We're all just Dreaming of Sunshine
I've come to the realization that we fans of Silver Queen's "Dreaming of Sunshine" need a place to properly discuss this incredible story. So here it is, and have fun.
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@Lorne >> Going with the different clans different soulmate manifestations, would the Yamanaka have a predisposition to mind-walk their soulmates? Like, their jutsu must have some sort of spiritual component to be able to throw their consciousness through the ether right? On the one hand, SharedMemories!Telepathic!Soulmates is totally a Yamanaka!thing. on the other hand, growing up with another person inside your head, esp if the other soulmate is non-Yamanaka...implications are many and delicious :P.
11/28/2016 #2,671

Maybe soulmate as a spiritual thing (obviously), so only clans with spiritual affinity have a constant sign of their soulmate? Everyone can sense a meeting/liaison, but if evrybody knew they have someone somewhere who is their soulmate, they have usually litteraly no informations about them. Non-clan civilian have no clues, monk and ninja who specialise heavily on spiritual chakra can develop something after they reach a sufficient hight level of chakra affinity, and only clan with spiritual blood limit actually born with it?

11/28/2016 #2,672

I'm kinda liking the idea that most people, say, know their soulmate when they meet them, but only clans with weird spiritual mumbo jumbo in their techniques have indications of it. And, say, most of the clans that do something like that that survived the warring clans era intact are in Konoha. The Hyuuga and Uchiha who can see their red strings of fate or similar; the Nara, who have their soulmates shadows; the Yamanaka, who dream-walk with their soulmates.

(Luckily, most Yamanaka have soulmates within the Ino-Shika-Chou clans, so they're all used to the dream-walking thing. It's quite an unpleasant experience for those not in the know, though, and can be a massive security breach - the Yamanaka are actually smaller and and even more of a support clan than they are in in canon, because too many people have targeted said clan for their (potential) 'spying,' and a many Yamanaka, pre-Konoha, lost their soulmates from 'enemy' clans who realized there was an easier way to eliminate the risk than taking on an entire clan...

Maybe, for a while, the Yamanaka clan kept growing because soulmates ran away from clans that were going to off them, so they showed up and the Yamanaka were like, 'Okay, welcome to the family. We'll know if you're lying to us/trying to be a spy by tonight, so we're not really worried about letting you in! They got a few Akimichi and Nara this way before the three clans teamed up, back in the day.

Basically, I'm getting side-tracked picturing these three clans becoming BFF's partly because the Yamanaka, a clan that has a ton of Nara and Akimichi soulmates, need to be protected, and just generally because the Akimichi are a boistrous, loving people, so they value their support clans' abilities to find their soulmates - often Akimichis.)

So, people outside of Konoha are used to the 'meet your soulmate and know' type of bond, but any kind of 'sign' of who your soulmate is is basically considered a fairytale/bad romance novel plot device/etc.

But Gaara, the demon child that already freaks people out, doesn't have the right shadow. It's not right for him, it's not right for his creepy sand, and people swear it moves on its own sometimes.

Meanwhile, Shikako's shadow is just. Too big. No one thinks sickly little chakra cripple Shikako is ever going to be strong enough to wrangle that shadow down to size, even if she does manage to be a ninja. (It is Not Easy, but she proves them wrong, of course. In fact, once she gets the hang of it, it's kinda useful to (usually) have way more shadow than the average Nara would. Now if her soulmate would just stop shapeshifting or whatever it is that they're doing that vastly changes the amount of shadow she has to work with mid-freaking-fight, that would be great.)

Like, I just think it would be interesting if Gaara's sand is connected to him enough that its shadow counts towards Shikako's, and that, until a Nara gets a hang on controlling their shadow, a little bit of their attempts to manipulate it 'leaks' down the bond, making eery, shifting shadows on the other side.

Also, this type of soulmate could be OP for Nara's on night missions. They still have a shadow in the pitch of night, as long as their soulmate is somewhere with a light.

11/28/2016 #2,673

Yes, it's exacltly what I thought... and I like Gaara/Shikako, too.

But I like the idea that, other than spiritualy inclined bloodline, anyone whith really hight spiritual affinity can develop something relative to their soulmate.

Exemple: the Senju are physically inclined, like the Uszumaki, so they usually didn't know. But Tsunade develop highly specialised spiritual affinity, so she know something about her soulmate. And she teach her jutsu... cue hight-level medic-nin can too.

The reason why medic is a popular way for woman is not their inherent ability, but romantic teenager want to know their One True Love!

Maybe, Jiraiya when he is in sage-mode?

11/28/2016 #2,674
And, say, most of the clans that do something like that that survived the warring clans era intact are in Konoha.

As always, I must support soulmate mechanics that reinforce the view of Konoha as the "nice, touchy-feely, weird-as-fuck village." Because having shadows that aren't yours and dream-walking people half a continent away? Definitely weird-as-fuck.

More generally, I like the implied worldbuilding that the clans that eventually formed the foundations of the villages came together because of higher-than-average instances of cross-clan soulmates. Reminds me of how the galaxies in the universe are broadly organized around slightly denser regions of space that occurred after the Big Bang. (If that makes any sense to people other than me.)

On night shadows, does that mean if your soulmate is in a dark room, you in-bright-light have no shadow to work with? Because that's a double-edged, hard to plan around sword right there. Though I'm having a vivid image of soulmates to Naras on night missions purposely spending their time in super well-lit rooms. It's almost sweet.

Edit: Completely unrelated, I am the most recent poster on the three most recently-active threads. I feel weird seeing my username so much. I hope someone unseats me soon.

11/28/2016 . Edited 11/28/2016 #2,675

@Moonlit - Yes, Exactly! Konoha-as-crazy-hippies is always what we want.

Also, yes to the double-edged sword thing. But consider, post-Invasion, Gaara purposefully spending his wakeful evenings inside his lit office on nights where theres a new moon. Just in case.

(Gaara kicks himself, in Grass, for think they were all safe enough. He didn't think twice about sitting in dimly-lit meetings with Chiyo and Mei, discussing the futures of their village. He didn't mean to cripple one of Shikako's best weapons - because really, a Nara getting taken down at close range should not happen.)

11/28/2016 #2,676

Brainwave! Let's say that Yamanaka do the dream-walk thing mostly instinctively, but there's some degree of control there. So Yamanaka kids are taught lucid dreaming really early, even if they don't go on to be ninjas.

What do Yamanaka do with non-allied soulmates? Maybe they can block them out with lucid dreaming, but why beat them when you can join them. They teach their kids to subvert their soulmates, subtly (or not-so-subtly) encouraging them to defect to or at least not harm Konoha in general and the Ino-Shika-Cho in particular. It's kind of insidious, but it's actually done with mostly good intentions from the Yamanaka POV. It's also definitely not mind control or Inception-style dreaming - it's just good old-fashioned psychology and persuasion.

11/28/2016 #2,677

Moonlit - the Yamanaka totally train their kids to either turn their soulmates, or subtly get information out of them. That's what I was (trying to, anyways) when I was speculating that the Yamanaka were pretty highly targetted/clans would kill Yamanaka soulmates to avoid betrayal/info leaks during the Warrign clans era.

Is Sai Ino's soulmate. Because that has some very interesting implications. It's definitely a race against time to get Sai out before Danzou does something. Or maybe Ino is good and subtle enough to get Sai to keep mum, at least until they meet...

11/28/2016 #2,678
Okay, I love Shikako with the too-big shadow. I'm now wondering if clan soulmates andent necessary fully reciprocal. Like, the Nara soulmate who a Yamanaka dream walks with DOES also dreamwalk the Yamanaka, but maybe the person whose shadow that Nara has (therefore, the person who has that Nara's shadow) is someone entirely different. Basically I think it would be really awesome if someone could see Shikako's dreams. Dreams are supposed to be weird, so it's not like the mixed alien/Konohan cityscapes are a giveaway (especially to tiny!Ino). Consistent nightmares about Konoha as a GIANT CRATER would also be more disturbing than they are revealing. And 'my soulmate is dreaming the future' is unlikely to be a popular problem amongst the Yamanaka. (Though nightmares likely are. Ino and Shikako are the only one of their yearmates who can recognize Kyuubis chakra right off the bat- Ino can feel that burning chakra in her dreams. Ooh- Ino definitely knew her soulmate was from Konoha, but I bet for a long time Ino thought her soulmate must be older.
11/28/2016 #2,679

I thought that was what you were going for, I just wanted to make it explicit...

As a supporter of Sai-Ino soulmates, that's an easy spot for early divergence against ROOT. With Ino talking to her dad about her soulmate without a name of his own (Sai was an assigned name, right?), Inoichi is going to be digging into matters Danzo would rather keep secret.

Because I trust that even as children, Ino and Sai are very capable of keeping secrets, even from Danzo.

(Funny, Shikako(/Shikamaru) and Shikaku are actually not the center of the ROOT shenanigans in this instance. Don't see that too often.)

Edit: Shikako-Ino soulmates with prophetic dreams. Oh my, that's also really good. Now I almost want Shikako-Ino-Sai to up the ante.

11/28/2016 . Edited 11/28/2016 #2,680

For Shikako-Ino soulmates with prophetic dreams, I was going to go with Inoichi not having any idea what's in Shikako's dreams (maybe make some headcanon about nobody being able to 'eavesdrop' on a soulbond) but then I thought... really, its likely he at least has some idea of his own daughter's memories of Shikako's dreams. And this is clan head of a clan that has (likely) been routinely and systematically hunted for knowing things they shouldn't.

And it probably took a while to figure out that Shikako's weird dreams were actually prophetic.

Inoichi snooping

(Now I headcanon that Inoichi did a little snooping on his sleeping baby's soulmate, a few weeks after the Kyuubi attack. The timing suggested this was some kid (or adult) having post-Kyuubi nightmares.

Good news: Ino's soulmate was likely from Konoha. Bad news: said soulmate was passing along along their nightmares to his darling Ino-chan.

He snoops and gets an extremely acute (so extremely acute; he's a sensor and he was at one point feet away from the Kyuubi and it wasn't this acute)sense-memory of Kyuubi chakra, paralyzing terror, and surrounding infant screams. He can't actually access memories or do a mind-scan through a soul-bond, but a little burst of positive intent pushes the dream towards the soothing, incomprehensible murmurs of a song that... actually, if Inoichi uses his own brain to register the syllables, the words aren't incomprehensible at all.

Inoichi knows that song.

Inoichi knows that voice.

Ino-chan's soulmate dreams involve

a. extreme sensitivity to chakra,

b. remembered fragments of syllables without, as yet, any underlying comprehension of their meaning, and

c. Shikaku's voice. Singing a lullabye. Will-not-sing-in-public (no-not-even-when-drunk, no-not-even-for-a-dare, no-not-even-for-a-bet, in-fact-welshed-on-a-bet-to-avoid-singing) Shikaku.


That's a thing.

Good news: Ino-chaan and Shikako-chan are soulmates! Yay- oh they are going to be adorable.

Bad news: So Inoichi may have been snooping on the nightmares of his best friend's kid. Just a teensy bit? Out of concern. (Soulmate-dreams generally kept to the Yamanaka soulmate, rather than becoming some sort of cinematic free-for-all for snooping clansmen, so Shikaku is probably going to be annoyed at Inoichi's peeking, unless Inoichi really plays up the 'concerned' angle.

But Inoichi probably isn't going to play the 'concerned and worried' card. Shikaku's worried enough about his little girl going so quiet as it is. Evidence that Shikaku's infant daughter is experiencing nightmares of paralyzing-terror (and, unlike Ino, is apparently not screaming or fussing afterwards) is going to be bad enough that Inoichi is probably going to have to play the 'reassuring and optimistic' card. (Maybe even the 'deliberately annoy Shikaku with evidence of nosiness' card.)

Headcanon: so henceforth Inoichi doesnt see any of Shikako's dreams unless its Ino's memories of them (which is occasionally, when training.)

Inochimaru figures it out

Another question: If Yamanaka share dreams/dreaming minds with their soulmate, how much damage can/does a panicking "Inochimaru" do when Shikako is unconscious getting her arm operated arm, after the Sound Four attack.

(Idea: maybe its the Orochimaru parts of Ino that realize Shikako has semi-prophetic dreams. Ooh. More interpersonal drama. Because Ino might feel a little hurt- she's sure Shikako figured it out before her, and has never once mentioned it- but imagine how the Orochimaru parts of Ino just want. Want to study, to analyze, to take Shikako's brain and blood and eyes until the answers are found. To pin Shikako, like a butterfly on a corkboard.

Is it any wonder her friend never told anyone? Never wanted to be subject to that?

(oh. maybe there's a part of Ino that wonders if this happening- Ino becoming this monstrosity- is why Shikako didn't trust her.)

...I'm imagining a lot of dreamscape conversations, here.

Lots of sorting out to do.

Ino wants to protect Shikako. But she can't deny that there are parts of her now thatt... well, even after work at it, the most Ino ever learns how to do is divert the Orochimaru parts of her to shelve Shikako into a possessive 'mine' and 'unique' and 'no testing to destruction.'

Those are the Orochimaru-influenced parts of her that Ino can actually admit to Shikako. She's not proud of those feelings, but they're there, and better to hve it out in the open than to completely scare Shikako off the first time Ino dreams of finding a really fascinating allelle in Shikako's genes. (Only slightly more successfully, Ino also tries to ignore the 'i wonder if its hereditary' 'i wonder if Yoshino kinokawa can do it' 'i wonder if Shikako and/or Shikamaru's kids will be able to do it.' But lots of people have bad thoughts occasionally. What matters is that she doesn't act on them, Ino tells herself. ...She's hoping she doesn't dream about them, but she's talked enough with Shikako that... well, it wouldnt be the end of the world. Dreams about what you want cross over into nightmares often enough that Shikako wouldn't react too badly.

(Ino's dreams did get a little weird after the Sound Four incident. They could be worse, Ino is reminded, as she goes through the five thousandth rendition of Shikako's recurring dream: Konoha Is a Crater and Hinata is Crawling to Fight The Very Evil Man (tonight with another stirring reprise from frequent repeat performance, Kyuubi's Chakra, Unfortunately Probably Part of This Prophetic Dream Thing Rather than a Flashback.)

11/28/2016 . Edited 11/28/2016 #2,681

Oooh. Oooh. Very nice, Dona. With this, I imagine Ino's fangirling over Sasuke is, basically, nilch. Because she's seen dreams of what he might be. She beelines for Sakura, who's going to be amazing one day, Shikako's seen it, and never lets their friendship get strained over some silly boy who may leave them all anyways.

How long does it take Ino to realize Shikako doesn't dream about herself? Probably at least by the time of Team Seven, when there are changes for Shikako to see. I feel like Ino would be an awesome therapist if the lack-of-future-Kako gave her enough hints to sort of figure out how... dissociated, Kako is form her own body, seeing other people as more 'real' and 'imporant' than herself.

Does Shikako know Ino's her soulmate? Or, specifically, that Ino can see her dreams, because she probably knows form teh shadow thing? Are the dreams one-way?

Can Ino see the Tsukuyomi dream (thank goodness the Yamamanka clan are, justifiably, mum about their soulmates. She jsut put the vision and some of Kako's dreams together and... wow. Danzou is not someone she's ready to tangle with yet) or does she just see blankness for a month, and wakes up every morning feeling empty and raw? Then she gets Shikako's after nightmares...


Also, I second the Kako-Ino-Sai triage. Now theres a group that could probably actually end up pretty mentally healthy... eventually.

11/28/2016 #2,682

Another new ficlet idea:

Inochimaru accidentally does damage to Shikako's sleeping mind immediately after the Sound Four thing

(She's fighting against Orochimaru's mind, fighting so hard and she- she maybe hurts something she wasn't supposed to).

(most of this is word-for-word from SQ's Chapter 63, Shikako waking up after the Sound Four mission:

Sound washed over Shikako like the babbling of a river, like the tide coming in and out, present but formless, meaningless. Sleep was a warm weight holding her down and she stirred slowly, groggy with both exhaustion and chemicals. Sound became voices and voices became words, familiar but just beyond the reach of understanding.

Shikako blinked.

(Something was... something was wrong.)

  • l-l l= '--l

Shikamaru said, leaning his elbows on the bed. He had a smudge of mud across his forehead, and what looked like the remnants of shredded leaves in his ponytail. He was still 'fresh of a mission' regardless of how long she'd been out.

(How long had she been out? What had happened to her? She'd been fine before, hadn't she?)

Clumsily, she echoed back the sound.

  • l-l l= '--l

(But it had no meaning. And that's when Shikako stopped being scared, and started being terrified.)

Just to clarify: when I say most of this is word for word I mean

  • i added the things in parenthesis
  • i changed "I' to female pronouns and Shikako's name
  • I changed "Hey," she echoed back to Clumsily, she echoed back the sound.

And that's it. (It takes surprisingly few changes to this scene to give Shikako an extremely severe case of aphasia. (Heck, maybe it was her minds way of protecting her from her freaking-out-soulmate. Shikako's already proven that her shadow jutsu can initiate weird, spontaneous splits of spiritual energy under stress. Maybe Shikako's (Japanese-only? spoken-word only? who knows) language facilities split off into the black and are going to be hiding out for the next few days or weeks, or maybe its just brain damage she has to recover from at a more normal pace.

Ooh, I like those ideas- I like Ino piecing together Danzo's involvement during Tuskiomi especially.

And I also like Shikako not immediately knowing who her soulmate is, and Ino picking up on Shikako tending not to be in her own dreams. (I have the kind of creepy idea that that's one of the things which Ino realize distinguish a regular dream from a possible prophetic knowledge dream.)

I also like the idea of Ino seeing X and at the same time realizing, oh, that's what y and Z were about. (The little flashed of Shikamaru smoking made no sense whatsoever until a. Ino met Asuma and b. Ino had that lovely dream about Asuma dying from that zombie ninja and her team crying over the body and lots and lots of helpful bonus flashed of how well Shikamaru didn't handle it. (This lovely dream was kicked off by Shikamaru not handling Shikako's death-by-sword all that well).

And wow, I totally like the five-year-old Ino that takes one look at Sasuke and goes nope. nooope. not gonna go near him, he reminds me of that weird 'sasuke' kid we have nightmares about., funny how they have the same name.

And the five-year-old Ino that goes- oh, look at this girl's beautiful pink hair. she loooks just like that awesome kunoichi my soulmate and I always have dreams about. (Ino spends the first few weeks twondering whether Sakura might be her soulmate- the dreams that seem to make some sort of sense often feature an older-looking version of Sakura- maybe Sakura's older sister, or an aunt or something she looks up to. Or maybe Sakura's just dreaming about what she wants to be. It's had to tell, though, because Ino's soulmate has a lot of very weird dreams.

The Shikako hums a song and Ino just knows.

11/28/2016 . Edited 11/28/2016 #2,683

There's a neatness to the idea. You meet someone and everything just... falls into place. Something clicks, a puzzle piece in a god's great plan slotting home.

This is the one. This is the person who will stand by me, who I will stand by. A relationship promised by the heavens. A guarantee: you won't have to be alone.


There's something special about choices we make for ourselves too.

It is overwhelming in a way that she won't be able to describe later, though not for lack of trying. It isn't a pressure, or a loss of control, or even something that draws forth panic. It's just more than her, in a fashion more than human thought. The shadow of the forest, life beyond her capacity for enumeration, the star in the heavens drawing them together, feeding them, warming them...

Perhaps for Naruto, it was about balance, about opening himself up without losing himself, but...

When you can feel the buzz of your teammate's fear from a mile away, when you can pour out of your skin and become shadow cast by thought and life...

Open yourself further? Open your eyes, and then open your eyes again?

She packaged herself back into the comfortable old skin as soon as Sasuke called out for her in worry. Of course she did. That's who she's decided to be. She made her choices, and her choices make her. And she is not alone, never alone. They will remind her if she forgets. She quirks those lips into a gentle smile, sorry that the eyes are too dark, too wide, too knowing for Sasuke's comfort.

She cannot maintain this state forever. She is not made for that, she will have to become capable of such through her efforts. This is good, if inconvenient. That is how humans work, and Shikako needs to be human enough to maintain her relationships, because those matter, even if Shikako now knows the beauty of a world unblinkered. She slipped into the mind fully...

Or tried. She is more now. The sun on the leaves, the trickling of water through moss...

She is not only Shikako. But she needs to be, Sasuke is worried. For a long moment, she is unsure of how to proceed, but, yes, if it is like opening her eyes again, then if she closes-

Shikako blinked at Sasuke, feeling like she's in an ill-fitting suit, with pieces of her not quite squeezing inside. She tries to make them fit, but... it is her, but it isn't just her.

"Are you alright?" Sasuke asked again, and this time she remembers that she is supposed to say that she is.

"Yes, I'm fine," she said, flexing herself uncomfortably on a metaphysical level. She isn't what she used to be, but she's still herself.

Closing your eyes doesn't change the world. It only changes what you see of it.

Sasuke relaxed his grip on her arms, stepped back. Shikako's shadow and Sasuke's shadow don't follow suit. She frowns at them. Sasuke is a fundamental part of Shikako, but that's no reason for her shadow to be overly clingy.

...Right, Shikako's shadow is a part of her. Shikako needs to not be overly clingy. She smiled at Sasuke, and quietly gave him the part that was his.

That was better, she realized, the shadow-that-was-Shikako-that-was-with-Sasuke sliding into place in accordance with the dappled sunlight above.

Sasuke was staring at his shadow, perplexed, and coughed to get her attention as if she was not already giving him her attention.

"Shikako," he said slowly. "What did you just do?"

He was not afraid, which was good, but he was worried, which was bad. But he was worried for her, which was validating, yet obstructive and silly.

"I've put everything back properly, I think," Shikako said judiciously, because she had the feeling that maybe she hadn't quite got it right at first. Sasuke was still perplexed. "What's wrong?"

Sasuke looked at her flatly, worry and exasperation emerging. She looked over his shoulder at herself to see what the problem was, and he poked her, as if demonstrating a point. She shrugged, and relaxed.

"Shikako, what did you do to my shadow?" Sasuke asked pointedly.

She frowned. "I put everything back properly," she insisted, because it was true.

"It looks like you," Sasuke noted slowly, and paused meaningfully for some reason before continuing. "And it seems to have developed mind and motion of its own."

Shikako reformulated into the correct shape and didn't move. She leaned over, and checked.

"Is that better?" She asked.

Sasuke pursed his lips. "Let's go back to the village," he said tightly, as if something was wrong.

Right. They should go back to the village. "I should go put Kakashi-sensei's part where it belongs," Shikako agreed cheerfully, hoping that it would make Sasuke more comfortable.

It didn't really work.

She would have to hold onto Naruto's part for a while yet, and Sai would take careful planning so that meeting him wouldn't be dangerous. But she should do it soon. Sai shouldn't be alone. He needed more hugs.

A lot of people needed more hugs. But they weren't on the Team, so the relationship was different. She frowned, and poked at herself. She wasn't quite thinking fully human. That should have been self-evident.

"How about we swing by and talk with your dad and Tsunade-sama first," Sasuke said firmly. "I've got something I need your help discussing with them."

"Oh? Alright," Shikako agreed, poking at herself again. Things slowly seemed to settle a bit better, and she felt less sluggish, which was weird because she hadn't felt sluggish at all a few seconds ago. Oh, this was probably like the shadow split? Until she arranged herself properly, she would keep having trouble. She got to work, and it was obvious what she needed to do now that she thought about it. Her body was already feeling more like hers again.

She gave Sasuke a hug as they walked, because he looked like he needed one, and then gave him two at once, which she thought worked a little better.

11/28/2016 #2,684

I read a fic recently where special flowers were used to determine soulmates. If someone touched your special flower - in this case a magical rose that had to be picked from a certain area - and it died, then that person was your soulmate.

What do you guys think about this?

Personally, I have visions of Hashirama creating this flower, having no idea what it does, and then just planting them everywhere when he finds out. And I mean everywhere. Konoha was covered in them until Tobirama pointed out that we actually need things like clear roads and training grounds brother so could you please stop it with the flowers?

11/28/2016 #2,685

Soulmate flowers are cool- I imagine kunoichi coating their gloves and sleeves with poison, oh-so-carefully, and "whoops! I touched your flower and it died!"

Ooh, Tir I like it. Eldritch and a little creepy, but still fundamentally benevolent. And did Shikako just make/pull free of a soumate bond with the shadow of a forest? A spirit like Gelel?

(Now imagining stories of Hozuki who become one with an ocean or river, of Aburame who spread themselves out to greet the Hive and don't come back together, of Nara who go too far, too deep into something that (they say) is not quite the black, because the black can be returned from, sometimes.

("it's about the echoes, not the color," Ikoma managed to say, distantly and blissfully, on that mission that went south. Then he smiled at the Iwa nin. And died. Everything that touched the shade there died, and none of the corpses had shadows.)

11/28/2016 #2,686
Laural Rose

@TwilightSymphonycat; yes to Hashirama going overboard with the soulmate flowers.

Also, a general yes to different types of soulmates for different clans; that is all kinds of interesting and I love it.

Aside: there can never be enough Sai love, so thanks for that, everyone.


Since folks are throwing around ideas, I've got one that's been floating in my brain for awhile, but I have no clue what to do with it except for re-treading ground we've already fair-trampled. I've no idea if there's any story potential in it, but maybe it will spark something if I throw it out there:

Your soulmark shows you the last words you will hear before you die. I wasn't sure if I liked it better if it was the last words you hear, regardless of source—like, your own words might be the last words you hear so your dying speach will be tattood on your body from whenever soulmarks manifest—or if it should be the last words someone else speaks directly to you, or just the last words spoken in your hearing before your death.

So, Kakashi's, if he has one from Pein's invasion, might be what Pein said directly to him during their fight (I'm pretty sure there was some kind of an exchange at some point), or what Chouji said to his father before taking off to report to Tsunade, or (while I'm certain this last was meant to be internal, for purposes of demonstration we'll pretend he murmured it aloud) "Obito… Rin…"

11/28/2016 . Edited 11/28/2016 #2,687

@Tir I really loved that snippet! I love when people get to make choices about things that are generally left up to fate or destiny. Even if soulmate AU's are a total weakness of mine, lol.

Soulmate flowers are a cool idea, and I would really love to contribute ideas but it raises the important question of which flowers would represent what relationships and that seems like a very deep rabbit hole that I can't afford to fall into when I have a 10 page (single spaced!!!!) essay due.

11/28/2016 #2,688
Ooh, Tir, I love this snippet! I love your Pratchett references and I love Shikako being caring yet creepy, and Sasuke being freaked out, but firm and caring too, and I just love all of it. I love the hint that Shikako may have just stolen Naruto's, Sai's, and Kakashi's shadows, and I sincerely hope you will write more in this world.
11/29/2016 #2,689

Great ideas, guys! Love Hashi's flowers. Because he would.

Tir - that was beautiful. I'm not sure what was going on, but it was beautiful.

Laural - I really like this. It's kinda like Death Marks, but less prophetically useful. All of a sudden, you just hear something and know... Like, Kushina always knew what her last words would be, and that they'd be to her baby son. Minato, I guess knew the same. If Kakashi had "Obito... Rin..." as his, I imagine he was very put out when he was first assigned a team; these are the losers that were going to be too slow to help him when he needed it! But then Obito dies and his life perspective changes and suddenly these words feel like a curse; he must be saying them, so he must fail them...

(He says them a lot, after Rin, when things are close. Just in case it can entice this near miss to be the one.)

Does Shikako have multiple sets, for all her near-deaths? Or is she born with a set in a different language; what she heard in her last life?

11/29/2016 #2,690

Maybe the Last Words only change if your near-death was really really deadly? Like your heart actually stopped kind of deal? Shikako's still change kind of frequently but not as frequently lol. I think one could also argue for that time Naruto got stabbed by Kimimaro IIRC.

Everyone after Pein has a bit of an existential crisis. The words they were prepared to deal with are suddenly a false alarm. Some people would take that better than others.

Ugh, Orochimaru just spits in the face of Last Words, doesn't he?

11/29/2016 #2,691

The general idea I had in mind was 'giving away part of herself'. Not in a lessening fashion, but in an expanding one. She didn't steal his shadow. She gave him part of hers (part of herself) and it feels right and natural to her because she loves Sasuke and wants to always be their for him. It's not like the shadow split - she became more here, in a way that allowed her to spread herself out without becoming damaged, because it's about love and reciprocity and ties that bind by choice. It isn't a lessening, she became more than just her shadow, and being part of Sasuke's shadow is... obvious. Why didn't she think of it sooner?

(Sasuke has concerns, for obvious reasons, starting with Shikako's health and eventually ending up with minor things like 'privacy'. Even if it's nice to be able to talk to Shikako whenever he wants. And having his shadow be a sensor capable of turning solid and shanking people that try to sneak up on him has helped a number of times. And...)

Five-to-ten years later:

"You're a great friend and I love you," Sakura said seriously to Sasuke's shadow. "That said, this is our wedding night and we're not going to share. Go wait outside the door and stab anybody who tries to disturb us at any point during the next twelve hours."


"Twelve hours?" Ino hissed as Sai relayed the message. "Oh, she is so teaching me whatever jutsu she's planning on using. I knew she was holding out on me."

The little Shikako-shaped shadow on Sai's shoulder reached out and patted Ino on the head consolingly, but in a manner clearly not empathetic to Ino's plight.

"Would it not get somewhat boring after a while, even if the mechanical issues where resolved?" Sai speculated idly. "Pleasurable, perhaps, but not very romantic."

Shikako gave him a hug as Ino got a light in her eyes that suggested she was taking his statement as a challenge.


Yes, I'm actually fond of or ambivalent at worst to the canon pairings. Though romance isn't really my thing, so I tend to stick to the friend 'ship' if I can possibly get away with it. I can write friendships.

I think it's interesting how even really weird things will become normal to you if you deal with them for long enough. And if the story thus far has shown anything, it's that the weirdness Shikako is accumulating is something that none of her elders know how to deal with, so...

11/29/2016 . Edited 11/29/2016 #2,692

The fluffiest eldritch abomination-type thing I've ever read. D'awwww. (Because even if everything is kosher and it's done out of love, becoming something more than base-human is a bit eldritchy. I mean that in the nicest way possible.)

(Psst, I'm totally with you on the canon pairings and friend-ships thing.)

11/29/2016 #2,693
Laural Rose

Today was supposed to be constructive. Instead I had "each clan displays soulmates in a different way, like a spiritual bloodline limit" in my head.

I loved the Ino dreamwalking snips, but I thought dreamwalking could work—thematically and otherwise—for the Kato, too, so I shifted the Yamanaka to voice-mates—a constant, telepathic companion in the back of your mind. (What is this "security" thing you speak of breaching? Never heard of it.)

This is definitely a snippet dump, not the best edited. I have a few more ideas I want to get through, but I don't have a good angle for stories for them, so they may or may not ever get done.

The first one is pretty much straight canon, no DoS relation, but it sets things up, I think. The last one edges into canon, past DoS, but mostly aligns I think? Also, if there are timeline irregularities in either of those, I appologize, that's part of what I mean by unedited—I haven't fact-checked them either.


No one understood—because she was the last, all that was left of her once-proud clan. They thought they did—they thought it was just grief that drove her away. They could not really know.

The Senju had a particular style of soulbond, as most Ninja clan's did, almost like a bloodline limit. Their own unique marker and way of knowing "this person is my other half". But, after Konoha was founded, fewer and fewer of her Clan displayed only their traditional form of soulbonds, or rather, they shared bonds with out-Clan, and so had their own bond, but also had their soulmate's style of bond.

The Senju who could communicate with their soulmate by writing on their own skin became Uzumaki. But after the village formed, there were Senju who could give and receive chakra from their soulmate at any distance—these changed their name to Aburame. Those that walked with another's shadow joined the Nara, while others who heard a friendly voice in the back of their mind became Yamanaka.

They were still Senju in spirit, but their soulmates needed them in different ways than a Senju soulmate would have, so they learned the ways of their outclan soulmates.

They adapted; they were, at heart, the Clan of a Thousand Ways.

Tsunade would have followed suit, becoming a Kato.

Tsunade was once able to share dreams with Dan; while he lived, she joined him each night, as he came up with ways to make the village better; she could stand by his side when he was given the Hat and settled under the weight of that responsibility. She grieved with him, when he played with his sister knowing he would be alone again come morning.

He grieved with her, too, when she reached for Nawaki to hold him close and shield him from the world, and he shattered under her touch into unrecognizable fragments until all that she could fit in her hand of him was a crystal necklace.

But that did not mean she was less of a Senju.

When he died—she felt it.

Senju shared pain; it was why they were so empathetic, why they reached out, always out, to other Clans, other peoples—they felt the pain of the ones they loved as if it were their own.

When Dan died, Tsunade felt the death, as if it were her own.

After Dan died, Tsunade could no longer dream at all—he had taken that part of her soul with him.


Shisui constantly reached for him, tried to speak to him, but whatever mechanism caused the Uchihas' cursed eyes to see dead soulmates carried neither touch nor sound.

Itachi could read lips, of course, but after the Nara girl saved Sasuke, he did his best not to process what he saw, cursing his dimming sight that only made his friend—soulmate—clearer.

Itachi's failing eyes were dry—except for the blood that seemed to constantly fall like a rain of tears.

Shisui wept enough for both of them.

Compassion was a crueler burden than condemnation.


Kiba wondered what color Shikako's eyes were. He guessed "brown"—darker eyes tended to look like that—but he had no concept of "brown", only dark/light, black-and-white-and-in-between.

It had never bothered him, before. That he hadn't met his soulmate yet, that his world was monochromatic.

It was different with Hinata—she was "pack" and "litter"—not exactly sibling, as humans understood it, more the kind of communal sibling of pups all raised together in a tumble. She wasn't blood, but she was family, so as fiercely as he loved her, he didn't ache at not knowing the exact shade of her hair, or the hue of her lips, at least not any more than he wondered about the color of his clan's tattoos.

But the more time he spent with Shikako—the more amazing Shikamaru's once shrinking violet little sister proved—the more it chafed that his world was still grey.


Kakashi was born with many deathmarks, and they were far from promising as to who his soulmates would be.

"Failure" was the first one, right over his pulse point on his wrist. When it turned red, he dedicated himself to The Rules, so he wouldn't follow his father's example. His second—"Clear Vision"—refused to turn color after the rocks fell, and he always wondered if the Universe was mocking him, somehow.

There had been, growing up, a space between the second and third—even his father had been puzzled by that. It made a terrifying kind of sense when "Sacrifice" filled it, once he looked at his arm with Obito's eye.

He wished he was blind, when he watched it bleed red under his sleeve as he wrenched his arm from Rin's chest.

His fourth had always felt ominous, though it was painfully obvious in hindsight. But even before "Shinigami" shifted to arterial crimson, "Savior" had settled just above it.

The Universe was absolutely mocking him, to keep giving him people only to take them away—

For many years, that was the end of it, and he hoped—

Then the Nara girl went and passed his damn test before he'd even given it to her, and he could no longer see his arm for the marks that blackened it.

The Universe wasn't mocking him. It was punishing him, for failing the people it kept giving him.


Asuma had adjusted to the pain. Ninja were those that endure. Being away from his brother—his soulmate—was uncomfortable, certainly, but being in Konoha was smothering.

Both of them were protectors at hearts, guardians and guards. Both of them believed in serving something larger than themselves.

His brother had chosen ANBU.

Asuma had chosen the Daimyo.

Then, one day, the pain of separation—it didn't stop, exactly. It transmuted, it's absence twisting within him, a hollow ache of an echoing, lonely space where once he had been full and whole, if over-stretched.

Chiriko had never asked him what was wrong, but had known something was, and had covered for him while he relearned the topography of his damaged, out-of-shape soul.

Asuma would always owe his friend for that.

He grew used to the lack of pain, which was not relief, because it meant there was no one left in the place he had once called home to call him back.

Then the Guardians dissolved, and there was nowhere else for him to go—a man of service, of duty and honor, he couldn't have the power he did and not use it.

So he returned. And endured the ringing in his soul where his brother had been. He knew he should reach out to his nephew—he had a nephew!—but it never seemed the right time, there was always something else to do—

The boy looked like his father, at that age, and that ached, too, in a different way.

His father gave Asuma a team—responsibility, grounding, people who would depend on him.

Kakashi called his students soldiers, but Kakashi of all of them had come out of the war the most warped; Asuma loved his friend, but he prayed there would never again be another Kakashi Hatake.

Then, Kakashi's soldiers had their first C-Rank, that turned A-Rank, and Asuma heard the clatter as Kakashi woke from a nightmare in the next apartment.

Sasuke had been turned into a pincushion and was only alive because his enemy had a soft heart. Naruto had pulled on the Kyuubi, and nearly rampaged. He may call them soldiers, but Kakashi was not the kind of man who was unmoved when he lost those under his command.

Then Kakashi's soldiers were pitted against Orochimaru; Shikako's first kills, Sasuke marked with an inscrutable seal, Naruto's seal destabilized.

Shikamaru took it worse than Kakashi, in some ways.

But it made Asuma realize; Team 10 were kids, to him. Team 7 too, for all that they'd beaten an A-Rank jonin and survived an S-Rank criminal.

But kids grew up fast, and there was never as much time as he thought there should be. There would never be a good time, so he was wasting time.

He spent more time with Konohamaru.

He and Kurenai had known each other for years; grown up together on the same battlefields, fought shoulder to shoulder, and shouldered together the shame of being denied the ability to fight the Kyuubi—the ability to serve, to protect, to help, when they'd had the power to do something but had been forcibly held back from using it.

He had never fully forgiven his father for that. It hadn't been the whole of why he left, but his father was a hypocrite who wanted to make children into soldiers, but then keep his soldiers from the battlefield when it might have counted. It could not be both ways; either they were soldiers to be deployed, or they were children and dependent.

He spent more time with her, too, after taking on a team. They were rediscovering how much they had in common.

He wasn't sure what to think—or even who to attribute it to—when the familiar but half-forgotten feeling of being stretched too thin edged into his awareness, with each step away from Konoha inching from discomfort into pain.

It was bittersweet, to know once again that there was someone behind him who he'd given a piece of himself to—to know there was someone, still, despite the death of most of his family, who was "home" on so fundamental a level, it hurt to be apart from them.

To know he once again had someone he could lose.

To know he was needed, once more, to protect another precious soul—not for grand destinies or the fates of nations, but for that single, precious person that was a fundamental part of himself.

It was almost frightening to learn that the bond might be with a child not yet born—his child, his and Kurenai's, their child, who would grow to be a soldier—no, a protector—but who would absolutely be a child, first.

He was glad of what little practice he'd given himself with Konohamaru.

11/29/2016 #2,694
Vaughn Tyler

awesome ideas laural!

11/29/2016 #2,695

I love those Laurel! The variety is amazing, and the way they all tie in with the clans is the best. Tsunade and the Senju-who-adapt! Ghost Uchiha! Colourblind Inuzuka! And of course, of course, Kakashi gets deathmarks. I also love that it's not One And Done like soulmate AU's tend to be - you can love again, you can grow and change and be okay. That's pretty powerful too.

11/29/2016 #2,696
The Real Chys Lattes
Maybe, for a while, the Yamanaka clan kept growing because soulmates ran away from clans that were going to off them, so they showed up and the Yamanaka were like, 'Okay, welcome to the family. We'll know if you're lying to us/trying to be a spy by tonight, so we're not really worried about letting you in! They got a few Akimichi and Nara this way before the three clans teamed up, back in the day.

Basically, I'm getting side-tracked picturing these three clans becoming BFF's partly because the Yamanaka, a clan that has a ton of Nara and Akimichi soulmates, need to be protected, and just generally because the Akimichi are a boistrous, loving people, so they value their support clans' abilities to find their soulmates - often Akimichis.)

....This could honestly explain why the three clans are actually so close in canon. Seriously, Yamanakas are like the sticky glue that lets the Naras and Akimichi stay together. Yamanakas could prove their connection between the three of them. Nothing like solidarity when it's a shared mind.

11/29/2016 #2,697

@Laural Starting out strong with Tsunade feels and ending with "Oh god Asuma DON'T DIE NO WHYYYYYY". My heart hurts. Such delicious pain.

(Is that Kiba admiring Shikako I see? Ohoho, my shipping sense is tingling.)

Re:Yamanaka, I love that the mind jutsu clan is also the "let's be friends" clan. Alongside the sharing-pain Senju, of course.

And it just hit me how cruel an Uchiha seeing their dead soulmate could be. Because how do you get a Mangekyo? How do you get an Eternal Mangekyo? Imagine if Madara's soulmate was Izuna and he saw his brother's ghost for the rest of his very long life using his brother's eyes. Yeah, calling him unhinged would be an understatement.

More fluffy, I'm imagining Naruto accidentally discovering (because no one would spill his clan heritage on purpose) the Uzumaki-writing-soulmate thing. By writing something stupid like his shopping list or a doodle of Naruto The Best Hokage Ever!!

Remote sending of chakra by the Aburame is alarmingly practical, I approve.

11/29/2016 #2,698

Oh! I have two thoughts on the soulmate-with-Naruto thing.

1. We saw Naruto get covered in paint when he pranked the hokage mountain. Imagine this happens All. The. Time. So Hinata or Sasuke or someone is constantly just. Looking like a mess because they have paint splotches all over their face.

2. Mikoto was BFF's with Kushina. She knows what those paint splotches/mystery writings are when she sees them on Sasuke's skin. DAMN those laws about keeping Naruto's parentage a secret. She's expressly forbidden from saying or doing anything helpful about it, as it might give things away. (This better be a world where Minato and Kushina were soulmates, because I could not HANDLE it if Kushina's ghost is always sitting in the corner of Mikoto's eye, alternately angry and sad at watching her soulmate's attempts to protect her son get rebuffed.

...Alternatively, with less angst, Kushina's ghost is hanging around for Mikoto to see, and Mikoto has it on record that she and Kushina are soulamtes (they were a very useful information gathering pair, back in the day. Instantaneous message transmissions! Another reason Uzushio was wiped out - it was too OP to have that kind of communication so quickly between allies.) and soulmates are respected in Konoha, damnit! So the council council doesn't have a leg to stand on; Kushina was Mikoto's soulmate, so that means Kushina's son is Mikoto's son in the former's absence. Massacres and sad childhoods are avoided all around!

Mikoto's a good lip reader. She passes on all of Kushina's messages to her son, and has the best stories to tell him about his Momma. He grows up in aw of the Bloody Habenero, and damn proud of the spiral on his back.)

11/29/2016 #2,699

Also, I was thinking about it, and I'm not sure that Uchiha seeing their dead soulmates would (usually) be as bad as all that. Like, Shisui and Izuna are unfortunate examples, because both of their 'mates are doing stuff they wouldn't approve of. For the average Uchiha, though, with their Loss issues, I think this would be really helpful for their mental state. Like, picture generic Uchiha (especially during the warring clan era) that lost their brother too young to some fight. Except they didn't - that brother is still there to watch them and love them and encourage them and forgive them (because Uchiha tend to either really blame themselves, or really blame the world; having their dead loved one's absolution or lack of desire for vengeance be explicit could reeeeeally help the crazy train.)

Hell, consider Obito, being able to see Rin. That's, like, so much angst averted right there, because maybe she can 'talk' him around even before the Kyuubi attack, so he gets to go back to Konoha as a wounded war hero instead of a vengeful spirit.

11/29/2016 #2,700
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