A/N: Merry Christmas! It's ehh over for me but not for others, no? I was hoping to get this out of my head before then but apparently there's not much spare time days before Christmas haha It's ShikaTema so if you don't support the pairing or don't like them, don't read.
Not much fluff or anything but yeah. I still liked writing it. Ish.
Set possibly during / after Shippuden or during time skip.
Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto. All characters within this fanfiction belong to Masashi Kishimoto.
Her name was renowned throughout all of Suna, her family's history retold throughout the whispered voices of the Wind Country. Over time more voices would whisper about the young girl with the giant fan and the boy who controlled the puppets, voices that spoke in fear of the terror that was Sabaku no Gaara.
When they first arrived in Konoha for the Chuunin Exams, few knew their names, let alone their formal titles. They were treated as equals and envied and despised for their raw talent and personalities, rather than their fame and fortune. And yet, as time progressed and the alliance between Suna and Konoha strengthened, particularly through the personal relations of the Sand Shinobi and the 'Rookie Nine', the infamous stories and rumors that surrounded the Kazekage and his children would seep into the villages of the Fire Country.
That would of course explain the shared looks and the inconspicuous nudges, the raised hands in whispers or the more obvious gawking and pointing by some of the younger members of the community. As well as the young girl before the eldest child of the Third Kazekage who continued to bow profusely.
Temari couldn't help but inwardly yawn, a habit she'd taken to as a replacement for yawning directly at the person who bored or annoyed her. The girl hadn't been like this before. As the liaison between Konoha and Suna, Temari had made many trips to the Fire Country, choosing to stay at the same place she had when she first arrived as an ambassador. She and the girl before her, Aiko, had actually become friends, going out for lunch every time she came. And now here she was, staring at the same respectful face she'd seen on others all her life plastered on the people around them, rather than talking to her like an equal, like a friend.
Not bothering to try and change the girl's opinions, Temari instead chose to go to her room. She wondered if it looked any different. Aiko had mentioned something about things arriving from her from people around the village or something or other.
And ahh there they were. Half the living room was filled with gift baskets and flowers and a few boxed presents. Looking at some of the tags, she recognised some names and were unfamiliar with others.
Some had their names written and an occupation that may spark a memory of an encounter in her written in brackets, whilst others merely had a stamped logo from their business. There were things from restaurants she ate in a few times, the fruit market and bakery, even the Yamanaka flower shop had sent her a bouquet of beautiful flowers with a personal note from the blonde princess herself.
And yet for a majority of the gifts, Temari brushed them off, not bothering to open the boxed gifts that contained polish for her fan or sets of kunai and shuriken. Growing up the way she did, she had everything in the world she could ever ask for, even things she wouldn't ever want.
Sighing, Temari turned and left her room in the inn, with barely a wave or second glance at her lost friend. Wandering the streets of Konoha, the stares and pointed fingers greeted her once more, and as used to it as she was, she inwardly groaned and sighed once more. One thing she loved about going to Konoha was that she never had to put up with this sort of attention, until now that is. Sure, seeing a foreign ninja would arouse attention when no big event was being held. It aroused attention even when some big event was held. But after a few trips villagers had grown accustomed to the presence of the Suna Wind Mistress, some even greeting her with smiles and waves.
Not the shifty looks and whispers she achieved now.
Annoyance getting the better of her, Temari made a right at the intersection and walked to a place that would calm her.
'I guess Konoha's no different from the rest of the world,' the kunoichi muttered to herself. 'What a shame though. Such a beautiful place.'
Temari looked around at where her feet had taken her. Vibrant green grass that danced in the wind, patches of wildflowers that coloured the earth, an endless blue sky but most of all, the absence of prying eyes, and distant voices carried away in the wind. Here she was alone and free to be herself.
Ah the beautiful meadows. How she loved to come here.
Taking a leaf from her guide, Temari lay back in the grass beside a patch of said wildflowers and closed her eyes, the wind being her blanket, before she opened them to watch the clouds. She couldn't blame that pineapple head for wanting to do this anymore. She'd watched the clouds with him once before, having been tired of trying to annoy him. With the first few afternoons off, Shikamaru had taken her around town to wherever she wanted to go. After she'd been everywhere there was to go, Shikamaru convinced her to stay put so he could watch the clouds and she'd proceeded to annoy him, giving in eventually when his responses became less entertaining.
And every now and then she'd watch the clouds. Why? Because, and she'd never tell him this of course, she found it relaxing. Because there was this strange feeling when you literally lay down and stared directly up. You couldn't see anything else around you clearly; all that mattered was the heavens that stretched above her. Even if there were no clouds to look at, the sky was amazing enough for her.
It was a brilliant blue today, with the white, puffy Konoha clouds slowly drifting by.
'How I wish I were a cloud,' she recalled taunting Shikamaru that day as she closed her eyes and felt the sun fall on her grinning face. She'd attempted to impersonate him in the most ridiculous ways she could until he no longer responded to her with a coherent answer.
'I'm sure you do,' a voice called to her.
Temari opened her eyes to find a pineapple-shaped shadow blocking her sun. So that's why it had felt so cold all of a sudden.
Managing a recovery smirk, Temari looked up at the familiar face.
'Yes, but unlike you, I wouldn't cry because I'm not one.'
His bored yet obviously annoyed features glared back at her and Temari lifted a lazy arm to push him aside so that she could stare at something that had nothing to do with idiotic humans, even if the Nara was anything but idiotic. He had his moments, she argued.
'Woman, what do you think you're doing?' he hissed, not bothering to defend himself against her arm, instead choosing to move with it.
'I'm getting you out of my view.'
'Yes but why am I even in your view?'
Temari's brows furrowed in impatience as she pointed a finger at him, never tearing her eyes away from the puffs of white. 'That's what I'd like to know. Answer it yourself, or are you too lazy to do even that?'
'You're trespassing on private property, woman, my private property,' he retorted.
She knew that very well. But that's why she had come! There was a limited amount of people that would be able to enter and leave the premises and the Nara clan had all met and liked her, or at least Yoshino had. And from what Shikamaru had complained that woman could make them do anything she wanted. They weren't likely to throw her off. And besides, was it her fault if they had a nice field for her to lie on?
A weary sigh answered her before she felt him lie down beside her.
And she smiled. She knew he wouldn't see anyway so why should she care? She knew he knew. And he knew she knew he knew and etc. They just lay in silence staring at the sky, enjoying the peace and tranquility that was somewhat rare in their presence.
'I thought you were going to spend the rest of the day on your own,' Shikamaru said somewhat gentler than usual.
She shrugged again.
'So did I,' she answered simply.
'I heard a story about you today,' the chuunin continued on.
Temari turned her head to face his smirking face without a second thought. Had it been one of many people she would have held her pride and curiosity in place, but the boy before her was different; he'd become one of the few to see her with her guard down. Having worked together as allies they learned each other's physical weaknesses. Having worked together for numerous functions they learned each other's social habits.
'Something about your brutality in murdering a village with your brothers?'
Temari winced at his words. She'd rather not remember that really. A mission was a mission. And Gaara had done most of the killing.
'That's true, I take it?'
'Of all the rumors why bring that up in particular?' Temari retorted sharply.
'Others seem somewhat bizarre, some were believable, and this sparked more fear than the others.'
Temari shrugged once more as she attempted to hide her sigh. Living with Gaara was like living with an incarnation of fear itself. The village feared him, other villages feared him, and because of their association with him, a handful of people began to fear them. And to hear that her second home would fear her made her want to withdraw into herself more. She wouldn't physically run; for her pride's sake and for her brother who worked hard to maintain a good relationship between the Kazekage and Hokage. But she would run from herself and from the memories, and from the possibilities of future pain.
'You knew it was realistic enough to be true,' Temari told him.
'I wanted to hear the truth from you,' he answered simply.
She didn't respond.
'A mission is a mission. The most important thing to remember on a mission is the safety of your comrades, followed by the success of the mission. The first rarely applies to you and your brothers and thus the second becomes priority. No matter what the order, being the shinobi that you are you will obey the order. Ninja are tools of war and treated as such,' Shikamaru continued on. 'It reflects nothing on the person beneath it except their ability to put their mission and their village before themselves.'
A small, sad smile graced her lips. She didn't bother saying anything else on the subject. If there was anything more to be said it would be said without question.
'Merry Christmas,' Shikamaru mumbled with a yawn, dripping with his usual bored tone.
Temari couldn't help but smile. Smile in that way that showed her as that vulnerable person that was so unknown to many, rather than the familiar friendly greeting of a smile that accompanied the glamorous titles or the smirks for the gruesome stories.
'It's troublesome but my mother expects you over for dinner tonight if you have time to join us. Either way she's making that chicken you like.'
'I was going to invite myself anyway.'
'You think too highly of yourself.'
'I think highly of your mother.'
'That she would invite you to dinner?'
'My mother thanks you for the flowers you had sent to her, although she's not too happy about the whiskey you gave to Dad. He is though.'
Temari smiled. 'That's good.'
'Ino was here to deliver them. She says it cost a fair bit.'
'Your mother deserves beautiful flowers, not some cheap bouquet.'
'Ino says you handpicked them yourself, spent an hour or so doing it.'
'And if I did?'
'I don't have a present.'
Temari couldn't help but laugh in response. While she did enjoy their one-lined to one-worded conversational patterns, his latest opener was amusing.
'I didn't know what to get you or if I should have gotten you anything at all,' she told him, smile still clearly plastered on her face.
'But you were sure to get my parents something?'
'Your parents are neither rude or hostile towards me.'
'This is true.'
'Yes it is.'
Silence once again followed and Temari waited until he said something more. It was, after all, his turn. That's how the game went. Like tennis, the metaphorical ball that was a response bounced between them. She closed her eyes as a content smile graced her eyes and the wind gently embraced her.
'What do you give someone who has everything they could ever want?' Shikamaru asked her.
'Everything they could ever need.'
'And if they have that?'
'They would ask for nothing more.'
Silence for thought.
'And what do you give someone who asks for everything?'
'A cork in their mouth or a punch in the face,' Temari answered with an amused grin. Shikamaru rolled his eyes but laughed a little all the same.
'I don't have a gift for you,' he told her.
'I don't need one.'
'Nor do you want one?'
'Game of shougi later?'
They continued to watch the sky for a while, until the sun began to set. She'd spend the evening with them and forget the villagers for a while. For her pride and for her duty she would continue to come to Konoha. For herself, however, she would enjoy it. Having spent hours together day after day she and Shikamaru learned each other's habits. Through their endless debates and intellectual discussions they learned each other's opinions of the world and its inhabitants. Lunches and breaks together taught them the other's favourite and least favourite foods. Their work also taught them how much attention to detail the other paid.
And all this helped them put together the puzzle that was the other. And any blank places were filled with the answers to questions and mind games.
She'd had many invites to dinner in Suna, and it seemed to have spread to Konoha as well. There were gifts from suitors, admirers and fans in general; general gifts that could fill several large rooms. And she appreciated it at first, and she still did when it was a genuine gift from someone she knew. Like the flowers from the Yamanaka shop that Ino had picked for her as a Christmas gift. She'd had several conversations with Ino about various plants and flowers and the younger kunoichi had taken the time to put together a bouquet with Temari's favourite flowers. The baker and fruit vendors had also sent her some of her favourites.
But then there were those, like some of her suitors, who pretended like they knew her. They didn't understand that there was a difference between the kunoichi and the woman, between a shinobi and the person beneath it.
'Next time we play this game you're starting it. It's easier to answer than to ask questions.'
'Is that a challenge, Nara?'
'Not necessarily. A man should lead the way.'
The girl rolled her eyes.
'But for me there is an exception?' she continued for him.
'Unfortunately, yes, you make it that way.'
She laughed once more.
She could have any material possession she wanted in the world, especially with Gaara as her brother. And that's why she loved spending time in Konoha with the Nara clan. And him. She needed no more material things, few mattered to her now. He gave her the small things she wanted and needed. And for someone who grew up with the world offered to her on a silver platter, having him willingly give her his time and attention just because he didn't mind her company meant more to her than anything else.
Yes, it all started out of duty. It started with him having to do something. But it was because he chose to take her out to lunch in their breaks, because he'd chosen to let her decide what she wanted to see rather than take her to cliffs with the Hokages' faces and leave it at that, because he'd chosen to do his job properly that had made all the difference. But most of all, it was his decision to stay with her, at that moment, and as her guide, his decision to support her when he had the chance, his decision to answer her questions, no matter how ridiculous or personal that touched her heart.
'Troublesome,' she said to him, poking him in the arm. He didn't respond except for a jerky movement that curled her lips into a smile. She let her hand slide down his arm into his own awaiting one, before he pulled her closer to him in a gentle embrace.
And they knew: they had a lifetime to add more to the puzzle that was already becoming so clear.
Half the world knew her name. But none of them knew her half as well as he did.
A/N: Sorry if it didn't make sense at bits and pieces. Or completely. Reviews are always welcome. And I hope you liked i even if it wasn't all fluffy and lovey dovey and everything. It sounded better in my head, ok haha and seriously I remember looking at the sky one time I was waiting for a ride and going whoa that feels weird haha
Anyway, Merry Christmas! And I'm from the Southern Hemisphere so Christmas is warm enough to lie in a field, ok?
'Christmas where the gum trees grow, there is no frost and there is no snow. Christmas in Australia's hot! Cold and frosty's what it's not.'
haha cute, no? It's from some song that I also do not own.