Disclaimer: Naruto and its characters are created by Masashi Kishimoto, but the new plots (meaning the ones you don't recognize!) are mine. This fanfiction had been written for entertainment purposes only and without intention of infringing upon any copyright.

Title: The Icha Icha Thief

Genre: Humor

Summary: Kakashi could not believe that someone actually managed to steal his Icha-Icha books. But he was even more baffled when he found out who did it. Kakashi-Sakura one-shot.

A/N: One important thing to note is that this story is not to be taken too seriously. The pairing is based on the pairing poll results (the poll is on my profile) at the time of writing. And since Kakashi-Sakura ranks second after Itachi-Sakura, I've decided to try a one-shot on this pairing. I hope you'll all enjoy this little bit of light-heartedness. :)

The Icha Icha Thief by elle6778

The bright morning sun filtered down between the sluggish clouds, bathing the occupants of the training ground in its warmth. Cries of triumph mingled with those of frustration as the two shinobi tried their best to defeat their opponent without seriously harming each other.

Seated in the shade under a tree, Kakashi's visible eye slanted sideways briefly, studying the movements of his two ex-students as they trained. Even though he had told them more than once that he was no longer their sensei, Naruto and Sakura continued to insist that he monitored their training sessions. He did not have a problem with that concept.

What he had a problem with, however, was the direction of his thoughts when it concerned a certain pink-haired kunoichi.

It disturbed him, how his eyes would linger of her fluid form as she twisted back and forth to avoid Naruto's attacks. Not to mention how he would find himself completely fixated by her gently undulating thigh muscles, and the muscles further up. And how captivated he was by the sparkle in her eyes when she found an opening to attack, or the way she bit her bottom lip in concentration.

Kakashi sighed heavily and slumped lower against the tree trunk. The whole thing had begun about half a year ago, shortly after he was persuaded to sit in on one of these sessions. For all his experience, he had not seen it coming. The fateful event had dealt such a shock to his system that he remained unsettled for weeks afterwards.

At that time, Naruto and Sakura had been engaged in a sparring session. As usual, Kakashi did not see the point in him being there, as both of them hardly needed any pointers. The slight drizzle tapping down on them had not helped, making Kakashi wish that he was anywhere but there. The only good thing about that day was that everything had gone smoothly, almost boring in his opinion.

Until that accident.

To this day, Kakashi did not know if the accident had been caused by Naruto's carelessness, or Sakura's inattention. But when Naruto's kunai had flown into Sakura's back, drawing a pained cry from her, all hell had broken loose. Instantly jumping into action, Kakashi had darted towards the panicking Naruto and the groaning Sakura.

From what he could see then, the kunai was lodged near her spine. Without thinking, he had crouched behind her and swiftly took apart her maroon top with his own kunai, ignoring her feeble protests, leaving her clad only in her chest-bindings. A quick inspection had assured him that she was not in any danger as the kunai had missed all vital organs. Relieved, he had performed a simple medical jutsu to seal her wound.

It was then that the sky above them had cracked open, and the gentle drizzle suddenly turned into a thundering downpour. Inclining his head towards a nearby wooden canopy, Kakashi had gestured for them to follow him. Obviously wanting to get out of the rain, the two younger shinobi obeyed without question.

When they finally reached the shelter of the canopy, his line of sight had accidentally descended towards Sakura's torso, only to realize that the waterlogged white chest-bindings had done a poor job in concealing her… assets.

Assets that he would not believe she possessed if he had not seen them with his own eyes. Blood had spurted out of his nose at the sight, and Kakashi recalled being thankful that his dark mask hid it. Naruto, however, had not been so fortunate. The blonde only had a few seconds to gape with blood running out of his nose before Sakura wised up on the situation. Her response had not been pleasant. Naruto had ended up in the hospital shortly afterwards, with two broken ribs and a fractured jaw.

For weeks afterwards, Kakashi had to force his eyes to remain above her neck each time they spoke. It was disturbing. And even more disturbing was the fact that since then, his mind insisted on replacing the images of the main female characters from his trusty books with Sakura.

Glancing away from the fighting pair, Kakashi sighed as he lowered the book he had just finished reading. Unbelievably, he had failed to notice that somewhere along the line, Sakura was no longer twelve-year-old girl, nor fifteen-year-old adolescent, but an eighteen-year-old woman.

But now that he noticed, Kakashi wished he had not done so. It had been a source of many discomfiting moments for him in the recent months. Woman or not, Sakura had once been his student, and as much as he enjoyed the sight of an attractive female, thinking of Sakura in THAT way was completely unacceptable. Still, however many times he tried to hammer the idea out of his head, it refused to leave him. A few torturous months had passed before he resigned himself to the fact that it would probably never go away.

Well, at least he could still try to distract himself with his Icha Icha books. Speaking of which, it was time he continued his reading with the next volume.

Reaching back to his weapons pouch, he flipped it open and stuck his hand in, only to find that he could not feel the comfortable weight of the book. He frowned as he rummaged around, sure that he had taken it off his bookcase morning. But where was it now? Had he somehow dropped it between his house and the training grounds?

What was he going to sit through the rest of this session without the next volume? He had read that volume before, but he still felt rather dismayed that he had nothing else to read now. Then he glanced down at the one in his hand. As much as he liked this one, reading it twice in a row was not something he wanted to do.

How could he be so careless as to lose his book anyway?

Then he stilled when it occurred to him that this was the second time he could not find his book. His eyes narrowed in suspicion. Twice was too much of a coincidence. For a moment, he sensed foul play. But then again, he might have left it at the dining table when he realized how late he was this morning. He had to be more careful with his timing nowadays. Sakura's wrath was not something anyone wished to ignite, not with her monstrous strength.

A shadow fell over him, and Kakashi looked up to find his two ex-students staring down at him. Noting Sakura's scowl, he blinked owlishly at her.

"You weren't watching us, were you?" Sakura accused, planting her hands on her hips.

"You're supposed to give us pointers, Kakashi-sensei," Naruto groaned as he wiped the sweat off his forehead. "How are we supposed to get stronger?"

Laughing sheepishly, Kakashi held out his hands in a placating gesture. "No, no, it's not like that. I was watching earlier. I'm impressed."

The look they wore told him that they were not convinced.

Standing up abruptly, Kakashi rubbed the back of his neck and beamed widely beneath his mask. "In fact, you're both doing so well that don't even need me here."

Sakura rolled her eyes. "Nice try, Sensei."

Deciding that he should make his escape before they could say anymore, he raised a hand in farewell. "Well, since you've finished, I'd better go now."

Just as they began to protest, Kakashi formed a seal and instantly disappeared in a puff of smoke.

A few days later, Kakashi was woken up from his slumber a series of loud knocks. Wondering who it was, he stood up groggily. He took the time to pull on an old shirt over his shorts before he shuffled sluggishly out of his room.

Reaching his front door, he opened it to find Sakura standing there, fully dressed in mission gear and carrying her pack over her shoulders. He blinked in surprise, trying to force his sleepy mind to recall if he had forgotten about some mission.

Sakura gave him a disapproving look. "You're still sleeping?" she scolded. "Tsunade-shishou wants to brief us on a mission in River Country. We're supposed to leave today, don't you remember?"

Rubbing the back of his head as he yawned, Kakashi nodded. Now that she mentioned it, he recalled Tsunade telling him something to that effect a few days ago, but it had escaped his mind.

"I'll get dressed and pack."

Sakura's eyes flickered uncertainly. "Um… Do you mind if I wait inside? I feel stupid standing here like this."

He pulled his hand away from the door, suddenly realizing that he had been unconsciously blocking her from entering. Giving her a cheery eye-crease as he stepped away from the door, he said, "Ah, I apologize. Of course you can come in."

She cast him a small smile as she walked in, her eyes sweeping over the sparse furniture of his living room. Closing the door, Kakashi turned to find her dropping onto his couch, wrinkling her nose as she gingerly picked up a black vest caked with dried blood. Ah, he must have forgotten to wash it after that mission a few weeks ago.

"Kakashi-sensei…" she admonished. "This is not sanitary."

"Eh, I was going to throw it away anyway," he quickly said, feeling rather unsettled that she was handling his dirty clothes.

The look she shot him was nothing short of disbelieving. Shrugging it off with a grin beneath his mask, Kakashi raised a hand at her. "Will be right back."

Crossing the living room, he paused at his bookcase to retrieve Icha Icha Tropics and Icha Icha Missions before continuing into his bedroom. The two books should keep him occupied throughout his mission if he read slowly. Reaching for the jounin vest draped over the back of a chair, Kakashi slotted the books into the pockets. The books were definitely safer there than in his pouch, where they could fall out accidentally, like what probably happened to the two books he had lost.

Going around his room, he quickly packed, making sure that he took all the necessary items. The subtle sounds of shuffling filtered through his door, telling him that Sakura was pacing restlessly around his living room, obviously bored by the wait. His lips tilted when he wondered what she was snooping at.

Because if he was in her apartment, that was exactly what he would do. Of course there was probably nothing much to see in her living room. Her bedroom, on the other hand…

Kakashi groaned out loud when he realized the direction of his thoughts. He had to stop this line of thinking when it came to Sakura. It was fine to admit that she had grown up, but it was another thing to keep obsessing about her.

"Kakashi-sensei, are you okay?" she asked through the door.

"I'm coming out in a minute," he replied as he changed into his mission gear.

Soon, they left his apartment to make their way to the Hokage's Tower.

The mission turned out to be an easy one, even though it had taken close to a week to complete. All they had done was ambush the rogue shinobi's stronghold to retrieve one Konoha missing-nin. With the combined skills of Naruto, Sakura and Sai, Kakashi was not surprised that they had emerged unharmed with their objective conveniently drugged into unconsciousness.

Having delivered the missing-nin to Tsunade, Kakashi soon found himself back in his apartment.

The first thing he did was to wash off the grime from the last two days of traveling. Once done, he pulled on clean clothes before making a beeline for his bookcase. Three days ago, he had finished reading those two Icha Icha volumes he brought along, and since then, he had been suffering from an acute case of withdrawal.

And right now, nothing looked more inviting that the colorful spines of the rest of his Icha Icha books gracing the shelves. Even though he had read all of these books more than once, he could still feel the wash of anticipation as he reached out to take one book out of the bookcase. With no one to disturb him, he could immerse himself completely in the dramatic world of Icha Icha tonight.

Smiling slightly, he opened the book.

Then his entire body froze.

He stared in disbelief, not understanding what his eyes were telling him. Not willing to understand what his eyes were telling him. Fighting the growing panic, he pulled out another book, and then another, each time thumbing through the pages only to be greeted by the same thing.

His hands shook uncontrollably as the last book fell out of his hands.

His special collectors edition books…

Those pages of flowing literary genius…

Those juicy bonus features…

All gone…

All replaced by blank, blindingly white sheets of paper between the familiar covers.

What was going on? What trickery was this? Jiraiya could not be as cruel as to place a disappearing jutsu on his own literary work. So who could have done it? Or was this some sort of cruel, twisted genjutsu?

Picking up one of the books, he flipped it open. Swallowing hard, Kakashi focused his attention on the blank pages and muttered, "Kai!"

Nothing happened. The pages were still as blank as they had been just a few seconds ago. His arms fell limply by his side, the overwhelming shock making him grow numb. There must be an explanation for this.

Then something about those book covers caught his attention. Peering closer at them, he finally noticed that those cover were not the special collectors' edition ones. He sucked in a sharp breath. These books were simply the normal, off-the-shelf ones, which meant that these were not his books in the first place.

Who was stealing his precious Icha-Icha books? Who had the nerve to do such a thing, and why?

Fully agitated now, Kakashi stared unseeingly into the wall, mentally backtracking over his days to see when and where such an abomination could have occurred.

Almost instantly, he recalled that about two weeks ago, he had been injured during one of their training sessions. Feeling rather down, he immediately perked up when his pink-haired ex-student appeared at the hospital room door. He remembered how his eyes had traveled down her legs, even though his mind kept telling him not to. That was when he had thought to ask her to maybe think of another attire. But it was an idea that he had scrapped almost immediately because she would no doubt suspect him of ogling her in a heartbeat. Not that she would be wrong, of course, but that was beside the point.

Then Sakura had walked up to him and dumped a bag of oranges in his arms, jolting him in the process. It was good for him, she had declared. Soon after that, the first Icha Icha book had disappeared.

His eyes widened as comprehension dawned.


Sakura was the sneaky one who had been stealing his books. He would not have suspected it if it had not been so obvious now that he thought about it.

At first, he thought that the increasing frequency of her appearance was simply due his heightened awareness of her presence. It was expected, considering how distracted he was around her ever since that soaked chest-binding incident. But now that he consciously dissected those encounters, he could not believe that he had missed her intent.

There had been this time when he was at the bar, spending some time with the older group of jounin. Sakura had appeared at their table and sat beside him, immediately launching into an odd conversation with a bewildered Tenzou. Kakashi remembered feeling acutely uncomfortable when she kept leaning across him to talk to the ANBU, her body frequently brushing against his chest. Then as quickly as she had appeared, she left, leaving all of them gaping in confusion at her.

Then there had been another time when he had gone for a quick dip in the hotsprings and left his book together with his clothes. He had walked out of the water to see a flash of pink hair, but he had brushed it off as his imagination. After all, it would not be the first time he had imagined her presence in the hotsprings, wearing nothing but a transparent towel.

So, she must have managed to steal the first two books sometime during those encounters. And those blank pages in his books must be something she had done that day when she was waiting for him to pack before their mission.

He gritted his teeth in annoyance. Much as he would love to go to her apartment to demand the return of his books, Kakashi knew that it was a stupid idea. Firstly, she was already tired from the mission and was likely to simply slam the door in his face. Secondly, he was not certain he wanted to see her in such an intimate setting.

It would make no difference if he waited until tomorrow. Yes, tomorrow he would demand the return of his books.

For the first time in many years, Kakashi arrived at the training grounds on time. The birds overhead was chirping cheerfully, and he could almost swear that it sounded as if they mocking him. Once there, he found that Sakura was already waiting for him, while Naruto and Sai had decided to begin early.

This was his opportunity to get to the bottom of the matter.

Deciding to get to the point, he pinned an uncompromising eye on her. "I believe you have my books, Sakura."

Her eyes gleamed with mirth. "Ne, Kakashi-sensei. I was wondering how long it'll take for you to catch on," she said with a grin.

"Give them back," he demanded flatly.

She turned a pair of innocent eyes up at him. "What makes you think I still have them?"

"This is not funny, Sakura," he said sternly as he stared down at her, hoping to inject some form of uneasiness in her.

Obviously unperturbed by his tone, she beamed. Kakashi's exasperation grew. What happened to those days when she hung on to his every word? Yes, that was when she was still a genin. That was before she grew so strong that he could barely hold her attacks at bay. That was before she grew up into a woman.

His brows furrowed. Then his eyes landed further down when she raised a finger to tap her lips thoughtfully. His wayward mind instantly supplied imageries of other things that could be touching her lips before he could stop it. Never before had he felt so uncomfortable with his own level of perversion.

Fortunately, Sakura was not aware of the direction of his thoughts.

"Let's see… There should be two more books left, right, Kakashi-sensei? The ones you brought along with you on our last mission?"

Attention drawn back to the issue of his books, Kakashi stated darkly, "You will not get them."

"Is that how you show confidence in your student's abilities?" she shot back with a grin.

His brows furrowed. "You've stopped being my student years ago, Sakura. And you know fully well how capable you are. Besides, I never taught you to steal."

"Oh? This is almost like the bell test, isn't it? Only this time, it involves stealth, and a bit more planning."

Kakashi closed his eyes in frustration. It was clear that he would never win this debate. Sakura was right, he supposed. If he had the mind to view this objectively, and if this had nothing to do with his Icha Icha books, he would admit how impressive it was that she had accomplished this without implicating herself, until now.

A shift in the air caught his attention and Kakashi lifted his eyelid. The hand which was waving in his face stilled and dropped to her side. Sakura looked positively smug with her own accomplishment. Kakashi fought the urge to shake her.

Beaming at him, she said, "Don't feel too bad about it, Kakashi-sensei."

"Why are you doing this, Sakura?"

"It's quite fun, isn't it?" she remarked blithely.

"No." His tone was dry.

"Look at it this way. Without the books, at least you'd pay attention to our training, ne? Not to mention you might even turn up on time. Like today."

"That's the reason for this?" he asked, incredulous. "You want me to turn up on time?"

She waved a dismissive hand in the air. "Ah well…" Then she glanced away from him briefly. "By the way, I forgot to tell you that I'm skipping training today. I need to go help Moegi with Konohamaru's party. See you there, alright?"

"The books, Sakura," he gritted out impatiently.

She was already flouncing away, but at his words, she glanced over her shoulders. "Oh? Did you say something?"

The familiarity of her words did not escape him, and Kakashi had to gnash his teeth together to hold his annoyance in check. As she continued to walk away from him, he stared balefully at her back.

Calm. He needed to remain calm. A shinobi should never let such a thing faze him. He would strategize, and soon his books would be back where they belonged.

He grimaced. There could be no other option.

Desperation called for desperate measures. Now that he knew what had happened to the rest of his books, he was determined to retrieve them. Those were collectors' editions, packed with bonus material, and there was no way for him to get more of them without hunting Jiraiya down. And that was something close to impossible.

Having ascertained that she would be occupied with her friends at Konohamaru's birthday celebration for at least another two hours, Kakashi stealthily escaped from party. And soon, he found himself skulking outside her apartment.

Kakashi grimaced. All this just because he preferred to read his books rather than train the two shinobi who definitely did not need more training from him. Naruto could defeat him on a good day, and Sakura had certainly came close to doing so a few times in the past. After this stunt of hers, he would definitely make it a point to be late to each and every one of those training sessions.

Dangling outside her window, Kakashi pried the lock open and released the catch. Moments later, he was standing in her bedroom.

Now, where could she have hidden his books?

Soundlessly, he padded across to the nearest row of shelves. He methodically went through every inch of it, but found nothing but her medical books and some other shinobi textbooks. Further down was a shelf full of gifts from her friends, and Kakashi grinned when he saw a wax figurine of her dressed in nothing but a skimpy outfit. He instantly decided that the real version would look much better.

Resigning to the fact that his books were not in her shelves, he turned back to face the rest of the room. There were two other places left to check, her bed and her cupboard.

Making a beeline to her neatly made bed, he sat on it and felt around, even though he knew that it was unlikely that she would have stuffed his books in her mattress. A perverse part of him was rather disappointed by that fact. If she had done so, his books would now be soaked in her scent. And what if she did other things in her bed, like…

A shiver ran up his spine, his mind glazing over as he imagined Sakura's hands sliding down her own skin. Clenching his hands tightly around her sheets, Kakashi firmly shook the thought from his mind and jerked up from her bed. Being this close to her personal space was… dangerous. Yes, dangerous, Kakashi, so stay away from those thoughts!

A quick check under her bed revealed nothing but the fact that she was meticulous in her cleaning. What did you expect, Kakashi? An underwear here or there, or maybe some evidence of her sex life? Groaning, he slapped a palm to his forehead, reiterating to himself that he should not be entertaining thoughts of Sakura that way.

Moving on to the last space in the bedroom which might be holding his precious Icha Icha books, Kakashi pulled the cupboard door open and was immediately greeted by Sakura's signature scent. He scanned the contents, his eyes occasionally lingering on certain outfits which reminded him that she was no longer a child. Come to think of it, why hadn't he seen her in those outfits before? Where did she go in them?

Realizing that his books were not in the main compartment, he knelt down and reached into one of the drawers. His entire body froze as his fingers came into contact with some lacy fabric. Mouth going dry when he realized just what it was he was touching, Kakashi quickly drew back and slid the drawer shut. Unfortunately, his mind chose that instant to decorate Sakura's image in various forms of lacy lingerie.

An exasperated groan escaped his lips. He would drive himself crazy one day, thinking of Sakura like this. Not to mention he would probably burn in hell for all the other thoughts that followed. Like what he would do to her lingerie-clad form.

Jumping to his feet, he left her bedroom to continue his search in less traumatizing territories, namely the living room, kitchen and the bathroom.

The morning dawned bright and early, and for the fourth day in a row, Kakashi found himself standing in the training grounds at the agreed meeting time. His ex-students did not miss the fact that he was on time.

Naruto's eyes almost popped out of their sockets when he exclaimed, "Kakashi-sensei! You're on time! AGAIN!"

Kakashi simply slanted him a bored look.

Laughing, Naruto prodded an unresponsive Sai. "Can you believe it? Something must have happened." Turning back to him, Naruto continued excitedly, "So what is it? What happened?"

"Nothing." Kakashi's tone was flat.

Then his target came into view.

Kakashi eyed Sakura intently as she walked across the training ground towards them, her steps light and bouncy, seemingly without a care in the world. His eye immediately narrowed. How could she be so carefree when he was suffering from the absence of his trusty reading material? What was worse was that he had finally relented and had gone to a bookshop two days ago to find that all the entire Icha Icha series was sold out.

Maybe he was approaching this the wrong way. He had been turning up on time for the last few days, but it did not look as if Sakura was halting her game.

It was time to him to take some action.

"Kakashi-sensei," she greeted in a deceptively meek tone, stopping in front of them.

Acknowledging her greeting with a nod, he turned towards Sai and Naruto, "Pair up and spar."

When Naruto and Sai left to commence their training, Kakashi immediately turned to the smiling kunoichi.

"What do you want in exchange for them, Sakura?"

A deceptively innocent look settled on her features. "Eh?"

"My books," he elaborated dryly.

She blinked. "Oh."

Patience, Kakashi. Patience, he reminded himself. "So I repeat, what do you want in exchange for my books?"

"Since you asked…" she trailed off.

The mischievous light in her eyes should have warned him that he would not like what he was about to hear. But even if it did, he could never be prepared enough to hear those words from Sakura's mouth.

"Come out on a date with me."

His breath caught in his chest, and he swore that his surrounding swayed for a second. He could not have heard that. Sakura could not have possibly just asked him out for a date. Sure she was an adult and no longer his student, but a date? Wasn't that pushing things a little bit too far?

Kakashi forced out a laugh. "Funny, I thought I just heard you asking me out on a date."

She narrowed her eyes at him. "What's so funny about that?"

No, was she serious? She looked serious. Pressing his fingers to the bridge of his nose, Kakashi sighed wearily. "Sakura, what are you playing at?"

"Eh? Why do you think I'm playing?"

She had to be playing. "Are you interested in me then?" he asked bluntly.

Her eyes immediately flickered with guilt, and her face turned visibly red. "Uh…"

"I see."

Sakura's reaction was enough to tell him that she had no intention of really dating him. Which could only mean that there was something else behind her request. Knowing his students, he figured that the reason behind this could only be some kind of bet. Kakashi was almost certain that it involved Sakura asking him out, and him agreeing. The books were simply a way for her to ensure his cooperation.

"What exactly do you mean by a date?" he finally asked.

She shrugged. "Dinner, I suppose." Then she gave him a beseeching look, one which made him feel acutely unsettled. "Just one date, sensei, and you can have all your books back. How does that sound?"

Tempting. Getting his books sounded tempting. And as wrong as the idea was, the date sounded tempting too. It should not be that bad, right? After all, he had managed to keep his hands to himself for the last half a year, so one tiny dinner shouldn't change anything. Especially since it was a straightforward way to get his books back.

Mind made up, he fixed his gaze on her.

"When and where?"

When the fateful day of their 'date' arrived, Kakashi picked a restaurant close to her apartment. It was a simple and clean restaurant, serving food which was decently priced. He had even made the effort to wear a civilian jumper instead of his jounin vest.

Sakura seemed pleased by the choice of restaurant when she met him outside about an hour ago, wearing one of the dresses he had seen in her cupboard. It was a modest red dress, not showing anything more than her shinobi outfit. For a moment, he wished that she had worn the black slinky strapless thing he had eyed a few days ago, until it occurred to him that it would be completely inappropriate for a casual date.

Throughout their meal, Kakashi did not miss the presence of their stalkers. Although they were relatively well-hidden, he had spotted them twice, which solidified his suspicion that there was something else behind this so-called date. But what puzzled him was why were Naruto and Sai still spying on them. Sakura must have won the bet, since he was sitting right there with her sharing a romantic candle-lit dinner. The fact that they were still there suggested that there was more to this.

His eyes widened as something occurred to him.

What if Sakura was meant to seduce him to win the bet? Surely Sakura would not have agreed to that. Kakashi shook himself mentally. No, that could not be it. The whole idea was too preposterous to even consider. Sakura would have sent Naruto and Sai straight to the hospital if they dared to even suggest such a thing.

His apprehension grew, not knowing what those three had planned. Now that they were fully-fledged ninjas, the complexity level of their pranks was nothing to be laughed at. If he was not careful, he might end up in a very sorry state.

"This is nice, isn't it, Kakashi-sensei?" Sakura remarked as she picked up her sake.

He peered at her out of his visible eye, noting the slight discomfort displayed by her posture. It was clear that she was just as uncomfortable by this date as he was. Idly, he wondered if whatever she would win out of this was worth the trouble.



She scowled. "If this is a real date, I'd be really offended," she muttered. "You're not paying any attention as usual."

His eyes crinkled as he smiled. "If this is a real date, you wouldn't be calling me Kakashi-sensei."

Rolling her eyes, she focused her attention back to her food.

Deciding to sate his curiosity, Kakashi asked, "So, what do you get out of this?"

She looked up, raising an innocent brow. "What do you mean?"

"I know this is part of a bet, Sakura. What I want to know is the prize."

A grin made its way to her face as she leaned across the table closer to him. So close that Kakashi found himself involuntarily taking in the subtle scent of her perfume. Her breath brushed against his cheeks when she finally whispered.

"You see Naruto and Sai outside?"


"I'm not supposed to let you know that this is a bet, so you won't tell, right?"

"I won't if you tell me what you're going to get out of this," he stipulated.

She hesitated for a second before she replied, "Well, if I win, Naruto and Sai will do whatever I tell them to do for a month."

Kakashi blinked. Naruto and Sai agreed to such an open-ended thing? Sakura could make them do really outrageous things. Then when her words sank in further, he frowned. Sakura had said 'if' she won the bet, which meant that she had not done so yet. What else was left for her to do?

"So, what do you have to do to win?"

Sakura sat back, her gaze averted from his as she took another sip of her sake. "That I can't tell you."

Kakashi frowned. "Why?"

Her lips twitched. "I think I've said enough, Kakashi-sensei." Glancing down at their empty plates and bowls, she continued, "Shall we go?"

They soon left the restaurant and made their way down the street. Tucking his hands in his pockets, Kakashi stared into the distance as he walked. However, he did not miss the growing tension in his companion's posture. It was obvious that she was plotting something. But what? Whatever that bet was, he was sure that he would find out soon. After all, their 'date' was about to end.

Then his steps faltered as something occurred to him. No, surely she would not be so cruel as to go back on her words.


She glanced at him. "Yes, Kakashi-sensei?"

Momentarily distracted by the moonlight shimmering in her hair and eyes, Kakashi did not respond. When had she grown to look so… alluring?

"Sensei?" she prompted impatiently.

"Ah!" He chuckled sheepishly in an attempt to mask his discomfort. "I was going to ask about my books."

Glancing away quickly, she muttered, "They're at my house."

His eye widened. But he had searched her house and found nothing. How could he have missed it? He ran through all the places he had searched through, but came up with nothing. His brows furrowed in consternation. Where could she have hidden the books?

Before he could come up with any sensible guesses, he noticed that they had reached her front door. His fingers began to twitch impatiently for his books.

He raised his visible brow. "Well?"

She turned to him, and to his surprise, there was a slight blush on her cheeks. Clasping her hands in front of her, she eyed him from under his lashes.

"Kakashi-sensei, you do know that dates are not complete without a goodbye-kiss right?" she said quietly.

For a second, he thought he had misheard her. Then when her words sank in, the whole thing clicked into place in his mind. So this was what she was aiming for. He should have known. In order to kiss her, he would have to remove his mask. That must have been their objective all along. No doubt Naruto and Sai were currently watching them from some hidden spot nearby.

The first thing to occur to him was to do it through his mask. It still qualified, right? A kiss was a kiss, mask or not. And then the perverse part of him protested. Loudly. Sakura was no longer his student, as she was an adult. She was the one who had approached him with this in the first place asking for a kiss, not that he had any complaints, now that he thought about it. Not to mention it might appease and hopefully completely banish all these thoughts he had been having about her. It was probably just curiosity, and when he had a taste of her, this whole ridiculous obsession would go away and leave him in peace.

When he realized what he was thinking, Kakashi shook himself mentally. No, he could not do this to her. She trusted him after all, and probably expected just a peck on her cheek. The way she tilted her head sideways told him that much.


"A goodbye-kiss, huh…"

Her smile growing more forced by the second, she nodded. Sakura was clearly uncomfortable with the idea but seemed bent on winning the bet. Kakashi smirked inwardly. A kiss was not a big deal for him, but the fact that he was being tricked into it did not sit well with him.

Perhaps a little retaliation would do.

He leaned closer and her eyes immediately widened. "Close your eyes," he said.

She blinked. "Oh."

Her lids immediately fluttered shut. Kakashi had to bite back a chuckle when he realized that she had not completely closed her eyes. She was peeking at him through her lashes. Then he heard the slight rustle of the leaves in the large tree in front of Sakura's apartment, telling him that Naruto and Sai were watching this. Deciding to play along for a while, he cupped the back of her head, pulling her closer.

And he kissed her cheek through his mask.

Her eyes shot open. "Kakashi-sensei! You call that a kiss?" she complained indignantly.

He adopted a bewildered look. "It was not?"

She cast him a baleful look. "Your mask."


Then he fell silent, watching how her eyes flicker as he let the tension grow. She was truly expecting him to pull down his mask and kiss her without protest? Come to think of it, the idea was not that farfetched, was it? After all, there was no harm in a small peck on her cheek, right?

Finally deciding to relent, otherwise he would never get back his books, Kakashi sighed inwardly. There was no need to make a big deal out of this. And anyway, he had known her for so many years, and as entertaining as it was to see his ex-students clamoring to see his face, he knew that sooner or later, it was only fair for him to show them. So he might as well start with Sakura, while he was there.

He reached up, hooking a finger at the top of his mask, and watched as Sakura's eyes widened in anticipation. Her reaction immediately confirmed her motives. Deciding to get this over with, he pulled down his mask in a swift move, and then dipped his head towards her cheek to the sound of twin gasps from the foliage behind them.

He had not expected Sakura to twist around to look at him.

His lips made contact with the corner of hers and he froze at the contact. He waited for her to shove him away but instead, small hands reached out to press against his chest, and then tightened around the fabric of his top.

All at once, the notion of keeping this kiss chaste flew out of his mind as he heard the soft intake of her breath, followed by a brush of warmth against his. The desire he had been suppressing for months crashed over him like an avalanche. Mind instantly hazing over, Kakashi pulled her closer and nipped the corner of her parted lips. She was close, so close, and she was not pushing him away.

He was really going to burn in hell for this. But if that was going to happen, he might as well go all out and kiss her properly. With a barely suppressed groan, he nipped his way further until he caught her bottom lip. A gasp sounded from her, and her hands slid around his chest to his back. Vaguely, he felt her fingers clenching behind him as he deepened the kiss.

A muffled curse came from the bushes followed by a loud crash, but Kakashi ignored it. He was too lost in the feel of the soft lips under his. Her movement was tentative, shy, but she was clearly responding.

After a while, the lack of air forced them apart.

For a moment, he could only stand there, hearing only the erratic thumps of his own heart. And then, apprehension coursed through him when reality sank in.

Cautiously, he lifted his head to stare down at her, wanting to gauge her reaction. She looked confused, uncertain and somewhat disoriented. The glazed look in her eyes, however, sent a wave of male satisfaction rushing through him. It looked like he was not the only one affected by this.

"Is that what you were after, Sakura?" he asked softly, his eyes remaining fixed on hers.

"I… um…" she trailed off into silence as her cheeks turned redder.

Her fingers flexed against his back, and it occurred to him that it did not look like she was planning to let him go anytime soon, even though she still seemed rather confused. The notion of what they had just done must have unsettled her greatly and he could relate to that. After all, he felt the same.

But now that he had her in his arms, he was not sure that he wanted to let it end.

"Perhaps it's not enough," he breathed out.

He lowered his head again, watching her eyes glazing over as he caught her lips in another thorough kiss. Arms tightening, he pulled her plaint body closer.

But this time, there was no way he could ignore Naruto's loud bellow.

"Damn it, Sai! Let me go! He's not supposed to kiss her like that! He's only supposed to kiss her cheek!"

Sakura froze in his arms, but Kakashi quickly distracted her with another steamy kiss. He could hear the sounds of Sai attempting to subdue Naruto, and he chuckled inwardly at the blonde's predictable reaction.

When they finally broke apart again, Sakura was blushing and her breath was coming out in ragged pants. Kakashi decided there and then that he did not like the idea of anyone else seeing her in this state.

Uncaring that his mask was down, Kakashi glanced over his shoulders to find the other two members of Team Kakashi standing at the base of a tree. Naruto was held tightly by Sai, both of them staring at him with identical wide-eyed looks of shock. Smirking, he raised a hand at them before turning back to Sakura.

The pink-haired kunoichi was staring as if she was seeing him for the first time. Which was true, he supposed. She had never seen him without his mask before.

"K-Kakashi?" she stammered uncertainly.

She finally dropped the honorific after his name. He smiled at her and he murmured, "By the way, that wasn't really a goodbye kiss."

Her eyes rounded. "W-What do you mean?"

"Surely you don't think I'm going to leave without getting my books back."


She blinked and then a look of comprehension dawned upon her features. But that was swiftly followed by a hint of disappointment, much to Kakashi's surprise.

Now that was an interesting reaction, Kakashi mused. It was almost as if she wanted more from him. A shiver of anticipation ran up his spine. Come to think of it, now that she had her fun at his expense over the last few days, perhaps it was time he claimed his.

Pulling her to him, he murmured into her ear, "Besides, I think it's time to punish my Icha Icha thief, don't you think?"

She gasped. "What?! Kakashi!" she exclaimed, but he noticed that she made no attempt to escape his hold.

Mind whirring with the possibilities of what he could do to 'punish' her, Kakashi pushed Sakura into her apartment and slammed the door shut behind them.

:The End:

A:N: And what happens after that is up to your imagination, hehe! Hope you enjoyed the story and please review if you could, I'd like to know what you think of the story. Thanks!