Dreaming of S(oulmates), (2016-11-21)

one: red string of fate (ABTSF-15.2)

It’s a good thing soulmates are the only one who can see their shared string, Shikako thinks, staring blankly at the ethereal red thread tied around her pinky.

Otherwise, it’d be such a point of weakness for any shinobi.

“Soulmate,” says Gaara, voice raspy but still perfectly audible–of course, she sighs internally, ignoring the gasps around her, it only works if the soulmates keep quiet about it.

two: inkblot skin

Shikamaru is the first to see it–actually, for nearly a decade, he is the only one to see it–the dark ink on his sister’s face where before there was empty skin.

They are young, but not so young as to be naive.

From then on, both Nara twins wear headbands on their brows: one out of solidarity, one to hide love.

three: shared dreams

Perhaps they did, when they were children, but childhood dreams are easily forgotten after time and tragedy.

Gaara doesn’t sleep, and so he doesn’t dream.

For many years Shikako just assumes she doesn’t have a soulmate.

four: death clock

She chose the path of the ninja because there was no other choice–Shikako could never abandon her friends, her family, to the fate that loomed ahead.

(And also, maybe, because the timer on her arm only had a decade left; her soulmate had to be a ninja, too.)

Gaara’s timer had always been at zero.

five: shared injuries

Gaara knows pain: it’s followed him ever since he could remember, even if it’s never been firsthand. Rebellious chakra system to small scrapes and bruises, his soulmate’s medical history blossoming onto his own flesh.

Sasuke’s chidori breaks through the shell of sand; in the audience Shikako starts bleeding.

six: colorful eyes

Shikako can’t see shades of green.

Ino thinks she’s lucky, having a soulmate with such a beautiful eye color, but it’s pretty inconvenient considering they live in a forest.

… Almost as inconvenient as living in a desert and not being able to see shades of brown.

seven: first words

“It was just a misunderstanding. It was nice to meet you,” says the soul mark around Gaara’s bicep in hasty, slanted letters.

What mild words from the soulmate of a monster.

eight: polygraph skin

“I’m sorry for any trouble he caused,” an obvious lie, given Gaara’s complete lack of interest.

Elsewhere and elsewhen, Shikako would let it go, give a platitude of her own, and get the hell out of range–but here and now, his words are accompanied by a stinging sensation and the appearance of neat, blocky writing on the back of her hand.

“No you’re not,” she blurts out, less confrontational and more absolutely baffled.

nine: countdown to contact

The Nara twins grow up knowing that they’ll meet their soulmates within days of each other, probably when they’re genin.

The Sand Siblings grow up knowing the same.

Too bad they’re on opposite sides of an invasion when it happens.

~

A/N: Fill for this anon: three sentence fic with different Shikaara soulmate AUs! 

In case I wasn’t concise enough (though I hope I was) the AUs are the following:

1. soulmates are connected by an intangible red thread around their pinkies (visible only to the parties involved in this version)

2. whatever is written on one soulmate’s skin appears on the other

3. pretty self explanatory… presumably soulmates dream at the same time or dreamscape is outside of time–I liked this one better than the one dreams what the other sees while awake and vice versa

4. a timer on your body counting down to when your soulmate is going to die–luckily for Shikako, Gaara gets better. Luckily(?) for Gaara, Shikako’s a reincarnation and so technically already dead(?)… regardless, she gets better, too.

5. also self explanatory, I think… I feel like the Gaara of this world would be vastly different having grown up with Shikako’s pain, but I don’t know how

6. a person can’t see shades of whatever their soulmate’s eye color is until they actually meet. I’m a little unsure how this works with people who are soulmates with a Hyuuga, though…

7-9. Chapter Sixteen of DoS was very helpful. 7 is the “traditional” first words soulmates say to each other is their soul mark. 8 is less traditional, in that whenever soulmates lie to each other it shows up on their skin. 9 is also also self explanatory.

Post Word Count: 415, Running Word Count: 7304

I love your writing! What are your favorite soulmate AUs, if you have any? Or what other AUs are you weak for ;)

Thanks, anon! I’m glad you like my writing 🙂

Hm let’s see soulmate AUs I’m fond of…

I actually only recently learned of the “whatever is written on your soulmate shows up on your skin as well”!AU (aka the Protean Charm Soulmates!AU as I call it for brevity) but I really like how adaptable it is. Like, each relationship is different and this method of soulmate AU can reflect each unique relationship in turn.

Like, even without having other people involved, do the soulmates write to each other? If so, how often? Who writes more? Or, if not, why not? Is there a language/literacy barrier? Is one just naturally more reticent than others?

Other than that I’m also fond of the “first words”!AU and the “sting of fate”!AU for opposing reasons:

“First words”!AU just has a very strong sense of attention and fleeting–you and your soulmate WILL meet and this WILL be their first words to you, but you also have no idea who or when that will be so you always have to pay attention. For some people, the phrase will be something innocuous, for others it’ll be wild.

I also kind of want to explore the idea of blanks in this universe. Are they people without soulmates? Are they people who have soulmates but won’t meet them for reasons (perhaps they’re fated to die before they meet)? Are they people whose soulmates can’t speak? (And, for that matter, how is mutism/muteness treated in this universe?… though I’d be hesitant to broach this topic since I myself am not mute and wouldn’t want to appropriate a disability and no doubt misrepresent it for a fic)

Conversely in “string of fate”!AU, I like the solidity of it. Whether you go with the “everyone can see your string” or “only soulmates can see the string” versions of it. You have a string? You have a soulmate. No string? No soulmate. Very flat out.

You may not meet, but you have one and you even know in what vague direction they are. Maybe some people will be more proactive and search for their soulmate, follow the string. Maybe some people will let fate decide. Maybe some people can’t leave and find comfort in knowing their soulmate is out there, somewhere. Maybe some people don’t care.

As for other AUs… like… I’m assuming not established media such that it would be a crossover/fusion (which I’ve already gone over in length here)…

For epic fantasy/sci-fi worlds, I really like putting the characters into non-powered!AUs, especially. Well, actually, I guess technically this is established media, but a Notting Hill!AU? I encountered the AU in fandom before the realizing it was an actual movie, but basically it’s about a famous actor and a bookstore owner meeting and falling in love and the whole disparity between their worlds.

I once read a fic which expanded the movie further to include more characters in more roles, so it’s this balance between who is the actor, who is the bookstore owner, which characters fall on either side of the divide for the intents of the AU. For example, with a Shikako/Gaara version, that one’s pretty obvious–Gaara as the actor, Shikako as the bookstore owner, and the respective village lines falling into place. But for a Shikako/Sasuke version?

I mean, Shikako would still be the bookstore owner (because stage fright) but which characters are part of “Sasuke’s world” and which are part of Shikako’s. Where does Naruto go? Kakashi-sensei?

I’m also pretty fond of modern royalty!AU for the same celebrity vs common person disparity.

I also enjoy stuffing super powered people into office spaces–general corporate workers, or lawyers, or minor government positions (a la Parks and Rec)–because inter-office drama is hilarious when it’s fictional. As the apparent success of either versions of The Office can attest to. And, sure, you can set things on fire in your original world but not here, friend, not here.

Conversely “real world” criminals is kind of nice, but with less emphasis on the crime and more on the team building (a la Leverage).

Ooh, okay, last one anon because I realize how rambly I’ve gotten: The florist and tattoo artist!AU, but the version where you swap the “obvious” designations. That one is so fantastic! I mean, I know not very much about either occupations, but I’ve read some fantastic iterations and they’re just the best. The best. Can replace florist for baker, but yes. Excellent. 🙂

oakydokey:

jacksgreysays:

toalwaysbeme:

toalwaysbeme:

is there honestly anything more confusing than homophobic soulmate aus

@hyacynthbaby @tedkordisanasshole

i mean those soulmate aus where a guy is all afraid about the name on his arm bc it’s a boy’s name. like if it’s a world where everyone knows your soulmate is written on your body, like why would they be bad to two boys who’s very skin says they are to be together?? you know who writes aus like that? straight people

This! There was always something that bugged me about these kinds of AUs and I could never articulate it, but this!

Like… unless the phenomenon of soulmate-names-on-wrists is a very recent one (which, unlikely, given the usual premises) then cultures evolved around this phenomenon not the other way around.

Which means instead of two boys being together being “unnatural” or “bad,” its people who date other people who don’t match their name who are “going against what fate/god(s)/nature intended.”

Like if you very obviously have Jeff on your arm but you’re going around trying to date Annas or Megans or whatever, then clearly you are doing something wrong.

Alternatively, cultures might have evolved so that names are kept a secret–so no one can judge a person for dating people who aren’t their name–or, possibly, having a name is meant to be a platonic soulmate thing where they’re meant to be a sibling of sorts and dating them would be akin to incest… but at that point the idea that the problem is sexual orientation and not whether your names match up is baffling.

I wonder if there would be homophobes in a world where you were born with skin that literally told you that you would end up with someone of the same sex (or at least knowing the popularity of gendered names). If this world was like ours and had a lot of people who believe in an all-powerful God who created us, surely He is the one writing the names of our soulmates on our skin? And how could His plan be imperfect?

I don’t think there would be homophobes–or rather, definitely not as many as the real world and they would be going against the grain of Names Above All Else when it comes to signs from God/fate/nature so they’d be more like bizarro extremists–but there would be a movement similar to it?

Like, people who date not their Names are probably seen as worse than how conservative people in the real world view pre-marital sex and adulterers. Even though the parties involved in the relationship know the other person isn’t their Name and this is agreed to be casual (in comparison to Name relationships which might lead to obligatory marriage)… That’s probably what the homophobes of this world would be against in that world…

toalwaysbeme:

toalwaysbeme:

is there honestly anything more confusing than homophobic soulmate aus

@hyacynthbaby @tedkordisanasshole

i mean those soulmate aus where a guy is all afraid about the name on his arm bc it’s a boy’s name. like if it’s a world where everyone knows your soulmate is written on your body, like why would they be bad to two boys who’s very skin says they are to be together?? you know who writes aus like that? straight people

This! There was always something that bugged me about these kinds of AUs and I could never articulate it, but this!

Like… unless the phenomenon of soulmate-names-on-wrists is a very recent one (which, unlikely, given the usual premises) then cultures evolved around this phenomenon not the other way around.

Which means instead of two boys being together being “unnatural” or “bad,” its people who date other people who don’t match their name who are “going against what fate/god(s)/nature intended.”

Like if you very obviously have Jeff on your arm but you’re going around trying to date Annas or Megans or whatever, then clearly you are doing something wrong.

Alternatively, cultures might have evolved so that names are kept a secret–so no one can judge a person for dating people who aren’t their name–or, possibly, having a name is meant to be a platonic soulmate thing where they’re meant to be a sibling of sorts and dating them would be akin to incest… but at that point the idea that the problem is sexual orientation and not whether your names match up is baffling.

Untitled drabble (2015-07-16)

In a world of fated soulmates, soul marks, that first turn of phrase your soul mate speaks writ upon your skin, are held in high regard no matter the country. And yet, cultures develop differently, and they are as variant as ever.

Soul mates are the other part of you, as complementary as one hand is to the other. But are they your one true love? Or as close to you as family, as twins are to one another? What looks like romance to one culture, could be a sick incestuous relationship to another. What may be considered platonic, might as well be a loveless arranged marriage.

Soul marks may be considered sacred–should they be covered or not? Should they be registered with the government for regulated matchmaking?

Some countries consider it proper to introduce yourself with a full name, the better to find your soulmate. Others consider that cheating.

Matchmaking has always been a large industry, but in this world, it’s taken seriously. Handwriting analysis alongside psychology mixed with law and politics.

It’s a strange world we live in, but at least we’re not alone.

~

A/N: Random tidbits of thoughts that I have on soulmates and the soul mark idea.

Untitled soul-mark drabble (2015-06-22)

“You’ve got a little–I think your face is bleeding,” the lone waitress on shift says, as a woman dressed in dark colors enters the diner covered in blood. Lainey tries not to gag at the sight and, wafting it’s way through the air, the smell.

The woman isn’t aggressive or hostile; rather, she smiles absentmindedly at Lainey, and responds with, “What? Oh, no, it’s not mine. But thanks.”

Whatever few thoughts remain in Lainey’s mind after being confronted with a gorgeous, blood drenched woman at two thirty in the morning, flee entirely. She is frozen in fear, too scared to even flinch away as the stranger moves closer.

Because those words? Those words exactly, are scrawled down the side of her left calf. Her soul-mark. The first words her soulmate says to her. Oh god, her soulmate is some kind of serial killer.

Lainey had always been one of those girls perhaps a little too influenced by her soul-mark. She’d hide it with knee-high socks, covetous of the words, yet always pamper her legs when at home. She was always eager to return things to people–or rather, to return things to the wrong people, in hopes of hearing those words in returns. Every time she’d get her hopes up, and though sometimes their responses would be so close, it never happened.

Because apparently her soul-mark is about blood. Oh god, why?

“You’re still open, yes? The neon lights say it’s a twenty four hour diner… though I suppose since the two isn’t lit, you may just be a four hour diner” says the beautiful serial killer who is apparently Lainey’s soulmate.

“Y-yes,” stutters Lainey, brain still offline.

“Excellent, shall I just sit anywhere then?” Miss Super Model of Stranger Danger asks, peering around the empty diner.

Lainey nods, afraid to disagree.

“Thank you, dear. I’ll just use the washroom real quick, but if you could have a cup of coffee ready for me when I get back? I’d like to sit at the bar, please.” Very polite, this murdering soulmate of hers.

Lainey nods again. When the bloody woman passes her by, she tenses even more. It’s not until she can hear the bathroom door click shut that Lainey moves. And breathe, apparently. Her aching lungs thank her.

Oh god, her soulmate is a beautiful, polite murderer.

She gives a full body shudder then scrambles to fix a cup of coffee. The familiar motions seem to dislodge something in her brain because now she can think.

Maybe… maybe that’s not her soulmate? Maybe Lainey’s remembering her soul-mark wrong (impossible, she has those words burned into her retinas). Or maybe she’ll encounter someone else, someone less of an assassin, in the future who will say those words to her as well (possible, but unlikely considering past encounters). Or maybe… she hadn’t acknowledged Lainey’s words… so maybe it’s a non-mutual soul-bond.

That’s… that’s not ideal, to be honest. Non-mutual soul-bonds are rare, but in the sense that maybe a tenth of one percent of the entire population has it. That’s still one in a thousand, still seven million people on the planet, that’s a lot. It’s hard to verify, because maybe the soul-mark is a phrase that will be said in the future.

Her best friend had an uncle with a non-mutual soul-bond. He was nice, and always had time to listen to two teenagers complain about their cushy lives, but he met his soulmate when he was twenty-two–“Hey, I’m Devon, nice to meet you. Happy twenty second birthday, by the way,”–and watched as Devon met his soulmate, the bartender. It… it was a scar, something that had healed over time, but still left behind a mark. He was nice, and helped two dumb high schoolers work through their problems, but he was always sad.

Would a non-mutual soul-bond be better than a possibly murderous soulmate?

“Just perfect, dear,” says the still unnamed possible murderous soulmate, sliding onto the bar stool so suddenly as to startle Lainey. She doesn’t drop the little creamer jug, but she shakes just enough that some sloshes over the side.

Instinctively, Lainey pulls out a napkin to wipe up– mind having fled the vicinity again, leaving her body to function on it’s lonesome–before turning, very carefully, around to place the cup of coffee in front of the diner’s only and bloodiest customer.

“And you’ve added two sugars. Exactly how I like it,” the woman says delighted after taking a sip.

How did Lainey know that? That’s not how she takes her coffee; she doesn’t drink coffee.

“Now then, left-handed Lainey, my diner waitress soulmate. May I interest you in a very early breakfast date with me?”

~

A/N: From that one fic idea floating around–the one where your soulmate’s first words to you are marked somewhere on your body. I thought I’d give it a try. This was pretty fun to write.