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The Shinobi's Spirited Holidays - News Event
Christmas in the Hidden Leaf Stanza 1: Who is that ninja sneaking there on the roof? It is Kakashi, wiring Fairy Lights aloof! Who is that ninja hiding behind the fir tree? It is Tenten, summoning baubles with glee! Stanza 2: Who is that ninja hauling the big gift bag? It is Shikamaru, complaining: “What a drag!” Who is that ninja riding a dog sleigh? It is Kiba, so you better make way! Chorus: Christmas in the Hidden Leaf; Ninjas, rejoice! Just have belief. Christmas in the Hidden Leaf Is full of joy, and much mischief. Stanza 3: Who is that ninja in a Santa disguise? It is Naruto, preparing a big surprise! Who is that ninja bringing lumps of coal? It is Ibiki, and he will apparise your soul! Stanza 4: Who is that ninja lighting fireworks for New Year’s? It is Edo Itachi; so hold your tears... Who is that ninja preparing the festive food? It is Sakura; oh, no! Now we are scr3wed!
Christmas 2022 Fanfiction Event - Santa’s Day Off
I choose Naruto: Naruto happily agrees to help Santa out – because of course he would help save Christmas! “Leave this to me, old man! Believe it!” he declares, giving Santa a thumbsup and a confident smile. But how does he go about it? Easily done for our favourite Ramen-loving Shinobi! “Oi, Kurama! Help me out here, buddy!” Naruto murmurs, and certainly the grumpy Bijuu could be persuaded to aid his Jinchuuriki. So before he goes into action, Naruto turns into his Kurama Cloak Mode to sense the Chakra of everyone and determine if they are good or bad; surely it would show in the Chakra signatures in bright colours if they had been naughty or nice. That way he also knows their locations. And now the fun can begin: grinning broadly he dons the Santa outfit, performs his Tajuu Kagebunshin no Jutsu to make as many Shadow Clones as needed. “Alright! Everyone knows where to go and has the correct presents with them? Let’s go!” the original declares, and all the clones shoulder the bags with the presents, raise their fists in the air to give an enthusiastic cheer, then off the Clones sprint and leap into every direction to go find the recipients of the presents. But how would he make sure that nobody notices the deliveries on Christmas Eve? “I got you,” Kurama rumbles in Naruto’s mind, and he replies with a “Thanks!” as each clone carefully picks up the presents with The Bijuu’s red bubbling Chakra claws and hoists them safely through the chimneys without having to go into the houses himself or disturb the sleep of the people inside. Chuckling slightly to himself once everything is finished, Naruto dissipates all the clones and sneaks off into the night, pleased with a job well done… only to realize that he forgot to place a present for himself! But don’t you worry, Santa is so happy and glad for Naruto’s help that he secretly delivers one for him personally: pleasantly surprised Naruto finds a year’s worth of vouchers for Ichiraku Ramen in his present. Merry Christmas, indeed!
Christmas Event – Tell Hokage a Joke or a Riddle
What does Nagato call Yahiko if he is resurrected by Edo Tensei but is unable to perform Taijutsu? - A Nintendo.
Anniversary Event - Bonds Through the Years
Welcome to S363-DarkBujuus‘ Summer Festival 2022! Grab some drinks and snacks, enjoy the music and the scenic view of the sunset over Konoha Cliff – come, and celebrate our 5th year of playing together with us! Over the years S363-DarkBijuus have been through a lot of change: The group has seen quite a few merges with other groups since it was founded in early 2017, as servers had been merged and clustered together a couple or three times: S363-Jinchuurikis, S363-NightRaid, S393-Akatsuki, S366-Akatsuki, S318-Shadows, S372-ArcticMonkey – even after some back and forth, we all came together in the end. Some people left the group to join others to become our rivals instead, or they stopped playing the game altogether, but quite a few new group mates joined us along the way as well and they were welcomed with arms wide open. Group chat has always been mostly pretty laid-back, but sometimes there’s friendly banter, jokes but also deep conversation, too. We saw quite a row of different, dedicated Leaders and Seniors join hands before S363-Masterr became our current Leader, and the heart and soul of our group defined itself anew as it adjusted to the ever changing dynamics. Even the name changed from ‘Jinchuurikis’ to ‘DarkBijuus’ to make the new members from the merge with ‘Shadows’ feel more welcome. Yet one thing never changed: the teamwork, the friendliness and readiness to help each other, which resulted in the deep-seated friendships we forged over the years, sometimes even true love... In summer 2018 a few of our ‘core members’ had an irl group meeting, some just joined via voice call on discord because they couldn’t make the trip to celebrate with us. For early 2019 we had been planning a second irl group meeting, but sadly the first lockdown foiled our plans… Yet postponed is not abandoned, right? On our group discord we don’t only relay event information or GNW related stuff, in winter 2020 and throughout 2021 some of us sometimes congregated in the evenings after daily events ended in Naruto Online for ‘game nights’, ‘movie nights’ or ‘reading sessions’ in voice chat, providing in dedicated channels with recommendations for music, games, good reads, movies to watch, or pictures of delicious food to tide over the global situation and stay connected even more-- even with some of the players who quit the game but never really left the group, neither on discord nor in game. They are still part of DarkBijuus regardless of how long they have been offline. And some even come back occasionally, log into their old accounts after months or even years just to say ‘hi’ and be welcomed by familiar or new, but friendly names alike. Our Leader S363-Masterr, Senior S393-Venom and S309-Chocojaffa even joined this very group picture just to share this moment together, not even interested in the contest itself – simply here with us to spend time together and be part of this. So here we are, in summer 2022, one of the two biggest/most active groups of this server, and still playing this game together and having fun, everyday, for the past 5 years -- Has it really been that long already? Half a decade! Imagine that. Wow! Isn’t that worth celebrating with us? Story written, picture taken and edited by S363-AsukaIshimaru Important annotation: Should this entry win any prize, please split the reward equally between these group members who you can see present in the picture above, who provided their required information. Thank you kindly! Server: UK S315-Stone Fist IGN: VenomsQUEEN UID: 200000097074070 Server: UK S363-Third Mizukage IGN: AsukaIshimaru UID: 200000099141120 Server: UK S372-Third Tsuchikage IGN: Mask UID: 200000099521007 Server: UK S396-Final Battle IGN: Hisano UID: 200000100450876
Naruto Online EN’s 6th Year Anniversary – Shinobi Jigsaw Puzzle Challenge
IGN: AsukaIshimaru server: UK S363-Third Mizukage UID: 200000099141120
Naruto Anniversary Contest
“You dig two holes when you curse someone.” Why successful vigilante justice stories feel so satisfying (999 words) by IGN: AsukaIshimaru, UID: 200000099141120, server: UK S363-Third Mizukage Many a story h00ks on some form of severe injustice dealt to a character, which then sets that character out on a journey to seek some form of justice (often outside the law) so the wrongs be righted – and you can’t help but root for them, following their every step with bated breath towards that goal, hoping beyond hope for success and cheering for them when finally justice is served! But why is that? Why are we so drawn to and feel accomplished by stories of successful vigilante justice? Let’s find out together with the example of what is my favourite story arc of Naruto: the Akatsuki Suppression Mission (chapters 311 to 342 of the manga/ episodes 72 to 88 of the Shippuuden anime). In this story arc the Akatsuki members Hidan and Kakauzu kill the monk Chiriku, who is one of the Twelve Guardian Ninja of the Fire Country, for the bounty on his head. The Jonin Asuma Sarutobi-- Chiriku’s friend and fellow Guardian – is then tasked to investigate the death of Chiriku with his newly founded task force consisting of himself, his student Shikamaru Nara, Kotetsu Hagane and Izumo Kamizuki. The team encounter Kakuzu and Hidan eventually at the bounty station where they engage in combat with the Akatsuki, but find themselves seriously outmatched against just one of them. Asuma, failing to avenge Chiriku, is fatally wounded in the fight against Hidan while Shikamaru can only stand by and watch his Sensei be sacrificed to Hidan’s blood ritual right in front of his eyes. The Akatsuki retreat once reinforcements from Konoha arrive, but Asuma dies in a heartbreaking scene in the arms of his student trio of Team 10, Ino Yamanaka, Choji Akimichi and Shikamaru Nara, passing on his ‘Will of Fire’ along with a parting message for each of them. In the following scenes it is portrayed how the village deals with the loss of Asuma, the well liked son of the Third Hokage, uncle of Konohamaru, and boyfriend of fellow Jonin Kurenai Yuuhi, who at that time is already pregnant with his child. The focus, however, lies on his maybe favourite student and infamous lazy genius Shikamaru, and how he copes with the trauma, going through various stages of grief before meticulously preparing for and setting out on a self-assigned mission to hunt Asuma’s killers down with the rest of Team 10. The Fifth Hokage explicitly tries to stop them from going vigilante, but when the Chuunin trio is joined by Asuma’s Jonin friend Kakashi Hatake, Tsunade lets them go on the manhunt. They manage to track Hidan and Kakuzu down, and an even tougher battle than the previous encounter with them ensues, as now Kakuzu actively joins the fight. Shikamaru eventually singles out Hidan with his Kagemane no Jutsu and leads him deep into the Nara Forest while the rest of the team keep fighting Kakuzu and the beasts emerging from his stored hearts. Through some cunning and preparation Shikamaru manages to trick Hidan into sacrificing his own partner Kakuzu in his blood ritual and then proceeds to entrap the immortal and bury him, meeting the spirit of his Sensei once more upon completing his revenge as he engulfs Hidan in an explosion, while the others – now reinforced by team 10 – deal with Kakuzu for good. The arc concludes with Shikamaru meeting the pregnant Kurenai at Asuma’s grave, reminiscing with her and promising to her to become a teacher for the unborn child in the future, as Asuma was to him. We see Shikamaru nostalgic and still mourning the loss, but at peace with himself upon completing his revenge, and facing towards bettering the future rather than becoming bitter and getting lost in the past. This makes for great character development on his part and allows Shikamaru to shine even more than during the Chuunin Exams and the Sasuke Retrieval arc, and cement his position as a major side-character you actually care about. (Later on in the series the understanding he gains from this experience even enables him to help Naruto cope with the loss of Jiraiya a little.) But why do you care so much about Shikamaru here? Why do you feel so satisfied and still root for him when he defies direct orders from his superiors (the Hokage) to follow his own agenda of essentially murdering two men, not in an instinctive fit of rage but in a merciless, well calculated and meticulously planned way? What sets him apart from the killers of his teacher and makes it feel ‘right’ and ‘justified’ what he does? The answer, in my opinion, is surprisingly simple: good storytelling. Kishimoto makes you first sympathize with Asuma’s good sides, introducing his friendship to Chiriku, delving into his relationships with Kurenai and his students, making you emotionally invested in him so that the loss hits you extra hard when you are forced to watch him getting slaughtered just as helplessly as Shikamaru and then die in the arms of his students, leaving a positive, caring last message to each of them. Then the focus cleverly switches to Shikamaru. You experience the devastating emotions the stages of grief evoke in him, feel what he goes through -- through his own eyes. His loss becomes your loss. Like this Kishimoto aligns your reasoning and sense of ‘justice’ with Shikamaru’s reasoning and his agenda of cold revenge, despite it being objectively against the law and not so much different (except for the motivation) from the Akatsuki’s deed – killing a man. And therefore you root for him when he sets out on the journey, you hold your breath when he’s in a pinch, you cheer for him when he outsmarts his foes, you feel satisfied as he completes his mission with the support of his friends, and when he finally lets go off his destructive feelings of revenge as soon as he’s done, you are likewise relieved from his burden. It feels ‘right’ and ‘just’ and… honestly, good. Brilliant, in my opinion.
Naruto Online Anniversary 2022 Fanfiction Competition
IGN: AsukaIshimaru server: UK S363-Third Mizukage UID: 200000099141120 What if…(999 words) “You seem to regret a lot of things,” the resurrected Nidaime Hokage opined as he scrutinized Minato. Minato huffed. “I just wish, when I was still alive I could have been a better Sensei to Kakashi and Obito when we lost Rin…maybe a lot of things would have become different.” Tobirama thought for a moment, then muttered: “Since you groove my favourite Jutsu so well… maybe, just maybe, the two of us can experiment and take the Hiraishin Jutsu to a new level, focussing more on the time properties to jump and make a change. It might be risky, even destroy the both of us in the process. But since we’re already dead--” Tobirama shrugged, then looked Minato in the eyes and whispered: “Want to try?” Minato held his gaze, pausing for just one non-existent heartbeat. To even attempt time travel was madness, but he had nothing to lose except the future of those alive – most of all his son! He nodded; Tobirama grinned. They started the hand signs, tweaking the Jutsu as they went then disappeared from the battlefield. When Minato blinked he felt dizzy and out of breath, his heart drumming in his ears. The Nidaime Hokage was gone. ‘Did it work?’ Then he noticed that he shouldn’t be breathing or have a heartbeat at all: ‘I-- I’m alive! How is that possible?!’ He looked around and realized just where and, more importantly, when he was! This was the 10th of October, the very night his son Naruto was born, and he, Minato, was right there to restore Kushina’s weakened seals. He knew what was to come. This time he would save his wife for sure, prevent the havoc Kurama caused and not leave his son an orphan; this time he would-- But his thoughts cut short as he was, once again, interrupted by the appearance of the ‘masked stranger’ who killed the Anbu in attendance, then kidnapped little Naruto. No, he wasn’t a stranger – not to the Minato from the future: the young man behind the mask was his own student who he had presumed dead, who he should have recognized back then – right now! As the masked man threatened to kill the baby if Minato didn’t back away from Kushina, Minato called out to him: “Please. You don’t have to do any of this...Obito!” The man startled. Minato instinctively knew: ‘This could be the moment to change history...and the future!’ “That’s right. I know it’s you. I’m your Sensei after all,” he thus said, training his eyes intensely on the man. “Come on, Obito! I know you’re hurting. I know. You loved Rin so, so much… I know because I’m your Sensei. And I’m sorry I couldn’t be there for you earlier.” These were the things he needed to say, these were the things that mattered most, these were the things he regretted not having been able to say back then. But now was different: Obito hadn’t attacked, harmed Naruto, or disappeared yet. Instead he waited; not yet convinced, but listening. Minato pressed his luck: “We all hurt because we lost Rin, me and you and Kakashi. Kushina and Jiraiya-sensei, too. And we were devastated when we thought you were dead, too. But we can make this right, Obito. Let me be there for you, as your Sensei. Let me help you deal with mourning her, let me help you work things out between you and Kakashi. Together, as a team. Just...let my son go and put away those explosive tags; come back to Konoha, Obito. It’s not too late to do the right thing.” He reached out his hand tentatively. “Remember your dream: you wanted to be Hokage. The first Uchiha Hokage in the history of Konoha. And you can still fulfil this dream. For Rin’s sake. So Rin can watch you closely from the Heavens, proudly smiling for the man you still can become. Now look at my little baby; his name is Naruto. Become a Hokage my son may one day look up to. It’s not too late to be that man. You just have to let go, forsake your destructive plans and come back to Konoha, Obito...come home to us.” The masked man cautiously lifted his hand, baby Naruto still tucked in his other arm. Minato waited, hoped, held his breath… and only released it when the man took off his mask to reveal that he, indeed, was Obito Uchiha. His face was scarred, there was even more emotional hurt visible in his mien, in his sharingan. “Minato-Sensei...” he rasped. Minato nodded assertively, his hand still outstretched. “That’s right. I’m here for you now. We’ll work this out together, okay? Just...for now, let my son go, so I can reforge the seal on Kushina lest she might die. And then we’ll all go back to Konoha. Together, yes? No harm done.” Obito looked at the baby in his arm – his Sensei’s son, shuddered a breath, then slightly nodded. “I’ll take care of your son while you save her.” He didn’t take Minato’s hand, but for now that was enough. Kushina would live to see tomorrow. And Minato had a second chance to live this life with her, see his son grow up, fix things between his students, eventually hand the reins over to the very first Uchiha Hokage; and with Obito’s help and insight on Madara’s schenanigans foil his plans and wage a very different war: the Uchiha clan would remain alive, as the final recognition put them right at the heart of the village society and appeased their frustration. Danzo wouldn’t plot genocide and Itachi and Sasuke could remain in the village, growing up under Obito’s ideals and aiding him in attaining a peaceful shinobi world… And Naruto? He could lead a happier life as the next Jinchuuriki and follow in Obito’s footsteps as the Rokudaime Hokage. Madara (and Zetsu and Kagura) would still be a threat to deal with, but the hands would have been dealt quite differently.
Strategy Anniversary Event
IGN: AsukaIshimaru Server: UK S363-Third Mizukage UID: 200000099141120 These are 3 of my favourite teams, which I find quite fun if you want to go for something different than the obvious choices: 1. "The Buffin Muffin doth Protecc the Big Guys"-lineup: Hinata[Wedding Dress], Kurenai[Kimono], Hashirama Senju[Warring States], Water Main This lineup is entirely meant for support, and I use it for GNW and Decisice Bonds. Ideally you'd use this one as the player with the lower/lowest BP in a team to keep more important units in the whole allied field alive, so you could even pair this lineup with much stronger lineups and still be useful, maybe even give them an edge in battle. Here's how it works: Since none of these Ninja have CD in Round1 you can trigger their mysteries right away, while plenty other lineups currently in use rely on either CD reduction or just wait for Round2 to trigger their mysteries. Hinata's mystery gives almost the whole field more sustainability and this protection lasts for each ninja until they have used their own mystery, while Kurenai and Hashirama each can fully protect 1 ninja of your choosing from taking more than 1 Damage per hit (!) until the next round with their mysteries, and these mysteries are not too easy to interrupt either. 2. "Fast-a-killin Buffin Muffin"-lineup: Kisame Hoshigaki[Samehada Fusion Mode], Itachi Uchiha[Kimono], Madara Uchiha[Great Ninja War], Water Main This is a lineup I use especially for Rogue Ninja Outburst, but it's also nice for dailies. Here's how it works: While you can trigger both Kisame's and Itachi's mysteries in Round1 for dealing a lot of damage to a huge amount of opponent units, it's the lack of loading time for buffs which makes this lineup so fast and therefore useful when you want to end battles quickly to * even more rogues. Both Madara and Itachi buff the entire line of the field they are placed at, so team mates benefit from the Ninjutsu and Attack buffs respectively as well, when they place their units accordingly, and those buffs last for the full battle, with an additional Buff when Itachi's barrier is up. 3. "Full Summer is Killin it"-lineup: Kakashi[Summer], Guy[Summer], Asuma[Summer], Water Main This lineup is just fun for its summer flavour and quite nice to use in 3v3, even if you have a wonky internet connection and might disconnect, as it still works perfectly even without going on auto. Here's how it works: If you use Guy's Mystery on Kakashi (or any other ninja in the whole ally field for that matter) in Round1, that unit's mystery cost is reduced to 0 so you don't have to worry about having enough Chakra in Round2 to trigger it because you'll need all the Chakra you can get for more effect of Asuma's Mystery. But the fun part is that you might not even need to use Kakashi's or Asuma's Mysteries from here on out. All three of these summer units stack standards on different conditions, and some of them even attack a whole row with them, so you can just lean back and enjoy the show if you want without giving opponent SOSPs any additional standards aside from Guy's Mystery. But if you do want to use those Mysteries, Kakashi's is good for interrupting other mysteries and Asuma deals damage proportional to the Chakra you have, to which he adds each round as well. Have fun trying these lineups. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.
Just a Drawing
Oof. Please don't take the comment above to heart. If they don't like your artstyle or subject of art, that is fine. They don't have to, as aesthetics are subjective. People have different tastes. But that's totally beside the issue. The issue is that the one above is either a bot, or a troll... or they have a huge misconception about what art is, what the process of creating art entails (and making animations is a whole other story as well), or what it even means to be an artist to treat your efforts this disrespectufully. I don't know how much experience you have in drawing, but that is not important either. Art is not comparable in the way athletes compete in sports, and art is not an equation either; there is no right or wrong way to express yourself. You made the effort to create something, chose a medium and an artstyle that suit you and which you want to practice, decided on a subject of art and then had the courage to share your art with others. It was your choice to draw this character and not anything else, and unless it's a commission no one should tell you what you can or cannot pick as subject of art, or which medium to choose. Anything else is just plain rude. And it is art; if anyone says otherways, they should go look up the definition of art. So don't lose heart over something as insensitive as such comments. I can see the way you've come in making this, and I can see where you're heading if you want to continue drawing the way you do (and by all means, if that's what you want to do, go ahead!). Given time, you will improve even more. And if you want to change subjects or artstyle or medium, that is fine, too. Just keep doing what you do. Because this is just alright, imo. No one is born a master at their craft, and all reknown artists came a long way of practising, and finding, even redefinding themselves before they made a name for themselves, maybe not even during their own lifetime. The important thing is that you enjoy what you are doing. Because then any time spent on making that art is not a time wasted. That said, keep on arting, friendo!
Nara Shikaku, Ningen Shikaku
But over the following years, when he was inwardly even more frightened of his only two ‘best friends’, Chouza did not once behave any differently towards him: he neither exploited his knowledge to blackmail him, nor shunned him, nor seemed to have spread the truth to anyone else. And when the inevitable finally did happen and Inoichi caught a whiff of what lurked inside his mind, the only comment he made was “Man, I’m glad I’m not a genius like you. You sure have issues I could never even begin to imagine, my friend!” accompanied by a sigh and a pat on the shoulder, before he added: “Let’s get drunk tonight! You’ll surely forget your worries for a while once you get to loosen up a little.” And before he even knew how to react, he was dragged off into one of Konoha’s various Izakayas by Inoichi; Chouza tagged along as well, probably mostly for the food’s sake. That night Shikaku returned home totally wasted for the first time in his life of seventeen years, never even having had the chance to give a heads-up to his caretakers where he had been so late, and hardly even having the recollection of how he’d emptied the content of his stomach onto the porch of the Nara estate... and right in front of a pair of feet, which belonged to the stern-faced man, who had provided and raised that ‘disqualified’ boy under his roof, awaiting his return with arms crossed and shadows of displeasure dancing around his eyes! And even if Shikaku was again reminded of his failure when come morning he knelt scrubbing the porch extra clean while enduring a head-splitting hangover-headache, from there on alcohol and ‘benders with his best buddies’ became a constant companion to somehow keep his innate fears at bay – if only for a while. He made these frequent indulgences of disgrace up to his clan by putting even more secret effort into making a name for himself, flying through the Shinobi ranks in as much of an 4loof and unobtrusive way as possible, carefully drawing spotlight solely to the shadow he cast with his strategies until his every opinion and insight on a matter held weight enough to invariantly be considered by Council and Hokage and Daimyou alike. As Jonin Commander and head strategist advising the head of government from the shadows, he would certainly become ‘qualified’ as a Nara at long last, wouldn’t he? He remained doubtful and was only ever able to quiet down his dread for a while when he went drinking all night with Inoichi and Chouza, the only two people he trusted to carry him home afterwards without ever treating him as anything less than a human if he dared let down his guard a fraction. Because they already knew. But it still thieved his sleep at night, kept him inwardly tossing and turning in agony, while his body remained unmoving as if trapped in a paralysis of fright and his eyes tightly shut, pretending to be sound asleep. Thus he still needed his naps and brief reprieves during the day, sneaking them in whenever possible as he lounged about in the ready room. Due to his unchanged mindset, he was still pretty much afraid of everyone shunning him even if he had become more proficient in putting up all the appearances over the years, and especially the Kunoichi terrified him. So, expectedly, he was practically mortified when Yoshino entered his life with a force he couldn’t possibly sustain, mentally petrified by her every action and rendered defenceless by her every glance. For all he cared, she could sit on him to remind him of his rightful place as a lowlife-less-than-human, and he would not be able to object ever. How Yoshino captured him with the apparent effortlessness and grace of a grandmaster of Shougi catching a novice’s Jewelled General in a few elegant and efficient moves before they even knew the endgame was already over, remains a story to be told another time… But suffice to say, even though she expertly managed to hold his utterly unprepared heart captive without fail, and made him experience such a foreign fairytale as love firsthand for the first time, he still remained forever frightened of her. She was a strong and fierce woman like no other, he understood in amazement, yet she could be gentle as the sweet sun in spring at the same time – and she had figured him out as easily as if reading an open picture-book! “Listen to me, Shikaku,” she’d whispered to him one of these nights when they lay awake beneath the sheets, locking his face between her slender hands and forcing him to hold her gaze, “there’s nothing you have to be afraid of: you are the rightful head of the Nara clan now, I daresay your brilliant mind remains unparalleled by any Shinobi or Kunoichi in whole Hi no Kuni-- maybe even beyond--, you are thoughtful, careful and considerate in everything you do, your absence at any governmental meeting of importance in this country is unthinkable, –just as promised-- you make me the happiest wife I can possibly be, and I know you’ll be the best father ever once our son is born. Whoever has the faintest glimmer of doubt in you being anything but the living embodiment of what it means to be a Nara is but a blasted, ign0rant fool – so don’t you dare be one, dearest husband of mine! Remember, there is a third reading to your name, and it is more true than everything else.” She kissed the tip of his nose before she let go and snuggled closer, cushioning her head on his chest so she could listen to the thrumming of his quivering, trembling heart until she fell asleep. She was truly just as terrifying as she was terrific. That night he eventually was able to breathe a little easier, and finally, finally get at least some rest in the halls of this estate without him feeling like the burden of his name would come crashing down on him entirely. Yes, he was forever smitten with this incredible, enigmatic woman who he was honoured to call his wife! And when only a few years later he would notice the cautious glint in a pair of eyes peering up at him as if to determine the right course of action --so very much like his own regard when he’d looked at his father--, the realization struck him like lightning yet again: he was not the only Nara clan member who held these sorts of fears in their heart, burdened with an ingenious enough mind to be capable of imagining the most horrible outcomes and consequences to their every move, sh4ckled by the ac(umulated expectations placed on their frail shoulders by generations of outstanding personalities of the loyal and reliable shadows behind the Hokages of this village; and he was not the ‘alien’, the ‘unworthy’, the ‘failure’. Never had been. He swore then and there to himself, he would see to it personally that his son-- his beautifully ingenious little son!-- would never know the full extent of the terrors he himself had lived day in and day out throughout his life up to this point, that he would never feel the vicious seeds of self-doubt bear any poisonous fruit inside his fragile heart, and that he would never think of himself as being ‘disqualified’ as a Nara, much less a human being. (Even though he should still rightfully be terrified of all women and their capabilities, in his opinion!) He would teach him, in due time, even if that meant he would have to make the extra effort to step out of his relative comfort zone and brave the awkwardness of human interaction for him. For he was Nara Shikaku, qualified as a Nara. [2/2]