|Three for Christmas
Author: Tintinnabula PM
Sakura has no idea how Kakashi will respond to news of her pregnancy. They aren't even dating. Just what are they doing together, anyway? For photoashcat, as part of the kakasaku Christmas gift exchange project. Warning-- fluff alert. No lemon.Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance - Kakashi H. & Sakura H. - Words: 4,331 - Reviews: 39 - Favs: 155 - Follows: 18 - Published: 12-25-08 - Status: Complete - id: 4741421
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Naruto and associated characters are the work of Kishimoto-sama. They are not my property. No profit will be made, or is intended to be made from this work of fan fiction.
Author's note: This story is for Photoashcat, as part of the Kakasaku Christmas gift exchange project. I hope it fits your wish!
I also hope everyone else enjoys this little package of Christmas fluff starring neurotic!Sakura and mellow!Kakashi. Just for clarification, Sakura is of age in this fic, and sadly, there is no lemon. Maybe this will mitigate any sadness caused by the latest chapter of BOFR. Merry Christmas, everyone!
Three for Christmas
A cloud of sulfurous smoke filled the crowded bathroom where Sakura stood peering into the sink. Another poor result. She'd had no idea this jutsu would be so difficult when Tsunade had insisted she memorize it, years before. But not use it, of course—there was no need for that, then and hadn't been for quite a few years after. Until this very evening, in fact.
"Sakura, is everything okay?" Kakashi had returned much sooner than she expected, given the degree of drunkenness he displayed at the annual end-of-year party. It was what was expected of the occasion, a once yearly opportunity to get shit-faced and say whatever one had been holding back for the entire year. For many in Konoha, it was the opportunity to spout off to one's supervisor, to higher ranked officers, or even to the Hokage. All would be forgiven (and most likely forgotten) the next day, and the coming year would begin, as always with a clean slate. Kakashi tended to take full advantage of this annual gift—despite his tendency to speak up, even he needed a safety valve.
Sakura expected it would take him a while not notice she was gone, given his inebriation. But he surprised her, as usual. Although they'd maintained their distance at the party, he must have been keeping an eye on her. He arrived home only ten minutes or so after she did.
"I'm fine. Everything's fine." She should have gone to her own apartment, and her own bathroom, but she'd arrived at his place through force of habit. He would have come looking for her anyway, she rationalized.
"Are you sick?" His voice wasn't the slightest bit slurred, Sakura noticed. He wasn't as drunk as she'd imagined. The insults that he'd been freely dishing out were intended, then, not accidental ramblings of alcohol-loosened lips. She had to smile. It was just like him to make the most of an opportunity for unvarnished frankness. Gai, Naruto, Chouji and the rest would ascribe his acid comments to sake, and not to the blunt habit of speaking his mind that often got him into trouble.
"No, I'm fine. I just needed to get out of there for a while. Ino was driving me crazy asking why I still don't have a boyfriend." Sakura giggled. "She still thinks I'm not over Sasuke."
This was only partially true. Ino had been bugging her about wasting the prime of her youth mooning after a boy who'd forsaken them before he hit adolescence, but that wasn't all. Ino, ever the gossip, had regaled her with the latest news of her former sensei, the man everyone assumed was terminally asexual. It was rumored that he was actually seeing someone. Another jounin (Ino didn't know who) had noticed something closely resembling a hickey on his neck, and worse, someone else had observed him examining lingerie at Pink. It was common knowledge that Kakashi shied away from that section of the adult book and novelty store. Icha, Icha was as close as the loner shinobi ever got to sex—until now.
But even this wasn't the reason Sakura had returned home. She could handle Ino in her sleep—she'd quickly set out a few red herrings to throw Ino's enquiring mind off the track. No, Ino really wasn't a problem.
Dizziness was. She had pitched forward as Ino lapped up the misinformation fed to her, and Sakura had needed to lie down for a full fifteen minutes before feeling well enough to go home. That and the fact that she was three weeks late gave her cause for concern. She'd left the party as quickly as she could.
"Listen, why don't you head back? I'll join you later," she said now, raising her voice slightly so that Kakashi could hear her through the flimsy hollow-core door that separated them.
"Can I come in?"
"I'm kind of… indisposed."
"Oh." There was silence for a moment, and she could almost hear him scratching his head in confusion. "But you're obviously not using the… It's in the other room. What exactly are you doing in there? I smell smoke."
"Um… just a beauty treatment. Girl stuff."
She smiled victoriously. That should stop him: he shied away from all things feminine. She was wrong, however. He still stood outside the door. Only a flimsy lock separated the two of them. Like all security measures in Konoha, it was there more for courtesy than protection.
"Since when do beauty treatments involve fire?"
"Stop being so damn nosy!"
She heard him move away from the door and flop on the bed, no doubt to read for the thousandth time one of Jiraiya's well-worn novels. That should keep him busy for a while: it was hard to get his attention when he read any of the beloved Icha, Icha series.
Sakura returned to the pedestal sink and nicked a finger for the fifth time. A garnet red drop of blood glistened crimson as it dripped into the basin. It slowly grew into an eight-pointed star as the medic moved her hands above it in a complicated series of seals. Each point extended further outward, almost as though it were alive, in the sinuous, conjoined series of kanji she expected to see. The writing first climbed the side of the basin, then moved down the outside of the sink toward the cold tile floor, increasing in ornateness as it crawled along its predetermined path. The room was too small for the mandala to spread out as it should—for lack of space, part of it was climbing up the wall. It would have been better to do this technique outside, or in the lab set aside for just this purpose. But she couldn't be positive that space would be deserted, even on a night devoted to festivities.
She certainly didn't want anyone walking on her as she performed this particular jutsu. Any of her colleagues would know at once what she was trying to find out, and there was no way she was ready to share the results of such a test with them. They'd want to know who she was sleeping with, and all manner of details she had no intention of sharing with them. They certainly wouldn't buy the idea of a virgin birth, after all, despite the seasonal celebrity of such a scenario.
Sakura continued the long series of seals, and sighed as another puff of smoke formed. That was the normal conclusion to this jutsu; it was the result which upset her. For the fifth time the answer was unmistakable, and also unacceptable.
She was pregnant.
Sakura grabbed a towel and wiped down the graffiti-covered sink, then slid to the floor in defeat.
It wasn't that she minded being pregnant. It was high on her lists of goals—eventual goals. She wanted to be a mother, of several kids, perhaps, to have a small house on a quiet street, or better still to live just on the far edge of Konoha, in the wooded area near the training fields. And she wanted a husband, of course.
It wasn't that he'd be a bad father. She saw glimmers of her own dad in him, and that man was a magnificent parent. Kakashi was responsible, loving, fiercely loyal and protective. And while he had certain questionable tastes in literature, his books could be kept out of sight and reach of an innocent child. Or teenager.
But Kakashi hadn't signed on for this. Nor had she, for that matter. They'd never talked about children, or marriage, or even dating. And they weren't really dating: that required a public acknowledgement of one's relationship to another, even if the relationship were casual.
They'd fallen into their relationship after falling into bed together. Not surprisingly, it was after a mission. Kakashi returned to Konoha injured, as usual, and refused medical treatment, going straight home instead. When he reported to the Hokage's office the next day, Sakura noticed his poor condition. He walked stiffly, and a slight limp became evident as she watched him closely. She followed him home, insisted he let her treat him, and ended up in a shouting match with him when he refused her.
He tried to slam the door in her face. She responded with a kick that carried enough force to[ pull the door off its hinges. Then, her rage fully engaged, Sakura aimed at Kakashi a punch of the type formerly reserved only for Naruto. The copy ninja blocked her, grabbing her arm and twisting it behind her, pulling her against him in the process. Flesh met flesh, and a current of chakra passed between them.
Suddenly they were kissing with animal abandon. And then they were screwing on the living room floor, despite his untreated injuries and the lack of a working front door. That would happen was completely unexpected—they hadn't spent much time together in recent years, although Sakura assumed they were on good terms. They rarely spoke outside of mandated clinic visits, but that was normal for the copy ninja. He was as closed off as he'd been as a teacher, aloof and largely unemotional, except for the occasional porn-inspired giggle or cheery-eyed wave. That he was the same as he'd always been made their passionate interaction with each other all the more strange.
But it was something to brush off and sweep under the rug, she'd told herself immediately after. This was just one of those regrettable things that happened sometimes among soldiers.
The problem was that neither of them did regret it, not enough to make a difference, anyway. They began to see each other, and any misgivings they might have had went unacknowledged. This was something neither wanted to abandon, although neither acknowledged this, either. The sex was too good to abandon, for one thing. Even with her limited experience Sakura recognized this. Perhaps it was the furtive nature of it, or the fact that neither seemed to want anything else from the other, but time spent with Kakashi was strangely fulfilling. She could see it was this way for him, as well, although they didn't discuss it. Or them—they never discussed just what they were doing together, or why.
Things progressed rapidly from their first casual meetings. Perhaps this was the wrong word to use, however, because they really hadn't progressed at all, not in the manner of a normal relationship. The only thing that changed was the amount of time spent together. Their irregular meetings soon changed to scheduled ones. Sakura would find a message from him on her clipboard, or pinned to her office door. No one around her seemed to notice Kakashi's comings and goings from the clinic, but considering that he was one of the village's top ranked shinobi, this wasn't really that surprising. Her colleagues didn't seem to notice her absences as conspicuous either—she had house calls to make, after all. And if these house calls focused on one particular address inside one run-down apartment building, that was her business. It wasn't their role to check up on her whereabouts, and no one did.
Then their meetings became daily visits and ultimately sleepovers, and as more and more of her belongings ended up at his apartment she effectively moved in. But this wasn't discussed either. Rather, they drifted into it. They woke up in each other's arms, cooked each other breakfast, did each other's laundry and every other activity of two adults playing house, but without the discussion that normally accompanies such a major life decision.
Sakura did her best to keep things private. No one knew they were together, and to keep anyone from guessing, the medic took an apartment in the same building as Kakashi. True, she almost never visited, but it provided a useful cover for walking home with Kakashi, entering the same building as Kakashi, shopping with Kakashi, etc.
People wouldn't understand. She was certain of this. Students and teachers weren't supposed to "hook up", and if they did, they certainly didn't stay "hooked up". Accidents happened, sure. Passions ran high on the battle field and it was only natural that sometimes this passion translated itself into physical intimacy. But professionalism required that one move on should such an embarrassing encounter occur between ninja of different rank. Hasty goodbyes would be made the following morning, the mutual memory shelved and never mentioned again by either party, so that effectively it had never happened. But to enter into a relationship with one's teacher—to stay together for months and months—that just wasn't done. It was unseemly, no, unacceptable to have an affair with one's mentor. Even if their rank was the same, their relationship was one of unequals. Sensei would never equate with student.
That probably explained why neither had broached the subject of their arrangement, or attempted to discuss its nature and possibilities. It was easier to take things a day at a time, to leave unacknowledged facts that shouldn't be true. And so they did, never mentioning love, or even like.
But a baby changed everything.
Even a gorgeous coal-eyed, dimple-cheeked baby, a child with a thick shock of silver hair and a smile so enchanting that it was only right to cover it—even a child as beautiful as Kakashi's was likely to be wouldn't mitigate the damage that would be done to both parents' standing in the community. There would be gossip—the Yamanaka machine was at it already—and there would be horrible stares and whispers from people she hardly knew, all suddenly authorities on things moral. Still worse would be the looks of disappointment from those she did know.
She wasn't sure if she could handle it. It had been bad enough being "forehead girl", the funny-looking student with strange hair, the girl who wore the same outfit year after year, made over by her seamstress mother as she outgrew it. It had been even worse to be whispered about, and the subject of countless rumors. Her mother had been less than forthcoming about Sakura's parentage, leaving the village gossips to speculate on the source of Sakura's unusual pink hair.
She certainly wouldn't wish a similar fate on her own child.
Sakura smashed her fist into the tiled floor, and grimaced when she saw the result. She smoothed out the crumbled tiles as best she could, then pulled the bathmat over the slight indentation in the floor. Hopefully Kakashi wouldn't notice for a while.
"You know, Sakura, if you didn't have time to get me a Christmas present, it's no big deal. You don't have to hide in there making one. There's something you can give me right now I'd rather have." Kakashi's voice was somewhat muffled. He must be some distance from the door, in bed perhaps. Likely he'd heard the sound of fist against porcelain. Thank God he'd interpreted the sound through an egotistical lens.
She rolled her eyes. For all of his good qualities, Hatake Kakashi was a bit of a pig, and coarse, besides.
"I'll be right out." The medic stood, brushing crumbs of pulverized grout and clay from her short skirt, and with a long, drawn-out breath, opened the bathroom door.
"So, where is it?"
She raised an eyebrow, prompting an elaboration.
"My gift. The one you were working so hard on."
Sakura crossed the room and pulled a wrapped package from the closet. "Right here. But first, there's something we need to talk about."
Kakashi sat up in bed, patting the place next to him. Sakura shook her head, walking to the window instead. It was better to maintain some distance, she decided, the better to gauge his body language and facial expressions. Not that reading him was an easy task—even without the mask, it was often difficult to figure out what he was thinking.
"You seem anxious about something."
"Uh huh." Sakura breathed deeply in an effort to gather her courage. She didn't have the first clue of where to begin. "We need to talk… about us."
"Us?" He rose from the bed to join her at the window, his breath fogging the cold, poorly insulated glass. He wiped it away with one hand, and gazed at the street below.
"Us. What are we doing…together?"
She felt his arm encircle her waist.
"Anything you want."
She sighed. "But what does that mean, Kakashi?" She followed his gaze to the cobbled road below. It was snowing. Large flakes swirled slowly in the cone of silver light cast by the nearest street lamp.
"Is that us?" She pointed to a couple strolling below, arms interlocked, heads touching. "Will that ever be us?"
"Is that what you want?"
She couldn't read him. His face was inscrutable, as it almost always was. Sakura clenched her fists in frustration.
"Why are you answering my questions with questions? You sound like a lawyer. Or a stinking therapist!"
"I'm just trying to understand you."
"What do you want, Kakashi? That's what I'm trying to understand. Why are we even together?"
"We're together because we fit so well together."
"And…? Where does it lead from here?"
"Where do you want it to lead?"
"Arrrgh! You are driving me crazy!" She punched him hard in the arm, although not with enough intensity to break bone.
The copy ninja laughed as he rubbed the sore area. "I want you to be happy, Sakura. That's the only reason I asked that." With a gentle finger he lifted her chin to peer into her eyes. "What do you want?"
"I want… I want… I'm pregnant, Kakashi."
His silence was soothing, at first, then unnerving. His gaze disturbed her, as well. It was unwavering, as though he were trying to measure some hidden quantity within her.
Finally, he spoke. "Is that a good thing?" There was an infuriating lack of emotion to his voice.
"Is it a good thing? What do you think?"
"I think I'll support you."
"It's your body, Sakura. This decision rests with you alone."
"Are you honestly telling me you have no opinion?" she asked incredulously. "Oh, I get it." Her eyes filled with heated, angry tears. She turned away, ashamed of her emotion and angered by her misjudgment. She'd read more into their relationship than she should have. Stupid girl.
"What?" He grabbed her by the arm and reeled her around to face him. "What's wrong?"
"It's my decision because… because it doesn't matter to you one way or the other, right?"
His eyes widened, his face showing for the first time a clue to his emotional state.
"Wrong. That's completely wrong! That's not what I said, and it's not what I meant. Sakura, it's true I never planned to be a father, but… if it's your child, I think I could do it. We could do it. But my wishes are immaterial here. You're the one who will have to deal with all the problems—"
"Gossip? That wasn't what I was thinking of. I meant the pregnancy, the back pains, the labor pains, all of that. It's not my place to tell you what to do. But believe me, I do have an opinion. A very strong one."
"You want this baby?"
"I want you. And this baby." He locked his arms around her and found her trembling lips, quieting them with the lightest touch of his fingers, and then his kiss.
"But you're worried about the gossip, aren't you? That wasn't all Ino said to you tonight, was it? I heard the rumor myself, in the mens' room."
"I don't want our child to suffer."
"And why would that happen?"
"People will talk, because of the difference in our rank. It's unacceptable for a jounin to be with a chuunin."
"You're due for a promotion."
"Because of our station."
"You're a sensei yourself."
"Because you're my sensei."
Kakashi laughed, a rich, sonorous laugh of a kind she'd never heard from him before. This was different from the giggles he emitted occasionally when reading his porn, or when discussing Gai's latest attempt to best him. This was real.
"Sakura, all of Konoha knows I was the saddest excuse for a sensei that the Academy ever produced. Trust me. No one thinks of you as my student. You all had your own shishou, far better teachers than I ever was."
"Of course our child will face difficulties," he continued. "Every child does. I did, and you did. We both know what it's like to be the butt of jokes. We've both been gossiped about."
"I never told you that." She felt her cheeks enflame. It was amazing how certain childhood memories still had the capacity to shame her.
"You didn't have to. And no, I hadn't heard. You worry too much about what others think. That only happens when you've been held up to scrutiny, or when someone you love has. I used to be that way, too. I shaped myself to be a person who was above judgment—someone who would expunge my father's sins in the eyes of those who'd condemned them. It took my best friend's death for me to realize that what others think is completely unimportant. I had become someone else in my efforts to avoid criticism. And I turned my back on what really mattered."
It was funny, Sakura thought. Funny that she'd learned more about Kakashi in the last ten minutes than she'd learned as his student, or even as his lover.
"Sakura, let me ask you this, one more time: what really matters to you?"
"You do, Kakashi. And… this child does."
"Then it's decided." He smiled, his eyes creasing into pleasant half-moons, his laugh lines deepening.
"This is crazy."
"What is?" Kakashi nuzzled her neck as he attempted to guide her away from the window and toward the bed.
"We've never-- we've never even said, 'I love you,' and we're having a child together."
"I love you."
The tears returned to her eyes. "I know."
"And?" Kakashi looked at her expectantly.
"I love you. Darling."
He raised an eyebrow. "'Darling.' I'm not sure I like that." Kakashi pulled her on to the bed, and rolled her on top of him. "So, where's my gift?"
"Over there." Sakura pointed to the window sill, where the small, brightly wrapped package sat.
"That's okay. You can open mine. No, the larger one first."
Sakura tore open the festive gold paper and uncovered a feather trimmed nightgown of sheer black silk voile that made her blush. "I have to ask—what's the point of this? It's transparent."
"That is the point. Put it on. Now."
The kunoichi excused herself, returning from the bathroom a few minutes later feeling a bit underdressed.
"What do you think? It's not too small, is it? I feel like I'm falling out of it."
"Again, that's the point. Come here."
"Wait." She grabbed her package from the window sill. "It's not much." She giggled. "When I bought it I really had no idea where we stood, so I wasn't sure how much to spend…"
Kakashi carefully untied the bow, and then in the slightly anal-retentive manner he sometimes displayed, removed the paper as a single, un-torn whole. "Ah. Chocolate body paint?"
"I'm sorry. I should have gotten something more—"
"Are you kidding? It's perfect. Two of my favorite things, to be experienced together." He handed her the smaller package she'd noticed earlier. "One more."
It was probably jewelry, she guessed—the box was about the right size for a bracelet. She tore open the wrappings once more, and her heart skipped a beat when she saw the plush, hinged box that lay underneath. It was definitely the kind of box she expected.
She had to giggle when she opened it, however. A small, yellow and white rubberized object sat nestled in the satin fabric lining the box's interior.
"A…pacifier? You knew?"
"Sharingan. It's your fault for making me use that doujutsu on you last week. I couldn't help but notice."
"You knew before I did."
"You really do want this baby."
"You don't know how happy you've just made me."
He grabbed the bottle she'd given him and opened it, then licked sweet chocolate syrup from its cap. "So, how about we celebrate?"