(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)?
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 😀