Disclaimer: I don't Naruto, Kakashi or Sakura. They'd be too much of a handful anyway, those kids.
Her first date was with a chuunin from the orthopaedics department. Sakura didn't really know much about him, but he was pretty cute and she was sick of filing reports for Tsunade on a Friday night, so when he asked her out, she agreed. On their way to the restaurant, they bumped into Hatake Kakashi, just returned from a mission. Kakashi seemed pleased to see her, giving her a lazy wave and a casual "Yo," before continuing on his way.
At the restaurant, they ordered entrees and Sakura's date excused himself to use the restroom. Twenty minutes passed and she began to get worried. Luckily, at that moment, who should enter the restaurant but Kakashi, fresh from the mission debriefing? Catching his attention, Sakura asked him to check the men's room for her date.
"With pleasure," his single visible eye curved amiably down at her.
A minute later he was back, sighing and shaking his head. The skunk of a boy had disappeared, what a jerk, he was clearly not worth Sakura's time, to bail out on her like that. Sakura was surprised, a little confused, but not that disappointed. After all, she hardly knew the guy anyway, and oh! Kakashi sensei, is that blood on your arm!? Let me heal that!
By the time she had healed the wound, the waiter had brought the first course, and it seemed like a waste not to eat it. The rest of the evening was spent dining with her silver-haired teacher, chatting about his mission and reminiscing over old times. They split the bill, he walked her home and waited until she had unlocked the door, then left with a smile and a wave.
Sakura's second date came a week later. It was another chuunin, a guy she had once been teamed up with for a mission. He was a year or two older than her, had a great body, and asked her out for dinner at the best sushi restaurant in town. Sakura didn't want to spend her Friday night helping Shizune hide the sake bottles from Tsunade, so she told him to pick her up at six.
She was shopping for a new dress to wear for the date (she hadn't had a chance to wear a dress in years anyway), when she bumped into Kakashi, whose latest genin team was on a D-class mission to help clean cages at the pet store. He seemed pleased to see her, and when he heard what she was shopping for, offered to help her pick what to wear. To Sakura's surprise, her silver-haired teacher's tastes seemed to lean toward high collars and ankle length skirts.
When she finally found a knee length red dress with a sweetheart neckline that perfectly set off her pink hair, Kakashi excused himself hurriedly, saying he should really get back to supervising his students.
Friday night, six o' clock came, but her date didn't. At six-thirty, Sakura began to get annoyed. At seven, she began to get worried. At seven-thirty, there was a knock at her door, and she got up to answer it. It was a messenger nin, who handed her a note signed by her date.
I'm so sorry to miss out on our date, but I suddenly received orders to accompany a mission to the Hidden Sand Village. Apparently one of the elite jounin specifically mentioned me, said that my skills were needed. I'll be gone for three months. Maybe when I return we could meet up?"
With a sigh, Sakura tossed the note in the bin, pulled off her earrings, and began sliding pins out of her hair. At that moment, there was a knock at the door. Shaking her pink locks around her face, she opened it, and came face to face with Kakashi. From his fingers dangled a plastic bag filled with boxed sushi from the best place in town.
"I saw your light was still on, you hungry?" His uncovered eye twinkled down at her.
Sakura shrugged and let him in.
"Kakashi-sensei, guys are jerks aren't they?"
He toed off his sandals and headed for her kitchen, chuckling softly.
"They sure are. That's why I prefer women."
The next week passed uneventfully, with a mission and some tricky surgical cases that caused her a sleepless couple of nights. On Thursday she was assigned to the missions desk, and a tall ANBU officer submitted his report to her with a friendly smile and an offer of drinks after her shift was finished. Sakura thought about it for a moment, decided she didn't want to spend her evening thinking about the leg she'd had to amputate that morning, then smiled back and told him she'd be free after seven.
Her smile brightened at the sight of a masked jounin who then stepped up to the desk and handed her a fresh coffee along with his report.
"Thank you sensei."
"Anything for my favourite ex-student." He smiled down at her.
At seven, Sakura pushed back her chair and stood up, making room for the personnel who took the night shift. She brushed her hair and smoothed on some lipstick, then sat down to wait on a chair by the door. At seven-fifteen, she began to tap her foot on the floor. At half-past seven, she started to get thirsty, and hungry. At eight, Sakura gave up waiting and headed to Ichiraku Ramen. There were a lot of good memories in that ramen stand…and tonight, there was also a silver-haired jounin, just pulling up his mask, with an empty bowl sitting on the counter in front of him.
Sakura didn't bother to protest when he offered to buy her a bowl, and gulped it down gratefully, tossing out half-hearted complaints about what jerks guys were. Kakashi bought her another bowl, insisting that she was looking too thin lately and maybe work was tough and he had heard she had recently done some tricky surgical procedures?
They sat there until nearly midnight, and at some point in the conversation Sakura even found herself shedding a few tears for the genin who had lost his leg, and when Kakashi slid a comforting arm around her shoulders, she felt so grateful that even though Naruto was away training again, and Sasuke might never return, Kakashi was still here, right here at her side.
Sakura never found out why her ANBU date didn't show up, but she did hear that he had urgently requested a posting to Wave Country.
A week and three days later, Sakura had her fourth date. He was in training for the jounin exam, had a great smile, and asked to her to do a training session with him, followed by lunch together. Sakura didn't want to be cooped up indoors all day when the weather was so fine, and said yes.
Unfortunately, this meant she had to turn down Kakashi's offer to spar with her. He accepted it with a smile and a "Some other time maybe."
When Sakura showed up on right on time, wearing her new black gloves, she found an empty training field. Empty that is, except for her genin sensei lying under a tree, reading Icha Icha Paradise. Walking over, she sat down next to him and leaned back against the rough bark.
"Been reading here long?"
He slanted a glance at her. "Yeah, maybe an hour or so."
Sakura looked at his shirt. There were dark patches of sweat, and he was breathing quickly, as if he had just finished a hard sparring session.
The silver-haired man smiled. "Your gloves look nice. Are they new?"
She ended up spending the whole afternoon with Kakashi, helping him shop for new gloves. He bought her ice cream to show his gratitude, and they sat outside, enjoying the fine weather.
The next day, Tsunade mentioned that one of the candidates for the jounin exam had been hospitalized for heat exhaustion, brought on as a result of an intense sparring session. Sakura didn't bother to ask who this candidate had been sparring with; a dreadful suspicion was beginning to form in the back of her mind.
When her fifth date got food poisoning and her sixth date, in a tone bordering on hysteria, cancelled over the phone, Sakura decided matters were getting out of hand.
"Yes Sakura?" He looked at her innocently, but she had done some investigating, and had found out the name of the elite jounin who had recommended her second date's inclusion in the three month long mission to the Hidden Sand Village.
"I've realized something."
"If you're determined to sabotage all my dates, then that means the only person I'm left to date is you, sensei."
"Me? Sabotage? What are you talking about?" Kakashi's black eye was wide with confusion and bewilderment, but his posture was perfectly relaxed. Sakura rolled her eyes.
"So pick me up at seven and if you're late I'll be wearing a high collar and baggy pants."
He stroked his chin thoughtfully. "And if I'm early?"
"Think red, short and tight."
Sakura walked away, smiling broadly. After all, when she thought about it, there was no one else she'd rather date, and she didn't really want to be stuck at home on a Friday night, training her chakra.
That night, Kakashi showed up on her doorstep at six-thirty.
Author's Note: This was fun to write. Did you like it?