Title: Three's a Crowd – Chapter One

Genre: Romance/Drama with a dash of Family

Rating: T

Summary: Temari's a secret-romantic who's top priority are her two 'baby' brothers. Ino's a girl who dons clothing three sizes too big while trying to identify herself. Shikamaru's a lazy boy who's caught between a rock and a hard place. Three conflicting ends, all just trying to obtain a piece of happiness.

Disclaimer: Naruto does not belong to me, it is property of Kishimoto Masashi.

Notes: This started out as a small idea I had as I was going through the Naruto archives and noticed that most ShikaIno stories portray Temari as a seriously mean bitch, while ShikaTema stories tend to portray Ino as a flirtatious two-timing slut. And I thought to myself, why can't there be a ShikaIno story where Temari is portrayed positively, and vice versa?

I'm still not sure where this story is headed, though my gut feeling is telling me that the end result will be ShikaIno simply because I've shipped them together the moment I saw them. However the Sand Siblings are going to appear in this story a lot, seeing as Temari plays a huge role in this. Chapter one is mostly about Temari but the conflict of this story is introduced in this chapter as well.

Well regardless of all the nitty-gritty details of this fic, I hope you enjoy it!

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Three's a Crowd

Chapter One: Studying Love

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Temari never had time for boys. Boys as in the kind that shot you flirtatious winks and sly smiles while trailing a hand up your thigh. Oh no, Temari spent most of her life, time, and energy catering to the only two boys she would ever need in her life. Kankuro and Gaara, her two baby brothers (Kankuro would moan and groan and Gaara would click his tongue in annoyance if she ever said that out loud, the ungrateful brats) were annoying, needy, messy, grown-up babies in all honesty, but Temari loved them to bits.

When she was younger and Kankuro was four years old and Gaara was just three, when their mom had still been alive and their father was relatively nice, Temari had all the time in the world to daydream about white wedding gowns, and bouquets, and wedding cakes, and she would take her fantasies and play them out in the form of Barbie and Ken.

Her mother would watch her while holding a babbling Gaara on her lap as Temari whispered out the sacred words, "Now you may kiss the bride" before mashing Barbie and Ken's plastic faces together in an imitation of a loving peck, and Gaara would clap his chubby hands together while her mother beamed at her.

"Someday. Someday you'll get married to a nice boy and you'll live happily ever after!" Her mom and chirped happily. Her countenance shone and her smile was so bright and confident that Temari couldn't help but hug the newly married dolls to her chest and nod vigorously.

But then her mother had passed away, and her father withered away into a shell of his old self, snappy and cruel and mean and he just had no time for his children anymore. Temari tearfully packed away her Barbie and Ken and stashed away her dreams of marriage and happiness into little cardboard boxes, pushed into the depths of her mind, and she realized that she just didn't have time for daydreams any more. They were nice, and they were dreams of a naïve seven year old, but nice and naïve dreams won't help Temari defend her brothers, so she locked away her childhood fantasies and set about making her baby brothers happy.

Because fantasies belong in the past; her brothers made up her present and future.

Their house which was once happy and colourful became dreary and dull. Her father was constantly locked up in his office, signing important documents and making important phone calls (paperwork was just more important than them, Temari had learnt at the age of nine), and Temari found herself juggling the job of being a mother to Kankuro and Gaara. She cleaned, and cooked, and ironed, and packed their lunches while working on schoolwork, and projects, and essays. Gaara became quieter and kept more to himself as the years dragged on, and Kankuro went from the happy-go-lucky brown haired boy to a sarcastic, sharp-tongued teenager who constantly wore black clothes three times too large for himself. Temari fussed and she stressed, but no matter how much she tried, she couldn't help the feeling of her family unraveling at the seams.

It scared her. A lot.

Then, on Temari's eighteenth birthday, her father simply packed up a suitcase and left the house. It was a Sunday, and Temari wasn't expecting much on that day, but she certainly wasn't expecting this.

"I'll send you monthly cheques," he said as if that made everything better. Without so much as a backward glance, he heaved his black luggage into the back of the taxi and hopped into the waiting cab. The bright yellow car drove off into the dreary afternoon (Temari was pretty sure it was going to start pelting down raindrops, sooner or later), leaving behind a trail of smoke.

Temari ran out into the front yard and grabbed one of the potted plants sitting on the porch before chucking it after that shit-of-a-father . The ceramic pot shattered unceremoniously against the driveway and Temari shot two middle fingers after the taxi, knowing her 'father' couldn't see it, but the action made her feel better anyways.

"Shit," she muttered before tugging on one of her pigtails and stomping into the house. Slamming the door behind her, she gave a start as she finally noticed her two brothers standing right in the foyer, Gaara staring blankly at the direction their 'father' had drove off too, while Kankuro stood awkwardly, fingering the messily-wrapped, neon green present in his hand.

"…happy birthday?" He offered with a half-hearted chuckle.

She gave a weak laugh before realizing her eyes were wet, and damnit, she really didn't want to cry but it was her birthday and she can damn well do what she likes. And so with tears pouring down her cheeks and snot dripping from her nose, she grabbed her two brothers and clung to them like a lifeline.

Surprisingly, neither complained and the three of them stood there, rocking side-to-side while wondering what the hell they were supposed to do next.

They ended up watching all the Disney movies they had at home while eating McDonalds because Temari refused to cook anything on her birthday.

It was the first time in a long while that they felt like a real family.

The very next day, Temari skipped school and stayed at home, tossing out anything her 'father' may have left behind. It was a simple Fuck You to her old man, but it made her feel a thousand times better. Kankuro decided to stay home too, but it was totally because he wanted to stay home and help out his big sister toss shit out, not because he had yet to complete any of his homework. Gaara stayed home as well. Just because.

Temari couldn't find it in herself to shoo her brothers out of the house and to school, so she stayed home with Kankuro and Gaara, sifting through old boxes in the attic with the trash can right next to them for easier access. The three ignored the continuous phone calls, no doubt Temari, Kankuro and Gaara's high school demanding to know where the heck they were.

"Hey, look at this!" Kankuro yelled out in triumph sometime before lunch, half his body folded in a cardboard box. Gaara continued to ignore him and sat at the other side of the attic, fiddling with the old race car track, and Temari decided to humour the middle child.

"What?"

Kankuro held up two items, and upon seeing them, Temari had to stifle a light gasp. Kankuro was holding her beloved Barbie and Ken, one in each hand. Upon closer inspection, Temari noted that Barbie's bridal dress had gathered dust in the decade it sat here, and the white fabric had turned to a light grey colour. Regardless of how she felt on the inside, Temari clicked her tongue in mock annoyance and went back to digging through the piles of long-forgotten trash.

"Stop fooling around, Kankuro. We're supposed to be looking to see if there's anything of 'father's' that we have to toss out."

Kankuro smirked and left the Barbie and Ken on the ground next to the attic trapdoor, and later when they were done and Gaara was carrying the track set down the ladder while Kankuro was heaving an overstuffed garbage bag after him, Temari may have grabbed the two dolls with her. Kankuro and Gaara shot each other knowing looks but didn't say anything.

And later that evening, after phone calls were made to the schools in order to inform them the reason of their absence (apparently, the three of them were unlucky enough to all come down with the stomach flu) and dinner, Temari may have carefully washed Barbie's wedding dress until it shone bright white again, and if Kankuro happened to be passing by, he may have smiled and left without a sound.

Barbie and Ken were stashed in the bottom of her desk drawer, and Temari refused to acknowledge their presence. But even though she wouldn't so much as glance at her desk for the rest of the evening, she couldn't help the childish and absolutely girlish smile from gracing her lips as she turned in for the night.

After that, once the sting of their 'father's' departure had slowly simmered away, and they were adjusting to a life with monthly cheques and no adult supervision, Temari couldn't help the thoughts of finding her own 'Prince Charming' from circulating through her mind. She found herself dozing off every now and then while cooking or cleaning or juggling her part-time job (to pay for any remaining textbooks and the such that her University scholarship didn't cover…she was going to University the coming September!) and thinking of finding her dream guy.

It was girlish, and stupid. But everyone wanted to find someone to share their life with, Temari was certain, and so she didn't reprimand herself too much for her thoughts.

Temari liked a man with spine, she decided, a man that would accept the fact that she was no docile princess made of glass. He would have to respect her independence and more importantly, he would have to accept her snarky baby brother and her other stoic baby brother. God knows those two could be hard to get along with.

Surely such a man wouldn't be that hard to find?

As graduation was turning around the bend and shooting right towards her, Temari decided she might have to concede defeat and admit that finding such a man might be a tad harder than she expected. But it wouldn't be impossible; she was young, eighteen, and she was finally leaving high school, a place housing immature dolts, and finally venturing into the real world. University. That was on a completely different plane of existence from high school.

Graduation came around and Temari stepped onto the stage to accept her high school diploma from her principle who was beaming a rather fake smile at the graduating class. She was rather graceful, she decided, even if she wasn't wearing makeup (too much work), her dress belonged to her mother (found stashed somewhere in the attic), and she waddled rather than walked in her three inch heels. She couldn't help the flicker of annoyance that flashed across her features before she glanced out into the audience and saw Gaara and Kankuro sitting in the first row. Gaara was clapping politely while his older brother was catcalling and Temari decided that this wasn't too bad.

They went out to Swiss Chalet that night (Kankuro's treat). Temari's cheeks were pounding from grinning so hard.

Summer rolled by, and as quick as a flash, Temari suddenly found herself in University. It was a huge campus that seemed to loom over the students and swallow them whole, but Temari has never been a coward, so she swung her pack across her shoulder before elbowing her way past a 6 foot 2 senior in her way, sending him a scowl. Throughout her entire first year at the University, Temari focused on her studies while still subconsciously looking out for The One. She had dated a grand total of three times and each turned out to be a complete disaster.

They were either jerks with grabby hands and full blown testosterone, or cowards in their heart-of-hearts who froze up at the mere sight of her youngest brother. Temari had seen the subtle stiffening of Gaara and the brief flash of hurt that danced across his stoic features, and before she knew what she was doing, Temari was hauling The Ass That Dared Hurt Her Baby Brother out the door and chucking him onto their driveway. No amount of door-banging and bell-ringing had made her open the door, and she simple ruffled Gaara's hair when he shot her a guilty look and threw a fork at Kankuro's head when he teased her about dying as an old maid if this kept up.

This became a continuous pattern for the next three years after, and by the time Temari was entering her fourth year of University, she was beginning to believe Kankuro's innocent taunts. She knew he didn't mean them, but with the way things were going, she wouldn't be surprised if she did die with fifty cats or something equally terrifying.

But then, Nara Shikamaru sauntered lazily into the picture.

Temari had been working at the University as a part-time tutor, just helping freshmen or sophomore students catch up in whatever it was they were lagging behind at for some extra cash. She had been sitting at a table near the back of the room where the tutoring sessions were taking place, on an uncomfortable metal chair that was rubbing at her backside in all the wrong ways and causing her underwear to take a hike where it truly shouldn't be, while attempting to teach the basics of psychology to a freshman kid wearing too much orange when Shikamaru walked in.

He took a seat at the table right next to hers and dropped his book bag onto one of the spare chairs. Satisfied with the careless placement of his pack, he allowed his head to drop into his arms before instantly dozing off. The orange kid she was tutoring, Uzumaki Naruto, her brain supplied helpfully, perked up at the sight of the lazy boy a mere meter away from them.

"Shikamaru!"

Temari watched the interaction with dull interest as the Naruto kid all but ignored her in favor of jumping onto the table beside them and poking and prodding the half-asleep black-haired freshman. She watched in mild fascination as Naruto continued to chant "Shikamaru Shikamaru" and Shikamaru continued to ignore him. She pondered to herself where Naruto got all that energy from while wondering at the same time how Shikamaru had so much self-restraint.

The boy must be a saint, was her final conclusion.

"What?" Shikamaru finally raised his head and snapped half-heartedly at the blonde boy. "Aren't you getting tutored or something? Don't be troublesome and go back to learning."

"Are you here to get tutored too?" Temari had decided to cut in before Naruto could open his mouth and chat for another hour.

Shikamaru slowly turned his head over to her and shot her a look before giving a blunt, "No." His head dropped back into his arms.

Temari felt her patience tick away. "Well then why are you here?"

"I'm supposed to be tutoring someone," he said with a lazy shrug of the shoulders, voice muffled as his head was still cradled in the crook of his arms. Naruto took this moment to intrude of the conversation again.

"Seriously? But you're still a freshman! That's so cool, believe it!" Temari could practically see the exclamation marks after each of the orange-clad freshman's words, and one look at Shikamaru told her he could too. How she figured that out was still a mystery to her as his face was still hidden.

"Yeah, yeah. Now shut up and let me sleep for a bit before my student comes."

He went back to sleep and Temari found herself rather curious about him for the rest of the day, even as her temples throbbed from Naruto's incessant chatter and grating voice (how could Shikamaru sleep with all that noise?), and even as she was picking up Kankuro's dirty boxers from off the floor later on that evening (does Shikamaru clean him room? He seems too lazy to…).

She saw him every Thursday from three to seven, because they both tutored at that time. She continued to sit at her table and he continued to sit at the table next to her. She had begun sneaking curious glances at him subconsciously, and by the time she realized what she was doing, it was too late to stop it. A peek here, and a glance there, Temari thought herself sly and secretive until Shikamaru shot her a semi-annoyed look (Temari realized from her observations that the boy did almost everything in a half-assed manner) and said, "If you have something to say, say it."

So Temari blurted out the first thing that came to mind: "Do you want to go out on a date sometime?" She instantly flushed and was glad that both their students had yet to arrive, all the while mentally beating herself for such abrupt and embarrassing words.

Shikamaru raised a thin brow, scratched the bridge of his nose and muttered, "Troublesome" right as Naruto burst through the door in a flurry of orange and papers with Chouji hot on his tail, munching chips and a chocolate bar and a barbeque sandwich.

Through her humiliation, Temari wondered idly where all that food went.

Later, after Naruto had left and Chouji had went to wait at the building's entrance for Shikamaru, the lazy boy turned towards Temari and blandly asked, "When?"

"…huh?" Temari offered, confusedly.

Shikamaru clicked his tongue in annoyance and clarified, "When do you want to go on our date?" Temari blinked slowly (she blamed Naruto for her slow brain-progress. There was only so much orange a person could take) and realized belatedly that Shikamaru hadn't truly turned her down. She gaped.

"Are you serious?"

"Were you joking?" He raised a questioning brow and heaved his bag over his shoulder. Temari quickly packed up her remaining papers and stuffed them into her bag and made her way towards the exit with Shikamaru following her. He waited for me, she realized numbly before smacking herself for the stupid thought.

"No…I wasn't," she answered slowly. "You…want to go out with me?"

"It'd be too troublesome to say no and have the atmosphere be completely awkward between us every Thursday," Shikamaru answered with a lazy shrug just as he propped open the door and allowed her to walk through first. Temari found herself surprised at such an act and shot the younger boy an appraising look. Chouji was at the end of the hall so Temari quickly rounded on Shikamaru.

"How about this Sunday? I'm free this Sunday." She murmured in a quick and shushed voice. Shikamaru nodded and Temari found herself wondering if he was just too lazy to argue. She brushed it off and whipped out her pen and a piece of paper from her pack and quickly jotted down her number.

"Call me so we can confirm the time and location." Stuffing the piece of paper in his hand, she nodded to herself before briskly striding down the hall, tipping her head forward in acknowledgement to Chouji, and stepping out into the night. She beat down the furious blush that threatened to take over her features as she heard Chouji's exclamation of, "You finally asked her out?"

He ended up calling her later that evening at ten o' clock. Temari's battle with her blush waged long into the night as Kankuro continued to tease her about her newfound "boyfriend" calling her.

Even Gaara was chuckling over his Calculus.

Their date was pleasant, and Temari was quickly learning the different facets that made up Nara Shikamaru. He was lazy, but brilliant. When motivated (and that was rarely) he shone like a beacon and she would swear that he could blind her with how quick-witted and amazing he could truly be. Their conversation never dulled as they talked about different tea flavors and science theories all in one go.

And when she finally brought him home after a month and a half of dating to meet her brothers, Shikamaru snarked right back when Kankuro dished out sarcastic comments, and shook Gaara's hand with a strong, firm hold. She bustled around in the kitchen, making spicy tempura udon while Gaara and Kankuro (mainly Kankuro) questioned Shikamaru about anything and everything, and when she glanced over her shoulder and watched Shikamaru hold a conversation with her youngest brother without a single flinch, she knew he was the one she had been waiting for.

;;;

"So, I haven't seen Temari around in a while," Chouji mentioned while stuffing chips into the hold he dubbed 'Mouth'. The pleasantly plump boy plopped down next to Shikamaru on the couch, jostling his friend from the thick, hardcover book he was idly flipping through.

"Her exams are coming up," Shikamaru answered the unasked question before chucking the book onto the coffee table in front of them and stifling a yawn. "She's busy studying…something you should be doing." Shikamaru added as an afterthought, shooting a side glance at his friend.

"Man," Chouji groaned as he stuffed more junk food into his mouth, "you're so lucky you don't have exams!" Shikamaru clicked his tongue when bits of food shot out from Chouji's mouth through his rant.

"Yeah, that's why I got ahead by taking a summer course. That's the beauty of fast-tracking." He taunted with a light smirk when Chouji's cheeks puffed up. Chouji tossed his finished chip bag onto the floor carelessly before whipping out another bag seemingly out of nowhere.

"Yeah, I know," he conceded graciously towards Shikamaru's words, before asking, "How's Temari doing? Stressed?"

"You don't know the half of it," Shikamaru rolled his eyes towards the ceiling. He duly noted the weird yellow stain that graced the left corner of the otherwise white surface. "All she does is fuss over her finals. I keep telling her she'll be fine but then she yells at me for not understanding or something. Tch. Girls are so troublesome."

Chouji nodded sagely. "Eh, women are like that."

The two shared companionable silence with only the sounds of chips crunching and the light ticking of the clock.

"So Ino's hanging around you a lot, lately," Chouji mentioned off-handedly, and the comment caused Shikamaru's eyes to open and his lips to twist down into a frown.

"Yeah, she's been hanging around and talking my ears off lately. She's nervous about her exams and the play— she's pretty much double the nerves and anxiety of Temari." Shikamaru moaned at the mere thought of the platinum blonde.

"She's pretty," Chouji offered helpfully.

"She is," Shikamaru agreed blandly.

Chouji stopped eating his chips for a moment and regarded Shikamaru seriously. The profile of his friend seemed rather tense as opposed to his usual lax self, and Chouji's voice coloured with thoughtfulness and concern. "Temari's gonna kill you if she hears that."

Shikamaru groaned at the very thought.

"I know."

;;;

"Temari, I fail to understand why you would come to me of all people for love advice," Gaara spoke monotonously yet cautiously, wary of his sister's volatile temper as she interrupted his studying by slamming open his door and plopping onto his made-bed.

Temari sighed. "Well it was either you or Kankuro, but Kankuro is a virgin. I can't get love advice from a virgin!"

Gaara blinked slowly and gnawed at his bottom lip. He gently placed down his pen onto his desk before giving his utmost attention to his oldest sibling.

"Temari, I'm a virgin as well."

"But you won't be for long," she replied. "If I had to choose between you getting laid first or Kankuro, your virginity's definitely the one more at risk."

Gaara looked rather bemused when he finally answered, "Thank you…?" He watched his older sister carefully and noted the way she had dark bags under her eyes and the tension that was prevalent throughout her entire body. He let out a resigned sigh. "I suppose I could try to help."

"Really?" Temari looked relieved, and Gaara relaxed slightly. "Thanks, Gaara."

"Mm. So what's the problem?"

"Alright, well. Lately, whenever I'm with Shikamaru, I just feel like…" she trailed off, and Gaara waited patiently for her to continue. He knew through experience that no amount of prodding would get her to open up. "…I feel as though we're drifting apart."

Gaara pondered over that for a bit, before venturing, "Do you know the cause of the problem?"

Temari's face darkened and her lips twisted down into a scowl. "Yeah. Well, I don't know for sure. But it's definitely high chance." She sighed and tugged furiously at one of her pigtails (a sign of frustration, Gaara knew) before spitting out, "There's a girl hanging around him all the time lately. Her name's Ino, and I'm pretty sure she's got the hots for Shikamaru."

"Well, does Shikamaru have 'the hots' for Ino as well?" Gaara asked incredulously. Shikamaru simply didn't seem like the type to cheat, granted Gaara only shared one class (Art History) with Shikamaru, and that was way back in September to December, and he's only held a decent conversation with Shikamaru a handful of times when Temari would bring him over. However, Gaara prided himself in being a decent judge of character, and Shikamaru simply didn't fit the trope of 'cheater'.

"I'm not sure he does, but I know he wouldn't cheat on me. Too troublesome," Temari said in mock imitation of her boyfriend. "Emotionally, however…"

Gaara conceded to defeat in this conversation and offered a solution in a light voice, "Perhaps you should talk to Shikamaru about this?"

Temari sighed and bit her bottom lip. "I thought about asking, but I really don't want to."

Gaara tilted his head to the side in inclination for his sister to elaborate.

"If I talk to him about this, then I'm admitting that there's trouble in our relationship."

Gaara couldn't think of a way to reassure his sister.

;;;

Temari saw Ino before the platinum blonde girl could see her. They were waiting in line at a restaurant on campus, waiting to receive their packed lunch. Temari regarded Ino's profile seriously, and noted the way her hair was tied up in a high ponytail with a large chunk of the blonde strands flopping over her face and covering her bright blue right eye (her hairstyle was actually rather reminiscent of another person Temari knew). Ino was decked out in grey track pants while donning a dark black University sweater. Temari couldn't help but think that Ino's clothes did nothing for her figure, and realize blankly that everytime she saw the other blonde, she would always be dressed in clothes much too large for her.

It was like Ino was trying to hide her figure from the world.

Like Kankuro, Temari thought with a shake of her head in exasperation at the mere thought of her brother.

The older girl stepped next to Ino at the counter and when Ino glanced at the corner of her eye and saw her, she gave a light start.

"Ino," Temari clicked her tongue at the top of her mouth to enunciate the two syllables that made up the younger girl's name. Ino inclined her head forward lightly in acknowledgement before responding in nature.

"Temari."

There was a brief silence before Temari quickly (like peeling off a bandage) spat out her next words. "You've been hanging around Shikamaru quite a lot lately." Her teal eyes noticed the way Ino seemed to freeze up at the words before relaxing again.

"Yes, I have," Ino conceded in a blasé tone, but Temari grinned to herself lightly, noting that Ino seemed to be desperately holding onto her composure of indifference.

"What are your intentions of dogging after his every step?" Temari asked, the patrons in the restaurant moving about seemed like a distant buzzing noise to her, and all she could focus on was Ino. Temari wasn't usually a jealous, overbearing girlfriend, she respected the fact that Shikamaru had female friends and she trusted him to never hurt her. However, she couldn't help but feel threatened by Ino (with her baggy clothes and her makeup-free face, but who was still just so pretty) and while she trusted Shikamaru, she just couldn't bring it in herself to trust Ino to know her bounds.

Ino's next words almost unraveled Temari.

"…I like him. I like him a lot." Ino spoke, but her voice shook a little in the end, and Temari became rigid with tension.

"Well you can't have him," Temari snapped back furiously. "He's with me. So stop trying to butt into his life and make a spot for yourself when the spot you want is reserved for me."

Ino seemed to pale before conviction entered her sky blue eyes, and when she answered, her voice no longer trembled. "I know it's reserved for you. I understand that. But if you were truly as confident in your relationship with him as you seem to be, you wouldn't be having this conversation with me, now would you?" Ino obviously drove a point home with the way Temari bristled in response. "Are you that terrified of me stirring up your relationship?"

"I'm serious," Temari's eyes flashed and her next words held a sharp edge. "Leave him alone."

"I'm serious too!" Ino shot back. "I like Shikamaru, I really do. He makes me happy, and I'm selfish; I'm not kind enough to just let him walk away." Ino's lunch was abruptly placed in front of her with a happy chirp from the restaurant employee: "One Earl Grey Foam Tea and a Poorboy Sandwich!" Ino shot a grateful smile towards the worker, before grabbing her packaged lunch and walking briskly to the front door.

Temari remained frozen where she was, and when Ino faltered in her step and turned towards her before whispering a quiet but genuine, "I'm sorry," before walking through the glass doors, Temari didn't even notice.

Temari walked away with her coffee and sandwich a few moments later, and trudged back home with worried, heavy steps.

"Shikamaru makes Ino happy," Temari murmured to herself. "She's serious about him…damnit."

Her fist tightened around her coffee cup as she lumbered towards the study hall.

;;;

"If the person you liked was dating someone else, would you still go after them?"

Gaara jumped in his seat, startled when Temari burst into his room later that evening, spewing out more questions in regards to her love life. Gaara shot an apologetic look towards his World War II Artillery History book before turning towards his sister. He would need to study in the university's Study Hall from now on.

"I'm assuming you're talking about Ino and Shikamaru," Gaara said dryly. At Temari's nod, the redhead sighed and pondered the question carefully.

"I suppose I would under certain circumstances," Gaara said slowly. "If I thought their heart wasn't truly into their first relationship and if I really liked them and thought they were the one for me, I would pursue them. I wouldn't break up a relationship just for that person to get into another relationship that would end the moment it's begun."

Gaara watched as Temari yanked furiously at her hair before stomping out the door and heading downstairs. He listened with light interest as Temari demanded Kankuro to go out and buy her triple chocolate cheesecake ice cream, and to give her that damn remote because can't he see that she's upset? and Kankuro's vehement denials to both her demands.

Gaara sighed as their house seemed to shake on its foundation at the noise his two older siblings were making. Rubbing his eyes tiredly, he packed his bag and slung it over his shoulder before walking downstairs and out the front door.

"I'm going to the Starbucks down the block to study," he voiced over his shoulder.

Neither Temari nor Kankuro noticed. Gaara rolled his eyes skyward before yanking the door closed and making his way down the semi-darkened street.

Shouldn't they be studying? Gaara wondered as the Starbucks sign came to sight.

;;;

A/N: I hope you enjoyed this story so far, and if you've gotten to this point: congratulations! This story was supposed to be a TemaShikaIno oneshot, but it grew and grew into this monster, so…

Review please? Constructive critiscm, praise, hate, concerns or just feedback. Shoot them at me!

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