Claimer: I DO own Naruto. I'm not even joking. I really do. Well, not really…but still.
Author's gripes: I finally feel now that the TemaShika community has now a firm rooting in and now would be as good a time as any to put up my one shot. You all are lucky I woke up this morning feeling like writing and I had loads of time today :p.
WARNING: This is a weird-ass fic!
The wind. Shikamaru had known as a child of the legendary wind of the wind country. The wind swirled about you and pulled at your clothes like a gaggle of children all wanting to play. When it didn't nag at you lightheartedly it liked to shove you around in funny directions at random, almost as if it were a sentient being, carefully timing moments and directions to push its victims for the most humorous results. The wind was a bother, but the wind was something one could cope with.
The heat was another matter altogether. The wind could be shielded against. The heat penetrated everything. It stung and it bit, it crawled up your legs and it bored into your skull as it cooked you from the bottom of your feet.
As the elder sensei used to say: "The wind punishes, but the heat will always be the one that kills you."
For this reason Shikamaru didn't bother to bring a blanket, and now he was beginning to wonder if it were a mistake.
He cringed as he calculated the probability that it would only get colder. He gritted his teeth as he quickly weighed his chances of being able to make it to the hidden village by the next day, much less by the time the sun stopped setting. Desert air was dry and almost painful to breathe. He wished that he could be almost finished with this dead place and it be done with him.
It had only just begun.
Because of an unexpected summer brushfire, they had to take a detour that cost them precious time. Now instead of six hours to cross the stretch of harsh desert between the forest edge and the sand village, they had two. They were running almost full out, too. Their sweat made a trail for miles, the sun beating them with heat until it seemed liquid flowed freely from their bodies.
He would say something too, but he was sure all his previous thoughts were already in existence in his companion's head.
What defined companion? Was it just the person walking with you? Sharing little more than a common destination? Was it the person you shared light conversation with? Held their bag when they got tired?
Is that all she was to him? Definitely not, Shikamaru decided. She was more. But what? He didn't know. And that, for some reason, made him a little uneasy.
Despite the more wary part of his brain telling him he would be sorry, he opened his mouth anyway.
"You idiot. You didn't bring a blanket, did you? That or you didn't think we would have to spend a night on the sand, right? For such a smart boy you sure don't have a lot of common sense. You should always bring one anyway."
Shikamaru closed his mouth just as slowly as he opened it, annoyed. He never would learn his lesson, would he? She was hopeless. She continued on, seeming not to care if he was listening or not. "You're the one that insisted on leading me around. Apparently the big man Shikamaru Nara would lead the poor helpless girl who is just the princess of the sand country through the desert and protect her from all danger! Well, what is the plan now?" she demanded.
She knew she had him. She had not objected to him leading her back just for this reason. She had to show him who was boss. Just another attack point in her plan. And it looked more and more like a flawless rout by the hour.
Shikamaru rolled his eyes. He knew he was wrong. He had to surrender this one if he wanted to live. Either she would kill him or the desert would. He stopped running at the top of a particularly tall dune. Temari landed next to him, her arms crossed.
"Fine." He said with as much indifference as he could muster, "You tell me what we're gonna do."
Temari pushed past him, a smirk creeping in. After staring one-hundred-eighty degrees across the dead horizon she finally found what she was looking for. She pointed at a wavy area on the sand perpendicular to their course to the Sand village. She raised her finger matter-of-factly.
"We are gonna ride until we hit a shinogiba."
Shikamaru raised an eyebrow. "You mean a rest stop for inter-village merchants? We are in the middle of nowhere! The nearest trade lane is at least 40 miles away! And what to you mean by ride?"
Temari didn't reply. She simply smiled a little more.
Temari ran off again at full pelt before Shikamaru could protest. Two miles later, after another high dune they reached the distorted area of land and Shikamaru was taken aback at what seemed to be the most awesome and scary sight he ever bore witness to. The area was distorted from afar because a swirling mass of air- a dust devil- was raging through the desert, pulling the rapidly cooling air from the sand and pushing it into the atmosphere. The funnel was at least fifty meters wide and five hundred meters high to Shikamaru's eyes. It moved noisily across the sand, its sound tearing though their ears, and its wash stinging their faces.
"Do you" -gasp- "trust me?" she huffed.
"Ch'yeah."Shikamaru managed to reply, halfheartedly.
"Then keep running!" Temari shouted, as the swirling tempest raged with such fury as to drown out all else. Temari's eyes began to rapidly dart across the surface of the storm, almost spinning as she seemed to "read" the devil as her and Shikamaru circled it. After she was satisfied, she fixed her eyes on one spot and followed it. Without looking at him she yelled back at her companion; "Hold on and do what I say!"
Shikamaru was already out of ideas and he figured he had no choice. Though he had no idea what the hell the kunoichi was thinking of, he trusted her.
Reached back behind her and clasped his hand as she cut in towards the center of the tornado. Shikamaru fought down a blush as he felt Temari's surprisingly soft fingers in his palm. He was lost in thoughts as she yelled: "Jump!"
The two leapt into the air as Temari seemed to summon her fan into her hand and after looping her arm in to a strap before thrusting it though the invisible skin of the devil.
Shikamaru had never felt this feeling before; Flying. He had always dreamed of floating away with the clouds, taking his time as he gently sailed across the sky. But this type of flying - Temari's idea of flying - was totally different. He blasted through the air, the world zooming as they both made lazy rounds around the clear tornado. It was wild, fast, violent, and scary. It really fit her.
Shikamaru's thoughts on this were confirmed as she finally took her eyes off the twister and looked back at him, still holding onto her hand. She grinned at the mortified look on his face. 'Sadist' he thought. 'She is LOVING this.' And he was right. Temari looked back into the storm and with twist of her fan, opened it and sent them zooming outwards.
"Wheeeeee!" Temari cried with glee.
"W-WWAAAAAHHH!" Shikamaru screamed in mortal terror.
Shikamaru thought that they were now going to fall to their deaths, but to his surprise the duster caught up with them and they began to follow an elliptical orbit around the storm like a pair of screaming comets. Shikamaru couldn't tell how fast he was going, but he knew it was fast. DAMN fast.
And they didn't slow down. In fact, quite the opposite. After a few revolutions, Temari suddenly tightened her grip on her partner. With a grunt and a heave she flung Shikamaru clear across the center of the funnel. Shikamaru found him self facing Temari as they circled each other across 12 meters of dead air.
"What the HELL are you-"
Temari didn't answer but just swung her fan against the flow of air. A bubble of violent air formed like a massive marble and slowly circled around the inner border of the funnel, wind within itself was spinning inside like a sphere. Shikamaru marveled at its odd beauty and wondered; why did Temari make it? How did she do it, and how would it feel like when it killed him? He figured he had about .8 seconds until he found out.
He was right.
The bubble of air caught him and blasted him into the upper reaches of the tornado where Shikamaru was spit forcefully and completely out of the storm at an altitude of 2,200 feet.
"AAAAAAIEEEE!" He screamed again.
Shikamaru knew he was probably going to die now.
As the sound of the dust devil faded, the feeling of actually flying began to set in. It was the more desirable, peaceful, and quiet flying. As he continued his silent arch upward though the dark blue of the late afternoon sky, he let his mind wander.
He wondered if they would find his body.
He wondered how long the rescue mission would last.
He wondered if his teammates would participate.
He wondered if he met any of his fellow ninjas in the afterlife soon, what would he tell them?
He wondered just how far him and the enigmatic fan girl would have gotten ?
Would she have been his scary wife?
The one that wasn't a beauty and not a hag?
Would she bear his son? His daughter?
Would she be proof that his dad was absolutely right?
If he was more candid with others.
If he was more candid with himself.
If he just listened to his heart and not disregarded his feelings as troublesome fodder.
If she hadn't just inadvertently killed him.
As he looked around, he felt his ascent begin to slow. However even at this critical moment, his mind was on the clouds.
'At least in my final moments, I will be able to see the clouds' he thought, sarcastically . He thought this because he was about to break them. The clouds were stained dark-orange from the setting sun, the heat of the sand bending the light so that they seemed to glow.
Shikamaru smiled, threw his head back and tucked his arms behind him in anticipation. He put his mind to use and figured the more aerodynamic he was going up, the faster. The faster, the more cloud-time. His heartbeat quickened. His lips pulled back in a lopsided grin. His fists clenched and unclenched as the clouds became closer and closer...
Heaven. Paradise. True and Absolute Freedom.
It was the only way Shikamaru could describe it as he shot though the cloud level and into what seemed as a whole new world. The ground was all marshmallow fluff that radiated the color of rust. The horizon was blue as a deep ocean and faded to black where the most beautiful stars he had ever seen twinkled at him. He could see all of them it seemed, and the band of sparkling milk across the sky seemed to stretch endlessly.
He flung out his arms and stretched his fingers as if he had wings. He twisted 'round in a double barrel roll at the apex of his flight path. He soared in body and spirit, and for once his mind was free. But all too soon, he was falling down rapidly.
Shikamaru didn't finish his third barrel-roll. He simply leant back into the fall and tucked his hands into his pockets. He watched heaven float away from him as he plunged through cloud after cloud, the trails behind him swirled as if waving goodbye to their short visitor.
Temari heard the surprisingly feminine scream of terror as the chakra-sphere of wind threw her companion up and out of the dust-devil.
After waiting a moment, she swung her fan around like a massive wing, pushing herself into the dying sphere and blasted herself out of the storm, zooming after her partner.
Shikamaru closed his eyes, tears slowly leaking out. A taste of heaven had been what finally told him. Told him what he should have done. It freed his mind and allowed him to read what was in his heart. He knew that there wasn't any real issues he hadn't come to terms with, except one.
The girl, and what she was to him.
He should have.
Shikamaru's train of thought was violently derailed as he landed back-first into something solid. Was it the ground?
No. He was still flying.
He was on..a fan?
With a laborious grunt, he turned onto his stomach and felt someone sitting next to him.
Temari guided the fan back on course after clumsily catching Shikamaru mid-fall. He now understood now what she meant by "riding' back.
She motioned with her head and Shikamaru sat with his back against her, facing rearwards.
Immediately reverting to his stoic self, he asked: "Was that absolutely necessary? I thought I was dead back there!"
"No, I just wanted to hear you scream!" she replied. "What took you so long to come back down? I was worried-"
"That you would let me fall?"
"-that my calculations were incorrect."
"Do you throw yourself into massive, violent storms often?"
"Twister-riding has always been a wind pastime, but even the most experienced and strongest can only go so far and so high. Nobody has been able to break the clouds and live. It is said to be impossible."
"So I was the first! As in you didn't know if this would work or not!"
Temari's smile widened. "You said you trusted me right?"
Shikamaru put on a more-than-miserable face and sighed.
"Don't, rest yet, we still aren't done. We are still essentially falling, I have to catch the cushion still. Get up and hang on!"
Shikamaru had no idea what the hell Temari was talking about but he wrapped his arms around Temari's waist as they got up, and as temari rose she looped a length of rope around the front of the fan. As the ground rushed closer and temari turned her head to the side. "Use your chakra to pull the fan to your feet and HOLD ON!"
Shikamaru did what he was told. As they got almost 100 feet from the sand below, temari guided the fan towards the descending slope of a large dune. At 5 meters from the sand, she reared up. After a period of rough deceleration fan it seemed as if they were skating off the surface of the ground, kept aloft by a "cushion" of air and a thin layer of slippery chakra.
"So this is how you sand-nins get around this god-forsaken desert." Shikamaru mumbled into Temari's ear, sarcastically. "Its like something out of a fairytale!"
After twenty minutes of ramping up dunes, flying for a few seconds and landing on the side of another, they came to what remained of a rest stop. Temari and Shikamaru, both exhausted from constantly exerting chakra, mutually decided it was time to stop. Temari bled her speed off and both ninjas leaped off the fan as Temari folded it back into her sash. The sun had almost completely disappeared below the dunes as Shikamaru surveyed the hasty campsite. All that was left was splinters of wood supports and the corner of the building, the remains of the walls about 7 feet tall and stretching outward for two meters as it slowly crumbled to only a few inches tall before vanishing into the sand below.
As they both gathered wood for the fire, both ninjas had the same creeping thought in the back of their minds- the blanket.
After the fire was started, Temari's eyes met Shikamaru's.
"You ta-"they both chimed simultaneously.
Shikamaru turned away and put his hands back in his pockets.
"You're the girl. You take it."
"Don't give me that sexist crap. You aren't used to the nights out on the sand. I am. You take it."
Temari seethed on the inside.'Was he that DENSE? Couldn't he see? That idiot. Why were men so stupid?'
She turned from the other ninja and took the blanket. After unfolding it she leaned against a decrepit wall of their meager shelter. "Tell the cold how you are a man. I'm sure it will listen and refrain from freezing your heart while you sleep."
Shikamaru leaned against a short pylon of wood that jutted a few meters out of the ground opposite the fire from Temari, facing away and looking at the wispy cirrus clouds listing along, and the stars glistening beyond them. Unseen to temari, his hands were together, and this time he wasn't thinking with his head, but more with his heart…
Temari imagined he was bound to the pole, the fire in her view engulfing him, as he sat on his lazy ass incinerating. 'How could he be so stupid and lazy?' she asked herself again. She was doubly angry at herself at the fact that she cared so much for this bastard and how he had beat her. She didn't know how long she could take it. She wanted to go over to him. She wanted to kick him over. Kick him in the gut. She wanted to straddle him so he couldn't run. So he couldn't look away as she pounded him until he declared his unconditional submission to her. Temari blushed furiously as she thought of all the other things she wanted to do while straddling him.
After almost an hour of planning and strategy and staring a hole through his flak jacket, temari yawned as the cold's grip squeezed the fire into a pitiful pile of embers. She was surprised as she heard Shikamaru walk up to her. His heavy feet was an indication of just how exhausted he was.
pfft pfft pfft pfft
Temari looked up.
"What was the real reason. Why did you send me up there?"he asked,
Temari smirked as she stealthily reached into her kunai pouch.
"I wanted you to get a taste of heaven. Just to see what you would be missing before I sent you to hell."
Shikamaru's eyebrow raised.
"Do you think I let you lead me around and waste the day away just to prove I know more about the desert than you? Idiot. What do they tell you at the academy? 'A ninja must see beneath the underneath?' You obviously didn't listen very well. The stars here provide enough light to see, but there are too many coming from all directions to create a defined shadow. Your jutsu is useless here and now."
Shikamaru turned away from Temari once again and let his vision flow across the distant sand. "And to think all this was just so you had a chance to fight me. Because you knew I wouldn't want to do it again. Hmph. Women are so-"
He was cut off in a flash as Temari darted behind him and pressed one kunai to his neck and another to his belly.
"Go out with me."
"You heard me. I'm tired of the bullshit. I know you know how I feel. I hope you're not that dense."
"Good. I'm tired of waiting. I gave you your dream…"
Temari blushed all the way from the roots. Shikamaru shivered slightly from the feeling of Temari's warm breath on the back of his neck, contrasting the cold blade to his throat. He knew from her tone that it was one or the other. She leaned to his ear.
"…now give me mine."
"Is that a request?" Shikamaru asked, coolly.
"Its an ultimatum." She replied, almost whispering into his ear.
Shikamaru's sprit soared again. The bottom dropped out below his stomach and his heart seemed to jump in his chest.
"If I refuse?"he inquired.
Temari's voice hardened.
"I kill you right here for your body to freeze in the night, leave in the morning as you defrost and let you slowly fry all day, repeating the cycle until your bones turn to dust."
'Distract her. Now.' Shikamaru thought.
"Its sexy when you talk dirty" Shikamaru mumbled under his breath. It caught her off-guard. Temari blushed even deeper. Before she could respond, Shikamaru gently pushed the knives away and turned to walk to the wall.
"Fine. I guess I have no choic-A-CHOOO!"
Shikamaru sneezed unexpectedly and turned so he could lean against the wall and slide down it until he sat against it. Temari placed her kunai back in her pouch and flung the blanket over them both as she sat next to him.
"Your're gonna get si-"
"Don't care." She snapped, abruptly.
As she planted herself next to him she slowly took Shikamaru's hand and twined her fingers with his.
Shikamaru felt the heat rise in his cheeks. "Women are so trouble-"
"Shut Up, Nara." Temari spat as she used her other hand to yank her new boyfriend closer, his head resting gently against the crook of her neck.
Shikamaru let a smile play across his face, inwardly. Things fell where he knew they would.
Kankuro pulled with all his might, but Gaara was stronger. He thought he could almost feel his rage emanating from his body. He struggled to keep his arms around Gaara's shoulders, but he was cutting it close. If he gave only a few inches, blood would definitely be shed.
"Gaara, NO!" Kankuro pleaded.
"LET ME KILL HIM!" Gaara roared. His face was red with fury, and his muscles shook with strain.
Shikamaru shifted in his sleep. He could have swore he heard something. But something was definitely tickling his cheek. He didn't want to get up. He was still tired. After a bit more mumbling Shikamaru opened his eye.
Temari woke from a peaceful dream with a start. Why the hell was he screaming? She jumped when she raised her head.
A hand, composed entirely from sand was inches from her face.
Temari leapt to her feet, legs splayed and fists clenched. "Gaara! Stop! You cant kill him!"
"I WON'T! JUST AN ARM…OR A LEG…."
Shikamaru pressed his back against the corner farthest away from the blood-soaked hand of death in front of him, his miserable face returning. The scene in front of him was truly original. Kankuro was still struggling to hold Gaara back on the top of a nearby dune, and Gaara was thrashing wildly as his controlling hand opened and closed, bloodlust clearly visible.
Temari was standing between the fist and him, screaming for her brother to calm down. Shikamaru sighed and pushed the thought of imminent and bloody death out. He had enough of those lately. He let his eye wander to the silhouette of his new girlfriend against the rising sun to the east. She was beautiful, even more so when she was screaming.
His brain told him that when Temari said she was going to send him to hell, she was completely sincere. His heart however, told him that it wouldn't be that bad. Actually, not bad at all. But still…
This most likely is the weirdest temashika oneshot ever. That's worth at least a review, right?