Chapter 5: The chapter where Shikamaru and Temari get over themselves

Shikamaru tied his pants loosely around his waist and towelled off his hair before he stepped out of the bathroom. In the hall, he could swear he heard Kiba's voice in between his dad's "I see, I see"s. He looked into the living room to see the two of them along with Temari sitting around the table, staring thoughtfully off into space.

"Why didn't someone tell me Kiba was here?" he pointedly asked Temari.

"You were in the shower!" Shikamaru grunted irritably. "And don't drop your towel on the floor."

"My mom'll get it..."

"What are you, five? ...And go put on a shirt."

"How am I supposed to put up with such a troublesome woman?" he asked no one in particular.

The two of them were interrupted by Shikaku's booming laugh. "You really did a helluva job cheering him up, Temari-san!"

Shikamaru furrowed his eyebrows and chose to ignore them both. "So what about Chouji?"

"Ino said he'll live, but there's no way to know if he can ever go back to being a ninja."

"Did she say we could go see him now?"

"Maybe in a few days."

"Geez," he muttered.

"Yeah..." Kiba agreed as he stood up. "Well, I gotta go, but you should drop by the hospital later today. Just don't hang out in the hallways too long or you'll get a Sakura-sized fist-print on your face."

"Wait a minute," Temari called to him. "I'll walk out with you."

"How'd he take it?" Shikamaru asked as they ambled down the road into Konoha.

"He said he already knew. Kiba's surprisingly perceptive."

Shikamaru chuckled. "I'm sure that's not it. Anyhow, I'm glad him knowing made it easier for you since, y'know, you made out with him and all."

"My, my, aren't we cheerful now."

"Hey, Temari..." His hand caught her arm and pulled her to a stop before returning back into his pocket. "I guess I'm serious after all..." he chuckled to himself as he shuffled the dirt around his feet.

She just gave him a blank stare.

He tilted his head up to look her squarely in the eyes. "You know, at some point it got to be more of a pain in the ass to be without you than with you."

"I'm not gonna be with you because you find it convenient," she said, looking away.

"Trust me. That's not the case at all," he replied, crossing his arms with a defeated sigh. "It was the effort of me saying this to you that you wanted all along, wasn't it? So, here it is."

Temari laughed as she started down the path again. "It's about time you manned up, crybaby."

"Hai, hai" came the weary response as he turned to follow after her. "Mendokuse."

The omake where I make myself hungry for chestnut bread. Wait... What?

"Here's your new mission to Konoha." Kankuro plopped the folder down, but Temari grabbed it before it hit the desk. She stormed across the hall and rapped loudly on the door.

"Gaara!" She waited a second before knocking again and let herself in, placing the mission folder squarely in front of the Kazekage. "Why are you sending me to Konoha again? I was just there two weeks ago and then you always have me stay for almost a week at a time. Why don't you send Kankuro or... someone else?"

"Because," he started, coolly crossing his arms and turning his chair around to face her. "Neither Kankuro nor 'someone else' get cranky when she doesn't get her... how shall we say... chestnut bread." He punctuated his statement with a raise of his eyebrow. She glanced across the hall to see Kankuro's back turned towards her, his hands rubbing up and down his sides while moaning theatrically.

"Fuck you both," she stated and stormed out, only to return for the folder. "And one more thing," she added in a huff. "Send my food and lodging budget to the Nara Clan's head family. I've been invited to get my 'chestnut bread' in one of their cabins from now on." With that, she stormed off again, barely containing her laughter.

"Chestnut bread..." Gaara grinned. "Kinky."