WoM- Hey there, remember me? 'looks back at last update' Err, Maybe you don't. 'Laughs sheepishly' Well, for anyone who's still interested in my Naruto fics, you'll be happy to know that I'm working on the second chapter of the ninth right now. I just needed to kill this plunny first so I could concentrate on it better… At any rate, I don't own Naruto, or any of the lovely characters Kishimoto created. I'm just borrowing them and making them dance like puppets upon my stage, my slightest whim controlling their destinies. 'laughs evilly'

…Enjoy!


Love Pains

What a crummy day…

Sighing heavily, Tsunade nursed a coffee in her hands as she glared death at the wall of the break room, her mood as bitter as the brew. Around her, the three or four other staff members of the hospital that were currently taking a break eyed the woman nervously, looking ready to bolt at any moment. Her morning had started off badly enough, with her being jolted awake at three in the morning due to a fight her neighbors were having, made worse by the fact that the same fight had taken place at virtually the same time five times already earlier that month. Why the two didn't just break up already was beyond the blonde, who was wholly prepared to put her fist through the wall if it happened again, cranky money-grubbing landlord be damned. Following this lovely wakeup call, Tsunade was forced to endure a cold shower (The water heater apparently broke down only seconds after Tsunade stepped under the spray) burnt breakfast (Having listened to shouts of infidelity all night, Tsunade had dozed off at the stove, completely totaling her meal) and a stranger's child getting ice cream all over her uniform on the way to work (and then crying like a brat about how 'the big-breasted lady' had made him lose his treat, sparking a long, heated argument between Tsunade and the boy's stuck up mother).

When the harassed medic finally made it to the hospital, her bad mood sent practically all the staff and patients fleeing for their lives. Unfortunately, one fearful intern was forced to approach the woman to (tearfully) inform her that there had been an outbreak of something at the Academy, which had cost her about 60% of her staff for the day as mothers had opted to stay home with their sick children. The poor woman ran screaming when Tsunade responded by breaking the check-in desk cleanly into two while screaming out profanities (Really! This was a hospital for crying out loud! If the kids were really that sick, then they belong here anyways!).

And thus, Tsunade was forced to put up with cranky patients who couldn't get their needs met by a staff that was more overworked than usual for the rest of the day. Tsunade herself was running all over the place, until a concerned coworker finally forced her to take a break by threatening to write a love letter to Jiraiya and sign it with Tsunade's name. Which was just about the last thing Tsunade needed to deal with, considering the mood she was in right now. All she needed was one cheeky comment from that idiot- just one!- and she'd beat the pervert clear out of him. By the time she got through with him, Jiraiya would be a freakin' monk.

Then again, maybe a good fight is exactly what I need right now. Tsunade mused, a smile settling on her lips that had the three of four other staff members hastily making their way to the door. Toying with the option a little while longer, Tsunade regretfully decided against it. As annoying as her teammate could be, she didn't really want him dead. Not much, anyways…

Tsunade sighed again, dumping her untouched coffee as she stood up and marched out the door, deciding that a five minute break had been long enough, and if Sayori-san disagreed then she would be the one to deal with the consequences of siccing a lust-struck pervert on the older, wiser, and MUCH scarier blonde medic. Clipboard in hand, Tsunade walked purposely towards her next destination, mentally preparing herself for her patient's outrage at the ungodly long wait and trying to drudge up some sense of civility in order to make this meeting easier on all parties involved. Grasping at that thought like a drowning man to a life preserver, Tsunade took a deep breath as she opened the door.

"Sorry for the- Minato?" Stopping short at the familiar sight of Jiraiya's star pupil, Tsunade blinked owlishly at the boy (Man. Tsunade reminded herself firmly. He's nineteen now, for goodness sake. And even if he wasn't, he stopped being a boy a long time ago, anyways. Now if only some of that maturity would rub off on the horny toad he calls sensei…). Startled by the woman's voice, Minato's head whipped around to face Tsunade, giving her a clear view of her fellow blonde's face as he stared back with surprise that matched her own. Tsunade felt her jaw meet the floor at the sight of the nasty bruise that covered about half the younger shinobi's face, which had swollen his eye completely shut. "What the hell? What happened?!"

"Tsunade-san…" Minato replied weakly, running a hand through his unruly blonde hair as he spared the woman a nervous, embarrassed smile. "I… ah… had a bit of a mishap when I was training earlier today…"

"You?" Tsunade said incredulously as her shock faded, giving the boy her best 'no-way-in-HELL-am-I-gonna-believe-that' look as she stepped forward to inspect the black eye more closely. "Get real. Those dorks down at the training fields would be lucky to touch you, no way could they leave this. Besides, I know for a fact that you just got back from an A-class mission yesterday, and you never do any kind of heavy training the day after big missions. Now spill."

"Tsunade-san, I'd really rather not say…" Minato said, the part of his face that wasn't a nasty purplish-blue turning bright red. The medic nin lifted an eyebrow, having never seen the young genius look so flustered. Well now, this was getting interesting…

"Minato." Tsunade said, covering up her mirth with her most stern expression, though there was a twinkle in her eye that wouldn't completely go away. "I have to know what caused this before I can treat it. Besides, I have to fill out why you came in on your medical papers, and I could lose my job if I lie about things like that."

"I…" Sighing, Minato finally relented. "I got into a fight. A big one."

"From the look of your eye, I'd say so." Tsunade said, fighting a smile. "But go on. Who gave you the shiner?"

"Uzumaki-san." Tsunade's jaw had a reunion with the floor at the blonde's grim-faced answer."

"Uzumaki as in Uzumaki Kushina?" The medic clarified as Minato shrunk further into his seat. "Whirlpool nin, red hair, loud mouth, knows every profanity in the book? THAT Uzumaki?!"

"As far as I know, Uzumaki-san is the only Uzumaki in Konoha." Minato pointed out wryly.

"Thank the Gods for small miracles." Tsunade scoffed with a playful smile on her face. She was acquainted well enough with the Uzumaki clan to know that just one of them was about as much as Konoha could handle for now. "But why would she hit you? I thought you two were getting along pretty well lately." Well enough to worry the members of her staff that counted themselves among the young genius' fanbase, at any rate. Tsunade had overheard them complaining about Minato's relationship with Kushina with increasing frequency over the past few months…

"The mission I just came back from was over in Flower, high-level Rock nins were trying to assassinate the new Lord." Minato started as way of explanation, apparently resigning himself to relaying the whole story to his sensei's former teammate. "Uzumaki-san and myself were assigned to assist The Ino-Shika-Cho team on the mission. At first things went normally enough but…"

"But?" Tsunade pressed as Minato trailed off, leaning forward eagerly to hear what the man had to say.

"At the end of the mission, the assassination target proposed to Uzumaki-san."

"WHAT?!"

"Apparently, they were childhood friends. Whirlpool and Flower are close, both geographically and as allies, so the target knew Uzumaki-san pretty well. I suspect that he partially took advantage of his situation when he requested Konoha nins for his defense- and more specifically Uzumaki-san- when Mist was closer and could've gotten there much more quickly." There was a dark undertone in Minato's voice that betrayed his calm expression as he relayed this to Tsunade, who was clinging to his every word.

"And? Did Kushina accept?"

"No, of course not." Minato said, a little too quickly. "She refused him, gently, but firmly nonetheless." Ah, so even Kushina knew what tact was… when she needed to, at any rate.

"As interesting as all of this is, how exactly does it relate to Kushina bruising your face?" Tsunade asked, steering the story back to where it belonged.

"I… ah, w-well, even after the target proposed to Uzumaki-san, she was still being very friendly with him. She even hugged him as we were leaving to come back home."

"So? You said they were childhood friends, right?"

"Yes, but something as big as a marriage proposal she didn't want should have changed something about the relationship. She should have distanced herself more!" Minato growled out in frustration, forcing Tsunade to bite back a laugh.

"Minato, this is Kushina you're talking about. She's not the type to fuss over things like that, and certainly won't let them change anything she doesn't want to change."

"When she hugged him, he said he wouldn't give up, even though Uzumaki-san refused him." Minato said, suddenly finding the floor to be utterly fascinating. "Uzumaki-san didn't refute him when he told her that. She just laughed. Laughed, can you believe it? And then she told him that he was welcome to try."

"Well what else would you expect from that girl?" Tsunade asked in amused exasperation. "She's not going to deny someone a fight, even one as weird as this. I'm betting she even told him that his chances of getting her to change her mind were slim to none, right?"

"Something like that." Minato admitted, sighing heavily. "And then he said that he didn't care. He said he'd do whatever it took." Minato stopped examining the floor to turn his gaze back to his companion. "He said he loved her. Then he kissed her on the cheek."

Oh my…

"Wow. What did Kushina say to that?"

"Nothing. She seemed sort of surprised right after that, and he left before Uzumaki-san could respond. Yamanaka-san and the others teased Kushina the whole walk back home about it."

"Once again, fascinating story, but I still don't see the connection to your bruise, Minato."

"I was getting to that." Minato sighed in a long suffering kind of way. "Yamanaka-san and his teammates all teased Uzumaki-san about her suitor, but I was… upset."

I think the word you're really looking for is 'jealous.' Tsunade corrected the other blonde with a cattish smile. She kept that thought to herself, though. After all, Minato thought he was doing a good job at hiding his feelings for the redhead from others, and it was best not to spoil that for him. He didn't need a bruise on his ego to match the one on his face…

"Uzumaki-san knew something was bothering me, but she didn't know what. She kept pestering me after we got back and gave our mission report to the Hokage. When I didn't tell her, she confronted me this morning at the training fields."

"Aaaand…?"

"I… lost my temper." Minato admitted, looking very much like he wanted to curl up into a ball and die in shame at the admission. Tsunade supposed that she, like so many of the people who knew the blonde, should be surprised that Minato even had a temper, but chalked it up to Kushina's uncanny ability to draw things out of a person no one else thought existed. "I said some things I shouldn't have. Horrible things."

"Such as?"

"I may have implied that Uzumaki-san was leading that man on to satisfy her own ego…"

And you LIVED after saying something like that?! Tsunade thought, her jaw dropping yet again.

"I take it that's when she hit you…"

"No, but it certainly didn't improve things." Well, duh. "We started fighting, getting angrier and angrier at one another. We said a lot of… unpleasant things. I knew I was wrong, and she had every right to be angry with me for it, but…"

"Buuut your brain took a temporary leave of absence, huh?" Tsunade chuckled, patting Minato on the shoulder. "Don't worry, Minato, it happens to the best of us."

"After a while she started yelling at me for being a bad friend." Minato said, looking downcast. "She said that those matters were between herself and her suitor, and that it wasn't my place to get angry at her because some guy proposed to her. She wanted to know why I even cared that he had those kind of feelings for her."

"What did you say?" Tsunade asked, entertained by Minato's play-by-play.

"I kissed her."

"WHAT?!" Tsunade felt her knees get weak as she gaped at Minato, doing a wonderful impression of a goldfish. He… Kushina… WHAT?!

"Obviously, she took offence to my moment of stupidity." Minato said wryly, motioning to his eye. "When the stars finally faded from my vision, she was long gone." Tsunade stared at Minato dumbly for a long time after that.

"…You are an idiot."

"I know."

"You deserved to be hit."

"I know."

"So I'm not healing that thing until you make nice with Kushina again."

"I kn- what?!"

"You heard me, Namikaze." Tsunade said, snorting back a laugh at how wide Minato's good eye got as he absorbed Tsunade's ultimatum. "You are going to leave this place, bruise and all, go down to Yamanaka's Flower Shop, explain what happened to Inoichi and wait for him to stop laughing at you long enough to help you pick out some very nice flowers as an apology to Kushina, although at this point I doubt that'll help much. Then you'll camp outside of Kushina's apartment and endure all her rage until you can finally convince her to listen to your apology. After apologizing, you will explain to that girl that you've been madly in love with her for years now, and that today's episode was inspired by a fit of jealousy and pent up desires that you were always to proud to deal with. Only after you've had that talk will I heal your goddamn eye, you go that?"

"B-but Tsunade-san, what if she doesn't forgive me?" Minato asked, looking more like he was nine then nineteen. Maybe Tsunade had been too quick to call him mature beyond his years… "What if she turns me down?"

"She'll forgive you. Eventually. Kushina's the forgiving type, lucky for you." Tsunade replied airily, waving at the younger shinobi's fear like it was merely a pesky fly. "As for a refusal… well, the best thing to do there is take a leaf out of your sensei's book. God knows if that man's good at anything, it's bouncing back from a rejection. Just do what feels right to do at the time and you'll be fine. Now if you'll excuse me, I have other patients to attend to." Looking a little uncertain, Minato gave the woman a look that was somewhat akin to a lost puppy before reluctantly trudging out the door. As soon as the door shut safely behind the young genius, Tsunade burst into hysterical laugher that continued for a good ten minutes. After getting her giggles under control, she happily made her way to her next patient (her mood vastly improved), vowing to spare no detail of her exchange with Minato next time she and Jiraiya went drinking together. He'd probably be just as amused by the unfortunate blonde's tormented love life as she was…

…Of course, Tsunade would find it a helluva lot less funny at 2:30 in the morning, which was when a half singing Minato pounded on her door to inform her that he'd completed every demand she'd issued in order for his eye to be healed, happily informing her about the date he had with Kushina that weekend as a bleary-eyed Tsunade tried to think of what would be the easiest and quickest way to kill him.


WoM- Poor Minato… I think I tormented him a little too much. But then, all of my favorite characters must subject themselves to that fate. I'll make it up to him some day though. Maybe. 'grins evilly' anyways, that's it for this oneshot! Please leave me a review before you go, okay? Buh-bye!