A/N: Dedicated to my muse, the talented and inspiring neonanything! And special thanks for my endlessly supportive beta, SomebodyLost, who has the patience of the buddha (no lie).

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Tick, tock. Tick, tock.

A deep rumble of thunder sounded overhead, and Kakashi almost dropped his newspaper. The noise startled him, jarring as it was in the thick silence of his too-small apartment, but the paper's date startled him more.

How could he have forgotten it was already Thursday?

The realization made him want to leap to his feet and hightail it out of there, but there was no place to go. Nowhere to hide in his own home. He loved his sparsely furnished, one-bedroom place dearly. The peeling wallpaper, the utilitarian furniture, the abstract art on the walls obviously chosen by someone with more taste than himself (Sai); it all reflected something about him, for better or for worse. But once a week for the past half a year, his private sanctuary became something of a personal hell. Like clockwork, every Thursday.

Tick, tock. Tick, tock.

Kakashi reached for his mug of coffee on the table next to his armchair, foot tapping out an anxious rhythm in time with the clock. He knew he'd developed an unhealthy dependency — no normal person drank caffeine at 2:52 in the morning. However, considering it was only his sixth cup today, he was doing pretty well. He usually drank one when he woke up, one after lunch, one before and after dinner, one around midnight, and two or three before "bedtime." The goal, naturally, was to put off bedtime entirely, and if Kakashi could pick one superpower it would be the ability to go without sleep for the rest of his life. Sadly, he did end up snoozing each night in spite of his efforts, but he tried to restrict it to as little time as possible.

None of the former members of Team Seven slept much anymore.

Kakashi lifted the chipped yellow mug to his lips, pretending not to notice the way the surface of the black liquid trembled imperceptibly. Maybe it was fear, or anticipation...or worse, excitement.

He really didn't want to examine that possibility too closely.

The sudden sound of rain hammering the roof told Kakashi the storm finally broke. He ran to the kitchen to grab a plastic bowl from its usual place in the cupboard under the sink. Carrying it back to the living room, he wedged it into the gap between the couch and the wall to catch the water dripping from the ceiling. It must really be a monsoon out there to have opened up that leak again. The landlady had just fixed it last week.

As if in answer to his thoughts, a sudden boom of thunder rattled the room. Kakashi's shoulders relaxed incrementally. No sane, stable person would be out and about in weather like this. Maybe, just this week, he'd get a reprieve.


Kakashi returned to his chair just as the clock on the wall (a gag gift Naruto bought long ago to harass him about his habitual lateness, complete with a spring-loaded tortoise in place of a canary) chimed three in the morning. He sat and sipped his coffee in silence for another minute or two before picking up his newspaper again, reassured he was still alone. She was never late; she wasn't coming after all. He thumbed back to the article he'd been reading about the new Icha Icha: The B(r)e(a)st Of compilation to be released in honor of the series' 6th anniversary. If only Jiraiya was still alive to see this, the paper's singing praises would've brought tears to his eyes. Kakashi sank back into the springy cushions of his chair, finally forgetting his troubles for the moment.

And then came the knock on the door.

He froze, dread pooling in his belly at the sound. Surely it was some poor unfortunate chuunin, sent out in the middle of the night to deliver a scroll related to some top secret ANBU mission. Or maybe it was merely an emergency summons from the Hokage. Maybe all of Fire Country was out of sake, and Kakashi was the only ninja brave and capable enough to cross the border and fetch Tsunade her favorite brand —

The pounding of a fist on wood resounded again like a punch to the gut, making Kakashi wince. Strangers never knocked, at least not at first. But she was one of the few who knew his doorbell had been broken for years, so she never bothered ringing it. With a sinking sensation, Kakashi reluctantly climbed to his feet and cracked open the door.

Light flooded out to illuminate a soggy pink mass on his doorstep. She was bundled up in layers of clothing, but it didn't seem to have done her much good. She looked like she'd gone for a pleasant swim underneath 100 tons of raging waterfall. Green eyes blinked at him from the shivering, half-drowned frame.

Kakashi knew what she wanted better than anyone. He knew without asking what she was there for, because it had been the same thing every time. Ever since the tragedy that changed all their lives forever.

"You're crazy," he said, but it was more of an observation than an accusation. She merely blinked at him and shuddered again.

"This is sick," he continued, averting his eyes from hers. She stood still, waiting. Expectant. Kakashi dragged his hand through his coarse gray hair.

"We can't keep doing this," he bit out finally. But her watchful eyes were silent. The rain cascaded in the background, and green orbs pierced him like lasers. Once again, like clockwork, his willpower crumbled. He stepped back and opened the door wider. She brushed past him without a word, boots saturating the carpet and leaving a soggy trail in her wake.

She entered his apartment the same way she always did. For the past six months, Haruno Sakura had showed up on his doorstep every Thursday at exactly three in the morning, sometimes embarrassingly drunk, sometimes painfully sober. She made her way across the living room without bothering to even take off her shoes, as usual.

But Kakashi wasn't having that tonight. He disappeared down the short hall (you could barely call it a hall really, it was more like an extra step or two) to the bedroom, where he proceeded to rummage through his drawers for the smallest pair of workout pants and sweatshirt he could find. Settling on some stained specimens from years ago that had probably shrunk in the wash, he grabbed a clean towel off the rack in the adjacent bathroom before making his way back to the living room.

Predictably, his former student was sitting on his worn leather couch, the one he'd owned since before she was born. She always took the couch, while Kakashi sat in the squishy armchair that Naruto gave him after accidentally breaking his old one in a rather bewildering jutsu experiment.

They never sat in the bedroom.

Kakashi tossed the towel to her. It landed comically half on her head, mussing the damp strands of pink and making her blink up at him owlishly. He might have laughed if the situation wasn't so pathetic. Mechanically, she began to dry herself off, starting with her face and working her way slowly down her neck and shoulders. Careful and methodical, like a surgeon trying to stitch up a tricky wound in a patient. Like one wrong move and it would all be over.

Kakashi interrupted the painful display by shoving his old clothes under her nose. "Change, please. You're freezing."

There was an awkward moment of uncertainty where he wasn't quite sure if she was going to listen to him, ignore him, or do something completely uncalled for, like strip right there in his living room. Fortunately, the moment passed, and Sakura accepted the bundle from him and plodded off down the not-hall to his bathroom. The door closed with a click.

Kakashi wandered into the kitchen and put another pot of coffee on. He wouldn't be sleeping tonight after all.

He was sitting in the armchair, pretending to read the newspaper again as she reappeared, dwarfed even by his smallest clothes. The sweatshirt hung to her knees in a way that would have been almost cute...if she hadn't been so sad.


Kakashi pinched the bridge of his nose and resisted the urge to sigh. He gestured unnecessarily to the sofa, and she seated herself once more.


Tick, tock. Tick, tock.

The clock was the only sound in the apartment, aside from the steady drip of the leak into the plastic bowl, and the thrum of rain pelting the roof.

"We can't keep doing this." He'd already said it, and he didn't know why he bothered repeating himself, or even trying to talk sense into her at all. Maybe it was because he hadn't resisted in so long, and it felt cheap to give up so easily once he started.

Of course, he was still a huge hypocrite and they both knew it. He was equally as guilty for allowing this situation to arise in the first place, if not more so. He was supposed to be her teacher, leader, figure of authority — but Kakashi was no wise man.

Hatake Kakashi was so very guilty.

She gazed at him with imploring eyes, and he felt himself weaken before she even opened her lips to finally speak. Her voice was stilted and fragile, hoarse as though with disuse.

"Please, sensei. Please."

He cracked.

The need was there, too real, and the power to fulfill it lay with him. He pulled his hitae-ate up above his eye to give her what she came for, though at the end of the day it never actually helped either of them.

His Sharingan focused on her face, and he croaked out his usual warning, so well-rehearsed after all this time he could deliver the line in his sleep:

"Here it comes."

She froze, stiffening, wide eyes trapped in his genjutsu. Through his concentration, he observed the slight heaving of her chest, her shallow breaths echoing in his ears. They came faster and faster, in short pants, and Kakashi watched her body struggle to swallow against her dry throat. Her unseeing eyes glazed over, lids heavy, lips parted unconsciously in a soft 'o.' Hectic pink colored her high cheekbones, and her toes furled and unfurled against the carpet, fingertips digging into the leather of the couch.

A groan escaped her lungs, and Kakashi focused harder. Her hands began to quiver, body rocking slightly as the mewling started. A chorus of sighs and squeaks and little needy sounds, interspersed with the occasional moan. Kakashi tried not listen, he really did, but he never quite tried hard enough and the sounds penetrated his thoughts and sank into his consciousness, echoing in his own body. Her music tightened the heat in his groin in spite of the shame in his gut and Kakashi couldn't help his own imagination.

She sagged against the couch cushions, legs shaking, body twisting and writhing in a way that made his heart hammer and palms sweat. Her back arched and her face screwed up and she sounded like an animal when she opened her mouth and howled

Kakashi made her come with the Sharingan again and again and again. Ruthless. She cried and shook and screamed as he forced wave upon wave of pleasure onto her, into her, pushing her to the breaking point. Sakura orgasmed until she simply couldn't anymore, until her body was so numbed with exhaustion she could no longer move a muscle. Until she was reduced to a sweaty, tear-stained, boneless lump of girl. Blank, reduced to nothing.

Kakashi sat in the armchair, still as a statue, erection straining against too-tight pants, hands trapped firmly between his ass and the cushion.

She had never asked him to touch her, and he had never offered.

She didn't want him. She just wanted to forget. Kakashi understood.

Tick, tock. Tick, tock.

He waited in the suffocating stillness of the apartment until he was sure he could control himself before straightening her unconscious form on the sofa and tossing the duvet over her. Then he took a cold shower, made himself a cup of coffee, and went to bed.

He didn't sleep, but by the time he emerged from his room the next morning, she was gone. Like every Friday morning.

Ever since Sasuke died.

- fin -

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A/N: I originally thought I was going to write more for this fic, to explain how this situation came about, but I changed my mind. I don't think there's anything I could say that would be as good as letting you all use your imaginations, and a little mystery never hurt anyone, right? As of now, I declare this a completed oneshot...unless I decide to come back to it someday. We'll see?

Thanks for reading, REVIEWS ARE LOVE!