Temari and Shikamaru walked together toward Konoha after completing the joint mission assigned them. The other half of their team, also one Leaf and Sand ninja, were on their way back to Suna to submit their report there. The odd pairings were justified, by Shikamaru, as necessary because the reports each village received should contain the perspectives of both the Leaf and Sand ninjas on the mission. That the plan also allowed Temari an excuse to visit the village until she received orders telling her to return didn't occur to the other three ninja on Shikamaru's team until they were already well on their way.
"That was a well executed plan," Temari told him as they walked.
"It wasn't anything special, the mission wasn't particularly difficult," Shikamaru affirmed.
"I meant the one where I end up getting to stay at my apartment in Konoha," Temari said, poking Shikamaru in an accusatory fashion.
Shikamaru chose not to respond to that.
"Jees, if I had your brains I could have everything I ever wanted," Temari speculated.
"What makes you don't think I have everything I want?" Shikamaru asked.
"What? You mean that in all the world there isn't one thing you don't have right now that you want?"
Shikamaru didn't answer for a while, his head tilted back in thought. Temari could guess that he was going through an actual list in his head of things he wanted and checking off each one in turn. Finally, Shikamaru's eyes came back down to the level of the road and his mind came back to Earth. Temari waited for almost a minute before breaking.
"Do you 'have everything you want'?" she asked.
He nodded, "Yeah. Technically."
"What do you mean 'technically'?"
"Technically, I have everything want," he explained, staring at the sky again, though this time likely just watching the clouds.
"What if we're not being technical?"
"If we're not being technical? Then there is one thing I want that I don't have."
"Ah hah, I knew it. Tell me what it is?" Temari ordered, exulting in her very minor victory.
"Nothing important," he evaded.
"Tell me," she demanded, "What could there possibly be that you want but don't have."
"I technically do have it," he corrected.
"Technically, the moon could be green cheese that doesn't mean it is. What is it? I still say the moon is covered in sand by the way."
"For the last time, I agree with you that it's probably covered in sand, I'm just saying you can't prove it," Shikamaru groaned.
"You're changing the subject," Temari accused.
"No, you started talking about the moon."
"Just tell me what it is. I might have one," she wheedled.
"A picture of you enjoying yourself," Shikamaru blurted out, the balance between annoyance at her insistence and the annoyance of the conversation sure to follow finally tipping in his mind.
"What? You have lots of pictures of me when we've been out doing stuff."
"Yes, and you always look at when you see a camera it's like you're waiting for a kunai to fly out of it, or you cover your face with your hand or just look away," Shikamaru finished.
"Well, it's not like you're any better," Temari said defensively.
"Didn't claim to be," Shikamaru said, in the futile hope that it might stem the coming tide.
"I at least look at the camera. You're scowling or grumbling and looking away in every picture I've ever seen of you!" she said, gesturing emphatically.
"You're nattering like an old woman," he informed her.
"How hard is it to look at a camera and smile?" she asked him.
"Why do I need to? If you want to know what I look like my normal expression is what I look like. If you want to see me smile you can come and make me smile. Think of it as incentive for people to come visit."
"Alright, one, now YOU sound like an old woman. Two, that's bull honkey, you'd hate it if people were constantly visiting to see if you're alive and happy. Three, you're just a lazy bum."
They walked in silence until the village was just coming into sight.
"So what's your excuse?" he asked, curiosity overriding his will to avoid asking stupid questions that will likely end in someone being angry at him.
"For not smiling or emoting at all in pictures," he clarified.
Temari rolled her eyes. "Do you know how many time I've had to have my picture taken somewhere I didn't want to be or with someone I didn't want to be around and had to look happy, or sad, or about it?"
Shikamaru appeared to ponder this for a second.
"So help me if you're doing the math in your head I will punch you," she told him, shaking a fist threateningly.
"I'm not doing the math in my head," he cried out defensively, while thinking about how the number of events she'd be required to attend would likely have increased once Gaara became Kazekage and thus the number of pictures probably increased by at least 25 percent.
"If you want a picture of me smiling and pleased that the world is awesome then you can dig around in some old newspaper. I'm not going to make faces for some camera just because you can't be bothered to remember what I looked like when the camera wasn't turned on me," she finished, as they passed through the gate to the village.
"I already said I 'technically' have one," he reminded.
"Just let it drop Shikamaru," she threw back, determinedly walking away from him.
"Where are you going?" he asked her turning to follow.
"To my apartment," she called over her shoulder, "I'm kind of sick to talking to someone with a pineapple for a head.
"We have to write that mission report," he reminded her.
"I'll do it tomorrow."
"Alright," Shikamaru gave in, finally catching up and matching her stride.
"Quit following me," she told him.
"I'm not following you, I'm going home."
"Then why are you walking this way?"
"Your apartment is next to mine remember?"
"So go stay with Chouji or something. I don't want to know you're around tonight."
"Chouji lives on the floor below us," he reminded her.
"So go hang with one of your other friends just quit following me," she ordered.
Neither said anything until they'd already arrived and separated to go into their respective apartments, and then Shikamaru was cut off by Temari slamming her door. Shikamaru shook his head as he unlocked his apartment and removed the single trap he could be bothered to put on his door.
-break because keeps removing them...-
Temari woke up to the sounds of cooking coming from her kitchen. The smell of burnt food leaked into her room as she pulled on some clothes and snuck out of her room, kunai in hand. She almost dropped her weapon when she found Shikamaru attempting the rare and deadly pancake flip. Next to him were to plates stacked with pancakes. One stack contained pancakes that were varying levels of burnt, undercooked, or broken. The other, and significantly smaller, stack contained dinner plate size golden pancakes that made her mouth water as she looked at them.
She attempted to reason out why Shikamaru was in her apartment, but her brain sent up an error message informing her that it was way too early in the morning for it to have to reason this out.
"What are you doing," she finally asked, rubbing some of the sleep out of her eyes.
"Cooking," Shikamaru replied, betraying no surprise at her appearance.
"Why are you cooking in my… How did you get into my apartment?" she asked, scratching her head as she sat down at the small table in the dining room that was separated from the kitchen by a low wall.
Shikamaru gave her a strange look before answering.
"I'm a ninja," he reminded her, slipping another beautiful pancake onto the stack with the others, and pouring more batter into the pan without missing a step.
Temari groaned, "It's too early for this. Why are you making pancakes?"
"It was the only thing in your kitchen that hadn't spoiled since your last visit that I could make food out of with stuff from my fridge," he explained, "Oh, and you need to write your part of the report and it will be less troublesome if I don't have to listen to you complain about how you're hungry because you had to skip breakfast to write it."
"Pancakes aren't going to excuse you for breaking into my apartment," she informed him, as he slid a plate of pancakes in front of her along with a glass, a pitcher of milk, and a cup of warm syrup.
"I'm sure," he replied, laying down a covered plate whose contents were revealed to be bacon and sausage.
"That's a start," she said shoving some of the meaty links onto her plate before drenching the plate in syrup.
"The report's paperwork is on the table. I recommend you start now, the hokage wants it by noon," he called over his shoulder, as he prepared another plate and glass for himself.
Temari looked at the modest stack of papers next to her and groaned.
"Why are there so many?" she asked, pulling the pile over and uncapping the pen on top of them.
"First joint mission between villages under the new rules, the paperwork is going to suck until the Hokage and Kazekage get sick of stamping every single page and reduce the red tape," he told her, sitting down across from her, "I finished my part last night."
Temari scowled as she scribbled on the stacks of paper with one hand and shoved food into her mouth with the other. Once Temari finished her plateful and handed it to Shikamaru for a refill of pancakes but otherwise they ate in silence. When they finished Shikamaru cleaned up while an increasingly annoyed Temari continued to write.
-break because keeps removing them...-
Hours later they were both sitting on Shikamaru's favorite cloud watching platform. Temari sat on the ground and propped herself against one of the pillars supporting the small roof and wrote while Shikamaru lay on the bench staring at the sky. Temari signed the bottom of the last sheet of the stack with a flourish and slapped it down next to Shikamaru on the long bench before sitting down next to him.
"Done, a bit early too. Now we can go turn it in and have the rest of the day to our own devices. Y'know it would have gone faster if you'd helped," she informed him.
Shikamaru grunted as he sat up and pulled a scroll out of his pouch.
"Put them in with the rest of the stack," he told her handing her the scroll and pulling a cigarette out of his vest.
Temari gave the scroll a strange look and opened it on the bench and breaking the storage seal. Smoke poured out of the scroll for a second and a sheaf of papers at least three times as thick as Temari's appeared. She gaped at the stack of papers, and then at Shikamaru.
"You did all this last night?" she asked incredulously.
"Mm," Shikamaru mumbled around the cigarette, his lighter spewing sparks but refused to ignite.
Temari reached up and grabbed the white stick out of his mouth so she had room to kiss him soundly.
"Thanks," she told him, when they finally broke for air.
They sat in silence for a while, watching the clouds passing overhead. After a few minutes they began talking about a number of small things. Mostly discussing what they had been up to since they'd last seen each other and telling each other about the antics of their friends. Their conversation grew more animated as they spoke, the words coming more easily as the pair moved past the awkward conversation start. This continued for a while until Temari, noticed a flash of reflected light that had appeared several times during their animated conversation appearing again.
Rushing to her feet she announced to Shikamaru her suspicions that they were being watched. At her movement a vaguely familiar large form on an adjacent roof stood and began leaping away, a camera with a telephoto lens visible in one hand, and the likely culprit for the flashes of reflected light. Shikamaru said something about timing and his hands flew through seals. Temari ran across the roof but was brought up short when Shikamaru's shadow caught up with her and stopped her from moving.
"What are you doing, he's getting away," she yelled.
"Yeah, that was the plan," Shikamaru responded, scratching his head idly.
"Plan?" Temari asked, mirroring Shikamaru's motion unwillingly, "Wait, was that Chouji?"
"Yeah, he agreed to help me out with this."
"With what," she demanded, before remembering the camera, "You couldn't possibly still be on that picture thing!"
"You're the one who suggested I use my brains to get what I want," he reminded her.
"So help me Shikamaru, if you don't let me go this instant and tell me where he's going I'll beat you within an inch of your life," Temari growled, shaking as she resisted the shadow bind.
"That's a problem. I don't know which store he's going to get the film developed."
"Problem for you maybe. Personally, you just made the decision about what I have to do once I'm free for me," she told him, with no small hint of malice.
"I still think you have three choices," Shikamaru replied blithely.
Temari's eyes narrowed.
"There are thirteen one hour photo centers in Konoha. If you stop to beat me up then it's possible Chouji will be able to get the pictures printed before you figure out which one he went to," Shikamaru told her.
Temari growled, "That's one."
"Two, you can just let the pictures get printed and choose to beat me up and know that at some point in the future I will get both the pictures and the negatives."
"And the third?" growled through gritted teeth.
"I lied when I said you need to turn in the report at noon. You need to be there to turn it in and get debriefed by the Hokage in," Shikamaru checked his watch, "ten minutes. I got debriefed yesterday when I went in for the paperwork, and I told the Hokage you'd rather be debriefed when you brought the report in tomorrow."
Temari's face was so red that Shikamaru temporarily worried that blood might start pouring out of her eyes. Though he did wish Chouji was still nearby to get a picture of the look on her face. That she could somehow manage to look cute while in a homicidal rage was incredibly amusing.
"Scroll," Temari finally said through clenched teeth.
Shikamaru tossed the scroll with their report in it to her and released the jutsu he had binding her.
"This isn't over," she told him, "I'll get you for this."
Shikamaru didn't say anything but instead jumped off the roof to street level and started running like something out of the pits of hell was after him. Temari screamed her frustration at the sky before she began hopping across rooftops toward the Hokage's tower.
-break because keeps removing them...-
A frustrating half hour later Temari turned to leave the Hokage's office after turning over the scroll and reviewing the mission. There was also a message from Gaara that told her that, on the off chance she ended up in Konoha after the joint operation, she should return to Suna immediately. The Hokage was surprised Temari didn't already know as Shikamaru had been told of the message the previous evening. A maddened Temari was on her way out the door before the Hokage called after her.
"Temari, is this yours?" the Hokage asked, holding out an envelope, "It's mixed in with these papers. And what is with this ridiculous amount of paperwork for a simple mission like this anyway? This will take all day to read through and stamp."
Temari took the envelope and turned it over as she walked out of the Hokage's office. The front side bore her name and inside she could feel a single piece of heavy paper. She ripped open the top and shook out the paper to reveal a photo of Shikamaru with writing on the back. The photo of Shikamaru had him looking straight at the camera with one of his trademark lazy smirks and on the back read, "One of the thirteen one hour photo centers is open 24 hours."
Temari had to stop herself from laughing. She'd been thoroughly caught by Shikamaru's plan. There would have to be some long and hard thought of what to do to get back at him for this. Though she could be forgiven for forgetting, she supposed, if it was a while before she got to visit Konoha again, and in the meantime she forgot about this little event. Temari tucked the picture into her pocket as she started toward the village gate.
-break because keeps removing them...-
Back in his apartment, Shikamaru put a frame down next to the picture of Asuma and his team that they'd taken when they were kids. The frame contained one of the pictures Chouji had taken; they had turned out surprisingly well considering Chouji's lack of experience in the area of spying. In the picture Temari was laughing and giving a smiling Shikamaru a playful punch. He nodded to himself and sat down on his couch to look at the book he'd left sitting out. Occasionally he'd peek over the top of the pages and glance at the picture with a smile. He turned the page and grinned as he thought about how well the plan had gone considering the short amount of time he'd had to execute it, and the random statement that had precipitated it.
"Mhm," he nodded to himself, "I technically have everything I want."
He turned the page in the photo book full of pictures of his friends, including photos that had been discretely taken when Temari didn't know the camera was there. Near the end the latest batch of pictures had been added to the book. Shikamaru felt quite pleased. He finally had a picture he could leave out without Temari getting angry that he'd taken it without her knowledge. Someday he'd have to work on "with her knowledge" AND "permission," but that could wait. For now he just enjoyed the victory.