A/N: First and foremost these characters don't belong to me. I plucked them out the Naruto-verse to play with for a while.
Secondly, this is more fluff. Third, thank you to all the Naruto fanfic writers. I have trouble distinguishing between the canon personalities and the lively personalities you have brought to the table. Lastly, this is fluff. I know I said that but to be clear, you will not cry, your heart won't break and this story will not change your life. Please enjoy.

"Ino, leave Temari alone. It was hard enough to get her to come over in the first place." Sakura admonished her best friend but the smile on her face totally ruined the effect of her words.

"What? I'm not doing anything?" Ino protested knowing full well what she was up too.

Like a trooper TenTen stepped into the opening, "You keep trying to imply that she's dating your teammate Shikamaru, just because this is the first time she's managed to drag herself from his side to hang out in four solid months of us badgering her to join in girls night. Evidently this is the first time she could change plans with her beau." TenTen looked up from her freshly painted toenails to grin at the room.

Hinata interrupted the teasing, "Be nice." She was genuinely fond of the Suna princess and hoped this would be the first of many evenings she would spend in her company. She feared her friends had only invited Temari over to pry.

Temari unperturbed, answered, "Have you considered I have not wanted to participate in girls night? Maybe I prefer Nara's undemanding company." She sat at Ino's vanity plucking her eyebrows, less because they needed it, but to have something to do in Ino's garishly girly room. Her senses were bombarded with the pink overload, ruffles and lace. She didn't think real girls has rooms like this, especially not kunoichi. Even knowing Ino these past several years she was still surprised by the cliche.

"She admits it. She likes his company. They are so dating." Ino grinned.

"If they were dating, Temari-chan would say so." Hinata spoke up, "She is brave and would say so at once to the whole world. She would not be afraid of us." Hinata giggled trying to picture a blushing Temari, afraid of them.

"She does have a point. Unlike some girls, who shall remain nameless, she wouldn't go around years and years with an unrequited crush. She would pursue it." TenTen got the expected blush from Hinata but cringed inside, knowing Neji would have her ass if he knew she put his cousin on the spot.

"This is true. If I wanted Nara, he would be mine. Plain and simple." Temari acknowledged to her reflection while taking time to check on her blushing friend. Hinata worked her nerves with her timid personality but Temari was genuinely fond of the girl. She met TenTen's eyes by reflection to silently warn her to go easy on Hinata. "Besides, Ino you and Nara are tight. Surely, if we were together he would have told you."

Sakaru, who was hard at work concentrating on carefully moving the flat irons through Ino's long blond hair snorted loudly, "Hardly. Not unless he felt the need for everyone to know."

It was Temari's turn to snort, "Why wouldn't he want everyone to know he's dating me. All vanity aside," for Temari wasn't a vain girl, just a brashly honest one, "I'm hot, dangerous and older, the boy would be proud in his repressed lazy way." Temari eyes met her own in the mirror, letting an affectionate smile slip into place, her features softening as she thought about his mannerisms. He was the most unique individual she had ever met. She didn't notice how the room got quiet as they watched her think about him. It never occurred to her they would watch for a tell to confirm this supposed romance. As a ninja she knew about gathering information but as girl reared with brothers and a power hungry father who disdained social relations she didn't know anything about having girlfriends.

"So, umm Temari what were you and Shika going to do tonight until we stole you?" Ino asked with as much nonchalance as she could bear.

"A movie. You know that new spy thriller? Well, not so new now but we agreed to wait until I was Konoha so we could go together. The reviews have been pretty bad so neither of us was particularly eager to see it but it was something to do." Temari moved on to Ino's makeup. She didn't wear the stuff, her life was too active and downright bloody at times to be bothered. She picked up bottles, tubes and tubs looking for a suitable foundation. Ino's coloring was lighter than hers but it didn't surprise Temari to find a full set of summer makeup in darker shades. If she had looked up she would have seen the gaping expression on Sakura's face.

TenTen stage whispered, "They have a standing date but she denies they are dating. What the hell?"

"I told you," Ino gloated.

"A standing date? Get real." Temari dismissed the girl. "Hey Ino, come show me how to put this stuff on." Temari held up a tub of foundation.

Ino was surprised but agreed eagerly, ready to paint on a new palate. Sakura called TenTen to the chair to take Ino's spot. She was in her flat ironing grove and wanted to keep going.

Ino had inside knowledge and was not going to get off topic. "So Temari what do you and Shika do after these non-date night movies?"

"Not much, have a few drinks, play some pool with the fellas. Shikamaru is really good at it. He says pool all about the angles. Sometimes I don't play but rake in the dough on side bets. It lines my purse nicely. We clean up in Suna where people don't know him. He's a bona fide pool shark." Temari's eyes were closed so she couldn't see the incredulous looks on the girls faces.

"Are you bragging on your boyfriend? I mean, that sounded like a boyfriend brag to me." TenTen stated from across the room.

"You mean like when you go on about how soft Neji's hair is?" Sakura asked. TenTen turned to look daggers at her but Sakura snatched the girl's head back in place and threatened to burn her with the flat iron if she moved again and said, "It sounded just like that to me, a boyfriend brag."

"No, its called giving credit where credit is due. He's good at pool. That's all I'm saying." Temari remained relaxed giving Ino a reason to keep going.

"So what comes after pool?"

"We go to my room at the embassy and hump like rabbits. No, on second thought we don't. We say good night and see you tomorrow."

Sakura grinned but Ino held her hand up in a 'but wait' gesture. "Do you always go back to your room?"

Unabashed Temari answered, "Though you probably know this already, some nights I go to the Nara compound and spend the night, especially if I've been drinking a lot. I sleep in the guest room. Surely you don't think Shika would behave disrespectfully in his parents' house. Ino you know he has more honor than that. As ass backwards as it might be, he is truly a gentleman."

"Mmm Hmm, when a guy is not my boyfriend I constantly brag on him too." Ino nodded then quickly dodged the half-hearted jab Temari threw her way. "Be still. Besides I know Shika didn't invite you, Aunt Yoshino did."

"That's right. Finally you have something straight. Yoshino has invited me to spend weekends with her whenever I'm in Konoha. She keeps the room ready for me." Temari said this like it explained everything.

"Yo-Yoshino is nice to you?" Hinata stammered out. Yoshino was scary like a dragon. She had never been rude to Hinata, most people wouldn't dare with a Huuyga, but she knew the fear Shikamura had of his mother and Yoshino's general reputation as a battle axe.

"Yoshino and I get along great. She has invited me to make her home my home whenever I'm in Konoha but that wouldn't look right. I would lose all credibility as an ambassador," Temari explained. She knew Yoshino's reputation too but didn't bother to explain that, Yoshino, beneath her current role as domestic goddess, was primarily a warrior. Warriors respect strength. Once she realized Temari couldn't be bullied or otherwise punked, they were fine.

Ino looked triumphantly at the room. "Are you all getting this. It's not just me, right?"

"We're getting it all right, loud and clear. The future female head of the Nara clan gets along with the current one." Sakura sang out.

"Shikamaru and I have been friends for years. In all this time don't you guys think I would have met his parents? Why wouldn't I get along with them? Anyway, Ino put some of that blue stuff on my eyes." Temari approved of the work so far, liking the way the foundation smoothed her skin and hid the tiny battle scars. She briefly wished she had more medical nin in Suna provided they weren't as annoying as these girls.

"Ignore them Temari. Lee and I have sleepovers all the time cause we're friends and boys love sleepovers. Oh wait, we don't because Lee would try to fuck me, like any other teenage boy. Now Neji and I do have sleepovers but we are fucking so..."

"Oh shut up already. You are not fucking Neji." Temari exclaimed.

"I want to though and if we ever have a sleepover at my place I WILL have sex with him. Uh huh you betcha even if genjutsu is involved to get his cooperation." TenTen fell silent staring off into space.

"Do you have this planned out TenTen?" Temari laughed at the girl whereas Hinata made a mental note to warn her cousin that TenTen was out to take advantage of him. She blushed at the very thought of speaking of such with her cousin. Maybe she would only say Tenten had designs on him. Yes, that was better. Hinata sighed with relief until it occurred her Neji might like those designs, he might use what Hinata told him to to get TenTen to into bed. Maybe she shouldn't say anything at all.

"I don't have any specific plan, just to, you know, do him whenever the slightest opportunity presents itself. Oh Neji-kun, did you cut yourself? Let me blow you to make it better."

The girls guffawed doubting TenTen would never behave that way.

"Poor Neji has no idea what's in store for him." Getting control of herself Ino returned to her topic with the tenacity of a pitbull. "But that's old news. Temari I'll leave you alone if you tell us what you did for your birthday."

Temari groaned.

Ino was alarmed, "What? You don't like your makeup?"

"No, I like it. Do my lips next."

"Why'd you groan?" Ino asked.

"Because you're going to make something out of nothing again." Temari answered.

"Oh that." Ino brightened. "Who came to see you on your birthday?"

"He was there on a mission." Temari answered aggravated.

"Uh huh. I know he was there on a mission at the Kazekage's request. Wonder what that mission was?" Ino asked although she could care less what the answer was.

"I am not privy to absolutely everything Gaara does. He and Nara worked alone in his office."

"I bet the mission scroll read," Sakura abandoned TenTen's hair to unroll her fake scroll, "Nara Shikamaru is requested to come to Suna for my sister's birthday for it is known nothing would make her happier than a visit from her longtime boyfriend who is a perfect gentleman who'd never have sex with her before marriage, therefore he's safe and kid brother approved."

Temari silently fumed and decided she wouldn't tell about Nara's visit. She certainly wouldn't tell them how ridiculously happy she was to find him there on her birthday. They couldn't seem to understand Shikamaru was her first real friend outside her brothers. In fact she wouldn't hesitate to say he was her best friend in the world. Her Dad was a colossal asshole who planted a monster in her baby brother who in turn was a homicidal maniac for years on end. Oddly enough this dynamic duo ensured her peers avoided her like a deadly plague. These girls took their easy friendship and camaraderie for granted. They had no idea how fortunate they were.

"Birthdays are a big deal. I'm glad Shikamaru was there to celebrate yours. What did you do for fun?" Hinata asked. Had it been anyone but Hinata Temari would have said, "Go fuck yourself" but it was Hinata and those words would have killed the poor thing. Temari could see Hinata turning red all over and passing out dead on the floor. However did that girl end up a ninja? Princess, she could see Hinata being perfect for that job. Sit here, be pretty and drink tea. Hinata could rock that in ways Temari never could. It was just as well Father wanted a warrior.

"We had a small family dinner. It was very nice." Temari answered.

"Eh, sounds dull to me." TenTen gave her unsolicited opinion then asked, "What did he give you? Hey Sakura, the mission scroll did remind him to bring a gift, right?"

"Absolutely. Shika would not have forgotten but Gaara included it all the same." Sakura laughed at her own joke. "TenTen your hair is done. Hinata you're up next."

'Har Har. Very funny." Temari crossed her arms on her chest, a clear signal she was annoyed. "He gave me a dozen roses and a box of chocolate just like last year and the year before!"

Jaws dropped around the room and eyes bulged. Sakura screamed, "What?"

"Forehead keep it down,"Ino yelled even louder than Sakura. "My parents are home. I can't believe you fell for that. People think I'm the dumb blond. So Temari-chan what did your non-boyfriend give you for your birthday?"

Temari considered for a bit, "Um, how about none of your business."

"How can it not be my business? Everything is my business. You can tell me easy, or if I must I'll wait for Kankuro to come to town. He will tell my breasts anything. If he decides to hold out all I have to do is bounce in place for no reason at all. He's got to be a serious security problem for the Sand." Ino giggled at Temari's incredulous face.

Hinata tittered with a modest giggle of her own, "It's true Temari, ask him what color my eyes are. I don't think he's ever seen them."

"Forehead, I guess that's a problem you don't have?" Ino baited Sakura.

Sakura furrowed her brow and tore her mouth open to scream before clamping it shut seeming to think better of it then unable to help her self, hissed, "Ino-Pig you dress like a whore. I never wanted to have to tell you that, but you forced me. You dress like a cheap whore at that!"

"Please, my clothes aren't cheap and you're just jealous. Breastless wonder, even if you put them on you would still look like a dried up old lady. I'm telling you, stop waiting for Sasuke and let someone sample that youthful bloom." Ino winked at Sakura not in the least bit disturbed. Temari gaped. She couldn't imagine letting someone call her a cheap whore and not committing a justifiable homicide.

"Youthful bloom?", TenTen piped up, "Is that a Rock Lee reference? You want Sakura-chan to hook up with my teammate. What he lacks in being a twisted psycho he will more than make in loyalty and enthusiasm. You want me to tell him to come see you? He would love to have a sleepover with you Sakura-chan. Be warned he's going to ineptly try to get in your panties because he's a normal teenage boy unlike Shikamaru."

TenTen approached Temari with Ino's manicure kit,"You don't think we forgot about you Temari? We still want to know what Shikamaru got you for your birthday. I have breasts, two to the them, and I have no fear of interrogating Kankuro with both. It might make Neji jealous. I hope it makes make Neji jealous. Can I do your fingernails now?"

"Sure, knock yourself out." Temari didn't understand their insatiable impulse to groom her, but saw no reason to stop them.

"Please leave Temari alone," Hinata pleaded. "She doesn't have to tell us anything. It was very nice of Shikamaru to come on your birthday. I'm sure whatever he gave you was thoughtful."

"He gave me an orchid. A potted orchid for my conservatory. Make what you can of that."

Ino, the resident flower expert, intoned, "Orchids have many meaning; love and beauty plus they are difficult to maintain. Shika lurves you and he thinks you're beautiful and troublesome. Hah! Got it in one."

"It could mean I like growing plants, having seen my conservatory he knows I didn't have an orchid so he got me one for my birthday. Do you guys blow everything out of proportion?" Temari couldn't see anything in the gesture except it was very kind and thoughtful.

Ino danced away from Temari to take center position in the room to draw all eyes to herself, "Let the record show that Shikamaru purchased one blooming orchid from Yamanaka Flowers, walked three days caring for a finicky plant, protecting it from the elements including a stretch of desert all because Temari said months ago, "I would like to add orchids but the flower shop in Suna doesn't carry them." If a boy who is not my boyfriend did that for me, you know what?" Ino stopped for a dramatic pause.

"You'd blow him?" TenTen answered. Ino should have known better than to give TenTen an opening.

"No! Maybe? Probably." Ino lost her momentum, "No, I was going to say I would marry him. TenTen you ruined my speech and what's with you and blow jobs? You bring them up at the oddest times. What the hell was Guy Sensei teaching?"

"That one can become insanely hyperactive without regular sexual release. See I'm trying to save Neji-kun from a life of ridicule."

"TenTen you're obsessed, you know that, right?" Ino squinted at the girl but TenTen only smiled. "All I'm saying if a regular guy did that, you should seriously consider him. If a guy as lazy and as unmotivated as Shika..."

"Knock it off dammit!" Temari's outburst had the girls scrambling back to put some distance between and them and the angry Suna warrior. They looked from one to another knowing they had gone too far. "Stop calling him lazy!" No one bothered to point out she called him that all the time. ""Shikamaru is from a long line of deer keepers. He is patient and gentle. It wouldn't do for him to be hyper or need constant activity. What he lacks in drive he makes up with his active mind that's saved all of your asses including mine on occasion."

Seeing her new friends sufficiently cowering, Temari asked where the bathroom was and head held high, regally swept out the room.

Sakura almost burst open waiting for the door to shut to start up, "That was unbelievable, fucking unbelievable. I don't know what to say..."

"Me either," TenTen was, for once, at a loss.

"I know what to say," Ino grinned, "Told you so."

"I can't say your point is proven, Ino." Hinata addressed the group. You haven't gotten Temari-chan to admit to a relationship nor have you proven one. It is evident they care a great deal for about each other but don't we all care about each other. You all came to see me on my birthday bearing gifts that were both thoughtful and kind. You are my friends like Shika is Temari's friend."

"Hinata we are your friends and your birthday was a special occasion but your house is three minutes from mine, quite a bit different from a three day walk." Ino said.

"Be nice Ino you have already upset Temari and you risk upsetting Shikamaru and through him Choji. Please lay off Temari. If she were romantically involved with Shikamaru she would tell us."

Ino considered Hinata's words. "I don't mind pushing Temari's buttons for all her kick-ass attitude she is pretty level-headed. Shika too, but I would hate to upset my Choji-dumpling."

"Yeah, he thinks the sun sets on your narrow ass. I didn't see that one coming. How did you come to choose him anyway." TenTen unabashedly started stripping down to put on her pajamas. The other girls were also changing but in more modest stances, backs turned and Hinata was behind the open closet door.

Ino explained, "Choji has the one thing I require in a husband, a complete inability to say 'no' to me. Besides I don't have to diet with Choji."

"You mean you're gonna quit your obsession with being skinny?" Temari said from the door. She had scrubbed the makeup off, although she fully intended to have Ino show her again in the morning. She was wearing pajamas, a loose pair of brown cotton bottoms and a plain olive green t-shirt.

"Choji would love me just the same even if I gained 300 pounds but I meant when I'm with Choji its hard enough for me to get enough to eat much less too much. The diet plan will built into the marriage." Ino smiled dreamily either thinking about her much loved Choji-dumpling or at being thin forever.

Temari knelt to prepare her bed roll and again the room fell silent. Hinata was the first to speak. "Temari is that, is that the Nara clan symbol on the back of your t-shirt?" Hinata giggled, "Temari-chan, I would be honored to be your maid-of-honor." Hinata's giggle turned into a full laugh. "You will need one soon."

"Hinata, you too?" Temari groaned.

"I'm sorry Temari, but you are wearing his clan symbol."

"So what? Its comfortable. I got it at his clan reunion a couple months back." Temari explained. "Its just a night shirt. It's not like I wear it out."

"You went to the Nara Clan reunion?" Ino stammered.

"Yeah, what's the big deal?" Temari sat up to ask the room.

"I've never been to a Nara clan gathering!" Ino said.

"Have you ever asked to go?" Temari thought it was pretty simple, if she wanted to go she should have asked.

"Do you mean have I ever asked my godfather, Uncle Shikaku or Aunt Yoshino, the woman who delivered me, changed my diapers and calls me very favorite niece, if I could attend? The answer is yes. Their answer was no. Even when my father asked on my behalf the answer was still no. Attending any Nara gathering is a medical nin's dream."

Sakura said, "Lady Tsunade asked if she, Shizune or myself could attend and Shikaku said no to the freaking Hokage! But he said yes to you. Wonder why that is? Granted you don't have our medical know how so you wouldn't be able use any of the information they exchange but they let you an outsider from another village into their inner circle."

Temari shrugged but didn't say anything. She had not asked to attend. One morning over breakfast Yoshino remarked the annual clan gathering was coming up and told Temari to put it on her calendar. Shikaku said he would take care of the necessary paperwork to have her in Konoha in plenty of time. She had not asked, nor had she been invited, she had been told and she fell right in line. "Well, I could talk about my non-existent relationship with Shikamaru all night but I'm tired. Good night ladies."

She turned on her shoulder with her back to the room. She was certain their eyes were boring holes into the symbol on her back. She could be at Yoshino's right now in the guest room she regarded as her own instead of sleeping on Ino's floor. She was convinced she had been invited for no other reason than Ino was nosy. She had slept worse places and in more hostile environments so Temari pitched herself into sleep the same way she would on a mission when her turn as night watch was over. The last thing her conscious mind heard was an argument between Ino and Hinata. Ino challenged Hinata's claim to maid of honor and with rare backbone Hinata defended her claim stating, "Ino, Temari likes me better than you. You should stick to arranging the wedding flowers." Temari's last thought was 'you tell her Hinata.'

Temari slept in relative peace but was awakened by deliberately hushed voices. Hushed voices were always to be listened to when one was gathering information. She did not stir as she slowly came to realize where she was. "What if I've gone too far? It was good entertainment but what if.." Ino trailed off.

"What if what?" Sakura urged.

"What if I've gone too far. You know how Shika is. He likes to take his time and plan carefully. What if this 'thing' they're doing is all a part of some grand scheme he has to be with her?"

Sakura asked, "Did you think that's possible?"

"It was all shit and giggles til she brought up that family reunion. That's heavy stuff. I begged Aunt Yoshino to let me come and now they bring in someone from outside the village. Shika might seriously trying to make Temari a Nara and his parents are in cahoots."

That had Temari wondering too. She had never thought a great deal about the meaning of their friendship. He was her first real friend after all. She didn't see anything odd in their relationship until those girls went on and on about it. Now she was second guessing her best friend.

Was he hunting her, like prey? No, not quite like prey. He was stalking her like a deer. She had spent days in the Nara Clan forest while Shikamaru tracked a particular deer. He was patient, careful and stealthy in pursuit. All deer eventually trusted him no matter how skittish they started out they would end up eating out of his hand.

Nara was brilliant. She had seen him at work, for every strategy she had, Nara had ten possibilities worked out. Did she stand a chance? Temari thought back over all the time she has spent with Shikamaru, hours and hours of shogi, chunin exams, missions, state functions, cloud watching, she figured in that time she had told him absolutely everything there was to know about her. She didn't mean to, but Nara was easy to talk to and an awesome listener. He remembered all her stories almost verbatim and more than that, he wasn't afraid to be devil's advocate. Simply put he wasn't afraid to call 'bullshit' on her interpretations of the past. After all the pandering Temari faced as member of the Kazekage's family Shikamaru was refreshing. She had revealed everything to him and she figured whatever she hadn't told him he had figured out. If he wanted her there was probably nothing she could do about it. In fact it be like when they played Shogi, every move she made was one step deeper into the trap he set with his first move. She could run to the ends of the earth but she'd end up in a white kimono if he really was pursuing her. Why'd he have to be so damn smart?

A smile dimpled her face thinking about it. She would be wearing a Nara clan kimono with a string of dark haired kids following her to the Academy in the morning. She hoped at least one had red hair like Gaara's. She had always wanted red hair herself but...WTH! She had never had a single maternal instinct and she was thinking about having, she counted the string of kids in her brief fantasy, one girl with 4 black pony tails like hers, there was one boy with a pineapple ponytail followed by another girl with four dark red ponytails. Temari freaked at the clarity of her own brood.

She had to get a grip. She had never even thought about Shikamaru like that. He didn't think of her like that. Shikamaru looked her in the eye, evidently unlike Kankuro was known to do. She had to have a talk with her brother when she returned to Suna next week. Shikamaru never made her feel like a piece of meat and most men did. He treated her like a lady, no matter how much she protested his chauvinism he always paid when they went out. Wait, did Shikamaru always pay... like they were on a date? Temari thought back and realized he had been paying so long she couldn't quite remember the cost of a movie ticket. This was bad.

What about Shikaku and Yoshino? Temari missed her mom and as a child longed to be a traditional family. Yoshino's nagging 'make your bed', 'finish your food', 'drink your tea' drove Shikamaru crazy but Temari ate it up. Yoshino kept her in bed for a week when she had strep throat. For an entire week she had been petted, coddled, and smothered with affection. For an entire week Yoshino had been so occupied with Temari that she didn't have time to terrorize her husband or son. Shikaku insisted Temari stay an additional week before traveling back to Suna. She cooked with Yoshino, worked in Yoshino's garden and helped in the Nara medicine lab. Yoshino taught her how to make at least half a dozen medicinal teas. The woman was brilliant with herbs and antlers. Nara men were reputed to be extremely intelligent but Nara women were tasked with maintaining generations of medicinal lore.

As a gift for staying an additional week Shikaku helped her develop an entirely new way to use her jutsu. She had been beyond impressed that he could see something in her and thereby coax a gentle wind out of her. With stealth like control she could now guide an exploding tag to a target while said target was busy dodging an in your face wind attack. Shikaku was awesome, Yoshino was awesome. Was he giving her his parents to sweeten the deal?

Was he giving her his entire extended family? She didn't know outsiders weren't allowed to attend the annual gathering. The Naras welcomed her with an utter lack of enthusiasm that was so Shika-like that it felt natural, like coming home. When did she begin associating Shikamaru with home? When did images of home shift from the desert browns to lush greens? Gah! What was wrong with her. Temara huffed, rolled over and punched the fluffy stuff animal Ino had offered in lieu of a pillow.

"Temari-chan, are you okay?" Hinata's sleepy voice interrupted Temari's brooding.

"I'm fine," Temari ground out and punched the fluffy stuffed deer again. She bet that had been on purpose.

"Don't let the teasing bother you Temari. Shino and Kiba are my best friends and they are just that, boys who are my friends."

"Are you sleeping in the Aburame or Inuzuka clan symbols tonight?" TenTen asked from her own bed roll stretched lengthwise at their feet.

Hinata answered, "No, but I'm sure Shino keeps a bug on me. Sometimes I see it, usually I don't but all the same I know its there. We are very close."

Sakura sat up in the bed, "So let me get this straight. You have a live bug on your person right now and you're totally cool with that?"

"Yes, everyday since we were genin Shino has been bugging me. It means he cares." Hinata defended.

"No, it means he's creepy and you're insane." Ino sat up beside Sakura to put in her two cents. "In all these years, are you telling me Kiba's never tried to hit it."

Hinata was shocked, "Oh, no Kiba would never try to hurt me. Even when we spar he goes far too easy on me."

TenTen groaned, "Seriously Hinata? She didn't mean does Kiba try to bitch slap you, she meant does he ever try to tap that ass? Try to get in your panties. Has Kiba ever tried to have sex with you?"

Hinata tittered, "Of course he has. He's a normal teenage boy," then in an aside, "no offense Temari-chan. He's in his sexual prime it is not his fault. It is hormones. He begs to smell me...well down there." Then Hinata too sat up, tapping her fingers together as she debated. "Please don't tell anyone this..." Hinata didn't wait long before rushing ahead. "Kiba ...is very much pleased by my smell when I am ovulating or in heat as he calls it. It is enough for him. I don't know if I should but it seems so little and he does not touch me." Hinata blushed prettily, not that anyone noticed in the dark room.

"That is weird, freaky deaky weird. Shino keeps a bug on you and Kiba sniffs you to get off. Yikes. Fucking yikes." Sakara voiced the thoughts of all.

TenTen sighed, "Neji has never tried anything whatsoever with me. One should hope he at least looks through my clothes to see my assets but I seriously doubt I'm even getting the peeping tom byakugan action. I even asked Lee what I should do to get Neji's attention."

"You asked the boy in the green leotard, soup bowl haircut, leg warmers and the caterpillar eyebrows for romantic advice? Were you that desperate?" Ino had to know.

"Leave Lee alone and yes I am that desperate." TenTen replied.

"So what advice did he give you?" Temari was curious and pleased that the attention was off of her.

"He said my loveliest assets are my bounteous blossoms of rounded youth. I said I didn't know Neji was a breast man to which Lee replied, "TenTen, all men are breast men. Neji-san is no exception. Reveal the vee of distraction so he see more than an accomplished shinobi and comrade in arms. Let him see your overflowing wellspring of youth." So yeah he said show some cleavage then he offered to go shopping with me."

"Lee is a pig!" Sakura huffed. "We are more than a collection of our parts..."

Ino interrupted, "Oh hush, you're just upset that he turned out to be a boob dude and you don't have any."

"Don't be upset Sakura-chan," TenTen teased. "Lee likes your itty bitty titties just fine. He said as a man he pretty much likes all breasts. He thinks when he see them they will be the delicate pink blossoms of his dreams." Secretly Sakura was pleased but hell if she going to admit it.

Temari relaxed on her bedroll thinking perhaps she had read too much into their teasing. She didn't have any other female friends for reference. It was she that was making something out of nothing. She and Shikamaru were friends, his mother adored her and his father would do anything to keep her around to keep his wife off his ass. "Hey, what time is it anyway?" Temari asked no one in particular.

"It's about 4:15 a.m." Ino answered. "I'm shot for sleep. Anybody else want to make pancakes?"

"I'm game." Temari volunteered and was soon followed by everyone else as they trekked down to the kitchen. Temari got into it as the teasing continued. Sakura was alternately razzed about Sasuke, the psycho, and Lee, the breast enthusiast. Kiba jabs came Hinata's way. To get Ino on a tear they simply called Choji fat, an undeniable truth but she lost her cool all the same. When they went after Temari, she tried a new tactic and owned the Shikamaru innuendo claiming that she was going to marry him and repopulate Konoha with nin loyal to Suna. She even named her fictitious future brood, Karura, Yashamaru, and Shikachoji, then described them in detail. To complete the joke she tried to give Gaara to Hinata claiming although her brother was odd Hinata came from bugs and crotch sniffs so she would be fine with a little sand stalking. Then she gave Kankuro to TenTen so he could show her how to put on makeup because how could she not listen to Kankuro if she took fashion advice from Lee.

They giggled up a storm until they woke up Ino's parents. Inoichi was cool but Ino's mom made her go get the shop ready for opening. They all pitched in and helped her out. By nine in the morning when the shop opened Temari was willing to dismiss the supposed Shikamaru attachment. Sure, he always paid when they went out, it was easier than fighting him on it. They did have casual plans for every day and night she was in Konaha including a standing Friday, Saturday and Sunday all weekend long visit with the Naras. Temari didn't have a reasonable explanation for why she enjoyed spending every free waking moment with Shikamaru so she mentally glossed over it. Yoshino was nice enough to make Gaara a tea to help him sleep. Should she read anything the fact Yoshino only made a one month supply, claiming the components would not keep longer than that. Gaara made obsessively sure Temari was in Konoha in plenty of time each month. There was no Nara conspiracy so when Ino asked slyly, "So Tema-chan, you and Shikamaru aren't dating? Are you two really are just friends?" Temari had no trouble saying, "Yes, we are only friends."

"Hmm, I bet Shiho will be glad to hear that." Ino smiled smugly at the bait.

Temari's hackles rose with warning, "Who the fuck is Shiho?"

Sakara damn near gloated, "She's the chunin kunoichi with a massive crush on your non-boyfriend."

Temari attempted to shrug, "I don't see what that has to do with me." She didn't quite pull off cool as she immediately asked, "What does she look like?"

"She is about your height, blond, wears glasses," TenTen started off only to abruptly break off and say, "Look now, she's across the street right talking to your non-boyfriend."

Temari looked although she suspected they were just pulling her leg but to her surprise she saw Shikamaru standing on the street. A blond with disheveled hair and glasses stood in front of him.

As the door to Yamanaka Flower rattled on the hinges, Hinata sighed, "I don't think we should have done that to Shiho."

Without thought Temari fisted the back of Shikamaru's flak jacket and snatched him backwards putting herself directly in front of the other blond nin. She stared at the other girl then flicked her eyes up and down her trembling person, then scoffed, "Yoshino would eat you alive." Temari turned on her heel dismissing the cowering kunoichi and stalked off dragging Shikamaru behind her.

"Troublesome woman, let me go." Shikamaru protested. When she let go he fell in step with his usual unhurried gait. "Where are we going?"

"Home." Temari bit out.

"S'okay. Mom sent me to get you anyway." Shikamaru yawned then said, "You should have come home last night so I could have slept in this morning. I was having the best dreams."

A smile touched Temari's lips, "Dreaming about cloud watching again?"

"You know it." Shikamaru laughed a little.

That was her laugh. He was her lazy nin. "Shikamaru, how long have we been dating?"

"Ah, that explains it." He scratched the back of his head, "About a year now, but its gotten serious the past four months or so."

"You were dating me behind my back." It wasn't the girls, it was she who had it wrong.

"No, I was in your face the whole time and your participation was willing." Shikamaru continued walking with Temari at his side. In the distance she could see the Nara estate looming into view. "I don't have it in me to force you into anything."

"We've never even kissed, held hands...you don't even see me like that." Temari rasped.

Faster than she thought he could move Shikamaru pinned her to the wall leading to the entrance gate. His hands cupped her face while his lips slowly covered hers with gentle kisses that turned passionate as soon as she responded. Her hands which were braced on his chest circled his neck and his hands left her face moving lower to cup her breasts. Before they could get out of control, Shikamaru broke the kiss but did not release her. "Of course I see you like that, I am a man after all." He swooped in for another kiss while her mind was still reeling.

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