. The most talkative child, so nosy and curious and NO AOBA DON’T TOUCH THAT. (He probably had a saint of a jounin sensei, let’s be real.)

I think maybe his path to Cryptography started early on. He’d play the part of lost child to infiltrate the place, memorize the layout and guard rotations of the place, and for all that he’s annoying he’s also weirdly endearing? Aaaaand then it turns out he’s the vanguard for the REAL mission which may or may not include burglary at the least all the way up to assassination.

Hm… who else would I want to do…

I have a vague horrific idea about Ibiki’s first encounter with torture. He is heartbreakingly young and the last living member of his team but he keeps quiet, keeps his village safe, and manages to gain some counterintelligence while escaping by the skin of his teeth. He crawls his way back to Konoha/the nearest war outpost (because this is probably wartime right?) and is just like. Super professional but bleeding out “I need to speak to the commanding officer,” aka an adult. And everyone’s trying to usher him to the healing tent and he’s just like, no way I have to give a report, my team died and I got tortured for a week, I can handle a few more hours of dying this information is important.

Uh. But yeah, that’d be it. Riding that line between childhood hijinks and the dawning horror of what shinobi childhoods are actually like. 😀

How To Adult Properly (And Maybe Heal Some People While We’re At It), a series of Team Medic ficlets 4/? (2016-10-18)

Sakura wakes to a thump somewhere in the vicinity of her feet, and the long, low groan of a hungover idiot.

It’s better than an alarm clock, really. Or, well, worse since she can’t just smash Youbirin in one hit to shut him up.

“Sakura,” Youbirin says, voice muffled by the blanket she’s kicked off in her sleep and the way he’s practically kissing the floor, “Sakura, ow. Sakura… how? Why, Sakura? Why this?” He asks, as betrayed as a muddled-minded moron like him can be.

She gives a groan of her own, pressing it into the pillow, before kicking in his direction. She’s not augmenting it–it’s too early for that shit–but she feels a connect and Youbirin curls away with another pained moan.

“Go away. I’m not on shift and it’s before noon, you’re breaking the rules.”

Youbirin crawls his way up the bed, falling obnoxiously on top of her. It’s far from sexual–only barely affectionate in nature, given that clearly he’s trying to smother the life out of her.

“Get off me,” she wheezes as her lungs deflate beneath his weight, “Go away,” she repeats.

“But Sakura, this is my room,” the big baby whines, and then completely ignores her by wrapping himself around her.

She grumbles, but lets him, because he’s warm and she’s far too lazy to pull the blanket back.

They quiet back down, breathes coming in deeper and slower, the two of them shifting into a more comfortable position–Youbirin less of a big spoon and more of a giant koala with Sakura as the small and brightly colored tree.

“Wake me up before noon again and you’re dead,” she murmurs, tucking a cold nose to the collar of his pajamas.

Obediently, he recites, “After noon, coffee, got it,” before the both of them drift back into sleep.

Of course, they’re both woken up less than thirty minutes later when Jiro lands on top of them, climbing through the window in yesterday’s rumpled clothing to escape his latest one night stand.

Shishou, spotting the three of them and their less than impressive states, laughs–loud and long and entirely unnecessary.

“Nngh,” Youbirin grunts, looks two seconds away from dropping to the ground and curling into a ball in defeat.

Jiro, in contrast, tries and fails to respond with a smile of his own. It wouldn’t have worked even without the awkward lean he’s adopted where Sakura propped him against the wall.

Apparently, last night’s conquest–while easily impressed by medic-nin–was less than impressed by Jiro’s less than graceful “this was fun, goodbye forever” spiel. And, apparently, a trainee in T&I.

Sakura would like to think she doesn’t look as awful as her genin teammates, but she certainly feels as miserable, and she knows for the sheer travesty of her outfit, she’s going to have to avoid Ino today.

Shizune-senpai looks unfairly embarrassed by them: as if she never had to deal with Shishou in worse condition, and during her reign as Hokage at that!

When Shishou finally stops laughing, wiping a tear away from her right eye, she turns around and gestures imperiously for them all to follow.

Even in their disastrous states, the three–four, actually, including Shizune-senpai–hop to attention immediately. They may be embarrassments as people, but there’s no way they’re anything less than the best when it comes to being medic-nin.

~

A/N: Lalala, went out again to a swanky restaurant where we got soooo much free stuff because my sister’s got connections! Also, more drinking (well, less than yesterday, but still more than my usual which is zero)