"Good. I wanted to talk." He said softly. "Would you come on a walk with me?"

"Sure." She said, her heart doing flip flops. She told it to calm down, but she kept remembering what she'd done that day. She stood, and followed his outline out the door. They stepped down the stairs, and out into the night. For some reason, there were no street lights, and it was pitch dark, except for a few dim lights. She found her mouth drop as she saw his profile. "You don't have your mask on..." She said wonderingly.

He nodded. "It doesn't matter, you can't see me, it's too dark."

She sighed. That was true.

"I've made a plan. We will locate the target, you will do your best to get as close to him as possible, and then supply us with information until we can preferably capture him. I thought I'd let you know ahead of time, so that if you don't agree, I can come up with a new plan by tomorrow."

"That's okay. I can handle that." She said, somewhat disappointed that he wanted to talk about the mission.

He turned to her, and she gasped as the light illuminated one side of his face. Her heart was tooken in that moment.

His eyes were dark, he had a long, prominent nose, and thin lips. His cheek bones were higher up, but it was attractive with his long silvery hair. It reminded her of the first time she'd seen him. Yet... he reminded her of someone vaugely.

"Listen, I also wanted to speak with you about earlier today. It was an accident, and I apologise."

"What?" She said, not really understanding. Her mind was still processing the fact that she'd seen his face.

He looked at her for a second silently. "Nevermind. Lets get back to the room."

As they both turned around in their tracks, she caught on. She felt her cheeks heat up even more. Why had he apologised? It had been her fault. "Don't say you're sorry, there's no reason to." She said quietly.

He was silent and only glanced at her. They shuffled trowards the building in silence until he spoke up. "If things are awkward between us, we should resolve things before we become active on this mission."

"What do you mean?"

"If we're distracted, then we may not be able to act in synch during battle. That could cause us to fail the mission. As much as I hate the fact, we need to talk about what happened." He explained.

"Well, I... What do you think happened?"

"... Are you only going to ask questions?"

"Okay." She said, laughing softly to herself. Somehow, that sarcastic comment had broken all of the tension she'd been feeling. "Okay." She took a deep breath. "Okay. I like you a lot, and I think that there may have been a 'moment' earlier."


Her heart sunk.

"M-maybe it was one-sided, I'm s-sor-" She began spouting quickly, trying to cover her embarassment. However she was cut off as he stopped walking, and wrapped his arm around her. She looked up at him questioningly, but his face was shrouded in shadows.

Before she knew it, the cloth covering her lower face was gone, replaced by his lips. She surrendered to it, relieved that she hadn't just embarassed herself. Somehow, it didn't seem real. It had happened so fast, but it was what she wanted. Ever since that first day on the mission, they'd both felt a magnetic attraction between themselves. Maybe a mission wasn't the best time to talk about it, but it was too late now.

Well, if there was going to be emotions on the battlefield, this had just made it a hell of a lot worse, she thought, laughing to herself inwardly.


She slept lightly that night, and before she knew it the other two occupants of the room were moving about, packing their things. She moaned, and pulled the blanket over her head, trying to blockout the light, noise, and voices.

She felt a weight on the edge of her bed, and she froze. "Wake up little lady, it's morning." A familiarly low voice said in her ear.

She moaned again, and turned away from him. She felt the weight shift closer to her head, and she felt her eye twitch. "Genma..." She said slowly, a low, menacing tone stitched through her voice, "If you come any closer, you'll be in a full-body-cast. And if you ever, ever, EVER call me little lady again, I'll castrate you myself." She smirked evilly as he got up.

"Fine." Genma growled. She heard him mumble to himself, "I swear, if she didn't have such a great body, I'd wonder if she was truly a female."

After a few minutes, she sat up, grabbed her bag, and shuffled to the bathroom. As she passed him, she looked to him and said innocently, "You know, if you keep talking shit about me, I might be tempted to castrate you anyway. Or maybe I'll tell all of my friends that when I gave you your check up, I was so very suprised that you had a serious case of an STD. I'm not sure which yet though..." She froze, maybe he hadn't heard it. She'd slipped, speaking of giving people check-ups...

Closing the door behind herself, she heard Genma curse softly to himself, mixed with an undertone of laughter. She felt her bad mood quickly turn to that of a good one as she thought of what had happened last night. No one had thought twice about it, good. Then again, maybe it wasn't going to be such a great day. It was 'Mask Off Day.' For some reason, she didn't have such a huge problem with it anymore.

Well, at least she got to put on her new clothes finally.


She sighed, and nodded. "Okay. I swear I'll be right back."Genma was getting on her nerves. Kiba had disappeared before she'd left the bathroom that morning, to go get some forgotten things. In a mere second, she vanished from the doorway. She quickly rushed through the door of the same small shop, and grabbed a box of dye. The same woman sat at the counter, and smiled at her.

"Hello, I like your clothes, where'd you get them? Oh, and the mask?" She asked with a smile. Sakura smiled in return, and handed her the box. She was wearing th clothes she'd bought there yesterday. She felt oddly comfortable in the see through clothing...

"Thanks. " She said, taking the bag from her. "Listen, I'm leaving today, so I'll try to stop by on the way home."

"Oh, okay." She said with a small smile. "Please do."

"Well, I'm in kind of a rush. Bye."


When she arrived back in the room, Genma was again sitting at the table, but he wasn't eating this time. He turned to her and nodded in 'hello' and then resumed pulling at his clothes. He was wearing the new ones he'd bought. Black pants, and a grey shirt. She stifled a laugh.

"What?" He asked, scowling at her around his senbon. He must have carried one with him, because she knew that he hadn't had that in his mouth earlier on the mission. She continued to laugh. A flashback of her comrade at the age of fifteen, flashed through her mind. Just as Sasuke did then, Genma looked extremely horrible in an opened shirt. Well, at least this one.

"Button up your shirt."

"Well, I'm not the only one who is showing their abdomen. Look at you, I can see everything but your tits. Not that I'm complaining at the exposed skin of course.." He said, eyeing her in his usual, perverted manner. Indeed, she was showing a lot of skin. They were arriving in their target country by mid-afternoon. According to their information, they would most likely see the target as they entered the country. Probably with a lot of women. Hence her importance on this mission.

She was wearing the see-through mesh tank, with the green bra. Her black cargo pants fit comfortably on her lower hips, and as much as she kept pulling them up, the waist always fell just so it revealed the strap if her underwear. She felt like a slut, but it would catch his eye, that was for sure.

"Shut up Genma. Is Kiba not home yet?"

"Oh, he is. He's just acting like a woman, and hiding in the bathroom. He knows he has to take off his mask." Genma explained, laughing at his own joke.

"I'm not afraid, Genma."

She turned to see Kiba standing behind her, with his mask still in place.

"Whatever. You're going to have to take it off sometime today. I still don't know why you refuse to show your face, it's not like you're deformed or anything... Even I've only seen it on missions."

Sakura furrowed her eyebrows for a second. That didn't make sense. "But..." She said, turning to face Kiba, "I thought you two were friends..."

And then... it clicked.

Silver hair.

Hidden face.

Older than her.

A memory flashed back.

"And no doubt, you twoKiba and Genma know who each of you really is, but since she would rather not reveal her name at the moment, I'd rather you address each other with aliases." Sakura felt her heart drop even lower when she saw that the Hokage was again, smiling that same 'I'm-up-to-something-you-better-watch-out' look.

She was going to KILL Tsunade.

"Kakashi?" It passed her lips in a fleeting whisper. How could this be?

"How'd you know?" He asked, taking off the mask.

And there he was. Hatake Kakashi, in the flesh. The man who had been her sensei in her younger years, the man who she'd become good friends with, and... the man she loved.