Senju + sexy stubble = more sexy.

Or some odd logic like that. From wisdom-jewel. Oh the ideas...

Oh yes, and they are actually working on the chuunin exams...;P

Disclaimer: Naruto doesn't belong to me, because if you haven't noticed, or if you're not keeping up with the manga, well... Neji freakin' Hyuuga is dead, and I'm still wallowing in despair. This does not bode well for my Euro final (which I'm exempting but still...)

Note: I write fluffy love.

Nothing more... =3= ohoho.

Chapter 26: Five O'Clock Shadow

Mariko didn't see Tobirama leave the office for three days. He and Hashirama were working hard on some project, who knows what that is. When he finally emerged on the third night, looking tired and worn out, he had a five o'clock shadow—his facial hair took a while to grow out—and was mumbling to himself.

"You need to shave," Mariko commented.

"Do I?" Tobirama asked, rubbing his jaw. The more Mariko looked at it, the more sexy it became, so she said nothing. Tobirama just shrugged. "Nah. I'm too lazy. Got a problem with it?"

Mariko still said nothing.

"No? Okay."

"Just don't grow a Santa beard!" she blurted. Tobirama gave his wife a funny look and ruffled her hair. She swatted his hands away, and he laughed. Five o'clock shadow it was, despite it growing over the span of a day or two.

"I have this strange gut feeling that you actually like this," Tobirama said, entering the bathroom without Mariko's permission. The door had been locked, but Tobirama, being Tobirama, somehow had a pin that unlocked the knob easily. He sauntered in without a care and leaned over Mariko, who was, luckily, just brushing her teeth, and peered at his stubble in the mirror.

"What makes you think that?" Mariko answered lightly. She gargled and rinsed.

"Well, you told me to shave it, and then you were okay with me keeping it," Tobirama told her, "So I'm sort of confused here."

Mariko said nothing and wiped her face with a towel.

"So I'm right?"

Mariko remained silent, and Tobirama leaned over so that his face was in the angle of her neck. The slight stubble, sort of gray and sort of white, tickled her skin. The small blunette froze as her tall Senju husband tested the power of his barely-there beard as if it was some kind of weapon. She couldn't help but giggle.

"Aha!" exclaimed Tobirama. His left hand went to her back, his right to the behind her knees, and he swept her up in his arms, bridal style. "You do like it!"


"You can't hide the power of my facial hair," Tobirama declared jokingly. He set her on the bed, then, kicking the bathroom door shut behind him. He paused, watching Mariko hide her face behind her hands, still giggling. Tobirama then started tickling her like there was no tomorrow.

Mito thought she heard someone scream for mercy, but she could've been mistaken.

"S-stop tickling me!" Mariko cried, climbing up via Tobirama's shirt and wrapping her arms around his neck. He swooped down to kiss her lightly, the stubble on his chin prickling her skin.

"Admit it," Tobirama said. "You like this."

He pretended to stroke a long, nonexistent beard. Mariko just punched him lightly in the chest. Tobirama feigned a fatal blow, collapsing on the bed. The blunette grabbed a pillow and thwacked him in the face with it.

"My face!" he wailed mockingly. "My beautiful facial hair!"

"You are ridiculous," laughed Mariko, yelping when Tobirama pulled her down beside him before she could hit him with the pillow again. One day, he thought, they'd have kids and then they'd have a wild pillow family fight just for the giggles. Maybe he'd have a beard, by then, too.

"Maybe I'll grow a beard," Tobirama mused. Mariko reached up and stroked the red tattoo on his chin, one of the three on his face.

"No," she responded decisively. It was sexy, but…no.

"Why not?"

"You'll look like Hiruzen's dad."

Tobirama paused, then, thinking. Indeed, it was true that Sarutobi Sasuke had a sharp, triangular beard, one that eventually Hiruzen would grow out himself. Considering this, Tobirama made a face and agreed.

"You're right," he said, eyes wide, shuddering.

"I'm tired." Flopping over, Mariko buried her face in the pillow.

"Wait a minute, you were just giggling like an idiot," Tobirama argued, poking her side and starting to tickle her again. "What are you hiding?!"

Mariko kicked out at him, and at the same time, saw the huge centipede on the ceiling. She went dead silent, eyes widening and cheeks draining of color until she was an unhealthy shade of slight green. Tobirama, confused, stared at her.

"Kill it." Mariko pointed at the bug. Tobirama followed her gaze, and found the gigantic centipede easily. He grabbed a shinobi sandal and leapt up to swat at it, but the bug was insanely fast, and escaped out the crack under the door as fast as the Flying Thunder God. Mariko still had not calmed down, grabbing her husband's sleeve and begging him to kill it.

So Tobirama set off on a journey, looking rugged with his beard and pretty much insane as he crawled outside and searched for the centipede.

Mito wondered why Tobirama set off a gigantic wave of water in the courtyard. Rather than ponder this side of the question, she delighted in the fact that she might get to punch someone other than Madara.

Hashirama did not want to know why Tobirama looked like a homeless man crouched at the entrance of the Senju complex when he got home. He never got a chance to ask, anyway, because his younger brother grabbed him abruptly and he was forced to join the quest to kill the centipede.


They chased it like madmen, Hashirama for some reason actually trying to kill it. Maybe it was because he knew that Mariko might scream in the night. Her screams were sufficient for a human fire alarm, home security system, and tornado warning, but he certainly did not want to wake up in a panic, with Mito holding up the chair like a bat, only to find that a bug was in the house.

Your Mokuton is no match for me! At least, that's what it seemed like the centipede was saying, as it clicked away faster than any shinobi. Well. It was gone, so that was that.

"Why do you have a beard?"

"Uh. Because we were in the office for three days. You have one too." Tobirama sniggered.

Hashirama lifted a hand to his chin.

"Huh," he said, contemplatively. "I do."

Mito and Mariko appeared then, Mariko behind the redhead's long curtain of hair, asking if it was gone yet. Tobirama assured her it was gone. However, Mito—ignoring Tobirama's three-day-long five o'clock shadow—stared at her husband like he was an alien come to earth, about to disguise himself as a crazy Kiri nin and take over Konoha.

"…honey?" Hashirama asked Mito. (Was it the beard?)

"Who are you and what have you done with my husband?" she hissed, a murderous aura filling the night air around her. Mariko and Tobirama inched away slowly…

"Mito? Honey?! Wait, what are you—" Hashirama was tackled to the ground.

"I guess she doesn't like the beard," Tobirama mused. Mariko nodded gravely, as Tobirama rubbed his jaw. "I'll shave, then, so that she doesn't kill me when she notices mine."

"Tobirama!" snapped Hashirama, as Mito shook him by the collar.

"Yes, oh honorable bearded brother?" quipped the younger Senju.

"Don't you dare help him, Tobirama," Mito cut in. "What is this? Facial hair?! How dare you!"

"Why is she so worked up?" Mariko whispered. It was Tobirama's turn to shake his head.

"I have no idea. Time of the month?"

Mariko elbowed him in the ribs, and he laughed.

Oh, Senju. I guess Mito likes a clean-shaven man, and expects Hashi to be all neat and tidy like that.

Or she's just crazy at the moment. No worries, I think it's normal for all women. (I know I would randomly start ranting... lol.)

Yes. Saru's dad's name is actually Sasuke.

(The Neji feels are still there...)

Senju beards grow...slowly.

The next a topless Tobirama at the beach. Maybe he ran away. . .