Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto or any of the characters they are the property of their respective creators. Please be aware that no profit is being made from this work of fan fiction.
It started with a harmless game, the three of them playing poker one evening after a particularly difficult mission. As ever, she had been losing to them repeatedly until she had run out of money. Any normal person would have cut their loses and given up then, but not her. No, she insisted on continuing, offering her clothes in the place of money, refusing to lose to them again. From that point on it had changed from a friendly game to a challenge, the bets swapping from clothing from money. Each time one of them the others would be forced to forfeit an article of clothing.
She won the first couple of hands, both males losing their shirts. The next round however her winning streak came to and end as she lost for the first time. Grudgingly she removed one sandal, much to the disappointment of both males. He voiced his disapproval only to receive a punch for his troubles; she wasn't really concerned with him, her attention focused on the other male. He only sighed at heir behavior, wondering for a moment why he was doing this in the first place.
The game continued and her luck did not return, after a half dozen more hands she was down to little more than a simple mesh undershirt and her underwear. It was then that the third bowed out, claiming that he was getting tired. For a moment she considered abandoning the game but seeing the grin on his face she steeled herself, refusing to let him win. Once again her fickle luck returned allowing her to win enough hands to get him down to his underwear alone as well.
When she remarked on this fact he simply grinned at her before dealing the next hand. Looking down at her hand she felt her heart leap, she held in her grasp four eights and a single three in her hand. Confident that he could not possibly best this hand she decided to raise the stakes.
"If you win this next hand I'll strip but if I win you will not only strip but will then run round the village screaming at the top of your lungs that I'm the greatest."
He signaled his agreement with a nod, the grin never once faltering or leaving his face. He had accepted far too readily and her mind was screaming at her to take it back, to withdraw the bet she had made. As ever she ignored her inner self, laying down her four of a kind with a smile on her face…that was soon to be swept away when he laid down his royal flush. For a moment she was frozen, unable to believe that her luck had deserted her once again.
Knowing she had lost she accepted her fate, fulfilling her promise by removing what clothes remained until she stood naked beneath his gaze. He devoured her with his eyes, taking in each and every detail of her body, committing them to memory. When at last she could bear it no longer she turned away, moving to leave.
She was surprised by his cry, the tone of his voice had not been what she expected, and feeling intrigued, she turned around once again, covering her naked body with her arms as best she could while waiting for him to say what he wanted to say.
"One more game."
She raised an eyebrow at him before motioning to her body as if to say 'I have nothing left to bet'. He grinned at her again, his eyes never leaving her own.
"If you win I will return everything you lost as well as taking you up on you challenge from before."
He had her attention now; the deal was tempting yet he still was yet to tell her what he wanted from her in return.
"And if you win? What do you get then?"
The grin slid from his face as his eyes hardened and his face turned serious for once.
There was no humor in his voice, only a slight undertone of something she could not place until she looked into his eyes…she could see it there, so clearly. For once his eyes were unguarded, his emotions clearly visible in those twin windows onto his soul. She nodded her agreement before sitting down once again, her legs positioned in such a way to conceal herself as much as was possible. He handed her the card then, silently asking for her to deal, wanting there to be no doubt in her mind, that she would be sure he had not stacked the deck in his favor.
Five cards were dealt to each of them, face down, only a single draw would be allowed. Her eyes skimmed across her cards ever as she looked upon her own, taking only a single card while he took two. For a moment they sat thee, neither moving, waiting for the other to reveal their hand. In the end it was she who made the call, he who placed down his cards first. Four queens looked up at her ended with a single ten.
Bowing her head in defeat she placed her cards face down beside her before standing and walking to his side. She knelt beside him, leaning in and kissing him fiercely even as his arm moved around her body; his embrace filled with passion and need. She gave herself to him willingly, if only for one night forgetting everything, who they were and what they were to one another, for tonight they were simply a man and a woman making love.
When morning came he awoke to find her lying beside him, still asleep. Gently he brushed a stray strand of golden hair from her forehead as he regarded her sleeping face, the face of the woman who had stolen his heart. Turning away his gaze fell upon her cards from the night before, still undisturbed lying face down on the floor. Driven by an odd impulse he reached over and flipped them to the other side, a grin spreading across his face as he looked at them, holding back a laugh.
She mumbled his name in her sleep and moved closer to him, drawn by his warmth. Gently, he lay back down beside her, kissing her softly on the forehead before moving to whisper in her ear.
"Thank you my Tsunade."
Then he allowed his eyes to slide closed, once more returning to the silence of sleep, still smiling as he thought of those five card lying near by, a single eight flanked by four kings.
A/N: I wonder how many of you caught on to the couple before the end, could almost have been a Naru/Saku but inspired by a particular piece of artwork I came up with this instead.
Hope you enjoyed.
Till next time,
Chapter preread by That Other Guy