A/N: This is a story that you, my lovely readers, chose for me to publish next after ending Mistake! I thank you for taking your time to answer my poll and the next highest rank will have its chance to be published eventually as well. I hope you enjoy what I have in store for you! The sequel of Mistake is coming out soon as well! I don't know how soon, but stay tuned! (Oh, that rhymed a little!)
Summary: It was all unintentional; The smiles, the laughs, the moments they shared. They weren't supposed to mean anything, but they did. She wasn't supposed to fall for her former sensei, but she did. And for that, she was a fool.
Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto, Masashi Kishimoto does!
Chapter One: Confrontation
Sakura Haruno, at the ripe age of twenty, was finally a fully grown adult, capable of handling situations on her own. She was at last allowed to take missions without being accompanied by another ninja, with the exception of S-ranked missions. Tsunade had been protective over her for the past few years, treating her as if she was her own daughter. The concern was understandable, but it felt great to finally have a little freedom.
She no longer had to be kept an eye on. Her comrades never used to watch her like a hawk as they used to. In addition, Sakura was able to move out of her parents' house and into her own apartment complex. With the incomes from working full shifts at the hospital, it was not difficult paying the monthly rent. Luckily, she had found a home farther away from Naruto's complex, located toward the eastern side of the Hidden Leaf Village. It was far beyond irritating having to run into him occasionally on the streets, especially when it was one of those days where he was in the mood to grab a quick bite of ramen.
Although, Sakura still trained with the boy from time to time. Team Seven would reunite every week on a Monday to train together. Surprisingly, the squad was still tightly intact, not that she wasn't fond of that fact. It was nice to have some bonding time with her past teammates. Naruto would often be absent, however. Tsunade recently nominated Naruto as her successor and was teaching him the tricks of being a good Hokage, so he rarely showed up to spar.
On the other hand, Sai, Yamato, and Kakashi would always be present (Kakashi of course being the very last one to show up). They sparred for approximately an hour, or would sometimes spend that time period idly lounging around and exchanging a few small conversations.
Everything was sweet and normal, or at least, almost.
Sakura supposed it was only one of those phases that growing adults went through. Whenever she was around Kakashi, her knees would turn into jello and her stomach would churn uncomfortably. If he gave her a masked smile, her insides would melt. If he touched her in some way, brushing past her or trying to give her a comforting pat on the shoulder, her face would grow redder than a tomato. These were certainly symptoms of a crush, or maybe even something more, but she didn't even dare to consider those ideas.
This was just a phase, she would tell herself, this was all only a phase.
"Sakura, watch out!"
Before she could even heed the warning she received, Sakura took a full blown kick to the stomach. The kunoichi found herself flying across the training field, her body rolling in frantic motions as she landed on the ground. Holding a hand to her forehead, she propped herself up with her arm, blinking furiously to clear her blurred vision.
"You need to have constant focus, Sakura."
Lifting her head, she saw that Kakashi was towering over her, his sole eye burning a hole right through her. She realized that she had been lacking concentration at the task at hand and her cheeks flushed red with embarrassment. The Copy Ninja extended his gloved hand and she grasped onto it. He pulled her up with quick ease and she tried to avoid his glare as she dusted off the collected grime on her shorts. Sai and Yamato, their sparring partners, approached them shortly after.
With a raised brow, Sai questioned, "Did I kick you too hard, Ugly?"
"No, I'm fine," reassured the pinkette, holding herself back from lashing out at Sai for calling her such an insolent nickname. "Just a bit clumsy, is all."
"Don't forget your lack of focus," added Kakashi, lifting his index finger and waggling it from side to side, as a parent would do to their child when they committed a wrong doing.
She shot him a deathly glare and folded her arms in front of her chest. Yamato sighed drastically, knowing that teasing her was not the correct way to approach the predicament.
Kakashi seemed to have reached the message and wearily scratched the back of his head. "So, are you alright, Sakura?"
"I don't know," she lied dryly. "I guess I'm just tired from overworking at the hospital."
"You're not ill, are you?"
Kakashi's hand began to reach over to feel her temperature, but she swatted it away, her nose scrunching.
"Like I said before, I'm perfectly fine."
"Are you sure?" asked Yamato, worriedly.
"I am absolutely sure that I'm fine," she grumbled, rolling her eyes. "Anyways, I have to get going. I have a boatload of paperwork to finish tonight and I can't afford to waste any more time."
"Would you want me to accompany you?" offered the silver-haired jonin, shrugging lazily as he gave her a one-eyed stare.
Chewing the inside of her cheek, she shook her head. As much as she wanted him to tag along, she simply just could not allow it.
"No thanks. I'll be okay, I can manage."
Sakura took off before her comrades could pursue her any further, her swift steps taking her to the exit of the training facility. She heard Yamato call out a quick goodbye in the distance, the confusion evident behind his tone, but she paid no attention to it. All she wanted was to get away from them, and to get away from him.
The feelings had been becoming stronger, more overpowering and overwhelming. It was too much for her too handle and she was positive that she would soon burst, releasing all that was within her. Locking her emotions deep inside of her was the most hardest thing that she had ever done. It was frustrating, indeed.
She hated the fact that she adored Kakashi. She didn't even want to think about the possibility of her being attracted to him. It was horribly, terribly wrong. That kind of a relationship would be looked down upon by the entire village. It broke all morals and taboos. It was the unthinkable! Yet, despite these facts, her heart still was set aflutter with each and every glance he gave her, whether it was short or long.
Grunting, Sakura continued to push her way through the crowded streets of Konoha, making her way to her apartment building. Every second felt like a painstaking eternity. After a good, long ten minutes, she entered the apartment building and couldn't help but to release a deep sigh of relief. The stairs, however, felt like an unending, spiraling path of hell. Once she made it to the top, her legs were already worn out and she could barely move her limbs.
Perhaps Sai had given her a rough kick after all.
Her feet dragged against the wooden flooring as she trudged toward her complex, her pace slowing. All of a sudden, before she could make a turn at the corner, an obnoxiously loud address of her name brought her spinning around to confront a blond-headed female.
"Ino, what a suprise," muttered Sakura, placing her hand against the wall to hold herself steady. "Why are you here anyways?"
"What's with the grumpy attitude?" teased Ino, smiling wickedly. "Seriously, can't someone take some time out of their schedule to talk to their best friend! What, are you on your period again?"
"No, and I am certainly most not grumpy!" snapped Sakura. "I guess I'm fatigued from today's training."
"I can see that, Forehead. You look like you just got out of a dumpster."
Feeling her cheeks grow hot, the pinkette began to comb out her locks. Was her appearance really that bad?
"I'm just kidding!" laughed Ino, patting her on the shoulder. "Gee, can't you take a joke?"
"Sorry," murmured Sakura, tucking an errant strand of her hair behind her ear. "I am extremely exhausted. I can't focus on anything right now."
Now, she was not being completely deceit with Inoichi's daughter. She was in fact tired and only wanted to lie down on her bed and pull herself underneath the sheets. That was only a portion of her problem, nevertheless, and was still frustrated from trying to hold in all of her personal emotions.
"What's the matter, Forehead?" began the blonde, her expression growing serious.
Sakura looked elsewhere. "It's nothing, Pig."
"Oh, it is definitely something!" exclaimed Ino. "Come on, tell me! You can trust me!"
A pair of beryl eyes rolled out of annoyance. Ino could not be trusted at all. There would be some occasions where she did actually keep a secret, but after a while it always managed to slip off the tip of her tongue. The following events would always be chaotic. The entire village would grow aware of the secret and people would start to talk in hushed whispers among the large crowds. The stories would change somehow, the changes always either being little or dramatically large. Ino was perhaps the most well-known person to blab about, spreading gossip about the tiniest things.
"Don't you have somewhere to be, Ino?" hissed Sakura, pressing the palm of her hand against her forehead.
"Oh, that's right!" she recalled, holding a finger to her chin. "I'll catch you later, Sakura! Don't think I've let you off the hook though. I'll choke the answer out of you eventually!"
Ino scurried from the hallway quickly. Once Sakura was certain that she was alone again, she released a deep sigh of relief. She would just have to avoid the Yamanaka for the next few weeks until her concern was forgotten. Who knew what could have happened if that girl managed to find out about her love interest? Havoc would surely be resulted.
Eyebrows furrowing, she rubbed her temples as she resumed her short tread home. The first thing to be done after arriving at her complex would to take a long, hot bubble bath. She would then organize and sign her paperwork, cook herself a nice dinner, and plop onto her soft bed to catch up on her sleep. Hopefully by that time she would forget all of the conflicting thoughts wafting within her mind.
She groaned inwardly, hanging her head. "It is only a phase," she reminded herself, distastefully. "It is just a phase. Nothing more. I most certainly do not have a crush on Kaka…"
Stopping in her footsteps, Sakura stared wide-eyed at the silver-haired jonin leaning against the door that led to her complex, his fathomless gaze glued onto her. "K-Kakashi-sensei," she swallowed nervously.
Her mind abruptly began to reel with worrying thoughts and questions. Had he heard what she said? If so, what was going to be his reaction? She wanted to shake her head furiously and tear down a wall. There were no words that could describe how embarrassed and frustrated she felt. It was a hurricane of panicked emotions, one that was unstoppable.
Finally, just when she thought she couldn't take it anymore, he spoke.
"Yo." Kakashi rose a hand in the air.
"I thought I'd come by and check on you since you were a bit jumpy earlier," he continued, taking a step closer. "How are you feeling?"
Had he not heard her after all?
A part of her wanted to ask him if he had, but she refrained herself from doing so.
"I'm okay, sensei," she answered silently, reaching into her pocket to retrieve her keys. "You really didn't have to come all this way to check on me."
"I didn't have to, indeed. To be honest, I was contemplating whether I should see you or not. I knew you'd be stubborn about it."
Rolling her eyes, she moved past him and started to unlock her door . "Gee. Thanks, Kakashi-sensei," she said blatantly.
The door opened and she stepped into her complex, Kakashi following soon after. Sakura attempted to ignore him for the first few minutes, hoping that he would receive the signal that it was time for him to take his leave. Unfortunately, he showed no signs of considering a departure and continued to stand close by her, his glare burning a hole in the back of her head.
"You weren't invited inside," Sakura finally noted, preparing herself a glass of water.
The jonin appeared at her side and he rested his crossed arms on the counter top. "But I do recall you entering your complex and leaving the door open for me. I do think it is a form of an invitation, don't you agree?"
Sakura exhaled harshly. "Why do you keep bugging me, Kakashi-sensei? I told you, I'm already fine. Nothing is wrong so why are you still here?"
A hand firmly grasped onto her wrist. The pink-haired kunoichi felt her cheeks grow warm as she glanced back at the masked face hovering above her shoulder. "I'm still here, Sakura, because I care."
Her pulse quickened at the realization of how close he was to her. A strong, musky scent slipped past her nostrils, sending tremors running throughout her body. Blinking, she snapped out of her trance and squirmed away from his grasp, moving to the adjacent side of the counter. She shuddered, raking her pink hair back uneasily. This was her former mentor. She could not be blushing at him. She shouldn't be blushing at him!
"Sakura," started Kakashi, raising a puzzled eyebrow.
"I'm sorry," she mumbled. "I've just been a bit…conflicted lately."
He hummed rhythmically, tapping his fingers repeatedly. "Do you feel comfortable talking about it?"
"No." The word left her mouth abruptly. She glanced quickly at her visitor and she swore she saw a feeling of rejection cross his eye. Mentally kicking herself, she sighed. "I mean…just not yet. It's really complicated and I can't put it into words."
There was a short pause before he approached her and ruffled the top of her head, like how he used to back when she was a genin. He stared at her for the longest time, as if he was trying to decode the expression on her face. "Whenever you're ready," he finally said. "I'm always here for you, Sakura."
Sakura couldn't exactly recall what had happened after that. No more conversations had been exchanged and Kakashi at last made his departure, telling her something that she was now unable to remember. All she could think about was how close he had been to her and how achingly wonderful his warmth was. After quickly reminiscing, it then came to her that he was expecting her to eventually open up to him about her predicament.
Slumping against the counter, she hit her forehead against the dark granite with a loud thump.
When she said no, she should have left it at that. There was no way in hell that she was going to explain to him that she was attracted to him.
No. Fucking. Way.
A/N:It is a short chapter, I realize, so I apologize. I promise you the next chapter will be much longer. I can't really say if this story will be explicit or not. I surmise that this factor will be determined as we delve deeper into the plot.
(Feel free to ask questions. You can include it in your review or simply send me a PM. Thank you!)
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