Disclaimer: These guys aren't mine ;;
This is my first Naruto fanfiction and my first fanfic in a while. I really would like reviews to keep me going I already have the whole plot written out and it will be a long one. I went ahead and rated the first chapter R because the rest of the fic will need that rating. Initially I wanted to upload the first 3 chapters all at once but chapter 1 ended up so long that I just decided to just upload this one as soon as it was done.
KakaSaku and SasuSaku will take place during the course of this fanfic!
Haruna Sakura was Konoha's rising new star pertaining to Jounins. She may have always been a step or two behind her teammates but that was still a step above everyone else. Her skills were great enough to warrant promotion to Jounin at only the age of 19. Uzumaki Naruto and Uchiha Sasuke, her teammates for many years, had both passed the exam over a year prior.
Sakura looked up at the sky from her perch in a cherry blossom tree and smiled. It was a beautiful day and she was only taking a short break while sparring with Naruto. Life was grand and she could always count on her good friend to train with her daily.
"Hey, Sakura! You aren't giving up are you?" Naruto grinned in her direction and Sakura turned her head to look at him. He still had that same boyish optimistic attitude, and his dream of Hokage had never wavered. However, in terms of appearance, he was a completely new person. He was now a head taller than Sakura and his muscles had formed him rather nicely. His facial features were more defined and that boyish grin had evolved into a handsome smile. Sakura could see his collarbone jut through his shirt and she smiled. Personally she had always found that part of a man quite sexy. Not that she was attracted to Naruto.
"No, but I do believe it sounds like you are trying to give up on me!" She returned Naruto's grin as she stood up from her branch and lunged at him with a kunai in hand.
Sakura's speed had significantly increased over the years; Kakashi had decided that this was most likely the smartest area for her to concentrate. Genjutsu was also a strong point of hers though she was nowhere near as talented as Sasuke. Her stamina, however, was still lacking. Her speed was greater than Naruto but in the end she tired too quickly and he had the best of her.
Naruto blocked the girl's charge and pushed her backwards with force. Sakura quickly found her footing while flying backwards and propelled herself upwards to another branch. Naruto easily moved below her branch and reached up to snatch her feet when she disappeared in a puff of cherry blossoms. "Hmph! Woman, I told you to quit doing that."
He could hear Sakura's laughter around him as his head turned from side to side trying to locate the direction her voice was coming from. Suddenly she appeared behind him and Naruto felt her hand grab his neck as he tried to turn to defend himself from his opponent.
"Looks like you're still too slow, Naruto-chan." Sakura grinned evilly as she brought her kunai up to his throat.
"Well unfortunately some of us had men obsessed with frogs train us. Frogs aren't that fast." Naruto scowled at his defeat. The only time that he was able to move at high speed was when he called upon the chakra of the demon inside of him, and he only saved that for life or death situations.
"Give up now?"
"Never!" Naruto exclaimed proudly.
"Oh well then I guess we'll skip lunch. I wasn't in the mood for ramen anyways..." Sakura dropped her hands from Naruto's neck and gave off a fake dramatic sigh.
"Sakura, don't even tease me." Naruto sent a scolding look in Sakura's direction.
"I'm not, come on. My treat!" She didn't even have to ask twice, Naruto was already on his way to the restaurant.
The two teammates walked down into the restaurant and sat down at the bar. Sure they were both now jounins but they still preferred to accept missions in the same old team of Naruto, Sakura, Sasuke, and Kakashi. Sadly, group missions were now coming few and far between and they could feel themselves beginning to lose touch with Sasuke.
The cook already knew what they wanted, and had begun on the order the second he saw Naruto walk through the door. There were conveniences to being a regular sometimes.
"Naruto, have you spoken to Sasuke lately?" Sakura played with her chopsticks and contemplated what the boy could be up to.
"He's the same as ever. He doesn't feel like gracing us with his splendid presence I suppose." Naruto said this with obvious sarcasm. He still had some disdain for his rival. "The guy has no manners!"
Sasuke had ceased training with them when Sakura reached Jounin status a few months ago. She couldn't possibly believe it was her promotion that caused this, but she couldn't figure out what it could be either so she just let it go. He took a lot of solo missions now and they kept him away from town. Sakura was cold to him, she had given up pursuing the cold handsome boy years ago.
"I just worry about him." She didn't really. Stay gone.
"Don't start that again..." Naruto groaned.
"No, not in that way you idiot." Sakura sighed, she knew she would forever be teased for her childhood obsession with the great Uchiha heir.
They both sat patiently awaiting their food. Sakura wasn't extremely hungry but she knew it was about time for nourishment...they had trained rough today.
"Speaking of missing teammates, where is Kakashi?" Naruto looked around the restaurant. He hadn't expected to see him here and he couldn't really reason with why he was looking around. Kakashi rarely came here unless it was for a drink at night.
"I think he told me that he had a mission and would be back in a few days," Sakura stopped and counted the days on her fingers, "which should be today!" She grinned at the realization they could see their teacher again. She was itching to learn some new Genjutsu, and she still hadn't seen that damn face.
"Still after the mask, Sakura?" Naruto's laughter was quickly ceased with the act of ramen being fed into his mouth as the cook had just placed their dishes on their table.
"I'll get it one day, you just watch!" Sakura was pretty confident on this manner. Sure it had been around seven years since she had first attempted to see his face, but that didn't mean anything.
Naruto didn't even bother in response as he choked down his food.
"At least stop to enjoy it!"
No response. Sakura sighed and slowly slurped her noodles. She saw Naruto finish up out of the corner of her eye.
"I'm going to run to the store, I totally need to restock my cabinets." Naruto smiled with his not so quite full stomach.
"You just ate!" Sakura exclaimed.
"So?" Naruto laughed and bounced out of the restaurant leaving Sakura to finish her meal alone.
Once Sakura finished the last of her noodles she paid the cook and began walking towards her home. She still lived with her parents, as her family was close, but she was given an apartment style room with a separate entrance. It was entirely for the purpose of not disturbing them coming and going from missions in odd hours, she didn't exactly have a love life to hide.
She walked down the road looking at her feet hit the rocks and spread them in different directions. A quick thought to herself about disturbing the rocks sleeping time made her laugh. Silly thoughts such as these were often.
Sakura had developed into a beautiful young woman. Her hair was worn long and fell to her mid back, but this time not to impress Sasuke. Her legs seemed to go on for miles, or so Naruto joked, and she was quite tall. Her figure had developed in a way that turned heads. She never tried to accent her features, but she still got the occasional old man with ulterior motives.
The two most eligible girls in town were her and Ino, and Sakura really didn't care. Ino, however, used it to her full advantage. Sakura had ceased playing those games and had even handed Sasuke over. Actually she enjoyed watching Ino's frustration in trying to seduce the dark haired jounin, as it never ever worked. Not even once.
Sakura turned her head to see who had called her name so close to her own apartment. She looked around the crowd and focused on Kakashi, who was waving with his hand above his head.
"You're back! In one piece, I see. I assume things went well." She turned around and quickened her step to a light jog to get to him.
"Just an escort mission, piece of cake." Kakashi's one exposed eye turned upwards slightly and Sakura could tell he was smiling. "I just reported in, I'm actually on my way to unwind at my place before tonight."
"Tonight? You have to leave again?" Sakura had not heard of any events to take place tonight so she had assumed it was a mission.
"No, I just really want to hit the bar after that long and boring mission."
"Would you like company?"
Kakashi looked at the girl suspiciously, "Ok you're a year underage...and I won't let you take advantage of me."
Sakura stepped back shocked, "Take...advantage..?"
"You won't see my face that easy, Sakura." His one visible eye closed in what Sakura supposed was a wink.
"Kakashi!" Sakura screamed, "Don't freak me out like that! Me take advantage of you?! What the hell were you thinking?!" She was making quite the scene and to conclude the dramatization she smacked him upside the head.
"Ow." He said, rubbing the back of his head.
"You deserved it." She turned away, pouting. "I was on my way home to relax and visit with mother. I haven't spoken to her in a few days so I should be going."
"Ok, but Sakura, one thing before you go."
"Where is Sasuke?" Kakashi lost his playful tone.
"You know just as well as I do, sensei." Sakura replied coldly and continued her way on the walk to her home.
Sakura had been at home for several hours and the day was coming to an end. Her mother was sewing, a favourite hobby of hers, and Sakura had helped her out to pass the time. Her mother and she were great friends and Sakura didn't have any idea what she would do without her.
"What are your plans for tonight dear?" Sakura's mother didn't even look up from her sewing machine when she asked.
"I don't really have any, I'll probably sleep early."
"A popular girl like you has no plans?" The woman let out a small laugh as she teased her daughter.
"I'm not popular, mom. Quit that."
"I'm not complaining either! The less popular my daughter is then the more she can help me out with my sewing, now come over here and cut this for me please."
Sakura sighed and walked over to her mother. Sewing wasn't her favourite thing in the world, and besides, she had enough training outfits already. Sakura had just found the scissors when there was a knock at the door.
"Go open it dear."
Sakura obliged and walked lazily to the door to let in whom she assumed would be one of her mother's annoying friends. Great, someone can help her sew.
The door was pulled open and to Sakura's great surprise it wasn't one of her mother's friends. Standing there in a casual button down black shirt and pants was Kakashi. He of course was still sporting the trademark headband and mask.
"What are you doing here?" She asked.
Kakashi smirked and said sarcastically, "Well hello and yes I'd love to come in!"
Sakura stammered, "Oh god I'm sorry. You just surprised me, is all. Please come in." She moved away leaving the door open and heading back to the table where she had placed the scissors.
"Kakashi! Hello young man." Sakura's mother actually took the time to look up to see the presumably handsome man, though no one could say for sure. "It's nice to know that you stay so close to your students. I know most of the instructors just discard them after the rank exams are finished."
Kakashi laughed, "Well I suppose they make good company. And I'm no longer a young man." He looked over at Sakura who was still wearing her training garb, "Why aren't you ready?"
"Ready?? For what!"
"But! You said—" Her explanation was cut off my his deep laughter, which she had to admit was sexy in a way.
Sakura, don't think like that. Teacher. Student. OK? Not sexy, father figure.
"Fine I'll be down in a moment. Bye mom!" Sakura ran out the front door into the entrance of her apartment on the ledge above to change into something more casual.
The clothing decided upon was a red Chinese cut top with her clan symbol on the back in a white circle. Her pants were simple white pants that hung loosely from her figure. She didn't feel like showing off, it only asked for trouble. After she was all set she opened her apartment door to find Kakashi leaning against the railing right outside, waiting on her.
"I thought you said I couldn't come." She asked the older man leaning on the railing.
He looked up at her, "I only said you couldn't take advantage of me."
"I would never!"
Kakashi laughed and began to walk down the stairs, "Oh you and I both know you'd go to extreme measures to take this mask down and see my adorable face."
"You have me figured out all wrong." Sakura was making an attempt to defend herself even though she knew Kakashi actually had it all right down to the dot.
He remained silent as they walked and finally Sakura added, "Ok maybe you're right. But ok, not tonight."
Kakashi walked at the side of the young woman who was formerly his official student. Since she was now a jounin he was no longer required to teach her, but he chose to in his free time. She looked stunning in her outfit. He knew he shouldn't stare.
"Hey, old man, where are we going?" Sakura tugged on his sleeve in question.
Kakashi coughed, "Old...man...?"
"You said it yourself just a few minutes ago so no scolding me! So where are we going?" Sakura skipped a little ahead of him.
As they rounded the corner the small restaurant that Sakura had eaten at earlier came into view. Kakashi held the curtain aside for her as she entered.
"Well that answers my question." Sakura surveyed the room and spotted Naruto in a corner table. "Naruto!" She threw her arm up and waved at him as they headed his direction.
Sakura sat next to Naruto and Kakashi took his seat on the opposite side of the table. Kakashi called for a bottle of sake and Sakura settled on a simple appetizer dish for she was still full from the ramen a few hours earlier.
"Such a coincidence meeting you here Naruto. I thought you would be at home eating your Cup Ramen you just bought." She gave him a curious look.
"Kakashi asked me to come!" Naruto piped up, a noodle hanging out of his mouth. Handsome, but he was still a goof.
Sakura looked at Kakashi and he nodded, "Well I wanted to catch up with my students," he smiled, "and I wanted to ask you two about Sasuke."
Suddenly Sakura tensed up and she felt that Kakashi noticed it.
"Sorry Sakura." He offered his apologies for the tender subject that shouldn't be avoided.
"Oh nothing is wrong!" She smiled and brushed it off. She didn't miss him, she preferred him gone.
Kakashi was given his bottle of sake as he asked his next question, "Where the hell is he?"
"We thought he was on a mission, did you check with Tsunade?" Naruto offered.
"Yes, he hasn't been reporting for any missions. The last one he did was completed over a month ago, and we have no clue where he could have ran off to, or why." Kakashi had a concerned look in his eye. The Uchiha boy was very valuable to Konoha and if he fell into the wrong hands there could be dire consequences. Many ninjas would give the lives of their own families to possess the knowledge of the sharigan. Of course Kakashi was not expecting Sasuke to be had so easily, and with his strange behavior as of late he figured he had just run off on his own.
Sakura looked down at the table, not speaking. This didn't sound good and she really didn't want to deal with any more frustration brought on by the boy. It really was a waste of energy, she concluded.
"He's been acting really weird lately." Naruto noted. "I mean I wouldn't put it past him to up and disappear for a month at a time. The only word Sakura and I get out of him anymore is 'hmph'."
It wasn't the complete truth, Sakura knew. He had shared words with her. She hadn't told anyone, it was no ones business but her own. She had to say something, though... "Ino says they got in a fight."
Naruto choked on his ramen, "Ino and Sasuke aren't together! Sasuke doesn't speak much but he did tell me how bloody annoying she is."
"Did she really tell you that, Sakura?" Kakashi asked, looking in her direction.
The pink haired girl tensed up even more at the further inquiry. She now decided she should have just kept quiet. She couldn't lie to Kakashi, not about this. "No..." She said softly.
Everyone was silent for a moment waiting for her to elaborate on her false statement, however, she never did. Instead she rose to her feet, not making eye contact with either man at the table, "I'm not feeling well, I think I'll head home."
Kakashi and Naruto watched her walk out of the restaurant with her gaze to the floor. This was highly unusual for Sakura as she usually held her head up high with confidence. Neither spoke or made any attempt to stop her.
"Kakashi you should go see." Naruto poked him with a chopstick.
"She's more likely to tell you what is going on." Kakashi nodded in a way that implied for him to get up and go after the girl.
"Don't get me wrong...I'm worried about her...but I'm still eating."
"Naruto, you are hopeless." Kakashi said as he stood up from the table to go after Sakura. He waved in apology to the waiter and yelled something about Naruto paying for it. He really did wonder what kind of nerve he had struck in Sakura. Even earlier in the day when he had asked her about him she had gone cold and ran off. Surely it wasn't that she was still obsessed with the Uchiha.
Outside a breeze had picked up and Kakashi picked up his pace towards the direction of Sakura's house. To his surprise she wasn't there, and her mother hadn't seen her. Where else would she go? It was dark and most of the shops were closed. He decided to go check the cherry blossom trees, where she spent all her time training. Vaguely a memory of Naruto saying that was her favourite spot came to mind.
He was not completely surprised when he found her there on the edge of the trees, sitting on one of the top branches of a tree and staring at the stars. He quietly walked up behind her. Sneaking up on her wasn't his intention, and he wasn't attempting it. She knew he was there.
"Kakashi I don't want you to tell anyone." Sakura spoke suddenly without turning her head to look at the older man.
"You have my word." In a quick gust of wind he appeared on the branch next to her. Instead of looking at his student he shared the view of the sky with her.
"The night before Sasuke went missing...he...he..." Kakashi could hear the girl beside him lightly start to cry as she huddled her knees up to her chest.
If this didn't beat all, what the hell was he supposed to do with her now that she was crying? He wasn't any good with these things. "I'm here, Sakura."
"I know but god it's hard Kakashi, I didn't think he would..." She began to cry harder and Kakashi moved over to sit next to her and he wrapped his arm around her, pulling her in to cry on his shoulder.
"He tried to...tried to...well and I pushed him away," she said between cries, "he wouldn't leave and I cut his face with the kunai I keep near my bed. I didn't want to... I ran away without looking back and stayed at Naruto's. He didn't know what was going on, I didn't tell him. The next morning Sasuke was gone."
Kakashi nodded, "I'm sorry Sakura..." he squeezed her tight in comfort and looked down to see her tear streaked face looking up at him.
"I don't know why...Kakashi, I really don't. I don't love him and I never did!" She proclaimed rather boldly. "He just came over to my place while I was sleeping..."
"You were sleeping?" Kakashi said in shock. Had they been on a date he might could write it off on Sasuke being a lack of a gentleman...but coming into Sakura's room uninvited was a different story.
"I'm glad he left. I wouldn't feel safe if he were still here."
Kakashi looked down at his former student as she cried into his arm. He knew it wasn't a pleasant thing for a woman to go through, even if she got away...and for it to be from her teammate and life long friend must have made it even harder. Her pink hair was beginning to fall loose from her bun and onto his arm. Unconsciously he reached up with his other hand and slipped some of the fallen locks through his fingers.
"Sakura, I'm your teacher, right? I'm supposed to keep you safe." He hugged her out of friendship, "I promise as long as I am here you will be."