A Song for Them @nihilistic_bunny
Interlude, Hatake Kakashi Jonin-sensei

Naruto Fan Fiction!

Adventure! SI-OC!

(Title)

"A Song for Them"

A/N: This just might be my favorite chapter yet.

I've been working on this since December. Lemme explain a little about these 'Interludes' I'm going to be doing. I know most authors post a second story filled with alternate POV's and deleted scene's but I'm not going to be doing that.

These interludes are just as important as the 'Main Story' because they are filled with little details that make some moments more impactful. Right now I'm doing Kakashi but there will eventually be ones on Hinata and Sora's friendship, Neko's POV of... everything through the years and one of Sora's mom! Lots of stuff Sora didn't see or knows about.

For now, enjoy a look inside a mind of a Scarecrow~

DISCLAIMER: I do not own 'Naruto' or any of the cannon characters! I do not own Kakashi's personal observations either.

WARNING! RATED M! There will be a sadistic Scarecrow abusing and messing with teenager's heads... wait. That makes it sound like a horror movie.

Interlude,

"Hatake Kakashi, Jonin-sensei"

"Teacher: Where is your homework?

Me: I lost it fighting this kid who said you weren't the best teacher in school." -Anon E. Muss

"I'm tellin' you! The bigger the fire, the faster it'll cook dattebayo!"

"I don't even know where to begin with how stupid you sound. Do you even hear yourself when you speak?"

"YOU'RE THE ONE WHO SOUNDS STUPID! YOU DON'T EVEN KNOW HOW TO MAKE A COOKING FIRE!"

"I know how to make a fire, loser! I also know that we don't need to burn down the whole damn forest doing it!"

"SORA-CHAN!" The blonde rounded on his red-headish teammate, "Tell the bastard that I'm right and he's wrong!"

Sora didn't even lift her eyes from where she was grimacing at the rabbit she was currently skinning.

"Soraaa-cha-" Naruto began to whine but stopped short at the look she gave him. A look that clearly said: 'Leave or suffer the consequences'

Her long-time friend backed away quietly, hands raised in a pacifying manner. I looked over my female student again, I had noticed that she looked really sad when I brought back dinner but she had agreed to clean and cook them while the boys set up our camp for the night.

I ignored the boys as their bickering picked up again, not even bothering to ask me who was right. Which was fine, I didn't want to be dragged into the middle of it anyway.

They ended up building two fires.

I gave them both very unimpressed looks that they didn't bother to notice. Sora got up to clean herself off of entrails, Sasuke used a small Katon to light his fire and Naruto gaped before furiously trying to rub the sticks fast enough to create enough friction.

Sasuke goaded Naruto with a smug remark about his distinct lack of fire and the blonde easily took the bait and began yelling loudly. The yelling continued until the little dark cloud that was my female student returned and threw water over the both of the fires. The boys were both too stunned to speak as she pulled a kunai, bent over and cut the turf, set it aside and then began digging a pit.

She's making a fire hole. Well somebody has been doing some extra reading it seems.

Naruto was the first to walk over and watch what his friend was doing more closely. Confused but not angry enough to demand why she soaked his kindling. Sasuke coolly observed from a bit farther away, also not annoyed enough to interrupt.

Four months ago -it's been four months already?- this would not have been happening so easily... they've grown up from those green Academy students I met all that time ago.

January 23rd, 2 hours before meeting the new Team Seven: Uzumaki Naruto's apartment

The day was going as well as you'd expect when Sandaime had lead me into Uzumaki Naruto's apartment.

Uzumaki Naruto.

Minato-sensei and Kushina-san's orphan.

...yeah, this is already turning out to be a great day.

Walking in, I was not impressed with the sight that met me.

It was filthy.

There were dirty dishes lining the small kitchen, Academy textbooks laying around everywhere, ink stains covering the table, there was still food leftover from his breakfast on the table. A typical teenage boy's apartment, I suppose. I don't remember ever being so messy when I was his age though.

"So this is where Naruto lives?" I ask idly.

"Yes." The Sandaime answered, a fond smile on his face. "Naruto-kun isn't very smart, but I think giving him to you is the best. You have a nose for these types. Plus your team will have Sasuke of the Uchiha clan..."

Oh, great. Of course it will... I held in a sigh. This is going to be a lot of trouble, isn't it?

The Sandaime was very amused, I could see it in his eyes. He was enjoying making me uncomfortable like this. I was being given the last Uchiha, -Are you laughing with him, Obito?- my dead Sensei's kid -I'm sorry, I'm so sorry- and a Uzumaki girl with a mysterious background whom my kōhai adores like a little sister.

Just great.

The Sandaime stood up from his seat at the dirty table. "Come on, I'll show you to Sora-chan's next."

I turned to follow him but then something odd caught my eye. Something that was placed on the table. A plate, all wrapped up nice and neat.

Broiled saury is my favorite.

The discomfort in my stomach tells me that I forgot to eat dinner last night. Right. I remember I'd lost all appetite after learning just who I would be getting as prospective genin this time.

I pick up the small piece of paper on top of the plastic. The handwriting was messy -hastily written- but legible and...

And I'm pretty sure I was holding an explosive note now.

This was 'Sora' then.

Morning Hero! I woke up early again and made lunch. I have an errand to run so I'll leave before you, but I expect you to be at the Academy on time!

Hugs,

Sora

P.S. Leave the saury alone!

Cute. Hm.

Well... it doesn't say for me to leave it be.

...and if Naruto gets blamed for it? Well, let's just call it character building.

I took the plate.

The Sandaime chuckled as I followed him back through the entrance. He locked the door behind us and we went about six feet to the left before stopping in front of a door identical to the one we just left.

It was unlocked.

The Sandaime passed through the door without pause. I gave the lock a once over, but no. It wasn't broken. Maybe she just forgot? Well that isn't a good sign.

Hokage-sama chuckled again, answering my unasked question. "Sora-chan doesn't believe in locks. When I asked her why she never locks anything, she would look at me oddly before answering; 'And who would that stop if they really wanted in?'."

Well, she's not wrong.

The apartment next door was messier than her neighbor/friend/adoptive sibling, a feat I hadn't expected was possible before I walked in. Where as Naruto had more filth and trash lying around, Sora's apartment was filled with papers, clothing strewn everywhere and books stacked in piles that I was sure were taller than she was.

...maybe I was being a little sexist expecting the kunoichi of the team to be the organized and cleanly one.

The apartment itself is similar to Naruto's. Beige walls, wooden paneling along the bottom half, no posters though. The kitchen is remarkably cleaner.

I have to take special care not to step on anything. The floor is almost an obstacle course of half-written papers and spillable inks. I spot a reminder on the fridge, the same handwriting from before but cleaner, less hasty.

Remember to clean everything up and scold the Hero again for using my storage seals without my explicit permission!

...I wonder how long that note has been up there.

"A bit messy." I observed out loud.

The Sandaime hummed, "It is. Naruto-kun pulled a prank the other day using some unusual storage seals. At least I know where they came from now."

I passed through the main room towards the back, I open the door and am met with what should've been a teenage girl's room. It didn't look like it.

Like the front room there are stacks of books, -why are there so many books? What are they even filled with?- even more loose papers sorted into different piles around the small room, but no clothing at least. Which I'm thankful for.

There is a dresser, a small vanity with a mirror, a large and half-empty bookcase that takes up an entire wall, and a nightstand next to the bed. There's one picture in a frame next to her bedside. I picked it up to inspect it closer.

It's of a woman with damp red-brown hair and blue eyes holding a small and wrinkly blob of pink flesh. For a moment my mind deceived me and I swore I saw Kushina-san instead. They have strikingly similar features, I acknowledged.

An Uzumaki indeed.

From the registration photos in their files, I can easily pick out the Uzumaki clan features in Naruto and Sora that are so prominent in their mothers. The overly round face, narrow nose and large eyes...

"Why doesn't she use the Uzumaki name?" I asked, turning to face the Sandaime.

If she doesn't know that it's her own name, she does know that it's Naruto's name. From what I've heard, the two are supposed to be near inseparable. Not to mention the Elders would probably be ecstatic to claim another genuine Uzumaki to the roster, one that is versed in Fuinjutsu no less.

He tapped his pipe thoughtfully before answering. "I offered it to her once before when we were discussing her enrollment into the Academy. She declined."

"Did she give a reason?"

A fond smile made it's way onto his weathered face. "No."

Interesting.

"If you're ready, I'll show you to Sasuke-kun's apartment next."

I nodded and set the frame back down on the nightstand.

Naruto, Sasuke and Sora, huh?

Uzumaki Naruto: Scion of the Yondaime Hokage and Nine-Tails Jinchuuriki, is the dead last of his entire graduating class. He scored terribly in the written tests. Ninjustu is nothing special, no ability in discerning Genjutsu whatsoever, failed both offensive and defensive Taijustu.

Notorious prankster and general nuisance.

Uchiha Sasuke: The Last Uchiha of Konohagakure is talented and clever, the Rookie of the Year. Best in the written tests, capable with Katon Ninjustu, can pick out a Genjutsu but doesn't show any real talent for it yet. Adept with both offensive and defensive Taijutsu but prefers the former.

He's also a moody little ball of hate and angst.

Sora: On paper she's an entirely average kunoichi. Scored fairly high on the written tests when she didn't end up using them as scrap paper for her doodling, no Ninjutsu other than the Academy Three, Quickest in the graduating class at spotting the signs in Genjutsu but hasn't learned any yet. Also one of the lowest scorers in Taijustu. Both offensive and defensive.

A mute and user of Fuinjutsu.

And I'm supposed to be their teacher?

...how exactly is this suppose to work?

January 23rd, 40 minutes before meeting the new Team Seven: Outside the Academy

I decided I could at least check-up on my prospective students. See what I have to deal with. So far there has been a prank, a kiss, Naruto getting his ass kicked and what seemed to be extreme surprise -bordering on shock- from the girl when the teams were announced.

The girl stayed behind to speak with the chuunin instructor and sent Naruto to find Sasuke to have lunch as a team. It was promising.

I followed the Uzumaki male outside, watching from a nearby tree. It didn't take him long to find the Uchiha sitting by his lonesome. Naruto -reluctantly- offered to have lunch together.

Sasuke rudely dismissed Naruto.

Naruto just attacked and tied up Sasuke.

Naruto then left henge'd as Sasuke.

Sasuke has gotten free and is now on the hunt for Naruto.

Sigh. Wouldn't it be easier to just fail them now and save everybody the trouble?

The girl has finally left the classroom and is looking oddly depressed. Walking at a leisurely pace with a dazed look in her eyes.

Oh? The girl with the not-quite-red hair stopped suddenly.

Her file and the early ANBU reports mentioned some sensing ability so I've been suppressing my chakra. Did I let something slip? No... I couldn't have. Yet... what is she doing? She's closed her eyes and... is she sensing now?

...maybe she just fell asleep on her feet? She's been standing there for ten minutes now. Her file does say she suffers night terrors from her past traumas. Something we have in common then. I wonder if she-

-Oh.

Well, that's interesting.

She's facing my direction now. If I hadn't been behind the tree she would've been looking right at me. Is it because of distance? She did walk closer to my position before she closed her eyes.

Heh. She's walking right towards me now. Her sensing ability has been greatly underrated it seems.

Sora is right on the other side of tree, she's laid her hand on the bark. She's so close I could actually smell the detergent on her clothing.

Is that rose scent? That's unexpectedly girly.

"Sora." That was Sasuke.

She turned to face him and I shunshin'd about a block away.

I observed them for another hour on the cameras from the security room, Kurenai quietly judging me as she went to go pick up her own team. Asuma just chuckled and shook his head as he followed his not-girlfriend. I left the building to let the kids stew and talked with Obito for a while.

January 24th, Day of the Bell Test: 'Blue Leaf Tea house'

Today I would test them.

Yesterday's introductions went well enough, I suppose. It was a bit annoying when the girl had actually asked if my 'percentage was accurate' and then she didn't even gape when I'd told her they might be failed and sent back to the Academy! Just calmly asked if my information was correct. But the looks of total shock on the boys' faces made up for her underwhelming reaction.

I turn the page of my favorite book, already finished eating breakfast before anyone could try to sneak a peek under my mask. Without looking up I addressed the other person at the table.

"So... did she like her graduation gift?" I asked my cute kōhai.

Tenzō looked up from his breakfast for a moment before shifting his eyes away uncomfortably. He cleared his throat anxiously, avoiding eye contact.

"I'm in suspense here." I said disinterestedly as I turned another page. Oh, Takeo you idiot. Can't you see that Katsumi loves you?

"She..." He faltered for a moment before running a hand through his shaggy brown hair and sighing heavily.

"She started crying."

Okay. Didn't expect that response. Odd. She didn't seem like the bratty type from what I'd seen.

I hadn't told him yet who I'd be getting as prospective genin this time and he hadn't asked. Tenzō usually comes to me when he has concerns about his younger female friend.

A strange and seemingly unreliable man showing up and telling you that you might be failed as a genin seems like the kind of problem someone would complain about to the closest thing they have to a adult influence.

Sora complains to Tenzō, and depending on what she says, Tenzō will either fret over her future to me or frown disapprovingly. Giving me another view of the situation.

Interestingly enough, neither has happened yet.

"If she didn't like the earrings, she could've just said no." I mused aloud. Tenzō looked up quickly and waved his hand.

"No, no! She loved the gift. She just..." He trailed off, his brows knitted again and he made his thinking face. The one he makes whenever he has a particularly stubborn problem.

I wonder just what a fourteen year-old girl could've said to baffle the young ANBU captain so? Sure, I've heard the horror stories from those that got saddled with the babysitting duty from before she and Naruto entered the Academy... heh. Loe still gets shit for letting an eight year-old get the jump on him.

I can still see the paint and glitter trail he left behind when he finally made it back to the ANBU lounge.

At least I figured out how she kept finding our supposed 'elite' operatives. No one had properly gauged her sensory abilities before. From what I observed she's unusually perceptive, but not exceptionally so.

He spoke slowly as if he still didn't quite understand. "She told me that getting her ears pierced was part of a family tradition. She said something about her... finally becoming a woman?"

I raised one eyebrow at the younger man while he looked at me helplessly. In reality I raised both because, what? Becoming a woman? Did she... was that really was what was said? Ohhh. He just makes it too easy to tease him sometimes.

Tenzō had a flat look on his face, "Senpai, stop it."

"Stop what?" I asked innocently.

"Whatever it is you're thinking right now."

"What could I possibly be thinking Tenzō? You said you helped her to become a woman. What else is there to say?"

And right on cue my cute kōhai lit up a glowing shade of red.

"Kakashi-senpai!"

"Oh, and by the way Tenzō... I approve."

He looked totally confused now, He spoke slowly and reluctantly. "...of what?"

"Of Sora." I said casually. "I met her yesterday at the Academy. She seems like a capable and intelligent young woman."

He tried not to show it, but the ANBU captain all but beamed with warm pride. Not questioning why I had met her. He hasn't put two and two together yet, has he? Oh well, time for the kill. I looked at the younger man over the top of the book.

"I think you two would be very cute together."

"S-Senpai!" he cried, his pale face already flush with embarrassment, "That's no-we're not-Sora is fourteen! I am twenty-three!"

Heh. Twenty-three and his voice can still get squeaky. It's always funny to see Tenzō sputter like that.

I shrugged non chalantly, "We're Shinobi. We never know when might be our last mission. You should just tell her how you feel Tenzō."

There, now he looks pissed.

"Kakashi-senpai," He said sternly, "Sora is young. Too young to be even considering a relationship at her age and I happen to be in a happy and healthy, mature relationship with someone already."

Ooh, I know all about this, Bad move kōhai. "Oh, right... Hara-san from T&I."

"No," he frowned, "Hara-chan and I broke up months ago."

"Really? Then it's Ishido-chan from the Missions desk, right?"

"What? No. She wanted to see other people."

"Ike Sen-san from the Sensor squad."

"We went on one date!"

"Oh!" I snapped my fingers, "Tokiko-san!"

"Kakashi-senpai..."

I lifted my hands in defeat, "I give up Tenzō. Who's your girlfriend again?"

He sighed heavily and gave me a very flat look. "Ogura Yatsumi is her name. She's very nice."

I nodded slowly as I turned the page of Icha-Icha Paradise. Takeo, why? Just why? Tenzō was trying to hide it but he was really bothered by our little conversation just now. It was only a matter of time before he asked.

"Senpai..." There he goes. "I'm not sure if I really want to know but, what was the point of that?"

"That you were perfectly capable of having a healthy, mature relationship of course." He just can't keep one. I wonder why? He blinked those big doe eyes of his, still looking confused as he accepted my answer. Probably afraid to ask any further.

It's too easy sometimes.

I glanced at the shadows on the street. The sun has gotten higher since I came in here. It's around nine a.m. now. The kiddies probably want my head right about now.

"Maa... I suppose I should be meeting up with the new genin soon." I drawled as I closed my book.

"Really? When are you supposed to meet them?" The brunette asked as he took a sip of his black tea.

I looked up at the imaginary clock on the wall.

"Oh... about four hours ago."

Tenzō choked on his tea.

He soon recovered after pounding his chest a few times. He looked up and gave me a reproachful look. "Kakashi-senpai, that is very irresponsible behavior. You have to be careful not to teach the children your bad habits. What are you going to tell them when they ask why you were so tardy?"

"Don't worry," I eye-smiled at the young ANBU captain who was shaking his head at me in a disapproving way. "I'll just use you as my excuse for being late... Neko-chan."

His eyes widened comically as I stood up. "What? S-Senpai!?"

I then shunshin'd away, headed towards Training Ground Three. Leaving my cute kōhai to panic... and to pay the bill.

January 24th, Day of the Bell Test: Training Ground Three

They were looking impatient until Naruto requested that Sora play some music. I watched as the tension visibly drained from the boys' muscles. It was quite a soothing melody.

...I wonder if she knows she channeling chakra through her instrument? Probably not. But this only furthered my curiosity as to who exactly, her Mother really was.

Uzumaki Ikari was the name she gave Squad Ko before she died of blood loss from the wounds she sustained during the fight with the unknown Shinobi, and of critical chakra depletion from healing the -thought fatal- wound on her daughter's neck.

If they pass today's test I might have to do some information gathering.

What's this? The girl just unsealed some calorie bars from that little black book of hers and is passing them out. Even after I warned them not to eat? She signed to Naruto and the blonde lost all previous hesitation and cheered. As he was about to eat Sora pointedly looked at Sasuke, still holding some calorie bars.

Sasuke was pretending not to pay any attention to the other two, standing off to the side. Putting literal distance between them and himself. But I can see him sneaking the occasional glance. I can tell exactly what he's thinking.

It's hard to be on the outside of a friendship like that.

I remember that feeling with Obito and Rin. Those two had been the closest of friends for years before Team Minato. Before me. Whenever I would get near, I always felt like I was intruding on them.

Which, in hindsight, was ridiculous of me to ever have thought that. Rin was always open and always welcoming to me, inviting me along whenever she could. Obito was less obvious about it, but he never shut me out. Never made me feel unwanted.

...Kami-sama, I miss them.

"Sora-chan wanted you to have these so you don't get distracted by your stomach later!" Naruto shouted at the other boy before shoving the bars into his grasp anyway.

Sasuke stared dumbly after the boy in orange for a minute before pretending not to give a damn again. Naruto scowled at Sora but all she did was pat his head with a satisfied smile.

This was promising.

Naruto was yelling and running at me with a readied kunai.

It was a simple matter to appear behind him and turn the kunai against him. It seems the Uzumaki boy was easy to bait, that's good to know.

"Calm down..." I told the blonde. "I haven't said start yet. At least you're coming at me with the intent to kill. So that means you've acknowledged me, huh?"

I quite liked how the other two quickly became prepared to attack me should I make the wrong move. It doesn't matter that they wouldn't be able to do anything, it's the thought that counts, really.

"...I think I'm starting to like you guys."

I let Naruto go and began the exercise. They had about an hour and a half before noon to try and work together and get the bells. I wonder just what they'll come up with.

Sasuke jumped away and hid himself in a nearby tree about sixteen meters to the north-west, Sora began to jump away but paused to look back at Naruto who was still there, facing me cockily. I'm not that surprised actually.

Sora kept her eyes trained on me as she made a move to bring the blonde along with her. She had good sense but it seems that he wasn't going to listen to reason. She tried more firmly but stopped when he spoke to her.

"Sora-chan."

The girl blinked in surprise before turning all of her attention towards the blonde. That's not really smart. I'm still the enemy here. I decided to play it nice.

"You know-" She raised a finger to quiet me.

Did she actually just shush me?

...this girl.

They seemed to have a conversation with just their eyes alone. She stared at him for a solid minute before she looked resigned, she then signed to Naruto in their own little language.

...that might've been annoying if Tenzō hadn't taught the rest of Squad Ro the modified hand signs years ago. He'd been so proud of her. Which only made it that much easier to harass the younger man about his friendship with the girl.

'Find me when you're done being cool, Hero. I'll come up with a plan in the meantime.' She said to him as she backed away. A plan? I wonder what she's up to... I'll deal with her in a minute.

For now... I think Naruto wants my attention.

I have to admit... I was not expecting him to use the paper bombs like that. The explosives were from Sora, that was obvious, but I don't think the not-quite-redhead was expecting him to do that either considering she almost lurched out of her hiding spot when he slammed against the tree.

After Naruto fell into the obvious trap I decided to find the other two. I found the girl first about five minutes away in a clearing. I kept my distance to about twenty meters and she hasn't shown any sign of sensing me yet.

So it does concern proximity, noted.

I think she's setting up some kind of trap for me. It was rather rudimentary in design but there were aspects of the Funinjustu seals I didn't recognize, something about Raiton if I'm going by the characters.

I smothered my chakra as far as I could before I approached her from behind.

"Sora... behind you." She turned around and I was already weaving my hands into the Hell viewing technique. Slow enough that she could see the seals and maybe recognize it.

It'll be interesting to see if she can break the Genjustu even when she knows it's one. I jumped away to observe from a distance. Her eyes went unresponsive, letting me know the Genjutsu had taken effect.

It was a full minute before she moved again. Her first few steps were wobbly as her legs began to shake. She's stumbling now... and... and she's just passed out.

Hm.

So she's not simply adept at sensing, but she's chakra sensitive. Otherwise the Genjutsu shouldn't of had such a physical effect on her. Well that's good to know, I'll just... let her rest for a bit.

...I'll go find Sasuke now.

This...

I had not been expecting this honestly.

I'll admit to being completely caught off guard by this development.

Naruto just tackled... Sora, to the ground. Or was it Terra now? I wonder if Tenzō knows about this, I would like to think he would've mentioned a split personality before. That's just the kind of thing to mention to someone. I shunshin'd to stand beside Sasuke.

"...what is going on?" I asked as I watched Naruto put the girl in a headlock.

Sasuke shrugged, "Hell if I know."

"OUCH! DON'T BITE ME!" Yeah, okay. This is weird.

I swiftly walked over and reached down to pull them apart. "That's enough you t-"

-She just bit me!

I jerked back and she came up with me. Her teeth were digging into the back of my glove and I could see the corners of her mouth tugging into a smirk.

I narrowed my eye at the girl in warning. "Let go."

She bit harder.

I knocked her out with a blow to the base of the neck and the alarm rang through the air, signaling noon. I ignored Naruto's shout of surprise and outrage as I hefted his unconscious friend over my shoulder and began to head back to the logs.

This part of the test was over.

"Tch. Damn it... so much wasted time." The Uchiha scoffed bitterly. Both boys were following me back.

Naruto scowled at the other boy. "We wouldn't have wasted so much time if you hadn't ran off by yourself in the first place 'ttebayo! We could've taken him right at the start if we'd worked together!"

"You're the one who faced him by yourself, idiot! She tried to get you to use your brains, but it was a hopeless cause."

"WHAT'D YOU SAY BASTARD!?"

"I thought you were dumb, not deaf."

"WHY YOU-" I tuned out the rest of the yelling.

So I think I have a pretty good grasp on their personalities now. Sora is every bit of a mother hen as Tenzō described. She can easily mediate for the boys and calm tempers. Like yesterday when she sided with Sasuke and punished Naruto's behavior with projectile rocks.

The boys remind me so much of Obito and myself when we were first teamed up together, it's actually painful. Their relationship as of right now is both a advantage and a disadvantage to them. Whenever Rin or Minato-sensei weren't there to soothe tempers then we'd always end up fighting each other.

The last time we were whole we'd fought.

I was wrong and Obito paid for my mistake.

I clear my mind of the memories that were quickly rising to the surface and the dark thoughts that accompanied them. I was still in the middle of a test after all.

If this team is actually going to have a chance then the boys will need to be able to put aside their differences and work together when the time comes Sora isn't there to make them.

They have one more chance to prove themselves to me.

I'd made myself very clear about the rules. Naruto had gone an unhealthily shade of pale when faced with the threat of separation and I'm pretty sure the girl would've called bullshit on my buff if she was capable.

She looked both pissed off and disbelieving at the same time. She's very expressive, I've learned.

I wonder what Sasuke will do now? He's the one I'll have to keep my eye on, too much like how I used to be for comfort.

The boys were eating, Naruto at a much slower pace than Sasuke. Sora had a pensive and thoughtful look on her face before her stomach growled loudly, pulling the attention of the boys, she blushed brightly.

Sasuke paused in his eating and his brows knit together, he closed his eyes and held up his bento.

"Here."

Naruto and Sora both looked at him like he'd grown another head. Naruto whisper-yelled at him and Sasuke hissed right back, Sora's lips twitched up into a smile.

"...bastard." The blonde whispered with wide eyes, then he moved closer to the other boy and held out his own bento with a grin. "Then here! You can have some of mine, 'ttebayo! Kakashi-sensei didn't say I couldn't share with you!"

...and that was all I needed to hear.

February 2nd, Day 9: Training Grounds Three

There is Fuinjutsu on that bento.

I narrow my eye at Sasuke's lunch. Yup. There is Fuinjutsu written on the lid and corners of that box. How the hell would he-I look closer at Naruto and Sora's lunches.

There was Funinjutsu on them too.

I looked closer at the ink on the box. It basically has Sora's name written all over it, her handwriting is obvious. I'm no expert on Fuinjutsu but I do know a thing or two from being around Minato-sensei so much. The design and style of the strokes reminded me a lot of Minato-sensei's work in fact. It's very... ah, what did Kushina-san call it?

Oh, right. Floofy. Minato-sensei would always just say that she didn't appreciate the artistic side of the Sealing schools. Then Kushina-san would threaten to beat him with a frying pan.

Ah... see, I've got good memories too.

But that's odd. I didn't see Sora give Sasuke a bento like she did Naruto. I'm pretty sure he brought it himself today. So that begs the question of how did Uchiha 'I-don't-need-anyone-else' Sasuke, get a bento from his female teammate?

Many forms of interrogation and information extraction popped to the front of my mind but I settled on the most straightforward -and hopefully embarrassing- way.

"Where'd you get that bento from, Sasuke?"

Sasuke looked up and answered easily. "I bought it."

Lie. A practiced one at that. His food looked both foreign and smelt good, he's probably had to deflect often is this has been going on for a while.

"Oh really. Where?" I asked, keeping my tone uninterested. Sora has looked up from her own lunch. The Uchiha seemed reluctant to answer as he looked at me suspiciously.

"You can't have my bento." He said flatly.

I tried not to smirk as Sora narrowed her purple eyes at me. She knows or suspects that I know about the Fuinjutsu. Perceptive as usual of her.

"Nah... it looks a bit too greasy." A lie from me.

Sasuke scowled at me before resuming to eat and Sora bristled with indignation, Sasuke didn't seem to notice his teammate's reactions. Out of character reactions for both of them, I noted. Sasuke accepting a gift from someone and Sora acting secretive.

Hm. I'll have to ask Tenzō.

...whenever he figures out that I'm Sora's new sensei.

February 12th, Day 19: Jonin Lounge

"Thanks again. You're sure you don't mind my team borrowing your training course every once in awhile?"

His teeth sparkled as he gave me a grin and his infamous 'Good guy' pose. "OF COURSE NOT MY ETERNAL RIVAL! THAT YOU ARE-"

"-Gai, inside voice please. People are trying to write reports."

The Blue Beast of Konoha blinked obliviously, his grin became a tad more sheepish as he looked around us. "Apologies. As I was saying before; that you are becoming invested into the growth and nurturing of the young buds of Konoha's bright future is all the thanks that is required!"

"Maa... the tykes are growing on me." Then I added in a quieter tone. "Teaching isn't as bad as I thought it'd be... I even kind of like it when they come to ask my opinion on things."

When I looked over at my longtime friend, Gai was crying dramatically, eyes sparkling.

"IT FILLS ME WITH SUCH OVERFLOWING JOY TO SEE YOU MAKING DEEP AND EVERLASTING BONDS WITH YOUR YOUTHFUL STUDENTS! IT IS-"

The was a sound of something breaking in the background when Gai raised his volume again. I turned my attention back to my book as the Blue Beast continued on with his flowery speech. Katsumi was about to rip Takeo a new one for risking his life for her.

Heh. I don't know why Takeo didn't see that coming.

"-ISN'T THAT RIGHT, KAKASHI?" I look up when I heard my name called. Gai is looking at me expectantly with a grin plastered on his face.

"...hm? Were you saying something?"

February 16th, Day 23: Training Grounds Thirty-Seven

I was lazily reclining in a tree as I split my attention in between reading about Takeo and Katsumi's tumultuous relationship and watching the kiddies try not to kill themselves by avoiding Gai's swinging projectiles while blindfolded.

They were doing fine.

A familiar shadow appeared at the end of my branch. About damn time, I was actually starting to doubt my cute kōhai's deductive abilities.

"You didn't tell me." He said.

I didn't raise my eye from my book as I responded. "Nope!"

"Why not."

"Because this way was more fun."

His Tiger mask was on the side of his head, allowing him to pinch the bridge of his nose with ease.

"Senpai..." He sighed, completely exasperated.

March 15th, Day 1: Setting off to Wave Country

I was wrong about Sora.

She's not overly expressive, in fact, most every one of her expressions are very carefully picked. Three things I noticed this morning that convinced me of this.

First, she was trying not to show any sign of being scared shitless about stepping outside the Main Gate. It worked because the other two didn't notice how she wouldn't-couldn't move from where she was standing.

The second is when she sensed the two Kiri-nin watching us in the trees. Her face had been completely blank as she took note of them and glanced my way. Oddly enough, something about my demeanor she saw made her untense and relax.

The third is when Naruto asked about her life before Konoha, her face sort of froze up as she thought about a reply. Her smile turned into a false and plastic-looking thing -an expression I recognize and use myself on occasion- before she settled on a vague non-answer. So she hadn't told him about her eventful and traumatic journey here.

I announced our setting out to spare her anymore questions she didn't seem fond of answering. Naruto bounded forward and she sent me a grateful look.

Sora keeps looking at me, like she's expecting me to do something about the Kiri-nin following us. She hasn't said anything to the others yet so I suppose she's just going to trust me to handle this.

Such faith.

It kind of warms my heart she trust me so...

She's turned forward again and now it just looks like she's thinking too hard. Her lips are pursed and her eyebrows are knitting together. It's more of a pout instead of a 'serious' look like she was probably going for. Those round, rosy cheeks of hers aren't doing any favors either.

She looked so much like a puffy animal instead of a girl at the moment I found myself laughing quietly at the sight. I raised my hand to mess up her hair and annoy her, but as I got close she recoiled away from my hand.

...right.

Serious trust issues and Haphephobia.

Sora's file says that she developed it when she first arrived in the Leaf but even then it wasn't so noticeable. It was only after her abduction that it became debilitating.

Tenzō had told me it'd taken weeks before he could get near her again without her starting to actually tremble, and he had known Sora a lot longer than two months.

The young kunoichi in question held on tighter to her bag and hurried forward to rejoin Naruto, looking vaguely ashamed.

She just needs time.

...and probably a therapist. But really, who am I to tell her that?

Naruto began asking questions about the kind of combat we might encounter and I had to pause when he brought up dragons. I answered in the negative and explained that because this was C-Rank mission that there should be no ninja contact. Tazuna visibly flinched when I said that.

Of course it wasn't long after that, that the Kiri-nin tailing us had decided that I was far enough away from the kids to attack.

April 2nd, Day 17: Outside of Tazuna's house

Sasuke was brooding on the deck around back. He was just sitting there with his legs crossed, elbows on his knees and hands folded in front of his face. Glaring at nothing in particular.

It's my responsibility to check on him as his teacher, right? All I have to do is make the offer to talk, and if he doesn't feel like it then there's nothing more I can really do. Right.

I leisurely walked along the deck and leaned against a support near-ish to the Uchiha boy. He spared me a glance before resuming his glaring over the water.

We stayed there in silence, the only sounds were the waves rolling under our feet and of dinner being made inside by Tsunami-san, Naruto and Sora were helping her.

"...how did he do it?"

I looked over at the dark-haired boy, his face was still pensive as he stared resolutely at the water but his voice had been quiet. His question was about as vague as vague can be.

My first thoughts had gone to Itachi, but I corrected myself when I remembered that there was no way that Sasuke could know that I was his squadron leader for a time. That I should have been able to see the signs before that tragedy happened.

"How did who do what, Sasuke?" I asked.

"How-" His face scrunched up. "How the hell did he make a guy like that, cry!?"

Ah. This is about Naruto then.

That was a really good question. I don't blame Sasuke for being so confused by the whole thing. I mean, I'd known that Naruto has a certain way with words but the only person who seemed to know just what Naruto was capable of was Sora. Her whole last ditch Genjutsu trick relied completely on Naruto's persuasive power. Why the hell she thought that the blonde could get the swordsman to talk about his hidden feelings in the first place is beyond me.

I shrugged in response to his questioning look. "I've noticed... that Naruto has an easier time understanding another's feelings than most people do."

Sasuke frowned thoughtfully as he absorbed my words. "...Sora said the same thing the other night."

She did? Well I suppose tha-something orange carrying blue on it's back just ran out the front door, I groaned. This was getting really annoying. I stepped off the deck after them.

"Damn it, Naruto! Get back here!"

April 4th, Day 19: Dinner Table

"I've been meaning to ask about those paintings you did Sora-san." Tazuna-san turned toward my red-headish student. "It was super that you were able to protect us but how long will they do that? Build up walls, I mean."

Sora looked up from her food, rice sticking to her cheek. Naruto snickered and passed her a napkin. She wiped the food and glanced at me, silently requesting a translation. I nodded.

She raised her hands and signed. 'The usable chakra in Fuinjustu ink only lasts as long as the strength and potency of the original chakra infused into it. Without special chakra grown paper then it's lifespan is significantly shortened, even regular paper would allow it to last longer than simply being placed onto stone. My chakra for example-'

I turned to the bridge-builder as she was still signing, he was frowning slightly, most likely a bit overwhelmed by all the movements.

"It'll probably last another week at most." I told him. He nodded, looked both relieved and disappointed at the same time.

Sora frowned at me, for answering before she'd finished or my succinct answer, I didn't know. She looked like she wanted to say something more but shrugged instead and went back to eating.

April 7th, Returning from the Mission: Jonin's lounge

"You didn't warn me she was so... touchy."

Tenzō looked up at me with great alarm, which was both funny and insulting at the same time. What exactly did he think I meant by that?

She's fourteen, I'm twenty-six.

I ignored the fact that has always been Tenzō's excuse when I would harass him about his friendship with the girl. Tenzō came to his senses and damn near smirked, leaning back in his chair and crossing his arms over his chest.

"She hugged you, didn't she?" Damn him, he knew she was touchy and didn't warn me.

I gave the younger man a baleful glare, "I don't know what you mean Tenzō. Why? Do you often hug her?"

He frowned and tried to ignore the pink flushing his cheeks at my words. He leaned back over his report and tried to change the subject. "So you're back. How did the mission go? Sora seemed a bit apprehensive when she first told me about it."

"Maa... you know." I waved my hand dismissively. There was no real need to give him a heart-attack by telling him all the details.

Tenzō's brows knitted. "No, I don't. It was Team seven's first C-rank mission, tell me how the team did. It was an escort, right? Did Sora get to try out her barrier?"

Oh, you have no idea.

Poor Tenzō looked genuinely excited. I kind of didn't want to burst his little bubble but I also knew that he would get the details some other way if I didn't tell him.

I sat down across from him and made myself comfortable.

By the time I finished, my cute kōhai's jaw was in a state of perpetual openness and he looked even paler than usual.

"...what." He said, voice oddly high-pitched.

"Momochi Zabuza, Demon of the Mist? I know you've heard of him before Tenzō. Anyways, she's taken to calling him 'Peaches'. Heh... it's actually really fun-"

I didn't get to finish my sentence because after the ANBU captain went deathly pale, he swiftly shunshin'd away as soon as I mentioned the cutesy nickname, even leaving behind his hitai-ate and ANBU mask. He's most likely headed over to his little sister figure now. Either to hug her or to yell at her. Probably both.

Shame. I didn't even get to tell him about how Sora threatened to trap the swordsman in a paper prison if he hurt her boyfriend's feelings again.

...or about how she got her first kiss.

Damn shame.

Oh, there's Yūgao. I stood and strolled over to the current ANBU Wildcat and gave a short wave.

"Yo."

The purple-haired medic glanced up at me from her latest mission report. Land of Fangs, huh? She smoothly placed her arm over the rest of the summary, blocking my view. "Kakashi-senpai. What can I do for you?"

"What? Can't a former ANBU just say hello to his old squad-mate?" Her mouth opened to answer but I continued, "But since you offered... I am looking for some information."

She smiled wryly. "On what?"

"It's a who actually, a side project. Tell me..." I placed my arms on the table and leaned forward. "How much do you know about a fellow Iryo-nin called Yakushi Kabuto?"

Interlude,

"Hatake Kakashi, Jonin-sensei"

END

A/N: I've been planning this awhile as the broiled saury will tell you. How many of you wondered about that weird little detail I put in all those weeks ago?

NEKO! HIS NAME HAS BEEN REVEALED! Kakashi is such a troll. Poor Tenzo is getting harassed and has been getting harassed for years now. There was some Neko love here and Kakashi And there was a bit of YOUTHFULNESS! ...I love Gai.

You guys... I don't think I'll ever get tired of reading your reviews. Really. I've caught myself going back and the rereading older ones. Because last chapter's A/N was so dreadfully long I'm going to Thank everyone who has reviewed the last two. So! Thank you to: Outcast001, Vixeona, duchessliz, xenocanaan, DiabolicalGenius1, Jayla Fire Gal, LilGreenearth97, AmandaPandaOh, Dark Rose Charm, Yuki Suou, ReadingnerdOtaku, joebob323, ToshimiOkami, Irissiell, ikilledmydreams, allykat5, Mikado X Goddess, TheSunAndMoon4321, FireCookie, Mary D. Black2000, Havoc Follows, BluebirdSayGoodbye, Goldenfightergirl, LadyDV011, dreamymew1, W, D.B, CynthiaRosenDale, DarkDust27, uqoxe24, LadyLunaTwilight, Lioness32, Espeon35, pendora59, til the end of the line, kotoamatsukamisora and Guest 1-2-3-4!

...wow. I feel all warm and tingly now.

NEWS-NEWS-NEWS

A dear and wonderful person has made gorgeous art of Sora from 'A Song for Them' it's... incredible! Thank you again and again, Queen Mo-Freakin. It is titled 'Sky Song' on Deviantart by Ap3x-Phantom. Go look if you want to see a beautiful -I am not exaggerating guys- conception of Sora.

Author Question!

"What is your preferred type of plot twist? The 'kick-in-the-gut that person just died!?' type, the 'SURPRISE! There was a plan all along!' or the 'Nothing is what it seems...' *CoughUchihaCough* or something else entirely?"

I love it when there's a clever plan all along, that's why Shikamaru is such a badass to me. Seeing all the pieces just fall together is satisfying and amazing to watch.

I wuv yew guys~ 'Till next time!

-Nanami

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