Konoha High! A Love Story? Psh! Yeah right

The Storm Before The Storm

"Remember; don't think of the gauntlets as an external weapon, think of them as an extension of yourself. Once you are able to think that way, you've taken a large step closer to fully utilising them." Asuma assured Shikamaru who was panting and sweating beads completely out of breath.

"Every time I wear them, I feel like my fists have gained about ten kilos, not easy to think of them as an extension of myself. The more I move and the more tired I am, the heavier they get." Shikamaru spoke between huffs.

"That's why I got you to train your arm muscles. Another thing that you need to know is that you're too forceful. Pure strength and force isn't everything when it comes to a real fight. If you fight so tensely, you'll definitely lose. Relax and go with the flow. Think of fighting like the movement of water." Asuma advised.

"Water...? Are you sure your cigarettes aren't doing any brain damage?" Shikamaru raised an eyebrow.

Asuma laughed out loud, "No I'm completely serious. Think about ripples on water. If you run after it, it bounces away, however if you stay still or move with it, it'll come rushing to you and gently graze your legs. Fighting is the same. Flow with the opponents motions and use their strength against them. I've noticed you've been working hard trying to get fit since you're starting to tone up a lot more, but you will probably be facing people who are much more muscular than you are. Your body isn't made to have huge muscles, but if you learn how to utilise what you have and fight properly, even if the opponent is a weight lifter, you can easily win."

Shikamaru took in what he was hearing and flexed his arm muscles a bit. They definitely existed and protruded quite a bit, but they only came out if he flexed, otherwise they just disappeared.

"Look, come at me with the gauntlets" Asuma beckoned by flicking his fingers upwards.

"Are you crazy? These things are sharp, especially now after I gave them a good fix up."

"How are you going to learn real combat if we keep practising on trees and dummys that don't fight back?"

Shikamaru paused, "Alright" and started charging in with his fist forward.

Asuma stepped to the side, grabbed Shikamaru's wrist and threw him forward onto the ground and gave the back of his head a tap.

"See? You came at me with a sharp weapon and high speed, yet look where we're standing now. I hardly used any strength, not even breaking a sweat and you're lying on the floor covered in mud. If I was being serious and hit the back of your head as hard as I could, you would be very dizzy and hurt right now."

Shikamaru got up from the floor and dusted himself off, "I get it. This way you also lose less energy and can last longer in fight."

"If you're lucky, you might get an actual body builder to fight. Muscle heads are easy to take on, they rely on their muscles to do the fighting, so they lack in everything else like accuracy and speed. As long as you don't get hit, the fight is as good as yours."

"Water huh?" Shikamaru took a look at his shiny gauntlet in his right hand, "I think I've got it now."

Asuma grinned, "Don't get too cocky. Don't think a complete amateur like you can understand such a concept so easily. Now come at me!"

Shikamaru grinned and did so. He came charging in such as before.

Asuma smirked, "See idiot." And grabbed Shikamaru's arm again.

However this time, Shikamaru swung around in front of Asuma so that Asuma's arm was wrapped around his own body.

Asuma released his grip and went in for a kick.

Shikamaru then stepped aside to his other leg and hit the back of Asuma's knee that was supporting his stance.

Asuma then fell forward and laid on his back stunned while Shikamaru put the sharp edge of his gauntlet to Asuma's neck.

"I am a genius remember." Shikamaru grinned and stood back up off Asuma.

Asuma sat up and rubbed the back of his head, "You sure are."

Shikamaru gave him a hand to stand back up.

"I'm feeling ready now." Shikamaru commented.

Asuma looked straight at him. "It's tomorrow isn't it?"

Shikamaru nodded, "I'm going to face this head on like I should've in the first place. I'll fight for what's important and win at all costs no matter what. I'm willing to give everything I am for this. There's now no time left to hesitate. Losing is not an option."

Asuma gave him a hard look and then sighed, "You've learnt so much, yet you haven't learnt what is really important."

Shikamaru flicked his head and looked straight at Asuma, "What do you mean?"

"You're missing something. They way you are now, you will go far, but without it, maybe not far enough."

"I don't understand! I've listened to everything you've said. I've trained and practiced constantly, what is it I'm missing?"

Asuma sighed again, "It would be pointless for me to just tell you. It's something you need to find out for yourself in order to grow. There are some things you simply can't just 'teach' and 'be told'."

Shikamaru pouted as there was nothing he could've said to change his mind.

Asuma watched Shikamaru's troubled face and chuckled, "Don't worry, you're a smart kid, it'll kick in when it really counts for sure," and gave a reassuring smile.

"I guess I have no choice but to rely on those words..." Shikamaru sighed, "Enough talk, let's keep at it."

Asuma laughed, "Are you sure you're Shikamaru?"

After practice, Shikamaru continued on his way home.

'Damn that Asuma! Telling me this now when tomorrows the day. He should have just said nothing, now I'm going to be think about it all day and night and probably won't be able to get any proper sleep. Damnit! Why mention something so important this late?!' Shikamaru cursed to himself.

He took a turn, 'What is it exactly that I'm missing? After our talk today, it can't be something physical like strength or agility. I've been progressing pretty well with my skills when it comes to fighting and using the gauntlets. Does that mean it's something on a mental level? Geez stupid old man speaking in riddles...Ah! There was that thing with that girl Rin that he protected. What did he say again? Oh yeah, when protecting someone look after yourself otherwise it can hurt them...or something. Well that's a given, Temari would kill me if I hurt myself stupidly over her...wouldn't a normal reaction for a girl to be thankful instead of angry? Bah! That woman is so troublesome and far from normal...but if it really came to it and I had no choice, then for sure..." Shikamaru clenched his fists.

"Who's a weirdo now?" a familiar voice spoke from behind.

Shikamaru broke away from his deep thinking and turned to see a somewhat annoyed looking Temari, arms crossed, looking right at him.

"What are you doing here?" Shikamaru asked raising an eyebrow at her sudden appearance.

"Shouldn't I be the one saying that...since, y'know, you're kinda standing in front of my house."

Shikamaru looked to his right and as clear as day, there was Temari's house. "What the-? I was heading to my house, how did I end up here?"

Temari gave him a blank look, "Oh and I'm the weirdo..."

Shikamaru made the assumption he was thinking out loud, "I didn't call you a 'weirdo'. You can't disagree that you are far from a 'normal, stereotypical' girl, and it's not even worth a discussion about the fact you are probably the most troublesome woman I've ever met."

Temari opened her mouth, and then closed it. Taking a good look at Shikamaru, even though he was trying to act like his usual bored self, she could tell that something was off.

She took a step forward, "Hey, are you alright...?"

Shikamaru's eyes widened, "Well I'm actually more surprised about how normal you're acting to be honest. It's all happening tomorrow, your life is practically at risk and you're acting so normal about it."

Temari paused, "Well to be honest, I'm actually pretty frightened. I don't really know what to do, or how to react. The reason I'm not panicking is probably because I'm still in shock, I don't think I have really taken it in that everything's going to change starting tomorrow."

Shikamaru raised his head and looked straight at her.

"Remember, I'm not exactly 'normal'." Temari continued gracing a large cheesy smile where all of her teeth are shown.

Suddenly Shikamaru grabbed Temari's arm and pulled her closer into a warm embrace.

"Shi-Shikamaru..." Temari slightly struggled, "I-I can't breath-"

"No matter what," Shikamaru started cutting Temari off, "No matter what I will protect you and keep you safe from harm. I won't let bastards like Hidan or anyone else take you away. I promise, I'll do everything in my power to win this thing so we can continue every day after tomorrow like nothing has changed."

In Shikamaru's arms, Temari could feel his shake and quiver.

'Everything starts tomorrow. It really is happening...I didn't know how to feel, but the way Shikamaru's acting, I-I'm actually scared. Hidan's eyes were cold; everyone's not just fighting for themselves, but for me too. Shikamaru's actually only thinking about me, he's not caring about himself at all...this is scary.' Temari's eyes started to tear up and she hugged back.

"Shikamaru you don't have to-"

Temari's words were interrupted abruptly by the sound of someone clearing their throat.

Both Shikamaru and Temari flicked their head to the direction of where the sound came from.

Standing there was Gaara arms crossed, "Sorry to interrupt suddenly..." he continued.

Temari and Shikamaru paused, then realised the position they were in and flew apart both of their ears bright red in colour from embarrassment.

"N-nothing to interrupt; what's wrong Gaara?" Temari stuttered slightly.

"I need to have a word with Shikamaru alone for a bit, is that alright?" Gaara then turned his head to face Shikamaru waiting for a response.

"Ah, yeah sure." Shikamaru answered not sure how to react.

Gaara nodded his head, "Follow me then please."

Gaara walked into the house and Shikamaru did as was told and followed.

'Shit he walked into a pretty embarrassing moment. What if he's here to threaten me to stay away from Temari? Kankurou wasn't very happy with me...I thought Gaara was okay with it, but maybe he was holding back in front of Temari since he seems to be a lot more mature. One thing is for sure, since the very start I've sensed that he is a lot stronger and powerful than Kankurou. He has a small build, but something is off...Kankurou doesn't seem weak or anything either and I'm well aware of how strong Temari is, this family is dangerous...man I've gotten myself involved in a pretty troublesome family...'

Gaara lead Shikamaru the dining table where he sat and beckoned Shikamaru to take the seat across from him.

Shikamaru sat down and looked at Gaara not sure if it's rude to give eye contact or not.

"Shikamaru...tomorrow is a big day and we'll be facing a lot of challenges..." Gaara began speaking.

'Oh it's about tomorrow...thank god, I'm actually somewhat relieved...' Shikamaru thought to himself as he could feel a bead of sweat trickling down the side of his head.

"Kankurou and I will be busy dealing with Sasori, there's a lot needed to be dealt with in terms of our own family issues...that's why I can only entrust Temari to you."

Shikamaru's eyes widened and mouth slightly dropped, "Wait, you're actually entrusting her to me?"

Gaara grinned, "I'm not childish like Kankurou. You were probably thinking I'm against your relationship, that you've been terrible at hiding, but if anything, I would be more worried if Temari didn't find someone; after all she is still a high school girl. She was restricted to experience anything like this back at home, so I'm glad she was able to find her happiness here." Gaara joined his hands together, "Shikamaru, as you know Temari is strong and very prideful. She had to be that way in order to survive under the pressure our father placed on her; because of that, she doesn't like to rely on others, or feel the need to be protected and likes to take her fights head on without a second thought; however...because of that she can be short-sighted and not see that what's in front of her which may be too big for herself to handle. That is why I entrust her to you. Stop her from getting ahead of herself and make sure she stays safe."

Shikamaru looked at Gaara to make sure he was serious and then smirked, "No, I don't think I can."

Gaara gave a shocked look, "What do you mea-"

"You know how Temari is. You can't stop her; however I will face those obstacles with her and make sure they are downsized." Shikamaru interrupted, "Don't worry, you didn't have to ask, I'll do everything I can to protect her...without her noticing that is." Then realising what he said, he could feel his face gradually increasing in temperature.

Gaara smirked, "Well I guess I have nothing to worry about. Thank you for having this discussion with me," he then stood up and headed towards the door.

"Ah...no-no problem..." Shikamaru mumbled clumsily rising from his seat.

At the door, Gaara turned around to face Shikamaru, "None of the less, even though I trust you now, do anything out of line and that could easily change." Gaara eyes turned cold and then he walked out the door.

'This family...don't forget Shikamaru, they're all scary...'

Shikamaru finished standing up to see Temari walked in as Gaara walked out, "Oh you're done" she said watching Gaara walking out, "What were you guys talking about?" she asked now turned to look at Shikamaru.

"Just talking about tomorrow," Shikamaru carefully replied, 'I'm not lying or anything...just leaving out parts that may irk her; smart decision Shikamaru...I've got to stop talking to myself.'

"Oh, fair enough," by this time they were standing up facing each other.

Not knowing what else to say, the air gradually grew awkward.

"Well I guess I better go-" Shikamaru was then cut off with the sound of a huge crash.

"What was that?" Temari flicked her head to where she thought the sound was coming from being alert.

"Sounded like something broke and crashed down..." Shikamaru replayed the sound in his head analysing it over and over.

They both ran to the front and took a look out of the window. A large storm was raging. It wasn't raining, yet, but the wind blew aggressively moving and knocking over everything in its path. Bins all gathering to the end of the street, trees struggling to stay root, and what seemed to have made the sound was the somewhat large tree that fell over.

"You've got to be frikin' kidding me! It was seriously fine two seconds ago, how on earth did it change into this so suddenly?!" Temari raged in disbelief.

"They suspected a typhoon was approaching all week...but to think it could happen so suddenly like this...I guess we won't have our calm before the storm." Spoke Gaara who approached from behind as usual.

Shikamaru scratched the back of his head, "As much I would like to go home, there's no way I can go out in weather like that. I might actually die."

"It might not die down until tomorrow morning..." Gaara paused, "I guess you'll have to stay the night here Shikamaru." He continued to speak rather calmly.

"What?!" Shikamaru and Temari spoke back in unison.

"Well what other choice do you have?" Gaara replied to their reaction.

Shikamaru sighed, "fair enough."

"On the positive side, it means Kankurou can't return home..." Gaara then smiled sinisterly.

A shiver went down both Temari's and Shikamaru's spine.

'I really feel for Kankurou sometimes...' Shikamaru thought to himself.

"Temari please prep some clothes for Shikamaru to change into. He should fit Kankurou's clothing just fine. You can sleep on the couch tonight, but you might want to shower and change before dinner..." Gaara then took a look at Shikamaru's clothes.

Shikamaru looked down to see his clothes covered in dirt and he was a little bit sweaty, 'Right, I forgot I was training all day with Asuma...I even forcefully hugged Temari...'

"I'll take you up on that offer then if you don't mind."

"You're actually agreeing to stay here?!" Temari exclaimed.

"Well as troublesome as it is, at least it won't literally kill me," Shikamaru shrugged. 'Maybe...'

"Temari, I would think you'll be mature enough to get over the fact that a boy that's not me or Kankurou is staying over. Now please stop prattling and prepare clothes for the guest." Gaara closed his eyes just like he normally does when he's not accepting any further argument.

Temari stood still for a second more fuming then simply yelled, "Whatever" and stormed off.

She then came back a couple of minutes later, whilst Shikamaru sat on the couch waiting, with a couple pieces of clothing in her hands, "Here" she simply said handing them over to Shikamaru.

"It's the only thing I could spare in his room that doesn't stink." Temari continued looking in the opposite direction.

Shikamaru stared at her for a second, then grinned and accepted what was given, "Thanks..."

There was another awkward pause, "The showers at the end of that hall at the door to the right; you can use the towel on the rack, I just replaced it."

Shikamaru got up somewhat stiffly, "Yeah thanks I'll go now."

He followed the instructions given and surely enough ended up in the bathroom.

Temari walked back and forth and somehow found herself lost on what to do.

The night went on; the storm grew stronger, that at times it felt like the whole house was shaking.

All three had finished eating dinner together awkwardly in silence.

After cleaning up, Gaara said goodnight and went to his bedroom.

"Gaara sure sleeps early..." Shikamaru commented.

"He doesn't really go to bed though, he just wishes to be alone at this time to do meditating or whatever he does..." Temari replied.

Then again they stood at the dining table not knowing what to do next.

"Want to watch a movie?" Temari offered trying to be a proper host.

Shikamaru calculated in his mind and found that it was probably the soundest option, "Sure."

Temari flicked through her DVDs, 'Romance? No, too suggestive. Action? Looks like's I'm trying too hard to avoid being suggestive. Cartoon it is! Means absolutely nothing. Perfect.'

Temari places the DVD into the player and started the movie as she laid on the couch that Shikamaru happened to already be sitting on with her feet on his lap.

She was expecting a complaint...but surprisingly, it never came.

The sat together focused intently on the television screen not daring to shift their eyesight to anywhere else.

Half way during the movie, Temari felt a familiar shiver down her spine, "Ah! Umm I'm actually really sleepy that I nearly fell asleep just then...sorry, but feel free to watch the rest of the movie without me before you go to bed." She quickly got up, flashed a quick smile and left the room as quick as the storm came.

Shikamaru continued to sit still completely dumbfounded by the sudden change of rhythm and attitude.

Then thunder sounded and filled the room.

Shikamaru grinned, "Ah, right."

He continued to sit twiddling his fingers, 'Should I go? Ah, but I'm so comfortable on this couch...since she just up and left she obviously doesn't want me around right? Wait, when did I start listening anyway...? Bah! This is troublesome...'

Whilst thinking about it a little more, contemplating what option would have the most gain, or in this case, less hurt, he finally scratched the back of his head, got up and walked away from his groove.

He crept around the house and finally reached the room which he believed was Temari's bedroom, since he did a bit of curious snooping beforehand, and quietly knocked on the door trying not to wake up Gaara whose location is unknown.

No response followed.

He then knocked again and waited.

Again no response.

Then very carefully, he slowly turned the doorknob. He paused when it squeaked. When no complaint was heard, he timidly widened the door just to give another space to peek through.

It was dark and all he could make out was a lump on what seemed to be the bed.

As a crack of lightening broke through the sky, for an instance light shone through the room and he could make out that the lump on the bed was actually a person wrapped up in blankets.

Looking around the room noticing that the decor was somewhat girly, not pink and fluffy, but things like perfume could be seen that would definitely not be owned by a male, he was reassured that it was Temari's room.

"Temari...?" Shikamaru whispered as quietly as he could, but enough to be heard.

No response was heard.

Shikamaru crept closer to the bed and then bend over to try to find a face.

Temari's body was curled up and face completely buried in her covers.

"Temari...?" Shikamaru repeated.

After a short pause, "What?!" Temari replied gruffly.

Shikamaru stood still, 'Great, I got as far as her room and a response, but I have no idea what to say or what I'm really doing here...what the hell am I doing anyway?'

Dumbfounded, Shikamaru sat on the bed finding space in the curve of Temari's body.

"Why are you her-EEP!" Thunder struck and the sound filled the room. As a reflex she jumped up and forward and latched herself onto Shikamaru's back.

"Wh-" he reacted in response, then noticed her trembling and decided that he should just stay quiet.

Instead he raised his hand and placed it over one of her ears. While trying to awkwardly twist his body to cover her other, Temari noticed the discomfort and let go of his back and rolled onto her back still cocooned in her sheets. Shikamaru then placed his other hand over her uncovered ear and stayed seated facing her.

Temari started to calm and the thunder begun to subside.

After a few minutes, Shikamaru's arms grew numb, so to ease the discomfort, Shikamaru slowly started to relax and lowered himself to lie on the bed, hands still intact to her ears.

Another few minutes passed, thunder became more of a purr than a roar, and Shikamaru's arms started to twitch as they started to become stiff.

Shikamaru's shifting woke Temari from her state and noticed the somewhat distressed facial expression he had through the dark as he battled with his inner thoughts.

Temari grinned and then moved her body closer to his with her forehead touching his chest.

Shikamaru subtly shifted his arms to cover her ears with his upper arm by hugging her head closer to his chest.

There the couple laid waiting for the troublesome storm to pass.

"EYY TEMARI EYY!" Yelled a loud voice through Temari's bedroom door.

Temari continued to ignore the white noise as she nuzzled closer to her nice smelling pillow feeling comfortable in her cocoon.

"OI TEMARI? YOU IN THERE?! WHY DID YOU LEAVE THE DVD PLAYER RUNNING ALL NIGHT?" the voice now identified as Kankurou's continued to go on.

Temari's warm pillow shifted in response to the noise, 'shifted?'

"Hey are you in there...?" Kankurou opened the door and walked in.

Walked in to see Temari and Shikamaru, in bed laying together, hugging.

Kankurou froze at the entrance not able to pull his eyes away from the scene.

"Kankurou...? Why the hell are you creating such a racket so early in the morning?" she question warily.

"Wh-Wh-Why is th-that bastard in your b-bed?" Kankurou just managed to say.

Temari then saw her warm pillow was actually same old Shikamaru, 'not again. Got to stop thinking he's a pillow...'

Temari tried to move away, however struggled due to being mummified in her sheets and simply rolled over away from Shikamaru's warm embrace.

"You're starting to over react Kankurou, why do you always thinking of the worst case scenario?" Temari yawned mid sentence.

"I'M over reacting? That despicable man is in YOUR BED and you're being disgusting cuddling up and crap and me being angry is OVER REACTING?!"

'I must admit I am being rather calm about this...' Temari thought to herself now blocking out Kankurou from her mind.

With this, Shikamaru finally opened his eyes and somewhat sat up, still drunk on his snooze and saw Kankurou, "mmm...what? Why is Kankurou here?"

Then gradually he woke up taking notice of his surroundings noticing that is wasn't his simple, humble room, nor was he on his bed, and that he was actually laying beside Temari who looked like she wasn't interested in anything else but sleep.

His mouth made an 'o' shape as he connected the dots.

"I SWEAR Nara, I'm going to KILL you!" Kankurou then lurched forward to attack Shikamaru.

As a natural reflex after all of his training, his shifted to the side calmly and Kankurou's face plummeted into the bed head.

"Ah! Sorry..." Shikamaru said hesitantly.

"That's enough Kankurou!" Gaara's cold voice drifted into the room.

"Why the hell am I getting told off for?!" Kankurou argued back.

Gaara responded with a cold glare that instantly cooled down Kankurou's head.

"You are being noisy for absolutely no reason. Take care of analysing what is in front of you before you start attacking anyone. For example, Shikamaru is fully clothed, Temari is completed bound in a blanket with clothes on I assume due to no articles of clothing on the floor and it was storming last night with plenty of thunder. So what's the thing that most likely happened with this evidence?"

Kankurou paused to think for a moment, then he face turned a bright red, "You bastard Shikamaru! You took advantage of my sister's defenceless state and attacked her against her will and then tried to cover up your track-" Kankurou was then interrupted by Temari's foot which was now planted in his stomach throwing him off the bed.

"You are nothing more than an idiot Kankurou, how are we even related?" Gaara shook his head side to side in disappointment, "You have no right to fuss Kankurou. You think we don't know what you do when you disappear for the night? You really think you're innocent just because we don't say anything. At least if that was the case, Temari is with her boyfriend; unlike you who doesn't even have a girlfriend. Temari is also older so I suggest for your own safety to stay out of her way; otherwise you'll be punished just like now."

Kankurou's ears flushed red in embarrassment, "Bu-But".

"ENOUGH! This is now getting WAY too personal and creepy, I do not need either of you to watch and give permission for my every action, if we did have sex, then that is MY choice, NOT yours, MINE! Now get the HELL OUT OF MY ROOM!" Temari stormed and threw a pillow at each of them.

The brothers decided not to go against their extremely angry sister, as they have previously learnt their lesson before, and did what was told and walked out without another word.

"You get up too lazy ass! We have to get ready soon, it's actually midday-ish, go back home and do whatever you need." Temari ordered loudly.

Shikamaru rose up, a little bit irked, and eventually got off the bed and pondered to her bathroom to splash his face with cold water to wake up.

Temari continued to grumble on the bed face buried in her doona which was no longer wrapped around her.

"Alright, if the lazy ass has to get up, that means everyone else too." Shikamaru pulled on the doona.

Temari continued to grumble and then turned her head to face him pouting.

'Cute' Shikamaru thought and then pushed it away due to the important events ahead.

"Don't try to be cute come on!" Shikamaru started to order.

"Hey, since when do you get to order me around?" Temari questioned.

"Now, since my arms are completely numb because of you."

Temari paused to think back and then smiled, "Oh yeah...thanks."

Shikamaru blinked, "did I hear the almighty Queen Temari say th-thanks?"

"No need to get smart..." Temari smirked and threw a tissue box at him only missing by a hair as he dodged it.

Shikamaru turned towards her doorway, "Alright I better get going now to get ready for tonight," he turned to look at her, "I'll see you soon," Shikamaru then grinned.

Temari unleashed her smile uncovering all of her teeth, "Yeah, laters lazy ass."

Shikamaru then walked out of her bedroom and made his way out of the house.

On the way out he saw Gaara and Kankurou sitting at the dining table munching on breakfast, "Thanks for letting me stay over," he told them whilst bowing.

"Don't say that to me. I didn't want you here..." Kankurou murmured.

"No, excuse us for making you have to put up with my childish brother here...we'll be seeing you tonight." Gaara calmly spoke as usual.

"Until tonight then...oh yeah I'll return your clothes tonight as well Kankurou, washed of course," then Shikamaru left before anything else could be said.

"M-My clothes? You seriously trying to get me killed Gaara?" Kankurou whined.

"Yes, that was the plan..."

"Why is everyone so cruel to me?!"

Shikamaru made his way back to a quiet home as his parents were out for work.

'We'll discuss last night later on tonight Mister. Love Mum'

Shikamaru grumbled whilst reading the note left on the bench, 'only my mother would be scary enough to add 'love' at the end of a threat note.'

He then progressed upstairs and hopped into the shower.

Shikamaru continued his day as per normal where after the shower he grabbed something from his fridge to eat, went into the backyard to warm up and train a bit more doing stretches and muscle exercises, went back inside to eat, took another shower just to wash the sweat off and then sat down to stare at his shougi board.

Only today wasn't a usual day, his alarm sounded on his mobile to wake him up from his trance after staring at the shougi board, everything was about to change.

He re-tied the lazy knot in his hair to one that is sure to be more secure.

He then tied his shoe laces properly and wore clothes that fitted comfortably.

Grabbed the bag he packed a couple of nights ago and went into his closet to uncover the brass knuckles Asuma granted him with.

With everything set, he was out the door; but when opening the door, he saw Temari standing out front.

"Well, you took your time," was all she said.

They walked together towards the direction of the school and met up with the rest at the school grounds.

After the uneasy greetings and speculation that the Akatsuki wasn't around, the group tried to plan some tactics for the day.

"It's difficult when we don't know what to expect," Shikamaru sighed.

"Well we should group up in a way that's the most advantageous no matter the situation." Neji suggested.

"I want to be with Sakura!" Lee loudly interjected.

"Ah~ The suspense is killing me!" Kiba growled whilst kicking a rock.

While the group spent their time predicting what was to happen and how to counter, they felt a dark, ominous presence lurch from behind.

They all quickly turned their heads to see the Akatsuki standing in line on the school roof, "Welcome to our reception Konoha." Pain greeted.

Finally, the climax has come!

Konoha vs. Akatsuki, what's going to happen?

What's in store for our favourite couple?

Well stick around to find out haha~

Though to be honest, I had intentions of writing the start of the war in this chapter, but all of the extra activity ended up taking a lot more of the chapter then I expected.

I think this ended up being one of my longest chapters! How did that even happen?

Anyway, thank you everyone for your ongoing support.

I read every review with great joy so thank you for your time.

I hope this chapter wasn't disappointing; I'm trying to recover from major writer's block.

Much Love


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