A/N: Sorry for the late update on this. This chapter proved to be a little difficult to write--oddly, not the first half, but the second part. Characters may be a little OOC, Citrusy warning. By the way, again I'd like to thank my readers and reviewers on this! I love you guys!

Chapter 8: What's said is said.


Temari watched the sky lighten outside Shikamaru's window as the pre-dawn approached. She pulled the thick blanket tight about her body and snuggled further into the warmth at her back. The arm wrapped about her middle tightened in response and Shikamaru's nose nuzzled the curve of her neck.

Her eyes closed as she felt his lips graze her skin. Memories of the aftermath of their lovemaking echoed in her mind, playing for the hundredth time since she'd awakened.

"We're so fucked."

Shikamaru shifted slightly, and she reasoned it was because he wanted to look at her but was too lazy to move. "Don't you mean, 'we've'?"

"No," she rasped as her throat tightened. "It means that this is still my last visit."

He pushed himself to his knees and stared at her disbelief. "You've already put in your request."

"Yes." Her lower lip began trembling heavily. "I've already been assigned another mission."

Shikamaru stared at her, his brow drawn into a scowl. "Would you have come back to me otherwise?"

Temari worried nervously at her lower lip. "I don't honestly know."

His jaw clenched as he stared down at her for several silent breaths.

"Shikamaru…"

He pushed himself off the bed and retreated to the bathroom, slamming the door behind him, only to emerge a minute later. "Sabuka no Temari, you are the most irritating, infuriating, troublesome woman I've ever met," he hissed as he pointed a finger at her. "You're a selfish, bossy, cold-hearted bitch. There. That's the reason why I never made a move on you in six fucking years." He drew his hand into a fist. "I tell you that I need you, I beg you to come back, I make love to you, and it makes no difference to you!"

She sat up and reached for the blanket on his bed, drawing it tight against her as she stood. Her legs shook and her lip trembled and her eyes burned. She was on the verge of breaking down, of letting him see her cry. But he'd insulted her, and her anger at that gave her the little bit of strength to choke out, "You bastard! I just gave you my virginity! Something I deliberately saved for l-love. And y-you call me a c-cold hearted b-bitch!" She stumbled over the words, barely able to push them past the giant lump in her throat. "I h-hate you!"

He stared at her, his eyes wide. "Wait—what?"

The dam broke, and she couldn't hold back her tears any longer. She sobbed and tried to make for the door only to be captured in his shadow imitation technique. She fought it, straining against his hold, wanting to murder him and disappear at the same time. The blanket covering her body spilled down onto the floor.

"Do you love me?"

Temari felt a trickled of snot start at her nose. Damn him, she was helpless to stop it. "I h-hate you!"

Shikamaru snorted and moved closer, thus causing her to mimic his action. "You said you saved yourself for love. Do you love me?"

"J-just let me leave." She hated the weakness in her voice, in her tears.

"Just answer the question, and I'll release the jutsu," he bargained.

"Yes, I'm in love with you," she snapped. "Now, let me go."

He broke the jutsu.

Temari again tried for the door.

"Don't leave me," he pleaded hoarsely.

She paused, and looked over her shoulder at him. His eyes glistened and his lips faintly quivered. Yet he didn't cry.

"Don't go, Temari." He closed the distance between them slowly, carefully. "Stay." He reached up and traced his fingers over her wet cheek. "And if you can't come back, I'll find a way to come to you. But stay with me. Tonight."

Shikamaru had defeated her will with that final appeal. Each touch, each kiss, was a revelation of forgiveness, of intimacy. She'd been powerless to pull away as he'd lured into yet another round of lovemaking. Yet, for all his sweet words, he'd not said that he loved her—needed, wanted, but not loved.

But she suspected that he did.

Temari sighed and turned over to face Shikamaru, only mildly surprised to see him wide awake. "You can sleep awhile longer, lazy," she whispered.

"Tch," he said as he pulled her closer and let his eyes drift close. "Troublesome woman."

A few minutes later, Temari also fell back asleep.


"Shikamaru!"

Ino's voice pulled Shikamaru from his deep, contented sleep. He groaned and cracked open his eyes. Curled against his body, lay a very awake, very perturbed Temari—who just happen to be shooting him a death glare.

"Rise and shine, lover-boy," Ino called from outside his door.

"Lover-boy?" Temari's voice was soft, menacing.

"You know that it's only ever been you," he whispered.

"Come on, Shikamaru! I'm sure Temari-san's already awake by now." Ino thrust open the bedroom door and sauntered into the room. "If you want to…make…uh…" Her eyes grew round as saucers. "Temari? Holy crap!"

Temari revealed a long, bare arm as she pointed at the door. Her frown grew darker by the second. "Leave. Now."

Ino backed up, a pink stain finally coloring her cheeks. "Right. See you guys later," she mumbled before shutting the door behind her.

Temari threw back the covers, sprung out of bed and made for the bathroom. As the door slammed shut, Shikamaru groaned and kicked back the remaining blankets. The usual morning wood he awoke with was now a driving hunger. Of course, the room smelling like sex only made him more aroused. He turned his head to stare at the bathroom door.

Behind that boring, dull door, was the most exciting woman he'd ever had the pleasure of touching. "Temari," he breathed, savoring her name on his lips, remembering the second time they'd made love. She'd taken the lead, dominating him, forcing him to her rhythm. He recalled the sultry sheen that had covered her body and slickened her curves, the bounce and sway of her breasts, the halo of wild golden hair. And her eyes. Their sea-green depths had gazed down at him, hazed with pleasure and affection as they'd strived towards fulfillment.

Shikamaru scooted out of bed and walked over to the bathroom door. He knocked once, sharply.

Temari opened the door, her hair done in it's usual style, wearing only her wrappings and fishnets. Her voice was rife with irritation as she barked, "What?"

Shikamaru swallowed, his eyes raking over her body. The fishnet leggings were designed to cover the thighs and hips, but left the crotch area free of material. Dark gold curls shielded her charms.

He lifted his gaze to hers. "I want you."

Temari's eyes flicked over him, resting briefly between his legs. Instantly, her eyes softened, hazing over with that now-familiar look of lust as she met his gaze again. She licked her lips and backed against the sink . "Then come and get me," she said coyly.

Shikamaru smiled as he moved to do just that.


Hours later, he sat next to Temari, vaguely listening to the diplomatic proceedings. The ambassadors droned on about various policies regarding the registration of attendee's to the Chuunin exams, nearly lulling Shikamaru asleep.

Just as he opened his mouth to yawn, Temari's elbow jabbed him in the ribs.

"Pay attention," she hissed under her breath.

Shikamaru rubbed his ribs, his brow drawn into a frown. "This is pointless," he whispered.

"Shut up."

He glanced at her, noting her stony expression and rigid posture. In public, she didn't radiate near the warmth as she did when it was just the two of them—that fact hadn't changed in the past six years. And apparently, not even after the events of last night. Her façade was flawless.

Shikamaru dropped his hand between them, and used the eraser on his pencil to trace her outer thigh. Her attitude didn't put him off. He had long ago decoded her behavior; insults doubled as endearments, cool looks were actually silent challenges, fight equaled play. Truly, one only had to fear her smile—not the genuine one, but the self-satisfied, holier-than-thou grin that turned her lips just before she knocked you into the next life.

Oddly, she wasn't at all obnoxious. Even when she casually reached down and snapped his pencil in half.

Thirty minutes later, the meeting concluded. He followed Temari out the door, broken pencil clutched in his hand. The moment they cleared the Hokage building, Temari grabbed his ear and quickly ushered him to an alleyway.

"Ow, damn it, woman," Shikamaru complained as she released him. Automatically, he raised his hand to rub at his ear. "Are you trying to take my ear off?"

She ignored his complaint to demand, "What the hell was that in there?!"

He shrugged his shoulders. "Nothing more than what we usually do to one another during boring, monotonous meetings." He held up his busted pencil and waved it before her face. "Overreacted, I'd say."

She glared at him and crossed her arms, her lips flattening into a thin line.

Shikamaru rolled his eyes. "It's not like I copped a feel."

"No, you effectively distracted me from the topic at hand," she snapped. "What if someone had asked me a question? And don't roll your eyes at me!"

Shikamaru shoved the broken pencil in his pocket. "You're a smart girl—you would've thought of something."

"The only thing I could think about was you," she growled.

He grinned as he stared down into her glittering, angry eyes, thoroughly pleased that her mind had been just as preoccupied as his. "Have I told you how troublesome you are when you're angry?"

Anger gave way to exasperation. "You're so…"

He smiled down at her.

"Don't look at me like that." She cast a nervous glance in the direction of the street.

He inched closer. "Like what?"

"Like some kind of goofy idiot. If you keep smiling like that, everyone will know we've had sex!"

"Ah, I see," he said. "Are you ashamed of sleeping with me, then?"

"No." Temari crossed her arms and lifted her chin.

"Then I don't see a problem. It's not like we're holding hands or making out," Shikamaru drawled. "I'm acting just as I've always acted with you. You're the one who's acting a weird."

"I am not weird!"

"I didn't call you weird, I just said you were acting weird."

She lifted her lips in a snarl. "Infuriating. You're infuriating!" A loud rumble sounded from her stomach as if in agreement.

Shikamaru briefly glanced down at her stomach, silently acknowledging that he was also starving. The light fare they'd eaten for breakfast had burned away hours ago. Temari's hunger certainly accounted for the misplaced anger—she could be a veritable monster when her blood sugar dropped. "Want some lunch?"

Temari narrowed her stormy eyes. "Yes," she hissed.

He reached up to rub his neck. "Have a preference?"

"No," she snapped.

He sighed and muttered, "Troublesome," under his breath as he turned and walked out of the alley. Temari fell into step beside him, maintaining an appropriate distance between them. She kept that distance as they found an eatery, selected a table, and placed their order.

He hated that space, hated the gap she enforced. He understood it's purpose, of course—self-preservation. Physical interaction threatened her resolve, impeded her ability to maintain her façade.

The corner of his mouth twitched as he watched her sip on her drink.

He'd gained quite a bit of ground last night in his quest to persuade her to stay. All that contact had rendered her defenseless and vulnerable for a time. Perhaps it was time he conducted yet another round of warfare.

He leaned back in his chair, yawning as he casually brought his hands to his lap. As soon as his hands were out of sight, he began forming seals with his hands, casting his shadow jutsu.

The moment his shadow caressed her leg, Temari choked on her drink. She coughed, nearly spraying her tea over the table. She reached for a napkin and wiped her mouth. She shot him a dark look and rasped, "What are you doing?"

Shikamaru raised his eyebrows in mock innocence. His shadow wrapped itself around her knee, drifting higher…

She moved her leg in an attempt to dislodge his inky grasp. "Stop it."

One shadow finger played over her inner thigh, then advanced—

"Ow!" Shikamaru nearly broke the jutsu as Temari's other foot ground against his toes.

"Now is…not…" Temari's voice died as her fingers tightened on the glass in her hand. Though her eyes glittered dangerously, her lips parted and her cheeks flushed with pleasure as his shadow teased her flesh. "I'm so…going…to kill…you."

The pressure on his toes lessened. "Tch, woman—I don't think you're in much of a position to commit homicide."

She drew a kunai and stabbed the table with it. "Death, Nara," she growled and in the next breath nearly whimpered, "Stop. Stop."

Maybe it was the very real threat of mayhem or the desperation in her voice that swayed him to comply with her demands. He eased his shadow from her body and broke the jutsu.

"That, Nara Shikamaru, was the most underhanded stunt you've ever pulled on me." Temari took a deep breath, yanked the kunai from the table, then cleared her throat. She glanced around the restaurant. A pink tint lingered on her cheeks.

"No one noticed." Shikamaru raised his glass and gulped at his drink.

Her eyes fell upon him again. They were filled with an odd mixture of anger, appreciation, and a hint of retribution. His lip curled into a grin. Any other woman would have smacked him upside the head by now, but not Temari—she had a unique disposition for extracting revenge when least expected.

"Just you wait, lazy ass," she whispered.

"Hn—so troublesome," he murmured.

She smirked at him at the same time he felt the brush of her foot across his. Instinctively, his foot shifted away. He was loath to have his toes crushed again.

"Oi, Temari!"

Shikamaru cringed at the sound of Kankuro's voice. Disappointment swept over him in large, suffocating waves. Kankuro's arrival signaled the end of their intimate interlude. No longer was she Shikamaru's alone—he'd have to share her company.

Temari's grin slipped. A hint sadness crept into her eyes as she waved over her brother.

Kankuro sauntered up to their table and slid onto the bench next to Temari. He nodded to Shikamaru in greeting. "What's up, leaf nin?"

Shikamaru shrugged, careful to keep his expression impassive. As usual, Kankuro wore his signature black costume, complete with purple Kabuki paint. Strangely, it wasn't quite the getup itself that inspired unease, but the man wearing it. He could be rather violent and overprotective when it came to his sister.

"We're having lunch," Temari tersely pointed out. The blush on her cheeks intensified, which didn't escape her brother's notice.

Kankuro frowned at his sister. "Are you okay?"

Temari's eyes flicked nervously to Shikamaru. His heart started to drum a little faster. Her flushing face was an unmistakable tell, as well as the slight twitch of her lower lip—both of which he was sure Kankuro knew on sight.

"I'm fine." She cast a quick glance at her brother before staring down at her drink. "Everything's fine."

"Bullshit. Something's up." At that, Kankuro turned to glare at Shikamaru. "What the hell is wrong with her?"

Shikamaru felt his lips twist downward. His brows drew together as he met Kankuro's stare. "She's in an off mood."

Kankuro snorted. "She's always in an off mood. PMS every single day of the year—"

Smack!

"Ow! Dammit!" Kankuro reached up to rub the back of his head.

"Shut up." Temari shook her reddened hand and flexed her fingers.

"Bitch," he hissed under his breath before turning his attention back to Shikamaru. "Has she been like this all morning?"

Shikamaru wiped his sweaty palms on his thighs and cleared his throat. The air surrounding them was suddenly hot, stuffy. "Yes."

Temari's foot slammed down on his underneath the table. Shikamaru grunted as she ground her heel into his smaller toes. He tried pushing her off with his other leg, all the while attempting to appear calm and cool. She resisted, delivering several sharp kicks to his shins.

Shikamaru glared at her, frustrated by her antics. "Enough, already."

Temari returned the dark look as her feet retreated.

Kankuro stared at them, obviously perplexed by their behavior. "Are you two done acting like kids yet?"

Temari shrugged, her gaze glued to Shikamaru's. "I don't know—are we done doing things under the table, crybaby?" Her lips curled into a smug smile.

"That depends on—"

"Hey, Kankuro! Shikamaru!"

Shit. Inuzuka. Shikamaru grunted in greeting as Kiba walked over to their table. A new type of dread twisted his stomach—Kiba, although sharper than Naruto, had just as loud a mouth. He often spoke before he thought, and sniffed before he spoke, and at the moment he was scenting every occupant of the eatery.

Shikamaru swallowed as he glanced at Temari. Judging from the hot flush coloring her face and her panicked expression, she'd just had the same horrifying realization as he—they'd both failed to shower after the morning's sexual escapade.

If he were going to stop Kiba from opening his trap, now was the time. Yet, Shikamaru didn't move to intercept the Inuzuka, instead relying on the probabilities his brain started to churn out—and there was certainly an upside to the situation.

Kiba smiled widely as he paused next to their table. "What's up, guys?" His eye twitched as he let loose a nervous chuckle. "Dude," he looked Shikamaru straight in the eye, "you and Temari reek of s—"

"Where's our waitress?!" Temari grabbed Kankuro's sleeve and yanked. "Didn't you order like ten minutes ago?"

"Ugh, psycho." Kankuro tried to push Temari's hands away. "It's been maybe two minutes. Seriously," he gave his sister a worried look, "what's with you?"

Just as Temari started to rant about their service, Shikamaru nudged Kiba's thigh with the sharp end of a kunai. Temari's distraction granted him the perfect opportunity to guide the situation, and he'd be damned if he was going to let it pass. The Inuzuka frowned curiously at Shikamaru's weapon. "'The hell?"

"Keep your mouth shut," Shikamaru said softly.

"It's not my fault if you're wearing each others scent." Kiba flashed a feral, knowing smile. "About time, though."

Shikamaru sighed, closing his eyes as Kiba's words seemed to echo through the eatery.

Temari and Kankuro fell silent. He could feel the heated glares of both Sand siblings. So troublesome!

"Just what does that mean, shadow freak?" Kankuro's voice was menacing, low.

Shikamaru cracked his eyes to find Kankuro leaning forward on the table, hostility in every line of his painted face.

"Did you touch my sister?"

"Kankuro," Temari bit out, her tone hushed, her face cherry red. "Shut up."

Kankuro turned his sour look on her, his voice rising as he accused, "He did, didn't he?"

Temari cleared her throat. Her lip twitched as she scanned the restaurant. "Keep your voice down."

At that, Kankuro reached across the table and balled his fist into Shikamaru's shirt. "I oughta' rip off your balls and shove 'em down your throat! How's that for you, shadow pansy?"

Shikamaru didn't like being threatened. By nature, he would rather avoid confrontation, rather than court it. But as he stared into Kankuro's squinted, angry eyes, Shikamaru actually felt the urge to lay the man flat out. Of course, such exertion was unnecessary—and completely avoidable. "Sounds exceedingly bothersome," Shikamaru drawled, "but I've no intention of letting you unman me."

"Enough!"

Both men turned in unison to stare at Temari.

Kankuro released Shikamaru's shirt and shoved him backwards. "He's a shiftless bastard!"

"I resent that," Shikamaru protested as he easily righted himself and sat back down. "I'm perfectly legitimate."

"Ooh! Shut up, both of you!" Temari stood and pointed to the busy street outside as she snarled at Kankuro, "Get out."

"Oi, that's no way--,"

"Out!"

"Make me," Kankuro growled.

Silence rang through the restaurant.

Kiba, looking more than a little worried over the impending battle, interjected with, "Hey, Temari, Kankuro—"

"Kiba, maybe you should get lost," Shikamaru interrupted with a heavy sigh, well aware the four of them had drawn a significant audience. The passing crowd and the eatery's patrons were now enthralled in the dramatic scene playing before their eyes.

Kiba nodded, relief flashing across his face as he retreated back to the street.

Kankuro turned wild, enraged black eyes to Shikamaru. "I ought to kill you for touching my sister!"

Temari's face flushed beet red as she shoved her brother towards the door. "Kankuro!"

Shikamaru blinked. Well, now the entire restaurant—and soon the village—would know what had transpired between the Suna Ambassador and her guide.

Kankuro pointed a finger at Shikamaru and snapped, "You hurt my sister and I will kill you." With that, he stormed out into the street toward the Embassy.

Temari turned her angry eyes to Shikamaru. "Why didn't you deny it?!"

"Why didn't you?" he retorted.

She swallowed and glanced around at the people staring at her. She looked harassed—shocked, embarrassed, angry. Then she swung her sea-green gaze back to him, and the anger in her eyes shifted into fear.

It was the same expression she'd worn during the final moments of their match in the Chuunin exam, the same look she'd sported the moment she realized he'd beat her.

Indeed, unbeknownst to her, he'd played the situation now much like he had then—with subtle deliberation, using circumstance and the tools provided to his utmost advantage. He'd stripped her of her cover, of the hated distance she'd tried to enforce between them. She no longer had anything to hide behind, no chance to conceal their involvement. This was the messy upside he'd foreseen.

Shikamaru pointed to her seat. "You might as well sit."

Temari did as he suggested and rested her head in her hands. "I'm going to kill Kankuro," she whispered.

"Tch. What's said is said, Temari. There's nothing we can do about it now." His stomach twisted with guilt and a smidgen of regret when she lifted her head to glare at him.

The waitress dropped off Kankuro's drink, and quietly slipped off.

Temari dug a few coins from her purse and tossed them on the table. "This should cover his drink and my meal." She stood up, her face still red, her breath ragged and uneven. "See you later."

Shikamaru stared at her, holding back his disappointment. "You're leaving?"

She nodded curtly and took off just as the waitress placed their food on the table. "Um, do you need a box?"

He nodded and stared at his food, his appetite completely gone.

A/n: Thanks for reading! I'm hoping to get the next chapter out to you guys soon!