A/N1: I like the way you think, anon! I suppose I also never considered a Sand Sibs x Nara Twins recombination that would lead to Temari/Shikako. And at first, the Shikaara shipper in me was like wait, what, why? But then that what became a hm… And then that led to this little snippet.
Hope you enjoy!
It is known that fools fail to recognize competence. In theirselves and in others.
A long lived saying in Sunagakure, most recently applied to those who might look down on them: the Wind Daimyo who could not truly understand the scorpion he was taunting. The other villages for dismissing their true power. Leaf especially, for thinking Suna a tamed creature at their beck and call.
How embarrassing that she would fall prey to that very mistake.
In enemy territory on the cusp of an invasion–at ground zero of the main force, in fact, holding the exploding tag but not the trigger–she is constantly on edge. Stressed out, a step away from panicking constantly, and all of this threaded through with strangely potent homesickness.
Temari hardly notices her, really. One out of what seems like a thousand Leaf nin too childish to know what being shinobi actually means.
She didn’t have time to commit to memory that first meeting, not when Gaara toed that line of violence and madness and Kankurou could easily misstep into the line of fire.
There will be other chances.
She had been raised knowing that, one day, she would have to take up her father’s mantle–inherit his mistakes without any of his glories–simply because there was no one else.
Not Kankurou, who would fracture under the pressure. Not Gaara who was a sword with no sheathe or hilt.
Just her, a master of wind, tied down and grounded because of blood.
But that was before.
Second contact, not so much a meeting as a mutual observance.
The Leaf are as weak as she had been told–it’s only because the Exams are in their own home that so many of them have reached this stage. Most of the fights are overdramatic grandstanding or silly kid’s spars. Even Temari’s opponent, who looked perhaps the most dedicated to her chosen profession, falls easily enough during the preliminaries.
Second contact, Temari knows in hindsight, shows just how foolish she was. She couldn’t exactly throw stones when it came to not wanting to fight her brother.
A specific brother, at least.
Though no doubt Temari’s reasoning is very different from the Leaf girl’s.
She is no stranger to change–the winds ever shifting, the vast sands constantly in flux–people of the desert are sturdy, yes, but survival comes from adaptability not stubbornness.
Even change, though, can be predictable. The mapping of stars and weather forecasts, winds following patterns that can be harnessed.
All her life, Temari was in free fall, never expecting the updraft that would let her catch the currents.
The invasion has started, Suna lost before it begun–manipulated by a serpent far more poisonous than they, their ultimate weapon proven nothing more than a scared boy with more power than sense.
Her father is dead. Has possibly been dead for a while.
She is the head of her clan now. The head of her family.
For that is what they are, despite their depleted numbers and strained bonds. She and her brothers, running from a fight their father started, and Leaf nin on their tails.
Power isn’t everything when all other factors–strategy, numbers, environment, exhaustion–are working against them.
They are losing, another man’s pawns in someone else’s war, and Temari knows very well what might happen next.
Their third encounter, Temari learns just how much of a fool she’s been.
A/N2: So not outrightly shipping, but sort of pre-shipping?
I guess it’s mostly just me trying to see what the main aspects of a Temari/Shikako ship would be and, in this case, it would be that Temari respects (and appreciates and is attracted to?) competence in other people. And Shikako is, despite her occasional blunder and social insecurities, a highly competent person.