Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto, only the idea for this story.
Summary: Once upon a time, she was told that love could make a person do what she knew wasn't best.
Ask her why and she could never tell you. She couldn't understand why she was physically drawn to his front doorstep, or more or less the door of his apartment, and she couldn't explain why the tips of her fingers carried the nervous heartbeat of what felt like a thousand woman.
But she was drawn regardless of the fact that she mentally kicked herself a billion times while she was walking this way.
Once upon a time, she was told that love could make a person do what she knew wasn't best. Her best friend told her that. Her ex-best friend had told her that.
And so she sighed because nothing changed: between her and her best friend and the statement.
It was right wasn't it? She was in love wasn't she? Or was she just thinking that? Was she just trying to deceive herself in thinking she was in love? The number on his door seemed to laugh at her. Her mind was playing tricks. Her inner self was laughing at her.
She wasn't insane. Far from it. If anything, she had the most control of her own self anyway. Sasuke had been controlling and an overall ass, but once his temper flared, who was seen running? Naruto's temper seemed to be out of control at all times. Her? She was there when she was needed, giving herself away every time for the good of her teammates.
Sakura wondered if he had ever noticed how… selfless she tried to be. She valued her friendships. They were the most important things to her ever since her family decided to do the terrible things that divorced parents do.
What was she doing here? What was she really hoping to achieve? Hope, faith, peace… love? Sakura let out a bitter laugh. Who was she kidding? She couldn't find it in him of all places, of all people. She'd been with him for over seven years, and even as she excelled as a chunin, genin and now, officially, a jounin, he'd never look at her more than a student.
She was his top student: perfect grades, collective and clear thoughts, made the right choices. She did everything according to the rulebook. The one thing that he said she lacked was passion, the drive to go against the rulebook and do something out of the immense emotion of her heart.
Like he was to talk. He had no emotion to speak of. But then again, he also didn't need to talk. He broke the rulebook every day.
Then why was she on his doorstep when she knew how he thought, how he felt? Why would she set herself up for failure? To prove him wrong? That the rulebook can be thrown out of the window?
Why was she really here?
A wilting cherry blossom: that's what they had been calling her these days. A woman lacking passion for her career and searching for something entirely unable to grasp. They noticed her decreased passion for protecting the people she cared about, or the lack of excitement to be recruited as a jounin. And when she received her paper detailing the contract agreement for taking part on the ANBU team, she still didn't feel the excitement she once would have felt.
Her heart, her soul was empty and she needed it filled. She wanted it back.
12. The number seemed to bubble, and pulse with her rapid heartbeat.
Sakura couldn't exactly understand when it happened, or even why. What was there to like about him anyway? He was lazy, unpredictable and consistently late. He didn't pay for his own dinners and he never showed that he cared. He'd treat her like a child: patting her on the head or tweaking her nose (still!) if she had done something bad in his eyes.
When would he look at her and see the adult that she had become? When would he see that she wasn't just a kid anymore?
Her fingers pulsed again and she tried to focus back on the door. She came here for a reason. She didn't know what it was, but she did come here for something. When she had departed from her own home to come to this one, she had something she needed to tell him. Now it had completely flown out of the window.
She had rehearsed it in her mind, going over and over again to see his reaction. But when she stood in front of the door now, all thoughts of before had raced from her mind. She now felt like a docile fawn, waiting for her mother to take her back home to safety.
Grimacing, Sakura shook her head. She should probably just go home. It wasn't smart to be here. He was her sensei, her teacher. There were laws against feeling this way. There were strict rules detailing punishment if lines were crossed.
"Rules were made to be broken. You just need to learn how." His voice seemed to ring in her ear and she frowned.
Maybe she should just knock? Maybe she should just say what she came here to say? Maybe she should cross the line? But what if he didn't want to cross that line? Would the rejection and the pain and, of course, the humiliation be enough? She didn't want to go through that. Rules were made to be broken, but the results when you're caught, when you're proven stupid enough to think of breaking them? What about then? What do you do then?
She tugged on the hem of her shirt. She wore regular clothes. She had been out with Naruto and Sasuke that evening already, but after feeling left out and alone while they were bickering like an old love couple, she quietly excused herself and walked herself home through the darkness.
The cold nipped at her skin with bitterness, and clouds covered the regularly starry night. When she hit her own front doorstep, so many ideas and thoughts were spinning and churning in her mind that she couldn't stop it. Her own determination had drawn her here. And apparently, it was her own determination that would get her in trouble.
No, she didn't need to go through this. She didn't need to humiliate herself in front of her sensei. She didn't need to tell him how she hated that he treated her like a child. She didn't need to tell him how he made her blood boil with anger. She didn't need to tell him to screw the rules. She didn't need to tell him, to completely debase herself by telling him she had feelings for him when all he'd do is look at her through his heavy lidded gaze, pat her head and tell her to go home.
Her hand came up and tucked her hair behind her ears, a habit she'd formed lately when she was nervous and just about to make a decision. Really, she needed to make one soon. She'd look like a stalker, standing on his doorstep for what seemed like an eternity.
And, while nibbling her lower lip, she stepped back and turned away from his doorstep. She wouldn't do it. Screw him and his insistence on breaking the rules. She wouldn't be drawn like a moth to the flame, only to be burned. It wasn't worth it. It wasn't worth her reputation at all.
The night was still cold. The clouds had cleared just enough so she could see a few stars here and there. It was empty to her though, no matter how beautiful it really was. How could she feel anything, anyway? She'd spent the better half of the past few years hiding her feelings, so why would she think a big bright ball of explosions in a midnight black sky to be beautiful?
Maybe it was because, when she looked to the doorstep of her house, she found a shadowed figure leaning against the banister of the front deck. Silver glint in his hair, but shadows marred his face as she slowly, reluctantly stepped further. He had known she was there in front of his door, right? He'd seen her through those annoying peepholes that they have in every apartment door, now, had he?
When she was standing on the porch, she looked at him and opened her mouth only to find no words forming. Sakura, who had been full of words, was for some strange reason completely speechless. She closed her mouth, afraid of looking like a dope, and simply watched him with questioning eyes.
When he finally looked up from the very interesting spot by his feet, his heavy lidded gaze met hers, one that not only made her body freeze but also made her heartbeat spread from her finger tips to coil within her belly in a strange frenzy.
Now she remembered why she liked him so much. It was the way his hair seemed barely kept, and how he styled it to look unkempt. It was the way his face remained mysterious all these years, him covering the lower half. It was the way she occasionally got to see his Sharingan and the scar that marred the left side of his face. It was the way he looked at her as if she was the only girl, no, woman, in the world. It was the way he stood, arms crossed over his chest or hands thrust deep in his pockets. It was the way he took perverse pleasure in making them all wonder what was behind his perverse book. It was the way he had a gentle kind of presence that made one notice. It was the way he cared so honestly for his teammates, those of whom he thought family. It was the way he'd be more willing to give his life than to see someone get even remotely hurt. It was the way, through all his stoicism and laziness, that he sometimes showed his emotions through an occasional eye crinkling smile or a touch on the arm.
"What are you doing here?" Sakura asked, picking some lint off of her sleeve that she hadn't noticed before. How and when she found her voice back was completely beyond her. He didn't say anything at first, but continued looking at her. "What do you want?" she didn't mean for it to sound so cruel. She just wanted an answer. In reality, she wanted a straight answer from him, not layered in an excuse or a lie.
"I came here for you." He said softly. It was the way his voice seemed to make her feel wholly relaxed and turned on at the same time.
"What do you mean?"
"Sakura," He patted her on the head gently, his fingers moving to touch her hair, lingering a little longer than the usual, "You were standing outside my doorway for a half an hour. You think I didn't notice?"
"I…" Sakura averted her eyes, "No."
"How can I not notice?" He let out a chuckle, "After all, you were always my favourite."
And instantly the chewing of her bottom lip came into play as she looked at him again. "What…" She swallowed, "What do you want?"
"To tell you that breaking the rulebook…" He gave her that same eye-crinkling smile that made her so want to take down the mask to see what he really looked like, "… in this case, is the best idea you've had since growing up."
And, once again, swallowed seemed the best choice for her. He tucked her hair behind her ears, and caressed her chin lightly with his thumb and nodded, "You're doing good. You've grown up. Anytime you need me, Sakura, you know where to find me, even if it is just to break the rules." He then pulled away, tweaked her nose lightly and then stepped off of the porch.
Her entire being wanted to yell at him, to tell him to make her break the rules. What right did he have to do that? He had no right to just… she let out a frustrated sound and he chuckled. "What do you want me to say, Kakashi-sensei? Do you want me to get down on my knees and beg?"
Although space distanced them, she felt his heart beat as if her fingers were flush against his chest, "Well, first of all, you can start by dropping the 'sensei.' And second of all, all you need to do is offer your hand and invite me inside." He shrugged his shoulder carelessly, turned around and started walking back to his own place.
Sakura looked back up to the mood, a full moon. For some reason, it didn't laugh at her tonight. Some strange reason, she didn't hear laughing or the ridicule she'd face tomorrow. All she heard now was the courageous, strong and sure beating of her own heart.
And she looked back at the retreating form she had just been talking to. He was close to turning down the street now, once he turned, she'd lose her chance. While she watched, she saw him slow down just slightly, and her voice kicked back into gear,
"Kakashi-sens…" Taking a deep breath, trying to still her heart, and starting over for good this time, "Kakashi… it's cold out here. Would you like to come in?"
After all, she was drawn to him and rules were always meant for breaking.