AUTHOR'S NOTE: Ahhh... hallo? This is the first time I've ventured into the Naruto fandom at all. I'm nimblnymph. Be gentle. -grins- Anyway, I'm supposed to be finishing some gift fics for a few other friends of mine... but unfortunately, the lovely redbrunja has inserted a big, fat earworm in my head. That big, fat earworm is called Kakashi/Sakura. And it won't stop eating my brain. Soooo... I apologize to those I've promised fics to but would like to reassure them that as soon as I have the second or third chapters written they will be posted as well.
Just a few quick things about this fic: While it's KakaSaku centric, there WILL be other pairings involved as well. Because this is all pretty much leading to them getting in the sack, this is a MATURE fic. Also to clarify right from the start, Sakura is SIXTEEN in this fic. It takes place a little before the Shippuuden arc starts, which according to canon and my sometimes shoddy math skills puts her at sixteen. Sixteen is also the legal age of consent for about 80% of the world.
So, if you can live with this and aren't put off by my ramblings, please carry on and I hope you enjoy! If you are put off ... thanks for stopping by anyway!
Sakura groaned as her eyes opened a crack. The first thing she could see clearly through the sleep haze was the alarm clock by her bedside. The bright electric green numbers read five-thirteen in the morning. Her shift at the clinic had ended at two. Damn it... she should be asleep. Why wasn't she asleep? Hadn't she just been asleep? Yes, she had to have been. Otherwise, why the hell would she be opening her eyes?
Letting out an irritated huff at realizing she was awake so soon after stumbling into bed, Sakura tucked the blankets more firmly around her head and closed her eyes again. She'd been having a pleasant dream, too. Whatever it had been, she wanted to get back to it again as soon as possible. She was just about to slip back into that delightful dream world when it happened again. She woke up... only this time, she knew why.
Someone... a soon to be dead someone... was knocking on the door to the apartment. Sakura groaned again and silently prayed whoever it was would just go away. When the knocking repeated, this time much louder, she knew her prayer was falling on deaf ears.
"Damn it," she muttered as she flailed the blankets off of her angrily, swinging her legs around and hauling herself upright abruptly. She snatched her pale pink robe off of the chair to her vanity and jammed her arms through the sleeves while shuffling stiffly across the floor of her small room. After a week straight of the graveyard shift at the clinic on top of some of the most brutally intense training sessions Tsunade had ever put her through, all she wanted was sleep. It was her day off, for god's sake!
"Alright," she growled at the too-persistent knocker on the door, hissing painfully as her sleep blurred vision caused her to stumble into the coffee table Ino had recently moved. Speaking of her blonde roommate... if it was Ino on the other side of the door claiming to have lost her keys again, she was going to beat her into fuzzy pudding.
Fumbling with the three separate locks to the door (Ino's mom had insisted they have the added protection), she jerked the door open and pinned her bloodshot glare on the idiot in the other side.
She recognized the girl as a new genin being trained as a medic under Shizune's instruction. The girl's chipper smile instantly faded as Sakura arched a brow and demanded sharply, "What?"
Swallowing nervously, the genin held out a piece of paper in her shaking hand. She let out a little squeak as Sakura practically ripped it out of her fingers. Unfolding it, Sakura had to read it through twice before she actually processed what the missive said.
Come immediately to my office. There's a mission I want you do handle personally. Consider this pay back for hiding my sake... which you WILL bring with you or else!
Sakura crumpled the note into a tight wad and threw it across the hallway, causing the genin to scream and fall to the ground for cover. Without bothering to ease the poor girl's frazzled nerves, Sakura stomped back into her room and began getting dressed for yet another day in the office. She tugged on a fresh bra and panties, opened and slammed shut three drawers in search for a clean shirt and shorts before digging her sandals out from underneath the bed where she'd kicked them the night before. Revenge for hiding the sake... she wasn't even the one to do it this time!
She gathered up her medic gear and was just about to leave when Ino came yawning from her room, blinking in confusion as she spotted her fully dressed (and very pissed) roommate. "Hey... I thought you had the day off?" the blonde girl muttered.
"I did," Sakura snapped. "Until Tsunade-sama noticed the sake from last week went missing!"
"Oh... Wasn't that Shizune's doing?"
"It was, and now I'm paying for it!"
Shrugging, Ino flopped groggily onto their couch and said, "That sucks, especially since Shizune's out on a mission right now and can't confirm that."
"Thanks, Pig. Now I'm really not having a good day," Sakura replied before slamming the door after herself.
Ino yawned again and stretched out on the sofa, tugging the throw blanket Sakura's mother had made down over herself. Normally, she would have been all over Sakura for her attitude... but she did kind of sympathize with her friend, plus she understood Sakura was not a morning person. Living with her childhood friend for a little over a year had taught her that. Snuggling against the couch cushions, Ino made a silent note to have food ready for whenever Sakura got back.
Sakura took a few seconds outside the sliding door to the Hokage's office to collect herself. Yes, she was mad. Yes, she was exhausted. However, Tsunade had a temper that made her's look like an angry kitten. If the two of them lost it at the same time... Well, Konoha would be reduced to rubble and neither of them would be on speaking terms.
Bouncing on her heals and twisting her neck about to loosen it, Sakura took a deep breath and released it slowly before rapping on the wooden frame. She was calm. She was collected. She was a professional. She was still pissed off. Damn.
"About time you knocked, Sakura-chan! Get in here already," Tsunade called impatiently.
Gritting her teeth. Sakura entered the office and approached the constantly cluttered desk of the Hokage. Tsunade was sitting behind it as usual, but instead of being wrapped up in some document or another, she was watching her apprentice with narrowed, speculative eyes. "You summoned me, Tsunade-sama?" Even though you know I just finished a week straight of working midnights after training all day with you? Of course, that last part was kept inside. Barely.
"Yes, I did," Tsunade drawled, leaning back in her chair and tapping her lips thoughtfully. "How old are you now, Sakura?"
"Umm... Sixteen. Remember, shishou, we just celebrated my birthday last month?" How could the woman forget? She'd given Sakura the medic bag she was now carrying!
"Hmmm... that's pretty young," the older woman muttered before waving her hand dismissively. "Still, I don't think it'll be a problem. Your face is pretty enough, even if you are lacking in the physical development."
Sakura bristled at her words, her fingers curling into tight, shaking fists. "Look, shishou, if you just called me in here to remind me I'm not as well endowed as you or Ino or even Shizune-san then I'm going-,"
"Hold it, girl. It wasn't an insult, just an observation," Tsunade cut in sharply. "What you lack in curves you more than make up for in intelligence and clever thinking. Those two factors alone are more than attractive enough. Plus... you've got a nice, tight ass on you, which is more than Ino can boast. And if that comment leaves this room, I will personally make certain your life is a living hell from which there is no escape. Got it?"
"Yes, Tsunade-sama." She couldn't help smirking despite the fact she knew her mentor was dead serious about her threat, and very capable of following through on it, too. It was nice to hear something about her body was more attractive than Ino!
Giving a satisfied little grunt, Tsunade leaned forward and perched her elbows on her desk, folding her hands together in front of her lips. "As I said, Sakura, I have a very important mission for you, one that I feel perhaps only you are capable seeing through."
"Is it dangerous?" the pink haired girl asked, her stomach twisting a little at the thought. While she'd been on several missions for the village, none of them had been too perilous so far. On the one hand, she was nervous that this might just be her first real A ranked mission, and on the other she was excited that perhaps she'd finally improved to the point of earning it.
Tsunade smiled and shook her head. "Not life threatening, I can assure you. Think of this more as a personal mission for me than village business."
Sakura's instincts immediately jumped into warning mode. A personal mission for Tsunade, huh? The last time she'd gone on one of those, it had been to travel all the way to Sand to collect some rare wine the Kazekage had said was a gift for her. Tsunade hadn't trusted anyone but her own people to see it safely back to Konoha, despite Gaara's word that his people could handle its transport. "I'm not going on an other liquor run for you, shishou," Sakura said through clenched teeth.
"Oh, don't worry about that! Ino's far more accommodating for that sort of thing," the older woman replied with another dismissive wave of her hand. "What I have in mind for you won't even require that you leave Konoha."
"Okay. What is it?"
The smile that came to Tsunade's lips was anything but reassuring, and the eager gleam to her amber eyes sent Sakura's instincts into full out panic. This was gonna be bad. She just knew it. "What I want you to obtain for me is... Icha Icha Paradise."
Sakura stood unmoving and completely silent for several long seconds. Wait... did she seriously just ask... "You know you can just go to one of those dirty adult bookstores and pick up a copy, right?" she said slowly, her eyebrows creasing into thin lines. Did someone happen to slip Tsunade some kind of pervert potion she wasn't aware of? Why would she be asking for that?
Tsunade's smile widened into a full out grin that was decidedly wicked. "Not just any Icha Icha books," she corrected. "I want Hatake Kakashi's."
Again, and in less than two full minutes, Sakura was struck speechless. She shook her head as her brain refused to put the two parts together. "I'm sorry but... you want me to go on a mission to get Kakashi-sensei's smut books when you can just go out and buy your own?"
"ARE YOU INSANE? THERE'S NO WAY IN HELL I'M GETTING THOSE BOOKS FOR YOU!"
Sakura let out a squeak as Tsunade's open palm slammed onto the desk, sending stacks of mission scrolls and medical files tumbling to the floor. "Listen here, girl," Tsunade growled fiercely. Her face was taking on that red tone she got when she was nearing the breaking point. Oh... crap! "I've got a bet riding on getting those damned books off of him for one week! Since the rules of the bet state that I can't simply order him to hand them over, I need you to get them for me! BOTH OF THEM!"
"No 'buts', Haruno Sakura! BOOKS! I want those books or it'll be another year before you ever see the light of day again!"
A year... of midnight shifts? No... Tsunade-sama wouldn't be that cruel... would she? One look at the hard lines to the Hokage's face told her otherwise. Tsunade could, and would, do exactly that just to win a bet. Sighing as her shoulders slumped forward in defeat, Sakura mumbled, "Okay. I'll get the books for you."
Tsunade's laugh was low and triumphant as she leaned back in her chair again. "That's what I like about you, Sakura. You're so agreeable.. Oh, before I forget... the conditions under which you are to work."
Conditions? As if this wasn't ridiculous enough as it was, there were conditions to boot? Still seething, Sakura's teeth clenched tightly as she arched a brow in silent question for what these 'conditions' were.
Eyes still gleaming eagerly, Tsunade held up one finger and said, "First and foremost... you are not allowed to directly ask him for the books. Not that I think he'd give them to you anyway, but I can't have you acting as my proxy since the terms I was given stated I and my representatives could not simply ask for the books. Second, he is not to know of my involvement in this in any way, shape or form. I am to remain completely invisible."
"Great, so you get to remain anonymous while I'll get the wrath of the Copy Ninja brought down on my head," the girl muttered miserably.
There wasn't a trace of sympathy on Tsunade's face as she replied, "Isn't it your task to see that the Hokage's life is never in peril? Besides, I'm certain Kakashi will be far more lenient toward a former student than a complete stranger. Thirdly, the books cannot be obtained through means of ransom, such as giving over the antidote for a poison in exchange for his books. Genjutsu is also forbidden to use, not that he'd fall for that easily anyway."
"So what does that leave me then, huh?" Sakura demanded irritably as she settled her hands on her hips and glared at her mentor. "I can't act on your behalf, I can't just ask to borrow them. I can't bribe or threaten him for the books. And I don't know a genjutsu strong enough to work on Kakashi-sensei, plus I don't think I'm good enough in taijutsu or ninjutsu to even consider using them on him. Any suggestions for your student, Tsunade-shishou?" The title was stressed with quite a bit of exaggerated sarcasm, something that would have earned her a quick chastising by Shizune if the dark haired woman was there. Tsunade, however, was usually more amused by her than irritated so she allowed the occasional burst of temper.
Tsunade's lips curved into a full out, beaming smile as she crossed one leg over the other and tapped her nails along her desk in a slow, staccato rhythm. "As a matter of fact... I do," she said, her voice carrying a mischievous quality that made Sakura's stomach lurch sickeningly. "I agree with you that your jutsu skills are far below Hatake Kakashi's still, even without the use of the sharingan. Nor do I think you're capable of pickpocketing him. I could... but you are far too honest a girl for that."
Sakura's eyes narrowed suspiciously as she resettled her arms across her chest. She wasn't falling for her mentor's flattery in the least. The only time Tsunade bothered with open compliments was when she was trying to soften a person into doing something she knew they wouldn't be happy about. "Just spill it, Tsunade-sama. I wanna get back to sleep some time today!"
"Mmm... no. I've already given you a hint, Sakura. You figure it out from there. And those books had better be in my office within six months or it's a year of graveyard shifts for you!"
"That's completely unfair and you know it, shishou!"
Tsunade laughed, but the hard set to her eyes said she was anything but amused. "You're a kunoichi, Haruno Sakura. Get used to unfair. As a way of compensating you, from now until the deadline for the Icha Icha books, you'll be working the midmorning shifts every other day. On the days that you don't have to report to the clinic, you will train with me from nine in the morning until five at night. You will also have Sundays off. Fair enough?"
Sakura's jaw hung open and her eyes widened in shock at the offer. Midmorning shifts were the most coveted ones in the hospital! Seven to three... and one weekend day guaranteed off? And only three days a week? Wow... Tsunade-sama must be pretty desperate to win this bet if she was willing to go that far for those stupid books! Nodding and letting out a slow breath, Sakura said, "Alright. You can count on me, Tsunade-sama."
Tsunade beamed at her and said, "Then I'll leave this in your hands. Don't disappoint me, Sakura-chan. And remember... you have six months to get all of his books. Every last one."
Nodding, Sakura bowed to her mentor and headed for the door again while running over the different scenarios for getting those books off of her former teacher. Tsunade had said she'd given her a clue... but what was it? Other than what she wasn't allowed to use, they hadn't really talked about much. Hmmm... Maybe Ino and the other girls would have some ideas about this.
"So... let me get this straight," Ino said slowly, pointing her chopsticks in Sakura's direction while her face took on a more thoughtful expression. Tenten and Hinata continued eating, the one shoving the food in her mouth almost boyishly fast while the other nibbled at a little bit at a time. Both of them were watching the blonde girl intently while she went over what Sakura had told them. "Tsunade-sama asked you in there today because she want's you to get Kakashi-sensei's books."
"Mm-hm," Sakura answered around a mouthful of chicken. She'd already gone over this with Ino when both girls had woken up later that morning... or afternoon, to be more exact. Ino had listened, then complained that she needed food to wake up and pay attention properly. They'd stopped by Tenten's small apartment first before swinging by the house Hinata had purchased with what remained of her allowance from her family before all four of them had gone to one of the small grill restaurants that were scattered throughout Konoha.
"And you can't ask, order, bribe or jutsu it off of him?"
Sakura shook her head and waved the waiter over for another glass of water. "None of that."
"You could always swipe it from him," Tenten suggested as she plucked a chunk of mushroom from her plate. "He keeps it in his back pocket, so it shouldn't be too hard."
"You're forgetting who you're talking about and who you're talking to, Tenten," Ino replied. "First of all, this is the Hatake Kakashi we're talking about here. The famous Copy Ninja. There's no way he'd put his most precious possession in his back pocket if he weren't beyond confident he could keep it from being stolen. Secondly... Sakura stealing it? Can you honestly see that happening?"
"Hey!" Sakura yelped as she swung her foot under the table directly into Ino's shin.
"Ow! That hurt, Forehead! And don't get mad at me for speaking the truth!" the blonde girl shouted back while reaching down to rub her abused leg.
"I'm sorry, Sakura-chan but... Ino-chan has a point," Hinata added quietly. "Didn't Tsunade-sama say the same thing?"
Shoulders slumping, Sakura muttered, "Damn." They were right. She knew she couldn't expect to just steal the books from him. However... Her green eyes brightening hopefully, Sakura turned to look at Tenten. "I can't... but you probably could, Ten-chan."
Tenten snorted and came close to spitting her food across the table at Hinata. "Sorry," she mumbled around her food. "Gai-sensei's got our team booked with missions for the next three months. If I wasn't busy, then I'd totally do it."
Sakura gave a frustrated groan as she flopped back against the booth. Hinata cleared her throat lightly, which drew everyone's attention to her pink cheeks. "What about... Maybe asking someone else to ask Kakashi-san for the books?" she offered timidly.
Ino snapped her fingers as an excited grin broke out across her lips. "Hey... that could work! Hinata's got a really good idea there, Sakura! Why not ask maybe Asuma-sensei or... I don't know, another jounin... to ask him for the books?"
Shaking her head no, Sakura said, "It won't work. First of all, I don't know any jounins besides Kakashi-sensei and Shikamaru well enough to even consider asking them that favor. Second of all, whoever I ask is going to want to know why. I have a feeling Tsunade-sama wants this kept as quiet as possible. Third of all... there's no way short of prying them from his cold, dead hands that Kakashi-sensei would ever let a fellow jounin borrow Icha Icha from him. Ever. Don't you remember when Genma-san was brought into the clinic last time?"
"Ooooh, yeah. He'd had that weird jutsu done to him, the one that had turned him neon blue from head to toe. Not even Tsunade-sama knew how to unravel that chakra." Ino paused to snicker at the memory of a miserable, angry Genma being told he'd just have to deal with being blue until the jutsu wore off. "Shizune hadn't been too happy with him either, as I recall."
"That's because he'd borrowed one of Kakashi-sensei's Icha Icha Paradise books and returned it with a water stain on one of the pages," Sakura informed her, causing Tenten to burst out laughing while Hinata's eyes widened in shock. "Haven't you noticed how Genma gets all tense and twitchy anytime someone even mentions those stupid books? So, after an incident like that, do you honestly think Kakashi-sensei would let anyone even breathe on his books?"
"I guess not," the blonde girl conceded, letting out an irritated huff of breath that blew her hair out of her face. "Wow... turning someone blue over a water stain. Now I'm curious just how good those books actually are!"
"Gai-sensei says they personify the beauty of youth... whatever that means," Tenten supplied. "He started reading them not too long ago because of Kakashi-san's fascination with them. Something about understanding his rival better... I dunno. But, yeah, that's what he says."
"It's just written porn, Tenten. I don't know what Gai-san was getting at either," Sakura said, oblivious to the way Hinata's face lit up bright red at the mention of the word 'porn'. "At any rate, this isn't helping. Tsunade-sama said she'd given me a clue already... but I have no idea what it even was!"
All attention was turned on Hinata again as she let out a startled gasp before dropping her chopsticks and covering her face with her hands. The burning blush that had been on her cheeks was now making its way down her neck. Both Ino and Tenten arched their brows and gaped at the girl while Sakura sighed and dipped her napkin in her ice water before rubbing it along the back of Hinata's neck soothingly.
When Hinata had calmed down enough to lower her hands to the point where her pale eyes could be seen, she whispered, 'I'm sorry, but... I think I know what Tsunade-sama intends for you to do, Sakura-chan."
"You do?" Ino piped up, leaning forward eagerly.
Nodding weakly, Hinata spared a glance at Sakura before surepticiously edging toward the end of the booth and away from the pink haired girl next to her. Still speaking from behind her hands, Hinata said, "Didn't... Didn't Tsunade-sama discuss your age and, um... your looks as well?"
Sakura's brow furrowed in confusion as she said, "Yeeees... but what's that got to do with anything?"
'Well, um... you see... I think... I think Tsunade-sama wants you to, um..."
Ino's shriek caused Tenten to yelp in surprise and grip the table to keep from falling out of the booth. Sakura's rounded eyes whipped around to her friend while Hinata winced and slowly lowered her hands from her face. "I've got it!" the blonde exclaimed. "I know what you need to do! You're right, Hinata, that's exactly what Tsunade-sama meant! Why else say anything at all about her age and appearance? You're a genius, Hinata!"
"Um... thanks?" the quiet girl offered with a timid smile.
"Well, it's great that you know, Pig, but do you mind filling me in on this as well?" Sakura demanded sharply.
Ino rolled her eyes as a mischievous smirk that was a little too reminiscent of Tsunade's crossed her lips. "I'm surprised you didn't catch on sooner, Forehead. Honestly..."
"Stop acting like a know-it-all and just tell me already!"
Clearing her throat and smoothing her palms flat onto the table top, Ino replied in a calm, collected voice that didn't at all match her amused smirk, "You need to seduce the books off of him."
Their table feel completely silent at that. Hinata was as close to the edge of the booth as she could get while still sitting. Tenten had stopped eating altogether, even going so far as to let her chopsticks drop to her plate with a soft clatter. And Sakura... was slowly fueling chakra into her fist in order to punch a Pig through the wall of the restaurant.
"You better be joking, Ino," she said in a low, threatening voice. "I am not seducing my teacher!"
"Ex-teacher," Ino corrected, her blue eyes darkening ever so slightly. She wasn't a fool. She knew damned well Sakura's temper was about to explode on her. "Why else would Tsunade ask your age? Or say that your ass was nice? I mean, seriously! Everyone knows my ass is a lot better looking than yours!"
"Only if they're blind and without taste," Sakura shouted. "I. Will. Not. Seduce. Kakashi!"
"Why not? Is it because you know you can't do it?" the blonde goaded, causing Hinata to whimper and Tenten to gulp.
"Hey... guys," Tenten attempted to interrupt nervously. Her gaze flickered around to the other restaurant patrons, who were now watching their table with mixtures of curiosity and nervousness.
Sakura's fist slammed onto the table top, causing their dishes to jump nearly an inch from the surface as a deep crack split down the wood. "What did you just say, Pig?" she ground out through clenched teeth.
Ino flicked her hair back over her shoulders as a confident smile curved across her lips. "I mean, I know I wouldn't feel capable of seducing anyone if I had a forehead as big as yours. Or if my legs looked as twiggy as yours. Or if I didn't have much of a chest to boast about. So... it's okay, Sakura-chan. I understand why you don't think you can do it."
"WHAT WAS THAT, INO-PIG?" Sakura yelled, which sent Hinata and Tenten racing out of the booth in an instant.
Ino, however, stood her ground. If there was one thing she did well, it was manipulate Haruno Sakura. Pretending as if her nails were of the utmost fascination, Ino purred, "Why, seeing as we're such good friends, I'll even do it for you. Six months was the time limit? Ha! I'll have Hatake Kakashi's entire collection in five! And I'll even get the added bonus of being one of the lucky few to see him without his mask." She sighed dramatically as her features shifted into an almost dreamy look. "I've heard so many stories about how hot he is under that mask. It'll be nice to-,"
"Save it," Sakura snapped as she stood up abruptly. "There's no way in HELL I'm gonna let you get those books off of him! No. Freakin'. Way. Got that, Pig? So take your friendly offer and shove it!" Snatching her purse up, she stormed out of the restaurant completely unaware that everyone was gaping at her as if she'd suddenly sprouted wings.
Slowly, everyone began to return to their meals, still glancing every so often at the remaining three girls. Tenten gulped as she and Hinata made their way cautiously back to the booth where Ino had resumed eating with a contentment that seemed incredibly wrong for what had just happened. "So," Tenten said slowly. "That was kinda crazy. Wow."
"Was it necessary to push her that far, Ino-chan?" Hinata asked worriedly, chewing her lower lip as she gazed at the door Sakura had left through.
Ino took a sip of water, her very demeanor indicating that she wasn't at all phased by Sakura's outburst. "Of course it was," she said smoothly. "If I know one thing about Haruno Sakura, it's this; tell her she can't do something, and she's gonna do it just to prove you wrong. Especially if it's me saying she can't do it. Now... there's almost no chance of her failing!"
Tenten's eyes nearly bugged from her head as she gave a short, surprised laugh. "You mean... all that... you did it on purpose? I mean... wow, Ino! That was brilliant!"
"Hmm, I know. There's only one problem though; Sakura's never been on a date before. And, in order for this to work, she's gonna have to go on dates with Kakashi-san."
The other two girls stiffened as if ice had been poured down the backs of their shirts.
"That... is just weird."
Nodding, Ino pushed her plate away and reached for her own purse, pulling out enough money to cover both hers and Sakura's lunches. "That's why we still need to stick with her through this. Between the three of us, we'll help her seduce him!" This time, it was Ino's peal of laughter that caused the other patrons to look at their table once again.
Uncaring that they were once again making a scene, Ino continued laughing... until she caught sight of her companion's faces. Both were looking anywhere but at her, Tenten doing so guiltily while Hinata's cheeks were once again cherry tinted. "What?" the blonde demanded at their continued silence.
"Well... you probably weren't listening before, but I'm gonna be busy with missions for a while," Tenten ventured cautiously. "Plus, and this is no offense, Hinata, I don't think she's been on a date before either. Soooo... we're not gonna be much help."
Ino blinked rapidly as her gaze shifted from one girl to the other before she let out a frustrated groan and threw her hands into the air dramatically. "Fine! I can do it myself! But the next time you two need guy help, don't even think about coming to us!"
"I've never needed help with guys," Tenten interjected as Ino stood up and passed over her money. "You joke with them when they're being good and beat 'em up when they're being stupid. Simple as that."
"I'm very sorry, Ino-chan," Hinata added, bowing to the taller girl from where she sat. "I-I guess I'm just... well..."
Ino's irritated expression softened a little as she reached forward to tuck a few pieces of Hinata's hair back behind her ears. The gesture was one of familiarity, something only good friends really did, and it caused Hinata to look up in surprise. "Well... I suppose since I'm the only one who has any sort of real experience with guys, you'll both have to come to me for advice anyway." She paused when she reached the doorway, her grin turning wicked as she called over her shoulder, "Especially when it concerns Lee-kun and Naruto-kun!"
With that parting shot and their horrified, scarlet faces still staring at her back, Ino left the restaurant and returned to her apartment to wait for Sakura to get back. After all, she wanted to hear all the details about her friend asking her former teacher out!
Sakura stood outside the jounin compound doors, nervously wringing her hands in front of her. After that stupid Ino had gone and opened her mouth like that, her temper had carried her this far. But now that she was standing outside the large, three storied building... she felt like she was going to puke. What the hell was she doing there? She couldn't possibly go through with this... could she?
One year worth of midnight shifts... or asking her former teacher out on a date. Hmmm... it was a tough choice, really.
Of course, knowing how Tsunade could be, if she failed to do this then those midnight shifts were going to be spent in the intensive care unit. All night, having to change bandages, work complicated procedures, get blood soaked... this on top of Tsunade's regular training sessions, of course. Suddenly, the prospect of having one date with Kakashi-sensei didn't seem so bad.
She was so lost in thought that she almost missed the familiar silver hair and slouched figure of her teacher as he was leaving the main building with a small group of fellow jounins with him. Sakura shook her head and forced down her lunch as she jogged after the group, cringing as she reached out and tugged on Kakashi's flak vest.
The older man turned around with a surprised lift to his visible brow which quickly shifted into a happy expression when he recognized her. "Hello, Sakura-chan! Well, this is certainly a pleasant surprise."
"K-Kakashi-sensei, I need... I need to talk to you...about something," she stammered before closing her eyes and mentally kicking herself for coming across so lamely. There was no way the other jounin he was with would think she was there on official business now! Venturing to crack one eye open, she saw her fears were confirmed by the knowing looks on some of the faces.
Kakashi spared a glance over his shoulder as someone snickered before saying cheerfully, "Alright then." He began walking back to the building with Sakura following behind him. Her cheeks flared up when the snickers became full out laughter, which in turn became anger when one of them went so far as to whistle after them. If she ever found out who that was...
Once they were inside the compound, Kakashi led her down the main hall and past the front desk, tossing an idle wave at the jounin stationed there before turning down a hall on the left. Sakura was too busy staring at the floor to really pay attention to her surroundings. She'd never been inside the jounin facility before, and normally she would have been very curious about it, but seeing as she was there to ask out a man (not a boy or a guy, but a man) who was fourteen years older than she was... yeah. Everything except for the muted tan tiles of the floor were very uninteresting.
She looked up when she heard a door being slid open, her eyes wide as Kakashi stepped into a room and flicked on the lights. The room was a small one, most of the space being taken up by a horseshoe shaped table with chairs. There was a wide black board on the wall across from the entryway that had all sorts of chalk scribbles across from it that made no sense to her. Sakura swallowed heavily as she stepped in after him, sliding the door shut carefully as another group of jounin began to walk by.
"Now then... sorry about those guys," Kakashi said as he leaned back to sit on the edge of the table, folding his arms over his chest. "Even grown ups can act immaturely now and then. So, what was that something you needed to talk about? It can't be additional training. From what I hear, Tsunade's working you within an inch of your sanity."
"No... no, it's not training," Sakura fumbled, looking anywhere but at him as she spoke. "Actually, I wanted to, uh... ask if you..."
She missed the way Kakashi's eye narrowed suspiciously as he regarded her closely. "You're unusually tongue tied today, Sakura-chan," he commented. "Is it really that hard to talk to me now? I know we haven't seen each other much due to both of us being busy, but you can talk to me, you know."
"I know," she said quickly, fidgeting as she gave a dry little laugh. "I like talking to you, Kakashi-sensei."
"Well, that's funny seeing as you can't seem to get a full sentence out today. Tell you what, why don't you come back later tonight and ask? I understand those clowns probably made you feel uncomfortable, so-,"
"No! No, really I'm fine! I-I just... argh!" Kakashi's eyebrow arched again as she stamped her foot in frustration. Sakura's hands fisted in annoyance with herself. What was wrong with her? Yes, this was her ex-teacher and yes, he was a lot older than she was. But what did that matter really? She should be able to do this without any problem, right? After all, there could be a mission in the future where she would have to seduce someone for information. What kind of kunoichi was she if she couldn't even get some stupid books off of her teacher?
Sighing, Sakura forced her hands to relax at her sides as she took three deep, even breaths and slowly opened her eyes again. She could do this, no problem. It was just asking him out to dinner. Maybe she'd get lucky and it wouldn't be so bad. Her determination to do this despite what Ino had said (as well as to keep from working midnights for a solid year) was what finally gave her the courage to look Kakashi directly in the eye and say, "Kakashi-sensei, will you have dinner with me sometime?"
Kakashi blinked, his one visible eye clearly showing his surprise. Sakura refused to look away as he shifted a little and cleared his throat. "Would you mind clarifying that a little?"
"Huh? What needs clarifying? I'm asking you out to dinner."
"Yes, but to me it sounds almost like you're asking me out on a date."
"That's because I am!" she huffed, shooting a heated glare in his direction. "When a girl asks you out to dinner sometime, that usually means she wants to go on a date!"
"Usually, but not always," Kakashi interjected, his voice slipping into the tone he'd used for lecturing her. It made her cheeks flush pink as the reality of what she was doing sank back in. This was her teacher. He was almost her age now when she was born. She was actually asking her teacher out on a date!
"Well?" she demanded, pressing one hand to her stomach to try and ease the roiling feeling. She had to stay calm. Puking all over him would ruin any chance of her ever succeeding in this.
Kakashi hummed thoughtfully under his breath as he directed his gaze up at the ceiling, making Sakura inwardly seethe at the very idea that he had to actually stop and think about saying yes to her. Finally, his eye creased close in a familiar display of amusement as he said, "Sounds okay to me, but on three conditions."
Sakura groaned and let her head tip forward. More conditions... she was getting really sick and tired of this. "Fine, what are they?" she grumbled.
"Well, the first can be resolved right now. I'd like you to ask me out to dinner again... this time without the honorific."
"What? Why?" she yelped. Hadn't he noticed how embarrassing it was for her the first time around? Why was he making her do this again?
The look in his eye was unyielding. If she didn't do this, he wasn't going to go through with it. "Because, Sakura-chan," he explained, stressing the honorific he attached to her name purposely. "A date isn't the same thing as dinner. Dinner is what a student and former teacher have together. A date is between friends or equals, which we've technically been for over two years now. So... if you're certain about doing this, ask me out as an equal or don't do it at all."
She hated to admit it... but she did see his point. Sighing, Sakura stared very fixedly at his chest and repeated, "Kakashi, would you like to have dinner with me sometime?"
"That's much better, and yes I would. Now, for the last two conditions... 'Sometime' is a bit vague, don't you think?"
"I suppose," Sakura muttered, still refusing to look at him. Why was he making this so much harder than it had to be? He really was sick if he got off on irritating her.
Kakashi reached into one of his vest pockets andpulled out a small scroll used for sending messages and a pencil. Using his hand as a surface to write on, he began scribbling across the slip of paper quickly. "So, how about I edit the 'sometime' part to tomorrow night. And, as my final condition, I'd like to pick the place. Meet me at this location at seven o'clock."
Sakura took the slip of paper he handed to her and squinted at the scrawling mass of scribbles across it. "I can't even read that," she complained, turning the paper around in case she had it upside down.
She couldn't see it, but she could tell Kakashi was frowning as he took the paper from her and flipped it back the other way. "It says number seventeen, Asaihi Lane. It's perfectly legible."
"It is not! Are you seriously trying to tell me that's a one?"
"It is a one. Look, it has the little hook-thing and-,"
Sakura grabbed the paper back from him and jammed it into her pocket. "Number seventeen, Asaihi Lane at seven tomorrow night. I've got it."
The next thing that happened left her so shocked that she thought for sure she'd been frozen. Kakashi actually reached out traced a finger down the curve of her cheek before stepping around her and calling over his shoulder, "I'm looking forward to it, Sakura. See you later!"
Blinking and so numbed that she wasn't even sure she was breathing, Sakura remained rooted in the spot long after Kakashi had left the room chuckling. Slowly, she reached up and pressed her palm to the cheek he'd just touched. Then, she was running for the garbage can near the door to empty her stomach contents. Oh... god. This was not good! How was she supposed to have dinner with a man that made her insides go all weird?
"Damn you... shishou," she choked as another round of vomit came from her mouth.
Kakashi was still chuckling as he caught up to the rest of his companions at the Academy training grounds. They were going to observe the new genin candidates for training, just to get an idea of who they would soon be teaching. It was easy enough to spot them without Genma's shrill whistle. Gai's flamboyant green unitard stood out anywhere except a dance studio.
Waving as he joined them, he arrived just in time to witness Iruka take a misplaced elbow to the groin. The little girl who'd caused the damage began shrieking as Iruka dropped to his knees, waving away the other instructor out there with him. Low, sympathizing groans came from a few of those present, and some of the younger boys began snickering to themselves.
"Don't let Tsunade get her hands on that one," Asuma commented while shaking his head as Iruka stood up again. Immediately, the jounin assembled began applauding and shouting encouragement to the other man, who gave them a wry smile and wave in return.
"Seriously," Genma agreed, laughing under his breath. "There are days where I really regret Shizune ever hooking up with that crazy woman." Asuma chuckled as he lit a cigarette and patted Genma's shoulder in consolation.
"Speaking of the Hokage, wasn't that young blossom of a girl her apprentice?" Gai asked Kakashi, his dark eyes gleaming brightly as they fell on a boy who was doing particularly well with his taijutsu training.
"Mm-hm. That was Sakura," Kakashi confirmed as he pulled his book out from behind his back. He really wasn't interested in the training below. He'd already discussed it with Tsunade and had his name taken off the roster for training this time around. Team Seven was his and he really didn't feel like breaking in a new group of genin so soon. The Hokage had driven a hard bargain though. Since he wasn't teaching, he was put back on the active roster and reinstated in the ANBU as well.
"So, what'd the old hag want now?" Genma pressed, chewing on the end of his senbon as he continued watching the lessons intently. Because of Kakashi's request, he'd been selected to become a squad leader instead, something he wasn't too happy about. Maybe he'd take a page from the Copy Nin's book and flunk every one of his students, too.
"Nothing. This was purely a social call."
Asuma grinned and winked at Genma as he said, "Awww... I didn't know you were the type have social calls with younger girls, Hatake."
"Only with your girlfriend, Sarutobi."
Ignoring the spurts of laughter from the other two present, Asuma waggled a finger in Kakashi's direction and said in mock threat, "That's my wife and the future mother of my children, you know."
"Sure they're your kids?" Genma cracked before grinning as he ducked a punch for his arm. Kakashi neatly sidestepped when Asuma lunged at Genma, easily getting the slighter man into a headlock before wrestling him to the ground. "Ow... okay, okay! I give! Damn, man, I thought Kurenai had you whipped by now!"
Asuma was laughing as he took the hand Genma offered and let the other man help him to his feet. "Only in the most fun sense of the word."
"I want that one," Gai interrupted as he pointed down at the training field. The rest of their group (mostly people Kakashi didn't know but who seemed to be well acquainted with someone he did know) followed where he directed to a young girl who was running circles around the boys.
"Now, now Gai-sempai, this isn't like the grocery store," one of the other jounin teased. "You can't just go and pick whoever it is you want. The teams are created and assigned by the Hokage."
Gai's face scrunched up briefly into a pout before he gave a resigned nod and said, "Then I want to trade with whoever gets her."
"Uh... can you even do that?"
Genma smirked at the whispered question and shrugged. "Who says you can't? Gai, if I get that little speed demon on my team, I get to pick who I trade her for."
"It's a promise," Gai agreed, holding out his hand while never taking his eyes off the 'speed demon' in question. Genma shook his hand, his grin widening as the others began whispering to themselves about whether or not that could be done.
"Anyway," Genma continued as he sidled up next to Kakashi once more. Kakashi ignored the other man as he turned to the next page in his book, his eyes flying eagerly over every word. "About this social visit from Tsunde's firecracker. Raidou over there says he thinks she was asking you on a date."
"Is Raidou the one who whistled at her?" Kakashi asked as he followed Genma's nod to the mentioned man. Raidou was busy discussing what appeared to be a very serious topic with another man. The frown on his lips really emphasized the scar running down one side of his cheek.
"Naw, Raidou wouldn't do that," Genma said quickly. "That guy already had his ass handed to him by Gai for 'making light on the beauty of youth, blah, blah, blah'. But I guess the Green Beast does have a good point. She is awfully cute for being so young."
"Hmm, you think so, eh? Does Shizune know you're checking out Tsunade's apprentice?"
Genma visibly shivered at the idea of his lover ever hearing about such a thing. "Are you kidding me? In case you forgot, Shizune's a poison expert. There is no way in hell I'd do anything to hurt a poison expert!"
Kakashi chuckled as he said, "Smart man. Because if for some reason Shizune forgave you, you know Tsunade wouldn't."
"Oh...god. Why didn't I think of that before hooking up with Shizune? But stop evading the question, Hatake. What'd she want?"
Smirking beneath his mask and doing a quick check to make certain only Genma was listening to him, Kakashi answered, "Your friend Raidou is pretty observant."
"Oh... so it was a date?"
"And you said...?"
Genma took a step back from Kakashi, his senbon nearly falling from his mouth in shock. Kakashi continued to ignore him in favor of his book, though it was getting increasingly more difficult to keep from laughing. "Uh... don't take this the wrong way or anything, Kakashi, but have you even considered that there might be an alternative reason for this kid to ask you out?"
"She's not a kid. She hasn't been for some time now. And yes, I know there's probably another reason for this. After all, she's been mad for Uchiha Sasuke since the day she was my student. I doubt that's changed at all."
"And you know what she's after, don't you?"
Kakashi sighed and closed his book with a slight snap, mildly irritated that Genma was pestering him when it was obvious he would have preferred to read instead of talk. "No, not yet. But whatever it is, she's required to try and seduce it out of me."
Genma chuckled under his breath and shook his head. "Lucky you. So, how far are you willing to play along with this?"
"First, I need to find out what it is she wants but can't directly ask for. Next... a little lesson is in order."
"Oh, and what's that lesson entail?"
Smirking as he tucked his book away and turned his back on the group, Kakashi leaned in and said in a voice so low only Genma could have heard it, "That seduction is a double edged sword."
He patted Genma's shoulder as the other man gaped after him before laughing as he called out, "You... are just too much! Have fun, sensei!"
Kakashi tossed an airy wave over his shoulder as he left the group in favor of his favorite reading spot in all of Konoha; the rooftops. Yes, it more than likely would prove to be fun to show Sakura she needed to be very careful just who it was she was planning to seduce. After all, he'd be lying if he said he hadn't noticed she'd turned into a very attractive young woman under Tsunade's guidance. But the real reason he would 'go along' with the plan was to teach her a very valuable lesson within the relative safety of her home. Seducing a friend and former mentor was one thing. Seducing a stranger who could quite possibly kill you was another.
Sighing, Kakashi took a running start up the side of the nearest building and dropped soundlessly onto the rooftop. To answer Genma's question about how far he was willing to go; as far as it took to drive the lesson home.