A/N: Hello again, one and all. Sorry for the wait.
Nine Long Months
A Shikamaru-Temari Story
Chapter Five: Telephone
It was early afternoon when Shikamaru returned. He reached up to knock on the door, but decided to see if she had left it unlocked for him. She had. The house was completely silent. Shikamaru was exhausted after two trips from Konoha in less than a fortnight and decided to dump his pack on the floor of the guestroom he had been assigned on his previous stay and sleep for a long while. He was half startled when he walked into the dining room to see that Temari was reading quietly at the head of the table, chewing placidly on an apple.
"How'd it go?" she asked, setting her book aside.
"My mom kicked me out of the house," he said, holding his bag by the strap and standing awkwardly in the doorway.
"Oh," Temari replied simply.
Fatigue was pulling at Shikamaru's eyelids, but he knew that he couldn't just walk out of the room. Even though her eyes did not digress from their endless right-to-left path, Shikamaru could feel that she seemed to be expecting something from him.
"Do you want to go spar?" she asked suddenly.
Shikamaru was caught off guard. "What?"
"There's tons of room in the back yard," she said, getting up. "I'll get my fan."
"You can't spar," Shikamaru said as if it were the most ridiculous thing he had ever heard (and he had had Ino on his genin team), "You're pregnant."
Temari gave him a glare and plopped back down in her seat. "That's what Kankuro said, too," she muttered. There was a pause and Shikamaru shifted his pack to his other shoulder. "Do you want to do something else, then?" she asked, sitting up straight, "Are you hungry? I could make you something."
"No, thanks," Shikamaru replied; he knew what she was looking for. "We can go somewhere later, if you want." The offer worked like a charm.
"Where do you want to go?" Temari asked, trying to mask her excitement.
Inwardly, Shikamaru thought "I don't care," but he said "You choose. I'm going to take a nap. Wake me up when you want to leave."
"Okay," Temari said cheerily and resumed her book.
Shikamaru was shaken awake much too soon. Luckily, Temari's chipper mood had lingered. Shikamaru didn't remember her being quite so troublesome back in Konoha. Perhaps pregnancy had gone to her head.
The Leaf nin dragged himself out of bed (he had slept fully dressed, as to save time) and fixed his hair when Temari told him to. She wasn't overly dressed, which he took to mean that they weren't going to an expensive restaurant. Temari practically skipped down the stairs. Something wasn't right.
"Where are we going?" Shikamaru asked suspiciously.
"It's a surprise," Temari answered teasingly.
"Naruto, bug off!" Sakura shouted, "Some of us have work to do, you know!" She would have given the hyperactive ninja a super-human strength smack upside the head if her arms were not laden down with huge medical scrolls.
"Come on, Sakura-chan," Naruto pleaded at the top of his lungs, "It's almost lunch time. Let's go get some ramen! Please!"
"No," Sakura sad through gritted teeth, "Because you'll make me pay again." Naruto didn't say anything; she was right.
"Hey, do you hear that?" Naruto asked in his version of a quiet voice.
Some one could clearly be heard yelling. It sounded like it was coming from the Hokage's office. Naruto began to sneak down the corridor towards the door, which had been left ajar by some convenient coincidence.
"Naruto!" Sakura hissed, "Don't spy on Tsunade-sama!"
"Shh!" Naruto hushed her. Sakura crept closer to him, intent on pulling him away by the ear. She stopped, however, when she heard what was being shouted inside the room.
"—he should be recalled immediately!" It was Shikamaru's mother.
"He specifically requested being placed in Suna, Yoshino-san," Tsunade said calmly.
"Shikamaru isn't old enough to be making these kinds of decisions! How could you approve his request?" Yoshino's voice was shrill.
"Normally, I would not have," Tsunade was clearly trying to hold onto the last shreds of her patience. "However, there are some extenuating circumstances. He is old enough to accept his responsibilities."
"Yoshino-san," Tsunade cut her off firmly, "This is not an official matter. It is a personal one. I will not recall Shikamaru from Suna. If he chooses to return on his own, then I will approve it. Whether you like it or not, they have made their decision."
"They are too young to be having a child!" Yoshino growled.
"There is nothing you or I can do about it," Tsunade's voice began to rise, "You would be better to talk this over with your son and Temari. You are dismissed."
If Naruto's jaw had hit the ground, Sakura's had fallen into the basement. They traded glances.
"We shouldn't tell anybody—" Sakura began to say, but Naruto had already taken off.
"OH MY GOD!" he screamed as he burst forth from the front do off the Hokage Tower. "OH MY GOD!" he bellowed as he took the street ten feet at a time.
Ino and Choji were sitting at a café table on the sidewalk.
"I CANT'T BELIEVE IT!" Naruto yelled as he sprinted down the street, "SHIKAMARU KNOCKED HER UP!"
Ino's head whipped around. "What did he say?" she asked. "Shikamaru would never do something like that." Choji shrugged and stuffed a croissant in his mouth.
At that moment, Sakura went flying past the café as well. "Naruto!" she shouted. "Shut up!"
"Let's go, Choji!" Ino commanded and ran after Sakura.
"But…the bill," Choji said. He stood for a minute, brows knitted in indecision. He reached into his pouch, pulled out some money and left it on the table before tearing after Ino.
"OH MY GOD!" Naruto continued. "SHIKAMARU AND TEMARI!"
"I wonder what he's so excited about," Hinata said. She and her team mates were on the sidewalk.
Akamaru barked. "I knew it!" Kiba said and pumped his fist in the air, "I knew they'd hook up!"
"Look," Hinata said and pointed down the street. Sakura ran past them, shouting for Naruto to stop. She was followed by Ino, who was followed by Choji. "How strange," Hinata remarked.
"Alright!" Kiba said, "It's a race!" He took his place in the procession, Akamaru at his heels.
Hinata looked from the dust-cloud that was the other shinobi in the distance to Shino. He shrugged. Hinata went after Kiba. Shino turned around and went home.
"OH MY GOD!"
Naruto ran straight into Iruka, knocking him to the ground.
"Hey," Iruka said, "Watch out, Naruto, you'll hurt some one." He then noticed that his former student was foaming at the mouth. "What's wrong?"
The blond grabbed him by the shoulders. "IRUKA-SENSEI! I JUST CAN'T BELIEVE IT!"
"Naruto!" Sakura shouted, arriving just in time to deal him a punch to the side of the face. He went flying through the air and did a face-plant on the road.
"Why can't you be more discreet?" she howled at him.
She stood panting, and within seconds, all of the chasers had arrived.
"What the hell is going on?" Ino asked.
Shikamaru had been chewed up by the teeth of hell, swallowed, digested, and currently found himself in the very bowels of the devil. It was called the Suna Community Centre. Temari's idea of a good time was a prenatal care class. A class that met once a week for two months.
Seven other couples sat in a circle on plastic chairs. They all looked to be in their twenties and thirties. Most were beaming and hold hands.
Shikamaru sighed and hunkered down in his chair. The instructor was a middle aged woman who spoke as if she were teaching a group of particularly slow five-year-olds how to tie their shoes. Temari was scribbling down every word that she said in a notebook balanced on her knee. She glanced over at Shikamaru, clearly telling him to be quiet. He straightened himself in his chair and tried to look like he was listening. He caught the part about hormones and a heightened emotional state.
After the two hours of torture, the class was adjourned, but coffee was offered. No one left. Shikamaru and Temari stood off to the corner, unsure of how to approach such strange creatures as the expecting parents.
"Let's leave," Shikamaru suggested.
"Stop whining," Temari hissed. "I want to meet other pregnant women."
"Shut up, some one's coming."
It was a woman with blue-black hair, dragging a tall, dark-haired man by the arm.
"Temari!" she chirped. "It's so good to see you again." She hugged Temari.
"Uh, hi Sachiko," Temari managed to get out. She wasn't used to being embraced by nearly-complete strangers.
"This is my husband, Satoshi," Sachiko said, shoving the man forward a step. He had a Suna forehead protector. He saw Shikamaru's; his upper lip twitched.
Temari nodded and said nothing. Sachiko's gaze flicked to Shikamaru.
"Oh, right," Temari said. "This is Shikamaru."
"You guys look kind of young to be married," Sachiko said.
"We're not," Shikamaru said.
"Oh," Sachiko said, but kept her smile up. "So have you set a date?"
"We're not—" Temari started to say.
"Oh," Sachiko said quietly. They all stood awkwardly for a moment before Sachiko excused herself and Satoshi.
Temari kept here eyes on the remnants of her coffee. Shikamaru shifted from foot to foot.
"Let's go," he said. Temari nodded.