Author Notes: For the LJ community kakasaku fairytale contest. My take on Perrault's Sleeping Beauty. The main players are all here: the prince, the princess, the witch (with a twist!) but I also included the fairies, though they're much more subtle. Choosing a title for this was HARD AS HELL but I eventually did. Hopefully it reminds you of Sleeping Beauty, because if it doesn't, then I broke one of the rules, BUT OH WELL.
Pairings or Characters: Kakashi/Sakura, mentions of Naruto/Sasuke
Word Count: 4897
Summary: For a girl who used to love fairytales, getting to live one isn't always that great.
Disclaimer: Neither the story I'm adapting nor the universe I'm plopping it in belong to me, but to Perrault and Kishimoto respectively.
The Princess Fells the Dragon
When Sakura was still twelve years old and a part of Team Seven, on missions she would often regale her teammates with fairytales her mother had told her when she was little. It wasn't that any of the others really cared for old folk tales about princesses and the various monsters that imprisoned them and the rather bland princes that rescued them, but she had a knack for grandiose storytelling that helped pass the time on long missions. Kakashi would read his Icha Icha novel, occasionally glancing up from its pages to let Sakura know yes, he was listening, while Sasuke would stare moodily at his shoes or into the fire or up at the stars, making sure never to appear like he was the slightest bit interested. Naruto was the only one who would listen with rapt attention, occasionally gasping at the particularly horrid parts or cheering at the climax.
But after one particular tale, while the four of them were camping after finishing a mission in Kusagakure, Naruto stared at her with one of his constipated, thought-making faces until she asked what was bothering him.
"Why do the stories always end in a kiss?"
"Because it's romantic, Naruto. All girls want a handsome prince to live happily ever after with," Sakura answered, all the while staring at Sasuke so hard she could've burned holes in his skull. He remained particularly fascinated with a trail of ants, far away from Sakura's gaze.
"Making out with some random girl isn't romantic," Naruto argued, making a grossed out face as the last word came out of his mouth, "It's stupid. She could be insane or evil or have cooties or something. How does the prince know he's doing a good thing by kissing her?"
"What's that supposed to mean? The prince could just as well be psychotic or evil," Sakura huffed.
"Fine, but then why would a girl risk everything on a kiss from a guy who could possibly be a gigantic, crazy asshole like Sasuke?"
"Oi, I heard that," Sasuke interjected, lifting his eyes from the fire to glare pointedly at Naruto.
"Well, that's not the point," Sakura protested.
"Then what is the point?" Naruto demanded.
"The point," Kakashi suddenly spoke up, making all three of his students' heads whip around to stare at him, "is that true love can conquer any evil and bring together two people no matter what obstacles stand in their way."
Once he was finished, Kakashi quietly returned to his book while Naruto stuck out his tongue and made gagging noises at the answer. Sasuke grunted and went back to glaring at ants. Sakura, however, couldn't tear her eyes away from their sensei. It wasn't until his one revealed eye looked up from the oft-read pages of his book to meet hers that she finally tore her gaze away, face turning red as she tried to pretend like she hadn't been staring.
Eventually, Naruto announced his need to relieve himself and got up to wander off into the woods. Sasuke stood up and followed, presumably for the same reason but without the desire to announce it for himself.
Sakura waited until she couldn't hear their footsteps before she whispered across the fire, "Thank you, Kakashi-sensei."
"For what?" he asked without looking up, turning the page of his book.
"For explaining. I mean, I knew what the point was, but y'know how sometimes your words don't really want to work for you, even if your brain knows exactly what you want to say?" She paused when she realized he was looking at her now. He'd been their teacher for months, but she still got unnerved when their eyes would meet. It was like he was looking through her rather than at her. She wondered absently if Naruto ever felt like that when speaking to Kakashi before realizing he was still waiting for her to finish talking. "Well, uh, that's what it was like. So, er, what I mean is, thank... you..." she finished lamely, face feeling hot as she dropped her gaze to her knees.
"No problem, Sakura-chan," Kakashi smiled - or, well, Sakura thought he smiled; it was hard to tell with that stupid mask - "Since I came to your rescue, do I fit the role of the handsome prince?"
Sakura made a face, "Er, sorry, Kakashi-sensei. You're way too old to be a prince."
"Hey, I'm still in my twenties," Kakashi pointed out, though he sounded more amused than upset.
"Yeah, but when I'm in my twenties, you'll be almost forty. You can't be a prince when you're forty," Sakura insisted, folding her arms across her chest and nodding sagely.
"You don't understand how royalty works, do you?" Kakashi chuckled.
Sakura was about to protest when the boys returned and the discussion immediately changed to food and travel plans for tomorrow. When Kakashi insisted it was time for them to sleep, Sakura rolled over in her sleeping bag and thought of the things that normally ran through her head before she slept: Sasuke, how badly she needed a shower, Sasuke, how much she missed her dad's cooking, Sasuke, wondering what Ino-Pig did today, and more Sasuke. But instead of the usual dreams of flying or riding giant slugs, she dreamt of Kakashi on a horse in royal attire, declaring himself the prince of everything.
Eight years later, there was no Team Seven anymore, but the four members were more or less the same. Sasuke, after his stint as a brainwashed and crazy pawn of Madara, was brought back to the village by a bloody and bruised Naruto, wearing a grin so wide it outshone the sun. The villagers were apprehensive around him at first, but he fell right back into his moody, I-refuse-to-acknowledge-anyone attitude, and soon it was like he'd never left at all. Not like anyone could really say anything about it, anyway, what with him and his friends being the strongest ninja in the entire country.
Naruto was back to planning on how to become hokage, but he spent most of his time being the same old idiot living in the same messy apartment and eating the same Ichiraku ramen.
Sakura had changed, somewhat. She was a medic-nin now, spending more time piecing shinobi back together than fighting them, and she was more concerned with bills and late night tv shows instead of boys, but she was still hot-tempered and stubborn and prone to losing herself in daydreams.
As for Kakashi, well... Sakura wasn't sure whether he had changed or if he was exactly the same as before.
"Go to the festival with me."
"C'mon, I promise to win you one of those big... fluffy things."
"I don't want a fluffy thing."
"Then I'll buy you dinner."
"Festival food is all snacks. Hardly dinner."
"Stop being difficult. I know you want to go to the festival, so just go with me already."
"Where'd you hear that from?"
"From you. Last week when I carted your drunk butt across town back to your apartment."
"... I'm never drinking with you again."
"Noted. Now are you going with me or not?"
Sakura let out a put-upon sigh and finally looked up from the form she was trying to concentrate on.
"If you insist. Now please go away."
Kakashi grinned behind his mask and flicked Sakura's nose before disappearing in a puff of smoke. Sakura stared at the remaining wisps until she was alone with her paperwork.
"Weirdo," she grumbled.
"Saaaaakuuuuuuraaaaa," Ino moaned, collapsing on Sakura's couch, making sure not to spill the carton of ice cream she'd bought on her way over.
"What is it now?" Sakura called from her bedroom.
"How come you have a date and I don't?" Ino huffed.
"It's not a date," Sakura hissed immediately.
"Uh-huh. Says the one in the fancy dress."
"Everyone dresses up for this festival, Ino, that doesn't make this a date."
"You're wearing the red dress, aren't you?"
"That makes this a date."
"Shut up. And you should come anyway. You can always find a guy there," Sakura suggested, trying to change the subject.
"And be a third wheel on your date? No way. Besides, there's a new show on tonight. I'll just sit here, alone, with my ice cream and watch it, I guess" Ino drawled before eating a particularly large scoop off her spoon.
"I'm not sure if you're trying to guilt me into staying home or encouraging me to go on a date with my ex-sensei, but whatever you're doing, it isn't working," Sakura sighed before emerging from her bedroom. Ino paused with her spoon still in her mouth before glaring.
"Sometimes I hate you."
"What'd I do now?"
"You look hot. I hate you." Sakura snorted, but Ino waved her spoon angrily and added, "No, none of that. You're hot and you better admit it, or I'll be forced to give you a stern talking to. Don't think I won't!"
"Stop acting like my mother," Sakura mumbled.
"I will when you stop acting like a brat," Ino shrugged, taking another bite of ice cream. Before Sakura could say anything else, they both heard the doorbell ring. Ino gave her a smug look, but Sakura did her best to ignore it - and the sudden warmth in her cheeks - and headed for the door.
"I'm amazed, you're actually on time-" she said as she opened the door, but was startled to see Naruto and Sasuke on her doorstep.
"Oh wow, you look great. Wait, who's on time? Don't tell me you found a date, Sakura-chan!" Naruto gaped.
"What, you think I can't?" Sakura bristled.
"Nice going, moron," Sasuke sighed.
"Shut up, asshole," Naruto growled.
"You have ten seconds to explain why I shouldn't slam this door in your face right now," Sakura interrupted. When the two of them started going back and forth, it was only a matter of time before one either punched or made out with the other, and she really had seen enough of that.
"W-We just came to bring you something!" Naruto stuttered sheepishly, rummaging around in his pockets, "Ah! Found it. We got this on our last mission. It's pretty, so we thought of you."
Sakura looked at the necklace Naruto held out to her in surprise. It really was pretty, a silver crown charm with tiny green gems on a silver chain, but she wondered how on earth it could have reminded them of her.
"Don't like it?" Naruto asked, deflating a little as she remained silent.
"Oh, no, no, I like it. It's beautiful, thank you. But why did you get it for me?"
"'Cause you always talked about princesses and stuff, so the crown thing is just right for you," Naruto grinned, placing it in her palm and closing her fingers around it.
Sakura stared down at her hand and mumbled her thanks.
"Don't do that," Sasuke grimaced.
"Don't do what?" Sakura and Naruto asked together, simultaneously whipping their heads around to stare at him.
"Be all... weird about it. You're already twenty, stop being insecure like you're still thirteen."
"Yeah, Sakura-chan! And you should lighten up a little, too. Just because you're working all the time doesn't mean you can't still have fun."
Sakura looked between the two of them before smiling wide and nodding. "Yeah. Thanks, guys. Really. Now go, shoo! I don't want you here when my date shows up."
"What? Why?" Naruto pouted.
"Because you guys are hideously embarrassing, that's why," Sakura smirked teasingly. Before Naruto could whine, Sasuke was grabbing him by the collar and dragging him away, waving goodbye with his other hand. Sakura waved back and watched as they disappeared down the steps of the apartment complex. She smiled down at the necklace in her palm before putting it on.
"Accepting gifts from other men, are you?"
Sakura let out a surprised shriek, before turning around and punching Kakashi in the arm. He always liked appearing out of nowhere, and since he was a master at hiding his chakra, it was hard even for her to notice him most of the time.
"Don't do that!"
It wasn't until he grinned at her that she realized he wasn't wearing his mask, or anything that he normally wore, either. Instead of the usual jounin uniform, he was dressed in a black turtleneck and slacks, his bangs falling over his left eye without his headband to hold them out of the way.
"You're staring," Kakashi pointed out with a grin.
"I'm just surprised. You actually own more than one change of clothes," Sakura replied in mock astonishment.
"I'm not a complete bum."
"If you say so. Hey, Ino, I'm leaving," Sakura called over her shoulder.
"I thought you'd already left," Ino shouted back, which Sakura took for, 'Goodbye, have a nice time,' before shutting the door behind her.
The streets and booths were all incredibly crowded as Kakashi and Sakura made their way into the shop district where the festival was held. Sakura was content to just wander around, but Kakashi was determined to win one of those big fluffy things he'd promised her earlier. The first booth they came across that offered prizes was set up for civilians, so Kakashi easily hit the targets and won the much sought-after giant zebra doll. Civilians who had tried and failed at the same challenge stared in awe as he handed the prize to Sakura and the two walked back into the crowd.
"I think I'll name him... Shima," Sakura nodded.
"That's creative," Kakashi teased. She stuck her tongue out and went back to hugging her big fluffy thing. Looking around, he spotted a food stand and offered, "Want something to eat?"
"Sure, but the line looks long. I think I'll wait by those benches."
"What am I supposed to order?"
"Surprise me," she shrugged, already walking away.
Settling down on one of the benches, she put her prize down and let out a sigh. It wasn't like the night had been awkward so far, but she still wasn't sure whether to think of it as a date or not, despite Ino's insisting that it was. But Ino and the boys had managed to boost her confidence for the night, so she wasn't feeling nervous or embarrassed. She fiddled idly with the necklace Naruto and Sasuke had given her when a hand grabbed her shoulder.
She knew immediately that it wasn't Kakashi, but because there were mostly civilians wandering around, she had to stop herself from whipping around and attacking whoever was suddenly invading her personal space.
"May I help you?" she asked, removing the offending hand gently.
"You're Haruno Sakura, aren't you?" came a female voice. Glancing over her shoulder, Sakura saw the smiling face of a brunette woman dressed all in black.
"I am. And you are?"
"You can call me Tsumi," the woman smiled as Sakura stood, grabbing her zebra and holding it close. "Oh, my dear, that little doll won't help you."
Sakura tensed, but said nothing.
"You probably don't remember me, but we met once. A long time ago. About eight years, in fact," Tsumi explained, pausing to see if Sakura remembered, but seeing she didn't, continued, "Your sensei over there at the snack stand killed my family when I was much younger. I've finally gotten a passport into this country, only to discover he has no family left. So I hope you don't mind, dear, if I use you to get my revenge?"
"I do, actually," Sakura glared.
"Oh, that's too bad. Because, really, you don't have much choice."
The eerie smile never disappeared as Tsumi made a sequence of signs with her hands and a spear appeared in her hand.
"Sakura? Who's this?" Kakashi asked, strolling over with his hands full of food.
"No, Kakashi, wait-" Sakura started, but suddenly there was a rush of air by her face as the spear passed by before striking Kakashi right in the chest.
"Well... That hurts," he mumbled, sounding groggy before collapsing in a clumsy heap on the ground.
"Kakashi! Kakashi!" Sakura shouted, kneeling down and checking for any sign of life.
"Don't bother, dear, he's nowhere you can hear him."
Sakura ignored the woman's taunts, running through the standard medic process in her mind as she looked over Kakashi, but was baffled as she realized that, aside from the wound from the spear, he was perfectly fine.
"What did you do to him?"
"You mean, what did I do to him and the rest of your village?" Tsumi smiled before nodding across the street. Sakura narrowed her eyes before looking around and realizing that all the other people that had been wandering through the street were also collapsed on the ground.
"What did you do?" Sakura roared.
"Ah ah ah, don't get too angry. I'm only doing what's fair, after all. He took my family from me. This entire village took my family away, and for what? A few hundred ryo some daimyo offered in exchange for the extinction of my clan? So, you see, I've put them to sleep, Miss Haruno Sakura. A sleep that will keep them from aging or ever dying, even after I've left this world and joined the spirits of my family. By keeping them out of both the living world and the after world, I've guaranteed that no one in this village will ever see their loved ones again."
Sakura grit her teeth, looking frantically around, but there didn't seem to be another person in sight that was awake. She couldn't see more than a few blocks down the street, but all the noises had ceased, so it was safe to assume Tsumi had reached the entire village somehow. Except for her, for some reason.
"And what about me?"
"Yes, I'm quite curious about that myself... My genjutsu should have sent everyone into an eternal dreamless slumber, yet here we are, having a pleasant conversation."
"I wouldn't call it pleasant," Sakura snapped before she could stop herself, but Tsumi just laughed.
"Well, maybe not pleasant for you. But anyway, I suppose I'll just kill you. Your parents must be around here somewhere, so it's not like there's anyone waiting for you if you die. Farewell, Miss Haruno Sakura. It's been splendid talking with you."
In a flash, Tsumi had her spear twirling around her fingers before sending it forward towards Sakura, but she leapt backwards and out of the way, nearly tripping over the unconscious bodies of several civilians as she tried to land without stepping on anyone's face with her heels.
"Impressive. You can move, but can you fight?" she laughed, breaking her spear into several smaller knives. Sakura's heart and mind were racing, and she cursed leaving her usual equipment at home. When the knives suddenly hurtled toward her, she dodged again, this time landing on top of a gaming booth. There were too many people around, and even if Tsumi had said her genjutsu somehow would keep them from dying, Sakura didn't want to risk hurting them if there was a chance of waking them up.
"Can you keep up?" Sakura hollered down at the woman in black before dashing off as fast as she could towards the business district where very few people were likely to have been around before the genjutsu went into effect.
"I wanted a fight, not a chase," Tsumi called after her, but she was following closely despite her remark. When they'd gotten suitably far enough away from the crowds of unconscious bodies, Sakura leapt from the roof she had been running along and headed for the street below. She landed with enough force to create a dent in the road, but had to quickly jump to the side to avoid being stabbed by Tsumi as she followed.
"You're pretty quick, Miss Haruno Sakura, especially for someone wearing a dress and heels like that," she smiled, licking her lipstick coated lips.
"Enough with the formality. Just call me Sakura while I pound you into dust," Sakura spat, cracking her knuckles and launching herself forward. Arm pulled back, she swung her fist down, intending to connect with Tsumi's face, but only meeting air when she got there.
"But I promise you, I'm quicker, Sakura."
"When I get my hands on you-" Sakura hissed, now following Tsumi as the woman leapt and dodged each of her attempted punches and kicks, "I will break you into pieces."
"Killing me won't save them, you know," Tsumi taunted in a sing-song voice, barely jumping out of the way of Sakura's latest punch.
"Yeah, but it'll sure make me feel better."
Sakura's swing missed again, but collided with the building Tsumi had been standing in front of seconds before. When she pulled her hand out of the crumbling cement, she realized there was a piece of black cloth stuck between her fingers.
"Looks like I nicked your dress," Sakura grinned.
Tsumi's smile flickered for the first time before coming back wider and eerier than before.
"That's okay. I guess I'll just have to rip a chunk out of your face to make up for it."
And before Sakura could react, Tsumi had flung another knife at her, cutting her deep across the face. Sakura grunted in pain and automatically clamped a hand against her face, quickly feeling the warm wetness of blood trickling down her fingers.
"There, all better. Now, Sakura, I'm sick of this chasing business. So be a dear and let me kill you, okay?" Tsumi smiled, walking forward slowly as she reassembled her spear.
Wincing, Sakura reached under her dress for the kunai strapped to her thigh, but before she could get to it, Tsumi was pressing her spear against her neck.
"Ah ah ah, that just won't do. Can't have you cutting any more holes in this fabulous dress of mine or I'll have to torture you instead of just killing you," Tsumi scolded, wagging her finger like an irritated mother before using the butt of her spear to push Sakura's legs out from under her. She landed on the ground with a dull thud, groaning in pain. "Such a loud thing, you are. Well, see you in the next world, my dear."
As Tsumi pulled back her spear to drive it down into Sakura's chest, Sakura reached out with her bloodied hand and grabbed the woman by the ankle. Sending a large burst of her chakra forward, she shattered the brunette's entire left leg. With a pained shriek, she fell straight to the ground beside Sakura, her smile finally gone and replaced with a pained grimace.
Pushing herself back onto her feet, Sakura dusted off her dress as best she could with one hand, the other pressed back against her bleeding cheek.
"I told you I'd pound you into dust," she sighed, leaning over Tsumi before kicking her with one heel.
"You can't undo it," Tsumi laughed between pained whimpers.
"All genjutsu can be undone. Tell me how," Sakura ordered, pressing her heel against the woman's neck.
"Well, if it can... I don't know how. Just like... I don't know how... you avoided it... in the first place," Tsumi panted, still cradling her broken leg. Sakura glared down at her, but was at a loss. If even the genjutsu user didn't know how to cancel it, how long would it take her to undo it? But before Sakura could grill her anymore, Tsumi had finished forming more hand signs and was suddenly growing in size very quickly.
"What are you-" Sakura began, but had to sprint out of the way as Tsumi changed from petite woman to over-sized beast in a matter of seconds. The buildings of the business district shook and crumbled as a large black dragon that had once been Tsumi spread its wings. "Oh, for the love of-"
A large black claw suddenly came hurtling towards the ground where Sakura stood, and with no chance of getting out of the way, Sakura held her arms above her head and braced herself with as much chakra focused in her hands as she could spare. She caught the claw, but cracked the street beneath her as it was pressed harder and harder against her.
"You keep surprising me, Sakura. But I'm sick of this and I'd really just like to squish you already," the creature's voice boomed.
"Understandable, but I'd really like to get this over with and go rescue my date, so sorry, but the squishing? Ain't gonna happen," Sakura shouted upwards. Pushing all of the chakra keeping her arms from breaking into the scaly, black limb trying to turn her into a smear on the pavement, Sakura used the burst of chakra to break the bone like she had before.
If the screams before had been loud, hearing a giant dragon thing howl in pain from two shattered limbs was nearly loud enough to burst Sakura's eardrums. As the creature-formerly-known-as-Tsumi fell into the nearby buildings, Sakura grabbed the kunai she'd reached for earlier and ran for the beast's belly. She jumped up and ran along Tsumi's underbelly until she reached where she imagined the heart was nearest, and with the last of her chakra, plunged it into the dragon's chest as hard as she could.
Sakura slowly made her way back to the shopping district where Kakashi and countless other villagers lay trapped in Tsumi's genjutsu, depleted of chakra, still bleeding and dress covered in dirt and dragon remains, but otherwise fine. As she meandered, she had realized her necklace had fallen off sometime during the chase or the fight, but as much as she had liked it, it would have to wait. She wondered if that was perhaps the thing that had kept her from succumbing to the genjutsu like everyone else, but she didn't think on it long before reaching Kakashi and everything else was forgotten.
Kneeling next to him, she took his head in her lap and breathed in deep.
"Think, Sakura, think," she muttered to herself. The basic kai didn't work, and no amount of shaking, yelling, clapping or bribing could get him to wake up, either. She wanted to rest and recover her energy so she could think better, but she feared that by going to sleep she'd join them in their purgatory.
"You jerk. Making me like you and then turning into a complete lump. I knew you were lazy, but there are limits," she whispered down at him, as if teasing would somehow coax him awake. It didn't, though, so she just shook her head and sighed before noticing the necklace Naruto and Sasuke had given her sparkling in the dirt, which gave her an idea.
"... Huh. Well, I guess the roles are backwards, and you're kind of old but not really that old, and it's only the first date if this even is a date, and I'm covered in dirt and blood and whatever the hell this other stuff is, but it couldn't hurt to try, right?" she asked. She paused, not expecting an answer but waiting for one anyway, before shaking her head quickly, "No, no, I'm stalling, I'm stalling. It's just a kiss. No big deal. If you don't wake up to make fun of me for this, I'll kill you."
She took a deep breath, leaned down, and pressed a light kiss against Kakashi's mouth. His lips were soft, but otherwise not really remarkable compared to her other, admittedly limited, kissing experience. It wasn't until his mouth suddenly opened and a hand was on the back of her neck, pulling her closer, that it became easily the most amazing kiss of her limited kissing experience. Even as she sat back up, he followed her, lips never leaving hers as he teased her tongue with his own.
Eventually, she had to breathe, so she pushed him away. He blinked open his eyes and, taking in her disheveled appearance, looked confused.
"What happened to you?"
"Fought a crazy lady who wanted to get revenge on you. She turned into a dragon thing before I finally killed her. Apparently, her genjutsu follows fairytale laws, so I kissed you awake."
Kakashi stared before bringing a hand up to his chest and poking at the hole in his shirt where he'd nearly been skewered earlier. Sakura hadn't even noticed, but the wound from the spear had disappeared. Looking around, she saw everyone else slowly getting up, too. Seeing that Kakashi wasn't hurt, she was confident no one else was, either.
"Huh. She wasn't kidding."
"Who wasn't? The crazy lady who stabbed me?"
"Yeah, that one."
"So you fought her, huh?"
"In that dress?"
"And I missed it?"
"This sucks. Worst festival ever."
Sakura laughed and pulled him in for another kiss.
"Our second date better be better than this," she warned, standing up. She grabbed her necklace out of the dirt and her big fluffy prize off the bench as Kakashi followed, dusting off his slacks before taking her free hand in his.
"Yeah, I hope so, too. Hey, so since you came to my rescue, does that make me a princess?"
"Yes, Kakashi, you're a princess, and I am your gorgeous, shining knight," she smiled, squeezing his hand and getting a squeeze in return.
"Am I a pretty princess?"
"Eh, you're okay."