On the day Kakashi turned 22, he received a massive nosebleed.

"What. the. fuck, Genma?!"

Kakashi clutched his bleeding and most likely broken nose. The copy-ninja shot a glare—the one that often had his enemies fleeing—at the brown-haired man. Genma was unimpressed. Probably cause of the nose. No one took your death glares seriously when you had a giant nosebleed and tears in your eye.

"That's for stealing my girlfriend. See you, Hatake." He saluted before walking off, leaving behind a seething Kakashi.

...

"So..."

"No." He groaned.

She ignored him anyway. "Wanna tell me what happened?"

Kakashi rolled his eye as he pinched the bridge of his nose, leaning forward so that the medic could apply gauze to it. "I'm sure you already know why."

"What? I don't!" Her eyebrows raised in false innocence. He could totally see the tugging on the corner of her lips.

"The revenge of an idiot is without mercy." He stated bluntly.

At this, she was unable to hold in her laughter.

"This is why you don't steal somebody's girlfriend, Kakashi."

"I didn't. I really have no idea what Genma was talking about." He removed his hand to let Sakura mold pieces of his nose together with her chakra.

"I don't think Genma's one to take any violent actions unless he thinks it's true," she stated.

"You're taking his side?" He asked her bewilderedly.

"I'm not taking sides here, Kakashi. I'm just saying maybe something happened and you just don't know it."

"Well if I don't know about it then he shouldn't have recklessly hit me."

She gave a sigh. "Talk to him. He has his reasons for why he did it."

"I'm not talking to him. Who knows what else he'll break?" Not like Kakashi will actually let the guy touch him. He was lucky that first time.

The silver-haired man had been walking with his nose deep into the new book he bought (Icha Icha by the famous Jiraiya-san) when Genma waved him over. The two briefly exchanged pleasantries before Genma landed that surprise attack on his face.

"Kakashi." Sakura scolded.

He pouted at her tone. "Fine. But if something happens to me, you're in charge of piecing me back together, sensei."

The medic simply shrugged. "I do that regardless. And stop calling me 'sensei.' You're already a jōnin."

She placed her tools back into a small, white kit. She wrote a few things on a piece of paper and placed it inside a red folder before handing it over to Kakashi.

"Discharge papers. Give them to the front desk." She informed him.

"Thanks, sensei—" She shot him a glare. "—er, I mean, thanks." He corrected.

"You're welcome, Kakashi. Now go and talk to you-know-who." She waved her hand.

As he was turning the knob, she stopped him.

"Oh, Kakashi?"

He turned his head. "Yes?"

Her hand was perched on her upturned palm. She regarded him with a gentle smile, her jade eyes twinkling.

"Happy birthday."


"Well, I'll be damned."

Genma slammed the shot glass onto the table. Kakashi watched as he leaned his cheek into his hand.

"She was cheating on me with an old geezer." He mumbled under his breath.

Kakashi found the brown-haired man sitting at a table with his other friends in the corner bar later that evening. Sarutobi Asuma and Yūhi Kurenai were trying to talk to the man while Guy went on about how wonderful his sensei was to Yamato. Kakashi was surprised to find his fellow teammate there, but he remembered that everyone except him had a social life. He felt a small betrayal on Yamato's part, but quickly dismissed the silly feeling.

They all wished him a 'happy birthday' (Guy and Yamato had already seen him that morning but said it again) and took turns buying rounds of drinks to celebrate. He had a feeling Genma had forgotten since the man didn't say anything earlier when he broke his nose. Kakashi subconsciously touched the fragile organ.

Genma apparently caught the quick movement. "Still sore?"

"Yep," Kakashi stated bitterly. A smug look appeared on the bastard's face.

Kurenai shook her head. "Genma. I think you should apologize."

"He should apologize for stealing my girl."

"I didn't steal anyone's anything."

"I saw you with my own eyes!"

"Then your vision's not very reliable. Have you ever thought about getting glasses?"

"Stop it, you two." Asuma grunted.

"It's not very admirable to fight amongst your peers." Guy frowned.

"And 'sides, Kakashi-senpai didn't steal your girlfriend, Genma." Yamato dug through his vest's pocket.

The man withdrew an envelop and slid it across the table to Genma. He slowly opened it, frowning at Yamato. Guy and Asuma, too curious to stay still in their seats, craned their necks to see the photos Genma had just pulled out. It took him a few seconds before he said anything.

"Well, I'll be damned."

And here they were.

Kakashi silently brought his sake glass to his unmasked lips (they were too focused on Genma and the photos to pay attention to him). He pulled the navy cloth back up, a smirk pulled at his lips.

"No wonder you thought it was Kakashi. The back looks exactly like him." Asuma noted.

"Only his hair's a bit shorter," Kurenai said as she leaned onto her boyfriend's arm to get a better look.

Genma turned to Yamato. "Where'd you get these?"

"Someone in ANBU gave them to me and told me to pass it onto you. He briefly told me the situation before disappearing. I figured now was the best time to hand them over." Yamato explained as he drank from his glass.

"Looks like somebody's looking out for you, Kakashi."

Said man shrugged at the woman's comment. "I didn't even know what was going on," he said, giving Genma a pointed look.

Genma averted his eyes.

"Genma..." Asuma nudged.

"Hmph." Before he said anything else, he downed another shot glass. "Kakashi..."

The silver-haired man raised one visible eyebrow. "Yes?"

"I'm sorry."

He crinkled his eye. "Now was that so hard?"

"Shut up, will ya?" Genma sighed.

"Yosh!" Guy clapped his hands. "Now that the storm is over, what do you say to a drinking contest?! Loser does twenty laps around Konoha in nothing but their knickers."

Around them, patrons turned to the loud groans from the group of jōnin.

...

"Wait, Kakashi-senpai!"

Kakashi lazily turned around and saw Yamato running up to him.

The group was spared of Guy's ridiculous challenge after Kurenai sneakily used a genjutsu to put him to sleep. It didn't last long, but the method was very effective. When he came to, Asuma and Genma convinced the groggy man that he was the first one to pass out from the amount of drinks they ingested. Kakashi felt a little guilty lying to his so-proclaimed rival, but the feeling of relief that he wouldn't have to run around Konoha sans-everything but his underwear squashed whatever guilt seemed to rise.

"Yamato." He nodded in greeting. "I thought you were staying with them for a little longer."

"Ah, no. I think I've had enough for the night." Kakashi pocketed the orange book when he noticed his teammate eyeing it curiously. Yamato's eyes snapped back to his masked face.

"Should we go for a walk?" He was sure the man wanted to tell him something.

"Hai!"

They walked in their usual silence. Normally, Yamato would point out certain things along the way, but this time he hadn't said a word. Not until they reached the intersection of their apartments.

"You know there wasn't really a need to tell an ANBU member to find evidence for something as trivial as Genma's girlfriend cheating on him." Yamato told him.

"I had the same thought. But it worked well in my favor and Genma learned the truth. I won't question a good deed."

"Not when it benefits you, right, senpai?"

"Of course." Kakashi smiled.

"Then you should go thank that person."

"Hm?" He was confused now. Even if he wanted to thank the person who unknowingly helped him out, he wouldn't know who they were.

Yamato stuffed his hands inside his pockets and looked up at the dark sky. "Don't worry. You'll find her inside her office at the hospital."

Only when Yamato left did the words click inside Kakashi's head.


"I'm coming!"

When Sakura opened her door, she didn't expect to see Kakashi at the doorway with a bag of groceries in his hand.

"Kakashi?" She questioned when he walked over to her kitchen counter and pulled out the items he bought. She realized then that he had bought ingredients for a cake.

"I like vanilla." He told her plainly and simply. Sakura folded her arms across her chest, not moving.

"I also don't like a lot of frosting. But I don't mind the little candies that people usually sprinkle." He continued to talk, telling her what he liked and didn't like on a cake. She watched him amusedly before stepping over to where he was lining up the baking materials.

"Are you telling me to bake you a cake, Kakashi?"

He stopped and looked at her. "Yes."

She chuckled into her hand. "I can't believe I had such a rude student under me."

He blushed.

"It's nearly eleven at night. I'm tired from my hospital shift." She yawned, and the silver-haired man immediately regretted coming over.

Of course she was tired. Why was he so inconsiderate? He had been so caught up in wanting to celebrate his birthday—or whatever was left of it—with her, forgetting all about how much she worked. When Yamato told him that it was her that helped clear his name, he didn't know what to think. He knew he had to see her and it couldn't have waited until the next morning.

"Sorry... I'll pack these up—"

"I didn't say I wouldn't make it." She pulled his arm to stop him.

The older woman tied her long hair into a low ponytail. She slid the cabinet drawer open to reveal her baking utensils. Sakura smiled solemnly to herself. She hadn't used them in such a long time. She didn't know how long it had been since she last baked. She hadn't touched any of the utensils in years.

"Sens—senpai?" Kakashi corrected himself.

"Mmm?" She inquired, never once looking up from the drawer.

"Um. You really don't have to." He knew she was thinking about something. He had noticed the look on her face when she opened the kitchen drawer. He noticed the strange way her lips turned upwards and the strange way her green eyes glazed over. It pulled on his heart strings.

That was the very same look he fell in love with.

She slowly blinked and shook her head. With one hand planted on her hip, she twirled to look at him.

"I said I was going to make it, didn't I?"

Her haughty tone made him want to tease her. "Well, technically you never said that."

"Kakashi..." Her tone deadly.

He shut up immediately.

The silver-haired man watched as his ex-sensei worked her way around the small kitchen space. His eyes were beginning to droop in tiredness. Between getting decked by Genma and drinking with his buddies, Kakashi had little to no energy left.

He didn't know when he passed out, but when he opened his eyes he saw Sakura kneeling next to where he sat on her couch. The sweet aroma inundated his senses. He knew that it wasn't so much as the cake but rather the scent of her shampoo that was bothering him.

"Hey there, sleepy-head," she said in an almost-whisper. She didn't give him time to think before she reached for his hand and pulled him towards the kitchen.

Sakura passed him an icing tube. "Squeeze as much as you want. I'll sprinkle the candies on top." He took it hesitantly while rubbing his sole visible eye with his hand. He was still a little groggy from his short nap.

"Um..." Kakashi mumbled something under his breath.

"What?" She couldn't quite hear him.

"I...want you to write it..." He repeated shyly. She had prettier handwriting. It wouldn't have been special if he was the one to write on his own birthday cake.

"Switch with me." She smiled as she gave him the can of sugar candies.

She was mindful of the amount of frosting she was squeezing. The entire cake was already covered with a very thin layer of icing. In neat handwriting, she wrote the words, 'Happy birthday, Kakashi-kun.' The silver-haired man frowned at the suffix that was used.

"That makes me feel young."

"You are young." She continued drawing tiny flowers along the edges.

"I'm already twenty-two." He informed her.

"And at the peak of youth! Your turn."

Kakashi thought it was an easy job. How hard was it to sprinkle candy on top of a cake? Only when his hand slipped and he accidentally poured half the contents of the can did he realize that he was not made to do such simple tasks.

"I didn't think you like them that much, Kakashi." Sakura snickered.

"Shut up, senpai."

The funny feeling in his stomach grew as he watched her place the candles on the cake. When she turned off the lights and the only way he could see her face was with the help of the flames from the candles she was lighting, his heart couldn't seem to stop pounding. When she started singing that silly birthday song, he broke into the biggest grin ever.

She was absolutely breathtaking.

As she finished the song, he rounded the counter and stood next to her.

"...to you ~ Kakashi! Blow out the—"

He hooked his finger on his mask and dragged it down. Sakura didn't have time to marvel at his features before he blew out the candles, leaving the both of them lost in the darkness.

She fumbled in the dark for a split second before Kakashi's arms came around and steadied her. Her words of gratitude were swallowed by the lips that pressed against her own. She froze up, too stunned to move. She couldn't seem to conjure any thoughts at the moment.

Neither could Kakashi. He dreamt about kissing her for years. He would imagine all sorts of scenarios, ranging from innocent to scenes that would be found in the Icha Icha series. He was willing to wait until she reciprocated any of his feelings. But seeing her tonight, seeing her willingly spoil him even in her exhausted state, made his emotions flare.

He felt her hands slowly reach for his face. Her touch was uncertain. She rubbed a thumb across his cheek and touched her fingers to his forehead protector. When he felt her pull away, he grabbed her hand and placed it on his chest. He broke the kiss, searching for her eyes in the dark. He saw the green glint and knew she was looking at him.

"I can't put it into words." He pressed her hand tighter to his chest, hoping she could feel how fast his heart was beating.

He hoped she could tell that it was her fault.

"I can't find the words to tell you how I feel." He continued. "Because 'I love you' just isn't enough."

He heard a small gasp escape her lips.

"Sakura." He said her name, in hopes that she understood.

'I love you' just wasn't enough. When words failed, he turned to actions.

"I admire you." He kissed her cheeks. "I think you're amazing." He kissed her forehead. "You're the most stubborn woman I have ever met."

"Wha—?!" Her words were cut off by a quick kiss to the lips.

"I love you," he told her. She went rigid.

"Kakashi... I can't—"

"You can."

"I can't. The last person I loved—he, he disappeared." She was starting to grow frantic.

"I won't go anywhere."

She pulled away then.

"I can't love you."

If it were possible, he was sure he could hear his heart—whatever was left of it—break. It wasn't as though he hadn't thought of the possibility of her rejecting him. It was just that he wasn't prepared for the way his stomach had dropped.

"You can't or you won't?"

When she answered, it was the most painful thing.

"How can you love somebody when your heart belongs to someone else?"


Kakashi didn't know how many weeks had passed since the night of his birthday. He didn't know how many missions he took to keep himself occupied and distracted from the thoughts that seemed to haunt him every time he laid his head down. When Yamato questioned his behavior, Kakashi was able to pass it off. When Naruto noticed his ex-student's flippant attitude, the man reprimanded the copy-cat ninja but didn't really push the subject. The last time he tried to pry something out of Kakashi, Naruto ended up with a chidori burn on his stomach.

In that amount of time, he hadn't seen Sakura once. He hadn't visited her office. He hadn't dropped by after hours to lounge around in her apartment. When he spotted her in the streets, he disappeared before they could cross paths. If she noticed, she hadn't said a thing. At times, Kakashi would catch glimpses of her pink head when he hung around rooftops and treetops. She was the same, if not a little robotic.

He hated that the lack of his presence didn't seem to bother her.

Hell, if she wanted to pretend that he didn't exist, he was going to remind her of reality.

He would drop by two nights from today. He would come back from his mission and tell her again. He would remind her that he was very much alive.

Too bad the world seemed to be against him.


"Are you out of your mind?"

The first thing she said to him after almost two months of not seeing him was that.

"What were you thinking? Charging in like that without Naruto's help?"

He didn't respond. But she didn't need him to.

"You even left behind Yamato in your fit of insanity! What happened to 'those who abandon their friends are scum'?!"

He gritted his teeth. "I didn't abandon him."

"Then what the hell were you thinking running off like that?" She slammed her hand on his bed.

"I was thinking of killing the enemy!"

"At the cost of your life?!"

Everything was quiet in his room. His injuries had been grave, but after a lot of convincing—and complaining—he was finally discharged. But he was ordered by Tsunade-sama to stay in bed for the next two weeks. He was on leave and Kakashi wondered how badly he would be punished for stashing all of the Hokage's sake in a place where no one knew. But then he wondered if death at the hands of a sober and angry Tsunade was worth it.

Her features softened. "I'm sorry... I shouldn't have to yell at you." She took a deep breath. "It's just...I-I can't lose someone else."

Her unshed tears made her green eyes sparkle. Kakashi was fighting an internal battle, stuck between wiping away those dewdrops or watching how lovely they made her.

"What am I to you, senpai?" He had to ask.

Seemingly caught off-guard by his question, she answered, "A...friend."

"Is that all?"

He started to remember what Ino-senpai told him when he passed by her and her teammates at Ichiraku's. Sakura had been asking about him. Albeit, she asked more about his health and his missions, but he knew it was her way of wondering how he was doing and why he hadn't been in the village for more than a day. Ino scolded him, asking why he wasn't dropping in to let his old sensei know that he was still alive and shamelessly reading his smut around town.

His response was a wave of his hand and a quick walk before she could bite his head off further. If he thought Sakura was hard to handle, Ino was on a different scale.

"You're a friend. A comrade and my student."

"I'm asking what I am to you, not the labels you feel are appropriate to place on me." Kakashi sighed.

"I...you're..." She couldn't think of what to say. She looked at him with widened and confused eyes.

Why does she look so betrayed?

"Sakura." She flinched when he called her name.

"You're someone extremely important to me..." She whispered.

"Just that?" He asked her in a voice as low as hers.

She nodded. She knew what he was talking about. She knew he knew that there was something else she wasn't telling him.

"He died."

His expression didn't change. The tears that threatened to fall glistened around the corners of her eyes. He was impressed that she hadn't let even one drop. The strange urge to lick them overwhelmed him, but in his condition, Kakashi could barely move a limb.

"He was the first man that I fell in love with. He was the first man that I dedicated my everything to." She wiped angrily at her eyes. "He was a douchebag—Naruto's words, not mine. But I still fell for him." She laughed bitterly.

He gritted his teeth. He wasn't sure why she was telling him this. Especially not when she was hurting.

"He was an asshole. But he went through a lot and it broke him. I'm not saying that gave him an excuse to act the way he did!" She raised her hands up when Kakashi gave her a look. He imagined his ex-mentor Naruto and how the man was a shining ray of light, even if he had the darkest past and the heaviest burden.

As if she could've read his thoughts, she smiled. "He wasn't like Naruto. He wasn't like him in any way possible...but their bond was unbreakable."

She told him how Naruto managed to annoy this man more than Sakura, herself. She spoke of him with sad eyes; told him how much she loved him with a regretful gleam; and explained that in the end, he loved her back but didn't know how to give her the love she needed and deserved. Kakashi knew she was clueless of what her emotions were doing cause at this point she was crying. Her tears wet the side of his bed, and he kept his eyes trained on the tiny, wet splotches that covered his mattress.

It was Sasuke Uchiha. Kakashi held his breath when he heard the last name.

Uchiha.

Of course he heard of the ninja. None of the things he heard were particularly good. Running away from Konoha, turning rogue and threatening to burn the village weren't things to put on one's resume. Of course, when these things happened, Kakashi wasn't alive to witness them. He had heard about the Uchiha massacre. Thankfully, Obito was spared because his parents were away on business in Suna, leading to everyone believing Sasuke was the last survivor.

Sadly, Kakashi's friend still died young.

Much like Obito, Sasuke died on a mission. Both Sakura and Naruto didn't believe the news at first. When his forehead protector was brought back, they still had hopes the ninja was just missing. But when his body was brought back two days after his forehead protector, hell broke loose. Sakura broke down completely and Naruto would've went rampant, wanting to search for his best friend's murderer, if Jiraiya and Tsunade didn't stop him.

Kakashi remembered seeing the blond stalk around the village, some days with anger emanating from his being, other days with nothing reflected in his eyes. He remembered the day he was assigned to Uzumaki Naruto's genin team. Life had returned to those blue eyes and the man boisterously introduced himself to the new faces.

He then remembered the day he first met Haruno Sakura. Their team had been at the training grounds when Naruto suddenly stopped and dashed away from a spar with Obito. When they looked to where he had gone off, the first thing Kakashi noticed was pink. The second thing he noticed were the person's long legs. As she walked closer, he noticed two beautiful emerald orbs. He hadn't noticed he'd been staring until Rin waved a hand in front of his face.

They went back to their spar, Obito eventually joining them since his partner was preoccupied. His focus wasn't completely on their training, and his eyes kept darting back and forth to the pink-haired kunoichi talking to his sensei. Kakashi saw her hand Naruto a lunchbox before turning to where he was. She gave a tiny wave and left.

"Did you ever love Naruto?"

Her mouth dropped open before he had the chance to retract his question.

"Well?" He was being demanding, but he wanted answers to questions he's been asking himself.

"Yes. And I still do."

A flash of red crossed his vision before he blinked it away. Was that the man that had her heart? If it were true, could he be so selfish as to take her away from his ex-sensei who he knew loved her just as much, if not more?

"But it's not the love you think." She continued.

Kakashi looked at her, partially confused and partially asking her to continue. Instead, she shook her head and laid her hand on his.

"He's not the one that has my heart."

"Then who does? The Uchiha?"

A flash of pain crossed her features.

"You need to rest. I'll check up on you tomorrow morning."

He didn't want her to go. But in his condition, there was no way he could've stopped her. He knew once she decided something, it would be hard to change her mind.

Sakura smoothed her black skirt as she stood up. "Be a good boy and rest, will you?"

"...I'm not a boy." He mumbled. She chuckled in response.

Not until she had closed his door did she whisper to herself.

"I know..."


The first thing he did was head to the library. He breezed past the various jōnin and chūnin scanning through books and scrolls. He paid no mind to some of the 'hello's and nods aimed at him.

A silver and navy blur could be seen as he quickened his steps at the deepest sections of the spacious library.

Target locked.

Kakashi reached a gloved hand out and tugged on the unsuspecting arm. A chakra-laden fist threatened to connect to his jaw if he hadn't caught it by the wrist. He pushed his weight onto the slender body in front of him and fisted the long strands of hair that hung loose.

Without warning, he pressed his masked lips to the rosy-pink ones in front of him. A small whimper escaped his companion's throat before he felt nails digging into his bicep. He released her mouth, pulled down his mask and resumed his attack. His hand made its way to the small of her back and pulled her body flushed against his. He sang at the contact. To his shocked pleasure, she did too.

Kakashi trailed his tongue along her bottom lip, begging for entrance. When she parted her mouth—with surprisingly no hesitation—he slipped in. His tongue explored her sweetness and intertwined with hers. His senses were becoming numb. She was a drug that he fell victim to and damn.

He did not care one bit that he was getting addicted.

He bit and sucked on her bottom lip. His action elicited a groan from her. He watched as her eyes opened to reveal the color that he loved so much.

Her green eyes were hazy with lust. The heat in his stomach was growing the longer he stared into them.

"Ino-senpai told me," he said.

"She can't ever keep a secret, can she?"

"I'm glad she can't," he whispered into her ear. He felt her shaking at the hot breath of air he had let out.

Just moments ago, he had ran into Ino and her team. They had just came back from a mission when Kakashi had the misfortune of running into the boisterous blonde (no, not Naruto).

"Kakashi!"

"Hello, Ino-senpai."

"You baka!"

He didn't know why, but he didn't stop her fist from connecting with his head.

"You stupid, stupid boy!"

He frowned as he rubbed the sore spot. Why did everyone insist on calling him a boy? He was an adult, for Kami's sake!

"You know, for a genius, you're pretty slow." She folded her arms across her chest.

Kakashi gave a glance towards Asuma, but the man just shrugged. It was obvious he didn't want to get into whatever was happening.

"Why aren't you trying harder?!"

Her questioned left him perturbed. If it was about a mission, he was ready to tell her that he had a 99% success rate.

"I'm not talking about missions, Kakashi." It was like she was reading his mind. "I'm talking about Sakura."

His posture straightened at the name of his ex-sensei. He hadn't seen or spoken to the pink-haired medic since that day at the hospital. He wasn't awake when she went to check up on him the next morning. He suspected she preferred it that way. It wasn't that he didn't try, it was more that she tried harder to avoid him.

That had been two weeks ago.

Instead of retorting to the irate blonde, he listened to her. Kakashi didn't want to make a scene by arguing back with the older woman. He also felt like he deserved whatever it was that she was berating him for.

"You haven't tried hard enough, have you?"

Well, he was planning on not talking back. But this was becoming increasingly hard.

"With all due respect, Ino-senpai..." he started. He placed his hands inside his pockets. "You don't know how hard I've tried."

Something in his expression made those teal eyes softened. She waved a hand at her team to dismiss them. Asuma shot one last glance at his silver-haired friend before leaping off after his teammates. Ino gestured for Kakashi to follow her, and he did albeit a little unwillingly.

They sat down and ordered two cups of tea at her favorite tea house. If Kakashi remembered correctly, this was Sakura's favorite tea house also. He supposed that best friends shared similar tastes and likes.

Kami knows why when those two women almost always argued with each other.

Ino waited for him to take a sip from his cup before speaking.

"Have you told her how you felt?"

He stared into the liquid content of his cup. "Yes."

He heard her sigh. "That stubborn woman..."

He didn't say anything, but she knew that he agreed with her statement. The pink-haired woman's stubbornness and hotheadedness matched that of her mentor's. Tsunade-sama had always scared him. Now he understood why Sakura scared him at times too.

Why were beautiful women so damn scary?

"Listen up, Kakashi." The blonde leaned forward and fixed her intense gaze onto him. "You need to attack. Go on the offense. You need to break her barrier because she's had it up for far too long."

Kakashi wasn't sure why he was having this conversation with her. He had only been on a few missions with Ino, but even then he never held a conversation with her. The only time he could recall them ever talking was when she told him about Uchiha Sasuke's death anniversary. He just couldn't find it in him to actually walk away. "I don't think she wants those barriers down, Ino-senpai."

Ino gave him a sad smile before drinking from her own cup. "If you've seen what she's seen, would you let yours down easily either?"

He had no response, because he understood perfectly. Flashes of Obito and Rin flew by inside his head.

"She loves someone else." The words were spatted out as though they were poison.

"Is that what she told you?" Her eyes held a certain playfulness behind them all of a sudden.

The smirk at his reaction was all she gave him. It was all he needed.

So no, Ino didn't really tell him. He just drew his own conclusions from what she did tell him. To confirm the assumption–and his budding hope–he had tracked her down and decided to be as forward as he could be.

Kakashi was obviously pleasantly surprised that he was right.

The silver-haired man gripped her thighs and lifted her up. He slammed her against the wall between two bookshelves. The books rattled, but he could hardly care less when the woman he'd been wanting for so long was finally responding to his advances.

Kakashi felt her wrap her toned legs around his waist and pulled him closer. He groaned as his erection pressed against her hot core. He was thankful that she always wore a skirt. That made things a lot easier for him.

Sakura shuddered as she felt something hard press against her. It had been far too long since she felt this excited and any stimulation from her silver-haired ex-student was sending her over the edge.

His tongue danced with hers as he grind his hips into her. He felt her shiver and wrapped her arms tighter around his neck. His lips trailed to her neck and he licked her skin before sucking on the tender flesh.

"Kaka—" she groaned out his name in broken syllables.

"Fuck," he murmured into the side of her neck. She felt so good. The more she rubbed against him, the hotter his body became.

He kissed her again. Kakashi gripped her ass before trailing one hand underneath her skirt. His fingers found the edges of her lacy panties. He paused to appreciate them before tugging hard. She yelped into his mouth as the fabric came undone and broken, now hanging off one leg. She gave him a disapproving frown.

"Those were expensive," she complained.

"I'll buy you new ones." And she seem placated by his words. He wasn't lying; the idea of buying her new underwear turned him on. He was wondering if he could get her to wear something skimpy he saw earlier in the week when he was window shopping with Yamato.

"I'll hold you to that," she whispered against his lips before pressing hers to his again.

Sakura gasped when she felt a hand rub against her sex. An electrifying shock shot through her body as Kakashi continued to run his fingers up and down her folds.

"Fuck, Sakura." He shuddered. "You're so wet."

She whimpered when he placed one finger in. Slowly, he started to pump her. She moaned into his ear when he entered another digit. The wet sounds of him fingering her made her core tighten even more. She watched as his eye darkened even further from watching her unravel from just his hand. Kakashi curled his fingers, hoping to hit her sweet spot. It did the trick, within the next seconds her pupils dilated and her hands pulled at his hair. She was begging for release and he would give it to her. He rubbed her clit in a circular motion, sending her off the edge. The knot in her stomach began to uncoil as she squeezed her eyes shut, all of a sudden too overwhelmed by the sensations she was feeling.

When she finally opened her eyes and blinked the white spots away, she noticed that they were no longer in the library. She glanced around to see that she was now laying on a bed. A picture of Team 7 and Naruto's early genin team perched on the table next to the bed.

Sakura suddenly felt chills. She glanced in the direction she felt the feeling from and immediately shuddered when her eyes met Kakashi's mismatched ones. He looked at her predatorily and lustfully. Sakura clenched her thighs together in hopes of taming the heat once again building in her lower stomach. He saw the movement and his eyes seemed to narrow further.

It took her a moment to notice that the man was shirtless. Her eyes trailed greedily over his toned abs and muscles. Kami, he was going to be the death of her. Kakashi moved to hover over her on the bed. Sakura suddenly felt quite small, her former student's body now loomed over her and was able to encase her own petite form fully.

He gave her a small smile, and she was immediately comforted by the eyes that she knew so well. Sakura pulled him down and met his lips with hers. She shivered when she felt him pressed against her once again. He slowly ground his hips against hers, eliciting a moan from the back of her throat. He reciprocated with a groan of his own.

He pulled down her skirt and snapped the remaining fabric of her underwear. She hastily unbuckled his belt and pulled down the zipper of his pants. He groaned when she cupped him through the fabric of his boxer-briefs. Slowly, she began to move her hand. Kakashi shut his eyes at the pleasure that shot down his spine. She wasn't even touching him directly, yet he wanted to cum right then and there.

He pushed up her shirt and unclasped her bra. Kakashi paused to appreciate the view before taking one of her perky nipples into his mouth. The action caused her to grip him a little harder, and he had to pull away before he could finish.

"Wait—I won't last if..." he stopped speaking. A hiss escaped when he felt her hands taking him out of the restrains of his underwear and gripped him directly. He froze, the pleasure shot through his body and he was afraid that if he moved, he would be finished. The glimmer in her green eyes told him she knew. The mind was trying to get him to finish.

He couldn't have that. He wanted to be inside of her when he did.

So instead of letting her pump him to his blissful death, he flipped her over and pulled her by her hips. She squealed as her face hit the pillow and her ass hung in the air. Kakashi inserted his digit without warning, smiling smugly at the way she shuddered from his finger. He inserted another and started moving quickly. By the way she was shaking, he could tell Sakura was about to reach her climax.

"Kakashi..." she moaned out. "Please, Kaka—ah!"

He inserted another finger into her, marveling at how wet and ready she was for him. "What is it, Sakura?" he asked huskily. He needed her to say it. He wanted to hear the words tumble from her mouth.

"I need—" she bit her lip.

Kakashi curled his fingers and she screamed in ecstasy. "What is it that you need?"

"I need you!" she screamed into the pillow.

"You need me? What part of me?"

He had to chuckle when she turned around and gave him a cold glare. All it did was turn him on even more.

"I ..." she muffled into his pillow. The blush on her face now spread to her neck. Kakashi tangled his free hand into her hair and pulled.

"I couldn't hear you."

She bit her lip, swelling them even more than they already were. His fingers almost left her completely and she cried out.

"I need your dick!"

He needed to hear nothing else before he twirled her again on the bed. He watched her widening green eyes as he plunged himself deep into her. Kakashi felt his eyes roll to the back of his head. He couldn't move, not when he was so enveloped in her warmth. For a moment, he listened to his and his companion's unsteady breathing. When he managed to open his eyes, he found Sakura's green ones looking up at him. He saw unadulterated lust and pure desire behind those hazy eyes.

When Kakashi was sure she had adjusted to his length, he pulled out. She bit her bottom lip when he pushed back in. He kept the pace agonizingly slow, to feel her and to memorize every detail of her expression as he moved inside of her. He held both arms on either side of her head, steadying himself as he watched and ingrained the sight of them joining.

Sakura watched as his facial features became more tense. He was trying to hold himself back but Sakura was quickly becoming impatient. She needed him and she needed him now. She needed him to fuck her until she couldn't walk the next morning.

"Kakashi." He turned at the sound of his name. She wouldn't be able to take this any longer. With two arms on his shoulders, she pushed him back. Where she got her sudden nerve from, she didn't know.

Oh. Probably from not getting laid in years.

"Sa—what're you—" he gasped at their new position. She straddled him with her legs. Sakura steadied herself with her palms on his bare chest. She pulled her hips up, so that only the tip of his penis was in. She watched him as she quickly plunged herself down, letting out a shuddered sigh as she did so. She pulled out again and repeated the motion.

Kakashi gripped her waist and dug his nails into her skin. He watched as her pink hair bobbed up and down when she moved. Heat was building up fast and he wasn't sure how long he could hold on when she was bouncing on top of him like that. He met her movement with his own thrusts, hitting her deep and eliciting a deep moan from the woman. The sound of their skin slapping together was music to his ears.

She could feel herself reaching her peak. Sakura closed her eyes and fumbled in the dark until Kakashi grabbed her hands. That was all she needed: his warmth and the safe feeling he gave her, to finally push her over the edge.

Kakashi pulled her down for a deep kiss. He kept moving and relished in the way her breasts felt as they rubbed against his chest. Kisses became sloppy as their breaths grew more ragged. She looked at him, and he swore he had never seen a more brilliant shade of green in his life.

"Come with me, Sakura."

His hot breath fanned her ear and she shuddered. With a few more thrusts, she cried out. A gasp tore through him as he felt her walls clench down on his member. He pounded into her one more time before he succumbed to his own climax. He gripped her hips, hard enough to leave hand marks and bruise her creamy skin. She shivered when she felt his member pulse inside of her. Kakashi continued to grind into the petite woman as they rode out their orgasms.

When they were done, Sakura laid on top of him breathing softly. He listened to her steady breaths before gently sliding out of her and rolling her onto the mattress. She was probably exhausted lately, having to pull too many shifts at the hospital and training the new team of field medics. Kakashi brushed away a damp strand of pink hair from her face and pulled his blanket over her. He slid off the bed, but before he could walk away, a hand grabbed onto him.

"Where are you going?" She was staring up at him with large eyes. He could see the fear and uncertainty swimming in them. But the emotions left as quickly as his reply came.

"The bathroom."

Embarrassed, she blushed and pulled her hand away. He reached down to kiss her forehead before retreating to the bathroom. He shut the door behind him and leaned against the wooden frame. Kakashi ran a trembling hand through his silver mane and let out a sigh. Was it real? Was it a genjutsu? It felt real. It felt more real than he ever thought it could feel. He allowed himself a few more minutes of composure before deciding that he was done overthinking.

When he returned to the bedroom, he looked at her sleeping form. Her back was turned to him and the blanket was hanging around her hips. He could see all the dips and curves of her body — the very body that he spent the last hour exploring.

Sakura stirred just as his knee hit the mattress. Kakashi settled himself closer to her and pulled her body flushed to his. He kissed her shoulder before nuzzling into her neck. He smiled when she giggled.

"I love you," he whispered before he could stop himself.

She froze in his arms and he was afraid he had said the wrong thing and ruined everything. But when she intertwined her fingers with his and brought it to her lips to kiss each fingertip before kissing his palm, he felt the pressure lift from his heart.

"I love you too."

He couldn't believe his ears. He stayed still, afraid that if he were to move even a finger, she would disappear and everything would turned out to have been a dream.

"Say it again," he told her.

And she did. "I love you, Kakashi."

Sakura turned around to face him. She cupped both of his cheeks and kissed him gently. "I'm real. This is real." She ran a thumb across his face. He didn't realized he was crying until she wiped away a tear. "I love you," she repeated.

"I thought you loved someone else."

"I do. But that doesn't mean I don't love you too." She waited for him to process what she had just said. She waited until he gave her a look that said he understood.

He did.

He knew that it would be hard to forget your first. He knew that because it was Sakura and because she loved wholeheartedly, it would be a while before she was able to love someone else like she did her last. He was patient enough to wait for her, to wait until she was able to open up to him and let him in. He figured Ino was right, he had to push her harder because if he didn't, they wouldn't have been here.

"It took me a while to realize, and it took me even longer to admit it," she told him as she traced his jawline delicately with her fingers. "I was afraid. I was afraid that if I fell for you, I would lose you too. I was selfish because I didn't want to experience something so painful as loving someone, waiting for someone to come back knowing that each mission they take could be their last. I was afraid... because I love you."

He wasn't sure how long he had waited for her to say those three words to him. He wasn't sure how much he needed to hear them from her until now. He wrapped the blanket around them and she wrapped her arms around his body, enveloping him with her warmth. He started to doze off when he suddenly remembered.

"What am I gonna say to Naruto-senpai?"

He heard her chuckle before patting his chest.

"Good luck with training tomorrow."

Kakashi sighed. He decided he would worry about the blond's reaction when tomorrow comes. For now, all he wanted to do was fall asleep with the petal-haired woman in his arms.

Everything else be damned.