It's a Shame, Really

She was studying him rather oddly. Her soft green eyes were narrowed at him in concentration, one of her hands was raised up to one of her ponytails, her slender tan fingers twisting the golden thread around and around; she was gnawing on her lower lip; and her other hand rested on the table, her fingers tapping upon the oak quite firmly.

They should be working; he had in fact, actually been working. Shikamaru had even looked up for a brief second when he noticed her. At first, he'd ignored it; she usually did all the work while he lay back in his chair daydreaming, if she was sidetracking for a bit it really wasn't a big deal.

But, really, it was starting to bother him. He turned over the paper he'd been marking on and started to look at the next one. He could feel her green eyes watching him – it was very unsettling. More so, because of the way she was looking at him. Temari seemed to be scrutinizing him, as if he were some…kunai she was looking over before buying.

Shikamaru leaned back in his chair, temporarily ignoring the papers, and closed his eyes trying to rid himself of such ridiculous thoughts.

Normally, he liked working with Temari. (Not that he'd ever really say that to anyone – not even Chouji.) He felt comfortable around her, when she spoke it was actually interesting, she was hardworking, she spoke her mind, she didn't mind being wrong (thought she loved being right), and she was very good at getting things done quickly and effortlessly.

When he wanted something, everyone seemed to brush him aside. (Mostly, because he found it too much of a bother to argue so the people really could just put him off and he wouldn't say or do anything about it). Temari, on the other hand, could get the world to bend at their knees before her with a few well-placed words. She was bitchy and scary, but she could also be incredibly manipulative in the most attractive way.

Not that he thought her attractive.

Okay, so he was lying.

He thought she was very attractive. Who wouldn't think so? Her body was just so very nice (not too skinny and gangly like most girls seemed to think was the way they should look), her lips were very full, her eyes were the nicest color, and her smile – though a bit…broad, was very honest and pure. He loved that.

And her voice was very nice too.

Verry nice.

Not that it mattered.

She was Temari. Three years older than him, from an entirely different village, and the most troublesome woman he knew. As attractive as she was and as nice as it was to spend time with her, she was still far too much trouble.

Today, though, her actions were bothering him immensely. He didn't know why he felt quite so bothered by her looking at him. Maybe it was because he didn't know what she was thinking. He never really had to ask, she would always just mention what was bothering her or what she was mulling over, but today…

With his eyes still closed, Shikamaru fished in his pocket for the packet of cigarettes. He pulled one out and lit it – still not opening his eyes.

He heard her mumble incoherently and could identify the shifting of her position. Shikamaru took a drag and opened his eyes thinking she'd finally stopped analyzing him.

She hadn't.

Now she was leaning back in her chair, her eyes still slightly narrowed, and still biting her lips. Her arms though, were now crossed against her chest.

He waited, but she still didn't say anything.

"What?" He finally asked, growing fully aggravated. Her silence bothered him. It sounded ridiculous, but the fact that she was staring at him without saying a word was bothering him.

She shook her head, the light of the sun glinting of golden strands of her hair rather prettily. "Just thinking."

Shikamaru scowled and returned his attention to his work. Thinking! Her reply bothered him more than her silence had. "Troubles—"

"Why are you a Chuunin?" Her voice came out melodically, disrupting his incoming tirade about 'troublesome women'.

Shikamaru sat up and looked at her carefully. Was she okay? Did she really need to know why he was a Chuunin? "Because they promoted me." He answered simply, a little worried about her health.

She waved her hand as if brushing his reply aside. "No. I don't mean that. I mean why aren't you in a higher position?"

He blinked. They'd had this conversation before. Temari wasn't one to repeat questions she'd already gotten answers for. "…I've told you…" She might scold him continually on things they'd talked about, or bring it up often, but she never repeated questions she already had the answer to. And it's not like she hadn't been listening then. Temari constantly berated him for his lack of reason in not trying to become better. "It's too troublesome."

She sighed. "Yeah I remembered that." He liked her voice. He always had. But he especially liked the sound of it when she sighed. "I just thought you'd given me that answer to brush me off. That you hadn't given me your real reason."

"Well it is."

Another sigh. "I thought so." Her voiced turned thoughtful again. "I'd always thought if I'd ever marry that it would be with a strong, motivated, highly positioned shinobi from my village." She looked pointedly at him.

Shikamaru blinked, completely unsure of where she was going with this. What, was she engaged or something? An arranged marriage? The idea of Temari in an arranged marriage didn't make much sense to him. Temari would never let it happen, and neither of her brothers would push it on her. She would only do something like that for her brothers and they would never want her to. What was the problem then? This had to be what she was thinking so hard about.

Shikamaru found himself more than a little worried.

"It's a shame, really." She mused; her tone was full of mirth.

"What is?" He asked calmly. Though he wasn't really feeling calm. He was feeling bothered. Something had disturbed Temari to the point where she was asking weird questions and not doing her work. Something was up with her.

She lifted her pen from the table, a little smile on her lips. "That one day, the person I'm going to marry…is you." She lifted the hand holding the pen up to her face so she could rest upon her hand. Her fingers rested against the tan face of hers.

The cigarette in his mouth rolled out and fell to the floor.

"Of course, before I let that happen you'll have to, at the very least, be a Jounin." She said matter-of-factly. "Though I am holding you up to a bit higher standards. Hokage maybe. Or advisor to the Hokage." She bent forward and continued the work she'd abandoned awhile ago, as if she'd just finished talking about the weather.

Shikamaru stood still in his chair completely frozen.

He couldn't think.


Marry her?!

She was more troublesome than his mother! He might like her and think her attractive, but that was no reason to marry her!

"I wouldn't – I – I won't m-marry you!" He fumbled.

She looked up at him an interesting smile on her lips. Shikamaru absent-mindedly noted he liked that smile – almost a smirk but not quite. "Really now, Nara, I'm quite upset. Do you not find me attractive?"

He swallowed, his brain shutting down as she leaned forward, her lips pouting and fingers brushing against his cheek lightly. "I…" His eyes, against his better judgment, traced her lips and her eyes continually, committing them to memory.

"Do you not find me good company?"


"Do you not enjoy spending time with me?"


"Why then, don't you want to marry me?" She was too close to him now. She was leaning quite far over the desk and her lips were quite close to him. He was aware that if he moved forward just the tiniest bit, their lips would contact together. "I…it…troublesome…"

Her fingers pulled at the collar of his shirt and pulled him forward. Her warm lips touched the corner of his lips then traced about his jaw. "Is it really that troublesome?" She murmured against his skin sultrily.

"I…" Shikamaru was sure he should be doing something, SURE that he should be saying something to clarify why marrying her was not in his plans, but the way her lips were just so…It just…He couldn't think… And then the way her voice sounded so nicely. And the smell of lavender of her shampoo or her perfume or whatever it came from was addling his judgment…

Then her lips touched his.

Oh dear, that was it. He was toast. If Temari wanted to marry him he was going to marry her, no buts about it. There was no way he could beat this woman.

As he returned the kiss, he wasn't sure he wanted to beat this woman. Surely any trouble she was could not top this moment right now.

He ran through the list of why he wouldn't marry her quickly in his head.

She was too pretty. Far too pretty.

She was older

She was from another village.

She was troublesome.

She could actually kill him if she wanted to.

She had scary brothers that could kill him if they wanted to.

A few seconds ago those reasons had seemed much much better.

But then, it is said that everything changes in a moment.

She pulled away from him and settled back in her seat. Her bronzed cheeks were flushed a bit red, and her hair was a bit messy where his fingers had pulled at it, and her lips were nicely pinkish. She cleared her throat and tried to continue her work. "That was better than I expected." She mumbled not looking up from the papers. Her cheeks flamed a bit darker as she said that to him.

Shikamaru blinked slowly, painfully aware that he was blushing a bit too. "I suppose marrying you wouldn't be so bad."

He picked up his pen and was about to start working as well when he realized something. "HOKAGE?!"

Before him Temari chuckled. "What's wrong with Hokage?"

"Do you know how much work that is?"

"All you do is sit behind a desk all day."

"With a ton of paperwork!" He protested immediately.

"Oh, be a man. It's nothing to extraneous."

"If we're going to get married then you're going to have to understand I am not becoming Hokage. For goodness sakes' that's a sucker's job." He explained quickly, "Besides, Naruto is going to be the next Hokage. He can keep his dream, I don't want it."

She paused. "Naruto, really? I mean, I know it's his dream, but the boy's a bit…rambunctious. He doesn't really think things through. I know nuttiness seems to be a trait with your Hokages but, he can't really pull if off unless he has…" Temari trialed off and a smile spread across her lips. "Very well. We can rule out Hokage."

Shikamaru stared suspiciously at the blonde woman. "Rule out Hokage'? What does that leave th—?" The words she'd previously said crossed his mind swiftly. "No." He said to her abruptly. "I draw the line at Jounin."

"Then I suppose we aren't getting married."

He stared at her impassively. She seemed to be serious. There was no joke in her eyes and no mocking tone in her voice. "Tell me you aren't serious."

"I'm entirely serious, Shikamaru. I'm not marrying a slacker. If that's the case then I'll just never marry."

He sighed. "Have you met Naruto? I'll be getting him out of a million different scenarios that he himself instigates! It'll be the most—"

"If you're so sure that Naruto will screw up in the beginning, doesn't it provide more incentive to be his advisor? I mean, really, do you want him to send your village to hell in a hand basket?"

"Somebody else can advise him." He pointed out.

"Naruto won't listen."

"He won't listen to me!"

"You're smart enough to make him see truth. Close enough to him for him to trust you. And ingenious enough to fix up any mistakes he makes without causing a ruckus. Anyone else wouldn't do half as good a job as you could." Temari explained calmly resting her head upon her clasped hands. "He's a very nice kid, but he's going to need guidance. He isn't the sharpest crayon on the box, but he'll never give up and he'll never stop trying. He'll be an excellent Hokage I think, but he needs someone who'll put up with his mistakes and see him for who he can be. He'll learn, and it won't be as much trouble when he does."

"I…" Shikamaru scowled.


He picked up his pen and started working on the papers. "I hate you." He grumbled bitterly.

Temari laughed. "Such a shame. And here I thought you felt the same way about me as I did you."

"And what would that be?"

She smiled and waved at the air. "Annoyance mostly."

Shikamaru scowled. He leaned forward and pulled her toward him. He kissed her, his hands fiddling with the bands holding up her hair.

She pushed him away laughing. "Work."

"It can wait." He protested.

"So can you."

He slumped back in his chair. "It's a shame, really."

"What is?" Temari asked cheekily.

"I'm becoming the Hokage's advisor. I'm marrying a bitchy, bossy, beautiful woman. The most troublesome woman I know, in fact. And I have to become Jounin before I'm allowed to marry this woman. Life loves to mess up the plans I have for the future. Nothing is the same."

"Such a shame." Temari noted, grinning ear to ear. "Doesn't life suck?"

"Incredibly so."