Patience may be a virtue, but sometimes persistence is just plain more practical.
How About Now?
“No.” She tilted her head to the side for a moment as though in thought. “It’s nice of you to ask though.” The pink haired woman kissed him before slipping from his startled grasp to saunter from the room.
Feeling slightly confused he sighed and followed the kunoichi. It wasn’t the answer he had expected, but that didn’t mean she wouldn’t change her mind. He would just have to try again another time.
Stealthily he crept up behind her and slipped his arms around her waist, resting his chin on her head. She was standing in the bathroom studying a small plastic stick.
“That mean what I think it means?” he asked, making sure to keep his voice devoid of all emotion. One faulty step could land him on the couch for a couple weeks of the silent treatment or worse, through the wall and then on the couch for a couple weeks of the silent treatment.
She sighed. She had suspected but wanted a chemically accurate diagnosis before jumping to any conclusions. “It was bound to happen sooner or later with your stamina…”
He grinned. “Was that a complaint or a compliment?”
She tossed the little plastic apparatus into the trash and turned to face him, a mischievous sparkle in her eye as she placed her hands on his chest. “Hmm… I suppose I could go either way on that one… I think I might need a little persuading…” She slid her hands slowly down his chest suggestively.
He chuckled. “I think that can be arranged, but first…How about now?”
She wrinkled her brow in confusion having no idea what he could be hinting at.
He kissed the tip of her nose and grinned at her puzzled expression. “I believe I asked you a question not too long ago…”
Her eyes widened in surprise as she realized what he meant.
His hands shifted from their place at the small of her back, one a little lower and the other a little higher, his fingers twitching ever so slightly in anticipation. “I’m sure you didn’t think I would bring it up again.”
She shook her head in a negative, her eyes still wide and her tongue temporarily tied. The younger woman would never have guessed he would bring it up after she had already said ‘no.’
"I'll let you think about it then,” grinning he scooped her up to carry her off to the other room to continue with his persuading.
Later, once she had heard all of his arguments, she sighed, sweaty and tired but completely content.
He reached over to gently wipe a couple strands of sweat dampened hair from her face allowing his hand to slide down from her forehead to rest on her cheek. “Is that a yes?” Absently he ran his thumb along her jaw line while he waited for an answer.
“Mmmm… I seem to have forgotten what the question was…” She feigned deep thought for a moment. “Oh, yes… I do believe that was a compliment… definitely a compliment…”
He sighed, he didn’t care much about the complaint versus compliment bit, and she still hadn’t answered the question he wanted her to. Deciding to ask again, he quickly shifted himself back into a position hovering over her. “How about now?”
She managed not to sigh at his persistence, though she certainly felt like sighing. “It’s sweet of you to ask, but the answer is still no.” Almost hesitantly she tilted her head to catch his lips in a quick kiss before slipping out from under him, grabbing one of his shirts as she padded out of the room.
“I’ll be back in a little while!” she called, unsure where he was but knowing he had to be around somewhere. The pink haired medic attempted to open the door to discover that she was unable to move forward. She turned around to find him behind her with his hand on her shoulder, clearly amused over something.
“Not so fast, you might want to try again.” Casually he pointed down at the floor with his free hand.
Shifting herself into an awkward position so she could see her feet she discovered what had amused the man enough to prevent her from leaving the apartment. “It’s not funny!” her face flushed with combined annoyance and embarrassment. She would never get used to being so unwieldy and the fact that she had just recently lost sight of her toes was not helping matters.
He chuckled, “I think it’s cute.”
She scowled at him, not amused, with both hands on her hips presenting him with a ridiculously formidable image.
Before he could allow his amusement to escape in front of her he disappeared for a moment, returning with his composure intact and a shoe in each hand. “C’mere. Red or black?”
Sighing she complied, “Red please.”
He knelt down and removed the black shoe from her foot and replaced it with the red one he had brought from the other room. He looked up at her to find that she was smiling softly down at him.
She ran her hand though his messy hair affectionately, enjoying the feeling of the surprisingly soft strands slipping through her fingers, and simply savoring the rare quiet moment with him. She knew that sooner rather than later there would be few quiet moments, never mind quiet moments shared with him.
He tilted his head a little to lean into her touch and snaked an arm around her waist as he returned her smile. “How about now?”
She sighed again and let the smile slip from her face. Carefully she leaned over, with the support of his arm keeping her steady, to kiss the top of his head. “Kind of you to offer, but the answer is still no.” As gracefully as she could she pulled herself away from him and exited the apartment.
The pain was much more than she had thought it was going to be and to make matters worse everyone had refused to let her squeeze their hand. Granted she couldn’t blame them as she wasn’t sure she would be able to keep her chakra enhanced strength under control, but she still felt that she could sure use the comforting touch of another person to help her concentrate on anything other than the pain.
It had been going on for hours, and she was definitely ready to kill a certain silver haired man – who had of course shown up several hours late, not that he missed much, but that didn’t matter to her. She irrationally blamed him for her situation entirely. In between her controlled puffs of breath, which weren’t helping things one bit, she shot him a death glare.
He smiled encouragingly at her having already learned from other men in similar positions that anything he said would be irrelevant as she would be in no mood to listen to him. Instead he tried to lend her the support she seemed to need without actually getting in the direct line of fire. After receiving what seemed like the hundredth death glare from the kunoichi and an irritated glance from the attending medic he decided to give comforting words a try again, though inwardly he decided to test her to see if she actually was paying any attention to what he would say to her and not just the tone of his voice.
Carefully he leaned close to her ear and whispered so that only she would hear, “How about now?”
Her eyes went wide and she lost track of her breathing. “What?! You’re asking me that now?!?”
He nodded and tilted his head as he expected a serious answer from her.
She hurled several blistering insults at him before sputtering off into incomprehensible syllables.
The attending busty blonde turned to him absolutely furious. “Out! Now!” She pointed to the door and waited expectedly for him to leave. When he didn’t move she tried again. “Get your ass out of this room now before I throw you out!”
Hastily he took his leave, deciding that her answer had been ‘no.’
He awoke to a vague sense of wrongness. Something he couldn’t quite put a finger on until he realized that the woman who had been in his arms when he had originally fallen asleep was no longer where he felt she belonged. After a moment of thought he remembered waking briefly upon hearing the baby crying and feeling her slip quietly from his grasp and to the other room to probably feed and then sooth the child back to sleep. A quick glance at the alarm clock informed him that she had been gone much longer than it would usually take to settle their generally well behaved infant back to sleep.
More curious than concerned he slipped from their bed and into the next room. The shinobi paused upon entering to take in the sight before him: she was settled comfortably in the rocking chair by the crib with their child in her arms and the neck of her robe seemingly carelessly open, both were sound asleep. She must have settled down to nurse and dozed off in the comfortable chair. They looked so peaceful that he hesitated to wake her though he knew she would take out her stiff neck and sore shoulders on him the next morning if he didn’t.
As stealthily as he could, putting his shinobi skills to an unlikely use, he gently removed their sleeping infant from her arms. She stirred only briefly as he settled the baby in the crib and turned back to her. Inwardly he debated with himself for a moment before making a decision. Carefully approaching her from the side he slipped one arm under the backs of her knees and the other across her back, lifting her from the rocking chair without disturbing her sleep. Quickly, before she could wake he made his way back to their bedroom.
Blearily she stirred again as he was lowering her onto the bed. “Huh? Wha… What time is it?”
“Maybe ten past three.”
She yawned, “Ah, s’alright then, plenty of time to go back to sleep.” The pink haired woman looked up at him with a soft but sleepy smile on her lips as she realized what must have happened. “Thanks.”
He returned her smile and kissed her, “How about now?”
She shifted a little restlessly. “Must you keep asking me that?”
His smile didn’t falter as he nodded.
“Do you really need me to answer that?”
She thought about it for a few moments and sighed softly. “No, and… no.”
Unaffected by her negative response he slipped back into bed next to her and wrapped his arms around her again to allow sleep to reclaim him. He would continue to ask until she gave him the answer he wanted. Almost absently it occurred to him that he may have been going about it all wrong.
In a complete panic she frantically made her way to the hospital. The kunoichi had received the summons she had always dreaded – he was back and appeared to be fatally wounded. The journey to the hospital was a complete blur and though it took a mere few minutes, to her it felt like an eternity. Each minute that past was a minute she may not ever have a chance to make up with him and she didn’t want to waste a single one.
Finally she arrived at his room and time seemingly sped back up to it’s usual pace as she entered. Immediately she could tell how seriously he was injured by the assorted machines he had been hooked up to. She had to suppress a wave of tears, she hated seeing him so helpless – hovering on the brink – it shattered her cherished image of him as an invincible protector every time and reminded her that her time with him had been limited from the very beginning.
Cautiously, feeling unsure of herself, she moved closer to him wondering if he would be conscious. He opened his natural eye as she approached and she was unable to prevent a couple tears from slipping down her cheek. Hastily she brushed them away, not wanting him to notice, replacing her tears with a falsely cheerful smile.
“You’re back…” her throat closed and she was unable to form any other words. Instead she shakily reached out to gently slide his mask down and touch his cheek, trying to convey her feelings for him in a simple touch. Fear kept her from trying a quick scan to see how badly off he really was – the life support machines were telling enough signs of his critical condition – she didn’t think she could handle actually knowing the truth quite yet. For as long as she didn’t know what was really wrong with him she could pretend he would pull through and be good as new in no time with a little rest and healing.
“Sakura…” he barely whispered.
She drew closer to catch his words. “Yes, Kakashi?”
Her jaw dropped at his question and it was a couple minutes before she was able to pull herself together enough to answer him. “You’re asking me now?”
“Can’t think…of another…chance I may have…to ask you…again…” he gasped, his breath wheezing ever so slightly in his lungs.
She managed a genuine smile despite her anguish and she lightly kissed his cheek. “Yes…” Another couple tears slipped from her eyes, though she didn’t brush them away, she would let him think they were tears of happiness rather than grief.
His arms slid around her faster than an invalid on his deathbed’s should as he pulled her to him for a more passionate embrace than she ever remembered receiving from him. “Good it’s about time you finally said yes.”
Her eyes widened as she realized what had just happened and without warning she smacked the man she had just agreed to marry.
A/N: Yes, yes it's a bit cheese in a can... I know... ^^; I just couldn't help myself. :D This little bit of a fic goes with fatpuppy's absolutely fantastic piece How About Now? posted on deviantArt. It's beautiful, please go check it out!