“Get up, sensei,” Tsunade says grimly.
“Tsunade!” Sarutobi's eyes are wide as he rises, and Shisui almost, almost feels sorry for him. Not quite, though, because he has one eye and a lingering ache in his chest and a steady tattoo of betrayed fury beating in time with his heart.
Under his arm, helping to hold Shisui up the way he has since they made it in the gates, Itachi is tense, silent, and Shisui doesn’t actually need the support, not with Shizune’s arm around his waist, but he leans on Itachi anyway, trying not to think about what Danzō must have had planned for him.
Tsunade smiles, thin and bare with fury. “Sensei,” she says again, then steps forward. It seems for a moment like Sarutobi is going to try to hug her, but she lifts her chin, meets his eyes, and he falters in the face of her expression. Falters, stops, but Tsunade doesn’t.
She reaches up, pulls the hat from Sarutobi's head, and says, “I'm deposing you, sensei. You have an hour to leave the office or I’ll be forced to make you.”
Dark eyes narrow faintly, and Sarutobi looks at Tsunade for a long moment, glances behind her at Shisui and his human crutches, then past them at Asuma, bringing up the rear. There's a scroll in Asuma's hand, bearing the mark of the Daimyō, and Asuma looks just as grimly set as Tsunade does.
“All you ever had to do was ask, Tsunade,” Sarutobi says quietly, and there's a strange sort of relief to his motions as he strips the ceremonial robes from his shoulders. From behind him, in the shadows, there's a sound of protest, and a figure pulls out of the shadows in a blur, hits the floor and rises with a tantō already sliding free of its sheath—
“Stop, Kakashi,” Sarutobi says sharply, even as Shizune raises a hand, a poisoned senbon at her fingertips. Taking a step between them, Sarutobi meets his guard’s wide eyes, then very deliberately drapes the Hokage's robes over Tsunade's shoulders and steps back. “I assume you understand the situation?” he asks her.
Tsunade slides her arms into the sleeves, pulls the cloth up and over, and sets the hat on her head, coolly defiant. “Better than you do, at this point,” she says, glances at Asuma, and tips her head. He steps forward, offering her the scroll, and she takes it with a vicious smile. “I have the Daimyō’s approval and the presence of his favorite guard to back it up,” she says, touching Asuma's shoulder. “He agreed that Konoha's power structure needed a thorough cleaning. As of this moment, you’re being placed under house arrest, sensei. Guard Platoon members, show yourselves.”
There's a pause as Shisui marks figures in the shadows, hesitations as they guards trade glances. Then, carefully, a figure in a cat mask drops to the floor, falls to one knee, and says, “Yes, Hokage-sama?”
It’s very, very clear that Genma isn't talking to Sarutobi.
Slowly, one by one, the other ANBU members follow his lead, until only Kakashi is left standing, tantō still in hand. Shisui watches him carefully, feeling Itachi tense and unhappy beneath his touch, Shizune braced and ready. If Kakashi decides to resist, Shisui knows, this isn't going to go smoothly. He has no doubt Tsunade could kick his ass with both hands tied behind her back, but despite everything Kakashi’s still an influential jounin, one of Konoha's best. Where he goes a lot of the lower ranks will follow, full of their hero worship for him, and Shisui really, really doesn’t want to deal with another coup before the Uchiha's is even fully put down.
Tsunade takes a breath, glances over her shoulder, and asks, “Shisui?”
Shisui ignores the way Kakashi’s eyes flicker to him, the tensing of Kakashi’s frame. Kakashi knows what his eyes can do, what the risk of him standing in front of so many people like this is. The way he checks the distance to the window would be funny in any other circumstances, but Shisui can hardly register the humor right now.
“Yes, Hokage-sama?” he says, pitches his tone light and cheerful instead of giving in to the sharp edge of fury he can feel in his chest.
Tsunade waves a hand at him, even as she rounds the desk and settles into the Hokage's chair. “You're my acting Jounin Commander until we’ve finished cleaning up. You, you're his guard. If anything happens to him and you're not dead already, you’ll wish you were.”
Kakashi’s expression goes perfectly blank for a moment, and Shisui almost wants to laugh. He felt the same way, honestly, when he woke up the morning after spilling his story to the women who found him half-delirious from blood loss and pain. Tsunade had told him to eat, to get ready, because they were heading for the capital and then back to Konoha so she could oust the Hokage and take his place. Shisui had spent most of the journey reeling, and he’s only just managed to find his feet. It’s a steep learning curve, but hopefully Kakashi will get there, too.
“Thank you, Hokage-sama,” he says, pulling away from Itachi and Shizune, and Tsunade gives him a smile that’s tired and determined in equal measure.
“You know what to do,” she says. “You, Cat, escort the Sandaime back to the Hokage's mansion to start packing. Asuma, I'm going to need the elders and the clan heads, preferably all in the same room.”
“Of course, Hokage-sama.” Asuma looks cold as Genma leads his father past him, doesn’t so much as glance to the side. “Right now?”
Tsunade's mouth twists. “Yes, as soon as possible. Shisui, I’ll leave it to you to fetch Fugaku and the leaders of the Military Police. Itachi, round up whoever is in charge of T & I right now, and the ANBU commander while you're at it.”
Shisui knows exactly what that means, and he breathes in carefully. He’s only supposed to use Kotoamatsukami if they give him no other choice, but—Shisui doesn’t have high hopes. Still, it’s better than Sarutobi's plan, much better than Danzō’s. He bows, steps back, and after a beat too long Kakashi shadows him, following him out the doors of the office and to the top of the stairs.
There's a moment of lingering silence, and Shisui can't quite bring himself to look at his former captain. Keeps his eyes forward, his shoulders set, but swallows and can't stop himself from saying, “Sorry, Kakashi-senpai.”
There's a long, long moment of silence before Kakashi finally slips his tantō away. “For what?” he asks mildly, like Shisui can't hear the thread of bitterness underneath the words. “For not telling me you were alive? Everyone thought Itachi murdered you.”
Shisui winces, but turns to face him determinedly. “Tsunade and Shizune found me,” he says, “when I was half-dead and collapsed by the side of the road. Danzō tried to kill me, and I just ran. No one knew I was alive, because I was scared Danzō would come after me again!”
It’s always hard to make out Kakashi’s expression past the half-mask, but Shisui can see his face twist, regret and grief and maybe something like relief all tangled up. “Danzō,” he repeats.
Shisui nods, and he wants to sag, wants to collapse. Wants to fall into Kakashi’s arms and cry, but he can't because he’s Jounin Commander now and he has to at least pretend to be strong. “Tsunade came back to get rid of him,” he says, and she can frame it as cleaning house all she wants, but Shisui heard her conversations with Asuma on the way back, her words to the Daimyō in the capital. This is Tsunade rooting out all of Danzō’s influence and crushing him under her heel, and Shisui for one is unspeakably, impossibly glad that someone finally recognizes the threat. He certainly didn’t, not until it was too late.
Kakashi doesn’t quite look at him, doesn’t meet his eyes. Glances away, out the window, and then takes a breath that’s faintly unsteady.
“Good,” he says softly.
Despite the tone, Shisui can hear that he means it. He gives Kakashi a wan smile, turns to take the first step down, and his stomach pulls. He hisses between his teeth, wavering, and—
There's an arm around his waist, a shoulder braced against his. Kakashi catches him, careful of his side, and asks, “Should you really be moving around right now?”
“Shizune got most of the problems,” Shisui says cheerfully, but he hooks his fingers into Kakashi’s armor and gratefully takes the support. Kakashi is a line of heat down his side, solid and steady, and Shisui thinks I missed you I missed you I missed you, even if he’ll never say it out loud.
There's a ragged breath in his ear, the pinpoint heat of five fingertips digging into his hip. “I thought you were dead,” Kakashi says again, hoarse, and just for a moment Shisui can't well who’s leaning on who.
“Does that mean if I ask you up for a cup of coffee tonight you’ll say yes?” he jokes, but he grips Kakashi’s fingers in return.
Kakashi casts him a look out of his uncovered eye, sharp and assessing, and then his eye crinkles in a smile. “The Hokage did tell me to be your guard,” he says. “I don’t think she’ll mind if we make it a hands-on sort of guarding.”
Shisui's breath shakes out of his lungs, and he closes his eye, I missed you like a tattoo in his chest. Beyond the fury, beyond the fear, that’s been his constant. Not hero worship, but—
Something softer, something sweeter. Something that gave him enough hope to tell Tsunade Konoha's darkest secrets, and follow her into a coup of their own.
“I know I won't mind,” he says, and means it with every inch of his heart.