All right, so first of all the obligatory Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto and by writing this fic I do not claim to own it. I don't own the characters, the setting, the blah blah blah, done.
They were polite, which was about the only point in their favor.
If she was asleep when they dropped by, they were careful not to wake her unless she was needed. A specifically patterned five knocks on her door didn't startle her so much anymore as it did throw her immediately out of bed and into medic mode. When they ate anything, they were careful to clean up after themselves, usually with the only telltale sign being that the dirty dishes that were in the sink were suddenly spotless and in the cupboard. It made her wonder which one was the clean-freak.
It certainly wasn't any of her boys. She had been to their apartments before and knew better. Kakashi managed to keep his living room respectably clean, but a peek into the kitchen or the bedroom indicated that that was just for show. Naruto couldn't even manage that much and Sai, of all the people she expected to be tidy, was just as big of a pig. He dismissed his habits with a mechanical smile and a casual mention of "the artistic temperament".
But, despite the situation being what it was, Sakura felt good whenever she got up to find that the dishes had all been washed and that her granola bars were gone again. When she had to fold up her throw blanket on the couch and straighten the mussed cushions or when she'd peek into the guest room and see that her medical supplies had been ransacked, she found herself smiling. She was being useful.
"Looks like you still have that Jonin infestation," Ino teased as they were approaching Sakura's house and from halfway down the block they saw a light in the kitchen flip on and then off quickly. It was faint—the one over the sink—and it was a familiar signal that even the blond knew.
"It's gotten worse," Sakura replied she paused and handed her shopping bags off to her friend. Two blinks meant that there was an injury to attend to. One was just a warning. It meant that one of the guys was watching for her and trying to let her know that they were there so that she didn't step into the house and immediately throw the first guy that startled her through a wall. It was lucky for Naruto that she hadn't seriously broke his jaw that time…
Sakura snorted as she began to fish around in her hip pouch. "A whole squad showed up last night. They were all injured and one of them had a chest wound that bled all over my kitchen floor."
"Aw, but you just got that nice tile installed in there. Blood will be a bitch to get out of the grout," Ino said, sounding put-out. She had helped pick out the tile after all. "So, how did this all get started anyway? You never explained."
Sakura heaved a sigh as she pulled out a hair band. "You said you were worried about Shikamaru not going to the hospital after his missions and Tenten mentioned something about Neji and Lee overexerting themselves all the time and I worry about my boys, because they're blockheads and they'd never take care of themselves if I wasn't around to badger them."
"Sooo, it started with convincing Kakashi-sensei to come to my house to get his injuries treated if he wasn't going to go to the hospital. I live closer to the city gates after all and I live alone. Then I might maybe have told him that he should let the other Jonin know that if they need anything that isn't serious treatment they could drop by and I'd look them over."
"Oh, Forehead," Ino breathed around her exponentially growing smile, "you didn't. You know how those guys are!"
"Yeah, I know. It's like they're in competition to see who can go longest without a hospital visit, but it's better than them just not getting treated," Sakura grumbled back. "Except none of them seem to get what a serious injury is, because Sai came over when he had a kunai jammed in his thigh. Then Naruto came with a broken wrist and Kiba dropped by with a concussion and, God, it's just been downhill to chest wounds and busted skulls from there. The whole crashing on my couch thing wasn't my idea either, but whatever."
Ino nodded at her friend's exasperated tone and then asked, with a knowing gleam in her eye, "How's your ratio?"
A smirk suddenly came over Sakura's lips and she raised her chin proudly as she finished her ponytail with a flourish and a flick of pink locks. "I haven't lost one yet."
"That's great… but you have to do something about this, Forehead," Ino said, frowning when she saw the lights blink again. Sakura noticed it too and they started to pick up their pace. "You can't be working twelve hours at the hospital and then come home and pull a night shift in your own house. Talk to Tsunade about it. She's personally dragged a few of the guys in before, hasn't she?"
Sakura sighed, trying to ignore the slight concern she felt swelling in her chest. Two blinks. That was never a good sign. After all, if a kunai just an inch away from a femoral artery wasn't a serious injury, what the hell was? But maybe it was Naruto and he was just being impatient. Except, the blinks hadn't been consecutive…
"I already talked to her and she thought it was a great idea. She's even started to shift my hospital hours around so that I'm just doing rounds and paperwork rather than attending to any of the injured so that I have more energy when I get home."
The girl shrugged. "She told me to just think of it as running a small ER. The serious injuries get to my house first and I patch them up enough so that they can at least make it to the hospital or go home if they're well enough. At least our hospital-phobic guys are getting treatment this way and I still get paid—crap!"
Sakura dropped her bags when the light flipped on and off again and broke into a run. Ino snatched the fallen items and darted after her. Maybe she wasn't as great of a medic as Sakura, who was said to have matched Tsunade's abilities already at age nineteen, but maybe she could be of some use because she wasn't even sure if there was a meaning assigned to three blinks besides, "hurry the fuck up".
Besides, Ino liked to watch her friend when she went into medic-mode. In an instant, Sakura went from her pretty, pink-haired shopping buddy to an almost perfect replica of her mentor as she punted open her own front door—in high heels no less—and charged inside. The image could only be more complete with an expanded bust-line and a harried assistant trailing after her.
Sakura was always prepared for whatever may lay inside her own house. With Jonin it was hard to tell. Their injuries could vary from the mundane to critical, but she never let it catch her off guard. However, she was not prepared to come face-to-face with an ANBU operative in her own kitchen. Well, face-to-mask at any rate… an eyeless mask with red marks on the forehead and chin and a permanent smile that was somewhat off-putting.
He moved to approach her but stopped short when Ino appeared just behind Sakura, nearly bumping into her friend. The blond, upon seeing the masked shinobi, stopped mid-question and just stared.
"Um… you should maybe go," Sakura murmured.
The medic noted the blood staining the shinobi's breastplate and the slightly tattered state of his cloak, the hood of which he had pulled up to hide his hair. She nodded. "I… yeah. Go put my things in my room and then leave. I'll page you if I need anything."
Without another word, Ino vanished and Sakura looked to the ANBU operative, frowning. "You're not injured," she noted. It was the best icebreaker she could come up with in this situation.
He was silent as he moved then to the door at the back of the kitchen and passed through it into the laundry room. Or what used to be the laundry room. After her chat with Tsunade, Sakura had come home to find that her house, at the cost of said laundry room, was now equipped with a rustic examine room complete with cot and a chest of sterile medical tools. She tried to think of it as Tsunade's way of saying that she trusted her rather than as a massive invasion of her privacy. After all, she had liked her laundry room. Then again, all of the guys dropping by just whenever they needed to, or felt like it, was also a rather large invasion of said privacy.
"And you brought friends."
Two more ANBU: one laid out on the bed and the other, also in cloak and hood, was crouched over him, pressing a folded cloth that looked suspiciously like the cot's fitted sheet into a shoulder wound.
"Looks like I've received some kind of promotion I didn't know about," she muttered as she approached the injured shinobi. She motioned for the other to move and lifted the wadded sheet. "Unless you guys just were on your way to a costume party and got lost. If that's the case, this is one extremely convincing make-up job. Oh and it looks like you dislocated his collarbone while you were at it. I admire that sort of dedication. I usually just dress like Tsunade and stuff my bra."
No one laughed. She didn't really expect them to, but talking made her feel better. It at least kept her from thinking too hard about the situation. After all, it couldn't be a good sign that they had showed up at her house rather than just going directly to the hospital or, like, cannibalizing their wounded teammate.
Ugh, she couldn't think like that. Kakashi was ANBU. Or he used to be at any rate. It was hard to tell and getting a straight answer out of the man was predictably impossible. But they weren't animals. Unnerving as hell, yes; killers, yes; but they were no more monstrous than her or—what the hell did he think he was doing?
Sakura turned her head to look into the eyeless, white mask of the ninja that had just grabbed her wrist. She smiled to disguise her urge to bare her teeth. "Okay, Pumpkin," she began with the same saccharine sweetness she used in the children's ward at the hospital, "If you're scared for your friend, you can ask him—" she indicated the ninja on the other side of the bed with the cat-like mask—"to hold your hand. I'd do it, but I'll be needing both of mine. It's a medic thing."
"The mask stays."
Had she even been reaching for the, oh hey, she had been. Tsunade hadn't been kidding about these things becoming second nature after a while. "It's medical procedure. I have to check his breathing, throat, and heart to make sure that they're okay with his collarbone the way it is. The mask will get in my way of those first one if you didn't guess."
"The mask stays."
Sakura did snarl at that and with a sharp tug, she jerked her hand free of his iron grip. "Look, I get it that you want me to do this telekinetically, but in about another five minutes you'll be needing to make some plans for your friend's hospital stay because he'll be going into shock in about ten minutes from blood loss. If this is about clearance, I grew up with about half the ninja that make up the Jonin ranks now and I'm the Hokage's apprentice. If a big breach in security happens everyone knows how to find me."
She was removing the mask even as she spoke and with a rather flippant flick of her wrist she tossed it to Mr. Eyeless.
"Hey, Pinkie. You sound like Tsunade-sama when she's pissed."
Sakura scowled slightly, her brows furrowing in concern. She never liked it when she knew her patients. "Thank you, Genma. I'd say that I was happy to see you if that shoulders of yours didn't look like it hurt so much. By the way, you ate my last apple the other day."
He grinned wryly, despite the blood trickling down his chin. "Sorry. Needed something before heading out."
"Well, at least you're eating. I sometimes have to force food down Kakashi-sensei's throat, which is no easy task with that mask in the way." She pressed her glowing fingertips to his neck, checking his heart rate, airway, and blood pressure as she tried to gauge just how much blood he had lost. "Mind telling me how long you've been bleeding and what happened?"
"Probably a couple hours; used some styptic to slow it down. And, you know, it's the same-old, same-old. Enemy ninja, kunai, jutsus…"
"No more questions."
Mr. Eyeless again. Sakura rolled her eyes. "Blah-blah-blah, political red-tape, blah-blah-blah." She pushed Genma's hair off of his forehead instinctively and then pressed two glowing hands into his chest, pushing a surge of chakra into his body. "You'll be fine. I have to set the bone and the blood loss is of some concern, but otherwise this doesn't look too bad."
"I bet you say that to all of the dying guys you meet," he replied as he cringed at the initial sensation of her chakra seeping into him.
She smiled. "You're not dying. In fact, as far as giant holes in the upper torso go, this one isn't too bad. Now, if I start calling you handsome and asking you out for drinks then you should start to worry about dying."
"Got a thing for that kinda guy?"
"Hey, they keep me in business."
"He can stay here."
Sakura paused, waiting for a response and then detected a scowl of disapproval from behind the eyeless mask.
"I apologize, because maybe that sounded like that was a suggestion. Let me rephrase: he will stay here. I'll get hold of a Jonin uniform and have him change. No one has to know you guys were even in the neighborhood."
Still, no response.
"Kakashi-sensei, I swear to God if that's you behind that mask giving me crap I'm going to punch you so hard that your Sharingan pops out. Look, you have two options. He stays here or I go and wake up Tsunade-sama and she gets to tell you that he stays here."
No response, but luckily for the shinobi who would now be known to Sakura as Jackass-san, the other stepped up and laid a hand upon his shoulder. A silent conversation passed between the two and then they both disappeared, leaving a cloud of leaves in their wake.
Sakura couldn't help but think that maybe that was Jackass-san giving her the finger in some way, because now she'd have to sweep up the mess. With a glance in the direction of the laundry she wondered if she could get Genma to tell her who the guy was. The next time he was at the hospital for a physical she thought that she'd like to be there to give it to him.
"Sakura. In my office. Now. And close the door."
It was never a good thing when Tsunade said it like that, Sakura thought with a slight frown. Shutting the door was even worse. That usually meant that there as going to be a lot of yelling or that Tsunade wanted a solid, but easily fixed surface to throw someone through.
"Tsunade-sama?" she asked as she stepped inside. She nudged the door shut with her foot and approached the woman's desk, her arms loosely crossed over her front. Shizune was missing, which wasn't good either. The assistant was usually able to keep Tsunade's temper in line or at least assist her victims in the aftermath.
"I heard you had a few of strange visitors last night."
Sakura raised an eyebrow and then noticed the file that laid open on the woman's desk. Great, the medical report she had given Shizune. She had thrown the classified sticker on it because it pertained to ANBU operatives and while Tsunade didn't usually glance twice at any of the files, it must have seemed to warrant a look.
"Yes. It's in the report," Sakura replied. "Am I in trouble?"
"Oh no, no," the woman said with a wave of her hand and a faint grin. "I just wanted to review this with you and clear up a couple things. You refer to a… Kitty-chan and Jackass-san."
Sakura looked away sheepishly, suddenly remembering why she usually didn't write her medical reports at two in the morning. "Sorry about that," she replied. "I only recognized Genma and… yeah, sorry about."
Tsunade, however, looked rather amused. "I see. What rubbed you the wrong way about the operative?"
She sighed. "I had to take off Genma's mask to check his breathing because he had a displaced collarbone and the guy grabbed my arm to stop me."
"And I told him off."
"Then you took Genma's mask off anyway?"
"Well, yeah," Sakura huffed. "A displaced collarbone is nothing to joke about and I had to make sure he could… why am I telling you this? You know it already."
Tsunade grinned. "I just like to be sure that you know it every once in a while," she said. "How's Genma?"
"He was asleep when I left this morning. I asked Ino to drop by and make sure he didn't do anything stupid… like leave." Her eyes narrowed fractionally at the thought. If that ass made her hunt him down he was so going to regret it.
"You can't break his legs if he wanders off, Sakura. That's my job." Tsunade met her student's eyes they shared a quick smile before they both returned again to business. "What about his shoulder?"
"It was a little worrisome, but nothing too difficult and I managed to set his collarbone without a lot of trouble. He did lose quite a bit of blood though, so he probably shouldn't be sent out right away on any missions."
Tsunade hummed at this and flipped a page in the report. Sakura watched her for a moment, her eyebrow creeping slowly up her forehead as she watched. "Um, Tsunade-sama?"
"Can I go?"
"Oh." The woman looked up and blinked. "Yes, go on, Sakura. We're done. Good job handling the ANBU boys."
Sakura nodded and turned toward the door, but paused, frowning a bit. "Tsunade-sama?"
"What?" the blond woman lifted her head slightly to indicate that she was listening, but her eyes never left the report
"Did… did you give them permission to come see me?"
"I may have mentioned something about you to them, yes."
She blinked a few times and then frowned. "Ooh-kay… why?"
"Hmm… you have rounds to make, Sakura."
The frown deepened as she turned back to the door. "So subtle, Shishou."
1. The kitchen tiles were blue if you were wondering.
2. Would Tsunade actually agree to this situation? Well, yes or there wouldn't be plot.
3. Yes this will be Kakashi/Sakura romance, I will not dwell on angst, and there will be an actual relationship to be had. Fun, right?
4. And maybe some smut... hint hint, nudge nudge.
5. Yes, Sakura snarked ANBU operatives. Would she do this? Hm, I like to think that her medic-mode is more or less Inner Sakura unleashed with a purpose. I don't think she'd let much stand in her way, not even a dude with a katana. Plus, if she was already kicking Sasori ass (I consider all of her character-fail moments following that fight to be discontinuity) at fourteen/fifteen-ish with just two years of serious training under her belt, can you imagine the ass she'd be kicking as she got older?
Reviews are greatly appreciated and they fuel the fire of creativity. If you leave one, Kakashi might appear shirtless next chapter.