Warning: Rated 'M' for a reason.

They Never Knew
By: Rise of the Blossom

Chapter 1 – Welcome Back

"Are you sure you're ready for this?" Mebuki asked her daughter for what seemed like the hundredth time that morning.

Sakura rolled her eyes. "Are you?"

Kizashi paused briefly mid-bite, eyeing his wife and daughter carefully before continuing eating. What he didn't know was that Sakura was aware of his quick dismissal and she couldn't stop herself from gritting her teeth.

Mebuki sighed as she stood up and after reminding her daughter to eat her breakfast for the third time, she poured Kizashi more coffee and placed her own empty dishes into the sink. Then, she closed her eyes and sighed, bracing herself against the counter. "All I'm saying is that it's okay if you want to back out. There is no harm in staying at home for another couple of days."

"I'm sick of staying here," Sakura snapped, making her mother flinch. Seeing this, she softened her tone and also sighed. "Mom, I miss my friends. I hate being stuck in the house all day because you don't want anybody to see me."

The older woman grimaced before turning and facing her small family. It was a family she had worked so hard for, a family she had always dreamed about having as a child. She had a husband who loved her and a daughter who looked up to her and adored her. Well, eight months ago she did. Of course, Mebuki knew that they still loved her, but lately, they had all been drifting further and further apart.

"Sakura," Kizashi grumbled, placing his knife and fork down on his plate and standing up. "Do not speak to your mother in such a way. She is only doing what she thinks is best for you."

Sakura looked unconvinced as she raised a delicate pink eyebrow at her father. "By hiding me away for all these months? Please tell me how that can possibly be what is best for me."

"I wasn't–" Mebuki stopped herself mid-sentence and took a deep breath. "Please reconsider your choice, Sakura. This is a big leap and I'm not sure you're ready for this."

"Tsunade-sama thinks I'm ready," Sakura retorted as she pushed away her food and stood up. "In fact, she says that I've been ready for two whole months now, but you didn't want me to leave. Why are you trying to hide me? Are you ashamed of me?"

Mebuki sighed and rubbed her forehead. "You know that I'm not ashamed of you, Sakura. It's just with the business being where it is right now, I want to keep you as close to me as possible. It only takes one phone call, you know that."

The pink haired girl averted her eyes as she chewed on her bottom lip. Indeed she did know that, all too well, in fact. Sakura took a deep breath and pushed away the negative thoughts, clearing her mind completely as she sat back down in her seat. "Don't worry about me, Mom. The teachers know everything so if anything happens – not that anything is going to happen – they'll be there."

"Maybe you should listen to her, Mebuki," Kizashi told his wife as he fixed his tie and pushed his chair under the table. "Who knows? Maybe going back to school will be good for her. If she wasn't ready, Tsunade-sama wouldn't have told you that she is."

Moving forward and picking up his empty plate, Mebuki frowned. To Sakura, the frown told her that she was thinking about it, but was still closer to her own decision rather than Sakura's, whereas to Kizashi, the frown told him that he had won their little discussion. Sighing with relief, he pulled on his jacket and kissed his wife on the cheek.

"I'll be working late again tonight," he informed his family. Turning to Sakura, he gave her a smile. "Good luck today, kid. I know you'll do fine." Then, he turned to his wife again. "Mebuki, you must give our daughter more credit than that. No matter what happens, she will always be our kicker."

Kicker – that was what her parents referred to her as. It was mostly because of how much pain she had put Mebuki through during her pregnancy and labour, but it was also because Sakura had a damn good kick and could do some serious damage. Not only that, but no matter what the obstacle, Sakura was always able to overcome it. When she had broken her writing hand, she had taught herself how to write with her other and now, she had neat writing with whatever hand she wrote with. During her first year of high school, a certain girl hadn't liked how close Sakura was with a guy she liked and tried to beat her up after cutting most of her hair off. Her hair had looked awful and to make matters worse, it had to have another two or three inches taken off so it would be even, but Sakura had somehow managed to work the just below the jaw hairdo.

"Sakura," her mother repeated herself for the third time. "If you're going to school, you need to keep focused."

Sakura gave Mebuki an apologetic smile. "Sorry, Mom. I was just thinking. What were you saying? Wait." Sakura looked around the kitchen and frowned. "Where's Dad?"

Mebuki rolled her eyes, but smiled at her daughter. "Your father left five minutes ago. He kissed you goodbye, but you were spaced out. And I was saying," Mebuki sighed and pushed aside her feeling of unease, "that perhaps you should go to school today. You're right. If Tsunade-sama says you're ready and you feel ready, then I'm going to support you in your decision."

"Thank you, Mom." Sakura smiled more genuinely.

"However," her mother raised two fingers to her daughter, "I will only allow you to go to school on two conditions." When Sakura raised an eyebrow, silently telling her mother to go on, she did so. "First condition: I want you to take your phone. If there's an emergency or you don't think you can handle it, I want you to ring either me or Tsunade-sama, do you understand? I'll keep my phone with me all day and Tsunade-sama has told you many times before that she will always answer her phone." Then, Mebuki sighed. "Second condition: just… be safe, okay? I want to drive you to and from school – and this is not up for discussion. Am I understood?"

She thought about it for a couple of moments. In some ways, her mother's conditions seemed innocent and simple enough, but in others, Sakura couldn't help but think that perhaps her mother didn't trust her. No, Sakura knew she had violated whatever trust Mebuki had with her all those months ago and it made her chest give an uncomfortable squeeze. Instead of showing her sadness though, Sakura smiled brightly. "Deal."

"Okay," Mebuki said softly. "Now hurry up and finish your breakfast and then you can get changed."

Sakura's smile died a little. "It's okay, I'm not hung–"

"Eat, Sakura," her mother demanded before looking at Sakura out of the corner of her eye. "I will inform the school that you will be returning today and by the time I get back, I want that plate empty. And when I say empty, I do not mean into the trash."

Sighing, Sakura leaned back in her chair and pushed her food around her plate. "Fine."

An hour later, Sakura was dressed in her school uniform: a navy blue checked, pleated skirt, a plain long-sleeved white blouse that was tucked in and a plain navy tie that matched the skirt. She had made quite a few adjustments to her uniform. For starters, like most girls, Sakura had taken her skirt up a few inches so that it was just long enough to keep her covered. The two top buttons on her shirt were undone, just like they had been since her very first year in school and her tie was loose, but not loose enough that it looked ridiculous. Also, she wore white over the knee socks and a pair of plain black flats.

Her mother, as well as many other mothers of girls' in the school, had tried hard to get them to change the uniforms. One mother even went as far as to say the uniforms were ghastly whereas another called them unflattering. However, with a few tweaks here and there, Sakura had made her uniform look kind of hot. Well if she didn't wear the sweatshirt and blazer (which she never had), it looked sort of hot.

Picking up her black leather backpack, Sakura placed her phone, a couple of pens, house keys and purse in the bag before grabbing a jacket. It was supposed to be warm out, but it was just in case.

"Sakura," Mebuki called from downstairs, "are you ready yet? You're going to be late!"

Sakura sighed. It was almost like old times. "I'm coming!"

"Well hurry up! I still need to speak with your headmaster and fill out a couple of forms. The rest of the school returned last week, so we need to get your timetable too."

The teenager rolled her eyes as she gave her appearance another once over. She wouldn't admit it to her mother, but Sakura actually felt quite nervous. It had been so long since she last spoke to any of her friends – and they hadn't exactly parted on the best of terms.

Her pink hair was parted down the centre, falling around her shoulders and down her back in soft, loose curls while also framing her face. Sakura had spent quite a while trying to get her appearance just right. After all, it had been over eight months since she had last been seen – she had to make sure she looked good. Her stunningly green eyes were framed by long, thick black eyelashes and her upper eyelids each had a thin strip of eye liner which flicked out on the end slightly. Also, she was wearing foundation and barely tinted lip gloss.


She growled in annoyance, "I said I'm coming!"

With that said Sakura took a deep breath and left her room to go and meet her mother in the car. The entire car ride, her stomach was doing flips and at one point, she had almost asked Mebuki to pull over.

Second thoughts flooded her mind as her school finally came into view. What if this was a mistake? What if she wasn't ready and was pushing herself too hard, too soon? After everything that had happened, would her friends even want her to come back? Did they even consider her as a friend anymore? Sakura bit down on her lower lip as her mother parked the car and pulled her keys out of the ignition. Then, the older woman pulled out a pair of sunglasses from the glove compartment and put them on.

Just as she reached for the handle, Mebuki seemed to sense Sakura's hesitance and smiled softly at her daughter. Placing a hand on her leg, Mebuki said, "Don't be so worried, Sakura. I'm sure your friends have all missed you a lot."

"But not one of them came to the house," Sakura whispered. "They didn't come to check up on me, or ring me."

"It's okay," she spoke gently, giving Sakura's leg a soft squeeze. "You have both mine and Tsunade-sama's numbers saved, so if there are any problems at all, ring one of us."

Sakura nodded, looking back out the window as people started to enter the school. Most of them looked happy, they looked so carefree. How many of those smiles weren't real and only there to please others? How many of those people smiled and laughed like nothing mattered, just like she had done? It was a pretty scary thought.

Shaking the negative thoughts from her head, Sakura took a deep breath before nodding to her mother. She was ready. It was now or never.

The teenager forced her legs to stop shaking as she climbed out of the car before she slipped her bag over her shoulders and folded her jacket over one of her arms. Then, with the confidence only Haruno Sakura could show, she strutted into the building with her mother right behind her.

There were many shocked whispers following her as she walked through the hallways. On her way, Sakura saw many of her old friends who looked just as surprised to see her as the rest of the school. However, Sakura acknowledged no one and kept herself focused on getting to the headmaster's office. With her eyes glued onto the receptionist's glass doors and her back straight, Sakura walked with her hips dipping in an almost enticing manner.

Out of the corner of her eyes, she saw her childhood best friend, Ino, watching her with wide eyes. While they had been best friends, they had also been rivals and had competed against each other in everything. So as Sakura walked the hallways of school in a superior manner, like she hadn't a care in the world, Ino's blood started to boil – and it was obvious to everyone that the blonde wasn't too thrilled to see Haruno Sakura back in school after being away for so long.

Mebuki walked silently behind Sakura, her heels clicking against the floor as she watched her daughter through her sunglasses proudly. Even though it had been a long time since Sakura had been around so many people, she was handling the situation well and with the grace only a Haruno could manage.

As the two Haruno women finally reached the receptionist's office, Mebuki removed her sunglasses and Sakura opened the door, smiling at her mother as she allowed the older woman in first. Then, with one last glance down the hallway, Sakura's smile slipped away before she followed her and closed the door. While they walked over to the receptionist desk, Sakura could still feel everyone's stares burning into her head and back. However, she kept her back to them as her mother smiled politely at the woman at the front desk, who looked at Sakura in shock before nodding and quickly getting to work. While she pressed a button on her phone, telling the headmaster about their arrival, Sakura kept fighting back the urge to turn around.

Almost immediately, they were allowed to enter the office and Sakura was so grateful that she all but skipped to the door. When they entered and Mebuki shut the door behind them, she was surprised to see that it was not only was her headmaster present, but another male who didn't seem that much older than twenty-five was present too. His hair was a strange silvery-grey colour, but it didn't look like it had turned that colour due to old age. It looked completely natural, although his eyebrows were a slightly darker colour. His eyes were dark and drooped slightly at the ends, but they crinkled as he gave her an unseen smile. Right through his left eye was a long scar and the bottom half of his face was covered by a mask.

"Haruno-san, Sakura, I would like you to meet Hatake Kakashi," the headmaster said as he straightened up.

Sakura tore her eyes away from Kakashi and over to her headmaster, only for them to widen a fraction. When had the man gotten so old? The last time she saw him was… when? Sakura had no idea. In fact, she couldn't even remember speaking to him before she left. Rubbing the back of her neck almost nervously, Sakura stepped forward until she was stood beside her mother, who was smiling at the headmaster. Her stomach was in knots once more.

"Good morning, Sarutobi-sama." Mebuki smiled. "And, please, call me Mebuki." Then, the woman turned and gave Kakashi a small smile. "Hello, Kakashi-san. Thank you for meeting with us."

"Mom," Sakura said quietly, looking away from the two men and over to her mother. The scene that was playing out gave her a horrible feeling of déjà vu. "What's going on?"

Realising what she was probably feeling, Mebuki gave her daughter a reassuring smile. "It's okay, Sakura. This is just about what is going to be happening while you're back – nothing at all for you to feel anxious about."

Sarutobi Hiruzen also gave Sakura a reassuring smile. "It is good to have you back, Sakura."

"Thank you," Sakura mumbled, still looking at the three warily.

Gesturing towards the chairs in front of them, Hiruzen said, "Please, take a seat."

Mebuki smiled gratefully as she sat down whereas Sakura simply sat. Kakashi had remained standing, choosing to lean against the wall instead of sitting down. The pink haired girl was highly aware of the fact that he was watching her closely. Most likely watching her reactions carefully, Sakura thought, but it still made her uneasy. Her parents had been doing that a lot lately and with good reason too, since her reactions and moods were highly unpredictable at the best of time.

"Sakura," Hiruzen said, gaining the girl's attention immediately. "During the first couple of months of your return, Kakashi will be by your side. Until you feel ready, he will stay with you."

She wanted to protest, to say that she didn't need anyone to stay with her and babysit her, but Sakura knew that it would be a losing argument. So, she decided to simply nod and agree. "Is that during lessons too or just lunch and other breaks that I may have?"

"Just lunch and other breaks," he told her, "unless you want him to stay with you in lessons?"

Sakura shook her head. "I'm sure I can manage."

"Sakura," Mebuki chided her quietly. "Do not speak to your headmaster in such a way – you're lucky you're being allowed back into this school at all."

"It is fine, Mebuki-san." Hiruzen chuckled, quite amused by Sakura's attitude. "Kakashi will also be here for you in case of emergency or you feel as though you need someone to talk to."

"I already have one of those–" Sakura started to say with a bored and annoyed tone but was interrupted.

"Sakura," Mebuki hissed in warning before looking back at Hiruzen. "Sarutobi-sama, if anything happens, even if it is the smallest of things, I would be grateful if you could contact me immediately. It was only decided this morning to allow Sakura to return and I have to admit that I am still not entirely comfortable with the idea."

Kakashi chose this time to push away from the wall and step forward. "I can assure you that Sakura will be fine, Mebuki-san."

Mebuki folded one leg over the other as she looked over at Kakashi. "Sakura will never be one hundred percent fine," she told him, her eyes saddening before she blinked and turned back to Hiruzen. "Please, do not hesitate in calling me. I have filled in a form already and gave the receptionist my phone number, my home number and my work number."

Sakura frowned. When had her mother done all that? Had it been when Sakura was too busy trying to ignore her viewers?

"Mebuki-san, Kakashi knows what he is doing, so please listen to him. He may seem young but he is good at what he does."

"Okay," Mebuki said quietly, looking away from Hiruzen and over to Sakura as she bit her lip with worry.

"I'll be fine," Sakura told her mother with a roll of her eyes.

Mebuki nodded before standing up. Giving her daughter one last worried glance, the woman was dismissed. Then, Hiruzen turned back to Sakura, as did Kakashi. Being alone in a single room with two men made Sakura nervous, but she refused to show it. No, she knew that they wouldn't hurt her. Even though Sakura had never met Kakashi before, she knew Hiruzen well enough to know that he thought of every student in the school as his own children. It was strange, but apparently true.

"So do I just go straight to lessons now?" Sakura asked, a little unsure.

Hiruzen looked at Kakashi, who then answered Sakura's question as she also looked up at him. "For now, you will go to your lesson. I have a copy of your timetable and will meet you outside of your lesson before lunch. If you need to see me any other time, my office is just next door to Sarutobi-sama's. This will be our arrangement until you feel comfortable enough to not need me."

"Kakashi will also be on time," Hiruzen said with an edge to his voice. "Won't you, Kakashi?"

The silver haired man sighed dejectedly and lowered his head. "You have such little faith in me, Sarutobi-sama."

Sakura chuckled at Kakashi as Hiruzen narrowed his eyes, but said nothing.

A/N - Like I said at the top, this fic is rated 'M' for a reason. Not only will there be multiple lemons, but it is also a rather dark story. Anyways, I hope you all decide to stick with me for this. It isn't my first Gaara/Sakura or Sasuke/Sakura fanfiction, but it is the first that I will be posting of the former, since the others are nowhere near ready to be posted. Also, I think this will be my first ever love triangle story, too.

If there is ever a point where any of the characters are OOC, please tell me! Not only that, but also grammar errors and spelling errors.

I don't appreciate flames!

Anyways, I hope you enjoyed the first chapter and don't forget to leave a review! :-)