Because it's Better in Suna

Ch.3: December 25

Shikamaru felt the breath in his body leave abruptly as a heavy weight dropped on his chest.

He was probably dying…

Flicking open his eyes he was greeted with Temari's smile.

Or dreaming…

Or both, maybe…

"Are you awake, now?"

"Temari, what are you doing?"

She sighed. "I'm bored."

"You…You're bored?"

She nodded. "I'm not allowed to open presents until everyone's awake, and nobody's awake. I'm bored. Entertain me."

Shikamaru was struggling to comprehend what was wrong with her. "It's…It can't be earlier than three in the morning. Go back to sleep."

She blinked. "That's boring." Her hair was free from her usual ponytails and she was wearing a cotton tank top and pants.

"That's essential."

"Still boring. Are you going to wake up, or are you just going to lay there?"

"I…am awake."

"You're still in bed, that counts as very much asleep to me."

"Temari, it's EARLY, go back to sleep."

Temari sighed. "See? This is why you have no fun on Christmas."

"Everyone is asleep. Even Gaara. Doesn't that tell you something?"

"Yup; Christmas used to be more fun when he couldn't sleep."

Shikamaru blinked. "I'm going back to sleep now."

"You're absolutely no fun in the morning."

"I wouldn't call this morning."

She slid off him. "Fine. Fine. Go back to your precious sleep. I'm going to see if Gaara is awake now."

Shikamaru stared after her, wondering what in the world happened to her sanity. He knew she was a morning person, but this was ridiculous. They'd only been asleep for about four hours.



Shikamaru jumped, falling from the bed hitting the floor with a hard thwack. He groaned. Dammit. Sitting up he rubbed his head. Upon pulling his hand back he noticed black ink all over his hands.

He blinked.

What the…?

Shikamaru walked over to the mirror and couldn't help raising an eyebrow. Someone had written all over his face.

The words 'Temari's' and 'deer-boy' were scribbled on his forehead. There was also a large collection of stars and smiley faces (and some frowny ones) doodled on him. Then he looked at his arms, those were covered in marker drawings as well. Shikamaru's mouth twitched up. She really was bored.


Then some giggles.

Shikamaru walked over to the source of the sound.

"Hah! I win. I can juggle five without dropping any for at least five seconds." Temari gloated.

Gaara glowed. "I'm trying again."

Temari was sitting cross-legged by the tree and Gaara was standing in front of her, juggling…something.

Whatever it was, was really shiny.

"Okay, ready for the fifth one, little brother?"

"Just toss it."

Temari reached behind her and pulled one of the metallic spheres from the tree. "Here goes." Then she tossed it into the objects Gaara was juggling."


Gaara scowled as three of the spheres hit the floor.

Temari smirked. "See? I am the queen of juggling."

This really shouldn't surprise him anymore, but it still left him a bit shocked. "…Well, the way you're throwing them, of course he keeps dropping them."

Temari turned. "Oh, hey. You're finally awake." She paused. "And I'm NOT cheating."

"Not on purpose maybe."

"That's it. Shikamaru throws 'em to me now."

"I wasn't cheating!" She protested. "Besides, you've already tried TWO times."

"So you want me to quit, Temari? Great lesson, there."

"Oh, fine. You still won't be able to juggle more than four."

Shikamaru sat down beside her and tossed spheres to Gaara one by one. He reached for the fifth sphere and tossed it in.






"Hah!" Gaara said triumphantly. "I didn't drop 'em."

Temari scowled. "Do six then."

Shikamaru had to suppress his smile. Temari really disliked losing. He tossed in the sixth one and waited for the crash.

It didn't come.

He tossed in a seventh.


Gaara sat down happily, using his sand to pick up the shards from the floor. "I win."

"I demand a re-try. You did it THREE times. I only did it once."

"Sore loser." Gaara smirked.

"Am not."

"Are too."

"You had three tries!"

Shikamaru laughed.

"What's so funny?" she demanded. "He did get three tries."

"Nothing." He smiled. "Nothing's funny at all." Except he liked being with them; because they were utterly ridiculous in the funniest way. They had fun.

They were both looking at him.

He raised an eyebrow. "What?"

"Your turn." Gaara said to him.

He blinked. "No it's not."

Temari shoved him up. "Yes it is, now shut up and juggle."

"I don't—" juggle, he started to protest but Temari threw a sphere at him.

And then another.

And another.

And another.

And another.

And another.

"He's got you tied, Gaara." Temari picked out another sphere.

Shikamaru was having trouble not dropping any of them. This had to be the most ridiculous thing he'd ever done. So why couldn't he stop smiling?

Gaara took the sphere from Temari's hand. "I'll throw this one."

Shikamaru faltered as the seventh sphere fell among the others, but he didn't drop it.

Then a new sphere hit him square and then head and – CRASH.

They all fell.

Temari was grinning. "Whoops. Slipped."

He smirked. "I'm sure it slipped." Sliding over beside her, he poked her in the side.

She snickered. "Don't do that!"

Then he was tickling her and she was laughing insanely.

"Stop!" she breathed through her laughter. "I swear, Nara, if you don't stop, I—" Laughter. "I'll k-kill you."


He felt a pillow smack him across the head. Temari was now chasing him around the room with a pillow. He picked one up from the floor and started smacking at her with it. He also managed to accidentally-on-purpose smack Gaara with the pillow as well, and soon enough they were all running around the room waving the pillows around.



They all froze.

Gaara blinked. "Wow."

Temari dropped her pillow. "Hunh."

Shikamaru was speechless. One of him (Shikamaru had the sinking suspicion it was him) had hit the tree with the pillow and it…sort of toppled over. The lights blinked sporadically then stopped altogether. The Temari cookie dangled freely in the air, and a Naruto-looking cookie fell to the floor.

"I didn't think you could break a tree twice." Gaara mentioned off-handedly.

"'The hell did you all do?" A new voice muttered.


Temari pointed her finger at Shikamaru. "He did it."

Shikamaru just stared blankly. "…Sorry?"

To the left of him, Gaara frowned. "You don't apologize. What's wrong with you?"

Shikamaru stared at Gaara in confusion. "I…what?"

"He's new at this." Temari shrugged. "You're supposed to blame it on somebody else."

"…Gaara did it?" he said uncertainly.

"I was an innocent bystander." Gaara said clearly.

"Which is why you too have a pillow in your hand?" Kankurou asked with a smirk.

"Protection." He defended


He looked up at the green cloth antlers on his head. "Why am I wearing antlers?"

"Because," Temari explained, "Gaara's wearing the Santa-hat and I'm wearing the elf-hat."

"Kankurou isn't wearing anything."

The puppeteer smirked, "Well, I've given up my hat rights, as those antlers go quite well with the writing on your forehead."

"These are reindeer antlers. My head says deer-boy."

"Too bad. So sad." Temari smiled. "You wear the antlers. No changing it."


Temari shoved a wrapped box in his hands.

"…What's this?" He'd already opened the present she'd given him.

She grinned. "You're fake present."

He tore open the paper, a little afraid of what would be inside the box. Opening it up he pulls out the object.


Plastic glasses with no actual lens.

He looked at her.

She shrugged, a tiny miniscule blush on her cheeks. "You see me."

He smiled then leant forward touching her lips to his. She was absolutely gorgeous. "You're amazing. How could I not see you?" He winced as a box hit his head. Pulling away he looked at Kankurou.

"What? I don't want to see that." He said. "Go french my sister away from me." He pointed at the box that had just collided with his head. Seriously, upon leaving Suna, Shikamaru might just have a concussion. "That one's from me."

Shikamaru picked it up.

Well, it was certainly bigger than Temari's. Heavier too.

He opened it up.

"An apple?"

Kankurou shrugged. "I like apples. They're not so bad. Plus, they're not like…killer foods or anything. They're good for you. Healthy and all that rot."

Shikamaru smiled. "Thanks."

Gaara sand dropped a small one in front of him.

He opened it.

A strawberry jelly candy. He like those. They sold them a lot in Konoha.

"It's…" Gaara paused. "They don't sell those in Suna. But…I like 'em…To me…they…belong."

Shikamaru blinked. "Th-Thanks."

There was something very different and nice about these particular presents. Normal presents were very cool to open, but…the joy kind of…wore off, and they really didn't mean much. But…this…this was very cool.

Shikamaru reached behind the tree and pulled out three oddly (and badly as he thought) wrapped packages. "I haven't done this before, but…I think…" He shrugged and gave each one their own.

Temari tore it open happily. Her nails dug into the wrapping paper and pulled it apart quickly and anxiously.

Gaara pulled it open very slowly and calmly. Shikamaru still found his way of opening the oddest. Like he was…trying to savor every bit.

Kankurou tore it open hastily.

"A candy cane!" Temari said excited and started eating it. "I thought we'd finished them all."

"I took one before they all disappeared."

She looked at him expectantly. "Because…I never really cared for peppermint before, but now…I" He fidgeted, feeling what he was about to say was stupid, "…ano…love it."

She blinked. Then grinned. Then tackled him to the floor in a large hug.

"Temari," Gaara said, (Shikamaru could swear he could hear mirth in his voice), "I think you might be disallowing air to enter his lungs. You might kill him and all."

Temari sat up blushing, candy cane still in her mouth.

Kankurou held up his, "What's a band-aid supposed to mean?"

"Despite how you act, you really…care and give of yourself to protect the ones you love. It's…cool."

Gaara was staring quizzically at the object he pulled out of his. "…Ruler?"

Shikamaru fidgeted. The stupid feeling coming back. "You don't need to measure up to anyone's standards. You're already great."

Temari grinned.

Kankurou rolled his eyes, but was smiling.

Gaara's lips curved upward.

"See? Told you fake presents were fun."

Shikamaru smirked. "Yes, and you're always right, Temari."


They were standing outside at eleven at night, with four rather large fireworks in their pajamas. And he in his reindeer antlers. And Gaara in his Santa-hat. (Apparently another tradition in their household, was to stay in pajamas from morning to midnight.)

He had been wrong; THIS was the stupidest thing he'd ever done.

"Temari is going to kill me." Shikamaru muttered as he watched Gaara and Kankurou light a particularly large firework.

"Ah, quit complaining and light this one." Kankurou shoved a firework in his hand. "It was your idea anyway."

"It was a joke! I didn't think you all would seriously listen to me!"

"Well," Gaara said to him, "I guess you've learned your lesson now."

Shikamaru set up the firework. "I can't believe I'm lighting a firework so it'll hit a council member's house!"

"Not hit, just pass really really close by." Gaara clarified.

"Yes, that's much better." He muttered. "Can't I go to prison or something for this? Since I'm from another village…"

"I'm Kazekage. No prison for you." He paused. "Unless you don't help…"

"Blackmail. Brilliant. I'm being blackmailed by the Kazekage into doing things I probably shouldn't."

Kankurou grinned. "Probably, being the key word."

"This is real well in favor of Christmas spirit." He grumbled.

"What's more Christmasy than lighting someone's tree on fire?" Gaara stated as his firework exploded right before the tree creating a nice inferno.

A few more fireworks flew at the house and exploded really close by.

Shikamaru could hear the person inside yelling.

"I am in so much trouble." Shikamaru grumbled.

Kankurou grinned. "Like you aren't having fun."

The problem was, Kankurou was right, he was having way too much fun doing things he shouldn't.

"Aw, damn. Run!" Kankurou hissed. As the old council member Gaara and Kankurou despised so much hobbled out of his house.


They stumbled into the house out of breath and tired.




Shikamaru looked up. Temari was standing before them arms crossed, lips pursed. Oh, boy. He was in trouble.

"His fault!" All three boys said simultaneously.

Gaara was pointing at Shikamaru.

Shikamaru was pointing at Kankurou.

Kankurou was point at…Shikamaru.

"Damn." Shikamaru muttered.

Kankurou shrugged with a grin on his face. "Brother first."

"On the bright side, Temari, he's learning, so you shouldn't punish him to hard." Gaara chipped in.

Temari raised an eyebrow. "Like I honestly believe you had nothing to do with it. They called telling me that Ozki-san's house was set on fire by a trio of hooligans with fireworks."

Kankurou straightened. "SO they didn't see us? AWESOME."

"No. Not awesome. Bad. You could've got in trouble." Temari glared at Shikamaru. "You're supposed to be reasonable."

"Supposed to being the key word." He blinked. Dammit. He really was starting to sound like Kankurou.

Beside him Kankurou grinned.

Temari fumed.

"Oh," Gaara added, "and we didn't set his HOUSE on fire, just his tree."

Kankurou slid past Temari and picked up a box behind the TV.

More fireworks.

"Now, sister dearest," he said cheerily, "we have more fireworks to use."


"Aw, would you look at that," Kankurou said, "Gaara snuck out, well I guess I'll go bring him back."

Temari tried to lunge for Kankurou. "Dammit. Don't you dare take those fireworks with you!"

But Kankurou kind of…kicked her and she fell back, falling on top of Shikamaru.

And with that Kankurou was out the door too.

Shikamaru assessed the possibility of him sneaking out too. Not very good. Considering Temari was toppled on him.

The blonde fumed. "That – That –urhg!"

Shikamaru was lying on his back looking up trying to decide the best course of action when he noticed something green hanging up him and Temari.


He silenced her with a kiss.

The words died in her throat.

She pulled back.

"Mistletoe." He said to her.

"That's not—"

"It had to be done; you can't ignore the rules of mistletoe."

She laughed. "Dumbass."

"Probably." Temari picked herself up and Shikamaru followed suit. He looked at her for a few second before taking her hand and pulling her out the door with him.

"Shikamaru!" She protested. "What are you doing?!"

"Like you don't want to set fireworks with them."

"But – that – that doesn't matter! They could set something on fire!"

He stopped and leaned close, whispering in her ear. "It'll be fun. Don't you want to have some fun?"

Temari scowled. "I – You…" She sighed. "Dammit." Throwing her hands up in the air, her lips pressed tight, she was trying oh-so very hard not to grin, she resigned. "Okay, let's go light fireworks. And if we're setting someone else's house on fire, we should set throw fireworks and Amarante-san's home. Fucking bitch steals my missions every chance she gets."

Shikamaru grinned.

"You know, it's really not cool when you turn into the fun one."

He kissed her lightly on the lips. "All your fault. You made me like Christmas."

"So it's not troublesome?"

"Not the least bit."

"Checkmate." With a haughty grin she pulled him forward. "Come on. We don't want them using ALL of the fireworks!"

A/N: By ande ellis's suggestion I've been contemplating doing a New Years type sequel. What would you guys think?