The least I can do is inform you that I will indeed be finishing this story. Might take awhile, but I will finish it. SO read and review, ne?

Edit: I fixed this chapter up, mostly with quotation errors. I might have changed some words around, but over all its the same chapter as the original.


"I don't understand you anymore, Shikamaru." Akimichi Chouji took a break from talking to munch on some chips. He swallowed. "I mean, I never really understand you, but you're looking distant. I mean, you always look distant, but-"

"Chouji, be quiet," Nara Shikamaru said in a bored voice, looking up to glance at his best friend. "You're babbling."

"Oh, yeah, well I tend to do that sometimes," replied Chouji, swinging his legs over the edge of the roof. He looked to his side at Shikamaru who was lying backwards with his hands behind his head. "What are you thinking about?"

Shikamaru closed his eyes. Why tell Chouji what I'm thinking about? he thought. It's too troublesome to explain anything to him. "Nothing," he replied eventually. He sat up and looked at the sun briefly before standing up.

"Shikamaru, what are you doing?" Chouji finished eating the last of his chips and looked up at Shikamaru.

Shikamaru yawned. "It's troublesome…but I have to go escort that Sand-nin to the Hokage Tower." He stretched his arms and yawned again.

"Temari?" Chouji asked, secretly feeling sorry for Shikamaru. Temari had a reputation for being rudely aggressive and made a habit of hitting Shikamaru over the head with her fan in greeting.

"Of course. See you," Shikamaru said before taking a jump off the roof and landing on another one. He took off sprinting at ninja-speed over the roof tops.

Chouji shook his head; he'd would never, ever figure out how Shikamaru's mind worked.

-----

"You're late."

A swift bump in his head was his greeting. He scowled in his lazy way and commenced in rubbing his head, eyeing the blonde Suna kunoichi warily. " I am not."

"You are. Look at the time; it's a minute past four," Sabaku no Temari said, strapping the fan to her back. She smirked.

"Troublesome woman….." mumbled Shikamaru as he turned on his feet. " Are you coming?"

Temari scoffed at him but didn't answer. She merely followed behind the lazy Konoha-nin. She had traveled almost three days to get to Konoha, and she was tired. However, being the trained ninja she is, she didn't show her fatigue at all and trudged along behind Shikamaru with a spring in her step.

Their trip to the Hokage's Tower took less than fifteen minutes. Once arrived, Shikamaru leaned against the building outside. "How long is this meeting going to take you?" he asked, eyes closed.

"Around an hour. You better be here and awake when I get back. Or else," Temari replied before giving him a dark look and turning on her heel. Shikamaru watched her as she walked into the building, his eyes sliding down…

"That's Temari you're checking out."

Shikamaru jumped and looked to his side where he sighted Inuzuka Kiba leaning against the wall. He scowled at him. " I was not checking her out."

"You like older women?" Kiba asked, leaning his head to the side to stare at Shikamaru quizzically.

"Wha-No!"

"So you like younger woman?"

"No-I!"

"Do you like women at all?"

"Yes," Shikamaru hissed out, glaring at the dog-boy.

"Dude, relax. I was just teasing you," said Kiba as he noticed the dark look on his friend's face.

Shikamaru narrowed his eyes before deciding the whole thing was just too troublesome. He slid down the wall until he was sitting down and closed his eyes. "What're you doing here?" he asked Kiba, without looking up.

"Oh, you know. Akamaru is at the vet's office and that place gives me the creeps," Kiba said, looking up at a window in the Hokage's Tower. "Just walking around the village. And then I saw you checking out the Kazekage's sister." He snickered at the thought.

"I wasn't.." Shikamaru sighed, not finishing his sentence.

"Yeah, whatever," Kiba said. He looked down at the street and saw a ramen stand. "Want to go get some ramen?"
Shikamaru's eyes widened at the mere thought of leaving. "No," he said quickly.

"Why not? You taking Temari out to dinner or something?" Kiba whined, sounding childish.

"N-" Shikamaru stopped in mid-word. Should he really let Kiba know that he couldn't leave for fear of a woman kicking his ass to Suna and back again? Maybe he should just lie…or…"Yes."

"What? For real? No joke?" Kiba's jaw dropped in surprise. "You're taking Temari of the Sand out to dinner?"

"Yes." He closed his eyes, wondering how he was going to explain that to Temari. Now she will kick my ass, he thought in agony.

But, a man like Shikamaru has his pride…

"Dude, that is awesome! You're taking out the hottest kunoichi ever!" Kiba suddenly smirked. "And you said you didn't like older women."

Shikamaru sighed, knowing he was digging himself a deeper hole. "I like older women."

"Then, you were lying! Man, I'm so telling the Shino this!" Kiba grinned excitedly.

Shikamaru didn't bother to mention that Shino would probably not care for the 'news'. "You do that.."

"I will!"

"Go now. I'm sure Shino is dying to hear."

"I'm sure he is!"

"Now."

"Okay. See you, Shikamaru!" Kiba ran off quickly without giving another look.

Once Kiba was out of sight, Shikamaru closed his eyes. I am in so much trouble, he thought. Temari is going to kick my ass.

His eyes flickered open as an idea flickered on his mind. He thought a moment before checking a pocket in his Jounin vest for a pouch full of money. He had roughly enough money for four bowls of miso ramen. "I'll just have to ask her to dinner," he finally said out loud.

And he blushed.

He looked around to see if anyone noticed his reddened cheeks. In truth, Shikamaru was looking forward to asking Temari out to dinner. For some reason, she had been on his mind lately. Maybe that was why Chouji was saying he seemed more distant.

After awhile of sitting there, he felt his eyes getting heavy. He yawned and closed his eyes before he heard a door opening. He quickly opened his eyes again and jumped up, leaning against the wall looking casual.

Temari walked up to him with a smirk on her face, satisfied with her accomplished meeting. She stopped by his side and said, "Well, Pineapple-head, I'm surprised you're not asleep." Truthfully, she had already figured Shikamaru had taken her "Or else" to heart, and wasn't at all surprised to see him standing up, wide awake. Well, as wide awake as he could get. His eyes tended to give people the impression that he was always half asleep. And that little pout on his lips….

Temari shook her head, clearing her thoughts from her mind. She looked up at Shikamaru - when did he get so tall?- and noticed he was nervously looking back down at her."What?"

"Oh, um.." Shikamaru fumbled over his words. "I was..You…This is troublesome." He sighed.

"Well?" Temari crossed her arms over her chest and lifted an eyebrow. Since when was The Genius at a loss of words?

"Do you want to go to dinner with me? Some ramen?" Shikamaru asked in one breath. He let out a breath of air, but quickly bit the inside of his lip as he imagined Temari beating him up.

But her answer surprised him.

"Sure. As long as you're paying." She had a smug look on her face as she noticed Shikamaru's surprised look.

"Yes?" Well, as long as she doesn't beat me up, he thought. And I didn't lie to Kiba…Wait, she said yes

"Yes. Are you deaf or something?"

"No.."

"Are we going?" Temari tapped her foot impatiently.

"Yeah…" Shikamaru turned around and started walking.

-----

"I want three bowls of miso ramen," Temari said before looking to her side at Shikamaru.

Shikamaru inwardly sighed, but he wasn't going to eat a lot, anyway. "Same, one bowl." He shifted his eyes to look at Temari who was watching him intensely. "What?""Why did you ask me here?"

Shikamaru knew that question was coming, but decided not to answer as he saw Kiba and what looked like fifty- okay, ten- other people walk up to the stand. They all crowded in a corner as best as they could, which wasn't that good. The stand was small, and someone ended up sitting on the previously empty seat beside Temari.

They all immediately started chattering and pointing at Temari and Shikamaru.

Temari dropped her question and turned around to look at the commotion. She ended up looking into the face of Aburame Shino.

"Hello," said Shino.

"Uh, hi," said Temari, surprised. She leaned her head back a little to avoid colliding into Shino's face.

"Is it true Shikamaru asked you out?" questioned the bug-master, his expression hidden by his hood and dark sunglasses.

"What!? I did not ask her out!" Shikamaru exclaimed after hearing the words exchanged between Temari and Shino. He heard someone say "Oops" and immediately knew who told Shino the false information. "Kiba."

"Whaaat?" Kiba's head poked out from behind Hyuuga Hinata, who was sitting by Uzumaki Naruto, who was sitting by Shino.

"You are so troublesome," Shikamaru told him with a death glare.

Kiba sighed than said loudly, "I was lying; Shikamaru didn't ask Temari out."

Everyone groaned, but than Naruto started talking, "But he asked her out to ramen! That must mean he likes her!" In Naruto's mind, asking someone out to ramen is the greatest sign of affection.

"Likes me?" said Temari

'Oohs', and 'Aws' were exchanged before Rock Lee's voice piped up. "Shikamaru loves Temari! What youth, love is!"

"Love?" said Temari

A squeal was heard as Yamanaka Ino shouted, "I knew he had the hots for her!"

"Hots for me?" said Temari.

"When's the wedding?" Tenten asked, clapping her hands excitedly.

"Wedding?" Temari turned to Shikamaru with a glare on her face. "What the hell are they talking about?" she asked through gritted teeth.

Shikamaru sighed and dropped his head. His friends were so troublesome. "I didn't say any of that stuff. Kiba's miniscule mind made it up," he said, ignoring Kiba's protest. "I only asked you out to ramen."

Temari's glare vanished. "Why did you ask me out to ramen?"

Suddenly, everyone jumped from their seats, saying they were late for something. A second later, the ramen booth was empty except for Shikamaru, Temari, and four bowls of steaming ramen.

"Uh.." Shikamaru cleared his throat nervously as Temari pulled a bowl to her. She broke her chopsticks apart and started eating, all the while staring at him.

"Well?" Temari examined his face closely, looking for any signs of what he was thinking. The only thing his face showed was his lazy attitude.

"You're very troublesome.." Shikamaru said eventually, pulling his bowl towards him and lazily beginning to eat.

She left it at that, and continued to eat.

-----

"Pick me up at my embassy house tomorrow at nine. You're escorting me around the village tomorrow," Temari said, putting a scroll in his hand. She gave him a satisfied smirk and continued walking.

"Oh, man…I don't get up until ten," moaned Shikamaru, opening the scroll. It read:

Genius!

Pick Temari up at exactly nine o' clock tomorrow! Show her the village and all the popular places, or you're dead!

Tsunade

Groaning, Shikamaru walked beside Temari. She was looking up ahead the street at a small group standing in front of a store. "What's going on there?" she asked, shielding her eyes against the sun to get a better look.

Shikamaru sighed, wondering if Kiba and his minions had recruited even more people to harass Temari and him. "Who cares?"

Temari didn't answer, as she had already made it up to the small group. She tapped somebody on the shoulder, and the person turned around.

"What?" asked Hyuuga Neji. He had an irritated look on his face. "Go away."

"Excuse me, did you just tell me to go away?" the Suna kunoichi glared angrily at the white-eyed boy. People just don't tell her to go away.

Her loud voice made a few other people turn around. "Temari! Congratulations!" squealed Ino as she ran to hug her.

Temari could feel her eye twitching. She pushed the noisy girl away from her. People just don't hug her.

But, apparently, people didn't know that, for Haruno Sakura and Tenten ran over to her squealing and hugged her as well. Hinata stood by shyly and mumbled, "Congratulations."

By then, Shikamaru had made it to the group to witness Temari being hugged to death by Ino, Sakura, and Tenten. "What the hell is going on here?" he asked in a lazy voice, stretching out the word 'here'.

"Guys, be careful! You could hurt the baby! Dattebayo!" yelled Naruto.

"WHAT BABY?" Temari pushed the girls away.

"Aren't you pregnant? With Shikamaru's kid?" asked Sakura, tilting her head to the side.

It took Shikamaru and Temari a moment to catch their voices.

"Who the hell came up with that idea?" yelled Temari as Shikamaru said, "Kiba!"

"Oops," Kiba's voice came from the middle of the circle.

"You better think oops, Dog-Boy," growled Temari as she pushed her way to the middle of the crowd.

"Um, yeah, I WAS LYING!" Kiba vanished in a poof of smoke.

The people around groaned and walked away.

"Shikamaru," Temari eventually said, turning to him.

"What?" He didn't like the look in her eye.

"Nothing." She hit him in the head with her fan and walked away.