A/N: Ok, you guys. I finally finished it. It's probably pretty anticlimactic, but pretty satisfying nontheless. I can tell you that I had a lot of trouble writing this because I've been at my parents' house, where the internet is only a distant memory and the fact that I have my laptop with me is only incidental. Visiting friends has afforded me that opportunity to actually post! Now, I have to tell you a little about the chapter, since it't the last one! It's short. I tried to put as many characters in as I could, and also: there's a little OOC. But then again, when do I not give OOC warnings?

Just wanted to say, one more time, I love Kakashi, and this is my favorite Kakashi fic I've done yet, because I got to explore a little bit more of his personality, though he does remain his wonderfully perverted self throughout. Thank you all for your reviews, and for your impatience for new chapters. It really has helped me to actually get this stuff done!

Enough blabbing. For the last time: on with the show!

Chapter 6: Meet Me By the River

Between classes the next day, I checked my voice messages. There were three from Aoi. The first one was him begging me to meet him. The second was the same, and the third one was him telling me that he would be waiting on the bridge in the park at nine o'clock that night. I called Ino's office, and told her the details. She then called Kakashi, Kotetsu, and Shikamaru. They were all given their jobs, and mine was simply to be the bait, and as well as doing a little acting for the benefit of the plan.

I knew that Kotetsu was hard at work on a genjutsu for the area around the bridge, changing things ever so slightly to allow for concealment of Ino, Kakashi, Shikamaru and himself. Later, I called Aoi back.

"Hello, darlin'. So nice to hear from you. Can I take this as a yes?"

I twitched slightly, disgusted with myself. "Yes. I just want to get this over with, Aoi. I'm so tired of fighting." There was more than a little weariness in my voice, which was not completely me acting. "Nine, was it?"

"You got it. I'll see you then, darlin'." He hung up, sounding rather happy. I seriously hated having to buddy up to him, even if it seemed like I was doing it against my will.

I looked over at Kakashi, who was sitting there watching me. "You know I might have to kiss him, right?"

He nodded. "Just as long as you don't mean it, I think we'll be fine."

"Ok." It was seven o'clock at this point. "Can you just hold onto me? I can't really seem to stop shaking." He shook his head. He was supposed to leave much earlier than I was, to get into the genjutsu with Ino and the others. I was really scared. "Come here, then." I pulled his mask down, and he leaned down, and gave me a double-whammy knee-buckling kiss. When he pulled away, I was grinning like an idiot. "That's all the encouragement I needed. Now get going." When he had gone, I plopped down on the couch, sighing.

To relax myself, I did one of my old yoga routines. The deep breathing always seems to help when I'm stressed out. Then, I took a hot shower, and dried my hair. After a few more minutes, I got dressed, and grabbed my keys. Steadying myself, I left Kakashi's apartment. There was always the chance that he would have me followed, so I tried to act as casually tired as possible. Really, I was so fucking hyped up on adrenaline that I didn't think I would sleep for days.

I got to the bridge just before nine, and he was already there, waiting for me. Taking a deep breath, I walked to the edge of the bridge. "What did you want to meet me for?" I asked quietly, seeing his eyes roaming over me. I had to try very hard not to let my disgust show. When he did not answer, I walked forward. "Aoi? Are you listening to me?" Finally, his eyes stopped, looking me in the face.

He closed the five-foot gap between us, and immediately leaned down to try to kiss me. I backed away. "Why won't you answer me?" I asked, sounding angry.

"I never said I wanted to talk, did I?" His hand reached out, touching my cheek. Fast as a snake, that hand slipped behind my head, and pulled me to him. For some reason, his kiss was hesitant at first, before it intensified. When he finally pulled away from me, he said, "Come back to me."

"Aoi…" I said as breathlessly as I could. "I—you think one kiss is going to get me back?" I asked in quiet anger. In truth, I had to tone it down, because I was absolutely seething, but he couldn't know that. He just smiled, and kissed me again, this time using both arms to grab me around the waist. Grudgingly, I closed my eyes, and kept them that way, allowing myself to respond to the kiss. Then, he pulled away just enough to speak.

"How about two?" His voice was amused. My eyes were still closed, so I didn't see his face, but I could tell he was smiling, because I had my most confused and emotional face on, and I can actually be a pretty decent actress when I want to be. I could feel his breath on my face, and I made a small noise of frustrated confusion, furrowing my brow. "Hmm." His breath moved down to my neck, and I could feel his mouth there, first kissing my throat. Something wet was running along my earlobe then, which must have been his tongue.

I started shaking. He must have taken this as a sign that I wanted him to continue, but I really just wanted to hit him so badly that I was shaking with the effort of not doing just that. He made a small happy noise, then turned with me in his arms, so that he could push me against the railing of the bridge. "Ahhh. Aoi…s-s-stop." He did, and then I opened my eyes, and we stared at one another for a moment. I tried to steady myself. "Is this all you wanted from me? You want to make out with me in a public place?"

"No, Natsumi." His voice was low and seductive. A few weeks earlier, that voice would have driven me mad. Now, it just made me angry. "I don't want to make out with you." He pushed himself against me harder, and I felt an unmistakable bulge in the front of his pants. "I want you, right here. I want you to want me." That was Aoi for you. He was never one to hold back from asking for what he wanted, even if he meant to take it anyway.

I spoke as rationally as I could, under the circumstances. "Aoi, I don't know what to say to that. Really. I mean, you've done such horrible things…"

"Only to get you away from Hatake."

I couldn't control myself. "Why? You broke up with me. What is it that you have to get out of your system? Do you need to break me? Is that what you're trying to do?" Tears had begun to form in my eyes.

"No. I don't want to break you, darlin'. I just want you to know that you belong to me, and only me. Do you understand that?" I nodded. "Good. Now, let me see…" His hands moved under my shirt, and I bit my lip. When the hell are they going to come out? Damn it, Kakashi, what are you waiting for? His guard is down! Suddenly, Aoi's body went rigid. He removed his hands from me, and stepped back. I looked around, and saw Shikamaru, his body in the same position as Aoi's. "What the fuck?" Aoi's eyes bulged. "What is this, Natsumi?"

I relaxed. "What's it called, Shikamaru?"

"Kagemane no jutsu. Shadow binding technique. Like it?" His voice was lazy as usual.

"Very much. Can I hit him?"

"I wouldn't if I were you." Ino's voice came from my left. I saw her step forward. "If you hit him, I'll have to hit you. Whatever happens to him is mirrored in Shika's body." She walked up to Aoi. After she looked at him for a moment, she pinched his cheek. Hard. He glared at her "Too bad. I've been wanting to knock the fuck out of him for some time now. Wait. I have an idea."

"What's that, Ino?" Kakashi stepped forward, coming to my side.

"How about we tie him up, then beat the crap out of him?" Her voice was filled with a kind of glee.

Kotetsu came out, and dispelled the genjutsu. All it had really done was create an extra tree and two large rocks for them to hide in. "Sounds like a plan to me. Of course, we'll have to take him to the Hokage. He's going to need questioning. Tsunade-sama has a special treat planned for this one." The smile on his face was just as evil as Ino's.

"Whatever you decide to do, do it quickly." Shikamaru was beginning to sweat. Kotetsu quickly checked Aoi for weapons. He found three kunai, and a small pouch sewn into the lining of Aoi's coat that held a few shiruken. Ino took out a length of rope, and bound his arms behind his back, making sure to keep his hands at angles to one another so that he could under no circumstances perform hand seals. His feet were bound as well, and he was gagged, too. Shikamaru released his jutsu, and leaned on the railing. He sighed, and closed his eyes.

"After you." Ino looked at me, and gestured to Aoi. "You get first crack at him."

I frowned. "You know, I almost wish I'd worn pants. I've wanted to kick him in the face for a while now. Fuck it." I pulled my skirt up a bit, and that was just enough. Cocking my head to one side, I said, "This might sting a little, darlin'." I'm really not sure where I picked it up, but according to Ino, I delivered a perfect front-kick to Aoi's jaw, sending him slumping to the ground.

Ino slapped her forehead. "Oh. I forgot to tell you, Natsumi…those boots are steel-shanked. You knocked him the fuck out!" That made me laugh.

"Oops?" I smiled down at his limp body.

Kakashi looked at Kotetsu. "You and Shikamaru take him to the Hokage's tower. I'll take Natsumi home. Ino, you can help them, if you like. Or you could come with us and have a beer." He looked at the others. "You guys are invited, too. I think we could all use a drink after this." It was true. I really could use a nice stiff drink. Bourbon sounded really good, for some reason.

After I had changed out of my "distraction" outfit, Kakashi and I met Ino, Shikamaru, and Kotetsu at a nearby pub. I held up my glass, filled with ice and single-malt Bourbon whiskey. "To steel-shanked boots, and Aoi behind bars!"

Ino shook her head. "To things being just as they should be."

Kakashi nodded, as did Shikamaru and Kotetsu. Glasses clinked, and we all had a nice long drink before setting our glasses down. Kakashi asked, "Now, what are you planning to do? You got your check from the insurance people. It's pretty big. You could buy an apartment with that."

"You've been going through my mail?"

"No. I looked over your shoulder when you opened it up." He was grinning under his mask. I still didn't understand how he got any of his beer into his mouth with that mask on, but he seemed to be doing ok. I stuck my tongue out at him. "You're avoiding the question, Natsu."

"I am not. I was buying time while thinking. You're not trying to get rid of me, are you, Kakashi?" His visible eye widened, seemingly horrified at the thought. That, at least, made me happy. "Well. I'm not sure. How about I just stay with you for the time being, and we can figure things out from there?"

"Sounds like a plan."

I grabbed the front of his shirt, stood up, and began dragging him to the door. "See ya, guys. Be good, and don't do anything I wouldn't do!" I heard grumbling from Shikamaru and Kotetsu as Kakashi and I left the building. His grunts of protest at being dragged down the street disappeared and then he asked me what was going on. "I gotta get you out of that mask. I really have taken a liking to seeing your face. And since you only seem to take it off when you're at home, that's where we're going." I continued to drag him for a few more moments, then I felt his hand on my wrist.

It was a gentle pressure, but I released his shirt nonetheless. My feet stopped moving, and I turned around. Kakashi pulled me forward, and I came into contact with his chest rather quickly, causing me to grunt. In the middle of the crowded street, with people doing their evening errands, Kakashi pulled down his mask, and removed his forehead protector. "Natsumi…"


"I love you." His voice had gone serious again. There really was no telling when he would do that. I smiled up at him.

"I love you, too…but should you be doing that in public?"

He smiled in a very impish way. "Well. It isn't every day that I ask a woman to marry me. I figure, it's a once-in-a-lifetime occasion, so I could show my face, since I decided to do it in public." I blinked. And I blinked again.

"Huh?" Shock. Surprise. Complete and utter bewilderment. Those were my feelings at the moment.

"You heard me, you dope. Marry me." Was he playing with me? No. Even with that little gleam in his eyes, his voice said it all. I knew what I wanted to say, I just couldn't get my mouth to work. "Natsumi? Are you ok?" He looked concerned, since my jaw was moving up and down, like I was trying to talk, but not a damned sound was coming out. I probably looked like a fish gasping for air.

"F-fine. Did you just say what I think you said?"

He nodded. "Yes. Are you going to give me an answer, or do I have to convince you in the middle of the street?" My eyes widened as his arms tightened around me. "Well?"

I swallowed hard, then took a deep breath. "Well, let me think about it for a second. You want me to marry you…" I pretended to think for a split second and then smacked him. "Of course I'll marry you. What kind of stupid question is that?" I rolled my eyes, then grabbed the front of his shirt and started dragging him again.

"Again with pulling me down the street? Why?"

When I turned around, I smiled evilly. "You wanted to convince me? I don't need it, but you can pretend I do." He smiled wider than I had ever seen before. "What are you smiling for?"

"Nothing. I just think I'm going to like this…"

A/N: So...I know it isn't really usual to have him asking someone to marry him or anything, but If it happened, I think that's pretty much how he would do it...acting like a total smartass! Well? Tell me what you thought!