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(Over) Eighteen

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. ~ { oOo } ~ .

Sakura steps out of the hospital into the cool night air and takes a long, deep breath. The day has been uneventful, full of the mind-numbing monotony that sometimes makes her wonder why she chose to become a medic in the first place. Fussy infants with runny noses, cranky elderly patients who expect her to miraculously fix the effects of old age, physical examinations of uncooperative shinobi, plus drawing blood and collecting urine for tests, tests, and – oh, joy – even more tests. She could perform these tasks in her sleep. 

Sometimes, she just craves the excitement of the battlefield, the challenge of healing someone amidst the prevailing destruction. But it’s rare that she gets assigned a mission these days, not since Tsunade retired and the new hokage promoted to Sakura to head of staff at the hospital. 

Sneaky bastard, she thinks. Trying to keep me out of harm’s way. 

Sakura cracks her neck and rolls her shoulders, easing the built up tension, before shaking out her arms. The last action brings an overlooked detail to her attention – she’s still in her white medic’s jacket. With a shake of her head and a soft exclamation not fit for young ears, she turns on her heel, with the intention of heading quickly back to her office. 

“Dammit,” she yells, when instead she is sent sprawling to the ground. “That hurt, you idiot.” 

An outstretched hand waves in her direction and she takes it, tugging on it just a bit more than necessary. The man holds his ground, though, and what little she can see of his face suggests that he is enjoying her discomfort. 

“Now, Sakura,” he says, pulling her close. “Is that any way to speak to your hokage?” 

“Hokage, my ass,” she grumbles, rubbing her now-bruised elbow. “We’re both off the clock. You don’t get to hold your position over me during personal time.” 

“You sure that’s what you want? Because I can think of some scenarios where that wouldn't be so... objectionable.” He winces when she smacks his shoulder. “Okay, okay. You win.” 

“Good. Now since you knocked me over–” 

“Actually, you ran into–” 

And made my exceedingly bad day even worse, I think you owe me something.” Sakura’s lips quirk into the hint of a smile, a devious little expression, as her fingers walk up the front of his robes. “It’s the least you could do.” 

His arm tightens around the small of her back, bringing them flush, and he whispers against her neck. “What do you have in mind?” 

“Well,” she begins, coyly batting her eyelashes, “I want to borrow your newest Icha Icha.” 

“But I’m not finished with it yet.” 

Her smile grows. “I know.” 

“I don’t have it on me,” he hedges, his body suddenly taut and tense. “I’ll have to–” 

“Liar, liar,” Sakura playfully chides. She slides her hand into his robes and pulls out a small rectangular object. “Any other objections?” 

“Are you even eighteen yet?” 

Sakura narrows her eyes and filters a small amount of chakra to her right fist, just enough for him to get the hint. “Don’t be cute with me, Kakashi. We both know the answer to that.” 

“Fine,” he huffs, seeming genuinely put out. “But can we at least act out a few of the scenes when you’re done with it? There’s this one from page 52 that I thought–” 

Sakura laughs and pulls out of his embrace, grabbing him by the hand instead and leading him in the direction of her office. “You’re a terrible boyfriend. You know that?” 

“Yeah, but you love me.” 

"Kami knows why," she sighs dramatically. “But yeah, I do.”

"Kami has nothing to do with it," Kakashi retorts lightly. "It's because I'm a challenge."

Sakura opens the door, dropping his hand so she can take off her coat, and steps inside. He leans against the doorjamb, hands in pockets with limbs relaxed. His posture sets terrible wrinkles into the fabric of his formal outer robes and something about the sight makes her laugh all over again. It is in that moment that she realizes he's right, though she'll never give him the satisfaction of hearing her admit it.

She does love a challenge.