One hundred and Twenty Hours
This was originally posted years ago on my first account, which I've recently gone back and scrapped/scrubed/whatever innuendo you prefer. While this is an older piece and not up to the same par I'm writing these days, I'm still fond of both the pairing and the work, so this is a repost of the original, as well as being a direct sequal to Of Whiskered Cheeks and Dango Sticks
They stood together on a sidewalk, the Hokage building behind them as Konoha's main street stretched off in front of them, high trees with full green leaves framing the scene. Sakura Haruno flashed a smile up at him, perfect white teeth shining behind delicate lips. Her high forehead was eclipsed as her feathery pink hair gently swayed behind her. Opposite her, orange clad, blonde haired Naruto Uzumaki smiled back as they chatted happily, and a burning feeling swelled up from the sight. A coy smile directed up at him gave birth to a painful throb. Giggle, throb. Smile, throb. Sakura's long eye lashes gave a seductive wave, and the world split and separated, a darkened ceiling and a slowly rotating fan replacing the main street of the Leaf Village.
Anko sat up and rubbed circles behind her shoulder, gently pressing her fingertips against her neck. A small flash of pain hovered in her shoulder and she swore. Her clock sat winking the time at her. One a.m. Monday, the longest day of the week.
"You gotta be kidding me..."
She lay back down, resting her head on the pillow, but it felt hot and uncomfortable. She sat up enough to reach behind her and flip it, hoping that "the cool side that gives every pillow its magic" would lull her to sleep.
Next, she tried to slowly relax her muscles, hoping her mind would follow, but her body was charged and awake, and didn't want to go back to resting.
She tried to rest on her left side, to allow her painful seal time to perhaps subside and calm down. A minute later, she threw herself on her right side, hoping instead to smother the little horror - maybe enough pressure would make it go numb for awhile, after all.
She was disappointed.
Finally, Anko closed her eyes, shutting out the world around her. 'Relax, breathe..' she told herself, and soon she started to drift back to sleep. Where once again, Sakura Haruno smiled coyly up at her blonde teammate, this time holding her hands behind her back and pushing her shoulders forward, showing off her ample breasts through her vest.
Anko's eyes shot opened and she turned to her clock, at the same time feeling her cursed mark peppering fire down her neck. One - eleven a.m.
"I knew I should've bought that blender instead of you." she growled, and turned her clock away from her. Kicking off her sheets, she stretched her legs out and crossed them, folding her hands over her belly while she tapped her toes against her mattress. First, she'd get back to sleep, and then she would go and find Shizune to help her when it became light. But sleep first. Sleep was important. "How long could that take anyway?" she asked her bare room. Her neck gave a dull ache in answer.
When Tsunade had been sworn in as the Fifth Hokage, Shizune wasn't sure just where her life would take her. She had expected to stay the apprentice of her friend and mentor. Expected there to be moments where she would have to wake her up and ask her to sign documents and the like. But, for the life of her, she didn't expect to be approached for drugs as soon as she sat down at her desk.
Arms crossed, Anko stalked a small path backwards and forwards in front of Shizune's desk. The Medic-nin sighed and ran a hand through her hair as she took in the Special Jounin's appearance. Anko looked... well, annoyed was a mild understatement. She was used to seeing her as either content, giddy with glee or dangerously calm. However, the Anko in front of her looked worn down and tired, and thoroughly annoyed. Her ponytail was messier than usual, and what usually rested down and framed her face was sticking out from where she had rested on her pillow. Apparently, Anko had come to the Hokage building as soon as she was sure Shizune would be there, mirror be damned.
"You know, the Pharmacy at the hospital..."
"Sucks. Anything I can get over the counter is as weak as Soyokaze's spices."
"I've.. never tried those before."
"They're pitiful. Sissy. They're pitiful and sissy.. they're pissy."
"See what I did there? Pitiful and sissy joined together. Very smart, if you ask me. I could've said 'Sitiful' but that's not as good.. although, it does have a certain ring to it I guess..."
Shizune ran a hand through her dark tresses again and gave a muted sigh. Anko had stopped pacing, now wordlessly saying "Sitiful" over and over again, slowly and carefully testing her new creation. However, the Medic-Nin had more important things to do instead of increasing the dictionary, including reports, physicals, assignments and reading the next few chapters of her book.
"Now Anko, if your seal is acting up then Tsunade-sama would probably be able to find something to target that specifically."
"The Hokage has better things to do, and even if she didn't, it'd take Kami knows how long to find anything like that. All I'm asking for is a pain killer and a relaxer in one." Shizune sighed, more heavily this time, and looked wearily up at the trenched-woman. The frazzled woman was back - tired, frustrated, and growing more annoyed by the minute.
"All painkillers do both."
"If your offering me two, I don't mind."
"What's that in your lap?" The Medic opened her mouth to retort, but suddenly the question sunk in and her mind clicked. Her current book had been seen, and in a rush she opened her desk drawer and dropped it in.
"Anko -" she began, sitting up in her chair. "- give me one single reason why I don't remove you right now from this office."
Anko stared at Shizune for a moment, eyes narrowed and defensive, before her palms landed hard on the desk between them and she launched herself over the furniture. Shizune squealed and tried to push her drawer closed, but it was too late; Anko saw it, and had grabbed it before the drawer would have slammed shut on her hand. What was before an annoyed, sleep-deprived young woman was suddenly grinning wickedly and holding up a non-descript yellow book, "Icha Icha Charms" stamped on the front cover.
"Ohhh, Shi-zu-ne-chaaaan..." she sang, waving the book back and forth in front of it's now red owner. Shizune made a grab for it, but now Anko was wide awake, and stepped back effortlessly, opening the book-marked page and pretending to read it.
"I didn't know you liked these. Ohhh, and you're up to a really good part, too. Don't go doing physicals on any guys if you're planning on reading the next five pages.." she said, tossing the book back over the desk. Shizune fumbled and grabbed it, blushing and looking up as Anko winked. "Trust me, otherwise you'll just be comparing them to the nurse scene you're about to read. You'll be taking in everybody's anatomy and thinking 'Sitiful - utterly, completely sitiful.'"
"There's nothing like that in there!" Shizune cried indignantly, and clutched the book to her chest, hoping to hide its presence.
"Oh? So, re-reading it then I guess?"
The Medic-nin gaped again before quickly pushing it into her desk drawer and shutting it with a slam.
"Anko, if you think I'm going to give you anything to help you sleep now, then you can-"
"Aww, there there, Shiz-chan..." she said, waving her hand in front of her face. "I was just teasing. But you know, I really could do with something to help, ne?" Shizune pouted and crossed her arms over her chest, looking away. As a Medic-nin, Anko felt sure the darker-haired woman wouldn't let her suffer... much.
"Besides, if you do me a favour, I'll tell you a really good secret about that book of yours." At this, Shizune cracked open an eye and looked over at the Special Jonin. For more than a week now there had been hushed whispers between Lady Tsunade and Sakura in regards to the latest volume of Icha Icha. And for the life of her, she couldn't work out why the pinkette's cheeks would turn as red as her hair, or why Lady Tsunade had started ordering out for ramen lunch more often.
"A secret, eh? Has it got something to do with noodles..?" Anko smirked: she had her foot in the proverbial door now.
"Sorry, business before pleasure." Anko held out her hand. "Remember, pain and relaxation. Sleep is something I enjoy." Shizune sighed and shook her head, scribbling out a quick prescription scroll and signing her name.
"Take half a tablet to begin with, a full one if that's not enough.." she said with a sigh, rolling the note up and handing it to Anko, who promptly pushed it into her pocket.
"Take until sleep is induced, got it." At this, Shizune looked positively alarmed.
"I'm serious Anko! It's addictive stuff, so promise me you'll only take them if you really need to."
"Okay, okay.." Anko relented, holding her hand up.
"And drink plenty of water."
"And try to cut back on the dumplings. Some fruit would be much better for-"
"Kami, why didn't I look for the pink-haired one instead?"
A brief image flickered through Anko's mind, of white teeth and delicate lips, with full fluttering eyelashes and feathery pink hair. The Special Jonin huffed and pushed the scroll deeper into her trench coat pocket. 'That's why I didn't.' she thought, spinning and walking stiffly away.
"Are you forgetting something?" called a voice from behind her, and Anko all at once remembered that she owed the other woman some gossip.
"Yes – cheers, Shizune."
"You're wel-.. what?"
"Oh, and tell me, do you have to give Naruto Uzumaki a physical any time soon?" Shizune narrowed her eyes as Anko turned around at the door.
"He wrote Icha Icha Charms, not Jiraiya." Anko opened the door and turned in time to see a look of shock and embarrassment set in on Shizune's face.
"Oh, but it is a secret, so you know.. keep it to yourself. Ja ne!" And with that, she gaily walked away, her dark mood all but gone. Shizune waited with a slack jaw until Anko left, before she opened her drawer and turned the book over, as if trying to see it in a new light. She opened a page at random, let her eyes trail up and down, and quickly dropped it back in the drawer, locking it and sitting back in her chair, flushed with embarrassment.
The rest of the day crawled along like only a Monday could. The boredem made time stretch until the evening, when it dawned on Anko that she had yet again wasted the day, and where in the hell did all the time go? Between the regular grind of reports, regulations and the dull ache in her neck, she was ready to end Monday with a party of sake, hot springs and her new favourite, foxy genin. Alas, Naruto was busy with "Important sexy sage stuff" as she had dubbed it, and she had remembered Shizune's warning that alcohol and medicine didn't mix.
"Like sweet bean soup and bitter dumplings" she had said to Kurenai at lunch, in her wisest voice. "The flavours don't just clash – they wage war on each other."
"My, aren't we being philosophic today? Would this have anything to do with you spending time with a certain young sage that's back in town?" Kurenai had rubbed her swollen belly and spared her friend a side-long glance. She still didn't know just what to do when poor Hinata learnt that when it came to Naruto, fortune truly did favour the bold.
But Anko had merely shrugged a shoulder, still favouring the side that didn't provoke her angry seal, and flicked her empty soup can into the nearby trash.
"What can I say? Whiskers still make me hot."
And so, Anko flopped down onto her futon, banned from drinking, too tired for a dip in the hot springs and without her excitable blond lover to rub her aches away. She tried to stretch out and relax, willing herself to sleep, but her neck still throbbed dully and her mind kept spinning. Shizune's warning and Kurenai's comments and stupid, insignificant dreams of Sakura giggling at Naruto.
Anko huffed into her pillow, bending her knees and swinging her bare feet back and forth above her. So what if they were team mates and knew each other for years? Her seal seemed to pulse dully and she swore, slamming her feet down to kick the futon In frustration. The apartment was quiet for a moment before she groaned and sat up, plucking the bottle of pills she had collected earlier.
"A toast to my health – and if I can't have that, may I stay full and firm when Haruno starts to sag." She dry-swollowed the pill, stripped off her mesh and buried herself in her sheets until sleep came.
Tuesday's had a lot in common with Monday's, Anko had learnt. They were quieter and went quicker, but it seemed adults had universally decided that a day was needed to recuperate from the struggles of Monday. For the ninja of the Leaf Village, this little rest could be anything from a whole D-rank mission off to thirty minutes longer for lunch.
Anko was very grateful that she had neither issue: when she dragged herself out of her futon it was later than she liked to wake up, and she felt slow and sluggish as she staggered to the bathroom in nothing but her panties.
"At least I slept..." she mumbled, thinking of what coffee and tea she could cocktail together to drive away the fatigue. She didn't like the miracle cure for sleepless nights anymore.
Tuesday's may have been quiet for Leaf's civilians and select ninja cells, but Naruto Uzumaki took full advantage of the lull. Between a short lie in and an extra helping of Ichiraku's ramen, it was the perfect day to train with the other teams of the village. Most recently he found himself spending Tuesday's sparring with Team Guy, honing his taijutsu with Neji, Lee and Tenten. This of course deserved another treat at Ichiraku's, especially when he was able to bet that the loser treats the winner.
It was amazing how lunch can motivate a person sometimes. That Tenten would curse and blame both Neji and Lee for lack of stamina was just a funny bonus afterwards.
In the afternoon, Naruto usually wound up with Konohamaru and his team, training different skills and abusing the practise dummies of the twentieth training grounds. And more often than not, at some point in the day Naruto would bump into Sakura-chan for a spar or Anko-chan for a chat. Yes, truly Tuesday was a busy day for Naruto.
Of course, he never really expected to find his two favourite kunoichi chatting in the middle of the street, Sakura looking annoyed and Anko looking indifferent... and tired?
"Well with all the time you two spend together these days, I just thought you'd know where to find him, Anko-san."
"And you're his team mate? Naruto has his own little flight path come Tuesday's – plus he wears orange and black. He's like a cute, walking hazard sign." Anko didn't bother to hide her smirk as Sakura flushed and grew more annoyed.
"Naruto-kun has to report for team training, and Kakashi-sensei said if I couldn't find him, I ought to ask you..."
"You make it sound like I keep him on a leesh... which does sound kinda kinky, really."
Sakura started to turn the same colour as her hair, which Naruto saw as the first step to a messy pavement-crushing attack. Add Anko's eccentric style and snake summons and it would turn into a battle royal in no time.
"Are you two fighting over me? I'm not too sure how to feel about that..." Naruto grinned and rubbed the back of his neck and Sakura fumed, glaring at her team mate. Anko just smirked.
"See? Walking caution sign."
"Yes, well, thank you Anko-san, but Naruto and I have important Team Seven business to take care of."
Sakura spun on her heel and with a chakra-enhanced grip, carried a waving Naruto down the street.
"Honestly Naruto, you encourage her."
"Aww Sakura-chan, she's fun. I like her! And really, you can put me down.. please?"
Sakura sighed but relented, letting his feet touch the ground but keeping a firm hand on his arm, dragging him towards Kakashi.
Anko suppressed a twinge, reaching up to rub the back of her neck when Naruto and Sakura left.
"I better be able to sleep tonight..."
It was late Wednesday morning in the leaf village, and Kurenai had just finished putting Aburame Shino through his paces when she walked back along Konoha's "Buffet Row", as it was known by the local's. Buffet Row had started out as an ordinary market road when coincidently, no less than four lunch and dinner stall's popped up next to each other. And despite the occasional poor consumer with a sensitive stomach, it soon became known as the place to go when eating out. In a classic case of life imitating art, more and more stalls and shops were bought out along its sides, until the remaining residency were few and far between.
And there, perched on a stool outside a shop which sold what was easily the spiciest food you would ever taste (and certainly not Soyokaze spices, which were painfully sitiful as far as spices go), sat one Special Jonin Anko Mitarashi, slurping down thick noodles, complete with a glowing hot sauce.
"Well, hello there sunshine. How's life treating you?" she joked, sitting down next to Anko, who scoffed and swallowed another hot noodle.
"Like I accidentally killed it's cat. You?"
"Well, when you put it that way.." But Anko had already stirred some more food around her sticks, tuning out the world around her. Kurenai wasn't the type of person who would just talk needlessly or inconsiderately, but if she started singing the praises of Team 8 once more, Anko was ready to let every word go in through one ear and tumble out of the other.
"Kurenai-chan, I've been losing sleep since I had a weird night on Monday, I've had to take little horrible pills to knock myself out, the day's are boring and this stool is murder on my ass."
"If you start whining about how hot the sun is, I'm never talking to you again, Anko."
"I love you too. Now sit down already – if my butt is in pain, so must yours."
Kurenai flatly ignored her friend, leaning her hip against the uncomfortable stool instead and watching as Anko drank from her can of red bean soup.
"So, you said you had a strange night when it started, right? What was so off about it?" Kurenai's answer was the scraping of chopsticks being pushed around the bottom of an almost empty bowl, followed by an unconvincing "Nothing."
Anko frowned as she pushed the last of her food around in front of her, trying to decide whether or not to tell her friend, and whether or not to order another bowl.
"Might've had something to do with a dream. Maybe."
"A dream? Like what you used to get before you visited the Ocean Country?"
An image of a couple on a sidewalk flickered through the front of her mind, with the Hokage building behind them and high green tree's framing the scene, as well as sickeningly white teeth and come-hither delicate pink lips smiling up at a goofy, naive blonde haired ramen addict.
"Not exactly, no. And no offence, I'm not sure if I could tell you without you becoming a therapist, Kurenai-chan."
Kurenai sniffed and eased down onto the stool next to her friend, leaning against the bench.
"Well, this is like anywhere else when we have girl talk. I'd say lets go find a couch for you to sit on but I'm worried you'll pass out."
"Now you're talking, but not when your kids will come looking for you. The one with the dog is too dirty." Anko tipped her soup can back, ignoring Kurenai's frown next to her.
"Really, Anko, for you that was... just lousy. Now you can let me know what's going on or we'll get Akumaru to carry you to the Hokage herself." Anko rolled her eyes and threw her empty can at a nearby bin, scowling when it missed.
"Akumaru's the dog, right? Fine, damnit, you win."
Kurenai kept her calm, composed face as Anko shared her past few days, the longest of her life. Her sleeplessness, restlessness, that she had taken medication to help her doze (and that she hated having to do it), her cursed seal aggravating her, "and I had a stupid dream of Haruno getting giggly with Naru-chan."
At the end of her tirade, Anko took a long breath and spared her friend-turned-therapist a look, where Kurenai had raised an eyebrow but stayed impassive. She wasn't sure wether or not she was annoyed by that, but either way she couldn't help but feel the tension in her shoulders starting to ease a bit. "Is this when you show me ink blots, doctor?"
"Naru-chan." Anko stiffened, turning to face Kurenai.
"Naruto – you just called him Naru-chan."
But now Kurenai actually smirked at her (the nerve!) and leaned down to whisper into her friends ear. "Could Anko-chan be feeling jealous of her boy-toy's team mate? Or is she just thinking of the boy-toy as a boy friend?"
"You suck, Kurenai... and not in the fun way." Anko sat on her stool and pouted at the world. "What would I have to feel jealous about? I'm both hotter and cooler than the pinky kid, and there's a difference between team buddies and … other buddies." Anko nodded at her logic, missing Kurenai's jab until she felt the sharp poke in her side.
"What were you about to say?"
"What? Nothing. I said it."
"You were going to say friends with benefits, but you couldn't do it..."
"You're fired – go be someone else's shrink."
"Anko – you're having feelings for Naruto."
Kurenai was grinning her small, private smile now, satisfied she had solved the perpetual mystery that had followed Anko around like a rain cloud for the last few days. Her snake charming friend simply glared at her, the dark circles under her eyes fitting the flat stare.
"And what're you so happy about? Doesn't this mean you'll have to go practice another therapy speech for your little Hyuuga over all this?"
Kurenai looked away, feeling only briefly apologetic towards the girl. She had tried to teach Hinata self confidence for a long time, but she felt certain that with Sakura's growing interest over Naruto that her student just wouldn't be in time. Ironically, she was left dealing with another friend's interest in the sage.
"Well, despite that, you don't have to look so unhappy about it. If you and him are... intimate..."
"Right. As I was saying, so what if you have feeling's for your lover?"
Anko groaned and let her head fall into her hands, playing with the hair loose on her face.
"Kurenai, you sound like a fucking grandmother talking about safe sex."
"Well you're acting like a love-sick teen with a crush, so there we go."
Anko growled and spun on her stool, but was surprised to find Kurenai was already leaning over and looking none too pleased.
"Anko, I've known you for a long time. But I'm damned if I can work out why you're letting this get to you."
"Because I'm tired, sore, frustrated and I don't know what to do!"
Kurenai shoved the younger woman back onto her stool and stood up.
"Then you stop ignoring this and deal with it. Go and spend some time with him, work out where things are heading and sort it out."
Anko briefly considered flicking the nearest piece of food up at her friend, but then she'd actually have to admit that she was behaving like a teenage drama queen, and that simply wouldn't do. So she thought about her free advice from the faux therapist and slowly felt the frustrated haze lift from her mind. Was it really that easy? 'Why the hell didn't I just do that already?'
"Kurenai-chan, you're just the cat's meow, you know that?"
"Well, you've no idea how much that means to me, Anko." Kurenai muttered, but looking pleased with herself none the less.
"I know, right? Let's get it tattooed on your ass, maybe. Hurry, hop up before the stool ruins the canvas." Anko hopped off of her stool and pulled out several ryo notes, grabbing a pair of takeaway noodle cups and iced teas. Kurenai arched her brow and followed her friend outside the stall, ignoring the idea of a tattoo on her rear end.
"Where are you going?"
"Hey, nothing wrong with a girl taking a guy out for a meal now and again!"
"Alright Kakashi-sensei, I'm gonna... gonna-" Naruto's statement was interrupted as he sneezed, and he rubbed his nose to brush away the tickle. ".. I'm gonna catch a cold at this rate." He wondered out loud: he couldn't remember when he had last had a cold.
"Well, with all the sneezing you've been doing lately, you're either catching a virus or someone's been thinking a lot about you." Kakashi spun his favourite kunai knife on his finger before depositing it back inside his pouch. "Either way, we can't be better shinobi without having any lunch. So, what do you say we take a break, hm?" Before he finished, the Jonin had already withdrawn a worn copy of Icha Icha Charm's from his bag, opening the book and pushing his nose between the pages.
Naruto shook his head, wondering yet again just what would happen if Kakashi knew he had written the most recent edition of Icha Icha. It might even be worth letting the secret slip if the older ninja made it worth his while (like a peek of the elusive Copy Nin's face or something just as rare). But before plotting to unmask a teacher, a student was wise to fill his stomach, and Naruto waved his hand and said he'd be back after eating.
"Well, I am a Goddess of good timing then, aren't I?" Naruto grinned as Anko strolled up behind him, a paper take away bag dangling in her hand. "Kakashi, I'm gonna have to take your student here off your hands for awhile. Important Leaf business, y'know."
Kakashi's single eye flickered up from his book, looking almost bored before glancing back down at the page again. "Really? I didn't know the 'Wok on in' stall delivered important buisness."
"You can't get more important than lunch! Pft, you've gotta be sitiful not to know that one."
Kakashi lowered his copy of Icha Icha Charms for a pause, wondering what on earth "sitiful" meant, before deciding to get back to the real important Leaf business.
"Kimiko kicked her sandals off, dipping her toes into the hot spring, a long, slender leg slowly sliding under the water without leaving a ripple... Ahh, Jiraiya-san, such perfection!"
Naruto pushed some noodles into his mouth, swallowing a moment later. As soon as he had, his throat flared angrily, and he took a wheezing gasp that Anko thought was hilarious. She threw her head back and laughed as the ramen-addict beside her panted, quickly searching with both eyes and hands for the cup of iced tea that had been sitting next to him. It appeared in front of his nose and he gratefully took it, gulping down half the cup before he hung his head, eyes closed and breathing shifting back to normal.
"What the hell was that?" he managed to ask, his voice hoarse. Anko's laughs had slowed, but the corner of her mouth was in a tight grin.
"I was wondering how you'd take to these ones. They are, easily, the spiciest food in the whole Leaf Village." She stuck her tongue out at his scandalised look. "If you took it slow you'd have probably just burnt your lips and set your tongue on fire, but I always wondered what would happen if they were swallowed right down..." She chuckled, picking some noodles up out of her bowl and putting them in her mouth, following it with a sip of tea before she swallowed. She didn't bother to hide her smirk of triumph. 'Lookee here – I'm tougher than you.'
Naruto just glared at her, an eyebrow twitching in annoyance. "Couldn't have warned me, could you?"
Anko's grin returned in force, her voice dropping to a sultry whisper. "What can I say? I like experimenting with you, Naru-chan. And the spicier, the better." She finished by winking one of her full, amber eyes and returning to her bowl, popping a long noodle between her lips and smirking sideways at him.
Before she could twist her tongue and eat the rest, Naruto had leaned forward and cought the end between his teeth. Blue eyes flickered upwards, sparkling with defiance and playful humour, before he bit and pulled back. Anko felt his nose graze her cheek as he sat back and swollowed the stolen noodle. There was no coughing fit this time, but she didn't mind giving him that point.
"Careful Anko-chan, or I might pick up a taste for these things." he said, trying to look cool and hide his worry at how little iced tea he had left. But Anko could only grin wolfishly, throwing her arm around his shoulder and pulling him tight to her side.
"Oh, I am so keeping you, babe." And just to be mean, she grabbed what left of his ice tea and gulped it down, pushing her cold, wet lips to his whiskered cheek in a sloppy kiss and giggling as he squirmed in her grip. As far as she was concerned, a fun lunch time with Naruto was too much fun to have few and far between. The rest of their meal was a scuffle for the last mouthful of Anko's tea and stealing noodles from the other's bowl.
"Hey Naru-chan, if your free tomorrow, how about swinging by for dinner?" Naruto quirked an eyebrow but grinned, shrugging.
"Sound's fine to me, but maybe something with a little less... bite." Something that had cropped up in their lunchtime talk was how much of the molten sauce Might Guy would be able to eat before breaking and crying, swearing to all that his stomach is in dire need for "the digestion of youth!"
"Hmm, I brought this stuff, why not bring round some of that ramen you like? Is that nice and safe for you?" Anko cooed, smirking as Naruto's grin widened all the same.
"Hmm, I think I'll have a few dishes for you to try then, Anko-chan."
"Well, it's a date then."
Thursday night, Anko lay in her bed, humming contently and tracing circles against her right breast, her left being covered by tuft's of blonde hair. Next to her, Naruto lay sleeping, his face slackened and breathing even. Her sheet's were damp and clung to her naked body, as well as his, and on her small mattress he hardly fit, pressed against her side, warm, sticky and heavy. Uncomfortable as it was, she barely noticed it. Instead she grinned and looked at Naruto's face in the dark. From the streaming light of the window above her she could make out his whisker marks, and being trained in observation, she felt certain she could accurately picture them on anyone's face.
Still, she watched, unable to drift asleep. It was funny just how easy ramen and teasing turned to kissing and stripping each other. Funny, though Anko hadn't known anyone else who had that kind of sudden development. Hours earlier they had.. what was it? Sex? Love making? Intimacy? Fucking? She didn't know, only that she could get used to it. All she could really remember was minor details. Pulling him to her room and stripping was a blur, but she remembered clearly the looks on his flushed whiskered face when he would reach his limit, and the feeling of her frustration ebbing away with every movement.
And it hadn't been enough. She didn't know what time they had started, or finished. She had reached her blissful peak over and over. She tried to remember exactly how many times. She remembered her pinning him beneath her, of him running his hands down her sides, sweat slipping down her chest and arms and back as she came once, twice, more? She couldn't tell, couldn't remember and really couldn't care less just then. If it had been more, she knew she'd never tell him: it wouldn't do to let him know he was that good, after all.
And how many times did he reach his own climax? Anko was sure she pushed his limit's tonight, positive he slept peacefully because she had completely worn him out. And she felt it too. She was sore, and she knew the feeling would carry over to the morning. Her muscles felt tired and heavy. But above all, she enjoyed the sensation of taking a deep breath and feeling the last of her adrenalin course through her. She knew she'd be tired tomorrow, but after four days with little sleep she felt as though she had a good reason to feel as exhausted as she did. And still, she stayed awake and took in the details of Naruto's whisker marks.
"Hm? Oh, this is my Naru-chan. Isn't he adorable? And so very gifted when it comes to pleasuring me." Anko grinned at her silly false conversation, imagining herself being the centre of attention for a group of Kunoichi, Leaf, Sand, Mist, Grass and Rain headband's topping their jealous faces.
"Oh, and those are genuine Nine-Tailed Fox whisker mark's too.." she would add, smirking as their envy showed on their faces. And of course, how every one of them would run their eyes up and down his form as he would make his way back to her side, grinning playfully and holding out her favourite sweets.
"I brought you some dango, Anko-chan." This of course would be followed by her grinning and accepting them, and steering him away from the jealous but defeated Kunoichi, but not before giving his butt a squeeze in front of them.
"Kurenai-chan..." she whispered, settling her head back into her pillow. "..would probably make up some crap about how I wore you out so you'd spend the night, Naru-chan. But then I'd have to remind her that she's nowhere near being the shrink she thinks she is, and we've been over that enough already." Naruto stirred in his sleep, smacking his lips and mumbling something about Miso-flavoured ramen before drifting back into his dreams again. Anko smirked and relaxed, leaning further back against her pillow.
It was midnight when she finally fell asleep, fully relaxing only after she rested against Naruto's own body as much as he rested against hers.
"You're looking better rested today, Anko-chan." Kurenai sat back on one of the squashier lounges in the Jonin's break room. Opposite her, Anko rested in a deep easy chair, eyes scanning the Friday routine. In truth, she looked like she had been put through the forty fourth training ground's, but there was absolutely no missing the satisfied look on her face. She hummed and nodded, not looking up from her clip board.
"Good night I take it?" Kurenai prodded, sipping from a cup of tea. Another hum answered her, as Anko flipped a page. The Genjutsu artist took in the minor details of her friend's body. Anko's legs were stretched out in front of her, instead of their usual crossed position. And was there a red mark on her chest beneath her steel mesh suit?
"Get much sleep?" The reply was again curt, but to the point.
"You can come out and ask already, Kurenai-chan."
"Did you have sex?"
"No." Anko finished reading her page before resting the board against her chest, her widest grin on display. "I had great, mind blowing sex. There's a difference."
Kurenai shook her head, absently bringing her hand down to rest on swollen belly. "Okay, that's a yes, but don't worry with sharing the details."
Anko's amber eyes sparkled with mirth, catching the subtle flush spreading on the older woman's face. The temptation to embarrass the normally-reserved woman was there, but Anko knew that since Asuma's passing the soon-to-be mother was lonely enough without relationships being shoved in her face.
"Well, did you two work out a few things between you? Or just physically..."
Anko smirked and opened her mouth before stopping short. No, they hadn't sorted anything out. They just went at it like horny teenagers until they both couldn't keep up and passed out together. She still wasn't sure if she could choose which was her favourite part yet either.
"We had breakfast together..." It sounded lame, even to her own ears. And breakfast was just a couple of pieces of toast, with Anko pulling Naruto close for a rough, lingering kiss before he headed to the Hokage mansion for an upcoming mission. A quick agreement to get together for a take away dinner and they parted ways.
"Gee, it must be serious then. I hope you're considering me for Godmother when the first child comes along." Anko could only groan and sink into her chair.
"Kurenai, we're... it's awkward, okay? We've been cuddly for a month or so and we're both ninja, not to mention he's a freakin' blond target for the big bad guys out there. You think we can just keep things simple awhile longer?"
Kurenai spared the woman a sympathetic look, looking down and rubbing her tummy again where her child was growing. She shook her head and eased up from her chair, picking up her team roster and empty tea cup, patting Anko on the shoulder as she passed by.
"You're right Anko, and it can be frustrating. But if you miss your chance to set things right, it will be that much worse."
Anko said nothing, throwing the arm of her baggy coat across her eyes. The seal on her neck had started to throb again.
By lunchtime, Anko's bad mood had set in and as far as she was concerned, Friday was a write off. Even taking a Genin team for a few short D rank missions was an exercise in torture, and not just for the team. Every frustrating mistake made their time together slow down. Anko eventually stepped in and finished the exercise herself, refusing to spend another thirty minutes trying to teach them teamwork skills.
When the evening came, poor Naruto instantly agreed that boxes of dango and red bean soup was fine for dinner, and the tension that had built in her shoulders started to ease just a fraction out of gratefulness towards the blonde. This was soon replaced with the guilt of being bitchy when he met up with her on the way back to her apartment. Even then, after all the turmoil of Kurenai's words and the day's thoughts, she couldn't bring herself to have any kind of "relationship talk" with Naruto. It was too fast, too soon, she told herself. She waited until they had eaten a few skewers of dumplings before finally apologising, blaming her bad mood on the flaring seal on her shoulder.
"Can I see it?" Anko gazed at him briefly, taking in the look of concern that had set on his face. He had looked at her a few times during dinner, she had noticed. Lingering looks before lowering his eyes. After all, if a woman as proud and dangerous as Anko was in a bad mood, it wasn't wise to act scared or worried about her. Not to mention she was just plain stubborn. She had lived with her curse seal for longer than she had known Naruto, and had told herself often enough in the past to "just suck it up".
"You've seen it on your teammate."
"I saw his, I want to see yours."
"Because I said so, so there." But she couldn't stop the question in time. "What's it matter if it's mine, anyway?"
Naruto leaned forward, looking up at her eyes. Was it the usual mischievous look that was missing?
"I'll show you mine if you show me yours."
She couldn't help but raise an eyebrow. Anko had asked him before about the seal, and like she, he seemed antsy about it. She let it go, out of respect for the Third's law and Naruto's own privacy. Now, he was willing to just up and share it like that? And then the full weight of the offer set in, and some of those churning, unanswered questions about trust and sharing secrets came to mind, as well as the promises tied to them. Even as she furiously told herself that she was over thinking it, she couldn't tell how much or how little she wanted to share.
If Naruto was surprised by her acceptance, or if he was expecting it, he never let it show. Instead, he moved to her coffee table and took his jacket off. Anko sat back into her couch, eyes glued as he pulled his shirt up to his chest. Despite the rumours and shows of force that had followed Naruto around recently, she had never really thought of him as the powerful ninja people were starting to claim of him. But the speed and determination he was showing almost intimidated her.
Anko watched as he formed a simple hand seal, and felt the warm sensation of Chakra being gathered close by. Then it appeared, quickly etching itself onto his skin like a tattoo. And like everyone in the Leaf village, she had wondered just what had to have been done to split the Nine-Tails from its body. What possible type of charm, of seal, could work to contain the fury of the most ancient demon they had ever known? Was it small, with intricate patterns? Did it take the shape of a fox with nine symbols surrounding it? Once when she was still in her mid-teens, she heard a rumour that the seal could be nothing less than an inter-woven series of binding and Chakra suppressants, covering his entire body, visible only during the full moon. Laughable, really.
And now, she found herself looking at the very design that took the Fourths life, that gave Naruto his whiskered cheeks and almost infinite Chakra reserves. It was simple: a small spiral, starting from his naval and growing outwards, anti-clockwise. Eight tiny, barely readable patterns circled this, completing the seal. The entire thing barely covered his lower midriff. She was too tired to really appreciate the work that had gone into the seal – she was still floored at how Naruto had volunteered it so easily. She couldn't stop her hand from reaching out and grazing it lightly.
"What is it with you and spirals, eh Naru-chan?"
Naruto smiled and released his hand sign, the seal slowly fading until it left bare skin in its wake, and he pulled his shirt back down.
"What can I say? I like spirals."
And then she realised, it was her turn now. And if it was the long day settling in on her or the unspoken promise the pair had agreed to, Anko simply moved to the end of her couch and patted the seat behind her.
"Get comfy." she said, loosening enough of her coat to expose her shoulders as his weight settled behind her, his breath puffing warmth against the back of her neck.
"Does it hurt?" he asked cautiously, as if he were treading in a mine field.
"Like a bitch, sometimes." She wasn't about to share how it had been robbing her of sleep, or joining in with her own damning thoughts of a certain powerful jinchuruki who may or may not be a boyfriend.
"No, this, what I'm doing.."
And through her weary shoulders, Anko realised that Naruto's fingers were gently rubbing against the cursed seal in slow circles. It was gentle and affectionate, and no matter how confusing and worried she was getting about just how much or how little of a relationship they had, it was just what she needed at the moment.
"That's nice..." she said, leaning back against him. "You can rub harder if you like, it eases it up a bit.." Anko's breathing slowed as his other hand came up to her shoulder, while her seal began to receive slow, firm attention. It wasn't an expert massage by any means, but it was soothing, and that was all she wanted. But still the nagging sensation in her mind was there, keeping her from relaxing. 'Is it really that different from just my own hand?'
Anko looked down at her own fingers, the same one she had used many times before to hold her sore shoulder, working the knot's of her muscles whenever the painful seal flared up. Orange caught her eye, and she glanced at the discarded jacket on her coffee table, the same one Naruto wore everywhere, and had taken off to show her his own seal.
Yes, she decided, it was different. It was Naruto's hands. And his hands were much better. She'd pick his any day, and to hell with whoever knew it.
"How was your mission, anyway? I haven't asked yet." Those hands kept their steady strokes up, and Anko felt herself having to focus or she'd slip away into a happy place, where sake flowed and dango grew on trees, to be fed to her by a shirtless Naruto all day long. She felt her own silly grin spread on her face at that.
"Well, it starts tomorrow morning. Kakashi-sensei and Sakura-chan and I have to help out Iruka-sensei's students in survival training, so I've got a full, rich day, they say." Anko's happy place suddenly was quickly replaced with a scene like out of a corny romance, the same tree-framed street and pink and blond teenage pair chatting. 'This is so stupid it's sitiful.' she thought, shaking her head, fed up with the scene that kept popping into her mind since Monday.
"I guess you'll have to head back to your place soon and rest up, get your things together and all that." Anko's voice was steady, like any trained ninja, but she didn't bother to hide her tired pout. But Naruto kept rubbing along her shoulders, breathing slow, even breaths against the back of her neck.
"Aww, you know me I don't get tired easily," he said, tracing a slow, soothing pattern over her seal that almost made her hum. "And it wont take me long to get my stuff, I can stay a while longer... if you like." Anko was quiet for a long moment, going very still under his touch, and for a while he thought he had said too much.
His hands moved to a stop and for the first time since they slept together in her room abroad, he began to feel awkward. After all, she was one of the toughest kunoichi he knew, not to mention she was an older woman and made it clear when she wanted something, and being attached hadn't really sprung up. But as he began to pull his hands away she turned and reached up behind her, taking the side of his head and pulling him down against her. It was an awkward, haphazard kiss from what they had shared, but Naruto had never felt her lips as soft and smooth and oh so delicious as he had then. When she finally pulled back, her amber eyes were lidded and hazy, and her usually bright and eccentric voice was a sultry tone.
"Yeah... I'd like you to stay, Naruto." Anko grinned, small and playful, before pushing her fingers through his hair and pulling him back down to her.
When the light began to trickle in from her bedroom window, Anko stretched along the length of her futon and sat up, hearing her shower running and noticing Naruto's jacket and pants near by the door. She didn't try to hide the grin at the simple sight, and laid back on her mattress, soaking up the extra warmth. Her cursed seal had finally started to calm down, leaving only the briefest twitch instead of the throbbing she had felt all week. She was already looking forward to binning the disgusting sleeping pills.
She stretched again, nude and refreshed and feeling like her old self for the first time in days. When the shower stopped running she didn't resist yelling at the door "I better be getting a morning kiss, Naru-chan!"
She really shouldn't have over thought something as good as a boyfriend, she decided.