A/N: This was meant to be a one-shot. But it started getting really long as I was writing it, so I decided to make it a two-shot.
[ Part I ]
He never took his eyes off of her. The petal-pink strands danced around his eyes as she moved gracefully about the room. He slumped against the propped-up mattress.
His shoulder was killing him.
"Now, now, Kakashi-kun..." She stepped over to where he was sitting and plopped herself down on the chair next to him. "You have to be more careful during missions."
He knew he shouldn't, but he found absolute pleasure in seeing the frown on her face.
"It's nothing you can't fix, Sakura-sensei," he said with a smile. But it's not as though she could see it, more than half of his face was covered by that navy-blue mask.
The frown didn't leave her face. "You can't expect me to be able to fix you up every single time. What if I'm not in the day you come back? Or what if—" she suddenly stopped healing him, the green chakra flickering rapidly before it died out, "—what if you don't make it back...?"
The words were barely above a whisper, but Kakashi heard them loud and clear. Sakura's green eyes peered at him. The concern and worry swirled evidently in those eyes that haunted him almost every night. He found them enchanting. He found himself lost inside the green sea whenever she looked directly at him.
He found them beautifully jaded.
The pink-haired medic was a ball of energy. She was the light that radiated upon Kakashi and all the other patients that come in and out of the hospital. Everything about her was tantalizing. But it wasn't the peculiar color of her hair or the byakugō seal on her forehead that held Kakashi's attention. Nor was it her long legs or the shapely form of her figure that drew the boy in (although, those things were added to the list of reasons why he was so enamored by her).
It had been those sad emerald eyes of hers that made him fall deep. One look and he could tell that she understood. She understood what pain was. She understood what came with being a shinobi. She understood what loss was. One look into her eyes and Kakashi could tell of all the things she endured and all the people she had lost.
She was still young, a woman of twenty-six, but her jaded eyes told that she might as well had been much older.
Sakura eventually finished healing him, sending him off with a smile and reminder of his monthly check-up next week. Kakashi didn't leave right away. Instead, he chose to roll his shoulder around, testing its condition (though he knew Sakura did an excellent job of healing him as always). He took this time to watch her as she filled out a couple of things on her chart.
He would never admit it, but he would sometimes allow the enemy to get a 'lucky shot' in just so he would have an excuse to see her. Of course, he wasn't inane enough to ever let them gravely injure him. Just enough to require medical attention from his favorite medic.
"You're still here?" Sakura turned in her chair to face him, eyebrow raised in question. Kakashi didn't realize he stayed longer than he had intended.
He shrugged. "Just checking to see if you did a good job, sensei."
"Ohhhh..?" Sakura cooed dangerously. She rose from her chair. Her eyes narrowed as she walked towards him, hands in her white coat. "So you don't think much of my abilities, huh?"
Before he could retort, she had her hands on both sides of his face. Normally, he would be ecstatic that his sensei was standing so close to him. But the way she was looming over him as he coward against the medicine cabinet had his heart racing in a way that he did not like.
"Owowowow!" He tried to pull away at the woman currently pinching his cheeks.
"Cheeky brat!" She scolded.
"Ow—sensei, let go!" He grabbed her wrists and pried her hands away. Kakashi rubbed his stinging cheeks and shot a glare at the woman laughing in front of him.
Damn her and her cute laugh.
"Get out of here, Kakashi-kun. I still have other patients to see." She waved a dismissive hand while she walked back to her desk.
He didn't have to be told twice. Kakashi disappeared in a puff of smoke before his cheeks fell victim to the absurd torture again.
He stood on the roof of the hospital, looking down at the streets below.
"Tch. Wait 'til I get a little taller."
When Kakashi was 17, he thought about owning a cat.
Of course, he wasn't a cat person. Pakkun and the rest of the pack were the closest thing to 'pets' he could have. The idea of owning a meowing furry, devious creature was not something he wanted or thought about unless he was dying.
So why not? It was the best time to think about strange things that would never happen as he laid there on the snow-covered ground, breathing shallow breaths and slowly succumbing to the cold.
The sensation of a cat poking his face with a padded paw could probably be compared to the snow that was currently falling onto his face. It was rough and it stung as the white snowflakes landed on his singed skin. His cat would probably claw off his mask and face if it could. Then he shudder, not from the freezing cold wind whipping against his bleeding body but from a memory of Tora, Madam Shijimi's cat, almost tearing apart his face when he and his teammates tried to catch it.
Damn. I hate cats.
The good thing about lying half-dead in the snow was that one couldn't really feel their limbs. Kakashi knew if he could, he'd probably be in a lot of pain right now. He imagined Sakura scolding him once again about having to be more careful. He chuckled, coughing up a little blood as he did.
She wouldn't have to worry about that anymore...
Death really liked to torture him. It came slow, almost painfully so. But he was thankful for having time to think about his favorite sensei. He regretted never telling her how much she had mean to him. He regretted never asking her out on a date—something Kakashi Hatake never did, but for her he would make an exception. He regretted never having a taste of her.
He decided to stop the direction his thoughts were heading in. Kakashi was sure that if his body was ever found, he didn't want the ones to find it to look at the bulge in his pants. No, that would not have been appropriate at all.
Yep. Death really did like to torture him.
He couldn't make out who was calling him, or if anyone was calling him at all. His eyes stopped cooperating with his brain. Sleep—or was it death?—was getting to him.
It wouldn't be so bad, right? Just gonna take a little nap—
A hand fell onto his chest. Something soft was hitting his face and neck. He wanted to see who was preventing him from sleeping, but to his dismay, he couldn't move.
"Shit. He's not responding. His heartbeat's very faint. Hypothermia's already kicked in." It was such a pretty voice.
"Should we bring him back to the campsite?" A rougher voice asked.
Kakashi tried to recognize whom the voice belonged to, but he was just too tired to think.
"I have to..." He couldn't make out the rest of the words. He was losing focus fast.
Something hard hit him on the head.
"I need you to stay awake, Kakashi. Stay with me."
He knew it was best to listen to that soft voice. But he just couldn't help it.
The last thing he felt was rain, somehow hitting only his face, and something warming up his chest.
He jolted awake. The pain in his body was suddenly too much, causing him to let out a groan.
"Careful." Immediately, two hands shot out to hold him down wen he tried to get up.
He widened his eyes when he caught a glimpse of green in the darkness.
"Sakura-sensei..?" He managed to choke out. Ah, his throat had been repaired.
"You idiot." She hit him lightly on the head. Despite her holding back—by a shit ton, he realized—it still hurt.
She apologized when he winced. "Ah! Sorry, Kakashi! I healed the bump that formed when Naruto hit you, but I should've known the spot would still be tender."
Naruto-sensei, huh? Kakashi knew the fist that pelted his head prior to him passing out felt familiar. He was gonna have to ask his whiskered-mentor to...spar with him later on.
He looked around with his lone dark eye, his left eye closed to hide the sharingan his late friend had given him. They were inside a cave, a small fire had been burning to keep their bodies warm. Packs of medicine and bandages were scattered around. Kakashi realized that Sakura had been doing her best to keep him alive.
He looked at the woman kneeling next to him. Now that he had adjusted his vision to the darkness, he could very well make out her facial features. There were dark circles around her eyes and specks of blood—oh shit, his blood—covered her jaw and uniform. The once white medic skirt was now painted half red. Kakashi frowned. He had ruined such a pretty color on her.
As if she had read his thoughts, she told him, "I can always wash them, you know."
"They're badly stained," he stated.
"Bleach works wonders," she hummed.
"That comes off too."
"Sensei. That's my blood."
Sakura didn't say anything to that. She continued to stare at the fire in front of them. Sensing that he might have said something wrong, he began to sit up. He fought off the green-eyed medic's protests, and managed to pull himself halfway up until his body was starting to fight him.
Sighing to himself, he gave up and laid back down, ignoring the smirk on Sakura's face.
"I told you," she practically sang.
"Shut up, sensei." He didn't like her habit of teasing him whenever she was right. It made him feel like a kid again.
"That's no way to talk to your elders, Kakashi-kun." As if to mock him further, she emphasized the suffix attached to his name.
He scoffed, "You're only fourteen years older than me."
"Fourteen is a lot. I'm already thirty-one." She touched her face, checking for wrinkles and blemishes he knew were non-existent.
"You're still young."
"I can't say I'm still as youthful as I was fourteen years ago."
"Lee-senpai would beg to differ," Kakashi said with a roll of his eye. The green jumpsuit-clad man was still calling his sensei embarrassing nicknames and gave her cringe-worthy compliments. He wouldn't pay mind to Lee if Sakura hadn't smiled every time the former came bearing flowers.
She chuckled, "He doesn't count. I'd still be his 'Youthful Cherry Blossom' when I'm fifty."
His. Kakashi cringed. Before he could stop himself, the words had already tumbled out.
"You're not his."
Sakura visibly stiffened next to him. If he could move his muscles without any pain, he would be bashing his head on the rock-hard wall.
"Whose am I, then, Kakashi?"
She regarded him out of the corner of her eyes, waiting for his response and reaction.
"Team 7's, of course."
Kakashi didn't know what to do. He could have taken the chance and took the initiative to take their relationship one level further. But after seeing her tense up, he was afraid of saying something to push her away and cause their friendship to curdle.
And he wasn't sure if he could stand having her push him away.
"Mmm... Team 7's, huh?" She mumbled almost disappointedly (was she disappointed or was that him hoping?).
He repressed the urge to sigh. He must be a bigger idiot than Naruto.
She smiled down at him. "I'm not sure if that's a good thing. You, Naruto and Yamato are a troublesome bunch."
"No one can handle us better than you can." And he smiled. Genuinely smiled. He gave his signature eye crinkle, hoping to let her know what she couldn't see under his mask.
What he didn't know was that Sakura saw everything.
Kakashi furrowed his silver eyebrows when she continued to stare at him, a pink tint was now staining her cheeks.
She blinked as though she just remembered where she was. She ruffled his silver mane and leaned closer to his face. Kakashi willed his blood not to rush to his cheeks when she was close enough for him to see her green eyes clearly.
"Well, one good thing did come from this."
"And what's that?" He didn't know how to react when her lips curved up into a wry smile.
He lost all coherency when she ran her fingers along his jawline—his naked jawline—and paused on the exact spot where he knew his beauty mark was. She said nothing as she pressed her finger into his recently-healed flesh. When she pulled away, he could see her green eyes filled with amusement.
Kakashi decided to close his eyes and fall into a much needed sleep.
On Sakura's thirty-fifth birthday, Kakashi found her shit-faced along with a louder-than-usual Naruto.
He had been walking through the town, looking for the perfect present to give his pink-haired sensei when he heard her name.
Kakashi turned his head just in time to see Lee fly out the door of a bar. One silver brow lifted up in curiosity—and maybe also in amusement. He walked closer to the scene of the disturbance.
What greeted him was the sight of his blond sensei rubbing Sakura's shoulders while she—arm wrestled?—a much larger man than herself. He did a double take at the surreal scene in front of him. Kakashi recognized the man sitting across from Sakura as Chōji from the Akimichi clan. The silver-haired man sweat-dropped when Sakura spewed some colorful words to her opponent. How she didn't flinch when Chōji seemed to grow twice his original size amazed Kakashi.
"You're going down, pinky!"
"Pinky? Great idea! I could wrestle you with only my pinky!"
Kakashi smacked a hand to his forehead. She was asking for all sorts of trouble tonight.
"Maa...Sakura-chan," Naruto began, visibly worried and slightly flushed in the face, "Maybe that's not a good idea."
"Shut up, Naruto." She rolled her eyes, oblivious to the nods of agreement around her.
He 'eeped!' when the pink-haired woman grabbed him by the collar and dragged him down, their noses touching.
"Listen here, you—" she stopped, and her eyes widened when she realized the close distance between their faces. If Kakashi thought Naruto's face was flushed before, it was nothing compared to now.
Kakashi's stomach churned. He couldn't watch anymore of it and decided to stroll over to where his two sensei were close-to-but-not-quite-yet lip-locking. He arrived as fast as possible, pulling Naruto back and putting himself between the two. Sakura, needing a moment to figure out what exactly happened, blinked.
Kakashi sighed. He wasn't oblivious to his mentor's feelings for the pink-haired kunoichi, nor was he oblivious to their close relationship and how they seemed to disappear together on a certain day every year (although, this was more related to the fact that they mourned their teammate's death, a fact he found out from Ino-san). But if he could, he placed himself in between them at every chance he could get. He knew he was being selfish and greedy and not at all fair towards Naruto, but he just couldn't stand any man getting near the woman he loved.
Kakashi inwardly groaned. He never admitted it, choosing to say that it was a mere infatuation he had for the green-eyed woman. It was much easier to say that it was a crush than saying he was falling in love with someone he had no chance with.
Well, damn. That took a depressing turn.
"Kaka-kun?" Sakura looked up at him.
"Maa... Happy birthday, Sakura-sensei." He crinkled his eye in a smile.
"Ah, thank you. But what are you—"
"Are we gonna talk all day or are you ready to rumble?!"
She turned once more to her—now normal-sized—opponent. All prior thoughts forgotten, she settled her arm—and thankfully not her pinky—on the table once again, a huge grin spread across her face.
"Bring it, Akimichi!"
Cheers began as the two started their delayed match. Kakashi's grip on Naruto slackened and the blond took the chance to hover over the table, refereeing the match.
Kakashi could see that she wasn't using any chakra. The match would've been over far too quick, probably. He was impressed that she could still hold her own against the giant man. When the tides were shifting in Chōji's favor, she knew she was in trouble.
"Ah!" Sakura gasped suddenly.
"Hmmmm?" Chōji, eyes locked onto her thinking expression. "What?"
In a voice too low for normal ears to hear, "I just remembered there was an all-you-can-eat—"
Sakura, seeing that his focus was ruined, seized the chance to slam his hand onto the table. The wooden furniture collapsed into pieces, prompting the crowd to go wild and Chōji to break out of his daydreams. Kakashi chuckled to himself.
"Hey! You cheated!" He pointed at the whooping woman.
"Ara? I don't know what you're talking about, Chōji-kun." She brought a hand up to cover her mouth, eyes wide in false surprise.
"You know what! You started saying—"
"Oh, I do seem to remember seeing an 'all-you-can-eat' sign on 'Jungo's BBQ' earlier." Kakashi rubbed his chin in thought.
Moments seemed to pass before the brown-haired man stood up and cleared his throat.
"Say no more. If you need me, you all know where to find me." With a puff, Chōji disappeared.
"Eh? Where did he go?" Naruto looked around.
Sakura caught Kakashi's eyes. The two continued to gaze at each other in silence before bursting into laughs.
"Ehhh? What's so funny?"
Sakura just seemed to laugh harder at Naruto's pout.
"Next round's on me, boys!" Sakura wrapped an arm around both Kakashi and Naruto as they tried to steady her.
"You sure you want more to drink, sensei?" Kakashi asked her, trying to hide the twinge of worry in his voice.
She looked at him with glazed orbs.
"The night's still young, Kaka-kun."
Kakashi decided he actually really liked his new nickname.
One round turned into two. And two turned into six.
The silver-haired jōnin sighed as he watched both his sensei laugh over something he couldn't quite comprehend. He swirled the liquid contents of his cup around. He had been nursing his drink all night, knowing better than to drink recklessly.
His two sensei were the perfect example of what not to do.
"Ne, Kakashi..." Naruto began.
"Why aren't you drinking?" The blond narrowed his eyes.
"I'm afraid I don't mix well with alcohol, Naruto-sensei."
Naruto snorted. Of course he didn't believe that. If his silver-haired student was capable of downing and surviving poison—something Sakura vehemently scolded him for—then what's a few alcoholic drinks?
He didn't press him on the matter for the rest of the night. Kakashi wondered why he had accepted his sensei's invitation to drink when he could've been home reading a new book he recently purchased. But one look at the pink-haired woman and he wondered why he wouldn't choose to stay.
As it neared two in the morning, Kakashi knew he had to stop these two from probable alcohol poisoning.
"I think it's time to go home, sensei." Kakashi waved over the bartender, signaling for the check.
He didn't miss the way she winked at him and sashayed away, an extra 'oomph' in the way her hips were moving from before. He wasn't surprised when she returned with the bill, only half the amount of what should have been written on the paper.
He stopped Sakura from pulling out her wallet, and handed over a black card. He also wasn't surprised to find a ten-digit number written at the bottom of his receipt in neat penmanship. He pocketed the paper, having no intention on contacting the woman but also not wanting to be rude.
He glanced over at Sakura only to find her slumped against Naruto, the latter already drooling from sleep. Kakashi suppressed the urge to groan. There was no way he could carry both of them. He wasn't sure how he would—
Never would he thought the day would come when he would voluntarily and happily call out to the other green jumpsuit-cladded ninja. He was the exact replica of his sensei.
Guy's eyes brightened up when he saw who had called out to him.
"Kakashi! My eternal and slightly-less-good-looking-than-me rival!"
"Guy, I need you to do something." He tried to cut to the chase.
"Well, well, well... Never thought I'd see the day where you needed a favor from me," the black-haired man taunted as he crossed his arms across his chest.
"It's not a favor," Kakashi bit back a few words before they could slip.
"If not a favor, then I don't know what asking something of someone is called."
"It's a competition," the silver-haired man said quicker than he could think.
He begun to regret saying that when he saw the light shining in Guy's eyes.
"A competition, you say?! Well then, who am I to deny my handsome rival the buoyant act of bonding with—"
"We're running out of time here," Kakashi interrupted.
"Right. Go on."
"Each of us are gonna carry one person and take them home. We have to make sure they're hydrated, clean and tucked into bed safely. The first person to finish wins." Kakashi nudged Guy to take Naruto's slumping form. He sure wasn't gonna hand him Sakura.
"I have questions." His green rival shot a look at the slumping sensei on his arm before looking at Kakashi.
"You said 'clean.' Am I supposed to bathe him in all his glory?"
If Kakashi didn't know better, he would've said that Guy was hesitating.
A moment of silence passed before Guy managed to open his mouth again. Kakashi stifled the urge to laugh.
"No, I'm kidding. You just have to make sure his face is washed and his shoes are off at the door before putting him to sleep." Kakashi shrugged. As much as Guy badgered him, he wasn't going to torment his rival. He didn't want to scar Guy for the rest of his life.
"Oh! That's doable, then!" Guy beamed in relief. "But I have one more question. How do we know which person is the winner?"
Kakashi ran a hand through his silver hair. "Um, once we finish, we'll go to the Hokage Rock. If we don't see the other person there by two, then that person wins." Honestly, he wasn't sure if he was going to even head to the Rock afterwards. Kakashi knew that Guy was going to give his all and beat the clock. He was sure gonna be too tired to deal with Guy's bragging.
He also wanted to take his time taking the pink-haired kunoichi home.
When everything was established, Guy dashed off with a green-faced Naruto on his back. Kakashi didn't know who to feel more sorry for.
"I don't condone tricking fellow shinobi into doing your chores."
Sakura muttered under her breath. He had picked her up and placed her in the same manner that Guy did to Naruto. Kakashi thought she was passed out the entire time.
"Are you saying you're a chore, Sakura-sensei?" He chuckled.
"Idiot. That's not it..." She didn't say anything else. Instead, she chose to lean her head on the back of his neck and closed her eyes.
He could feel her steady breaths tickling his skin as he walked. He didn't want to make her sick by running.
"You should've let me pay," she said when they neared her apartment.
"It wasn't a big deal. Consider it my present." He wasn't able to find her a gift earlier, but he was planning on giving it to her late anyway. He had always been the last one to give her a gift. It played in his favor cause his would be the last thing on her mind.
Sakura scoffed. "Only because the bartender took a liking to you and halved our bill. You would've bailed if she hadn't done that."
Ah. So she had seen it.
"Which floor?" He asked her.
"Third. She was cute, wasn't she?"
"You should call her. I'm glad you weren't an asshole and threw out the receipt right then," she laughed.
For a drunk woman, Sakura was pretty aware of her surroundings. Just how much did she see?
"Key?" He placed her down, pulling her waist to him to make sure she doesn't fall.
She fumbled around her pockets. Kakashi took a moment to revel in the fact that her body molded so well against his.
"Here, let me," he told her when she tried pushing the key in through the keyhole, hitting everything but.
"Thanks," she mumbled.
Her apartment was small but spacious. Sakura knew how to decorate her living space; everything was neat and organized. It was a modern apartment, but there were traditional touches to the furniture that she picked out. He couldn't help but notice the intricate floral designs that was just so her.
Kakashi bent down to take off her heeled sandals. The alcohol must've finally sunk in, causing her to slide down against the wall. He gripped her hips and held her before she could hit the wooden floor. Her eyelids drooped heavily and her head nodded once before she snapped herself upright.
She looked at the hands that were still on her hips and looked up at him. He unconsciously tightened his hold.
She tried to offer him a smile. "I'm okay."
"I don't believe you." He offered his own smile.
With hardly any effort, she pushed against his chest.
"Bully." She pouted.
His smirk was hidden behind his mask. But she could see the playful glint behind his lone eye.
"It's not fair." She frowned.
He raised a brow. "What's not fair?"
"When did you get so tall?"
She remembered how she used to be able to ruffle his hair and pinch his cheeks. At most, his head had reached her bosom. Now, he was toppling a good five inches over her.
"Yamato too. He's taller than me too." She leaned her forehead against his chest. "You're growing up too fast..."
Slowly, he brought her arms up and encased her in a hug. "I have to."
"You don't need to. You're still young, you don't need to grow up!" She was raising her voice, but the volume was muffled by his shirt.
"I think that's impossible, sensei." He chuckled as he tangled his hand in her hair, the long strands that were held up in a bun fell to her waist.
"Besides," he tipped her chin up to face him. "I need to catch up to you."
It was an impossible feat. She was always walking away from him. She was somewhere unreachable, somewhere he wasn't allowed. She kept walking, never once looking back at him. She never saw him.
And Kakashi desperately wanted her to.
Her emerald eyes were full of uncertainty and something he couldn't quite figure out. But the emotions disappeared as soon as she blinked.
"You still got a long way to go before you can catch up to me." She grinned at him.
"I'm almost there, sensei. You just have to stop long enough for me to reach you."
The grin fell. Her eyes were glazed over again. They were playing with words, the meaning obscured by something more casual.
"Nonsense. You could have something worth your time." She waved a dismissive hand, and Kakashi knew instantly that she wanted an end to this conversation.
He wasn't going to let her run. Not this time.
He held her wrists when she tried to walk—or stumble—away.
"There's nothing else worth my time. There's nothing else I want."
He heard her grit her teeth. Kakashi was sure that she was sobering up by now. There was strength in her resistance.
But he held her firm.
"Kakashi-kun, I'm tired. I'm gonna head to bed." She struggled out a smile. "You should also head home. Or maybe..," she shot him a wink. "You can call up that cute bartender and see if she's free."
"It's almost 2am." He deadpanned.
"And yet you're still here."
"I'm here cause I want to be."
Sakura was frustrated. She was so frustrated that her eyes were watering. She turned her head, refusing to look at him.
He let her go. She fell to the floor, hugging her knees to her chest. He kneeled before her. She burrowed her face in her arms. Kakashi sighed, and she seemed to pull her knees closer at his action.
She pulled her head up to face him. He saw it clearly. He saw the age in her eyes and the creases in between that weren't there when he met her ten years ago. He cupped her face and used his thumbs to wipe the unshed tears away.
He kissed her forehead, on the exact place where her byakugō seal laid. He kissed both eyes, then her nose and then both cheeks. He kissed her chin and lightly nipped it, making her giggle. He covered every inch of her face with masked kisses, deftly avoiding her lips.
Kakashi eventually pulled away and wrapped his arms around her body. She felt so much smaller than him.
"You should go."
"You're still here."
He didn't know how to answer that question. Should he use this time to confess? Should he just continue teasing her like he always had?
For all the times fellow and enemy nin called him 'intelligent,' would they still say that about him if they were to see him now?
Hell. If he didn't now, he wouldn't have a chance later.
"Sakura," her name rolled from his tongue. It felt foreign not adding the title to it, but it was a feeling he could very much get used to.
"I..." His words weren't coming out. She was waiting with determined eyes for him to continue.
Did she know?
Kakashi rubbed the back of his neck sheepishly. Words just couldn't come out. He didn't know how to phrase his feelings for her. The fierce look disappeared and she yawned.
"I'm tired," she told him.
Sakura began to disentangle her limbs from his and stood up. She paused and turned to him again.
"You can stay here for the night. I know it doesn't look like it, but the couch is actually pretty comfortable." She ruffled his hair, something she was able to do only because he was still on the floor.
"Um..." He managed out smartly.
She pointed to the direction of what he assumed was her bedroom. "Extra blanket and pillows are in there. Come."
And she trailed away.
He did hear her tell him to follow. He did hear her offer to let him stay the night. He heard all of what she said. But it wasn't processing in his mind.
"Kakashi!" She called out from a room, the door left slightly ajar.
"Coming," he grunted as he stood up.
Oh well. He still had time.