It should feel wrong or, at the very least, strange to fight with Shikako Nara–not against her, but together, back to back. Netsui is a proud Kumo shinobi, she should not be able to fall into a battle rhythm so easily with someone who completely embodies the Leaf.
But they have a common enemy for now, and there’s no way she’s going to embarrass herself again in front of this particular Leaf kunoichi.
When news of a wedding–an actual confirmed wedding, and not just the endless rumors that plague the gossip mill–reaches Netsui she very carefully does not react.
Even if she had wanted something, she never really stood a chance. It’s better to shove those feelings beneath thoughts of honor and becoming stronger; better not to want anything at all.
There are very few Amestrian State Alchemists with Xingese heritage, and fewer still that can do both alchemy and alkahestry without any transmutation circles. In fact, there is only one.
So Netsui is confident, as she swings her sword, that she has chosen her target correctly.
Netsui is one of the proctors for the Chuunin Exam so, given how her luck works, she shouldn’t be surprised that the Nara is here with a batch of genin brats in tow.
They’re decent, she supposes, understandable given who their jounin-sensei is, but they could be better.
Which does nothing to explain why Netsui corrects one of the brat’s grip on his sword, or the way her face flushes when the Nara smiles in thanks.
If someone had told Netsui that she’d one day be drinking buddies with Sasuke Uchiha she wouldn’t have even laughed–she probably would have stabbed the person for disparaging her character like that–as it is, they would have been right.
“And her hair is so,” Sasuke mumbles with the usual tone of drunken despair, “it’s so shiny and soft. So pretty,” he hiccups.
Netsui, comfortably drunk herself, can only nod in wishful, commiserating agreement.
She doesn’t mean to stumble upon the scene, but Netsui is the only witness as Shikako Nara executes the camp’s missing prisoner.
“How is this any different from Edo Tensei?” she asks, after watching the prisoner’s corpse disappear into a shadowy maw.
The creature that wears Shikako’s face just smiles.
“This is n-not the f-first time I’ve b-been stabbed in the b-back, lit-literally even” Nara struggles to say, unsurprisingly, given the sword likely puncturing one lung.
“Shut up,” Netsui responds, but her hands are gentle as she lowers the other kunoichi down, wrapping bandages to apply pressure on the wound.
Then she draws her own sword; Netsui may not be able to fix everything, but she can at least solve one of their problems: the enemy is unarmed–literally and figuratively.
There is peace between nations, and Karui is engaged to marry Akimichi, so it’s not like what Netsui is about to do is unprecedented. She’s still damn nervous, though.
“Nara,” she says, then corrects herself, “Shikako… would you like to have dinner with me tonight?”
Dinner was a disaster. Netsui spent the entire time cringing at her own awkwardness, at the way Shikako tried to fill in the silence with strained conversation.
Dessert goes much better.
A/N: I’m gonna hand wave some stuff here–like, how exactly certain situations come about… and why Sasuke would befriend a Kumo kunoichi and enough to share his one-sided feelings for Shikako–because even if these things are terribly grammatically incorrect, they are only nominally three sentences.
So this is for anon’s prompt for some (one-sided) Netsui/Shikako. And I did say I wasn’t sure which direction I should go… which is why I chose all of them. ALL THE DIRECTIONS.
But seriously, hope ya’ll enjoy. 🙂
edit: now on ao3 as part of the Dreaming One Shots collection here