Disclaimer: I do not own "Naruto."
Kakashi watched Sakura's body visibly stiffen before him the minute he asked the question.
Sakura let out a deep breath. This is all HER fault, Sakura couldn't help but think irritably.
"Kakashi, do we have to do this now?"
"I don't think I could sleep now that I've asked, could you?"
"Then why, Sakura?"
"No offense, Kakashi, but because we'd make an odd couple, that's why. You're 14 years older than me, plus you used to be my teacher. It's just too weird, you know?"
"I see...Is this really how you feel or just what you say because of what other people might say?"
"It's the same difference, Kakashi."
"No, it's not, Sakura. With no one here to judge us, no one here to say it'd be wrong, do you really find me that unappealing?"
Sakura stared hard into the distance. Image filled memories of Kakashi buff and shirtless, sometimes wet after a swim or after a hard day's training came to the forefront of her not-so-innocent-anymore mind. And of course, she couldn't forget about the way his soft silvery hair fell haphazardly on his brow when he took off his hitai-ate making him look...hot. And when he smiled, even with his mask on, he just looked so, so...cute. Oh, god. thought Sakura while Inner Sakura simply continued to drool. It didn't help matters that the man, and not just the memory, was lying just a few inches behind her asking why she didn't seem to want him.
"You're not unappealing, Kakashi." was Sakura's only reply.
"Do you find it hard to relate to me because of the age difference?"
"You're not hard to relate to, Kakashi. If you were, I wouldn't consider you my friend. If anything, you're very easy to relate to because we've shared the same experiences and have been around each other through all these years."
"Fine. Am I too mature for you then?"
"Better than being too immature." Sakura said as the image of a certain spiky-haired blond popped into her mind. "Besides, you know what they say about girls maturing faster than boys. The way things are, our maturity levels are probably almost even. And the times when you are more mature than me, I only appreciate it more because it gives me better insight about the world around me and turns me into a better person."
"Well, then. Do you think I don't respect you and care about you enough?"
More memories flickered through Sakura's mind like a movie reel...Kakashi protecting her at the chunin exam, Kakashi saving her from a dueling Naruto and Sasuke on top of a hospital rooftop, Kakashi laying a hand on her shoulder comfortingly telling her that everything would be okay, Kakashi standing aside and letting her take complete charge during a mission to terminate a problem by the name of Sasori, Kakashi always speaking to her and treating her like an equal during missions and off...
"I know you respect and care for me, Kakashi. Thank you...by the way." Sakura said softly.
"You're welcome." Kakashi replied just as quietly. "Well, I guess that just leaves the part about me having once been your sensei. Does it really bother you that much that I used to teach you? Does it really age me that much?"
"No...not really. It's only taught me to respect you and admire you for what you've accomplished and who you are."
"Sakura, you're not really..." Kakashi took a breath and tried to get a hold of himself. "Fine. Do I annoy you then?"
"The reading porn in public does. How can you do that anyway without your body betraying you?"
"Really good self-control?" Kakashi laughed nervously. If only she knew how he was currently waging an inner battle with himself as she lay there so close and so naked before him not only physically, but mentally and emotionally through this little conversation of theirs.
"Do I smell bad then?"
Sakura couldn't help but give a small laugh. With his current proximity, she could smell him. In spite of the current heat and either of them having yet taken a shower today, Kakashi still smelled like Kakashi...male, and clean, and good. Really good.
"You smell good, Kakashi." Sakura said unable to hide the sound of her smile.
"Sakura..." Kakashi said with a hint of frustration, "Going back to my original question: Just why aren't we together? Everything you've just said..." Kakashi said shaking his head. "I mean it sounds as if you...but then you won't...I don't understand." Kakashi finished lamely, feeling thoroughly confused.
After several minutes of tense silence, Sakura's voice finally rang out strong and true.
"I'm too traditional, Kakashi. After what happened with Sasuke, I learned that the guy should make the first move. If I'm the one to make the first move, then I won't know if the guy is with me because he wanted me in the first place or because I threw myself at him. But if he makes the first move, then I know he wanted me from the very beginning."
When Kakashi didn't respond, Sakura sighed, figuring that she would just have to spell it out for him.
"To answer your question, Kakashi, we're not together because I've been waiting all these years for you to make the first move. So here's my question for you, Kakashi...Will you ever make the first move and why haven't you already?"
It was Kakashi's turn to have his eyes grow wide in shock.
To be continued...