Disclaimer: Don't own any of the Naruto characters.
"You look absolutely gorgeous. Seriously, Kiba's gonna stop dead in his tracks when he sees you." Sakura told Hinata as she pulled her veil over her face.
"You're going to be fine." Tenten assured her, smiling joyfully.
"Just don't faint." I teased. Apparently that wasn't the smartest idea since she immediately blanched at the mention of it.
"O-oh shit-what if I do?" Hinata asked, completely mortified at the thought.
"You won't. Wait-did you just curse?" Sakura reassured the Hyuga, pausing to register probably a once-in-a lifetime event. Seriously, Hinata never curses. I swear, she's like a freaking saint.
"U-um...yes?" she replied meekly, reverting to her childhood habit of stammering. Damn. I'd truly thought that she'd gotten over that.
"Kiba really is rubbing off on you!" Tenten teased, laughing as the Hyuga turned a light shade of pink. I chuckled and glanced at the soon-to-be-wed Hyuga. She'd changed so much since I'd first seen her at the chunin exams. Her waist-length hair has been put into an intricate up-do, a little bit of make-up applied to her usually makeup-free face, and clad in a beautiful and elegant white kimono with a lilac pattern of lotus flowers. Definitely an upgrade from that shy girl with short hair, wide and frightened eyes, and a loose jacket with long pants from so many years ago.
Tenten, Sakura, Hanabi, Hana (Kiba's older sister), and I were each wearing matching light lilac kimonos. Tenten, who had married Neji near the end of last year, was beaming, a faint baby bump showing through her kimono. Sakura proudly sported a gold engagement ring, having sent me an "urgent" letter the day Sasuke proposed. Hanabi, Hana, and I were the only single ones in the room. Hanabi was obviously too young for marriage and both her and Hana told me of how they'd been completely swamped with missions and couldn't date even if they had time. So that leaves me, the self-proclaimed Sand spinster. Okay, so I'm really not that old (especially since Hana's older than me by at least a year or two), I mean last time I checked being twenty-five wasn't old, but still. I mean, as the Kazekage's sister (therefore virtual royalty) you're expected to have at least gotten married by my age.
I could hear the music starting and I grabbed my bouquet of flowers and hustled to the door to the main church, whispering a "good luck" to Hinata as I passed her. Sakura and Sasuke went out first, followed by Tenten and Neji. After waiting the proper ten alligators I was about to walk into the main church when an arm locked my left arm. I glanced to see who it was and low-and-behold it's none other than Crybaby. I swear, he just pops up everywhere.
I looked at him questioningly but he just motioned for me to start walking. I sighed and began walking, realizing that I wouldn't get an answer out of him anyways. I glanced at Kiba as we neared the end of the walk and smiled at him encouragingly. His eyes were flicking across the room, in search of his bride-to-be, and he smiled crookedly at me.
I walked to the left and waited, watching as Hanabi reached mid-way through the walk and Hinata appeared in the door-frame. Her posture were tense and eyes wide but once they locked with Kiba's she immediately relaxed. She smiled as everyone stood up and began walking, arm-in-arm with her father.
They walked up to the end of the carpet and Hiashi whispered something in her ear, kissed her cheek, and lifted the veil off her face. Hinata looked to be in a state of complete shock and she walked dazedly up the steps, actually tripping on the last one step. That then caused everyone to gasp and Kiba to step forward and grab her arm to steady her. She flushed a bright red and Kiba smiled, lacing his arm in hers and walking her up to where he previously was.
Naruto was beaming. This would be his first time actually performing a marriage ceremony and he was bound and determined to do it right. Although I do find it ironic that Hinata's "first love" was conducting the wedding ceremony of her to another man, I decided not to mention that to her. Naruto started off with some of the original and as he later dubbed "boring" lines that he had to say, however he then sort of strayed off topic. It was really quite sweet, well for the first few minutes. He talked about Hinata and Kiba when they were younger, rather stupidly bringing up her seemingly unending infatuation with him. Needless to say that caused Hinata to flush a tomato red and emitted a soft growl from Kiba. Sakura scolded him, completely forgetting that she wasn't supposed to talk, and at least that caused everyone to loosen up a little more and I thought I heard a few snickers from the audience.
He'd finally gotten through it. Although there were quite a few mishaps, it made the ceremony just all the more endearing. Naruto really was a good guy, after all. He just needed some practice. Although, I have a feeling that not many people would line up to ask him to do the honors anytime soon.
Soon enough the ceremony was over and we were all headed to the reception, which was going to be held at the Hyuga estate. The Hyuga estate is, most likely, one of the largest properties I've seen in my life. And yes, that counts some homes of some of the richest clans in the world. The Hyuga family definitely wasn't going bankrupt anytime soon.
The whole reception kind of passed by in a blur. My feet had been killing me, due to those heels made from Hell, and I'd been seated next to Sakura, Sasuke, Naruto, Shikamaru, Sai, and Ai. Throughout most of the meal I had to resort to practically whispering to Shikamaru while listening to one of the infamous Team Seven spats. Needless to say, I definitely heard enough of "dobe", "teme" and "baka" to last me a lifetime.
Then came the speeches. Kiba and Naruto were always pretty close, well when Kiba wasn't either raging with jealousy or wanting to wring Naruto's neck since he was so oblivious to his teammates affections. So, it was only fitting that Naruto was the best man and that he were to give the first speech. He took a crumpled up piece of paper out of his pocket and tried to decipher the speech through all its' numerous crossed-out words and little add-ins. It definitely started the reception out with a few laughs.
After the speeches and into the dancing part of the reception, Kiba and Hinata had gone very traditional and had their first dance to At Last, I sat back and watched in amusement as Tenten tried in vain to get Neji to dance to Forever by somebody named Chris Brown. Heck, even when she pulled the "I'm having your child and you love me" card he wouldn't budge. Sakura was twirling Ai around the foyer-turned-dance floor and she was smiling like there was no tomorrow. Lee was busy running around the dance floor and yelling about youth and I'm pretty sure I heard Hinata tell Kiba that they should've set a limit of sake he was allowed to have.
"Temari, come dance with us! No more sulking in a corner!" Sakura called out as she was twirling Ai. I rolled my eyes and smiled, putting down my drink and making my way to them. Sakura smiled brilliantly and Ai was laughing and smiling like there was no tomorrow. Soon enough I was twirling and laughing with both of them, oh if Kankurou saw this I'd never hear the end of it.
"So, Sakura. What was up with the whole Shikamaru thing at the ceremony? I mean-don't give me that look I know you were part of it." I said, somewhat breathless from all the dancing, as she began to protest.
"I wasn't really directly involved in it per say. I mean, Hinata, Tenten, and I were just planning the wedding and we were talking about the whole walking down the aisle thing and well, Kiba was having Shikamaru, Neji, and Sasuke over and we were just talking about how Shikamaru has always been sweet to you and I guess we might have possibly told him to walk you down." she finished, looking up at me like one of those puppies that just pissed on your brand new carpeting and doesn't want you to go berserk on them.
"Wait-back up. What do you mean, Shikamaru's always been 'sweet on me'? Last I knew he was the lazy-ass that loves pushing my buttons and I was the bitch that beat him to a pulp when he did." I said, looking at her incredulously as she sighed and rolled her eyes.
"That was so what-like five years ago at least? You know that he's always pushed your buttons just 'cause he can and he thinks you're amusing when you go all crazy-ass bitch on him." she explained, looking at me like I was some little five year-old.
"Yeah, yeah whatever. Secondly, why didn't you set this master plan on anybody else, why not Hanabi or Hana? They're both single!" I cried, probably a bit too loudly since I received some odd glances my way.
"Well, I think Hinata's father would kill us if we did so much as try to distract Hanabi from her ever-so-important studies and work and such. Oh, and Kiba would probably have way too much fun messing with his sister to actually help her find someone good for her." she continued listing off, laughing a bit at the last part. I rolled my eyes and glanced to Kiba, who was currently whispering something to Hinata as they swayed on the dance floor.
"They really are great for each-other." Sakura mused as she watched Kiba and Hinata swaying on the dance-floor. They really were quite adorable.
"Yeah, it's amazing 'cause I'd usually be sick of all their lovey-dovey cuteness but something about them seems different, you know genuine I guess." I replied as I averted my gaze from the 'lovey-dovey' couple and back to my pink-haired companion.
"I totally agree, Temari. I mean really, just look at them! They're completely adorable. And imagine what their kids will look like!" Sakura gushed as she continued to list all the qualities their future kid will have. I sighed as she rambled and I scanned the room looking for something-anything that I could use as an excuse to get a break from Sakura's motor-mouth. Now, don't get me wrong I like the girl well enough but you can only take so much of Sakura per day. I think that's partially the reason why Naruto used to like Sakura so much, they were the only ones that'd be able to stand each-others' constant talking. Poor Sasuke, he must've gotten headaches all the time from them.
"Oh, Sakura. Look, I'm real sorry to leave like this but I have to get erm-some more sake." I said as politely as I could, motioning to my near-empty glass. Thank kami she was a bit tipsy or else she would've seen through that lie from a mile away.
"Oh sure, Temari. In fact, I haven't had Sasuke on the dance floor maybe I should drag him over here." she mused as I slowly edged away. After getting a safe distance from her, I sighed and made my way to the chip bowl. After all, I wasn't planning on getting wasted like last time I was with the Konoha Twelve. While on my foray for the chips I managed to get run into by a few tipsy couples, have my foot stepped on several times, and crash into someone.
"Oh, damnit." I groaned as I held my now-throbbing head.
"Ugh. Troublesome." a very familiar voiced grumbled as he rubbed his jaw. Now that you mention it, he actually looks pretty good. I mean, he's in a plain black and white suit but it works for him.
"Watch where you're going, baka." I said halfheartedly. I mean I'd rather be stuck with him than Sakura, after all.
"If I recall, you're the one that ran into me, troublesome woman." he retorted, still holding his jaw. Seriously, I wasn't running full-speed ahead it shouldn't hurt the crybaby this much.
"What, gonna start crying or something?" I teased, earning a scowl from him. Apparently I've touched a soft spot for him.
"Never gonna let that go, huh troublesome woman?" he asked, a bit of a chuckle to his voice. I smiled and nodded in affirmation.
"Nuh-uh. Just too good to let slip." I teased as he rolled his eyes.
"Da-ddy!" Ai called as she rammed into Shikamaru, hugging him fiercely across his waist. He smiled and lifted her up, causing her to squeal and giggle.
"Yes, sweetheart?" he asked in a very un-Shikamaru like tone. A tone that I'd only seen him use around Ren.
"I want you to meet someone!" she exclaimed as she hopped out of her fathers arms and ran into the crowd, only to come back with a very familiar light brown haired boy with hazel eyes. I smiled and chuckled as I saw Shikamaru's face, it was truly priceless.
"This is Suoh, he's from Suna." she introduced, prodding said-boy and motioning for him to shake her fathers' hand. Suoh glanced at Ai, then at Shikamaru and promptly shot out his hand, blushing like mad.
"Suoh, this is my otosan." she said cheerfully as she watched them shake hands.
"Oh, and Temari-san!" she added, still with that completely contagious smile of hers.
"Konbanwa, Temari-sama." he said, bowing slightly as he turned to face me. I have to say, it took a lot not just to burst out laughing right there. After a few seconds of silence Ai, probably tired of the quietness, bid adieu and dragged poor Suoh somewhere else.
"So, I think I hear wedding bells, how about you?" I teased, earning me a glare.
"I think you're delusional, Temari." he retorted as he seemed to have that scowl permanently etched onto his face.
"Suoh's nice though. His parents are both fine jounin and their clan is really quite prestigious. He's considered to be our own little version of Neji in Suna, except he's really quite sweet. He's already beginning to master his clans' justu." I offered, heck I mind as well give the poor kid a running start if he wants to try to impress Shikamaru later on.
"That's great." he said absentmindedly as he watched Ai drag Suoh to the dance floor.
"Personally, I think it's cute. Him having a crush on her and all. He's the same age as her, I think. Maybe a few months older, actually." I continued, trying to catch Shikamaru's attention again.
"Older? She doesn't need an older guy around-heck she doesn't need any guy around until she's a genin!" he exclaimed, his face contorting to various forms I'd never seen before.
"Oh, I was thinking about his brother. He has a brother and sister, you know? He's actually a few months younger than Ai." I continued teasingly, although I don't think he quite caught how much fun I was having with this. Oh well, mind as well milk it for its' worth.
"Younger? You make her sound like some sort of cougar or something! She's seven years old, Temari. I mean, she-oh great, you're having way too much fun with this." he groaned as he saw me, who had struggled so hard not to laugh but then burst into uproarious laughter at the last second.
"Oh, Shikamaru. Just pushing your buttons. Oh, and so are you thinking I'm sort of cougar then?" I chuckled, laughing outright when his face contorted yet again.
"That was different, troublesome woman. You were, what? Eighteen going on nineteen? They're seven going on eight." he continued, enunciating their ages quite clearly.
"Yeah, yeah well just you wait and see. I'm willing to bet all the yen I have in my coin-purse that Suoh's gonna come knocking on your door one day, asking for your daughters' hand in marriage." I said confidently, a smirk plastered on my face.
"I don't know, I just don't think that's possible." he replied, giving me a feeling that we were heading to one of those conversations.
"And why not?" I challenged, my voice faltering as I looked expectantly at him.
"I just don't think a relationship like that could ever work." he said simply, giving me a sad smile. I spotted Ai laughing gleefully as Suoh twirled her clumsily and I couldn't help but smile nostalgically, I could remember when that was Shikamaru and I. That was us before all those politicians and laws and such got between us.
We'd sworn to each-other that we wouldn't let distance nor politics get between us but soon enough people were getting suspicious and my visits to Konoha were getting more spread apart and we barely got to write to each-other for fear of being found out. I had still kept that ring he gave me all those years ago, only I wore it as a necklace during formal events and such. Thank kami nobody asked to see it up-close or else they might just spot that lovely little Nara clan symbol engraved along the rim of the ring. Heh. So much for that idea.
"Why don't we dance. Sakura's looking at us with that look of hers." Shikamaru said as he offered me his hand. I searched my surroundings and, sure enough, Sakura was peeking from behind Sasuke, glancing at Shikamaru and I. I smiled and let him take my hand in his.
"Oi, Shikamaru!" my favorite big-boned Konohan called from a small buffet table.
"Yeah, Chouji?" he asked as we stopped dancing. He kept hold of one of my hands and led me to Chouji.
"We're having a betting pool. It's on whether Tenten here is gonna have a girl or a boy. You two want in?" he asked as he motioned to the Konoha Twelve, including Kiba and Hinata, and the current pile of yen in the palm of his hand.
"Sure, why not?" he replied as he ruffled through his coat-pocket and pulled out a well-worn bill.
"I'm in too." I said as I pulled a bill from my kunai holster and placed it in Chouji's hand.
"Nice. So far, we have six bets on a boy and five on a girl." Chouji said as he organized the money and stuffed it in his pant-pocket.
"I'm betting on a girl." I said confidently as Tenten smiled, placing her hand on her stomach.
"I'm betting on a girl and a boy." Shikamaru said as Chouji wrote our names and bets on a pad of paper.
"Oh kami, I'd better not have two. You hear that, squirt? Only one of you, please." Tenten said dramatically, looking down to her stomach.
"You know, I suggest we start another betting pool. I mean, tonight is about the happy couple." Naruto suggested mischievously as Sakura gave him a wary look.
"Oh kami, Naruto. If this is about that stupid wedding superstition again-" Sasuke began, only to be cut off by Naruto.
"No it's not about that! I think we should bet on how long it takes Kiba to get Hinata knocked up." Naruto suggested, looking as if he just came up with the most ingenious idea in the world.
"N-naruto!" Hinata squeaked as her face flushed dark red. Neji looked absolutely murderous at the thought of Kiba impregnating his dear cousin and Kiba looked scared shitless by Neji.
"Okay, maybe not. Although, how about we bet on how long it takes Shikamaru and Temari to get together?" Naruto offered. After I recovered from my momentary shock, I narrowed my eyes at him and was just to give him a piece of my mind when I was rudely cut off.
"You do know that we're right here, right Naruto?" Shikamaru asked as everyone else began recovering from their dumbstruck expressions.
"Yeah, but it's obvious and I mean it's not like you're getting any younger, Te-" he began, only to have Sakura cover his mouth.
"You baka!" Sakura screeched, drawing quite a lot of attention to herself for a second or two. She pulled at his ear and I'm pretty sure that she ended up leaving some sort of a dent there.
"If you weren't the Hokage and it wouldn't cause problems between the two nations, you'd be at the other side of this room, Naruto." I hissed as I stepped towards him, fixing his Hokage hat.
"Now, no need for that. Right Shikamaru?" Naruto laughed nervously, looking to Shikamaru with pleading eyes.
"Meh...let him off the hook this time, Temari. After all, once a baka always a baka." Shikamaru said as he put his hand on my shoulder and pulled me away from the ever-so-sheepishly looking Naruto.
"Yeah, yeah. Whatever. Waste of my time, anyways." I grumbled as I backed off.
"Besides, Naruto. I think a much wiser investment would be in Ai and that boy she's dancing with. I mean, she's just beaming. Look at how cute they are together!" Sakura gushed as she pointed to Ai and Suoh, who were still dancing together.
"Oh, we are most definitely not betting on my seven year-old daughters' love life." Shikamaru interjected, sending Sakura a momentary glare for even suggesting such a thing.
"I have to agree with Shikamaru, there." I added, giving him a wink of approval.
"However," he added, looking directly at me.
"-maybe someday they might end up together. Maybe sometime in the future." he added meaningfully, now letting his eyes stray to Ai and Suoh, who were now at the buffet table. I caught his eye and smiled sadly. Maybe someday.