Reader-response questions if anyone feels like answering 'em?
I've discovered one of the significant problems with writing a Naruto fanfiction in which Naruto is not the point-of-view character. Namely, Naruto ALWAYS makes things happen. Even when he's offstage. ^^;;; So I couldn't ignore the kitchen the way Kakashi and Iruka would, and I know how the conversation between Naruto and Sasuke went while they were in there -- but I can't write it, because the story is 90% from Iruka's point of view and 10% from Kakashi's (and only when Iruka's not around to be point of view). Anyway.
Note that I'm not committing to changing anything based on responses; I just want to know how people read it, so I can make an informed decision on whether or not the story's doing what I want it to do...
Is it clear enough to the reader what Kakashi was talking about?
Is it just as reasonable that, coming out of that background, Iruka DOESN'T know what Kakashi was talking about?
Did anybody notice that the rings don't actually belong to Kakashi's parents?
I was debating having Kakashi mention that fact -- that they weren't his parents' rings -- just before the wall exploded, except that then Iruka might well have snapped and had to spend the rest of the story in a mental asylum. He's already spent half the night trying not to have a nervous breakdown about whether or not he can responsibly continue to live with the man who took underage kids out to get drunk and thought it was a good idea, he hasn't slept well, he's still recuperating from the shock of Kakashi in Martha Stewart mode -- and Kakashi in Martha Stewart mode facing off with a horde of irate parents with intimate personal questions -- and then the kids tearing holes in the school building because Kakashi left them in too small a cage for a few minutes too long. Finding out even the starter hint that Kakashi had been unsuccessfully trying to propose to him for months (which was why he was carrying around a box with unscratched, unworn rings in it for that long) would probably have snapped what was left of his brain. I think he deserves some down time at the onsen, even if it's going to be uncomfortably full of girl talk, before that gets dropped on his head too. But since I didn't spell any of it out, I don't know if the readers are going to go right on past it the same way Iruka did... opinions?
Things were going much faster in real-time than in story-time because of how many conversations were having to overlap at once. Here's an approximate outline:
Knocking on door
Iruka goes to answer the door
Invasion of the irate parents
Kakashi locks the kids in the kitchen and asks what's going on
Living room: argument
(Kitchen: kids hearing argument and getting agitated (not helped by Naruto and Sakura's hangovers and the emergence of Inner Sakura as a result))
Living room: Kakashi lays down the smack
(Kitchen: Naruto and Sasuke start trying to bash each other's heads in with cereal bowls (I wish I could've written this!))
Living room: Sending out the stragglers and Kakashi loosening his grip on the chakra he'd called up because anybody attacking Iruka, even verbally, kicks his combat reflexes into high gear
(Kitchen: The boys pick up on that surge of chakra and flip out, and Sakura starts trying to convince Naruto that Rasengan-ing the kitchen door down is NOT the solution to the problem)
Living room: Iruka and Kakashi having two somewhat different conversations at each other at once -- Iruka thinking his "too late" crisis is being precipitated by not having shut up the guy who was insulting him, Kakashi thinking his "too late" string of bad luck is possibly going to keep him from ever being able to propose -- first there was the eggs attempt (foiled by the kitchen explosion), then there was the by the lake attempt (foiled by Naruto), then when he was going to try again after the kids went to sleep he discovered that Iruka was pissed enough to want blood, which wasn't exactly a great mood setter, and neither was being accused of immorality by a pack of parents, which was why he wanted to make it official so that nobody could accuse Iruka of that again, except that that wasn't the ONLY reason, but he thought Iruka might think that it was, so he can't decide if it's the best or the worst possible time to propose, but in any case the decision gets taken out of his hands by...
Kitchen becoming living room: Hung-over Naruto aims a Rasengan for the kitchen door, pissed-off Sasuke tries to block with Chidori, the interaction mainly skews their collective aim off on a tangent through half the wall, and Sakura washes her hands of both of 'em
...and I was having to do most of that through the point of view of somebody who couldn't know three quarters of what was happening in the others' world views! Sometimes I really wish I could do screenplay format without getting busted by FF.net, because then you can set the camera wherever it needs to go... sigh...
Anyway, it feels like it's really densely written, but it also feels like I can't slow it down any more than it has been because the action has to take place rapid-fire... opinions?
ETA: Questions four and five mostly seem to be me tiredly rambling about "should I or shouldn't I have Kakashi explicity drop another bomb on him" and "does it read OK even without having details on what's going on in the kitchen". ^^;;; Sorry about that, shouldn't be trying to write anything coherent when this sleepy!
Other random question: I tried to remember to swap in "spa" for "ryoukan" (even though it's not a direct correlation and a ryoukan is more like a traditional-Japanese-style bed-and-breakfast/hotel) and "hot springs" for "onsen" (which I think I did better with), in the interests of trying to avoid throwing in Japanese that isn't name-essential suffixes. Did anyone (a) notice or (b) care if I slipped and put the Japanese terms in?