- A quick one shot that would not leave my mind...Another excuse to write about my favorite pairing!
- It was done overnight, so it will surely contain many mistakes, so, apologies for them and if you would be kind enough to let me know about the most blatant ones...
"Aren't we long past the age for these things?" Haruno Sakura growled wryly, after the clamour of "Dare, dare, dare" had died down.
"What, being a sour loser and trying to weasel your way out of this?" Yamanaka Ino retorted, rigorously backed by the other three girls present.
They had been playing a card game of snap, with the loser obligated to do a dare. And Sakura had lost. The pink haired medic-nin was still very suspicious about that round – she had never lost a match before, being that she was too good at it- but she could not say with certainty that any of the others had cheated, unless Hinata had used her Byakugan; but she had not seen the Hyugaa activate her dojutsu, so…she had no choice but to admit defeat.
"So, what can we devise for you…." Ino mused wickedly, before beckoning the others to gather around her, heads grouping in conspiration, to decide what her task would be.
Sakura sighed gloomily as the others talked in agitated whispers, hoping that they would not come up with anything overly outrageous. They had met for a girls' night, being that Temari was in Konoha, and they currently all lounged at Ino's place, several cartons of take-out food littering on the low coffee table. After finishing with their meal and having completed some girly rituals like hair care, manicure, pedicure and facial, they had decided to end the night by their favourite game.
Sakura had truly enjoyed the evening. Their respective hectic occupations barely gave them time to indulge into such trivial, girly things and such very rare time was always preciously enjoyed by all of them, but now she was getting apprehensive. Being that she was the only still single one of the group, she feared that they would surely think of something devious for her to do.
"All right," Ten-Ten smirked as finally the four girls broke apart, much sooner than Sakura had expected. "We've reached a decision. You'll have to break in a highly guarded premise undetected and steal something without being caught."
"You know the rules; failure to comply satisfactorily will lead to a worse task," warned Ino. "So, if you cheat, fail or get caught, you'll have to do a strip-tease at Kenzo's tomorrow night."
Kenzo was a popular bar of Konoha and Sakura glared at the smirking girls in outrage.
So, that was how, a few hours later, closely past midnight, Sakura found herself slipping stealthily through the wide grounds of the Hokage's residence. It was a ridiculous dare, per se, nothing outrageous as she had feared, seeing that she had to break in one of her closest person's house, but the real difficulty laid in the fact that she had to outdo the three ANBUs that guarded the place. Not an easy thing, but she had to admit that she was very excited by the challenge, as it was not often that she got such opportunity to measure against the elites. Unlike many of her friends of the elevens, she was not an ANBU; being head-medic of Konoha was demanding enough that enrolling as an ANBU had been futile. And now, this little adventure was bringing a nice, almost forgotten thrilling boost of adrenaline, especially considering what was at stake if she failed.
For this 'mission', she had donned the standard black stealth suit: black snug fitting pants, black soft soled shoes, black long sleeved fitted tee topped with a black pocketed gilet, black gloves and a black fabric head mask covering her face and discriminating pink hair completely, with only a fine strip at her eyes for visibility. Apart from the small expanse that the strip allowed, not the tiniest bit of her was exposed and with her chakra masked completely, she was totally anonymous; no-one would ever know that she was Haruno Sakura. It was even difficult to discern whether she was male or female as the multiple-pocketed gilet masked her chest. She was just a furtive breeze swooshing silently in the dark night, completely blending in the shadows as she sped by.
A while later, she landed noiselessly on the wooden floor inside the house, then paused to catch her breath. She had avoided using chakra as much as possible to remain undetected, resulting in having to do some strenuous flips and lithe vertical climbing unaided by the usual chakra bursts, so, she was more exerted than usual. The only chakra allowance had been a tiny, very controlled flare to produce a scalpel to open some of the invisible traps long enough for her to pass through. As yet, she still remained undetected by the ANBUs. She felt a flare of triumph; phase one of the 'mission' successfully completed, and it was the most difficult one seeing that all the traps were outside the residence. She remained crouched for some few seconds, straining her ears for any sounds, at the same time bringing her rapid breathing under control and getting her bearing.
She could not help frowning, though, because if she had so easily got through the security, it meant that others with bad intentions would be able to do so too. Sure, being close to the Hokage, she knew about the traps beforehand, but still, she must talk to Kakashi-sensei about strengthening the security.
With the grace of a feline, she straightened and peered in the dark, looking ahead in the corridor she was in. She knew the house as thoroughly as her own, so had no difficulty in knowing her way about. Now, phase two of the mission was about to start, which should be the easiest one: to get through the door located at the end of the corridor, which was the bedroom, where logically, at this late hour, the occupant would be fast asleep, grab the Hitai-ate which was the needed item – at least the girls had not asked anything more outrageous than that, close person she may be with the Hokage but some boundaries are better left uncrossed – then start phase three, meaning go back via the way she had come in, all undetected.
Piece of cake, she thought sardonically, and smirked at such waste of adrenaline for a mere game, especially considering that it would have been so simple to get the help of the owner of the house. But Ino had ominously warned her against any cheating, threatening that she would learn about the tiniest hint of dupery. Sakura had taken her at face value, because she was well aware that the Yamanaka would know, one way or another.
It was a very good thing the blond Hokage was single, otherwise it would have been very awkward with the possibility of walking upon some couple's, er, nocturnal activities. The thought was horribly startling, but she refused to ponder upon the unpleasant shiver it brought down her back and she hurried towards the targeted door.
She was halfway to her destination when a swoosh sound reached her ears.
Shit! She recognized one of the ANBUs chakra, and it was inside the premise, speeding her way. Reacting instantly, she pushed the door to her right which she knew was the bathroom, ensuring that she muffled the clicking sound with a subtle flare of her chakra, as they had been taught for stealth infiltration class, slipped inside and deftly closed the door behind her, still muffling the sound, all done in the blink of an eye.
And stood, surprised, as unexpectedly, the room was softly lit. Jerking around, she froze and her mouth opened silently behind her mask.
The light was on because the room was occupied. By the very much asleep, spiky blond-haired Rokudaime.
He was in the oval white bathtub which occupied most of the small room, arms hanging down from each side, head drooped to one side and mouth slightly opened, with soft snores reaching her ears, the water bare of any foam and most probably cold by now.
That immediately made her frowned darkly. The baka…he could go in hypothermia sleeping in a cooling bath like that!
Then she felt a fiery heat rising up her face beneath the mask as she realized that she was staring at her best friend while he was in a bathtub, obviously very naked… though thankfully the angle from where she stood prevented her seeing too much, and the water, although foamless, was murky enough with soap to hide the critical parts. But still, being in such close proximity, barely a couple of feet away from her naked male friend was very, very disturbing and she squirmed. Very luckily for her said man was fast asleep, so she was spared the mortification of facing him in such an awkward situation.
This was unplanned for because he was supposed to be fast asleep in his room by now. She was still frantically wondering about her next step, when a muffled voice resonated from the other side of the door, making her almost jump out of her skin and at the same time, to her horror, waking the sleeping blond.
"Hokage-sama, are you all right?" the bodiless voice asked from behind the closed door.
Sakura stood frozen, rooted to the spot as with a sleepy "huh?", cerulean blue eyes opened lazily…to land upon her statued, anonymous form.
For one moment, he stared at her blankly. Then blue eyes widened, and with a splutter and a flurry of movements causing water to splash around, Naruto stood up.
In turn, Sakura's eyes widened as she took in what was offered to her sight and she felt her face flame further under the stifling mask. She jerked her face away, barely managing to retain a squeak, her heart making sommersaults in her chest.
But the image was already burnt in her mind. The gush of water cascading down the gorgeous, golden body. Oh Gods. This was Naruto and she should not have such reaction, even if it was the gorgeous specimen of male anatomy that was her best friend, the sleazy part of her mind whispered.
She might be a 23 years old medic-nin, but contrary to popular belief, she did not have a constant string of naked men waltzing through her perusal. Her only fleeting, and very rare sight of private male anatomy was on an operation table with the subject sedated or badly mangled, and as far as she recalled, that part was always promptly covered for privacy, and somehow with other people around. So, she was extremely shaken by the sight of the very much awake and healthy, naked Naruto, in such a confined, unmedical setting, the two of them alone to boot.
The wide, flustered blue eyes took in her reaction, lowered down, and realized his naked state, and with a very un-masculine squawk, grabbed the blue towel from the rack and rolled it hastily around his hips.
"Hokage-sama?" came the urgent voice, apparently getting more concerned by the sounds that could be heard from within, and Sakura closed her eyes in defeat.
That was it, she was caught…it was over, she has lost. She almost moaned aloud at the idea of what awaited her now.
'I'm fine!" quickly croaked out the young Hokage. "I just felt asleep in the bath but I'm okay."
Without thinking, Sakura swerved her head to stare incredulously at him, promptly reddened again when recalling why she had turned her face away in the first place, then noted with relief that he had put a towel around his hips. But still, the sight of his bare chest with small rivulets of water still streaming down his flat, sleek stomach made her lose her train of thoughts for one moment, before she resolutely dragged her eyes away.
It would be foolish not to admit that he was wonderfully bodied, a fact that she had accepted since long now for all the times that she had healed him, but that did not mean that she had to gawk at him like that. Though she had never seen him so…exposed before.
Giving herself a mental slap for her disgression, she resumed her annoyance with him. What was he thinking, not notifying the guards about her presence? She was still incognito to him, and could have been an assassin coming to attempt to his life, for all he knew! Why would he cover up for an unknown shinobi breaking in his bathroom?
She was so engrossed in fuming at his recklessness that she did not notice him moving. It was only when his voice sounded above her as he replied to the ANBU on the other side, jerking her from her thoughts that she realized that he was now standing next to her, topping her by their one foot difference in height.
"It's all right now, you can go," Naruto told the ANBU through the closed door, then before she could edge away from his too close presence, he bent his head towards her and urgently whispered in her ears. "What's happening, Sakura-Chan?"
Sakura jumped and almost screeched in surprise. How did he know that it was her? Not an inch of her was exposed and her chakra was completely masked…even the elite ANBUs had not sensed her, and she had not peeped a word yet. And he was not in sage mode, so he could not, should not know that it was her beneath this stealth suit!
"How did you know it's me?" she whispered back, flabbergasted, automatically going on whisper mode in response to his whispering.
"We heard a suspicious noise outside," the voice of the ANBU continued.
Sakura tensed. She was sure she had not made any sound at all, apart from opening and closing this door, but they had already been on their way before she had done that.
"Oh…well nothing here!" laughed Naruto loudly. He brought his mouth back to her ear again. "Your eyes, of course!" he whispered impatiently in reply to her question, as if she was dense.
Said organ opened wider. "What about my eyes?" she whispered back astonished.
"Well, they are green, so I knew it was you straight away!"
"They are just green eyes! I understand pink hair is rare, but many people have green eyes!"
He rolled his eyes. "They are your eyes, Sakura-Chan."
Duh, how stupid could she be. No-one else in the world had eyes like Sakura-Chan's green eyes.
"Just in case, Hokage-sama, we'll do a thorough check," came again the ANBU's voice.
"All right, I'll finish my bath in meantime…" replied Naruto loudly.
"And baka, don't you know it's dangerous to fall asleep in a cold bath?" Sakura whispered furiously, remembering about his asleep state earlier. "You could have gone in hypothermia, or worse still, catch pneumonia!" The green eyes glared at him through the slits, and for good measure, she whacked him soundlessly on his head. His hair was still damp and was so soft and fell all over his forehead and eyes as they were unbound by his Hitai-ate and he was so close, touching close, in such a confined space with only a towel slung low around his hips and she quickly retrieved her hand as if burnt…
It must be the effect of the rush of adrenaline still cursing through her, she thought frantically. Nothing else. It was not because of his naked proximity and being the very first time that they were in such an intimate situation, in the very late hour of the night.
"Sorry, sorry, Sakura-Chan," he whispered back contritely. "I came in late from office and was so tired."
"That's why I always tell you not to overwork!" she whispered scoldingly, green eyes glaring even harder at him. "Have you even eaten a proper meal?" she demanded.
"Hokage-sama, we would like to see by ourselves that you are all right," the ANBU's voice came again.
Naruto had no idea what was going on here, but since it was Sakura, he did not even question his decision; if she wanted to be un-found, then she would be un-found. He quickly pulled her against the wall besides the door, and her mouth opened to furiously protest but closed it immediately as he opened the door wide enough for the ANBU to see him and the seemingly empty room behind him.
"See, I'm all right," Naruto said firmly, standing in the doorway and thus preventing the masked man to get inside.
"Hai, Hokage-sama…we will do a quick check around the other rooms," the white porcelain masked man said after giving a cursory glance around the small bathroom, the opened door hiding Sakura from view.
Naruto nodded and closed the door as the man was joined by his two colleagues, and the shifting sounds indicated that they were checking around.
"Will you now tell me what's going on?" Naruto whispered, turning to look at her. "And would you please remove that mask?" he grumbled, "I feel as if I'm talking to Kakashi-sensei, though a more covered version, of course."
The allusion that she resembled their lazy, pervert former sensei made Sakura immediately remove the head mask. Anyway, the way she was heating up, the thin fabric would surely melt and fuse with her burning face, what with a bare-chested, only-with-a-towel-slung-low-at-his-waist Naruto being so close to her personal space, and she badly needed to cool off before she fainted from overheating.
Freed from the confine, her vibrant, mid-back length pink hair cascaded around her face and shoulders before falling down luxuriantly at her back. Naruto could not curb the fierce pleasure erupting within him at the sight, his heartbeat accelerating and blue eyes flaring as the sweet, fruity scent of her shampoo tantalised his nose. Slowly, the actual situation hit him.
It was late in the night, the girl he loved since as long as he could recall -though had not told her since their early childhood days and they were only friends – was in his home, with him, in his small, closed bathroom, mere centimetres separating them and he only had a towel around his waist as clothing. It was a cheesy-romance-novel type setting!
Unaware of his intense eyes on her, Sakura sighed dejectedly as she considered her options. "It was a dare with the girls," she muttered softly. "I was to break in here and get your Hitai-ate without being caught. If I fail…I will have to do a strip tease at Kenzo."
The last part of her explanation stuck in his mind and his eyes widened at the image of his Sakura-Chan doing a strip tease…he almost got a nose bleed. By the time she looked up at him again, though, he had his emotions under control and his face was back to normal.
"Oh," was all he could say.
He knew how these games went, being the one to often instigate dares to his friends. Her punishing deed of failure seemed extreme, but maybe it was because the others had been sure she would win this dare. He was thrilled, though, that it was his place that she had to break in. Thus, even if for a few minutes, they got to share such a rare intimate moment – the most intimate he had ever had with her till now and he wanted to savour this rare occurrence.
Suddenly, a bribe of conversation he had overheard just some mere days ago came his mind, and he realized why he found this situation to be a bit familiar. He had overheard Ino and Ten-Ten, quite by accident, gushingly discussing a romantic scene they had read in a book. He had not intended to eavesdrop, but he had been curious to know what the girls would so squealingly consider as so romantic. Remaining hidden, he had listened to them enthusing about the story where a kunoichi, who had an infiltration mission in a Noble's house to retrieve an important scroll, had to evade the numerous guards and slipped in the handsome son's bedroom by accident, and in return of not turning the beautiful Kunoichi over to the chasing guards, the young man had asked for a kiss.
Talking about coincidences! His situation right now was so similar to that story.
He felt a sudden rush of excitement. Should he? Dared he?
The situation was already surreal as it was - he was still wondering whether it was all a dream…so what would he lose if he prolonged this craziness. It would be in the name of the game, so, he could hide behind that excuse and their friendship would not be threatened if things get sticky. At worst, he would be punched through his walls.
"We-ell…," he started, but his whisper was too husky, so he cleared his throat nervously as he looked at her. She was so close; a step forward and they would touch.
"Well, you can still win this dare," he whispered courageously.
Sakura looked at him almost warily. She had been intending to ask for his help and was planning to have his word that he would never, ever voice a word to anyone about all this, because the minute he opened his mouth about his involvement would be the minute Ino would get to know of it. Sakura was sure of it.
"I was hoping for your help," Sakura whispered carefully back.
"Hmm, well, uh…I can help you…uh…" he fidgeted, suddenly chickening out. Then with a mental shake, he steeled himself. He was the Hokage, for God's sake…he could do this!
"Uh…I can get you safely out of here…if you, uh…gimeakiss…!"
"Huh?" she whispered enquiringly, of course not having caught the last bit.
Naruto swallowed. Hard.
But did not want to give up now that he had started. Sure, it felt like jumping off a very high, steep cliff with sharp, pointy spikes on the ground and bracing himself for the landing…but some jumps are worth making.
Squaring his shoulders, he said in a firmer whisper, "I'll ensure that you get out of here undetected and the girls would never know about any of this, in exchange for a kiss."
Sakura's eyes widened.
Her mouth dropped open and she went red in face.
She looked away from his eyes. "You…" Her whisper was raspy, and she cleared her throat softly. "You mean, you won't help me out if I don't…kiss you?"
Naruto cowered inwardly. It sounded horrible putting it like that. Of course he had the intention of helping her; it was laughable that he would not. On top of it, the idea of what she would have to do if she failed…he could already imagine himself painfully punching any males that would dare watch his Sakura-Chan strip…or he could buy out the bar for the night when she would strip, ensuring that he was the only one watching her…though he would have to be henged, for course, otherwise they would not even find his bones after she would have finished beating him into a pulp…
He emerged from his jumbled musings to find her looking anywhere but at him, her face still red. He would help her, whichever her reply, but he still had to try.
"Well, it's a minimal wager against what is at cause," he almost stuttered, reciting word to word of what the Noble's son had told the Kunoichi from Ino and Ten-Ten's overheard story.
A full minute of silence reigned when Naruto almost backed off. Then…
He barely heard her in his nervousness.
"Okay?" he whispered almost incredulously.
He watched her squaring her shoulders determinedly and stood straight, her face pink, and nodded.
He swallowed thickly, feeling frozen to the spot, convinced that he was dreaming.
Years ago, Naruto's proposal would have guaranteed a punch through the walls, if not because of the outrageous request, it would have been out of embarrassment and her usual defensive reaction. But this was now...and this whole situation was so bizarre, and with adrenaline from her 'mission' still rushing through her, being at such close proximity with him at such an undressed state, their forced whispered conversations creating a more intimate setting that it actually was…Sakura found herself acquiescing to his proposition.
It was all just a game, anyway, no need for over-dramatizing, she thought. She did not want to question herself; for once she wanted to be reckless and take the blind leap. It seemed so… fitting.
Feeling too flustered to look at him, she closed her eyes and stayed where she was, backed against the wall. She was a total novice to the kissing thing, so, if he wanted a kiss, he would have to make the move, she huffed to herself.
Realizing that her closed eyes was a signal for him to make a move, as it did not seem that she would, Naruto forced his shell-shocked limbs to take a step forward, bringing his body almost flushed to hers, but not touching. His hands were clammy, his heart slamming so furiously against his chest that he was surprised the loud drumming could not be heard echoing through the small room.
Sakura felt her knees almost buckling with tension when he moved close to her. She could feel his body heat seeping out to her, his scent assaulting her senses; male, warm and spiced with his soap.
Naruto's eyes skimmed over her face, noting her trembling lips and tensed forehead. The charming forehead that he adored. Impulsively, acting on a very old yearning of his, he leaned forward.
Sensing him finally moving, Sakura unconsciously squeezed her eyes tighter, her lips tensing in anticipation…then felt the warm, soft touch of his lips on her forehead. Her eyes snapped open in surprise, her breath caught in her throat. The warm, lingering touch of his lips brought a delicious tingle down her spine. Her eyes being level to his neck, she saw the fluttering pulse there, denoting that he was as flustered about this as her.
Before she could think any further, she felt him moving again, strong, warm arms circling her waist, his face swooping down almost in slow motion and he covered her mouth with his.
Even if she had been prepared about the kiss earlier, Sakura felt a jolt running through her at the contact. She blanked out for an instance; then a wonderful warmth flooded through her, irresistible and unexpected, as he moved his lips against hers, his breath hot as it mingled with hers, his lips gentle and firm at the same time as they probed and tangled so intimately against her own quivering, soft ones.
She was not conscious of having closed her eyes again, and after the first phase of shocked inactivity on her part, she found herself responding by tentatively matching his movements, loving the texture of his lips against her own.
The tempo of the kiss immediately changed and with a muffled growl Naruto stepped closer into her, the pressure of his mouth increasing, the kiss becoming hungrier, more demanding, inciting an equally hungry response from her.
She unconsciously curved her back away from the wall as his hands shaped her hips before they roamed over her spine, her own arms creeping up to wind around his neck. She felt a wild tremor running through her as his tongue hotly brushed her lower lip, her shaky gasp swallowed by his ardent mouth.
Lost in the pounding of her heart and the surge of sensation, Sakura was half intoxicated, half scared by the heat flaring between them. It was stomach-flipping good and dangerously exciting and much, much more than she had ever dreamt of, and it was getting out of control.
This was supposed to be just a game, the thought drifted elusively through Sakura's mind, but she was too much gone to care.
It was only when they both eventually needed to come up for air that Naruto reluctantly released her, and raised his face to look into her dazed eyes, his own eyes wide with wonder.
For a long, long moment they could only stare at each other, both breathing raggedly and cheeks flaming red.
"Wow…" Naruto finally breathed huskily, blue eyes having darkened to inky blue.
'Wow', repeated Sakura in her mind, unable to speak. She felt herself swaying on her suddenly weak knees and her hands instinctively pressed against his bare chest for support. The contact of her hands against his heated skin made Naruto's breath hitch, the charged air between them spiked even higher and his gaze fired. Sakura wordlessly held his intense gaze, her green eyes wide with all her emotions clear for him to read.
"Hokage-sama, all is clear."
The sudden voice coming from the other side of the door broke into their heated daze, jerking Sakura to her senses. She immediately straightened and squared her shoulders, dropping her hand from his warm chest.
"All right," rasped Naruto loudly enough to be heard, before reluctantly taking a step back and raking an unsteady hand through his messy hair. He cleared his throat.
"I'll go out and distract them so that you can leave safely," he whispered hoarsely.
She nodded, still not trusting herself to be able to speak.
His hand on the door knob, Naruto paused. Sakura waited, heart drumming in her chest. Blue gaze locking with hers, he hesitated for an instant only, then decided to take the plunge.
"Are you free for dinner tomorrow?"
A stilled silence followed. This was a major step and they both knew it. Everything was about to change.
Then a small smile adorned Sakura's lips. "Yes," she whispered.
Naruto's face immediately brightened with a grin and Sakura suddenly felt ridiculously shy. It did not go un-noticed by the blond, whose grin widened.
"But not to Ichiraku!" she warned immediately, eyes narrowing as she glared up at him, automatically going in defence mode.
Unable to resist, he swooped his face down and planted a quick kiss on her surprised, parted lips, and before she could react, was off and opening the door. "No Ichiraku," he agreed, blue eyes dancing.
"And don't forget my Hitai-ate," he pointed towards the sink top on which the said item laid, before slipping out leaving her standing there, pink and shaky.
Somewhere, on the roof of a building not too far away for the Hokage residence…
"That was an excellent aim, Ten-Ten," congratulated Ino, impressed.
"I'm not known as the weapon mistress for nothing," smirked Ten-Ten, proud that even from this distance, her shuriken had successfully hit the targeted window of the Hokage's residence, thus alerting the ANBUs of the undergoing breaking-in.
"It's been long enough, if she was caught, we would have known about it," murmured Temari.
"Hmm…if she does manage to come accross that baka, let's hope he has enough guts to make the move."
"Well, we can't do all the work! That was the whole purpose for such a far-fetched plan, so that he gets to make some genuine moves too!"
"Let's hope he remembers the story!"
"Oh he would…he was eavesdropping so eagerly!" Ten-Ten chuckled.
"We'll get to know about the details tomorrow, I suppose."
"Well, she would not admit it if she crossed him. But we will get to know eventually if something has come out of this."
"Let's go now, I need to inform Shika about the possible success of his plan."
"I'm still surprised that you managed to get him to participate in this," Temari remarked.
"Oh, you don't know the power of being a girlfriend," Ino chuckled.