Ch.11:My Happily Ever After
She dug her fingers into the person, whimpering as another loud crack of thunder permeated throughout the room. What the hell kind of people built a house were the noise of thunder could flow through the damn walls? Why couldn't there be such a thing as sound-proof houses?!
Temari couldn't stop the fear and irrationality spilling from somewhere deep inside her; she wanted desperately to push away the fear and put on a strong front. She wanted to so bad, but she couldn't. She simply could not. She was completely scared. It had hardly ever rained in Suna and when it did the thunder was never, never this loud. She hadn't even stopped to consider whom it was that was currently consoling her.
Though she realized it a few seconds later.
A heady scent of tobacco smoke drifted around her. She stiffened. Through her heavy sobs and violent shaking she tried to push him away. She scratched him in her panic, but his fingers closed around her wrists to calm her down. "Temari! Temari!" His dark eyes narrowed in annoyance, "Dammit, woman, stop that! It hurts."
"Let me go! Let me go!"
He dropped his grip on her wrists and Temari made her way to run out of her younger brother's room, but froze upon another loud crack of thunder. Her pride didn't let her run back into Shikamaru's arms like she wanted, but her fear didn't let her move. She stood there in the doorway arms wrapped around her middle, tears running down her face trying hard to convince herself it wasn't scary at all. Another crack of thunder, louder than any of the previous, was enough to abolish her pride completely. She launched herself at him shaking. She buried her face in his chest. "Don't let me go." She murmured frantically, scared beyond compare.
He didn't laugh or chuckle or growl in annoyance, he merely wrapped his arms tightly around her, resting his chin on the top of her head. "I'm never going to let you go, Temari." He whispered. "Never."
Temari wrapped her fingers in his shirt. "Promise?"
One of his hands left her and wiggled to find her own. She watched as she hooked his pinky with hers. "Pinky promise."
Temari chuckled softly. CRACK! A squeak of fear escaped from her and she squeezed her eyes shut.
Why was thunder so loud in Konoha?
He pulled her tighter.
She felt something around her ears. Frowning she separated slightly from him and looked at his face. She drew a hand up to her ear. Headphones? In Shikamaru's hand was a simple silver iPod. He pushed a button and loud rock music streamed from the headphones. He placed the silver mechanism in her hands and once more wrapped his arms around her tightly. Temari pressed into him, closed her eyes, and tried hard to ignore the cracking sound outside.(1)
Temari stirred and cracked her eyes open. The music was still pounding from the headphones and Shikamaru's arms still hugged her tightly.
She lowered the headphones and looked up at him. He was leaning against the wall of the room with his eyes closed looking incredibly peaceful. Temari's eyes wandered to the window.
It was pitch black.
She must have fallen asleep at some point, it only made sense. It wasn't raining anymore. Or at least, it didn't sound like it. She touched the window pane, but pulled her fingers away quickly. It was really cold. She rubbed her hands together.
Temari whipped her head at him. "I thought you were asleep."
"You were asleep. I was merely resting."
"What time is it?"
Shikamaru looked at the iPod. "Three in the morning."
Temari frowned. It was late. "Where's Gaara?"
"In your room. Seeing how you took his."
Temari scowled. "I…"
She turned her head and stared resolutely at the floor. "Nothing." She paused. "You should go Shikamaru."
He stretched and let out a loud yawn. "I will if you want me to, but I'd like to know what you meant three days ago."
"I mean what I said."
"Oh, and it doesn't stand anymore?"
"It still stands."
"You just asked me not to leave."
"I was scared!" Temari defended. "That had nothing to do with – to do with anything."
"I pinky promised. You can't break that kind of promise."
Temari glared at him. "I want you to break it."
"Well, I don't want to." His eyes were heavy and he seemed more lethargic than usual.
He was hiding something.
"Why did you want to break up with me, Temari?"
"That's not a reason."
Temari glared at the wall. "Why does everyone insist on telling me that?"
"Because it's a legitimate point." He frowned. "And who's everyone?"
"I just don't want to be with you anymore."
Temari felt her insides squirm with embarrassment and her heart laden with sadness. "I don't want to be that girl."
His brow furrowed in annoyance. "What girl?"
"The girl who's life revolves around a guy."
He snorted. His voice was clipped and cold. "You could never be that girl. You would never put off what you wanted over any guy, you're too fucking hard-headed for that. You always have your own life, even when you give everything. If this is over something that stupid, then you might as well break ties with your brothers."
Temari's eyes dropped down. "It isn't—"
"What?" He snapped. "It isn't the same?"
"No! It's not the same." She growled. "My brothers couldn't kill my soul if they decided they didn't want me as a sister. It would hurt like hell, but I could go on." She felt heat rise to her face. "I couldn't say the same about you."
"That's what this is!?" His voice was furious now. "You're afraid of being weak?"
She didn't think she'd ever heard him speak like to her. Or really, anyone else for that matter. "That isn't a simple concept!" She protested.
"Yes, it is, dammit!" His dark eyes smoldered at her. "You're going to toss away something good because you're scared?!"
"Yes! There is nothing wrong with that! It's only reasonable! It's only human!"
"Be brave, Temari, take a shot." His eyes had never looked darker to her. "You're afraid to trust in us, how the hell do you expect to be able to do anything else?"
"Everything else is easier." She snapped.
"Who would've thought you would take the easy route." He drawled sardonically.
"Leave me alone, Shikamaru, and just go home."
His hands wrapped around hers, and like every time he touched her, her heart beat madly and shivers – the good kind – ran up her spine. "Trust me, Temari. I meant it when I said I'd never leave."
"How am I supposed to believe that?"
He squeezed her hands. "Faith." With a heavy sigh, Shikamaru brushed away blonde strands from her face and looked her in the eye. "Look, I'm trying. I don't," He struggled, "I don't try so hard for someone this difficult – ever. But I'm here, and I'm – I'm trying. I don't…I want you in my life, and if I have to kill myself with exhaustion to get you to see that, then that's what I'm going to do." He paused. "I don't…I always thought females were always more trouble than they're worth. And, well, you are more trouble than you're worth, but it's the kind of trouble I like, and I want and dammit, woman, if I have to buy you flowers or write you some stupid poetry then I will. If I have to be a prince I will. These last three days have been fucking troublesome. I'll do what I have to do, to have you. I'm giving a speech, woman, do you know much trouble this is?" He sighed in annoyance. "It wasn't supposed to sound like that." Shikamaru scratched at his head; strands of dark brown hair spilled free from his ponytail and covered his face. For the first time Temari really took in his appearance. He had bags under his eyes, his hair was a complete mess, his eyes sad, his expression upset, and his demeanor was heavy.
Tenten's words about messing with her friends came back to her.
Hinata's words about not being scared came back to her.
Neither girl would be so vehement about them getting back together if they thought Shikamaru was fine with the entire breakup. Temari fidgeted.
Love is scary, get over it.
There was something seriously wrong with her when she was running away from love. Hinata could accept it. How could she not? Fear.
Would she really let fear rule her?
Love is scary.
Love is scary.
A light pink tinge settled across Shikamaru's cheeks. "I love you, Temari."
Her heart fluttered heavily.
Temari chewed her lower lip.
Love is scary.
Love is scary.
Temari launched herself at him; she draped her arms around his neck and hugged tightly. "I love you too," She murmured quietly. His arms circled around her. "Please don't ever let me do something stupid like break up with you again."
He kissed her forehead. Then his lips traveled down her face: her cheek, her nose, her chin, and her lips.
She could feel her heart pound strongly against her ribcage. Temari was temporarily afraid her organs would break.
Hearts were supposed to be fragile things.
"Oww! Oww! Ow!" A feminine voice chimed loudly from outside the room.
Another feminine voice laughed throatily. "That's what you get for snooping!"
"Gaara didn't get hurt!" The first voice complained loudly.
"Yes, well," Gaara rasped, "you're clumsy."
"Am not, Temari's clumsy." The first voice protested again.
Temari's brow furrowed. "Is that Hinata?"
Shikamaru grinned. "Tenten too, apparently."
She frowned. "What are they talking about?"
Just then, the door opened and Kankurou came stumbling in.
Temari looked at her brother in confusion. "What is going on?"
Kankurou looked at her, then at Shikamaru, then back at her. "You lie." He called out to the people downstairs. "They're not doing anything."
Tenten jumped him, her arms around Kankurou's neck. It almost looked as if the puppeteer was giving her a piggy-back ride. "Hinata dearest says they just claimed their undying love for each other." Tenten smirked conspiratorially. "She also claims they just talked about having sex."
Temari blushed furiously. "We did not!"
Tenten slid down to the floor gracefully. "See, you see that heavy blush on both their faces." Temari looked at Shikamaru, and sure enough he was bright red. "They were talking about having sex." Her eyes glittered, "Do you need condoms? I'm sure Kankurou has some. Oh, I know Hinata has some."
"Tenten!" Hinata scolded, completely horrified. The pale girl marched up the stairs resting against the wall clearly out of breath. Her indigo hair was frazzled and her lavender eyes were wide. Temari also thought her clothes looked a bit disheveled.
Tenten shrugged. "What did I say?" She defended. "I mean, you do have some."
Temari stared at the small girl. "You do?"
Hinata flushed horribly, but nodded her head up and down.
Kankurou looked about ready to faint, Shikamaru looked distinctly amused, and Gaara (who'd followed Hinata up the stairs) looked vaguely shocked.
Temari was ready to start asking her about that, when a piece of information fermented in her mind. "Hold on, snooping?"
Tenten chuckled and pointed at the pale girl and the redhead. "Bad children."
Gaara shrugged, "You took my room; I believe I'm allowed to listen to all conversations that transpire in my room."
"Really, Gaara," Temari muttered in amazement, "Kankurou's usually the busybody."
"Tenten had him occupied playing Monopoly." Gaara said as if it explained his decision to spy.
"Who won?" Shikamaru asked.
Tenten frowned. "Me, I guess, considering everyone got so annoyed they gave up and threw their money at me."
Shikamaru yawned. "Who's everyone?"
"Well, the people who had been playing were," Tenten started ticking names off her fingers. "Me, Neji, Kankurou, Chouji, Naruto, Ino, Hinata, Gaara, and Kiba." She chewed on her lower lip. "Yeah, I think that's it."
Temari blinked. "All those people are in my house?"
"Nah. Everyone but me and Hina left." She shrugged. "Something about it being an ungodly hour to be awake. They're nuts right? The hours of the morning before the sun rises are the perfect time to be awake."
This had to be the worst constructed fairy tale in the history of fairy tales.
Another thought struck her. "Shikamaru?"
Her lazy boyfriend yawned. "Yeah?"
"Why did you come here?"
"I mean, why then? And how did you get in?"
He shrugged. "I cracked the lock and…" His eyes wandered over to the pale girl.
Temari stared speculatively at her, "Bluey?"
Hinata shrugged, "After we hung up I called Shikamaru. You sounded really scared. So I called him and told him that you were terrified of thunder and home alone. My dad wouldn't let me leave the house since it was pouring down hard; everyone else was really pissed off at you, and Gaara and Kankurou were nowhere to be found, so I called him. " She fidgeted. "I wasn't going to leave you scared and lonely like that even if I was a bit mad at you."
"Was?" Temari pressed. "So you aren't anymore?"
She shook her head. "Nope. You fixed your error."
Tenten yawned. "I'm still pissed at you." The brunette cracked her knuckles. "But, I think if you treat me to dinner those bitter feelings might just fade."
Temari lay back down on the bed. "You guys are weird."
"Yes," Kankurou muttered, "coming from you that's quite a reliable assessment."
"Just what are you insinuating, brother?"
"Simple. You're fucking nuts."
Temari rolled her eyes. Her brothers were the weirdest things.
Temari sat up abruptly as a familiar song busted through the headphones around her neck. "I like this song." She mentioned happily.
Ever ever after(2)
Fairy tales coming true
Deep down inside
We want to believe they still do
In our secretest heart
It's our favorite part of the story
Let's just admit
We all want to make it to
Ever ever after
If we just don't get it our own way
Ever ever after
It may only be a wish away
Beside her Shikamaru smirked. "I heard it a few days ago and downloaded it because it reminded me of you."
Start a new fashion
Wear your heart on your sleeve
Sometimes you reach what's realest
By making believe
There is joy to be claimed in this world
Tenten rolled her eyes and exited the room pulling Kankurou and Hinata behind her. Gaara stood at the doorway for a few seconds then turned to follow the indigo haired girl with a small smile.
"They think we're corny don't they?"
Shikamaru shrugged. "Does it matter if they do?"
Temari played with the hem of her shirt. "I suppose not, but, I've never really been corny, you know? It doesn't fit."
Shikamaru snickered silently. "It does now apparently."
"It's the fairytale thing of this song," Temari smiled, "that reminded you of me wasn't it?"
"Well you are always off on fairy tales and dreams."
Shikamaru brushed the bangs out of her eyes. "That's not a bad thing, you know."
"It's not for me."
You even might wind up
Being glad to be you
Ever ever after
Though the world will tell you
It's not smart
Ever ever after
The world can be yours
If you let your heart
Believe in ever after
Her stomach squirmed pleasantly.
Temari looked at his kind warm eyes. She felt guilty for being cruel to the blonde friend of his. She felt guilty mostly because she hadn't wanted to be quite as bitchy as she had been to her. She'd just been angry, and she tended to say things she really didn't mean when she was angry. "I don't hate Ino."
"I didn't think you did."
She hesitated. "Why didn't you ever tell me?"
Shikamaru shrugged, a light tinge of pink settling across his cheeks. "Fear."
"Fear?" Temari repeated skeptically.
"I was afraid that would change your mind and you wouldn't want to be with me anymore."
"I can't believe you were just calling me a coward." She scoffed. "Chicken."
"That's not even a real word."
"Yes, well, you often converse with words that aren't real."
She stuck her tongue out at him. "Yeah, but I'm special."
Shikamaru grinned at her.
Temari smiled. "I actually like Ino. She's weird, but I like her."
"I knew you would. Eventually everyone likes her." He said calmly, "I was just waiting for that to happen before I explained anything."
"Of course Ino beat you to the punch."
His lips twitched up. "Of course."
There was a slight pause.
Temari smirked at him. "Are you really going to become a deer farmer?"
He looked appalled at the very idea. "The lands may be mine, but I've got better things to do."
"You'd figure you would take the deer farmer route. Less trouble and all that rot."
"What can I say? You've changed me."
No wonder your heart
Feels it's flying
Your head feels it's spinning
Each happy ending's
A brand new beginning
Let yourself be enchanted
You just might break through
Temari snuggled closer to him and leant against him. "That's good. I don't think I would've liked to marry a deer farmer."
He raised an eyebrow at her. "Oh, really?"
"Yes, really. I mean what kind of a modern-day prince – or king – takes a career as a deer farmer? Kind of ruins the novelty of the fairy tale don't you think?"
He kissed her. "So you've decided you're the princess now?"
The feeling of his lips on hers left her mind in a state of momentary malfunction. She stumbled over her words. "Wh-What was the question?"
To ever ever after
Forever could even start today
Ever ever after
Maybe it's just one wish away
Your ever ever after
Konoha wasn't so bad.
There was really good friends.
There was a much better family.
There was Shikamaru.
Her arms held her tightly and warmly. His lips brushed against her earlobe. "Well, my princess, I'm never letting you go."
She sighed contentedly. "That damn well better be true, Nara." Maybe there was a reason all the heroines in the fairytales acted moronically. Maybe, trusting in this was better than any possible repercussions. "Because I'm never letting you let me go either."
That didn't mean she had to act like they did.
She wasn't going to make the same mistake twice.
She would fight to keep what she wanted.
And she wanted him.
Ever ever ever after
(I've been dreaming of a true love's kiss)
A/N: First time I ever mixed in song lyrics with an actual story; did it come out okay? Also, do you guys think I explained her uncertainty well? I really wanted to express that clearly, but I wasn't sure if I did it justice.
Anywho, this fic is now officially over. I'm sad, it really was rather fun to write. Maybe I will continue on the Neji/Tenten or Gaara/Hinata addition if enough inspiration strikes me. In case anyone's interested, I also have a Gaa/Hina mention that I intended to go in this chapter, but it didn't quite seem to fit, but I liked it far too much to delete permanently so it's posted instead at my wordpress account under "Bluey's Marriage"; It should be the first one. You could find that as my homepage on my profile in case you guys want to check it out.
You guys were great, and thanks so much for all your reviews! You all are just awesome! Hope this met your expectations.
(1) Still working with the scene between Hikaru and Haruhi from Ouran Host High School Club. More or less the same scene occurred there.
(2) The song is "Ever Ever After" by Carrie Underwood. It played at the end of the Disney movie Enchanted. (I liked that movie. It was so cute!)
(3) In case that wasn't obvious, I meant 'mule' as in the 'you're stubborn as a mule' mention.