They say that I'm crazy

And it's probably true

But I'm at my happiest

Just when I'm with you.


- "Give It All Up" by the Corrs

------------

They say that our worlds are too different, but I think that would better description about my relationship with my mother than with my relationship with him.

"I don't care whether you're genin, chuunin, or jounin! I don't even care if you're Hokage! I'm still your mother and you're still my daughter!"

Unfortunately.

Lee and Naruto always said that they always liked the look of "fire" in my eyes. I don't have any idea what they're talking about, of course. I finally turn to face my mother, yes, the face that time and time again I've been told looked extraordinarily like mine. Her green eyes are boring into mine now, but I don't flinch. I've seen too many tragedies, too many deaths, too early, too soon. If I hadn't chosen this way—the life of a shinobi—I would be absolutely terrified at the way my mother is glaring at me. But I'm not. It'll take more than that.

Especially about this. This is not one fight I'm backing out from.

My silence seems to have taken my mother aback, even if only slightly. She tries a different tack. "I'm just worried about you. He's not the kind of man that I was hoping..." she trails off, but I know what she's thinking. She's always thought this way: that the way of the shinobi would be too hard on me, that eventually I would drop out of it, just like she did, when she was my age. That eventually I'd meet a nice young man, get married, have a daughter who's my spitting image and follow the same destiny. That is, to try and to fail.

"It's not really up to you to decide now, is it?" I thought about the past missions, the Chuunin exams...him. Too many things have happened. Too many things have happened without her. I will always love her, of course, she's my mother. What made me sad was the thought that she didn't know me anymore, and that I would suddenly die out there in the field and she wouldn't get to know me, ever. That she'll remember as like I was still the same little Sakura, who made toys as a hobby and fussed over my hair.

She is in tears. She suddenly looks so old, so tired. And I feel it too, this tiredness leaching into my bones. My heart breaks. But it has been broken many times before, and still, the mornings come.

"Mother...I have to go." I want to step up and hug her and tell her that it was alright, that he was a good person, that he had always taken care of me, protected me. He did not always say so, but I knew he loved me. One day, I hope she would understand. Hopefully, when it's not too late.

I want to stretch out my hands and embrace her. But I know I will break, and that I might break her. When I turn my back on her, she suddenly shouts:

"He is a murderer!"

I know the answer to this one. People have been saying that ever since he's reached out to hold my hand. "And so am I."

-------------

It is raining outside, but I have to walk on. The pounding of the rain on the pavement would muffle out the sounds of her crying. Or maybe it is I who is crying. I don't know anymore. Lightning flashes in the sky. The mission hasn't begun and I feel so tired already. I climb the steps; my legs feeling like it were made out of stone.

Now all I need now is a good hearty lightning bolt to strike me down...

But it never comes. I look up, and there he is, waiting for me at the top of the steps. I can't see his face clearly. Then again, that's the whole point of the mask, now, isn't it?

He looks funny, all geared up but holding up a red-and-white polka-dot umbrella. It's the most horrendous thing I've seen. When I climb the last step, he walks up to me and shields me from the rain. We stand there for a few moments in silence. The rain relents a bit, and steadies into a shower.

"You're late." He says casually, not looking at me.

"I'm sure you've waited forever." I reply dryly, sniffling a bit. He looks at me, eyebrow raised. I had to smile at his expression...well, the corner of his face with the expression, anyway. "Let's just say I got..."—I look up to the sky—"...bogged down on my way."

He doesn't say anything. Uh oh. He's not being flippant. He must have heard everything. And my mother and I have been yelling at each other for a good one hour.

"Tsunade-sama..." he began again, surprising me. "Has cancelled our mission until tomorrow. It's not exactly wise to go into the Country of Mist at a time like this." Yeah, unless you want shinobi popping out from under every stone, tree and grass.

"Umm...alright then." I say, nodding, confused, not really knowing what to say. He's probably thinking of what he's overheard. He's probably heard everything my mother said, because she was yelling most of the time (heck, I would hear it through a combined hurricane and earthquake), but I'm sure he hasn't heard my answers.

He yawns and scratches his head, but he still doesn't look at me. "Oh, by the way," he pulls out a crumpled, slightly wet envelope from his left pocket and hands it to me. "She also asked me to give you this." I bite back the urge to scold him about mishandling mail from the Hokage. It wasn't everyday one gets...

My heart drops to the pavement under my feet. I look up at him, heartbeat suddenly beating wildly out of control. I knew it. The cancellation of the mission wasn't about the rain at all...

"It's a call for summons..."

He still looks bored, damnit. "Aa."

I rip the envelope and read the letter. I only catch the words council of elders...Hokage...suspension... and his name and mine, although even in the letter, they separate us. Mine appears only at the top, and his appears at the near bottom of the third paragraph, talking about the possible disciplinary action they would have to...

I drop the letter. No. It is too terrible.

"It's ugly, isn't it?" I almost forget that he is at my side. He's looking at the umbrella now, eye regarding it thoughtfully. "This is the last time I'm asking Pakkun to buy me an umbrella." Then he smiles at me.

I had this split-second look that most probably looked like murderous intent and shock and awe. Then I decided. I had to laugh. I couldn't help it. Here I was, wet with rain, in love with a man more than ten years older than me, who is also my teacher, under the ugliest umbrella in the world bought by a talking shinobi-dog who also uses the same shampoo as me.

No wonder my mother was so angry. And then I laugh some more. He doesn't seem to get it. Maybe he expected me to cry or something. Well...not cry, but be more distressed than cackling with amusement.

At this point in the story, I know I should just look at him and feel secure. But I don't feel secure. I'm scared. I'm so terribly scared. There's nothing even he could say to make me feel any less terrified. I don't know what will happen after this rain stops.

All I know is this: that this is perfect. I don't know how many moments we have together will be, but each one of that will be perfect too.

We begin to walk. Where, I don't know. Not to the Hokage's office—no, not yet. The time there will come. But for now, we have this. And I know, whatever happens, this is what I want. He knows he doesn't have to hear what I said to my mother, because my answers will always be the same—to her, to the Hokage, to the council...

This is the path I want to walk. The path beside his.

- fin

----------------

Erkkk...terribly bad writing, I know. Just wrote this in one sitting, and I need sleep. =p My first venture out into fanfiction after a loooong time. Don't flame me, please? I'm not writing for a living, ya know. :p

I love KakaSaku. Am currently writing a longer fic about them... err, if you're wondering, Sakura is 17 in this fic...which would make Kakashi...31? Correct? Anyway...if it helps, I'm also a big SasuSaku fan. Eheh.

Naruto doesn't belong to me. Ok? Ok. Thanks for reading, guys.