Snap Back To Reality 21
A/N Hey guys check out my art at jaz_hop on Instagram, or search up this story under the same name (author name- jaz_hop on Archive of our Own. I drew a very cute picture of Hina, Gaku-sensei and Yama, and it's up on both of those sites. I would post up art in tandem with my chapters here if fanfiction just let me (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻
Today was one of those rare days, when dad looked like he was willing to do more than work himself to the bone. I didn't see why he needed to, not when my mission's money set us up pretty well. Today he had some pep to his step. Meanwhile I was feeling miserable. The conversation I had with Kakashi had devolved rather rapidly, and then we went fishing of all things, because apparently the kid liked silent company, not that I faulted him of course. Sometimes it was nice to just shut your mouth and work your hands to do something completely mundane like fishing. We caught some nice fish to… well he did.
"Hina, get dressed we're going out," dad said with a rather kind smile. He had the kind of smile that was soft, and sweet and would instantly make anyone fall in love with him. Wholesome, was a word that came to mind when it came to him.
"Where to?" I asked, rubbing my eyes.
"Why the winter festival of course," he said.
"Are Taichi and kaasan coming?"
"No, it's just going to be you and me today. It's been a while since we had a father-daughter day. Now come on, let's get you into that peacock kimono of yours I know you love so much."
I nodded in mild shock. A festival with dad? It felt like suddenly all the worry and stress had just evaporated into a forgotten mist. I never really just spent time with dad alone. I practically lost all the tiredness from lack of sleep as I bounded into my room and changed as quickly as possible. I paused by my broken dressing table and looked down on the omamori he had given me for my last mission. I picked up the red string attached to it and looped it around my obi before tying it firmly there.
I felt happy, which felt like something of a rare emotion since my second mission. I practically sprinted out to the front to meet dad, who was wearing a light blue kimono with a darker haori over the top. He looked rather stunning for once, with his incredible height and kind face. He held out a hand and I gladly took it, smiling up at him. He paused for a moment before smiling back. My heart fluttered with giddiness. It'd been so long since we did anything together as a family. I somehow, for a second could envision Yua on the other side, holding my hand with the same smile. It would have been perfect.
We walked hand in hand to the festival. I had been to one before with Hanami on a day off, but those were rare. It was ok with me of course, after all I had died an overworked adult in my previous life. I was used to constantly working. It just made the days off all the more special.
I had no reason to be this happy though, my mind supplied in slight frustration. It was unlike me to be so happy just because my dad wanted to hang out with me. It made me wonder just how much this body affected my mind. Was I always this needy? Did a simple pat on the head make me blush and stutter with joy in my previous life? I couldn't remember a time when it did... well at least aside from the way Cat made me feel.
"What's this festival for?" I asked.
Dad looked down at me and blinked in surprise. He looked back up, letting out a breath that condensed in the air. He smiled.
"It's a festival to ensure the spirits are happy, so the harvest next season will be plentiful. It's a very important festival because all the money goes to farming families outside of Konoha's walls. They have hard dangerous lives and provide food for us, so it's a day to be grateful to them too."
When he put it that way, it made it seem rather important indeed. I noticed the kites all ﬂying in the sky, a mixture of dragons and ﬁsh and the like. I remembered the family back in Kumo I had stayed with. I wondered how Emi was doing, if she was safe and if Mamoru-san had managed to ﬁnd a way to support them through these hard times.
"There's a kabuki performance on this morning which is why we left rather early."
"A kabuki?" I asked in confusion.
Dad's smile waned for a bit, as if I had asked him a question I should already have known. I ducked my head slightly in embarrassment, but his smile returned this time a little sad.
"It's a show, with dance and story."
The word that came to mind was theatre, but that was an English word and it would have been odd to voice that out loud. He took my hand again as we walked past all the stalls surrounded by children and adults alike. It wasn't too busy right now. I assumed the festival would pick up at night. By a clearing, a dome like structure was set, with an amphitheatre like stage. A group of people milled about chatting. I craned my neck up, unable to see anything.
"Come on, let's get you a better view."
Dad knelt down and picked me up. It had been a really long time since he'd done that. I adjusted myself on his tall shoulder, looking at the world from a whole new height. I rested my chin on his head and felt my cheeks heat up as I smiled softly. I'd almost forgotten this warm feeling.
After getting rather comfortable on his shoulders the play started. A group of 5 or so men lined up the back with guitars? Well the Elemental Nations equivalent of it anyway, which looked quite Japanese. They started plucking their strings and the crowd quieted down, their attention turning to the drama. I didn't expect the actors to come out wearing such dramatic face paint, and clothes.
Oddly enough I ended up engrossing myself in a retelling of Senju Hashirama's life for the next hour or so. The performance wasn't like anything I'd seen before. I was rich before, having accumulated a lot of wealth from my job, but Cat and I never like the fancy side of life. We preferred to sit at home and watch animated movies. It started of with Ghibli and spiralled off into the depths of weebdom. We'd never been to a play, but from what Shakespeare I could remember from high school days, none involved half sung, half spoken lines in tandem with dramatic music.
Whoever played Madara had a really good voice, but that didn't stop the Uchiha in the crowd from leaving during the whole infamous Hashirama Madara battle, where the former lost. I honestly found myself sympathizing with Madara of all people. Hashirama was too optimistic. His idea of peace was essentially distributing the ninja equivalent of nukes to each country and hoping for the best. Madara wanted to unite all ninja under one leader. Dictatorship, and sharing chakra nukes aside, both of them were fundamentally ﬂawed. There was no such thing as eternal peace. They were chasing after a pipe dream. If they wanted to end all wars, they should probably just kill every human alive. That would do the trick.
My musings were stopped short when the climactic battle was done. Once that was over the crowd clapped and cheered before they dispersed. We moved out too.
"How did you ﬁnd it Hina?"
"It was awesome," I grinned. It'd been so long since I watched any form of entertainment. I nearly forgot how much I missed such things. "Did you really think Madara screamed out— 'I vow to ﬁght you again Hashirama! Your strength is the fuel to my spirit!'—Cause that's kind of gay."
Dad spluttered, taken off guard by my comment before he joined in on my laughter.
"I suppose it is kind of gay when you put it that way. Where did you even hear that word anyway?" he said, his smile turning into a chastising frown.
"It's not a bad word or anything," I huffed.
Really, I was six and I had gone off to war and killed people and saying 'gay' was what got me into trouble with my dad? He really needed to get his priorities straight. Thankfully, it didn't seem to affect him that much.
"Well probably best to keep that a secret. Don't go telling everyone you think the Uchiha founder is gay," he said snickering.
"Sure, sure," I replied, although I had no idea what was so insulting about the idea anyway.
"Let's go get some lunch. Where do you want to go?"
"There's a really good barbecue joint called Ryoma and the meat there is reallllly tender," I said with a dreamy expression.
"Isn't that in the... Akimichi district."
Dad probably hadn't gone there before because of mom. I huffed in irritation as I remembered her stupid face. I patted dad's head.
"Yeah, but it's great. I'll promise you'll enjoy it!"
"Ok, I'll give it a go."
We leisurely made our way to the Akimichi district and halfway there I ﬁnally jumped off his shoulders, landing a perfect somersault which made him and a few passer-by's clap and cheer at my sheer awesomeness. I tried to ignore the word 'cute' that was used to describe me though.
Chatting with dad, laughing, and making jokes made me forget all my worries, even about the war that was still happening. It was like for a brief moment I was allowed a break from it all, a perfect little depiction of what this world could be if there was no war. Shisui was right... a world without war seemed nice... impossible, but deﬁnitely nice.
We were talking and laughing and generally enjoying ourselves that time seemed to ﬂy by unfairly fast. Before long I had gone through all the stalls they had to offer, failed terribly at all the games except for the one where you caught goldﬁsh. It was a little annoying that I had to carry around the poor things now though.
I had no idea what to even do with them? Maybe Taichi would like pets?
It eventually became dark and the crowds increased in size. Now everyone was out to celebrate. Performers danced in the street, people ﬂew around kites with ﬁre in them, lighting up the streets. It was generally a good mood, which was rare to see in time of war. People ambled about in their best kimono. ANBU and Uchiha police patrolled the streets making their presence known more than usual.
It was all very lively. Taichi and Yua found us too in time for the main event. I gave my brother a smile and let him hold my hands as we walked, but I completely ignored Yua. She looked like she was going to talk to me, but I turned my back to her and pestered my brother to look like I was busy. She wasn't going to ruin this day for me.
We found a place to sit by on a grassy hill surrounded by other families. I held the lantern in my hand completely amazed by it. I had only seen these in pictures before, but in person it was beautiful. Dad smiled down at me, resting a comforting hand on my head.
"You throw it up when the bells strike," Taichi explained diligently.
"Aren't we meant to be a hidden village," I pointed out.
Dad chuckled. "Don't worry the Hokage is strong. He puts up a massive… genjutsu was it?"
"Oh, so I just throw it up when the bell strikes right?"
And so I waited, scanning the countless other men and women who had gathered with lanterns of their own. Then suddenly the night was ﬁlled with soft ringing. I looked down at the lantern in my hand, blowing out a puff of condensed air before holding up and letting it go. Dad picked me up in my amazement and I got a better view of the night sky dotted with bright paper lanterns, the sound of soft bells chiming in the background.
I turned my attention from the sky to the masked woman. Hakanai. She was in ANBU gear. My smile died in my lips, the high crashed and I snapped back to reality. Dad put me down and took a step-in front of me protectively when I realised my grip in his kimono had been tight and my hand was trembling. He must have noticed.
"You have been summoned. Follow me."
"It's ok tousan," I said quickly stepping forward. "I'll be back home by tomorrow."
And with one last glance at the lantern ﬁlled sky, and the frown on dad's face, which I put there, I turned back to the darkness and followed Hakanai. If I heard Yua call out my name in worry, I didn't choose to acknowledge it.
ROOT gear was uncomfortable and weird. Why anyone thought a sleeveless mid rift was a good idea for a uniform was beyond me. Not to mention the all black and grey ANBU like gear made me feel like Kakashi. I kept my thoughts on the organisations terrible fashion statement to keep me occupied and calm.
"This is a ROOT issued tanto. You will be taught how to use this by me for your induction. Follow me."
I took the sword and schooled my face. I wished I had a stupid mask on to hide my expressions, but it seemed that they wanted me to bear some emotion. I walked into a room and was surprised to see several other children all ranging from around 5-9 years old from appearance. They all kept deathly still and despite the stiff body language the expressions on their faces said differently, all of them looked tired and scared. I fell in line next to them.
Hakanai took a back step and then a masked man took her place in the middle of the room, those black eyes from the mask scanning over us without a hint of emotion. Steel, he smelt like steel and blood. I could smell the different, human scents from the children, and used it as a reminder that there was a fucking human behind that mask and not a walking talking kunai.
"Zen, step forward!"
The boy known as Zen stepped forward worriedly.
The instructor got into a taijutsu stance I hadn't seen before. The boy stumbled into his own form, holding out his tanto with shaky hands. Before he could do anything the man harshly punched him to the ground.
The boy started crying, breathing heavily as he held his chest. I felt myself stiffen. Dammit the kid was just about six or seven. He was no insane prodigy or a reincarnated adult like me... this was too harsh.
"Stand or die!"
The boy scrambled to his feet and then the man attacked again. The process seemed to happen again and again until the boy could not physically move. That's when Hakanai stepped forward and dragged the crying bloodied boy to the wall. Then the instructor stepped up and Hakanai took his place.
Then the next child stepped forward, trembling, and frightened with wide eyes. I watched as he was beaten too. Each one of them were told to stand again and again until they could do more, and they were left with broken bones and bruised lips. I watched as some children did not ﬁght back at all and while others tried to throw measly punches. Their forms were terrible, like no one had bothered to train them... but this wasn't training, was it? It clicked in that moment that this wasn't training, this was indoctrination. The children who fought back had not had their bones cracked, the ones who cried and gave up were beaten to a pulp. This wasn't training, this was a lesson taught by blood and pain.
I didn't pull out my tanto. I left it by the area I was standing before. I didn't know how to use it and therefore it would have been more a hindrance than help. Instead I stood low in my circle walk stance. I refused to let these agents best me without a ﬁght.
The ﬁght began. I barely dodged a blow to my head, using my hands to block before I grabbed the arm and used it to pull myself in for a kill strike to the throat. Before I could hit, the woman's palm blocked my attack and spun it back at me. I let out a startled cry when I felt my nose break under the blow. I bit back tears as I jumped away and wiped the blood on my forearm. Hakanai came at me with more speed this time, as if she were simply holding back before. A swift kick to the back of my knee took me down and then an elbow to my head rattled my thoughts.
I struggled to think for a second beyond the sudden shaking of the world around me. I heard a command, but it was muﬄed. I blinked my eyes in confusion only to be punched again. The ringing in my head somewhat subsided.
I scrambled to my feet again, getting my teeth in frustration as my muscles protested. I was knocked down again. I thought I would be different, that somehow the skills I managed to attain in such a short time would set me apart from the other kids. It didn't. I received the same unforgiving blows until I too could not physically stand up anymore. I refused to do one thing though. I refused to cry. I wasn't going to ever show weakness here, especially not in front of these sickos.
"Move her with the others and get the medic."
Hakanai nodded at the command of her nameless superior and promptly left the room. I groaned in pain with the rest of the children, but I didn't cry. I bit down the pain and stayed as silent and as still as I could, cursing the injustice of it all. This was cruel and trauma inducing. A part of my brain not focused on the pain, joking at the fact that I'd need a real therapist once this was all done and over. The children though... I didn't want to think of that. I had an adult mind, I was a rational and resistant person, but these kids... well they were just kids. They didn't deserve to go through something like this.
I'd never wanted to kill someone so much before in my life. If I got Danzo in my hands I would make him suffer. Until then I'd suffer silently, and get stronger, strong enough to never have to take shit like this from anyone ever again.
Soon enough the Iryo-nin came and they got about healing all the children. The ones with the broken bones screamed in absolute agony and I winced in sympathy, remembering my broken rib experience from my first mission. It didn't seem like ROOT were the kind of people who bothered administrating anaesthetic either. I shut my eyes and tried not to think about the screams, and then eventually it was my turn. I bit down on my lip as the medic went about ﬁxing up my multiple injuries, some of which I couldn't quite name. They were good though; I could feel my body mending itself back together. I kind of wish it didn't— that way I could go home bruised and broken and Gaku-sensei would instantly realise something was wrong. No, life just couldn't be easy for once could it?
"Stand back in line!"
The kids all sniﬄed and sobbed as they shakily stood back to their feet. Some of them were knocked out on the ground so they just lay there. I didn't expect the instructor to walk up to the child and kick him. The boy let out a whimper, blinking awake as his small body shivered. He coughed and then began vomiting a mix of stomach acids and blood. He moved to kick the boy again and I jumped forward, arm outstretched. I didn't know what I was doing, what I even expected to accomplish, but I wanted the man to stop. I was knocked down to the ground by one of the Iryo-nin that had come in before. The in structure turned his body to me.
"Stand back in line," he said, voice devoid of any inﬂiction, but somehow threatening painful punishment.
I grit my teeth together before bowing my head in defeat and doing as I was told. The man turned to the group again, trailing his eyes on each child with only the backdrop of painful silence.
"You will be assigned a partner during your induction period."
Then he proceeded to call out names, which I assumed were fake names rather than the children's real names because it took them a little while longer than most to respond to it.
I stepped forward and so did another boy. We walked of to the side and I gave him a glance. He was shaking, barely standing at all. I didn't get a good look at his face, just noted that his hair was a dark black almost blue and that he was slightly taller than me. He turned to face me, and I froze.
I blinked. No, it wasn't Josh. This boy was not my cousin, not the cousin I felt pain every time I remembered his name. I was in the Elemental Nations, not Earth. I hesitantly made my way to him and then once everyone's names were called out, we were abruptly left in the room together. I spared the boy a glance before wondering why exactly we were assigned a partner. I vaguely remembered something about it from the anime... but I couldn't quite remember. All I knew was that Sai had a dead brother— which made this whole partnership scream oncoming trouble.
"Yo," I said, trying to be nonchalant.
He just gave me a rather baﬄed look at that, wringing his ﬁngers together and occasionally wiping the tears from his navy-blue eyes now red rimmed. I wondered if I should comfort him. I was tired though. My body was not used to being awake for so long, especially since I was 6 and required far more sleep these days, so I just decided to sit down. He followed me and sat next to me.
"My real name is Hina," I said, resting my chin on my knees.
"I-I don't... My name has always been Kusari," he whispered back unsurely.
I looked at him again. His body looked malnourished and his voice was oddly accented. Did he grow up here...? I felt a rising anger at Danzo. This was fucking sick and cruel. I wasn't the most moral person, but this was insane. He was treating children like things to use and throw away, things to break and mould rather than the individuals they were. He was preying on the weakest and most vulnerable and worst of all he had fucked with me.
"Well Kusa-kun, we are going to be friends... but only after I sleep," I amended.
"That's right. People who look out for each other. You're lucky because as it turns out I'm going to make sure we come out of this ok," I said determinedly.
Danzo was going to rue the day he decided to fuck with me. I didn't care who I needed to get the power from, but if it meant I got to shove a spear up his wrinkly old arse and leaving him impaled out in the Suna desert like he deserved, I would sell my own goddamn soul. I looked at Kusari, the boy who looked so much like my old cousin and my heart ached. This time— this time it was my turn to save him.
I closed my eyes and blanked out.
My hands were chubby and small, but not Hina's hands. No, these hands belonged to one Joanne Linus, a girl who would eventually choke and die on a vegetable. A pointless, absolutely random, and entirely embarrassing death. This was Joanne when she was but a 12-year-old. She was obese and lazy and altogether a rather useless child much to her parents' chagrin. She wasn't going to be an only child for long though, not when her cousin Josh got adopted into the family. He was good looking, fit and really smart. He could play the piano like Beethoven, and paint like Bob Ross. He was unfairly perfect.
Joanne had hated him, hated that he was the cool tragic kid that lost his parents and then proceeded to become the favourite in her house. She hated how he outshone her in every way, and suddenly how people compared her to him in absolutely everything. Once she was just Joanne. No expectations and no real pressure. Sure she wasn't pretty, or smart, or particularly talented in anything, but she could watch cartoons in peace and enjoy her life alone and isolated like she wanted.
Josh didn't let her do any of that.
He came into her life like a whirlwind, throwing her entirely off schedule. Now when she woke up, she woke up in the same room as her stupidly perfect cousin, and when she went to school, he was right by her, smiling brightly like a happy idiot. She couldn't understand why. Why pretend to be happy when she knew he clearly had nightmares every night.
"Want to play hopscotch?" he asked, holding out a piece of chalk.
"No! Go away. Can't you see I'm reading," Joanne replied completely annoyed.
"Aww, but you're always reading. Come on out, the day's pretty bright," Josh urged.
Joanne shut her book rather loudly that day. It felt like all her frustration had bubbled up to the point of tipping over. It was a years' worth of his constant blinding presence that made her feel so suffocated.
Was I always this ugly?
"No! Go away! Why do you always bother me so much?! Gosh, just because everyone else pities you because mommy and daddy's dead, doesn't mean I do! Why don't you go leech of another family huh?!"
Stop. Don't say that.
His blue eyes darkened a little, losing that spark for a moment, and his expression withdrew into something that spoke of pain. Joanne bit her lip and sunk back a little. That was— that was cruel of her. She expected him to scream at her, to go off in a rage and give her a put down she deserved, but that forced smile came back on his face.
"I'm sorry for bothering you," he said softly.
The anger bubbled inside of her again. Something about the boy made her want to be cruel, made her want to hurt him.
"Why do you always got to be such a stupid pushover?! You should yell at me, not apologise! Goddammit, you're so weird! I fucking hate you!"
She threw the book rather harshly at him before rushing out of the room. That's when I realised this was a dream. I blinked and looked down. My hands were... white, not my old light brown, and I was watching like a ghost. I wanted this to stop. I didn't want to remember this day because I knew deep down that I was living a terrible memory. I watched Josh run after me, and I wish he hadn't. I wish he hadn't because I wasn't worth it, not like he was.
He chased me down the street and I screamed at him to leave me alone. I was unﬁt and just going down the stairs made me tired. I remembered being so ashamed of myself because I was that one fat kid, the one who wasn't just fat but absolutely useless at everything too. I had no redeeming quality, not even my own character to show for a lack of talent and looks. I remembered hating him so much because he was everything I wanted to be but couldn't. Then I remembered him pushing me out of the way of a car. I had stormed down the street in a blind rage and he had given his life for me... for a stupid lazy kid who was absolutely worthless.
Almost like a knife had been stabbed straight into my heart, I watched as his small, barely teenage body flung across the street, and blood pooled out his cracked skull.
"Please wake up," I cried, holding my head in agony.
I hated this memory. I hated it and tried never to remember it, but my whole life had been my atonement for this one sin. Even when all my memories were fuzzy, when I didn't even remember Josh had died, I still did what I did because of him. He didn't give up his life for someone useless... he didn't waste what he did. I refused to let that be the case.
"You know what it means to be partnered up with Kusari. You're just not admitting it."
I whipped around to see myself, my 35-year-old self, tall beautiful and wearing my favourite old ﬂannel dress. I almost forgot what I looked like back then. I turned back to the scene of his death.
"These dreams are fucked. What next? The grounds going to bleed blood and I'll choke on that too?" I asked with a shaky laugh.
"Don't change the subject Hina. Don't delude yourself."
"You are," Joanne snapped with a scowl. "You're hiding behind that infamous snark of yours, pushing every slightly uncomfortable emotion you can down your bloody gullet and pretending like you're some logical driven soul. Well guess what, you aren't, and right now you're ignoring the truth that's right in front of you. Look at him! Look at what he did for us. Are you going to let that go to waste?"
"I never did," I hissed back, eyes narrowing furiously. "We studied from the crack of dawn and spent years doing back breaking work to atone for being the one he saved. We made sure that we weren't worthless..."
My older form laughed, a bleak harrowing laugh that reminded me of the darkness that lurked somewhere behind my calm, joking façade. Her suddenly very unearthly yellow eyes dropped down to my clear green, and her smile died unnaturally quickly. A look of pure disgust took her face.
"That's all selﬁshness speaking. You only worked hard to ease your own conscience for what happened that day, and you died because you stopped working when you settled down with Catherine. We never deserved to be happy. Now we're going to pay for it, truly pay for the sacriﬁce he made for us. You know what to do, you're just ignoring it. Now tell me Hina, why do you think you're partnered up with Kusari?"
I paused and bit my lip. I shook my head. No. No, I didn't want to—
"—You will. Now tell me why."
"...because they'll ask us to kill each other," I whispered.
"That's right, and who are we going to make sure dies?"
She nodded, now honey brown eyes narrowing at the scene where our younger self was kneeling by the body of our cousin. It was ﬁnally coming back to me, the years of living life was ﬁnally coming back to me. Suddenly I had a reason for reincarnating. I hadn't atoned, I hadn't atoned at all for what I did that day and now life was giving me the chance.
"If the time comes, if you haven't saved him, you will not ﬁght back. You will lay down your sword and let him kill you.
"I don't want to die to Danzo," I said weakly.
"You don't have to. Kill him before it comes to it, but don't ever let someone sacrifice themself for us again."
"I won't let him win," I said determinedly. I wouldn't let Danzo do this to Kusari, and I wouldn't let him touch a hand on the people I cared about. He hadn't scared me. All he had accomplished was to piss me off.
Kusari was my duty now. I knew it was selfish of me, to find atonement in a boy that looked like Josh, but I didn't know what would happen if I failed again, and I didn't want to find out.
Ok so I talked to a few friends and they all agreed that I should just continue as is. I did consider posting the whole ROOT arc at once, but then I remembered it wasn't a good idea. It's not a linear arc by any means. In fact, it's at the forefront for 3-5 chapters, and then gets pushed to the side lines for a bit before it comes back as the main focus later. It's kind of an on and off thing. Essentially it won't just be ROOT constantly for 10 chapters. Because of her unique circumstances Hina will have a life outside of ROOT training, and she does eventually manage to find a very roundabout, questionable way of getting Danzo off her ass (mostly).
Also that's about all the secret previous life backstory there is to her character. Josh was mentioned before in her first dream, if you remember, so I didn't just pull him out of my ass XD. I hope this helps put into perspective why she's always been a workaholic. Survivors guilt can do shit to you :') This is like Hina's pre-character development ᕕ(ᐛ)ᕗ What she went through as a kid to get to who she is now. Honestly, this was just my backstory minus the death. Legit the most self-insert Hina ever gets because I certainly don't have a hot wife named Catherine… although that would be awesome!
Thanks to everyone who reviewed and gave me their support/criticism. (◍•ᴗ•◍)❤ I'm honestly stumped by all the reviews. I normally only get like 5-10 per chapter, and then suddenly it was like BAM 45 reviews! I'm genuinely floored. I don't think I can reply to all of them in this author's note. I don't want to bog down this section with 40 + responses so I pm'd everyone! I hope this author's note basically cleared up everything. Thanks for reading guys!
Anyways, check out the art I did for Hina and Gaku at Instagram under the artist jaz_hop!