I think I’ve mentioned multiple times that I like the idea of Shikamaru/Kurenai and not so much Shikamaru/Temari or Shikamaru/Ino, but Bob5’s Every Cloud has all three and it works.
The Shika-centric fic revolves around his inability to understand any of the women in his life. If you think about it, his relationships with Kurenai, Ino, and Temari make sense; any of them could end up moving toward romance. He wants to help Kurenai take care of her baby after Asuma’s death and spending so much time with her could lead to feelings he can’t control (no matter how much he tried). He’s closest with Ino, whom he’s known since he was a child and a friendship like that might be a decent foundation for a relationship (if Ino wasn’t, you know, Ino). And Temari? His relationship with her is nearly canon for the sheer fact that almost every time she appears in the manga or anime, he’s somewhere nearby; I could see him attracted to Temari’s pragmatism, but finding her competitive nature “troublesome.”
“Every Cloud” easily analyzes and categorizes Shikamaru’s three relationships, but this paragraph clearly shows that he’d trade all of them to have Asuma back:
“Shikamaru still dreams of a simple life. He dreams of a wife who is quiet and kind and children who are clever and well behaved. He dreams of Asuma. These are the dreams he relishes the most. He tells Asuma all his problems over cigarettes and a game of Go (strangely, in the dream, Asuma always wins) and his sensei laughs and slaps him on the back with a large, powerful hand and says, “The one thing you need to know about women is…” and it is here that Shikamaru always wakes up with a pain in his shoulder and an ache in his chest.”
Oh, Shikamaru. You and your women and your absolutely clumsiness when it comes them, despite the fact that you’re a genius. My heart goes out to you.
Every Cloud. Rated T. Grade: B+