Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto or its characters and thus I don't have rights to any of the characters in my story. Sad, I know. No suing!

Punch Drunk Love

The idiot's fist is coming at me like freight train. In the midnight fog I see the glimmer of his single sharingan, his hitae-ate having been pushed away from his face and up into his silver hair. I've jumped in front of Hatake Kakashi mid-punch, a stupid move even for a skilled kunoichi like myself. There's no time for any jutsus.

The punch is meant for the man standing behind me, Shiranui Genma. I'd barely seen him before placing myself between the battling jounins, but judging from Kakashi – who's more battered than I've seen him since his bout with Itachi a few years back – Genma must be pretty wrecked. As a medic-nin I observe what the average eye cannot: Kakashi's jaw is broken, one of his lungs seems to be punctured, and he is in danger of exsanguination from a wound in his left leg. Neither will be conscious much longer and from the looks of things, neither will I.

These men were friends this morning.

Genma screams "Shizune" before I feel his arms wrap tightly around me. I smell his blood and his sweat as Genma's caramel hair sweeps forward sticking to my cheek. He's trying to pull me away from the fight, but it's impossible. Laws of physics aside, Kakashi has his Sharingan, which I know intimately.

I grew close to Kakashi while treating his sharingan. My job was to help him find a way to turn it off, so to speak – to nullify some of the pain that comes with having a foreign bloodline limit always lit in your left socket. I wasn't successful. But at one weekly appointment about a month into the research, as I slipped my fingers behind his head to remove Kakashi's hitae-ate, the man I'd always found so cold in my presence placed his hands on top of mine guiding them to the omni-present mask covering half his face. With a quick rustle of examining-table-paper, he jumped toward me, guiding my hands to remove the mask, pushing me against a wall of cabinets, and pressing his suddenly exposed lips into mine.

I guess he'd been attracted to me for years. "Shizune," he said to me as we lay in his bed one morning, "remember when we were kids at the academy and all the girls had to learn flower-arranging?"

"Yes," I replied, grinning, sliding closer to Kakashi's perfectly imperfect body, "I can't believe they're still teaching that! It's so..."

But Kakashi hadn't meant to inspire a feminist tirade from me and kissed me quickly before I could finish. He drew away while moving his hand toward my shoulder, letting it rest there for a moment then moving it down my arm slowly before lacing his fingers into mine. "Shizune," he began again, "I used to wait outside that field every day hoping to talk to you when your sensei dismissed your class, but I always ran away when I saw you coming. I thought for sure Shiranui would get a gem like you."

Apparently we fell in love sometime between then and this moment, but I didn't realize just how hard he'd fallen until now. I'm sliding in the damp grass with Genma, falling onto him. Kakashi must have heard of my one-time fling with the other man – or, rather, that time when we got drunk and made love and all my wildest fantasies were fulfilled until the next morning when he told me how nice it was to have a friend like me. Fuckin' f-word.

And here I am, once again lying in Genma's arms, beginning to smell the sake oozing from his pores – this must be the origin of Genma's sorely-timed story-telling – and realizing that if Genma's drunk then Kakashi's drunk and, especially given the ire rising in Kakashi as he sees Genma and I in this position, this punch won't be pulled even if it could be. Inertia and mud bring Kakashi's fist down toward us, and I brace myself for the impact.

The words that have been bitterly stuck in my throat for this seemingly slow-motion second finally surface: "I love you, Hatake."

I chuckle to myself at the image of the medic teams unpiling us tomorrow as Kakashi's fist barrels into my cheek.

Thanks to Jeff for giving me the idea (me: "i need an idea for my next fic." jeff: "something should happen." me: "thanks" jeff: "and it all should take place during one punch...like in the show")...and the title, and to Lauren for Beta-ing and of course to everyone who read my last story and left such encouraging feedback! 3s to you all!