Who do you think would handle knowing the original timeline’s future best, not just in DoS, but in your other works, too? I say original timeline in large part because surely even someone who wouldn’t want to would still find themselves making changes, right?

I’m going to assume you mean Naruto canon when you say original timeline, because otherwise to go through all of my fandoms would be O_O

I think there’s a difference in handling the knowledge in an internal/emotional way vs handling the knowledge in an external/make-changes kind of way. The first largely depends on how a person finds out–whether it’s something that, in the case of DoS, Shikako tells them or, somehow they find out from, like, a vision from beyond or a canon character dimension travelling and exposition dumping from there–whereas the second depends on their resources (whether they even have the ability to make changes on a significant scale) and personality (whether they would even want to.

Like, I’ve mentioned previously that Shino would make a good confidante for Shikako, not because he would particularly make a lot of changes, but because he would, if not believe Shikako immediately, then at the very least accept the knowledge with a certain level of proof (which is easy enough considering the Aburame’s history with Danzo.) So he’d be the first type of “handling” the knowledge of canon.

All that being said… I kinda want to do both for all of them mostly because this prompt would help me further conceptualize characters in a way I hadn’t considered before. So, both Emotional Handling and Influential Handling for DoS, Externality, (In)Difference, and Counterpoise? Hm, if there’s another series you’re interesting in, lionhead, just let me know and I can add that later.

Dreaming of Sunshine:

Emotional Handling – I’m going to stick with Shino for this one, actually. Regardless of if he finds out from Shikako or from some other means. Second place I would say Ibiki, but I’m reluctant to do even that much because of my own fanon that Ibiki and Yoshino are BFFs so he probably would be second hand messed up by the changes of Yoshino’s family composition.

Influential Handling – I don’t know if there is a singular person I would say is best for this, but the ones I’m thinking of all have a certain… flavor to them. In no particular order: Iruka, Ibiki, Aoba, and Shizune. And the thing they all have in common is that they have influence within the village but not the combat prowess to handle S-rank nin by themselves. So they would have to make changes with a softer touch. Would Iruka emotionally handle canon knowledge well? NO WAY. But he is in the position to not only influence Naruto (and other former students) directly but also to affect administrative decisions. Also, Danzo would never think of Iruka as a threat.

Ibiki, Aoba, and Shizune would probably handle the knowledge with better grace than Iruka, but they don’t have that direct connection with the kids that Iruka does. And this could be a positive and a negative, but they’re all also better than Iruka combat wise so they may be tempted to make changes in person which may cause them to bite off more than they can chew.


So the thing about Externality is that even I haven’t decided whether or not Tetsuki knows about canon, or how–was Naruto a manga in the KHR world or can she perceive the canon version of the world in her dreams?–so I’m going to exclude her for now.

Emotional Handling – Weirdly enough, I think Naruto would handle it best. Not because he would use it, but because he would be galvanized into doing better. Whether that means keeping Sasuke in Konoha or being a better teammate to Tetsuki and Komadori or making sure to protect the people he couldn’t save in canon. Although, I suppose it depends on WHEN he gets the knowledge. Like, if he gets it before the canon graduation time, then it’s unprovable and basically a really weird dream to him–why would he be on a team without Tetsuki and Komadori?–but if its after canon graduation time, that is, after a genin-for-a-year Naruto gets put on a team with recent graduates Sasuke and Sakura, then he might take it as a challenge.

Influential Handling – Ibiki, Aoba, and Shizune for the same reasons as in DoS–since Externality is in a similar vein of OC–but instead of Iruka, since he isn’t the teacher for Testuki, Komadori, and Team Gai’s year, I would add Anko to the list.

Specifically after Tetsuki has joined Intel/T&I. Well, I mean, Anko knowing about Orochimaru’s future movements is already pretty good influence-wise (although, I’m concerned that Konoha would be “concerned” about how she got that information) but if it’s after Tetsuki has joined Intel/T&I and become Anko’s kouhai then Anko will know that she can use Tetsuki to act on her behalf as well as passing Orochimaru’s future movements along to Ibiki and such.

And I guess, for similar reasons, Tsunade would be good but only after she’s already become Hokage. Because her hands are tied as far as throwing down directly with Akatsuki since she has a damn village to run, but she’ll know that Tetsuki is a piece on the board that she can use in a myriad of ways.


Since Kiyoshi definitely knows about canon and is trying her utmost to not get involved during her first decade and a half, then doing an abrupt 180 and getting overly involved in specific people’s lives, I’m going to exclude her.

This probably won’t make much sense given I haven’t actually written enough of (In)Difference to have a firm timeline and, unlike Externality and Counterpoise, it doesn’t follow the usual stations of canon. Which brings up the main point: except for a few flashback type situations, most of canon happens decades in the future. Any changes, even minute, will have massive consequences. Additionally, in a way, it’s harder to prove but easier to stomach so… hm… let’s see…

Emotional Handling – When they’re younger, genin/chuunin age or so, Orochimaru would handle it best. Not because he really believes Kiyoshi (if it is, indeed, coming from Kiyoshi) but because on the unlikely chance that it is true then he is still capable of course-correcting. Also, if he was, as I suspect, Nawaki’s jounin-sensei (or captain, if we’re going with wartime terminology) then being able to prevent his death–which Kiyoshi somehow does–will help a lot in keeping him sane and not completely evil.

Team White Fang would also handle it okay but only as a team. I don’t know why I feel certain about this, but, I dunno, they’re 2/3 my characters so there.

Influential Handling – Actually, all of the above wouldn’t be too bad in terms of influencing things. Orochimaru, obviously, just has to not be a complete sociopath and never work with Danzo (or, even, just kill Danzo outright) and already he’ll make the future a better place. And Team White Fang is either A) Sakumo, father of Kakashi who is in line to affect ALL the things or B+C) a shape-shifter and genjutsu mistress. So, not too hard to make changes. But I think the BEST person to make changes might be Nawaki.

Because just him being alive would mean so much in terms of Senju presence. And even if he doesn’t have Wood Release (but which I’ve written that he does so…) what his continued existence means for Tsunade and Kushina personally (who can then influence Naruto directly or not). Or what his continued existence might mean for the Uchiha clan… I suppose it’s more a potential of influence than actual influence, I guess.


Konran definitely doesn’t know about canon. Immediately I know she would emotionally handle it the worst, because basically it’s a world in which her twin brother isn’t even a twin or a brother. Here comes an existential crisis. Because she’d emotionally handle it the worst, I’d be reluctant to predict how she’d handle it influentially. Obviously she’s in position to influence Naruto most directly, but will she want to? Will she do so in a positive way? I don’t know.

Emotional Handling – Zakuro. Hands down. I considered Ringo, because of the two Ringo is the “calmer” one, but then I realized: he’s a medic. He’s a taijutsu using medic. He’s as pacifistic and selfless as a shinobi can be. If he did believe the canon knowledge, however he got it, he would view all the deaths in canon and try his best to prevent them and only destroy himself.

Zakuro, in contrast, is a genjutsu and trap specialist. He knows that perception is more important than reality and for all his brash personality, he can be patient. Traps don’t always get sprung–it’s about preparing for possibilities, not getting directly involved. Zakuro wouldn’t lose himself to the knowledge. He’d take it, absorb it, learn from it, adapt.

The only hitch in this is that he wouldn’t want to keep the knowledge a secret from his teammates, but given their personalities, he would have to. So it’s not the knowledge itself that he would have trouble handling.

But to be clear, Zakuro is ony best at emotional handling. He’s not really in a position to make significant enough changes, for all that he has the mindset to do it.

Influential Handling – … the three people who I think could best utilize the knowledge and make changes are also the three people (besides Konran and Naruto) who would emotionally handle the knowledge poorly. Ringo is one of them–because for all he is the same rank as Zakuro, he does have sort of bonds with both Obito, though he doesn’t really know it, and Kakashi, and if he can figure out how to leverage said bonds he can mitigate a lot of suffering on their and everyone’s parts.

The other two are Kakashi and Jiraiya. The reason why I didn’t bring them up in previous series is because the nature of canon vs Counterpoise is a missing Uzumaki child. Minato’s child. And yes, it’s true, that shouldn’t be such a big deal seeing as how they they ignored Naruto in canon. But I wonder how much of that was the Sandaime’s terribad “don’t discuss the Kyuubi even though everyone and their monkey summons know about it” and how much of that was the village plausibly denying Naruto’s heritage.

So DoS brings up how Naruto could have been named Uzumaki because of his jinchuuriki status not because he’s actually related to Kushina. Additionally I’ve read somewhere that some people thought Naruto took Minato’s appearance because the Kyuubi was being deliberately cruel and kitsune are all about shapeshifting (which is why Naruto’s specialty before kage bushin is henge). And also, while I don’t know how canonical this is, there’s the idea floating around that Minato and Kushina kept the pregnancy a secret so enemy villages couldn’t find out and such. So, like, the village could have just been handwaving the obvious connections between Naruto and his parents. And because Kakashi and Jiraiya don’t get involved with him, there’s nothing to contradict that.

But Konran doesn’t have the Kyuubi. Konran has bright red hair and goes by the name Uzumaki. Konran is so undeniably Kushina’s child that there is no handwaving this away. It’s for this reason that I’m kind of playing around with the idea that the Cloud ambassador tried to kidnap Konran in addition to/instead of Hinata (which also explains why Konran becomes so desperate to keep her hair hidden when she’s a genin).

Anyway. That incident and the lack of plausible deniability means that Kakashi and Jiraiya kind of have to get involved and canon knowledge would only help them if they would get off their asses and do something. Don’t get me wrong, love the characters. But they are capable of making great change, they just need a massive shove to do so.


A/N: Uh… that got long and rant-y towards the end. Hopefully this was what you were looking for, lionheadbookends, and if not feel free to send another ask my way 🙂

Ask Box Advent Calendar is now open!

Character Statistics: Counterpoise, Team Five



Kiri Chuunin Exam


Konoha Chuunin Exam













A/N: Here is Team Five aka the “Retrieval” Team from my series Counterpoise.

In this series, my main OC Konran takes the Academy graduation exam two years early (because Naruto has somehow canonically failed the graduation exam three times but is still in the same class as his agemates?) and somehow barely passes. She, along with two other OCs–Ringo Nohara and Zakuro Yuuhi–become a genin team under the jounin Riichi who is a minor canon character that I have co-opted as my own and tweaked slightly (or, rather, conflated with a different unnamed minor canon character) to give a cool backstory.

They end up taking the first Chuunin Exam which, because it’s two years earlier than canon, is not in Konoha but in Mist (I’m unsure about how much of a disaster Mist infrastructure was before Mei took over, but I imagine it’d be a HUGE faux pas if any of the big five shinobi villages passed up their year to host the exam. The smaller villages can get away with doing so, which is probably how Akatsuki stayed under the radar as leaders of Rain for so long, or rather it’s not as much of a surprise if they pass it up, but one of the big five? That’d just be embarrassing).

The Konoha Chuunin Exam is just a really good marker of time–since it’s not as if their team has changed Orochimaru and Sand’s plans, so the invasion is still on–and then ambiguous Shippuden point in time just to round it out.

Counterpoise Remix (2017-03-20)

Your first night in Konoha, you do not cry.

Still, you sit up and clutch at your face, desperately trying to stay quiet, so keenly aware of how close your bedroom is to that of the Namikazes’ and how thin the walls.

Despite having had a largely nomadic lifestyle, you are overcome with homesickness.

Iruka normally finds the hour before classes soothing. The warm sunlight streaming through the windows, preparing for the day’s lessons, and appreciating the calm before the storm that is a day of teaching preteens how to be soldiers.

Normally, he’s fond of the time before classes begin. Now the silence is dragging, suspenseful and ominous, and he both dreads and hopes for the clock to move faster.

The Uzumaki princess will be joining his class today.

He’s not starstruck or anything like that–almost half of his class are the clan heirs or seconds–one of his students is the Hokage’s son!

He has long since gotten used to instructing the children of the elite. It’s hard to be intimidated by their family name when you remember them as six year olds with snot running down their noses.

Which might explain why he’s nervous about the Uzumaki princess, though he knows that only contributes part of the reason.

His grandmother had been from Uzushio.

His dad frequently reminisces about childhood visits to Uzushio, family reunions dozens of members strong. Iruka would have grown up the same, had the islands not fallen before he was born. As it is, all he has are the stories that his parents pass down to this day.

Uzumaki Konran is princess of an intangible kingdom–memories and legacies–which makes her all the more intimidating.

On the back of every Konoha flak jacket is a spiral the same bright red of Uzumaki hair, an oath of alliance given form.

This is not a coincidence.

Konran’s first morning in Konoha went as thus:

Following silently, uncertainly, in the trail of the Hokage’s son. Watching the villagers turn to him, like flowers to the sun, smiling and calling out greetings that he easily returns: he grew up surrounded by so many people, loved; the village steeped with his presence, familiar places as much part of him as his very body.

This is his home, and she is a stranger.

At the Academy–and how strange, such formal education; she learned around a campfire, the road was her classroom–Naruto’s friends call him over. At first, he goes toward them, but his steps falter, he hesitates and looks back at her.

Her, the intruder in his life.

She waves him off, perhaps more dismissive than she intends, and steels herself. Umino-sensei has her introduce herself, she struggles to match the stares of thirty different faces. They have known each other for years, have developed friendships and histories all without her. She finds an empty seat close to the window.

An outsider looking in.

Uzumaki Konran meets Nohara Ringo and Yuuhi Zakuro entirely by accident. Hatake Kakashi meets her deliberately.

Her decision after graduation shouldn’t have been a surprise to any party involved.

And yet.

Dear reader, know this:

There is no fate, there are no soulmates, no guarantees or warrantees; but in this vast, infinite universe there may be something that ties us together.

Something like resonance.

I did not love her at first sight, nor second, nor third. I did not even like her immediately; though that is not to say that I disliked her immediately, either. She was interesting, and fascination became fondness became affection.

Once I loved her, I could not stop.


A/N: Okay, that should be it by now… thanks for being patient and humoring me, everyone 🙂

Counterpoise drabble (2015-10-22)

Zakuro is the fastest on their team. So it’s unsurprising that, after the explosion, he’s the first by her side–slowly helping her sit up from where she had been thrown.  

“You idiot,” Zakuro says, half fond, half worried, before smacking the back of Konran’s head. The blow is cushioned by three layers of cloth and hair so she hardly feels a thing, not that it was terribly strong anyway.

Konran coughs in response, a puff of thick, dark smoke leaving her mouth. Her face and the front of her jacket is likewise covered in soot, making her grin a bright sickle of white in contrast. She tries to talk, but only succeeds in agitating her lungs–she coughs again.

“Stop it,” Ringo admonishes, before gently laying a chakra covered hand on her chest. The first time he had hesitated and Zakuro had nearly turned purple with laughter, the implications obvious even if she hadn’t hit puberty yet. But they’ve been a team for years, and even if her chest isn’t as flat is it once was, Ringo’s her medic.

That strange contradictory sensation of cold warmth seeps into her skin, her muscles, her ribs, her lungs, repairing the damage she’s done to herself.

“Now exhale,” he orders, and she obeys, pleased to find her breathing restored.

“Thanks,” she says, as they both absently reach a hand out to Zakuro, who easily pulls them off the ground. She looks down to check over the state of her jacket and frowns, “I don’t think this one’s salvageable.” Even if she washed it, there would still be stains in the fabric–where it isn’t completely incinerated, anyway–and the zipper teeth are fused together.

“Sweet. Can I have it?” Zakuro says, because he’s kind of an jerk, “I’ve been meaning to make some kind of dummy trap, and I was considering using some of my stuff, but if that’s wrecked then I might as well use it,” he explains, because at least he’s a productive jerk.

Ringo punches his arm anyway, which leads to a short scuffle between the two boys. “We should head to my place,” he suggests, casually, as if he didn’t have Zakuro in a headlock, "I got some more clothes for you,“ he adds with a shrug.

For some reason, Ringo occasionally receives girl’s clothing as gifts. Which he then re-gifts to Konran because, well, he doesn’t want it and she’s always up for getting free stuff.

As they head towards the unofficial Nohara clan neighborhood, Konran chattering away about how she’s sure next time the one-touch barrier seal will work, Zakuro suddenly stops. Turns around. Stares at an innocuous looking patch of road. Then reaches out and shatters an area genjutsu so strong it makes his two teammates shut their eyes lest they become nauseated by the chakra backlash.

When they open their eyes, they see what Zakuro uncovered. There’s a hatch in the road.


A/N: Yup. I have no idea where this is leading, or if it leads anywhere at all. Is it an ANBU tunnel? A ROOT tunnel? An abandoned Senju secret base filled with cool stuff?

I dunno.

Shout out to @cheloneuniverse who sort of reminded me about this series by liking all of the previous installments.

Untitled Counterpoise x Leverage drabble (2015-08-28)

Connie is dressed up in her spoiled, barely an adult, heiress persona–with freaking Eliot Spencer as her supposed bodyguard–when she spots a bright shock of messy blonde hair out of the corner of her eye.

“Oh fucking shit,” she curses, turning towards goddamn Eliot Spencer, so her face is hidden from what she is pretty sure is her twin brother and his mentor.

“What is it?” Eliot Spencer, what the hell, asks. If he weren’t constantly on alert, Connie would say he went on alert, but as it is his awareness just heightens instead. He moves in closer to her but doesn’t crowd her, which is greatly appreciated.

“Connie,” Ringo prompts over the comm line, when she continues to curse instead of answering, “What’s wrong?”

“Noah’s here,” she says between gritted teeth, because this sucks. This entire con might fail because her cover will be blown and it’ll be her fault.

“Who’s Noah?” Parker asks, skilled enough to simultaneously indulge her curiosity and break into the penthouse suite of a seventy story tall building.

“My brother,” she admits, hiding her grimace behind her flute of champagne. This is embarrassing and unprofessional.

“Noah? The only Noah on the guest list is…” Alec Hardison says, no doubt pulling it up on his computer in the surveillance van to check, “A Noah Gunderson, junior partner at Stuart and Hathaway law firm.”

“We have different last names,” Connie explains, and she feels stupid because this is something she should have checked before.

“Ooh, that’s him alright,” Zachary hisses through his teeth so as not to bring attention to himself as a waiter talking to thin air, no doubt spotting Noah himself, “I didn’t know he made junior partner, though, congrats to him.”

“Just last month,” Ringo says cheerfully, unhelpfully, “I sent a fruit basket with all of our names on it. God knows he needs the vitamins.”

“Ugh, you assholes can congratulate him in person when he finally spots me and kills this whole op,” Connie mutters.

“Hey, it ain’t over yet,” Eliot Spencer, oh my god, says reassuringly, and she doesn’t even flinch away when he puts a hand on her shoulder. She’s ruined the con and she’s freaking out? So embarrassing and unprofessional.

“He’s right; we can fix this,” Zachary says, grifter mind already flipping through options and strategizing. “You haven’t made contact with the mark yet, and the only person you’ve introduced yourself to as Leona is the VP and she’s already left the party. Get rid of Spencer’s tie, undo the top two buttons of his shirt, and loop your arm through his.”

“Oh god, this is why Noah hates us,” Ringo moans, easily catching on to the plan.

She follows Zachary’s instructions quickly, huddled in close so it’s not too obvious that she’s partially undressing someone in the middle of a formal party. With a casual movement, she drops the tie to the ground and kicks it beneath a table unseen, before turning around and linking her arm through his. In less than five seconds Connie turns from billionaire heiress to high class escort. Just in time, too.

“Connie?!” Her brother shrieks, the epitome of subtlety and class. Mr. Hathaway, Noah’s mentor, turns to look–and probably regrets it, what with the way his face twists at the sight of her. He’s always been extremely awkward around her.

“Well now, darling,” Eliot Spencer, she’s too busy to come up with more epithets, drawls–catching on and playing up his Texan accent–loud enough for her approaching brother to hear, “I thought your name was Rachel.”

“It is,” Connie says, insistent, as if she really were an escort under a pseudonym whose real name had just been shouted across the room, “He must be mistaking me for someone else,” and this time she glares at Noah, as if she really were angry at him for blowing her cover. Which she is, just not this cover.

“Oh,” Noah says dumbly, obviously, before unconvincingly adding, “I don’t know you at all! Sorry about that, you just looked like someone… oh, shrimp puffs!” He says, spotting a tray being carried over by a waitress, “Aren’t shrimp puffs great?”

Zachary and Ringo both sigh, out of relief and exasperation.

“I see acting skills do not run in the family,” Alec Hardison remarks dryly.

No they do not, Connie thinks as she watches her brother awkwardly try to chaperone what he thinks is his sister hired as an escort for some rich pervert. She is so sorry, Eliot Spencer.

A/N: Not an immediate continuation, but it is related to this drabble. Which would probably help make sense of the above drabble. And, again, this is me adapting my OCs from Counterpoise into Leverage.

Gotta get some stuff out of my system.

Untitled Counterpoise x Leverage drabble (2015-08-17)

The phone rings.

Connie, being the closest to the phone, immediately crumples up a piece of paper and chucks it at Zachary’s head in the strange hopes that maybe he’ll pick it up instead.

He is not amused, lobs the paper ball back at her, and goes back to his cup of tea.

The phone rings again.

Connie hisses, head swiveling around to try and find Ringo to pass the responsibility onto him. He is nowhere to be seen.

The phone rings for a third time.

She has no choice. She has to answer it.

“Leverage Incorporated, this is Connie speaking,” she says, voice light and even.

“This is Alec Hardiso–”

She hangs up.

“What the hell, Connie?” Zachary asks, having watched the entire production, “Was it telemarketers?”

“Nooo,” she stretches out the word, quickly backing away from the phone.

This time, when the phone rings again, Zachary is closest. Which means he has to be the one to answer.

It rings.

“Damn it, Connie, that doesn’t count!”

And rings.

“Those are the rules!”

And rings.

“You obviously had it first, you can’t just hang up and run away!”

And rings.

“I panicked!”


“Leverage Inc,” Ringo says, having apparently appeared while the two of them were shouting at each other. Amazed, Zachary and Connie stop yelling at each other, to watch Ringo handle the call maturely.

“Yes, I understand. No, that is within our capabilities. Thank you, I will make sure she knows that. Okay then, we look forward to seeing you in person. Goodbye.”

Once the call has ended, Ringo takes a deep breath, the screeches, “It was the original Leverage team!” ruining the cool persona he had built in the last thirty seconds.

There is a reason the three of them are friends.

“No, fuck you, no way!” Zachary says, clambering over the back of the couch to stand next to Ringo and the phone.

“See?” Connie shrieks back, vindicated.

Ringo nods in complete agreement.

“No, no, no! Fuck you guys, you’re totally playing me!”

“It was Alec Hardison,” Ringo says, not even blinking an eye as Connie, their resident hacker, temporarily swoons, “Their team has a target who owns a vacation house in the city, they wanted our permission to operate here. And asked if we would be willing to help out.”

“Oh my god, hell yeah!” Zachary agrees raucously.

“And he says that Connie’s work on the Oceanus security system was impressive,” he reports dutifully.

Connie’s breathing somehow grows higher in pitch.

“Wait a sec,” Zachary says, cutting into their collective fannish admiration.


“Are they coming here?” He asks, looking around unimpressed. The base of operations for their particular branch of Leverage is a small warehouse with a bathroom and a tiny walled office area. It is strewn with wires, various weapons, a worrying amount of empty pizza boxes and take out containers, and one corner has three dressers bulging alarmingly full of costumes.

They have work to do.


A/N: So this is just a random scene from a fic I’m not going to write which is basically me adapting the Counterpoise team into the Leverage world. I seriously am not going to continue this, I just needed to get this written down because it was bugging me.

So in this Westernized form of them Zakuro is Zachary, Ringo is still Ringo, but Konran goes by Connie because her real name is Conrad. As said before, Connie is the hacker, Zakuro is the grifter/grease-man, and Ringo is the enforcer. Though they do all have skills in each area.

[I will get back to Descendants fic tomorrow. I’m sorry, everyone, I just totally blanked.]

Counterpoise drabble (2015-07-30)

This is our legacy, Zakuro thinks, as he watches Riichi-sensei’s indolent composure break to scream at his genin teammates. Anko-senpai and Satsuma-san do not hesitate to scream back.

“This is your fucking Exam, Anko, how do you not know when that bastard sneaks in as one of the contestants. He fucking spoke to you!”

“Don’t push this on me, Satsuma’s the one whose entire genin squad was a sleeper cell of his spies. They might as well have had Sound headbands on, you four-eyed idiot!”

“Riichi’s band of perfect little soldiers could hardly keep their covers through the preliminaries. Talk about not knowing your team–you didn’t even know what your student’s hair color is!”

“You have no right to talk about my team when they’re just cleaning up after the massive steaming pile of shit you call your squad!”

Back and forth the shouting goes, flinging insults and blame and accusations at each other. Yet no one actually says the name which started it all.


Konran, no longer quite as short as she used to be, yet still small enough to fit comfortably under Ringo’s chin–due to their own growth spurts–is huddled there. Her hood and bandana are in tatters, revealing the bright red mess that remains of a once neatly pinned up braid. Ringo, arms still shaking from nerve poison, tries to comfort her as best he can.

We don’t have to end up like them, Zakuro hopes, watching the adults tear open old wounds just to make each other hurt.

He joins his teammates, wrapping around them as best he can, as if so long as they were hidden they would be safe. He removes the shredded headband from Konran forehead, surprised it had stayed on even that long, and replaces it with his own, clumsily tying it in her preferred bandana style. For Ringo, he gently pulls his arms down, rubbing at biceps and forearms, in an attempt to massage away the pain.

It’s still obvious her hair is red, and Ringo’s the medic, not him, so he has no idea what he’s doing, but he tries. He wants to help.

They don’t say anything, both still in shock in their own ways, but Konran grabs the fabric of his shirt and pulls him even closer, and Ringo’s face presses into the curve of his neck and shoulder. Zakuro doesn’t ignore the spots of dampness, but he doesn’t say anything.

Every so often, Ringo gets gifts. It’s just… something that happens; has been happening since he was born and his parents decided to name him Ringo after his late aunt.

His father says they’re from Hatake Kakashi who, despite being an elite jounin, is kind of socially stupid. It’s survivor’s guilt, his father explains, because he was on a team with your aunt.

His mother contradicts: It’ll take a lot more than trinkets to make up for what he–

And that’s when father shushes her, at least when he can sense Ringo. Which, so far, has been every time.

But he can guess what mother was going to say. It’s… well… not public record, necessarily, but next of kin do get more details on cause of death, if not quite the full story. And, well, it’s hard to hide medical records from an entire clan of medic nin.

So, yeah, gifts. And despite what mother says they’re not really what he would call trinkets. Ringo gets a lot of really nice gear–top of the line mesh and weapons and the higher grade soldier pills. Not exactly out of his family’s pay range, but if he didn’t already get it for free, he’d probably end up buying the cheaper stuff for himself.

He also occasionally does get stuff that he would consider trinkets. Little pots of medicinal plants, books and scrolls, non-perishable food, and once, a particularly shiny and colorful rock. Small, inconsequential things, closer to annoying than useful, but he keeps everything regardless.

But… to be honest? He doesn’t think it’s just one gift giver. Ringo can tell which ones come from Hatake Kakashi–they usually follow after the occasions when he senses the familiar electric-bright shock of chakra on the roof opposite his bedroom. They tend to be… pointed, if not practical. If he tears one of his favorite shirts, a new, similar one will be given to him within the week. If he stares too long at the bookstore’s display for the next installment of Tokuina Bubun, then a brand new copy will end up on his windowsill.

But… some of them are really random. He doesn’t use senbon, but occasionally he’ll receive some. He doesn’t use elemental ninjutsu either, but D through B rank water and fire jutsu scrolls fill up his bookshelves. He wonders why water and fire, specifically, but he wonders why ninjutsu scrolls in general so… Or even, occasionally, girl’s clothing. Which is weird and which is the only stuff he doesn’t keep–unless sharing snacks counts as giving away. He passes those onto Konran who takes it with both confusion and aplomb.

So, yeah, possibly two gift givers. He’s not going to say anything, because this has literally been going on his entire life and there’s no need to make it an issue now all of a sudden. But he is curious. And… okay, maybe a little concerned?

Because if one of the gift givers is Hatake Kakashi who does it out of survivor’s guilt (or atonement)… then who is the second and for what reason are they doing it?


A/N: Oh god, I’m so sorry. I said I wasn’t going to do this series, but apparently I’m just a big liar face. So here’s some more Counterpoise! Featuring Zakuro and Ringo this time because, you know what? This series is about more than just Naruto’s twin sister, it’s her story and that includes the people that are important to her.

Aaaand, yes, I am implying that Obito is being a little creepy and giving Ringo gifts he would give to Rin if she were alive. Hahahaha. Are they courting gifts? Are they apology gifts? Who knows?

Well, I suppose Kakashi is also being a little creepy too.

And I firmly believe that Ringo will never refer to Kakashi with anything other than his full name. Always.

Counterpoise drabble (2015-07-29)

“Okay kids, we’ve got a dead courtier, a missing will, and a highly coveted treaure. Lay it on me,” Riichi-sensei says, head propped lazily in his hand. The four of them are seated in one of the booths of Aomori Teahouse, their usual mission planning spot, each with a cup of chrysanthemum tea steaming in front of them.

Ringo, having lost the daily tussle to avoid sitting next to sensei, goes first. “Incompetent rival,” he suggests with a half-hearted shrug, knowing that first suggestions hardly ever win. By dint of both having less time to think and not being able to compare to other plans.

Konran goes next, “Vengeful servant?” she says, eyes flicking carefully toward their waitress, then the tea pot. It’s a fair possibility, noblemen tend to be entitled assholes, and a servant would only be willing to put up with so much.

Zakuro grins, leaning forward eagerly, because he knows he’s got this one in the bag. “Lost heir,” he says triumphantly, preening as his teammates nod in support.

Riichi-sensei, taking it all in, throws back his tea as if it were sake, and slams the cup back onto the table with a loud thud. “It’s decided. We’ll do the lost heir.”

For reasons which Riichi-sensei refuses to share, Konran has to be the heir. Or, rather, heiress.

“And, anyway, these two can pass off as bodyguards. You, kid? Not so much,” Sensei says, patting the top of her head heavily as if to emphasize the nearly twenty centimeters of height difference between her and her teammates.

For now they’re keeping their identities a secret from everyone but their client, which means face make-up to cover Ringo’s tattoos, colored contacts to darken Zakuro’s irises, and–

“A wig,” Konran demands, quietly but firmly. Her hood is down, which is pretty rare, but even after four months of being a team, they have yet to see her without her bandana.

“It’s just a minor role for a B-rank, kid,” says Riichi-sensei, brow furrowed; he doesn’t understand the reticence.

“If she doesn’t want to, she shouldn’t have to,” Zakuro responds protectively, pulling up Konran’s hood for her. Entirely unnecessary, but kind.

“No one tells Hatake Kakashi to take off his mask,” Ringo adds, equally unnecessary, but just as good-hearted.

“Hatake Kakashi isn’t my subordinate,” Riichi-sensei says, voice gone flinty as it does during the rare serious moments. At his students’ reactions–minute flinch, tightening fists, upright posture–he regulates himself. His voice softens and he tries again, “Blonde hair isn’t that difficult to dye, and it’ll wash right out.”

At that, Konran finally meets his eyes. Bemusedly, she says, “I’m not blonde.”


A/N: Random mission for the Counterpoise team. Uh… spoilers? Yeah, they pass. Hahahahah… 😛

Counterpoise drabble (2015-07-26)

“So what exactly is our jounin-sensei’s test? Who is our jounin-sensei, anyway?” Konran asked, matching pace with their longer strides despite shorter legs as the three of them left the Academy building.

As far as Ringo was concerned, Konran was okay. A little weird, a little quiet, and just plain little, but okay. He and Zakuro could have been assigned worse, truth be told. Like that Hyuuga with a stick up his ass–well, all of the Hyuuga had sticks up their asses, but Hyuuga Shikai was an especially snobby piece of shit–or Yamanaka Shigo who lorded his second degree relation to the Yamanaka clan head as if it were a personal triumph.

Or even Inuzuka Mimi who once threatened to castrate Zakuro with a rusty senbon –though, he did kind of deserve it considering he did shave a stripe of fur off her dog partner, Dangan–and had held a grudge against the two of them (Ringo for not preventing it) ever since.

Well, actually, they ended up on the same team. Which wasn’t surprising, considering all three of them were from big name clans; Probably the shoo-in team for their year.

But he’d enjoy being Team Five with his best friend and Konran for however long it lasted.

“That’s the test,” he said, watching but not interfering as Zakuro circled back behind Konran, “We have to figure out who our jounin-sensei is, then we have to find him, then… well. There might be more after that.”

Without looking, Konran ducked Zakuro’s grab at the hood, but didn’t bother to dodge the friendly shoulder nudge that nearly sent the smaller ninja sprawling.

“Hence the walk to the Administrative Building,” he continued, then reached out and flicked Zakuro’s ear, “Hey asshole, quit antagonizing our teammate.”

“Fuck off, Ringo,” he responded amiably, stretching an arm companionably around said teammate’s shoulders, the height difference forcing him to slouch significantly to do so, “Konran knows I’m just playing.”

Ringo knew that, but they had only just met the kid–Konran might not know that.

Rather than shrugging off the arm, Konran jabbed an elbow into Zakuro’s ribs, taking advantage the height difference, then said, “As if this guy could get my hood off, anyway.”

Zakuro grunted at the pain, but was only mildly offended, “You little shit. Challenge accepted.”

As they neared the Admin Building, the air of playful roughhousing dissipated in the face of all the productivity. They had a mission to do, too, one which decided their future.


A/N: I was going to continue but… meh? Maybe tomorrow.

Direct sequel to this Counterpoise drabble from yesterday.

Counterpoise drabble (2015-07-25)

“You a guy or a girl?” asked the Nohara boy, eyes squinted in curiosity. Konran resisted the urge to check her braid, hairpins, bandana, and hood.

“What does it matter?” said the Yuuhi boy, cutting her off before she could answer, “It’s just a brat that they put on our team to fill the numbers. We’re gonna be automatically failed by the jounin-sensei. I’ll end up in the genjutsu squad, you’ll end up in the medic corps, and this one’ll go straight back to the Academy because there’s no way this kid actually passed.”

“Two years isn’t that much of an age difference,” was all she could think to say in response.

“Hey, fuck you, this is our first graduation year, we’re thirteen not fourteen,” retorted the Yuuhi boy.

“What this jackass means to say is that we’re both just kind of tall for our age. We just look old, we didn’t do a repeat year. And to be honest, it’s like he said, when our jounin-sensei rejects us, we’re not coming back to the Academy for a retry. It’s not your fault, though,” the Nohara boy tacked on the reassurance, though his face could only be called a grimace.

“Oh. Three years difference, then,” she corrected, unsure what to do with the rest.

“Fucking shit, you’re ten? Did they just pull a random brat from a classroom and give you a headband. You haven’t even been in the Academy for very long. Goddammit, I knew Tsuyoshi-sensei hated us, but I thought he’d at least be fucking subtle about this,” as the Yuuhi boy devolved into a cuss-filled rant against their Academy teacher, Konran turned questioningly to her other potential teammate.

“We’re both kind of assholes, really. Tsuyoshi-sensei not hating us would be more of a surprise. Though I don’t think the Academy would let them graduate a ten year old who wasn’t actually ready to graduate. Did you really pass the exam? I didn’t think students that young could take it.”

She shrugged.

“Fair enough, I guess. We’re not exactly making good first impressions. I’m Ringo, by the way. That bastard is Zakuro. You’re not named Ichigo or something like that are you? I’d hate to be known as Team Fruit,” Nohara Ringo introduced, idly waving at Yuuhi Zakuro who was now… looping multiple shuriken through a spool of ninja wire?

“Yeah. He does that. It relaxes him, apparently.”

“Okay… I’m Konran,” she returned, minimally, “And, yeah, I did actually pass the exam. I didn’t really want to take it, but my brother did. And… well… I suppose I passed and he didn’t. He’s… not very happy about it.”

“Older brother?” Ringo asked conversationally.

“No, not really. We’re twins. We were hoping to get on the same team if we both passed. I didn’t think one of us wouldn’t,” she tugged at the ends of her sleeves, she knew Naruto wouldn’t pass, so she had been careful to only answer half the questions correctly. She thought both of them would fail.

“That sucks balls,” Zakuro butted in, literally, the metal plate of his headband knocking into Ringo’s shoulder; Ringo ignored it with the air of long practice. Zakuro’s rage, apparently, burned up completely to leave behind coarse affability, “I mean, we’re all going to fail, obviously, but at least I know you got screwed over in this team arrangement as much as we did.”

She shrugged again, then shoved Zakuro’s face away when it began encroaching into her personal space. He laughed, apparently delighted.

Ringo, with a thoughtful expression, asked, “Why don’t we at least try?”

The other two looked at him curiously, silently asking for clarification.

“Well, I’ve gotten used to this jackass over the years, and you seem decent enough considering we’ve only known each other for less than ten minutes. We don’t have to just take their bullshit. If we’re going to fail, we might as well go down fighting, you know? No regrets,” he said firmly, elbow jostling his best friend beside him, eyes never leaving hers.

Zakuro laughed uproariously, simply adding, “Tsuyoshi-sensei can kiss my ass!”

They looked at her expectantly.

She sighed and agreed with a wry smile, “The Academy can go fuck itself.”


A/N: Apparently Team Five is also the cussing team.

Yes, more Counterpoise… hooray. I’ve named them, too. So… in my head most people graduate age 12/13, depending on when their birthdays are. Zakuro and Ringo (pomegranate and apple) just happen to be on the older end of the spectrum whereas Konran is on the younger end. So Zakuro and Ringo are in the year above Team Gai’s.