‘Today is the day!’
Sakura took a deep breath as she stood in front of the full length mirror wearing an extravagant deep red kimono. Her long pink locks done up in an exquisite updo that was fastened by an ornate cherry blossom pin given to her by her mother. Her light makeup perfectly accentuated her bright emerald eyes. Her mother, Mebuki, pinned up one final curl before taking a step back to admire her work. Sakura heard a sigh escape her mother’s lips as she watched a small tear form in her eye.
Sakura knew exactly what she was sighing about and even crying about. She knew that her mother did not agree with her choice. But, Mebuki was respectful of her daughter’s wishes. And, for that, Sakura was thankful.
She knew her parents were fully aware that she was a responsible kunoichi. Moving out on her own and beginning the children’s clinic not two years earlier just after the war ended with the help of Kakashi.
Sakura let out another deep breath. She wondered if the Rokudaime would be in attendance today. It was her special day after all. There was no reason for him not to. They were close friends. Best friends honestly at this point.
However, they had lost contact for a while after Sasuke returned home and asked her to marry him. She hoped that he was okay. She wouldn't lie either in saying that she missed him deeply. She spent nearly every waking moment with Kakashi before Sasuke returned, even time outside work hours.
Sakura cleared her mind before she let it wander too far and took one last look in the mirror just as a knock came to the door.
“Are you ready?” Her father looked at her both sadly and thoughtfully, “You know, it’s not too late to find someone else… someone less… dark and has a non-criminal past.”
‘This is my dream come true! Why can’t you just be supportive?’ Sakura thought as she felt heat rise to her face.
Her father, Kizashi, had always been vocal in his disapproval. And, that had always made Sakura feel like a child. She knew deep down, though, that he wanted the best for her and that made her feel so loved. She figured no man would be good enough for her in his eyes, so she wrote it off as just some common fatherly trait.
“Papa! Sasuke has changed.” She took a deep breath as she felt tears star to prick her eyes, “I need you to just trust me. This is my choice and he is my choice.”
Her father and mother both gave her a hug and a kiss to the forehead, right on her purple byakugou seal.
“I just don’t want you to get hurt by him again.” Kizashi whispered quietly to her as he hugged her close again.
“Don’t worry, Papa. I’m not a blind child anymore. I have seen unspeakable things and lived through them. I have seen Sasuke at his worst and he's not that man anymore. Like I said, he has changed and he wouldn’t hurt me. At least, not intentionally.” She grinned at her father and gave him a strong hug back.
Today was her last day as a Haruno and her first day as an Uchiha.
She took a breath as she looped her arm through her father’s. She was ready to step into the role that was before her and fulfill her chosen destiny as Sakura Uchiha.
The wedding went off without a single hitch.
Although a certain Copy-Nin who currently held the title of Rokudaime Hokage, as boring yet busy as that was, seemed to notice just how reluctantly the father of the bride gave the bride away. With a kiss on his daughter’s cheek and a curt nod toward the raven haired man, he took his seat. A tear in his eye that could easily be seen as joy for his daughter, but Kakashi knew deep down that, that wasn’t the reason at all.
Even without his Sharingan anymore, he was still extremely astute and observant. He didn't become the Hokage for nothing after all.
He did not think that this union was the best of ideas either. He didn’t think it was good for her. But, he knew it had been Sakura’s dream to marry Sasuke and help him to rebuild his clan and he couldn’t resist her wishes, even if it killed him to do so. He felt his heart clench at the sight of her. She looked more beautiful than he had ever seen her before. And, it was for him. It was all for Sasuke.
He shifted uncomfortably in his seat as he quickly pictured himself in Sasuke’s place up there next to her. Marrying her.
The moment the ceremony was over and deal was sealed, Kakashi felt his throat tighten and his stomach twist painfully.
Before he knew it, he had to regain his composure as she bounded up to him. She looked happier than ever before, with Sasuke right at her side with a smug smile on his face.
‘You better take care of her, Sasuke. You better care for her better than you care for yourself. Don’t you dare hurt her again.’ He thought but was snapped out of his thoughts when the strong and beautiful pinkette spoke.
“Kakashi! You actually made it! Well, made it on time!” She flashed a teasing yet sweet grin.
He crinkled his eyes at her in a genuine smile and rubbed the back of his head.
“Well, anything for my favorite student. Good thing there were no black cats on the way here though. I would have had to go all the way around and missed part of your lovely ceremony.”
He had dedicated copious amounts of time and effort to the children’s clinic with her. She truly did become his favorite student over time. Growing into his favorite person during their time together. That was something he knew could never change.
He’d never admit it outloud, but he considered her his best friend. Even more so than Gai it felt like at times. The amount of time they spent together outside work made him realize that among other things.
Sakura just glared at him, then they both laughed. Sasuke even looked amused at his bad excuses.
“Thank you for coming, Kakashi.” Sasuke held out his lone hand for a shake.
After the two ninja shook hands, Sasuke put his one arm around Sakura and smiled at her. Kakashi didn’t like how he looked at her.
‘What is wrong with you! She isn’t yours. You don’t get to not like how her husband looks at her. I know you have had these feelings before and controlled them. But, it’s over. She’s a married woman now. You missed out.’ He thought to himself as he watched the young and seemingly happy couple walk away to greet more of their guests.
“Kizashi-san!” He greeted the man standing alone in the corner, sipping sake.
Kizashi stood a little taller and smiled lightly at the man in front of him, extending his free hand.
“Hokage-sama,” He greeted, “I’m honored that you could make it today. Can I get you some sake?”
It was so tempting to just take the whole bottle. To wash away his pain. To forget this whole day.
“No, thank you. And, please,” Kakashi crinkled his eyes, “just call me Kakashi. I wouldn’t miss Sakura’s wedding for the world.”
The father of the bride dropped his head slightly with a sigh at the reminder that his only child just got married.
“You seem somber Kizashi-san.” The Copy-ninja noted.
“Nah…” He waved his hand, “Well, maybe a little. I just don’t know why my daughter had to choose that dirtbag of all people!”
Kakashi eyes widened a bit at the mans harsh truth and he wanted to wholeheartedly agree with him right them and there. But, his position made his personal feelings benign now.
“Well, Sasuke has atoned for his sins.” He lied, “And he has changed. Even if it’s just slightly.”
“Not you too!” Kizashi exacerbated as he took another sip of sake.
“But, between you and me,” Kakashi quickly motioned between them with a finger and spoke more softly, “I think he’s completely undeserving of Sakura. She’s too good for him.”
“Hell, Kakashi I think anyone is more deserving of her than him! She could’ve chosen you and I would have been on board with it!”
Kakashi felt his face heat up and his chest tighten once more. He suddenly really needed that drink.
“Kizashi-san? I think I’ll take that sake now if I still can?”
The older man grinned and began pouring the rice wine into a small cup.
“I mean that! I don’t know why she didn’t just ask you out or something. You treated her better and with more respect than I have ever seen a man treat a woman.” the older man extended the cup to the Rokudaime, “Plus, before Sasuke came back around, you were all she talked about when she came for dinners at our house. “Kakashi did this…” and “Kakashi and I did that…” It almost sounded like you two had been together for years the way she spoke!”
‘Damn it all…’ he groaned internally, ‘Why didn't I tell her sooner! You damn fool.’
Kakashi downed the bitterly smooth liquid in one gulp after hearing that heartbreaking information.
“I’m sure it was only because we spent so much time on the clinic together.” Kakashi scratched the back of his head as he felt his ungloved palms sweat.
“Well, no matter what was going on, I had never seen her happier than she was when she was around you.”
Kakashi had never been more thankful for the mask covering his face, then in that moment.
Kizashi bowed slightly and left Kakashi after they spoke about village matters for a few more minutes. He was now left to his own thoughts.
How long had he exactly felt this way? He didn’t quite know himself how long he had seen her differently. He just knew that it was time to stop. Before his thoughts got too out of control more than they already had.
‘Besides, I’m old, her former teacher, and the Hokage for crying out loud.’ His thoughts were interrupted by a shrieking voice. The voice of none other than Naruto Uzumaki.
“Kakashi-sensei! Why are ya standing there just staring off into nowhere?! It’s time to dance!” His eyes were bright with excitement as he pulled his wife, Hinata, along.
Kakashi gave him the usual eye crinkle.
“Sorry, Naruto, but I have some top secret Hokage business to attend to.” He rubbed his head again.
“Whatever! You’re probably just going to go home and read one of your pervy books.” Naruto pointed his finger at is ex-sensei.
“Is that any way to talk to your Hokage?” Kakashi gave him a knock on the head and poofed away not even a second later.
He needed time alone for a while to get his thoughts in order.
Sakura always had come to visit him in his office often bringing tea, lunch, or sweets to share. Reporting her progress on her work at the Konoha hospital and her progress on the clinic. Sometimes, she would come just to catch up since both were so busy. Soon they even began spending time outside of work together. Then one day she suddenly stopped visiting regularly. And he knew why.
It had been almost a year since Sasuke had returned. That hurt bad enough when he connected the dots of her immediate absence. Not that he didn’t want Sasuke back, but he was also the source for most of her strife. And, the villages strife for years.
Then when news of their engagement came along shortly after Sasuke returned, he buried himself in his work to distract himself from the sudden ache he felt in his chest.
The day of her wedding, he made sure to be there on time. First, it would be very odd if the Hokage wasn’t there in support of the last Uchiha getting married. That was a sign of rebirth and renewal. Revival of a clan. And, second, he had to see her. To show her that he cared. Even if she didn’t anymore. Hell, he didn’t know if she even cared in the first place.
‘Don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone. You foolish old man.’ He had to smack himself after he thought those words. She wasn’t his. Never was. Never would be.
Nevertheless, Kakashi was heartbroken.