Story: Timely Relations

Author: August Mayhem

Disclaimer: I don't own characters or settings. Anything that follows canon is not mine. This is a continuous disclaimer and I won't re-post it every chapter.

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Chapter 1

Plip. Plop. Plip. Plop.

Darkness shrouded her immediate perception; inky swirls of nothingness moving close before sweeping away. Slowly, ever so slowly, she felt opened her eyes. Feeling small wet drops on her face and other patches of bared skin, she knew it was raining. Blurry shapes of dark colors filled her vision. Evening had just recently passed, though there was enough still-light to differentiate between the trees of Konoha's forests, the sky and the ground that was quickly turning to mud beneath her.

Taking stock of her injuries, she sat up, looking around for the two idiots who were undoubtedly responsible for her being knocked out. Not seeing them anywhere, the pink-haired kunoichi came to the conclusion that the boys hadn't noticed her in the heat of their battle and had moved elsewhere and later forgot about her. Made sense since the three of them began training just before noon on a bright, sunny, -summer-day. And it was now night.

She quickly healed herself of minor scrapes and bruises and the broken ankle that was beginning to swell, before standing up and making her way towards Konoha.

"NARUTO!!!!! SASUKE!!!!!" She was slightly furious that the two morons had left her outside when it was raining. Her thoughts turned to the wonderfully therapeutic beating she would give them once she found them.

Grrrrrwl. And had something to eat… That came first. She had long since outgrown the idea of dieting as a way to stay slim and trim. Well, to be completely truthful, Tsunade had smacked her around the head one day after Sakura had collapsed in the hospital. She never skipped a meal after that.

She quickened her pace to a steady jog on a path that would hopefully lead to the village. It was easy to get turned around in these forests, and her stomach was growing more and more demanding.

******

Kakashi observed Rin and his sensei as they finished their food while chatting about their prior training in the rain and how it was a good exercise in adaptation to the environment. He sighed and looked out the window. It had been over a month since Obito had died in battle. His team had been put on a leave of absence to recover from that particular mission. Team training had just resumed a week ago.

It was still odd for him to have a new eye. It brought forth a whole new level of clarity and responses to his body. That had been part of the reason he had been training by himself. He had to re-teach himself the basics, so his body could get used to the reactions the eye instilled.

Briefly his hand rose up to touch the hitai-ate that covered his borrowed eye. He had learned early on that if uncovered, it would 'memorize' everything it saw; and every event would be forever burned into his mind. He had very little control over the damned thing. Probably because he wasn't an Uchiha.

He stood when Arashi-sensei and Rin did and together they walked out of the restaurant. About to walk back to his apartment, Kakashi paused when Arashi-sensei's voice broke through the rain.

"In the next 2-3 weeks, the Sandaime and I will be trying to find another student to make this a 3-man cell again. If, however we do not succeed, we will continue to do missions as is, occasionally taking on a shinobi from another team or a chuunin if the mission requires it. Until then, continue training on your off-time and we'll concentrate on you two working together in fights."

As a group they walked toward the Hokage tower. Kakashi slightly hunched, listening to the conversation with one ear.

******

Sakura made her way through the muddy streets toward the Hokage tower. She had wandered about the forests for a few hours in the pouring rain before finally finding a path that led into the village. Thankfully she could continue her way under the awnings of stalls and restaurants.

Peering ahead, she saw 3 dim vague shapes. As she got closer, the brilliant blonde of Naruto's hair was visible. He seemed to be wearing that stupid open cloak with flames flickering along the bottom. The colors seemed a bit odd, but maybe the blonde idiot had finally given up his obsession with orange. Kakashi's odd hairstyle was also visible, despite his slouch. The third body looked nothing like the Sasuke she knew, but Sakura figured Naruto had just pulled a prank on the stiff Uchiha. Not like it hadn't happened multiple times since he came back with Naruto, she snorted.

Quickly running to catch up, she jumped and slammed a chakra-enhanced punch on the blonde head.

"Naruto no baka! Why the hell'd you leave me out in the forest?? Dumbass! I don't have your wonderful immune system! I actually get sick from things like the rain and cold. Especially if they happen at the same time!!"

Team 4 was startled by the loud voice yelling at their sensei. Kakashi had heard footsteps but figured the person was just running home to get out of the rain. Rin was too caught up in her conversation to really notice. So it was a shock when Arashi-sensei, in mid sentence no less, suddenly stumbled forward yelping in pain and cradling his head. All three turned to stare at the pink-haired girl as she yelled at the blonde man.

Once her tirade had finished, Sakura huffed and crossed her arms, half glaring at the 3 idiotic men before her. Though inside she was giddy that she had caught Kakashi and Sasuke off guard. Not something one accomplished every day, especially her!

Not hearing a whiny excuse from Naruto and a muffled laugh from Kakashi and Sasuke, she stopped and looked at the 3 bodies in front of her.

The blonde was a good foot and a half taller than Naruto, and his cloak was white with red flames. Sasuke was a girl with purple stripes on each cheek and her upper arms. And Kakashi was staring at her with his usual blank stare with mild curiosity hidden inside.

She moved to look at Kakashi, really look at him. She gasped.

"Your eyes," her words coming out in a shocked breath, "they're so young…"

She turned to the other two and spread her chakra out and gasped when it made contact with the first two. It wasn't Naruto, and Sasuke actually was a girl, no pranks or illusions. Sakura looked into the face of the blonde man and took an involuntary step backwards. She knew this face, hell, everyone knew this face. It was the face of the Yondaime.

Sakura kept taking small steps backwards, head moving to look from one face to the other. The three opposite her were starting to worry about the rosette.

"No way! This…it's… can't be!" She started to hyperventilate. Kakashi stepped forward, arms outstretched in a peaceful gesture.

"No! No! This isn't real! You –can't- be real!" Her eyes kept glancing back and forth between them, her breath coming fast and shallow. Thoughts whipped around her head, all the thoughts of Kakashi's past, of the Yondaime and what he had done, his future, her past. It was too much, her feet stopped moving as her mind shut down.

Sakura looked to her left, at the masked shinobi. "Kakashi…" was the barely heard breath. She collapsed. Kakashi caught her before she hit the ground and shifted until she was safely nestled in his arms, like a bride being carried across the threshold.

He looked over to Arashi-sensei with a raised eyebrow. He nodded and the pair quickly faded into the night.

"What's Kakashi going to do with that girl? Who was she anyway? And why did she attack you Sensei?"

Arashi turned to look at Rin, "I'm not sure who she is, let alone why she attacked us. Come on Rin. We should go report this to the Hokage."

She nodded and the two jogged the remaining distance to the Tower. The Hokage heard their story and said it would be dealt with in the morning. Bidding him goodnight, they left for their separate ways.

*****

Brilliant morning sunlight fell across pink hair strewn upon the pillow. Closed eyes scrunched even tighter to prevent the morning from entering. Realizing the futility of such an act, bleary green eyes smudged open. Not recognizing the immediate surroundings, the young woman shifted from her side to her back and stared up at the ceiling above. An off white color with a curious pattern of cracks that looked remarkably similar to the Hokage's mountain. It was Kakashi's room. She and the boys had crashed at their former sensei's apartment a fair bit in the last year or so.

She smiled. "Kakashi." It was whisper soft, but the name being vocalized suddenly brought forth memories from the night before. Her body snapped up. Kakashi! With the Yondaime! This was just weird. Sakura paused. Actually, no it wasn't. It was impossible.

She must've had something to drink with the boys and Kakashi and this was the result. Her drunk and in Kakashi's bed so her parents wouldn't find out. She moved from her Indian sitting position to the window.

Smiling, she breathed in the morning air. Since the first time Kakashi had allowed them into his house (about a year after Naruto came back with Sasuke), Sakura had always loved the view from this window best. It was the view one would get from the Hokage Mountain, though not quite as high.

Leafy green trees spread throughout the village, red roofs added more colour to the vibrancy of the life inside the city gates.

"Nice view isn't it?"

She smile widened, even though he couldn't see it. "It is! I've always envied you this view. Be warned, when you die, I'm buying your house!"

She spun around walked over to him, pecked him on the cheek and made her way to the front door.

"Thanks for letting me stay Kakashi! I can't imagine my parents enjoying the sight of me drunk!" She chuckled. "I'll pop in with them and then I'll meet up with you and the boys later. Ja!"

She opened the door and was met with a kunai and a fierce glare.

"You're not going anywhere. You are effectively my prisoner until the Hokage figures out what to do with you."

She raised an eyebrow. He'd used similar situations as training before. Just never right after she woke up from a 'hangover'. Which was suspiciously absent in the man in front of her. She never had to worry about hangovers, and neither did Naruto, but the other two did. She snickered.

Quickly batting the kunai away, she lashed out with a kick that sent the cyclops into the apartment hall.

Dashing back to the bedroom, Sakura jumped out the window and pulled off a complicated move involving loose shingles and the laundry lines below her.

Wondering why Kakashi hadn't attacked her yet, she risked a look backwards. The vision on a stumped and mildly astonished Kakashi sent her into a fit of giggles as she ran away, further into the village.

*~*~*~*~*

Kakashi glared at the pink haired girl. Did she think this was a game? Maybe she was a spy, and if so, he had just let her get the best of him. He raced after her into his bedroom with a smirk. He knew from personal experience that there was no way out through there.

He had taken away her weapons as she slept, and there were far too many laundry lines crisscrossing to make for a clean escape without any weapons to cut a path.

Yet when he reached the window scant seconds after she jumped, Kakashi saw the young woman in red flipping through the wire like a seasoned acrobat. As she raced off across the roof tops she glanced back and giggled.

He glared. No one giggled at him. Running as fast as he could around other civilians who had heard the noise, he eventually took to running on the ceiling. As soon as he made it outside Kakashi jumped to the nearest roof and then took a chakra powered jump straight up.

Spinning in a slow circle in the air he found the flash of pink that he was looking for. She was running for the central market. Doubtless she would use a gengutsu to hide her more obvious features.

Kakashi smirked as he ran after her. Finally the sharingan would be tested outside of training.

*~*~*~*

Sakura smiled as she quietly dropped into small alley. Using her immense chakra control she altered the genetic code for her hair and eyes. It was a recent project that she and Tsunade had been working on.

When she opened her eyes, Sakura stepped out of the alley with generic black hair in two curly pigtails and dark brown eyes. Pulling her centre in as close as she could, she made her chakra level equal to that of a civilian.

Not even Kakashi knew about this little trick of hers. She'd begun work on it soon after she, Shizune and Tsunade had found the genetic coding for hair and eye colour. It had been a chance discovery by Sakura, but together the three of them delved into the research and uncovered a lot of information.

It was during that the Sakura mused on the ability to change her looks without the use of gengutsu, which some shinobi *cough*Kakashi and Sasuke*cough* could see through.

Tsunade had continued it with the mimicry of chakras. She had not yet perfected that, but was good enough to pass a casual purveyance. Anything deeper and she could be distinguished from the real thing.

Browsing the stands, Sakura bought a bowl of miso ramen (Naruto had gotten her addicted to the dumb stuff) and wandered about, looking at wares, trying on accessories and enjoying the life of a civilian. It had been so long since she'd done this without it being a mission or just buying shinobi materials.

A glimpse of spiky silver hair caught her eye. Ducking into the nearest clothing stall Sakura picked out a long-sleeved, medium coloured purple happi* coat that went to just above mid-thigh. Tying a bright yellow obi around her trim waist, Sakura let the bottom half of the coat fall open. Keeping her black shorts on, she traded her shinobi sandals for a pair of cute black flats.

Buying a small assortment of elastics and pins she pulled her hair up into a messy bun and pinned it so it would not fall out.

Stepping back into the bright morning light, she bought some dango to munch on while she walked. Seeing Kakashi glare at every person he walked past she giggled and ran up to him.

"Shinobi-san! Shinobi-san!" A panicked look appeared in his visible eye as he glanced around to see if there was anyone other than him.

"Can I help you miss?" Internally gloating, Sakura adopted a cute look on her face. She scuffed her foot in the dirt and clasped her hands behind her back.

Forcing a blush to her cheeks and lowered her eyes. Kakashi gave an almost-audible groan when he saw the blush. This was why he wore the damn mask!

"Well, see, I've seen you around the village and while I don't know your name, I think you're very handsome and was wondering if, maybe, you'd like to…ummm….go out with me?" The last part was a whisper with her hands nervously clasped in front of her face.

Kakashi looked at the girl and felt like smacking her around the head. Honestly! What was wrong with females?! She didn't even know his name! He was well-known with a few other main villages, least of all his own! And this dumb chit didn't even know!

He closed his eye in an apologetic smile. "I'm sorry, but my mission schedule is very busy right now and I don't have much of a personal life-"

Sakura glanced up, hopeful. "Then, maybe when you complete your missions?"

Kakashi grimaced. "We'll see. But I have to go report at the Hokage Tower now, so if you'll excuse me."

Sakura bowed and when she stood straight, Kakashi was nowhere in sight. Smiling, completely sure that her 'crush' on him would keep him away from her she turned about, intent on enjoying her day.

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