So welcome to my new story, and the first KakaSaku I've ever posted! (le gasp). It's been a long time coming, friends, because I've read just about ever other KakaSaku fic on this site. So here's something a little new and different. It's written post-canon, and maybe a little AU depending on where the manga is nowadays. I've done a poor job keeping up... **bad Shekiah**. Anyway, enjoy this ficlet. I anticipate it to be around ten parts - we shall see. I don't own Naruto! ;)
Hatake Kakashi stood silently in the background as the garden party buzzed around him. Elegantly dressed girls shot past every once and awhile, trying not to trip over the silky folds of their kimonos as they raced to embrace the one girl in a white dress: the lady of the hour, Haruno Sakura. Or, as she had just become, Uchiha Sakura.
The whole situation was highly unexpected – on a number of different levels. Like most of the other residents on the village, Kakashi had eventually given up on getting Sasuke back after more than five years missing in action to avenge his clan. But, of course, if anyone could have made the unimaginable happen, it was Naruto. Kakashi hadn't been there when their showdown took place, but from all the stories he had heard, it had been just as dramatic as he might have expected. His two former students had returned to town together in the middle of the night one night, both half-alive, to rejoin their childhood comrades.
The real change had come after Sasuke had been back a few weeks. Once he had recovered from all his battle wounds and stood trial for treason (of which he had been acquitted, much to the chagrin of several village elders) he had taken to restoring his clan's compound. Tirelessly, from sun up to sundown, he scrubbed off the dust and grime of almost a decade of abandonment and patched holes in the walls. Furniture was delivered in a steady stream. The town buzzed with what all of his activity must mean. He was going to try to revive his clan after all. The Uchiha clan could very well return to power. But… who would be his bride?
Naturally, there were plenty of young women vying for the position. Sasuke still had his youth and his looks, and there was also the allure of his wealth. All of the girls from his academy class who had been so smitten with him suddenly reappeared on the scene, all too willing to bring him hot meals and offer to do his laundry.
The ultimate shock was when Sasuke overlooked all of these would-be suitors and got down on one knee in the village square and asked Haruno Sakura to be his bride – and she said yes.
Kakashi had been stunned to hear the news – perhaps even more than most. Like all the others, he had warily forgiven Sasuke his betrayl, but the idea of him taking one of Konoha's best and brightest for his wife seemed a bit extreme. Sakura was one of the most eligible young ladies in Konoha. Certainly, she had spent most of her adolescence lost in a love for Sasuke that had certainly appeared unrequited, but was he truly her best choice? She could have had practically any man in Konoha… any loyal shinobi.
Either way, the engagement was a whirlwind, stirring up all kinds of gossip in cafés and ramen shops. Several of Konoha's other single citizens were put-off by the opportunities they felt themselves to have missed, but mostly everyone was thrilled by the idea of two of the most skilled – and best-looking – young shinobi in the village getting married.
When the day finally came, all of Konoha showed up for the event laden down with gifts and well-wishes for the couple. From the outside looking it, it looked like a perfect match – not even Kakashi could deny that much. It could have been something out of a fairytale. The bride and groom were absolutely comparable in age and skill, and would no doubt have lovely children to top it off.
But the thought gave Kakashi a strange feeling of pain and regret; there was no denying that, either.
Sakura seemed too young to give her life away to someone. She was only eighteen, after all. Kakashi supposed he could have been considered biased because he was in his thirties and still hadn't settled down, but he thought that was a little bit different. He was kind of a special case, at least the way he saw it. Someone could also argue that he was being judgmental of the wedding because he still considered Sakura a child, but that was definitely not the case.
The way his chest tightened and his breathing became shallower and more difficult in her presence attested to the fact that he considered her a woman. And a beautiful woman at that.
Maybe it wasn't her age after all. Maybe it was just the union with Sasuke that Kakashi found disagreeable. Certainly the young man was high born and an excellent ninja, but he had always undeniably been the darkest of Kakashi's three genin. There was an aura of menace there. Something about Sasuke implied that he would always have a secret agenda, no matter what he was doing. And no amount of oaths of loyalty could undo five years of treachery – at least in Kakashi's mind.
Sakura's innocent smile was a stark contrast to her new husband's brooding presence, and not necessarily in a good way. How could these two possibly want the same things from a marriage, or even from life?
These were the kinds of thoughts that wandered through the jounin's head as he watched the party of the century unfold before his eyes. He felt oddly detatched, not unlike the time Zabuza had trapped him in a prison of water. Dangerous, potentially catastrophic events were taking place, but Kakashi was powerless to step out and do something about it.
Or maybe he was just overreacting.
"Don't be a wallflower, Kakashi-sensei!" a voice exclaimed, stirring him from his thoughts. Naruto ran up, holding a place overladen with hors d'oeuvres. "This is a great party!"
"I'm not really in a party mood," Kakashi said absently. "Maybe I'll join in later."
"But people are just starting to dance!"
"Then why don't you go bother Hinata?" Kakashi suggested, trying to sound as innocent as possible. "She looks like she needs a partner."
Naruto's face reddened.
"I doubt she'd say yes. And besides, I don't know any good couples dances."
"You don't know what she'll say until you ask. And besides, she may know a dance or two – I've heard the Hyuuga are quite graceful. Let her lead. But don't worry about me. I'm really not too much of a party-person anyway."
Naruto shrugged – but Kakashi could tell his distraction had worked. The young man was already gazing wistfully in Hinata's direction.
"I guess I'll go ask her… thanks, Kakashi-sensei."
Kakashi gave Naruto one of his classic two-finger salutes and watched as the blonde boy disappeared into the crowd again.
Kakashi looked around at all the other guests. It was funny; even after all the years that had passed, the jounin still grouped together in to the teams from their genin days. Ino and Chouji stood together, reading over what people had written in the guest book, while Shikamaru and Temari looked on. Lee was serving some punch to Tenten. Apparently Neji had already walked off – probably to scowl at Naruto, who was already busy stepping on his cousin's feet.
"They grow up fast, don't they?" an older voice asked, approaching from behind Kakashi. Suppressing a sigh, Kakashi nodded.
"They do, Lady Tsunade," he agreed. "They certainly do."
"It's always nice to see two genin from the same team tie the knot," the fifth hokage said. "They've already seen every aspect of one another's personalities, so no unpleasant surprises there. Not to mention, those two always fought so well together…"
"Well, undertaking missions and maintaining a marriage are quite a bit different," Kakashi retorted, surprising himself by speaking his thoughts so brazenly. "But we'll see."
"Indeed we will," Tsunade agreed, raising an eyebrow. "Indeed we will."
The famed medic nin walked off, realizing just as Naruto had that conversing with Kakashi was borderline impossible. But that was nothing new, really. He was always off in his own world for one reason or another.
By the time his third visitor arrived, Kakashi was quite tired of trying to hide his chagrin for the benefit of others. He had a sharp retort all ready to go, but he had to bite his lip when he locked eyes with the girl who had tugged on his shirt.
It was the bride.
Momentarily flustered, Kakashi settled for voicing the first thing that came to mind.
"You look lovely, Sakura," he said, glad his mask was there to hide the fact that he was not smiling. He was actually biting his lip. "Uchiha Sasuke is a lucky man."
"Thank you, Kakashi-sensei," Sakura replied, giving him a genuine smile. "This is truly the happiest day of my life."
Kakashi didn't wince, despite his inclinations.
"I know… I know you've waited for this for a long time," he said. "But in an odd way, it feels like just yesterday that you were just beginning as a genin, making eyes at Sasuke when he wasn't looking."
"We did have some crazy times, didn't we?" Sakura asked, laughing. "Team seven will always have a place in my heart."
"It will in mine was well…" Kakashi said, his voice trailing off. It was then that he came back with one of the most blunt and honest statements he had ever made. "I'll miss you, Sakura."
His companion paused.
"I'm not going anywhere," she said finally, laughing a little. "The Uchiha compound is just on the other side of Konoha. I'm sure we'll see each other all the time."
Kakashi shrugged a little bit, nodding.
"True. Well, just don't be a stranger."
The conversation came to an end soon after that. Sakura could only steal so much time away from her enthusiastic and attentive guests, and fairly soon a mob came to bear her away for the tossing of her bouquet. Kakashi was left to stand against the wall as he had before they spoke, but with a little bit heavier of a heart.