Chapter 14

Breathe in.

Breathe out.

Tackling aggression went hand in hand with rational decision-making. It was one of the basic teachings that Fugaku received from his father – someone he had respected greatly. Perhaps, more than anyone else.

It didn't make it any easier to do so.

Breathe in.

Breathe out.

"Do we know who did this? Any suspects at all?"

"We... can't say as of right now, Fugaku-sama. I thought it would be better to let you know before taking any action since the matter falls within the jurisdiction of the police force."

Empty sockets stared back at him. Lifeless. Lightless. The woman had been found floating in the Naka River. Some of the children playing near the stream had noticed her first, informing their parents, who had in turn called the police. She didn't move nor twitch. Her chest didn't heave. Her hair was long and black, now dull and greasy, sticking to her face, which was bloated and blue.

Fugaku wasn't a stranger to corpses – it was a regular occurrence in his line of work. But watching her open mouth and pale skin, the frightened expression etched on her face, he felt something strange. A feeling he hasn't been familiar with in a while. He could not describe it. Was it because she was an Uchiha? Family?

"I recognize her. Give me everything we have on Uchiha Nao."

For the next three days, Fugaku would spend his evenings looking at the files, monitoring Nao's last actions. He would continue to run the gears within his mind, isolating himself from his wife and son.

For the next three days, Fugaku would continue to rack his brain, searching for the answers. Why did the sweet little Nao that he knew once, the overly polite girl, die such a gruesome death?

On the third day, another corpse will show up. This time it would be a middle-aged man. His widow would weep when they give her the news. His teenage son would hold back, keeping a facade of bravery, but he too will cry once he's alone.

And Fugaku will be helpless. More bodies will show up. Nothing will make sense. There won't be a thing he will be able to connect the victims with. The bodies would continue piling up. One, two, four, six. Each with the same empty sockets.

It wouldn't be hard to assume why their eyes were gouged out. All of them were adults. Shinobi. And each one of them had unlocked the Sharingan.

The matter would be taken to the elders, watching the severity of the situation. But most curiously, nothing will come out of it. The elders will be tight-lipped. The Uchiha council will be drowned in a heated debate for days on. Accusations will fly. Some will target the other clans of Konoha. Their rivalry with the Hyuuga will be spotlighted, forming incredulous statements of how the Hyuuga were behind the killings because they were afraid of the Uchiha and wanted to keep riding on their increasing fame and power.

The time will come when Fugaku will have had enough and swallow his pride.

At first, he will debate acquiring his daughter's help, utilizing the Anbu resources. But then he'll discard the notion. As much as Izumi was his daughter, an Uchiha, she was a Shinobi working directly under the Hokage. An outsider in terms of the clan. It would be best if the matter stayed within the Uchiha clan. If word gets out that the members of his clan were being hunted, one of two things were bound to happen.

The other clans might sympathize with them, offer their aid. Relations might improve.

Or they might see it as an opportunity to oppress them further. The Uchiha clan had a history rich with great fame and fortune. They had much to give. They were still arguably the most prestigious clan in the village, the only founding clan left after the steady decline of Senju.

He didn't trust Sarutobi anymore.

He loathed Shimura.

Fugaku wasn't ready to gamble, and he'd die before he bows his head.

And so, he went after the only other person he could trust—the strongest Uchiha of the young generation. Someone he could blindly put his faith into.

"We have a problem."

Shisui followed him without question.

It was a strange experience, being back at the Ninja Academy after so long. Ages must have passed since the last time he was here, but it had only been a few years.

Six? Five?

It didn't matter.

Naruto stepped into the training grounds, making his way through the Academy gates. The trees leaned towards him as if welcoming an old friend, and the wind picked up its pace, ruffling his golden mane of hair. He didn't see any of the students practicing on the grounds, which led him to a startling realization.

"I'm a bit early, aren't I?"

There went his plan.

He had been hoping to walk his sister home since he couldn't wake up early in the morning. Surprisingly, his wounds had not been so trivial, and the cut had bothered him at night. A late-night trip to the hospital was not fun, but he hadn't been sleeping well lately, anyway.

Briefly, he considered asking for help.

Instantly, the idea was discarded.

'Not sleeping well' was better than getting his mind probed by a stranger. By a good margin. Any day of the week.

So it was with a steady determination, Uzumaki Naruto decided to wait until noon, taking his old seat by the foot of a Sakura tree. He wasn't bothered, though; patience was a virtue that he had in spades.

He reached into his pocket and fished out his flute. The instrument didn't look a day old, but he knew it was older than himself. His lips found the ending, and gently, he blew.

The song was quiet, yet it seemed as if the entire village could listen. It was delicate, yet seemed to carry an impossible power.

He closed his eyes and thought of a dream.

A dream that wasn't real, but he hoped it could be.

A man and a woman, bright and warm.

A child so golden, lay playing in their arms.

By the time he opened his eyes, the sun had made its trek to the top. Naruto stood up and dusted his trousers, more out of habit than anything. He hadn't been hoping to rest for so long, but it wasn't like he had much to do.


"Oi. Wake up." He kicked the tree lightly. It might have been a foolish move for anyone watching him, but he had sensed her a while ago.

Izumi jumped down from the branch, dusting her shorts. Her face was impassive, but her cheeks were dusted pink. It was so satisfying to catch the Uchiha off guard that he couldn't help.

"I wasn't sleeping." She didn't shout, but her lips were pressed tightly when she saw him smiling.

"Yeah," he said, stretching his arms. "And you weren't spying on me either."

Izumi didn't so much as twitched as she stood up from a crouch.

"I came here for Sasuke."

"Of course."

She had been sleeping on the tree for the last two hours. He could sense that chakra anywhere, after all. But he didn't say it out loud.

Uchiha pride was a real thing, as he had found out a while ago.

He recognized another chakra present, but the person was incredibly talented at suppressing it. And they were doing a phenomenal job, for he almost didn't notice it. It was as if watching a glass submerged in water.

"What are you doing here, anyway?"

He laughed, rubbing the back of his head. "I came here for Natsumi, but I messed up the timings. So, I've just been sitting here." He gave her a look. "As you would have noticed."

Her lips formed something that resembled a pout. Was that a pout?

"I wasn't spying on you!"

Naruto decided that it was.

It was then that he had an excellent idea. He perked up suddenly, looking at the academy building. The bells should be ringing anytime now, so he had to be quick. He picked up his flute, storing it in his pocket, and started to walk towards the building.

"Where are you going?"

"Why, to spy, of course."

"I wasn't spying! I told you—"

"Jeez! It's okay! I meant spying on the children."


That didn't sound so bad in his head.

Then why…

"No, no, wait," he faced Izumi, his hands raised in defense. "I didn't mean it like that—"



He blanched. The look she gave him was full of hostility and disgust, and he couldn't help but take a step back. He didn't mean it like that! He just wanted to check if Natsumi paid attention in class!

He waited for the pain, but creaked open his eye to see that Izumi was walking towards the building. Her long, black hair tied in a ponytail swung with every step, and her pace quickened.

"Let's make this quick."

He blinked but followed his friend, nonetheless.

"Why are you so eager all of a sudden?"

Izumi didn't slow down or stop as she spoke. "Isn't it obvious? To make sure that you do not make a fool out of yourself, of course." Her tone said that he was an idiot to ask that question.

It didn't take him too long to figure out the real reason. That brat Sasuke was in the same batch, if he remembered. He used to be a rude kid back when Naruto had last met him. So, he wasn't overly fond of him.

The two of them climbed up to a tree, sitting on a branch as they peeped on the students. It didn't take them long to find their siblings.

The dark-haired boy sat closest to the windows, so he was pretty easy to notice. He had a bored look on his face, resting his cheek on his palm as he looked out through the window. He didn't look thrilled to be in the class.

"Sasuke…" muttered Izumi. She had a smile on her face as she watched her brother.

"He isn't exactly working hard, you know."

"At least he's awake."

What did that mean? And why was she smirking? Was she teasing him? Naruto never slept in classes—he remembered. He might have been extremely bored in some of them, but he never slept during a lecture.

Even if his clone attended the later part of them.

So, if it wasn't him…

His eyes widened, and he frantically searched for the flash of red. Natsumi! No! He saw his dear little sister on the last bench, blowing an impressive bubble from her nose as she dozed off without any care.

"I might have to teach her a few things…" he muttered lowly. "Like how she shouldn't sleep during the lectures."

It was unacceptable.

"Says the person who attended less than half of them."

"Hey! I was training! It was at least a better use of time."

"If you say so."

He grumbled something underneath his breath but let it go. It wasn't like the lectures helped that much.

"Sasuke told me they have a new teacher, apparently."

He perked up. His eyes left the sleeping form of his sister right as her bubble burst, and he scanned for this 'new teacher.' Whatever happened to the old Academy teacher? Naruto tried his best but couldn't remember the name anymore.

His violet eyes finally found the 'new teacher,' and everything seemed to stop. His gaze was locked, and his vision narrow. The bark that they were crouched upon cracked under the strength of his grip. He didn't need to think before he acted, and the bark broke as he propelled himself forward. Naruto didn't pay heed to Izumi's surprised call as he dashed in through the window, breaking it.

The academy was going to need a new 'new teacher.'

The floor cracked as his chakra ran wild. The boy ignored the chaos in the class, leveling his glare on the man with the scarred nose.

"Umino-san," his voice was pleasant, utterly betraying the presence of his chakra. He might have been talking to an old friend for anyone hearing him. He took a step forward, and the soon-to-be-corpse took one back. "I believe I told you to stay away from my sister."

Because there was no way, he was leaving this one alive.

Hatake Kakashi wasn't a good man.

He wasn't one to go out of his way to help random people or carry grandmas on his back.

He didn't have a lot of people he cared about. Oh, he had a lot of acquaintances in his line of work. But they were just that: an acquaintance. If it were a mission, he'd gladly put his life on the line for any comrade, for his own wasn't worth much.

But he'd go against the world if it meant protecting the ones he cared about. Because there weren't many left.

So, he was understandably enraged when he'd heard about the Hokage's decision to let one Umino Iruka be an Academy teacher. Kakashi would be the first to admit that the man was unhinged, even more so than himself. But the Hokage wanted therapy by confrontation. Making Iruka understand that his sensei's daughter was just a little girl and as much a victim as himself.

Since his leader had brought the topic of trauma, Kakashi had relented and decided to give Umino a chance to redeem himself. The old Hokage had much faith in believing that Umino was a gentle person at heart.

Loath as he was to admit it, he was just waiting for the man to make a mistake so he could just dispose of him and be done with it. It was something he excelled at, after all.

But he was shocked! Because the man – Iruka – had apologized to his sensei's daughter. Bowed his head even. It was a powerful gesture, and Kakashi was suddenly willing to put a little more of his faith in the man.

The Academy bells had almost rung, and Kakashi was strangely unhappy that he didn't get to kill something that started with 'I' and ended with 'A.'

So, when one Uzumaki Naruto had barged up into the classroom with all the tact that his mother had possessed, Kakashi, with a heavy heart, decided to save the vile man that was Umino Iruka.

"—stay away from my sister."

Kakashi appeared behind the boy, inwardly impressed at the pressure. The air was thick, and his enhanced nose could smell the green aura. Incredibly potent. The boy had grown much stronger from the time he'd attended the Chunin exams.

But as much as he enjoyed watching the scarred man squirm, he had to stop things before Naruto dug himself into a hole.

"Let's talk on the terrace like gentlemen."

Kakashi didn't give the two of them any chance to speak before he flickered to the terrace, carrying Umino under his arm. Naruto hadn't looked surprised by his arrival, so he must have been aware of his presence from the start.

He didn't know how to feel about that.

A flicker of orange came in instantly after him, and he raised his hand in greeting, a smile under his masked face.

"Yo! You look well, Naruto."

Naruto didn't seem to catch on, however. His eyes were fixed on the panting man who was yet to say a word. The boy took out his tanto. "Good thinking, Kakashi-san. I can dispose of him here without traumatizing the children."

Ah. Now, Kakashi had to play the bad guy.

"You can't."

The boy rounded upon him, looking at him as if Kakashi had betrayed him in some way. Kakashi just smiled.

"What do you mean I can't?" he shouted. "He shouldn't even be out here! I thought you said he'd be in prison for the rest of his life."


"Mm. I thought so too."


"And…? Why is he free? If the academy isn't somehow supposed to be his prison."

"I'm ashamed!"

Naruto's eyes widened, and he took a step back. Iruka was on his knees, his head touching the floor. His shoulders trembled, and the man raised his voice again.

"I'm ashamed of what I did—will always be as long as I live. I… I was so blinded by my hatred that I couldn't see correctly. In my grief, I blamed the death of my parents on an innocent child…" the man took a breath and gulped, "…and would have killed her if not for you."

The tanto trembled in Naruto's grip, and Kakashi tensed, ready to act if the boy decided to kill the man after all. His chakra was less aggressive now, and he seemed to consciously restrict it. Iruka was almost crying, and even Kakashi felt a tiny twinge of sympathy.

He was suddenly less unhappy about not killing the man.

"I will always be in your debt for stopping me from becoming a monster. But… I want to live each day of my life repenting for my sin! Instead of wasting my life, I want to devote it for the sake of the children! So, please!"

The man looked up, his tearful red eyes filled with a strange determination.

"Please let me repent!"

Whatever he was expecting to come out of today, Kakashi didn't expect this.

Naruto didn't move for a while, but his breathing was stable, and the green aura was nowhere in sight. He slid the tanto blade into its holster and turned away, walking over to the edge of the terrace. "So much for not making a fool out of myself…" he muttered, but Kakashi heard it alright.

He looked back before he jumped. "If you even look at her wrongly, I will not hesitate to end you, even if you grovel for mercy."

Kakashi gave him a cheerful thumbs-up as he jumped away.

Iruka stood up, suddenly looking very out of place. He awkwardly smiled at Kakashi, who didn't smile back, just cause it was fun. Iruka tried to walk past him, and Kakashi made sure to block the stairway, just cause it was fun.

Hatake Kakashi wasn't a good man.

Damn it. Now he felt like the bad guy. That 'new teacher' sure had a way with words.

"He must have prepared the speech before coming here…" he muttered.

Naruto walked through the Academy grounds with hands in his pocket, now aware of the countless eyes that followed him. They were all looking at him as if he was a demon from their storybooks out to eat them.

"Aniki! Wait!"

He stopped, turning back to look at his sister. She had a big smile on her face as she ran towards him. Naruto stumbled a bit when she jumped on his back, still grinning.

"Hey, hey! I'm so happy that you came. I wanted to wake you up in the morning, but you didn't look so well."

She was still grinning, and a smile made its way to his face. "I was just passing by."

Natsumi stuck her tongue out at him, and he laughed. It seemed like she had slept through all of that mess, which worked well for him. He was going to talk to her about it, though.

"Aniki! Look there."

Naruto blinked. His eyes followed the way her finger was pointing, and he saw that Sasuke was also on his sister's back. The Uchiha was smirking at them in a very challenging manner.

"Oh? Whatever did the poor man do attract your ire?" asked Izumi once he walked towards them. She tried to mask the concern in her tone, but Naruto had known her for too long to be fooled. Sasuke pretended and failed to act uninterested, but Natsumi just blinked.

She must be confused.

"I'll tell you later."

Izumi looked at him for a moment and shrugged. "I'll see you losers on the other side then."

Sasuke stuck out his tongue at them. Her lips twitched, and then she was gone.

"Aniki! We can't lose!"

As if. He scoffed.

"Of course, we can't." He tightened his grip on her legs, a grin making its way to his face. "Hold tight."

A flicker of orange was the only thing he left behind.

"I don't feel so good."

Natsumi stumbled over to the bed, laying down face first. She groaned again and covered her head with a pillow.


He knew a shunshin was disorienting for those inexperienced, but he didn't think that it could be this bad. They had won the race by a hair's breadth, surprising him as he hadn't imagined Izumi to be this fast. She used to be slower than him during the Chunin Exams, and they hadn't really sparred against each other since then.

But apparently, she hadn't been slacking off at all. Naruto was kept on his toes all the time.

However, as soon as they stopped, the two Academy children had thrown up instantly. Even the mighty brat Uchiha Sasuke wasn't an exception.

The duo had made their way to their home shortly after, with him only exchanging a nod of parting with his friend, and Natsumi had wobbled to her room as soon as they walked in.

"Am I dying? I don't wanna die!"

"Idiot. You aren't dying." He pinched the bridge of his nose. "I suppose it was my fault to think you could endure it."

She stood up suddenly, a spark in her blue eyes, and she pointed her finger at him. "Don't underestimate me, Aniki! The future Hokage doesn't…"

Naruto ignored the rest of her speech, and his mind wandered to other thoughts. He couldn't understand why the Hokage would let a madman like Iruka out of prison and then place him at a place filled with toddlers. But then, he wouldn't say he knew everything. Maybe the Hokage knew something that he didn't?

And he would reluctantly admit that the scarred face man didn't have any bad intentions in his eyes. The man was genuine about wanting to repent. But what had changed his mind? Were people supposed to change like this? Could they even change?

His answer would have been a firm 'no' a few days ago.

A man doesn't just change just like that. His ideals do not twist and turn overnight. It was a thorough process that took years to cultivate a mindset, but was it so easy to break one?

"… and then I'll say 'No! If you don't like ramen—' "

"Oi, Natsu," he interrupted her, instantly making the girl sit down on her bed. She rested her palms on her knees and looked at him in the eyes with an unnatural intensity.

"Yes, Aniki!"

He gave a look that made her grin, but he shook his head.

"Say, what do you think of the Academy teacher?"

She perked up. So, that meant Iruka wasn't a bad guy in her books anymore. How interesting…


He took that back. She… likely even forgot that Iruka was the one who tried to kill her. Could someone as… airheaded as her…

"Hey! I know that look! You just doubted my chances of becoming Hokage! My own blood—such betrayal!"

Where did she even learn this stuff?

Natsumi was panting, taking deep breaths as she punched his chest. She was small and had to stand on the bed to match his height, but it didn't really hurt. The girl calmed down, and her lips formed a frown. The girl continued in a much smaller voice.

"At first… I was afraid of him. That he was there to…" her voice cracked, and he had to loosen his grip on the bed consciously. The girl shook her head. "But then he apologized. I know it doesn't mean much to you, but he really looked like he meant it… and I tried to forgive him.

"Iruka–sensei is really nice now, and he doesn't even kick me out like the other teachers! Also! He even treated me to ramen! So, I guess he's okay."

Could he really have changed? Was it possible, after all? He'd believe his sister, if only because she was a better judge of character than he was.

He looked at his clenched fist, the sickly black nerves visible through the skin of his wrist. Naruto shoved down his sleeve immediately and gritted his teeth. He looked up to see if she had noticed anything and exhaled when he noticed her looking away.

"They kick you out. Why?"

"Oh, that, heheh…"

"It is because you sleep all day, isn't it?"

"How did you know!? No–I mean no! I never sleep in the class."

He looked at her red face and smiled before it turned into a gentle laugh. The red-haired girl just looked at him strangely before she joined in with him, awkwardly at first. Naruto sat down on the bed, leaning back on his hands, and turned his face to look at her.

"Let's train tomorrow. Just you and me," he said, finally laying down on the bed. "I'll show you some cool stuff."

He didn't have time to brace before a small body rammed into him, a cry of joy echoing in the house.

The morning air never failed to put his nerves at ease.

He took a deep breath, filling his lungs with the cool air, and exhaled. He didn't move from his meditative stance, searching deep within his soul for that which lay hidden. There was nothing that could bother him in this state, nothing that could ruin it.

"Argh! I've been playing with leaves for the last five minutes!"

Nothing could—

"You said you were gonna show me something cool! Hey! Are you listening? You can hear me, right?"




He should have known it was a bad idea from the start. This girl couldn't sit still for the life of her, but it was something that must be done.

"The leaf! What do I do with this!"

He creaked open his eye to see what she was fussing about, and he raised his brow. The green leaf that he'd given her now had a large hole in it.

"You aren't supposed to push so much chakra at once. Start slowly."

But his dear little sister just looked at him as if he was a wise old man so above her state. She tilted her head and scrunched her face, closing her eyes.

"What's a Chatora got to do with this?"

Brown tiger?! What the hell was she doing in the class. The answer came to him not a moment later, and he took a deep breath.

He stood up from his stance and walked over to her.

The two of them were using an abandoned training ground, and he had hoped to see what she could do.

It wasn't much.

Her Chakra control was non-existent, but then did she even need it? Naruto had some of the largest chakra reserves in the village at the moment, even more so than the Hokage, whose reserves had diminished with old age. But Natsumi had enough chakra to dwarf the old leader and him, combined.

And none of it was the Kyuubi.

Of course, her abnormal reserves were a given, considering Uzumaki were famous for their dense chakra, along with an unrivaled talent in sealing. Naruto wasn't very good at seals himself. And even though Danzo had been supplying him with Fuinjutsu materials to study, he just hadn't had the time to work on something so time-consuming while he was out on the field.

Although, it would be wrong to say that he was a complete novice.

Jiraiya had told him about the Fuinjutsu used to seal the Kyuubi—the Eight Trigrams Seal. Two layers of Four Symbol seals were used in such a way that prevented overlap. It was a nifty way to ensure that the Tailed Beast supplies its host with chakra whenever needed because it will also weaken the seal.

However, his dad had left the key with the toads to strengthen the seal, just in case it weakens too much.

It was the main reason why her Chakra reserves were so vast.

But be that as may be, to do some of the niche stuff, one must have at least an adequate level of chakra control.

"Do you see this?" Blue Chakra was visible as it surged through his wrist. "This is Chakra—the energy that is used to perform various techniques."

Her blue eyes sparkled with awe, and her mouth was agape. It was likely that she had never seen something so basic at this.

"That's so cool! Teach me how to do that!" she bounced on her feet, punching an imaginary opponent in the air. He had to break her bubble.

"I will, but first, you need to understand what Chakra truly is…"


After watching her interest in the lectures, Naruto had thought that it would be a challenging aspect to teach his sister. But he was pleasantly surprised at the progress. It seemed that she was a practical learner, and books failed to grab her attention for extended durations.

He taught her how to channel chakra through her body. And although she couldn't control it very well, she had learned to make her arm glow blue by noon.

"Did you see that?! Did you?! Did you?! I did it!" She jumped up in the air, laughing, and started to run around the training ground, her hands in the air. "Ha~ one step closer to my dream.!"

She finally dropped down, but the smile on her face was still present as she hummed a cheerful tune.

His violet eyes narrowed. It was time he showed off some more in front of his sister. He had no idea it would be so entertaining.

"Here. Watch closely. I'll show you something that I've been working on."

"Really? What's it called?"

"Super Round Ultra Ball of Liquid Death, Version one." A giggle almost escaped his mouth. That was such a cool name! He'd been thinking of it for months, and there was no better title.

He waited for her to exclaim 'how cool' it was, but it never came.

"Ehh? That's a really dumb name. I think I'll pass." The girl unashamedly picked her nose, looking at her finger with a surprising intensity.

It was good that she didn't see his face.

Naruto didn't trust himself to control his tears.

"Is this how it feels to get stabbed in the heart? I wonder…" he muttered to himself, crying tears of pain as he looked to the heavens.

"Aniki, if you keep being so lame, Izumi-chan would end up marrying someone else."

If he were drinking water, he'd have most certainly spat it all.

"Why… where do you keep getting these weird ideas?!"

"See! You're all red in the face! I was right!"

He most certainly didn't growl. "You… who's been teaching you this stuff…It's that drunk granny, isn't it?"

Naruto now had another reason to dislike Tsunade. How dare that woman sink her vile claws in his dear little sister?

"You really need to do something, because I saw her with this guy the other day…"

Hard as he tried to stop listening, his ears perked up, but he didn't turn around. There was no way he'd think of her like that. They might have been childhood friends, but thinking about that would make him vomit.

Then why wasn't he vomiting?!

"Oh? Why do you think I care who she spends her time with?" he really tried to keep the jealousy out of his voice, but it didn't seem to work.

"I saw him, you know. He was a cute boy; I think you need to up your game… Or else…" Natsumi trailed off, giggling. "But don't worry! You aren't so bad, so you'll find someone else."


Naruto stood up from his place, an unreadable expression on his face. There were many things that he liked, many things he disliked. But the one thing he hated was losing. Be it in a battle, or…

He gritted his teeth. He had hoped it wouldn't come to this.

But it was time for war.

Naruto put his finger in his mouth and blew a whistle. It was very effective, as two people instantly jumped down from the trees, crouching in front of him. He looked at them, his gaze hardened.

"Minion one and two, we have our first mission."

"You have your own gang?" Natsumi said, her eyes wide before she finally looked at their faces. "What are you two doing here?!"

The two did not answer nor look at her. They only looked at their lord for orders.

"As expected of Oyabun. You knew we were here."

It was kind of hard to miss his constant stalker and her bodyguard.

But Naruto didn't say it out loud.

I'm extremely late, but I hope the new year has been wonderful for everyone. My schedule might be very haphazard (I'm not sure if I even have one anymore), but I'm always thinking about the story. I know there has certainly been countless mistakes and plot-holes (both potential and actual), but I hope to learn from them.

As always, take care.