Author's Note: This one's pretty lengthy.

- - - - - - - - - - -

Paper Heart.

Act IV.

It was always his smell that intrigued her.

She found it difficult to place it in words as to what he smelled like, because of how intoxicating it was. Strangely enough, when she first met him five years ago, it was the first thing she noted about him rather than his enigmatic appearance. While every other person was trying to figure out the great mystery of Hatake Kakashi, she was mindlessly driving herself to insanity for the lack of adjectives in the world. There appeared to be no description that can completely illustrate what his scent was like, nor any personified object that can depict the invigoration. He wasn't the type to wear any kind of male fragrances, so she figured it had to be a natural redolence. There were times where she found herself subconsciously lean towards him, sitting exceptionally close to his body during missions in order to take his essence in. She paid little heed towards his uneasy stances and forced coughs, figuring it was merely an old habit of his; since he frequently conducted the odd actions around her. Even now, as she was pressed against the cold, wooden floor of his house, she still couldn't provide an accurate portrayal for his aroma. She simply figured if nature itself were to bear a human form, it would smell of all the good in the earth.

Like he did.

As she lay underneath his body, she smiled to herself.
She has always been addicted to him, even before the growth of sentiment.

"What?" he asked in a whisper, the side of her face feeling his curious smile. She shook her head as he trailed his mouth against her skin, slowly traveling down her throat.
"Nothing," she breathed. "You just smell good."

Their wet clothes were drying from the heat of their bodies, pressed closely against each other on a floor riddled with puddles of water. The rain on her skin was evaporating into heated kisses down her body, making her breathe as if oxygen had become scarce in the atmosphere. The brilliance of her green eyes were hidden behind a Konoha headband, deliberately tied around her head as she fell to his touch. Though she still wasn't permitted to gaze upon his sacred identity he insistently hid behind his mask, she knew what he felt like.

Perfect, as she imagined him to be.

The mysterious aurora he protruded only added to the excitement. Her hands were held hostage above her head with a binding spell, leaving her helpless as to knowing where he'll caress her next. She sighed underneath his soft, gentle kisses; finding her mouth slightly opening on its own, trying to fulfill her body's demand for more. To her dismay, he purposely kept a distance from her needs to keep her desperately longing; causing her to wither below him. The warmth from her chest spread, infecting her body with only his furtive touch as its cure. He saw her gripping her hands, hearing her stifle a cry as she urgently wished for him to touch her in more promising places. Her lips felt his mouth curve into a coy smile.

His power over her was exhilarative.

He gave pity to her and deepened the kiss, feeling her eagerly devour his mouth with her delicate lips and tongue desperately searching for nothing. He tasted faintly of her lipgloss; its strawberry flavor smeared into the bliss she willingly relinquished to. She felt his hand glide underneath her damp shirt, tenderly stroking her sides and slyly moving upward. His slight shift of his hips abruptly deepened the pleasure in her, his ears hearing her peremptory need for him. Her weakening strength couldn't hold the quiet moan that escaped her mouth as her body arched into his, inciting the demand for more.

"No, not yet," he murmured, running his wet kisses towards her chest. She felt the vibration of his deep voice travel in her and swallowed, forcefully biting her tongue to hold down a whimper. His teeth steadily unzipped the rest of her shirt, the light buzz of metal distantly ringing in her ears. The heat of his breath caressed her skin against her chest, heaving from her short intake of breaths. Suddenly, she felt the warmth of his face leave her and his muscles tense up.

"What's wrong?"

The muffled sound of thunder and rain tapping against the roof of the house abruptly became audible as a questioning silence enveloped them. She turned her head to the right, hoping to receive a better hearing range to detect what was going on.

They held their breath in unison.

After an eternity of seconds, he leaned forward and offered a gentle, reassuring kiss on the lips. She felt him shake his head, his mess of silver hair tickling her nose.

"I just thought I heard something," he whispered.

Knock. Knock. Knock.

He groaned in frustration, finding his suspicions correct to his dissatisfaction. Lifting his mask back over his nose, he diminished the binding spell from her wrists and pulled down the headband from her eyes. She stared back at him with a glimmer of uncertainty in a brilliant green color. He got on his knees and gently lifted her by the waist, sitting her against the wall once more.

Knock. Knock. Knock.

She heard him click his tongue and sigh, seeing him turn his head towards her. Cupping a hand on her cheek, he smiled an apology and kissed her forehead.

"I'll be back," she heard him whisper in her ear before he stood up.

The sound of a door unlatching and the voices of two men were a faint, distant sound that echoed in her ears. The breeze of cold air that blew in mingled with her body tempurature, cooling down the heat of her skin from his sentimental touches. Hands resting on her legs, she tilted her head against the wall and closed her eyes.

There was once a story between a little girl and her mysterious teacher; an innocent relationship of a child, and a man who trained her to live the proper ways of a shinobi. The little girl would find him during warm, spring afternoons as the petals of her name delicately floated across the sky. She would sit in his lap as he read, amusing herself by blowing dandelions into his face and singing the native songs of her village into his ear. She would end up falling asleep in his arms unknowingly, to find herself waking up in her own bed and wondering if her day was nothing but a hazy dream.

Afterwards, the little girl began to wonder if her life was just a dream; a dream, to which she found herself never waking up to. The idea began to frighten her, causing her to frequently have sleepless nights and mornings touched with dry tears upon her face. No one understood why she was acting the way she was, nor did they understand her words when she tried to explain. The little girl became lost, wandering around the streets as droplets of rain were strewn from her innocent, green eyes.

A soft smile suddenly lifted across her pink lips one day, her hands quickly wiping the tears from her cheeks. She found him again; the same man in her distant dream that held her in his lap and listened to her small voice chime amongst the breeze of spring. The same man who she walked behind with during missions, mimicing his footsteps in hopes of being a grown-up like he was. Her heart lifted towards his presence, walking to him and sitting in his lap like her dreams portrayed.

"Will I ever wake up again?" the little girl asked him, peering into his face for an answer. He leaned forward and kissed her small forehead, wiping the rest of her tears away.
"You've been awake all along," he whispered to her. "You just haven't opened your eyes yet."

Although she couldn't understand his words, he understood hers.
The little girl has smiled towards his direction ever since.

"Sakura," a voice quietly called out.

Her eyes fluttered open from her brief nap and looked up.
There was something wrong.

She slowly lifted herself from the floor and stood up. She saw his eyes glazed with a number of thoughts running through his mind.

"Kakashi," she called hesitantly. "What... What's going on? What did that man say?"

She took a step forward when he didn't respond.

He lifted a small, white piece of paper in his hand towards her direction.
"I have a mission tomorrow," he softly replied. "Directed from the Hokage herself."

"Hokage hersel--" she stopped as a small spark of fear ignited inside her. She swallowed the lump in her throat and bit her bottom lip.

"Tell me," her voice demanded shakily. "What's the rank?"
His eyes continued to stare at her, unfixed.
Blank. Emotionless.

"Sakura, I can't--"
"Just tell me!" she shrieked.

He closed his eyes and sighed, listening to the thumping of his heart and footsteps walking towards her. She felt him wrap an arm around her waist to tenderly pull her into a quiet embrace. He held the side of her face as she looked up to him in question, her cheeks heated from impatience.

"It's an S-Ranked mission, up in the north where--"
"No," she shook her head, averting her eyes away from his. "Kakashi, you can't do this--"
"It's my duty."
"Duty?" she yelled, pushing him away and glaring with eyes brimmed in tears. "Do you know what the other word for duty is?" she inquired through her light, rackful sobs. "Death."

Her body withered away and slid back down to the floor, landing on her knees. Her palms covered her face as she cried, the fear and anger injecting her as she realized she was still living in a world filled with no future but death and pain. It was the way of the ninja, and she hated it. She hated everything.

She continued to cry as he knelt in front of her, pulling her hands from her face and wiping her tears away with his fingers.

"Shh, it's going to be okay," he pressed his forehead against hers and stroked her hair. "It's going to be okay."

She closed her eyes, trying to calm her body from shaking from wails of pain in her chest. The burning was severe, spreading through every nerve of her body. She felt as if her lungs couldn't take in any more air, feeling the pressure crush her ribs; ripping her heart without sympathy.

"H-how long is it going to be?" she managed out. Her mouth tasted of salt as the stream continued to flow down her cheeks.

"Two months. Three months max," he gently replied. He was inwardly dying, cut up into pieces from fate and its unmerciful hand. The meaning of life in his world was to kill, or be killed; but he wanted neither.

"Sakura, I'm coming back." He bit the inside of his cheek, trying to hold down his own tears from falling. "I'm coming back for you."

She lifted her head and closed her eyes. Pulling his mask down, she kissed him on the lips; his mouth tasting the bitterness of her pain. The glowing facade of her eyes looked back at him after she covered his face once more.

"Give me your hand," she commanded, wiping her eyes and sniffing away the tears.
"What are you--"
"Just give me your hand."

He removed his hand from her side to rest in her lap in front of her. She took both her hands in his and turned it palm up. Leaning herself forward, she laid her forehead on his shoulder as she did before; her eyes looking down as her fingers delicately traced the lines and crevices of his hand. He gently pressed the side of his head against hers and closed his eyes. The palm of his hand began to feel her index finger move intricately, writing him a secret message one letter at at time.




"Sakura," he whispered, his eyes brimming in tears.
"I'm not allowed to say it," she murmured, feeling liquid droplets rain from her face to their hands. "But I want you to feel it."

There was once a story between a little girl and her mysterious teacher.
There was now a love between a young woman and a man.
But the little girl came back one day.

Feeling as lost as ever.