"We have to help Kakashi seduce Akiko, Obito!"
"I think this is something Kakashi would prefer to do on his own Takeshi."
"But Obito he's only got 54 days left and they're still nervous when they're just doing pushups together."
"It's good that they're building a strong foundation for their relationship."
"Yes but to keep to schedule they have to kiss by midnight, tomorrow!"
"How did you manage to calculate that?"
"The 60 days Obito! You never listen to me! Assuming that each step will take exponentially longer to get to…"
"That? I don't think I want to hear any more, Takeshi."
"Obito. As our captain you are responsible for ensuring our growth, our safety and our happiness. Oh wait what was that last word? I swear it might have something to do with the dopamine levels in our body…"
"…I'm not agreeing to this."
"You don't have to agree, you just have to help."
I rolled onto my back, then my stomach. I flipped the pillow, squirmed over to the cool side of the futon, counted sheep, recited daimyos and finally admitted that I couldn't fall asleep.
Of course I knew what the problem was, in fact if there was any justice then Kakashi three feet to my right was also not asleep – if doing a remarkably better imitation than I was. Considering that I wasn't attempting sleep at all by this point that wouldn't be hard.
If the world was completely just then Takeshi was also getting no sleep.
Takeshi was the one who had laid out four foutons with space in-between each for foot traffic. "This way everyone'll be able to stretch out just the way they like!"
Of course it might not have been that I wasn't sleeping next to Kakashi. The fact that we were surrounded by an army of screaming grasshoppers and crickets could have something to do with it. But I was pretty sure if I had curled up to Kakashi and he had cuddled me like usual I would be asleep hours ago. Now I was hot or cold or I couldn't get comfortable. So this is what withdrawal feels like.
My sleeping patterns had been reduced to that of a puppy's and I needed my ticking clock to fall asleep. I weighed the scandal factor of my creeping across the floor and sneaking under Kakashi's blankets. Did the floor squeak here? I couldn't remember.
Then again, they'd both been pretty protective of Kakashi at the hospital would they see this as going too far? They knew we snuggled together at night, I was typically still in bed when they came to get Kakashi and even though he typically woke early Kakashi didn't get up until just before or after they came to get him. Worst case scenario-if they asked me about it then I could always say I was feeling homesick and needed a hug.
That's right they can't expect me to be all ninja-tough!
Mind made up I sat up.
Turns out there are reasons that ninja typically don't bring non-ninjas with them.
Since I was unable to sleep – the rest of them who were supposed to be sleeping were unable to sleep, save the one on watch who happened to be Takeshi.
I had no idea about the 'watch' for the record.
Being on watch was typically boring.
Takeshi – seeing me clearly awake and sitting up decided to make it somewhat less so.
When I'm under the impression that everyone else around me is sleeping, suddenly being grabbed from behind comes as something of a shock.
When I'm in unfamiliar territory on the edge of the country's border after hearing war stories all day my reaction to being shocked is to scream.
My scream roused Kakashi and Obito who weren't really asleep but weren't really awake either in a very abrupt manner.
Obito's natural response was to throw a kunai to deter the immediate threat to further analyze the situation.
Takeshi, to dodge kunai's thrown at him, tends to go invisible and create a shadow clone of himself in his place.
Because I was still in my surprise phase I tried to jump up and turn around to see what was behind me.
Obito had aimed over my back, jumping up put me right in the kunai's path.
Takeshi jerked me to the side just before the kunai hit us, and instead it sunk into his shadow clone releasing a very realistic spurt of blood as a result.
Takeshi's specialty is genjutsu on an ANBU level.
Kakashi saw Takeshi take a kunai to the chest, could feel Obito's chakra behind him and saw some invisible force haul me in the direction of the door. He came to the conclusion that we were under attack.
Kakashi slammed Takeshi (invisible) into one of the support posts and ripped me free of Takeshi's grip.
Obito noted Takeshi's amazingly realistic clone without realizing it wasn't Takeshi, saw Kakashi fighting and invisible foe and rationally assumed that there were more invisible enemies lurking around. After all stone nin travel in packs of 4 typically.
Obito utilized the best way of discovering invisible quickly: a water jutsu.
Since there was the possibility that there were more than three invisible foes and Kakashi and Takeshi both knew it was somewhat standard procedure Obito reasoned they'd get out of the way and used more chakra than usual.
The hut that was typically used for 'reconnaissance' was old.
Kakashi threw the invisible perpetrator over the deluge back into the middle of the room and before letting us get swept outside by the water.
Obito darted out in the other direction.
Takeshi ended up having to bust his way through the straw roof, dropping his genjutsu in the process just as the main beams broke and the ceiling suddenly ended up resting on the floor like a little tent.
Luckily we were all soaked so the fact that it started to rain dampened nothing but our spirits.
We were suddenly very high very quickly. Kakashi was holding me with one hand and had his unsheathed katana in the other. It was dark and I could feel the mist on my face but couldn't see it. We stayed still and silent for the longest time and then dropped to the ground it wasn't long before Takeshi and Obito's masks emerged from the night.
Obito looked back and forth between the three of us. "What the hell just happened?"
Takeshi laughed weakly. "Surprise!"
The first time I felt a ninja killing aura it came from Kakashi and Obito directed at Takeshi at this moment.
We all stared at the collapsed hut for a minute.
"There are those caves a few miles north." Takeshi suggested meekly.
"Let's go." Obito replied shortly.
Not only were all the sleeping bags completely waterlogged but mine had been impaled by one of the beams and was deemed well and truly dead. Fate is not without a sense of irony.
Takeshi ran ahead to scout and to give some distance between himself and the rest of us. I thought I'd be carrying my bag but before I even knew we were ready to leave we were flying through the tops of the bamboo in utter darkness. Then it seemed sort of silly to offer as I couldn't fly through tree tops and everyone seemed sort of intent on getting back to sleep ASAP. Instead Obito carried my bag and Kakashi carried me.
"I'm sorry. If I hadn't overreacted and screamed we'd probably all be warm and dry and comfortable right now."
"It wasn't your fault Akiko, and we'll be warm and dry soon enough."
"How far is the next shelter?"
"We should be there any minute…"
I was curled up trying to preserve heat while Kakashi cradled me to his chest, but when he cursed softly under his breath I roused the effort to look up and spontaneously lost any hope of getting warm and dry anytime soon.
We stood on the treeline at the base of a mountain. A mountain of rubble at the edge of a much taller mountain.
Takeshi scratched his head. "Gosh darn, must have been a landslide recently or something."
Kakashi shook his head scattering water droplets left and right. "We have to find shelter soon, Akiko's too cold."
I wasn't cold. I wasn't even shivering. I was just tired. But if it got us settled faster I didn't care what they said about me.
"How far is the next outpost Obito?"
"21 miles away."
"I recall there being a small shrine just on the other side of this mountain. It should work for at least tonight."
"Good memory Kakashi, let's go."
The shrine was very small, and no one got to sleep real soon. There was a small alter for a fire and they got that started up immediately then there was the slow process of drying everything.
The first time Kakashi undressed me was because I was too numb and tired to undress myself. As soon as one sleeping bag was dried out he tugged off my pajamas while simultaneously tucking me into the warm sleeping bag. Once I was in he asked me fore everything else, luckily I had enough coordination for that. Takeshi must have been afraid for his life because he didn't comment even when Kakashi laid out my underwear to dry next to everyone's shirts.
It was tight, the shrine was wide but not very deep as far as buildings go. One of the guys could have stretched out but then the rest would have been miserably scrunched. Instead they all took to leaning their packs up against the wall and then leaning against them while zipped up in the sleeping bags. I had slightly more comfortable accommodations as I got to lean against Kakashi instead of one of the packs. I got to wear one of Kakashi's shirts again because ANBU thermals dry out much faster than cotton pjs. Tucked into his shoulder with one arm holding me gently and the sound of his heartbeat echoing through my ear it took about two seconds to fall asleep.
~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~
The shrine was drafty. Damp. Cold. Kakashi was quite literally the center of my world as I vampirically clung to him for his warmth.. He'd crossed his legs sometime while I'd been asleep and I woke up huddled in his lap.
Ha! Back where I belong! Snuggled up and warm and held and protected! I guess yesterday's fiasco turned out alright. After all being cold for a few hours is nothing compared to the sleep I will be getting. Not to mention the hugs and the cuddling. Stuck out in the boonies with only one room I was sorta worried that we'd get no together time but things have worked out just right. The universe was out of balance and now it has corrected itself. I was soo in the right to try and snuggle with Kakashi yesterday and this proves it!
And without a thought I turned my head which was tucked under his chin and kissed Kakashi's neck before snuggling in again.
Then Kakashi slowly but firmly lifted me off his lap, slid out of the sleeping bag and without a word or even a glance backwards, exited the shrine.
I curled up pulled the sleeping bag over my head and tried hard not to cry.
~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~
"KAKASHI!! Damnit where did he go? KAAA-KAAA-Shhhh-there you are! What were you thinking? Akiko kissed you for the first time and you just walk out of there? What kind of a man are you? Hey look at me when I'm talking… … oh."
"Yes. Oh. Now do you mind?"
"Ummm… nope, no problem. I completely didn't realize, and thank you for taking this outside so to speak… I'm deprived enough as it is without seeing the two of you cuddling-jeeze I'd probably start twitching if I had to watch you-"
"Right…I'll just…head back to the shrine unless you need anything…I mean I am carrying some lotion in case we went to the colder climes but I don't have that much and it's peach scented so I'm not sure you'd want to use it for this but-"
~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~
"Akiko-san, sorry for the trouble but I had to send Kakashi out to scout and he's the best of the three of us. He'll be back shortly, there's no need to worry."
I rubbed my eyes of all traces of tears and poked my head out from the sleeping bag. Obito was crouched just beside me on the wooden floor staring at me intently.
Just then Takeshi bounded back in. "Omg Obito you will not believe what I just saw Kakashi doing…" Then he noticed who Obito was talking to. "Oh…hi Akiko…sleep well?
"Are you lying to me?"
He went absolutely still for a moment. "No."
I scowled. "Liar." Giving him one last glare I delved back into my meager privacy.
~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~
"Takeshi?! I thought I told you to go away."
"Yes I know, you did. But I need to tell you to go and scout the area real quick."
"Now??? I'm a little busy Takeshi and it doesn't help that you keep coming by to chat."
"No no… I mean I'm sure…after you're done…Obito didn't really specify-I could ask him if you want?"
"Takeshi I just want you to go away."
"I could grab your book for you if you want I know you've got pictures of Akiko stuck between the pages…"
"Yes, fine. Oh and do something…before you come back."
"Do something? Takeshi, are you secretly harboring a deathwish?"
"I mean…Obito sorta told her you were out on patrol and I sorta told her that you were doing something..like something surprising so improvise okay? Okay. Bye."
Takeshi and Obito had left, chatting and I recognized the voice but I still refused to move.
I didn't budge. For one my complexion was ruined I was a horribly messy when I cried. Second: I shouldn't be crying because anyone who runs from my kisses didn't deserve them and I didn't care about people who didn't deserve my kisses. Third because he had kissed me and I hadn't run for the hills so it was completely unfair for him to be able to give kisses but not vice versa. Kakashi was secretly sexist. I should have known.
"Akiko, come here."
I was pulled from my nylon sanctuary without so much as a vote and cradled in his lap –right where I'd been when he upped and ran away. Oh the irony! Did he think he could bribe me with a few sweet words and…A Flower!
I accepted the thin green stem from him and peered at the multitude of white petals surrounding the bright yellow middle. A daisy to be exact.
"For me?" My voice cracked. I'm humiliating. And to top matters off I started crying again.
"Obito told me how worried you were about me, but I'm fine. The nearest border is miles and miles away, I didn't think my leaving so quickly would scare you but just so you know for the future."
27 petals so if I start with 'If he loves me' that's what the last petal will be. "Okay, I'm sorry. I got worked up over nothing." Sorta…
I forced out a smile and let him tilt my face up, trying not to wince as his eyes skimmed my face – no doubt taking in the tear trails and the redness, the puffiness…
"You're just fine. There's no need to cry." I got a kiss on my forehead and the smile came a lot easier. "Okay?" He pressed his forehead to mine and looked right at me, I eventually returned his gaze deliriously happy in my revelations. And here I was thinking it was my kiss that had made him run away so quickly…silly silly Akiko when will you get over yourself?
"Yeah, okay." I whispered back, twisting the stem of my flower back and forth.
"Perfect." He whispered back. I smiled foolishly glancing between him and my flower while he fussed – tucking my hair behind my ears, wiping away the last traces of what was clearly an isolated and misguided case of pessimism and resettling me in his lap until I was perfectly tucked into his shoulder.
Or was it?
I blinked away the last of my tears to clear my vision and watched him closely.
"Thank you Kakashi," very deliberately I sat up slightly, tilted my head, and gently kissed his cheek.
But at the last moment, Kakashi moved too and instead of his cheek…
First there was the smooth texture of his mask and his lips pressed to mine just beneath it. Then he pulled back and then there wasn't a mask between us anymore.
"You are most welcome."
~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~
"Obito we did it! It was total chaos theory! I knew if I set out separate sleeping bags the distance would drive one of them wild with desire! I am the butterfly see me flap! Ha! And we're right on schedule! At this rate I can regift that box of crayons to their kid in no time! Yess! Now if Kakashi's really a genius he will take this chance to get ahead of schedule! Kiss on the lips-check! Next step is getting familiar with each other~! Perfect timing! If anyone else feels like I do after last night, they'll both be ready for a bath and there are those natural springs not far from here! What luck! It would have been out of the question while we were staying at the hut but now that we're here it's the obvious choice! I have this feeling that all we have to do is get Akiko some lingerie… You saw what Kakashi was like when she was wearing that kimono right? He almost fell off the roof! Of course that could have been because she was hanging out with drug lords…but it can't possibly hurt. Besides everyone knows how much visuals help-right Obito? Obito?"
"I am not hearing any of this."
"Well…do you at least know where I can get some lingerie?"
"I didn't agree to any of this."
"Obito. We talked about this. Kakashi's happiness is at stake here. Look at how happy he is. Don't you think he looks happy? Hmmm?"
"Now...how can we get some lingerie...?"