Given everything that happened in the Land of Moon, it’s not a surprise that she forgot basically everything leading up to it.
So when Dad says, over one of the rare dinners where all of them are present, “Shikako, we need to talk tomorrow,” she freezes up immediately.
Her shoulders go tense and her eyes drop from Dad’s face to Shikamaru who is carefully maneuvering his chopsticks with the Shadow Hand and looking so uninterested that he’s no doubt preparing to memorize every word and breath of this upcoming conversation.
Mum doesn’t look worried at all; but, then again, Mum occasionally works for T&I so that’s not exactly a ringing endorsement.
She swallows, a little irritated at the way the food has now turned tasteless in her mouth. “About what, Dad?” She tries for casual and misses by a mile.
Dad quirks an eyebrow, noticing, well, everything about her response. “Nothing bad,” he assures, which doesn’t work. “Noriko has been trying to catch the both of us at the same time.” That works better, mostly because…
“Ino’s mum?” she asks, confused. Shikako just saw Ino a few days ago, and she was fine. Also, why would Dad need to be involved.
Dad nods, “In this case, it’s in a more official capacity.”
Ah. That makes slightly more sense. Ino’s mum works for the part of the Intel Division that Shikako would liken to her old world’s Public Relations if it didn’t also include the negotiators in charge of extracting altered mission fees and the ominously named ‘Counter Intelligence’ Squad.
Unsurprisingly, they work closely with T&I.
Worrying, but not overly much. “So tomorrow morning?”
“The Tower,” Dad says, “at eight.” That done, the meal resumes as best as it can.
Walking to the Tower with Dad is a little weird. This is the path she walks for work with Cryptography, to get new missions, but with Dad? It’s as if she’s suddenly de-aged and become a child needing to be escorted by her parent.
But it’s not uncomfortable–the silence is calming, doesn’t let her anxiety or paranoia build up.
Inside the Tower, she follows after Dad, not really sure where they’re meant to meet Noriko-san and unwilling to get lost. That’s not an exaggeration, either. Like the Academy building, the Tower has an unusual layout so outsiders can’t just walk in and find sensitive information. The only places equally accessible is the bottom floor, where clients are processed.
At a nondescript office after way too many turns, Dad stops and knocks on the door a little unnecessarily. If this is Noriko-san’s office then she already knows they’re there.
“Come in already,” her voice calls out, “I’ve been wanting to get this done with for weeks,” she says gesturing at the chairs in front of her desk.
Shikako’s eyes dart around the room, but there’s nothing really particularly interesting about it. Except for the vase of fresh flowers–freesias–there’s no hint of this being Ino’s mum’s office. Which is probably the point.
“You know why I’ve asked you here,” Noriko-san begins, but Shikako feels obligated to interrupt.
“Uh, I don’t, actually,” she volunteers hesitantly. It wouldn’t do to start a meeting off on completely different pages, but it kind of feels rude to correct her.
Noriko-san looks at Dad exasperated, “Really, Shikaku?” she asks, with such a familiarity that it reminds Shikako keenly of Ino.
Dad shrugs, “It’d be more efficient if you explained it; you are the expert here.”
“More efficient for you, maybe,” Noriko-san snipes back, but lets the matter drop.
Given the tone of the conversation, Shikako is pretty sure that the topic of this meeting isn’t anything too bad.
She would have lost money by betting on it not being utterly and completely weird, though.
“I have… what?” she asks, no doubt sending completely baffled looks at Noriko-san and Dad.
“Fan mail, Shikako,” Dad says, repeating what Noriko-san just said. “Presumably from fans of yours,” he adds, because Dad never lets an opportunity for trolling to pass by.
“Like… mission requests?” she clarifies, almost hopefully. That would make sense–sometimes the more famous shinobi get requested specifically for missions. It costs the clients more, of course, but then they get the pleasure of saying they’ve hired so-and-so which apparently is like trading cards for nobility–given her showing at the Grass Chuunin Exams and rapid promotion, that’s not too unexpected.
“No, Shikako,” Noriko-san says gently, yet amused, “Fan mail. You apparently have quite the following from your role in the last Princess Fuun movie.”
The strangled sound that comes out of her mouth could possibly be described as a whimper.
“We’ve already discussed the matter of royalties with the studio–you as well as your teammates and sensei will be getting your deserved payment,” at this point Noriko-san’s smile turns sharp, “And given that they used footage of you without your consent, you can be assured that said payment is very high.”
Shikako swallows and tries not to look unassured. Just in case.
“The problem is,” Noriko-san continues, “there are talks of a spin-off series. Namely circling around you. Or rather, Shishimaru’s little sister, Shikako.”
A horrified laugh bubbles out of her before she can catch it.
Dad watches her the same way he does that one particular buck who keeps getting his antlers stuck in the same tree. Confused, but almost impressed.
“Frankly this situation has never come up before–for obvious reasons. You’re a special jounin, you’re more than capable of making this decision on your own, but I’ve included your father in this meeting just in case,” Noriko-san glances pointedly at both her and Dad’s sleeves, “You were, after all, wearing the clan crest and it’s apparently become part of your character’s image.”
Hundreds of years of clan tradition reduced to the costume of a minor character in a movie. Hopefully her ancestors–like Dad, given the not so subtle shaking of his shoulders in quiet laughter–are amused and not insulted.
“The question now is: given this is a unique opportunity, are you at all interested?”
A/N: Okay, for anon who wanted some cosplayers but I went with the general idea of Shikako becoming famous outside of being a ninja–because Chapter 112 was hilariously awkward for Shikako and I loved it.
Also, you can’t tell me Konoha didn’t squeeze so much money out of the studio for using footage of Team Seven without their permission. So Much Money.
It’s unlikely she’ll actually go for it seeing as how the first time around was a surprise and soooooo embarrassing for her, but I thought it was better to leave it as a technically open ending.
Noriko as Ino’s mum’s name because the narutowiki doesn’t have one for her and I don’t remember it being specified anywhere in DoS. And Noriko is the name of the VA so… unimaginative writer is unimaginative.
I’m going to wait posting it on ao3 until I have a title… does anyone have any suggestions?
edit: I’m tentatively titling it Primadonna Girl (Says No Thank You) because it’s very early in the morning and I find it hilarious.