Rating: G

Summary: Temari and Shikamaru play a game.

Spoilers: Post-time jump – spoilers for last ten or so manga chapters!

Disclaimer: All characters belong to Kishimoto Masashi, and his many, many well-paid lawyers. I am NOT making any money off this, nor am I trying to infringe on anyone's copyright. Believe that.

Authors' Notes: ShikaTema is one of my favorite het pairings in the Naruto-verse. It's my first time seriously writing for either character, so I hope to God that they aren't terribly OOC!

Questions, Comments, Suggestions: Send to All flames are read, laughed at then deleted with extreme prejudice.

"R & R" - By Net Girl

"It's not whether you win or lose, it's how you play the game."

"Missed me, missed me Now you've gotta kiss me ..." - "Missed Me", The Dresden Dolls

'A game.'

That's what it always was with her, a troublesome game. Shikamaru was content to spend his rare day off laying on his back and watching the clouds go by. That was all he ever strove to do in life, even now, two and a half years after his first serious step into the demanding world of the shinobi.

Since then, she'd visited Konoha off and on. Oddly, Temari of the Sand was the only girl he didn't find to be a pain in the ass. Odd, because by his definition of it, that's exactly what she was – a pain in the ass.

A girl. Annoying point number one.

Bossy. Number two on his list, though that could easily combine or alternate with number one.

Loud. The third strike. All girls were. Of course, so was Naruto, but that was another matter entirely.

Quarrelsome. Number four irritated him the most. She couldn't seem to shut up. And she never backed down. Arguing was pointless, he discovered. She always had a reply for everything.

When she'd shown up outside of the safety of Konoha's walls that afternoon, looking for him, every single damn one of those troublesome traits followed with her.

She'd blocked his view of the sky when she arrived, her hands planted firmly on her hips and an eyebrow arched slightly as she gazed down on him. "Is this what you plan to waste your day off doing?" she'd demanded.

Number two. At that moment, he felt so much like his father, he'd only scowled in response. Why didn't he tell her to leave him the hell alone? No. That wasn't what he'd said. "Yes. It is." Great. Good reply. That would would send her on her way.

He sighed inwardly at the not-so-distant memory. What followed was what had brought him to the situation he found himself in now.

"Let's do something ... fun," she'd suggested. That glint in her eyes, the devious one she would get from time to time, had somehow slipped by him today. If he'd caught it, perhaps he wouldn't be in his current predicament.

"Like what?" Another disastrous answer. Maybe it was the fact that she didn't fully register as an annoying girl with him, but he'd never expected the little 'game' she proposed next.

At that point, Temari had grabbed Shikamaru by his shirt and hauled him to his feet. Still, the glimmer in her eyes went unnoticed by him. As she spoke, he failed to realize she also forced him backwards at the same time.

"A game. One that will test your ability to control yourself," was her cool and collected reply. "Your old sensei keeps saying you don't train enough." That trademark smirk. "I can help."

Why did he always let his guard down around her? In any other situation, be it a mission or dealing with another person in the village, his moves were planned so far in advance, no one was ever ahead of him. Not with her. That was why he had his back flat against a tree trunk right then, with the lips of the Sand nin pressed firmly to his.

This was her idea of ... training. And her exercise had a set of specific rules that he couldn't question – no arguing.

"I get to do whatever I want to you, but you can't touch me, no matter what," she'd said. "And, to make sure that you don't try to cheat ..."

That's when he'd finally noticed he was underneath the shade of a nearby tree. Without the sun to create a shadow, he couldn't gain control of her. Lately, that was the only way he was able to do so. Then, before he had the chance to object, Temari muffled his mouth with her own.

What an absolute bother.

Temari felt the boy move. Her hands caught both of his wrists and forced his arms back down to his sides. Once she let go, her fingers slid up his arms, her hands coming to rest on his shoulders. Since she'd started her little 'game' nearly five minutes ago, that was the fourth time Shikamaru attempted to touch her. He understood the rules, he was just having a difficult time abiding them.

As much as he complained about girls in general, he certainly did little to avoid them. Or maybe it was only true in her case. He kept contact with Ino to a minimum, which was missions or whenever he simply couldn't avoid her. The same went for Sakura, Hinata, TenTen ... and any other female in the Village. Even their own Hokage, Tsunade-sama.

When Temari was around, he never had an excuse to leave. To the contrary, he always found one which left them alone. Together. His favorite was "I don't want anyone to see us together. Especially Ino. She talks too much for her own good. Troublesome girl."

For not wanting to be seen with her, she thought it extremely strange to be invited to his home a few months before, on a different visit to Konoha. That day, Temari met his mother. She'd not expected to meet such a pleasant, in-control sort of woman, considering the way he'd complained about her. The typical ranting – overbearing, bossy, didn't know when to shut up.

Years ago, in her own Village, Temari overheard one of the elders remark that a man searched for his mother, and when he finally found her, he married her. The comment didn't make any sense to her until her visit to Shikamaru's house.

Once more, her hands repelled an attempt from him to touch her. She wasn't quite ready to let him off of the hook yet. Besides, as much as he pretended to find it 'troublesome', he enjoyed being told what to do. It eliminated the hassle of actually having to make a decision.

Irritating woman. His hands were shoved down again. The only thing he was allowed to do was kiss her back. After this long, he'd grown terribly bored of doing even that. Would she ever get to that point? The brief pause in their exchange brought the false hope she had. No. He wasn't that lucky. Her lips brushed his again.

For the first time, he regretted that neither of her brothers had accompanied her to Konoha this trip. Both of them had duties back in their Village – Gaara, as Kazekage, and Kankurou, as support for his younger brother – and couldn't leave. Surely, if one of them had come, her absence would've brought him searching. Then, maybe, he would've been free of her and able to go back to doing nothing.

Without even realizing, his hands lifted once more. He managed to brush them against the sides of her hips. To his surprise, and more so, to his relief, Temari pulled back. Instead of looking at him, her eyes darted about, as though she searched for something.

"What is it?"

Her eyes narrowed. "I ..." she trailed off as the sensation of being watched ebbed away. She shook her head, brow furrowing slightly. "It's nothing."

"Are you going to leave me alone now?" he asked with an exasperated sigh. His eyes shifted back to the sky. The clouds had diminished in the last five minutes. Soon, there would be none.

One of her eyebrows arched as she crossed her arms over her chest. "Don't you want to know if you passed your test?"

"If knowing the answer makes you leave, then yes. Tell me."

She smiled brightly and laughed. "There is no grade!" she declared. "It was just a silly game!" With that, she headed back towards the gates of the Village.

Frowning, he watched the her retreating figure. The frown morphed into a scowl. "Just a silly game," he muttered. He laid back down on the grass, locking his fingers together behind his head. "Waste of time. Not as though it was a game with a point."

Even if he didn't believe it had a point, he spent the rest of the afternoon thinking about it – and her – rather than staring at the clouds as they rolled by.

By the time he reached home later that evening, Shikamaru had almost put it out of his mind. As he approached his front door, he found an envelope addressed to him on the step. After scanning the area a few times, to determine whether or not the sender was still around, he hesitantly picked it up.

After he opened it, he stared in stunned horror at the contents – a picture of him, with Temari, in the middle of a kiss. He turned the photo over to find two sentences scrawled on it:

"Aren't you supposed to be in the tree?" written in Chouji's hand and "So that's how you spend your days off!" in Ino's.

Gritting his teeth, his hands balled into fists at his sides. Now he'd never hear the end of it! Even worse, with Ino's big mouth, the entire Village would know about it by morning! The utter agony. The embarrassment. The humiliation! All because of that troublesome woman and her stupid game!

Ze end!