TIMELINE/SPOILERS: After time-skip. Sakura is 18 already.
WARNINGS: None (yet, lol)
SUMMARY: Kakashi had only wanted to settle things between them as teacher and student, but it seems bad karma is after his hide.
DISCLAIMER: Masashi Kishimoto owns Naruto and all related characters, etc etc etc.
Chapter 04 - Action
"Sakura, I think that's enough training and hospital shifts for you."
Said girl snapped from her silent litany of jutsus and medical techniques and looked back at her shishou with confused eyes. Suddenly, like a jolt of electricity, she remembered that they were supposed to be sparring, and that she should have been avoiding the straight punch that the Godaime had sent towards her face. Cold blood suddenly ran through her veins upon realizing that her shishou had managed to stop her fist only a few millimeters from her face. Otherwise, she would have to spend a few days in the hospital to recover from broken bones on her face.
"You haven't taken a break for more than two months." Tsunade said, crossing her arms below her chest. "Even Naruto isn't training at that rate, I'm sure."
Sakura shook her head. She wanted to improve as soon as possible, learn as many medical techniques and jutsus as possible, and gain as much knowledge as soon as possible, all to help Naruto in bringing Sasuke back, and to prove as well that she was, indeed, a kunoichi whom a village could depend upon, whom her friends could depend upon, and whom herself could depend upon. She had had enough of being called 'useless', and there was no way she would allow anyone to call her 'weak' once more. Enough was enough.
"I'm sorry, Tsunade-shishou." She said, preparing her stance once more. "It won't happen again."
"No. You're taking a break, young lady. If I see you inside the Hokage Tower, hospital, library, or any training grounds in the next three days, you're going to be off rotation from missions for a month and your hospital shift will be cut down in half."
Sakura paled. She needed the hospital shifts to develop her skills as a medic-nin, and her missions greatly helped her in combat and more pressured healing responsibilities. To take them away from her would greatly affect her development as a ninja, and she might not be able to catch up with Naruto on time.
"I understand." She said resignedly, her hands dropping weakly at her sides. "I will take some rest, Tsunade-shishou."
The Godaime gave her a small grin, and Sakura was thankful once more that the woman had accepted her plea to become her apprentice. If she didn't accept her, Sakura didn't know what to do next, and although she had the determination to accept any training she would go through, going through two rejections by teachers she wanted to learn from would have been too much for her.
"It wouldn't be too long, and I would be able to send you on missions with jounin teams soon. You've worked really hard, Sakura."
The girl gave her mentor a grateful smile.
"Thank you, Tsunade-shishou!"
O O O
After deliberating with the Godaime regarding their team's mission, Kakashi and Sakura were dismissed by the woman with a short reminder to hand in their complete mission reports the next day. Sakura had left the office without another word, and Kakashi was once more baffled. She had rarely spoken on their way back once more, and he could only hear her voice when she would check up on her patient. The only thing she had ever told him was a short 'thanks' when he handed her a good portion of the food he had cooked for their dinner at the forest.
"Kakashi, I said you're dismissed."
The jounin looked back at Tsunade and assessed the situation. He was sure it would guilt him even more, but he needed to know the truth from someone other than the girl in question.
"Tsunade-sama," He started, and when the woman looked up from the scrolls on her desk he felt something caught on his throat.
"What is it?" She asked, impatience clear in her voice.
"Did you notice anything different in Sakura?"
The Godaime raised a fine eyebrow in question, and Kakashi could feel the repercussions of his query.
"I didn't notice anything different from her, aside from the fact that she's practically shut her mouth during your report."
Kakashi nodded, glad that it was going a bit easier than he expected.
"Did something happen to her in the past few days? During the mission, she barely said anything."
Tsunade gave him a long, hard look, and when Kakashi was feeling that he should be leaving, she finally spoke, her voice clearly harsh.
"I'm surprised you've only noticed now."
Kakashi looked back at the woman, feeling his gut sink a couple of inches lower.
"In case you still haven't realized," The Godaime said, leaning back on her chair. "Sakura's relationship with you has strained at such a thin level, all because of what you did to her when she was still a genin.
The woman gave a tired sigh and glanced at Kakashi over her intertwined fingers.
"She still hadn't forgotten how you had practically abandoned her right when she needed a mentor the most. Of course she understood completely why you opted to go back to ANBU during those years when Naruto was off training with Jiraiya. However, that didn't mean she has forgiven you."
Kakashi looked past the woman and to the purple-gray sky, mulling over the Godaime's words. He had a feeling that it was the case, and with Sakura's mentor and mother-figure confirming his situation with his former student, the horrible feeling at the pit of his stomach became worse.
"If you have nothing else to say, get out of my office." The Godaime said, grumbling as she resumed reading several documents from the tall stack on her desk. Kakashi didn't need to be told twice, and he was gone in a second.
* * *
'She still hadn't forgotten how you had practically abandoned her right when she needed a mentor the most.'
Kakashi continued walking idly through the marketplace, his eyes staring blankly ahead, his hands stuffed inside his pockets. He had expected his former student to be angry at him for a period of time, but he had also expected that, since she was more mature and level-headed than Naruto and Sasuke, she would get over it and continue on.
He had never expected her to hold a grudge against him for that long.
Feeling the horrible churning inside his stomach once more, Kakashi turned at the next street and purposely headed for a bar with a fading drawing of a fox on its wooden sign.
He would have to talk with her.
: to be continued :
Author's Notes: Erm, actually this chapter was finished right after the last one. I forgot to upload it -__- Sorry… Anyway, I hope this would suffice for now hahaha I'm currently really busy with my college thesis, so… well, I might get back on hiatus mode again lol
Aaaaand as always, reviews, comments, corrections, and bursts of fangirling squee are most welcome XD It feels nice to know how people respond to your stuff, and it wouldn't hurt if you point out some things that don't seem right, because sometimes I tend to overlook some mistakes after reading the thing over and over again… sigh…