Chapter 15 - Chemical Reaction

Sakura sighed and poked her food with a chopstick, watching the rubbery substance that passed for an egg half-an-hour before roll like a lopsided ball over her plate. For that same half hour, she'd ignored the typical Sasuke-Naruto banter of nothing worth listening to. If she had to recall what they said to save her life, she'd be dead for sure.

Other thoughts consumed her, making her shy away from her food and sigh repeatedly without realizing. It would be the same thoughts she would have in bed later – trying to sleep and failing. Kakashi was probably home in his bed, clean, comfortable, sleeping deeply…and alone. She was sitting in a small dingy café, drinking cold tea and obsessing over body chemistry while gauging whether the toothpicks would hold her eyes open.

Why did the chakra between her and Kakashi bond so strongly? That question should have been on her mind earlier, but it seemed that her thoughts were congested with ideas of how to get into Kakashi's thoughts (and bed), preferably by way of under his perfect skin.

Now she thought of how each touch they shared tickled and stimulated one another. The hair on her arms would stretch to his energy, and the shiver of gooseflesh would come with just a brush against him.

At least three times they had used a chakra jutsu that would go inside the other's body. The first time, she had stimulated his skin to feel like it was cold, and then he did it to her in return, chilling her feet to wake her up. Then, in the bar, he used his chakra to locate hers, pushing it up inside her and pleasurably invading every inch of her own chakra highway.

That was it! His chakra had stayed inside her and hers inside of him. If she weren't so bent on the body chemistry of it, she could have admitted it was almost romantic to have him inside her – in one sense anyway. Their chakra had lingered in the other and would try to return to its proper host when they touched. It couldn't be anything else

Sakura supposed that if they expelled enough chakra using any jutsu, they would eventually draw out the foreign energy. In the same vein, she imagined if they were to stay connected in some way physically for enough time, the chakra would also find its way back into the body it rightfully belonged. Of course, the second option was much more appealing to her and a perfectly valid excuse to be in close contact with Kakashi for an extended amount of time.

And then she imagined that had she been bold enough to tell her droning teammates that she wanted to be with Kakashi and start a relationship, she'd be there now, exchanging chakra in the most mind-blowing way.

Instead she was sitting in a sticky booth, catching snippets of them now extolling the virtues of throwing stars as opposed to those cumbersome kunai.

"You look tired, Sakura," Naruto finally interpreted from her lazy lean on her elbow. He nudged her with his foot under the table from where he sat across from her.

"I told you I was walking all night. I really want to go home." She turned her face to the window and put her forehead on the cool glass.

"Tell us how you got injured," Sasuke asked in his typical manner of being not really interested.

Sakura closed her eyes. "No."

"Hey! I have a question for you, Sakura. And I really need you to be honest with me," Naruto said in an uncharacteristically serious tone, making some measure of noise as he shifted on the vinyl booth seat to lean forward.

It made Sakura sit up and look at him only to finding his blue eyes narrowed and some sort of intensity screwed up on the rest of his face. "What is it?" she said quietly, suddenly worried that she'd given something away at the gate, or even here at the table. Naruto wasn't very perceptive so it must have been horribly, horribly obvious.

Naruto folded his hands on the table, dipped his head and looked her straight in the eyes. "Did you…at any time on your long mission…happen to…see Kakashi's face?"

Sakura's breakfast slid back down her esophagus. "Damn it. I thought you were going to ask something else," she growled half in anger, half in relief.

"What did you think he was going to ask?" Sasuke added from beside her, his sudden interest betraying his bored tone as his eyes narrowed.

Sakura was reminded that Sasuke was perceptive as she felt her chest constrict. She looked at him with wide eyes, mouth slightly agape.

"No, no, no," Naruto chimed in, waving his hand over Sasuke's breakfast, inches from the Uchiha's face. "Don't distract her. I want to know if she saw his face."

Thanks to Naruto, Sakura saw a way out of Sasuke's budding interrogation. "I did actually!" she squeaked with forced excitement at the blond across from her, completely ignoring Sasuke.

"Wha…what does he look like?" Naruto breathed out, suddenly focused on Sakura like she'd never witnessed before.

Sakura thought that ramen was the only thing that could hold his attention like that.

Sasuke sighed, and turned his gaze to the window, but they knew he was listening just as intently as Naruto.

"Well…how should I say this? He's got…teeth…and lips and…skin." Sakura tapped her chin in thought. "Oh, and every day, there is some stubble on his face that he shaves."

"You didn't see his face," Sasuke said matter-of-factly, his arms crossing tightly.

Sakura shrugged, "Think what you want."

"I bet he looks like a girl under his mask," Naruto laughed while kicking Sasuke under the table. "Why else would he hide? He's probably too pretty to look mean so he keeps covered up. Does he look like a girl, Sakura?"

Sakura flicked at piece of egg at Naruto. "He doesn't look like a girl. He looks like….well, he's a really, really…really good looking man. Probably the best-looking man I've ever seen – like a movie star. I suppose he might get too much of your kind of attention, Sasuke, if he was unmasked. He's not hard on the eyes at all."

"Movie star?" Naruto laughed. "Maybe the Icha Icha Paradise movie."

"Oh God," Sakura mumbled to herself, suddenly thinking about the smutty blue book and all the things she wanted to dog-ear for future reference when with the dirty-minded copy-nin.

"I'm leaving," she moaned. "Move, Sasuke."

Sakura nudged the Uchiha hard, even bringing her foot up to push his calf until he got out of her way. She slid out of the booth and stood at the table edge until Sasuke had calmly situated himself back onto the seat.

"I'm sorry. I'm just not good company right now," she sighed before turning and trudging out of the door without a goodbye.

Naruto looked at Sasuke and grinned widely. "She didn't finish her food." He leaned over the table, slid the plate of half eaten food over and dug in.

"Disgusting," Sasuke said with an upturned nose before letting his head fall back on the seat to watch Sakura through the window as she slunk away. "That was quite an abrupt departure. What do you think she thought you were going to ask her that almost set her off?"

"Maybe something about Kakashi?" Naruto said through a mouthful of egg without looking up. "Maybe something happened while they were away. She said she thinks he's hot."

"Maybe," Sasuke mumbled as he rubbed his jaw gently. "Well, she'll spill it in time. She can't keep anything to herself for long."

Naruto looked up from the plate for a second at Sasuke. "Why don't we take her for a drink tonight and pry it out of her, if there's anything to get? Five bucks says Kakashi groped her.

After a pause in thought, Sasuke nodded slowly, finding it amazing that Naruto had picked up on the conversation when he was usually a blank slate while shoveling in food.

"Ten says she was the instigator."

Sakura wandered toward home feeling almost abused and a little guilty for hiding something so monumental from her best friends. But male friends weren't like female friends. They got angry or jealous when other men were involved – well Naruto did anyway.

There was history between all of them, Kakashi included. In her mind, Sakura tried to imagine how she would tell them and their reactions, but there was no way to guess. It was one situation that had never reared its unusual head before.

She needed advice.

Turning left instead of right at the road to her apartment, she slipped down a side street, over a backyard fence, leapt up onto the roofs of the buildings, and made her way across Konoha to that familiar curb where she sat waiting for Kakashi on the first day of their mission.

He lived on the second floor in a small apartment. As his teammates, they'd all had to go there on the odd occasion to bring him mission reports, fetch something he needed or to make sure he wasn't dead. Sasuke had been there the most. Sakura had been there only twice – a number she hoped to multiply.

Approaching the foyer of his building, she pushed the button that was labeled "vacant" and waited. Within a moment, the inner door buzzed so she pushed it open and began the trudge up the stairs to his apartment.

To her surprise, he answered the door wearing just a pair of jogging pants and a damp white towel draped over his wet hair.

"I really didn't think I'd see you again today," Kakashi smirked.

"Well, I've come up with a theory about our chakra connection and our body chemistry, and thought we should explore ways to get rid of it. I hope I didn't catch you at a bad time."

With a small sigh, Kakashi leaned heavily up against the doorframe. "It would have been a perfect time if you'd told them."

"How do you know that I didn't?" she asked, crossing her arms.

"Well first off, you wouldn't start the conversation with a lesson in chemistry. Second, you don't look nervous. I imagine if you'd come back for my earlier offer, you'd look a little more frightened."

"I wouldn't be…frightened of…of being with you," she mumbled, eyes glued to the damp towel sliding down onto his shoulder.

An easy smile crossed Kakashi's face. "If you weren't frightened, you would have told them. Anyway, I'm pretty tired, Sakura. And since you aren't coming to my bed, you should go home to your own."

"I…can't tell them. I don't know what to say. I have no idea how they'll react." Sakura rubbed her forehead tersely, her fingers turning white at the knuckles.

"You'll figure out a way or you won't," Kakashi yawned. He suddenly leaned forward, grasped her hand away from her face, and spun her until she was facing down the stairs.

Sakura could feel his chest against her back as he leaned over her shoulder. Her eyes went wide with shock; she was caught in the heat of his skin, and the clean scent of his shampoo and everything that smelled and felt so Kakashi.

His mouth pressed against her ear. "There's no rush, Sakura. You know where to find me if it ever comes to it," he whispered. And then very quickly, he took a step back. "Now, get some sleep."

With a hard smack on her behind, he made her trip forward slightly. But when she turned around, his door clicked shut.

His willpower was exasperating.

Sleep deprivation and sexual frustration, she thought ruefully. Perfect combination for relaxing…

Usually after an extended mission, ninja were given an entire day after getting back to decompress and put their report in order for the next day. Sakura had planned (since the fun plan was a no-go) to sleep until the next morning and see Kakashi again at the mission debriefing.

She'd set her alarm for six AM, planning to do her hair and make-up to perfection before going in. But it wasn't the alarm that woke her. And it damn sure wasn't six AM.

The light tug of a sheet made her come out of a perfectly good dream to find a man's fingers pinching the cotton and slowly dragging it away from her body.

Her eyes flew open and her arms clamped down on the sheet just in time.

Na – ruuuu – to! You are dead!" Sakura shouted at him as he leaned over the bed, dropping the sheet in his sudden terror of being turned into just a fist full of hair and nothing else.

"I'm sorry, but you didn't put any clothes on. How am I supposed to not look?" Naruto defended, his hands up in supplication. "It's your own fault for not locking your door."

"I see. Well I guess it'll be your own fault when I leave a Naruto shaped stain on my wall."

"Point taken," Naruto mumbled and spun around before slinking back out of her bedroom.

Sakura glanced at the darkened blinds, sighed, and looked at the clock. 10:30 PM. Not exactly a full night's rest. Not even five hours since the last time she looked at the clock from her bed. With some marked effort, she slid off her mattress, tightening the sheet around her and dragged it like the train of an evening gown as she trudged along.

Emerging from the bedroom, she spotted Sasuke sitting at her table, legs crossed and drinking tea as if the lived there. …Bastard.

"What are you two doing here? I haven't slept much and I have a mission debrief in the morning at 7:30." She fell against the doorframe of her bedroom and rubbed at her eyes to clear her blurred vision. "I can't even think properly right now."

Naruto glanced at Sasuke and then back to Sakura from his safe place near the apartment door. "It's actually a matter of a bet. And well, we thought we'd take our favorite female teammate for a drink to celebrate that you didn't die!"


Naruto finally decided she wasn't going to kill him with Sasuke there and stepped forward, giving Sakura his best grin. "Come on now, you deserve it. Just one?"

"I deserve sleep. Besides, I've sworn off drinking. I get into too much trouble."

Sasuke jumped in finally, as usual, for the last word. "We'll just wait here while you put on some clothes."

"But I….I didn't…say…"

"Chop, chop," Sasuke said dismissively.

The pub was overcrowded as usual. Emotional drinking was a favorite pastime of ninja and Sakura had to admit it was right up her alley. It had been days since the stress was off. A drink might be good for blowing off steam and forgetting the frustration Kakashi was giving her.

Besides, how much trouble could she get into with just a drink?

"Oh, déjà-vu" she mumbled.

"Let's go to the bar," Naruto chimed while stomping in a little too happily.

Sasuke shook his head and rubbed his eyes while Sakura fought turning around and leaving.

"Here, Sakura. You sit between us." Naruto patted a barstool beside him lovingly.

"Listen you two," she began as she sat down and placed her feet on the brass rail around the mahogany bar, "I'm going to have one drink…to celebrate living…and then I'm leaving. I've got an early meeting and I have to be in top form."

"Why?" Naruto asked while waving over the bartender.

"Why what?"

"What is so special about Tsunade that you need to be in top form?"

"Well…I…she's my Shishou…and the Hokage…"

"Hm," Sasuke cut in. "I didn't think it mattered that much since you two know each other so well. There isn't another reason is there?"

"Wait!" Sakura pointed an accusing finger at Sasuke. "What are you up to? And what was that thing Naruto said about a bet? And if you think you are prying me for information on my mission, you have another thing coming. My lips are sealed. Locked- down."

Sakura crossed her arms tightly and raised an eyebrow.

With a devilish grin, Naruto pushed a drink in front of Sakura. "You really don't think much of us, do you? You're sitting with two of your best friends. Just drink up. We'll take care of you. I promise."

Sakura eyed him with the growing suspicion that she should get off the stool and leave. But her incoherent thought patterns due largely to sleep deprivation reasoned that a drink would help her later.

"Okay. Maybe just one."

"…so then, this guy Shin….he was hot too…gets out this bottle of crazy potent stuff and guess which copy-nin drinks it?" Sakura slurred as she leaned lazily on her elbow. "That's right! Copy-ninja Kakashi!"

"Oh, yes. I thought it might have been the other Copy-nin," Sasuke said evenly while Naruto sat there stunned – mouth open - shocked from Sakura's romantic revelations about their old Sensei, brought on by the eight drinks they had obligingly bought her.

"…and then back at the hotel room…well, he made my toes curl when he kissed me again – but better this time. Wow, that man can really kiss. I certainly wouldn't kick him out of bed for eating cookies."

"What?! Bed!?" Naruto blurted out.

Sakura tried to change elbows and almost fell off her stool before Sasuke's quick hands steadied her. The lopsided smile she had for two hours turned into a snorted laugh.

Slapping himself in the forehead, Naruto mumbled, "What else happened?"

"Not much. I mean the damn drunk fell asleep on me, just when things were getting good!" she laughed and gestured wildly, knocking over an empty glass and spraying peanuts across the bar top. "But he said I had to tell you guys before anything else happened, and I can't do that so I guess he and I are done. Too bad. I like him."

Sasuke's eyebrows rose. "Like him? You mean you have some feelings for him?"

"Did I just say like? I meant reeeeaaaaalllly, really like. You know, like, I'd like to like Kakashi all night long, like. And I'm sure he would have liked to like me back in all sorts of positions," she said loudly enough for the people around them to hear – causing heads to turn.

Naruto's forehead was on the bar now. "I think some people in the back of the bar missed that, Sakura."

"Oh?" she giggled, and with teetering drunken skill, stood up, climbed on her knees up on her barstool, cupped her hands over her mouth and shouted. "In case you didn't hear it, I have a hot thing for Hatake Kakashi! That's the hots, people. Like, damn, he's hot! I want to go over to his place right now and fu…"

"Whoa!" Sasuke grabbed her roughly and she fell with a squeal over his shoulder. If he could have walked through the crowd and covered his face, he would have. Unfortunately, there wasn't a soul in the bar not laughing, not staring, not shaking their heads at them, except of course for the girl or two that shouted back things like "get in line."

By the time they reached the door of the bar and pushed their way out into the coolness of the small morning hours, Sakura was lying limp over Sasuke's shoulder.

Naruto stopped his nervous half-run and turned around to look with blatant panic at Sasuke, who had stopped in his tracks, and was rubbing his cheek and grinning.

Naruto whimpered out, "I can't believe you're smiling. She's going to kill us in the most painful way possible. I like my limbs. I really need to keep them."

With a slight air of success, Sasuke (ignoring Naruto) said, "You owe me ten bucks."

The sun was beating in the windows like someone screaming in her face when Sakura finally woke up. Her stomach was churning painfully as she sat up too quickly and smacked her head on the toilet.

No wonder her back ached.

"I'm…going…to kill you two…" she hissed before she leaned over the toilet.

"Oh no, oh no, oh no," she chanted as she rushed down the road toward the Hokage tower. It was eight thirty and for the first time in her life, Haruno Sakura was late for a meeting - and not a meeting with just anyone.

There was no time for getting cleaned up. She tried hard to get the make-up off her eyes and to brush her hair into something that looked more like hair and less like a rat nest. But the tell-tale dark lines and pasty skin would give her away.

Hell, she still smelled like alcohol. What was she thinking?

Never ever had anyone managed to get her drunk like that without her being able to put a stop to it. Perhaps it was just the comfort of being home? Perhaps Sasuke used his sharingan?

There was no way she would be off her guard like that – even if the drinks were tasty…and she had unresolved issues…and pent up feelings…

Damn it, I need better self control…

Stopping outside the door of the Hokage tower, Sakura leaned on the wall and took some deep breaths. She felt desperate to get sick, but she couldn't add vomit to her already obnoxious boozy aroma. She was practically oozing it. There wasn't much lower she could sink, but adding insult to injury was definitely not going to happen.

Finally feeling it was relatively safe to proceed, Sakura trudged up the stairs until she reached the office outside the Hokage's office. Shizune sat there at her desk, reading something medically related but her head snapped up when Sakura entered the room.

"Is she angry?" Sakura mumbled hurriedly, her throat tight as she glanced at the closed door of Tsunade's office.

Shizune's face suddenly grew the most devious looking grin Sakura had ever seen – next to Naruto's. "Hi there, Sakura."

"Is Kakashi here yet?" Sakura asked, a little more timidly.

"You don't know?" Shizune asked with mock innocence.

"How the hell would I know when he came in?" Sakura hissed, feeling a little like Shizune knew something she didn't.

"I just thought you might have seen each other this morning already." Shizune's mouth twitched at the corners. "Oh, and I saw you at the pub last night."

"Oh?" Sakura's foot was tapping with nervousness. She couldn't believe Shizune wanted to have a casual little chat at a time like then.

"Mm-hm. But I don't think you were seeing much of anything when I saw you."

"Crap. Did I pass out or something?"

"Or something." With a snort of a laugh, Shizune pointed at the door with a hand over her mouth. "You'd better go in. Kakashi's been and gone already."

Sakura nodded half-heartedly, wondering what Shizune was laughing too hard about to tell her. It couldn't be good. Did she get sick at the bar? Did she pass out? Do something stupid?

Worse still, she was later than the consummately tardy Copy-nin. Certainly, if anything looked bad, it was that. With a sigh and some small reach for courage, Sakura shoved her hand in her hip-pack, pulled out the two recipe scrolls and pushed into her Shishou's office.

"Well well," Tsunade mumbled to some paperwork in her hands. "Look what the cat dragged in." Lifting her head, she spotted the mess that used to be her student and raised her eyebrows. "Seriously. You look like you were dragged through something before the cat dragged you in."

"Yes, Shishou," Sakura said quietly as she took a seat in front of the Hokage's desk.

Tsunade added unsympathetically, "I can smell you from here."

"Urrr," Sakura moaned. "I'm sorry, Shishou, but you know Naruto. They just showed up and dragged me out. They kept feeding me drinks, and then I don't remember how I got home. I swear I'll never drink again."

"Never say never, Sakura," Tsunade said coolly to her papers. "I believe you have something for me? Kakashi told me about the mission. I have his report here."

"And…?" Sakura said quietly as she stretched forward and placed the scrolls on the edge of the desk, shooting a nervous glance at the paper in the Hokage's fingers.

"And good job," Tsunade said evenly. "Was there something you wanted to add to the report?"

Sakura was shocked to see Tsunade turn the paper to display to her some neat writing signed with a smiley face, complete with scar.

"No…no, ma'am," she mumbled, stunned.

"Good, go home. Hangovers are unbecoming."

Sakura didn't need to be told twice. She jolted upright and teetered slightly with dizziness, but found her footing and moved to step away.

"Oh, just a minute, Sakura," Tsunade said sharply.

Sakura clenched her jaw and waited. She figured it would be too easy to be so late and reportless and still get out without a reprimand. "Yes, Shishou?"

"Take the scroll you brought back and make the recipe. Tell me if it's any good. You know how I hate to bake."

Had Sakura been in her right mind, she might have yelled at her old teacher for putting her life in danger just to get a cookie recipe. Tsunade's indifference brought it all back. But as it stood now, she just couldn't wait to get back into bed. Without a word, Sakura picked up the scroll they retrieved from Sand and took it with her.

But before she went home, she had one more little itch to scratch.

Kakashi flipped page twenty-one of his new amazing autographed blue Icha Icha Paradise special edition with full colour pages. It was Sakura's favorite part. It pulled a little chuckle out of him while he shifted on his favorite tree branch to cross his legs.

"And what are you laughing about?" a stern familiar voice hissed from ten feet below him.

"You, actually. You must be getting stealthy. I didn't notice you come up," Kakashi replied cheerfully before snapping the book shut.

"And you find that funny why?" she continued on, anger all intact.

Ohhh, hangover, Kakashi thought to himself. "You look sleepy and…well, pretty hung-over. Why don't you go home and rest instead of coming here and getting pissed off at me. My day has been going well up until now."

"Well I'm glad to hear your day is wonderful. Mine has been less than stellar. On the way over here, I got chuckled at, winked at, and asked how my big night was. Apparently, I must have passed out or something at the bar because everyone is enjoying some private joke at my expense."

"Ah, yeah. Genma stopped by this morning. He did mention something about seeing you at the bar and that you might have been a little less than sober." Kakashi stood up and dropped to the ground in front of Sakura who was rubbing her head and looking like she was ready to ruin his shoes with her stomach contents. "Are you all right?" he asked with some concern, but just a little. He was never one to coddle foolish self indulgence.

"No…not really. I've just been thinking." Sakura looked up at his mask, only one small portion of his face showing. There was just too much hidden when he was completely in uniform.

"Thinking about what?" Kakashi prodded, crossing his arms casually and shifting his weight to one foot, one thumb stuck in the pages of his book to hold his place.

"I was wondering why it had to be me to say something to Naruto and Sasuke. Obviously you were the one who wished for them to know. Then I started to wonder why it was their business at all. Of course, that led me to the idea that maybe, just maybe you were counting on the fact that I couldn't tell them. Maybe the whole idea of a relationship has sunk in and you are back to your old ways." Sakura's eyebrows rose accusingly as she crossed her own arms.

Kakashi sighed out a long breath and said calmly, "You are hung over, tired, and obviously grouchy. Now is probably not the right time to discuss this." He tried to put his hand on her arm in an attempt to steer her toward her home, but she shirked away.

"I can't tell them. I can't do it. You know I can't. I thought maybe rumors would start and then they'd get used to the idea before we made it their business, but that is what I want to do. Apparently you get to make all the rules," she grumbled.

"Have you talked to Naruto or Sasuke this morning? Actually, have you spoken with anyone this morning?" Kakashi half-laughed.

"How can you think this is funny? I'm glad my frustration amuses you considering it's your entire fault," she shouted before spinning and stomping away quickly, kicking up dirt and stones as she went. "See you around, Hatake," she called behind her with a mock sweet tone. "You'll have to find something else to entertain you from now on."

She stomped on heavily for a minute, not daring to look back. But when he didn't stop her and didn't say anything, not even a laugh, she slowed down. Three more steps and she stopped. He was letting her walk away…

She turned around to look at the place he'd been standing to find he was already gone.

Twice since Sakura had arrived back home she'd ignored Naruto and Sasuke at her door. Naruto sounded apologetic, and Sasuke, as usual, indifferent. They'd left with the understanding that they weren't getting into the apartment for at least two days until she cooled off.

Five hours sleep had made her feel human again, and now she just wandered around in a t-shirt and jogging pants allowing herself to be lazy. It was only early evening and she still felt out of sorts with the entire Kakashi situation, but it was out of her control.

Sadly, the sense of disappointment and the loss of something that might have been great had it been allowed off the shelf sat heavy in her stomach. Of course, it could be the gut-rot as well.

The recipe Tsunade had given her sat open on her counter. The recipe scroll was from Temari in Sand, and was for regular chocolate chip cookies. There was a tiny pouch of special sugar in the scroll when Sakura opened it and so she felt some mild enthusiasm to make some.

After a big of mixing ingredients perfectly and putting them in the oven, Sakura decided to have a shower. Nothing like hot water and soap could make her feel awake and healthy again, even if her stomach still churned once in a while.

When the first drops hit her, her mind was already spinning on how much she wanted to see Kakashi. She'd been rather grouchy with him in the morning and wondered if he was upset with her. Not that Kakashi ever showed emotions he didn't want anyone to see…

He was stubborn and infuriating and downright…perfect.

She couldn't say how long she stayed in the water but the smell of cookies was already making its way into the open door of the bathroom. So Sakura figured she'd had enough washing, shaving and deodorizing, got redressed and was ready to grab some chocolate chip cookies and sulk alone in her bed.

The cookies were done to perfection when she pulled them from the oven, and taking a small plate of them and a glass of milk, she wandered into her darkened bedroom, not bothering to turn on the light. Putting the cookies on her night table, she slid onto the bed and stretched out, closed her eyes and sighed.

"It's about time," a familiar voice said from across the room. "I was beginning to fall asleep."

Sakura jolted up and switched on the bedside lamp in a panic. "What the…? How long have you been there?"

Kakashi grinned from where he lounged lazily on her chair in the darkest corner of the room holding a prized orange book. His mask and headband were off and his vest lay open. He was the picture of comfort. "Long enough to know you don't close your door when you shower," he smirked. "Are you going to kick me out?"

Sakura shook her head a little. "No." The idea of kicking him out of her bedroom seemed preposterous. "What are you doing here?" She raised a pink eyebrow at him.

"I've come for my lesson in chemistry. You started one this morning but we got sidetracked." His voice was entirely serious. He pushed himself out of the chair and stood at the foot of her bed, putting his book away into his hip pack.

Shaking her head, Sakura fell back on the bed with a sigh. She loved that he was there in her bedroom, but she was beginning to understand why he wanted their friends to know about them and felt she owed it to him as well. They shouldn't sneak around. If he were hers, she'd want the world to know. But having him standing so casually in her bedroom was cruel at best. "You, my friend, are the world's worst tease."

"I've never been called a tease before. I'm not sure I like it."

"Then don't show up in women's bedrooms without any intentions," she laughed.

Kakashi leaned forward, placing his hands on the bed and then proceeded to crawl up, straddling Sakura until he hovered over her.

Instantly, the mood changed and she felt frozen in place. "W…What are you doing?" she said quietly.

While running fingers along the hem of her shirt, and slowly lifting it to expose her stomach, Kakashi bent low and whispered on her abdomen, "Not teasing you."

A tingle of chakra ran through Sakura's body, along with the excitement of having his hands on her again. But she was puzzled by it, albeit excited. "I hate to stop you…I mean, I really hate to stop you but why are you doing this?"

"You don't like it? I guess I should try harder," he laughed.

"Okay, wait," she said forcefully, sitting up and making Kakashi get up and lean back. "What about telling Sasuke and Naruto? I thought that was a big requirement of this. Honestly, I understand why you wanted me to and I'm all right with it. I'm still pretty pissed at them for getting me drunk but if you give me another day, I'll tell them."

Kakashi looked at her in a strange way and Sakura began to feel a little like she did with Shizune that morning – foolish and uniformed. "Why are you looking at me like that? What is going on? Why did you actually come over?"

"Well, I could say that it didn't matter and that they'd find out later, or I could say that I just wanted you too much to wait…which is partly true as I had planned to drop by all day. But to be honest, you basically announced your intentions for me at the bar last night to a very captive audience.

Sakura's eyes searched the ceiling as she flopped back down, absorbing what the Copy-nin had just told her. She smacked her forehead and lay still for just a moment while Kakashi shuffled over beside her on the bed and lay down as well.

Then she turned her head, looked at him and bit her lip. "You wanted me too much to wait?"

One corner of Kakashi's mouth rose in his cocky way, and Sakura smiled back.

"Something like that," he said quietly.

"What did I say at the bar?"

"Let's just say no one will get a false impression of how you feel." He laughed a little and then shrugged off his vest.

In the meantime, Sakura leaned over and grabbed a cookie, thinking about how all the possibilities she'd be hoping for were now open to her. She lay on her back taking in the idea that Kakashi was here, in her bed, and there was nothing left to do but enjoy each other.

Absently, she took a bite.

"Oh damn."

Kakashi's hand stopped where it was making its way along her side. "What?"

"That's the best damn cookie I've ever had."

Kakashi laughed as he went back to running his hand up her shirt and pressing his mouth to her jaw line.

"Kakashi? Before we do anything else, I think we need to be specific on how we're going to proceed." Sakura said as she dropped what was left of the cookie on the floor. Her voice was breathy and she could barely speak through the tingle of chakra and the stir of pleasure from each touch of his fingers.

"All right," he whispered against her ear. "Just tell me what you'd like to do."

Sakura tossed the half-eaten cookies back on the plate and rolled over to press her body against his, grinning slyly. "Page 51."

Kakashi leaned back a little to look at her face, "Come again?"

"Oh, I'm sure I will."

Well, another fic finished. Thanks to icarust for the read through and the bouncing for many chapters. Sorry to everyone for the ridiculous shamefully long wait for this chapter. It was longer than usual and a little too fluffy at the end but oh well. How else to end crack but with fluff. lol. Thanks for the lovely reviews. I hope you had as much fun reading as I did writing.