For Res judicata, who asked for a discussion between Temari and Naruto about non-village-approved relationships.
SORTA SPOILERS for background stuff for Teamwork, notably one pairing I really want to happen XD I wrote the ficlet at about a year after the birth of the kid, but I might rewrite it later to fit it in the timeline.

Garden party

"If there hadn't been the heat, would you have tried to have them anyway?" she asks, sitting in the shade of the gallery, as she watches that group of people she's not letting herself call friends mingle and chat.

Kiba is whispering in Hinata's ear, making her blush and laugh. Chouji is monitoring the barbeque closely, shooing Sakura, the mistress of the house, and Ino away, and they nag at him in tandem. Sasuke is leaning against a tree, and pretends he's not watching over his heir like a hawk. The brat's crawling all over the place, and shrieks and laughs when Konohamaru makes funny faces. Iruka and Asuma are playing chess, pretending not to hear Gai's "helpful" suggestions. Neji, Kurenai and Shikamaru are engaged in a political, or maybe philosophical discussion, and Shino -- who knows, maybe he fell asleep.

Temari's gaze lingers on Shikamaru. He's as loose-jointed, as boneless as ever as he sprawls in the grass. He's smirking. She smirks too, wondering what sort of devastating argument he's preparing in his tortuous brain.

Naruto plops down at her side, legs swinging absently. "Mmh. Dunno. I didn't really think of Sasuke like that back then, and Sakura was clearly crazy for him."

She wonders at his easy friendliness. The only link they really have is her brother. And Shikamaru. "But if something had made you think about him like that?"

He ponders. "I dunno. I'm thinking I could have had him but it would have excluded Sakura. Or I could have dropped it entirely and gone with Hinata instead -- but even back then it didn't feel like a good idea. Would have felt like I was abandoning them."

She hums in reply. She doesn't truly care about the intricacies of the Rookie Nine's teenage crushes, in the end. Most of them she only tolerates because they're always more or less around Shikamaru and they've accepted her in as Shika's girlfriend, or girl who is a friend, or friendly competitor in the ways of the Snark, or whatever it is that they are to each other. She just wants to have a second opinion, from someone who knows about living in a non-village-approved relationships.

"Do they still give you grief?" she wonders, and sounds like she doesn't care -- she doesn't, really, she's just curious. It's data that she needs, that's it.

"Oh, yes," he replies with a wide grin. "Everyday. But there are enough people who don't that it doesn't matter."

As if that's going to erase the days their child comes back home in tears because his family is abnormal, the shops who refuse to deal with them, the dangerous missions they can't take together. "It would have been better to hide it from common knowledge," she replies caustically. Really, flaunting it in people's face, that was provocation.

"Easier, maybe. Better, I dunno. Our kid has two dads and that's it. ...Say, what's Sand's attitude toward single moms?"

She narrows her eyes and stares at him, and his relaxed smile and his innocent blue eyes, and wonders if she's really reading too much in that question -- or if she's reading just exactly what he means. There's no way in hell she will ever play "my baby has two mommies". She's in a triangle, not a threesome.

"Depends if they're civilians or ninjas. Depends if the father was killed before they could marry. In the end, though, it doesn't matter as much as here."

He nods. He's still watching her.

"... I don't want a child anyway. Or a husband. Domestic bliss isn't for me."

He smiles. She feels that finally, she gave him the reply to his actual question -- the permanence of her relationship. Huh. Surprisingly perceptive, for someone who runs around acting like a moron without a grain of common sense.

"Sand and Leaf are allies anyway, and the old hag Tsunade has never refused you assignments here, so you've got as much tacit approval as you're ever going to get."

"Mmh." She turns away. She knows. The lovers-from-rival-villages thing is not the problem. If she can call that a problem.

He waves as his kid, throws the ball back toward Konohamaru. She's expecting him to leave. He doesn't.

"You know, Ino's always been fierce about Sakura."

... Well, apparently Shika isn't the only one here who can totally blindside her.

"What?" she whispers. It's a weak comeback, and she wonders where her years of training in verbal sparring have disappeared to.

"Ino. She's always been more intense about her friendship with Sakura than Sakura herself -- I dunno, there's just something there. Oh, sure, she liked Sasuke too, but I wonder if she went after him like that just so Sakura wouldn't have him more than anything else."

"Why are you--" telling me about Ino, she wants to say, but playing stupid has never been one of her favorite techniques. "How did you reach that conclusion?"

She's not talking about the thing between Ino and Sakura that Naruto's alluding to. She's talking about the meaning underneath the insinuation. She wants to know what betrayed her.

He grins. "Scent. And you like to needle her, but never about that lazy ass. If you two were only competing over him, you'd shove that in his face as often as possible."

She stares at him. "Scent?"

"You smell interested around pretty girls about as much as around hot guys -- by the way, I know Sasuke-bastard's got a sexy ass, but when you think dirty thoughts about him, it makes the furball want to grab him and, y'know, mark his territory, and he'd never forgive me for groping him in public."

Caught. Ah well. She shrugs. "Your boyfriend IS pretty hot. If you get jealous over everyone who lusts after him, you're going to need to decimate a good third of the village's population."

Naruto bursts out laughing. "Heheh. But see, the other girls are all waiting to get wooed. They're no threat at all. Now you... you're kickass and ballsy enough that there's a chance he might notice."

She smirks. Now that's the kind of compliment she likes. "Why, thank you."

"So. You want your boyfriend's girlfriend. Copycat." He grins, teasing. She blinks at him, not sure if she should feel annoyed at the level of intimacy his teasing implies. Naruto and her are not friends. Acquaintances at best.

"Shika's not my boyfriend," she sighs. "We date sometimes, and sometimes we just shoot the breeze together, and sometimes we're not meeting for weeks. Same with Ino -- he won't commit. Seeing as I don't want to commit either, it's just fine for me."

Naruto grimaces. "Not for her?"

"Probably not. We don't have deep heart-to-heart conversations all that often," she replies sarcastically. All conversations she has with the other blonde are either teasing from her and forced politeness from Ino, or screaming rows -- more like skirmishes, because they both know that if it went physical she'd win, and that means Ino never entirely lets loose -- she just yells a bit and then locks herself up again. Temari doesn't like that. She wants to know what will happen if one day the other girl really lets it all out.

All the screaming comes from Ino. She's pretty when she's angry. Temari... well, Temari doesn't get angry; she gets even -- a good reason to keep her calm when the other girl explodes. Besides Ino doesn't know how to hurt her anyway, emotionally. Ino views her as the enemy; she's never really tried to get to know her, find her buttons.

"Mmh. I don't think she hates you. She's jealous cause she's pretty sure in the end he's gonna choose you, but Shika's too lazy to even bother choosing. Besides he has two hot babes for himself, he's never going to want to stop that. Who would, really?" Naruto chuckles.

She rolls her eyes, but can't help but smirk. That's Shika in a nutshell. Lazy, macho prick.

Naruto is nodding wisely, totally serious -- how can he discuss sex with that face, she'll never know. "You know, I think he'd totally help you plot a way to get her, 'cause the only way he could have it better would be to have you two at the same time."

"Already done," she replies, and smirks viciously as Naruto's eyes widen in shock.

"NO -- for real? Fuck, lucky bastard!"

She rolls her eyes. "As if you don't ever have yours together."

"Well, yeah, but Sasuke's a guy! I mean, really -- live lesbian sex, that's like every hot-blooded male's fantasy! Seriously, Temari, you've got to pull that off!"

She feels her lips quiver against her will. "Oh, I'll try my hardest." She will. If what he said about Ino liking Sakura was true, she has a chance -- even if Ino's only confused, that can be enough. She still remembers the way they kissed over Shikamaru's body. She wants that again -- the mindless passion in Ino's eyes, the scratches and the cries of pleasure. She wants it for herself, not for Shikamaru -- though she could share with him, she supposes. So long as they share equally.

Naruto is still daydreaming at her side.

"If you want two girls so much, why don't you teach your man your jutsu?" she asks mock-innocently, and represses a smile once again.

Naruto's expression changes from "happy pervy thoughts" to "forlorn". "I offered once. He broke my nose -- hey!"

She's laughing now, she's laughing and she can't stop, and it's full-throated and loud, shoulders shaking, head thrown back. Everyone pauses to look at her. She sees Shikamaru watching her, appreciative. She gives him a conniving smirk, and finds Ino's eyes.

The other blonde is by the barbeque, busy harping on Chouji's cooking most probably. She pauses to look at Temari, startled.

There's a crack there, under the frown; just a small imbalance, just a touch of uncertainty. That's about all Temari needs. She smirks, a challenge whose reason Ino visibly doesn't get, and leaves her seat. Time to mingle, now. Time to prepare her plan.