I really love them just BroTP’ing it up, but since everything ends in shipping… what’s your opinion on Shikako/Kankurou?

(Sorry this took so long, anon, I saw your ask and then spent the entire day at work pondering it and now there’s a huge rant so… enjoy?)

I’m most fond of them BroTP’ing it up as well, anon. Their dynamic is very… hm… buddy cop? Well, no, it’s more like…

I don’t know, anon. Whatever their dynamic is I love it as is, and while I prefer platonic friendship to romance I guess the thought experiment of a ship would be interesting to do, so let’s go?

Shikako/Kankurou as a ship outside of setting or potential fic brainstorming, I think…

For some reason my thought process goes like:

Wouldn’t a Shikako/Kankurou ship just be like the Shikako/Kiba ship (pre-Land of the Moon arc)?

NO!

Why not?

Well…

On the surface, I suppose the Shikako and Kankurou dynamic and the Shikako and Kiba dynamic do look pretty similar. There’s witty banter and respectful acknowledgement of badassery tempered with mutual teasing… but it’s the difference between someone seeing a heretofore unseen side of a childhood friend versus learning a new acquaintance without any prior bias.

I feel like Land of the Moon and Lost Child arcs really convey this. Like, Kiba is not only surprised but almost perturbed by Shikako’s more recent actions. They legit have a philosophical discussion about what the right thing to do is and you can almost feel the way Kiba has to revise his opinions of Shikako. No longer is she the girl who was the tree for their school play, now she’s the girl who will single-handedly reverse a coup.

Whereas, if Kankurou were to witness the same thing he wouldn’t find it strange at all. That’s just part of who she is, as far as he’s concerned. If anything, that would add to what he knows about her, might even help explain some her idiosyncrasies. Like. All powerful shinobi have quirks and while no doubt Shikako tries to embody polite normal Konoha girl, I’m pretty sure everyone who talks to her more than once realizes how weird she is–and I say this in the kindest, fondest way possible–that girl is a weirdo.

Knowing what Shikako’s oh shit/fuck you button is is probably a huge relief to Kankurou because he knows it exists–she blew off a guy’s head!–and at least it’s something that he can avoid. Contrast with Kiba who, having grown up knowing her as Shikamaru’s shy sister, probably never even thought she’d have one.

Anyway. That’s my instinctive answer to that.

Thinking more on it, especially on Shikako’s end, I do think she appreciates that non-expectant aspect of their relationship. She doesn’t have to censor herself around Kankurou, weirdly enough. With fellow Konohans, they’ve known her forever; she’s always been around to help them and be a listening ear (it’s one of the many reasons she’s been so stressed lately) and it’s something she feels obligated to maintain.

Even with Gaara she feels obligated to generate an aura of compassion, as a sort of teach by example thing, while with Temari she thinks she needs to maintain that position of strength she established early on.

Kankurou? She can be snarky. She can have stage fright. When she tries to play the polite professional, he snorts and prods at her to just be herself. Yeah, he’ll challenge her to a theater battle, but he’ll be the first one to clap for her. Challenger and hype man both, constantly and simultaneously impressed and amused and I think there’s something comfortable yet exciting about a relationship like that.

Now as for how I would write a Shikako/Kankurou ship? Hm… in a canon DoS setting this would be another one of those that happens post canon events. There are only a few ships that I can see even possibly happening pre-canon (Gaara, Sasuke, Kiba, Ino) but even those would have to be carefully guided and cultivated toward that.

Erm, so yeah. Shikako/Kankurou would be post-canon events. It’d probably be… for some reason, my brain thinks it should NOT just be a tweaked version of Dreaming of S(omething). I think I’d want to do more of a… the semi-canon AU in which Shikako accidentally becomes a TV star

(… oh snap, is this what you were referring to when you meant The Arts, anon? My bad…)

Well, basically, it’s while she’s doing research on the ruins of the Gelel shrine except with less Indiana Jones style shenanigans? I just want it to be like she’s on a sabbatical in Sand and Kankurou is playing tour guide and he’s helping her through her PTSD and what-do-I-do-now-that-my-life-goal-to-survive-Akatsuki-has-been-completed quarter life crisis but he’s doing so either unintentionally or, more likely, purposefully but subtly.

They both kind of explore who they are outside of being shinobi–he’s a huge Theater Nerd and she’s a huge Regular Nerd and they tease each other for it but they also accept each other and it’s fun and relaxing. (I’m having feels over the idea of these teenaged walking weapons of mass destruction striving to be well adjusted human beings.)

In a more definitively AU setting?

… OH! A Parks & Rec AU where Konoha people are the Department of Parks and Recreation and Suna people are a different department in the same ambiguously massive city. Maybe they’re something like the Department of Cultural Affairs?

Anyway, that means Konoha are all still tree-huggers as per canon, and there’s a bit of competition between the two groups, but there’s also future collaborations (open air theaters anyone? The equivalent of Shakespeare in the Park?) And that means the other villages can also be mentioned and hated other departments. (WHICH VILLAGE IS THE DMV?)

Kakashi as Ron Swanson who doesn’t do any work because authority is there to laugh at not respect. Shikako as Leslie Knope who only sleeps three hours a day because she has SO MANY PROJECT IDEAS. Ino as Donna Meagle who runs a far more profitable real estate agency but still works in the department to hang out with her friends. Um, I can’t think of the others right now but it’s not like it has to be a one to one swapping crossover anyway.

At first their departments are antagonistic–fighting over budget, stealing each other’s supply of paper clips, the ongoing war to prank the other department which PISSES THE CUSTODIANS OFF SO MUCH. And then they begin to work together–tentative collaboration on cultural events held in parks, etc–and then that becomes alliance against the other departments, etc. etc.

I suppose this AU setting doesn’t necessarily need to be Shikako/Kankurou, but I do think that this AU would fit that particular ship quite well 😀

I once had this weird dream, where Shikako & Co. are on a haunted house mission. Turns out there’s an actual ghost taking people away into a parallel space, so Shikako starts panicking when she starts feeling chakra signatures just disappearing, one by one. Haha, I really can’t remember further than that, but I’d love to see if this can be extended?

A/N: I’m a bit late for your prompt, anon, because I considered it for few days and slept on it as well–which seemed to be in the spirit of it–and this is what my own weird dream shook out, so I hope you enjoy!

~

Shikako blinks. Dark then light.

Three kunai headed her way, she darts to the side.

Where is she? What’s happening?

More kunai follow. Trace the flight path. Keep moving.

Across the way is a smudge of color against the stark white room. Pink and brown and red. TenTen?

Ah, a spar, that makes sense.

She should pay attention.

TenTen isn’t saying anything, but that makes sense. Neither of them are particularly chatty.

She unfurls a scroll–a serious spar then.

“Earth Style: Earth Wall!” she calls out, chakra flaring, but nothing happens. The strange smooth floor is unchanged.

Where are they? Something is happening.

Shikako makes the sign for a timeout, but TenTen keeps going. She tries again with a forfeit sign, “Stop!”

That fails, too.

TenTen releases her armory, Shikako drops her resistance seals and runs.

Something is wrong.

They aren’t sparring, they’re fighting.

To the death, apparently.

Shikako wins. TenTen loses.

Which means TenTen dies.

Except.

Something is happening.

Shikako rushes over because, despite the fight, they are friends and she is so confused. In her arms, TenTen–still so strangely silent–begins to disintegrate.

“I didn’t mean to,” she says as particles of TenTen fade away into the expanse of the room, “I don’t understand.”

Before the body disappears completely, Shikako has one last thought:

Something is wrong.

Shikako blinks. Dark then light.

She’s on her knees in an impossible room, so empty and endless.

What was she doing?

There is a noise, like gears in a machine, and a doorway opens in front of her. Stairs.

There’s nothing for her here, and so she leaves.

Behind her, that same noise, the impossible room seals itself shut. Gone to the void like it never existed.

Upwards, onwards.

The stairs are smooth, white, surrounded by a void. They spiral up and up, unconnected steps of not stone and not metal.

A few more steps and the stairs just stop, nothing ahead but more darkness.

She extends a hand forward, meets resistance, and a noise like gears in a machine opens a doorway in front of her.

Another impossible room.

She looks back, there’s nothing there.

She goes in.

Shikako blinks. Dark then light.

Dodges out of the way of a chakra covered hand aimed at her heart.

“Neji?” She asks, startled, bewildered.

He doesn’t answer, but the silence makes sense. He isn’t particularly talkative.

But what is going on?

That was definitely a killing blow.

Of course he’d want to kill her, she thinks, she did just kill [||||||||||||||]

… what was she doing?

He makes another move–no doubt as lethal as the last–and somehow Shikako knows better than to try and reason with him.

Taijutsu is out of the question, she would surely lose (would surely die?) but she’s always been better at a distance.

This time (was there any other time?) Shikako watches silently as Neji dissipates. In comparison to the room, even his white clothes and pale skin stand out, the black of his hair a long tail of defiance.

Even then, the room wins out. And she watches in mute horror as he fades away.

Something is wrong.

She feels like she had that thought before.

Shikako blinks. Dark then light.

A noise. Then a doorway. Then a curving set of stairs.

Upwards, onwards. There is nothing for her here.

The stairs are continuous, spiraling for eternity. If she looks up, she can see the helix continue.

But if she looks ahead, there are only a few steps in front of her. A new one being added for each one she advances.

What a strange place. How did she get here?

The stairs come to a halt, impossibly, nothing in front of her.

And yet.

She reaches out. A noise. Then a doorway. Then an impossible room.

Shikako blinks. Dark then light.

She knows immediately that the creature in front of her is not Lee. Oh it looks like him, its green and orange outfit almost blinding in this stark emptiness, but it is not him.

Never mind that it is trying to kick her head off her shoulders, clearly trying to kill her. She knows this is not him because its face is blank and empty.

If this were a spar, Lee would be smiling. If this were a death match, he would be angry.

The real Lee would be furious at her for killing [|||||||] and [||||||||||||||]

… why does she think Lee should be angry at her?

No matter. This obviously isn’t Lee, which means that she has nothing stopping her from going all out.

It is faster than her, like the real Lee, but she has a few tricks up her sleeve still.

She doesn’t feel remorse as this not-Lee creature fades away. Particles and pigments disappearing as if it were never there.

If it were really him, then she would. She would be sick and horrified at herself.

But it is not him, she is sure of it.

Something is happening.

A certainty that has been building ever since she fought [||||||||||||||] and [|||||||], cemented further after her fight with [||||||]

… something is wrong.

Shikako blinks. Dark then light.

A doorway is open ahead of her, an impossible exit from an impossible space. Stairs leading upwards and onwards.

She stays put.

“I don’t understand,” she says, looking around, “This doesn’t make sense.”

Nothing changes.

“What’s happening?” she asks, instead.

Nothing changes.

Shikako blinks. Dark then light.

A doorway is open ahead of her, an impossible exit from an impossible place. Stairs leading upwards and onwards.

She leaves the room.

There is nothing here.

After an uncountable number of stairs, steps spiraling for an eternity upwards and yet never complete ahead of her, Shikako stops.

The steps appearing for every one she advances also stop.

“No,” she says.

“Something is wrong,” she says.

She stays put.

Shikako blinks. Dark then light.

She is on a set of stairs, smooth and pale and impossible like starlight. They spiral upwards and onwards in the void.

On the step in front of her is a little ink bird, black like defiance.

It hops about and flutters its wings but doesn’t make a noise.

She picks it up and sets it on her shoulder.

She begins climbing the stairs until she can no longer, the steps ending at an invisible wall.

She reaches out, meeting resistance, before a noise like gears in a machine sounds off.

A doorway opens.

Shikako walks through.

In this room empty of anything, with smooth floors that are not stone and stark walls she cannot perceive, only Shikako and the ink bird exist.

No matter how far she walks, there is no end. An impossible room.

Shikako blinks. Dark then light.

Immediately rolls out of the way of a swarm of tiny creatures.

The ink bird remains on her shoulder, but it tugs on her hair, impatiently. Frantic.

Scared?

Something is wrong.

Across the room is Shino. Or a creature that looks like Shino. It hasn’t moved and it hasn’t spoken and maybe that isn’t unlike the real Shino, but she learned her lesson with [||||||]

… the swarm attacks her again, and she backs away, confused.

The swarm of creatures, dark against the starkness of the room, somehow feel strange. Wrong.

They are not like her ink bird, a different sort of defiance. They are not like real kikaichu either.

These aren’t kikaichu and that isn’t Shino.

Which means she won’t feel guilty when she destroys them all.

The room is immaculate despite the battle.

The creatures that were not Shino and his kikaichu disappear, as if they never existed.

The ink bird on her shoulder remains. Now that she has the time and space to give it attention, it has stopped its antics.

Shikako blinks. Dark then light.

A black blur whizzes past her face. Reflexively, she ducks to the side, but nothing follows.

Bizarrely, it didn’t come from behind her, it came from her shoulder.

An ink bird flies ahead of her, a single point of defiance in this impossible room.

It flutters its wings and hops about, as if waiting, impatiently.

A noise. A doorway. Stairs.

The bird flies ahead, upwards and onwards.

Shikako follows.

Upwards and onwards, Shikako follows the bird. Against the void, it is difficult to see, but there is only one direction for it to go.

After an eternity it stops, landing on a step made of starlight. Waiting impatiently.

When she reaches the top step, it flutters to her shoulder.

Together they watch as a doorway appears.

Together they walk through.

Shikako blinks. Dark then light.

The chakra covered hand aimed at her heart almost seems familiar. As does the movement to get out of the way.

A creature that looks like Hinata stares at her blankly, before moving to attack once more.

If it were really Hinata, Shikako would hesitate.

If it were really Hinata, they wouldn’t be fighting.

The ink bird on her shoulder tugs at her hair.

But none of them (none of who?) were really themselves.

In comparison to [||||||]

… no matter.

This creature that is not Hinata is trying to kill her.

There is no hesitation.

It is not Hinata, but Shikako still looks away as it dies silently.

Something is wrong.

She does not feel horror, nor remorse, but there is still a sense of familiarity.

Of exhaustion.

Shikako blinks. Dark then light.

She cannot remember how long she has been in this room, but it feels like a very long time.

A noise. A doorway. Stairs.

The ink bird on her shoulder flies ahead and she follows.

There is nothing good for her here.

The stairs are a helix continuing upwards and onwards.

Even with the little ink bird, it feels as if she is alone. A small, insignificant existence against the impossibility of this place.

Void and starlight and a spiral to eternity.

Where is she? How did she get here?

Something is happening.

What is happening?

Something wrong.

At the last step, the ink bird stops and waits for her.

It hops and flutters and, when she catches up, flies to perch on her shoulder.

A noise. A doorway. An impossible room.

She doesn’t enter.

The ink bird tugs at her hair.

As she steps through, she thinks:

Haven’t I done this before?

Next (after what?) is Kiba. Or not-Kiba as the case may be.

“You’ve gotten shoddy,” Shikako says to the creature that is not Kiba, as it swipes a clawed hand at her face.

“Where is Akamaru?” she asks, dodging and weaving away.

The ink bird on her shoulder tugs at her hair. Impatient and frantic and not-scared.

Probably.

If it were scared, it would fly away, wouldn’t it?

“You’re not even trying!” Shikako shouts at it. Something is wrong.

“You don’t even know how an Inuzuka fights!”

Without their ninken, Inuzuka are half of themselves. It’s part of the reason why they can’t be ANBU, too loyal and honest to a fault.

The creature that is not Kiba stops.

So does she.

A noise, like gears in a machine, and a doorway opens behind it.

The ink bird leaves her shoulder and flies past the not-Kiba creature. It remains still.

Shikako circles around it, confused, but follows after the ink bird to the stairs.

As she begins to climb, she looks back.

The doorway is closing, but she can still see the not-Kiba creature standing perfectly still in that impossible room.

“That’s not how that usually goes,” she calls ahead to the ink bird.

It stops and lands on a step, waiting for her to catch up.

“The other fights. Before not-Kiba. The ones I had with [|||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||]

”… why did that happen? I remember Kiba. Because I didn’t kill the creature that looked like him?“

The ink bird hops and flutters.

“Why can’t you be more useful?” she shouts.

Shikako blinks. Dark then light.

She is on starlight stairs in an eternal void.

She is not alone.

“Sai?”

~

A/N2: This is longer than I thought it would be so here’s part one for now, and I should have part two up tomorrow.

But I suppose I ought to explain a little bit. I considered your prompt, anon, and I pondered the idea of the haunted house and I figured that DoS already covered it in a literal sense with the whole chameleon summons castle thing, and a more Scooby Doo interpretation with the Land of Birds. But I liked the idea of Shikako losing people and went a slightly more cerebral route a la Kingdom Hearts Chain of Memories.

In part because my brain went Shikako & Co. is Konoha Thirteen… Organization Thirteen? And then, hey wait, Sai was with her on both the chameleon castle mission and the Land of Birds mission. Does that make Sai Namine? Yes, yes it does.

Ask Box Three Sentence Fic, 11/? (2016-11-05)

image

(1 – anonymous – Shikako & Sasuke, police detectives!AU)

“Well,” Shikako muses drunkenly, leaning against Sasuke who sighs and resigns himself to being a wall, “I’m not much one for or enforcering order… enfordering… law stuff… but I do like solving mysteries.”

“No, Shikako, we’ve got that side covered, I’m just asking you to take a look at some seals that were on the scene,” Sasuke says, futilely.

“I’m gonna be a consoli-date, consulate… consulting detective!” she declares, before bursting into giggles.

image

(2 – anonymous – Shikako & Sai, canon!DoS, friendship moment)

“What is the purpose of these?” Sai asks, examining the bracelets closely, as if somehow the thread and beads will reveal hidden techniques or secrets.

“There’s no purpose,” Shikako answers, finishing up the green and black band before looping it around Sai’s wrist–he acquiesces, easily. “Well, except for signifying friendship.”

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(3 – anonymous – Konoha Thirteen, polyamorous housemates!AU)

“Have you seen my sword?”

Sasuke, in the midst of cooking breakfast–which, considering the number of people living in the house, is no small feat–groans as if he’s been stabbed in the gut, but manfully keeps silent otherwise.

Kiba and, somehow, Akamaru both look incredulously at Shikako from the kitchen table, “How do you just lose track of the legendary Sword of the Thunder God?”

image

(4 – anonymous – Team Eight’s thoughts on Shikako)

Little lioness
hiding her face, looks upon
the doe with esteem.

Beetle, all-seeing,
watches and waits for the
queen of the forest.

Fangs sharp, wits sharper,
dog and doe run together,
a pack mate with hooves.

image

(5 – anonymous – even more 6.1, Shikako/Haku, Project Runway!AU, flustered!Shikako)

She can barely believe she’s at Fashion Week, much less presenting a show of her own original designs, but she’s made it and she can feel her lungs deflating like a popped balloon.

Everything is going impossibly smoothly, models strutting down the catwalk, Haku flawless with the finale, and suddenly he’s backstage and pulling her forward toward the audience.

A microphone is suddenly in her hands, all cameras and eyes and lights on her, she can barely breathe; a baffled wheeze escapes her mouth–way to go, Shikako, so suave.

~

A/N: I don’t think all of the Konoha Thirteen would be in a single polyamorous living situation, because–as I went into in depth with the Walking Around ‘verse–not everyone is poly… but I did also bring up how Sasuke would prefer Shikako’s other relationships to be with anyone but Gaara so…

Also, Team Eight & Shikako haiku?

Post Word Count: 313, Running Word Count: 1756

Ask Box Three Sentence Fic, 6/? (2016-10-29)

(1 – anonymous – Shikako/Haku, Project Runway!AU)

“I could dress him in garbage,” Shikako groans from where she’s mashed her face onto the table, “and the judges wouldn’t even notice because he’s so damn beautiful.”

Kiba stares at her, unaware or uncaring of the bright fuchsia sparkles smeared across his face, “You have, actually, dressed him in trash; you won that week’s challenge.”

Shikako sighs wistfully, remembering the distressed vintage-inspired wedding gown she made out of discarded coffee cups: gods, Haku had looked so good in it, and he was so kind about her last minute meltdown when the zipper broke and she had to practically hot glue him into the gown–he’s so out of her league.

(2 – anonymous – Shikako/Deidara, fanboy-ing over Touch Blast)

Sasori glances at his partner: the irritation is normal, the embarrassment is familiar, but the bewilderment? That’s new.

“She touched my face,” Deidara sighs almost dreamily; the seal sequence is inert–Deidara is an S-rank demolitions expert, if he doesn’t want something to explode it won’t–but he’s kept the pattern on his face as if it were an autograph.

(3 – anonymous – Shikako/Gaara, youkai!AU… Inuyasha!AU?)

“Gaara,” she says as calmly as possible, though she can hear the wavering in her voice, “You need to give me the Gelel shard, please, I haven’t purified it yet.”

His green eyes, normally so kind, are clouded over, the markings on his face more vibrant and lethal.

The moon is full tonight.

(4 – anonymous – Shikako/Sasuke, Hades and Persephone!AU)

“He just needs a place to lay low for a bit,” says Naruto, god of tricksters, wind, and the only deity who regularly visits her home.

The Underworld isn’t exactly a welcoming place, but it is the last place people would think to look for the god of summer’s little brother, and she could do with some company.

If Shikako had known it would lead to a six month long literal cold war and a semipermanent roommate she wouldn’t have–well, no, she’s fond of Sasuke, the half year long siege was worth it.

(5 – anonymous – Walking Around ‘verse Team Seven, What Would Sakako Do?)

When Shikako was younger and needed guidance–needed to be wilder or braver or kinder–she would ask herself: What Would Naruto Do?

Over twenty years later, she’d be pleased to know, his son does the same with her daughter.

What Would Sakako Do?

~

A/N: Should I post these on ao3? And if so, as a separate work or as chapter(s) on Dreaming One Shots…

Ask Box Three Sentence Fic, 2/? (2016-10-24)

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(1 – anonymous – Naruto/Shikako, any soulmate!AU)

Not one day after the worst of Yoshino’s life–the Kyuubi rampaging through Konoha, the eerie silence of her daughter, sitting amongst the other evacuated citizens and praying for her husband’s safety–she gets another scare.

Her gasp is quiet, but her terrified flare of chakra is sharp, and Shikaku comes running to the nursery immediately.

On the changing table is their half-dressed daughter, belly bared, a swirling array of seals painted on her skin.

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(2 – anonymous – Shikako/Gaara, rockstar and muse!AU)

Where Temari shines bright and Kankurou builds rapport, magazines like to play up Gaara’s reputation instead, the brooding bad boy of the famous Sand Trio.

They don’t know that he’s the one that writes the songs, don’t know that the reason he’s so quiet is because the lyrics already speak for him, don’t know who it is that he’s speaking to.

He goes home to a sharp-eyed, snarky scientist who isn’t much one for the performing arts, but still inspires his music, anyway.

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(3 – anonymous – Team Seven, midnight grocery shopping)

Konoha is a ninja village, awake at all hours, and most businesses reflect that…

… but there is still something strange about standing in a grocery store in the wee hours of the morning, as if it were a liminal space on the edge of disappearing entirely.

“You’re not going to fit, dobe,” Sasuke says, interrupting Naruto from climbing into the basket beside an already back to sleep Shikako.

There’s an awkward moment where they run into Kakashi-sensei comparing eggplants, but the three of them eventually make it back to the apartment, snacks and instant ramen in hand.

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(4 – anonymous – Shikako/Kiba, Danzo paranoia)

She’s shaking apart, enemies hidden everywhere, traces of conspiracy and tangled webs–it’s too much, she’s so tired.

She needs something he can’t ruin, something he hasn’t already hooked his claws into, ready to tear it apart.

An arm around her shoulders, and a snout pressed along her ribs; Inuzuka are loyal, honest, and ever so dangerous to those who aren’t theirs.

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(5 – anonymous – Nara Twins, home)

It’s little things, at first: different missions, different stories–on their birthday, he’s out of the village, the first they’ve ever been apart for.

Then it’s not so little things: secrets and snarling arguments, the room next to his repurposed for a nursery.

One day, he knows, she’ll leave entirely.

~

A/N: For the soulmate AU I went with the “whatever is drawn on your soulmate’s skin also appears on yours” because… well… doesn’t it just work?

Reshuffle the Deck: Or, Five Genin Teams Shikako Wasn’t On (2016-08-15)

Four of a Kind

(The Ino-Shika-Cho is a good combination, but it’s never good to let genin teams become predictable–it makes them vulnerable to enemy action, and considering who makes up the roster of this year’s new genin? Vulnerability is to be avoided at all cost.

The idea behind the trio is still sound, shouldn’t be abandoned completely, and so the Hokage and Academy teachers build the new teams with that in mind.

It’s not their fault that it completely throws off a good chunk of her foreknowledge.)

“This is…” Shikako says, words drifting off to look at her two teammates.

“Uh, sensei?” Ino picks up, immediately “I think you’ve gotten it wrong–it’s Ino-Shika-Cho, not Ino-Shika-Inu.”

Akamaru barks, Kiba does too. “What you’ve got a problem with dogs?” Smirk easily changeable into baring of teeth.

“Only the ones that haven’t bathed in three days,” Ino says, sharp smile of her own, “Aren’t you supposed to have a good sense of smell?”

Shikako cuts in, brings the tension down but adds to the teasing as well. “Not all of us can smell like a flower shop all the time, Ino.”

(With a steady jounin sensei and normal missions, they would have become strong, solid shinobi in a few years.

With Anko as their sensei, in a matter of months they become the first genin team with the bingo book orders Flee On Sight)

Full House [of Queens]

“They didn’t even try for subtle, did they?” Shikako asks Kurenai-sensei, mouth an opposite slant to her raised eyebrow.

Her jounin sensei shrugs, “You could argue that’s what this entire team is for–given the tenets of kunoichi and all that.”

“Don’t you think this will be fun, Shikako?” Sakura asks, stars in her eyes–the disappointment at not being on the same team as Sasuke quickly passing at the excitement of being on a team with her two best friends.

“And anyway,” Ino adds, “Who needs a bunch of boys messing up our missions?”

(Despite the tenets of kunoichi, their team does not maintain subtlety for too long. Oh, their missions succeed, no doubt about that, and they’re never actually caught; but rumors of a group of girls capable of slipping in unnoticed and completely destroying any opposition spreads.

They become known as the Three Beauties of Konoha, though mostly, all enemies can remember about them is the color of their hair and the scent of fresh flowers)

“Someone asked me to punch them today,” Sakura says to her teammates, bemused.

Although the three of them have long since been promoted from genin, they tend to team up with each other regardless. Why mess with success?

“Oh, yeah?” Shikako adds absentmindedly, writing in one of her eternally present journals even as Ino begins to pull it away, “Me, too, a couple of days ago.”

“Did you?” Sakura asks, watching in amusement as Ino and Shikako begin playing tug of war with the journal.

“Yeah, he wouldn’t leave me alone until I did and by that point he was being so annoying it was a relief to do it.”

“I made mine pay for it,” Ino says, to which both of her teammates look up at her smug face in confusion. Pulling the journal from Shikako’s slack hands is easy; her expression only becomes more pleased. “He clearly wanted it for some reason, and why do something for free when you can get paid for it?”

“And?” Sakura prompts, while Shikako bemoans her lack of initiative.

“It bought me a new dress,” Ino brags. And because she’s always a well of information, she explains to her teammates. “Apparently there’s some kind of superstition going around that if someone gets punched by all three of us they get good luck.”

Two Pair

(She pulls back too late. The teachers have already spotted her talent; genius, prodigy, legend-in-the-making they murmur to each other. She gets accelerated, graduates among students several years older than herself.

When her genin team is called, she swallows down bile.)

“Shikako-chan,” Kabuto says, mild smile on his face. All of his smiles are mild, she wants to punch him in the face.

“Yes?” She chirps back, slipping into her role of over-eager kouhai. She’ll admit he knows an awful lot of tricks that’ll be useful in the future.

Let him think he’s converting the Jounin Commander’s daughter, she’ll feed him lies and bleed him dry.

“You’re always so curious,” he says, ever so patronizing, “it’s a good thing to have in a student.”

“Well, you’re a good teacher,” she says back–always flattering, always sweet–she needs to appear as a book smart genius, not an actual threat.

“It’s not so much a virtue when it comes to espionage,” Kabuto amends, voice still pleasant but suddenly sharp and deadly.

She can feel the blood freeze in her veins. Literally.

“W-what are you talking about, Kabuto-senpai?” she chokes out through the clawing in her throat, her rapidly stiffening lungs.

“Don’t worry,” he says as her vision goes blurry, then dark, “It’s time for you to get a real teacher.”

(When she wakes up, she’s almost relieved to see Orochimaru’s face.

Better him than Danzo, she thinks even as the abomination of mutated natural chakra burns through her. The Curse Seal.

Kabuto won’t need to convert her if a piece of Orochimaru is literally looking over her shoulder.)

Straight

The night of graduation, Shikako faints while walking up the stairs.

It’s also the first time the Kyuubi’s malevolent chakra has been felt in over a decade.

The two events are not unrelated.

Needless to say, Shikaku will not be having his daughter on the same team as someone whose chakra can render her unconscious. He knows the Academy teachers think he is just pulling rank, getting his child off a team with That Monster, but Shikaku’s always been more practical than that: it’d be like having someone allergic to dogs on the same team as an Inuzuka, illogical and troublesome.

And anyway, he remembers Kushina and Mito-sama before that, neither of them were monsters. How could their legacy ever be one?

(Shikako looks at her teammates and feels nothing but conflicted, guilty relief.

A part of her had wanted to be on a more integral team, to better alter the course of future events. But another part of her had always been afraid of taking on such a daunting task.

Better to be on a team with these two–childhood bullies though they may be–than, god forbid, Naruto and Sasuke. She’d constantly be in the crossfire of powerhouses, pushed further and further to a breaking point that she doesn’t know where it will lead.

Jiro and Youbirin are blank slates as far as she’s concerned. She doesn’t need to worry about them, doesn’t need to watch over their destinies. They could die for all she knows, and plotwise it’d still lead to a good ending.)

“Fuck!” She shouts, turning to her fallen teammate who has crumpled to the forest floor. Youbirin gives a bloody cough in response, hands shakily going for the sword through his chest. “Jiro get over here!”

“I’m a little busy!” He shouts back, sending a bolt of lightning towards his opponent before retreating. They’re fighting Rock nin, with an Earth Pillar it becomes useless.

“I can’t heal this on my own,” Shikako says, hands futilely glowing green anyway. “Why would you do that? You could probably heal something like this.”

Youbirin gives another wet cough.

“Don’t die, please,” she begs, “You matter to me, don’t die, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean it, don’t die, don’t die,” she chants, hoping and pushing herself to her limits.

That’s the problem with genin teammates–they’ll always be important, no matter who they are.

Royal Flush

(On the one hand, traveling through time to meet the Nidaime Hokage is pretty cool. Getting to compare fuinjutsu notes with him is practically a dream come true.

Somehow being stuck randomly appearing at various points in his life? She’d rather not.

But, well, there’s a silver lining to everything.

She just has to find this one.)

Team Tobirama is a seven person team.

Except for when it’s an eight person team.

Tobirama-sensei only briefly introduces the girl before they’re off on what will undoubtedly be a difficult mission.

Cloud shinobi. It won’t be anything but difficult.

She’s a stranger and it shows, their team falling into the familiar grouping–Kagami, Danzo, Torifu and Hiruzen, Homura, Koharu–while sensei single-handedly destroys his own opponents. It leaves her alone, and for a moment Kagami worries, before he realizes that she’s holding her own.

More than, even.

(The Kinkaku Force should have overpowered them, forced the genin to flee while their sensei sacrifices himself.

Eight instead of seven.

Nobody dies that day. The hat does not get passed on quite yet)

She’s not a permanent member of their team, which confuses Kagami because as far as he can tell she’s not on any other team either.

“I don’t recognize her,” Torifu says in a hush, which is especially worrying. It’s not an admission, it’s a clue: if Torifu can’t recognize someone wearing Nara sigils, something is going on.

“She keeps staring at me,” Danzo adds, before his face flushes with a sudden realization, “Not–not like that!” he says, embarrassed, while Kagami and Torifu share a smirk.

“She is rather pretty,” Kagami teases, Torifu nodding in solemn agreement, because an opportunity to fluster Danzo is always something to take advantage of. And besides, it’s not as if they don’t trust her–Tobirama-sensei trusts her, and more besides she’s risked her life alongside them–but this is a mystery that needs solving.

(They never do figure it out.)

~

A/N: A little late but still respectable, I think. Also it’s not really my fault since tumblr appears to be having technical trouble–is that everyone or is it just me? I do have somewhat sporadic wi-fi right now.

I’ll try to meet the midnight deadline properly tonight, anyway.

So the first two are from a conversation I had with @unfortunatehatlessness, the third one was just a haunting idea I had–though, highly influenced by @donapoetrypassion’s In Which Someone Attempts To Kidnap Shikamaru, Instead. Fourth is the anonymously prompted AU of @kuipernebula’s and mine Team Medic!AU (uh, sorry for the bleak ending on that one, it works out okay in the end?) And fifth is kiiinda a response to Linnypants’ comment on ao3 about Shikako’s POV of my Semi-Phenomenal, Nearly Cosmic ficlet.

Wow, okay, that’s a pretty impressive sweep if I do say so myself 😀 Also, happy belated birthday to myself.

I’ll post this to ao3 in a bit

You and Me and Baby (Makes Fifteen), part 2/2 (2016-06-02)

It’s not exactly a problem, but considering the make up of Team Seven–the fact that she’s the only non-orphan and the only one with siblings who didn’t leave the village after slaughtering their entire clan–she probably could have handled the matter of introductions better.

Shikako’s teammates take the sudden appearance of a baby as well as she expected. Meaning, not with any measure of grace or dignity whatsoever.

“What do we do with it?” Naruto asks, his hands fluttering around Kareru without actually touching. In contrast, Sasuke’s stare has only become more suspicious, arms folded across his chest.

“He’s a baby,” she answers, exasperated, “not a kunai. We don’t do anything with him except, probably, raise him into a decent human being.”

“We?” Sasuke prompts.

“Oh, well, no,” Shikako says, amending her statement, “Not ‘we’ as in us, but ‘we’ as in people in general. I was hoping someone else would be willing to raise him. And I could just let them take over. It’s not as if we can, there’s other more qualified people.” Although, said out loud, it does sound an awful lot like she’s shirking responsibilities.

“Why not?” Naruto says, absolutely entranced by what might be his only living blood relative trying to eat his own foot. Shikako shifts her hold on Kareru so his infantile acrobatics won’t lead to him plummeting to the ground.

“Why not what?” she asks.

“Why not us?” Naruto clarifies, “Why can’t we raise him?” he asks, finally looking up, blue eyes full of conviction. “We can do this.”

Shikako and Sasuke glance at each other, expressions far less skeptical than the other would expect–neither of them have ever been all that successful at denying Naruto when it really matters.

And, yes, she may have been doubtful of Naruto’s ability to take care of a baby earlier–long ago D-rank babysitting missions flashing through her minds–but he’s not asking to take care of Kareru by himself. He’s asking if they can do it, together. And, well, together they’ve done some pretty amazing things.

She bites her lip, though, still unsure. This isn’t just some one-off mission that they can complete and walk away from. This is a baby, an actual whole other person who will be their responsibility for years. For the rest of their lives.

But it’s Sasuke who makes the decision, carefully extending a single finger in the baby’s direction. Fascinated, Kareru grabs it, a pleased squeal erupting from his mouth.

Naruto’s grin is wide and bright, “We can do this!” he repeats.

Shikako nods, an answering smile of her own spreading across her face. “But,” she adds, ever the pragmatist, “Probably not by ourselves.”

It wouldn’t make sense for the Hokage to be informed of every new citizen of Konoha–frankly, it’s an inefficient use of the village leader’s time and with this particular Hokage, time is something that his horde of administrative shinobi have to schedule with frenzied exactness–but when it comes to this particular citizen, exceptions can be made.

Or, well, Team Seven will make the exception for him. After all, it’s not everyday a jounin-sensei becomes a pseudo-grandpa via his students collectively adopting a baby found in the ruins of a fallen village.

… Well, it’s not as if the paperwork ninja didn’t already hate them.

“Maa, not the mask, Kareru-kun,” Kakashi says fondly to the baby currently seated on his desk and trying to unmask him. Except for gently pulling the tiny hands away from his face, Kakashi lets Kareru do whatever he wants, crawling across the desk and drooling on no doubt very important files.

“That’s all you have to say about this?” Naruto asks, impatient, the first one to crack.

“Hm,” Kakashi responds, stretching the noise out until Sasuke begins to scowl, “He’s a little young to learn the chidori,” he admonishes, just to see the team twitch in annoyed unison.

“Sensei!”

“I have a lot of free time,” Kakashi lies, blatantly, “I guess I could watch Kareru-kun occasionally,” he says, so nonchalant that it’s obvious he cares.

Not that Shikako was really expecting anything else, her sensei awkward but affectionate in his own way–but it’s nice to be proven right about things.

Team Ten, thankfully, is far less uncomfortable about sudden teenaged parenthood–skipping over origins and uncertainty of what constitutes family, going straight into how to raise Kareru. Which, isn’t really a surprise considering their clans are known for strong family ties.

“I always thought I’d end up with a kid first,” Shikamaru says, one eyebrow raised. But there’s a smile on the edge of his mouth, his shoulder brushing against his sister’s. It’s nice to know he’ll support her even in this somewhat spontaneous decision.

Chouji, in far fewer words, also expresses his approval by reaching out for the baby. His bulky arms a gentle cradle for Kareru to observe the world.

“Can you say Ino-neechan?” Ino coos to Kareru, who babbles happily in response.

“Neechan?” Naruto asks, as tactful as ever, “Wouldn’t you be Ino-bachan?”

“Excuse you,” Ino says, “If you want to be called uncle, then that’s fine. But I’m going to be Kareru’s fabulous older sister.”

“He’s not even old enough to talk yet,” Sasuke says, though he stands on the opposite side of Chouji from her. Strategically.

“I’m training him early,” Ino says with a shrug, before turning her attention back to the baby, “You can pull off purple, right Kareru-chan?”

Which starts Naruto in on the sanctity of Uzumaki wearing orange and somehow devolves into an argument about who will be Kareru’s favorite.

Well, at least he won’t be lacking for attention.

It doesn’t take long for Kiba to find them–hand on the pulse of Konoha’s rumor mill and having almost as good a sense for inane competition as he does smells–the rest of Team Eight follow after.

Preemptively, Shikako says, “No, this isn’t mine and Gaara’s kid,” which sends Kiba into a fit of raucous laughter.

Thankfully, it’s Shino who responds. “I did not think so. Why? First, because you have only been gone for a few months–not long enough for the human gestation period, or for the additional months this child has of age. Second, you were nowhere near Land of Wind, and it is well-known that the Kazekage does not often leave Sunagakure. Third, while it is true that the child and the Kazekage both have red hair, it is obvious, even within such a short period of time, that the child has more in common with Naruto in appearance than the Kazekage.”

There’s a beat of silence as everyone processes Shino’s statement.

“Thanks for the support?” Shikako says, more question than not, but Shino nods and she supposes it’s close enough.

“I-if I can help in any way, I’d like to,” Hinata offers, once the story has been repeated for Team Eight’s benefit. Shino nods again, in agreement, while Kiba is more vocal with his.

“And anyway, babies love dogs! Me and Akamaru will definitely end up this kid’s favorite.”

Which restarts the argument all over again: this time, with animal summons for added silliness.

It’s not as if Shikako ever planned for this–her entire life has basically been rolling with the punches–so it’s not like she’s actively recruiting people into helping out with Kareru.

Try convincing Lee that, though.

“I will run around Konoha one hundred times on my hands!” he declares, eyes bright and filled with determination. “I, too, will prove myself a worthy caregiver for young Kareru! Superior, even, to my rival, Neji!” He points, at said rival who, despite the look of deep disgruntlement, has not pulled away from Kareru’s curious hair tugging.

Instead, to rile up his teammate, Neji says only one word: “Byakugan,” which… is a fairly strong point. The Hyuuga bloodline would make literally watching a baby almost ludicrously easy.

TenTen huffs an exasperated laugh, “Of course they’d find a way to argue over a baby.”

“They might as well join the fight already in progress,” Shikako says, gesturing to where some of their friends have set up an impromptu sparring tournament to somehow prove which of them will end up as Kareru’s favorite. As if they were waiting for permission, Lee and Neji–untangling himself from tiny baby fingers–go and do just that.

“Mostly, I just wanted to see how your mission to Uzushio went,” TenTen admits, “I figured you’d bring back some seal samples, though, I didn’t think you’d return with a baby.”

Well, technically, she came back with both…

“My missions always end up really weird,” Shikako muses, before glancing over at the baby, still comfortably perched in Chouji’s arms. Kareru’s eyes meet hers and he smiles, a wide, toothless, drooling thing.

She can’t say it doesn’t tug at her heartstrings.

Within the hour, Sakura finds them–not that they were hiding–and she comes armed with paperwork and an unimpressed expression.

“I take it you’ve figured out what to name him, then,” she says, channeling as much of her shishou as Shikako tries to channel of her sensei. Given how infrequently Kakashi ever pulled one over on Tsunade, that was probably a poor decision.

“Aah, Sakura, I was just about to… you see, I was on my way home when–”

“Save it,” she interrupts, thankfully, because Shikako’s Kakashi impression isn’t all that good to begin with, “What’s his name and who should I put for his official guardians?”

With all of her friends around her, knowing that she’s far from alone in this, it’s less daunting to say:

“This is Kareru Uzumaki. And I’ll be his guardian.”

~

A/N: Sorry, y’all. It’s a little abrupt and clunky, but I kinda just wanted to get the full fifteen of the title at least mentioned so I can safely stow this two-shot away in my imaginary completed fic bin… still have a lot of prompts to go through. Oh, dear.

Okay, so I know it doesn’t really fulfill the prompt but… I kinda wanted to do more “reacting to sudden baby” fic than “raising sudden baby” fic, if that makes sense. And,Tth, I kind liked part one as is? But the title wouldn’t make any sense unless I actually wrote the others, so I just kinda use this as an opportunity to explore writing characters I never have before. It’s harder than I thought–less the actual characters and more having them interact in a group setting. One on one from now on, please and thank you.

Anyway… I think I’ll post both parts as one chapter in Dreaming One Shots on ao3…

I’m not saying mutual per se, just that it’s where his attraction lies. (Partially because I had a huge crush on him even before I knew I was gay) Jiro is more driven than his teammates – he’s not a clan kid or from a konoha family. But he’s also more calm, and a bit reserved. He doesn’t like having to take charge, because it’s not something he’s used to. Or something. Another topic: For Youbirin, I was thinking it’d be neat if he had access to some neat forbidden meds, like a battle-pharmacist?

There is something oddly attractive about Kiba–though I myself am aero ace–he seems like the kind of guy who everyone has a crush on at some point in their lives, even if it is a very brief crush.

Given what we’ve come up with for Jiro’s background that sort of personality does fit. I wonder if he’s the kind of person who has to frequently tell himself “bear with it, I’ve had worse” whenever someone insults him because of his heritage. “This is nothing compared to X physical wound,” or “that doesn’t even make sense, is that supposed to offend me?” And obviously, Jiro would get his crush on Kiba because Kiba stands up for him whereas Jiro would have just taken it.

As for Youbirin, I’d worry that the forbidden meds would edge a little too close to the Akimichi three color pills–and given that similarity, it’d be odd for the Suzu/Nohara to have such knowledge and not be more closely allied with the Ino-Shika-Cho clans. I do agree that the Suzu/Nohara clan would more likely have some secret clan knowledge than a blood limit–or their ability is so mild as to not have elevated them into one of the major clans. Like… I dunno, magic diagnostic powers. Which only helps if you can actually back it up with healing. I mean, it’d make the Suzu/Nohara clan an integral part of the Medic Corps, but not very helpful beyond it? Which is kind of the vibe we’ve been developing for their clan.

Okay, Jiro it is! I still have a ways to go to catch up, but I do have a few ideas for specific plot points. Would giving Jiro a crush on Kiba be too much? Or just enough?

I was also thinking Kiba! 😀 But, I mean, I was specifically thinking one-sided Jiro/Kiba? Mostly because I love some one-sided pining!character A and oblivious!character B who is so damned friendly and gregarious that it makes character A’s crush all the worse. It’s soooooo good.

But a mutual Jiro/Kiba would be okay, too, I suppose.

I’m wondering, though, what about Shino? I feel like he’d have a solid grip on his own identity–a steadiness that Jiro would appreciate–though I guess it depends on what kind of personality Jiro has to see what that dynamic would be…

what are your dos ships? (I’ve been lookin for a Neji/Shikako ship since forever)

… am I allowed to answer this? I kind of have this notion like, because I run the dosbysilverqueen blog, I’m contractually obligated to stay neutral. I mean, that’s a silly feeling, so I’m going to ignore it, but that’s my first gut instinct.

Let’s see, for DoS ships… I have to admit that I greatly enjoy how DoS is gen–more about friendship and family than romance–because I’ve always been the type of fan who prefers what the fandom comes up with for ships than what the original does? Or rather, that the original work picking a specific ship almost ruins the magic of it–it makes it real in a very specific way and it can’t be undone. Or un-canon-ed… if that makes any sense.

From a fan’s point of view I am, obviously, quite fond of GaaraxShikako (unsurprisingly, given that my Dreaming of S(omething) series revolves around the first Dreaming of S(erenity) that was inspired by their Grass Chuunin Exam battle), and I do think it is my most favorite? In the sense that, if something had to become “canon DoS” then I would mind that the least–because there have been multiple moments of creating a foundation for a romantic relationship. Not immediately of course, but if–for some odd reason–SQ did a sudden time skip straight to the epilogue and showed ShikakoxGaara then I wouldn’t be all that surprised or disappointed?

Same with KibaxShikako, though I find that less feasible only because I feel that Shikako views a lot of the Konoha-nin (especially the Konoha Twelve/Thirteen) as, well, assets? Or… characters. Well, no, but I’m unsure about how to say this… like, Shikako can’t view any of them in a romantic sense because she knows too much about them from her own reader’s POV that there might be… not necessarily a consent gap but like a… knowledge disadvantage.

And there’s also the Westermarck effect which, technically, only applies to children raised together from birth to six years old and so doesn’t actually apply to Shikako and the rest of the Rookie Nine. But I feel like it’s something that would linger with Shikako–they are characters, they are children, they are assets that need to be kept alive–and so she wouldn’t be able to view any of them romantically (at least, not for a long while).

Which is probably why I’m fond of a conflicted/unrequited!SasukexShikako; because not only is she basically the first girl to befriend him as himself (and not the school idol) but she’s also the closest thing he has to family? So, like I’ve mentioned before, there is no doubt that Sasuke loves Shikako but I don’t think even he quite knows in what way–romantic or platonic. And Shikako for sure loves him platonically, but I feel like the consent/knowledge disadvanatge applies to him especially–seeing as how Shikako has literally changed his fate on multiple occasions. She has way too much power over him–and way too many secrets she’s hiding from him–for her to ever feel like she can be in a romantic with him.

And with InoxShikako. Well, that ship is complicated not because Ino’s feelings are complicated for Shikako–I kind of feel like Ino would be okay with either a romantic relationship with Shikako or maintaining their platonic friendship, unlike Sasuke who is unsure what he wants–but because Shikako has also changed Ino’s fate for the worse (at least, given her latest feelings about damaging Team Ten…). So not only is there a power disparity and secret-keeping there’s also guilt on Shikako’s part–which there isn’t really with Sasuke.

That being said, I am now wondering about the SakuraxShikako ship. But like, way after everything in canon has been settled; like when everyone’s nineteen or so. Because Shikako has definitely changed Sakura’s life–majorly, considering she’s not on Team Seven anymore–but not necessarily for better or worse and not even on purpose. So Shikako would be free from any guilt or secrecy because any differences with Sakura–she’d have such different formative experience than the one canon Sakura had–aren’t really Shikako’s fault. It would remove a little of that consent/knowledge disadvantage because while Shikako knows what canon Sakura would be like it’s not some kind of benchmark that she keeps in her head about how she’s failed/succeeded (not like with Sasuke and Ino, probably). It’s just… different. Yeah, I think that’d be interesting.

As for the members of Team Gai. Well. If I had to ship one of them with Shikako I probably would have originally gone with TenTenxShikako given the steps between acquaintances to friends to lovers isn’t so off. But then thinking about it further (and also keeping in mind that Shikamaru and TenTen are dating, and it’d be really weird to date one twin then the other) that’s kind of… boring? Like… where’s the spark? The passion? And also I’d be a little worried about TenTen’s self-esteem? Like it’s one thing to be friends with a kunoichi who is from a clan and a prodigy at sealing and already a tokubetsu jounin at age thirteen etc. etc. But it’s another thing to date one? Like… ouch–I’d be torn between jealousy and guilt over being jealous constantly.

Given Lee’s eternal, unwavering love for Sakura and also his very disconcerting first/second impression of Shikako (post-Orochimaru battle in the Forest of Death, right after she totally demolished the Sound Genin even though she was so injured and tired and probably concussed) I don’t really think a romantic ship could form between them? Definitely not for a long time. Because Shikako is very clearly not what Lee is looking for–and because Lee is oddly sexist? Like, he doesn’t have anything against kunoichi being shinobi but his “ideal woman” is essentially a damsel in distress whose affection can be won by defeating Sasuke in battle (that’s straight up canon) or by rescuing her from the Sound Genin. And Lee’s continued crush on Sakura (in canon) is because she’s so overtly feminine, or his idea of femininity–pretty and passive–that it always made me very uncomfortable whenever his crush on her was brought up. Especially when she made it clear that she liked Sasuke and he’d still try to pursue her/impress her by trying to defeat Sasuke. I DUNNO. He grows out of his crush on Sakura (eventually) but I have no idea if he’s grown out of that weird idealized femininity, but either way Shikako wouldn’t want that. Like… at all.

And now for Neji. I’ll be honest, anon, until you brought it up I hadn’t ever really thought about it? But now that I do I’m just like… hm… yeah… yeah? Alright! Because Neji is one of the few of the Konoha Twelve that isn’t really in Shikako’s sphere of influence nor someone whose life she feels obligated to improve. Mostly because… she can’t do anything about his life. There’s no way she could have saved his dad, she can’t affect Hyuuga Clan politics, and Naruto has already changed his view on life/Hinata. So… it’s, much like the GaaraxShikako ship and the SakuraxShikako ship, something different and… freeing?

Now as for the specifics of the NejixShikako ship–I do enjoy how Neji’s first/second impression of Shikako is basically the same as Lee’s but instead of being discomfited, Neji is… impressed? He respects her ability and her decisions even if he doesn’t necessarily agree, or maybe because they are so different. Two points that I’d want to see addressed in this ship would be the topic of fate and the Caged Bird Seal–because these are both things which are vital to Neji’s character and which Shikako could possibly change. Because her very existence proves that fate can be changed… and given her reputation as Konoha’s newest budding fuinjutsu master. Well, it wouldn’t make any sense for her not to at least be curious about the Caged Bird Seal.

But these two matters would also be very… Okay so, it’s canon that Neji dies. And Shikako has already gotten in trouble with her fuinjutsu. I almost feel like Shikako would be, at least subconsciously, reluctant to be in a relationship with Neji–at least, before the whole Madara/Kaguya madness. Because then he’d be one more person she’s responsible for. And she’d put so much pressure on herself to prevent his death which would just… it’s a lot for her to juggle and it would absolutely wreck her if she failed. Of course, if this relationship starts after the whole Madara/Kaguya madness then that’s a different story. And, because she’s already been through the end of the world, she’d be more willing to get involved in the politics of the Caged Bird Seal. What does clan politics matter to her anymore? She can do whatever she want… essentially, timing is very important.