Inner Turmoil

Sakura waited with Naruto for Kakashi. He was always late. She smiled as she shook her head and sighed.

"It's been 20 minutes now! He's never this late." Naruto groaned, his impatience more than apparent.

She nodded in agreement, but said nothing.

"Hey… Sakura." He remembered something Hinata had told him. Her teal eyes turned to face him. "Hinata mentioned something to me, and don't be mad at her, because I'm happy for you!" He beamed suddenly and she raised an eyebrow.

The messy head blonde looked around them before speaking and even kept a hushed tone. "She told me that you and Kakashi… Had a moment, you could say." He giggled mischievously at the finish of his statement.

Sakura's heart sank at the reminder. "I guess you could call it that…" She sighed. "We were drunk. He cut it off before it got…" She turned away as her cheeks tinted pink at the memories surfacing in her mind.

"I've seen the way you look at him lately, Sakura." Naruto's voice was tender, and he placed a hand over hers on the bar of Ichiraku's. "And don't fool yourself into thinking it was just lust. Kakashi may be a closet pervert, but he'd never hurt you."

Sakura looked up at Naruto sky blue eyes, which were filled with seriousness. "Thank you, Naruto."

"You should tell him. He'll never tell you how he feels first. Especially with how closed off he is…" Naruto laughed. "And don't forget, it would probably be considered scandalous. A former sensei developing feelings for one of his students he taught who is 14 years younger than himself."

Sakura's face only darkened in the now cherry tint, but remembered the comfortableness the other jounin seemed to have that night. "I don't think it seems as scandalous to at least other ninja…" She said quietly, and then told the whole story of that night to him.

"Sakura, go find him. Really! You shouldn't give up before it even starts! I'm gonna go find Hinata. She's probably training with Hanabi!" His eyes lit up at the thought of her.

"Wait… Does it even shock you? At all? And today is the day Sasuke left, of all days to think about this..."

"Sakura, it makes me happy to see you finally able to move on. It will hurt us forever, but we have to stop letting it stop our lives, you know?" He grinned sadly. "I still will get him to come back one day because he's our best friend. But that won't change because your feelings have."

She nodded. "I guess you're right."

"And besides, if there's anyone I would ever believe you're safe with, its our old, porn reading sensei!" And with that he strode off toward the Hyuuga complex.

She walked through the village, having a decent idea where she would find Kakashi, especially on a day like today.

Her stomach twisted with nervousness. Ever since he touched her with such need, and expressed such… Protectiveness, but also possessiveness over her, the thought of him gave her butterflies. She's had feelings for him for awhile now. She knew she loved him, but really, never thought he would love her. Some of the reasons Naruto brought up rang through her mind. Did the age really matter if she was an adult now, twenty years old? She'd been a ninja for seven years.

Even though Kakashi was closed off and flippant; Indifferent most times, they had moments where he was tender towards her. And he had saved her from Sasuke. The memory caused an ache in her chest, all those motions happening so fast around her. Mixed feelings bubbling up, regret she hesitated. Regret she even thought of killing him. Grateful Kakashi had been there. Her heart swelled at the fact that he had followed her, knowing her well enough to know what she had been doing.

She looked up at the sky and smiled at how beautiful it was. She was coming onto the memorial now, and she could see the silhouette of the man she loved so much now, but was scared of being rejected. Seeing him, it seemed impossible to even start the conversation of that night. They had been going on like it never happened. She was glad he didn't distance himself, but she hated that it was almost forgotten. Did he wish for her touch at night like she wished for his?

Approaching him, but not close enough to be sensed just yet, she stopped to stare at the somber man, his head hung low. She found him like that near the memorial stone often.

The sun was becoming visible along the horizon, reminding her it was a shock Naruto had even woke up for such an early breakfast. The sky was swirling with orange, blue, and pink hues. A breeze came and went, just light enough to rustle his clothing. It was a beautiful scene, stark in comparison to figure of silver haired nin standing within it.

I should've done something more for Sasuke, I was supposed to help him.

Silver strands fell loosely around the seasoned ninja's hitai-ate as his gaze fell from the sky and back to the memorial stone. It stood there as it always did, solemn and low. Too many of his own already engraved into the black rock, the reason he came here in all of his free time. How long before the list grows? Will his name be there before his younger genin he trained? If that's what he wants to call it, anyway. Will it be his fault that their names are there?

"What have I actually done for them?" He scoffed out loud. "Can they really defend themselves from Sasuke if they had to?"

I failed them, just like Rin and Obito.

The copy nin gently ran his hand across those two names on the memorial stone. His eyes slid close as he grieved once more silently, feeling the survivor's guilt all over again. The guilt of not being able to love her like Obito had loved Rin; like Rin had loved himself. No matter how many times he came here to make sure at least someone remembers them, it never went away. He sat staring at the memorial stone forever; Only time knows how much time he has spent in this spot.

This pain never goes away, it only dulls. It worsens, having a set of guilt for each person in his life.

What of Naruto? Sometimes I wonder if they purposely put the son of the fourth hokage on the team of his student. However, he has run off, and found a different sensei. Little to the young ninja's knowledge, he was taught his own father's jutsu, by his father's sensei, that Jiraiya. It's kind of beautiful, but shadowed in sadness. His shoulders hunched over. Maybe it's more fitting, considering how much they have in common. But he got through to Naruto better. My own sensei, his father. What would he think of me? Barely able to get them to even work together as genin, let alone giving them any new skills. I taught Sasuke one jutsu and he tried to use it on a comrade, his own teammate.

He scoffed. "They had been doing so well until those days during their chunin exams, that stupid curse mark from Orochimaru. All those missions, I really thought they had finally learned to be a team." He mused aloud somberly. "But Sasuke… His pride and revenge were still too much. One taste of power, and that was it took to remind him. Not to mention that encounter he had with Itachi going after the Nine Tails, and shrugging him off..."

And as for Sakura… He looked up at the trees, her own namesake blooming at this time of year. He shook his head. He taught her nothing really. He had tried to offer her comfort in those times, but after Sasuke was gone, she had known things weren't going to be okay. And he wasn't exactly good at comfort anyway. But that was when she really started to grow. After those five came back, all nearly dead besides that Nara kid from Asuma's squad, something in her changed, and she stopped being helpless. She always had the knowledge and the chakra control especially, but she was still a typical girl until then.

She went under the wing of the fifth hokage, soon becoming one of Konoha's strongest medic nin, and not just in her chakra. That girl packs a punch these days and he was glad he was never the one in front of it, apart from the second bell test. None of those skills were by his doing however. Offhandedly, the thought of her brought on a more recent memory, one with a tad of shame and regret, as well as longing but he tried to shake it away. He couldn't think of that right now, there was enough things to torture his conscience in front of him on a black stone.

But those thoughts addled his mind still. The feel of her in his arms, so intimately. He refused to drink since that night a couple weeks ago. Stupid, stupid, how could he have let that happen. However, it seemed like it hadn't changed things between them, and he was beyond grateful. He couldn't imagine losing her, even though he really kept her at arms length, just barely letting her graze the surface of his guard.

The thought of losing her, of her rejection, is what kept him from exposing that he had some kind of affection for her. Not to mention the shame that really came with it. She was so young compared to him, and so innocent still. She had seen some, but nothing like the darkness he had. And… For goodness sake, he used to be her sensei. The inappropriateness, even if neither her nor Naruto had referred to him as such for some time to mention her heart is our for Sasuke, even aftet everything he was sure that hadn't changed. He shook his head of all thoughts related to feeling anything besides camaraderie or friendship for the pink haired kunoichi. Besides, really he'd already failed her, nor he or Naruto have been successful in bringing back the man she loves so much…

The pain felt fresh as ever, but really it had been five years ago that Sasuke left. The ninja who were genin at the time, are now all roughly 19 or 20. He still held the burden, feeling it was his fault. He remembered the talk they had, having tied Sasuke to a tree with wire. He really thought he had gotten through to him that night. He should have watched him more closely. He should have been there when he was leaving instead of Sakura. He should have went after him before it was too late. He should have been there for Naruto and Sakura after everything.

His thoughts stood still as he continued to look at the names on the stone. He was always filled with regret, for those living and dead. For such a strong, infamous ninja, he had lost so much, made so many mistakes. Like killing Run with his own chidori, granted it was really suicide, he'll never forget his own jutsu killed his best friend, after promising the Uchiha to take care of her. Like teaching Sasuke the chidori jutsu. Neglecting Sakura and Naruto during the days of Team Seven. For favoring him. He felt he had been a joke of sensei.

Naruto and Sakura never blamed him for Sasuke the way he blames himself. But he blamed himself for everything didn't he?

Just then, he sensed someone's presence, interrupting his reverie. He didn't bother to look behind him. The soft steps told him exactly who it was, as well as the soft scent of jasmine being carried on the breeze. She often knew where to find him, of course really anyone did.

She was closer now, just behind him at his left side. She delicately placed her right palm on his left shoulder, her slender finger tips gripping the fabrics of his vest.

"Kakashi, you missed breakfast…" The feminine voice rang in his ears as he saw pink strands blow into his view.

He slowly raised his right hand to lay over her left. This kind of touch was normal for them, even as it was platonic, or so they told themselves. But this time he wanted more than that. He wanted her close to him, in his arms. "I know…" He sighed.

Lifting his head to look at the aqua hues filled with concern, he gently squeezed her hand. "Today is the day he left…"

"I know…" She squeezed his hand back. "We all know. But it wasn't your fault. He won't stop, not until he kills Itachi… Not until he feels like he has avenged his family." He still kept silent.

Sakura's mind wandered a bit then. She was really trying to get the courage to tell a different man that she loved him, on the day the man she used to love had left her. She shook her head, there was nothing wrong with moving on, this day didn't change anything for Sasuke, so why should it for her…

She watched Kakashi closely for a moment. He looked haunted, like he normally did when she found him here, if she could find anything emotion that wasn't hidden by his mask. But over the years you learn how to find it other ways, like the way his hair is hanging off to the side instead of spiked upwards, or how he looks at the ground and the cheery sarcasm is gone.

She shifted her gaze to the names on the memorial now. She only knew the third hokage and her teammate's mentor, Jiraiya. Her heart clenched for the hokage, and then for Jiraiya who everyone held dear, especially Naruto and Tsunade. She was thankful in that moment to still have Kakashi, Iruka, and Tsunade alive. She recognized other names, such as the fourth hokage, Naruto's father.

"Do you think they're disappointed in me…?" Kakashi spoke softly now.

She glanced at him a moment, taken aback by the question. He never opened up like this. It was sort of odd, but she smiled slightly. How could anyone ever be disappointed in him, the great Copy Ninja, son of the White Fang, who has copied over a thousand jutsu, and saved many lives including her own.

"No, I don't. There's nothing you've done they could look down on." She chuckled a tiny bit. "Except for maybe those dirty little books you enjoy reading, however I'm sure Jiraiya would be far from disappointed."

His eye creased a bit at the mention of the orange binded books, now forever coveted for more than their content. He reached out his free hand, knowing exactly where the sage's name was engraved and grazed his fingertips over the writing.

"And before you say it, you never failed Naruto and I. You made us tough, and made us see past our judgements of each other. Or, rather my thoughts of how much an idiot he was. You made us learn to work together, as a team. So I believe the fourth, who was your sensei if I remember correctly, would be very proud of you."

Why was he talking about things? He never talked about things, he just buried it in his thoughts at the memorial. He moved away a moment. The pain resurfacing at the thought of being close with someone again, being able to experience more and more of that pain. But really, he wanted to be close with her. It should just so… Painful. Painful to let someone in, to let someone become worth enough to him to destroy him is they left or died…

What if she didn't want this? Or, nothing more than this rather? He couldn't lose her by scaring her away with his feelings... But she made it so easy to talk, to be him, she never expected anything else. She made it so easy to love her without realizing it before it was too late... Was it really worth the risk?

As he shuffled away, she watched him. He seemed closed back up, just as he usually was. Indifferent. Her hand felt cold now, where his touch had been. Something in her sank a little.

"How does your eye feel today?" She asked softly, changing the subject. She didn't want their interaction to end yet. She watched him closely, trying to read into what might be going through his mind, he almost looked scared as he backed off, but what could he have been scared of?

Kakashi turned his gaze back to her, dropping his hand from the stone. "It's felt better…" He admitted.

Her and Tsunade know of the pain he goes through daily from the sharingan, after the mission he overused it. It's gotten worse since then. It's more difficult to use it now. Tsunade had only just healed it, upon her direct order, last week. He hated hospitals. He even disliked being healed, the feeling of someone else's chakra seeming rather intimate in his opinion. He didn't feel his eye needed to be healed often, as it wasn't fixed, just relief. But Tsunade insisted that he needs to be at full capacity and that pain only wears down ninja over time. There was no arguing with the medic sannin. But whenever it was Sakura who offered the kind gesture, he never tried to argue. There was no point with arguing with her either, but he didn't mind the intimacy with her he supposed. Just one more he was slowly letting the walls down around her.

"Come on, let me heal it." Sakura urged, taking a step closer to him again.

"Let's go back to my place." He motioned around, noting the sun was fully up now, and daylight was out fully. "You know how the light causes discomfort to it…"

She nodded and they fell into step walking back to his apartment. The village went on about their daily lives, some gazing with respect at any passing ninja. It didn't take long to get to the jounin's small apartment. He shuffled for his keys and unlocked the bolt, the click being audible in the comfortable silence.

They had passed Asuma and Kurenai on the way. They watched with interest and she fought down the blush as her and Kurenai made eye contact, and the brown hair kunoichi smiled encouragingly at her. Oh no, they know… Of course they know. It wasn't like she hadn't been an open book that night! Asuma seemed to be watching Kakaski intently like he was trying to relay some sort of message, but he hadn't been looking at the dark haired man to notice. They passed on without further acknowledgement.

She'd seen his room a few times in the past. But not since a couple weeks ago, the memory causing her cheeks to flush slightly pink.

"Make yourself at home, I'll start some coffee." He strode inside with her following close behind.

She stepped inside and took in the surroundings once again. It was such a simple apartment. A kitchen and living room, only separated by the change of old worn tile or stringy red carpet on the floor. There was a faded loveseat in the middle of the living room, with a wooden coffee table placed in front of it. By the window on the far side of the living room, stood a short book shelf with his Icha-Icha novels as well as some other literature. On top of the shelf, two frames were poised, Team Minato and Team Seven. She strode over to them, taking the one of Team Seven in her hands, as she always did when she came here.

Her hair was still long here, Naruto and Sasuke on either of her with Kakashi behind them. The two boys were glaring at each other while she smiled happily. Kakashi has his signature eye crease, a hand on each of the boys' heads. She loved this picture so much, having her own copy at her house. Naruto had one too. Sometimes she wondered if Sasuke still had his somewhere. A sad smile spread across his lips.

Kakashi watched her intently. The pink haired kunoichi always went straight for that photo whenever she came to his place, the few times she had. Over the years, the way she stared at it would change.

She used to hold it so tight in her fingers, he feared the glass pane would break, and he slowly slid it from her grasp and set it back on the shelf. That was the first time he ever embraced her. She was 15. She sobbed into his shoulder. Naruto was there and he wrapped his arms around them as well. His face buried into her hair, and he could tell by the rise of the genin's shoulders, he had been crying with her. He whispered his promise to bring Sasuke back once again then. Kakashi was never the comforting type, but they seemed to just appreciate him being there. They were only supposed to be in his apartment a moment that day, he just wanted the next volume of his series. However, they stood there like that a long time in that moment.

She had looked at it haunted. When she was still in the shock of Sasuke trying to kill her, multiple times. He remembered that all too vividly, her being saved by team seven multiple times. But that had passed, and she now just held the picture with somber acceptance as she does now.

He walked over, two cups of coffee in his hands and sat on the couch, gently placing them on the coffee table. Hearing the cup land softly on the wood, she set the frame down. She moved to sit next to him on the loveseat, taking the warm cup between her fingers.

Memories, less tragic ones, slinked back to his consciousness. They were tinged with the effects of a little too much sake, and a tad of regret. Still since that night, he would still notice her even more than before. Even now, she had her long, toned legs crossed. Her medic skirt splayed about her thighs, the shorts under them tight to her skin. The curve of her lips around the rim of the coffee cup as she took a sip. The way her short hair just barely brushed her neck, which he remembered the skin there being soft and sweet tasting. Or becoming intoxicated by the scent of her jasmine perfume. He still remembers the touch of her slender fingers against his bare skin.

He hated that he noticed it, that he couldn't stop noticing it. It felt wrong, he had been her teacher just seven years ago, give or take. He was fourteen years older than her. Why didn't none of that stop him from noticing the way she licked the coffee off her lips? Or secretly love when she healed him, instead of Tsunade. He felt like a creep. Just added to the list of things he hated himself for…

"Are you ready?" She set the half empty cup of coffee down now. She had noticed his intense gaze, and it was a little unsettling.

"Hn." He shifted to face her, and slowly slid his headband off his head, exposing the sharingan that was stuck activated. He closed his blood red eye as she gently placed her hand over his eye, watching her with his charcoal one. He could sense the chakra building up in her palm, her hand started to glow with the aqua aura of her healing chakra. And the intimacy he felt as her chakra flowed into him, reminded him once again of the last time they were both on his couch, and he let it replay in his memory, chastising himself that he should have never thought about it again.

Her eyes slid closed as she concentrated on the damage she could repair. He instantly began to feel the relief, the tenseness in his shoulders relaxing somewhat. He was more than thankful for her in that moment.

As she finished her task, her mind wandered back to the way he had been gazing at her earlier. Her cheeks dusted pink once again, remembering that night. The protectiveness that it had started with, and the feel of his lips on hers that it ended with.

They never talked about it, and she had only ever told Hinata about it, until this morning when she told Naruto. Hinata was the only one who knew much of her personal things anymore, after becoming close when Naruto finally noticed the Hyuuga's affection for him. The memory was coming back to her vividly now.

That night had started out as just a night out with Ino, the blonde trying to distract herself from her broken heart, having found out that Shikamaru and Temari were together now. Ino ended up getting shit faced, and calling Choji crying. The Akimichi nin came to pick her up, holding her tightly as they left. It had made Sakura smile, thinking Ino was rather oblivious to the feelings everyone knew he had for her.

Sakura stayed at the club, sipping the warm sake. She was already here, may as well enjoy it right? She scanned for someone she might know. She didn't see anyone in eyesight, feeling too lazy to get up and check around the corner of the club, where she knew some jounin lounged there at times, she remained at the bar. She was fine, until some guy decided to pester her.

"I'm flattered, but not interested, sorry." She said dismissively.

"Oh, of course. The kunoichi always play hard to get." He wiggled his eyebrows. "I love a good game."

Sakura glared at him. "Get lost." She kept her voice a tad bit harsher than before, but she was getting nervous.

"Why? Because I'm not a shinobi? You think you're better than me?"

She straightened her shoulders. "No. I'm just simply here for a drink, and nothing else. Please, just leave me be." She stood from the bar, and began walking towards that jounin corner.

Maybe Anko or Kurenai are here tonight. They frequent here, usually with Gai, Asuma and Genma. Sometimes Kakashi is even with them.

Her heart fluttered at the thought of her former sensei. The feeling of safeness she had always felt around becoming something she needed at the moment. She picked her pace.

"You really think I'll let you get away so easily?" His voice sounded dark now, sending a nervous shiver up her spine.

"I said leave me alone!" She hissed at him, turning that corner and making eye contact with Kurenai, giving her pleading eyes. She rushed over to them, noticing the silver hair nin who faced away from her.

"How about you come with me?" His voice still sounded dark, low with intentions she wasn't welcome to.

The silver haired nin she so dearly wanted to be near turned his head slightly at the sound of that statement, she was just getting to the end of the sofa they were sititng at, a space next to him open. The man was close behind Sakura, trying to grasp her wrist. He could feel the trepidation radiating off of his former student.

"If you lay a finger on her, you're gonna find all ten incapable." Kakashi hissed out, taking another sip of his now third careen of sake. Sakura was just in arms reach, he slipped his arm around her waist and pulled her to sit in the empty space next to him, wrapping his arm around her possessively.

"Ah, so she's yours?"

None of the jounin said a word. Sakura pressed into his side, finding comfort in the protection, not caring how it was shown at this moment. She could smell the sake on his breath, just as much as she could taste it on hers.

"I told you to leave me alone." She spoke defiantly and laid her head on Kakashi's shoulder for good measure.

He scoffed and finally gave up on his pursuit.

Kakashi's arm didn't move from around her waist, nor did he shy away from their close proximity. She glanced up at him, the expression on his face unreadable.

"I'm glad you came this way, Sakura…" Kurenai said, breaking the silence.

She met the red eyed female's gaze and nodded. "I was at the bar. I came here with Ino…" She paused and moved her gaze to Asuma. "She's torn up about Shikamaru… But she drank too much and cried. Called Choji and he came right away to get her. I should have just left with them…" She took a deep breath, releasing the tension she had been holding in her body. "I came this way from the bar when he started bothering me, hoping at least one of you was here."

Genma chuckled. "Well, I'm always here, blossom." He winked, the senbon in his mouth bouncing with his flirtation.

"Oh yes, run from one creepy flirt into the arms of another! What a saviour you'd have been." Anko teased and hit Genma on the shoulder.

Sakura rolled her eyes and laughed, thankful for the other ninja.

She looked over at Kakashi once again, this time his exposed eye was on her, and she met his gaze. "Thank you, Kakashi."

He nodded, and his hand began to gently rub her hip ever so slightly. No one else seemed to notice. She didn't dare move. She suddenly realized she couldn't remember the last time she had been so… Close to someone else. She felt warm where his arm held around her form. She'd never been this close to him, being able to feel how solid his torso was or how rough his fingertips were against exposed skin. He smelled like the forest, which was kind of intoxicating. She was beginning to think maybe she also had too much to drink, despite her very sober feelings for him, she never dared to expose them.

Kakashi offered his careen, and she took just one more sip of the alcohol. She felt his gaze on her as she did so, and it made her feel hot all over.

Asuma watched them discreetly. Taking notice how they didn't move away to a more 'appropriate' distance once Sakura's assailant was gone. When was the last time Kakashi had a woman at his side? Sakura was the same age as Ino, looking just as much a woman as his beloved Kurenai now. Even he had noticed how attractive the kunoichi of the upcoming generation had become. He wondered if her former sensei did too, or if it was just the effect of the sake in his system. He chuckled to himself and looked over at Kurenai, who had a small smile playing on her lips.

"Feeling safer now, Sakura?" Genma said in a sultry voice.

Her eyes widened a moment. Of course she felt safer, what's he getting at? Thats not abnormal is it, or am I just obvious... Like always.

"Well, wouldn't you feel safe in Hatake's arms? I know I would…" Anko raised an eyebrow and Sakura cheeks grew hot with a blush. Genma just smirked.

So they do notice…

"Leave the girl alone. Anyone would feel safe in the presence of their sensei." Kurenai spoke matter of factly, though Sakura could tell she almost seemed to intentionally come to her rescue from further embarrassment.

Sakura was thankful for the comment but also embarrassed by it as she turned even more read and just hoped it wasn't too repulsive to have feelings for your sensei.

"Oh come on, what is it between your our age and your squads'? 13-14 years? That's not so bad in shinobi terms." Genma drawled out. Asuma laughed lightly at the remark.

Kurenai sighed but sent a reassuring look towards Sakura.

Kakashi didn't seem phased, his hand still gently rubbing her hip.

"I should probably get home soon…" Sakura mumbled to no one in particular. She stood, Kakashi's hand slipping away from her hip, and her body feeling cold from where his touch now vanished.

She took one step and stumbled, catching herself on the table between them all. She went to take another and her leg seemed to lose all its strength. Just as she realized she was falling, a strong arm wrapped around her waist tight and held her upright again.

She looked to see Kakashi, his eye was creased so he must have been smiling at her. Her heart thudded a little bit harder in her chest.

Did she really drink that much?

"How about I take you home?" Kakashi said with a deep tone she couldn't place.

"I'd appreciate that a lot…" She smiled timidly, somewhat embarrassed at her drunken state, among the fact that she was almost certain everyone knew she loved him now.

He gently picked her up, one arm around her back and the other tucked under her knees. She lazily wrapped her arms around his neck, resting her head on his shoulder. The man from earlier caught the sight and growled. "Not interested, huh?" He scoffed.

With the flick of his tongue, Genma sent his senbon in her assailant's direction, landing it right next to the man's drink on his table. His angry gaze met Genma's indifferent one.

"She wasn't interested in you. Hatake on the other hand…" He smiled widely now. "You never had a chance. And if it wouldn't have been him, it would have been me." He added snidely. Anko and the rest of the group laughed. "Kunoichi need men that are a challenge, and you're not even close to such a man. Too simple... And too creepy."

Sakura gazed up at Kakashi at Genma's words. She began to wonder what he looked like under that damned mask, wanting to know even more now than before. Her bet still ran that he was handsome under that pesky fabric. That made him a challenge from the start…

Oh what was she thinking. He's just taking her home… And he doesn't see her like that. Her cheeks turned red again, her mind wandering now. She always cared about Kakashi, appreciated him. He has been there for her and always protected her… She felt safe with him.

Her fingers slowly found their way into the hair at the back of his neck and just kept twisting her fingers in the shortish strands of silver. He kept everyone so closed out… He would never. He cared for her as his student, his comrade… She was so much younger, she knew it would never work, but it didn't stop her. She was used to unrequited feelings…

And then her heart sank, as memories came rushing through. Feeling alone all over again and cold, she focused on the places her body was in contact with Kakashi's. The warmth and closeness of it.


She felt his throat vibrate with the noise he made in acknowledgement.

"I don't want to be alone…" Her voice trembled ever so slightly. His grip on her tightened.

"You won't be." and then he turned in the opposite direction of her house.

Those words echoed in her mind once more. She smiled. She hated being alone, which was part of the reason she always found herself in his company. Even after that night, things didn't seem to change. It went on like it didn't happen, but she thought of it often… How she wanted more than this companionship from him. Beginning to wonder if he was just too drunk like she was, or if it was real desire slipping past his guard that was fractured by alcohol, and halted by what he felt was right.

They were staring into each other's eyes now but nothing was being said. His hand slowly reached out to her, landing on her hip, but still nothing was said.

Kakashi walked purposely to his apartment and when he got there, he set her on the couch gently, and sat next to her. She was watching him and he liked it.

He shouldn't feel this way. But the way that man had been trying to harass her, woke something in him. He always cared about her, hell he was beginning to think he might love her as unacceptable as it would have been and how out of reach of an idea that Sakura of all people would look any other way than Sasuke... But the thought of someone else having her angered him in that moment. And she never shyed away from him once the moment was over. She didn't flinch away from his touch on her hip. And she looked so damn hot when she blushed. And when she said she didn't want to be alone... He couldn't stand to take her home where she would be exactly that.

She almost seemed to welcome his touch, as he thought back on the moments.

He felt the couch shift and he looked at her just as her side made contact with his again, and slid his arm around her waist, holding her tight to him, just as he had at the club. She laid her hand on his thigh, lightly, timidly.

He began to wonder what she was thinking. She was drunk, maybe it wasn't what she really wanted.

"Its funny how Ino begged to go out tonight, and I went happily, always ready to help a friend…" She sighed. "But now I'm the one whose sad…" Her lower lip twitched slightly. "Choji was so...tender towards her. I swear, she's so oblivious. We all have known he's loved her since we've been 12, but she was so infatuated with Sasuke, and then Shikamaru." The mention of the Uchiha's name shook over her lips. "No one has ever looked at me the way Choji did her tonight. Or the way Naruto gazes at Hinata… Even Neji at Tenten." Her eyes stung with tears now and she shook her head. "I'm sorry. I've had too much to drink…"

She went to move away, beginning to situate a pillow to lay her head on. Just as she started to feel cold again from his touch leaving her body, his hand gripped her wrist.

"Sakura…" His voice came out soft and low. His other hand came up to gingerly touch her cheek and turned her to face him.

He wanted to kiss her… To make her feel cared for. Even loved…

Anything to send away those terrible feelings she was feeling.

She's drunk. This is wrong. He let go of her wrist. "It won't always be like this…" He tried to say something comforting.

Their eyes locked, her aqua hues staring into his single exposed one. She reached up and slid off his headband, now looking into his sharingan.

She could see something in him but she couldn't tell what it was. It seemed like he was holding something back, and she wanted to know what it was. Her wrist where his hold on her had been seemed to feel a chill as he let his grasp loose.

She brought her hand up to his face, and curled her finger tips around the edge of his mask slowly.

He tensed, just a little bit, and set his hands on her hips lightly. "You should get some sleep…" He stated flatly. He broke their gaze and looked to the side. He wouldn't take advantage of her.

She made no response to his comment. A few moments passed, and then she slowly slid the mask down his face. As it hung around his neck, her fingers gingerly traced the scar that went through his eye. He closed his eye at her gentle touch.

"If I wasn't drunk, I could make that less obvious for you…" She whispered softly.

He shook his head. "Rin tried but I want it to be there…" He spoke in a whisper. She understood, knowing how and why the scar existed.

The rest of his face was pale like the rest of his body, a slight line of color difference around the areas the mask didn't cover, as it was exposed to the sun, but it was still pale. He had clear skin and a strong jawline. His lips were thin and light in colour.

Handsome, just as she always thought.

He could feel her scrutinizing his now exposed face, the first time she's ever seen it. It made him feel a little self-conscious but he didn't let that on as he let her stare. He met her eyes once again, and this time, she came forward and kissed him.

His hands gripped her hips tighter, he didn't respond right away. The kiss was soft, her lips were soft and timid in their motion. He slowly responded to the kiss, keeping the gentleness she began with. She relaxed as soon as he tilted his head, and moved a little closer to him.

He shifted them, laying her back against the couch and hovering over her slim, but toned body. The silver haired nin slipped his hands up just barely into her red shirt, resting them on her sides. The feel of his calloused skin and the leather of his gloves made her shiver slightly. She tangled her hands in his hair and pulled him closer.

He was kissing her back, and her head was spinning. His body felt so fitting to hers as it pressed her against the couch. His tongue swiped her bottom lip and she gasped in surprise, and moaned as his tongue found hers and swirled around it.

Kakashi could feel her chest rise and fall against his chest as her breathing quickened. Her toned legs were on either side of him, he hooked his fingers under one of her knees and moved it to wrap around his waist. Her hands were in his hair and her scent filled his presence. He pressed a little more urgent into the kiss, and she moaned, the noise snapping him out of the arousal.

Instantly Kakashi's warmth vanished from all around her and she whimpered, and opened her eyes to look at him confused. "Is something…"

"You're drunk. That was wrong of me. I'm sorry, I…" He spoke fast and with sudden sobriety. "You can take the bedroom, I'll sleep on the couch."

She wanted to protest that she was perfectly okay with what had happened, that she wanted it, and wanted more. But he gently grabbed her hand and led her to the room. "If you want to change into something more comfortable, go ahead. Clothes are in the dresser."

And he left her in his bedroom to sleep on the couch.

She remembered waking up, having slipped on one of shirts, deciding that was the closest she'd probably get to his touch ever again…

She stared at him with curiosity in her expression now. He had just been looking at her, his hand resting lightly on her hips.

She's fully sober now. He still wished for her. To hold her and cherish her. To protect her. He wanted to touch her, to kiss her. He brought his other hand to rest gingerly on her cheek, and she almost immediately turned into his touch.

She still wasn't shying away from him. Her gazed seared into him with the wonder of what was happening.

He'd never open up like this, but she made things better. She was able to give him comfort no one else ever did. He couldn't bring himself to even address that night, even now. He still regretted the alcohol, letting himself kiss her, even for just the few moments, while she was intoxicated and emotionally vulnerable. But now, he just needed it, even as he hated noticing she was grown now. Hated that he was so much older than her and felt this kind of desire. Even if she was an adult now, it still seemed inappropriate. But did any of that matter if she felt it too? He had to know if she wanted it too, the same way she seemed to want him that night…

"I remember the last time we were on this couch together…" Her breath was a little shaky. "I wasn't that drunk. Drunk enough to stumble, but I still knew what I wanted. That I still want you." She stated matter of factly. Her hand reached out to his face, and she slowly, cautiously slid her finger tips into the top of his mask. He made no motion to stop her. "I understand why you stopped it… It even made me respect you even more than I already do." She smiled and began to pull the mask down. "But it still hurt a little. I wondered if it was only the alcohol that had made you want me…"

He shook his head, still holding her gaze, and his grip on her hip tightened.

"I cried to Hinata about it… But she insisted that it wasn't it." The mask was hanging around his neck. She placed her hand on the back of his neck and began to lay back on the couch. "You told me it wouldn't always be like this… I wouldn't always feel alone." Her hand moved into his hair and he moved to hover over her again, and pressed his forehead to hers.

"You haven't been alone for a long time, Sakura…" He breathed out low, his lips almost touching hers. "It just felt… wrong. For me, your former sensei, to feel the way I do…"

"Kakashi...?" He could feel her chest moving up and down with her heavy breathing again.

"I always cared about you. And I've...loved you for some time now." That word felt foreign, sounded foreign, but he knew he did. He brought his hand to the back of her neck, tangling his fingers in her hair. "It wasn't until that night that I thought you would ever want me.." He mused softly. "We were both drunk and I wanted you so much… But I didn't want to take advantage of you…" He sighed. "I feel guilt and shame for how far it did go."

"Please… Don't. I want this. I want you." Her voice shook a little as she spoke those words.

He placed his lips over hers gently, gripping her hair just a little tighter. She made a sound of contentment before moving her lips against his, pulling him closer. She needed to feel his body against hers. Her hands tugged at his hair and she turned her head, deepening the kiss, feeling the heat spread through her body just like it had that night under his intense gaze.

He pulled away and looked at her deep in the eyes. "Sakura…" He slid his hand under her shirt, this time pulling it up.

"Kakashi, please…" She whined. She pulled the zipper of his vest down and shrugged it off his shoulders.

"I know." He smiled and lifted her shirt over her head.

She'd never get over being able to see his full smile, the curve of his lips seemed so precious.

He left hot kisses down her jawline and neck and she tilted her head back to give him better access. His hair tickled her skin as he moved. Her breathing was becoming ragged. She slid her hands under his shirt, running her slender fingers across his toned abdomen, feeling the scars that rose a bit off his torso as she ran them up his body. He shivered, her touch felt like electricity surging through him.

As much as she wanted this, a small fear began to creep up on her. She needed to tell him…

"Kakashi, I've never…" She started and he slowly halted and he met her eyes, understanding what she was about to tell him.

Of course, she hadn't. The only other person she ever seemed to have eyes for was Sasuke, and obviously that never went anywhere for them…

He pecked her lips as she slid his shirt off. He stood up and lifted her off the couch into his arms, holding her tight to him, the faded black garment forgotten on the floor. He carried her to his room and laid her delicately over his shuriken covers. He kissed her, deep and slow. It made her heart melt. His tongue swiped across her lips and she parted them for him.

He was being so passionate yet so gentle at the same time.

And it was really happening. He wasn't going to stop, and leave her alone in his bed this time. Even though his foresty scent engulfing her in his covers that night had been comforting, she had wished she could have at least been in his arms that night. And now, she was going to get it all, she thought as his lips were trailing down her body again and she was panting.

Kakashi's thoughts were wild. He wasn't just going to lie with her, but he was going to be her first, and hopefully only. It only made him feel like it was wrong all over again, only for a moment. The love reflecting in those hues casting away any doubts he had about them. If she wanted this, wanted him then he wasn't ever letting her slip away from him.

He didn't care that she used to be his student, or that she had grown up before his eyes. He didn't care that he was fourteen years older. As long as it was she wanted, what would make her happy, that's what he cared about.

And there was no denying she wanted him as she panted, whispers of his name filling the air in his bedroom. Her body pressing into everything he did.

"Kakashi…" It was going to drive him crazy.

"Say it." He said in a hushed tone. He looked up at her. "Tell me this isn't just about being alone…"

It suddenly nagged at him still, even when he was enjoying this. That fear to open up, just to lose someone again. It'd kill him if he finally gave in, for her to be gone later. To never be at his side.

Understanding crossed her features. She sat up and held his face in her hands. "I love you, Kakashi Hatake. I've loved you since I realized who has been there for me since those two nearly killed each other." Tears filled her eyes. "I've loved you since you held me in your living room the first time I ever came here, and clung to that picture and cried, and you held me." Her eyes were sparkling. "I've known I loved you since you saved me from Sasuke…" She kissed him hard, her hands moving up into his hair and pulling hard. He moaned into her mouth and gripped her hips.

"I'm not going anywhere." She whispered against his lips, and it was all he needed to finally completely let the wall down to her.

His hands trailed up her form once again, finding his calloused fingers wrapped around both her breasts, before he started to tear away the wrappings, kissing the skin as it was exposed to him. She gasped and threw her head back against the mattress, her pink tresses splaying across the covers.

He took one of her now hardened buds into his mouth, swirling his tongue around the skin. His hands moved in a gentle caress to grip that pesky little skirt and the shorts underneath and slid them both off in one motion.

And now he felt her hands leaving his hair, trailing down his bare torso, leaving fire on his skin in their chasteness, and just like her slender fingers had curled around the edge of his mask, they did the same around the waistband of his pants. They were just a little hesitant now, and he gave her peck on the lips to encourage her further.

"Is the bold medic getting flustered now?" He smirked slightly at the blush that stained her cheeks deeply now, much like that night when Genma teased her.

Sakura tightened her grip before closing her eyes and jerking the fabric away from the silver haired man that she finally had him to herself. No amount of nervousness was going to ruin that. She gulped as she peeked between then, finally seeing the hardness that she had felt against her leg a couple times. She bit her lip, noting the size. Not that she had really seen and paid attention to any other, he just seemed a little bit more… Gifted.

Kakashi chuckled deep in his chest, finding the way she ground her bottom lip between her teeth upon seeing himself a little sexy and adorable all at once. "Don't worry, I'll be slow… Gentle." He kissed her softly and she reciprocated instantly.

He pulled away lightly. "You're really gonna like what's coming next if you've never been with anyone at all." His voice sounded like honey to her. He began kissing, and nipping every so often down her body and suddenly she started gathering where he was heading when he didn't stop at her chest… Or her hips. He was on his knees in front of the bed now, and lazily slung her legs over his shoulders, gripped her hips and pulled her body towards him.

"Oh my god, Kakashi!" She moaned and squirmed slightly as she felt his hot, wet tongue glide between her lips, and circle the tip expertly around her clit. He did it again, delving a little deeper, and sucking when he reached the bundle of nerves again. Her body was starting to gleam with sweat.

She'd heard how much a treat this could be from Ino, but she never could have imagined this. She squirmed and moaned low as he continued the motions, so slow and intentional.

"Kakashi… More. Please." She pleaded with him. Her legs were wrapped tight around his shoulders now, pressing him to her core, and she was thankful he didn't seem to mind at all.

He decided the only response needed was to oblige, and he trailed his fingers delicately over the pale skin of her right thigh, inching them closer and closer to her entrance. He slid in one digit slowly, testing, instantly he felt himself harden more at how soaked she was already. She was dripping with need, and it was all for him. She moaned a bit and didn't seem to feel any discomfort. He added another, still she seemed in perfect pleasure, just moaning and writhing on his bed as he still continued to use his tongue against her. He spread his fingers inside her and her back arched off the bed but it was pure ecstasy that fell from her lips. He smirked and decided to stop to raise up just a bit, enough to talk, but enough that his breath still breezed over her sensitiveness.

"It would seem you're no stranger to these feelings…" He spoke in a low, accusing tone. And there it was, that heat again on her face.

"I… " Damn him. "Sometimes I just need… Relief." She looked away, refusing to make eye contact as her cheeks burned scarlet now.

"Well, you're plenty loose enough and wet enough." He said flippantly now, and stood up from his knees, pushing her more into the bed. He crawled onto the mattress, making himself comfortable between her legs, his knees digging into the mattress, wrinkling the shuriken covers further than she had with her writhing.

Suddenly all her muscles tensed, gathering that she was about to lose her innocence to him. She wanted this, but it didn't make slight fear completely dissipate.

Hinata said she didn't feel a thing when Naruto took her. But Ino said it was agony when Choji did and it took minutes to pass. Tenten said it only stung for a moment with Neji. Temari never talked about what it had been like with Shikamaru. So many mixed reviews, how was she to know what to expect. Then she glanced back down, remembering his size. Perhaps it was silly to even question. There's no way Kakashi wouldn't hurt at least a little.

He watched her gaze, wondering what was flying through that pink little head of hers. He watched her gaze shift back down again, and her hips squirmed a bit. He gripped them gently and leaned to whisper softly in her ear.

He was trying to push away the fact he was about to strip the very innocence he lectured her so much to hide years prior.

"This is probably going to hurt… And if you want me to stop at any point." He kissed her cheek, pecked her lips. "Don't be scared to tell me to."

She nodded and brought her arms to link around his neck. He laid his forehead against hers, and slowly moved his hips forward into hers, pressing the tip of his length just against her entrance. They both moaned low.

When was the last time he had been with someone, even though they had all been one night stands. No strings attached.

It was obvious this was going to be different, it was going to feel different. It was going to be so much better.

He slid his arms up under her form so that he was hugging her close to him. She sighed happily, before he pressed on a little further, just enough to break that barrier. Her body tensed, her legs squeezed his hips and her eyes knit shut. A small whimper escaped her lips, but she moved her hips into his.

This was more straining than he expected it to be. He wanted all of her, now. But he couldn't do that, not yet. This had to be tender. He pressed a little further, half of him inside her now. Her face still looked a little pained, but she gasped and her mouth hung open now.

Sakura was taking deep breaths, bearing it. It wasn't so bad, but it was definitely there. But the more he moved, the more the pleasure came, and pain subsided. She was beyond appreciative for his sincerity in this moment, but she could feel in the tenseness of his muscles it was difficult for him to hold back.

He moved further again, and there was nothing but pure ecstasy this time.

"Oh, Kakashi…" She unlinked her fingers from each other, just to dig them into his back. She arched her back into him, and swiftly thrusts her hips upward into his, and he gasped, his full length in her now.

"Sakura…" The strain in his voice couldn't be held back anymore. He bit down on his lip hard. That one swift motion, the way his name sounded coming from her in such tones. It was becoming too much.

She looked up at him, and every bit of innocence that had been in those eyes had fled from them, and now they were dark and seductive. She flicked her tongue over her lips, wetting the chapped skin from her panting.

"Kakashi, I need you…" She leaned up and began kissing his jawline, and down his neck. She bit the crook of his shoulder that met his neck and snapped whatever restraint he had.

In one fluid motion, he pulled his hips back and slammed back into her. The nails only dug deeper into the skin of his shoulder, her moans getting louder.

"No, Sakura, I need you." His voice was low and husky against her ear, and then he slammed his hips into hers again and she was too far gone in pleasure to reply. She wrapped her legs around his waist, linking her ankles. She pulled him deeper into her.

He couldn't have ever imagined it would have ever ended up like this. She was just as needy as him, and he wondered if she would be just as aggressive as time went on.

He swiftly brought his head down and bit down on her collarbone, and sucked the pale skin, with full intention to leave red and purple with the bruise of his needs. He could feel the stinging pain of where she had bit him and it only urged him on more.

"Kakashi, I..!" She felt her whole body start to tremble, her eyes squeezed shut tight and she buried her face in his shoulder, her hands flat against the muscles of his back. Her legs shook.

"Shit!" Her lover hissed into her hair, stroking the strands lightly. He could feel her tightening around him as she was climaxing and he wasn't going to last much longer.

She felt his body tighten, his toned arm that still held her tight against his body as he let out a low groan and she felt warmth between her legs as they climaxed. She fell back, the copy nin following, collapsing on her chest, his breathing laboured.

It may as well have been his first because he vaguely remembered it had been years now, and was slightly disappointed in himself for lasting so short. But she seemed exhausted anyway.

"I love you…" He murmured, placing a soft kiss on her shoulder.

She was still reeling from her first full orgasm but the precious words rang through her reverie and she beamed with joy.

"I love you too…" And she brought her hand to his head, her fingers twirling in the strands lightly. His breathing was steadying now. She placed a kiss on the top his head.

She couldn't believe it. She was in his bed, naked in his arms after making love, after losing her virginity to him.

Everything felt right in the world. She couldn't give a damn what anyone would ever think, because she was happy. And so was he.

Kakashi hummed contently at the motions of his fingers in her hair. Nothing could have ever made him happier than this morning. Peering over at the clock on his night stand, it was 11:30am now. Just as he was deciding right here and right now in her embrace, his resting between her breasts would be the perfect time for a nap, there was a light knock on the door, and then it opened. Sakura tensed and brought the blankets up over them, but seemed more in fear of being seen naked, rather than being seen in his bed. Once she felt she was covered, her body relaxed.

Kakashi groaned at whoever it was. "Go away."

The timbre of Asuma's voice came through the doorway. "Hey old friend, we need talk, because I know your self loathing will keep you from ever dealing with it."

Kakashi's eyebrow raised at what he could be referring to. Curious, he remained silent. Sakura's face was turning a slight pink, like she knew what it was.

"That Haruno girl has eyes for y-" His figure appeared through the door, and his eyes found the sight of the famous copy nin tangled up with the hokage's apprentice.

Sakura's face was deep red now.

Kakashi smirked slightly. "Oh believe me, I know." Kakashi said in his usual flippant tone. And turned to plant a kiss on Sakura's burning cheek.

"Well, Kurenai will be pleased to hear that you didn't even need a nudge." Asuma laughed.

A/N: So I think about this fanfiction a lot and have re-read through it a few times, contemplating making it more than a little one-shot. I noticed some errors I missed and fixed those, and also that I managed to write Asuma dead in the beginning when she's looking at the memorial stone, which obviously didn't make sense and I don't know how I didn't catch that before posting it, so sorry about that if you read it before the edit. This fanfiction started out as only a Kakashi angst fic before it took MANY turns.