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Operation: Avoid Kakashi-Sensei At All Costs!

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“Alright Sensei, you’re all set!” Sakura proclaimed cheerfully as she finished writing down the rest of the patient information on her clipboard. Light was pouring in through the open window of the examination room at the Konoha Clinic and Sakura eagerly absorbed its warm rays from where she sat in her rolling chair. “You were more compliant than usual today, I’m so glad to see your silly phobia of the hospital is starting to alleviate.”

“Yes, well,” Kakashi replied, adopting the same pleasant tone as Sakura. He was currently strapped down to a gurney, held in place with various chakra proof restraints. “I didn’t want a repeat of last time. That was a rather large hand saw you had. I still have no idea where you were hiding it.”

Sakura smirked as she procured a key from her lab coat pocket and set about unlocking the bindings. When she’d finished, Kakashi let out a sigh of relief as he sat up to stretch out the kinks in his back.

“Well, I won’t keep you. I’m sure you’ve got plenty of lives that need saving, body parts that need groping, and holes that need to be stuck with thermometers.”

Sakura fought the childish urge to stick her tongue out at him.

“Actually, I scheduled you as my last appointment for today. Once I turn in this report, I’ll be able to start my weekend,” Sakura said as the pair exited the room and shut the door behind her. They headed down the long, white corridor together that led to the hospital’s main doors. Normally, it was very un-Kakashi-like for him to exit any place that wasn’t by way of a Teleportation Jutsu. But the last time he’d done that in the hospital, the puff of smoke that accompanied the jutsu had led to Sakura tracking him down, her trusty hand saw in tow. The “No Smoking on Hospital Grounds” rule had been quite ingrained into Kakashi’s head that day. It had taken him a week to remember that the hospital was the only place where he was forbidden from performing that jutsu.

So much unnecessary walking had been done over the course of those seven days.

“Already done at five? You’ll get fat from the lack of work, Sakura-chan. Should I schedule us a training session bright and early for tomorrow morning?”

Sakura laughed, delivering a light elbow to the jounin’s arm. “Not a chance in hell, Sensei. I’ve been looking forward to this weekend, it’s the only guaranteed free one that I’ve gotten in months! I think I’ve earned myself some rest and relaxation. I appreciate the offer, though,” She said as they reached the foyer.

“Just looking out for my favorite student,” Kakashi said, ruffling the hair on the top of Sakura’s head. He knew she hated when he did that.

“Get out of here, Kakashi-Sensei. I’ll see you for your next appointment.”

The Copy Nin was already exiting the sliding doors, Icha Icha novel in hand. “Later,” He replied without looking back.

Sakura sighed and rubbed her temple, attempting to ward off a looming headache.

'Rest and relaxation, Sakura, rest and relaxation,' She repeated the mantra in her head as she walked over to the front desk.

“Hey, Yumi. Think you could put these papers in Shizune’s mailbox for me?”

“Sure thing, Sakura-chan,” The young receptionist took the offered reports. “How’d it go in there?”

“Oh, you know Kakashi. Things are never too easy with him,” Sakura replied, casually examining her cuticles.

Yumi giggled as she got up and walked over to the mailboxes. “Yeah, but he gives you a much easier time than he does with the other nurses, so I can see why you like him so much,”

Sakura paused in her nail inspection, giving the brunette before her a puzzled look. What an odd thing to say, or was she reading too much into it?

“Well, he was my teacher when I was younger. That’s probably why he goes easier on me.”

Yumi hummed thoughtfully as she came back to sit at the desk, gazing up at Sakura.

“Oh yeah, I forgot about that. Is it weird having a crush on the man who was once your teacher?”

There was no misconstruing Yumi's words this time. Sakura’s mouth began to alternate between being agape and snapping shut, looking horribly like a fish out of water.
“What on earth are you talking about!?” Sakura screeched after finding her voice again. She all but lunged at the poor receptionist.

Yumi, clearly caught off-guard, reeled backwards and almost fell out of her chair. “W-What do you mean?”

“I do not have a crush on Kakashi-Sensei!”

“I’m sorry, Sakura-chan! Everyone just assumed that -”

“‘Everyone’!?” Oh, great. Sakura knew that the hospital could be a giant rumor mill at times, but this was just ridiculous. The red faced kunoichi jabbed a finger into Yumi’s face. “Well, you can tell 'everyone' that I do not have a crush on Hatake Kakashi! And keep to sticking thermometers in mouths instead of noses into my business!” Sakura fumed before stomping her way toward the exit. When the automatic doors failed to open upon Sakura’s approach, the woman frantically waved her arms about, desperately trying to get the motion sensor to pick her up.

After it finally did, Sakura chanced a glance behind her to see if she was still being watched before finally making her exit with as much dignity as she could manage.

Yumi, who had picked up on her co-workers overly-defensive tone and prevalent blush, simply shook her head.

“She’s got it bad.”

-

A ‘crush’ on Kakashi-sensei! Geez! The nerve of some people! Sakura was still fuming as she marched her way home though the increasing crowds of Konoha’s streets. It was a nice, cool Friday evening. Civilians and ninja alike filled the walkways with their loved ones determined to be outside and enjoy the weather before the looming clouds in the distance drew too close. The hoards quickly became an irritation for Sakura as they slowed her trek home. She just wanted to hole up and hide from the world in mortification for the weekend.

At eighteen, Sakura still had yet to have a serious romantic relationship. The prospect of any future boyfriend was sure to be blown out of the water if word got out that Sakura wanted to shack up with her old teacher!

In the past, she had gone on a few dates here and there with various peers from around the village, and had even kissed a select few of them. But her intensive work at the hospital and the frequent missions she was sent out on had kept her from kindling anything too serious. To date, her childhood crush on Sasuke remained to be the deepest she had ever felt for anyone, and it went without saying that that ship had sailed long ago.

What remaining time missions and work left her with, Sakura used to maintain the deep friendships she already had. She enjoyed the long shopping sprees with Ino, staying out late at Ichiraku with Naruto, and even camping out under the stars with Kakashi when they happened to be paired up on a mission together. She relished the time spent with her friends so much that it left little to be desired, so it had never occurred to her to seriously start to consider pursuing a relationship.

Sakura’s thoughts turned back to camping with Kakashi, and how easy it was to pass the time talking with him. Once Sakura’s apprenticeship had been passed over to Tsunade, she never spent that much time with Kakashi outside of missions and his hospital appointments. But they always managed to pick up right where they left off, as if no time had passed.

Sakura decided she couldn’t blame anyone who had a crush on Kakashi. He had his quirks, but he was friendly and polite to everyone he met, a dedicated ninja to Konoha and loyal almost to a fault when it came to his close friends. The fact that he was one of the most deadly shinobi in all of the lands, as the Bingo Book could attest, also scored him some reputation points. His laid back, go-with-the-flow attitude could be annoying at times, but during tense moments before a big battle, there was nothing that Sakura craved more.

And of course, she couldn’t discount his physical attributes. It was no secret that under his uniform, Kakashi was all corded, lean muscle, thanks to his career. His posterior wasn't too shabby either. And his face … Sakura was one of the lucky few who was able to see it, being his nurse practitioner and all. This perk was one she only slightly abused.

(“Sakura, does my mask really have to be off in order for you to stitch up my leg?”

“I don’t make the rules, Kakashi-Sensei.”)

Alright fine, when Sakura took all of these factors into consideration, it wasn’t so ridiculous that someone might be attracted to Hatake Kakashi. But she wasn’t. In fact, she had better just stop thinking about the whole thing for her sanity’s sake. For the remainder of the weekend, there would be more thoughts on -

“It’s the Copy Ninja!”

Sakura nearly jumped back two feet. A couple of kids ran past her, chucking paper shurikens at each other. One of them had a scarf covering the lower half of his face, clearly pretending to be Sakura’s former teacher.

“You’ll never catch me!” The two children raced away as they continued their pretend ninja fight.

Sakura shook her head and tried to will away the blush that had begun to creep back up her neck.

No, no, no! She did not have a crush on Kakashi! Something like that would be -

“So romantic!” A familiar voice gushed, catching Sakura’s attention.

Across the street, Sakura saw Ino, Tenten and Hinata sitting together outside a cafe. The three all had drinks and seemed to be catching up during a little get together. Tenten looked up from the girls and noticed Sakura.

“Sakura! Hey! Over here!” The brunette waved her over. Sakura really wasn’t in the mood, but to walk away now after being so blatantly spotted would be rude. She glued on a smile and approached her friends. She wouldn’t stay long, she couldn’t handle being among the public for much longer.

“Well, well. Look who the hospital finally released from its intensive care clutches. How’s it going, Forehead? You’re out earlier than I expected.”

“We - we would’ve invited you, Sakura-chan! Had we known you’d be free right now …” Hinata stammered apologetically.

Sakura smiled. “Don’t worry about it, Hinata. I was planning on a night-in anyway. I’m headed home now, actually.”

“Wait!” Ino held out a hand to stop her friend. “I know that look, you’re going home to shack up for the entire weekend like a hermit, aren’t you? Of course, you are,” The blonde reached down and pulled out a paperback novel from the purse that sat by her feet. “The least I can do is give you some reading material so your brain doesn’t turn into complete mush.”

Interested, Sakura plucked the book from Ino’s hands and looked it over. “What's it about?”

“It’s Naki’s latest romance novel!” Ino gushed, clearly waiting for Sakura to ask. “Her best one yet, if you ask me! We were just talking about it, weren’t we girls? It’s about a woman in denial over her feelings for her boss. The romantic tension leads to the best sex scenes. It’s so hot and steamy, it makes me wonder why I even need to bother with men and their stupidity in the first place!”

Tenten was currently attempting to relax a faint-looking Hinata, who was unused to hearing such vulgarity.

“That’s really sad, Ino-Pig. But sure, I’ll give it a try. See you guys around!”

“You’ll thank me after you’ve finished!” Ino called after her. “Both the book and yourself!”

“Ino, please! Hinata’s right here!” Tenten scolded.

Sakura shook her head and placed the book in her back pouch. She was grateful that she was only a couple of blocks away from her place, given that the storm clouds had finally begun to roll in overhead.

By the time Sakura had made it to her floor in the apartment complex, the weather outside had descended into a torrential downpour. If the constant pattering heard from the roof above her wasn’t a clue, then the monsoon-like sight from her kitchen window that greeted her as she entered was the dead giveaway. Not that the weather mattered much to Sakura, she had no plans on venturing outside anytime soon. She was content to have the storm continue to wreak havoc to its heart’s content. If anything, the soothing sound of rainfall and rumbling thunder did a nice job of setting the mood for the relaxing evening that Sakura had planned.

She briefly allowed her mind to wonder what Kakashi was up to at that moment. She knew his favorite pastime was to find a comfortable spot in one of the thousands of trees that Konoha boasted, pick out his favorite book and bask in the sun. Fat chance of that happening now, given the weather’s current state. What would he do instead? Probably sleep. The bastard’s notoriously lazy behavior could put any old cat to shame.

Alright, no more thoughts about Kakashi! This weekend was Sakura’s break from everything.

She walked into her room and quickly stripped herself from her medic’s uniform, eagerly unclasping her bra. She breathed a sigh of relief from finally being free of the stiff attire, and chose to slip into something much more comfortable. She slipped on a pair of white yoga pants and a comfy long sleeved shirt in her signature red color. Her next order of business was to make a nice pot of tea. Though it was late summer, the rain had brought a nice chill to the air and made hot tea the perfect beverage of choice.

As she finished setting the full pot on the lit stove, she wondered which chick flick she should watch later. Or maybe she should give that book of Ino’s a try?

Uh, no. Definitely not. If Ino found it to be entertaining, then it was sure to be the trashiest of the trashy. Sakura would have to find a time to slip the book into Ino’s mailbox when she wasn’t around, just in case she decided to quiz Sakura on its contents. Chick flick it was then.

She decided on which movie to go with as she reached into the particular cabinet where she kept her cans of soup. Standing on her tiptoes, not being tall enough to actually see into the cabinet, she felt around until her hand came into contact with one of the cans. She was perplexed to find that it never did. Lifting herself up onto the counter top, she looked to see that she was indeed all out of soup. A minor setback, but no big deal.

She really hadn’t wanted to make a mess of her kitchen preparing dinner for that night, but the cooking would be a nice distraction. Sakura walked over to her refrigerator, intent on making some chicken, but was once again met with the sight of empty shelves as she opened the door. Oh that’s right, she had that chicken for dinner on Thursday. Sakura began to mildly panic as she scoured the rest of her kitchen for any sort of sustenance. She came up empty handed, even her stash of chocolate bars hidden under her bed had been pillaged.

Past Sakura had probably put off grocery shopping until the weekend when she knew she would be free. Past Sakura was an idiot.

She sighed forlornly as she looked out the window, holding back frustrated tears as the rain showed no sign of letting up. Oh dear lord, Ino had been right. Sakura truly was turning into a hermit if venturing back outside filled her with this much dread.

Seeing no way past it, Sakura slipped on her sandals and grabbed her pink, cherry blossom adorned umbrella from its place by the door. It was juvenile, she knew, but it had been a birthday present four years ago and she never got around to purchasing a new one.

Turning off the stove where her kettle sat and holding her key ring in hand, Sakura locked the door behind her and headed back outside, much too soon for her liking.

There was a small convenience store not two blocks away from her. Modest in size, but it carried the essentials. Enough to hold her over until she was prepared to do some serious food shopping.

Sakura carefully made her way along the water laden road, being mindful to step around the deep rain puddles. She finally made it to the store, stepping in and being greeted by the door chime along with a friendly wave from the elderly shopkeeper. Sakura cheerfully waved back as she closed her umbrella and grabbed a basket to begin her browsing.

She wandered up and down the aisles, taking her time, not being too eager to head back out into the storm. When she finally had everything she needed for the night, she was about to head for the register when something caught her eye. The gleaming shelves of various assortments of chocolate bars were just too good to pass up. Sakura meandered her way over to the chocolaty goods, trying to determine which flavor to buy this time. She had previously steeled herself into following the diet she had set, but… this weekend was a break from everything!

“That time of the month already, Sakura-chan?”

Sakura bristled at the words as there was no mistaking who they were said by. Why here? Why now? The kunoichi turned around and - sure enough - was met with the one-eyed crinkle of her Sensei.

“Kakashi-Sensei! What a pleasant surprise!” She hoped he didn’t notice the voice crack… or the fact that she hadn’t put a bra on. She wasn’t expecting to run into anyone! Much less him! But if Kakashi noticed either of these things, he didn’t state otherwise.

“What are you doing here?” She asked as nonchalant as she possibly could.

Idiot! What did she think he would be doing at a grocery store?

“Taking care of my students, making sure they maintain a healthy shinobi diet. You won’t be getting fat on my watch, Sakura-chan,” He teased.

Sakura blushed, clearly irritated at being caught red-handed. “I’m not your student anymore,” She mumbled.

“Mm, I suppose you’re right,” Kakashi rubbed his chin. “Well, you can take the man off the Sensei roster, but you can’t take the Sensei out of the man.”

Sakura rolled her eyes.

“Actually,” He continued. “I’m glad I ran into you.”

Sakura regarded him curiously.

“A mission check of mine just came in and I’m not really in the mood to spend this gloomy evening alone. Seeing as how neither of us have checked out yet, would you like to ditch the groceries and join me for a bite to eat?”

Sakura nearly dropped her basket. Was… was he asking her out on a date!? No, don’t be ridiculous. He clearly stated that he was just looking for a bit of company, a completely normal request for an ex-sensei to have for his ex-student. But still, Sakura wasn’t sure if she could handle an entire evening with Kakashi after discovering certain rumors that had been going around regarding the two of them.

“I- I don’t know, Kakashi-Sensei. I’m not really dressed to go out…”

Kakashi chuckled. “You overestimate the size of my paycheck, Sakura. I was thinking of something casual. A diner just around the corner, Mako’s. Ever heard of it?”

Yes, she’d heard of it. A place heavy on the comfort food and whose atmosphere was so laid-back that it was a favorite among ninja to stop by right after a mission to grab a meal, even before they’d made it home to shower. A ritual she’d been guilty of conducting more than once since joining the ranks.

“Alright,” Sakura smiled. “Since I can’t come up with any more excuses, sure, I’d love to join you.”

“Wonderful.”

Kakashi waited, chatting with the owner, as Sakura returned her items to the shelves. Once they made it outside, the pair stood under the store’s awning as Sakura worked to get her umbrella. She looked at the man beside her, puzzled when she noticed he wasn’t following suit.

“Didn’t you bring an umbrella?”

“Alas, my last umbrella is now a shelter for a family kittens that have taken up residence outside my apartment building.”

“Just shut up and get over here.”

The bastard probably lived off of mooching things like this from others, never having the foresight to go out and actually buy his own. Men.

The two began their trek out into the rain, in closer quarters than usual in an effort to keep dry.

“Cute,” Kakashi said, noticing the cartoon cherry blossoms above him.

“I said shut it,” Sakura reiterated, struggling to hide her smile. Kakashi looked a bit ridiculous. The tall, mysterious shinobi whose name was whispered in fear by his enemies, was taking shelter under her pretty pink umbrella.

As they walked, Sakura began to struggle in keeping the umbrella aloft, not used to sharing it with someone of Kakashi’s height. It was all she could do to keep it from thumping the back of his head (though such a thing might not entirely be undeserved).

Kakashi seemed to notice this as he covered Sakura’s hand with his own, gently releasing her grip and holding the parasol over the both of them. Sakura tried not to think about how she had wished he wanted to hold her hand.

“Thanks,” She said and he smiled in return.

With both hands now free, Sakura took the chance to cross her arms protectively over her front. The raindrops were like tiny, freezing icicles and the wind had picked up. There was no way that her nipples weren’t all but ripping through her shirt by now.

Hopefully, the diner would be nice and heated so that this wouldn't be an issue for the entirety of the evening.

Luckily, they soon approached the small restaurant and were escorted inside and seated immediately. As they were handed their menus and deciding on what to order, Sakura couldn’t help but sneak glances at the man across from her. This was the first time they had gone out to eat together one-on-one, excluding when on missions. She had to remind herself once again that this was not a date. But why did it feel like more than what it was? More importantly, why did Sakura want it to be?

“So, how is your work going at the hospital?” Kakashi asked once the waitress had taken their orders.

“Things are fine. Great, actually. I guess you could say I love working there as much as you hate going,” Sakura teased.

“I’m glad to hear it. But I don’t hate the hospital nearly as much as I used to. It’s nice having my favorite student dote on me.”

This time, Sakura did stick her tongue out, earning her a chuckle.

“The work can be hard and draining,” Sakura admitted. “But it’s also incredibly rewarding. I love being able to help others, and to literally see the change in the people that I heal.”

“I’m so happy to hear that, Sakura…” Kakashi responded gently, almost wistfully.

Sakura was about to ask what was up with him when their food arrived.

“Actually, Sakura, I have something to confess. There was a reason I asked you to come out with me tonight.”

Sakura looked up from her food questioningly.

“It’s embarrassing, really. But I knew I had to sit down and talk with you once I found out.”

Oh no, Her blush was back with a vengeance this time.

“I’m sure you know the gossip that goes on in the hospital, and that’s where I first heard. I’m sure I would’ve found out sooner or later but-”

“Please,” Sakura cut him off. She couldn’t even look up at him, her face was on fire. “Please, don’t say anymore. I am so sorry.”

Kakashi’s one exposed eye was wide, eyebrow raised.

“I don’t know who started the rumor of me having a crush on you, but it’s not true! I’m so sorry, I hope I never made you uncomfortable, I don’t have to do your checkups anymore if you don’t want me to! But really, I don’t have a crush on you, I promise!” Once the vomit of words started they didn’t stop, until they did. Then one could have heard a pin drop.

“I-I’ll come back later,” The waitress, who had come to check on their table, stuttered before making a hasty retreat.

“I...um…” It was the first time Sakura could recall seeing Kakashi struggle to come up with something to say.

“That was what you were going to talk to me about… right?”

“Uh… I was actually going to congratulate you on your promotion.”

Sakura blinked. “My… my promotion?”

“I heard a couple of the nurses discussing it in the hospital earlier. I felt bad for not knowing and wanted to make it up to you. You got it last week, right?”

The cogs in Sakura’s brain were struggling to return to their normal functioning, seeing as how they lacked the proper blood flow since it had all been drained from her face. Kakashi was referring to her promotion, not addressing the crush rumor. A rumor he hadn’t even known about until two minutes ago. When Sakura had told him.

Feebly, Sakura reached for her glass of water before draining its contents in one gulp.

“...I think I need to use the restroom.”

Kakashi wrinkled his brow in concern. “Are you alright?”

“Never better,” She said before getting up from their booth and making her way over to the bathrooms.

Once inside, she wrenched on the faucet water and splashed it's cold spray onto her face.
'Breathe, Sakura, breathe,'

She would be able to go back out there and laugh the whole thing off. It was just a misunderstanding. Act like nothing even happened. That was the mature, decent thing to do. But it wasn’t long before Sakura was launching herself out of the bathroom’s lone window and fleeing from the restaurant and out into the wet, cold night.

-

The rain actually had the good grace to let up for the evening. As the clouds rolled past, they revealed a beautiful night sky. The moon was reflected off of the crystal-like surface of one of the tiny rivers that ran through Konoha. The glassy image was occasionally broken up by pebbles being tossed beneath its surface.

Sakura stood alone on the bridge, staring down at the stream as she lobbed her gathered pebbles, mesmerized by the ripples from their splashes.

She was still thinking about the events from earlier, and the events that led to those events earlier still. Her conclusion was a scary one: She did, indeed, have a crush on Hatake Kakashi.

Sakura sighed as she dropped her last pebble into the stream and rested her head on the bridge’s railing. If her attraction was so blatantly obvious that everyone figured it out before Sakura herself even knew… Did that mean Kakashi was aware of her feelings as well? Of course he was, he was a shinobi, acute perception came with the territory.

'Yet again, Haruno Sakura, you’ve found yourself wanting a guy who wants nothing to do with you. Bravo,' Sakura thought to her chagrin.

He had looked so taken aback when she’d told him, was the idea of her crush really so repulsive?

Sakura shivered as a light breeze blew by her. She should head home, she could accomplish just as much sulking there. Maybe she would give Ino’s novel a try after all.

“You know, skipping out before the bill comes is more my thing.”

Sakura wasn’t surprised that he was there, just that he hadn’t tracked her down sooner. Maybe he had and was just giving her some space. She didn’t move, suddenly finding herself unable to do so even as he came to stand beside her.

Kakashi rested his arms on the railing next to her, also looking down at the water.

She could feel the occasional glances he shot her way but ignored them. She’d be lucky if she could look him in the eye by the end of the month.

“You left this,” He held out her umbrella.

“Keep it. I’ve been meaning to get a new one anyway.”

“Thanks, I needed an umbrella. My last one was stolen.”

Sakura furrowed her brow, “I thought you said it was a shelter for kittens.”

Kakashi’s eye narrowed vengefully, “The perpetrators.”

Sakura let out a snort, despite her best efforts. Even when she was feeling at her lowest, he still found a way to make her smile. He was just such a dork.

“I’m so sorry, Kakashi-Sensei…”

“Don’t worry about it, I skip out on dates all the time. Though this is the first time I’ve been stood up.”

Sakura couldn’t bring herself to return his teasing, she curled into herself more tightly. She heard Kakashi let out a soft sigh.

“I should be the one apologizing, Sakura.”

“What do you mean?”

“I’d heard about people talking about this for a while. I never mentioned it because I didn’t want to make you uncomfortable, and…” There was a heavy pause. “Because I didn’t want to hear you say it wasn’t true.”

Sakura immediately stood up straight and looked at him, though he wasn’t meeting her wide stare. So that must mean…

“Oh.”

“Yeah.”

Kakashi was never the best at opening up to others, even those he was closest to. Sakura also had a difficult time finding ways to voice her thoughts when she was flustered.

“You know,” She began. “The funny thing about nurses and doctors is that they’re usually able to diagnose a patient even before the patient knows that there’s something wrong. Like this one time, Kiba had this really bad stomach ache, and it had been going on for days! He thought it was just IBS. It turns out that he had this parasite from some food he had eaten on a mission. The little bugger had managed to coil itself around Kiba’s -”

Sakura realized she was rambling and decided to reel it in after she’d noticed that Kakashi was starting to become quite pale.

“Ah, um… Anyway. What I was trying to say is that I think my colleagues were on to something. I… do like you, Kakashi,” She snapped her eyes shut, feeling the warmth overwhelming her cheeks. A warmth that was cooled from the soft touch of a hand. Sakura opened her eyes to see that Kakashi was now gazing at her, his hand cupping her cheek. He leaned in a bit and Sakura could swear she felt her heart leap into her throat.

“I like you too, Sakura,” His voice was low, intimate. A tone she hadn’t heard from him before.

Before she could decide whether to close the distance between them or not, he pulled back and opened up the umbrella.

“Mind if I walk you home?”

The warmth from Sakura’s face had settled into a gentle glow in her chest, making her body tingle all over.

“I’d like that,” She replied.
As the pair began to walk to her apartment, Sakura looked up.

“Kakashi, it’s not raining. Why do you have the umbrella open?”
“Because I like it,” He said, as if the answer was obvious. He made a show of twirling the umbrella around in his fingers.

“Ugh, you’re such a dork.”

“And yet you seem to like me anyway. And my… how did the nurses say you’d put it? My ‘firm and shapely posterior’.”

“I NEVER-!”
Kakashi caught Sakura’s fist in his palm before it could bruise his stomach. He didn’t let go, even as they continued walking, and instead changed his grip so that he gently held Sakura’s hand in his own. Sakura was secretly pleased.

“You’re going to give my sanity whiplash,” She grumbled. Her stomach growled in response and she lifted her free hand to cover it. “I just realized I never got to eat.”

“Too busy jumping out of bathroom windows, huh?”

“Oh, ha-ha. Make fun of the starving girl, real funny.”

“Then I guess it’s a good thing I used an Enclosing Jutsu on our leftovers, along with,” Kakashi let go of Sakura’s hand briefly to reach into his back pouch. He lifted out a bar of chocolate, one of the ones Sakura had been eyeing in the convenience store. He chuckled at Sakura’s ravenous stare. She quickly snatched the treat from his hand, wasting no time in opening the wrapper and taking a bite.

“Is that my golden ticket to join you in your apartment and finish dinner with you?” Kakashi smiled.

“Hm,” Sakura chewed thoughtfully. “Alright. But no funny stuff. I am a proper lady after all. I expect to be wooed and taken out on dates.”

Kakashi chuckled but hummed his agreement.

“‘A proper lady’, huh?” There was no missing his mischievous tone. “Is that why you decided not to wear a bra tonight?”

Sakura’s punch was too fast for him to block this time around.

Of course, out of all of the men in Konoha, Sakura just had to be smitten with Kakashi. He was going to make sure that her hair color matched his in no time at all.

Sakura shook her head, irritation quickly fading away and being placed with amusement. There was no helping it.

"So," Sakura said as she reached to hold Kakashi's hand again. "You like chick flicks?"

"I love them."