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This is very troublesome, Shikamaru thought as he watched the Hokage pacing. Why, when the mission is particularly crappy, does she always call on me? And, for that matter, why did he always accept them? Well, the reason he accepted them was quite simple, really. If he didn't, she would hit him. If there was one thing he did not want, it was for the Godaime Hokage to hit him again.

On the recommendation of his father, Shikamaru had started working more closely with Tsunade. This working relationship was, at first, rather enjoyable. Then, she started to get violent. Any time he would contradict her, she would ask, "Do you want me to hit you?" He would always say no, but there were times that he must have failed to answer her quickly enough, because once, she had knocked him out of her office window, and another time, had broken the office doors and nearly flattened Shizune in the process.

In spite of her violent tendencies, Tsunade-sama could be very nice. Once, she had shown up to his house, early in the morning, and rescued him from one of his mother's breakfast-time tirades. They had gone for a walk, talking about different strategies for rebuilding the prestige of Konoha. Shizune was her personal assistant, as well as administrator of the hospital, and Tsunade had decided that it would be best if he were to share some of her workload. About a month after he had started to deal with some of the paperwork, He had been toting a stack into the office and…


"Hokage-sama, I have more paperwork—" he looked around the towering stack of papers in his hands and saw Tsunade-sama standing at the window, looking out at the village. Her reflection was surprised, but there was a great deal of sadness there, which was punctuated by the tears that were making their way slow down her cheeks. Coloring slightly, he averted his eyes. He felt like he had seen something he should not have. "Gomen, Tsunade-sama." He put the paperwork down on the desk and walked quickly back to the door. He paused with his hand on the knob, and looked back at her.

The pained expression was still on her face, and he tried to smile reassuringly. He watched as she closed her eyes, and then he turned the knob. As he left the room, he was amazed by how fragile she had seemed. He was halfway down the outside stairs when he heard her call his name softly from the door to the building. He trudged back up the stairs, his eyes never leaving her tear-stained face. Shikamaru was amazed that she ever showed a weakness…

"I'm going to skip out on work for a few hours. Will you split a bottle of sake with me?" She asked as he reached the top of the landing.

Handing her a handkerchief that his mother had made for him, he said, "As much as I would like to, I'm on duty." The blonde-haired Hokage seemed disappointed. "But, I can keep you company, Tsunade-sama."


A week after this, the Hokage was angry with him, and had thrown her chair at him. He tried to dodge it, but it was spinning as it flew, and one of the legs came round and hit him on the side of his head. He went down with a thud, and was unconscious for a few minutes. When he woke, he found that she was kneeling at his side, with an odd expression. She looked ashamed. Her fingers gently probed the lump on the side of his head, and she started asking him questions to make sure that he still had all of his brain function.

"What is your name?"

"Nara Shikamaru."

"Who am I?"

"Tsunade, Godaime Hokage of Konoha."

"Are you angry with me, Shikamaru?"

"A little, Tsunade-sama. My head really hurts. Why did you have to throw the chair at me?" He wouldn't have minded so much if it had been a kunai or a shiruken. But a chair? He had sighed just then, and tried to get up. She pushed him back down, and he hit his head. "Itai! Hokage-sama, do you have to be so rough?"

"Only with you."

What? Huh? What the hell? Did I really hit my head or something? I guess auditory hallucinations are a bad sign…

"Why?" He heard himself speaking, but he wasn't sure why he was saying this. She was the Hokage, and she had been angry because he had mouthed off as usual. That was pretty simple. The reason she had thrown the chair at him was simple, although inflated, and that was all there was to it.

She was smiling down at him, and it made him feel strange. It was a little like when he had been sitting with Temari a few months ago, and she had not thought that he was looking at her. Her face had softened from its usual severe expression, and she looked at him. Her eyes had been very like the Hokage's were right at that moment. What is going on? Have all the women gone crazy? Tsunade's hands were still on his head, but they were no longer checking to see if he was ok. Blinking rapidly, he tried to clear the image of her from his vision. It was not a hallucination. The Hokage was looking at him the way that Sakura looked at freaking Sasuke…Oh, hell no!

Shikamaru scrambled backward, his feet slipping on the wooden floor. Tsunade looked very confused. He only stopped his backward movement when his shoulders hit the wall. "Umh, Tsunade-sama, are you alright? You're looking at me pretty strangely."

At that point, the woman had seemed to come to her senses. She stood abruptly, and walked to the window. "You can leave, Shikamaru. But get Shizune to look at that lump." Her voice had been strange then. It was cold, distant, and was he going insane, or did she sound hurt?


Now, as he stood before the desk she paced in front of, and listened to her deliver his latest mission orders, he watched her closely. She was pretending now that nothing strange had happened. Tsunade had been this way since the chair-throwing incident. He was hearing her, and filing all of the information away for future use on his mission, but he was also studying her body language, the nuances of her speech, and the fact that she was not making eye contact with him.

Did she think he was an idiot? He knew exactly why she was sending him and his team of genin to the Sand village. She wanted him as far away from her as she could get him. The mission was bogus. A messenger could do it, without even a single genin to guard them. Instead, she was wasting valuable resources just to get him out of her sight. His nostrils flared in anger, and he gritted his teeth. Why were women so troublesome?

"Are you listening to me, Shikamaru?"

He was pulled away from his thoughts, rather violently, as Tsunade hauled him up off of his feet. She was livid. He blinked. She was really, really having a difficult time of things; that much was plain. He wasn't very disposed to being thrown through the window or the door again though. Shikamaru looked down on her from where she held him by his flak jacket. Blinking slowly, and trying to keep his voice completely level, he said, "Tsunade, put me down."

She blinked in surprise. Before she could stop herself, she was lowering him to the floor again. When she let go of him, he straightened his clothes, and looked her in the eye. She was completely shocked. He was slightly proud that he had been able to keep himself so calm when he was on the verge of being thrown, beaten, shaken, or whatever she had planned for him at the time. Pursing his lips, he cocked his head to one side. "I think we need to have a little talk, you and I."


"Ohayo, Temari." Shikamaru gave the black-clad jounin a small wave. Her right eyebrow twitched upward slightly, but that was all. The three genin behind him sniggered. "Oi!" he said, turning to them. "You three go and find something to eat, but don't get into any trouble." They were exstatic. Soon, they had vanished. He shook his head. They were very, very troublesome.

"Shikamaru, what is your problem?"

"Huh?" He turned back to the Sand Jounin and saw that she was smiling broadly. The large large metal fan strapped to her back glinted black in the sunlight, and this glare created a halo out of her four ponytails. The corners of Shikamaru's mouth twitched upward.

"Come on, baka." Temari grabbed him by his shirt, and dragged him up the street. He stumbled, and for a moment, he thought he was going to fall. She made an annoyed sound in her throat, and he tried to catch up. Why was she walking so fast? Having caught up to her to an extent that she found sufficient, she let go of his shirt. He followed as closely behind her as the crowd would allow. She suddenly veered to the left, and they were then walking down a street that was much less crowded.

He sighed in relief. He hated crowds. Her walk slowed suddenly, and she was walking beside him. He studied her from the corner of his eye. She moved with utter ease and confidence, even in the heat. He himself was stifled in his flak jacket. Fiddling with it briefly, he unzipped the thing and was silently relieved. Even if the air was hot, it was air and not damp cloth clinging to his skin. Where are we going, anyway?

His thoughts strayed to the afternoon months ago when she had been in Konoha to prepare for the newest round of chuunin exams.


The two of them had gotten something to eat, and taken it up to his favorite cloud-watching spot, the roof on top of the Konoha Ninja Academy. He had been lying on his back, a sandwich sitting on his chest, watching the wispy bits of cloud go by. They were silent, but it was not an uncomfortable silence. She sat near him, and every now and again, when she thought he wasn't looking, when his eyes were nearly closed, she had looked at him. He remembered her eyes then, the soft expressiveness in them, and the way the clouds above had oddly seemed to frame her face.

Temari really was very beautiful, when she wasn't trying to beat the stuffing out of him.

After a while, she had settled on her back next to him, only a foot away, and watched the clouds with him. It was a nice feeling, to be there with her. She wasn't hitting him, or calling him a sissy, or a cry-baby, or even teasing him in any way. The light breeze that had been playing over the rooftop had brought a faint smell of lilies over to him from Temari as she dozed next to him. Yes, it had been a very good feeling.


"In here." She pointed to a doorway, and they ducked inside. It was cooler indoors, and he was quite glad for that. They were in a large room with rounded stucco walls, painted a dark red. Temari removed her fan from her back. Shikamaru looked around. This had the distinct look of a house, someone's home. After propping the fan next to the door, the girl plopped onto a long gray sofa. "Are you just gonna stand there with your mouth open, or are you gonna sit?"

Shikamaru seated himself opposite her on a low chair. He looked around. "Where are we?"

"Oh, I'm sorry. This is my house. Do you and your team have a place to stay while you're here?" She was being very nice to him very suddenly. Was she offering them a place for the duration of their stay? He had to fight to keep his eyes from narrowing. Did she want something?

No, he told himself, just because she's being nice doesn't mean she wants something. You have to learn to trust people a little more. "No, not just yet. Do you have any suggestions?" He tried to keep his voice impassive, but it was difficult when he saw the way that she was sitting.

Temari sat with her arms thrown over the back of the couch, and her legs crossed. Shikamaru wasn't sure if she realized it or not, but the skirt of her kimono had slipped off of her right leg, and was exposing a long and very attractive leg. He had to force himself to keep his eyes on her face. That's it. Look her in the eyes.

"Well, why don't you guys just stay here? I was wanting to catch up, anyway." He barely heard her. He was too busy internally shouting at himself to keep his eyes away from the pale expanse of skin that rested gracefully against the black silk of her kimono. Finally, to clear his thoughts, he closed his eyes. "Shikamaru? Are you asleep?"

"No. I'm awake. My eyes hurt. The sun is very bright today." Oh, man, was that lame! He mentally scolded himself for being a total idiot one more time, and then opened his eyes. She was still sitting there, her leg still exposed and a small smile on her lips. Suddenly, a thought occurred to him. She's doing that on purpose. She knew exactly where my eyes were…oh, no. Fighting back a very fierce blush, Shikamaru said, "Thank you for the invitation. Would you mind if I asked my team before giving you an answer?" He rose from his seat.

Temari's foot had begun to twitch up and down. Was she nervous? "Not at all. Come back when you have their answer." Her voice was oddly low, and he wondered dully what it was that she was after. For a moment, his heart skipped a beat. She really couldn't want that, could she? While it wasn't exactly an unwelcome thought, he just could not picture Gaara and Kankarou's sister ever looking at him in that way, wanting him that way.

And to think I was satisfied with watching clouds together?

He excused himself politely and went in search of his genin. Suna was much larger than it seemed, and it took him a couple of tries, asking directions and making wrong turns, to find the restaurant district. Now, to find the restaurant they would be in…Izumi didn't care what she ate, usually, as long as it was good, and Emi was usually on a diet, so it obviously wouldn't matter to her, so long as she got just enough that she wasn't hungry. Juro, on the other hand, wanted cheap food, and lots of it. He was usually the one that picked the places the three genin ate, since he was the loudest, and the most obnoxious, and the two girls simply didn't want to hear his complaints. So, he looked for the nearest ramen shop.

Sure enough, Izumi and Emi sat leaning on the bar, while Juro worked on his fourth bowl. The man at the counter simply stared. It was amazing how much the kid could eat. He was thin as a rail, and could eat his own weight in miso ramen. Izumi spotted Shikamaru first.

"Shikamaru-san, can you please make him stop? He'll make himself sick again." Izumi really was concerned, since she didn't like to see anyone ill. He might have to ask Tsunade or Shizune if they could try teaching her medical jutsu. Shikamaru had a feeling that she wouldn't mind.

"Oi! Baka!" Shikamaru tried not to laugh as the genin turned his head, long strands of noodles dangling from his mouth. It was a futile attempt. The image was so comical that he doubled over, holding his sides, and laughed hard for about thirty seconds. When he straightened, he said, "Finish up. I have to ask you guys something." He was amazed. The kid turned back to the bowl, and in less than a minute, it was empty. That's gotta be a record. He'd give Naruto a run for his money.

"What's up, Shikamaru-san?" Emi asked casually.

"Temari-san has offered to let us stay at her house. I was just coming to see if you three had any objections." Juro shook his head, saying that he didn't mind. Emi and Izumi shot each other secretive glances, and he rolled his eyes. Those two…I swear I'll have to talk to Iruka about them. He really was never sure how to deal with these two particularly silly girls. Emi, however, had been one of Iruka's favorite pupils, and he figured that there should be a reason for it, but he hadn't found it yet. Izumi was just plain silly, and there was absolutely no getting around it. Sighing, he explained to them where Temari's house was, and they all nodded.

Juro was best with directions, so he concentrated on him. When he was sure that he understood, he said, "I'll be informing Temari-san that you have agreed. Try to be there no later than sundown. I'll be delivering the document to the Kazekage tomorrow, and then we can get out of here."

That will be a relief. He wasn't exactly eager to leave, but it was the easier thing to do. Remembering the smile that Temari had when she sat across from him, he was suddenly very glad that they would be leaving the next day. Less time for something to go wrong…

As he walked back to Temari's house, much slower than he had on his way to find Juro and his teammates, he thought of the talk he had with the Hokage.


"I understand that you're upset with me, but is there really any reason to be acting like this?" He had been dreading this conversation, but it had to happen some time. "Tsunade," he said, suddenly amazed at his boldness. He had not used her honorific, but she did not betray any signs that she minded. "Please, talk to me. What is it?" She had been looking away from him, and refusing to speak. For a long moment, there was a very awkward silence, broken only by their breathing.

She turned to him, and there was a look of utter loneliness in her eyes. It was the same look as the one she had when he found her crying at the window. "Sorry," She said dully. "It's just hard for me to…express my feelings."

"I don't know." He said, rubbing his neck, "You did a pretty good job just now." He was trying to make her feel better, but it was so obviously not working. Making his voice as serious as he could, he said, "You are my Hokage. If you have to tell me something, tell me. I don't care what it is, even if it's troublesome. If you need to cry, cry. I really don't mind. Just please don't throw any more furniture at me. When you do that, I start questioning your humanity." His tone lightened at this last, and she smiled slightly.

"So you don't hate me?"

He snorted. "I could never hate you, Tsunade, but…I'm not sure that I can be—" His voice had died in his throat just then. The pain had surfaced on her face again, and he hated looking at it. What was he going to do? Women were strange and troublesome creatures, but this one was much more so, because she was the Hokage. He gave up on talking. For a long moment, he just looked at her. The pain in her eyes hurt him, too. It was a terrible feeling. How much pain and death had she seen with those eyes?

Surprising even himself, he reached out and hugged her. When he had let go of her, she smiled at him. "I have to go now. The genin are waiting." She had nodded.


Now, he stood at Temari's door. Raising his hand to the door, he knocked. "Come in!" He ducked into her door again, and when he entered, he found that there were already three bedrolls piled on the far side of the room. She obviously had been expecting a favorable response. Three bedrolls? His heart sank. Where was he going to be sleeping? She noticed the direction of his eyes, and said, "I only have one guestroom, so they'll have to sleep in here. Is that alright?" He had to fight back a sigh of relief.

"Sure. I'm sure they won't mind. The bedrolls look pretty comfortable, anyway." She led him back to the guestroom, and he threw his backpack down on the bed. It was a small room, painted a light green, and the coverlet had green leaves embroidered over it. It was the one he had given her for her last birthday, when she had been in Konoha.

He turned to her, and was about to ask where the bathroom was when she said, "You'll probably want to freshen up. There's a bathroom in the hall to the right." She excused herself and closed the door behind her. There it was again, the smell of lilies…He sat on the edge of the bed, shaking his head roughly from side to side.

He had to stop thinking about things like that. Taking a shower would help him clear his head. He removed his shoes, and placed them next to the bed. Then, taking up his backpack, left the room and padded down the hallway. The bathroom was a stark contrast to the rest of the house. Where the walls in the rest of the place were stucco, there was sparkling royal blue tile from the floor to the top of the arched ceiling, and with the indirect lighting in the room, it made it seem that the place was underwater.

Shikamaru put his backpack down next to the door, and took off his flak jacket. He wondered if it had been Temari's idea to tile the entire bathroom. It was very strange, but he had a feeling that it had been. After he had folded all of his clothes neatly and placed them next to his bag, he padded over to the shower. The water was hot, which was good. He needed to burn his thoughts away. Taking his hair down, he stood under the spray.

Eyes closed, he breathed the steam from the water. His thoughts were still there. There was no water hot enough to burn away Temari's image from his mind, and he hated it. Standing under the spray, he leaned on the shower wall. Why her? Why now? This is very, very, very troublesome. He blamed the clouds. They had framed her face so perfectly, and she looked like an angel. Stop it, damn you! If you can't focus, what the hell are you going to do with yourself?

No matter what he told himself, no matter how long he stood under that hot water, it didn't seem to help. After about fifteen minutes, he gave up. He turned off the water, and stepped out of the shower. There was a small rack of towels near the shower, and he pulled one from it and wrapped it around his waist. He walked slowly across the slick floor, to the sink. He wiped the steam off of the mirror, and looked at himself.

"What are you doing, baka?" He asked himself, and no answer was forthcoming. For a long time, he stood there, staring at his reflection. His hair was dripping, and his skin was pink from being under the water for so long. Turning on the cold tap, he splashed his face. It felt very, very good. Gripping the sink, he blinked water from his eyes. "Get a hold of yourself, Shika. You'll get through this." He looked back up to the mirror, but it had misted over again.

As he wiped the mirror again, he was absolutely horrified at what he saw. His face was the same as it had been, but behind him, across the room, stood Temari. He turned quickly, his hair spraying water across the room and onto the walls. "G-gomen, Shikamaru. I didn't hear the shower. I-I thought you were finished…" Her eyes kept flicking from his face to his body, and her face had begun to turn pink. He could tell she was just as embarrassed as he was, and that she was just as unable to move. He swallowed audibly.

Slowly, Temari backed out of the room. He leaned against the sink. Oh, why, why, why did that have to happen? How was he going to be able to look her in the eye now? He wanted to yank his hair out. He felt like such an idiot…Had she heard him talking to himself? He hoped and prayed that she had not.

He really didn't want to leave the bathroom. But he couldn't hide out in here forever, could he? Not easily, no. He went to the door, and took up his backpack. From it, he pulled a simple blue kimono that he'd packed in case they didn't end up staying in a hotel. He slipped into it, and belted the obi around himself, cursing his luck. There was no strategy when dealing with women under these circumstances. If you approached it like a battle, there was no way to win, because there were just too many ways for them to grind you down.

Muttering to himself, he picked up his things and left the bathroom. He went into the guestroom, and lay down. Staring at the green ceiling, he wondered what Temari was doing.


Temari sat quietly in her bedroom. She stared off into space, trying not to remember what she had seen in the bathroom. She should have stopped when she saw all the steam still in the room, but she had not. She should have run from the room when she saw him bent over the sink, but she had not. He had leaned on the sink, water dripping from his face, and talked to himself. If she had not heard what he said, her mind would not be racing as it was, and neither would her heart.

"Get a hold of yourself, Shika, you'll get through this."

What had he been talking about? He couldn't have been referring to her. No. Shikamaru was not the type of person to…but he had stared at her so intently earlier when they sat in the living room…and he had been so stiff…

"Get a hold of yourself, Shika, you'll get through this."

For no reason at all, the image of him dozing under the clouds came to her mind. He had looked so peaceful, even if he did look a little silly with the remains of his sandwich on his chest. Every now and again, the wispy clouds would partially block the sun, and shadows would play over his face. She smiled. That had been a good day.

She flopped back on the bed. She had only been teasing him earlier, but she had enjoyed it. The men of Suna did not look at her as they would a normal woman. She was not quite an object of fear, as Gaara had been, and still was to some. Though they did not fear her, they seemed to be rather in awe of her. It was different when Shikamaru looked at her. He did not care that she was the daughter of the former Kazekage and the sister of the most feared man in all of Suna. When he looked at her, he saw only her, of that she was sure.

The clouds…shadows…she closed her eyes and breathed deeply. How was she going to look at him now?


"Didn't I tell you you'd be sick Juro?" Izumi handed the boy a glass of water. "You never listen." She shook her head. Shikamaru sat at the table, watching the genin. Emi sat by herself to one side, meditating. That was new. He had not seen her do that. Filing that away for later use in his talk with Iruka, he looked around the room. Temari had still not come out of her bedroom. Was she ok? Should he go and talk to her? No, she was probably asleep.

"You guys be quiet. I think Temari-san is sleeping."

"But it's so early!" Izumi's voice squeaked.

"Just be quiet. Or at least make a vain attempt." He was in a bad mood. "I'm going to bed, too. If you're too loud, I'll kick you all out into the street. I don't want to be woken up by your idiotic squealing." Izumi's mouth hung open, and Juro's eyes bulged. Emi had not even moved. Perhaps there really was a reason Iruka liked her. Pushing the thought aside, he stalked off to the guestroom.

Shikamaru flopped down on the bed.


He pressed the heels of his hands to his eyes, rubbing furiously. Groaning, he rolled onto his side, facing away from the door. He needed sleep. Just sleep. If he could get to sleep, he wouldn't have to think of her. He wouldn't have to close his eyes and see her face, hear her voice, smell the excruciatingly delicate scent of lilies…


Rolling over onto his back again, he stared up at the darkened ceiling. He was in hell. Was he being punished? If so, what the hell for? Had he done something bad in a former life? No, that couldn't be it. He was just an idiot…a fool. Baka.

A small voice in the back of his mind, small but persistent, started to speak. Go and talk to her. Go. Go. Go. Talk to her. Go.


"I'm going insane. Yep, I'm going totally freaking nuts." He announced to the ceiling. He rolled to the edge of the bed and swung his feet over the edge. "I've gotta be nuts…" he muttered to himself as he opened the door and started out the door. Not ten feet down the hallway, further to the back of the house, was the door to her room He stood in front of it for what seemed like forever.

Finally, he knocked. "C-come in." He turned the knob, and opened the door. Lilies…the scent drifted up to him, familiar and exotic all at once. He closed his eyes for the barest of moments, allowing himself the small luxury of breathing in what had become his favorite scent. Then he stepped inside.

"Umh…Temari? Are you alright?" She sat in a chair before a dressing table. The ponytails were no longer in her hair, and it fell to her shoulders, in golden sheets. He could hardly breathe as he looked at her. After a short pause during which he somehow managed to breathe again, he continued. "You've been in here for a long time, and I was wondering if you were ok."


Temari's eyes widened as he entered the room. Shikamaru's hair was still not in his characteristic spiky ponytail, but hung, oddly wavy, to his shoulders. The kimono he wore was the color of the sky. He asked her if she was alright, and she could do nothing but nod. Baka! Say something! He's going to leave…


After she nodded, he turned to leave. At least she wasn't sick. She seemed ok, and not quite so embarrassed as she had been in the bathroom. When his hand touched the knob, he heard her say, "Wait, Shikamaru. Please…"

She had never said that to him before. Please… He was finding it hard to breathe again. Drawing his hand back from the knob, he turned. She stood there, next to the chair, in a white kimono belted in blue. Again, he thought she looked like an angel.


He was moving further into the room. She watched as he came to rest near the foot of her bed. Temari watched him, helpless. The shadows played over his face. It was like that day…Before she could stop herself, she was moving. Then again, did she really want to stop? She came to a stop a few feet away from Shikamaru. She couldn't speak. Then, her feet started moving again.

Her right foot tripped on a fold in the rug, and she fell forward.


Shikamaru reached out and caught Temari, his arms around her waist. She was clutching handfuls of the front of his kimono. As he looked down on her, he smiled. Lilies…she always smells like lilies. Her eyes were shut tightly. She had been expecting to fall to the floor. Slowly, she opened her eyes.


He was smiling…smiling and holding her. Shikamaru's smile was soft, like the one he wore when he was sleeping under the clouds. The clouds…she blamed the clouds. It was the way the shadows had played over his face. It was the way his chest rose and fell. It was the way he looked at her and saw her. All under the clouds.


Why can't I move? Why can't I breathe? Why, why, why, can't I say something? Inside himself, he was in torment. He was holding Temari. She was letting him. Temari was letting him hold her, and she was looking at him with those large, expressive eyes. So, why could he not do anything? He wished he could stay this way with her for a very long time. If he didn't do anything, he couldn't screw up. But if he didn't do anything, he would hate himself.

Slowly, ever so slowly, he began to move. His right hand was straying toward her face, and as he touched her cheek, he expected her to shy away, to slap him, to scream at him to get the hell out of her room. Temari did none of those things.


Temari's heart skipped a beat, and then she leaned into his touch, not minding the calluses on his hands. Her hands seemed to move on their own, releasing his kimono, and traveling slowly around his neck. Her heart pounded in her chest. He was still smiling…


Shikamaru nearly gasped as Temari's arms encircled his neck. Oh, what do I do? Then, he laughed internally. There really wasn't any more room for thought. His movements were still slow, tilting her chin upward, slowly. Leaning down to her…slowly. The scent of lilies surrounded him, finally, he could breathe. Slowly, gently, softly, his lips touched hers, and he pulled her closer to him.


Temari and lilies…