Summary :: Kakashi's past comes back to haunt him when he finds himself facing the prospect of sponsoring Sakura for ANBU where seduction missions are not optional, but required. Now he must face the demons of his past, or risk Sakura obtaining a few of her own without him.
Notes :: Right now now I'm only focusing my attention on two fics. This one and KMI. However, since KMI is a sequel and I'm not getting many reviews right this moment... well, I'm going to be working on this one also. KMI will most likely go slower.
I really love Kakashi and Sakura fics; probably more so than the Sakura and Sasuke pairings I write. I suppose it's because I'm in a relationship with someone fourteen years older than myself, the same age difference that exists between Kakashi and Sakura. And I have been for almost four years now. It's safe to say it's pretty serious since we're getting married around Christmas.
In this story Sakura will be twenty-two, making Kakashi thirty-six. I don't have a problem with her being as young as sixteen for the pairing, but age for this is more about experience. In my fics, once your sixteen/fifteen in the Naruto world you're an adult if you're a shinobi because of the job you work, and the growing up involved that comes along with it.
Also, Sasuke will have not left for Sound or with Orochimaru because I generally don't like dealing with that mess and it doesn't work for this plot line too well. However, he will still be pretty bent on facing his brother whether it's to kill him or get some answers. He will not have received the cursed mark either for the same reasons.
Naruto will have been training with Jiraiya, who is not dead in this telling for reasons that work best for the story. Sai will be a member of the team because I like him so much. The whys will come later. Yamato is funny, but will not be a big character in my story. I think that pretty much covers the notes... now to warnings.
READ BELOW IF YOU ARE SQUIMISH ABOUT ISSUES OF RAPE AND SEX!!
Warnings :: This fic is M rated because it deals with the emotional and physical damage rape can do to a person, be it male or female. There may or may not be hints of, if not out right, unconsensual sex in this story. If you'd rather not read about that sort of stuff I advise you not read this at all.
Women and men are raped everyday in this country and across the world. It's not just one person's problem, but everyone's. Ignoring it doesn't help it go away. If you have been in this situation before whether it be verbal or physical, or know someone who has then find help, be there for them or talk to someone about it. Talking is the first step and if you don't recognize the problem you can't do anything to start the healing process.
After being educated in this area I was shocked to find almost all child molesters were once victims themselves. When a person, a young person, is raped or taken advantage of they find themselves not only damaged in more ways than one, but mentally stuck in the age they were raped at. They try to find a way to redo the experience with someone of the age they were raped at, usually because they want to redo it and fix it. Which is impossible.
Again, if you are a victim of rape please find help, even if it's just making a phone call to a hotline such as www[DOT]RAINN[DOT]com
Large emerald orbs that appeared too endless and lost on cloud nine were just that--lost. The girl with faint, cotton-candy-pink hair stared down at her book, barely digesting its contents. The words all appeared to trail and link together whilst she nibbled on an apple.
It was hard to really say what she was distracted by to the avid passerby, or in this case the man across from her. But she was nonetheless. He'd spent enough time with her to know as much.
These days his smiles were not so fake, nor his obsidian depths quite so empty. But Sai still had a long way to go when it came to understanding the workings of human emotion. Of course it wasn't too hard to imagine that was exactly what he contemplated about his teammate across from himself at the table, just outside of a lovely cafe shop where they both frequented together to read and converse.
He'd just been reading a rather interesting drama genre magna about a girl who couldn't figure out if she wanted to admit her feelings for the lead when he looked up and realized her eyes weren't moving across the pages as one would normally do so when actually reading.
He naturally considered several things in the pass of a mere minute at this realization. No one could say he was without logic. It was once all the boy, now man, operated on. He thought he might be a bit direct and ask her what was the matter; however, due to the nature that was simply Sakura, and his past experience with her, he deduced she would automatically put on a smile, which, rivaled the likes of his formerly fakes ones, and tell him there was nothing wrong. When, if fact, it was very obvious there was something clearly wrong.
His logical brain worked onward and his brow furrowed despite his vain attempt at remaining unemotional--something that use to be quite an easy feat for him.
He could beat around the bush, but that might require jumping subject a few times to find out just what was the matter with her. He might have called her a hag in the past, but one thing he'd always steadfastly known about Sakura was her great intelligence. She would figure out he was trying to find out her problem if he did that, surely.
He frowned this time and turned his eyes back to his book and trailed the words there, pretending he was reading when all he was really doing was running his eyes back and forth. She would be too distracted to notice he wasn't, hopefully.
He really wanted to ask her directly. It always seemed to work for Naruto at least. But Naruto had a longer track record than he did. Even if Sai spent more time with her lately because of their common book interests and library visits he didn't have the benefit of having known her in her youth as a Genin; a time when her heart had still soft enough for Naruto to worm his way in and a time when such things would be too common for her her to object to later on in life. That aside, it wasn't his style and she wouldn't respond to it all that well, coming from him.
He resisted the urge to sigh and began to evaluate her actions for the past few days; or at least, what he'd seen of her actions.
The team had been training a lot more together and more often than naught he found himself paired with her. It was his preference. Sai felt Sakura was as much his idea of a challenge as she was amazingly talented at genjutsu. Such techniques pushed his ability to think and overcome them mentally. Brawn was great for Naruto and Sasuke; but he, like Sakura, preferred using his brain more.
He smiled internally at that.
Sasuke and Naruto were fantastically talented physically and had loads of stamina while, at the same time, no where near as strong as Sakura. What they lacked in mental capacity and patience he and Sakura excelled at. He didn't see anything wrong with this. Every ninja had their own strengths and their own weaknesses.
But all this thinking was getting him off track, off sight of his real goal. He needed to find out why she appeared so distracted when reading normally had her absorbed everytime they met like this together quite regularly.
His mind turned back to all the training they had been doing together. It was during one of those sessions she'd become initially distracted. Her genjutsu had been weak and he'd railed through it far too easily. However, he hadn't commented on it, gentleman he was slowly learning to become. Honey took you a long way with Sakura, whereas vinegar was a surefire way to get you hit through a tree if not a few bones broken in the process. Again, he wasn't like Sasuke or Naruto, he wouldn't deny his frailty. It worked for his speed but not very well for his defenses. And dodging her was never an option. It usually made it worse.
He narrowed his thoughts further on that day to the moment she'd become distracted. They'd been about ten feet away from from Sasuke and Naruto having at it, wreckage in their wake as they threw verbal jabs at one another. Naruto had commented on who was stronger between using taijutsu type attacks. He'd noted the narrowing of her eyes that moment when Sasuke gave this reply:
"Heh... moron, we're on par. Why else do you think I train with you? It's not like anyone else can give either of us a challenge."
He'd been a bit taken aback by the words then, he realized, as he thought on it. Not because of Sakura, because then he hadn't been concerned about her reaction or paying too much attention as to how such a comment may affect her, but because Sasuke rarely spoke so many words in one sentence at the same time. Well, apparently he did with Naruto. But, that wasn't too hard to imagine since they were more than likely as close as he and Sakura; and they were only close because of their mutual thoughts or opinions on things. It wasn't often you could find someone to talk to on your intellectual level, someone you didn't have to dumb it down for. Aside from Kakashi she was the only one he did so with regularly.
But now that he did think back on it... well, that was when all this 'distracting' began for her. He considered why this might bother her. Sakura always seemed very happy with what she was capable of. She never complained about it. Of course years ago when he had first joined the team she seemed to worry an awful lot about falling behind the two men.
Was it conceivable Sasuke's comment had reopened old wounds without either of the two ebony haired men realizing it?
He frowned again and looked up at her. She appeared still very engrossed in her thoughts despite her best attempts to not seem so.
Now that he knew the heart of the matter, most likely, he tried to form a plan as to how to broach the subject. Of course everyone said he thought too much... so.. he started simple and in the best way he knew.
He smiled and set down his book. "Sakura?"
"Hm?" she replied as she blinked and looked up from her book. "Yes?"
"Sasuke and Naruto are progressing well..."
She nodded and set down her book as well, dog earing the page before she grabbed her coffee from the table and took a sip. The comment didn't look to bother her, but she was quite good at hiding her feelings.
"Yes, well... Sasuke is the genius in our group... and Naruto does have the fox after all..." She sighed, placing her chin in her open hand while her elbow rested on the table. Her eyes glanced out at the street.
He paused while considering a response. He hoped she didn't read too much into it. "I often wonder if I'm even of a level to engage them." Instead of asking her or being direct perhaps he'd use himself in a way that might bring it out of her, her own fears or worries through himself.
She half smiled, eyes briefly glancing at him. "You're smart, Sai. You give me one hell of a challenge every session."
He smiled in return. "I prefer to spar with you for the same reason."
She blushed at the comment. "Surely," she mumbled, "you would much rather duke it out with one of the boys if you could. Or even Kakashi."
"No," he shook his head as he spoke. "Not at all. Kakashi isn't near as good as you at genjutsu. Sasuke seems to think it's a waste of time for all the focus he's placed on learning it and Naruto doesn't have the control for it, much less the patience. He's too direct for that type of technique." He smiled again as her own face bloomed at the compliment.
"I suppose so. But, they could give you more of a work out."
"Perhaps physically, but not mentally. I'd rather work my brain on your puzzles any day over their fists, Blossom." At this he interlinked his fingers together on the table where he set his hands.
"You're kind..." she said with a faint smile of sophistication as she looked down at the table while leaning into it over her drink. "But... I still have a lot of work to do before.." she hesitated.
Sai felt this was a good time to probe the real heart of the matter. Smiling in a comforting manner he leaned in further and placed his hands over her own. Her eyes came up to his, a flush of confusion lining across her nose. "Before what, Blossom?" he edged softly. "Before you're on par with... them?"
"I..." she sighed and appeared to given in. He was thankful she didn't try to deny it. He really didn't want to dig it out of her. Be it his own way or Naruto's more drastic one. "Yes."
"You're good on your own, Sakura. You and I both have things we excel at that they don't. Wouldn't you agree?"
"Yes, I know we do." She scowled a moment. "But this is different. Look at Tsunade-sama, Sai. She's intelligent and powerful. Before Orochimaru's downfall she was on par with him and she still is with Jiraiya. And neither of her two teammates were medical nin..."
"That's true, I guess."
Her eyes caught his and she interlaced her fingers in his own, stirring within him the strong feelings of friendship he had with her, a bond he'd established since she'd figured out that damn book for him.
"I have to find a way on my own to get stronger Sai. I can't keep falling behind. For a while I was ok with it. But, after Sasuke's comment about Naruto being the only one he feels provides him with a real challenge I realized I'm not ok with it.
"My dream since the first days of team seven were to walk with him, not behind them..."
"I understand," he replied, squeezing her hand.
Her eyes brightened. "Do you?"
He nodded. "I do. I suppose I'll have to help you, however. I can't keep watching you go about as you are, you know."
She released his hands and sat back in her chair. "I'm not sure how. Training with you hasn't helped me. It's only made my chakra control and genjutsu creativity better. Sure I'm faster because of you...."
"...But not as fast as you'd like to be," he finished. When she nodded he picked up his hot styrafoam mug of tea and took a sip. He smacked hips lips once or twice before replying. "I wasn't actually talking about that kind of help, Blossom." At her look of confusion he explained. "I actually meant going another route for help."
"What would that be?"
"Well... have you ever considered joining ANBU?"
She looked blank at this suggestion. "Well... no... not ..really..."
He figured a much. "The only real experience I have is with Root, and that was long ago. But I have worked on a few ANBU class missions since then. Not many, though." He took another sip. "They're very skilled, not that I need to tell you that of course. Kakashi himself is a prime example, despite the fact that he hasn't been ANBU for a while. It's fair to say even I'm not sure if he's above or below Sasuke and Naruto; but, I'm pretty sure even if he's below he'd still give them a run for their Ryou." He set his mug down then.
"What are you..."
"I'm saying why not join ANBU for a while? The down sides are you'd be separated from the team for a while, off and on, but you need that don't you? Since you can't get what you need from the team itself or me. Just because you pass the test, which I'm sure you could, doesn't mean you have to stick with ANBU for your whole shinobi career. Again, look at Kakashi."
"True.." she allowed slowly. "But... are you sure I'm ready for it? I mean... ANBU? Don't they go into a six month lock down for training to take the final test?"
"Not if your Medical ANBU."
He nodded. "They go through the same training, but due to the fact that medical nin are far and few they don't go through the lock down process because they have outside duties they still need to perform. Tsunade's pretty stern on that, at least."
"Ok... well, how does it work?" Now she was curious, he could see that.
"Well, normally, for all who want to join ANBU, you have to find a sponsor first. Someone who's already in ANBU or retired from it who will sign your application. You can't get in without it. For special cases or, in your case, a medical nin this sponsor not only signs the application on your behalf but also becomes your sensei; AKA your team leader. They're responsible for teaching you all the ins and outs of ANBU. It's a lot like what you went through when you first became a Genin but a lot harder.
"Also, aside from your sensei, a medical nin in ANBU is taught in scheduled intervals by another ANBU medical nin. Med nin looking to get the rank have to pass the ANBU med nin test and the regular one. It's very taxing physically and mentally."
Sakura said nothing to this, but he could see doubt racing across her eyes again.
He sighed. "Listen, the med nin test is mostly book smarts. I think you'd pass it blindfolded, truthfully. I know for a fact your knowledge in that area is almost embarrassingly above any top notch ANBU med nin. Not for you, but for them. You'd probably run your instructor in that through loops, Blossom."
She smiled at that. "True enough."
He leveled with her then, figuring it best. "Look, you want to be stronger, don't you?"
"Well... why not then, huh?"
She said nothing--again--for a while. He wanted to say something, but did not. She had to make up her mind in this on her own. If he pushed her and she wasn't ready it could go very badly.
"You know... "
"I'll have to think about it... but at least you've given me something to do besides mull about what I can't do. Thanks for that," she replied as he stood up and gathered her things. "Meet you here same time tomorrow after training in the morning?"
"Sure, but where are you off to now?"
She beamed. "Well, Ino noticed my bad mood as easily as you did. I guess she's not the only one with good eyes... or good insight."
He blushed at this, not entirely use to her compliments. They were usually pretty serious together.
"And she invited me out tonight... actually," she grinned as she spoke, "would you like to join us?"
"Are you sure it's not a girls only thing?" He sighed as he stood as well. But it was more of a mock, humorous one. He could tell she noted this.
"Nah... Ino will probably talk my ear off about my problem until she spots a hot gut, then leave me to myself for the night. It'd be nice to have someone to talk to at the bar after she runs off."
"Well," he admitted with a smile as he faced her. "In that case I suppose I can't refuse. What time?"
"I'll come by your place around seven. Sound good?"
He nodded and watched as she ran off.
He chuckled and waved before turning off in the direction of the library. He wasn't entirely in a place where he felt human yet, but at least he was at a place where he could help one teammate out without being hit.
Now that with Sakura, in his humble opinion, was progress.