Upside of Sickness


Shikamaru handed his papers to the stoic redhead with a large yawn. He wasn't really tired per say, frankly, he managed to get more sleep here than he did in his own village; it was just…habitual for him to feel …lazy. Hard to break a habit even if there was no reason for it.

Gaara briefly shuffled through the papers looking them over. "Good." He opened a drawer in his desk and slid them inside. "You're rather efficient, you know."

Shikamaru blinked. "I am?"

Gaara looked up at him, a barest of a smile on his lips. "You don't think you are?"

"Everyone's always telling me I do things horribly and on horrible time…" Shikamaru mumbled.

Gaara looked distinctly amused. "Habitual comments."

Shikamaru looked skeptical.

"Will you tell me the date these papers had to be turned in by?"

"…Friday."

"What's today?"

"Wednesday."

"My point exactly."

Shikamaru rolled his eyes, "Well, that's not a fair assessment; you asked me when I thought I would have them finished."

"Well, unlike your Hokage, I don't make judgments on how quickly a shinobi can or can't do something. Mostly, I get that liberty because I don't put things off until last minute." He smirked. "I trust the judgments of my workers."

Shikamaru smiled. "I think you have to be the only Kage that actually does their paperwork."

He shrugged. "Mostly Temari's doing. She's ingrained the habit in me."

His lips quirked up into a smile at the mention of Temari's name. "Where is she anyway?" By now, she was usually pestering him about one thing or another – not that he minded.

Gaara paused and Shikamaru could swear he saw a smile, but then he blinked and Gaara was frowning and worry creased his brow. "Actually…you don't have any pressing matters to attend, do you?"

Shikamaru shook his head. "I'm free."

"Would you mind stopping by Temari's house? She hasn't shown up for work and I'm a bit concerned about her. She's usually rather punctual."

That was odd. She was never late. Particularly this late….

"She might very well just be ill. There's a virus that has been going around recently…"

Shikamaru nodded. "Yeah, I'll…uh…check up on her."

Gaara nodded. "Yes, thank you. I'd do it myself but I've got matters to attend to and I can't send Kankurou, he's occupied." He rolled his eyes, "Besides, I can't think of anyone else Temari would be okay with just ambling into her house. Not that she'd be okay with it if Kankurou or I barged in, she just wouldn't kill us."

"Is that supposed to comfort me?" Shikamaru asked dryly.

He slid a silver key across the desk. "More like warn you."

"Such a jarring sentiment." Shikamaru took the key and with one last yawn, sauntered out the office. "Later then."

He arrived at her house much quicker than he'd thought was possible. Hesitating just a bit before the door, he fished out the key Gaara had given to him and opened the front door.

He hoped she was sick, that way she wouldn't be able to kill him right then and there. A postponed death seemed favorable. He pushed open the door and walked in tentatively. "Temari?"

No answer.

"Temari?" He wandered into the kitchen, the bathroom, the living room. Nothing. Gathering the little courage he possessed, he meandered up the stairs to her bedroom.

That particular room he'd never seen the inside of.

Never thought he would either.

"Temari?"

The room was dark and incredibly messy in comparison to the rest of her house. Clothes were strewn across the floor and objects tossed about. There was a large white lump of sheets in the corner of the room bunched on top of what he assumed was a bed. A bronze face poked its head out of the sheets. Green eyes met his. "Be gone." Her blonde hair was lying free of her usual ponytail-quad, framing her face messily. Her face was flushed red, the tip of her nose and ears even redder, her eyes were droopy, and her expression exhausted.

"You look like shit." He wished he could say that was true. To be honest, he thought she looked as beautiful as she always did.

"Shaddap." She rubbed her eyes and burrowed further into the sheets. "I'm c-cold."

"You're sick."

"Nope." Although, coming from her mouth it sounded more like wowphn. She pulled the sheets closer around her body and buried her face in a pillow.

"Yes you are."

"Liar."

Shikamaru rolled his eyes. He could still see the blonde tufts of her hair stick out from under the white sheets crammed over her head.

"I'm fine." The crumpled blonde lump on the bed mumbled into her bed sheets. "Go away."

Shikamaru leaned against the doorway trying to decide if the command of an obviously delirious and obviously ill woman was a legitimate order to heed. Gaara had only told him to see if she was okay – obviously she was fine (sort of) – he would just tell Gaara she was sick and then the redhead or the puppeteer would come aide the blonde, or if the case served send someone to care for her. None of this was really his issue. In fact, it was not only logical but reasonable for him to do as the blonde ordered: to 'go away'.

The problem with this obviously logical choice was that he was not going to take it. For some bizarre reason, Suna temperate always had him doing odd (and obviously dangerous) things. "You have a very skewed definition of 'fine', Temari."

"Fmekwoo. Mmf mine." He rolled his eyes at the crumpled figure as he discerned her garbled language 'Fuck you. I'm fine.' He was more than just a little bit disturbed that he understood her well enough to figure out exactly what she was trying to say.

"You have too foul of a mouth for a woman." He grumbled as he wondered what it was exactly that one did with a sick woman. His knowledge of sick people was limited to that of his own experiences and all his mother ever did when he was sick was chase him out of bed with a frying pan. Frankly, not only did he think that wouldn't work with Temari, but he was sure if he tried Temari would kill him – sick or not.

"Shut up, Nara." Again, her words were mushed together horribly almost indiscernible, but he understood it. The blonde sneezed violently then, the lump on the bed jumping up with the force of the sneeze. It was so strong a movement that the white sheets that had been wrapped tightly around her slid down her body.

Shikamaru blushed horribly as his eyes were graced with a rather large portion of Temari's tummy, the thin cotton strip of her underwear, her lacy bra, and the top of her thighs. He closed his eyes abruptly and tried to control the rather mischievous images flitting through his mind. What was the stupid woman doing wearing only her stupid panties and a fucking bra?

Okay, no, her wearing that made sense. This was her house. She was allowed to wear and do whatever she wanted.

Dammit. He should've left when she told him to.

Another sneeze and a groan made him open his eyes. The pretty creature was clutching the white bed sheet to her chest with one hand, the other hand cradling her head. She really was feeling terribly. Shikamaru walked over to the woman and sat down beside her. With one hand he pushed away the sweaty blonde clumps sticking to her flushed face. She groaned and attempted to swat his hand away with little energy and success. "Go away, Shik-shik-shika—achoo!" The blonde flopped onto the bed in exhaustion, the white sheet across her chest slipping down a bit.

Shikamaru swallowed and tried to focus. Not a very good time to let his lust get the best of him now was it? Fuck, he had plenty opportunities before and he always held his desires in check – this should be no different. "What hurts?"

"Go away." She turned on her side and tried to bury her head in the pillows.

"Don't make this troublesome, woman; what hurts?"

She groaned, her body burrowing further into the bed. "M'head. M'chest. My…throat…M'everything."

He sighed, not getting much from her explanation.

The woman then started squirming, kicking the sheets away from her body. Shikamaru blushed furiously and pulled the sheets back on to cover her practically naked body. "What do you think you're doing!"

"I'm hot." She complained.

The wicked rarely listened to voices in his heads agreed with her entirely. She was very hot. "Weren't you just complaining that you were cold?"

"Well now," she mumbled, once more trying to kick the sheets away from her body, "I'm hot." Shikamaru once more tried to cover her up.

It had to be the flu, Shikamaru concluded. "Have you taken any medicine?"

"Some." She pointed at a bottle on the nightstand.

He looked at the label, more specifically the side-effects. Delusions. Loss of inhibitions. Figures the stubborn woman would take medicine very strongly connected to opiates.

Temari grumbled, glaring angrily at the sheets. "Why won't you let me take the sheets off?" She sounded like a little kid arguing with her parent.

"Because you're half naked." Shikamaru was trying to remember that tea his mother was famous for. According to the members of his family, it could fix just about any illness.

The blonde pulled the sheet over her head and turned on her back. "I hate you. Go away."

His mother had drilled the stupid recipe in his head once when he was young, but he'd never tired to make it before and wasn't sure if he recalled the recipe correctly. He stood up from the bed. "Keep the sheets on or put on some clothes. I'll be in the kitchen."

"Fuck you." She grumbled again. "This is my house."

"But you're sick and weak. You may be tougher than me on a good day, but not today."

She slung a slew of curses that made no sense and buried further into the sheets.

Shikamaru rolled his eyes at the creature and ambled over to the kitchen. He rather liked her house. It wasn't very neat, but it wasn't the least bit messy. It, unlike his mother's house, looked lived in. She had things placed in the oddest areas that to an outsider would just look obtrusive and disordered, but were connected perfectly in the nicest way. Plus, she had the best shogi board he'd ever seen.

Ignoring his usual distractions (including her ever-growing collection of miniature porcelain fans), he methodically walked into her small kitchen and started rummaging through her cupboards for the necessary ingredients.

The tea was ready in about ten minutes, and he hadn't made as big as a mess as he'd originally anticipated. Turning the stove off, he poured some tea in one of her plain white mugs and carried it back to her room.

The white mug slipped from his fingers and hit the wooden floor at the sight of the blonde woman. She was stretched on top of the tangled white sheets, her thin fingers playing at the lace of her silk purple bra. She sat up at the noise of the shattered mug and rubbed at her red eyes. "You broke it."

"Wh-wha-I-what are you doing!"

"Nothing."

He closed his eyes again and tried to calm down. She's delusional, she's delusional, she's fucking delusional…

"I put on clothes; I don't see what the big deal is." Her voice was muffled and scratchy.

"Clothes?"

She pointed at the sweatpants that rested low on her hips. "Clothes."

He groaned. "You're still half-naked. Put on a shirt will you?" He grumbled picking up the white shards. He could hear the troublesome woman open a drawer.

"I don't have any."

Shikamaru looked up at her in confusion only to draw his eyes immediately back down to the floor. Stupid woman, not wearing a shirt. "How can you not have a shirt?"

She sneezed loudly. "I think they're dirty."

He spat every curse word he'd ever known as he unzipped his Chuunin jacket and tossed it to her, trying all the way not to look at the blonde woman. "Put that on."

He heard the zipper and dubbed it safe to look up again. He was wrong. Though she was dressed (sort of) now, it didn't do anything to shut the stupid voices in his head. Her sweatpants still hung too low, her hair still framed her flushed face so very nicely, and the Chuunin vest of his fit her a bit too big. The top of the vest hung so low that it showed a good view of cleavage, and he could through the arm holes of the jacket he could see the purple of her silk bra. Ugh. This was not doing his hormones any good. "I'll be back with your tea, woman."

"Don't drop it this time." She sniffled.

Ugh. Even when she was sick she still acted haughty.

The woman padded over to the bed as he walked out of the room. He dropped the white shards in the trash. He pulled out another plain white mug and poured some tea into it once more.

Upon walking into her room, he found she was seated on her bed, crumpled into a ball again, the white sheets wrapped around her fragile body. She was shaking violently and sneezing loudly.

"Temari?"

"C-c-c-cold…"

He rolled his eyes and sat on the bed again. "Temari?" He pulled the white sheets off her.

"Dammit, Nara!" She complained her hands searching down to find the white sheet. "I'm c-cold."

He pushed the steaming mug into her hands. "Drink, Tem."

"I'm—"

"Just drink it. Don't be difficult."

She sneezed loudly and sat up groggily. "Fine." She sipped at the cup. "I hate you." She shivered as she said that.

Shikamaru sat at the edge of the bed and watched her down the contents of the entire mug. She handed it to him.

"There, happy?"

"Not really."

She grumbled and buried herself into the sheets. He was about to get up from the bed when her fingers closed around the neck of his shirt and dragged him down onto the bed. He fell onto the bed on his side, sending the springs in the bed squeaking. He could feel her thin fingers clawing at his shirt as if pulling him closer.

"What – what are you—?"

"I'm cold." She complained, pulling him close to her, so her head was buried in his chest, her body molding into his. "You're warm."

Shikamaru swallowed trying to control his urges again. "You-You're not c-cold. You're hot." She was; her skin burned as it touched his, but in a very nice way.

"No." She mumbled into the black cloth of his shirt. He could almost feel the warmth of her breath on his skin. "I'm cold. Now, shut up, and warm me up."

Shikamaru began to protest again, but stopped short as he realized this could very well be the only chance he'd ever get to be this close to her in his entire life. He sighed and wrapped his arms around her waist and rested his chin on the top of her head. He lay there calmly, feeling her body move as she breathed in and out. He'd been going about life all wrong, he realized as his eyelids grew heavy. This was better than watching clouds. This was what should be his lifetime dream.

She should be his dream.

His eyes slid shut and sleep overtook him.

Shikamaru felt the creature snuggle deeper into his chest and then pull back abruptly.

"'The hell!"

Shikamaru flicked open his eyes.

Temari was staring down at him, her eyes a bit bulgy and her hair splayed around her pretty face in disarray. Her face wasn't flushed, but it was pale and exhausted. "What are you d-doing in my bed?"

He sat up and yawned. Kami, her bed was comfortable.

Her face turned bright red as the bed sheet slid off him. "Why the hell aren't you wearing a shirt!" She looked at her chest. "Why the hell am I wearing your vest?" Her voice was panicked and squeaky. "Oh, please tell me we didn't do anything…anything sexual."

Shikamaru chortled at her panic.

She's flushed a more furious shade of red. "Put on a shirt and stop laughing! And tell me if we – if we…"

"I guess this means your feeling better? Although, with the blush you're sporting I'm not too sure."

"I…You…Put on a shirt!"

He shrugged. "I don't know where my shirt is."

"WHAT?" The blonde tugged furiously at the zipper of his jacket. "Stupid, doesn't know where his – idiot." She mumbled vehemently under her breath, "You can take your stupid dumb jacket-vest." She growled at him. "Moron." She mumbled. "Complete—" She stopped abruptly as she realized she wasn't wearing anything under his vest. "Why the hell am I only wearing your vest?"

"Because you were only wearing a bra and refused to put on a shirt so I gave you that."

"I…" She frowned. "WHAT ARE YOU DOING IN MY HOUSE!"

Shikamaru rubbed at his temple. "Yes, you're definitely feeling better."

"FEELING—?" She paused. "Oh, yeah. I was sick." The blonde looked down at herself in confusion. "'The hell? I shouldn't feel better already. That medicine was crap."

"Of course it was." Shikamaru yawned. "You took opiates."

"I – what?" She stared at him in confusion. "I looked up your 'medicine'. Someone swapped its contents with opiates."

She gritted her teeth. "I'm going to kill Kankurou!" She scowled at him. She shoved him. "Oy! Get out of my house, Nara!"

"You weren't so eager to get rid of me awhile ago. You begged me to crawl into bed with you."

She blushed horribly. "I – it…I was delusional!"

Shikamaru leaned close to her, his lips hovering above hers. "Face it, Temari, you want me."

She pushed him back onto the bed. "In. Your. Dreams. Shikamaru."

"Apparently, yours as well."

Her lips twisted into a scowl. "I think you're delusional, honey."

"Mm, you're giving me terms of endearment now?" He teased.

She sat on top of him, apparently forgetting the position they were in, and leaned down toward him. "Yes, dear." She snorted. "Who would want a skinny, lazy, long-haired, effeminate boy like you?"

"A temperamental, bossy, curvy, violent witch like you."

"Does saying such things make you feel better?"

He smirked. "Oh, please. You couldn't stop blushing when you realized I had no shirt. I bet you loved waking up in my arms."

Her cheeks tinged pink. "You—"

"WHAT IS GOING ON!"

Temari and Shikamaru turned to look at the doorway. An irate Kankurou was gripping the doorknob, and behind him an amused Gaara was leaning against the wall.

"Did you put opiates in my—" Temari tried to begin but was cut off by another of Kankurou's growls.

"Why are you sitting on that half-naked scrawny idiot!" He yelled. "And why the hell are you wearing his jacket? And why—?"

"Kankurou, shut up!" Temari complained rolling off of Shikamaru. "Ugh." She massaged her temple. "You're giving me a headache again."

"YOU!" Kankurou exclaimed pointing at him.

Shikamaru grimaced and sat up; this was not going to blow over well. "Yea?"

"Did you come over here and take advantage of my sister!"

"I—" Shikamaru tried to explain.

"You did, didn't you!" Kankurou continued. "You—"

"She was sick!" Shikamaru defended. "I was just caring for her!"

"You took advantage of her when she was ill! I oughta wrap your little neck around—"

"I didn't have sex with her!"

"You little liar! Disgusting pervert!"

"I wouldn't have sex with her—"

Temari cut in angrily. "Excuse me?"

Shikamaru grimaced. Great, what did he say now?

"You wouldn't have sex with me?" Her lips were pursed. "What am I ugly!"

"No!" He protested immediately. "You're gorgeous. I would—"

"DID YOU JUST CALL MY SISTER GORGEOUS!"

"I—no! It's—"

Temari scowled. "NO? So you do think I'm ugly!"

"I…Oh for goodness sakes'." He grimaced and dropped back onto her bed. "I give up."

Kankurou growled. "YOU ARE NOT—" The puppeteer's protests died as laughter filled the room.

Shikamaru's eyes slid over to the source. Gaara was doubled over in laughter. "I knew this would be funny."

Shikamaru's eyebrows drew together. "Say what?"

Kankurou scowled. "Funny?"

Temari pouted. "This is annoying, not funny."

Gaara straightened, the smile still pressed on his lips. "Sending you over to check on a sick Temari. I knew Kankurou's prank would have her acting loopy, and thought the result would be worthwhile."

Shikamaru's eye began to twitch.

Kankurou looked aghast. "You sent this pervert to our delusional sister's house?"

Temari pressed her lips together. "Why wasn't I born an only child?"

Gaara smirked. "I just knew you had a thing for my sister, Nara."

"I…" 'Do not' would be a lie. 'Do too' would cause lots of problems. "Troublesome."

Temari scowled. "EVERYONE OUT OF MY HOUSE!" The blonde stood up furiously and pushed her brothers out of her room. "Out! Out! Out! Go, you have Kazekage things to do, and you have a job to attend to! Out!"

Shikamaru swung off the bed; sure she would chase him out next. He meandered about her room looking for his shirt as she pushed her brothers out of her house. He'd only taken it off because the troublesome woman kept clawing it off him, and pooled under his arms was a rather uncomfortable place to have it. If only he could recall where he'd tossed it….

"What do you think you're doing?"

He turned. "I'm going, I'm going, troublesome woman; I'm just looking for my shirt."

"Going where exactly?"

He shrugged.

Miffed, the blonde's slender fingers wrapped around his wrist and pulled him onto her bed. "You aren't going anywhere."

He raised an eyebrow. "Oh? And why is that?"

She lay back on to the bed indifferently. "I'm still sick. I need someone to take care of me."

He looked at her lying figure in confusion. "You're—"

She pulled him down to where he was lying next to her. The blonde creature snuggled into his chest. "I'm tired and I need pillow."

"Nice to know I serve a purpose." He muttered dryly, though he was very much enjoying the feeling of her cuddling into his chest.

She pulled away from his chest and leaned up, her lips hovering above his. "Okay, Lazy; maybe, I might just, sort of, kind of, want you."

"Sort of?" He teased.

"Just a tiny bit." She smiled.

Their lips connected.

Oh yes, this was a very nice dream to have; ten times better than his old one.


A/N: I rather like this one.