I felt like taking a short breather from 'Let's Get Married', so, here comes a short one-shot, for which I was inspired by an old classic asian movie.
- I do not own Naruto.
- I've gone a bit crazy in there, so, the story is to be taken with a grain of salt; can be even taken as a parody, if you want.
- The story and characters deviate from the canon.
Okay, it was high time he did something now. This eternal 'dancing around the fire' had lasted long enough; one of them had to take the first jump even at the risk of getting burnt and he knew he should be the one to do it.
He knew she had something more than just friendship for him.
She knew he had something more than just friendship for her.
He knew she knew it.
She knew he knew it.
So, time over for all the shenanigans; time to get serious. He could not chicken out forever. The way he was stalling, they would stay only friends , albeit best of friends, for ever and one of his increasing numbers of rivals would steal her right under his nose. To think that even during a freaking war one had tried to court her – she was as awesome as that, his Sakura-chan.
He had faced the worst and most powerful of foes, surely he could face this? He was the mighty Rokudaime, for crying out loud, and he should be able to do it. He would do it.
But…how to do it? He did not want to fall into clichés. She deserved more than the usual boring, predictable stuff…and unpredictable was the other name of Uzumaki Naruto.
Sakura exhaled a hectic breath as she hurried to the treatment room. This was probably the busiest two weeks she had ever had since becoming Head medic-nin of the Konoha hospital. Only four more such days to go, she groaned to herself.
It was the international exchange convention - a summit under a multilateral treaty among the five major nations with the aim to share knowledge and technologies - which had been started since the end of the 4th war, five years ago. Each year, one of the five nations would host the convention which lasted one to two weeks, and this year, Fire Country was the host and Konoha was the village where the summit was being held, and the knowledge being shared was their medical expertise. Thus, the success and smooth running of this summit repose on the Konoha hospital and its staff and Sakura was glad to say that they had reached their aim. Things had been going excellently.
Medics' delegates ranging from Genin to the highest level from each nation were currently present in Konoha for a duration two weeks, spending the days at the hospital. Needless to say, all the staffs of the Konoha hospital were terribly busy and Sakura being the Head was on top of the list. Her days were full to the hilt with lectures and conferences and demonstrations, not to forget the occasional serious treatment cases which still needed her intervention. Even Tsunade had been present every day during these two weeks, a change to her usual much sparser presence at the hospital as the capacity of a consultant.
But right now, everything was set into backstage; Sakura had a Rokudaime to attend to.
He had been brought in, apparently injured from training, and it was the hospital policy that the Hokage was always treated by the Head medic-nin, unless in the rare times when Tsunade was around, which was not the case right now as she was in a conference.
When Sakura entered the treatment room, the maroon-robed Hokage was already seated on the exam table.
"What happened," she asked, concern lacing her voice as she immediately zoomed onto him.
"Sakura-chan!" Bright, bright grin, definitely not in accordance with a supposedly injured man, lit up his face. He raised his arm which was bleeding profusely. "I'm hurt," he said in a small-boy voice.
Quickly checking the wound, Sakura frowned. Albeit bleeding profusely, it was a simple gash; nothing imbedded in, no poisoning. This type of wound should have been easily and already taken care by Kyuubi by now.
"Why haven't you started to heal?" she asked, puzzled, as she made a deeper scan of his system: nothing suspicious there. Her worry still growing, "Why isn't Kyuubi healing you yet?" she pondered.
"Ah… nothing to worry about, Sakura-chan!" Naruto immediately assured her, innocent blue eyes looking up to her. "It does happen occasionally that Kyuubi gets too lazy to do his work."
Said fox grunted angrily in the far recess of his prison.
Sakura's eyebrows furrowed deeper; she could not recall that Kyuubi had ever not healed such types of simple cuts on Naruto. "This is strange," she said, not totally convinced, but her scan did not show anything out of norm. She hoped that nothing worry-worthy was going on with the Kyuubi.
"It's nothing, really," Naruto insisted. He was certainly not about to tell her about his, uh, agreement with Kyuubi for that day. But she was supposed to coo and fuss over him, not get submerged in puzzled ponderings and questions. "It's okay, Sakura-chan, if you are too busy…"
"What? No. It's all right." She shrugged her worry aside and set to work, disinfecting the wound and chiding him to be more careful and closed the gash with her green chakra, and all the while he basked in the attention he had been aiming for.
Sakura stooped abruptly in mid sentence of her lecture and turned to look at the interference. Her jaw slacked.
The group of foreign Genins which had been listening to her lecture followed her gaze, to see the young Hokage standing on the doorway.
A nurse hovered in the background, wringing her hands nervously. She had not wanted to disturb the Head while in a lecture even though the class should have been over some minutes ago, as she had told the Hokage. But this was the Hokage and she had been indecisive, and anyway before the poor nurse could come to a decision, the man himself had taken things in hand went ahead to look for the Head.
Sakura left her place to approach Naruto. "Not again!" she hissed incredulously, mild irritation piercing her voice.
It was the fifth visit of the Hokage on that day, harboring small, queer training wounds. Said man made a forlorn, lost puppy face at her.
"Where now?" she almost snapped.
He pointed at his…heart? "It's my heart…it needs to be fixed." His voice was low and eyes deep blue.
Sakura gaped at him. "What?"
He had been wounded on his arm, his cheek, his eye, and his lips and now…?
"I mean, I got wounded on my left chest, over the heart region," he quickly amended, voice getting higher. "It needs…err… healing."
Naruto was seriously beginning to doubt the plan now, seeing the dark, scowling face of the pink haired. It was definitely not the pampering and tender look that he had been hoping for. Well, the previous visits should have warned him, but he was not about to give up so easily.
Sakura glared at him in disbelief and a sudden suspicion crossed her mind. Was he in one of his prankster mood? Here she was, having a horribly hectic day where she wished she had more than two hands and the clock had more than 24 hours, and he was playing pranks on her?
"All right," she suddenly said sweetly.
Too sweetly. Naruto stilled and swallowed in apprehension. Overly sweetly.
Turning to the group of the ten Genins in the class, Sakura announced, "Okay, students, theory class over. Since our Hokage is so conveniently wounded and seems to be quite free for the day, why don't we make good use of this golden opportunity? Let's proceed to practical class now."
Under the increasingly nervous gaze of Naruto, she walked to the exam table located at the end of the room and beckoned him to follow her with a finger. "Gather around, girls and boys, practical class will be about the different methods of healing small wounds."
Two hours later, Uchiha Sasuke strode in the hospital of Konoha. Some usual dark looks and whisperings of 'traitor' and 'crazy' and yada yada tailed him as he looked around.
He had been an avenger, he scowled, and well true, he had momentarily lost his mind – the minute he had opened his mouth to give that loud, opened-throat ridiculous laugh when he had met team 7 in iron country should have instantly warned anybody to whip him to the lunatics' hospital that very second to get rid of whatever had been turning him into the maniac psychopath. Uchihas never laughed, after all; Uchihas smirked. Anyway, all that was past story.
Now was now and now the body which he was supposed to be guarding had disappeared for too long, and as it was his duty, he was forced to come to check out the cause.
"Do YOU know anything about it?" a voice suddenly barked and it was because he was an Uchiha, albeit the last one, that he did not jump in fear at the sudden prancing, menacing tone.
His face kept the impassive, emotionless Sasuke-trademark look while his mind raced as he turned to face the visibly fuming pink haired medic-nin, whose green eyes was narrowed witheringly at him.
Only one person could get her to such state, and it was no mystery who that was.
"No," he affirmed promptly, giving the automatic reply which was required in such case as this one. Well, he really did not know what he was supposed to know that had riled her so much; but would surely find out soon.
In meantime, he better not show any signs of chink under that green glare and be firm in his reply and stay out of…whatever he was supposed to know. Because among many things that had changed on his return to Konoha was that now, to his relief and bodily pain, Haruno Sakura was no longer his fangirl – which meant that he now had his fair share of monstrous powered punches if he riled her; though it was much less than Naruto, who, the older they get, the more seemed to have make it his hobby of a lifetime to try to get under her skin. So, Uchiha Sasuke was very, very careful not to rile Haruno Sakura.
The blond dobe – well, Hokage, he quickly amended – who must certainly be behind whatever was at play here, had been acting very queer since the morning, demanding to train the whole day but being as sluggish as a pitiful Genin, not being able to evade his attacks. Maybe it has something to do with the case here? And now that the Uchiha thought back, it had been specifically his shirukens that the blond had not been able to evade.
"Where is he?" he now asked the obviously busy Sakura.
She gave an unladylike grunt and pointed to a door. "Do your duty better, Uchiha," she growled before marching away.
A frown marred his forehead; he hated criticism. He slowly made his way to the designated room, opened the door_
_To stare wordlessly at the mummified figure laying on the exam table.
Well, mummies could at least have some movements, from what he had seen on those stupid horror movies, whereas this one was a stiff, statued mummy, completely encased with rigid plaster, in a ridiculous one arm-pointing-forward position, index straight. And since he was in a lying position on his back, he was pointing towards the ceiling. The only allowances were a slot at the nose region and another one at the pleading cerulean, blue eyes, making him somehow identifiable.
Should he release the idiot? Sasuke thought. Well, maybe not, he did not want to face Sakura's wrath for having released him. She would be the one to decide when to do it and maybe now he would finally get some peace for the rest of the day. With a final look into the blue eyes, Sasuke left the room as wordlessly as he came in, leaving the blue eyes dancing in despair.
Okay, plan A failed, now onto plan B, thought the blond whose nindo was to never give up.
The vendor had assured him that his produces were fresh and anyone would love and enjoy them. And it was an original idea; it meant he was sure to be noticed. It should work!
Sakura hurried through the corridor to her office in the early morning; as per the past days, the overbooked Head with too many responsibilities and too few hours in the day. She was already late by a couple of minutes, which would certainly not do because today, the top of the ladder medics awaited her for a seminar. It was a good thing that on the eve, she had asked her assistant to direct the six eminent medics in her wide office in case they were earlier than her, and from there she would then take them for a quick tour before proceeding with the seminar.
Sakura quickly ran a smoothing hand over her mid back length braided hair, adjusting her white coat and grasped the handle to open the door_
_to be cannoned by rolling, tumbling…watermelons?
Watermelons? Dozens, no, maybe a hundred of them piled on top of each other in her office… Each tied with a lurid, orange colored ribbon.
"WHAT….?" she burst out in utter stupefaction, her eyes almost popping out of their sockets.
The group of six medics, all squished in a corner of the room, looked at her wordlessly, not knowing which attitude to adopt. They had come to the hospital a short while ago and had been given the direction to the Head's office by the assistant who, at that particular time, had been retained by an mini crisis and had been profusely apologetically about not been able to accompany them herself. They had come to the directed office to find the watermelons already piled in there. Thinking that it was something planned for them, maybe a welcome of some sort, they had all politely, without complain, squeezed in the room.
But now seeing the Konoha Head medic-nin dumbfounded reaction, it seemed that she was as flabbergasted as they had been.
Utterly disconcerted, Sakura looked at the six medics, then back at the watermelons and felt a heat rising to her cheeks. "I'm – "
"Hey, Sakura-chaaaaaaaan!" Sakura abruptly stopped talking. "Do you like them?" The loud, very familiar voice drifted from the open window, coming from outside.
Naruto. Who else would have thought of orange ribbons?
A nerve started to twitch furiously on the temple of the red, getting redder medic-nin, her eyes flashed and her eyebrows jammed together in a dark scowl. The six foreign medic-nins unconsciously shuffled closer to each other. The dark aura emanating from the pink haired Konoha Head medic was getting frightening, and knowing her legendary monstrous power, the six were suddenly nervous for their safety.
With a low growl, Sakura stomped, or at least tried to stomp over the big green watermelons, making her way towards the window. She stumbled over one of the green balls over the way and fell flat to her face, making her ire grow even more.
She scrambled up, ignoring her scratched, stinging knees, and stumbled over to the window and fired her furious gaze down – her office was on the first floor of the building.
"NARUTOOOOO!" she bellowed as she looked down on the hospital yard below, to the grinning - and now slowly faltering grinning - Naruto.
In a fit of temper, she grabbed one of the offending watermelons lying by her feet and hurled it down the orange-clad under maroon-robed dunce of a Hokage, who managed to avoid the incoming, huge projectile just in time by jumping aside. The juicy fruit crashed onto the ground in all its juicy, crimson glory.
"You don't like them?" Naruto called out in dismay and Sakura screamed even louder, hurling another fruit at him, missing his head by another centimeter. Another one followed.
The foreign medic-nins in the room were frozen-statued, wondering whether it was time to run for dear life. Down below, a crowd of the hospital staff and patients had gathered to see the most spectacularly bizarre event they had ever witnessed in their life - their Head medic-nin shooting watermelons at their dear Hokage.
At the seventh fruit, Sakura stopped, finally remembering that she had six eminent medic-nins in her office, all clearly looking at her like she was a stark crazy madwoman. She took a deep, calming breath. And it was not good to spoil food like that, she told herself.
She did not know what the heck had got into her blond, idiot of a friend, but whatever it was, now was definitely not the time for such pranks, she almost wailed. Why now?
Pinning a firm, polite smile on her face, squaring her shoulders and smoothing a rebel bang which had become loose during her…vigorous activity, she faced the wide-eyed, cowering medics. "That was our, err, usual Konohan summer tradition. Now, ladies and gentlemen, if you would please follow me…"
"So…you decided to send her…watermelons?" Sasuke stared at his friend, abashed.
After the watermelon-smashing event had made a round of the town within half an hour, Sasuke had finally deemed it necessary to ask the Hokage what it had been about. As his right hand man and security consort, Sasuke should be aware if the village chief had suddenly gone crazy. Well, he had always been to some extent, but maybe another screw had become loose?
Naruto then poured out his intention to …woo the girl of his dreams.
Sasuke groaned. Everyone with an ounce of sense would have known that this was a very bad time to try something in this direction with the Head medic, what with the terribly hectic convention so fully under way.
"I really don't think it's the right time_" Sasuke started,
"I've lost enough time as it is!" Naruto immediately cut him, his chin set in a stubborn line. "I don't want to waste another minute!"
Sasuke gave a mental groan. "But…watermelons?"
"Well, I don't want to be cliché."
"Sometimes starting with cliché is the best way," Sasuke sighed, exasperated. "Why don't you start with something simple, like a nice bunch of flowers?"
"Yeah, flowers!" After a minute pause, "You know…nice, small, inconspicuous flowers," the Uchiha hastily specified, not that the blond would go looking for giant sized flowers or who knew, some carnivorous exotic flowers just to get out of the cliché circle. "I'm sure Ino would help you in that," he added.
Another morning, another hectic schedule ahead, another day where she wished she had more than two arms and more than 24 hours a day. Peeks and whispers and giggles greeted her as Sakura entered the hospital premises – she had been getting them all the way from home to the Hospital. She held her head high, gearing herself not to be affected by it.
"Good job! Now that's like a real lady!" A loud voice boomed and Sakura froze to a stop, turning incredulous eyes to the old Mrs Jen who was pointing at her. Everyone else had stopped at what they had been doing and stared as incredulously at the old lady.
Mrs Jen was the nemesis patient of all the hospital staff; she was the most difficult, most horrid patient that they've ever had the luck to treat, to the point that none of the staff wanted to be the one to care for her. Even Sakura had to be armed with all the patience of the world to deal with her, and unfortunately she was a frequent patient of the hospital due to her old age. So, everyone was speechless at the word 'good' coming from Mrs Jen.
"A respected lady would not give in so easily to a man," Mrs Zen was booming from across the room where she sat on a wheelchair. "Not like the simpering, air headed youths of today, who at the first sign of a woo, swoon at men's feet!"
Sakura cringed, getting fiery red.
"Well done, Head medic," Mrs Zen again shouted approvingly.
Sakura did not know whether to be happy that she had got an approval, any approval, at last, out of Mrs Zen, which was simply unthinkable and never heard of, or to bang her head against the wall for what she was implying. She was not 'not giving in easily to a man', and Naruto was not….wooing her?
Giving an unintelligible mumble, Sakura fled to her office. She was barely in the room when she heard the distinctive voice of the Hokage approaching, and her hackles immediately rose. Kami help her, she did not have time for any further pranks today!
Jerking from her chair, she rushed to the door just as he appeared, his one arm hiding behind his back. She was immediately on high alert, wondering desperately what he had up his sleeve now.
"NO!" she exploded immediately, standing on the side of the office while he stood just outside the door frame. "None of your pranks today!"
"No, no and no!"
She slammed the door at the exact moment that he thrust the bunch of flowers he had been hiding behind his back and the poor bouquet got trapped in the closed end of the door.
Reflexively, he jerked his hand back and tugged – and stared the bunch of skeleton, naked twigs that came out in his hand, as all the leaves and flowers got squeezed out on the other end of the closed door. A short silence lapsed.
Then, face drooping, he turned and left.
Plan C fail. He needed to search for a plan D now.
On the other side of the door, Sakura's annoyance instantly fell as she stared in surprise at the crown of flowers suspended where they had been squeezed by the door. The perfect, pink blooms, dotted with some blue forget- me-nots, were still intact, retained by the foliage which had been squeezed along. Speechless, she touched the soft blooms with wondering fingers.
Just…what were his intentions, she thought shakily.
Carefully retaining the flowers so that they did not fall down, she slowly opened the door and peeped outside, but he had already left.
What was happening? What to do? she was still thinking a short while later as she arranged the blooms in a large, flat bowl of water, making a water flower arrangement. But unfortunately she did not have the leisure to ponder too long on the matter as her responsibilities took priority, and she rushed out to her day.
Sakura stood stiff as a rod in her sleeveless, red, floor-length dress, her hair coiled in a messy updo, cheeks bright red and frantically avoiding to look in anyone's eyes. She and the hundred or so guests were currently in the closing ceremony of the convention - a dinner party held in the village hall.
The closing speech had been pronounced by the Rokudaime and dinner over, and as soon as the tables had been cleared and the guests had started to circulate about, a group of five men had sprouted from nowhere and stood at attention in front of Sakura. She had taken a hasty step back and stared at them in confusion, when all five of them had solemnly trumpeted in unison:
"To the beautiful Haruno Sakura, from the Rokudaime of Konoha."
And had promptly started to play the musical instruments they each carried– a lute, a harp, a banjo, a flute and a small drum and were now cheerfully singing something about 'a flower leaning towards the sun.'
Sakura could hardly punch them – they were only some poor musicians playing harmless music, and she could not flee – all the dignitaries of the conference were still present along with the Konoha shinobis; it would not look good for the Head of Konoha hospital to run away from the function. So, she just stood there, dumbstruck, mouth opened and cheeks flaming, waiting for it to be over.
And the assembly watched on, clearly as stupefied as her and amused at the same time. Sakura could see the whole bunch of their friends snickering at the corner of her eyes.
As soon as the music ended, the five musicians bowed and disappeared, and a familiar blond head appeared in front of her.
"May I have this dance?" Naruto smoothly said just as she had been about to hiss her mortification to him.
"Huh?" Dance? There was no dance in the schedule; this was a formal affair. "What do you mean, dance?"
It was getting too much for her poor frazzled mind…the past days' events had been strange enough and now this. Sakura was still trying to make her fuzzy mind work but Naruto had already grasped her hand in his and was gently directing her towards the clearing in the center of the wide hall, under the eyes of everyone present. He stopped and turned to face her, standing taller than her by almost one foot.
"Naruto…," she hissed urgently but she was cut off by the start of a sweet, slow music and Sakura stared into cerulean blue eyes.
She could hardly make a scene now, and if the Hokage himself had decided to dance, she had no choice but to resign to it. Still, she tried to flash her irk at him, but he only grinned.
"Sorry, Sakura-chan, it's just hard to be intimidated when you look this beautiful," he murmured and her eyes widened.
She did not have time to think more as a warm hand curved around her waist, his left one holding her suddenly shaky one firmly. Sakura almost blankly raised her other hand to rest it on his shoulder, and Naruto started to move, steering her expertly to the music.
Since when did he dance so well? The thought flitted through her mind but she had other more important issues to address.
"What…," she started but had to stop as Naruto expertly twirled her around; his warm hand seemed to burn its imprint on her skin through her dress as he smoothly caught her back by her waist.
"What will it take for all this…craziness to stop?" she blurted out as she regained her senses, her head reeling. And it did not help at all that Naruto looked so mouth-wateringly good in the superbly cut charcoal-grey tux and cerulean-blue, wide collared, first button opened shirt, the blond hair, un-retained, falling wildly over his forehead and eyes.
"What will it take? Hmm…let me see," Naruto replied, blue, blue eyes laughing into her green ones. "Let's start with a date…,"
Green widened and before she could even formulated any thoughts, he twirled her to the music again, not giving her time to react and caught her back in his arms and to his blue eyes. Her feet thankfully seemed to know what to do and they kept following his steps instinctively, otherwise she would have melted in a shocked puddle at his feet.
"Then a kiss," he continued as if nothing.
Her mouth opened and a silent gasp escaped her. Another twirl prevented her from uttering anything, then she was engulfed back in his warmth and blue pools.
His voice lowered an octave, "Then a yes to my marriage proposal…"
Her jaw dropped dramatically low this time and she cheeks warmed. She could not say anything anymore even if she wanted to, she just stared at him, shocked and utterly speechless.
Twirl, and back to warm, strong arm.
"Then after being married, making hot love every time, anywhere, whenever we feel like it, wherever we want." His voice had dropped several octaves more as he closed the small gap between them, his mouth hovering millimetres away from her ear, his hot breath teasing her skin deliciously and his heat permeating out to her, and green eyes glazed over. Sakura felt faint, gripping him tightly so as not to fall.
Their background had faded into nothing; even the music had ceased to reach her. She heard only his husky voice and saw only his darkened blue eyes…her body having an instinct on its own as she followed his turn and twist, as if it was an inherent thing.
"Well, I would definitely not mind if we do it before being married," he mused out thoughtfully as she was back in his arms, "but only if you agree, of course."
But Sakura was not even in a state to compute his musings – her mind was still stuck with the images of them 'making hot love every time, anywhere, whenever they feel like it, wherever they wanted', her stomach having dropped somewhere at her feet and her heart making summersaults in her chest.
"Then of course, several children," he said enthusiastically, his eyes dancing merrily, twirling her boneless body around. "At least six," he announced.
Delicate pink brow instantly shot up in indignation at that.
"Okay, okay, three at least," he compromised and the pink brows got back in place.
Music, twirl, back in arms…
"Then, grandchildren," he said solemnly. "Hopefully lots of them," he grinned cheekily.
Other twirls and back…
"And then we live happily ever after…," he whispered.
The music reached a crescendo and he swooped her over, supporting her arched back securely in the crooked of his arm and he leaned over her flushed face and dazed eyes.
They were both breathing hard, heart drumming in their chests as cerulean blue locked with green eyes.
"So," he murmured, "what do you say?"
Body completely limp in the support of his strong, powerful arm, Sakura looked up at those deep blue so familiar pools, where teasing and laughter had given place to a mixture of hope, vulnerability, uncertainty and even a trace of apprehension.
Green eyes warmed.
"Yes…," she breathed. "Yes, to all of it."
His eyes burnt to twins of smouldering blue and he reached over to press his lips on the charming, adorable forehead just as the music ended, and a thunder of loud applause and wolf whistles finally reaching the bubble in which they had been into all the time.