Naruto Fan Fiction!
"A Song for Them"
A/N: What the smack!? Does that read 1000 follows!? I... ah... you broke me, guys. I don't even know what to say. Well, yes I do.
Thank you. Sincerely. From the bitty-bottom of my heart. I hope this chapter was worth the extra wait. I really like how this finally turned out.
DISCLAIMER: I do not own 'Naruto' or any of the cannon characters! If I did, I wouldn't be so broke! So sad...
WARNING! RATED M! MAJOR SPOILERS! IF YOU DO NOT KNOW WHO 'Sukea' IS THEN I RECOMMEND THAT YOU SEE: Naruto Shippuden Episode 469 BEFORE READING THIS CHAPTER!
Chapter Twenty-Three: "Kakashi Love Song"
"I came. I saw. I made it awkward." -Anon E. Muss
Sora, April 26th: Konoha Hospital Courtyard
"I have a question of a medical nature."
Bright green eyes snapped up from my notepad and Sakura tried to smile around her mouthful of noodles. Then she remembered her mouth was full and choked it down hurriedly. I sat down on the opposite side of the little lunch table and waited to make sure she didn't actually start choking. It's a habit of mine from eating all the time with a food vacuum like Naruto.
She swallowed and gasped for air, "Sora-san! What a surprise seeing you here-Wait. A medical question? Did something happen, do you need to be admitted to the ER?"
Wow. She went from pleasantly surprised to total business in three second flat. As she began to get up so she could usher me into the hospital I waved my hand dismissively with a reassuring smile. I was fine, I didn't need a check-up. It was giving me the jitters just being this close to the hospital as it is.
I clicked open my pen, "Nothing happened. Just curious about something. I looked everywhere in the Archives and couldn't find anything on it so I thought I'd drop by and ask a certain blooming medic about it." then I added as an afterthought. "...also as an excuse to visit you."
She folded her hand on the lunch table and smiled, previous concern for my immediate welfare fading. "Really? Okay, then I'll try to answer your question to the best of my medical knowledge."
Excellent. "The Mystical Palm Technique. I've heard that it can create a sort of... emotional bond(?) between patient and healer. Allowing the user to have a sort of influence over the recipient's current emotional state. What do you know about that?"
Sakura's brows furrowed as she read the page. "Um, I... I'm sorry but I don't know what you're talking about. The Mystical Palm Technique doesn't have any kind of ability like that."
What? That's odd, Kakashi-sensei said... he wouldn't lie to me, right? Not without a really, really good reason. So...?
"Although!" I looked back up and noticed her nervous expression. "Maybe we're just confusing the terms. From what I've learned about the Mystical Palm Technique, is that it does have a sedative-like quality when used. Can I ask why you're curious? I've never heard of a jutsu that can cause an effect like that before."
Should I? Hm. Well... I guess it can't hurt to show her. It is Sakura after all, she can be trusted. Why do I feel the need to hide it in the first place? That's should be the wrong instinct, right? Ugh, what has this world done to me...
I gestured for her to give me her hand, she eyed my outstretched palm curiously, but complied. Her hand was terribly soft, I noted. I was kind of envious. My hands had to be bandaged after my last training session with Hinata. She makes me attack a stump for an hour, practicing training kata 'till she has me dodge her blows and subtly cast optical Genjutsu on her mid-spar.
It work well for me until she started isolating the disturbance in her chakra network fairly quickly. But after she realizes that she's under a Genjutsu, her focus gets split into two and gives me an advantage to attack while she's isolating my chakra and purging it.
Back to the task at hand. Literally. Now, I haven't physically tried to do this before. Influence someone. I did it on the bridge in Wave country when I was playing my Ocarina but that was pretty much it. I just don't go around putting my hands on people and seeing if they start feeling strange. That's just a bit too creepy for me.
I grasped her slightly smaller hand in mine and closed my eyes. For this to be noticeable, I need a drastic change in emotions. So, sad. I need to be sad, having her angry wouldn't be any help and I can't remember what it feels like to be really and truly afraid.
...that's probably something I should be worried about.
That's a subject for another time. Sad. Think sad thoughts. Dying flowers, wounded puppies, lost children... being alone... images began filling my mind.
Hinata training relentlessly in an empty field, looking for acknowledgement.
Neko trapped in the darkness, doing things that makes his skin crawl.
Kakashi at the memorial stone, guilt and sadness drowning him everyday.
Sasuke sitting on the end of the pier, hate consuming him whole.
Naruto alone on the swing, surrounded by dark eyes and cold hearts.
Alone. Everyone is alone.
The room is bare and cold. I'm alone.
I'm alone and it's so dark and I'm fall-
My eyes snapped open to the sight of a watery-eyed Sakura, her bottom lip was trembling and her green eyes were wide and there were tears streaming down her face!
I pulled my hand away an in my panic I began waving/flapping them at her, she wiped away the tears on her face and gave me a wide-eyed stare. "How... how did you do that?!" she demanded, tone colored with... awe? "That is incredible! One second, I was curious about what you were doing and then I was overwhelmed with sadness!"
I shrugged. "That's why I came to you. I thought that medic's could do it too."
"Well, no. Iryo-nin can't do that." she informed me bluntly. "I have no idea what you just did. I've never heard of anyone capable of something like this. Is it a new jutsu? I didn't see you weave any seals."
"It's not a jutsu that I know of. I have no idea what it is. I didn't even know I could do this until my sensei told me."
She put her hand on her chin and her green eyes practically sparkled with fascination. "Could it be hereditary then, or maybe a mutation in the genes? Did either of your parents have a similar ability?"
I thought about it. I know Kaa-chan was an Uzumaki with the special healing blood but I'd never heard about an ability like mine. It's within the realm of possibility, she did have an Ocarina that could channel chakra after all so I couldn't rule it out.
And then there's my Father. The entirety that I know about the man is that he had curly blonde hair and purple eyes, that Kaa-chan thought he was handsome and charming. Not a mention of any family ties, not even a name-OhMyGoodness!
I just realized that I'm a bastard child!
Terra started cackling.
As my entire world-view tilted 180, Sakura merely became caught up in asking me various questions about my entire biological history, which I knew next to nothing about in reality. I told her everything I learned about my Mother and Father, excluding my foreknowledge of course. She became very uncomfortable when I admitted that my Mother was dead -I didn't give her the details- and I'd never met my Father but he was most likely was dead as well.
I'd thought about it before. Kaa-chan never explicitly told me he was dead but if he were alive then wouldn't she have taken me to him? Unless she met him in a one... night... stand...
Oh, smack. Am I a 'whoopise' baby?
This conversation just keeps getting better and better. My other half crowed.
"Well, it doesn't sound like it's hereditary so it might be a mutation..." she clapped her hands together. "Okay! So I have only a few minutes left on my lunch break so we should meet again when we both have some free time. I know about some tests we can run to learn more about it's effects, especially about how it's effecting you." at my hesitant expression she hastily added, "Non-invasive, of course!"
I relaxed some and nodded, "Okay, I have some free time off on the 5th and 12th, is that good for you?"
She grinned excitedly, "Yes, it is! We can meet up then!"
I returned her grin with own of my own.
"Sora-san, I..." she trailed off, looking unsure. I gave her an encouraging smile and she averted her eyes. "...thank you." she mumbled.
I raised both my brows in surprise. "Shouldn't I be thanking you for taking up your time?"
"No, thank you for coming to me. You could've gone to any Iryo-nin for this question but you came to me even after how I treated you in the Academy. I... I was really horrible to you and you've been nothing but nice to me..." when she looked at me her green eyes were full of earnesty. "Thank you for giving me a chance."
Her emotions were so pure and honest as she spoke, it effected me in the best of ways. Now how can I hold a grudge against her when she's like this?
I gave her a wide smile and wrote down on my pad. When she read the page, she smiled gleefully, eyes closing with the push of her rosy cheeks.
That's what friend's are for.
Kakashi, April 27th: Jonin Lounge
At the familiar voice I glance up from my written report and looked over my shoulder to see Yūgao walking towards me. I give a short wave, "You know, you don't have to call me Senpai." I remind her dryly.
"I know." she replied with a cheeky smile.
"Something you need?"
It was subtle, but I saw her posture shift.
"Actually, I'm here about that favor you asked for."
"Is that so?" Unhurriedly, I stood and strolled out the door and headed towards the roof.
Once we were alone I nodded to her and she closed her eyes, sensing for any unwanted on-lookers. Can't be too safe after all. She opened her eyes and let me know we were secure, she unsealed a file from the concealed storage seal on her arm bracer and held it out for me.
"Getting this was trickier than I expected." she said.
I took the notably thin file from her and glanced through it, while Yūgao gave me a verbal report of what she came across during her intel gathering.
"He's a genin, age nineteen, below-average academy scoring. His history before the records list him attending the Academy is non-existent. No exceptional skills on file, curiously, it doesn't even list him as medically trained. He's entered and failed the last five chuunin exams." Well, that's certainly interesting. "Has one-hundred and ninety-one overall missions complete, one-hundred sixty-three D-rank and twenty-eight C's. His Ninja Registration photo is in there, it's outdated but it's the only one I could find."
I looked over the small photo. You'd never guess that he was a highly-trained operative of Ne. It was a picture of a smiling boy with a shiny hitai-ate on his forehead. Very pale skin, ash-grey hair, onyx eyes, wearing large black-rimmed seeing glasses. Has an unassuming and forgettable face.
No listed living next-of-kin. Mother; Nonō Yakushi, former Medic Corps Captain. Deceased. Considering the rumors about how Danzō came to collect his soldiers, it's more than likely this boy never had a choice in whether to become a tool or not. Maybe I'd have some more room for pity if he hadn't willingly made the choice to become someone who causes a little girl to have nightmares.
Tenzō made the choice to disobey. Other's could have, too.
A thoughtful look crossed Yūgao's face, she crossed her arms over her chest. "...the thing that bothers me, is that he never requested a leave of absence and he's not currently on any active-duty roster. I can't find him anywhere actually. It's like he's just disappeared."
He's a spy. An infiltrator to be more precise. That's why he doesn't really exist before these Academy records. I bet if we asked his 'classmates', nobody would be able to clearly recall him. But with his continued absence and the supposed disbandment of the Foundation, it begs the question of who he was spying for now?
This wasn't the information I was hoping for but it was more than I was expecting. I gave the younger woman a nod of gratitude. "Thanks for this Yūgao, I owe you one."
She returned the nod before her face turned pensive. "No problem, Senpai. But... does this have anything to do with Tiger-taichou's little girlfriend?"
That was a very good guess. "Why would you think that?" I ask anyway. Not that I don't trust Yūgao with my life, I do. I've just learned that trusting someone with my student's lives is much, much harder.
"Just little things." she admitted easily, "The girl would have been in the latest graduating class and judging by how Tiger-taichou was practically glowing with pride for a week, it's safe to assume she made the cut. Then there's a rumor going around that a group of brats finally passed Kakashi-senpai's infamous test, an Uzumaki boy, an Uchiha and a mute Kunoichi."
I merely shrugged, not confirming anything. "Why do you think this has anything to do with Sora?"
Her eyes fell to the ground, "...I met her once before. Tiger-taichou had brought her to me in the middle of the night. I had to sedate her before I managed to preform a diagnostic scan on her. I was... unsettled to find that she had multiple fractures all across her body and signs of extensive muscle damage under her skin." Yūgao scowled darkly.
Tenzō had told me that the Foundation's training regime was merciless, no matter the age or background. Still... she was eight.
"The Mystical Palm Technique doesn't completely repair damage done to the body, you know? It only speeds up the body's natural healing process." she grit her teeth. "Cuts and tears still leave scarred tissue behind."
And because of her Haphephobia, courtesy of Yakushi, Sora has never gone to a physician to do something about the state of her weakened muscles. She feels the consequences of his 'training' to this day and it's having a negative effect on her current fighting ability.
Handing the file back to Yūgao, I turned around and started walking in search of an empty Training Ground. I had the sudden urge to punch something, really hard.
"Kakashi-senpai." I paused in my stride and looked over my shoulder. The purple-haired woman was still had a disgusted look on her face. "When you find him..." she trailed off, giving me a silent request.
That's right. Yūgao has a little sister of her own, doesn't she?
I gave her an eye-smile before resuming my search for something therapeutic to work out my sudden and unhelpful anger on. Training Grounds Twenty-Eight has plenty of space and rocks to destroy. Who knows? Maybe I'll run into Gai while he's rock-climbing and we can have a spar and I can burn off this energy. As I shunshined across the rooftops my mind went back over the new information I just acquired.
Where are you now?
Sora, April 29th: Training Grounds Fifteen
I bent backward and flipped a couple feet away as Hinata broke my latest Genjutsu. I'm getting better at that, it took her a whole three minutes to realize that I was actually a few inches to the left of her attacks. Byakugan white landed on me and I squared my stance, preparing for her to charge. She blinked and the veins around her eyes faded away as she relaxed her stance.
"I think we should take a short rest." she said a bit breathlessly.
My knees gave out from under me and I collapsed on the grassy floor. Hinata came to sit next to me and handed me a water bottle that I chugged down greedily after giving her a grateful smile. She's an angel from heaven, truly.
"That Genjutsu was really detailed, Sora-chan, I could only manage to attack you half of the time. Are you going to use that in real combat?" she asked curiously.
I shrugged one shoulder, writing. "It would be handy but it's really chakra intensive. If I had to use it in a real fight, I'd be in a lot of trouble."
Mouse nodded, "Um, what type of Genjutsu was that? I didn't realize it was an illusion until I saw that your shadow didn't match up with the image."
Smack! I have to remember about the shadows. "It was a short-range area-of-effect optical Genjutsu. I need to be constantly making adjustments so that's why it consumes so much chakra."
Her eyes widened in recognition. "Oh. Kurenai-sensei uses area-of-effect Genjutsu often too."
I placed my arms behind me, entangling my fingers with the grass and stretched out my back, feeling the relaxing popping of my spine. I let out a relieved sigh. Because of these before dawn spars everyday, I'm more exhausted during Team Seven's daily missions. But on the upside there's been a visible improvement in my reflexes and reaction times! And my Genjutsu has been improving as well, I might even be able to use it in combat soon.
I've also learned during these spars of ours, that weaving Genjustu feels as natural to me as writing Fuinjustu is. It's strange... how calm I feel when the image forms in my mind and my chakra works and stitches together to make it real.
Genjutsu and Funinjutsu. The abilities to create reality with my own hands.
I paused as I fully registered that sentence.
...that was a very interesting place my mind went to,
Should we talk about that? Terra asked warily.
I thought about that deeply.
'Nah.' I then let out a jaw-cracking yawn, not bothering to cover my mouth like the street-rat I was.
Hinata yawned in response beside me. "...do you want to continue sparring today?"
I nodded. We only have so much time before the Chuunin Exams begin, and Mouse and I need all the training we could get. Though it doesn't seem entirely likely, I would really like to see her kick her cousin's rude, snobbish destiny-bound butt!
As we stood and took our stances an idea popped into my head as I thought about the beating I was about to recieve. I held up my hands, 'Could we try sparring while transformed?'
She tilted her head curiously at me. "I suppose that we could. Can I ask why?"
'Something I want to try. Need practice holding the transformation over a long period of time... and during a beating.'
Her pale eyes widened and her chakra spiked with worry. "What kind of... beating?" she asked hesitantly.
My grin turned a bit sheepish. '...the kind with broken bones.' I admitted. She turned a unhealthy shade of pale and I hastily tried to reassure her that ti wouldn't be too bad and I was just preparing for the worst case scenario.
"O-Okay, Sora-chan." she agreed with great reluctance. "But why while Henge'd?"
I smiled secretly and placed a finger over my lips. It was secret and I have a big feeling the Hyuuga princess would be scandalized if she knew what I was up to.
Hinata gave me a considering looked before her shoulders drooped. "Is this going to get you into trouble?" she asked. She knows me so well.
My smile stretched a bit wider, 'Only if I get caught.'
Kakashi, April 30th: Market District
Done helping our client with their grocery shopping, I thought is was about time to dismiss the team for today. Naruto and Sasuke had been particularly irksome today and as a result, their teamwork has been poor. We haven't been able to do anything together without a fight sparking up between them. As their sensei I should really do something to get them all to work together. Sora is easy to handle, she just go with whatever's planned but...how the hell do I get Sasuke and Naruto to agree on something?
I explained the mission details had been fulfilled and that they were dismissed for the day. Naruto scowled. "We're done already? But it's only ten in the morning!" he complained. "Lately all our missions have been boring! When are we going to get an S-rank mission?"
Oh kami. Do I really have to explain to him what an S-rank entails. Wasn't the C-turned-A-rank mission exciting enough for him? Not to mention the search and rescue from hell. He was so distressed the seal on his stomach weakened!
"S-rank?" Sasuke scoffed and turned away. "A loser like you?"
Sora tilted her head back and lifted her eyes skyward, as if she was asking for patience.
"C'mon, Kakashi-sensei! I want something with more pizazz... more oomph!" He punctuated his sentence with punches and kicks.
"Uh, there aren't any." I lie. There are more exciting mission, just none for us. We were benched because you kiddies are high-priority targets to the wrong people. So am I for that matter... I turn and start walking away, shouting over my shoulder, "Okay, dismissed!"
It's not like I don't understand his desire for more excitement, I sympathize with my overly energetic student. It just isn't going to happen as long as we're benched from anything above Pet Retrieval. Does Naruto not realize that I have to preform these boring mission right along with them?
I'm bored out of my mind.
The kids started to go they're separate ways and I walked down the street, headed home where I have to file a mission report on grocery shopping. But before I was out of earshot I heard Naruto speak up. "Just hold on a minute. There's only one S-rank mission that we can do 'ttebayo."
I channel chakra into my ears to heighten my hearing beyond the normal range. This 'mission' could mean trouble for me considering who was doing the talking, I wasn't really fond of being scolded by Hokage-sama.
The other two have stopped moving to listen to their blonde teammate. "A mission that's failed numerous times... one that only we can pull off... to see what Kakashi-sensei's face really looks like dattebayo! Let's find out what the best-kept secret about our target is!" My blonde student declared, quite boldly I might add.
They want to try unmasking me again, do they? Well... that's an idea. This could be fun, I decided. And maybe a way to patch up their teamwork that's been lacking as of late. Only thing is...
Sasuke spoke and it sounded like he was smirking, that's a good sign. Sora would go along with Naruto just because it was him asking, Sasuke's agreement was the tricky part but it seems he's just as bored as us all.
Sasuke voiced his agreement and I guess it's decided then. As soon as Naruto turned around I shunshined to the other side of the fence next to me, suppressing my chakra so they wouldn't sense me. I walked back to where my cute little students were discussing a plans and thought about my own.
What to do... what to do? How about... I smiled as I thought of the perfect alias to use. Apparently I was feeling particularly evil today. Sukea should do well for this mission, I think. Heh. I fold my hands into Dog, Boar, Ram and henge into one of my many aliases. I'll make sure to use an actual disguise later, one that doesn't rely on chakra.
I heard Naruto laugh on the other side of the fence. "I already have a plan, dattebayo! Photos!"
Photos? A decent idea but that could be problematic. There's only one photo of me without my mask and it's kept inside a secure ANBU facility. And I somehow doubt my little students know where that is.
"So where do we start looking?" Sasuke asked.
That's my cue.
I shunshin the to other side of the fence and approach them without being noticed. I raised my henge'd camera up and spoke. "The photo submitted to the Hokage for the Ninja Registration Form should be one of him without a mask. But it's an extremely classified, top-secret document." I informed my cute little students. "Accessing it would be no easy task."
All three of them spun around at the sound of my disguised voice. Naruto and Sasuke looked at me with suspicion and Sora...
My red-headish student just slapped her hands over her mouth. Eyes wider than I've ever seen them. That look on her face looks disturbingly like recognition. But that's also impossible so there must be something else wrong with her.
Because recognition would be impossible.
Naruto looked at his teammate oddly, "...you okay, Sora-chan?" he asked quietly. She waved her free hand furiously, still staring at me. Her face began to take on an oddly bright-red tint to it.
Again, she can't know it's me.
Sasuke ignored his teammate's like he does best and addressed me. Ever the pragmatic one. "Who are you."
I introduced myself as 'Sukea' the traveling photographer. Going from east to west searching for scoops and as I was passing by, I overheard a very interesting conversation.
My blonde student took a step forward. "He did hear us, 'ttebayo! Should we get rid of him?!"
The looks his teammates gifted him were priceless. Even Sora stopped staring at me to roll her eyes in exasperation and... yep, she's right back to looking at me.
"He's right." Sasuke said, his eyes were calculating as he thought over what I'd said. "There's a rule that the photo for the Ninja Registration Form must be your entire face. It's so obvious, we didn't even think about looking there."
"Will you let me join you on this adventure?" I ask innocently.
My Uchiha student was scrutinizing me again, "What's your motive?"
I explained that if I were to get a picture of what's under the mask, I'll be sure to make a lot of money. Greed. A common motivator. Though Naruto would probably believe any reason I gave, the other two were a bit more shrewd and cynical.
But then Naruto piped up and asked for me to treat them to ramen if I get rich from this. Heh. That's not going to be happening. I promised to treat them to ramen and even threw in some dumplings as well.
I almost feel bad about making promises when I know the odds are entirely against them. But then I'm reminded of how much fun I'm having teasing my cute little students and I forget about it.
Before separating, I gave them the location of the ANBU facility and told them to meet me there after midnight. They each agreed with a nod and I turned around and left, the kids leaving the opposite direction of me.
This was going to be fun.
I turned the corner and before I could shunshin my way home, for some strange reason, my red-headish student skipped ahead of me, coming to a stop in the middle of my path. A grin was splitting her face. I was immediately on guard.
I gave her an awkward smile, "Was there something else...?"
She bit her lip and nodded, raising her hands.
'What are you doing, Sensei?'
In my twenty-six years of life, I have spent the last twenty preforming missions of varying difficulty and risk. I have successfully completed hundreds of high-ranked missions, ranging from sabotage to assassination. There are countless times when I have faced many adversities that left stronger men than me scared shitless. I have waded through so much shit and never before have I simply stood dumbstruck, as I am now.
Sora leaned forward and tugged on my long scarf. 'Did I break you? Sensei?'
Improvise, my instincts told me. I put on a smile that I felt was painfully see-through at the moment and raised a hand to scratch my now-brown hair. "Ahh... I'm afraid I don't understand. Sorry." Lie. She can't really know it's me. It's simply impossible.
'I know it's you, Scarecrow.' she placed a hand on her hip and smiled patronizingly, like my denial was amusing to her. The worst part is that I believe her when she says that.
My fake smile fell away and I frowned at her. How the hell could she know that it's me?! Her eyes widened and I watched as they began to dart around my very exposed face. I was very uncomfortable suddenly.
"It's a transformation. This isn't my real face." I inform her dully. A bluff. This is actually my face, sans the purple paint but she has no choice but to believe me.
'Yes, it is.' she signed with a confident air that she really shouldn't have. 'You wouldn't have been shocked I recognized you if it wasn't.'
She tilted her head, 'What did you do to your voice? It's so weird.'
I sighed, feeling older than I actually was. "How did you even know it was me? I'm disguised."
She shrugged easily. 'I recognized your chakra.'
"You can recognize my chakra signature?" I frowned, she shouldn't have. "But I'm suppressing it."
She waved her hand dismissively, 'Doesn't matter. As soon as you approached I knew. No two chakra are the same, it's like knowing a color or a scent. I'd know the feeling of your chakra anywhere.'
"Out of pure curiosity, what does my chakra feel like?"
She thoughtful look crossed her face before she answered. 'Hotter than fire and has a pull to it. Magnetic.'
Interesting. Apparently, I need to further test her sensing abilities. I should've known that she could discern between chakra signatures so thoroughly. This is on me.
I realize I sound childish. I also don't care. It's not fair that she knows!
She placed a hand on her hip and raised one unimpressed brow at me, pointedly dragging her eyes up and down my disguised self.
"It's not the same thing, I'm trying to teach a lesson." I inform her.
She snorted a laugh.
I scowled and her purple eyes were immediately drawn to the movement.
I crossed my arms over my chest. "Please stop staring like that."
'Sorry,' She wasn't sorry, she was smiling unrepentantly. Little shit. 'I'm just trying to remember this moment forever.'
I felt my cheeks warm uncomfortably under her intent gaze. Her hands went to her mouth and she started fidgeting around. I imagine she would've been giggling too, like a normal girl her age would act. Which was creepy. Sora was not, in any meaning of the term: normal.
"What is it now?" I ask, completely done with this situation. I just wanted to go home.
Her smile took on an impish look to it,
'I think Sensei is adorable when he blushes.'
Oh Kami-sama, spare me from this evil girl.
She cocked her head to the side with wide eyes as she signed. 'You're so expressive, is that why you wear the mask? I can read you like a book.'
"Okay, that's enough!" I moved to shunshin all the way back to my apartment but Sora actually glomped onto my arm! "What are you-"
She was grinning wide as she shook her head at me, tightening her hold. People on the street were starting to give us odd looks. Damn this girl. I have a feeling she was enjoying making me uncomfortable more than seeing me without my mask.
I walked forward, we needed to get out of public before I could dismiss the henge. We walked like the for awhile, me uncomfortable as hell and Sora hanging onto my arm, enjoying herself far too much. We turned a corner, quickly glancing around for any on-lookers and finding none, I folded my hands together and dispersed the henge. Sora's reaction was an immediate pout. Hah. I began to pry her fingers off of my arm.
"So, I suppose you'll tell the boys the mission is off?" I asked dully,
She furrowed her brows at me, 'What do you mean?' she signed.
"Aren't you going to tell them?" Why wouldn't she go and tell them that she got to see my face? I can think of a number of people who would brag about it.
'Why would I do that?' She had that impish grin again. 'It would spoil all the fun.'
I felt both eyebrows rise at that. "You're not going to brag about seeing under my mask?" I couldn't quite keep the incredulousness out of my tone. Was that really what she was saying?
She looked at me like I was an idiot. 'Of course not.'
Her smile softened at me. 'See you tonight.' she gave me a mock salute before turning around and walking away.
I slipped my hands into my pockets as I watched her retreating back. "...yeah, see you."
Welp. That ended exactly how I'd expected.
We spent the morning sitting in an dimly-lit ANBU cell for trespassing and breaking and entering into a secure military site. It got kinds awkward when it was Neko who showed up to escort us to the Hokage, he had waited until Naruto began getting scolded by Hiruzen before pulling me aside and beginning his lecture for me. Still in his ANBU gear and all.
Late last night we all met up as we agreed and broke into the place that clearly had ANBU labeled all over it. Found Kakashi's file and were promptly apprehended. I blame our new photographer friend, 'Sukea' had taken an absurd amount of time pulling the picture out of the file, though I know that he was stalling.
I made sure to look very chastised, head lowered with a apologetic frown as Neko berated me for breaking into a secure ANBU facility just for kicks and giggles. It's really not fair that he's only scolding me, Naruto and Sasuke were there too! And Kakashi...
I tried not to smile at the fact Neko has seen his dear Senpai's face and not even realized it, and probably never will. Then I was trying so hard not to laugh as I noticed everyone around us was getting to see Kakashi's true face and not even realizing it! The man himself was relishing in every moment he was getting to fool everyone with his disguise.
Except for the Sandaime. Though he had a stern expression as he chewed out the boys, his chakra betrayed the great amusement he was receiving from the whole affair.
I was having an overall great time until Kakashi had shown up and apologized to Sukea for any trouble we, his troublesome students, might've caused. 'Sukea' then proceeded to blame the whole affair on us genin, making it seem like it was all our idea and he was innocent in all this.
I did not miss the smug look in his eyes when he glanced at my gaping face.
We got off with some warnings from the Hokage and were set free. The Hero and Duckie made sure to let Sukea know that they were less than pleased with the man. He made an apology and offered a new plan of action for getting a picture of his unmasked face. I couldn't help the smile that made it's way onto my face as I listened to the disguised man talk about himself like he was another person.
We were going to get a picture while 'Kakashi-sensei' was eating.
Naruto stared dumbly at the photos in his hands. "You're kidding... not a single one?"
"I feel like some divine power is at work here." Sasuke said warily.
It was impressive, I have to admit. Every single photo taken of the Kakashi eating had something covering his face. It was incredible that 'Sukea' managed to do that. I've had to add photography to the list of unlikely skills Kakashi knows.
I still have no idea if Scarecrow got Kiba and Akamaru involved with the cover-up or if it was just sheer dumb luck on his end.
'Sukea' sighed with a resigned smile, "I guess this means the mission is over and dismissed, huh?" Naruto sagged beside me and even Sasuke looked disappointed. "Well, I guess I'll be-"
Huh? Wait, is that Kiba again? We all turned at the sound of the Inuzuka boy and saw half our class walking towards us. All of Team Ten and Team Eight were headed right towards us.
"What are you guys up to?" the Inuzuka boy asked.
I raised my hands to answer. 'Trying to see under our Sensei's mask.'
That got a bunch of confused looks. Then I remembered that they've probably haven't seen Kakashi in person before.
"What're all you guys doing?" The Hero asked curiously. Yeah, this was an odd sight now that I think about it.
"It w-was our Sensei's idea. We just finished sp-sparring against one another." Hinata murmured shyly.
"Ha! Yeah, and we won!" Kiba said triumphantly, Akamaru barked proudly as well. This caused Ino to glower darkly at the duo.
Naruto frowned and wondered aloud. "How come we don't spar against other teams 'ttebayo?"
'Because Sensei is lazy and anti-social.' I signed, reveling in the annoyance that shot through the disguised man's chakra. Especially when Naruto and Sasuke didn't correct me.
"Our Sensei just use our spars as an excuse to see each other more often." Ino said with a knowing grin.
Shikamaru rolled his eyes at the implications his blonde teammate was making, "So... why are you guys trying to see under your Sensei's mask?" he asked instead.
"Sukea-niisan is treating us to ramen and dumplings if we get a picture of what Kakashi-sensei looks like under his mask 'ttebayo!" I saw Chōji perk up at the mention of food. Ramen and dumplings we'll never get to see, sadly.
'It's proving to be impossible.' I signed truthfully.
He arched an eyebrow at us. "It can't be that difficult."
I took the pictures out of the Hero's hands and gave them to the Nara boy. Everyone else around him leaned in to see them too. There were mixed reactions of incredulousness, shock and dumbfoundment.
Brown eyes scanned the impossible pictures and Shikamaru frowned. "...seriously?" he asked, glancing up.
Team Seven nodded solemnly. When he looked back around he noticed everyone else was paying close attention now. He sighed, his clever mind knowing what comes next now.
"...what a drag."
"You're enjoying this too much." he murmured to me, tone flat. I gifted 'Sukea' with an unimpressed look, the corners of my mouth tugging up again for the umpteenth time that day.
We were hiding out in some foliage as we waited for the plan 'Unmask Kakashi Version. 10' to begin. I opted to stick with Scarecrow as I was slotted as 'contingency' along with Kiba and Sasuke. The plan mostly relied on the less combat orientated members of us. Which I was fine with, this was fun too.
I had offered some of my flash bang tags or a barrier for use but Shikamaru declined. He laid down a couple plans fairly quickly and after we separated from the others Scarecrow had complimented the Nara boy's strategies. Then informed me that when I showed them my flash bangs, the grin that stretched my face had been, and I quote: 'Very unsettling'.
"So are you." I wrote on my pad. It was a caution, as one of the others might see us and the secret would be spoiled if they figured out 'Sukea' knew my sign language.
He pressed his lips into a firm line in a way that I recognized as a way of smothering a smile and wow it's weird seeing how expressive Kakashi is. It's really a mind-trip seeing this side of him. Not only is my hardcore shinobi sensei prone to blushing all too easily, he smiles more often than you'd think and his poker face kinda sucks when he isn't pretending to be someone else.
This is insane.
I vividly remember the animated version of the man in front of me so I had a general idea of what he looked like but... I had still been massively unprepared to see the real thing. Terra had gone silent and I haven't heard her idle commentary since, I think she was in shock from the sheer pretty.
Really. It's unfair just how pretty the guys around me are.
Earlier when I'd felt Kakashi's unmistakable chakra radiating of the very unmasked man I just froze when I put two and two together. Then I blushed like some giddy schoolgirl whose crush just acknowledged their existence.
I need another distraction or I'll start staring at him again. He's very distracting. A part of me wants him to put the mask back on just so I could pay attention.
Kami, I sound like an idiot.
"Question." I wrote.
He hummed to acknowledge he heard me. He wasn't looking up instead he was fiddling with the camera.
"Why did you make that up about my chakra influencing?"
To his credit he didn't stop fiddling with the camera and replied calmly. "No, I didn't."
I frowned. "Yes, you did."
He finally looked up and my breath hitched when I saw two light grey eyes looking back at me. Will never be used to that. "I didn't lie to you, Sora."
"But medic's can't-" he raised a hand to stop me.
"I didn't lie to you... but I did let you come to the wrong conclusion. Every living thing emits chakra through their skin subconsciously. With you it's just a bit more... prominent."
Well that's familiar. 'Let you come to your own conclusion.' The irony is delicious. Truly. My other half drawled.
'Why do you only show up to mock me?.' I retorted petulantly. She snickered. I turned back to my page.
"Why didn't you just tell me?"
"Sora..." he sighed as a hand went to rub the back of his neck. He looked visibly uncomfortable with this question as I watched the corners of his mouth turn down. "When I told you in Wave, you looked like you were about to have a anxiety attack with just the idea of being anything other average."
His brows pinched together as he further explained himself. "You don't like to stand out, and it's easy to understand your apprehension. You stood out when you were young and the wrong people noticed and took advantage."
My fingers twitched with the ghost of pain. I balled them into fists, blocking out the memories that threatened to come forward.
Now that I think about it... I am very uncomfortable with the limelight. I thought it was just nerves but I really don't like excess attention. That's...
That is so stupid!
I'm literally on the most attention-grabbing team in the history of the Leaf. I'm so screwed, Why does Kakashi have to be so observant? There's so many things I could still be blissfully ignorant about. I buried my face into my hands and I felt Kakashi's chakra spin with slight panic. Stupid Scarecrow.
A soft voice crackled over the comms, Hinata's. "I see Kakashi-sensei now. Should I proceed?"
"Wait. Sora, are you and Sukea-san in position?" That was Shikamaru's voice. I pressed the button and let out two short whistles in the affirmative.
"Alright, go Hinata." And the plan was set into motion.
We almost had him and the fudging Scarecrow cheated! He used more clones henge'd as Team Gai and foiled us! Shikamaru had his hands around the darned mask and Neji comes out of nowhere, Lee hot on his heels Tenten trailing behind. It all seemed very realistic and not at all planned, I might've thought it was actually them if they weren't practically glowing with Kakashi's chakra signature. As awesome as it was seeing Rock Lee for the first time in this life, I kinda wanted to see the look on the darn Scarecrow's face when the mask was pulled down in front of everyone!
With the mission a failure, each team went their separate ways and 'Sukea' bid his farewells, expressing his regret at not unmasking the legend. I had rolled my eyes at his retreating back.
"Food is the best way 'ttebayo!" Naruto declared as we meandered down the side-street, heading nowhere in particular.
"It has the highest probability..." Sasuke agreed in his roundabout way.
"Ne, Sora-chan. Think if you made dinner and invited Kakashi-sensei that... hey, why're you smiling so much?" The Hero peered at me suspiciously and even Duckie gave me an evaluating glance. "Ever since we met Sukea-niisan you've been smiling a lot and acting weird, 'ttebayo."
I simply clasped my hands behind my back and smiled my secret smile. Trying to keep the skip out of my step and the total smugness off my face.
I know a secret~
You're such a child. Terra chuckled.
The Hero narrowed his baby blues to the point I couldn't see them anymore. "Oi, you don't... like him, do you?"
I couldn't hold it in. I doubled over in laughter as soon as he asked that ridiculous question. Naruto continued shouting at me with increasing shock and protectiveness that was just too sweet.
"Sora-chan, you can't! He's so OLD!" he shouted uncomprehendingly.
I grabbed onto his shoulder to stop from falling onto the ground. I wish Kakashi-sensei could be here our to hear this. His expression would be priceless!
Sasuke rolled his eyes at my display, "...she's lost it."
Running the towel over my hair once more I managed to get it to a tolerable dampness before I stepped out of the steamy bathroom. As I rifled through my drawers for clothes, my mind went over the events of the day.
They almost had me.
It had been a good plan for a bunch of rookies. I chuckled aloud when I remembered the dirty look Sora had shot me after my transformed clones had appeared.
Speaking of my troublesome red-headish student... what am I going to do with her? I've gotten over the fact that she can naturally discern my chakra signature with an accuracy that resembles the Byakugan or Sharingan. Still, I reminded myself to come up with a more thorough test understand the extent of her sensing ability.
It's certainly been an interesting turn of events lately.
The thought put a grin on my face for the dozenth time today. When I was about to call it earlier, a bunch of other genin that I recognized from Asuma's numerous complaints and Kurenai's gushing had showed up. Then my little students had enlisted the help of their classmates under the pretense of free lunch. And with a plan laid out by the Nara clan heir, the nine rookies had me in a pretty tight spot.
This is next generation, huh?
,,,maybe Gai isn't so far off with all his flowery speeches about the Blooming Youth of Tomorrow. I huffed a laugh. Maybe, I allowed.
Slipping on a shirt and pants I glanced at the picture frames on my nightstand. There was Team Minato's official photo with Minato-sensei, Rin, Obito and myself. Team Seven's official photo, we'd been lucky to have gotten that without anyone coming to blows. And the last one... I felt a fond smile slip onto my face again.
It was a photo from a cheap camera Tsunami-san had let me borrow, she had it stowed away for special occasions. Inside the small frame you could clearly see my three student's sleeping peacefully and curled over each other on a futon in Wave country.
It may be mind-numbingly boring and a thankless job most of the time with endless paperwork to fill out, but... being a teacher definitely has it's perks.
Chapter Twenty-Three: "Kakashi Love Song"
A/N: Ahhh~ I've been waiting awhile to do this. Kakashi isn't going to be getting much love in the chapters to come, what with the Exams starting soon. Like soon-soon. Next chapter?
Wow. Wow-wow-wow-wow... does that really say 1k? I'm shocked, really. I don't know what to say. I want to thank everyone that's been with me for weeks now and thank all the people still finding this story! I can honestly say that I had never expected to get this far in the first place without you guys. You probably think I'm exaggerating or pandering but no. If you think so, you are underestimating yourselves.
You. Are. Inspiring.
"If you could meet any person -fictional or nah- what would you talk/tease/argue about?"
I would yell at Itachi SO much. I blame a lot of Sasuke's insanity on how the Weasel handled the situation. I'd ask Sakura what does she see in Sasuke? Annnd... I would want to ask Izaya Orihara what the hell was wrong with him. Yep.
I really will never tire of saying this... I wuv yew with all my heart!