OHMYGOD THAT FIC OF SHIKAKO AS THE QUEEN OF THE LAND OF MOON THOUGH. holy shit. it’s so tragic, but damn, the possibilities! also i really wonder what team 7 (minus naruto)’s reactions were in kakashi’s apartment when they first knelt down before shikako and addressed her as queen. i seriously can’t see anyone being thrilled about an arranged marriage like this, and i imagine kakashi and sasuke (and just about everyone else really) were furious once they found out. i’d love to see more!


Hahahaha, yeah, Hail To The Queen taken literally as a set up for figurative queen = Hokage. I had also considered a kind of convoluted Shikako somehow meets the Fire Daimyo’s bastard son at the Temple of Fire and accidentally inspires him to start his own coup and because he’s grateful to her he basically appoints her Hokage? But that was just… waaaaaaaaaaay out there. So no to that :/

I’m a little tempted to do a Sasuke POV for this iteration (definitely would be one-sided Sasuke/Shikako) but it’s a lot of pining and “if I had proposed to her, would that get her out of this?” kind of thing and the answer for all of that is no. Like, sure kid, just because you’re the last of a powerful bloodline and a Noble Clan doesn’t mean that’ll match up to the literal royal family of a canonically super wealthy country.

Those who actually know Shikako understand that this is basically one of the worst things for her. Because Queen is a lot of pageantry and responsibility and nowhere near as much power as the title seems. I mean, Land of the Moon literally backed up the minister usurping the previous king so there’s proof that royalty is not all it’s cracked up to be.

I do think, though, seeing as how Shikako literally took out Shabadaba’s coup after one day(? I think) single-handedly that the cabinet is, if not entirely replaced, then hugely cowed and listen to her orders via Michiru (which is a continuation of improving the people’s standard of living)… and also possibly that movie about the Tale of the Gutsy Ninja.

I do wonder how the other nations are reacting to this–mostly bewildered, let’s be honest, and outraged for Rock and Cloud. But I do think the Land of the Moon benefits from Shikako’s connections to the Land of Birds and Land of Snow–like… not many other random shinobi teenager come with international alliances with multiple other kingdoms? Shikako and Naruto are basically it? So Land of Moon pretty much lucked out with their new queen.

Hail To The Queen: Or, Some Ways Shikako Never Became The Hokage, 3/? (2016-06-20)

(three: she who seizes the throne)

“This is not a story.”

She thinks of her brother, missing one arm. She thinks of her best friend, eyes split through with a pupil like cracked glass.

She looks at her own scars, the skin thick and unfeeling, marking out her just-barely-made-it survival.

Sasuke, she has kept in Konoha, sure. But for how long?

How long until reality exerts itself once more on this fragile fairy tale existence?

Cloud is threatening war. Dawn is on the horizon. The moon waxes fuller.

There are things lurking in Konoha’s shadows, things Tsunade will not be able to heal. Nor Kakashi fend off. Nor Naruto redeem.

They don’t know what they’re up against. They won’t know how to handle it.

“This is reality.”

Once, when they were young men in their prime, Hiruzen Sarutobi was given the title “God of Shinobi.”

A lofty reputation, to be sure, but one that he would live up to.

In contrast, Danzo received the monicker “Shinobi of Darkness” and no one ever knew how fully he embodied it until someone rips it from his hands.

It takes a Nara to properly control the shadows.

The world doesn’t stop just because Naruto leaves for three years. It keeps going: training and missions and injuries and kills.

Shikabane-hime. The Corpse Princess.

Not something her sunny-eyed idealist absentee teammate would appreciate, but Shikako has always been a pragmatist.

There is power in names.

The last Sealing Master Konoha had was a bright-eyed orphan prodigy who damn near wore his skills and his heart on his sleeve. The Yellow Flash, flee-on-sight, who burned out like a firework far before his time.

Danzo would never be threatened by someone like that.

But she is one of many Nara–intelligent, yes, but sleepy-eyed and lazy. Unambitious. A silly girl who holds meetings with other kunoichi to discuss healing techniques and who plays games with children.

No, Danzo sees no threat there either.

In his arrogance, he’s forgotten the first rule of shinobi: to look underneath the underneath.

She doesn’t start with Sai.

No, that would be dangerous; too obvious.

In this game he is one of her silver generals, though he doesn’t know it yet. She cannot afford to play him too early on.

But she knows what his seal feels like, has been trained to spot the smallest anomalies in chakra.

She can find pawns easily enough.

Ones that are more… expendable.

No matter how many games she played against Naruto–no matter how quick his learning curve–he has never won a game of shogi against Shikako.

Oh, the clones are eager enough to suggest moves, willing to sacrifice themselves to the cause. They are Naruto, and he will always try to throw himself in front of a killing blow meant for someone else. But as a player–as the King–he never could give the orders.

She’s seen it before, he doesn’t have what it takes. Wants to save everyone, but doesn’t know how to go about it. An impractical, impossible dream.

He is a strong shinobi–will undoubtedly become the strongest–and charming in his own way.

But leadership requires more than that.

It is one thing to offer an already hesitating child alternate options, then convince him to choose one that benefits you both. It’s another thing entirely to tell a brainwashed soldier to turn on his master and obey you instead.

Some matters require a gentler touch. The Yamanaka would know all about that.

Fu has always been a bit of a conundrum to her–unlike the Nara, the Yamanaka clan’s abilities are a blood limit. To extend their consciousness beyond their bodies and control someone else with it? It’s not something that just anyone can do. But it’s also a skill that needs to be honed, techniques that need to be taught.

Fu knows Yamanaka clan techniques, understands it enough to develop variants.

Danzo let Fu Yamanaka keep his name for a reason.

There is power in names.

Power she will gladly take for herself.

Ironically, ANBU is the safest place Sasuke can be right now. He’s too busy training to stumble upon certain secrets better left in the dark. Secrets that soon will be hers to handle.

Which is just as well. Sasuke is not her king, but he is a very important piece and she can’t risk losing him quite yet.

Just in case, though, she makes sure she has frequent training sessions with him. If he ends up with another seal on him, she’ll know immediately, and adapt accordingly.

She has to trust that Jiraiya is taking good care of her other gold general.

If Fu Yamanaka is one of Danzo’s gold generals, then Torune Aburame is the other.

And as soon as she gets the former, the latter is halfway hers.

Kakashi-sensei catches on surprisingly quickly, considering he’s not often around to witness her side project. But, then again, he’s always been unfairly perceptive when it comes to secrets not his own.

He doesn’t stop her–not that he could; not without putting her in danger. And if there’s one fear the legendary jounin Sharingan no Kakashi has, it’s this: being the cause of one of his precious people’s downfall.

Which, in other words, means failing to protect one of his precious people.

No, Kakashi-sensei won’t stop her. Which means he can be of use.

The drop rule is unique to shogi, something which had originally tripped her up; mind more familiar with Western chess before she learned the ways of the Nara clan.

It goes as thus: a captured piece can be brought back into play under the capturing player’s control on any turn in any empty square.

In this game, all of the pieces started off as Danzo’s.

But that is not to say some of them haven’t already been captured and dropped before she even began playing.

Yamato or Tenzo or Kinoe, no matter: he makes a decent knight.

This is not the kind of undertaking that one can rush, nor would she want to.

When Naruto returns, she is still in play. Still enacting moves even as she helps deal with the more obvious threats to Konoha.

But this was always going to be a long game, and while she’s not naturally patient, she’s always been pretty talented at seeing three steps ahead of her opponents.

Let Danzo think he stands alone in the dark, the only wielder of light in his underground kingdom. He’ll ruin his vision, and fail to see her before it’s too late.

And anyway, a real shinobi of darkness wouldn’t need a light.

Wouldn’t want it, either.

Tsunade steps down, never really wanting the position in the first place. Eager to pass the responsibilities and memories on to someone else.

Kakashi, too, is a placeholder–keeping it safe for his student. Ostensibly, the choice is obvious; though within the privacy of his own mind he’s never quite sure which one.

When it comes time for Konoha’s Nanadaime to be chosen, he hesitates. Not for long, not noticeable for anyone to see, but just enough.

Enough for Shikako to nod her head and smile.

A hat and robes. Everyone knowing your name and face. Watching every action, no secrets or shadows allowed. Who would want that?

Look underneath the underneath.

Let Naruto play at being king. Shikamaru is Jounin Commander. Sasuke, Head of ANBU. Her friends and allies all fall into place: chiefs and department heads and commanders. Generals, knights, lances, bishops, and rooks.

Why be the king–a mere piece on the board–when she can be the queen playing instead?


A/N: This one’s for @tenderwenders who wanted the line “All shadows bow to my will.” And… well, even though I didn’t manage to fit the exact words, this was highly inspired by it so…

I guess, technically, this isn’t Hokage!Shikako, but the spirit of it still counts? Yeah?

I wanted to emphasize more on the parallels between Sandaime vs Danzo and Naruto vs Shikako as the “God of Shinobi” vs “Shinobi of Darkness” but then it all became this giant shogi metaphor and then I couldn’t pull myself back on track. So it’s this weird mash up of both…

God, I felt so devious when writing this! Like, Shikako’s cunning and ruthlessness cranked up to the max is just so frightening.

I love your series with baby Kareru, it’s so cute! Now I wonder what happens as he grows, like does he end up wearing Ino’s purple or Naruto’s orange? (lmao I bet he wears his pseudo-mom Shikako’s green) But seriously, everyone’s so enthusiastic and cute and I loved the part with Sakura channeling Tsunade and Shikako attempting to channel Kakashi! Thanks for writing all this!

You’re welcome 🙂 I’m glad you enjoy it–I was a little unsure on some parts, but I did want to finish up the story so I’m afraid I might have rushed it.

As for Kareru in the future… well. I’m not all that keen on continuing his story at the moment, but who knows? Maybe one day.

edit: Wrote a little bit of older Kareru Uzumaki in this ficlet here!

Dreaming of S(hade), a DoS remix drabble (2015-12-15)

To burn so brightly means to burn out faster. Konoha has witnessed this before, has seen the Will of Fire be twisted into madness or smothered by death. Prodigies are admired or reviled but, either way, they are watched–there is something mesmerizing about a crash and burn.

But Suna is different, they endure. They live through scorching days and freezing nights and know that the sun is dangerous in either extremes but, ultimately, life-giving. Moderation, patience, endurance. That is the way of Suna.

We lose something to the void. Every time a Nara uses their shadow, even for something as small as the Shadow Paralysis, we lose something.

For small jutsu, for those easily controlled, it is always something that can be lost. Chakra, mostly, a good night’s sleep or a lack of calm, other times. But those are just casualties of being a shinobi, the consequences of being a trained killer.

For bigger uses, though, the costs also increase. Exponentially. We lose ourselves: Our emotions, for a time. Or our resolve to be a ninja. Or even, in extreme cases, the will to live.

Our bloodline is a bargain, our affinity an exchange. We sacrifice to the void and in return we receive strength

What my daughter did should have been impossible. Or, at the very least, it should have killed her.

It doesn’t matter how changed she is now, how broken or diminished or unbalanced others think of her. I am glad she survived.

Shikako has paid much to the void; but she is the only Nara who has ever demanded a refund.

It began with a stray thought.

There was a mission and a cave so deep that, even though the sun was out, she had to rely on her sensor ability to move around, let alone fight.

Technically, wasn’t the darkness of the cave merely the shadow of the mountain?

It didn’t amount to anything then–a battle was not the time to be experimenting with shadow jutsu. But some part of her filed it away for later, and in the back of her mind, that thought grew even more perilous:

Isn’t nighttime simply the shadow of the planet?

The problem with being the leader in the field of medicine is that if Konoha can’t heal something then the matter is deemed incurable.

But Shikako’s state isn’t something that can be fixed with the careful application of chakra, can’t be contained with seals, or soothed by the Yamanaka mind arts. It’s not something that should be left alone and monitored from a distance. She shouldn’t be put out to pasture, so to speak, like other Nara who have pushed too far; as much a skittish forest creature as the deer which make up their clan’s livelihood.

No, she deserves better than that. Even if she’s not the same Shikako who believed in Naruto at every step, or guided Sasuke down the right path, or supported her friends when they faltered. Even if she’s not the sister Shikamaru grew up with, she deserves better.

If anyone knows about madness–the kind of insanity that screams and tears and bites away at oneself, the kind of lunacy that waxes with the sun and wanes with the stars, the kind of psychosis that deems other people as unreal and thus insignificant–it’s Gaara.

But the difference between Gaara’s madness and Shikako’s is that Gaara’s was done to him; by his father, by his village, by the demon sealed inside him. Shikako did it to herself.

Nara lose things when they use their shadows, but no Nara has ever become their shadow. And while their legendary founder was thought to control the night itself, no Nara had ever reached so far into the void as to become the night.

Shikako lost herself in that battle; sacrificed herself willingly and dispersed all she was into the dark of the night in order to save the people she loved. Every day, they have to deal with the consequences; every day, they have to watch the shell of her fail to be the person they know.

But every night, she comes back, a little at a time.

It may take months or years or even their entire lifetime for her to be fully restored.

Gaara can wait; the desert endures.


A/N: … T_T what am I doing?! This is what happens when I don’t include Kankurou–shit just gets all sad and despairing.

Sorry @tenderwenders, this is what came out of my head for your prompt. But, um, let’s call this a “bad ending!AU” and, uh, I might try again and hopefully it won’t be so bleak as this one…

I absolutely enjoy your DOS snippets! Here’s a prompt for you, you wonderful creature: Shikako, after a long and brutal battle, can’t absorb her detached shadow self into herself again for some reason, and Gaara is the only one who succeeds in putting her back together. Happy writing!

Yay! 🙂 Dreaming of Sunshine is a fun sandbox to play with, but it’s still nice to hear that other people like what I come up with.

Ooh, okay… hm… this one’s a little trickier, so the turnaround time won’t be anywhere as quick as the anon prompt response. But this is an excellent Dreaming of S(omething) drabble idea, thanks for sending it my way!