Taming The Troublesome

Rating: T

Chapter Seven: Hot Spring Antics

Sorry this took so goddamn long to post. We've been having huge windstorms here, and I haven't had power for days .

I would like to drop a huge bomb of gratitude towards the one who made this chapter extra-special- Tacky76, who waded through all the crap I had originally written, and helped me make it the best (well, almost) it could possibly be. So: many thanks 3

This chapter initially had a lot of grammar mistakes, due to some conflicting edition. This version of the chapter is released temporarily, and a fully edited one will be released A.S.A.P. Sorry about this, guys.

XxxxX

The next day was not a very happy one.

Shikamaru awoke precisely when he wanted to, not caring if he was late. It wasn't like she was going to be up. SHE! That girl - Temari of the Sand, the Kazekage's stupid sister. Lately she had become the source of all his problems. The girlthat supposedly fell asleep on his face.

"That's bullshit," he fumed as he toweled his hair dry, walking into his kitchen. "Utter bullshit. What kind of person falls asleep on another's face? That's unhygienic! Think of all the sicknesses that could be spread!"

Shikamaru's apartment was so much more different than his family's home. For one thing, it was messy, something he longed for his entire life. There was a bit of overstuffed looking furniture his mom had dragged out of the attic for him. Shikamaru often liked to pull up a chair in front of his large window and gaze out of it, watching the people walk along the street. He kept a Shogi board on the coffee table in the living room. Sometimes Asuma would come over and play and less frequently, that father of his. Shikamaru's kitchen was one of those untouched-looking ones. He only ever entered it when he was so hungry, he could barely stand. This morning was one of those times.

He paced around the kitchen attempting some semblance of breakfast. So far he had a small bottle of vanilla, a squeeze container of syrup and two pieces of bread which he stuffed in the toaster. He was never really one to cook. Walking back into the living room, he looked out the window, tying the towel around his waist. It was partially sunny and looked cold. What sort of work would they get done today? What sort of work could they get done today? Come to think of it, he hadn't even really checked the schedule… what came after day two?

Shikamaru could smell his toast burning from the living room, and groaned. He continued his search for the scroll the Hokage had given him anyway. Ignorance worked well for almost everything in life, right?

"Damn!" he kept looking under sofa cushions, under chairs, under desks and all the while, the charred smell grew stronger. Crawling out from beneath a desk, he let out a frustrated growl. "WHAT IN THE WORLD IS THAT SMELL?!"

He stomped into the kitchen, and moaned very loudly. Rubbing his face roughly with a hand, Shikamaru went to the counter, and unplugged the savagely smoking toaster.

Tempting fate for another dog-leg-humping, Shikamaru continued to look for the scroll, frequently adjusting his towel, and flinging his wet hair out of his face.

There was that burning smell again…

"WHAT THE…!"

Shikamaru ambled back into the kitchen. Now all the appliances were smoking. Shikamaru individually unplugged each and every smoking appliance. Then, he placed the toaster on the floor, and kicked it, hard. It skittered into the living room and hit the wall on the opposite side of the room. Shikamaru would have felt satisfied, save for the suspicious looking scraps of paper that littered the floor as it flew, leaving an eerie black trail to the wall. And that fancy green and gold border! Wasn't that the kind of paper official notices were written on?

Shikamaru picked up a scrap, and dimly realized that it had the phrase, "your ass kicked twice" written on it …

He collapsed on the couch and grumbled, "Well, this is certainly a-"

He didn't get to finish his sentence before someone turned his doorknob and burst in through the doorway. He leapt up, wishing he had some sort of weapon on hand, Even more so, when he realized who it was…

"Dammit you troublesome woman, don't you know how to KNOCK?!"

"You never do!" Her 'do' was rather strangled though, because it was then that she realized his outward appearance. "Y..y..your hair!" she cried, pointing. What she really wanted to say was, 'Your body!' but that wasn't exactly an acceptable thing to say to someone you supposedly hated.

Shikamaru realized his normally rigid locks were cascading down his shoulders rather femininely. He quickly pulled a hair band off his wrist and pulled his hair expertly into his normal ponytail.

The realization occurred to him that she wasn't just talking about his hair. Somehow, he felt she was noticing his half naked-ness. Feeling indignant, and of the belief she deserved punishment for being so rude, he struck a pose with the flourish one would normally expect from men like Kano.

"What's wrong, don't they have REAL MEN in Suna?" he quipped.

In the time it took her to grab her fan, he was back in his room getting dressed.

XxxxX

"So, you lost your scroll?" Temari asked.

"No." he scowled, as they walked down the street, "My toaster ate it." As the words had left his mouth he realized how ridiculous that sounded.

"I'm so sure. Lucky for you I have a copy."

"That's not lucky for me. It's lucky for you."

"How so, pineapple head?!"

"Because otherwise you wouldn't have anything to do all day."

"And our villages would go to war."

"All because you were pissed off you couldn't spend a day with me?" he smirked, and was knocked upside the head. "What was that for?!"

"Obvious reasons, Nara, obvious reasons."

His small apartment seemed to shrink even smaller. Shikamaru stood defiantly eyeing her, his arms folded across his chest. She returned his aggression with her own, crossing her own arms and puffing out her chest. Normally the effect it induced in enemies was one of fear and caution, but not in this one. She noted that Shikamaru's eyes left her own fractionally and wandered before returning to a point on a nearby building. She felt her face heat up and was glad that it was he that eventually spoke first. "So, are you going to tell me what we're supposed to do today, or not?"

"It's an Itinerary." She hurriedly handed him her copy of the scroll. "Your Hokage said to take me where I wanted to go."

Shikamaru groaned loudly. "Oh, come on, She didn't really say that."

"Look for yourself, Nara." She replied, smartly.

He opened the scroll slowly. And sure enough, under day three, mostly personal writing was visible.

DAY 3:

Pickup: Whenever.

Activity: 'Okay Temari. Here's the itinerary for today. The training grounds aren't open for tour today, so you'll be doing that tomorrow. Today, have Shikamaru take you to a place you'd LIKE to go. May I suggest the Hot Springs?'

P.S: Should he disobey please inform me, he has already been made aware of his proper punishment for disobedience.

Signed: Hokage.

'Punishment? This is so bothersome!' Shikamaru thought, 'Do not suggest anything troublesome, lady.'

"Take me to the hot springs." Temari commanded, taking back the scroll.

Shikamaru looked at her point blank. "No."

"Yes! It's my day to choose, and I say, we go to the hot springs!"

"Why?! You don't even need me, we'd be in separate sections!"

"I know how hot springs work, dumbass."

"Well, I assumed Suna was too hot to have need for hot springs."

"…" Temari looked resolute. "You'd be correct."

"So why do you want to go so bad?!"

"Because I've never been to one, that's why Nara. I figured you'd deduced that by now."

"That's a stupid reason."

Silence.

"… I suppose I'll take you once." He frowned.

Temari tried to turn the honest smile that was aching to take over her face into a triumphant smirk. "Good."

XxxxX

"So you go in there, and I go in here." Shikamaru explained as he pointed out the various entrances.

Temari hit him on the back of his head. "Shut up, I'm not stupid!"

"Well, how was I supposed to know? You said yourself that there aren't any hot springs in Suna."

Temari didn't dignify that with an answer, something that had been happening more and more frequently. Brushing him aside she marched off to the ladies section leaving him to himself. Shikamaru wondered why he was here, especially now that he could just leave and she wouldn't even notice. As he entered the male section, alone, he took off his clothes, and wrapped a towel around his waist. His mind started to wander 'If he was lucky enough, maybe…'

"Ah! Shikamaru! Come for a peek?" a familiar voice interrupted his musings. He whipped around and came face to face with a certain old pervert's face.

"Jesus Christ!" Shikamaru's face fell. "What are YOU doing here, Jiraiya?"

"What do you think? I practically live here! What with my research and all… and there's a fine specimen today. I just saw a blonde woman climb all alone into the women's hot spring, with nothing to protect her purity, save a single, slender towel, cascading-"

"Shut up! I don't need to hear all this stuff about Temari!" he cried. "I'm supposed to take her to the hot springs. She asked me to!"

Jiraiya laughed. "You're kidding me right?" he continued to laugh, a barking, mocking laugh, that made Shikamaru blush. "The world's most desired foreign woman comes to visit - and she asks you to take her to the hot springs?"

"Yeah? So what? I'm supposed to show her around, because the Hokage told me to, and she asked to go-"

"Tsunade asked you to do this? Take Temari to the hot springs?"

"Yeah, she suggested it." There was silence.

"And Temari agreed?" asked Jiraiya

Shikamaru nodded. Jiraiya seemed to be pondering something. Shikamaru left him standing there, sinking into the warm spring, assuming he had stumped the old man's brain.

Shikamaru had just closed his eyes, and crossed his arms as the water sloshed over dry parts of his skin. Jiraiya had entered the hot spring beside him. The younger boy fully intended to ignore him, until he heard a smoky voice in his ear.

"I don't think you understand what we're talking about here." The hermit suggestively smiled.

Shikamaru cracked open an eye and tried to look uninterested. "Yeah. Temari. Annoying, whiney, violent, pain-in-the-ass Temari."

"Wrong!" Jiraiya cried in a singsong voice.

He took Shikamaru's arm and pulled him haphazardly from his resting place. "What are you doing?" Shikamaru hissed, struggling against his strength.

"I'm going to make sure you never take her body for granted again!" Then everything blurred and there was a splash… Shikamaru's face was pressed, rather violently, against a gap in a beam.

His sight was instantly assaulted by a white-toweled angel. She was perched on a rock, looking relaxed. A wet towel draped her body, clinging to her curves. The drops of water cascading down her creamy skin mirrored the torrential beads of sweat, down his. Shikamaru struggled against the hand on the back of his head at first. Unfortunately the aesthetic beauty of her form quickly abolished any resistance from him. Never had he REALLY been able to appreciate the suppleness of her form, the perfect shape and size of her large breasts, the way her stomach was firmly toned, the simple and innocent arch of her back… He wanted to run his fingertips over her skin and –

The hand on the back of his head pulled him out of his trance, and threw him backwards into the water. Jiraiya resumed the spot Shikamaru had been peeping in just seconds before.

Peeping… Shikamaru realized he had been peeping at Temari of the sand! Worse yet, he realized he liked it!

"No!" he cried. "It's wrong, wrong, WRONG! I shouldn't be looking at people naked without their consent!" He covered his mouth.

That was loud, too loud. Jiraiya didn't seem to notice, or care. There was a splash that sounded as though someone was jumping into the water off a height.

"Oh yes, come to Jiraiya, baby…" he heard the old man mumble. "Oh god… yes, the fan…yes!"

Shikamaru was startled as the butt of a fan erupted through the wooden wall dividing the men and women's springs. He was thrown backwards, as a wind propelled current threw him to the left and Jiraiya backwards.

"Shikamaru!" Temari cried. "I can't believe you just let him…"

She stood there, fan brandished, towel barely hiding anything, chest heaving and her eyes flaring angrily. Then coincidentally, the corner of her towel at the most inopportune moment, began to peel off her chest. Shikamaru threw himself backwards into the spring and covered his eyes hurriedly with his hands. Temari caught the towel. They were both blushing a shade of surpassing red.

"We're leaving now." She grimaced through her teeth, sloshing back to the women's side.

The wall was totally wiped out, Jiraiya suffered a black eye and a nosebleed, and the hot springs owner appeared to be more scared than mad. What a hectic day it had become.

And that was when Shikamaru realized his towel was missing.

XxxxX

The pair hadn't spoken since they left the building. The walk into town was full of pregnant pauses and awkward silence.

Shikamaru was going over in his head, the situation that had occurred under an hour ago. Could she have possibly seen his…?

He hoped she was just feeling embarrassed about the towel and the Jiraiya incident. Yet, she was sort of right. Though at the same time, he hadn't really cared if the image of her body was defiled by Jiraiya. He never really considered how he'd feel in that position, relaxing in a foreign place… she hadn't even really gotten to know the true peace and relaxation that hot springs could bring. Although Jiraiya wasn't his responsibility, he should have stopped the old man.

He glanced at the older girl. How long it had been since they had been the same height. Now, Shikamaru walked at least two inches taller than the Suna Tigress. Temari looked close to tears. Before, she had been angry. Now, was she just… embarrassed?

"Hey." Shikamaru stopped. "I'm… sorry about earlier. You're right, I should have stopped him."

"It's okay, Shikamaru. That dumbass pervert can just rot in hell for all I care." She retorted. Had she just called him Shikamaru?

And yet…

"Hey! Why don't we go get dinner? I mean, you paid for the springs, why not I treat you tonight?" he chanced to ask. "You can't eat bacon for the rest of your life." he added. There was a familiar whack to the back of his head.

"You asshole. I am perfectly capable of cooking for myself!"

"But don't deny you wouldn't like a free meal, you ungrateful woman."

"You're right." She sounded mad, but you could tell she felt a little bit more lighthearted.

"I suppose…" he said, pretending for another moment that he hated Temari. He had been feeling that more and more lately and frankly, he was growing tired of hating her. It was sucking out all his energy. Perhaps it was easier… to be nice to her? "You have a place you'd like to go?"

"Actually yes. A few nights ago, I went to this nice barbecue place, on the edge of town. And I deserve to go there."

"I'm so sure… it's annoying … but… I suppose it would be all right." He frowned, and crossed his arms, trying not to feel awkward.

This time, there were no excuses, no explanations or plans to offer. He was seeing her socially. And even if it was just this once, once was enough. The next four days would stretch out in front of him, like a long…

taut…

…sexual…

thread.

There was no way he could escape. He had already ruined her day off. It would be heartless to take his offer back at this point. She might actually cry this time. And when you make the toughest woman you know start to cry, you have to look at yourself, and wonder how much of an asshole you are.

XxxxX

"It's strange. I was born and raised in Konoha… yet… I'm not sure I've ever been here…" Shikamaru mumbled, as they walked through the chattering restaurant. The din of light voices and sizzling meat gave the restaurant a surprisingly warm atmosphere.

Couples and families were stuffed into booths, hunched over the square grills that glowed with heat in the center of the table. Fake, dusty lotus blossoms were poised in jars on the tables, along with a small candle. Shikamaru remembered why he didn't like barbecue that much. It was the idea of being stuffed into a booth, too close for comfort, with a bunch of people you'd rather not spend anymore time with than you had to.

"Table for two, please." Temari told the waiter.

They were led through a maze of bustling patrons to their booth in a small stuffy little part of the restaurant. Was Shikamaru the only one who noticed how much it sounded like they were on a date? Apparently not, because the very tip of a smirk tickled at her lips. After they sat down, it seemed like an eternity before anyone talked. Temari must have noticed his accidental asking of her persons on a date, for she too, participated in the echoing silence.

"So…" Shikamaru put his elbows on the table and rested his chin in his hands. "This is boring. You're normally chatty to the point of insanity." He muttered, more to himself than the girl across the table.

Temari must have overheard, for she reached across the table, and knocked his elbows out from under him, causing him to plant his face smack dab in the middle of the table, narrowly missing the grill in the center. Shikamaru wondered dimly afterwards if he had imagined her next comment or not.

"It's not polite to insult your date." Temari mumbled loftily.

Assuming he hadn't heard her correctly, or just plain not heard her, he scowled, and tried not to look embarrassed. "I'm…We're… not on a date!"

"Who said we were?" her eyes flashed dangerously.

"You just did! You said something about it being impolite to insult your date!"

"I did not!"

Shikamaru rolled his eyes. "What did you say then?!"

"I said it looks like those two are on a date, numbskull!" Temari sure was getting better at covering her ass.

And it must have been fate, because Kurenai and Asuma walked through the door of the restaurant They got a table in the back of the restaurant, unnoticed in a secluded corner. Shikamaru found himself a bit happy that they hadn't noticed and yet, a bit sad. Only Asuma could possibly save him from this witch of a woman.

"Liar!" Shikamaru cried. "You just made that up, because you let something SLIP out!"

"SLIP MY ASS! I said nothing, pineapple brain!"

"No!" Shikamaru snorted, "I downright refuse to slip your ass!"

She answered this with a slap across his temple.

"OW! DON'T HIT ME, SAND WITCH!" Shikamaru protested loudly.

"Don't you EVER-"

"What do you two want?" It was the waiter.

"PORK!"

"HER HEAD ON A FUCKING PLATTER!" Shikamaru pointed wildly in Temari's direction.

"I'll take that as two porks then…" The waiter sounded bored, and walked off.

Temari glowered at him menacingly. "The second you so much as TOUCH my head, or anything close to it, so help me I'll-"

Shikamaru reached over and touched her neck.

"THAT'S IT! You're fucking dead, you little asshole!"

Shikamaru dodged her blow, and she hit the back of his seat, making the couple on the other side shoot them dark looks.

"COME BACK HERE, COWARD! TAKE YOUR FATE like a REAL man!" Trust Temari to use his own insults against him.

"You would know ALL ABOUT being a REAL man, wouldn't you?!"

They lunged for each other.

"My, my, aren't we having fun." A calm and amused voice interrupted the couple's petty argument.

Both of the Shinobi were leaning dangerously low over the grill, glaring daggers at each other. Temari looked up, but Shikamaru could recognize that voice any day. Damn… Asuma had made his way to the table. Kurenai watched, smiling mildly, from the couple's own table.

"Shut up." Shikamaru mumbled, pulling back. It figures that the first time he decided to take Temari on a gracious date, they'd end up verbally sparring. It was the way the two Shinobis kept close. When in doubt, insult the other!

Asuma stepped aside as the platters of assorted cuts of pork were set on the table. Shikamaru could see a little red fingerprint forming on the blonde kunoichi's neck, where he had poked it. Oops.

"Well, I wouldn't normally interrupt, but you two lovebirds are being awfully loud."

Temari looked around expecting glares. All she saw from corner to corner, were amused, lofty smirks. The kind of smirk that would make your blood curdle. The kind you saw on people's faces when they knew something you didn't. Temari slapped two pieces of sizzling meat on to the grill. "You shouldn't be talking about lovebirds, Sarutobi."

Asuma adopted the common smirk, as people began to talk again. "Why not? You two are so goddamn cute together."

Shikamaru and Temari eyes made contact for a moment, before each deciding to lunge at the Jounin.

XxxxX

Asuma sauntered home late that night nursing twin bruises on each side of his head. Kurenai patted his shoulder as they walked in the chilly night air. The village of Konaha took on a mysterious visage as the mist slowly descended upon this mysterious pair.

"You know, we used to be like that. Except your remarks were more lewd, and mine were more rowdy." Kurenai chuckled at the irony.

"When you're around those two, you can cut the sexual tension with a knife! I'm so damn tired of all this denial stuff." Asuma, for the fifty-thousandth time that night, tenderly touched one of the bruises and winced.

"Stop touching it!" Kurenai batted his hand away. "That's just their little way of flirting."

"Psh! It's tiring!"

"Look what it took to get us together," the dark haired, red eyed vixen demurely responded. "You were pretty thick headed too."

Asuma had to laugh at this. "HA! Eventually, you just… wait a minute!" Asuma exclaimed. "Do you think…?"

The grin she gave him answered his unspoken question. "It's always worth a try!"

"A ninja has to think beyond the beyond." Asuma stroked his beard before a malicious twinkle invaded his pupils. "We would need to set it up elaborately. After all this is Shikamaru we're dealing with."

"I'll get some help from the other Jounins."

Chuckling and exchanging ideas they hatched a plot together. Surely what worked for them should work for Shikamaru and Temari, right?

XxxxX END OF CHAPTER XxxxX

Author's Noteh:

And again, we finish another chapter. This one's about twice as long as one I normally write, but whatever, just had to throw that in. So yes! There was pervertedness! There was Jiraiya! And there were, for sure, a lot of hot spring antics, as well as dates-gone-wrong.

Again, HUGE thanks to Tacky76, this is… well, it's really special xDD

Call it a 'filler chapter'

Oh, and I almost forgot! Thanks to all of you who submitted your suggestions for possible days! Today's hot springs idea was brought to you by Katelyn. And a few more of your suggestions have been added to the schedule. I won't release it (The schedule), but look forward to the next chapter for sure.

NATTO