So sorry for the long wait. I had to move yet again, so I have been dead. This is a short chapter but the lemon is next... Enjoy more (and longer) chapters to come. Thank you all so much for the reviews, they really give me the motivation to actually finish this thing haha.

Sakura looked intently into Kakashi's visible eye. It was strange; she should be embarrassed, shouldn't she? She had just asked her most respected teacher to take her virginity. But she wasn't embarrassed, at least not that Kakashi could tell. There was not a hint of self-consciousness evident on her face as she stared into his eye waiting for an answer. She looked positively calm, and if they hadn't just bonded over mutual pain, it would have been disconcerting.

Kakashi wished he could look startled, and say that it was inappropriate for her to play a prank on her poor old sensei, but her perfect seriousness prohibited that sort of response. She was a ninja and a friend asking him solemnly for a favor, and he should respect her and respond in accord.

He turned so he was looking straight ahead, away from her, and paused for a few moments.

"Sakura, I don't think that that's a good idea."

His voice was at its gentlest, measured and slow, but sure. He knew how sensitive this issue was, and he didn't want to hurt or embarrass Sakura any more than he had to, but he simply could not say yes to her request.

They were silent for a moment, and then another. Kakashi didn't speak, and just let her digest what she had heard.

"Sensei," she broke the silence, speaking into the damp night air, both of them facing the old training grounds, "do you remember a time on a mission, I asked you a question."

Kakashi angled his head to look at her but said nothing.

"I asked if you would always be my sensei."

She paused still looking straight ahead, neither speaking for a moment.

"You said you would always protect me, Naruto, and Sasuke."

Kakashi's eyes widened slightly.

"Sakura, this doesn't seem like the same-"

"You said you would always protect me and you would always be my sensei."

If the circumstances had been different, Kakashi would have been secretly gratified that Sakura cherished that memory as much as he did, but now he was just apprehensive.

"Sakura," he tried the gentle teacher tactic again, even though he was becoming uncomfortable, "that isn't what I mea-"

"Sensei," she cut him off again, "my nindo is to protect the ones I love at all costs. I cannot do that unless I fulfill this mission." Her voice was quiet but strong. "If you can't protect me, then protect my nindo. Let me save Sasuke and protect Naruto," she turned towards him, again staring into his lone eye, an expression more earnest than Kakashi had ever seen on her face, "please."

The last thought that flashed through Kakashi's mind before he took hold of Sakura's wrist and teleported her into his bedroom was that this was only a mission, and he would still be her sensei when it was over.

Wouldn't he?