Words: 8,800

Rating: M

Pairing: Kakasaku, Sasusaku, It's complicated

Warnings: Cheating, complicated emotions, pining, smut, porn with plot, angst, Kakashi is an idiot, Sakura is too, Sakura is an unsympathetic character in this one, shinobi with cellphones, Genma is a bit of a mother hen because I needed Genma

Author's Note: So this one is another story that's just been sitting around for a while waiting for me to edit it. Thanks to Cinlat for making this a much stronger story (and being willing to wade through twenty pages as a beta, you're the best 3). This story started after hearing the song "I'll be the Moon" by Dierks Bentley (if you know it or listen, you'll immediately see the correlation) but all of this: I don't want to be a liar, I don't want to be a fool, I don't want to be a secret but I will if you want me to, you can leave me in the dark if that's all I get from you, he can be the sun, I'll be the moon. I would say enjoy, but maybe I'll just offer peremptory pats.

The red numbers of the clock glowed impossibly bright against the darkness of Kakashi's bedroom. After shifting for the hundredth time, he tossed the blankets aside and reached for the phone lying face down on his nightstand. Its blank screen taunted him. Kakashi shouldn't look for a message, shouldn't care that he hadn't received one in over two weeks. He shouldn't do a lot of things, but he did.

Though Kakashi knew that he could reach out first, the idea left a bitter taste in his mouth. Sakura already had everything that a woman could want: husband, family, and a job that she adored. Even so, she continuously ended up back in Kakashi's arms. They were lovers and friends, a relationship too complicated to explain. So, neither of them tried.

Six months ago, after a particularly bad argument with her husband, Sakura and Kakashi had fallen into bed together. It had been the culmination of too much alcohol and undeniable chemistry. After that, it had become a habit that neither saw fit to stop. It wasn't love, at least, not on Sakura's part. Kakashi hadn't examined it closely enough to be sure himself.

Scrubbing a hand through his silver hair, Kakashi stood and padded across the bedroom. He gazed out his window to calm the urgent spinning of his mind. Moonlight spilled over the village, suffusing Konoha with a dreamlike glow. Kakashi touched a hand to the glass and sighed. There were so many reasons that he should turn his phone off and go to sleep, reasons that he had told himself a thousand times over. But, it never mattered. He wanted her to reach out, needed to hear that she missed him, that she couldn't stop thinking about him, that she wanted-

A soft buzzing pulled Kakashi from his thoughts. He picked up his phone, all of the logic disappearing from his mind instantly. Turning it over, the man pressed a thumb against the button to unlock it.

Are you home?

Kakashi ran his finger over Sakura's words, then, the image beside them. She'd taken the picture herself, all easy smiles and smoldering eyes. Only someone truly observant would recognize that it had been taken in Kakashi's apartment. His gaze flicked to the clock again: five minutes past midnight. Sakura had just left work. Kakashi knew that he should lock the phone and climb back into bed and pretend that he hadn't seen the message. He should ignore the speeding of his heart that she reached out to him after a twelve-hour shift. He should put an end to this relationship before it went any further.

I miss you.

I'm here. Kakashi's response felt like hope and betrayal at the same time.

Ignoring the guilt, Kakashi dropped his phone onto the bed and moved to the dresser. He hesitated over his mask, then left it where it lay and pulled on a shirt. His apartment was less than ten minutes from the hospital, so he had just enough time to brush his teeth and comb his hair before the soft knock reached his ears. He opened the door before the sound ended.

Kakashi's greeting stuck in his throat. Streetlight lingered on Sakura's hair, making it flame against the darkness. The pink strands had been knotted behind her head, but several had slipped free to frame her face. Kakashi almost reached out to brush them away, but he forced his hands to remain stationary at his sides. Ever aware of the possibility of someone seeing them and jumping to the correct conclusion, Kakashi moved aside so that Sakura could slide into the apartment.

The door had barely clicked shut before Sakura's arms were around Kakashi's waist, warmth pouring into him as he turned. Her head nestled perfectly against his chest. "I missed you," Sakura breathed into the fabric that Kakashi had consciously put between them. "I'm sorry that it's been so long."

Two weeks, Kakashi thought. Two weeks of sleepless nights, waiting for you to come to me. Two weeks, and I don't even care because you're here now. "Is everything okay?"

Sakura hummed an answer, pulling away after a too brief moment together. "I've been busy with work and home and," the woman paused before delving into the issues that they intentionally avoided. "You know how chaotic the hospital has been for the past couple of weeks."

Kakashi nodded; he knew the cost of his orders as well as anyone. Those dark thoughts weren't something that he wanted to dwell on, especially not on the rare night that he got to spend with Sakura. "Can I get you something to drink? Water? Tea?" Then, taking in her exhausted expression, he changed tactics. "Something stronger?"

Shaking her head, Sakura crossed the room to the couch, perfectly at home. "I just needed to see you, to escape for a bit."

Though Kakashi didn't ask, and Sakura didn't volunteer in the information, he knew that she'd lost a patient tonight. He'd seen that familiar hurt on her face too many times to count. Despite being a prolific medic, Sakura's tender heart ached for every life that slipped from her grasp. After each one, she ended up in Kakashi's arms, as if he were the only balm that could soothe her pain. Sakura reserved that beautiful depth of emotion for him alone. Sasuke could never understand the agony of failing to save a stranger's life

Settling on the couch, Kakashi slid an arm around Sakura's shoulders and drew her closer. She came unresistingly, turning her face into his shirt. Neither spoke, but words were unnecessary. They both understood. Eventually, Sakura's breath softened into something that might have been sobs. Kakashi smoothed a hand down her back, encouraging her to melt closer

Kakashi pressed his thumb along the path of Sakura's spine, encouraging her to shift so that he could massage her shoulders. She tipped her head forward as his fingers nimbly removed the tension that had settled in her neck. Sakura felt fragile beneath Kakashi's touch, but indomitable at the same time.

Leaning closer, Kakashi breathed in the scent of herbal shampoo that Sakura favored. It mingled with sweat, antiseptic, and blood that didn't belong to her. His hands came back to her shoulders, easing the collar of her shirt to the side to expose the porcelain skin beneath. Sakura shuddered, letting out a gasp as Kakashi dipped his head to kiss the juncture of neck and shoulder. Moving with exaggerated slowness, he pressed kisses along Sakura's neck, then caught an earlobe between his teeth. Sakura groaned his name, half warning and half encouragement.

"Tell me to stop, and I will," Kakashi whispered against the curl of Sakura's ear.

Sakura never stopped him, and Kakashi couldn't stop himself; they were both far too greedy.

Bringing up a hand to cup Sakura's chin, Kakashi gently turned it to slot their lips together. At first, Sakura's kiss was cool and emotionless. Then, suddenly, it wasn't. She turned, answering with a desperation that stole Kakashi's breath. The change always happened that way, like she'd flipped a switch.

Sakura's hands tangled in Kakashi's hair as she pushed closer, insistently guiding him backward on the couch in a tangle of limbs. She ended up on top, wrapped around his hips so tightly that he couldn't move. Not that he wanted to. Smirking, Sakura sank closer, like she could disappear into Kakashi and never look back. Perhaps that was part of the appeal of their relationship: he never asked what brought the woman into his arms so often.

The urgent curl of Sakura's tongue against his drove the forbidden question from Kakashi's mind. Fire scorched through every nerve as her fingers seared along his cheek and neck. Everything about Sakura left Kakashi gaping for air, but she was an inferno that he would willingly burn for.

It didn't take long for Sakura's hand to slide between their bodies, fumbling at the tie on Kakashi's pants. He almost told her to slow down and enjoy the moment, to be sure that she wanted this, but her lips smothered his words. Moaning into the pliant warmth of her mouth, Kakashi surrendered. Sakura wasn't his, not entirely. But, in moments like this, he could convince himself that it didn't matter. She wanted him-needed him-and that was enough.

After easing Kakashi's pants lower, Sakura moved to stand beside the couch. Her green eyes locked on his as she undressed, shedding her clothing with an amused smile playing on her lips. Kakashi hooked a hand around Sakura's waist, allowing his thumb to caress the skin of her stomach. Years of peace, and the birth of a daughter, had softened the sharp edges of Sakura's body, but they'd done nothing to remove her appeal.

"You're beautiful," Kakashi confessed as Sakura kicked off her panties. Shaking her head despite the smile on her face, she caught Kakashi's hand and dragged it higher. Obediently, he kneaded the supple skin, thumb flicking against her nipple. The soft moan of pleasure that slid from Sakura's lips as she settled back on his lap made Kakashi's heart race.

Sakura pushed her hands beneath Kakashi's shirt, nails raking along his stomach. Her mouth swallowed his needy groan, the heat and friction between their hips making Kakashi's head spin. Sakura leaned closer, capturing his lower lip with her teeth. Every touch, each brush of skin, drove Kakashi closer to surrendering to Sakura's silent pleas. She made it impossible to think about anything except her.

Kakashi's hands slid down to Sakura's hips as they rolled against his, demanding a response. Her hand found his hair, forcing his head back so that she could nip at his throat, leaving brief red marks that would fade before she left him. Sakura undulated, body moving until Kakashi could feel her warm, wet heat just above him. One upward thrust, and Kakashi could claim her as his own. Sakura closed the distance first, sliding down with a broken whimper that paused the prick of her teeth. Kakashi couldn't stop the gasp of her name escaping from his lips.

For the space of several heartbeats, the world blurred in a whirlwind of perfect sensation. Their bodies molded together like they were meant to be that way. Sakura's expression captivated Kakashi. She had leaned back to provide him with a better angle, and pleasure shone across every inch of her body. Sakura had caught her lower lip between her teeth as her eyes slid shut, face flushed with desire. Sweat dappled her pale skin, and the scent of her arousal almost overwhelmed Kakashi. Resting one hand on his chest for purchase, Sakura slid the other between her legs. Her eyes came back to Kakashi's briefly. "I want you," she gasped.

"You have me," Kakashi answered, lifting his hips to meet the crashing movement of Sakura's. All of me.

Sakura controlled the speed, moving purposefully atop Kakashi to chase her release. The couch creaked in familiar protest. The pair almost never made it to the bed. Every time they slept together, desperation colored their actions. Blind need pushed them toward the sofa, against the wall, or on whatever surface happened to be closest.

"Please, Kakashi," Sakura begged, nails curling against the shirt that she hadn't bothered to remove. With another whimper of his name, Sakura's thighs tightened painfully against Kakashi's hips as she threw her head back. Waves of pleasure rolled through her body, forcing the muscles to clench and relax rhythmically.

Kakashi fought to hold on for as long as possible, but Sakura had already pushed him to the brink. His body followed moments later, pulsing alongside hers. As the sounds of pleasure left his lips, Sakura muted his cries with a kiss. Kakashi couldn't have formed a coherent thought if he'd wanted to, which was probably for the best.

Bodies spent, Sakura leaning against Kakashi's chest, tucking her head beneath his chin. Her weight and warmth felt natural there. Light kisses crossed his shoulder and cheek, bringing Kakashi back to semi-awareness, and he worked his fingers through Sakura's tangled pink hair. At some point, the tie holding it back had come loose, and he vaguely wondered where it had fallen. He brushed along her spine, imagining that he could feel their hearts pounding in time.

Sakura gave Kakashi five minutes of blissful afterglow, wrapped around each other like the rest of the world didn't exist. Then, she stirred. "I should go." She mumbled the words into his t-shirt as if that would lessen the blow. Or, maybe, she didn't see it that way. Regardless of her statement, Sakura remained nestled against Kakashi.

Humming noncommittally, Kakashi tightened his hold. Sakura should go; she should have never come to his apartment in the first place. Not trusting the words forming in his throat, Kakashi kissed the top of her head. Every second was stolen, but Kakashi hoarded them nonetheless. "Can't you stay a little while longer?"

"You know that I can't," Sakura murmured. Then, to ease the sting of her words, she pressed warm lips against Kakashi's. The finality of the movement made his chest ache, but he didn't argue.

With a sigh, Sakura pressed both palms against Kakashi's chest and lifted her hips to separate their bodies. A chill shivered through him at the sudden loss of warmth when Sakura grabbed her discarded clothing from the floor and stood up. Propping himself on his elbows, Kakashi watched her. The tension had disappeared from her shoulders, and a flush painted her cheeks in shades of pink. A smile tugged at the corners of her lips when she caught him staring, transforming into a full smirk as she shook her hips playfully.

Kakashi marveled at the confident woman before him, completely unashamed of her body or by what they'd just done. If anything, she glowed with life. The weariness of earlier had evaporated like smoke. Pausing by the end table, Sakura picked up a box of tissues and tossed it over her shoulder. Kakashi caught it on instinct as he watched the woman disappear into his bedroom. This was part of their ritual. Sakura would retreat to the bathroom, erasing every trace that they'd been together.

After cleaning off, Kakashi pulled his pants back into place and waited, trying to still the thoughts running through his mind. Sakura returned several minutes later, adjusting the fall of her shirt and tucking hair behind her ears. Catching his gaze, she smiled and moved toward the door to step into her sandals.

Kakashi followed mechanically. No matter how long they had on nights like this, it was never enough. Sakura turned to speak, but Kakashi halted the words by leaning in to brush his lips on hers. She didn't need to make up an excuse for him; he'd known what this was from the beginning. Even if he wanted more, he could never tell her.

"I'll see you soon?" Kakashi leaned one forearm on the wall above the woman's head.

Sakura smiled up at him. "Yeah, definitely. Goodnight, Kakashi."

"Goodnight." As much as Kakashi wanted to, he didn't stop Sakura. After the door shut, he rested his forehead against the wood and counted to ten. Then, he walked to the bathroom and turned on the shower without a backward glance. Sakura's smell covered him, and as sweet as it was, Kakashi didn't want to carry it back to his sheets. Waking to her scent in an empty bed was more than he could bear.

Darkness wrapped around Kakashi as he stepped into his apartment. Sighing, he scrubbed a hand through his hair and flipped on the lights. He'd been trapped at the office far later than he would have liked, running over last minute mission preparations with Shikamaru. Kakashi missed the days when he could take care of a threat himself rather than sending other shinobi. The mantle of Hokage weighed far more than that of jonin. He had always assumed that was the case, but assumption and knowledge were two different things. His decisions meant life or death for the men and women that he sent into the field, many of them his friends.

Rubbing his neck, Kakashi pushed the thoughts to the back of his mind and started dinner. Takeout would have been easier, but the repetitive movements of cooking distracted him from worrying about Sakura. Somewhat. He had seen her in passing, at the hospital or in the village, but they hadn't spoken since the last time she had fallen into his arms. That had been over a week ago. Sakura's days and nights were undoubtedly filled to the brim between time at work and time with her family. Kakashi almost convinced himself that he didn't begrudge her those hours. Almost.

Kakashi's life would undoubtedly be simpler if he closed the door on their relationship and move on. Sakura invaded his thoughts almost constantly: in the middle of a meeting, when he was reviewing reports, when the house was too quiet in the evening, when he laid in bed staring at the ceiling, waiting for her message. Earlier, during a briefing, Shikamaru had to repeat himself twice before Kakashi acknowledged the words. The man pretended not to notice how frequently Kakashi's attention wandered.

If anyone could see the secret of Kakashi and Sakura's relationship, it would be Shikamaru. With unlimited access to Kakashi, the man saw them together far more frequently than anyone should. Even so, they were excessively cautious in public: glances didn't linger, smiles were only as familiar as proper, and touches were rare if they happened at all. Once, after weeks out of the village on a training mission, Sakura had delivered her report and lingered after the rest of her team left. Their close proximity and her teasing comments had driven Kakashi to the edge of his self-control. Only a full schedule, and an inopportune knock, kept them from crossing a line that Kakashi swore he never would. The Hokage's office was off limits, no matter how many fantasies he had about it.

Groaning at the thought, Kakashi focused on finishing dinner. He pointedly didn't check his phone as he cooked. Sometimes, Kakashi had just enough self control to do the right thing. After several minutes, he pulled a plate from the cabinet and piled vegetables on the side. His fish needed a few seconds longer, so he poured a glass of water, then moved his dinner to the table. An unexpected knock shattered the quiet, insistent despite the hour. Frowning, Kakashi crossed the room and cracked the door open.

Sakura swept into the apartment, lightning sparking in her eyes "What the hell is this?" She threw a scrap of paper in Kakashi's face as if it explained everything. He barely caught the offending document before it hit the ground. Frown deepening, Kakashi unfolded the paper.

I have a mission. It shouldn't take longer than two months. Tell Sarada that I'm sorry.

"How long have you known?" Sakura's voice trembled with anger as Kakashi silently returned Sasuke's note. When he didn't answer, she pressed the question by punctuating each word. "How long have you known, Kakashi?"

Kakashi sighed; there was no universe in which the answer didn't land him in hot water. "Two weeks."

"Two weeks," Sakura burst out incredulously before he could offer any explanation. Then, her face contorted, as Kakashi had known it would. "You knew the last time I was here. You slept with me, knowing that you were going to send my husband away. Why didn't you tell me?"

Kakashi could have told Sakura that the decision had only been finalized hours ago. This particular mission required the unique skills of a shinobi like Naruto or Sasuke. Kakashi and Shikamaru had spent hours weighing the pros and cons of each. In the end, Kakashi had almost selected Naruto just to forestall the argument currently unraveling in front of him. But, Sasuke had fit the village's needs better. As soon as the decision had been made, Kakashi had personally issued the order to his former student.

Even though Kakashi could have told Sakura all of those things to defend his choice, he didn't. Instead, he wrapped the authority of Hokage around himself and armed his the voice with the command that he used when someone was being particularly troublesome, as Shikamaru put it. "Because it didn't concern you."

"Didn't concern me? How does this not concern me? You sent my husband away so urgently that he couldn't even say goodbye to his daughter. He promised to work with her on her shuriken jutsu this weekend." Sakura exploded, advancing until she stood toe to toe with Kakashi.

You sent him away before he could say goodbye to me. Kakashi heard the words that Sakura didn't vocalize. He felt a stab of annoyance at Sasuke, and at Sakura for laying the man's failures as a husband at his feet. Before he could put those thoughts into words of sympathy, Sakura pushed closer. "Well?"

"Well what," Kakashi snapped. "Sasuke had the standard mission notice time. In case you've forgotten, he's a shinobi; this is his job. It's not my fault that he doesn't live up to your expectations-"

Sakura's open palmed slap made Kakashi's ears ring as spots danced through his vision. He opened his mouth once, testing that his jaw still worked, before bringing a hand to cover the mark she'd left on his cheek. Fury radiated off of her, hot enough to burn. "I am not your student any more. Don't treat me like a child."

"Then stop acting like one," Kakashi caught Sakura's second slap before it could land.

Trembling, the woman jerked away. Despite the adrenaline flooding his system, Kakashi wanted to wrap his arms around Sakura and erase the hurt that Sasuke had left there. He wanted her to know that she deserved a thorough goodbye, not a note left on a table like she was an afterthought. Kakashi wanted to press a kiss to the lips that pinched tight in annoyance until they found their smile again. He wanted to carry her to bed and show her that she deserved so much better than what she had settled for. But, he couldn't do any of those things.

Sakura grew quiet, and Kakashi felt the air being sucked out of the room. "Did you think that I'd sleep with you more if you sent him away?"

The words were so unjust that Kakashi couldn't think of a response. He tried to say her name, to reach for her shoulder, but Sakura shrugged away and shook her head. "We never should have started this. This," she all but spat as she motioned between them, "was a mistake."

Kakashi's entire body went numb. He couldn't convince his throat to form the words that he needed to say. Dozens of times, he had wished for the strength to end their relationship, and undoubtedly, it was for the best. But, now that the reality stared him squarely in the face, Kakashi found that he couldn't breathe.

If Sakura saw the pain in Kakashi's eyes, she used anger to harden herself against it. She swept past him to the door and paused with her hand on the knob. Kakashi sensed that he could have stopped her with a word, or maybe a touch. When he didn't, Sakura chuckled humorlessly in the back of her throat and jerked the door open. "Goodbye, Kakashi."

It took exactly two weeks and three days for Sakura's resolve to weaken.

I'm sorry. I overreacted.

Kakashi read the message, flipped the phone face down, then reached for the glass in front of him. Sake sloshed onto his glove, but at least half of the sticky liquid made its way into his mouth. This was Kakashi's third drink of the night. Or was it his fourth? He had lost count somewhere along the way.

"Care if I join you?" Before Kakashi could protest, Genma snagged the bottle and waved his hand for another glass. The man's hazel eyes fell on the empty cup by Kakashi's elbow, but he didn't ask who it was for, maybe he didn't need to. When the barkeep returned, Genma filled two cups, ignoring the third. "So, are you planning to drink yourself under the table tonight? I need to know if I can show up late to work tomorrow."

"Maybe," Kakashi grunted. Drinking numbed the painful edges of his failures, both past and present.

Genma clapped the other man's shoulder with a knowing look. "Whatever it is, don't beat yourself up too badly."

Kakashi muttered something that might have been an agreement under his breath. He had known Genma for a long time, but that didn't mean he could confide in the man. As one of the Hokage's guard, he had almost as much access to Kakashi as Shikamaru, but Genma lacked a filter. If he so much as suspected that something was happening between Kakashi and Sakura-Kakashi's phone skittered across the bar when a second message came through.

Do you want to come over?

Kakashi read the message, then ignored it again. Genma raised an eyebrow, glancing at the device. "Not good news?"

When Kakashi didn't answer, Genma shrugged and took a drink of his sake. Kakashi did the same, catching his reflection in the mirror behind the bar. Unruly grey hair stuck up at all angles, pushed there by frustrated fingers constantly raking through it. His face felt warm beneath his mask, and although it was too far to see clearly, Kakashi knew that his eyes were glassy. So much for providing a good example as Hokage.

Kakashi's string of failures extended back for years; sleeping with Sakura was only the most recent. He sighed, swallowing another mouthful of sake to drive the taste of Sakura from his lips. It had been too long for her flavor to actually linger there, but Kakashi could imagine it perfectly. His phone buzzed a third time.


"She's a persistent one," Genma observed. Though the man didn't try to look at the phone's face, curiosity bled from his every feature. "Maybe you should answer?"

"Maybe you should mind your own business." Kakashi growled, slamming the phone back onto the bar. Genma's eyebrows shot up as he tipped his head to the side. Kakashi closed his eyes, breathing deeply through his nose to force his composure back into place. Even so, when he reached for his drink, his hand trembled.

Genma frowned, then shook his head. "You probably don't want my advice, but when someone tries that hard to reach you, it usually means that they care."

"You're right; I don't want your advice." Kakashi knocked back the rest of his drink.

Chuckling, Genma shrugged. "Fine, but remember that it's your choice to spend tonight alone. Some of us have better sense."

Before Kakashi could formulate a response, the man pushed away from the bar and sauntered over to a group of women with an easy smile. Kakashi watched him go, unable to summon the anger that such a comment should have elicited.

As much as it rankled, Genma was right; this was Kakashi's choice. He unlocked his phone and skimmed the messages from the past five minutes, wondering how he'd ended up in such a mess. Over the years, a few women had pursued him, but most were brief crushes that burned themselves out once they realized that Kakashi's his mysterious demeanor wasn't an act. Kakashi had never had the time or the inclination to chase after anyone. Until now.

Unbidden, the memory of another girl swam through Kakashi's vision. Rin's soft brown eyes flooded with pain as Kakashi's chidori ripped through her chest. Even now, all these years later, he could still feel the warm blood coating his hand. Rin had loved him, and he'd destroyed her.

Another text pulled Kakashi back to present. At least let me know that you're alright.

And if I'm not? The biting response left Kakashi's fingers before he realized that he'd typed it. Sighing in annoyance at both Sakura and himself, he shoved the phone in his pocket.

Kakashi lifted the nearly empty bottle of alcohol and filled his glass. Then, he poured the rest of the liquid into the empty cup that he'd stared at all evening. He had no idea what Rin would drink if she were still alive, but he figured that an expensive sake was as good as anything else. Screwing his eyes shut against the pain, Kakashi mumbled a prayer of remembrance. He'd done it every year since the rescue mission that went horribly wrong and taken Rin from him. It never changed anything. Downing his final drink in a single burning gulp, he flipped his glass upside down on the bar.

When Kakashi stood, the floor tilted beneath his feet. He steadied himself with one hand on the bar and let his gaze sweep over the room. There were fewer people now, but he noticed Genma from the corner of his eye. The man had settled in a booth, woman hanging on each arm and half a dozen empty shot glasses littering the table. Despite the distractions, Genma's hazel eyes settled on his charge. Kakashi knew that if he stumbled, the man would be there in an instant. Then, he'd accompany Kakashi back to his apartment, just to make sure that the Hokage made it home. Forcing his back straight, Kakashi walked out of the bar without a single falter.

As the night enveloped him, Kakashi leaned against the wall to catch his breath from the effort of not tripping over his own feet. The world didn't spin quite as much outside as it had in the stuffy bar, but the drunken haze clung to him like a film. He shook his to clear some of the fog and realized that his hip was vibrating. Fishing the phone from his pocket, Kakashi read the messages: three, in rapid succession:

What does that mean?

I need to see you.


Though Kakashi knew that he should leave it alone, he shot off another response. Why?

Drawing in a deep lungful of cool air, Kakashi pushed away from the wall. His phone buzzed almost instantly, as he'd known that it would, but Kakashi didn't look. Sakura's message would be more of the same. She missed him, wanted to see him, cared about him. Only, she hadn't said any of that the last time that they'd seen each other. She had called their relationship a mistake, and it was: a mistake that they willingly made over and over.

Remember that it's your choice to spend tonight alone, Genma's words pushed through the thoughts crowding Kakashi's mind. The man had the right idea, but it was easy for Genma. Kakashi couldn't go to some random woman, turn on his arguably nonexistent charm, then fall into her bed. Decades of loss made it impossible for him to lower his defenses that far, for anyone. Anyone except Sakura.

Cursing himself for a fool, Kakashi turned down the street, moving toward the house that Sakura shared with Sasuke. As he raised a hand to knock, the realization struck him that he had no idea what to say. Kakashi knew that he didn't want to be alone; he wanted Sakura. But, he also wanted his life to go back to black and white, not these damnable shades of grey. He needed-

The door swung open to reveal Sakura, framed in the blinding light from the hallway. Kakashi blinked against the onslaught as his eyes adjusted. The kunoichi wore tight black shorts and a long sleeved shirt that bared one shoulder to the night air. Something about that expanse of skin drew Kakashi's attention, making it hard to think. Sakura grabbed his arm, dragging him into the house.

Kakashi's toes scraped along the heel of his other foot, and he almost fell. He caught himself with an arm braced against the wall. The spinning of the room lessened somewhat as he drew a breath. Sakura looked up, green eyes swimming with worry as they ran over his face. She tried to put her arms around him, but Kakashi pulled away. Thoughts from earlier resounded through his mind as he tried to figure out what he'd come here for. When words failed him, Sakura frowned. "Are you drunk?"

"Yes," Kakashi answered, voice steadier than he felt. He ignored the frown that pulled Sakura's lips downward. She was disappointed, but he couldn't find it in himself to care. He had never lowered his guard this way with her before, never allowed Sakura to see the broken places inside him. It would be better for both of them if she turned away now that she had.

Sakura opened her mouth, but no words came out as she tried to reconcile the mess before her with the man she'd known for years. She didn't advance again, or try to take Kakashi in her arms. In fact, she stood rooted to the spot, staring at him in disbelief. "I'm here because you asked me to come," he reminded her, rubbing at the stinging pain in his eyes.

As the silence between them multiplied, pain whispered through Kakashi's mind. Pain that Sakura had no idea about. When she didn't answer immediately, Kakashi continued to vent his annoyance. "What did you want? Need a fix because your husband is gone and you're lonely?" The words tripped, stumbled, and slurred together, but their intent was clear enough to pale Sakura's face. "That's what I am to you, isn't it?"

"Kakashi, I-"

"You treat me like a toy, something you can play with when it's convenient for you, then hide when it isn't." Kakashi couldn't stop the words pouring out. He hadn't known that he felt half of them until they took shape between them like a wall. "You don't know the slightest thing about me, or you'd know why I was drinking."

Shaking his head, Kakashi turned away. The alcohol heated his anger, tore at his normal self-control. A hand clutched his bicep as he moved toward the door. "Then tell me," Sakura challenged. "If you didn't get drunk because of our fight, then why?"

Because I killed the last girl that loved me. Because I shatter everything that I touch. The thoughts raced through Kakashi's mind as he stared down at Sakura, warring with himself. He was furious that he'd let her use him for so long, but another part was desperate for her to see this side, and want him still. Kakashi's chest heaved with the effort of containing both feelings inside.

"Would it matter?" Kakashi finally ground out the words like they were being ripped from him. "All the times that you've needed me, and I never asked. I've never pushed you for more. Not once. What about when I need you?"

"I'm here." Sakura had barely gotten the words out before Kakashi pressed her against the wall. Jerking his mask out of the way, he crushed their lips together. She must have tasted the sake in his kiss, but she didn't pull away. If anything, she dragged him closer, hands working at the flak vest he wore until it hit the floor behind him.

Shuddering at the chill, Kakashi ran his hands down Sakura's body, tightening against her hips to lift her flush against him. Her legs anchored around his waist, tight enough to make it difficult to breathe, and Kakashi found that he didn't care. He drove her back against the wall, eliciting a grunt as Sakura's shoulder caught a picture frame. The image slid down to shatter at their feet.

Sakura's eyes flew open with a gasp, and Kakashi chased the sound up her throat with burning kisses. His teeth followed, leaving pale red marks as evidence of their affair. Groaning his name, Sakura tangled her fingers in Kakashi's hair, body pressed as close as breath. Ignoring the sound, Kakashi ran his tongue over the swell of breast where Sakura's shirt dipped dangerously low. She moaned, then captured her lip between her teeth. Kakashi made it his mission to wring out every sound of pleasure that Sakura fought to hold back.

Wrapping one arm around Sakura's waist, Kakashi slid the other beneath her shirt. Their bodies were pressed too tightly together for his hand to find purchase, and he felt the fabric strain against his touch. Growling, he forced it higher and ignored the ripping sound, swallowing Sakura's protest with a bruising kiss. She wore nothing beneath. Kakashi found her nipple, already hardening under his touch, and rolled it lightly between thumb and forefinger, drawing soft whimpers from her parted lips.

Sakura exhaled Kakashi's name as he bit the delicate skin of her shoulder. It sounded like a warning, one that he didn't intend to heed. He wanted her, needed to forget the hurt and loss that haunted his every waking hour, and for Sakura to want him in the same, desperate way. Kakashi knew that he should slow down, but the alcohol drove him. Dropping his hands back to Sakura's hips, he pulled away from the wall. The added weight nearly toppled them both, but Kakashi fought to keep himself on his feet. He could have turned toward the couch, or even the floor, but he didn't.

Kakashi carried Sakura to the bed that she shared with Sasuke.

Pitch black darkness filled the room after the light of the hallway, but Kakashi knew where he was going. Keeping their lips locked together, he dropped Sakura on the bed. She twisted beneath him, trying to bring her hands up to remove his shirt, but Kakashi caught them. He threaded their fingers together so he could press her wrists onto the blanket with his weight. Sakura fought the grip briefly, but Kakashi didn't budge. The lines between right and wrong blurred in the searing heat between their bodies.

Kakashi covered Sakura's neck, shoulder, and chest with kisses and marks that would darken into bruises by morning. She had always urged Kakashi to lose control. He never had, until now. Shifting his grip to hold both of Sakura's hands in one of his, Kakashi allowed his fingers to rove over her breasts and stomach. He held no illusions: if the woman didn't want him, she could have thrown him through the wall. But, Sakura moved in sync with Kakashi, eyes laced with desire.

Hooking his fingers beneath the band of Sakura's shorts, Kakashi worked them down her toned legs. His knee forced her thighs wider, rubbing against the warmth he found there. Sakura opened her mouth to speak, but Kakashi claimed it before the words could form. He fought out of his pants with one hand, keeping hers pinned to the bed with the other. For the first time since they'd started this charade of theirs, Kakashi didn't ask Sakura if she wanted him to stop.

Breathing raggedly, Kakashi shoved Sakura's panties down to join her shorts. The room blurred at the edges, melding together until she was the only thing he could see. Sakura was the only thing he wanted to see. His free hand slid down her leg, encouraging it to hook around his waist again. The second followed as his fingers slid into the warmth between them. During the space of a breath, Sakura pulled away enough to gasp his name. This time, Kakashi encouraged the sound by running his tongue along her collarbone.

Sakura arched in response, fingers tightening until her nails dug into the hand restraining her. When he pulled the other from between them, she whined in the back of her throat and opened her eyes. Even in the darkness, Kakashi felt her gaze pierce through him. Dropping his head to the juncture of Sakura's neck and shoulder, Kakashi thrust forward. Her knees tightened, pulling him deeper as she choked out his name. The sound was sinful and perfect, everything that Kakashi needed.

Releasing Sakura's hands, Kakashi gripped the headboard to give himself better leverage for each thrust. Sakura's nails raked across his back as she lifted her body to meet the urgent crashing of his. Drowning in the sensations of the woman beneath him, Kakashi meshed their lips together. He circled his hips to apply pressure to new areas, urging her to lose herself in him. Sakura writhed with pleasure, an expletive slipping free as she fell over the edge.

Kakashi focused on a spot above the bed, fighting to ignore the way that Sakura tightened around him. One of Sakura's hands dropped to cover her mouth as she shivered through her release, head falling back on the pillows. Kakashi released the headboard, running his hands over Sakura's chest, teasing her nipples, sliding lower. She whimpered as his fingers slid between their bodies, finding the bundle of nerves between her lower lips. Her body, already at the peak of hypersensitivity, jerked as his thumb circled purposefully.

"Fuck, Kakashi, please," Sakura gasped as he wound her tighter. The cries that his movements wrung from her dragged Kakashi toward completion. With no thought to speed or roughness, he claimed Sakura, working the hand between them until she whimpered incoherently. Sakura's thighs clamped so tightly around Kakashi that she almost rolled him to the side, reversing their positions when she came a second time. Her muscles squeezed around him, drowning him in heat and sensation. Head spinning, Kakashi lost the battle and his hips jerked forward, burying him completely inside Sakura as he found his release.

Kakashi's muscles liquified, and only a conscious force of will kept him from collapsing on top of Sakura. Her hands circled his body, trying to pull him close, but he dropped onto his side instead. The alcohol rushing through his system combined with the sudden release of tension made it impossible for him to focus on anything but the pounding of his heart. Eventually, Sakura stirred and drew a shaky breath. Kakashi knew that he should look at her, or maybe go to the bathroom and clean up, but he wasn't certain that he could move. Throwing an arm across his eyes, Kakashi tried to stop the room from spinning.

Flopping onto his back, Kakashi opened his eyes to stare up at an unfamiliar ceiling. Moonlight danced across it in silver waves. He felt Sakura shift on the mattress, moving into a more comfortable position, but neither spoke. As the high of orgasm started to fade, reality flooded back in.

Kami, we're in their bed. The realization turned Kakashi's stomach. He pushed himself into a sitting position, feet thumping onto the hardwood floor. Chills rushed through his body as he rested his elbows on his knees and dropped his head between them. Fifteen minutes ago, sleeping with Sakura had seemed like a perfectly logical thing to do. Now, Kakashi fought to keep from throwing up.

A hand brushed Kakashi's back, then fingers slid across the nape of his neck. Without asking, Sakura eased chakra into Kakashi's body. The nausea faded enough that he no longer felt in immediate danger of vomiting. Pain roared behind Kakashi's eyes as the alcohol and shame caught up with him, but Sakura did nothing for that. Circling an arm around his stomach from behind, she rested a cheek between his shoulder blades.

When Kakashi didn't move, Sakura kissed the back of his neck with a tenderness that she'd never shown him before. Her hands tightened, guiding him backward on the bed. He went unresistingly, exhaustion replacing the nausea. Sakura kissed along his jaw, then nestled against his chest. "Will you stay with me tonight?"

No. Kakashi meant to say the word aloud, but he was too tired to argue. Knowing that it was wrong, knowing that it would only make things more difficult, he wrapped his arms around Sakura.

Kakashi woke to darkness and a pounding headache that felt like someone was trying to hammer their way out from inside his skull. Moonlight spilled across the room, bright enough for him to realize that he was alone. Shifting onto his hip, Kakashi touched the side of the bed where Sakura should have been. It was still warm. Sitting up, he scrubbed a hand through his unruly, silver hair. The majority of the alcohol had worked its way out of his system, but he could still feel the faint buzz of its aftereffects. Kakashi was sober enough to realize that he was somewhere he shouldn't be, at least.

The idea of sneaking out while Sakura was preoccupied crossed Kakashi's mind. He should have never stayed in the first place. That had always been one of their unspoken rules: they never spent the night together, no matter how exhausted the sex left them. There were too many dangers to giving in to that impulse. Kakashi chuckled humorlessly in the back of his throat. Sasuke had been gone long enough to complete his mission if everything went as planned. If he'd come home and found Kakashi-

Movement caught Kakashi's eye as Sakura slipped back into the room, soundlessly shutting the door behind her. A t-shirt hung nearly to her knees, hiding the pants that she'd pulled on at some point. A smile played on her lips when she saw that Kakashi sitting upright in her bed. "I didn't think that I woke you."

"You didn't," Kakashi admitted grudgingly. The idea that he'd been drunk enough to not only fall asleep here, but to also not wake up when Sakura left, made his gut twist with shame. "Where did you go?"

"To put Sarada to bed."

Sakura said the words like they were the most natural thing in the world, and Kakashi realized that for her, they were. She had a three-year-old daughter; this was her life. The idea of Sasuke finding them had been bad enough, but that Sakura would risk Sarada seeing them in bed together-nausea made Kakashi swallow audibly.

"She was spending the night with Chou-Chou," Sakura answered before the question could form on Kakashi's lips. "She had a nightmare and wanted to come home. Choji just dropped her off."

The fact that Sarada hadn't been in the house should have made Kakashi feel better. Instead, it made matters worse. They had run so many risks tonight that he never even thought about. Coming to their home had been Kakashi's stupidest decision since he started this mess. What if Choji had noticed his vest lying by the door? While he wasn't head of the Akimichi clan yet, Choza had begun preparing him for the role. One day soon, the man would hold Kakashi accountable for his actions as Hokage.

"I can't do this." The words made Kakashi's chest ache, but he couldn't take them back.

"You don't mean that," Sakura soothed, sitting on the bed next to Kakashi. "It's not perfect, but it works."

Sighing, Kakashi shook his head. For the first time in months, he was struck by how painfully young Sakura was. The first night that they'd slept together, Kakashi told himself that it didn't matter because this was a one time thing that they wouldn't continue. Then, they had, and he willingly wrote off the dangers and worries about it being wrong. He even ignored the signs that he was falling for her. Sometime over the past six months, Kakashi had convinced himself that Sakura didn't love Sasuke, or she wouldn't come to him so often. He matched her in ways that her husband never could, and she bound up all the broken places inside of him.

When Sakura kissed him the first time, Kakashi's world had exploded in color, sharp enough to take his breath, and powerful enough to drive out logic. He had known then that what they had was different than anything he'd felt before. But, too many difficulties stood between them. The fact that Sakura was fourteen years his junior, and a former student, paled in comparison to the other obstacles. She was married; she had chosen Sasuke years before entertaining the idea of anything with Kakashi. Even now, he was an afterthought at best, and a hindrance at worst.

Rather than answering, Kakashi kicked off the blankets and stood up. At some point during the night, Sakura had removed his shirt and tucked the blankets around him, and he'd never stirred. As he searched for the garment, her hand found his lower back. Kakashi exhaled against the electricity of Sakura's touch, but didn't turn back. "You love me."

The air left Kakashi's lungs, soundless at the accusation. Though he had never looked at the thought squarely, he knew it was true. He knew it as surely as he knew that what they were doing was wrong.

"I do." The whispered response echoed in the silence, and Kakashi's chest squeezed so tightly that he was sure that he couldn't force another word out, even if he wanted to. He didn't correct Sakura; he didn't just love her, he was in love with her. Refusing to look at her, Kakashi pulled on his shirt.

"I don't want to lose you," Sakura breathed, linking her fingers with his.

Pain twisted through Kakashi when Sakura didn't repeat his words. She had given him so many mixed signals since the start of their relationship that Kakashi didn't know what to think. Maybe she liked the idea of loving him, or the danger of their relationship, but neither of those things were enough reason to stay together. "You deserve to be happy-"

"You make me happy," Sakura interjected.

"-with your husband."

The truth in the words hurt Kakashi almost as much as Sakura. Despite facing away from her, he heard the soft inhalation that warned that Sakura was on the verge of tears. Kakashi sighed. Though he had seen Sakura cry more times than he cared to count, he had never been the cause of her pain. He had hoped against reason that he never would be. Extracting his fingers from between hers, Kakashi turned. Pale moonlight reflected off the streaks running down Sakura's cheeks as their eyes met. "I lov-"

Kakashi stopped Sakura's confession with a kiss, hands cradling her cheeks as his thumbs brushed the dampness away. He poured every ounce of his longing into the touch as Sakura pressed against his chest, holding him fiercely. The burning need for air finally dragged them apart, but she didn't open her eyes. Small blessings, Kakashi thought as he tilted her chin down so that he could kiss her forehead. Sakura fisted her hands in Kakashi's shirt as he started to turn away. As gently as possible, he loosened her hold.

"It will be better this way," Kakashi said, attempting to make his words sound more convincing than they felt. Sakura looked up, tears gathering on her eyelashes again, and his resolve wavered. Even in the darkness, Kakashi could see the damp spots of pain left on her grey t-shirt. "I'll always be here for you, whenever you need me. Just, not like this."

Kakashi should have stopped with that, but there was just enough alcohol left in his body to let the truth spill out. "I love you too much to let you ruin your life with me."

A sob that almost sounded like Kakashi's name tore free of Sakura's throat as she threw herself into his arms. "You don't mean that. We'll find a way to make this work. I can't go back to the way things were."


"Mama!" The high pitched scream cut off the rest of Kakashi's words. Breath pausing in their throats, both Kakashi and Sakura turned toward the bedroom door. For two heartbeats, silence reigned, then the cry came again, followed by sniffling sobs. Kakashi took strength from the sound, even as it drove a wedge between them.

Sakura looked undecided for a moment, then rubbed a hand across her eyes and squared her shoulder. "Let me get her back to sleep, then we'll talk about this."

Kakashi watched Sakura change before his eyes. She morphed from the kunoichi and woman that he'd fallen in love with, to a stranger who was a mother. Sakura wrapped strength around her like a cloak, banishing her own pain to the background so she could calm her daughter's nightmare. Kakashi knew without a doubt that he could love both sides of her, the wild dreamer that belonged to him, and the steady presence that existed for Sasuke and Sarada. But, only one side was his. When she reached the door, Sakura turned back. Kakashi smiled with his eyes, feeling his heart break.

When Sakura returned, the bedroom was empty.