Chapter 2

Sakura woke early, her bladder demanding a trip to the bathroom. After she finished her business, she stepped out into the hall and gave herself time to wake up. She wasn't hung over, thankfully, but she hadn't slept well in the night. She kept thinking about the behaviors her former sensei exhibited the night before. She wasn't upset by the way he treated her; as always, he was a perfect gentleman. It was the way he avoided looking at her body, the way he was a little too careful around her. He hid his desire well, but Sakura could see what he tried too hard to hide. He had trained her too well.

Closing the door behind her, Sakura began to move from the bathroom and back into the living room, intending to get back into her dress from the night before and make breakfast for her former sensei to repay his kindness.

Sakura paused near his bedroom door, smirking at the trip wire in the gap. Then she froze in shock, hearing him moan.

"Ah… Sakura." Kakashi's voice was low, and sounded a bit groggy, as if he were just waking up. "Sakura…yes. Ah, that feels good."

Sakura stood in the hallway, listening to the sheets rustle, trying to think of a way to move and get away from the door. She didn't need to listen to this…dream? Moment of privacy? Whatever was going on beyond that door, she didn't need to listen.

"Ugh!" Kakashi suddenly grunted loudly. "Damn… I have got to stop waking up like this. I'm not a teenager anymore, why does this keep happening?"

Sakura felt her cheeks heat up, and she tried to suppress her nervous giggle, but failed. Instantly, Kakashi was pulling his door open, knife in hand. She dropped into a defensive position, holding her hands up in front of her face. They stared at one another for a moment, then relaxed. Kakashi stood in the doorway awkwardly, rubbing the back of his head and trying not to look at Sakura. After a few minutes of just standing, Sakura cleared her throat.

"I'm going to make some breakfast. Don't try going anywhere, because we need to talk about this."

Kakashi watched for a moment as Sakura walked through the living room and into the kitchen, then grabbed some fresh clothes and went into the bathroom himself, locking the door behind him.

In the kitchen, Sakura took a deep breath. She knew she couldn't leave this alone. She had heard too much, and Kakashi knew it. She was fine with him being attracted to her, and Sakura knew she couldn't pretend she had never thought about it. Kakashi was an attractive and capable man, after all. She didn't know anyone in Konoha who hadn't at least joked about hitting on him, and she knew many civilians who tried often to get his attention.

She knew he stayed away from relationships for the same reason many shinobi his age did… no one wanted to leave a family behind, regardless of whether the reason was honorable or dishonorable. Sakura understood and sympathized, but she did not feel that she should sacrifice love, even temporary love, just because she was a shinobi. She had already sacrificed enough, as had Kakashi: why should they ignore how they felt?

"Oh… you're still here. Damn." Kakashi startled her out of her thoughts.

Sakura turned and briefly glared at Kakashi, then shook her head.

"I told you, I want to work this out. Look, I saw some things last night that got my attention, even while I was tipsy. For example, you kept your eye off me very well when I walked up to you at the club last night. However, there were a couple of times when your control slipped and you looked at me. You looked at my legs and my breasts. When I lost my balance and fell off the stool, you caught me, and your hands very quickly moved from my hips to under my arms.

"Then there was what I overheard just twenty minutes ago. Kakashi, I am not insulted, or weirded out. Part of me is actually flattered-not many men I trust and love have been attracted to me sexually. I am confused, however. Why did you hide it? Why haven't you talked to me?"

Kakashi was silent for a while, then shook his head, looking melancholy. "Sakura, I'm fourteen years older than you are. You're beautiful, but I am much too old for you. I have too much baggage. I get night terrors and have been known to attack women in my sleep."

"I know that's not what I heard this morning. That sounded more like sex than combat." Sakura retorted. Kakashi sighed, rolling his eye towards the ceiling.

"My point is, I could hurt you."

"And I could hurt you. You think we wouldn't both be taking a risk? I know how to disarm someone, and I have dealt with people hitting me before. Look, I trust you, and I think we should give us a chance."

"You're still working out your place in the world, Sakura. You don't need someone who is already settled."

"I don't intend on looking any further for my place in this world than Konoha. And you're already settled here, so why not give this a chance. Look… I like you. I never told anyone this, but…" Sakura blushed and looked away. "I used to look at you. When I was around sixteen. I was over Sasuke, mostly, and you were one of the only guys- no, men… that I could look at without feeling too foolish. You've got a great body and you're loyal as hell. And everyone else looked at you. I even caught some other guys looking at you, on occasion."

Kakashi looked embarrassed. "Well, I suppose other males looking at me is a compliment, even though I don't feel the need to look back at them."

Sakura laughed. "I thought that might be what you said. Don't change the subject on me, though. I saw you looking at me last night, and I heard you sounding quite… passionate when you said my name this morning. Do you like me or not?"

Kakashi shifted uncomfortably before answering. "Sakura...You're a great ninja, and you're grown to be a fine young woman. You deser—"

"Don't. Don't you dare try that on me. I decide what I deserve, and who deserves me. I know you, and I think you deserve a chance. So… will you go out with me?"

Kakashi stared at Sakura in surprise, then began to shake his head. She rolled her eyes and leaned forward, trapping Kakashi against the kitchen counter, pulling his mask down at the same time. Her lips met his, and Kakashi froze, shocked that she managed to get the advantage of him so quickly. Then Sakura pressed against him, and her hands met his chest, massaging his pectoral muscles. Kakashi hesitantly wrapped an arm around her waist, his other hand caressing her cheek, fingertips moving into her hair. Still kissing him, Sakura gently opened her mouth, tongue darting out to lick his lips. Kakashi opened his mouth, tongue moving out to meet hers. Then, he suddenly pulled her away.

"All right… you proved your point, Sakura. I do want you. You clearly don't mind that, and want to pursue a relationship. That being said… I would like to take it slow, and keep it private, at least for a while. I want to make sure it pans out the way we both want it to, and I don't want either of us to get hurt. Okay?"

Sakura smiled at him. "Of course. Would you like to set a date? Maybe dinner?"

Kakashi nodded. "Maybe next Friday?"

Sakura nodded, and after breakfast, Sakura left, with Kakashi promising to call her later. Both were excited, but neither wanted to push too hard. Relationships, even short ones, were serious business.