Let Me Love You

-.-.-.-

Based off of Ne-Yo's song "Let Me Love You"; I've heard that has also removed songfics, so I'm going to add this: I AM not using any lines or verses of Ne-Yo's song, I'm only taking the scenario and situation it provides. Therefore, get your damn paws OFF my fanfics. If any administrators are reading this, then I'll add: All rights do not belong to me whatsoever; such goes to their respective owners. Happy?

-.-.-.-

I dedicate this to my friend Diane, whom I hope one day can settle down happily.

-.-.-.-

I sat down onto the comfortable couch, right outside the Kazekage's office. In my left hand was a scroll, neatly rolled with top secret information. Well, I can't say it was really top secret, since I was the one who hand wrote the details within. Regardless, here I am, after a long three day journey. I don't think I'd want anything other than my comfortable bed back in Konoha, in my cozy room. I had hoped that I could get here in three days, drop off the scroll as my mission asked, and go back to Konoha. That's what I hoped for at the very least, but evidently, no.

Being the Kazekage, it was pretty much expected that he'd be busy with village issues. But he wasn't just busy; it seemed like a sudden work overload. Temari was occupied with her own portion of the work, and Kankuro was out to handle whatever problem had occurred. No one seemed available to take the scroll I was assigned to give, not that I really could. Tsunade specifically said to give it to either the Kazekage himself or his two attendants, whom I had just briefly mentioned. So here I am, outside Gaara's office, waiting. Speaking of waiting, I have been waiting for a good hour or two; I'm losing feeling in my legs. I stared through the glass panel at the door, and saw that his work pile hasn't diminished any more than a centimeter. The person inside hasn't left either. I guess a little walk outside won't hurt.

Outside was a lot more easy-going, the results of Gaara's first year of reign. Children ran out about without fear, along with women. Shops and stores alike were bustling, obviously indicating a state of good economy. Villagers chatted about during their afternoon tea, having a dandy old time. There were even institutes for women that teaches you how to defend your home while men are occupied, such as the war currently. No doubt that she's the one who built these…

"What are you here in Suna for?"

Yeah, that voice. Lord help me if I would ever be unable to recognize it.

"Business," I drawled lazily, in an obvious manner.

"You're not finishing it up?"

"I can now. Here, this scroll contains… stuff."

She caught the drift and took the scroll. I noticed that she had changed considerably from the last time I saw her, which was a few months ago. We did exchange letters weekly, but they were merely business. With the war raging on the outskirts, no one can relax.

She hasn't grown any taller, though I wouldn't know. She used to tower over me, being half a head taller. Now, the top half of her pigtails barely went past my eyes. Funny how much puberty can push you. It's sad to say that I'm still growing, so I guess I can say goodbye to my current wardrobe soon. Reminds me of when I found that my jacket back then no longer fit me.

She exchanged her black kimono for a new outfit. Her womanly features also developed nicely, though I wouldn't dare to stare any longer than for a second or two. That was just plain rude, my mother taught me better, besides the fact that she'd have my head. Sometimes, I wondered who's worse; Ino whining over nonsense for hours, or Temari clobbering me. She had mesh armor underneath like mine, with a black mini-skirted dress that ended mid-thigh. I might as well add that she does have nicely shaped thighs, but I'm going to keep that to myself. Mesh adorned the upper portion of her thighs too, showing that her decency is always intact. I never figured out why girls like Ino donned skimpy outfits. A lavender strap and sleeveless blouse covered her chest, stomach, and lower back. Then an obi of a shade of royal purple was wrapped around her waist; her fan nowhere in sight. I'd suspect that it's in that scroll.

Though I can't say that I don't like her new attire, it was now flame and water resistant. The material also looked quite similar to mine, material so tough yet expandable that only a blade can cut through it. Quite expensive to buy, but we grow the actual material in our own forest, the actual clothes courtesy of my mom.

I was about to open my mouth, until I saw her eyes dart to the corner of the street. Widening, she took my arm, and yanked me somewhere else. She didn't say anything other than, "Don't say anything."

-.-.-.-

"Suitors?"

"Yeah, these few months they have been pretty anxious to find me a suitor."

It was to be expected, I suppose. Female royalties did tend to have many suitors, no doubt if they're powerful. Take a powerful kunoichi and a talented shinobi; you breed yourself a child full of potential and talent.

"So you saw one of them earlier?"

"Yeah."

She dragged me to her house, a nice two-story home in the middle of the desert. It was grand, though expected. An iron fence surrounded the area, serving as a fortress of a sort. I assumed that only them three lived here, since only three of the bedrooms were occupied; leaving two as guest rooms.

"How far have the council gone? I take it that your brothers are against this."

"Some are friendly with it, who I still keep in contact with; business purposes, mind you. Others are more aggressive, trying to keep me by force. Hence is why you see that my attire has undergone a few changes to be fit for angry suitors."

"I hope you haven't been keeping the Suna hospitals busy." If she can take down a whole forest, I can only imagine what would happen to the poor man, or rather, men.

"Just enough to get my point across, don't worry, would you like jasmine or coffee?"

"Coffee."

She's avoiding my question.

-.-.-.-

I stayed in Suna for an extra week, though I don't know why. I think it could be that I saw the pain in her eyes, when she described her suitors. But here I am now, the fifth day of just following her, seeing what's up. I admit that this qualifies as stalking, but I suppose I could care less.

-.-.-.-

"Ne, Temari-san, we've been going out for quite a while."

"I suppose," she said, with all signs of politeness.

Shikamaru only leaned against a rocky cave, staring at the sky, while listening to the conversation. He quietly let out a yawn, knowing where this conversation was heading. They were out in the desert for a stroll, away from the village; somehow ending up inside the cave.

"I'd dare say that I have developed a spot for you."

"I see."

"So, as the 21th head of the XX clan, I would like to ask for your hand in marriage." He forgot whatever clan he was from, not that he was concerned.

"I'd have to decline that, with all respect."

"But we've been progressing smoothly, why the change in heart?"

"I apologize, the reasons my own."

The man then lashed out in a fit of anger. He only prayed for the man's well-being, after hearing Temari. Whatever happened though, it was definitely not what he expected.

Temari didn't retaliate when he tried to punch her. She only dodged it, but didn't realize that a chakra cage had formed behind her. The moment she noticed, the cage slammed shut. She neither panicked nor shouted for help, she only held a melancholic face.

The rest isn't even worth bringing up, the point was clear. Shikamaru didn't interfere, simply which he stood up and walked off. The desert was empty, so any forms of sound or scream would echo loud and clear.

But he didn't hear any.

-.-.-.-

I saw her the day after that happened. I see that she suddenly adorned fingerless black gloves that I haven't seen her wear before. We went out to the local dango shop, and I noticed her pale features. Pale as if she had lost too much blood, on the verge of fainting.

I left her to sit by the tables while I went to order something to eat. A peach drink for her, I secretly poured a little of my mom's powder into it. My mom had a knack for producing an antidote for almost anything possible with herbs, but thanking her would have to come later. Sometimes, I'd scratch my own head whether my mom or Tsunade has more knowledge with herbs and poisoning.

Bringing it back to the table, she snapped her head back up; relaxing when she noticed it was me. I didn't bother questioning her, but placed her drink down. As if she had been famished, she downed her drink in a few gulps. Mom was no medical nin, so results weren't immediate. But her color was returning, and I'd dare say her energy too, because she stared at her glass, then at me.

I shrugged, asking, "Would you like more?"

She didn't respond, only staring at me. I take it I'm safe, since she isn't narrowing at me; a look of skepticism to be exact. But she sighed, saying, "Please."

So I walked back to the counter, paying for a refill. Dumping the rest of the contents into it, she took her time drinking this time, and her temperamental nature came back. A loud Temari was better than a quiet one anyday.

"You haven't thought of settling?"

"I don't believe in love."

"…"

I'd probably believe her if she didn't sound so desolate.

-.-.-.-

My seventh day following her; by now, I knew how the process went.

"Fair Lily of the desert, Temari, would you please marry me?"

If I could, I would groan at the sentence. Not that it was cheesy, but because it only drew forth the usual bouts. Rage, anger, whatnot, they fired left and right. Maybe I could intervene by extending a shadow and shutting him up, but that wasn't for me to handle.

The woman not too far from the heir to Iwa's old clan Futuri didn't stir, giving him a tired glance.

I didn't hear what happened afterwards, but I did hear shouts of joy, and whatnot.

I guess she was fed up with this whole fiasco, but the thought didn't leave my head.

-.-.-.-

So when I came back to Suna a month later for another mission, I wasn't surprised to find that Temari dropped this one too. I asked her why, but all she came up with was, "Too stupid and undignified."

For old time's sake though, we go out every month to somewhere at least. Either I came to Suna and did something, or she came to Konoha; usually the latter. My dad met her when he was out looking for me, after mom ordered him to do so. Kicked out of his own house by his own wife, he did as he was told, only to find this four-tailed feline. Excuse that, I didn't mean a four-tailed fox, but she bored too much of a resemblance to a tiger.

But the moment he and Temari started talking, they didn't stop. If I didn't know better, I'd think he loved her more than his own son.

The moment she left after bidding her farewell, my dad said, "She's even worse."

"How bad of a predicament do you think I'm in?"

"I'd say you're whipped for sure."

But that was an amusing conversation to hear. This time though, I had a distant woman to my left, idling twirling her food around.

"What was wrong with that guy?"

"He thought using chakra blades could keep me."

I refrained myself from commenting, but the scratches and scars were quite visible. I had to be blind if I couldn't see them. Her complexion paled severely, and it wasn't because the desert was dry.

"Why didn't you fight back?"

"They were important to Suna, if I was polite enough, they'd continue aiding us."

Tch.

"Then why not try to adapt with the best suitor? Compromise or whatever the thing is called?"

"I told you, I don't believe in love."

-.-.-.-

The day after she had shut herself in her house; or so Gaara said. So he asked me to deliver some papers to her, some of them marriage contracts from foreign places. So here I am, in front of the entrance, with some papers in hand. Pressing the intercom, an automatic voice asked who it was. I didn't give a name, only saying, "Oi, it's me."

She told me to go away, but I wasn't in the mood for that kind of answer. So I used my shadows to pull the fences wide enough for me to enter through. I'll worry about paying to fix that later.

What I hadn't expected was a temperamental Temari. I walked into the house, and heard crashes of all sorts. Soft, hard, and rough noises were heard, and the heavy rainstorm approaching outside wasn't helping. It just so happens that when a desert receives those heavy storms, it'd be when I'm here. Dropping the stack of paper onto the kitchen table, I walked to her room. "Temari."

She whipped her head around, with a fierce look to her. Her room, usually neat and tidy, was now disheveled completely. Shattered vases, books all over the floor, and craters on the walls; it was crazy. I must've startled her, because she swung her fan at me, closed. I was almost positive that I was going to receive a concussion if I didn't act fast, so I used my forearm to block the iron fan. To say that it hurts was an understatement, but that wasn't my concern. Pushing the fan out of the way, I took my arms and hugged her tightly. She thrashed around in my arms, fighting my grip, but I didn't let go. Tightening my grasp around her, she beat at my chest with her fists, but they didn't hurt as much. I was assuming that she must've drained herself out earlier, because she gave up fighting me, and she slumped down. I kneeled down and sat on the floor, her between my legs.

Fixing her position, I placed her across my thighs, as if I was holding a child. I didn't let go of my grip, because knowing her, she'd probably jump out the chance she had. Thunder cackled outside, and rain poured down. On cue, the sky darkened, and the beating sound of the raindrops echoed.

Taking a hand and rubbing it down her back, I asked, "What's wrong?"

She didn't answer, but clutched onto my vest. I felt my clothes starting to dampen, so I quietly hoped that she didn't crack a hole on the ceiling. Looking up, I only saw a lavender wall, perfectly intact.

Looking down, I noticed her trembling figure. Out of anything and everything, I hadn't expected her to break down. She cried and sobbed, and all I could do at the moment was rubbing her back. I never dealt with a crying Temari, Ino made crying over nothing a ritual. I didn't have much to say, so the only noises were her quiet sobs, sniffles, and the thunderous rain outside.

Eventually, she calmed down, and broke the silence. "I just wanted a go at a real relationship. They were testing my waters, looking at me like I'd make a fine addition to their family, like a tool. I-"

"Shh…" I whispered, cutting her off. If I let her talk too long, she'd start crying again, and that wasn't good. I looked at her arms and legs, and noticed fresh cuts.

"What were these from?"

She chuckled bitterly, replying, "Kunai, of course."

I held back a deathly glare, the one of many times that I wanted to have a go at someone. Men should never lay a hand on women abusively, no matter how tough she is. I didn't have any drinks or my mom's powder to fix her, so all I did was try to avoid any of her injuries.

"I want a family, you know? I want to wake up every morning, with kids running around the house, and a man to wake up to. I want to grow old and look at photos of myself when I was young with my hands full, raising my children to be fine shinobi. I want a daughter who'd inherit my wind abilities, and a home to go back, with everyone welcoming me home."

"You can."

"I can't! Everyone wants me to breed a baby with them, just for their clan's sake!"

Thunder and rain raged, as if it swayed along her emotions. I tried to fight off images of men trying to force on Temari, and that only poured oil on the fire inside me.

"I said you can, I can make that happen."

"What?"

I was feeling angry inside, but I wasn't going to stall this. I was aware of myself at the tender age of 14, and I sure as hell wasn't dropping this chance.

"If the council is that desperate to wed you off, then I'll marry you when I'm of age."

"But I'm Temari! I'm everything you don't want to deal with!"

"Wrong." She was silly and stupid in many ways, but this wasn't the moment to bring it up.

"I'm only sixteen, but I know what I'm saying. I'm one of Konoha's most valuable shinobis, if not their most important tactician, second to my old man. The Nara clan is pretty well known in books and among ninjas. I can provide you a home and family, if you really want. You can wake up everyday to a lazy husband, and children that I'm too lazy to babysit. I'm not overly rich like your suitors, but I can still drape you in jewels and silk, if you like; my family doesn't cut short in wealth."

"I told you, I don't believe in love now-"

"That's because you haven't seen what it is."

"B-"

"Temari," I said

She stilled when I called her name, and I took this as a chance to continue.

"Give me a chance, please?"

I can feel cold wind around me now, but it was calm. The storm outside died down slowly, until it was just a soft hum outside. She didn't answer, but I felt a definite nod on my chest. I hadn't let go of my grasp around her, I wanted to relish her soft form against me. She held a tough demeanor, but on the inside, I knew she was still a woman; a woman that needed tender loving care every now and again.

"If you screw up this chance I'm giving you, I'm going to make you run back and forth from Konoha to Suna ten times without sleep or food, g-got it?"

She tried to sound tough even through her sniffles, but I chuckled to myself. Sleep and fatigue overtook her, as she drifted off to sleep in my arms.

I can show you what a real relationship can be like.

-.-.-.-

A/N: I've been writing first person, and I think I'm using 'I' too many times. I hate reading "I this, I that" in fics, so someone tell me if I am. I don't notice it sometimes.