AN: This is another port over from the SB forum, this time a quest-style interactive story/game. The essential elements are that GM (me) kicks the story off, and regularly give the players (the people posting on the thread) votes about what to have the character do. There's a few mechanical elements I use(d) to determine how combat resolves, and some of the rules are included after the brief story snippet that starts things off. If you want to skip about a page of rules-notes, just scroll down until you get to the bolded 'waaaah' further down. There are also a couple bits included in this that are Q&A's between the author and the players, which help develop the world and setting for the story.
Finally, if you're interested in more, look for the thread in the BROB section of the SpaceBattles Forum; my screen-name is the same there as here.
You are in a warm, safe place; there is pain, but you've experienced worse.
Even if you can't remember what hurt more than this just now; pressure, pressure, pushing, contraction...
Not a very pleasant thing.
Still, this is to be a happy thing you know, on an instinctive level, a thing of life, new beginnings (Even if you don't remember your past involvement with such a beginning. You must have been though, you could hardly be here otherwise, right?)
Another push, another push, another push, and then...
Crying, screaming, a new word for you:
Biwako looks up at you, arms full of squalling life, and smiles.
"Congratulations Kushina, you're a mother, you've given birth to..."
You are Kushina Uzumaki, elite Jounin of Konoha, Jinchuuriki of the Ninetails, and (semi-secretly) wife of the Yondaime Hokage!
You have just given birth to:
1. A bouncing baby boy!
2. An adorable baby girl!
3. Bouncing adorable twins! (1 boy, 1 girl.)
Character creation time...
Skills and Attributes:
Kushina was noted for unique Ninjutsu (chakra chains) and Fuinjutsu, the Uzumaki talent for sealing. Notably, she taught the Fourth Hokage part of his Sealing knowledge.
To give players an idea of how this works, it's roughly like Dark Heresy, but more consistent. At certain times when the character engages in an action relevant to a skill, I will roll 10d10, and lower results are better. The further under the character's skill, the more awesome the result is, the higher above it is, the worse the result is. Rolling above or below current skill does not automatically result in a success or failure.
Academy Student: 11-20
For those not familiar, Special Jounin have Jounin level in one skill, and Chuunin in at least the other 3 primaries. Kage have S/Kage-rank in all three of the primaries. Jounin have Jounin-rank in at least one primary and 2 supplemental, more commonly all 3 primaries.
Each player may pick one discipline or chakra attribute. Once character formation is completed, I will up the chosen attributes by an amount proportionate to the number of people who picked it. Kushina was an S-rank Jounin combatant, but not necessarily Kage-level, so she'll have at least 1 S-rank skill and 2 Jounin-rank, 1 of which will be amongst the primary 3.
EACH PLAYER PICK ONE TO ADD TO:
Ninjutsu (Chakra chains special technique folded in here): 45 (57)
Genjutsu: 46 (55)
Taijutsu (includes physical fitness): 45 (48)
Kenjutsu (tied to Taijutsu): 45 (51)
Sealing: 51 (84)
Medical: 36 (51)
Stealth (include perception/detection): 45 (60)
Traps: 46 (Kushina was a prankster)
Infiltration (disguises, information gathering, etc): 40
Note: Kenjutsu is better than Taijutsu. Period. A person with 50 Kenjutsu skill, fighting a person with 50 Taijutsu skill in a straight melee, will win. Reach and lethality of weapons are simply overwhelming advantages in such a circumstance. It is not however, always a viable option. Infiltration missions rarely make carrying a sword possible, it's not something you can easily carry on your person at all times like a kunai or shuriken, and it's much easier to disarm someone of a sword. Further, intense Taijutsu specialists, like Maito Gai, will have equipment like armored bracers and special techniques to put themselves on a parity. In melee against a foe who is not specifically prepared however, Kenjutsu will dominate. Also, there are magically-awesome swords in-setting.
Upping Ninjutsu, Genjutsu, and Medical will raise these by inference. Putting a point directly in one of these raises it more than raising one of the 3 related skills does.
Chakra pool: 120 (Kushina is a Jounin, and an Uzumaki, and a Jinchuuriki. She has more Chakra than most Kage.)
Chakra Control: 36 (58)
Chakra recovery rate: 100 (About middle of the pack for Kage. Again, Jounin/Uzumaki/Jinchuuriki.)
Control of Kyuubi Chakra: 35 (41)
Final starting notes:
I am an author by trade, and if a vote goes completely against the character's nature, I'm extremely unlikely to follow it unless it's supported overwhelmingly. Further, while I believe that the Naruto-verse, like the real world, is an unpleasant place with many evil and broken people doing nasty things within it, I don't do the whole 'anti-villain' thing for protagonists. If the players do evolve Kushina into an evil bitch, I'm probably going to drop the quest. If you want somebody who tends to walk just the far side of evil, go play It's a Good Day for Ninja Science quest, it's pretty well-written.
Mechanically, I'm giving each player one 'win' die. This basically means that at any one point during the quest, you can have one of the 10d10 I roll to determine action results count as a 0. Yes, that means it is an impossibly low die, but that's why it is a 'win' die. Obviously, crappy rolls on the remaining d10's can make that 'win' die usage mostly worthless, so it's best to have a player consensus using a lot of them at once, to minimize your chance of getting shafted on the rolls regardless.
Vote-wise, if you don't precede your vote at a given time with an [x], I'm not likely to bother counting it. I won't specifically exclude it, but I'm going to be using page-search functions to find votes. Also, when I post options at the end of a story post, they're just going to be general guidelines, I favor write-ins; not huge, intricately detailed write-ins (though if you're really good with one, I may use it anyways), but 'outline' write-ins, such as 'Draw sword, stand ready. If X person moves, attack with chakra chains, If X person doesn't, keep trying to talk. If more baddies show up, gauge strength and flee if at disadvantage, attack if not.' Giving reasoning as to why you favor said actions is also approved of.
Finally, more 'win' dice can be won via awesome-write-ins, and tallying votes for the GM, to save me from having to burn time on that. There won't be a win die given every time, but if you're consistently awesome, I'll start giving you win dice every once in a while. If everybody is awesome all the time, it is (remotely) conceivable that you'll have as many as 5 win dice to spend on every single action that needs a roll.
Social interaction never requires a roll.
Taijutsu option: Ranma, Kino Makoto
Kenjutsu option: Kamina, Saber
Ninjutsu option: Negi Springfield, Lina Inverse
Fuinjutsu option: Rock (Black Lagoon), Tohsaka Rin
Medical option: Doctor McNinja?, Miyafuji (Strike Witches Quest)
Chakra Capacity= value ^2?
Kushina=16,900 chakra. Restores at a rate of .29 per second when active, .58 when resting.
Restoration rate= % of Chakra restored with 8 hours rest, or 16 hours awake. Extreme exhaustion can diminish this for a time.
When conducting a nin or genjutsu, or a medical technique, subtract a percentage from the technique's chakra cost equal to the character's control, maximum reduction equaling character's chakra control score, minimum total technique cost equaling 10% of its base cost.
E-ranks: (basic 3)
Sample D-ranks: (basic 5 elements)
Goukyaku, Great Fireball: 50 chakra (High dodgability, damage and area.)
Wind Bullet: 40 chakra (Low dodgability, single target, low damage.)
Earth Spear: 60 chakra (Utility technique.)
Electric Arc: 50 chakra (High damage, Point blank range, dodge by being out of range.)
Water Bullet: 40 chakra (Low dodgability, single target, low damage.)
Shunshin (speed blitz): 100 chakra.
Phoenix Fire (hail of fireballs): 80 chakra. (low damage, low dodgability, broad area.)
Breakthrough technique: 85 chakra (broad area concussive force, low/no damage, hard to dodge.)
Earth Passage (mole technique): 30 to initiate, 1/sec maintain.
Lightning Burst (short-range lightning bolt: 100 chakra. (Short range, high damage, low dodgability)
Water Lance: 75 chakra. (medium damage, range, and dodgeability.)
Shadow Shuriken Clone: 100-300+ chakra, effect varies based on expenditure.
Fire Dragon: 200 chakra, controlled flame dragon. High damage, dodgability depends on control.
Great Breakthrough technique:195 chakra, almost undodgable, medium damage, can be forced through.
Earth Wall technique: 150 chakra, creates dome or wall of earth, defensive technique.
Inner Earth Decapitation: 100 chakra, drag target into the earth up to their neck, trapping them.
Lightning Dragon: 185 chakra, controlled electrical dragon. High damage, evasion depends on control.
Water Dragon: 195 chakra, controlled water dragon. High damage, evasion depends on control.
"And your baby has some very healthy lungs," Biwako said, grinning as she gently wiped blood and amniotic flood off of a bawling little blond baby, "Takes after his mother wouldn't you-hrk!"
Biwako had twitched an instant before a sword erupted from her chest; from the angle, you can see that it missed her heart (Biwako is a ninja, that twitch probably saved her life), but had almost certainly severed her spine. Biwako was also a ninja of Konoha, and her first instinct was to throw the newly-born baby to his mother.
Unfortunately, the nin that had just stabbed her in the back literally, was faster, and he grabbed your baby before Biwako could get him to you. He's wearing a black body-suit with the outline of armor beneath it, a red swirling mask, and holding your new-born son with a sword to his throat.
"Release the Kyuubi," He demands.
Oh, and you're still in labor. Twins and all.
→ Attack mask-man with chakra chains.
→ Attack mask-man with kunai. Kunoichi; always armed, yeah?
→ Attack mask-man with bare hands. Only appropriate response to taking baby is strangling.
→ Use Hiraishin Kunai to summon hubby. Dealing with vermin is what you keep the man around for anyways, right?
→ Cry like an overly-emotional woman whose baby has just been kidnapped. You are in labor.
Event rolls, first is Kushina or Minato, second is Tobi.
First action, distract/divert, we are emotional woman.
Second action, summon Minato.
Third action, use Chakra Chains.
Bitch stole your baby. Well, you're not called the 'Red-Hot-Blooded Habanero' for no reason.
"I'M IN LABOR YOU IDIOT, and you just KILLED THE MIDWIFE, so now you get to FILL IN FOR HER! GET YOUR HANDS DOWN HERE, I'LL SEND OUT THE KYUUBI AFTERWARDS!"
Somehow, this manages to be awkward enough that mask-man pauses for a fraction of a second. Something along the lines of a tenth of a second, to your estimation (and time measurements, what with all the contractions, have very much been on your mind lately.)
For a civilian, it would be unnoticeable. For a Genin, it would be a noticeable hesitation. For a Jounin, it would be an opportunity. For an S-rank badass like yourself, it's an eternity.
A brilliant yellow flash fills the small enclosure, and your husband erupts from the glowing seal on your belly, murder in his eyes. For some people, mucking about with a Bijuu seal might be a worrisome proposition, but screw that, you're a bloody Uzumaki, and nobody does seals like you do.
"HUSBAND KUCHIYOSE NO JUTSU, BITCH!" You scream, your face as red with rage as your hair, as you lash out at the man with your chakra chains, Minato instinctively maneuvering to work with you, falling into a synchonicity earned of long experience and intimacy.
Mask-man threatened to cut your baby's throat, but nobody is faster than the Yellow Flash, and he's left with a choice between getting stabbed to death himself and cutting your baby, or running like a little sissy-boy from your badass husband/wife combo.
He runs like a little sissy-boy.
Your baby is swept up in the protective embrace of your golden chakra chains, swiftly pulling him into your arms. Minato's eyes turn towards you for a fraction of a second, and in that second, all that is necessary is communicated.
Go kill that sumbitch.
Another contraction begins, and Minato is gone, pursuing the sissy boy in the kiddie-mask. The adrenaline in your system begins to crash, and you burst into real tears, desperately clutching your firstborn to your chest, even as your body struggles to expel your second baby into the waiting world, with no-one there to help.
→ Wall yourself in with Chakra chains. Nobody else is touching you or your babies until Minato is back.
→ Biwako isn't looking good; you're no med-nin, but you know a thing or few.
→ Hustle it back to Konoha. It isn't safe out here.
→ Write in.
AN: The win dice literally made the difference on every single roll. Tobi is more skilled than you in most things, and without them, somebody (not him) would have died.
Konoha psych 101, those who abandon their friends are worse than trash. Kakashi-chan likes to say it often enough, you don't think you could forget that if you wanted to.
Also, having the ability to extend corporeal chakra constructs and manipulate them at will? Crazy Awesome. It's part of why you're such a badass, and it's what lets you pick up Biwako's comatose, bleeding-out body, and drag it up onto the bed with you, even though you're already holding a baby, and in labor.
You may be The Boss right now, but you The Boss is in pain.
You're still better off than Biwako though; looks like mask-wuss really wanted to mess her up; he tore his sword out of her chest sideways, cutting clear through her right lung and slashing her arm pretty badly too. It's probably a good thing the edge was facing that direction, you've no doubt that he would have cut her heart in half out of preference.
Crap. There's blood and pus bubbling out of the gash, and her breast was pretty much cut in half. This is big-league stuff; it might not need Tsunade, but you wouldn't want to trust it to anyone other than her proteges. But none of them are here.
"SCREW THIS SHIT, YOU'RE NOT DYING ON ME GRANNY!"
Twisting the chains around the lot of you in a protective cocoon, you dump half your chakra into the barrier, both as a defensive measure, and to allow you finer control of your remaining (still Kage-level) reserves.
"Let's heal this shit," You snarl, glaring at the wound like it killed your grandmother.
Which it may actually be trying to do.
With the deftest touch you can manage, you carefully form the specific chakra technique designed to regenerate Brionchioles, and set to work.
Six hours later, when an ANBU team (with 'Dog') finds you, Biwako is still alive. She's not in the best shape, but she is still alive. Also, you're breast-feeding both babies at once, and demand that they carry you back to Konoha inside of your Chakra-cocoon.
Your husband is an idiot.
Also, apparently he is now a comatose idiot. They found him next to the (dismembered) corpse of the mask-wuss, who Sarutobi says he recognizes as Madara Uchiha. Whatever.
Apparently, the old grouch decided to pick up his argument with the Hokage up from where he left off with the Shodai fiftyish years ago, and bit off more than he could chew. That'll teach him to mess with your man.
Unfortunately, it appears that old man Madara melted his eyeballs out of his sockets, using Tsukiyomi on Minato a bajillion times or so; didn't keep your man from killing him, but it has left him in a coma.
And just after you gave birth too, the jerk.
Gramps Sarutobi's just about a wreck, driving the docs down at the hospital nuts, badgering them about Biwako's condition; he even sent Jiraiya off to drag Tsunade back, not that you blame him, his wife's life (and rack) being on the line and all.
Unfortunately, this has left you, Orochimaru, and Danzo as the only remaining active S-rank Shinobi in the village, with you and Orochimaru being the two senior-most active Jounin. Nara Shikaku was only just appointed as Jounin Commander, and isn't really up to running the village with the Hokage out of commission, and the ANBU commander is busy keeping a raised security alert going.
Somebody is going to have to take control of the village's operations in the morning (it's only an hour before dawn), and if you don't do it, you can be damn certain snake-face or bandages will do it, and you're not sure if you trust bandages to step back down if he gets his bony ass on the Hokage's chair.
Also, you've been awake for 36 hours, fought an S-class zombie, saved someone's life, and given birth twice since you last slept. You're damn tired.
→ Write in.
→ Write in.
→ Write in.
→ Write in.
"Good morning si-er..."
You give the Chuunin who just walked into the Hokage's office a look. Considering the bags under your eyes, how your hair is sticking up all over the place, the pair of shadow-clones who are taking turns making paper airplanes out of the paperwork on the desk and then shooting the airplanes down with wind bullets, the one baby under your shirt attached to your chest, and the other red-headed baby being on the desk being changed by four of your chakra chains, it is one hell of a look.
"Hokage-sama is having a lie-in this morning," You tell him shortly, "Whaddaya want?"
"Er, um," He says, holding up a thermos, "Hokage-sama's morning coffee is ready?"
"It'd be bad for the babies," You inform him matter-of-factly, "Now go get me some more diapers, some ramen with pickles, and send somebody to fetch Orochimaru, I want to talk to ol' snake-face."
He hesitates for a second, and you can see the question rising in his eyes, 'why are you in the Hokage's chair?' But you glare at him some more, and he moves.
"Good morning, Uzumaki-kun," Orochimaru says, walking in, looking as smooth and unruffled as ever, "I understand you wanted to see me?"
The jerk; what business does he have looking well-rested when you're dealing with a bunch of immature infants on no sleep?
And your babies too.
"Yeah, snake-face," You grump at him, sealing the room against eavesdropping with an arc of chakra channeled through one of your chains into the seal arrays Minato has installed around the room, "Some asshole tried to steal my babies last night, Minato beat the shit out of him. Apparently, it was Madara Uchiha, yeah, the old goat who fought with the Shodaime fifty years ago-"
"Forty years, Uzumaki-kun," Orochimaru interjects 'helpfully.'
You give him a look, then continue.
"Apparently, he hadn't aged anywhere remotely near enough to be a hundred years-
"Eighty-seven years," Orochimaru interjects again
"A Hundred Years," You continue, giving him your 'I'm a hormonal woman, do not argue with me' glare, "He melted his eyes out trying to keep Minato from killing him, failed of course, but if he figured out some sort of anti-aging technique, I want it figured out, and you're the best man we've got for the job in the village right now."
"Right now?" Orochimaru asks, his ego faintly offended, "Who else, pray tell, could match my expertise on the matter of immortality techniques?"
"It's medical shit," You say flatly, resisting the urge to whap him over the head with one of your chakra chains (he'd just dodge anyways), "And Biwako took a sword through the chest from the same retard who tried to take my babies."
Orochimaru's eyes widen slightly as he realizes what that means.
"That's right, snake-face," You say, nodding with some satisfaction, "The old man sent Jiraiya off to drag Tsunade back to take care of his wife. I did a pretty good job of stabilizing her and regenerating her lung, but I don't have the best finesse for neural work. It'll take a day, tops, for Tsunade to sort out the lingering spinal damage, so if you want to be the one to go over Madara's corpse, instead of her, you'd better go stake your claim now."
"Thank you for bringing this to my attention," Orochimaru says ingratiatingly, giving you a small bow (as always with him, it's impossible to tell if it's respectful or mocking), "In return, I would suggest you put a genjutsu over the blonde infant, at least if you wish for your marriage to Namikaze-sama to remain secret."
You look down, and see that little Naruto's head has popped up from the collar of your shirt. Huh; probably would have noticed that if you were more awake.
When you look up, Orochimaru is already gone.
→ In regards to Genjutsu on behbe.
→ In regards to being hungry and sleep deprived, while you are wary of messing with stimulants due to your babies breast-feeding.
→ What else do you think is important to do in the aftermath of last night's debacle?
AN: Okay, a couple world-building bits. First, I'm setting the tech level for the setting at roughly 50's, real world. This means TV, Radio, and records for media, electrical power is proliferate, cars, trains, and metal-hulled vessels all exist. Aircraft will exist in some form or another, though I haven't decided just how. Konoha and the other ninja villages do not possess automobiles, because they're ninja villages, and no conventional roads into and out of the villages were created, due to security concerns. Some of the civilians in Konoha (the only village with a significant civilian population) have been lobbying for an open road between Konoha and the rest of Fire to be created, now that the third shinobi war is truly in the past, and the permittance of automobiles within.
As to guns; they exist. Up to and including artillery and machine guns; they're a serious threat to academy students and genin (meaning more focus on stealth/infiltration for them), but Chuunin-level ninja have enough chakra-augmented physical durability to make anything smaller than anti-material weapons useless, and can hear and track artillery shells well enough to avoid them. The third war saw limited use of firearms amongst some ninja, but prior to that point, the technology hadn't been advanced enough for it to keep up with Ninja with shuriken and Kunai. Traditionalists (like Danzo and the Hyuuga) despise modern weaponry, and support the superiority of their favored techniques (For Danzo this means being an asshole, for the Hyuuga this means using modified Jyuuken to poke bullets out of the air.)
I'm, in part, using this quest as a testbed to develop my own AU Naruto cannon for a Naruto fic I will be writing further down the road, so I'm opening the thread up to worldbuilding discussion. Where worldbuilding discussion is defined as 'Changing the Naruto world enough for it to start making some sense.' As with the above description, part of this means that while Konoha looks very similar to canon, the world it is set in does not. Also, no atomic bomb at this time.
Finally, Darik29 (who I keep wanting to refer to as 'cookie') has earned himself another win die for keeping vote/chargen tally for me.
Two hours after 'Rochi's gone, you've passed orders to the ANBU to keep an information blackout regarding the massive chunk of wrecked forest where hubby and Madara (the sissy Uchiha pretty-boy) fought, and successfully recruited Yoshino Nara into helping you with the smaller stuff. Which mostly means she's browbeaten Shikaku himself into handling the fiddly paperwork bits from the outer office, while she watches the behbes, and you sleep in the inner office.
Fortunately, you're too exhausted for dreams; you doubt they would have been pleasant after the previous night.
When you wake up, it's night, and someone is trying to enter the office without your authorization; a foolhardy task at best with the seals of both Minato and yourself warding the thing. No defense is absolute, but anything less than a Bijuu Bomb would take intense time and skill to penetrate the security of the office, and warn you at the first attempt to break in. And considering that only Jiraiya, Tsunade, the Old Man, Minato, Yoshino, Shikaku, and the head of ANBU were on the 'permit' list when you went to sleep, whoever this is had better have a damn stiff constitution to have dared interrupt your beauty sleep.
Wouldn't want to be any more of a mess than we need to be when hubbie wakes up, after all, need to be pretty for Mina-kun.
You rouse yourself, wipe the drool off your shirt, and glance over at Yoshino, who is skillfully managing both of your babies and her own son with the consummate skill of an Alpha Female. You stroll over, have a brief chat with Nara-chan about what happened while you were unconscious (nothing important, except that apparently 'Dog' has appointed himself as Minato's bodyguard while he's unconscious, and refuses to leave his side), then head over to the large window facing the Hokage monument, that some idiot is trying to open.
Surprise surprise, it's Bandages.
...You're really not sure how you want to handle the idiot right now. Your inner mother says to open the window, punch him into the monument, and have done with it, but that might piss him off. And even if he's retired, only desk-jockey and total badass ninja live to retirement.
→ Mister Face meet Mister Fist, he has something momentous to say to you!
→ "Come on in Bandages. You could have just tried the front door."
→ "Come on in Bandages, I need someone to take over diaper-changing duty."
→ Ignore him.
The margins were pretty narrow, but this seemed to make the most sense between player choice and character-appropriateness. Also, now that you've slept, you get a semi-finalized character sheet!
Skills and Attributes:
Kushina was noted for unique Ninjutsu (chakra chains) and Fuinjutsu, the Uzumaki talent for sealing. Notably, she taught the Fourth Hokage part of his Sealing knowledge.
To give players an idea of how this works, it's roughly like Dark Heresy, but more consistent. At certain times when the character engages in an action relevant to a skill, I will roll 10d10, and lower results are better. The further under the character's skill, the more awesome the result is, the higher above it is, the worse the result is. Rolling above or below current skill does not automatically result in a success or failure.
Academy Student: 11-20
For those not familiar, Special Jounin have Jounin level in one skill, and Chuunin in at least the other 3 primaries. Kage have S/Kage-rank in all three of the primaries. Jounin have Jounin-rank in at least one primary and 2 supplemental, more commonly all 3 primaries.
Kushina has Jounin-level Kenjutsu, Medical, Stealth, Chakra Control, and Genjutsu. She has high Chuunin Taijutsu and Trapmaking skill, and regular Chuunin Infiltration skills (hot temper and very distinguishing physical characteristics and all).
She has S-rank sealing skills; her husband and Jiraiya are the only two superior sealing masters in the known world, and between her immense chakra reserves and frankly insane chakra control for a Jinchuuriki, trying to run her out of chakra in a fight would take multiple kage-level opponents. And then she can whip out the Kyuubi.
On the whole, she's an unholy terror on the battlefield, especially because she's best known for fighting alongside either the Yondaime, or Mikoto Uchiha at any and all times, taking the Konoha teamwork ethic deeply to heart.
Ninjutsu (Chakra chains special technique folded in here): 60
Taijutsu (includes physical fitness): 50
Kenjutsu (tied to Taijutsu): 52
Stealth (include perception/detection): 60
Infiltration (disguises, information gathering, etc): 40
Chakra pool: 120
Chakra Control: 59
Chakra recovery rate: 108
Control of Kyuubi Chakra: 41
Stat-ups are now closed; the final bit of character creation is as follows:
Sealing specialization, pick ONE:
Time/space manipulation (Minato's specialty, not recommended by GM)
Physical property manipulation (altering the physical characteristics of anything you can get a seal to adhere to)
Elemental chakra manipulation (Seal makes elemental chakra effects)
Nature chakra manipulation (You don't need no stinkin' sage training!)
Regular Chakra storage and manipulation (Because you didn't have enough chakra capacity, you decided to make batteries capable of holding more, and then doing things.)
Biological manipulation. (I AM MAD SCIENTIST OF THE LIVING THINGS! BWAHAHAHA!)
You will have some capabilities with all of them, this is to choose which you are naturally inclined towards and have pushed the bounds of understanding with. Also, if he ever comes out of the coma, Minato will be a regular study-buddy for seal-work, and you'll be able to get him to use his specialization to your advantage sometimes.
Chakra Affinity, pick ONE or TWO, if two, lesser mastery of both.
Note that in this AU, physics determines how elements run against each other. Not BS fiat. This means that air doesn't auto-loose to fire, and earth trumps the hell out of lightning in most circumstances.
Now go vote, Puppe-, er, I mean players!
Questions on sealing:
Can you seal liquids inside?
You can use a storage steal to store liquids. If the medium can be damaged by liquids, you will have to account for that in the sealing.
2) How much chakra does it take to seal an object inside? Does it scale with the size of a sealed object? With its weight? With both? Is sealing organic matter harder than inorganic?
Standard storage seals come in a few common varieties:
Stores a designated type of item, which is described in the seal matrix. Any item reasonably within the described parameters can be stored and removed until the seal is damaged or destroyed, and require some chakra expenditure on the part of the user, attempting to store something inappropriate destroys the seal, and possibly the item. Example items: Kunai, Shuriken, hitai-ate, food pills. Attempting to store living material with these almost invariably results in failure.
'Store anything' seals. These have an amount of chakra imbued into them at creation, and it is expended in quantity dependent upon what is stored within. Once the chakra is used, it becomes useless; commonly configured to not store anything that would consume too much chakra to be able to remove again. Storing living matter in these is almost invariably lethal to stored matter.
Specialized seals. More 'not rare' than 'common,' these are created by a fuinjutsu adept, and attuned to a specific user's chakra. That user may then seal and unseal anything they wish, within the limits of their chakra; these are generally expensive. In this continuity, Tenten's weapons scrolls are in this category, and are something of a big deal for a genin to have.
3) What is the biggest thing you can seal into a scroll?
How much chakra do you have? The chakra demand for storage increases faster than the item stored, and both volume and mass are factors; the proportional increase isn't as steep as the square/cube law though.
4) Does the size of the seal matter? Can you seal bigger / heavier objects into bigger seals? What about a long thin object (a shaft of a spear, for example) - can you seal it into a small seal?
The physical size of the seal does not matter, the accuracy and complexity of its script, the 'code' that defines it, does. Larger capacity storage seals require at least somewhat greater complexity, and thus either finer script, or more space.
5) Can you seal living objects (frogs) into sealing scrolls?
If there is a technique for storing living matter within a storage seal without killing it, it is a tightly held secret not known to Minato, Jiraiya, Kushina, or Sarutobi, 4 of the top fuinjutsu masters living.
6) What are seals made of? They can be drawn - is the ink special? Are there different sealing inks? Can seals be printed? Can they be branded onto something? If a metal was worked into a form of a seal, would it be usable as a seal? What if you made a series of channel / impression in some surface in a shape of a seal - would this work? What about if you filled the channel with something? If you filled it with special ink (if it is used for seals)? What about shadows? If you made a projector that would make a shadow puppet in the form of a seal - will this work as a seal? What about light in the same shape?
Any medium which can carry chakra reasonably coherently, and be shaped into the appropriate characters for a seal, can be used to create a seal. The durability of the medium used can be an important factor (for obvious reasons), but if you really wanted, you could train a Nara to create seals with their shadows. That means that in this continuity, sealing is done with special inks, or ink mixed with the fuinjutsu adept's blood in a pinch.
7) Do seals need to be charged?If yes, does the seal need to be charged immediately after it is created? Can you make a seal and activate/charge it afterwards? Can you charge it overtime or do you need to charge it in one go?
A seal does need to be charged with chakra. Until it is charged, it is simply a complex scribble, and so long as the medium can carry chakra, it can be turned from 'scribble' to 'chakra' at any time. Part of a seal master's art is learning a couple tricks that, as part of the charging, make the medium much more difficult to disrupt or damage. A seal can be charged over time; there is no reliable method currently, however, for getting a seal to accept chakra from more than one source, and the more complex a seal is, the more finicky it is about accepting chakra, to the point where anything above moderate complexity won't even accept chakra that was transferred to the seal-master via medical ninjutsu, due to it retaining some characteristics native to the donor. This is a facet of sealing that is known to be under study in every major village.
8) Can you seal seals within seals? What about inactive seals?
You can store seals within seals. Attempting to seal a storage seal within a storage seal, however, always results in the loss of either one or both of the storage seals. As to inactive seals, see the above.
9) Does time pass for a sealed object? If yes, then does it pass at the same rate as for the rest of the world?
This is not known to current seal adepts.
10) When a seal is broken - what happens to the sealed matter? Does it get destroyed? Released? Released but damaged?
If a storage seal is broken, the stored material reverts to real space, as the dimensional pocket it is stored within is flushed back into reality. The condition of the released object depends on how large the seal was, how full the seal was, and the durability of the object. Generally, items made of iron and the like come out completely intact, unless they're of fragile design.
11) Can you bend seals (sealing scrolls)? Fold them?
Distorting seals is risky business. On paper or similar naturally malleable materials, it's safe so long as the surface the seal is inscribed upon is not permanently deformed, as the actual shape of the seal has not been changed. On the other hand, taking a steel object with a seal etched onto it, then using heat to warp and deform the metal, can damage or destroy the seal. The results of the damage or destruction are dependent upon the type of seal so-damaged, and since most ninja aren't familiar with seals beyond storage seals, they have no way of knowing the results for other seals.
12) When you unseal an object - how does it appear? Does it "rise" from the scroll / seal? Does it appear wholesale, materializing above the seal?
There is a fair bit of conjecture about this, as to whether the item simply phases back into reality instantaneously, or does so so quickly that humans are incapable of perceiving it. Considering how augmented ninja (and beyond that, Uchiha), perceptions can be, that they still haven't been able to perceive a transition says a lot about how fast it would be. It is not known to 'rise' from the seal, it always, however, appears in physical contact with some part of the seal.
13) If you seal something big into a scroll, then place the scroll into some confined small space that the big sealed object can't fit into and unseal the object - what happens?
A variety of things can happen. Possible results include: The unsealed object being crushed by the confined space. The confined space being forcibly enlarged by the unsealed object. The object and the confining barriers both being damaged. Both the object and the confining barriers partially fusing with each other. Any mixture of the above. What determines the result is not currently known.
14) If the sealed matter "rises" from the scrolls, how fast does it do so? What happens if it encounters an obstacle? What happens if you destroy a scroll / seal while the sealed object is not yet fully released?
See the prior questions and answers.
15) If the sealed matter "appears" above the scroll, what happens if you seal a cage inside, place something fitting inside the cage above the scroll and do the unsealing? Does the cage appear around the object? Does it push it aside? Does it fail to appear at all (if yes, what happens if you destroy the scroll)?
Nobody has yet thought to conduct this specific experiment, or if they have, they have not shared their results.
16) If you seal something moving into a scroll, does the momentum get preserved? Momentum relative to what? The scroll surface during sealing? Center of the planet?
Momentum is not preserved by storage sealing techniques currently in use.
17) If living objects can be sealed inside the scrolls and time passes on the inside, can the seal be broken from inside? What does the sealed being experience when it is sealed?
See the above questions and answers; and no sapient test subject has survived being sealed.
18) Can storage scrolls be set to unseal on time / set to trigger on chakra pulse / set to be triggered remotely? (OOC: There is canon evidence that they can, strong one)
They can, but it requires storage seals specifically constructed to do so.
Questions on Shunshin:
Can clones use shunshin?
Shadow Clones can.
2) If you take, say, a sword, and shunshin past someone, can you decapitate them this way?
3) If two people carry a third person or an object and shunshin in the same direction, what happens to the person / object they carry (because I am thinking razor wire stretched between clones and cutting the f*ck out of everything in its path)
Due to the nature of Shunshin in this setting, this is very nearly impossible. If a pair did manage the necessary coordination, they could have exactly this effect.
4) Do you choose a path you move through before shunshin activates or during it?
Before. In the Anime/Manga, Shunshin isn't a combat technique, it's a "I'm a cool ninja, I'm going to disappear/teleport away' technique. In this continuity, Shunshin is straight line only, and one of the most control-intensive techniques in existence, due to the catastrophic results of failing. Managing this technique without handseals, if the timeline is not too heavily altered, will in and of itself turn Shunshin no Shisui into a low S-rank combatant, due to its massive versatile utility for both offense and defense. And pranking.
5) Can you use shunshin to run in circles? I am thinking about wind propeller no-jutsu or clearing the wide areas qucikly. Or creating tornadoes.
6) How fast do you run? Subsonic? Supersonic? An estimate? In comparison to your top running speed?
This depends on the chakra expenditure. As part of the chakra expenditure is protecting oneself from high-speed collision with air-molecules and flying debris, the growth curve becomes progressively steeper the faster you go.
7) Does the speed / distance depend on how much chakra you use? If yes, than is the rise of distance / speed linear vs. chakra or less then linear?
Yes, and it is not linear.
→ Players chose sarcasm.
"Bandages, what the hell are you doing at the window?" You ask, speaking loud enough for him to hear you through the seal-reinforced glass, "Get around to the front door, I need someone on diaper-duty."
He gives you an odd look, before disappearing into a shunhin.
Whatever, crazy old goat is crazy.
"So, how've the munchkins been?" You ask, turning to Yoshino, who gives you the 'tired mother smile.'
"Active," She says, "I'd have thought them a month or two from birth, rather than newborns."
"Eh," You say, stretching as you cross the room to pick up your daughter, "We're Uzumaki, we're different."
Not actually a lie, but only accurate if interpreted as two separate statements, rather than a single conjoined one; in other words, typical ninja double-speak.
"Well, they're adorable," Yoshino says with a smile, eliciting one from you as well, as you look down into your daughters bright, curious blue-green eyes.
A long, happy moment of bliss passes, cut off when she tries to grab your nose.
"Ha!" You snort, "Little firebrand, just like me. Did she give you any trouble?"
"No," Yoshino said, "She scarcely made a sound, only gurgled a bit when I needed to change her diaper. The boy didn't even give me that much warning, I didn't realize he'd had a crap until I smelled it."
"And how was Shikamaru?" You ask, moving over to stand directly beside Yoshino, looking down at the boy sleeping in her arms.
"Sleepy," Yoshino says, rolling her eyes, "I swear, he's already taking after his father. Trying to get him to respond to anything is altogether too much troublesome."
"Oh?" You say, directing a foxy smile at her, "You could almost say it's troublesome, couldn't you?"
Yoshino glares at you; she does a pretty good job of it too, especially for someone who never made Jounin.
You're saved from any potential further repercussions of your joke, by a knock on the door; a twist of chakra through one of the office's security seals reveals that Bandages is, in fact, waiting in the outer office. Shifting your daughter into a shoulder carry, you head over to the door, take a moment to raise yourself to full battle awareness, and then open it.
Danzo doesn't look happy, but then the old grouch never looks happy.
"So you have come to help with the diapers!" You say brightly, and you almost manage to get an expression out of him.
"Jounin Uzumaki," He says flatly, "I am unaware as to the reasoning behind you commandeering the Hokage's office to serve as a nursery for your newborns, but I am here to ensure the safety of the village, and-"
"That's lovely Bandages," You inform him with a sweet smile, "It's always nice to have concerned citizens around, but unless you're here to change diapers, we really don't have any need for help from an aged civilian in the Hokage's office at this time."
This time, you do manage to elicit the slightest frown from the grim grouch (Maybe a new nickname? Grich? Grinch? You'll have to think about it), but he doesn't take the hint.
"I have served for many years as an adjunct to the Hokage, both as an advisor and-"
"A role you filled with the Sandaime," You cut him off, deadly serious this time, "A relationship you did not enjoy with Yondaime-sama, who relies upon Jiraiya, Orochimaru, and myself as advisors and emissaries. While your concern as a civilian is appreciated, any questions you may have can be directed to the duty Chuunin in the Hokage Tower lobby."
"Do not play games with me," Oh, he's pissed now, he's actually growling at you! "The Yondaime lies in a coma in the hospital, Sarutobi is occupied with his wife, and I have been unable to discern what has happened."
"Interesting," You remark, extruding a trio of chakra chains to gently convey your daughter back to Yoshino, "That you, a civilian, would be in possession of such highly classified information. Do you know who was the last person to speak with the Yondaime before he was rendered comatose?"
"I hardly-" He begins, but you cut him off by the simple expedient of pointing your trio of chakra chains directly at him, and he's not lost his edge anywhere near enough to ignore that.
"I was," You flatly inform him, "One of the current Hokage's attendants. And I am not at liberty discuss the contents of said conversation with a civilian at this time. So," You step forward, and shove him back out of the doorway of the office, "Unless you wish to reinlist, which I believe would be an issue for the Jounin-Commander," You nod towards Shikaku, who is watching the exchange closely, "To handle, as you are a retired Jounin, I suggest you stop sticking your nose into classified state secrets, before I have you arrested for the knowledge you already illegally possess."
Danzo's jaw works visibly, but he says nothing as you stare at him for a long, long minute.
"Now," You say, stepping back into the office, "If you wish to be of assistance to Konoha in this time, I would suggest you turn those far too perceptive ears of yours towards learning what other agents of hostile powers may have heard through our apparently compromised security around Yondaime-sama, and keep said information from moving beyond the village walls. Good Night, Shimura-san."
Then you slam the door in his face, with no small amount of satisfaction.
Immediate issues have been handled, at least somewhat, Wat Do?
→ Now that we're awake, look into information security more.
→ Look into what Orochimaru's found about the attacker.
→ Check up on Minato
→ Spend time with Behbes.
→ Combination(s) of the above?
→ Write in.
A reminder again, the options given are suggestions, not 'These are your only options.'
As to the voting on specialties, total number of votes was kind of low, so I'm leaving the seal/element specialization voting open still. As it stands, it's leaning towards Chakra storage and manipulation for sealing, Water/Air for elements.
→ Clones are the path to power!
A trio of you pops into existence, and after sharing a quick nod, the other three head off to attend to various other tasks, while you collect your babies from Yoshino.
"Thank you for taking care of the little tykes for me," You tell her with a smile, "And kicking Shikaku into gear. I've got to go check on Yondaime-sama now. Dog's probably not let himself sleep since the incident anyways."
"Go ahead," Yoshino replies with a tired smile, "It was nice to be able to see the Hokage's office in detail."
You nod and smile in a final farewell as you usher her out of the office, then activate the seals to lock the office down. It's a short walk to the exit of the Hokage tower, and you give a few nods and smiles to the ninja still in the tower on your way out, the take to the rooftops for swifter passage to the hospital. Normally, you'd jump along the way, but carrying your babies, who aren't up for the abrupt accelerations and decelerations that would involve. Instead, you adopt a rolling gait using your chakra chains as limbs; it's not as fast, but it's much smoother, with a dozen or so chains in contact with one roof or another at any given time, allowing you to move at a pretty decent clip.
You do get some odd looks to the people you pass, both those looking up from street level, and the other ninja moving along the rooftops.
After a few minutes of chain-crawling, you reach the hospital, and make your way to the highest-security part of the high-security part of the security wing, where Minato's being kept, almost getting there without incident.
"Uzumaki-Jounin," A voice calls, and you turn to see Yakushi Kyon, one of the senior physicians, and current head of the maternity ward, closing on you with a fire in his eyes, "I wish to know why exactly, you have not brought your children in for an examination?"
→ Crap! It's a Physician with an Ego! Run!
→ Distraction! Is that a pregnant woman having a heart attack behind you? (Genjutsu?)
→ Submit to examination? (You checked to make sure your babies were in good health, but you don't know yourself what effects the Kyuubi-altered pregnancy had on them, and you're not sure if you want someone else knowing about that...)
→ Clearly this man is an impostor! Douse him with water and call the guard!
→ Write in.
Again, write-ins/modifications are preferred.
Element wins are Air and Water, seal specialization is chakra storage/manipulation. I'm working up a list of techniques you'll have available, suggestions are welcome.
I'm GMing two different games today, so I won't be doing any serious posting until at least nine hours from now.
Throw some ideas, people.
Eh. I was trying to write this as a balance between Kushina pointing out she's competent enough to know if she can afford to delay some, and accepting the examination, but I'm not entirely pleased with how it came off. Been too long between posts already though, so whatevs.
"Yakusho-sensei," You say, raising an eyebrow at him, "Have you heard of the irregularities regarding last night's activities?"
"I have, Uzumaki-Jounin," Yakushi says warily, somewhat familiar with your moods after having dropped in on your pre-natal checkups from time to time in the last few months, "I take it then that you were somehow involved in the events that brought Sarutobi-sama's wife into our care?"
"Indeed, Yakushi-sensei," You say, "I was the on-site physician who kept her stable for six hours until reinforcements arrived, after I was attacked while in labor. I appreciate your concern Yakushi-sensei, but other events have kept me from being able to come to the hospital until now, and while it is less than ideal, I assume you are willing to trust that my own expertise is sufficient to keep my babies in good health until now."
"I was unaware of your involvement in the situation," He says apologetically, bowing slightly, "Please, however, allow me to examine your children now."
"Certainly, Yakushi-sensei," You say, nodding respectfully towards him; you'd give him a bow in return if your arms weren't full of behbe, "Let us have this examination in-"
[x] The room where Biwako is. It's your 'official reason' for coming in, and you really do what to know how she and Sarutobi are doing.
[x] Minato's room. If he's still not awake, you're not going to be able to keep his absence secret much longer, and Yakushi will be asking what the babies are to be named, something the husband is supposed to be present towards anyways. This would involve letting him on both secrets; the plan was for him to be informed of the father at birth originally anyways.
[x] Whatever the nearest empty examination room is, neutral choice.
Note that doing it in Biwako's room assumes she's stable (which you're pretty sure she is, given how you left her, but not certain), and that as the head of Pediatrics at the Konoha Hospital, Yakushi has very high security clearance, since he works with pregnancies from the bloodline clans, meaning he has in-depth knowledge of possible complications based around such bloodlines. Keeping him out of the loop would be a matter of keeping the secret to as few as possible, IE need-to-know, not him lacking clearance for it.
→ Full revelation. Also, Biwako.
"This, highly-secured and ANBU guarded room," You finish, giving Yakushi a positively angelic smile, as you signal for the ANBU on watch, Ostrich, to let the two of you enter Minato's room.
Ostrich looks you both over, top to bottom, but then steps aside to let you pass. You pop off another shadow clone, and send it to go visit Biwako's room, then open the door and head in.
Inside, Dog is on watch; all that's visible from the door is one of those rolling white hospital screens; when you move around it, you can see Minato, blanket-covered, hospital-gowned, with an IV stuck in his arm. Not your favorite way to see your husband, but at least he doesn't seem to be in any particular distress. When he moves around the screen, you see Yakushi-sensei tensing up in shock; it's subtle, he is a Special Jounin after all, but definitely visible to your eyes.
"Wh-wh-what?" He asks, not quite up to the task of getting a coherent question out.
"It is traditional for the father to be present when the children are named, is it not?" You say, a little bitterly as you look at your husband's comatose form, silently cursing Madara from taking him away from you on what should have been the happiest day of your collective lives, "He's hardly up to taking part, but we'd already decided on Naruto and Tsunami for names."
Yakushi-sensei just gibbers for a few minutes, as he wraps his mind around the revelations, not only that the most powerful ninja in living memory has suddenly been laid low, but also that he is apparently the father of your children.
Well. How about dropping another revelation on him; he'll probably realize something's different about your babies after a detailed examination, why not just tell him you're the Jinchuuriki of the Kyuubi too while you're at it?
→ Tell him?
→ Don't tell him.
→ Go on a hormonal woman-rampage and demand pickles and ice cream.
→ Something else (Write in)?
Right. Let's try to get snappy with the votes, so I can update again tonight. I like to wait for 15ish before calling it, just FYI. Also, unless things go unexpected places, at least one of your clones should be dispersing and reporting back about the assignments they were sent on by the end of the next post.
Oh, and Cookie gets another win die for keeping tallies for me.
→ Tell him.
AN: Remember, Kushina has a temper.
"So," You say, giving Yakushi-sensei the serious eyes."While we're dishing out S-rank secrets, which you will not be spreading around because you'll be lucky if ANBU gets you first if you leak, I'm the Jinchuuriki of the Kyuubi, and for some reason almost certainly caused by this, the pregnancy lasted ten months, instead of nine."
He starts gibbering again; you take the opportunity to wheel the other bed in Minato's room around, and set your babies down on it, then go to check up on Minato, and Dog while you're at it.
Yup, Minato's comatose. Stable pulse, breathing, etc, totally unresponsive otherwise. Hope Tsunade gets back soon.
...And Dog hasn't slept since he went on duty last night. Nor eaten anything but field rations, and judging by how tense he is around the midsection, he's been holding in the crap for just as long.
"Dog," You say, reaching down to lay a hand gently on his shoulder, "You need to go get some rest. I'll watch Minato for a while."
"ANBU only answer to the Hokage," Dog says, and your nostrils flare, "I will not leave-"
He's cut off as your hand on his shoulder tightens to an iron grip, and you hurl him bodily at the door, smashing it down on his way out.
"AS YOUR ATTENDING PHYSICIAN I'M ORDERING EIGHT HOURS OF BED REST," You scream out the door after him, "IF I SEE YOU BACK HERE BEFORE DAWN, I'M SEALING YOUR CHAKRA THEN TYING YOUR ASS TO YOUR BED, GAKI!"
Then you seize the door with chakra chains, jam it back into place, and use a quick earth jutsu repair the hinges.
"I need Ice Cream before I deal with any more of this shit," You mutter under your breath as you turn your attention back to Yakushi-sensei, "And Pickles. Lots of pickles."
"Ah," He says, obviously unnerved, but not completely out of sorts anymore, "I'll send an orderly for some, then we can begin the examination. I assume you understand that it will have to be very detailed, as we've no past data on the children of Jinchuuriki."
"Yeah, yeah," You grouse, hopping up onto the bed beside your babies, and smiling down at the little tykes, "None recorded since the Sage of the Six Paths and all that."
Yakushi nods, then heads to the door to order your ice-cream, pickles, and a couple of items for himself. In the meanwhile, one of your clones disperses, it's:
→ The one that went to see Snake-Face.
→ The one that went to check on information security.
→ The other one that went to check on information security.
Also, there are going to be irregularities regarding the behbes from Jinchuuriki/Kyuubi effects. At this point, I am accepting write-ins for what amount to suggested bloodline abilities; note that the two do not need to be the same, and shouldn't be copies of other bloodlines that already exist in-setting. Suggestions will be open for a while, and I, as the GM, will choose a list from amongst them that suits the power level I intend, as well as the setting mechanics, and put it to a vote a few updates down the road.
→ The other one that went to check on information security.
Most people, the first time they absorbed memories from a shadow clone, got a splitting headache for hours; like most things, however, large amounts of chakra made one more resistant to the effects, and the first time you had dispelled a shadow clone, you only ended up with a moderate headache. you'd been a Genin at the time; now that you were an Elite Jounin, singular clones only caused a mild sense of discomfort, which faded in a few seconds.
Integrating the memories, on the other hand...
"Nothing we've been able to detect in or out," Penguin, the ANBU Captain currently commanding the patrol running circuit to the southeast, tells you, "But then nobody detected a thing when the Bogey was making his way in. I commandeered three Hyuuga Chuunin to cover the walls themselves, but nothing yet."
"Too quiet," Ogre, ANBU Captain for the northeast patrol, growls out, "Single S-rank operator slips in, attacks, no support, no further assault, no sign of anybody having been on overwatch, nothing. Doesn't make any damn sense."
"All's quiet on the Western front, Uzumaki," Walrus, Northwestern patrol captain reported, "Nothing but us shadows out here."
"Nothing but the scars from Yondaime-sama's battle," Canary, the only female captain in ANBU right now, reports, "I ordered a team of Chuunin trackers to examine the terminal point of engagement, and the Inuzuka in the group picked up a few scents, then brought out the rest of the clan to give 'em a whiff too. Filtering out the normal stuff, cotton, rubber, steel, blood, etc, there's a couple of funny ones that might lead somewhere, if they ever find the odors anywhere else, anyways."
"Were they able to track the intruder's path of ingress from the ambush point?" You ask.
"No," Canary says, shaking her head, some frustration showing in her voice, "They say it's like he just appeared, right there, the way Yondaime-sama tends to."
Neither of you have to say aloud how frightening the prospect of a foreign nin with something like the Hiraishin is.
Yeah, those were the most critical bits of memory; the rest were mostly just you running from quadrant to quadrant, and getting the ANBU to actually make contact with you.
And now Yakishi-sensei is back with your ice cream and pickles!
"Gimme!" You half-shout, trying to jump towards Yakushi and realizing, rather abruptly, that even after a good nigh-er, afternoon's sleep, your body is still registering complaints about being so active the day after giving birth.
Whatever. You're not letting this get between you and your ice cream, tentacle-chains Go!
Yakushi just rolls his eyes as you steal half the food-tray's contents.
"I see that you at least are your usual boisterous self," He says wryly, setting the tray on the end table beside Minato's bed, "Now since this room is full of S-rank secrets, you're going to have to act as my assistant, since none of the orderlies are cleared for things like this."
The two of you spend a few minutes eating the food, then scrubbing up in the room's attached bathroom, before turning your full attention to your babies. In the meantime, another one of your clones pops, it's:
→ Snake-face facts.
→ Information Security Information.
Wow, the thread went dead for the whole day. So, still taking suggestions for Jinchuuriki-offspring abilities.
And as to Mito being a Jinchuuriki giving birth, considering that the Kyuubi was involved in the fight where the Shodaime died, I'm going with 'she became the Jinchuuriki after she'd already given birth.'
Can you dual cast jutsu and use them to boost the other?
In absolute terms, yes. In practical terms, the sheer degree of control and skill necessary for one person to do this, would require them to basically be S-rankers, specialized in control. Having multiple people throw techniques that play off of each other was, in this AU, one of the things that made Konoha the big kid on the block after the first war, as they were the first to implement it as a standardized tactic.
For example, cast Wind from one hand, and Water from another?
Yes. Again, control requirements are insane.
What about sealless casting? One handed seals?
Seals are an aid to chakra control, not the vessel of chakra control itself. Think of it like trying to do well, anything else without your hands. Any physical task, anyways. You can open a latched door without your hands, using elbows, feet, etc, but it's a lot easier with your hands. Similarly, you can hold the handle of a knife in your mouth, and use it to chop things up, but preference would be for hands.
Practically, this means that it takes much greater skill mastery and control to use a technique without seals. Every Jounin worth their salt will have a handful of techniques they can do without needing seals (Kawarima is something most Chuunin learn to do like this), but that involves weeks of intensely training that specific technique. Half-seals (or one-handed), alternately, require substantially less mastery, and when the skillset is developed, is about two thirds as versatile as regular seals. The downside is that there are practical limits to what you can do with half seals (generally nothing above B-rank, and never S-ranks) with half-seals, and you're spending the time to develop an entire skillset, that only frees up one hand. For some people, half-seals suits their style, for others, it doesn't.
Are Shadow Clones just that, or are they actually using elemental chakra? What's the difference between them and elemental clones eg Water Clones? Are there Wind Clones?
Elemental clones are animating the stated element; as they're working through a medium, they're easier to create. Fire and Lightning clones are impossible, as these are forms of energy, and air/wind is just too diffuse to really be practical, though it is theoretically possible to create air clones, and some people have taken a stab at it.
Does she know Bunshin Daibakuha?
Of course Kushina knows Exploding Clones. If it hadn't existed yet, she'd have invented it, because exploding clones.
Does she have a contract? Besides "Summon Husband"?
The Uzumaki Clan had a summons contract; it was lost when Uzushio fell. Sure, she could try to go get a new one, but seriously, what beats 'Summon most powerful ninja alive for enemy beatdown, or possibly booty call depending on mood'?
What is the nature of techniques like Kisame's Water Lake thing? Is it a straight chakra to water conversion, or are you handling it as a space/time technique?
Kisame's Instant Lake is clever use of storage seals masquerading as a Ninjutsu Technique. He really does have massive chakra reserves, but I am not stretching ninja-magic enough to involve energy-to-matter conversion on that scale. Giving people the impression that he can create that much water with chakra, however, is something he's deliberately worked on, reputation helps inspire fear, after all.
How many gods are there in this AU? Do they take an interest? What are people's relationship with religion?
I'm a Christian. As in a serious, dedicated, actually believe it for serious, Christian. I'm also not one of those ridiculously iconoclastic nutjobs who can't handle fictitious worlds being y'know, fictitious. So, in this setting, there is one ABSOLUTE CREATOR GOD, the big G, and many lesser gods, who were granted dominion/stewardship over various things. Think a bit like the Valar in Tolkien's work (another hardcore Christian author, and one of my inspirations for how to handle such things). These small-g deities aid those who ask it within their dominions, IE, helping a smith notice certain details he needs to work on more, etc, etc. All deities are aligned to a concept, such as industry, art, agriculture, the hunt, etc. There are no nationally or ethnically aligned deities.
The level of involvement these entities have is defined by the Creator God's edict; humans have free will, and this material realm is where they live their lives, make decisions, and live with the consequences. When a human asks for help, limited aid may be given, but as with the smith example earlier, only in helping them push their own limits, and achieve more. If we actually get to a 'the world is literally ending' point (extremely unlikely), that may change.
Are there chakra research institutes in the village? Or only for mundanes?
I don't really understand what you mean by this question. Please elaborate on what you mean by 'chakra research institute,' in some detail, and also 'mundanes.'
What's her poison resistance like? And her relationship with Kurama?
Kushina's poison resistance is made up of "I'm an Uzumaki, I'm full of strong life-force," and the Kyuubi giving her passive regeneration. Poisons work on very small scales within the poisoned body, shutting down key chemical interactions to domino-effect the body into failing. Such small, subtle stuff, is very easy for regeneration to take care of. It is theoretically possible for there to be a poison potent enough to do more than merely inconvenience her, but it'd probably take years to develop, copious dosage, or both.
Do the Uchiha still have a Kurama control thing?
In this continuity, the Tsukiyomi is the only illusion technique known to be effective against Bijuu. Since a Bijuu's body is also their soul, how they respond to something in the illusion, is how their body responds in the real world simultaneously. This means that a sort of leading-control via illusory instigation is possible, but if the Bijuu knows that they're under an illusion, that kind of falls apart. Madara Uchiha is famous for having successfully pulled this off with great skill when fighting the Shodaime, even if he still lost the fight.
Do normal ninja sense chakra? Or is that only a chakra sensor thing? Are chakra signatures of people or techniques recognizable? Do you need line of sight to detect it?
All living beings have a basic degree of chakra sensitivity, based in part upon natural proclivity (some people IRL have 'better than perfect' vision naturally, some people have intensely bad vision, for a comparison), and in part on their own chakra control, and the amount of chakra the entity they're trying to sense has, as well as its nature. Killing Intent is, in effect a person sensing someone else's chakra going "I HATE YOU DIE DIE DIE!" And this is part of why the Kyuubi is so terrifying, as epic amount of chakra+epic rage= people shitting their pants.
To further clarify, in the process of developing chakra control, one naturally becomes more sensitive to the subtleties of it, and more aware of its presence. Your average Jounin should be able to sense the chakra of anyone within 50 feet, and a Kage within a few hundred. People who are natural 'sensors,' pretty much take this general rule set and say 'Screw that, I'm #$ (*ing Psychic.' It could be thought of a bloodline limit, except it doesn't seem to follow hereditary lines via any yet-known pattern, partly because they're so damned rare that no-one's been able to make any real effort at setting up a breeding program. To compare the vision analogy I used earlier, some people have 'normal/perfect 20/20 vision,' some people have bad vision and need glasses, some people have marksman vision, and some people are Hyuugas. The chakra Sensors are the Hyuugas.
Does technique use leave chakra traces that can be used to ID the techniques deployed?
Yes and no. Some do, some don't; most fire techniques leave traces known as 'ash,' and that's about all you've got. Earth-techniques, on the other hand, will leave the user's chakra slowly diffusing out of whatever was manipulated for some time. Whether it is in a particularly recognizable pattern, on the other hand, depends on the technique used. Lightning and Air techniques are pretty much out of the question for ID'ing, due to their duration and ephemeral nature.
'K, few more tidbits:
Rasengan; only three people were ever able to learn it successfully, and the 'God of Shinobi' wasn't one of them. Further, it's a technique that can be readily scaled up or down in power, everywhere from 'non-lethal' to 'carve through solid rock,' so yeah. S-rank. Also note that unlike Naruto, when Minato uses this technique, it's just there, in his hand. Maybe a tenth of a second of wind-up time to get the sphere going, then it's in your face.
Summoning contract of the Uzumaki: Killer Whales.
Research efforts: There have been some organized research efforts in the past, but they kind of fell apart during the war. One of the problems with chakra research, is that in order to do meaningful research, you have to be working with someone who's mastered at least a particular type of Chakra manipulation well enough to have the comprehension necessary for meaningful research. That means Genius Chuunin at the least, and Special Jounin+ is far more likely. Even amongst that highly specialized and smaller pool, a lot of those ninja aren't really interested in doing scientific research into chakra, with its endless repetitive testing for rigor, just in becoming more badass, further narrowing your pool of talent. And during war time, you need those people deployed into the field pretty badly.
On of the main reasons that Konoha was dominant through the time from the second to the third shinobi wars, was because Sarutobi isn't called 'The Professor' for nothing. He did more for developing systemic knowledge about chakra, both normal and elemental, than any two other ninja villages, combined, and one of the reasons he handed the reigns off to Minato, was so that he could focus on research more. Lets him be a BOSS without all the death and killing, allowing him to focus on things that will hopefully go more constructive places. It's common knowledge amongst those who know him on a personal level, that he desperately wants Tsunade to join him in his research, as medical techniques are one of the few he's not mastered, and he very much is in a "I want my latter years to be filled with building/healing, rather than destroying/killing" kind of way.
→ Snake-face Facts.
"Kukuku... Usumaki-kun, you've provided me with such an interesting research subject!"
You just stare at snake-face.
"His chakra system," He continues, completely unaffected by your stare, "It is literally inhuman, and appears to have been sustaining the rest of his flesh, judging by the patterns of accelerated necrosis setting in within the body's tissues. Only trace amounts of this alien chakra remain, and they will soon be gone, so you understand, I assume that I must fully devote myself to studying it while I may?
"Whatever, snakes," You say impatiently, "Do you have anything useful for figuring out what corpsey there did to the Yondaime?"
"Only one," Orochimaru says as he turns away, his attention moving back to the cadaver before him,"That it appears that the alien chakra left the body through the eyes."
… Well. That was a not much information, and even less useful. You already knew that ancient-Uchiha had been trying to stop Minato with the Tsukiyomi before he died.; unfortunately, you don't have the time to conduct the examination of the corpse yourself, and while you may be a fully qualified physician, you have essentially no experience as a forensic coroner.
Over the next couple of hours, your attention is shifted to helping Yakushi-sensei examine your babies, and it helps lift your mood considerably, they're just so damn cute. Like any baby made by you and hubby could be anything else!
...and then your other clone disperses, and your mood drops even lower than it had risen earlier.
Because apparently Danzo has been raising his own private force of ninja, and six of them just attacked your clone, dispersing it with a lethal blow from a ninjato. And since you're pretty damn sure that none of them were Hyuuga, that means one of them just tried to outright kill you, making Danzo not just a traitor, but a man leading an active insurrection which just attempted to assassinate one of Konoha's ranking leaders.
→ Track down Danzo and kill him, right effing now.
→ Call up the ANBU. This just got real, and you've not fully recovered from labor.
→ Get ahold of Shikaku, and rally the Jounin/Chuunin.
→ Get Sarutobi and Orochimaru. You need some heavy hitters.
→ Write in.
Again, write-ins encouraged.
→ Send out clones to alert ANBU, Shikaku, and ninja corps.
→ Send a clone to get Biwako moved to Minato's room, freeing up Sarutobi to act while we stay on protection detail ourselves.
→ Send a clone out to have Danzo declared traitor/missing nin; keep the paperwork in order.
→ Check hubby for hostile chakra invading his system.
Yakushi-sensei blinks as you abruptly step back from the bed where you've been examining the twins, and conjure up a small army of clones. 'Small army' in this case meaning about a hundred of them, packed literally wall-to-wall; for a minute or few the hospital is standing room only.
'Standing Room Only' in the sense that there's only enough room for all the clones because they're standing, pressed up against each other back to front; after a moment, all of them activate Henge to transform into someone else. The only place you left any room, was by the door, which is quickly opened, allowing a flood of disguised Uzumaki to pour out into the hospital, and from there on to the rest of Konoha.
"By all the Kami!" Yakushi-sensei asked, eyes wide, once the room had emptied enough for him to be reasonably sure which was the 'real' you, "What was that all about?"
"Shimura Danzo just engaged in an act of Treason," You growl, "And he's suborned a minimum of six Jounin-level shinobi already. He may be attempting a coup."
Yakushi-sensei opens his mouth to respond, but is cut off by Sarutobi wheeling his wife's hospital bed into the room, the last few clones staying back to let him pass as he does so.
"I know," Sarutobi says, his voice short with tension, "That you will look after her well. You have already saved her life once in the last day. Send one of your clones with me, and I will confront Danzo personally."
You nod to one of your remaining clones, one transformed into ANBU Platypus, a mask that doesn't actually exist, and she departs with Sarutobi, while you and Yakushi-sensei wheel Biwako's bed, and attendant IV, around behind the screen. It's getting a little crowded back here.
You are first out the door, and immediately flip up onto the ceiling, adhering with chakra and keeping the way clear for the other yous speeding out to raise the alarm. Five seconds of flickering hand-signals inform the two ANBU guarding the door of what is happening, thirteen more seconds answer their questions, and then you disperse. Best to leave as little risk of dispersion overload as possible, after all...
You are second out the door, disguised as a generic Chuunin, and your task, like the three following you, is to alert the ANBU patrolling the perimeter, watching for further infiltration/intrusion. With your chakra spread so thin amongst so many clones, you have precious little available, but once you reach the hospital roof, you activate the Shunshin anyways, allowing it to carry you to the village wall in a blitz of speed.
There is no scarcer resource than time for a Ninja, and ensuring that as many personnel as possible are alerted before Danzo has the chance to suborn them is critical. Ninety seconds after you reach the wall (and one-hundred and sixty-three seconds after the clone that found Danzo was dispelled), you reach Penguin-taicho's team, and relay the situation via silent hand-signals. After thirty seconds of information exchange, you disperse, returning what chakra you have to the original you.
You never were much good at subtlety, and 'knocking on the Nara's door' almost ends up turning into 'beating the door down.'
A very unamused Shikaku answers the door eleven seconds after you start pounding on it.
"What the hell is going on?" He demands harshly, eyeing you up and down.
"Danzo just attempted to assassinate me," You say quickly, dropping your disguise as a generic Chuunin as you do so, "I think he may be attempting a coup."
"Get in here," Shikaku groans, "And tell me everything."
"Orochimaru," You growl, holding your nose at an extremely unpleasant odor, as you glare at the man, who looks up, taking you seriously as you address him by his real name rather than your usual nickname, "Danzo just tried to assassinate me. I think he's trying for a coup, and you're probably next."
"Idiot," Orochimaru growls, rolling his eyes, "As if Tsunade and Jiraiya would have stood for it, even if he succeeded."
He snaps off a clone to continue his work in the lab, then follows you out into the village at large.
"Look you little shit," You growl, glaring at the Chuunin manning the night-desk at the KMP headquarters, "I don't care if Mikoto-chan decided to visit him for a booty-call in his bloody office! You will tell me where Fugaku-bloody-Uchiha is right now or I'll have you up on insubordination charges, is that clear Chuunin?"
"The Konoha Military Police do not answer-" The Chuunin begins, but you end the argument with an elbow to his forehead.
You'll need to talk to Mikoto-chan about getting her husband less incompetent staffers; the idiot didn't even bother to call for backup before trying to talk down to a Jounin (and one of the Hokage's personal advisors). Moron.
You storm past the night duty desk, and across the 'office floor' part of KMP HQ, and pound on the door to the Chief of Police's office.
"Enter!" Fugaku barks; working late again, which is hardly surprising to you, given how often Mikoto-chan complains about it.
You kick the door open, and stare in at Fugaku, who looks fairly pissed about being interrupted himself.
"Shimura Danzo has just committed Treason," You inform him sharply, "And may be attempting a coup. Get the KMP mobilized, I'm already activating ANBU, as well as contacting Orochimaru, Sarutobi, and the Jounin Commander."
"Known hostile assets?" Fugaku asks, all business as he rises from his desk, sweeping up his Ninjato as he does so.
"Six Jounin-level ninja, all masked, and Danzo himself. Any other questions?"
"Has Jiraiya-sama returned to the village yet?" He asks as you step aside, allowing him to sweep out of his office.
"No," You say, shaking your head, "And his return time is unknown. Any other questions?"
Fugaku shakes his head.
"Good," you say shortly, "Get yourself a new man at the night desk, the current one is an incompetent idiot."
Then you disperse yourself.
"Hiashi-sama will see you at once, Uzumaki-Jounin," The Hyuuga gate guard says respectfully, his Byakugan remaining active as he bows formally to you.
Considering you showed up at the Hyuuga compound under Henge, which the Byakugan can pierce easily, it's not exactly surprising they'd realize something must be up. You march swiftly past the gate, towards the small outbuilding that the Huuga constructed long ago to meet visitors at; there is another Chuunin-level branch member within the structure, this one female, and apparently more concerned with offering you tea than keeping watch.
Shit. You were never good with formal crap, would it be some horrible insult to turn it down? You decide to go with being direct, like always.
"I'm just a shadow clone," You say politely, "I'd hate to waste your tea on myself."
"Uzumaki-sama," The Chuunin says with a graceful smile, "In half an hour, this tea will go to waste either way, and will not the memory of its taste return to your original body?"
You're pretty sure she's covering your faux paus, so when Hiashi arrives less than two minutes later, you're drinking tea, and trying to look all formal about it.
"Uzumaki-san," Hiashi greets you respectfully (you are, technically, the head of a clan, and thus his equal, even if you are the only known survivor of said clan), "What need have you of the Hyuuga clan tonight?"
"I am here on behalf of the Hokage," You reply forcefully, carefully setting aside your ornate teacup, "He requires the presence of a skilled user of the Byakugan, as a matter of the utmost priority, in the secure wing of the hospital at once."
"I shall accompany you myself," He says, nodding sharply, "Let us depart at once."
You make your way, disguised as an ANBU, to the Hokage's office as quickly as you can without deploying Shunshin; you don't want to spend any more of your limited chakra than you need to. It takes you roughly three minutes to get to the office's front door within the Hokage's tower, and by that point, a half dozen of the other clones have already dispersed, increasing the chakra reserves of every other clone, as well as your prime self, by a small margin.
Once you arrive at the office door, you do a quick sweep of the outer office, then deactivate the seals securing the door to the office proper.
Then drop into a crouch as someone tries to take you from behind with a Kunai; drawing your sword, you twist around, Kawarimi with a small bookshelf, and find yourself facing Danzo himself.
"You know Bandages," You say as you look the perforated bookshelf up and down, "This is all really stupid. You know you're going to die, right?"
He responds by hurling another brace of Kunai; you're more than a little surprised by just how skilled he is with him, especially with just one hand, but your Wakizashi is up to the task of deflecting them.
...The part where the bandages explode off of his 'crippled' arm, and he doubles the volume of assault, however, catches you off guard, and one of them manages to nick your shoulder, dispelling you.
"He's at the Hokage's office," You tell Sarutobi, "He waited for me to drop the seals, then attacked."
Sarutobi just nods, and disappears in a blur of Shunshin-created speed, on a direct course for Konoha's heart.
"You do realize," You tell Danzo absently as you drop your henge, reverting from the equipment pouch other-you had been carrying into your regular shape, "That for every shadow clone you disperse, you just concentrate my strength more?"
"Henge does not change your actual form," Danzo says, one of his eyes twitching, "What have you done?"
"Funny thing about Shadow Clones," You say with a smirk, "They're made out of nothing but chakra. And chakra is a lot more malleable then the human body; work with them as much as I do, and you start to realize some of the interesting implications this has."
Danzo scowls, and with a flip of his wrist, a ninjato appears in his hand, most likely retrieved from a storage seal.
→ Write in?
→ Write in?
→ Write in?
→ Write in?
Note: You can ask me for other bits of information Kushina has before casting your vote, if you wish.
→ Delay Danzo.
→ Get Hiashi to Minato, stat.
→ Coordinate Konoha, Like a BOSS.
"I can do this all day, Danzo," You say as you roll to your feet from behind the secretary's desk, "And I mean that literally."
One barrage of shurike, two barrages of shuriken, three; it's the sword from behind that gets you; looks like he replaced himself with one of the shuriken he'd just thrown.
"What is the nature of the crisis?" Hiashi asks as you storm through the Hospital's roof entrance together, blitzing down towads the secure wing.
"Can't tell you until we get there," You tell him, slightly out of breath, even though clones don't need to breath, "Be prepared to search a patient's chakra system for the presence of foreign and exotic chakra, though."
Hiashi nods; less than thirty seconds later, the ANBU guards check you both over, then wave you into the hospital room. You disperse, and leave managing the affair to your prime self, allowing your other selves to consolidate your chakra.
"You know what the definition of insanity is, Danzo?" You muse quietly, "Repeating the same action endlessly and expecting a different result."
He's out of shuriken and kunai, and you haven't given him the time to recover any of those peppering the walls of the office, so he charges you with just the ninjato, and in six moves, proves himself to be the better swordsman.
"The crux of the problem," Shikaku says irritably, "Is that there's less than a hundred active Jounin in Konoha, but that's still far too many to try to pick out just six from in a meaningful amount of time. Until we can discern some form of meaningfully distinguishing characteristic, mobilizing the Jounin is just as likely to hurt as help. We need that distinguishing characteristic befo-"
"Danzo has been engaged at the Hokage tower," You cut him off, "Outer office, I have a clone presence there."
"Nevermind," Shikaku grumps, "I'll mobilize the whole damn ninja corps, and encircle the building; get ANBU in to watch everyone else, and six defectors just won't be enough to make a difference."
"Will do," You say, then dispel yourself, even as he begins drawing a flare gun.
"You're a lot better than I expected," You admit freely as you fade back, weaving your wakizashi in a tight defensive pattern, barely staying ahead of Danzo's blade, "But each time you fight another one of me, I learn more of your style, you get tireder-" You pause for a moment, thoughtful, then replace yourself with the secretary's chair and begin working through a set of handseals, "Is tireder even a word? I mean, I can't think of a more appropriate word, but it doesn't seem right even then."
Danzo works through a set of handseals of his own; you stop with the handseals, they hadn't been leading to anything anyways, replace the chair again with another seal-less replacement with the secretary's chair, and are stuck through by Danzo.
Huh; apparently he saw that trick coming. Oh well; you disperse.
"What do you see, Hiashi?" You ask, not bothering to keep the edge of worry out of your voice.
"You were right, Kushina-san," Hiashi says with a respectful nod, "There is indeed a hostile chakra present within Yondaime-sama's system, and it is at war with his chakra, and losing. It is difficult to adequately read with so little time of observation, but going by this pattern I expect the foreign chakra to be destroyed within the next four hours."
"Well," You say, sagging slightly and laying a hand on each of your babies to reassure yourself, "That's a relief. Hopefully we'll have dealt with Bandages by then."
"Bandages?" Hiashi says, turning to face you and raising an eyebrow, which with his veins and eyebrows all bulgy is seriously weird.
"Oh, right, that," You say a bit sheepishly, "Well, you see, ol' Danzo decided to commit Treason tonight..."
"Damn Bandages, you really are good," You say, whistling appreciatively as you stare at the side of the office that he just tore to shreds with a Raiton jutsu, "Especially considering that you're, y'know, ancient, and have been retired for years. I can see why the Niidame was considering between you and the old monkey both."
Danzo grits his teeth, the first sign of emotion he has displayed since your fight began, and you take it as a personal victory.
"You should not be capable of maintaining this many clones, Uzumaki," He grits out, "That is a full dozen that I have felled. The only exceptional skills you were known to possess were Fuinjutsu and your Chakra chains, backed by Uzumaki vitality and chakra reserves. Even Uzumaki chakra reserves do not account for this depth of chakra availability."
"Funny thing, Bandages," You reply, smiling brightly, "My file doesn't contain everything there is to know about me, and some of my abilities I have literally never made external display of, ever."
"That is preposterous," Danzo scowls, a scarcely-there expression that subtly twists his features, "In order for you to have never displayed such abilities, you would have to have never been pressed in combat sufficiently to need them, and I know for a fact that your team faced two of the Seven Swordsman less than a year before the war's end."
"Yup," You say cheerily, "A jen-you-wine pair of S-rank badasses they were, and the four of us got away without a single casualty, too. 'S what got my Bingo-book entry bumped to S-rank, and Mikoto-chan's too."
Danzo goes absolutely still, what little expression that had entered his face disappearing into a void; he breathes out a single word:
A brilliant emerald flare erupts over Konoha, and pulses in a pattern for two seconds, then goes still for two, then active for another two.
"Same way I beat you," You say, your grin turning feral, "Flooded 'em with clones until the battle was over, they just hadn't realized it yet.
Then Sarutobi kicks in the front door, and you don't even have to look at him, you can feel that the man is pissed.
→ Help Sarutobi beat face.
→ Watch Sarutobi beat face.
→ Pop corn. Sell concessions to the Chuunin and Jounin beginning to assemble outside.
[X] Keep an eye out. Danzo's quite clearly demonstrated himself to be a sneaky bastard, so let's make sure he doesn't have any tricks up his sleeve.
[X]Pop corn. Sell concessions to the Chuunin and Jounin beginning to assemble outside. Do this via clones.
- - [X]Monitor their reactions to find Danzo sympathizers.
- - - - [X]Be prepared to help Sarutobi to beat Face.
[x]Ask Hiashi if he can render assistance to Minato. He may be winning, but it would be better if he had help.
→ Take bets.
AN: You guys seem to be getting into the groove of Kushina's personality; competent goofball/high functioning crazy person.
"I'm confident that Yondaime-sama can defeat this invader, Hiashi-san," You say respectfully (you are about to ask a favor, after all), "But is there any way you could aid him, to hasten the process?"
"With Treason in the act," Hiashi says, raising his hands and extending his ring and index fingers into the classic form for Jyuuken, "I can do no less."
And then he starts giving your husband what looks like some sort of shiatsu poke-massage. Kiiinda weird.
Clone # 42
"Popcorn! Pocky! Squid-onna-stick!" You call out to the ninja assembling around the Hokage tower, "Prices so cheap I'm cuttin' me own throat!"
The initial reaction is confusion, a number of the newer Jounin and Chuunin (those who don't know you personally) staring at you in your apron, carrying a hastily-seized tray of concessions, in confusion. Then one of the walls of the Hokage's outer office blows out, and the others can see Sarutobi and Danzo going at it, staff vs sword.
"Place yer bets her, place yer bets here!" Clone #67 calls, marching up and down in front of the lines of ninja (those who haven't taken cover from falling debris, anyways), carrying a Clipboard of Authority, "Current odds favor the Hokage owning Bandages in the face! Any takers?"
"YOSH!" Screams the youngest Jounin to have yet arrived, "I will place fifty-thousand Ryo on the Youthful Sandaime-sama!"
The Jounin, Eyebrows, dashes up to Clone #67, and forks over a big fat wad of cash.
"We have our first taker!" Clone #67 hollers, "Now, who's up for betting on Bandages? Fifty Grand in the pot if you win!"
Well then. Bandages is soundly on the defensive; he is a far better swordsman than you, but the staff is strong against the sword, so long as the staff can take the punishment, and it appears that the Old Monkey is using the diamond staff form of Enma the Monkey King. Which is basically cheating on the level of bringing an Uzumaki to a Chakra-endurance fight (something you wholeheartedly approve of), considering that not only is the staff pretty much indestructible, but also functions as though it were the size of a normal staff, in spite of weighing something more like half a ton.
Oh, and it can do that extendy-trick. Which the Old Monkey seems to have totally mastered.
Seriously. It's not hard to see what Biwako saw in the man; you'll have to get together and talk about being married to total badasses some time over Ramen.
At this point, in closed quarters, with Sarutobi keeping up the pressure, preventing Danzo from making any meaningful attempt at Ninjutsu or Genjutsu, the only reason Danzo hasn't folded is because Sarutobi is trying to take him alive. Something that Danzo is taking advantage of to some extent, but he's still being gradually beaten into submission, trying to block a half-ton lump of diamond with a ninjato. A nice ninjato, but it has nothing in the way of exceptional properties.
You've still got a little over a half dozen clones in the room, each occasionally using Kawarima to get out of the two's way; do you want to pitch in on the fight?
After a dozen or so seconds of Jyuuken-massage, in which nearly a hundred 'strikes' were landed, Hiashi frowned, and that lead to you frowning.
"The foreign chakra is reacting," He says, "But not as I expected. Rather than being disrupted and destroyed, it appears to have merely fragmented and then re-coalesced. Further, in my last half-dozen strikes, it moved towards the points at which I was making contact with Yondaime-sama's chakra system."
"That's weird," You say, scowling as well, "But I suppose it's not surprising it'd try to fight you as well. The reforming bit is very uncharacteristic..."
You trail off as you realize that for one kind of chakra, such behavior would not only be 'not-weird,' but downright normal. Bijuu chakra. How the hell would an Uchiha, or anybody for that matter, get their chakra to act like Bijuu-
Your thoughts are interrupted as a swarm of black tentacle-like strands of chakra erupt from Minato's body, and latch onto Hiashi, who had just poked Minato again.
→ Attack chakra tentacles with sword.
→ Attack chakra tentacles with chakra scalpels.
→ Attack chakra tentacles with Chakra chains.
→ Write in?
Concession sales are brisk, especially once the old monkey smashes Danzo out of the office, onto the grounds below, shattering Danzo's sword in the process.
The betting was not so good; there are always a few people willing to play the long odds in any situation, so there were a few bets on Danzo, but once his sword was shattered, Sarutobi started systematically taking him apart, piece by piece. Fortunately for you, you're just taking 1% of the total take, either way, so you won't be out anything yourself.
You don't have much luck picking out any Danzo-sympathizers from amongst the crowd yourself, but Clone #58 manages to spot one, and an ambush pattern of other clones is set up for once the fight's over, or if he tries to intervene.
...Then Danzo tries to activate a seal that's covering about a third of his chest, and he's pumping a lot of chakra into that sucker. Sarutobi moves in to finish Danzo off, but Bandages sacrifices one completely crushed arm to buy himself some time.
→ Write in.
You have 5 clones in a position where they can attempt to intervene on this, so I'll accept the 5 most voted-for options; if they conflict, the one with higher votes negates the one with the lower. Note that trying to figure out what the seal does is a (time-consuming) action of its own.
AN... and I wanted to make this post longer, but abruptly realized that what the other clones were doing was basically irrelevant, and I didn't have enough funnies in my mind to make a humor chunk about them. Maybe next time.
→ Clones are expendable, use them as such against Bandages.
→ Chakra chains+Sealing vs pseudo-Bijuu Madara.
Whelp. Sealing's an Uzumaki thing, and so that means that it's your turn.
"TAG!" You shout to Sarutobi, four of your clones dropping into direct melee range with Bandages, and binding him with Chakra chains; Sarutobi is sharp enough that when you yourself try to Kawarima with him, he doesn't resist, and you get him out of ground-zero.
Two of your clones pull his arms (one broken) away from his torso, and you yourself step up to his chest, tear his robe off, and examine the seal array he was charging in totality. He continues to charge it as you examine the thing, though the amount of chakra that he can effectively channel has been severely diminished without the use of seals or manual contact to focus through. It's an immensely complex thing; fortunately you're a genius, and are able to sort out the basic functions in just a few seconds, largely because it is relevant to your own specialization, chakra storage, though it's far cruder and more inefficient than anything you've designed in the last ten years.
You're on the verge of asking him why he chose now of all times to start storing chakra in the seal, when he answers the question for himself, in part at least, by starting to open up the Celestial Gates.
It takes three gates before he's able to start breaking your chains, four before he actually breaks free; in that time you hurl a overpowered chakra-bullet at him and jump well clear. Bandages blocks the bullet with one of your clones' chakra chains, twisting in place to gain that measure of protection, it still hurts him, but nowhere near the crippling blow you'd intended.
And then he's free, and glaring at you and Sarutobi with little in the way of sanity left on his face.
"Anybody want to bet on Danzo now!?" Clone #67 calls, "C'mon people, give the poor guy a chance!"
"Another fifty thousand Ryo on Sandaime-sama!" Gai bellows, digging into his wallet for more money than you'd have thought a newly-minted Jounin would have available.
You ain't afraid of no ghost.
Chakra explodes from your body, sweeping forward as it coalesces into brilliantly-glowing chakra chains, which slash through the bands of black chakra clinging to Hiashi, and wrap the main mass in a confining embrace.
Trying to seize control of one of your allies bodies while right in front of you? Bitch please!
"Get out of here Hiashi!" You snarl, already flipping through the seals for a Five-Element seal as you drag the main mass of chakra back towards Minato's body, and prepare to seal it there, at least long enough to set up a more permanent array.
Once your hand, glowing with thick, dense Uzumaki Chakra approaches the thing's mass though, it writhes, and somehow screams, your ears protesting the sound as something that should not be.
Sarutobi signals you via ANBU code to take command of the surrounding ninja; technically, you are at the top of the command chain anyways, so you do so. Mostly, this consists of signaling Shikaku to order a general fall-back, Danzo's just upped his speed and striking power a couple dozen notches, and collateral damage could easily kill Chuunin, or even some of the Special Jounin, before they'd be able to adequately defend themselves.
Concession sales pick up; it's not every day, or even every war, that people get to see two Kage-level combatants going at each other full-tilt, and it is one hell of a show.
Danzo's unsealed two more ninjato, and is assaulting Sarutobi in an all-out kenjutsu blitz; Sarutobi is retreating in an inward spiral, taking ludicrous advantage of Enma's disparity between mass, volume, and durability to mount a defense so swift you can barely even see it. In fact, you're pretty sure that Sarutobi isn't even trying to retake the offense, being wholly content with giving ground and fighting defensively.
On a whim, you try to Kawarima with one of Bandages' swords, but he's pumping out so much chakra (you're pretty sure he's opened six gates total now), that he doesn't even have to consciously deflect the technique, his ambient chakra accomplishes that without conscious thought on his part. If all your chakra were consolidated, maybe something would come of it, but you've got too many clones out, and have spent a fair bit of chakra amongst the lot of them anyways.
Then Danzo gets a blow in, a low slash that severs Sarutobi's legs just above the knee. And Sarutobi bursts into smoke, a new Sarutobi sliding in to replace the destroyed shadow clone before the smoke even dissipates, the rhythm of combat unbroken.
"Your tricks haven't changed, Sarutobi," Bandages says flatly.
"Why change the plan, when it always wins?" The Old Monkey returns with a smirk.
Betting picks up again, and you have to start 'borrowing' supplies from nearby stores to maintain your stock of concessions; over four hundred ninja empties even your sealed storage caches from in the tower.
Shit happens. You feel like someone just tried to fire up a diesel-powered train using jet fuel, then send it down a set of tracks that had been tied into two rails had been tied into different Celtic Knots, and the train had been sent down the rails.
And somehow it worked.
You have disjointed memories of your sealing hand closing around the chakra mass, Hiashi moonwalking away from the mass, the mass being forced back towards Minato's chakra coils, Yakushi-sensei hurling himself over your behbies, Rocky Road Ice Cream!, Yakushi-sensei getting lashed across the back by the chakra mass, Hiashi chewing on it like a dog while burst of Jyuuken-chakra shot out from his teeth, and then...
"It's gone," Hiashi reports from his position wrapped around the ceiling fan, speaking with his usual reserve between bouts of vomiting, "Retreating into the earth below."
The twins are wailing, muffled from beneath Yakushi-sensei, who's not moving and has smoke rising from his back, Minato's still unconscious, Hiashi is visibly disoriented (though his Byakugan is still operating), and your hair has been tied into a dozen braided pig-tails with your own chakra chains.
→ Write in?
→ Write in?
→ Write in?
AN: Sometimes, I only list write-ins, because I think if I make suggestions, it'll make easy solutions to problems too obvious, because the author suggesting them implies some chance of success. Or else I'd be suggesting terrible ideas that would result in disaster, and the players would get pissed at me for that.
I guess Cookie is off to bed; can't blame him, considering the hour.
→ Check on Hubby.
"Tell me if it comes back," You order Hiashi sharply, then reach over and slap Minato sharply across the chops.
"Yes Ma'am!" Minato shouts, hurling himself to his feet and instinctively saluting you.
You have him quite well-trained.
"Bandages is committing Treason down at the Hokage tower," You say with your mouth, while the rest of you is saying 'I was worried and I missed you' via expedient of latching onto him and applying a hug that would crush a lesser man's rib cage, "I'll protect babies, you go stop Danzo."
Minato has instinctively taken hold of you with his arms, while he sweeps his keen eyes over the hospital room, seeing Yakushi-sensei's injured form with a clone of yours attending to his injuries, the babies being cradled by another pair of clones, Biwako still sedated in her bed (which has somehow ended up beside the room's exit, and Hiashi twitching from his position wrapped around the ceiling fan.
"Fill me in when I get back," He says, gently rubbing your back for a moment, before disappearing.
"I hate it when he does that," You mutter as you catch yourself from your fall, and turn your attention to getting Hiashi down without inflicting any further injury on him.
Just about minute three of Bandages celestial gate bonanza, right after the fourth Sarutobi clone is dispersed, Minato arrives.
'Arrives' is really much too gentle a word.
'Appeared like the angry fist of the Shinigami, stuffing his fist into Bandages' spine and Bandages himself through six walls' is a much more accurate, and satisfying, description. Also, 'Into Bandages' spine' meant into; Danso won't be moving anything below his neck for a long time, if ever.
Shocked near-silence pervades the area around the Hokage tower for a long, long moment, the only sound that of Sarutobi's harsh breathing.
"And Yondaime-sama wins!" Clone #63 shouts triumphantly, "Who placed that bet?"
"YOSH!" Maito Gai shouts, at the same time as Kakashi-chan raises his hand.
When Minato shows back up, you're breast-feeding the twins again, with the dividing screen between you and Yakushi-sensei, who is looking Biwako over. Because of your dispersed clones, you already know how things turned out, and between the lot of your clones, you manage to identify 3 of Danzo's 6 stooges, and with the Yellow Flash making the takedowns, capturing them was pretty easy, all said and done.
Considering that there were no actual casualties (just a couple dozen popped clones), things went damn well tonight.
And when Minato seats himself beside you on one of the hospital beds, then quietly lifts you into his lap, and wraps his arms around you and the babies, you decide that right now, everything is just perfect.
"Love you, blondie," You whisper affectionately.
"Love you, Tomato," Minato returns as you relax into his embrace.
End prologue arc.
Congratumulations! You guys pulled off some pretty damn fine results!
The worst possible result, was 'Madara' killing everyone, something that was eminently possible, especially with the decision to proactively attack him, rather than give in to his demands.
The next possible set of 'worst results,' were Biwako dying, intelligence on what had happened getting out, and one or more other villages deciding to attempt a suicide blitz while the Yondaime was out of condition. It would have ended poorly for anybody who tried, Sarutobi, Orochimaru, Danzo, and yourself, were still all S-rank badasses present in the village, but there still would have been bloodshed. There's a lot of resentment amongst some ninja in other villages over how the war ended, with Konoha in an absolutely overwhelming position of strength.
For those who were curious, the reason Danzo decided to act, was twofold. First off, his pride was tweaked when he realized he couldn't actually get into the Hokage's office, that yes, Minato (and you and Jiraiya) are that much better at seals than him, to completely shut him out. Second off, he took you using the Hokage's office as a nursery (that's how he saw it, anyways), as a massive sign that Konoha had become immensely weak in attitude, it wasn't 'hard' enough. Third, the way you dealt him was a massive hit to his ego. Not because you talked down to him, but because you showed that you were ready to be as forceful and fierce as necessary, even while you were coping with being a brand-new mother, which threw his own perception of 'weakness' back in his face, putting his judgment into question in a way he viewed as humiliating. So he called together the handful of high-skill ninja he knew were absolutely loyal to him (Loyal since he was a Hokage candidate, they favored his philosophy, and thought he should have been chosen), to lay plans. Most likely, this wouldn't have lead to an insurrection, but rather the eventual formation of ROOT, but one of them jumped the gun when your clone showed up, and his hand was forced.
Once the fight with Danzo started, the only questions were 1: How many other ninja would die, and 2: would he find your babies or Minato and try to kill them. Letting Sarutobi handle it pretty much took care of both of those for the short run, so good job there.
As to sealing 'Madara' (The GM is not confirming or denying the confirmation or denial of the entities actual identity), that could have gone horrifically wrong. If you'd rolled total failure, the universe would have decided you'd tried to divide by zero, and pretty much un-made most of Konoha. That would have required rolling 100, 10 10's, so odds were literally one in ten million. In order of descending level of screwed-up-sealing, you would have had the following results: 1, Hiashi getting 'possessed,' which would have pretty much just killed him, as he wouldn't have surrendered control of his body to 'Madara,' 2, One of the twins becoming the possession target, or 3, Yakushi getting possessed. Without the win dice, it would have been result number 2. Without more than 1 win die, it would have become result number 3.
Once it was decided to check on Minato (slapping was checking to see if he was no longer in a coma), that was pretty much the Win card. I might share with you all Minato's character sheet at some point, he's pretty badass.
Anyways, that wraps up the first plot arc, now it is time for the actual voting on what the finalized Kyuubi-effects on the twins will be!
...cookie, can I get a list of all the suggested abilities, so that I can list which ones are acceptable voting choices? Oh yeah, and have another win dice. I'm not even counting the one you were offering for medical checks as used, those were totally routine. Speaking of which...
"Ah, Yondaime-sama, Kushina-san," Hiashi said, staring down at the passionately kissing Yondaime and his.. wife?
Hiashi wasn't really certain, but they were certainly acting like they were married, and it would explain who got Kushina-san pregnant. He was pretty sure that even Uzumaki weren't capable of self-impregnation.
"Some measure of assistance would be appreciated," Hiashi continued, as he writhed in place again, trying to figure out how to extricate himself from the ceiling fan, before someone turned it on.
AN: I'm switching to third person for this bit, because it's ultimately a summation, and I just can't be bothered to come up with reasons for all the information to come up in a first-person perspective. I'd rather move things along.
On the whole, it was a very eventful week for Konoha, but to nearly everyone in the village, it was considered a net gain. Shimura Danzo, one of Konoha's oldest and strongest Shinobi had turned traitor and died, but Kushina, the last known member of the Uzumaki, had begun the work of rebuilding her clan, and her red-headed twins were absolutely adorable, a point she made certain that everyone in the village was aware of.
With great enthusiasm.
Orochimaru personally conducted Danzo's interrogation, with Tsunade on hand to keep the man from dying prematurely; between the two of them they kept the old Shinobi alive long enough to spill all of his secrets, a process that took roughly a month, after which he was quietly executed, and buried in a ditch. During the month of interrogation, Jiraiya was able to unravel Danzo's last-ditch seal, which turned out to be a sophisticated chakra storage/healing seal, designed to work in accompaniment with the Celestial Gates, storing excess chakra that would otherwise be vented into the surrounding environment through the skin, as well as chakra pre-loaded into its matrix, and use it to heal the person bearing it from the damage the use of the gates inflicted on the body. Its primary weakness was an inefficiency in the storage matrix, specifically that it gradually bled out stored chakra when not in use, taking roughly three and a half hours to drain away to nothing.
Six Jounin loyal to Danzo were also rounded up, including one Uchiha, an Akimichi, and a member of the Kurama clan. They knew little of use, and were also executed after extensive interrogation.
Biwako, under Tsunade's treatment, made a full recovery; Tsunade, after seeing the work done on Biwako's wounds by Kushina, especially on the neural tissue of her spine, ambushed the Uzumaki, demanding to know where she'd learned such advanced techniques, as Tsunade had never taught them to anyone else.
A week later she'd become Tsunami's godmother (Mikoto was Naruto's), and was unknowingly ensnared deeply within Minato's plans to keep her too busy to realize that she still wanted to leave Konoha.
The Yondaime Hokage himself spent the next month hunting down information on the entity that had attacked; he was ultimately unable to discover what it was, and whether or not it truly was Madara Uchiha, but according to the account of Hiashi, in the process of fleeing beneath the earth, it had abandoned the physical energy aspect of its chakra, leaving it with only the mental/spiritual aspect, weakening it substantially.
Hyuuga Hiashi made a full physical recovery from the ceiling-fan incident, though his brother Hizashi has made it clear that his pride will never be the same.
Vote for one:
→ Jump right back into the flow of things, deal with life in the immediately hereafter.
→ Jump months down the road to the Twins first words.
→ Jump a year and change down the road to when the Twins start walking.
Whichever is chosen, some degree of detail and decisions will be involved in the time covered, this is basically a question of what we want to cover detail on. The parts you skip over, you're giving more GM control to, and less player control to.
As to the bloodline limit thing, because of the inability of the players to follow simple, direct, repeated directions, the players at large do not get to know what was selected. I will be PMing the six people who did follow directions partial information, which I will be asking them to keep to themselves. I'm including Vindictus amongst this number, because he was the only one who gave a clear, concise, complete vote before I laid out the more detailed instructions.
Next time something more complex than 'vote for options or write-ins' comes up, pay attention, people.
AN: I spent a number of hours, being frustrated over the sheer number of things that needed to be done IC, and not knowing what order to do them in. Then I realized that I'm THE BOSS here, so I can just use THE BOSS's super-power, and Delegate!
It is a good day to be Kushina Uzumaki. It's just after dawn, your clones are making breakfast, and you and your husband are on the porch of your private residence, a baby in each of your laps. His righ arm is around your waist, your left arm is around his, your head is on his shoulder, his head is resting against yours.
Yup. Good day.
It's been two days since Danzo was taken down, Tsunade's returned and assured Sarutobi that Biwako will make a full recovery, and on the whole, at this point your opinion on 'The Pansy Attack Incident' as you've dubbed the events around your first delivery, is more or less that it just gave you and Minato the chance to show off what badasses you are.
Unfortunately you've also lost an argument with him in that time; you're going to have to hold off on letting your secret marriage become public, until the Twins are at least Chuunin. They'll draw enough attention for being Uzumaki already, if Iwa found out that they were the children of the Yellow Flash, they'd need a full squad of ANBU each as constant guards, instead of the single guard for the both of them right now.
That 'guard' generally being Kakashi, who functionally is a massively overpaid babysitter, excepting the fact that the Twins are pretty much never out of your sight.
You may be having some issues with clinginess after Naruto was abducted literally less than sixty seconds after he was born. Possibly.
But that's alright, you've already stuck tracking/Hiraishin seals on the twins, and there's no security like Yellow Flash Security. In the meantime though, it's time for breakfast now, after which you will be:
→ Visiting Mikoto-chan. It's time to introduce the twins to Itachi-kun and Sasuke-chan!
→ Visiting Yoshino-chan with a gift, you owe her for her help the other day.
→ Going grocery shopping.
→ Visiting the Hyuugas, you owe Hiashi some thanks for his efforts to save Minato.
→ Bugging Tsunade. She will be godmother, whether she wants to or not.
→ Visiting Biwako. She's a friend, and probably bored out of her mind in the hospital.
→ Going around town and showing random villagers just how cute your behbes are.
→ Training. (Nin/Gen/Tai/Ken-jutsu?)
→ Write in.
Also, roll a d10 (use a website roller if you don't have a physical one), and stick the number next to your vote. This is for random events, not a skill test, so no 'I use my win die.'
According to the vote at the time I started writing this, visiting Mikoto and bugging Tsunade were tied. Since Mikoto is supposed to be your best friend, I threw the tie-breaker that way.
→ Visit Mikoto.
Half an hour after dawn, the Uchiha district is a tranquil, austere place, full of young Shinobi and Kunoichi saying quiet farewalls to their families as they head off to work and train, elegantly landscaped chakra trees, and tranquil serenity.
It's also full of insufferable Uchiha Jackasses, and you are struck, as you are every single time you come to this place, by its desperate need of Tender Loving Uzumake Care.
"HEY MIKOTO-CHAN!" You bellow as you storm down the street like you own the place (shared property laws, Minato-kun, you do own the place!), "YOU GOTTA MEET MY NEW BEHBES, THEY ARE THE CUTEST BEHBES EVER!"
For a shocked moment, the assorted Uchiha within sight stare in silent disbelief, wondering how you managed to slip past their morning anti-Uzumaki patrols (again!) with babies in your arms. Naruto and Tsunami, champs that they are, are completely undisturbed by your bellowing, and simply gaze around curiously, their adorable eyes wide.
You smile (GRIN) back at them all, give them a cheerful wave, then stomp up onto Mikoto-chan's porch.
(GM Note: Overall rolls were high, Fugaku's still having breakfast, and hasn't left for work yet!)
"Good morning, Kushina-chan!" Mikoto calls from inside, "Come on in, we're just having breakfast."
"Don't mind if I do!" You holler, sliding the house's traditional sliding shoji panels open with a pair of chakra chains (your hands are full of babies), kick your shoes off, and saunter on into the kitchen.
In the kitchen, you find Mikoto's family, Fugaku and Itachi are sitting at opposite sides of the table, while Mikoto sits between them, feeding Sasuke with a gentle smile on her face.
"Morning Mikoto-chan, Itachi-kun, Sasuke-chan, Policeman, how's things?" You call as you plop yourself down on the one side of the table that remains unoccupied.
"Lovely, Kushina-chan," Mikoto says, turning her smile on you for a moment, "Fugaku was just telling me about the spy they caught this morning."
"That's five since the TPAI, isn't it?" You say, your disposition improving even more, "Where was he from this time? Iwa? Mizu? Kumo?"
"Suna, actually," Policeman grumps, "And we can't prove it, even though we know he is. Which makes for no end to legal bullshit."
"Blech," You say, sticking your tongue out in disgust, "'S why I let Snakeface and the Old Drunk handle the papwerwork. Booooring. But let's talk about something interesting!"
You heft the behbes, first Naruto,
"This is Naruto!"
You give into temptation and rub your face into his dyed hair (he giggles), before lowering him and raising Tsunami,
"And this is Tsunami!"
Tsunami burps up a little baby-yuck, then scowls; you reflexively catch the loose spittle and wipe her face with a napkin snatched off the table via chakra-chain,
"Aren't they the Most Adorable Behbes Ever?"
"Mmm," Mikoto-chan says, smiling at your babies, "I suppose they might be the cutest redhead babies I've ever seen, but I'm rather partial to Sasuke myself."
"They do bear somewhat less of a resemblance to wrinkled fruit than most newborns," Fugaku allows gruffly.
All movement in the kitchen stops, and your head rotates slowly in place to stare at him.
→ "Policeman! Did you just say something nice? Mikoto-chan must be so proud of you!"
→ "DID YOU JUST IMPLY THAT MY BABIES ARE SOMETHING LESS THAN THE CUTEST LITTLE MUNCHKINS THAT HAVE GRACED ALL OF THE ELEMENTAL NATIONS, YOU ELITIST JERK?"
→ Kind Kushina.
"Policeman! Did you just say something nice? Mikoto-chan must be so proud of you!"
Fugaku twitches; Mikoto gracefully covers her mouth with one hand to hide her impish smile.
"You've got him so well-trained Mikoto-chan!" You exclaim, turning to face your best friend, "I wish you could come help me train my husband some time!"
You see Fugaku scowling out of the corner of your eyes at that; he still resents that his wife is in on this secret, but he isn't. For a moment you hope he'll ask who the father is again, but unfortunately he musters up enough self-control not to ask. To your surprise, it's Itachi-kun who speaks next.
"Kushina-baa," Itachi says softly, "May I hold him?"
That caught you by surprise; Itachi is usually nearly-silent during your visits with Mikoto, and according to her, rarely speaks at all, though he's expressive enough with his body-language. Right now, staring up at you with wide, soulful eyes, arms ever so slightly outstretched towards Naruto, you can readily tell that he's trying to manipulate you with his cuteness.
Awww he's trying to use emotional blackmail on you! He's so cute!
"Sure, sprat," You say, carefully handing Naruto over, "I know you've had practice with Sasuke, so I'll trust you with Naruto, hm?"
He accepts Naruto, and stared into your son's wide blue eyes curiously. He has been such a sucker for babies ever since he found out Mikoto was pregnant again.
Fugaku departs for work shortly thereafter, grumbling about 'disrespectful redheads,' and you and Mikoto spend most of an hour catching up with each other, and sharing girl talk. By the end of your visit, Itachi, Mikoto, and yourself have all held each of the three babies present at least once, and you're feeling the maternal glow. You invite Mikoto to come visit you the next day after breakfast, and she agrees (of course!), but you both have things yet to do this day, so once morning is in full swing, you leave.
→ Visiting Yoshino-chan with a gift, you owe her for her help the other day.
→ Going grocery shopping.
→ Visiting the Hyuugas, you owe Hiashi some thanks for his efforts to save Minato.
→ Bugging Tsunade. She will be godmother, whether she wants to or not.
→ Visiting Biwako. She's a friend, and probably bored out of her mind in the hospital.
→ Going around town and showing random villagers just how cute your behbes are.
→ Training. (Nin/Gen/Tai/Ken-jutsu?)
→ Write in.
→ Bug Tsunade. She will be godmother, whether she likes it or not!
Humming happily to yourself, you trot off towards the Senju estates, absently rubbing your cheek against Tsunami's scruffy little bit of hair as you do so. The Senju estates are, at this point, almost entirely rented to pretty much anybody in Konoha who can afford the price; Tsunade is the only living Senju, and the only reason she even keeps one of the houses open, is because nobody in Konoha will rent the small manor-house that is traditionally the home of the Senju clan head. The rent for the roughly four dozen other buildings is what pays for her gambling habit. And her booze habit.
You frown. While you're pretty sure that nothing less than a Sannin is acceptable as godmother for your children, and there aren't any female Kage just now, you're going to have to break Tsunade-baa of some of her bad habit before the twins are old enough to pick them up. Trying to get drunk as an Uzumaki is an extremely expensive proposition, and gambling is just right out.
Ninja don't gamble; they cheat. Playing a game involving 'chance' where you even have a chance to lose against anyone other than another than another ninja is just unprofessional.
You reach Tsunade's residence, walk up the steps and knock on the door; when nobody answers for a few seconds, you open it up and let yourself in. It's a big place, and feels altogether too empty, so you pop out a few clones to make it feel less lonely. There's someone snoring on the first floor, and a brief exploration reveals that Tsunade is passed out in the kitchen, sake spilled all over herself.
You snort in distaste; she's ridiculously vulnerable right now, and while you don't doubt that deeply-ingrained defensive instincts would protect her against most simple attacks, an S-rank foe could take her down with a single shot.
It's embarrassing, honestly.
[x] Use medical ninjutsu to get rid of her hangover before waking her up.
[x] Wake her up, no frills.
[x] Wake her up loudly and enthusiastically!
[x] Wake her up with a facefull of water.
→ Kushina is a kind prankster.
Fortunately, as a seasoned prankster, you're always prepared for situations like this; you quickly unseal a camera and a nice permanent marker (Red; it'll contrast nicely with that blue chakra/regeneration seal on her forehead.), and have a seat while your clones get to work.
Five minutes later, Tsunade's hangover has been cured, there's bright red whiskers and fangs drawn on to her face, you've got a nice roll of embarrassing shots on film, and breakfast is well underway. It's the sizzle of bacon that eventually wakes her, though she moans groggily and tries to cover her head with her arms to keep the sound out.
You chortle mischeviously to yourself, then cast a genjutsu designed to intensify smells, and the smell of bacon motivates her to actually sit up, and open her eyes.
"Babies!" You declare, leaning forward over the table to grin brilliantly at her, one twin held up in either hand, just out of her arms reach (in case half-awake instincts react poorly), "Just the thing a godmother needs to see first thing in the morning!"
Tsunade stares at you blankly for long seconds before speaking.
"Kushina?" She says, clearly confused, "What the hell are you talking about?"
→ "You agreed to be Naruto and Tsunami's godmother while you were out drinking last night!"
→ "We have benevolently decided to grant you the distinction of being our glorious offspring's Godmother."
→ "You know you wanna be godmother!"
→ "We have benevolently decided to grant you the distinction of being our glorious offspring's Godmother."
"We have benevolently decided to grant you the distinction of being our glorious offspring's Godmother," You inform Tsunade graciously.
She just stares at you for a while, before beginning to pat her lips contemplatively with the fingers of her right hand.
"I'm pretty sure I went out drinking last night," She says thoughtfully, "And I'm not feeling a hangover, which most likely means-"
"That I cured your hangover for you before I woke you up, like the gracious Matriarch I am?" You say with an indulgent smile.
"That reminds me," Tsunade says, her gaze sharpening, "You were the one who worked on Biwako-sensei in the field. That's some of the best damn work I've ever seen done by somebody who wasn't me, how the hell did you keep the severed nerve endings in her spine viable?"
"Chakra cycling," You reply promptly, "I put a constant flow of chakra through both points of severance, and kept it going until we got Biwako to the hospital."
"There wasn't any tissue damage though," Tsunade says, leaning forward in a subconscious (or conscious, she is a Kunoichi), "That takes Jounin-level chakra control."
"I am a Jounin-level medic-nin," You snap back, somewhat irritably, "You have been out of the village for years, Tsunade-baa."
"That level of control shouldn't be possible for a Jinchuuriki," Tsunade says, and you start violently, instinctively pulling Naruto and Tsunami in close as she blithely reveals one of your most tightly-held secrets, looking you up and down with intense curiosity, "Especially the Kyuubi Jinchuuriki. How the hell did you do that?"
"I am very dedicated to protecting my friends," You reply sharply, "A few months without sleep to refine my chakra control is nothing to keeping them alive. How did-"
"I know that you're the Jinchuuriki," Tsunade says, cutting you off with a derisive snort as she leans back in her chair, "Mito was my grandmother, Kushina, I know you weren't conscious for the transferrence ritual, but I was there as the attending physician. That still doesn't tell me how the hell you managed to get your control sharp enough to actually be a fully-trained medic-nin. Time alone doesn't cut it for someone with that much chakra, especially since you're an Uzumaki too."
Actually, in your case, it did. Just a damn lot of time, as in literal months of nothing all day except for control exercises, but she doesn't seem to be buying that just now...
→ Insist that yes, copious amounts of time and training is what did it.
→ BS her about using sealing techniques to up your control.
→ Demand to know how she would know what it's like to be an Uzumaki and a Jinchuuriki both; she certainly hasn't had that experience!
→ Write in?
AN: A tad short, but that's okay, I hope to update again tonight...
AN: Vindictus can have a hit of GM credit. So far, the general rule-of-thumb, is get three, turn it in for a win die! I might let you turn it in for other things further down the line, but that's an if.
→ Only the godmother gets to hear about secret Uzumaki training techniques even partially. And she needs to hold her godchild.
→ That method being exactly the intensive training we said it was.
You pull Naruto back into your lap, then lean forward and wave Tsunami directly in front of Tsunade's face.
"Only godmothers get to hear about super-secret Uzumaki training techniques, even just a little bit! And you need to hold your god-daughter, can't you see that she wants you to hold her?"
You look at a clone who can see Tsunami's face from where she's being held; the clone nods at you.
"See! Just look at that adorable face! You know you want to..."
Tsunade glares at you for a long moment, then looks down at Tsunami, and her glare cracks. Her eyebrows furrow, her mouth twists, her nose crinkles up, and on the whole, she picks up a look that can best be described as 'constipated,' but then she shakes her head and looks back up at you.
"I'll not let you play the cute card on me," She snarls, "You little brat! I was the master of the cute card before you born!"
Tsunami hiccups, drawing Tsunade's attention back onto her, and she flinches as she looks at your behbe's face again. Confused, you look up at the clone again, and she henge's into a mirror, allowing you to see your daughter's face.
Her eyes are wide, the corners downturned.
Her bottom lip is trembling, and her mouth keeps just beginning to open, as though she's about to cry out.
Tears are beginning to collect in the corners of her eyes!
"GAH!" Tsunade screams, whipping her arms up to cover her face and turning away, "No! Get her away! I'll not be fooled by your foul enchantment!"
→ She's on the ropes! Press the advantage!
→ Respectfully back down.
→ YOU NEED MORE FIREPOWER! DEPLOY NARUTO AS WELL!
AN: I am having so much fun with this.
→ YOU NEED MORE FIREPOWER! DEPLOY BABY #2 AND PRESS THE ADVANTAGE!
"A-are you implying that my babies are...u-ugly?" You gasp dramatically, and Tsunade uncrosses her arms enough to stare out at you between them.
"What?" She asks, bewildered, and still off-balance from the assault of Tsunami-cuteness.
"Not sure?!" You declare, your expression shifting to a manic grin, "Then you'd better have a look at Both!"
Chakra chains, the tool for all occasions, wrap around Naruto's shoulders and waist, and gently but swiftly swing him directly into Tsunade's line of sight.
"AAAAAAUUUUGGGHH!" Tsunade screams falling backwards, and going into what to all intents and purposes appears to be a seizure.
You swiftly pass the twins off to a pair of clones and leap over the table, deploying diagnostic jutsu as you go. Fortunately, she's not actually having a seizure, unfortunately, she's broken down into tears, and is absolutely bawling her eyes out.
That, you were not expecting. At all.
→ Hugs. All the hugs.
→ Slap her; she needs to snap out of it.
→ "What's wrong, Tsunade-baa?"
→ Write in.
AN: Short, but not letting the players have input at this point just didn't seem right to me, and I think I'm winding up for another 2-post night, so it's okay.
→ "What's wrong, Tsunade-ba?"
Medical crisis averted (or nonexistent), you wrap your arms around Tsunade and pull her into your lap, and begin to rub her back soothingly.
It is a damn good thing you've got so much chakra, as she just wrapped her arms around you, and started clinging to you as tightly as she can. While it lacks the chakra pulse-release of her legendary Taijutsu skill, her basic strength enhancement is still insanely high, and... yup, she cracked one of your ribs before you managed to push out full-strength reinforcement.
"What's wrong, Tsunade-ba?" You gasp out, before you're confronted with a different problem.
Now that you've exhaled, her grip is literally too tight for you to inhale again.
"It's not fair!" Tsunade bawls into your shoulder, "I'm supposed to be the best physician in the world! I'm supposed to save people's lives! But no, no babies for me! No Dan for me! Why do the Kami hate me so much?"
You try to come up with an answer, but you're somewhat stymied by the lack of ability to exhale. You're a ninja, so you'll be fine for oh, half an hour or so before Oxygen deprivation really gets to you, but this does make it all but impossible to respond to her, since her eyes are closed and you can't use sign language.
→ Something with air techniques. You should be able to get air in and out of your lungs, right?
→ Something with Clones.
→ Tap morse code into her shoulder?
→ Write in.
AN: Regarding what to say, I'm a psych specialist. I read people, I figure out the motivations of their heart, I know how to communicate well with them. I'm not giving the players hints this time, and this is the first major decision where I'm not giving you 'Kushina's thoughts' assistance to help keeping everyone from making retarded decisions. I will tell you that everything from Tsunade wanting to adopt you as a sister or daughter and absolutely loving you, to her wanting you dead-dead-dead is possible depending on how you handle this moment of vulnerability on her part. This is where epic-write-ins earn GM Cred, choose wisely, SBers.
And remember, this is a social interaction. Which means no die-rolls, which means no win dice. This is pure role-play.
→ Plan Sivere
- We have half an hour. We have two clones in the room.
– Main body, continue to suffer in the name of friendship.
- Clone #1, sit nearby with the behbes.
- Clone #2, hug Tsunade, stroke her hair, the works.
- Once she's settled a little, Clone #2 engages serious mode and utilizes the Uzumaki secret technique: therapy-no-jutsu!
[X] Try to breathe before the 30 minutes are up, if circumstances allow.
Using ANBU sign language, you direct one of your clones to take care of Naruto and Tsunami, then snap off another clone with your words for Tsunade in mind. The clone you have working on breakfast starts taking measures to hold breakfast off for as long as possible, so it doesn't go cold before Tsunade's ready to eat.
"Tsunade, I was very lucky to not lose everything the day the twins were born," your clone says gently as she hugs the older woman from behind, "So many things could've gone wrong; Madara could have killed Naruto, Tsunami could have died due to the strain of releasing the Kyuubi, Minato could have lost to whatever was that black chakra... I'm an S-Rank ninja, and I've never felt so helpless in my life."
You/she pauses for a moment to see if she has Tsunade's attention, then continues when she sees she does.
"I came very close to losing everything that ever mattered to me. You have lost much, Tsunade. What could have happened to me four nights ago has already happened to you. I could've lost everything that day, but I didn't, and I'm not going to lose one of the best damn people in the village.
"I remember Uzushio. I remember how it felt when I was told that all of my family was lost. I didn't want to go on living alone, because if I didn't remember them, didn't just grieve for them, then who would? I wanted to lash out at all the people who told me to stop spending all my time crying, that Uzushio wasn't worth it. So I'm not gonna tell you to forget Dan, or not to grieve for him. But I couldn't let that grief dominate me forever, allowing those who destroyed Uzushio to destroy me too, and I don't want you to be destroyed by what you've lost either."
Tsunade's clearly listening now; if anything, her grip on you has intensified, but she's not totally lost in her tears anymore.
"Every day I worry for Minato, for the children, for my friends. We may be freakishly powerful ninja, but we're still human. Bad things, horrible things, will keep happening to people we know and love. It's because there are some freakishly powerful ninja, who also happen to be insane, ambitious bastards. This is not about who has more power, or luck, or who the gods smile upon. I don't know if the gods hate you, Tsunade-ba. If they do, screw the gods, their loss. But there are still people here who love you and care about you. And this is the only way we can stop all the bad stuff from happening; remember this whole "Will of Fire" thing?"
Her grip definitely just intensified, and you just felt another one of your ribs crack. You spend most of your conscious effort packing as much ki into your rib-cage as you can (and trying to ignore how much the way she's squashing your breasts hurts), and worry that if she squeezes any harder, you're going to have to pull out Kyuubi Chakra, or she might actually crush your rib cage and kill you.
"We can't face the world alone," Your clone continues, "People won't stop dying just because you drift away from them, Tsunade. Don't do this to us, and to yourself. I want my children to grow up in a better world than we did, but if that's going to happen, we have to work together for it."
"Please, Ba-chan. Will you be the godmother of my children? Will you accept us as your family?"
Cr-crack. There go two of your ribs, broken. Tsunade is violently trembling in your arms now, and you direct your cooking clone around to look at her eyes, and see if she's gone into shock; she hasn't, but you suspect it's a damn near thing.
"Why-" She starts, her voice hoarse with crud from all her bawling, then clears her throat and tries again, her voice faint now, but clear, "Why?" She breathes desperately, "Why do you want me so badly?"
Your rib-cage is being crushed, Wat do?
→ Endure, and hope she doesn't lose control any further.
→ Endure, but be ready to deploy Kyuubi chakra in an instant. With that deployed, even if she turns your heart into a pulp, it'll sustain you long enough to regenerate. She has at least 50/50 odds of sensing that you're doing this though.
→ Kawarima with a clone. It'll be crushed instantly, but you won't have to try to violently force your way free of her grip.
AN: Sivere's write-in was a mixed bag, it was excellent at establishing a connection and similarity between the two of you, and great at getting her to open up even further, especially since Dan was big time into the Will Of Fire, but it didn't answer a critical question or two that her heart hungers for. I'll be blunt at this point, if you want best possible result, you lot are going to have to give at least some solid philosophy/theology that answers her questions, not just pat or stock answers. You can get 'not totally screwed up' results without it, but most certainly not the best.
→ Plan Quizer.
AN: As to hemophobia, yes Tsunade has it, but it's more realistic, she gets antsy, and loses her edge, rather having a total BSOD when she sees it.
Clone talking to Tsunade.
"I want you because you're family, the only blood family we've got left. I'd be thinking about you as a potential Godmother for Tsunami even if you weren't the most powerful known Kunoichi in the Elemental Nations. I want family for the role, and so does the father, he's an orphan."
Tsunade nods faintly, wide eyes, far too young and vulnerable for a Kunoichi of her age and experience, peer at you around the back of your prime self's neck.
"Mikoto, my best friend, is going to be Naruto's godmother, she's already got experience with boys, but my husband and I want you for Tsunami's godmother, I know you'll be amazing if you actually care to take up the role. I'll be honest with you though, the fact that you are the only Kunoichi I know of more powerful than myself, that you are the best healer in the whole damn world, I want that person looking after my babies too. Hell, who wouldn't?"
Tsunade manages a teary smile at that, and you give her a small smirk in response.
"And beyond what I want just for Tsunami immediately, we've just been doing some major house-cleaning with killing Danzo-"
Tsunade tenses at the name, and you distinctly hear something snap in your prime self's chest, but she bears up under it like the awesome person you are, and Tsunade is still to caught up in what's happening to notice. You see anger in her eyes now, mixing with the pain.
"-And a lot of things are up for reorganizing in Konoha in general. I want you to help us make Konoha a better place, I know how you wanted to create a medical corps for Konoha, and I want you to help me do that now that things are changing again."
The spark of anger in her eyes is turning into something else, something more, but your prime self is tapping a distress-code on your side with her spare hand, so you decide finishing all this up is probably pretty damn important.
"That's what the 'Will of Fire' is supposed to be out," You say finally, then laugh shortly, "And here I am, from Uzushio talking to you about it. Especially with the Old Monkey as your sensei, I'm sure you know more about it than I do."
A bittersweet smile forms on Tsunade's face, and her grip on your prime self eases up, and she opens her mouth to speak-
Only to be cut off as your prime self drops out of Tsunade's arms, gasps for breath, and promptly starts coughing up blood.
"Hey, Tsunade-ba," Your prime self wheezes wetly as she carefully wipes the blood off of her lips (and out of Tsunade's sight), "Awesome demo on the 'strongest kunoichi' thing, care to show off the 'greatest healer' bit now?"
"What happened!?" Tsunade asks, staring down at yourself with a mixture of confusion and dawning horror.
"Eh, nothing big, Ba-chan," Prime you says nonchalantly, "Just one of my broken ribs poking into my right lung a bit. Could you do something about that?"
'Your' tone of voice suggests you've asked her to pass the pepper, rather than initiate potentially life-saving medical treatment, but the effect is ruined somewhat by the bubbling sound from blood in her throat during exhalation.
"Oh Kami," Tsunade says, already firing up the ol' green hands o' glowiness, "I'm so sorry! Why didn't you say something!?"
"Couldn't breathe to talk," Prime you says with a grin, then winces as one of Tsunade's left hand probes the bottom of her ribcage, "Besides, you needed a hug, and there's no need to apologize; you're worth it."
Tears begin to well up in Tsunade's eyes again, but they don't interrupt her work on your prime-self's battered ribs.
AN: Tsunade crisis resolved! You didn't get the best possible results, but you still got some pretty damned good ones. Frankly, that's partly because I wrote Kushina as a lot more eloquent than the somewhat-wordy write-in's suggested. Yog's and PhoenixFTW's plans both would have actually had slightly better results, Phoenix's largely because it was so succinct; brevity is the soul of wit and all.
The whole ribs-thing was partly because it seemed character appropriate to me, Tsunade is pretty oblivious in canon when she's suffering from emotional overload, though I take that as a guideline at best, and partly because it was the GM's secret bonus-card for the players. Enduring the whole way through let you deliver that line at the end, which just ups things big-time for effective impact on Tsunade. I was actually rolling dice for her strength vs Kushina's, and Kushina lost every single time. This last one, with the minor lung damage, actually rolled two ties in a row, before the win went to Tsunade.
Seriously! Two ties in a row on 10d10!
I didn't tell the players because frankly, letting win dice here would have ruined any kind of drama, and any chance of feeling repercussions for what you lot were risking. If the rolls had gone badly enough, which they didn't, Tsunade could have accidentally killed you. But you guys stuck it out, and as such, got a bonus effect on your relationship with Tsunade.
It's 11 AM, and I haven't slept yet, so I'm damned tied. More details on the psychology and philosophy of all this, I think I shall include with AN's later. In the meantime, vote for the next activity of the day:
After Tsunade slips your ribs back into place, heals them, then patches up your lung (total time required: fifteen minutes), you chat over the breakfast one of your clones cooked, both of you with a baby on one arm, and chopsticks in the other.
It only takes about ten minutes of Tsunami's applied cuteness at point-blank range for Tsunade to seal the deal, and you spend the rest of the meal filling her in on the other medic-nin in Konoha, what exists in the way of organized structure for them (not much), and who is worth her personal attention. You make sure to slip in a good word for Yakushi sensei; he did literally throw himself in harm's way to protect your babies, and is privy to S-rank secrets and all, so his security clearance is damn high. Shizune-chan shows up during this, and you give the young genin half your food, since this is the second time you've eaten today.
The half hour after that is spent watching Tsunade inspect your babies, something that turns out to have surprising, and worrying results.
"Your babies are not normal," She summarizes flatly, "Beyond the development advancement due to them having gestated for a month longer than normal, there's abnormal neural tissue along Naruto's spine, and there's something strange about Tsunami's cellular structures. And that's not even starting to get in on the madness that is their chakra systems. I can't tell in detail without specialized equipment or a Hyuuga, but they're excessively developed for newborns, and may be shaped abnormally as well, but I can't be certain until we've had them in for a more protracted examination."
"Is anything about that dangerous to them?" You ask worriedly.
"The chakra abberancies could cause problems," Tsunade says, "But then, what they have might be totally natural for Uzumaki born of a Jinchuuriki. It certainly isn't causing them any problems right now, but I'll want to check them in more detail ASAP."
She pauses for a moment to give you a look.
"Tell Minato that you and your husband will want to send word down to the hospital that I'm basically queen bitch of Konoha's medical establishment. If I can find the right people and equipment, I'll have what I need for more involved diagnostic tests tomorrow morning. Assigning me a Hyuuga, preferably one with some medical training, would help too."
She knows. Not surprising considering her close inspection of the kids; Naruto's bone structure bears some clear resemblance to Minato's, even if baby-fat conceals the fact from casual observation, and his dyed hair removes the blond similarity.
"I was planning on heading down to the hospital to visit Biwako after this anyways," You say, nodding towards Tsunade, "I'll pave the way for you."
You collect your behbes, say your goodbyes to Tsunade-ba and Shizune-chan, and depart, bound for Ichiraku's to pick up Ramen for your friend and yourself to share for lunch. You also send the pair of clones you'd had cleaning up the kitchen head off to go talk with Minato-kun. He'll want to know about this just as much as you do.
AN: Cumulative displacement of roll is -17, meaning positive random event, though it may not be immediately noticeable.
Your stop at Ichiraku's is fairly short, and is only as long as it is because Teuchi's daughter, Ayame, is helping her father out, and a few minutes need to be set aside for her to squee over Naruto and Tsunami, and you to squee over how cute she is when she holds Naruto for a little bit. Teuchi spends the time filling out your order, and you're on your way quickly.
At the hospital, you run into one of your most hated nemesii, Useless Rules. According to the receptionist at the desk, visiting hours aren't on, so you're not allowed to visit Biwako, since you're not the attending physician, nor one of the hospital's current staff.
→ ...We are S-rank ninja. They expect to keep us from visiting Biwako how? Just walk right in and ignore those trying to stop you.
→ ...We are S-rank ninja. They expect to keep us from sneaking in how? Stealth entrance.
→ ...We are one of the Hokage's Lieutenants. Rank hath its priveleges.
→ How could the receptionist possibly say no to these adorable babies? -stick babies in receptionist's face.-
AN: So. The whole Tsunade-had-a-meltdown and philosophy thing.
One of the key things Tsunade was looking for, was a reason to believe she had some kind of worth, when all her vaunted skill both militant and medical couldn't save the ones she loved. Considering she was with Dan when he fought, and couldn't turn the fight enough to save him, and couldn't heal him well enough to keep him from dying, she was really hard-hit in the area of self worth.
IRL, everybody hungers for something that lets them understand and know their worth. What their value is; preferably something that can't be removed, so that there's no way that they can be made worthless; for those who've had the things they had derived a sense of self-worth from ripped out from under them, something that can't be taken away is especially important.
Now, as a Christian, I believe that man is made in the image of God, and that gives a kind of worth and value that cannot be taken away from you, no matter what. It's a little known piece of bible trivia, but God actually directly says to someone (I forget if it was in the Psalms or Proverbs), that he created man to be gods. We are little-g gods in nascent form, and nothing anyone else does, or that we screw up, can change that.
As said though, I wasn't going to try to force some sort of conformity to my worldview in this quest; what I did require for you guys to hit Tsunade in a meaningful way, was to show her some kind of quality and worth she could cling to, that couldn't be taken away from her. You gave that, in that she is your family, if distantly, and nothing is capable of changing that. If she were in a more rational frame of mind, she might have worried about disownment, or about you and the twins dying, and then her having no family, but as is, she has re-centered her sense of self-worth on the idea that she has family, and there's a value to family that just cannot be taken away.
This reflects an aspect of my worldview, in that we are children of God, but that's not something I'll belabor here.
Phoenix's write-in was a good option, because it was succinct, and in its brevity, lent more focus to the point of family. Yog's write-in was good, because it was well-written enough to paint a legitimate worldview for Tsunade, where she would end up thinking 'there is literally no good reason for me not to form bonds with Kushina and her family, so I will, because I want those bonds.'
Quizer's write-in more or less only succeeded because I, and Kushina to a lesser degree by proxy, was a lot more to-the-point, and better at communicating, than the total outline he put in. Of course, part of that is because I'm basically communicating with 'myself,' since both Kushina and Tsunade are functioning through the lens of my communications/people reading skills, but whatevs. That you were willing to let your ribs be crushed would have pushed you over the threshold without my skills, but it wouldn't have turned out as well.
The best possible result, would have come from something along the lines of directly and intensely addressing Dan and Nawaki's death, directly and intensely saying that everybody has a worth and value that is inherent to them for being a human being, that can never be taken away, and then a 'finishing move,' the one that comes to mind being something along the lines of 'Dan and Nawaki were precious, wonderful people for you. But you are a precious, wonderful person to, and living like you have been denies both what they believed about you, and in doing so you're actually diminishing their value, as well as your own.'
Which in retrospect, actually sounds somewhat like 'pat' lines. A lot of it would have depended on delivering a well-written write-in, and one that came across as something you actually believed in, rather than just a mental philosophical exercise. It's kind of like the difference between a televangelist, and Mother Theresa. They both speak big words, and claim to be Christians, but it's pretty damn clear who really believes what they're talking about, and their words are so much more meaningful for it.
Finally, getting Tsunade provided unexpected benefit, in her detecting the anomalies with the twins. I hadn't thought of how that would play out until it happened, but that could be a big deal down the road.
→ Rank hath its privileges.
"Allow me to rephrase that, miss receptionist," You say, stepping forward to glare over the woman's desk, "I'm the Hokage's Lieutenant, and you're a glorified clerk. The only person in this village with the authority to veto me is the Hokage himself. I'm going to go see Biwako."
You don't apply any Killing Intent, but you don't need to. The woman is far too thoroughly cowed to try to stop you after that, and you proceed, humming happily, along towards the ward where Biwako is recovering. She hasn't been in the ICU since Tsunade fixed her up the other day (if you're still in the ICU after Tsunade's had a go at you, you're damn lucky you survived until she did), and is more or less just in for observation at this point, until Tsunade checks on her again tomorrow.
On your way in, one of the clones that went to talk to Minato dispels, filling you in on how the meeting went, while the other heads towards the hospital, carrying the hard-copy orders he just issued you. In short, Minato is damn happy that you've managed to get Tsunade to both stay, and be Tsunami's godmother; he gave you orders pretty much making the hospital, and anything else part of Konoha's medical establishment, you and Tsunade's collective personal domain.
This is exactly the sort of thing that you're one of the Hokage's Lieutenant's for; Orochimaru is in charge of research and development, Jiraiya is in charge of Intelligence and some degree of counter-intelligence (with the KMP handling counter-intelligence within the village proper), and you're the free-floating troubleshooter. You handle whatever go-to task Minato needs done that doesn't clearly fall within someone else's field, and when you're not on-assignment, you basically go looking for trouble and put an end to it.
Jiraiya and Snake-face both like to say that if you can't find trouble, you'll make trouble, but personally, you think it's positively criminal when life in a ninja-village is boring, and hey, better the excitement be paint-bombs and whoopie cushions than S-rank ninja trying to steel Bijuu. You've generally kept your prank-targeting to Jounin, special and regular, over the last couple of years, as nobody else is really much of a challenge, and if they can't see it coming they need the practice anyways.
That aside, if Tsunade's still here in a year or so, she'll probably be taking up a position as the Hokage's fourth lieutenant, with medical being her domain, so that you can retain your status as a free-floater.
Your train of thought is thoroughly derailed when you open the door to Biwako's room, and find her and the Old Monkey seriously going at each other. You haven't seen anybody else kiss like that since... your mind draws a blank, though that might be as much the fact that your personal image of those two doesn't include mad, passionate kissing, and some seriously heavy petting on the side. Seriously, don't they know that-
Right, visiting hours are on hiatus just now.
→ "Get a room you two!"
→ "Ew! Old people aren't supposed to do that!"
→ "Not in front of the babies!"
→ Quietly withdraw.
→ Quietly withdraw.
Smiling happily to yourself, you withdraw from Biwako's room, and leave the old couple to catch up with each other in privacy. As you move up towards the Hospital's roof, you even summon a clone to pat yourself on the back for making the reunion possible; having nearly lost Minato recently, you know exactly how Sarutobi feels, and find yourself wishing you had more smooching time with him. He is the Hokage though, and even with shadow clone cheating, he's damn busy and can only spend so much time away from the office.
At the roof of the hospital, you meet up with your clone carrying the orders for the hospital from Minato, and have it spawn another dozen clones. You take the hardcopy yourself, and deliver it to the current head of the hospital, while the clones take the copied versions to the various department heads and other major figures. After a half hour, pretty much everybody who works at the hospital is aware that Tsunade-ba is going to be The Boss starting as soon as she shows up. Most of them are chill with it, though the current boss feels a bit like he's having his toes stepped on; in all fairness, he did earn his position, but this is Tsunade we're talking about.
That taken care of, you discover that it is time to feed the twins; they rarely cry, but when they start crying and flailing at your boobs with their only half-controlled arms, it's pretty consistently meant that they're hungry. So, you have a seat on the hospital roof, privacy screened by somebody's laundry (Who the hell air-dries their laundry on the roof of a hospital?) and set in to feed the twins.
Mommy-hormones and your natural affinity for cuteness turn you into a happy puddle of cooing maternal instinct for a good ten minutes. It would've been fifteen, because the twins are hungry, but after the first ten you sense somebody closing in with you, more specifically it's Kakashi-kun, one of the few chakra signatures you're familiar with to immediately recognize without any other sensory input. Someone else is with him, and the two close in to just outside of the psuedo-screen formed by laundry.
"We shouldn't go any closer," Kakashi says, "She usually only gets like that when she's feeding Naruto and Tsunami."
"Hai, Hatake-san!" Maito Gai barely doesn't shout, "It would be most improper to intrude upon a nursing mother and her children!"
"Damn straight fishbowl!" You bark, "Now what are you two here for anyways?"
"Ah," Kakashi says somewhat awkwardly (boy never was very good with socializing), "Kushina-onee, We've got a little problem, and we're hoping you could give us some advice?"
"Well, out with it sparkplug! Whaddaya want?" You demand.
"Well," Kakashi says awkwardly, "We were the only ones to bet on Minato-sensei winning the fight between Danzo and Sandaime-sama, so we got the whole payout, me more than him. I've got 1,113,000 Ryo, and Gai-kun has 427,000 Ryo in winnings from the bets. What should we do with it all?"
Oh. Right, they did sweep in an awful lot, didn't they?
AN: This is a point at which lots of questions to the GM about what sort of things they can buy or invest in are appropriate. So yeah, I'll be expecting/ready to deal with a lot of that.
Notes on the world from in-thread:
In Konoha, all of the clans have a 'family business,' (Inuzuka=vets, Uchiha=police, Akimichi=Restaraunts, Hyuuga=Professional conductors of Tea Ceremony and Etiquette Training), which all ninja-members of put at least some time into. Clanless ninja in Konoha are a total scattershot, some start their own small businesses on the side, there's the mail-ninja business which is almost always willing to recruit any ninja in good standing, and some do nothing but Ninj.
Sand has their famous puppet-masters, and few outright civilians are willing to live in Suna, so they provide a lot of their own basic services.
Kiri and Mizu both compete with each other as merchant-operators and pirates, in rather obvious ways. Other side-jobs for ninja are frowned upon, but not unheard of. Notably, the bloodline purges have not happened at this time in this continuity.
Iwa used to run construction and clearing business, due to their large numbers of stone-shapers, but since their ninja corps were massively depopulated by the war and Minato, they mostly just train more ninja.
Kumo is a lot like Konoha, but less so. It's kind of a running insult that Kumo has always been a wannabe-Konoha, want the bloodlines, want the powerful non-bloodline clans, want the inherent civilian infrastructure, etc. If it weren't for the fact that after the second war they were marginally the runner-up to Konoha for power, and since the third war, they are unquestionably the second most powerful, having fought in a largely defensive manner after the war's initial blitz offensives.
Minor villages tend to have either essentially no side-jobs for ninja, or have every ninja hold a sidejob, as they either focus on their specialty to try to compensate for their inferior size, or try to pad their budget to build their numbers.
It is particularly notable that unlike in canon, the ninja forces of a nation actually have budgets, and again, are not the sole military forces of each nation. Which means that bandits and the like tend to run into soldiers with guns, tanks, and artillery, so that largely isn't a ninja's problem. It also means that a village's financial security is not dependent upon it functioning as a mercenary organization, they are an actual military operation, if an irregular one, and are treated as such.
There are still mercenary ninja missions, but they run to providing security forces, being contracted by local law enforcement to gather intelligence, and anti-piracy missions. Because a lot of pirates are ninjas.
Since I rambled onto ninja being military operatives, I'll add another post in a little while giving more definition to that. This one will also be linked to in the index.
Notes on militaries and ninja. Beware, the canon/fanon Naruto maps aren't quite accurate to this continuity...
Right, so thinking more on the consequences of militaries being present in this society has also forced me to think about what this would mean for wars.
Basically, the Second and Third Great Ninja Wars, much like the World Wars in real-world history, massively disturbed the balance of power. The SGNW was a big deal, because accurate bolt-action firearms were proliferate, meaning that standing armies were actually dangerous to genin for the first time... pretty much ever. A lot of genin died when they were sent out to 'blood' themselves for the first time fighting 'normal and harmless' soldiers. Chuunin were endangered as well, due to the sheer volume of fire that a platoon can put out, especially when they're well-trained enough to be accurate, and a fair number of them died as well.
Part of the reason that the Land of Fire controls so much territory, is the martial philosophy of the first three Hokages; namely, they didn't treat their ninja like tools, and didn't let their pride get in the way of a combined arms approach to warfare. Whereas IRL WWI, trench warfare became dominant due to the massive advances in lethality of war machines, the SGNW resulted in a strategic discipline more like the Roman Army. Specifically, build yourself a small fortress to sleep in, every night if necessary while you're on the march, and during the night the ninja all try to kill each other.
During the day, artillery and infantry would play merry hell with each other, and at night, the ninja would try to find the other side's infantry and artillery encampments, then call artillery down on the opposition's forces. This is also when Snipers first became more than an extreme rarity, and something that ninja learned to begrudgingly respect, as Chuunin who were insufficiently stealthy could easily be killed by a skilled sniper, though the weapons of the day weren't powerful enough to be a real inconvenience to Jounin.
The implementation of the Tank also made a huge difference to the battlefield. An armored division was a serious threat to ninja in direct combat. Iwa largely laughed, as while only special-Jounin ninjutsu specialists and up could tear open a tank's hull to get at the meaty center, tanks were complex machines, and Chuunin could easily do enough damage to mobility-kill a tank. The vehicles were almost universally outfitted with high-powered flamethrowers however, which made closing with them extremely dangerous for ninja. Standardized explosive tags of the day weren't powerful enough to crack tank armor, and for much of the war a race of metallurgists and mechanical engineers against seal experts was maintained, trying to make armor strong enough, and explosive tags powerful enough, to defeat the other.
Strategy for the deployment of ninja fairly rapidly shifted towards what we'd consider more traditional IRL, slip your ninja behind enemy lines, and start blowing up their munitions factories and the like. This is part of why air power developed very differently; only S-rank ninja can fly in a meaningful way, and it was much cheaper to insert a ninja behind enemy lines than develop and deploy more advanced air power, so things developed in a manner that would seem very weird to most people IRL.
While fixed-wing aircraft do exist, they're largely used to defend zeppelins. Zeppelins present stable large-scale observation and firing platforms, allowing for much longer and more detailed studies of enemy troop formations to be formed. They carry some light guns, but more importantly, a sniper contingent, and basically serve as gun platforms to force Shinobi to keep their heads down. While S-rank ninja who can fly are extremely rare, S-rank ninja who can effectively hit something flying at a couple thousand feet, are something you can expect at least a half-dozen of in every major village in except for Iwa. And since Zeppelins are such massive targets, if they get too close to the front lines, it's pretty damn easy for such a ninja to knock one out of the sky without having to meaningfully expose themselves.
Because of this, air power wasn't developed anywhere near as much during SGNW, and largely survived as a minor accessory to frontline combat, and as security observation at important sites in friendly territory.
In essence, SGNW devolved to 'opening assaults, counterattacks where Land of Fire gained territory because Tobiirama and Sarutobi were awesome, then shadow war for ninja while regular militaries skirmished,' until the heavy-hitters started getting thrown in. Kumo deployed one of its Jinchuuriki against Iwa, Iwa lost some ground before pulling out one of their Jinchuuriki, and it was ugly. Huge tracts of land were laid completely to waste. Salamander Hanzo fought the Sannin and shit-tons of people died, but the duel itself was a stalemate.
Then Tobiirama died fighting both of Kiri's Jinchuuriki and the Mizukage, killing both Jinchuuriki in the process. The battle lasted seven hours, and afterwards, the Mizukage fled with the the dead Jinchuuriki to reseal the Bijuu before they broke loose, rather than risk pressing his advance into the Land of Fire.
Suna, Kumo, and Iwa all decided that since the second of the legendary Senju brothers was finally dead, this meant that the opportunity to knock Konoha off the top of the heap had finally come, and came to a temporary cease-fire, and sent their Kage and one of their two Jinchuuriki to attack Konoha directly.
The Sannin and Sarutobi took the field, the Sannin confronted one Jinchuuriki each, and Sarutobi took on all three Kage by himself.
Two days later Suna had lost the seven-tails, Iwa had lost the five-tails, and the exhausted Sannin had pulled a draw with the remaining eight-tails Jinchuuriki. Jiraiya still insists that the only reason he didn't beat his opponent solo too was because he had the toughest.
The Kazekage, Tsuchikage, and Raikage retreated from the battlefield, and Sarutobi, already known as 'The Professor,' gained the title 'God of Shinobi.'
Sarutobi said 'War's over,' nobody really felt like arguing with him at that point.
It would be another twenty years before anybody dared to attack the Land of Fire again.
Partially as a result, Third Great Shinobi War wasn't actually started by Shinobi; the one drawback to the Kage/Jinchuuriki/Sannin brawl that ended the SGSW, was that very few people saw it, or realized just how powerful it revealed the Land of Fire to be. So, as technology continued to advance, and bolt-action rifles became semi-automatics, clunky armored tanks became efficient, speedy engines of destruction, and artillery began to hit ranges of 50+ miles, someone got ambitious.
Specifically the Daimyo of the Land of Earth decided he wanted back the territory that Konoha had gained in the SGSW, and started the TGSW against the advice of the Tsuchikage. Ninja being ninja, the attack didn't come as a surprise to anyone, and when Earth invaded Fire, Lightning invaded Earth, Kiri invaded Suna, and Suna, now allied with Fire, tried to attack Kiri and Iwa both at the same time. Suna gained ground against Iwa, and was pushed back from the coast by Kiri, who promptly bogged down when they hit the desert.
Fire, having been ruled by a swiftly-assassinated incompetent Daimyo at the start of the war (Kiri and Iwa think Sarutobi ordered it, prevailing opinion elsewhere is that Suna organized it without Konoha's knowledge in order to save the war) lost territory initially, but once the new Daimyo, all of twelve years old, and having the prodigy Sarutobi Asuma as one of his bodyguards whispering in his ear, swiftly shut down Iwa's attack, then was forced to send the two Sannin still in service (Tsunade had crawled into the bottle by this point) to guard the border with Ame, as Hanzo had finally just killed the Daimyo of the small nation and seized power outright.
After that it was pretty much war of attrition on all fronts, the Tsuchikage, while not as personally powerful as Sarutobi, proved to be the superior strategist. He was the first and most vociferous to support Hanzo's claim to rulership over Ame, and kept a constant, very obvious diplomatic dialogue open with the man to force Konoha to keep its forces divided, then executed a master shadow war against both Kumo and Konoha, while his strong-headed Daimyo learned the painful realities of warfare and how to be a decent strategist and tactician with his conventional forces.
Kumo was run by A, who had just come to power as the youngest Kage ever, and while extremely powerful personally, lacked the guile to successfully defeat Iwa, despite Iwa fighting on two fronts.
Sand, always the smallest of the big five, conducted a hideously effective guerrilla campaign against Kiri's forces, not just with ninja, but with its 'conventional' forces. While Konoha had enjoyed the strongest relationship between conventional forces and ninja after the SGSW, during the TGSW the bond between Suna's army and ninja became a thing of legend. Every attempt to advance into the deserts of Wind was beaten back with hideous losses.
Kiri waged a vicious pirating campaign against Konoha in turn, and showed the world at large that while Konoha was unquestionably the strongest on land, Fire was weak at Sea.
During this war, ninja played a much lesser role than they had ever before; a hundred Chuunin had at best even odds against an armored battalion, unless they were Iwa Chuunin, and with the development of aircraft capable of effectively playing the role of fighter-bombers, ala early WWII aircraft, as well as far more rapidly-firing and effective artillery.
Due to the difficulty in keeping airbases from being sabotaged or demolished when close to the front lines, as well as the serious danger of low-flying or strafing aircraft getting cut down by a single well-placed technique from a ninja, their role was still limited. What would have been considered medium bombers in WWII IRL were developed and deployed during the course of war, their success leading to development work on heavy bombers, though they didn't see deployment before the war ended.
Zeppelins were rendered obsolete for deployment along a battlefront, Fire however began to deploy larger Zeppelins outfitted with heavy guns as escorts for their naval merchants; Kiri responded with aircraft carriers, Kiri responded with heavy (and long range) fighters as escorts, then aircraft carriers of their own. Kiri responded with submarines, Fire created depth charges, and the war ended before that went much further.
The war was expected to last much longer, as Kage-level combatants had not yet been deployed, when Minato popped up and ended the war single-handedly much the way that Sarutobi had twenty years earlier.
In this continuity, Minato didn't just cut down 600ish Iwa ninja from Genin to Jounin on one battlefield, he cut down some thousands of infantrymen, demolished three entire airbases with exploding tags, and blew up the front door to the Earth Daimyo's palace, all in less than a minute. With radios and telephones, Earth figured out what had happened very quickly, and the Tsuchikage demanded the Daimyo sue for peace. The Daimyo refused, then had an 'accident,' and his successor sued for peace.
Kiri retreated from Wind's shores immediately, and their Daimyo sent an emissary to negotiate terms of peace, though they will very emphatically insist they did not sue for peace, they merely negotiated it.
The war lasted a few more months, but exclusively between Earth and Lightning, before the Lightning Daimyo finally brought A to heel and ended the war, despite their ultimately marginal gains in territory. Notable about Kumo, however, is that not even minor border skirmishes occurred between Lightning and Fire; in this continuity Fire and Lightning have not had more than extremely minor accidental clashes since the SGSW.
The Third Great Shinobi War ended, once again, with Fire and Konoha coming out as the clear top dogs, Minato's ascension brewed a great deal of resentment in other nations, as between Tsunade's breakdown and Sarutobi's advancing age, it had been hoped by many in other nations that they would have finally been cut down to size.
It's been a month since this quest started, and it's got more than an update per day. In celebration of that, and since I'm not ready to call the latest vote closed, it's time for an Omake!
Omake: What ultimately happened to Danzo.
Danzo was a hardened veteran of literally more battles than he could count, and as a number of them were not on any file or report, and he was the only survivor of a number of them, nobody else living could count the number of battles he'd been in either.
Even he accepted, however, that given enough time, all ninja cracked under interrogation. It was, in essence, an immutable truth, and was also why every S-ranked ninja worth their salt kept at least two suicide techniques in reserve, so that they could kill themselves before cracking. Or suffering more than was totally necessary.
Unfortunately for Danzo, three seal-masters superior to himself in skill, and Senju Tsunade, had all collaborated to disarm his suicide measures, and he was bereft of all seventeen suicide tactics he had prepared. That they had successfully collected all of them impressed Danzo; they'd even wedged his jaw open to keep him from biting his tongue off.
His old rival's students were nothing if not thorough, and a part of Shimura Danzo had always resented the fact that none of his protege's had even come close to matching Hiruzen's famed students. Hell, his students wouldn't have been able to defeat one of the Sannin collectively, much less duel the whole team. How had Sarutobi managed to train three Kage-level ninja, anyways?
It's odd, Danzo thought, The things you think of when under the effects of chemical interrogation.
He'd been on the drug for about a week, and it had been gradually turning his mind to mush; Morino Ibiki and Yamanaka Inoichi would occasionally enter his cell and ask him questions, but he had yet to answer any of them. Danzo knew what the record for how long it had taken a man to break was, and he intended to beat it, if nothing else. He also was old, and he might get lucky, and die under the stress of interrogation, though with Tsunade around, that was profoundly unlikely.
The cell door opened, and the Sandaime walked in.
"You know, Danzo," Sarutobi said sadly as he stood in front of the angled table Danzo was effectively welded into, "I am deeply disappointed in you. Once upon a time, we were friends."
"Once," Shimura agreed, his voice rough from lack of use and dehydration, "Once I trusted you to know how to keep Konoha safe."
"Danzo," Sarutobi said, earnest sadness in his tone and on his face, "Don't you know that losing a friend's trust is the surest way to lose a friend?"
A pink creature, no, a pink abomination, like some twisted fiend's caricature of... some sort of quadruped suddenly burst out of the collar of Sarutobi's robes, its forelegs flailing about wildly.
"FOREVER!" It shouted.
And that was when Danzo knew he had lost his mind.
AN: I blame my Beta being a Brony.
→ Hold on to your horse-summons everyone, because you left it to the GM and now Kushina is getting on the CRAZY TRAIN!
"You should invest in diapers," You promptly inform Kakashi, "Because you'll be changing a lot of them."
Kakashi freezes, in what you suspect strongly is horror.
"Oh, and Fishbowl can invest in a hat. Seriously, that hair is way the hell too distinctive, how do you ever expect to blend in on infiltration missions?"
"A valid point Uzumaki-dono!" Gai declares, "This thought had not occurred to me before!"
"Kakashi," You continue, "You should probably also invest in some real estate, the twins will need somewhere to play with their uncle outdoors.. Also, you should get some steak for your summons. Oh, oh! You should start a greenhouse that grows night-flowering plants, so that we can have our own supply of seal ink when I start teaching you seals, and-"
You break off for a moment, Tsunami's done feeding, so you shift your hold on her and use a chakra-chain to tuck that breast away.
"And you should probably put a lot of it away as a date-fund, so you can impress Rin-chan when you start dating her next year-"
"What?!" Kakashi bursts out, utterly horrified, but you just bulldoze right over him.
"You'll want to make sure you buy the plot next to our house, so that when you and Rin-chan start having babies, I can come over with the twins and-"
"NOOOOOOOO!" Kakashi screams in horror, and flees the rooftop in terror.
"I did not know you had a girl you admired Kakashi-kun!" Fishbowl declares as he races off after Kakashi, "You must tell me all about..."
His interrogation fades off as he and Gai rapidly move out of range of even fine-tuned ninja hearing.
Oh well, I guess he didn't want advice after all?
What do next? You've still got your Ichiraku sitting on the rooftop next to you.
→ Visit Yoshino-chan with a gift, you owe her for her help the other day.
→ Go grocery shopping.
→ Visit the Hyuugas, you owe Hiashi some thanks for his efforts to save Minato.
→ Go around town and showing random villagers just how cute your behbes are.
→ Training. (Nin/Gen/Tai/Ken-jutsu?)
→ Write in.
AN: Warning, if you guys leave things up to the GM too much, you may start getting bad-crazy results...
→ Go see dem Hyuugas.
With your current distraction run off by your overwhelming instinctive need for more babies, you summon a clone to feed you Ramen while Naruto finishes up. There's no one around watching you for etiquette, so you don't bother to eat slowly.
Which isn't to say you make a mess either, there will be no wasting of Ramen for you, but two people's worth of Ramen is still ingested fully within three or so minutes, after which the clone heads off to dispose of the bowls and packaging, while you begin bouncing across the rooftops towards the Hyuuga compound.
As usual, its traditionalist style reminds you vaguely of your earliest years, back in Uzu, which also favored such a style, though you remember few of the specific details now. It's a sort of a bittersweet reminiscence, and has fairly frequently dampened your mood while you were present within the Hyuuga compound, something they probably would appreciate, if they were aware of it. Most likely, they just assume that even you tone things down somewhat within their reserved home.
There's a retired Chuunin at the gate, a matter of etiquette and protocol more than an actual guard, and after a brief exchange of words, and a series of hand-signals from within his voluminous sleeves that ninja below Jounin rank wouldn't notice, you're ushered into the same meeting structure that you were in just a few days before. The same female Chuunin as before is present, and she again offers you tea and a smile. You accept both, and make pleasant chit chat while you wait for-
Wait a minute, you didn't even say who you were here to visit, you just introduced yourself and the guard let you in. They must have been expecting you, or at least someone must have been expecting you. During a lull in the conversation (about favored ninja weapons, yours being explosive tags), you ask her about who is coming to coming to speak with you, and she says 'Hana-hime and Hiashi-sama.'
Huh. Not sure why he's bringing the wife. You don't really know Hyuuga Hana very well; she was a year or two behind you in the academy, though she was the same age, and never made Jounin. You're not sure if she made Special Jounin or not, but you're pretty sure she at least made Chuunin before moving to reserve status to start having babies.
Something I can very much sympathize with right now, you think as you pull your babies a little bit closer and bury your face in their scruffy hair; Naruto giggles in response.
Soon enough, the shoji panel facing towards the inner parts of the Hyuuga compound slides open, and Hiashi steps in, before turning around to gently assist his wife, who is very pregnant, into the room.
Very, very pregnant. You're pretty sure that's at least twins in there, something you recognize readily yourself.
"Greetings, Uzumaki-san," Hiashi says respectfully as the present Chuunin arranges some cushions for Hana to seat herself on, "I am glad that you came to speak with us, for there are matters of great importance we wish to discuss with you."
"What kind of things?" You ask, somewhat startled.
"First of all," Hiashi says as he helps Hana seat herself, then sits down himself, "The possibility of arranging for the betrothal of one of our soon-to-be-born daughters to your son."
→ Stunned silence.
→ "What game are you playing here, Hiashi?"
→ "Of course! They'd be so cuuute together!"
→ "You'll have to tell me more about why before I agree to anything."
Check Tsunade/medical then sure: 5
Tell me more first: 6
Stunned silence: 4
No arranged marriages: 2
→ Shock, then ask for more info, then say you'll need to check with Tsunade first.
Your jaw is hanging open slightly as you stare at Hiashi, the full intent of his words taking some time to work their way through your head. Hiashi takes the opportunity to say more words.
"I understand that this may seem somewhat premature, but there are a number of reasons such an alliance would be desirable," Hiashi says calmly, "As they are... excuse me."
He breaks off briefly to root around in the sleeves of his robes, then turns to his wife.
"Beloved," He says, his voice softening as he addresses her, "Do you recall where I placed the outline of the proposed betrothal?"
"Ah," Hana says, her voice the very essence of refined gentility, "I recall you placing it on our bedstand before you helped me out of bed, I am not certain if you recovered it afterwards."
"Yuki-san," Hiashi says, turning to face the Chuunin, who has just finished serving tea, "I require the scroll that apparently resides on the bed-stand of my wife and I, I must oblige you to recover it for me."
"Of course, Hiashi-sama," Yuki says, bowing gracefully, before standing smoothly, and gliding out of the small structure.
"Please pardon the interruption, Uzumaki-san," Hiashi says (you didn't, it gave you time to reboot the brain), turning back go face you, "But as I was saying, an alliance would do much to secure the future of our clans, especially combining our unparalleled awareness and perception, with your own clan's talent and knowledge of sealing."
That's definitely a hint he's trying to pass on, you'd have to be an idiot Genin to miss it, but you're exactly sure what it is he's trying to hint at.
AN: Just so you all know, responding in any way that wouldn't give him time to elaborate, would have been the bad option. Whichever option that would have been.
Secure the space for speakings: 10
Too many secret things to agree just now: 1
AN: You know, the argument on the previous page was invigorating enough that I'd thought the voting was close. Turns out it was pretty thoroughly lopsided once I actually took a tally...
→ "I'd be happy to discuss terms, but I'm afraid that I must request that I take measures to keep our conversation private. I am unwilling to reveal the details of my bloodline without several measures of my own security. I am, however, willing to reveal certain details to you so long as you swear upon the honor of the Hyuugas and your ancestors that what we discuss remains between us."
→ If Hiashi agrees, set up privacy seals and genjutsu.
"...I'd be happy to discuss terms," You say, eyeing Hiashi up and down carefully, "But as I'm sure you can sympathize with, a lot of stuff about the Uzumaki bloodline is secret, so I'll have to take measures in order to discuss it."
"Of course," Hiashi says with a meaningful nod, "What measures would you see as necessary?"
"An oath on your part not to reveal any secrets I will disclose, upon the honor of the Hyuuga clan."
"Acceptable," Hiashi says, then turns to his wife, who nods gracefully in turn, "We so swear."
"Very good," You say, then summon a clone, who takes Naruto and Tsunami off your hands, allowing you to pull a storage seal from one of your equipment pouches, and release a large scroll from storage.
This little beauty ('little' meaning the scroll is only about a hundred feet long when unfurled) was developed by you and Minato together, him for his skill with time/space manipulation, you for your skill with chakra storage; the power requirements for this seal are intense. You flip through three dozen hand-seals lightning-quick, totally irrelevant to the Seal, but misdirection is the essence of Ninja, and then activate the array.
Immediately, everything within twenty feet of you is slipped out of phase with reality proper. It's not totally disconnected, that could have all kinds of unpleasant consequences, but the shell which differentiates the isolated space from the rest of existence 'twists' the connection on a dimension you don't really understand (that was Minato's bit), but that twist means that everything, sound, light, vibrations, and any form of chakra, is distorted into psychedelic staticky patterns. Which are completely indecipherable to any known human senses.
"This'll last for no less than ten minutes," You tell Hiashi flatly, "Beyond that, its duration is a secret, even from you. I don't see it as completely out of the question, but I'm not much of a fan of committing my son to marrying someone who isn't born yet. Start talking."
"I will be concise," Hiashi says simply, "You are doubtless aware of the internal tension within my clan, especially since I ordered our academy students to partake in Sniper training. There are three bloodlines that are considered to be part of the 'main' family, my wife being from one of them. Every generation the head marries from the bloodline of the three his parents do not come from, while the other members of each bloodline are required to marry outside of the clan, so as to prevent dangers relating to inbreeding.
"The complication comes in how power is held within the clan," Hiashi continues, distaste entering his tone, "and the political maneuvering that resulted in the branding of my twin, Hizashi. The clan council is composed of each member of the Main House who has attained Chuunin rank or higher, and holds authority second only to the Clan Head. If there is a contention regarding policy, a two-thirds majority of the Council serves as a deadlock, at which point breaking the tie is turned to a vote amongst the Chuunin or higher amongst the Branch House, the only form of power they hold within the clan. In the case of a total majority, however, the Council may overrule even the Head."
He pauses, and his jaw works, a clear outwards sign of suppressed anger.
"Hizashi was sealed on the possibility that should I take it into my head to decree the Caged Bird seal be removed, that he, being my twin, would vote alongside me, regardless of the will of the rest of the Council."
Hiashi is nearly trembling by this point, and Hana leans over to envelope him in a gentle hug.
"It is ironic, in that we were three years old. The issues around the seal had never occurred to me, but because of the pain my brother suffered through," A genuine scowl pushes past Hiashi's iron self-control, "I have developed opinions regarding the seal. Largely that it is utterly loathsome, and absolutely unacceptable in every way. My brother's life literally hangs upon the whim of any of a dozen petty, selfish men and women, a single refusal to obey their orders could end his life instantly. I will see the Caged Bird seal removed from the Hyuuga clan, or I will die in the attempt."
"Damn straight," You snarl, "I knew it could cause pain, but death? That's bullshit."
"Indeed," Hiashi says, regaining some of his cool as he wraps an arm around his wife, "And seeing as my wife is pregnant with twins, I must also act swiftly if I wish to prevent one of my daughters from suffering a similar fate. In arranging a betrothal to your son, I not only ensure this, but ally myself with a powerful seal-master, and arrange things so that the Council would be either grievously insulting an ally to seal the next clan-head's future wife, or accept my daughter remaining unsealed. And if they do attempt to force the sealing, they would be giving an Uzumaki seal-master unrestricted access to the Caged Bird seal, to learn to effect a counter-seal or removal. Even my arranging of such a betrothal is beyond reproach in my position as Clan head, due to the indisputable fact that the Uzumaki make for powerful allies."
You nod thoughtfully as you consider how to proceed from here.
About four minutes have passed since you raised the seal, it'll last fifteen minutes on its own reserves, you can push it for at least another five on your own, and still remain decently combat capable. What do?
Betrothal with escape clauses: 2
Positive inclination, but more consideration/consultation with other: 5
Plan Hymn: 5
Also keep the details secret: 1
AN: I'm basically going with plan Hymn, because it's essentially a more detailed version of what I counted just above it. Stipulating that the contract details and etc be kept secret is something I was hoping that someone would pick up on. It's a case where it is a very big deal thing to do in-setting, but I wasn't going to throw it in there without at least somebody bringing it up. One person voted for it, and a couple other people mentioned it, and that's enough for me to stick it in. Bad things would probably have happened if it hadn't been...
→ "You are asking me to make my son one of the most important people in a conflict that might tear your clan apart. To decide his life for him before he has had a chance to decide for himself. Before I even consider this, you will promise me that you would look out for Naruto's well-being and happiness as if he were your own child."
→ "I've convinced Tsunade to rejoin Konoha, and she will be performing an examination on my children. She believes they are developing unique bloodlines. I'll ask her to perform an examination on your children as well, as much as she can now and again when they are born, to ensure that they will be compatible and that your Council will have no leverage to dismiss the union. In the meantime, I will consider your proposal as thoroughly as possible to come to a decision. You can tell that to the Council so that they are appeased while we wait for further results. I may be willing to consider it, but I am not yet willing to commit. Once we are reasonable confident that no insurmountable obstacles exist, I will make my final decision and if I agree we will finalize the terms of the betrothal. Deal?"
"Alright Hiashi," You say, all trace of your usual goofiness laid aside for this time and place as you give him the Serious Face, "You're asking me to put my son, who is less than a week old, on the line for the sake of your children, and the future of your clan, which you've just admitted is intensely politically divided, and willing to do very stupid things in order to pursue their goals. The only way I'm committing to this, is if you give me an oath that you will treat Naruto's safety and well-being the same way you would a child of your own."
"If you will give your own word to treat my daughter's well-being in the same way." Hiashi returns, just as seriously.
"Hiashi," You say seriously, "If your munchkin gets betrothed to my baby, that will make her family. And I can tell you this, I will see every single Hyuuga dead, before I allow them to slap one of those damn seals on any member of my family. This includes you."
Hana shivers slightly, and you force yourself to calm down, realizing that you had begun to channel some Killing Intent there.
"And don't think I couldn't do it, either," You tell him more quietly, but no less intensely, "Your clan fields you, your brother, and maybe two other S-rank combatants, all of you centered around Taijutsu and the Jyuuken. Due to my Uzumaki heritage," You continue, the pace of your speech beginning to pick up, "I have techniques at my disposal that allow me to render myself immune to the effects of Jyuuken, which I can engage after my chakra system has already effectively been disabled, and have chances of self-activating even if I am attacked while unconscious."
You pause for a moment, panting from pent-up emotion and your overly-fast words.
"Do not mess with my family." You finish, leaning back on your haunches, and taking Naruto and Tsunami back from the clone that was holding them, and holding them tightly to your chest.
Hana and Hiashi graciously give you a minute to calm down, and you bury your face in the twins' hair, drinking in their scent, feeling their hearts beat against your chest. It's been a long time since you've had family by blood, and you are not giving them up any time soon.
"You have my word," Hiashi eventually says, "That I shall protect your son, and daughter for that matter, as earnestly as I shall protect my daughters. Honor would demand nothing less."
"And my word also," Hana says softly, and you lift your head to look at her, surprised she chose to speak up as well at this point.
Her face wears a gentle, sad expression, one you've seen in the mirror many times before; she's not even trying to mask her body language, and you're pretty sure that if she wasn't gravid with twins herself, she'd be coming over to give you a hug. As is, she settles for wrapping her arms around Hiashi again, giving you a bittersweet smile as she does so.
"And you have my promise, to look after both of your daughters, Hiashi, Hana," You say solemnly, "I'll either keep the seal off of both of them, or find a way to remove it if the rest of your clan goes behind our backs to apply it."
"We have an accord then, Uzumaki-san?" Hiashi says, returning to the formality that he is more accustomed to now that the moments of fierce emotion have passed.
"We will," You say, "But a number of things need to happen before we can finalize an agreement, beyond simply finding a suitably trustworthy lawyer to draw up the documents. First, earlier today, I convinced Senju Tsunade to end her nomadic lifestyle, and remain in Konoha, in part so that she can fulfill a role as Tsunami's godmother."
Hana's eyes go wide at that, and Hiashi twitches. Barely.
"She has only conducted a cursory examination of the twins thus far, but a new evolution of the clan heritage I already carry may be developing in them, and while the well-known parts of the Uzumaki bloodline, high chakra endurance and vitality, should not conflict with the Byakugan, the newly-developing traits are as-yet unknown. As such, all detailed negotiation must await a comprehensive examination of my children from Tsunade, and while we're at it, allowing her to examine your wife and unborn daughters would most likely be appropriate. This would mean bringing her in on the intended existence of said contract, but I assume you have no objections to this?"
Hiashi and Hana both shake their heads, Hana looking somewhat faint.
"Second, I must have words at least in passing with the twins' father," You continue, "He deserves at least to be aware of this, and he may be aware of reasons to object that I am not, and such must be taken into consideration."
The Hyuugas nod again at this.
"Third, the detailed terms are to be sworn to secrecy. In order to enforce this, I shall place seals upon the contract, barring those whose blood is not applied upon the seal's creation from reading the full terms, rather than simply the general outline. Because of this, we will be able to include more or less any terms that we want, which will be beyond the purview of your political opponents to even be aware of. Since I am the one insisting on this, and it is your daughter to wed the future head of my clan, they have very little ground to object," You pause for a moment, allowing a vicious grin to grow upon your face, "And believe you me, the enforcement protocols regarding secrecy I can include in such a seal will mean that any of your political opponents who attempt to break the secrecy seal, well... Let's just say that hopefully they will attempt such a thing, because then they will no longer be a problem for any of us."
"Finally, and partially contingent upon the third issue, there must be an included escape clause in case our children simply have no desire whatsoever for each other. Since this will be included in the secured part of the contracts, it's not something to worry about the political repercussions of, but I will not allow my son to be forced into marrying a woman he hates, as utterly improbable as I think such a disposition towards each other may be."
You grin again, this time much more pleasantly, rubbing your cheek against Naruto's scruffy hair as you do so.
"Especially since they'll have me trying to set them up together. Do you have any objection to these measures?"
"In principle," Hiashi says, "I find them to be eminently satisfactory. We will, of course, have to spend some time considering them, and meet again to handle the more specific details later. I am glad we have been able to come to such an agreement."
"Me too," You say, relaxing from 'serious mode' somewhat, and exchanging smiles with Hana, who is rubbing her swollen belly in a way that you are intimately familiar with yourself.
The privacy seal has been running for about thirteen minutes, do you want to talk about anything else before lowering it?
→ See if Hiashi can get you the schematics for the Caged Bird seal.
→ Arrange for Hana to come in for 'you' to check up on her pregnancy, so you can pull a switch with Tsunade when she gets to the hospital.
→ Try to weird Hiashi out with your oddness, he's altogether too serious.
AN: As I've mentioned earlier in this quest, I don't just go with straight options, I mash things up to what seems most character appropriate. This particular time, I varied more than usual from what the votes were, but I still think I kept to them in general, while also keeping to Kushina's character. If people feel I'm going too far off the wall with this, we can have some discussion about such on the thread for regarding future posts.
Also, it's just a point of note, Mikoto=Naruto's Godmother, Jiraiya=Naruto's Godfather. Tsunade=Tsunami's Godmother, nobody yet=Tsunami's Godfather. It doesn't really seem appropriate to me to ask Hiashi to do that, but I'm just throwing this out there in case you lot do, or want to track down somebody else for the role. Just sayin'
→ Lower the seal, then ask Hana to come in for an inspection from Tsunade some time.
AN: Not many votes this time, not many at all.
You lower the privacy seal, and little else of consequence is said between yourself and the Hyuuga couple, though you do get Hana to agree to an examination from Tsunade (not a difficult thing to get people to agree to).
And the Hyuuga Chuunin, Yuki, is so doing such an adorable job of hiding how flustered the privacy screen had her. Like most most Hyuuga, she's very good at presenting a calm front, but you're a Jounin, and Byakugan users are not used to having their vision blocked off.
Your inner prankster passes on a warm, fuzzy feeling; imagining the same thing happening to the Hyuuga Council, or whatever spy they set to watching, is a Happy Thought.
Once your (overly formal) goodbyes are completed, you leave the Hyuuga council, and happily bounce your way along to the Hokage tower, humming one of your favorite songs as you do so. The twins, nestled against your chest, coo happily as you traverse the rooftops, and you get a strong case of the Warm Fuzzies. You use the window entrance to access Minato-kun's office directly once you reach the tower, and find that fortunately, he's alone except for his secretary, Inuzuka Hikari.
"Afternoon Yondaime-sama," You call as you enter, the security seals around the window frame resonating briefly with the one on your belly as they confirm your identity, "Tested that privacy seal we were working on earlier, when we've got time we should talk about the results. Any hot items that need my attention today?"
"Just making sure things go smoothly for Tsunade as she takes over Medical," Minato says, nodding briefly in your direction as he looks over something important one of his shadow clones handling paperwork just passed to him, "Have you been to see Biwako yet today?"
"Yeah," You say with a sharkish grin, "She was well enough that her and the Old Monkey needed some privacy. Looks like she'll be making a full recovery. Anything else you think I should know about?"
"Just that Sensei 'took a break' again," Minato says, still not looking up from his work, "You might want to instigate a security patrol through the hot springs before he gets himself hurt. I'll send a runner if I need you for anything else."
"Aye-aye, Hokage-sama," You say cheerfully, saluting jauntily, an odd experience with Naruto still being held in that hand, "I'm off Toad-hunting then, good luck with the red tape."
And with that, you head off to:
→ Go hunt up Jiraiya, just like you said.
→ Visit Yoshino-chan with a gift, you owe her for her help the other day.
→ Go grocery shopping.
→ Go around town and showing random villagers just how cute your behbes are.
→ Training. (Nin/Gen/Tai/Ken-jutsu?)
→ Write in.
AN: Kushina talking about the security seal was her way of letting him know that they need to have A Talk later; him not paying her any real attention is something that happens sometimes. They're not publicly anything more than Hokage and Lieutenant, so sometimes he gives her plenty of attention, sometimes he doesn't, same as with Orochimaru.
→ Off to see Jiraiya.
AN: Sorry about further delays; the latest chapter of Hero Harry ran 4000 words over what I was expecting, and this delayed things again.
It's not far to the hot springs, for a ninja anyways, and you find Jiiraiya soon enough. His ear is pressed to the privacy fence, probably augmented with chakra too, trying to listen in and see if he can glean any 'secrets' that will help him with the fairer sex, and his eyes are pealed, watching for potential perverts, which you suspect he hopes will show up to give him the chance to play hero to the women within.
He's been trying this for at least six years, as long as you've known him, and it hasn't gotten him anywhere yet. How he manages an intelligence network while being so utterly inept with women, you have no idea. Some people think it's an elaborate ruse, but you know from Minato that Jiraiya honestly has no idea to deal with women, and desperately wishes that he did.
You're still trying to figure that one out.
Regardless, he's at his usual haunt, and judging by the empty coffee cup and sake bottle, he's been here for a while. Just as you arrive within clear line-of sight, the Old Monkey's son, Asuma strolls up to Jiraiya's hiding spot, and strikes up a conversation with him, though you're too far away to hear just what they're saying.
How do you approach this?
AN: Don't go overboard with asking questions or playing super-spy, but what gets voted on here, especially if it's well-written, will determine what, and what kind of, information, you have on Jiraiya before you start walking into this. For player knowledge, Kushina has not yet made any dedicated attempt to help Jiraiya with his women issues in life, mostly because their contact is very limited due to their respective missions and whatnot.
→ The subtle route.
AN: I like to mash together the plans when I can, but the ones listed were pretty diametrically opposed; counting old Quizer and new Quizer together put it ahead though.
Lifting Naruto and Tsunami up so that they can see your face clearly, you give them a smile and a whispered 'shhhh!' before slipping down to street level, then creeping around towards the small stand of trees that blocks most visibility to Jiraiya's hiding place. It takes a few minutes of work, but you manage to damp your chakra, and insinuate yourself into a close enough position that you can overhear Jiraiya and the Old Monkey's sprat.
"-I don't really get it," Asuma is saying, "Why would Minato-sama give me a group of genin? I'm barely four years older than the average academy graduate!"
"Part of it's probably because whether you believe it or not," Jiraiya replies gently, "You've inherited your old man's tendency towards teaching. I'm not the only one who saw you working with the Genin and Chuunin at every posting you held during the war."
"Ugh," Asuma says grumpily, "Why does it always come back to my dad? Can I do anything without it being compared to him?"
"Yeah," Jiraiya says with a laugh, "You could try sucking as a ninja. It's not fair the way most people compare you to him; I'd know, I've been compared to Tsunade-hime and snake-face my whole career, but I've learned to get over it."
"Yeah," Asuma said, still clearly unhappy, "But you have done something that tops both of them, you trained the Yondaime."
"And you've trained, informally, a full third of the Chuunin who were still alive and in-service at the end of the war," Jiraiya replies, his tone much more serious, "And no small number of them were alive because you trained them."
"And it just gets people talking about how much like my father I am all over again!" Asuma half-shouts, nearly exploding, "People'd just call me a repeat if I trained up a whole new generation of Kage-level combatants!"
"Hey," Jiraiya says, and you hear what you suspect is the Toad-hermit taking hold of the younger man, "They don't know what they're talking about. For all that Sensei did a great job trading me and my teammates, he never engaged in the kind of across-the-board type of training you've given people. They compare it to your father training us because they don't see the whole picture. Don't let it get to you."
"If that's the case," Asuma says, his anger fading to grumpiness, "Then why's he giving me a genin team, instead of sending me to teach at the Academy?"
"Like I said," Jiraiya says, a hint of humor entering his voice, "Your proven record teaching is only part of the picture. You're also one of the least unhinged Jounin in grade right now, and the last thing we need right now is a war-veterans passing their trauma on to a bunch of twelve and thirteen year olds. A lot of harsh measures that were SOP during the war won't fly now, and they shouldn't, and you're stable enough to recognize that."
"Come on," Asuma says, his tone finally shifting away from anger altogether, towards disbelief, "There's got to be better candidates than me out there."
"Not really," Jiraiya says with a chuckle, "The only Jounin above you on the 'sane and stable' list who doesn't already have a team, is Kushina, and she's got her new kids to take care of?"
A tense silence passes for a moment.
"Uzumaki Kushina?" Asuma says, his voice full of flat disbelief.
You hear the slight rustle of hair moving over cloth, probably Jiraiya nodding.
"If she's the sanest Jounin we've got on hand," Asuma says, "We're worse off than I thought."
Well, now that wasn't very nice of him, was it?
→ That certainly sounded like an invitation to join the conversation to you! Enter in a manner that reveals you heard what he said, and show your displeasure!
→ This sounds like an excellent time to just 'happen' by, looking to have Naruto visit with his Godfather!
→ Leave quietly to plot your pranktastic revenge!
AN: I rolled for the stealth & creeping up. Asuma rolled better than Kushina, but his skills were inferior; Jiraiya had better skills, but rolled worse. Both were within 4% of detecting Kushina anyways. You lucky dogs.
→ Plan Hymn. Who totally dominated this round of voting.
Shunshin, short range tactical teleportation, or DRAMATIC ENTRANCE!
"Yeah, those Uzumakis," You tell Asuma as one of your clones companionably wraps an arm around his shoulder, "Totally crazy. Oh hey, Jiraiya!"
Prime you turns to face the old toad.
"We were looking for you," You say, holding Naruto out in front of the Sannin, "Naru-chan needs some time with his godfather!"
He takes the hint, and gently takes the little red-headed bundle of adorableness from your left arm, and carefully cradles him in both of his, a goofy, bittersweet grin growing on his face. Naruto smiles.
"Awww, he's happy to see you; make sure you're careful with him, old man, it'd be terrible if he started crying right next to the women's baths wouldn't it?"
You give him a grin.
"Why, just imagine what might happen if the women in there heard a crying baby just outside, I'd imagine they couldn't resist the urge to come make sure everything is alright!"
You come around and turn your attention to Asuma, who looks desperately like he would have liked to escape while your attention was on Jiraiya, but clever woman that you are, you had a clone in place for just that eventuality.
"Oh hey, don't worry Asuma-kun, I wouldn't want to leave you out, you can hold Tsunami! Isn't she just the cutest little girl?"
Asuma glances at Jiraiya, and seeing that he'll have no help there, and realizing there's now way he's going to escape without resorting to foolish extremes, man's up, steps up, and carefully takes Tsunami when you extend your arms to offer her. It's immediately obvious that he's held children before, he holds her perfectly.
"You've done this before," You say warmly, "Who you hanging out with that's had a baby lately?"
"My sister-in-law," Asuma says a little awkwardly, "She's the youngest sibling, and her older siblings all have been having kids the last few years. After I teased her and Toshiro about," He coughs, and angle's Tsunami up a little bit so that she has a clearer view of her surroundings, "Something two months ago, she started getting her family to post baby-sitting missions as C-ranks, specifically requesting me to take them. Yondaime-sama apparently thinks the whole thing is hilarious, and keeps passing them on."
"He's probably also been using them to see how well you handle being around children," You say with a smile, then gesture over your shoulder towards Jiraiya, "Jiraiya's not bad, but it's obvious you know exactly how to best hold an infant. If it's been going on for two months now, that means you're obviously not totally screwing things up, Minato wouldn't keep you on the task if you were," Your smile turns to a grin, "And it's kept you in town until the new genin graduated."
Asuma clearly isn't sure what to make of that.
"Look," you say, taking advantage of a rare baby-less moment to stretch out, "I don't handle the personnel disposition, that's something Minato takes care of himself, he sees the Hokage's job as being about the people he's serving first, and I think he's right about that. I do trust his judgement implicitly though, otherwise, I wouldn't have handed my newborn baby over to a man I've barely met before, less than a week after my son was held hostage by a Kage-rank nin."
You smile again, more gently this time, the 'big sister' smile you give to Kakashi when you're genuinely happy with or for him.
"If Minato says you're dependable, then that means you're dependable. If you aren't sure about yourself, then trust in Minato, who trusts in you."
You hold his gaze for a few moments; you can see you've changed something in there, and he's trying to figure it out, though he clearly isn't sure of anything yet. After a bit, you decide that putting any pressure on him, even subtle, probably won't help things, and you turn your attention to Jiraiya.
"Right, old toad," You say good-naturedly, "Now that you're Naru-chan's godfather, we're going to have to do something about this whole problem you have with women. I don't want him to start picking up your bad habits once he's old enough to start mimicking you."
Jiraiya, suddenly realizing that Asuma isn't the only one you've trapped with a baby, puts on a sickly grin.
→ How do you approach this?
AN: Right. As to Asuma, Hymn had a fairly solid write-in, and this has opened doors for trying to influence Asuma more down the road; obviously, a fair bit of this came from me as the writer/GM as well, and that was a bit of a gimme because you were going in mostly cold (not knowing Asuma very well), later bits with him will be much more based on what the players say, for good or ill.
As to Jiraiya, you know the following about his women issues:
He deals with kunoichi well in any non-romantic context, basically treating them like 'one of the guys.'
He's terrible with women in any romantic context.
To the best of your knowledge, he had more or less no contact with women outside of kunoichi when working, or women in general when he's trying to 'play the singles scene' and pick up chicks.
When trying to 'pick up chicks,' you know he uses classic tactics, such as pickup lines, semi-subtle displays of wealth and prowess, and similar tactics of men who are specifically hunting for romance.
Including this tidbit is an author gimme; aside from Tsunade (sort of), to the best of your knowledge, he has never tried to start a romantic relationship with any female friend he has, he has only tried to go after women at singles bars and the likes.
To those observant enough to notice, he's been spotted listening at places like hotsprings, bathhouses, massage parlors, salons, and other 'girl talk' places. It's always been listening, he's never been caught trying to actually peek.
Literally any tactic that's not outright assholeness is an acceptable offering here; Kushina can be reasonable or 'crazy' in turn, using whichever methods she think best suit the situation. This is one of those opportunities to get something epic started, though unlike the thing with Tsunade, Jiraiya isn't in the middle of a meltdown, and sorting out his issues with women wouldn't reformat his entire life, so worst-case scenario is offending him big-time, and best-case scenario is helping him learn how to actually try to find romance successfully.
→ Plan Hymn, to some degree.
AN: That this is largely for Naruto was established at the end of the last segment, so it's not included here.
"First off," You say, using the 'I am a woman, which means in this situation, I am in charge of you ignorant males' voice (gotta get to use it some time, since it never works with Minato), "From everything I've heard, you're one of those poor male souls who suffers from failing to understand that the most important part of having a girlfriend, is that she's a friend."
Jiraiya's eyes widen in a mixture of surprise and disbelief.
"I've heard that before," He says suspiciously, "But I'm pretty sure the people who told me were lying. What gives?"
Now your eyes widen in shock.
"Lying?" You say in irritated disbelief, "Why would you think that that is a lie?"
"Every single romance book I've found targeted at female audiences," Jiraiya says promptly, "And everything I've heard girls talking about here, at salons, at massage parlors, at the beach, and other miscellaneous locations."
...Okay, you weren't expecting that, though now that you think of it, 'girl-talk' in such locations does tend to center around more superficially attractive elements regarding men the girls are interested in.
"I'll need to get someone else along with me to explain why girls do want their boyfriend to be a friend at some point," You say flatly, "I'm not sure I'm up to doing it myself. Suffice to say, they do. If all that a woman wants is a handsome man with some 'cool' ninja skills and a lot of money, she's a gold-digger, and I am not letting you get married to one of those opportunistic skanks."
"...Okay?" Jiraiya says, his expression torn between bemused amusement, and some legitimate warmth at the concern you're displaying for him.
"Also," You continue, "I'm well aware that as a ninja, the temptation to treat this like a mission, stalk a target, and learn their personality that way will be strong. It even uses a familiar skill set. Just know that this is the kind of stalker action that, if it becomes known, could seriously ruin his reputation and creep the girl out something fierce. Especially if they aren't..."
You trail off as you realize that Jiraiya's face has been overwritten by complete, total, and honest shock. He's completely bewildered; in fact, he's so out of it that his grip on Naruto has slackened. Not enough to drop your son, but you carefully reach out and lift Naruto out of his arms anyways, you don't want to take any chances here.
"Uh, Jiraiya?" You call, some serious concern slipping into your voice, "Are you okay?"
No response. Well, you know what to do when 'subtle' doesn't work.
"OY TOAD-FACE!" You bark, and the older man jumps; you hear an aborted snicker from Asuma behind you.
"Treating getting a girlfriend like a mission is a bad thing?" Jiraiya finally manages to reply, disbelief dominating his voice, "That's how I've been handling it my entire life!"
...You really aren't sure what to make of that.
→ This is more serious than you thought. Drag him off to speak collectively with someone else.
→ With Tsunade. (Teammate&Woman)
→ With Minato. (Close friend/former apprentice&Married Man)
→ With Sarutobi. (Teacher&Married Man)
→ Someone else? (Write-in.)
→ Drag Asuma with too, y/n?
→ Call Asuma in to back you up about friend=good/mission=bad.
→ Deal with this yourself, right now. (Write-in; you can ask for help too with this.)
AN: Hymn's plan, as you may have noticed, was abbreviated not because of other votes, but because of Jiraiya's issue. Good job coming across that Hymn, whether it was intentionally or a stumble, I wasn't going to hand you guys this one as a gimme.