Stars Also Dream, 10/? (2017-01-09)

interlude II

Santa clearly made a mistake at some point in his life, but he’s not sure when or what exactly it was.

It might have been last week, complaining in front of Anko about his desire for more exciting missions. It might have been four years ago when he joined T&I on a more permanent basis.

It might very well have been this morning when he, ever so foolishly, walked within Ibiki’s line of sight and got drafted into what is, admittedly, already turning out to be a bizarre yet exciting mission.

He’s still not entirely convinced this isn’t some extensive genjutsu or psychotropic poison that Anko has surreptitiously dosed him with: there are aliens and off-planet travel and apparently the Nara Clan Head’s wife is some kind of space warrior and he doesn’t know what he did to end up here and now.

This is the sort of stuff that should be in kid’s manga, not real life!

(Not that Santa still reads manga or has a collection in his apartment or a subscription to the monthly serials, no way.)

Then again, he has heard rumors about the kind of missions that the Nara Clan Head’s daughter gets up to…

(and it’s an open secret in the Yamanaka clan about what happened to Ino-sama)

… well, he just made this mission even more horrifying for himself.

Focus, Santa. If he’s going to be a jounin one day, that means going on bizarre and horrifying missions with a sense of dignity.

And, frankly, better this than watching over the newest generation of Yamanaka, young and fearless and newly trained in the mind arts. And inexplicably fond of Ibiki…

So, yes, Santa has made a mistake to end up here, but it’s not the worst mistake he’s ever made.

Chewie grumbles, discontent and loud, and Han rolls his eyes.

“Yeah, I already know, buddy,” he mutters, going through post-jump protocols, “But this isn’t the worst mistake we’ve ever made.”

Chewie snorts a disagreement.

“There were those Klatooinian mercenaries that weren’t exactly happy with us after you–”

A howl, denial and reprimand both.

Han smirks, “And you have to admit, for a prison that one was pretty nice. Three squares, clean and comfortable. No beatings from the guards…”

Chewie’s grumbles again, still discontent but less loud.

“… I could do without the two extra passengers, too, but a paycheck is a paycheck, am I right?”

Silence reigns over the cockpit. Han doesn’t need to look at him to know that Chewie’s expression is that of sheer skepticism.

It’s not the first time that Han’s eyes have been bigger than both of their stomachs–which is saying a lot considering the size of Wookie stomachs–but this is the first time their cargo has been so blatantly against Imperial laws.

Both of them are old enough to remember the Clone Wars, the fall of the Jedi and the Republic both–Kenobi and Skywalker aren’t exactly names hard to forget.

And having two sentients from a planet that’s not on any known record?

He’s made worse mistakes, sure, but that probably depends on the criteria being used.

Obi-Wan has made a great many number of mistakes in his long life and, no doubt, he will make more before he finally becomes one with the Force. But this, he is quite sure, is not one of them.

If anything, this feels like atonement.

He ponders the thought, watching young Luke training against the blaster orb. Watching Yoshino’s young companion watch the same.

Little Yoshino. Bant’s only padawan. He had thought her overly demanding, waiting so long for a padawan that she liked.

He had only thought of his own time as an initiate–so close to aging out–then his own time as a master, padawan inherited rather than chosen for himself.

How foolish he had been, yet thinking himself wise; blinded by his own hubris.

But now he sees clearly, or at the very least he hopes so, hopes the Force will guide him and he will properly listen.

He has made many mistakes. He hopes he can live to see some of them corrected.

~

A/N: Santa’s POV for @book14reader 🙂

Missed Post (2017-01-08)

GOOD NEWS: Just finished watching Rogue One in theaters by myself. (Like, literally, I was the only one sitting in that theater and I walked around during the previews and tried out different seats. Gotta find that optimal spot, yo)

Which has, thankfully, rekindled the spark I need for Stars Also Dream so look forward to that.

BAD NEWS: I just finished watching Rogue One in theaters by myself and there’s less than five minutes to midnight so I will not be writing anything for today’s post.

Additionally, while this has rekindled the spark I need for Stars Also Dream there are SO MANY THINGS I need to process because what do I incorporate? What do I not incorporate? (Also, stardust heart? Like… whoa! Did I call that or what? Then again, I also shot myself in the foot with the timeline because IT’S ALL OVER BEFORE YOSHINO GETS OFF PLANET)

Stars Also Dream, 9/? (2016-11-23)

The first part of the journey is a hesitant, careful maneuvering of eight sentients in a ship meant for significantly less people. It certainly doesn’t help that they’re all strangers…

… and that four of them were, until recently, incarcerated by two others’ village.

And so, for the beginning of the journey, the small clusters stay separate for the most part: the smuggler captain and his Wookie XO grouchily trying to ignore their passengers, the royal droids conferring to each other in binary beeping and scandalized tones, the Jedi Master training the young Force sensitive, and you talking Santa-kun through his first off planet mission.

On the surface, he appears to take everything in stride, but you can’t help but notice his increasingly frazzled expression and how he keeps disrupting his chakra as if to shake off a genjutsu.

Well, you can hardly blame him–no doubt his definition of a long distance mission was vastly different when he woke up. Thankfully, he is a quick study, especially with such unassailable evidence, and you are confident that he will do his clan and village proud.

Now it’s time for you to do the same.

Master Kenobi has not lied to you–this, you can be sure of–but you’re also certain that he hasn’t told you the entire truth either. There are some things that The Negotiator is keeping close to his chest and you can respect that.

But you’re not going to just sit to the side and wait for things to happen around you.

Santa-kun does what Yamanakas in strange situations do best–adapt and extract information and cause distractions–involving himself in the most pertinent conversation and leaving you free to do some reconnaissance of your own.

He does have relevant questions for Master Kenobi, and for all that Santa-kun will never be able to use the Force, it’s beneficial for him to learn the theory behind it alongside young Luke.

Young Luke. A Force sensitive boy the same age as the fall of the Republic with the last name Skywalker.

You may have run away from your past, but that doesn’t mean you’ve forgotten it: the last Force sensitive Skywalker left a significant change on the galaxy.

You know Master Kenobi must be training this one to put the matter to rights.

You’ve forgotten how frustrating protocol droids could be–or perhaps this one in particular is especially aggravating–not that there was much need to interact with them in the Jedi Order.

The R2 unit, on the other hand, you’re pretty sure would be an information gold mine if he weren’t so damned suspicious. Then again, you are best friends with Ibiki, so it’s not like this is entirely unfamiliar.

It’s true that the planet you’ve made your home is behind in terms of technology than the rest of the galaxy–whatever made it near invisible and the perfect sanctuary, also isolating it–and as a Jedi padawan, tech was never a high priority in your training, but these droids are quite old and… almost familiar.

You shake off the feeling. After all, droids aren’t connected to the Force.

With some cajoling, the R2 unit plays the princess’ message and, with hardly any prompting, the protocol droid goes on in length about what happened to them afterwards. It matches what Master Kenobi has said, true, but you think the R2 unit has more to add to the story.

“What about Luke?” you try asking, getting a resentful whistle and a whole load of empty chatter for your effort.

“What about Anakin Skywalker’s child?” you try again, rephrasing the question–the protocol droid seems honestly confused, but the R2 unit beeps in what you’ve learned to interpret as shock.

It’s confirmation, but not quite what you were expecting. Not completely.

“What about Anakin’s… children?” you ask once more, enjoying the way the R2 unit’s light blink at being caught out, right before a world ends.

All of Alderaan screams, billions of voice crying out one last time before being extinguished.

The death of a planet in a matter of moments.

~

A/N: … DUN DUN DUUUUUUUNNNNNN

Post Word Count: 673, Running Word Count: 8584

Stars Also Dream, 8/? (2016-10-09)

There is something to be said about the man who can, without any enhancing blood limit, become the head of T&I for a hidden village as large and as prosperous as Konoha. Ibiki is impressive: he’s patient and smart and–as the horrific scars from literal weeks of torture will attest to–so damned loyal; you know you’re lucky that he’s your best friend

He’s also stubborn and secretly sassy and an occasional pain in the ass.

“No,” Ibiki says, simply, as if you were asking him if he had any plans for the weekend and not, in actuality, telling him that you’re requesting yourself for a solo mission off-planet. Honestly, as if you’re being difficult–he’s let you get away with much worse.

“I’m the only one who is qualified for this,” you argue because factually this is true. Who else has all the relevant information, abilities, and history for this?

(Your daughter, maybe, has two out of the three, but you’d rather die than put one of your precious miracles in the Empire’s crosshairs.)

“No,” he repeats, walking ahead of you through the hallway, the tail of his silly overcoat flapping with every step. On either side of you, intel nin stop and stare or hastily bow, as if Ibiki were the Hokage herself and not the dork who, at seventeen, cried from too spicy curry and still picks corn out from a dish before eating it.

“But-”

“No.”

You’d smack him, but this is his place of work and you wouldn’t want to undermine his authority. Also, he’d take it as a sign that he’s winning.

Instead, you circle around to the front and stop, facing him with a watery-eyed pout. You know what you look like, with your small frame and pink blouse and wide eyes, and while Ibiki is far too familiar with you to fall for it, that doesn’t mean the other intel nin won’t.

Ibiki’s eyes narrow, irritated but reluctantly impressed, because he knows that he’s been outmaneuvered. Intel nin are–when it doesn’t concern work–absolute gossips, and the Head of T&I bullying the Jounin Commander’s wife is something that will easily make rounds.

He doesn’t sigh–Ibiki is much too controlled for that–but his mouth twists for a brief moment before he says, “My office, then.”

Which, in this case, basically means yes.

A lot goes on in Konoha that the Jounin Commander doesn’t know about. It’s not a slight against your husband or his capabilities, but considering the sheer number of shinobi, not to mention the many departments and their functions, it’d be impossible to expect one person to know about everything.

Of course, the Hokage is expected to do just that, but she has a retinue of department heads and commanders and assistants at her beck and call–delegation is a fantastic thing. In most cases, the Hokage keeps a loose leash on her underlings, trusting them to do their jobs to the best of their ability. In fact, its only in rare cases–such as your daughter’s genin team–that she gets involved in the minutiae of the shinobi under her command.

The existence of life on other planets no longer counts as minutiae.

Ibiki can keep some things secret from your husband: careful interpretation of jurisdiction motivated by the somewhat muted panic thrumming under your skin– 

(He’s always been able to read you just as well as you read him)

–but he won’t keep secrets from the Hokage: that way lies corruption.

You know quite well what results when corruption poisons a government.

But you’re still wary when you and Ibiki enter the Hokage’s office–a place you’ve not so much avoided as tried not to intrude upon–a hold over from your paranoid teenage years, so keenly aware of your status as an illegal alien… literally. You’re lucky Ibiki is letting you in on the meeting, never mind that you are the expert in this case, but your nerves are still wound tight.

“Figures,” Tsunade-sama says with a sigh, dropping her chin into her hand with almost elegant exasperation, “I knew your daughter had to have come by it naturally, and Nara aren’t exactly known for being harbingers of chaos.”

A slight exaggeration, but not wrong–the similarities between you and your daughter are legion.

“Go on,” she says, lazy wave of her other hand, “Let’s see how the original holds up in terms of bizarreness.”

It’s too fond to be insulting, and in this influx of memories from the past, you’re almost grateful for it. Grateful that your family has endeared themselves to the Hokage. Grateful for the way Tsunade-sama listens, analyzing yet understanding. Grateful for the way Ibiki stands beside you, as supportive and solid as always.

Grateful for the reminder of your present: you are a wife and a mother, a soldier and a friend, a shinobi of Konoha and proud to be all these things.

Ibiki doesn’t understand why you want to keep your past a secret from your family, but he respects your choice and helps you do so. To the rest of Konoha–to your family–this is just a short one-week mission for T&I, a routine check on a low priority contact in Land of Tea. Nothing risky at all–why would he ever put the Jounin Commander’s wife on a dangerous mission?

That being said, his leniency only goes so far, and both he and the Hokage refuse to let you go alone.

Your repeated argument, “I’m the only one qualified for this,” is soundly rebuffed with Tsunade-sama’s almost lazy, “Which is why you’re team leader. Now choose your second.”

Ibiki smirks–it doesn’t matter that it’s Tsunade-sama doing the arguing for him, he’s still winning. You try not to scowl.

And, well, you’re willing to accede to some extent that they may be right. Rescuing a princess from an evil empire isn’t exactly C-rank material, no matter that you’re mostly acting as observer and support to a Jedi master once renowned throughout the galaxy. You’re lucky they’re letting you go at all, really, but a threat to the planet is still a threat to Konoha and it’s true that you are the only one qualified to take point on this.

At least Ibiki isn’t trying to insert himself on the team–it’d make an obvious lie out of the cover, and for all that you’ve never done anything to him, you know he’s not immune to Force tricks.

Any shinobi worth their headband can keep up with a jedi physically and mentally, but when it comes to intangible matters of Force versus chakra, there’s only one obvious choice for this mission.

“I’ll need a Yamanaka,” you say, which is as much assent as Ibiki needs to begin working his weird powers of bureaucracy.

The both of you are summarily kicked out of the Hokage’s office; within the hour you are back at T&I with a newly released ragtag group of aliens and a bewildered Yamanaka chuunin.

Poor Santa-kun.

~

A/N: Okay, so I know I’m late by thirty minutes, but this totally counts because I didn’t want to have a third missed post in a row.

Ibiki and Tsunade’s reactions for @donapoetrypassion (still keeping it a secret from the twins for now, so none for them, sorry).

Santa Yamanaka is a jounin post time-skip, so @book14reader and I figured that he could be a chuunin pre time-skip who accidentally mentioned he wanted more experience to become jounin in front of the wrong person (ie Ibiki or, possibly, Anko) and got recruited onto the WEIRDEST MISSION EVER. Also, even without the Force immunity I’ve given the Yamanaka clan, if you’re going to put the Nara clan head’s wife on a dangerous mission, the best people to put on her team would be a Nara, Akimichi, or Yamanaka anyway because they’ll do damn near anything to make sure she comes back safely.

Stars Also Dream 7/? (2016-09-29)

You and Ibiki and Obi-Wan Kenobi: a strange combination for a tea party, but that’s what life is throwing at you, apparently. Two jedi and two shinobi, but only three people around the table.

Seki Hijiri has gone to talk to the other prisoners–only one of them is a Wookie, thankfully, because your Shyriiwook is rusty and still way more than anyone else on this planet has–no doubt she’ll have them talking in seconds. She was in charge of your and Ibiki’s training when you first joined T&I, and as much as you’ve learned from her, she didn’t teach you nearly everything she knew.

Also, she’s part of the Yamanaka clan. Married out of the name, but not out of the family or the abilities, and there’s something about Yamanaka that not even the Force can trick.

“Master Kenobi,” you say, because even in this bizarre tableau of prisoners and interrogation, the man deserves respect.

“It’s been a while since I’ve been called that,” he says, taking on an air of nostalgia that does little to hide the roiling wave of regret, “We’ve met before, haven’t we?”

You smile. “Many years ago, yes. I was much younger then.”

He laughs, a quiet and dry thing, a dusty relic almost forgotten, “We were both much younger then, no doubt.”

Ibiki is silent, listening and observing and never letting on that he doesn’t have all the answers. Or any of them, in this case.

“A strange world you’ve found yourself on, Yoshino,” he says, and even you are surprised by that, “Bant’s only padawan. I told her she was being picky for waiting so long, but when she found you… it was a good match.”

Your smile turns genuine now, though, a little watery and wobbly, too. For a long time, you were the only one left to know her name.

“How did you end up here?” he asks, and at that you blink and steel yourself, pack away the starry-eyed padawan and bring forward the tempered kunoichi.

“I’d like to ask you the same, Master Kenobi. This is not an easy planet to find–I would know.”

You feel a flicker in the Force, or maybe you see it in his eyes–as if he’s considering lying for a second. But hero worship or convoluted family ties or not, you are a shinobi of Konoha now and you will not tolerate it. He gets the message and tells you the truth.

Ibiki is silent through the entire thing, which is good–it’s quite the story.

A jedi, a farm boy, two smugglers, and a pair of royal droids off to rescue a rebelling princess from the evil empire.

And true, this is a mission where time is of utmost necessity, but on their way the strangest Force signature explodes from an Outer Rim planet that would otherwise pass beneath notice.

The only lingering trace of that energy matches the stardust crystal your daughter thinks she’s keeping secret.

But you are her mother and you were keeping secrets long before she was born. Perhaps its now time to share some of them.

Somewhere, buried below crop fields that have long since gone to seed, inside a shuttle that will never fly again, is a box.

That box contains the physical evidence of your life before this one. Of your world before this one. Of metal and power and light that had nothing to do with blood on your hands.

(But that’s not quite true, is it?)

When you first came to this planet, the Kinokawas were kind. Farmers, civilians, who lived close enough to Konoha to enjoy its protection but far enough not to learn its lessons. They saw a young girl, alone and scared and heartbroken, hurt and in need of a place to stay.

You buried your shuttle beneath their fields–buried your past within their home–and wiped their memories of it.

Everything else was their choice.

They took you in, adopted you, and you became Yoshino Kinokawa–a normal girl from a civilian family trying to make it as a shinobi.

But you know the truth:

You’re not normal. You never were, certainly not after you crash landed onto a Force shrouded planet in a medical shuttle, your master and your life taken away from you forever.

So you buried that shuttle under your new parents’ fields, with a box containing your jedi robes, your lightsaber, and your thin padawan braid that you had to cut off yourself.

A lifetime later, sitting across from Obi-Wan Kenobi, over steaming tea and Force signatures tentatively greeting each other, you remember that his master died, too. That he had to cut off his own padawan braid, too.

And maybe, in these decades gone by, he tried to bury his past, as well, but now he’s dug it back up. Robes and lightsaber and Force flaring bright, metal and power and light.

You were never normal.

Jutsu makes unearthing the shuttle easy. The robes don’t fit and the braid is forever cut, but the hilt of your lightsaber somehow still fits perfectly in your hand.

~

A/N: AAAAAAAAAAAGH PLOOOOOOT? O_O

… help me…

Stars Also Dream, 6/? (2016-09-28)

Once, when you had been a padawan for only a few weeks, you met Anakin Skywalker.

Master Bant and Obi-Wan Kenobi had been friends during their initiate years–which, for Jedi, is the closest thing to siblings you will ever have. Or, at least, you always believed so.

And if Master Bant and Obi-Wan had been almost siblings, then in a way that made you and Anakin Skywalker cousins.

Back then, that had been something to be delighted by, to be proud of. You and the Hero With No Fear the same, almost, connected: like maybe one day you could be a Jedi just as great.

When you met him–them, really, the Negotiator and the Hero With No Fear always side by side–you had been shy. You could barely say a word, had all but hidden behind Master Bant’s robes, face aflame.

But they both had spoken to you–actually to you, not just an extension of your master–and had congratulated you on becoming a padawan.

And you thought, then, that maybe you were looking at a reflection of what you and Master Bant would be someday:

Heroes, together, saving the galaxy.

Of course, that’s not how it turned out.

Not for any of you.

The second time you meet Obi-Wan Kenobi, he is going by Ben and calmly sitting in one of T&I’s interrogation rooms.

He knows you’re there as soon you walk in, two way mirror hardly a barrier for the Force, but he politely continues his conversation and his tea with Seki Hijiri.

They didn’t call him The Negotiator for nothing.

You say as much to Ibiki. Also, “I thought he was dead.”

Ibiki would never do something as overt as raise an eyebrow at you, only because he knows you can read him as well as he can read you and you can sense his curiosity emanating the way others can feel his killing intent.

“He probably thought the same of me,” you add, because why just hand Ibiki the answer when it’s more fun to give him clues and let him work it out himself.

Ibiki hums, offers his own information, quid pro quo as per usual, “We found him with two odd metal puppets and three other… men.”

“You sound confused about that, Ibiki.”

Ibiki mutters, “Some kind of blood limit, probably.”

You pause, considering, “Big or small?”

“Big and… furred.”

Wookies? Konoha is out of its depth here.

“I should probably take point on this one.”

The second time you meet Obi-Wan Kenobi, he is an old sand-weathered man with a life of regrets and you are far from the child who hid behind her master’s robes.

But he is still a master Jedi, strong in the Force, and you’re beginning to remember how it feels not to be alone.

He is, after all, one of the closest things to family from your past you have left.

You only met Anakin Skywalker once.

But one day–you know this with a wave of dread and such utter certainty that it can only be true, a warning from the Force, a premonition–you’ll meet Darth Vader, too.

~

A/N: Small installment which took me a while because I wasn’t sure which route to take for this series and whether or not I wanted to derail Episodes IV-VI or move alongside them.

I guess I’m going with the derailing route.

Stars Also Dream, 5/? (2016-09-01)

interlude I

Of the clans, the Nara aren’t the first to notice Yoshino. Actually, it could be argued that they’re the last to notice her. And then, of course, she ends up married to the clan head so…

But that’s a different story for a different time.

So no, of the clans, the first to notice Yoshino isn’t the Nara clan, but their allies the Yamanaka.

After all, when a clanless teenaged rookie kunoichi appears with the ability to sense truth from lies with absolute certainty, there’s no way T&I would ignore such a prospective recruit. It definitely doesn’t hurt that her best friend and most frequent mission partner has notes in his Academy file for high aptitude in information gathering and interpersonal communication.

Inoichi isn’t Head of T&I yet, but his aunt is. It’s from her that he learns to keep an eye on people with potential and Yoshino Kinokawa’s name as one such person.

(It’s from Shikaku, a few years later, that he learns Yoshino Kinokawa has a temper, a penchant for earth jutsu, and, apparently, beautiful brown eyes. Objectively, of course, Inoichi why are you laughing?)

It’s during Yoshino’s first mission outside Fire Country that she properly meets Hizashi Hyuuga. And promptly slaps him in the face.

He laughs and even lets the strike connect, because that’s the kind of person Hizashi is.

It’s true that most civilians and even non-clan shinobi don’t really understand how the Byakugan works. They understand it’s powerful, can see nearly all angles at once, and can look through things.

The more foolish mutter snide things about voyeurs. The less foolish still talk about invasions of privacy.

Yoshino is neither, but she certainly doesn’t appreciate Hizashi taking one look are her via the Byakugan and calling her chakra coils feeble.

Feeble!

She knows an insult when she hears one.

“You know that’s the Hyuuga Clan Head’s son, right?” Ibiki asks dryly, no move whatsoever to stop her.

“I don’t care if he’s the Sage of Six Path’s son,” she retorts, using one of the epithets she picked up from the members of the Genin Corps. She continues threateningly, “Talk shit, get hit.”

Hizashi laughs, absolutely delighted.

(The mission goes FUBAR within the hour, but all three of them manage to survive it. Next time Yoshino and Ibiki snag a three person B-rank, they invite Hizashi to be their third. He doesn’t even hesitate to accept.)

The Uzumaki, technically, aren’t a clan anymore. Or if they are, they’re a pale shade of themselves; only a handful of members far from their destroyed home. It’s not something to actively mourn anymore, but Kushina still carries it with her in the line of her shoulders and the curves of her fingers in a fist.

Yoshino tries not to show how much that resonates with her, but in two decades her daughter will be confronted with a bluer version of those observant eyes, and Force or not Yoshino doesn’t stand a chance.

And, anyway, it’s kind of nice to have a female friend who isn’t a series of immaculately crafted lies.

Not that Yoshino tells her the truth–Force, no, she can’t tell anyone that–but it’s as if Kushina has seen enough of a kindred spirit in Yoshino to decide that, yes, they are going to be friends now. Whether she likes it or not.

Luckily, Yoshino does like Kushina–enough to withstand frequent exposure to the malevolent Force signature sealed inside of her; which means quite a lot, actually.

(An October several years later, she experiences an unfiltered version of that signature–angry and caustic and heartbreaking because Yoshino knows she has another person to mourn)

~

A/N: Went to my local NaNo writing meet-up at the Dublin Panera which was very nice; trying to psyche myself up for NaNoWriMo without also psyching myself out like two years ago. 😛

Stars Also Dream, 4/? (2016-08-13)

First the massacre of the initiates in the Temple, then Order 66 being executed throughout the galaxy–an earthquake: a sudden jolt, escalating and devastating, before petering out into the stillness of ruins.

Or, perhaps, it was more akin to a volcano erupting. Bright and terrible and so overt, but the encroaching magma and smothering ash clouds no less destructive for their lingering pace. The thorough erasure of the Jedi was life changing, heart breaking, earth shattering.

Whatever just happened in the west? That’s a star going supernova.

You catch yourself before your knees actually hit the ground–shinobi training nothing to scoff at–but you are dizzy, disoriented, disastrous. You reach a hand out to steady yourself and find the solid dependability of Ibiki’s arm.

Ah, yes, sometimes you go grocery shopping together. Vegetables spill every which way–neither of you care. He doesn’t ask you if you’re alright, he knows you better than that.

(Before, when you were both newly minted chuunin, the Sensory Squad had sent you an invitation. But though the Force and chakra are related, they’re not the same; after your sporadic showing, they rescinded their offer.

That’s okay, Ibiki would rather have a partner who can tell when people are lying than one who can sense enemies at a distance–Ibiki’s enemies are usually close, anyway.)

“West,” you gasp, because that’s all you can tell him, “it was in the west.”

Your children are in the west. No, you’re being paranoid. They couldn’t possibly be near that, you think, the desperate hope of a worried mother.

Your daughter comes back with a heart full of stardust.

That’s not the first time you ever waver, wonder, worry, about your daughter. Shikamaru is very much his father’s son, a Nara through and through. But Shikako, you know, has more than just a touch of yourself.

The Force and chakra are related but not the same–but it’s hard to articulate how, exactly, words and concepts twisting together–like melody and rhythm, or flavor and scent. Everything has chakra, the Force is in everything. But using chakra can be taught, Force sensitivity cannot.

Your son is a being of chakra, that much is clear. But your daughter? If the Temple hadn’t fallen, she probably would have become an initiate.

(If the Temple hadn’t fallen, she wouldn’t even exist.)

A difference between chakra and the Force: Chakra has no Light side or Dark side, the Force does.

(Doesn’t it? It must, otherwise what have the Jedi been fighting for? Why do they exist? Why were they killed? Why was your life torn to shreds?)

Chakra is life-power-energy. It can be used for good or evil, but it’s not inherently Light or Dark.

You don’t think you’d ever have been comfortable around the Nara if that were the case. Certainly not enough to get to know Shikaku; definitely not enough to marry him or start a family with him.

He is calm and logical, but kind and charming in his honesty. It’s not that you forget that shadows and Nara are nearly synonyms in Konoha, it’s just that when you’re with him he’s just Shikaku–not the Nara clan head, the epitome of shadows.

Shadows aren’t Dark side, because chakra isn’t the Force. But that doesn’t matter at all when your daughter is dead.

She’s not dead, not really, she’s breathing and moving and talking and eating–just a training accident, your husband says, it’ll wear off by tomorrow–but it’s as if she is. In the Force, she is a void. In the Force, she is dead.

(A yawning emptiness where your bond with Master Bant used to be. That cold and empty and lonely place where all the other Jedi were before, a distant glow, comforting and familiar, suddenly and cruelly extinguished.)

You try to play along–Shikaku would never deliberately lie to you, certainly not about something as important as this–but it’s hard because as far as you can tell, as far as the Force is telling you, your daughter is dead and this is a droid everyone is trying to convince you is the little miracle you gave birth to.

Shikaku sees it on your face, hears it in your voice, has Shikamaru take that creature wearing your daughter’s body out of the house, but it doesn’t matter that she’s no longer in sight.

Your senses know: your daughter is dead.

(The next day is better, but not completely, your daughter no longer a void–no longer dead–but only the faintest presence in the Force. A mere candle seen from a far distance, not the comforting hearth of a familiar Force sensitive.

It’s only now that you realize how much you depended on that in a world full of strangers and strangeness)

~

A/N: For @donapoetrypassion because you always have the best follow up comments to my fic and I always feel a little guilty for not knowing how to respond, so this one is a relief to finally be able to do. Some Yoshino reactions to Gelel and the accident in clan training (plus bonus Ibiki). I hope you enjoy! 😀

Stars Also Dream 3/? (2016-08-07)

A/N1: *SCREAMING* okay, well, feel free to disregard this installment because I misread Ibiki’s age and thought it said 37 not 27 and then I wrote this and then went back to the narutowiki tab and realized my mistake but didn’t want to just delete this, god, why did i try researching at 3:30 in the morning I should’ve known it would just end in frustrated tears.

Anyway, if you do decide to read this despite my ranting, please keep in mind I honestly though Ibiki was 37 and thus within Yoshino’s age range.

~

After your crash onto this strange planet where no one has heard of the Force–much less the Jedi or the Republic or the Clone Wars–it takes you a while to trust people again.

In fact, the first person you trust–your first friend, really–is Morino Ibiki.

(Later he’ll admit that he was pretty sure you were a spy for the first three years of your acquaintance and he was mostly watching to make sure you didn’t do anything untoward to Konoha.

You’ll laugh, not because you think he’s joking, but because you know he’s telling the truth.)

It’s not that the Kinokawas are unkind. You only ever use the Force on them once, and that to make them forget about your crashed medical pod on their land. They don’t quite understand your desire to become a ninja, but they are supportive in their own way.

(You wish you could be a proper daughter for them, but you’ve never been a daughter before so you don’t quite know how.)

Navigating Konoha’s administration and joining the Genin Corps is really more of an exercise in diplomacy, while actually being part of the corps is half meticulous observation and half cautious mimicry.

(This is probably where Ibiki develops the misconception.)

You chatter easily with the other kunoichi, nod your head in the right places; smile and blush whenever the agreed upon cute boys pay you any attention. You can’t contribute to conversations about the Academy, but that’s okay, not everyone else can either. You’ll talk about the weather and food and the benefits of kunai versus senbon versus shuriken and that’s good enough.

(You don’t trust anyone.

Not yet.)

Morino Ibiki isn’t one of the cute boys–too stoic and stocky and solid–but he’s dependable and smart and a decent fighter. He’ll make chuunin one day for sure, which is, as the other members of the Genin Corps agree, very impressive.

It takes about three sentences into your first conversation with him that he tells you to cut the bullshit.

(No one knows yet that his main strength isn’t in fighting, but in watching.)

Because Ibiki doesn’t want politeness, would rather get punched in the face than smiled at, if that’s what a person really felt. He wants the truth–or acknowledgement of the truth–knows everyone keeps secrets and irritatedly wishes people would own up to them than pretend not to have any.

He never asks for your secrets, so you never tell him.

(To this day, he’s still one of your best friends.)

Which is why, when your head is near splitting open with the disturbance in the Force, he’s the one you go to first.

~

A/N2: I’m gonna be honest, did not see this one coming. I was trying to figure out who would be the least likely to be best friends with Yoshino “wears a pink apron and is secretly a Jedi from another planet” Nara and thought about Ibiki but then realized that might actually be a functional friendship.

edit: Also, I kinda needed some way for her to be off-planet without becoming a missing-nin but also sort of keeping it a secret from her family. But considering her husband is the Jounin Commander, there are many things that would be kept secret from him. Unless it’s, you know, Not His Division (as per Lestrade from BBC!Sherlock) such as it being an espionage/T&I thing. Hence, Ibiki.

Also, I wrote this before I podficced Chapter 100 of DoS, but I realized I remembered it pretty accurately and got him fairly spot on. So, like, maybe DoS!Ibiki is ten years older? Like… that just feeeels right from the vibe I get from him in canon and DoS.

Stars Also Dream, a DoSxSW crossover series 2/? (2016-07-21)

This high up in the mountains, with the air so thin of oxygen and the cold stinging at your exposed skin, you think you might be happy.

You follow after your master faithfully, only a little jealous of the way she uses the Force to stay above the snow instead of falling into it with every step like you do.

Master Bant has promised she’ll teach you how to do it, and she’s never lied to you before.

(There’s a first time for everything, though you eventually learn the trick. But it’s from a shinobi, not a jedi, and an entirely different life later.)

For a handful of years she is your entire world even as you travel through the vast galaxy on missions from the Council. Even as war rages between the Grand Army and the Separatists. Even as she sends you off on your own more and more frequently–it’s because she trusts you to negotiate on her behalf, not because she thinks you can’t handle yourself in a fight.

She’s your entire world even as she sends you away one last time, jettisoned in a medical escape pod before you can protest, the clone troops suddenly turning on your master.

You scream and scream, futilely raging against the duraplex, when your bond with your master flickers out. Silently, softly.

Your entire world gone.

(You later realize that you loved Master Bant. She was the closest thing you had to a mother, even after the Kinokawas adopt you.)

You’re never as happy like you were then–a child, despite your abilities and the war–but that doesn’t mean you never feel happiness again. It takes a long time, years and years, before you get that again–like a person can be your whole world no matter where you are or what you do. And you’re lucky enough this time that it’s two.

You are exhausted, short of breath and in pain, but as the medics put your twins in your arms, you think you’re just as light headed and joyful as when you were a young padawan following in your master’s nonexistent footprints.

~

A/N: Tiny thing because I’m still trying to figure out stuff for this series. Such as:

I was debating who to make Yoshino’s jedi master and was stuck between Bant Eerin or Bultar Swan because… reasons… but decided on Bant because it’s been confirmed that she does get an unknown/unnamed padawan while Bultar doesn’t. Also Bultar is killed by a fellow jedi (which… wtf) and that would kinda not work so well with my plans.

Also… I’m being suuuuper vague on ages and times because trust me, I tried to do the math, and it doesn’t really work out unless Yoshino somehow doesn’t age for a few years (which, I mean, medical escape pod, who knows… stasis?) or I go into the whole time dilation/space travel/not aging thing which could also work? Mreh…