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Who: Temari and Shikamaru
When: June fifteenth, 2oo8.
Where: Some restaurant outside Tokyo, the Love Hotel, then the airport.
Warnings: Language, typos, uh...sex. Epic...ness.
Open? Nope, finished!

[Part one] [Part two] [Part three] [Part four]

Music videos. They were more troublesome than a lot of things in this business, Shikamaru thought. The physical (and mental) exhaustion, writing songs, dealing with the media, the rumors...none of it seemed as downright pointless as being recorded lip syncing your own songs and dancing (God, how he hated dancing).

What was the point?

But whatever, music was his life now, as odd a feeling as that was. He did things like that (-making music videos, taking interviews, doing photoshoots,) to further advance his career; and it was working. That much was obvious to him through his growing success (after all, he'd already gotten this far).

Part of creating a music video was planning for it; this required picking an outfit, a hairstyle, and a theme for the song which you were to put into motion. And, for the theme, sometimes a cast was required; that was the reason Shikamaru was there that day, at some restaurant just outside Tokyo (and extremely unfamiliar to him; his manager picked the spot, confirmed it with everyone involved, and hoped it was in a location where no one would recognize the star or the person he was meeting with).

Apparently, they had chosen the perfect person to star in the video alongside him (perfect; they used that word); as of yet, he wasn't aware of the theme (and to be honest, he didn't really care), or the identity of the person joining him today. But, he was told he needed to meet them; it was for chemistry on the camera, they said.

So he waited (because he was the first to show up, he wanted this all over and done with as quickly as possible), taking an occasional sip of the coffee he had ordered, and glancing to the door every now and then.

They had better show up soon, or he would have missed a perfectly good nap for this.

To be honest, when her manager had told Temari she was going to be in a music video for someone, she’d been surprised. No one ever asked her to be in music videos. It just didn’t happen. Rumors about her attitude had circulated far and wide, and before long, she’d been dubbed a bitch, a slut, and a whole lot of other things she didn’t really pay too much attention to.

Still, now she was due to be in a music video with some famous singer or other (he was beautiful according to every girl she’d forced information out of, though the name was always kept away from her ears) and she had no idea how she was supposed to act at this “lunch” date. Was she just supposed to go in and get out? Was she there to listen to what he wanted? Were they supposed to act like it was a real date to build the chemistry that was supposed to be seen on screen? She didn’t care about any of that—chances were she’d hate the guy and they’d be off to a horrible start.

When she got to the restaurant her manager had told her to be at by one, she stared at the tiny, foreign place. She hesitated by the front door. She hated music videos. She hated working with other people that weren’t her brothers. Would it work out? Would she even be able to make it through the lunch date to begin with? It didn’t matter, she mused. Being in a music video would be great for promotional purposes, and she couldn’t argue with that.

So sucking in a deep breath, steeling herself for whatever awaited her on the other side of the door, Temari turned the knob and stepped into the restaurant and let her eyes roam over the place.

Her eyes fell on a thin guy sitting in one corner, looking positively bored as he took a sip of whatever-it-was in his cup.

She knew him. She’d seen him on posters. On MTV Japan. On the internet. She’d heard his name on the lips of every teenaged girl capable to find the opposite sex attractive.

That was her coworker for the music video. And just by looking at him, she already hated him.

Just when Shikamaru thought the other person was never going to show (just when he was about to leave), the bell that hung above the entrance rang, alerting everyone capable of hearing that someone had entered the restaurant; of course, this had happened a total of about seven times since Shikamaru had come in himself; but he had also been there quite awhile now, which meant people coming in were few and far between.

So he looked up, half expecting to see an old man taking a seat at another table, but was surprised to see the all too familiar face of the woman standing at the door; it was nothing special to see famous people in the music industry. In fact, he was more than used to that sort of thing by now (not that he ever felt like it was something special). But, in knowing who it was, he was aware this was the person he had been waiting for; Temari. She was just about as well-known as he was, it seemed. She was on the television all the time, her beautiful face was on several magazines a week, her songs were heard playing on music stations all across Japan--he even had quite a collection of her CDs; but no one knew that.

He didn't even bother to stand from the table; what would be the point? From the way she was looking at him, it was more than obvious she was who he was scheduled to meet today.

He hated her, anyway; he loved her music, he admired her talent, but he hated her as a person. Because Shikamaru hated women (especially troublesome ones, and she was about as troublesome as they got), he hated her attitude; she was a complete and total bitch, from what he had read and heard. And that left him wondering how smoothly things could possibly go during this meeting. The first thing that came from her mouth was bound to annoy him, undoubtedly.

(God, why couldn't they have told him it was going to be a woman?)

Nara Shikamaru had seen her.

Temari had been secretly hoping he’d remain oblivious to her arrival, giving her the chance to escape, but he’d taken the chance to look up and watch her as she stepped through the threshold and was engulfed by the unfamiliar surroundings. And by the way he was looking at her, he knew who she was.

Damn.

She walked towards him confidently, ignoring the look of hatred written clearly on his face. It was normal to get that look, especially from those in the business. They all hated each other—it was normal. You were either competition or would be, and rumors never helped. She didn’t appreciate the way he was looking at her, though, the closer she got. If he kept on, she’d have to slap the look right off his face.

When she reached him, she sat in the empty chair in front of him, without offering the formal greeting that should have been expected.

Well, that was Temari for you, he figured.

As she took a seat opposite his own, Shikamaru frowned slightly at even the mere thought of conversation, and leaned back in his chair, hoping that somehow, putting a little distance between them would make this all better.

But Shikamaru was a genius, and he was smart enough to know that wasn't happening.

"Temari, right?" When he finally spoke, he did so quietly, with far less excitement in his voice than you would expect from someone with as much as he had.

And of course it was Temari; he knew this probably as well as she did. But, he also knew something needed to be said in order to get this over with (and he wanted to rush through all of it).

Temari suppressed the urge to smirk at Shikamaru’s obvious discomfort and instead deepened her frown. “Obviously,” she responded, though with far less attitude than anyone would expect. She flagged down a waitress as silence consumed them once more, and when she finished ordering her desired drink of black coffee, settled back into the awkward tension that seemed to hang in the air.

This was going to be a long day. She could tell. It was apparent they already disliked each other (and so far, they’d only exchanged a few words) and were far from willing to work with each other. They were going to have to, though, and as much as Temari disliked the idea of having to work with anyone, especially someone so against working with her, she had to do what she had to do.

“So, are you gonna tell me what I’m here for?” Ah, there was her attitude. She could always count on her natural ability to get straight to the point if all else failed.

The way she looked at him made him sick; kind of like how it was visiting his mother, the way she looked at him like she wanted to rip his throat out with her teeth.

Women. (What had he ever done to them?)

"What, didn't they tell you?" Of course they didn't tell her; they barely even told him anything. "You're starring in one of my videos," he continued, "they said we needed to talk, work on our...characterization." The last word was said with a bit of something that sounded like to anger; he wasn't angry, though (because Shikamaru really wasn't the angry type). He was upset, though; he didn't want to be here, he didn't want to talk to her, and he certainly didn't want to explain anything to her.

“Don’t sound so enthusiastic,” Temari snapped, sarcasm dripping from every word. If Shikamaru (wait, why was she referring to him as that? He should still be Nara in her books) was going to act like a prick with a stick up his ass, than so would she. It wasn’t like she wanted to be there anymore than he did. She had better things to do with her life. Like get wasted.

After a few seconds, Temari breathed in deeply, willing herself to let the offense go. It wasn’t really his fault; they’d both been thrust into the situation without any consideration. She was sure he was just as eager to get this over with, and they could use that to their advantage. So keeping in mind that hurting her new coworker was not only bad for her career but against the law, the blonde opened her eyes and spoke calmly. As long as she thought of this as business, than she could do it.

“Fine. I think it’s safe to assume that we both don’t want to be here together. So let’s just get right down to work. First, what’s the song?” She hoped the Nara boy was willing to cooperate, even though he seemed like the kind of guy more eager to lazy around than get things done. But she would easily fix that if he dared to pass things off. She smirked at the thought.

Well, that was one thing (and only one thing) he could possibly find likable about this woman; she wanted to get this over with. And just as badly as he did, it seemed.

So, like Temari, Shikamaru was willing to get right to it; because, as much as he obviously adored procrastination and avoiding work, the sooner he could get home, the better. Especially when he had to deal with a girl.

"I couldn't agree more." He replied, his tone casual as usual as he rested his chin in his and. "Uh, it's Dig Deeper. They haven't told me anything about the video itself yet, though." Those bastards. This was absolute torture for him, and how did they honestly expect these two to connect without the details?

Damn. It wasn’t a song Temari had heard, not that she listened to a lot of his music (she was lying, though, because she actually had complete albums in her iPod). Nothing she could do about that, and that was how it was. So now she was left with having to bite her tongue and battle her pride as she asked what the song was about.

It wasn’t until that very moment that the thought occurred to her that the MV might be one of those romantic ones. Where she would play the girl, he would play the boy, and they would fall in love, share intimate moments under the stars, stare into each other’s eyes—

She was going to puke.

She turned to stare at her, her eyes dark and narrowed. “What’s the song about? And it better not be a romantic bullshit song.”

Temari was ever the polite one.

"It's about a girl." Actually, it was about a girl, from a man's point of view; he didn't say this, though, because the song was a 'romantic bullshit song'. Besides, talking about the song wouldn't help them get along, now would it? After all, the theme of the music video was unknown, so practicing was completely out of the question.

And, at that moment, he realized it: They had chosen her to portray the woman he loved so dearly. (And God, there were lyrics about kissing her; something he hoped like all hell wouldn't have to be acted out for the script.)

Staring across the table at her, he could barely stomach the thought (because he hated her), and adverted his gaze to the half empty cup of black coffee sitting to the left of him, and silently willing the subject to magically change.

“A girl,” Temari repeated flatly, and she suddenly wanted to reach across the table and shake him till his bones rattled.

But she didn’t. Yet.

She watched him not look at her. He was infuriating. He was thinner than her, and prettier, and he hated her for no reason. Okay, so he had a tiny reason, but still. He didn’t want to work with her, and it aggravated her till no end that she was the one working for him. She was the one in his video. In a sick, twisted, illogical way, she was working under him, he was better, and she hated it as much as she hated him.

She wasn’t going to change the subject, as much as the guy wanted her to. They had to talk about it, as much as they didn’t want to. And she had a feeling it was one of those romantic songs and—what if there was a kissing scene? Maybe they could get a double. They did that sort of thing in Japan.

“Just spit it out,” she told him, her impatience wearing extraordinarily thin. “Tell me what the damn song is about and we can call it a day.”

"It's a song about a girl," he stated flatly, his eyes catching hers again, "a girl who's a complete bitch--funny how they chose you for the part, huh? They were right, you were cast perfectly for the part."

It was annoying. Annoying how, after this, he would go online, check his e-mail, screw around on the internet and...what, find icons of them together? Fanfiiction? God, the very thought disgusted him; they would probably make her some crying, blushing...wait, why was he thinking about what they would do to her characterization?

Trying to force those thoughts from his mind, Shikamaru straightened up in his seat, and watched her, waiting for a response. Which, by the comments he made, would probably be none too pleasant for him.

Temari smirked and leaned back into her chair, crossing her arms over her chest. “Really? So I’m guessing the guy in the song is an apathetic jerk with little talent. Then you’d be rather perfect for your part, too.”

Sheesh, talk about problem. She knew she had an attitude bad enough to drive half the world insane, but who the hell did he think he was? It wasn’t like this was something she’d chosen to do. It wasn’t like she wanted to hear all the rumors that would fly off the handle once pictures of them were printed on every scandalous magazine in Japan and the rest of the world.

Tolling her eyes, she slammed her hand on the table, causing whatever was actually on it to rattle back into place. “Look, I’m not in the mood to have some kind of showdown where we throw witty comments back and forth and try to see who could one up the other. I just want to get things over and done with.”

"Yeah, luckily enough for the both of us, I'm not interested in such things." Shikamaru replied, giving her a look as though what she had just done was completely random (but it wasn't; he expected it, especially from her). Though, the truth of the matter was that he was interested in such things; not the later one, no, but the witty comments were something he loved to take part in.

All the same, he didn't want to pick at the details here; he just wanted this conversation to end.

"But fine, okay," he agreed with a simple nod (accompanied by a shrug), "what do you want to get to first?" God, this all seemed so downright meaningless.

“The hell should I know,” Temari shot back, the frustration evident in her voice and in the way she sat stiffly in her chair. This conversation was going nowhere, and fast. The two were basically going around in circles, asking the same questions, providing answers with little information, trying to outwit the other in a useless way. Nothing would get done. And Temari knew it.

But there wasn’t much else to do. They could both pretend they didn’t hate each other, but that’d be hard to ignore. They could part ways now and act incompetently during the actual filming of the MV, but that would only result in a longer work day and more time to get angrier and angrier.

So it was up to her to act like a mature adult. Who knew how old the kid in front of her actually was.

“If you don’t mind, I really don’t know what the song is about. We might as well just get that out of the way. Who knows what the hell they’ll decide to actually script, so we might as well assume anything is possible. And in order to do that, I need to know what the song is trying to say. Then we can come up with different scenarios and how we can develop our characters in each.”

Good. She was using her head. If she didn’t dwell on the increasing pool of hate that seemed to bubble every time his little dark eyes stared at her, she could actually think clearly and come up with a rather good plan on what to do when they had been given nothing to work with.

"Alright," he said, quietly, letting a sigh pass through his lips as he shifted in his seat and placed a hand on the table. "it's basically about...this guy who's deeply in love with this woman. She says she loves him back, but she doesn't; he knows this, and, well...he's really just going through their past experiences together--you know, talks, their life. sex, even kissing--and kind of telling her off. It's kind of hard to explain, but that's about it. She thinks she loves him, though, and she feels the same way he does, like he's trying to move on or whatever. It's not really your average romantic bullshit song, but yeah. It's about love."

Shikamaru didn't understand where they were assumed to go from there, how they could get into character for the part when they hated each other as much as they did.

But whatever, playing a part in a music video was basically acting--and he and Temari had both done that enough times to be able to fake it. They could do this. They had to.

All Temari did as Nara—was it Shikamaru now?—spoke was listen. She was tempted to ask him whether he’d written the song, if he’d gone through anything like that in his life to inspire him to compose something as real as what he’d just explained to her. But she stopped herself just in time. It wouldn’t do them any well when she asked such a personal question, especially if the answer would be a smartass one with the subtle underlining message that she should mind her own business.

“Well… I guess that… explains some.” Truth was it didn’t. She was just as lost as she had been walking in through the front door of the restaurant. Acting was one thing. She could do that fairly well enough. But there was no way she could force herself to pretend there was that kind of intimacy with the guy sitting before her. She hated him, for starters. And while she was grown-up enough to be able to put work before personal feelings, it could only go so far.

For a moment, she watched him through her eyelashes. He was pretty, as much as she hated to admit it. Not as pretty as some other stars she’d seen; he was feminine in a manly way, as confusing and completely idiotic as it was. Again, she was struck with the need to ask him whether he’d been the one to compose the song but didn’t. She was left speechless, even if it was only for a moment.

From her reaction (or lack thereof), Shikamaru could gather that she didn't quite get it, and fought off the urge to roll his eyes as he opened his mouth to speak again (because he was tired of explaining things). "See, he wants her to realize she's the one avoiding him, favoring other people over his company, ignoring him. But she's stubborn, because she feels like she's the one being hurt, and to her, that's the honest to God truth." And then he paused, clearing his throat and taking another sip of his coffee.

Now he was just rambling. Great.

So, he decided that was enough detail for her (and was left wondering how many things he had just repeated himself on), and remained silent, allowing for her the opportunity to speak if she so desired. And, if not, he wasn't about to tell her any more than what he already had. After all, they were working together on this.

“Don’t look at me like that,” she told him, frowning. “You don’t have to explain yourself. I get it.”

And Temari did. She’d just been struck by the severity of the topic, of how deep the song’s meaning could actually be.

Not that she did anymore. She took it all back. Any respect or admiration that had built in the seconds between his initial explanation and the last one had been dashed by the time he had officially finished. She hated him all over again, and she wasn’t even too sure why. She had a distinct feeling that there was more to this unfounded dislike towards him—beyond the fact he was considered competition and that he was thinner and probably had nicer legs and something more she couldn’t quite identify, but she didn’t dwell on it.

What a disaster of a lunch date, or whatever the hell it was, it had turned out to be. Nothing had been settled except that they didn’t get along and that they were at a complete lost at how to create an intimacy that would be believable for the song and on screen.

Until it suddenly hit her, and she was leaning forward anxiously, struck by the need to understand fully what had been explained and how she could incorporate it into her character.

“Wait, you said that she feels like she’s the one being hurt, but you made it seem as if it isn’t true. Why the hell not? How would you feel if someone were telling you off about how you feel? How would you feel if someone were telling you, you just thought you were in love but actually weren’t. Aren’t those feelings for you to decide?”

She had no idea why she was so adamant about it. She’d never been in love (and she was ever so thankful to whatever powerful force there was that controlled that sort of thing) or experienced anything like it, but on behalf of this poor girl in the song, she felt slightly offended.

"That's not the point," he replied flatly, sending a glare her way. "The song's already written, it's done. We're in the process of making the video now, that means it's too late for you to be giving me your opinions on it and for me to consider them. I've written hits before, I know what I'm doing." And with that, he glanced away from her again (because he felt intimidated?), and leaned back in his seat.

He had to give it to her, though; what she had said made sense, in a Temari sort of way. But then again, she hadn't even heard the song itself yet, so how did she expect to get off judging his music like that?

It annoyed Shikamaru, probably more than it should have. And, for the life of him, he couldn't quite figure out why. He had been bashed before, he had heard of people saying they hated his music (even if they liked him--if not only for his looks), so why was it so different that she was the one criticizing him? Surely, not because she was another musician herself, not because she was popular; because Shikamaru didn't care about things like that.

No, it was because of who she was. For some reason, every little thing she did (walking, speaking, breathing)...it irked him like all hell. Because he hated her (and he didn't understand why his hate for her was so strong, either; usually he could simply dislike a woman and ignore her existence altogether).

With that in mind, the thoughts of getting this over with were returning (though really, by now they were urges). Because once this was over, the faster they could make the music video and be out of eachother's lives for good. (At this point, he would simply settle for walking away from the thing entirely, but he couldn't. Because he knew that the fans she had, even if they could care less about him, would watch the video if she was in it--and that would be an advantage for him.)

"Besides," he muttered, eyes still turned away from her, "It's just a song." It wasn't. It was a song with meaning, but he was through trying to discuss that with her.

Temari was practically fuming. He’d written hits before? Hell, maybe she wasn’t as popular as he was, but she’d written enough hits too. Enough not to need any lessons from him about it.

“Are you that shallow?” she asked, her voice low and rough, unlike the girly voices so often heard throughout Tokyo. “It’s just a song? Do you write things without meaning it? Do you go through life and consider your career a pastime?” She was suddenly livid. She wanted to do as she had planned from the very beginning and reach over and break his skinny little neck.

This guy was a complete asshole. She’d met her fair share in the business, and outside of the business, and in plain old life, but he took the cake. She could tell from the way he acted that he was smart enough to have a good enough defense for whatever he had to say, but he was so apathetic, so tragically uncaring and nonchalant that it almost physically pained and sickened her.

“Fine, you’re absolutely right.” She stood up, making her chair skid loudly across the hardwood floor. “My opinion means absolutely nothing to you. I’d only bothered saying it because I thought it would be important for me to understand. I mean, I’m the one who has to act like I actually love you, right? You’re the one who doesn’t care about my feelings.” She could feel dozens of pairs of eyes fixed on her, and while that hadn’t been her original intent (causing a scene was never an option as a celebrity), she could see that it wouldn’t be so bad. This Nara Shikamaru didn’t seem like the kind of guy who wanted any attention on him, and if he wanted to play, they’d play her way.

Immediately, Shikamaru knew all the eyes in the restaurant had turned to stare at them (even before looking, because he didn't need to). If there was one thing he hated more than working, more than woman, it was this.

So, he looked from the small crowd and back to her, sitting more upright in his chair as he set his coffee aside.

"That's how you're supposed to view it, anyway. I'm really the one who loves you." And with that, Shikamaru stood, removing his wallet from his back pocket and tossing enough money on the table to pay for the bill.

"I mean every single word I write." He finally said in response to her earlier comments, "I feel the songs, I live them, I breathe them. This isn't just some fucking hobby for me--it's my entire life. The day I stop caring about music, that's the day I'll stop completely."

He was sure she felt the same way, as a musician herself; when you did this sort of thing, when your entire existence was either a result of music or something leading to it, it was more than just a pretty melody or words that sounded good together.

And what she had said insulted him. Temari had actually managed to make the calm, uncaring, nonchalant Nara Shikamaru angry.

“Then don’t tell me it’s ‘just a song’ when you know it isn’t.” Temari glared, watching him as he prepared to leave—or whatever it was he was going to do. “Besides, even if that’s the way I’m ‘supposed’ to view it, everyone else has their own interpretations. And I’m definitely not going to play up some stupid girl you’ve created. Haven’t you bothered thinking about her feelings? It’s not only about you.”

She’d just about had it with him. Their actions were ungrounded and uncalled for—and downright childish, but she didn’t really know why she was going about the situation like this. There was just something about him that made her jump ahead of herself, made her speak too quickly, made her brain a little crazy. She was calm and collected, albeit a little angry, but she’d never so easily lost control. Maybe it was because she believed he’d had it easier than her in the music business. Maybe she felt as if he had a better chance of succeeding for longer than her band. Maybe there was more to what they were fighting about than they both knew.

She reached over to the table, taking up his money and holding it up to him. “I can take the bill. Why don’t you just worry about yourself and the hits you write so often.” She took up her purse and searched through it until she found her credit card and threw it down on the table. “I can’t wait till this is over.”

With a roll of the eyes (he just couldn't avoid it at this point), Shikamaru took the money as Temari handed it off to him and returned it to his wallet, and placed it back into his pocket.

"Those are her feelings. You can interpret your own songs however you like. This one's mine, and that's how she feels." He couldn't let it go, he just absolutely couldn't. She didn't understand the song, she didn't realize what it meant. And that, more than anything else, bothered him about all this.

It wasn't that way because she was playing this woman on his video; after all, he was in love with the woman in the song. It was just that the woman was confused; she didn't understand her feelings, or that she was hurting the man who loved her so deeply.

However, he wasn't about to tell Temari all this. Maybe once he played her the song she would get it. And if not, fuck it. He wasn't going to put unnecessary effort into this (not anymore than he already had, anyway).

God, he hated her.

"Whatever, though." He motioned her along. "Let's get out of here, everyone's staring at us."

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
ultimate_whirl
Jul. 31st, 2008 04:40 pm (UTC)
You weren't kidding. XD This log is totally epic (and hot! :3)
lazy_melody
Jul. 31st, 2008 04:44 pm (UTC)
Seriously, man. If you read...even one part, I commend you! I don't think I would be able to get past the first half, haha.

And shit, I fucked up the italics. So I'm glad you commented. Otherwise I'd...never have figured it out.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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ongakuai
Ongakuai; a modern day Naruto AU

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