Strangely enough, the rumors originate not from Suna or Konoha, but from Kiri–specifically, with Mei Terumi. Of course, when asked about the matter, she will only smile and say, “A mere misunderstanding; I just wanted to prepare for my own possible political nuptials.” As she explains, she sends a wink towards Kakashi who is reluctantly acting as one of Tsunade’s guard.
Needless to say, this does not impress the Hokage’s other guard–but then again, Shikamaru’s brow has been stuck in a near permanent furrow for the past few months. Mostly, Tsunade brought him along for entertainment.
Both of them, actually. God knows she’s been needing something to laugh at. Having two people more stressed out about Shikako’s near engagement than her makes the situation less headache inducing.
At least Tsunade’s not dealing with the girl in question. Or her fellow catastrophic Lucky Sevens teammates.
Or her almost fiancé.
“This is unacceptable!” Councillor Odo shouts. Despite his seat being furthest from the corner of the hall Kankurou’s claimed, his voice is just shrill and put upon enough to cut through the distance. “We cannot have our Kazekage engaged to some… girl from Land of Fire! She’s not even of noble birth!”
While the other councillors are less vocal, most of them have expressions which make their similar lack of approval quite clear. But there are a fair few who don’t, a few who look almost… considering.
“Hey! What does a wrinkled old blowhard like you have to do with this? Who are you anyway? Shikako isn’t some girl! She’s amazing and way better than you’ll ever be!” Naruto shouts, bristling with anger, as if the world of politics were settled with volume and not finesse.
For obvious reasons, the position of Konoha’s ambassador to Suna had to be temporarily reassigned. Unfortunately, the only person both sides could agree on as a replacement was Naruto who… well… probably would never get this assignment ever again if the councillors had anything to say about it.
Kankurou does find this absolutely hilarious, though, because it’s not like he has to put up with the codgers that frequently. The only reason why he’s here is because he’s acting as–and this is the best part–Gaara’s guardian seeing as how Temari is away doing her job as Suna’s ambassador to Konoha and neither party of this alleged engagement is over the age of majority.
Old enough to kill for your country, and old enough to lead a village, but not old enough to decide who he can marry. Diplomatic marriages, who knew?
Gaara, for once in his reign as Kazekage refusing to be involved in the village’s political matters, spends the entirety of the discussion failing to hide his laughter.
In the mountains of the Land of Lightning, one very pissed off sword-wielding chuunin is slashing all of the training posts into pieces. The pieces of stone that fall are small enough to be considered pebbles.
Given that Netsui has literally only met Shikako Nara twice–once during their infuriating matchup in the Grass Chuunin Exams, and the second during an absolutely bizarre mission which she would like to cut out of her brain if necessary–it doesn’t make very much sense that she should care so much about hearsay on some stupid marriage. It’s not like that’ll affect either of their combat abilities so it shouldn’t matter. But Kumo has always been very… encouraging of their shinobi’s emotions and irritation at one’s self-appointed nemesis is close enough.
“You know you’re going to have to fix those before you leave, right?” Akantai says, and Netsui bites back the automatic growl because it’s not like there are many people lining up to talk to her even years after that shameful excuse for a fight.
“I will,” she grits out, because that’s all she can say before she goes on to hack away at the remaining two training posts. Of course, once that’s done now she has to talk.
“Is this about that Nara?” Akantai asks and that’s it. Netsui can’t even–
“Of course it’s about that damned Nara! Why is she even getting married now? That makes no sense! She’s not even in her prime yet, much less past it, and she’s going to ruin her career by shacking up with some guy and popping out babies? What?”
“Some guy… as in… the Kazekage?” Akantai says slowly, in disbelief.
“Whatever!” she shouts back, unappeased.
“Maybe they’re trying to make a new bloodline,” Akantai suggests, before making a quick jump back to dodge a swipe from Netsui’s sword.
“This is such bullshit!”
It is a very tense and awkward silence that greets Ino when she gracefully and subtly sneaks into the official meeting between Suna’s ambassador, the Nara family, and–for some reason–Sasuke.
She’s not surprised to see the scowl on Sasuke’s face, given his not so secret conflicted feelings for Shikako even to this day; but she’s not expecting the stiff, displeased smile on Yoshino-san’s face much less the mild frown on Shikaku-san’s which, for anyone else, would be scowls. Shikako’s exasperation and Temari’s barely hidden bewilderment, however, makes sense. This is practically an omiai–or the precursor to one–and Ino is more than happy to sit in and watch.
“Are you implying that my daughter somehow isn’t good enough to be engaged to your brother?” Yoshino asks, looking somehow more lethal in her pink yukata than Sasuke, brooding in the corner with his sword still strapped to his back and no less than twenty kunai in reach.
“Oh my god, kill me now, please,” Shikako mutters, face in her hands, no doubt absolutely embarrassed by everything about this situation.
Temari’s left eye twitches before she valiantly attempts to talk her way out of this verbal trap, “As my brother’s representative in both my capacity as Sunagakure’s ambassador and as the head of our family, I can say with utmost certainty that our reluctance in this engagement has nothing to do with Shikako as a person. Rather it’s more to do with–”
“She’s second in line in succession to the Nara Clan,” Shikaku-san adds, throwing fuel onto the fire that is Yoshino-san’s indignation.
“She’s also an extremely powerful shinobi,” Sasuke contributes, simultaneously messing with Shikako and being a faithful teammate.
“And very pretty,” Ino says, just because.
Shikako makes a noise not unlike Ino’s chameleon summons when they are particularly hungry and cranky.
“Yes?” Temari responds, confused, before glancing at Yoshino-san and repeating, more firmly, “Yes, she is. But the problem is that my brother hasn’t had any say in this engagement that appeared out of nowhere and, frankly, looking at Shikako it would seem like she hasn’t either.”
“No, I have not,” Shikako says definitively, which would have ended the topic of conversation and that just cannot be done.
Sasuke, Shikaku-san, and Temari all seem to be relaxing, which gives Yoshino-san the opportunity to say, “Which isn’t to say that she’s against such an engagement. Just that these matters ought to be handled in a more formal manner.”
Shikako sends a startled look to her mother.
Which then jerks immediately in Ino’s direction when she says, “The Yamanaka clan have very reputable matchmakers.”
It takes three months to put down the rumor of Shikako and Gaara’s whirlwind engagement. Though it still lingers and pops up every now and then–whispers of heated looks and midnight assignations spreading around the Elemental Nations.
Jiraiya writes a book based on it; it becomes a best-seller.
A/N: So it was less about politics and tabloids and more about rumors and everyone needlessly voicing their opinion but…uh… hope you enjoy, anon, and thanks for the prompt.
This took me a lot longer than I would have preferred because someone
Netsui wanted to keep ranting about their eternal hatred for Shikako and I kept having to parse it down to relevance.