Just a small note: This hasn't been beta'd since my email is screwed up. Any mistakes are purely my own.
You Gotta Go There To Come Back
Chapter 17: Simple Words
You've got nothing to say, nothing to say
But you've found a way to make yourself heard
To make yourself heard
These simple words, got nowhere to go
But I'll let you know when they've found a way
When they've found a way
Gotta make yourself heard
-Simple Words by BRMC
Kakashi stood in one of Hiro's sound booths, feeling more than a little out of place. He wasn't used to not knowing how things worked. Part and parcel of being a genius, he supposed. However, all the knobs, buttons, switches and levers on the sound board were a complete mystery to him. How anyone could figure out and remember what all of those controls did was beyond him. Even with his sharingan he figured it would take a few study sessions to get it all down.
"Here we go!" At Hiro's triumphant statement, Kakashi pulled his gaze from the board over to the producer. "I found a few songs that I think we should look through. A good love song should put you back into Sakura's good graces." He passed half of the stack to Kakashi and motioned to one of the chairs. "Have a seat. This could take a while."
The Copy Ninja ungracefully plopped into the wheeled desk chair with a sigh. "I hope you know what you're doing, Hiro-san. I don't think I could stand having her not forgive me and making a fool of myself."
"Have faith, Kakashi-san!" Hiro raised his own stack of songs in front of his face to hide his growing smirk. He had to admit, part of him was just curious about Kakashi's singing voice. The man certainly had a very ear-pleasing baritone when he was merely speaking. The other part of him, was certain this would help the ninja win Sakura back. She deserved happiness, more than most people he knew. He hadn't been lying earlier. Sakura did glow when Kakashi was around and the two were a couple. If Kakashi made Sakura happy, then he would do anything necessary to help her have her Kakashi.
A few hours later, Kakashi set another song down onto the pile at his feet. "As much as I appreciate your help and need Sakura back, I also need sleep, Hiro-san." With a sigh, he stood and stretched until a 'pop' came from his back. "The words are all starting to blur together and not make much sense." Normally, he could go for obscenely long periods of time without rest but he had traveled a great distance and had his emotions battered today. He was exhausted physically and emotionally.
Hiro yawned widely before he also stood. "I understand. I'm pretty out of it, myself." He flicked off the lights and locked up the studio. "Do you have anywhere to stay? I have a few extra rooms, if you'd like."
Kakashi smiled, only noticeable by the crinkling of his eye. "Thank you, Hiro-san. But I'm more comfortable in a hotel. Is there a time I can meet with you tomorrow to go over more songs?"
"I should be available all day tomorrow. As long as nothing comes up, I don't have anything planned. How about we meet here at noon? I know I won't be up very early after going to bed so late."
Kakashi nodded and turned with his signature wave. "See you then."
Sakura groggily roved through her kitchen, trying to figure out what to eat for breakfast. Nothing sounded appetizing, but she had lost enough weight from stress already. Letting herself rot away would do her no good. She finally gave up on finding anything tasty and just decided to choke down some cold cereal.
As she ate, she kept running over Kakashi's visit the previous day in her mind. It had been wonderful and awful at the same time. His handsome visage had always caused delightful butterflies in her stomach, a warm flutter that she always enjoyed. Not to mention that mind-shattering kiss. It had also been like picking at a scab. She had come to terms with the fact that she could never have him, but the wound was so fresh that the sight of him made her want to cry in a heap on the floor. Such conflicting emotions were difficult for Sakura. Her feelings for someone were rarely in shades of gray. It was either black or white - love or hate - friend or foe. The only other person that she loved and hated at the same time was Sasuke. That had obviously not ended well.
She really needed to sort this whole mess out in her mind. With a sigh, she decided she wasn't going to go anywhere or do anything until some of her thoughts had cleared. She pushed away her half-eaten cereal and headed for her bedroom.
She was ready to fall into bed and do some serious thinking when silly rhythmic knocking started at her door. "Oh for the love of all things holy!" She knew that knock anywhere and she wasn't entirely sure Hajime would be a welcome guest at the moment. Sakura immediately scolded herself for the thought. She hadn't seen the man in ages and he was one of her dearest friends. Of course he would want to check up on her after all she had been through.
She hurried over to her door and couldn't help the smile that escaped when he wiggled his eyebrows at her. "Hello, yummy lady!" He squeezed her up in a tight hug and spun her around happily. "It feels like I haven't seen you in years!"
Sakura giggled slightly. There were very few people who could get genuine smiles and laughs out of her when she was down and Hajime was one of those people. "It's only been a month, sweetie."
"Perhaps, but a queen needs her court." Hajime wrinkled his nose playfully at her and she ushered him inside.
"So, am I the queen or you?"
Hajime rolled his eyes as if the answer were obvious. "Honey, I'm going to make something very clear right now. This -" he gestured to himself - "is 100% round the clock royal fabulousness. And that -" he gestured to her pajamas with a look of disgust - "is only part-time fabulousness."
Sakura giggled. His insults were one of the things she loved about him since he didn't really mean them. "Of course, how ignorant of me. Alas, one person does not a court make, love."
Hajime waved her comment off, sank down into her overstuffed couch and propped his feet up on the coffee table. Sakura rolled her eyes at him. "Please, make yourself at home."
He leaned back into the cushions. "Don't mind if I do."
Sakura giggled again before going to join him. Maybe his visit was just what she needed after all. His sarcasm, potty mouth and inability to take much of anything seriously were infectious. She felt slightly guilty that not even Naruto had been able to cheer her up so quickly, but then again, he was so determined to fix everything that was wrong with the world. Sometimes, she just needed an off-color joke and a distraction. As she had said before, Hajime was the world's best at distraction.
Kakashi was starting to appreciate the behind the scenes work Sakura would have been doing for her singing career. Going through all these songs was boring as hell, but it seemed his best bet for winning her over again.
Hiro gasped suddenly and Kakashi peered over his papers at him. He had a hand over his mouth as he continued reading the song he was looking at. He looked up wide-eyed and silently handed it over to Kakashi.
Silver eyebrows drew together as he read the lyrics on the page.
Tell me what you need and I will find a way to stop the bleeding;
No, don't add to my mistakes.
Tell me you're not leaving and I'll tell you everything you need to know.
Don't throw it all away, don't say my words are just too late.
I don't want to be left behind, I've been so blind to all that I have broken.
Can we put this back together?
No more empty promises, they don't exist; just me out in the open.
I know this will take time, can you give me one last chance to make it right?
You say the story's ending but I think it's time we stop pretending;
No, can't let you turn the page.
Does your heart remember when we used to say forever, don't let go.
Don't throw it all away; don't say these words are just too late.
I don't want to be left behind, I've been so blind to all that I have broken.
Can we put this back together?
No more empty promises, they don't exist; just me out in the open.
I know this will take time, can we put the past behind us,
Tonight I'm gonna fight for you; just give me one last chance to make it right,
Last chance to make it right.
Kakashi looked up at Hiro. The lyrics were absolutely perfect. It was almost as if they were written just for him and his stupid mistakes. "I think we found our song."
Hiro's disbelieving look from earlier had been replaced with glee. "Get into the booth! Let's hear how this sounds!"
He was still eager to hear if that majestic speaking voice was just as wonderful when it was belting out a song. Kakashi took a moment to listen to the music and figure out how the words would fit into it and then motioned to Hiro that he was ready.
The music was a little faster than Kakashi had anticipated for a love song, but with such perfect lyrics he doubted tempo would matter much. He took a deep breath, gathered his courage and let it out.
Hiro had to consciously work to keep his mouth from gaping open. Kakashi's voice was smooth and deep, like velvet for the ears. The song didn't vary much note wise so Hiro didn't get to see if Kakashi had much of a range, but with a voice like that he didn't need one. Girls would swoon if they heard him singing, he was sure of it. Hiro knew how to spot a great voice, and Kakashi definitely had one. When Kakashi finished singing, the producer pumped his fist and then grinned widely. "That was magical, Kakashi-san! Do that for Sakura and I'm sure you'll be forgiven."
Kakashi was thankful for the mask that hid the blush on his face. "Thank you for all your help, Hiro-san. I don't know what I would have done if you hadn't come along to help me."
"Don't thank me just yet. Sakura still has to actually hear you sing the song." He pursed his lips for a moment in thought. "I've got it. You don't need much practice, do you? I mean, you can memorize the song can't you...with uh...?" He motioned vaguely to his own eyes, unsure how comfortable Kakashi was talking about his transplanted eye.
The Copy Ninja nodded and lifted his forehead protector to let the sharingan roam over the page. After a moment of the sharingan's lazy swirling, he lowered the fabric back into place. "Done."
Dark curls bounced as Hiro nodded. "Good. Let me make a few phone calls and see what we can set up."
Kakashi knew who was first on the call list when Hiro pulled the phone away from his ear after stating whom he was with. Even without his superior hearing, Kakashi would have been able to hear the angry curses coming from the phone. Hiro tried to talk over the angry person while holding the phone a safe distance from his ear. "Koji, just listen! Koji! KOJI!"
Finally, the yelling stopped and Hiro put the phone back to his ear. "You know he makes her happy. And whether we like it or not, she loves him. He's trying to show he's serious about the two of them being together and I think I have a way for him to do that."
He paused as he listened to Koji and then winced. "Well, you won't need to boil that in oil because this will work. I love Sakura just as much as you do and I have no desire to hurt her. I just think it will make her happy to have Kakashi back and know he means what he says."
Hiro paused again. "I need your help to get everyone else together and get a club secured for a private party. That's when we'll unveil our surprise." Another short pause. "Thanks, Koji. This will work, you'll see."
After clicking his phone shut, he turned to Kakashi. "Let's practice. I know how quickly Koji works and I wouldn't be shocked if he has everything set up by tonight."
Kakashi's stomach rolled at the thought, but he fought it back down. This was for Sakura and he would do anything for her.
Hajime sat facing Sakura, a look of shock on his face for only a second before he smoothed it back out. "So he was here yesterday and you closed the door on him after kissing him senseless?"
"Oh, honey! I am so proud of you!"
Sakura's face took on a puzzled expression. What the hell did she do to make him proud?
Hajime continued. "That was so Hollywood and melodramatic! Amazing! And making him leave after he traveled all this way for you - priceless! Ooh, I bet you guys will be back together soon. You just have to. It's how any story with such a perfect scene has to end!" Hajime smirked at her. "Plus, he's hot! You don't want to miss the opportunity to wake up next to that every day. Plus you know, a little bow-chick-a-wow-wow." He did a little x-rated move with his pelvis and wiggled his eyebrows.
Sakura sighed and shook her head. Typical Hajime. The man jumped as his phone vibrated in his pocket. "Oh, just a second, love." He pulled out his phone and answered. "Hajime here."
Koji spoke on the other end of the line. "Hey, where are you right now? And don't say who you're speaking to, just in case."
Hajime's brows furrowed together. "I'm at Sakura's house. Why?"
"Listen, take this call outside okay?"
Koji sighed in frustration. "Because you can't keep a secret and your expression will tell her something's up. Now hurry. I have something important to tell you."
Hajime glanced at Sakura. "Hang on. Let me take this outside real quick." Hajime made his way onto her porch and leaned against the railing. "Okay, what's up?"
"Kakashi is in town and is working with Hiro on winning Sakura back. He wants to sing to her and the only way they could figure out to do so without her escaping was to have a party at a club tonight."
Hajime - as predicted by Koji - squealed with delight. "That's wonderful! Where and when? I'll get her there."
After a few more moments, Hajime came in and gave the disheveled Sakura the once over.
Sakura rose one elegant eyebrow at his scrutiny. "What?"
"Get showered. We're going to a party tonight. I refuse to let you mope around here any longer. Plus I'm sure you'll appreciate the eye candy."
Sakura groaned. "We're not going to the strip club again, are we?" That had been more male flesh than the young medic ever needed or wanted to see. She felt like she was blushing for days after that ordeal.
Hajime's eyes glazed over as he thought of a naked Kakashi and then he shook his head. He shouldn't be thinking of his friend's love interest that way, no matter how delicious the image was. "Don't put that thought in my head! Just a regular club." Sakura caught his muttered 'damn it' and laughed. Yes, Hajime's visit had been just what she needed.
Kakashi sang the song again and again with Hiro. The producer was relentless in his quest to make the song perfect. Kakashi appreciated it really, but he was afraid he wouldn't have a voice left when the crucial moment came if they didn't stop soon. Finally, Hiro nodded in satisfaction. "Great! You know though, we should have a back-up in case the first song doesn't work."
Kakashi tilted his gaze to the ceiling. "I know of one. It's one of Sakura's all-time favorite love songs."
Hiro clapped. "Tell me what it is and we'll run through it real quick. Do you know it or do I need to look for the lyrics?"
After Kakashi answered, Hiro ran through the song in his head. "That is a good one. Do you know the lyrics already?"
Silver hair bobbed as he nodded. Sakura had been playing that song almost every time they were at her house over the years. There was no way he could have avoided learning it.
"Well then, let's run through it and see if it works." Hiro was surprised at Kakashi. He was really doing a splendid job with something he had been so reluctant to do. If neither of those songs won Sakura back, then he was at a loss as to what would work. He listened to the deep voice as the song wound to a close and was shocked to hear a little vibrato slipping in. It seemed Kakashi was gaining plenty of the confidence needed to pull this off.
After doing a few run-throughs of the second song, Hiro motioned for Kakashi to follow him. "Your singing is ready. Now, we need to give you 'the look.'"
After a quick glance at his ninja attire, a charcoal eye narrowed at Hiro. "What's wrong with what I'm wearing?"
Lavender eyes rolled in annoyance. "Really? You expect to win her over while in uniform? You've got to give it a little romance, Kakashi-san. Dress in something casual, but stylish. She said you're always in uniform and while she likes it, she also wishes to see you in other clothes sometimes."
There was another defeated sigh from the sharingan user. He had come this far, he may as well go all the way. "I don't have any other clothes with me. Just spare uniforms."
Hiro stepped closer to Kakashi to measure. They were about the same height and build. "Maybe some of my clothes will fit you. Let's go see."
They did fit, wonderfully too. Kakashi was slightly more muscled than Hiro, so the gray sweater he pulled on hugged his physique in an eye-catching and flattering way. Coupled with some black jeans and a black suit coat, he looked great. Hiro was less than fond of the mask, but there was no way Kakashi was letting that go. He did relent with the forehead protector. Sakura had mentioned she loved how his hair fell around his face when it was free. He looked over himself again in the full-length mirror and smiled. He did look good. The new clothes weren't as comfortable as his ninja gear, but they did seem to boost his confidence about singing tonight. He nodded at Hiro and the two headed for the club, needing to get there before anybody else to hide the surprise.
Sakura fought with Hajime over her outfit. The man was as eager as Ino to get her into something provocative and inappropriate. "Hajime! I don't need my ass hanging out! What purpose would that serve?"
"None! I just think you need to loosen up a little. Flaunt what you've got while you've got it!"
Sakura pouted at the stylist. "I just want to be comfortable tonight. Can't we put together something sexy with jeans? A compromise."
Hajime pouted right back at her. "Fine. But I still like the mini skirt."
"I know, sweetie. I know." She gave him a consoling pat on the shoulder before they started digging through her closets again. "Oooooh, what about this?"
She pulled out a pair of black skinny jeans and a red shirt. Hajime wrinkled his nose. "Keep the jeans, lose the shirt." After a few seconds, he gave a cry of pleasure. "I've got the perfect top!" He pulled out a silver-sequined tank top that hugged her figure and a light gray jacket made of a thin material. Even though it had sleeves, the jacket looked like it was draped over her and the sleeves were just about two inches above her wrist.
Hajime grinned at the outfit laid out on her bed. "Couple that with these killer black heels and grab a chunky silver bangle and you'll look exquisite, my dear."
Sakura smiled slightly. At least he had stopped trying to dress her like a hooker. "Will you do my hair?"
Hajime ran a hand through the silky tresses. "Sexy, messy waves?"
"I hate to say it since that seems to be all anyone ever does with it anymore, but yes," Sakura sighed.
"Get dressed and I'll start heating the rollers."
"Thank you, Hajime."
As the two strolled toward the club a couple hours later, Sakura suddenly stopped and hugged Hajime tightly. "Seriously, thank you."
Caught off guard, he frowned down at her. "Whatever for, love?"
"Before you came over today, my plan was to wallow in bed and think. Which we both know is necessary, but also probably painful. It feels good to get out and I hadn't laughed in weeks before today. So thank you again."
"Oh, sugar pie, that's what friends do." He pushed her away. "Now enough with all the sap. Let's go get our party on! Looking like that, you'll be beating the men off with a stick!"
Sakura giggled as they got closer to their destination. A good party and lots of alcohol would help lift her spirits a bit more.
Sakura looked alive and happy as she talked with Koji, Hiro, Koyuki, Hajime and all of her other Snow friends. It was a great change from how she had been the day before.
Koyuki sidled up to the woman with a sly look on her face. "So, Sakura. About that Yamato guy from your village."
Sakura turned a feline grin on the princess. "What about him?"
"Is he, uh, seeing anyone?" Koyuki plucked at a string on her dress as she sniffed, trying to seem uninterested and failing miserably.
"He's available. Why? You want me to put in a good word for you?"
The sly grin turned into a hopeful one. "Would you? He's so adorable and sweet. I would love to get to know him better. Maybe have a few dates?"
Sakura giggled. "Yes, he is all those things. I don't know how it would work, though. He's loyal to Konoha and you're the feudal lord here." Sakura frowned as she pondered and then her face broke out into a grin again. "Actually, he was mentioning the possibility of early retirement. He's done nonstop missions since he was a child, so he was thinking of just living peacefully for the rest of his life." She tapped a finger to her chin in mock thought. "I suppose I could plant the seed in his brain."
Sakura wouldn't tell Koyuki the real reason. Being a lab project, Yamato wasn't sure how long his abilities would hold. It took more effort lately to hold his wood-based jutsu. He didn't want to be on an important mission and fail his village because his control suddenly left him. Retirement seemed the best course of action.
Koyuki grinned widely again. "Thank you, Sakura."
As the conversation finished, the lights dimmed and Hiro stepped up onto the stage. He tapped the microphone to get everyone's attention and those who were standing took a seat. "I would like to start by saying 'thank you' to everyone for coming on such short notice. We all know what's been going on with our Cherry Blossom. So it seemed a good time to get her out of her house and make her enjoy a good night out!"
There was a chorus of 'here,here' as Sakura blushed. Hiro continued. "I also thought it would be a great idea to have someone else entertain our little starlet." He looked at Sakura. "You're always the one to entertain the masses. It's your turn to sit back and see a quality performance."
Sakura smiled at him as he took a seat beside her. "Thank you, Hiro."
"You're either going to thank me more or hate me in a minute."
Before Sakura could wonder what he meant, music started in and a deep baritone filled the club. Sakura's head swirled in disbelief as she watched the most gorgeous creature she had ever laid eyes on emerge from backstage. Kakashi was sexy as hell in his outfit and Sakura felt her core clench as she gazed at him.
Hiro took note of her flabbergasted expression and leaned in to whisper, "Just listen."
Sakura listened to his voice rumble over the words, fully aware that he not only looked sexy, he sounded sexy, too. She wanted to melt into a puddle on the floor, but somehow held it together. Finally, she listened to the lyrics and felt a little smile tug at her lips. The lyrics were beautiful, his voice was beautiful, he was beautiful. Her gaze met his, charcoal and green locked together, and she felt her defenses crumbling around her.
She knew Kakashi had stepped out of his comfort zone - far, far out of his comfort zone - and she was moved by the gesture. Still, she needed to pull her defenses back together. Just because he sang to her, although she loved it, didn't mean it was time to let him back in. She listened to the rest of the song without bolting, either away from or towards him. The song ended and she clapped politely like everyone else. He looked at her like he was waiting for something else and then Hiro motioned toward the sound booth.
A new song started up and Sakura recognized it from the first couple notes. Her favorite love song. She knew he was trying to apologize to her, but she wasn't sure she could deal with it right now. Obviously he was the cause of her problems, however she didn't know if he was serious about being with her. She couldn't do this if he wasn't in it completely.
She hadn't been paying much attention to the words as she was lost in thought, so she pushed her problems to the back of her mind and concentrated on his voice as it caressed the lyrics. Who knew if she would ever get the chance to hear his amazing voice singing her favorite song again?
The sun is breaking in your eyes
To start a new day.
This broken heart can still survive
With a touch of your grace.
Shadows fade into the light.
I am by your side,
Where love will find you.
It became too much. Sakura couldn't listen anymore. She felt tears start to burn behind her eyes and knew she needed to get out of there. Seeing him so close, hearing those words from him, knowing what he had done to her. It was just too much all at once. She rose from her seat and started toward the door, intending to leave as quickly as possible.
Hajime quickly placed himself in front of the door to keep her there. She turned glistening eyes up at him and he shook his head slightly with a frown. As much as it pained him to deny her something, she needed to be brave and hear Kakashi out.
Kakashi felt a surge of panic as Sakura headed for the door. She couldn't leave, not when he needed her so desperately. He had almost forgotten the words to the first song when he saw her looking so magnificent out in the audience. She was the only one he could see in the ocean of faceless people. If she left now, he couldn't bear it. His voice rose more powerfully with the music as he tried to make her understand the emotions he didn't have words for.
Now that we're here,
Now that we've come this far,
Just hold on.
There is nothing to fear,
For I am right beside you.
For all my life,
I am yours.
Sakura lowered her eyes to the ground and sobbed slightly. That was exactly what she needed to hear. From the way he sang the words, she knew he meant them whole-heartedly. But still, could she? Did she dare let him back in?
The music quieted to just the piano and Kakashi sang softly with it.
What about now?
What about today?
What if you're making me all that I was meant to be?
Sakura turned slowly and bit her lip as she gazed at Kakashi, balled fists at her side. The music started to pick up the beat again.
What if our love never went away?
Sakura started to walk toward the stage, drawn in by Kakashi and the heartfelt words of the song. She kept her steps slow and measured, still unsure if this was a wise decision. She stopped by the steps to the stage, still wondering what she should do.
Kakashi held her gaze as hope settled heavily in his gut. He had a hard time holding the notes and his hands shook from nerves. Would she?
What if it's lost behind words we could never find?
Then she was running, dashing onto the stage, unable to stay back any longer. Kakashi stumbled back into the wall behind him with the force of her embrace, the microphone flying from his hand. It landed with a loud thud, forgotten somewhere on the wooden stage. The music continued playing without a voice to sing along with it.
Sakura smashed her mouth to his, clumsy and brutal and damn perfect in Kakashi's mind. He didn't care how she showed him affection, as long as she was touching him in some way it was all he needed. Unable to reach him properly, Sakura jumped and wrapped her legs around his waist to get in a better position to kiss him. Kakashi stumbled once again with her unexpected movements and wound up behind the curtains out of everyone's view.
Kakashi slowed her down by pressing his hands to her face and tilting his head slightly. He slid his mask down so he could kiss her properly. With little nips and tugs, he managed to turn the kisses from powerful clashes of lips and teeth to the sweet slide of lips and tongues as they devoured each other. He couldn't get enough and neither could she. How he ever thought he could live a life void of such pleasures and her intoxicating presence he didn't know. He felt her lips tremble and heard a sob so he pulled back to look at her.
"Don't you ever leave me again, jackass."
"I wouldn't dare. I'm not so blind anymore to how lucky I am to have you. You should thank your grandmother, by the way."
Sakura let out another sob and tightened her hold on him. "Why?"
"She pointed out to me that sometimes you have to fight for what's important to you."
Sakura smiled brightly as she locked her glittering emerald eyes with his. "I'm so glad you're back. You can't imagine how happy I am."
Kakashi smiled a lopsided grin at her that set her heart a flutter. "I have an idea." He ran a hand through her hair and let his gaze wander over her features. "You're so beautiful, Sakura."
She gave a light, airy laugh before she leaned her head on his shoulder. "Just hold me for a few minutes. Just like this."
"With pleasure." He tightened his hold and sighed as he felt her hands rubbing along his shoulders and upper back.
Sakura pulled back a minute later and gazed at him in question. "How did you get the council to call off the engagement? Won't ANBU be after you?"
"Manami-san was actually the one to call off the engagement. She saw how I looked at you and knew we were in love. She really is a nice person. I think you'd like her. She was the one who told me to go and she'd handle the elders and the fall out in Konoha. And then Tsunade said she'd be able to hold off ANBU for a day at most. I'm also sure she sent someone we can trust, so we don't need to worry right now."
Sakura relaxed against him. "I love you."
A warm smile crossed his face. "I love you, too."
Sakura giggled. "It's nice to hear it when I'm not half asleep."
Kakashi set her down and tilted his head in the direction of the party. "Do you want to go back out there?"
"No," she shook her head. "I don't think I really need it anymore." She smiled mischievously up at him, amazed at how easy it was to do so again. "Let's head to my house."
Kakashi allowed her to pull him along out the side door. When he saw Koji standing there with his arms crossed, he figured there would be an argument. However, Sakura flashed him a blinding smile and without any words exchanged, Koji nodded and turned to head inside. "So, is he done hating me?"
Sakura laughed lightly. "Hardly. He can't stand you, Kakashi. Sorry." She looped her arm through his and leaned against him as they walked. "Koji does want to see me happy, though. So he's willing to tolerate you for my sake."
The Copy Ninja winced at her blunt statement. "How...generous." After a few silent moments, he spoke again. "Did you know he punched me?"
Kakashi chuckled at her incredulous expression. "Back in Konoha when you first followed me there. He came into the pub while I was talking to Yamato, marched right up to me, punched me in the nose, called me a few names and off he went."
Sakura reeled in the shock of his words. "Dang." She bit her lip and looked down shyly. "Kakashi, can I ask you a question?"
"Of course. No more lies and no more hiding anything."
"Do you think you would have been happy with Manami-san eventually?" She didn't even know why she asked such a question. The answer had the potential to destroy her, but she still felt she had to know.
"No. She was a very nice person and I'm sure we would have been friends. But that's all we would have ever been. Every time I looked over at her, I kept wishing I was walking or talking with you. You were always in the front of my mind, Sakura."
"You would have really given up a lifetime of happiness with me to obey the council's orders?"
"That's not it, exactly. I was obeying the council's orders so they had no reason to go after you. It was always to protect you."
Sakura frowned. She had no idea what she had done to incite their wrath. She couldn't think of any past transgressions that would have given the elders cause to hate her. At one point, she thought maybe it was because she was Tsunade's apprentice and their relationship with the Hokage was tepid at best. However, they didn't seem to have any issues with Shizune and she had been with Tsunade far longer than Sakura. It didn't make sense to her.
"Do you have any clue why the elders are so against us being together?"
Kakashi sighed as he looked up at the night sky. The twinkling stars always seemed to help him assemble his thoughts. "I'm not sure. The only thing they ever said to me was that you were 'unfit to be the wife and mother of such a distinguished clan'."
Predictably, Sakura's anger reared its head. "Those old goats! Unfit? Unfit my ass! I'm one of the best kunoichi in our village; on par with Tsunade-shishou in the medical field, almost as intelligent as you and Shikamaru, and can hold my own in a fight with my strength! How else in the hell did I raid an enemy compound and bring you home alive?"
Kakashi smiled at her rant, hands in the air in a placating manner. "Hey, I'm just the messenger. I know you're all of those things and more. I don't really know what the elders are thinking. Maybe they've gone senile."
Sakura's anger died a swift death as she began to giggle and looped her arm back through his. Kakashi always made her feel better. He was even more adept at it than Hajime. She opened the door to her house and as soon as Kakashi had it closed, she was attacking him again. Lips, tongues and hands were everywhere.
Suddenly, she pulled back and smiled coyly at him before tugging him upstairs. He followed with a giddy smile.
Once she had her bedroom door closed, the whole atmosphere changed. Instead of leaping on him as she had previously done, she slowly rose up to softly kiss him, unhurried and languid. Kakashi let out a soft groan. After all the speedy kisses and fiery touches from earlier, he was more than primed to get to the main event.
Sakura kept it slow, a brush of lips, then a deep kiss with soft flicks of her tongue, a tiny peck at the corner of his mouth, a chaste press at his chin and another deep kiss. All Kakashi could do was follow along, knowing his patience would pay off. Sakura wound her hands up into his hair, grasping and brushing through the unruly strands. Her hands slid down to the back of his neck and she pulled slightly, urging him to kiss her more passionately. She continued her hands downward journey, admiringly running them over his broad shoulders before letting them fall to his chest.
After what seemed an eternity to Kakashi, she finally slipped her hands back up under his borrowed suit coat and pushed it from his frame. "You borrowed this from Hiro, didn't you?"
Kakashi's half-lidded gaze watched her lips move and all he could do was nod slightly. She ran her hands over the snug fitting cotton sweater. "I like it. You should wear civilian clothing more often. But right now I prefer you in something more natural."
Kakashi didn't wait for her, he was too far gone to be much more patient. He flung the sweater into the far corner, followed quickly by his undershirt with attached mask. He was going to kiss her again, dominating and insistent, but was stopped short by the appreciative look she was giving him. He watched as her eyes roved over his face, down his neck and shoulders and then saw them darken as she took in the sight of his chest and stomach. A smirk crossed his face and when she looked back up at him, she bit her lip to keep her moan at bay.
Sakura had the fleeting thought that it was unfair that just a little smirk from Kakashi could make her knees weak. Then he kissed her, possessive and dominant, and she no longer cared about the smirk. What was unfair was how his kisses could steal her breath and ability to think logically. She felt her jacket and shirt being lifted and broke away only so they could be fully removed. She hadn't planned on getting this far again so soon. But it just felt right with Kakashi - like they were two halves of the same whole.
She pushed him back onto her bed and squeaked when he grabbed her to fall with him. "You're not separating us that easily, sweetheart."
"Sweetheart?" He had never called her anything other than 'Sakura' before. For some reason, the endearment, though trite and overused, made her heart beat faster and her stomach flop enjoyably.
"I can change it if you like. It's the first thing that came out."
Sakura smiled widely down at him before capturing his lips in a quick kiss. "You just surprised me, that's all. I like it." As if to prove her point, she rolled her hips into his and watched as he bit his lip and his eyes closed. Though the image was incredibly satisfying, it wasn't exactly what she wanted. She rolled her hips again and ran a finger along his ear, one of his hot spots. He hissed through his teeth, but it still wasn't what she wanted. Deciding to up the ante again, she rolled her hips once more and ran her tongue along his ear. He gave a deep groan before flipping them over to hover above the young woman.
"You're pure evil."
Sakura grinned devilishly up at him. "I know."
He leaned down to kiss her again and slowly worked at the button to her pants, giving her plenty of opportunity to change her mind. Fed up with his hesitance, Sakura pushed his hands away and took care of the pants herself. Kakashi grinned at her impatience and quickly removed his own jeans.
He ran his hands over the lace of her bra and a thoughtful look crossed his face. Kakashi cupped the smaller mounds in his hands. Due to Sakura's weight loss, they were a bit smaller than before. "We'll have to fatten you up again, won't we lovelies?"
The moan that Sakura felt building up turned into a full-blown laugh. Her Kakashi was such a silly man sometimes. And that was when she knew this had to be forever. When you can laugh with your partner in the middle of making love, it speaks volumes of the comfort between the two. He was her other half just as she was his. He was the dark guardian of Konoha, sent out on the deadliest missions. And she was the bright ray of sun that welcomed him home with healing hands and a gentle smile. One without the other was great, but together they were perfection.
Kakashi let a delighted smile cross his face at her laughter. With her eyes sparkling and her smile lighting up the darkest corners of his soul, he wondered again how he ever thought he could let her go.
Sakura's laughter died and she gazed up at him, her expression full of contentment, love and longing. She watched with concern as the smile on his face faded and then sighed happily when he leaned down to kiss her. Her satisfied sigh turned into a surprised moan when he twitched his hips slightly and slid into her.
Sakura's fingers dug into his hips, trying to urge him into a faster pace. In retaliation, he pushed her hips further into the mattress and slowed down, drawing out the pleasure. Sakura growled at his actions. "Don't make me use chakra, Kakashi."
He leaned his forehead against her shoulder and shuddered with a particularly wonderful stroke. "Just slow down and enjoy it, sweetheart. We've been forced apart too long to rush this and the first time was marred by my cowardice. Please let me set the pace this once and then later on we'll go as fast as you wish."
Kakashi bowed his head to lavish attention on her breasts, the contact making her buck up towards him. He tightened his grip and gave her a slow, deep stroke. The sensations on her breasts, the bruising grip on her hips and the exquisite way he began to rock into her made all thoughts of pace fly out the window. Suddenly, Sakura was sure slow was the only way to go.
As much as they both wanted to keep it leisurely, their bodies forced them to speed up eventually. Kakashi could feel the muscles in Sakura's body tightening, the pressure in his own building to the breaking point.
Sakura couldn't figure out what to grab as the sensations intensified. She clutched at his shoulders, his hair, the pillow under her head, the head board, the sheets and finally his hips as she pushed up into him and the pressure shattered.
Kakashi watched her bite her bottom lip and then his own eyes closed as she pushed him in deeper and clamped down around him. The pleasure was sharp enough to steal his breath and all he could do was crush Sakura to him with a forceful kiss.
After catching their breath, thoroughly exhausted and satisfied, Sakura fought her heavy eyelids to keep watch over Kakashi. He smiled at her sleepily, his own eyelids drooping. "You can sleep, you know."
Sakura yawned. "Last time I did, you were gone and my heart was broken."
Kakashi frowned at her. "There's no way I would do that again. If necessary, I'll build us a little cave home somewhere and we'll hide from ANBU forever in it."
"Hmm. Maybe. But just to be sure." She slid over and on top of him. "Now you can't get away without me knowing."
Kakashi wrapped his arms around her and turned so they were laying on their sides. "I won't leave again, sweetheart. Remember, 'For all my life, I am yours.' Those weren't just lyrics, Sakura. I meant them."
He pulled back expecting a reply, but she was sound asleep. He shook his head with a fond smile on his face. Tomorrow, he would have a serious talk with her. He had done a lot of damage when he obeyed the order from the council. But now he knew exactly what he wanted out of life and Sakura was the central part of all of it. Tomorrow, he would tell her. Right now, he just wanted to sleep.
A/N: Songs are 'Our Last Chance' and 'What About Now' by Daughtry.