It had been a few days now that she’d fled from Otagakure in search of a new place to call home. With Orochimaru now dead she had lost her purpose and held loyalty to Ota no longer. Fortunately for her she was somewhat familiar with Konohagakure choosing that to be the village of her new residency though that’s not entirely what had made her settle on this village it was also that boy she had fought against a few years back. Tayuya didn’t know what it was but something about him was admirable—perhaps it was that intelligence of his that piqued her interest. The young woman just hoped that despite her trying to, well—kill him back then, that he would be willing to help her out. She was too worn out and her feet could carry her no further at this moment in time, collapsing somewhere in the middle of the forest. Jagged breaths spilled from her lips, hand pressing against a nearby tree in attempts to get back up and onto her feet unfortunately this was to no avail. Tayuya hung her head, tousled raspberry rose hair falling over her dirtied face as her fingers clutched into the grassy terrain of the forest floor. “Fucking dammit..” She hissed, lifting her head to look around at her surroundings nothing but trees filling her peripheral vision. She had to be relatively close to reaching the village by now or so she had hoped anyways. I can’t stop now. She mused, heaving a frustrated sigh.
Shikamaru. She kept hearing the name everywhere. Shikamaru, the boy with the genuis IQ. Shikamaru, the only boy out of the youngest group of genin to pass the chunin exams. Shikamaru, the leader of the group sent to retrieve Sasuke, a failed mission, but one that brought back every single one of it’s members back alive, which is no small feat. It seemed his name was floating around everywhere and she didn’t understand it. The Shikamaru she knew was a lazy, complaining, stick in the mud who had simply beaten her in a game of shogi. She had seen him in his match against Temari and while it was impressive, he had forfeited. Sure he was smart, but where had all this other praise come from? There’s no way he could have changed.
Then she had thought to herself just how much she had changed over the last few years. While he probably didn’t remember her, the little girl he faced in that shogi tournament was a smug, arrogant brat who didn’t take too well to losing. As she progressed over the years, her confidence had been worn and beaten to a husk and she was left as an awkward, insecure teenager. She was grateful for the change, as her humble demeanor had garnered her a couple of friends and a new perspective on life. Now that she had been hearing his name everywhere, she thought, maybe Shikamaru had changed too?
She wanted to find out. The opportunity arose when she was walking home from a mission and she happened upon Shikamaru, lounging against a tree and watching the clouds roll by. She lingered for a moment to watch him, deciding whether or not it was worth it, before taking a deep breath and approaching him. “Hey,” she said, raising her hand to give a half hearted wave. “I-I don’t know if you remember me but uhh, mind if I join you?” Her lips twitched into a nervous smile.
The winds howled fiercely as sand whipped around at an alarming rate. Sandstorms were common, especially at this time of year, which normally delayed travel and kept most shut away inside their homes. Yet, the daughter of the Fourth Kazekage, sister to the Fifth and liaison to Konoha, would not be subdued by the storm. She had grown up learning that the change in wind patterns normally meant a storm was brewing. She had grown use to the sting of the twisting sand against her skin; knew the precautions to take and no longer feared the howling gales that could bury the inexperienced traveler. Still, as she left the drifting sands behind and reached the border of the two countries she couldn’t help but breathe a sigh of relief.
Sand dunes gave way to rolling hills and grasslands. Trees and bushes took the place of cacti and shifting sand. It was a welcomed change, but Temari knew that the storm had delayed her arrival. Her pace was quicker, now that the ground under her feet was no longer changing, but she still knew that she wouldn’t be able to make up the time lost.
As the walls surrounding Konoha rose up in front of her, her pace slowed. She truly didn’t need to worry; she had planned to spend an extra couple days in Konoha this trip, a sort of break, since her duties and obligations in Suna were being well managed in her absence. Still, she wanted this part of the trip to be over; she was tried, hungry, and ready to get off her feet. Yet, she knew the stress, and annoyances of the day were far from over.
Emerald hues narrowed as she saw a familiar form straighten from its previous relaxed state. There was no mistaking who it was, who was waiting and probably muttering under his breath about her being late. As if she hadn’t waited countless times for him when he had refused to show up on time, she thought as the distance between the two closed.