Thirsty

I felt like writing something where Sakura has all the power and wonder. I enjoy this couple so much. It is only the most dynamic pairing in the history of the universe that sadly, will never happen. One can only dream…

Onward with my grievous fictions.

I feel like I'm falling,

So darling, don't let me go…

Patients noticed it as soon as she entered the room. Friends noticed it as soon as a smile broke out on her lips. Sasuke noticed it when her fist connected with his face as a welcome home present. Naruto noticed it when he found her crying after she passed and he didn't. Tsunade noticed it with every new lesson. Only one person seemed to be late to the party. It was not surprising at all. He was late to everything else.

Kakashi had always known that there was something different about Sakura. At first, it had appeared that she was only unique in her weakness. Sasuke and Naruto had both been sponges for the art of ninjutsu. While their skill increased everyday, Sakura only seemed to be walking backwards. Yeah, on some fluke she had all but danced easily up a tree, but everything else seemed to be a failure for her. She had even wore perfume on a mission. What serious ninja wore perfume? Ever?

Then, under the tutelage of the Hokage, the student he had never bothered to pay attention to became strong. She suddenly had skilled hands and powerful attacks. She could throw a kunai further than he could and in a fair fight she could fuck him six ways sideways to Sunday. Still, he decided that what was different about Sakura must not have been her weakness. It must have been her desired teaching method. Obviously he hadn't had it. The most she'd ever learned under his watchful eye was that she was naturally able to walk up and over just about anything. Maybe this was the most important lesson of all.

He had easily brushed off the guilt of being the one fool to overlook what turned out to be the most valuable gem on his team. With the callings of Icha Icha and increasingly difficult missions there was hardly time to dwell on the pretty pink head he was just tall enough to never see. The longer he ignored her the more she grew. The more she grew, the more she begged to be appreciated.

Like always, however, he found excuses to avoid her. He always had a reason for why he didn't show up for her birthday or why he missed out on her exams. No, he couldn't train with her today. Yes, he was busy. A clumsy ruffle of the hair is all that he allotted to her. And even that was rare.

Now, one mustn't hold this inattentiveness against Kakashi. He had never been particularly good at teaching nor deeply understanding of the female mind. The combination of the two left him lacking around her. His general apathy for all things regarding others only worsened the situation. Her great empathy only estranged him further. She was the opposite of him in every way. It would be like walking from self imposed darkness into a blazing light. It made him uncomfortable and strange and warm feeling. Kakashi was one that was used to his coldness.

So he ran from her like a man running from water. Not with haste, but marked distaste.

No one paid any mind. Not even her. She knew everyone else had noticed it, and that was enough. She wasn't prideful, she didn't desire his acknowledgment. Yet somehow, light always manages to seek out the dark. No matter her intentions or non-intentions it was inevitable that her actions and inactions would work together to drag his unwilling face to stare into her inferno eventually.

Eventually came suddenly. It was unexpected and unprovoked. It's not like she started doing anything new. It's not like she waltzed into his house one day and proclaimed that she had it and he was going to notice right at this moment. She didn't nearly die. He didn't have an epiphany.

One day Icha Icha could not distract him from the annoying buzz of the outside world. As many times as his eyes scanned the page there was no way for him to get lost in the words as he had the day before. There was a mood about him and he knew it wouldn't be going away soon. So he had tucked his book away into his pocket and re-evaluated the world around him. Most of the people passing him by were strangers that he had no connection to. The few he did recognize he didn't care to converse with. It wasn't until he heard a familiar giggle to the right of him that he even realized what had grated on his nerves enough to distract him from his novel.

Sakura sat in a tiny table just 20 feet from him. Her smile was wide and her posture was open. Dainty, deadly hands fiddled in her blushing hair. Light pink dusted across her cheeks and her green eyes lowered shyly. The boy across from her grinned guiltily and blushed heavily and gave off all the signals of a guy crashing hard. Kakashi was sure he'd never seen this boy before. This fact did not shake the sudden anger that lurched forward in his gut. Though it was unexplainable, he found himself walking quite rudely over to her table.

"Yo." At least he could pretend to be amiable. That didn't mean she had to. A look of obvious annoyance crossed her features and he knew he was not exactly welcome to interrupt her date.

"Yes, Kakashi?" She no longer called him sensei. As an ANBU ranked jonin, she was no where near his student. Not that she had ever really been. It was easier for her to drop the honorific than for Sasuke and Naruto.

"Just checking in on my student. I was walking by and happened to notice you."

She quirked a brow at him and he could almost hear the sarcastic comeback just from her look. It never came outright, but that didn't stop him from knowing it was there.

"Yes, I see that. I was kind of in the middle of a date, though." She said it kindly. "I don't mind you dropping in to visit, but perhaps at a more convenient time?" For some reason, her all too sweet dismissal of him left him feeling embarrassed. He had known that she wouldn't respond well to him traipsing into her date. And yet when he walked off, he tried to remember a time he had felt more snubbed. None were forthcoming.

That was essentially the turning point of his life. Many would have thought that there were several points before that where his life would have turned. And it could have. Often it did. This moment with Sakura was no less important, even if it was severely less dramatic.

That was when he lost the ability to shove her out of his mind. What he previously had been unable to concentrate on for years now became the center of his thoughts. Days of wondering aimlessly through the streets with his book perched perilously on his thin fingers were unsuccessful at dimming his new obsession. When had she started dating? Hadn't she been hung up over Sasuke for years? How long had she been in this obviously healthy and strong relationship? Why had no one felt the need to mention to him that Sakura had grown up? Most importantly, why in all blazes did he even care?

Flickers of memories of Sakura walking down the road chatting amicably with some strange boy lit his mind for only seconds before he snuffed out the possibility that he had known. Sure, she had been seen consorting around town with this vermin. That did not mean he was going to automatically make the connection that she had actively began her crusade for a partner. She was the student of one of the greatest ninja in Konoha, as well as a powerful and respected Sannin. She far outranked any men around here. Why she would bother to mess with this riffraff eluded him.

It hadn't taken long to sniff out the news on her chosen companion. He was a decent ninja of normal caliber, barely graduated to jonin standards a short while ago. While he could technically go on the missions that Sakura dared often, he seemed to choose not to. As a matter of fact, this particular burden appeared to be rather lazy in the field. The few times he had ventured out into the dangerous world of ninja the comrades that had traveled with him complained that he put no effort into doing his part, neither in the camp nor in the mission. His skills seemed mediocre at best and the overall image Kakashi got of him was that he was an all around safe guy. He would more than likely die of ripe old age, be a Mr. Mom, and practically bore his wife to death with his normalcy. How he had managed to snare a fiery girl like Sakura went far beyond Kakashi.

Curiosity pulled him towards her like opposing ends of the magnet. Where as before she was lucky to see his head poke into the Hokage's office to turn in a report, now she found lunch on her desk and an orange book greeting her in silent hello. He never said much, just watched her as she ate and worked. Occasionally he would ask an off the wall question and she would give an equally random answer and they would fall into a comfortable quiet again. It took her longer to notice his presence around her on the street. He wouldn't walk with her or near her. He wasn't there all the time, but he was often. She would turn to head towards a market and see silver hair looming over the collective face of the crowd. Never did he talk to her. Instead he would lazily walk uninterestedly past her and far off, ignoring her questioning glance every time. There was always just one or two too many coinciding shopping trips for it to be entirely coincidental.

What he got out of the following and watching and near stalking was appalling. She had nearly every available, and even occasionally an unavailable, man at her disposal. They all watched her walk, blushed at her smile, fumbled at her attentions. She didn't even know. She could have told every one of them to waltz right off a cliff and they would have at least tried to oblige. Her quirky charm and challenging innocence seemed to attract the opposite sex to her like moths to the flame. Try as he might there was no way he could hold it against her. It was an entirely unintentional, unsolicited effect that she had on people.

It took him even longer to notice that this thing that possessed Sakura and filled the males with butterfly stomachs and jelly legs also brought attention to her in a completely different way. Old couples smiled and invited her to dinner. Kunoichi asked her kindly to spar and gossip. Teachers would grin knowingly at her, as if they shared some kind of secret about life that others would never guess. Dogs, cats, birds. All of them seemed to gravitate towards the blossom colored girl. Every breathing being seemed to recognize her.

Had he been missing this for years? Had he been stuck behind somewhere, caught up in his thoughts and tragedies that he had missed the crazy spell she had spun over others?

His startling discovery left him feeling rather slow.

He wanted that it. That something that resided in her. He wanted to hold that warmth and that life in his hands and pull it up to his nose and just breath it in. She could ask him to waltz off any cliff and if she just promised that she'd impart some of that it to him he would easily fall. And yet, even as he watched her profound effect on others, he noticed that she never shared. Her selflessness was guarded with an almost toddler tempered cry. She would give you the world, but you'd never have her. The thought that this satisfied him also left him deeply disturbed.

Even the boyfriend that she entertained for the shortest of times seemed to reveal too early that he was unworthy. Though she held on until there was nothing left to cling to and then broke everything off with him in the kindest way possible, he never did become infected with her it. He wanted to, Kakashi could see that easily enough. Like him and every other person that met her, this boy had wanted to be privy to the essence that was Sakura. And she had refused.

It intrigued him. She had most definitely liked the boy. Laughter had come just so perfectly in time with every dull joke. Blushes had popped up at every opportune moment, at first. Until gradually her eyes had grown tired during their dates and her face had slackened distractedly. The poor fellow had never noticed these signs from her, but Kakashi had. And just shortly after that the relationship was over and Sakura was roaming the fray free again. Why?

During one of his lunch visits she had reached across their unspoken boundary to upset the image he had drawn of her. Something he had learned about the deadly petite girl on one of his many scouting adventures was that she never approached. She always waited for the other party to put their best foot forward. So her declaration that they should spar after she got off left him wordless. He hadn't been exceptionally talkative in the first place, but her demand of him knocked the thoughts right out of his head. It was more reflex than avoidance that had him smiling and refusing her offer as he walked out of the room with a half eaten box in front of him.

A couple of days later he saw her walking down the road and moved to walk passively by her when she gave him a long stare that had him unwillingly stopping in his tracks. Her arms were folded and her brow was creased and he could almost hear the thumping of his heart. She offered for him to go with her to the grocers and for the life of him he couldn't think of why he shouldn't. So he followed her. They didn't talk, but those fiery green eyes seemed to do all the talking for him. He had a feeling that if he asked her, she'd be able to tell him how he was doing, what he was thinking, and if he had remembered to water Mr. Ukki today. The feeling was entirely irrational, of course, but that didn't deter the nagging in his gut.

After they'd walked from the little store he had easily excused himself and sauntered away again. He had gone home confused and only slightly unnerved.

The next afternoon he did not bring her lunch.

The thought had occurred to him, and he had time, yet the feeling of those eyes drilling into him had him shiftily scuffling past and into the road before the main office. It was only a short while later that he'd regretted his decision. A growing unrest began in his abdomen and up to his heart until he was sure that he'd have to take her to dinner to ease it.

And he had, and she had laughed a real laugh and did not blush even once. Not even when he was sure lesser women would have puddled at his feet. She had bantered back and grinned and touched his hand. The fire it started was incredible for a few moments before it faded back to his usual cold. The second the thought came to hold her fingers in his just to bring back the sensation of being set aglow he had waved his hand for the check. Barely recognized surprise flashed across her face before she had lifted her lips in an impish smile. The waitress took a lifetime to bring the ticket as Sakura leaned forward and twirled her fingers absentmindedly in her hair. Once he had his amount he slapped the money on the table and fled. If his pink haired affliction felt offended, she did not show it the next day.

Instead her gaze had lingered on him curiously before returning to her paperwork and ignoring his trek back out the door of the office. He'd had a report due and Tsunade was hounding him bad enough to force him to brave his ex student. Those wondering glances had dragged across his face and landed harmlessly on his chest. It was almost enough to make him walk up to her and ask her to dinner again.

Almost.

But once again, he was a man running from water. Only this time, he actually knew there was such a glorious thing as a river flowing directly through his desert. Though he tried, he could not shake that knowledge from his head. Sakura was there, alive and irresistible and grown. The fear of it ran him all the way home and into the dark confines of his bed. He had planned to huddle here until he died of dehydration.

Sakura was nothing if not a medic, however, and she seemed to sense his trouble. A soft and careful knock had echoed through the emptiness of his home to wake him from his mindless doze. Once he had opened the door she had stood there with a grocery bag and an apron and had only mentioned vaguely that she had enough for two before he moved aside to invite her in.

Her cooking was horrendously endearing. It looked to be only a slightly lumpier and bubblier version of what she had attempted and he knew that it burned much too hotly going down for it to have been entirely edible. Yet the triumphant smirk that she awarded him when he choked out that it was delicious made near death decidedly worth it. She had patted his hand again and rubbed her thumb gently over his knuckles before sliding her fingers back. It had nearly stopped his heart and she sat there as innocently as if she had not done a thing. Resisting was futile. A stronger man than Kakashi would have fallen just as hard.

So when the moment came that she was leaving into the black night and she traced her fingers over his arm carelessly he found himself returning the touch. Courage allowed his own light caress to grace the side of her cheek and slide down to rest at the crook of her neck. He was shocked to see her eyes close demurely and her lips part in a soft sigh. The reaction it caused was nothing if not obvious and he lost his nerve and ran once more. He was already tucked safely under his covers by the time she had stepped out dazedly to the world and all the way home.

The event emboldened her. For days he found that he could no longer walk by her without her inviting him to join. He was having a difficult time coming up with denials. It was her who sought him out for lunch now, bringing him his favorite foods that he was sure he had never revealed to her. She insisted on conversation, chasing away his silence with the ease only a young woman could possess. An ever growing fuzziness in his chest panicked him. Only his mutinous feet kept him rooted to her presence despite his loudly protesting mind. They were in a great battle of wills and he knew he was losing terribly.

She invited herself over for supper once more, only a week after her first invasion of his home. Make up emphasized the glow of her cheeks, pout of her lip, tilt of her brow perfectly. The occasion seemed to warrant special attention tonight as she sauntered in with a sway in her hips that was highlighted by the baby doll dress she wore. Hungry contrasted eyes stared at every inch of her in a poorly concealed attempt to memorize every soft curve. A light tug of her shining lip upwards seemed to whisper mission accomplished across his skin.

"You look famished Kakashi. You really should eat more." Manicured nail poked him playfully in the stomach before she got out his pots and pans and began cooking something only a tiny bit too complicated for her.

Defeated, the orange book popped out once more to block his face as he watched her work in his mess of a kitchen. She tasted everything and seemed to find it satisfactory. Envy lit his own thoughts as he watched her lick the spoon and put it down idly. Though he knew it was pathetic, he couldn't stop the jealousy he felt towards his barely used utensils. All too soon his show was over and a plate full of vegetables and chicken appeared in front of him.

He nibbled on it as he tried to ignore her. Her green gaze never left his face, scrutinizing him just enough to make him uncomfortable. No stolen contact jolted his senses awake. It was a deceptively normal meal. Once they were done eating, he got up to walk her to his door and was met with a shy grin and a thin package being pushed into his palms. She had brought along movie.

The experience was distinctively unique to anything else he had ever known. There was no denying that Kakashi was a well rounded man. He had killed, saved, and sexed women on numerous occasions, but he had never taken the time out to sit with one on his lumpy living room couch and do something as mundane as watch a movie.

It was an interesting film about a boisterous red headed girl that turned into a boy and had numerous fiancés. A dark haired, daringly violent woman seemed to be the only one he truly cared for, and all throughout he picked and nagged and teased at her until he finally all but confessed his love in a dramatic ending. There was plenty of smashing and crashing and beautiful women to keep Kakashi thoroughly entertained and Sakura was glued to the screen, so overall it had been a successful endeavor on her part.

The end of the movie marked some kind of limit and Sakura excused herself out the door. Her presence was missed and he found himself laying for at least an hour on his couch in lazy contentment at the way his pillow smelled very slightly of her. The enjoyment left him feeling dirtier and older than he had ever before. That night his dreams were restlessly filled with the laughter of a pink and green siren as she dragged him around in a deadly dance to the bottom of the sea before he woke with a gasp and desperate need for something to drink. And yet, his water was no where to be found. A shame too, the night was really too hot to go without hydration.

The next day he noticed that she had left behind her movie. His eyes narrowed in suspicion but he knew better than to jump to hasty conclusions. Sprite she may be, but devil she wasn't. She could have innocently left the movie over here in her hurry to leave last night. Forgetfulness was unlike her. Yet, Kakashi had the distinct feeling last night that she had been distracted.

So when she showed up before he had even walked out the door to get his morning mail, he tried to think nothing of it. Even more so, he tried very hard to think nothing of the nervous way she bit her lip and rung her hands as she blushed prettily down at the ground. Nothing seemed lost today, unfortunately, and he was left thinking very many somethings that he was abruptly sure he should not have been thinking. A timid voice simply asked for her video and then retreated back to her office as though nothing more had been planned.

But Sakura was infectious, like a disease. He could not get the image of her nibbling embarrassedly on her bottom lip to leave him alone. Was it healthy, to string along your day in desperate attempts to steal a glance at the object of your obsession? Kakashi wasn't sure, but it didn't feel healthy. In fact, the longer the day went on, the more he thought about her, and the more he became unbearably thirsty. Previously frantically distancing feet seemed to decide on their own accord that they could handle the dry heat no more. Kakashi needed to be around her, just for a small while, before he collapsed from his thirst.

"Kakashi, it's not lunch time. What are you doing here?" Her voice was deceptively naïve, as though she had absolutely no idea that she'd been driving him mad for weeks now.

Well, he was having none of it. She was a tall, cool glass full of it and he was going to make sure she knew that he had finally noticed. The all too genuine look of surprise when he rounded her desk and stood before her hardly registered to his trained mind. This was not some romantic attempt to woo her to his side. This was a terribly, terribly thirsty man who had been ignoring the river in his desert for far too long. He clasped her face in his fingers and pulled her none too gently from her chair. Dark blue fabric already pooled around his neck. The briefest of hesitation flitted across his mind before her own hands reached up and curled into his silver hair and dashed away his control.

The kiss was brutal. More than something beautiful and sweet, it spoke of a man that had been tottering on the edge before he had been unmercifully shoved over the side and into his denial. Kakashi had discovered that Sakura had it, and that he very desperately had to have it, and much to his disbelief she was willing to share with him. It was long before Kakashi's thirst was slated and from that point forward he was never the same.

He found he didn't really want to be.