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how do you tell a girl you want to kiss her?

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There is a hole in the wall. For some reason. Sakura is still trying to piece that together. She hasn’t had her coffee yet this morning, so that could be why she’s experiencing such a lag. For one, she doesn’t remember how exactly Shikamaru got into her apartment. For another, she isn’t sure how she’s going to explain to the landlord that there’s a new skylight. In the plaster. On the wall. 

“I need a minute,” she says, instead of addressing the problem at hand. 

She turns around and goes back into the kitchen. Because she needs to breathe. 

When she manages to get the coffee into the mug, and then the sugar into the coffee, and then the whiskey after that (because it is obviously about to be that kind of morning), she returns. 

Shikamaru has not moved from his place on the other side of Sakura’s wall. In fact, the only thing that has changed is that his fist is not now shoved through the wall. 

Sakura sips her coffee, eyebrows still narrowed. Shikamaru is fully dressed, but Sakura is still in her pajamas; an old pair of Naruto’s sweatpants, navy, with ‘KONOHA’ written in white up the leg, and a shirt of Sasuke’s, so full of holes that wearing it in public would probably get him written up. Lord, Shisui would bust a gut laughing at that. 

Sakura sucks her teeth, and gestures in Shikamaru’s general direction. 

“Would you like to explain to me why you just put a hole in my wall?”

Shikamaru opens and then shuts his mouth. From the other side, Sakura can hear a big belly deep laugh; Chouji’s, obviously. 

“I was trying,” Shikamaru begins, clearly embarrassed but too proud to let himself look silly for it. “to kill a fly.” 

“A fly.”


“So you put a hole through the wall.” 

Shikamaru sighs, looking down at his scraped knuckles. 

“Looks that way,” he grumbles, raising a hand to heal them. 

Sakura rolls her eyes and walks over to him. 

“Here,” she says, handing him the coffee cup. “Don’t waste chakra like that. If you’ve got a full shift, you’ll need that for the other idiots.”

Shikamaru takes the cup, and gives it a hesitant sniff. 

“I’ll be right back.”

She heads to the living room, and rustles around inside the drawers beneath the coffee table, where she keeps one of nineteen first aid kits hidden around her apartment. Naruto and Sasuke were accident prone, and Sakura was Naruto-and-Sasuke prone. 

She returns to Shikamaru, and takes back her mug. She knocks back half of it, scalding as it is before she puts the mug on the floor and gets to work. 

“So,” she says to start. “You live in the jounin barracks?”

“Yeah,” Shikamaru replies, his arm dangling through the wall while Sakura cleans up the cuts and scrapes on his knuckles. “Moved in about a month ago.”

“Ah,” Sakura murmurs, dabbing gently at the torn skin. “I was out of the village then. I didn’t know we were neighbors.”

“So we are.”


She pulls out a roll of bandages, and begins wrapping his knuckles. He doesn’t even have to be told how to move his hand so she can patch him up. Chouji’s laughter has gone off into the quiet of the early morning. Sakura is about half sure she’s dreaming. 

“I didn’t know you knew first aid.”

She looks up at Shikamaru, who’s carefully avoiding making eye contact. Sakura blinks, then cuts her gaze back down to his knuckles. 

“I know Naruto and Sasuke,” she says as an explanation. “Had to learn eventually. Mostly by trial and error. Gotta take care of those two idiots somehow.”

Shikamaru snorts at that, and Sakura lets herself smile as well. 

“It’s uh,” she says, gesturing vaguely at the hole in the wall. “It’s pretty sloppy for you. Usually when you hit things, you don’t go all out unless you’ve got to.” 

He makes a sound vaguely like he’s choking, and Sakura looks up because she isn’t good enough at the Heimlich to do that this early in the morning. Maybe after a second cup of coffee. And also another shot. That would probably make that easier. 

But he isn’t choking. He’s blushing. Bright red to be in fact. 

“Miscalculation,” he stammers. “I didn’t think I was, you know, using as much force.”

“Forget about your own strength, little Godaime?” she asks, grinning as she finishes wrapping up his knuckles. 

Shikamaru scratches the back of his head. 

“Yeah, something like that.”

“Well, if you ever need a hand killing flies and not destroying drywall, knock on my door,” Sakura says. “I try to be a good neighbor.”

Shikamaru nods, an awkward, too sharp motion. 

“I’ll keep that in mind.”

He looks down at where his arm is still sticking through the wall, and Sakura realizes that she hasn’t let go of his hand yet. 

“Yeah,” she says, dropping it like it’s burned her. “You be sure to do that.”

“Great,” he says, taking his arm back. “I’ll see you.”

“Great,” Sakura replies, feeling like a broken record. “I’ll see you, too.”

He backs up away from the wall, and Sakura ducks down to pick up her coffee. 

“A fly?” Chouji asks, voice low in a whisper. “A fly?!”

“What else was I supposed to say?” Shikamaru bites. “I broke her wall!”

“You could have said, ‘Gee, Sakura-chan, help me prove all my friends and family wrong by going out with me’!”

“After I broke her wall?”

“It’s a conversation starter! Besides, you just held her hand for like ten minutes. That’s an in.”

“I did not hold her hand.”

“She held yours.”

“I wouldn’t have even broken the wall if you hadn’t been messing with me about - ,”

“About asking not her out because you’re a huge loser and you’ll probably die alone and she’ll never know you’ve been in love with her since the acade-hmph!”

“I can kill you with my pinky nail. Not my pinky. But my nail.”

“Uncle! Uncle! I give!”

Sakura is Haruno red on the floor beneath the hole in her wall, still sipping her coffee. 

“I like katsudon!” she shouts. 

She slams a hand over her mouth right after she does it. Shikamaru and Chouji’s bickering immediately slams into silence. 

Then a, “Now’s your chance, man! Do it!”, and Shikamaru clearing his throat. 

“Duly noted.”

“Duly noted? Are you serious?”

Sakura smiles into her morning coffee, and feels like a very good neighbor.