A/N: Final chapter. To quote one of my favorite fic authors, Peppermint Quartz--I love them both, so it's my duty to make sure they're happy--
This is my attempt to do just that.

Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto or anyone/thing in this story.

Chapter: 5

The next morning Temari stood with Yoshino and Shikaku while the Hokage offically named Nara Shikamaru a Jonin. Instead of muttering "troublesome" like when he became a chunnin, Shikamaru grinned, bowed to the Hokage, then turned and walked over to Temari whom he kissed square on the lips in front of everyone.

"There's your 'diplomatic relations'." He smirked to the Ambassador.

There was a room-wide intake of breath while Shikaku beamed and Yoshino started sobbing her joy. Tsunade looked over at Shizune and mouthed "finally..."

o-o-o

It turned out Shikamaru had been right all those months ago. The time they'd spent working together and getting to know eachother saved them the initial awkwardness of their first few "normal" dates. And when Uzumaki Naruto asked this time, they both said yes, that they were indeed, on a date.

Money changed hands throughout Konoha. Akimichi Chouza and Yamanaka Inoichi coming out on top. They treated Nara Shikaku to the next few bar trips. As it was his son who was the subject of the betting, he hadn't been allowed to place a wager.

Nara Yoshino spent longer and longer periods of time visiting with Miyako, the fish merchant's wife, gossiping and getting tips from the new grandmother. Both women rejoiced when Miyako received a picture of her granddaughter and the child was mercifully spared her mother's facial hair.

o-o-o

Gaara and Kankuro finally understood what had been wrong with their sister. When Kankuro arrived in Konoha for the instructor exchange, he paid a visit to his sister's suitor. He brought Karasu with him. That evening, the pair were seen, minus puppet, stumbling away from a sake bar, arms around eachother. Kankuro proclaiming that Shikamaru was the brother he never had. Shikamaru living up to the nickname "Mr. Crybaby".

Gaara sent an official message to Shikamaru. In it, he reminded the shadow user that he could still perform desert coffin if need be...so Shikamaru was to let him know if his assistance was ever required.

o-o-o

Ino's prediction came to pass. After a year and a half, Shikamaru and his parents travelled to Suna for a week where they had a private audience with the Kazekage and his family. Shikamaru came back engaged. Yoshino came back and began organizing the pomp and circumstance that would accompany the engagement of a member of the Nara Clan to a memer of the royal family of Suna. The Yamanaka's had to send far and wide for enough daffodils, phlox and cabbage roses to accomodate the festivities.

Shikamaru didn't complain near as much as most people expected him to. He did occasionally grumble to Temari about how troublesome an ordeal this engagement was for him. But then she's kiss him and he'd swear it was all worth it. He knew he'd willingly go through it a hundred more times if the end result was that they were together. But he'd never tell her that.

o-o-o

Six months later they were married in a clearing halfway between Konoha and Suna. The flowers were provided by the natural environment, except for Temari's bouquet. Daffodils she'd grown in one of Suna's greenhouses. The bride and groom were radiant as the Hokage and Kazekage shared ceremonial duties. The kiss lasted long enough for several of the guests to begin giggling. Hyuuga Hinata, seated close to the front swore she heard the bride whisper "excellent" when the two reluctantly pulled apart.

The reception that followed was attended by friends, family, and dignitaries from several of the hidden villages. Kankuro was the envy of several men as he waltzed with his date, Ayame, the ramen waitress he'd met during his time in Konoha.

Yoshino spent most of the reception sobbing on Gaara's shoulder. The Kazekage patted her back rather enthusiastically. He didn't quite understand the concept of crying while happy, but was pleased that he could take part in such extreme emotion all the same.

For his part, Shikaku sat at a table with his cronies discussing his future status as their group's first grandfather. When Shikamaru and Temari stopped by their table, Akimichi Chouza tried to steal a second kiss from the bride. She smacked him with one of the table decorations, a miniature of her own fan. Laughing, Shikaku and his son locked eyes long enough for a silent message to pass between them.

I get it.

I knew you would one day.

The sky began turning from brilliant blue to pink, then purple, while the clouds that floated overhead wished that just once they could be human to experience such complete happiness.

o-o-oOWARIo-o-o