Title: Toys

Author: Me

Rating: Teen, for swearing

Warnings: A little bit of Sasuke/Naruto in there, try not to blink.

Disclaimer: It isn't mine, but I play with them all night anyway.


Shikamaru is an intelligent guy.

He notices things that other people don't just because he's Shikamaru and that's what he does. He doesn't always question what he finds (Like when he noticed how differently men acted when Ino was around.) or even comment on it (Like when he noticed how different Chouji acted when Ino was around.). Sometimes he notices things and gets the pattern right away (Like when Sasuke's and Naruto's steady rivalry turned into a precariously propped friendship.) and sometimes he notices things when they have already progressed very far without him knowing (Like when Sasuke's and Naruto's precariously propped friendship evolved into an entirely different sort of relationship.).

Anyway, the point is that Shikamaru notices things.

Like how Suna's three royal sand siblings all have an odd obsession with toys.

Shikimaru first noticed the odd pattern after a long trip escorting Temari back to Suna. Temari had quickly retired to her own room, mumbling a "Have fun jackass." before slamming the door behind him. The two of them had had a small, but very explosive, argument on the way back from Konoha on the nature of their relationship.

But, we digress, the point is that Shikamaru was tired and cranky and just a little out of it. Which would explain why it was that he walked into the Kazekage Gaara's room without knocking or announcing his presence in any way, shape, or form.

Which would also explain why Gaara hadn't heard Shikamaru's entrance until after he had opened the door.

To say the Kazekage panicked would be a gross overstatement, after all, Gaara simply looked up, blinked once, and then slipped the raggedy old bear he had been playing with into a compartment in his desk. This entire time eye contact was kept and there was no tension in the room. Regardless, Shikamaru understood that should news of this new unearthing discovery leak out… well, after Gaara was done with him, no one would even be able to find his shadow. (1)

Shikamaru didn't question for a second that this piece of information would be added to the list of things he would take to his grave.

Of course, this whole event then got Shikamaru thinking that this whole family really was nuts. Gaara plays with teddy bears… and well… I mean, for God's sake Kankuro fought with puppets (This was something that Shikamaru had never really thought about, but now, really, everything was coming together.).

It figures that Shikamaru falls in love with the one woman who totally can kick his ass and has two insane Peter Pan brothers who would take the task off her hands faster than you can say Sabaku Kyuu (Desert Coffin).

His third discovery really wasn't something he noticed, it was more like something he found.

Shikamaru had been searching through Temari's cluttered and disorganized closet in the vain hope that he might find one of her rings. Of course, normally he wasn't one to snoop and normally he would just ask her what her ring size was. But that might give away his plans and then he'd have to wait five months and maybe a few weeks before he could be sure she was no longer suspicious of anything. And, quite frankly, Shikimaru wasn't willing to wait that long.

In any case, as he was searching through Temari's closet, he found a box. The box was as ordinary as any box, with five sides and a lid. Shikimaru is sure that he never would have opened the box if not for one thing… there was a padlock on it.

The padlock wasn't anything special… except that it was twice the size of his fist, made out of plastic, and shaped like a heart. It was also exceptionally easy to break, which he also discovered quite by accident (An accident to this day he won't talk about to anyone, but he has said that it involved three buckets of battery acid and the kitchen sink.).

It was with the breaking of this lock that he found out about Temari's odd obsession with My Little Ponies.

It was also with the breaking of this lock that Temari decided to walk into her room, tired from her mission.

Shikamaru is an intelligent guy, but he doesn't beat around the bush.

"Why do you have My Little Ponies in your closet?" he asked, voice monotone and calm, he had a bored curiosity in his findings now that he knew that no rings were in the box.

He wasn't surprised when Temari blushed red hot and snatched the box out of his hands. She scowled and flicked him off, but was unable to beat down the blush, and so Shikimaru knew he was winning.

"Why were you looking through MY closet?!" she growled, and Shikimaru inched back a bit, realizing the advantage was no longer his, and the game was now in her favor.

"You didn't answer my question." he answered weakly. Hoping that maybe he could catch her off guard and turn the game around.

"You didn't answer mine!" Temari yelled, scowling down her nose at him.

Now, Shikimaru had known Temari for several years and if there was one thing he had experience with it was with a pissed Temari. Generally Temari was sarcastic and on the attack, never really leaving room for you to insult her, and thus she usually remained calm. But when she did lose her temper… well, several people went missing.

Suddenly, Gaara would have a full schedule with meetings and papers to sign and other Kazekage duties, and he couldn't be expected to come home until later that night. Kankouru would mumble out something that sounded like "training" and "sisters" and "PMSing" and wouldn't return for three days. Foreign diplomats canceled dinner parties and her training partners all suddenly came down with the flu.

And since Shikamaru was too lazy to come up with a good excuse, it was usually he who had to put up with her volcanic eruptions.

But, with all this practice he had learned one thing; Temari could be coaxed into explaining anything, if only she thought there was need to defend it. Temari did not enjoy criticism in anything she did, said, or thought. She was stubborn in a way that resembled Naruto very much, so stubborn that no matter what you said you couldn't convince her that you were right and that she wasn't, even if she knew it. It was with this knowledge that Shikamaru planned to unravel the mystery of these small plastic ponies.

"That's because my question is much more intriguing. Not many girls keep their toys after thirteen and ninja girls stop playing with them approximately at age ten. So why would you keep such childish things locked away in your closet?"

Temari's face turned another shade of red, but she was silent for a moment before she sat down on the edge of her bed. She sat there for maybe a few seconds and then rose again, standing her big fan up against the wall, and then continuing on to where Shikamaru sat. Temari sat cross legged in front of him and looked him right in the eye as she opened the box up. Without breaking eye contact she began to take out individual ponies tenderly.

Shikamaru did not fail to notice the tender part.

"This is Kichiro. He loves fish and hates hot cocoa." Temari explained, as she set down a green pony with a four leaf clover on his hindquarters.

"This is Kin. She hates her name and prefers to be called by Kohaku," she continued, picking up a yellow pony that didn't have any picture on its hindquarters but did have its mane braided down its neck.

"Mai has a crush on Kichiro but she never tells him, so she dances in front of his window at night and hopes he'll notice her." Temari smiled down at this pony, it was pink and had dance shoes painted on it.

Temari went on to introduce Masaru, who was champion warrior and wore many plastic medals around his neck. Next came Yukiko who was grey and had a snowflake painted onto her hide, she was the most self conscience of the bunch because of her plain grey coat. She also introduced Shinju, who was princess of the sea-ponies and had fish painted on to her hindquarters.

Lastly, she pulled out a little pony named Cho. It was the only pony that had wings, the small plastic feathers stuck to the sides of her belly like with all the winged My Little Ponies. Temari was especially careful with this one.

"Cho wishes desperately that she could fly, she loves the wind and the sky but her wings are made of plastic and so she can never join the birds. Instead she is grounded with her family, with a father that doesn't love her and two little brothers who she must take care of. She makes the best of it though, because she still plays with the wind even if she can't be a part of it."

Shikamaru was silent as Temari packed her ponies back up. He was silent as she closed the lid to the box. He was silent as she angrily picked up the melted pink lock. He was silent when she put the box back into the closet. And he was silent after she closed the door and turned to glare at him.

But Shikamaru wasn't silent for long.

"That didn't answer my question."

Behold the volcano.

"How in the hell didn't that register in your ignorant mind?! I'm a girl who has a tortured and emotionally stunted little brother, the other one has the mentality and maturity of a five year old, and my father who messed it all up in the first place is dead! I have never had my mother because she died before I turned five! I liked playing with dolls because it made me feel better and all we have around here are camels!" Temari screeches, eyes a blaze and hair frizzing before she walks out and slams the door behind her.

She returns a moment later.

"And you better find a hotel to stay at tonight because there is no way in hell you're staying here. Have fun walking jackass."

She then promptly turned and slammed the door behind her again, and three more times, just for emphasis.

And so, as Gaara disappeared into his office with very important Kazekage business to do and Kankuro mumbled something about "training" and "Wait till I get my hands on Shikamaru" and then disappeared for probably another few days. And as foreign diplomats cancelled the next few dinner parties and Temari's training partners all came down with the measles… Shikamaru looked for a decent hotel to spend the night in and wished he just would have kept silent.

In the end, Shikamaru figures that, in the grand scheme of things, having an obsession with childhood toys really isn't that bad at all.


A/N: I have to say… this didn't turn out the way I imagined it would… First of all, it wasn't supposed to be this long, or in this order. To top it off, there wasn't supposed to be a serious atom in this entire one-shot, and yet… it somehow managed to spiral out of control.

1: Haha, not mine, actually I got it from The Wild Thorn Berries when I was like eleven, and then I just remembered it after all this time. I thought it would pertain to Shikamaru since, you know, he's a shadow user… do you get it? Maybe?

Anyway, I'll appreciate any reviews, and if I spelled something wrong or got some fact mixed up… well, I haven't really decided on whether or not I want to make a chapter story or not, so I haven't yet looked for any Beta's. Oh well, tell me what you think!