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Sakura’s breath caught as she rose up on her knees, not quite steady. A pair of scarred, strong hands rose at her sides - drifting over her hips in a knowing caress, then rising, palm up in offer - and she caught hold of them, shivering.

She ached, from deep in her core radiating through her whole body. Not from her heat - though she could feel it coming; she would, soon, burn with that need - but from pure want.

Sakura rocked her hips, her slick folds rubbing over the head of her mate’s cock - he twitched, giving a rough snarl behind her, and she grinned, sloppy and breathless - before she arched her hips and sank down, taking it fully inside in one smooth, slow movement. Their twined fingers tightened and Sakura keened, pleasure knifing through her with the intimate joining.

She settled into a throaty purr as she leaned backwards against his narrow chest, inner muscles clenching around his cock as he rolled his hips, gentle and teasing.

“Fuck, fuck-” Sakura groaned, her neck throbbing. She tipped her head aside, offering herself, and purred again as her mate’s mouth trailed over her skin, crossing the scar she carried from their bonding and nipping lightly.

He growled, soft and coaxing, his hands flexing in her grasp, his body moving to meet hers as she struggled to find control, thighs flexing to push her up again, to ride him. She could feel the swell of his knot every time she came down over his cock - each time with a hitching jolt as he couldn’t quite resist coming up to meet her, one that sent shockwaves of pleasure through her body - but it wasn’t yet thickening enough to curtail their lovemaking.

Sakura rolled her hips and gloried in the sting of teeth sinking into her shoulder, a startled bite. She giggled, breathless and heady with pleasure, and her mate snarled, biting down harder, his hips rolling up against hers, pressing inside her and making her gasp, twitching, losing her coordination and falling against him.

His hands dropped to her hips, her own fingers still twined through his, and Sakura cried out helplessly as he lifted her without apparent effort, continuing her rhythm, helping her ride his cock. Sakura regained control after a moment, and could have taken over, but she surrendered to his hands instead, feeling a heady pleasure from being the focus of his strength brought to bear this way. She squeezed around his cock, feeling the stretch of his knot beginning to swell inside her and shivering in anticipation.

Her heat might not be upon her just yet, but Sakura yearned achily for that all the same - to be caught, shuddering and feeling the sparks of pleasure racing beneath her skin, between her mate’s teeth in her neck and his knot in her body and his hands on her hips and-

Sakura woke with a tight little gasp, her body wound up and aching. Combined with the sudden fall from the lavish pleasure and care of her dream, it was enough to push her near to tears. She grimaced as she shifted her hips, her body tightening around nothing, the achy heat intensifying with the flex of her inner muscles.

She closed her eyes again, sliding one hand down over her belly and the hair that covered her mons, stroking and pressing down against her own softness for a moment. Then she tilted her hips a little, spreading her thighs, and slid her hand between them, fingers seeking out her own slick heat, trailing over her folds before centring in on her clit.

It wasn’t the same at all - and the disappointment she felt, the lack was nothing to do with the faint push of her oncoming heat and the desires it encouraged - and even as Sakura brought herself to orgasm she was torn between the pleasure of her own touch and the raw ache of lacking her mate’s cock inside.

Sakura swallowed, curling her fingers - her hips jerked as her palm rubbed over her too-sensitive clit; her heat wasn’t affecting her that much yet - and then straightening them again, almost absently sliding them inside herself. It soothed a tiny bit of the physical ache, and she clenched her muscles around the press of her own fingers.

Her neck throbbed and she sighed, tipping her head from side to side on her pillow and reaching up with her free hand, smoothing over her unmarked skin. No signs of a mate’s affectionate or teasing bites there - no signs of a bonding mark, however fierce or gentle it might have been.

Sakura’s eyes burned again and she forced the feeling down, bringing her hand away from her neck again and carefully pulling her fingers free of her own body. Reaching out, she found the light towel on her nightstand and used it to wipe off her fingers and, more gingerly, her core and inner thighs.

Then she pushed the towel aside and turned onto her side, curling up a little. It wasn’t that she needed a mate, of course it wasn’t, whatever her body might long for . . . but the ache she felt was because it wasn’t only her body’s longing. Sakura rubbed her face, wiping away a few tears. Sakura longed for a mate - a partner; an alpha to dote on her and soothe her through her heats; an alpha who would settle under her urging into her nest, content and affectionate; an alpha who-

Sakura knew whose teeth and whose cock she had been dreaming of feeling claim her, of course she did. Whose bony, scarred, strong hands had held hers, whose lean, spare body had been pressed against hers, supporting her, moving with her, displaying his strength in equal measure to his care and control.

Sakura’s body knew the alpha that matched her so well, the alpha she trusted with all of her; Sakura’s mind knew the partner she wanted, the mate she longed for.

If only he would take up that trust and that offer, in all that she was.

Sakura stifled a keen by turning her face into her pillow, curling her legs up tighter to her body and folding her arms to her chest, one wrist pressing against her breastbone.

Stubborn, stubborn alpha, Sakura thought with regret, a sorrow that followed her as she spiralled back into dreams. This time the driving, aching heat of lovemaking had faded into the soft warmth of being curled in her mate’s arms, his body wrapped around hers, his breath a bare caress against her neck and collarbone from behind, their bodies locked together by his still thick knot inside her.

“Sakura-chan!” Naruto cried, and Sakura turned and just barely had time to steady herself before he was on her, wrapping her in a tight embrace.

Sakura only laughed and returned it, squeezing Naruto hard enough to make his ribs creak, because she knew-

Naruto laughed happily under the assault, pressing closer, nuzzling her cheek affectionately, because he was more than strong enough to take it and see it as the playful gesture she meant. Sakura grinned, nuzzling him in return.

“You smell good.” Naruto said, dipping his head and pressing his nose to her neck, just under her jaw.

“I’m sure I do.” Sakura said wryly, shaking her head a little. Naruto was being very rude, but he was also pack, and he was allowed a little more grace for it. Besides, Sakura knew he meant nothing by it; he’d stopped pretending to chase her years ago in favour of admitting - deep into a rather maudlin night of drinking in the floor of her then-new apartment - where his heart truly lay.

“Kakashi-sensei!” Naruto called, lifting his head but not quite stepping back - Sakura knew he would bask in the affection for as long as she let him, but was willing to be hugged for a little while longer, even here standing in the road. “Doesn’t Sakura-chan smell good?”

Sakura’s mouth dropped open. “Naruto!” she barked. There was rude, and then there was-

Kakashi produced one of his ever-present books out of his pouch and hid his face behind it in one quick gesture. Yamato was blushing a ruddy shade, not quite able to meet Sakura’s eyes and with nothing to hide behind, himself.

“But you do!” Naruto whined, looking at her again, squeezing her around the waist. His wide blue eyes were guileless, but Sakura knew him, and. . . She narrowed her eyes.

What was he up to?

“Sakura-chan,” Naruto said in answer to her question that night, sprawled across the floor in front of her couch and watching as she painted her toenails a soft, spring green, “I’m not dumb.”

“I know you’re not.” Sakura said absently, rewetting the brush and shifting her heel a little.

“I know I can be a bit slow, or-”

Sakura smacked the back of his head with her free hand. “Don’t be mean to yourself.” she scolded without looking, tilting her foot a little more and splaying her toes as she reached for the bottle of polish to make sure it didn’t tip over.

“That’s your job?” Naruto asked, laughing.

“If it has to be.” Sakura said, sticking out her tongue at him. “Nobody gets to be mean to you without dealing with me.” she said, arching her eyebrows.

Naruto sniffed, looking a bit wibbly around the edges, and Sakura purred fondly, reaching out and ruffling his hair. Naruto nudged into it, more like a pup than an alpha who had reached maturity almost a decade ago. Sakura indulged him with affectionate petting and he shifted around to nuzzle against her hip, pressing his cheek there.

“I’m not dumb,” Naruto said again as Sakura added the final coat to her toes, “and I know you, Sakura-chan. And,” he fidgeted, reaching up and rubbing the bridge of his nose, eying her almost warily, “I know your scent, too. You. . . You want him.”

Sakura, just reaching to replace the brush and cap the little bottle, froze. “What.”

Naruto made a little appeasing noise and nuzzled her side. “You want Kakashi-sensei. Kakashi-taichou.” he corrected. “You never said anything, but. . .”

Sakura swallowed, tightening the cap and putting the soft green nail polish aside, looking down at Naruto. He looked up at her, not accusatory or upset, and just a little tentative. Probably because he wasn’t sure if she was going to thump him one for pointing it out.

“I wasn’t sure what you would think.” Sakura admitted, and Naruto whined. Sakura winced. “And. . . I know what he thinks.” she added more quietly - and more sadly. “I may want him, Naru-kun, but . . . Kakashi doesn’t want me. Not like that.”

Naruto made a gruff sound, pushing himself upright and pushing into her space once he was sitting up, crowding her and flinging his arms around her.

“Pushy alpha.” Sakura sniffed as he nosed her ear. She didn’t resist, though.

Naruto growled softly, soothing and affectionate, and hugged her tighter. “Then he’s dumb.”

Sakura scolded him half-heartedly. The words did salve the sting in her heart a little, though.

“He’s scared.” Naruto said, softer. Sakura sniffed again and looked at him. Naruto smiled faintly, tipping his head to rub their noses together. “Kakashi-taichou. I think . . . he’s scared. Not that he doesn’t want you.”

Sakura tugged her legs in a little more, bringing her knees up - keeping her toes clear of anything, because her nails weren’t dry yet - and leaning into Naruto a little. “I don’t know how to fix ‘scared’.” she admitted quietly. “I can’t even get him to admit. . . To look at me, not like that. I’m just . . . a comrade. An iryou-nin.” A good one, the only one he trusted when given a choice, but still- “I’m not. . .”

Naruto growled again, pressing his cheek to hers, rubbing gently before tilting his head down and continuing along her jaw, a gentle, friendly mark. It soothed a little bit of the ache in her chest. Sakura might not have the mate she so badly wanted - and she rather feared that she never would, which had only made her hurt the worse over the years as her attraction and longing for him grew - but she wasn’t alone.

Even Kakashi was part of her pack, really. Perhaps not especially close, not a deep bond - Kakashi didn’t let himself get close with anyone, that wasn’t a special hurt for Sakura - but he was.

Sakura sniffed a little, soaking in the affection of an alpha who did care for her, close and warm, scenting her and responding to her. Naruto, of course, held her for as long as she consented to be held, cuddling and nosing at her neck, her jaw, her hair. Occasionally his nuzzles and his breath ghosting over her skin made her twitch, giggling.

“Do you want me to do yours?” Sakura asked, and Naruto made a confused sound. Sakura reached out and tickled the sole of one of his feet, making him yip and flail, tipping over sideways.

Naruto huffed at her, a little pouty. Then he looked at his feet, wiggling his toes, and over at hers, the shining green on her nails. “Do you wanna?” he asked, cocking his head, smiling a little.

Sakura shrugged. “I have a pretty blue.” she said, and he grinned. “Do you want sparkles on top?”

“Sure.” Naruto grinned, sitting up from his sprawl across the floor as Sakura rose, hopping lightly over his legs and walking off towards the bathroom.

Naruto wriggled as Sakura painted his nails, but he managed to mostly hold his feet still, at least, and he crowed happily at the sunset-orange glitter topcoat when she swiped it on. “I’ve never seen you wear orange.” he said, eyeing her.

Sakura hummed, a smile tugging at her lips. “Maybe I thought you might like it. On yours.” she clarified, and Naruto beamed. “You should have heard Ino.” she added, laughing. “Sakura! You cannot wear orange!” She made her eyes big and pouted angrily, tossing her head, though her hair was bound in a low braid at the moment and certainly didn’t flick dramatically the way Ino’s long, thick ponytail did.

Sakura twisted away as Naruto swatted at her playfully, both of them laughing. “Watch your toes! I just finished those!” she scolded, letting herself fall to the floor, sprawling out beside Naruto. He snuggled close to her, working an arm under her head in an absently-caring gesture, and she smiled as she let herself be cradled there. He was a good alpha, a sweet and affectionate packmate.

“Sakura?” Naruto said quietly, and Sakura purred an inquisitive note. “If I say something, will you hit me?”

“Sometimes.” Sakura snorted. “Not that it has ever stopped you.”

Naruto made an agreeable sort of noise, shifting a little, cradling her closer. “You’re a beautiful, wonderful, brilliant omega.” he said softly, and Sakura stilled, eyes opening. She looked up at the ceiling of her apartment, throat tightening. “You’re strong and smart and I’m- I’m really lucky that you’re my friend, my pack. If he doesn’t see that,” he said, very gently, “doesn’t see how lucky he would be to have you choose him, then he is stupid. Even if he’s scared.”

Sakura sniffled, reaching up to rub her eyes as they welled with tears. “Why- Why would I hit you for that?” she asked, a bit wobbly.

“It might make you feel better?” Naruto asked, leaning over her a little, smiling.

Sakura sniffed again. Then she hit him. Gently, swatting his shoulder and making him laugh. “Thank you.” She wrapped her arms around him, nestling her face into his shoulder. “I love you, Naru.”

Naruto’s arms tightened around her, so much she couldn’t breathe for a moment, and he growled, possessive and sweet. “Love you, Sakura.” he returned.

Sakura leaned her head against his, feeling secure and . . . loved. She smiled, eyes closed, nuzzling Naruto’s face. Yes, she held a painful longing for something she didn’t - and probably never would - have, but . . . that wasn’t the only thing to want, or to be glad of having.

“Sakura-chan?” Naruto asked after a while, and Sakura sighed out a little encouraging noise. “C’n I stay here with you tonight?”

Sakura’s lips twitched. Rude.

“Of course you can, Naru.” Sakura said, curling one leg around Naruto’s own and tucking him against her. Naruto made a happy little rumbling sound and slid down, nestling his face against her collarbone. Sakura purred, running her fingers through his hair, smiling as he burrowed even closer into her arms, his jaw nudging at the top of her cleavage.

Mannerless, pushy, cuddly, sweetheart of an alpha, and he was Sakura’s, her pack, and she loved him dearly.

“Oh! Kakashi-taichou!”

Kakashi turned a page with his thumb, then lowered his book just a bit, peering over it at Naruto as he ran up, not quite breathless. “Naruto.” he returned, dipping his head a fraction.

“This is great! I need- You’re not busy, right?” Naruto asked, but he didn’t actually wait for a response before he continued, words spilling out in a rush. “See, I promised Sakura I’d bring her this,” he held up a carrier bag, “but it took longer than I thought at the market and I told Sai I’d meet him and help him practise and- and you know what Sai is like, if I’m late he’ll think I didn’t mean it or I didn’t show up on purpose or- You’ll take it for me, right?”

Kakashi eyed Naruto dubiously. “. . .what did you promise?”

Naruto pressed the bag into his hand and Kakashi shifted to take it. “I promised to bring Sakura some plums and strawberries and other stuff at home today! ‘cause she’s not going out, right?” He gave Kakashi a look like that should have been obvious, grinning, already rushing on. “But I gotta get going! I already got everything she needs but you can take it to Sakura for me now!”

“Maa, I suppose-” Kakashi began, and Naruto grinned at him again.

“Thanks Kakashi-taichou!” Naruto said, waving as he turned to run away.

Kakashi watched him go, shaking his head, and then took a curious peek into the bag Naruto had shoved at him. It held an assortment of fruit - more than Kakashi thought he’d ever seen Naruto buy before, even after years of concerted effort from Kakashi, Tenzou, and Sakura trying to get him to eat better - and sweets.

Kakashi wondered why Sakura - who had, after all, spent years trying to improve Naruto’s eating habits, among other things - would have asked him to shop for her. He shrugged lazily and turned, making his way towards Sakura’s apartment. Naruto had been particularly strange, but that in itself was not out of the ordinary, and Sakura certainly wouldn’t be party to any tricks Naruto might try to set up even if he were doing so.

Not that Kakashi was unconfident in his ability to catch pranks from Naruto, even now - he had gotten better and sneakier over the years, but Kakashi still had years of training on him, and had known him for more than a decade. It gave him a bit of an advantage.

When Kakashi reached the street below Sakura’s building he considered the balcony, but also considered Sakura’s reflexes, and muscle, and that her balcony led directly off her bedroom, and the fact that she was not expecting him. She was expecting Naruto, and Naruto always came to doors.

Kakashi went to the door, knocking lazily.

“Oh, thank you, Naru,” Sakura said as the door swung open, “I can’t believe the fruit I bought already started- Kakashi.” She stilled, eyes widening. “Kakashi-taichou.” she corrected a moment later, but Kakashi was only vaguely aware, caught up in his other senses and the sharp shock of the realisation they brought him.

Sakura’s eyes, wide with shock, glittered a deeper, richer green than usual in her faintly flushed face; her long hair fell in soft waves around her face and shoulders, clinging to the satiny material of the short gown she wore over ragged, soft pants. She was relaxed and comfortable - or she had been, before she caught sight of him.

More than any of that, however. . .

Kakashi knew why she had asked Naruto to go to the market for her.

“I’m sorry.” Kakashi said abruptly, shoving the bag at her and trying not to breathe; her heady scent was already in his nose, thickly sweet but not cloying, and richer than anything, shaded with spice and warmth. “Naruto said he had to go meet Sai and asked me to bring your things for you. I wouldn’t have bothered you if I’d known.” His final words were clipped as he stopped speaking abruptly, not quite finishing what he’d thoughtlessly begun to say.

“Oh, I- That- Thank you.” Sakura said, drawing in on herself even further, though she could hardly hide the slouchily casual state she was in - and even less the powerful scent of her heat. “I had no-”

Kakashi hooked the bag over her hand and pulled back. “There you are, I hope it- Er. I hope you feel-” He felt his face warming. There was no way to rescue that. “Goodbye.” he said, voice slightly strangled, and bolted.

There was a displeased, knotting rumble in his chest; he didn’t want to leave her, Sakura was uncomfortable and uneasy and deep down Kakashi wanted to soothe both, even if giving nothing else of himself. She was . . . important to him, a part of his pack however cool he kept the bonds between them all, and Kakashi was far too much of an alpha not to feel a sting at leaving her in that state.

She was also an impossibly lovely, fierce omega, and Kakashi was not unobservant enough to have missed her admiring glances or the inviting displays she had angled his way over the past few years. He wanted to offer of himself, beyond simply giving companionship to comfort the unease and tension that had been clear in her posture.

Kakashi should be nowhere near her, certainly not while she smelled- looked-

Kakashi swallowed, lifting a hand to rub his nose roughly through his mask and ducking down an alley for an easier route to the roof as he caught sight of someone scenting his direction curiously. He hadn’t been near Sakura for long - hell, he hadn’t even touched her; a rough throb in the pit of his stomach at the thought, his fingers tingling as he inadvertently imagined trailing them over her cheek and jaw, resting at the nape of her soft neck - but her scent had been strong and his own was not helping; he was drawing attention.

Kakashi no longer had any desire to wander the village as he had been before Naruto found him and shoved that-

Naruto. He had to have known, the idiot boy and. . .

But then, Naruto had been going to take the items Sakura had requested to her himself. Naruto was as much an alpha as Kakashi, and one who had for some time - though mostly before either of them had properly matured, and long ago now - sought to court Sakura. Why would he have thought there would be anything untoward about sending Kakashi, who was, after all, part of their pack as well, to Sakura in his stead?

Kakashi growled, the warmth of desire and the flashburn of frustrated, misplaced anger and the heat of embarrassment combining unpleasantly, along with a shivery sort of guilt. Of course Naruto would not have thought it would be an issue; Naruto had no reason to ever think that Kakashi would. . .

Kakashi had no place-

Kakashi snorted and rubbed a hand over his nose again, hurrying towards home and trying to push the image of Sakura, posture open and eyes heavy-lidded in the moment before she had realised it was him at her door, out of his mind.

And that was the strongest reason why he should have done exactly as he had and left, Kakashi thought with a pained twist. Sakura might slant admiring looks towards him from time to time, and he supposed she hadn’t quite realised the invitations she cast his way - they were hardly flirtatious in the direct sense, only . . . displays - but she didn’t, truly, want him; she didn’t even feel comfortable with him near when she was in a heightened emotional state.

Kakashi swallowed against a prickly feeling. It was fine. Sakura’s heat would pass, she would come to training or on missions with the rest of them - whenever she was free of her other duties - and everything would return to normal.

“Sa- Sakura-chan?”

Sakura choked on a sob, lifting her head and turning to see Naruto at her window.

“Sakura-chan! What’s wrong?” Naruto asked, hurriedly disabling the trap there - he didn’t usually come in the window, and he missed part of it, narrowly dodging the razor wire that snapped up to catch around his legs - and half-stumbling over the windowsill and into her apartment.

Sakura pulled herself up shakily, fingers slipping over the sodden material of the pillow she’d been crying into, and took a step towards him. Naruto growled comfortingly as he darted to her, and Sakura collapsed into his offered arms, pressing her face into his shoulder with a keen.

“Sakura-chan!” Naruto hugged her tight, rubbing her back. Sakura could feel him scenting her, nose pushing through her messy hair, probably trying to discern what was wrong to have her such a wreck. He wouldn’t find anything there. No one had touched her, even. Sakura opened her mouth to try and explain, but she only got out a thin keen, clinging to Naruto desperately, seeking out the comforting alpha rumble in his chest and the feeling of him holding her tight.

Naruto was talking to her, but Sakura was only aware of the soft sound of his voice, a little frantic, not the sense of his words. She burrowed against his shoulder.

“He-” Sakura sniffled. “I knew he didn’t want me but- I never thought he would- He ran away from me.” She pressed the inside of her wrist to her face as she turned it aside, the fingers of her other hand curled tight in Naruto’s shirt. She was in heat and he had- He’d run like he couldn’t stand to be near her; no, Sakura had known Kakashi didn’t want her the way she wanted him, but to so violently reject even. . .

“What?” Naruto sounded shocked. “He- I never thought he’d do that! How could he? I sent him here be-”

Sakura only barely heard the rest of his words as she stiffened, yanking back and out of his arms entirely. “You did what?” Sakura demanded, her voice spiking into a shriek before she could stop herself.

Naruto cringed backwards, offering up a placating whine, and Sakura’s fingers dug into her palms as she made a rough sound herself. It had nothing on an alpha’s growl, but it made Naruto curl in on himself as he kept moving away all the same.

Another time, Sakura might have felt guilty - she loved Naruto, and all too many people had forced him to cringe and apologise in his life.

“I wanted him to see you!” Naruto said, and Sakura couldn’t find words, instead voicing a low cry of embarrassment and anger. “Not like- I mean- Coming to see you like this, and- and scent you, and . . . I told you, Sakura-chan, I don’t think. . . I don’t think he doesn’t want you, it’s just that-”

“He. Ran. Away!” Sakura repeated, and oh, that hurt, and- “You sent him here to me knowing that he-! Naruto, how could you-” She broke off with a howl, and Naruto whimpered, reaching for the window.

He half-mumbled something at her, but Sakura wasn’t paying attention any more, having reminded herself of the memory of Kakashi, wide-eyed and shifty, tense and suddenly fleeing her presence. He’d all but flung the bag Naruto had sent him with, even, he had been in such a rush to leave it and get away.

Couldn’t wait to get out of her presence, could he?

Sakura crumpled to the floor, bowing her head and folding her arms, leaning onto the couch. A breeze drifted through the apartment, and then she heard the soft sound of the window closing.

Even fleeing her temper, Naruto was thinking of her comfort and security, Sakura thought, and felt guilty again. Sakura liked fresh air, but she would not like her heat-scent to spread so easily out into the open air, as though inviting any alpha who chose to come and make a display of themselves to earn her attention. As though she would be so easily swayed.

. . .no, Sakura knew what she wanted, knew who she wanted, but that wasn’t much help either, was it?

Sakura sniffed, then sighed, catching traces of Naruto’s scent mingled with her own in the fabric of her couch. His was the most recent, but not the only - Yamato, Ino, and even Kakashi had left traces of their own alpha scents there; there were even fainter traces of Sai to be found in her apartment, though he favoured the chair near the window when he was here, not the couch. . .

Sakura pushed herself up and turned, leaning back against the couch instead, sniffing and reaching for a tissue. Kakashi had smelled so good, too, there at her door. . .

Nothing out of the ordinary for him, perhaps - it was a lazy day off for Kakashi, he hadn’t been training, and he wasn’t in rut, of course he wasn’t; Sakura had never scented him in one, though it had been the focus of many idle wonderings and daydreams. She wondered if he had even gone into rut any time in the long years she had known him - it certainly seemed that Kakashi had no intention of drawing any omega’s attention, anyone’s attention. If there truly was no one he desired, no one he thought he could have, his own cycle would have dampened; his body would not put forth the effort of such a shift.

Still, even with nothing unusual to make it stand out . . . well, Sakura’s senses were currently heightened, and attuned to a potential mate - and Kakashi was both a familiar alpha, an alpha she shared pack bonds with, and the only potential mate Sakura had even considered for years.

Sakura had been all too focused on his spicy, faintly metallic scent, for the few moments she had been given to take it in. She hadn’t been around Kakashi at the point when her heat was beginning to come upon her for a good few years; not since long before her attention had . . . shifted when it came to Kakashi, in fact.

Sakura fidgeted, grimacing. She was still upset, her face throbbed from crying and her throat ached, and even the thought of Kakashi - the vivid recollection of his scent - was stirring her blood, heat coiling in the cradle of her hips. Sakura hissed, repressing the feeling.

It was her heat heightening everything, and it didn’t matter because Kakashi didn’t want her and that had been made quite clear. Sakura had been aware of it before, but if ever she had held on to hopes that it might change, or that she might be wrong. . .

The heat of desire faded in a sudden cold wash of disappointment and self-pity. The ache it brought was even less pleasant, but Sakura hardly cared, sinking lower on the floor and barely mustering the energy to pull a pillow into her arms, pressing it against her aching midsection.

Kakashi paused on the roof opposite Sakura’s apartment building, wishing faintly that he’d layered another mask on before leaving his own. Not that he’d really had the chance, with Naruto in it and still shouting at him.

Kakashi cringed at the thought. Naruto was . . . very loud, even more so in the confined space of Kakashi’s apartment, but Kakashi was accustomed to that. No, the volume of Naruto’s shouting had been bothersome but not difficult to deal with - but it had stung terribly, wrenching at him, to hear from Naruto that he had made Sakura cry, apparently left her in quite a wretched state.

He hadn’t needed Naruto’s anger to spur him to apologise - though perhaps he was going a bit more expeditiously than he would have otherwise.

Sakura was hardly a fragile, overemotional creature; she didn’t cry easily. She might be in a heightened emotional state now, and feeling vulnerable, but that Kakashi’s actions or words had caused her such hurt, was. . .

Kakashi felt sick and his chest ached, his instincts clawing at him in fury at his causing any distress to an omega he-

An omega in his pack.

Kakashi dropped off the roof and made his way inside, up to the top floor where Sakura lived, and spared only a moment to brace himself and take a breath before he knocked.

It took a few more taps before Sakura answered the door, one arm curled about her stomach, hand gripping her own side. She stared at him, and Kakashi hid a flinch as he saw her fingers tremble where they were curled around the edge of the door.

“Sakura,” Kakashi said, voice low and gentle, “I came to. . .”

“Kakashi-taichou.” Sakura said thinly. “What are you doing here?”

Kakashi smiled weakly. “Maa, I came to . . . to apologise, actually-”

“No, that’s- It’s fine.” Sakura shook her head and began to close the door, and Kakashi braced a hand on it without a thought. Sakura looked at his hand, her cheeks pinking a little more, but Kakashi was already dropping it from the wood, abashed. He was torn between the soft pull he felt towards Sakura and the sick little stab of upset for having distressed her so already. “I know you don’t-” Sakura broke off abruptly, looking past Kakashi, and released the door, retreating inside.

Kakashi hesitated, but she’d left the door standing open. He took a tentative step inside and closed it himself as Sakura nodded shallowly. He saw her swallow awkwardly, folding both arms around herself defensively now.

“I know-” Sakura shook her head sharply. “Naruto was meddling, I know that; it’s why you came earlier and I’m sure it’s why you’re here now, and it’s not necessary, you can go.” she said firmly, and Kakashi frowned. “I’ll deal with Naruto later. You can go.” she repeated, eyes flicking towards the door.

“I truly did come to apologise, Sakura.” Kakashi said softly, taking a step towards her but approaching no closer. He was no mannerless pup to infringe upon an emotional omega’s space in such a way. “I did not need Naruto’s urging to do so. I never meant to cause you any distress; it didn’t even occur to me that my actions. . .”

Sakura’s expression told him that those words were not helping. Kakashi reviewed them rapidly and winced.

“Sakura,” Kakashi began again, “it was not-”

“I know you don’t want me, Kakashi,” Sakura interrupted sharply, and Kakashi froze, eye widening, “it’s- it’s fine, it doesn’t matter what Naruto said to get you here - I’ll tell him again to lay off when I see him again, the horrible-” Sakura shook her head hard, her hair flying. “Just- It’s fine, just go. Get out.


“I know you don’t want me and I don’t need you to tell me that any more!” Sakura said, voice shaking, something raw and broken in her eyes as she looked up to meet his gaze, and Kakashi swallowed painfully even as she turned away.

“It is not that I don’t want you, Sakura.” Kakashi said, though he felt sick with nerves to voice it, and Sakura whirled back to him.

“Then what is it?” Sakura demanded fiercely, her scent - sweet as ever, sweeter still with the spicy accent brought on by the rise of her heat - carrying a tang that spoke of anger more than upset now. Her fingers were shaking as they curled in towards her palms, but he wasn’t sure it was purely distress any longer.

“This. . . This was a bad time to try and talk.” Kakashi said instead, eyeing Sakura and feeling guilty and awful all over again. It had been thoughtless to come speak to her now - yes, she had been upset now and addressing it swiftly was on the face of it a good intent . . . but it was all too easy to make things worse, also. Not that Kakashi had wanted to try and broach this topic, but he had seen the moment Sakura opened the door why Naruto had so stubbornly insisted he had to, right now.

“Not that you are precisely saying much of anything.” Sakura said sharply before Kakashi could continue. “And I don’t need you to say anything; you didn’t need to apologise and you don’t need to- Just-”

“Maybe I should get Ino for you.” Kakashi offered carefully, well aware of how close they were. Perhaps Ino could-

“I don’t want Ino!” Sakura shrieked, eyes blazing, and grabbed a box from the table nearest her, throwing it across the room - though not at Kakashi, it didn’t even pass near him - where it shattered impressively against the wall, spilling shuriken across the floor in a spray of splinters and clattering steel.

“I’ll get Naruto.” Kakashi said instead. “He’s angry with me,” Naruto was going to be angry with him for some time, Kakashi suspected, “but he’s . . . your alpha, part of your pack,” as Kakashi was himself, true, but she and Naruto were much closer, Kakashi knew; he’d be far better for her right now, “that would be-”

“I don’t want Naruto either!” Sakura shouted, crossing her arms. Her chest was heaving and the position emphasised it, her ragged, hitching breaths and the shudders that wracked her frame.

“No. . .” Kakashi cringed a little. “You . . . you want me.” he said quietly, meaning shifting, and Sakura’s breath caught.

“Kakashi.” Sakura said, and didn’t correct herself with his title this time. “I am . . . well aware-”

“You think I don’t want you; is that why-” Kakashi suddenly wondered if Sakura’s little displays had been not a subconscious gesture but perhaps a careful, subtle attempt to draw his attention. He swallowed.

“Kakashi, I know-”

“Hush.” Kakashi said sharply, and Sakura fell silent. She frowned, giving him a sharp look, and Kakashi let a deep rumble build in his chest and throat. He watched Sakura’s shoulders ease a little, her arms no longer held so tight against her body. Kakashi took one step, lifting a hand. “May I?” he asked, and Sakura’s expression shifted, showing surprise. She nodded.

Kakashi moved towards her and brushed his fingertips carefully over her cheek, tucking a lock of her hair back behind her ear but not allowing his touch to stray anywhere else.

“I assure you, whatever you have . . . guessed, from my own behaviour,” Kakashi tilted his head, “or my reaction to yours,” he added, and Sakura pinked; not quite confirmation of his guess in itself but certainly suggestive, “saying that I. . .”

Sakura opened her mouth and Kakashi gave a gruff sound. She quieted without speaking.

Kakashi took a moment, trying to sort out his thoughts and feeling rather unsteady.

Sakura’s fingers crept over his bare forearm just above his glove, curling in a loose hold as she made a soft soothing sound. Kakashi’s heart squeezed.

He bent and dipped his head, reaching up with his free hand to tug his mask down - Sakura’s scent was immediately even thicker in his nose, and he struggled not to let it affect him any more than it already was - and gently brushed his nose along Sakura’s cheek, then nudged against her own companionably and met her gaze. She stared back, wide-eyed, her fingers tightening around his arm as her breath caught, her lips parting.

“Kakashi.” Sakura said softly, a faint tremor in her voice.

“Sakura.” Kakashi said, his voice a little lower, a little rougher than before. He cleared his throat, but couldn’t, quite, help that. Sakura shivered, her eyes darkening, and moved a little closer, tilting her head up, her heady scent surrounding him.

Sakura’s other hand came up to his side, slipping just under the edge of his flak vest, and Kakashi held back from returning the gesture, simply allowing her to touch him freely. Sakura’s fingers slid up a little, brushing his ribs, then forwards, smoothing over his belly, her other hand flexing around his forearm as her nose brushed his cheek and down to his jaw.

Kakashi lifted his jaw a little, letting her close, as close as she wished, and Sakura purred a soft note. It made his chest tighten with a curl of warmth and satisfaction edged with pride. Sakura nosed his throat, making a tentative crooning noise, and Kakashi finally allowed himself to move, winding an arm around her slender waist, resting his splayed hand on her back.

Sakura all but melted beneath the touch, nestling against his shoulder. He couldn’t feel it very well through his flak vest and he bared his teeth for a moment at the irritation of being thus denied, but pushed that frustration away.

Kakashi held Sakura close against himself, breathing her in, feeling the tickle of her hair against his jaw and the softness of the satin over her own soft warmth beneath his fingertips. He took a breath to speak, and Sakura lifted her head, leaning back a little, but didn’t move away from him at all.

Kakashi stroked her back lightly. “Sakura, if I were your choice, I would be,” he paused, swallowing thickly, “amazed, and thankful, and incredibly lucky.”

“You’ve been my only choice.” Sakura said swiftly, pinking even more. “My only choice for years, Kakashi.” She whined softly, nudging closer. “I do want you, Kakashi,” she said, in a tiny voice, “in . . . so many ways.”

“Then you may have me.” Kakashi said softly, open and raw, and Sakura’s gaze snapped up to meet his own as she froze. Kakashi rumbled soothingly and her tense shoulders relaxed once more. He lifted a hand to cup her jaw. “Sakura. I want you very much.”

Sakura’s eyes softened and she tipped her head into his touch. She licked her lips, gaze cutting to one side. “And- And it’s not because of my. . .”

Kakashi’s eye narrowed. “Do you truly think me so foolish or so easily swayed?” he snapped, displeased, and Sakura ducked her head, whining. Kakashi huffed, shaking his head and stroking her cheek again, gentle. “I want you, Sakura. I want to court you.” he said, low and sincere, smiling slightly as Sakura’s breath caught, her eyes going damp.

“I want to prove myself to you,” Kakashi dipped his head and brushed a kiss to her cheekbone, “I want to learn the things about you no one else knows,” he nosed her temple before lifting his head, “I want to take you as my mate, one day, when you’re ready.”

Sakura sniffed, crooning with pleasure and twining her arms around his shoulders. “Yes. Oh, I- Yes, that.” she said, hugging him tightly.

Though deeply regretting the existence of his flak vest once more, Kakashi didn’t move, only held her in silence for a few minutes. He trailed a hand up and down her back, then began to sway gently with her held close.

“What do you want, sweetness? In the immediate sense.” Kakashi asked, and Sakura’s brows rose as she pursed her lips into a pout, hips tilting as she shifted her weight, eyes sliding down his body in a speaking gesture. “Other than that.” Kakashi said dryly, shaking his head, denying the possibility.

Sakura pouted a little more, but nodded, relaxed as she snuggled into him.

“Do you want me to stay, or leave?” Kakashi asked, though he felt a spiky feeling roar to life in his chest at the idea of leaving her now - when they had only just consented to court one another, when she was in heat. He wanted to stay with her, keep her safe and comfortable and happy, to be close.

Sakura looked up at him. “I want. . .” she trailed off, shifting. “Do you want to go? Especially since. . .” She gestured vaguely, managing to loosely imply her heat and giving him a meaningful look. He had already denied that.

Kakashi growled sharply, and Sakura smiled slightly. “No.” Kakashi said firmly, though there was clearly no need. “If you would have me, I would stay with you.” he added more gently, and Sakura purred, her back arching as she rubbed against him, lifting her head to nuzzle his jaw.

“Of course I want you.” Sakura said, rubbing her cheek against his jaw firmly, scenting him possessively. “I want you to stay with me, and be with me, and. . .”

Kakashi nudged against her in turn, pressing his jaw along her cheek and down against her own, breathing in as his nose brushed her ear. “Then I am at your disposal, sweetness.” he promised, grinning when she purred again.

When Sakura’s arms loosened Kakashi slipped his flak vest off, ducking free of her hold long enough to remove his sandals as well. Sakura eyed him, pouting, as she backed up a few steps, and Kakashi cocked his head.

Sakura pointed, and Kakashi snorted, obligingly removing his pouches as well, then his gloves, leaving himself in only his jounin blues and his hitai-ate in its usual place; his mask still hung loose around his throat.

“Better?” Kakashi teased, and Sakura hummed, shifting her feet and gathering herself. Kakashi braced, catching her when she pounced, and she made a pleased sound that rose into a yip as Kakashi scooped her easily off her feet, cradling her in his arms. “All right?” he asked, pausing, and Sakura answered only with a soft trill, snuggling into the hold.

She didn’t pull free even when Kakashi moved to the couch, and he folded himself down onto it with her in his arms, cuddling her close and sliding his fingers into her hair.

Sakura yawned, and Kakashi rumbled soothingly, shifting his caress into a slow, languid thing, wondering if she would sleep. He was gratified when - after a time of nuzzling into his throat and leaving heavy trails of her own scent with long, slow nudges along his collarbone, purring - she did, growing heavier against his chest, her purr softening but not disappearing entirely as she drifted.

She’d had an exhausting day, Kakashi was sure, feeling another flash of guilt, and that was on top of the stress on her body that her heat was bringing to bear. He rocked her gently, rumbling quietly from time to time and basking lazily in simply having her near, and the trust she was so easily displaying in him.

Sakura’s nap gave him a little time to sort through his thoughts, as well. Sakura had more than invited his attentions, evidently having been longing for them for . . . some time. He could hardly deny being pleased - more than - at the new changes, but it was still . . . a large shift in his life, in his pack.

Kakashi had an intended mate now, one he very much anticipated courting. He smiled, brushing a kiss to Sakura’s hair. Sakura sighed sleepily, shifting against him and stretching a little, one leg curling over his own even as she began to wake.

Sakura purred, stretching languidly. “Ooh. . . I knew you were good with your hands, but how did I never know they could be this good?” she asked even as Kakashi gentled his kneading to light strokes down on either side of her spine.

She spared a wistful moment to wish she was feeling them on bare skin, but his massages and petting had been delicious even through the satin of her gown.

Kakashi leaned in over her; he was silent when he moved, but Sakura could feel his warmth as he came close. Normally she would also have scented him coming closer, but. . . His scent had saturated her bed, her entire apartment, over the past few days, and while Sakura revelled in it, it also served to mask his movements even more.

“If you think they feel good, or make you feel good, now. . .”

Sakura startled, breath catching and cheeks warming. She twisted to look over her shoulder, finding Kakashi smirking at her, showing sharp teeth, his eye glinting.

Ooh, don’t tease.” Sakura whined, rolling her hips, and Kakashi laughed softly, leaning even closer to nuzzle her cheek and smoothing one hand down her back and over her ass, slowing her restless movements. She whined again, wordless this time, and wriggled.

Kakashi squeezed her hip. “Sorry, sweetness.” he said lightly, hand sliding back up over her waist and ribs as she sighed.

Sakura wriggled again, this time a more directed shift, turning over and nudging up against Kakashi with a needy sound.

Kakashi’s smile softened as he immediately stretched out beside her, one arm sliding beneath her and pulling her in close, tucking her against his side. Sakura purred contentedly as she folded her legs over one of his, closing her eyes. Her braid slid slowly from her shoulder across her neck and down to rest on the bed at her back, and Kakashi stroked down her neck as he reached across to neaten it so its weight settled more comfortably.

Every day since he had come to her, promising to court her and declaring himself, Kakashi had brushed out her hair until she was nearly a puddle, then braided it back to keep it under control while Sakura was lounging about and slipping into frequent naps. Kakashi hadn’t left her apartment once since then, and had only left her side when she indicated she might want space - which hadn’t been often.

Sakura had never had such attentive care through one of her heats - hell, ever.

Kakashi had promised he wished to court her, once her heat had passed? Sakura thought he had already done an outstanding job of it, more than proving himself - not that she had particularly needed him to do that, either. It was a pleasure that he wished to, but Sakura knew him well - that was why she had wanted him for so long.

Sakura nosed along Kakashi’s collarbone, scenting him - his scent was stronger, she thought, than it had been days ago, and not only from the time he had spent here. Stronger and . . . was it her imagination that the metallic edge it carried was sharper, the spice headier? Sakura drew a deeper breath, fingers curling against Kakashi’s ribs, and he rumbled affectionately, fingers finding the tenderest places along her neck, particularly at her nape, and rubbing gently.

Sakura stifled a keen at the touch, feeling the heaviest warmth inside her, coiled in the cradle of her hips, go to liquid.

She didn’t exactly regret holding off, but. . .

Well. She more than trusted Kakashi, and she had wanted him for years, and- and she was in heat. No, she didn’t regret refraining from any truly sexual intimacy with him for now, but she still wanted, damn it, especially deep inside.

Kakashi laughed again, soft and warm, and then his thin lips were brushing hers, gentle and coaxing. Sakura purred, turning even closer into him as she lifted one hand to frame his face, then sink into his wild hair. Her fingers curled and Kakashi growled against her mouth, sharp teeth skating over her lip and making her insides squirm.

He kept the kiss gentle, though, as was his touch as his hands moved here and there over her body in roaming caresses.

Kakashi had been unfailingly gentle and careful of her, doting and affectionate, soothing her when her emotions tangled her up and indulging in playfulness with her when she felt more lively. Anything she wished, Kakashi either guessed - and fulfilled - before she had even decided herself or moved to help with as soon as she expressed her desire.

Sakura wound her arms around her intended mate and deepened the kiss, though Kakashi kept it languid and soft - even as one of his arms locked around her waist, tense and possessive. Protective.

Sakura basked in it and battered down the flaring heat that pushed her to want far more than this. There would be . . . plenty of time for that. Later.

“Sit back down.” Sakura urged, flapping her free hand at Kakashi and frowning pointedly.

He sank back onto the couch obediently, but he was frowning right back at her. Well, that was fine - he was still listening. Sakura offered him the glass in her other hand - water with lime and no sugar, because Kakashi was so picky about sweet things - and Kakashi accepted it, draining half of it in one go.

Sakura trailed her fingers over his brow, smoothing his hair and humming as her fingertips crossed a damp patch at his temple. “Hush.” Sakura said, though it wasn’t a scold, nudging at him. “Relax. Get comfortable.” She fluffed a pillow and smoothed out his shirt absently where it had twisted into wrinkles around his shoulder.

Kakashi grumbled even as he let her move him with gentle nudges, sinking back against the couch. “You’re the one who needs looking after, not me.” he said, shaking his head, putting down his glass and reaching up to her, gentle hands sliding over her hips and waist. “You’re still coming off your heat. I should be looking after you, not-”

Sakura laughed fondly, feeling a curling warmth in her belly that had nothing to do with her heat - which was, indeed, still affecting her, though it was fading now. Silly fretful alpha. Doting alpha. “I have been dealing with them, primarily alone, for years, Kakashi.” she said gently, bending to kiss his brow. “You are currently suffering through your body waking up hormones for a process you haven’t suffered through in . . . how long?”

Kakashi mumbled the answer, too low for her to even guess at, but that was all right - Sakura didn’t need to know exactly how long it had been since he’d had a proper rut to know it was going to be hard on his system.

She was sorry for the discomfort he felt - and more for the guilt that had apparently come with it, as though he should feel guilty for this when he had been caring for her with such devotion - but she couldn’t help but feel . . . just a little pleased.

Maybe more than a little.

Kakashi hadn’t gone through a proper rut in several years, at least - probably longer. Quite possibly much longer.

Kakashi had been so disinterested in any omega - or so convinced he couldn’t have the one he desired, which was nonsense in Sakura’s opinion, even before she’d been exposed to what he was like as an attentive, courting alpha; he was already incredibly desirable as a mate and he had only proven himself more so - that his cycle had faded almost completely. And yet, it had begun to reassert itself after only days of being ensconced in Sakura’s apartment with her through her heat, coming on fast and hard - all in response to their proximity and his tending to her.

Kakashi might have immediately denied the possibility of sex so soon, and Sakura was more than happy to wait, regardless of the drives her heat encouraged, but his body had rapidly thrown everything into readying him to match her regardless - to fulfil her needs.

“Settle down, darling.” Sakura murmured, smoothing her hands out along his shoulders, feeling the tense flex of lean muscle beneath her touch even as he settled obligingly for her. He was, Sakura had found over the past days, incredibly obliging and responsive. Not fawning, but . . . accommodating and comfortable. She didn’t think it was due only to her heat.

“I am settled.” Kakashi said, voice low. The soft rumble that flavoured it at times was becoming more and more common, and it was wreaking havoc with Sakura’s own desires, in all honesty - she was already keyed up and hyperaware of her alpha, and the hints of his growl seeping into his voice as his rut took a fuller hold on him made her want to spread herself out for him and just . . . soak up his attention.

Or demand it. Take it herself. Sakura wanted, partly from her heat and partly from years of desires she had always thought would go unfulfilled.

Sakura nudged Kakashi a little more and settled onto his lap, smiling as he immediately wrapped his arms around her. She nuzzled his shoulder and pressed her face to his neck, and he growled a little more roughly, tilting his jaw up to offer the long line of his throat.

Sakura trailed kisses along the lean muscle of his shoulder and up his neck, breathing soft little puffs against the bare, sensitive skin. Kakashi shivered, fingers curling restively against her back and hip, just shy of clutching at her. Sakura nipped him gently, daring, and he growled, sudden and loud, his hands splaying over her sides and back.

It was very much not a sound of disapproval.

Sakura smiled, rubbing her cheek against his neck, then nipped him again, a little firmer, a little higher, just beneath his jaw. “Let me take care of you, too, darling.” Sakura murmured, consciously drawing up a purr that had him shivering and going lax beneath her. It came easily - Sakura was happy, and she was caring for her intended mate, offering the purr to keep him calm and content.

Sakura let it deepen as she rubbed her cheek against Kakashi’s, snuggling into him, hips arching as she pressed as much of herself against him as she could. Kakashi rumbled in answer, hands roaming down her thighs and back up over her hips with a firm squeeze that slid into an equally firm caress as Kakashi’s hands continued upwards on either side of her spine.

“There you are, sweetness.” Kakashi murmured, almost nonsense, and Sakura wriggled a little, tightening her embrace around his shoulders and nuzzling his face, playful.

She stilled for half a breath when he growled, deep and wanting, and it gave him the chance to tug her into a kiss. It was fierce and warm, and Sakura felt a fluttery rush of heat as his fangs dragged over her lower lip.

Her heat wasn’t quite done yet, and the spicy edge of his scent rich in her nose was only encouraging her reactions - his body might be racing to match hers, but Sakura’s instincts had her body eager to run his rut with him as well, to ease him and exhaust him.

Even so, Sakura thought the kiss and the gentle-rough bite of it might very well have drawn the same reaction from her even outside of this precarious balance of hormones and needs. She shivered and . . . looked forward to finding out.

Fierce as he was, his kiss consuming and needy, Kakashi didn’t push beyond that, his hands roaming her back and ass to keep her close, kneading. Sakura rubbed against him restlessly, forcing herself to stop when she caught the thinnest edge of a whine in Kakashi’s throat, flushing even more as she realised her own movements. Kakashi had remained still beneath her, against her, though she could feel. . .

Sakura purred softly, soothing rather than enticing, though she didn’t apologise, and peppered his face and neck with light kisses. “I have you.” she crooned thoughtlessly, and offered him the glass of water again with a quick twist around to reach.

Kakashi accepted it and drained the rest of the water before putting it aside, his gaze not leaving hers. Sakura felt squirmily laid bare with his sharp, predatory focus. It wasn’t unpleasant - not from him.

Sakura smiled at the thought, and Kakashi’s expression softened as he lifted a hand, stroking her face and cupping her jaw. Sakura dipped into the touch with pleasure, and Kakashi let out a soft, slow breath, sinking back against the couch.

Sakura melted against him, curling herself around her intended mate, toying with his wild hair and closing her eyes as she settled into a steadier purr, nudging just a little into his arm around her. It tightened immediately, and she smiled.

“And you have me.” Sakura murmured, and Kakashi smiled, nosing her jaw and returning her purr with a contented rumble.

Sakura shivered as she took the last step to the bed, climbing smoothly up onto it and smiling when Kakashi extended an open hand. She clasped it and let him tug her closer, steadying her as she moved. She swept an appreciative look over her soon-to-be mate’s body, from the heated look in his heavy-lidded eye over his slim collarbones and leanly-muscled chest and belly to his proudly-angled cock, the head glistening in the light with precome. Her inner muscles clenched. Their extended kissing and petting before they’d even made it here to her bedroom had affected her every bit as much as it had him; her core was slick and aching.

Sakura completed her slow sweep, eyes trailing down Kakashi’s slender legs before darting back up to meet his own gaze. He was grinning, slightly crooked, just big enough to show one of his sharp canines. Sakura shivered, gaze lingering on his mouth, helplessly imagining the sting of them on her skin.

“You’re sure, sweetness?” Kakashi asked softly as Sakura closed the little distance between them, stretching out her other hand as she moved to straddle his thighs.

Very sure.” Sakura said immediately, then paused, up on one knee. “Doubts?” she asked softly.

Kakashi shook his head, lifting his other hand to offer it as well. “Certainly not.” He smiled wider for a moment, almost a flicker of relief and amusement.

Sakura completed her repositioning and immediately moved up against Kakashi’s body, feeling the warmth of his thighs between her own and squeezing his hands a little tighter. Kakashi returned the gesture and swept his thumbs over her knuckles.

“I love you, Sakura.” Kakashi offered softly, and Sakura’s breath caught, her heart fluttering. She released his hands and wrapped her arms around his shoulders instead, arching hard against him, her breasts pressed between them.

Kakashi met her sloppy kiss easily, arms winding around her waist, hands roaming over her body in delicate, enflaming strokes as he gentled her kiss into something sweeter, then growled against her mouth. His fangs scraped her lip and sent a searing pulse of heat and want through her body, winding the tight coil in the pit of her stomach a little tighter.

“Love you.” Sakura returned, her mouth open against his jaw. “Want you, so much, Kakashi.” she said with a little whimper.

“All yours.” Kakashi promised softly, and Sakura shivered, shaking herself a little and drawing back, catching his hands to steady herself again as she grinned. Kakashi stilled, and Sakura’s grin widened.

Sakura rocked her hips, pressing bodily against Kakashi’s tense, hard abs, then pulling back enough to drag her slick folds over the head of his cock. She twitched as the sticky-slick tip of his cock bumped along her clit, sending a fiery pulse of pleasure through her body, then arched her back to seat him at her core at a comfortable angle.

Kakashi was trembling beneath her, and Sakura felt a surge of pride and possessiveness and desire, all knotting together deep inside her. She drew a deep breath - rich with the scent of Kakashi’s pleasure and arousal, thick in this deepest part of her den, mingled with her own scents - and moaned, toes curling and calves tightening.

Sakura shivered once more and shifted carefully, sinking down on Kakashi’s cock with a firm push, unable to hold back a moan as she spread open around him. “All mine.” Sakura said fiercely, the words coming out in something as close to a growl as she was capable of producing, as she took him in to the base, inner muscles fluttering around his length, learning the feel and the size of him inside.

His knot was still nothing more than a quiescent bump near the base of his cock - for now - but as Sakura’s muscles tightened and she rocked her hips gently, feeling out how their bodies rode together like this, she could feel that little ridge nevertheless. Her breath came shallow and her throat tightened as her imagination raced ahead to what it would feel like when he came, when his knot swelled and locked them together.

Sakura moaned breathily, lashes fluttering, wanting that, only to let out a louder cry as Kakashi’s hips rocked up into her, nudging deliciously against her muscles as they tightened in response to the sudden stimulation. Kakashi growled roughly, teeth bared, his fingers clasping tighter where they were wound through hers, and Sakura’s heart clenched and soared at once as snatches of a hundred different dreams and daydreams flitted through her memory.

Those snatches were quickly enough swept away by the here and now, however, drowned in the pleasure and want making her head spin, and Sakura was happy to let them go, rolling her hips and leaning in for a kiss before she lifted herself with an easy flex. She rose until even the head of Kakashi’s cock had almost slipped free of her body’s grip, then shifted slightly.

Kakashi gave a low rumble, almost a warning, and Sakura rocked down again firmly, gasping as she sheathed his length fully inside herself a little quicker this time. Kakashi’s thumbs rubbed over her hands, giving her a little push when she began to move again, his grip and the pressure of his hands in hers granting her more leverage. Sakura rolled her hips down hard, pleasure bursting through her and lighting tingling little starbursts under her skin, and kept moving, hands twisting in Kakashi’s hold.

Sakura wondered how easily he might be able to move her himself, if he did; his hands tight on her hips instead of holding hers, his body flexing with all that well-honed, well-used muscle - none of it for show and all of it so tightly controlled - currently stretched out before her eyes. . .

Sakura’s body clenched tighter around his cock and he moaned quietly, tugging at her, pulling her down harder on his cock as his hips twitched up to meet her.

Kakashi.” Sakura moaned, head bowing closer to his, and Kakashi growled wordlessly in response, showing his teeth. The display made her heart flutter, liquid heat pouring through her, and Sakura wobbled a bit as she continued to ride his cock, whining needily.

Kakashi growled again, softer, and then he released one of her hands, stroking her side and up her back, pulling her firmly against himself. Sakura shivered, lifting her now-free hand to his shoulder, kneading thoughtlessly, gripping hard when Kakashi surged up beneath her, keening at the sharp edge of pleasure that rushed through her.

“Sakura?” Kakashi asked, his voice low and rough, mouth almost against her jaw. His breath brushed over her neck and Sakura felt a flush of warmth and aching longing. “Are you all right?” he asked, and his arm tightened around Sakura’s hips, keeping her down - from continuing her movements over him.

Sakura protested with a sharp whine, nails digging into Kakashi’s shoulder.

“Sakura.” Kakashi asked, nosing her shoulder, kissing softly.

“Fine.” Sakura managed. “I’m fine. Fuck, Kakashi, I just-” She arched her hips, rocking against him, squeezing around his cock, and found she could barely move with the grip of his arm tightening around her. “I want you so much, you feel so good.” She wriggled against his hold, breath catching at the steely grip of his arm around her.

Kakashi laughed, breathless and warm. His mouth pressed against her shoulder, fangs barely pricking at her skin, and dragged upwards, over her neck. Sakura cried out, thighs tightening against Kakashi’s hips, clutching at his hand.

“So do you.” Kakashi said, nosing her ear. His restraining embrace eased, just enough to let her move again, and Sakura immediately shoved against his shoulder for leverage to resume her rhythm, hips rolling. “Yeah,” Kakashi said breathlessly, tilting his head and kissing along her jaw, “just like that.”

Even as Sakura moved quicker, chasing the delicious feeling of his cock sliding along her fluttering inner muscles, Kakashi didn’t simply wait obligingly beneath her, allowing her to do as she willed without- He growled softly as he moved to meet her, bringing their hips together with a sharp spike of pleasure every time she dropped down over his cock. Sakura panted, kissing his face and nuzzling his cheekbone, following it all the way back to his ear, rocking hard against him with every thrust.

Kakashi’s knot was beginning to thicken now, Sakura could feel it as she rolled her hips down to take his full length once more. Not enough, yet, to curtail their movements together, however, and Sakura threw herself into the heady rhythm as she rode him, her body squeezing reflexively around his knot every time it stretched her open.

When Sakura faltered, she found his grip supporting her, and as she slumped against his chest she felt the tension of his muscles as he kept up the rhythm she’d begun, though he shifted a little - keeping the thrusts shallower now, in deference to the way his knot was now stretching her even further. Kakashi showed no sign of the effort it took to keep lifting Sakura and rocking up to meet her other than the subtle flex of hard muscle she could feel pressed up against her; even his breathing was no rougher. That was delicious, too. A delicious reminder of how strong her alpha was, and the control with which he exerted that strength.

Sakura tensed, back arching, eyes wide as that thought thrummed through her in an almost physical wave.

“My alpha.” she said, breathless and dizzy with the pleasure of it - not only the physical pleasure of his body against hers, his cock and his chest and his hands and- but the fierce, singing joy of her alpha, her intended mate, hers, here in her den and her nest and in her, his voice in her ear. “My alpha.

Kakashi snarled in her ear, his cock driving into her a little harder, and Sakura jerked, moaning at both the sound and the contact. Kakashi’s hand roamed over her back, then splayed low over her hips, and his mouth-

Sakura gasped as Kakashi nuzzled into her neck, his breath hot and damp. His fangs teased over her skin, and Sakura felt a flash of pleasure that made her body tighten around his cock.

Kakashi didn’t ask again if she was sure, even as he lingered over her throat. He set his teeth and Sakura barely had a heartbeat to plead-

“Kakashi, oh, Kakashi please-”

Sakura jerked as her alpha’s fangs sank into her neck, suddenly swamped with the sheer pleasure of it, edged by raw, knife’s-edge pain. Sakura arched her neck, offering herself up longingly to her alpha’s bite, clutching at his hand with desperate affection; she felt as though Kakashi was impressing himself on her very being. A bond she had fervently longed for.

Kakashi growled, deep and possessive, thrumming through her neck, and Sakura’s heart fluttered with the fierce joy of it. She writhed in his arms, nails digging into his back as she clutched at him, and Kakashi jerked gently at his bite, making her cry out softly, all her muscles tightening. Kakashi groaned as her body clutched at his cock, slowly easing his bite, nuzzling her jaw and kissing across the mark of it. Heat flared there, and Sakura barely felt the seeping of her own blood over her skin past that sensation.

“Sakura.” Kakashi growled, lifting his head, lips brushing her ear.

Sakura whined, hips rocking restlessly, tugging against the fullness of his knot inside her, almost twitching with the sharp pleasure of that stretch with each movement she made. Kakashi kneaded at her back, kissing along her neck, and she purred. Kakashi murmured her name again, nosing against her ear, and leaned back a little, tilting his jaw up and calling her with a softer, wordless rumble.

Sakura bared her teeth, rolling her hips - slower this time, arching her back to put more force behind the movement, an aching burn of pleasure - and Kakashi bared his own in answer. His thin lips curled back - they still bore a tracery of her blood and the sight, the reason why, made her heart sing. Sakura nuzzled into Kakashi’s neck, lips sliding over the thrum of his pulse as she swiftly moved to find her place, biting down hard without a moment of hesitation.

Kakashi snarled, hands tightening - his fingers dug into Sakura’s hip and her hand twisted in his grip. He dragged Sakura harder against himself, thrusting up hard, and Sakura’s jaw tightened as she felt Kakashi’s knot swelling more rapidly, pressing firmly inside her as it locked into place. Sakura purred throatily with the heady throb of pleasure, tongue pressing against Kakashi’s skin. She wriggled in his hold, shifting his knot just enough inside her to make her tremble with the flaring pleasure. She grinned against Kakashi’s neck and repeated the movement, pulling a rough sound from her mate’s throat.

Sakura barely heard it, though, her senses overwritten with the all-consuming rush of pleasure as her own orgasm hit. Her body tightened around her mate’s cock, clutching at his knot, furthering the lock between them.

Sakura trembled with it, nearly keening, and Kakashi’s fingers flexed around her hip. He released her hand, stroking her side in long, slow sweep.

It eased Sakura into a soft purr, melting against her mate as the fiercest waves of pleasure began to ebb. Kakashi rumbled affectionately, and Sakura drew in a deep breath, gently releasing her bite, nuzzling her mate’s neck. Her purr deepened at that thought and Kakashi’s arms drew her in tight against his chest.

Sakura’s purr hitched as she realised how fiercely she had bitten in her passion, and she stroked Kakashi’s shoulder and side, giving an apologetic murmur. Words wouldn’t come to her tongue, but she could find the coiling pulse of her chakra easily enough.

Sakura took a moment to steady herself, then pulled her chakra to her fingers, and Kakashi growled sharply. Sakura crooned, and Kakashi nuzzled at her, reaching up and drawing her hand away from his neck and shoulder, kissing along her own.

“No.” Kakashi said, nosing the curve of her jaw and nipping gently at her ear. “want to keep it. Just,” he continued when Sakura protested with a soft whine, “like this.”

Sakura swallowed, shifting carefully, feeling the burn of her own neck. Her breath hitched, and Kakashi kissed the bite softly. “Heal yours. If you wish.” he said, and Sakura smiled, settling with those words.

Sakura wanted to carry the mark of her mate’s teeth exactly as it was now as well. Yes, she could heal it and leave the scar, the mark of her mate’s claim on her, their new bond - newly-deepened bond - but . . . she wanted to feel it, to let the assurance of it settle into her.

“No. I want it like this.” Sakura said, her voice a little rough, and Kakashi grinned. It was sweet and brilliant and slightly crooked. It was beautiful and all hers.

Sakura shivered with pleasure, purring throatily. He was all hers.

“My alpha.” she crooned, and Kakashi nuzzled her face, rumbling in answer, shifting carefully to lean back against the headboard, still cradling her easily against his body. Sakura shifted carefully, and he hissed as her muscles gripped his knot tighter for a moment. Sakura kissed him softly as she relaxed again, leaning up against his chest, winding her arms around him. “My alpha. Kakashi.” Sakura kissed along his jaw to his mouth once more.

Kakashi grinned, nipping playfully at her mouth. “Mine. Sweetness.” He rumbled softly, the sound and the murmured words making a softer warmth throb deep inside her chest.

Sakura felt the prickle of tears threatening and burrowed against her alpha, tucking her face against his jaw, a tremor running through her that was only encouraged by the shivery waves of pleasure still lingering through every limb.

“Sakura?” Kakashi asked, voice low, one hand sweeping up and down her spine in a languidly soothing caress.

Sakura shook her head and kissed his throat. She paused, then shifted down to kiss and nuzzle at the faintly bloody stretch of his neck where he would now forever bear her mark. The caresses pulled a soft sound of pleasure from him, his hips twitching and making her gasp as his knot - still fully engorged - shifted inside her.

She calmed slowly as Kakashi trailed both hands in feathery caresses over her from shoulders to hips and thighs, making her realise how tight the muscles of her legs still were. She consciously relaxed a little, sinking more deeply into Kakashi’s support and kissing him lightly.

Kakashi returned the kiss as he rumbled, soft and affectionate, but deep in his chest. Sakura gave a deep, thrumming purr in answer, settling against his shoulder, and smiled as his soothing rumbles slowly grew looser, almost heavy.

Kakashi clasped one of her hands, his strong, scarred fingers twining gently between Sakura’s own, and she rubbed her cheek along his shoulder.

Contented weariness pulled at Sakura as well, and while they would need to move - when they could again, she thought with a soft huff of laughter - she let herself drift lazily for the moment. Her thoughts were full of nothing more than the firm heat of Kakashi’s body supporting hers, his fingers linked with her own, the sweetly-burning warmth of lingering pleasure, and the throb of her neck.

Sakura tucked her smile against her alpha’s throat, near the still-raw mark of their bond.