Popping the Question

Shikamaru's going to propose to Temari. Before he does, he has to clear it with her two brothers...

"You want to propose to Temari."

It was said bluntly, flatly, and without a trace of emotion. Leave it to Sabaku no Gaara to take such joyous news as though he was receiving a blow to the head.


Underneath his Jounin uniform Nara Shikamaru was sweating like a pig, probably because the other brother-the one who liked purple make-up and had a fetish for chakra strings-was glaring menacingly down at him.

"Did you knock her up?" Kankurou growled, nose practically touching Shikamaru's. "Is that why?"

Shikamaru shook his head fretfully. "N-no, no! I've never touched your sister."

"You swear? No hanky-panky with Temari at all?"

"I swear!"

Kankurou surveyed the younger man for a moment before turning to his brother and saying, "He's lying. I think we should slap him around a bit to get his tongue to loosen."

"I swear to Kami-sama that I haven't had illicit relations with Temari!" Shikamaru yelled, "I swear!"

"I think it's safe to say, Kankurou, that Nara-san has not violated our sister."

For some reason, Kankurou looked almost crestfallen. Perhaps it was because the prospect of beating the living daylights out of Shikamaru just escaped him.

"He better not have. Lazy ass over here is probably too much of a cheap bastard to buy condoms anyway and I don't want to deal with any brats."

Shikamaru paled. He's going to be uncle to my kids one day?

"Why do you want to marry Temari?"

Shikamaru turned to look at the Kazekage. Even though Shukaku had been extracted from Gaara and he was finally allowed to get some sleep at night, the dark rings around his eyes hadn't completely faded. It wasn't that strange-they had been around for fifteen years after all-but right now, the haunted quality they were giving Gaara's stare was not helping Shikamaru much in his fidgetiness.

"Because…I love her?" He ventured forth cautiously.

Kankurou exploded. "Why the hell are you saying that like it's a question? Do I look like I know whether or not you love my sister? Huh? Huh?"

"No I didn't mean-"

"You've dated Temari for five years now-how can you not know your feelings for her? Are you too busy thinking about how to get into her pants? Is that why? You little shit, I'm gonna-"

He made to lunge at Shikamaru but at the last minute Gaara erected a sand barrier between him and the unfortunate young man shivering by the door of the Kazekage's office.

"Calm yourself, Kankurou…" Gaara commanded. Ignoring his brother's heavy breathing, he turned once more to Shikamaru. "Your request doesn't come as much of a surprise to me, Nara-san. I've watched your relationship with my sister progress these past five years and to tell you the truth, I was expecting it."

"What?" Kankurou interrupted, his feet now held in place to the floor by the sand. "You actually wanted this freak to propose to Temari?"

Gaara continued as though he didn't hear his brother. "You've taken your time, Nara-san. You've kept both Temari and me waiting." His clear green eyes darted to his sibling. "Although I can't say the same for Kankurou here."

"You're damn right you can't say that for me!" Kankurou shouted. "Just because Gaara wants to seal an alliance with the Leaf in the form of your marriage to my sister doesn't mean that I'm going to sit on my ass while a punk kid like you takes her away from Suna!"

"Kankurou…" Gaara began in a warning voice.

"It's illegal, Gaara!" Kankurou howled. "He's twenty and she's twenty-three, he can't even drink yet! How could you allow our sister to become a pedophile for a kid whose family raises deer!? Temari's the daughter of a Kazekage and the sister of one too-she's a princess! I'll be damned if I allow her to be shipped off to some hillbilly town to play the wife of a farmer!"

"I am not a farmer!" Shikamaru said loudly, the first sign all day that he actually had a spine. "And I'm past eighteen, which makes me an adult now!"

"You are not an adult!" Kankurou bellowed. "You're ten centimeters shorter than me-you're a pipsqueak! Kami, are you even good enough down there to keep my sister happy?"

Even Gaara, for all his years of not mixing with society, had understood the implication of Kankurou's words. "Kankurou," he snarled, "that's enough about Temari's sex life."

"You mean soon-to-be, right? 'Cause if pineapple head here isn't lying, which he better not be, they haven't gotten frisky yet."

Gaara made a hmphing noise. "You may hate children, Kankurou, but I'm looking forward to being an uncle."

Kankurou looked at Gaara in astonishment, as though he couldn't believe what his ears were hearing. Shikamaru himself was slightly dumbfounded. Did Sabaku no Gaara just say that he indirectly wanted kids?

"Oh so now you have another motive for allowing this proposal to go through!?" Kankurou barked, snapping out of his bewildered state.

"She's our older sister," Gaara drawled, "technically we can't tell her what to do."

"I can't tell her what to do but I sure as hell can tell him what to do and I'm saying no, you're not going to propose to Temari!"

Shikamaru's eyes narrowed. "You're troublesome. I already have the Kazekage's permission. I don't need yours." He made to turn around and walk out of the office but Kankurou's voice, which had turned low and dangerous, stopped him.

"You walk away from me and see what happens."

"You're brother has you restrained-I doubt you can do anything."

Kankurou, forgetting that there was sand rooting him to the ground, looked down. "Gaara!" He roared, "Let me go right now! I'm going to show this good-for-nothing maggot-"

"What is going on here?"

All three males froze at the sound of a voice. A distinctly feminine voice.

"T-Temari!" Shikamaru stammered. "When'd you get here?"

She blinked at him. "Just now."

"How much of our conversation did you hear?"

"Enough to know that Kankurou wants to cut your balls off, Shikamaru."

"You got that right," Kankurou muttered under his breath.

"We were just discussing battle tactics when Nara-san and Kankurou had a slight dispute over whose strategies were better," Gaara cut in smoothly.

Temari looked unconvinced. "I see…"

"Did you need something?"

"Just wanted to drop off my mission report," Temari replied, handing her brother a piece of paper. She turned to Shikamaru, who had taken the opportunity to edge closer to the door and reached for his arm.

"Before we go to dinner tonight Shikamaru, I need you to help me finish outlining a plan for the upcoming Chuunin exams. I know it's routine already, but I-"

"Dinner?" Kankurou hissed. Everyone turned to look at him.

"Yes Kankurou," Temari said brusquely, "dinner. You know, when people go out to a restaurant to eat?"

Kankurou ignored her as he continued to glower at Shikamaru, his voice rising. "You're taking her out to dinner?"

"You prefer that our sister not eat and become anorexic?" Gaara asked dryly.

"You have an IQ of over 200, Nara!" Kankurou shouted, "The best you can come up with is dinner!?"

"It's just a date, Kankurou," Temari said matter-of-factly, "nothing special."

"Nothing special!?" Kankurou's eyes nearly popped out of his head. "The kid's going to propose to you and you're saying it's nothing special!?"

There was a stunned silence. Realizing his slip-up, Kankurou slapped his hand to his mouth.

"Oh…whoops?" He let out a hesitant chuckle, one that quickly died underneath the murderous glare…that came from Shikamaru, of all people.

"Tactful," Gaara snapped.

"D-did he say what I thought he just said, Shikamaru?" Temari whispered, her hand on her chest.

Shikamaru sighed. This was getting more troublesome by the minute. "Yes Temari," he relented, "he did."

The next thing he knew the wind was knocked out of him as his girlfriend squealed and launched herself into his arms, causing him to fall over with her on top. Ignoring the fact that her two brothers were watching, one in disbelief and the other in complete apathy, Temari planted kisses all over Shikamaru's face as she managed to say, "Yes, Shikamaru, oh yes!"

"I haven't agreed to the proposal yet!" Kankurou growled, having regained his wits. When Temari gave no indication that she heard him, he yelled, "Stop slobbering all over him and listen to me! I said-HOLY SHIT GET YOUR FILTHY HANDS AWAY FROM MY SISTER'S BUTT YOU PERVERT!"

He would have said more but Gaara had the sand drag him out of the room, squawking in furious protest. They made their way down the hall, the younger brother walking serenely away from his sister and her now fiancé, the older one producing snarling noises that rivaled an angry dog's.

"I really don't see why you're so against their union, Kankurou," Gaara said. "Nara Shikamaru is a decent man-intelligent, a competent shinobi-"

"Lazy, half-assed, shit-holed…you forgot to mention a few things."

"I think you're just bitter that he was the only one that year to become a Chuunin."

Kankurou scoffed. "And three years later I became a Jounin while he was still a Chuunin. What is there to be bitter about?"

"He's a good match for Temari."

"You're only saying that because he's the only match for Temari. Who else would go for our sister, huh? She's a bitch on wheels, she'd have a guy's ass for breakfast. Fried."

"Including ours, so why not give her up as soon as possible?"

Kankurou didn't say anything for a moment, absorbing the logic of his brother's words. "Hm, you have a point there."

"I've thought about this long and hard, Kankurou. You needn't worry."

Kankurou sighed. "Yeah, I guess not. You're the Kazekage after all." Released by the sand, he brushed himself off before getting up and walking with his younger sibling.

"You know what I can't understand Gaara?"


"The fact that they haven't had sex yet."


"It's the same principle as buying a weapon. You wouldn't get one without testing it out first."


"Ah well. It doesn't matter how good they are in bed as long as they get the job done and Temari pops out a few snot-nosed tykes by the end of the year, right?"


They strolled along in companionable silence. Then,

"That bastard better not try any freaky shit with Temari."

"Why do you say that?"

"Kami knows what he can do with that shadow jutsu of his."

Hm, not my best but I wanted to write it. I couldn't come up with a creative title either.