This short story was written for the Poe contest over at the Kaka/Saku LJ community. All prompts were inspired by his work, in this case, the "Tell-Tale Heart." If I make it to round two, there will by another unrelated chapter based on the second prompt.
Hearts Don't Lie
Sakura was awakened by the bedroom door opening. Though he was practically silent, the fact remained that it was hard to sneak up on a shinobi. She felt the mattress dip behind her as her boyfriend settled into bed, but he didn't move in close and press his body against hers like he usually did. He didn't drape an arm possessively over her shoulder or hip.
Despite the distance, she picked up the scent immediately. It was masked by alcohol, Kakashi no doubt having had far too much sake before coming home. But underneath the astringent smell lingered something spicy and sweet. It was a sensuous smell of sandalwood and cloves, very different from the fresh floral fragrance Sakura usually wore.
She suddenly realized she was smelling another woman's perfume and her heart leapt into her throat, fluttering like a panicked bird as the implications of the situation raced through her mind.
Perhaps it was innocent. Perhaps he had been out at a bar and sat close to a woman who had simply worn too much perfume. Perhaps he had hugged an old friend. Maybe some of the fragrance had been spilt on him somehow. Or maybe...just maybe it had rubbed off onto him while he was naked with another woman, both of their bodies glistening with sweat as they moved against each other.
Sakura banished the thought from her mind. She was just being paranoid. She had dated Kakashi for four years and they had been living together for three. Due to their dangerous profession, she doubted they would ever officially get married, but they were as close to it as two people could get. She trusted him completely, and to her knowledge, he had always been faithful.
And yet, a nagging voice at the back of her head reminded her that he had been acting a little strange ever since he had returned from his last mission three weeks ago. He stayed out late more often, claiming he had recently rekindled his friendship with some of the other Jounin guys and they all liked to have a drink down at the local bar once or twice a week. She had never thought anything of it, but now she was afraid that perhaps he wasn't really going to a bar at all.
She listened to his steady breathing behind her. He was already asleep due to his drunken state. In the darkness, she told herself to calm down. She was probably just overreacting. She had no real proof that he had been with another woman. There were a million reasons why he smelled the way he did and she didn't want to confront him about it. He might think her jealous, overbearing, and she wasn't willing to risk upsetting him if there wasn't even anything wrong.
She willed herself to go to sleep, knowing she had a long shift at the hospital ahead of her, but even as she drifted off to sleep, her mind was busy crafting images of the woman to whom the scent belonged.
The next morning, Sakura woke to the much more familiar smell of bacon and eggs. She padded out to the kitchen to find Kakashi busy making breakfast for the two of them. As usual, he seemed unaffected by all the alcohol he'd ingested the night before. She wasn't sure how he did it, but he always managed to awake hangover free.
His mask was in place but she recognized his smile by the way his eyes creased when she walked in the room. He pulled her in to a hug with one hand, spatula in the other as he pressed mask-covered lips to her forehead. Sakura inhaled the clean scent of soap and kissed to the shower-damp skin of his bare arm.
Last night's suspicions were forgotten as they chatted comfortably over breakfast, and Sakura laughed at her own paranoia.
However, as the weeks progressed, Kakashi's strange behavior increased. He used to find any excuse to touch her, a caress to her low back as he stood behind her, a hand to her cheek as they kissed. But lately, he seemed more and more uninterested in Sakura all together. Gone were the lingering looks of adoration and the attempts to playfully tickle her.
One morning, Sakura climbed atop him in bed and slipped his prominent morning wood inside of her. She enjoyed riding him slowly, feeling him slide inside so deeply, until she saw that Kakashi didn't seem to want to participate much at all. He wasn't captivated by her naked body like he usually was. In fact, his thoughts seemed to be elsewhere entirely. Discouraged, Sakura dismounted since neither of them were going to reach completion. She rolled to her side, feeling wholly unsatisfied and a little hurt as Kakashi mumbled an apology, saying he had a lot on his mind.
He got up and showered, leaving Sakura to wonder if after four years, the magic was starting to disappear from their relationship. It was true that she worked long hours at the hospital and that he was gone days, sometimes weeks at a time on missions, but they had always been happy with their routine. Morning sex had always been one of Kakashi's favorite things, especially when she took control, and she couldn't help but wonder if he no longer found her as alluring as he once had.
When they had first starting dating, sex had been so exciting. Part of it was fueled by the underlying taboo that he was her sensei and she his student. Sex was deliciously naughty and full of passion, but now, she wondered if the flame had just run its course and was beginning to die out. Perhaps she needed to do something new to spice up their relationship.
She tested her theory the following night, emerging from the bathroom clad in a racy black thong, pushup bra and thigh highs, held up by a matching garter belt. She had carefully styled her hair and makeup to ensure that she looked just like the sexy women in Kakashi's books. She had never worn anything so daring, but the second she had seen the set in the shop front window of Konoha's finest lingerie store, she knew she had to have it. She slipped on her horribly impractical four inch heels and stood before the bed where Kakashi was reclined, nose buried in one of his usual orange-jacketed novels.
"Hey, honey," she purred in what she hoped was a sexy, come-hither tone.
He looked up from his book, eyes widening as he took in his girlfriend's provocative attire. Sakura sank one knee to the bed and proceeded to crawl towards him, plucking the book from his fingers and setting it aside.
I want to have some fun with you," the pink haired vixen said seductively as she straddled her lover's hips , confident that this was the answer to reawakening Kakashi's interest in her.
To her dismay, the older man's expression turned from surprised to sheepish as he mumbled, "Actually Sakura, I'm not really in the mood."
She knew her mouth was hanging open but she couldn't find the sense to close it. Not in the mood? Kakashi Hatake was always in the mood! How could he be disinterested when she was dressed like one of the sultry goddesses from his books?
Anger quickly replaced disbelief as she uttered a furious, "fine," before stomping off to the bathroom and slamming the door behind her. She wrenched the hot water on in the shower, making the old pipes groaned in protest, but she was too upset to care as she tore the sexy clothing from her body.
If this couldn't get Kakashi's attention, she supposed nothing would. It was true she was no longer a fresh faced woman in her early twenties, but she was by no means old. She seldom wore makeup and cared little about her personal appearance while at the hospital, but was that enough for Kakashi to grew bored with her?
She stepped under the scalding spray, letting it melt away the cosmetics she had caked on and wash the hairspray from cotton candy strands. She was on the verge of crying but she stubbornly held back the tears. Maybe it wasn't her looks that had Kakashi disinterested. Maybe he was just tired of their mundane routine. Perhaps they should take a trip together somewhere, even just for the weekend. She hoped he would be in favor of the idea and it would be enough to jump-start their relationship once more.
She emerged from the shower less angry and more weary, all sultry traces of mascara and sexy wavy hair gone. She wrapped herself in a towel and opened the bathroom door to find Kakashi standing there looking very apologetic.
"I'm sorry, Sakura. I didn't mean to hurt your feelings," he said, gently cupping her face with his hands. "I've just had a lot going on since I'm helping Iruka out at the academy this week. I've been really tired, but I know you went to a lot of trouble to get that gorgeous."
A part of Sakura didn't want to be placated so easily by his words. She had every right to stay mad at him, but one look into those mismatched eyes had her sighing in defeat. "Yeah, it was a lot of work," she shrugged, stepping past him towards the bed. "Too bad it was all for nothing."
Strong hands wrapped around her waist from behind and she felt warm breath tickle her ear. "But it's not too late to have a little fun."
His voice was playful and mischievous, much more like the Kakashi she knew. She allowed him to take her to bed and make love to her slowly, passionately. His kisses and caresses were sweet, as if he were continuing his apology through their coupling, and Sakura's heart soared. He got her off once with nothing more than his mouth and then entered her, moving in smooth, deep strokes, and just went she thought she was about to reach her pinnacle once more, he stopped just long enough to replace his member with his tongue all over again, sending her hurtling off the brink. He entered her again and quickly had her gearing up for a third climax, encouraging her to call his name. Her last coherent thought before she plunged headlong into oblivion was that maybe there was hope for them after all.
However, two nights later, Sakura was awakened once again by Kakashi sneaking in late. She knew he had to be drunk because his usually stealthy footsteps were loud and slightly clumsy. He collapsed into bed, too far gone to take care not to wake her, and Sakura was immediately assaulted by the overpowering stench of stale sake, sandalwood, cloves and sex.
She recognized the smell too well to mistake it for anything else, the musky odor of pheromones and sweat. There was a time when she was having sex with Kakashi so often that they had to open the windows for fear of having the scent settle into the carpet and become permanent. The scent usually triggered memories of lazing in bed, exchanging pillow talk or simply being content in each other's arms. Now the smell symbolized lies and unfaithfulness. If he hadn't been so drunk, he probably would have taken a shower before coming to bed like he had so many other nights, but in his inebriation, he had made a fatal mistake and now Sakura knew what he had been up to.
Her first instinct was to deliver a punch powerful enough to crush his skull and kill the cheating bastard right where he lay. However, she couldn't make herself summon the energy. She felt hollow, empty, sick inside. It wasn't until she heard pitiful whimpers in the silence of the room did she realize she was crying, tears wetting her cheeks and dripping off her chin to stain the sheets.
She didn't know what to do. Her hopeful heart reminded her that there was still a slim chance that there was an explanation for all of this, that things weren't what they looked like. She wanted to confront Kakashi and hear from his mouth whether he had been unfaithful or whether this was all just a terrible mix up.
She took and deep breath to quiet her sobs and gripped the sheets with trembling fingers. Though she was heartbroken, her rational side was already formulating a plan. As usual, Kakashi was way overdue for a medical exam. Since she was like a daughter to none other than the Hokage, she could put pressure in the right places and ensure that he was forced into the hospital immediately for a physical if he wanted to be allowed on another mission. It was common knowledge that the two of them were dating so another medic was usually assigned to Kakashi, but since Sakura outranked nearly everyone at the hospital, it wouldn't be a problem to make sure she was the medic on duty when he came in.
She rolled over and tried to go back to sleep, but this time, sleep was a long time in coming.
Just as planned, Kakashi received a summons two days later demanding that he go to the hospital as soon as possible. Sakura heard him curse under his breath as she was leaving for work. It was widely known that the Copy nin despised hospitals.
Five hours later, late as usual, Kakashi appeared and he was immediately shown to one of the small examination rooms where his physical would be held. As she entered the room, she saw that he had changed into the paper gown that had been left for him, his clothes in an untidy pile on the nearest chair. His eyebrows quirked upward at the sight of her. She was clearly not the medic he had expected to see.
"Good afternoon Hatake-san," Sakura said politely, treating him as she would any other patient. She flipped through his chart, though she probably knew his medical history better than anyone else before sitting on the stool across from the paper-covered examination table where Kakashi was perched uneasily.
"Sakura, I didn't think you were allowed to give my exams," the Copy nin said, his keen shinobi senses picking up on the fact that something strange was going on.
"I'm one of the senior medics here. I can do whatever I want," Sakura said casually, still looking through his chart as if it were incredibly interesting. In reality, she was gathering her courage for what was coming next. "Besides," she added, continuing her charade. "I figured you wouldn't want to have to unveil your face to another member on staff."
Kakashi's lips curved into a frown, clearly not convinced, but he obediently sat still as she first examined his normal eye, and then his Sharingan, answering the basic questions she asked about his eyesight. She moved on to test his hearing, his reflexes, and even snapped on a latex glove to probe him in some more intimate places.
Half an hour later, the silver haired man was feeling thoroughly violated and quite irritable. It was clear that all he wanted to do was get out of the office, but Sakura had one more series of questions for him as she stripped off her dirty glove and threw it away.
"You're almost done," she assured him as she adjusted the stethoscope around her neck, placing the ends in her ears. She placed the cold metal disk against her patient's chest, listening to the slow and steady rhythm of his heartbeat.
After asking him the necessary questions of if he experienced any chest pain or shortness of breath, she proceeded to ask about where he had been two nights ago, and she could have sworn she heard his heart skip a beat.
"I was out with the guys," Kakashi said, his voice even and steady, but she could hear that his heart rate had slightly increased.
"That's very interesting," Sakura replied. "Because I don't recall any of your male friends wearing feminine perfume."
Her words caused his heart to beat faster still even though Kakashi's voice was as smooth as ever.
"What do you mean?" he asked, meeting Sakura's gaze unwaveringly as she looked up at him.
"I mean you had a woman's perfume all over you. It couldn't have been mine because it's not a scent I wear. You usually shower when you get home, but that night you didn't. Now I know why. You were hiding something."
His heart was racing now. The steady lub-dub lub-dub thunderous as his body naturally reacted to stress.
"And not only did you smell like another woman," the medic pressed on, anger creeping into her voice though her voice was still low. "You smelt like sex. If you're not having an affair, you better have a damn good reason for smelling like you spent the night in a brothel."
Kakashi's expression was passive. His breathing even. He could perfectly control his voice, his movements, his reactions. But he couldn't control his heart. It was hammering away beneath his ribs, betraying all the anxiety he felt inside. Even if his lips wouldn't tell the truth, his heart already had. She just wanted to see if he had the decency to say it to her face.
"I-it was...we were..." Kakashi stumbled, his smooth tongue at last failing him.
Sakura stared at him evenly, removing the stethoscope from her ears. His heart had already told her the tale. Four years of unconditional love, and for what? So she could watch it all go down the drain when she finally backed him into a corner and questioned his loyalty?
"I hope she was worth it," the medic said softly, picking up his chart and scrawling a statement saying he passed his exam and that he would be free to go on future missions. She hoped the Tsunade would send him on one that guaranteed he would be gone for months, and though she was not a vindictive person by nature, she hoped at the moment that it was a mission that was severely dangerous.
She was turning on her heel to leave before Kakashi realized what had just happened. He was on his feet coming after her, though he was in nothing but a paper gown.
"It was only supposed to be one time, on a mission," he pleaded. " But for some reason, I couldn't get enough of her. But that night was the last. I broke it off because I realized that all I wanted was you and-"
Sakura reeled on him, green eyes blazing as she hissed, "I don't care if it was one time or a hundred. You're a cheating, lying bastard and whatever was between us is over. I'll be moved out of that apartment within the week and you can sleep with all the women you want."
"But Sakura, I-"
The kunoichi slammed the door in his face, cracking the doorframe in her rage. Not only had Kakashi cheated, but he had intended to lie about it. If it wasn't for his carelessness, she might have never known. She knew beneath her rage was infinite sadness that would require weeks of crying fits and a whole lot of chocolate to work through, so she held on to her anger, using it to suppress her rage as she stomped down the hallway. She was going to leave work early and find Ino at her family's flower shop to ask if she could crash there until she found her own place. She didn't care that her blond friend would demand the juicy details of their breakup and then spread it all over town. All of Konoha could know what kind of scum Kakashi was for all she cared.
As intent as she was on staying mad, she didn't even make it out of the hospital before she broke down, locking herself in one of the bathrooms for employees only so she could cry her eyes out into a roll of paper towels. It had been a long time since her heart had hurt like this, but the pain was all too familiar. But she had overcome such grief in the past and knew she would again. She just needed time...and ice cream. A whole lot of ice cream.
Once she had calmed down enough, she looked at herself in the mirror. Her face was red and splotchy and her eyes equally red and swollen. Splashing water on her face at least made her semi presentable and she forced herself to take breath slowly. She could feel her own heart beating rapidly and thought back to the way Kakashi's tell-tale heart had betrayed him. She was grateful to whoever had invented the stethoscope, and even more grateful that the Yamanaka flower shop was just down the street.