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1[intransitive/transitive] to make plans for something to happen, for example by agreeing a time and place
2[transitive] to plan and manage the details of a project or event that involves many people
3[transitive] to put things in a neat, attractive, or useful order
4[transitive] music to change a piece of music so that it is suitable for a particular type of voice or instrument
It wasn't arranged. That was the only thing that Kakashi could still hold up after years of thinking and trying to find the reasons that would support his side of the argument.
It wasn't something planned in advance. Not arranged. Not orchestrated. Not even thought of. On the contrary. It was something that… well, the moment his analytical mind came up with the thought 'something that shouldn't have happened' he winced mentally. Partly because now he was selfish enough to feel that he did not want to give up these memories, however painful they might be. And partly because he was responsible. There was no denying that, he conceded, while he was still running fast toward Konoha with his long shinobi strides, perfected in many years. Because the majority of the things that should never, ever have happened in this life or the one after that or in any parallel universe were his fault. He just wished that he could change some of those things by magic, but it's not possible to change the past, is it?
It was only his fault that after he had yet another near-death experience he felt life owed him something more than just blood and wounds and nightmares. It was only his fault that when his teammate-student-friend-companion knocked on the door of his apartment after a particularly troublesome mission, shivering and soaked to the bone, he invited her in and gave her some dry clothes to wear. The clothes were a really serious mistake because not only did she look incredibly hot in his oversized dark shirt with her long, naked legs, she also looked somehow… cute. Hot he could handle, Kakashi thought guiltily for about the thousandth time, cute…well, that was a different matter entirely.
When he first met her she didn't even register as a woman on his radar, for God's sake! She was young, yes, but after spending years with chasing women in several countries (and catching the majority) he would have thought he would be able to tell potentially chaseable female material from the rest. Not that he would ever want to do anything with his own student, of course not – but seeing the possibility in her should have been a given.
Well, it wasn't, and although he missed quite a lot of opportunities in his life (saving teammates, saving his father, being a good teacher, not refusing the first challenge that Gai presented just because he was bored at the time), missing this opportunity of seeing her as a possible heartbreaker came back and bit him in the ass in the most embarrassing way possible.
Giving her something to drink was only civil, he argued with himself. After all, she was seventeen, she could buy herself a drink if she wanted to – and sometimes she did. He never saw her get so drunk as to pass out but a bit tipsy at parties and on birthdays was ok in their line of work. He only offered sake after he realized that tea and a warm room wouldn't stop her shivering. How on earth was he to know that she hadn't had anything to eat that day because she couldn't stomach the food? He himself wasn't very steady to begin with, having just barely escaped from the Grim Reaper again, so it wasn't a wonder that neither of them thought of the possible consequences.
One of them was that Sakura suddenly blurted out some details of her mission, about two children that they found murdered in a small village and their mother going crazy and committing suicide. Another was that she tried not to cry but couldn't quite manage and the way she wiped her eyes on the sleeve of her shirt that was his shirt was not cute, nor anything he had or would ever have words for, so he didn't even try to utter any. He just opened his arms for her and the next moment she was there, crying into his shoulder and he was holding her with all his might and his heart was breaking for her instead of explaining logically that such things happened, she was lucky not to be the one who was sent to murder the children.
Logic flew out the window that evening, Kakashi mused while he was walking through a swamp that stood between him and the next village, probably along with common sense. And discipline. And shame. And a lot of other things.
Because the next thing he remembered was that he was sitting on the sofa and she was sitting on his lap, her small hands clutching the shirt on his chest and he was saying things to her that he would be embarrassed to repeat in any other company. Things like how everything would be all right, how it wasn't her fault, how very sorry he was for her.
And the most embarrassing thing was not that he dared say such soppy words. Not even that he believed those words he said in that moment. The most embarrassing thing, he clearly remembered (for a second he stopped remembering and cursed aloud – damn swamp, he was all muddy now, never mind) so the most embarrassing thing was that there was a moment when he realized that he was saying things to himself, too, and the second monologue did not tally with these words whatsoever.
Now that wasn't completely new as such. Ever since he had been about fourteen and had his first sexual encounter he said things to women he knew they wanted to hear, dirty talk or terms of endearment alike, while his real voice inside said things like 'at last – I thought we'd never get here' or 'off with those panties now – there we go'.
But now he heard that voice inside whisper things like 'my Sakura, my darling'. And instead of being scared shitless, he felt it was right.
That was a serious mistake, he thought now (he was now at the border of Fire Country – so far so good). Although it still did not feel like a mistake. How could it? A mistake was something that you regretted, and he never, not for one moment could regret what happened after that. The consequences… well, that was another matter entirely. But holding a sweet, sweet girl in his weary arms, looking into her beautiful emerald eyes shining with tears, then raising one of his hands to her pearl-white face and stroking her cheek with his thumb to make those tears stop… how could anyone label that a mistake? A sin, maybe, against her, yes, a wicked, evil deed on his behalf, but a mistake?
He shook his head as he tried to clean the mud off himself. Of course the mud was not going to co-operate, he would have to wait until it dried. It was one of nature's laws. Just like that other thing – a beautiful seventeen-year-old girl and a thirty-year-old guy who could pass for handsome under the mask as she discovered that night, together in his apartment, tired, weary, sad, a bit drunk and in desperate need of warmth, of life… of love.
It was inevitable, in a way.
It didn't take her long to cajole him into taking off that mask and to touch his face, his lips with her slender little fingers in awe. It didn't take him long to close the distance between them and brush her lips with his. And after that it didn't take any time at all for either of them to lean closer and kiss each other properly and to forget about anything else, like the difference in age, like the fact that he was a jaded, depraved guy and she was an innocent young girl, like… like about a thousand reasons why it should never have happened, Kakashi thought.
But that night… he could still remember that after all this time. How her mouth opened to his, how his lips caressed hers. How long they kissed, driving each other crazy with desire. How she wanted to take his chuunin vest off and how he complied faster than he ever thought possible. How they lost their clothing – some of them fast, some of them, like the borrowed shirt, so slow because he showered her with kisses. How he took her to his bedroom and how she smiled up at him. How… oh, there were lots of hows that night, Kakashi thought. Hows and wheres and whens and whats. Where he kissed her when she moaned aloud. How she never tired of trying things she only heard about. What he did to her to make her scream with pleasure. And so on. Lots of things you could ask about a long night. The only things missing were the whys.
The next day she was still in his bed when there was an ANBU messenger knocking at his window. He went back to the bedroom to tell her he had to go and she nodded. She was a kunoichi, after all. He gave her an awkward kiss and left and wasn't back until more than two months later.
When they met again something was off. He asked her what it was. She had black circles under her eyes, her beautiful cherry-blossom hair in disarray. Something was wrong. She just shook her head.
Again, he'd just got back from a long mission to be sent on another, Kakashi thought now. He thought he would have more time but things were repeated almost exactly the same way as before. After being back in the village for two days, he was summoned by the Hokage. The new mission couldn't wait. It was bad timing but inevitable. He didn't feel any particular desire to go but after a careful explanation from the Hokage it was obvious that his skills were needed badly. He was used to this – one crisis following other, the village always teetering on the brink of catastrophe.
Before he left - again -, he met Sakura another time. She seemed scared. When he said he had to go away again, she seemed even more scared. He was really pressed for time but he asked the reason for her distress again.
That was when he got the news in his face – she was pregnant, he a father-to-be.
He was so surprised that he automatically used his mask behind the mask, Kakashi thought now. He only said, "I see," and after a few minutes, "What do you plan to do?"
She watched his face for a few minutes then she said very quietly that she was considering several possibilities. He just sat there and said nothing. Then she left. It was too late when he realized that he may have been surprised but it was not surprise she felt. Her eyes always reflected everything she thought or felt. Eyes as windows of the soul – on his eyes the blinds had been down for so long that they couldn't be raised again. But her eyes were still transparent. She was afraid and confused and hurt and lonely while he was surprised. A bit scared, too, yes, but mostly surprised. Hardly equal, Kakashi thought.
Also there were other things to consider. Like money. She'd need money.
That was the least he could do. He ran home and wrote a cheque. First he thought that it would be enough then he tore the cheque up and doubled the amount on the next one. He put it in an envelope and wrote a few lines to go with it.
Something like if she decided to have an abortion she would need money and he would see her when he got home. He took it to her apartment and slid it under her door.
There was no time for anything more and frankly, he didn't know what else to do. So he decided to forget it for a while. The mission was difficult enough – that was nothing new, simple missions were for chuunins and genins, not for Sharingan Kakashi.
He was in the forest now, going steadily. He wanted to be back in Konoha. The sooner the better.
When he'd returned after that mission – God, it was disastrous. No, not the mission itself, that went well enough although took a lot longer than expected, but staying away from the village for several months was nothing new either. It was the weight in his stomach that made it hard. What would Sakura say? Would they be able to get back to what they had before, their friendship, their trust in each other? Would she still work with him? Women took this baby thing much more seriously than men, he knew. Whether she chose abortion or adoption she would not be happy and he would have to take the blame.
He steeled himself. He went to the Hokage first and gave a short summary of the mission, then went to the hospital to get patched up.
He met Ino on the corridor. She said, "Oh, you came to see Sakura, didn't you? How nice of you. She's much better now."
He stopped in his tracks. "Much better?"
"Oh. Of course. You just got back, you wouldn't know. Something went wrong, she was brought in too late and she almost died. She's still not well, but…"
Ino was called away and he went on with his stomach churning and his blood turning into ice. Almost died.
As he thought of the hospital, Kakashi felt the shafts of ice in his stomach again and the thoughts hit him again with their full force. Little Sakura. Who was her team leader, now? He should have been more careful. She always ran into danger to save others.
Then he saw Shikamaru and Chouji standing on the corridor. When he went by, he heard "I have no idea how she could cope with that alone", that was Chouji, and "Well, what else could she do? Her parents wouldn't help her", that was Shikamaru.
Kakashi was running now through the forest like he was running in his mind, remembering the stunning fear he felt. Sakura! How grave was this wound?
Hinata was just coming out of her room when he arrived – it happened years ago and still he remembered that surprise on her face, the sudden blush, the frown.
"K-kakashi sensei," she stuttered.
It took a lot of effort for him to seem normal. "I'm just back from a mission and I heard that Sakura…"
Hinata looked at him. Those pale lavender eyes seemed to bore into his soul. When she spoke again, she spoke without stuttering.
"I shouldn't let anyone visit her," she said. "And you are wounded."
He didn't care. Just cuts. Nothing serious. But Hinata was still standing between him and the door.
"She's in a bad state," she said. "She nearly died, did you know that? Just a few more minutes, and she would have been…"
"Please, let me see her. Please."
Funny how these feelings never left one even after all this time, Kakashi thought. It must be the reason why nowadays he hated long missions. But Konoha was near now. He wondered why these memories always had to crop up.
It was probably because that was the first moment when he saw his own feelings with disturbing clarity. How Sakura was his heart, his soul. How he was not in love, in love being something when you feel elated when you see the other person and you want to sing and stuff. He never felt like that. Sakura was simply a part of him. When she was there, things clicked into place and it didn't matter whether she looked good or whether she was crying or laughing or angry because she was just there. But being alive counted. If she died, he would… Just thinking of it made him want to howl.
Hinata must have seen it in his face because she opened the door for him and then closed it behind him. He heard her steps going further and further on the corridor, clack, clack.
That was when he stepped into a new world, when he realized at last very clearly how unforgivable everything he said and did and everything he missed saying and doing was, and how it was all his fault.
Sakura was awake but pale, oh so pale, and next to her there was a baby.
It was so unlike him, Kakashi thought, that at first he just didn't know what to think. It was like a puzzle where the pieces were from different sets.
Sakura in the hospital bed, white as a ghost, ethereal, beautiful. He felt light, almost floating. She was not dead. 'Not yet,' his inner voice whispered and he got scared again. Then her face turned toward him, and he would have counted on a lot of things but not this.
"Leave me alone!" she hissed. "I'm not going to let anyone adopt her! I'm going to fucking keep her and if you say anything I'll just kill you!"
He kept going toward her. It was like wading through water, Kakashi thought. She was holding the baby close, protecting her, defending her, and her eyes were like lightning. He felt she could put that lightning through his heart any time.
The next thing he remembered was that he was kneeling next to her bed, holding on to her hand and repeating in a fever 'it was my fault, only mine and I'm so sorry…'
He didn't really know what he meant exactly. He just felt that it was his fault that things have somehow gone astray and it was up to him to make this right although he had no idea how.
He was sure she would have sent him away, sent him back to the darkness, his darkness, if his angel didn't come to his help.
Suddenly there was a funny thin little voice coming out of the blanket and she sat up and turned the baby toward him. "Just look at him! Isn't he ridiculous to think we would forgive him?" and the baby, their baby yawned, then gave a tiny sound as if she were amused and opened her eyes. He was looking into dark, dark eyes like his own.
Kakashi stopped now for a moment and checked direction again. There it should be…aah. The walls and the gate. Everything seemed to be all right. He was almost there now.
He saw them both in his mind's eye so clearly. Saki, his daughter, with her pink curls and dark eyes, the most beautiful little girl in the world, his princess, his everything… and his Sakura, her eyes growing enormous when she saw him reaching for the baby, charmed, enchanted… and then Saki was in his arms for the first time and she opened her eyes again and he pulled down his mask and kissed the top of her head… and that was when he knew he was in love.
He didn't realize he was crying only that his cheeks were wet, but he saw that Sakura was crying, seeing how he fell in love with his daughter at first sight and then he just said 'marry me, I'll do anything' and she threw a pillow toward him and shrieked that she would castrate him first…
It took quite a lot of time and effort to make her change her mind and agree to his proposal. It was worth it.
It was in an impatient haze that Kakashi checked in at the gate now and in the Tower next and promised everything just to get out two minutes sooner and then raced toward his house, trying to push back dark, nagging little fears. Surely they must be all right, someone would have said something if there was anything wrong…
He just as good as broke down his own door when he tore in and was greeted by a shriek. "Daddy! Mom, daddy's home!"
Saki was tall for her age although she was only three and in her enthusiastic greeting she collided with his leg full force, using her head like a little ram, but Kakashi just didn't care. Even pain was welcome from her. "Where's mom, my angel?" he asked, taking her in his arms and kissing her lovely little face, carrying her inside.
"In the kitchen," Saki sing-songed. „Making something awful for dinner. Why do you have to like eggplant, daddy?"
He saw Sakura appear in the kitchen door, her eyes full of light like two pools reflecting sunshine. "You're home!"
She was laughing but her eyes were filling up with tears so he had to hug her, too.
"Come on… it was only four days."
"Four days and three nights, dad," Saki chirped in. „That's loooong."
Long can be quite a flexible term, Kakashi thought. Four days definitely counted as long nowadays.
He looked at his wife. "How are you feeling?" he asked and softly stroked her round belly.
"Just don't ask or I'll hit you," she said grumpily. "I forgot all these awful things like stomach burns and cold feet and using the bathroom all the time and now they are all back, and I'm only in the fifth month."
He opened his mouth to say something but she smiled suddenly. "I know, I know. Your fault. I couldn't agree more. Go and take a shower, then you can go to bed until dinner's ready. You must be tired."
He meekly did as he was told, except that he lied down on the sofa in the living room instead of going to bed. The bedroom was too far from the kitchen, too silent. He must be getting old, he thought, whoever on earth ever heard of a shinobi taking an afternoon nap, but it felt so good to lie there and listen to the noises he'd missed so much – Sakura chopping vegetables and scolding Saki for running around, Saki singing some mindless, repetitious little song, the wind blowing in the street… it was Konoha wind… he was home…
In his half-dreamy state he heard Saki running in then shouting "Dad's asleep on the sofa!", then Sakura telling her softly, "Stop shouting then, darling, he must be tired…" They are my heart and soul, he thought, but since they are also the heart of the house, then he must be the home for their souls… and in this dreamy state this seemed perfectly logical.
The last thing he remembered was that he had visitors. They didn't come so often nowadays but this seemed a special occasion. He was home to greet them so they came. Obito said he was happy. Rin smiled. Sensei ruffled his hair. In his dream Kakashi was a bit confused because he remembered that he used to do this to his team and he couldn't be in two teams at once… but sensei laughed. Then the visit ended and they began to float away. "We'll always be there," Rin said, "but you're home now…"
Home, he thought to himself. Wind. Konoha wind. Sakura. Saki.
He drifted to sleep.