This is the KakaSaku FC 2009 Holiday drabble exchange that I wrote for the extraordinary moderndayportia. Hope you like it - Merry Christmas!

Prompt: In a dojo on a snowy night
Word count: 599
Rating: K


Taking a breath of the frigid air, Kakashi was glad he wore his mask. Much to his dismay, the sky was darkening already. He still found it hard to believe how short the winter days were up north. Ambling through the streets in the Land of Tetsu, he headed towards a dojo on the outskirts of the village.

Finally, the slightly run-down mansion came into sight.

He knew she'd be here, at the Kamiya Dojo. It was the only place of its kind run by a proprietress. Kakashi had heard that since the kendo master Kamiya had no sons, the dojo passed down to his only child, a daughter. Quite an anomaly in these parts, he was told. Women didn't normally do those kinds of things, but apparently Kaoru Kamiya was a tomboy who was more than happy to carry on her father's legacy. Coming from a village led by a woman, Kakashi found Tetsu's chauvinistic views rather antiquated, while Sakura visibly bristled at such sexists remarks.

Passing through the gates, he entered the courtyard leading to the dojo. He heard her kiai yells long before he saw her silhouette on the shoji screens. Silently, he entered the dojo hall. Despite his stealth, she noticed him right away.

"Kakashi-sensei!"

"Yo. How's the practice coming along?"

"Fine. Kendo's different from our usual training," she sighed, "but I guess it's better than no training at all. Who knows, once we get back to Konoha, I just might carry a sword!" Sakura beamed with a cheeky grin.

Both ninjas were cautioned against openly displaying their chakra abilities in the land of the samurai. To compensate, Sakura decided to learn kendo.

They were in Tetsu to foster goodwill between the nations. Sakura exchanged medical knowledge, while Kakashi strengthened their political alliances. Although the mission was a great honor, Sakura felt terribly homesick.

"I brought you some tea," said Kakashi, holding up a thermos.

"Thanks!" She slid open the shoji door, got out onto the walkway and plopped down. Patting the space beside her, she motioned for Kakashi to take a seat. She was sweating despite the cold. With a small towel, she mopped up the beads of sweat off her forehead. The two of them sat quietly, sipping hot green tea as they watched the snowflakes softly falling.

"No wonder it was so cold. It's started to snow."

"ACHOO!!" Sakura sneezed loudly.

"Are you alright?"

"Yeah, it's a bit chilly, now that I've stopped moving."

"Here. Take my scarf." Kakashi took off his gray cashmere scarf and gently wrapped it around Sakura's neck.

Sakura pulled it up closer to her face, trying to absorb every bit of Kakashi's residual heat.

Unexpectedly, it hit her. It is said that the sense of smell is our most basic sense, connected directly to the primitive parts of the brain. Instantly, Sakura was flooded with the memory of herself and Team 7. It was a hot summer's day; they were taking a break on the banks of a creek. She dipped her toes in the cool water, as Naruto tried in vain to catch a fish. Kakashi relaxed under a tree, reading his favorite book.

Sakura gasped, struck by the intensity of her memory. She buried her nose in the scarf, relishing the green smells of the grassy fields, the earthy undertones of the forest, and something else – the warm, masculine scent that she'd always associated with being safe and secure.

"I miss Konoha," whispered Sakura.

"Me too."

Looking up, she saw his crescent-shaped eye smiling at her.

For just a moment, she wasn't so homesick anymore.