Ever since Team Seven was formed, Sakura danced. After the rigors of training were over, she'd trot home, grab her stereo and iPod, at set off for the forest. When she found her favorite spot, marked by the confusing sets of toe prints churning up the earth, she'd start her music, find a beat, and dance. With every flash of a foot, hair-swishing leap, and roll of the hips, the stress of her life would fade away. Her world became simple. It was just her and the music.
Sometimes, after a particularly exciting day, she would completely lose herself in her dancing. Her head would thrash, her bare feet, dirty from the damp soil, would kick, and her torso would reveal its true flexibility. The tightness in her chest would loosen, then fade away as she lost herself. She was freer than any bird. Sure, birds could choose between sky and ground, but they were limited to the physical world. Sakura allowed her soul to escape its bodily confines, to roam freely anywhere it desired.
Sakura loved the peace and serenity of being alone.
But she wasn't alone.
Sasuke and Naruto loved Sakura and each other. So, everyday, after the harshness of training, Sasuke and Naruto would walk in the woods. It didn't matter if they got separated; they both knew exactly where the other was going. They didn't rush; there was no need. They simply allowed themselves to relax as they made their way through the majestic trees. They would get there when they got there.
A tree was their destination. An ordinary, evergreen tree. They would climb to a branch, letting their legs dangle down. There was no need to be secretive. Sakura already knew they were there.
Sasuke and Naruto were brothers during this short span of time. Sakura was their sister. They enjoyed each other's company. There was no name-calling, no arguments, no challenges. Just Sakura's music.
They would watch Sakura dance. The pink-haired kunoichi radiated an aura of peace and self-acceptance. She wasn't the giggly girl that Sasuke ignored and Naruto admired. She was just Sakura.
After an hour or so, as her body twirled with amazing precision, as a light sheen of sweat covered her arms, legs, and face, Naruto would doze off. He knew it would happen, but he didn't care. He knew his teammates would take care of him.
Sasuke would silently watch Sakura dance. Her carefree movements allowed him to soften his hard shell, even if just a bit, and let the music calm him as he observed the kunoichi's lively antics. He would fall asleep as well, lulled by the calm of being alone with his siblings.
But he wasn't alone.
Kakashi loved his students. They were like the children he never had, and he was their father. So, everyday, after the brutality of training, he would set aside his beloved books and follow Sasuke and Naruto, and watch them and Sakura. Atop another tree, Kakasi would sit out of sight, observing his pupils. Sasuke and Naruto would watch only Sakura, only exchanging glances when one moved positions.
Kakashi admired the rosy-haired girl's lighthearted personality during these times. Her eyelids closed, concealing the sea-green irises beneath, twitched and creased as her eyebrows furrowed when she did a move that required good concentration. Her lips, almost as pink as her hair, would move, mouthing the words of whatever song was playing.
Kakashi would then watch Naruto, then Sasuke, slip into peaceful slumbers, leaning against each other. Soon after that, Sakura would tire from so much exercise. She would find her brothers in the tree, and curl up next to them, drifting off into a much-needed nap. It was only then that Kakashi would come out of hiding to retrieve his children. Gently carrying all three of them, he would place each one into their own bed. Breaking into their homes was hard at first, but Kakashi developed a systematic strategy after the first week or so. Then a few hours later, each one would slowly regain their consciousness and smile in the darkness, silently thanking their father for taking them home.
They knew they were never alone.
One day it all changed. Team Seven's world crashed down upon them.
Sasuke had left.
He left his brother.
He left his sister.
He left his father.
Naruto grieved for his brother.
Sakura cried for her brother.
Kakashi missed his son.
But still Sakura danced. The first few times were hard. Her movements were stiff, heavy, as if the pain was to much.
Several times she broke down, collapsing to the ground to sob out her anguish. Naruto would leap out of the tree and sit by Sakura, and they would mourn for him openly. Kakashi suffered from seeing his remaining children in such agony, much like the distress he himself was going through.
Kakashi didn't join them though. He waited for them to cry themselves to sleep. Sakura often rested the side of her tearstained face against Naruto as she succumbed to sleep, Naruto dozing off soon afterwards. They would lay in a heap on the cool earth until Kakashi was sure they were asleep. He would then do his duty, taking them home, and tucking them in as he bid them good night.
As the years passed, the only one left was Sakura. Naruto had left her to train with Jiriaya, and Kakashi was always on missions. Sai, Sasuke's replacement on Team Seven, had no interest at all in this performance.
So she stopped dancing.
There was no purpose in dancing anymore. Nobody was there to fall asleep next to, nobody was there to take her home and tuck her in. Her dancing could not lull anybody into a blissful slumber. Sakura, even though she was rapidly growing stronger under Tsunade's training, felt useless.
She truly was alone.
When Naruto came back, though, Sakura's life began to piece itself back together. Kakashi requested to be given less missions so he could devote more time to his team. They trained hard everyday. Stress amounted on Sakura again, and she loved it.
She got to dance again.
Sakura's old stereo was a bit dusty, as was her iPod, but both still work perfectly. Sakura mad a point of bumping into Naruto when she headed out to the forest. Naruto seemed absolutely thrilled to have that sense of security starting up in his life again. Naruto casually hinted to his sensei about where he was going before he, too, started off towards the village gates.
Sakura woke up in her bed that night and smiled.
She wasn't alone anymore.
Sakura had grown more beautiful as she matured. Her pink locks swished and followed every turn of her head, her slim waist moved with the rounded hips below it in a steady rhythm as she danced to the song pouring forth from her stereo. Naruto didn't fall asleep this time. He was absorbed in her every movement, from every flick of the ankle to every twirl of her entire body. To him, she was the definition of beautiful; in more ways than one.
Her body was very enticing to the men of Konoha. She was completely oblivious to the fact that she could have practically any man she desired. Men would do anything for her; she would only have to ask.
As much as Naruto appreciated her physical appearance, he loved her personality more than anything else. He would stop eating ramen forever if he could claim her heart. But Naruto had given up a long time ago. They were siblings, of a sort; wasn't it wrong to love your sister in more than a brother-to-sister manner?
Even in the midst of crowds, Naruto felt very much alone.
Kakashi noticed that whenever Naruto watched Sakura, a light blush could be discerned from his tan complexion. He didn't fall asleep before her; when she stopped dancing and looked for him, he feigned sleep so she would fall asleep gently pushed up next to him.
Kakashi also noticed that when Sakura creeped up the tree to rest, she would gaze at Naruto, pink adorning her cheeks, before she curled up beside him. She blushed more often when she danced, knowing that Naruto was observing her every move.
Kakashi suddenly felt old. He felt his age sagging down onto him. His children were all grown up. Now what was he supposed to do?
He did what first came into his mind.
He hopped down, gathered his beloved children, and took them home.
He would never let them be alone.