aorin: (Kakashi/Sakura: Springtime Regained)
[personal profile] aorin
Title: Prologue
Fandom: Naruto
Series: Home is Where the Heart is
Character(s): Sakura, Ino, Kakashi
Rating: G
Summary: Life sucks when you wake up one day to find yourself 27 years old, married to your teacher, with three precocious children and you have absolutely no idea how or when it happened. 
A/N: Tagged under [s: home and heart]. Mostly unbetaed, so all mistakes are mine. Pocky, where are you? :3


Home is Where the Heart is

- Prologue -


It was a match made in heaven.
It was unbecoming for a traditional bride to smile on her wedding but try as she might she could not conceal the little demure smile gracing the corner of her lips. Her shyness was understandable especially from the way the groom was gazing at her, filled with unbidden love and tenderness, like she was only thing in the world that mattered to him, like all he wanted to do was to just bend down and capture her soft lips.
Sakura could not help but sigh at the sight.
“Forehead, stop drooling. It’s not going to happen,” Ino said, her loud voice knocking Sakura rudely out of her reverie. She turned and glared balefully at the blonde. Trust her best friend to be there to shatter her perfect illusion of a dream wedding.
She had been leaving the Yamanaka Flower Shop with a bouquet of fresh flowers for her room when she stumbled into the wedding procession and could not help but be fascinated by it. Like most girls of her age, Sakura loved weddings and part of the fun was fantasizing and planning her own while she was at it. Too bad missions got in the way these days. The only saving grace was that she was teamed up with the man of her dreams, the groom of her wedding, the father of her future children.
“Oh yes it will,” Sakura promised, clutching the flowers to her chest and making a little spin on her toes. “I can even picture my big white wedding now. With me, gorgeous in my white kimono and my groom handsome in his dark haori. We’ll be the envy of all!”
Ino made a face and gagged, and Sakura suddenly had the urge to strangle her best friend. Sometimes, Sakura wondered how did their friendship managed to survive all these years, or more like how did Ino managed to survive at all in the first place.
“Cut with the old story. I know who you want to marry—everybody and their grandmother know. But riddle me this, who is that one person you’ll never marry,” Ino asked slyly, wiggling her brows.
Ino slapped her playfully on her upper arm. “I meant boys, dummy.”
Sakura stood back and studied her friend warily, assessing the motive behind her question. Was it a trick question? Perhaps. Ino’s secret method of amassing intelligence—gossip arsenal in preparation for Sakura’s future downfall? Probably. Or maybe she was just being paranoid? Very likely. It was wrong of her to think so badly of her best friend. For all she knew, it could be just Ino being Ino, posing a harmless silly question.
But better to be safe than sorry. One cannot be too sure around Konoha’s greatest gossip.
“None, Pig. My heart and soul belongs only to one person and his name is—”
“Humour me,” Ino cut her off, completely ignoring Sakura’s undying love proclamation. “And don’t even try to weasel out of this by giving me stupid, improbable names. What I’m saying are boys of your acquaintance, preferably those that I know.”
“I said none. I don’t care for any guy except—”
“Fine, let me give me you a head start. Is it Shikamaru? I know he’s a genius and all but I doubt you’ll ever put up with a slacker who doesn’t give a fly about time, right? Or what about Kiba? You can’t stand a guy who treats his dog better than his girl, yes? Or maybe Neji, since you can never tell what the guy is thinking. Or perhaps Shino, you won’t want to marry a guy who likes to hide the lower half of his face all the time, would you?”
“Ino, I don’t care. I love—”
“Maybe Chouji? Rock Lee? Naruto?
“Oh, so Sasuke’s the one guy you’ll never marry? Perfect, I’ll let him know!” Ino said, clapping her hands, ready to skip away.
“That’s not what I meant!” Sakura exclaimed in horror. “You take one step in that direction and I’ll roast you, Pig!”
“Violence does not a good wife make, Sakura.”
“Neither does gossip!”
They both looked away, gritting their teeth in anger and refusing to give in. Sakura was gripping the flowers in her hand, relishing in the thought of it being Ino’s neck. Here she was trying to be more attuned with her feminine side by buying flowers and admiring the union of two souls in a sacred marital ceremony and her obnoxious friend had to just jump in and ruin everything with a stupid question. Now she was stuck huffing like an ill-tempered matron while Ino hustled her for an answer.
“So are you going to tell me or do I have to force you to?” Ino finally said again, snatching the mangled flowers out of her hand and proceeded to smooth them with care.
“You are still going on about that?” Sakura said, exasperated.
“Yes, and you are not getting away until you answer my question, Forehead!”
At times like this, Ino was like a dog—bulldog with a bone. Sakura realised that the conversation was not going anywhere until she provided her with an acceptable answer and honestly, there was just no acceptable answer which would not lead to Sakura humiliating herself. Knowing Ino all too well, regardless of who she chose to name as ‘ineligible’, Ino would delightfully broadcast the information to the world and make a fool out of her. Yes, her best friend had the strangest notions about friendship.
The option of forcing Ino to swear an oath of silence at knifepoint was almost too tempting to be passed off but Sakura also realised that nothing short of death would actually shut the blonde up for good. If anything, she did not want to be arrested and jailed for the murder of Konoha’s residential loudmouth over something so trivial and silly.
It was still tempting though.
But no, Sakura was smarter than that.
One way or another, Sakura would have to name a victim but the question was who? Naming their usual circle of friends was out of the question as it would only be seconds before Ino tattled on her, claiming that her denial was actually a roundabout confession and the key to her true feelings. Most boys of her age are very sensitive and hated being dragged into a ‘girly’ squabble.
No, she had to name an adult, someone of higher authority that Ino would never approach. But who? Sakura had very little grown up acquaintances and she was positive that Ino was more or less the same. Well, there was Iruka-sensei but if he ever found out that she threw his name into the gossip mud, it would destroy his opinion of her being the sweet, smart, know-it-all little girl from the Ninja Academy and Sakura would hardly want to tarnish her hard-earned reputation.
There was also Asuma-sensei but Sakura did not know him well enough to comment. Besides, the man was Ino’s teacher and her friend was bound to be defensive over him.
Then, there was Gai-sensei. But no. Hell to the no!
At that point, Sakura realised she was running low of names on her list. Sandaime? Too old. Konohamaru. Too young. The ice-cream man? She must be getting desperate. She heard Ino tapping her foot impatiently with arms crossed over her chest while she worked through her head for a solution—a name that didn’t seem to come to her. Anxious, she bit her lip and looked up in desperation.
And suddenly there he was.
He was standing on the opposite side of the road, one hand in his pocket and the other holding a flashy orange book—the only book he ever seemed to possess—but for once, he was not reading it. His eyes followed the wedding procession until the last of them had passed him by. He then gave a nonchalant shrug and turned his attention away, staring ahead.
He must have noticed her because he gave her a smile and raised his hand up in a casual wave. She was about to return the gesture but he had already returned to his book and started walking away, probably making his way to a meeting that was scheduled hours ago. Honestly, when was this man ever going to stop slacking and abide to time? Sakura could never figure what was going in that head of his—not that she wanted to, considering his choice of reading—and it was impossible to read his expressions with that mask glued to his face permanently.
But never mind all that. The man was obviously the solution to her problems, the answer to her prayers, the man of the moment. He fitted the bill in her mind perfectly. First, Sakura had little qualms about hurting his feelings—if she actually could—because honestly the man just didn’t care about how others viewed him. Secondly, he somehow managed to possess all the negative qualities that Ino had pointed out earlier in other boys so Sakura wouldn’t be lying if she said that she didn’t find him attractive at all.
There was also the additional advantage of him being her teacher and that he would take her side over Ino’s as any good mentor would. What more, she wouldn’t have to worry about her reputation being compromised as any student-teacher relationship beyond platonic was deeply frowned upon in their village.
Not that she ever thought of him that way, the idea was icky and the man was ancient.
But most importantly, for all of Ino’s claims to bravado, Sakura knew that her best friend would never ever dare stride up to a grown man with pornographic material between his fingers. And if she did, it would be worth watching her being publicly humiliated. Knowing the man in question, the biggest reaction that Ino would most likely receive was a quirked brow and a passive look. He would probably brush her off as being silly and childish—oh, what a glorious sight that would be—and continue on his way, nose in book.
Honestly, for a man who ran on a different time zone than the rest of the world, this was the one time he had impeccable timing.
It must be fate.
With an evil smirk that no twelve year old ought to possess, Sakura lifted a finger to point at her teacher on the other side of the road as she declared loudly.
“That is the man I will never marry.”

A/N: “Open Mouth, Eat Foot, Sakura.”

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