Sarutobi panted heavily as he glared at the smirking visage of his former student, watching from the corner of his eye as Kakashi and Jiraiya fought to free him from the snake sannin's barrier. All around them battle waged, foe and friend alike falling all under the whim of the monster in front of him.
"What's wrong, sensei?" Orochimaru sneered at him, not looking the least bit out of breath, but the Sandaime could see the sweat beading his forehead and the fatigue slowly seeping into his gaze. It made the paternal part of him want to reach out to his wayward boy and hug him, comfort him.
Instead he summoned Enma, who took one look at the situation and shook his head sadly. "No more second chances, Sarutobi." The ape king rumbled and the Hokage nodded, pain lancing through his heart.
Even after all he'd done, he couldn't help but love the younger man as his son. A father's love was unconditional, yet even he knew what must be done. He couldn't allow his village to suffer for the sake of his own heart.
"No more second chances."
A scream sounded to his left, the scent of burning flesh filled the air. Kakashi had pushed an oto nin against the barrier and held him there until it fried him. The Barrier cracked, something dark flashed in Orochimaru's eyes.
Sliding into a loose fighting stance, Sarutobi waited patiently. Orochimaru lunged at him. Another Oto nin was thrown against the barrier only to be caught and pressed there by Kakashi, whose entire expression was blank. He was regressing…however, the Kage couldn't allow himself to worry for the young jounin at the moment. Not when Orochimaru's blade was only moment's away from nicking him and infecting his blood with its deadly poison. He ducked and Enma slammed into the other who flew back to hit his own barrier and screamed.
What a horrible sound.
Orochimaru stumbled to his feet, his yukata falling in burnt tatters from his upper body as he glared at him with all the venom he could muster. He began flying through handseals a manic grin crossing his lips.
A loud crack sounded from the barrier, before it shattered completely.
Kakashi tackled him just he went to complete the last seal, knocking the jutsu off course and a large puff of smoke appeared. Sarutobi stilled, having hoped the jutsu, especially that one, hadn't worked, his heart sinking and soaring all at once at the smoke cleared.
Orochimaru was gone, as were his shinobi, and Kakashi lay unconscious in his stead, but more importantly were the five shinobi that had appeared in front of him. Five very alive, very sound minded shinobi.
He slumped, watching as his student gathered the unconscious jounin in his arms, before he turned to the group of new comers.
"One moment, please." He turned his gaze to his village and straightened, projecting a proud front when really all he wanted to do was rest.
"Everyone, listen and listen well. You all fought very valiantly today, and because of that our village will persevere and see another day. We will not be broken as my former student hoped, no for he has unknowingly granted us a boon, one he will very much regret. Go home and rest, tomorrow begins a time of renewal and rebirth."
Everyone stood at attention, even the Chuunin hopefuls and Naruto. They didn't even notice the group behind him, thanks to Jiraya keeping the five far from the edge, it was no matter it would need to be addressed soon. For now, there were other things to be taken care of.
"Hai, Hokage-sama!" They all responded and soon he was left alone with the group.
"Hokage-sama," Kushina began hesitantly and he finally focused on them, noticing the worried and curious looks on all of their faces including his. "What's going on?"
'How long has it been since I've seen you so innocent, Kakashi. How long as it been since I've seen you whole.'
He didn't respond, choosing to silently observe them for a moment. Sakumo was in his late twenties, the same age he'd been that fateful day so long ago. He noticed the dark shadows in the man's eyes and knew he was from only days before that one. Team Minato were older than they should've been coming from Sakumo's time, telling him that in their time the man was already dead. He could see it in the Kakashi's cold eyes and stoic demeanor. In Minato's darker eyes and the sad glint in them. The new jounin jacket told him that they were from the day of the mission that had changed that for the boy. He also noticed that the boy hadn't noticed his father, who stood a little way behind the group, silent and vigilant.
"This is not the place for this discussion, Kushina-chan. Please henge yourselves and follow me."
"Sensei-" Jiraiya started, pulling his unconscious pseudo nephew closer when everyone turned their gazes on to him.
Sarutobi shook his head. "No, you need to be there too."
Something tortured crossed his student's face at seeing the faces of his dead student and the man who had been his brother in all but blood. He could only imagine how it would effect Kakashi, whose mental state wasn't the best and hadn't been for a very long time.
The toad sannin lowered his head, avoiding eye contact with the ghosts of his past and tightening his arms around the young man in his arms.
"Yes, sensei." He muttered before disappearing. Sarutobi stared after him then sighed, wondering why he couldn't have just remained in retirement.
Sakumo frowned silently as he leaned against the wall of the Hokage's office, his dark eyes taking in everything from the team of genin standing with Minato, to Sarutobi's slumped shoulders and Jiraiya's refusal to so much as glance in their direction. He noticed that his son was a few years older than he had been when he'd last seen him just the day before.
Jiraiya shifted in agitation from when he was settling a slender silver-haired man on the couch in the office, keeping his back to them and Sarutobi sighed.
"Team Minato, Kushina-chan, what is the date?"
"June 19 10XX, Hokage-sama. What-" He raised a hand, cutting Minato off, before turning his gaze onto the silent man against the wall.
"And you, Sakumo-kun?"
Kakashi whirled around his eyes wide as they landed on his father, who straightened and moved to stand beside him.
"October 2, 10XX." He replied quietly and Kakashi flinched subtly while Jiraiya tensed.
A day before his death.
For a moment it was silent before Kushina let out a frustrated sound.
"What the hell is going on?" She exploded and Jiraiya turned and glared at them all venomously.
"All of you barring the Hatake brat are dead. You've been brought to the future thanks to a jutsu that Orochimaru botched."
Obito paled. "W-we're dead?"
"Not in your time you're not, however to us you've all been dead for years."
Minato stepped forward to placate his sensei, having never seen the man so agitated. However, before he could a soft groan sounded from the man on the couch.
It was the sound of yelling that awoke him at first. The voice was so familiar it almost hurt to hear it because he knew it couldn't be who he thought it was.
"Protect him…. protect Naruto."
"Tonight a great sacrifice was made. Hokage-sama and his wife are…dead."
His heart clenches in his chest and he groans as the scents around him filter in through his senses. Each one is one he would recognize as well as he would his own…five of them are impossible.
Oranges, Dango, musk, cats. Obito.
Rocks crushing fragile bones. Regret, guilt, anguish. A broken half-smile.
"My…my sharingan. Take it."
Lilies, rain, ginger. Rin.
A fist of lightning through the heart. Failure, guilt.
"No…No! Rin, don't go!"
"'m sorry, Kashi-kun."
Fire, earth, musk, air. Sensei.
A peaceful smile on bloodless lips. The wailing of an infant in the air, the remains of a beast's destruction. Too Late. Hollow, numb.
You're all alone…
Fox, ramen, sea water. Kushina-neechan.
"I'm sorry…she's gone."
Lightning, power, home, safe. Tou-san.
A broken body slumped on a tatami mat, a disgraced tanto buried in its stomach.
"Tou-san! Wake up! I'm sorry, please! Wake-up! Kai! It's okay, it's just a genjustu! It's just a test."
His eyes shot open.
"Sh," Came a soothing voice, a heavy calloused hand coming to rest on his forehead as his eyes darted around the room. "Take it easy, gaki."
He pushed the older man away and sat up, inwardly frowning as he took in the five in front of him.
He'd come to terms with their deaths, all of them…at least that's what he liked to let himself believe. If that was true, however, why did he currently feel like he was balancing on the edge of another breakdown? Hopefully it didn't come to that, Tsunade-sama would kill him after the last time that happened. Instantly his mask slid on, and he eye-smiled, forcing his emotions down deep inside himself. He would deal with them later when he was alone.
"Maa, well doesn't this look interesting?"
"Maa, well doesn't this look interesting?"
Everyone stared at silver-haired man sitting beside Jiraiya incredulously taking in the all too familiar hair-style and face-mask.
They took in the jounin uniform clothing his slim frame, the slanted headband hiding his left eye from the world and the eye-smile he graced them with. Finally, Obito broke the silence.
The man merely smiled and pulled a book from his kunai pouch, while Kakashi, their Kakashi scowled.
"Of course not, dumbass. He's an idiot."
Something dangerous flashed in the older male's single dark eye, KI flaring momentarily before it was all skillfully hidden.
The Sandaime decided to intervene. "Orochimaru tried to perform the Kinjutsu Edo Tensei, which allows the user to resurrect and control the dead. It is irreversible. Kakashi-kun intercepted the jutsu, resulting in you all being brought forward in time, permanently."
"So we're stuck here? What about our village?! We're at war! We can't just abandon them!" Kushina yelled angrily, green eyes flashing red in her anger.
"Yeah!" Obito agree, frowning fiercely.
The older Kakashi chuckled softly and turned the page of the book in his hand.
"The war is over. We won it fourteen years ago." He replied and Jiraiya sighed at his bluntness when the time-travelers all stilled and stared at him.
"He could've said it kinder, but Kakashi is right. We won the war. If that was influenced by you traveling here our memories would've changed as well, however they haven't. As of now the five of you, six if you count Kyuubi, exist outside of the time-stream."
Kushina bowed her head appeased and Minato turned to the Hokage.
"Where are we going to stay?"
The Sandaime looked over at the older Kakashi who looked up as if sensing his gaze.
"You'll need escorts to help you adjust to the time and the changes around you and somewhere big enough for you and your escorts to stay," He began and Jiraiya started to shake his head.
"No Sensei. Don't."
"As such, Team Seven's new mission will be escorting our time travelers through the changes they are experiencing," chills raced down Kakashi's spine and he knew what his Kage was going to say before he even finished speaking.
"And you will all be staying in the Hatake Compound. Do you accept?"
Kakashi stood fluidly despite the exhaustion wracking his limbs. Jiraiya stood beside him, lips pursed in a thin line, his aura silently begging him to decline. Unfortunately, he'd always been a glutton for punishment and his eye curled into a smile.
"Very well. Collect your team and return here."
He bowed, ignoring the way his throat tightened and the way his mind screamed in protest.
Team Seven was a lot closer than most believed they were.
After passing the bell test, their first official day as Team Seven, Kakashi had sat them all down and told them quite frankly, to get their shit together. He told them that he had noticed the masks they were hiding behind and that he would teach them to reinforce those masks only if they allowed their teammates to see the true personas that the masks hid. In return he promised to show them his true self as well.
Team Seven could now say with unparalleled certainty that they were the only people alive other than the Sandaime and Jiraiya to have seen their sensei's face.
Sakura, had been the first to drop her mask in front of her teammates. She revealed that while she truly did have a crush on Sasuke, it wasn't as fanatical as she pretended it was, and that while she wasn't extremely skilled at ninjutsu she was studying to be an iryonin.
The next to drop their mask was Sasuke. He revealed that while he was driven by revenge, it wasn't the only thing on his mind. He also wanted to find out the truth of why his brother murdered their clan. He couldn't understand what would drive his kind, soft-spoken aniki to do what he had done. After all, Itachi had always been against killing and was as close to a pacifist as a shinobi could be.
The last and most hesitant to drop their mask had been Naruto, to the surprise of his teammates. The teen hesitantly revealed his jinchuriki status and was truly shocked when both of his teammates accepted it without the sneers and hatred he had grown up facing. He revealed that while he did want to be Hokage, it wasn't his only dream. He also wanted a family that would accept him unconditionally. They also discovered that while he wasn't on par with the Nara geniuses, Naruto was extremely intelligent and very skilled in the arts of infiltration and trap making.
Kakashi had listened to them all with a small smile on his lips, something they could only see due to the curve of his mask. Then he revealed to them that while he was tardy to everything, the lazy pervert jounin was an act to protect his mind from the world. He didn't reveal why but he shared more of his past than they knew he had ever shared with anyone and they cherished every moment of it. Their only protest was the words he'd ended with.
"I don't claim to be a great man, or even a good one, but I will protect you with every fiber of my being. Never doubt that."
Their sensei, their aniki, was a great man whether he believed it himself or not. He'd brought them together, allowed them to be themselves, and given them the family that they had yearned for.
At the moment they were all at Sasuke's house, waiting for said man, who they knew would want to assess their injuries after the invasion. The fact that he had yet to arrive was worrying and with each passing moment the three genin felt their hearts sink lower and lower in their chests.
Naruto bit his lip from the loveseat he and Sasuke were currently sharing.
"M-maybe he was just held up by, jiji." He stammered, trying to reassure his siblings who looked over at him. Sasuke nodded for the kitsune's sake, knowing better than to disagree when the younger boy started saying things like that. It meant he thought something horrible had happened and he was looking for reassurance that everything was alright.
Sakura nodded as well, but her teal eyes betrayed her worry.
"Maa, why the long faces?"
All three teens jolted, then turned, smiling when they found their brother standing in the door way. The silver-haired man smiled back at them, his one visible dark eye checking them over carefully for wounds. When he found none he relaxed, but each of them could see the strange tension in his shoulders and the darkness dancing in his eyes.
"A-aniki," Sakura stammered softly, looking up at him. "What's wrong?"
Kakashi froze, then sighed. "We've been assigned a new mission. Pack for a month, and take anything precious to you as you won't be back in the foreseeable future."
They blinked and Naruto frowned. "Where are we going?"
"The Hatake Compound."
His students frowned worriedly, knowing the effect it had on him. They had passed it once, during a mission and the pain that they'd seen flash over his face at just a glimpse of it was enough for them to never want to go to that place, ever.
"Do we have to?" Sasuke asked, frowning and Kakashi nodded, his eyes empty behind the tiny smile on his lips.
He was back behind his mask, and they knew nothing they could say would draw him out of it.
Packing in record time, the three genin followed their brother from the house, absently wondering just what was happening…and why it affected their aniki so much.
** The Hokage's Office-After Kakashi left **
Minato sighed softly as he watched Adult Kakashi vanish from the room in a swirl of leaves. Looking between the two versions of his youngest student, he couldn't figure out how his little Kakashi had become the blunt, yet laidback man he'd just seen.
From what he had seen during his interactions with Jiraiya and Sarutobi, this was his normal behavior, something that clashed the rule-abiding, slightly callous child he'd been raising since Sakumo's death.
"How could you do that?!" Jiraiya yelled, drawing him back to the present and he frowned when he noticed the anger in his sensei's eyes. Something about the proceedings a few moments ago had angered the normally jovial man, enough to where he'd turned his anger on the Hokage.
Sarutobi sighed, looking all his eighty years. "Because of all the shinobi in this village, Kakashi is the one I trust with the utmost certainty. I trust him more than I trust my own son and if anyone can handle the grief of this mission it will be Team Seven. He will not be alone in this, but any way you look at this, Jiraiya, he is the best option."
Jiraiya's lips curled into a snarl, the rage in his eyes blacker than anything Minato had ever seen.
"If this fails and they get hurt it on your head, sensei. Your village may be precious to you but my godsons are far more precious to me than this place is. If anything happens to them, Orochimaru will be the least of your worries." This said, the toad sage turned and stormed out of the room, leaving a stunned silence in his wake.
Moments later, adult Kakashi entered with a team of three.
"Jiji!" One exclaimed and the time travelers did a double take. The kid looked almost exactly like Minato, barring the whiskers marring his cheeks and the garish orange jumpsuit he wore.
Sarutobi smiled weakly, his weary dark eyes softening. "Naruto-kun," He greeted then turned to the other two, a pink haired girl and a young Uchiha. "Sakura-chan, Sasuke-kun. How are you all today?"
Sakura bowed politely, a shy smile on her lips. "We're fine. We have a mission?"
He nodded and gestured to the five time-traveler.
"These are Hatake Sakumo, Uzumaki Kushina, and Team Minato. Thanks to an interference with one of Orochimaru's kinjutsu they have been dragged from their time and trapped in ours. Your mission is to help them adjust to the current time period. Kakashi has offered to allow you all to stay in the Hatake Compound as most of the Uchiha compound is sealed."
The teens nodded seriously, chancing a glance at their sensei who seemed enraptured in his book. As if sensing their gaze, he looked up, eye-smiled and went back to his reading. They rolled their eyes in unison then turned to the Hokage, who chuckled at their antics.
"Kakashi," The jounin looked up at him as did younger Kakashi, curiously. "Be sure to visit Ayako-san. Jiraiya expressed a bit of concern in how exactly you broke Orochimaru's barrier."
Young Kakashi raised an eyebrow and glanced at his older self, who's eyes went blank despite his pleasant expression.
Sarutobi sighed heavily. "Dismissed."
Everyone bowed and the older Kakashi snapped his book shut with a cheery eye-smile.
"Well, off we go." He announced. "Do keep up."
He said before taking off. His students followed him, followed by the time travelers, once more under their henges, each wondering how exactly this would all work out and just how things would change for them.
For now Devil's Advocate, Shattered Soul, and Harley Stiles will be becoming full fledged stories. Once they are complete or once I've finished a few of my others WIPs I plan to continue Truth's redemption and Raven under a Darkened Sky. Please be warned however that I work two jobs and go to school so updates will, as always, be sporadic at best.
Behind closed doors...
Hatake Compound was just as he remembered it when he'd last entered it; dark and cold, the overwhelming scent of despair and loneliness clinging to its walls and vying for his attention. He ignored it, just like he ignored the pain grasping his heart, and activated the seals he'd placed around it to keep dust out and light it up. His guests dropped their henge and looked around in awe.
Pale walls decorated with grand pictures of their ancestor, the base line a nice mercurial silver, the compound was something to behold.
"You don't live here?" His father asked curiously and he hmmed noncommittedly.
It was well-known that before him, no Hatake had lived outside of the clan compound unless they'd married into another clan. Even then they were forced to get a seal to keep them from betraying clan secrets. Kakashi, as the last member of the once prestigious clan, had sealed it doors after his father's seppuku and hadn't returned.
"I haven't since I was eight years old."
His father stilled and Minato reached forward as if to touch him but he moved back with a forced smile.
"Alright!" He said clapping his hands. "Pick a room to sleep in. Mini me, you can have our room because I'm too big for that bed. Sasuke, you'll be sharing with Naru-chan because you know how he gets in new places."
Sasuke nodded, staring at him worriedly. "Sensei?"
The fake smile didn't falter and each of the younger team seven members felt their hearts clench. Their sensei was firmly hidden behind his mask.
Naruto glared at him, then at their guests, stopping when he got a good look at the fourth. This was the man that had sealed Kyuubi in him, the man behind his suffering.
Why did he look so much like him?
His eyes narrowed before he paled and looked away.
"We'll all talk in the morning. Right now, we all need to rest and recover from the invasion earlier today." Jiraiya rumbled and everyone nodded, the time-travelers sharing a look, before Obito took off down the halls with a wide smile.
"I call the best room!"
"Stop running in Kakashi-Sensei's house!" Sakura yelled after him, jade eyes flashing. Sasuke placed a calming hand on her shoulder, shaking his head at her.
"C'mon. We need to rest. It's been a long day. C'mon, Naru."
The blond nodded and followed his teammates leaving Jiraiya and Kakashi with the three time travelling adults and their remaining charge.
Little Kakashi stared up at his older self then at his father and snorted.
"You can take our old room. I refuse to sleep here."
A dark chuckle left his elder counterpart, single visible eye flashing dangerously.
"Kid, you're over a decade too young to be giving me orders. Trust me, sleeping in this shithole is far from the worst thing you'll ever do."
Sakumo reached toward the older version of his son, but the man moved away, fake smile firmly in place.
"Good Night." The other said before turning and leaving the room.
Jiraiya sighed and Sakumo turned to his eldest friend, his brother in all but blood.
"What happened to him, Raiya?"
The sannin shook his head. "We'll talk in the morning. Get some rest."
He couldn't breathe.
His breathe felt like it was stuck in his throat and it was all he could do not to scream.
A quiet whine left his lips and he ripped his mask away from his face, pacing in the guest room he'd chosen like a caged animal. His hiate followed it and a soft snarl left him as his heart refused to stop racing.
Why couldn't he breathe?
His summons appeared around him, each clamoring to comfort him and he allowed them to forced him to lay down, Bull lying on top of him to keep him in the bed.
"Breathe, brat." Pakkun growled and he whined, black spots darkening his vision.
He hadn't had a panic attack like this in weeks, not since the battle of the bridge where he thought he'd lost his team…again. This was a million times worse, however because it seemed that every ghost of his past was here. Alive and safe…
Why had he agreed to this?
"Breathe, pup. Just breathe." Pakkun repeated nuzzling him and it seemed as if something had lifted off his chest. He inhaled sharply, head spinning and moreover, he welcomed the darkness when it dragged him under.
Maybe when he woke it would be a dream.
"What are we gonna do, 'Suke? Kashi-nii isn't going to fare well with them here. You saw him earlier."
Sasuke frowned at Naruto's question, his mind going back to the way that their surrogate older brother had stayed firmly behind his mask once retrieving them from the compound. He, like the rest of Team 7, knew that the man was only waiting until he was alone so that he could shatter.
"Give him time. Sandaime-sama said he would need to see someone because of what he did earlier, I don't doubt he will be better in the morning. If he isn't we'll remind him that he still has us."
The other boy nodded, blue eyes full of concern.
Unlike the others, he'd never had a family before, so when it came to Kakashi and the rest of Team Seven, he was extremely protective of them. They were his first family…a chance that man had taken from him the night he'd sealed Kyuubi inside of him.
His gaze darkened at that thought.
That man was his father; he was sure of it. They looked almost exactly alike, barring the whiskers on his cheeks from the Kyuubi and he couldn't help but wonder…why? Why had his own father chosen to sacrifice him?
Sasuke's arms wrapped around him, pulling him to cuddle against his brother and he turned his troubled gaze to meet his older brother's calm one.
"Why, 'suke? Why did my own father…why did he do this to me?"
Sasuke's eyes closed painfully at the younger boy's question, the lost, devastated tone similar to the one he, himself had used the night after the massacre.
"I don't know, Naru." He murmured, arms tightening around his little brother's slender frame. "I don't know."
Sakumo Hatake frowned slightly as he sat at the edge of his bed, looking around his bedroom.
Unlike the other shinobi, he could smell the despair and hopelessness that clung to the walls of his home, the faint scent of his own blood vying for his attention as he'd moved through the familiar halls.
Something terrible had happened here, something to make his son both the cold child he'd seen with Minato and the distant man he'd met at the Hokage's office...and yet…
He could barely see his son in either of them.
He could barely see the happy, curious pup that used to follow him around and mimic him. The calm but happy child that had graduated top of his class despite being the youngest applicant to grace academy halls. He couldn't see the disappointed boy he'd seen only yesterday, the one trying to stay strong as he bore the brunt of the village's hatred due to Sakumo's actions.
The young Jounin with Minato was the closest to that, his dark eyes speaking of loss and heartbreak but a strong will to live and prosper.
The other Kakashi however, he called to Sakumo's very soul, the older Hatake's spirit telling him that while the man seemed okay, he was anything but.
Determination flooded the disgraced man, and a new vigor filled him, something he hadn't felt since his failed mission what seemed like years ago.
No matter, both were his sons…and he'd do anything to protect his own.
A/N: IMPLIED/MENTIONED SUICIDE ATTEMPTS and SUICIDAL THOUGHTS
Yamanaka Ayako had never seen a shinobi as mentally unstable as Hatake Kakashi.
He'd been a shinobi longer than most of his peers, including both the Hokage's son, Asuma and Might Gai, and was younger than them all to boot and yet he'd seen more than most of the shinobi she treated. The older veterans treated him with both respect and contempt, still remembering the role his fathers' actions had played in starting the war, and his own battle prowess both before and after acquiring his team mate's sharingan. The younger generations were all fooled by his mask, and despite seeing him listed as an S-rank shinobi in the bingo books, underestimated his power due to his façade. It made her heart ache for him.
He'd worn so many masks over the years, both physical and mental, that she doubted he'd even recognize himself if they were to all fall. Self-loathing was as deeply imbedded in his personality as his masks were and she knew that had it not been for Tsunade-sama and the Hokage the man would've followed his father's example and killed himself years ago. Although he had tried multiple times, some very close to succeeding.
When he'd visited her earlier that year, informing her that he was leaving the ANBU to train his team she'd been both elated and worried. He'd been failing teams left and right for the past three years, returning to the ANBU right after until the Hokage called him back to take another. She'd hoped that when he'd finally passed his team his mind would slowly start repairing itself and he would learn to let someone in behind his various masks, and when months had passed with no word of him relapsing she'd thought this to be true.
Now, she wasn't so sure.
The man sitting across from her looked on the verge of a breakdown, his visible eye staring at her emptily.
"Is your team alright?" She asked softly, keeping her voice warm and gentle.
He smiled at her. "Yeah, they're great. Improving by leaps and bounds every time I look away." A wry chuckle left him. "Trust me, if anything happens to them, you wouldn't be seeing me. You'd be attending my funeral."
The saddest part was, she knew he absolutely meant what he was saying. If he lost his genin, he would follow them into death, no matter how long it took him to accomplish it. It wasn't healthy, but speaking to a man who'd lost so much in his short twenty-seven years of life, she knew it was as healthy a thought as any for him.
"You've done well the past few months. I've heard no word of you relapsing, and yet you sit before me."
"I'm fine. Hokage-sama ordered me to visit you."
She raised an eyebrow. It was highly doubtful that the Sandaime would send him to her if he was 'fine' and he knew better than to try to bullshit her.
He nodded. "He was concerned because I used an oto-nin's head to break the barrier around the Kage box during the invasion. He was worried that I was relapsing."
Something dark flashed in her patient's eye before it was hidden behind one of his many masks.
"No. I'm fine." He gave her an eye smile. "Just fine."
She didn't believe him.
Hell, she doubted he believed himself, therefore she sighed heavily.
"I'm recommending you for a two-week vacation, unless there is an emergency."
"I'm fine." He repeated and she sighed again.
"No, you aren't. I'm gonna be perfectly honest, Kakashi, you haven't been fine for a very long time. This vacation is the only way you'll be able to continue as a shinobi."
He stood taking the paper with a chuckle, and she knew without looking that he'd changed it to say what he knew the Hokage would want to hear. It was the same every session.
"Tools don't get vacations."
"No," she agreed. "Which means you'll return to my office weekly for the next three weeks. All tools need maintenance."
He didn't reply, only inclined his head and vanished in a swirl of leaves.
He'd return like she said.
He always did.
Naruto scowled as he and his siblings enter the kitchen of Hatake Manor to find both Team Minato and Kakashi's father already present, the latter manning the stove and making pancakes at the Yondaime and his team chatted around the table. All four looked up as they entered, the warm smile on the Yondaime's face doing nothing to boost their mood.
"Hello, we didn't get a chance to introduce ourselves yesterday. I'm Minato, and these are my students Rin, Kakashi, and Obito," He nodded to each of his students as he said their names, "You're Kakashi-kun's students, right?"
Sasuke' placed a hand on Naruto's arms, nodding as they took a seat. "Hn. I am Haruno Sakura. These are my teammates, Uchiha Sasuke, and Uzumaki Naruto. Pleased to meet you, Minato-sama." Sakura said, smiling even though she wanted nothing more than to punch the blonde man in the face. Sasuke had informed her of the man's identity before they'd come down, even if she'd already guessed as much. Having it confirmed set her protective instincts on end, especially knowing how much Naruto had suffered because of his jinchuriki status.
Rin frowned, sensing the hostility her teammate's students held for her mentor but before she could ask Jiraiya and Kushina entered the room.
"Where's Kakashi?" The sannin asked and Naruto sighed.
"Pakkun said he went to see Ayako-san for his appointment. Then he has to go see jiji. He should be back soon."
The man nodded and Sakumo frowned. "Is Ayako, Kashi's girlfriend?"
He asked, having not smelled the scent of a female on the elder version of his pup. There was a slight scent of romantic interest, but not enough to suggest a relationship.
"Nope," Came the cheerful response from said jounin as he entered the room, his single visible eye curled into a smile.
"Sensei!" Team seven greeted smiling at him and the man smirked.
"Guess who's training with Gai today," He said and they groaned, even Sasuke.
"Do we have to?" He asked, crossing his arms and everyone could tell Kakashi was smirking beneath his mask.
"Of course. What better way to reintroduce our guests than to introduce them to the second biggest gossip in Konoha."
"Kakashi?" Both Kakashi's looked over at their father, one with pain and barely concealed anguish, the other with an empty gaze hidden behind faux joviality.
"Can I speak to you both, in private please."
"No." The younger version of his son said and something dangerous flashed in the eyes of the teen's elder counterpart.
"We'll be there."
Young Kakashi glared at him. "Who the hell are you to tell me what to do?! If I don't want to speak to him then that's my choice! You have no say in it! You're just an imposter wearing my name! You have no idea what he did to me!" He snarled and Sakumo's breath left his body at those words.
What had future him done to their son?
Why did the teen version of his boy hate him so much?
A dark rumbling laugh left elder Kakashi, the sound sending chills down the spine of everyone present.
"I have no idea? I am you, you pathetic child! I came home, just as you did, watched his thrust his blade into his gut, just as you did! I watched him bleed out in the study. I watched Obito get crushed saving my life, his body so mangled that we had to leave it behind."
Obito paled violently and Rin gasped.
"I was the one that had to hold Rin as she threw herself onto a chidori meant for an enemy so she could keep the Sanbi contained. I killed her, and watched as she pleaded for me to forgive myself because she didn't blame me."
Rin whimpered and Obito's skin paled. Even younger Kakashi's eyes widened.
"I saw sensei die holding his wife after Kyuubi wreaked havoc on our village" Kushina stiffened and Minato held onto her "and held each and every Anbu that has ever died on the field with me until their breath stopped. I have every right to tell you what to do and you will listen, because there is no one in this world that I hate more than I hate you. You will listen or you will die."
His peace said, he smiled angelically as if he hadn't just unloaded all the traumas he'd suffered onto the people in the room, as if his younger counterpart wasn't staring at him with wide, terror-filled eyes.
"Now, who's ready for training? Gai and his team are already waiting."