Ch. 11: Burn Marx

A/N: Just to note, I don't particularly like this chapter, though I'm not sure why... I'll have the next chapter up by Sunday most likely. :)

Hours later, after Temari had had a long nap and taken a long hot shower; Temari was sitting on her bed cross-legged trying to understand the reason behind her strange emotions that day. She could easily claim they were products of a lack of sleep and abundance of panic, but she was rested and relaxed and some of the odd bits of feelings were still swirling inside of her. So, she stayed sitting glaring at the wall as if it were to blame for her confusion, trying to will the whole thing away.

Needless to say, it wasn't working.

"Temari, there--" Her brother, she noticed with a flick of her eye, was staring at her in confusion. "What, are you doing?"

"Nothing." Contemplating how emotions are annoying.

Kankurou huffed. "Why are you staring at the wall like that?"

"Like what?"

"You know like what!"

"No. I don't."

He glared. "You're acting like a two year old."

"You're acting like - like..." A person? Ugh. She turned to look at him. "Why is it so wrong if I'm staring at the wall? Why can't I do that?" She threw her hands up in the air.

"Maybe because it's a wall and has done nothing to you."

She pursed her lips. "Shut up."

Kankurou sat on her bed. "Temari."

"What?" She snapped.

He looked like he wanted to say something, but he just growled and shut his mouth instead.

Temari hugged her knees to her chest.


She glanced at him from the corner of her eyes. "What about her?"

"She's..." He paused. "She's fucking annoying."

"Yes. She can be."

"Why is she your friend?"

"She's a really good person. She's very loud, but she's very friendly, very devoted, very caring."

"She...said some things to me. Some things which I happen to think are a bunch of crap, but she's behind them full-heartedly."


Kankurou huffed again. "She asked me to that dance thing."

"And?" Was there any paranoia still lingering? Temari wondered if she still didn't like the idea. When she thought about it, a large part of her REALLY disliked the idea, but if she thought hard, she could understand that was just the overprotective sister in her. She liked Ino. She liked Kankurou. But thinking of them together kind of scared her.

"I told her to fuck off."

"I take it she didn't take that well."

"She said I'd change my mind."

"And you disagree."

He scowled. "Hell yes I disagree. Fuck."

"She's not a bad person."

"She looks like a damn Barbie doll." He spat out with distaste.

"Because she's blonde?" Temari questioned, eyebrow raised.

"Because she's a stick."

"Well. Yes. But she exercises. She's got a round ass."

Kankurou gaped at her. "Please tell me you did not just say that."

"Well. Just so you're aware. Sticks usually are just sticks. She's as skinny as a stick, but she fills in certain areas."

He rubbed his forehead. "You seriously can't be my sister."

"Hey, I'm not telling you to date her. I'm just saying, she's not as bad as you think." She shrugged.

"And what about Shikamaru?"

Temari squinted her eyes at him in suspicion. "What about Shikamaru?"

"Do you want to date him?"

"No!" She protested immediately. Of course, as soon as she said it out loud she wasn't so sure. "Why - why the hell would I? I hate him remember. Guy's a jackass that I wish would just roll over and..."

"And what? Die?"

Temari pursed her lips.

"Say it."

"Why the fuck do I have to say it?"

"Come on. Tell me you want him to just die. Tell me you just wish he didn't exist." He prodded. "Go on. Say it."

"I wish he would just die." Her teeth clamped on her lips the minute she said it. She wanted it to take it back so badly, and the worst part was that Kankurou could probably see it in her face.

"You like him."

"I don't!"

"You like him."

"I DON'T."

"This lying to yourself isn't doing you any good." Kankurou crossed his arms over his chest. "Gaara told me, but I was stupid enough to think I knew you better than--"

"Why would Gaara think I like him!"

"Because he watches people! He watches you!"

"I don't like Shikamaru Nara!" She turned her head to the side as she realized she would have been willing to fist-fight with her brother to prove to her point. That would not do her any good. She had enough bruises then to go around getting some from her brother. So what if they were siblings? In a fight, with each other or with other people, there was not a Sabaku in the world that would pull their punches.

"Why can't you admit it?"

"Because it's not true."

"What's so bad with liking him! He's not a bad guy." Kankurou protested. Under his breath he added. "I can't believe I'm about to do this." Then he sat up straighter and looked Temari straight in the eye. "He's a damn genius, nice, giving, gentlemanly, loyal, and he's got money. His only fucking bad qualities are that he's unbelievably lazy when he's not pushed or put in a situation where he can't be and that sometimes he has social issues." Kankurou paused. "Look. I don't want you dating anyone. Ever. But as far as potential dating people go, Shikamaru is not a bad choice. The fucker is a good kid. Not good enough for you, but hell, who is? Just. It's not awful to admit you like him."

"I don't like him." she repeated again. "If you like him so much you date him." Temari stood up from her bed and marched out of her room.

So what if he did have lots of good qualities. He was still a jerk. A jerk she could never, EVER, like. It wasn't anything like that. And that wasn't why she was having weird feelings. No. Maybe Kankurou was right and it wasn't so bad to like him, but that didn't mean that she was trying not to like him. Hell, she would know if that were the case and she would admit it.

She wasn't afraid of liking someone.


She had had intentions of visiting Shikamaru in the hospital again, but after that interlude with Kankurou, Temari avoided the hospital (and Ino) as well as she could. Which, actually, was easier than she'd imagined. She got out of school for three days claiming trauma and injuries. And after that, Temari was well hidden in the library and always ditched debate. It went on well for a good seven days.

Then people decided to butt in.

"That's it." Tenten dropped her bag on the table before her quite loudly. A couple of the book readers turned to glare and hush her.

Temari looked up from above the scribbles in her notebook. They were incoherent scribbles really. Random drawings: dots, circles, squares, stripes - nothing really interesting.

Tenten pulled out a chair and turned it so the back was facing her side (since Temari was sitting in her chair correctly), and Tenten settled on the chair backwards. Any of the school officials would smack her for sitting like that if she was wearing the school uniform. Of course, Tenten was breaking laws and wearing normal clothes. "I'm not playing this game anymore."

Rather than respond, Temari continued doodling.

"Hey, Suna; I'm not playing this game anymore." Upon receiving another lack of response, Tenten snatched Temari's notebook from her hands and smacked Temari upside the head with it.

"What is your problem!?"

"What is my problem? What is your problem?" Tenten snapped, dropping the notebook on the table.

"You're the one who hit me!"

"You've been acting like a damn hermit these past few days. You say nothing. You do nothing. You hide in the library and you scurry away whenever you see Ino. Anyone mentions Shi-" She sighed, "HIS name and you jump up and leave. Hinata, Sakura, and I have been playing along like good little girls, hoping you'd snap out of it. But you're not. And I'm here to tell you I will not play this nancy-shit game anymore. I'm done." She placed her hand, palm-down firmly on the table as if to emphasize her point.

Temari blinked. "Good to know." Then she reached for her notebook.

Tenten grasped her hand. "I'm serious, Suna."

"What the hell do you want from me?" She snarled.

"I want you to tell me what is going on in that stupid-ass blonde head of yours!"

"Mind your own fucking business."

Tenten's lips pursed. "What is wrong with you?"

"Fuck off, Tenten."

"No, Temari."

The two girls glared at each other.

"Tell me," Tenten tried again, "why you're acting like such a damn spazz."

"Tell me why you're acting like this is your goddamn problem."

"Because you're my friend."

"I don't give a shit about you."

Tenten's lip twitched. "Oh. Right. Just like you don't give a shit about Shikamaru."

"I don't!" She snapped. "I don't know what the hell is going on in all of your heads that make you all so pent up on thinking--"

"God, don't you even think about how he feels? There's all this crap and then suddenly you don't go talk to him; don't you think--"

"I don't care what he thinks! I don't care about him!"

"Then why are you avoiding him!?"

The girls were now standing staring each other in the eye.

"I," Temari responded, teeth gritted, "Just hate you all. I don't want to be around any of you."

Tenten looked furious. "You know, I can handle this prima donna shit. I can. I can sit by and let you act like a royal bitch to me. Sakura can handle the bitch shit. She'll reciprocate in kind. Hinata can handle it, because she's nice enough to let everything slide! But Ino - God she can't handle this from you. Ino is suffering because she thinks she did something wrong that offended you! I don't care if you want to act like a bitch, but go tell that girl that it has NOTHING to do with her."

"What the hell do I care what that Barbie doll thinks!" Temari screamed.

"Don't." Tenten spat. "Don't you dare call Ino that. You know better than anyone just what a great person she is. You know better than anyone! Don't you dare insult her because you don't know how the hell to react when you're in love with a guy."

"I'm not in love with anyone, Tenten. And that stupid-ass, whiny, socially conceited Barbie doll can--"

Temari staggered back as Tenten's fist collided with her cheek. She touched her cheek and stared at the brunette.

"Don't you fucking start with me, Temari. Don't say that shit."

Temari hit back.

Soon the two girls were rolling around on the library floor, knocking over books and chairs, attempting to beat the crap out of each other. Temari wanted nothing more than to kick her, punch her, pull out her hair. She wanted to do something active and there she could, she could hurt the girl.


Temari was still trying to get her as someone pulled them apart.


Temari was sitting on a poor hospital bed staring at her fingers.

Tenten was laying down in a bed beside her, glaring at an open book.

If Temari were a bigger person, she would apologize, but she couldn't find the words.

The door pretty much flew open and a skinny platinum blonde entered. "Oh, goodness! You're both okay! I heard the worst--"

"It's true." Tenten replied flatly. "What you've heard. It's true."

Temari looked up briefly to see the skeptical look on Ino's face. "But the rumor mill is off saying you two beat each other up."

"It's true." Tenten repeated. "In the library. We went at it."

"But...That's..." Ino looked like a fish out of water. "...W-why?"

"Ask Temari Sabaku." Tenten replied frostily. "Or better yet, don't. She's got a vile tongue on her today."

Ino sat down shakily on a chair. "Well...That's just..." She wrinkled her nose. "Okay, WHY? Why did you two decide to roll around and beat each other up? You're friends!"

"No." Tenten snapped. "Temari doesn't give a shit about anyone but herself. Delusional, conceited bitch."

"Shut up." Temari replied, anger and guilt bubbling up.

"Oh come on, Temari. Just fess up, why don't you? Why don't you tell Ino everything you told me? Why don't you just tell everyone how much of a damn--"

There was a loud smack. Temari jolted at the sound of it, because she feared it had been directed toward her.

She would have deserved it.

When Temari realized she felt no pain, she looked to where Tenten and Ino where.

Ino stood over Tenten, hand mid-air, face a reddish pink. "Stop that, Tenten."

Tenten lifted her hand to her cheek, eyes a bit wide and smile working her way on her lips. "Your slap hurt more than some punches I've received from guys, Ino. Damn good."

Ino stepped away and leaned against the wall in-between the both of them. "I don't know what happened or what went on, or even why, but I don't want you insulting Temari." Ino looked at Temari, "The same goes for you, Temari, about Tenten."

You know better than anyone.

Temari squeezed her eyes shut and balled the bedsheets in her hands.

When she'd first come to Konoha, first started at the school, she'd been a mess. She looked different, sounded different, was different. She knew in the beginning that fitting in at an all girls Catholic school was going to be difficult, but she didn't realize that it was going to be hard because it was filled to the brim with the type of people that had always annoyed. Gossipy, rich, spoiled brats.

It was easy for Temari to slip back into her old skin of deviant behaviors. Of swearing, of not caring, of drinking. She forgot the whole point of moving, she forgot her goals.

She'd been at a party and had gotten so drunk. She was ditzy and didn't understand anything that was really being said. It was there that Temari found herself flirting with Hidan and things could have turned to tell a different tale if Ino hadn't pulled her away. She didn't understand anything that had happened that day, only come to terms with it in the morning when Ino had explained it to her.

Temari had thanked her and made her way back home that morning with every intention of forgetting the night had ever happened. Because that's what she did, she pushed aside unpleasant things and pretended they'd never occurred.

Ino did not forget so easily.