AN: Another crack pairing. Temari/Neji, for uminokoushi on LJ.

Temari loves fighting like this.

Breathless with sweet exertion, limbs already aching from the hard workout she's put them through, fan heavy in practiced hands. She's tired, wearing down slowly.

He, on the other hand, looks exactly the same as he had when they'd begun, pale face still and calm, not a hair out of place. Immaculate robes only marred by the occasional smudge of dirt. His stance is the same, and Temari knows she can't get past his defense by any normal means.

They've agreed not to use any real jutsus in this fight, but his Bloodline is a powerful asset.

It's all right. Temari likes it better when the odds are against her. It makes victory sweeter in the end, she thinks.

With a yell, she charges, shifting her grip on the heavy weapon almost without thinking. The smooth metal is warm under her hands, like a living creature, she thinks sometimes, curling her fingers around the slats in preparation to snap it open.

He shifts to meet her, movements smooth and precise. Like a striking snake or a determined gale. She's noticed how he fights, analyzing her own moves in a glance, moving with the flow of her own actions and turning them against her.

That's all right. Temari can work with that.

She moves from the shoulders, wrenching the fan all the way open with a loud snap. His attempt at an attack smacks solidly into the metal and there's a slight pause that would have been a muffled curse for anyone else.

Temari smiles, a crazy little predator's smile that she doesn't usually let anyone see, and snaps the fan closed.

He's backed off a few paces, wary, shaking his hand out carefully, watching her. Those eyes seem to look straight through her, see everything she does before she does it.

It's an illusion, of course, an aura of power and superiority he's cultivated over time. Just another mask, Temari knows. She's good at seeing through masks now.

He lunges in, smooth as silk, and Temari thinks she'd like to tangle that hair up for him.

It's exhilarating, only her fan between herself and his strikes. Only her own sharp eyes to spot his weaknesses, and only her own human strength to exploit them.

She's noticed something, she thinks, dodging away. His footwork isn't as developed as it could beā€”sure, it's good, but not as good as it could be. He falls into patterns with his feet, side-step, shift weight back, lunge, recover. Side-step.

Temari watches his feet and smiles again.


She drops low, fan open, parallel to the ground, sweeping in at the level of his shins.

She gives him credit for quick adjustment, she thinks, as he manages to turn a near-disastrous stumble into a standing jump. And then she sweeps the fan back together, swapping ends and switching directions mid-swing.

Those impossible eyes widen, and she watches him try to correct for it, mid-air. He can't, of course, and the butt of her fan takes him in the stomach, knocking him backwards.

He almost manages to recover in the landing, twisting like one of her summonses, trying to get his feet (predictable feet) back underneath him.

Temari will have none of that. She drops the fan and makes a lunge of her own.

He lands on his back, in the dust, Temari on top of him. Her knees will bruise, she thinks, and her shoulder is wrenched, and she's completely out of breath. But she doesn't mind.

Smugly, she notes the dust settling on his perfect face, the rip in his sleeve where he'd landed on his elbow, the smudge of sweat on his brow. She smiles, a wide cat-grin, and leans over to ruffle his hair.

"I win," she says.

Endnotes: That would be one hell of a relationship. Gratuitous property damage. Woe and suffering to innocent bystanders. Meeting the in-laws could be fun.