Chapter 5

His fingers kneaded his temples. the agony of the migraine piercing his head. It had been only three days, but it felt like three years. Bloodshot eyes opened as claws and legs tangled around his own. She was rolling on the carpet, trying to scratch everywhere at once. Outside his apartment, Kakashi could hear at least three mutts barking and howling up to her. And then worst part came. She stopped, panting in exertion before hazy eyes rolled around to focus on him. Her eyes demanded he help her, but the man was lost. The silver-haired jounin had gone once against Kiba's advice.

They had spent not even an hour with him and Akamaru that day, before Kiba had been forced to leave. After all, Akamaru was a male dog, no matter how intelligent and well-behaved. He had also coughed out something about his own sense of smell being affected. Before they parted ways though, he had been sure to impart some advice on the older man. "Keep her inside as much as possible. We'll talk more when she's through this. Don't summon your dogs. I'll go to my family and see if any of them have any clue on how to solve this." He patted Sakura on the head as he headed for the door, keeping carefully between her and his big white dog. Just before he left though, the brunette looked over his shoulder. "And try to forgive her anything she does. She can't help it."

A nose poked into his thigh and she whined miserably. The day after their unsuccessful meeting with the young wolf-boy, Kakashi had made the fatal mistake of summoning Pakun to try and understand everything Sakura had been trying to tell him. The little dog had withstood all of ten seconds before he had tried provocative things to her. He was now healing from a gash in his foreleg from Sakura biting him. To make it worse, the man hadn't had a decent night, or day, of sleep in two nights. Day in and day out, dogs of all sizes and breeds would howl outside his window. He couldn't even summon any of his own to chase them off, because they were all male!

"You make my life hell, you know that." He muttered, wincing as she dug a fang into his leg briefly. Slowly, the woman-turned-canine hauled her body up onto the couch he was sitting on, nuzzling under his arms to sprawl out on his lap. She buried her nose into his side, taking a small amount of comfort in his scent and even more as his fingers obediently scratched along her spine. Oh god that feels good!

Her tail thumped in pleasure and she squirmed closer to him, arching into the relief he provided from itchiness. Still, it wasn't enough. What she really needed was a really nice and rough...NO! I will NOT give in to thoughts such as that! She shook her head before it found its way into the folds of his shirt again. She whined miserably, wishing more than ever to be back in her normal human body. I would give anything for Tsunade-sama to send a messenger here right now saying she found an answer.

A heavy knocking on the door interrupted her thoughts, causing her head to perk up and scent the air. Shizune? Kakashi lifted the dog off his lap, placing her down in the spot he had been sitting and made his way to the door of his apartment, staggering only twice in the process. Not bad considering his exhaustion. A letter was thrust into his face the second the door was opened, causing him to squint his one eye in order to make out what it was. A complaint against the noise of the dogs around his building.

"Tsunade-sama wants you at the Hokage's office immediately." She said in a clipped tone, her stern expression melting as Sakura leaped off the couch and bounded to the door. "She may have a solution for you, Inu-chan."

The woman gave a very undignified shriek as she was bowled over by an ecstatic Sakura, who gave her a slobbery kiss, then leaped back at Kakashi. She grabbed the edge of his vest in her teeth and began to bodily haul him out the door. Something was prickling at the edge of his senses, warning him it wasn't a good idea to be going outside just now, but his poor mind couldn't concentrate on anything but sleep at that moment.

It didn't hit him until Sakura let go of him in order to shove the door to the outside open with her shoulder. "Sakura, wait!"

He groaned as the hounds outside eagerly pushed their way inside to see the female that had their attention. Immediately her ears laced back and her hackles rose, fangs bared. It only took a matter of moments to drive the dogs away from her, but that didn't stop the blood that splattered from the bites she gave them from staining the wood of the floor. And walls. Sighing, the white-haired man lifted her up into his arms and bounded onto the rooftops.

"Serious, hell." He muttered at her, trying to watch where he was going through his bloodshot eye. His answer was a tentative lick to the cheek and her ears folding back into the most pathetic pity-the-puppy look. "Yare, yare. I'm only doing this because you're my favorite."

Her tail thumped against his arm as she snuggled into the warmth of his arms, chin resting on his shoulder and eyes slit against the wind streaming past them. The sensation of the air blowing through her fur was a wonderful distraction from the itchy, hot sensation that had been plaguing her. So is Kakashi-sensei's scent. Mmmm, sandalwood. Without thinking, she darted her tongue out to see if he tasted as good as he smelled, causing the man to give a very undignified yelp as the hot, wet sensation traveled up his neck.

His one eye glared down into the happy, glazed ones she directed back at him. "I'm calling that sexual harassment."

She ignored him, more than thankful that dogs were incapable of blushing. What was I thinking? Licking Kakashi-sensei like that! The rest of the journey passed in silence between the two with Sakura doing everything she could to make no movement or draw attention to herself. Everything will be okay when we see Tsunade-sama. Besides, I could say that I had a momentary lapse into the mind of being a real dog. No one knows what it's like to be like this. A yelp squeaked out of her throat as Kakashi leaped onto the ground outside the Hokage's tower, setting her down gently and wiping quickly at his neck.

She stumbled a bit, re-orientating herself before lunging towards the tower's doors, scrabbling at them with her paws until the jounin opened them for her. Her tongue lolled out as she panted in excitement, not even caring how undignified it may seem. Her tail smacked repeatedly against her companions legs, unable to control the frantic waving of it. I'm gonna be human again! SqueeI She rushed by Shizune's desk and tried to shoulder the door to Tsunade's office open.

"If you sit like a good girl, I'll open it for you." Kakashi said with a little eye crease. He coughed into one hand and opened the door as bared fangs snapped shut inches from his face. If she ever learned to control chakra in that form…He shuddered at the thought of what a chakra-filled bite would do to him. Her punches were bad enough already.

Giving herself a good shake, Sakura calmly padded into the room, earning another amused little eye crease from her older companion. She went and sat in the middle of the room, calmly waiting for her sensei to finish her paperwork, the perfect picture of patience. On the outside at least. Hurry up, hurry up, hurry up! I'm dying here! Look at the puppy! I'll give you sake! She was so glad she wasn't a cat in that moment, with a spastic twitchy tail.

"Yo!" Kakashi slouched into the room, book out and nose buried in it.

Tsunade looked up at him briefly. "The path of life didn't lead you astray I see." She commented dryly before signing one last paper. "Sakura, I'm sorry. I have yet to find a permanent cure. There is hope though, before you give up." She added the last hastily though as the dog's ears drooped and her head lowered.

Hope? What kind of hope? She couldn't stop the small whine that came out at the thought she still wouldn't have her normal body back. Fingers dug into the thick fur at the back of her neck and scratched there. Her left hind foot twitched in pleasure and she relaxed again. An eyebrow rose up on the blonde's face at the exchange between the two. But, then again, Kakashi was a dog person.

"I said I hadn't found a permanent cure. I found something that may work temporarily." Sakura's tail whipped back and forth, making her wiggle a bit where she was sitting. "There is a problem." Tail not wagging. "We used several test subjects, and the longest we've been able to convert a form, has been two hours. And it's so taxing on the body; you don't dare preform this jutsu on yourself more than once every three days. It's not much, but it is a start."

The sannin got up out of her chair to walk closer to the two. "I'll show you how to do it the first time. Sakura won't be able to perform this herself, so you'll have to do it for her. I'm sorry, it's going to hurt."

Kakashi twitched, but nodded, revealing his sharingan so he could copy the technique. The set of seals of long and complicated, Tsunade making sure each was correctly formed in proper order before placing one hand on Sakura's head and forcing all the built up chakra into her body. Something between a yelp, growl, and a scream came from her as she dropped to the flooring, writhing in pain. Her legs lashed out and jaws snapped reflexively on nothing as bones grated and twisted themselves into new shapes and sizes.

Both of the older shinobi stepped back, wide-eyed as the watched the dog slowly melt away, fur shedding off and body warping into that of a young woman. A young, naked woman. She's quite a bit better endowed then I realized. Kakashi absently thought to himself, thankful the mask hid his expression. Hmm. Floor. An intense pain radiated from his face and skull as his eyes stared up-close at the floor. Slowly he peeled his face off from said floor, rubbing the back of his head where Tsunade had hit him.

The older woman had grabbed a blanket from somewhere and was wrapping it around her student as she slowly pushed herself up into a sitting position. Emerald eyes looked down at her hands, her arms, then at the rest of her body, a brilliant smile lighting up her face before she threw her arms around the blonde sannin. Chakra rushed through her body again and colors got a lot brighter. She couldn't hear or smell so well and the itchy, hotness still lingered, but she was human again!

"How?" She asked hoarsely, coughing a little as vocal cords were used for something other than barks, growls, and howls. She looked up as a hand gripped her shoulder and looked up into the onyx eyes of her old teacher, for once alive with emotions.

As if remembering her dignity, the older woman disentangled herself from the younger, and then crushed her to her ample chest once more time. "It was Shikamaru. It's only temporary, but he found a way to combine a genjutsu with several ninjutsu. In effect, it's an illusion that is real. A true transformation, though only a temporary one, that's similar in a way to Naruto's or the Kazekage's transformations." She discreetly wiped away the tear trails that covered her cheeks. "We're actually looking into a way to make it a permanent transformation if we can't reverse what happened to you. Which, you can finally tell us."

Sakura nodded, gathering her legs under her and pushing off the ground to stand up. Her legs shook with the effort, her body un-used to walking on two legs instead of four now. A strong arm caught her around the waist as she toppled forward, preventing her from collapsing back to the ground. Kakashi supported her until Tsunade had brought a chair over for her to sit in.

"Th-thank you." She coughed again, her throat horribly dry and raspy. "Water?" she asked miserably, knowing she wouldn't be able to get it herself without crawling.

A bottle was produced from somewhere behind the Hokage's desk and handed to her. She never has anything but sake here, except when…when she's pulling research all night. Guilt hit her at the thought of how many sleepless nights her sensei had been enduring for her sake. "I don't remember much. But I'll tell you everything I do."

It took a long time to re-tell the events of that day and everything she had seen, heard, and done. Often times, her throat stopped working properly, vocal cords seizing up at all the sudden use. She looked nervously at Kakashi as she explained her use of the lethal jutsu, afraid of speaking of it in front of him. But Tsunade neither stopped her, nor told him to leave; they both just kept listening with a surprised and pained look in their eyes. They questioned her about the jutsu Orochimaru and Itachi had been preparing, but she couldn't remember what the sequences of hand symbols had been. Sometime in the middle of it, Shizune entered with a fresh skirt and shirt for Sakura to pull on, after Kakashi turned away.

Two hours had nearly passed when she finally finished telling every last detail she could remember. A fine trembling had set into her bones, and she knew her time in human form was coming to an end. She concentrated her chakra towards holding on to the jutsu just a little bit longer. "I'll report this to Shikamaru." Tsunade said tiredly, rubbing a hand across her face. "Now that we have one of the three puzzle pieces, maybe we can figure out the other two. Hn, never expected you to actually use that jutsu, you know. I'm glad it failed. Dismissed!"

She blinked at the sudden order, smiling as her teacher went back to signing paperwork and hiding her face behind her bangs. It still didn't hide the teardrops that fell to the desk. Wearily, she rose out of the seat, leaning heavily on the back of it to stay upright. "Hai. Arigatou, shishou." A hand waved her away absently, but the young woman knew the sake bottle would be out in celebration the second they left.

An arm snaked around her waist again and she clung to the Copy Nin for balance as they began to make their way out. "Hey, brat." They halted, looking back at her. "If you touch her, just once inappropriately, I will personally guarantee you never have a child."

The hand on her waist twitched and he stood up a little straighter. "Hai."

Sakura giggled at how the firm hold loosened considerably, as if she were glass or on fire. Her legs were steadier, but still trembled and the going was slow. She made it outside the tower before they gave out, chakra no longer able to hold off the transformation. Her teeth ground together to hold off the scream as her bones began to shift again. Dimly she noted wind rushing into her face as the terrain melted away into a blur, Kakashi carrying her…somewhere. Her spine cracked and popped as it re-aligned her neck and a tail began to sprout. Fangs sank into his vest when her fingers retracted and became paws.

She was jolted roughly suddenly; eyes she didn't know had closed popping open. They were on the deck to his apartment and he was shouldering the door open. Eyes snapped shut again as her face became warped, lengthening into a muzzle and ears stretching. She wasn't sure how long it took, swimming in fiery agony and pain, but at the end of it, all she could do was lie on the couch she had been deposited on and pant, whimpers coming from her. A comforting touch stroked along her neck and back, a bowl of water set within her reach. Oh, I really don't want to have to go through that every time. She thought groggily, lapping at the bowl a couple times.

"They'll figure something out." She rolled an eye up at him, wagging her tail once in appreciation for what he was doing for her. "I suppose this means I still have to live with you." She snorted, lifting her head enough to swipe her tongue at him, the man dodging. "Couldn't have done that earlier?" He teased, hiding the concern and worry he felt behind his typical eye crease. He fingered the shredded patch of vest that covered his heart. "Who knew you were such an animal, Sakura-chan."

He yelped as fangs nipped him in the side, rubbing the spot and glaring. "I'm building a doghouse tomorrow." She panted laughter at him, laying her head down again as a deep weariness settled into her bones. Nevermind that her pillow was his lap, would serve him right to be trapped there till she woke up. Shishou will figure it out, I know it. It's a start at least! I just don't know if I can keep going through that.

The infamous Copy Nin sighed, stripping his protector off and running a hand through his hair. Light snores were coming from the canine in his lap, but he couldn't be happier. It really is her, she's alive.

AN: Yeah, yeah. I know. Very rushed, but it's been awhile and I just wanted this chapter out. I think I'm a little over the half-way point now. Sorry for OOC-ness, this chapter was just really bothering me and I wanted it done! Now, to have some fun with the next one lol. Again, sorry this isn't that great of a chapter, I really just wanted it done and over with so I can get into the groove of Naruto again and start finishing up this story and my Sakura-Gaara. While writing a Luffy/Nami lol. Promise, next chapter will be better.