Flowers For A Shinobi
Chapter 12: A Sprig of Lavender
Word Count: 3,097
Pairing: Kakashi x OFC
Previous Chapter ❀ Archive of Our Own Link ❀
A/N: As I said, the fluff was coming. Original art at the end.
6 Months Later
The relentless heat of the mid-day sun coupled with the heavily induced exercise regiment assigned to her that day seemed to be responsible for the halo of sweat around Ayame's body. Her chest heaved to catch her breath as she leaned against the sturdy body of an oak tree.
"C'mon, Ayame-chan! Let's go!" Might Guy encouraged her, his steady jog lapping around the tree she leaned against. "Two more miles!"
"I can't do it," she breathed, clutching the collar of her soaked shirt.
"14 miles is my morning routine!" Guy's smile glistened as he beamed at her, sweat dripping down his temple like rainwater. "Let's go! Before Kakashi assigns you 100 push-ups as well!"
Ayame sighed heavily, the curve of her back weighing her down as she leaned against the tree. Her stomach churned with nausea from the constant stream of blood pumping at high volume through her body.
"Ayame-chan!" Guy called from down the hill, his legs pumping with such a velocity, Ayame could have sworn he was floating over the summer grass. Inhaling slowly, she continued down the mountain to follow the bobbing head of black hair through the field.
Upon reaching the training grounds, Ayame was surprised to see Kakashi missing from the scenery. The white-haired jonin was always there upon her arrival. Generally, on Tuesdays, a different sensei would train her, cycling through the other jonin in the village so that she could get a better feel of how others utilize their strengths. The chaos of training with Might Guy always left her exhausted but earned her the confidence that she had pushed herself.
As the calendar had flipped all the way from spring to late summer, Ayame had worked nearly every day with Kakashi. His prior questionably smitten behavior was exchanged with a stern, pressing instructor. It was almost as though the seemingly mutual tiny flame formed between the two of them had dissipated. Almost.
Kakashi made it very clear from the beginning that he would not be taking it easy on his new student. From the first day she had arrived on the bridge, he had provided her with a rather large box of scrolls and books to read as her first assignment. Then he made her carry them to the training grounds to read them every day.
It certainly wasn't enough to just read the material provided to her, so instead, while Kakashi was on a rather long mission, he appointed a man named Irkua to tutor her for two weeks personally. As the early spring rain had fallen relentlessly outside a dark and dreary classroom, she learned a significantly accelerated version of the very basics of what the children at the academy were learning.
Handseals, weaponry, and types of jutsu had been next. Surprisingly, even herself, she had found that she was considerably skilled at the crafts she was learning. Might Guy had taught her taijutsu, while Kakashi specialized in ninjutsu and a rather pretty jonin named Kurenai explained genjutsu to her.
Again, learning things was never enough for Kakashi. He insisted she experience things as well, moving on to confining her in a genjutsu for twelve hours until she successfully released herself. And even then, he made her do it again to prove she was capable.
When the subject of an academy examination was brought up, Ayame was eager to complete it. In early spring, the assessment was administered to her and a dozen small children, who fit more comfortably in the desks provided than she did. When Iruka had informed her privately the following day that she had passed, her enthusiasm for succeeding could barely be contained.
She had hugged Iruka and thanked him, running through the streets to the bridge where she would meet Kakashi every morning for training. Upon his arrival, the hug she had given him had barely been enough to thank him for the new Konoha headband she wore, realizing that she now had a rank in the shinobi system. A child's rank, but a rank.
"Great job - but this is just the beginning," his crescent eye smiled at her, patting her on the shoulder once she had released his neck from a tight hug. If she hadn't looked right away, she would have missed the blush that crept up his cheekbones from under his mask. The realization had caused her own cheeks to flush.
Despite the moments where their mutual pining arose, she tried not to resent him for the times he made her do things over until it was just right as the recent months had passed. He continuously pushed her to the point of exhaustion on more than one occasion, only to remind her that she would experience this on missions as well. Even so, he would always ensure she made it back home safely.
Now, as she jogged into the grassy plain, she looked around for the turf of silver hair that usually sat perched in a tree, a book in hand, waiting for her. A frown creased her lips as she tried to catch her breath. Perhaps he had been called on a mission, she thought.
A forceful hand slapped her between her shoulder blades, startling her as she was pushed forward a step.
"Great job today," Guy praised, his meaty chest breathing heavily, "we made better time than last month!"
"Thank you, Guy-sensei," Ayame smiled wearily, giving a thankful nod.
"I'll be going now!" He told her quickly, waving as he ran off. Ayame stood in the field, puzzled by his sudden departure. Usually, he would stick around, telling stories of missions and tips that she didn't always ask for, but appreciated nonetheless.
The muffled sound of a sandaled foot-shaped creating an imprint in the grass near her perked her ears. She listened carefully, walking towards the edge of the clearing and lifting her fingers in a cross formation. Coarse, short breaths uttered from her mouth as she then reached for a kunai in her side bag, the act still foreign to her yet oddly comforting. Could someone have known she would be here? Was someone here to ambush her?
The sweeping, bracing sound of two metal weapons clashing against each other filled the field as Ayame spun her body around to meet two mismatched eyes. Surprised by his sudden appearance, she blinked at Kakashi in wonder before realizing what was happening. He purposely was ambushing her.
He swept his leg under her, her lungs breathing in the heady fragrance of adrenaline while she dodged his continuous maneuvers. Her chest felt tight, and her body exhausted from the run, but she still managed to block his attacks.
"You could have at least given me a few minutes to catch my breath," she managed, ducking as his arm punched the air above her head.
"Enemies wouldn't allow you to catch your breath," Kakashi told her sternly, his eye glowing brightly through the shadows of the trees around them. She had only seen his Sharingan twice before. The first being on their mission together, and the second was when she had merely asked him.
"What's under there?" She had asked one afternoon, peering over the academy scrolls she was required to read. He had lifted his head from his book, surprised by her abrupt question.
"It's called a Sharingan," he had explained to her. "I'll teach you about it some other day."
She had waited a few moments, watching his profile as he turned his head back into his book. The perfect curve of his nose that twitched nervously when she was near seemed to draw her in.
"Need something?" He had asked, not looking up. She blushed, realizing he had caught her staring.
"Can I see what it looks like?"
Annoyed or surprised, he turned his head to look at her, hesitating before lifting a thumb to push his forehead protector up. The sight of the glowing red eye was just as jarring then as it was now.
"Push harder," he urged her, pushing the kunai against hers. She launched forward, the unnerving sound of scraping metal on metal permeated her ears. She gritted her teeth in determination.
Behind him, her shadow clone entered from the edge of the field where she had left her, her hands forming different signs in her memory bank to produce four sharp petals from the ground. Each spun through the air to catch Kakashi's shirt, tearing it at his shoulder as he avoided the three others. While he jumped through the air to evade her petaled blades, the real Ayame sunk to the ground with her hands splayed across the grass. In seconds, the grass beneath him turned to moss.
As his sandaled foot slipped on the silky moss, he quickly attempted to steady himself as she launched her body forward, pushing him back onto the ground with a loud thump. With her legs on each side of his chest, she quickly placed her blade under his neck. She smiled as her chest rose and fell, smirking at the famed copy ninja that laid below her with his hands next to his head. Two strings of ivy erupted from the ground to seal him to the earth.
"Ok, you win," he said breathlessly, a chuckle rising from his throat. Ayame smiled, sweat dripping from her temple as she tipped the blade to his chin. Her legs quivered against his ribs from the adrenaline and exertion. She could feel the heat of his body beneath her, the sheer warmth exuding from his skin that penetrated her bare thighs. His eyebrows lessened, lowering down his forehead as his gaze grew quiet. Her hand dropped to his rising chest, exhausted, still clutching the kunai.
Behind her, she felt the cool touch of a blade on the side of her neck, and her body went rigid. Turning, she looked up to see Kakashi's soft smile above her. Under her legs, his solid figure disappeared with a puff of smoke, her eyes blinking at him in exasperation.
"You almost had me," Kakashi smiled at her, setting the blade down to his side. Ayame sighed, sinking her bottom further to the ground between her bent legs.
"Don't be too quick to celebrate," he reminded her, sitting on the ground beside her. "One of the first things you should already know is always to be aware of your surroundings, whether you think the battle is finished or not. You did good with that shadow clone, but you should have also seen mine."
"I understand," she nodded, twiddling her fingers over the blade of her weapon. As her heart rate finally began to steady at an average pace, she sighed heavily and leaned back into the grassy plain. Carefully, her sensei did the same, reaching in his back pocket for his book as she closed her eyes, rethinking what she could have done differently—perhaps having two shadow clones? One to serve as a lookout and one to tap in during battle?
Her stomach constricted, angry with herself for being distracted at the last moment. She had him there, tied up. If it weren't for his shadow clone - and the way he had looked at her - then maybe she would have heard the real Kakashi behind her. Such a simple move, really. She should have been more aware.
"Just be more aware next time," she heard him say beside her as if reading her thoughts. Her head turned, looking over at him as the golden hour sun cast a halo of yellow around them—a triangle of light under his eye and little dips of dark gray in his hair. She hated how attracted she was to him. She had pushed it down, determined to see him as her teacher and nothing more. If possible, they could be friends, but that was the extent she was willing to go for him. The thought of something more stirred a fire in her belly.
"I know," she agreed, nodding her head as she turned to look up at the sky. Puffs of clouds traveled quickly through the orange and purple sky, like an oil painting, but more refined. She thought again of the sparring match as she observed his slender fingers dance restlessly over the cover of the book he held.
"How many times have you read that book?" she asked abruptly, catching a glimpse of the tattered spine and bent pages. His thumb held his page as his eyes continued to skim the words. She noticed that he hadn't turned the page in some time.
"A few," he responded casually, his other arm bent behind his head for comfort.
"Is it good?" Ayame laughed, realizing it was certainly more than "a few" times.
"I would say so," Kakashi shrugged, smirking at her laughter.
"Could I read it?"
Kakashi chuckled quietly, his smile beneath his mask evident from the shadows the sun created behind him. "If you want, I could let you borrow it. But only briefly."
"I would like that," she smiled, "I know it can be pretty raunchy."
Kakashi closed his book quickly and looked over at her, seemingly taken aback by her response while his index finger held his page.
Ayame felt a giggle rise in her throat at his expression and apparent loss of words. "I mean, it's not like I've never read a romance book before."
"It's more than romance," he commented quickly, waving the tabbed book at her. Her eyes caught sight of how tattered it truly was. She wondered fleetingly why he was so invested in reading this book. Perhaps it was a method of distraction.
"You don't use bookmarks, do you?" she questioned, her eyes still on the book that now laid on his chest.
"I just rely on folding the pages," he said, watching her as she clasped her hands together in a familiar jutsu. Beside her, a small lavender sprig rose from the earth, its purple petals off-color in the setting sun. Carefully, she picked it from the ground and twirled it between her thumb and index finger.
"Here," she smiled softly at him, "as a bookmark. It smells nice too. Lavender helps keep you calm."
Kakashi looked over at her, his eyes dancing between the sprig of lavender and the affectionate gaze she offered him. She didn't mean to look at him the way she did, but something twisted within her that she couldn't stop. Everything he had done for her whirled in her mind. The last seven months that they had known each other and all of their interactions. She simply felt grateful for him.
He reached over and delicately took the sprig from her hand, brushing his fingers against hers, whether on accident or purposely, she wasn't sure. She was certain, however, of the beam of sunlight that hit his neck, illuminating a pulse that seemed to be beating rather quickly.
"Thank you," Kakashi responded quietly. She looked at him, and he looked at her. Both unsure of what to do, but both quite certain of what they wanted to do. Ayame could feel the blood pumping in her ears, a wave of heat ricocheting off her spine to every nerve ending in her body. Her skin tingled where he had grazed it, the feeling of a calloused fingertip touching hers, wondering what it would be like to feel more of them.
Suddenly the distance between them wasn't so far. The tickle of the grass on her cheek barely noticeable as she leaned closer. His single black eye stared directly into hers, flickering down to her lips in a way that made her stomach somersault.
She had been the one to lean forward, to press her lips against his and soak in his intoxicating scent of sweat and cedar. The electric shock that twisted through her body as she felt him exhale in relief against her lips, the fabric between them muting the heat his breath gave off. All she could hear was their blended heavy sighs.
Her bones rattled with satisfaction, feeling the months of yearning peel away from her. She lifted her hand, gently clutching his jacket as his hand came to rest on her jawbone. Her whole body tingled at the heat of his palm. She felt his fingertips curl into her braid, pulling her against him over the grassy field. She felt delirious as he tenderly moved his lips against hers.
She could have stayed there for days. To feel the mingling satisfaction of his body near hers and the exhilarating sensation of that damned mask against her mouth. He was near her for only seconds, not nearly long enough, and yet -
"Ayame-san?" a feminine voice called out from the outskirts of the training ground. Without hesitation, they both pulled away, furiously blushing. Her ears rung from the interaction, and her body shook from the thrill.
"Ayame-san?" It was that pink-haired kunoichi nurse that had helped her in the hospital.
"Hello, Sakura," Kakashi greeted, delicately placing the sprig of lavender in his book. His face was purposely shielded from the kunoichi's sight, yet when Ayame peeked over, she could see the very tops of his cheeks were tinged rose.
"Oh, Kakashi-sensei," Sakura smiled, waving happily at him. She looked between the two, both clearly flustered but trying desperately to hide it. Ayame looked up at the girl, realizing this must have been one of his previous students that now trains under Lady Tsunade to be a medic. He had spoken of them a few times, all fondly. But she had wondered fleetingly if it bothered him that they had moved on to other training endeavors.
"I'm sorry to interrupt, but-"
"You're not interrupting anything," The pinkette's sensei quickly responded, standing to his feet. Ayame followed suit, casually brushing the dirt from her clothing.
Sakura nodded, pursing her lips to hide a smile, "Right. Well, I am here for Ayame-san. If you don't mind, Lady Tsunade would like to speak with her. It's rather urgent, or else it could have waited."
"The Hokage would like to speak with me?" Ayame reiterated, surprised.
"Yes," Sakura nodded, "I'll explain more on the way there. But we have to hurry."
"Right," Ayame nodded, her eyebrows focused again as she tried to sweep away the interaction that had just happened.
She began to follow Sakura, her pink hair bobbing as she ran back towards the village. Ayame turned, lifting her hand to wave goodbye only to find him facing away from her, nervously scratching his head as he looked out towards the setting sun.
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A/N: Original art by the talented Caro on Twitter! It was originally a different flower but I changed it
I hope you stuck this far and I hope you like it so far! Feedback is always appreciated <3 Thank you so much for reading!