TIMELINE/SPOILERS: Shippuuden. Timeline not relevant to the story, though.
WARNINGS: none. maybe a bit of angst.
DISCLAIMER: Masashi Kishimoto owns Naruto and all related characters, etc etc etc.
She really wasn't a demanding person, to be honest. She gave what she could and more, but she never demanded anything back. She would do anything for those she loved and cared for, never minding the stress it would cause later on. She would gladly accept their thanks, beam at their smiling, grateful faces, and grin back at them when they would greet her.
"Sakura, are you alright?"
People often said that actions spoke louder than words. She had believed that, too, but after fours years into their relationship, not once had she heard the silver-haired man say what he felt for her.
"Let's take a break."
Sakura snapped out of her reverie and almost fell out of the large branch she had leapt on. Shikamaru was standing several feet away from her, while below them stopped Kiba who was riding his dog companion Akamaru, and Tenten.
"Why are we stopping?" Sakura asked, looking back at their team leader, Shikamaru. They were only a few more hours away from Konoha, and rather than stopping to take a rest it was better that they continue in their travel.
"You look like you need some rest." Shikamaru answered, pocketing his hands. "We can't have our medic down in case we get ambushed."
Sakura visibly frowned. She may have used up most of her chakra from their mission at Lightning, but she could still go and fight as well as heal.
"We'll rest for a few minutes, and then we'll continue going back to Konoha."
Sakura deflated. She believed she was still strong enough to continue, but seeing that her teammates were running low on chakra as well, not to mention they all looked exhausted, it was wiser to follow their leader's advice and rest for a few minutes.
Jumping down from the tree to join her two other teammates, Sakura chose to settle beside the weapons expert. The question in her mind had been bugging her ever since a certain silver-haired jounin had missed her birthday just a few days ago when he had promised a few months back that he would free that day. It had been ten days since then, and still being not in the mood to see him, Sakura was almost regretful that their mission didn't take too long enough. She figured Tenten was probably the best person to ask, as her lover was probably one of the most emotionally reserved people in Konoha.
Said girl looked back at her questioningly.
"Did…" Sakura started, but found herself unable to continue. She was almost too scared to hear the truth.
'What is it, Sakura?" Tenten asked just as quietly. The medic-nin took a deep breath.
"Did… Did Neji ever tell you how he felt for you?"
Tenten's expression softened and she gave small, appreciative smile.
"He doesn't always say what he's feeling, but he does tell me from time to time."
Sakura looked back at her feet. So even he had expressed his feelings for the girl he loved.
"What's the matter, Sakura? Having problems with Kakashi-san?"
Sakura only shook her head and gave a forced grin to her friend. Who knew Kakashi was even more emotionally recluse?
"Maybe Kakashi-san is still uncomfortable."
Sakura's frown came back in full force. She and Kakashi had been together for four years already, and they had been living in the same apartment a year after getting together. How in the world could he still be uncomfortable?
"I mean," Tenten added, quickly noting the change in Sakura's expression. "No matter how you look at it, he's still older than you by how many years. Maybe he's just afraid to put it into words, because it would only hurt him more when someone else came and you left him."
Sakura's frown deepened as she noticed that her knuckles had gone white from their clenching. If what Tenten was saying was true, she would definitely break all his bones before berating the guy for even thinking that she would leave him. It took a lot from her to convince him that starting a relationship with her was perfectly fine and that Naruto and Tsunade-shishou wouldn't kill him for going after her, and after all the heartbreaks she had to go through with all of his refusals before he finally gave in, there was no way in hell she would leave him for another guy.
She would definitely get some answers when she got back home.
O O O
After a few more hours of non-stop traveling, their weary feet finally touched Konohagakure's grounds by nightfall. Sakura only nodded silently as Shikamaru reminded them about their mission reports, and then headed back to her home. She was still angry at Kakashi, and she still didn't want to see him, but as she wanted the issue to end already, she willed her tired legs to walk faster.
The trek up to her apartment felt like it took forever, and when she finally stopped before the door, her whole body was already trembling faintly. Her stomach faintly churned in hunger, and chakra depletion had started to affect her already worn-out body. As much as she wanted to settle some things with Kakashi, a quick shower, dinner, and then a good night's rest seemed more inviting.
With her agenda in mind, she took out her house keys and unlocked her door. However, all her plans were extinguished as she saw the living room bathed in light, and there was definitely someone taking a shower at the bathroom.
Sighing dejectedly, Sakura headed to the kitchen, where she was greeted by a table set for two. There were two bowls of warm soup for each, and the sautéed vegetables and meat dish looked awfully delicious. The small round cake that rested in the middle made her even hungrier, but the large thing sitting on her usual seat was what caught her attention the most.
Kakashi often gave her flowers during her birthdays, and they were often bright and colorful, varying in specimens, as he had no idea what to pick for her and therefore only relied on Ino or whoever was on watch at the Yamanaka flower shop. Now, however, Sakura could feel her face warming up and her heart pounding fast as she picked up the large bouquet of blood red roses. She wasn't a big fan of roses, and she had always thought they were over the top, but now she could only stare at them in great appreciation.
Snapping out of her reverie, Sakura recalled what she had planned before arriving at Konoha, and turned back to glare at the jounin. His hair was still damp, and he was dressed in his usual black shirt and pants when forgoing his jounin uniform. His mask-less face revealed a hint of stubble on his chin and some stray ones running at the side of his jaw. Maybe he forgot to shave as well. Afterall, if he forgot his promise, it was likely he would forget other unimportant things.
Sakura returned the bouquet on her seat, her glare now gone. It wasn't like Kakashi to forget a promise. He was a ninja, afterall, and Konoha came first before anything else, including himself.
"I'll go take a bath first." Sakura finally said, heading towards the door where Kakashi stood. "If you're hungry, you could go and eat ahead of me."
Kakashi didn't move. Frowning faintly, Sakura tried to push him out of the way, but the man only held her hand, startling her. It had been a long time since she got to touch him, and she cursed herself inwardly for deflating once more. Gods, why did she have to fall for someone like him?
Sakura inwardly scoffed.
"You don't have to be." She said, not looking back at him. "If Konoha needs your services, there's nothing I could do about it."
"I missed your birthday last year, and our anniversary."
Sakura almost laughed. It was odd to hear the word 'anniversary' from him.
"As long as you're still alive." Sakura replied tiredly, looking up at him and trying to grin.
Her grin had died even before she could force the corner of her lips to curve as Kakashi looked back at her silently, his face unreadable. She could feel her breathing coming at an irregular pace, and she had to bite down hard on her lips to stop herself from crying.
"You left without a note." He said, his voice low, quiet.
"I forgot." Sakura replied curtly, trying to free her hand from his grasp. Her patience was already wearing thin.
"You didn't open your gift."
"I didn't know I had one."
"I hadn't seen you for days."
"It's a mission, Kakashi, what did you expect?!"
"I missed you."
Sakura stared back at Kakashi, stunned. His eyes still had the lazy droop in them, but the color on his cheeks caught her off-guard. She had never seen him like this, even when they were rather 'busy', and she couldn't help but give a relieved smile.
It was better than what other people wanted to hear from their lovers.
"I don't think I heard that clearly, Kakashi." Sakura replied, grinning up at the clearly embarrassed jounin. "Would you mind repeating that for me?"
"I…" The man started, the color on his cheeks turning an even darker shade.
"Yes, Kakashi?" Sakura purred, pinning the man by the doorframe.
"I think you better go take a bath first."
: END :
Author's Notes: Woot~ My number one Naruto pair, I've finally written them for the first time! I hope I got them somewhat in-character, and sorry for the half-assed ending. I like light endings, so... there you go :D
To tell you people the truth, I'd rather hear a guy tell me how much he missed me than hear him tell me how much he loved me. It's much more believable and sweeter, don't you think so?
As always, comments, reactions, and bursts of fangirling squee are most welcome :D