Centre of the Sun
'When in doubt, make lists. If things are really fucked up, make lists of lists.'
There are eighty-nine and a half reasons that Haruno Sakura should resist her Hokage's advances. She knows because she's actually made the list – too many long hours at the hospital leave her free time enough to indulge her obsessive-compulsive habits. Mapped out in flowing kanji they provide a logical argument of ink and parchment. An academic at heart, this solid and reasonable listing of points is what appeals to the meticulous regions of her mind. It is, above all things, sensible.
(Reason number one: he's too loud.)
The rambunctious hail followed Sakura down the hall and she paused, looking noticeably harried. Beside her, Neji came to a halt also, but his expression was one of amusement as he tipped his head almost imperceptibly in the direction from which the call came. Operating at 'there's-a-rather-sharp-projectile-coming-your-way-and-you-have-less-than-half-a-second-to-respond' speeds, the medic examined her options. There was feigning temporary deafness, but judging by her companion's minute smile he (and everyone else in that particular wing of the building) had heard their leader's dulcet tones, and it wasn't as if he or the masses were going to aid her escape because they all seemed to find it far too entertaining ('The bastards,' Inner Sakura fumed.) Scurrying away at high speeds was a possibility, but Konoha's Hokage was nothing but relentless and the high-speed chase that would undoubtedly ensue would be damaging to both her reputation and her pride. That left her with the unsavoury path that was sucking it up and facing the music.
"I'll just go hand in our report, shall I?" Neji asked, obviously rhetorically because he plucked the scroll from her hands and strolled off down the corridor. Even with three-sixty vision, he didn't seem to note the hard, green gaze that bored twin holes in his back because, really, you weren't supposed to abandon your comrades like that.
Luckily for the Hyuuga prodigy, Sakura didn't have long to brood about his lack of loyalty.
As usual, Sakura greeted her Hokage's habit of attaching himself to her general person like the most persistent of dust bunnies with an only slightly pulled punch to the head and, as usual, Naruto treated her to his most woebegone face.
"Sometimes I get the feeling that you don't respect me," he complained, dabbing at his nose to determine whether she'd drawn blood this time or not. She hadn't and by merit of that it was a good day.
"Respect my personal space and maybe then we can discuss suitable obeisance," Sakura stated as she adjusted her gloves in a somewhat ominous fashion. "Did you need something?"
Naruto's grin was almost as bright as his hair and contrasted oddly with the formal robes of his office, however skewed they were. "Just wanted to say hi."
Sakura processed that, her face blank. She measured the hassle he caused against his reasons for it. Then, quite calmly, she smacked him again and turned sharply on her heel, muttering about esteemed ninja leaders who didn't see anything wrong with interrupting a girl when she was working.
There are eighty-nine and a half reasons that Haruno Sakura should resist her Hokage's advances. Most of them lie on his side of the fence while a dozen are her own ingrained problems and restraints.
(Reason number twenty-three: he has the unhealthiest eating habits AND paid no heed to the carefully calculated and formulated nutrition plan she drew up for him.)
Naruto was practically halfway through his bowl of noodles before Sakura had even finished the tempura on the top of her own dish and she made a disapproving noise at his needless and noisy haste.
"You'll choke," she told him, making a point of wielding her chopsticks in a far more dainty way.
"No I won't," he replied, quite impressively since it was voiced coherently even through a mouthful of ramen. The woman made a face at the inelegant sight, but let that issue drop as she siphoned her way through her meal, fishing out the constituent parts that she liked first while those that she didn't were left to grow soggy. Her surgeon's skill showed as she dissected her meal with an intensity of attention usually only bestowed upon coronary bypasses.
Naruto's silence only lasted until the last drop of broth had been drained from the enamelled bowl and, with a pleased exhale, he waved the dish at the shop's owner. "Hey, old man – time for seconds don't you think?"
"They'd last longer if you didn't inhale them," Sakura pointed out acerbically.
Naruto only shrugged, grinned and dug into his second bowl of noodles (in that order.)
Sakura scowled, inspected his food and folded her arms (also in that order.)
"Don't you eat any vegetables?" she asked him. "Fresh fruit? Real fibre?"
"Oi – there's totally some Chinese cabbage in this somewhere!"
That made her rub her temples in anguish. "How many portions of oily fish do you eat a week?"
"…I had a crabstick the other day?" He sweatdropped in the face of her shoulder-trembling, eye-twitching despair over his diet and tried to laugh it off. "Sakura-chaaaan, don't you love me the way I am?"
"No," she grumbled as she started to scrawl a three-week diet outline on a napkin (five small meals a day, plenty of brassicas and ramen as a forbidden item.) "I don't love under-nourished runts."
"Hey! I'm taller than you now!"
…Sakura didn't want to admit that she'd noticed.
There are eighty-nine and a half reasons that Haruno Sakura should resist her Hokage's advances. She is logical and he is not and all the evidence states that such a match is implausible and impetuous and completely impossible. Haruno Sakura could exhaust a dictionary when it comes to describing why he is completely unsuitable.
(Reason number fifty-six: he summons toads.)
"Naruto! You're tracking toad slime all over my carpets! I just had those steam-cleaned. At least take your shoes—no, no, don't sit on the couch!"
There are eighty-nine and a half reasons that Haruno Sakura should resist her Hokage's advances. Ino agrees with them, Tenten doesn't and Hinata sometimes looks a little sad until she cuddles her son and lets Kiba kiss her on the top of her pretty little head.
(Number seventy-five: he completely and totally abuses his rank when it comes to her.)
As soon as she saw Shikamaru, Tenten and Kiba snickering over something, Sakura knew she was in trouble. Particularly when Shikamaru quickly and a wee bit guiltily hid said something behind his back as she approached.
"Hey, Sakura," Tenten said too brightly.
"Don't 'hey' me," she replied darkly, giving them all the evils. "I know something's up – people have been smirking at me all morning."
"I don't know what you're—shutting up now, ma'am." Sakura quite liked Kiba – he was well-behaved and easily cowed if you were a tough woman capable of slamming his face into the ground.
She eyed Shikamaru grimly and held out a gloved hand. The Nara looked as if he was thinking about playing dumb, so she copied an expression she'd seen his mother use once.
He handed it over. With alacrity.
Upon unfolding what looked like a harmless piece of paper, Sakura found a lurid and very orange flyer looking up at her.
One announcing that it was 'Kiss Your Hokage Day'.
And that the celebration only applied to those with pink hair.
And green eyes.
Whose family names started with 'H'.
"…I'm going to kill him."
"After you've kissed him?"
"Sorry, ma'am. Shutting up again, ma'am."
There are eighty-nine and a half reasons that Haruno Sakura should resist her Hokage's advances. …they are getting harder and harder to believe in. Most of the time, she rejects him just because it's habit now and she doesn't know how to change.
(Reason number eighty-nine and a half: he makes her want to scream in frustration on average about ten times a day. It's only half a reason because, on the other hand, he makes her smile until her jaw aches about eleven times.)
It was late and Sakura was seeing double from having stared at too many medical files for far too long. She rubbed at her aching, gritty eyes with a fist and thought longingly of her bed, but it was review season and she was chasing a discrepancy in their records that seemed to stem back several years.
It needed to be done. And it wasn't the first time she'd sacrificed sleep for her hospital.
The desk was comfortingly cool against her cheek as she lay there, just for a moment, resting her eyes and quietly despairing of ever leaving her office.
"Just kill me now…" she murmured to the world at large.
"Aww, but that would be a shame – you're way too pretty to kill," a familiar voice said at the same time as a steaming mug of tea filled her field of view.
Sakura squinted up without removing her head from her desk. "Naruto? I thought you'd gone home ages ago."
He shrugged and smiled disarmingly. "Nah. Paperwork. You know what it's like."
"Yeah, you normally fob it off on Izumo and Kotetsu."
"Whatever they claim, it's a lie, a damn dirty lie." Naruto shook his head in mock sorrow. "How could they say such things about their Hokage?"
"Because it's the truth." Sakura took a sip of tea and hummed in bliss – it was almost too hot to drink and also heavily laced with sugar, just the way she liked it. And, underneath that… "Naruto! You put whiskey in this!"
Naruto tried to look innocent. "I have no idea how that got in there."
She whacked him in his stomach, but he only laughed, flopping down in the chair in front of her desk. "Whatcha doing?"
"Trying to chase some files down. I hope Tsunade-sama's enjoying her retirement because she was absolutely lousy at keeping records in any sort of order." She peered myopically at him over her mug (she really was going to have to cave and get those reading glasses at some point.) "I probably won't be going for a while."
"It's okay," he said easily and his sunshine-filled smile made up for it being a moonless night. "I have the time."
There are eighty-nine and a half reasons that Haruno Sakura should resist her Hokage's advances.
There's really only one that says she shouldn't.
And, frankly, love trumps everything else.
(Though she is going to cut down his ramen intake, even if it kills her.)
Lell says: a wee bit cheesy, a wee bit whimsical, but I adore this pairing with a passion - it's certainly very close to the top of list of favourite pairings I should probably make at some point...