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Master List of Elizabeth Culmer's Fanfiction: Naruto
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Organization: This list is arranged first by associated story cycles and then by date. Word counts and writing dates are approximations.

Content/Warning Policy: 1) I am not consistent about warnings! I use them when I remember, for a few relatively broad categories of potentially problematic content, but if something is off-page, non-explicit, or generally backgrounded, I probably won't think to note it in the metadata. 2) The things I try to warn for are explicit sex, rape, murder, torture, cannibalism, incest, depression/suicide, familial dysfunction, and occasionally also societal dysfunction (aka dystopia). Sometimes I just slap a general content warning on all my fic for a given fandom and don't label each individual fic. I also don't generally warn for violence, unless the violence in a fic is dramatically out-of-step with the violence in its source canon. 3) I don't use any content rating system unless I'm posting to a site or community that requires or encourages ratings, because I find movie-style ratings counter-intuitive when applied to written fiction, and not particularly useful for anything other than denoting the presence of explicit sex, which I already note in the metadata.

SERIES-SPECIFIC GENERAL CONTENT WARNING: Naruto is a series about ninjas (defined in-universe as a mix between assassins and magically-powered special forces units) who start their training around six or seven and graduate to semi-professional status around eleven or twelve: child soldiers, in other words. The manga is mostly action/adventure, but I sometimes like to play around with the darkness of that underlying concept. Take it as read that my Naruto fics almost always contain textual or implied violence, sometimes contain death, and often at least glance at societal and individual methods of rationalizing and valorizing mercenary bloodshed.

Quality Rating System: I've marked my favorite stories with asterisks, on a scale of 1 to 4. The more asterisks, the more I like the story. This doesn't necessarily mean that stories without asterisks are bad, just that I don't like them as much. Also, I am not claiming to be an arbiter of taste; you may love stories I dislike, and vice versa. I am just providing a heads-up about the ones that I think are best written and/or most interesting.

Notes: I actually like all of my Naruto stories. I think this is partly because I've gotten better at writing over the years, but it's also because I'd mostly stopped writing 15-minute ficlets by the time I fell into manga fandom, which means I wrote fewer stories and tended to give more time and thought to each one. All fics are manga canon only, since audiovisual media are not my thing and I've only ever seen one episode of the anime.

Where To Read: As always, if an AO3 version exists, it is definitive. FF.net versions are definitive in the absence of an AO3 version. Journal versions are the equivalent of beta drafts, though the shorter and/or fragmentary works may never be posted anywhere else.

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The "Apartment Manager" sequence

This consists of two novels and some sidefics all set in the same AU continuity. The basic idea is that when Naruto moves into his own apartment, the Third Hokage asks Ayakawa Yukiko, the building's owner and manager, to look after him rather than leaving him completely on his own. Yukiko is a mostly retired ninja, but Naruto catalyzes her to change her life. Then those changes begin to snowball out to the rest of the village.

The other AU shift is Kakashi's age. When I started writing these stories, I'd never seen Kishimoto's official timelines, so I guessed people's ages based on their appearance and characterization in the manga. I was pretty close with Iruka, but four or five years off with Kakashi. Unfortunately, by the time anyone pointed that out to me, his age had become integral to several character interactions -- for example, Yukiko treats him as a contemporary rather than an annoying teenager -- so I decided not to go back and make wholesale changes.

****The Way of the Apartment Manager: (AO3 version; ff.net version) 72,000 words, Dec. 2004 - Oct. 2005. Ayakawa Yukiko retired from being a ninja, and she's come to terms with that. Then the Third Hokage summons her for an assignment that will change her life. AU story, set six years pre-manga. Social ostracism and discussion thereof.

For a pre-canon story starring an original female character with another original female character in one of the prime supporting roles, this story wound up ridiculously popular. I think it was one of those 'right story, right time' things that I could never duplicate if I tried. Also, this is absurdly fluffy for a Naruto story, violence and occasional angst notwithstanding.

**The Guardian in Spite of Herself: (AO3 version; ff.net version) WIP, 68,000 words so far, started Dec. 2005. The reward for a job well done is a bigger job. In this case, Ayakawa Yukiko's new job is a lot more complicated than anyone expected. The Uchiha massacre and its aftermath, in the world of "The Way of the Apartment Manager." Post-traumatic stress, extreme familial dysfunction, attempted social/political/military revolution, dubious ethical choices and discussion thereof.

"Guardian" is a darker story than "Apartment Manager," partly because of the subject matter, and partly because I decided to unpick the implications of the socio-cultural and economic system of the ninja villages rather than accept them as the status quo. Also, I structured it the way I would structure an original novel, which may have been a mistake from a fanfiction perspective. In other words, three of my four POV characters are OCs, only two of whom were introduced in the previous story, and the new OC is also meant to be a semi-sympathetic antagonist whose worldview challenges the moral principles of career ninjas.

Despite all that, this is still my happy AU where people get better childhoods, dammit. Keep that in mind if and when things look irretrievably bad.

"Guardian" has only two asterisks because it's a WIP and I'm not completely sure where it's going. (I fail utterly at outlines. *despairs*) I won't know how to rate it overall until I'm done.

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"Apartment Manager" Sidestories

The Good Daughter: (AO3 version; ff.net version) 925 words, Feb. 2010. One year before she graduates from the academy, Yukiko talks to her mother -- ostensibly about fire safety codes, but mostly about trust. [15-minute fic]

*Give and Take: (AO3 version; ff.net version) 1,200 words, Jan. 2007. A few years before the Kyuubi's attack, Yukiko's genin team travels to southern Fire Country on a deeply boring search and retrieval mission. Friendship and team bonding. [Request!fic for [livejournal.com profile] socchan]

What You Need: (AO3 version; ff.net version) 475 words, April 2010. Yukiko is a genjutsu specialist from necessity, not from inclination. [15-minute fic]

For All the Works and Days of Hands: (AO3 version; ff.net version) 875 words, Sept. 2011. A month after Naruto moves into her building, Yukiko receives an invitation to her cousin Yuichiro's anniversary dinner celebration and wonders when she drifted so far apart from her family. Heavy on backstory, slightly melancholy. [Request!fic for [personal profile] theodosia21]

Small Favors: (AO3 version; ff.net version) 450 words, Oct. 2014. Kakashi asks Yukiko's help with his plans to alter the harvest festival fireworks. [prompt!fic for [livejournal.com profile] wistfulmemory]

*Resistentialism: (AO3 version; ff.net version) 375 words, Feb. 2010. Yukiko and Naruto personify inanimate objects. Cute and silly. Prompt: I wonder, though, how much [Yukiko] has fixated on her apartment complex as another "precious person?" I'd wager she treats it like a pet. [Comment!fic for [livejournal.com profile] aishuu]

*No Wasted Deed: (AO3 version; ff.net version) 1,200 words, March 2010. Uzumaki Naruto is Kigaru Shinnin's best friend. She has no regrets for her lost popularity.

*Friends and Neighbors: (AO3 version; ff.net version) 8,300 words, Feb. 2010-Feb. 2013. An object lesson in ninja tactics as applied to civilian social relationships -- aka the fic in which Naruto and Shinnin adopt Sakura before she attracts Ino's attention, but Sakura's parents are not so keen on their daughter's new friends. [prompt!fic for [livejournal.com profile] aishuu]

Tug of War: (AO3 version; ff.net version) 1,150 words, March 2010. Naruto has a bad day at school. Yukiko wishes he'd let her help more. [15-minute fic]

*Pay It Forward: (AO3 version; ff.net version) 1,150 words, Sept. 2015. Yukiko and Iruka discuss educational opportunities and the lack thereof. Prompt: opportunity. Written for [community profile] cottoncandy_bingo. [prompt!fic for [livejournal.com profile] wistfulmemory]

Testing the Waters: (AO3 version; ff.net version) 1,350 words, March 2010. Seichi reluctantly agrees to babysit Sasuke and Naruto on their first day as open members of the trade caravan. Sasuke is suspicious. (This is a cut scene from ch. 11 of "The Guardian in Spite of Herself" -- it slowed the story to a crawl, so I switched to Yukiko's POV and jumped straight to Nagarehiya. But this is what happened the first morning, and is the source of Sasuke's ch. 12 belief that Seichi is a ninja.)

Set in Stone: (AO3 version; ff.net version) 575 words, May 2010. A year after the Uchiha massacre, Sasuke understandably still has issues about the loss of his family. [15-minute]

A Likely Story: (AO3 version; ff.net version) 275 words, Oct. 2014. Naruto and Sasuke conspire together, to Yukiko's secret amusement. [prompt!fic for [livejournal.com profile] wistfulmemory]

*An Unorthodox Pedagogical Approach: (AO3 version; ff.net version) 300 words, Oct. 2015. Naga and Kakashi take their genin teams on a joint D-rank mission. There is no way this can possibly go wrong. [prompt!fic for [livejournal.com profile] wistfulmemory]

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The "Tides" sequence

*Tides: (AO3 version; ff.net version) 17,000 words, March 2005-June 2005. Three years have changed them and their world, and it takes time to put friendships back together. Team 7, AU after the timeskip. (Assume they rescued Gaara before his demon was removed, and then Naruto, Sakura, and Kakashi kidnapped Sasuke from Hidden Sound before Orochimaru's plans matured.) Implied familial dysfunction.

**Undertow: (AO3 version; ff.net version) 7,500 words, July 2005-Sept. 2009 (minor edits Oct. 2009). Chouryuukei Tsukimaru thinks he is playing a game with a helpless girl as his toy. He is very, very wrong. AU Team 7 fic, semi-sequel to "Tides." Contains assassination for money, political corruption, the implied past sexual abuse and murder of several young women, familial dysfunction, and coercion into a sexual relationship.

The first real sequel, "Leaves," would take Team 7 back to Wave Country for a brief and inconclusive confrontation with Itachi and Kisame, after which they would return to Konoha to verify some vague and confusing things Itachi says about the Uchiha massacre. Sasuke would be trapped under house arrest while Sakura and Naruto tried to get access to classified documents; possibly there would be some kind of subplot involving Danzo and Root. Eventually they would learn at least some of the truth about Madara, be unable to get the council to let them do anything useful, and escape to become missing-nin again.

The second real sequel, "Sparks," would pick up with Team 7 going to kill Orochimaru and Kabuto (partly for their own satisfaction, partly so Tsunade will have an excuse to order off any pursuit), continue through some stuff with Akatsuki, and probably deal with their efforts to make the rest of the ninja world get serious about confronting Akatsuki.

Troy in Reverse: (AO3 version) 1,075 words, April 2010. This would be the opening of chapter 1 of "Sparks." Sakura POV.

And then I wrote a couple supplemental ficlets, just because! The first might also take place within "Sparks," or might happen after the climax of that fic while Team 7 are still wandering around mopping up loose ends. The second is the happy ending I always want to give these three idiots. :D

Under Pressure: (AO3 version) 400 words, Sept. 2015. Sakura will survive until her teammates dig her out. [prompt!fic for [personal profile] branchandroot]

*Mischief Night: (AO3 version) 550 words, Sept. 2015. The night before they return to Konoha for real, Team 7 blow off some steam by reversing their old genin missions. Prompt: play. Written for [community profile] cottoncandy_bingo. [prompt!fic for [personal profile] eos_joy]

One of these years I may or may not get around to writing "Leaves" and "Sparks" for real. They would be very AU by now, and I have a lot of other things to finish, so I am inclined to say not... but you never know.

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The "What Isn't Broken" sequence

This sequence goes AU from canon sometime after Pain's invasion (since the conflict with Madara and Akatsuki has been wrapped up offscreen without Sasuke's involvement, which I assume is not what Kishimoto is planning to do). It's based on Put a little fixing on it, by [livejournal.com profile] megyal, but the remix took on a life of its own in my imagination.

**What Isn't Broken (Can Still Be Fixed): (ff.net version; AO3 version) 24,500 words, May 2010, revised Dec. 2010. Madara lied about the eye transplant's effects. Captured and brought back to Konoha, Sasuke must adjust to blindness and his unexpected survival. NaruSasu. Written for RemixRedux 8, based on Put a little fixing on it by [livejournal.com profile] megyal.

With a Vengeance: (ff.net version; AO3 version) 950 words, June 2010. Sakura is working night shift at the hospital when Naruto brings Sasuke home. [15-minute fic]

More Sins Than Condemnation: (ff.net version; AO3 version) 2,700 words, June 2010. Iruka never wanted to get involved in Konoha's politics. Unfortunately for him, sometimes the Rokudaime Hokage needs an incorruptible man.

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Summer Camp & Politics AU

This is an AU in which the elemental countries are modern nation-states locked into an uneasy regional standoff. Sakura, Naruto, and Sasuke (among others) meet at a summer camp as children, and later end up working both to create a more lasting peace and to move their country away from a clan-based oligarchy toward a true democracy. Or something like that. I was just trying to write a 'camp counselors at a lake' thing, but the sociopolitical background took me hostage and ran away with my writing mojo. *wry*

What Is Essential: (AO3 version; ff.net version) 3,200 words, March 2012. Sakura went to summer camp to be with her best friend Ino. Somehow over the next two years, she ended up best friends with two jerks instead. [prompt!fic for [livejournal.com profile] askerian]

Last Call: (AO3 version; ff.net version) 2,250 words, March 2012. Sakura and Naruto discuss their futures during their last summer as camp counselors. [prompt!fic for [livejournal.com profile] cherokee1]

*Rekindling: (AO3 version; ff.net version) 2,775 words, May 2016. After Sasuke's promotion to a desk job in the UMCC, Naruto and Sakura help perform a family ritual to turn his new apartment into a home. Prompt: tradition. Written for [community profile] cottoncandy_bingo. [prompt!fic for [personal profile] branchandroot]

*Zero-Sum Fallacy: (AO3 version; ff.net version) 1,200 words, July 2013. Sasuke doesn't want to harm Naruto's election prospects. Naruto and Sakura have other priorities. NaruSasu, implied NaruSasuSaku. Prompt: don't need to get married. Written for [community profile] cottoncandy_bingo.

*Hold These Truths: (AO3 version; ff.net version) 2,850 words, June 2015. Sakura and Sasuke thwart an assassination attempt on Naruto during a political rally. SasuSaku, implied NaruSasuSaku. Part of the Summer Camp & Politics AU. Prompt: believe. Written for [community profile] cottoncandy_bingo. [prompt!fic for [personal profile] askerian]

**After Frost: (AO3 version; ff.net version) 4,850 words, April 2012. In the shadow of a vote over a bilateral free trade agreement with Thunder Country, Hyuuga Hinata moves on. Warnings for depression, learned helplessness, severely dysfunctional families, and a traumatic backstory involving kidnapping, long-term captivity, and murder. [prompt!fic for [livejournal.com profile] hungrytiger11]

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Everything else

Traps : (AO3 version) 350 words, May 2005. A musing on the nature of hidden villages. Downbeat and philosophical. [15-minute fic]

*Prison Keys: (AO3 version; ff.net version) 625 words, June 2005. Hanabi and Hinata. Clan Hyuuga eats its children. Severely unhealthy coping methods, implied murder, offscreen marriage between first cousins. [15-minute fic]

("Prison Keys" was remixed by [livejournal.com profile] riko in RemixRedux 6, as Prison Keys (And of Course There Is No Key), which gives Hinata's side of the story.)

**Lessons: (AO3 version; ff.net version) 3,925 words, July 2005. Umino Iruka is a good ninja and a good man. But nobody is born with all the answers. Discussion of the ethics of the hidden villages and the ninja academy system.

I used this particular version of Iruka's backstory in "Apartment Manager," but "Lessons" can stand apart from the rest of the sequence... and since Kakashi isn't in this story, "Lessons" can be read as canon-based backstory instead of AU backstory.

*Rituals: (AO3 version; ff.net version) 1,200 words, Sept. 2005. Sometimes missions go wrong. True partners stay with each other through the aftermath. Team 7 future!fic, set in [livejournal.com profile] askerian's Saki-chan universe. Self-harm, crossdressing, and other unorthodox coping methods. NaruSasuSaku.

Turnabout: (AO3 version) 250 words, Nov. 2005. Team 7. Having two ridiculously competitive boys as your lovers can be a pain. Very silly, mildly explicit sexual implications. NaruSasuSaku. [Comment!fic for [livejournal.com profile] askerian]

**Just Killing Time: (AO3 version; ff.net version) 700 words, Sept. 2006. After Wave Country and before the chuunin exam, Team 7 kills time while waiting for Kakashi to show up. No pairings, no warnings, just mild humor and kids being kids.

**How Team Seven Got Their Summon Animals: (AO3 version; ff.net version) 900 words, Jan. 2007. "Once upon a time in Fire Country, O my Best Beloved, three Ninjas went on a D-rank mission to retrieve a Cat..." A tale in the style of Rudyard Kipling's Just So Stories. Very silly. [Request!fic for anonymous]

*Drought: (AO3 version; ff.net version) 600 words, July 2007. Temari and her family, before and after the demon. Offscreen death of non-canon character, severe familial dysfunction. ("Drought" is a failed attempt at writing to my [livejournal.com profile] femgenficathon 2007 prompt. I say 'failed' not because it's a bad story -- I think it's a pretty good story! -- but because it falls short of the minimum word count.)

*Seasons of Cloud and Shadow (Like the Deserts Miss the Rain): (AO3 version; ff.net version) 1,950 words, April 2008. Many waters cannot quench love; neither can the floods drown it. Love is as strong as death. Temari/Shikamaru, mildly explicit sex, death. Written for RemixRedux 6, based on Seasons of Cloud and Shadow by [livejournal.com profile] everysecondtues.

Seasons of Cloud and Shadow (In a Dry and Thirsty Land): (AO3 version) 825 words, April 2008. My first attempt at remixing [livejournal.com profile] everysecondtues's story. Fragment, posted Dec. 2008 for the sake of completeness. ShikaTema, mildly explicit sex.

Children's Crusade: (AO3 version) 200 words, Aug. 2009. A musing on the social and legal construction of childhood in hidden villages. Downbeat and philosophical. Double drabble. [15-minute fic]

**Compatibility: (AO3 version; ff.net version) 1,475 words, Oct. 2009. Team 8 in a quiet moment during the timeskip, with lots of speculation about the origin and nature of the Aburame clan's bond with their kikkai. Fluffy enough to rot your teeth. Prompt: something on Aburame Shino, since he's one of the most underwritten secondary Naruto characters in fandom. (Or canon, for that matter.) Body horror: if insects squick you, don't read this. Also contains mention of war tragedies and miscarriage. [Request!fic for [livejournal.com profile] lynati_1]

("Compatibility" was remixed by [livejournal.com profile] hungrytiger11 in RemixRedux 8, as Some Unseen Place on the Opposite Side (An Incompatible Remix), which expands the perspective to show the prices all ninja clans pay for their talents, and is a lovely Hinata character piece as well.)

Sons and Daughters: (AO3 version) 150 words, Oct. 2009. Uchiha Mikoto, on children, pressure, and expectations. Prompt: how about something from Naruto, more particularly, something about Mikoto, Sasuke's mother? I'd love to see more fic about her- anything, really. Her childhood, her choices, that AU where she undertook the Uchiha massacre to save Itachi from having to do it... you get the idea. ^_^. [Request!fic for [personal profile] theodosia21]

Anatomy of a Fight: (AO3 version) 200 words, April 2010. Sakura at work, because damn it, medic-nin should be scary to fight. [15-minute fic]

When You're Not Strong: (AO3 version) 875 words, June 2010. Iruka and his great-aunt deal with the aftermath of the Kyuubi's attack and the deaths of Iruka's parents. [15-minute fic]

*Sasuke and the Seven Leaves: (AO3 version) 1,625 words, Sept. 2011. Uchiha Sasuke joined the Confederated Space Force to hunt pirates, keep order, and prevent tragedies like the one that claimed his entire clan. But military life wasn't quite what he was expecting, and then everything went sideways when he found himself a prisoner on the Seven Leaves, a colony rebel ship... In other words, welcome to Naruto IN SPACE! *grin* [Request!fic for [livejournal.com profile] hungrytiger11]

Legacies: (AO3 version; ff.net version) 400 words, Dec. 2011. In which Naruto's grandkids add his name to the Memorial Stone. [Prompt!fic for [personal profile] jjhunter]

life lessons: (AO3 version) 200 words, Dec. 2015. Be good, be smart, be pretty, be lucky: a kunoichi's instruction manual. Written for [livejournal.com profile] runespoor7 in the late 2015 Three Sentence Ficathon.

a soft epilogue: (AO3 version) 200 words, Dec. 2016. A quiet moment, after the world doesn't end. NaruSasuSaku. Written for [livejournal.com profile] runespoor7 in the Three Sentence Ficathon 2016.

Maboroshi: (AO3 version) 1,075 words, Jan. 2017. After Sasuke returns home, Sakura and Naruto invite him to pull them into a Sharingan-based illusion. Trust is a humbling thing. NaruSasuSaku. Prompt: eyes. Written for [community profile] cottoncandy_bingo. [prompt!fic for [tumblr.com profile] runespoor7]

*Whose Allegiance Is Ruled by Expedience: (AO3 version) 1,600 words, May 2017. There was a lot of money in running a city on a constant, low-grade war footing, if you knew where to look and didn't mind the risk of invasion. For those who didn't mind risk and who weren't encumbered by deep emotional ties to any one country, there was even better money in supplying missing-nin. Renouncing their political allegiances didn't let missing-nin renounce basic physical necessities, and Kuwa Natsume had rarely met a ninja who was willing to spend actual time and effort on practical logistics when they could subcontract the headaches out instead. Prompt: butcher / baker / candlestick-maker: tradesman. Written for [community profile] genprompt_bingo. [prompt!fic for [personal profile] the_rck]

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Elizabeth Culmer

August 2017

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