Forgetting is always easy; it's remembering that's the trouble.
Crossing intervals in parts of their lives but never truly seeing, finally meeting at a crossroads uncertain of their journey ahead.
He'd seen her before hadn't he? Down by the hangout or out in the town. Was she from work? Was she from school? Was she even from around these parts?
As his new roommate came into his apartment, he had a feeling that he had seen her somewhere.
He just couldn't place her anywhere, not a single interval in his life.
As she bent down to open her suitcase he stared openly at her body.
Had he slept with her? His eyes narrowed, studying her closer.
So what? - She was just...
"Temari" She stated raising her hand so he could shake it.
"Temari" He repeated in awe, noticing how the name rolled off the tip of his tongue.
No, He couldn't place her at all.
Not even a bit.
When she unpacked her suitcase she looked around the room.
Nothing she recognised.
But yet it felt like she did.
She looked at the deer wallpaper, the tiles in the bathroom, and even the couch in living room.
It all seemed so...strange.
Walking into the kitchen, she offered to make tea. He nodded but found that she didn't even turn to look.
She just knew. And not only that. She knew where he would keep the spoons, and the cups and even the teabags. He walked into the kitchen with a raised eyebrow before sipping his tea.
His eyes widened "Two and half sugars" He said looking at her in awe "No milk...Earl Grey...How did you know?"
And she shrugged, because she did not know the answer.
When she went to go to sleep that night, He followed her into her room.
He knew she wouldn't mind.
When she crawled under the covers he sat at the edge of the bed.
But he knew she wouldn't care.
And when she fell asleep, she curled up to the side of the bed, leaving an opening for him.
And he knew he was wanted there.
Like he never left.
And that was the tenth
He first met her when he was six. He had short spiky hair that his mother continually kept shaving off.
His grandmother paid for and picked out all his clothes making him look a sailor.
She was nine and had chopped off all off her hair in a rebellion to be more like her brothers.
She wore loose fitting T-shirts, and long shorts that hung past her knees.
He thought she was boy. And she thought he sailed the seas.
They met in park on a warm day. Her eight year old brother ditched her to play with "real boys"
And her six year old brother was with her father for the day.
At nine years old, with her parents being separated for 3 years, she knew the deal.
He would never visit her or Kankuro.
And a few years later she would learn why.
Shikamaru however, was on the monkey bars, his father was talking to a family friend and there were children running underneath him playing.
But not with him.
He knew he was different at six. No-one seemed to understand him, and it seemed as though he was in his own world.
And in few years later he would learn why.
He wasn't paying much attention at first to the blonde. She was behind him waiting for him to scale across, and when she saw him get stuck halfway she pushed him off.
She didn't have time to waste on him; she scaled across waiting for the piercing scream that came when scraping your knee.
But she never got it. He just laid there, not even blinking and it unnerved her, so she dropped to the ground too, seeing if it hurt.
And it did.
But she didn't yell or scream, she just laid next to him.
And both of then laid there in the sun watching the children scale over their heads.
They didn't say anything, but after a while she moved over to the side a bit, so he could spread out more and so that he could be more in the shade.
He rolled over and closed the distance between them.
And that was the first.
The second time was when she was ten and he was seven.
They had both been forced to a wedding for an acquaintance they were too young to know.
She was a wearing a big frilly dress that her brother made fun of, with long white socks and her scuffed trainers hiding underneath.
Her and her brothers had been trying to grow their hair long that year, so it hung in shambles on her shoulders, knotted to a point that her mother had given up control of the brush.
Shikamaru's hair was longer too. The electric razor his mother used to shave his head finally glitched out, so she took him round to her friends to get his hair cut. The woman was a trainee and often used a bowl to cut around his head when she thought his mother wasn't looking. His grandma moved away that year too after an argument with his mother. Now he didn't look like a sailor anymore.
Just a dork.
It was after the ceremony when she couldn't take the dress anymore, she went out the back of the reception room in the garden to try and pull it off. After struggling for a while she tripped and found a rabbit hole.
She was obsessed with Alice in wonderland at this stage and when she thought no-one was looking she tried to climb in.
"They'll bite you know"
She turned to look briefly at the bowl haired boy beside her, before continuing to climb in.
She reached her hand in, but withdrew when she felt movement.
She turned to the boy.
"Want to have a tea party?" She asked uncertainly, it was a game she wanted to play for years, but had no-one to play it with.
He shrugged and sat down beside her.
She mimed pouring out tea first to herself, then to Alice, before moving onto the Mad hatter.
"What do you want?" She asked embarrassed by his lack of enthusiasm even though he was clearly younger.
"Earl grey, no milk, two and a half sugars" He drawled, He had never had tea before, but this was his father's favourite, so he assumed it would be alright.
She poured it to him and they drank in silence.
After a while she got bored and left.
That was the second
The third time was when she was eleven and he was nine.
Only two years separating them.
It was hot towards the end of the summer and her hair was annoying her so much, she shaved it off.
The guy in the barbers looked at her if she was crazy, she was starting in a new school again next week and he had warned her that all the other little girls don't have their heads shaved.
So she done it herself.
Her mother screamed when she saw, and immediately took away the razor leaving her hair in bizarre patches. When they went out she brought her a hat to wear. It was her father's old fishing hat, and it smelt weird. People looked at her on the street, she had become particularly fond of her brother's brightly coloured tracksuits that year and refused to wear anything else ignoring the dirty looks she got when she walked on the street.
Shikamaru on the other hand was getting his cousin's hand-me-downs. His cousin lived on a farm, so the majority of what he got was overalls and large boots. The boots were itchy and he never done up his overalls, so they just hung loosely at his sides. His hair was almost shoulder length now, and he had a kind of side fringe that he was constantly sweeping out of his eyes. His mother had found out about the bowl.
People kept saying that he looked like a girl but he didn't care.
Sometimes when his mother would go food shopping, he would wander off and he found that they give more free samples if he smiled at them.
He polished off a cookie in the store one day, and headed over to the cheese counter, when he saw a kid trying to take the tray.
"That's mine" He said, but the kid took it anyway and ran off.
He sighed but didn't run after the Kid.
Instead he headed to the bread isle, where he knew his mother wouldn't find him and get mad at him for leaving her again.
He sat there for a while, waiting for a new tray to appear, when the kid appeared again.
The kid was tall, but he couldn't see the face underneath the large hat. He thought it was a guy though.
After a while she placed the tray beside him as a peace offering. But the bread came and he took a few before building a house with the cheese and bread.
The man behind the bread counter was looking at them strangely but he didn't seem to notice.
The kid watched anxiously, before Shikamaru began to explain.
"This is the house" He said pointing to the roof bit "These are the cupboards" He said placing the cheese inside the bread structure "The spoons go on the side" He said breaking up breadcrumbs for spoons "And the cups go under the sink" He said imagining cups instead of trying to make them
"And the teabags are in the pot" he said cutting a small piece of cheese for the pot but instead handing it her.
She smiled and ate it.
After a few more minutes, a couple a security guys came and she ran off, clinging onto her hat as she ran. Shikamaru just sighed and make his way over to the help desk, to meet his mother.
And that was the third.
The fourth time was in her third year of her new school and his first. She was assigned to help out the first years settle in by buddying with them, they had picked her because they had used her for the scheme in her first year as well. The aim was to essentially find friends for all the weird kids, but to be honest, her buddy never did like her that much anyway, so it was pointless.
Her buddy did teach her a few things though, Like for instance, if you're a bald girl, you are going to get bullied, probably by your buddy. Oh and you can't wear tracksuits all the time, because eventually when you go and change for sports, someone will hide it, and you won't get it back.
It's probably what made her dye her hair as well, Blonde hair is always noticeable so she dyed it brown and kept it in a simple bob, so that she didn't draw attention to herself. She wore plain simple clothes, that no-one asked about and she was glad they didn't. She was embarrassed about her clothes and didn't want anybody to call her out on it. Times had been tough lately, her Ex- Dad was in a custody battle for his son and was taking everything he could get. She had learnt long ago, he wasn't her father, but she didn't want upset her mother by talking about it much, so she didn't tell Kankuro either.
Shikamaru himself didn't want a buddy. He had a few close friends that he talked to, but apart from that he remained socially outcast. He had learnt that at the start of the year when no-one would sit with him at lunch. His long ponytail always drew attention anyway, even when he tried to avoid it, the guys would snicker and the girls would ignore him, so he almost felt invisible apart from the odd teacher that would latch their selves onto him. He had learnt long ago, that he was teacher's favourite, or rather more commonly to his classmates, "Teachers pet". They knew he was smart and would often pander around him, like he was a god. He had even been offered to be moved up a grade, but he declined, it was too much trouble to go through only to be more of a social outcast in a higher grade. He often made his was up to the roof, with the food he cooked at home and would stare at the clouds often bunking things like sports and art, which he was never particularly good at. He liked cooking though, but he didn't tell anyone. So when he looked down onto the hobbies part of his sheet that he was meant to write for his buddy he just put the usual: Video games, TV and girls. Another touchy subject he didn't want to get into.
His buddy arrived a little late and didn't seem up for talking. He didn't mind though because he didn't want to be there anyway.
They sat in silence for a while before he handed over his sheet and she handed over hers. Idly he skimmed over what he deemed average replies and placed it back on the table, instead focusing on the view out of the window.
"It's nice today" She says, but he doesn't turn to look at her and only nods.
They meet up twice a week, but after a while both of them could see this was going nowhere, so they called it quits after the forth week.
And that was the forth
The fifth time, was after her expulsion from the school, her hair was dyed platinum blond and was shaved on one side, while the other covered her eyes as a fringe. She came in to get some of the stuff in her lockers that she would probably need before she went. She walked down the corridors confidently often raising a pierced eyebrow, or sticking a pierced tongue at anybody she recognised. Most people were scared of her now and she relished it, she figured it was just the piercings or the fishnets that done it, but mainly she thought it was the boots she brought the other week with spikes in them.
She had to go up to the main office first thing to sign herself in; she didn't waste time in adding her maiden name to the list. Like hell she was using her "Father's" last name as she had for the past few years when she was too ashamed to tell anyone. On the way out they assigned her a guide, because she wasn't allowed to wander freely anymore because of a certain "Incident"
The guide was a bit taller than her and bit plain, she didn't look at him much because she was a much faster walker than him, and she didn't want to wait up. He didn't seem to mind though. If he did he didn't complain anyway. She made her way to her locker, done the combination and crammed what she could into her huge rucksack before attempting walking off, not remembering where the exit was.
Shikamaru sighed as he slowly reached her locker and realised she had cleared it without him. He didn't care that much, but knew that if she got into trouble from here on it would he his fault. He casually went to run his fingers through his hair before realising that he didn't have any. Some guys had cut off his ponytail at the start of the year while he was sleeping in class, so he just shaved it off like the other guys, trying to ignore how much he hated short hair. If anything it matches his clothes anyway, he thought with a grimace. His green laced dock martins were replaced with some grey slacks after they were thrown over a telephone wire and he was unable to retrieve them. His shirt was just plain, which he hated, but after wearing an "Offensive" shirt to school last month his mother had binned what he deemed the last of his creativity. He looked into the empty locker for things he could probably bin, or sell on later. He found a small fan pendant and an unused eyebrow piercing still attached to the cardboard. He slid the pendant into his pocket, but kept hold of the eyebrow piercing, deciding again to capture what he lost in his T-shirts. He reached the exit, when the girl overtook him, he didn't really notice girls that much, but he remembered that she smelled nice like cinnamon and she had nice legs.
And that was the fifth
The sixth time was when she was eighteen and when he was sixteen. She decided to hang out at a place she had heard about from a few people she hung out with. She walked down into the gardens bopping her cherry red head to the anime music tuned on her Ipod, her hair was sitting on two buns in her hair, unfurling slightly as she bopped. She cursed as she snagged her fishnets on a twig, but decided to pretend like it was always there, like a fashion statement or something. She couldn't stay out too late today she thought to herself; after all she had to cook dinner now her mother was a high flying business woman these days. A small crowd gathered around an emerging fight and she couldn't help leaning in to see what was going on. She wasn't worried about getting hurt, she had taken on most people and won, she was hard to beat. When she saw the excuse of what she wouldn't call a fight, she sat down next to a few people she recognised, one of them offering her a drink, to which she didn't refuse.
After a few drinks she got talking to the guy, he seemed cool in her opinion: short spiked grey hair (dyed of course) New doc martins with green lace ups and an eyebrow piercing. He was obviously a bit younger than her, but she didn't mind. As long as he wasn't telling her, it wasn't lying or anything.
Kind of like when she told him her name was Haruhi. It wasn't true, but she wanted it to be.
She didn't mean to but she kissed him goodnight before she was about to leave.
He took it as an open invitation. And perhaps got a bit too passionate.
That's the only reason she could possibly explain to being at his house right now.
That and being completely smashed
She felt his arms wrap around her waist and she couldn't explain why she was responding back so positively.
It was like she had known him for whole of her life, that was the only way to explain it.
So, she ignored the fact, that his parent's were probably upstairs, and ignored the fact that she had probably lost her co-ordination and her mind about an hour ago. She embraced him tighter and fell onto the couch, knowing where this would lead from here.
"Thank you" He said
And she laughed not knowing how to respond to such a thing.
Not that she did anyway. She woke up in the morning with a killing hangover, leaving him on the couch and making her way out. Swearing that in her drunken state last night she saw a deer in his house.
When Shikamaru, heard the door slam he immediately sat upright, he looked to his side only to find it empty, and cursed a little to himself, before leaning back on the couch and smiling at his father's weird taste in deer wall paper, and even amusing himself with the couch, that he was probably going to claim as his own now, along with the paper. He went back to ask about a Haruhi but found no-one, Never again seeing the cherry haired girl at the hang out. He mourned in defeat and for the occasion dyed his hair back to black. Little did he know that a newly blond haired girl was asking the whereabouts of a certain silver haired boy. After about three months both of them gave up, and never went back to the hangout again.
And that was the sixth
The seventh time was when Shikamaru got a part time job installing bathrooms, it wasn't really his calling, he was just good at fixing things. He had a nice green truck, with a nice green sign on the side. He liked this job. He liked being called out and sleeping in his truck during the day when there was no work around. He liked being able to do things in his own time, and being able to travel to where he wanted to be. In fact he liked a lot things right now. His new apartment for one. Or rather for two.
He was sharing it at the moment, but his room-mate seemed alright, and to be honest he was never home that much anyway. With all the free time on his hands, he found himself enjoying the simple things in life. Like McD's.
Sometimes he could just imagine his life like this forever, sitting in his van with his pineapple shaped ponytail bopping to whatever was on the radio, while eating that delicious sandwich. Its not that he didn't want more than this, he just didn't want any less.
Speaking of Less, that's majorily, what Temari felt as her first year as an intern. Less than a person, less than a piece of meat, less than the money that was running this facility. To top it all off working for the abandoned ex-father, that made your mother bankrupt for the whole of your childhood from an expensive law case, and who had taken your brother away from you.
But she didn't have a choice. Being excluded early from school and having a criminal record of some kind, made you harder to employ than most people. Her Ex-father even had the nerve to tell her that she was lucky. She had to smile and bear it, knowing that in fact she was perhaps luckier than some. Having her brother take her in when she had no place to go was a perk. But she always doubted its relevance to the job. Since he had taken Gaara away he had changed a lot, and she doubted that without the job she had, that he would take her in just because of "brotherly love" anymore.
Some days she found herself slaving away, working hard for a man, who ruined her very existence.
And who didn't pay her for overtime.
Some days she would go back to the house, sighing in the luxury for an hour or two before being called back to work
"We need to get the bathroom fixed" Gaara stated one day while reading the paper as they ate breakfast.
She sighed, Gaara had picked up this habit of telling you something you needed to do in a conversational manner. Probably something he picked up from his father.
When he said "we" He meant you and by fixed, he meant redecorating, even the need was a bit suspicious at times, it probably meant "by the time I come back".
She skimmed the yellow pages as he finished his coffee and headed out.
She sighed in relief when she saw a name in the phone book immediately.
She was relieved even more when the guy on the phone said he could come around right away and probably have it done in no time.
"His voice seems familiar" She noticed before shrugging it off, it was her only day off so far. She was going to sleep.
He was surprised when he found the door open, wide and inviting to the apartment, but was settled when the note on the side said "And shut the door behind you" Obviously not burgled then.
He did as he was told and headed off towards the bathroom, taking a look around and assessing what exactly needed to be done. He liked it better this way. No demands or expectations. Just work.
When he was under the bathroom sink someone came in. A woman, he contemplated, before unscrewing the pipe and deciding not to make conversation. That was troublesome after all.
After a while, he wondered why she still stood there. Not that he could see her. No, his head was firmly under the sink still, only coming out for short breaths of air every now and again. But he felt her presence and it disturbed him a little.
Sensing his uneasiness she talked with him.
"I like having someone around me" She explained her voice echoing a little around the bathroom making it seem distorted, when he didn't even turn to look at her she said in a bitter harsh tone "I like people to look at me as well" before stomping out of the bathroom to reclaim her sleep.
When he finished a few hours later, he walked out of bathroom to try and find her. He hadn't meant to ignore her, but that pipe was going to explode if he didn't concentrate. He sighed and carefully placed his unused tiles on the floor, and collected the money she had left on the table for him. He looked around to see if the owner was in sight, but instead there was a kind note awaiting him.
"Take the money and leave"
He chuckled a bit before placing the money and the note in his pocket.
His cue to leave.
He skimmed down the stairs and pulled out his keys to unlock the car, brushing his hands against the little fan pendant that was hung around them. He looked at it for a moment, before clearing his mind and stepping into the van.
About halfway down the road he swore silently to himself.
"Left the damn tiles" He cursed turning back the car.
He was about to climb the stairs again to reclaim the tiles, when he saw the bags sitting at the bottom of the stairs, he sighed in relief making his way back to the car.
Later when Temari walked barefoot to check if the bag was taken downstairs she stepped on a small piece of something sharp.
"Ow, what the hell!" she muttered pulling the shard out of her foot, It was a piece of bright blue tile, one that she knew was probably in the bag and one she knew wasn't installed in her bathroom, and she was glad. She stared it for a moment for throwing it in the trash.
"The colour's too bright" she muttered ascending the stairs trying to ignore her throbbing foot in process
That was the seventh
The eighth time, was the first and last day he was her assistant. He was dressed in a plain shirt, and a black tie and a black suit, his hair was still up in his signature ponytail. He walked into the office calmly, though suspicious. They didn't even give him an interview.
To him that was strange. Good that he didn't have to go. But strange nonetheless.
He didn't want this job, but work was down lately and he needed the money.
A man, with purple tattoos ushered him to the desk while making small talk.
Apparently he hadn't been working here long too; he had got the job after a couple of family members suggested it, to in his words "Clean his act up"
Shikamaru narrowed his eyes as the man held an amusing grin while sharing the thought. It was quite personal, so he didn't know how to take it.
The man left, and Shikamaru sat and wondered what the hell he was doing.
They hadn't exactly told him that much.
For all he knew he would be sitting behind a desk all day, doing nothing.
So for the first two hours he waited expectantly. And by the third he was asleep.
He should have been woken by the intercom beeping by his head, or the loud ringing telephone or even by the click of anxious heels walking to the office. But he wasn't and that made all of the difference.
In the conference room, Temari was pacing anxiously. This was the big moment: her promotion. She had it all planned: the presentation, the happy responses and then the promotion she already knew about. Gaara smiled and nodded to her in the way in and she was about to head to the screen when a hand on her shoulder stopped her.
"I gave it to Nicholson"
And there was the moment, the moment that she realised that would of always happened.
He bailed on her again.
Gaara frowned at the back of the audience as he saw a man approach the stage that wasn't her, but Temari didn't.
She applauded, loud and furiously, even when everybody else stopped.
When her so called father tried to force her to sit dignified she bit her lip and refused.
How could she sit when all he ever seemed to do was pull the chair from underneath her?
When he tried more forcefully, She went for him.
Gaara had to run forward and stop her, she was persistent but not brutal.
She shook him hard, wanting him to see that this wasn't about the promotion.
It was about how he took money from her trust fund, it was about how he hadn't let her see her mother in two months, and it was about that promise he made her to protect everyone.
And that promise he made all those years ago that no matter what he would love her all the same.
But that was wrong, because he would always put a man before her.
Gaara, the male lover he ran off with. And now Nicholson.
It was the last straw.
And Gaara seemed to agree, So he told his father where he could stick his company, and dragged his sister out.
Wide eyed Temari stared at him "You..." She stuttered tears building up in her eyes.
"I'm starting anew" He said " With my own company"
Temari burst into tears, her own brother giving it all up. For her.
Not knowing how to deal with the situation Gaara patted her heartily on the back.
"There was no need to promote Nicholson" He added glaring back to conference room
"He was being an Ass"
Temari chuckled a little, snorting through her tears. First time she had ever heard him swear.
"I'll get Kankuro" Gaara said reassuringly "Go get your stuff and we'll leave"
She nodded running back to her desk.
Where a certain Lazy assistant was next to.
She grabbed everything from her desk and crammed it into her oversized bag that was hidden under her desk. The loud noise startled the young assistant next to her and not wanting to be seen crying she turned away from him.
He heard her still and handed his handkerchief to the back of her hand, and fell asleep again, dazed, confused and dreaming of his favourite cloud watching spot.
She sighed clearing the remnants of her tears and striding off into the distance.
With the handkerchief in hand.
And a determined look on her face.
That was the eighth
The ninth wasn't really a meeting.
He had just quit his job to start his own tiling company, and she was trying to build her brother's business.
They met on the Bus.
She was on her way to the meeting that could change it all. The business that could finally give her enough money to move out of the brother's place. And he was on his way to the library to photocopy the flyers that he had for a new roomate. Hoping that this time, they didn't wreck the apartment.
The bus doors opened and she crammed in all of her folders and files she was going to study on the way, in her daze to get on they ended up spilling from her arms and layering across the bus floor.
He saw her frantically picking up her papers and making her way to the back of the bus, so in kindness of the situation, he gave up his seat. They shared a small smile before he moved to the back of the bus.
He sighed. Giving up his bus seat meant that he was now crammed between two bulky men.
His eyes narrowed at the figure at the front of the bus.
"Tch" He said under his breath as the man next to him elbowed him for the sixth time
"What I'll do for a stranger" He muttered
And that was forgotten.
A:N: Now go back and read the first part ;)