I don't own these characters.

3: These three words

Shikamaru huffed as the door closed on his face; Temari was the one that had slammed the thing. Damn troublesome woman, he complained mentally, although he supposed that he should have seen that coming. He was not seeing much coming lately and he doubted that he was helping his situation by showing up at Temari's door without a plan of any kind to get her back. He had not been able to think of a strategy because he was just in such turmoil and agony with her being gone that it was the only thing that he could focus on.

"Come on, Temari," Shikamaru begged through the shut door.

"Go away, Shikamaru," Temari replied in a heated tone. She looked as angry as she sounded, which he could guess.

"Open the door," he requested/ordered. He was not even sure what tone of voice he was using. He was not sure which tone would get a positive response out of her. He considered that such a tone might not exist.

"Leave me alone!" Temari barked at him through the door.

Even though the closed door was between them, they both knew that they were close to each other. There was only the door between the former lovers. They were both standing right at the portal, allowing them to almost feel the other's body heat. Their forms leaned forward without commands from their brains as if they were magnets, seeking their opposite ends. Their bodies wanted to be close, to be touching.

"Don't do this," Shikamaru said, practically pleading with her.

"Don't do this?" Temari echoed in a furious tone. How dare he tell her! How dare he say that to her after he had just let her walk out and did not bother to go after her! He had ruined them and now had the nerve show up at her door and beg her not to do something! The bastard!

"Open the door," he repeated in a strong voice that he was surprised he had. "We can talk," he offered, sounding weaker with that suggestion.

"What makes you think I want to talk to you?" she demanded to know. As if she wanted to have any kind of discussion with the man that had so carelessly broken her heart, she thought with a scoff. She would rather beat the living piss out of him.

"Listen to me," he implored her through the door. He was bothered by the fact that she was being so stubborn, even though he knew that she was going to be that way. He was learning his lesson about showing up without a plan of any kind.

"No, you listen to me! Leave me the hell alone! I don't want to talk to you!" Temari screamed through the door. Her face was flushed scarlet from her flaring fury, which was coming off of her so strongly that Shikamaru could feel it through the door.

"Temari, just listen to me," he begged her desperately. He sounded like a panhandler on the street looking for spare change.

"Go away!" she commanded, having to will herself not to cry, even though hot, salty tears were welling up in her eyes. She was so upset with him having the nerve to come to her now, after just letting her walk out. How could he possibly act like she meant something to him now? They had been apart for over a month. They were over!

Shikamaru frowned, but he guessed that since she was still standing on the other side of the door, that was a good thing. He should be able to get through to her through the door, he told himself. Well, hopefully he could get through to her with the door between them.

"Look… Temari… I'm sorry I just let you leave like that. I shouldn't have done that," he started.

"Damn right," she mumbled to herself, but he did hear her words.

"I thought I was doing the right thing. I mean, I've been a crappy boyfriend at best and I figured you deserved better than me. I knew it would hurt when I let you go, but I never expected the amount of pain I'm in. I mean, this is the worst pain possible. I hate feeling this way. I hate being without you," he explained as best he could. His mouth was just running with his heart in control. His brain needed to take a backseat since it was the reason that he was in his current mess.

Temari wanted to say that she hated being without him, but her mouth refused to speak such words. She did not want him to know how much he had wounded her in just lying on that sofa while she left the apartment. Instead of saying anything, the tears in her eyes overflowed and streamed down her cheeks, dripping onto her floor like a light rain. She pled with him to mentally shut up, but he kept going.

"I love you," Shikamaru capped it all off. His voice was strong, sure, and sound.

The blonde's heart practically exploded in her chest from his words. How could he say such a thing now after what happened, her mind demanded to know. He had never said such words before, so why would he say them now? Her tears fell twice as hard now, cascading from both eyes like powerful twin waterfalls.

"Shut up!" Temari screamed through the door. He was a liar! He was a damned liar! She punched the door in anger.

Shikamaru took a step back because of the tone that she used. She sounded both furious and heartbroken. God, he had hurt her so much by not reacting to her leaving, he realized. He could not do what he wanted through the door then. She needed to be able to experience his apology completely in person for her to not only hear, but use her other senses to understand that he was not lying to her.

The brunette male unconsciously made his bold next move. He reached out and grabbed the knob of the barrier between him and his beloved. He opened the door without thinking and entered the area without her permission. If he was in his right frame of mind, he would have been surprised that he was not struck in the face by a giant fan the second that he stepped inside, but at the moment, he forgot that she even wielded such a weapon with deadly accuracy.

Temari was not even thinking about her fan. She was just thinking about how she wanted Shikamaru to disappear; the last thing she wanted was for him to be sharing a room with her. And then a second later, she had to amend that thought. Shikamaru wrapped his strong arms around her and now she realized that the last thing that she wanted was to be embraced by him. Well, she told herself that she did not want to be hugged by him, but some small traitorous part of her being was quite content with her current predicament.

Shikamaru was surprised to find that Temari was weeping. He hoped that being in his arms would get her tears to cease. He hated causing her such terrible agony. How could he have made such a mistake? He could not figure out how his plan had been so totally screwed up. It had seemed like the right thing to do at the time, but now he could see that all it did was cause ache upon horrible ache.

"I love you," he repeated with more force than before and he squeezed her, trying to assure her of his words with the hug.

"SHUT UP!" she screamed at the top of her lungs and then pushed him away, his back colliding with the open door.

"Temari…" he said, ignoring the pain in his spine. No time to think about little things like his back if he was going to get his girlfriend back.

"You're a damn liar! You don't love me! You don't care about me at all, so get the hell out of here! I don't want to see you anymore! In fact, I hope you die, so you know how I feel!" she hollered without thinking. She was in such agony that she was saying things that would never even cross her mind under normal circumstances. She would never wish death on someone that meant something to her if she was in her right frame of mind.

Shikamaru was taken aback by her voiced desire for his death. He looked rather disturbed by her hope and the fact that she connected death to whatever she was feeling right now. Had he killed her on the inside when he let her leave? Man, he was such a screw-up, he thought.

"Temari…" Shikamaru started again, hoping to make it through his sentence that time, but no such luck.

"I don't want to hear it, Shika! Just get out! You had your chance and you blew it. I don't give a damn about you anymore," she lied. He knew that she was not telling the truth there and had no problem with calling her on it.

"You know you do. Just forget about this—" he was cut off again.

"Forget about it?" she shrieked so loudly that it hurt his ears. "You dumped me!"

"Actually, you dumped me," he corrected her. It was not until the words were out of his mouth that he realized that was definitely the wrong thing to say.

"Get the hell out of here," she ordered in a dangerously low tone.

Shikamaru was about to tempt Fate until he noticed that Temari was suddenly holding a weapon. It was not her fan, but she could damn well kill him with just about anything and the kunai that she was holding could take care of the job. He slowly backed out of the room and she slammed the door in his face a second time. She locked the door that time and then turned to throw herself on her sofa; if Shikamaru was a wise man, he would not bother her anymore, she thought. Or else, she would do him great bodily harm.

The blonde flung herself unceremoniously onto her couch and sobbed into a throw pillow. How could he just come out say that he loved her after the way he had just let her leave? How could he even say that after the way he always acted like a lazy jerk when they were together? No, now he was just screwing with her, in her opinion. She was not going to let him hurt her anymore.

Shikamaru was not sure what he should do. He stared at the shut door as if it would give him the answers. He guessed that he might as well say his peace to the door and see if he got some kind of reaction.

"Temari, I'm sorry for everything that happened, not just letting you walk out the door and not getting up from the damned couch, but everything. I'm sorry for always being a jerk and never wanting to do anything. I'm sorry for always getting you to raise your temper. I'm sorry for everything and I promise I'll try to change if you just come back to me," Shikamaru said, his forehead touching the cool wood of the door with his eyes pinned to the floor. He sounded like he was begging her, but he did not get a response. "Please…" he whispered in a desperate tone. His voice seemed like it was going to fail him at any moment. His whole body felt ready to collapse against the door and just cry right along with Temari, not that he knew that she was currently bawling like a baby.

Temari's voice had abandoned her, so she could not even order his to go away again. She could only weep and muffle the sound with her pillow to avoid having him find out that he had affected her in such a way, even though he had already seen her crying. She wanted him to go away thinking that she was murderously angry, not weeping in sheer misery. Why did he have to say such things now? Why could he not promise to change before, say he loved her before? Now, it was too late. Things were already ruined.

"Please…" Shikamaru begged again, his voice sounding course now, as if he gargled with pebbles before speaking. There was still no answer. "Temari, I love you with all my heart and soul, and I swear that if you come back to me, I'll change. I'll treat you so much better than before. I promise. Just come back to me."

His words were met with a seemingly harsh silence. The quiet actually murdered his ears while he felt like all of his vital organs were going to fall out through his abdomen. His heart imploded in on itself as the realization hit that it was over. His supposedly brilliant plan had actually ruined his life.

"Please…" he pled one last time, but the answer was still the same. The silence proclaimed that "they" were dead. Their relationship was gone.


Temari swore that her soul could feel when Shikamaru left. The intangible piece of her called out to him, but she did not remove herself from the sofa. Her heart begged her to get up and give him another chance. She did not want to risk getting her heart broken a second time, though. She could not imagine how much the pain would be if she allowed him to hurt her again. Instead of allowing herself to be injured again, she decided that she was going to wait out the agony and, surely it would subside sooner or later. As it turned out, she was wrong.

-(A month later)

Shikamaru dragged himself into his apartment after another day of work. Everything seemed like same thing to him. He actually did not even know what day it was. Nothing mattered. He shuffled on in his existence, meaningless though it was to him. He was so hollow and exhausted. He was ready to just fall out and he felt that way all of the time.

"You look like crap," a familiar voice greeted him.

Shikamaru appeared shocked as he turned to the origin of the voice. Temari was in the living room, leaning against the back of the sofa, trying to look cool, but appearing sorrowful and as tired as Shikamaru. He did not know what to make of her presence, but he was infinitely happy to see her after two months apart, not to mention after a month of his disastrous visit to her.

"Temari…" he whispered because of his shock. "Wha… what are you doing here?" he asked in a puzzled voice. He thought that they were done and he really did not want to get his hopes up. Still, he liked to think that it was a good thing that she was there.

"You know, I could hate you so much if I tried hard enough, I'm sure I could," Temari replied and paused, but Shikamaru did not jump in, so she continued. "But, it's damn hard to do that. It's exhausting really."

"Tell me about it…" he muttered to himself. He felt like he had been walking around with tons of weights on his shoulders, which was only added to every day that they were apart. He was certain that given enough time, he would not have been able to get himself out of bed in the morning from the burden that he carried. She could understand that, which was why she was there.

"Are you really going to change?" she asked, trying to hide her small hope in that. Her turquoise eyes did shine with the emotion, though and he noticed.

"I'll try," he answered. It was the best that he could do. He was not sure if he would succeed, but he damn sure would try if it meant that she would come back to him.

Temari shifted uncomfortably with that for some reason. "I don't want you to change too much," she admitted. "Maybe a little bit, but not much."

"What?" he asked in a shocked tone. Why would she not want him to change? He had ruined them after all.

"Look, you're a lazy, very difficult, and annoying bastard, but that's what I love about you. I love who you are and I don't want you to really change. I just…I want to know that you feel the same way," the blonde explained.

"I do. I love you," Shikamaru stated soundly. His words stood stronger than any army ever invented.

"Then I need you to show it," she informed him in an almost desperate tone. She had come back because she needed Shikamaru for life to be slightly enjoyable. She moped since their breakup, which was thoroughly unlike her. She wanted to go back to being herself and she wanted to go back to being content, which could only happen if she was still with Shikamaru. His presence, no matter how irksome he was, uplifted her.

Shikamaru nodded in agreement with that idea, but he could not think of anything to say in response. Temari sighed and walked over to him. She seemed to loom over him, even though he was taller than she was. There was just something about her aura that seemed to engulf the whole area and fill the tiny apartment with the crushing presence that was the woman he loved.

"I need you to try to stop me if I ever walk out that door again," Temari told him.

"You don't need to tell me that," Shikamaru replied.


"Hell, no," he said with surprising energy. "I'm not even gonna give you a valid excuse to try to walk out that door again. If you do try to leave, I'll pin you to the ground and chain you to the door to make sure you don't leave."

Temari smiled ever so slightly at that. She was feeling a bit more confident about coming back now. Maybe they could work a second time now that they got that scare and pain out of the way. They understood what they meant to each other now.

"Then, there's two things you have to do," Temari told him.

"What?" he asked curiously, hoping getting smacked in the face with a certain giant fan was not on that list.

"Tell me what you told me back at my place first," she instructed him.

"What?" he inquired with his face scrunched up as if he was confused. "I said a lot of things then, after all."

"You know what," she huffed, getting a bit angry with him because he was playing around, but it was her usual fury toward him, not the special ire he had raised in her when he allowed her to walk out of his life without so much as a sideways glance toward her.

"Ah…" Shikamaru scratched the back of his head as if he was trying to remember. "Something about something…" he muttered and glanced away from her for a moment. His deep brown eyes then turned back to her and he smirked at her in an almost condescending way. "I love you," he said with more conviction than he had ever said anything in his life and he swept her up in his arms because he could guess what the next thing was.

"Then kiss me," she ordered him and he knew that one was coming. Shikamaru wasted no time in fulfilling that command, kissing her with surprising passion on the lips. When contact was made, they both felt as if a great weight had been unhinged from their frames. They felt right. Things were in their proper order when they were together, even if they were kind of dysfunctional. Still, they functioned better together than apart, which said something considering how they got along.


The end.