A/N: Hi all. I'd like to lie and say I've been working on my Gaara x Sakura WIP but I wouldn't do that to you. It's not abandoned, I've just hit a block plot wise and I'm not sure how to fix it yet. In the mean time, I thought I'd entertain you all with some angst. (I've been writing a lot of it lately for some reason.) I'm not sure what prompted this but my urge to see Kakashi with a belly chain. xD *nose bleed* Thanks again to my wonderful beta xxtokidokixx who puts up with all my sporadicness. Thanks, too, to all who have favorited or subscribed to my alerts. You guys are awesome. ^_^


She worked hard to hide it; pushing all the anguish into a small cold knot and hiding it deep in her heart, but he could see it. He saw the bleakness that settled into her jade eyes in her quiet moments when she thought no one was there. He knew the odd chill that could creep through your chest until the cold froze everything into an unfeeling block. He watched her in her moments of grief, in the times when her loneliness was almost enough to crush her, when the utter desertion was enough destroy her. He saw those brief seconds in time when she couldn't find the will to go on and with a sigh and a small puff of smoke, appeared before her with his trademark smile and his hand raised in greeting.

She smiled; her melancholy melting in an instant at seeing a familiar face. Somehow he always seemed to show up when she needed him most, when she was feeling completely forsaken. She wasn't sure how he knew the exact moments she needed a laugh, a smile, a kind word but when she thought the ice in her chest would completely consume her he was unfailingly there. She knew he didn't think he had anything to offer and it touched her beyond words to know that this man who thought he had nothing to give still stood in front of her in times when all she could do was take from him. How had Kakashi become the one constant in her life? "Kakashi-sensei," she said. "It's nice to see you."

Kakashi swore inwardly, her smile was soft as her eyes. He pushed his hands into his pockets against the chill of the night as he leaned back against her balcony railing, his breath misting through his mask. Her smile would be gone in seconds.

Sakura watched him in silence, her smile shifting to a grin. Kakashi didn't seek her out for no reason. She shook her head with a small laugh. He was probably here to bum a meal. She honestly didn't mind cooking for him and she was already mentally going through her cabinets.

"I'm leaving," he said softly, having held on to her smile for as long as he could. She started slightly, and he grit his teeth as her smile slid from her eyes if not her face.

"Will you be back soon?" she asked needlessly, fighting to keep her disappointment from her voice. Kakashi only came to tell her he was leaving on extended missions.

"A few months," he said, shrugging with a nonchalance he didn't feel. He hated the way her eyes froze over, the only indication that she was shutting down. Her smile never slipped.

"When do you leave?" she asked, looking out over the lights of Konoha.

"Ten minutes ago," he stated, gazing into the sky. She laughed humorlessly and stood from the small chaise lounge, her blanket falling from her shoulders. She stepped inside her small apartment, rummaging around what he knew to be her room for a moment before coming back, a small sono wood box in her hands.

"These are for you," she said, opening the box. Inside were seven charms shaped like the hiragana characters used to make a scarecrow face. Sakura shook her hair out of her eyes self-consciously. She'd never thought she'd actually work up the courage to actually give Kakashi the set she'd worked so hard on.

Kakashi stared at the charms a moment in surprise, the dark reddish black stones seeming to absorb all surrounding light. "They store chakra and dispel it slowly into the body once it's taken on a certain level of damage. They're tuned directly into your chakra flow so they won't detonate prematurely or anything." Kakashi glanced up from the charms, his visible eye holding a bit of wonder. She shrugged, fighting the blush spreading across her face. "You don't always stop to take care of yourself and I figured if you won't go to a medic, I'd bring one to you." He lifted a "no" from the box. The character was secured on two sides by a thin velvety black band so it would not dangle and had less of a chance of being snatched off in combat or in movement. He smiled.

Taking his smile for acceptance, Sakura quickly moved forward to fasten the "no" charm around his wrist. It tucked neatly under his sleeve, the chakra enforced band sliding across his pale skin in a dark slash. She did the same with its twin around his other wrist and crouched to tie a "he" around his ankle as Kakashi did the same with the other symbol. "These work almost exclusively on broken bones or sprains but do handle internal damage," Sakura explained as they worked. He lifted the "ji" from the small case, the band on this charm infinitely longer than the others. "Lift your shirt," she commanded, still bent before him. His eyebrow raised but he did as he was told. She fastened the pendent high up on his torso and he frowned. It looked as if he were wearing an awkward belly chain.

"Sakura," he complained but she cut him off.

"I know how it looks," she said with a laugh, "but you have a habit of breaking ribs. This will dispel chakra to heal them as soon as they're injured." He pressed his lips together, saying nothing as he tucked his shirt back in. She giggled but just pulled the "mo" from the case, holding the necklace out to him. "Internal bleeding and damage to vital organs," she explained. He didn't take it from her, just extended his neck slightly and she rose on her toes to tie the pendant around his neck, their bodies in close proximity. She blushed as his breath fanned her, her fingers fumbling a moment before the necklace was secure. He suppressed a smile and pulled the last "he" from the box, looking at the small studded earring dubiously. She grinned and lifted his headband out of the way. "This one is designed to discharge chakra into your sharingan when you over use it. It should save you a bit of discomfort and give you at least twenty more minutes of intense use out of it." He felt her fingers at his ear for a moment then a warm tingle and slight pressure. He grabbed her hand as she stepped back, holding her in place.

"Thank you, Sakura." She blushed and smiled.

"I just figured you'd get more use out of your Christmas gift now." He held her hand a moment longer before letting it slip away.

"I have to go." She nodded.

"Be safe." He smiled just as he always did and in an instant he was gone, never really committing to the command but she knew he'd try his best. It was the moments like these that pushed away the chill, warmed her from the inside out to a point of content. Kakashi could do that for her; take her most bitter moments and turn them into something sweet.