demeter918: blue doraemon cat (Default)
[personal profile] demeter918
Title: "On Time" (2/2)

Author: [personal profile] demeter918

Disclaimer: Is not belong to me! But will always throw that pin into the wishing pond.

Series: Naruto

Characters/Pairing: Sakura/Kakashi

Warnings/Notes: Somewhat weird. Written for The Kakashi x Sakura Reverse Big Bang at [community profile] kakasaku. Once the picture is up, will post a link to it!

Part 1


The whistling turned into rage when she found Kakashi lounging on her bed after she’d made her reports to Tsunade (who could only give Sakura a sour look when she said she’d had dinner with Sasuke) and checkups on the patients who hadn’t left the hospital yet. Sakura was dirty, exhausted, and in no mood to deal with anyone, let alone a recalcitrant ninja who refused to go to the hospital during working hours.

“Kakashi, I swear I’m going to chop off your feet if you don’t get your shoes off my bedspread! I just washed those, and oh my god, please tell me you haven’t been off running with your nin-dogs in the woods?”

When he grinned, she wailed, “I just washed those, you asshole!”

He avoided a quick swipe at his head and bounded back out the window. “Just seeing when you’d be back, Sakura!” He dropped out the window and she nearly chased after him when he stopped her with a, “Look on your dresser table,” before disappearing behind a building.

She looked and was very, very pleasantly pleased to see a basket of her favorite fruits on the table. There were even strawberries, as out of season as they were. She was immediately suspicious. Kakashi was never kind enough to give gifts (barring the occasional vegetable for Naruto, but she saw that more as his attempts to prevent Naruto from dying of scurvy) for free. It meant that he wanted something from her. And it must have been something wild, if it meant expensive, out-of-season strawberries for her.

A few strawberries and half a peach later, she decided she didn’t really care. She’d have given him her firstborn child with fruit like this.

_________


The next morning, she went to Naruto’s and took him to the training fields where Team 7 once claimed. They had a couple bowls of takeout Ichiraku ramen and they took the time to finish the chewy noodles and savory broth. It was a pleasant spring day, and Sakura had already sent a stupid rookie ANBU through a wall because he’d made the mistake of commenting on her hair color and comparing it to fresh cherry blossoms. And then she’d healed him because, really, it had been quite flattering.

After finishing their noodles, they tossed a kunai back and forth between them. It was sunny, the sky was as blue as sun-dappled geraniums and there had no missions for the day. The day was shaping up into something rather nice and she looked forward to tending to her mother’s garden later that week.

But before that.

She told Naruto everything that had happened and how healthy Sasuke had looked. The medic in her added that last bit in; he did look well. It was surprising, considering his scrawny scarecrow-ness from before. She described him from head to toe, described the meal, made fun of his hair again and ended up trailing off when she realized she’d been babbling again.

Naruto stretched back out on his back and stared up at the sky. It really was a lovely day, one of those warm days where nothing could go wrong and nothing had. He chuckled. “Did he really say that about Ino?”

“Yeah... prick.”

“Heh, you should tell Ino.”

“I will.” She smiled. “Ino’ll probably swear more revenge on him.”

“Nice.”

Sakura stretched out beside him and reached for his hand. Naruto’s hand was warm and dry, palms smooth from callouses because Nine-Tails healed everything before they formed. It was strange, that she didn’t feel like crying with Sasuke, but the feel of Naruto’s hand brought a tremble to her lips and a painful knot to her throat. She turned into him at the same time he turned to her and they huddled with their foreheads pressed together. Their hands clutched each other and it was like they were twelve again and the future was ending because their teammate was gone and Konoha suddenly seemed dark and forbidding.

They didn’t cry, but they held each other and give a little time, just a tiny slice of their hearts, to the knowing that Sasuke wasn’t coming home and that the world would go on as it always did.

_________


The next day, while she was on the last hour of her shift, Kakashi showed up and invited her out for a meal. He was in his usual jounin vest - did the man have anything else? - and pants, but there was no Icha Icha in sight and he stood up semi-straight.

She was flabbergasted. “You want to eat with me? You want to pay for my meal?” She touched an alarmed hand to his cheeks. “Is everything okay, Kakashi? You aren’t feeling ill are you?”

He brushed her hand away. “Can’t I take my very favorite student to lunch for no reason at all?”

“Well... no. Seriously, Kakashi. We’ve been team members for over ten years now and you’ve never paid for one of our meals. Are you sure you aren’t sick?” Sakura asked anxiously.

“No respect...”

“Respect is one thing, and dinner is another.” She pursed her lips. “Okay, are you serious about food? I’m starving and I will totally take advantage of your offer, but if you stiff me again, I swear I’ll kill you and then dump the pieces into the river.”

Kakashi grinned from behind his mask. “Pakkun’s honor.”

He loitered around until her shift was finished and they made their way to one of the restaurants that lined the road to the hospital from the city center; it was a good, home-cooking style eatery and she ordered a massive quantity of food, just to see what Kakashi would say. When he didn’t say anything, she felt a boatload of a guilt. He was being awfully nice, even pulling her chair out for her.

Sakura was suspicious.

But between the two of them, they managed to tuck away all the food and left a bemused cook and his wide-eyed wife behind. Plus a nice tip; Sakura had to bully Kakashi into doing that.

She stretched as they sauntered back to their residential district. “That was so good! Thanks Kakashi!” Sakura beamed up at him; he hadn’t poufed out, didn’t stiff her on the bill, and even acquiesced to put some money down for a tip. It was amazing.

All he did was chuckle. They ended up taking the long way around and chatting... or more, her rambling as he listened and interjecting a few random comments when she drew a breath. Sakura hadn’t felt quite so carefree in a while now, and talking to Kakashi and his random bad jokes was... was... well, was wonderful.

She echoed this thought aloud. “We should do this more often, Kakashi. I can’t imagine why we haven’t before.”

There was a silence from him, not surprisingly. But then he said something rather odd. “Sometimes you have to wait for the right time.”

“The right time?” She blinked.

“Yeah, the right time. Can’t be too early, but you can’t be too late.”

“Er, but...“ Sakura slowed down. “You’re always late...”

Kakashi stopped behind her and as she watched, his smile spread and his eyes crinkled. “I’m late for most things, but there should be some that I can’t.” He pressed a hand to her shoulder and before she could even inhale and ask him to explain himself, he was up and gone. And she realized he hadn’t mentioned a single thing about Sasuke. Didn’t even ask her about whether she’d seen him.

_________


After that, she often found him lounging around, usually after a shift or on her lunch break. They would take a walk, grab some food, chat about work, about the Council, about a TV show they both liked to watch; he even got her coffee once in a while. And when she asked about missions, he was vague and mentioned something about an ‘imposed vacation’. She asked Tsunade and found out that Kakashi hadn’t taken a vacation in twelve years and he was using up all his vacation time in one go.

Slowly but surely, Sakura realized that she was being courted. Courted.

It sounded so silly, to describe Kakashi like that; it wasn’t like he was Lee, with effusive proclamations of love. Or Neji, who sometimes stopped training to have tea with Tenten.

But Sakura wasn’t much of a fool and more importantly, she’d long learnt to be sensible and realize that there were things that people did that might seem confusing. Might, if she wasn’t the sort to always consider a person’s actions in context with who they were. Whether they were people just passing by or rooted townsfolk; it was a useful skill.

At first, it was just companionship and him occasionally showing up at her window with something to offer to her kitchen and it got to be that she made a bigger pot of tea or hot chocolate or whatever she was drinking that night, and he’d come by and partake in a few cups. It was comfortable. And pleasant.

Sakura couldn’t believe she’d ascribe pleasant to Kakashi - he should have evoked more exasperation than anything else. But what else could she say about it; Kakashi was around more in the last few weeks than the last few years.

The next time he came to her window, she had an extra plate as well, just a simple fried rice, but it tasted strangely wonderful, eating it with Kakashi and his porn books.

_________


When the window opened and Kakashi stepped into the room, she was up and blinking. Though it was late spring, the night air was still chilled. There were clouds in the sky and the smell of rain lingered in the air. He grinned that infernal closed-eye grin of his. "Hi, Sakura."

She groaned. "Oh my god, Kakashi, if this is another one of your late-night calls, I will kill you, no, I seriously will." Sakura swung her legs over her bed and was about to trip over another one of her long-procrastinated laundry bag of dirty clothes when Kakashi stopped her with a long arm. He straightened her up and then sat down on her bed with barely a sound.

She could have blushed or stammered or a thousand-and-one things - he was on her bed! - that were perhaps more ‘girlish’ or ‘feminine’, but she got distracted by the deep puncture wound in the side of his stomach.

Which prompted her to immediately begin her special skill of simultaneous yelling and healing. The wound was ugly, but not life-threatening. When she asked, all he would say was that he mistook Anko for a damsel in distress and that did Sakura know Anko had a mean reaction when surprised in her favorite dango shop?

“Wow, you must have really shocked her.”

“It wasn’t like I showed up naked...”

She raised an eyebrow. High. “You showed up... semi-naked?”

“I still had my mask...”

“You’re lucky she only skewered you.”

“I think she overreacted.”

“You were naked. In a dango shop. In the middle of the day. And did teleport in?”

Kakashi gave her puppydog eyes. “One of my new nindogs grabbed the shuriken holster and bolted. I had to chase after him.”

“Ah... totally acceptable then.” She stripped his shirt off and while normally she wasn’t affected by naked bodies or even genitalia, but there were beautiful, beautiful six packs on Kakashi’s abdomen and she’d have to be a far colder person to not notice the thin line of hair that disappeared enticingly into his... Sakura inwardly shrieked and didn’t finish her thought. Outwardly, she was saint-like and finished healing the wound before helping him put his shirt back on. Mm. She couldn’t resist. Her hands smoothed the fabric on his strong, defined shoulders.

Oh, wow.

_________


It started with a bang.

As in Ino BANGING the door to her office and leaving a knob-shaped hole in her wall. Sakura blinked. And wondered how much money the hospital committee was going to take out of her paycheck for that. They'd been over-zealous lately, with everyone talking about transparency and being frugal in post-war Konoha. Which made sense. But it sure didn’t make sense for her poor paycheck.

“Oh MY GOD. How could you not tell me, you total bitch! I had to hear from Karin who heard it from Kiba who heard it from his grocers who saw Kakashi drop off flowers at your house! Those flowers were from our shop! That’s so rubbish that he didn’t say who it was for; I could have charged him so much more if I knew they were for you!”

Ino rattled the entire sentence in one breath and she took a deep one to start the next, but Sakura hurriedly cut her off. “I’m really sorry. I know you’re mad, but I had no idea what Kakashi was doing until he was actually doing it.”

“So you had no idea he was trying to date you?”

She frowned. “I don’t think Kakashi would like it if you used that word.”

Enough of Ino’s friendship with Sakura stopped her from saying how little she cared if Kakashi did and didn’t like something, but she did roll her eyes. “Oh please, and anyways, it’s much more important now that he’s given you flowers!” She glanced at Sakura’s side table. “And look, you put them in your nice vase!”

To her credit, Sakura didn’t flush, but her color did heighten. “All my vases are nice, pig. And I’m not even sure what’s going on, anyways. C’mon, give me a break.”

“Fine, then tell me what happened.” Ino flopped onto Sakura’s office couch and looked up expectantly.

While Sakura might have resisted Ino at her most persistent, the wavering eyes and pouting lip did her in and before she knew what she was doing, the past few weeks came spilling out of her mouth. She refrained from mentioning Sasuke; ever since Asuma had died, Ino made no secret of her hatred for Sasuke. It was something they never spoke of and Sakura didn’t think it could ever be brought up. Ino had accepted her hatred, though, and hid it well around Naruto and Sakura accepted that it would not change in turn.

“... and that was that. I guess he’s now doing something unusual... even Shishou commented on it but Shizune made her stop.” When she said ‘comment’, she meant Tsunade had leered and then did something obscene with her hips and breasts. She was lucky Shizune had been there; otherwise she might have punched her own teacher in the face.

Ino looked at Sakura with blue outrage in her eyes.

“Uh... Ino?”

“Are you telling me, right now, for serious, that Kakashi has been visiting your apartment for the past three weeks and all you guys have been doing is drink hot beverages and read books?”

“... sometimes we have cold drinks too.”

Ino tried to say something else, but it got lost in her incoherent disgust.

_________


Kakashi popped up right into her living room and Sakura would have shrieked, but it said sad things about her life when she just pointed to the kettle. “Tea’s on tonight.”

He ambled to the kitchen and picked up a cup - his cup, unofficially - and poured himself some of her green tea and then ambled back to the living room. He propped himself up on her couch and opened his book, but didn’t actually look at it.

“So...”

Sakura tilted her head.

“Ino stopped by my apartment.”

“Oh no.”

“She left a bunch of flowers and told me to give them to you.” He pulled out a scroll and released the jutsu on it. A beautiful bouquet of pink and yellow flowers appeared and Sakura just about melted at how pretty they were. The tissue wrapped around them was the soft grey she liked so much and really, there was a limit how much a girl could gush about flowers.

“Oh, you lovely, lovely things!”

But maybe not.

Kakashi handed the bouquet over to her and she reached over to take them and somehow their hands brushed in the middle. His eye caught hers and Sakura looked at him. The moment should have passed; Kakashi was supposed to smile all sheepish-like and she was supposed to grin and tease him, but what ended up happening was him dropping the bouquet, her catching it...

And to her eternal and everlasting horror, she felt her face heat up and Sakura blushed. Full on. Red cheeks and red forehead and Kakashi saw every bit of red, ruddy skin and then he stood up like there were coals under his butt. His eyes were diverted to the side, and his hands formed a seal before she could even say anything.

“Sorry, I forgot something.” Pouf.

He was gone, Sakura was left with a beautiful bouquet of flowers, and now wondering if she had gotten it all wrong.

But Sakura was pretty sure she hadn’t.

_________


The four reports before her all said the same thing and Sakura stared down at her soup. It was thick and hot and filled with her favorite root vegetables and tender, braised pieces of fat pork. The steam drifted invitingly up and she could smell thyme and rosemary, each curl of scent asking her to drink the goddamn soup. But it might as well had been a bowl of mud, for all she wanted to eat it.

Finally giving up, she pushed the bowl of nauseating soup away. The pile of paperwork was huge and she really needed to finish at least the patient write-ups because those would just get worse with time. Her memory wasn’t what it used to be. Old, she was getting old.

But her memory wasn’t that bad that she didn’t notice the four boys had not gotten a checkup after their last mission. Together. Without her. And sure, it was only two days. But they didnt’ get a checkup. Like they were supposed to. And goddammit, couldn’t her team make her job just a little easier on her?

Deciding enough was enough, she strode through the hospital, scattering patients and staff alike. She broke into a run outside and headed toward Naruto’s apartment, where she knew they were, probably laughing and having all sorts of fun because they didn’t have goddamn shifts like she did. And they probably weren’t even thinking that this was the last straw.

When her fist broke through Naruto’s door, the four of them turned to look at her with identical looks of alarm. Except Kakashi. Who didn’t look surprised.

“Sa-Sakura-chan?”

“Naruto! Sai! Yamato! Kakashi!”

Sai paused, looked at Naruto, and then said, “... Sakura!”

Sakura felt a throbbing behind her enormous headache. It was one of those on-the-brink burgeoning migraines on top of her already-throttled nerves. If Sai said just one more word, just one more, she couldn’t be blamed for what might happen next.“Did any of you go to the hospital to get a checkup?” They all looked at her, rather guiltily. “No?”

As one, they shook their head. She grimaced. The headache was definitely full on now. The blood was curdling through. “Seriously? After all those lectures and none of you went to the hospital?” She asked, and was proud of how even her voice was. Even her hands didn’t shake, but there was something quaking inside her. It was a fountain of rage, but there was also a wellspring of misplaced hurt. She tried to be rational. It wasn’t like the did it on purpose.

“I’m sorry, Sakura, I got delayed by ANBU and... well...” Yamato scratched his scalp and had the grace to look embarrassed.

Sai shrugged. “I was going to go very soon, Ugly, but more important things came up.”

As for the other two culprits, Naruto was appropriately abashed and Kakashi just stared skyward.

“Sorry, Sakura-chan, I forgot... I’ll go tomorrow, okay?” He gave her a sheepish smile. One of his teeth was chipped. And he’d probably forget again tomorrow.

They were dirty, there were cuts and scratches and dark bruises; Naruto had a rapidly-fading black eye and Sai’s fingers were slowly crusting over. Yamato had a large bandage on his ankle and a wrap around his shoulder. Kakashi didn’t seem to have a lost hair on him, but she saw him favoring his right leg ever so slightly in his usual slouch. It was ridiculous. Ridiculous.

So utterly ridiculous and so utterly them that they didn’t care whether she knew they were alright or not that Sakura finally lost it. She felt the prickling behind her eyes turn into a hundred bees and then into five little waterfalls and she punched a bookcase through the wall. That was another few ryo that would be coming out of her next paycheck, goddammit. So what if they didn’t go get check-ups? It was their health, not hers. But it wasn’t. They were supposed to go because otherwise, how was she to know they were okay, that all’s well that ends well, that the missions were a success?

And really. Would they be able to tell they’d been poisoned? A cracked rib that might not heal right. A torn ligament could be a career ender or even, even, even gangrene! And how about Kakashi’s stupid sharingan eye and Sakura just simply broke down into a stupid deluge of tears because her stupid teammates were stupid enough to get hurt on missions and weren’t smart enough to keep her from worrying.

“Ugh, I hate you all!” She yelled and fled the room like there were a thousand wedding-crazed Ino’s on her heels.

Naruto was guilt-stricken and Yamato made moves to go after her, but both he and Sai noticed Kakashi take off after Sakura through the open window.

Sai looked at the rustling curtains - a totally Hinata thing because why would Dickless ever need curtains? - and then closed the windows. No use in letting Naruto mess up something potentially very, very interesting. He’d always heard opposites attracted; how would it play out with Kakashi and Sakura? Sai thought and thought and thought. And nodded. It would prove to be most useful if he could observe the two on a later date.

He supposed he did have some fault in making her cry and Sai didn’t like making Sakura cry. If Kakashi could make her feel better - a lot better - then he could stay and help Yamato clean up Naruto.

Yamato was consoling a Naruto who was inconsolable until Sai told him that it was Sakura’s That Time of the Month and Naruto quickly cheered up. Before looking very suspicious and asking how Sai knew it was Sakura’s time of the month.

_________


She’d made it to her apartment and onto her bed. Sakura had a long and loud cry and it felt so good, she let the tears keep going just for the heck of it. When the window latch clicked open, she looked up and though there were still tears running down her face, she rolled her eyes at the picture of Kakashi climbing through her window. Again.

“Like I said, Kakashi. Creepy.”

He shrugged. “Didn’t feel like knocking.”

There were a few awkward moments as she sniffled some more and then dried her cheeks. “Well? What do you want to say?”

“There was this little kitty-cat who I wanted to help but couldn’t because I didn’t know how.”

Sakura digested that for a moment. And wrinkled her nose. “Am I the cat in this situation? Because I really don’t like cats you know. They make me sneeze.”

Kakashi tilted his head to the side. “I think you’re over thinking things, Sakura.”

“Argh, why do you guys keep thinking that? All I want is for you guys to get regular checkups and to stay healthy!”

“I think we’re pretty healthy - well, except Naruto, but that’s--”

“Kakashi. Shut up.”

He subsided. And looked her with those usual unfathomable eyes. Except now there were flecks of uncertainty. Like he didn’t know how to comfort her, but wanted to anyways. Somehow, that made her feel better. Better enough that she sat slowly up. She breathed out noisily and snorted a little, making her feel so attractive. But Sakura wiped the tears from her face and said, “can’t you guys just promise to come to my house? Do you think everyone would be willing to do that if they don’t want to see the hospital?”

He was quiet for a long moment, as if debating how to answer. Then he asked, “just us?”

Sakura blinked owlishly at him. “Of course just you guys. Why on earth would I do that for anyone else? It’s not like I’m the only medic out there and all the ANBU teams have a specific medic for their teams so as not to compromise security.”

“You’re the Hokage’s apprentice; I’m pretty sure you have a high security clearance.”

“Well, duh. I’m just saying.”

Kakashi slouched into a chair and leaned over with his elbows on his knees. It made for a hot picture and Sakura was pretty sure he knew that. “Okay. I’ll talk to Yamato about it.” He looked a little tired.

“... just like that? Really? You’re going to talk to them? Just like that?

A deep breath was all Kakashi took before he said, a quiet, steely tone in his voice. “Sakura, just tell them how you really feel and I promise you that they’ll always come to your door after every mission... though I feel like you’ll eventually regret that when Naruto or Sai keep showing up in the middle of the night.”

It was so... reasonable, that Sakura grimaced. “Okay, fine, whatever. I’ll ask.”

Kakashi laughed softly. “All you ever need to do is ask.”

She snorted. Like that was true. And before her new-found courage could desert her, she asked the question that had been plaguing her since Ino barged in on her. “Oh really? Then tell me the truth, Kakashi - have you or have you not been courting me?”

The dead silence was as deafening as a copper bell. And then Sakura realized what she’d said. Gah. Her hands flew up to her mouth. She hadn’t meant to say anything because, dude, this was Kakashi and the quickest way to get him flying out a window with coals under his feet was the slightest hint of emotional attachment.

Sakura covered her eyes and were horrified to realize that her tear ducts were nefarious traitors and were starting to leak again. She tried to squeeze the tears back in but they were the stubborn sort and insisted on trailing a salty track down her face. Sakura said in a cracked voice, “never mind, never mind, ignore what I said, oh my god, I can’t believe I just said that, it’s so cliche, it’s like we’re trapped in one of Ino’s stupid romance novels and oh my god, just forget what I said!” She finished with a hoarse shout. And turned away so that she didn’t have to see Kakashi toss himself out a window.

There would be sounds soon, she thought. The sound of her window opening, the rustle of clothing as Kakashi made his escape, the afterimage of him leaping for his life.

But then nothing sounded and nothing rustled and the only surprise she got was a hand placed lightly on her shoulder. It turned her around with ease. Between her fingertips and from her still-streaming eyes, she looked up at Kakashi with confusion. He was distinctly uncomfortable, that much was obvious. He slid his hand awkwardly down her shoulder and then stopped at the upper part of her hip, where her waist began to curve out and flare. It was a delicate place and Sakura felt a faint blush warm her cheeks. Especially since she was still in bed. Holy crap.

She looked up at him and half-expected Kakashi to lean in for a kiss.

But this was Kakashi.

That said the world. This was Kakashi and Kakashi didn’t do things like that. Not yet, anyways.

Kakashi looked at her with an even expression and still hands and she almost wanted to deny the weird heat in his hands. She could have. Pretended that this was all a big mistake and that it would turn this potential fire hazard back into their usual comfortable friendship. Teammates and all that. Old, dear teammates who now numbered, unofficially, five.

She waited. And then waited a little more. Sakura was waiting for Kakashi to realize he’d made a mistake. Gave him a way out.

When it was obvious he wasn’t going to say anything, Sakura sighed, even as the tears continued to roll down her red cheeks. “That’s okay, Kakashi. I’ve spent years perfecting silent-ese. You... just stand there.”

He backed slowly up. Rolling up from her bed, she squinted at the way one of his arms were loose at his side, and how casually he wasn’t slouching. He had no idea what to do with all his long limbs. It was almost sweet, except not, because she wasn’t the sort of girl to care if he slouched or not. And besides. He was still heads taller than her.

Sakura leaned against Kakashi's chest and rested her head on his shoulder. She wiped her tears away herself.

He didn't put his arm around her right away, but he didn't stiffen in some reflexive, Kakashi-way. And after a moment or two, an arm came around and wrapped itself loose and easy around her shoulders.

It was a nice start.

fin
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