Oh! That was me! I never did finish the follow up to that...
But yeah. Tobirama's... kinda vicious, if you pull back on fanon and look at what he actually did. (Edo Tensei armies of his enemies' dead, anyone?) I don't think Kakashi would do something like that intentionally-intentionally, but be convinced by both Tobirama and his own bonds that Sasuke and Naruto need (deserve) more attention and teaching, and thus accidentally send that message? Ooh yeah.12/6/2016 #2,791
I love Dad!Sakumo too. Mostly because I love Sakumo and Naruto having a proper father figure in his life before Genin makes me really happy.12/6/2016 #2,792
I can't imagine Kakashi would consciously neglect or misuse a student. Play favorites? Possible, maybe probable. Neglect? Definitely not on purpose, and he would feel like a heel when someone brought his attention to it.
Tobirama is pretty prejudiced, as I think he notes when he comes back as a zombie. Excellent shinobi, good leader, fondly remembered by his students...but Edo Tensei, the Uchiha situation, and his students make kind of questionable decisions (mostly Danzo).
Actually, a lot of the Warring Clans major characters are...problematic. Except maybe Mito IIRC. Tobi, Izuna, and Madara though all need character development, if I'm being honest. (Which I'm not equipped to write...boo.)
...now that I'm thinking really hard about it, Tobirama is probably not the best role model for small Kakashi. He might grow up with less self-hate, but Kakashi also has this deeply-buried idealism in the team and the village. He's really not clan-oriented or prejudiced. Leaving him with Tobirama (assuming that Tobi doesn't check himself)...I'm worried now that it would change that part of him. Because small Kakashi would take take everything Tobirama says to heart, and Tobirama says some sketchy things. (Damnit, problematic fav Hokage!)12/6/2016 #2,793
completely different idea: Soulmarks are pictures/designs you are born with that gain more details with pivotal, character-defining moments in your life. Like if someone was sketching your life story in abstract form with no eraser function.
(Reincarnation variant: you're born with your past lives pattern as it was when they died - a last lingering legacy of those who came before. The pattern loses detail during that newborn-baby stage until you're back at square one. Everything added to that design from then on is all you.)12/6/2016 #2,794
The first detail Shikako gets is at 2 weeks old when a sprawling red fox inks itself across her chest.12/6/2016 #2,795
Okay, so this has nothing to do with the soulguides stuff. I actually started writing this last week, when we were talking about each clan having different soulmate types, but I'm busy and I write slower than you guys, who can apparently get out snips in like, an hour. Remember how I mused about the happy AU where Mikoto gets her soulmate's son, Naruto, upon her death? Yeah, I realized that all that fluff and good times for Naruto doesn't make the Danzou problem go away.
(Though, Obito's less of an issue - the Senju share wounds, so he died when Hashirama did. Thus, Zetsu's plans for Obito are more bijuu-focused than Uchiha- or Konoha-focused.)
This is half real scenes, half word vomit, half everything in between, and half bad math.
It is a testament to Mikoto's strength that, less than a day after the Kyuubi attack, she pulls herself out of the shambles her soulmate's death made of her village, clan and life, and fights for her son.
Because Naruto is her son, no matter what those power-grabbing elders' cronies on the council say. Naruto is her other half's son, her god son, her son's brother, hers. That they would even question that fact, would try to keep him from her, is a slap in the face – to both her and her clan, given the way this breach of protocol seems to affirm the rumors about the Uchiha that began to swirl in the aftermath of the attack.
Mikoto fights and argues and testifies for the son that is hers twice-over by legal right, and eventually wins.
She doesn't forget, though, that she would have lost despite all that, had Itachi not been able to draw the Shiki Fuin – proof of the Uzumaki soulbond that had revealed itself on Sasuke's skin at the end of the attack. She doesn't forget that even with a second soulbond proven, she was only grudgingly given custody of her son. She doesn't forget that she was made to fight for him at all.
(Kushina, as always, is spitting mad, but Mikoto's anger has never run hair-raisingly hot. Mikoto is banked coals; cool, and ready for a long, slow burn. Of her children, on her eldest son is like her in this regard.)
Danzou does not take the loss of such a powerful piece – and to the Uchiha, of all clans – well.
New rumors spread. That Kushina was actually the previous Kyuubi Jinchuuriki. That the Yondaime died to destroy his own wife and save the village. That the Uchiha are power-hungry, and their eyes can control a bijuu.
That Uchiha Mikoto would not be the first Uchiha to turn on her own soulmate for power. Unlike Madara, though, her ploy worked; weakening the village and delivering the kyuubi straight into her hands.
(Danzou also makes sure a note is quietly placed on Mikoto's report, questioning how honest she was in translating Kushina's account of the night of the attack. A masked, teleporting man able to keep up with the Yellow Flash and control the Kyuubi seems so much less likely than an Uchiha conspiracy to Danzou's paranoid mind. With the scene of the supposed attack destroyed by the Kyuubi, it's only Mikoto's word as to what happened that night, and Mikoto's word is so untrustworthy these days…)
Itachi is one of the few people who might say his life changes for the better after the Kyuubi attack. Because while his clan might be outcasts now, and his mother might be shunned and angry, he has no time to dwell on either of these things.
His father is busy trying to keep the clan together and the police force running, and no one else is willing to offer Mikoto a spare hand these days. So, it falls on Itachi to help his harried mother with his two new infant brothers. He doesn't mind this a bit. He already adored Sasuke, and his new little brother is just as easy to love.
So, Naruto grows up with a loving, attentive family, and heroic stories of his Moms' exploits. Sasuke grows up with at least one brother who always has time for him, and who shines too brightly for either of them to be caught in their elder brother's shadow. Itachi grows up knowing the pranking consequences if he avoids his beloved baby brothers for too long, and ends up closer to all of his immediate family because of it.
Mikoto works hard to shield her boys from the village's suspicions. It mostly works for Naruto and Sasuke, while they're still young enough to be kept close to home. Itachi, however, does not fail to notice the way the villagers sneer at his mother. And when the boys get older, and have to go out into the village, he will be his mother's staunchest ally in shielding them from suffering the same.
Mikoto and Itachi are both nervous, when Sasuke and Naruto finally go to the academy. This, finally, is somewhere that neither of them can follow. At least the boys have each other, even if the other children follow their parents leads. Mikoto says it three times just in the hour between dropping the boys off and when Itachi has to leave to meet his squad for training. As the day goes on, Itachi begins telling himself the same. Since when has time moved so slowly?
The end of the school day finally creeps around, and Itachi is there promptly at the bell, desperate to see if their first day has gone as badly as he has begun to fear.
Luckily, for all the uneasiness he can sense in the children and parents around him, Naruto and Sasuke walk out in a small clump of friendly children, Sasuke rolling his eyes while Naruto effuses to – well, at, maybe – a small girl with her hair in a braid.
Oh, of course. The odd little two-shadowed Nara girl. If there was any group that would easily accept two more outcast children, it's her and the miniature Ino-Shika-Cho team that grew up with her.
It's at this point Naruto catches sight of him. He waves and hurries over, dragging the girl with him, already yelling about his new friend Shikako who invited them to play ninja at lunch.
The girl herself exhibits a brief flash of terror – of Itachi, not Naruto. When the rest of the children catch up, they likewise take in her mood, shifting their bodies to half-cover the shy girl from him. Itachi can't even bring himself to be offended, given the clear ease with which they have accepted Naruto and Sasuke.
The Yamanaka heir manages to give a cool, polite greeting to Itachi, and a rather less icy goodbye to Naruto and Sasuke before dragging her crew over to their own parents. The Nara heir grumbles something about there being too many loud blondes around, but he nevertheless slides a protective arm around her sister and leaves the Uchihas' presence only slightly too quickly for a normal Nara amble; a good, protective brother. Itachi approves.
He wonders, though, if anyone else has noticed how one of Shikako's blobby, under-formed shadows quivers excitedly in time with Naruto's bounces.
For all that Sasuke and Naruto have found a solid group of friends, the Uchiha has a whole and Itachi's family in particular are still outcasts.
Itachi throws himself into his shinobi work; as much as it sickens him, he is a prodigious killer. He is protecting his village, protecting peace, and especially protecting his family, and that's worth the stain of blood on his hands. He hopes his comrades take notice. I love this village, he wants them to understand. We are trustworthy, he tries to project.
Despite his best efforts, the Uchiha and the village continue to drift.
He is not entirely surprised when Danzou comes to him. Itachi is his most loyal agent, after all.
In another world, Itachi might have taken the man at face value. Might have been caught between a rock and a hard place and slaughtered his clan to protect his other two loves – Konoha, and his little brother.
In this world, though, Konoha does not rank so highly in his affections – not solely because of his precious second brother, but also because he has spent the last seven years watching his village abuse those most precious to him. Itachi almost strikes Danzou down right there.
Except. In this world, he can also see Shisui standing behind Danzou's shoulder as the man give his ultimatum.
Shisui, who has Manipulation buried so deeply into his soul that it reflects back out as a uniquely powerful Sharingan technique. Don't. I have a plan, Shisui's lips mouth.
Danzou commands, Shisui plots, and Itachi bows his head and acquiesces.
Itachi returns home just before dawn. He slips into his room quietly enough that he does not alert even his jounin parents to the hint of his late-night rendez vous. He lays down in bed, like the world as he knew it had not been knocked out from under him. He does not sleep.
When the first rays of dawn begin to shine through his window, Itachi decides he has waited long enough. He quickly gets dressed and gears up for what today will bring him.
As he heads out, he can not help but stop by his brothers' room on his way out.
Naruto, as usual, has failed to sleep like a normal human being. He has, somehow managed to turn himself completely sidewise, sprawling across his and Sasuke's adjacent mats. Sasuke, meanwhile has shifted to find space for himself despite Naruto's encroachment, leaving the whole thing a mess of tangled limbs and blankets.
Itachi's heart breaks, at the thought of harm coming to these two joyful, innocent little boys, but the sight also strengthens his resolve to do what must be done.
It is too early yet, for what he really intends for the day, but Itachi won't waste this time. He heads for one of the most distant training grounds, so he can confront the Root agents Danzou no doubt has tailing him. Once they are disposed of, he can move much more freely to complete his mission.
He arrives at the Nara compound as early as he dares. While he has no time to waste, he also does not want the Jounin commander angry at him before he even gets a chance to speak.
Luckily, Naruto's comments on Shikamaru's complaints about their mother's morning exercises appears to be accurate. Shikaku cordially grants Itachi a meeting while the rest of his family does their katas.
"Your daughter's shadows grow more clear by the day. Have you determined who her soulmates are, yet?" Itachi asks, casually.
Shikaku replies, just as politely, "We haven't looked to much into it. It's important for each Nara to grow and find themselves and their other pieces at their own rate."
The Nara Clan head smiles, just kindly enough to tell Itachi that he has, in fact, made the same connections as Itachi.
"So you are training her in your clan techniques then. I suppose, then, that it would be quite a blow to you all if her shadows were to disappear."
"Is that meant to be a threat?" Shikaku asks, as casually as if they were merely discussing the weather.
"You know I would never threaten those particular shadows. It's a warning."
Itachi lays out how he learned that Danzou was the one that has been pushing the rumors of the Uchiha's quests for the power of the kyuubi, and further, that the man is capitalizing on the distance he has created between the Uchiha and the village to accuse them of treason and to push for their elimination.
Shikaku is carefully stoic, but Itachi can see the wheels turning in his head. Pieces of a puzzle look like they are beginning to fit together in the man's mind – perhaps there are further discrepancies than even Itachi is aware of.
Shikaku is on his side, he can tell. He will not move fast enough, though. That much is just as obvious. He is not entirely unsurprised, but he had hoped.
No one matters more to him than his brothers, but he does not relish the sacrifices that will have to be made to save them.
His next stop is a nice, if plain, apartment complex, favored by high-level shinobi who value the function of security and privacy over any aesthetic form.
"Kakashi-taicho," Itachi greets when the man answers his coded knock. Kakashi hurries him inside, not resetting the protective traps in favor of activating privacy seals. He knows whatever Itachi is here to speak to him about is both urgent and sensitive.
Itachi doesn't waste any time before he once again recounts his tale – his plea. He knows, before he is even finished, that Shisui was right. Kakashi will do this for him. Well, Kakashi will do this for his own ghosts.
Namikaze Minato was one of Kakashi's soulmates. He took Kakashi in, raised him and taught him.
Itachi's own mother was the one that stood between him and the people who demanded he relinquish Obito's eye. Mikoto was the only one who made an effort to reach out and care for her soulmate's surrogate son after her death.
Kakashi owes everything about himself and his team's legacy to them. Now Itachi, his kohai, his subordinate, is asking for help protecting their legacies.
It is, perhaps, cruel, to do this to the man, and Auntie Kushina will likely never forgive him if she finds out, but Itachi does not care.
He cannot go after Danzou himself. Not without casting aspersions upon his whole clan, upon his mother, upon the very brothers whom he is trying to save.
Kakashi is the only other S-class nin in the village with incentive to protect Naruto and Sasuke resides.
"Go home, Itachi, and take care of your brothers." Itachi nods, accepting the charge. "I'll handle things."
Itachi bows, and slips out the window. He does not give Kakashi his thanks. Such things would be trite, when what he should really be saying is 'sorry.'
But Itachi won't lie to the man who is going to save his family, and he is not sorry at all.
When they get the news, Kushina is apparently quite upset, given the way Itachi's mother flutters around, consoling an empty space all afternoon.
Later, when things have settled down, Mikoto holds her two youngest boys close. She is still speaking to open air. When she catches sight of Itachi, however, she gives him a look that says she knows what he did.
It also says that, no matter what she has been saying to soothe Kushina today, she is not angry about it at all.12/6/2016 #2,796
Ooo nice AU! But I'm confused...what was the news they got @ the end? Did Itachi take out a hit on Danzo? Did Kakashi take out Danzo? Did they take each other out, because Kakashi is GOOD but Danzo survived 2? 3? shinobi world wars and had a brainwashed army besides? Inquiring minds want to know!!! (It was so good though, thanks for sharing, Math!)12/6/2016 #2,797
To be honest, I couldn't decide. Kakashi went to kill Danzou, and Laural's pretty sure he would die, or let himself be killed in the process. I... don't really have a good argument against that, but I don't want to kill Kakashi, so I left it vague.
Best case, really unlikely, scenario? He went missing nin and managed to avoid going up against any Konoha nin long enough for Shikaku to sweep in and clear his name with all the newly discovered stuff about Danzou and Root.
Oh, also, I accidentally cut this when I was revising, but my originally thought was that Itachi's story suddenly made a couple of Kakashi's deathmarks make sense. So, he was actually pretty okay getting to go out protecting Konoha and actually getting to save his soulmates for once.12/6/2016 #2,798
Excuse me while I heap praise upon you, Math.
That was awesome. And ambitious - I always appreciate and envy such large deviations from canon. I love that Madara actually died and it's Zetsu with Tobito running around instead. I love how Mikoto raises Naruto as her own. I love how Danzo still manages to fuck up a perfectly happy verse. I love how Shikako is still wary and Itachi honestly doesn't care that much because she's a good freaking person. I love insurance-policy Shikaku. I love Kakashi. I really love Kakashi. My precious ball of angst, don't die. Seriously though, I have no idea what happens to replace the Massacre after this and the uncertainty is fantastic. This is a formulation I haven't even considered.
I like to think Kakashi lives or escapes. His death would only be a delay until Shikaku steps in, and there are other ways to delay Danzo, I think.
Edit: I always think this in Massacre-era stories, but where the hell is Hiruzen? Sniffing glue in a corner? You didn't mention a coup - is there a reason he's not getting involved?12/6/2016 . Edited 12/6/2016 #2,799
That's cool Math! It's always fine to bring back ideas - the threads tend to just run away sometimes and things get buried. I really hope Kakashi didn't bite it, though. I mean, maybe he had the advantage of surprise because Danzo just couldn't anticipate the idea of someone actually manning up to fight him. Especially not Kakashi who has nothing to do with all this, at face value.12/6/2016 #2,800
Heheh. *rubs head* Thanks so much, Moon. That means a lot to me.
I like to think Kakashi survives too, but I'm with Laural in that, especially in this universe where he has his loved one's deaths inked as constant reminders all over his skin. Going out preserving his loved one's legacies and protecting his soulmates and doing his duty to the village? That's a good death to him. Better than he could have hoped or asked for. For a hard fight with Danzou, he wouldn't hold back, and I can't see him not letting it end him. There's no reason for him to survive except my own will.
Hm. Let's make a reason. Maybe... let's say, thanks to Obito's eye, he can see Rin's ghost. And she is going, "Yes, you need to go stop that mad man, but damnit you deserve better than this. Don't throw your life away!" So he has a loved one ordering him to come back at the end of the battle, plus he's had six years of Rin as a constant, forgiving companion trying to help him, so he's in a waaaaay better place than he was in canon. (She can't say anything about Obito for... reasons. Zetsu. Split soul bonds. Quantum Physics. Whatever.) Heck, let's go all-in, and say the Nohara family's soulbond type makes you stronger - it speeds healing in minor injuries, increasing stamina and the rate you can build muscle and generate chakra, or something - and that Kakashi gets some of that by default of her ghost hanging around for him.
So, Kakashi's able to beat Danzou, and gets away without having to fight any of his friends (without having to fight any non-Root konoha nin at all.) Shikaku swoops in to fill the power vacuum and Itachi gets a quick promotion to lead the charge to find him (he is never, ever given any more power than that while Shikaku is alive. He understands, but he will never be able to approve of what Itachi did. Weirdly, Shikako is less wary of him now.) Itachi's team finds him, and he's just. too. good. Only Itachi manages to keep up, and officially, he lost to Kakashi once he caught the man, but managed to escape alive. Unofficially, he passed Kakashi provisions ans maps of some old Uchiha bases, so Kakashi has some extra places to lay low. There may also be some dog treats in there, for his ninken, because this has all gone better than Itachi could have dreamed, and thank you will never be enough, but he can try.
Hiruzen just lost his top jounin and his closest confidant in one swoop, and found out what a mess was laying beneath the surface of Danzou's 'special' anbu organization, so he needs all hands on deck. Jiraiya gets recalled. They send people out to get Tsunade. No... they send Mikoto out to get Tsunade. Mikoto, who has a jounin's infiltration training, who is used to turning opinions unnoticed as an Uchiha Lady, who can plead on Tsunade's niece's behalf, and who knows just how to twist a knife when recounting stories of her little boys to stomp on Tsunade's guilt. She is Itachi's mother, after all. So they make Tsunade Hokage early, after she loses a bet with Jiraiya.
Kakashi gets brought back after Danzou's schemes are revealed. They don't make him leave Anbu, technically, but they do bench him by making him oversee the transition of all the baby Root agents into normal society. Amazingly, socially-stunted genius is not a bad half-way point between 'normal person' and 'brainwashed root child.'
Shikaku and his friends work hard - explicitly and implicitly, to ease tensions with the Uchiha. They are... surprisingly easy to appease, once people started paying attention and making an effort again. Danzou really was riling things much more than they realized. Tsunade ropes Mikoto into being her assistant with Shizune as payback for dragging her into this mess, so Mikoto and Itachi's seemingly-high positions within the new regime help improve relations too.
Naruto and Sasuke's class suddenly gets a lot bigger - as does their social circle. Shikamaru finds it troublesome, but the Shikako and Ino insisted they be nice to the new, weird kids, since they of all people know what it's like feel out of place while people stare. Ino and the new 'Sai' kid in particular get along, because she brings him flowers for color ideas, and he'll paint her in return, but Naruto swears, if Sai calls him 'dickless' one more time, he's going to punch him, no matter how disappointed a look his mother and big brother is going to give him. Sasuke's pretty pissed too; he might even cover for him!
(Later, when everything is found out, and Kushina gets to happily see that Kakashi and the rest of her loved ones came out this okay, Itachi confesses to her what he did. Mikoto yells at Itachi on Kushina's behalf, but he knows she doesn't really mean it. He deserves it, anyways. He takes Naruto out for ramen as a round-about apology.)
Kakashi manages to extract himself from anbu babysitting just in time to get stuck babysitting a genin team - Naruto, Sasuke, and Shikako. He just knows Mikoto had a hand in this. (She did, but it was Shikaku who really made it happen.) Luckily he got handed the only soulmate trio in a generation, so their teamwork's perfect. Not to mention, they're probably the only kids who would thrive, rather than break, under his anbu-style training approach. Now if his kids could just be a little less reckless, filling his skin with death marks that haven't stuck yet, that would be great.
(Orochimaru still tries to make the Konoha crush happen. Itachi No Sell's his infiltration and attack on Team Seven reeeeeaaaal hard, cutting off the invasion before it can even happen. Even with the Akatsuki after him, Naruto doesn't end up on a training trip with Jiraiya, because Itachi intimidated the hell out of the man to make him keep his lecherous lifestyle away from Naruto's innocent mind. So he's in-village for Shikako to bother with sealing questions, and to consult for things like, "Hey, how would you stop a zombie apocalypse?".)
Yay! I made the thing happy again.12/6/2016 #2,801
*claps hands* The thing is happy! I'm happy! Hugs for everyone! Whoo! You deserve all the praise, Math ;D
Dead Danzo and Orochimaru with his tail between his legs. I'm grinning like a loon. This is truly the Happy AU.
"Hey, how would you stop a zombie apocalypse?"
...well, it's the Happy Pre-Shippuden AU. No promises after that. Still! Happy!12/6/2016 #2,802
12/6/2016 . Edited 12/6/2016 #2,803
While I like the symmetry of Hashirama-Sakura, this set up gives us Team 'We founded Konoha' Seven which is just too good to pass up. Hashirama gets to see how his village failed its children, up close and personal, Sasuke gets a responsible adult...
Madara and Tobirama get the worst afterlife Evah.
"You have a ghost, deerheart?" Shikaku said, carefully.
"Yup!" his daughter responded, carefully colouring her picture in with an adorable intensiveness.
"And does your ghost have a name?" he asked. Typically, people kept the identity of their ghosts quiet - for both personal and practical reasons. But generally people were also not so young when they had them.
Shikako shrugged, not seeming bothered. "I dunno, he's real grumpy."
He laughed. "Is that so?"
"Mmhmm," she said, and selected another pencil. "He's real old, too. Even older than you."
Children, he thought wryly. "My, that sure is old."
She beamed up at him. "Waaay older. Even older 'n' grumpier than Sembei-obaasan. I bet he was alive when there were dinosaurs and Konoha was being built."
"-and I learnt how to use chakra!" Naruto said excitedly, splashing his ramen around as he gesticulated.
"Congratulations!" The Third said, genuinely pleased. "And did you meet your guardian?"
Naruto's face fell. "Yeah, but he's real boring. Just another grumpy old ojiisan."
The Third chuckled. "I'm sure he's not that bad. Your guardian looks out for you."
"Bleh," Naruto said. "He sounds just like Iruka-sensei. 'Don't do that Naruto', 'Don't touch that Naruto', 'Don't set those trip wires-" he cut himself off and chuckled. "I wish I had someone cool."
He twisted, looking at the air with the expression of someone listening to a guardian. The Third waited patiently, pretty sure he knew what that conversation was about simply by looking at Naruto's face.
"Did your guardian give you his name?"
"I wasn't listening," Naruto said, shamelessly, going back to his food. "Like Senbu or genju or something."
"Ah! The Senju clan." The Third nodded approvingly. "Both of my sensei were from that clan. That's a proud-"
Naruto, suddenly, started to laugh. Not even a small chuckle, but full out rolling laughter that nearly toppled him off his stool. "He called you a little monkey!" he howled. "Monkey! Oooh oook ooook!"
I was thinking about the possibility that a dead person can be someone's ghost/Resurrected via Edo Tensei at the same time. Or someone's ghost/Resurrected years later via Rinnegan at same time. (Kind of like Kurama's Yin and Yang halves, maybe? Or shadow split, but an even shadow split. And the experience of being Resurrected can only be remembered once that person STOPS being resurrected. And I started to wonder- what if Shikamaru had "Shikako's previous incarnation" as a guardian AND Shikako as a sister? What if her soul started out as split, a relatively even split, and the Shadow Split isn't so much a new thing as a refinement on something old?12/6/2016 #2,804
Naruto, suddenly, started to laugh. Not even a small chuckle, but full out rolling laughter that nearly toppled him off his stool. "He called you a little monkey!" he howled. "Monkey! Oooh oook ooook!"
Oww, I snorted water up my nose. This is your fault, Juno! I wasn't prepared for hilarity at this hour!
(Thanks for bringing my suggestion to life. That was a much needed laugh, even with the choke hazard.)
Shikako and Naruto (purposefully or not) trolling their soul guides is the BEST.12/7/2016 #2,806
More Sakumo!soulguide thoughts.
So, going off my first snippet where Naruto immediately spills the beans, Kakashi has to deal with his Dad watching him train Genin for the first time. Dad. The guy that Kakshi has more baggage with than Obito. Kakashi is going to be so desperate to impress. Desperate enough to show up on time. After all, he told Naruto he'd be some place at a specific time and telling Naruto is like telling his farther and he can't lie to his Dad.
Thr porn showed up once but Naruto asked what it was and it disappeared so fast his brats weren't sure it had been there in the first place. It stays gone because Kakashi is now terrified that he'll Dad will read it over his shoulder. Sakumo does not need to know his porn prefrences. Kakashi is serious Kakashi except when he is being a troll. But even that is still kind of serous.
Shikako is the only one who has any idea how different Kakshi around Team 7 compared to everyone else. She finds it hysterical.12/7/2016 #2,807
This, like Math's, is a throw-back to the "different clans have different soulmate types" stuff.
So, I wrote this more-or-less as-is, sent it to Maths because I didn't know who Sai's soulmate should be—my go-tos (for DoS) are Shikako and Naruto, and I didn't want Danzo's attention on Shikako for this the way it would be with Sai sporting a weird shadow, and I have other plans for Naruto—if I can ever finish it. (For canon, I also like Kakashi and Tenzo, but I'm not sure they've even met Sai in DoS, so I have no idea what the dynamic would be here.)
Her response will be posted in a follow-up, shortly, along with my response to her response. I'll let this one stand on its own—insert soulmate of your choice—thus making our unconventional follow-up more optional.
Sai hesitates, then awkwardly returns the offered ritual gesture of conciliation, his bent fingers hooking around his opponents'. Being unused to official duels—ROOT isn't really fussed about keeping training friendly—sparring is a mechanical exercise of rote skills, not a social event—his attention is largely on their clasped fingers.
Shinobi, even allies, should not offer their hands—especially their fingers—to an enemy, not during defeat and certainly not in victory; it is a custom that displays the weakness and wrong-headed nature of the Third's regime within Konoha.
Sai feels exposed, letting another immobilize his right hand, even though it is irrational and unworthy of a Shinobi.
His opponent is not, apparently, completely indoctrinated in the foolishness of the rest of the village, and is perfectly willing to use something most of those above ground hold as close to sacred as a Shinobi is capable of to cover an attack.
When Danzo-sama's teachings on the matter are proved right—when Sai's paper white fingers shade the sullen red of banked embers in an inscrutable yet obvious strike—his heart-rate spikes and his breathing catches.
He is unable to break the contact, frozen in place, feeling trapped and stunned and helpless and needing to move but whatever's been done has been done to him directly, placed on his skin (like Shikako's seals), and he can't lose his hand, he needs it—to fight, to paint, to be as close to whole as ROOT allows, he needs it—
But, no; his opponent's fingers are changing, too; saffron yellow, like the jittery tingle under his skin and the missed beats of his heart, then flame-blue, like the electric current that jolted him when he suddenly knew what it meant. Then shimmery, golden brown—cool stone under his bent knee, facing a man who was "father" and "god" and "Konoha", before Danzo's words started tasting like the bitter ink on his tongue.
He remembers this. This has happened before; it was all tangled up in things he didn't know how to hold onto without losing himself (his life) so, like Shin's smile, he'd blocked it.
He'd thought he'd never see it again, after Shin. Thought his skin would never change shade, never darken or brighten, never again be painted with the colors of a heart.
His emotions, on his opponent's skin—he isn't supposed to have emotions, but somehow the color matches the twisted-up sensations he doesn't have names for but recognizes as "forbidden". The shades make sense to him—resonate—and he wonders what his opponent thinks of their hands—
There; the red is changing. But, will Sai be able to understand the shift?
Colors are personal—he learned that from Shin. Happiness, to Sai, was pale peach, too delicate for the ruddy shade of a blush. To Shin, it was the water colored—not truly blue or green, but a silvery mix of both. Sai's anger had been rare, but when it showed, it was a dark thing, muddy looking, like sumac dye—or drying blood. Shin's anger had been bright and streaked, like the jagged flares of blinding yellow-white that lit thunderclouds.
He did not yet know how to read the colors on his skin—that was something no book could teach him, only careful study of this person who his heart had chosen to mark as precious. Red silvers, settles to thin purple, then more slowly shades into sky blue.
His opponent's eyes are wide, tracking from where their fingers still meet to Sai's face and back again.
A brief flare of flame-blue, quickly muted to lapis lazuli—the lightness in his step and the ease of breathing when he has clearly defined parameters within which he's expected to act—flickers over one of his opponent's digits.
Right—no reason to know why there are colors, much less what they mean, since they originate from Sai.
Sai swallows, repressing the urge to shift his weight, and tries to pull his hand away.
Another hand clamps around his wrist, pulling him closer.
His wrist is silver-to-wisteria purple with fading black smudges.
The fingers grinding his carpals together are turning from saffron yellow and egg-yolk orange—the tightness in his chest when he's not sure he'll be able to counter or dodge in time—to the dull, flickering grey of a kunai blade in candlelight—the way the world settles around him, the stillness that falls over him, when there are many ways forward, but he has chosen the one he will take, the freeing weight of knowing he can endure the consequences of his decision, whatever they may be. Danzo-sama says that soulmates must be killed. That to be a true Shinobi, one must kill his own heart. And what are soulmates, but an outward manifestation of one's own heart? Especially Sai's soulmates, who wear proof of Sai's proscribed emotions in technicolor across their skin.
But, Sai did not kill Shin. He has come to far better consequences of that choice than he likely deserves, and definitely beyond what he's expected.
He will not kill now, either.
That does not mean he will not be killed, maybe not here, but soon; how long can he hide the marks from Danzo-sama, when Danzo-sama will certainly know what they mean?
He waits for the surge of saffron that signals an inability to draw a full breath, braces for more orange to spread at the points of contact, but only steel grey remains.
Was this what Shin felt? Heavy, but not weighed down; settled?
Better to die whole than kill your heart and live without it?12/7/2016 #2,808
So, Math's response:
My response is below. Aside: I ship this now. What in even?!
Kiba glared at his blood on the ground signaling the end of the match, and bit back a snarl. He was off-balance without Akamaru at his side, but that was a stupid excuse for doing poorly on his own. He wanted to snap, to spit, to growl, but he wasn't so much of a loser he'd trash whatever dignity he had left by bitching about getting beat.
Besides; that stuff could too easily sound like it was directed at his opponent. And it wasn't Sai's fault. Kiba liked Sai, for all that there'd been some heated words between them. Sai had a very rigid—and wrong-headed, as far as Kiba was concerned—way of seeing the world. But, he'd come through for Hinata and Shino.
And he'd been willing to back Shikako up, even though it should have been suicide.
Kiba was angry, sure, but it wasn't at Sai; Shikako had been dead wrong, but Sai would have followed her anyway. Inuzuka respected loyalty, even the stupid kind.
On the trip home, Kiba had asked Sai to spar with him; not right away, later. When Akamaru was okay—or, at least, treated; Akamaru wasn't allowed out of the kennels or too far away from Hana yet, but Kiba's sister had done a marvelous job of kicking Kiba out. After Shikamaru had been looked at. And when Shikako—wasn't there.
He'd wanted to apologize for snapping, or at least settle things between them, but didn't have the words, so he'd asked to communicate with fists, instead.
But; he also needed the practice.
He wasn't enough yet. Akamaru had been hurt—that had been on him, jumping to the conclusion that as long as they didn't breathe it they'd be fine. Shikako had jumped with him, but he'd said it first.
He hadn't been able to back up Shikamaru properly, either.
He was angry, but not at Sai. Not all of it was at himself, either. But, enough—
He hadn't been enough.
Kiba had never liked losing; he wasn't that kind of man—boy, still, wasn't he? For all that he had a shiny new vest saying otherwise, he was still tripping over his own feet like an ungainly pup. He pushed, he got better, he worked and sweat and bled until he was strong enough to back up his boasts. He knew he was boastful, that some of the shit he talked was bravado with nothing to back it up. But not nearly as much as everyone seemed to think.
Or, it wasn't supposed to be. Now; maybe he really was that much of a joke.
Maybe everyone had left him behind.
That just meant he needed to figure out how to catch up.
So, yeah, he'd wanted to kick Sai's ass. Not because Sai needed his ass kicked, but because Kiba needed to remind himself that he could kick it.
Except, he hadn't; Sai had kicked his harder. Kiba hadn't even landed a proper hit.
You'd think being on a team with Shino would have prepared him for a mid-range fighter who put mentally controlled stuff that could look like almost anything between you and them.
He'd thought so, anyway.
He'd held back, of course. There had been a lot of jutsu off the table—because Akamaru wasn't with him, because he wasn't quite up to chakra capacity for them, and because he didn't actually want to hurt Sai.
It had just been a spar. He'd asked for it, he'd gotten it, it wasn't Sai's fault Kiba wasn't as strong as he should be—as he thought he had become—yet.
He should have done better.
He levered himself up and offered his hand, not bothering about the dust on his clothes, or the sluggishly oozing line of fire across his bicep.
Sai hesitated, something flickering over his too-blank face before his lips stretched up and his eyes half-closed—that stupidly fake smile that always made Kiba's teeth ache until he forced his jaw to relax.
Kiba's temper flared, but he stomped on it until it cooled the hell down.
It wasn't Sai's fault. He liked Sai.
He just really needed to punch something right now, so the sooner he took himself off to an empty training ground, the better.
Sai extended his hand, the motion jerky and unsure, not at all the smooth, almost instinctual reaction Kiba and his classmates had at the end of a spar, and Kiba wondered once again just how long ago Sai had graduated that the Academy rituals were already forgotten; he didn't seem that much older than them all.
Also; who the hell had he been training against, that they didn't use the Seal of Reconciliation afterwards?
Then their fingers touched, and Kiba was entirely mesmerized by—color. Those were colors, the world had color. He didn't know know, because he'd never seen them before, but what else could he be seeing?
And they were on his skin; on their skin, at the point of contact—
And they were beautiful.
Even the ones that hurt his eyes; they were—
Sai tried to pull back, but Kiba couldn't let that happen, he needed to see more, to understand, to—
Colors. He didn't know the names for all of them—but the first had been similar to the straps Sai wore over his shoulders, and reminded Kiba of the sour taste in the back of his mouth and the twitchy need to punch something. His world was tilting on its axis, and silver—that was somehow richer than the grey tones that his eyes had been trapped seeing—spread under his fingers in time to the stuttering of his racing heart. But the familiar was quickly chased away by something magnificent—softer than the bluebell buds he could see bobbing out of the corner of his eye. This was watching Hinata's Perfect Defense, or looking at the damage he and Akamaru had managed to do to a training ground after mastering a new technique, or seeing Shikako rearrange the field of combat and give a kage-level fighter the workout of his life.
Anger, surprise, wonder.
Emotions; the colors were tied to emotions, he was sure of it—he didn't know why, or how—
Silvered bluebell shaded towards the color of the cloudless sky overhead—understanding.
He looked into Sai's face and the kid wasn't smiling, not even a fake smile. There was something—almost hard about the expression. He'd never seen Sai angry, but the glint in Sai's eye reminded Kiba of an unsheathed kunai, cocked to be thrown.
And that made—no sense.
It was even weirder than colors on his skin at the point of contact—because he was pretty sure he would have noticed that by now if that were normal, even when his eyesight was still monochromatic, and he was completely sure someone would have mentioned it if it happened to other people.
This was Sai's soulmate mark, then—the way his family showed they'd met a special person that would slot into their life, becoming pack all the way down to the soul—
It was beautiful.
But; meeting a soulmate was supposed to be a big deal; a milestone.
Kiba wasn't even sure how to read Sai; Sai was always hiding his true face, even more than Kakashi-sensei. It hadn't happened all that much that Kiba had looked at Sai's expression and not thought "fake".
Soulmate—he'd found his soulmate.
But—so had Sai.
"What's with the face?" Kiba pulled his lips back, aiming for a smile, though it was likely too sharp-toothed.
It felt tarnished, finally completing his pack, but being looked at like that; like he wasn't good enough—
Okay, maybe he was angry at Sai.
"What, disappointed you're stuck with me?" Kiba tried for playful, but since it was an honest question, Sai's wrist was speckled with something darker than thefaded bullseye rings on the target at the end of the field.
Sai's eyes focused on him, his lips pulling into the faint purse of a frown—a color like the mud stain on Kiba's chunin vest skittered over Kiba's fingers. Sai blinked, long and slow, and his lips twitched.
"Don't you dare give me that fake-ass smile; I'll knock your teeth out!"
Kiba hadn't meant to lose his head, to paint Sai's wrist the color of fresh blood, but he would not accept being lied to. Not about this.
This was pack. This was—
Kiba had found his soulmate, and yeah, it wasn't who he'd expected or thought he wanted, he hadn't even been looking, really, but he'd found them, and Sai was twisting something that was supposed to be beautiful into something that hurt, and Kiba needed—deserved—to know why.
Sai's expression faltered—Kiba's fingers shifted to scrawny new leaves, chased by muddy flak jacket—uncertainty?
"I…you are not the disappointment." It was stated flatly, like a fact, but also not, because it wasn't flat like Sai-flat, or even sulking-Shino flat, but flat like Kurenai-sensei when she refused to talk about something, or flat like Hinata used to sound, the tone that made Kiba want to punch her father or Neji before Naruto knocked some sense into him, because she was using that flat voice to pretend their words didn't hurt her.
There was a finality to the flatness, though, that washed out the faded target color on Sai's skin, muddying it until it was tree trunk brown—
Kiba wanted to analyze Sai's face, but the colors swirling on their skin drew his eye to the illusion of motion—
No. No, no nonono; his fingers were shifting back to grey tones, back to black-on-white-and-only-in-betweens, and he never wanted to see anything look so lifeless now that he knew how beautiful everything really was, now that he'd seen, really seen the world for the first time—
Black. Sai's wrist under his grip was black. His skin, wherever it touched Sai, was dark, charcoal-dust grey.
Ugly wasn't the right word for how things used to look, he understood that, but it was the one his brain supplied and within his mind its meaning bent to fit what he didn't know how to express.
Everything around him looked alive in ways he hadn't understood before he could see the world as it was supposed to be seen. Except for where his skin touched Sai's.
There was a kind of keening sound, a whining dog sound, and Kiba couldn't quite catch his breath—it was him, he was mewling like a hungry pup, and maybe this was a kind of hunger—not like in those stupid romance novels, and not like Choji's always hungry, but, something like hunger; need?
He wanted the colors back.
"Shinobi are those that kill their heart." Sai whispered, closing his eyes and looking away.
"That's the dumbest thing I've ever heard!" Kiba roared, grabbing Sai's shirt and shaking him a bit—it was awkward, because he refused to let go of Sai's wrist with his other hand.
But Sai just—let him. Let himself be manhandled like a rag-doll, and there were so many things wrong here Kiba wasn't even sure where to start, and—
"I should go." Sai broke Kiba's hold on his wrist with a flick of motion, then stepped back, the ease of disengaging almost contemptuous.
Ah, hell no. Challenge accepted.
Kiba clamped a hand over Sai's shoulder, properly growling now.
"You seriously think I'm letting you leave after this—" Kiba reached over Sai's shoulder to wave his still painfully grey fingers in Sai's face, "After you spout off some nonsense like that? You're my soulmate. Whatever's going on—"
Sai—something about him released, and something about him coiled up, but it wasn't in any physical tells. His scent shifted, maybe; it wasn't fear-stink, and maybe it wasn't even scent, but something shifted—
When Sai turned around—
He looked—tired. But, weirdly content?
Kiba's breath caught, because he knew that look. Not from humans, but old dogs, that knew they were going to die but weren't afraid, just limped to a comfortable place to lie down and sleep forever.
"I need to report." Sai bobbed his head, their closeness not allowing a proper bow.
"Report what? You found your soulmate—"
Sai had found his soulmate. But, hadn't Shikako mentioned Sai was an orphan when Kiba had asked her about Sai's family? Like, the "didn't even know his parents or have any Clan left" kind of orphan, and that's why he didn't have a last name?
But—he wasn't surprised when Kiba had called them soulmates. He'd known what the colors meant.
Kiba swallowed, slotting pieces together. A quick glance down and he saw silver chasing the black from Sai's wrist, before Sai's skin darkened again, this time settling to something like shadows on moss.
And, it helped Kiba settle, too, helped his brain work through the clues he'd been given. It was far from the prettiest color he'd seen—or even could see, around himself—but it was a real color on skin and that was important.
If there hadn't been anyone to tell Sai about his family's unique soulmate signature—
Then how could Sai recognize it, unless he'd seen it before, on himself?
But he was alone, now; he never spoke of anyone, Shikako was real cagey about his social circle, he certainly didn't act like someone who knew he had someone else out there for him.
Kiba could be wrong—it was known to happen. Apparently more often of late than ever before. He could have this all turned around and backward, except— Something about it made a terrible kind of sense.
Maybe Sai and Kakashi-sensei were more similar than he'd thought. All anyone would say when he asked about Kakashi-sensei's brand of weirdness was "he changed after he lost people in the War" or "the Kyuubi attack hit him hard". And if even one of those things was true—well, Kakashi-sensei came from a broken pack.
Sai hadn't been talking about killing his heart—he'd been talking about blocking out the pain when a piece of it died.
He'd already had a soulmate. Sai had belonged to a pack of two, and was now alone.
Inuzuka understood "pack" and "bonds" better than most humans, and this kid was from a broken pack.
That changed everything.
"I'll get stronger." Kiba promised, meaning it like a vow. "But you need to help me get there."
Sai's mouth opened, then closed. He blinked, long and slow, his brow creasing faintly.
Okay, so maybe that hadn't been as cool and reassuring as he'd meant it—he'd made some leaps, and Sai likely had no idea what he was talking about.
Aaaand he might have indirectly insulted the kid's former packmate, calling whoever it was weak, which, yeah, no, he'd deserve it if Sai decided to deck him for that, and he'd let the punch land.
"I don't understand how I can be of any assistance." Sai's tone was back to Sai-neutral, at least, so that was progress.
"We're soulmates, right? Soulmates are meant to be together; they make each other stronger. They cover each other's weaknesses, and bolster each other's strength. We're pack—Konoha is the one village that understands humans aren't meant to hunt alone. Hunt with me, Sai. Together, we can figure out how to take down anything."
Inuzuka didn't usually use those terms outside the Clan, didn't usually state that the teamwork that was the foundation of Konoha was close enough to "pack" that it had enticed the Inuzuka to accept out-Clan as "pack".
But Sai wasn't out-Clan anymore. Sai was pack. So, that had to mean he understood, right? Understood that Kiba couldn't let him just slink away and lick old scars until they re-opened, that he didn't have to be alone anymore, that pack mattered—
Kiba's fingers were muddy flak-jacket green (he'd been told the flak-jackets were green, but so were leaves and moss and a whole bunch of other things around him that didn't look at all the same, so he wasn't sure how they could all be green, but apparently color names weren't meant to be precise).
Confusion. Sai was confused. That's what muddy flak-jacket meant.
Kiba huffed, knowing he wasn't good with words, but not knowing how to explain something that people—that pack—should just know.
"You can't shake me, now, Sai. I will run by your side from now on, and you by mine. That's how soulmates work; we keep pace with each other and draw each other forward. Upward, even. Better and faster and higher and stronger. You gave me colors—I'm not letting go of that. And if I can't keep up, I'll follow you until—"
Sai's eyes widened; Kiba glanced at his fingers—sick leaves again, with something brighter than moss but darker than sick leaves—there was a bird in the branches above that was almost the same color. Then, something brighter than target bullseye.
"Don't." Sai struggled, looking cornered, and normally Kiba gave cornered animals—and people who looked like cornered animals, especially if they were Shinobi who could kick his ass, or even Shinobi who normally couldn't—space and consideration, letting them feel like they could maneuver and not getting in too close, because he valued his skin and preferred to keep attached, and un-perferated.
But, he had no idea how to find Sai, no idea where Sai would go, no idea what would happen if he let Sai run.
So, Sai couldn't run away, not until Kiba could be sure the kid would come back; that Kiba could find him again.
Kiba lunged, tackling Sai to the ground and pinning him. Sai's shirt rode up enough Kiba could see where his arm had brushed Sai's side—the patch there was darker than Kiba's sandals, but rich-looking. And flickering over that—something bright, like sunny, stalky forsythia flowers bobbing in the breeze they'd kicked upwhen he knocked Sai on his ass.
Apparently, if he really had to, he could kick Sai's ass.
"It's dangerous—" Sai was struggling, but not really fighting—it was pretty obvious he wasn't used to using non-lethal force while grappling, and Kiba ignored the prickly-chill that slid down his spine, opting to re-examine that later.
"Pftt." Kiba shifted his grip, pinning Sai more firmly. "Living is dangerous; especially our lives. If you shut yourself away, shut out the world, because you might get hurt by it—that's not living at all."
Sai shook his head, eyes still wide, until he closed them, turning his head to the side, swallowing visibly. "Shinobi are those that kill their hearts. This is what I was taught."
Kiba cocked his head, trying to reframe the information he was receiving once again. Taught; Sai was taught this. Sai was originally from Konoha, right? He wasn't like that Ranmaru kid Naruto had gone on about, started out somewhere else, been brought here, swore loyalty here after the fact?
Actually, that would explain a lot, if he wasn't trained in Konoha. But he'd backed Shikako, even in a suicide gambit, so Kiba couldn't doubt him.
"The Inuzuka are taught that soulmates make you stronger, because they give you something to fight for, and someone to help you fight better and smarter. That they make you better, because you want to be better. I don't know what family you have or once had, Sai, but you're family now. The fact that I can see color—that's how Inuzuka know their soulmates."
"You—you couldn't see color before?" Sai sounded—well, Sai wasn't great at expressing emotions, so he was generally hard to read. But his eyes were wide and fixed and there was something like horror there—
Oh, right; artist. Not being able to see color would sound especially bad to him.
Hell, his soulmarks depended on color; color was in his very soul. A greyed out world would probably be a special kind of hell for someone like him.
Kiba took a chance, shifting his right hand to brush Sai's cheek—his fingers came away with a color somewhere between sick leaves and pale dirt.
Sai's face was smudged with something between bluebell and drying blood—dragging Shino out to a gathering when he was pretending to not feel excluded because the invitation was general instead of personal and he wasn't sure he was actually invited; dragging Hinata onto the field to show off her new bit of brilliance because for a long time he and Shikako seemed the only ones able to see how brightly she could shine.
"That's how Inuzuka know we've found our soulmates—we see in black and white until we touch. It's one of the reasons we never stint on the seal of reconciliation—for situations just like this one, since the tousle-play of Inuzuka kids isn't really suited to out-Clan kids." Kiba shrugged, his cheeks heating a bit, because this was a pretty stereotypical—and therefore trite and uncool—way to meet your soulmate, but—
But, he didn't even really care because it was still beautiful.
Sai's expression blanked—but in a contemplative way, not an "I'm wearing a mask without even needing a mask because Anbu's got nothing on me" kind of way. Sai nodded, just a little, as if to himself. "That—is interesting."
Kiba wondered what Sai was actually thinking, rather than what he finally decided to say, but let it go.
"So, if your soulmate dies—"
Kiba grimaced, looking away, "Everything goes back to grayscale."
Kiba saw Sai wince out of the corner of his eye and relaxed his too-tight grip on Sai's shoulder.
Sai's expression didn't really change.
Kiba's lips twisted up, but the expression was too bitter for a smile. "So, I'm keeping you. You're sticking around and neither of us are dying, because I don't think either of us want to lose this." Kiba's hand wrapped around Sai's, so his fingers covered the back of Sai's hand, then released.
His fingers, before he turned them for Sai to see, were a color brighter than the sky, mixed with something muddier than forsythia, but shot through with something brighter than the faded target rings, but not at all like fresh blood. It was almost garish, but it meant something important, even if Kiba didn't understand what yet.
Sai swallowed, staring fixedly at his hand, before his eyes jerked up to meet Kiba's.
Tentatively, Sai reached up, brushing his fingers over Kiba's—
Kiba's breath hitched; it was the first time Sai had initiated contact beyond trying to get away, it meant something; it meant acceptance, at the very least, but probably more, because Sai didn't exactly go out of his way to touch people—
If he'd been taught soulmates were bad, and he discovered his soulmate through touch; yeah, that made a terrible kind of sense. Kiba couldn't read Sai's emotions yet—he would learn to, because Sai wasn't going to run, so Kiba wouldn't have to chase—
Not that he'd let Sai get away, not after this, not without a really good reason, and "I'm scared of losing someone again" is a terrible, terrible reason for never touching anyone anymore.
Sai's hand slid over Kiba's, until his fingers cupped the back of Kiba's hand, the way Kiba had done with his.
"I don't want to lose this." Sai whispered, but there was something almost fever-bright in his eyes, like it was an oath as much as a statement—
And Sai's fingers slid away. Kiba stared at the back of his own hand, painted in Sai's colors, as though he'd never seen it before—in a way, he hadn't, and certainly never like this. At base, his skin was darker than his sandals—determination—but still swirled with bluebell-mixed-with-drying-blood—compassion—and just a hint of a brighter, grass-like color—hope.
Sai's fingers, what Kiba could see of them, were still not-quite-faded-target-but-not-forsythia-either, but it was brightening further, and shot through that was something deeper—like evergreen.
"You think I'd let you?" Kiba smirked, tapping his nose. "I can find you anywhere; even if you leave me behind, I'll just catch up!" And he meant it; this was too important, he couldn't allow himself to fall behind anymore.
Sai looked confused, even searching, but Kiba let his over-bright, too-sharp smile slide a bit, and gripped Sai's fingers.
Sai glanced at their hands, then looked Kiba in the eye. His lips twisted—but this was too painful to be fake, too soft and sad and desperate.
Kiba's hand was shading pale peach. He wasn't sure what it meant yet, but something about it made the tightness in his chest ease.
Sai's fingers were brighter than forsythia—joy.
Maybe they were both a little broken, but together they were pack.12/7/2016 #2,809
Well hello ship I never knew I wanted. I love what you've done with it - how their respective 'marks' complement each other. And the fact that they actually have had some pretty significant interactions in DOS canon, and are on good terms and probably respect each other a bit. It's not even a crack!ship. Wow.12/7/2016 #2,810
I know, right? Like who would ship these two???? But then I talked myself into it accidentally, then Laural made it work. And like. It's so beautiful.
Okay, but guys, consider, Shikako ending up in the middle of this because each side knows she knows the other. So at first, it's, like, Kiba going to her and pressing because - keep this a secret, please? - Sai's his soulmate, and Shikako clearly knows something, and she's gotta tell him what she knows, or at least what he should do to keep Sai safe. Meanwhile, Sai comes to her because she's the only one left in the village who stops to explain things to him, and who seems to understand where he's coming from. He can't tell her much, but she's way too good at guessing things anyways, and she helps.
And she ends up bringing both of them together and the three become partners in crime to keep their soulmate status on the DL. I'm not sure how Kakashi and Tenzou got out of Root, but maybe she looks into that, or brings them in, and gets Sai out okay. Or, maybe Sai becomes a mole and they have enough info to bring this to Tsunade (after careful consult with the Uchiha records, Sasuke, Hinata, Neji, and Ino about the possibilities of coercive genjutsu) and get her to really investigate things and root out Root.
And, like, later, after things with Danzou are settled and the two don't have, like, impending doom hanging over their heads, think about Kiba, who's a really touchy person, giving touch-starved Sai all the attention he didn't know he needed or wanted. Consider Kiba just, like, drawing his hands across Sai's skin (thanks for wearing that dumb bell shirt, my boy, you make this mental scene really easy) to admire the colors. Imagine him trying to find out how many colors he can paint Sai's skin, and how long he can make them last. Can he hold the right feeling long enough to draw the right shade of red Inuzuka triangles? And Sai just lets him, seeming neither perturbed nor welcoming of the contact. Except then those colors and images always seem to show up the next time he does a painting.
I just. I need a happy, fluffy ending for these two to be beautiful color soulmates.12/7/2016 #2,811
They are probably the most sickly sweet soulmate couple in post-everything Konoha. Like. For real. Kiba is all like 'yeah, tacky, we met with seal of reconciliation, go figure' and everyone else is just clutching their faces and screaming.12/7/2016 #2,812
Something to keep in mind for this? Shino's adopted older brother joined ROOT to keep Shino out of it. Shino would be a great help to get Sai out.12/7/2016 #2,813
|The Real Chys Lattes
Maybe they were both a little broken, but together they were pack.
All aboard the ship.
*adds Kiba-Sai to my Platonic Ships List* Good, very good. I'm fully convinced. The double-dose of color bonds from each of them was particularly excellent.
I hate to drop off ideas without expanding on them, but now I'm thinking of what other "unusual" soulmate pairs would have significant butterfly effects.
Naruto's soulmate gets writing on his skin, including a copy of his Kyuubi seal. With Sasuke, that leads to Mikoto adopting him, but would the other main clans do that? What would they do instead if they didn't fight for the adoption angle? My first thought was Shikako (or Shikamaru) would leave Shikaku and Yoshino in the unenviable position of three very small children needing their parenting. The Naras are cool people, but they also have a legit reason to not adopt on top of their twins (one of which is sickly). There's also the very different internal policies in some of the clans: Hinata and Shino would be strange and difficult angles to tackle.
There's also odd-man-out Sakura. As our token civilian-raised minority among the Rookies, her connections with the rest of the characters and the motivations/ideals of her parents are very flexible. I don't really have anyone in mind, but like with Naruto, it just seems like something that could be interesting. Ino is the obvious choice, but what about...I don't know, Shino? Naruto?? Maybe Tsunade too.12/7/2016 #2,815
....... I hate you and love you in equal proportions. How could you make the glorious connection between GUY and SUPERMAN?! It's too perfect because they are also both waaaay to nice for the world's they live in.12/8/2016 #2,816
@skie89 and @Moonlit >>> I now cannot unsee Gai in the Superman pose (of YOUTH!), sunset genjutsu in the distance, backed up by his faithful sidekick SuperRock! (SuperLee? He's totally a class of his own); not to mention both Gai and Superman have...unique...fashion tastes.12/8/2016 #2,817
I laughed an unhealthy amount at the Gai—Superman comparison, thank you for that. Also the Green Arrow/Black Canaray—Asuma/Kurenai correlation.
Some notes I meant to put with the snippets themselves, but am now realizing are not there:
I did an unhealthy amount of research for such a short piece, into March blooming flowers, plants used in traditional medicines, emotional grouping, culture based color psychology and more general color psychology, (though with color choices, I mostly went with my instincts and found ways to justify it after the fact, so I'm not sure what that says about me).
What Sai thought was determination—dull kunai grey—was closer to submission / acceptance / giving up. Actual determination contains both fear and hope, so it's much more vibrant—and for him, it's now "evergreen" (or, more acurately, Nara green). Hope, I had a hard time conveying. Let's just say it would have been a lot easier on Kiba if Naruto had been around—"Naruto orange" if you will.
As for why Kiba recognized the flowers by name—every flower he mentions is used in traditional medicine somewhere, and since traditional medicine IS medicine in DoS Naruto, Hana used to get Kiba out of her hair by sending him to collect ingredients for the medicine she mixed for the dogs. And woe betide him if he didn't bring her what she asked for. So, he'd already recognized everything by smell, and knew they were there, and their approprate shape. Seeing them as they actual look for the first time was meant to be a kind of "a-ha" moment, but I couldn't figure out how to fit that in without derailing things and drawing too far away from Sai and whatever was going on between them.12/9/2016 #2,818
Okay, I got to a computer.
Now, this is a First-Words!Verse, and the words are written in the colour of your soulmate's hair.
In her first life, Shikako had heard of soulmates. The idea that... that somewhere out there, there is a person who's soul mirrors your own. Someone who would make you better in so many ways; who would love you so deeply and fiercely, that you'll wonder how you ever knew what love really was before you met them.
Of course, Shikako hadn't had proof that soulmates were really real in that world, but in this one? Soulmates were a real, tangible thing; the proof of them right there, in words written in colours and shades upon a person's skin full of faint traces of chakra, that generally wouldn't be comprehensible to anyone, but stood out like a beacon to Shikako; hypersensitive as she was to all types of chakra.
It was curious, really, because even as her insides itched as her coils formed and she choked on the chakra in the very air, the chakra within her soulmark was... soothing, almost. It was still chakra, so she felt it keenly, but it was, different, in a way she couldn't articulate. It generally hummed gently, like the sound made by live electrical wires, but the feeling of it changed, presumably in response to the state of her soulmate's chakra.
It crackled intensely frequently, sometimes spiking with a high pitched screech like nails on a chalkboard, which she interpreted as focus and pain. At other times it just buzzed, which is actually what it did most of the time. And occasionally it sparked, which Shikako had managed to discover meant glee. And it would sometimes get this feeling of exposed wires sizzling and cracking with exposure to water, the feeling that something was not quite right; like the paranoid certainty of approaching danger.
She wasn't the only one, or course. Each and every person had words written upon their body, the same shade as their soulmate's hair. Shikamaru had his along his collarbone in a sandy blonde and her parents had theirs on the inside of their forearms. Shikako herself had silvery gray written on the side of her right arm, in line with her thumb. She covered it with linen bandages, wrapping her other arm and parts of her hands so as to be thorough.
It had confused her at first, (apart from the whole reincarnation thing), the strange feeling of mine-not-mine, that had come from the thread of energy, so woven into her own network it was indistinguishable, blended completely, a part of her. But she had gotten used to it; to the degree that it was a comfort that helped her sleep sometimes.
I hope you like it!
Edit: first line of snippet was missing. I fixed it.12/9/2016 . Edited 12/9/2016 #2,819
(*sees the love for Gai-Superman* *is happy*)
@Laural The color psychology is what sells the snip. Have two thumbs up! d(o_o)b
@StarOfTime You know, I'm always here for buzzing-Kakashi. I like the words-empathy combo as well - most of the "empathy" type bonds have been with thoughts as well as emotions, so having a read on emotions only would be a different kind of challenge. Hell, it's not even really emotions as much as it is chakra that you can read emotional states from with practice. It's like reading a person's microexpressions or something.
Two cents: Naruto's soulmate gets Naruto's chakra signature, but not his Kyuubi/mixed signature - the bond was formed in that short amount of time before Naruto became a jinchuuriki and isn't changed by the sealing. When Naruto goes rage-fox mode, instead of getting "ALL MY BURNING RAGE", they actually get disconcertingly little signal because Naruto's personal chakra is not in use.12/9/2016 #2,820
|Forum Moderators: Fell's Apprentice donahermurphy, MathIsMagic, Silver Queen|
|Membership Length: 2+ years 1 year 6+ months 1 month 2+ weeks new member|