A/N: A new story! Based off of a Haiku collection made by yours truly. Will be short - only 4 chapters long - , sweet, and ShikaTema. Enjoy! ;)
Dedicated To: Sand-Jounin-Temari, for being an awesome friend and an amazing writer. ShikaTema FTW!
Disclaimer: Characters belongs to Kishi.
Copyright: April in Her Eyes (The Haiku Collection) © xmarachanx (Mara).
April in Her Eyes -
She is gentle spring.
She is silent breezy days,
and pale yellow sun.
I hated spring. I knew I was probably among the one percent that did, but I couldn't deny it.
There were two logical reasons for this unexplained hatred.
One, it was the time of year when the bugs came out at my home town of Troy, Michigan. Not that I was afraid of bugs. No, it was a woman's fear, and that was exactly why I hated the little creatures. My mother was absolutely terrified of 'em. Now I'd never understood how females could find something they could kill with one finger so horrific, but my mother would not take questioning for an answer if ever she happened to see one crawling it's way along the ceiling, casting a long shadow from the lights of it's tall thread-thin legs, screaming at me to kill it. She would make me go to all ends to do the deed, even standing on the freshly cleaned kitchen table if necessary.
Two, Spring Break. I was an antisocial prick, and I wasn't afraid to admit it. I didn't enjoy trying to fit in with the idiotic High School kids that didn't care about anything, you know, all of them. But people seemed to like me still for some reason, which was how I acquired through impossible means, a best friend in my long tedious years of High School. Chouji Akimichi, an overweight boy in my homeroom that insisted since freshman year I come along with him on his awkward trips to even more awkward places during those one and a half weeks of school we were set free from hours of bending over ruining our spinal chords by studying notes that would never help us in the future.
This year, his idea of a relaxing vacation was dragging me along to Hawaii.
Not the place I was looking for. Not the place I expected to meet her. But things seemed to happen to me that I did not expect, so nonetheless, life went on, and the world kept spinning; although to me, it seemed it spun the wrong way.
"I can't wait to get this party started."
I had to wonder if there was a worse way to lighten me up. I glared at Chouji next to me in the taxi cab, or what I could see of him; the windows were impossibly tinted. I hated it when taxi's had tinted windows. I didn't mind the sun, I preferred looking out to see the clouds, the sky. "Don't say anything like that again unless you want me to hurt you," I threatened.
It didn't seem to mean much, for Chouji just laughed carelessly and continued munching on his bag of Doritos. He was obsessed with chips. Barbeque chips were his favorite, actually. And I was only assuming because he ate them all the time; under his desk at school, while we were walking to the library to study and do our homework, at his house, at my house, and of course on vacation. No, especially on vacation; on vacation, he went wild and ate whatever he could, whatever was in sight.
"I don't know why you're dragging me out here," I muttered, looking at the black windows that could have been deep, sky blue.
"How do I enjoy pissing you off, let me count the ways," Chouji said, and I groaned as he pulled a hand out of the Doritos bag with a crunch and held up one powder-coated finger. "One; almost everyone from our class is going. Two; Hawaii is, like, the dream vacation and we're lucky enough that my dad owns a hotel here and can afford to drag us over. Three; Shiho's going, who seems to be hitting on you, so I'd really like to hook you two together." I rolled my eyes. Shiho, from one class under me; she kept asking me for help when I obviously didn't want to give it. I'd oblige, although reluctantly, amidst her squeals of delight. Chouji insisted she was hitting on me. I called it annoying. "Five; it's our senior year, and our last chance to have some fun for once. And four; it's my damn birthday."
I sighed. "Yeah, yeah…" Chouji was turning eighteen in the few days we'd be here, so I was supposed to come along with him and do what he called 'being a good friend'. So being a good friend meant tagging along behind him like a baby duck? Being a good friend meant buying a present at the last minute which Chouji would call a 'souvenir' anyways? That wasn't being a good friend, that was buttering up the other to make them as happy as a clam.
I yawned, tired. The plane ride was long, probably; I'd slept half the way here. The taxi ride, even longer, it seemed, but probably because I couldn't sleep; there were no windows. It was a strange deal with me. If I was anywhere without windows, I would be restless and stiff. I felt enclosed, trapped. I liked places where I could see the sky, the sun, the clouds…
"We're here," the driver said glumly. Figured the driver of a tinted taxi would be dark and emotionless himself. I said nothing in scorn and escaped his black domain to a world that consumed me in colors.
Yes, the first thing that came to my mind when I saw Hawaii was 'colorful'. We'd chosen a cheap hotel right by the beach (there were many of those but ours seemed superior to the other cheap shacks, fortunately enough), so there was a lot of activity.
People were predictably tan, here. Their hair was dark and long, coarse, their eyes outlined thickly. They all had accents – sharp, but pleasant and organic to listen to. They walked about the sand (there was barely any cement), talking to each other, as if they were all close and all knew about the other. There were tourists that shined out from the natives like sore thumbs, and the natives ignored them completely as if they were everyday scenery.
They weren't cliché Hawaii, however. We were on Kauai, one of the less popular islands of Hawaii, near Kawakini. Even the 'natives' wore American-style clothing. And they were all of different decent, just like you could find in America. They probably didn't get too many tourists around here, but they seemed to get their fair share, or else they were just insanely open-minded, because no one stared at us as we got our things from the trunk of the taxi.
As I looked around, shifting my bag on my shoulder, I noticed Chouji staring at the hotel, looking a little confused. I glanced at him, shading my eyes from the sun, which was bright and extremely hot. "Something wrong?"
"This hotel is named Inuzuka's, not Akimichi's…" Chouji was saying distractedly.
I blinked and looked to the sign on the front of it, seeing he was right. "You're telling me the taxi dropped us off at the wrong hotel…?" I asked slowly.
"…I think so…"
And that was when we noticed the cab driving off, both turned around to stare after it, and chanted simultaneously, "Shit."
"Damn it! What a freakin' vacation this is starting out to be, huh Shikamaru? I wonder what it's gonna be like on my birthday!"
I could find no words to express my reply to that as we trudged under the hot sun along the sidewalk, lugging along our heavy suitcases. It was a tight little town we'd landed in, with houses lining the sidewalk, children playing in the sand for the beaches that surrounded us in the distance. Chouji said his father's hotel was probably a little farther to the south, so he led our way, cursing the driver as we went. I told myself I should have figured someone like that would have dropped us off at the wrong stop. Shady guys with sunglasses could never be expected to actually, well, fit in with society somewhat.
"I mean, does he have any sense?" Chouji continued to rant. "He could get fired in a snap if someone – Whoa-ho-ho, look at those."
The first thought that came to my mind had something to do with females, and I was about to tell him to take his perverted, useless dreams elsewhere when I saw what he was really ogling over.
Cakes. Chocolate, vanilla, lemon, cookie dough, you name it, lined up behind the glass of a window in a small pastry shop we passed called Ayame's.
Chouji looked about ready to pop with pleasure. He turned to me with a dark look on his face as if he was telling me a terrible secret. "Okay, Shikamaru. There are three things going through my head right now, and I'm gonna list 'em so you can understand completely my situation here and why you have every right to be lenient." I sighed. What was with him and listing? "One; We're on vacation, so we're liable to 'let go' as much as our frail unused bodies can take it. Two; I am currently equipped, my friend, with fifty bucks, that's five ten-dollar bills in my wallet, and I wouldn't mind spending twenty right here, right now. Three; Cakes, Shikamaru! Cakes! Cakes to go, cakes by the ass-load!"
I did not dare protest. I recognized his 'hungry' mode, and I'd learned the hard way not to try and halt it. "I'm not stopping you," I said, rolling my eyes. "Take your time, I'll wait around here somewhere."
That was all he needed. He was in that shop in a second, out of sight with his luggage dumped next to mine, which I dropped carelessly on the ground. I sighed, leaning against the wall between Ayame's and the shop to its right. Across the sidewalk I faced a grassy courtyard, with picnic tables, people sitting and slurping their snow cones and ice creams and milkshakes. I tilted my head to the side. They all looked happy, and familiar with each other. And when I looked up, I smiled. The clouds were this perfect, white color. The air was a pleasant lukewarm. The voices from the passing adults, laughter of the children, and chirping of the birds was like music.
Unfortunately, in my life, no perfect moment lasted too long, so of course, next came the pain.
"Ouch!" I said in surprise. It wasn't an awful pain that made me yelp, so I was very calm as I turned my head to look where it was directed. But it was a shock to see the blood coming from a long, deep gash in my upper-arm.
I looked over and found my gaze captured by - carrying a plastic dish holding a cake, the sharp side of which had cut my arm, and looking to be about my age – a girl.
The first thing I noticed about her was her eyes. They were blue, and deep, like two windows to the open, clear sky. I could see everything in those eyes. It made my heart stop, my breath hitch, and then when it all started over again, it was quick and strange and uncharacteristic. She was pale, her skin used to the sun, and her sandy-blonde hair was pulled into four pigtails on the back of her head. Her lips, perfectly pink, were parted in horror as she stared at my arm.
"Kaumaha! I am so sorry!" she cried. Her voice was low and comfortable, like the sound of waves on the beach, and had a sort of melody to it. I could hear the Hawaiian accent to it, so I knew she was a local.
"U-Um…" Starting to get my feeling back, I quickly snapped to attention and rubbed my arm, wincing and wondering what 'Kaumaha' meant. "That's alri-"
"Here!" Unexpectedly, she threw the cake into the arms of a small, random passing boy and grabbed my wrist tightly with a very soft hand. As the boy scurried away excitedly with the cake, she began to pull.
"Listen here, haole." She suddenly turned around with a very serious expression on her face. "That cake was for my little brother's best friend's sixteenth birthday party, and it was very expensive. I'm giving it up to a snot-nosed brat so I can make sure you're not bleeding your life out of your very muscular arm, so, although I have no right to tell you what or what not to do, I suggest coming along and cooperating unless you want to see me pissed off, and trust me you do not, haole!"
I blinked. "…Haole…?" I repeated, bewildered, as she pulled me forcefully and sat me down very violently on one of the wooden picnic tables, snatching up my arm.
"Yes, haole," she said simply. "You're a haole."
"Agh, I am so sorry!" she groaned as she stared at my arm, which was leaking blood in a way that made me feel a little queasy. She was suddenly digging around in her pockets and in her beige shoulder-bag. I used this time to observe what she was wearing; a white tee shirt that was tied in the back so it showed half her stomach, with a picture of a green apple on it, the sleeves ripped off. This was over jeans and black flip-flops. She certainly didn't seem like the average American teenager. "I just wasn't paying attention, I mean, no one usually stands right there!" she continued hastily.
"Er, sorry," I mumbled as she retracted from the bag…a roll of bandages.
That was random.
"Don't you apologize!" she snapped as she unraveled some, pushing up the sleeve of my black shirt. "Here, tell me if it starts to hurt too much." She began to wrap it tightly around my arm. It did start to hurt from the pressure, but I'd be damned if I let a woman pity my pain, so I kept my mouth concentrated on other things.
"You…carry bandages around with you…?"
She nodded as she wrapped, concentrating, her tongue stuck out of the corner of her mouth and her eyes slightly cross-eyed in effort. "I raised my little brothers myself, I kinda got used to it after a while."
I nodded almost understandably. Although I wasn't one of them, men were…violent.
"Agh, it's bleeding through the bandages! I'm really, really sorry!" she said over and over again.
"It's alright, it was an accident…" I said, watching as she patted the bandages awkwardly on my arm.
"It doesn't hurt too much?"
"Is everyone here so paranoid?"
She heaved a sigh, finishing with the bandages at last and slipping them in her bag. "I'm sorry, I just haven't ever cut someone's arm so deep before…" she said dramatically, leaning back and gazing upwards at the sky. On her exposed neck I could see a necklace of seashells, shiny and smooth, hooked along a black thread. She noticed me staring and smiled suddenly, looking down to touch them with her fingers. "Pretty, isn't it? I made it myself!"
I had to tear my eyes away from that smile for a brief second; it looked like the sun had landed on earth, causing her to glow. I looked back to her, calming my idiotic thoughts. "Um…it's good," I said honestly. Meanwhile, I had to wonder how she could be so friendly and open to someone she just met. Maybe it was a Hawaiian thing.
Or maybe it was just her.
Before I could contemplate these things, I heard my name being called. "Shikamaru! Hey! Guess what I just figured out!"
Chouji came jogging over, which must've took a lot of effort out of the poor guy, and he stopped, huffing, in front of the picnic table. He looked up, grinning, then his gaze snapped to the blonde. She smiled at him welcomingly. "Hi haole boy."
He blinked, straightening up. "…What'd you just call me…?"
I supposed it was simply 'foreigner' in Hawaiian as she repeated the name. "Haole."
"…What's a haole?"
She seemed confused. "A haole is a haole."
Chouji looked to me, and I pointed to my arm. "She cut me on accident and insisted on wrapping it up."
"Oh." Chouji suddenly got a new sort of competitive spark in his eyes as he glanced between me and the girl. "Well it's wonderful to meet you…?"
"Temari," she said, returning his over-dramatic smile.
I liked the name, for some reason. It was organic, different, and I wanted to say it immediately out loud; the way it would roll off of my tongue seemed like it would be sweet, like the taste of honey or the feel of ice-cold water after a long, hot day.
"Temari Subaku," she continued. "Hau`oli kēia hui `ana o kāua." We stared at her, and she laughed. "Nice to meet you," she translated.
"Oh…" I said, blinking as Chouji scratched his head. "You know Hawaiian…"
"Well I live here," she said with a shrug.
"No, I just thought since you knew English…"
"I know numerous languages. The language spoken the most here is English, but we sprinkle Hawaiian in when necessary," she explained kindly.
I nodded slowly. "Interesting." I saw from the corner of my eye Chouji grinning from ear to ear and gave him a glare. "What were you talking about before?"
"Oh, yeah!" Chouji held up a video camera he must have grabbed out of his suitcase, which was still by mine, abandoned on the side of the wall by the cake shop, three plastic cases of cakes piled on top of it. "Culture Credits!"
"…What…?" Temari and I both asked at the same time.
Chouji smirked. "Exactly! Shikamaru, remember Asuma talking about our culture credits before Spring Break?"
I paused. "Yeah, but I don't remember the details…"
"Well I do! We have to create a presentation, showing it in a two months, to our homeroom teachers about a different culture, remember?"
"Okay, I'm following."
"Isn't Hawaii a great start?!" he asked excitedly, gesturing to his video camera. "We can get a head start on it, we'll be ahead of all the others. And come on, a presentation on Hawaii? Definitely something good-looking on your admission!"
I nodded. "That's actually a perfect idea," I said, frowning and rubbing my arm; it was throbbing quite painfully. "But what would we video tape? I mean, a bunch of people walking around won't even prove we went to Hawaii."
"Well…" We both turned to Temari, and she smiled sheepishly at the attention. "One of my friends dances. Would that work?"
My eyes widened. "That's perfect. She does that hula…stuff…?"
Temari laughed. "Yes, she does hula."
"Well when is she free?"
Temari frowned and put a finger to her chin thoughtfully. "Well, she has a class tomorrow…"
"She runs the class?"
"Yep!" She snapped her fingers. "Oh, sorry. Her name is TenTen. She's kinda strange, but she's nice." I doubted I would find anyone stranger than this girl, even in comparison, but I decided to take her word for it and not get myself even more surprised.
"Where does she teach?" I asked.
"How about I pick you guys up tomorrow wherever you're staying?" Temari suggested. "That way you won't get lost. Where are you staying?"
Chouji and I shared a dark look, and Chouji groaned a little. "We're already lost."
"We have no idea where we're going…" I admitted glumly. "We're supposed to be going to Akimichi's, but the cab dropped us off at the wrong hotel."
"Akimichi's?" Temari asked, eyes wide. I nodded, and she stood abruptly. "I know where that is! Follow me!"
Chouji and I shared a wild glance as she started walking away, then Chouji called, "Wait!" as we ran to get our luggage and followed after her into the crowd.
One thing about Temari I was immediately sure about; she didn't hesitate.
"It was here all along…" I said.
We stood, frustration building in Chouji and I in unspeakable amounts, across the street from Inuzuka's, at the hotel Akimichi's.
We hadn't bothered even looking across the street to see that the cab had, in fact, dropped us off at the right street, just the wrong side of the street.
I felt like the biggest idiot on earth.
Temari laughed, seeming a little nervous. I would be too, if I could see our faces. "Heh. Well, um, let's go inside." As we walked, she tried to lighten the mood. "I didn't know Choza had a son," she said thoughtfully.
"You know my dad?" Chouji asked, surprised. Choza Akimichi. I'd met him a few times before when he'd come back to Troy to visit Chouji. He was tall and gruff, and extremely loud.
"Well sure I know Choza. Everyone knows everyone," Temari replied. Chouji stared at her in openmouthed bewilderment. I was still trying to get used to her not making sense…
We walked inside the hotel to a small and cozy, brightly lit lobby. There was a round, circular front desk, and besides the sofas and lounge chairs and speakers and random coffee tables with useless magazines sitting on them, the place was empty. Probably because they were all out and about, exploring the small town.
"He should be here," Temari said, leading us over to the front desk. We stopped by it, and Chouji frowned.
"But no one's here," he said.
With no warning, however, Choza popped up from behind the counter and beamed. He had some papers in his hands, which he had obviously been busy putting away under the desk. "Chouji!"
Chouji blinked in surprise, but grinned. "Hey dad."
"It's nice to see you again, and you too Shikamaru. How's Shikaku doing?"
"The same," I said, shrugging. "He's still in India for work."
"Ah, working hard as usual. Good man." He turned and grinned at Temari. "Hey there Temari. Did you help them find their way here?"
"Eh heh…Um, it's a long story…" she said, glancing at my arm guiltily. She changed the subject quickly. "I didn't know you had a son, Choza."
"Yup. He and his friend here are stayin' free o' charge for Spring Break. It's a treat for Chouji's eighteenth birthday coming up soon."
"Oh!" Temari turned and smiled at Chouji. "Hau`oli Lā Hānau!"
"…What?" Chouji and I chanted.
Temari laughed gleefully as Choza leaned over the counter and translated, "That means Happy Birthday in Pidgin."
"…In what?" Chouji and I said again, both of us starting to get exhausted.
Temari laughed even harder, and Choza sighed. "A-K-A, Hawaiian," he said.
Temari calmed herself with a grin on her face. "Well this is a nice town to take a vacation," she said.
Choza nodded. "They deserve it. It's their last year in High School."
For some reason, Temari found this even more hilarious, for she broke out into laughter in which she had to support herself on the counter.
"She graduated last year," Choza explained to us, watching her with a fond smile on his face. I still didn't get why that was so funny. "Well, go show them to the room they'll be sharing, would you?" Choza suggested, handing her the key card as she calmed herself to short little giggles.
"Heh…Roger!" She held the card between two fingers and was suddenly flouncing away. "What are you two waiting for? Hurry up!" she called bossily back to us, doing a sort of turn in the middle of the lobby so she could give us a glare before twisting around to face the direction she was going again.
I sighed and grabbed my luggage once again. I was already so tired I just wanted to sleep all day long, and Chouji seemed to be having issues with walking so much. We followed her down a plush carpeted golden hall, over to a large room which Temari opened the door to.
I sighed in relief as we walked in. Two large beds, two wardrobes, a TV, a mini-fridge, a round wooden table with two chairs, and one wall was just one, huge glass window with blinds pulled to the side so the sun from the beach view we got glinted into the room, winking cheerfully.
"Nice!" I said contentedly, sitting down on one bed and claiming it as my own as I dropped my luggage to the ground at my feet.
"Impressive room, in' it?" Temari remarked, walking in and setting down the key card on the table. She pointed to it violently. "Don't lose it," she ordered.
"Don't worry, we aren't that uncoordinated," Chouji muttered darkly, sitting at the table and getting his breath back. "Gah, I'm hot…"
"Well what do you expect?" Temari asked, giggling in a bubbly way as she crossed the room to the door. She smiled over her shoulder. "Well, I'll pick you guys up at about eleven tomorrow, because her class starts at twelve. Any questions?" She sounded like an Elementary School teacher.
"Can we bring friends?" Chouji asked bluntly. I sent him a glare, but Temari just laughed again.
"Yeah, sure! She's used to haole."
"I still don't understand what that means…"
"Well, I'm gonna go buy another cake." Temari waved a hand over her shoulder.
A hui hou aku…