A/N: Hi folks! If this is your first time here, welcome! This story is my "Happiest Timeline" Kakasaku. It is very silly and fluffy (and smutty), and I hope you like it. It takes place after Naruto has become Hokage, but in my story Sakura didn't stay with Sasuke. Sakura is around 30, which makes Kakashi around 44.
For those who have been here before, it came to my attention that I used the wrong ship tag on AO3, and that gave me an excuse to finally have this story beta'd so I could update the chapters and then use the correct ship tag. Nothing major has been changed, just a few POV errors and the removal of some epithets.
Whether you're new or old, I really hope you enjoy my first KakaSaku story! I like to think that this story takes place in the Happiest Timeline—or the Goofiest Timeline—so be prepared. ^^
"Aren't you finished yet?"
"You're so annoying," Sakura sighed, not bothering to turn around as the tenor of a familiar voice sounded behind her, like it often did at the end of her shift. Looking at the shelves behind her desk, she scanned the row before sliding the folder she was holding into its appropriate slot.
Finally turning around, she took in the sight of her former sensei and current friend, smiling despite her harsh words. After so many years of wearing the Hokage uniform, Kakashi had happily returned to wearing more informal shinobi garb: loose black pants and a black long-sleeved shirt, complete with fingerless gloves and bandages around his right thigh. His hitae-ate resided in its usual place, keeping his hair out of his slate-colored eyes, and his mask covered the lower half of his face. Like always.
"Is that what you're wearing?" she asked critically, and he squirmed as she eyed him.
"This is what I always wear."
"Exactly. We're celebrating the anniversary of the end of a war, Kakashi. That merits at least a little bit of effort."
"You don't think I look good in it?" he asked cheekily.
Sakura laughed and let her gaze linger as she gave him a once-over. Realizing what she was doing, she snapped her eyes back up to his face and changed the subject. "I don't even know why you're meeting me here; I still have to go home and get dressed."
Kakashi pointedly looked down at her usual work attire: red tunic, black shorts and a light pink apron. Sure, it wasn't exactly festive, but it wasn't unflattering, either. "Sakura… you are dressed."
Sakura was offended. "I am not going to wear my usual clothes to celebrate. That's just…" she sputtered for a moment, at a loss for words. "No," she finished lamely.
Letting out a long-suffering sigh, Kakashi turned to start out the door, calling over his shoulder, "Well, come on then. You're going to make me late."
Sakura snorted derisively as she followed him out. Even being Hokage hadn't fully cured Kakashi's habitual tardiness; although he had managed to (mostly) be on time while meeting with foreign dignitaries, Sakura had it on good authority—in this case, the authority being the word of Kakashi's former long-suffering assistants—that Kakashi had often disappeared when it came time to do more menial duties. Yamato had once told Sakura that Kakashi had been a huge stickler for punctuality whilst working in ANBU, and Yamato had further insisted that Kakashi still made sure he was on time when it was important. While she found that hard to believe, she had noticed that he would usually show up only ten or fifteen minutes past the end of her shift—though she was careful not to look too closely into the significance of that.
Despite Kakashi's talk of being late, they both walked unhurriedly toward her home, and Sakura reflected on the strange friendship that had developed between them. It seemed as if retiring from Hokage and being relegated to the semi-regular missions of peacetime had left Kakashi somewhat at a loss. At first, he had spent most of his time in random trees around the village, reading his smut or napping like an overly large housecat. When he grew bored with his usual hobbies, he would often show up to pester his friends: accepting one of Gai's ridiculous challenges, sparring with Sasuke when he was in town, stopping in to help Naruto acclimate to his new position, drinking with his usual group of jōnin and, of course, pestering Sakura at the hospital.
Although his visits to the hospital originally began as a more sporadic occurrence, over time it became habitual, and often took the form of him chiding her to take better care of herself. He would show up with food just when she was telling herself that it would be fine to skip lunch, or he would show up at the end of the day, right when she was convincing herself she should stay late and forgo a social life. He said he just enjoyed bothering her, but she couldn't deny the fact that his influence had caused her life to become less stressful, as every time she came close to burning herself out, he was there, waiting to irritate her into taking a break.
It was… annoying.
"What are you thinking about so hard? I think I can smell rubber burning," Kakashi quipped, interrupting her thoughts with a dramatic sniff.
She ignored his joke, not wanting to encourage him. "I was thinking about what a pain in the ass you are," she said, her nose in the air.
"Is that any way to speak to the great and intimidating Rokudaime?"
"If I see anyone great or intimidating, I'll be sure to speak more politely," she quipped, flashing him a deliberately sweet smile. He just huffed at her as they approached her neat little house, pausing to let her unlock and open the door. They both stepped inside, Sakura making a beeline for her bedroom while Kakashi turned in the other direction to sprawl on her couch, pulling out his worn copy of Icha Icha Violence.
In her room, Sakura swiftly began going through her closet. She'd already decided what she was wearing after a quick mental inventory earlier, so she had a specific target in mind, which she quickly located. Divesting herself of her usual medic-wear, she changed into the chosen dress and eyed herself critically in the full-length mirror on the wall by her bed. The ruby-colored cheongsam had been a birthday gift from Ino, and it fit her body perfectly. The print was, of course, cherry blossoms in shades of pink with deep sienna branches. It wasn't something that Sakura would have picked for herself—the cherry blossom motif was a little too on the nose for her—but she had to admit that it was flattering. Slipping on a pair of strappy sandals with low heels, she then dipped into her bathroom. Fluffing her pink shoulder-length hair into something that didn't scream "I've spent twelve hours in a hospital!", she quickly applied mascara and lip gloss before studying her reflection one last time, and then walked back into the living room.
Swatting at Kakashi's distracted head from behind the couch, she said, "Come on, we're going to be late," her voice mocking. Tutting at her, he ducked another swat as he stood, slipping his book back into the pouch on his hip.
Coming around the couch toward the front door, he paused. "You look nice," he said in an even tone, though his eyes flicked to the side, as if he were slightly embarrassed to have said it.
Sakura's lips stretched into a wolfish grin as she took in his obvious discomfort. "You're not going soft, are you, Kakashi?"
Sniffing peevishly, he grumbled, "See if I ever compliment you again," her teasing laughter ringing behind him as they both stepped out. She didn't miss the way that he held the door open for her, and she paused for a moment to study him.
He raised his eyebrows slightly. "What?"
Mint green eyes narrowed slightly as they stared at perplexed grey ones, and then she smiled, tossing her hair over her shoulder as she proceeded toward the street. "Nothing," she said in a singsong voice, making him frown after her in confusion. "Let's go."
Shrugging, he followed her, and they headed for the bar.
The bar was already packed by the time that they got there. It was a spacious place, though not much else was impressive about it—low lighting, scarred wooden surfaces and cheap drinks made it like any number of bars in Konoha. The only thing that made it different was that it had become the unofficial bar of Konoha's elite shinobi force, and as they represented a constant source of thirsty customers, they were happily welcomed by the portly middle-aged civilian who owned it.
Kakashi let Sakura proceed him into the bar, and her eyes lit up as she spotted Ino and headed toward her. He let his eyes linger on Sakura for a moment before he slouched toward the bar, where many of the elite jōnin whom he called friends were camped out.
Sidling up to a spot between Gai and Genma, Kakashi nodded lazily at the scattered greetings that were thrown his way. Gai, of course, could never be counted upon to greet anyone like a normal person, so Kakashi just gave a long-suffering sigh as the Blue Beast of Konoha threw an arm around his shoulders, tears streaming down his face. It was possible that Gai was already drunk, judging by the slightly unsteady way he waved his free arm.
"MY ETERNAL RIVAL! How fortuitous it is that you have arrived in my moment of need! We veterans must CLING to each other in our moments of virile emotion—"
"How the hell did you let him get drunk already?" Kakashi muttered at Genma, fixing him with the kind of look that was usually reserved for his enemies.
"I swear, he's only had one drink," Genma said, smirking around his trademark senbon. "I think he might just be in love with you," he suggested, not for the first time.
"—and together we shall overcome our tumultuous past and rise together into a glorious future!" Gai boomed as he finished the speech that Kakashi and Genma were ignoring, gesturing broadly to a sunset horizon that only he could see.
"HATAKE. How the hell are ya." A palm roughly shoved into Kakashi's shoulder, and he turned to find Anko leering behind him. "I see you came with your pretty little girlfriend."
"Anko. I see that you are your usual dulcet self," Kakashi remarked calmly, signaling the bartender for a round of saké. He didn't intend to pay for said round, but that didn't mean he couldn't order it, right? Besides, he was pretty sure it was village law that a former Hokage didn't have to pay for drinks—at least, it should still be a law, providing Naruto hadn't discovered that particular addition to the last zoning bill Kakashi had signed off on before stepping down.
"Anko, I do believe Kakashi is ignoring your insinuations," Genma said, waggling his eyebrows at the her.
Kakashi snorted softly, fighting the urge to roll his eyes as he poured himself a cup of the saké the bartender had produced. "Aren't we supposed to be remembering glorious war heroes right now?"
"I mean, it's not as if either of you are very subtle," Anko said, clearly glorying in his obvious irritation. "You were eye-fucking her on the way in." Used to people thinking he was a pervert, Kakashi just shrugged.
Anko leaned in, grinning gleefully like she was imparting a secret, "And she's staring at your ass right now."
Kakashi choked a bit on his saké as Genma and Anko laughed, while Gai looked off in the direction of the younger generation of elite jōnin and declared warmly, "Ah, so she is!"
Shooting a murderous glare at Anko before his features slipped once more into a mask of nonchalance, Kakashi fought the nearly overwhelming urge to look at Sakura.
It was going to be a long night.
"Whatcha looking at, Forehead?"
Sakura bit back a curse as she quickly turned her gaze to Ino, who was smiling in a decidedly evil fashion. "I was looking at Gai," Sakura said smoothly, the very picture of innocence. "He was… being Gai."
Ino wasn't buying it. "You were staring at Kakashi."
"No, I wasn't."
"And not just like, oh, let me look at what's over here. You were STARING. At his ass," Ino finished, and by her giddy tone Sakura could tell that she found the whole situation to be deliciously scandalous.
"It's a nice ass," Tenten remarked dreamily from across the table.
Sakura was beginning to turn red. "You know, this really isn't the way you're supposed to celebrate the—"
"Hey, we aren't the ones staring at Kakashi's ass. Although he definitely qualifies as a war hero, so maybe a little worshipful gratitude toward all of his choice body parts is in order." Ino punctuated her statement with a sizeable drink of saké, nodding firmly in agreement with herself.
"I can tell I'm going to have to drink a lot tonight," Sakura muttered darkly, taking a long sip from her own cup.
"I mean," Ino continued, and Sakura groaned as she realized that her best friend still wasn't finished, "He clearly has a thing for you. If I were you—"
"Please don't finish that sentence," Sakura pleaded.
"—I would have already made a trip to the Village Hidden in the Sheets, if you catch my drift," Ino drawled, looking distinctly proud of her own cleverness.
Sakura's sizeable forehead hit the table with a dull thud. "I hate you so much."
Suddenly, Tenten straightened, her eyes drawn to the center of the room. "Shh, I think Naruto's about to make a speech."
Both Sakura and Ino straightened as well, turning toward their Hokage, although Sakura didn't miss Ino's quiet snicker behind her as Naruto began to speak.
Kakashi was beginning to feel the pleasant warmth that came with consuming just the right amount of alcohol, but he hadn't found a seat at the bar yet, choosing instead to stand. And if he happened to keep facing the bar, not looking at Sakura, it was a coincidence. And if that coincidence resulted in keeping his ass turned toward her, well, that couldn't be blamed on him.
"This should be good," Genma murmured, and Kakashi finally turned around, following Genma's gaze to Naruto, who was holding up a cup of saké in the middle of the room.
"I've got 1000 ryo that says he does nothing but make cheesy jokes," Genma said, to no one in particular.
Kotetsu leaned in from Genma's far side, his cheeks noticeably flushed from drink. "No, he's going to be serious. He'll probably cry."
"He'll start with jokes, then get emotional, then end with another joke," Kakashi said confidently. The three ninja looked at each other, and then all chimed in with various versions of "You're on" as they each pulled out the named amount and slapped it on the bar.
"Friends, ninja, countrymen…" Naruto began, "I hope you all know who your designated buddies are tonight, otherwise I have doubts of you all getting home safely," he grinned, looking out at faces that displayed varying degrees of drunkenness. "Last time we had one of these, I got so drunk I almost puked up the kyuubi." A mixture of distasteful groans and laughter rang out, and Genma stared at Kotetsu and Kakashi while mouthing "what did I say". Kotetsu just scowled—this wasn't looking good for him already.
Since he was now facing out toward the crowd, Kakashi found his eyes wandering over the assembled faces. Although he would have sworn that he was just taking in the crowd in a nonchalant way, when his gaze fell upon Sakura sitting at a table with Ino and Tenten, he found he didn't want to look away.
When she turned and looked at him, he felt a tightening in his stomach. When her lips slowly curled into a smile that made her green eyes sparkle, making his stomach feel like it was doing a flip, inwardly he had to acknowledge that his view of Sakura had changed.
"—and always remember to wrap it up, we can't keep having War Remembrance children, all popping up at the same time…" he heard Naruto blather. Kakashi raised a saucy silver eyebrow in Sakura's direction, and was pleased to see her blush and briefly look away, looking vaguely annoyed—perhaps at the fact that she was blushing. When she turned back and saw that he was still looking, she stuck out her tongue childishly.
"This is going to be the easiest money I've ever made," Genma said from beside him. Kotetsu was already mournfully looking at the cash he'd left on the bar.
Kakashi looked over at Genma with a vague "Mm?", making it obvious that he hadn't been listening. Genma narrowed his eyes at him, glancing over in Sakura's direction and shaking his head. Kakashi's eyes remained impassive as he faced toward Naruto again.
"But we all know why we're really here," Naruto intoned, growing solemn. "We're here to be together to remember the ones that we have lost."
Genma distinctly muttered "Shit" next to him, as his chance to win the bet began to dwindle, and several heads turned to hush him.
Kakashi had already lost focus again. He realized it was happening, and that he really should be able to focus on one tiny little speech because he was a grown man damn it, not some hormone-addled teenager, but he couldn't seem to help himself. Or maybe he just didn't want to. In spite of himself, his eyes found their way back to Sakura. She wasn't smiling anymore, having turned her attention back to Naruto's quickly-becoming-sad speech.
"When we think of the Will of Fire, we don't just think of friendship, and the good times. We think of all of the things we've had to sacrifice to get here. Not just blood, sweat, and tears, but those dearest to us—the ones who made the greatest sacrifice to allow us to live in peace today," Naruto continued, his voice roughening with emotion.
Sakura was leaning her cheek into one hand, a few strands of bubblegum-colored hair falling against her cheek. When she tilted her head and exposed the pale skin of her neck, Kakashi swallowed. As Naruto mentioned those who had passed, she moved one hand to Ino's shoulder, and the other across the table to grasp Tenten's arm. This show of compassion reminded Kakashi of what he should be paying attention to right now, and he made a half-hearted attempt to focus on what the Naruto was saying, although it would be easy to admit that he'd much rather be looking at Sakura than thinking about the people they'd lost.
"These moments, when we come together to remember, are what keep us grounded. They are what remind us that we must never stop appreciating those precious to us, because they may not always be here. Please join me in raising a glass—to those who have left us, and those who are with us today. May we never forget what is important." Kakashi, along with everyone else at the bar, held up a cup and joined in the toast. Before drinking, he flicked his eyes back in Sakura's direction, and caught her staring at him with an intense expression. Neither of them moved for a long moment, and Kakashi suddenly had the absurd impulse to wink at her. Instead, he gave her his usual eye-creasing smile, and the spell was broken. They both emptied their glasses and turned toward their respective friends, just in time for Naruto to shout, "And try to keep the War Remembrance babies to a respectable number!"
Both Kotetsu and Genma growled in disgust, pushing the bet money toward Kakashi. As Kakashi gleefully folded the money and shoved it in one of his pockets, Genma muttered, "It really isn't fair—you're his sensei after all, of course you'd know him best."
Kakashi stiffened almost imperceptibly—though not so much that Genma didn't notice—and he knew he sounded defensive as he replied, "I'm not their sensei anymore."
Genma smirked, having noticed the 'they' part of that sentence. "Who are you referring to, exactly? I was just talking about Naruto."
Caught, Kakashi just grunted and signaled for more saké, doing his best to ignore Genma's chuckle.
It was somewhere around the second time that she almost fell off her chair that Sakura began to have the sneaking suspicion that she was drunk.
It really wasn't her fault. Ino and Tenten weren't the only ones who needed cheering up after the memories brought on by the Hokage's speech, and so they'd joined the rest of the shinobi who had once competed together during a very eventful chūnin exam and proceeded to encourage each other to drink vast quantities of saké. Currently, they were all acting under the Naruto's "Little Green Man" rule, where every time they went to take a drink, they had to remove an imaginary little green man from their cups. If they forgot, they had to drink twice. Every single one of them thought it was a ridiculous rule, and every single one of them played anyway.
And then there was Kakashi. If he wasn't a reason to drink, Sakura didn't know what was. She had been adamant about not looking too closely at the way their friendship had blossomed over the last year, and thus far had been successful. Sure, she occasionally found herself noticing him more often—noticing how pretty his eyes really were, or how great his ass looked, in particular—but that was just a natural reaction to being around the opposite sex, right? Ninja always had great asses. It was practically a requirement of the trade. But Ino's words had made Sakura think—and it was precisely those thoughts, and her need to avoid them, that made Sakura "accidentally" forget the Little Green Man Rule more times than was advisable.
However, she was starting to regret her decision to drink so much, especially when things were starting to look so… swimmy. "PIG," she said loudly, shoving Ino's shoulder. "I'm drunk. I need air. Come outside with me."
Ino giggled as they both slid to their feet, arm-in-arm in a way that should have made them both more stable, but instead seemed to make them both twice as unsteady. Luckily, they weren't far from the entrance, and in no time at all they had stepped out into the cool night air. Stepping to the side of the door, they both leaned against the front of the establishment. "Forehead," Ino sighed.
"Sai is sooo great."
Sakura bit back a groan. She loved her best friend, but Ino had a tendency to get really sappy when she was drunk. "Yeah, yeah, I know. You're in love. You're going to have lots of babies. I get it," she said with a sigh.
Ino leaned into Sakura's face, pouting. "Don't be a bitter woman, Forehead."
"I am not a bitter woman!"
"You're only alone and bitter because you've chosen to be—"
"I AM NOT ALONE AND BITTER!"
"—and it doesn't have to stay that way."
"Not this again. Let's go back to talking about Sai," Sakura huffed.
"I don't know how it took me so long to realize it. It's so obvious. You just need to take Kakashi home and—"
"OH, WOULD YOU LOOK AT WHO IT IS," Sakura practically bellowed over whatever Ino had been about to say as Kakashi stuck his head out the door.
"They're out here," Kakashi called over his shoulder, and then walked out toward them, followed by Sai. "Ladies," Kakashi said, and Sakura was sure he was smirking underneath the mask, "You both seem to be… enjoying the evening."
Ino happily, if sloppily, threw herself into Sai's arms as Sakura narrowed her eyes at Kakashi. "Shut up," she said, trying not to look embarrassed when she slurred her words slightly. "You're probably as drunk as I am."
"But you'll never know, because I can handle my liquor," he said with his patented eye creases, cringing slightly as she slapped his arm.
"Take me home and put me to bed," Ino whispered into Sai's ear—only her whisper was easily heard by everyone around her. Sakura blushed and Kakashi chuckled under his breath.
Sai just smiled serenely. "Looks like it's time for us to go," he said calmly, nodding to them both. "I assume you'll make sure she gets home safely?" he asked Kakashi.
Sakura scowled, not appreciating being talked about like she was a child, but Kakashi just nodded and waved, watching as Sai snaked an arm around Ino's waist and led her off in the direction of the home they shared together.
Sakura stared off after the happy couple for a moment, then sighed and turned back to Kakashi, who was now quietly watching her. "I guess I should go back in and say goodbye to everyone," she said reluctantly, not really relishing having to go back inside.
"Everyone's too drunk now to even remember if you said goodbye," Kakashi replied dismissively. "Come on," he said, turning on his heel and proceeding down the street without waiting to see if she was following.
"Hmph!" Sakura fixed the back of Kakashi's head with an irritated scowl, and then began trotting to catch up to him, pouting as she said, "You make a really shitty gentleman."
But then he laughed—a low, wonderfully masculine laugh that sent a pleasant shiver down her spine—and she forgot what she was pouting about.
In all honesty, Kakashi was a little drunk. Not so much that he was going to fall on his face or puke in the bushes, but enough so that everything seemed a bit fuzzy. More than enough to allow him to be constantly distracted by the woman who walked beside him.
They walked without saying anything, the companionable silence only broken by Sakura humming some song under her breath. Kakashi couldn't be sure which one—probably something she'd heard at the bar, although it was hard to tell since she seemed to be humming off-key. Listening to her horrible attempt at carrying a tune made a sudden rush of affection rise up in him, which in turn made him feel a thread of panic. If her tone-deaf humming was enough to make him feel that way, he was really in trouble.
"In trouble with what?" Sakura murmured, peering up at him, and Kakashi fought back a curse when he realized he'd been thinking out loud.
"Alcohol," he said quickly, following it with, "Hangover. Tomorrow." Sakura blinked. "I'm going to have one," he added. World class ninja deception.
"Ah," was all Sakura said, and they both faced forward as they turned down the street that led to her house.
The cool night air was doing Sakura good, but even as she began to feel slightly more sober, her mind was racing. Was Ino right about Kakashi being interested in her? She'd been mostly successful at not inspecting the building rapport between them too closely, but the evidence was starting to pile up and become hard to ignore.
There was the way he had slowly wormed into her life, prodding her to take care of herself and personally checking to make sure that she did. The way he remembered her favorite take-out orders at her favorite restaurants. The way he paid for it without being asked—that was the most glaring evidence of all, considering how notoriously cheap he was. She'd even noticed that he'd begun to open doors for her.
When they reached the walk to her house, she stumbled slightly going up it, and he was quick to grab her arm in a loose grip in order to steady her. Looking up at him, she said somewhat waspishly, "You know, I'm not some dainty little flower. You don't have to do that."
He didn't move his hand, his fingertips warm on the inside of her elbow. "I know," he said quietly, and her breath caught at the intense look in his eyes.
Sakura didn't know what emotions passed over her face in that moment, but inside her head, her mind went from being astonished directly into confidence. Her free hand flew up to poke Kakashi in the chest. Hard. Glaring at him, she said accusingly, "You like me."
His eyes widened, and a short, disbelieving laugh escaped his lips. "What, are you twelve?" he said incredulously, laughing. That warm, rare laugh—the one that Sakura's dazzled mind translated to man. He recovered from his astonishment quickly, and she thought he might have been smirking beneath his mask as he cockily said, "Besides, I'm pretty sure that it's you who likes me."
Sakura snorted, tossing her hair, feeling as if she was back on solid ground now that they were teasing each other. "That's ridiculous. And don't think I'm going to let you get away with changing the subject. The subject is you, and how you like me," she said, and the way she said 'like me', she might as well have been saying 'have a second head that you've been hiding from everyone'.
And then he took off his mask, and all rational thought ceased.
It seemed to happen both quickly and slowly. He slid his hand from her arm, and reached up, and when she realized what he was doing her lips parted in shock. He slid the black material down beneath his chin, but she barely had time to take in his face before it fell into shadow because he was leaning toward her. Dropping his hand, he threaded his fingers through the soft pink strands framing her face until he was cupping the back of her head.
Sakura's breath caught in her throat as Kakashi's hand gently, but insistently, tilted her face up toward him, his eyes heavily lidded as they stared into hers. Slowly, almost painfully slowly, he closed the last bit of distance between them, and their breaths mingling as Sakura felt the heat radiating off his body. His warm, soft lips barely brushed hers, and if Sakura had been in her right mind, she might have been embarrassed by the quiet little whimper that escaped her.
Kakashi pulled back, his eyes on hers, and said, "Maybe."
And then he grinned, and Sakura had just enough brain power left to form one dizzy thought—he has dimples—before he disappeared in a puff of smoke.
Sakura blinked owlishly for a moment, completely stunned, before realizing the teasing bastard wasn't planning on coming back. Furious, she shrieked, "Kakashi!"
She could have sworn that she heard that infuriatingly delicious laugh echoing in the distance.
A/N: Naruto's "Friends, ninja, countrymen" is a reference to Marc Antony's "Friends, Romans, countrymen" speech in Shakespeare's Julius Caesar.