This is so weird. This was supposed to be a humorous oneshot! It started out completely harmless and was going to go into Collection, and the more I wrote, the angstier it got! I don't know how this happened! Maybe it's the fact my math class got a lecture saying how we disappointed the teacher, and how disappointed I am of myself, or maybe it's the fact that I'm still in love with a guy I've liked since the sixth grade and I'm still in a tug-of-war with my emotions at the moment. Okay, ranting. Well, just tell me what you think, because I read all of your reviews and I'm really thankful for them all. Especially since I'm sick and it's freezing right now.
Inspired by hikomokushi's My Heart Tells Me I Am (drabble number 10) of her 25 moments. If she's reading this, I really hope she tells me how I did.
Disclaimer: Do not own Naruto.
Bar stools scraped across the wooden floor. Dull chatter filled the background, rising to the rafters and nestling comfortably in every empty crevice it could find. Bits of conversation could be heard being mixed with others, each louder than the last as they fought for spaces in ears. If he had to describe it on a regular day, he'd say it was pure, unadulterated noise, loud enough to cause a migraine when mixed with alcohol, but today wasn't one of those days.
There was something in the air, he thought to himself as he quietly sipped the alcohol on his table. The only reason he didn't blame it on the alcohol was that from the corner of his eye, he could still see the bottle of sake clearly, so it couldn't be the alcohol, but the feelings were just the same…a warmth spreading through his body from his head to his toes, and a feeling of delight that made him want to curl up in a ball like a cat and sleep in its favorite place.
A sharp sound roused him of his reverie and he looked up to see Naruto sitting across from him. He raised a brow.
"Naruto, what brings you here?"
"You just looked lonely sitting by yourself, sensei," he murmured, knocking back his porcelain cup before refilling it. The silver-haired man smirked.
"You've never done that before. What's with the sudden act of kindness?" he asked, fingers curling around the glass bottle to fill his cup. Naruto fidgeted slightly.
"I…I…I need help."
"I can see that," he said, noting the glum expression on the young boy's face. Not everyday that Naruto was depressed. He waved a hand at the boy. "Continue."
"How…What…When…how do you know when you…like someone?" he asked in a soft tone. If it wasn't for his shinobi training, Kakashi would've missed it in the noise.
"So, our little-future-Hokage is growing up," he teased with his usual smile.
"Quit it, Kakashi. I'm serious," he growled, not amused at the idea of being laughed at. Not with this subject. Kakashi sighed.
"Hai hai," he said with a small wave before leaning closer on the table. "So…who is it?" he drawled. Naruto flickered his gaze towards the bar counter and Kakashi followed it through the crowd to where an heiress sat, body deftly draped over the stool as she rested her chin on the back of her hand, face slightly flushed from alcohol.
Naruto looked up nervously. "So what do I do?"
"What do I do? How do I know? I mean, how do you tell that she's the one, or you're…you're…"
Kakashi filled in the blank. "In love?"
"Yeah," the blonde answered, shifting in his seat as he fidgeted awkwardly. He looked down at his lap, hands wringing each other so much, he thought he'd tear off the skin. He looked at the bar, saw her bathed in the muted light that made her glow, then down at the floor before he dared lift his eyes up for the answer. Kakashi lounged back in his booth seat.
"Well, how do you feel?"
Naruto blinked. "How do I…feel?"
"Yes," Kakashi drawled, wondering where the brain of the twenty-yr-old before him went. He could tell this might take awhile. Naruto stared in his lap.
"Well…she…she makes me feel funny…you know, awkward." At the blank gaze he received, he frowned. His former-sensei's kind words of 'no, I don't know,' certainly didn't help either.
Naruto banged his fist into the table, the reverberations lost in the crowd as the clear liquid sloshed and splashed onto the table and his hand. He scowled.
"Well, how the hell am I supposed to know? That's why I asked you, right? Right?!"
His chest heaved with every breath he took, trying to get a hold of himself as he reigned in the anger coursing through his veins. Naruto chided himself for letting his frustration get a hold of him. He lowered his eyes in shame. "Sorry."
Kakashi didn't let his expression change and rested his arm on the back of the booth seat. "Hmm…well, I guess I'm not done teaching you after all," he said taking a sip of the alcohol slowly. Naruto barely batted an eyelash at his sensei's face, not when he had more important things resting on the line. Kakashi refilled his cup.
"First off, you were right about feeling awkward. You're supposed to if you're in love."
"I don't know. It's just the way things go. She makes you feel awkward because everything she does seems to make you off-balance. You don't know up from down—left from right, and you like it.
"Second, you find things different between the two of you. Everything still happens the same, but something seems different about it all. Before, a laugh was just a laugh, but now it's important because she's happy. Before, a frown just meant she was sad, but now you'd give a part of your body to make sure it never happens again, and before, a smile was just a smile, but now…now it's the most important thing in the world to you and you'd do anything to keep her smiling.
"Everything you do now matters. Are you tall enough? Too tall? Mature enough? Too mature? Are you skinny enough? Does your hair look alright? A feeling of paranoia sets in and you start questioning every little thing she does in hopes that it's a sign."
"Gah! If it's as much trouble as you say it is, why do girls go all crazy over it and all these people treat like the best thing that ever existed?" Naruto asked with a scowl. Kakashi shook his head.
"Because it is the best thing in the world. It doesn't sound like it, and most of the time, it doesn't seem like it either, but when everything falls into place, it's the best feeling in the world. When she's happy, you're happy. When she's sad, you're sad. Every emotion you feel is in direct relation to hers—like two things travelling in the same gravitational field. You both affect each other, and knowing there's someone out there that actually cares for you--that there's something in this world that makes you feel whole…it's like a breath of fresh air. It makes you feel alive..."
Kakashi looked up from his porcelain cup to see that Naruto was looking down at his lap, absorbing all the things presented to him so far. He took another sip.
Maybe he wasn't such a bad student after all.
"And the third most important thing. You know you're in love when you know you'd do anything for her, like wake up at 3:30 in the morning to talk about the things she wants to talk about. Stay up all night to look at the stars just because she wanted to. Let her cry on your shoulder in the middle of a rainy night because it's the only way she'll let herself cry. You want do anything and everything to please her—protect her. You'll do things you don't think are right—don't understand—that she won't understand—but you'll do them for her sake. For her happiness…and for the chance that maybe…maybe one day, she'll look at you the same way you look at her…that you'll say 'I love you,' and she won't turn away…that maybe this will all be worth it one day…and that even if she never knows, you'll look back on this and never regret it."
He turned to Naruto; emotions flickering across his charcoal eye that he probably didn't even realize were there. The words continued to roll.
"You'll do anything for her—just for that chance that maybe one day…one day, you'll get to be hers…
And just like that, the emotions were gone and all that Naruto was presented with was Kakashi, with a crinkle at the corner of his closed eye and a smile under his mask. Naruto rose from his seat with a nod.
"…I think I understand now." And to the nod Kakashi gave, he gave one back before exiting the bar.
At the gust of cold air that hit his face, he had to reflect on the words given to him just seconds ago and remember Kakashi's face as he spoke. Of the eyes that spoke of broken and longing—of the sad, wistful smile that graced his lips—of a man that seemed remarkably older and wiser than his years and cursed by that fact.
And as he walked away from the establishment, he decided that for Kakashi's words, he would ignore the fact that he was looking at Sakura the entire time he spoke.