桜森-Spring

Chapter 2

It had been several days since breakfast with Sakura. Kakashi had spent these days doing odd jobs to sustain himself financially. He, like many other ninja's was doing odd jobs to earn money. Now days there was hardly need for missions and such. Most jobs were simple things like helping someone carry lumber or escort the merchants from town to town. Places like the Land of Waves and the Land of Tea, places the war hadn't touched were profiting from all of this. They sold all of their merchandise to the villages in need and could hire ninjas for pennies since no village was setting any prices. The copy nin was now enjoying a small silent break from his precocious and unusually loud partner Gai as he took a shower in his own apartment. He was washing his silver spiky hair as he stared at the dull tile pattern of the shower wall. He wondered how Sakura was doing, if she was taking care of herself. Of course she is you idiot…she's not a child! protested a voice in his head which made Kakashi sigh. Lately this voice had begun uttering some very scandalous thoughts throughout the day. Thoughts like: Sakura has truly blossomed as a woman…or It would be nice to have Sakura over here one night… Kakashi had to exert a lot of self control with these thoughts. These thoughts tended to lead to other thoughts, other actions he wasn't particularly proud off, especially since he knew the deep trouble they could cause. He sighed, rinsing off the shampoo from his hair and just leaning against the cool tile wall. He wondered if there was something wrong with him, if he was sick for looking at his student, at his pupil as something more than such.

"Sakura…."he whispered, his mind flooded with images of her as a young naïve ninja, of her blind and reckless affections for Sasuke, her ignorance to Naruto's feelings. He had seen her grow and mature, from a naïve and weak ninja to a strong, confident and at times deadly woman. He focused on her physical changes for a while, how she'd kept long hair in hopes of attracting Sasuke, how she'd shed her precious locks in a battle to protect her team mates and back to how she'd let her hair grow again for reasons unknown to him. Even her body went from that of a child's to a toned, fully developed woman. Her shoulders… her neck….. the way her arms created a heart shape when she placed her hands on her lap, how her bosom had grown into a nice, but very appropriate proportion to her frame-

"Wait what-?" he asked himself, shaking his head, having lost control for a moment of where his thoughts were drifting off too."Think of something else…think of something else!" he told his brain but to no avail as his musings on Sakura continued. -Appropriate proportion to her frame… how her sides curved in, making a nice but not extreme hourglass figure, the way her hips swayed when she walked, the curvature of her thighs, how training had made her develop muscle mass in all the right places. How her legs were long, slender, yet powerful. How when she turned to bow to someone in greeting her rear made a perfect peach shape-

"AHH DAMMIT!" swore Kakashi, his mind again being cruel to his body and he noticed the semi arousal he was now sporting. "Crap…" he said as he turned the knobs on his shower to the coldest setting. He felt foolish, like some hormonally driven teenager getting turned on by the mere thought of a crush. He busied himself with the rest of his shower, thanking the gods the coldness of the water did the trick and calmed him down. He stepped out of the shower, wrapping a towel around his hips and walking to the door where another towel rested for his head. He dried his hair a bit before drying his face and moving to his room to get properly dressed. He avoided all thought of Sakura at all costs, forcing himself to think of mundane things like ramen, or reports he had to write still. Whenever he felt a Sakura thought drift into his mind he fill it instead with the shrill noise that was Gai's voice which seemed to do the trick in replacing his fond thoughts for those of frustration and annoyance at the green clad jounin. As he got dressed, he found himself staring at an old picture of his team 7 members. They were all kids, having no clue how things in the future turned out for each of them. How could they know the raven haired one would cause a war? How could they know the blonde knucklehead would be the future leader? Or that the pink haired one would blossom into such a beauty?

"Freaking dammit Kakashi you have to stop this!" he yelled at himself for again letting a Sakura thought bypass his barriers. He donned on his usual face mask and jounin outfit, put his headband sideways to hide his sharingan eye and left his home. He was already late for a meeting with Naruto and Gaara who was visiting today. Gaara…. That means Temari is here…he thought randomly Shikamaru must be happy she's here…he added to his thought. It was no secret to anyone that Shikamaru and Temari were an item. It was quite a bit amusing to think the ninja who found everything to be bothersome would be tamed by a rough sand ninja girl. Kakashi smiled to himself. That relationship did help the overall relations between Leaf and Sand villages.

As Kakashi reached the small area where the meeting was to take place he noticed Hinata was tending to a wound in Naruto's arm. Kakashi did his usual smile and greeting.

"Yo" he said as he landed infront of everyone.

"You're late Kakashi-sensei…" protested the blond hokage before hissing at the medicine Hinata was trying to put on him. "Ouch Hinata-chan…that hurts" he whined.

"I'm sorry Naruto, but I don't want this to get infected" retaliated Hinata.

"Even being Hokage hasn't changed you one bit Naruto…"said the Kazekage Gaara as he watched the couple in mild amusement. Gaara then moved to turn to Kakashi and spoke. "Now that you're here, we can begin this short meeting. I must be leaving soon back to the village" said Gaara in a polite, but gentle tone. Kakashi nodded before letting Naruto speak.

"Well sensei…" began Naruto, having never gotten used to the fact he could now, technically address Kakashi without a title. "There is a scroll that some merchants found in the land of waves, a scroll that had belonged to the 3rd hokage and that looters stole during the battles. I want you, with a partner to go retrieve it" said Naruto in a tone of business that was quite odd for him.

"Is there anyone you suggest I go with Naruto? Or am I free to choose?" he asked, though part of him already knew who he'd pick if given the chance. Before Naruto could say anything, Gaara interjected.

"I think Sakura would be a great choice for this. The people of the land of waves would know both of you and would be more comfortable handing such a valuable object over" he said before looking at Naruto for approval of his suggestion. Naruto blinked, having not thought of ordering Sakura on a mission since he was afraid of what her fist would do to his face, but he did agree.

"Yeah, Sakura-chan would be a great mission partner for you Sensei, plus I think Sakura-chan needs some time away from the village….she's looked depressed lately" he said, now his usual, concern-for-others Naruto side showed. He handed Kakashi a letter detailing where they had to go to meet the people with the scroll and also handed Kakashi a pouch of money.

"Whats this for?" asked Kakashi bluntly, looking at the money.

"Well, I thought it would be nice if Sakura got to spend a few nights in the wave village. Like a sort of vacation" said Naruto sheepishly before Hinata smiled at him.

"Naruto has been debating what to do for Sakura-san and thought this would be something appropriate" explained Hinata, to which Kakashi nodded.

"Naruto, I will be leaving Temari here for a while, she too needs a break from my village… plus I think a certain someone will be eager to have her a bit longer" said Gaara as he grabbed his things, clearly in a hurry to leave. Naruto nodded and smiled.

"Shikamaru will be happy to hear that. I'll inform him as soon as possible" he said with a kind yet slightly perverted smile as he quickly thought of what Shikamaru would do with Temari now that he had a few extra days. Gaara smiled, bowed and was soon gone. Kakashi turned to Naruto and spoke.

"Should I inform Sakura of this?" he asked, referring to the mission. Naruto shook his head. "I'll inform her of it Sensei, besides, you two don't need to leave until later on today" he said casually as he stood up. Kakashi nodded, bowed his head curtly and left, part of him feeling elated he would get some spend some alone time with Sakura, even if it was in a mission. He went back home to pack the things he'd need to take and to inform Gai of his absence before he went to grab some much needed breakfast.

Sakura was finally awake now, having slept for the longest time in a while. She stretched and was lazy in her getting up routine. She took a long warm shower and debated doing what she was about too next. She sighed, staring at herself in the mirror, a towel wrapped around her body. She knew she could put it of no longer as she grabbed a pair of scissors and began cutting her hair back to its usual shortish length. She had grown tired of maintaining her long locks anyways and she did look better with short hair. She cleaned up the mess of pink hair on the bathroom floor before brushing her now short hair. She smiled, moving to scrub her face, to wash away the bags from under her eyes. She then actually put care into making herself look pretty, putting on just some simple makeup, way less than she would have used in years past. She moved to get dressed, donning on her battle bandages instead of a bra, solely because it was more practical for the ninja. She put on a crimson top with a zipper in the front, then her usual black shorts, knee wraps and buckled ninja boots. She wrapped her village headband around her neck this time. She brushed the long bangs on the side of her face, making sure her hair behaved this time and was proud with her transformation.

As she made her way downstairs to grab a bite to eat a knock came to her door. She wondered who it could be since she hardly got any visitors. She opened the door.

"Naruto…" she said, mildly surprised at the blond haired Hokage in front of her.

"Hey Sakura-chan…can we…talk?" he asked, a bit apprehensive in his voice.

"Yeah sure, come in…" she said, letting her former teammate into her home. Naruto noticed the change in her looks and smiled.

"I like what you did with your hair… you always did look nicer with short hair" he said, trying to break the ice a bit.

"Thanks…" said Sakura before getting to the point. "So what did you need to talk about?" she asked.

"Well..the truth is…" started Naruto before he just spat it out. "I'm sending you on a mission with Kakashi to the land of waves to retrieve a scroll" Sakura blinked, but nodded.

"Yeah sure" she said, wondering why Naruto had been nervous to tell her this. "When do we leave?" she asked.

"Later in the afternoon today; Kakashi has the letter with all the instructions" said Naruto, glad Sakura hadn't decided to punch him in the face. He bowed to the rosette before leaving her home. Sakura was still a bit confused as to Naruto's nervousness, but she dismissed it as she made some breakfast and began packing a small duffle bag with what she felt was essential. Of course she packed a change of clothes, ninja accessories and scrolls and other things she might need. As she packed she stopped. This would be the first time since that breakfast that she would be with Kakashi for any length of time. At first she just found that to be a random fact, but the more she let her mind dwell on it, the more it wondered towards other things. I wonder if I'll get to see his face again… I like his face… I wonder if he'll keep telling me about how he used to observe me…. I wonder if we'll eat together again…. Maybe I should pack something nice to wear… I wonder if we'll share a room in the inn-

"S-share a room?"she found herself asking to the air as a mild blush came to her cheeks. She shook her head, wondering why she felt embarrassed and nervous. It wasn't like she hadn't slept in the same room as Kakashi on a mission before, but this felt different. She shook her head a bit more violently this time and proceeded to finish packing. She ate her breakfast and left her home, not before locking her door and going towards the village gates.

Kakashi was already there, for once, not his usual tardy self. He too had a small bag packed with things he was bringing, keeping the money Naruto had given him hidden for now. He saw Sakura walking and couldn't help but smile at her new look. She looked so much like her child self, yet she didn't. Look at the way her hips move….oh how I wish I could be the fabric that hugs those hips…he thought before swearing under his breath and pushing away such thoughts as he greeted Sakura.

"Yo…" he said, raising his hand in a greeting way.

"Sensei…you're not late" said Sakura in mild surprise as she walked up to him. Again that thought of his handsome face drifted across her mind which made her smile a bit more. Kakashi blinked. "Something wrong?" he asked. Sakura shook her head. "No, nothing wrong… lets go"she said, walking pass him towards the gate. Kakashi shrugged, following his female companion out of the village.

They walked in silence for the first few miles before Kakashi felt he needed to break the silence.

"I see you cut your hair…"he commented, trying to sound casual. Sakura blinked, touching her now short hair and nodded.

"Oh yes, Naruto noticed too. I got tired of having long hair…"she said casually. Kakashi nodded. "It looks nice on you" he said, not daring to look at her for fear of another perverted thought. Sakura blinked, it was unusual for Kakashi to dish out a compliment to anyone.

"t-thank you Sensei…"she said in a slightly surprised manner. Little did she know there was much more Kakashi wanted to add to his compliment but didn't. They continued to walk in silence until they came to a fork in the road.

"Perhaps we should take a break here?"suggested Kakashi since they had walked several miles now and were but a few miles short of the port that held the now famous "Naruto Bridge" Soon enough the pair reached a small clearing shaded by some trees. Kakashi sat himself on a rock, setting down his things and pulling out his ever usual porn books. Although Jiraiya had died a while back and he'd read these books several times already, it was now just a habit to read them

"Sensei… you're still reading those perverted books?"asked Sakura as she sat on the cool grass, pulling out a canteen with water she had to drink. Kakashi looked at her from above his book and nodded.

"It's a habit now, I don't feel complete without them" he said casually. As he resumed his reading of a particularly perverted scene his mind played a cruel trick and for a few glorious seconds he imagined the woman in the scene to be Sakura, and the man to be himself. He blushed; glad his facemask hid it as he shook his head a bit. Sakura blinked, noticing the copy-nin shake his head.

"Something the matter?"she asked in her innocent, but inquisitive nature. Kakashi looked at her, something he later regretted since her mild curious look was quite adorable on her face, making the previous images in his mind resurface like a bad itch. "No, nothing's wrong, just a stiff neck" he said in his feeble attempt to steer his kunoichi partner's curiosity away from his mind. Sakura blinked, but shrugged, dismissing the topic. She leaned back on a tree, looking up at the sky that could be seen through the branches of the trees. She let her mind wonder to random things. She wondered how Naruto was coping as a hokage. Naruto had never been one to show stress in any way. She wondered how Ino had ever managed to fall for Choiji, though she assumed when Choiji saved her life that one time could have something to do with it. Sakura's musings kept on going until she landed on a few curious questions she'd had ever since she'd finally seen Kakashi's face. Had Kakashi ever showed his face to another woman? Surely he must have, perhaps a kid or something. Had her sensei ever had a girlfriend? Pfft…with looks like his he could have any woman he wanted. Had he kissed anyone? Had he ever slept with anyone? Sakura blinked at her last thought. Why was she thinking about her sensei's sex life? It wasn't relevant to her one bit….was it? She shook her head, trying to bring herself back to some more sane thoughts. Kakashi happened to notice her and blinked.

"You ok Sakura?" he asked, setting his book aside to grab a drink from his own canteen. Sakura looked at him and stole herself to ask her questions, but she soon threw caution to the winds. She had nothing to lose and the worse that could happen would be that Kakashi would refuse to give her an answer.

"Sensei…can I ask you something….kinda personal?" she began, not looking at his face so she didn't blush since her previous thoughts were still in her mind. Kakashi set his canteen down from his lips. "Personal?..."he thought for a bit then shrugged "Sure I suppose…"he added. Sakura nodded, trying to find the best way to word her questions.

"Have you…ever had a girlfriend before? I mean, seeing as how you've always hidden your face and all…."she said, trying to justify her curiosity. Kakashi found her question odd, seeing as no one had ever asked him that before.

"Have I ever had a girlfriend…. Hmmm…well I suppose you could say I have once, when I was younger…"he began wondering if Sakura wanted the whole story, or just a simple answer to her question. Sakura blinked, now her curiosity in full bloom. She wondered what the woman had been? Why she wasn't with Kakashi now? What had happened? Had he been truly inlove? She shook her head again, hating her own curiosity for being so eager to pry into his life. Kakashi smiled, reading her expression like a book, so he went into a little story.

"She had been one of my friends when I was a kid. She used to have the biggest crush on me. Even her own Sensei had a crush on mine so we were always bumping into eachother. I guess when she asked to be my girlfriend I had been too nice to refuse. It was more of a one sided love really" he said calmly. Sakura blinked "One sided? So did you not like her?"she asked before she could restrain herself. Kakashi shrugged "I liked her sure… but it wasn't the like she was looking for. I was too engrossed in my training to really pay the proper attention to her. We went on a few dates before I felt it polite to let her down" explained Kakashi. Sakura nodded.

"Did she take it hard?" she asked, knowing how bad one could feel after being dumped by a crush. Kakashi shook his head. "She actually thanked me. She thanked me for not dismissing her at first and at least letting her live out her fantasy for a few weeks. She and I remained friends after that" he said. Sakura blinked.

"Remained? Does that mean you're not friends now?"she asked softly, wondering what was now of Kakashi's first girlfriend. Kakashi shook his head. "We would be friends now, but she is dead"he said in a calm tone. Sakura gasped and lowered her head "I…I'm sorry, I didn't know"she said, now feeling horrible for having brought up a bad memory for her Sensei. Kakashi smiled and shook his head. "Don't be, she died a hero's death and was happy doing so for the village" he said calmly as he put his canteen away. He then stood up and stretched.

"Should we keep on going? Better not miss the ferry"he said casually. Sakura blinked, having forgotten about having to keep on walking. She nodded, standing up and picking up her things. "Oh yeah… the ferry"she said. She began to walk, trying not to look at Kakashi as she walked pass him, her mind reeling from their small conversation. Kakashi blinked, having to walk a bit faster to catch up to Sakura before they were walking together. He wondered what had triggered Sakura's curiosity for his personal life. More so he wondered why he'd been so willing to tell her things not even Gai knew about him.

Soon enough the pair reached the port where the ferry was waiting for them. They would have normally just walked across the now infamous bridge but the part of town they were headed too was easier reached by boat. Kakashi paid for the fare and both got on. They remained silent through the short ride before they docked and stepped off the boat.

"Now… we're looking for…" began Kakashi as he looked at the letter which held their instructions. "….the Peach Café…"he said as he read the place. Sakura nodded as she walked, turning her head left and right at short intervals looking for this supposed café. Kakashi had yet to tell his pink haired partner that she was also being granted a few days of vacation complements of Naruto. He wondered when would be the best time to break the news to her. Then he realized something that he hadn't thought about. If Sakura was taking this vacation, was he supposed to stay? Was he supposed to return back to the village with the scroll? He thought for a moment part of his mind already made up Well OF COURSE I'm staying… I'm not letting HER out of my sights…he made a mental face, trying to quell his juvenile thoughts but to no avail. Just imagine, sharing a room with her… maybe the same bed…the same bath… He shook his head violently.

"Sensei…is this not the place?"asked Sakura, seeing the copy-nin shake his head and wondering if she was wrong. The place did have "The peach Café" written on the front. Kakashi blinked, Sakura's voice bringing him out of his musings. He looked around and noticed they were already at the place.

"Oh ye-yes… this is the place" he said, trying to suppress the thoughts that were racing through his mind a mile a minute. Sakura raised an eyebrow, wondering why Kakashi seemed so distracted, but she dismissed her curiosity to get to the task at hand. She and Kakashi walked into the café and sat at a corner booth. They both ordered coffee but they were just waiting for the person to come by with the scroll. Kakashi sipped the coffee for a while, having to make a decision soon about a few things.

A short stout man interrupted Kakashi's thoughts as he bowed his head, introduced himself and handed over a wrapped package. Upon further inspection, the package turned out to be the scroll; in pristine condition. The man soon left and Kakashi watched as Sakura put the scroll inside a bag she'd brought for safe keeping.

"Well, I guess this means we should head back" said Sakura casually as she finished her coffee. Kakashi paused for a moment before shaking his head.

"No…not really"he said as he pulled out the pouch of money Naruto had handed him. "Naruto said to take a vacation with this"he added. Sakura blinked, eyeing the pouch full of gold coins.

"Oh I didn't know Naruto gave us a vacation" said the pink haired kunoichi. Kakashi blinked, his mind overthinking too much at this point. Us….she said US! He thought and part of him saw this as his golden chance to spend some quality alone time with his mission partner.

"Yeah…that's what Naruto said…" commented Kakashi before he realized he wasn't even trying to correct the fact that this was supposed to be Sakura's vacation. Sakura smiled, reverting to a very cute and peppy version of herself for a few minutes.

"Oh with this money we could stay at a really nice inn… maybe go shopping and see the town..OH we should go out to eat at a nice restaurant, maybe take one of those night boat rides"she said in a quick voice, clearly her mouth going in direct connection with the possibility center of her mind, not stopping at the speech part. Kakashi couldn't help but smiled. This was the Sakura he remembered and loved, a Sakura devoid of the darkness and sorrow brought on by years pass.

"Oh sensei… did Naruto say how long we could stay?"she asked, needing to know this so she could plan all her activities accordingly. Kakashi shrugged and shook his head. "I suppose we can stay until the money runs out, Naruto didn't say we had to be back by a certain date" he commented, again noticing his failure to correct this "our vacation" mistake and part of him was happy he wasn't correcting it. Sakura smiled and nodded, her mind already planning out a nice evening. It had been a really, REALLY long time since she'd done anything to pamper herself. She stood up, clapping her hands once to show her readiness. Kakashi blinked, startled a bit at Sakura's sudden movement.

"Shall I find us an inn while you go shop?"he asked, as much as he wanted to spend time with his pink haired companion, he disliked shopping a lot. Sakura blinked, and then made a sly expression with her face. "Aww Sensei…won't you come shopping with me?" she asked coyly, knowing very well her partner's dislike for shopping. Kakashi raised an eyebrow, knowing Sakura was teasing him. He stood up and sighed "You know very well I dislike shopping Sakura… I would much rather go find an inn"he said calmly as he handed Sakura the pouch of gold Naruto had given him. "Go have fun, I shall go find you when I know where we're staying" he said before vanishing. Sakura blinked, but shrugged as Kakashi left. She left the small café and began walking around town.

Kakashi sighed, walking along the pier, looking at some inns. He had the image of Sakura's coy face in his mind. She had no idea how those small gestures affected him. He wondered around for a while, trying to clear his mind until he found himself in front of a very cozy, yet elegant looking inn. He walked inside and looked around. It looked quite simplistic inside, but the hostess greeted him warmly.

"Yes… I need …" he paused. The polite, righteous side of him wanted to say 2 rooms but the side of him that controlled his desires spoke before he had a chance. "…. One room for a couple please. Something comfortable and elegant" he said before he could catch himself. The hostess smiled and led him to a lavish room on the upper level. It came complete with a balcony overlooking the sea. Kakashi blinked, finding this room quite nice. It was spacious, plenty of room for two people, the floor was of wood laminate, there was a large closet that took up most of the left wall of the room, and the remaining walls were painted in a soft pale green color, that didn't reflect off the sunlight too much. The only windows in the room, if it could be called a window, were the large sliding glass doors that lead into the balcony. Off to the corner was the door that leads to the private bathroom. As the hostess was busy laying out the blankets, futons and complementary hakamas, Kakashi headed towards the bathroom; it was a spacious room, with both a shower and a separate tub, a very nice vanity mirror, a large, basin like sink for washing your hands, plush carpets near the tub and shower, to avoid any wetting of the wooden floor, plenty of spare towels, hand towels and plush bathrobes, and even a vase of fresh flowers. He smiled and nodded, pleased that the room was elegant yet simple, something that would suit Sakura's feminine nature. As he walked back out of the bathroom the hostess bowed to him. "Is there anything else that you may need sir?" she asked in her welcoming tone. Kakashi thought for a moment, and then he nodded.

"Yes, I would like the full course dinner meal tonight, brought into the room" he said to the lady who merely bowed her head "…oh also some warm sake and sweet dangos please" he added as an afterthought, having just remembered that his mission partner was quite fond of the sweet sticky treats. The hostess nodded and Kakashi handed her the money, paying for at least 3 days in advance, figuring three days at least would be what Naruto wanted Sakura to take off. The hostess left, leaving Kakashi alone in the vast room. He debated what to do, not having left Sakura for her shopping but a mere hour ago. He sighed, figuring he'd let her enjoy her alone girl time so to kill time he took a shower, and relaxed in the room, finding the tv inside a enclosure above the only dresser in the room.

Sakura had spent some time roaming the quaint sea side village. She'd roamed several shops, but had really only bought a few things. Aside from some cute and frankly quite girly hair ornaments, she had bought a blouse or two, a cute pair of shorts and, even still in shock with herself with this particular purchase, a very sensual, and quite unlike her set of lingerie. Something lacey, in a pale lilac color with hints of pink on the lace borders. It was somewhat revealing, the bra being only a half cup and strapless, then a cute pair of modest panties, and to top it off, a pair of matching stockings. Sakura had never been one for wearing stockings, but they came with the rest of the clothing, so she figured on a boring day she could wear them. She walked down the pier now, finding a men's clothing store. She stood out the store window, pretending to be staring at the manikins dressed in casual clothing. In her mind she was debating whether or not to buy Kakashi something. She wondered if Kakashi ever wore anything aside from his jounin clothes. She blinked Now that I think about it….I've never seen sensei in anything BUT his jounin uniform she thought to herself. She looked at her money, still having plenty left. She shrugged "eh…what the hell…why not" she said as she walked into the store. The worse that could happen would be that Kakashi wouldn't wear what she'd give him. It didn't take her long to find a perfect shirt that complimented her sensei's gorgeous face. It was a simple, black silk shirt, a line of silver bordering near the neck and ends of the short sleeves. She smiled, moving to both purchase the shirt and then have it wrapped in a simple black and blue wrapping paper, like a proper gift. She smiled, taking the gift and tucking it away in her things. As she walked out of the shop and headed back up the pier she stopped to watch the ocean. Living in Konoha didn't allow her much of ocean views and frankly, watching the sun and the sunlight reflect of the crashing waves was soothing and mesmerizing. She sat on a nearby empty bench, people walking to and fro behind her. She smiled, feeling an odd sense of peace, as if the view of the water seemed to cleanse her mind. She lost track of time, unsure of how long she just sat there.

"Sakura…."

She smiled, watching a few children run around towards the water, wetting their feet and laughing.

"Sakura…? Are you alright?" asked Kakashi a bit louder, his pink haired partner having ignored his initial call. Sakura blinked, and jumped up. "Sensei! Oh I'm sorry I was spacing out" she said softly before she blinked. Kakashi wasn't wearing his usual jounin clothes; he was wearing casual clothes. A muscle black top which seemed to meld into his usual face mask, and a pair of dark blue slacks. If it wasn't for the village headband that covered his sharingan eye, he could pass for a normal citizen. Kakashi smiled, seeing Sakura's expression and figuring it had to do with his current look.

"I found us a nice inn to stay while we're here" he said calmly, handing her the pamphlet for the inn. Sakura looked at the paper and smiled, liking the pictures. Kakashi looked at the bags that Sakura was carrying. "Have you done all your shopping?" he asked, hoping he didn't have to accompany her to do some more. She looked at her silver haired companion and couldn't help but suppress a chuckle. She could see, even through the face mask the distaste he had in shopping. She shook her head and smiled gently. "I'm all done shopping Sensei, no need to worry" she said in a kind tone. Kakashi smiled, he couldn't help feeling at ease around Sakura, even though those of higher ranking around him would probably frown upon this relaxed nature.

"Well, is there anything else you would like to do? Or should we go back to the inn for dinner?" he asked in his most casual tone, the juvenile side of his mind all too eager to take her back to the inn and keep her for himself. Sakura looked at him and shrugged. There wasn't anything else in particular that she wanted to do, plus she hadn't eaten anything since breakfast. "Sure, I suppose we could go back for dinner" she said with a smile, figuring Kakashi had just ordered a simple dinner as per the usual in all their missions. She grabbed her bags, catching a glimpse of the wrapped present she had bought for Kakashi. Now confronted with her Sensei, she was starting to think her present idea was a bad idea. She hesitated and Kakashi didn't fail to notice.

"Something the matter Sakura?" he asked, walking up closer to her. Sakura blinked, and shook her head quickly, grabbing her bags and trying to hide her hesitation as much as possible. "Oh no, everything is fine" she said as she walked up to him "Lets go" she added, figuring the action of walking would give her mind something else to do than dwell on certain thoughts. Kakashi blinked, but shrugged, figuring Sakura could deal with whatever she had in her mind, so he walked with her back to the inn. As they walked, he noticed that people seemed to look at them more than usual. Was it because he was casually dressed and walking alongside a ninja? Moreover a female ninja? Could these bystanders tell that he wanted to be a couple with the pink haired woman beside him? Do we make a cute couple? Do we look good together? He thought before shaking his head, having to exercise more caution with these ridiculous thoughts. Sakura walked with him casually, now that she was busy with physical movement, her mind drifted back to more normal thoughts. She wanted to shower, to change out of her ninja clothes and maybe lay down for a bit. Now that she was out of a war scarred village, she felt like she deserved even a few hours of laziness, of having to do nothing but sit down and watch tv, or watch other people do the work. Soon enough they both reached the inn. The hostess greeted them warmly, recognizing the silver haired man and leading them back to their room.

"The dinner shall be brought to you soon" said the hostess, giving them the usual complementary snacks and tea. Kakashi nodded, opening the sliding paper door to their room. Sakura blinked, taken aback by the lavish look of the room.

"Sensei… isn't this a bit much for a room?" she asked, moving to set her bags in the corner, always being one for taking as little space as possible. Kakashi couldn't help but smirk, glad that at least Sakura didn't seem to make the connection between this lavish room, and them sharing the room like a couple."Well, it IS a vacation… we should stay in a comfortable place, plus Naruto would probably kill me if I didn't give you something nice" he added, figuring the mention of the blonde haired idiot would break any tension Sakura felt. Sakura blinked, then chuckled, knowing that Naruto would still try to spoil her as if to make up for something he had done wrong. She looked around, finding the balcony first and its beautiful view of the ocean, then the bathroom, which by comparison made the bathroom in her home look positively ugly and pathetic. She then turned around and looked at Kakashi, who was now just sitting on the futon set out for him

"Um…is it alright if I shower first?" she asked, wondering if Kakashi wanted to shower before she did. Kakashi looked at her, and for one split crazy second he thought: only if you allow me to shower with you but he caught himself well before he blurted out such scandalous things and merely nodded "Feel free to shower Sakura, you don't need to ask for permission" he said in a kind tone. Sakura nodded, moving to walk to the bathroom. Before she closed the door behind her Kakashi spoke up so she could hear.

"There are robes in the bathroom for you"

"Hai…" she said as she closed the door. She took a moment to admire the bathroom, its largeness and its design. She then began to undress; taking time in removing her clothes. Her bosom was quite grateful for the removal of the bandages. She stared at her chest. Although she tried to hide it as much as possible with the bandages, her bosom had grown large, not overly large like Tsunades, but a very nice proportion for her body .She sighed, already hearing the shrill voice of Ino, scolding her for not "showing off the goods" She made a face, Ino may be one for parading herself around the village, but Sakura had grown out of that. Given, at one point in her life she would have gladly paraded herself with Ino, desperate for the attention of men, especially of Sasuke, but she'd learned that guys, especially ninja's seemed to be more focused in other things aside from good looking women. She blinked, having thought of Sasuke made her sad. She shook her head, busying herself with preparing her shower and stepping under the jet of lukewarm water. She washed her body, enjoying the lightly scented soap that was provided. She washed her hair, her body, taking longer than usual solely because she was trying to rid her mind of any sad thoughts. As she showered, her brain, deciding to be cruel, threw her train of thought in a whole different direction. She stood there, in a moment of ludicrous thought Kakashi must have showered in here… he was naked…IN this very shower… she thought and for once, she WISHED the shower tile could speak, could tell her, in amazing detail the look of her sensei's bare body. Was he as muscled as she thought he was? Did he have any other scars than the one on his face? Would his package complement the goodly looks on his face? She blinked and gasped, slapping herself. Why on EARTH was she thinking about her teacher's private parts? She felt sick, perverted, like she was being Naruto just in reverse. She washed her face roughly, wanting to wash away such perverted thoughts, but to no avail. She wanted to see his naked body, to trace her fingers through every muscle; having medical knowledge she could use him as the perfect specimen. To lose herself in his (probably) chiseled back, to wrap her arms around his chest, feel his heart beat, under her hand, to feel his muscles clench under her fingers, now his chest, down his stomach, down his hips and waist, along his back, the small of his back, his rear….

"Dammit Sakura!" she said, her mind going into overdrive, making her body become aroused at the mere thought of exploring Kakashi's naked body. She turned the water on its coldest setting, trying to shock the feeling out of her body. Part of her felt sick, to be having such perverted thoughts about her Sensei, a man she SHOULD have a mere business-like relationship. But the other part of her, the part of her that was selfish in her desires began to justify her thoughts. You're an adult… you have needs. You're not a child, so it isn't lawfully wrong. You're technically no longer his student, you're just like any woman in the village, your love interest just happens to be a ninja, and there is NO rule about ninjas not being able to date. She sighed, not liking very much this rationality, knowing very well that if it went into people who practiced law, she'd be royally screwed. She splashed some cold water on her face, turning off the shower and stepping out. She stared at herself in the mirror, her went bangs making it seem like she was crying. She sighed again, moving to dry herself off and make use of the complimentary bathrobe provided. Once dried and covered she began to dry her hair, getting it to a damp state, good enough to walk around it. She grabbed her clothes from the basket, at least putting on her underwear under her robe, not wanting to be THAT naked before Kakashi. Pfft…I had a robe on… that was good enough said her mental voice before she made a face. No, that is SO not good enough, this is a white robe, I can't be naked under a white robe, especially not in front of a guy and ESPECIALLY not in front of THAT guy she rebottled, quieting her inner desires to be risqué. She looked at her clothes, the bandages she was using in lieu of a bra. She couldn't put the bandages on; she hated the feel of them right after a shower. She made sure the robe was well wrapped around her body before stepping out, clothing in her hands. She said nothing as she spotted Kakashi just casually lounging on his futon, her futon still folded up, giving her the choice of placement in the room.

Kakashi turned his head towards Sakura. "Did you enjoy your shower?"he asked, though as soon as his eyes fixated on her, his mind went in a totally different direction. Though he didn't need to use his sharingan for it, he could tell Sakura was nearly naked under the robe, the very faint outline of her underwear showing through the robe. Part of that information made him giddy All the less clothes to get through said his juvenile side. He made a mental face, having to pull himself out of those thoughts; those were things he could think about in private, not while the focus point of his affections was right there.

Sakura blinked, turning to look at Kakashi "Oh, yes I enjoyed it. It was nice" she said in response to his question. As she put her clothing away she walked up to her folded futon. Usually, putting a futon on the floor was a very mindless action, but this time it seemed that a lot rode on where she chose to put it. Should I put it near Kakashi's futon? Or across the room? She began to think before her mind made up an answer for her. Well of COURSE I'll put it near Kakashi's. I want to be as close to him as possible, maybe in the night I could cuddle up to that body of his. Sakura gasped and blushed before catching herself, hoping against all odds that her gasp hadn't been audible enough for Kakashi to ask questions. She shook her head quickly, trying to shake off the blush before she grabbed the futon and placed it near Kakashi's however there was about a foot or so between the futons.

Kakashi had heard her gasp, thinking she'd seen something, but before he could do anything she had already moved and brought over her futon close to his. He couldn't help but smile under his mask, knowing that this meant he could sleep close to her, and use the excuse of rolling around at night to get REALLY close. He blinked, having to shake the perverted thoughts before they arose. "Are you alright Sakura?" he asked, asking about the gasp he'd heard.

Sakura nodded quickly, hiding her still slightly pink face from him."Yeah I'm fine.. just saw a spider" she lied quickly. She made a big deal of fixing her futon, making sure the pillow and blanket were JUST right, giving her mind something to do less her thoughts drifted off. Soon enough however there was a knock to their door before the hostess opened the sliding door, bringing in a lavish dinner which knocked off any other thoughts from Sakura's mind.

"Sensei… this dinner?" she began, looking at all the food the hostess was setting up. Kakashi chuckled, having forgotten to tell Sakura he'd ordered dinner. "Well, figured if Naruto was buying, we should treat ourselves. Plus we didn't eat anything on the way here" he said casually as he sat up and stretched. Sakura nodded, watching the hostess with mild fascination. The hostess had clearly gone all out, setting skillets with sizzling meat, a small portable grill and raw meat in a Mongolian bbq style, a pot of rice, noodles, vegetables, bread, jams, tea and juice and she noticed, several small bottles of warm sake, sake cups and a plate full of sweet dango pastries which were her favorite. The hostess smiled, leaving the dishes and chopsticks for them before bowing and leaving.

"Sensei…can I-?" began Sakura, having not noticed until now how hungry she really was. Kakashi nodded "Go ahead, eat" he said with a smile, already figuring out what Sakura was about to say. Sakura smiled, moving to kneel on one of the floor cushions before she began to eat the dangos, enjoying their sweet, sticky texture, finding each one was filled with a different fruit jam. Kakashi sat across from her, moving to grab one of the skillets that had a steak in it and began to cut it up, already dishing out two rice bowls; one for him and one for her. He poured himself some sake and began to eat. Sakura, after eating about 6 or 7 dangos figured she should save some and began picking off other food. She noticed the bowl of rice Kakashi had served her and smiled, moving to grab some veggies, putting them on her rice. She also grabbed a skillet, this one with a pork chop and began to eat. For a few minutes there was silence, well sans the sound of the sizzling meat and every now and the clack of chopsticks coming together. Sakura was glad for the food, partly because she had been truly hungry, but mostly because the process of choosing, tasting and chewing her food gave her mind no room to drift off.

Kakashi snuck looks at Sakura whenever he deemed safe. Even as she ate he was mesmerized by the grace and delicacy she would show, yet also amused at how casually she would eat. He enjoyed that about her. After the war Sakura had stopped hiding behind masks. She had become much more honest with herself and around others. Even the other senseis had noticed the change and Kakashi for one, was quite glad for it. As he reached with his chopsticks for a slice of daikon an odd thought popped into his mind. Although he was used to eating meals alone, being single and what not, he wondered if Sakura was used to eating meals alone. Surely she would have eaten with her team mates and friends, perhaps her parents as well, but now… She really has no one he thought. Sakura had lost her parents in the war, her team was broken up, and her friends were far too busy with duties in the village to even spare a moment for themselves. As he munched on the slice of radish he watched her. She seemed content with the food, her eyes didn't really denote any expression of sadness.

Sakura blinked, noticing Kakashi had been staring at her for a few seconds. "Something wrong Sensei?" she asked as she began to put some strips of meat on the small grill. Kakashi shook his head "No…nothings wrong" said Kakashi quickly as he took a sip of sake. He reached for a piece of bread and spread some jam on it. He felt something pull at his heart. For so long he had claimed to have understood Sakura, to have been there as a friend, a teacher and a mentor but now, now that he let himself think about it, he had allowed Sakura to be alone. To spare himself the thoughts and troubles of emotional drama, he had allowed his student… nay… the person he treasured the most to deal with her pain alone. He sighed, setting down his chopsticks; suddenly hunger had escaped his body.

Sakura had just placed a piece of carrot into her mouth when she saw Kakashi set his chopsticks down. She blinked in a curious manner, wondering if he had already gotten full. She then thought about it better after studying his eyes.

"Sensei….are you not feeling well?" she asked in a caring tone. Kakashi lifted his head, meeting her gaze and instantly regretting having done so. Not only did the guilt of his negligence hit him, but also the guilt of his perverse thoughts came back. "I'm fine Sakura… just pacing myself" he said as he took a sip of juice. She nodded, leaving it at that, not wanting to pry if what she had interpreted as discomfort had just been Kakashi thinking about something. She resumed her meal, having all intentions of eating her fill and not go to bed hungry for once. Kakashi debated continuing his meal, but he didn't want to worry Sakura. She was quite observant and would worry too much if it seemed like Kakashi was sick. He drank several shots of sake, the alcohol dulling his mind just enough to allow him to relax and resume eating.

After several more minutes of silence, Sakura deemed herself full. She smiled, setting her empty bowl and chopsticks down. She had eaten a lot, more than she had eaten in a long time. She could already hear Ino berate her about not keeping her figure, but right now she didn't care. The blissfulness of meal satisfaction kept her happy. Kakashi was still finishing off the last few bites of food. She smiled at him "I'll go tell the hostess that we're done with dinner" she said, not wanting to make him have to stop his meal. She got up, fixed the skirt of her robe and left the room. Kakashi had watched her this whole time. Once gone he became reckless and drank nearly all of the remaining sake. Although he had a good constitution for liquor, and the food in his stomach did aid in some soberness, he was tipsy, perhaps borderline drunk. He sighed, willing himself to get up, walk to the bathroom and splash cold water on his face. He then went and sat by the window, letting the cool breeze calm him down. Drunkenness didn't really pose a danger to him. He wasn't a mean drunk, nor was he a stupid one. It merely made him feel quite tired and heavy, not to mention lucid enough to be more talkative. That was the issue. He did not want his temporary lucid mind to say something he wouldn't otherwise ever say to Sakura while sober. He debated what to do. I could go to sleep early… or take a cold shower…that would buy me some sober time. He began to think I could go out for a walk, out in public I'll be more reserved I bet. He added. Just as he had begun to form a plan Sakura returned into the room. She smiled gently "They'll come pick up the dishes soon" she said as she knelt on the floor to rummage through her bag for a change of clothes. She had been in the robe long enough and was starting to get cold. She selected one of her simpler hakamas, something comfortable enough to be in, yet modest enough she wouldn't feel awkward around Kakashi.

Kakashi watched her grab clothes. Oh how he wanted to stop her, to pin her to his body and let his desires run loose. NO NO! he shouted mentally She'll get dressed and I'll just have to deal with it he said as he looked away. Mmmm…perhaps she'll put on something prettier than a robe… perhaps some nice lingerie… giving me something pretty to look at during the journey to her bare skin….whispered his inner self. Kakashi was starting to hate this. He wished there was a button he could press that would turn off all these ludicrous thoughts. He HAD to put a stop to it. Even if it was legal, even if he desired it, even if as a man he had needs he had to satisfy he could not….no…WOULD not do it.

"Sensei…? Earth to Kakashi-sensei…." Said Sakura, being a bit close to Kakashi. He blinked and looked at her. In all his mental musings he hadn't even noticed she had already changed into a pretty lilac colored hakama. "Oh Sakura… you're all dressed now…"he said, then kicking himself mentally for stating the obvious. "Are you alright Sensei? I was calling you for a bit" she said as she sat down on her futon. Kakashi smiled gently "I'm fine… I guess I'm just too full and dozed off a bit" he said, knowing if she bought that he could lay down and keep himself out of trouble. Sakura nodded, but something told her it wasn't just that, but she figured that after having asked him all those personal questions earlier in the day she was done prying his mind. "Ahh…ok then. I was thinking of taking a small walk, but I guess I'll go alone" she said calmly as she grabbed a jacket to keep warm from the ocean breeze. Kakashi looked at her "I'll accompany you if you don't wish to go alone" he said, his juvenile self itching just to be with her, but his rational self saying that he would be with her to protect her Pfft… she can protect herself, packs a hell of a punch he said mentally, but his juvenile self interrupted So? Doesn't mean I cannot spent some alone time with her in a nice walk…maybe get a bit close when she gets cold…. Wrap my arms around her-

He suddenly sat up, the physical movement cutting his thoughts short. Sakura blinked "Sensei…?" she asked before Kakashi smiled "Lets take a walk, I think the fresh air will do me good" he said casually. Sakura looked at him and his change of demeanor, but she ignored it. She honestly just wanted to take a walk down the pier, watch the ocean and just relax after a meal. She grabbed her small purse and then caught a glimpse of the gift she had bought Kakashi. She decided to grab the relatively small box considering what was in it and held it casually with her bag. Kakashi watched her grab the box and wondered what it was for, but then he figured it was trash, a remnant of her shopping and that she just wanted to throw it out. Content with that explanation he walked over to the door.

"Shall we go then?" he asked as he stood there in his hakama, although he had his usual black facemask and konoha headband over his eye. Sakura nodded and smiled, walking towards the door. Kakashi opened the door and both of them walked out of the room and out into the street. Sakura smiled, walking as if she had a place in mind to go. Kakashi politely followed. The cool ocean breeze did him good. It calmed down the otherwise warming effects of the sake and allowed him to keep a clear mind. Sakura walked in silence for a few minutes until they had both reached the pier.

The lights from the village reflected in the ocean water, the waves crashing on the rocks and creating a very soothing sound. Sakura spent a few seconds gazing at the horizon. She couldn't believe how peaceful this place was whereas most of the other villages were war torn and scared by the fires and explosions that had defiled the land. Kakashi stood next to her, hands inside his sleeves. He enjoyed the peace of the whole moment, forgetting everything about the village, or his unsaid rules about what he would and would not do around Sakura. This is right….this is how it's supposed to be he thought, standing there beside the beautiful rosette, no legalities to keep them apart. As he opened his mouth to say something, he was interrupted, probably thankfully interrupted by the woman of his unsaid affections.

"I want to thank you Sensei…" said Sakura as she stood there, but did not look at him directly. Kakashi blinked, her sudden statement arousing some genuine curiosity. "Thank me for what Sakura?" he asked as he looked at her. Sakura's expression changed and he took notice. It was a very soft expression, something between tears and a smile. Her voice even shook a bit as she answered his question. "Well, for everything….everything you've done" she said, but Kakashi was still curious, that answer having been too general. Sakura looked at him and she could see her answer was not enough.

"Everything?" asked Kakashi to which Sakura already had an answer prepared. "For… having taught me all you did, for helping me become strong. For caring about me when needed, and letting me stand on my own when it was right" she said. Kakashi was taken aback. Sure his students had thanked him plenty of times, for helping or treating them to a meal, but no one had ever thanked him overall for his work. He was unsure what to say, a mixture of joy and humility having rushed through him. Such feelings made him feel even worse about the desires he held for her.

"I…well…you're welcome Sakura." He said, not sure if that was the right thing to say. Sakura smiled and pulled out the medium box and handed it to him. "I got you a gift. I know it's kinda silly, but I really do want to thank you somehow" she said. Kakashi took the box, looked at her, and then back at the box. "I- can I open it?" he asked, making a mental face for having asked something that in hindsight sounded stupid. Sakura chuckled and nodded "Ofcourse, go ahead Sensei" she said. The chuckle and smile made Kakashi happy. It was the Sakura he wished he could see always; happy and devoid of any sad thoughts. He nodded and opened the box. He moved away some of the gift paper inside and blinked. He saw a silk shirt, a simple silk shirt with some silver accents around the neck and shoulders. He set the box down and pulled out the shirt fully. Although in most cases a shirt would be quite a meaningless gift, because it came from HER, it was something he knew he would treasure forever.

"Sakura… you really didn't have to get me a gift" he said, trying to sound modest, though his inner self was all giddy about it. Sakura blinked, then looked away "Well, you're always wearing your jounin uniform…I didn't want to get you anything ninja themed" she said, trying to justify the gift although she knew perfectly well WHY she had bought that particular gift. Kakashi chuckled. He stole himself from leaning down and kissing her cheek, although he REALLY wanted to do so, he instead had to content himself with patting her head. "Well thank you Sakura… it means a lot to me" he said, making a note to wear her gift as soon as possible. Sakura smiled. "Shall we get back?" she asked, the meal finally making her sleepy. Kakashi nodded, and both of them walked back, plenty of things still unsaid.