A/N: This is related to my previous oneshot 'Hating her'. It's the same story line but from Shikamaru's perspective. There's no specific time in which it was set, just somewhere between where they met and … forever haha
This is not entirely fluffy but neither is it angsty.
Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto. All characters within this fanfiction belong to Masashi Kishimito.
I've always been tagged as lazy. The 'lazy genius' title was only given to me after my fight with Sabaku no Temari in the Chuunin exams, and even then I know Asuma-sensei had something to do with it getting around. He was my first sensei who ever knew I had more in me than what I showed. But that's fair enough. With classes as big as they were what teacher would have time to wonder if the kid sleeping during exams was a genius? Especially when the likes of Uchiha Sasuke, the latest child prodigy, was in the same room. Or Uzumaki Naruto who would always be causing some form of catastrophic disturbance.
Either way, Asuma-sensei saw it in me and pretty much encouraged me to use more of my latent potential, like in our shougi games. Somehow that man saw what I was and what I wanted to be. But he ended up inspiring me to be better. A lot of people thought it was because of Temari but it started with Sarutobi Asuma.
I've always known there are things worth fighting for; things worth the trouble, so to speak. But a lot of it just seemed too troublesome. But I knew that when it came to my comrades, my friends, I would do absolutely anything, no matter how troublesome, just to make sure they were okay.
I want nothing more in life than for it to be pleasant and normal. I have no ambition to achieve great things because through birth I was exceptional enough. So to say, I'm tired of being a genius; it's enough for me. I assumed I had too much of my share of life and instead enjoyed the little moments that passed us by.
I could tell you everything there is to know about clouds. I can tell you the different types of clouds, in which atmosphere they were located, the scientific play-by-play of their molecular formation, I really could.
But I'd rather just watch them coz they're nice.
Clouds are a funny thing. They've been around forever, literally, but in different states and in a million more different forms. And yet how many people noticed all the different shapes they make? It's actually rather rude.
And clouds are much nicer to look at than people who fight or annoy me. They really are free.
And for a while I wanted nothing more than to be like a puff of white in the sky, floating on, indistinguishable from the next. Content. Floating. And free.
And then I met her.
The confident, proud kunoichi of Suna who literally blasted herself into my life. Women are troublesome, they always have been. Meet my mother and you'll know what I mean. Some people assume I find Temari more troublesome than my mother, others say I think she's worth the trouble. Either way, there's some thought or 'common knowledge' around the villagers that Sabaku no Temari is mine.
Some of the older males in the community say it straight to my face: 'how could you get a girl like her?' It's better to just ignore them. My friends are no different, except for the fact that I actually like their company.
Take Naruto for example. Whenever he sees Temari and myself together he asks if we're on a date, out of habit and to annoy us. It's good to have him back all the same. Sakura's no different, save the subtlety I suppose. Kiba's the complete opposite. He wolf-whistles like there's no tomorrow and constantly makes crude remarks. I'm surprised Temari hasn't smacked him across the head for it; I guess that's just saved for me. Hinata and Shino don't say a thing to me about their opinions, but I'm sure they have their own.
Mendokuse. The gossip in this village.
Lee's group doesn't know me that well personally but he's compared Temari to Sakura a few dozen times. And Neji even mumbled a 'congratulations and good luck' to me before clearing his throat and continuing on his way.
Ino doesn't participate much in this gossip actually. Every now and then she'd give me a nudge and a friendly wink, with warm encouraging smiles whenever she heard Temari was coming back. She'd always insist I be the best I could be for her or Temari would beat me senseless. Ino's had dinner at my house a few times; she knows how my mother gets me to do things and she like everyone else notices the resemblance between the daughter of the Wind Country and the mother of the lazy genius.
Chouji's not like the others. He knows for sure that I care about Temari, and I never had to say a word about it. He knows I do by the way I fulfil my duty as her guide. He knows I enjoy her company through the numerous shougi games I shared with her instead of cloud watching on my own. He knows I enjoy the intellectual challenge that is her presence, knows I enjoy the way she creates a standard and competition of which I'm to beat, just to annoy the hell out of her. But Chouji knows that what sets her apart from everyone else is that she's a woman who knows her rights and responsibilities and challenges my attitude because of them.
She's everything I never wanted; more than average with a personality and will of her own. The scary thing about her is she sees right through me. She sees my older mind and my child-like aspirations and challenges them.
She doesn't need me to take care of her. She's more than capable of doing that herself. She doesn't need to be saved; she's the one that does the saving.
Suna was blessed with a kunoichi like Temari. Quick-witted and talented, she never fails to rise to the occasion, even with six or so enemies charging towards her. The Mistress of the Wind will bend it to her will to strike an enemy or support a falling ally. A thousand swords couldn't have caused the scars on the descending lifeless bodies as she pulls her fallen comrade out of harm's way and returns to battle mode.
I don't watch her. I don't keep an eye out to make sure she doesn't fall.
But she does.
Her familiar chakra-filled wind brushes past me as she decimates my attacker. I catch her eye. And for a moment, I don't want to look away.
But I do.
Because Ino needs my help. So I run. I leap over our fallen comrades without a care if I land on anyone else, hurling kunai at her assailant's back. He senses it, of course, and quickly avoids the half dozen I've used. I throw a few more until he lands where I want him: in reach of my shadow. That's all I should say, but I'll boast how his windpipe was crushed nonetheless.
Serves him right.
I turn my attention back to Ino and carry her to safety. Her chakra's low so she can't heal herself. Deep cuts line her stomach and chest, blood oozing down her arms. Her eyes have a dark glow to them but she smiles weakly all the same.
I panic. I worry.
Then Sakura comes. The look on her face tells me she's afraid but determined. And I know Ino will be okay.
So I go back. Back to the battle, back to the fighting, and back to a far away Temari. She never seems close enough. More cuts. More blood. More death. And then I see something that terrifies me.
Gaara's sand shooting straight into another direction: Temari's direction. I can't help but glance at her. I count nine kunai in her back, but it feels like they're all stabbing the depths of my heart.
I want to run to her but I don't. I want to watch longer but I stop.
I look over at Ino once again. One of my best friends. I know what a shinobi is: a tool of war. We're to fight with no emotion or question, going against everything that we pride as what makes us human. We're not to let feelings affect us and are to carry out missions logically and successfully. That is the way of the ninja. By this Naruto is wrong; there is only one way.
Logically, if ever Ino needed my help in battle I should go to her, as should Chouji. We are her comrades, her teammates, her brothers. And we take care of each other.
And I look back at Temari, fighting her way through once more. I yearn for her again.
I shouldn't watch her. I shouldn't run to catch her. Gaara and Kankurou will always be there, looking out for her no matter how far apart they are. They know their sister rarely falls but knows she can all the same. Whenever the Suna kunoichi could not defend herself, her brothers would always be there, fighting with ten times the strength and power than when they fight for themselves.
She doesn't need me. And that's what makes her different.
And as I look away once more I see Kankurou's frequent glances back at her, and I notice the way sand always lingers in the air. Watching, waiting, and ever wary.
She's safe. She'll survive. That's what matters.
Never mind the cold hand gripping my heart every time I see her falter. Never mind the way my breath hitches in my throat when I hear her scream out in pain, or the way my own movements weaken when I no longer hear or sense any traces of her around me.
I look back at Ino once again, letting my eyes pass over a certain fan-wielding kunoichi. The sun will set and battle will stop, if only momentarily. Her wounds will heal and she'll survive. And one morning when the sun will rise, maybe it'll be different.
When she looks at me she sees everything I am and can be. One day she'll look at me and see me looking back at the girl inside the woman. When she fights she fights for her country and her village. One day I'll fight for her the way she does for everyone else. Each day she lives and exists for others. I'll show her that others do the same for her.
For many she's the saviour, the protector, the defender. Children, even the little girls in Konoha, tell me they want to be like Sabaku no Temari: strong, powerful and independent. She has so many people who look up to her and adore her, but it's rare for her to have you in high regards; that's something really special.
For now I spare glances from too much of a distance that she can't even see that I care. But I have to. It doesn't change anything. I know what I want and I know what I feel. And each morning I'll wake up with a hope that the clouds won't be as nice that day. Because one day I'll know something better.
Until then I'll watch the clouds and wait for the day I can say what they say.
I'll fight and live on for that one day when I know what's certain.
That day I'll be able to tell myself one thing.
I have her.
A/N: I found it harder to try and write from Shika's perspective, so sorry if he seems OOC. The ending in Temari's perspective was so much better xD But it's hard. Anyway, I hope it was alright enough.
Any problems with this, please feel free to let me know.
Happy New Year!