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Thursday, March 7, 2013

Behind the Porcelain Mask

Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto or any of its characters and make no money from this. Masashi Kishimito does.

"Happy birthday."
Sakura practically jumped out of her skin, freezing for a moment before she looked up from her book to see an all too casual Kakashi standing behind her.
"You're late. It's two in the morning," she complained, throwing a glance to her closed bedroom window. "How did you even get in?"
"A magician doesn't reveal his tricks, Sakura-chan," he teased, flashing his cheerful smile.
"You're a ninja, not a magician," she snapped back as she closed her book and stood up. "What are you doing here anyway?"
"I came to give you your gift," he answered before handing her an envelope.
With evident impatience, Sakura tore it open and retrieve the gift certificate hidden inside. As she read the name on it, she frowned, lips parting as if to say something but instead she remained mute in surprise.
After a few seconds, she looked back up at Kakashi and growled, "Ichiraku's? Really?"
"I thought I'd spare you from having to open your wallet whenever Naruto pushes you into treating him," he replied, grinning behind his mask.
"You're hopeless, Kakashi-senpai..."
Chapter Three: Necessary Anger
The next morning, it was as if Kakashi had forgotten everything about their little sentimental moment. He was back to being silent, ignoring her as they made their way to the port city. The sound of their feet landing on branches as they leapt from one to the next was the only noise that filled the air. Even the weather had taken to Kakashi's mood, it seemed. Clouds had littered the sky, blocking out most of the sunlight and forcing the duo to take an impromptu shower. At the least, Sakura could be grateful that it was very light and the air warm enough for this time of the year.
For a second, Sakura wanted to laugh. She was chewing on her thumb nail, eyes roaming the landscape for anything interesting and nerves rubbed raw from the lack of dialogue. The behavior had been unconscious and now that she noticed it, it reminded her of her genin years. Silence might as well have meant death to her back then. Perharps it made her feel lonely. When your teammates didn't respond to your calls, why not assume that they had been killed? Such memories were as frightening right then as they had been while she lived them.
"Kakashi-senpai," Sakura called, desperate for a distraction even if she felt childish for it.
"What is it?" he replied, voice dry and firm.
"Are you going to ignore me all day?" she asked as she sped up to catch up to him, tired of seeing only his back.
"You're usually fine with the silence, Sakura-chan," he answered casually, shrugging his shoulders.
Sakura-chan, he had just called her. She grit her teeth, barely containing her temper. He was mocking her. The affectionate suffix was only to lull her in a fake sense of safety, to make her believe things were okay and mask his anger. The Copy Nin always avoided confrontation if he couldn't predict his opponent's moves.
"I don't mind silence, Kakashi-kun," she answered, all too satisfied when his head whipped around to glare at her. "Being ignored, on the other hand..."
"I'm not ignoring you," he retorted, increasing his pace.
"You're usually a better liar," she scoffed as she ran faster, matching his pace with no trouble.
Kakashi gave her no answer. Instead, he rushed ahead of her. Hiding none of her frustration, Sakura growled as she sped up as well. As soon as she appeared by his side, he increased the speed again.
The game went on for several minutes. Every time she caught up to him, he would outrun her again. When he heard a branch snap behind him, Kakashi didn't need to look back to know that Sakura wasn't messing around anymore. He broke into a full sprint, using the speed he was known for to put a good distance between them after he had jumped down to the ground.
Sakura smirked, barely believing what he had just done. She followed him, leaving a small crater where she had landed. Even he couldn't match her chakra control. She had the advtange here. Each of her steps shattered the ground beneath her feet as she increased her speed, using her chakra to propel her.
When Sakura arrived at his side, she couldn't help but grin at his expression. His eye had widened, then narrowed, a prominent frown on his usually neutral features. Even if they had been on numerous missions together, she hadn't shown him all of her tricks just yet. Surprise was a ninja's best tool, after all.
They kept going for a little while, until Sakura grew tired of their silly competition and leapt ahead of him to block his path. At this speed, even after digging his heels into the ground, he couldn't stop in time. Sakura caught his shoulders easily, preventing him from crashing into her. She had to lean forward as the force made him stumble backwards, but he regained his footing quick enough and brushed her hands away.
"I remember a time where my team would lag behind me," Kakashi said, mood turning sour again, though Sakura could tell there was a hint of playfulness behind it.
"That was a long, long time ago," she teased as she let go of him and leaned her hands on her knees as she caught her breath.
"I don't think you were ever respectful though," he sighed, slouching.
"But we loved you," Sakura added, cracking a smile as she remembered Team Seven's moments. "That beats respect anytime."
"If you say so," he muttered, shrugging his shoulders.
After taking a sip from his canteen, Kakashi handed it to her. Sakura took it gladly.
With all of this, they were practically at the edge of the city they were headed to. Their argument had distracted her enough to forget what their goal was and left her surprised to see how much ground they had covered in their race. Kakashi had probably coaxed her into it on purpose, so that they would reach it quicker and he could hide from her somewhere in the city until their ship departed. The knowlege irritated her, but she tried to ignore it.
The apartment they were provided for their stay in Warabi was not shabby, to say the least. While it wasn't incredibly large, it was just about as roomy as her own, which was impressive considering that this was a densely populated city. The only downside was the single bedroom. Not that it bothered Sakura much. It was an unnecessary convenience that would only put an additional strain on their mission budget. They were already lucky enough to have a double bed.
Sakura was relieved that this mission didn't require henges or anything of the sort. With ninjas practically unheard of in this part of the world, they had nothing to hide. Disguising her appearance was no challenge to Sakura but it was still a waste of chakra. She had learned from the best, after all. She would make sure to thank Tsunade when she was in her fifties.
Laying in bed, Sakura opened her eyes again. Sleep eluded her. Kakashi was snoring softly at her side, hogging most of the blanket. The noise coming from the cars outside didn't seem to affect him. Sakura, on her side, vowed to never move to Warabi. The constant activity would drive her crazy, if the lack of sleep didn't do it first. Sakura rolled on her side to watch her partner, eyes narrowed and willing him to wake up so she didn't have to be envious of him.
Unfortunately, her eyes possessed no magical powers and Kakashi continued to sleep soundly.
 This image of him was burned into her mind, after having been privy to it so many times. Even back when she was a genin and they were staying in an inn for the night, she was paired up with Kakashi while the other two shared another bedroom. Every time, he had slept with his back to her. Whether it was to make her feel comfortable or because it was his preferred sleeping position, she couldn't tell. When she was twelve, the bed sharing had made her uneasy, but Kakashi quickly earned her trust, both on the field and out of it.
Sakura trusted nobody else like she trusted Kakashi.
Hesitantly, she raised a hand to brush her fingers against his uncovered shoulder. The warmth of his skin calmed her, somewhat. He was there. She just needed to make sure he wouldn't go away. Sakura pulled her hand away from him reluctantly, knowing that if she touched him any more he would wake up. She would probably be creeped out if he touched her in her sleep, anyway.
As Sakura chewed her rice, she scrunched her nose at the foul smell coming from Kakashi's breakfast. She appreciated that he had gotten up earlier to go fetch them breakfast, but hated him for buying natto. While it was true that the food was very healthy, nothing else tasted and smelled more horrible. She could never get used to it. But of course, Kakashi was just fine with it.
"You should have some," he suggested mechanically after swallowing.
"No thanks. I think it'll make me sick," she replied nonchalantly before taking a sip of her miso soup.
"You'd think a medic would know better," he scolded as took another bite, face conveniently hidden by his book.
"I'm not a nutrionist," Sakura retorted, trying to focus on her cup of tea instead of Kakashi's ramblings. "So how do we go about this mission?"
"Threats," he said simply, sipping on his black coffee.
Did he have a knack for consuming everything that she hated?
"I can't believe I didn't think of that," she spat back, glaring at him.
"I'll send her a few letters and have a little chat with her if it doesn't work," Kakashi precised before eating the last of his breakfast.
"What do I do?" Sakura asked as she got up to throw away her empty food containers.
"Nothing," he answered bluntly.
She followed him as he headed in the living room. Her eyes had widened and her breath was stuck in her throat.
"What do you mean, nothing?" she questioned as he sat on the couch, returning his attention to his book.
"I'm sure you won't mind a little vacation," he let out cheerfully. "Go shopping or something. I'm sure you'll enjoy it, Sakura-chan."
He was doing it again.
"Why are you leaving me out of this mission?" she ground out, standing in front of him with her hands on her hips.
"Don't you think it's simple enough for me to handle by myself?" he explained as he turned a page in his book, never bothering to look at her.
"Why even--" she stopped herself before she asked why she should be on this assignment then, realizing that was just what he wanted her to say. "I refuse to get paid for doing nothing."
"I'm sure the Hokage will be very grateful to know that you've worked for free then," he replied, tone so even she might have believed he was serious if she didn't know any better.
"Is that so, Kakashi-kun?" she snapped, the suffix still feeling foreign on her tongue. She had never disrespected him so openly before this assignment.
Before he could reply, she had climbed on the coffee table and wrapped her fingers around the light bulb inside the ceiling lamp. The heat of it burned her skin, but she didn't care.
"Then I'm sure you won't mind if I make myself comfortable," Sakura muttered as she crushed the only source of light in the living room.
"Sakura!" he scolded as he jumped to his feet. "You're going to hurt your--"
"Do you think so?" she gasped, feigning surprise, as she jumped down and jogged to the kitchen. "Let's see. I'll try again."
Kakashi  followed her in the kitchen, most likely to stop her from destroying every light bulb in the apartment, but he was too late.
He lunged at her to catch her before she entered the bedroom, but she grabbed a chair as she ran to the door and shoved it at him, keeping herself out of his reach thanks to it.
"I'm still fine. I wonder why!" Sakura exclaimed in mock confusion as she jumped on the bed and reached for the last light. "I wonder if three's the charm?"
Just as she grabbed it, Kakashi  tackled her, shoving her into the wall. He growled as he heard the crunch of glass breaking that meant he didn't stop her in time.
"What the hell are you doing?" he rasped, keeping her pinned to the wall with his body.
"I have a headache," she cooed. "Lights hurt my eyes."
"And you couldn't turn them off?" he sighed as he took her hand to inspect it.
"You think I can punch through a concrete wall safely but not crush a thin piece of glass?" she sneered.
"Why did you do that?" he asked, finally backing away from her.
"Not telling!" she sing-songed as she walked over to the window.
She closed the curtains, plunging the room in darkness. It was the only window in the whole apartment. While it did provide some light, it wasn't much. Most of it was blocked by the adjacent building.
"You're being ridiculous," Kakashi ground out as he sat on the edge of the bed.
"Only as much as you, Kakashi-sensei," she teased, taunting him with the old title.
"Stop it," he ordered.
"Tell me why you joined the ANBU, then," she demanded as she sat next to him, bumping against his thigh as she lowered herself due to the lack of visibility.
Kakashi put a hand on her naked thigh, startling her for a second before she realized he was only pushing it away so that a respectable distance seperated them. For a second, she felt a little exposed in her tiny shorts and tank top. These were her usual pajamas and Kakashi had seen her in them a hundred times; but as the spot of skin he touched felt cold without the warmth of his hand, she doubted its decency.
"That's enough!" he barked, snapping her out of her thoughts. "What is your problem? How can you leave your team of genin back?"
The intensity of his voice shocked her, made her unable to respond.
"Don't you think they need their sensei?" he added vehemently.
Sakura simply blinked for a second, before she narrowed her eyes and scoffed. "What team of genin?"
"Stop playing stupid!" he growled, slamming a hand on the mattress behind her back.
He was close enough for her to feel his breath on her shoulder. Her eyes had adjusted to the darkness and she could see that his eye was narrowed, fixed on her own and demanding that she be serious.
Yet, Sakura only let out a weak laugh.
"Kakashi-senpai..." she sighed. "My students are chuunin. They don't need me around to babysit them anymore."
His eye widened and he pulled away from her, any anger that had been radiating off him dissipating immediately.
"You left before the end of the exams," she mumbled, staring down at her toes. "I didn't send you an invitation for their promotion party because I knew you wouldn't come."
"You can do it, Hideki-kun!" Sakura cheered as she pumped her fist.
Today, she could be proud. Her genin students were taking their first chuunin exam, and she was convinced that they would succeed. She had groomed them well in the past year and a half. There was no reason for them to fail. They'd receive a violent ass-kicking if they did, and they knew it.
"I'll win for you, Sakura-sensei!" Hideki shouted back, imitating his teacher's fist pumping.
Sakura smirked. He was a charming kid. Maybe she could stand having kids of her own if they were as cute as him.
"I'll tell Yuki-chan to let you take her on a date if you win!" she added, pointing towards the cute girl sitting next to her.
"S-Sakura-sensei!" he screamed back, covering his eyes with his arm to hide his embarassment.
"Focus, you nitwit!" she scolded angrily. "Don't let anything distract you!"
"Y-Yes, Sakura-sensei!" He nodded before running off when he was called in for his turn.
Sakura laughed whole-heartedly. The kid was so obedient. He admired her almost to a fault. At the least, he rarely gave her trouble because of it. He was too reckless, though.
"Sakura-san," Yuki called, breaking Sakura out of her thoughts.
"Huh?" she let out as she turned to look at the young girl. "What is it, Yuki-chan?"
"Do I really have to go on a date with Hideki-kun if he wins?" she asked, her big eyes round and sparkling.
"You don't have to if you don't want to. I was teasing him," Sakura said with a shrug.
"Oh..." The  girl sighed.
Was she disappointed? Sakura would never understand children.
"I can arrange something if he doesn't mind, though," she added, arching an eyebrow as she waited for Yuki's reaction.
"R-Really?!" she squealed, jumping off her seat in her excitment.
"Sure," Sakura replied and nodded.
They were only thirteen. Nothing would go horribly wrong if she played matchmaker a little.
Before Sakura realized in, Yuki had run off, giggling and muttering words she didn't quite catch.
"Is this seat taken?"
Sakura's head spun around so she could get a good look at the man who had just spoken to her.
"Oh, Kakashi-senpai!" Sakura exclaimed, lips curling in a warm smile. "Go ahead. I'm glad you could make it."
"So your student is up next?" he asked as he sat down, watching the arena in front of them.
"Yeah. Up against a kid from the Hyuuga clan. Reminds you of anyone?" she quipped, the smile on her lips growing wider as she remembered memories she was fond of.
"What a coincidence," Kakashi remarked, his voice unusally warm.
"He could be his brother. They're both blonde and boisterous," Sakura mused. "Though, Hideki is completely different at the same time. He knows how to bide his time."
He only hummed in response. Sakura looked away from her student to throw a glance in Kakashi's direction. He seemed pensive.
"Do you plan on teaching a new team?" she asked, trying to keep him focused on their conversation.
"No," he answered as she shook his head. "I'm getting too old for this. You three made me age fifteen years in just one."
Sakura's chest rumbled with laughter as she punched his shoulder lightly. Or at least, as light as her punches could be. He was rubbing the spot where she hit him, seemingly sore.
"Come on," she teased. "The kids at the academy could benefit from your experience."
"Whatever you say, Sakura," he replied noncommitally.
"Is everything okay, Kakashi-senpai?" she asked, leaning forward in her seat, suddenly tense.
Kakashi looked perfectly normal, but Sakura felt uneasy.
"Yes," he said with a nod. "It must be my years catching up to me, Sakura-chan."
He stood and raised hand in his usual departing motion. "I'll get going. It was nice seeing you."
"Ah, but you'll miss the results!" Sakura called, but it was too late. He had already teleported away.
"A week later, you were in the hospital." She shuddered at the memory. "I didn't think of telling you after that."
Kakashi remained silent, looking at the wall opposite from her.
"Did you really think they would fail?" she breathed out, unable to keep her disappointment from showing through her voice. "I would never recommend them if I thought that they couldn't succeed."
"It's still hard for me to see you as a teacher," Kakashi muttered as he ran a hand through his hair. "I still remember your jonin promotion like it was yesterday. Time flies."
"I guess," she whispered.
Sakura leaned back until she was lying down on the mattress, staring up at the ceiling. The darkness wasn't as comforting anymore. In truth, she had smashed the lights to prevent him from reading his silly books. But now, the lack of light unnerved her.
"What made you join ANBU?" Kakashi asked again.
The mattress dipped towards her, most likely meaning that Kakashi was leaning her way so he could watch her.
"I told you already," she mumbled, throwing an arm over her eyes.
"Sakura..." he called softly, his own version of pleading. As far as she knew, she was the only one to have heard it. "Tell me why exactly."
Maybe it was because of the gentleness of his tone, but Sakura couldn't find it in her to get angry at him again.
"I'm worried for you, Kakashi-senpai," she answered truthfully, desperately trying to ignore the erratic pace her heart had picked up all of a sudden. "I don't want to lose you. I can't."
"I'm not gonna die, Sakura-chan," he tried to reassure. "Not anytime soon."
Sakura laughed bitterly. Kakashi was usually such a good liar. How could he not realize that how he had just addressed her gave away how empty his words were?
"What?" He asked, clearly confused.
He lowered his body next to hers, propping himself up on one arm so he could face her. Sakura turned her head to look at him, a sad smile adorning her lips.
"You used to be a good liar, Kakashi-kun," she teased. "Entertain me. What was your reason?"
"I was bored because of the peace," he answered  evenly. "I wanted to put my skills to good use."
"Please," Sakura begged, reaching up to grasp his side. "Tell me the truth. I want to be there for you."
"There's nothing wrong with me, Sakura-chan," he whispered stubbornly as he lowered himself to hover above her, one arm leaning on the mattress at her side.
Sakura swallowed the lump in her throat as she felt his breath fan out on her cheek. His face was several inches away from hers, yet it was plenty to change the atmosphere in the room to something entirely different.
"Kakashi-senpai," she breathed out, any other words vanishing from her mind.
What she wanted to say was a mystery to her. Their eyes locked, and it was all that she was aware of. He smelled nice, she noted after a second. She couldn't pinpoint what the scent was. It was Kakashi, very simply. Warmth emanated from his arm and reached her side, reminding her of how close they were; of how the hand she had placed on his side had snaked up to his back while she was distracted.
Unconsciously, she raised a leg to plant her foot on the bed, allowing their thighs to brush together for a moment. Kakashi's eye was still glued to her own, shining faintly in the darkness. The expression in it was foreign to her: a mix between serious, soft and demanding. His breathing seemed to have quickened just like her own; it hit her cheek more often, warming the skin a little more every time.
The fingers of the hand that lay next to her shoulder brushed it, almost teasing -- maybe even testing, she would guess. Sakura remained still, unable to tear her eyes away from Kakashi's. Her free hand travelled up to splay on his chest. The movement was in no way fluid. Her hand hesitated, jerking every now and then as if he would berate her for touching him, but all insecurity was lost as it reached his shirt.
Kakashi touched her shoulder again, rubbing circles into with the pads of his fingers. Breathing was becoming hard. The heat that radiated from his body to hers was stifling her.
The next thing she knew, his masked lips were against hers, kissing her tentatively. She heard a moan, registering only a minute later that it was hers. It must have spurred Kakashi on, because he had pulled his mask down and his lips came crashing down against her own. She responded to his kiss easily, going through the motions absent-mindedly. His lips were soft, pressing against hers firmly and sending shivers down her spine. Her lips parted as she breathed out another small moan.
Somewhere in all of this, he had climbed on top of her and settled between her legs. She felt his tongue trace her lips, leaving a thin trail of saliva that quickly become cold and motivated her to place a hand to the back of his head to pull him back down so their lips would meet again. He removed one of the hands that were placed on the sides of her head to cup her cheek, pressing his thumb into it. Groaning at the slight discomfort, Sakura opened her mouth to complain, but was quickly silenced when his tongue rubbed against her own.
Sakura moaned in the kiss and raised her legs to wrap them around his hips, forcing his body closer to hers. With the next stroke of his tongue, she became all too aware of the throbbing in her crotch. Her heart was pumping madly, as if protesting his slow pace. Her hands both returned to his back, hooking under his arms so she could pull his torso closer as well. She needed to feel him.
When his whole body was pressed flush against hers, Kakashi deepened the kiss. Her legs tightened around his hips, quivering weakly.
Kakashi broke away, panting for breath. Sakura's eyes slid open to look up at him. He still had his hitai-ate on. She tugged it away from his head, impatience certainly making her movement a little rough. He hissed as she removed it. A strand of hair had been caught in it.
"Sorry," Sakura mumbled before she leaned in for another kiss.
"It's okay," he muttered against her lips as he pushed his arms under her, imitating the way she was holding him.
He didn't linger on her lips much longer. Instead, he moved lower to plant hot kisses on her neck. Sakura gasped at the sudden jolt of electricity that was sent down to her groin. The heat around them became stifling again. Her hands fisted in his hair as he continued placing open-mouthed kisses on her neck, amplifying the delicious throbbing between her legs with each of them.
"T-Too hot," Sakura breathed out, unable to take it anymore.
Kakashi pulled away from her to sit on his heels. She whimpered at the loss and tugged at his pants to encourage him to come back.
"Don't worry, it'll just be a second," he chuckled.
His hands  slipped under her tank top and rode up slowly, rolling the shirt up her ribs. Sakura's back arched as goosebumps erupted all over her torso and the prickling sensation that followed his hands continued higher to focus on her nipples. As if reading her thoughts, Kakashi raised his hands higher and ghosted his fingers over her breasts, rubbing against her sensitive nipples along the way. Sakura groaned, eyes shutting as a jolt of electricity ran through her nipples before travelling down to her crotch.
"Kakashi-senpai," she whimpered, grasping his arms.
She needed more.
Kakashi pulled the shirt off of her, probably catching her impatience in her tone. He grabbed her legs next, guiding them up and leaning her calves against his shoulder before her tugged at her shorts and panties. Sakura couldn't help but squeeze her thighs together and moan when she managed to apply some pressure to her clit, allowing her a little reflief from the ache. Once the last of her clothes were removed, he replaced her legs at his sides.
He slid his hands up her shins, then her thighs all the way up to their apex before retreating back a little to knead them. Sakura gasped and her hips jerked, desperate to get closer to Kakashi and make him focus on something more interesting.
It wasn't long before her wish was granted. One of his hands went up to rest just above her sex while the other remained between her thighs, close enough for its warmth to make her squirm with need. He slid a finger between her lips and Sakura gasped again, raising her hips off the bed. She was wet and more than ready.
Yet, he still decided to wait a little more before moving on to the main event. The thumb of the hand on her stomach pressed against her clit and rubbed small circles in it. Sakura moaned loudly, tightening the hold she had on him with her shaky legs. Her breath came in ragged pants and her hands fisted in the sheets at her side. The pulsing in her clit became stronger and her whole body felt oversensitive. Waves of pleasures travelled down to her crotch, only to rise back up and end in her breasts.
"K-Kakashi-senpai!" she cried out, shutting her eyes to maintain a semblance of control.
She was so close.
Her muscles tightened, making her whole body stiff. Kakashi seemed to pay it little attention. His thumb kept up the same pace and pressure, still rubbing lazy circles on her clit.
Then his hands were gone. Sakura's head shot up to find out why. When she saw his hands working to lower his pants, a groan left her throat and her head fell back. Now that his fingers didn't keep her busy, she was aching to have him inside of her. To feel his warmth, the sensation of being stretched and--
He rubbed the head of his shaft against her her folds, making her moan uncontrollably. Her hips jerked again, desperately trying to align with his erection so he could enter her. As he thrust inside of her, so slowly Sakura was certain it could qualify as torture, he grunted. The noise made her clench around him, turning her on even further.
Kakashi collapsed on top of her, gasping as his hips jerked forward and he sunk into her fully. Immediately, Sakura cried out and her legs locked around him to prevent him from pulling away. He remained still for a moment, probably giving her time to adjust. It wasn't unwelcome. He filled her just perfectly. She could even feel that he was quite large, from the way he stretched her.
"Please," she begged when he stayed still too long.
Needing no more encouragement, he started rocking his hips, pumping in and out of her in a moderate pace that made her see stars. She curled up against him, hugging him to her as tightly as she could as her whole body stiffened again, reminding her of how close she was to her climax.
She cried out when he sped up, now entering from just the right angle due to the slight change in position. Every time he thrusted inside of her, he rubbed against this sensitive spot on her upper wall, sending pleasurable waves through her entire body.
"Kakashi-senpai!" she moaned, unable to close her mouth as another series of moan wracked her body. "I-I'm gonna...!"
Just as the words left her mouth, her climax rocked her body. Her legs shook around him and a strained scream escaped her throat. She heard Kakashi groan, although it didn't quite register in in her mind, before his pace became erratic and uneven.
"Sa... Sakura!" he grunted as he gave the final thrust and spilt his seed inside of her.
Even if Sakura could see the room spinning behind him, she still felt the warmth of his release and groaned weakly in reply, too drained to react more to the tingling sensation it brought.
Kakashi collapsed at her side, panting as he tried to regain his breath. Sakura only felt incredibly relaxed. Her limbs had turned to mush and her breathing came in slow, deep intakes. Even if she could feel exhaustion settling in her muscles, every part of her felt warm and light.
Before she knew it, her eyes had slid closed and her consciousness slipped away as asleep claimed her.
"Missy miss," called a deep voice. "You've overslept, missy miss."
Stirring, Sakura cracked an eye open to search for the owner of the voice she didn't quite recognize. It sounded so familiar, but...
"Missy miss," it cooed. "You'll sleep the day away, missy miss."
"Who are you?" Sakura mumbled as she looked around her, her vision far too blurry to see anything. "Where are you?"
"Missy miss," it responded. "Right over here, missy miss. Open your eyes, missy miss."
"Stop calling me that," she grumbled as she sat up, rubbing her eyes.
"Missy miss," it chuckled. "Missy miss is grumpy this morning."
With her sight cleared up, Sakura observed her surroundings again. Trees. Grass. Darkness. The environment made her feel peaceful, somehow.
"Where am I?" she asked, still so tired she might pass out.
"Missy miss," the voice repeated as it approached. "You're at home, missy miss."
Lacking the strength to stand up, Sakura crawled towards the person speaking, tired of being teased.
"Who are you?" she questioned hastily. "Why are you there?"
"Missy miss," the stranger encouraged. "Just a few more steps, missy miss. You're almost there, missy miss."
Sakura could feel she was getting closer. If only her body didn't feel so heavy...
"Missy miss," the person urged. "I'll be gone if you don't reach me soon, missy miss."
Her heart pounded in her chest as she registered the words. Even if she had no idea who she was speaking to, the thought of him leaving made her panic.
"Wait for me!" she pleaded, scrambling to her feet, only to trip on a root that seemed to have appeared out of nowhere.
"Missy miss," he whispered shakily. "I need you, missy miss. Please help me, missy miss."
"Just a second," Sakura called as she forced herself back to her feet. "I'm almost there!"
Ignoring the protests of her tired muscles, she ran towards him. She had to get him to him, she couldn't leave him be.
The closer she got, the more branches whipped at her face. Sakura growled in frustration as she pushed them away, wondering where they even came from in the first place. She could see several feet ahead of her, yet couldn't see them before they slapped her.
"Missy miss," he called again. "You're a lovely woman, missy miss. I'm happy to have met you, missy miss."
"What?" Sakura replied curiously, certain that they had never met before. "Hang on, I'll be there in a second."
When a dark silouhette finally came into view, Sakura collided with what appeared to be a chest-high wall of roots. She gripped it, gasping for breath. She was so close...
'Missy miss," he said. "It's okay, missy miss. You did everything that you could, missy miss."
"No!" Sakura screamed as she kicked through the wall and leapt towards him, only to be stopped by another barrage of roots.
Now that she was closer, she could see that the roots were connected to the stranger that was still hidden in the darkness.
"What are you doing?!" she shouted while she punched the new obstacle. "I'm here! It's okay!"
Just when he was within her reach and she extended her hand to touch him, new roots wrapped around her limbs and kept her in mid-air, her fingers just barely an inch away from him.
"Missy miss," he breathed out, eerily quiet and serene. "Your heart was never mine to take, missy miss. Thank you for trying, missy miss."
The silhouette desintegrated before her eyes. They widened in shock, her efforts to free herself renewing but futile nontheless. Sakura screamed in agony when the last of him was gone, leaving her to lay on the ground now that her restraints had dissipated. His disappearance caused an overwhelming sense of despair to wash over her. Defeated and broken, she cried into the night, howling her pain without shame.
"Sakura," someone called, shaking her shoulder.
"No!" Sakura gasped as her hand shot out to grab his arm, gripping it to prevent him from leaving.
"It's me," he let out, sounding surprised.
Finally back to her senses, Sakura could see it was Kakashi that touched and talked to her.
"K-Kakashi -senpai?"
"You seemed to be having a nightmare," he explained as he pulled away.
"I was," she said, nodding.
As she sat up and the blanket fell from her body, Sakura realized she was naked. The cold air in the apartment on her skin was a good reminder of it. Slightly embarrassed, she pulled the covers back to her chest.
"I thought you would be awake by the time I came back," Kakashi mused as he stood from the bed, giving her a little privacy.
"You were gone?" she asked, brows knitting together. Memories of the morning were resurfacing in her mind, making her cheeks burn. "Where did you go?"
"I had a letter to send to an acquaintance," he explained quietly.
Sakura had no idea what to do or how to react. She was naked. Naked. She had slept with Kakashi.
"Maybe you should get dressed?"
"Oh, yes," she mumbled, reaching for her clothes at the foot of the bed clumsily. "Of course."
When she was done, she sat back on the bed. He joined her, though he seemed to avoid looking at her.
They remained silent for a little while. He had opened the curtains while she slept, allowing for a dull light to enter through the window. It felt gloomy, to Sakura's tastes, but she was glad to be able to see more than three inches ahead of her. The sound of those horrible cars was almost soothing to her ears at this point. The tension and silence in the room were heavy on her shoulders.
"Are you..." Kakashi whispered, hesitating. "Are you regretting this morning?"
Sakura looked at him, observing his masked face as she weighed her words. She didn't know why, maybe because of the insecurity she thought she had caught in his eye, but an image of the dark figure from her dream flashed in her mind.
"No," she blurted out, uncertain of why she had even answered that when the word left her mouth.
Kakashi simply nodded.
"Are you?" she asked, tangling the fingers of one hand in her hair to hide her anxiety.
What had possessed her? Why had she slept with him?
"It was good," he replied casually.
Sakura swallowed the saliva that suddenly gathered in her mouth. That, he was right about.
"How long did I sleep?" she asked as she stood up, stretching her stiff limbs.
"About three hours," he answered before heading out of the bedroom.
It seemed like they wouldn't be speaking much about this. Not that she minded, of course.
She must have slept even less than she had first thought, Sakura thought to herself, if she had slept that much. Or her orgasm had just been that relaxing.
"Shut up," Sakura muttered to herself, deciding that this wasn't the direction she wanted her thoughts to take.
She hurried into the living room, which was now lit by a new lightbulb, and headed straight for the bathroom that connected to it.
"I'll go take a shower," she told Kakashi before opening the door.
He hummed his acknowledgement, nose buried in his book.
Didn't he ever get enough?
Sakura sighed contently as the hot water slid down her body, absorbing the tension in her muscles. Showers were always soothing. As she ran her fingers through it, she examined her hair. It reached her the top of her breasts now, though the bangs framing her face were just a few inches past her chin. She had decided to grow it out again last year, but it was due for a trim now. Too many split ends.
She closed her eyes and placed her face under the spray, enjoying it for a moment as her mind wandered. Her dream replayed behind her closed eyes, making her relive every agonizing second of it.
While Sakura had never been one to believe that dreams had significant meanings, except maybe in her childhood, she was certain that there was something to be understood from this one. Who was the silhouette she had seen? Why had his voice sounded so familiar?
The dream had been so strange. His voice had compelled her to rush to him, to do anything in her power to help him. Sakura wasn't cruel; she would help someone in distress if the situation allowed it. But the man didn't appear to be in any danger. In fact, hadn't he been the one keeping her away from him with those roots that grew out of his body?
Sakura growled, wishing she could just forget it, but the mystery demanded to be resolved.
The man had even had a nickname for her. Missy miss. No one had ever called her that, as far as she could rememer. It sounded ridiculous. He even added it to every sentence.
Scoffing, Sakura reached for the bar of soap and started rubbing it over her chest, trying to distract herself.
Her fingers ran over the scar on her abdomen accidentally, making her pause.
The injury wasn't the worst on her body anymore. Eight years of S-ranked missions didn't leave a shinobi unscathed. It was the only scar, though. With her medic skills, she had been able to avoid any other. She had been a prodigy with the medical jutsu already at sixteen, but her level then was nothing compared to what it was today, after all.
Kakashi didn't even notice it, she told herself.
Groaning, Sakura continued to wash herself. Decidedly, if it wasn't the strange dream hogging her attention, it would be Kakashi. She was in for along day.
Next Chapter: Unsuccessful
Kakashi continues to work alone on the mission, avoiding Sakura in his free time. Frustrated even further by this, Sakura confronts him and tensions rise once more. A little friendly fight between two colleagues can't hurt, can it?
Natto - Fermented soybeans. Google it, it looks gross.

Chapter Four: Click Here

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