Chapter 8

The two ninjas walked together toward the training grounds. It was only around mid-day, so Lee would not be expecting them until later on.

"So, Shikamaru, what other places do you want to show me to?" Temari asked curiously.

Shikamaru shrugged. "I know a few places on the outskirts of town, if you really want to see them, I can take you there." Temari thought about his request and decided she liked it. "Sure," she replied, "Let's go."

Shikamaru sighed and shook his head a bit. All he really wanted to do was return home with her and maybe hold her in his arms. But there was a slim chance of that happening. He thought of where to bring her and thought that the north lake would be secluded enough for him to be with her. He smirked to himself. That was where he was taking her.

They walked into the wooded outskirts and Shikamaru led the way to the lake. It was a little out of the way, but he didn't care. "Where are we going?" Temari demanded, "We have been walking out here for about half an hour. When are we going to get there?"

"Soon, dear. We will get there soon." He smiled to himself. Temari groaned. She was positive that there was nothing out here.

In a few more minutes, Shikamaru pulled a few branches out of the way and stood aside for Temari to pass. She smiled and stared at the crystal-like lake. At the far end, there was a small waterfall, but the water was deep enough to swim in comfortably. "Wow, I didn't think something like this would be out here," she said, "It's beautiful."

Shikamaru nodded and wrapped his arms around her waist from behind. "It's pretty, but I've seen something much more beautiful." He kissed her neck and nuzzled his face into her shoulder. "Now that I've found you, there's not a thing in this world that could ever compare to your beauty." He tightened his grip around her waist, not minding the giant fan that dug into his arm.

Temari smiled to herself and turned to face him. She kissed him lovingly and wrapped her arms around his neck. "I love you, Shikamaru."

"And I love you, Temari…so very much." Shikamaru put his hand behind her head and pulled her face to his. He kissed her deeply and unhooked the fan on her back. His hands moved down her body and settled around her hips. Temari chuckled and clung to him. Shikamaru felt his heart surge in happiness. She was the one he wanted. She was the only one he ever wanted. He broke the kiss and looked at Temari for a moment. Temari tilted her head.

"Temari, I want to ask you something…" Shikamaru reached into the side pouch of his pants and withdrew a painted fan. 'This is so troublesome…' he thought. 'Why would she say yes to me?' He leaned over and kissed her again. Then he knelt down and placed a hand over his heart and with his other, extended the fan to Temari.

"Temari…you are the only girl I have ever loved this much. I have never felt my heart pound so hard or race so fast. I know that it isn't the bad kind of rush. I can only try to explain this emotion as love. Nothing but pure love. Temari, I love you more than the Sun could ever love the Moon and you know he loves her or else he wouldn't spend his entire existence chasing across the sky. I would follow you anywhere and everywhere and never complain. I will love you forever and even after.

"Your eyes have captured my heart and my soul. I can't imagine a day or even comprehend how I have ever lived this long without having you near me. I will never hurt you. I will only ever help you. I will never abandon you. I only live to hold and love you. I will never cease in loving you, this much I swear. You are my heart. You are my soul, my very essence. I can make you my world and the Queen of my heart. This is the only request I have to offer…Sabuko no Temari…will you please accept my marriage proposal and become my wife," he inquired. His heart sped and his body quivered.

Temari felt the tears well up in her eyes. Was this happening? She blinked, releasing the water down her cheeks. She took the fan gingerly in her hands and opened it to reveal the beautiful image. There wasn't a force in the world that would make her refuse. "Yes..Yes!" she exclaimed. She gripped the small fan a little tighter and fell into Shikamaru's arms. She cried tears of happiness and kissed Shikamaru lovingly.

Shikamaru held her close and kissed her back. Through some of the brush on the other side of the lake Kouhei lapped the water at his feet. He looked up and watched the couple embrace. The deer made a smiled and raised up on his hind legs. He issued a deer call and a mixture of leaves and camellia petals swirled around him. He was indeed pleased at the current event.