The Queen’s Council brainstorm/review response (2016-06-21)

Oh, wow, that’s a lot of questions. I guess the easiest (and arguably most important) to answer would be the matter of the Nara clan regarding one of their own being the Hokage.

And right off the bat I can say, very surprised. Because here’s the thing. The Nara clan are all very intelligent. That, almost more than their shadow jutsu, is what they’re known for. But they’re also known for being really unambitious. Like–they excel in their chosen fields despite their laziness.

The position of Jounin Commander? It’s not actually a hereditary one–it just looks like it, because for the past three generations (if not more) the most qualified person to wrangle elite jounin and deploy Konoha’s troops strategically has happened to be a Nara. Specifically, the Nara who has been groomed to lead people as a matter of birth (as opposed to the other members of the clan who are more than happy to fall into place). Head of the Nara Clan and Jounin Commander has become conflated over the years, but they’re not actually the same.

Additionally, the Nara aren’t a Noble clan or particularly prestigious. As I said previously, their three most distinctive qualities are their intelligence, laziness, and their shadow jutsu–which isn’t even a blood limit. Technically, anyone can do shadow jutsu, it just takes a non-Nara way more chakra to do it.

So it’s my personal belief that the Akimichi (as one of Konoha’s four Noble clans) were, in the Warring Clans Era, the liege clan to the Yamanaka and Nara vassals. I forget where exactly I’ve read this, but likely it’s something like–the Akimichi owned the land while the Nara tended their herds and the Yamanaka their agriculture. And, you know, that evolved over time–servants becoming allies becoming friends–but there’s still a hint of hierarchy?

Basically, no one ever expected a Hokage to come from the Ino-Shika-Cho clans–and even if they did, money probably would have been on an Akimichi. Simply because, given that the Hokage must be the strongest shinobi in the village (or, at the very least, have a strong enough battle presence that they can do the position justice) of the three clans the Akimichi are the ones who are heavy hitters (pun not intended).

It’s only lately (Shikaku, passing on variant techniques to his children) that the Nara shadow jutsu have become more than just paralyze/control. And it’s been stated that most Nara focus and specialize on the shadow jutsu as opposed to branching out.

I mean, obviously, Shikako is unique to the Nara clan–having other skills to fall back on. In fact, the shadow jutsu aren’t even her main staple in battle. But as a whole, the Nara clan isn’t what anyone in Konoha would call… legendary.

So, yes, the Nara clan is very surprised to see one of their own wearing the hat. But given in this iteration (she who ousts the traitor) it was because of her outmaneuvering Danzo (or, at least, turning the clans against Danzo via politics) that, at least, is a very Nara way to become Hokage.

As for the matter of reinstating Uzu–that is, granting the Uzumaki “clan” a seat in the senate, well… she basically guilted everyone into voting unanimously, so there some mixed feelings. Not all good.

This is how I think everyone voted originally (before the guilt tripping) and why:

Senju: yes – seeing as how the Senju is a clan of one and that one is Tsunade who very obviously has a soft spot for Naruto and, you know, is herself an Uzumaki descendant. I don’t see why she would vote any other way.

Uchiha: yes – again, similar to Tsunade, except with Sasuke. And given he is also a twelve/thirteen year old head of a clan of one, he doesn’t see why Naruto shouldn’t also get the full (boring) benefits of having a seat in the senate.

Hyuuga: no – they very clearly value their hierarchy and wouldn’t really approved of one such person being elevated above their status. And it’s not even really anything against Naruto personally–because Minato was well-respected as Hokage and Kushina a very powerful shinobi in her own right–but there’s a difference between strength and nobility (as a social class)

Aburame: no – again, not out of anything personal, mostly just that they don’t really see why Sasuke has a vote and don’t think that should also be extended to Naruto. They’re okay with Tsunade, even the is also a clan of one, because they’re a matriarchal society and also Tsunade is an adult and one of the legendary Sannin at that. Like… arguably her decisions would have the weight of experience and maturity, whereas two teenaged boys who don’t speak on behalf of anyone besides themselves (they are clans of one) shouldn’t be given so much power.

Inuzuka: maybe? – this one I’m kind of unsure about because, on the one hand, they don’t see anything wrong with Naruto/the Uzumaki clan having what arguably should be his. Inuzuka loyalty and all that. But on the other hand, it might seem like a puppy being told to go make his own pack or go be a lone wolf. Is he prepared? Probably not.

Akimichi: surprisingly, no – this one is more in line with the puppy going off on his own. Naruto just isn’t ready. Akimichi are really big on PROTECT THE CHILDREN. They’d probably suggest something like… have a rank cap or something–once he hits jounin, then he can get the seat. (Even though Sasuke already has one and he’s teeechnically still a genin, too. And, you know, the Hokage also).

Nara: probably? – they’re still mostly bewildered at having one of their own be Hokage and implementing such radical changes in the government that they kinda just go along with whatever she wants.

Yamanaka: it depends – even if the clan head (and, thus, the senate seat holder) isn’t Inoichi, I feel like the Yamanaka would be able to tell where this proposal is going to go. Like… if a Nara knows what an enemy is going to do three steps ahead in battle, a Yamanaka probably knows what someone is going to argue even before the subject is brought up. Obviously, the Hokage has proposed giving the Uzumaki clan a seat for a reason. And given she’s the Hokage because she was able to convince the clans that Danzo was scum of the earth, it’s not hard to predict that she’ll be able to convince them to do this thing. So… probably yes, just because they’re too intuitive not to know what Shikako wants.

And then all the guilt tripping changes the votes of the Hyuuga, Aburame, (and Inuzuka, maybe), and Akimichi (though, really, their original no wasn’t all that firm of one anyway). Hiashi probably maintains some degree of begrudging disgruntlement (ahahaha, surprise you asshole, Naruto’s going to be your son-in-law, probably) but he’s already given in once and Shikako is definitely going to use this as a foothold to give other people seats in the senate.

The Aburame clan matriarch is kinda… well, if she’s Shibi’s mother (as I theorized in the original Hail To The Queen chapter) then she’s probably old enough to have had been a active shinobi before Uzushio fell. She would have had friends from Uzu, probably including Uzumaki, and given how old Mito was? She probably remembers her and how much she did for the village, even after her husband (and children? like…. what happened to Tsunade’s parents and uncles/aunts?) died. The Uzumaki isn’t much now, but maybe they will be, and so they say yes more out of a desire to honor the past and welcome the future than for Naruto himself. The Aburame are both detail-oriented AND big-picture people.

In the future, Shikako does go about adding more clans to the senate (though, no more one-people clans; sorry, Kakashi). And, eventually, a way to represent non-clan shinobi (maybe by job description? Or geographic population? I’m not sure). This particular Shikako wants her reign to be as transparent and non-dictatorial as possible.

Hail To The Queen: Or, Some Ways Shikako Never Became The Hokage, 2/? (2016-04-19)


(two: she who ousts the traitor)

The three things any Konoha nin fears: an angry Aburame, a focused Inuzuka, and a motivated Nara. She may not be an Aburame or an Inuzuka, but she is plenty angry and focused, which maybe makes her a Nara to be triply feared.

She wakes up from the Tsukuyomi changed, yes. Traumatized? Definitely. Older and wiser? Perhaps. But mostly? She wakes up furious. It’s a driving, righteous anger that pushes her in a single direction: destroy those who have done this to her, who have violated her like this, who have twisted her home into something where an entire clan being killed is even considered much less enacted.

There are four people on that list, but three of them are in different countries entirely and S-rank Uchiha, besides. Danzo may be S-rank, too, may have the benefit of multiple stolen Sharingan and Mokuton cells and decades of experience fighting in wars, but his ultimate power is not in battle–it’s in politics.

Shikako has medical leave until she fully recovers from the Tsukuyomi, but she does not spend that time idly resting.

There is only one Uchiha in Konoha and as of his graduation from the Academy, he is a full-fledge adult, meaning Sasuke is technically the head of the Uchiha clan. For all that it is a clan of one, it is still one of Konoha’s founding clans and that means something.

“Sasuke,” she says, hand curled tight around his wrist. He doesn’t shake it away, though he probably could. Just like she doesn’t hiss at him ‘you owe me,’ “I need you to trust me,” she says instead.

“Of course I trust you,” he replies, unheedingly, but it will have to be enough.

“There is something rotten in Konoha,” she says, “And it is something that we have to get rid of before Tsunade-sama becomes the Hokage.”

“What is it?” He asks, on edge, as if enemies will spring out of nowhere to attack them both.

Shikako shakes her head, “I can’t tell you yet, but I need you to trust me,” she repeats.

Sasuke stares at her for a moment, the silence stretching taught and dangerous. “I trust you,” he doesn’t know the truth, she can’t tell him yet, but when he answers this time he really means it.

Convincing her father to believe her is far less difficult than stopping Shikamaru from trying to get involved.

Where one of the alliance goes, the other two clans follow. Inoichi and Chouza stand by her father not only because they’ve done so for most of their lives, but also because they know what she says about Danzo is true.

Ino is curious, but willing to watch and wait; Chouji is silently, patiently supportive.

This is the easy part.

She doesn’t know much about the Aburame clan–being friendly but not that close with Shino–but if anyone can understand the dangers of Danzo it would be them. Shibi lost a son to the man, and that is something no clan should ever forgive.

Shibi may not be clan head or even heir to the Aburame matriarch, but he is still her son and his daughter her heiress.

After a serious but amicable discussion, Shikako knows that she can depend on the Aburame.

There are no Inuzuka in ROOT because Danzo knows better than to poach recruits from the clan whose top two virtues are loyalty and honesty.

That’s good. It makes Tsume all the more appreciative of Shikako’s candor.

Although members of the Aburame, Inuzuka, and Hyuuga are frequently put together on teams, the clans themselves don’t have the same relationship to each other as the Ino-Shika-Cho do. It doesn’t matter if Shikako has convinced both the Aburame and Inuzuka matriarchs to her side, Hiashi Hyuuga is not beholden to an alliance that doesn’t exist.

The Hyuuga clan is the last amongst the Noble Clans that she has yet to talk to, and the most powerful besides. They are not as numerous as the Akimichi, but the Byakugan is the last true bloodline of Konoha given the Sharingan’s scarcity.

Perhaps that’s what she needs to play on. For if Danzo had wiped out the Uchiha for their Sharingan, what’s to say he won’t eventually turn on the other clan with a doujutsu. And she knows how strongly the Hyuuga feels about bloodline theft.

It’s an outrageous claim, or it would be if it weren’t both true and provable. No Hyuuga has ever had reason to activate their Byakugan near Danzo–but cloth and bandages are hardly barriers to their sight.

Multiple eyes in one arm and a face growing out of the other? Regardless of Danzo’s lack of intentions toward the Hyuuga clan, no such abomination should be allowed to exist.

There is only one Senju in Konoha and as of her return to Konoha, she is the best candidate for Godaime. But that does not make her Hokage yet and before that, for all that it is a clan of one, she is still technically the head of the Senju clan. Both roles are important in this situation.

“Tsunade-sama,” she says, bowing as much and as respectfully as she can from her seat in the chair. Tsunade has commandeered an examination room with attached office as her own from the Konoha Hospital, her base of operations for overhauling the entire healthcare system as she waits for her coronation.

Shikako pauses, uncertain. Not of her knowledge, or her quest, but in how best to phrase this to the woman. She’s glad that privacy seals are a matter of practice in such rooms as these, to protect medic-patient confidentiality.

“What is it girl? Spit it out. I know it’s not to do with that Tsukuyomi, gods know you haven’t been resting as ordered,” Tsunade says impatiently. If she doesn’t appreciate even that minor amount of subterfuge Shikako used to get an appointment with her then half of Shikako’s work has been done for her–she’ll hate what Danzo’s been up to.

“No, this isn’t about the Tsukuyomi. And, no, I haven’t been resting as ordered,” Shikako agrees because the end is in sight and that’s how she feels–agreeable, “This is about the future of Konoha.”

Shikako watches, satisfied, as the clans of Konoha band together and rip every trace of Danzo out from the village. Most members of ROOT have been imprisoned–to be rehabilitated back into the general forces if possible, or into society if not–and both the hospital and T&I (who do an awful lot less torture than their name would imply) have their work cut out for them. The Council members, those who had been under Danzo’s Mangekyo Sharingan thrall for years are highly encouraged to retire from their positions as advisors.

As for Danzo? He is utterly destroyed: Executed. His wealth used towards his primary victims, the brainwashed members of ROOT. And his reputation now and forever tarnished as the toxic, delusional sociopath he really was.

It doesn’t make everything right–not with three rogue S-class Uchiha on the loose in the world–but it is enough to make her rage abate.

This is the kind of Konoha she wants to live in. This is the kind of Konoha she wants Tsunade and, one day, Naruto to inherit.

Yes, she is satisfied.

Except that’s not how it goes.

Oh, the utter destruction of Danzo and his legacy happened, of course. But it’s not Tsunade who inherits the village, and it’s not Naruto either.

The first time all of the clans of Konoha banded together to do something, the village was created following Hashirama Senju’s lead, and so he became Shodaime.

It only makes sense that the second time has similar results.


A/N: I don’t actually know if Shino is clan heir… But I guess my brain figured they’d probably style their clan after insect colonies? So even if Shibi is the son of the Aburame matriarch I figured he wouldn’t be the next head after her since it’s a matrilineal role but if Shibi were her only son then Chiyako, as her granddaughter, would be next in line? So he and Shino are still, you know, an obvious part of that line.

Also… Danzo is the worst. THE WORST!

The Queen’s Council, (2016-04-20)

There’s a cacophony of voices, not against Naruto, per se–for most of these people do understand that to be the jinchuuriki is a sacrifice, that he is providing a valuable service–but because the Uzumaki becoming an official clan of Konoha will decrease their own power. This is a new branch of government, one that they are unfamiliar with, but beginning to figure out. If each clan head gets a vote, then more clans mean each individual vote counts for less.

But Shikako is Hokage still, and she will not stand for this selfishness, never mind this injustice.

“Kakashi-sensei,” she directs to the man constantly by her side, ever so worried about one of his precious students becoming the Hokage. The last time someone he cared about was the Hokage, they ended up dead not long afterwards.

The Copy Cat Nin stands at attention.

“Turn around,” she says, there is steel in her voice, fire in her eyes. A shinobi turning their back on multiple angry shinobi? It is not a small thing to ask; but this is not a request, it is an order.

Kakashi turns around.

The clan heads don’t understand, confused as to why she would do such a thing. Is it just an expression of her power? To show off that she can order an elite jounin to do something against his instincts?

“What is on the back of the Konoha flak jacket?” Shikako asks the clan heads, the way Iruka would ask his children what are kunai.

Tsunade, understanding, laughs, “That’s the symbol of Uzushio, my grandmother’s country.”

Some of the clan heads look ashamed, but others do not–the lives of ninja are short, but their memories even shorter, and that is a sad thing indeed.

Shikako stands, and it is not her height that impresses, but rather the movement of it. The implication of it; she will not sit idly when there is work to be done. She speaks:

“We wear the Konoha leaf when we become genin, but the Uzushio spiral when we become chuunin. We carry the legacy of our lost ally on our backs the moment we are deemed strong enough to deserve it.

I do not yet have that honor, but there is another way we can amend our disgraceful erasure of them in our history.

Do they not deserve to finally regain their voice?”

When the Godaime Hokage calls again for a vote on the matter of instating the Uzumaki as an official clan of Konoha–thereby giving the clan head a seat on the senate–the results are unanimous.

Naruto spends the entirety of the next senate session fidgeting in his seat, but he takes his duty seriously.


A/N: Just a tiny spin off. I kinda wanted to address the whole “being Hokage is Naruto’s dream, and yet I didn’t even mention him in the ficlet at all” but I kind of sidestepped it again. I mean, not entirely but… that’s some mighty fine footwork.

Uh, so, probably how it works: Shikako can’t straight up make Konoha no longer a military dictatorship but she does want it to be less opaque. So no more tiny councils of three people making decisions for the entire village. Whenever the Hokage wants to make a new law/change the senators get to vote on it. They don’t get to introduce any laws/changes yet (but maybe the next Hokage will make such a proposal…). Also, Shikako is trying to figure out how to go about adding representative(s) for non-clan shinobi.

It’s two in the morning, I should probably be sleeping…