|Love and in War
Author: JanuaryEclipses PM
SasuSaku. The first time I met Prince Sasuke was the night he saved my life. I never thought I would see him again, and I certainly never expected to fall in love with him.Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Drama - Sakura H. & Sasuke U. - Chapters: 8 - Words: 51,999 - Reviews: 1,192 - Favs: 780 - Follows: 830 - Updated: 05-18-13 - Published: 03-17-12 - id: 7933753
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Author's Notes: Yay! I'm so happy you all are as thrilled about this story as I am. It really means a lot, considering I've been planning this story for a long time. To answer a point someone made in their review: Sakura never actually says her name in the police station. She says: The only thing that was going to be coming out of my mouth was "Haruno Sakura." For clarity, I've gone back and changed the quotes to italics, just so no one else gets confused. So yeah, no one knows her name, especially not Sasuke. On another note, I know that 99.9 percent of you are unhappy that Karin is Sasuke's girlfriend, but trust me on this one. And, like I said in my other story, I don't actually hate Karin as a character. Sure she is annoying, but so was Sakura and we didn't hate Sakura, so why hate Karin? Sure, most of us want her out of the way so that Sasuke will focus on Sakura, but hating her? Sorry, no can do.
Title: Love and in War
Rating: T (or PG-13)
Summary: The first time I met Prince Sasuke was the night he saved my life. I never thought I would see him again, and I certainly never expected to fall in love with him.
Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto.
Chapter 5: The Maiden Grew Up
I sat at the reception desk reading The Lifespan of Human Development for one of my classes. I had already finished the homework required, and now I was working on studying for my final exam. Thanks to Tsunade ensuring that I tested out of a few of the classes required for first semester, I was now starting some second semester work. Tsunade also informed me that it would be a good idea to take a few second year courses in the spring to keep my credit hours up. Of course, she assured me, the number of credit hours I took would never be a problem, since I was pretty much assured to graduate on time and maybe a little earlier.
October was just beginning, and it was strange to think that I was already done with a course after only a month. I already knew that classes in medical school had a strange schedule, some going year long and some lasting less than a month, but it was still a strange feeling. It made me feel like it was later in the year than it really was. Though the bad part about that was that there were only two tests, and lots of information on them.
Even though it was only my first month of medical school, Tsunade had taught me so much. At first it was the basic stuff, like taking blood pressure, measuring cholesterol, heart rate, things like that. Then she showed me how to give shots and take blood. I practiced on a dummy arm at first until she was sure that I had gotten it down, and then she made me practice on her. When she had rolled up her sleeve for the first time and had given me a syringe I had gone white. Eventually, we practiced enough to where I had gotten comfortable with it all.
Sometimes, there would be days when she would grab me from the desk and we'd go around the clinic doing the work of the nurses. I checked heart rates, lymph nodes, reflexes, minor stuff like that. Most patients were nervous when I walked in with my ID clearly labeling me as a medical student, but then Tsunade would be right behind me and all that nervousness would disappear. When Tsunade explained to them I was her apprentice and did they mind if I did the most basic part of the checkups, they didn't care, allowing me to do what I needed and commending me for getting such a prestigious apprenticeship at such a young age. So far only one had refused, but that wasn't bad for three months time.
I had also read a ton of books, working through Tsunade's bookshelf until she felt the need to order more, and even ordered another bookshelf. I had been ecstatic when she asked me to shelve the books, looking through them and deciding which ones I was going to read first.
Things had slowed down a little now that I was in school. Instead of almost full time I was working more part time job hours now. Unfortunately, that reflected in my paychecks, but I had enough saved up over the summer that I felt comfortable enough that I wasn't going to run out of money anytime soon. I was so grateful I didn't have to worry about rent or tuition, so I focused all of my time learning from Tsunade. I hadn't had to touch my parent's inheritance since I'd arrived, and I'd started my first savings account that was all my own money.
Ah, but that first paycheck. I had been so excited about it that I had immediately called Ino to go help me blow it. We'd spent the money on things for my room, since it had been depressingly bare even after all of my things had arrived. I bought a new comforter, since mine hadn't really been keeping me warm at night, a rug for the floor in my bedroom and a bathmat for in front of my shower. Eventually, I'd matched the bathmat with the rest of the set—in front of the sink, in front of the toilet, and a toilet seat cover—and had bought a shelf to store my towels and toiletries on. I got accent pillows and sheer curtains and picture frames. This room was turning into my haven. I walked into my room and for the first time in over three years I felt like I had a home.
Of course, part of that feeling was due to my roommates. I had been getting along with them better than I had anyone before. For the first time since my mother's death I could talk about girly things and not feel ashamed or embarrassed. I could talk about attractive boys without feeling overprotected. It was such a good feeling. My roommates thought it was a little strange that I was happy all the time, but then I guess that they remembered I had grown up in Rice Fields and didn't have common luxuries. It felt like a Cinderella story. Now all I needed to do was fall in love with a Prin—
Nope. Not even going to go there.
I looked up, jarred out of my thoughts. Tsunade stood over me and was looking down at my notes, possibly wondering who could be smiling over a textbook about human development. I got even more excited now that she was here. She didn't show up everyday, and the times she did were a rare treat. "Tsunade." I greeted. "Are we going to do more check-ups?"
"Kind of." She motioned for me to follow, so I did. "You're going to be giving someone a vaccination for malaria."
"Malaria?" That wasn't really common inland, so I'll assume they are going to either somewhere on the coast or an island. Water Country would be a definite possibility, but one of the smaller islands off of the main island. With the capitol of Water Country, Kirigakure, on the main island, it was kept as disease-free as possible to encourage tourism. Tsunade handed me a medical file and I looked over it while we were walking down the corridor. His name was Hatake Kakashi.
Scratch that, his name was Major Hatake Kakashi, since it listed him having military provided healthcare. There was a special hospital form for military personnel, in which they were required to state their rank. He was listed as a Major in the army. Tsunade opened the door to his room and we both walked inside. I got one look at the man sitting on the examination bed and I could have told you what his profession was without needing to look at his file. He wore black cargo pants tucked into steel-toed boots, and for some reason he had bandages wrapped on the outside of his pants at his ankles and lower calves. He wore a black, long sleeved shirt with swirls on the shoulders. What was strangest was the mask he wore over the lower half of his face, not to mention the black scarf he had positioned over his left eye. His hair was silver, but he didn't look that old, and I guessed his age to be mid to late twenties or so. Thirty tops.
"Kakashi, this is my apprentice Sakura, she'll be giving you your shot." It seemed they were on a first name basis, so I told him it was nice to meet him.
"Hopefully she's gentler with her shots than you are." Kakashi said.
"We'll find out won't we?" Tsunade said while I got the syringe out and prepared. "Technically, this is the first time she's ever done one professionally."
I paused while filling the syringe, waiting for him to get nervous, or to ask about my qualifications, or to outright refuse. But he just leaned back, resting his weight on his hands, his one visible eye crinkling in amusement.
"Is that so?" His voice was as it had been before, steady and calm. "So if you botch this can I have a sucker?"
"No," I said. "But you may have a sticker." I started to roll up his sleeve when I heard jingling. I looked past his arm to his waist and saw two bells hanging there.
"Training new recruits today?" Tsunade asked.
"In stealth and strategy." He confirmed. "Training these kids with the bell test is just so entertaining."
"Only because you get to publicly humiliate the losers."
I had finished rolling up his sleeve and was reaching for a cotton ball when Tsunade's comment made me stop in my tracks. "Excuse me?" I asked.
Major Hatake actually giggled. "The bell test is a tradition passed down from generation to generation, and it's the only training exercise I conduct since I've been promoted."
"That's because you insist." Tsunade interrupted dryly.
"Because I insist." He nodded. "Basically, I stand in an open field with these two bells attached right where they are. Three at a time the trainees do whatever they can to steal the bells. If they fail, they are tied to a post while the rest of us eat lunch. It's highly entertaining since they're just cadets and they have absolutely no idea what they're doing."
"So…do a lot of people fail?" I asked, rubbing antiseptic on the inside of his arm. I guess a lot of people had to, at least one out of three every time.
His eye crinkled in amusement and he looked at me dead on. "Only two people have successfully gotten these bells from me."
I blinked at him, my mouth open. "That's…that's so sadistic." He laughed. "Isn't there a way to make it easier? Like if the group worked as a team?"
For some reason, that comment stopped his laughter. He ruffled my hair and I could tell he was still smiling. "That's the point of it, Sakura. Of course, don't tell anyone else that or my whole reputation as a bell-hogger will be shot."
"I won't say a word." I finally gave him the shot, noticing that he still didn't tense up. Did nothing bother this guy? Of course, I wanted to believe that it was because I was such a good shot-giver. "All done!" I said after I pulled it out. I wiped the tiny droplet of blood away and put a band-aid over it.
"Not bad. I didn't feel a thing." He complimented. "Very impressive, Sakura." I blushed a little, thanking him for the compliment.
"You think that's impressive?" Tsunade asked, leaning against the wall by the door. "Try letting her look at your other eye."
Major Hatake looked back at me. "Do you want to?"
"I mean…if you don't mind." I was curious, but he probably had it covered for a reason. I didn't want him to feel obligated to do it, either, especially if it wasn't something he really wanted me to see. "That is…only if you're comfortable showing…"
"I don't mind." He said, lifting the scarf. "It is for educational purposes, after all."
He opened his eye and I was shocked and fascinated to see that it was red. I looked at his other eye and it was black. This is so remarkable! I've only ever seen pictures on the Internet of this sort of thing. "You…have two different colored eyes…"
"And why is that?" Tsunade asked me. I was too much in awe to care that she was trying to show me off.
"Heterochromia iridium," I said, glancing between the two eyes. But then I looked closer at his left eye and noticed something off. "But it isn't natural. Your left eye was implanted."
"How do you know?" Tsunade asked again.
"The limbal rings are two different widths." I noticed, looking between his two eyes. "Also, your left eye reacts to light faster than your right eye. So can you…see?" I really hoped this wasn't a rude question.
"I can…probably better in my left eye."
"But you keep it covered?" Stupid question, Sakura! That's probably personal. He did have a pretty big scar on that side, which is probably how he lost his eye in the first place. But I don't think it should be anything to be ashamed about unless he was vain about his looks.
"I've gotten used to seeing with one eye, but I do uncover my left eye on the battlefield." He said, not seeming to mind my question at all.
"It is…of course I have to thank my surgeon." He looked meaningfully over at Tsunade.
"You did the implant?" I asked. She nodded. "That's amazing!" When I looked back at the Major, he was lowering the scarf. "Thank you for showing me."
"Sure." He said. "Are we done here?" I nodded and he stood up, thanked me, and started to walk towards the door. I reached into the pocket of my scrubs. "Well, I'm off to train cadets."
"Excuse me Major Hatake," I began. "But aren't you forgetting something?" I jingled the objects in my hand.
He had been walking towards the door while I was talking, but when he heard that jingle his whole body locked up. He slapped his hand to his hip and, when he didn't find what he was looking for, he whirled on me. His black eye was widened and I could see that under the mask his mouth had dropped open. Tsunade, also, had turned and she had much the same expression on her face. I grinned, twirling the two little bells around my index finger.
"Wh—When?" The Major asked, and I heard the disbelief in his voice.
I raised an eyebrow. "Well if you don't know then I'm certainly not going to tell you." His arms didn't respond when I tried to give him the bells, so I had to lift his hand and place the bells in his palm, curling his fingers to close over them. "Thank you for being my vaccination guinea pig, Major Hatake, I really appre—"
"No." He said abruptly, and I snapped my gaze up to his face. Had I…done something wrong? Was I not supposed to take the bells? I mean, I hadn't worked in a team, which sort of went against the whole point of the test, so was he…mad? "You do not get to call me by that name anymore." Suddenly, his visible eye betrayed the fact he was smiling, and pretty widely at that. "You get to call me Kakashi from now on."
"But Major Hat—"
"Kakashi." He corrected.
"Isn't that…" I wanted to say improper and impolite, but I held my tongue. Also, he interrupted me before I could say any more.
"As I see it, you passed the test, so you can call me anything you like." He sighed. "Although I guess my long standing record is broken."
I flushed a little. "Thank you…Kakashi." And then I remembered something. I reached in my pocket and pulled out a few stickers, looking through them until I found the one I liked. "Since you were so good, you get to be a puppy." I put the rather large sticker on his chest. It was a puppy with a heart-shaped nose.
"A puppy…" He said a little slowly, stretching out his shirt so he could look at it.
"I like puppies." I explained. "Plus, you weren't an asshole when you found out this was my first shot, so I figure you deserve one."
He didn't seem to have heard me. "Please tell me you didn't secretly get these when I wasn't looking."
"Nope, I carry them around to give out to the five year olds…which reminds me, don't you have training to conduct?"
"I…I guess I do." He ruffled my hair again. "I don't suppose you'd like to come and show them how it's done?"
"They should figure it out on their own. The whole point of it is to get them to work as a team without prompting, right?"
"Tsunade, you've got yourself a fine apprentice here."
"Don't I know it." Tsunade said. We all walked down the hall together, and I waved as Kakashi was leaving. My smile got bigger when he waved back. "So tell me," my mentor said after he'd gone. "When did you take them?"
I shook my head. "It's a secret."
"I will order you any book you want if you tell me."
I giggled. "Sorry, but bribery isn't going to work this time. The look on your face was too priceless." I sat back down at the reception desk, too happy to start reading again. I'm pretty sure this is bliss.
As I got more experienced, I gradually spent less and less time at the reception desk. I was now checking people's vital signs full time before the doctor arrived, basically taking the part of a nurse. Now, instead of Tsunade taking me to do vital signs, she took me out into the hospital to occasionally check on patients. As I did this, I started doing more advanced things like changing bandages and documenting medical histories. I even helped diagnose someone. Slowly, I was getting busier and busier what with my school work starting to become troublesome and the fact that I could no longer just sit at work and read anymore. My first full shift away from the desk I had come home and nearly collapsed in bed, skipping dinner and a shower and not caring in the least.
But that had been a while ago. It was spring now, and I found I had been wrong about Konoha's winters being milder than Oto's. It still stung any part of your body that was left exposed to the chilly air. I spent my walks to work bundled in a coat and remember fondly the days that I would sweat along the same route. Of course, I had always enjoyed the walk to and from work, even if it was cold. Now, the walk from my classes to the hospital was pleasant since it was early spring, April in fact. I was twenty-one now, and on my birthday I had been given a birthday party for the first time. Not to say that my parents and I hadn't celebrated my birthday, but birthdays always meant a nice meal and a few gifts. I'd had a cake before, but I'd never blown out candles, or had my presents wrapped so colorfully.
That had been two weeks ago, when my life was more simplistic. Finals had been an event far in the future then, and now they were right around the corner. Tsunade assured me I would pass them with ease, but in proper Sakura-fashion I was stressing. My classes were significantly more difficult this semester, since I was taking more classes that sounded like Psychopathology and an Introduction to Clinical Psychiatry rather than Human Development.
I had stayed later than usual at my desk in the clinic, typing a paper about ethics in medicine. In fact, I didn't even realize how late it had gotten until I felt my eyes blur, and when I got up to stretch my legs a bit my joints popped. I looked at the time and saw it was past eight. I usually only worked until four and then three days a week I went to Tsunade's office for a one-on-one lesson or whatever else she had planned that day. The regular clinic closed down at five, and then all patients were expected to go to the ER for treatment.
Damn, speaking of the ER…I was supposed to drop something by there before I left. I sighed, looking at the paper I had wanted to complete tonight. Oh well, better go do it now before I was too tired to even want to. I packed my things and trudged my way across the hospital to the ER, stopping in the bathroom on my way. I had just finished my business when I heard two women enter.
"I can't believe he actually came."
"I know, right! Looking like that, too! I'm not touching him."
"I don't care who he's related to, it's almost nine, couldn't he have done this in the morning?"
"He's probably queasy at the sight of his own demon blood."
"Murderers are usually the biggest cowards, aren't they?"
They had only come into the bathroom to primp, so they left soon enough. I exited the stall quietly and washed my hands. That had been…suspicious. I also thought the voices had been a bit familiar, but I couldn't place from where. It was nagging at my brain, but I forced it out. They'd mentioned blood, but if someone were really bleeding then someone would have done something by now. I quickly gave the ER receptionist the manila envelope of papers and was about to leave, when a clacking of heels caught my attention. I didn't think anyone else wore heels in the hospital except Tsunade.
"Ah, Sakura, you're still here?"
I looked at the woman who had spoken, recognizing her voice from the bathroom and recognizing her face from the clinic. She was an RN, but I hadn't seen her around lately so she must have been switched into the ER. I couldn't remember her name off the top of my head, but I answered her question anyway.
"In that case, would you mind looking at a patient in Room 7?" I must have looked a little wary, because she said quickly. "Don't worry, it's nothing you can't handle. I would see to it myself but my friend here has gotten really sick and I need to take her home." I looked at the woman she gestured to, who was coughing into her hand.
"I appreciate it, Sakura." The other woman said. I narrowed my eyes immediately, recognizing her voice from the bathroom as well, and she sure hadn't sounded sick then. I looked at the receptionist, but she was typing away at her laptop, not paying any attention to us at all even though I knew she could hear the conversation.
I wanted to snap at them, to let my anger take control of me and to lash out at them for the way they had been talking about a patient in need of help. My rage turned to horror as I realize that patient still needed help. I didn't spare them another glance, bolting to Room 7 as fast as I could. They said he had been bleeding…
I flung open the door and stopped dead in my tracks at the sight, panic seeping into my veins at an alarming pace. There was a man who looked about my age sitting on the table. He looked pissed and I could understand why. The inside of his arm was gashed open almost from elbow to wrist and blood had soaked into his pants, the table, even spilling onto the floor.
"Oh Hell." I said in terror. "You really are bleeding." I dropped my bag to the floor and went to him quickly, grabbing his arm and looking at it. The gash was big…it was going to need stitches yesterday and by the amount of blood on his clothes and the floor I'd say he's already feeling quite dizzy right now, if not about to pass out. "I'm going to go get a doctor." I turned to rush out of the room but a hand grabbed the back of my light jacket and held me in place.
"No. No doctors." He panted out.
"But you're bleeding to death!" My voice had adopted a note of hysteria. I don't know why I was losing it. I hadn't even been this panicked when Neji had gotten shot. But maybe I'd been calmer then because the wound had been smaller, or because there hadn't been so much blood, or because there had been someone else there and the Prince had grounded my nerves. Now, I was alone with a man who seemingly didn't want medical attention and I had no idea what to do. "Look," I said, trying to reason with him. I held up my ID for him to see. "I'm a medical student. You're going to need stitches and I don't know how to do stitches. I've never done…"
"I'll walk you through it." He said. I was about to protest when I saw his ocean blue eyes plead with me. His body started to sway, and I knew that I was going to have to do it.
I nodded. "Okay…but one thing first." I went over to where I'd dropped my bag, shedding my jacket and tossing it on the floor. I fished out my tea from lunch and some peanut butter crackers I'd brought in case I ever got hungry. Then, I leaned my head out of the door I'd neglected to close. "Hey!" I yelled, my voice echoing through the halls.
The lady at the reception desk answered with a timid, "Yes?"
"Call Tsunade and get her down here right now! If she's not here in ten minutes I'll have your job roasting on a spike! Do you hear me?"
There was a, "Yes, ma'am" so I shut the door to at least get the room somewhat sterile. I opened the crackers first and popped one in his mouth before he could argue, washing my hands thoroughly while he chewed and swallowed.
"What was that for?"
"You're going to start feeling faint if you don't eat something."
"And what's that?" He asked.
"It's tea, but it's got sugar in it so it will help keep your blood sugar levels up so you won't faint on me. You've still got to talk me through this you know." I gathered the things and sterilized them, knowing what to do in theory but hardly in practice. This wasn't like Neji's wound either, when all I had to do was stop the blood flow until help arrived. I didn't know if help was arriving. I was going to have to do this right. I looked into his eyes, slightly shadowed by the shock of blond hair on his head. I wondered if he could see how afraid I was.
He was calmer than I expected him to be. When I'd first come in and had seen the expression on his face, I thought he was about to start yelling at me. He had every right to after all, he was bleeding to death and not one person was doing a thing about it. Of course, now I think his moodiness was due to his blood loss. Now that he had eaten something, he was acting a lot more cheerful.
He guided me through the first few stitches, then stopped conducting me when I'd gotten the hang of it. I had cleaned and disinfected the wound—not to mention numbed it, all under his direction—but it was still bleeding. I apologized profusely whenever I made a mistake, but he just told me not to worry about it and to keep going. I told him I'm sorry that it hurt, sorry that I hadn't gotten here earlier. He just told me not to worry with a carefree tone of voice. I think part of him knew that I was babbling—it was painfully obvious to me—so maybe he was just trying to keep my nerves down. It worked a little bit, but I hadn't separated myself from the situation entirely. I was trying my hardest not to cry, I was that scared, so that the tears wouldn't blur my vision.
When I was done, I had him look at the stitches to make sure I'd done everything correctly. He said they looked impressive and was I sure I hadn't done this before? I just told him I read a lot. Personally, they looked a little sloppy to me, but he wasn't bleeding anymore which was the important part. I bandaged his arm and put gauze around it. I took a shaky breath, shuddering as all the nerves I'd repressed to keep my hand steady came out at once. I then went to find him some clean clothes, managing somehow to find orange scrubs. When I came back into the room with them, he looked surprised.
"There were blue ones too, but I figured you would like these better." I said, looking at his orange pants. He smiled a little, and I was glad to see it.
"You should find some for you, too." He said. I was confused, but then I looked down and saw dried blood that had dripped down my light blue scrubs, pooling in some places. I let out an "Oh!" because this was the first time I'd even noticed. "Sorry to ruin your clothes," He said with a wince.
I shook my head. "The fabric is naturally stain resistant, not to mention this sort of thing is exactly what they're for. I'll be right back." I went to go get some scrubs for me, and noticed that in anything close to my size there were only orange ones. I was too exhausted to care though. I changed in the women's bathroom and knocked on the door to Room 7 to make sure that I wouldn't walk in on him still getting dressed. He was sitting on the counter this time, away from the blood. I didn't blame him.
When he patted the spot next to him, I didn't think twice as I hauled myself onto the counter and leaned my head back against the cabinet. It was so tempting to just drift off right here, but then I would probably fall into the syringes and impale myself. The man seemed to realize how tired I was because I felt his uninjured arm wrap around my shoulders and tug me over so that I was resting against his chest.
"How are you feeling?" I asked him. I applauded my voice for being pretty clear, and I was trying my hardest not to close my eyes because it would be hard getting them back open again. I had been tired before, but seeing all the blood and realizing what I needed to do had made me alert with all the adrenaline coursing throughout my body. But now that it was over, I felt absolutely drained. It had been like this with Neji's wound too, and the Prince had held me when I was at my weakest. I mentally laughed. Apparently I could only treat life-threatening wounds after nine PM, and only near attractive men.
"I'm fine." He said. "The crackers really did help."
"I should be asking if you're ok. You look exhausted."
"Sorry," I said, trying to sit up. He probably didn't want me against him all night long. I know I wasn't that heavy, but I was probably still being a burden.
"It's fine! It's fine!" He assured me quickly. "I put you there, didn't I? I don't mind."
"I'm Naruto, by the way."
I tilted my head up to look at him, smiling. "It's nice to meet you Naruto, I'm Sakura."
"So Sakura-chan, if you don't mind my asking…why…were you so willing to help?"
"I took an oath. Some of it goes 'I will keep my patients from harm and injustice.'" I recited. I knew the whole Hippocratic Oath by heart, but what was just a few paragraphs seemed to stretch on forever now. "Not to mention people who abandon others are worse than trash. At least, that's what my father said someone told him once."
"Hey! That sounds just like—"
The door flew wide open and Tsunade entered. I popped my head off of Naruto's shoulder, but his arm didn't loosen. She looked calm on the exterior but her movements were a little too spastic for her not to be panicking inside. "Sakura?" And then she paused to look at my patient. "Naruto?"
"Hey Granny Tsunade! Long time no see!"
"I told you not to call me that." She looked at the blood on the ground. "What the hell happened here?"
"Sakura-chan gave me stitches!"
I saw Tsunade looked a little surprised, since we hadn't even covered stitches yet. We probably weren't even close to it, because you didn't learn about stitches in your first year of medical school, let alone actually give them. I was still at the point where I was changing bandages and looking at blood pressure levels, definitely nothing major. Performing an emergency surgery was as close to major as I was going to get for a while.
"Do you mind if I look?" Tsunade asked. Naruto gave her his arm and she unwrapped the gauze first. I was curious as to what she would say about them, not to mention a little nervous as well. I felt Naruto's arm tighten around me and I looked up to see him looking down at me with a reassuring smile. I smiled back.
Tsunade had unwrapped the gauze by now and was gently turning the blond boy's wrists to look at the stitches from every angle. "These are impressive for your first time, Sakura. Did you read about the procedure?"
I nodded, but then went ahead to add, "Naruto walked me through."
"Did he now?" Tsunade said, rewrapping the gauze. "Well he's had plenty of stitches before. Which reminds me…"
"Yeah yeah, don't get them wet for 48 hours and religiously apply Neosporin. Got it."
"Smart ass." Tsunade said as she worked. "You two look like prison escapees." Both of us giggled. My stomach growled, halting my giggles and my face flushed. "Sakura," Tsunade said in a deadly calm. "What did you eat for dinner?"
"What were you doing that you forgot to eat?"
"Writing a paper about ethics. Which reminds me, I'm coming in tomorrow and giving you my recommendation on who to fire."
"I can't wait to hear about it." Tsunade said. "But in the meantime, Naruto is going to take you to dinner."
"Sure!" Naruto said, sliding off the counter. "How about ramen?"
"Not ramen." Tsunade growled.
"Ramen," I said slowly, getting down. "Sounds perfect."
"Great! Then to Ichiraku we go!"
"Ichiraku?" I asked, gathering my things. "I've never been." Actually, I hadn't been out to eat many times in the ten months I've lived here.
"Here we go…" Tsunade muttered. I turned, about to ask her what she meant, but then I saw Naruto had his hand on his heart and looked absolutely affronted.
"You've…never been? How is that even possible?" He turned a small glare to Tsunade. "You're depriving her of fine dining, Granny."
"Do not call me that, and I was actually trying to save her sodium levels."
"Is it…really that good?" I asked. The last time I'd eaten ramen was over a year ago, when I had been trying to save money and just bought the cheap stuff.
"Ichiraku is the best!" Naruto said enthusiastically. "Sometimes, Teme and I go there after combat training."
"Teme?" I asked, wondering who he was calling a bastard as we walked out of the hospital. "Combat training?"
He nodded. "Well I guess you don't know this but I'm sort of an officer in the army."
"Really?" I asked, fascinated. I mean, I could always tell he was muscular from the time that I looked at his wound for the first time, but I had no idea he was in the military.
"I'm a Captain and so is Teme."
"They went to elementary school together and now they're inseparable." Tsunade explained. "I'm going home now." We bid our goodbyes and then she began to walk in the opposite direction.
"So I guess you two are really close."
"Yeah, we started out as rivals more than anything. We were always trying to outdo each other, everything we did was a competition." He looked nostalgic, staring up at the moon talking about his friend. "It got to the point where we almost couldn't stand each other."
"We did, I guess. I mean, we were basically always together, even outside of school. But that was probably just because of who we are. We always had to go to the same social crap. That stuff was so boring for kids our age and we eventually got along well enough that we would sneak out of whatever ceremony we were in to go play. Not to mention, neither of us really had friends then, but I guess that was because of who we are too."
Who they are? I thought. I didn't want to interrupt him to ask, because by the look on his face he was caught up in his memories, and everything he said was more for his own benefit than mine. Besides, I didn't want to make him uncomfortable. If he hadn't told me who he was, there was a good reason for it. Not to mention his apparent reputation ("Murderers are usually the biggest cowards, aren't they?") was a little…I shook my head. I can't believe I was taking what they were saying to heart. The man before me wasn't the monster they'd described.
I had some of the best conversations that night, not to mention the best ramen I've ever tasted. I didn't even get home until past one in the morning, having to apologize to my roommates since they had been worried. But I walked away with Naruto's phone number and e-mail address so we could meet again sometime. I didn't have a cell phone, so I made sure to place his information in a place where I could be sure not to lose it. We had pretty much become instant friends, which is why I had shown up in Tsunade's office on a Saturday and demanded something be done about the three women.
When I got to work on Monday, the one nurse from the ER was helping her friend clear out her desk in the clinic. They both glared at me when I entered.
"Are you happy now, you little bitch?" One snarled. "You've gotten our licenses suspended."
I bristled right back. "Be happy that's all I did." Actually, if it were up to me they would have gotten fired, but the Board is a bit more lenient than I am. They had to pass me to get out of the room, and as they were doing so I said, "But if I ever hear that you've neglected someone ever again, I will personally make sure you are blacklisted from working in any medical profession. Got that?" I turned around and bared my teeth, slightly amusing the security guard who'd come to escort them out. I could tell the women were a little scared, but they were trying not to show it. Good. They needed someone to place the fear of God into their hearts. "You're dismissed." And then I slammed the door in their faces.
Author's Notes: One of my favorite chapters so far, I must admit. And no, there's no Sasuke, because it's simply not that realistic. True, it is a story and I can do whatever the heck I want, but let's face it, you don't just walk around the streets and meet royalty. Of course, I don't actually live in a country where there is a monarchy, but I imagine they're not exactly easy to approach. However, you all will want to stay tuned for the next chapter for certain reasons, hint, hint, wink, wink. That's all I'm going to say on the matter, just to leave you guessing a bit. And no, I'm not going to tell you when she stole the bells. I could have added all that detail in, but where's the fun in that? As always, please review and let me know what you think!