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.