Disclaimer: For one final time, I only own Ai, Ryota, and his father.
Dedication: This one is, once again, for I.Heart.Hatake.Kakashi! Thanks for asking me to write this, I really had a lot of fun! I really hope I made it justice for you!
A/N: Hi everyone!
As usual, when I finish writing a story, the A/N will be at the top. If anyone is curious as to why, it's simply because I want the story to end… by the story. Not by my rambling.
Thank you so much to everyone who's followed trough with this. I really struggled, but you all pushed me through! In case no one noticed, this was actually a spinoff of one of my drabbles, go check out my ShikaTema chapter in my Music Shuffle Meme! This is all thanks to the dear lady who has this chapter dedicated to her. Thank you, again.
(1) Fist time ever I used an end (or rather top, in this case) note… That's all thanks to you, E! XD You influenced me! Anyways, the idea from this came from I.Heart.Hatake.Kakashi's Wind and Dragon, chapter fourteen. XP I strongly suggest you read it, it's an amazing fic!
Lastly, I will now take a much-deserved break for a few days. I plan on taking up my non-fanfiction work, Twin Arrows, on my fictionpress for a while. But don't worry; I will soon come up with something new! Now enough of my rambling, I hope you all will enjoy the last chapter!
Chapter nine: Leave
People were dancing, yet Shikamaru couldn't see them.
Music was blaring, yet he couldn't hear anything.
He slid through the crowd unnoticed, heading straight for Ryota. His fingers tightened on the kunai, before uncurling themselves completely and pulling his weaponless hand from his pocket. He'd save his weapons for a last resort. He wasn't there for killing.
He noticed that Ryota was talking to Ai. He was actually smiling, slightly lustfully, as she flirted with him passionately. Shameless, the pair of them. Both as disgusting as the other through the Leaf shinobi's eyes.
He vaguely saw Temari jogging towards him. He only stopped when she grabbed his arm and whispered angrily, "Don't you dare, Nara Shikamaru. There are way too many people around here; they'll all murder you if you try anything on him. Gaara will exile you from Suna forever."
Shikamaru shook her off, his eyes falling on the delicate skin of her neck. Even in the semi-darkness, he could see the healing bruises, which made his fury grow considerably. He turned his back to Temari and resumed his walk towards Ai and Ryota.
He stopped about three meters from the chattering pair, noticing out of his peripheral vision Ryota's father staring at him. Ryota himself then proceeded to glare his way, before Ai burst into a screaming fit at him.
"Shikamaru, how dare you leave with Temari earlier? Everyone noticed that little escapade! Like, in less than an hour, she will be engaged, for Kami's sake! Poor Ryota-sama is heartbroken at that—"
The remaining of her sentence was lost in a terrified scream. Shikamaru had lunged forward with all the speed worthy of a true shinobi and had implanted his fist squarely in Ryota's nose. The taller man, not even close to expecting the blow, stumbled backwards and brought a hand up to his nose, which soon began to spurt blood.
Shikamaru's aura was dark and he shot glares to anyone who dared to approach. His eyes barely skimmed over Gaara as the Kazekage began to walk towards them. Yet the redhead couldn't go much farther as his sister grabbed him by the arm, shaking her head lightly. She began to urgently whisper something in his ear, waving a hand rapidly. He halted his stride and continued to visually shoot daggers at Shikamaru's back, all while listening to his sister.
"You troublesome bastard," Shikamaru growled at Ryota as the man brought a tissue to his face. The crowd had now gone silent, many staring at them. Temari's future father-in-law stepped forward hurriedly, obviously ready to murder Shikamaru for hitting his son.
Shikamaru now leaned forward so that he could whisper in Ryota's ear without being overheard. "You hit her one more time," he whispered angrily, "and it won't be a punch you'll get in the face."
Ryota only smirked, his lips gleaming with fresh blood. "I can do whatever I want with her, Nara. She's mine as of tonight."
Shikamaru lunged again. This time, Ryota attempted to duck, which resulted in both boys sprawling to the ground. More violent punches were thrown on both sides as women screamed and men shouted at Shikamaru to back off. But it only boosted Shikamaru's bad mood. How dare they cheer for a man that would, months from now, beat his wife every night?
Now so furious that hate was almost blinding him, Shikamaru pulled out his kunai from his pocket as he struggled to his feet. The clean metal reflected off lighting, which made Ryota back away from him. The shadow user then raised his eyes to see his opponent's father rushing forward with weapons of his own. He didn't have any time left. He planted the kunai down rapidly, straight towards Ryota's chest.
The weapon imbedded itself in a wall of sand.
The entire crowd fell silent as the sand turned from soft to hard as rock, trapping Shikamaru's weapon. The Leaf shinobi gave it one sharp tug, yet it remained stuck fiercely in. It was only then that his brain seemingly reconnected with him, as he realized who the sand belonged to. He lowered his head slowly, the rush of adrenaline leaving his body instantly as he realized the stupidity of his own actions.
He had just tried to murder the Kazekage's future brother-in-law.
It was so silent that Shikamaru could hear the flames flicker as Gaara slowly stepped forward. His sand disintegrated and slid lazily back into his gourd as he walked, his dark robes swishing slowly around his legs. Shikamaru's weapon fell to the ground uselessly, yet its owner did not try to retrieve it.
People were moving away from the scene, not wanting to be in what would be one of the biggest scandals in Suna. Tension was rising considerably as the Kazekage stopped besides both Ryota, who was now kneeling down, and Shikamaru, who was studying his shoes intently. The redhead took a few minutes to watch both men. The pair would definitely have bruises tomorrow; they were both obviously good fighters.
Then Ryota's father made himself heard as he stopped besides Gaara and began to yell. "Kazekage-sama, I strongly advise you to murder that traitor in cold blood! He should be executed on the spot for ruining my son's engagement ceremony!"
Gaara remained as collected as usual. Instead of getting angry, he shot a dirty glare at Ryota's father. "There will be no more engagement."
The older man's face fell. His question shot out in an angry snap. "What?"
The redhead shot a lethal glare at Ryota as he spoke. "I will never allow that man close to my sister ever again. Ryota, I order for you to leave Suna right away. If I ever see you again, or if you ever attempt contacting my sister, consider yourself dead. Am I clear?"
For once looking humbled, a white-faced Ryota nodded slowly and stood up. His nose had finally stopped bleeding, yet dry blood was marring the lower side of his face and his shirt. He understood what he had done; there was no need to make things clear. Refusing to look at his father, he turned his back and hurried away from the clearing.
Meanwhile, the people remaining were starting to whisper. Many looked curious, while others just looked worried. Ryota's father stood, looking appalled, before growling something about how he'd get Gaara back for that, before leaving the vicinity.
Gaara didn't blink at the probable empty threat, before announcing clearly, "The ceremony is cancelled. Everyone go home. Now."
The emphasis on the last word definitely worked its magic. In under a minute, everyone had departed, leaving Shikamaru and Gaara alone. The former smartly chose to remain quiet, as the redhead stood in front of him, staring intently at the Leaf shinobi's face.
Finally, after a long examination, Gaara spoke. "I ought to kill you."
'Accept your consequences,' said Shikamaru's subconscious, reminding him of his decision to avoid further planning. He once again chose to stay mute, hoping that the Kazekage wouldn't go through with his threat.
"I ought to kill you," he repeated, "but I won't. Not today, anyways."
'Did he just… joke?' Shikamaru raised his eyes to meet Gaara's icy turquoise ones.
The latter continued. "I want to thank you, Shikamaru. I now have a reason to stop the wedding. I have known for a while that Ryota was a treacherous man, yet I couldn't break their union without ruining my reputation. Temari's reputation as well. You gave us both the easy way out."
"Are you serious?" Shikamaru made a face. Sensing he would still be alive by the end of the day, he decided to push it some more. "You really would've married Temari to that jerk?"
Gaara's face remained collected. "Yes."
Shikamaru darkened once again, yet didn't say a word. There was no need to butcher his case even more than it currently was.
Gaara then crossed his arms. "Unfortunately, I have to ask you to also leave Suna, Shikamaru. You did try to harm the son of one of my best advisor. Though I will be forgiving and allow you to go pick up your things at the hotel"
"I understand," Shikamaru nodded coldly. "I will leave right away."
Gaara watched as the Leaf shinobi left his backyard. As soon as he was out of sight, the powerful Kazekage turned his back, and smiled.
The trip through the desert had been easier this time around. It only took him an hour to get out, as opposed to six just to enter. He soon found the comforting patch of wood that he had grown accustomed to walking in, since the Sand Village's desert was close enough to a tree-lined path that most shinobi used to travel.
Not quite the best option when you were supposed to be on a top-secret mission, yet Shikamaru doubted anyone would ambush him. Unless the thieves wanted dirty clothing, there would be no reason to. The fact that he was walking out in plain sight would tell even the stupidest of Genin that he either didn't have anything to hide, or that he had amazing backup behind him.
Yet even if there would've been the entire Akatsuki in front of him, he probably wouldn't have realized they were there. His mind was numb with shock at what he had done. The sheer irresponsibility at having made a decision without thinking of the outcome was still strange to him. He might have done some amazing shots during the game, yet it had been a tie. Neither had won.
'Had I thought this through, I probably would've gotten what I really wanted in the first place,' he thought to himself as he walked, his suitcase gently swinging from his hand. 'That's it, I guess… All this for absolutely nothing. I lost probably every single chance of seeing Temari ever again.'Raising his eyes to the moon, he narrowed his eyes and shook his head. "You were a real fool, Shikamaru," he told himself out loud, the knot in his stomach growing painfully. "A total fool."
Then, a cool, clear voice to his left stopped him in his tracks. "More like a troublesome fool, right Shikamaru?"
He whirled around to see Temari, changed in her usual tight-but-casual wear, sitting playfully on the lowest branch of a tree. Her fan remained propped against the trunk just besides him.
Shikamaru gently lowered his suitcase to the ground. "How did you get here so fast, woman?"
She smirked confidently as she began to swing her legs. "I travel these deserts every day, crybaby. I know every secret passageway there is to be known. I've been here for a long time now."
"Don't rub it in," he groaned, shaking his head. "Come down here so I can talk to you properly. "
"Tch, troublesome," she mimicked with a grin. "You come on up if you want to talk."
He sighed, but obeyed her nonetheless. A picture of his dad obeying his mother appeared in his mind, but he brushed it off. Imagination. It could definitely do funny things to a person.
The pair remained in silence for a while. Animals and birds living in the forest would flicker around occasionally, the braver lot of them stopping just at their feet or above their heads. The thick shelter of leaves above their heads tainted their surroundings with darkness, leaving only the path in front of them illuminated.
"Gaara knew about Ryota," Temari suddenly whispered. "He knew that he was hitting me." She raised a hand before Shikamaru could put in a word and kept talking. "I know that he probably took all the blame on himself and said that he was doing it for his own reputation, but I'm the one who really insisted upon staying with Ryota. He only stopped you from killing him because he didn't want you charged with murder, Shikamaru. Otherwise, he probably would've allowed you to go through with it. My little brother actually is quite fond of you, though he has problems showing it."
Now sensing that she would remain quiet, he commented, "Right, troublesome woman. He only banned me from Suna, I'm sure he values me—"
"Did he?" Temari smirked. "Or did he just ask you to leave? Unlike to Ryota, he never mentioned you couldn't come back."
After thinking about it for a few seconds, he had to digress. Gaara did only chase him momentarily from Suna. "Why did you follow me, anyways, troublesome woman? You know I have to go back home."
"And why can't I accompany you?" she questioned teasingly, scooting over flirtatiously to his side. She looped her arm around his, smirking at the small wince that flickered over his face. "I'm sure your parents would love it if I'd show up arm-in-arm with you, especially since the news of my engagement have surely reached Konoha. I can already smell the gossip from that town when we'll show up."
Shikamaru cringed slightly. Rumors usually didn't affect him, yet they were troublesome enough. People would, most of the time when he was concerned in them, stop by to verify the sources. It was quite troublesome when he had to repeat the exact same thing dozens of time to people who knew would still spread the rumor nonetheless.
But now people would probably bother more than just his cloud-watching. They'd bother the precious time he'd have with Temari.
Temari then shook her head as she rolled her aquamarine eyes. "Relax, crybaby. Remember those documents you were supposed to bring back?" He nodded. "Well since Gaara kicked you out of the country, he needed someone to carry them over to the Leaf Village. Plus I told him I'd rather be out of the village for a few days, it gave me a perfect excuse."
Shikamaru found himself to be smirking as she was speaking. "Troublesome woman, you're almost as smart as me."
He awaited a nasty comeback, yet it didn't come. Instead, she only leaned over and tilted his head so she could kiss him. He gladly returned the mark of affection, before Temari pulled away with yet another smirk.
"You know, my lazy ass, you do talk quite a lot these last few days. I think it would do the entire population a favor if you would shut up," she whispered with a raise of her left brow and a smile on her lips.
Shikamaru only smiled. "How will you stop me?"
"Oh, I'll find ways to make you be quiet," she replied seductively, as she leaned forward to give him another kiss.