tale of galant jiraiya
Join Date: Oct 2008
Thanked 107 Times in 62 Posts
Re: Shade of the Leaf
-24-Sakura kicked her heels as she stared at the teakettle that was sitting on the stove. This was becoming something of a nightly ritual and she was quickly running out of herb packets. Suna nights were just cold enough even in summer that she would appreciate the added warmth and the tea did help her settle in for bed. Reaching up to rub her tired eyes, she paused at the sound of someone knocking.
"Oi, Sakura-chan, you awake?" Naruto's low voice was muffled by the door; loud enough that she would hear it if she was awake but low enough that if she was asleep or wanted to ignore him she could.
She seriously debated ignoring him. It was late; she needed to go to bed but…
"Hang on Naruto," she called jumping off the counter she had been sitting on. Shuffling in the ridiculous slippers she had started wearing (it wasn't that she was afraid of bugs, just that the bugs here were rather nasty) and flicked open the locks on her door.
"Hey," Naruto said with a smile, leaning his shoulder against the door jam. "What are you doing still up?"
"Not sleeping, obviously." Sakura drawled, poking him. "Are you finished with your little midnight tour with Gaara?"
Naruto rubbed his shoulder, smirking. "Watching us?"
"Rather hard to miss you." She pointed out, opening the door in a silent invitation to enter. "It was either sand, more sand, building covered in sand or you two sleepless fools."
"I don't think its good diplomacy to call Gaara a fool." Naruto teased as he followed her into the kitchen. "We could get into trouble for talking behind his back."
"Since I've called him such to his face, I think we will be okay." Sakura returned. She dangled a tea packet in front of him. "Want one?"
"Nah. I'm good."
She lifted a brow letting her eyes run over his form. The sand-garb hid the muscle she was used to seeing in Konoha, but there was something a little more dangerous to this outfit. A little more anticipation. "You're getting enough fluids, aren't you?"
Naruto jumped up onto her previous place on the counter and rolled his eyes. "Yes, Mednin-Haruno. I am getting plenty of fluids."
She quirked a brow at him and then shrugged. "If you pass out from heat exhaustion I'm going to let Gaara deal with you."
"No mercy, even for your teammates." Naruto teased his smile open and easy. Sakura snorted at him and as she poured the hot water over the bag of herbs.
"Not when you're being an idiot. But since I have been up to my elbows in your insides at least twice, we'll call it even." Sakura suggested.
"Right here, Sakura-chan." He moaned holding a hand to his heart. "Right here."
"If you can survive Sasuke trying to shove a chidori through your chest, you can handle a couple of heart palpitations." She teased as she judged how long she had let her tea steep.
Naruto snorted and crossed his arms. "So I take it this isn't a one night ordeal?"
Sakura blinked at him as she tossed the packet into a trash container. "I beg your pardon?"
Naruto pointed at the stove. "You couldn't turn that thing on when we first got here. Now you're acting like you've been using it for years. How many cups of tea have you been making, Sakura?"
She lifted a brow, as she carefully tasted the hot drink. A little bitter. "What makes you think I'm just not compiling my mental report for Tsunade?"
Naruto jumped down and shoved his hands in his pockets considering her with the expression that never failed to run goose bumps down her arms. It was an expression that told her there was more going on behind his eyes that he let on. The one that suggested the fox wasn't as far beneath the skin as everyone in Konoha liked to believe.
"Sakura, you only drink tea like Tsunade drinks sake when you have something on your mind. I thought we had agreed that you could talk to me about anything?"
Sakura pursed her lips considering. Feeling suddenly – ridiculously – nervous, she turned and set the mug down before taking a deep breath. This was absurd. She had already made her decision. She was going to face this. Squaring her shoulders, she turned to face Naruto.
"You're right. I do have a problem."
Naruto blinked at her before something eased in his shoulders. "All right then, Sakura-chan! Let's go sit down where we can talk about it and I'll see what I can do to help!"
Sakura shook her head, taking a long deep breath. She was not nervous! This was Naruto! If he was going to reject her, he would have done it when she was twelve and crying brat. Not now. Not after everything. Her palms started to sweat and she hated it.
"This isn't… I mean… oh screw it." Sakura growled before moving forward. She closed the distance between them in two steps, rose up on her tiptoes, and pressed her mouth solidly against his.
His lips were chapped from the wind and his body was rigid under her hands. Pulling back, she stared up into his face. His eyes were wide and she licked her lips, locking her knees so she wouldn't bolt. She would not run. She would deal with this.
The light came back on behind his eyes at the sound of her voice and she was hardly aware of the way he was backing her up until her back hit the cold box. Bracing his arms on either side of her body, he stared down at her, pupils filled with red sparks.
His question stung (did he think she was playing, did he think she wouldn't do this without THOUGHT?) but instead of arching her back and snapping, she took a slow breath and steadied herself.
"I'm not playing with you."
His posture shifted and the air around her felt very confined. "I didn't say you were, Sakura."
She studied his face for a long moment before nodding. "I'm not in love with you, Naruto." 'At least I don't think so…' "But… I won't lie and say there isn't anything between us either. I would like to find out what that is."
He leaned forward so that their noses were almost touching and she had to clench her fists to keep from reaching for him. "So you decided to tell me that by kissing me?"
His hands were sliding down the fridge and then they were tangling in her hair. She swallowed and his eyes lowered to watch her throat move.
"I figured I owed you one." 'Or two. Was it three?' She whispered. "Besides, aren't you supposed to be a man of action instead of…"
He mouth pressed into hers, slanting across her lips like a brand. She wrapped her arms around his waist and stepped into his kiss, tilting her chin to give him better access. In return, he pressed up against her – he was so warm compared to the cold of the fridge behind her– and she dug her nails into his back, whimpering.
When they finally pulled back, Sakura was uncertain how long she had allowed herself to sink into the heat and feel of him and they were both panting. The smile that was slowly tugging the corner of Naruto's lips upward made her stomach drop and her cheeks heat.
He untangled his hands from her hair to brush her bangs out of her eyes. "Do you know how long I've waited for you to admit that?"
Sakura shrugged, feeling self-conscious. "I didn't want to risk our friendship."
Instead of rolling his eyes or saying something ridiculous, he brought his hands up so that he was cradling her face between his palms.
"Do you trust me, Sakura?"
"Yes." That was a question she didn't have to think about twice. Ever.
"Then trust me when I say it would take more than you could possible do to me to ever loose our friendship."
He covered her lips with his fingers. "Nothing, Sakura-chan."
"How do you know that?" She blurted out quickly when he moved his hand away.
"Because I know you and I know me." He said with a shrug, his smile sure. "Even if nothing comes of this except some very good stolen moments," here his eyes burned, "you have at least given me a chance. That's all I ever wanted. That's all I can ask for."
She studied him for a long time before relaxing. Her fingers loosened their hold on his shirt. "You really are crazy."
"Maybe," he said cheerfully, deliberately sliding his fingertips down the side of her face before taking two very careful steps back. "But you like me anyway."
She sighed. "Yes."
He grinned. "Good. Now go to bed!" His eyes cut over to her mischievously. "Unless you want to work on those stolen moments."
She swatted him. "Naruto!"
"Can't blame a guy for trying."
She huffed. "You are going to have to work much harder than that to get 'stolen moments' you idiot."
His smile was predatory and she could feel the blush working its way from her throat into her cheeks. "I do love a good challenge, Sakura."
Clearing her throat, she pointed to the door. "Good night, Naruto."
"Good night," he echoed as he started to walk to the door. "If you have any trouble sleeping…"
"I'll go find Kankuro." He deserved it. "Now go away!"
"That's not nice!" he scolded as he slipped into the hall. "You can't just say…"
She shut the door with a slam and flicked the locks into place.
Maybe this would work out after all.
"Not cool, Sakura-chan!