Types of Coercion
Shikamaru had taken up smoking. He didn't really think he was addicted, not yet anyway, but he rather liked it. He liked the feel, the taste, the smell. He liked holding a cigarette in his fingers and twirling a lighter in his hand.
Smoking had started as a tribute to Asuma, now it was something more. It was starting to grow on him.
But all the females he knew were giving him grief over it.
And they did it in that particularly annoying manner that women tended to use: dancing around the subject and trying to manipulate.
What was the big deal if he smoked, anyway? It was his body.
His mother was currently glaring at him. "Put out that cigarette now! I don't want you smoking! I've made that plenty clear!"
"It's my life."
"Which I gave you! I carried you for nine long months and you can't even do me the favor of quitting smoking! I'm your mother!"
He sighed. "And I'm your son." Shikamaru headed out the door, the smoke from his cigarette curling in the air. "But that doesn't mean I'll do everything you tell me to." He could decipher an irritated growl before he closed the door behind him.
Even the Hokage was pestering him about it. Yesterday, the gondaime had sat perched in her chair watching him in irritation. "I control your missions, Shikamaru." That was all she said, choosing to give him that look for five straight minutes before she dismissed him with a wave of her hand.
The woman was threatening him. 'Quit smoking of your life will suck.' He blew out a puff of smoke, at least that's what he'd figured her glare meant. Shikamaru stuffed his hands in his pockets and glanced at the sky, continuing walking aimlessly. He had no mission; the Hokage's doing. Or maybe Ino's.
He had a feeling the whole bothersome mess had started with Ino. She had nagged him about smoking first.
Ino's methods were quite possibly the most irritating.
She'd cough loudly every time she was near him and her voice was lower to a barely audible rasp. "S-Sorry." She would apologize. "I think it's the smoke." Which was complete and utter bullshit, because Ino'd spent plenty of time in Asuma's presence without starting a coughing fit – she'd long since gotten used to smoke. Then there were the other times that Ino took more drastic measures. "I'm just trying to care, Shikamaru." Crocodile tears brimming at her eyelids. "Smoking is going to kill you, and I don't –don't want…"
"It's my body." He would respond. "Don't care."
In which Ino's jaw would clench and the tears would magically disappear.
It was the attempts at manipulation that bothered him the most. Yoshino would play the 'mom card', the Gondaime would threaten him with his mission outflow, and Ino – she used every tactic in existence. Even the other females he really didn't talk to bothered him about it. Sakura, Hinata, Tenten – it was getting fairly annoying.
It was his body dammit – his life, they should stop meddling in his affairs.
This was why women were troublesome.
They all thought manipulation was the answer. Shikamaru blew out another puff of smoke as he passed a small dumpling restaurant.
Quite suddenly he felt cool sharp metal licking his neck, a warm body behind him. He didn't bother tensing or feeling even the slightest bit agitated, the minute he felt the kunai pressed against his throat he smelled her exotic scent: lilies and desert air. "Temari," He mumbled lazily, "do you have to do that?"
The kunai departed from his neck, "Nope." He could hear the grin in her voice. He turned around to look at the creature. Sure enough, she was grinning and her bright emerald eyes were twinkling in amusement. "But it sure is fun."
He rolled his eyes at her. "You always have had an odd idea of fun." He blew out a puff of smoke, careful to direct it away from her. People who weren't used to cigarette smoke actually were prone to cough a bit.
Her eyebrows creased. "When did you start smoking?"
"A couple months ago." He didn't very well like the tone in her voice. If she started playing Ino's game he was going to get verry irritated. Temari was probably the only female he would think wouldn't play the games, but she was still inherently a woman, and to be troublesome and irksome was in her nature.
Her hip was cocked to the side, one of her hand resting on her hip as she analyzed him carefully. In one quick fluid motion, she snatched the lit cigarette from his mouth and dropped it to the floor. She crushed it under her left foot promptly.
Shikamaru gaped at the remains of cigarette, more than just a little shocked. "Oy, woman, what—"
He stopped talking as she noticed her move closer to him and watched as her bronzed hands started fiddling with his Chuunin jacket. Shikamaru blushed a bit; unsure of what exactly she was doing, but very aware of some not very innocent thoughts that were running through his mind. Temari, luckily, didn't seem to notice. Her hands kept messing about with his pockets and soon enough he realized she was puling items out of his jacket pockets. He watched as her hands quickly found and removed his newly purchased packet of cigarettes and his chrome lighter. She pulled away from him then fluidly and she walked purposefully over to the dumpling stand and chucked his stuff in the small silver garbage can they had by the left side.
He just stared blankly after the blonde woman.
What the hell was going on?
She walked back toward him and looked very calmly and seriously at him. "You aren't smoking anymore."
Finally managing to regain his composure, Shikamaru glared at her. "And who are you to tell me what to do?"
"Nobody." She said bluntly and honestly. "You have no real reason to listen to me, but you are going to quit smoking."
"No. I'm not."
"Yes, you will. At least when I'm around you will." She continued. "I will not have that crap you're puffing out affecting my medical health."
"So, I suppose now you're going to start threatening me with your fan, and tell me smoking will kill me or play some stupid guilt game."
She scoffed. "Hell no. Why would I bother? You're smart enough, crybaby. You obviously know the consequences of taking up smoking." Her lips pursed. "And I've no intention of threatening you or any other rot like that. You can decide what you want to do on your own, but if I catch you smoking I will destroy all your paraphernalia."
He scowled. "Why would you do that?"
She shrugged. "I don't like you smoking."
"Are you going to pull that peppy bullshit that Ino is so fond of? That the smoke it produces and the smell of it bothers you?"
She leaned forward, irritation evident in her eyes. 'You think you're so great don't you? I'll have you know, I rather like the way it smells, and the smoke doesn't bother me in the least. I just don't like you smoking. I won't put up with it. I'm making that perfectly clear and warning you of my future actions. If you choose to smoke elsewhere, well, I can't stop you; you're your own person."
"Leave me alone, Temari." Shikamaru said to her coldly. Normally he liked her company. He was actually very fond of her company. Her bluntness was refreshing and the ideas in her mind were…bizarre at best, but very ingenious. She was clever and stimulating. And she was very nice to look at too, but right now she was being very aggravating.
Her eyes hardened, and her lips thinned. "Very well." She harrumphed a bit and then very gracefully the sand kunoichi walked away.
He never understood how she could be so brash and graceful at the same time.
Her words and actions irritated him strongly, but for different reasons than everyone else's had. Why did she always have to put things like that?
So blunt, and out there, and bossy. Like she owned the whole damned world. Not that she was very wrong in that last aspect. With the way she spoke and the manner in which her hips moved, most men fell to their knees for her.
For the entire week the troublesome blonde woman was staying in Konoha, Shikamaru was unable to smoke in peace. Temari always caught him and never failed to destroy his cigarettes.
It was finally Thursday, though, and the infernal woman would be gone and straight back to Suna.
He lit a cigarette in triumph, but just when he was about to lift it to his mouth, he watched as creamy, slender, dexterous fingers snatched it from his hand. He looked somberly as Temari destroyed what was probably his 27th cigarette that week. She extended her hand expectantly. "Give me the pack and the lighter."
"Shikamaru, I'm not playing. Give them to me."
He sighed and handed over his newly bought items. He'd just purchased them five minutes ago. "I thought you were leaving today." He grumbled.
She fingered his lighter in her hand. "I am." He found it odd that she'd yet to destroy his cigarette packet and lighter. "I thought I'd give you the courtesy of walking me to the gate."
He stuffed his hands in his pockets. "How do you know I'm not busy?"
"Because I know the Hokage has been refusing to give you missions until you quit smoking." She pushed him playfully, a smile on her lips. "Now walk me to the gate, baka."
"So troublesome." He grumbled, but did comply. He tended to comply with most of her demands. Temari strolled happily next to him.
"Why do you still smoke, by the way?" She asked quietly.
Shikamaru gave her a speculative glance.
"I mean, I would've quit already if I was being cut off on missions because of the habit and if every woman I knew was pestering me about it." She shrugged. "I'm just curious."
"They aren't going to manipulate me into doing what they want me to do."
She bit her lip. "Do you think I'm manipulating you? Because that's not what I—"
He scoffed, "No." It was curious that she seemed so bothered by what he thought about her. "You're just plain troublesome. I've wasted more money on cigarettes and lighters this week than I would ever have in five months."
"You would waste money on them period." She noted, her stride even but languid. She didn't seem to be in too much of a hurry today.
He yawned. "Well, here we are."
She smirked. "Bet you're glad to be rid of me. You can finally smoke to your heart's content."
He didn't respond. This was for two reasons. He didn't know what to say because it was partly true and he didn't want to say anything because he loved to see her smirk.
Stupid yes, but true.
The blonde inclined her head at his silence and her smirk twisted into a sad, little smile. She extended her clenched hand to him. Opening her hand, her thin slender fingers extending, he saw she was, surprisingly enough, giving him back his cigarette pack and lighter.
She hadn't annihilated them.
Shikamaru took his property back. His fingers brushed against her palm sending an odd jolt through him. He blushed a bit at the contact. Either Temari didn't notice or she chose not to say anything about it.
"I still don't like you smoking." Temari said to him matter-of-factly, "But it's your choice." She turned and started walking through the gate.
"Take care." He mumbled after her retreating form very astonished.
"I really wish you would quit, Shikamaru-kun!" She called to him, not even bothering to look at him.
Shikamaru blushed furiously at her use of the suffix. Nobody called him 'kun'. Nobody. Hearing her say it was…was…
It was something.
He didn't know what it WAS, but he knew it wasn't bad. He stared at her until after she faded from his line of vision, noting carefully that the sway of her hips was still perfectly prevalent.
Oh, Kami what was he thinking?
He had to be certifiably insane.
With a sigh Shikamaru walked off deciding he needed a grassy hill and some cloud-watching to distract him.
Shikamaru flopped onto a soft mound and examined his cigarette pack and small purple lighter.
He didn't really know why he'd bought a purple lighter that morning. He usually spent his money on a chrome lighter, but that morning he'd picked out the purple one, because it distinctly reminded him of Temari.
He sighed and rolled the lighter around in his fingers.
The sunlight glinted off the purple sheen and shimmered all around.
With steady fingers he took out a cigarette from the packet and lit it with the bothersome purple lighter. He brought it to his mouth, but paused before it touched his lips. He wanted to succumb to it – to enjoy his cigarette for the first time in a whole week. He wanted to, but…
He sighed irritably and put it out.
Damn it all to hell.
Women. Were. Annoying.
Temari was more than annoying. She was frustrating. She was irritating. She was troublesome. She was unsettling. She was – damn it, she was just the most difficult creature he'd ever met!
And worst of all – he liked her.
Kami, he was cursed.
He stood up and headed to the Hokage's office. Upon entering Tsunade's office he dropped the cigarette packet into the wastebasket.
There went money he'd never get back.
"Oh, good, Shikamaru. I have a mission for you."
He raised an eyebrow. "You do?" He hadn't even told her he was quitting yet, and she had a mission for him? What, could the woman read minds? "I thought you were—?"
Tsunade laced her fingers together and rested her chin upon them. "Yes, but, Temari-san has…persuaded me to overlook your…habit."
He blinked. "Temari doesn't like me smoking." This wasn't making any sense. Had he hit his head upon coming into the office or something?
Tsunade leant back in her chair with a smile. "Oh, she hates it."
Shikamaru looked at the Hokage blankly. Okay, something was up.
"I don't quite understand it either. She did ask me to give you this that'll probably clarify it." Tsunade extended a folded sheet of paper toward him.
He unfolded it. The note was only two sentences long.
I hate the habit, but it is your choice. No one should try to coerce you so perversely.
Her name was scribbled in the prettiest and most flourished writing he'd ever seen.
He folded the note again and pocketed it.
"So, for your mission…"
When Temari hand arrived back in the village of the sand, she reported dutifully to the Kazekage.
"Done." She said simply.
Gaara looked up briefly from his paperwork. "Hunh? Oh, good. There's no new missions for you yet."
Temari turned to leave.
"I suppose it went fine?"
She turned back, a bit confused.
"Personally, I mean."
Her brow furrowed. "Why would you ask that?"
Gaara cleared his throat a bit embarrassed. "Kankurou opened it mind you. He read it out loud…I just happened to overhear…"
"Gaara," Temari said slowly, "What are you talking about? Opened and read what?"
"Is he your boyfriend, Temari?"
The name Shikamaru abruptly jumped at her. She blushed despite her inclinations. They weren't romantically involved, but she had been thinking quite a bit about him and that lately. "Who-Who are you talking about?"
Gaara held out a piece of paper.
Temari took it gingerly and unfurled it.
I quit, okay! Troublesome woman. You make everything so damn troublesome. I mean just look, I'm writing you a stupid letter. You owe me money for destroying my stuff. I'll ignore it if you go to the Konoha festival with me two weeks from now, you troublesome woman.
His writing was so slanty and girly. She giggled a bit.
Gaara peered at her curiously.
She cleared her throat. "Ano, Gaara, can I have—"
He sighed. "You can go to Konoha. Just remind me not to give you missions around that time."
"You didn't answer me." Gaara murmured, returning to his paperwork. "Is he your boyfriend?"
She shrugged. "I don't know. Maybe." She paused. "He will be if I have anything to do about it."
A/N: I wrote this one a looong time ago. I finally decided tot ype it up. Like…around the same time I wrote "Akin to Love" (Whenever that was) so if it's not so well written…you know why…
I have a few old-ish stories I've been meaning to type up….
Ah well, tell me what you think.