Beneath Rococo Skies

By: MaidenIntheMoon

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Summary:

Upon the failure of her most recent mission, Sakura returns to Konoha to take up new orders. What the reassignment brings to her is a walk down nostalgia lane and in the process she must begin to face her old fears and find her new loves. KakaSaku! SasuSaku?

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Author's Notes:

Well . . . I had this new idea and it's really been much too long since I last wrote anything. That's really all I have to say. HM! Also… be warned that this chapter is kind of an awkward start. It's going to be a weird time-hopping type of story so… questioned posed here can be answered later. LUV YA! And btw… I got into college so LIFE DOESN"T SUCK SO MUCH ANYMORE.

Enjoy/Review

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Chapter 1: Maple Sugar

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Aurora's dewdrops wash away my aches and sprinkle truth into all my lies

In the day I pick cherry blossoms one by one, ignoring their tiny cries

At sunset I lie down in silent fields, staring up at rococo skies

During the nighttime I fly by ageless trees, wiping silver drops from my eyes

- - Maiden

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The heavy thud of her thick backpack hitting the base of the tree trunk told Sakura that she was finally home.

The young ninja stood momentarily, staring at the pack that carried her belongings before adjusting her neck to look up at the thick green canopy that swayed hundreds of feet above her own head.

The abundance of leaves parted briefly at odd intersections and minor cracks in the vegetation let patches of pale orange and red rays filter through, highlighting the miniscule particles that dangled precariously in the tender spring air.

Sakura let out a long, overdue sigh before allowing a subtle smile to slip onto her lightly rouged lips.

The kunoichi closed her eyes and walked back ten steps, carefully counting the numbers in her head. After moving to her designated position, she opened her eyes and charged at the massive tree ahead of her.

Barely missing her rumpled backpack which lay at the base of the tree, Sakura took vertical flight up the wooden trunk and focused her eyes keenly on the leaves at the top of the tree. The wind whistled in her ears as her loose bangs whipped across her eyes. She could feel her chakra bubble to the base of her feet and the slightly warm sensation in her toes told the young ninja that she was applying the right amounts.

She broke through the leaves accompanied by a satisfying rustling noise, and she landed in a crouching position on a stem not much thicker than her own arm. Sakura, however, was comfortable in that precarious position, and she took a deep breath before soaking up the beauty of her surroundings.

The kunoichi's green eyes looked across the dazzling horizon, and her heart began to beat faster than before. She could see Konoha's city walls towering in the distance with the painterly effects of sunset spilling innumerable colors over those tan walls.

This was Sakura's favorite time of day, when the cooling hues of nighttime finally came out to flirt with the fiery tones of the late afternoon sky. She loved looking at the few stars that dared come out so early, the stars that weren't afraid to show their insignificance against the intimidating backdrop of night mixed with day.

Sakura let out a laugh, one that had no particular cause except for that showed her contentment with her situation.

"You were always good at that tree-climbing exercise . . . . Sakura . . ."

The young shinobi stopped laughing and let her head droop. Without turning around, she let her right hand slowly make its way to the short auburn hair tickling her shoulders and as she rubbed a piece of the brown hair between her thumb and her index finger, she slowly chose her words.

"Kakashi . . . you'll always know it's me won't you?"

He would never cease to surprise her.

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The two ninjas landed silently and effortlessly in the soft grass, completely unfazed by the fact that they had just descended hundreds of feet from the swaying canopy above.

Sakura moved to pick up her backpack. As she shouldered her belongings, her stern green eyes moved to meet Kakashi's lone, black eye. She could see the small smile under his mask and her glance turned questioning.

"How did you know I was back?" she asked with genuine interest.

"I have my ways."

The girl frowned at the cryptic answer and turned away, preparing to start the trek back to her native village before the man spoke again.

"So they're all dead."

A couple of renegade leaves caught in the breeze whistled by Sakura's face. The brown hair so unnatural against her being billowed with the prodding wind. For a moment, she let the intrusive question dissolve into the fading sunlight.

"Yes."

Kakashi sighed, lightly shaking his head before disappearing from the clearing, leaving Sakura with the hollow tone of her own answer ringing in her ears.

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Mist lazily spilled over the red, plastic shower curtain as Sakura watched a last trail of brown water snake between her toes before spiraling down the drain. Turning off the water, the young woman grabbed a towel and stepped out of the shower. She quickly caught her reflection in the mirror and paused to admire the rosy hair that now rejoined her features.

'I would never have parted with this color back then,' she thought to herself before turning away from her image.

After changing, Sakura sat down at her desk and began compiling her mission report.

Team: Sakura

Mission-rank: A

Mission Description: High-level escort mission for the Daimyo of the Grass country

Number of Team Members: 8

Casualties: 7

Name of Casualties: Asame Kita . . .

Sakura stopped and stood up. Within seconds she was out the door.

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The kettle had just been whistling on Kakashi's stove when the pink-haired kunoichi burst into her former sensei's apartment. Kakashi stared at her with a steady, slightly confused eye, and for a moment they simply looked at each other. Then Sakura broke down. Kakashi said nothing and simply directed the crying girl to his couch.

"It's my fault they died, Kakashi-sensei. I'm responsible for all of their deaths. I was selfish and disregarded everything you've ever taught us. I don't deserve to be a shinobi . . ." Sakura gasped out between sobs.

Kakashi pulled her into an embrace, and he slowly ran his had over her soft hair. Sakura cried into his shirt, but still, he said nothing.

"I'm sorry I have to bother you like this. Shinobi are not supposed to show emotion, I know it, but I can't shake this sense of guilt."

Sakura let a few last sobs drown themselves in Kakashi, and the room was quiet.

"Would you have died if you had tried to save them, Sakura?"

Teary, green eyes narrowed in confusion as they looked up at the man who had just posed the question. After a minute of consideration, the girl nodded slowly, and a look of pure guilt and agony crossed her face.

"So you knew you had to come back to me then," Kakashi whispered, his masked mouth right near Sakura's ear.

There are places we can stay, and there are places we can only pass through. When it comes time to choose between staying and going, who is going to decide, me or you?

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So awkward beginning chapter we have it. Review, please? I want to know how many people just want me to drop dead and never come backagain. No seriously . . .

-Maiden