Summary: He wonders if he likes Suna simply because that's where she is. Shikamaru muses on Suna, and it's people. ShikaTema one-shot.
Against all logical reasoning, Shikamaru rather likes Suna. Suna, like shougi, follows the rules. The days are warm. The nights are cold. Sand gets everywhere and you're expected to report to the Kazekage at ten sharp. It's not the most pleasant place he's ever stayed, but it's nice. It has structure and form and things rarely happen off-schedule. Shikamaru likes it, in the same way he likes predictability and keeping things in order, even if he's the only one who understands the method to their madness.
If he needs any spontaneity, Suna has plenty of that, too, at least in the house he's staying at. Temari, Kankuro, and Gaara aren't normal, not by any lengthy stretch of the word, and that's sort of nice, too. Its nice coming home and having something unexpected happen. Shikamaru is not so terribly fond of predictability that he can't appreciate the spontaneity the Sabuku no household brings.
He's not sure he would want to live here, but it is a nice place to visit. Suna is beautiful in it's own way, in the same way Temari is beautiful, which is not obviously. It takes being near both of them a while before you realize that, in spite of the sand and the heat and--did he mention the sand?--the sunsets here really are beautiful, and Temari has the most unique color of eyes he's ever seen. They aren't quite green, aren't quite blue, some days they're darker and other days they aren't.
He thinks he could spend the rest of his life debating exactly what color her eyes are.
He surprises himself when he realizes that that wouldn't be too terrible of an existence, spending everyday just gazing into Temari's eyes and musing over their color.
His face turns crimson at the thought. He's not sure if it's just the barely tolerable heat kicking in or if he's blushing. It is true, though, that part of the reason he took the ambassador job was because of Temari, because he enjoys spending time with her, because he knows her well-enough to call her a friend, and because he has a better understanding of politics than Uzumaki Naruto, Rock Lee, and Inzuka Kiba combined.
It was that extensive list that made him get off his lazy butt and trek through the desert to spend time with an undoubtedly troublesome woman, her not-as-crazy-as-he-use-to-be Kazekage brother, and her equally troublesome and mostly perverted puppeteer brother. He is still surprised that they manage to get along so well. Before this trip, he would have thought her brothers would have hated him, would have found his lazy demeanor annoying, but they don't. Now that he's stayed there for a few weeks, he realizes that he is like a breath of fresh air to them, a small piece of normality in their otherwise obscure and abnormal lives.
So against all logical reasoning, Shikamaru likes Suna. He likes being there—not enough to stay permanently, (for all their beautiful sunsets, they still don't have many clouds), but enough to visit often. He likes the people there, too. Gaara, while not as psychotic as before, is an excellent shougi player who simply sees and plays the game in an entirely different way than anyone else Shikamaru knows, and Shikamaru enjoys the challenge. Kankuro is nearly as lazy as Shikamaru himself, and when Temari isn't around, almost as sexist too, so they enjoy being lazy teenage boys together.
And Temari? Well, Temari is beautiful and, if she thinks he isn't looking, kind. She is light and wonderful and as free as the wind itself. She watches the clouds with him and laughs with him, and encourages him not to be so lazy in a way he doesn't exactly know how to explain. And some days, when she's not so angry at the world, she actually manages to smile at him, and her laughter is beautiful if not boastful.
She absolutely terrifies him because he's begun to miss her when she's not around. He finds himself worrying when she's on a mission alone. He feels his day isn't complete with a cheshire grin from her glowing face.
What scares him the most is that he knows that whatever it is he feels for Temari, he's never felt this way for anyone before in his life.
And that frightens him even more than her smile.
A/N: I wasn't for sure whether I wanted to end it there or keep going. In fact, I'm still not sure. I'm pretty happy with it where it's at, because it's a nice closing remark that relates back to canon (her 'scary but beautiful smile') and I like to keep things short and sweet when I write drabbles. Oh well.
For the good news, it seems like maybe my muse is returning. Of course, now that I've said that, it's going to die, crashing into a burning pile of writer's block, but we'll see. Maybe I can actually complete the 37 in-progress ShikaTema fics on my harddrive. Or maybe they'll continue to rot, like my ZukoKatara ones. We'll see.