Love Is

A/N: I miss ShikaTema stuff haha and I was listening to the theme from Ice Castles. That's a really nice song … but it might not suit your taste but anyway Lol If you don't mind old lovey dovey songs I suggest you listen to it if you haven't already. Anyway, it got me thinking about all these other love songs that say love is this and love is that … which led to this story.

Oh yeah I know my narrative voice changes and I'm sorry if that bothers anyone Lol

Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto. All characters within this fanficiton belongs to Masashi Kishimoto.

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One of my best friends, Yamanaka Ino, insists that love is the most wonderful feeling in the world. Actually, a lot of my female comrades would probably suggest the same thing. They'd dramatically clasp their hands together and stars would appear in their eyes as they left reality and fell into another pointless daydream. And in this said strange trance is when they'd proclaim that love is filled with awe-inspiring as well as heart-breaking experiences that seek to change the victim, as I call it, into a 'better' person.

Of course, when I said otherwise, I'd be physically abused. How troublesome of them. And if I dared say love was 'troublesome', their faces would stare at me in funny, eyes wide in shock, mouths gaping open and finally I would have a moment's peace and quiet. That is, until they found their larynxes once more.

'Troublesome?! How can you say that?!' Ino would exclaim. Not that I was really meant to answer. They'd continue on after that.

'Shikamaru, really, surely a genius like yourself would recognise how wonderful a thing such as love really is!' Tenten would say, nodding vigorously. She shook her head at me like I was a child unable to grasp the concept of candy.

'You're being ludicrous,' Sakura would continue on. Dear Kami was there no end to this? Of course I expect Ino to say something, she's one of my closest friends and refuses to let me remain the way I am, but Sakura and Tenten as well?

'Shikamaru-kun, l-love doesn't have to be troublesome if you don't want it to be.'

Oh, what? Even Hinata? They've all turned against me. Lovesick fools. And it's not as if I can escape and run away. They've got me cornered. And I know better than to try and run from them. Ah, that was a moment where I learned from experience rather than anything else. I thought it was a great choice, personally, deciding to push past them the last time they harassed me about … who was it? Someone or other that they were all talking about. They held me back and yelled at me for a good hour about my 'rudeness', telling me that I was being troublesome! How dare they! After that hour, they went on to continue to tell me about the sad elements of their love lives, or lack of.

Do I honestly have a sign on me that says I should be approached?

Maybe I do. I wouldn't put it past them. For some strange reason the girls see me as the best candidate to listen to them talk about Neji and Sasuke and Naruto and 'Sasuke-kun' and Sai and did I mention 'Sasuke-kun'? They're still talking about him. Although, given, Sai's become quite the topic too. Speaking of Sai, here they go to talk about him.

'You don't understand love at all, do you, Shikamaru? Have you seen Sai's abstract work on love? Maybe you can ask him to teach you a thing or two about it…'

Was Ino kidding? Sai, according to Naruto, has no feelings whatsoever. Or he didn't. He was working on it or something. If he's so lovely why don't they have such a fascinating conversation with him? Can't they just leave me alone?

'Shikamaru, are you listening?'

I spared a bored glance at Sakura, regretting it immediately.

'Yes, Sakura, I'm listening.'

Sakura was a nice girl, nice person and all but her temper was scary. And I mean, scary. Not quite as scary as my mother's, but her I've seen buildings collapse as a result of her distaste. But she seemed to reserve her acts of violence for Naruto, thank the Kages. I was saved from her. But not from another troublesome woman, who will beat me with that oversized fan of hers. Honestly. I thought it was a tool of grace and … feminism. But she wields it around like it's a wrecking ball.

' … and the fireworks when you kiss him! It's unimaginable.'

Of course it's unimaginable, you haven't kissed him, have you? Wait, are we still talking about Sasuke? I still don't understand why they're still talking about the fireworks when you kiss the Uchiha, especially when none of them have kissed him, other than Naruto of course.

'…And then you melt!'

Sigh. They're not going to stop, are they?

'And then you don't know what to say,' Lee continued on.

Hang on. What's Lee doing here? Tenten voiced the same question.

'I heard your passionate conversation, of course! And I just had to join!'

And then there were five. Why am I still here? Why can't they just talk to Lee?

Of course, now that I start to walk away again, Tenten's grabbed my shirtsleeve. Sigh. Why has this conversation not progressed further?

And, of course, there comes a sixth person – four spiky ponytails, a giant fan and an attitude, looking around for me. I feel myself wince. She's going to beat me. Sigh. And why has Godaime-sama made me the escort again? Does she think I have nothing better to do?

'Tsunade-sama,' I remember Shizune asking in a low voice, which I amazingly managed to hear anyway, 'why are you always picking on Shikamaru-kun to escort Temari-san around Konoha? Surely a genin can fulfil such a duty.'

The Hokage sighed, placing a hand on her forehead.

'Shizune, a shinobi of at least Chuunin rank should escort the ambassador of Suna. It would be offensive for us to provide an escort of any lower rank. It is important we maintain good relations with Suna.'

'Yes, but why Shik –'

'Shikamaru is a lazy shinobi, bright as he is. Temari keeps him in line. He's not that fond of taking on some of the missions I give him, so this keeps him out of it for a while,' the Hokage said with a grin.

Shizune didn't look fooled.

'You just like to see him suffer,' she muttered. Tsunade heard her.

'AND SO HE SHOULD! How dare he beat me in shougi!'

Shikamaru sighed to himself, shaking his head. And soon enough, Temari's impeccably sharp ears had picked up on his sigh. He cringed. He'd sighed too often when he was with her; she could pick it up a mile away now. And here she came. She was steps away from beating him senseless. Again.

And of course I can't hit a woman. Tch. This is unfair.

'Oy, Shikamaru,' her sharp voice had called as she neared him. 'You were meant to meet me half an hour ago!' She looked around at his company, nodding a greeting to them.

'Temari-san!' Sakura said excitedly, pulling her into the circle.

'Maybe you can get through to Shikamaru!' Ino said with a similar tone, eyes shining. 'Can you please tell him to go and pursue a girl already?! He keeps saying love is 'troublesome' but we know it's for his own good, really.'

Shikamaru wouldn't admit it but Ino was probably right. She was right a lot of the time about him and Chouji – she knew them that well. She was just worried for her friends. She knew that they would one day want some company, she just wanted to make sure it wasn't too late when they realised. Temari arched a brow, before turning to look at Shikamaru.

He stared at her with an expression that clearly said 'I dare you to even try it'. Of course, her expression opposed his and she stared at him back – 'You wouldn't be able to handle it.'

'Crybaby,' she said to him. He rolled his eyes at her. 'We have a meeting to go to. Let's go.'

And with that, she grabbed his chuunin vest and walked away from the group, dragging Shikamaru along with her. He shrugged, sighing to himself, as he allowed the woman to drag her towards the Hokage's building. He raised a hand to wave at his friends before he pushed her hand away from him.

'Strop dragging me, woman! I know how to walk!'

'Could have fooled me,' she retorted.

'Tch. Troublesome.'

He let her lead the way, hands behind his head, not bothering to pay attention to where he was going and instead deciding to focus his attention on the clouds above them. She'd pull him in the right direction anyway. She'd long since stopped pulling him into a direction where he would walk into a wall or a passer-by. At least he hoped she wouldn't return to that.

Fear getting the better of him, he looked around at where was walking, surprised to find that they were nowhere near the Hokage's building, or any other building for that matter. Grass and trees everywhere. Actually, the environment looked awfully familiar.

'I thought you might want to get away from all their questions,' she said to him, not bothering to look at him. She'd obviously seen his shocked reaction out of the corner of her eyes.

She actually did a nice thing for me? And I don't have to sit in on a boring meeting?

He smirked.

'You're welcome,' she said to him.

This was incredibly and uncharacteristically nice of her to do for him. Was she planning something? His cruel and gruesome death maybe? To be stampeded on by the deer that was eyeing him closely?

Deer?

He took a better look around. They were at home. On his land.

'Oy, what are we doing here?' he asked her in an accusatory voice.

She shot him a glare before turning her eyes away from him again.

'I wanted to take a better look around. When you didn't show up I came here to see if you were home – '

'I'm never home, you know that,' Shikamaru said bluntly. Temari rolled her eyes at him.

'I do now. Your mother suggested various other places.'

Shikamaru cringed. His mother and Temari interacting was not a good thing. One troublesome woman plus another equally if not more troublesome woman led to hell for him. He sighed. Oh well. He didn't have to endure anything about love anymore.

He looked over at her, her quizzical eyes searching every inch of land and forest before them. Shikamaru couldn't help but admire her. Strong, independent, intelligent, undeniably beautiful. Shikamaru would admit those things only to himself, of course, but he'd heard it in whispers from other people as well. Actually, to say he'd admit it only to himself was wrong, for, if he remembered correctly, he'd admitted it one night when he was stuck in a conversation with the guys about the girls. To deny a truth only placed him in more danger of ridicule after all. She was a splendid shinobi as well though and he couldn't help but be reminded of their match against each other in their first, and his last, chuunin exams. She'd analysed him the same way she did his home. He wondered if she expected an enemy to attack them.

'You look tense,' he said to her. 'We're not going to be attacked any time soon, the deer are as calm as ever.'

Temari looked over at him, brows furrowed before she relaxed a little.

'It's an instinctive thing for me to analyse an unfamiliar environment,' she said simply. He shrugged, too lazy to pursue the matter.

'Are we going anywhere in particular?' he asked her.

'No. Just looking around.'

Again, he didn't ask any more questions, instead enjoying the peace and quiet he felt when they weren't talking or bickering. That's one of the things he liked about spending time with Temari. Contrary to what others thought, they didn't always spend their time arguing when they were forced to interact. A fair amount of the time they spent together was in a comfortable silence as well. Temari would want to walk around Konoha and Shikamaru would have to follow. The good thing was, however, that she was interested in looking at the plants and forests, meaning peace and quiet for him while she looked around and he slept. Shikamaru was shocked to find she had an interest in botany, particularly when he'd imagined it would be hard for her to maintain an interest in plants when there were so few in Suna. She'd explained the various native species, and the lot of time she'd spent in the greenhouses.

As he watched her take in the native flowers that grew on the Nara property, he couldn't help but remember his friends' words.

You melt.

You don't know what to say.

There's fireworks.

You feel yourself go weak.

It's the best feeling in the world.

You feel like you can't breathe.

Your heart races.

Feeling his eyes on her, she turned to look at him.

And when he looks at you, you feel it all a hundred times more.

He stared back. She shrugged then looked away.

And when she stops looking, you want to make her look at you again.

'Love is patient, love is kind,' she said softly but confidently. 'It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud,' she said simply. 'And the only feeling better than love itself is knowing it is returned.'

He understood, and he smiled.

Love isn't an adventure. Love isn't fireworks. Love is simply knowing what it's like to feel whole, the way I feel when I'm with her.

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A/N:

'Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.' That comes from 1 Corinthians 13:4 of the Bible.

I know I know, it's such a cliché quote to use but I couldn't help but use it with all the 'love is' I kept writing. I wrote the last line first lol It always makes me think of A Walk To Remember which is sweet, no? Lol Oh and sigh. Sorry. For anyone who wanted a kiss in this story, I'm sorry to let you down. I feel like writing more ShikaTema stuff though so I swear I will write one at least where it's not subtle stuff. I think I'm just into that for now Lol

Reviews would greatly be appreciated And also, if you'd like to request a particular scene with these two characters I wouldn't mind trying I guess. Mind you, I don't like to have them OOC if I can help it. What I like best about them is their character personalities. Anyway, it may keep me out of boredom. For now I'm content writing ShikaTema stories haha but I'll probably progress to other couples later I guess. But yeah, if you feel like requesting something, a PM is fine

Anyway! Thanks for reading.

jm