The Temari/Shikako stuff was really intriguing! Both the canon based one and the witchcraft AU. I wondered if you had opinions on other rare!pairs? (Unusual pairs? Crack pairs? I dunno what to call them) in DOS. Like… Sakura/Shikako or Shino/Shikako.

Thanks!

From what I understand there’s a difference between rare-pairs and crack pairs. Rare-pairs are arguably believable but less popular ships (so Sakura/Shikako and Shino/Shikako both of them being Shikako’s friends, but not being particularly common, would be rare-pairs) whereas crack pairs are quite random.

Even something where it’s highly unlikely or there’s a significant age difference or “enemies to lovers” could still be considered a rare-pair so long as there’s some kind of foundation for the ship. Toki/Shikako, Aoba/Shikako, Netsui/Shikako are examples of such that I’ve written or mentioned before that I can confidently say would count as rare-pairs.

Crack pairs would be like… I suppose technically Deidara/Shikako is a crack pair seeing as how they’ve not even met each other yet in canon and, on top of that, Shikako knows that he’s part of the Big Bad Organization. So it’s a crack pair in that there’s no believable canonical foundation for it, but it’s fairly popular so even if it weren’t cracky it may be popular enough to not count as rare-pair.

Another crack pair that isn’t villain/Shikako I suppose might be… Tsunade/Shikako? Or… well… no, I suppose technically that might be a rare-pair since they have met and don’t actively hate each other (and I have seen Naruto/Jiraiya fic so the age difference isn’t entirely out of the question for some people).

Ah. If I had pursued a more romantic take on SemiPhenomenal Nearly Cosmic, then Tobirama/Shikako would be a crack pair. Like, I had to create a specific AU for them to even meet much less possibly fall in love and get together.

I guess what makes a crack pair in my opinion is the number/breadth of changes needed to make a ship possible. Whereas rare pairs are the popularity of a ship within the fandom. Crack pairs may be rare pairs, but not all rare pairs are crack pairs.

All that being said, I guess it does depend on which rare-pairs you’d like me to talk about? I’ve already discussed briefly on my opinion of Sakura/Shikako here (although, I’ll admit, that was a long time ago and my fleet of ships is vast and ever-changing) and I think it’s mostly the same as before.

I think it would be interesting to see a Sakura/Shikako ship, especially given how much Shikako has changed Sakura’s life just by simply existing. And it’s a fairly guilt-free change (as opposed to the guilt she feels over Ino and her brother).

This DoS!Sakura is vastly different from canon Sakura because so much of her formative experiences are different. Being a part of Team Seven (and a fractured Team Seven at that) is so integral to canon Sakura’s character that DoS!Sakura MUST be different.

Softer, probably, less jaded and tired. She’s learned different lessons, in less heartbreaking ways, but she’s probably learned more of them from being at a distance. I wonder if, because she is not so focused on her teammates like canon Sakura, that she observes more in other people. Or if, unconfined by the role of Team Seven, she might grow beyond the narrow shape left behind for her and become more than the second coming of Tsunade (though that is certainly not a bad thing).

I think it depends on what happens to Sakura in DoS, on what Silver Queen may want to do with her character. Part of me is fairly sure she’ll be on Team Anko with Yakumo and Isaribi (at the very least for a future Chuunin Exam if not permanently) and given these teammates and teacher, Sakura would be the least… traumatized. No murderous split personality, no horrific childhood of being experimented on. And no doubt Sakura will learn how to support her teammates, how to traverse and converse such interactions–recognize the pitfalls and avoid them, or help her teammates recover when they have been triggered.

There are many ships that I don’t see beginning until after everything in canon has settled–not just because the plot points, but also the age thing–and that holds true for Sakura/Shikako. Which is good because, I think, the more DoS!Sakura grows apart from canon!Sakura, the better a Sakura/Shikako ship would work. Especially on Shikako’s part–further distancing Sakura the person from Sakura the character.

They’d be a very academic couple, that’s for sure, on the forefront of medicine and fuinjutsu (and, frequently, a combination of both). And this current as of yet unnamed arc about Kakashi’s Sharingan will probably be the first of many medical miracles they perform together. I like the idea that Sakura would keep Shikako a little more grounded in Konoha but at the same time, when Shikako does go on research trips, Sakura goes with her and continues Tsunade’s legacy of traveling miracle medic. Minus the wanton drinking/gambling/destruction, of course.

… So I guess it’s a bit like what a Jiraiya/Tsunade ship could have been, had the Sannin not splintered apart and picked up the world’s worst habits and attitude problems. All of their potential with far fewer of their problems. They have problems of their own.

Let’s see, as for a Shino/Shikako ship… that boy would have to make the first move. Shikako is oblivious when it comes to other people’s opinions of her, and given how difficult Shino is to read (almost literally given that most of his face is hidden constantly) there’s no way she’ll figure it out unless he makes it absolutely clear that he is romantically attracted to her and if she were amenable he would be interested in pursuing a relationship with her to see how they socialize together.

And even then it may take her a moment to parse his statement and a few days to consider his proposal (which he gives her because of course Shino is a big believer in taking one’s time to make big decisions).

I don’t really see them getting romantically involved with each other in DoS quite yet–but maybe, given an exciting mission or two, it depends. For example, with Kiba I might be able to see something happening within the fic only because she’s had way more “screen time” with him than with Shino. Otherwise, this would be another ship for a post canon timeline.

I do wonder about the matter of the kikaichu, though. Because… that’s a pretty big aspect of who Shino is and it’s not like Shikako can/will tell him to change, but at the same time it’s been repeatedly mentioned in DoS that Shikako (while she can put a brave face on for the sake of work and not being an asshole) does not like bugs. I don’t even know what a good analogy for this would be… It would be like someone with icthyophobia trying to have a relationship with a marine biologist? I dunno…

If that issue could be resolved, I can see how a Shino/Shikako ship might appeal. His logical way of thinking and innate kindness is something that Shikako would appreciate more than passion and charming words. Mutual respect and, along with that, faith in each other’s abilities and strength.

I think, if they were in a relationship, Shino is one of the few people that Shikako would consider telling at least some part of the truth. Whether she just does a “I know a version of the future” or a full “I’m reincarnated from a world where all of this is fiction” well…

There’s a sense of solidity and steadiness to Shino that Shikako can depend on, whereas Shino could probably benefit from having a bit more chaos in his life.

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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, 13/? (2016-11-07)

(1 – anonymous – Team Seven, Ghostbusters!AU, crazy tech that’s ‘probably’ safe)

“It’s a ghost vacuum,” Shikako explains of the series of tubes and canisters that Naruto prods curiously, “It has a ninety six percent chance of siphoning and containing a ghost possessing anything, even a person.”

“What’s the other four percent?” Sasuke asks dubiously.

Shikako grins, wide and completely suspicious, “Well… it might just suck out the user’s soul instead–but that’s within the margin of error, so the ghost vacuum is totally safe!”

(2 – anonymous – Shikako & Yoshino, Stars Also Dream ‘verse, Yoshino tries out Shikako’s ‘lightsaber’)

As far as your daughter is concerned, you are not a kenjutsu specialist, but she see’s no harm in letting you try out her newest sword.

It activates with an eerily similar sound, but no accompanying vibration in the Force–fuinjutsu, not crystals, and your daughter didn’t make it herself, but you think the yellow blade suits her.

You deactivate and return it after a moment, hand clenching around emptiness: nothing will compare to your own lightsaber.

(3 – anonymous – Sakako & Itachi, Walking Around ‘verse, fluffy)

Dad summons hawks, Mum summons deer–even if the deer contract didn’t have to go back to the Nara clan, neither of them feel right to her.

Itachi-oji sits beside her on the veranda, calm and translucent like the steam rising from her tea cup.

Silence is as much a part of their relationship as talking; after a few minutes, Itachi-oji suggests, “What about cats?”

(4 – anonymous – Shikako & Chiyako, admiration)

It’s not too surprising, really, admiration for childhood heroes turning into respect as she gets older.

Shikako-nee is kind and smart and strong, a credit to the village and her clan, a good role model for a young girl, even the future Aburame matriarch.

Chiyako keeps the friendship bracelet long after the thread has worn away.

(5 – anonymous – Academy Teacher Shino, Next Gen DoS, landscape changing legacy)

Shino comes to the Academy early in the morning to prepare for the day, a bit of calm before the chaos that makes up his class.

Amusingly, he knows many of this class comes by it naturally: the children of his friends, all of whom have less than orderly dispositions.

He chuckles, sound muffled by the collar of his coat, bringing out the detailed map of the Elemental Nations–today’s lesson is about his friends’ other legacies.

~

A/N: I think I’d like to slow down on the Three Sentence Fic Meme for now, maybe only one or two more installments, so put your last prompt in the askbox today.

Post Word Count: 344, Running Word Count: 2439

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.”

image

(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, 10/? (2016-11-04)

image

(1 – anonymous – even more 3.4, Shikako/Gaara, modern royalty!AU, family POV)

Theirs is not a family of soft gestures and kind words, as harsh and imposing as the desert they rule over–but Temari is queen now, and while her future is irrevocably tied to her country, that doesn’t mean her brothers’ must be as well.

“You won’t get the throne,” she says, fact more than prediction, nearly ringing with decree; Gaara looks at her with barely concealed hope.

“Do as you will,” she finishes, permission and blessing, as close to kindness as their family can get.

image

(2 – anonymous – Shikako/Shino, rescue mission)

He has been held prisoner for four days: his hive has been depleted, he has had minimal food, water, and sleep, and his left arm is still broken–the situation is less than optimal.

A small spider crawling beneath his cell door is all the warning he gets before an explosion reverberates through the facility, sounds of fighting and screaming following not long after, the spider making its calm but swift pace towards him.

Another, smaller, closer explosion breaks open his door revealing Shikako and his younger sister’s team, “I told you I’d come back for you.”

image

(3 – anonymous – Shikako, collective realization of butt-kicking ability)

It’s one thing for Shikako to put up a fight against Gaara who is, despite being a jinchuuriki and now the Kazekage, still a kid their age.

It’s another thing for her to take on a Sannin.

“Brats these days take things so seriously, it wasn’t a real challenge,” Jiraiya grouses, though the pride in his eyes could not be more obvious: he didn’t lose, and Shikako’s been sequestered in the hospital for chakra depletion again, but it was a damn near thing.

image

(4 – anonymous – Shikako, haggled advice giver!AU?)

“You probably shouldn’t do… any of this,” Shikako says, bewildered, eyeing Aoba and gingerly picking through the pile of detailed notes he dropped on her desk.

“Not even the pathway of flower petals?”

“That sounds expensive,” she answers, “and excessive considering this is only your second date… also… I’m thirteen–why are you asking me for dating advice?”

image

(5 – anonymous – Shikako & ??, … preceding reputation?)

“Oh, no,” Kakashi-sensei says completely deadpan, as he leans casually against a barrel of sake “my cute student has gone missing; none of her adoring fans can find her.”

From inside the barrel comes the muffled response, “You’d hide, too, with fans like that.”

“Lucky for this talking sake, my cute student is not on duty for another two hours,” Kakashi-sensei knocks on the barrel twice before wandering back out to the party, gearing up to deal with his own horde of fans.

~

A/N: While I love the enthusiasm of some of these prompts and appreciate getting prompts at all, if I could request them to be in this format–

“Character and/or Ship, AU or canon!DoS, theme/event/idea less than ten words”

–then that would be great. I don’t want to police it too much, but it’s kind of difficult to parse what some of the prompts are saying.

Post Word Count: 404, Running Word Count: 1443

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…

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…