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Seven Colours (Naruto)

Discussion in 'Creative Writing' started by Planeshunter, May 29, 2020.

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  1. Selias

    Selias Experienced.

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    That's great! All the MC needs to do is kill one of her teammates, and Karin can join her team!

    :p
     
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  2. Sceptic

    Sceptic Critical Irrationalist

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    Yes, but that would either involve killing Whatsyourface, or increasing the number of eyes to not equal the team number. And that's not what Team Half-Ass is about, damn it!
     
  3. Organmonkey

    Organmonkey Getting out there.

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    Plus she hates "cyclops" so it solves two problems really.
     
  4. Selias

    Selias Experienced.

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    She could take an extra eye from Cyclops-sensei and Cyclops-chan.
     
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  5. Sceptic

    Sceptic Critical Irrationalist

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    She'd only need to blind one of them if she was going to accident the other anyway. I'm liking this plan already.
     
  6. Bolo276

    Bolo276 Making the rounds.

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    And then, no matter where they were, or what they were doing, a shiver ran down the spines of the rest of Team Six.



    So, this really ought to be a good motivator for the rest of the team to Get Good. I don't think Ran would straight up kill her team members, that's just a bad idea any way you look at it, but she'd jump at the opportunity to get Karin onboard if, say, one of them ended up crippled, dead, or otherwise leaves the team. However, I'm honestly expecting Karin to end up on team RyuMuku, because Bossman is a dick and I don't think the third member of that team can measure up to the badassery of the other two. He doesn't even have a name, he's automatically inferior.
     
  7. RyubosJ

    RyubosJ Vote Tie's little bitch - 2018/????

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    Nah, Ran is just going to run lots of duo missions with Karin.
     
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  8. Amazon Climber

    Amazon Climber I trust you know where the happy button is?

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    I will point out that, at least according to the internet, there are sometimes four person teams in Naruto. But that requires everyone being reasonable and sensible, which is much less likely than murder.

    Also, I’m starting to wonder how much of Ran’s frustration is dramatic irony and how much is her team actually being lazy and incompetent.
     
  9. Wentley

    Wentley Not too sore, are you?

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    Her team just isn’t workaholic maniac geniuses, and she hasn’t internalized how different she is. The only people who come close are the ‘once in a generation genius’ types and she thinks they’re the only ones actually trying.
     
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  10. preier

    preier Not too sore, are you?

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    outside the ironic aspect, i feel that it's an actually rather fair outlook into the 'genius' mindset: frustration at other people not getting what is so obvious and exasperation at people 'just not putting the effort in'.
     
  11. Planeshunter

    Planeshunter [Verified Slimegirl Whisperer]

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    I'm going to make a quick note to thank you guys for your comments. Your attempts at analysing Ran and my other characters are helping me a lot when it comes to knowing them better myself. Of course, you don't have all the facts, so you don't always get it right, but they're all useful insights for me. If nothing else, they're clues about how some other characters may view them.
     
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  12. One-who-reads

    One-who-reads Illuminatus

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    I've run into that IRL. I'm talking to someone, and they say something dumb, or fail to make an inference, or fail to follow my logic, and i find myself thinking; "why don't they understand? Oh, it's 'cause they aren't as smart as me."
    Also happens when I absently use a "five dollar word" in casual conversation and get a reaction. The one that sticks out in my memory is when I said "I like my socks to be homogenous," meaning I like to only have one brand and type of sock, so I don't have to worry about unmatched pairs. I got teased for using the word homogenous in that context.
     
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  13. Ayashi

    Ayashi Experienced.

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    No you're not thinking right. She needs to kill her whole team so they have something to in common to share. :V
     
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  14. preier

    preier Not too sore, are you?

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    but then in order to solve the 'being on a team' problem they would have to kill 3/4 of the RyuMuku team... and that's one too much, of course!
     
  15. alethiophile

    alethiophile Shadowed Philosopher Administrator

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    It's honestly pretty hilarious that the worst thing for Ran about her team isn't the deadly enmity, it's having to be closely tied in with normal people at all.
     
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  16. TheGrog

    TheGrog In the number mines

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    I am looking forward to the moment when she finally realizes that she's stronger than her teacher, and probably her whole team put together.

    It might not be until after they die, though.
     
  17. Jacobs lash

    Jacobs lash Getting out there.

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    You can always cut out her other teammates eyes again.
    Her and Karin keeps both eyes meaning she has 4 eyes. Then gouge out one eye on the extra and her sensei
     
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  18. SolipsistSerpent

    SolipsistSerpent Endlessly Devouring

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    That would be 5 eyes, since Sensei already lost one.
    It wasn't really that the decision to separate Karin and Ran was necessarily bad, though it's debatable, it's that it was terribly, terribly executed. Threatening Karin and talking about getting your investment back after her mother sacrificed herself healing your guys is just the worst way to do things. It's possible to just say no to people as the Kage of a village without threatening their loved ones and putting down their dead family members' contributions. Plus, placing the sociopath who will maim people who make her angry on a team with two people who have grudges against her is less of a smart move and more asking for your ninja to get maimed.

    Imagine your boss came up to you and said "Look, you've been filling out these forms incorrectly, you need to switch these two fields. By the way, if you don't fix this, I'm killing your mother, she hasn't been contributing to the company for a while. And your next project will be with two coworkers who hate you." The instruction is reasonable, but you'd be justified in wanting to kill your boss.
     
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2020
  19. Jacobs lash

    Jacobs lash Getting out there.

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    I was including her sensei as a teammate. She could always gouge out her eye if she wants to keep her sensei
     
  20. Grinningmadhatter1

    Grinningmadhatter1 #OrcPrivilege

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    The snuggle obsession gets a pretty predatory vibe at times with the constant reminder that Ran is an adult in a child's body. I get the lack of wisdom is the fatal flaw that's likely going to lead to tragedy, which I reckon is gonna get Shimama killed against Orochimaru when they go to bail out Ran.

    Or maybe the flaw is narcicism?

    But fuck the crushing lack of empathy in general kinda taints a lot of interactions with Karin as it's jarring in comparison.

    Also this isn't a particularly great analogy. It's incredibly skewed when you realise the subject mutilated their co-workers for an absurdly childish reason, and you've been actively sabotaging boss man by taking up their time and resources, then acting flakey when the time comes to pay back. Furthermore, boss man's main threat really was essentially 'get your shit together or I'll make your friend make up to it, and it'll be fucking awful.' Dick move Yeah, but at that point what's really the solution when Ran has essentially been plotting mutiny from the start? There really isn't a carrot option from what I can see, so out comes the stick.

    I don't like Ran to be honest, but I do want to see where this goes and if it comes crashing down.
     
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  21. MudkipSage

    MudkipSage Not too sore, are you?

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    This sums up a lot of the issues pretty coincisely.
    TBH , the biggest flaw with the Boss Man is that he seems to have no skill with reading people. He understands negotiations well enough, but he honestly could of done the entire strong-handing with a brief explination of his position.

    ===Short Omake====
    Understand My Position

    I read this in Samuel Jackson's voice, but I keep mentally adding "Motherfuckers"

    "Every time you lash out, every time we break the rules for you it has costs the village. But I know you don't care about that however, so we're going to discuss this in a way that you do care. The Uzumaki girl isn't something we can readily protect. Keeping her is costing the village more than you would imagine, in both political ,and material resources. Her mother sacrificed her life today. She passed 12 hours ago, because it was the only method she had to keep her daughter safe.[Waits to absorb this fact]

    And It was a sacrifice I would make again in an instant...And as much as I respect and want to honor that sacrifice; no matter how much potential she has, her daughter just isn't worth the cost by herself. She is simply worth more to the village being sold as a bounty.[Holds hand up]

    But I haven't decided to do that yet, because there is one more factor in this equation. You.

    You want to hate me? Fine. It is not my job to measure your happiness, it is my job to protect the ninja of this village. I do this by investing what is working, and cutting what isnt. It's the reason clans accumulate so much power, they keep paying back for the costs they incur.

    You have been a massive investment, but I refuse to fall into the trap of keeping investing in something just because it used to look promising. You drop out of the advanced classes, that an exception was made to get you in, and that everyone knows you can do. you stop pushing yourself and start throwing away your opportunities? That is your decision to make.

    But I will do what I have to, my own feelings on the matter be damned. She isn't worth the cost to the village to protect by herself, but I still think both of you might be. If you want to keep her you will have to give it everything you've got to have any chance. But if you're willing to put forth the effort and make it worth the cost, I'll fight with you and we will make it happen. But first it's going to have to be up to you to make it worth it..."

    [Later at the mission office]

    "You're on different teams because there are a lot of missions that I can't send her on due to the danger her status as an Uzumaki brings. You don't have those issues, and your teammates were selected because they either have shown a phenominal tollerance for your personality, or are the ones that YOU injured, so they are your responsability.
     
  22. Threadmarks: 027 - On indulgence therapy and awkward interactions
    Planeshunter

    Planeshunter [Verified Slimegirl Whisperer]

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    027 - On indulgence therapy and awkward interactions (or ‘How Karin found her libido’)




    We now lie in my futon, though it may very well be called ours at this point, fingers feathering through Karin’s hair while I watch her finally, finally sleep. After she cried it out in the bathroom, we went to bed, and she told me what happened, then she cried herself to sleep. It wasn’t a quick process.

    She told me how her team had been a bit dismissive of her because of her medical skills, and how it often meant she got left behind with multiple excuses while the rest did ‘the real work’. Which is bullshit and I would’ve liked to have words about Dumb prejudices with them, but they’re dead, so I’ll let it slip. It might very well have been the only reason she survived, too.

    The mission involved hunting down a beast that was harassing various towns around it’s lair. When the team got into the forest where the supposed beast lived, she was left behind to keep watch on the town. Only, there was no beast. What the forest hid was a squad of presumably Iwa-nin deserters who, after a short running battle, took down her team.

    They managed to retreat far enough to get into the range of Karin’s [Mind’s Eye of the Kagura], which means she felt each of their lives fade away. Come to think of it, the hideout was deep enough in the forest to be outside her range, but they all managed to fall back far enough to get into it before dying? Talk about messed up, I would believe it if someone told me the whole incident was manufactured that way.

    Honestly, I’m not sure whether to hate the fact she bore witness to it, or to be glad she at least has closure. Imagine they just disappeared without trace. Protocol dictates she would’ve had to return to report the situation anyway when they didn’t return, but there’s a big difference between a clean cut like this and the days, maybe weeks of incertitude, waiting for news of her team and wondering whether they were lying wounded in the forest, and she could’ve helped them if she’d just ventured into the forest after them.

    She confided to me how she hadn’t liked her team very much, but she regrets the unkind thoughts now that they are dead. That guilt was bad enough as it is, but would’ve been tenfold if she didn’t know for sure they were already dead. I idly wonder whether my team would cry for me, were I to actually be killed? … It’s a surreal experience, putting them at the same level as Karin, even as an intellectual exercise, so I promptly stop.

    Right, something needs to be done about all this. And I somehow doubt I’ll be allowed to take an extermination mission for… wherever it is that happened.


    “I still can’t believe you took a week off on my stead.” She protests, for the tenth time, struggling to hold my pace as we travel East through the trees of the Land of Fire. I might be imposing a bit of a brisk rhythm, but that means she doesn’t have time to mope.

    “You need it, you want it, you deserve it, and you were going to get back to work.” I reply, for the tenth time. Then I blink a couple of times, realizing Karin doesn’t actually take solo missions. I’m pretty sure she doesn’t even know about them. “What were you expecting to work on, anyway? I doubt they’ll just assign you to another team on the fly.”

    She gapes and makes a good impersonation of a fish for a while, which is kinda cute. “I don’t know? Honestly, I wasn't thinking much beyond trying to make things normal again.”

    “There will be time for that later.” It’s not like normal is so grand right now… “Now you’re heading for a week of debauchery and you’re going to like it, young lady!”

    “I still think you went too far.”

    “And I think I’m swimming in ryo and have nothing to spend it in.” I answer with a wink. “I want a week-long luxury-spa treatment in Hot Spring’s best place and I can’t properly enjoy it without my favorite cuddle bug around, so you have no choice but to come with.”

    “Maybe you should stop taking so many missions and actually do something with the money.”

    “I am doing something with the money.” Spoiling her rotten is something to do with the money. “Good shinobi tools and research material aren’t that expensive, and I don’t have patience for a hobby. Mother called it the Shimada Curse.”

    “It does sound like something Shimada-mama would say.”

    “Stupid Shimada blood...”

    It takes us some hours to finally reach our destination, but Karin doesn’t protest again. Seems like I finally found an angle she can accept. That or she’s realized the futility of her actions. Either/or, really, Karin has always been a smart girl.


    “Hmm… this is life~” I mutter under the skilled hands of the masseuse. “Do you still think I went too far?”

    Karin’s only answer is a mewling sound of pleasure I decide to take as a no.

    It’s like my muscles are melting butter! You haven’t had a massage until you’ve received one from a chakra-capable professional.

    Of course, I can’t forget all those fics about the Village Hidden in Hot Springs, there is a chance this girl is actually planning to take advantage of our relaxed state to gather either intelligence from our village or outright blackmail material, so I can’t completely relax.

    Just about… you know, 90% or so. I’m keeping an eye half-lidded in case of trouble.

    Also, the point is getting Karin to enjoy this, and she has nothing to hide, so she can fully relax. Whatever benefit I extract myself for this is just the cherry on top. A moan escapes my lips when a particularly big knot dissolves under the ministrations of expert fingers.

    “Oh, yeah… A very sweet cherry.”


    “Stop struggling!” I chastise Karin. “I’ve only had to deal with one of these once in my whole life, and it was years ago!”

    “Sorry Ran-chan, It’s kind of strangling me here.”

    “I think it’s supposed to work that way.” I mutter in frustration. “I swear, what sort of sadist designed this?”

    “Can’t you make it loosen a bit?”

    “Not without everything falling apart. Unless...” I find a point of leverage I hadn’t noticed before, and with a sharp tug, feel the whole scheme shift and fall into place. “Okay, how about now?”

    “Better, but I’m having my revenge when it’s your turn.”

    “I know right?” I plop back into my seat, arms tired and burning as if I’ve just completed the harshest training routine of my life, instead of just trying to properly arrange and tighten a bunch of cloth. “Who knew wearing a yukata was such a health hazard?”

    “Are we sure this will be worth it?”

    “The place we have reserved for dinner requires formal dress. Also… ” I make a show of examining her head to toe and back again. She’s still too young to pull off a cocktail dress, but a yukata relies on a completely different set of attributes to work. “You look so cute I could gobble you up.”

    “Now you’re just buttering me up.” She mumbles, looking away with a red face. “But I’m sure you will look gorgeous, so let’s get to it already.”

    In spite of being well aware of my own plain looks, I can help feeling a bit of heat on my cheeks at her words. What a charming liar Karin can be when she wants to.


    “What did I just eat?” Karin asks.

    “Pan-roasted pastry rolls, layered with an herbed tomato puree, a creamy blend of artisanal cheeses, and tender bites of aged salami. With Avec.” I answer slowly, reading from the menu. “It’s a typical dish from somewhere called ‘Klatch’.” If you’re wondering, yeah, that’s just another name for pizza rolls. Kinda surprised they exist at all in the Elemental Nations, much less that they’ve somehow become high cuisine.

    “They’re tasty.” She concludes, grabbing a portion of what looks like a fancily dressed sandwich to me. “Let’s try this…”

    “Pâté of roasted indigenous legumes, paired with a compote of seasonal berries, served on hearty sprouted wheat bread.” I obediently recite. Yup, peanut butter and jelly sandwich. This is surreal.

    “Very good.” She declares, before turning to face me with a blinding smile. “I never thought I’d enjoy such a luxury buffet. Somehow I was expecting it all to be dumb things like tiny spheres of jelly or… dunno, flavoured foams?”

    This is way too surreal.

    At least Karin is smiling.


    “I can’t believe you talked me into betting so much money on a roulette spin.”

    “It was my money, I just wanted you to be my good luck charm.”

    “It was enough money to live for months!”

    “You Uzumaki have a certain reputation when it comes to luck. I just wanted to know if you had Benzaiten blessing yourself.”

    “Well I apparently don’t.”

    “And I’m a little bit poorer, and a little bit wiser. Fair trade I say.”

    “So what’s the plan now?”

    “I was thinking we could go back to the hotel, where I’ve reserved the hot springs for the two of us, and enjoy a long, relaxing and warm bath under the stars.”

    “That does sound like a nice change of pace… I don’t think I like gambling too much.”


    We waste a good hour in the warm water, talking about everything and nothing and watching the starry night. I’ve always found the night sky breathtaking, probably something to do with that past life I can barely remember anymore.

    All good things have to end though, and I’m feeling a little light headed. It’s maybe time to get out, have some cold milk, and challenge Karin to a table-tennis match. You know, for the full onsen package. Walking out of the water, I reach for my scalp with both hands to wring my hair dry, when I notice Karin has stopped talking.

    I turn towards her, a teasing word in my lips, when I notice she hasn’t moved from her seat, where she remains still as a deer in the headlights. It’s hard to say for sure under the moonlight, but seems like her cheeks have darkened and her eyes are glassy. I frown for a moment, wondering whether she has been in the hot water for too long.

    … But no. Her gaze is not lost. She’s looking… No, she’s staring at me.

    “Karin?” She jumps at my voice, but doesn’t really react beyond that. After a long moment, when I’m really starting to worry, two words escape her lips.

    “You’re beautiful.”

    The world screeches to a halt and my thought processes stutter, my stomach does a belly-flop, and my heart stops working, because Karin is looking at me with lust in her eyes and that does not compute.

    Next thing I know, I’m back in our bedroom, on the other side of the complex, chakra reserves suspiciously low.


    I don’t know how long I stand there, in the center of the room, dripping on the carpet without a stitch on me, trying to regain my breath.

    What the hell was that?

    Karin did– Karin was– I mean she– and then– Why is this affecting me so much?

    With a frustrated whine, I throw myself into my bed back first, and a certain conversation I had with Mother comes to mind. It was about this very journey, and she was trying to caution me her influence wouldn’t help me this time, if the Boss Dude or someone else in the chain of command objected to my plans.

    For some reason, I took that as a dig at my own abilities, and snapped at her, really harshly. She didn’t seem to take offence, as if she had half-expected it, and that was that. But I think the very fact I snapped is rather telling.

    Mother taking care of me might grind on me sometimes, but I can ultimately shrug it off. She’s Mother, I’m her responsibility and she’ll keep doing so as long as I need it, no matter how much I’d love to stand by myself. But Karin…

    Karin is a bit of a tender spot. I want to help her myself, with my own means.

    Don’t… don’t get me wrong here, I’ll get over my pride and ask for help if I really am over my head, I’ve done so before. But I’ll never do it just to make things easier for me. And yes, I know that’s my pride talking, but I can’t bring myself to contemplate any other way.

    What exactly does that mean for Karin and me though? Sure, she’s a cutie and I enjoy cuddling with her very much, I might’ve even… let my imagination wander at some point or another. But I’ve never stopped to take a good look at my feelings. I had avoided taking it seriously because… well, canon and Sasuke.

    I mean, up till today, I had this idea Karin would find a boy she liked -not Sasuke, if I had anything to say about it-, sooner or later, and I’d have no choice but to give him my blessings -after thoroughly vetting him, of course, only the best for Karin- I didn’t even know she saw me as someone to lust after.

    Heck, I’m pretty sure she didn’t know either, before today. Have I affected her sexuality? Is that even a thing that can happen? If so, how much? Is there a way to tell? Will I burn in hell? Does it even matter?

    … Do I want to do this? Sure, I joke a lot about it, but that was easy when I didn’t think I had a real chance. Also, there’s a difference between occasionally raising the lust of a hormonal adolescent and actually being capable of properly romancing her, which is something I now have to worry about.

    That’s without considering Grass stance in… well… the last heir of an old clan and the holder of powerful and coveted bloodlines being in a relationship that cannot conceive children. That’s like a double nope for them, quadruple nope, since Karin counts for three, and somehow I doubt telling them to mind their own business will work. Which means…

    Ugh… It means I need a drink.

    Correction, I need a body that can actually get plastered.

    Stupid Shimada blood.

    Ugh, I hate summer. There's heat, and then I can't sleep, and then I can't think, and then I can't write for shit. If you guys have noticed I'm not interacting vey much as of late, it's because I'm having trouble focusing on anything. Stupid Sleep deprivation...
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2020
  23. Ayashi

    Ayashi Experienced.

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    Running away just after Karin confesses is sure to end well. Especially just after she witnesses her whole team abandon her useless self and get killed for it. I'm sure everything we be just peachy... :V
     
  24. Bolo276

    Bolo276 Making the rounds.

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    Yeah, that could have gone better. There's a fine line to walk here between hurting her, and taking advantage of her. Obviously, Ran's doomed to fail, just hopefully in a way that doesn't cause permanent damage.
     
    ThinkingSlowly, SFlight and tripcode like this.
  25. LurkingInTheDeceit

    LurkingInTheDeceit “Brave” Explorer treading “new” land

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    stopped talking.


    Hopefully Karin put it down to the MC being shy, rather than a rejection.
     
  26. MudkipSage

    MudkipSage Not too sore, are you?

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    TBH she's known the MC for many years, and should be well aware about how well she does social stuff.
    Finding it to be a hither unknown adorable side (That she can poke) would be well in character.
     
  27. Planeshunter

    Planeshunter [Verified Slimegirl Whisperer]

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    How the hell did I make that mistake? Something something freudian slip, I'm sure.

    Fixed now, thanks.
     
    LurkingInTheDeceit likes this.
  28. Threadmarks: 028 - On heart to hearts and team rearrangements
    Planeshunter

    Planeshunter [Verified Slimegirl Whisperer]

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    028 - On heart to hearts and team rearrangements (I'm so dead is not even funny)



    Karin didn’t come back to our room until late in the night. I tried to talk myself into going out and find her a couple of times, but I was too busy behaving like a damn blushing maiden to think rationally -That I am technically one is sooooooo not the point- so I didn’t.

    When she finally arrived, she went straight to her own bed without a word. A bed that’s now being used for the first time since we arrived here. Because it’s hers and not mine. As in, somewhere she’s sleeping where I am not sleeping.

    We’ve slept alone before, that with missions and training camps being a thing, but it’s the first time we’ve done so while being in the same place… Well, since Uzumama passed away. It’s easy to imagine how things will never be the same after tonight, how our relationship will become awkward and we’ll slowly become estranged.

    Ugh, it’s like a damn soap opera. If things keep going like this, there’ll be some miserable times in both our futures.

    … No, not ‘If things keep going on like this’. The right sentence is ‘If I let things keep going like this’. Breathe deep, Ran, put your thoughts in order. Exhale, Inhale, ruthlessly crush those crippling insecurities that have no business nesting in your heart, exhale again.

    Feel ready?

    No, not by a long shot, but such is life.

    “Karin?”

    “Hm?” Okay… she’s talking to me. More or less. That’s… that’s a start, that’s good.

    “You know you’re my most favorite person in the world, right?” That has her turning around in her bed to look my way.

    “Even more than Shimada-mama?”

    “Mother is very dear to me, but you’re still my favorite.” I answer without thinking, then I hurry to amend my words. “… Don’t tell her I said that, okay?”

    “Ahap.”

    “I… have a good idea what you were thinking, back in the onsen.” Please don’t clamp down, please don’t clamp down…

    “N?” I’ll take it.

    “And don’t get me wrong, what you said were the most flattering words I’ve heard in my life…”

    “… But?”

    I frown. Is it me or has Karin taken control of the conversation somehow? With just grunts and monosyllables? “But, and I can’t believe I’m saying this, I don’t think I’m ready yet. For… you know, the fun stuff.”

    A loud sigh comes from her bed, and I feel my mouth dry up. “Ran?” My name never sounded so foreboding before.

    Swallowing with difficulty, I try to keep my voice as neutral as possible, muscles tensing as I get ready to throw myself to the floor and beg forgiveness on my knees if I have to. “Yes Karin?”

    “For someone so smart, you can be an idiot sometimes.” That… that wasn’t what I was expecting to hear.

    “I’m… sorry?”

    “That wasn’t a confession or anything, you silly.” She explains with a giggle, the tension in the room breaking like a cheap window. “It was just a slip of the tongue. I don’t think I’m ready either.”

    “So I was worrying for nothing?”

    “Well, not for nothing. You were so beautiful, with your wet skin glistening under the moonlight…” Is it me, or has it suddenly become hot in here? “If you hadn't fled I might’ve gobbled you up!”

    “That was uncalled for.” I turn away from her, not sure how to react to her words. I’m the one supposed to fluster Karin, not the other way around!

    “Not from where I’m standing~”

    “Whatever.” Too relieved this ended up being nothing to feel indignant at her haughty tone, I do the next best thing and press on the issue. “So, what happens now? I’ll miss the cuddles, but I’ll understand if you want to sleep in separate futons from now on.

    “Nothing.” I hear a rustle of clothes, but I’m staring at the wall, so I can’t see what’s going on.

    “Nothing?”

    “Nothing.” Her voice comes now from right beside my bed. “I’d miss the cuddles too.”

    Later that night, I remain awake, staring at the ceiling while enjoying Karin’s warmth and trying to figure out what has just happened. Never thought I’d pull the ‘I’m not ready’ card of all things. It solves nothing, and only puts more pressure on poor Future Ran, but here we are. Oh well, if things go as planned we’ll have all the time in the world to figure things out. And if things don’t, I’m pretty sure it just won’t matter.

    Plus, Future Ran has my utmost confidence. She’s such a hard-working and responsible girl…


    To be honest, I wasn’t all that confident we’d be able to return to normal the following morning. Doing our damned best to put the awkwardness behind? Sure. Actually managing? That was something entirely different. Fortunately our week of leave was over, and we had to go back to Grass. With a bit of luck, a return to the hectic routine that were our lives would let us put the worst of the incident behind us.

    That was the plan, anyway.

    “Oh, here you are.” As soon as we returned to the village, we were summoned to Boss Dude’s office. “We can finally get this out of the way.”

    He throws an exasperated look my way that I’m sure it’s supposed to convey something, but I got nothing. It’s not like I formatted the paperwork for our little vacation time in such a way it looked like one of the many confirmation forms for shipping supplies he signs everyday and left it mixed with a stack of those.

    Oh, wait, that’s exactly what I did. My bad.

    “As all the other aspirants already know, the next Chunin exams will be held in Konoha in three months time.” Oh, yeah, it’s about that time, isn’t it? I’ve been a bit wrapped up in recent events, but I’ve still been aware it was coming. “I don’t think any one team from your promotion is ready to take them just yet, but we have a couple of older teams with gaps that need filling. That’ll be your job.”

    “Uh… what about Team Ryūzetsu?” Which admittedly has a different name I can’t be arsed to remember. “They’re about our level too.”

    “Well, for one they are part of an actually functional team, there’s no reason to move them around.” … Fair enough. “For another, I don’t need more than two people.”

    The rest I tune out because I’m busy adjusting my plans. There’s a lot of shit going on during the Chunin Exams, including half of Konoha ending up looking like a warzone and two S-Rank ninja entangled in a duel to the death where nobody leaves unscathed. I didn’t know what my role would be in all that, or whether I had a role to play at all, so my plans had to be kept vague so far by necessity.

    Now that I know I’ll be a participant, I can actually start working on the details.

    … Which means I should pay attention to this, right? Right. Getting intel now, scheming later. The Boss Dude must’ve made some kind of sign, because three guys enter the office right as I start paying attention again. They seem kind of familiar.

    “This is Team Shigeri, and they’ve specifically requested a healer.” Seeing where this is going, Karin tries to protest, but Boss Dude cuts her as soon as she opens her mouth. “I know what you’re about to say, I also don’t care. This team is above your skill level, and they need a healer. You can fill the role so you will fill it to the best of your capabilities. Are we clear?”

    Usually those words would’ve tested my self-control. It’s not just abusing Karin’s pet peeve, but also hits too close to the circumstances that led to her first team’s demise. Even coming from the Boss Dude, that demands some form or retaliatory strike. Depending on my mood, that might've meant ‘accidentally’ breaking something, or just letting slip some passive-aggressive comment. But today it barely registers, because I’m busy staring holes at Karin's future team.

    Team Shigeri. Yes, that Team Shigeri. Fucking Team We-Run-From-Bears. I’m going to have to arrange a little chat with them later. Maybe some veiled threats, or maybe just hang them by their balls for a couple of hours. You know, so they take it seriously.

    “And you, Shimada.” Ooops, looks like my mind wandered again. He takes a long breath while Team Deadman Walking leaves, then focuses on me. “Nobody actually wants you on their team. But I want you promoted and away from my actual genin ASAP, and there’s a team who wants to try but isn’t really up to snuff. They could use a ninjutsu specialist and I know you’re a pretty versatile elementalist.”

    Of course you know, thanks for confirming I’m under surveillance, always good to know it’s not just paranoia. Also, I don’t remember shit about a team needing a ninjutsu specialist. Have I butterflied another team into the Exam? Another signal from Boss Dude summons the next group. And I… kinda freeze.

    The leader of this group has a face I remember very clearly. A face Orochimaru will wear like a glove during the test, and I can’t see anything I do changing that. This is a worst case situation. One I don’t actually have a plan for, except maybe disappearing the team before the events are even set in motion..

    “Just remember, they don’t need you. I hear a whisper that you’re acting up and you’re out of the exam and I’ll personally make you regret ever being born.” Well, there goes plan B. It wasn’t viable anyway, too high a risk Orochimaru would target Karin’s team instead. “And keep your fucking trump card as a trump card. That means, use your damn explosives as the damn last resort they’re supposed to be!!

    Taking that as the dismissal it is, I leave with all the dignity I can muster. I’ll have time to break down and cry once I’m back home.

    You thought it would be a long and convoluted problem, but it was solved easily. One thing is being unaware of things (she’s far too good at being unaware), or procrastinating (what she’s actually done here, too), but a blatant problem that screams at her face? Yeah, she’s going to bite the bullet and nip at the bud before it can fester.
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2020
  29. EternitynChaos

    EternitynChaos Once there was a Maiden...

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    good to know her not actually trump card trump card is known but her secret fuck you this is my real trump card isn't
     
  30. Sceptic

    Sceptic Critical Irrationalist

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    Or at least hasn't been shown to be known.
     
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