AN: Well I'm sorry I couldn't help myself. If I didn't get this story out of my head I was going to go crazy. For those of you reading my other stories I promise to have them all updated by soon (I even plan on finishing one of them) :) Anywho, I hope you enjoy this new one.
Sakura stood motionless in the doorway gazing into the quiet house, her knuckles turning white from her tight grip on the doorknob. The dim light seeping through the half closed curtains gave the small house an almost eerie look. A whirlwind of emotions flooded through her, memories of another time seemed to flash before her eyes. If she didn't know any better, she could have swore she smelled one of the delicious meals her mother always cooked or the rustling of papers as her father sat in his study.
She took another step in closing the door behind her, ignoring the chill that ran down her spine. She flicked on the light switch, filling the room with new brightness. Slowly walking through the hall, her feet began to feel weighted down. Inwardly thinking she wished she hadn't been an only child, that way her sibling could have taken care of clearing out the house.
She knew that one day the time would come when she would have to take care of the house and all its contents. The day after her mother died unexpectedly three years ago was the cause for that. The cold reality of losing one of her parents was hard to deal with at the time. But she actually thought she was lucky to get at least twenty-one years with her mother. She knew her comrades had all lost their parents at a young age and felt like it would be a burden to dwell on it in front of them.
Removing her green vest she couldn't help but notice that the house seemed almost empty. Surprising to her, because she couldn't wait to get out and into her own place years ago, saying how small and cramped it was.
It was still early morning as she started packing things from the living room into one of the many boxes that a neighbor was kind enough to drop off. Picking and choosing what she wanted to keep or give away, was harder then she thought. Of course she kept reminding herself that her Shinobi apartment was small, that alone made her choose carefully.
The sun was at it's highest in the mid afternoon when she finished the bathroom and the two small rooms upstairs. She could have sworn that there were more things in the house than this; the box she carried downstairs wasn't even full. Setting the box down with the others she wiped the small layer of sweat from her brow. Looking over the furniture she pushed to one side of the room and the boxes she piled neatly against the wall, she figured that it would make it easier when they picked it up in the morning. She sighed thinking how glad she was that she had made the arrangements with the little second hand shop before she came.
She turned and stared at the closed door directly across from the living room. Her fathers study. It was the only room left to pack and the one place she felt most hesitant to trespass in. Slowly she eased the door open, stopping when a nostalgic smell surrounded her. The smell of musty books and her father's aftershave clung to the room. This was the first moment she felt tears sting her eyes.
She had been in complete shock to hear the news of her late fathers death; the whole situation being surreal considering she was on a mission at the time. She had returned home late last night, the memorial ceremony had been in the afternoon the day before. So it wasn't until this very moment as she stood motionless in the doorway to his study that it all became too real. He really was gone.
Wiping the wetness from her eyes she slowly made her way into the room. Two walls held shelves wall to wall, ceiling to floor with books and scrolls. Another wall had a window placed oddly off center, a few picture frames displaying happier days. She stood silently before his huge mahogany desk, littered with papers and scrolls, books with pages marked that he had every intention to get back too.
A tightness clenched her heart as she stood in front of the massive desk, staring at the empty chair that sat behind it. His smiling face flooded her mind. She now wished she could have been there with him when he took his last breath, wanting so much for a chance to say good-bye; to say sorry for not visiting as much after mother died, to hear his bellowing laughter at her childish antics, or even one last embrace of her fathers loving arms. Tear after tear began down her flushed cheeks. The hardness of reality hit her as if a ton of bricks had dropped on her.
"Sakura?" a distant voice called out.
Sakura's head shot up, now she really thought she was going crazy, hearing her father's voice calling for her.
Sakura stood there, too shaken to even look for the source of voice. She gasped and slightly jumped when she heard the door to the study creak as it was pushed open wider.
"There you are" Kakashi sighed "I thought that……" His words faded as Sakura turned towards him. Her eyes red, her face wet from tears and her body trembling. She looked like a helpless child as she quickly ran into his chest; clutching to his vest as if her life depended on it.
He was a little shocked, but gently wrapped her in arms. He closed his lone visible eye and rested his cloth covered cheek against her head. What words could he really utter to her that would be of any comfort? None that he could think of, but a shoulder to cry on, he could manage with that.
As they stood there, the only sound that could be heard was her muffled sobs. He couldn't help but think she must have grown half a foot since he saw her last. He had of course attended the memorial ceremony, where he learned that Sakura was still on a mission but was expected back the next day. He felt that maybe then would be a good a time to pay a friendly visit as an excuse to make sure she was alright.
"I'm sorry" her voice shaky as she withdrew her head from his chest.
"You don't have to apologize" His voice soothing and gentle.
She slowly backed away from his embrace, wiping tears from her cheeks. "I didn't think that……it's just……" her gaze drifted to the floor.
"Why don't I take you home?" He offered setting his hand on her shoulder. "We can have some tea."
She slowly shook her head. "The movers come in the morning and I leave for a mission in the afternoon. I have to get everything ready tonight." She sniffled, her tears beginning to finally subside.
Kakashi frowned. He couldn't believe she would take on another mission so soon. "Well then" he sighed dropping his hand back to his side. "Would you like me to stay and help?"
She stood motionless for a moment before she gently shook her head. "Please" her still slightly shaky voice was almost unheard.
He shook his vest off his shoulders tossing on the stairs before retrieving a few empty boxes. "Where should we start?"
Her eyes wondered around the room, still trying to get her emotions under control she decided the desk must go first. "I think the desk would be best" her heart ached at the thought she really did love it, even if it had brought on her emotional breakdown. Many good memories were attached to it.
Kakashi stood patiently, waiting for Sakura until she was ready to continue. He watched her as she slowly glided her hand over the edge of the desk as she walked around it. He smiled to himself thinking how her petite frame made her look like a child behind the large wooden structure. But all the same he noticed how she wasn't a child anymore; no she was very much a grown woman now.
"Could you please put the chair out with the other furniture?" She asked, hoping that if the chair was gone she would quit imaging her father sitting there.
It took a little over and hour to sort through the mess on the desk, but once it was cleared you could see vividly the beautiful pattern of vines and leaves that traced the outline of the desk.
"It's actually a very nice desk" Kakashi commented.
"Yes" she said with a half smile. "I would love to keep, but I have no where to put it."
Kakashi nodded in understanding. It was then he realized he didn't know where Sakura currently resided at. "Where do you live now?" He asked picking up a box from the floor.
She drew herself out of her thoughts just in time to hear his question. "Oh, over in the Shinobi apartments" she answered turning her attention onto the bookcases.
"Really" he said curious now. "Which one?"
"Number 3 apartment 26" She answered as she took a tattered book off of one of the shelves.
Kakashi placed the box on top of another that sat by the door "Well what a coincidence" He smiled walking back towards her. "I live just down the hall from you in apartment 21"
"I know" She pulled out a piece of loose paper from the book. "We're gonna have to check every book" She sighed "He always tucked away notes and pictures among kami knows how many of there pages."
He wondered for a minute how she knew he lived there, when he had no idea that she lived just down the hall, but he supposed she saw him one day perhaps and shrugged it off. Besides he would have remembered seeing her walking around his apartment building.
They had cleared almost both bookshelves by the time the sun had set. They probably could have done it sooner if Kakashi hadn't poked fun at some of the pictures he found tucked away in the pages of some books. He really couldn't help himself though when he found one when Sakura was eight or so and playing dress up, stuffed bra and all. And he was amused at her blush when he stated the fact that it sure wasn't necessary for that anymore.
She placed the last book in the box, followed by a relieved sigh. She of course took the two family photo albums and a few scrolls and some books she found interesting and tucked them into her box to take home, along with the framed photos on the wall. She was happy to let Kakashi have his pick at some jutsu scrolls, telling him it was payment for his help.
"Well" She said staring into the now almost empty room. "I guess the desk must come out"
Kakashi took note to the disappointment in her voice, and simply suggested she should keep it. She just gave a small laugh and said she would have to use it has a bed if she did, considering she would remove her own bed just to get it to fit into her apartment.
Standing on either side of the desk, they picked it up and moved it towards the door, only to set it back down. "How do expect we get it out if here?" Kakashi asked scratching the back of his neck, looking for a logical way to maneuver the desk through the small doorway.
"Maybe we could tip it and take it out on its side." Sakura thought out loud.
"It's worth a shot" Kakashi shrugged.
They tipped the desk gently setting it down on the floor. Deciding to push it out the doorway, they barely slipped past the narrow opening, but managed to get it safely to the living room.
"Well that worked out nicely" Sakura smiled, congratulating herself on the wonderful idea.
"Shall we stand it up or leave like this for the movers" Kakashi asked
Sakura pondered the thought for a moment; it really did look all wrong lying on the floor like that. "Stand it up" she said with a nod as if it was the most important decision to make.
Lifting it back onto its legs, Sakura almost dropped it when she heard a loud bang. She looked to see if something had happened or broke. And was confused when she saw a small wooden box lying on the floor.
"What in the world?" She said as she picked it up to inspect it.
Kakashi knelt down looking at the front of the desk. "Looks like's a secret compartment" He closed the small door that hung open, once again making it seem unknown.
"But what is this?" She referred to the box in her hands. It was a small box about 8 x 6 inches and maybe 4 inches deep, or at least that was what Sakura guessed. It was stained dark and a bit dusty. She had no idea how long it might have been hidden away, or even if her father knew about it. "There doesn't seem to be away to open it" she exclaimed turning the box sideways and upside down, looking for a latch or something.
Kakashi rose to his feet. "May I see?" She handed him the box and he too couldn't find any thing that would allow them to see its contents. They knew something had to be in it because when they had been inspecting it something kept rolling around inside. "I don't know what to tell you" He sighed defeated by the box, handing it back to her.
She inspected it again before setting it carefully in her box to take home. "I think that's everything." Her eyes wondered the house as if she was locking away her memories of the good and bad times she's had there.
Kakashi had retrieved both their vests and returned to the living room. "Are you alright?" He asked handing her vest to her.
She hesitated a moment. "Yeah, I'll be fine" With that Kakashi picked up one of her boxes to take home as Sakura took the other. Standing at the front door she balanced the box on her hip as her hand held the doorknob and her gaze lingered back into the house. With a deep breath and holding back the urge to cry again she slowly closed the door, leaving the house dark and lifeless behind her.
AN: Well, what did you think of start. I promise this story isn't depressing. But I had to start to start somewhere. Please Review!! I always love your opinions! :)