Welcome to Wing's new fic:) This will probably be a four- or five-shot. Reviews will make for faster updates:)
Sum: "Temari, there's no such thing as the Zombie plague," Kankuro mutters. "You're wrong," she rasps. "I'm definitely a plague victim." Her hands tremble as she dry heaves; she would rather die of the Zombie Plague than be pregnant. ShikaTem:)
"I got a man who makes me want to die
I got a man who makes the devil pale
I got a man who makes me want to kill
I got a man who makes me want to kill, yeah."
~"Man" by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, from the album "Fever to Tell."
"Oh gods," Temari moans. "Oh sweet, sweet gods." She'd like to say more—perhaps curse the rotting corpses from whence she picked up this pathogen—but she cannot. For the third time that morning, her stomach is in her mouth, and she loses what little breakfast she had left, as well as last night's dinner, and even the thought of food itself.
She's on her knees and shaking, while Kankuro pushes back the hair plastered to her sweating scalp. She makes a hacking sound, then spits away the last of the gummy saliva. "Konkuro," she moans, taking the proffered handkerchief. She mops her face with one hand while steadying herself against a tree trunk with the other. Dimly, she notes that she is shaking all over and that she can't stop.
"Shit Temari, how much did you drink last night?"
Temari is swishing fresh water in her mouth, her canteen clutched in white fingers. "Nothing, asshole," she snaps, once she spits out the green-tinted water. She wishes she had time to brush her teeth; unfortunately, she has lost her toothpaste between here and Konoha. "I didn't drink last night."
Konkuro screws up his face, like he's caught between laughter and concern. "Like I'll believe that. You're the biggest drinker in all the ten legions," he offers. His jocular tone fades, however, when Temari is forced back on her knees by another round of retching.
"I didn't drink last night," Temari reiterates between stomach spasms. There isn't much left to vomit but bile itself; it burns the back of her throat and the inside of her nostrils. Konkuro, his brow creased in concern, holds back her hair against her clammy brow as she shudders. She wipes her face again with the damp hanky, then blows her nose free of green snot wads.
"Are you sure you didn't drink, sis?" Konkuro ventures.
Temari nods, slumping against the nearby tree. "Even the smell of alcohol made me feel sick last night," Temari rasps, her green eyes squeezed shut against the ensuing vertigo. "I didn't drink anything. Not today, and not anything this entire week; I keep telling you, but you never believe me!"
"Shit. You're definitely not well if you're passing up alcohol," Konkuro muses. He presses his lips together until they turn white around the edges. "You've been puking every morning for a week now, but nothing this bad…"
"I think I caught the Zombie Plague," Temari hisses, mopping the sweat off her brow with her grimy uniform sleeve, for Konkuro's handkerchief is now throughly soiled.
"There's…no such thing as the zombie plague, Temari-chan," he mutters. It's something he's repeated, as if by rote, for the past week, but every time he says it, he becomes less sure. "Shit. What if there really is a zombie plague?" Konkuro whispers. "That's it, Temari. I'm going to carry you the rest of the way home—we've got to get you to the hospital."
"No. I'm fine." She shoves herself off the tree and stands on wobbly feet. After all, she's the god-damned Zombie-Slayer of the Sand, the Deadly Princess; she's been decorated with all ten medals of honor by the military council, and she even has a shiny badge or two from Konoha and Lightning for excellence in service. "I can walk, dammit," she snarls, willing the vertigo to just go away. But the lurching sensation doesn't subside despite her force of will, and she ends up falling into Konkuro's arms.
Temari is barely aware of Konkuro holding her close to his chest, oblivious to the bile and streaks of green snot covering her own uniform and inevitably getting all over him. She can hear him, dimly, shouting at Gaara, before taking off out of the tree-line and onto the open, sandy plains bordering the Wind Country. She moans; the sun is so bright, it pierces her closed eyelids and makes her vision swim red.
Konkuro covers her with fabric, though she is not sure what it is; perhaps it is an old shirt, or a bed sheet. She is too miserable to consider anything as she curls up like a kitten in his arms and squeezes her eyes shut against the light and her rising nausea.
She must have blacked out, for when Temari opens her eyes again, the cruel desert sun is no longer beating down on her through thin fabric. There is an IV dripping saline solution into her arm, and she is in a cool, comfortable bed.
Just the sensation of laying down on a mattress is soothing; she had been bivouacking with the troops for the past few months, demanding no comforts despite her station. Just a simple, army-standard tent, sleeping pad, and nondescript sleeping-bag, that's what she has called home for way too long.
Of course, there were the times she stayed over at his house, after the war was over and the company camped in Konoha. But those occasions were few and far between, and not at all meaningful in any way, shape, or form, she assures herself.
"Uhhhhhhg," she groans, and Kankuro is by her side in a flash.
"Hey baby sis, how are you feeling?"
Temari manages to glare at him, and is pleased when the action does not cause the room to lurch, nor her stomach to flip inside-out. "I'm older than you," she rasps, her voice barely audible over the hum of medical equipment.
"But you're so wittle," Kankuro cooes, wagging his eyebrows at her.
"You're such an ass-clown," Temari mutters, closing her eyes with a frown. "Where's the doctor? Am I dying of plague? What—"
"You're fine," Kankuro breaks in. Temari opens her eyes to see Kankuro's relieved smile. "You just got dehydrated with all your puking, that's all. Geez, sis, you had me worried."
Temari slumps back on her pillows, the tension leaving her body all at once. "So I don't have the plague?" she asks. She curses herself for sounding like a plaintive child.
"The doctors don't think so. See, what did I say, there's no such thing as Zombie Plague, little sis."
Temari sighs and flings her arms over her head. "I'm not your little sis."
"But you're so wittle—"
"Kankuro," she snarls, "once I stop feeling like shit, I am going to kill you, you fucking—"
"Oh, here comes the doctor, I'd better go!" Kankuro calls over his shoulder. "See you later, little sister!"
Temari reaches into her holster for a kunai, but alas, it seems her weapons have been removed from her person while she was convulsing with food poisoning, or the flu, or most likely, the Zombie Plague; Temari is not totally convinced that the Plague is fictional, no matter what Kankuro says. She's read the medical texts about air-borne pathogens; she can't imagine that it's very hygienic to hack through hundreds, if not thousands, of half-rotted corpses.
Temari runs her hands over her face. Her skin feels cold and clammy, and she can still smell the acrid stench of bile clinging to her body. Gods, what she wouldn't do for a shower. It seems like the gods have other plans though, for a sycophantic doctor is at her elbow, a taunt smile plastered on her face.
"We'd like to run a few tests, now that you are awake, Temari-sama," the doctor murmurs smoothly. Temari would like to strangle her. "But first," the doctor intones, procuring a clip-board from her lab coat, "a few questions. Temari-sama, were you drinking at all the night before?"
"No," Temari snarls.
"Temari-sama," the doctor continues in that blithe, silky tone, "Did you perhaps eat bad sushi? Or—"
"I haven't eaten anything more than bread crusts and sips of water for the past four days," Temari snaps. Gods, she hates doctors. Perhaps it was wise that whoever it was—probably Kankuro, now that she thinks about it—has removed her ninja tools. He knows how Temari feels about medical professionals.
"Temari-sama, when was the last day of your period?"
"Enough with the fucking questions," Temari growls. "Just run your tests so I can get out of here!"
"I'm sorry, Temari-sama," the doctor replies in a honeyed tone," but protocol demands that I receive answers to all of the standard questions before we can proceed. Temari-sama, when was the last day of your period?"
Temari sighs, covering her eyes with her hands. "I just came back from a war zone. I didn't have time for periods," she mutters wearily.
"Temari-sama, were you taking your contraceptive pills regularly?"
"I think so. I mean, most of the time. I mean, you know, I was hacking up zombies and…hmm. I probably stopped taking them after the first month of the war. But I still didn't get a period," Temari protests, not wanting this god-damned doctor to chastise her. "It was too stressful; I don't get my period when I'm stressed out. So…"
"Temari-sama," the doctor chimes, "do you remember the last day of your period?"
Temari suppresses a groan. "Two months ago-ish."
"Two months ago-ish, Temari-sama?"
"Were you sexually active during the course—"
"No! Yes! No! Well, yes. But just once," Temari sputters. And then, more gruffly, as an aside to herself: "If you can call that inept groping sex…"
"Temari-sama, you had sex once? When was that, Temari-sama?"
"Please, just Temari," she snaps, losing her patience. "And I have patient confidentiality, right? I swear to the gods, if anyone finds out—"
"No one will find out, Temari-sama. Please just answer the question Temari-sama, so we can get to the testing," the doctor breaks in, a saccharine smile stretched out across her face. "When did you have sexual intercourse, Temari-sama?"
Gods, I hate my life. "I don't see what any of this has to do with getting Zombie Plague, but fine. I had it the night after we won the war. I was drunk on adrenaline and I wasn't thinking, okay? Can we get on with the exam now?"
"Yes, Temari-sama. Please drink this. I'll take some blood samples; when your bladder is full, I'd like you to pee into a cup. Okay, Temari-sama?"
"Please, don't call me Temari-sama. Just—Temari," she growls. She gulps down the cool water the doctor hands to her, then she is poked and prodded and otherwise has her personal space violated. "Doctor—is there such thing as Zombie Plague—" Temari begins, but she is cut off by the doctor's authoritative, irritating voice.
"I don't think so. No. I would say no, Temari-sama," the doctor murmurs as she jabs a vein in Temari's arm.
Eventually, Temari has to pee, and the orange cup labeled with her name is full. The doctor takes it with a gloved hand and strides out of the room, armed with vials of Temari's blood and piss.
Exhausted, Temari lays down on the hospital bed and stares out of the window. She's happy to be home; those Konoha nin were getting on her nerves. She's glad that she no longer has to share command of a joint legion of shinobi with those irritating Konoha nin. Gods, she really hates Konoha right now. If Konoha were blasted off the face of the earth, she wouldn't lose any sleep. Not a wink.
Temari snorts at her own stupidity. Who is she fooling. She hates one man, and one man alone; the fact that he's from Konoha means nothing. Fucking cock-sucking son of a bitch. She wouldn't care if the scorpions came and stung him to death, ate his putrid flesh, and left his bones to bleach white in the desert sun. She wouldn't care if he was caught in a wind-stom and had his skin flailed from his body, piece by bloody piece. And if he fell into a den of desert wasps, and was stung to death by their deadly poison, she wouldn't be the one crying. No siree. Not Temari.
She closes her eyes and remembers the last time she saw his stupid face, those dark, handsome eyebrows furrowed in thought, his bottomless-black eyes, his—
Shut up, Temari, she chides herself. You're not some moon-struck camel; you're not some starry-eyed maiden at the spring festival. You're the Princess of Wind, the Hidden Terror of the Sand, the Kunoichi of the Wind-Blades; the wielder of the Secret Sand Sealing Jutsu. Besides, Temari muses with a wry grin, she is way better than Shikamaru; she outclasses him on every level.
She can beat him in Shogi nine times out of ten; she can kick his ass in hand-to-hand combat and in long range techniques without breaking into a sweat. How many times had she saved his stupid, useless hide from enraged zombie hordes? To many times to count. Gods. What a waste of space. What an ass-clown. I can't believe I lost my virginity to an ass-clown, Temari muses with a sigh, though her eyes glaze over with a dreamy look.
Her lips turn up in the ghost of a smile. The smile quickly fades, however, as those infamous last words rumble through her head, echoing like a bad pop song, a catchy refrain that she can't quite shake: "Of course you're my girlfriend. Why not stay in Konoha?"
Temari trembles with rage at the memory. The Sand army had bivouacked outside of Konoha on the way back to Wind Country; it had been en route, and the troops were tired. Besides, Konoha had better medical facilities than the Sand, and so they were stuck in the dark forests for two weeks before they could move on.
"I'll admit it," Temari mutters to the air. "I enjoyed hanging out with that moron. That stupid, smart, idiot. But I was never his girlfriend." Temari snorts at her own theatrics. Sure, she and Shika had spent a few weeks filing mission reports together, and smoking cigarettes, and going out for drinks after work; but that was where it ended.
Well, not really. If Temari is honest with herself, they did end up sleeping together, but just once. Or was it twice? Hmmm. Temari sighs again, then slaps herself in the face. "Come on, woman. It was just casual sex. Stop acting like a sand cat mewing at the moon." She crosses her arms across her chest and glowers at the white plaster walls.
Of course you're my girlfriend… What a stuck-prick. She is a Sand Princess; she's not someone's bloody girlfriend, least of all his girlfriend. Barf. Why not just stay in Konoha? Ha. Ha. The desert is her home, with its rolling, open hills and arid climate. She hates Konoha in the summer, the way the humidity makes her sweat and stink like a pig. She hates how the immense trees block out the sun and sky.
What did he think she was, some civilian chit? She was the bloody Hand-of-the-Winds, the Destroyer-of-the-Dead; she wasn't his bloody wench. Tch. He was good for the occasional drinking binge and romp in the sack. After that first, awkward time in her tent (gods, that had been insanity, fucking like bunnies right in the middle of the barracks), he seemed to get the swing of things, and Temari had been happy to visit his bed on occasion.
But she was not his girlfriend, and she told him so in no uncertain terms. Fucking Konoha men; bunch of softies. You have sex with them one time and then they think you owe them something. Well, sure, it had been more one time, but still. She'd like to throw him off the highest turret of the Kazekage's tower for his insolence. Stay in Konoha. Be his girlfriend. Ha. She'd rather die of the Zombie Plague.
"Oh fuck it, where the hell is that doctor?" Temari snarls, sitting up in bed and glowering at the door. As if on cue, the doctor strides in with that fake, plastic smile on her face.
"Good news, Temari-sama!" the doctor coos.
"You mean I don't have plague?" Temari growls. "Just tell me I don't have the plague so I can go home."
The doctor gives Temari a bird-like look, a look that is quizzical and amused all at once. Temari's hands twitch to smack that look right off of her face, but she grits her teeth and forces down the urge to kill her physician. "Congratulations, Temari-sama!"
"Thank the gods," Temari moans, "I'm not dying of plague. Can I go now?"
The doctor titters at that; Temari wants to snap the doctor's head off of her thin neck. "You didn't let me finish, Temari-sama," the doctor chides in a gentle yet mocking tone. "You don't have the plague; you're pregnant."
"Okay, great. No plague. I can go home and file my reports and—wait. What. What did you say?" she hisses, her eyes wide with fear. She hasn't felt this terrified since she saw Uchiha Madara, revived in all his zombie glory, on the battlefield.
"You're pregnant," the doctor states; the slow, sibilant syllables are spoken softly, but to Temari it sounds like the roar of a wind storm.
"That's not possible…" Temari breathes. But as she adds up all the obvious facts, she realizes that it is possible. It is, in fact, overwhelmingly possible. "No," she whispers, clutching at her abdomen with sticky hands.
"Congratulations, Temari-sama," the doctor murmurs. "I'll let you tell your brother yourself; he's just outside.
Temari doesn't see Konkuro come in until he's directly beside her and poking her in the shoulder. "Hey sis, doctor says there's nothing wrong with you. What's…?"
"The doctors don't know shit," Temari whispers. "I'm definitely dying of plague." Without warning, Temari's stomach rebells. She runs to the toilet just in time to vomit up watery bile while hot tears streak her face. Konkuro holds her hair up out of her face—just like he's done for the past week—and sighs.
"There's no such thing as the Zombie plague," Konkuro mutters, with conviction this time. "The doctors told me so."
Temari coughs and sputters over the rim of the toilet. "They're wrong," she rasps. "I'm definitely a Zombie Plague victim." Her hands tremble around the bowl of the toilet as she dry heaves, wishing that her words were true.
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