"My name is Kakashi Hatake, my likes and dislikes don't matter and you're too young to know my hobbies. My dream for the future is for everyone to know the glory of the great goddess Shikabane-hime."
The blank incomprehension of his cute little genin was almost audible.
As Kakashi saw it, either Shikako was or wasn't a goddess. If she was a goddess, then it was only polite to state her divinity in public. If she wasn't then this was a payback prank for sending Kakashi back in time without her.
Kakashi hadn't noticed this the first time through, but Shikako had expectations about her career as a ninja, and not the kind that you'd think from having the Jounin Commander as her father or a twin going through genin training at the same time. In fact, now that he was thinking about it, she had a strange lack of expectations from those directions, as if she knew that Kakashi would follow his own path for teaching his genin.
Perhaps the least concerning of those was the bell test. The second time through, it seemed like she was expecting it, but the bell test had an honorable lineage going back at least to the Third testing the Sannin. Kakashi had also used it without fail every time they were crazy enough to assign him a team, so finding someone to mention it would have been entirely within the abilities of someone with Shikako's record.
(This was a girl who by the time she made jounin at fifteen already had an information network that spanned at least three of the great nations, two of the lesser nations and included a kage and a daimyo. That was just the bits Kakashi knew about. There were probably parts that he didn't. Not that Shikako hid them from him. No, she honestly thought it wasn't worth mentioning. Oh, and this was done despite the fact that Tsunade was almost allergic to the idea of letting Shikako or Sasuke out of the village.)
Shikako also had expectations about Kakashi. This was most notable whenever he brought up Shikabane-hime, but she also had no reaction to his reading choices. Again, not a surprise. Anyone who had figured out so much about Danzo and Root wouldn't have had any trouble getting a basic description of Kakashi and up to thirteen hours before their team introductions no one in Konoha had heard of the Shikabane-hime. And, well, his habit of reading porn in public was well known to the point it was a surprise that Naruto and Sasuke hadn't heard of it.
She was also downright alarmed when he told them about Rule One. He sometimes despaired that they had to make it a rule, but they did for a very good reason and as such he was going to hammer it into their heads early. But then, she might have been more alarmed about his list of examples or the fact that Naruto actually had questions. No, a prank is not a good reason to fake your death.
She also had expectations about his training. She was extremely suspicious when he started them on tree walking early. Granted, last time she was the one who taught Naruto and Sasuke so she might have just been annoyed that he had beaten her to the punch.
If his troublesome little genin were even approaching sane, Kakashi would have focused on teamwork exercises at this point in their training. Knowing the epic amount of trouble about to rain down on them would not have changed that, and in fact would have made him double down on it. However, now he knew what these three idiots were like. Their problem wasn't an unwillingness to put the team ahead of themselves. No, it was getting them to act selfishly enough to be able to pretend to have basic self preservation instincts. (He had no hope for actual self preservation instincts, especially not with him as a role model.) Even Sasuke, somehow the healthiest of the bunch when it came to this particular issue, got himself turned into a pin cushion to protect Naruto.
Of course, then came the Wave mission. Kakashi had debated subjecting his kids to it again, but unfortunately it was the foundation for practically all of their diplomatic ties with Kiri. At least this time he knew that underneath it all Zabuza and Haku were big softies.
Shikako had been jumpy on the way out of the village, almost as if she was expecting to be attacked, but it was their first mission. Knowing now what kind of bullshit she was capable of sensing, detecting the Demon Brothers was more or less a foregone conclusion. It was still a data point.
He didn't pretend to get killed this time. He wasn't going to be the first one to break Rule One. He was sure someone was going to, and probably on this mission, but the rule was shaky enough without deliberately subverting it. He didn't hog the kills either, which would have been a waste of a teaching moment and relatively safe confidence builder. His kids had been fine facing both Demon Brothers, letting them take one of them was a sure thing.
Afterwards, Kakashi said, "Let me see if I understand the situation." Kakashi began listing everything he remembered about things in Wave from Gato to Kaiza. Eventually he asked Tazuna, "Is that correct?"
The old drunk nodded mutely.
After a moment Shikako asked, "Why didn't you say anything before?" to which Sasuke let out a grunt of agreement.
"This was knowledge that I obtained solely through the grace of the Shikabane-hime." Kakashi shook his head sadly. "Unfortunately, the Hokage has told me that divine inspiration doesn't constitute actionable intelligence."
"Oh. That makes sense," Naruto said in a dull voice.
His cute little genin still thought he was messing with them. To be fair he was, but he was messing with them with the truth, which was the best kind of head game.
"Still, this isn't exactly the mission we agreed to take, so I'm leaving it up to you three whether we continue or not."
Just like last time, Shikako was the only one to show the slightest sign of intelligence when it came to continuing the mission. At this point Kakashi nixed the theory he had percolating in his subconscious that she had also seen the future. If she had, she wouldn't be anywhere near this nervous about facing Zabuza and Haku.
Kakashi gave her his best eye smile. "Don't worry, Shikako-chan, the Shikabane-hime protects."
She in turn gave him her best evil eye. Given how cute and adorable she was, it wasn't very intimidating. "I was hoping for something more than hopes and prayers." She grimaced. "Or non actionable intelligence."
It was adorable how she didn't believe in her own divinity, not that she knew that it was herself she wasn't believing in.
Kakashi clapped his hands together. "And that is why the goddess provides barrier seals!"
"There's a reason why the Shikabane-hime is the best goddess. She gives actual blessings and doesn't even require human sacrifice for it."
Naruto and Sasuke gave him disbelieving looks at that, but Shikako flinched. You'd think that if anyone would believe him about human sacrifice it would be either the boy whose brother massacred his entire clan or the boy who had a sentient rage monster sealed in his stomach, not the girl from a living, happy family. Hell, jinchuuriki literally meant the power of human sacrifice.
He'd have to check to see if anyone had actually used the term around Naruto or if they decided to skip the big words when explaining about the fox.
Shikako blinked as he handed her some barrier tags. It was completely unsurprising that she began to read them. "This is a single tag barrier," she sputtered.
Kakashi found it entirely too amusing to flummox Shikako with a revolutionary seal that she herself had created. The best part was that the current Shikako recognized how groundbreaking it was, but when she created it Shikako treated it like it was nothing. He wondered if that was the difference two years of studying made or if it was Shikako's self esteem problem showing itself again.
Kakashi would admit that there were more dignified ways to keep his genin safe than Shikako's giant hamster ball seal. However, he could say with a completely straight face that with Naruto and his endless wellspring of chakra available, there weren't many more effective ways. Nothing short of a bijuu would be able to crack that… unless Naruto got bored and dropped it early.
He did feel a bit sorry for Sasuke, who somehow got stuck with Tazuna's rear in his face when they settled at the bottom of the ball.
Shikako was understandably concerned that he was outside the ball with no backup, seeing as he had performed badly in his first match up against the Demon of the Mist.
"Don't worry, Shikako-chan. With the grace of the Shikabane-hime, his defeat is assured."
Judging by the look on her face, claiming divine providence sensibly didn't change her opinion on his chances much.
As Kakashi dodged a swipe from Kubikiri Bocho, he noted that Zabuza's killing intent was a bit more real this time. Maybe he shouldn't have declared his defeat ordained by someone called the Corpse Princess. That was the kind of thing that led to expectations of more human sacrifice than he was intending.
Thankfully, Kakashi had come back with Sharingan sharp memories of having fought Zabuza before. Also, Obito's eye was properly activated, meaning he had much more chakra than the first time around. As such, he had enough advantages that he felt like he would be able to engage in psychological warfare.
"Hello! My name is Hatake Kakashi and I was wondering if you had heard the good word of the great goddess Shikabane-hime."
He could feel his genin twitching behind him. He'd have to give them lessons on masking their chakra. In front of him Zabuza actually flinched. "I think I liked it better when I thought you were going to sacrifice me to your god."
At this point Shikako decided to chime in. "Human sacrifice is a non sustainable business model. Plus the market has already been cornered by Jashin. You need to differentiate your product offerings to make it in a competitive environment."
Zabuza actually slowed down slightly under the weight of their collective bullshit. Not enough to make an appreciable difference in the fight, but enough for Kakashi to claim a moral victory.
Like a school of baby piranha, Kakashi's cute little genin sensed blood in the water and attacked with the only weapons they could inside the hamster ball of doom.
"I would say that it's an untapped market with how most ninja avoid religion," said Sasuke.
"But ninja eat ramen and ramen is the food of the gods."
"I don't think we've ever actually proven that."
"Hey, sensei! Does Shikabane-hime eat ramen?"
"See! Food of the gods!"
"Would you idiots shut up!" What Kakashi was sure was a water clone attacked the ball with his copy of the giant sword. Given that the ball could take a strike from Gai with the first gate opened, Kakashi was unconcerned.
The clone went flying from the recoil.
"As I said, the Shikabane-hime protects."
"That was cool! Do it again!"
"Goddamnit, Naruto." Sasuke sounded like he was already trying to come up with ways to make the mission sound less embarrassing. At least Naruto's reaction made it less likely that he would drop the barrier early if they ever had to do this again.
Kakashi had let Haku get away with Zabuza again. They'd be back and with how loud Naruto is, Kakashi had little doubt that he and Haku would have their run-in in the forest again. It was an important part of forming Naruto's nindo.
Shikako's analysis of Zabuza's non-death was just as impressive as before. Kakashi wasn't exactly a sensor, but he was good enough to sense something literally within arm's reach. Even knowing what to look for, he didn't manage to sense Zabuza's chakra.
During their wait for Zabuza's recovery, he taught the kids that lightning jutsu he did last time. He only waited this long out of nostalgia, though he did give Naruto and Sasuke a chakra control exercise to work on if they got frustrated.
As for Shikako, Kakashi finally decided he couldn't wait any longer. May Shikabane-hime have mercy on his soul (because she certainly wouldn't have any towards his peace of mind).
"What's this?" Shikako asked as Kakashi dropped a pile of papers in front of her.
"This," Kakashi sighed, "is Shikabane-hime's book on sealing." Of course he had memorized Shikako's book. Admittedly he did it because he wanted to brag to Kushina in the afterlife, but the weirdest things became useful when you lived in Shikako's orbit.
A look of unholy avarice shone in Shikako's eyes. "She has a book on sealing?"
"Yes. I'm sure you'll find it quite informative," he said in a resigned voice.
Shikako looked down at the papers and then back at Kakashi. He tensed in anticipation of the horrors she was about to unleash.
Shikako tackle hugged him. "Thank you, Kakashi-sensei."
Dear goddess, it was worse than he was expecting.
Less than twenty four hours later, Shikako had reinvented her touch blast and Sasuke had awoken his Sharingan. Kakashi hadn't expected that those two events would be causally linked, but in retrospect he really, really should have.
Sasuke glared at Kakashi. "You just had to give her the power of the gods at her fingertips."
There may have been some cackling involved. (Kakashi worried that he may have been pushing them too hard in training in this life. None of the kids were complaining, but none of his kids would complain about being set on fire if they thought it would make them stronger.) Sasuke was entirely justified in being put out.
Kakashi flipped a page of his book and emoted that this was just as planned, which it was. He just wasn't certain it was his plan anymore. "Just the one goddess."
One thing that had tripped many people up in Kakashi's past future was how bizarrely merciful Team Seven could be. It was rather incongruous considering that all three seemed to be training to be persons of mass destruction.
Naruto wasn't hard to figure out. He wanted to be an awesome ninja so he could be Hokage and he just wasn't smart enough to realize that was somewhat at odds with the idea of being friends with everyone.
Shikako, on the other hand, could be ruthlessly cold blooded. If making friends with someone who was recently trying to kill her would protect her team, family, clan or village, then that's what she'd do. The weird part was that Shikako would make that calculation and then become actual friends with them - not just pretending to be a friend, but an actual friend. He supposed that having Naruto along for the ride helped with that, but it still required a degree of compartmentalization that most jounin never achieved.
Lastly, Sasuke desperately wanted the strength to be an avenger… but at the same time, on levels he would never admit to anyone, not even his own team, he also desperately wanted to be able to beat the crazy out of Itachi and be brothers again. Every Haku or Gaara that they converted to the cult of friendship through violence let him reconcile that possibility with reality.
In other words, his cute little genin were crazy and they were that special kind of crazy that decided that if they were powerful enough they could force reality to accept their craziness as truth.
So Kakashi didn't have any concerns that they would deliberately try to kill Haku while he handled Zabuza. Naruto had met Haku in the forest again. Shikako wanted contacts in the Mist Rebellion and Sasuke…. Well, honestly, Sasuke at this point probably wished Haku would get past them and kill Tazuna a little for landing on him when they were in the hamster ball.
Of course, Haku and Zabuza didn't know this.
"What the hell, Hatake. Is your goddess the goddess of explosions?" Zabuza spat out as Shikako gave Haku a demonstration of non-chemical exothermic reactions.
"Explosions. Seals. Secrets hidden in shadows. Lying by telling the truth. Unconventional friendships. Vigorous protection of friends and family. These are all in the domain of the great Shikabane-hime. Oh, and spite. Shikabane-hime is very much a fan of spite as a motivation."
This was when Gato and his mercenaries showed up, which was actually a lot sooner than last time. It made Kakashi shake his head. What kind of idiot decides that the sound of explosions was something to rush towards?
Well, the kind of idiot who took Shikako on as a genin, because the sound of explosions was usually a good way to find his little trouble maker.
"This doesn't bother you?" asked the old drunk, pointing at his kids having a water fight with Haku and Zabuza.
"Shikabane-hime is a very big fan of friendship through violence."
Tazuna gave his drink a suspicious look. Apparently deciding that no one had spiked it, he asked, "How does that work?"
"Friendship is based on trust and honesty." Kakashi eye smiled. "And whatever else you can say about it, a punch to the face is very honest."
In his darker moments, Kakashi wondered if Shikako was ever honest outside of combat. It was very odd. The Nara clan jutsus, at least the advanced work, required the user to be very honest with themselves. Sealing was all about proclaiming your intentions to the universe. Somehow Shikako, who had pushed both arts to heights far beyond any of her teachers, was one of the twistiest people Kakashi knew.
"I guess I've got a few workers who became friends like that," Tazuna allowed.
Kakashi stared at the literal monument to his latest miscalculation: The Great Shikabane-hime Bridge, complete with small shrines on either end… and Naruto with his hands clapped together and praying at the near one.
Kakashi sighed and decided to step in. "Naruto, stop that."
"Ha! I knew you were messing with us!" Sasuke crowed.
Kakashi shook his head. "Shikabane-hime will accept verbal prayers in combat, on your deathbed or similar extenuating circumstances, but normal prayers should be written on paper and burned."
Sasuke's face fell.
"I guess that makes sense if she's a goddess of seals?" Shikako offered.
Oh, she really had no idea.
Kakashi unsealed some of his seal quality paper and a brush. He quickly wrote out a generic statement of thanks on it and set it on the altar. Clapping his hands together, he inclined his head towards the mirror they had put in the shrine when the paper spontaneously caught on fire.
Thankfully the kids were too busy staring at the fire to catch him doing the exact same thing.