Disclaimer – these characters do not belong to me (but I wish they did)

No spoilers really and not sure if this can actually fit the continuity since it is set in a random future where Shikamaru and Temari are both adults.

I love this pairing.

Rated T for bad guy death and implied sex and language

Edited 2/20/2008

------------ Lighting the Shadows ------

Shikamaru closed his eyes. The sun was setting and the shadows were stretched as far as they could possibly reach. It was the time of day when he was strongest, the fleeting time that his family's jutsu bathed him in power and awareness. This had been the time of day he chose to attack. Something seemed fitting to the dark haired man about a life ending in harmony with a day that was ending. The two missing-nin had not stood a chance. They both lay at his feet now, battered and broken and very much dead.

He opened his eyes. One of the dead was his target, a missing-nin from leaf that had been evading capture since the attack from Sound years ago. The other was from Suna if the forehead protector was to be believed. Both missing-nin, although only one was on his list to kill. He frowned: at least they weren't innocent. He couldn't handle killing any more people like that. The assassinations where he didn't know why – those were getting to him. He knew his Hokage had a reason for everything she made him do, but without any evidence to go on, all his brain could do would be to play out every possibility, and too many of those resulted in the target being the victim of someone else's ambitions.

These guys were guilty though. He had seen the reports of merchant caravans that had taken damage, civilians that had been injured or killed. He started to set up a barrier to destroy the missing-nin. Killing a Sand Missing-nin would be appreciated by the allied nation, especially since this one was evidently a freebie. He was almost ready to set off seals that would destroy the body when he sensed someone.

The sun hadn't set yet, and the shadows were long. If they didn't know who he was, they would attack at his strongest point. He reached out his perception through the impossibly long shadows of sunset. There. He found it. One shinobi approaching. He wrapped his awareness around the other person, and then he straightened up, "Temari!"

He pulled his awareness back to him and waited for her to arrive. He didn't let his guard down though, in the years he had known her, he knew how volatile the woman was. If she meant to seriously attack, she'd have waited for dark, but that didn't mean she wouldn't try to send him flying on his ass just for old times sake.

She landed in the clearing. She looked different than back in his chuunin exam, she had grown up. Her hair was still in the four ponytails and she still had the same smile when she saw him, "Hey crybaby."

"Hn" He smiled at her though; she was impossibly bright in her white outfit with her blonde hair. Not the same type of bright as that annoying orange ball of energy back in Konoha. No, Temari was stunning and composed, and part of Shikamaru's brain added 'breathtakingly beautiful'.

"I see you've joined ANBU." She walked over towards the sand missing-nin and snapped a picture of the body with a small camera.

"The uniform is less troublesome." He watched her carefully.

She smiled, "You said you became a Jounin because that was less troublesome."

He shrugged, "You've met my mother. It got her to be quiet for a while."

"ANBU would be more likely to be sent towards Wind country … and sent alone." She smiled as she walked towards him.

"You're wrong." He smiled as he took a step towards her. "Being me would mean I am more likely to be sent, since I am not letting anyone else have missions this way."

She reached out her hands to grab his, "That sounds like it's troublesome."

He leaned forward to kiss her, "Less troublesome than not seeing you."

He needed her. She was all light and sun to his dark and shadows. She was warm to his cold. The passion in her fighting style was opposite his cold and calculating way. She was the light his soul needed when the thoughts of those he had killed kept him up at night.

He wrapped his arms around her, holding her tightly as they kissed. When he was holding her, the setting of the sun didn't bother him and the moonless darkness of the night was not something to keep him up. When he had her, everything in his world was all right. Even if it could only be secret meetings when they both took missions towards each other. For the chance to be with her, he'd take every mission towards her village he could. He knew she was doing the same thing.

He found what he needed in her, as they made love under the moonless night sky -- the little piece of his soul that was still human and not overtaken by shadows. Whispering how he loved her as he held her afterwards, he knew it couldn't last. She was from a different village. If only there was a way, but neither of them could go missing. He held her tight, falling asleep in her embrace as he realized he no longer cared about his childish life plan. The whole wife who was neither pretty nor plain and the two kids, no -- all he wanted was Temari. All he wanted was what he could never have for more than a brief moment in time.