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Black and White

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"On a scale of one to ten, roughly how angry are you?" Kakashi asked anxiously.

When Sakura shot him a flat, furious look, Kakashi's heart sank and his steps lagged.

Choosing not to wait for him, Sakura stormed ahead. Her footsteps left size eight footprints in the pavement, each of which was cracked and crumbling around the edges.

For a brief moment, Kakashi almost despaired. He almost gave up and promised to find the dogs other homes. Kakashi's shoulders slumped and his head bowed.

Small, furry bodies buffed around his ankles. His altered line of sight rested on a couple of his newly rescued Dalmatian puppies. As Kakashi watched, a puppy with adorably floppy black ears sniffed at his ankles while another puppy, this one with a white face, licked Kakashi's toes with a small, pink tongue.

Kakashi's heart melted and his resolve hardened. He hurried to catch up to Sakura, a river of black and white dogs scampering after him.

"I don't understand what the problem is," Kakashi argued when he caught up to Sakura. "You've never minded me bringing home new dogs before!"

"Two or three new dogs aren't much of an imposition," Sakura snarled. "Not in the grand scheme of things. But this is too many!"

"But they're puppies! They need us!"

"You need to have your head examined!"

"Sakura, I'm sorry! I obviously miscalculated-"

"Miscalculated?" Sakura shrieked as she whirled on him. "Miscalculated! Kakashi, you adopted one hundred and one Dalmatians!"

"She tried to make them into a fur coat!"                                   

Shouting with inarticulable rage, Sakura whirled around and stomped off again. Kakashi let her get and stay a bit ahead of him, for safety purposes.

"Don't worry," Kakashi said to none of the puppies in particular. "Sakura is really very nice. She just needs time to get used to the idea of having all of you."

Five blocks later, Sakura felt up to talking to Kakashi again. She announced her intentions by stopping, whirling around, and jabbing a finger into Kakashi's chest, hard. Without his flak vest, her nail might have broken his skin.

"I ought to make you into a coat!" Sakura snapped, her eyes flashing. "Couldn't you have let anyone else adopt a puppy?"

Cheered, because at least Sakura was talking to him again, Kakashi said earnestly, "But what if those people wanted to make them into fur coats too? Sakura, I couldn't risk it!"

"So you decided to risk being murdered by me instead?" Sakura demanded. Her eyes narrowed. "Maybe I should make a few dozen of them into a fur coat and be done with it."

"Sakura!" Kakashi gasped, horrified. "You wouldn't!"

"And a matching hat might be nice," she mused. "If I made a coat and hat for Ino too, we'd be down to a nearly manageable number."

"Sakura, you can't," Kakashi choked, sickened.

"I won't," Sakura corrected as she grabbed Kakashi's elbow to steady him. "But not because I can't."

"Thank you."

"But you aren't keeping all of them."