Author's Note: To all of you who have read the previous two stories in this trilogy welcome back! To all new readers I hope you enjoy the story. I would recommend reading the first two but if you don't want to that's why I have a synopsis. This will indeed be the end of the Invitation trilogy. I only hope everyone will enjoy this one as much as they enjoyed the first two. As with the series so far Temari and Shikamaru are the central characters but there will also be quite a bit written about some of the others. Oh and just so you all know I don't promise that everyone will get a happy ending or even survive.
Synopsis: Following the failed mission to retrieve Sasuke Temari embraces Shikamaru in the hospital as he weeps. From this one simple act their love begins to grow. Before leaving for home Temari promises Shikamaru a kiss if he visits her in Suna. Shortly thereafter he, Ino, and Chouji go to Suna. There romance blossoms for the young couple. Their love is nearly destroyed when Shikamaru barely survives an assassination attempt. Blaming herself Temari chooses to ends things between them. Fortunately Shikamaru is able to convince her that their love is worth all risks. Before leaving they are secretly engaged. Returning home Shikamaru tells Naruto he knows about Kyuubi. He also tells him that they are still friends and that he believes Naruto will be Hokage one day. Thinking Naruto will need a lot of good advice he makes a bet with Naruto. Naruto agrees to make Shikamaru his future Chief advisor if he can get him a girlfriend in one day. Shikamaru wins the bet by getting Naruto to ask Hinata out on a date. Some months later two sets of Chunin exams take place. Tsunade holds a separate examination in Konoha while the regular exams are held in Mist. Prior to the exams Shikamaru has made Jonin. He watches as Naruto takes his spot temporarily so that his squad can compete. While in Mist for the regular exams Temari spots Sasuke. Sending a coded message to Shikamaru the Hokage sends a secret mission out to capture the missing nin. Led by Kakashi the mission is successful and Sasuke is returned home. During the Leaf exams Naruto, Hinata, Lee, Neji, Tenten, Chouji, and Kiba are promoted to Chunin. Before leaving on his apprenticeship with Jiraiya Naruto confesses the truth about Kyuubi to Hinata and asks her if she will wait for him. Hinata tells him that it does not change what she feels for him and that she will wait for him to return to her. During the month layover in the regular Chunin exams Temari is permitted to spend three weeks in Konoha being trained by Nara Shikaku. During this time she is accepted as a part of the Nara clan and comes to love her new clan and home. During the bloody finals of the exams Gaara is nearly killed when he refuses to transform into Shukaku. Nevertheless all three sand siblings survive and are promoted to Chunin. Upon their return to Suna Gaara is informed that he has been chosen to be Kazekage. As Kazekage he informs Temari that she will be moving to Konoha permanently to act as ambassador. There is a lot more but that should do for a start. Now please enjoy.
"So where's Temari?" Chouji asked as he ate his third piece of birthday cake.
"Oh she's out somewhere." Shikamaru said blandly.
"What? You mean she's not even here to attend your party?" Irmana said in shock.
"Well she was here earlier."
She had pulled him into her room and quickly shut the door. After a bit of kissing and hugging she called a halt. "Listen lazy I'm going to get going in a minute. I'm afraid I won't be able to stay for the party."
"What?" He looked at her in horror. "But I'm turning 15! I thought you and I would…"
"Yes?" She asked innocently.
He frowned at her feeling really hurt. "You made a promise!"
"Did I? I don't seem to recall. What did I promise exactly?"
He felt himself blushing. "Well, uhm, you sort of said that, uhm… when I turned fifteen that well…"
"Yes?" The way she just stood there grinning at him he felt as if he were under a spotlight.
"Never mind," he mumbled feeling completely crushed.
She shrugged. "Anyway I wanted to give you my present before I left." She took out a tiny flat box perhaps two square inches and handed it to him. "Here you go."
"This is your present?" He asked dubiously.
"Haven't you ever heard that good things come in small packages?" She gave him a quick kiss. "Be sure to open that when you're alone, bye!"
He watched her go not believing she was skipping out of his party. Glumly he opened up her present. What he found inside was a key and a business card for the Falling Leaf, the top hotel in Konoha. Flipping the card over he saw some writing on the back. Suite 500 7:00p.m. Don't come early. Don't come late. Don't knock. Shikamaru slowly smiled as he thought he just might get what he wanted for his birthday after all.
"It's all right we have something planned for later."
Irmana's eyes lit up. But Chouji asked. "Like what?"
"Oh just something."
"Oh Chouji want to try some ice cream with that cake?" Irmana mentioned off handedly. Chouji nodded and the two of them headed off. Irmana sent her cousin an encouraging smile.
Looking around Shikamaru decided it was a very strange party. His mom had put it together of course, with a little help from Temari. It was a kid's party even though there were no children present. There were kids' games no one was playing. There was of course cake and ice cream and silly hats. He got the feeling his mom was having a tough time admitting he wasn't so little anymore.
The dance floor was where the guests could act like adults. He looked at all the couples. Asuma was dancing with Kurenai. Of course they were, 'just friends.' Sure, and he and Temari weren't really a couple either. There was Ino with her latest boy toy. What was his name Keni, Keno? Shikamaru shrugged it didn't really matter. They had been together for close to a month now which meant he had just about reached his expiration date. Ino had chased after Sasuke for about six months. But apparently she'd finally gotten tired of his indifference. That was when she began what he, Temari, and Chouji called her boy of the month club. She had run through a long list of boyfriends with none of them lasting more than a month. Her reputation had suffered a bit. Especially after that disastrous week long, 'thing,' with Kiba. If even half the things Kiba said were true! Ino denied everything of course and their break up had been so acrimonious that Yamanaka and Inuzaka were still on bad terms. His mom had decided it would be best not to invite Kiba. She had invited Sasuke even though he still had no nice thoughts about the Uchiha. The stuck up had refused which Shikamaru thought was for the best.
Thoughts of Sasuke naturally sent his eyes to where Sakura and Lee were dancing. They easily had the strangest relationship of anyone there. Stranger even than Neji and Tenten who were also dancing. Those two were more than friends and less than a couple; but at least they both knew who they wanted. Lee and Sakura had been together for over a year now. If together was the right word for what they had. If you asked Lee Sakura was his girlfriend and they were dating. If you asked Sakura she would tell you how wonderful and sweet Lee was to her. She would tell you he was special to her and that she cared for him. What she wouldn't say was that he was her boyfriend. If you asked her if she and Lee were a couple she would dance around the subject. Not really confirming or denying anything. When Lee called her his girlfriend she never corrected him. When he told her he loved her she thanked him and kissed him but never said it back. She would often go watch him train, but only when he was working with Sasuke. It seemed painfully obvious to everyone but Lee that she was still in love with her former teammate. Given the little fact that Lee and Sasuke were both training under Guy that made things interesting.
There was Hinata politely turning down another request for a dance. Who would have ever guessed that shy little Hinata would turn into such a beauty? Back in her academy days she had been so shy and quiet as to be nearly invisible despite being a Hyuga. Well the days of Hyuga Hinata being easy to miss were behind her. Not only was she one of the top kunoichi in the village. She had developed into one of Konoha's most ravishing beauties as well. She had an endless line of admirers who were always looking for a date. She politely, but firmly, turned them all down. She refused to accept any of the flowers, candies, or love letters that were sent to her. She had loudly proclaimed that there was only one man whom she loved and wanted. Until his return she would wait for him faithfully.
She and Temari had grown to become good friends. Naruto had gone to stay with the Sabaku clan for a week. While there he and Jiraiya had been convinced by Gaara to extend their stay to a couple months so they could witness Gaara's coronation as Kazekage. During that time Temari had grown rather fond of the hyperactive blonde. Upon her arrival in Konoha as ambassador she had delivered a letter and some gifts to Hinata on Naruto's behalf. The two had grown close. Their friendship based on their mutual affection for Naruto. It amazed Shikamaru how the loud ninja could bring people together even when he was hundreds of miles away.
"Bye mom, bye dad, I have to go meet Temari."
Yoshino gave her son a fishy stare. "You're leaving your own party?"
"Well I sort of have to. Temari has something planned for me." He managed to sound disinterested but couldn't keep just the slightest color from touching his cheeks.
His parents shared a certain look and Shikamaru readied himself for a painful series of comments and questions. "Well you don't want to keep Temari waiting dear." She gave her son a peck on the cheek and headed towards the kitchen.
"Have fun Shika." His dad gave him a nod and followed his wife. Relieved at not being put through the usual painful interrogation he slipped out of the House and headed for the Falling Leaf.
"My little baby is about to become a man." Yoshino said morosely.
"He's been a man for quite awhile now." Shikaku said.
"Maybe we're wrong about all this." She said hopefully.
"Dear when Temari booked the honeymoon suite I don't think she was doing it so they could play shogi."
"I know." She said glumly. "Still I'm glad he waited as long as he did."
Shikaku chuckled. "Oh I think Temari had more to do with that decision than he did."
She sighed. "I'm old."
Shikaku took his wife into his arms and pulled her close. "You are as beautiful now as on the day I met you." He gave her a long slow kiss and let his hands run along her back and a bit lower. "Shall we go upstairs?" He whispered.
"We have guests." She reminded him.
She laughed and shook her head, suddenly not feeling quite so old. "Fine, but try to be quiet. No screaming all right?" Nodding he took her hand and led her upstairs.
He arrived outside the suite door at precisely 6:55. Though he was quivering with anticipation he decided to wait. He didn't want to do anything that would upset her. After the five longest minutes of his life he took out the key and slipped it into the lock. The door opened. The lights were turned off but it wasn't dark. Dozens of candles gave off a soft and warm light. The scent of jasmine hung sweetly in the air. Along the floor there was a path of rose petals leading to another open door.
"Temari?" He called nervously. There was no reply. He shut and locked the door behind him. His heart was pounding and his hands were shaking. He could not remember ever being this nervous and scared. And he had come close to death in three separate occasions. Taking a deep breath he followed the path of rose petals. When he got to the door he looked inside. There she was. She was lying on a large plush bed wearing nothing but a white silk teddy. Her hair was loose and some of it was draped over one shoulder. One hand cradled her face while the other rested on a smooth and creamy thigh.
She smiled at him in a way that filled his mind with wicked and wonderful thoughts. "Happy birthday Shikamaru." She said in a voice that could have melted butter. She let her hand run slowly along her thigh. "Do you like your present?"
Nodding dumbly he pulled off his Jonin vest. "It's exactly what I wanted."
Her tongue ran slowly over her red lips. "Are you coming to me or are you waiting for me to crawl over to you?" She purred.
He felt a shudder work its way through his entire body. In an instant he was lying on top of her in the bed. His jacket and shirt seemed to disappear. His mouth was on hers eagerly kissing and searching. He felt her warm and tender body pressed beneath his. She grabbed both his hands and put them where he'd been trying to get them for more than a year. He gasped in pure pleasure. They were a wonder to behold and to feel.
"I love you!" He panted.
"I love you too. Now get those pants off!"
There were soft caresses, hard scratches, kisses, bites, a little pain, and much greater pleasure. They hurt each other and pleased each other and broke each other in. At last as they were both happily spent they lay cuddling together under the thick blankets.
"How was it?" She asked, feeling just a little vulnerable and exposed.
"Amazing." His voice was so truthful and filled with wonder that she couldn't help but sigh and try to hold him even closer. She felt completely at peace and completely certain that he was the one. What they had just done could not be anything but right. He looked at her and gently stroked her hair. "Did it hurt?" He whispered.
"Yes, but only a little and in a good way." She took a hold of his hand and pressed it to her cheek. She loved his hands. They were so soft and gentle and they knew exactly the right way to touch her.
"Why are you crying?" He asked her tenderly.
"Because I am so happy."
"I love you Temari."
"I love you Shikamaru."
Nothing would have pleased them more than to have stayed in that nice warm bed all night. But they knew it wasn't possible if they wanted to keep things a secret. They made it back to the house a little after midnight. Both of them were relieved to see it was quiet and all the lights were off. They shared a good night kiss in the darkened hallway before he went to his room and she went to hers.
The next morning they all sat down to the usual big breakfast. Temari and Shikamaru had come up with the cover story that they had enjoyed a nice romantic dinner followed by an evening of dancing. They were both relieved when Yoshino accepted that without comment. Yoshino patiently waited until the two of them were drinking tea.
"So are you both still virgins?" She asked blandly.
Instantly they were spitting up tea and trying not to choke. Yoshino sent her husband a tiny grin. This was going to be fun.