Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto or its characters. I do not make any profit from this text.
Written for wicked_seraph for the Kakashi and Sakura Fic exchange on Livejournal
Prompt: No crack PG/PG-13.
Huge thanks to kageotogi and txilar for their wonderful beta help and to leafygirl for her encouragement :)
Sakura rubbed her swollen belly gently. A tiny foot was shoved up against her rib and she was trying to encourage her daughter to change positions so that Sakura could go back to sleep. She was due in less than six weeks, and at this point nothing was comfortable. Sleeping had become an ordeal. With the nest of pillows required to support her belly and legs, poor Kakashi was nearly pushed off the side of the bed. Sakura smiled as she looked at her husband, it had certainly taken them long enough to get here.
In a village where things changed in the blink of an eye, Sakura felt that her relationship with Kakashi had moved at a glacial pace. She hadn't even realized her feelings for him until the village was attacked the winter she was nineteen. With the whole world falling down around her, she hadn't seen much battle herself as medics were in more demand than warriors with the plethora of wounded and dying at the hospital. She hadn't been in the triage area when Kakashi was brought in, but she did take a lead role in his care once he was stabilized.
Konoha was victorious over their enemy, but as always it had come at a great cost. Ino had been killed during the attack, as had Chouji and Shino. During this time, Sakura found that she didn't see many of her own peers as every able-bodied ninja was engaged in rebuilding and revenue generating missions for reconstruction and fortification of the village. Sakura continued to spend most of her time in the hospital, so when she did have a few free minutes she found herself in Kakashi's room, visiting with him. They mostly talked about normal things, both needing a reminder of times not related to battle or death. He was what she really needed at the time, a friend. And Kakashi seemed to really enjoy their visits, if the less bleak look in his eye was any indication.
Finally her baby had moved and she could lean back and relax without the sharp pain. A sad smile passed over her lips as she let out a sigh of relief. She wouldn't be getting back to sleep soon, though. Sakura let her mind continue to wander despite the melancholy memories.
Sakura found herself breaking down completely a few weeks later, after the battle had finally ended. It had been the silliest thing that triggered it. Finally, a good percentage of the heavily wounded had been discharged or transferred to stepped-down care and Sakura realized she would be able to have a break from her brutal schedule. Her first thought had been that she'd find Ino and they'd go to their favorite tea house and talk about something frivolous, perhaps who was the most eligible bachelor at the moment. She had been halfway out her door, heading to Ino's house, when she realized Ino wouldn't be home.
Ino was dead. The sudden realization hit Sakura like a kunai to the gut. She had barely been able to get back inside her apartment before she fell back against the door and slid to the floor, finally allowing herself to mourn.
She woke up in the same place, her eyes burning and her back screaming for having fallen asleep on the wooden floor. Sakura washed her face and then went out, wandering until her feet brought her to Kakashi's hospital room. He was sitting up in bed, mask in place, tired gray eye watching her, hair in wild disarray and bandages covering his shoulder and torso. Sakura could feel her face crumpling as she staggered the last couple steps to his bedside and fell into the chair she'd placed there earlier in their visits.
Kakashi hadn't asked what was wrong or said anything really. He had stiffly reached over and grabbed her hand, giving it a squeeze as the words started spilling from her. Sakura hadn't been able to stop herself; it was like a floodgate had opened and all the fear and pain she'd held back while in crisis mode came out in a torrent. Once she'd cried herself out, Kakashi had let his own impregnable walls crack just a tiny bit. He spoke with her bluntly but not unkindly about losing teammates and best friend/rivals. Kakashi cautioned her about not holding it in like he had done with some of his own losses, and offered to listen when she needed to talk. It was then, when her heart felt a bit lighter, that she thought perhaps things would be okay again.
Sakura wiped at a stray tear as it coursed down her cheek. Being pregnant had really messed with her hormones and she still did miss Ino, especially when she thought about how her friend would never get to see her daughter. With a slight shake of her head to clear that gloomy thought, Sakura relaxed again and let her eyes trace over Kakashi's maskless face. A bit of moonlight was peeking through the blinds in their bedroom and it was enough to make out his handsome features. She let her other hand stray over her mound of pillows to the bushy silver hair spread out beside her. She only lightly toyed with the ends, knowing that Kakashi would wake if she disturbed him more than that. Seeing him bathed in moonlight always reminded her of the first time she had seen his whole face.
After she had been willing to show her own vulnerability in her grief, Kakashi was willing to show a bit of his own. After Kakashi returned to active duty, he still found time to see her, and they grew to be close friends. Nothing romantic, only two friends finding comfort in sharing a pot of tea and conversation. It happened on one of those nights when she'd stopped by his place after her shift was over at the hospital. Once he'd let her in, he'd simply pulled down his mask and walked back towards the kitchen.
Sakura had stood stock-still, processing the visual she had of his face from the moonlight filtering in through the open living room curtains. Here was the culmination of what she had longed to glimpse since her first days back with Team Seven. Kakashi had ended up bringing the pot of tea to the table and then started laughing at her. He told her to come on in and get a better look in the light, that she could stare if she wanted.
Sakura had blushed and stammered that that wouldn't be necessary. She wasn't so flustered that she didn't manage to catch the spark in his eye as he watched her, their conversation just as easy and normal as always. Sakura knew Kakashi well enough by then not to comment directly on the mask or to ask why he'd decided to show her his face. After that, Kakashi began taking it down more frequently during their visits.
Blinking herself back to the present, Sakura stared at Kakashi. If she hadn't been watching so closely then she'd have missed the frown that stole over his face. He was too good a ninja to let himself make any sound or movement while sleeping, but his face still betrayed his troubled sleep. Sakura awkwardly shifted herself over a bit, getting herself into a more defensible position. She then began to talk to him in a soft voice, letting herself say mostly nonsense that was pitched to comfort and soothe.
Kakashi's features smoothed back out and he shifted, the covers falling off his shoulder, revealing the beginnings of the vicious scar that cut from his shoulder blade diagonally across his back all the way down to his hip.
That scar was what had ultimately brought them together.
It was a little over a year after the attack before Sakura had dared to take things beyond friendship. At twenty, Sakura felt that she had become a kunoichi that she could be proud of. The village had finally recovered from the attack enough that life was settling into a normal rhythm. She had found balance between her work in the hospital and missions. She had come to terms with the loss of Ino and strengthened her bonds with her friends. Just as life seemed to be going so well, another blow came.
Sakura was on duty this time when Kakashi was brought in. Sakura was the consummate professional, treating Kakashi as if he were any other ninja. However, once he was stabilized and moved to the intensive care ward Sakura lost it. She couldn't stop shaking both from the adrenalin she had been running on and from near exhaustion; she'd poured most of her chakra into operating and healing him.
After Kakashi was recovered enough to be lucid, Sakura wasted no time. She burst into his room, frantic to tell him that she was in love with him. She knew she'd never forgive herself if she didn't tell him and try to see where it might lead. After all, it could make them both happy. Kakashi hadn't been surprised, his gray eye steady over his mask and the bandages wrapped around his head and from his neck to waist.
He explained that he thought he had feelings for her too but that he wanted to take things slow. They shared their first kiss right then. Sakura gently pulled down his mask and pressed her lips against his. It was a dry and delicate kiss, but it caused her heart to pound and then she knew for certain she was in love with this man.
"Ow," Sakura mumbled as she pressed hard on her belly. 'Why do you have to be so active tonight?' she silently queried her daughter as she started massaging her other side where there was a head or butt being shoved up against her rib. She considered getting up to walk to see if that would help, but it had been a long day at the hospital and she was exhausted. She looked at the slight bulge on her abdomen where the baby was pushing and then the plain platinum band on her left hand as it joined her right in massaging. Maybe if she just kept rubbing, her daughter would move to a more comfortable position.
It took another year before they moved in together. They hadn't hidden their relationship, and though they had a few negative reactions, people mostly were surprised. After all, Kakashi hadn't been someone who got into relationships easily or often and Sakura had always been very discreet with her own barely existent love life. Naruto and Tsunade were surprisingly happy for them after they'd had gotten over their initial shock.
Sakura was happy and she thought Kakashi was happy too, despite his ongoing hesitancy to talk about feelings in general. Their relationship had had some rough patches as they both adjusted to dating and then living together. Kakashi had been a solitary and private person for most of his life, so allowing someone in his space was difficult. Sakura was thankful for their close friendship as it had taught her how backing off and not pushing was her best bet for getting through to Kakashi. She knew she had to let him take things at his own pace, even though it maddened her at times. The rewards were always worth the cost.
Kakashi let out a soft snort as he tried to bury himself back under the covers. Sakura had to raise a hand to muffle a giggle as she watched him. He looked so innocent when he slept, and his face betrayed nothing of his profession. He was a good husband to her. She was so happy that they had decided to finally have a baby together. She was sure he'd be a good father, even if he was a bit unpredictable at times.
When Sakura turned twenty-two she had another surprise. They had been living together for more than a year when Kakashi woke her up one morning and asked if she'd let him make an honest woman out of her. Just like when he'd first bared his face to her, there was neither a grand romantic gesture attached nor an explanation for why this time over any other. Sakura had laughed at first, as her sleep befuddled mind tried to process the meaning of his words, but when she saw he had his mother's wedding ring in his hand, she sobered quickly.
She had stammered a bit then said "YES!" Kakashi had laughed and leaned in to kiss her. Kakashi sought out Tsunade that day and they were married within a month in a small ceremony. Sakura always thought it was funny that this was one of the only things that went quickly within their relationship, but Kakashi had told her he saw no reason to wait. He'd made up his mind to get married, and they were already living together so why drag things out any longer.
Sakura couldn't believe it'd been almost three years since then. She grunted as she got a kick in her spine. It was definitely a head poking her rib then. Kakashi rolled over, startling her as he blinked at her sleepily.
"Hey, everything's ok. Go back to sleep," Sakura whispered still rubbing furiously at her belly.
Kakashi studied her intently for a couple of moments, still half in the fog of sleep. "She practicing her ninjutsu on you?"
"She's just really active tonight. I think she doesn't like it when I'm lying down."
A scarred pale hand stretched across the pillow barricade to join Sakura's on her belly. "She just doesn't like to be bored like her dad. She can't help there isn't any reading material in there to keep her occupied."
Sakura laughed as she placed her hand overtop of Kakashi's. "I hope she has her mother's taste in literature."
Kakashi leaned over, pressing a gentle kiss onto her bare belly and then a kiss onto Sakura's hand. He then turned and reached off the side of the bed. He then placed his current copy of Icha Icha on top of Sakura's middle. "There you go, Ino. Now relax and let Mama get some sleep."
Sakura just rolled her eyes as she leaned over to give his shoulder a smack. "Pervert."
Kakashi chuckled as he rolled back onto his side pulling the covers all the way up until they covered the lower part of his face. "You know it. Good night"
"Good night. Oh yeah, Kakashi, let's not wait too long to give Ino a brother or sister. I don't want to have both you and the babies in diapers at the same time!" Sakura smiled and ruffled his hair before tossing the book onto the nightstand. She settled back down on the bed herself. It may have taken longer than expected to get here, but this happiness was definitely worth the wait.