Started shortly after I finished Sea Foam. According to my computer, I've been working on this for three weeks. This will probably be my last update for the summer since we're having performance evaluations at work.
Semi-inspired by the Fairytale contest at the kakasaku lj community (more about the fact it was about twisting existing fairytales rather than anything else) and they're a bunch of really fun, nice people so this is dedicated to them! Please tell me what you think, and have a nice day!
When one enters the world of fairytales, things are supposed to be simple. Get a party invitation, kill a dragon or two, maybe wear a pair of highly-impractical sparkly heels—you know, the simple things—the easy things because fairytale endings are supposed to be easy, a breeze, a walk in the park.
Unfortunately, no one seemed to have told that to the young woman about to tear her hair out in his throne room.
"You what?" Sakura screamed with her hands fisted deeply into her pink locks, causing Kakashi to wince slightly at the volume and mourn the loss of what could've been a very nice lazy blue-skied summer day.
With a slight roll of his eyes, Kakashi sighed. He really hated to repeat himself. "I said—"
"I know what you said, Kakashi," Sakura interrupted in a tone that warned him to wisely shut his mouth before she cursed him somehow before letting go of her hair in favor of tiredly dragging a hand over her face. "I've held 73 balls and parties in four years for you since I started working for you. I've dragged in royalty from all over the country and from across the oceans—I even got a mermaid princess! Do you know how demanding those women can be? Do you?—and after knowing this—knowing just how much blood, sweat, tears, and magic I put into this—into your happy future! For you!—how can you still be unmarried?" she shouted incredulously.
As she muttered about a perfect record being ruined before it even begun, Kakashi merely shrugged his shoulder with all the care his position could allow (which apparently wasn't much).
"I just couldn't find anyone who was my type," he explained simply with a casual glance at what his assistant chose for him to wear today. (Navy blue with the red cloak. Nice.) Out of the corner of his eye, he could see Sakura on the verge of having a stroke but he ignored it, choosing instead to finger the engraving in the armrest of his throne. Honestly, after 73 attempts to get him married, you'd think she'd be used to this by now.
"Besides, the women who come to your parties are only interested in my money or the title of being a queen. None of them are suitable enough to rule a kingdom with."
"But that's the one thing you keep forgetting!" she said with frustration, "You're not a king; you're still a prince—one of the oldest in the region at 34-yrs-old, I might add—and because you have to be married with a queen to be considered a king, you're only a king in function and not name and you won't be recognized as king in title until you marry!"
Again, Kakashi gave a mild shrug in her direction as he stared intently at the book in his lap. (Sir Jiraiya was quite the literary genius.) "Sakura, you seem to forget that I have no interest in what people say of me. And as long as the kingdom is prospering, I'm fine without the title. After all, it's not as if the well-being of the kingdom depends solely on whether I have 'King' in front of my name," he said making Sakura's hands fly once again to her hair, suddenly ready to jump into the nearest deep hole to shrivel up and die away from the light because she had failed as his fairy godmother.
That's right. Let it be known throughout the land that Haruno Sakura was the fairy godmother of the eternal bachelor, Hatake Kakashi, ruler of the kingdom of Konoha. Sure, she probably had it easier than others. Her ward was the ruler of a wealthy nation envied for their rich soil, rich mines, and technological advances—but that didn't change the fact he was a sadistic, habitually-late pervert who stared at life with such a lackadaisical manner that it was astounding to her that other nations hadn't stormed the gates already and plundered this land for themselves.
'Now I understand why Shizune quit this place screaming,' Sakura thought dismally as she recalled the day she received the notice for replacing her former mentor's position shortly after graduating.
But maybe it was partially her fault. After all, when she first got the notice, she had imagined her first ward to be a lonely orphan to whom she could play the quaint mothering figure; that maybe the young girl had simply just been a bit too rough around the edges for Shizune to handle and Sakura could take up the mantle to give this girl her happy ending, proving her merit as a fairy godmother. Of course, she should've remembered that Shizune was no pushover (she was the head coordinator's assistant, after all) and for her to have abandoned a post (screaming! Sakura should've gotten the clue at screaming!) should've been her first clue about the misery she was stepping into.
Sakura thought back to her first day on the job. When she found out that her ward wasn't a young orphan girl, but an older male prince, she had admittedly been disappointed. But she shook it off. After all, she was a fairy godmother and it was the godmother creed to ensure their client's happiness and grant them a fairytale happy ending! Even when she found out he was always hours late to meetings with other royalty and read smut on the throne, it did nothing to hamper her determination.
A small tear pricked Sakura's eye as she thought fondly of her old self. She'd been so ecstatic, so new and bright-eyed when she first started. And now look at her. Stressed, broken, and jaded, and all because of that insufferable man.
But that was being unfair, she knew. Despite his lack of remorse for his teasing and tardiness, Kakashi was quite the responsible ruler when he wasn't hell-bent of turning all of her hair white. He knew full well the weight of the kingdom—that the fate of hundreds of lives—rested on his shoulders and how important it was to rule his land with a fair, just hand.
Now why couldn't he understand that marriage was just important for the kingdom?
She could've repeated her old arguments—of building political alliances, treaties through marriage; of gaining more land and capital through the merging of two kingdoms; of being recognized by other kingdoms as a king—but she knew Kakashi would just wave them aside to continue reading. Instead, Sakura sank to her knees and buried her face in her hands by Kakashi's throne, a sad, frustrated sound escaping her. "I've failed as your fairy godmother," she moaned.
"That's another thing I've always found odd about us. You're my fairy godmother, but I'm older than you," he pondered thoughtfully.
Sakura stood up, eyes ablaze. "Even if I am younger than you, I am still perfectly capable of being your fairy godmother. I received top grades! I graduated top of my class! I am one of the youngest fairies to ever pass the bar test, so don't you ever question my abilities, Hatake!" she shouted before a voice in her head chimed this was the fifth time they'd had this argument. Kakashi seemed to know this too because he was staring up at her with that damned mirthful, condescending smile she was all too familiar with by now. She felt like weeping. Now she understood why Shizune had run out of here in hysterics. Shizune was a tough-cookie, but she was also a perfectionist, and Kakashi was a demanding client as well as a button-pusher. With her easily-stressed, unbending personality, Shizune would've never been able to handle both his demands and his teasing. Sakura knew because she felt much the same way when dealing with the silver-haired prince and it was always amazing to her that she had lasted this long, but it still didn't make it any easier.
Sakura sank to her knees once more. "Where's my little orphan girl?" she bemoaned softly, crying at the injustice of it all.
To her cry, Kakashi merely ruffled her hair in soothing, affectionate manner. "Of course I think you're capable of the job, Sakura," he consoled, watching as she looked up at him with eyes of hopeful gratitude. "But you forget that there are servants and knights in the room and I'm the only one who can see you," he reminded gently.
Abruptly, Sakura stood up and turned, realizing with horror that the entire court was staring at the throne with confusion and concern for their now-apparently-crazy king. With a sharply embarrassed squeak, Sakura waved her magic wand and teleported away. Kakashi, who had been watching her small display, chuckled quietly before turning to his court with a bland questioning smile, watching with some satisfaction as everyone returned hurriedly to their work, determined not to meet the gaze of the king.
Sinking back into his throne, Kakashi inwardly purred with satisfaction. Though he couldn't give two cents about what people said about him, Kakashi was glad to see his reputation as a no-nonsense ruler had not been affected by these rumors of a "mad king" nonsense. Rather, it seemed to make people listen more, and with that thought, Kakashi scanned the page he was on and picked up where he left off.
Sakura sighed as she slipped and maneuvered her way through the crowded ballroom. The chandeliers gleamed as bright as the sun as servants milled about, offering refreshments to the guests as couples filled the dance floor. Outside of the dancing area, not an inch of the beautiful marble tile was visible which would've been the mark of a successful ball to most people, but most people were not fairy godmothers to over-the-hill bachelor princes like Sakura was. To her, the mark of a successful ball would be the sight of Kakashi married off.
Passing by the drink table, Sakura saw the punch bowl was running low and with a flick of her wrist, refilled the large glass bowl. The guests, like usual, were too engrossed in their own conversations or gorging themselves to notice her bit of magic and she paused in her rounds to stare into the punch bowl. Because the balls were all her doing and never came out of the Konoha kingdom's budget, it gave Kakashi's kingdom an inflated sense of grandeur to the other ruling nations (not to say his kingdom wasn't prosperous). Of course, it was only because Kakashi didn't have to spend money on these occasions that he probably agreed to entertain Sakura by milling about.
However, the thought was cast aside by the sudden dryness in her throat. Magic did not grow on trees after all, and she began to eye the punch bowl, tempted to just take a glass and waltz off with it. After all, it was her party and she would just be enjoying the fruits of her labor. Unfortunately, because Kakashi was the only one who could see her, it meant a punch glass floating in the air and draining mysteriously without a trace, which would no doubt spark rumors about the kingdom being haunted, thereby dooming her plans to marry Kakashi off.
So as thirsty and tempted as she was, Sakura steeled her iron-will and began to force herself away from the table when she felt a slight bump against her shoulder. Turning with a glare—just because she was invisible didn't mean she couldn't feel pain and some of these women needed to know that elaborate collars were not in fashion anymore—she was prepared to stare daggers into the person who had knocked into her, only to see Kakashi swoop by the table to grab two punch glasses, looking back with a glance saying for her to follow.
He led her to the small library tucked behind a tall, heavy single door on the second floor. Since most of the guests were preoccupied with the events on the first floor or just simply didn't want to walk up the stairs, it was noticeably quieter up here, even more so in the small library since the guests rarely pried into the doors.
Slipping inside, the party seemed worlds away as the smell of paper and aged ink replaced the cloying scent of perfume that had flooded her nose. It was dark; the curtains in the room had been drawn for the night; and the only light came from the faint glow of the party outside that fell through the crack in the door. Meeting Kakashi's gaze, he gently offered one of the glasses to her.
"I saw you eyeing it from across the room. Next time, you should just take it. It's your party after all," he said lightly. Sakura's brows knit together with irritation, but a smile escaped her nonetheless as she raised the glass to her lips with dainty hands.
"You know I can't do that. I'd scare everyone in the room what with a random floating punch glass and all. They'll say your kingdom is haunted, and then I'd never be rid of you."
"We'll just make it Halloween-themed then and say the floating punch glasses are some new technology we invented. After all, you work so hard planning these parties. I'm a bit sad that you can't enjoy them more," he told her, a bit of genuine regret touching his tone. If she looked carefully, she could've sworn it was in his eye too, but as quick as it came, it left. He patted her head affectionately.
"Well, I better go. If I disappear too long, the rumor mill will be overrun with gossip and angry, fretting women."
And with a teasing smile and one last pat of the head, he was gone leaving Sakura alone with her punch glass in the library dark.
However, there is only so much one can do in the darkness of a small library alone and it wasn't long before Sakura grew bored of her little drinking alcove, lazily spinning the empty glass on a small table by the door.
'Well, I'm not thirsty anymore. I guess I should go back out.' After all, the only reason she stayed in the room was because she needed a drink, and now that it was over, she was free to go back outside and finish her rounds. Like Kakashi said, it was her party, and as the real hostess, it was her duty to make sure everything was running smoothly.
That and she wanted to hear the latest gossip. But that was alongside listening for ways to improve her parties so she could try and pull in more matches for Kakashi. Swear!
Her mind made up, she put the empty glass on the table—she'd get one of the servants to come in here tomorrow to clean it up—and slowly opened the door before going back to the party.
Upon her return, it seemed like she hadn't missed a thing as she began to pick out the regulars doing what they usually did. The lord of Grass Country was talking animatedly to some poor sap who had the misfortune of just walking by, the royal family of the Hyuuga kingdom were set up primly together in a corner, the princess of Sand seemed to be holding some debate of chess strategy with the young Nara heir, and the red-head princess with the screechy voice from Oto that Sakura didn't much care for had had too much punch again, making one of her chaperones pull her down to a chair and offer a glass of water.
It seemed the pool of debuting ladies was smaller this year because Sakura could only see the same faces. Still, if they were here before, maybe Kakashi would have a slightly better chance of remembering who they were. As it stood, Kakashi only seemed to remember her and despite trying not to, a smile pulled at Sakura's lips.
'Oh, enough about that.'
She still had rounds to make, she reminded herself. Finding the punch table she had left off at, she continued to her rounds on the eastern side of the ballroom, finding no problems and some very interesting gossip when she spotted Kakashi in the crowd. Waving at him, she watched as he flicked a glance of acknowledgement before turning his eyes elsewhere. Following his gaze, he found her in the company of a young woman who she'd never seen at these parties before. She had shoulder-length brown hair and maroon-colored markings on her cheeks; she did not look much older than Sakura and briefly, she wondered if it was merely a late debut into society that the girl looked new or if she had recently moved into the area.
Sakura eyed the girl critically. Average height, average weight; all in all, she was rather plain compared to the other guests at the party and had it been another life, this girl may have been her ward as a fairy godmother. However, Kakashi was her client now, and she searched his face for the telltale signs of distress he usually displayed when he was roped into talking with guests of the female persuasion only to find none. He seemed genuinely content talking with the young girl, and judging by the envious glares of the women around them, seemed to have been at it for a while. It appeared that despite the girl's homely features, she had managed to ensnare Kakashi's attention for quite some time.
'She's the first one to ever manage that.' It may have been early, but maybe this girl would have what it took to make Kakashi finally settle down. And though it shouldn't have, the thought didn't sit quite well with her and she felt her stomach squirm oddly at the thought of Kakashi marrying that young girl.
'It's the punch. Someone must have spiked it,' she told herself because Kakashi was finally interested in someone, meaning he might get married and her job of giving him a happy ending would be over with. She should be happy about this. She should be happy.
But there was still that odd gnawing in her stomach, and dismissing it as the punch, she excused herself from the party for some much needed air.
Sakura stared out the window of a tower into the garden, watching the couple stroll under her. In the weeks since the last ball, the young lady—Rin, she found out from Kakashi—had been invited to the castle for visits during which she and Kakashi would tour the grounds together. Though they always did the same thing, they didn't seem to get tired of it and Sakura made sure to give them space. She had a job after all, and even if she could easily float down and listen in without Rin ever knowing, no amount of magic or meddling would be able to force these two together (magic simply didn't work that way).
And so she would sit at the window or float in the rafters watching them interact from afar, a hand cradling her cheek as she stared down. It was always too far away to hear—not that she wanted to. Being a sneak was below her, she told herself—so she would busy herself by tracing their silhouettes with her eyes and following the paths they took. They were the same paths Kakashi took her on when he introduced her to the castle shortly after replacing Shizune, and if she let herself think about it enough, Rin looked a lot like herself.
But quickly as the thought came, Sakura would shut it away, forcing her mind to the picture at hand. Even if it was fruitless, sometimes she would wonder what they talked about. But regardless of what they talked about, Sakura knew one thing from her observations: with Rin's choice of soft, light colors compared with Kakashi's dark wardrobe and their contrasting heights, they made a nice couple.
And as soon as she thought that, the gnawing sensation in her stomach was back again, but she pushed it aside as something she ate again. Briefly, she wondered if she was coming down with something and wondered if she should wander into the forest just outside the castle to go harvest some herbs to calm her knotted stomach.
Just then, she saw a carriage pull up to the castle gates, whisking Rin and her dress as lovely as buttercups blooming away. Racing down, Sakura met Kakashi as he came up the steps leading to his study.
"How'd it go?" she asked anxiously, hands gripped tightly together in front of her.
"It was fine," he replied noncommittally before stepping around her to continue on his way, but despite his bland answer, she knew it was anything but fine because there was a smile on his face that she'd never seen before.
And though she knew she should be happy for him, the pain gripping her suddenly doubled, twisting and turning and wrenching her knotted stomach and sinking her knees to the carpeted ground beneath her as she realized with some degree of horror that Kakashi might just be in love with the girl.
Rin continued her visits for a few more weeks after that, only to suddenly stop. By now, Sakura had stopped planning parties and balls since Kakashi had obviously found a female companion, and the castle was blanketed in a peaceful calm not usually known outside the party off-season. The silence was felt nowhere stronger than the pond in the castle garden where Sakura now sat, the only sounds reaching her ear being the songs of birds flying overhead and the dull hum of bees.
Dipping a finger into the water, she watched the ripples destroy her reflection. Since there were no parties left to plan, Sakura suddenly had a lot of free time and she spent most of her days here in the garden since she'd long finished the books in the library. Looking up, her eyes fell on the yellow rose bush Kakashi had shown Rin just a few weeks ago.
'Would she like yellow roses at the wedding?' Sakura wondered to herself. Though she hadn't seen a trace of the brunette girl in weeks, Sakura had supposed it was due to preparing for the wedding. After all, there was the dowry to consider, things to pack, items to be sorted and given away and asked for, a dress to be made, and all the other things that made mortal life seem so confusing and taxing.
Confusing and taxing. That actually served as a pretty accurate description for the one mortal she was deeply-acquainted with, and she snorted to herself at the thought, laughing softly and cradling the idea like a child until it began to grow and her small giggles and snorts grew to laughter that threw her head back and made her sides ache and tears fall down her face until she was bent double in pain and crystalline tears fell into the pond.
Oh, who was she kidding? She was in love with him. Even if he teased her mercilessly, made her want to tear her hair out, made perverted passes at her, and annoyed the living hell out of her for being so damn smug all the time, it didn't change the fact that he was kind and thoughtful or that even when she bothered him about his health and tried to ignore her nagging, he still made sure to listen to her.
It was stupid. He was nothing like the prince Cinderella married or the model princes and knights she learned about in school. Instead, Kakashi was a lazy, smug, lackadaisical, insufferable, intelligent, charming, caring, endearing ass of a man whose ability to make her stomach tie into fluttering knots of butterfly wings and high girlish laughter was completely and utterly unfair, and she wouldn't have him any other way. Though he'd started off as just her client, somewhere along the way, she'd fallen in love with him. Secretly, she was glad he never found anyone he liked at her parties because it meant staying by his side a little bit longer; and if she would admit it to herself, a small childish part of her had thought that they could be like this forever.
But now everything was changing. Kakashi had found someone he loved and they would be getting married. Even if Sakura was desperately wishing that they weren't, it was just the reality of things and she couldn't do anything to stop it. Not when her very reason for being here was to be Kakashi's fairy godmother and facilitate her client's happiness and then move on once the job was over, and if being happy with Rin made him happy, what right did she have to stop him other than her own selfishness? The best she could hope for right now was that she wouldn't have to plan the wedding because she didn't think she would be able to stand it. She'd rather run away to another position than deal with that.
Suddenly, a hand was on her shoulder and instantly she knew who it was before they even spoke. After all, there was only one human in the world who could see her.
"Are you alright?" he asked. His voice was low and gentle, and she was touched by the concern he held in his voice for her. Despite every good sense telling her to run away, Sakura leaned slightly into the touch, rubbing away at her tears with the back of her hand.
"It's because you're getting married," she answered tearfully only to catch sight of Kakashi's look of sheer bewilderment as he asked her where she heard that from. Did she miss something?
"Isn't Rin not here because she's preparing for the wedding?"
Kakashi shook his head. "I'm not courting Rin anymore. If anything, the girl is probably holed up at home right now crying her eyes out over her broken heart," he shrugged without remorse.
Eyes widening in shock, Sakura pushed the comforting hand away. Loving feelings be damned; she was still his fairy godmother!
"And exactly why aren't you marrying her and securing your kingship? Rin seems like a perfectly nice girl; pretty, kind, amicable—marrying material—so what was so wrong with her that you dumped her?" she asked, throwing herself onto her feet to tower over Kakashi in all her frustration and fury with the threat of death in her eyes if he didn't speak carefully.
Kakashi obviously didn't care about dying.
"She was pretty and nice but…she just wasn't my type," Kakashi replied in explanation, spoken so offhandedly that Sakura's anger was instantly snuffed out as if the oxygen fueling the flames had suddenly been sucked out of her. She blinked, trying to make sense of it all because they had been close. They had been so utterly, perfectly, amazingly close; and his only excuse for ruining his potential perfect ending was something as frivolous as Rin not being his type? Had he not ever heard of political marriages?
"You dumped her…because she just wasn't your type?" Sakura had had enough. In exasperation, she threw up her hands, a scowl on her face. "You know what? Fine. Fine! If you aren't going to entertain anything outside your type, then just tell me what it is. Tell me what's your godforsaken type is so I can bring them here and you can pick whichever one you like best and get married so I can get this job over with and leave!"
As if oblivious to Sakura's angry heaving chest, Kakashi calmly looked up in thought. What was his type indeed? "I want a woman who I can tease mercilessly."
"And worries over me constantly…"
"…and will brush off any perverted pass I make at her with ease…"
Sakura snorted to herself, not even bothering to cover it as she wrote down the list on a piece of parchment she enchanted out of thin air. "Your type sounds like a monster of a woman. I think I'll like watching your courtship."
Ignoring her smug comment, Kakashi continued. "She absolutely has to have green eyes…"
"Done!" Sakura retorted with an angry flourish of the quill in her hand as she firmly trampled the small bubble of hope that had leapt into her throat only for Kakashi to hold a stilling finger before her face to show her it wasn't over yet. There was one more thing his ideal woman had, and he wouldn't let her forget it.
With a cocky, self-assured smile under his mask, Kakashi added the cherry atop his ice cream dream of a woman. "And…pink. Hair."
Suddenly, the hand finishing the list trailed off into a thin trickle of ink that ran off the page. She blinked owlishly in shock again and again, mouth spluttering as the enchanted parchment and quill disappeared back to where they came because she could no longer focus on the magic keeping the items in this realm. Couldn't because every fiber of her being was focused instead of the angry blush coloring her cheeks and the roiling fury trembling through her slight body.
Her hands shook with anger. The nerve; the gall; the wholly insufferable, agitating indignation because was he being serious? Was this some big joke to him? "Where the hell am I supposed to find a woman with pink hair?"
Kakashi, arms folded neatly over his chest, merely shrugged. "I'm talking to one, aren't I?" he pointed out.
As if impersonating a fish, Sakura's mouth opened and closed and opened again in silence; she buried her hands in her pink hair, grabbing fistfuls of the rose-colored locks to steady herself in this obviously mad world. Somewhere, distantly, Sakura decided that she had done something in a past life that pissed off a really important deity to deserve this. That, or fate just really, really hated her.
"Kakashi, this and that are nothing alike. In case you forgot, I'm magic. And no human could ever, ever have pink hair—strawberry-blonde, maybe—and even in the magical realm, it's rare. In fact, I'm the only person alive I've seen with pink hair and—"
Suddenly, it all made sense. At the implication of their combined words, Sakura felt her eyes widen as big as serving plates as a soft, surprised "Oh" fell from her lips.
Turning to Kakashi, she searched his eye because surely, she'd gotten the message crossed somewhere; this couldn't be true and was just some funny, odd cosmic mistake only for a small, warm, mischievous smile to glow and dance on his masked lips; it was true, he reassured.
Blinking, Sakura panned her eyes from his chest, to his face, to her feet and everywhere in between because she didn't quite know what to look at or what to think. In the end, however, her eyes rested on his face and she thought about the odd comfort that that was where they had always seemed to belong.
"Why did you spend so much time talking to Rin then?" she asked at last.
Kakashi shrugged a shoulder casually. "To be honest, her face reminded me a lot of yours, but once I started talking to her, I realized her personality was a lot softer than yours and while endearing, I want more from my marriage partner than just a pretty face and mild conversation."
As he spoke, a warm look colored his eye and gently grasping her hand, lowered them both to sit at the water's edge. Turning her head, Sakura stared into the pond as she digested the weight of his words, slowly turning them over and over again in her mind. From a corner of her mind, a voice echoed the phrase Kakashi liked to say most often, "Look underneath the underneath," and she felt her heart glow at all the implications; that he wasn't like the shallow one-dimensional princes that shared his realm; that Kakashi embraced everything about her, nagging, fretting, and all; that despite their similarities, Rin could never replace her in his heart; that it was her that he wanted to marry.
Shyly, Sakura glanced out of the corner of her eye at him, too nervous to meet him eye-to-eye which she knew was silly. She'd looked at him face-to-face before without a problem, but now with her heart glowing brighter than the brightest sunny day, she was too much of a coward to do anything but steal covert look of the silver-haired prince.
But alas, she was caught and as if transfixed by that lone, dark orb, she turned her head to find him watching her patiently, an arm balanced and draped carelessly over his raised knee as a relaxed air hovered around him as if he had all the time in the world to just sit here and be with her. His hand never having let go of hers, she felt him rub small warm circles on the back of her hand and looked up to find him staring at her intently.
"How would you like to spend the rest of your life berating me for my lazy, difficult, perverse ways?" he asked quietly, and she could almost see the warm, almost shy, crooked grin under his mask as he spoke. Not the most romantic marriage proposal, but it was still more than enough to make her vision turn blurry with tears.
"…Why are you asking me now?" Sakura asked quietly. It may have been a strange thing to ask after a marriage proposal, but she had to know why he was doing this. Why was he only asking her to marry him after all this time?
Kakashi merely smiled from under his mask, lifting their joined hands between them. "I knew you loved me all along, but I wanted to wait until you realized it before I made my move. After all, you know how I am."
At this, Sakura threw her head back and laughed. It was true; Kakashi did like assured wins.
Laughter dying, Sakura looked up at Kakashi, a warm, adoring look in his eye as he continued to draw loving gentle circles on the back of her palm. It made her happy, and despite Kakashi's assurances that it was all real, it still felt too good to be true. Everything she'd ever wanted was coming true; it was enough to make her heart burst with joy. But…
"I can't do this. I'm your fairy godmother," she whispered, a delicate hand clasped over her mouth to hold in her sobs. They weren't allowed to meddle beyond the scope of their duty; they were only supposed to do enough to ensure their client's happy ending and return home. To stay beyond that was unthinkable.
"But the whole point of a fairy godmother is to secure the happiness of her ward," he countered easily, deftly pulling down the hand covering her lips to firmly hold it in his once more. Not for the first time that day, Sakura was amazed at how warm his hand was and how rightly they seemed to fit together, like two pieces of a puzzle.
His hand squeezed hers. "And nothing would make me happier in the world than a life spent with you."
Sakura began to panic. "But—but—! I don't know the first thing about ruling a kingdom! And what will you do when rumors start flying about how you married a fairy?"
"Sakura, many of the people you pulled into your parties didn't have much training for that either, and you've spent enough time tailing me around the castle that you should have intimate knowledge of what it takes to rule the kingdom. As for the rumors, while some people may think that you've bewitched me with your magic, other people might start to fear my name now that I've managed to seduce a fairy. But Sakura, when have you ever known me to care what other people say?"
His teasing tone and affectionate ruffle of her hair made her smile and gave her hope; it was hard to argue with Kakashi after that. But her worries wouldn't abate. "The surrounding kingdoms won't take this kindly," she warned.
"The kingdom's wealthy enough to handle a war or two if it comes down to it—not that I can see why. It'd be dangerous to risk losing such an affluent ally with such fertile land and mines."
"There will be scores of angry women after your head."
"Nothing new. I've had a lot of practice from you and I'm fairly confident in my ability to run."
"My master won't be pleased," she voiced, and by her master, she meant "Master of all fairies" and Tsunade would not be pleased to find out that her star apprentice was marrying her ward.
"I'm willing to take Tsunade on," he replied, seemingly oblivious to the danger he was putting himself in. She was sure during their many conversations of her master that she had told him about her inhuman strength and supernatural healing abilities. Tsunade would crush him like a grape. Sakura could already see the blood fly, but Kakashi continued to hold his gaze firm and resolute, every fiber of his being clearly telling her that he wouldn't back down on this.
She sighed with exasperation. "You must be a stubborn, masochistic ass for falling in love with me," she told him, but did nothing to hide the bright glowing smile that danced lightly on her lips as she leapt into Kakashi's chest, wrapping her arms around him. A wry laugh left her, muffled by the fabric of his shirt and the sound of his beating heart. She sighed against him. "You know, this isn't the fairytale ending I had in mind for you when I first accepted the position."
Sitting with his knees on either side of her, one arm draped loosely behind her, he used his free hand to tilt her chin up and briefly savored the look of her green eyes sparkling in the sunlight. "Ah well, while it isn't the typical storybook ending, you can't say that either of us will be displeased by the results."
At this, Sakura laughed, a bright happy sound. "I guess not," she relented.
And while there was much more that needed to be addressed, such as the wedding, crown-fittings, correspondence with the fairy kingdom, their future mixed-blood children, Sakura decided those matters could wait and pushing them aside, accepted Kakashi's proposal with a kiss.