Summary: What happens when Ino decides to prove that Shikamaru is indeed Temari's property? Nothing good...

Rating: T

Warning: Some OOC-ness…this is my first Naruto fic after all.

Disclaimer: Not mine and never will be.

A/N: This started out as a drabble and then kinda mutated into a monster. My hand just refused to stop writing. Maybe I rushed it too much...

Long Overdue

An angry wind blew, slicing into the flesh of any unfortunate body in the way and annihilating everything in its path. The silence that followed was only broken by the monotonous sound of blood dripping; the blood of the enemy. A missing-nin of the Sand who had been either very brave or ridiculously stupid to challenge a ninja, who at that time was in a terrible mood.

"Che, men are all idiots."

Feet landed gracefully on the ground. A large and beautiful fan was drawn shut with an audible click. A tall woman with blonde hair that was pulled into four ponytails frowned down at the mangled body of the S-ranked criminal with something akin to disgust on her face. Nudging at the prone figure with a foot, she smirked at the confirmation that the other was indeed very dead.

"Should have known better than to betray your own village, huh? Worthless piece of trash,"

Silence, and then a crack sounded. In a flash, two kunai whipped through the air only to be caught deftly by two hands.

"Oi! Calm down, Temari. I don't feel like dying young," drawled a deep voice.

"Then stop sneaking up on me, Kankurou," Temari snapped as she walked past the puppeteer on her way back to the hidden village of Sand.

"I couldn't have, if you hadn't let your guard down,"

If looks could kill, Kankurou would have been buried six feet under by that time. Eyes glinting in amusement, he noted the clenched fists and the deep scowl etched across his companion's face. It wouldn't take a genius to figure out that Temari was seething with barely contained anger, and he had a hunch on what or more precisely who had invoked such a murderous intent in his sibling.

"So, your trip to Konoha went well?" he asked nonchalantly.

The glare that followed proved his suspicions right. However, he refrained from any further comments as Kankurou felt that he hadn't yet lived long enough.

What did that guy do this time? he wondered in exasperation.

Nara Shikamaru was puzzled. For once in his life, his keen mind could not conjure up an explanation as to what had transpired the previous day. This led to a sleepless night of analysing the incident over and over again, which resulted in his brain being extremely exhausted by that morning. The fact that he was troubled enough to lose sleep over the matter annoyed him. Furthermore, knowing that he was taking the effort to be annoyed over it irritated him even more. So all in all, the nineteen year old Jounin was having an extremely bad day.

"Here, take this," said a worried Chouji, while offering some of his precious barbeque meat to his brooding friend. He sighed in dismay when Shikamaru did not even acknowledge the rare gesture. Frustration at his friend's behaviour nearly ruined his appetite – nearly.

"Shikamaru!" he said loudly, finally resorting to waving his free hand in front of the impassive man, "If you are going to continue staring off into space I'm going to eat all of the meat,"

Shikamaru snapped out of his gloomy daze to raise a dark eyebrow at him. "So? What's new about that?"

Chouji huffed impatiently and muttered, "If you were going to be like this I could have just eaten alone. It's not like I can say that I'm enjoying your company right now,"

The other Jounin closed his eyes and rubbed a hand over his temple. "OK, OK…sorry, Chouji. I just didn't sleep much last night,"

"Hmm? I didn't know you had a mission last night,"

"I didn't," came the tired reply.

Chouji's jaw hung open, the half-chewed food in his mouth on display to everyone at the small restaurant. Having been close friends with Shikamaru since their childhood, he knew that the other boy never failed to sleep at night unless on an important mission. Unless something was really troubling him, which in itself was strange as Shikamaru was not the type to let anything bother him too much. With rising discomfort, Chouji realised that he didn't really want to know what had caused this change in his friend.

"Ugh! Chouji, close your mouth! That's just gross," shrieked a familiar voice, followed by his mouth being slapped shut by a hand.

"Uwah! Ino, that hurt," he yelped, glaring at the blonde who had slid into the seat next to Shikamaru.

Ino stuck out her tongue at him and rolled her eyes when he returned the favour. "Seriously, you will never score with women if you keep on acting like an immature brat, Chouji! Look at Shikamaru. He's grown up to be such a lovely young man. Why not try to follow his example?"

Unfortunately for her, Chouji was only half-listening to her lecture. His attention was mostly focused on their other friend who was slowly edging away from Ino, a look of distress on his face. Confused, Chouji looked back at the konuichi who was still rambling on while leaning on Shikamaru, unaware of the pony-tailed Jounin's discomfort.

What's going on between them?

"Geez, Shikamaru! What's gotten into you? I'm not going to bite," said Ino finally taking note of how her friend was shying away from her.

In response, he eyed the attractive female warily. Chouji frowned. Ino rolled her eyes again.

"Look, I've already said that I'm sorry. It's not that big of a deal anyway," smirked the blonde, purposefully leaning in towards the other man until their noses were nearly touching, "it was only a little kiss-"

To Shikamaru's immense relief, they were interrupted by a sudden choking noise. However, the relief quickly dissolved at the sight of a purple-faced Chouji. The poor man had just attempted to swallow the last piece of meat, which lodged itself in his throat as soon as he heard the last remark. In a flash, Ino hopped over to his side and started to thump on his back furiously. After a few anxious moments of vicious beating, he managed to join the living again.

"Ino, if you don't stop now, he really will die," pointed out Shikamaru, ignoring the glare she shot at him.

When Chouji finally caught his breath he looked between his ex-team mates with narrowed eyes. "What is this about kissing?"

Shikamaru shifted uncomfortably in his seat, averted his eyes and mumbled, "This is so troublesome,"

"It was harmless, Chouji. I was just proving a point to big-forehead girl," explained Ino in an exasperated voice, "She refused to believe that Temari-san likes Shikamaru. Well, I guess it is kind of hard to believe that someone as sensible as Temari-san would like a lazy guy like this idiot. Anyway, since none of us are brave enough to ask her outright there was only one other way to prove it. If she got jealous after seeing Shikamaru fooling around with another girl, it would prove that she really likes him, right?"

Chouji could only gape at his girlfriend. Did she have a death wish?

"Still, I didn't think that Temari-san would get that riled up. She must have it really bad for you, Shikamaru."

The stupefied look on the laidback man's face was certainly a very unusual sight. Even more so was the violent blush that covered his face as everything clicked into place in his abused mind. For a few minutes Shikamaru continued to stare unseeingly at Ino, his mind still refusing to accept the answers to his prior ponderings. That foul-tempered Sand ninja could not like him, could she? It would be just too troublesome and…exactly what he wanted. Eh?

Chouji held back a grin as his friend's expressions changed from shock to an interesting mixture of glee and dread. Unlike her boyfriend though, Ino wasn't so tactful about the other's uncharacteristic ignorance.

"You didn't know?" exclaimed Ino incredulously. "All this time, you didn't know? Oh god, help me. So much for being the smartest ninja in Konoha. At least, I hope you explained everything to her,"

A lot of fidgeting ensued.

"Shikamaru, you idiot! I swear, if I get killed before I marry Chouji and have kids, I'll haunt you forever!"

It would be safe to assume that the temperature in the hidden village of Sand had never dropped this low in its long history. And the frigid air was caused by none other than one of the best ninjas of the village - the fan-wielding sibling of the Kazekage. On a brighter note, her cold demeanour was very effective in scaring away enemies and unwanted visitors from the village. Then again, it was also alarming the sand ninjas and their clients much to the distress of the village's council. After an entire week of suffering from frostbite, the council member finally decided to appeal to the Kazekage for an urgent solution.

Pale green eyes regarded the gathering of the council members. "You want me to send Temari away?"

"N-not r-really, Kazekage-sama. We just wish to find a cure for her a-ailment," stammered an elderly man fanatically

Kankurou, who stood beside their young leader tried to contain his amusement. Ailment? If that's how you want to put it, he mused. At that moment, there was nothing he wanted more than for his other sibling to be present at the meeting. Of course, that would also mean a hundred years of pain for all of the council members.

"I don't think that Temari is sick," murmured a bemused Gaara. "Is she, Kankurou?"

Suppressing his laughter proved to be too much effort for the taller man as his face flushed red, so in the end all he managed was a shake of his head. Gaara looked up at his old friend blankly before asking, "Are you sick?"

More vigorous head-shaking followed, while the council members and Gaara looked at the puppeteer's extremely flushed face in alarm.

Frowning, the red-head turned his attention back to the others. "I don't see why we should find a cure for her if she's not ill. If that's all you needed to discuss with me, then this meeting is adjourned," With that, Gaara glided out of the room in the company of a gasping Kankurou.

"B-but, Kazekage-sama! Our ninja's are refusing to work in her presence and our economy will drop at this rate…"

Ignoring the frantic pleas, Kankurou closed the door of the Kazekage's office as Gaara seated himself at the desk. Once alone, the taller man let out his laughter, tears streaming down his painted face. Finally when he calmed down enough to talk, he was met with a questioning gaze.

"I take it that you haven't met Temari since she came back from her last mission?" asked Kankurou in between chuckles.

Gaara shook his head and his sibling grinned with a wicked gleam in his dark eyes, "Well, I suggest you pay her a visit. You might understand what that meeting was about. Oh and a word of advice, proceed with extreme caution,"

The following day, an eagle from Sand was spotted in the hidden village of Leaf carrying an urgent message to the Hokage.

Tsunade raised both eyebrows while gazing at the young man standing in front of her. As usual, the dark-haired teen looked completely at ease, slouching slightly with his hands shoved into the pant pockets. Even so, nothing escaped the calculating eyes of the female legendary Sannin. She noted the dark circles under his eyes and the way he tapped one foot lightly in a restless manner – signs of stress. This was certainly an interesting development.

"Shikamaru, your presence has been requested by the Kazekage."

The fifth Hokage tilted her head curiously as the Jounin's eyes widened. The look of relief that flashed across his face could have been easily missed, before his expression was schooled into one of resigned consent. "What sort of mission is it?"

That's what I would like to know as well, wondered the Hokage.

"Hmm? It wasn't specified in the message. I believe you will be informed once you arrive at Sand," said Tsunade, "you will be leaving immediately."

A smirk spread across Shikamaru's face slowly, startling the Fifth. "Oh well, I guess it can't be helped…even if it's bothersome,"

The look anticipation on the young man's face assured the Hokage that this mission was the last thing from troublesome for Shikamaru. Tsunade exchanged an amused look with Shizune as the Jounin strolled out of the office with a bounce in his step.

Men are lowly creatures and they should just do us a favour and drop dead, thought Temari, with a malevolent glint in her teal eyes. Hmm, except Gaara…and maybe Kankurou.

Lost in her fantasy of killing off every single male in the world, Temari failed to notice the menacing aura that was leaking out of her. However, the newly appointed Chuunins, whose training she had been assigned to overlook cowered away from her in fear.

"There she goes again, cackling like a mad woman," whispered one of the braver boys.

His friend shot a panicked look at their trainer to make sure that the intimidating woman had not overheard the remark. "Be quiet, Hiro! It's not polite to make comments like that,"

Hiro snorted, "Geez, relax. And it's not only me saying this. Even Kankurou-san told me that she is a bit unhinged. Apparently a mission in Konoha caused her some mental damage,"

"Really? Do you think it's the side-effect of some form of genjutsu?"

Before the knowledgeable Hiro could reply, a shuriken zipped in between them cutting a few strands of his fringe. With wide eyes, the two Chuunins flinched back when Temari materialized in front of them with a dangerous smirk on her beautiful face. "Perhaps if you paid more attention to your training, you might have been able to dodge that. Don't you agree?"

From that day on Hiro learned to keep his opinions about his trainer to himself and his mouth shut. Temari ignored the slight twinge of guilt when her students scampered away and resumed their training. Even though she ignored all the terrified looks and trembling knees of her comrades, she was fully aware that her anger was causing a lot of trouble. Yet her fury refused to diminish and she had a sinking feeling that it would not disappear until she managed to beat the living daylights out of a certain Konoha ninja.

But why? He can kiss whoever he wants. I couldn't care less, she thought desperately.

Then why do get so mad whenever you remember how he was entwined with that girl? A small amused voice at the back of her head questioned.

That's not why I'm angry, she argued back, I just don't appreciate public displays of affection – that was plain rude and disgusting.

Temari winced at how lame the argument sounded. After years of struggling with the confusing feelings that arose whenever she was around the pony-tailed ninja, the incident that had occurred a week ago had finally confirmed it. She was losing her sanity. What else could explain these unwanted feelings that she seemed to have for that man? As far as she was concerned, remaining asexual was her goal in life. So, why did her breath quicken whenever she was around him? Why did he start showing up in her dreams where they always ended up in rather intimate situations? And why did her heart clench painfully whenever she remembered the passionate kiss shared between Shikamaru and his girlfriend?

"How should I know?"

"Kankurou! Didn't I tell you not to sneak up on me like that?" barked Temari, a blush staining her cheeks. Horror filled her as she realised that she must have been thinking aloud. "How much did you hear?"

Kankurou merely shrugged with a mischievous look on his face. "Don't worry, my lips are sealed. Although I had no idea that you were such a romantic,"

Mortified, she glared at her friend doing her best to hold onto her pride. Kankurou chuckled lightly and said, "Anyway, Gaara wants to see you in his office immediately,"

Still trying to recover from her momentary embarrassment after being busted in front of one of her siblings, Temari rushed over to the Kazekage's headquarters. As was her habit, she did not bother knocking on his door as she barged into Gaara's office.

"Kankurou said that you needed to see…" she trailed off when she realised that she was talking to an empty chair. "Gaara?"

"He needed to attend to something," drawled a disturbingly familiar voice, a lazy drawl that had been haunting her thoughts for a while. Temari turned around slowly, and sure enough leaning casually against the closed door was none other than the man she wanted to kill and jump at the same time.

For a moment she forgot to breathe. Her eyes trailed over the other Jounin appreciatively. The scrawny body of the boy she once knew had disappeared completely to be replaced with well-toned muscles. Dark hair was still pulled back into the trademark ponytail and dark eyes gazed steadily back at her. Lips curved into a lazy grin when Shikamaru realised that he was being checked out and after a struggle Temari managed to tear her eyes away from him.

I really need to get my head examined, she thought helplessly.

"Why are you here?" she asked stiffly and applauded herself for sounding normal.

The grin on his face transformed into a smirk, "To clear up a misunderstanding,"

Temari raised an eyebrow, but then decided not to ask any more questions. Once she got over the shock of seeing him again, she remembered that she was still mad at the other man for whatever reason. The room filled with silence and the tension rose in octaves with every passing minute until she feared it would end up choking her. After a few more minutes staring out of the window while trying to ignore the other presence in the room, Temari turned sharply and strode across the room.

"I've students to train and this is taking way too long. Tell Gaara that I'll be at the training grounds if he needs me," she said, staring at the door over Shikamaru's shoulder. "I need to go out."

Much to her chagrin, Shikamaru ignored her last comment and continued to stare at her intently. "You know, I wish you would smile more,"

Huh? Unnerved, she moved back a few steps. "Can you move out of the way? I have to leave,"

"After all you are a very attractive woman," Shikamaru continued as if he didn't hear her at all.

Did he just call me attractive? Temari wondered, heart racing. "Move out of the way!"

"No," came the soft reply. Temari bristled in anger and her hand moved to the fan at her back, but before she could say or do anything Shikamaru moved from his position in a flash. A hand grabbed at her waist and skilfully plucked the fan away from her. The next thing she knew she was being pressed between the door and the warm body of the Konoha ninja. Mind reeling from shock, she could not stop the shiver that ran down her body at the contact. She tried to gather her thoughts as felt warm breath ghost across her neck.

"W-what are you doing, idiot?"

"I told you, clearing a misunderstanding," he murmured, brushing his lips against her neck teasingly.

Her brain decided to shut down as waves of pleasure ripped through her body, further confusing her. Eyes drifted close as Shikamaru trailed his lips up her neck, burning her skin. Her hands curled around his forearms, a quiet moan escaping her throat. This only spurred him on as he snaked an arm around her waist and pulled her tighter against him. The fingers of his free hand laced into her hair and tilted her head up to his. Temari's breathe caught in her throat when she saw the desire evident in the dark-haired man's eyes – desire for her. Holding her gaze firmly, Shikamaru lowered his head until their lips were only centimetres apart. Unfortunately for him, Temari's brain decided to kick in at that exact moment.

The unbidden image of Shikamaru in a lip-lock with his blonde comrade flashed across her mind. Without warning, her hand moved on its own accord and slapped the lazy Jounin soundly across his face. Shikamaru jumped back, hand going to his smarting cheek and shot her an incredulous look. In return, Temari shot him a look filled with venom.

"How dare you! I knew you were a good-for-nothing idiot from the beginning, but a womanizer as well?" spat Temari, looking scandalised. "How low can you sink? Did you seriously think that you could just come along and play with me before you returned back to your girlfriend? You sick, sick barstard,"

Shikamaru's eyes widened when she snatched her huge fan from the floor. "Hey, hey! Hold on a second. If you use that thing inside, you're going to demolish the whole building,"

"Don't worry, I'm not stupid. I just plan on beating you to death with this," With that she swung the heavy fan at the offending male's head. Shikamaru easily dodged the attack and held up his arms in a show of peace.

"Temari! Please, just listen to me. I can explain," he pleaded, jumping away from yet another attack.

Temari blinked back angry tears, "I can't believe this. Why did it have to be you of all people?"

"Huh? Wait a minute!" Shikamaru yelled in irritation, "Damn, this is so troublesome,"

A dangerous glint flashed in his eyes and Temari barely had time to blink before Shikamaru attacked. Kunai flew at her one after the other. Distracted, she dropped into a defensive position and reached back to withdraw her own kunai – only her hand didn't move. With a sinking feeling, she realised that her whole body was restricted from movement. Glancing down, she saw the dark shadow that connected her to Shikamaru holding her immobile.

"If you try anything, kiss your manhood goodbye," she ground out, glaring at the man in front of her.

Shikamaru winced at the threat and said, "I just want you to hear me out. Look, I'll release you. Please, just stay still and let me explain, OK?"

A whole minute passed before she let out a grunt in agreement. As promised, the shadow withdrew rapidly and soon her limbs regained mobility. For a second she considered resuming the beating, but then thought better of it as Shikamaru bowed his head down in front of her in an apologetic stance. The hand scratching at his head showed his discomfort.

"Err – where should I start?" he wondered out loud and Temari held her tongue with an effort. "I guess the beginning is the best, right? Temari, a week ago I was as confused as you are now. First of all, you are completely off the track thinking that Ino is my girlfriend. She's with my best friend, Chouji,"

"You are having an affair with your best friend's girl friend?" And here she was thinking things couldn't get worse.

Shikamaru's head jerked back in surprise, "Are you crazy? For goodness sake, why is it that all you women jump into conclusions without listening to the whole story first? What a bother,"

He eyed her frown warily before starting to talk again, "Look, I think of Ino as my sister – and don't you dare start thinking that I have some sort of incest fetish! That day, I was as shocked as you were when she kissed me, and pretty much disgusted as well. And no, Ino doesn't have hidden feelings for me or anything of that sort,"

Temari closed her mouth sheepishly.

"As it turns out, she kissed me just to get a rise out of you," he said, all the time carefully watching her face.

She frowned in question. "What's that supposed to mean?"

"According to her, it was all part of her twisted plot to expose your feelings to me – and to prove that she was right about them to Sakura," A blush started creeping up her face when he kept staring at her intensely. "Well, I think that explains it. Don't you?"

In fear of saying something stupid, Temari chose to nod. By that time, she was feeling a lot of things. Mortification was at the top of the list. How embarrassing, she thought, still I can't help feeling relieved.

"Can I come over now?" whispered Shikamaru, still eyeing her like a hawk would its prey.

She nodded again and wondered if Shikamaru could hear her heart beat as well. It certainly was getting louder in her ears as she watched the other Jounin stroll over lazily, eyes locked on hers. He stopped directly in front of her and once again their faces were just centimetres apart. Dipping his head even closer, he whispered in her ear, "Misunderstandings are too troublesome. So let's put everything straight. I like you very much, Temari. It's always been only you. Is that clear?"

A genuine smile crossed her face and she turned her head slightly to look into deep brown eyes, "Crystal,"

Shikamaru smiled back and leaned towards her, eyes dropping to her lips. She closed her eyes with a sigh and waited for her world to be turned upside down. Her lips trembled a little when she felt his lips graze them in the softest kiss-

"All right, you two, now that everything is solved, why don't we all head out for some drinks to celebrate this union?"

Temari jumped back and nearly tripped over her fan when she heard Kankurou's voice break their moment. Blushing furiously, she looked around and saw her siblings standing at the doorway with looks of varying amusement on their faces. Realisation dawned when she saw the identical knowing looks on their faces. She glanced at back at Shikamaru to see a deep scowl etched on his face. Shakily, she pointed an accusing finger at the three men in the room.

"You guys planned this?"

"It was long overdue," stated Gaara, eyes crinkling in one of his rare smiles.

A/N: Still here? Yippee! Constructive criticism is very welcome.