Changeling, Shikamaru, The Nara are not like the ninja clans that must pay the Fae in blood, or gold, or a child from their clan: whenever a Nara child is stillborn, the parents are bound to foster a Fae child their place.

A/N: Hm… I kinda want to both brainstorm and write a ficlet for this prompt, because the idea is very lovely (as per usual, dona) but the brainstorm I have is different than the ficlet I want to write?

Like the ficlet is just a straight up narrative prose exploring the idea of some Nara children being changelings and why their clan are the exception, etc. etc. Whereas the brainstorm is a more expansive plotty thing about how having a changeling character would affect the story.

Hm, I guess they’re not necessarily exclusive to each other so let’s do both… ficlet first!

~

To say that the Shodaime Hokage created the forests around what would become the site of Konohagakure is an exaggeration at best and an outright lie at worst.

It’s true that the Hashirama trees are the first type that villagers learn to identify as children–prevalent in most parks and training grounds, a protective ring around the walls–but the forest itself is far older than that; far greater.

Far less human.

///

Yoshino is in labor for a grueling forty six hours–more blood, sweat, and tears than even the worst battle–but she knows it’ll be worth it, prays to every god she can think of that it’ll be worth it.

When finally it’s done, that last exhausting push, she can barely catch her breath, barely stay awake, and yet she claws at consciousness desperately.

Why is there only one baby crying?

///

The Nara clan live close to the earth: their herds and their trees and their shadows upon the ground. They are intelligent, taking their own time and space, and for that they are looked upon fondly.

Most of the time, that’s a good thing.

///

There is a tree, deep within the Nara clan compound, old and gnarled and kept secret.

In that tree, there is a hollow, cleaned monthly but left empty.

Tonight, with Kasuga and Sembei at his back, Shikaku places the small, shrouded bundle inside.

///

It has been a long time since the Nara clan were given a gift from the other side.

An honor and risk, both.

The rest of the village has no idea what they’re in for.

OKAY! So, now it’s brainstorm time.

I made it vague because I wasn’t sure if, because you specified Shikamaru, you wanted him to be the changeling or if you wanted his POV of changeling!Shikako… or, I guess, now that I think of it, if you even wanted DoS? Whoops.

Anyway! The ficlet above would be the prequel basically laying down the groundwork of your prompt for a much larger story. What that story is, I’m not entirely sure…

Actually, I’m thinking something like Danzo has somehow gotten to the other side and that’s where a lot of his ROOT soldiers are from–changeling children that weren’t so blessed to be placed with the Nara clan, which sort of explains the affinity Shikako has with Sai, etc. etc–and the Fae kind of point Shikako in that direction and just, go wild, dispense our wrath…

… but I’m worried I’m focusing too much on Danzo as the big bad. I mean, the Fae could also be GREATLY DISPLEASED with the giant evil bijuu eating statue and that’s another task the whispers in Shikako’s mind point her towards.

I do like the idea that while the Nara are the only ones who get changeling children as a sort of active, deliberate exchange, there are other places (including outside of Konoha) where changeling children appear where there isn’t any established and known protocols for it. And so, like how Naruto has his not-so-secret society of jinchuuriki, Shikako has a slightly-more-secret society of changelings.

Sai is one, definitely. I’m thinking also Juugo? And maaybe Isaribi to incorporate her more into the story… I don’t think there’d be any overlaps in changelings and jinchuuriki (the only exception might be Sora at the Fire Temple who is only a partial jinchuuriki or something like that?)

Hm…

I mean, this would be in Shikamaru’s POV so as to match your prompt and also him as an outsider but close observer of this phenomenon would lend itself well into the whole–changelings LOOK human, but they aren’t, kind of thing. Yes, they’re mostly taught how to interact in a socially acceptable way, but they’re still Other.

Actually, now I wonder if even the bijuu are a little scared of the Fae (and, by association, the changelings) because chakra is a relatively new power in the world. The bijuu aren’t that old in comparison to the Fae. SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT FURTHER 😀

~

Ask Box Event Now Open!

Stars Also Dream- Shikaku. Any differences from DOS!Shikaku?

Hi, dona! You know I love answering your questions ( ˘ ³˘)♥

Unfortunately, I don’t think there’s very much difference between SAD!Shikaku and DoS!Shikaku–given that SAD is as close to a DoS!canon x Star Wars fusion as I could make and so the main difference in the ‘verses is Yoshino’s background… but here’s what I was able to come up with? I hope you enjoy!

~

Yoshino Kinokawa is a civilian born member of the Genin Corps who has made a name for herself based mostly on two facts:

She is best friends with Ibiki Morino, who everyone knows is slated for T&I–if Seki Hijiri’s somewhat concerning and potentially nefarious plans for him come to fruition.

And every mission she is part of goes… weird.

Shikaku hears of her name long before he actually meets her: he’s looking forward to it.

///

It’s traditional, when seeking to court someone, to get approval from their parents.

By the time Shikaku thinks of doing so, war has already ravaged the land: Yoshino is the last Kinokawa.

The fields of their little farm is, in turns, burnt and flooded, pockmarks of explosions and metal shrapnel sticking out of the ground like a cruel parody of the crops that must have once grown here.

Later, after everything, Yoshino goes out to the farm just once.

Shikaku does not ask.

///

He loves Yoshino.

He will live for her and would die for her and has and will continue to kill for her–affection expressed through murder, as most shinobi do.

He loves her, he trusts her…

… but that doesn’t mean he can’t be suspicious, sometimes.

Growing up in a clan is a different experience from growing up in a civilian family, this he knows. But he also knows that Yoshino’s child-rearing methods are far closer to the former than the latter–though, still vastly different from both.

(If Shikaku knew more about the Fire Temple, he would have made the connection easily.)

///

His son and he are very similar, links in the chain of Nara clan heads–smart and practical and devoted–but Shikamaru has Yoshino’s temper, flaring bright and hot in moments before banking down to embers. Not diminished, but held back until needed.

Shikako goes cold, steely and deadly, revenge planned out twelve moves ahead, just like her father.

He is but one man, from a planet who has not even yet discovered space travel, but should this Empire encroach on what is his, he will not hesitate.

~

Check out the Ask Box Author’s Cut event!

stars also dream + headcanon

Hell yeah I’ve got a couple of background headcanons I can send your way, anon. °˖✧◝(⁰▿⁰)◜✧˖°

~

They come down from the sky on a metal ship; just the two of them and their strange armored ninken.

They want to talk to the leader of the planet.

Father laughs, unsurprising. How do they not know that the world is at war–has always been at war? There are no leaders beyond clan heads and whatever shaky holds the daimyo have on the land.

Still, Father lets them stay for a time; the Senju are not called the clan with a thousand skills for nothing.

When an enemy squadron attacks, they defeat them all easily, just the two of them, with their swords made of lightning.

They leave afterwards, say they will send people in the future–to talk when the world has learned peace.

Tobirama learns that peace isn’t weakness–it’s about being strong enough to not need to fight.

///

When you are eight, you are brought in to speak to the lead teaching Jedi, as all members of your clan are. You are asked about your future plans, about what comes after being an initiate.

Every eight year old at the Temple wants to be a Jedi Knight; to be otherwise is considered a failure.

But you don’t think that’s true.

“An Archivist,” you say, because all of your clan mates have no doubt said they want to become padawans and you’re sure the lead teacher is bored of it. And plus, it’s always better to keep your options open; you’ve always been interested in Jedi traditions, and becoming a curator of them would be a contented existence. “There is still wisdom to be had from our history.”

The lead teacher nods, accepting. There is no change in expression on hir face, which you ought to have expected.

You are dismissed and so you go to the Room of a Thousand Fountains, letting the waters calm you.

You don’t become an Archivist.

///

In the Crystal Cave of Ilum’s Jedi Temple, you undergo The Gathering.

Like many padawan before you it is a test of patience, resourcefulness, and resilience.

It is painfully cold.

You don’t let that stop you.

You are searching for the kyber crystal that will be the heart of your lightsaber, there is no rushing it.

And except for the cold, you don’t think it’s such a terrible experience, the cave practically sings to you–the earth and stone more calming than even the waters of the Coruscant fountains.

When you emerge, kyber crystal in hand, Master Bant looks relieved and proud.

Your lightsaber is a comforting deep green.

~

Check out the Ask Box Author’s Cut event!

Fake Fic: Bridge Over Troubled Water – Stars Also Dream

Hm… this has to be an alternate!POV of Stars Also Dream or a prequel of it. Outside!POV of young Jedi!Yoshino, probably back and forth between Bant and Obi-Wan.

I think maybe Bant’s reluctance/pickiness about her padawan has always been a point of contention between her and Obi-Wan. Especially since he almost aged out of padawan-hood, but also because he stepped up and took on Anakin even though he had only just recently become a knight himself.

There are other canonical points of contention in their friendship beside that (Obi-Wan possibly being indirectly responsible for her first master’s death) but I wonder how much Bant knew about the future that was coming.

Did she know that Anakin would lead to the downfall of the Jedi? Did she know that Obi-Wan would be indirectly responsible for an even greater tragedy than just Master Tahl? Did she know that, one day, far in the future Obi-Wan and Yoshino would be two of the last few Jedi in existence? That Obi-Wan would get to see her padawan as an adult, as a knight, as someone who had grown beyond Bant’s own reach while Bant herself only gets Yoshino for a few scant years. How unfair that Obi-Wan and Anakin get over a decade and ruin it for everyone else.

Alternatively, maybe Obi-Wan has visions about Yoshino. And because he can’t comprehend the context–of a Yoshino crash landed on a hidden planet post Order 66 and rise of Darth Vader–all he sees is Bant’s little, sweet faced padawan as an adult covered in blood and without a lightsaber.

Are both Bant and Obi-Wan suspicious of the others’ padawan?

And while Yoshino was starstruck by The Hero With No Fear, I wonder if Anakin might have also gotten Force feelings from Yoshino during their one meeting. She’s not going to be his downfall, but he can’t destroy her.

Which he shrugs off because, first of all, why would he even try to destroy this tiny padawan (ahahaha… haha… goddamnit Anakin), second of all, how could said tiny padawan possibly withstand the full power/ability of Anakin?

Basically, a bunch of criss-crossing suspicions in the not-really-but-kinda Jedi family of Bant and Obi-Wan as siblings and Yoshino and Anakin as cousins.

Bridge Over Troubled Water

Bant stands on the edge of loss, looking down. Anakin takes, uncaring. Obi-Wan suspects the wrong people. And Yoshino doesn’t know yet that she can lose everything.

I don’t know how the timing of Ahsoka as Anakin’s padawan would match up in all this. Then again, she and Yoshino might have been initiates at the same time so… 

For the su!DoS au Sakura would be a Rose Quartz! Y’know, healing and pink hair! Except she came out,,, petite. Oh! How about since Earth is considered so dangerous, homeworld sent the misfits! (For why Sai is there, Danzo wanted an expendable inside agent if he’s homeworld) Or maybe Danzo is the leader of homeworld? Food for thought. Thanks!

I had considered making Sakura a Rose Quartz, but I didn’t want to include canon gem types (although I know that the “Snowflake” Bismuth mentioned is most likely snowflake obsidian).

And I had figured that Morganite might be a close enough equivalent. Like small travel-sized versions of Rose Quartz–how Rubies are the travel-sized soldiers, Morganite is a travel-sized field medic.

Sakura, Sai, and Tenzo are all a little too orderly to be misfits. Especially without the chaotic influence that is the core Team Seven. But they are meant to be scouting team to see if the planet is still a viable Gem Colony–so not exactly a suicide mission, but not gems that aren’t replaceable either.

Danzo is definitely high up in Home World, just like in canon, but he’s not THE leader. There’s either a tetrarchy like in SU canon or Sandaime is leader and Danzo is suspiciously close like in Naruto canon.

Tourmaline–Shikako, that is, because I more and more like the idea that Tenzo is also a Tourmaline (one that can control plant-life) and considering she was probably adopted into the Nara clan not long after she formed she’d think of herself in the human name they gave her–has a very good relationship with the clan.

She definitely has been with them for enough generations to seem synonymous with the clan, but after they were firmly a clan. So in DoS Shikamaru is mentioned to be the sixteenth head of the Nara, so I’m thinking Shikako’s been with the clan for at least ten generations, but less than fifteen.

Living clan heirloom like the deer herds works pretty well for a description. I mean. They literally named her deer girl. Which is very inclusive on their part–considering their clan head naming scheme–but also partially because when Tourmaline first emerged she found herself surrounded by the deer and was like. Well, this clearly my purpose, and for a good week or so she was acting as the deer herd’s protector until the then Nara clan head was. Ah, this weirdly colored humanoid is a deer spirit blessed upon the clan, we will show her kindness and the clan will flourish. And, well, that is what happened.

The reason why Shikamaru is close enough to consider Shikako his sister is a combination of several things: over the generation, Shikako has been more and more embedded into the clan. Deer spirit to clan member to clan elder of sorts etc. etc. She’s become more and more familiar to the clan over time. Shikaku was probably raised to consider her like a cousin that can control earth.

I also think Yoshino had a lot to do with it, too. One she married into the clan she treated Shikako very much like a human. Shikako has probably eaten more since Yoshino married into the clan than she had for the century before. No one really thought to parent Tourmaline before Yoshino–because she’s an immortal rock person, why would they–but she’s still the equivalent of a teenager so it kind of works. And from Yoshino it’s not overbearing, it’s caring.

The third part is that probably Shikako grew more and more experimental in her abilities as time went on and she probably had to retreat into her gemstone. One such instance happened when Shikamaru was pretty young, and instead of doing the traditional thing of leaving Shikako’s gemstone in the Nara clan shrine for her to regenerate, Shikamaru basically declared he was going to protect her and did much the same as when Steven first saw Pearl retreat into her gemstone. It was a formative experience for both of them.

I’m not entirely sure if it’s a direct analog to the Uchiha Massacre, but I do know Sasuke is the last Obsidian (AS FAR AS THEY KNOW, Itachi might exist I’m unsure) and that all the other Obsidians were deliberately left behind to face the wrath of the bijuu who the Home World had left the planet to escape.

Probably it was an Obsidian who “unleashed” the Kyuubi (in that, if the Kyuubi was “sleeping” and the Obsidians had stumbled upon its lair. Which might have been a volcano since… fire and obsidian) and so Home World reacted accordingly?

(I hope it’s okay to prompt more than once!) TITLE: “All distance breathes a final dream of bells” (referencing a line of the e.e. cummings poem “all nearness pauses, while a star can grow”) STORY: Yoshino, Stars Also Dream AU where Obi-Wan dropped by after feeling Jashin, not Gelel.

image

I see everyone is excited about the Land of Hot Springs arc 🙂

I’m putting these three together because I think separately they won’t be very long mostly because they’re AUs/remixes of fic and brainstorms I’ve already done previously. I don’t mean to brush off these prompts–I, too, am all a flutter about the world building SQ’s introduced (GODS! WTF? I’M SO HAPPY AND CONCERNED?!)–but I’m not certain enough to do a full outline of a fic in relation to this topic.

I mean, as an appeasement of sorts, here’s some… spoilers, I guess: I was actually planning on doing a Hail To The Queen installment “she who has divine right” before the Jashin bomb drop (pun not intended) in which each time the Shinigami appeared it ominously looked in the direction of Shikako. Waiting for her to ascend… sort of? And during the Gelel struggle Shinigami might have intervened a little?

But finding out that Shikako is considered a “little god” by Actual Literal Eldritch Horror Jashin kind of just blew that idea away (pun still not intended). Not in a bad way, but that installment is definitely on hold until I can develop more of a sense of how deities work and, as a result, how divine right would also work. Also there are still two more canonical instances of deities that SQ might use so…

ANYWAY! Let’s start with @donapoetrypassion’s prompt:

So in a Stars Also Dream!AU where the Millennium Falcon shows up after the Jashin / Shikako nuke… you know what, this is maybe at most a week after the events of Rogue One? Shikako’s nuke might be the more important thing than the Jashin peering into the tangible world (then again, that’s probably a really creepy sensation in the Force).

Um. Regardless. Whatever vestigial echoes Obi-Wan feels, Yoshino is feeling ON BLAST (pun still not intended) to an exponential degree. And this is definitely worse than the original Gelel eruption because that one was a huge burst of energy but that was positive life energy being returned to the planet (and imbued into her daughter). The nuke was the horrific ritual being co-opted into an explosion as tweaked by the Force/Gelel which probably, especially since it results in basically an entire country being destroyed, doesn’t equal positive energy.

Yoshino was worried about her children being involved in the Gelel eruption before. This time she knows without a doubt that Shikako was there pulling on the Force/Gelel in order to do something that resulted in a country destroyed.

Also, she just gave birth, and no doubt her maternal feelings are on overdrive.

This time, when Obi-Wan comes she is not interested in pursuing this thread from the past. She is not interested in tagging along on his mission to save the princess from the Empire. She has to stay here, has to watch out for her family, has to keep herself and her own safe.

She’s not actively keeping this a secret from Shikaku, but he is, you know, a little worried about the whole nuke and war with Cloud. So it’s still a T&I only project like as in canon SAD, but instead of Yoshino (and Santa-kun) going with Obi-Wan I think maybe… do one of the droids stay behind? No… Does Ibiki have any summon beside that weird jail cell? He must, right? Like some kind of monitoring thing… That as well as a missive from Tsunade’s desk inviting the Rebel Alliance to treat with Konoha.

So a post-Jashin AU of SAD would have Yoshino hands off as far as Episode IV goes. Which is bad news for Obi-Wan–he’s going to die just like in canon–and maybe a younger, less hardened Yoshino would feel bad about that. This AU would be a lot more political, I think, than action/adventure; a lot more fraught and bleak.

Regarding the other two prompts, anon(s?), since I’m not confident enough in my grasp of what deities are like in DoS I’d probably just end up with vague ideas not unlike this suggestion from @wildtabbykat and Stories of Ancient Gods  as well as the rambling Rise-of-the-Guardians-esque brainstorm.

Shikako growing into her godhood. Becoming a god through belief from other people. Outlasting most of the people she loves. etc. etc. but having a fondness for those humans descended from those she once knew.

At some point, when her immortality begins to grate on her (and how ironic that someone whose life involved so much dying is immortal) she probably talks to the Shinigami. At first to get it to kill her finally, but eventually as one does equals…

Yeah. Sorry I couldn’t fill these properly, but hopefully these rants are entertaining enough.

Fake Fic for the girls of DOS ‘Nevertheless, She Persisted”

Nevertheless, She Persisted

There is no easy path to becoming a kunoichi; no open doors or vacant spots.

Or, how every woman creates her place.

So this would, obviously, be character studies for the ladies of DoS (or, even just canon Naruto seeing as how poorly treated they are) and their struggles to become the women and kunoichi that they are.

Unsure if I’d just stick to the Konoha Thirteen ladies or include some of the adults. But seeing as how I’m probably not going to write it anyway, I guess I might as well go into what I’d write for all of them.

So Tsunade, Yoshino, Kurenai, Anko, TenTen, Sakura, Ino, Hinata, Shikako? Maybe not Shikako. DoS is already from her POV and we already see her struggles so…

For Tsunade I’d probably go in depth about how she was the first combat medic. How, when she began studying medicine, everyone was kind of relieved? That the princess would be staying behind and healing in the village. Except, no… this princess wants to go out on the field. This princess wants to be on the front lines. She’s going to punch everything.

I wonder if Mokuton is actually a bloodline or a Hashirama-unique ability. Because if it is a bloodline, then Tsunade not having it would add to the whole–oh no, just stay in the village, you’re not as powerful as your grandfather–and her literally creating a super strength technique is a rebellion against that.

Yoshino… well… I suppose all my feels for Yoshino are in my Stars Also Dream series (never mind that it’s a Star Wars fusion/crossover) though otherwise as a non-clan kunoichi there’d be a lot of overlap with TenTen and Sakura’s stories.

Kurenai… there’s something to be said about a kunoichi who is so completely the typical kunoichi but still becomes a jounin. And, don’t get me wrong, I have a lot of love for women who defy gender norms and this applies to kunoichi as well. But there’s part of me that’s viciously pleased to see a woman excel not despite but through the gender norms. And I suppose this might apply to Shizune, too what with the poisons and barrier seals and all.

The difference between special jounin and jounin doesn’t seem like much, but I imagine for Kurenai it was huge. I have the feeling that she might have fallen into that trap that Shikako side-stepped. Genjutsu was her specialty and so she accepted a promotion to special jounin because of it early on (it explains why she’s only recently become a jounin even though she became a chuunin at fourteen I think?). And then she had to become even more of a master of genjutsu in order to make that leap between ranks. And it may very well have been something that people told her to give up on. Or tried to “help” her by telling her to expand her repertoire–essentially mimic Tsunade and get a combat specific talent to complement her genjutsu–but that’s not who Kurenai is. Of course she can fight, but she’s not going to stray from who she is just for a promotion.

Anko’s would be very much so a post-Orochimaru thing for her. She’s trying to be a good and loyal Konoha soldier but no one fucking trusts her anymore. No one wants her on their team, no one wants her for their mission, for a long time she can’t handle classified information. She can’t do shit. But of course she’s going to still try. Of course she is. If she gives up, if she defects, then that bastard wins. It doesn’t matter what everyone else thinks of her, she’s Anko Mitarashi, certified badass, she doesn’t need anyone else’s approval but her own.

I have a lot of TenTen feels but I don’t know if they’re cliche or not for a TenTen character study. It’s a lot about how she’s clawing her way up. Her pinpoint accuracy isn’t a natural talent, not a bloodline. It’s something she worked hard at. It’s something she suffered calluses for, scrapes and cuts and nicks. TenTen was running errands for the blacksmith and learning about different alloys alongside furtive, hesitant attempts to memorize flower types and their meanings. The girls were taught calligraphy to better go undercover and blend in with nobility, but TenTen forced herself to choke it down because it would help with fuinjutsu. She’s not good at the typical feminine arts, no matter how much she tries she’ll never be the next Tsunade, but she can be the first TenTen.

DoS Sakura is definitely different from canon Sakura so a character study of her would be different, too. But it’s still hard to shake the Tsunade parallels–I mean, they exist in DoS still as well so–especially since she’s a medic in training who wants to one day be a field medic and is learning a super strength technique to do so.

DoS Ino I would do post Sasuke Retrieval arc because I have a feeling that her being so adamant about Shikamaru not quitting as a shinobi might be a parallel to him doing the same for her. I think, maybe, Inoichi and the other Yamanaka clan members probably meant well? When they said she didn’t have to be a shinobi anymore. That she could retire. That after such a traumatic experience, it’d be understandable. And she was, maybe, considering it. If Orochimaru was influencing her, he’d want her to get stronger. Want her to insinuate herself even further into Konoha. Turn her into a sleeper cell. Retiring would mean she’s not a risk to her village. But retiring would also mean giving up, giving in, and she won’t let Team Ten go on without her.

Aaaand Hinata… it’s gotta be about her clan. Her awful, terrible clan. Man they’re the worst. THE WOOOOOORST. I mean… do I even need to write what this would be about? This is basically canon Hinata’s character arc (or what isn’t built around Naruto, anyway).

I guess I could add Shizune and Yakumo… but I don’t really know enough about either of them?

above the abyss: what it means to be a nara (from the pov of our new baby kinokawa? older maybe)

Ooh… Baby Kino Fic… I am both delighted and wary by this one, anon. He’s literally a newborn so we don’t know anything about him and I don’t want to presume what Silver Queen will do with him.

Then again, given the timeline of canon, baby Kino will only be at most four years old when the final Big Bad clash happens so it’s not exactly as if he’ll have a definitive personality by that point anyway so I could predict anything and it probably won’t contradict much.

Let’s see…

Above the Abyss

Kinokawa Nara grows up in the shadow of shadows, knowing his place in the world.

(Or, five times someone was wrong about Kinokawa and one time they were absolutely right)

The problem is, I just said five and one because that’s fandom standard but I don’t actually know what the five and one are. It just felt like the right format for this? I mean, a character study for a literal newborn kind of needs some support via formatting.

Here are some vague ideas that I have for this fic:

1) Much like his older siblings, Kinokawa is a very intelligent baby. Shikako possibly suspects too much like her and too intelligent–as in, also reincarnated from the real world. Shikako makes some very oblique references to canon to see if Kino reacts in any way. After several failures to respond, Shikako abandons the idea. Kino’s unusual maturity isn’t because he’s a reincarnated SI!OC–he’s just a super chill, very intelligent baby.  

2) Kinokawa spends a lot of time meditating? He is the most patient child? Calmest child, wisest child, Shikaku has no idea what’s going on. But he knows better than to presume what said child wants to do so he’s kinda like… Kino, did you want to go to the Fire Temple instead of the Academy? Because, I don’t know, maybe his third child wants to be a monk–Shikaku refuses to be surprised at this point. Thankfully(?) Kino is quite satisfied with going to the Academy, so… (One day he will be the equivalent of Kasuga-jiisan, I think. The wise old mystic with complete understanding of the spiritual side of the Nara clan jutsu. But that is several decades in the future)

3) According to @jickysilver, Kino is a precursor for Shikadai in that he’s a Nara boy with pretty eyes (and probably has fangirls). Said fangirls originally assume that he’s dark and mysterious and broody, a tortured soul who needs love to cure his inner sorrow. He is not that at all. Kino is the softest and sweetest child, he probably makes flower crowns with Ino-nee at the shop.  Or he gets free pastries from the Akimichi bakeries for doing easy errands for them. He is so gentle with animals, he probably talks to stray cats–Tora actively seeks him out. So soft. If anything, the truth increases the number of fangirls he has.

4) Shikamaru spends the entirety of Kino’s last year at the Academy overly paranoid that he’ll follow in their sister’s footsteps and end up on a team with awful luck and constant danger. It’s not helped much that there aren’t any Yamanaka or Akimichi in his class? (There’s a set of Akimichi triplets at the Academy but they’re in the year below and the next upcoming Yamanaka is only a second year, damn it). But come team assignments, Kino’s put on Team Six** with a Nohara and a Kurama under Shizune-san and Shikamaru will never admit that he cried tears of relief.

5) @jickysilver made the fantastic suggestion that the day Kino graduates from the Academy, six of the paperwork nin retired. They just couldn’t do it. Oh, they respect the Jounin Commander, but they cannot go through this a third time. Sure, Shikamaru isn’t nowhere near as bad as Shikako and the rest of Team Seven, but still. Their nerves are already frayed. They need hazard pay at this point. But, weirdly enough, not only does Kino not end up on disastrously bizarre missions he turns in fantastic reports. Just. The best reports. Bless this child. He turns them in on time, with everything filled out perfectly and not a coffee circle or grass stain in sight. (Possibly ends up joining the administrative team at least on a part time basis when he becomes a chuunin a la Iruka-sensei, and enjoys it. He finds paperwork soothing. The rest of the paperwork ninja chant one of us, one of us, while bringing him under their easily frazzled wings. His siblings do not understand at all but support whatever makes him happy).

+1) on the day of Kinokawa Nara’s birth, once all the visitors have gone home and only mother and child remain in the hospital room, Yoshino tells the newborn, “You’re going to make us so proud.”

… oh… I guess that’s five and one.

Yeah?

(**My headcanon for the Academy’s team designations/numbering system can be found here, but basically Team Six is the “general support” team unlike the heavy hitters that make up Team Seven. So relatively safer for one’s baby brother’s genin team.)

Flip To The Last Page, 3/? (2017-02-01)

‘Don’t do that,’ Shikako thinks at him pointedly even as he climbs over the fence to where the fawns are held.

‘Don’t do what,’ Shikamaru thinks back at her, tinged with denial and guilt and envy over her being allowed to sleep in.

‘I’m not sleeping in today because I want to,’ Shikako shoots back at him along with, ‘Don’t scheme against me. You’re supposed to be on my side’

Shikako coughs, lungs rattling and nerves zinging, both overflowing with chakra. Mum presses a hand to her cheek, careful and gentle and afraid.

“It’s okay, sweetie,” she says, “Breathe with me, Shikako. Breathe with Mummy.”

This is one of the worst attacks she’s had in a while, but at least it’s not bad enough to send her to the hospital.

Yet.

‘You don’t have to go to the Academy,’ Shikamaru thinks at her, mutinous, lining up the bottles of formula for the fawns who need nutritional support, ‘You don’t have to be a shinobi.’

‘You forgot a sixth bottle,’ she thinks, even as she tries to take deep breaths alongside Mum, ‘Dad said there was a late birth yesterday.’

In the deer pen, Shikamaru’s breathing syncs up with hers. He pulls out another bottle.

Mum relaxes, presses a kiss to Shikako’s forehead and pulls the blankets up to her chin, “There we go. Sleep well, Shikako.”

‘You’ll be in danger,’ one of them thinks, as Shikako’s eyes flutter closed and Shikamaru starts feeding the first fawn, ‘Why won’t you let me protect you?’

Dreaming is strange for them. Well, stranger than dreaming already is. Stranger than what Shikako thinks she remembers.

Shikamaru has never dreamed without her.

He claws his way out of a deep, oppressive miasma of hatred, red on the back of his eyelids. He doesn’t remember this night from his own point of view, but Shikako’s memory of it might as well be crystal.

The village around him is warped. Caught between a hyperreal reflection of what he’s experienced–every pebble and crack in the road standing out–and the bright cartoony visions that come from his sister, everything flat and jarring.

“Shikako,” he calls out, looking behind him. Tonight his shadow is just a shadow, dark and unsmiling.

It used to be that Shikako would be there, looking back up at him. Or a blurry presence more heard and felt than seen.

Now, more often than not, her inner self matches her physical self.

“Over here,” she calls back, a flashing image of the Academy building.

Not always, though, he sees. Tonight she is more amorphous than not, unfamiliar height but familiar colors. A vague adult version of herself, perhaps.

“I am an adult,” she says from in front of a lone wooden swing.

“I’m not,” he says, waiting.

Between one thought and the next, a boy appears in the swing. Blonde and pouting and important.

Tomorrow is the first day of Academy–for the both of them, a matter long argued and only recently settled.

They’re meeting Naruto for the first time tomorrow.

Change is inevitable.

~

A/N: Thanks for reading, @flyingisthewaytotravel 😀

While I do think it’s in character for Shikamaru to want to keep Shikako out of the Academy, I don’t see how he would be able to go around her without her knowing and resenting him for it. And, as far as he knows, her going to the Academy doesn’t necessarily mean she’ll end up on a team or anything–she might end up a paperwork nin due to her chakra hypersensitivity. (Won’t he be unpleasantly surprised.)

Walking Around (On Silent Feet), (2017-01-19)

Sakako wakes up to the soft slide of her bedroom window opening in the middle of the night. She keeps her breathing slow, steady, but reaches out with her still developing chakra sense.

No point in giving herself away, though given the lack of alarms and the unbroken defenses…

Just as a hand reaches for her, Sakako springs from her bed.

“Mum!” she cheers, hands around her neck, hugging her tight.

“Shh, shh,” Mum hisses, but she returns the embrace, easily handling her weight as if she were still a baby. After a moment, she sits on the bed, Sakako in her lap, adjusting the both of them comfortably, “Not so loud, dear heart, we wouldn’t want to wake up your dad.”

Sakako bites back the question–why not?–and luxuriates in the scent and warmth of her mum. The way she runs a hand through unbraided hair, maintains contact, close and cozy.

Dad hugs like he’s trying an unfamiliar jutsu, cautious and methodical. Mum hugs like she’s trying to speak without words.

Right now, Mum’s hug says–I missed you, your hair has gotten longer, how are you dear heart–this is a moment for just the two of them.

“I’m home,” Mum says out loud, simply, as if she had just come back from getting groceries instead of having returned a week ahead of schedule from a three month long mission.

Sakako doesn’t need to ask why for that either–the reason is obvious.

“Welcome home,” Sakako mumbles into Mum’s shoulder, feeling absurdly bashful yet pleased.

“Happy Birthday, Sakako.”

There are wolves in the woods.

A phrase meant to indicate that there are dangerous people far more suited and equipped to handle an already treacherous world.

But Sakako has grown up in the heart Fire Country’s forests. Has walked the streets of Konoha alongside creatures that both evolution and humanity has trained into tearing out throats with long, sharp teeth.

She’s not afraid of wolves or the woods, metaphorical or literal.

Bull, older and grayer, but no less formidable, gives her a fond, wet lick up the side of her face. She laughs and pets him in return, before leaving his side to go to the kunoichi club.

She only wipes off some of Bull’s drool.

After all, not every girl gets a personal escort from one of the Rokudaime’s summons.

Sakako’s on watch–the unenviable second shift–when she hears the rustling of one of her teammates.

Boruto had first watch, no need for him to already be moving, and despite his behavior Konohamari-sensei is actually a jounin and not a large man-child.

Mitsuki it is, then.

In the waxing moonlight, it’s easy to spot him, pale hair and skin illuminated. She gives a soft whistle so he can find her in the branches above their camp.

An effortless jump and he joins her, the pupils in his gold eyes nearly round with how dilated they are.

“Couldn’t sleep?” she murmurs, shifting over to make space.

“My optimal sleep time is less than yours,” he says. Because I’m genetically superior, he doesn’t add.

It took a couple of weeks for them to get him to stop saying that.

As far as she and Boruto are supposed to know, Mitsuki is a clanless orphan who is convinced he has superior genes but is nonetheless a fan of their parents and their heritage.

She’s sure Konohamaru-sensei knows the truth of his origins or, at the very least, her parents and Naruto-oji do, but she’s not going to pry.

“What are you looking at?” Mitsuki asks, after the silence has settled. She wonders what he used to do before they became a team, who he turned to after he had finished sleeping but night still reigned.

How lonely.

“The stars,” she says with a shrug, because it’s true enough. She can spot some of the constellations through the canopy of leaves overhead, the brightest and most persistent.

Mitsuki glances overhead as well, before turning to her skeptically, “We don’t need to navigate,” he says, “What’s so interesting about that?”

She almost snaps at him, instinctively affronted, before she bites it back. She loves stargazing because its something she links to her relationship with her parents–the love they share along with stories and memories in the middle of the night.

Who did Mitsuki talk to before they became a team?

Instead of snapping, she begins to speak in the familiar cadence of her mum. “There are stories,” she starts, gesturing overhead, “of the heroes and mythical creatures so great and terrible that they were painted in the night sky as constellations…”

The mornings after she sleeps at her grandparents’ house tend to follow this pattern:

At dawn she’s woken up by a brightly grinning and demanding Baa-chan, who drags both her and Kareru-nii (when he’s in village) to the backyard for morning stretches.

After several missteps of sleepy bumbling and Kareru-nii’s complaints of him being too old for this–citing his official age instead of his physical age–which Baa-chan counters easily enough, they’re joined by Jii-chan who sits on the veranda and watches them with a far too amused smile on his face.

When they’ve finished the stretches, they all go to kitchen to begin preparing breakfast. Though a few minutes of cramped quarters and the problem of too many chefs prompts Baa-chan to kick Sakako and Jii-chan outside to feed the deer.

She and Jii-chan then go out to where the herds have gathered, expectant. Sometimes they talk–about her team, the missions she goes on, the braver deer who eat straight out of her hands–but sometimes they don’t.

These mornings aren’t really silent, but they’re steady and settled. She likes these moments, too.

~

A/N: … I dunno, I had some Sakako feels? Not really a prompt fill, though I did want to make a point of including Mitsuki and Kareru since they haven’t shown up much in previous installments.