An Akimichi guide dog for Uchiha cheetah story, featuring Chouji the Elder and Uchiha Ishiko.
There was always variation in the partnerships formed between the Uchiha and the Akimichi. There were pairs that became battle-partners, pairs that were friends, pairs that were (as Chouga and Madara) better designated ‘friendly enemies’. There were some romantic entanglements, some passionate friendships that fizzled, some that lasted a lifetime.
There were relationships that defied labels, relationships that ruined previously established ones, and some that allowed those prior relationships to flourish. There were partners who scheduled and partners who met organically and partners who had done their very best to never be paired at all.
In all this variation one thing remained fairly static: it was the Akimichi who steadied the Uchiha.
Oh there was always some give and take; the opinions of those not in the know was that support flowed one way but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. It had been Fugaku Uchiha who remained steadfastly by the side of Chouko Akimichi and her husband through her two miscarriages. Kagami Uchiha was quietly credited as the reason why Torifu Akimichi lived through the second great ninja war. The Uchiha weren’t as socially flashy and jovial as the Akimichi but they put in just as much work.
It was just that in the heat of things, when the Uchiha tended to begin cracking like fine glass held over a fire, the Akimichi were the soft wind that cooled the glass and forced down the flames. This was how it was. How it had always been.
Then came Chouji and Ishiko.
Chouji was…different. No one quite knew how. Chouji seemed just a little darker, a little more sinister, a touch more cruel.
The Akimichi shrugged and got on with their lives. Chouji was one of theirs, and okay so he wasn’t as kind as his brother Chouza or as bubbly as his sister Chouko. That was alright. He was still theirs.
Then the war came- the war that nearly took Torifu.
It took Chouji, completely, and that unspeakable thing he carried that no one could quite put their finger on had a name buried in the deepest darkest part of the clan archives.
Choumaru’s second son was a berserker.
No one knew what to do, and Choumaru could only watch in quiet horror as his child attacked friend and foe alike. Attempts to stop him proved largely fruitless and the battle he had taken part in dissolved into chaos under the feet of a rampaging titan, reminding the Akimichi just why that name had been buried.
Then he stopped.
At first no one knew why but across the battlefield Fugaku Uchiha recognized a sound and the sound was his cousin crying, great screaming breaths of rage and sorrow.
Ishiko Uchiha had gained her Sharingan.
From behemoth of destruction Chouji Akimichi became a gore-covered, empty-eyed ninja cradling a fellow soldier who beat her hands on his chest and repeated her sister’s name over and over.
They were both consequentially brought back behind friendly lines and the affair was hushed as much as it could be.
Ishiko and Chouji remained together for the rest of the war, often rarely a hand’s-reach apart. When the war ended Ishiko quietly moved into the Akimichi compound with the tacit approval of both sets of Clan Elders.
She sat with her head on Chouji’s back as he read, desperately and viciously, through every scroll the Akimichi had. He followed her to her sister’s grave and her mother’s house, helped her sharpen shuriken.
No one was surprised when they asked to leave Konoha, Chouji armed with ancient knowledge and a grim determination and Ishiko with her weapons pouches full and a cold gleam in her eyes.
One sought the rock ninja who had killed her sister. The other wanted to kill the demon in his head.
Token attempts were made- by the Triad, by the Uchiha, by the Council of Clans and by the Hokage- but it was for naught. Whatever help Ishiko and Chouji needed would not be found with Yamanaka therapists or Nara remedies or obscure Aburame histories. It was not something the Haruno clan could buy or the Inuzuka could track. It was something they needed to find themselves, and they needed to find it together.
When they left, Chouza’s wife Reiko was pregnant. Chouza said to his brother, “If it’s a boy, we’ll name it after you.”
Chouji said to him, “Don’t curse the kid.”
“You are not a curse.” Chouza said, and kissed his brother’s forehead.
Ishiko accepted the offered fans from Mikoto, gave Fugaku a perfect bow. When she stood back up he embraced her.
“Be strong.” He said.
“I will.” She promised.
They left hand in hand and did not look back. Reiko had a son, and she named him Chouji.
Where are they now, Ishiko and Chouji the Elder? No one is sure but both the Uchiha and the Akimichi know they are not dead because sometimes there are letters and sometimes there are tales- of a great titan battling evil forces, a red-eyed witch on his shoulders. She controls the beast, so the stories say.
Neither Chouza nor Fugaku believe that for an instant, because they know the power of both Caller and Called. The Akimichi are the wind which kills the fire, the Uchiha are the glass over the flame; but Ishiko and Chouji are both glass, and both wind, and have saved each other.
This kitty has diabetes. He spends his time attempting to steal meat off the counter (he’s on a strict kangaroo diet), smack the dogs if they get too close to his cranky butt and, bite people if they hurt his favorite humans. He also loves it when you rub his belly so he attacks your hand. He runs away, then comes back for more in a continuous loop.
@canadiansuperhero I don’t know why every prompt I try to fill for you seems to go sideways but like. Have this? I guess?
Of the three clans of the Triad, it was hard to say who kept the best records. If you wanted anecdotes, assassinations disguised as unfortunate accidents, and surprisingly brutal war tactics you went to the Akimichi. If you wanted medicinal texts, regional histories, the creation and maintaining of cloak-and-dagger jutsus or the care and keeping of deer, you went Nara.
If you wanted all the juiciest stuff, though- all the inter-family drama, the second marriages, the betrayals, the swearing of blood oaths- for all that?
You went to the Yamanaka.
The first recorded Akimichi-Uchiha relationship (that of Akimichi Chouga and Uchiha Madara) was recorded meticulously in Inoko Yamanaka’s personal writings. Every argument, every outing, every meal eaten and clan council attended had been given due consideration in her beautiful penmanship.
Inoko Yamanaka had been a delightfully petty woman, prone to cruel laughter and crueller fights, but let it not be said of her or her descendants that they did not protect what they thought was precious. Her work, and the work of her Clan during and after her lifetime, had not only discovered the phenomenon she had dubbed the Calling but also helped create the networked series of rules and regulations that allowed both Caller and Called whatever level of association they required for their partnership to run its efficient course.
It had been a landmark in both the research of chakra and the mental sciences, had launched the Yamanaka into the strange new world of counselling other ninja, and had allowed both Akimichi and Uchiha alike to better understand and accept their bonds.
Inoko Yamanaka had put her hands on her hips and changed the world, grinning all the while.
Ino Yamanaka- the many times great granddaughter of that famous, fiery vixen- thought her ancestress was full of bunk.
And it had absolutely nothing to do with the fact that Sasuke followed Chouji wherever he went, and was allowed to, including things like the Day of Union.
Inoichi had explained it to her carefully.
“Try and understand, Ino.” He’d said to his little girl. “Their bond is new, and Sasuke has suffered a great blow here,” he’d tapped Ino’s chest, “and here.” He tapped her forehead. “And what are these?”
“A Ninja’s true soul.” Ino had dutifully replied.
“What is it the Akimichi do for the Uchiha?” He’d asked.
“Protect their true souls.” Ino had repeated the words she’d learned by heart.
“That’s all Chouji is doing right now, Ino.” Inoichi had said. “He’s protecting Sasuke’s true soul, just like someday he’ll protect you and Shikamaru. I know it’s hard, and I know it seems unfair to ask, but please? For me?”
Ino had sighed and agreed because she knew her dad was right, but that didn’t make her feel any better. Stupid Sasuke getting to spend the day with them at a private celebration. No one else allowed! Only members of the Triad clans, or those married in. That was what the day of Union was, a celebration of the Triad and their coming together.
Sasuke was allowed, though, because he was a child just like Ino and just like Chouji and it had only been a couple weeks ago that-
Stupid Sasuke, getting to spend the night with Shikamaru and Chouji in the other pavilion while she was stuck here with all her girl cousins listening to them talk about flower arranging. If she wanted to talk flower arranging, she’d go to the shop!
Dumb boys probably weren’t having any fun at all. Chouji was probably stuffing his face and Shikamaru was probably asleep.
She hoped Sasuke was bored. She hoped he hated the fires and the dancing and the lanterns and-
She jerked her head around to the railing and her eyes widened when she saw Chouji there, gesturing.
Beside him was Sasuke, eyes glowing an unnatural red.
“Come on!” Chouji waved at her. “Sasuke can’t keep this up forever!”
Ino grabbed her little silk bag and, with a quick jerk on her obi to loosen up the layers beneath, jumped the railing to land crouched in the lilies beside Chouji.
“Let’s get clear.” Chouji said. “Are you okay, Sasuke?”
“I feel alright.” He said.
“Let’s not push it. Come on, Ino!” he took her hand, grabbed Sasuke’s with the other, and pulled them into the sweetly-scented night.
“I thought you forgot about me.” Ino confessed when they were down the forested path. Chouji vehemently shook his head. “Never! But you guys went into the pavilion early and Shikamaru wasn’t sure how we’d get you out without your cousin Sayako noticing.”
Ino frowned. Sayako was a big-mouth. She’d have tattled in an instant, despite the fact that Ino was not yet old enough to technically meet the ‘no genders mixing after dark’ rule.
“But then Sasuke had an idea!” Chouji said. “Didn’t you, Sasuke?”
Sasuke nodded slowly, watching Ino under long bangs. “My brother can keep people from looking at him.” He said. “I thought, maybe..” he rubbed his forehead. “I guess it worked.”
Ino gave Sasuke a long look. “Thanks.” She said at last. He smiled and- wow he had a cute smile.
“Chouichi gave me some firecrackers!” Chouji said as they approached a fork. “We’re gonna set ‘em off by the fence!”
Ino grinned. If they set off firecrackers by the fence, the Inuzuka hounds would start howling and it would take hours for them to stop. By then the thre-four of them could be anywhere in the village.
And Shikamaru was lazy as any Nara born, but his Day of Union plans were always his best.
“I think you’re all bad influences.” Sasuke said this with a small measure of surprise. “Maybe worse than Naruto.”
Ino smiled wide. “You haven’t seen anything yet.” She said to him.
-seven years later-
Sasuke Uchiha felt a tickle at his ear. He sat up in bed and grinned.
“Teme?” Naruto asked. In the soft chair by the door, Sakura stilled.
“Day of Union’s winding down.” Sasuke said to them before striding to his balcony door and throwing it open.
Chouji was leaning on the railing with a bright grin, Shikamaru sitting on a corner looking bored. Ino stood perfectly balanced with her hands on her hips, kimono already askew and what looked suspiciously like a bunch of twigs caught in her hair.
“We’ve got,” she announced, “an awful idea.”
In the room Naruto and Sakura scrambled to grab their shoes as Sasuke said with a broad grin, “you’re all bad influences.”
“He’s okay.” Ino said to Chouji as they- and everyone else- watched the thundering sky. “He’s just doing what he has to do.”
“Getting in trouble without me to get him out.” Chouji muttered hoarsely.
“No, stupid.” Ino said. “Protecting his true soul.” She put her hand on Chouji’s shoulder, her other hand on Shikamaru’s. “And we’re gonna do the same. Let’s go.”
Shikamaru gave a sharp nod. Chouji took a deep breath.
Ino Yamanaka, the many times great granddaughter of Inoko, led her hanafuda hand into battle. She didn’t know if they would survive the next few hours, but she did know something for sure.
She knew what she said was true.
Sasuke was protecting his true soul, and why shouldn’t he? He’d had a great teacher.