"Uchiha Mikoto takes the hand of an outcast child, and with it rewrites the destiny of her clan."
— The Author's Summary.
Ever notice that the great Masashi Kishimoto has a bit of a problem getting a handle on his female characters? If you've spent any time looking at Naruto fanfics, you've noted one trend is to try to fix this. Fan authors will with varying degrees of success attempt to flesh them out a bit. This has led to a great deal of the series' vast Fanon, quite a few forgettable fics, and a few gems.One Small Kindness by DigitalTart is one of the gems.One day, Mikoto Uchiha sees her long-dead best friend's son playing with hers... and ends up being ashamed of her initial disgust. This changes the course of history, at first with simple things like Naruto having dinner at the Uchiha compound, and eventually spiraling to the point where the Uchiha's attempted coup plays out very differently. Throughout the way, Mikoto is transformed from the former jounin with the blank smile and apron we see in Canon, to a politically-savvy Master of Illusion who rediscovers her independent spirit.Well written and laced with vivid original characters that fit right in to Naruto's milieu, this story is the introduction to the currently on-going "Daybreak" AU-verse, part one of which can be read here: Daybreak: Part 1.
Action Mom: Mikoto, due to unique circumstances; it's noted that most kunoichi who have kids end up retiring from active service.
Badass Teacher: Mikoto taught a genin team back when she was still on active duty. After her former student Ishimaru gets hospitalized, she takes over training his genin team in preparation for the Chūnin Exams.
Ishimaru himself is this, considering that he got his injuries by taking out an entire team of missing-nin.
Adults Are Useless: Completely averted; it's ultimately due to Mikoto that Madara is killed and the Uchiha coup is stopped without Itachi massacring his entire clan.
Alternate Continuity: The "Daybreak" series was basically plotted out a long time ago, and so some of the elements in it don't necessarily match up with whatever Canon was introduced from roughly chapter 500 onwards; the whole deal with Madara is, of course, probably the biggest divergence. Nevertheless, the author has incorporated some post-500 details into the series.
Author spent whole week cleaning up management screwups at website-maker job. Author too burned out to make paragraph of funny words. Author go drink now.
For Want of a Nail: Among other things, Mikoto's acceptance of Naruto ends up preventing the Uchiha Massacre from occurring.
Guile Hero: Mikoto's political savvy is perhaps her most valuable ability; she manages to get about half of her clan to work with Konoha against the rebels.
In Spite of a Nail: Despite their best efforts to the contrary, Itachi still ends up killing Shisui, to his great regret.
Intangible Man: Uchiha Hirai has a limited version of this that he can activate for one second before needing to become tangible again. It's still enough to make him one of the strongest Uchiha after Itachi and Shisui; it takes the combined efforts of Mikoto, Daishiro, and "Tiger" (Yamato) to kill him, and the latter two receive heavy injuries for it.
Master of Illusion: Itachi, of course, and Madara. It's Mikoto who really shines, though. As Kakashi puts it:
"You're...still pretty good with genjutsu. The only other person who could pull that kind of stunt on me is Itachi. I was wondering where he got it from." *snickers* "Turns out it wasn't dear old dad after all."
My God, What Have I Done?: Mikoto has this reaction after finding out how badly Naruto's been mistreated; she realizes that she failed Kushina by letting her fear and hatred of the Kyuubi prevent her from checking up on her son.
Mythology Gag: When Mikoto is thinking about how Fugaku tends not to really listen to whatever Sasuke is saying, she notes that:
"Eventually, [Sasuke] was going to work up the nerve to say something like 'When I graduate, can I run off to join a secret organization of S-class rogue ninja with some insane plan to take over the world?' and Fugaku was going to give him full permission. Not that he'd ever take his father up on it, but still."
Mind Rape: Madara's Tsukuyomi is far more brutal than Itachi's, capable of putting even high-level shinobi into a permanently catatonic state.
Fate Worse than Death: According to Itachi, a Seven Swordsman of the Mist who had rebelled against Madara's Mizukage pawn had her mind so utterly destroyed that she couldn't even conceive of freeing herself from her chains, despite having the key to her manacles hanging around her own neck.
Near Death Experience: Madara's Tsukuyomi ends up putting Mikoto on the borderlands between life and death for about three weeks, where she has a brief reunion with Kushina.
"For a genius, you can be, like, really dense. Why do you think? You came pretty damn close, but you aren't dead."
Pet the Dog: Fugaku might be a hidebound traditionalist planning a coup against Konoha, but he gets a number of moments to show that he genuinely cares about his family.
Retired Badass: Uchiha Sayori was known as "The Dragoness" back in the 2nd Shinobi World War, single-handedly wiping out a quarter of Suna's Puppet Corps. She might need a cane to walk now, but she's not lost any of her spirit.
Mikoto herself is this, having unwillingly retired from active duty after marrying Fugaku.
The Strategist: Nara Shikaku, despite being only newly appointed to Jōnin Commander, is the one who comes up with the main plan to defeat the rebels.
Straw Misogynist: The Uchiha in general value female shinobi less than their male counterparts (despite having a fair number of highly skilled women within their ranks), but the only member who seems to be outright hateful towards them is Hirai.
Took a Level in Badass: Mikoto gets herself back into shape after years of housewifing in order to prepare Ishimaru's team for the chunin exam.
Underestimating Badassery: Mikoto realizes that Ishimaru's genin team might have deliberately cultivated this image when fighting against her.
This is ultimately how Mikoto manages to kill Hirai.
Weak, but Skilled: Mikoto's genjutsu skills and cunning make her a match for shinobi far more powerful than her in direct combat.
Working with the Ex: Mikoto's ex-boyfriend Daishiro is one of her escorts during the Uchiha's attempted coup. In a change of pace, this happens after they both admit they still have feelings for each other.
Unmarked spoilers for One Small Kindness below this point!
Daybreak contains examples of:
The Atoner: Yagura, for the atrocities he committed as Mizukage while under Madara's control.
Bash Brothers: Naruto and Sasuke. Even after their friendship becomes strained, they make it clear in conversations with others that they think the world of each other.
Badass Teacher: Apart from the canon examples, there's Itachi, who's Team 7's sensei this time around. Mikoto and Kakashi also help train Team 7 a bit in preparation for the Chūnin Exams.
Of all people, Zabuza turns out to be the jōnin instructor for Suigetsu, Chōjurō, and one of Kisame's nieces.
Bad Boss: We all know Orochimaru is pretty terrible to his human subordinates, but we find out that he's been abusing his summoning contract as well.
Curious Qualms of Conscience: How Danzō manages to unlock multiple Mangekyo Sharingans on his arm after killing the Third Hokage; he's not even able to meet the gaze of Sarutobi's corpse.
Don't Call Me Sir: Naruto does not like being called Naruto-sama by one of Nagato's aides.
Enemy Mine: Team 7 and Team 8 call a truce with Team Zabuza when Team Baki (more specifically, Gaara) shows up.
Fire-Forged Friends: Sasuke eventually learns to accept Sakura as a teammate once it's clear she's not just another weak-willed fangirl, particularly after the escort mission. Sakura, for her part, comes to genuinely regard Naruto as a friend.
For Want of a Nail: Madara's death causes a lot of ripples throughout the shinobi world; for one thing, Kisame becomes the 5th Mizukage.
Genre Savvy: Zabuza warns his genin ahead of time that the first stage of Konoha's Chūnin Exams tend to be full of "touchy-feely crap".
Good All Along: Most of Orochimaru's minions follow him simply out of fear.
Happily Adopted: Though Naruto occasionally worries about fitting in with the rest of the Uchiha, he loves them dearly, despite getting into fights with both Sasuke and Itachi on multiple occasions.
In Spite of a Nail: Continually played with; for example, while Team 7 still fights Haku, the context in which their battle plays out is very different (for one thing, he's working for Akatsuki this time around).
Interspecies Friendship: Summoning contracts at their best are this; apart from the canon ones, there's Itachi and his cat Hyōkurō, and Sasuke and his snake friend Hebimayu.
Left Hanging: Due to the author moving on to professional writing pursuits, the second part of Daybreak will likely never be written—at least, not by the original author. She did state, however, that fans would be free to take a crack at writing it in lieu of herself as long as they credit the original.
Lethal Chef: Unlike the rest of his immediate family, the only thing Itachi can cook is rice.
Lovable Sex Maniac: Since he's not Team 7's sensei in this AU, Kakashi shows this tendency even more so than in canon.
Mistaken for Gay: Several Konoha females are under the impression that Itachi and Kakashi's relationship goes beyond platonic; the former takes it in stride much better than the latter.
Moral Myopia: A Fire Temple monk calls out all of the Hidden Villages for being guilty of this:
"Your Hokage does what he believes to be best for his own, the rest of humanity be damned."
Noodle Incident: Just what exactly did Kakashi do with Gai that involved pink star-studded cake frosting?
Reformed, but Rejected: Jiraiya and Tsunade have trouble believing that Yagura is truly repentant about what happened under his reign as Mizukage.
Secret Test of Character: The first stage of the Chūnin Exams, naturally. However, instead of being a written test, it's a scavenger hunt; passing it ultimately requires that you reject your proctor's offer to pass you at the expense of another genin from your village.
Super Strength: Fū gains incredible physical strength because of the Seven Tails being sealed inside of her.
Does Not Know His Own Strength: Fū once accidentally broke her mother's spine when giving her a hug. It's the reason why she's not a "touchy kind of girl".
Token Evil Teammate: Sasori and Orochimaru turn out to be this for the generally well-intentioned Akatsuki.
Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: While they're both on the run from Danzō, Itachi and Tsunade make it clear that they have very little respect for each other.
When our heroes are inducted into Akatsuki, Naruto is assigned to Sasori—who played no small part in the death of his adoptive parents—as his new partner after Orochimaru's desertion. Sasori scoffs at this as babysitting. Kakashi volunteers to accompany/oversee Naruto, but Sasori holds a deep grudge against Kakashi, because of what Sakumo did to Sasori's family during the last war.
Villain Team-Up: Danzō and Orochimaru are working together. Both of them plan to backstab the other one first.
Weak, but Skilled: Sakura learns a lot of genjutsu from Itachi and Mikoto that allow her to hold her own against opponents far more better at her in direct combat.
Well-Intentioned Extremist: TerumÔ Mei and her followers, who are willing to take on unethical jobs to fund their revolution for world peace. A lot of other Akatsuki members are like this as well, including Nagato himself.
Danzo as well, though Sarutobi eventually points out that a lot of it has to do more with Danzō's fear of being only second best.
What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Averted: Jiraiya heavily stresses to Naruto that summoned animals are sentient beings that should be treated with at least as much respect as he'd give a fellow human. The one person who perverts his contract is Orochimaru, and his snakes, all of whom are in fact sentient, mostly hate him for it.
When Danzō takes over Konoha, Kakashi releases his dogs from their contract simply to protect them.
Naruto also finds out much earlier than in canon that the bijū are the way they are because of how they've been treated by humans in the past.