Disclaimer: I do not own "Naruto."

Note: This story is once again dedicated to asuka02redeva who just seems to be full of good ideas and is kind enough to share them with me. Thank you again! Also, for once I'm writing something other than a one-shot. Wow, right? I was trying to, trust me, but the prompt I was given simply wouldn't allow me to cheat this time around. Oh well. Hopefully I can see this through to the end…

Underneath the Underneath


This was the single, solitary thought that burned and seared through Hatake Kakashi's mind as he watched his partner smile and happily accept the flirting advances of their target, a young, rich, handsome man closer to his partner's age. The mere knowledge that this young male was admittedly a better match than him for the cherry blossom made Kakashi's heart ache and his anger rage even more. And through all these unbelievably powerful emotions, another was added...Shock. Hatake Kakashi was shocked that he was feeling what was undeniable jealousy. He was shocked because although he had found himself stealing glances at her more and more often these days, and making excuses just to be with her, and to touch her, and to smell her, he had passed off these needy actions as nothing more than the wanton desires of a lonely person. But these emotions that burned the very core of him now made the silver-haired jounin realize that it was more than just that. It made him realize that he had been harboring feelings for Haruno Sakura, and that, was a shock.

As the evening drew to a close, Kakashi watched in silent fury as the young man by the name of Sasaki Taka, gently caressed his partner's exposed shoulder, all the way down to her slim arms and wrist, then wrapped his arm around her small waist, exiting the crowded opera hall with Sakura in his intimate and protective embrace. Kakashi, with eyebrows now deeply furrowed in a frown, immediately jumped down from his hiding place among the rafters and made chase after the disturbingly good looking couple. As the pair walked slowly and closely down the lamp lit streets, speaking to each other in soft tones, Kakashi followed ever so closely, jumping rooftop to rooftop high above the oblivious couple.

When a heartfelt feminine laugh caught Kakashi's ears in mid-jump, Kakashi almost fell 3-stories down when he saw a sparkle-eyed Sakura playfully hit her young companion on the chest and then proceed to gently lay her head down upon said chest. Kakashi quietly cursed himself as he righted himself upon the rooftop, then continued to watch in the shadows as his quarry came to a stop just outside of Sakura's motel room. With abated breath, Kakashi watched the pair give a last few soft spoken words to each other, their foreheads touching, hands warm against each others cheeks, but when Kakashi saw the young man bring his hand to the bottom of Sakura's chin, lifting her face up to his, and when he saw the couple's bodies slowly gravitating towards each other, something in Kakashi snapped. The couple's lips were a mere centimeters from each other when Kakashi suddenly came upon the pair with a frightfully loud greeting of "Yo."

"Kakashi!" Sakura shouted, holding her hand to her heart in fright. "You scared the hell out of us!"

"Sorry, I really am." Kakashi said, although not truly meaning it. "I just realized how late it was and wanted to make sure you were okay."

Sakura raised an eyebrow at the tall, silver-haired man. "Kakashi, it's only 10pm!"

"Really?!" Kakashi said, his voice raised a bit too high to be in genuine surprise. "Hmm. How 'bout that? I could've sworn I saw 1am on the clock. Maybe my eye was playing tricks on me, you know the whole eye patch thing and all."

"Yeah…Maybe…" Sakura said, still eyeing her partner suspiciously, but Kakashi simply ignored her.

"So, Sasaki, my boy, seeing how you've brought Sakura home safe and sound, you can feel free to go home now." Kakashi said with a forced smile and literally tried to shoo the boy away with his hands.

"Um, yeah, okay…" Sasaki said slowly, trying to give Sakura one last glance over Kakashi's shoulder since Kakashi now stood right between him and his date. "I guess I'll see you later then?" Sasaki said hopefully to Sakura, who smiled sweetly at him and had barely opened her mouth to reply when Kakashi, again, butted in.

"Uh-huh. Yeah. Go on now and have yourself a nice evening, 'kay?" Kakashi said, still with a forced smile on his face and still waving his hands to shoo the young man away.

Sasaki gave Sakura one last weak smile who smiled back at him just as weakly. He began to open his mouth to say goodnight, but when Sasaki caught the glaring look on Kakashi's face, he immediately shut his mouth and just turned the other way, walking hurriedly towards his own home. When she was sure Sasaki was out of earshot, Sakura grabbed one of Kakashi's earlobes and proceeded to drag him into her room.

"What the hell was that about?!" Sakura shouted after she had slammed her door shut, her green eyes burning in fury at the man in front of her.

"Ow!" Kakashi said, rubbing his ear which had quickly turned red from her vice-like grip. "Might I remind you, Sakura, that although I am no longer your sensei, I still hold seniority over you."

"Seniority or not, that little stunt of yours almost ruined the mission! Couldn't you see I was making progress with Taka?!"

"A little too much if you ask me. And what, are you two on a first name basis now?!"

"What is wrong with you, Kakashi! Our mission is to get close enough so that we can get info from this guy. Of course I'm on a first name basis with him! Of course we were getting a little too close! Because that's the mission Tsunade assigned us, Kakashi, or have you forgotten that already?!" Sakura yelled, roughly tugging the long black opera gloves off both of her hands and violently throwing them on the bed.

"I was just trying to protect you." Kakashi said calmly and quietly despite the tirade occurring in front of him.

"Protect me?! Kakashi, Taka isn't the bad guy! His father is! That's why we're going through Taka in the first place, to make the mission less dangerous! Taka is the sweetest, kindest man I have ever had the privilege to meet and I just feel sorry for him for having such a horrible mob boss for a father!"

"He could be just putting on an act, you know. Pretending to be this great, wonderful guy when in truth he's no better than his father!"

"He's not like that, Kakashi!" Sakura said, glaring at Kakashi through the mirror as she removed the pearl earrings from her ears.

"How would you know?! You barely know the guy, Sakura!"

"We've been here 3 weeks, Kakashi! That's more than enough time to get to know somebody, especially if you're spending those 3 weeks practically everyday and every hour with the guy!"

"Well you have anyway, not me!"

"And for good reason, Kakashi! Tsunade knew that Taka would more likely open up to someone of the opposite sex than with the likes of you! That's how kunoichis came to be in the first place! That's why I was assigned to this mission in the first place! Besides, why are you going on and on about Taka and me anyway when you have your own intel to gather?!"

"Because I've already completed my end of the mission." Kakashi said coolly.

"Is that so?" Sakura asked with a raised eyebrow, still looking at Kakashi through the mirror as she unhooked the matching pearl necklace from her slender neck.

"3am, tomorrow night. That's when the shipment we're after hits the dock. The man we need to speak to is named Kayato."

"Impressive. I'm sorry I ever doubted you." Sakura admitted while ducking into the bathroom to undress.

"Geez, thank you, Sakura! I didn't realize I even had to prove myself to you after all these years!" Kakashi said loud enough for her to hear him in the bathroom.

"Only because you've been questioning my abilities that you don't have the right to question either!" Sakura shouted right back at him, storming out of the bathroom still fully dressed, her hands futilely trying to capture the tiny teardrop zipper of her sleek, black, strapless, floor-length gown. "Dammit! Why does it seem that everything happening tonight is meant to solely piss me off!" Sakura seethed.

"C'mere." Kakashi said somehow regaining his calm after seeing her dilemma and waved Sakura towards him.

Sakura walked over to where he was sitting on the edge of her bed and turned around so that he could unzip her dress. Kakashi easily found the miniscule zipper that had "pissed" her off and slowly brought it down, exposing her smooth, creamy back to him. Kakashi's eye lingered.

"Thank you!" Sakura said with a huff and stomped off back to the bathroom clutching the dress to her chest, but even then, Kakashi's eye trailed her, having still caught a glimpse of the side of Sakura's barely exposed breast. When Sakura was no longer in sight, Kakashi dug his fingernails into his scalp, disturbed by the train of thought that had streaked through his mind like a scene from his "Icha Icha" book.

"Uh, Sakura…I think we're just on edge because it's been such a long mission. How 'bout we just take a break and hold off saying whatever else we were going to say until tomorrow when we've both had a goodnight's sleep and have a clearer head?"

"I think that's a really good idea." Sakura said finally sounding calm as she stepped out of the bathroom to face him once more.

Kakashi froze. It was about a week ago that Sakura had come to him complaining about the lack of laundry facilities at the motel or even around town. Being the gentleman that he was, he had thrown her whatever extra articles of clothing he had left. One of those pieces was his standard, long-sleeved, navy blue jounin shirts, which Sakura now, Kakashi gulped hard, wore as a skimpy nightshirt with no bottom.

"What?" Sakura asked wide-eyed and with a shrug of her shoulders, confused by the way Kakashi was staring at her.

"Nothing. I-I better go off to my own room now." Kakashi said, jumping off of her bed which squeaked loudly upon the loss of his weight. "Goodnight, Sakura!" Kakashi said hurriedly over his shoulder as he quickly shut the door behind him.

"Uh, goodnight Kakashi?" Sakura said pointlessly to the closed door, now feeling even more ticked off than before.

In his own room, Kakashi had left a trail of clothing on the floor, while in the bathroom, frigidly cold water blasted upon Kakashi's silver head.

"Oh my god!" Kakashi groaned, his body bent and his face buried in his hands.

To be continued…