A/N: I also ran with the tiny sub plot I had with Ino and Choji, as I adore that ship so much so enjoy that as well. I also really am sorry if the characters are a bit OOC, I haven't watched the show in forever and I just finished rewatching part 1 and currently watching Shippuden which I never finished in the first place, but I'm trying really hard.


The sun was just beginning to go down as Sakura stepped through the glass doors from Konoha Medical into the light breeze, carrying the few leaves that had begun to fall from the trees on it's path. She tilted her head up and sighed softly, enjoying the moment after her long day with Tsunade and Shizune. The air was crisp and just chilly enough to make her wish for her lab coat that was hanging on her office chair. Just as a smile started to grace her lips she was shocked out of her serenity.

"Hey, forehead!" The noisy blonde called out to her long time friend and rival.

Sakura flinched and turned around at the sound of her name, finding herself facing one of her best friends. "Hey, Pig!" She smiled lightly in her direction and then frowned slightly as she began walking toward her. "Could you have been any less abrupt?" She grumbled.

"Do you wanna go for lunch! I have some amazing gossip!" She giggled mischievously, ignoring her friends' annoyance.

Sakura raised an eyebrow at her and sighed. "Just what did you hear at Yamanaka's Flowers today, Ino, that was worth ruining my "I can finally breathe" moment?"

Ino set her hand on her hips as she cocked them to the side. "Depends, are you gonna come to dinner with me? And no amount of work is too exhausting to hear this, trust me." The blonde added a sly smirk, knowing her friend wouldn't refuse despite her irritation.

Sakura looked around the village and down at herself. She had just got off work from the hospital. Her hair was pulled back but she could feel some sweat still dampened in the roots of her hair. She scrunched up her nose at her current appearance but shrugged her shoulders anyway. "Okay, fine, but nothing too upscale and you're paying."

Ino nodded excitedly. "Okay, how about the tea shop? We could get some dango too."

Sakura couldn't hold back her smile. The promise of sweets was just too convincing now. "Of course, you know I'm always up for dango!" She agreed, knowing she was definitely just bribed with her favourite treat by her close friend.

Ino smirked and laughed. "How lame, you're so easy to win over, Sakura." She linked her arm in Sakura's and dragged her down the street, easily maneuvering around passerbys.

Ino watched Sakura carefully for any signs of nervousness. Sakura seemed tired and that was all. No fidgets, just bags under her eyes. No marks around her neck either. But of course a medical ninja could fix that easily, right? She only hoped her fake rumour would get her to fess up to what she already knew. Asuma seemed to all but outright say Kakashi and Sakura were together! Ino has suspected that there was something because they spent so much time together, but no one else seemed to question so maybe she was reading too much into it? But, she hadn't seen Sakura seem so happy until lately.

"Ino, why the hell are you staring at me. You just passed it." Sakura growled.

"Oh, nothing. Just wondering about my theories." The blue-eyed woman said innocently as she turned back into the shop. "Two, please!" She said to the host before Sakura could respond.

Sakura became thoughtful as she looked around her favourite place to come sit and relax in the town. It was homie, with wooden chairs and tables. It had a couple of faded booths which was where they always chose to sit. The floor was worn out and some of the tile was cracked. It had a clock that was either five minutes ahead or behind, depending on the time of the year. It wasn't fancy but it smelled amazing and the tea was always delicious.

What on earth could this gossip possibly be? Swearing if it is one more stupid thing about some guy's lower regions, Sakura thought about how she'd knock Ino into the next week. Maybe she heard about the night at the bar from a couple months ago? No, that's too old if she wanted to talk about that, then she would have said something way sooner.

There hasn't been anything I've seen in a long time that seemed noteworthy so what could she have that is soooo juicy? It is something more creepy about someone? God if it is I don't want to know while I'm eating…

"Soooo, Sakura. Ready for the hot gossip?" Ino said, munching on the dango the waitress just dropped by.

Sakura met Ino's eyes out of her dazed thoughts and nodded silently. "Yeah, spill it Pig but it had better be good."

"Well, apparently there's a jounin who is sleeping with his former student." Ino said nonchalantly. "And I can confirm it's not Asuma sensei." Ino giggled and crossed her legs under the table.

Sakura's eyes widened for a second and she raised an eyebrow. "Is that really what you have to tell me?" She stared at Ino with plain look.

Sakura panicked inwardly, wondering if Asuma has told everyone he found her tangled in Kakashi's sheets. Everyone was there at the bar that night, and he literally carried me out. But then why am I just now hearing about it!

Ino huffed and rested her chin on her hand. "Yeah, it was. I'm trying to figure out who it is. And there's no way it's Kurenai cause she has Kiba and Shino to choose from? I don't think Kiba or Shino look good enough to cheat on Asuma...And I mean, Tenten is way too annoyed by Guy sensei you know?"

Sakura scrunched up her nose. "Why are you still calling them sensei? We're all jounin too now, you know. We're their equals, not students anymore."

Ino narrowed her eyes at Sakura for a moment. That seemed suspicious. "You mean, you and Naruto don't call Kakashi sensei?"

Sakura rolled her eyes and shook her head even though she felt her heart pounding in her chest. "No, neither of us do. Not since we became Team 7 again, before the second bell test, he specifically clarified we were no longer his students, but that we were his equals." Sakura sighed and dropped her head down. "It took some getting used to, but no, Naruto and I do not call him sensei because he sees us as equals and asks us not to."

Ino studied Sakura a few moments before letting out a small laugh. "Oh, come on Sakura just tell me already! It's no secret that you two are close and have been for awhile now."

Ino thought about the way they seemed so comfortable with each other. Sakura never tried to knock Kakashi into next month like she would anyone else. Kakashi literally kept his personal space with anyone else but Sakura, being as they seemed to share touches sometimes. She just seen her comforting him at the memorial the other day.

Or how Kakashi absolutely hated to get any sort of medical attention or to be in the hospital in general. But he would bring her coffee sometimes and whenever she was his nurse his complaints dialed back considerably.

Sakura just looked back at her friend and tried to feign disbelief. "I don't know what you are talking about, Ino." She said in a level tone, but she noticed her friend's reluctance to look her in the eyes as she muttered her defense. "Are you trying to say you think it's me and Kakashi..?"

Sakura wasn't sure how to tell anyone besides Naruto and Hinata who were the only ones who had known about her feelings, besides Asuma and Kurenai. Is it really that obvious? She felt her shoulder becoming tense as this conversation went on. She hasn't even ever told Ino about the night at the bar, she didn't want to tell her before. She had figured Ino would have turned it into a scandal, even though she loved her friend she also knew her friend loved her gossip.

"Even Asuma sensei says you'd be good for Kakashi!" Ino argued, trying to get to the bottom of her rumor. It was the only people that it made sense for, well if it were real, it would have been. However, that statement wasn't exactly a lie. He had said 'a strong woman like Sakura is exactly what Kakashi needs."

Sakura tried to fight her blush, having remembered how Asuma found her and Kakashi days ago. "And just when did he say that?" She squeaked.

Ino stared at her friend, watching her clearly trying to hold back something, though she wasn't quite sure what. "About a month or so ago…" Ino sighed and slumped back against the cushion of the booth. "The night I found out about Temari and Shika… He told me that after I left with Choji that some drunk wouldn't take a hint and that Kakashi acted rather… Aggressive and possessive of you in the situation. He said he'd never seen him that way, no matter how much he had drank."

Sakura stared a moment, debating on how much of the truth she was ready to tell. If she told Ino everything, then the whole town would know by tomorrow. When would she see Kakashi next, they hadn't even discussed this yet. She didn't want to ruin something before it hardly started.

She couldn't lie to Ino, because sooner or later everyone was going to know. And she definitely didn't want to lie to one of her best friends.

"He did, yes… I was drunk and scared. He's always been protective of us, especially since Sasuke left." Sakura smiled softly. "He walked, er, well carried me home that night. I was hardly able to stand. Genma was also getting flirty with me and I don't think he had been a fan of that."

Ino nodded, watching her friend intently before sighing. "Damnit, I really thought it was you. It's the only one that made sense. You guys are always together if you're not with Naruto or me." Ino met her eyes. "And you both deserve to be happy… And it almost seemed like Asuma was trying to hint at something."

Sakura gulped, feeling a little guilty but she just smiled. She could tell a tinsy bit of truth. "Well, to be honest." She paused and glared at Ino. "And this had better not be repeated. But, I do sort of…" Her face flushed now, not being able to fight it back. "You're not entirely wrong. I do have feelings for Kakashi... I only have just recently been able to really accept it."

Ino's eyes widened and she sat back up straight and grabbed Sakura's hands. "Sakura…" She squeezed them lightly. "I didn't mean to hurt you…" She watched as her friend instantly shook her head with a smile.

"You didn't, Ino." She sighed and let go of her hands. "I just… Haven't told anyone. I mean, come on. He's much older than us, right? Most people would never approve."

Ino just laughed and shook her head. "Sakura, we're ninja. We're lucky we've made it to 20, you think people are going to have something to say about us dating someone in their 30s?"

"I think some might have something to say about a sensei dating one of their former students…" Sakura mumbled softly.

All the doubts she had been able to cast off the other night came rushing back now. Could they really work? How would Tsunade feel about it? What if people think he had done something to her when she was younger? Would he get in trouble, would they hurt him? She didn't even think of any of that.

"Sakura!" Ino snapped and waved her hand in front of the pinkette's face. "Breathe! What's wrong? Is there something you're not telling me?"

"N-No, it's all-" Sakura stammered.

And then they heard the bell ring as someone else entered the tea shop, and Sakura's heart dropped at the sight of a shock of white hair that hung over a masked face and another dark haired nin with smoke swirling around them.

"Asuma sensei!" Ino called over.

Asuma and Kakashi glanced over at the sound of the Sarutobi's student calling out to him. Asuma gave a sly side glance at Kakashi once he noticed Sakura was there with Ino. "Well, look at that."

Kakashi couldn't help the eye crinkle he gave Sakura as soon as he saw her as him and Asuma strode over to their table.

Sakura's heart was pounding in her chest but she instinctively moved over in her seat for Kakashi to sit down. He looked over at him and smiled lightly. "Hey, Kakashi!"

Ino watched them carefully as she moved over for Asuma and recrossed her legs. "I didn't know Kakashi sensei liked it here too." She rested her chin on her as she propped it up on the table. "I was just telling Sakura about this rumour going around."

Asuma laughed. "Don't let him fool you." He shocked his head. "He likes his sweets just as much as the next ninja." He added slyly, subtly glancing at Sakura as he said it. "And rumour? God what did you hear now that I'll have to tell you is most likely a lie, hm?"

Ino smirked mischievously. "Mhmm, I see. So, how about sweet girls?" she giggled. "And that rumour is, that there's jounin sleeping with their former student." She gave Kakashi a rather bold stare, making clear she had already narrowed down who she thinks it is.

Sakura kicked her friend under the table and sent her a silent glare, trying to ignore Kakashi's closeness. It was rather hard to do when she had already felt so cold. "I don't ever remember even seeing Kakashi with a girl, let alone hearing about one." She retorted quickly.

She stole a glance at Kakashi, to find him giving her a sideways glance. She quickly looked away and crossed her arms, frustrated she couldn't just get away from the situation without getting away from him, which was the exact opposite of what she wanted.

"Is that so? Interesting." He contemplated a moment. "And I take it you think it is me, and Sakura perhaps? Or maybe you think it's Naruto!" He joked.

Ino watched them suspiciously, still not fully convinced there wasn't something. Sakura seemed a tad bit awkward now but also like she was resisting something, and there was a definite hint of jealousy at the thought of another woman being involved with Kakashi, for them not being together. "I doubt it would be Naruto, that's for sure." She smiled, feeling triumphant. "Care to maybe be a little more forthcoming than Billboard over here?"

"Hm, I think when those two ninja are ready, they'll clear that rumour right up for you, in due time." Kakashi shrugged slightly and gave an eye crease as he leaned back against the booth they had sat in.

Kakashi could sense Sakura's nervousness, and clearly the blonde had been grilling her before his and Asuma's arrival. He thought it was a bit cute to see her so worried about this. And the knowing glint in Asuma's eyes was rather comedic, being as he had found them in his bed in nothing but sheets.

"Can I get you two anything?" The hostess from earlier asked the two new guests at our table.

"I'll have a coffee. And I guess I'll buy my former student here another dango cause I know she'll get me to even if I try to say no." And he gave a bored look at Ino. She only shrugged happily in response.

"I'll have a chai tea, and another vanilla chai with extra vanilla for Sakura here." Kakashi said as he brought his arms on the back of the seat, brushing his fingers across Sakura's hair for a moment.

The split second contact made Sakura stand up a little straighter against the booth, hoping for the warmth of his arm to come against her shoulders, but not in an obvious way. She noted how he had seemed so relaxed, even when Ino had made it clear what she was thinking. How did he always manage to be so cool and collected all the time?

"Alright, I'll be right up with those!" And the waitress glided away.

Sakura turned to see his arm lying along the back of the booth behind her, and without thinking she scooted closer to him, their thighs making contact under the table. She shivered slightly as the door opened again, another customer entering the shop.

"So, Ino. Choji tells me that you are feeling better lately?" Asuma asked her with hopefulness.

Ino sighed and looked back down. "Well, it's not like I can change it…"

Sakura watched her friend sadly, remembering how torn up she was that night. "You know, I think Choji really cares for you." She said with a pleasant smile. Maybe, if Ino can feel like she's enough for someone else, she won't be hung up about Shikamaru.

Kakashi then brought his arm around her shoulders and pulled her into him. "Instead of sitting there shivering, just say you're cold." He said with nonchalance as she flushed red.

Ino watched them with interest, wondering if it was just Sakura who harbored feelings. How 'platonic' of a move was that? Kakashi wasn't the touchy feely type of friend, thinking of how Guy sensei seemed to annoy him. She was even less convinced, thinking again of how comfortable they seemed together, even at Sakura's current nervousness that was a little unusual.

She could almost think that Sakura was ashamed to be with her teacher, maybe? Could she be scared to tell her? Does she think she would tell everyone? Or maybe she's afraid of Lady Tsunade finding out. Ino shivered slightly at the thought, that woman could be scary when she was angry. She wouldn't want to be on that side of her, that was for sure. Really, all she wanted to see Sakura be happy and support her fully in it. And Kakashi made her happy but clearly there were some doubts that needed to be cleared up.

Then she realized what Sakura said and she just stared a moment, not able to say anything. What was she trying to say? Choji was her friend and teammate. He'd always been there for her, of course he cared about her. "Well, yeah. We're teammates, of course he cares about me!"

Asuma shook his head. "That's not what she's saying, Ino." He sighed and then pulled something from his pocket. "He went on a mission with his Dad, and asked me to give this to you because he didn't have time." He handed her a folded piece of paper. "I figured I'd find you here."

Ino raised her eyebrows at the paper and then took it. "Okay…" She thought for a moment and then looked up at Sakura. "Oh, Sakura. There wasn't any rumour by the way" She looked between her and Kakashi again. "I just wanted to see if I'd get you to tell me something I thought already happened… And I'm still not fully convinced either!" She smiled and then moved off to leave after Asuma got up. She picked up the dango the waitress had left. "Thanks, Asuma sensei."

Once Ino walked away, Sakura fully melted into Kakashi, the tenseness leaving her body instantly. "God, am I really that obvious?"

Kakashi only smiled under his mask. "No."

"Kurenai has known for months that you two had feelings for each other… It's obvious because we're ninja and we can see things." He smiled. "Now, whether you two were gonna do something about it was a different story. And I may have planted it in Ino's head after the bar."

Kakashi just looked at him. "It was not obvious."

Asuma laughed. "The fact that you spent so much time with her made it obvious for you alone, my friend. Not to mention the possessiveness you had expressed at the bar."

"Okay, fine." Kakashi stood up and grabbed Sakura's hand, realizing he probably had exposed himself that night but just hoped they blamed it on the sake. "But, anyway, see you later."


Sakura grabbed her tea just in time before he made the seals for the transportation jutsu, finding herself now sitting on his couch. "Hey, a warning would have been ni-"

"I missed you."

Sakura's eyes widened and she set down her drink. He missed her? She had missed him but she didn't want to seem too clingy. She sometimes wondered if that was what drove Sasuke away from her, that she was always wanting to be around him and talk to him. She didn't want to make Kakashi feel smothered… But then again, they were together most of the time the last few months weren't they?

He brought his hand up the back of her neck and wound his fingers in her hair and pecked her forehead before sighing softly.

He really missed her. It had only been two days since that morning, but he really wanted her presence. She stood up and brought her hands to each side of his face. "I missed you too, Kakashi." She smiled lovingly, looking up at his eyes.

Kakashi grabbed her one of her hands with his free hand, resting it over hers on his cheek. "Did you tell her?"

Sakura pecked his lips through the mask. "No, not quite…" She looked to the side. "I wasn't sure if you were okay with people knowing yet…" She rested her head on his shoulder. "I didn't even get to tell Naruto and Hinata yet…"

"How are we going to…"

"They both know…" Sakura looked back up at him. "I already told you that I cried to Hinata about the first night… And she ended up telling Naruto." She ran her fingers up into his hair. "He asked me about it the other morning, and convinced me to tell you how I felt. It was almost like he knew already."

Kakashi brought his mask down, a full smile gracing his lips and pecked her lips before sighing. "Because he did." He brought her hips into his and held her tight to him.

Naruto only knew because he had outright and asked, or rather demanded it from Kakashi a couple weeks ago, after the night at the bar. It was a surprisingly serious conversation coming from Naruto.

"Wait, how had Naruto known! And for how long! I had only just told ANYTHING to him the same morning I came to you!" Sakura lifted her gaze to meet his eyes and stared at her lover in disbelief.

Kakashi was lounging on his couch, trying to read Icha Icha, whilst trying desperately not to picture the characters as Sakura. Ever since two nights ago after bringing her to his place after the bar, he couldn't stop wishing she was still here with him, no matter the distraction. It made him feel so much disgust towards himself, to desire her so much more now. An obnoxious pounding on his door brought him from his thoughts, clearly making the presence known to be Naruto.

"Naruto, what do you need? I know I'm not late for any sort of training."

"That's because it's something else. We need to talk, Kakashi!" There was a hint of anger there that had caught the copy nin off guard.

He stood up, setting his book down on the table and walked over to open the door. "Naruto, what is it?"

The blonde stomped right past Kakashi into his apartment and turned back around to face him as he shut the door.

He watched Naruto seeth, staring at him, his fists clenched. He had a feeling he knew what this was about.

"If you've got something to say Naruto, then tell me."

He narrowed his eyes further. "What are you doing with Sakura?" He snapped.

Kakashi looked down. "Is this about the other night? Did you hear about it?"

"She came crying to Hinata about it this morning." He scoffed. "Of course I fucking heard about it." He grabbed Kakashi by his shirt collar. "How dare you just use her like that! Our teammate, Sakura, of all women! I thought you were better than that, damn you!"

Now Kakashi was confused. He blinked and stared blankly into Naruto's eyes. "Used her?" Kakashi kept his voice level and calm. "Naruto, I did no such thing."

How could he ever use Sakura. Why would Naruto think he would? What did he hear? And from her? Did she think something happened? Did she feel harassed by him? Did he hurt her? His heart sank.

"If you didn't do anything, then why is she at my house telling my wife about waking up in your bed, and crying!" His grip only tightened.

Kakashi looked at him. "Naruto, did you hear anything else, besides that?"

Naruto was infuriated by how calm his elder had been until he said that. He stopped, his grip loosening slightly, before slowly shaking his head. "No…"

Kakashi sighed and furrowed his eyebrows. "She was in my bed, but not because I slept with her. Now if you could let go of me, we can sit on the couch and talk about this like adults."

Naruto gave him a suspicious look before letting go and moving to sit on his couch. He watched as Kakashi rotated his shoulders before sitting down next to him.

"She woke up in my bed, because I put her there." Kakashi sighed. "And I'm rather ashamed of the whole situation, I didn't mean to hurt her feelings." Kakashi drug his mask off his face and ran a hand through his hair. "It started at the tavern we all go to. She was there with Ino, we all know she's torn up about that Nara kid and the sand girl."

"Yeah, Temari. Gaara's sister. I'm aware."

"Ino drug her out for a girls' night but she ended getting drunk and sad and called Choji to pick her up. Leaving Sakura at the bar. I was there in the corner with Genma and the others like usual."

Naruto grumbled and was getting impatient. "Okay, just get on with it. How does this end up with Sakura at my house crying, Kakashi."

"Some guy started trying to hit on her and wouldn't take a hint. She came to the corner and I had been drinking. I saw them and I just." Kakashi sighed. "Seeing him going after her like that, and she was looking at us desperately and it just made my blood boil to see that guy with her. I was jealous but she looked so scared, I felt this need to protect her but also to make it clear she was off limits. I wasn't thinking. So I pulled her in next to me and acted like we were together…"

Kakashi sighed. "Damnit, Naruto. I've had some type of feeling for her for like a year now and I just. I was drunk and she seemed to not mind being so close to me but then she was getting too drunk and wanted to go home."

Naruto watched, his eyes widening at the confession. "Kakashi…?"

"She couldn't even stand on her own. I was going to walk her home, well actually I had to carry her. And then she was clinging to me and said she didn't want to be alone." Kakashi sighed heavily. "So I brought her here and then she started crying, saying that no one has ever looked at her with love, the way she sees all her friends looking at each other…"

He couldn't believe he was telling Naruto any of this. He was probably going to beat him with the nine tails chakra soon. Naruto has always been protective of Sakura and here he was admitting he had feelings for her, their 34 year old sensei feeling attraction for their 20 year old teammate. He was just waiting for Naruto to start accusing him of being a creep and pedophile. He already felt that way towards himself.

Naruto's heart clenched for Sakura. He hadn't thought about how so many of them had found someone, and Sakura had still been alone, still hoping for Sasuke. However lately, she had seemed to be rather close with Kakashi, she always seemed happy whenever he was around even when he was being his infuriating self. And then for Kakashi, for being so torn, for the fact he had just accused him of doing the very thing he had gone out of his way to do...

"I just wanted her to feel cared for, but then I was realizing she was drunk and I was drunk and it felt wrong and I tried to back off right away and just comfort her, telling her she wouldn't always feel like that.."

"Kakashi, what did you do?"

Kakashi sighed, the guilt weighing obviously. "She pulled my mask down and kissed me and for a second I let myself go and things got heated and then I snapped back to reality and backed off. I told her she should get sleep and let her take the room and apologized for it." He was on the brink of tears now.

Naruto moved forward and put a hand on his shoulder.

"Naruto, I would never use her. It just… It wasn't right. That's not what I wanted and now I've probably made her think I hate her…Or maybe she feels violated and doesn't trust me anymore."

"No, Kakashi…" Naruto said it with a smile. "I'm sorry that I…"

"No, don't be."

"You have to tell her, Kakashi."

"No. I'd probably just ruin her life. Besides, she was drunk. We both know she really wants Sasuke."

Kakashi's mind ran throught the billion other reasons why he couldn't tell her.

"She hasn't seemed all in love with Sasuke when she's around you. She may not realize it, but I've seen how she looks at you." Naruto said softly. "It's part of why I was so angry."

Kakashi shook his head. "I was your guys' sensei. I'm fourteen years older than you! I'm disgusted with myself that I could ever think of her as anything more than a close friend, sister or comrade!"

Naruto scoffed. "Kakashi, you of all people should know that we're lucky to make it to 20 or even 30 as ninja! Elite ninja at that! You can't tell me the others are gonna be that worried about some damn age gap when two people are happy! Tell! Her! Damnit, you both deserve to just be happy!"

"Oh yeah, but they'll be worried that I was her sensei when she was 13 and now we're together when she's 20? No, I won't humiliate her like that, people will think I…"

Naruto growled in frustration, thinking of all the time he has seen them spend together. Of the way Kakashi seems less self hating when he's with her. How Sakura seemed to not focus so much on Sasuke's absence as often now. How damn happy she seemed around him, and now how broken she had looked at the fear of his rejection.

"Kakashi, you have to…"

"Imagine what the others would think, you can't pretend there isn't going to be anyone that won't think I'm disgusting!" The silver haired nin stared at Naruto stoically. "People will think it's been going on the whole time, since she was like 14. And it's not right to put her through that!"

"So, what! It hasn't, and anyone that matters knows it too! Kakashi, you both deserve to feel happy, to feel love! What about giving her the happiness she deserves, happiness she feels around you!"

Kakashi stared at him, he was used to Naruto and his speeches and rants, but he never thought he'd ever be on the receiving end of one. His shoulders slumped forward as he hung his head low. "What if you're wrong? What if she had drank too much or she's just vulnerable right now? Maybe I do try, but what if Sasuke does come back?" He laughed disdainfully. "Can you really tell me she wouldn't run right back to him?"

"She wouldn't have been crying at my house over you if she felt anything for him anymore! Can't you just try to let her in! You can't possibly think she would hurt you? And I assure you she doesn't think you're disgusting… And neither do myself nor Hinata."

"I can't. I can't risk losing someone else, Naruto. What if I tell her and she's disgusted? You have to understand that, don't you? Besides, almost everyone I've ever cared for has died. If she..."

Naruto sighed, the fact that Kakashi has said as much as he had is shocking. He'd never tell Sakura.

"Let's have breakfast two weeks from now. Okay, Kakashi?" Naruto gave him a smile. "We'll think of something!"

Kakashi sighed, after finishing telling Sakura about that day.

Sakura just kissed him, wrapping her arms around his neck.

He gripped her hips tight and held her close, eagerly returning this kiss. He was still a little worried for them, but he couldn't be convinced it wasn't worth a try when she was right here in his arms.

Sakura's mind was reeling. Kakashi told Naruto he had loved her before any of this had started. Naruto had told her to go tell Kakashi that she had loved him, assuring her that it hadn't been a mistake, that he would have been happy for them. He had almost set it up. Did he even know that it was the same day Sasuke left?

"Kakashi, I love you. You're not disgusting, you're human." She said as she slowly parted from their kiss. "And… I'm sorry that Naruto came over threatening you."

He laughed now. "It wasn't so great then. I still find it crazy how he gets people to open up and do the right thing, but I'm thankful he got through to one of us..." He scratched the back of his head. "Remind me to never get either of you too angry."

She giggled slightly and pecked his lips again. "Perhaps we should tell our team mate that he can rest easy with his self given mission to get us together…"

And just like that, an obnoxious pound came on the door. "Kakashi!" Naruto's voice rang through the door with giddiness.

"It's open, Naruto." Kakashi said with a smile.

He held Sakura tightly. He couldn't ever have felt happier than he did now. He had someone to love, that also loved him. And really he'd developed quite a circle of people he cared about. He couldn't wait to see Naruto's happiness that he had succeeded in helping him and Sakura finally admit they loved each other.

Naruto burst into his team leader's apartment. "Listen, I told you! Has Saku-" And then stopped dead when he saw Kakashi, with Sakura in his arms and both of them beaming.

"I was just coming to see if she told you!" Naruto exclaimed excitedly. "Ohmygod, Hinata is gonna be so glad to hear this!" He ran over to them and hugged them. "Finally! See, Sakura, I told you!" He laughed and squeezed them harder.

Sakura smiled but quickly shoved him off. "Okay, okay! I know…" She laughed and leaned her head against Kakashi's chest. "It seemed that you knew a little more than you let on though, Naruto."

Naruto scratched the back of his head a little bit. "What can I say! I was only trying to help."

Naruto looked at them, smiling and wrapped up in each other. They looked so genuinely happy. For once, two people he had seen go through so much, a lot of which they had been through together, were fully smiling and it was because of love, the one thing he truly feels everyone deserves.

"So, am I gonna become an uncle!" Naruto clapped his hands together excitedly.

Sakura's face turned dark into a crimson shade. "Naruto!"

"Oh, come on. Don't act all shy, I highly doubt he hasn't taken you already Sakura!" He giggled mischievously and she just hid her face in Kakashi's chest while the white haired nin just smirked to himself. "If you're so eager for those nieces and nephews you better scat, Naruto." He chuckled as he hoisted Sakura over his shoulders and started heading to his bedroom.

"Oh, come on! Don't even think of doing it in my hearing range!" Naruto shrieked before running out of the apartment.

The blonde ran right back to his own apartment, more than ready to eat something and try to forget the idea of two of his closest friends making him nieces and nephews. Even if he wanted them, he has absolutely no interest in witnessing the process.

He strolled through the streets of Konoha, wondering what he felt like eating for dinner this evening.. The sky was now completely dark, and the stars were shining. He brought his hands up behind his head and sighed softly. The breeze rustled his hair, and made the fabric strips of his headband flow with the wind. "I can't believe it took them so long!"

"N-Naruto!" A dark haired kunoichi called out softly from Ichiraku's as he approached, her face tinting pink.

"Hinata!" He hurried the rest of the way to his favourite shop. "What are you doing here?" He grinned ear to ear. "Oh, you wouldn't believe what finally happened!"

Hinata watched him lovingly even as she still blushed from his presence, excited to see him once again. "I figured you'd come here for dinner!" She giggled lightly. "But what happened, Naruto? Is everything okay?"

Naruto sat on the stool next to her and shrugged slightly. "I was actually wanting something sweet, but you know I'll never turn down ramen! Especially from Teuchi!" He grinned and then straightened his back out once again. "But Kakashi and Sakura are finally together!"

"Wait, you mean…?" Hinata perked up from her seat and watched him for a moment.

"Yeah, like, they finally admitted each other's feelings for each other!"

"Oh Naruto, that's so amazing! I was so worried for Sakura." She sighed. "So, it was that easy? Do you know what even happened?"

"Uh… Well." He chuckled nervously. "No, not really but I may have had a chat with Kakashi a couple weeks ago after I found Sakura crying with you that one day." He scratched the back of his head. "But it turned okay! And then when he didn't show up to breakfast, I asked Sakura about it and convinced her to tell him!" He scoffed. "Because there was no way Kakashi was going to tell her."

He thought about the day it had been. Initially, he had not meant to plan it on the day Sasuke had left town all that time ago. However, he figured that even though the pain was still there, that it shouldn't change him trying to help the people that he still had here, find the happiness they very well deserved.

Hinata just hummed softly in response. "How long do you think they have loved each other?" She thought for a moment herself.

Sakura had always been attached to Team 7, but she had specifically grown close to Kakashi it seemed after he saved her from Sasuke. She doubted that Kakashi would have had feelings for her then though because they were only about 16 then. That was roughly four years ago. Kakashi was too much of a good man to leer at underage girls. Then again, he never really seemed to leer at all.

Hinata continued thinking more and more about it. They had really become inseparable maybe in the last year. She would always hear Sakura telling her about something they had done or find them training together. Sometimes she ran into them around the village.

Naruto watched her and pondered the same thing. He hadn't thought about it before. "Well, I think it honestly snuck up on Kakashi, but he said about a year ago. And I definitely don't think he ever really planned on acknowledging it at first." He ran a hand through his hair. "He was disgusted with himself. And he was also convinced she still loved Sasuke."

Hinata frowned slightly. "How could he have thought that when she's always so much more… Content around him."

Naruto shrugged. "Kakashi is one mystery I have yet to solve, but something tells me Sakura might know. Tsunade mentioned one time that almost everyone he's ever been close to has died. And if he blames himself for them the same way he blames himself for Sasuke, I'll bet getting romantically involved with someone was terrifying…"

"Did he say as much as well…?"

Naruto thought for a moment before nodding slightly. "He said he couldn't lose someone else…" He smiled. "I don't think it's easy to pinpoint when either of them fell, but I'd say for her it had to be in the last year because that's when Sakura really started to seem happier, and he was less likely to be found reading Pervy Sage's books, and more likely to be found wherever she was."

Hinata nodded. "I don't think Sakura was fully aware but I think she's had some sort of feelings for him since he saved her from Sasuke after she went off on her own to kill him…"

Naruto shrugged his shoulders. "Maybe… She didn't start to seem better around him until the last year as well really. But she had been so determined to better herself and to bring Sasuke home, I don't know if she truly realized her feelings when they began."

"That sounds about right, Naruto." Hinata said happily as Teuchi brought their order to them, always knowing what they would get.

"So, Kakashi and Sakura huh?" He smiled his usual closed eyed smile.

Naruto nodded as he took a huge bite of his ramen. "Yeah! It only took them a year to figure it out."

Time Skip - Two Days

Ino sat at the entrance of the village, waiting for Choji to come back from his mission. She was a little nervous, holding the letter Asuma had given to her from the Akimichi man. She fiddled with the end of her skirt with one hand, re-reading the letter once again.

Dearest Ino,

I know we are supposed to have lunch tomorrow, but Lady Tsunade is sending me and Dad on a mission and we had to leave as soon as possible. I asked Asuma to give you this letter for me so you knew I didn't stand you up.

I wish I could tell you in person, but I get too nervous everytime I've tried. Truth is though Ino, I love you. I've loved you since we were 12 and you were all about Sasuke, and then I loved you still when you were falling for Shikamaru. I know I'm not cool and mysterious, and or a lazy genius, but I've always wanted the best for you and for you to be happy. It hurts so much to see you hurting so much, but I would do everything I could to make you the happiest girl if you'd give me a chance.

I know how much you like to eat healthy, so if you'd like to go on a date, meet me at Ichiraku's around 5p on Sunday, we should be back by then. Naruto said they have some new low carb recipe that Sakura said tasted really good so I thought maybe you would want to try it?

With Much Love,

Choji

Ino gripped the paper tighter, it getting wrinkled more in one spot from the way she held it. How could she not realize Choji's feelings for her all this time? She never had a second thought about it until Sakura said something and Asuma confirmed it. Of course Asuma knows, we all trust him with every aspect of our lives.

She felt her heart clench everytime she read his comparisons of himself to Sasuke and Shikamaru. All this time he had loved her, he had to watch her yearn for someone else. She was inflicting the very pain on him, that Shikamaru had given her, not that either of them meant to.

She never really thought about Choji romantically. But ever since she read the letter, she couldn't help but smile. He had always been there when she needed him without question. He'd always respected her and made her feel valid. He always made her happy and even paid attention to little things like how she wanted to eat. He cared about her in ways she'd never had someone care for her before. He was strong and kind and determined and loyal.

Over the last few days, she began to realize that a guy like Choji would be the exact kind of guy she would want to spend her life with, someone who made her feel like she mattered.

Feet shuffling on the dirt road startled her out of her thoughts and she looked up, making eye contact with dark brown eyes. She gave a shy smile. "Welcome back, Choji!"

Choza gave her a curious look but stood back, letting his son approach his best friend's daughter. He'd know for a long time Choji had loved her, but was never sure if she'd ever come around. He watched the situation with hopes for his son.

Choji grinned and watched her with curiosity. "You waited at the gate for me?" He glanced at the note in her hand, instantly recognizing the paper he handed to Asuma two days ago. "Oh, so you really read it? I.. I uh wasn't sure if-"

"Choji, of course I read it!" She strided over to him, folding it and slipping it into her pouch as she took her steps. "I've read it more times than I can count…"

She grabbed his hand and beamed at him. "Why wouldn't I read a note from my teammate, especially when it was given to me by our sensei?"

She knew he would have probably been surprised. He always doubted himself even just a little bit still, no matter how much they tried to build him up. She also knew that he definitely had to have compared himself to others as more than just ninja but as men in her life. She wanted to make him see that he was just as amazing as any of them, especially for how kind he was.

She looked at him for a few moments, watching the way the armor he wore laid across his shoulders, the red fabric flowing with the breeze around his legs. How he wore the Akimichi clan symbol across his chest, just like Choza.

He flushed and gently squeezed her hand. "Well, I knew it was probably sort of obvious…"

Ino leaned her head against his shoulder. "Well, actually, it hadn't been obvious to me. Apparently everyone else knew though, thinking back on Sakura and Asuma telling me over lunch that you 'cared' for me."

"Well, do you want to go to Ichiraku right now?" He grinned happily. "I'm starving."

"You just got back from a mission!" She stood back and placed her hands on her hips. "Don't you want something barbeque? I know you've probably lived off of chips the last two days. I've tried to stop worrying about diets anyway. Training keeps me fit as can be!"

"If you're okay with it, then of course I want barbeque!" He smiled.

She grabbed his hand again and began walking towards his favourite restaurant. "Hey, Choji…" She gazed at him happily. "Thank you for always being there for me, and caring for me even when I couldn't see it."

His cheeks flushed again and he held her hand tightly. "I'll always care about you, Ino…" He scratched the back of his neck and shrugged it off. "There's uh… No need to thank me for that."

He watched her, seeing her beaming smile at him. It made his heart flutter. Could she really be looking at him like that, in that same starry way she used to look at Shikamaru? How did it change so quickly? Is she being serious? No, of course she is, Ino would never hurt him intentionally, he knew that.

"I was just." Her smile faltered a little bit. "I'm sorry that I never noticed sooner. It had to be painful…" She looked towards the sky, the clouds passing them by overhead. "But when I realized, it just clicked. There is nothing more I'd ever look for in a guy than someone like you, Choji."

"R-Really? What's so special about me?"

"You're kind and caring. You're strong and determined to always be your best. And you always do the right thing, even when it's hard for you. You've always been there for the people you care about."

Choji stared at Ino in awe. He would have never thought anyone would ever have said such nice things with him, and especially her. Sometimes she even seemed like she would never even think to look in his direction romantically. She had even seemed mean to him sometimes when they were growing up, he'd almost given up hope for ever being able to be with her.

"Thank you, Ino…" He brought her close and gently kissed her forehead. "You have no idea how much it means to me."

"Of course, Choji!" She chuckled lightly. "Now, come on!" Ino dragged him into the barbeque restaurant and got them a table with the host. "They have some kind of 'low fat' dish here I heard, and I know how much you love it here so I figured it would be the perfect chance to try it! Even if I don't fully diet anymore, it hurts my stomach to eat too many carbs after avoiding them for so long."

He beamed. "That makes perfect sense, and the tab is mine."

Shikamaru passed by the restaurant to see them through the window, laughing and talking. Ino seemed to be giddy and Choji's face was red. Temari was with him and she peered inside and smiled. "Hey, looks like the big guy scored now too, huh?"

"Ino is gonna be such a drag for him." Shikamaru sighed but a small smile graced his lips. "I'm glad she finally realized and gave him a chance…" He watched as Ino slowly slid her foot up Choji's leg, his best friend's face reddening even more and he chuckled. "Ah yes, the confident and the insecure would make the balance on the scale now wouldn't it…"

An hour had passed now as they finished eating and Ino just couldn't stop smiling. She watched as Choji ate his normal amount of food, and even what was left of hers. She never did understand how he has such an appetite but he never made comments about her lack of one like other guys had in the past. She appreciated that bit so much, his respect for the way she wanted to eat, and her own for his.

She gently reached across the table to wipe off the access sauce from the corners of his mouth with her fingers. She slowly brought them back to her lips, and slowly slid her tongue across the surface, licking up the barbeque sauce, whilst keeping full eye contact with Choji the whole time, enjoying the way his eyes slightly widened and how red he turned.

"Choji, would you come home with me tonight?" She asked in a serious tone. She was definitely teasing on purpose, but she didn't want to make him feel used either.

"O-Oh?" He stammered. "I mean of course, anything you want. I'd be glad to, I just uh…" He ran a hand through his hair. "I didn't think you would want to uh...Yeah." He fished money out from his wallet and quickly set it out on the table.

Ino got up and glided to his side, whispering softly in his ear. "I want to be with you Choji, and I meant it." She gently nipped his ear and spoke in a normal tone. "But only with whatever you're comfortable with." She gave him a small peck on the cheek before sauntering towards the door.

She heard a cat call and was about to turn to see who it had been to shoot daggers in their direction before she felt Choji's arm on her waist, pulling her close. "Let's go, lovely." He smiled down at her and she just pressed into his side.

They walked to her house in silence. It was comfortable. Ino ran her hands up and down his back, appreciating the muscle she felt as his body tensed slightly. He gave her nervous smiles and rubbed uncertain circles into her hips. As they got to her room, she felt her start pounding, becoming a bit self conscious. It was no secret she had slept with a lot of guys, and she was fairly certain Choji hadn't been with anyone to her knowledge. Did he have any judgements towards her? Was she moving this too fast for him? She didn't want to make him feel pressured.

She held his hand as they walked to her room, trepidation starting to overwhelm her. As they entered her room, he shut the door gently. He sat on her mattress, it bouncing slightly in response. He pulled her into him and kissed her softly. She responded instantly, bringing her hands up to cup his face. Her eyes slid closed and she hummed contentedly as he moved little awkwardly against her mouth, she could still sense his uncertainty.

"Choji," She spoke softly against his lips before pulling away. "We don't have to do anything, if you're not comfortable. I don't want you to feel pressured…" She looked down. "Or like we're moving too fast…"

He stared at her before taking two fingers and using them to raise her chin and look at him. "There's nothing I don't want to do with you…" He smiled softly. "But I can't help but feel a little… Inexperienced." He kissed her again, a little more firmly this time. "I haven't done this, and…" He turned red as Ino was sliding her hands up his shirt.

"I was inexperienced once too, babe…" She gave him a sly grin before kissing his jawline.

"But uh," He groaned slightly. "I'm not like other guys…" He grabbed the hem of his shirt, keeping it down before she could pull it up any further.

Ino stopped and stared at him a moment. He was handsome and strong. He didn't have super defined muscles or abs but he was still sexy if you had asked her. She had wondered for years why there weren't women all over him. He was tall and built well and approachable. His hair was thick and long even if it was messy it had suited him. "You're right." She pushed him back on her bed, and positioned herself on top of him, straddling his hips. She brought her hands up to her ponytail and slowly pulled it down.

He stared at her, mortified at what she said. "H-Hey…" He started. "I'm sorry, I just-"

"She put a finger over his lips and leaned down, her hair brushing the side of his face. "You're way better." She kissed him passionately, bringing her hands to rest on the side of his neck.

Choji kissed her back right away, moving his hands to her hips. He couldn't believe it. She thought he was better? That he looked better? She was on top of him and he couldn't help but begin to feel turned on by the way her hips shifted over his or how soft her lips felt as he kissed her. He'd waited seven years to show her how he loved her and she was all over him now and he couldn't think to even know what to do.

She slid off her top, now just in the wrappings around her chest and her skirt. He tried not to gawk, not wanting to be disrespectful at all. Suddenly he felt her hands on his and she was guiding them along her torso, and hooking his fingers on the wrappings. They slid away and then back up his torso, lifting his shirt from his body. He shivered slightly at her touch, she was so confident and open, something he always loved about her. He felt hot all over as he sat up, letting her lift his shirt over his head, and held her in his lap. He pushed back just as firm into the kiss, gently nipping her bottom lip as soon as she slid her tongue across his bottom lip.

She moaned and there was never a noise he couldn't imagine that could have sounded better. He gripped her hips and pushed his own up into her without thinking, rubbing his hardening length against her core. Once again, a moan fell from her lips and it was enough to give him confidence to keep going. He fumbled with the wrappings, eventually getting them unwound from her chest. He moved his kisses down her jawline and nipped at her neck.

"Choji," She sighed softly and ran her fingers through his hair. "Please, don't stop." She bucked her hips against his and he felt her grip tighten on his strands as she grinded herself against him.

He groaned, trying to restrain himself. He moved his hands from her hips up to cup her breasts and gently kneaded them, holding his thumbs over her hardening buds. "God, you're so beautiful…" He whispered softly before placing a kiss on her collarbone.

Ino flushed red, the raw honesty in his voice catching her off guard. She'd been called hot and sexy, a 10, and so on. But she'd never felt like someone meant it so sincerely and truly believed she was beautiful. She ran her hands down his torso slowly, loving how smooth his skin was before coming to the waistband of his pants. "So are you, Choji…" She panted.

He rolled her over onto the bed. "Are you for sure about this?" He looked into her sea colored eyes. "I want this, I love you, but I don't want you to think you have to be with me…" She placed a hand on her cheek, pressing his hips into hers again, moaning in response.

Ino threw her head back onto the mattress as he grinded against her again before nodding. "Yes, I want this. I want you. Please, Choji." She tugged his pants down and back up a bit onto the bed.

Choji eagerly followed her, and quickly slid off her skirt, and settled himself between her thighs as he kicked off his pants. "I hope it won't be horrible…"

She smiled before reaching up and kissing him softly. She wrapped her legs around his hips, bringing him closer to her, feeling the tip of his length at her entrance and she whined into the kiss as soon as he made contact. "I need you…" She whimpered.

Choji bit his lip, he had dreamt of this moment so long, but it was still hard to realize this was real. He slid his tongue into her mouth at the same time he slowly entered her. He moaned long and low as he sunk himself into her. "Fuck, Ino…" He buried his face into her shoulder and took long, deep breaths. He wouldn't last like this, and he had to make her at least climax once, damnit.

She gripped his shoulders and let out a moan. "Oh my god…" She moved her hips against his and moaned again. "Choji please, I need it." She knew he was probably struggling being his first time but she wasn't going to be offended if he came fast, it was expected. "It's okay, I know but please, move." She begged and stroked his hair.

He kissed her shoulder and slowly rocked his hips into hers, finding a rhythm she seemed like that didn't drive him over the edge. She was so soaked, and it was for him. He slid his hand down her side and down to her clit, rolling it with thumb. "Does that feel okay?" He asked.

Ino was panting and squeezing his shoulders. The slow pace felt so much more amazing with him than it ever could have before. He was so caring and gentle. She loved feeling so taken care of. And then she shivered as his hand ran down her side, and when he started rolling her clit she started squirming and moaning all over again. "Fuck, Choji…" She whined and bucked her hips up involuntarily. "Oh, my god."

He watched her writhing under him from his touch and only made him harder. She was even wetter and she was so tight around him as he moved. Every time she moaned it drove him even closer to the edge. He began to thrust more firmly. He stopped playing with her clit and pinned her hips to the bed. "Tell me if this hurts and I'll stop, I just.." He moaned. "Oh, Ino you're amazing.

"Don't you dare stop!" She threw her head back and moaned loudly, the sounds of her pleasure and their skin slapping filling the room. "Faster, Choji, please…" She whined and he just obliged, wrapping her arms around her and rocking his hips into her as fast he could, holding her tightly.

She could feel her body tensing, she was so close. She brought her arms around to his back, digging her nails into his skin. Her legs squeezed his hips as hard as she could as she was reaching her limit. "Choji…" She panted.

He kissed her, sliding his tongue into her mouth, feeling every bit of bold now. She kissed him back, swiping her tongue along his. "Ino…" He moaned into the kiss and swirled his tongue around her. He slid his fingers into her hair and pulled firmly and began leaving hot kisses down her jawline and neck. "I love you."

Her back arched and she moaned out his name. She writhed under his touches and met every motion of his hips against her own. She ran her hands through his hair, tugging at the strands. "Choji, I…" She bit her lip. She couldn't say it back yet, but she didn't want to hurt his feelings.

"I know, baby." His hips jerks and his body tensed. "Fuck." He gripped her hips hard, leaving bruises. "Ino, I'm…" He groaned as he felt her tighten around him and quickly pulled out just before his release. He rolled over onto his back, his eyes closed in bliss. He panted, trying to catch his breath.

Ino snuggled up to him, laying her head on his chest. She gave his chest a few pecks before smiling at him. "So, how was it for your first?"

His eyes slid open and looked at her. She looked absolutely stunning, even with her blonde locks a mess and her makeup a little smudged from sweat. Her eyes sparkled and she looked so happy, laying in her bed with him. "Better than I ever dreamed…" He said honestly as he wrapped his arm around her and held her close.

"It was amazing." She traced patterns in his chest, sighing contently.

He smiled and just held her, pulling the blankets over them. "Do you mind if... If I stayed here with you tonight..?"

He flushed at the thought but he really loved being with her, and he was so comfortable holding her in bed. To feel her warmth and how welcoming she was to him, it was one of the nicest feelings he'd ever had.

"Of course you can stay." She wrapped her leg around his and laid her arm over his torso before letting her eyes slip closed. "I'd love that…"

He held her close as he stared up at the ceiling. He couldn't believe he was really with Ino now. That he had lost his virginity to her, that she never even blinked or had a second thought. He knew he'd always been insecure but he was really surprised that she desired him so much. He didn't think he'd ever make a woman feel that way. He kissed her forehead before falling asleep, holding her tightly.