“Our existence is a horror story told from the monsters perspective”

Ode to 11010201 AU ficlet (2018-11-12)

A/N: Continues from here.

“We destroy that which threatens our existence,” the stranger says, after she pulls Zim and, belatedly, Kevin to their feet. She is far more reluctant in healing Kevin, or perhaps the curse had dug itself into him more thoroughly, the uprooting all the more hollowing for it, because he hardly speaks on their long trudge back to Doc Kaiza’s clinic.

“What does that have to do with–”

“But that’s so subjective, don’t you think, octant?” the stranger interrupts Zim, easily guiding them through the trees towards civilization, almost familiar with the forest trails, though he’s sure he’s never seen her in town before. “Our existence as in our lives or our lifestyles? Threatens as in physical danger or mental stress or even financial threat? All this subjectivity, and yet never do we interpret destroy as anything but kill.”

Zim doesn’t understand, stays nearly as quiet as Kevin whose arm is warm and pliant over his shoulders, footsteps stumbling in Zim’s own.

The stranger looks at him, at them–Zim and Kevin, stumbling and covered in dirt and leaves–with a smile on her face. “You nearly killed yourself today, octant. Over some normal human.”

At those words, Zim can feel irritation flare, his grip on Kevin tightening, protective. “Kevin’s not just some normal human, he’s my best friend! I had to save him. I had to!”

Her smile grows wider, “He has no magic. He’s as normal a human can get,” she says, “But I’m not criticizing you, octant. It’s good that you went so far to save him. It’s good that you found a way to purge the curse without killing your friend…”

His temper cools, though he still keeps his grip on Kevin’s arm steady.

“It’s good that my sister raised you away from the clan,” she concludes, before shrugging and walking ahead, trees giving way to the roads on the outskirts of town, ignoring the informational bomb she dropped behind her.

“Y-your sister?” Zim asks with barely concealed hope, rushing to catch up to her and dragging Kevin along with him.

The stranger–or, perhaps something, someone else–glances back at him before turning ahead once more. If there is emotion in her voice, he can’t hear it, but maybe there is something to be read in the line of her shoulders, her stance, her pace. “Yes,” the stranger says, a sigh and a pause, “Your mother.”

~

A/N: Very belated and very short response to what might be a misinterpretation of your prompt, @wildtabbykat. Sorry!

But I am going to try to get back to writing because goodness knows I’ve not been in practice. I did write a script for the Bindlestiff’s Valentine’s show, but I’ve not heard anything back so it’s likely it wasn’t chosen. Which is… disappointing but not surprising as I didn’t really think it was my best work anyway :/

Anyway, I STILL have three remaining prompts from the ask box things you said event (which has been going on for LITERAL MONTHS) which I will hopefully fill and then do a different ask box event or soooomething so as to get that good good writing exercise.

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i read that actress shikako fic and i got this incredible time travel/reincarnation vib, except unlike how it’s usually sone, instead of someone close to her, kankuro was the one to come with/rememeber

That would be absolutely hilarious and simultaneously poignant.

I absolutely love Shikako and Kankurou’s friendship because it’s very low stakes but not shallow. They are actually fond of each other for no deeper reason than they just like each other’s personalities–Shikako doesn’t have to worry about if she’s influencing him too much (or not enough) and as far as Kankurou knows she’s weird because that’s just how she is and not she’s different from how she was as a child, why are you changing, what secrets are you keeping.

But I went into that here, no use rehashing it.

The idea of actress!Shikako and Kazekage!Kankurou traveling back in time from their bleak future to their less bleak but more dangerous past would sort of test that seemingly shallow friendship. They went through hell together and sort of drifted apart less by choice and more by circumstance. Would they have been united in their grief? Does that no longer apply since the situation that brought said grief about has been unwritten (and could easily be prevented entirely)? Will they actively ignore that bleak future or will it be something they share and acknowledge so as not to make the same mistakes?

I dunno, wildtabbykat, it’s a pretty cool AU of an AU of an AU.

yeah i definitely meant that sai wasn’t just /saying/ it, but that he was speaking in, like, coded language. ‘perfectly innocuous’. it’s the subtext that’s important. it’d take a second for her to realize just /what/ he was saying then she’d be not quite sure it was /really/ what he was saying or if she was just imagining things because ‘he can’t really mean- but what if-‘. also dona mentioned this on recursive and discussion has begun! o/

I understood the coded/innocuous statement, but considering how dangerous Danzo is/was it just seems like something Sai wouldn’t talk about at all outside of, like, a specially warded room.

Then again, I guess if it’s to reassure one of the tiny!would-have-been-ROOT-agents that the evil man won’t take them away then I could kind of see that? And if Sai is an Academy teacher, Shikako could very well be there.

Like, if it’s lunch time at the Academy, and one of the tiny!would-have-been-ROOT-agents starts panicking and Sai is there to comfort them and Shikako happens to be in earshot. But by that point the fact that tiny!would-have-been-ROOT-agents are fellow students at the Academy would already give away that Danzo has been taken out? Then again, except for Sai it’s not like tiny!Shikako would recognize a child who would-have-been-a-ROOT-agent.

okay so i was thinking about the Point of No Return, and the suggestion that yoshino just didnt have twins in that one, and i just can’t help but rebel from that idea. because for them that would mean that the reailty they’re changing isn’t really ‘theirs’ it’s a mostly-similar-but-still-different one. (which they would know for certain if it was somethign that happened before they arrived) So i was thinking about it, trying it make a scenrio where it really is just linear time travel.

(2/6) and i liked that option where they come back to interfere with the kyuubi attack. so they show up and sakura sees to kushina, who is not doing that great but will live through the night. meanwhile sai helps to harry tobi, which can either go the way of him still escaping or the Surprise Extras provide enough of a momentary distraction that minato gets enough of an upper hand to knock him out. (and seal his chakra, beacuse it would be foolish not to)

(3/6) i was thinking that maybe the future they came from didn’t get as far as the four war stuff. what actaully happpened was that danzo took over somehow and things got really really bad really fast. so what happens is that in the first few years sakura and sai help to thoroughly deal with everything danzo realated. meanwhile tiny!shikako calms down from her panic about being in naruto because it obviously not naruto-naruto since the fourth is still around.

(4/6) and then once the uprooting has been preety much finished (as much as they can, the rest will take time) sai indulging in a bit of sentimentality (which is encouraged for him now, they’re working on it) and when he comes across the nara in, idk the market, he hangs around and talks to, air? sakura?, saying things that are perfect innocuous and have absolutly no secret meaning whatsoever no sire(about how they took down danzo and things are better now, or they will be, or theyll never get

(5/6) the chance to be bad) and tiny!shikako cant stop herself from turning around and staring right at him, wide eyed.

(6/6) then maybe some stuff happens, shikako has people who safe to tell all the things /she/ knows to and they work on doing what they can to fix that stuff. and shikako gets to grow up without this huge terrifying pressure on her. they’re still shinobi, bad things still happen (like gelel, because this needs to be a constant- maybe nobody could find it until they had a shikako guide towards the music?) but the big bads have either been (mostly) dealt with or are works in progress (akatsuki -nagato-)

Yeah, I think I prefer it being a linear time travel instead of a diagonal time and dimension travel because then there wouldn’t really be any point for them to go back in time and make changes (it would just be them running away). It does seem weird for them to end up in a world without Shikako–because then at that point it would be like… why is (non)existence of the Jounin Commander’s daughter so important? If everything else is the same then why not this?

I don’t think Sai and Sakura would be so careless as to talk about the uprooting of Danzo out in the open–or, rather, their role in it given I doubt the uprooting of Danzo could be so completely hidden–especially if there’s the possibility that Danzo has contingencies in place to avenge himself, but I do think a tiny!Shikako would make the obvious connection of older!Sai and older!Sakura existing and the changes in her knowledge.

She would have to be the one to approach them because as far as they know, she’s perfectly normal Shikako and not Shikako-who-knows-a-version-of-the-future (which is normal Shikako). Although I think, given how cautious she is in the earlier chapters of canon DoS, she wouldn’t do so just yet.

I think after the Danzo Uprooting, Sai and Sakura would be on a destroy oppression kick and would be after the Hyuuga clan next–or, at least, stopping the Cloud kidnapping Hinata thing so that Hiashi and Hizashi can deal with their issues and get on that themselves–which is maybe when Shikako first learns about the existence of older!Sai and older!Sakura tangentially through her father but she’s not entirely sure yet.

(older!Sakura, being a loyal Team Anko member, does work on helping out her teammates much sooner as well, while Sai gets to be the proud guardian of two dozen would-have-been-ROOT-agents including his “brother” Shin)

She definitely does not make contact until after Academy, though. Whether that’s because A) there’s a sudden increase in new students because the would-have-been-ROOT-agents have been added to the school as a new class and one of them is tiny!Sai who Shikako knows DEFINITELY wasn’t here before in her memories or B) the Uchiha massacre never happens because not only has the uprooting already happened but also Kushina and Mikoto have always been best friends and it’s hard to alienate an entire clan for the murder of the Yondaime Hokage and his wife if both of them are still alive and also close friends with that clan.

What I’m saying is, Shikako probably doesn’t approach them until maybe RIGHT before she needs their help (and maybe even then, not really) so it’s a lot of older!Sai and older!Sakura trying to chase her down and help her, damn it, we’re the adults, you’re the child, we’re supposed to help you. Stop running towards that obviously dangerous situation, small child, why do you have exploding tags?!

I quite like the idea of Sai becoming an Academy teacher (they’ll need another one, after all, with the influx of would-have-been-ROOT-agents students) and then Sakura becoming a jounin sensei–but not for her younger!self because she’s already made it so that Team Anko is a thing from the beginning–but maybe for younger!Sai and… uh… other people. Ami would be a perfect match, I think–or, at least, my headcanon version of Ami.

… I think I’ve gotten off track… but I really appreciate reading your thoughts about Point of No Return, wildtabbykat, so thanks! 😀

~

Check out the Ask Box Advent Calendar!

do you know about homestuck? since it’s 4/13 right now (with no upd8, but a new update from dos!!) it got me thinking what if the rookie nine/konoha 12 (13..?) played it in an au. i’ve got a lot more going on in my head (like whether the jounins would be their ancestors and other countries as trolls) but i wouldn’t want to get over my head if you didn’t know it. the story is really reknown for its world building and i feel like a dos (a worldbuilding oriented story too) au would fit this!!

Sorry, I don’t know much about Homestuck, but congrats on its… birthday? Anniversary?

@wildtabbykat actually sent an ask in previously about a DoSxHomestuck crossover/fusion thing which you can check out over here

Maybe the two of you can collaborate on such a crossover/fusion?

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

image

Monster Smiles (blood in my teeth)

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

The foundation of Konoha’s strength is child soldiers.

And some children are stronger than others.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hm… who else would I want to do…

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

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