A/N: I like to stay the hell away from Naruto fillers wherever possible, so I'll be sticking to what little information the manga has given about Konoha prisons… which is pretty much next to nothing. But to be honest, I'd rather use that than use anime filler material.
Also, I am still working on Duty Before Honor. I just couldn't resist starting this one early, so please don't think that this means I'm giving up on the other one.
The Konoha Correctional Facility for Incurably Criminal Criminals wasn't all that bad, Kakashi thought. The food may have come from the one of those mysterious 'other' food groups, and you may have had to take showers with your back pressed against the wall, but really, all that was a reasonable price to pay for such tranquil solitude and panoramic views of untouched forest and sky. It was set a little way behind the Hokage Monument, steeped on a hill overlooking a hundred rolling fields and tumbling valleys. The little rows of outdoor cells flowed down the hill like steps, one after another, each with clean wooden walkways and red tiled roofs.
Kakashi had been there a few times, mostly as ANBU to collect and deliver prisoners, and he'd always thought it would have been a fantastic place to build a house. You know… if it wasn't for all the rabid rapists, thieves and murderers who'd be living next door. But it would have been nice to be able to look out his window for once and see green stuff rather than other windows, cracked concrete and telephone wires.
It was a pleasant change to stand on a hillside, breathing fresh air and watching the sun set behind a wide and endless land.
The iron bars before him were a bit of a blemish though, but that was merely a small detail. "Isn't this nice?" he began pleasantly, glancing over his shoulder at the girl lying prone on her grubby bunk. "You can almost see the ocean from here. Sakura, sit up, you're going to miss the sunset."
"Leave. Me. Alone," she ground out dangerously into the foam mattress.
Kakashi shrugged. To each their own, he thought, leaning forward to hang his arms over the horizontal slat across the bars. "You can't pay for a view like this, you know," he remarked, tilting his head to watch the last slither of orange sun sink behind the mountains.
"What view?" Sakura hissed, sitting up just in time to have missed the spectacle. "There's nothing down there. Nothing! Not a single shop or house or road! What's so great about that?"
Kakashi turned his head to give her a ruminative stare. "You and I are very different people," he remarked sadly.
"Clearly!" she snapped. "You don't seem to have realized just yet that we are in prison! We're prisoners!"
"Oh, I've realized." It was kind of hard to miss the big black bars and the lovely embroidery on his shirt stating he was 'Prisoner: 89662'.
"Then you obviously don't care!" she said, throwing up her arms. "Here we are, incarcerated – which is entirely your fault, by the way – and all you can think to do is go 'ooh, what a pretty sunset' like there's ever been a day it hasn't set! What is wrong with you?"
"Hm," he sighed, turning completely to move back to his own bunk opposite hers. "There aren't enough hours in the day to cover that answer."
Growling, Sakura flopped back onto the bed, pressing her face into the threadbare blanket. "It's not like we're lacking in time here. God knows how long we're going to be stuck here."
Kakashi slid his eyes over her tormented figure, from the sight of her arms cradling her face and her hair swept in a mad pink halo over them, to the knees she crooked almost to her chest, sending uniformly neat wrinkles across her lightly starched uniform. "We're only going to be here seven days," he told her, feeling a little bad for her.
Sakura made a sound into her mattress like the squawk of a dying chicken. When she spoke, she sounded pained. "I guess… that's not too bad."
"Then we'll have our hearing and we won't have to see this cell ever again." Kakashi folded his arms. "Of course, whether they let us go free or just put us in solitary confinement is still up in the air, I guess."
There was a distinctive sniff from Sakura's side of the cell. "I think I might have to kill you," she said, with strangled calm.
"I wouldn't advise that," he answered evenly. "That would definitely put you in solitary confinement."
"And away from you? The man who got me into this mess? Bring it on." She sat up, red faced and puffy eyed. "Why is this happening to me? What did I do to deserve this? I was just following orders and now… oh god, I'm sharing a room with a pervert and a toilet with no exit."
"It's just a misunderstanding," Kakashi placated her. "Tsunade-sama will be back soon and she'll sort this out. We didn't do anything wrong-"
"Yet no one seems to particularly care, do they?" she said bitterly.
"Well… look on the bright side." He shrugged at her.
"Which is?" she demanded dubiously.
Kakashi stared at her. Then he stared at the floor, scratched his head and sucked his teeth. "Well… um…" He pointed past the bars of their cell. "We've got a nice view?"
It was a good thing they hadn't been allowed anything pointy in the cell, or Kakashi probably would have found it driven through his skull at that precise moment.
Sakura had known it would be a bad day when she woke up and answered the door to find Kakashi standing outside it. Sunday was her day off. The day when she would put her feet up, repaint her toenails and possibly have a nice long soak at the bathhouse down the road so she could catch up on all the latest gossip with all the other women.
But that pleasant dream had ended abruptly the moment Kakashi had opened his mouth and said, "I need someone with strength for a mission. It's A-rank. I'll cut you thirty percent of the reward."
And being the thoughtful and generous girl that she was, Sakura replied, "Fifty."
"Deal. Come on, we have to go now."
"B-But-" She pointed to the towel wrapped in a turban around her head. "I'm doing my hair."
Quite heartlessly, and without an ounce of consideration for the female condition, Kakashi reached out and plucked the towel from her head. He tossed it back into her apartment as furious wet ringlets of pink fell around her face. "It'll dry on the way."
The man clearly had no concept of hair care, although that much was pretty obvious judging by the state of his mop top.
Kakashi only spared her enough time to pack a single bag and change into her proper clothes before dragging her away. Granted, she mostly filled that bag with hair mousse, clips and a straightening iron, but she managed to pack in a few choice weapons as well. As they moved swiftly out of the village, Kakashi explained the situation.
"There's a hostage situation in one of the southern villages. There's a group of rogue ninja who have kidnapped a girl and sealed themselves into a cave. The girl's father is the one sending out the mission, and from what I've heard, so far no one has succeeded in breaking the seal on the door. That's where you come in. Also, in this kind of situation it wouldn't hurt to have a good medic on hand. It could very easily go wrong."
"Right, so basically I'm just your tool to get one-up on everyone else?" she pointed out.
"I feel so used."
But truthfully she was quite pleased. To be sought out especially because only she could do a job? That was the biggest ego trip ever. And what had she trained for if not to be able to help her friends? She'd become a kunoichi because she'd wanted a strong girl-power image for herself. She'd stayed a kunoichi for Naruto, Sasuke and Kakashi.
That, and the money was fantastic.
They'd arrived at their destination half an hour later to be greeted by the sight of at least fifty other ninjas milling around the base of a sheer craggy cliff, all looking stumped. On the cliff face was a large patch of rock that was a different color than the surrounding stone, and on this patch were numerous scuffs and marks where people had obviously tried fruitlessly to attack it.
"I guess that's the sealed cave?" she said to Kakashi as they slowed their approach. The other ninja and kunoichi were looking around at their arrival and appearing distinctly unhappy about it. It was possible that they recognized Kakashi and had heard of his expertise, but it was just as likely that they knew more arrivals meant less of a chance of getting the reward and would have been unhappy whoever it was. Some even turned around and started to leave, knowing their chances were royally fucked.
"It's alright, Copy Ninja," one of the more burly ninjas called. "We've got everything under control. You aren't needed."
Kakashi glanced at the man in passing but acknowledged him no more than that, as if he hadn't spoken at all. The other ninja looked suitably scorched. But that was inevitable. Kakashi had a habit of walking into any kind of situation and taking it by the scruff of the neck. But even while he could commandeer respect with the simple click of a finger, he could just as easily melt into the background and be the unassuming bookworm in the corner. But this mission was too important to take a backseat now. A girl's life was at stake.
"There's the client," he said quietly to Sakura, nodding towards a rather dithery old man shouting at a group of Rock Ninjas. "He's a bit of an asshole, but be nice to him. He holds a lot of financial sway with the council, if you know what I mean. Old friends and all that jazz. If you piss him off he could put a serious blemish on your record."
"What makes you think I'd piss him off?" Sakura asked charily.
"No reason." But he said that a little too quickly to throw off her suspicion. "Go check out the seal while I talk to the father."
She obediently trotted off in the direction of the sealed up cave that was now little more than a triangular patch of clean rock. "Excuse me, pardon me, thank you," she said quietly as she squeezed between bodies to get closer. They were all gathered in a semi-circle around the entrance, discussing ideas and strategies to break through it. At the very front were two ninjas trying to use earth-style jutsu to dig a way underneath the blockage. So far, they weren't having much luck.
"That's not going to work," she pointed out politely. "That's a quality sealing job. They won't have left a gap beneath the dirt."
The two working ninja gave her irritable glares. "Thanks for the advice, kid," one said, and then they both went back to work.
Irked, Sakura crossed her arms and scowled. She didn't have time to sit back and watch people waste precious minutes, so she started forward, pushed her way between the two men and reached out to touch the rocky wall.
"Hey!" the men chorused, instantly stopping their jutsu or else risk swallowing her up in dirt. They probably didn't care if that happened, but perhaps they didn't want witnesses.
"This wall is probably only six feet deep," she told them, tapping it gently with her ear against the seal. "I could probably bring it down in one or two hits if you'd like to step back?"
"For goodness sake," an older kunoichi growled. "This is a serious matter – go play around elsewhere, sweetie."
Kid? Sweetie? Play? What was she, ten? "Seriously," she began testily. "If you don't want to get hurt, I suggest you step back a little."
But she wasn't Kakashi, and she commanded about as much respect and dominance as a small weasel. They just stared at her incredulously and gestured for her to get out of the way.
Kakashi arrived to save her bacon. In tow was the kidnapped girl's father, but the moment the man laid eyes on Sakura, his face turned thunderous. "A little girl? Are you joking? Get her out of here and allow these people to save my daughter."
Sakura's eye twitched. Now she understood why Kakashi had warned her not to piss him off… it would be all too easy to loose her calm in the face of such prejudice. She had to forgive him though. His daughter was in danger.
But Kakashi was never one to get annoyed and he maintained his calm easily. "I would be willing to bet that Sakura has the best control of her chakra out of everyone here, including me," he said evenly. "Please give her a chance. She can bring down the seal."
A few incredulous scoffs followed. Sakura held onto her temper admirably.
The man looked torn in frustration. Finally he exploded. "Fine! She can have one go and then she must move aside and let the professionals handle it."
Sakura couldn't help it. She opened her mouth to protest quite loudly that she was a professional, but Kakashi beat her to it, albeit more politely. "With all respect, Miyazaki-sama, Sakura is a professional too. She is a jonin after all."
"And one go is all I need, thanks," she added shortly. "Now if you'd all like to get the hell out of the way?"
This time they grudgingly complied, although not without a little ushering on Kakashi's part. Sakura waited until they were all at a safe distance before turning back to the sealed cave and feeling her way towards the direct center and weakest point in the wall.
Fixing her stance, she lined her fist up against the wall to take stock of the exact distance and pulled it back, inhaling slowly as she charged her chakra. In one fell burst she released it all – breath, chakra, fist – and ploughed her hand straight into the rock. Tendrils of cracks snaked out from the point of impact, creating a spider web effect. Then quite suddenly, everything shattered and the wall exploded outwards.
Bits of rock and dirt flew past Sakura's ears, coating her badly dried hair in a fine layer of dust. In seconds the wall was demolished and her hand flew to the shuriken holster on her leg, ready to deflect any weapons that came her way… only…
"It's all clear," she called, relaxing her stance. "There's a tunnel in the back of the cave."
Kakashi's hand landed on her shoulder and she turned to beam at him. "Nice," he told her lightly. "Not bad for a little girl, huh?"
"I have my uses," she replied sweetly. "I can get my arm behind the fridge too."
"Well?" the client shouted at the humbled ninja staring onward in shock. "My daughter is in there – go retrieve her now."
Sakura made to start forward, but Kakashi's hand on her shoulder tightened. "Hold on a minute," he told her quietly, but didn't explain. Even so, Sakura waited, knowing there had to be a good reason to be letting all the other ninja past and get a long head start.
Only when they were the last ones did he let her go. "Fools rush in…" he murmured gently, stuffing his hands into his pockets and waltzing inside. Sakura followed him cautiously.
"These rogues seem to have at least one guy amongst them who is incredibly adapt at manipulating rock, as you've just seen. Since we're effectively walking on his element, we are firmly in their territory. It would be wise to be careful where we put our feet," he explained as they moved. "And it would also be wise to remember that sometimes people use the same tricks more than once."
"What do you mean?" she asked, anxious at how sedate their pace was, considering the other shinobi were probably halfway down the tunnel by now. It was like some kind of mad rat race, only a girl's life was at stake if they didn't hurry.
"Come on, Sakura. Don't tell me you've forgotten about looking underneath the underneath. Always examine things twice and stay one step ahead." He stopped suddenly inside the tunnel, looking sideways at the curved wall beside them. Sakura followed his gaze, trying to figure out what he was looking at.
That was when she realized there was an oval patch of rock that was a different shade than that surrounding it. Realization twigged in an instant and she looked at Kakashi with a wild grin. "Kakashi-sensei, you're a genius!" she said, the way she'd used to say, "Sasuke-kun, you're so cool!"
"Eh." He shrugged indifferently, moving back. "Your turn."
Pulling her gloves tight, Sakura clenched her fingers into fists and charged her chakra for a second time. With a sharp cry of 'hah!' she shattered the second fake wall and drove straight into the chamber on the other side.
Pandemonium broke loose.
There were six ninjas within the small chamber, Sakura counted that much in the following maelstrom of kunai and rocks. One reared up beside her, ready to blast her into next week with an earth based jutsu, and he may have done just that if Kakashi hadn't intervened and blasted the man into the next wall instead. "See to the girl," he shouted. "I'll deal with them."
Sakura didn't need telling twice. Weaving away from the fight, Sakura headed straight for the girl dressed in red lying supine on the floor. The entire cavern shook around her as she fell to her knees beside the girl and immediately checked for a pulse.
"Shit…" She cursed savagely and immediately moved her hands over the girls chest to begin pouring chakra into her system. But the girl's life was gone, and it was like pouring water into a bath with holes. Sakura moved her chakra to the heart, holding it and warming and trying to coax life back into it.
But it was useless. This girl had been dead for hours.
Slowly Sakura retracted her hands and hung her head. She brushed damp hair away from the girl's cold, pale cheek and sighed. She couldn't have been much older than Sakura herself, and it was clear that she'd been treated terribly before she'd died. There were bruises, crusted blood on her dress, and her skirt was hiked up indecently, exposing the tattered remains of underwear hanging around her left knee.
What kind of sick people would do this to another human being? Sakura had thought she'd seen it all in her short life, that there couldn't have been any lower to sink than Orochimaru's level of depravity. Yet people kept on surprising her…
Feeling wretched, Sakura ripped off the remains and straightened her skirt. The girl deserved to be found by the others with some sort of dignity. She looked around at Kakashi in time to see him deliver a fell strike to the sixth man's chest. Judging from the man's splutter and agonized expression and the way he keeled over quite abruptly, Sakura gathered Kakashi had hit him hard enough to stop his heart.
Sakura couldn't find it within her to feel sorry for him.
Kakashi turned to her, only slightly out of breath. "Is she…?"
Sakura shook her head. "Dead," she said flatly. "I can't help her."
"Shit," he sighed, turning away and wiping his forehead with his sleeve. He tugged down his hitai-ate and leant heavily against the wall near the gaping hole she'd made, surveying the seven dead bodies strewn across the room. "Shit," he said again, slightly more vehemently.
The noise of Kakashi's fight and Sakura's exploding wall technique had alerted the other ninja to the scene, and they quickly began arriving as Sakura gathered up the dead girl in her arms. She could feel the rigor mortis already setting in.
"What's going on?" she heard people asking. "Is that them?" "Are they dead?" "Fuck, I told you we didn't stand a chance with the Copy Nin here!"
Then the person Sakura had been dreading to see most arrived; the girl's father.
The moment he saw his daughter, he snatched her out of Sakura's arms. "Yumi? Yumi, are you alright. Yumi…"
Sakura bit her lip and looked down. Watching someone suddenly realize the death of a loved one was one of the hardest things Sakura had ever seen. The desolation and pain that welled in the eyes… followed by… irrational anger and hatred? Sakura stepped back slightly as the man pinned her with a seething glare of pure contempt. "You did this…"
"What?" she said quietly, not quite understanding what he meant.
"You did this – you've killed her!"
Sakura's mouth dropped open in pure outrage. "What?" she gasped. "I've killed no one!"
Kakashi stepped in smoothly. "Miyazaki-sama, I'm so sorry for your loss, but Yumi had already passed away before we arrived. I'm sorry, but please don't blame Sakura. She had nothing to do with it."
"Of course she did," the man seethed, staring at her menacingly even as he spoke to Kakashi. "Her with her monstrous strength – she blew up the wall and crushed them all, didn't she! I saw that jutsu – it's dangerous! She killed them! She killed my Yumi!"
Kakashi just stared at the man, possibly disconcerted in the face of such misdirected conviction. "Uh… Sakura wouldn't use that jutsu if it posed any danger to your daughter. Look around you, the rubble is out in the tunnel, not here. The occupants weren't harmed by the explosion."
But the man was too far gone with grief. "You've killed her," he warbled, staggering away with the body of his daughter. "You've killed her and now she's gone… I'll make you pay for this. Dearly."
Sakura and Kakashi looked at each other. "Wow," she remarked in a small voice. "Um… I don't think he took that well at all."
"He's just in shock. I'm sure when he comes to his senses he'll be more rational," Kakashi told her reassuringly. "He can't take out his anger on the real killers so he's projecting it onto the nearest person. He'll come around, you'll see."
Only… Miyazaki-sama didn't.
By the time Sakura and Kakashi dragged themselves into the Hokage's office to make their report, Miyazaki had already called ahead to give his version of events – wherein both Kakashi and Sakura had quite ruthlessly ploughed up an entire mountain without a care for his daughter's life. He'd possibly told a few porkies about Sakura attempting to pillage the bodies while she was at it.
If it had been Tsunade sitting behind the Hokage's desk, she would have just rolled her eyes, brushed it off as a severe reaction to grief and dismissed the two bedraggled ninja as usual.
But Tsunade was away on a research trip in the Suna, and filling her shoes were the crabby cynical pair of old farts that made up the Elder Council. Sakura didn't particularly like them. For a start they were set in their ways and they recalled the Kyuubi's attack far too well to forgive Naruto. They'd had it in for that boy from day one, limiting his rights and missions at every turn. If it was up to them, they would have kicked Naruto out of the village long ago…
…either that or possibly executed him as a newborn.
And typically, because of her and Kakashi's close association with Naruto, the Elder's didn't hold much love for them either. When their old friend Miyazaki-sama accused them of cold-blooded murder and suggested they be locked up and the key thrown away… well, they took that to heart.
Sakura couldn't quite believe it as the old council woman before her passed out her sentence.
"Haruno Sakura, due to your gross negligence and disregard for proper standards of mission regulations and safety precautions, I am placing you in detention at Konoha's Correctional Facility for Incurably Criminal Criminals as of now, where you will be held for seven days until you hearing, where it will be decided what to do with you on a more permanent basis." Ignoring Sakura's jaw that was roughly in the same region as her feet, she turned to Kakashi. "Hatake Kakashi, due to your gross negligence and disregard-"
"Ditto. I got it," he said flatly, but remaining quite casual despite the circumstances.
"Do you understand the conditions of your arrest?" the old man asked slowly, wheezing deeply.
"I understand that we're being arrested for doing our jobs and attempting to save the life of an innocent girl who, might I add most respectfully, was already dead before we'd even received the mission," Kakashi said pleasantly. "If that is what we're being arrested for, then yes, we understand perfectly. A prison sentence seems entirely fair. Thank you. You're very kind and fair, and not at all biased or bigoted at all, I'm sure."
The old woman leant forward, dull eyes narrowed. "Insubordination will only work against you, child," she told him.
"I do apologize, but I'm a little short on ideas since subordination seems to be working against me too and I appear to be going to prison for doing a good job. Let's make even less fucking sense, shall we? I know, Sakura, fetch me a cat, I feel like waxing something."
Kakashi's tone was still light and pleasant, but even Sakura could tell he was quite livid. For him to be speaking to the Elders like this…? The man must have been seriously pissed off. Or just incredibly drunk.
"Keep digging, Copy Ninja." The old woman glowered at him.
"With a flamingo no less? They're sort of spade-shaped, I suppose."
The old man gestured to the two ANBU standing by the door. "Take them away. They refuse to be reasonable."
"No, if I was being unreasonable I would have made a comment about the old people smell in here. Fortunately, I'm slightly more tactful than that."
"Take them away!"
Sakura shook her head despairingly as one ANBU guard took her by the arm and began leading her away out of the door after Kakashi. She might have kicked her former sensei if she hadn't been restrained. "What the hell were you thinking?" she hissed at him. "Talking to them like that? There's no way they'll let you get away with that! Do you have any idea how much trouble we're in!"
"The council aren't that powerful, Sakura," he said dully, sounding annoyed. "As soon as Tsunade comes back she'll put them back in their hutch."
"We're going to prison!" she shrieked at him, panicking.
"No, we're in detention. That's different." He paused slightly before adding, "That's one floor up from the prison."
They were split up after that, which might have been a good thing, because Sakura might have actually committed a real murder if she'd stayed much longer with Kakashi.
Everything unraveled at a dizzying pace after that. She was taken into the bowels of the Hokage tower and given a teleportation scroll. In the blink of an eye she found herself in a back room at the Konoha prison where she was handed over to a chunin prison guard who took her into a dark, cold room, gave her a set of plain gray clothes and told to take off everything and get changed.
"If you're not going to leave, could you at least turn around?" she asked testily.
He shook his head.
Sakura felt sick as she began stripping off her clothes and weapons. She got down to the bandages wrapping her breasts and her panties and began reaching for the pale gray shirt when the guard stopped her. "Everything," he told her bluntly. "You have to remove everything."
She glowered at him ferociously. "I know your sort," she grumbled. "Just a sick pervert…"
Nevertheless she yanked the bandages off and threw her panties on top of her pile of clothes and hurriedly pulled on her assigned uniform. It was uncomfortable and slightly too big as well as being far too itchy and stiff. The pants only came down to her calves and didn't appear to come with any underwear. Sakura didn't know whether or not that was a good thing. Prison-issue panties were bound to be one of those unspeakable crimes against humanity.
Barefoot, she was taken to another room where all her belongings were catalogued and placed into neat little plastic bags.
"One container of hair clips and other accessories," one of the guards said, jotting it down on a clipboard. "One tube of lip gloss; cherry flavored. One packet of throat lozenges; also cherry flavored. One hair straightening iron-"
"I'll be needing that." Sakura reached for it.
"No you won't." It was moved out of her reach. "No personal effects are allowed in the cell with prisoners."
It all sounded like one hilarious joke, Sakura almost laughed. It was ridiculous that she was going to jail. She wasn't that kind of girl! She'd always made an effort to be good and do the right thing, and now here she was, wrongfully accused of murder of all things and about to come to spend the night on a prison bunk.
It was inconceivable. She still didn't quite understand what was going on. This had to be some kind of horrible dream that she would wake up from in a minute. Maybe if she just kept pinching herself she'd suddenly wake up, realize it was Sunday morning and that she had a whole day of relaxation ahead of her. If Kakashi came banging on her door, asking for her help on a mission, she would shut the door in his face and turn up her radio.
But Sakura just wasn't waking up.
It was all horribly real.
When the guards had finally finished dissecting her belongings and labeling her spare tampons, one of them took her by the arm and started leading her away down a corridor.
"You've come at a bad time," he told her quite jovially, as if she was a customer rather than a prisoner. "We're up to the gills in inmates and we don't have any spare cells, so you'll have to share."
"With who?" Sakura asked with trepidation.
"With the guy you came in with. Don't worry, we wouldn't dream of sticking you with a random prisoner. We'd rather put you with the women, but there aren't any in the ground-level detention zone."
"I suppose that should make me feel special," she commented cynically.
She was placed in a cell 3R, third row down, eighteenth cell across. The walk along the boarded paths hadn't been much fun, not with every man in every cell seeing her and making some kind of inappropriate comment or noise. Sakura ignored it to the best of her ability, but she couldn't help but feel slightly concerned that her neighbors all seemed to want her to 'get her tits out'.
Cell 3R was empty when she arrived, and as soon the bars clanged shut after her and the lock snapped shut, Sakura sat down on the closest bunk and hugged her knees. The view was quite depressing, she felt. Not a sign of life to be seen for miles, even though she knew that in the other direction lay Konoha in its entirety.
Oh god, what would Ino say when she found out about this? What about Naruto and Sasuke?
"This isn't happening…" she whispered, falling onto her side, still hugging her knees.
A few minutes later she heard footsteps again and sat up sharply. The same guard who'd brought her had now brought someone else. Someone she didn't recognize. Her heart leapt into her chest when the strange prisoner was ushered into the cell with her and the bars locked in his wake. Sakura almost attempted to leap through the gaps in the bars to yell "Hey! I thought you said I would be sharing with Hatake Kakashi!"
Then her fellow prisoner gave a deep sigh and sat down on the opposite bunk, knees spread and shoulders slouched. A small pout played on his lips. "Seriously, I thought the strip-search was a bit much," he said, sounding remarkably like Kakashi. "I hope they treated you a little better."
Sakura stared, wide-eyed. "Kakashi… sensei…?"
The man before her blinked at her slowly with unmistakably familiar eyes – one the color of coal, the other pressed shut beneath a long pink scar. She didn't recognize the nose. Or the existence of cheekbones. The lips were new. As was the light stubble along the defined jaw line.
Slowly, he turned to examine the wall behind him, trying to figure out what she was staring at. Perturbed, he looked back at her. "What?" he asked.
"Uh… nothing…" She looked away quickly and rubbed a hand through her hair. She didn't want to make a big fuss, as it clearly wasn't something he thought a great deal of. She'd always known that someday she would see his face… but she hadn't quite realized it would happen because prison uniform didn't come with attached masks.
Kakashi had quite a nice face, she decided. Strong, even features arranged in an eye-pleasing way. He looked oddly kind and sensitive without a mask though, rather like a mild-mannered librarian rather than one of Konoha's top shinobi. Give him a pair of spectacles and a book (with decent, educational content) and he'd look every bit like a substitute teacher. His eyebrows had a natural tilt, making him look ever so slightly hangdog… although that could have just been because of their situation. Sakura probably looked a little hangdog too.
But no wonder he wore a mask. He looked like he was about to start writing angsty poetry at any given moment.
"Should have turned the lights off when I left this morning," he sighed suddenly. "That's gonna cost me."
Sakura looked at his crestfallen face and chewed her cheek. "We could be in here for years," she told him, eyeballing the lower half of his face quite shamelessly while he was looking away. "If our hearing goes badly..."
He sucked his teeth. "It won't. And if it doesn't, Tsunade-sama will get us out."
"Can she do that?" Sakura asked.
"I… don't know."
"That's so comforting, thank you."
Heaving a low groan, Sakura buried her face into her lump of foam that was her new pillow. "I can't believe it… I was always such a good girl… why am I the one who ends up in prison? I always thought it would be Ino in here, not me."
"It's only temporary detention," he reminded her.
"It's a permanent blemish on my permanent record!" she bit back.
"Think of it as unexpected street cred," he said, shrugging. A light smile played dreamily on his lips that had her momentarily entranced.
"What do I need street cred for?" She turned her scowl back into her mattress.
"Everyone could do with a little street cred," he told her. "Homie."
"Stop it now!"
"Pimping weather, huh?" He snapped his fingers. "Ow…"
Sakura moaned in distress. "I can't take this for seven days. I'm going to go insane!"
"Think how I feel," he said, sucking his knuckle. "They confiscated Icha Icha."
"Kakashi-sensei, you're the reason I'm in this prison cell right now. Even the slightest suffering on your behalf brings mindless joy to my heart," she told him flatly.
"And here I thought you were the nice one," he sighed mournfully
They lapsed into silence. If they had been anywhere else, Sakura would have walked off in a strop, slept on it, and then forgiven him the following morning. As it was, she couldn't escape his presence, and her anger and fear festered painfully in her chest. Kakashi may have been taking this in his stride, but she didn't have his natural confidence and ease. He knew something unjustified had taken place and he was certain it would all be sorted by simply waiting it out. Sakura felt the matter needed to be taken into hand and sorted out manually… only it was going to be hard to do that from within a prison cell.
She'd ask to speak to Naruto the next time the guard came along. He might not be able to do anything, but surely he'd find someone who could?
Kakashi interrupted her racing mind. "I'm sorry, Sakura," he said quietly.
An honest, heart-felt apology.
Damn, it was hard to stay mad when he used that kind of tone. But Sakura didn't feel quite ready to forgive him, so she pulled the thin blanket over her head and ignored him.
It was going to be an incredibly long week.