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First winter as a Sensei

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If only my heart were as cold as I pretend it is, maybe then, I could get over this.

 

Kakashi was warm when he emerged from his shower. It was the peak of winter in Konoha so Kakashi kept the heat up in his home at all times.

 

He didn’t like to come back from a mission to a bitter house, who would?

 

His house was big, some would even say luxurious in Konoha standards. Being an Ex-ANBU and student of the Fourth Hokage had its perks.

 

Kakashi liked the house he had been given by the Leaf just fine. The real problem was that it was the complete opposite of a house his father would have wanted.

 

Kakashi’s father was a humbled man; many would go as far to say he was old-fashioned.

 

When Kakashi was young, he lived in a pretty good sized house, but it was still comfy, it felt lived in.

 

It was at the edge of the woods, and he could still imagine when his father and himself would go out looking for wood to burn. His dad always treated it like some kind of adventure, telling him spooky stories as they walked.

 

Kakashi’s father was a kind man, but that didn’t mean he was a social person. He loved being close enough to the village to help people whenever they needed it, even helping a few people who didn’t, but he was a man of nature, and preferred to have a secluded place where he could whistle bird songs and watch life go by around him.

 

At Christmas time though, he was the liveliest he ever was. He forgot his introvert ways, and went out of his way to see people. He always said Christmas was a time when everyone deserved a bit of happiness, and if no one else was going to, he would make sure that even the unhappiest of people smiled at least once during the season. Kakashi always said he was crazy, but secretly loved seeing this side of his father, letting that side of himself show as well.

 

They used to spend every pay check that his father received during the month of December on food. They bought oranges of course, hundreds of oranges, canned food and other food that would last.

 

They would create little baskets full of food, and give them away whenever they saw someone on the street. A specific neighborhood his father seemed fond of would get the upmost special treatment.

 

He and his father would spend days on end, cooking fruit cake, something Kakashi nor his father enjoyed the taste of, but Sakumo just loved to cook and give away it at Christmas time. Kakashi, usually the ever questioning little boy, never asked his father why fruit cake was his choice of ‘special treatment’ for the little neighborhood, for he knew his father wouldn’t answer. The man would normally answer all of Kakashi’s many, if random, questions, but this, Kakashi didn’t know if he wanted to know the answer to.

 

Sakumo was a calm and collected person in general, he was very affectionate, truly gentle and enthusiastic in a content sort of way about his passions. The only time he was truly excitable was at Christmas time, but when they visited that neighborhood, he would get this angry sort of look. His father wasn’t usually angry. But that look in his father’s eyes was dark and unhappy. It would pass when they came to the first house’s door, Kakashi could always remember the first house, it just stuck out for some reason; the others all sort of blended together. Maybe it was because his father would get this humongous grin with twinkly eyes when his eyes landed on the kids in the house, looking so damn excited about Christmas and Santa, and the fact that it was snowing.
Then he would get a sweet sort of smile and crouch down and pat the kids on their heads, even whispering most secretly about hearing sleigh bells, the kids would giggle and then run off. Then the kid’s moms came by the door and she would kiss his father on the cheek, which Kakashi remembered not liking at all, but his father never reacted to it, just accepted the thank you, and then handed her the fruit cake and basket of oranges and canned meals.

 

Kakashi remembered seeing the wisp of a girl, looking to be fourteen or fifteen. She had scabby knees and dark, hollow eyes. She looked kind of like the ghosts or spirits Sakumo always told Kakashi about.

 

Kakashi saw her threw the crack in the doorway, scampering into the next room. She stopped like a deer in the headlights when Kakashi caught her eye.

 

She smiled shyly at Kakashi, waving sweetly. Kakashi could remember seeing glimpses of her every year, as she grew she only became more beautiful, although her eyes aged in a painfully obvious way.

 

They would be off to the next house within minutes, but Kakashi couldn’t remember what all the other houses were like. He just remembered them being similar to the first. Same small and unstable house design, same dirty looking home, same smell of something burning, nothing like his father’s wooden logs burning, more like wood chips smoking, and the same grateful look in the families eyes when they were given their fruit cake and Christmas baskets.

 

Kakashi hadn’t been back to that neighborhood since his fifth Christmas, not even sure if it still existed within the village.

 

He couldn’t remember where they traveled to get to the neighborhood or how long it took. He could truly only remember the moments leading up to their delivery of the gifts, could only remember his father’s expressions. A lot had happened between when he was five and now, so he wasn’t surprised that he couldn’t remember much about it, but still, he’d like to know what happened to that little family, the one with the single mother who always kissed his father on the cheek when she couldn’t use words to express her gratitude.
Kakashi shook himself from thoughts of his father, and dried himself off with a towel.

 

He had let his mind float away again, he had been thinking about what kind of house he had, and now he was thinking of memories that he couldn’t truly remember.

 

Kakashi went back to thinking about his house, it was safe. Thinking of ways to improve. Good. Looking toward the future. Good.

 

His house very modern, sat right in the middle of the village, close to the Hokage tower. Everyone knew where he lived, but people rarely visited. He had an open floor plan, kind of sophisticated looking with a piano in the living room. He didn’t even know how to play piano, but it was kind of fun to walk by it every so often and hit random notes and make a whole bunch of noise.

 

Kakashi still didn’t think it was warm enough even with his power heating system. He decided that he would have to get a fireplace installed before the winter was over.

 

Kakashi nodded to himself as he pulled on his Jonin uniform.

 

He made sure to avoid looking in the mirror until he pulled up his mask. The mirror was pre-installed when he was given the house. He had been too lazy to take it down, and not yet ready to admit that he didn’t like seeing his reflection.

 

Now, he thought, onto more important matters.

 

What decorations he still needed to get so he could decorate his house of course!

 

Kakashi would deny it at gunpoint, but he he’s really, really into Christmas.

 

He makes up excuses for it of course. He wouldn’t be Kakashi Hatake if he didn’t. So he pretends that he does it for Guy, who refused to leave him alone during the holiday season unless he put them up, or that it was to keep in favor of the village so they don’t come across his secret plans as an undercover agent searching for the weapon that will destroy the world, but every year, his home is so insanely decked out that it looks like Christmas Spirit, and Santa’s Magic had a baby, and that baby threw up all over it.

 

Christmas lights following the entire length of his house outside. Christmas trees seeable through ever large window he has. Carols could be heard whenever anyone passed his home. A cheesy candy cane lane was propped up on the way to his door. His mailbox was wrapped in water proof wrapping paper. And of course, no matter if made from snow or mud, snowmen were decorated to look like Asuma, Kurenai, Guy, and himself standing strong, every year in his front yard.

 

Last but not least, Kakashi’s annual Christmas party set the day before Christmas.

 

He had done it since he was nineteen and finally accepted the fact that he loved the holiday despite how painful the season could be.

 

Kakashi only really invited his friends: Asuma, Guy, and Kurenai, but that doesn’t mean they are the only ones who would come.

 

It is an open house party, and Kakashi was always surprised by how many families and villagers always showed up.

 

Even Iruka always made his oddly timed appearance with Naruto in tow, grinning from ear to ear. The Hokage had even made it to the party a couple times.

 

Kakashi always planned a humongous feast that he guiltily still hadn’t bought any ingredients for. Let alone that fact that he was still neglecting to even plan out what the hell he was going to try and cook for everyone.

 

The star of the night was always Asuma who dressed up as Santa Claus to greet the guests at his annual Christmas party. (Which Asuma only agreed to with hard searched blackmail, but it was worth it every year.)

 

It was always a lot of work, but Kakashi loved it. It was the only time of year that Kakashi would be caught dead being purposefully social.

 

By the end of the night, everyone who came to the party was unusually sated, happy, and usually a little tipsy.

 

One Year Kakashi recalled a certain jumpsuit wearing man passing out before the night was over, but that was when Kakashi had given free choice from his cabinet with quite the selection of alcoholic drinks. He doesn’t do that anymore.

 

Kakashi smiled to himself as he strode into his large and clean kitchen. It was a sparkling white that made him feel kind of like a stuffy rich man, but he tried not to pay attention to that fact.

Kurenai said she loved his kitchen, and would love to come over and cook for him. Strangely enough, that comment made him feel good, and lately he and his friends had been having a dinner night,

(Kakashi was hoping to re-name their new event, but it didn’t seem like anyone else cared.) Once a week on Friday, they all met up with each other and made sure to catch up with one another. One of them would have to cook the meal, and their meeting place had become most often Kakashi’s home.

 

Kakashi opened the fridge in search of something good to eat. He felt he had a lot of hard work to look forward to this season, but he was looking forward to it none the less.

 

He had twelve days until the party. Kakashi mused that it was oddly fitting, and set off to meet his team after he shoved some buttered toast and pieces of bacon from the other night into his mouth.

 

He grabbed his heavy winter coat, and his earmuffs, any other kind of hat would totally flatten his hair, and was out the door in seconds. He was meeting his team on their bridge today, yes Kakashi had designated that bridge as theirs.

 

Kakashi turned and walked through the bustling village, but he was looking for not the bridge, but someplace else.

 

He was Kakashi Hatake, if he was going to be properly late, he would need to find a nice detour to keep his interest.

 

Two and half hours later, Kakashi finally made his way toward Team 7’s bridge with a trip to the graveyard to see Obito and Rin and make sure they were okay, and maybe a small detour to Granny C’s bakery, under his belt.

 

Kakashi smirked to himself. He couldn’t wait to dig into the slice of Christmas cake he had gotten at the bakery, but he made sure that his bag was safely hidden from his ever hungry eyes of his students in his satchel he wore on his back. He wasn’t planning on sharing this cake. It was too delicious to even give up a small bite, let alone the ‘small’ bite Naruto would take from it.

 

“Yo,” Kakashi gave a peace sign to his students when he jumped onto a ledge of the bridge, “Sorry I’m late,” He broke into a cheesy smile, “You see, I was getting a haircut and the barber was determined to shave my head completely; there was a valiant fight, of course, because my hair is so sexy, and I accidentally killed him, so then I had to deal with the whole mess and bury the bod-

 

“LIER!”

 

“STOP MAKING EXCUSES!!”

 

Both Naruto and Sakura screeched at him. Kakashi noted that Sasuke only seemed amused by elaborately made excuse to cover for why he was late.

 

“Now, Naruto, Sakura, it is rude to interrupt someone in the middle of a perfectly fabricated excuse.” Kakashi replied nonchalantly to the screeches, nodding to himself all the while.

 

Sasuke smirked, “Hn, you’re in an oddly good mood, Sensei?” He raised an eyebrow suspiciously, but Kakashi could tell it was all in good fun.

 

Kakashi often surprised himself with his genius, but he didn’t usual surprise himself with his judgment.

 

He will admit, regrettably, but definitely never out loud, that he had been wrong. He had judged his team on first sight, and he couldn’t believe what he had been proved in just the last four months.

 

Well, for the most part, he learned that his team gave terrible first impressions and did a horrible job of representing themselves to other people.

 

They were different from what he expected, but none more different than the so called stoic Uchiha.

 

From the minute Kakashi had been assigned team 7, he knew Sasuke would be the hardest nut to crack.

 

Naruto turned out to be very open about his emotions and what he thought. Sakura was very emotional, and loved long and deep talks. Sasuke though, was very introverted. He wasn’t as angry as
Kakashi thought he would be. Sasuke turned out to be a very sweet child when he wanted to be. Sasuke is endearingly confident but awkward and humble. He was the king of sassy comments, though he usually apologized after he made them. He was very shy as well, and yet surprisingly open? Kakashi wasn’t positive if that even made sense.

 

If Kakashi would mark Sasuke as only one thing, (Which Kakashi made a mental note to never do) it would be unexpected.

 

Kakashi let his eye squint happily at his three students. Sakura and Naruto began to bicker loudly, Kakashi only caught a bit of their argument, but it only made him smile more. It seemed that Naruto had made the mistake of letting Sakura know that she looked beautiful in her winter coat. Sasuke watched them with a look that obviously said ‘unbelievable’ from the side.

 

Kakashi took this moment to look over his students, they hadn’t met up in a couple days, and he wanted to make sure they were okay.

 

Sakura was indeed wearing a very pretty winter coat. It was red and sashed over one side of her body. It pleated out at the bottom.

 

Sakura also wore fluffy white and red earmuffs and matching fluffy boots.

 

He thought it was a little obsessive to need to have such a fancy, and matching outfit, for crying out loud, she was a ninja in training, they were supposed to be wearing rough and tumble clothes, but he made a recent vow to himself to stop insulting people and their choices in his head, so he shushed his mind.

 

She didn’t seem to be upset, just as upbeat and attitude filled as she always was. Good.

 

Naruto wore….Kakashi inwardly sighed and laughed at the same time. Naruto wore a bright yellow coat that was humongous and poofy. He had slickery pants, deep blue gloves, and rubber boots. To top of his look, he also wore, Kakashi shook his head, a large frog face hat that had little tassels that fell down next to his neck, and on top of that, he had his furry hood up too.

 

Wait, scratch that, Naruto just pulled his hood down roughly, showing his messy blond hair trying to peek its way out of his hat.

 

“Ugh, finally, I feel like I can breathe. I should have done that a while ago.” Naruto let a relaxed smile cross his face, only then did Kakashi notice the scarf he had wrapped around his neck as well.

 

Sakura looked at him with her hands on her hips.

 

“Hey, Naruto! That’s disobeying Iruka sensei! We walked together today remember, idiot! He told you to keep up your hood!” She screeched. Kakashi kind of feared the motherly look she had in her eye right now.

 

Naruto pouted with a grumpy look, “Ah! I’m suffocating in all this fluff! It itches too!” He whined, but still lifted his hood up nonetheless.
Sakura leaned her weight to one hip, “He only makes you wear all that cause he cares about you. He doesn’t want you to get sick!” She said smartly. In Kakashi’s personal opinion, he would let the kid keep his hood down, and learn from consequence, but hey, that’s why he wasn’t the kid’s father.

 

Naruto easily got distracted from whatever point he was going to make to get out of wearing his hood, and turned his attention to the raven of the group, “Hey, Sasuke bastard, why aren’t you wearing a coat. I know your cold as ice already, but you don’t need to freeze to death to prove your point.” Naruto squinted with a confused look.

 

Kakashi raised a curious eyebrow to this question. He had noticed Sasuke’s lack of coat too. In fact, he hadn’t worn a coat yet this year. Kakashi wondered if this was just his way of proving some point, or maybe it was something the new generation did to be cool. Kakashi didn’t think freezing one’s ass off was cool. He was really interested to hear Sasuke’s excuse.

 

Sasuke for his part, at least looked a little guilty, though not nearly enough in Kakashi’s opinion.

 

It was only getting colder out, and Sasuke had spent days working outside on missions. He wasn’t taking care of himself, and for what? Some principle? Kakashi was not impressed.

 

Sasuke shifted his weight on his feet and then looked away with an indignant noise leaving his throat.

 

“What’s it to you, dobe.” He said, cleverly avoiding the question.

 

Naruto seemed to forget his earlier reluctance to wear all his layers and actively shivered.

 

“But it’s FREEZING out here!! How are you even surviving??!!” He said dramatically.

 

Sasuke brushed him off, “Whatever,” He then turned his attention to Kakashi, “Do we have a mission today?”

 

Ah, the old re-direct the conversation and avoid the topic you don’t want to talk about tactic.

 

It worried Kakashi how good Sasuke already was at this, even more worrying how much it reminded the man of a younger version of himself.

 

Kakashi moved passed on the topic like Sasuke wanted, it probably wouldn’t do any good to force this conversation right now. Sasuke was stubborn like an ox, and when pushed, acted like moving was the last thing on earth he’d like to do. So Kakashi just tied that conversation to the back of his head, and contented himself with bringing it up later.

 

He clapped his hands together deviously.

 

This was going to be fun.

 

____

 

Kakashi sighed loudly and slowly went down the latter that was leant up against his house for the first time in two whole hours.

 

Team 7 didn’t really have a mission today. If they did, it would probably be more D rank missions anyway. They hadn’t been allowed to be sent on anything else since their catastrophic mission to the wave.

 

So Kakashi decided instead of doing regular training, that it might be fun to do something in the spirit of the season, and if Kakashi wanted a couple extra hands to help decorate his home, then that was fine to.

 

Yes, Team 7’s latest mission was to decorate Kakashi’s home for Christmas.

 

And Kakashi felt that it may have been more efficient to go at it alone, for his team was very opinionated. Something, he really should have expected. They had a lot of thoughts about where things should go, and many, many, ideas of more things Kakashi should purchase to make the house even better.

 

Kakashi was happy to report that they all seemed enthusiastic about helping, but how much they were helping was truly exhausting if you were the one up on the latter moving things two inches to the right and then three to the left, until it was just right.

 

Yeah, the more Kakashi thought about it, the closer he became to regretting inviting them into this activity.

 

“Kakashi sensei!” Sakura said confused when he got down to ground level, “Why are you down here, we’re not near done yet!”

 

Kakashi rubbed a hand down his face. Maybe he was getting old, how did these kids still have energy?

 

Sasuke appeared at his side, looking to have an unfair amount of energy as well.

 

He had been Kakashi’s partner in holding up the decorations for Sakura and Naruto’s inspection.

 

There was one piece where Kakashi thought he held it there for ten minutes just because the two couldn’t agree which way looked better!

 

Sasuke hadn’t complained once, not even a snide remark! Kakashi felt like he had been betrayed at points because Sasuke even egged them on. Kakashi couldn’t be too exasperated with the kid though, because he hadn’t seen Sasuke this interested in anything since he showed him his book collection.

 

Sasuke was actually smiling for most of what Kakashi would label as torture, otherwise he looked in awe and curiosity. Almost always nodding as if trying to figure is all out. Like when Sakura and Naruto unanimously agreed that ‘all the lights should go at the front and next to the porch, but reindeer with lights just have to be on the roof!’ That was decided after they had already plugged in and rearranged the reindeer next to the light pole!

 

“Oh, are we done, sensei?” Sasuke asked with a tilted head, looking too much like a curious puppy for Kakashi to handle at the moment. He had his hands tucked around his chest as if hugging himself.

 

Kakashi rolled his head in a circle, every inch of movement cracked his neck, relieving pounds of tension.

 

“Yeah, for now.” And before they could all interrupt with their own opinions, “No, not forever, we’ll come back to this after some lunch so you can obsess some more about where a piece of tinsel should be put. I just a need a little break, okay.” Kakashi elaborated while stretching his aching muscles.

 

Note to self, standing in a stiff crouched position for four hours is a bad idea.

 

“HEY!” Naruto shouted, “Are you saying you need a break from decorating or a break from us?!” Naruto glared with such squinted eyes, they practically turned into lines. He crossed his arms defensively.

 

“God, your making me feel like I’m the Grinch!” Both Sakura and Naruto laughed gleefully at the joke. That little moment sent a tendril of warmth through Kakashi.

 

Sasuke didn’t laugh though. If anything, he looked confused.

 

“Who?” He asked while pushing his head forward in way that almost resembled a chicken. His eyes were like golf balls and his lips small. It was probably the most endearing sight Kakashi had ever had the pleasure of seeing.

 

All, Kakashi, Sakura, and Naruto stared at him, and then-

 

Naruto slapped Sasuke roughly on the back, laughing loudly.

 

“Haha, good one Sasuke!”

 

Sasuke only seemed to get confused farther, but then let out a snort.

 

“You all are weird.” The cheesy smile he wore spread across his whole face and danced in his eyes.

 

Sakura rolled her eyes at the two boys, “Um, Sensei?” She wrung her hands together, “Can we go inside, I’m starting to get cold.”

 

She glanced over at Sasuke as if he would come over to comfort her, maybe try and keep her warm, but Sasuke didn’t react so she gave up the cute act and added, “and I’m starving! I think I could eat more ramen than Naruto after all that work!”

 

Sasuke nodded his head in agreement, but Naruto looked offended.

 

“More ramen than me!?! Impossible!!”

 

Kakashi tuned him out, “Yeah yeah,” He waved a hand nonchalantly, “Okay, let’s get inside, I’ll make us some soup or something.”

 

‘Soup or something’ ended up being turkey sandwiches for Kakashi in all his attempts to cook some nice warm soup, only ended up with a scorched pot and hungry students.

 

Later that evening, the Sasuke and Kakashi lay around carelessly on the porch.

 

Sakura and Naruto both begrudgingly went home to meet their parents for dinner.

 

Bodies lying limp, brains feeling dull, the two left of team 7 took their opportunity at getting some nice and quiet now that Sakura and Naruto were gone.

 

Kakashi still had a pen and paper next to his head, every so often adding to his grocery list for the party.

 

Sasuke lifted his head from where he lay.

 

“I say forget about making a menu.” he said, looking alarmingly tired, curled in on himself, “Just make turkey sandwiches and be done.”

 

Kakashi snorted from where he was sprawled out next to Sasuke crouching.

 

“Tch, Duly noted.”

 

Kakashi looked at Sasuke over his shoulder.

 

“Ya keep that attitude up Sasuke, and you won’t be getting anything other than turkey sandwiches at the feast.”

 

Sasuke smiled lopsidedly, but then his body perked up, “Wait, am I invited to your party?”

 

Kakashi sat up completely, he wanted to see Sasuke’s face to make sure he was serious.

 

He scoffed, “Well yeah you’re invited. All three of you insanely annoying genin are.”

 

Sasuke’s eyes lit up at the notion of being allowed to attend the party, totally bypassing the fact he was just referred to as annoying and insane.

 

His eyes were so bright that Kakashi had to look away as to not be blinded, and for a moment Kakashi felt an uncertain pang in his chest.

 

“Though I expect you three to be on your best behavior.” He nodded to himself impressed with how responsible he sounded.

 

Sasuke nodded his head so fast, Kakashi was worried he had dislocated his neck.

 

“Of course Kakashi Sensei. Though, you must know by now, that I have no power in controlling Sakura and Naruto’s behavior.”

 

Kakashi snorted, and Sasuke smirked with a mirth that was really to adult like to be worn on such a young face.

 

Kakashi grinned then, “So, you coming to party then, or are you too cool for it?” He asked, just because he knew it would get on the kid’s nerves.

 

Sasuke sat up straight, “No, no, I would love to go, honest!” He even put up his head, as if ready for salute.

 

Kakashi couldn’t help but feel warmth and yet a twisted sense of unease go through his chest at Sasuke’s eagerness.

 

Why Sasuke decided to latch his earnest heart to himself, he would never understand. Sasuke was the pain in the ass kid you could find, always putting himself in danger for other people, and worrying Kakashi many more times than he’d like to admit, he couldn’t say he didn’t enjoy the delicate and yet abrupt rope Sasuke so easily weaseled onto Kakashi’s neck.

 

Sasuke shivered noticeably and his breath came out in a white puff.

 

Kakashi was surprised by this fact, he hadn’t noticed it had gotten this cold out yet. And the kid was still in his damn turtle neck, no coat or hat.

 

Kakashi thought about bringing it up now. They were alone. It was the perfect time to talk about this. Maybe knock some sense into the kid.

 

But then Kakashi looked at Sasuke.

 

He was looking off into space, and he had a dopey and yet sweet smile on his face. Kakashi thought softly, This conversation can wait….

 

Kakashi hit his head back against the ground, abruptly laying back down.

 

Sasuke jumped a foot in the air from where he sat, but it did successfully pull Sasuke from his day dreams.

 

“Thanks Sensei.”

 

“For what kid?’ Kakashi asked, raising an eyebrow.

 

Sasuke stood up, and shrugged, “See you later Sensei.”

 

Sasuke waved a hand behind him and then ran off. It was dark, so only after a couple hundred feet, Kakashi lost sight of the boy.

 

Kakashi closed his eyes and hit the back of his head against the ground a couple times.

 

Eventually, he stood and made his way back inside.

 

Not before he plugged in the lights to his house and made to stand back so he could see them.

 

The house lit spectacularly.

 

Sakura and Naruto really did have an eye for this kind of thing. Maybe Kakashi would have to help them make a business out of it.

 

Then Kakashi shook his head, No way! There is no doubt in my mind that I would end up being their grunt work guy for the rest of eternity! Oh, and he would never open that door of eternal torture for Sasuke as well!

 

Kakashi shivered, damn, it is cold.

 

He rubbed and hand down his face while making his way back inside picking up his groceries list while he did so.

 

At least that’s one thing on the list done.

 

Decorating house complete.