Author: Tintinnabula PM
He didn't want to take responsibility for her. Sakura was nothing to him, and Kakashi was certain that he was nothing to her. With the way he'd treated her, how could it be otherwise? kakasaku Rated M for a reason. Please use discretion.Rated: Fiction M - English - Angst/Romance - Kakashi H. & Sakura H. - Chapters: 8 - Words: 68,199 - Reviews: 418 - Favs: 299 - Follows: 380 - Updated: 02-02-10 - Published: 04-10-09 - id: 4983648
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Mizuage-- A Naruto Fan Fiction
Disclaimer: Naruto and associated characters belong to Masashi Kishimoto. No money will be made from or is intended to be earned from this work of fiction.
Author's note: This story will be darker than my previous work. It will contain graphic sex, not all of it romantic, and you may find parts disturbing. The world Kishimoto has depicted raises a lot of questions about the structure of ninja society. Children kill and they witness unspeakable acts. What else would go on in a community that accepts this as normal? I'm hoping to treat sexuality honestly, and the truth is not always pretty. Also, at the start of this story—because of the society I am imagining-- Kakashi will be very sexist (although he will change). There is some support for this in the manga, starting with his very first meeting with Team Seven, but I am very aware that the Kakashi depicted here pushes any extrapolation on canon to the limit. For these reasons, if you are under age 18, easily offended, or do not want to imagine Kakashi characterized in this way, please do not read. For all others, I hope you enjoy the story. I'm looking forward to telling it.
Hatake Kakashi did not want to be there. He'd repeatedly-- heatedly—asked to be relieved of this duty, but the Hokage, in all his wisdom, had deemed otherwise. Not that the Hokage was all that wise. It was Naruto, after all who'd taken on the hat and mantle of leadership for the village, and although the copy ninja could be put to death for claiming this publicly, in the privacy of Kakashi's inner dialogue he was not afraid to face facts: the village's system of choosing its leader had a major flaw. Choosing someone to be chief based on brute strength or military prowess was feudal, to put it mildly. A leader needed far more than S-class jutsu to be adept at governing. The Hokage's role entailed skills beyond battlefield planning. Although advisors could be hired to compensate for whatever expertise was lacking, precious few were good at their job. Most were 'yes' men, rubber stamping their approval on the Hokage's every whim.
This was different, however. The Rokudaime had thought long and hard before making the decision that landed Kakashi in the rafters of an exclusive, though well-known tea house halfway across the fire country. The village was in financial straits, as it often was, and the money offered for this particular mission had been too good to refuse. Add to that the knowledge that the village considered their quarry a threat with the fact that Sakura was in line to be assessed for jounin status, and decision was almost made for him. This was in spite of the Hokage's sisterly feelings for her. Business was business, and Sakura had readily agreed to the mission.
It had been done before, he told Kakashi. People didn't talk about it much, but mizuage was once a standard practice in the village hidden in the leaves. In the early days, when a kunoichi's role was purely seduction and infiltration, and at a time when the village has desperately needed money, it had made perfect sense to auction off a kunoichi's virginity to the highest bidder outside of the village. The girl would demonstrate for her shishou and a panel of jounin (hidden, of course) that she'd learned perfectly all that she'd been taught in the years of lessons every kunoichi took. More importantly, she'd learn that sex was a tool, the most valuable one in her arsenal, not a romantic interaction, but one of great practical value.
But in recent years the practice had become rare. This was mostly because girls—both kunoichi and civilian-- no longer regarded their virginity as anything special, but rather something to be gotten rid of as quickly as possible. It didn't make sense to move mizuage to a time in a girl's life when she was still a virgin: a kunoichi should be able to agree to such an intimate proposition, and a girl in her early teens was in no position to do so-- emotionally or legally. And by the time the girl was old enough to give her binding consent, her virginity was typically long gone.
So nowadays kunoichi were assessed on their seduction skills by means of a written and practical exam. Kakashi was pretty sure the practical did not involve live subjects. It took place within the kunoichi annex of the academy and, as far as he could ascertain, the number of men (adult or teenage) within the village was the same on exam days as on any other. Besides, he would have heard rumors if men were tapped to participate in the kunoichi exam, and certainly he, either now or during his teenage years, would have been asked to take part.
Whatever went on at in the kunoichi annex now, it was different than in the past.
Girls were different today than they'd been at the founding of the village. Although this wasn't true outside of the village, within its walls civilian females were no longer considered possessions of their families. They were no longer chattel to be married off to better a family's social standing, but individuals with as much autonomy as their brothers. This independence had translated into ninja culture as well. Girls expected to be treated like full shinobi, not as mere sidekicks or accessories, and the job had evolved to meet these demands. Although it was true that the kunoichi's basic art was still practiced, these days it was strictly by choice. No female shinobi was forced into a sexual mission, although most took it on willingly, given the pay. The law that had once been on the books-- one which required jounin kunoichi to be sexually experienced-- had long ago been stricken. The reason for this law had been quite logical: in times of war, virgins were among the most highly valued prizes. Although rape was horrible no matter the victim, fear of this act of aggression seemed to be worse among sexually inexperienced girls than among their more seasoned peers. Therefore, a virgin jounin was a risk to the successful completion of any mission, Kakashi believed.
But despite the logic of this law, it was no longer practical. For one thing, it couldn't be enforced. Long ago, a kunoichi's role had been to infiltrate and seduce using "feminine wiles." As might be imagined, this required neither stamina nor exertion. But the vigorous athleticism required of modern kunoichi ensured that any physical sign of virginity was often long gone by the time a girl reached her teens. This wasn't always the case, but it happened frequently enough that a physical exam could not be used to determine definitively whether a girl was still "untouched." In light of this and the changing status of female shinobi, the elders had decided that requiring a kunoichi to display her sexual acumen was just not acceptable, considering that this was something they'd never require the men to do.
So to make their kunoichi less valuable to potential aggressors, a finely executed whisper campaign had been put into place. It was amazing what a few well-placed rumors could do to ruin the collective reputation of the village's female shinobi. Word of dentate vaginas and a predilection for killing post coitus like a praying mantis had done a lot to ensure the safety of Leaf's kunoichi. But nevertheless, it was made clear to girls even before they graduated from the academy that they should lose their virginity by the time they were fifteen, at the very latest. They would be far safer psychologically and physically if they did so.
This was only a suggestion, not an official directive, but most kunoichi complied willingly. There was nothing to be gained in keeping one's virginity now that dowries were a thing of the past, and there was money to be made by taking on missions of a sexual nature. And, given teenage hormones, waiting seemed like a most unreasonable thing to do. It made much more sense to enjoy all that life offered considering how short a shinobi's life was likely to be.
Yet, for whatever reason, Sakura had not followed the suggestion taken by most of her peers. Maybe this was due to her workload or her unrequited pre-teen love for Sasuke. Or it could be for any other reason. Kakashi had no idea why an overachiever like his former student would not have taken this step toward adulthood as soon as possible. But Kakashi's lack of knowledge wasn't surprising. In truth, he didn't know Sakura very well. He never had. His time with Team Seven was divided unevenly between Sasuke and Naruto, with an insignificant amount left over for Sakura, and he hadn't thought twice over abandoning either her or Naruto to focus on the student best suited to his skills. Later, in Team Kakashi, almost all of his focus was bestowed to on Naruto, the person he expected to eventually lead the village.
Kakashi bore no guilt over this. He had nothing to offer Sakura. Her talents were a better match to those of Tsunade, and to be sure, the two were simpatico. He, on the other hand, had never been able to understand shrieking, boy-crazy pre-teen girls or their more sullen adolescent counterparts. Girls might as well be a separate species. The same was true of women, for that matter. He just didn't understand how their minds worked, and he had no desire to find out. In fact, except for meeting certain physical needs, he'd rather stay clear of them.
Years before, he'd admitted to himself a truth that he had no plans to share with others. Despite their status as equals in the eyes of the law, deep inside Kakashi did not see females this way.
Even the most competent of kunoichi (Temari of the Sand came to mind) could not compare to a male of the same status. A female shinobi might be granted the same rank as her male counterpart, but the truth was that a kunoichi was less strong physically, less useful in battle (apart from those trained as medics-- a support role, he noted), and less adept at making decisions under stress. Maybe it was hormones that caused their thinking to be fuzzy or that monthly malady that turned many into raging bitches. It really didn't matter. In the end, they had less to offer and tended to weaken a team.
The Hyuuga were a good example. Even with the same repertoire of jutsu and the kekkai genkai Hinata could not compare to her cousin. She was nowhere close to Neji in ability, and despite years of practice, could never hope to approach him. Yamanaka Ino's skills were useless without a colleague to disable her enemy, and Tenten's skills were totally weapon-based. Should she lose her scrolls, she would be dead meat.
And even Sakura's strength, a result of her unique ability to read and focus her chakra, came only in spurts, due to the abysmally low amounts of chakra her body was able to generate. This was estrogen-related-- Kakashi was sure of it. He and the boys had noticed, years before, that her strength (and temper) waxed and waned with the moon, suggesting her chakra flow was linked to her menstrual cycle.
The exception to these observations was Tsunade. She would not have been chosen Hokage unless she was truly the best ninja of the village. And she certainly was this: the most talented medic the village had ever seen, a fighter of international repute, a legend identified by first name only. She had blazed the trail for women shinobi, showing all what was possible. But like many trailblazers, she was forced to do more than emulate the object she pursued. She acted more aggressively than a full-maned lion or silverback gorilla. She overcompensated. Tsunade displayed more masculine traits than many men, from the way she drank and swore and gambled to her awesome extremes of strength. And she did this while maintaining a face and figure of a beauty queen. These qualities characteristics inspired loyalty in all shinobi except a small male faction that would not have been satisfied with the appointment of any but their own. She certainly had Kakashi's loyalty. Still, he had to wonder how her strengths would have differed had she been born male. Surely they would have been based more on natural-born skills and less on the artifice of medicine and hidden jutsu.
But Kakashi's feelings about kunoichi did not mean he didn't care about Sakura. Of course he did. He cared for her just as he cared for the other members of the original team seven or any of his other teammates and subordinates over the years. In fact, he'd spent extra effort looking out for her, the way a brother might look out for a much younger sister. He hadn't lied when he said he'd give his life for his teammates. This extended to her, just as it had to the other members of the team. Sakura was a fine kunoichi, an excellent medic. But even if she'd been neither of these things, as his teammate, his job was to protect her.
Nevertheless, it rankled that he'd been tapped for this mission. Surely, he'd argued to Naruto, surely there was someone else who could better serve as a witness. Someone closer to her and more invested in her future. Someone who wouldn't be embarrassed at witnessing this event. A female friend perhaps, or a relative? But the immediate answer was "no." Kakashi hadn't realized how small her family was. Like Kakashi, she was an only child, and like him, her mother and father were gone. And so was her mentor. As for friends, they were all chuunin. That left him, Naruto pointed out. Kakashi was the only other person she'd served under, apart from Tenzou and that hadn't been for long. Nor was it official. There should be someone neutral in attendance, and someone firmly on her side. Kakashi, Naruto declared with authority, was to fill the latter role. Kurenai, because of her experience, would head up the mission. This rankled, too. Kakashi had far more experience than she.
So now Kakashi sat in the rafters of an outbuilding set aside for special guests and occasions, his legs cramped, eyes irritated by the thick, grey dust they'd stirred up when they'd climbed into the place. His mask protected him from the worst of it. But Kurenai looked as though she was going to explode with a barrage of sneezes at any second. She kept blinking and rubbing her nose as mote after mote swirled around them. She was silent, apart from intermittent sneezes, but this wasn't surprising. She hadn't spoken more than a few words since they'd entered the tea house. Kurenai had seemed tense, her posture changing as soon as she entered the space. She held herself compactly while moving as she moved around the room, the way one moves in a store crowded with breakable items-- arms tight against one's sides, gait inhibited. She adjusted the room's few articles of furniture again and again, climbing up into the rafters to survey the tableau she'd created, then alighting on the still green tatami to adjust the room's simple screen, small lacquer table, or even the uncomfortable-looking porcelain block that would serve as Sakura's headrest. Now, as they waited for the show to begin, Kakashi couldn't fathom Kurenai's expression, although he did wonder what the ruby-eyed woman was thinking.
Probably about her own history.
Kurenai was selected for this mission because she was one of the few current kunoichi to have undergone mizuage herself. Shizune had gone through it, or so Kakashi had heard, but like Tsunade, she was gone. Kurenai, therefore, was one of only a handful of kunoichi who knew how things should play out-- how the client would likely behave as the evening progressed, how to know if things were getting out of hand, and so forth. Kakashi studied Kurenai for a moment, wondering why she had consented to this ritual years before. She'd been with Asuma for years longer than anyone had realized, keeping their relationship under wraps for as long as possible. The genjutsu user seemed like a homebody to Kakashi, the rare type of kunoichi to settle down with one man. The copy ninja couldn't understand why she'd gone through with a mizuage mission at the age of sixteen. Looking back, he was fairly certain she was dating Asuma then. Perhaps he'd agreed to it, even suggested it, putting her career before his own sexual gratification.
For both males and females, promotion to jounin required an assassination-- one witnessed by two shinobi of equivalent or higher rank. Kurenai's had likely taken place in a teahouse quite similar to this one, in conjunction with a mizuage. She'd played the role of maiko, favoring one client enough to persuade him not only to take her on as mistress, but to do the honor of deflowering her as well. But something had gone wrong-- Kurenai hadn't made jounin at that time. That occurred many years later.
The mission planned for Sakura was the same, although hopefully she would be more successful.
Kakashi had heard of the target, Masamune Kuro, on two earlier occasions. He owned several gambling houses in the major cities of fire and was one of Tsunade's biggest creditors. No doubt at least a portion of her debts were still on the books, and the Leaf village was responsible for making good on this debt. Apart from that, the man was known as a loutish brute who won at any cost. His debtors lost fingers, suffered shattered kneecaps and all of the other indignities of the loan sharked, and they often feared for their lives. Kuro lived in luxury and to excess. He had three wives, it was rumored, and at least four concubines, although both of these numbers were in dispute. Females had a way of disappearing should they remain in his company long enough. Of course this was disconcerting to the relatives of his women. The families of two of his former wives had contacted the village in search of revenge. They were sure their daughters had been killed by Kuro. Both families were poor (in fact, they'd sold their daughters into marriage) but each had scraped together the considerable fee charged for the type of assassination that left no traces.
Then there was the tea house. Its okiya had contacted the village herself. Kuro was one of her biggest clients, but she wanted him gone. Apparently he'd behaved inappropriately with one of the new girls, although it was not made clear exactly what this meant. As Kuro was a man of great power and influence, the okiya could not simply ask him to leave, or drop him from her client list. Instead she asked the village for an assassination style that would not negatively impact her business. It wouldn't do for the man to turn up with a knife in his back, or for there to be rumors that one of her girls had poisoned him. But as Kuro was clamoring for a new girl to sponsor, or rather, to claim as his own, the okiya had agreed to train a kunoichi to replace the girl she'd lost. Sakura had been in place six months, quickly learning the trade, which according to Kurenai, was not that different from the skills learned in kunoichi lessons.
All in all, a lot of money was on the line. Tsunade's gambling debts were considerable. Even the interest being paid on them equated to the yearly take home pay of five jounin. So when the opportunity to take this man out presented itself, Naruto had jumped. Apparently, so had Sakura. Perhaps she felt the need to pay off her shishou's debt. He knew the girl was strange when it came to things like that. So was Naruto. Both had spent several miserable years in search of their lost teammate, in some misguided effort to redeem him. Kakashi agreed wholeheartedly with the idea that no one should ever abandon a teammate. He'd built his nindo around it. But this was different: Sasuke had abandoned them. He was a rogue ninja, an enemy of the village. Kakashi had spent part of his life tracking down enemies like him and bringing their lifeless bodies back to Konoha. Sakura and Naruto should have cut their losses and moved on with life, but they were romantic, horribly romantic. This was something Kakashi just couldn't relate to.
The clichéd adage said that no man was an island, but Kakashi disagreed. At the very least he was a peninsula, connected to the mainland by the thinnest of causeways. He was a loner by choice, not necessity. He didn't see the value of connecting with others outside of work. He prided himself on being the ultimate shinobi while assigned to a mission, a true team player, but in his free time he was anything but. He valued his privacy more than the feelings of good will accumulated by going out for drinks or dinner with colleagues, and he found his inner conversations far more scintillating and far less of an effort than talking to others.
Once it had been different. He had changed from an anal-retentive, by-the-book soldier who had no time for friends into one who sought them, thanks to Obito. For a brief period of time he'd opened himself up to his remaining teammates and to colleagues like Gai and Genma and Asuma. But then Rin had died, followed quickly by Minato-sensei, and Kakashi had quickly closed himself off again. In a matter of months, he lost all of the people most precious to him. He'd decided it wasn't worth reaching out again. It was better to be alone and aloof, better to recognize that all the people he cared about were long gone and not to be replaced.
He didn't need friends to stay busy. He had his books, after all, his blessed porn, and the several hobbies he'd alluded to on his first day with Team Seven. He liked reading, obviously, and writing poetry-- dirty poetry that is, and although almost no one knew it, he was a fairly accomplished cook. One had to be when living alone, unless one wanted to subsist on cardboard-flavored cup ramen. And Kakashi had his dogs, of course, although they didn't live with him. On the rare occasions when he was lonely, he summoned one or two of them and listened for a while to their talk of love and family. That was usually enough to set him back on track. The copy ninja couldn't stomach hearing about others intimate relationships for long.
Yet here he was now, a voyeur to the most intimate of all relationships, watching something he had no business observing.
Despite their vantage point above the room and the limitations placed on their field of sight by the woven slats that formed the false ceiling, Kakashi and Kurenai could make out all areas of the space quite clearly. It was furnished simply, but several mirrors included at Kurenai's suggestion were tilted purposefully on their frames to allow a view of both Sakura's and the client's faces.
Sakura entered the room, and Kakashi observed a woman quite different from the coltish, boot-clad teenager he had taught. Her hair was pulled into an elaborate coif of the wareshinobu style, its unusual carnation color darkened to magenta by the waxes and oils used to smooth it into the typical half peach hairstyle of the geisha-trainee. The delicate skin of her neck's nape was painted white in a stylized manner that exposed the smallest portion of naked flesh, and this thick white makeup extended to her face and décolletage. Her eyes were lined in both kohl and an unusual deep red that made her irises appear a more vividly green than usual. The only other color on her face was a hint of pink on her cheeks and the spot of crimson that partially covered her lower lip. Its tiny, berry like shape suggested she was just-ripened fruit, a delicacy that had not yet been tasted but which would bloom into full flavor with a lover's first kiss.
The eroticism of a geisha's dress and makeup was subtle but intense. The deliberate covering of the back of the neck in stark white paint to expose a mere hint of untinted flesh made its velvet surface as tantalizing as any peach, and the draping of the crimson-framed garment to expose the upper back was purposefully titillating. Add to that the deliberate blankness of the face presented to the client, and the meters upon meters of fabric wrapping the woman like an elaborately decorated gift. All was meant to entice and entrance, and because this image had been polished over hundreds of years, its subtle charms worked almost subliminally.
A change came over a room when a geisha or maiko entered, a hush shared by both males and females. All knew they were in the presence of true beauty and grace-- an essence of femininity that almost inspired worship. Even Kakashi, who had never before visited this type of teahouse, was familiar with the phenomenon. He'd seen a geisha or two strolling through the cobbled streets of the old district of this city and he'd felt for himself the reverential awe that they seemed to elicit from onlookers.
Now Sakura moved like a geisha, a consummately trained artist of dance, music and flirtation. Every gesture was executed perfectly and intentionally, from the smooth, effortless way she lowered herself to the ground despite the confining nature of her garment to the swan like gestures of her hands as she poured tea for the client.
She smiled beguilingly, the silken, willow-leaved kanzashi in her hair swinging gently as she beckoned Kuro closer to her.
Kakashi sized the man up as he entered the room. Kuro was a huge guy, not fat but solidly built, broad shouldered and tall. He was probably quite muscular under the formal kimono he wore, and his thick neck suggested he'd once wrestled or worked one of the physical trades, such as construction, smithing, or the like. He wasn't particularly handsome, Kakashi thought, but a man of his age with a full head of hair was a rarity. That had to count for something. So did his income, of course, and the power that accompanied it. It was no surprise that a man like him had a reputed harem of females to choose from.
With an effort Kuro lowered his considerable bulk onto the floor cushion opposite Sakura and laughed sonorously at the small, flirtatious joke she made. Something about muscles, probably a word play-- Kakashi didn't hear it all.
They talked for a while, Sakura's voice completely different in tone than what Kakashi remembered. He was familiar with the whiny timbre of Sakura's preteen voice, and that of the tearful, teenage Sakura and then the confident Hokage's apprentice. And he had many recollections of the grating voice of an angry Sakura and the way she would almost growl before slugging the ever-guilty Naruto.
But the elegant, poised Sakura-- her voice was a revelation. It was mellifluous, like the lower tones of a bamboo flute played quietly. Watching her provoked a response he hadn't expected, the visceral sensation of warmth and well-being one feels when observing something truly beautiful. It was almost as though Kakashi was watching a movie-- and not one of the kind he favored, but a historically accurate period piece. Sakura could be any geisha or maiko over the past 100 years. Apart from her unusually colored hair, she was interchangeable with any of the beauties that had come before her. And this was by design: geisha were meant to be doll-like, porcelain representations of an abstraction of femininity. This allowed them to reflect their companions' vanities all the more easily.
Kakashi looked up as he felt Kurenai's hand tap his shoulder and point toward the scene below them. Somehow he'd become lost in his thoughts for a moment, but he caught the tail end of Kuro's statement.
"...why I'm here. Show me what you've got."
Sakura stood uncertainly, her practiced grace forgotten for just a moment.
"I'm sorry. I've never done this before--"
"You'd better not have done this before. That's the point, remember?"
"Y-yes. That's not what I mean. It's my job to please you, and I want to get that right. Would you tell me what you want me to do?"
"You can start by taking your clothes off."
Sakura untied the obijime securing the checked satin fabric around her waist, then slowly unrolled its considerable length over her arm.
"Nice and slow. Keep going."
She lay the heavy red and gold brocade obi over the lower support of the bamboo kimono stand that stood next to the bed, laying a matching, shibori dyed obi-age above it.
"Turn towards me for the next part."
Sakura obliged. Thanks to the many mirrors in the room, this was not a problem for her observers. As she turned, her heavy kimono parted to reveal a deep red under-kimono also wrapped around its midsection with meters of cloth. This, like the obi, meant to turn her figure into an idealized column shape.
Sakura carefully hung the kimono on the stand and disrobed more, much to Kuro's approval.
"Damn right you'd better hang it up carefully, honey. You're holding a million ryo in your hands. And there'll be more where that came from if you make me happy tonight."
Kakashi wondered if Kuro had custom ordered the garment for Sakura. He doubted the man had lied about its exorbitant cost. It was a maiko-rank garment, to be sure, made of a type of fabric only the outrageously wealthy could afford, and padded susohiki-style to trail gracefully behind its wearer. What's more it had the extremely long, tucked and draped sleeves worn only by maiko, not their older sisters. It was accented with kinkoma embroidery against a chartreuse green background that which perfectly matched the early summer season and which set off Sakura's hair in the way that only this that color could. Multicolored bellflower blossoms—themselves a suitable metaphor for the occasion, given their short lives-- fell from shoulder to ankle of the decadent gown.
The man had very good taste. Sakura looked like a dream.
Kakashi's eyes moved back to the kunoichi and then quickly away. He'd rather not watch her disrobe-- he'd rather not watch any of this-- but as reporting jounin on this mission, he had to. Still, he wasn't ready to see the naked body of his one-time student. It wasn't right to even think of such a thing. He looked at Kurenai instead, who did not hesitate to display her irritation with him. Kakashi sighed and focused on Sakura again. She had just parted her under-kimono to reveal a perfectly filled bra and matching panties, which regrettably were in Kakashi's second favorite color for such garments-- a sizzling hot red that stood beacon bright against Sakura's pale skin.
At least she wasn't wearing black. Student or no student, that would probably be too much for him to handle. It was strange, however, that she was even wearing underwear. To his knowledge (not that it was first hand) geisha didn't wear underwear: panty lines would mar the smooth line of their kimono, and bra straps would be visible due to the way their outer garments were draped to show a delectable, white-painted back.
Perhaps Sakura didn't know all of the customs surrounding kitsuke: surely the rules for dressing geisha differed from those for civilians. But she'd been in situ for at least six months. He glanced at surprisingly full breasts encased in crimson satin and at panties slung low to rest on the fullest part of her hips. Fashion faux pas or not, she did look good.
Kakashi did his best to make abstract the situation unfolding below him and generalize the particulars of the woman involved. This was like watching a caterpillar wrap itself in a cocoon, Kakashi thought, but in reverse. It was fitting, he realized, as he considered the ultimate source of the kimono. And like a butterfly, he realized, Sakura had metamorphosed. She wasn't the hot-tempered, impetuous kid he remembered, the late bloomer who'd lagged behind her friends, her body still angular and gangly as theirs became voluptuously curved.
She was womanly now, quite womanly and as sexual as the kunoichi sitting beside him, or any of the others he cared to consider. A lot had gone on while he ignored his brightest student.
"You wore the bra and panties. Good." These words bothered Kakashi. The idea of someone so innocent clothing her most intimate parts with items that had probably been fondled (or worse) by this Kuro person was not something the copy ninja wanted to contemplate. The way the man said the words implied a fetish.
"Mmm. I've never seen a woman in such prime physical condition before."
And she was, Kakashi realized, abandoning his feeble attempts to intellectualize the scenario. He had to agree with Kuro, now that the man mentioned it. Sakura's body was as perfect a specimen of the female human form as that of any other kunoichi he'd seen, and completely unblemished by scars. Her breasts were in perfect proportion to her body (or of the proportion he preferred, anyway), her abs were obviously rock hard, her ass tight, and the muscles of her arms and legs well defined. And these muscles were not the prominent ones of a runner or gymnast, but the more subtle (but still quite strong) ones of a perfectly toned model or even--
"Well, before okaasan took me in, I was a dancer. I trained for many years. Still do."
A dancer? This ought to be good. She did resemble one, he realized, with her long, delicately sculpted muscles and perfect posture, but nevertheless, the idea was laughable. As skilled a kunoichi as Sakura was, Kakashi knew her to be a horrible dancer. She was physical certainly and in perfect control of her body and its chakra, but she'd always opted for bold, strength-filled moves. She looked more like a kick boxer than a dance partner. Well, this was true the last time he'd seen her dance. But that was long ago, he realized. She'd been how old-- fourteen, fifteen? She was seventeen now, but a lifetime had seemingly passed.
" A dancer?" Kuro leered at her, and his lips curved into a knowing smile. "That's funny. I've never seen you. And I visit all the clubs. Well, I own them, actually."
"Not that kind of dancer."
Because her face and back were painted, most onlookers would not have realized Sakura was blushing, but Kakashi, ever the observer, didn't miss the faint pink color that appeared at on her décolletage. Not that he'd been looking in that vicinity.
This was difficult, very difficult. And this was exactly why he'd tried to turn down the mission.
"I trained in the classical dance of our nation and the folk dances of many countries. Would you like me to demonstrate?"
Kuro shrugged dismissively.
"I want an erotic dance. Make a strip tease of your bra and panties." He began to hum a familiar, coarse melody heard at triple X clubs and bachelor parties across the continent-- one typically punctuated with raucous, drunken yells of "take it off baby."
Take it all off.
Apparently Sakura was familiar with the tune. She closed her eyes for a moment, as though she were gathering her strength, then slowly began to move. She moved her hands in a sinuous line to caress first the outline of her breasts and then the curve of her torso and hips. She swayed gently, arching her neck as though she were offering it to a lover, then hooking one finger through the satin strap of her bra to pull it halfway down her upper arm. Her movements were luxuriant, almost hypnotic. Her lips parted and she took her finger into her mouth, then touched its moistened tip to the apex of her exposed breast. Kakashi watched, mesmerized as her flesh responded immediately.
Her eyes were closed again, he noticed as he tore his uncovered eyes away from her busy hands, which were now unhooking the fastener of her brassiere. He wondered what—or who-- she was imagining at that moment, which image was responsible for exciting her flesh so easily.
She was topless now. Kakashi couldn't help noticing. Despite the startling difference between her pink tinged flesh and the white mask that extended beyond the base of her neck, her beauty was unassailable. Her breasts were perfectly firm, like twin ripe peaches, tauntingly advertising their succulence, and for just a moment Kakashi was filled with envy for Kuro. A man like him could have anyone he wanted-- why did he want a girl like Sakura, a girl who was so much more than a pretty shell?
"Now the panties. That's right. Slowly." Kakashi could hear the lust saturating Kuro's voice. It fairly dripped with it. And when he stood, it was quite evident that he was aroused, despite the heavy kimono he wore.
"Turn. Let me see all of you."
Her shadow flickered against the wall, candlelight enlarging and collapsing its shape as Sakura slowly turned to display herself fully to her client.
"Now lie down." Kuro's voice was a bit rougher than it had been. "Spread your legs. Wider, so I can see. Touch yourself. I want to see you come."
Her eyes were screwed shut, Kakashi noticed, as though the image she depended upon was fading from sight. Kakashi watched her part her own flesh and slide her fingers slowly back and forth without result.
"I'm sorry. I can't--"
"You're scared, aren't you?" Kuro approached her, removing his haori as he did so, its formal, silly pompons swaying two and fro as the garment fell to the ground. His skirt-like hakama fell next, then the kimono and gi beneath it, until he stood at the foot of the futon, fully naked. A strange smile contorted his features.
He was as built as Kakashi had imagined: like a steel worker, quarryman or similar. But the surprising thing about him was the one thing Kakashi had not considered. He was almost a freak of nature in the reproductive department.
Public baths were a normal part of life in the Leaf and elsewhere on the continent. As a result, Kakashi had been exposed to various examples of male anatomy since birth. He thought he'd seen everything, representatives from all portions of the normal distribution. Kakashi knew that his own appendage was on the right hand side of the curve, in the 90th ninetieth percentile, at least. He was rather proud of that knowledge, in fact, though he hardly ever took the opportunity to share his blessing with others.
But this man was off the charts. He was just...huge. Stallion like, almost. If it weren't for the sheer ridiculousness of it, Kakashi might have felt discouraged.
Now he only felt concern. He glanced at Kurenai. Her eyes were wide open, although not in admiration. Her expression told Kakashi everything. This was going to be painful, exceedingly painful for Sakura.
Kakashi moved his hands into several signs used by ninja of the Leaf.
"Should we abort?" was his first question.
"No," Kurenai replied silently. "No signal." She pointed below her, indicating that the decision was Sakura's.
Sakura's eyes were as wide as lanterns, and a fleeting look of terror passed across her face as her eyes locked onto Kuro's pelvis and the weapon hanging there. He wasn't even fully erect, Kakashi noted.
But she didn't make a signal. Instead she gulped and lay back on the futon, ignoring the hard pillow meant to protect her coiffure
Kurenai slapped his hand, and Kakashi realized he was holding a kunai. She shook her head. She was the expert here, the copy ninja knew. Kurenai had been through a similar situation. She would jump in if something was wrong.
But something was wrong. Kakashi shifted, his muscles screaming to be put into action. His slight movement prompted a hiss of anger from his partner.
"Restrain yourself," Kurenai commanded silently, the sharp movements of her hands managing to convey her annoyance. "I'm in charge here."
He really was expected to sit there and do nothing.
Sakura wasn't being raped: he knew this. She'd agreed to the mizuage.
But maybe she didn't realize what she was up against.
No, that couldn't be true. As a medic, Sakura did physical exams. She must have seen numerous examples of the male organ, erect and flaccid.
Maybe she could handle it. Women gave birth to children with heads as big as melons, didn't they? They must be able to accommodate junk of all sizes.
Her piercing scream told him otherwise, and Kakashi jumped immediately. Kurenai shoved him roughly back onto the rafter, her expression as menacing as her words.
"She knows what she's doing. We talked about this. It's never what you would think-- these men are usually animals." The scarlet light in Kurenai's eyes suggested her ordeal had been very similar.
Kakashi gripped the wooden beam above him as he felt the bile rise into his throat.
Animal was right. The man hadn't even bothered to get her ready. He just dived straight in. He did none of the things one was supposed to do with a virgin: get her into the mood, move slowly, give her body time to adjust and time to get over any pain. No, he was mounting her the way a tomcat would. The sight of him slamming against her, grunting and sweating as he pushed her legs farther and farther back was easily the most sickening thing Kakashi had seen in a long time.
This was not what he'd expected. It wasn't the embarrassing scene he'd imagined, but something approaching the depravity of rape. Kakashi couldn't imagine how his student was able to endure it.
Sakura's eyes were clamped shut, and she cringed with every movement. Her lip was bleeding, Kakashi noticed. Kuro hadn't bothered to kiss her, so that wasn't the reason.
Luckily, the middle-aged man didn't last long. Sakura had to endure only five minutes of pain before the client grunted out a final exclamation of extreme satisfaction and collapsed against her.
Kakashi released a long-held breath and allowed himself to relax slightly. At least the worst was over now, and Sakura would soon have the satisfaction of killing her target.
"Boys! Get in here."
Two thugs entered the room, and the look of terror on Sakura's face telegraphed across the distance between them, prompting two gravelly laughs from the men. They weren't dressed like the stereotypical bag mean. Instead of the cliché double breasted pin striped suit, these men wore jeans and simple t-shirts. They still looked menacing, however.
"You'll need to get on your hands and knees," Kuro said as he lifted onto his own. "Terajima will want to take you from behind. And Ishibashi-- he's an ass man, too. But in a different way." This elicited another chuckle from the visitors.
"Wait. I don't understand." Sakura's voice didn't tremble, Kakashi noticed, and she didn't sound plaintive. She seemed in full possession of her faculties.
"What's to understand? My men work hard for me. They deserve a reward every now and then."
"But...I wasn't finished. With you." She didn't bat her eyelashes, or pout her lips, but this was said in such a seductive way that she didn't need to. "Okaasan taught me something I wanted to show you. Can you feel it?"
Kuro groaned with pleasure as Sakura's hand made contact with his now flaccid cock. "What are you doing?"
"I want to make you come again. But this time, slowly. And I want to be on top."
Kakashi raised an eyebrow. He'd heard of the kunoichi art of the second pleasure, although he'd never experienced it himself.
"You'll have to wait, boys. Take a seat." Kuro's men knelt, liege-style on the two pillows near the tea table. They planned to watch, Kakashi realized, and Kuro didn't seem to object. On the contrary, he probably derived great pleasure from it.
Sakura was bleeding, the copy ninja noticed as she rose from the bed and moved to straddle the now supine Kuro. There was a huge blood stain on the futon as well. But she was clearly ignoring any pain she felt. Kuro was oblivious, as well, focused only on the pleasure she was bringing him.
She slowly took her client's considerable girth into herself, and Kakashi saw the same expression she'd worn earlier as she danced for the man. She looked as though she were lost in a blissful dream, with her neck arched and her breasts thrust forward. She moved slowly at first, eliciting moans of pleasure from Kuro as she ground against him. But the mask slipped every now and then, and Kakashi's well-trained eyes caught glimpses of the agony she was suffering through. Her movements were slow and deliberate, intended to cause in her client the maximum pleasure possible, regardless of its effects on her. She reached for his hands, placing one on each of her breasts, and urged him to suckle her. He rose, partially, resting his weight on his hands as he took one immaculate globe into his mouth and partook greedily.
"Are you almost there?"
"I want to hear you scream. Okay?"
He muttered something as he released her saliva-slicked breast to take the other into his mouth.
Sakura smiled for his benefit and urged him to embrace her. She then ran her hands over her coiffure, as though she were checking to make sure the elaborate arrangement was still in place. With a swift movement and a glint of silver almost too fast to be observed, her hand moved to Kuro's back and struck against it.
He groaned, and Kakashi watched intently as the kunai in Sakura's hand entered his flesh twenty more times. Then she lifted herself off of his corpse, spun around and flung two shuriken, one from each hand. Each sharply toothed blade found the carotid artery of its victim, and as their blood pulsed in small fountains down their front, the men keeled over.
So did Sakura.
Kakashi didn't wait for a signal from Kurenai. He crashed through the room's false ceiling and immediately gathered Sakura's crumpled, naked form into his arms.
"Are you okay? Sakura?"
"Sensei..." She passed out, and Kakashi looked in horror at the blood now staining his arms. He set his former student down gently, grabbed her under-kimono and hastily wrapped her in it, stuffing most of the fabric between her legs. He had no idea what first aid to do in such a situation, and from the looks of it, neither did Kurenai. A dazed expression covered her face as she glanced around the room. She hadn't expected the men to enter the room or to be invited to...partake. Surely that would have constituted rape, Kakashi thought wryly.
Time was wasting. Kakashi barked an order at Kurenai before rushing out of room, heedless of her status of mission leader.
"Grab the kimono and obi, then start the fire. Make sure it's a big one-- we don't want any evidence."
He shouldn't have let her go through with it. Sakura deserved better than this. There were easier ways to make jounin. He would have helped her if she'd asked, if she'd come to him for assistance.
But of course this wasn't true. He'd never really helped her, he realized.
It was silly to imagine something like that could change.