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A Marriage Inconvenienced

Chapter Text

Sakura groaned as she heard a sharp rap on her door, grabbing the pillow and holding it tight over her head. She climbed out of bed five minutes later when the knocking had not stopped. She gave her hair a few pats to tame the wildest strands, slipped on a robe and made her way to the door.

The culprit was one of her least favorite people, a middle-aged man with thinning hair who lived down the hall. Sakura didn't know his name or occupation but as far as she could tell, his sole existence was to annoy every person in the apartment building. There wasn't a tenant in the building who had escaped his sharp eye. He had complained that Ms. Tokushima from next door cooked too often, and his weight gain was all her fault.

It was because of him that Sakura could no longer enter her apartment through the window. He had argued to the landlord that the complex would go downhill in quality if the practice continued. He argued that no one would be able to tell the difference between a thief and a tenant. Sakura thought it was a stupid reason because there were only two types of criminals in ninja villages. The first type were high ranked ninjas that were too sneaky to be caught skulking around a residence.

The second type of criminals were dead ones.

Sakura knew she was in for a bad day when she saw him standing at her door with his face drawn in unhappiness. Nonetheless, she gave a polite smile. "Yes?"

"Haruno, follow me."

"Um… can you hold on for a minute? I just woke up and I need some shoes." She wiggled her toes on the carpet.

"There will be no need." He strode down the hallway to the stairwell expecting her to follow him. Sakura scowled but followed anyway. Past experiences had taught her it was easier to go with his whims to send him on his way as quickly as possible. So she followed him down the stairs and to the entrance of the complex.

"What is that?" she asked as she gaped at the entrance. The other side of the glass door was covered in some sort of white material that restricted the light and view.

"You tell me," her neighbor sniffed. "Read the note taped to the door."

Sakura frowned and made her way to the entrance and found the tiny scrap of paper.

Haruka, how dare you defy our new Hokage!

"There is a rumor in town that you were the only one who did not approve of our new leader," said her neighbor in an icy tone. "Some of the villagers took upon themselves to defend his honor by vandalizing our building. As this is your fault, I will inform the landlord to bill you accordingly for any cleaning fees."

She winced. At least the vandals got her name wrong; there was a slight possibility she could show her face outside and people wouldn't harass her.

"I'm certain that the village will get over it in no time. I'll take care of the mess," Sakura said. She had plenty of time to clean it since almost everything had shut down for the week for the holiday. Konoha never had an opportunity to pass the mantle of Hokage during a time of peace and they were milking it for all it was worth.

She gave the entrance door a push and then frowned when it didn't open. She gave it another shove.

"The vandals interfered with the door as well," her neighbor said in a derisive tone.

Sakura turned to give her neighbor the most polite smile she could, resisting the urge to grab him by the neck and giving him a good shake.

"Oh! Well, just let me…" she hit the glass door with her fist, causing the door to shatter into several large panes of glass.

Since he was holding Sakura responsible, she might as well take the easy way out. As she bent down to lift one of the pieces of glass, she caught a whiff of something rotten. Leaning forward to get a better look, Sakura recognized the material that was blocking the doorway. They were the same durable kind of bandages that were commonly used for Tiajutsu experts. She jabbed the glass into the obstruction and sliced downward in one smooth action, then promptly gasped in horror.

"Ewww," she exclaimed as she covered her nose with the sleeve of her bathrobe.

She heard her neighbor swear. As Sakura turned around she saw his feet disappearing into the stairwell as he fled to the safety of his apartment. As much as she wanted to follow, she had to find out where the atrocious smell was coming from. Unhappily, Sakura stepped through the crispy bandages to investigate the source.

It was her apartment building.

Her eyes began to water as she gazed at a deluge of rotten vegetables and broken egg shells on the pavement. The vandals were obviously ninja who had gone to extremes to defend their new Hokage. Instead of toilet paper, all five floors had been wrapped in bandages. It was likely they had raided the hospital in order to attack her building. The wrappings were covered in brownish film where dozens of eggs had been tossed. The vegetables had been dumped from the roof to cover the side of the building. Sakura eyed a mushy tomato that had left behind a grotesque line of slime during its slow descent from the roof to the bottom floor. To top the whole thing off, her vandalized apartment was cooking in the July heat.

Sakura, along with all of her neighbors, lived in a giant, spoiled omelet.

It was only nine in the morning and the stench would only grow worse as the day wore on. She shook her fist in anger at the bright sun, an accomplice to her unfortunate predicament, only to gag when she caught an unvarnished breath of air . She needed to get back inside.

Sakura gasped in relief as she slipped back into the stairway and plodded up to her apartment. So much for her week off, she would be lucky if she could clean the entire place in that time. She went through her closet, trying to find the most appropriate clothing suitable for cleaning a landfill.

When she made it back outside ten minutes later, Sakura was surprised to find a group of ninja were already cleaning. They were still young, most likely they were the genin who had graduated in the past year. Some of them were hacking away at the crusty bandages, while others were picking up the rotten vegetables and throwing them in garbage bins. All of them had been outfitted with masks, giving Sakura the impression she was surrounded by a small army of Kakashi impersonators.

She found the original version perched on a rooftop across the street. Curious, she made her way over to him.

"What are you doing here?" she asked as she looked up to him from the street below.

Kakashi lowered himself to sit down on the edge of the roof. "I paid for a D-ranked mission to clean up this mess. Most of the jonin instructors passed out after last night, so there was no one to supervise the operation. I want to make certain I get my money's worth, so here I am. "

"I'm surprised you haven't passed out as well." She climbed up the building and took a seat next to him, dangling her feet over the edge.

He coughed. "I'm staying away from alcohol."

"You don't want to get caught kissing another man in public?" she teased.

Kakashi arched an eyebrow. "First of all, I kissed him in private. You and Norio were the ones who rudely interrupted. Second, Tomio was very polite when he asked, and so I obliged. Third, you should be kind to me since I am the one paying for your cleaning service."

Sakura wiggled in guilt. "Why are you doing this?" She didn't like the idea of being indebted to him.

"I could smell this mess from across the village. We'll have visitors in Konoha by tomorrow and I can't have the entire village smelling like Mud Country because of your apartment building."

"I would have cleaned it up," she said hotly. "I'm not irresponsible enough to leave the place like this!"

"You're welcome."

She flushed. "You didn't have to do this for me." She looked out at the genin cleaners who were freeing her apartment from its bindings. Her eyes began to water as a strong breeze sent the odor in their direction.

"It wasn't a problem. I have a bit of extra cash right now." Kakashi reached into his pocket to remove a wad of money. He peeled off a crisp bill and offered it to her. "Tissue?"

She snorted and put her hand over her nose. "Just how much money did you make off of that bet?"

He chuckled. "I show up late because of poor habits that I have carefully nurtured into personality traits. But I can tell time and I will pay attention to the clock now that I'm in charge of running this village. I thought a bet was an excellent way to enforce the point." Sakura heard the money ripple enticingly in the air as he shook his hand before placing it back in his pocket.

She wrinkled her nose as another gust of air came. Holding her sleeve to her face wasn't enough. Kakashi was remarkably casual about the stench. "How is this not bothering you?"

He pointed to his face. "I wear a mask."

Sakura frowned. "You have one of the best noses in the village; the smell has to be worse for you than me." She gave his cheek a small poke and felt the soft yield of cotton. "How many masks do you have on?"

He cleared his throat. "I have no idea what you are talking about."

"Five?"

He said nothing, turning away from her to survey the small genins. Sakura examined his profile and noticed that his nose had mysteriously vanished under the layers of his masks.

She tried another guess. "Eight?" Kakashi gave her a glare in response and she giggled. "Can you even breathe under all of that material?"

"Air is for the weak," Kakashi responded blithely. She smiled under her sleeve, and watched him dig into his pocket once more. This time he removed a piece of blue material from his hand. "I brought a few extra masks for the team. You should put one on as well; it does miracles," he said as he held up a spare mask.

"I don't know…" Sakura wasn't entirely comfortable with the idea. She let out a squawk of indignation as Kakashi ignored her protests and pulled the material over her head. "Kakashi, what do you think you're doing!" She smacked away his hands from her head.

He looked at her with his eye crinkled in that infuriatingly annoying curve of happiness. "See?"

Sakura clenched her teeth, longing to wipe the smug look off of his face. The anger vanished when she inhaled. Instead of the horrific odor of decaying vegetables, Sakura was blessed with the enticing scent of soap, toothpaste, and aftershave. Her arms descended from their defensive position so she could curl her fingers under the edge of the roof. Aftershave meant that he had used the mask before and that his lips had been pressing against the material that she was wearing. Her hands tightened their grip on the roof.

She shouldn't have found the situation so intimate.

Mute, Sakura nodded in response.

"Well, now that you are comfortable I'll leave you to watch the team. There's plenty of work to be done and I know you'll make certain that it is completed." Kakashi nodded at her and then vanished in a puff of smoke. As soon as she saw he was gone, her fingers relinquished their tight grasp from the roof to press the mask into her face. Sakura took a deep breath and smiled in contentment as scent invaded her brain.

Mmm, they should bottle this smell.

~O~

"Frshhh….lighten up, will ya?" Genma said as he waved around a very large glass of alcohol. "This is your celebration, live a little!"

Kakashi continued to look at his friend in boredom. "I'm perfectly fine."

It was the last day of the festival and tomorrow everything would be business as usual. It was something that brought Kakashi great relief. He had spent most of his time in the past week talking to individuals who didn't know him very well. Villages were never comfortable with a leader under their forties and even someone with Kakashi's reputation was subject to scrutiny. Some of the older members still viewed him as an impetuous child despite the three decades of experience. And some didn't quite understand why Tsunade had stepped down, especially since her age-defying jutsu kept her age hidden. The week had been filled with tedious conversation as Kakashi tried to set some of them at ease. The strongest protestations had come from the civilians who never had an opportunity to accompany him in battle. They only knew Kakashi from the street when he was reading Icha Icha or mooching dinner off from a friend. Not exactly the most compelling traits they wanted in a village leader.

The only benefit to this political morass was his requirement to stay far, far away from alcohol. Sakura was supposed to meet him this evening for his dance, and the last thing he wanted to do was have another humiliating moment. It was lucky enough that Sakura had viewed his kiss with Tomio with amusement rather than gossip fodder.

Kakashi shook his head. "Genma, I can't drink right now. There are too many people here who are waiting for me to make a fool of myself." He had barely managed to escape the salacious advances by Anko.

Genma leaned forward, observing him with narrowed eyes. "You seem too uptight. Maybe you need to get laid?"

It was then that Kakashi caught sight of Naruto and Sakura joining the party in the open field. She was wearing a sleeveless green dress and her hair was twisted up to expose her neck and shoulders. "That would be nice," Kakashi replied absently.

He felt Genma slap him on the pack and fling an arm over his shoulder. "Then it's settled, we will get you a lady-friend." He nudged Kakashi with his other hand, splashing a bit of alcohol on Kakashi's Hokage robes. "I'm sure there's got to be a woman around here that wouldn't mind helping you out. Or a prostitute." Genma nodded and made his way through the congregation of people in search of such a woman.

Kakashi watched Genma's unsteady progression through the crowd as he made his way over to a crowd of scantily dressed women. When Kakashi turned around he saw Sakura had already made her way over, standing behind him with a brilliant smile and a plunging neckline.

"Hello Sakura," he said. The dress was tighter than he thought. And shorter.

"Hi." She gave him a very obvious once over. "Nice robes. Where's the hat?"

He waved vaguely over his shoulder. "Somewhere over there. Either that or I left it at home. I believe you owe me a dance."

Sakura chewed at her lip. "I know." He saw her twist her head slightly to see Hinata and Ino at a nearby table. He was somewhat disappointed by her embarrassment.

"Think of it as your apology for not voting for me," he said as he pulled her by the elbow to the crowd of dancers.

Sakura moaned. "Can you leave that alone? I've been paying for that all week."

Kakashi chuckled. "One vote was all I needed to have a perfect score, something nobody else has had before. It's somewhat humiliating that you were the one who ruined it."

"Now you know how we felt when we were genin. It was so embarrassing that you spent half of your time reading porn instead of teaching us." Sakura gave him a weak smile.

"Is something wrong?"

"No," she said. It was almost insulting that she lied to him, as if he couldn't see how her demeanor changed with a small hint of Sasuke. His hand pressed more firmly on her back and she leaned in closer.

The song ended, but Sakura continued dancing, her mind occupied with other thoughts. Kakashi cleared his throat to catch her attention. She looked at him quizzically.

"The song is over," he said as he nodded to the other couples that were making their way to the tables.

"Oh," she said in disappointment. After a small hesitation, Sakura raised her arms and wrapped them around his neck. In that brief moment, he heard her take a deep breath. When she drew back, her distant expression had morphed into a smile of contentment. Sakura patted the robes on his chest to smooth out some nonexistent wrinkles.

"Enjoy your night," she said as she teetered off in Naruto's direction.

Kakashi watched her walk away, resisting the urge to go after. It was doubtful that Sakura was even aware of how she had leaned into him, or how she breathed him in. She was beginning to turn to him, even if she didn't fully comprehend.

Kakashi's musings disappeared when he heard a screech of indignation that drew everyone's attention.

"There's no way!"

He winced as he recognized Anko's voice. The sophisticated party was about to go downhill very quickly. His suspicions were confirmed as he saw her climb up on a table with a bottle of alcohol and give it a swig.

"It's true! I can drink more than you!" A woman climbed up on another table, giving Kakashi a clear view of the speaker. She was an emissary from Mist, a kunoichi he knew very well. Anko didn't stand a chance.

A large group of people made their way over to the women, eager to be spectators to inevitable challenge. Among them was Genma, who had clearly forgotten all about his promise to Kakashi.

Sensing an opportunity to escape the party, Kakashi made his way to the bridge that led back to the main part of the village. He passed by Naruto and Kiba, who were deeply engrossed in conversation. As he crossed, he was accompanied by an old lady, one who looked a tiny bit familiar.

She nodded at him in recognition. "I knew that you were an exceptional shinobi, but I didn't know you were up for Hokage," she said as she gave his arm a pinch. It was Sakura's neighbor, Ms. Tokushima. Kakashi's stomach rumbled as it recalled her divine cooking.

"Evening," he said. "Enjoying yourself?"

"Yes, yes." She nodded as she examined him from head to toe. "You look very good in the Hokage robes. You look as natural in it as the Third."

Kakashi tugged at one of the sleeves, giving it an unhappy frown. "The village elders were quite insistent that I wear them for the festival."

"You don't like them?" Ms. Tokushima shook her head in disappointment. "It's a very good look for you."

He stopped as they reached the other side of the bridge. "I've worn the jonin uniform for years. Before, I was in ANBU and before that I wore anything I could find in my size. I feel a bit uncomfortable not wearing a uniform."

"You could always have something custom made."

Kakashi knew he could be a bit smug at times but he wasn't that conceited. "Ah, I don't think I'm interested."

Ms. Tokushima clucked. "Don't be ridiculous. You are the Hokage of this village and you deserve something that makes you shine out from the rest. I do modifications of the uniform for my sons. If you come to my apartment tomorrow morning, I could have something arranged for you by the end of the week."

He looked at her dubiously. "You wouldn't mind?"

"Of course not. The leader of the village should have something exceptional and I would love to think of something. I hope you don't mind keeping an old lady like me company for a few hours and stay for a meal."

Free food? "In that case, I think I'll be more than happy to stop by." He waved goodbye to Ms. Tokushima and made his way over to the hospital. Tsunade was exiting as he arrived, a thick file clutched in her hands and travel bag on her shoulders.

"Going somewhere?" Kakashi asked as he removed the file from her hands. He could see Sakura's name scribbled by the lamplight. Tsunade's response was a sharp smack to his head.

He grunted in surprise. "My apologies."

She looked at him with narrowed eyes. "Hmph. You're always giving me cheek, as if I require your permission to leave the village."

Kakashi knew that it was impossible to see the toll that the year had taken on her. Her Transformation Technique was flawless, but in the dim lighting, it could almost see the time etched on her face. Then he blinked and the vision was gone.

He held up the file. "Is everything I need here?

She nodded. "Yes. Although I think your plan is a bit foolish."

Kakashi hummed in response. He did not expect her to understand his request. In fact, he wasn't even certain if his next move was appropriate. But after watching the Mist kunoichi challenge Anko to a drinking contest instead of a battle, he was certain that there was no better time than the present. Barring the appearance of any troublesome ninja, they had a solid decades worth of peace to look forward to.

"She's not going to be happy you left," Kakashi said as they walked down the empty streets.

Tsunade snorted. "Sakura isn't happy now. She'll get over the news quickly enough. I'll be back in a few months, definitely before spring of course." She paused at the street that would lead her to the exit. "Take care of her."

They parted ways as Tsunade made her way out of the village and Kakashi headed to the building next to the Hokage Tower. He nodded at the two Anbu guards that were standing at the entrance of his new home and entered.

It was strange that he now had guards.

Kakashi shut the door behind him, drowning out the noise of the first fireworks with a simple click. He gazed at his new home as he placed the thick file on a nearby table. The front room had been assembled with some of his belongings and some new furniture. Most of the house was overrun by small gifts he had yet to unwrap. The presents had come from all over the country when they learned of Kakashi's new post, and he hadn't bothered to open them yet. There was a large rug propped up against the wall, a gift from the Raikage. Kakashi could see the flashes of light from fireworks from the windows. There was a box on the kitchen table that contained a china set, but when he opened his cabinets, he was greeted with the familiar paw-printed mug of his youth. The bathroom was three times larger than his old one and the warm water faucet didn't squeak when he twisted it. There were three empty rooms waiting for a purpose, filled with gifts. And then Kakashi went into his room.

His new bed was large.

His old bed had only enough room for one. Kakashi rarely moved when he slept, far too accustomed to random sleeping positions in missions. Any sexual encounters occurred at the female's residence. But now, his new and generous sleeping area only served to highlight his woefully empty personal life.

Thank goodness for the obscene amount of pillows.

Kakashi flung off his Hokage robes and made his way to the bathroom. He had just finished brushing his teeth when he heard a knock on the door. He made his way over to the door and opened it.

The guard seemed very uncomfortable. "Hokage-sama, there is a visitor here for you. She claims that she is expected."

Kakashi stared at the door in suspicion, for he had made no such request. "I didn't ask for anyone. Send her away," Kakashi said as he made to shut the door

The Anbu guard leaned in a little. "Hokage-sama, I mean no disrespect but I think she is a lady of the night. "

Kakashi stared at the guard before clearing his throat with a small cough. "Ah... well, then… you can send her in."

He wasn't quite certain why a prostitute was here. While it was likely Genma was able to locate a woman, it was also likely she would have ended up going home with Genma, forgetting all about Kakashi. If some miracle occurred and Genma had stayed on task, he would have shown up in person to collect a personal thank you.

He crossed to the other side of the room and took a seat on the couch. The door opened and Kakashi's breath hitched when she entered the room.

The black dress she wore was unnaturally tight, accentuating a number of curves that were beguiling. Her black hair came down in a curtain behind her back and lips painted a rich red. She smiled at him coyly as she shut the door behind her.

"Hokage-sama," she said, her voice coming out in a delicious purr. "I heard about your new position, and I simply knew that I had to make the time to see you. I've heard all about the acts of heroism and bravery." She slinked over to him in strappy high heels, her feet barely rising above the wooden floor.

"Have you?" Kakashi inquired politely. There was something off about this woman, and his body tensed automatically in warning.

"Oh, yes." She rounded the sofa, exposing the long slit on her dress that went up to her hips. "They say you have many talents, Hokage-sama, Ninja of the Sharingan. But a ninja is a man first, no?"

Kakashi gave her a very obvious look over, his eyes dragging slowly over the perfect symmetry of her legs, hips and chest. "One could say that."

She giggled and placed a foot on the coffee table before him. "Do you like being a man?" She had come straight from the festival, the smell of ramen stalls and barbeque still clung to her hair.

"I love it," he said as she leaned forward to place her hands on the table so she could crouch before him. Kakashi glimpsed the string of a red thong as her legs spread.

She placed her hands on his knees and leaned forward. "How would you like to try a few new positions with me?"

"It sounds interesting," Kakashi replied as he slipped a finger under a strap and pulled it to expose a pale shoulder. He locked his eyes on her face and smiled. Despite the heavy make-up, there was no mistaking the faint whisker marks on her cheeks.

"Take it off," Kakashi whispered as he slid a hand down the black material of the dress.

There was a poof of smoke, and then a burst of laughter.

"I knew it!" cried Naruto. "I knew that you were a giant pervert." He cackled louder, only to be interrupted by the hiccups of his intoxication. "I got you!"

"Naruto..."

"Yeah, you thought I was a chick, and you were going to sleep with me and everything," he exclaimed, ignoring Kakashi entirely. "Kiba thought that you were a eunuch."

"Naruto." Kakashi dropped his voice to its huskiest quality, "I said, take it off."

The laughter promptly died from Naruto's face as he looked at his old sensei in horror. "Eh...?"

"I knew it was you. Take it off…" Kakashi dragged a thumb across Naruto's cheek, smudging the make-up on his face. " Now ."

Naruto blanched and jerked back, flopping inelegantly over the couch and running for the exit.

Kakashi chuckled at his student's hasty retreat, knowing that he had managed to prank one of Konoha's most notorious troublemakers. That would teach Naruto for causing such mischief on one of Kakashi's most important days. He stood up and went to shut the curtains of the window. The fireworks had ended and the only thing left was the light of the moon. As he did, he saw the thick file with Sakura's name on it.

Soon, he thought.

~O~

Sakura groaned as she heard a sharp rap on her door, grabbing the pillow and holding it tight over her head. She climbed out of bed five minutes later when the knocking had not stopped. She gave her hair a few pats to tame the wildest strands, slipped on a robe and made her way to the door.

"What do you want, Naruto?" She asked in irritation. Of course he had to come knocking as she was beginning to fall asleep. "Wait…why are you wearing make-up?"

"Sakura!" He ignored her question as he grasped her shoulders. "I just made a discovery!"

"What?"

He leaned in to whisper loudly in her ear. "Kakashi- sensei's gay!"

Sakura blinked at Naruto and removed his hands from her shoulders. "Goodnight, Naruto." Then she shut the door in his face and crawled back into bed.