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SHINOBI: The RPG - Act 2 (Naruto/Fallout SI)

Discussion in 'Creative Writing' started by Fulcon, May 7, 2019.

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  1. Zaynal

    Zaynal Gotta get dat power fantasy~

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    Heh
     
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  2. Fulcon

    Fulcon Wim Hoff Method Initiate

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    I will do my utmost to make sure this story is as good as it can be.

    Call me dumb, but I can't tell if you're joking or not. Either way, it is funny.

    Exactly!

    *laughs*

    Have a cookie.
     
  3. Zaynal

    Zaynal Gotta get dat power fantasy~

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    That's all I can really ask for. Also, I just realized I haven't given you the Isekai treatment where I summarize a chapter into an Isekai title yet. Can't think of one right now, maybe next time?

    Edit: Got it.

    That Time My Goddess Wife Tried and Failed to Convince me to Build a Harem
     
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  4. Fulcon

    Fulcon Wim Hoff Method Initiate

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    That's awesome. :D

    Have a cookie.
     
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  5. MudkipSage

    MudkipSage Not too sore, are you?

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    Just throwing this out there, but people often say I love you a lot as a form of psychological reassurance. You tell them you love them, because you need to hear it again. Once you get past the uncertainty stage, you still will feel enjoyment from hearing it from your significant other, or expressing it. (This is why you see new couples being disgustingly sweet to each other) The fact that they rushed into this relationship so fast basically means they should both be desperate for mutual positive reinforcement as proof that they haven't fucked up badly.(Not to mention their own brands of psychological damage) They could literally be crafted as soul mates specifically for each other, and that uncertainty would still exist on some base lizard brain level...Relationships are Hard okay>
     
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  6. Bellcross

    Bellcross Getting sticky.

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    Well that's not true... polygamy is still being practiced, In Parts of USA(look it up), India, Africa... hell my grandfather had 3 wives... polygamy is still being practiced.. it just doesn't always fit the exact definition of polygamy... a Guy who have multiple girlfriends who are all aware of each other and have children together and love each other but can't get married to to the law and not finding loopholes...

    The Main Problem of Polygamy/ Harems is infighting, Yandare like tendency's.. and lust for power or authority over each other..( Everyone want's to be the Head..)
     
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  7. Fulcon

    Fulcon Wim Hoff Method Initiate

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    Huh, I didn't know that.

    ...which means Daisuke didn't either.

    (Actually, wait. I did - that mess with the FLDS church was nasty.)

    But thank you for contributing to the sum of Fulcon's knowledge. :)

    Have a plate of cookies.

    Yup! This is absolutely factual.
     
  8. The Unaligned Player

    The Unaligned Player Any role you need.

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    Or they think Anko and Daisuke are incredibly insecure. Nope, they're as insecure as normal human beings. They need something that should be a once spoken fact reaffirmed so that they can believe that someone actually... ugh... loves them.
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2019
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  9. Fulcon

    Fulcon Wim Hoff Method Initiate

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    *nods nods*

    This is true...probably why I say it so much, now that I think about it.

    Hm.
     
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  10. Galacticplumber

    Galacticplumber Know what you're doing yet?

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    So, respectful discussion of thing in the chapter that will stop immediately if anyone's uncomfortable time.

    As an Atheist I have countless reasons for refusing every single religion, such that I've no use for petty barbs about ancient policy not even practiced anymore, and which isn't even offensive to me.

    Different spectrums of reasons for different spectrums of religions of course, but one almost universally applies. I refuse to worship, and allow to dictate my life rules, anything unwilling or unable to demonstrate its existence, and any claims it makes.

    An actual physically demonstrable deity with a set of rewards and punishments on a quantifiable behavior web? Sure, I'd consider that.

    Not having this basic rule in place would allow anyone with a suitably compelling story what I see as an unwarranted level of control over me. I'll still gladly be friends with religious people, so long as they don't get too insistent about converting me, but they'll have to accept that I'm just not joining their belief system.

    This is all before we get into specific religions with specific objections from me.

    Now on to the rest of the chapter. Most of the other points in the discussion are things we already talked about in a well written matter. I enjoyed the callbacks and can be patient for the other things planned.
     
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  11. Fulcon

    Fulcon Wim Hoff Method Initiate

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    Well, the closest experience I have to that comes from, well, reading the Book of Mormon.

    At the end, it's got an invitation from Moroni, Mormon's son. Basically saying 'after you've read this, think about it, about everything you've read, then try praying to ask God if it's true'.

    I did.

    I got an answer in the affirmative. Very similar to a burning or swelling motion in the chest. After that, it was just carrying on from there, testing the principles I was taught and finding that I liked living them better than how I used to do things before.

    If you're interested, and I don't know if you are, we can talk about it some more in PM's if this discussion annoys too many people.

    Pretty much. Thank you for your patience. :)
     
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  12. Rechte

    Rechte Getting out there.

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    What even is marriage? Just a title that grants 1 privilege at the end of the day, which is hospital based things where only family is allowed. No laws against living together, no laws against having kids, no law about who's not allowed to inherit things
     
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  13. Galacticplumber

    Galacticplumber Know what you're doing yet?

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    It's not uncommon for it to include various tax breaks, and to improve the chances of successfully adopting children in some areas. It's not meaningless on a practical level.
     
  14. Coltsguy

    Coltsguy Getting out there.

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    My condolences for your inability to chat with your grandma for a while.
     
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  15. Fulcon

    Fulcon Wim Hoff Method Initiate

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    Aunt, but yeah. Thank you. :)
     
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  16. Coltsguy

    Coltsguy Getting out there.

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    Oof. Now I feel even worse since it seems like I half-assed it. My bad.
     
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  17. Mike45

    Mike45 Terminator EU-lore fanatic

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    Kingdom of Heaven to her.:(
     
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  18. Fulcon

    Fulcon Wim Hoff Method Initiate

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    It's okay, I appreciate the sentiment all the same. :)

    Yup, yup.
     
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  19. Masterjaxx

    Masterjaxx Not too sore, are you?

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    Im kinda curious how he would react if Anko were to tell him that she was bisexual and had had previous relationships with other women, like Kurenai for instance. How differently would Daisuke be processing these decisions if he came to believe that his wife wanted co-wives for her own sake as well.

    Daisuke is a very complicated person so i doubt things would smoothly transition into endless threesomes. But once he gets past the additional stressors of knowing that his girl has needs he isn't best suited to meet, i would suspect that agreeing would be more likely. Because at that point it's not all about just him, it becomes something that they can share.

    I imagine it would put quite a tilt on the way things develop.
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2019
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  20. Galacticplumber

    Galacticplumber Know what you're doing yet?

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    You know, that's actually a really interesting idea. I support its inclusion on the grounds that it's another way to add to the emotional depth of the situation.
     
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  21. Krazyfan1

    Krazyfan1 Versed in the lewd.

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    bit iffy on the whole "sex SLAVE" bit...
    Polyamory is a lot of work, but with Ninshu and comminication it probably would work...
     
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  22. mariic

    mariic Your first time is always over so quickly, isn't it?

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    Daisuke: "Can you call them sex servants instead of slaves?"
    Anko: "But that implies they get paid."
    Daisuke : "Then I'm willing to negotiate salaries."
     
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  23. Zsombi

    Zsombi Your first time is always over so quickly, isn't it?

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    I don't know if the thread is fresh enough to not be a necro. if so I apologise, but I decided to post again anyway.


    The only reasons polygamy is not widespread in the world are: religion, people being weak or insufficiently strong willed, and the states' unwillingness or inability to work out a viable legal structure for it (likely both, but more so the former stemming from the first two reasons - likely they themselves are not comfortable with it so they abuse their power and are lazy so the law and by extension somewhat engineered public acceptance is tailored to fit their ideals at the expense of those who could otherwise make it work).

    Biologically speaking polygamy is way better than monogamy.
    From a pure evolutionary practicality monogamy is inefficient for both increasing one's genetic line (population/family) size as well as finding the best genetic combinations.

    I accept the character's reasoning regardless of how irrational and selfish I find them, but I am a practical-minded person so in his place I would have already suggested it if not secured a few willing candidates Before ascension.
     
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  24. Fulcon

    Fulcon Wim Hoff Method Initiate

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    Alright, guys.

    Past month was really, really stressful as a deadline for another project sprung up on me and said 'hey, you've only got a month to finish me fool!'. So had to finish it and it was horrifically stressful, but it was done. I did not want to go anywhere near the forums or FFnet because I could not afford any distractions on this project.

    Work on Shinobi will resume in October. Thank you for your patience.
     
  25. ExquisiteTopHat

    ExquisiteTopHat Lined with Tinfoil

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    Geez man, take some time to work out the stress! Good luck with avoiding bullshit like that in future.
     
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  26. High Lord Rokland

    High Lord Rokland Getting out there.

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    Take your time dude, it's free entertainment.
     
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  27. Galacticplumber

    Galacticplumber Know what you're doing yet?

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    Well that's good to know. Honestly it's no big deal. You generally have a need to take sabbaticals every now and then, but are almost aggressively active otherwise. The pace is much greater than is common. Certainly nothing to be ashamed of.
     
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  28. Fulcon

    Fulcon Wim Hoff Method Initiate

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    Progress Report: 1k words, will try to get this chapter out on Friday.

    Dealing with Jiraiya returning to Konoha, actually. I don't know what it is, but my muse refuses to cooperate with me when I'm trying to write something like Itachi. It's pissing me off.

    Also: During my break, then coming back to write this, I discovered something about myself. See, to keep up a fairly frequent schedule, I've basically come up with the technique of writing whatever comes to mind and then posting it. Now, obviously a lot of you guys have liked what I've put out so far; but it does mean that I release a lot of first draft stuff. Now, I'm not just talking about typos of which there are many (you know, I usually have enough time in my week to go over my chapters and fix them, just need to stop being lazy) but also of the content of these chapters.

    Something I find myself doing, especially in Shinobi, is that I have characters monologue. They talk about where their head-space is, introspect on their actions leading up to this point. Now, this is all well and good, especially if you like that sort of thing, but a lot of what gets written in this sort of chapter is just as much a discovery for me as it is for you. That's actually a problem because I feel like, a lot of the time, my exploration winds up with me overusing introspection as a narrative tool. Not saying there's anything wrong with introspection, it has it's place. It's just that I too often use it as an excuse to flesh out my story for myself, which is fine. I guess. But it could be pared down by going over it again and trimming the unnecessary bits.

    So I'm starting to see, perhaps, a benefit to writing the entire fanfic first, then going over it again and seeing what's important and what isn't. Before you start panicking, if you are, I'm not going to let up on Shinobi's weekly schedule. Just that for future projects, I might just have the whole thing planned and written out ahead of time to avoid things like overuse of introspection as a crutch for my failure to understand my story and characters completely. I'll likely try to find a method to make the fic of Shinobi a more cohesive story with less unnecessary clutter without compromising it's weekly update.

    Also, I've reread some of Pyroclasm and For the Empire - my dialogue is really, really awkward. Not entirely sure how to fix that since they're all talking...like me. I write the characters talking how I talk. It's an interesting problem, given how formal, artificially clean I am, but it's one that I want to tackle.

    Your thoughts?
     
  29. Galacticplumber

    Galacticplumber Know what you're doing yet?

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    Ah, well I've good news Fulcon. Going by description, what you're going through is completely normal, and even has expected positive results. You see, all artists grow to hate their old work as they get more experienced, and notice more things about it.

    Too much introspection has a variety of things you could experiment with. One method is to still do all that self reflective yourself such that the character is still following a coherent thought process, but only let the audience in sometimes. This generally frees you up to do alternate viewpoints of situations, or bring focus to non-internal details in a situation.

    You could start your story planning at the stage of asking yourself, really hard, just who any new/changed main characters are such that they all have clear motivations, then outline far enough in advance to foreshadow any particularly powerful moments. The further ahead your general plan is, the more foreshadowing you can drop, and the easier time you'll have adding in anything that strikes your fancy from conversing with the audience.

    Depending on just how willing you are to let people in on the creative process this could even involve content betas as opposed to simple spelling betas. The basic idea is to bring people in for discussion during the planning phase. It can be difficult to do on the grounds that it lets people see your work and thought process at its most raw and unpolished. On the other hand having another perspective can and will shine lights on things you either never considered or would never have considered in that particular way. If you do this, I recommend recruiting only from people you trust implicitly, and who pay a lot of attention.

    Finally, and this is vitally important, remember that seeing flaws in your old work isn't a bad thing. The only consistent way to get better as a writer is to write. I personally believe in the Fail Faster maxim. That belief holds as undeniably true that ANY work or endeavor will have flaws, and iterating on your flawed work is a faster way to improve than trying to spot all the flaws before you actually commit to anything. This is because an attentive person won't run out of things to criticize.
     
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  30. Threadmarks: Chapter 24: They Learn
    Fulcon

    Fulcon Wim Hoff Method Initiate

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    The Following is a fanbased work of fiction: Naruto and Naruto: Shippuden are owned by Shueisha, Viz Entertainment and Masashi Kishimoto. Please support the official release.

    ---

    Jiraiya was trying to enjoy himself.

    He was crouched behind a bush, peering through a hole in a tall, wooden fence. Beyond the barrier was the hot-springs. Specifically, the women’s springs. Watching beautiful, nubile women in the buff walking, jumping and playing in the water was his favorite activity.

    It was all for research, of course. He was the author of the acclaimed Icha-Icha books, a book of erotica and dating advice for men. Mostly erotica. Because who didn’t like some good erotica? Prudish people and women who didn’t want their secrets getting out.

    Because that was what it was really about; women’s secrets. When a gaggle of women all got together and started chatting, the topic of discussion would eventually become sex. Didn’t matter if it was ten minutes, thirty, or a couple of hours. Eventually it would come up and that’s when this stopped being ‘peeping’ and became ‘research’.

    Women told the raciest stories; far hotter and naughtier than anything a simple man could come up with. The things some of these women would allow their men to do to them still sometimes left Jiraiya blushing like a virgin all while boasting about it like they had won a war. Every single time Jiraiya conducted these little reconnaissance missions for his book, his beliefs about women simply became more and more validated.

    Specifically, the belief that all women were whores with no self control.

    Of course, watching one of these beauties jumping on top of another to force her under the water was undercut by the one, simple truth in the back of his mind that refused to go away.

    This was likely his last day on Earth.

    Jiraiya leaned back from the fence and took a breath.

    He hadn’t believed it at first. He had his network of spies confirm the rumors he heard. Then reconfirm them. Then, when he got his recall order from the Hokage, he had them reconfirm them again. Then he actually returned to Konoha and saw him.

    Minato.

    His student.

    Who was dead.

    He was walking through the streets of Konoha waving and saying hello to the civilians hard at work. Joking, laughing, just like Minato used to do before that accursed night. The night the Kyuubi escaped from his prison and ravaged the forests of the Land of Fire.

    Jiraiya, like any good Shinobi had attempted to dispel the genjutsu. When that didn’t work, he had hid. Then he saw Shisui, an Uchiha, trailing behind the Hokage and quickly making some kind of request that Jiraiya hadn’t heard over the feeling of cold numbness reaching in through his finger tips and grasping at his bowls.

    He had just confirmed with his own eyes what his spies had been telling him.

    The Fourth was alive and so were the Uchiha.

    Jiraiya remembered just sitting behind that ramen stand, unable to think, unable to move. For how long exactly, he did not know. But what he did know was that the second he was able to move, he had come to Konoha’s hot-springs. He needed the...stress relief that his research brought to him. He reminisced about how sometimes he’d catch flat-chested Tsunade come to the springs. He felt like he was watching, in real time, his old teammate develop into a woman of legend.

    A shame what happened to Dan. He was good for her. Better for her than Jiraiya would have been, at any rate.

    Much better than he would’ve been.

    Jiraiya rubbed his eyes with his fingers.

    What kind of man ran away from a responsibility? From an oath that he had made to a friend, a student, one of his children? An oath to watch over, to teach and to provide for that mans child should the worst happen? A terrible man. A dishonorable man. An evil man.

    All were adjectives that Jiraiya knew applied to him.

    When the dust settled and the responsibility to care for Minato’s son had fallen to his shoulders, he had run. But there was a prophecy, he had told himself. There’s a plan in place, was the line he had given.

    Both of those things were excuses. When he had laid eyes on Minato, that had become clear to him.

    The truth was that he was afraid. He wasn’t ready to be a parent, he didn’t want to be a guardian. And now he had to be judged of his pupil for his dereliction of duty.

    It didn’t feel fair. When people died, they stayed dead. Minato and Kushina were never supposed to know. He was just a man; a hedonist with no self-control.

    Jiraiya was not fit for the duty of being a parent, they should’ve known better than to ask him.

    He should’ve known better than to say yes.

    Jiraiya looked down at the hole he had been peeping through and felt his face sag. His time was up. It was time to write his poem; to face the consequences of his inaction. It was like someone had tied chakra-amplified training weights to his ankles because his feet felt like lead.

    He walked out of the springs, started toward the academy, toward his imminent doom. He looked to the left, to the right and his breath hitched. There, sitting at a table with tea in their hands, was a blonde-haired boy in an orange jumpsuit. He was sitting with a girl in a red dress and pink hair, likely his girlfriend. That had to be Minato’s son. Had to be.

    Jiraiya immediately turned his attention to the road before they caught him staring and continued forward. He looked up at Hokage Rock, looking at the face of his teacher Sarutobi and his student Minato, both looking authoritative and stoic as they watched over the village with a gaze of stone.

    The gates to the academy still squeaked horrifically when you opened it, and Jiraiya chuckled fondly as he walked through. In the courtyard, he could see academy students on their lunch break, eating, talking, playing.

    “Hmph.” Jiraiya simply walked through the doors forward, muttering to himself. “Enjoy it while you can, kids. Life comes at you fast.”

    He briefly forgot about his troubles when a pair of beautiful kunoichi walked out the entrance of the academy, one with startling red eyes and curly dark hair falling down around her shoulders, the other a blonde girl with large, circular glasses. Jiraiya watched them pass with a grin, his eyes firmly stuck on their rears. After they rounded the corner around the fence, passing out of sight, Jiraiya let out a disappointed sigh.

    Time to write my poem.

    Jiraiya pushed into the academy and started to make his way up the stairs to the Hokage’s office. Hooks had buried themselves into the pit of his stomach, pulling harder at him to run away with every step forward, to forget this business and disappear forever.

    But he had pushed calmly on. If only because his one-time student deserved an explanation.

    Jiraiya shook his head. Child of Prophecy. If only I were able to find him. Or her. Whatever. If only I had something to show for my absence; then at the very least I’d be able to die happy. Perhaps Minato would understand. But I can only hope this meeting will go quickly so I can leave before I encounter his wife…if I survive.

    He came to the reception desk, and found a gorgeous brunette sitting behind the secretary’s desk, sharp square glasses sitting on her nose, her hair in a bun. Her suit fit her incredible curves and she was absentmindedly typing something on the typewriter.

    Jiraiya, super-pervert he was, drank in the glorious visage before him, a final, perverted snack before his shame and likely death. After a moment, she raised her head to look at him. Without so much as a grimace, she addressed him. “Jiraiya-sama. You’re here to see the Fourth?”

    “That’s right!” Jiraiya answered with a shameless grin.

    “He’s in a meeting right now,” The Secretary replied. “Of course, they might have finished. Let me go check.”

    She stood up, showing the black, short skirt that hugged the skin of her hips so closely, Jiraiya almost thought you could see the outline of her rear as she, ever so slowly, walked over and up the stairs to the Hokage’s office.

    Okay, she knows exactly what she’s doing, Jiraiya thought appreciatively. Maybe later we can get a hotel room…

    She walked up the stairs.

    Who am I kidding? Jiraiya shook his head. I was given one of the most important missions in Konohagakure and I never even showed up.

    Jiraiya heard the door open and the secretary ask a couple questions. After a few moment, the secretary, whatever her name was, came back down. “The Hokage will see you now.”

    “Thank you,” Jiraiya replied, nodding cheerfully and walking forward to his doom.

    Every step seemed to tie a set of training weights around his ankles, his feet felt like mud. The stairs felt like they’d go on forever until the door to Minato’s office seemingly appeared out of nowhere. Jiraiya took a deep, deep breath and let it out, grabbing the nob and pushing the door open.

    He stepped inside and there, sitting ahead of the desk was Minato, standing there with his arms folded, his eyes narrowing.

    “Minato.” The word made everything crash down on Jiraiya. This was real. His student had returned. “I don’t-”

    He had been taking steps forward only to freeze when the door slammed shut behind him. Jiraiya slowly, ever so slowly turned around and came face to face with the Red-hot Habenero herself, Kushina. A snarling animalistic woman, gnashing her bared teeth in front of him and trembling with rage.

    “JIRAIYA!”

    Jiraiya felt the fist before he saw it; the impact of which sent him careening to the floor. Blood spurted out from his broken nose as he scrambled to get up, only to find a foot placed squarely in his royal jewels.

    Like almost all men, Jiraiya hated being kicked in the balls. It was as if hot knifes had been jabbed into both of them and broken off inside. The impact had traveled all the way up to his stomach and upset the second most important organ in his body, the brain taking third place.

    “Don’t kill him, Kushina,” Minato chided lightly. “He’s still our spymaster.”

    Jiraiya realized that Minato was holding in laughter.

    “He left our son to be shunned by the village!” Kushina shouted and sobbed. “He left him to fend for himself until he became a ninja!”

    “He did,” Minato agreed. “But we do need to let him explain himself. So just one more kick.”

    It was at that second, Kushina’s boot planted itself in his stomach like a giant kunai, stopped from piercing only by the fact that it was really, really dull. That actually made him throw up, slightly, sending bile splashing out of his mouth and giving him the disgusting, acidic taste of digested food.

    Jiraiya groaned from his place on the floor, curled up into a fetal position, hands over his privates.

    “Feeling better?” Minato asked.

    “Almost,” Kushina answered brusquely. “Whatever his excuse is, it had better be good.”

    Jiraiya was in no state to talk, but the two betrayed parents could be patient. After what felt like an eternity, he was finally able to move from his fetal position to get on his hands and knees and slowly stood up. “Nice to see you again, Kushina.”

    This remark set Kushina off, snarling again with her arms at her side, almost stomping back over again to Jiraiya, only to be stopped by her husband. “Now. Jiraiya? If you’ll report on what you’ve been doing for the past twelve years?”

    “I have been serving Konoha faithfully as it’s spymaster,” Jiraiya took a deep breath. “And I was looking for the Child of the Prophecy, as spoken by the Great Toad Sage. I was told that if I traveled the world, I would meet him and be able to train him.”

    “And that meant you couldn’t watch over Naruto how?” Kushina thundered. “You could’ve taken him with you!”

    “With all due respect, Kushina-sama,” Jiraiya continued, his broken nose stabbing him with every syllable. “I could not reasonably be expected to take an infant with me and perform my duties as spymaster at the same time.”

    “So use bunkers to hide him away while you’re performing your duties!” Kushina waved that off like the excuse it was. “Have trusted operatives act as baby sitter while you’re out, train him while you’re in! Buy a home in a civilian town and run the spy-network from there! Do something! Anything! Anything but leaving Naruto here!

    “I believed that he would be safer here in his home village,” Jiraiya replied, being keenly aware that his explanations were not helping his case with her. “A safe place surrounded by allied Shinobi where no one was supposed to know that Naruto was the new Jinchūriki.”

    “Were it not for Danzo, you’d be right,” Minato replied.

    Jiraiya slowly inclined his head back realization. “He didn’t.”

    “He did,” Minato replied. “Danzo had my son’s status as Jinchūriki leaked by his operatives in the hopes that the Kyuubi would be resealed in someone within ROOT, with a more traditional seal that, and I quote, didn’t waste the beasts power.”

    “I didn’t know,” Jiraiya replied.

    “You’re the spymaster!” Kushina scoffed.

    “And the fact that our Jinchūriki’s classified info had become public information had never crossed my desk,” Jiraiya replied, his voice under complete and thorough control as even the slightest syllable out of line might cut his life short. “I was concerned with the movements of foreign Shinobi in our time of weakness.”

    “And you decided that looking for this prophecy-child that probably doesn’t exist took priority over caring for our child,” Kushina snarled. “Your godchild, even!”

    “I’m sorry,” Jiraiya replied. “I truly thought he’d be safer and happy here.”

    “You had to know that Danzo would try something.” Minato glared. “You knew him better than either of us did.”

    Jiraiya looked him dead in the eye and simply nodded.

    Minato took a deep breath. “Shortly before Kushina and I died, I came to the impression that Naruto is that very child of prophecy. It is why we sealed the Kyuubi into him.”

    Kushina looked surprised and looked at her husband, who nodded at her.

    “Why do you say that?” Jiraiya asked neutrally, trying to hide his disagreement that he felt that he had met the child in the Land of Rain.

    “Call it a deathbed realization,” Minato replied. “When Naruto is preparing to enter the Chunin exams, he will need specialized tutelage. On the off chance that he is the child of prophecy, this will ensure the prophecy’s positive outcome. You will be here for it. Do you understand?”

    “Yes, Hokage-sama,” Jiraiya bowed. Then a thought came to his mind. “Speaking of...candidates for the Child of Prophecy, there was someone who came to my mind. A...triple S-class missing nin that recently returned to the fold?”

    “There is nothing you can teach him,” Minato shook his head. “So he cannot be the child.”

    “I thought so,” Jiraiya nodded, his nose settling into a dull ache. “But where is he?”

    “Well,” Minato started, starting to laugh. “He got married and is on his honeymoon. Kind of ridiculous, if you ask me.”

    “I think it’s romantic,” Kushina replied with a frown. “I mean, they’re probably going to crash and burn, but it’ll be beautiful while it lasts.”

    “What’s so ridiculous about marriage?” Jiraiya asked. Well, beyond the obvious.

    It was then that Jiraiya learned that Shimoda Daisuke was a lunatic with no self-control.

    ---

    She was alive.

    Uchiha Obito felt hollow.

    He was sitting here, in that same clearing that he had stood so long ago. Amid the twisted gnarls of trees that he had created so long ago in vengeful fury. The skeletons of those bastards from kiri still hung from the branches, their ribs and spines impaled on the trunks. Their blood still stained the bark in a grim testament to justice.

    On his knees he had fallen before the spot where roots had curled around into a cocoon right below the surface of the earth. This was the grave of Nohara Rin. Where she had fallen by the hand of his old friend and brother in arms, Hatake Kakashi.

    Except she was alive.

    Obito set his hand down on the grave that he had grown for Rin. Beautiful Rin. Immaculate Rin.

    But the words that Konan had said still rang through his ears with the force of an echoing gong.

    “The Fourth Hokage, his wife and many others have been restored to life. This includes members of the Uchiha clan and someone named Nohara Rin.”

    Zetsu had disappeared so fast that he left an after-image that didn’t fade for five whole seconds. Nagato was legitimately speechless, so much that he didn’t say a word as Obito had left in a daze.

    She was alive.

    It explained, perfectly, why Kakashi had reacted the way he did. Why he had been so thoroughly shocked that his other eye had turned on and told Obito what it was seeing.

    But Obito didn’t believe it.

    Bidden by him, the roots at his knees slowly parted, to open the cocoon and let him see inside.

    Inside was only a skeleton, wearing the tattered and rotten remains of Rin’s black shirt, her hitai-ate rusted through. The sight had stopped Obito’s breathing, tears starting to fall from his eyes as he reached forward, carefully drifting his fingers over the dome of the skull, over where the nose used to be and across the teeth.

    He started uncontrollably sobbing, holding his eyes with his hands like they were leaking faucets that he was trying to stop.

    Rin had died.

    Now she was alive.

    He had to see her.

    His chest was starting to ache, like he was being punched again and again right in the center, bruising where his ribs met together, breaking the bones into his heart. But slowly, the pain started to fade.

    Everyone coming back was just a testament to how...fake everything was. People didn’t just come back after they died. Rin couldn’t die, so she obviously couldn’t come back to life. This wasn’t reality. This was fake. A genjutsu. A stage-play. A movie.

    Some kind of sick game played by whatever gods were out there.

    It could never be any clearer to Obito.

    The cocoon closed again, tighter this time, shoving air out.

    He had to see her.

    His old clan had returned, so the story of Itachi killing everyone by himself was out and they’d be expecting him. The Chunin exams would be soon and undoubtedly, Konoha would be swamped by people from all over the Elemental Nations wanting and demanding that Shimoda Daisuke, the wrathful brat with more power than sense, bring their loved ones and political leaders back to life.

    That would be the ideal time for the Akatsuki to sneak in. He could see Rin and, in theory, also abduct the Nine-Tails and secret him away such that even the Miracle Worker could not find him.

    Obito stood.

    It was time to come up with a plan.

    ---

    Hoshigaki Kisame was not looking forward to this.

    In fact, he was dreading this all day.

    Early this morning, past the midnight hour, he had been in a bar with an informant who had insisted on using code names. Nothing too unusual. But he had confirmed the same news that Kisame heard from three other sources.

    The Uchiha were back. Including Itachi’s mother.

    Beyond the dozens of new problems that this opened up for their plans and responsibility to capture the Kyuubi’s Jinchūriki, there was the chief concern of his partner’s state of mind.

    Uchiha Itachi had concocted a plan. A simple one that would allow his clan to save face after their treasonous members had been eliminated; take all the blame as a rogue element and then give his brother all the motivation in the world to come after him and kill him; preserving the honor and face of the clan and hopefully ending the feud between the Senju and Uchiha the way it was always going to end: in blood.

    Kisame felt it was insane, but he understood that family honor sometimes necessitated extreme measures like that.

    He knocked on the door and a quiet, hoarse voice responded.

    “Enter.”

    Kisame did and immediately hated what he was seeing.

    Itachi was sitting on a chair. Thick, dark bags showed that Itachi hadn’t slept in days. On the small table to the side was a bowl of rice, thoroughly untouched. A pair of chopsticks had fallen to the floor. Itachi himself was paler than usual, and sweating as his sickness was starting to take a greater toll on him due to his state. He coughed, a harsh, hacking sound that made Kisame felt like his throat was going to start bleeding in sympathy.

    The Uchiha spat into a handkerchief and leaned back against the chair. “Well?”

    “It’s true,” Kisame said flatly. “The Uchiha are back. Including your mom.”

    Itachi’s hands fell to his knees. He started to cry and his sobs were a disturbing mix of crushing despair and overjoyed laughter. “Oh...no, no, no...no...no...”

    “So, we going to see your family?” Kisame asked, trying to lighten the mood. “I wonder how they’ll react to your best friend being a shark-man?”

    Itachi’s cry-laughter simply grew more intense and Kisame, running out of things to say, opted to remain silent while Itachi sorted this out.

    Eventually, Itachi’s lungs gave out, but his sobbing did not, his body heaving and convulsing, trying to force out the laughter but being completely unable. Kisame stepped forward and clapped his friend on the back. Hard.

    Itachi gasped, finally able to breath again. “Thank you, Kisame.”

    “Any time,” Kisame grumbled. “So, how are we going to play out our mission?”

    “I don’t know,” Itachi shook his head. “I have no idea. Our only chance is to strike when the Jinchūriki has left the village on a mission but then we’d need to be able to track him and his movements. Something that would’ve been simpler if Danzo were still alive.”

    “True enough.” Kisame shrugged. “He was kind of the Kage of bad ideas, wasn’t he?”

    “He’d steal candy from children if he believed it would help him rise to power,” Itachi pointed out irritably. “By the time he’d realized that we duped him, it’d be too late for him to take his revenge on Sasuke; the plan would be in effect.”

    Both men froze as a hawk flew into Itachi’s room through the open window. They relaxed as it landed on the table next to Itachi with a letter in it’s pouch. Itachi pulled the letter out and read it. Kisame didn’t think it was possible, but Itachi paled even further.

    “What’s it say?” Kisame asked.

    “I have been recalled,” Itachi answered his voice shocked. “The Hokage is demanding that I abandon my post in the Akatsuki. I can only assume that he plans to make a move on us directly.”

    Kisame frowned, remembering that Itachi was a double-agent. Konoha allowed Itachi unfettered access to Konoha in exchange for ‘intelligence’ on the Akatsuki. It was because of this role that they had moved so slowly, not wanting to compromise his valuable ties.

    “So, you going to head over there to convince the Hokage to give you more time?” Kisame asked.

    “I have no choice,” Itachi replied, throwing the letter away from him in anger. “If I don’t, they’ll immediately know that I no longer serve Konoha’s interests and I won’t be able to ensure Sasuke’s safety.”

    “Could we use this as an opportunity?” Kisame asked. “Use this as the perfect cover to sneak into Konoha and make off with the Jinchūriki without anyone the wiser?”

    “It could work,” Itachi said, his eyes narrowing. “But I...I just...”

    Kisame’s head tilted in a gesture telling him that he would listen when he was ready.

    “I can’t face my mother, Kisame,” Itachi finally spoke, the words hollow as if they were spoken by a man who was already dead. “Not after what I did. Even if it were to protect my brother from Danzo.”

    “Well,” Kisame said. “We just have to be in and out as quickly as possible and never go near the Uchiha compound.”

    “Right,” Itachi slowly started nodding. “Right. We need a plan.”

    “And you need to start eating,” Kisame replied. “Seriously, if you don’t start eating again, I’m going to start force-feeding you.”

    Itachi slowly, sheepishly, bent over and picked up his chop-sticks.

    ---

    Author’s Note: I’m sorry all. I didn’t mean for this to take so long, I just ran into the deadline of a project that caught me by surprise and yelled ‘you have a month to finish me fool’. So I had too, at Shinobi’s expense. I’m sorry.

    This chapter is one that I struggled, very hard, to write. Because, well, I get the feeling that there’s this belief that if Rin came back, that Obito would snap out of it or that if the Uchiha came back, Itachi would come back with a tearful apology and then he might be accepted because ‘no harm, no foul’. Or something. As you’ve read above, I don’t believe that. I can’t see any of the above people, Jiraiya, Obito or Itachi taking their ‘loved ones’ coming back very well. Because of guilt, because all their pain and being forced to confront the reality the things they did were for nothing. Jiraiya...mostly accepted it. Denial of Reality and Sense is Obito’s entire shtick in canon so it doesn’t matter if Rin comes back and Itachi...murdered his entire clan for a plan to save their honor and then it was all for nothing.

    Shout out to Handwran, our newest super patron! Welcome! Your support means the world to me.

    Shout out also goes out to Melden V, Anders Kronquist, Ray Tony Song, Volkogluk, Aaron Bjornson, iolande, Martin Auguado, Julio, Jiopaba, Hackerham, Tim Collins-Squire, Maben00, Sultan Saltlick, Ventari, PbookR, Seij, ChristobalAlvarez, Aenor Knight, Apperatus, EPiCJB19 and Seeking Raven. Thank you all for your continued support!

    Until the next time!

    ~Fulcon
     
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