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the number one knuckleheaded alchemist

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The paperwork that comes with being the Maelstrom Alchemist's superior officer is going to give Kakashi an ulcer one of these days. Not like he does it anyway, but if Umino comes into his office demanding to know about Form 39-D Article 7-6010 (property damage caused by a State Alchemist), he might have to put down his smut and do something about his subordinates.

"So, Uzumaki-kun," he drawls, narrowing his eyes at the orange clad fifteen year old. "What's this I hear about you ending a thirty year drought?"

The boy shrugs his automail shoulders like he hasn't done anything of note. The other fifteen year old State Alchemist beside him is brimming with unbridled frustration at his companion. 

It probably wasn't a good idea to place an Uchiha Wildfire Alchemist with Uzumaki. He had thought it was poetic at the time; placing an alchemist who worked with water with one who worked with fire. It hadn't been his best plan.

"I was following a lead, Colonel," Uzumaki says.

"You punched a public official in the face," the Uchiha spits, looking rather like an angry cat, if Kakashi may say. 

The Uchiha were real sticklers for the rules. That had been another reason Kakashi had placed Sasuke as Naruto's chief handler. His family had been heading the Military Police or were leading State Alchemists for generations. Being an Uchiha was pretty much synonymous with being a fire manipulating alchemist.

Uchiha Mikoto, the Alchemist of Amaterasu was a legend during the War. So was Uchiha Itachi, who had shirked his title as the Copycat Alchemist (for his ability to mimic anyone's arrays with devastating accuracy) to advocate pacifism after he had witnessed the violent murder of Ishvalan refugees in the capitol.

"He was using a false Stone to create the drought, bastard," Uzumaki snarls. "Punching him in the face was the least of what he deserved."

"You fractured his skull!"

"I should've fractured his spine."

Mitarashi snickers behind him, because she's also the type to take justice into her own hands. She and Uzumaki got on like a house on fire; their shared disdain for authority wouldn't bother Kakashi so much if it didn't mean Umino was always on his back about Form 39-D Article 8-1096 (property damage caused by two or more State Alchemists).

"That's all well and good," Kakashi says, cleanly interrupting the rapidly brewing fight. "But did you bring back the false Stone?"

Uzumaki turns his frown from his handler back to Kakashi, and scowls. 

"No," he grumbles. "That guy, Gato? He overworked it and it disintegrated before we could get it from him."

Kakashi sighs and leans back in his desk chair. That was a step back. Reverse engineering a false Stone was an area of research that his own superiors were getting on him about. Kakashi had never been much of a researcher himself; his only development had been the Chidori Array, which had gotten him his promotion to Colonel in the first place. But Fuhrer Ototsuki was really pushing that kind of development. 

Kakashi had never liked Indra, had never really trusted him. His eyebrows for one were pretty weird looking. But there was something profoundly off about the man, and his interest in Philosopher's Stones wasn't the wild eyed grab for the impossible like Uzumaki's. His was more calculated. Kakashi didn't doubt for a moment that if Ototsuki got his hands on a stone, he'd know exactly what to do with it. 

At least Uzumaki only wanted his arms back. He had been a kid when his mother died. His father had followed shortly after that, attempting human transmutation himself to get his wife back. Whatever he had offered the gate had taken half the remaining years of his life. He died a handful of years later. Naruto had been an orphan at twelve. He'd tried to get both his parents back at once. Now, he just wanted to be able to use both his hands. 

Kakashi didn't want to think about what Ototsuki was after. 

"Tragic," Kakashi drawls. "No matter. You'll be out on the road again. There are some nasty sand demons in Liore that need to be taken care of. That sounds right up your alley."

Naruto winces at the idea of getting sand in his automail. Kakashi feels completely unrepentant. Bad guy or not, State Alchemists were generally not supposed to punch government officials. Sending Uzumaki to Liore was a slap on the wrist. 

"Your train leaves in three days," Kakashi says, as Shiranui gets up from his desk to put Uzumaki and Uhciha's train tickets and the file on the tanuki in Liore on his desk, "so don't get too comfy in Central."

Uzumaki snorts. 

"Comfy? In Central?" he asks. "Don't hold your breath."

Kakashi folds his hands on his desk and rests his chin on where his fingers interlace. 

"That's a shame," he says. "You've got a visitor who's been keen on seeing you."

A puzzled look crosses his face before it's replaced with a terrified one. 

"Where is she?" he asks. 

Kakashi smiles and shrugs his shoulders. 

"Oh, you know," he replies. "Around."

There's a light rapping on the door, and then Gekko is stepping inside with Haruno Sakura by his side. 

She's a sweet looking girl, with bubblegum pink hair and bright green eyes. It's ironic, how cute she is considering she's got Mitarashi's attitude and General Senju Tsunade's level of medical competence. 

She's got a toolkit in her hand, and she's chatting politely with Gekko until she enters the room and sees Naruto and Sasuke. 

"Naruto-kun," she says in a voice like honey. The color drains from Naruto's face. "What have you done to my beautiful arms?"

Uzumaki's alchemy was dangerous in the fact that few people had ever been able to master it. Earth and fire were relatively easy to control, all things considered. But water was malleable and required constant shifts in calculations. Uzumaki did all of that on the spot. He wasn't making water out of nowhere, but he drew in the water in the air around him to manipulate it. The boy could make storms with a clap of his hands. It was magnificent to watch. 

It also rusted the hell out of his automail. 

Haruno Sakura had been Naruto's childhood friend, had created his arms for him when she was a pre-teen herself. Her parents had been surgeons but had died in the war, and she had thrown herself into auto and organic medicine. General Senju wanted to draft her into the Medic Corps but Haruno wasn't a big fan of the military; her parents had more or less been assassinated for healing Ishvalans instead of Amestrian soldiers. Haruno wasn't to keen on being a part of that. 

"It's nothing, Sakura-chan," Naruto says, sheepishly scratching the back of his head. It's a mistake; his arm gives a godawful creak. Sasuke snickers, but that's also a mistake. Haruno’s eyes are on him in an instant. 

"And what's this I hear about you cauterizing your own wounds with alchemy, Sasuke-kun?"

Sasuke pales and sputters to figure out an excuse. He had suffered a nasty stab wound on his leg; he had a visible limp even as he came into Kakashi's office for their report. 

"You two," Haruno says with a deceptively kind tone of voice, "are coming with me."

"But Sakura-chan -,"

"Sakura, that's really not -,"

"Boys," she coos, "that wasn't a request."

Naruto jolts to his feet and Sasuke follows not too long after. The amble over to Sakura. As soon as they get to her, she slaps the back of Naruto's head then rears back and backhands Sasuke before grabbing both of them by the ear and marching them to the infirmary at Central so she can get to work. 

"Sakura-chan, I'm sorry!"

"I'm a State Alchemist, Sakura, you can't drag me places by my ear!"

He heaves a sigh; the Maelstrom Alchemist came with his Uchiha handler and their medic. The Uzumaki was a package deal, and the three of them were way more trouble than they were worth.

Kakashi wonders if there's a form for damage done to two or more State Alchemists by a non-combatant. Knowing bureaucracy (and Umino) there probably is, and once Haruno is done with her boys, Kakashi's gonna have to fill it out.