Title: Anhydrous.

Author: Lell.

Rating: M for sexual situations, however glossed over.

Summary: 'The first time Temari is sent on an errand to Konoha, she sleeps with him because he's marginally attractive and doesn't resist all that much.' There is no beaten path to follow. A ShikaTem story.

The first time Temari is sent on an errand to Konoha, she sleeps with him because he's marginally attractive and doesn't resist all that much. She likes the way that he allows her to take her fill of him and doesn't expect her to call him. It is a far cry from everybody else who weighs her down with wants and needs and expectations.

She likes that. And she doesn't call him.

The second time she comes to Konoha, she ignores him. And the third and the fourth. They don't work together directly, he doesn't seek her out and she isn't insulted by this. Each time, when she walks through those gates towards her home country, she doesn't think about looking back.

It isn't until her sixth visit that the blonde Godaime Hokage calls someone else into her office and it turns out to be the Nara. All lazy five foot and eight inches of him. He gives her a bored look as Tsunade explains the preparations they'll be working on for the next chuunin exams and Temari suspects him of rolling his eyes at one point.

They spend all afternoon in each other's company.

They do not touch.

Instead, they hammer out tedious technicalities: guest lists, the wording of the invitations, quibbles over accommodation for the numbers proposed. She is irritated by his apathy.

In a direct response to this, she invites him out for a drink.

Temari proves that her alcohol tolerance is better than his, though at the end of the evening they are both drunk and both to this day will accuse the other of making the first move. In truth, they were both drunk enough that neither has a true recollection of the circumstances leading to Temari waking up with a mouth that tastes like licking the floor of a public toilet and a skinny Nara arm flung across her brazenly bare chest.

She does not leave a note when she exits by the window.

In an interesting twist, it is he who comes to her this time.

She is surprised to see him in the party from Konoha that arrives in the late afternoon. The setting sun sets shadows streaking from him to her.

It is instinct not to let them touch her.

Later, she is bemused by his apparent lack of desire for her. He is dry, drier than the desert in which she was born, and her curious attempts at flirting aren't so much rebuffed as absorbed.

She is insulted (and, if she admits it, slightly embarrassed) but gets a better response out of the young Inuzuka lad who has also accompanied the group from Fire Country.

He seems younger though, less mature, and Temari retires early for the night.

They bump into each other two evenings later, however, and a sexual sort of frustration that Temari hadn't even known she'd been suffering from makes her jump him.

Afterwards, she is better convinced that his body at least desires her.

She visits Konoha once more, on envy duty this time, and pretty much the same thing happens again.

It has reached the point where she is learning to interpret his mixed signals.

He's just lazy, she realises now. Ridiculously lazy. It's like learning another language.

Temari has always had a way with words.

They work to a routine now.

She is arch. He is apathetic.

She always makes the first move. And is okay with that.

Kankurou doesn't like him. This is understandable.

Temari just reminds him about how his eyes glaze over a little when the pink-haired Haruno girl smiles at him.

He shuts up.

Gaara seems to be oblivious to it all and Temari decides that this is probably a good thing.

One evening (and it was an evening in Suna because she remembers the smell of sand and drought on his skin) when they are spent and sweaty, she asks him why he doesn't have a girlfriend in Konoha.

"I'm not interested in them and they're not interested in me," he says, sounding half-asleep. This is not indicative of his stamina or her ability to please because he sounds half-asleep most of the time.

She presses him for reasons why. Presses him and doesn't know why.

He shrugs. "Lack of experience?"

"…lack of experience," she echoes, bemused.

Again with the shrug. "You were my first after all," he says casually. He falls asleep not long after that.

Temari stays awake for a while longer after him, running that through her mind. She feels it should have some significance, but is too tired to think it through properly and falls asleep against his side instead.

Her last waking thought is that he really needs to eat more because she can feel his ribs when he breathes.

She has yet to understand why she keeps coming back for more. He is competent in bed, but not the best lover she's had (okay, he comes second in a grand total of three, but she is only fifteen, even if shinobi have funny concepts of age and maturity.)

He is also lazy and aggravating. And skinnier than her.

No, she doesn't understand it, but then again she also doesn't feel the need to justify it.

That it annoys Kankurou is the best reason she can come up with and she leaves it at that.

The next time she is in Konoha, she bumps into him in the street.

Unfortunately, he is with his two teammates. The large kid and the blonde girl. The former smiles and says hello when they are introduced (an unnecessary ritual since they remember each other fine from the chuunin exams and subsequent meetings.)

The blonde girl eyes her with a suspicion that says she knows about Temari and Shikamaru's…thing.

(No, she doesn't know how to classify it; doesn't care to do so either.)

"Work seems to keep Shika so busy these days," she says cattily, with an inflection on 'work' that implies quite the opposite.

Temari resists the urge to be bitchy back. Barely.

Later, however, she does ask what Ino's problem is.

Shikamaru's blank look and response that 'aren't all women like that?' makes her roll her eyes and turn away.

Twitchy flowershop ninja are to be ignored then.

"Congratulations on making jounin, I guess…"

"Heh. You know I outrank you now, right?"

"I fail to see how this is more troublesome than before."


"…Woman, as if you needed to outrank me to give you an excuse to tell me what to do."

"Shut up."

One heavy, humid evening in Konoha when the moonlight lightens her hair and darkens his, he pauses mid-motion over her.

She is annoyed by this, worked up as she is, and she fidgets beneath him and his scrutiny, eager for the slow, lush slide of their bodies to resume.

Instead, he just looks at her curiously – almost analytically – and brushes damp hair out of her raptor's eyes.

She doesn't want to think about that and chooses to lick the sweat off of his bare shoulder.

It is enough to get his hips to start moving again at least.

It is summer again and the change in the seasons is more noticeable in the temperate Konoha than in her own permanently sun-scorched village. The forest drowns in a green almost too brilliant to bear and market stalls groan under the weight of the watermelon harvest. She can hardly sleep at night because of the orchestra of crickets that play symphony after symphony outside of her window to keep her awake.

He takes her cloud watching. Or rather, he goes cloud watching and she tags along for lack of anything better to do.

There is a certain peace she finds in lying hidden in the long grass, green swords shooting up around her to stab into the impossibly blue sky in the viewfinder of her vision. They trade idle comments, conversation petering out as the sun nears its zenith and the heat makes even talking too strenuous an activity.

It isn't until late afternoon that Temari realises she has spent an hour or so in the shadow his cocked legs cast without even recognising the danger.

…Except it isn't a danger anymore and this revelation is like a punch in the face. A good one.

The first time she kisses him in public, she is annoyed with him.

The kiss was meant as a challenge.

…just not one issued in front of several of his agemates and a couple of Konoha's resident jounin.

Temari flushes with embarrassment when she feels them staring, but lifts her chin in defiance. Shikamaru just slouches and scruffs at the back of his neck, expression carefully bored.

She sees money changing hands surreptitiously and fumes inwardly.

Outwardly, she just hauls him off to the sound of one particularly brave catcall.

"Does it bother you?"


"Everyone knowing."

"Everyone knowing what?"

"Ugh. Never mind."

This time, when she returns to Suna after an extended diplomatic stay, she actually finds that she misses him. His presence had never been a noisy, demanding one in the routine in her life, but there is certainly something missing with him not here.

A missed beat.

So the next time her brother needs a ninja to transport the correspondence to Konoha, she volunteers quickly and feels slightly foolish in doing so.

Even more so when she arrives, all tense with anticipation and a desire to see him, and he is out on a mission.

Disappointment is a heavy lead weight in her stomach.

She doesn't stay.

In the end, it is another two months before she sees him and, when she does, she is appropriately snappy with him even if she knows it was out of his control.

She has to blame someone.

Shikamaru throws her off balance then by shoving his hands in his pockets and looking her straight in the eye for once. "I'm sorry," he says quietly.

Temari is frozen in place. She doesn't know how to react.

Then she is kissing him, pressing her lips against his teeth hard enough to hurt and his wiry arms fit around her curves just so…


She looks in surprise at the jingly envelope he hands her. When she glances at him, he is looking up at the sky.

"What the hell is this?"

"A key. To my place. In case I'm not around when you're here."

"Oh," she says blankly.

Just when she thinks she has him pegged, he throws her for a loop.

"…thanks," she says finally, embarrassed.

He just shrugs. "Whatever. It was Ino's idea."

Temari smacks him.

This time, when she walks out of Konoha's gates, she does look back.

Author's Notes:

I like ShikaTem, I really do. I just don't write it. Except I apparently now do. Huh.

(Since when did I write conventional pairings that people actually like?)

This may have a sequel. This may not. I am undecided. Thoughts?

Temari's label of Ino as a 'twitchy flowershop ninja' is a direct tribute to Sycogerl64 who made me laugh by referring to her so in one of her reviews. Her fiction is awesome. Go. Read it now. And tell her that I sent you!