"I hate you."
Shikamaru glanced up briefly from the magazine he wasn't really reading to look at the blonde, flustered and irritated and clearly not happy. He wanted to tell her one of her ponytails seemed to be at the point of falling apart, but he figured that wasn't exactly what she wanted to hear.
"What'd I do?"
That didn't seem to be the thing she wanted to hear either. And demonstrated that by throwing a book—where it came from, he didn't pause to consider—aimed directly towards his head.
He groaned, rubbing the spot where it had connected with his skull. "Did you have to throw the book?"
She chucked another one. Where the hell were they coming from? "I hate you."
"So you've mentioned. May I inquire as to why?"
A hand that had been ready to throw yet another book stopped midway, and the muscles of her arm flexed dangerously. "Because you're an idiot."
She snarled and drew her hand back, planning it's trajectory with her eyes. He smirked. She'd always been a smart one.
"As much as I enjoy your girly throws—"
"I'll show you girly, you coward."
"—I'm going to have to ask you to stop disorganizing my library. Took me years to put in order, you know." His eyes flickered between her and the bookshelf she stood beside, finally having realized, albeit a little too late, where she was getting her endless supply of books from.
"What, can't be bothered to reorganize them?" she mocked, her grin fierce and slightly frightening. But only slightly.
He shrugged, turning back to the magazine. "Temari. You're being troublesome."
"That's all I ever am," she snapped. Her voice was far from level so he knew perfectly well he didn't have to move out of the way when heard the book sailing over. It landed a few feet away from him, harmless.
"That you are."
"Ugh. Makes me hate you all the more."
"Well, you could leave."
Another book. Again, her aim was off. He wanted to laugh. She was so easily riled up. Any other time, any other person, and he would have been dead. He had her all figured—
He could not say that he was well prepared for the sudden weight that pulled him out of his chair and caused him to topple carelessly to the floor. Instinctively, he held onto the weight with dear life, surprised to find it was warm and fleshy and soft.
Opening his eyes, he saw three tufts (and a half) of blonde hair hovering menacingly above him.
Ah. Temari. He should have known.
"You're heavy," he noted, voice cracking.
Of course, it was just like the woman to do something to throw him off guard. When he thought he was done guessing all her moods and shifts of personality, she had to go and do something like this to make him want to randomly stab his eye out.
She kissed him.
He had rather hoped that when he'd finally manage to kiss her, she would be on her back instead of him on his. Actually, he had rather hoped that when they did kiss, it would be nice and simple. He liked nice. And simple.
He hadn't exactly wanted this. A furious press of lips, with her tongue threatening to strangle him as she seemed to wrangle it down his throat. He didn't mind if she decided to touch him, but when she was pulling at his hair for leverage and to deepen the already head-whirling kiss, he wasn't too sure he liked it at all.
And suddenly, the pressure was gone, her lips were somewhere not on his, and her hands had disappeared.
He blinked, dazed, looking up to find her smirking triumphantly in that cocky way he swore he got tired of but knew he didn't.
"Hmph." She cocked her head, smile widening as his eyes felt like they were ready to bulge out of their sockets. "Not bad. Guess I won't hate you that much anymore."
Sighing, Shikamaru threw himself back, head hitting the floor, not bothering to curse or moan at the pain that throbbed there.
Troublesome, teasing woman.
She was going to kill him like this.
He'd been with his friends, eating. Actually, that was a lie. He'd been with friends, watching one eat while hearing the other complain about her latest boytoy while he remained in the corner, silent, and calculating just how much the meal would end up costing him.
That was when that woman stalked in, all in her foreign glory and the exoticness that attracted him as much as made him want to run away and never look back. He'd almost chocked at the sight of he, which alerted his friends to the situation, which then led to Ino—stupid girl—to call the foreign nin over and join them.
Thankfully (or perhaps not), she did not stay long. She merely sauntered over, leaned over the table, ignoring Ino's sputtering protests at having breasts dangle in her face, and pulled him towards her.
"You're taking me out to dinner tonight."
And that was that.
So it was because of that horribly wonderful moment where he'd gotten a good glimpse of her assets through the dip in her yukata that he was waiting by her hotel. Holding flowers. Scowling.
"Don't look so miserable," he heard, and he turned to find her standing a few feet away, rolling her eyes at the sight of him. He didn't trust himself enough to let his eyes linger on her body. She'd never been good at keeping too much skin covered away.
"About time," he mumbled, glancing at his watch, noting she was only three minutes late. Still, he needed a reason to be mad, so he chose to hang onto the tardiness as a reason.
She grunted and made her way to him. He knew she was swaying her hips like that because she wanted him to look so he kept his gaze leveled to her face, careful to keep his eyes from straying any lower.
"Ready?" she asked, and he was slightly shocked to hear her voice so gentle.
It was such a shock that he could not manage to answer, and so he only nodded, letting her lead him away to who-knew-where to eat who-knew-what.
As they walked to wherever they were going, Shikamaru quickly went through his mental list of Temari-Expectations. When he found that she was only fitting a few of her typical characterizations, he balked, seemingly at a loss of how to act around her. If he couldn't count on her voice being incredibly gruff and annoyingly low for a girl's, then he didn't know what to expect.
"What's wrong with you?" she asked, and he released a breath he hadn't realized he'd been holding in relief at the sound of her typical Temari voice.
Silence. He liked silence. He especially liked silence shared with her.
The restaurant she took him to wasn't as fancy as he had assumed it would be. She'd taken care of reservations and all the things he knew that he would have completely overlooked had he been the one to plan it all.
"You seem so ecstatic to be here," she observed, bitingly sarcastic.
"Maybe you shouldn't force others to take you to dinner."
She shrugged his insult away, finger tracing the edge of her glass. "Needed someone to pay for dinner here."
He stared at her through half-lidded eyes. "You don't have money."
A small smirk graced her lips and he found it oddly infuriating how it caused him to want to reach over and kiss her. "I do, actually. I just don't feel like spending it."
He didn't answer. She didn't expect him to, and he knew she didn't, so he chose to remain quiet and save his energy for the arguing that was sure to arise later. Kami knew he'd need it.
Shikamaru did not know how to handle an emotional Temari.
Emotional Temari that pretended she was anything but emotional was usually the closest he ever came to handling the woman in one of her moments of vulnerability. But now he was facing his greatest nightmare.
If she were crying, perhaps things would have been easier. He usually knew that a crying woman would eventually exhaust herself into revealing what was wrong with her or finally shutting up. But of course, Temari was not like every other woman he knew. She did not cry. Instead, she remained quiet, stiff, and everything un-womanly he could possibly imagine.
"You aren't attracted to me."
The sound of her voice breaking the silence that had settled over them for the past hour effectively brought him out of his musings. Of course, all he could manage in the time that it took to register the words and bring on her glare was a shocked look of a deer caught in the headlights of a large, terrifying, speeding truck.
She ground her teeth and didn't meet his gaze. He wanted to kill her for it. Why was she being so damned—
"You aren't attracted to me," she repeated.
He stared at her, completely and utterly perplexed. His mind was struggling to come up with every possible way to interpret her words. He was racking his memories for moments where she could have said the same thing and he had somehow found a way to make everything better. In all of twenty-three seconds that it took to do this, he had come up with absolutely nothing.
"What are you talking about?"
She crossed her arms before her chest and glared at the wall opposite her. He stared at her profile, noting the way her jaw was set and her breathing was irregular, and the odd shine in her eyes.
Dear lord. She was going to cry.
"I've invited you into this damn apartment five times—"
"Four," he corrected automatically.
A moment of stillness as she tried to regain her calm. "Four," she hissed. "And you haven't even done anything."
He turned to fully face her, body angled towards her. "What do you want me to do?"
She laughed bitterly. "See? Not even attracted to me." Suddenly, she was a trembling mass of uneven breaths. "God, I'm so stupid!"
"No, no you're not." Shikamaru knew enough about women to know that if he remained silent, when she felt better she would remember his hesitation at proving her wrong and would proceed to brutally dismember him.
"I am." She was taking even breaths, trying to calm herself. "I mean, god, why did I even try?"
She completely ignored him, apparently speaking to herself now. "Of course you wouldn't want to sleep with me. Here I am thinking I could find a way to seduce you without having to do anything—maybe you'd actually make the first move for once—and you don't even want to sleep with me."
He drew back immediately, having leaned towards her, trying to wrap his arms around her as she babbled. But at her words, he flattened himself again the back of his chair, staring at her through wide eyes.
What. The. Hell?
She glanced at him through her bangs, startling eyes threatening to spill the tears that had somehow managed to pool there. "Sorry," she mumbled darkly. "I shouldn't have said anything."
"You think I don't want to sleep with you?"
She laughed slightly, causing her eyes no narrow and squeeze a tear out. She made a disgruntled face and looked up, trying to keep from letting the rest of the tears fall. He had never seen a girl suck at crying as bad as her.
"No. I know you don't want to sleep with me."
"You're being ridiculous. We're not even together."
He was panicking. He could feel his nerves threatening to go spiraling out of control. Women were so… He didn't even want to think about it, lest he went insane.
"We're not?" she asked harshly. "I would hate to see what you consider really being together as. Probably the exact opposite."
He scowled. "You're being unreasonable."
"Yes. You are."
"So you do want to sleep with me."
He breathed in. "I didn't say that."
"So you don't."
He groaned. "I didn't say that either. Will you stop it?"
"Fine. Go. Just go away."
"Let's talk about this."
"No. Go fall into a ditch."
"This is silly."
She hissed at him, eyes flashing dangerously. "Oh really?"
He glared right back, tired of having to deal with the moody, bitchy, swinging attitudes the woman seemed to love to go through. "You know what? This is retarded."
Her mouth opened in disbelief. "You fucking ass--!"
So he did what he had to do. He crossed the distance between them and shut her up, covering her mouth with his own. He wrapped his arm around her waist and dragged her to him, sitting her on his lap, making sure she couldn't escape soon and kill him.
And while she wasn't exactly the most gentle of lovers, he figured later that he really wouldn't mind having sex with her again and again and again. He actually liked watching her bite her lips to keep from whispering his name. It made it all the more interesting when he did manage to get her to scream.
He realized he was in trouble after one of their little episodes in the bedroom.
It had started, like almost everything between them, with an argument. And, like every argument, led to sex.
Of course, he hadn't counted on staying up, sleep forgotten, to stare at her peaceful face as she snuggled against him, tangled hair framing her beautiful face. She seemed almost angelic.
He shook his head. It was probably because she was asleep and not yelling at him or bitching or being completely troublesome that she seemed that way. That was it.
Glancing down at her again, he felt compelled to draw his hand across her cheek, pads of his fingers tracing the line of her jaw gently, watching her steady breathing. Her mouth was open slightly, pink lips forming a small O as she expelled her breaths.
Shit. Shit. Shit.
He whimpered (yes, he did) at the sudden realization. That was why he was in trouble. She was why he was in trouble.
He was in love with her.
Heloved that woman.
Why?Why? He tore his eyes away from her sleeping figure to glare at the ceiling, silently cursing fate, cupid, or whatever it was, to hell. Damn them. Damn them all.
A slight movement from the blonde woman brought his attention back to her. She was nuzzling her head into the crook of his arm, unconsciously seeking his warmth. He cursed again, this time out loud, watching her with gentle eyes as she mumbled something about ferrets and those "damn clouds".
Could he? Love her? This exhausting woman who was pretty good at sex but was far better at exasperating him and making him want to forever renounce the opposite sex and enroll in priesthood? He wasn't exactly sure what love was—a chemical reaction in the brain, a made up emotion as an excuse to cause people endless years of grief—but he knew well enough that the ache in his heart, the need to comfort her, the need to stay by her side even when she was screaming at him so loudly he was sure his eardrums would erupt could not be overlooked. He could not ignore her. He could not imagine a life without her, without her constant nagging, without the light of her rare smiles.
He sighed in defeat, resting his forehead against hers, breathing in her scent and letting her breaths wash over him.
"I love you," he whispered, glad she was asleep.
She cracked her eyes open, staring at him curiously, sleep clinging to her eyelashes as her thin eyebrows came together. "I know." Her voice was hoarse from sleep, but it didn't make her any less beautiful. "I love you, too."
AN: And there's another oneshot. Please leave me a review if you enjoyed it, okay?
Critique is welcome, but don't be too harsh.