Note: Ages are Shikamaru 20 and Temari 23

Double Note: I own no part of Naruto or any characters therein. And I've never quite gotten over the jealousy of that sad fact.

Yawning, Shikamaru opened his eyes, blinking as he found the offending alarm clock and turned it off quickly so as no to wake his sleeping wife. He turned his head and looked over at her. Blonde hair covered her pillow and her breathing was low and even. Good, it might be a good day after all.

He cautiously sat up in bed, moving as quietly as his ninja training would allow. Carefully, he used his chakra probing the immediate area. With great care Shikamaru deactivated three booby-traps before standing up. How much longer now? Counting in his head, he slipped on his slippers and bit back an oath from the small sting down at the toes. But he hadn't been quite quiet enough.

"Oh. You're up. Water buffalo move quieter than you do, idiot."

"Good morning Temari." Shikamaru smiled through the burning pain in his foot. "Is there an antidote?"

"Yah, yah." Temari groused. "It's in the bathroom, blue vial. And don't expect me to make you breakfast either. I hate you."

Nope, this was going to be a bad day, he decided. Limping into the bathroom, Shikamaru grabbed the blue vial before taking it back to his groaning wife of two years. How much longer they would be married was anyone's guess, she might have him dead by the end of the week all things considered. With a shudder he remembered the particularly nasty trap she'd caught him in only last Friday. Tsunade had refused to speak to him even as she had healed the punctured lung, she'd been biting her lip too hard to form words.

"This one, dearest?" He asked gently, trying not to make things worse.

"Why, don't you trust me?"

He paused, how to answer that? Shikamaru watched as she struggled to sit up on her own, the melon-size of her belly was making that difficult. He winced as he watched her move, trying hard not to offer help. The last time he'd tried to help her sit up he'd ended up with a concussion. The baby was due soon. Everyone told him it would get better, and he really, really hoped so.

Shikamaru just stood there, hurt in his eyes as he waited, fiddling with the blue vial. Last time she'd poisoned him she'd told him the wrong vial. He still wasn't convinced it wasn't on purpose. That time he'd spent the night in the hospital.

"That's the right vial." She growled, fighting back a cry as she put her feet on the floor. Shikamaru winced at how swollen they looked, but she would NOT allow any sympathy, it only made her mean. Meaner, actually.

The baby wasn't due for another two weeks. He'd actually considered asking to have her induced, but considered that an act of cowardice on his part. Now, looking at her struggle, maybe it would be for the best. He decided he'd ask Tsunade today, he'd even forgive his Hogake's taking so much pleasure in his misery. She wasn't talking to him these days because every time she tried, she ended up on the floor laughing at his plight.

"Damn it, I really, really hate you." She mumbled, tears forming in her eyes. Tears she refused to let fall, at least in front of him.

He knelt down in front of her. Brown eyes met miserable green ones. "I could stay."

Temari caught her breath, staring at him. "Just when I'm at my lowest you have to turn sweet? Fuck you." She sniffled a bit and then leaned forward and kissed his nose, "throw that one out and take the clear vial."


Shikamaru ate lunch with his class at the Academy. He watched the kids as they traded lunches and played out the games of childhood, young rivals and young crushes. He smiled, imagining his own child here. Then he frowned, absently rubbing at the healed place where the kunai had grazed him last month. It had been aimed at his groin. Shifting in his seat, he was grateful to have dodged even though it had drawn blood at his hip. He'd often told himself he wanted a girl and then a boy, but now, he shuddered, this one would definately be an only child.

"Oi, Shikamaru!"

He glanced up, smiling as he saw Sakura joining him at the small outdoor table. She, Sai and Naruto had been out on a mission for a while. He wondered how long they'd been gone? They'd been at the dinner he and Temari had held for their family and friends when they'd discovered their pregnancy, how long after that had they left. The months had blended together in his mind as one looooong nightmare. It had started with the morning sickness that lasted all day and had never stopped.

"I just saw Temari-chan at the hospital. She looks great!" Sakura smiled gently, her eyes making a lie of her words though.

"Mean as a snake and twice as venemous?"

Sakura chuckled. "So, it's not just me then?"

Shikamaru smiled saddly, "Hardly. This has been a difficult pregnancy."

The pink-haired kunoichi frowned, "I wasn't aware of any underlying health issues?"

"I meant for everyone else."

Sakura's jaw dropped and she scolded him, "You need to be more supportive. She ..."

"... hasn't been on a mission or trained in 8 1/2 months. Can't eat any of her favorite foods and has been craving beets, which she normally hates. Swollen feet and ankles, back pain, weight gain, tender breasts, dizziness and feeling like a water buffalo, water retention, and raging hormones. Not to mention trying to kill me several times a day."

"Oh." Sakura took a breath and started to speak, then stopped. Tried again, but nothing came out. Then she scowled as she reviewed his words. "Tried to kill you? What did you do?"

"Got her pregnant." Was his droll response.

"Oh." She paused, unsure. "But weren't the two of you trying to have a baby?"

"Yah." He missed those days. Sex was but a distant fond memory. "Now it's nothing but poisons and murderous traps. She sets them up all over the house."

Sakura was trying hard not to laugh. He couldn't blame her, everyone else laughed. His father and Tsunade, the whole damn village too. Only his mother took his side, which was troublesome actually. He and his father had their hands full trying to keep these two women from hurting each other. Only the fact that Temari was pregnant with her grandchild kept his mother from tearing her daughter-in-law into pieces for trying to kill her son.

Suddenly Sakura jumped up with a worried frown.

"Hn. What's wrong?"

Sakura chewed her lip a moment before the words rushed out of her in a torrent, "Temari's mood was really foul when I saw her earlier. Tsunade had made her drink this really awful stuff to test her blood sugar levels."

"Test?" He whined. She never let him go with her to her appointments now. He'd gone at first, but as she'd grown more and more uncomfortable, she'd started refusing his company. Sometimes violently. Tsunade said it was hormone induced and not to worry about it. And after all her attacks, she'd always kissed him and apologized. He knew she loved him, but damn it, would the baby hurry it up?!

"Does Kankuro know about all of this?" Sakura asked.


"Just answer the fucking question!"

"Since when do you cuss?" He blinked up at her.

"Damn it Shikamaru! Kankaro was coming through the gates as we arrived. He was laughing and said he had a wagon load of presents from Suna and that he was heading to your house with it all. He told us he had a key if neither of you were home. Kankaro said he hadn't thought he'd be able to get here until next month, but his last few missions had gone so smoothly that Gaara had sent him on early. HE SAID IT WAS A SURPRISE!"

With a wild look of horror, Shikamaru took off without a word. Sakura motioned for the confused assistant to take over the class before heading out after the shadow ninja. She hoped they were over-reacting, she really did.


They walked into their worst nightmare.

Kankaro had managed to staunch the bleeding from the first wound, but apparently had lost consciousness either from a second trap or blood loss. They weren't sure which. His face was a disturbing purple, almost the same shade as his habitual make-up and from the look of his ankle it had to be broken.

He roused once as Sakura worked to stablize him, "Attack!" He managed to croak out, "Got to warn Temari, someone's trying to ki ..." At that point, Sakura had been palpating his abdomen and apparently there was some internal bleeding. Kankaro had grunted, cursed, and passed out.

Shikamaru carried his brother-by-marriage on his back all the way to the hospital. Tension held him immobile in the waiting room. If Kankaro died, he shuddered, No! He wouldn't think like that. But ... if the puppeteer did die, Temari would never forgive herself. Worried, he paced back and forth.

Suddenly the door flew open, banging against the wall with enough force to rip one hinge completely out. With wide eyes he stared at his wife. She was crying. He'd never seen her cry. As he watched her red and blotchy face as her eyes focused on him, he was rather glad he'd never seen her cry before. As the tears flowed down her chin he felt his heart skip a beat.

"Sh ... sh...ika-chan?" He blinked. She'd never called him tha ... Suddenly he was enveloped in her embrace. She was holding him so hard he wasn't sure his recently healed rib would hold. Temari held him in a death grip wailing and crying and shouting and kissing him every other word. He was drenched in her tears. Damn it, that stupid puppeteer better pull through!

"Shhhh ... he's going to be fine. It's nothing, a mere scratch." Shikamaru lied to his wife, desperate to calm her down. He kept up his murmerings as she finally started to wind down. She was still holding him tight, but breathing was no longer as difficult.

"I ca-a-me home and bl---oooo---d EVERYWHERE!" She was kissing his face all over, then snuggled her head into the space between his shoulder and neck. "I was so scared. I'm sorry!! I'm so fucking sorry, I love you and I suck. This sucks. I'm never having another baby, never, never, never!"

Shikamaru nodded. Yep, he was down with that.

"Where were you hurt?" She pulled back, her beautiful eyes nearly swollen shut as she started running her hands all over him.


"I saw the blood, damn you. Why couldn't you move faster? This is all your fault you dipshit, you need to pay more attention." Her voice was growing more and more frantic as she kept running her hands over him. "So much fucking blood! Troublesome male."

"Temari. Temari. TEMARI!" She paid him no mind. Her hands ran across his groin and his voice went up two octives, "TEMA-RIIIII!"

Sniffling, she stopped, staring at him. "Are you yelling at me?" Her voice was low and warned him her temper had risen. But then, what else was new these days?

Quickly, before she could beat him into a bloody pulp, he told her what was going on.

Temari's eyes grew wider and wider in horror. Then, with a whimper, she collapsed. On top of him.


Shikamaru paced the waiting room. How long had it been now. An hour? Twelve hours? Who knew. He was finding it hard to pay attention to mundane things like time. People had come in and out for a while now. Chouji kept handing him coffee every now and then. His father was silent and holding his mother's hand as they sat waiting with him. Sakura had been back and forth several times, keeping him updated.

"She'll be fine." Shikamaru looked down. Kankaro was in a wheeled chair next to him. The medical staff had thrown a fit, but the Sand ninja would not be deterred. He'd only agreed to sit in the chair and be pushed around so they wouldn't tie him down to the bed, not to mention that the medic assigned to him was a really cute woman with curves that defied gravity.

Shikamaru grunted.

"So. She's been like this ... how long now?"

"About eight months."

"Soooo. You've been living with my sister, who wasn't known for her incredible sweetness before getting pregant, who's been trying to kill or maim you for eight months?"

He nodded.

Kankaro whistled. "If half the stories I've been hearing the last few hours are true, then you are one stupid man."

Shikamaru didn't bother to answer.

"I didn't like this marriage you know."

Again, no answer. Everyone had known, Kankaro hadn't hidden his feelings. He'd tried to sabatoge the relationship several times. Shikamaru shook his head, what a family.

"I was wrong."

Startled, Shikamaru looked down into Kankaro's scrubbed face. The puppeteer hadn't been happy to be make-up free, but the medics had already cleaned him up before he'd woken. What was that, five hours ago? It had been a long two days.

"Anyone else would have left her, killed her, or broken her heart or spirit. Or else she would have killed him."

Shikamaru only stared at him.



"I'm not repeating it." Kankaro groused. "That's all you get."

As a warm fuzzy moment with his brother-by-marriage, it sucked. But it came from Kankaro. Shikamaru smiled ruefully, it was enough.

Sakura came through the door in a sprint and everyone caught their breath.

She smiled. Shikamaru felt dizzy.


"She looks just like her mother." Shikamaru smiled dreamily as he watched his daughter yawn.

An exhausted Shikamaru sat next to his wife in the bed, holding his infant daughter as if she were the most precious thing in the world. Come to think of it, he decided, she was. Still he smiled over at his mother who seemed to have forgotten the animosity between herself and Temari. The two were bonding. With a pause he stared at them as they talked schedules and powders. His mother ... over ... at their house ... all the time???? Maybe things had been better when she and Temari hadn't gotten along.

"Miyu." Kankaro grinned as he reached out, the tiny infant's fist closing on his smallest finger. "Gorgeous."

Shikamaru looked down, losing himself in the sight of his daughter. He was too exhausted to hide his feelings, the joy on his face was there for everyone to see. With poor excuses, one by one his friends left the room, until it was only his family. Looking around he spied Kankaro, still cooing at Miyu. Huh. He'd become family in more ways than just name? Oh well, some things couldn't be helped. Watching the puppeteer's expression, Shikamaru resigned himself to more visits to and from Suna. He wondered what Gaara would say when he saw his neice. He couldn't wait.

Temari leaned her head down on his shoulder as the new parents ate up the sight of their child.


Two days later, Shikamaru was packing up everything, ready to move his family back home. His mother had cleaned up their house, ridding it of all signs of blood or mayhem. But only after his father had deactivated all the traps. His dad had come by the hospital later, warily eyeing Temari. He'd confided in his son that he'd had no idea how bad things had gotten. Apparently some of the traps had been really nasty.

Tsunade had come by to wish them all well along with Kankaro who was also being released finally. It didn't look like the puppeteer had taken any permanent damage, even though he'd almost lost his spleen. He was staying as a guest in his parent's home for two weeks to recover.

Shikamaru smiled quietly, it was a cover and they all knew it. A week would suffice, but Kankaro had fallen under Miyu's spell and every other sentence was about his marvelous new neice. He'd nearly choked when he found out that Kankaro had turned down a date with the medic to stay and play with his neice. The sand shinobi had fashioned a rather clever puppet from some scrap wood and yarn, and was busy letting the infant try and grab it as it floated above her.

Temari laughed as she watched her brother. Shikamaru grinned, watching his now sane wife watch her brother play with their child. He had her back. The last two days had made the last eight months seem like a lifetime ago. Soft words in the night, snuggling close, waking up together to feed Miyu. His Temari was back and life was good again. No, it was fucking brilliant. Damn, he loved her.

The door opened, and he caught his wife's surprise and then her wide grin. He looked over and saw Gaara standing quietly in the doorway. The red-head was staring at Miyu, his expression carefully blank.

"Gaara!" Kankaro crowed, "come meet Miyu! She's the most brilliant child I have ever seen and the most gorgeous too!"

Shikamaru laughed, "And how many children have you been around, Kankaro?"

"It doesn't matter, she beats them all." The puppeteer laughed back. "She'll be stronger than us all, I predict it."

Temari walked over and picked up Miyu, carrying her over to her younger brother. She held out the child and Gaara stepped back.

"Don't you want to meet your neice?" Temari asked with a smile.

"I can meet her from here."

Shikamaru turned so Gaara wouldn't see his smile.

Temari wouldn't be deterred. "Hold her Gaara, she's family. Yours."

Gaara shook his head and put his hands behind him like a child.

Kankaro's shoulders started to shake. His parents looked everywhere but at the Sand Kazekage.

"Come on Gaara, she's only a baby. And your neice." Temari looked like she might be getting a little irritated.

"She looks ... breakable." Gaara whined.

Shikamaru blinked. He hadn't known Gaara could whine. Oh, this was good.

At this, Temari pushed the baby into her brothers chest and his hands came out to take her automatically. He growled at her as she backed up smiling. He was holding her like a bomb that might go off at any moment. He was so stiff Shikamaru was afraid Gaara might be the one to break.

"See? Nothing to it!" Kankaro smiled widely, "besides, this might be it for us."

"Huh?" Gaara asked, distracted by the waving arms in front of his too-wide eyes.

Kankaro scratched his chin. "Well, Temari and Shikamaru aren't having any more and I have no immediate plans. Nor you as far as I can tell. So, Miyu's it for us."

Temari smiled softly, "actually, I was thinking I might want a boy next time."

Kankaro paled. Shikamaru's mother cooed. His father looked stunned. Gaara grinned. And Shikamaru fainted.

Tsunade laughed for three days.