I don’t know if it’s my brain enjoying making connections, me having so many different AUs, or me being lazy, but I’m getting a sort of Dreaming of S(hade) vibe from the post. But, like, specifically the situation, not the ‘verse.
So, to be clear, it’d be about a Shikako who, while in a desperate battle, tries to use the night itself as a shadow (being the opposite side of the planet as the sun) and disperses herself into the void. Like with going into the black but on such a massive scale that, for the most part, very few people expect her to be able to come back.
Shikamaru is one of those people.
Shikamaru will damn well make sure she comes back even if he has to fight a hundred gods to do this.
So instead of letting her recover slowly in Suna, as in Dreaming of S(hade), Shikamaru goes on a quest to find a cure for her. Or, well, I guess they’re not exactly incompatible? He could make sure she’s settled in Suna before going off on his quest.
Which turns the dynamic around. Because we know they’re protective of each other, and we know Shikamaru would throw down with anyone that looked at her the wrong way, but Shikamaru is very… sedentary. He’s very earthbound and dedicated to the clan, the village. Shikako isn’t the crowned heir–she learns some things, yes, but she’s not the one who had to say the oath–so she has the luxury to travel as she does and follow her own pursuits.
So what if it’s Shikamaru who has to travel? What if he’s the one who has to put his intellect to work not in logistics and leadership as he’s been trained, but in sleuthing and translating and cobbling together snippets of a long ago technique that might just be able to help his sister?
Or, consider, it doesn’t even need to be specifically a B-side to Dreaming of S(hade) it could be a canon divergence fic. Post Land of Hot Springs, Shikako in all but a coma, lost to the world. Her family’s greatest fears come to pass–she doesn’t wake up, doesn’t snap out of it. Nothing Kasuga can think of works, the Sharingan (Sasuke’s and Kakashi’s both) can’t get through her defenses, whatever buzz word Sai used to get her out of the hospital doesn’t work (or, rather, Danzo doesn’t try to kidnap her so Sai doesn’t sneak in and smuggle her out of the hospital), and so she’s just lost.
Now–during the war, with their father on the front lines and Shikamaru needed at home as acting head–nothing can be done. But afterwards? Well. When Shikaku gets back, he’d be hard pressed to keep his heir in Konoha. And, in part, would he want to? He knows tradition would say to keep his heir safe–make sure the succession is unbroken–but when has he ever adhered to tradition?
So it is sort of a coming of age story for Shikamaru as he travels to find a cure for his sister and figures out who he is outside of Nara, outside of Konoha.
Which is, frankly bizarre to read now that I’ve typed it. Because… like… who even IS Shikamaru outside of Nara and Konoha?
The reason why I did bring up Dreaming of S(hade) first, instead of doing the post Land of Hot Springs!canon divergence, was because if Shikako is dispersed into the night (as the literal shadow of the world) then there could be some scenes from Shikako’s POV? Or he sort of interacts with her at night? Something that isn’t so turtled into herself that no one can reach.
I suppose it’s not so much about depression as you’d asked for, anon…