Disclaimer: No owning of Naruto or characters. If I did, Kakashi and Sakura would have sex. A lot.
Comments: Discarded and no longer being continued. Re-written as Milk Moon, with possible and probable duplication of some/most scenes, though they will be edited, I'm sure. I'm leaving this up on because I might actually want to go back and compare the two someday, then crack up laughing over how much of an idiot I am.

- - -

Chapter Six

- - -

The mission was easy enough, though Kakashi refused to think of her as he went through the motions, hardly wondering at being sent out on a mission this short and not really suited for his rank at all.

"You're in a good mood," Kotetsu noted during a brief pause, watching their client argue with the wagon driver.

"Oh? Why do you say that?" Kakashi scratched absently at his thigh and swatted at a curious fly, completely unconcerned.

"You've been smiling all day."

He thought about it, and simply gave a little shrug, acknowledging that he hadn't done very well in keeping Sakura out of his thoughts after all. "Well, we all have our good days," he replied blandly, still smiling as Kiba and Izumo returned with their scouting reports.

- - -

Sakura poked almost absently at the mixture beneath her hands, hard and dry, her attention resting instead upon her teacher. It was the first lesson of the day (and surprisingly early for it, too), but she'd hardly had time with her teacher for the past few weeks. "It's definitely easier to pack," she answered dubiously in response to a question, "but you need water to boil it in as well. You would be better off with the ointment, because everything's already in that jar for you. What if you can't find water, or have no time to build a fire?"

"Is that so?" Tsunade rubbed at the ankle she rested on her knee and straightened a little in her chair. "Yet that very ointment is sensitive to changes in temperature. If it becomes hot or if it rains heavily, its effectiveness is easily halved. This is why it is more of a hospice remedy. So, are you done fighting with Kakashi?"

Sakura winced as her hand slipped and had various utensils falling to the floor, completely startled by the non sequitur. "Fighting? Were we fighting?"

"I hear he had an unfortunate loss in a bonfire recently." Amber eyes gleamed with amusement as Tsunade leaned forward, intent on getting the answers she sought. "And from what I hear, it was his favorite books – which were, I might add, stolen from his house – that burned."

"I heard that too," she agreed, her words a little too high-pitched as she picked things off the floor. "Horrible accident, I thought it was."

"An accident?" Tsunade sat back, feeling slightly disappointed. Kakashi was amused with the entire thing and Sakura pretended like it never happened, giving her little chance to do anything (or, more accurately, help with the fun – not that she would ever admit to wanting to do so). Sending Kakashi out of the village had been a waste, then, if she couldn't even get her student to confide. The both of them were proving surprisingly closed-mouthed about the situation in general, providing her no fun at all. "Well, what a shame."

"Shame?" Sakura echoed, looking up from a rather mutilated fork. It appeared someone had tried to use it as a hammer, because the tongs were quite badly bent. "Why is it a shame?"

"Well, if it was someone doing petty tricks after, say, hearing particular rumors..." Tsunade shrugged. "I would have to do a little light punishment. Nothing too terrible – after all, it isn't like they made his bed go missing or take all his drinks out of the house or anything. It's nothing really serious; it's just a bit of public embarrassment. But if it's just an accident, well..." She sighed theatrically. "I was looking forward to a bit of change in my daily routine, too."

She pretended not to notice the faint smile that curved Sakura's lips, or the gleam that entered her eyes.

Ah, it was nice to do something evil again. Now just to make sure it never reached Shizune's ears...

"Tsunade-sama? I thought you were going to finish the paperwork before taking over Sakura's training...?"

She jumped guiltily and looked over her shoulder. "Oh. It wasn't done?"

- - -

"No matter how you look at it," Kiba muttered, "This is a D-rank mission, isn't it?"

"Yep." Kakashi settled against his newest perch as their client argued once again with the driver, pointing imperiously at the badly-swaying boxes. "We're just babysitting a trader to the nearest town."

Kotetsu rubbed absently at his cheek, frowning. "Usually they ask for protection until they reach a harbor village, or their destination. The next town over is nothing more than a farmer's village."

"Yeah. Do you think there's something more to it?" Excited, Kiba looked at the wagon with much more discerning eyes than he had afforded it last night.

"There could be," Kakashi lied laconically, letting the boy's youth take over. Izumo bit back a smile; the adults, at least, had realized it for a bogus mission the moment Tsunade had called them over.

Even their Hokage had her selfish moments, though they didn't know what exactly she was trying to do.

- - -

"Well, if we tilt it..."

"It's already stuck, so tilting it won't help. It will break the doorway, though."

"Shut up, Shikamaru! Can't you tell we're thinking?" Ino hissed, glaring over the headboard as much as she could.

"Are you sure these are all the chips he has?"

"They're in the next cupboard over, actually, but can you eat after we move this thing?" Sakura looked behind her, somehow unsurprised that Chouji had disappeared into the kitchen long before they actually started moving the frame. She supposed she could at least be a little thankful that he had helped them with the mattresses.

"Ah-hah! Hold on, I'll be there after I finish these."

"Oh, God. Why did I bring these two over again?"

"Muscle, Ino. We need muscle." Sakura huffed a bit and tried to tug the frame back into the room, mindful of Shikamaru's words. It didn't budge.

"What, your brawns-over-brain strength isn't good enough anymore?"

"Will you just turn it already?" she snapped, channeling chakra into her fingers.

"Watch the door—" Shikamaru cautioned, without any real urgency.

"...Well, that went well, Sakura. Any other brilliant plans?"

"Um, maybe Shikamaru can fix it before we leave?"

"Using the brilliant one in a plan doesn't make it a brilliant plan."

"Well, do you have any better ideas?" Snippishly.

"How about writing a note saying 'At least the bed's okay'?"

"Not to interrupt the two of you or anything," Shikamaru interjected, rubbing the back of his neck in vague annoyance, "but where are you putting all this stuff?"

He hadn't been very happy to be woken up for the sole purpose of stealing someone's bed, and now knew his day was just going to get worse when they looked at him blankly. Sighing, he said, "Fine. There's an empty storage shed by Asuma's..."

"Hey," Ino piped up wickedly. "Should we take the couch, too?"

- - -

She still hated him when he came back home, apparently in high spirits with another mission completed, easy-breezy. Sakura wondered exactly what lowly form of life would be so cocky and proud of his philandering nature, and felt intensely sorry for Kurenai (who, she heard, was pregnant). She hated the relief that relaxed her shoulders when she found out that he came home safe; she hated the little flutter in her stomach as she thought of the letter that said he would talk to her when he returned. She really, really liked that glee that danced in her stomach when she thought of his reaction to the missing items from his house – and, yes, the broken doorway.

Of course, even if he intended on talking to her, she had absolutely no intention of uttering a word - or even listen to him! - so it made no real sense (at all, even) that she followed the directions on his latest letter and walked hesitantly into the clearing she had trained in for so many years. There, the stone of heroes stood. There lay memories of better times, better days; darker times, darker days.

There was this place she had avoided for ages.

"So you did miss me," he noted like it didn't really matter at all, suddenly appearing behind her with his arms lightly wrapped around her waist.

Sakura stiffened, one hand curling into a fist. "Get off me."

Kakashi rested his chin lightly on the top of her head with a miserable sigh. "You've been avoiding me. Don't think I haven't noticed."

Her mind went completely blank as she spluttered, her anger coming and going and her composure completely flustered. "Of course I'm - will you get off me, you perverted teacher?!"

He did before she hit him - she swung wide and missed, staggered a bit, then glared at him over her shoulder as he stood behind her innocently - and said, "Why would you?" like he honestly didn't know.

Sakura found it hard to hang onto her anger - she let it simmer instead - and stepped a little farther away from him, incredulous. "What do you mean? Of course I would, after... after..."

Oh, God. Her anger was slipping away and embarrassment was sliding in and she couldn't even look at him, staring instead at the ground with her cheeks bright red and her hands wringing together in front of her. She'd never thought her fury would disappear like this and took another step back, giving him an uncertain frown and looking around as though someone would appear to save her.

The light-hearted tone disappeared as he spoke her name for the first time since a rather embarrassing episode in his room one night. "Sakura, look at me."

She looked, then slid her eyes away and back down to the ground, backing up yet another step. An annoying post smacked against her back, blocking her retreat. "I'm looking."

He paused, as though wanting to point out that she actually wasn't, then sighed. Before she could blink - not that she would, staring so intently at the ground as she was - Kakashi was directly in front of her, far too close and smelling like... sweat and outdoors and the run back home. Some stupid portion of her mind wondered in awe if he had hurried back for her, to the point of not even returning home (he didn't seem to have noticed the general state of his apartment); the rest of it muttered at that portion and generally dissolved into gibberish as she began to feel panic constricting her brain.

"We can't change the fact that it happened," he pointed out smoothly, and she wanted to shake her head in denial. "We could pretend that it hasn't--" here she nodded choppily, desperately, and he ignored it as he continued and seemed to edge just a little closer, "--but I have the feeling you're not going to stop being angry at me if I do."

Yes I am, she thought faintly, and tried to step to the side. His arm shot out to block that route too, and she jerked back before her shoulder touched it.

"So we need to talk," he finished in a rather bland tone, and she stared at the tips of her toes until spots started to swim in front of her eyes. Then she kept staring anyway.

"Nothing happened," she announced in a high-pitched voice, and his sigh ruffled her hair. Her heart jumped, and she was forced to remember that yes, it had only been four days and eighteen hours since that night.

"So you were stalking me through Konoha with Icha Icha Paradise pieces because...?"

No answer.

"For two days, even," he added helpfully, as though she had just forgotten.

She still didn't answer.

"Why were you angry, Sakura?" he asked in such a soothing tone that she almost answered. Then she didn't, because it was a plot and she hated him, damn it. "Is it about that rumor?"

Her head snapped up then and she glared at him, then jerked her face away from his when she realized their noses could almost touch. "You're dating Kurenai-sensei," she pointed out in a smaller voice than she had intended, completely off-balance and unsure how to deal with a teacher like this. Cocky she could deal with. Contrite she could deal with. This Kakashi that came near and smothered her in heat, that spoke in a voice she'd only heard once before, soft and low and husky, that came this near like no man had ever been near before, was one she didn't understand. He was definitely a man, that same man of that night, and she was terrified of him. Terrified of everything about him.

"Am I?" he asked, sounding surprised in such a fake away, amusement underlying his words.

Anger sparked again beneath all that embarrassment and uncertainty, and she glared at him out of the corner of her eye. "Yes!"

"I never recall dating her, Sakura." There was an almost smug tone to his words as he asked, "Were you jealous?"

"Of course not," she snapped, finally gaining the strength to shove at him. He didn't budge, and she ground her teeth together. "Why would I be jealous? You're just my teacher."

"And a man," he pointed out, finally backing up just a smidgen - like it was his idea, not hers.

"A teacher," she repeated stubbornly.

"And you're a student, Sakura."

He had pushed her off balance again, and she gave him a suspicious look - able to look straight at him now that their noses were at least a few more centimeters apart. "Yes, I am."

"So what does that make you, when your heart beats fast just because I'm near?" he asked, and she felt her heart stop when he said it in that voice, despite the casual this-is-nothing-important tone.

"It doesn't," she replied, sounding as though she were choking on something.

"Lying is bad for you, Sakura."

"I'm not lying," she snapped again, and promptly shivered. When she glanced at his face again, she knew his lips were slightly curved in a smug smirk. "I'm not," she added petulantly, and thought Sure, THAT sounded firm, you idiot. "And stop saying my name."



"But your eyes light up just a little when I do." He lightly flicked a finger against her forehead, and she jerked away from even that brief contact, color rushing wildly to her cheeks.

"Why are you acting like this?" she whispered, tormented.

He paused, as though thinking on it for a moment or two. Then he said simply, honestly, "Pretending doesn't help at night."

She whimpered at that, and wished for a moment she could do something - anything - like burst into tears. She felt almost like she needed to, and a lot like she wasn't even close. "I don't know you when you're like this."

"Did you ever really know me at all?" He stepped closer again, pulling her against him and lightly smoothing his hand down her hair - one stroke, two, three - almost like before, when he would be so kind to her. Like before, when he treated her like glass or the little sister he had that special fondness for.

Now it was different, and she couldn't relax against him. "You were cheating on Kurenai," she repeated slowly, bewildered at this odd change of facts.

"I never dated her," he replied again, letting his hand fall from her hair to her lower back, pulling her just a little closer. Very softly his lips brushed at her temple, and she struggled to think.

"You're my teacher."

"You're my student," he agreed, with another light kiss, this time against the corner of her eye. She flinched a little at the warmth and the softness of his mask and struggled a little against him even though he wouldn't let go.

"This is wrong, you know," she whispered. "You just like me because I'm younger, and you'll regret it later."

"Probably." He nuzzled lightly against her, rubbing his hand gently against her lower back - silently urging her to relax and stop thinking.

Sakura sighed and let him comfort her, wrapping her arms gently around his waist and resting her head against his chest, shivering a little in the evening wind. Then she blinked as his last sentence registered. "You'll regret it?" she asked, oddly amused by his simple acceptance of her complaint.

He tugged lightly against her hair, forcing her to face him - serious and calm, as though he had done more thinking than she had ever expected. "Do you want me to say everything is going to be all right and I'll always be there for you? I can't promise things like that. I may die tomorrow, and I may come to my senses and say that our age difference is far too big. When everyone finds out, maybe I'll step back. When everyone finds out, maybe you'll run away. Life is hard, and the choices are never easy."

Sakura stared at him and said, "I like romantic words better," in a wistful little tone. He smiled when she pulled away with a dainty shrug. "Anyway, it's not like I said I was going to date you or anything."

"Oh?" He played along, curious, reaching out a hand to flick at the ends of her hair.

"I decided that I hated you, and I don't change my mind easily," she informed him soberly, with a little sigh. "I don't like men who are overly confident, and I've seen what's inside those books that you read. My virtue isn't safe around you. It simply won't do."

"Well, I suppose it's back to Kurenai for me, then," he drawled, and smiled again when she shot him a nasty little look.

Then, more seriously, she looked away. "I need to think."

He was silent - disappointed? - and she stiffened when he pulled down his mask and tugged her close again, lips brushing lightly against the top of her head, against her ear, against the side of her lips. "Okay," he agreed, and she let out a little puff of air when he brushed his thumb lightly against her mouth. "Think tomorrow."

"Wait. Wait!" Sakura smacked her hand against his mouth, panicked. "No kisses. I need to think."

"You can think tomorrow," he pointed out, and she could swear he was pouting.

"You're acting like a little kid," she hissed, trying to shove him away. He didn't budge, and instead forced her to back up that last step so she was against the post again.

"You're probably right." He rested his hands against her hips, and she could feel him smiling beneath her palm. "Then again, you were acting worse the past few days."

"I was not--" she bit off her words with a groan, then glared at him again. "If you really l--cared at all, you would give me space."

He was silent again, his gaze serious even as his hands lightly rubbed against her hips in silent temptation. "I can either pretend nothing happened, or I can kiss you right now."

Her jaw dropped in shock. "Are you giving me an ultimatum?"

His brow arched. "I could be."

She stared, closed her mouth, then gave him a faint smile. Sakura rose to her tiptoes, her lips brushing lightly against his ear. "Then pretend nothing happened, you conceited jerk," she breathed, and concentrated chakra into the fist she plowed into his belly. Though he didn't go flying like she wanted him to, he did stagger back a step and gave her the opening she needed to slip away.

"And good riddance," she added angrily, stalking away from him.

"Sakura," he sighed, crouching down and wincing against the pain in his abdomen. She punched fucking hard, and he would have been proud if he wasn't the casualty. "It was a joke, damn it," he added sourly as she disappeared into the night.

Well, fuck. It had been going so well, too.

- - -

Sakura slammed into her house with little care about things like startling her parents, who had been having a relatively peaceful evening. She stormed up the stairs, growling a "Nothing!" as her mother asked what was wrong.

Then, more sharply, came her father's voice. "Sakura, come down here."

She stopped on the stairs, silently cursing her father's timing. She was angry, damn it, couldn't they see that? "What?" she asked ungraciously, stomping back down the stairs and into the family room, looking sullenly at her parents with the general air of being greatly put upon. She was in trouble anyway, and putting on fake smiles and I'm sorries wouldn't help much at all.

"What kind of tone is that?" he asked gently, stirring all sorts of guilt inside her.

She scuffed her foot a little and looked over his shoulder, frowning. "Nothing."

"I don't ever want to hear you speak like that to your mother. Do you understand me?" Still his voice never raised, and still he spoke ever so gently, as though she were going to break in his hands.

"I'm sorry," Sakura muttered snappishly, wincing a little at her own irritation. He sighed, and she quickly followed up with, "Really. I'm sorry. I've just had a long day, that's all."

"Dear," her mother finally interjected hesitantly, "Your father and I are worried about you. We've heard things about..." She shared a glance with her husband, and continued slowly, "pranks you've been playing on Kakashi-sensei."

Sakura flushed, never having thought of things like her parents finding out, and looked away uncomfortably. "I just finished talking with him, and... everything's okay now." Sort of. "I'm sorry. I was being childish."

"Well, darling, your father and I thought you were long overdue for a little chat--"

"If it's about the birds and the bees," her aghast daughter interrupted, "That's fine. I really don't need to know anymore."

"Darling," she continued firmly despite red cheeks, "We really should talk about this. It's important to your future, and we want to make sure that you know everything you need to know. Right, dear?" She looked at her husband for support, who simply shifted uncomfortably in his chair and gave a little mumble of agreement.

"Really, Mama. We've gone through anatomy in our classes, and I am apprenticed under medicine..." Sakura continued hopelessly.

"We really need to talk, darling."

"But I'm not - I won't - not for a while anyway," she mumbled, blushing a little and thinking of her teacher's roughly capable hands and gentle warmth.

"There are things beyond... that, though." Despite stumbling, her parents were insistently pushing forward. "There are things like relationships, and what is appropriate between men and woman. You're sixteen now, and Kakashi-sensei is a man. You mustn't forget that."

Thanks for the warning, but I think I found that out. "I know, Mama," she said a trifle impatiently, before drawing in a breath and letting it out slowly. "Really, Mom. I know what you're trying to say. I understand. But I don't think it's necessary--"

"Sit down, Sakura," her father said.


She sat.

"Now, darling, there are a few things..."

Sakura let her mind zone as her mother stammered and blushed and eventually grew a little more confident on the subject of the dating ritual. Instead, she let her mind dance over various questions still running around in her mind, now a little clearer with Kakashi farther away. He says he's not dating her, but what if he's lying? Right, he could be lying. And the age difference! He's... I'm not even sure how old he is, but I know he's too old for me. She shifted in her seat uncomfortably and thought of how he didn't look old, not at all, and especially not when he looked at her like she was a woman and he was just another man.

"...needs to be a line he can't cross, and you need to let him know what it is..."

Biting her lower lip in thought, Sakura gazed at a spot on the wall and considered the fact that Kakashi had not seemed duly concerned with things like a teacher and student relationship, or the age difference, or society's thoughts on a relationship like theirs. What did that imply? Did it imply that he hardly cared at all? Did it imply that he cared a lot? Maybe he saw her as nothing more than a way to relieve sexual tension - which, from the way he had acted, was definitely a possibility...

"Sakura, are you listening to me?"


Her mother sighed (her father, apparently, had smartly disappeared a while ago) and crossed her arms, by now hardly blushing at all. "I'm repeating this all for your sake. This is important. Now, darling, there are a few things..."


- - -

He wanted nothing more than to do things other than being stuck there, but somehow Kakashi was dragged over to Asuma's shared flat for a congratulatory party and he couldn't get out of it, no matter what excuse he tried to dredge up.

Of course along with the teachers came their students, and (minus Team Seven, currently undergoing communication crises), they were all in attendance. Ino gave him what she seemed to think were covert glares and Shikamaru really just sat around like he wanted to go home, but it was those knowing looks Kiba would toss to him that really had him wishing - really, really wishing - that he could get out of there. He could be doing other things rather than drinking apple juice and listening to Asuma spout off names for his as-yet-sex-unknown child.

"Congratulations," he told Kurenai rather laconically.

She yawned politely behind her hand and nodded with a warm smile. "I'll be off missions as of tomorrow, since we want to take no chances with her." She patted her stomach gently, which wasn't even beginning to show.

Before he could ask how everything was working out, Kiba leaned over and asked excitedly, "So it's a girl then?"

"Well, we don't actually know yet--"

Obviously, Kakashi thought with a mental sigh. He listened to the small talk, politely exchanged a few words with a stammering Hinata (Kiba gave him rather nasty sidelong looks after that), said nothing at all to Ino (who seemed content to glare at him throughout dinner) and idly talked of shougi with Shikamaru (who seemed oddly nervous) before Asuma pointed out that no one could beat the little twerp. Then he shared companionable silence with Shino (he had the suspicion Shino was sleeping behind his glasses, the smart kid) and Chouji, who occasionally offered a bite of his potato chips and hoarded the cake on the table.

It was really a rather soothingly cacophonic atmosphere - or would have been, had he needed anything like soothing - and he appreciated the thought (really), but he silently counted down the hours until he could take his leave politely, until he found out that he actually couldn't go, because he was expected to walk the kids home.

"It's not like we're going to be mugged out here," Ino pointed out acerbically without even looking in his direction.

Asuma waved his hand vaguely. "It's a polite thing to do, and your parents will be worried about you all staying out so late."

This, of course, had Hinata stammering that she knew the way home fine, which only spurred Kiba into saying, "At least the guys should walk the girls home."

Shikamaru muttered something about it being annoying, and Shino said nothing at all, which only left Chouji - who continued to grab at the snacks on the table and said he'd do whatever, but could he have another slice of cake, please?

Kakashi sighed and swirled his untouched apple juice idly, only thankful that Gai wasn't there to make the entire thing into some sort of contest. Damn it, he'd wanted to go to Sakura and talk over the little misunderstanding of earlier; instead he'd been grabbed off the street and nearly manhandled over here, despite his various protests.

He wondered if she would still be awake by the time he left.

Then he wondered if he really wanted her to be.

- - -

Her bed was soft, fluffy, and completely welcome after the long - long, long, long lecture her mother had given. Sakura's ears still burned from her anatomically correct descriptions and other more metaphorical allusions sprinkled here and there throughout the entire one-sided conversation. Her mother - her dear, sweet mother - had actually said all those things, and it was simply wrong to hear them coming from her mouth. It was just... gah.

She groaned and rolled around on her bed restlessly, unable to get comfortable and uncertain of what to do. It was late enough that she had to sleep; training came early in the morning and she had been slacking a bit lately, much to Tsunade's silent disapproval. Then again, it wasn't quite late enough to have her tired, and she had too many thoughts sliding around in her mind to let her relax at all.

Like Kurenai's baby. She knew the woman was pregnant, at least according to rumor, yet Sakura had no idea of who the father was. The only man she could think of would be Kakashi, though he had said that he wasn't dating her... then again, you didn't have to date a woman to get her pregnant, after all, and he could be lying besides.


What had happened to the old days, when teachers were teachers and students were students and they never saw each other again after graduation? Becoming Chuunin should be equivalent to some sort of graduation, damn it, and she should be far out of his wicked clutches.

But she wasn't, of course, and nothing she could do would really change that. Even if she wanted to. Which she did, of course - because he was a possible liar and far too male to let her feel anything close to comfortable around him. Especially when she knew what he could do and what he seemed to want to do and--

--and when he was knocking on the glass doors leading out to her balcony like she was actually going to open them and let him in.

She glared. He smiled.

In the end, Sakura stalked over and hissed, "What are you doing here?"

"Well," he drawled, looking her up and down slowly, "my bed seems to have walked off."

She glanced down, gave a strangled sound when she realized she was in her pink kitty-print pajamas, and eventually decided to just stand there like it really didn't matter and her cheeks weren't red. "So?" she muttered, guilt written all over her face and accompanied by things like mischief and wicked glee.

"I figured a kind student could probably share hers," and suddenly he was in her room and she couldn't quite figure out how, "because she wouldn't want her teacher to have a bad night of sleep, now would she?"

Sakura turned warily, giving him the most evil glare she could dredge up while standing there in her cutesy jammies. "Yes, she would. Will you," and here her voice came out a little strangled as he stepped close to her again, using his damn proximity to cause her stomach to curl into all sorts of knots, "please leave?" Okay, so it was more like she was begging him to leave her alone rather than ordering him to, but if it worked...

"Nope." It didn't.

"My parents are downstairs," she said, and frowned as she realized it was practically like saying we can't do anything kinky because if they walk in it'll be really bad! She wasn't given him permission for anything, she just... wanted him to leave. Like, right now. Immediately.

He was smiling – she could tell, even in the darkness – and she quickly blurted before he could say something devastating, "Kurenai's pregnant."

"I know; I was stuck celebrating with her and Asuma all night." He was behind her now, gently nudging her in the direction of the bed. "I would have been here earlier if not for that."

Feeling completely as though they were on two different wavelengths (and they probably were), Sakura spluttered, "I wasn't waiting for you."

"I was," he replied simply, setting his hand against her lower back and urging her farther into the room.

"And – what are you doing?!" Sakura smacked at his arms and turned around with a sharp glare. "Get out of my room! I'm still not convinced—"

"It's Asuma's child," he spelled out, picking her up and making his own way to the bed with a sigh. "Better now?"

"No. Let me go." She ignored the happy, relieved flutter in her belly and glared at him; he had her sitting on his arm, essentially forcing her to hold onto his shoulder or head or else risk a fall, and her insides were fluttering like they really liked the position she was in. Being the nice girl she was, Sakura kicked him in the side and snapped again, "Let me go!" when he didn't do so the first time.

"Yes, yes, I was getting to it." Kakashi politely dropped her as requested, and she glared at him again from the tangle of blankets. "Scoot over, will you, darling? I'm tired."

"You are not getting into my bed." She threw a pillow at him angrily. "Will you please just leave? Why can't you do as I say?"

He stopped and seemed to think it over for a moment, giving her an odd, mixed sort of feeling, like hope that he would actually listen to her and sadness that he would even consider it. Then he said, all serious and thoughtful, "I thought I treated you pretty well for the first few years. I hear it's the first two years that count in a relationship."

Sakura closed her eyes with a groan. "Sensei..."

"Kakashi," he corrected helpfully, sitting on the edge of the bed and pulling off his shoes.

She kicked his hip vindictively, and he almost fell. "Sensei," she said again pointedly, "Teachers and students don't generally sleep together."

"We'd be the precedent, then. Really, darling, do scoot over. I've hardly any room over here." Sakura kicked him again, then scowled as he grabbed her foot easily, resting it in his lap with a long-suffering sigh. "Sweetheart, is it the ultimatum? It was a joke, really."

Wriggling her foot and trying to get it back, she muttered, "It's my common sense. More importantly, why are you doing this? Aren't you supposed to be the responsible one in this relat—" she coughed wildly before finishing the word, seeing the light of victory in his eye.

"I am responsible." Very lightly he was stroking a finger against her ankle, and she jerked at the touch – he was suddenly turning seductive again, giving her all sorts of shivers and doomsday foreboding and flashbacks of pretty memories. "If I didn't come to you tonight, you would have been angry."

She was already angry, but decided not to point it out as he hardly seemed to be listening. "I really—"

There were footsteps in the hallway and – acting completely on instinct – she leaned over and shoved him over the side of her bed, wincing at the loud thud as he landed and frantically straightening the blankets as much as she could before the door opened.

"Hi, Mom," she squeaked, smiling as naturally as she could.

"We heard noises," came the hesitant, worried words.

"Oh. I was – um – well. Thinking. And kind of talking to myself," she stammered, thinking as fast as she could. Her leg was hanging over the side of her bed and Kakashi, taking advantage of the situation as much as he could, was lightly stroking up the back of her calf and down again, giving her all of those irritatingly good shivers.

"Well." Her mother paused, frowning. "If you need anything..."

"I'll ask. Definitely."

"Okay, then." Another dubious look, before the door closed and Kakashi sat up on the floor, tugging at her leg and pressing a kiss against her knee.

Sakura kicked his chest and pulled her leg from his grasp, half-growling at him to please just go already.

He smiled blandly and crawled onto the bed, looming – definitely looming – over her, looking wicked and dangerous and tempting. "Do you really want me to leave?"

"Yes?" she said in that wonderfully firm manner she had, before clearing her throat and insisting, "Yes."

"Funny," he murmured, resting his hands on either side of her and touching his forehead against hers. "I think I just heard a no."

"You're half-deaf," was what she wanted to say. Her squeaked "Maybe," however, was what came out of her mouth.

Sakura closed her eyes and turned her head, trying to breathe as his lips nuzzled gently at her ear, soft and abrasive all at once, his mask soothing and tickling at her skin. "I mean, yes. Wait, no. No, you didn't." There; her eloquence was coming back.

"Are you sure?"

He was using that voice again, and she wriggled a bit, saying, "Mmm, um?" proving that she wasn't really sure what they were talking about anymore.

She didn't even protest when he tugged down his mask and nipped at her ear, or when he gently pressed her down against the bed. "Did you miss me while I was gone?"

And she said simply, "I think so."

"Sakura," he murmured, and she whimpered, hesitantly rubbing her hand against his shoulders, then tugging at his vest in agitation. Some part of him wanted, then, to just rip the damn thing off so he could feel her against him; another part of him knew that if he did, she would probably get a little bit of her sanity back and he would have to start the game all over.

So he ignored all those base urges and continued to nip along the side of her neck, tasting her skin and whispering softly to her even if she wasn't really listening.

And she wasn't, because her mind was comfortably clouded and she could just feel the delicious shivers he caused and the warmth of his mouth, tongue, breath. She whimpered and moaned a little and certainly wasn't thinking of things like cheating or society's opinion, especially when his knee came between her legs and pressed up against the place that throbbed and pounded and urged her to wriggle and press harder against him.

She did, and she heard his bitten-off groan, before suddenly they were rolling – rolling, rolling - and then she was falling and impact jarred all that delicious desire out of her head.

Sakura blinked, feeling his arms tighten around her (were they on the floor?) and made a vague attempt at sounding disapproving when he pulled her down for a kiss - hard, wet, hot, and she could taste him.

Then he whispered, "Someone's coming," and she jumped to her feet, unable to get into her bed when the door opened again.

"Sakura? Is something wrong?" her father asked, and she fought a hysterical giggle.

"N-no. Why?" Kakashi stroking at the back of her thigh, and she could feel it even through her pajama bottoms. "Should there be?" she asked, blinking all the fuzz out of her eyes and trying hard to stand still and not wriggle.

"Well, we were thinking that you might have been worried about things..."

"Not at all," she squeaked, then cleared her throat. "Really, Daddy. Everything's... great." Even though that lecture had said nothing about light touches against her calves and ankles to be erotic. "Perfect. Wonderful, even."

He looked startled, then went on more forcedly, "We just wanted to... well, about your – uh, teacher. When you're an adult... well. We can't really say anything about who you will eventually, um, marry. Or anything."

She could feel those light caresses slow as he listened, and she wanted desperately to kick him – though she wasn't really sure if it was because he was doing them so slowly, or if it was because he was doing them at all.

"But older men... well, there are problems in relationships with such large... well, there are the age differences, and interests..." he continued, bumbling a bit.

"Don't worry, Daddy," she said sweetly. "I have absolutely no interest in him that way." The caresses stopped.

"Well." He huffed a bit, frowned at her. "That's good. Yes." Pause. "Well. I'll go now."

"Good night, Daddy."

"Good night, Sakura."

She blew out a breath when he closed the door and fell to her knees, resting her arms and head against her bed with a little groan. "You really need to leave."

Kakashi was still lying on the floor, now on his side and staring at her thoughtfully. "So you don't have any interest in me at all?"

Suspicious, she glanced over. "Yes," she lied blatantly, jutting out her chin stubbornly and ignoring all the throbbing between her thighs.

"Well, we'll have to change that," he announced breezily, and she squeaked when he rolled onto his hands and knees and crawled over, smiling in a way that was all seductive man bent on getting what he wanted.

She panicked, hearing the steps outside her door again. "Sensei," she hissed warningly, feeling relieved when he stopped with a frown.

Then he was flat against the ground again and she looked up at her mother when the door opened, looking innocent and completely like she did not have a man beside her on the floor. "Hi, Mama."

"Darling, we've been hearing odd noises all night—"

"Reorganizing," she interrupted, and saw her mother's eyes slowly go around the room and her brows arch. "Well, starting to. A bit. And cleaning."

"I... see. You aren't too embarrassed over our talk from earlier, then?"

Sakura squeaked as she felt one of Kakashi's hands curve around her hip, and stiffened when his head rested comfortably in her lap.

Her mother, of course, interpreted it as confirmation and said worriedly, "I know it was a bit—"

"I'm fine, Mama. Really. I swear. I just..." um, um, um, "need time. To think. Alone?"

"But if you—"

"Please," she ground out, desperately wanting to wriggle and whimper as she felt his breath even through her pants.

"All right, then. Get some sleep, dear."

"I will," she promised recklessly, slamming a fist against Kakashi's shoulder as her mother turned away to close her door.

Then froze when her mom turned back again with a frown. "Is it a little hot in here?"

"No," Sakura bit out. "It's fine."


And this time, when that damned door finally closed, Kakashi casually disentangled himself from her and sauntered over to lock it.

Sakura pretended she didn't really like the implications of that and said acerbically, "It doesn't keep you out if you're already in here."

He looked at her – at the flushed cheeks, the eyes that roved over him then away and then back over, the way she nibbled at her lower lip hesitantly – and said brightly, "Let's get some sleep, darling."

She stared.

"Real sleep," he clarified, sauntering over like he wasn't aroused – she could see it, damn it, being used to the faint light of the stars and the moon by now – and settling on the bed, patting the spot beside him.

"You're not sleeping here," she muttered, unable to look away as he unzipped his vest and deposited it next to her.

"Yes, I am," he said simply, and his shirt came off next.

She stopped breathing for a second – muscles, scars, faint rippling movements beneath skin she ached to touch and God, he knew what he was doing to her – and said faintly, "No, you're not."

He ignored her. "If you don't get up here, Sakura, my pants are coming off."

She squeaked and scrambled onto the bed, batting at his hands when he reached for her and burrowing under the covers as far as she was able. "Fine. Fine. Sleep here. See if I care. Because I don't. So get out."

He didn't point out how she contradicted herself and looked completely innocent when he asked, "Darling, are you upset because I'm not giving you what you want?"

And she hissed, "You're insane."

"I know." Sounding far too happy with the situation, he slid beneath the covers and curled up against her, nuzzling at her ear comfortably. "Get some sleep. You'll need it in the morning."

She stiffened. "Morning?"

"Darling," he sighed, as though she should be able to read his mind (she really didn't think she wanted to, though maybe she did just a little), "If you're the one to deprive me of Icha Icha Paradise, don't you think you should be the one to provide me with my daily fix?"

Sakura turned her head and stared at him, blinking when he lightly kissed the tip of her nose (some part of her melted and thought aww), and said seriously, "I think I broke you when I burned them."