Disclaimer: I'm still in a legal battle, but I'll get back to you about that soon.
AN: Yes, I know I should be working on my other two stories with that same desperation that I should be using to study for my finals, but since neither is happening I decided I'd go ahead and out this up.
I warn you, I wrote this on about four hours of sleep, and there is a blantant abuse of tenses. And movie references.
Ye be warned.
The first time Naruto Uzumaki shows up in Sakura Haruno's ER (and it is Doctor Sakura's ER, despite what the hospital would like to think) he has a very long cut on his arm, bleeding sluggishly, and grinning like a loon.
"I," he announced, when she asks what happens even though she's got a pretty clear idea from already looking in his chart. She has to make the patient—wait, 'client'—comfortable. "Was trying to throw knives, blindfolded, at a man who tried to insinuate something about my darling sister, who is absolutely never in the wrong, concerning her pristine virtue. Sadly, I sliced open my arm during the throw. Happily, it landed somewhere in his, er, nether regions, and he won't ever be asking my baby sis out again."
"I see," Sakura says slowly, checking his arm and noticing the bleeding has stopped on its own. He's still going to have to have stitches though. "That's not what it says in your chart."
In fact, the story in his chart said he worked at the circus and he was on the highwire when someone tried to kill him.
With obvious, malicious intent.
"If you already knew, why ask?" He tilts his blond headed , blue-eyed face to the side and grins at her with an I'm-cute-and-cocky-love-me look that she pays absolutely no attention to while she administers rub on Lidocaine and grabs the Special Needles.
He blanches at the sight of said needles, and promptly looks like he's about to be sick.
Sakura should have, as the good, caring doctor that she is, said something nice. What pops out is: "You throw knives at boyfriends, dodge death on the high-wire, and you're afraid of a needle?"
Naruto sniffs pathetically, and she suddenly remembered that this is his second time (this year, and it's only March) that he's been in the ER and he's probably just playing her.
"Just look away," Sakura prompts. "It will be over in just a minute. Then I'll slap a band-aid on and you'll be good to go!"
"But needles are gross!" Her patient whines. "I mean, really, ah! Stop it!"
"Is there pain to the affected area?" Doctor Haruno asks immediately, checking his arm. "Burning? Itching? It didn't say you were at all allergic..."
"There are no rushing fluids, and I have all my stripes," Naruto says, mystically, because she has no idea what he's talking about. She does get the curious image of a fish though. "But could you warn a guy?"
"I did." This is where Doctor Haruno's I've-been-up-for-thirteen-hours-you-don't-get-the-nice-bedside-manner takes over. "Just look away, and you can have a Spiderman band-aid."
He sniffs, imperiously, but he does look away. "Spiderman? Spiderman? Hah! Batman foreva."
"Superman is technically the best superhero in existence," she says, because she can't stop herself and because she hasn't had her fifth cup of coffee yet. "He actually has powers."
"Batman doesn't have to have powers."
"Kind of like Spike doesn't have to sparkle?"
"You catch on quick," he says, grinning charmingly at the wall as she stitches his arm back together methodically, and then puts the tape over it. "Can I have your number?"
Sakura blinks. "No."
"Oh, come on!" He pleads, daring to look back now that The Needle is out of sight. "I bet even you don't have witty conversations like this."
"Witty isn't the word I would use."
"What would you use? Because kinky seems a little strong this early in…"
She slaps a Spiderman band-aid over his bandage, tells him the regular pain killers would do just fine, he shouldn't engage in strenuous activity for a while, and if it re-opens to come back and see… the hospital. Not her, the hospital.
"Thanks, Doc," Naruto says cheerfully, sliding off the table. "I didn't catch your name."
"Haruno," she says curtly, already trying to move on. The ER is always full.
"Interesting first name."
"It's my last name."
"Then what's your first name?"
"I have a strict policy against stalking."
"If I see a stalker, I'll let them know."
She shakes her head, and shakes his hand, and shooes him out the door. "Sakura."
"Naruto," he says, unnecessarily, because she's read his chart and by now knows more about his medical stuff than he does, and so of course she knows his name.
"Be seeing you!" He calls on his way out, and she responds with something bordering on 'I sincerely hope not!' and gets back to work.
The second time he shows up at the hospital, it is three months later, and his leg is broken in two places and some guy with black hair won't leave his side.
She realizes, heartbreakingly, that the other guy is just as hot as Naruto, and that they are probably together.
Not that she'd ever make that insinuation. She is a good doctor.
"You have got to be more careful," the dark-haired man admonishes as Naruto's leg is put in a cast.
Naruto pouts, and Sakura absolutely refuses to smile and/or roll her eyes. "I was pulling a kid out of the way of that oncoming bus!"
"You fell out of a tree."
"No, no, Sasuke" Naruto insists. "There was a tree painted on the bus."
"Naruto, I was right there."
"Highwires, knife throwing, and now children saving?" Sakura asks wryly. "Where exactly does this come from? Spur of the moment or previous meditation?"
"I have a sister," Naruto tells her. "I've seen Pride and Prejudice way too often for my manly pride to allow, and I am no… what's his name?"
"I'm sorry," Dark-haired man interrupts (hadn't Naruto called him Sasuke? Sasuke then) and she realizes the conversation could have been construed as Flirting by innocent bystanders (killed in the explosions whose faces don't usually make it on screen) and possibly maniac boyfriends. He looks like the type who takes Prozac every morning.
(Despite his Sex God voice, appearance, and general air of smexiness.)
"I don't think we've met."
Naruto groans. "You're doing it again."
"I'm not doing anything," Sasuke snaps, folding his arms.
"You are," Naruto moans. "You are, you insanely protective freak you."
"I am not protective," Sasuke snaps, and Sakura tries to keep her head down in what is obviously about to become a Lover's Quarrel. "I'm just trying to establish clear markers."
"Overly protective," Naruto sing-songed.
"I'm your bodyguard," Sasuke finally snaps. "Protect kind of comes in the job description."
"Bodyguard?" Sakura asks blankly.
"Hn," Sasuke says.
"Crap," Naruto mutters. "First, you let me fall out of a tree, and then you blow my cover. You are not getting that Christmas bonus, I don't care what Ino says."
"I didn't let you fall! You wouldn't come down! And you almost squished me!"
"Well if you hadn't been trying to catch me…"
"Then you would've broken your neck!"
Naruto batted his eyelashes. "Aw, Sugarpie, I didn't know you cared."
Sasuke makes a strangled noise and looks like he's just inches away of ripping Naruto's face off, when Sakura decides to step in.
"Mr. Sasuke," she says, and Naruto sniggers. "Mr. Uzumaki just broke his leg, and he's on a lot of painkillers. We really need to try to not be antagonistic right now. Not to say you're doing it on purpose, he seems to inspire that in many people."
Sasuke just nods, and the rest of the time is spent in almost-silence as Naruto's constant chatter fades to a buzz in the background, and she tells Sasuke what to do for him.
They leave, arguing before they even reach the door, and she thinks about how it is a cruel, cruel world that made them both so horribly gay.
"Oh gosh," Naruto says, with a laugh, pushing a coffee into her hands and making himself generally at home in the lounge. "Why does everyone think that?"
Sakura shrugs, and take a sip of her (excellent) coffee. "He's just a little bit protective, and you're just a little bit… pat-you-on-the-head-you-good-boy-you and, well…"
"I am not," he says, very firmly, sprawling next to her on the couch and looking at her with eyes meant to smolder. "Nor will I ever be, gay."
"And you will not," Sakura informs him, shoving him over, "nor will ever be, sexy. Stop trying to smolder. Only Johnny Depp can smolder."
"Please," Naruto snorts. "That guy has got nothing on me."
Sakura decides not to reply, and tries not to compulsively check her watch. They tell her she has to have a mandatory break sometime in the day (which she usually gets out of with copious amounts of slipperiness. Sleeping is for the weak) and usually she spends the entire time jittery and wondering how much longer it will be before she can get back down to business. This is the sixteenth time Naruto has visited her at the hospital (only twelve of which are not related to some accident or other because he is, apparently, clumsy) and he is beginning to grow on her. Become a friend. He has her number, she has his, he calls sometimes, brings her coffee… (and ohgods he's like a fungus or something!)
"So how's the business going?" She asks, deciding to completely change the subject then stick such a dangerous, laden topic as Naruto's Smexiness.
Which he does not have. At all.
"I recently made Kodak an offer they couldn't refuse," he says. It had taken her forever to get out of him that's he into business, and remarkably good at it if the papers are any sort of truth to judge by. (Which they aren't, because they also call him the Most Wanted Bachelor of the Year which is just weird because, already, he's just Naruto.)
"Good for you," Sakura says. "I have to get back to work soon."
"No you don't," He says, stretching languidly. "I memorized your schedule. You have, like, an hour. Come have lunch with me."
"Is that an order, Uzumaki?"
"It's an order with implications of a request that you can't refuse because we've already broken the fifteenth visit and phone number mark which means you are officially a friend."
She sighs, very glad to give in. (She hadn't even realized she was hungry, but she is.) "You're paying."
He cheers. "Of course!"
She's not sure when she starts eating with him every day, only that she is suddenly incurring more debt than she can ever pay off as he keeps buying.
"I can pay," she insists, every time.
"Of course you can!" he says in surprise (every time). "But you promised I could!"
"I never promised that!"
"You're acting like children," Sasuke informs them from the convenient shadow he's in. There always seem to be convenient shadows for Sasuke.
"Shut up, Sasuke," they both snarl at the same time, and sometime during that snarl Naruto has managed to put his card on the counter or in the little folder and the teller or the waitress has already whisked it through.
She usually lectures him half-way back to the hospital about how this is not the Middle Ages, or even the fifties for that matter, and the whole chivalry thing is so over. She's a big girl, she can take care of herself, and he responds with gleeful agreements that she is a big girl, can obviously take care of herself, and would she like to show him just how well?
That's usually when she kicks him, he laughs, and they settle in for a round of Playful Banter all the way back to the hospital.
"At some point," she says. "You're going to have to get over this 'barging in' thing."
"I have a key," Naruto pointed out, putting chocolate ice-cream in her freezer. "Nothing counts as barging when you have a key. If you have a key, it's just opening."
"I didn't give you a key!"
"Did you miss my whole explanation? I didn't say anything about getting a key, only having it."
"…You got it from Sasuke, didn't you?" She asks suspiciously, taking the ice-cream right back out of the freezer and grabbing two spoons. Sure, the whole 'thing' with Sasuke hadn't worked out, but she hadn't expected him to be so cruel as to give her key to Naruto.
"Um," is all Naruto will say on the subject, because Naruto is a good friend. (Not very good, because a very good friend would have lied and taken the blame, and Naruto is so not willing to do that.)
"You know, we've been friends for, like, six months now," he says suddenly. She blinks at him, uncomprehending, and hands him a spoon. "I think we should have an anniversary."
"I don't think I know you well enough for anniversaries." The ice-cream lid comes off with pop.
"What's my favorite color?"
"What's my favorite food?"
"What's my favorite thing to do?"
"Torture other innocent beings for your own vindictive pleasure."
"I'd say you know me plenty well enough," he says, smirking, leaning back like he's won.
She shakes her head at his naivety. "Naruto, the girl in the downstairs candy shop knows that, and you've only been in there once."
Naruto scratches his head, obviously trying to think of something. "Your favorite color is not pink."
She whips around from where she's been grabbing the bowl, terrified of Naruto Germs in her most precious of possessions. "Excuse me?"
"It's green," Naruto presses on. "Lime green to be specific. You can take any body fluids, but mouths creep you out. You have two best of the best friends, and don't care what anybody else thinks of you as long as your family and friends are okay. You have a little black dress in the very back of your closet with matching red heels."
He scoops and serves the ice-cream, pretending not to notice her look of bewilderment. "I'd say that qualifies as enough knowledge for an anniversary of friendship!"
Sakura gives in, partly because she's realized he's never going to shut up about this, and partly because she's flattered.
"Fine," she says. "Jurassic Park marathon on the couch. Bring the tub."
Naruto positively beams in that annoyingly dazzling way he has, and grabs the other tub of ice cream he had stuffed in the fridge.
She knows him for exactly one year before he leans over and kisses her in the middle of a (not at all) important argument.
Her train of thought immediately screeches to a stop, and when his hands start moving it effectively fall off the tracks.
It takes her a good fifteen minutes to realize what is going on (by which point she is in his lap, her fingers are in his hair, his hands are under her shirt, and their mouths have officially conformed) and another ten to decide that stopping it would probably be the Worst Idea Ever.
"So," Naruto breathes, when he finally pulls back for much needed air. "Can you admit we're dating now?"
"Why couldn't you just ask like a normal person?"
"I'm not normal. That's why you like me."
She realizes this is probably, horribly, true and groans as the reality sinks in that she is Stuck With Him. (Possibly for life.)
He grins, brilliantly, and pulls her in for another kiss. Which isn't fair, because she's pretty sure both of their brains turn to mush when he does that nothing at all gets accomplished on the Talking This Out front for several more minutes.
AN: See? Wasn't that fun?
Please tell me your thoughts!