I give up for now. I have been in anything but a serious mood. BAH! And I Remember Pink is at such a serious part right now. You guys will not be disappointed that I waited, I swear. And to thoroughly enjoy this, you have to listen to Panic! At The Disco!'s lovely song, 'She Held the World' while reading.
Now, enjoy this little fluff. I demand reviews, dang it!
She spun the stars on her fingernails,
But it never made her happy,
Cause she couldn't ever have me.
Sleep. Sleep. Sleep.
The mantra was not working. No matter how many times she repeated the word her brain mutinously decided to keep sputtering on about pointless little things.
Like a mismatched stare that had trailed fire from her toes to her hair before meeting her eyes. Like a hidden smirk behind a dark blue barrier and a finger placed teasingly in front of her mouth. Like a silver shining head tilting so minutely towards hers and whispering rebellious nothings into the night sky. Like the smooth run of a hand through her candy locks before a smile and a hasty good bye. Like the poof of a fantasy into the dreamless stars.
She was losing her mind to her evasive teacher. Twisting and turning, dressing and undressing, sitting and laying. No matter what she did only the boring sight of beige walls and cluttered mess refused to distract her attentions. The morning had already peaked its ugly head over the distant trees by the time she had just dozed into a moments rest. Luck flew from her window as a sweetly soft knock jolted her instantly wide awake. With a growl and a grumble she crashed over to the door and stared intently at it without any intentions to turn the knob.
"Go away." Silence. "Hello?" More silence. A prank, maybe? Swinging aside her nuisance she found only empty space to greet her. Surprise and irritation battled in her mind before she glanced down to see the envelope laying flat against the carpet. In cramped, scribbled writing it said 'Catch me'. It had been left unsealed with a sloppy smile-y face drawn across the flap. She was obviously meant to open it. Of course.
Inside was a very plain looking piece of paper folded in half. Written in the same cramped letters 'To receive your prize:'. Once she unfolded the mysterious little note she saw a set of instructions. A quick scan told her exactly who her prankster was. Only one person would dare to ask these things of her. And besides, number four was just too obvious. But… what was her prize? And what did he mean to catch him? She would never find out, of course. She was way above such childish games. She had so many adult things to do today. It was never easy to make medic history. And number one would definitely not allow her to make medic history. Especially not if she actually did do number four. Or number two, for that matter. So, of course, she was not doing this.
With a scowl, Sakura stared back down at the paper. Prize…?
Number one, Call into work. You'll be much too busy for work.
Tsunade was not going to be happy about this, at all. There was so much she had to do today. Nevertheless, the phone was in her hand and the numbers were being dialed ever so slowly. She could just as easily hang up the phone. Nobody would know that a perfectly healthy Sakura Haruno had been just moments away from calling into her entirely dangerous and important job over a note. Nobody. She pushed the green lighted 'call' and felt her hopes dwindle to none. She was seriously going to go through with this nonsense. For the life of her she could not thinkadmit why.
Ring, Ring, Ring.
"Hello, Tsunade?" Nope. "Oh, Shizune! Hey. I can't come into work today…" Disbelief was clearly evident on the other line. "I know Shizune, I know. I can definitely be there tomorrow…" She winced as Tsunade yanked the phone from Shizune and yelled into the speaker. "I know, Tsunade, there's a lot to be done. What do you mean you know what's going on? Look, I don't have any ulterior motives, I just can't come into work today. You can't fire me Tsunade, you'd never be able to find your sake." Pause. "Ok, I'll see you tomorrow."
Well, that was a lot of a ridiculous waste of time. What was next? She opened the letter again and rolled her eyes. He did not think that this was even possibly going to embarrass her did he?
Number two, brush your teeth (not your hair) and walk outside until you find your clothes. Don't change out of your pajamas.
Luckily she was wearing something modest. She quickly and thoroughly ran her toothbrush over her pearly whites and headed out the door. How was she supposed to find her clothes anyway? How had he gotten into her apartment to get them? What if she spent all day trying to find something to wear besides sleepwear and then did not get the chance to finish all the other instructions? Would he not give her the prize? Why did she want a prize so bad when she did not even know what it was?
She was still pondering this question when she happened to glance up at a something different that managed to catch her eye. For a long moment she scanned the horizon, knowing that something had seemed entirely off. Suddenly she saw it. Bright, and swinging from the fourth Hokage's nostril, was a fabric flailing desperately in the wind. The red was an undistinguishable blob in the distance but she knew it was what he meant for her to shimmy into. After she managed to get there, of course. She would have to walk all the way through Konoha, in her pajamas, after pretending to be too sick for work. How cruel.
Curious eyes watched her walk as inconspicuously as possible through town and towards the monument. It was not an unfamiliar path at all. Many times after sparring or after missions, the team had climbed to the top of the towering heads to relax and talk. Walking it was much different, though, when people were staring at her and snickering slightly to their selves. In the beginning it bothered her, though she would probably never admit it to her torturer. Before long, however, it occurred to her that they were the ones acting immature. Had they never seen someone in a pair of pajamas? Had they never seen someone with unkempt hair? Just because she was the Hokage's apprentice did not mean she slept in full gear. She was only human after all.
After the wizening realization she strode much more confidently up to the trail that would take her all the way to the edge of the first Hokage's headband and lead her more or less to Tsunade's stone carved nose. He could not have put it on a bench, or the bridge, or even the office, could he have? No, he had to hang it from the side of a mountain. Leave it to the Hatake to make things complicated.
She had just climbed her way to the right carving and wound the fabric up and into her hands when she noticed that the scarlet something had been a scarlet dress. It was not revealing or fancy, just a red summer dress. Though there was no price tag, she was sure he had bought it for her. There had definitely not been any brightly colored sundresses in her closet full of white nurse uniforms and black ANBU gear. A light dusting of pink adorned her cheeks as she imagined him picking her out a dress from a Konoha shop. Did the owner wonder who it was for? Had he told them what he planned with it?
Having finally completed her second command, she checked for number three.
Number three, hide and change. Once you have put on your new outfit, turn around and look down.
Private hiding areas were not easy to come by when she stood on a smooth surface of rock formation, but she was a kunoichi and she would manage. A quick glance around and a little bit of climbing later she stood behind a wide tree trunk to strip. If Jaraiya were here, she'd probably end up a page in some smutty novel. She shuddered at the thought as she slipped her training skirt down her hips and let it fall silently to the dirt. In only moments she was wearing her new dress comfortably and looking around the grass for the bright orange she knew would be laying around somewhere. It was only feet from her, supporting a little scarecrow doll. How… Unlike him. She checked the little toy for any hidden attachments and found that it was truly only a doll.
She picked up the Icha Icha book and flipped it open. There was no reason to look at number four. It had embarrassed her so badly that it still held the spotlight in her memory.
Number four, walk through town to the hair salon whilst reading Icha Icha out loud continuously. No cheating.
It would not just be down the block. The hair shop was all the way on the opposite side of town. And she was going to be forced to read that pornography out loud. What if there were kids around? She climbed down the mountain and pulled the little novel up to her face and skimmed over the first few lines. Nothing too bad, not yet.
"The scarred old ninja could not find it in himself to hold her age against her. Their love had spanned across generations to complete the distorted holes that had formed in their own lives over time. Many hardening battles had taught them to trust what they had never understood before. As he lay weakened from fight…" And surprisingly, as she got engrossed in the strangely romantic and deep story, she found herself standing at the door of the salon without even realizing she had walked hardly anywhere. The story had dragged her in kicking and screaming with its tale of a sweet young kunoichi and scarred old hero having scraped barely through the tightened claws of death to discover their love for each other. She had just reached the first physical scene as she found the door and was sad to have to put the book away. Quickly dog earring the page, she pushed past the glass opening and walked up to the counter. With any luck, she would be in and out of here in a flash. Girly things like salons and dresses had become things of the past long ago. It was strange to walk in now with a hairdresser looking irritably at her from behind a swiveling chair.
"You're several hours late. He assured me you'd come, but punctuality would have been nice." A scathing glare almost made Sakura walk away. "Of course, coming from him, that's not at all surprising. Get over here, I need to fix that mess." And with grim features the roseate haired ninja settled into the shining black seat with all the eagerness of a criminal to be hanged.
She felt her tension ease away as the angry woman ran cool water over her hair and massaged her temple with gentle fingers. A girly, sweet scented shampoo filled her nose with nostalgic memories of days before perfume was a weakness and shining, shimmering locks was her greatest goal. Once the soap was thoroughly lathered through each strand she knew she was hooked onto this lovely old indulgence. For just today, she would be any other female that allowed herself such pleasures. Tomorrow she would probably be chastised for it by Tsunade, possibly even Kakashi himself, but that was tomorrow and she will have gotten over this madness by then.
"He said I should ask you before I cut. Apparently he knows how you are about your hair. So, do you trust him?" A skeptical eyebrow raised in her direction and she pondered for a moment. She had never really talked to Kakashi about things like hair and make up and all that goodness. When life was entirely filled with blood, gore, and death it was easy to forget other things existed. But the dress was nice. It matched well with her hair and was not too classy or too skimpy. He had always dressed himself well and while his hair was messy, it was always nicely so.
"Sure, I trust him. We'll see how this goes." And with rapt attention to the mirror in front of her, Sakura watched the woman lift scissors to her hair and cut away. She didn't remove much length, but bangs found refuge around her face and layers added style to an otherwise formless mass of pink. Once it was dried and fixed, Sakura found it was the most lovely look she had worn in years. Her stylist continued her ministrations on Sakura's appearance with light colored eye shadow and clear lip gloss. The palette really only highlighted the brightness of her eyes and the suppleness of her lips with a subtlety that suited her tastes. Kakashi had fashion sense, it appeared.
"He says I should tell you to follow instructions and that you're all prepared now. And he's already paid." And although Sakura was sure she heard something along the lines of 'lousy tipper' muttered into the still air, the woman's face was triumphant. "Now, go on pretty thing, and show off my good work."
Onto the next step.
Number five: Go to Ukyo's Okinomiyaki and tell her you have an order for Scarecrow. Don't worry, it's not a menu item.
She had never even been to that part of town. It was not a particularly bad part, but also not particularly good either. Ukyo had introduced herself a few times to people in Tsunade's circle. Her and her husband Ryoga had nearly as bad of luck at gambling and basically everything else as Tsunade, but apparently those of Konoha were not good at moderation. Business was always booming at Ukyo's Okinomiyaki fortunately. It seemed that anyone who was not a particular fan of ramen preferred this pizza pancake concoction. Tenzou swore by it, on several occasions. Due to Naruto's love of all things ramen, they had never found out if the place was as good as he said. Now it must be her chance.
She strolled easily through downtown and into the little corner that stood between nice and trashy. Her cute dress and classy new do seemed strange in this place where everyone was dressed almost too casual. Short shorts and tight and tiny tank tops bordered on sensual around her, making her feel markedly innocent. Yet, with all those slinky outfits buzzing around her she found many gazes lingering on her and the sweetheart top of red that clung snugly to her breasts and to her hips that swayed naturally with each step. A shy smile met many vultures' grins and it was with relief that she shoved through the entrance to Ukyo's restaurant. Instantly an unusual, slightly obnoxious accent hit her.
"Hey, honey! He said you'd be right by. Your order is all ready here. Under scarecrow, right? You look gorgeous! Got fixed up real nice for your honey, didn't you?" The pleasant dark haired lady was pushing a cute little to go basket into her arms and smiling happily at her. "Hurry now, you don't want to be late! He has just the best surprise planned out for you. My Ryoga tried to do something like this once but he got lost, of course." And just like that she was kicked out of her refuge and back into the world of wolves. What to do now?
Shuffling her package around, she pulled the letter out again.
Number Six. By now I bet you're getting tired. The sun should be getting right about ready to go down, so head out by the training field we always spar at. A guide will greet you there.
A guide? Why did she need a guide? This was going to be interesting.
Her legs were starting to hurt from all the walking and climbing and running she had been doing today. This would be her third trek across town in such a short time span. She was used to walking through trees and tough terrain for days at a time but never for something so insubstantial as an unknown present from an elusive shadow of a teacher. Hunger was gnawing mercilessly at her stomach. Though she was glad she looked gorgeous enough to elicit prolonged glances and Ukyo's quick compliments, the dress and make up and hair style were not at all comfortable for such an active day. She was ready to rest.
With slow and steady steps she reached the field her and Kakashi had so many times before destroyed. Sitting lazily near the trees was Pakkun. A little pink tongue licked his paw absentmindedly as he stared at her and waited for her to come closer.
"Don't worry, it's just a short walk to meet him." He could tell from the irritation on her face that she was weary of being led all around town. His eternally smiling expression lightened her heart just slightly and led her into the trees behind him.
He was right, it was really only a short walk. It was a simple clearing she had always been aware of, but hardly every paid attention to. And now it was alive. Candles sat all over in strange places and flowers of purple and blue scattered across the floor in a beautiful display. The sun was just setting to darken the space into a more aesthetically pleasing ambience. Crickets and other insects seemed content to chirp out a mournfully slow off tune. With the sunset backdrop the scene was breathtaking. And yet, it was missing an important element that marred her moment of perfect surprise. She had been promised to meet him here. She had been dolled up and tired out all day long only to find he was missing in action. Calling in to work to be disappointed was not at all what she had expected.
A large checkered blanket had been laid out in the middle of everything with a happy looking picnic basket sitting unopened atop it. Carefully, as gracefully as she could manage, she sat down and waited. He would show up eventually, she knew it. Knowing him, he was late for his own plan. The long day of no sleep and running through town on the whims of the written word wore down on her. Her eyelids drooped as she stifled a long yawn behind her palm. Just as the sun finally slipped under the cover of the horizon she dozed off into a light slumber with barely spun dreams.
Several hours after she had nodded off a sly man crept to her little sleeping form. His silver hair gleamed brightly in the moonlight as he crouched over her. She looked so innocent at this moment. It was hard to imagine the beating he was going to get once he woke her up.
"Sakura…" A timid whisper, at first. His only answer was a snore. How ladylike. "Sakura, wake up." Poking may work? "Sakura…" And finally sleepy green eyes blinked up at him. The anger hadn't settled in yet.
"Kakashi?" Her voice was slow and sweet with her heavy laden slumber. He grinned at her and wondered if she would noticed the enamel shining unhindered at her.
"That's what they call me, among other things." Laughter just barely hid beneath his voice. He had expected her to be tired, yes, but he had not expected to show up to find her dozing quietly on his picnic blanket. The fiery fury of being metaphorically dragged around town cleared the fog from her gaze and he dodged a sloppily thrown punch to his face. She hadn't noticed yet.
"You are late! You are late for your own extremely confounded plan you jerk!" The lip gloss reflected the dimly burning candle light and grabbed his attention. How difficult it was to pay attention to her anger when he had dressed her up so nicely.
"Well, since it was my plan, I'd say I'm more than likely not late, but you may be early." She wasn't, but he could say whatever he wanted. He had set all this up, after all.
"You even said in your note about the time I'd be heading to this place!" He winced. He had, hadn't he? Oops.
"I planned for you to be early. You're missing the point, Sakura." He watched for the first time as she really looked at him.
"Oh." Hungry eyes roamed across his face and back over again, gazing over all his features as though it was the first thing she had ever seen.
The stars twinkled in the red and black in his eye to light a mischievous spirit beyond the lazy look she had always known. His jaw was strong and his cheeks high and his nose was just slightly crooked. All the wit and charm and confidence that had boomed from his voice seemed amplified in the grin on his face that showed straight pearly whites. Most likely he wouldn't be the most attractive man Sakura had ever seen, but he certainly was going to remain up in the top ten. And honestly, she wasn't sure she cared if others were more handsome. How many others would plan this whole ordeal out just to show her their face?
"Nice." It seemed so understated of a compliment but she couldn't really think of anything else to say. Personal space was happily ignored as he smoothly placed himself nearly flush against her.
"I'm glad you think so. I worked very hard on it." Low, gravelly words were lost on her ears. Just the feel of his voice wrapping around her and the vibration of it in his chest against her skin sent her mind away.
"You owe me." He had promised, of course. So he did owe her. He had kept her awake all night tossing and turning from his teasing.
"I do, don't I?" A smile lifted his lips and she felt her heart flutter quickly. It was like him to dangle what she wanted so artfully in front of her. "And what, pray tell, do I owe you?"
She paused for a moment. What was the game? "A kiss."
"What kind of kiss?" He was grinning again and she felt his thin fingers embrace hers.
"…A goodbye kiss." So, did he plan to leave again?
"Are you trying to run me away so fast?" His arm had wrapped around her waist as he swayed to some unknown melody in a slow dance.
"I'm sure you don't want to mess up on your promise kiss. You can practice some if you'd like." Resting her head against his chest, she attempted to avoid his gaze as much as possible. She was nearly as red as her dress at her suggestion. She could feel his amused stare pressing down on her new hair cut. "Thanks, by the way, for pampering me today. I was a little surprised."
"Well, I figured you needed it. All that stressful work, and then no sleep last night. Plus that awful person waking you up."
"You wouldn't know anything about that would you?" Playful banter was such an interesting part of their relationship. After almost a year now, he had yet to kiss her full on the lips. He had assured her last night that he would give her one, full out lip to lip contact. And here he was to do so.
"Not at all. Sadly, I've never been able to wake you up before." Any moment now it would be perfect. She hadn't received her true present yet.
"And you won't, either. Not until-"
"Marriage, yeah. About that." And he dropped heavily to one knee. It was the closest to a bow he had ever come.
"Kakashi…" Her eyes were already glittering with unshed tears.
"Miss Sakura Haruno, ninja, ANBU, medic. You have been consistently stealing my heart for a good year now. I am a scarred and broken old man but I was wondering if you wouldn't mind marrying me so I can wake you up properly every morning for the rest of our lives?" He had gotten a ring true to his character. It was a gemless, intricately designed band of white gold and carved jade.
"Kakashi…" With a loose grip she dragged him to standing again and kissed him for that first time on the mouth and it was a glorious experience. "Why?"
"Sakura, we're ninja. We could die tomorrow. Why wait?" He grinned down at her and leaned close to her ear. "Besides, I got you all dolled up, I couldn't hardly resist." He nuzzled her neck and felt her nearly purr at his mouth moving down to her collar bone.
Neither of them were innocent and both had been greatly surprised to find that after so long of depending on each other they had fallen into a slow and easy relationship that far preceded that of ex student and teacher. Knowing that people would not approve, they had kept it silent from the general public. Only Tsunade and a few close friends knew and understood the reality of their decision to finally go at the world together instead of alone. Because of the secrecy and they taboo nature of their relationship they had always been careful to stray far from the realms of sexual desires and had instead simply been content with each others company. Sakura had been the first one to voice the rule and it's answer by announcing that only if they were married would she allow him near her bed, because the world could not sway her from being one with her husband. He had gotten the hint, but drawing things out was always much more fun.
And this was how they ended up here, spending the night in a forest as they danced to unheard music and ate simple foods in his simple paradise he had built.
They would have the rest of their lives to deal with his tragedies and her terrors, but today was their engagement and they would enjoy each other as thoroughly as possible.
I had to do this. I always see the after the wedding, the wedding, or their happily ever after. I even see stories where they're dating. But you just about never see a story where he proposes.
Review, pretty please?