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A/N: It would be fantastic if you could review. Honestly, I am really excited whenever I receive a review. I prefer really intelligent and insightful reviews though. Constructive criticism is encouraged, and of course, appreciated. If you in fact think I should continue this story, you should intelligently review. I do not plan to write a story if public opinion does not approve of it. It discourages and upsets me.
Chapter 1- Kaleidoscope
It was empty. She had to admit, she never saw it coming.
Fingers lacing with one another, strolling down the marketplace; it was completely empty. It was quite ironic really. All the waiting seemed to get her nowhere. Even now that they were in that place, in this position, they were never really there.
The idea now seemed almost unholy. No longer was it sacred for it was all just a façade; a royal and painful embellishment that the world never seemed to recognize. And even if it did, the world simply chose not to acknowledge it.
She couldn't recall for the life of her where it all had begun to go wrong.
Was it when she was still a mere child of nine? Or was it when she was twelve and they were paired together for the same team? Maybe, just maybe, it was when he left… Either way, it didn't really matter anymore. To be brutally honest, she really couldn't give a fuck.
The boring expensive diamond ring, glistening on her ring finger, would always remain cold and indifferent, just like the man himself.
They were the Uchiha's. The world viewed them as the perfect and happy couple in which they could aspire to.
Really, people could be so oblivious. They were analogous to a lifeless porcelain doll, sitting in a glass case somewhere; incredibly perfect and beautiful on the outside, but hollow through and through. They were no better than that ragged old teddy bear that you threw out when you grew too old for it. Underneath all the smiles and public displays of feigned affection, was a disintegrating ember being deprived of oxygen; endangered of burning out at any moment of the day.
He held her hand.
She avoided walking too close to him.
They made love occasionally.
She questioned this act considerably though for he didn't force her to bear him children.
He greeted her when she returned from a strenuous mission, took time off of missions to be around the house more, and sometimes would sit with her without saying so much as a single word. In reciprocation, she would ask for longer missions; more dangerous ones. She never believed him for a single second. His actions were forced; more or less. Underneath it all, she knew he was simply indifferent, and she was sick of it.
She had been so happy, too. It was humorous at times. How ironic was it that life-long dreams could be crushed in a matter of seconds?
She assumed it to be less than five seconds that she realized she was the only one to care. It took her five seconds more to comprehend that their first kiss at the alter was completely worthless, and he was simply apathetic.
All this time, she had deluded herself into thinking that he was in fact capable of being human. Her trust had somehow ended up blowing up right in her face. Now, he seemed to resemble nothing more than a monkey, acting in front of an audience that was too oblivious to recognize that he did not in fact deserve an Oscar. Ecstatic that she had no aspirations to take up an acting career, she simply gave up on him.
How long has it been…..
She ignored the body heat that transfused through their intertwining fingers, silently counting up the days…months…years…that they had been legally bound to each other?
Till death do we part, she mused sarcastically.
She assumed it had to be roughly around three years. Their marriage had long died its tragic death, leaving behind a trail of throbbing remnants.
Technically, there shouldn't have been a trail for it never started out so great to begin with. Unfortunately, the remnants of her childhood years continued to haunt her till this day, a daily reminder of her foolishness.
Inwardly sighing, she glanced at the man whom her fingers were sharing heat with. His face was glazed with an utmost unreadable expression that even after three years of marriage miraculously remained a mystery to her.
After a few moments of scrutinizing, she finally reverted back to the task of focusing on anything BUT him.
As they continued to stroll along the marketplace, various faces flashed them pleasant smiles in which he politely and insincerely returned. She felt herself resisting the urge to roll her eyes at his duplicity.
Placing the utmost effort in avoiding any contact that was more than necessary, she continued to ignore his glances and the smiles of oblivious villagers that were sent her way. This exact reaction would routinely find itself reemerging every Sunday stroll.
She had always hated this room. It was too spacious, too dark, and too morose. Their living room stood in its ornate state, giving off a forlorn air of abandonment.
The couple stood within its cold confines while an awkward placement of silence ricocheted between them. Without more so than a word, she stalked off towards the door that they had just entered not more than ten minutes ago.
His eyes examined her shrinking figure heading towards the door. They narrowed as the door swung back within its hinges resulting in a loud reverberating thud. His gaze lingered upon the glossy wooden surface. He quickly averted them elsewhere and headed towards their bedroom.
Back heavily resting upon the glossy wooden surface of their double doors, she outwardly sighed. Relief swept throughout her body as she once again relaxed. Her tense muscles loosened as she breathed in large gulps of oxygen. Burying her face within her hands, her body slumped down until she felt her bottom come in contact with the pavement.
The tension within the house always seemed to overwhelm her. It seemed that her body would automatically constrict upon contact with its atmosphere. His presence, no longer exciting nor terrifying, bored her. Despite their dead marriage, the tension was determined to wiggle its way into their marriage as to point out that there in fact was something amiss.
Their denial seemed too strained to now be overlooked. But somehow, no one bothered to point it out. They, unwittingly, were too invested within the sight of the large Uchiha mansion, the prestigious Uchiha title, and the monkey himself.
Sakura, whom now felt sick to her stomach, decided to search for a route of escape from the tortuous tension that plagued her mind. Finding the tranquility to be quite comforting, she now became engulfed within the silence that seemed to calm her nerve with every step she took.
Her calculating mind could now replay the scenarios that her marriage undertook to reach its horrendous place today without sending her into a state of trepidation . It almost became compulsory now. The topic had a life of its own, triggering her hungry and curious side to fathom the lengths of its depth and wondering how they were where they were.
Before she knew it though, a wall of some sort halted her advances, and she felt something grab at her shoulders to prevent her from collapsing backwards onto the marble flooring. Marble flooring… what? She had long reached her destination, and was well within the Hokage building where Tsunade's office was located. Quickly adjusting her eyes, she saw green, a green jounin vest to be exact. Trailing up in her of its owner's face, her eyes met one lone orb while the other was covered with a Konoha Leaf hitai-ate. Strands of silver partially obstructed her vision of the lone dark orb as her mind finally processed what had just happened. Her eyes trailed down again to only encounter the sight of soft smooth lips and a tanned strong handsome jaw adorned with dimples below slightly pale cheeks.
Her brained registered the handsome face as to be no other than Hatake Kakashi. Her jaw slacked as her eyes seemed to bulge right out of its own sockets.
"Sakura…" the deep amused voice reached her ears seemingly oblivious to her disbelief. Unfortunately, her mind had not soon comprehended the presented sight.
"Sakura…" the concerned voice came again.
This time, the voice reached her comprehension and she hastily responded, "Your mask…" Her voice came out breathless and filled with disbelief. He instantly understood her plight.
"Oh! I apologize. Tsunade just gave me an exam." With a blink of an eye, the his mask was back in its usual place accompanied with a smirk.
Stammering, Sakura attempted to find her voice, "Um…mission… yeah….MISSION."
Before he had the chance to show the slightest twinge of amusement or comment on her unusually display, she bowed and dismissed herself from his presence, scurrying into Tsunade's office.
She was met
with a slurred greeting from her current instructor's lips. Considering Tsunade's state of mind, she
didn't seem to mind the intrusion into her office without the slightest
"What brings you here Sakura?" There was a slight slur to her question. It was barely noticeable though, unless you account for the sake bottles littered across her workspace.
Collecting herself, Sakura prodded carefully, hoping not to excite any unwanted temper, "Tsunade-shisou, I was wondering if you had any missions available?"
The Godaime's eyes scrutinized Sakura meticulously before responding, "Sakura, unfortunately all the missions available are low-leveled genin and chuunin ones. I had plenty of available A- rank missions yesterday, but for some reason, all the jounins are eager to jump on the uptake of getting out of Konoha for the holidays."
"Oh.. I see…" came Sakura's dejected voice.
"I'm sorry Sakura. If only I prevented Kakashi from taking the last mission a couple days ago… I probably should've though. His body is littered with injuries. I just gave him an exam not even twenty minutes ago."
"Yeah, he told me. I ran into him outside your office."
Tsunades' eyebrows furrowed, "You should spend more time with him. Though he doesn't admit it, I think he gets lonely over the holidays…"
Right then and there, Sakura searched Tsunade's eyes for any sign of remorse or deprivation, but she couldn't scour enough for reprehension. "Tsunade-shisou…" she hesitated, "what about you?"
The Godaimes' eyes shot up, connecting with Sakura's concern-filled olive orbs. An unidentifiable silence overtook the atmosphere as various emotions passed through Tsunades' bloodshot eyes. She finally settled for asking a redundant question with which she knew the answer to.
"What about me?"
Sakura contemplated her answer carefully. "Are you ever lonely for the holidays?"
A deep frown fell upon the blonde woman as her expression readily reverted back to a state of feigned happiness. "No," there was a considerably short pause, "why should I be? I have my sake, don't I?" There was another hiatus; this time, it was longer, "I have you."
"That, indeed you do." Both student and teacher softly smiled in each others' presence. Sakura politely continued, "if there are any available missions, will you let me know?"
"Of course. Now get out of here, you're disrupting my break." With a hurl of a bottle and the resonating sound of shattered glass, Sakura was out before the projectile reached the office door.
Discouraged with the aspect of spending the holidays with the knot in her posterior, her husband, she was met with another gut wrenching sight. Kakashi was slouched lazily against the wall, eyes glued to the pages of a no doubt, smut-filled, orange book. The instant she stepped out of the room, his lazy dark orb greeted her with its typical enthusiastic crinkle. She eyed him questionably.
With a small shrug and the soft thud of two heavily bound sides of a book snapping together, he said, "Can't a teacher wait for a student?"
Her eyes narrowed, finding the loophole of his statement, "I'm not your student anymore."
His eyes searched her face. She grew annoyed at his silence as she narrowed her eyes. "You're right. I keep on forgetting how grown up you are."
She was silent. Then, she said something; her voice barely distinguishable, "Sometimes… I wish I wasn't grown up."
With one last sullen look at the silver-haired man, she took off; her foot-steps creating erratic hollow clacks down the hall of the Hokage building. Kakashi's lone eye remained on the kunoichi's back as she made her way out of the building. The dark orb drooped as a layer of indistinct emotion glazed it. Spinning on his heels, he headed home.
The dim reflection of her face on the glass of whiskey caused her a regurgitating feeling. Scoffing at such self-pitying disgust, she took another short drink out of her glass. She examined the auburn liquid, sloshing peacefully within the glass. With every peaceful swish of its matter, she more or less wished she was dead; or better yet, divorced.
It was around eleven now. The Shinobi Bar closed around two in the morning, and with every increasing minute, two o'clock would show itself. She loudly groaned, attracting the attention of the bartender who eyed her with pity.
She was a frequent customer at the bar. The bartender often saw her saunter in every other night and demand the strongest drink that they had. He never had the nerve to appease his curiosity by asking her what was wrong. She seemed like a loose cannon with a short fuse. She looked dangerous. In addition to that, just about everyone in Konoha knew who she was, the Hokage's apprentice.
Her eyes seemed to hold an unusually large amount of frustration, and every time he saw her, the frustration seemed to triple. Really, he was curious, and he hoped she wouldn't kill him. "What's wrong pretty lady?"
She lazily gazed up at him, not offended by his casual nickname. "Ehhh…" her hand waved at him dismissively, "just my marriage…" Her speech was heavily slurred and her sharp eyes instantly became more dull and lifeless as she continued her favorite hobby. The bartender's eyes lit up; bulged and with a quick nod, he returned to cleaning the glasses placed within the sink. Uchiha Sasuke would have his head…
Hours passed, and the kunoichi found that she was thoroughly intoxicated. She silently savored the dulled feelings of remorse as she ordered another whiskey. The bartender eyed her as if contemplating whether he thought she had had too much. Too bad he didn't have the propensity to refuse as he began to pour her another glass.
On the other side of the bar, a group of half-drunken, half-lidded male shinobi harassed an orange book, sharingan wielding man on the prospects of his sex/love life.
Really, Kakashi thought he would've been better off staying at home to mope about being alone over the holidays. Unfortunately, that was what his brazen friends thought he would exactly do and decided to ambush him outside his home. His attempts to ward them away by reading didn't seem to have an effect, and his efforts to find a means of escape were futile. He unfortunately became his own sacrificial lamb.
Genma, Asuma, Anko, and Kurenai expectantly sent him a stare. Why were they staring? Did they expect him to say something? Wait… did THEY say something? Well, he thought it couldn't hurt to ask.
"Um… did you guys say something?" he hesitantly asked.
Apparently, they weren't staring at him, but at something behind him. His question didn't seem to reach them in the slightest bit. In a feat of curiosity, he slowly rotated his head to see what had caught his teammates' eyes. He instantly regretted it, as his book smoothly slid out of his hands, and fell with a thud on to solid ground.
Now there was a sight you didn't see everyday, unless you were the Shinobi Bar bartender of course. Sakura, the Hokage's prized apprentice, Hatake Kakashi's favorite ex-student, slouching lazily over the bar, eyes clouded with alcohol. A dismal atmosphere seemed to engulf her as she expectedly slid a glass under the bartender's nose for another refill.
It was then, that Kakashi felt something in his brain explode. A man slid into the seat next to the pink-haired kunoichi and attempted to strike up a conversation with his MARRIED ex-student. Didn't everyone know she was married? What was this man doing? Why was she flirting back?!
Conversation quickly resumed at Kakashi's table. "Hey Hatake, isn't that Sakura?" somebody asked him. Unfortunately, in his state of stupor, he couldn't figure out if the voice was male or female.
"I would believe so," Kakashi responded quietly.
"Isn't she married to Uchiha Sasuke?" came another voice.
This time, there was no response. Forgetting the tittering book laying abandoned on the floor, he sauntered over to Sakura emitting a low and slightly dangerous aura within every step.
"I believe it is time for us to go," Asuma stated quickly. With a hand, he gestured for everyone to leave. Before they were out the door, there was a loud crash, and a slightly disheveled man landed abruptly near their toes. Hauling the man who had previously been flirting with Sakura up to his feet, and profusely apologizing to him for their friend, they dragged him out of the bar before anymore damage was done.