.

.

three
hundred

.

.

Leaning against the door of the Hokage's office, Sakura watched fondly as Naruto raced around frantically, trying to find the papers for his early morning meeting over the reallocation of the recently liquidated Uchiha lands.

Mumbling to himself, he sorted through the various stacks of paperwork on the large expanse of his desk. "I could have sworn the financials were in—"

"They're in your hand," she pointed out, fighting the smile that threatened to slip out.

He paused, looking down at the bundle he was carrying. "Oh."

Laughing outright now, Sakura echoed him. "Oh, indeed."

"I don't know what I'd do without you, Sakura-chan."

Still light hearted, she continued. "Well, we'd never know how much Sasuke's donated estate is worth or where the money went. Which would mean we'd be robbing some very hopeful families of a new home."

Naruto nodded, counting the folders in his hands.

"I'm sorry I can't be there."

Naruto looked up, then, completely serious. "Are you kidding me? Sakura, what you're doing is much more important than adding some numbers with a bunch of old people."

She fidgeted for a slight moment, staring very intently at the carpet. "I suppo—"

"Sakura, you're shaping the future."

A lopsided smile, not quite reaching her eyes but almost there twitched to her lips. "Well when you put it that way…"

"You're the best thing that's ever happened to the Academy curriculum. It's not like you're not telling them that war is the worst thing that a person could grow up in or that we've sacrificed the world in exchange for peace. You're telling them that in the end what really matters is their comrades and friends. Their team. Their family.

"You're telling them our story so they know how important it is to value the people around them or else they might lose them," Naruto said very seriously, putting the folders down on his desk and walking over, squeezing her hands in his larger ones.

"And that is much more important than learning how to aim a kunai or make a clone…and certainly more important than signing some papers for a few hours," he finished, looking at her pointedly.

Sakura loosened her hands from his, smiling all of a sudden. "You're right."

He straightened, then, arms behind his head, a grin spreading across his face again. "'Course I'm right. I'm always right."

Sakura cracked her knuckles thoughtfully, a product of years of habit before looking up, eyes warm. "Let's not delude ourselves, now, Hokage-sama," Sakura teased.

Naruto pouted playfully, dodging when Sakura tried to pinch his cheeks. "You always do that and it hurts—" he whined.

"Good," she interrupted.

"But—"

"If I wasn't here to give you grief, nobody else would. Hinata's too nice. I don't know how she puts up with you," Sakura commented, strolling airily to the window.

Naruto sighed, returning to his desk. "It's because I'm fantastic in bed," he boasted, picking up the bundle of files.

"Oh, ew, Naruto. I do not need to know—"

"No secrets between teammates, Sakura," he interrupted in a sing song voice, ducking just in time as a crumpled up piece of paper sailed past his head.

Sakura shrugged. "Two can play at that game. So last week, I had my period—"

"No! Sakura—"

"—which means that this Wednesday I'll be ovulating—"

Naruto clapped two hands over his ears, dropping everything he was carrying instantly, cursing. "Fuck, Sakura! You made your point!"

"No secrets between teammates, Naruto," she replied cheekily.

He sighed, only thankful for the abrupt stop in uterine talk. Quick to change the topic lest Sakura go on just for kicks, he began. "So the meeting will probably last a few hours to sort out the legalities of the passing of property to the state, but after that, ramen?"

Sakura watched him kneel and collect all the fallen papers, considering. "I feel like there's something I had to do today…oh! Oh, Team 7 reunion lunch, silly! We're going to the new café that opened near Ino's."

Naruto visibly perked up. "Do they serve ramen?"

She looked at him incredulously. "Seriously?"

"It's a legitimate question!"

She shook her head, exasperated. "I'm going to head out, I think. Class starts soon, and I want to see Sasuke-kun before I go."

Naruto hummed noncommittally, nodding as he stood up from the ground.

Sakura grinned, pressing a fond, light kiss to his cheek before slipping out the door but not before yelling behind her. "You'd better not be late for lunch! Sai's promised he'll come this time."

Naruto chuckled, raking a hand through his hair, contemplative, and watched as the sun rose steadily across the Konoha horizon.

.

.

.


notes: BEWARE HUGE AUTHOR'S NOTE AHEAD. You should probably read it, though. It'll be beneficial to you.

So for once in my life, I have something planned out. This is going to be about fifteen chapters, I think, and is…going to be vastly different from my usual fic.

Also, I have some blanket thank-yous to dole out: Thanks to Nicole, for working out my fears with me. And Les, for all the encouragement in the world and for feeding my inner sadist because you always need someone to feed your inner sadist.

Thanks to Sakura's Unicorn, who leaves me the most amazing reviews in the world, and whose reassurance is a huge reason why this fic is rated M, even if she doesn't know it. (Now you do, dear. Now you do.)

Extra thanks to everyone who's ever read my crap, and anyone who ever will. I hope you'll enjoy reading this as much as I'll love writing it.

(And yes, the chapters will get longer, but they'll only get as long as I want them to be. Don't question the chapter length: it's beginning to be a pet peeve. I have my reasons. Just trust me on the word length.)

(I love you all!)