She was sitting on the bench, swinging her legs back and forth and letting the rays of the sun hit her face. She wasn't in the usual jounin attire. Instead she had skin tight spandex shorts that came to mid-thigh, a tight tank top and her shinobi boots. Her hair was still its same, vibrant pink and still cut to her shoulders. It had been tied up an hour or so ago but that was for training with Naruto and the rest of the Konoha 11. It was the Autumn festival tonight and she had promised Ino she would go. And Ino had also told them that she would make life a living hell for Hinata, Tenten and Sakura if they didn't appear with dates for it.
This wasn't a problem for Hinata and Tenten. Hinata had Naruto. Tenten had Neji. Ino had...the entire male population up to Genma's age. Sakura had...nobody.
At least she had her outfit and all the likes sorted. But she needed to find someone to go with otherwise she'd be in for a month (at the least) of shopping everyday with and for Ino. Sakura let out a huge sigh as her head drooped and her chin came to rest on her chest.
She kicked the ground with a foot and stubbed her toe in the process, "Shit! Son of a-" She brought her foot up and brought the index finger, surrounded with a green glow, to her toe to heal it.
This day was already turning into a disaster. Training had gone perfectly; never a good sign in her books.
"Yo." Came a laid-back voice from her side.
She swivelled round and came face-to-book with the man who had...sort of...taught her in her earlier years. She stared at his lackadaisical stance and aloof manner to everyone/thing around him. She wondered when she saw him last. It must have been at the ANBU meeting about seven months back.
She frowned, "Can't have been that long,"
"Hmm? What was that, Sakura-chan?" Kakashi lowered his book a fraction to where he could just make her out over the top of the book.
"N-nothing," Sakura shook her head before smiling up at him, "Haven't seen you around in a while. Been busy?"
"Depends on your definition of 'busy'" he answered slyly before jumping up onto the branch of the tree above and reclining on it.
"Wh-Kakashi! God!" Sakura flustered and turned as red as some of the autumn leaves carpeting the ground.
"Now now, You can't knock it or say it till you've tried it, Sakura," Kakashi grinned evilly behind his book.
"...ugh!" she groaned in frustration.
"I think you're in too public an area to be making those kind of sounds, Haruno-san,"
Sakura stomped her foot and was about to go off on a rant before she came up short, "...Haruno-san?"
She was about to question him again but thought the better of it. Kakashi was never going to answer her if he didn't want to. The ass. So, instead, she decided to head back to her apartment where she could mull over who she could ask to the festival. She was halfway down the street before she heard Kakashi voice trail off as he ran the roofs above her.
"Everyone's taken. Including Lee."
She twirled one way then the other in front of her floor-length mirror. The kimono was perfect and so was her make-up and hair.
The Kimono was white with gold, red, orange and a few green leaves embroidered all over in random places. The obi was a forest-green colour and her hair was tied up in a simple bun with a headpiece attached. Her eye-shadow was a pale dusty pink and she had fore-gone any lip applications. The arms of the kimono were bat-winged and fell to her abdomen if she held her hands together in front of her.
"You remind me of one of the characters out of my book. She-"
"Don't want to know, Kakashi,"
"You're so mean, Sakura-chan." Kakashi whined.
"Hmph," She flattened the front of her Kimono.
Kakashi sighed and came to stand behind her. He tucked a stray bit of hair behind her ear and put his other hand on her lower back.
He leant down and whispered in her ear, "Whoever got you the kimono has impeccable taste," And just as her eyes rose to meet his, she could have sworn she saw him smile and...possibly wink. He was gone before she could respond.
A whoosh of wind was felt before something hard crashed into her. Then she felt herself being lifted off the ground and twirled around. She would have laughed if it weren't for the problem of not being able to breathe.
"Air, Naruto, air.." she managed to gasp out.
"Wh-oh! Sorry, Sakura-chan!" he set her down and gave her an apologetic smile while he rubbed the back of his head.
"It's alright. I'm used to it," she smiled back and gave his arm a pat. She looked past him at the others. All of Konoaha 11 were there with their respective others as were their old sensei's bar Asuma, along with their friends, "Wow...big turn out,"
Naruto glanced at them and then smiled down at her, "It's best this way. Everyone's together and can be happy and spend a relaxing evening with each other...if only S-" he was cut off as Sakura's foot slammed on his own, "Ouch! Sakuraaa-chaaaan!"
His whine caught the attention of the group who turned to face a hopping Naruto and an irked off Sakura.
Sakure breathed deeply before grabbing Naruto's arm and turning him to face her, "Don't, Naruto. Not tonight. He's gone and that's it. The only way he's coming back is if somebody went all Orochimaru or Kabuto and resurrected him in that inhumane, vile way. He's at rest now and that's what matters; don't try and spoil this night by talking about the 'what if's' and 'if only's'."
Naruto looked into Sakura's intense eyes and nodded. It was still too painful and fresh for her too even if it only happened three/four years ago. Sasuke's death would always feel like that to them. It would never get better.
"Oi! Forehead!" Sakura cringed and turned slowly to see Ino barge her way through their friends to her, "Where's your date?"
Sakura smiled tightly and didn't reply.
"Well?" Ino stopped in front of her, hands on hips and tapped her toe on the ground.
"Ahaha, well, you see-"
"I knew it! You don't have one!" Ino crowed.
"I did. Until half an hour ago. He bailed on me. Said he had a sudden mission."
"Oh yeah? And who was it?"
"...Kotetsu," Sakura mumbled.
"Huh? Speak up! I can't hear you!"
Ino straightened and stared at her best friend, "Seriously?"
"She's not lying. I had to send him on a mission. It came in suddenly and needed a response urgently. Sorry, Sakura." Tsunade apologised.
"No worries," Sakura smiled and then headed off with the three blondes back to the group to join in on the banter.
"You look stunning, tonight,"
Silence encompassed them as they watched the candles in paper boats float down the river. The moons reflection bouncing off the surface of water.
"I thought you didn't like these things?"
"Because you asked."
"You came because I asked?"
She turned to face him and saw him staring at her through his one eye. And then all the pieces from the past year's actions, words and silences, fell into place. And the question was there in his eye, all she had to do was give an answer.
"Yes, Kakashi. Most definitely yes,"
"And that was how your grandmother and father came to be a couple. He had been after her for a good two years before that. Had dropped soo many hints but she was clueless up until that point," the silver haired woman stroked her nephew's hair.
"They were the best shinobi team, weren't they? And their group was unstoppable, right? Team Seven and Team Kakashi?"
"Right, but I'll let your father tell you about that part of their history."
"I'll tell you tomorrow, if you behave at your cousin's coronation of becoming Hokage." A male voice came from the doorway.
"I will, daddy!"
The woman kissed her nephew on the forehead and exited his room.
"How many times have you told the story of mum and dad?" Sakumo asked.
"I've lost track but the kids love hearing it." she replied and nudged her pink-haired brother, "Mum and dad deserve to have their story told. They were great shinobi and wonderful parents. I was named Nadeshiko due to the fact they got together in Autumn,"
"I know. I can't believe they've been gone ten years now."
"Hn. They lived and died together. They protected each other to the very end and they had a long and happy time together, that's all that matters."