Centuries ago, within the confines of the Prince’s chambers, a child was born in The Land of Water with big brown eyes and short shaggy brown hair. The Queen watched as her eldest son held his wife in one arm, pressing a remote kiss to her otherwise sweaty and exhausted temple, the other carrying a bundle of a tiny human. You would think he was used to this, the way he held them both with ease but in reality when she learned that sacks of sugar were going missing from the pantry, she decided not to look further into it and emphasized her workers to do the same.
“Mother.” A deep voice called out to her. She snapped out of her bindings to look at him, “Come from the door and see him.”
She shrugged in without hesitation, the draping of her long red-and-blue kimono dragging across the floor. She took the small infant, pulling him into the air as the midwife quickly scurried over to wrap the long woven blanket more comfortingly around his body and down into her royal arms. She couldn’t resist the tiny chuckle as the child, basked in his father’s character, glowered towards her, “He looks just like your father,” she commented, while silently reveling in the infant’s curious presence.
Her eyes trailed towards her daughter-in-law, whose expression was void of any emotion, resting soundly to her newborn’s cries, “Though I was quite hesitant about her, she has grown on me.” She admitted. When she had first learned about her son’s affair, she had been rather distraught, doing everything in her power to keep them apart while simultaneously trying to keep it quiet from her husband and relatives. Yet word had spread quicker than wildfire in a forest, and her son, known to be quite rash and stubborn, carried on in secret and openly declared his intentions once discussion of his potential engagement to his childhood friend and cousin, the Princess of Rain, came to light.
Talk of a treaty, strong allyship with a thriving economy, which, if the wedding had commenced, would mean more glory and riches for The Land of Water, had been fully thwarted upon his public refusal. The King, both stubborn and a tad bit deranged,, had never gotten over such humiliation.
The knock on the door broke them from their escalating thoughts and for the first time, the Queen looked away from the newborn to feast her eyes on one of her highly-esteemed guards.
“Your highness,” Shikaku Nara greeted her graciously, she nodded for him to continue, “Lord Ikkaku. Lady Kohari. Forgive my intrusion, but there is something urgent which requires the Queen's attention.”
Rejecting the open arms of her son who attempted to take his direct-blood back, the queen fixed the young newborn in her arms, and glanced at him coldly, “Get some sleep while you can, we will be around,” before walking out of the chambers, announcing to the guard briefly, “Gather everyone and reconvene to the gardens in ten.”
He nodded and quickly got to work not a second later, leaving the shocked and rejected man alone with his wife. He only hoped that Kohari would sleep through the day, or boy would he not hear the end of it when she awoke.
Kakashi didn’t know what was going on when his father came by early to the academy to pick him up. Even so, he was more than willing to toss everything in his bag and follow him out without question. He was younger than most, yet definitely more well-versed in text and training than the lot of them. Even at the tender age of four, his teachers expected nothing less from the son of the white fang. Other than his social skills, his monthly report cards were at the top, both physical and extraneous activities alike, save for the calligraphy and team portion that could do some work.
As they walked out the front doors, he waved off Gai Maito, who had called to him from the training grounds where he was currently doing drills with his own class. He turned back to glare slightly at the large smile awoken on his father’s face.
“You still haven’t told me where we are going,” He insisted, blandly.
“You’ll see,” was his father’s rather excited, conspicuous reply.
When they entered the palace gates, numerous castle workers and villagers were running around hurriedly trying to get everything ready for something. It looked like complete chaos, “I told you about the long awaited arrival of Ikkaku and Kohari’s first born, did I not?” His father began to speak at Kakashi’s confused face, “She went into labor well into three nights ago and the Queen has honored us with the invitation of one of the first peeks, and maybe potential babysitting work.”
Kakashi stopped right then, turned, and tried to take a wide step the opposite direction. His father quickly grabbed him by the backpack and refused his escape with a twitched laugh, continuing passed the rather unsettled workers, “Don’t worry son, I’m only kidding, maybe,” Kakashi tried to wiggle away, but had been bested by his tight straps.
After being informed the queen's whereabouts, Kakashi watched as his father’s face turned from relaxed to both alarmed and confused, following him into the back of the castle where a huge garden was implanted and currently being half-harvested. However the gardeners also seemed to be taking a break elsewhere leaving heaps undone in various baskets and piles. They sauntered past the huge row of crops and further into the distance.
The first time he met the queen was probably when he was born, but this was really the first real memory he had of her. With a loud , firm voice that broke through the otherwise calming air, the Queen's face was scrunched up into an expression of hostile seething, unbefitting for just a simple passive queen, “Those ingrates!”
He, of course, was rather aware of the many rumors surrounding her. Of her cruel and senseless nature, of not believing in second chances. Everyday, a bunch of older women, who had nothing better to do with their lives, would loiter around their house ready with gossip. Sometimes his mother would join them and come back with varied indifference on her face. Sometimes she wouldn’t talk at all or even look at him for sometime, for what he was, the exact image of the man she was growing to despise.
The reason why his mother left in the first place; a woman who could do no wrong and a man with a brilliant reputation who followed her for no reason other than a sake of history.
“Go take rest, we’ll continue this in the morning when I am in a more tranquil state of mind.” She dismissed her special soldiers and as quickly and as easily, some 10 men and women broke into a formational line unable to hide the distaste on their face until there was no one left but her and what seemed like a large clumped blanket in her arms.
It wasn't soon after that the queen took notice of their appearance, and Kakashi, who hadn’t left his father’s hand, followed Sakumo when they were beckoned, into a curt bow.
“Sakumo,” She acknowledged, walking closer towards them, “You did not have to come so early.”
“I promise you, I am using the break you gave me wisely at least to spend more time with my son,” He edged Kakashi forward by the scruff, who stumbled slightly from the unexpected weight. Kakashi sent his father a look, before turning his attention back towards the woman whose attention rested on him.
He froze under her witty gaze..
“He’s gotten quite tall from the last time I saw him, and from the looks of it you should probably be feeding him more.”
His father chuckled as Kakashi felt a pance of annoyance. They were speaking like he wasn't right in front of them! “I assure you he is eating plenty, and then some, but runs around a lot more. And young Iruka, how is he faring?”
Kakashi would later find that the future prince was named after Lady Kohari’s favorite mammal, a long story from when she and the Lord first met.
“He’s well, a bit hungry it seems.” She adjusted the small clump in her arms, which Kakashi realized was moving. It couldn’t be under that, could it? It looked so tiny to be a person! He felt his fathers poke against his side, indicating he was trying to get his attention. He snapped out of his thoughts quickly, as the Queen finally decided to directly acknowledge his company.
“Little Sakumo, is it?”
He tried not to let the disdain show on his face for being called that, “I’m Kakashi! Kakashi Hatake.”
“I know,” She smiled towards him gently. He felt suddenly taken aback by the quick change of emotion on her face, years of experience and tradition perhaps, “I feel rather alighted with your arrival, I had meant to visit you but it always seems like there is never enough time in a day.”
“We’d always come to you if you asked,” offered Sakumo politely. She switched her smile back on him, before her attention fell back onto the now fairly confused academy student.
“I am relieved to hear it. Actually, I should admit there is a supplementary reason why I asked you to come here, and to bring your son with you.”
Suddenly both silver-haired males looked rather confused and dumbfounded..
She walked over to stand in front of him, bent down gently to eye level. Kakashi became stupefied at that moment and resisted the urge to take a step back.
“Kakashi, this is Iruka. My precious grandson.” She moved the blanket out of the way, a small shrug of brown hair poking out of the secured blanket. Kakashi paused then took a step forward to regard it curiously, “I do not trust a lot of people in life, never have, but your father is different. He is my close friend, my right hand whom I entrust with my life. And now I’m entrusting this child to you.”
Sakumo blinked, his jaw dropping in astonishment. Kakashi locked eyes with the small infant before his brown eyes disappeared under his small lids and he once again fell asleep.
“Think of him as apart of your life now, as a sibling, and most importantly as a friend. Instill him on the right path and protect him from all that will cause him harm. This is a mission that I, Sumihara Kondō-Umino, formally grant you.”
He stood up straight from his previous slacked position, suddenly feeling a shock through his body, like the first time he ever saw his father spar. He never really was good with socializing, so what ever could he teach a brat four years privy to him, he had not a clue.
And yet, even knowing nothing about the child, he felt like they were already connected in many other other ways.
“I, Kakashi Hatake, accept your mission and promise to protect the future young Prince with my life.”
His father's eyes lit up much like the celebratory Autumn Parade they hosted. And Queen Sumihara sat still, smiling radiantly for about the first time that day.
Sakumo cackled as they left the premises, passing Kakashi his school bag when he asked for it back, "Did you enjoy yourself today?"
"I suppose..." Kakashi spoke, the image of the small infant still fresh in his mind.
One second he was sleeping soundly, the next he was wailing shrilly, then he was snoring softly, then he was just staring widely and randomly, then he was crying again. It was really just exhausting.
“Did you see the way he looked at you?" Sakumo asked, much awestruck and perhaps a bit fangirl-ish, “He’s very cute, so plush and healthy. Your highness seems quite satisfied, I admit, it was a nostalgic sight indeed to see for the lot of us. Images of her with her very once young sons, now her grandson. Though she is a brave and fiery woman feared through the land, her gentleness resonates with her family and loved ones.” Kakashi looked at his father in curiosity, “And that’s why she asks the best of the best to look out for her people, to protect them.”
”He is my close friend, my right hand whom I trust with my life. And now I’m entrusting this child to you.”
Kakashi couldn’t resist the confidence he felt in that moment; his determination, making him practically shake in his boots.
Though he had once despised the lady of the east, he thought, for perhaps a minute, while he was grabbed by those tiny arms that, maybe, something that good which came from such a lady couldn’t be that bad.