A Naruto For Want of a Nail
that takes the What If?
of Danzo's bastardry
taken to its Logical Extreme
. Danzo kills The Leader
of the Leaf Village and in the following Reign of Terror
takes over. Unfortunately, he didn't count on six neglected children witnessing him in the act. As the kids escape with secrets given by the dying Hokage, aided and abetted by one of the ANBU, they pick up other lost children... and a force that will be the twilight of its enemies is born.
The fic itself is complete. A Sequel Series
—as the author said it couldn't be contained in Hakumei proper—has been promised, but is not forthcoming...yet.
This fanfic contains examples of:
- Babies Ever After: When Haku expresses his desire to create a clan with his Bloodline Limit.
- Back-to-Back Badasses:
- Jiraiya, Zabuza, Itachi and Yugito in chapter 32.
- Hakumei and Kinen also pull this off.
- Badass Adorable: After the Third's death, the kids manage to survive an entire year by themselves with few comparable mishaps. For reference, they are between the ages of six and nine.
- Badass Crew— Starts out as a Five-Man Band with Naruto, Sasuke, Sakura, Neji, Hinata. Later Sai joins. Then they add a power trio with another Smart Guy in "closet evil genius" Haku and two much more powerful Big Guys in Gaara and Kimimaro.
- Badass Grandpa: Jiraiya is as old and badass here as he is in canon.
- Badass Longcoat: In Part Two, the Hakumei uniform includes a white sleeveless coat with blue flames on the bottom, modeled on (but not identical to) the one worn by the Yondaime Hokage.
- Bat Deduction: Using just the fact that Hinata and Neji are alive, Hiashi is able to correctly conclude that a) the rest of the kids are also alive and b) Konoha done fucked up.
- Battle Strip: Kimimaro. Apparently removing bones through a shirt is awkward...
- Belligerent Sexual Tension: Between Tsunade and Jiraiya.
- The Berserker: Sora. Naruto and Gaara have to remind themselves not to do this because they are People of Mass Destruction.
- Berserk Button: Haku being mistaken for a girl annoys him most of the time, but when it's used insultingly...
- Beware the Nice Ones: Haku is probably the nicest, kindest member of Hakumei. But if you manage to annoy him, you are in trouble.
- Beware the Quiet Ones: Shino knew all along who the Hakumei were and simply waited until they needed help to reveal himself.
- BFS: Zabuza, as usual. He's obsessed with the thing and the kids are quick to speculate about their relationship. Sasuke thinks the thing must be impractical to wield.
- Big Brother Instinct:
- Kimimaro is the oldest member of Hakumei, and he would do anything for them.
- Itachi feels this way about Sasuke... it's just that he couldn't find him for a few years.
- Neji lampshades his by calling Hinata "Imouto" (Little Sister).
- Hinata and Temari subtly develop this towards their own siblings.
- Big Brother Worship: Both Sasuke and Hanabi.
- Big Damn Heroes: Hakumei is this to Tazuna during the Wave arc. During the Chuunin Exams: Chiyo, Isaribi Itachi, Shino, and Sai.
- Big Fancy House: Jiraiya's "hermitage" is significantly more extravagent than the name implies.
- Big Screwed-Up Family: The Kekkei Genkai families in general. The Uchihas are violent and generally unpleasand. The Hyuugas are extremely prideful and enslave their own relatives. The Kaguyas are bloodthirsty nutcases. Two out of three have been shown to be affected by the disease known as Tainted Blood, which is hinted to be caused partly by inbreeding.
- Bitch Alert: It is quite obvious that Yumi Uchiha is one nasty piece of work.
- Bittersweet Ending: To the Invasion arc. The Kinen/Hakumei rebellion might have been able to defeat Danzou and his allies had things gone according to plan... but the addition of the Sand/Sound Invasion on the same day turned the whole thing into a Mêlée à Trois, and the extra enemies combined with some mistaken assumptions about Danzou's own plans mean that the best the heroes can do is retreat before they're wiped out. At the same time, it is noted that Konoha's reputation has taken a massive hit with Hakumei revealing their identities, the village has itself taken significant losses due to the three-way battle, and the invasion has shown that Konoha can be attacked, and has permanently destroyed the village's image of military superiority. This combined with the defection of Jiraiya and Tsunade leaves the village much worse off than it was at the beginning of the invasion. Not to mention the population is going to be rather unhappy with Danzou for hiding and keeping his own skin safe while people were dying.
- Blood Knight: Zabuza, Sasuke, Sakura and Neji all love hurting things. Zabuza and Sakura especially.
- Body Double: During the Chuunin Exams, Danzou has Uchiha Fugaku pose as him. Fugaku does not survive the experience.
- Brainwashed and Crazy: Orochimaru. Also, this is what Tsume thinks is going on when the "kidnapped children" reappear.
- Cain and Abel: Expected for Uchiha brothers, averted for Itachi and Sasuke. Their father is somewhat disturbed that Itachi didn't try to kill his younger brother at birth. Dysfunction Junction, much?
- Also averted for the Hyuuga sisters and their cousin.
- Cast Speciation: Hinata's Tenshi Byakugan serves to give her a different powerset than Neji's, rather than the canonical situation where their abilities are basically the same but he's better at using them. Also, the three medics- aside from all having completely different fighting styles- end up with different medical specialties; for example, Haku focuses on medical herbs rather than using chakra to heal.
- Creepy Child: Sai, Gaara and Shino are heroic examples and Yumi is a villainous one. Subverted in Yumi's case because she's not really a child, just passing for one.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: In the Chuunin Exams, every time a Hakumei member faces an actual genin. Against other fake genin, things are more complicated.
- Darkest Hour: None of the kids are sure they'll survive their first winter. That's when they meet Tsunade...
- Deadly Doctor:
- Haku's medical abilties rely on herbs and chemicals; he also uses drugs and poisons in battle.
- Hinata may be another example, since her fighting style involves poison.
- Sakura isn't. She's deadly, and she's a healer, but so far there doesn't seem to be an overlap.
- Deadpan Snarker: Sasuke, Sai, Neji and Kimimaro.
- Designated Girl Fight: Sakura vs Yumi. Yumi wins but only because Sakura's undercover and can't use her more powerful, flashy techniques. Hinata vs Matsuri could count, except it wasn't a fight.
- Discard and Draw: After Hinata awakens the Tenshi Byakugan, she is no longer able to use normal Byakugan.
- Akatsuki does this too. Itachi defects and links up with Hakumei and the three reunited Sannin, while Yumi Uchiha looks set to take his place.
- Ditto Fighter: Matsuri figures out how to use "Dokugiri" after only seeing it once.
- Doom It Yourself: Do NOT ask Kimimaro to fix your house.
- Drowning My Sorrows: After the 3rd Hokage's death, Gekkou Hayate tells Iruka that Naruto, Sasuke, Sakura, Hinata and Neji are all missing, presumed "kidnapped by the Rock nin that assassinated the Sandaime." He then silently changes his plans for the evening to "get black-out drunk."
- Dual Wielding: Yumi with kunai.
- Dude Looks Like a Lady: This is becoming a sore spot with Haku. He and Deidara bond over it in the omakes.
- Dramatic Unmask: During their battle, Yumi breaks Sasuke's mask with her whip, revealing his active Sharingan.
- Early-Bird Cameo: Konan and Zabuza in Chapter 3. Zabuza doesn't appear again until Chapter 11, and Konan hasn't yet reappeared.
- Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: Sasuke BSODs because of this. The others remind him that not being completely heartless is a GOOD thing.
- Evil Former Friend: Technically she's been dead for 13 years but Kushina and Mikoto were once thick as thieves. Yumi invokes this by killing Inuzuka Hana to gain the Mangekyou Sharingan. Kiba sees Naruto as this.
- Evil Matriarch: Mikoto Uchiha, during the confrontation Sasuke suspects that she only wants him back for political reasons. Her latter conversation with Hiashi confirms it.
- Extreme Omnivore: Sai for awhile after they escaped Konoha.
- Fluffy the Terrible: Naruto dubs the Nine Tails and One Tail "Fuzzy Wuzzy" and "Sandy Wandy" after the rest of the group finds out about them.
- Forgotten Friend, New Foe: Naruto is actually insulted that it takes so long for Kiba to remember who he is.
- A Friend in Need: Hakumei will gladly abandon their mission to rescue either their teammates or innocents. This is seen when Naruto is interrogated by Ibiki, who is in Kinen, luckily and when Sasuke is cornered by his mother and the Uchiha as Hakumei escapes Konoha.
- Get a Hold of Yourself Man: In chapter 18, Sasuke has to remind Naruto just what's at stake in Konoha.
- Glamour Failure: Naruto can't hide his whiskers.
- The Great Offscreen War: It's mentioned early in part II that Konoha conquered Iwa, and was now setting its sights on Kumo.
- Harmful to Minors: Putting aside the murder of the Third Hokage, its effect on the protagonists and their various familial troubles, Itachi once took his mother's place in assisting medic-nin in battle since she was pregnant with Sasuke at the time. Itachi was five. He still has nightmares from the experience.
- Heel-Face Turn: Isaribi, Zabuza, Rock Lee, Shino, Itachi, Ten-Ten and Hiashi, though it's debatable how much of a Heel everyone but the first two actually was.
- He Knows Too Much: The reason why the kids had to leave Konoha in the first place. Later on, Hakumei considers killing Shino when they realize he has put two and two together.
- Heroic Bystander: Rock Lee (Danzo instates laws that prevent him from attending the Ninja Academy) and the proprietor of Ichiraku's (who manages to clock some utterly surprised Sand and Sound ninja).
- Heroic BSOD: Both Sasuke and Hinata in chapter 32. Hinata, because of Hiashi's death. Sasuke, because, despite him declaring a blood feud against the Uchiha clan, he still hesitated in front of his mother. Naruto helps Hinata get over it. Sasuke determines that he will never hesitate again, and that the next time he meets his family, he will destroy them.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Hiashi. See "You Shall Not Pass."
- I Call Her "Vera": Don't touch Zabuza's sword.
- I Have No Daughter or Nephew: Hyuuga Hiashi disowns Hinata and Neji after Hinata removes Neji's Caged Bird Seal.
- I Know You Know I Know: Since Hakumei is undercover during the Chuunin exams, there's a lot of this going on.
- Ill Boy: Kimimaro has mostly recovered from his illness, thanks to Tsunade, but it still saps his endurance.
- Improbable Age: Naruto and co. successfully escape a very large village with very important information, collect three other strangers, two of which are three years older than they are and live on their own for at least a year, all at the tender ages of six or seven. Then again, Tsunade herself notes that the kids have various amounts of ailments when she finds them and well, ninja.
- In Spite of a Nail: Not too many things, but Gaara gets the same nickname as in canon, and Itachi still becomes a missing ninja despite the changes that have occurred by then.
- The Insomniac: Gaara, as usual.
- I Need a Freaking Drink: Tsunade, after having Naruto & co. get all cleaned up:
Tsunade: My, what pretty little...(recognizes Naruto's whiskers, Gaara's eye rings, Hinata & Neji's eyes, Sakura's pink hair)...chil...dren...(flops into her seat) I NEED A DRINK. NOW.
Shizune: I knew that you wouldn't want to drink in front of the children, so I've made some lemonade!
- I Owe You My Life: Hakumei believes in calling in any and all life-preserving favors they've been presented with.
- I Shall Taunt You: Sai, always.
- Irony: Neji thinks it's weird to fight alongside Gai and Lee.
- It's Personal: Sasuke always disliked Yumi, but when she nearly kills Sakura in the Chuunin Exams he declares a blood feud against her clan. Which is also his clan.
- Jerkass: Yumi, Gato and Sora. Surprisingly, the Sound nin behave themselves outside of battle.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Zabuza would rather be fighting... but given the chance to honestly help, he can be talked/ guilted into it. Also, Kiba.
- Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: In Chapter 32, Yumi murders Hana in order to unlock her Mangekyou Sharingan.
- Kick the Morality Pet: As You Know, gaining the Mangekyou Sharingan means killing the person closest to you. Hana Inuzuka is pretty much the only living person in-story that Yumi is comparatively nice that isn't an Uchiha. So...
- Killed Off for Real: The Third Hokage, Minato, Kushina, Hizashi, several Uchiha, Hiashi, and Hana.
- Lady Macbeth: The author notes that it is rare for a Naruto fanfic to have an evil Mikoto Uchiha in it.
- Laser-Guided Amnesia: Orochimaru has absolutely no idea what he's been up to for the past 13 years.
- Laser-Guided Tykebomb: Thanks to his actions, Danzo inadvertently forms Hakumei, who seek to destroy him. Tsunade even points it out. Considering that Akatsuki is one of the reasons that Naruto and Gaara are Jinchuuriki,they also count toward them as well.
- Last of His Kind: Kimimaro is the last of the Kaguya clan and the first to have their Bloodline Limit in a long time. It does not seem to bother him.
- Let's Fight Like Gentlemen: It was highly probable that members of Hakumei would fight one another in the Chuunin Exams, but for their fight, Naruto and Haku set their own victory conditions—Taijutsu only, with a five minute time limit; whoever does the worst forfeits.
- Living Emotional Crutch: Naruto, Sasuke and Hinata are this to Iruka, Itachi and Hiashi respectively, since the former's absence brings about drastic changes in the latter's lives i.e. Iruka becomes bitter and jaded, Itachi falls out of favor with his family and Hiashi gives up on the world.
- Mama Bear: Tsunami standing up to the goons that Gato sent after her and Inari.
- The Medic: Sakura, Hinata, and Haku fill this role for Hakumei. All of them have medical skills.
- Mêlée à Trois: The Kinen/Hakumei rebellion? It's on the same day as the Sound/Sand Invasion. Cue a three-way battle between the rebels, the invaders, and Danzo's forces. Things get messy fast and because no one was planning for this, no one wins. All three sides take losses, but Hakumei and the exposed members of La Résistance have to cut and run, leaving Danzou still in power.
- My Master, Right or Wrong: The Inuzuka clan is loyal to Danzo simply because he's the Hokage. They're pretty decent people- they just don't question orders that seem to come from a legitimate authority.
- Names to Run Away From Really Fast: Tsunade gives the kids some very badass nicknames, partly in the hopes they'll grow into them, partly to give them a treat, and largely to keep from using their surnames which are... conspicuous. Here are the characters' new full names as translated by the author:
- Sabaku no Gaara (Gaara of the Desert)
- Haka no Kimimaro (Kimimaro of the Tomb)
- Shin’en no Sai (Sai of the Abyss)
- Rasen no Neji (Neji of the Spiral)
- Hara no Haku (Haku of the Tundra)
- Gesshoku no Hinata (Hinata of the Lunar Eclipse)
- Nisshoku no Sakura (Sakura of the Solar Eclipse)
- Arashi no Sasuke (Sasuke of the Tempest)
- Shippuu no Naruto (Naruto of the Hurricane)
- Never Mess with Granny: Tsunade and Chiyo; the same as canon.
- The Nicknamer: Tsunade gave the nine members of Hakumei their distinctive names.
- Nightmare Fuel Station Attendant: Kimimaro likes telling weird stories. And reanimating his bones while they're away from his body.
- Odd Friendship: Neji and Shikamaru. Haku and Deidara of all things.
- Off with His Head!: Kakashi does this to Gato. Later, Zabuza does this to Kisame.
- Oh, Crap: The kids when, after escaping Danzo, Itachi finds them escaping Konoha in a merchant's cart. He gives a scroll to Sasuke and sends them on their way.
- Official Couple: Naruto and Hinata, Sasuke and Sakura. It's announced in the intro to the first chapter. In-story, Naruto, Sasuke, and Sakura remain oblivious.
- Older Than They Look: Uchiha Yumi manages to fool everyone about her actual age, although most people think something is off about her.
- Omake: There are short scenes at the end of most chapters, mostly for fun with loose connections to the main story (though some are referenced in the story proper) including one that has Santa Claus make an appearance; as Naruto declares, he may be the greatest ninja in the world for sneaking past the Sannin.
- One-Man Army: Naruto and Gaara, for obvious reason. When Gaara sends a distress signal at the Hokage monument, it's a major Oh, Crap moment.
- Running Gag:
- Run or Die: At the beginning of the story, the children are faced with these options after seeing the Hokage's death.
- Sadistic Choice: Yumi imposes one on Sasuke when she brings his mother into the street to convince him to stay in Konoha. It stalls him, right up until Hiashi shows up.
- Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl: Iruka and Anko.
- Secret Identity: In Part Two, although with the twist that the kids use part of their real names when masked, and use false names and backgrounds while unmasked.
- Secret Project Refugee Family: Hakumei again. They are children on the run that bonded while running and living in hiding.
- Shout-Out: To, of all things, Ratatouille.
- Shown Their Work: The author has extensive knowledge of Eastern cultures and it shows. For the sake of those who don't, she points it out in the author's notes.
- Spanner in the Works: Hakumei is this to the Invasion arc. While they don't win (for reasons explained in Bittersweet Ending), four out of nine of its members were seen and recognized as the children that Konoha originally went to war to save. This means that not only will it get out that Konoha utterly failed to achieve its directives but their resources didn't even get their info right. Thus Konoha's reputation takes a dive.
- The Stations of the Canon: Granted, the events of the stations happen much differently, but the Wave and Chunin exam arcs take up almost the entirety of part 2. Because those events were much different, it would be damn hard to follow the stations coming next, so ultimately averted.
- Stepford Smiler: Sai at the beginning. He still does the fake smiling thing but now mostly when he's angry and doesn't want a normal person to notice.
- Stern Teacher: While she does her share of mothering them, Tsunade has high standards for Hakumei and very firmly guides them.
- That Came Out Wrong: Zabuza has a moment like this when he rescues Yugito Nii during the Sound/Sand Invasion. In a twist, he doesn't say it aloud and it still comes out wrong.
This little chick was a little too sure of herself for him. He actually liked shy girls. Particularly when they were younger than him. Zabuza blinked as the thought occurred to him. Somehow...that didn't sound right...
- The Team:
- Technical Pacifist: As usual, if Haku can avoid it, he doesn't kill people.
- Teen Super Spy: Being the Good Counterpart to Akatsuki, Hakumei becomes a group of these. Damn proficient ones too.
- Tell Me About My Father: Naruto learns about his family and his condition early on thanks to Tsunade.
- That Man Is Dead: Sasuke when confronting his mother.
I won't be coming home again. It's too late. This is my life now. I...am not Uchiha Sasuke. My name is Arashi no Sasuke. The one who will break the power of the Uchiha clan
- Theme Naming: The two Hakumei girls become “Hinata of the Lunar Eclipse” and “Sakura of the Solar Eclipse”.
- Title Drop: Memorably in Chapter Six:
Tsunade: From this day on, you are Hakumei, the twilight of your enemies. You will call yourselves that, or I won’t teach you.
- Tomboy and Girly Girl: Sakura and Hinata.
- Took a Level in Jerkass: While he never stops being who he is, Iruka misses Naruto when he escapes and it shows. He warms back up when he returns.
- Trademark Favorite Food: Sasuke really, really likes tomatoes.
- True Companions:
- The group that gives the fic its name. Tsunade calls them the "Mudpuppies" when she's not calling them "Hakumei."
- The Legendary Sannin used to be this. One of the first things Tsunade does once she takes the kids in is tell them the history of her "family" and warn them not to make the same mistakes.
- Zabuza muses the hakumei's bond with each other is similar to the bond the seven swordsman once had.
- Tsundere: Tsunade, Anko and Zabuza are Type A. Sakura developed from a Shrinking Violet to a Type A.
- Tyrant Takes the Helm: Danzo. After six years of his rule, Konoha is practically unrecognizable.
- "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Sasuke's case of this leads eventually to enough frustration he runs away. Returning as a member of Hakumei gives him an outsider's perspective that makes him wonder why he wanted the parental approval in the first place.