(four: she who makes the crown)
She smiles. “It’s called Konohagakure,” she says, shifting her arms to show off the metal plate sewn onto her sleeve, a leaf engraved in its center.
His brother’s dream comes true…
Apparently, Tobirama has work to do.
He doesn’t do it alone.
It’s a different world, this time period (she would know, after all.) There’s a sense of division that she’s unused to. Konoha as she’s grown up in has always encouraged teamwork: the many and diverse banding together to make a stronger force.
She explains it to Tobirama who doesn’t look so much scornful as he does honestly baffled. Subtly, of course–he’s not one for overactive facial expressions–but she is Shikamaru’s sister, was on a team with Sasuke and Kakashi-sensei. She’s a lot better at reading emotions than she used to be.
The Akimichi-Nara-Yamanaka alliance, though, has always been older than Konoha and this at least Tobirama understands. Can see why a Nara girl would feel a certain way about complementary skills building up to a greater whole.
But it’s one thing to see centuries of servitude turned fealty turned alliance, it’s another for clans actively at war to put down their weapons and live together in peace.
One day, she promises him, one day it will happen. After all, she’s living proof of it.
Shikako never does meet Hashirama–an active decision on her part. The dance between him and Madara not something she wants to interrupt (corrupt).
But she does meet Mito–and that’s a lot more fun, she thinks. Maybe it’s an Uzumaki trait, or maybe it’s just coincidence, but Mito is friendly, gregarious, and ridiculously powerful.
She also admires Shikako’s tattoos the same way Ino would particularly beautiful kimono.
“And this one?” Mito asks, a finger tracing down Shikako’s arm. Tobirama has been listening with exasperation to Mito’s squeals of delight–as if he hadn’t been equally curious about her seals when they first met, too.
“Resistance seals,” Shikako answers, pulling her sleeves up higher to show the rest of the sequence, “Better than weights and easier to use.”
Mito nods, analyzing the arrangement eagerly, and Shikako smiles when Tobirama gets drawn into the discussion.
There’s something about them. They may not be Hashirama and Madara (Naruto and Sasuke) but they are heroes in their own right.
Team Tobirama is, frankly, bizarre for her to interact with. Mostly because she actually remembers meeting most of them when they’re well into their years. The Hokage, Konoha Councilors; even Torifu she met before at Chouji’s birthday parties–a well-liked Akimichi elder with a tolerant fondness for quiet Nara children.
These kids her age are nothing like the septuagenarians she remembers.
Especially not Danzo who looks nothing like the bitter sociopath Shikako knows he will become.
There are some things she tells Tobirama–she’ll give him clues about jutsu and techniques, show him a completed Sword of the Thunder God, even offer tidbits about her friends and their village–but even more she keeps secret. This is one of those things.
But she makes sure to guide him in the right direction. The right successor.
Tobirama gets to live to see his grand-niece, a loud and happy girl who the village calls princess.
Shikako tries not to laugh.
Being intimidated by the Godaime Hokage Tsunade-sama–one of the Sannin, legendary shinobi, miraculous healer–is one thing. Being intimidated by Tsuna-chan who loves candy and playing games is another.
She tries to keep the two separate in her head, honestly, but it’s hard when little Tsuna-chan is especially fond of extracting sweets out her grand-uncle’s team by any means necessary. As ruthless and imperious as the woman Shikako knows will rule the village well.
Until then, she makes sure to keep a stock of Tsuna-chan’s favorite candy in Hammerspace–maybe Tsunade-sama won’t remember this, but better safe than sorry.
Tobirama’s life plays before her in fits and bursts, like a glitchy recording playing only parts of a song. She appears sometimes, but not always, remains the same age during each summoning as if no time passes for her at all.
But that’s not true.
It’s been a long time since she’s been home–her Konoha with her people.
The villagers of now are growing suspicious and it doesn’t matter that the ones closest to her are highest up in the hierarchy of Konoha–or perhaps that makes it worse.
She is only ever seen around the Nidaime Hokage or his heirs apparent. How long has she been manipulating the heart of the village? How long has she been pulling the strings?
A seemingly immortal girl who the Nara do not know, who has made changes to a destiny they will never even see.
“Don’t mind them,” Tobirama says once, a large hand landing gently on her shoulder for the briefest of moments. She remembers when he first summoned her–he had been shorter than her, smaller and younger–still as reluctant to initiate physical contact. “You have done more for this village than any of them, and one day they will know it.”
She doesn’t scoff, doesn’t pull away, but she doesn’t quite believe him either.
This is a different world, after all, and it’s been a long time since she’s been home.
Tobirama does not die fighting Cloud nin, but all men must die eventually.
As he breathes his last breath, she tells him one last time, “You always were my favorite Hokage.”
He smiles, and she smiles back. He closes his eyes, she closes hers.
Neither of them see the next day’s sunrise.
Shikako opens her eyes to an unimpressed Senju Hokage and tries not to laugh, images of Tsuna-chan warring with Tsunade-sama.
“I can no longer be bribed with candy,” the Godaime Hokage says, almost solemnly.
Shikako fails, laughs, and gives herself a coughing fit. If there are tears, well, that’s perfectly understandable.
“You’ve been missed, Shikako-nee,” says the little girl who trailed after Team Tobirama. A brief and gentle pat to the shoulder, before she leaves, letting the other medics handle the ICU’s most frequent patient.
Visitors are allowed in not long after, her friends and family–her Konoha with her people. For all that she’s been missing home, when the room empties, she finds herself thinking of that different world she left behind. Like Dorothy coming back to Kansas, dreaming of technicolor Oz.
One day they will know, Tobirama had said, had promised.
It’ll be decades before she understands what he meant, looking out at the village they helped build together while his grand-niece gives her the Hokage’s hat.
A/N: I probably didn’t convey quite the feelings I wanted to, but I hope it’s still enjoyable. A bit of a mini-crossover: a Hail To The Queen installment in the Semi-Phenomenal, Nearly Cosmic universe.
I still don’t quite know what’s going on, actually, or why Shikako’s stuck but I thought it’d be interesting if Tobirama sort of gives her a gift decades into the future. And by gift, I mean names her successor to the hat.