Naruto Fan Fiction
Wind and Shadow
By Kraven Ergeist
Things could have been better as far as Shikamaru could see. Then again, things could be a lot worse.
His whole team, his first team to command, had survived, but barely. Although he hated to admit it, it would have been a failure had it not been for the help of the Sand Nins, as well as for Lee.
Even so, he had failed in his actual assignment. On the whole, however, he was alive, and so were his friends. That was enough.
Shikamaru cracked his neck as he walked down the street.
He had heard that Naruto would be leaving for training with one of the Sanins. Jiraiya, if he remembered correctly. The Sand Nins, in addition, were scheduled to leave that day. He didn't really want to see them off; didn't feel like swallowing his pride a second time in front of them.
In front of her.
Shikamaru sighed, and stopped walking.
"I would have thought you'd be preparing to leave," he said, not facing the one who was watching him from above.
The one whom he addressed just smiled, wryly, and leapt down to where he was standing on the street.
"It's already been taken care of," Temari shrugged. "We'll be leaving shortly."
Shikamaru sighed again, and resumed walking.
"You come to laugh at me some more?" he queried, his eyes lazily studying the ground before him.
"I came here to say farewell," Temari said. "And to offer condolences for the…misfortune…that has become of you and your village."
Shikamaru groaned. "Sympathy? From you? Now I know I've hit rock bottom."
Temari wrinkled her nose. "You could be a little more gracious about it."
Shikamaru sighed. "Yeah, I could be. You could also stop rubbing your superiority in my face just a little, but it doesn't mean you're going to."
Temari shook her head. "I'm not trying to sound superior. You're the one who's reached the Chunnin level, after all."
Shikamaru threw the girl a menacing look. "Then what else are you here for?"
Temari looked away. "Well, I…"
Shikamaru glared; he wasn't called a genius for nothing. He could tell what was going on.
"You've gotta be kidding me," Shikamaru. "Women, I swear."
Temari glared back. "You know, you could afford to be a bit less chauvinistic."
Shikamaru shook his head. "And you could stop pointing out every detail about me that you find to be sub-par. To be honest, I don't wanna hear it."
Temari scowled back him. "You might appreciate the fact that I'm still even talking to you after that remark."
Shikamaru sighed. "I was wondering about that. You must really be crazy for me."
Temari glared. "I…am not!"
Shikamaru shook his head. "Either you are or you're not. Just like a woman to bat around their beliefs like that."
Temari stopped walking. "Would you stop being such a sexist and listen to me?"
Shikamaru stopped and turned. "I've been listening this whole time, haven't I? If you've got something to say, then say it."
Temari stopped. She wanted to tell him off. He deserved it! He was stubborn, lazy, chauvinistic, and completely ill mannered.
"Look…I…" Temari stumbled over her words. "I'll miss you, ok? It was nice to get to fight together, and it was nice…to still be on the level with each other after it was over. There, I said it! Happy now?"
The two of them stood still for a while, the wind blowing around them. Though Shikamaru never took his eyes off her, Temari refused to look his way.
And a good thing she wasn't, Shikamaru observed, off hand. If she had been looking, she might have had time to prepare for what came next.
Temari sensed his approach and reacted too slowly. Before she could lift a finger, he hand his hand on her chin, and was pulling her face to his, and placing a kiss on her lips.
Had Temari been able to think clearly, she would have thrown him off of her. Would have smacked him, would have throttled him, would have, would have, would have…
Instead, she let herself be absorbed by him. Shikamaru, for all his laziness, his bluntness, and lack of manners, had still found his way into her heart, and infected her with this subtle feeling.
Maybe it was a crush, maybe it was affection, maybe it was…something more. All she knew was that she wanted him to keep kissing her, wanted, suddenly, so desperately, to stay in Konoha just a little bit longer.
Shikamaru, for his part, was torn between his mind yelling at him for making such a stupid and rash move, and his emotional side rediscovering what it meant to feel attachment. His decision to kiss Temari had been purely spur of the moment, and now reality was suddenly catching back up with him.
Shikamaru parted with her, half prepared to receive a painful slap on the face, and made his best attempt to smile.
To his relief, and later, he realized, to his happiness, she had a mystified look on her face, one that spoke of both confusion and longing.
Shikamaru licked his lips, taking in the last bit of savor from his contact with her, before turning around. He had decided, after careful consideration, to rescind his motion to refrain from seeing off the Sand Nins.
"I'll see you at the gates," he said.
Shikamaru gave a backwards wave of his hand and walked away.
Temari, for her part, was still spellbound. What exactly had just transpired? Had Shikamaru, the ninja who had made a fool out of her in the Chunnin Exam, who backed her into a corner, only to give up, and then receive the rank of Chunnin anyway, just kissed her? It had been an occurrence so unexpected that she had never thought it possible to take place.
Or had she simply not wanted to? Could it have been that she didn't allow herself to think about it in order to protect herself, least mere thoughts turn into lustful fantasies?
Obviously, since now she found herself wanting so greatly to kiss him again.
Hold on, she told herself. Get a grip. You can't have him think you're wrapped around his finger already. Stay cool. That's right. Stay cool.
"Shikamaru," she sighed, with her trademark smirk. "You'll get yours one of these days."
At the gates, Shikamaru bid the sand Nin's before him farewell. Standing beside her two brothers, Temari would not, could not do anything hinting anything between her and Shikamaru.
"See ya," Shikamaru said, plainly, somehow making himself out to be both lazy and respectful. "Be careful going home."
Kankuro, the eldest, and thus, the one in charge, gave a respectful bow. "Yeah."
Gaara just stood silently.
Temari sighed. As far her brothers were concerned, he was there simply out of respect and gratitude for their team and for their contribution. And he was. Shikamaru knew this, as did Temari.
But there was no mistaking the look he threw her way as he said the second part of his farewell.
Just suck it in, Temari told herself. You can't appear weak in front of your brothers. Just let him go.
The three of them turned to leave, and Temari bit her lip. She could feel Shikamaru's penetrating gaze on the back of her head.
Perhaps… she thought to herself. Perhaps just a quick goodbye?
"If anything happens again," she said, turning to face him. "We'll help out. Is that ok, crybaby?
Shikamaru twitched. Always getting the upper hand, this girl…
"You talk too much," Shikamaru grunted. "Because of that, women are…"
When it became evident that he wasn't going to finish the thought, Temari just gave a friendly wave. "See ya."
Shikamaru watched her silhouette disappear into the forest, along with her other teammates. When he was sure they were out of both sight and earshot, he gave a sigh, cricking his head backwards, looking at the sky.
"Because of that," he repeated, "Women like you are…the only thing men like me can depend on."
He returned his gaze to where Temari would be.
"Don't…don't let me fall into the same hole that Sasuke and your brother did. Don't let me live a life…without someone there, letting me know that it's alright."
Shikamaru stood still for a moment longer, as if waiting for her return. But inevitably, he turned, and returned to the city grounds.
Unbeknownst to him, the blonde haired girl who was the object of his affections was hidden well within earshot of the boy.
"Shikamaru…" she muttered, voicelessly.
She stood up, stricken with unfamiliar emotions, and turned to go.
A/N: Ok, originally, I'd intended for this to be a one-shot fic, but now I'm thinking about continuing it through. I think I'll wait, though, until the manga proceeds a bit further, since, as you might have been able to see, I'm staying relatively within the lines of the story.
Read and review.