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Kakashi thrived on routine. Routine was his thing, if he had to have a thing. He lived, breathed, ate and drank routine. Everyone he knew said he was the most routine person they knew – routinely late, routinely handy with an excuse, yet still routinely reliable.

Every Thursday during his lunch break, Kakashi headed to a small shop. It was a florist, one he had visited for many years, and he’d always place an order, leave to collect lunch, and pick the flowers up when he left. There were no exceptions to the rule, and the old man who ran the florist knew Kakashi’s order. There was no real reason Kakashi needed to order every week in person, but the old man was getting on a bit and could use the company. Plus, though Kakashi would never admit it, he enjoyed talking to the old man, even if the topics did centre around root rot and other plant things Kakashi didn’t understand.

Stepping into the florist that day, Kakashi was surprised as a young man’s voice greeted him. A man, flower-patterned apron and all – stood watering some of the potted plants, and he beamed at Kakashi.

“Hello sir,” he said, stopping the flow of water from his watering can (dear lord, was that shaped like an elephant?) with a tilt of his wrist. “Do you need any help?”

Kakashi hadn’t needed help from the shop in years, and he was tempted to say as much. Instead he gave a small nod, and the man set his watering can down, heading behind the counter and pulling out a familiar, well-worn book. It kept their orders in, and Kakashi had watched the old man write his down many, many times. The book hadn’t seemed this old and tattered in the old man’s hands, Kakashi thought as he looked at the wrinkle-free, strong hands that now smoothed over the pages.

“Where’s the old man?” Kakashi couldn’t help but ask, and the man behind the counter blinked slowly, eyes wide.

“I finally convinced him to cut down his hours,” the man said, and he smiled. His smile was innocent, wide, and it warmed Kakashi’s heart. He found himself smiling in return, though it was hidden by his mask.

“My grandfather doesn’t quite understand the idea of relaxing, but he’s been finding it harder and harder to cope on his own. I ran most of the shop anyway, all he did was deal with customers.” Kakashi thought he might remember someone in the background once or twice, someone who had been moving stock around and talking about large orders. This was probably him.

“I’m glad he’s alright,” Kakashi said, and he was. He liked the old man and didn’t want him to die just yet.

“He might drive me up the wall with his boredom though,” the man said, and he gave a laugh. The sound was low, and Kakashi looked down at the table. He was in trouble. If this man was going to keep running the flower shop, there was a serious possibility Kakashi might end up enjoying the visits. He was a friendly man, with a nice smile and a joyous laugh, and Kakashi quite liked him.

“So what can I do for you?” the man said, and Kakashi cleared his throat.

“A small bouquet of white carnations and tulips,” Kakashi said, a familiar order. Something seemed to pass in the other man’s eyes and he looked down at the book, nodding to himself.

“You must be Hatake Kakashi,” he said, and bowed his head slightly. “I’m Yamato,” he continued, and was smiling again. His smile was infectious, Kakashi thought, and he brought a hand up to run through the hair on the back of his head.

“I am,” he said, and Yamato nodded, filling in relevant information in the books. “And thanks,” he added, and Yamato paused, giving Kakashi a firm look that said he knew what the thank you was for. Before he’d found this florist, a lot of shops had tried to add to his order, stating that the two white flowers would look awful. Only the old man and Yamato had never made a fuss, and Kakashi appreciated it. He had chosen the flowers for a reason, and that reason would not change.

A quick glance at his watch told Kakashi he only had half an hour left of his break, and he tried not to sigh. He had no idea where time had gone, and he still needed to pick up something from a café.

“You have a standing order so you can head off if you like,” Yamato said kindly, and Kakashi dipped his head. He span around and headed for the door, pausing as his hand brushed the handle.

“Will you,” he began, feeling as if he was a teenager again asking for his first date, “be here from now on?” Kakashi finished, and forced himself not to fiddle with anything.

Yamato looked surprised, but he nodded quickly, coming around the side of the counter. He bumped his hip and Kakashi grimaced, but Yamato waved off his concerns.

“Every day apart from Sundays. That’s the only day I let my grandfather work on the shop now,” he said with a staged whisper, and Kakashi felt a wide smile spread across his face.

Good, he thought. Good.

.

Four, five, seven, and then thirteen weeks had passed since Yamato had begun taking his orders. Today was an ordering day, and Kakashi had already been down at lunch to place his order. He shrugged on his jacket and picked up his bag, waving to colleagues that still dotted the office. He forced himself to keep a slow pace as he moved towards the florists, but it was becoming increasingly difficult.

Kakashi liked Yamato. He was a nice man, good company, and knew when not to probe. He never asked what the bouquets were for, never assumed, and most of all, he made Kakashi smile.

As he entered the shop, Kakashi saw Yamato, hidden behind a pot of heather. He was reorganising the plants, or so he’d warned Kakashi at lunch, and the bell wasn’t enough to stir Yamato from his mission. Kakashi cleared his throat, and Yamato almost dropped the potted plant, cheeks darkening slightly with embarrassment as he made to clean up the soil that had fallen from the tipping plant.

“Kakashi,” he greeted warmly. Yamato waved a soil-covered hand, brushing his cheek a moment later and smearing a line of brown earth on his skin. He looked adorable, Kakashi thought, and that really wasn’t a thought he should be having.

“Your order is all ready to go,” Yamato said, heading to the counter. Kakashi’s white bouquet sat there, wrapped up neatly with a bright yellow string. “I think we’re getting some new ribbons in next week, if you’re feeling adventurous.” Yamato wiggled his eyebrows, and Kakashi laughed. Yamato changed the ribbon every week in an attempt – or so he said – to discover Kakashi’s favourite colour.

“Here you go then,” Yamato said, gently handing over the flowers. They were impressively put together, even though the display would be what most called boring, and Kakashi thought if he had a reason to buy any other kind of flowers, he’d definitely come to Yamato.

“Thanks,” he said, and lingered. Kakashi knew he should leave or it would be dark by the time he got home, but he felt he needed to say something. He wasn’t quite sure what, though, just something.

“The once receiving the flowers,” Yamato said suddenly, and Kakashi’s stomach plummeted. He looked at Yamato, almost afraid for his next words. Yamato gave a thin smile and nodded slightly. “They must be a very lucky person.”

It wasn’t what he’d been expecting, that was for sure. Usually when people spoke about Kakashi’s routine, it was with sympathy or annoyance. Some, who either knew Kakashi or the meaning of the flowers, thought he should have moved on by now, not realising that moving on wasn’t the same as forgetting. Perhaps Yamato didn’t know what the flowers meant though, or what they represented. Maybe that was why he had said such a kind thing.

“They’re not around anymore,” Kakashi allowed himself to say, and he knew by the way Yamato’s shoulders shrugged slightly that he knew the flowers were destined for a grave.

“They are still very lucky to have someone who loves them so much still,” Yamato said firmly, and Kakashi nodded sharply. The words were too much, more than anyone had ever said, and he needed to leave now. He had his routine, and his routine didn’t involve talking about what he did on a Thursday evening.

Yamato didn’t call after him or make to stop him, thankfully, and Kakashi managed to get to his car without too much trouble. He set the flowers on the front seat and took a deep breath, steadying himself. Yamato didn’t know anything. Kakashi was responsible for their deaths. They weren’t lucky at all.

The drive to the graveyard was short, and Kakashi waved to a few familiar faces. They nodded sadly (one couple in particular – their loss was recent and raw), and left him to his own devices. The graves he was looking for were towards the back of the lot, on a private patch, and Kakashi nodded to a few graves that he knew of, but not personally. Not like the ones towards the centre anyway.

The first grave he passed belonged to his father, and Kakashi lay one of each flower at the base of the headstone, bowing his head in respect. He moved on though, setting down flowers for two more - Rin and Obito, his best friends. They had died protecting him when they’d been in the service together, and Kakashi could never leave them. He had his routine, and they were his routine.

Kakashi sat on the ground between their graves for a while, trying not to think about the war they’d died in and how he had carried them back to base. He sighed as the evening drew closer and closer to him, night nipping at his heels, and Kakashi knew he had to go home. He had dinner to cook and work to go to tomorrow. Besides, his dogs were waiting for him, and the thought brought a small smile to Kakashi’s face as he left the graveyard.

Home was warm and dinner was good. Kakashi lay back on the sofa, fighting for space against Pakkun and Bisuke. He’d never admit they won, but Kakashi was a little squished, and he had a feeling the other dogs would join them soon. As he flicked through channels on TV, Kakashi thought about what Yamato had said, and scratched Pakkun behind the ear with a frown.

“He said they were lucky,” Kakashi said quietly, and Bisuke nudged him for a tickle too. “They’re not lucky.”

Kakashi settled for some comedy show, but decided against it after five minutes, turning the TV off and looking out of the nearby window instead. The moon and stars were bright, and Kakashi sighed, letting his mind wander.

He really did like Yamato. There was no point trying to ignore that fact. He liked how gentle Yamato was with plants, how he smiled at them and talked to them like they were people. He liked how Yamato always smiled at him, how he always talked to Kakashi and asked him small questions. They were just little things about how his day was going or how he liked the new collection of flowers. Yamato cared, and Kakashi knew he was interested, if the little looks he’d been giving Kakashi were anything to go by.

Could he really do it though? Could Kakashi really let Yamato slip into his routine? He wanted to, that was for sure, but Kakashi didn’t deserve someone like Yamato. Yamato deserved someone nice, someone who didn’t cause their friends to die, someone who was good. Kakashi wasn’t good. All he was was his routine, and that was that.

Pakkun whined from where he was lying on Kakashi’s stomach, and Kakashi looked down, rubbing Pakkun’s head.

“Alright then,” he said softly. “I guess it doesn’t hurt to give it a go. Who knows, we might even up hating each other.”

Kakashi said the words with a laugh, but he wasn’t scared of hating Yamato of vice versa. He was scared of falling in love with him.

.

It was at lunch on Tuesday that Kakashi broke his routine. It wasn’t completely on his own, but Naruto had come running into his office with a pale face, shut the door and looked at Kakashi in terror.

“I forgot it was Sakura-chan’s birthday,” he said, and Kakashi raised his eyebrows. Naruto hissed and stalked closer, reaching for Kakashi with tears in his eyes. “You have to help me.”

Normally, Kakashi might have driven Naruto to the nearest decent shop and helped pick out some random trinket, but he had a better idea.

“Flowers,” Kakashi said, and Naruto stilled, lips twitching in the beginnings of a smile. “I know an excellent florist. If we go now, you’ll probably be able to give her something before the end of lunch.”

Grabbing his wallet and with Naruto trailing after him, Kakashi took the stairs to the ground floor. By the time they were crossing the road to Yamato’s shop (and when had it become Yamato’s florist?), Naruto was halfway through a story about the time he’d tried to grow a flower and failed miserably.

“I didn’t know plants couldn’t have milk,” Naruto said, apparently in his defence, and Kakashi laughed, slinging an arm around Naruto’s shoulders. It had been a while since he’d spent time with Naruto, and he knew he’d be joining the others tonight for Sakura’s birthday drinks.

“Welcome,” Yamato called out when they entered, though he was nowhere to be seen. Naruto moved up to the counter straight away, and he probably would have gone looking into the rooms behind if Yamato hadn’t appeared at that moment. He nodded to Naruto and then seemed to realise Kakashi was there too, turning to him with a smile that grew wide.

“Kakashi!” he said, and he sounded so happy to see him that Kakashi smiled, walking up to the counter with every intention to invite Yamato to drinks that night.

“Naruto’s forgotten someone’s birthday,” he offered as explanation for his break in routine – not that Yamato knew he had a specific routine. He nodded right away, launching into flower ideas with Naruto, and they decided on a bouquets of soft pinks and yellows, Naruto sighing in relief as Yamato began working his magic.

They both watched Yamato as he worked, and he patiently explained what he was doing. He first vanished to collect a handful of different flowers from the store room, before he began pruning and cutting them. It was fascinating to watch, and Yamato began explaining their meanings – love, friendship, loyalty, kindness – and Kakashi’s world narrowed down to Yamato and the flowers he was preparing.

“Here we go,” Yamato said eventually, gently pressing a medium-sized bouquet into Naruto’s hands. It was a beautiful arrangement, and Kakashi felt an absurd spike of jealousy that it wasn’t for him.

“Thank you!” Naruto practically shouted, and he cradled the flowers gently. After he’d handled the payment, he shot Kakashi a look that clearly asked if he could go on ahead, and Kakashi nodded, shaking his head as Naruto practically bolted from the shop, no doubt to pretend this was what he had planned all along. Sakura probably wouldn’t buy it, but she’d love the flowers and would most likely pretend she had no idea.

“It’s nice to see you,” Yamato said, clearing away the mess he’d made. He paused though, when he realised Kakashi wasn’t about to leave just yet.

“I was wondering,” Kakashi said, and he tried not to let his words catch in his throat. “If you wanted to come out with me tonight.”

There was a pause, and Yamato looked shocked. Kakashi hastened to continue.

“It’s why Naruto was here. It’s our friend’s birthday, Sakura, and she’s having a gathering. At her house for a few before we head to a bar.” Kakashi shifted his weight around for a moment, looking down at the cut stems on Yamato’s counter. “I thought it might be nice to go together.”

Kakashi didn’t think he was going to get an answer, and steeled himself to accept a refusal, when Yamato set the rubbish he’d collected back on the counter.

“Are you…” he began, and Kakashi looked at him. “Are you serious?”

Kakashi nodded, unable to form words. Yamato grinned, reaching behind him to collect a flower from a small bunch.

“It was meant for an order that’s going out later,” he said by way of explanation. “But I think I can spare this one for now.”

Yamato passed a deep purple pansy to him, and Kakashi wondered what it meant.

“You can find out its meaning for yourself,” Yamato said, and he beamed at Kakashi. “What time do you need me to be ready for?”

They decided on a time (eight) and a place (Kakashi’s house) before Kakashi returned to work, wishing he could stay in the little florists for longer. If he had any hope of getting off early to clean his house up, though, he’d need to get back now, and he left Yamato with a sad smile, excitement building in his chest for that evening. There could be no argument it was a date, and Kakashi’s first act when he got back to his computer was to google what a pansy meant.

When he read it, he smiled and placed the pansy on the top of his monitor.

The drive home passed in a blur, and Kakashi hastened to clean his house. It wasn’t that untidy, to be fair, but he wanted to make a good impression. He wanted Yamato to like him, after all, even though he wasn’t a great person. Kakashi knew that his issues would need to be brought out into the open sometime, but until then, he could pretend he was as great as any other person. His dogs followed him around at first, but soon lost interested when they realised Kakashi wasn’t running around madly as a game.

After a rushed dinner, Kakashi changed, barely pausing to look at himself in a mirror. It’s not like his face was on show anyway really, and he knew he looked decent in jeans and a shirt. It was a good thing too, for a chorus of barks and howls sounded downstairs, along with the ringing of the doorbell. Yamato was here.

Shushing the dogs, Kakashi opened the door. Yamato stood there a little awkwardly, but he smiled when he saw Kakashi.

“I wasn’t sure what she would like,” Yamato said, and he wiggled the small pot he held, showing off a little plant to Kakashi. It was a pink poinsettia, and Kakashi nodded in approval.

“She’ll love it,” Kakashi assured, and pushed Pakkun back with his foot to let Yamato in. “Sorry about the dogs – are you okay with them?” Kakashi asked, but there was no real need. As soon as the door closed, Yamato was squatting down, dogs surrounding him with wagging tails and curious noses.

“I was never allowed a pet when I was younger,” Yamato said, looking up at Kakashi. The dogs had moved back slightly, but Pakkun remained firmly for tickles, eyes closed in happiness as Yamato’s fingers stroked behind his ear. Yamato had passed the first hurdle with flying colours, Kakashi thought. The dogs loved him.

“They like you,” Kakashi said lightly, and Yamato nodded. “Do you want a drink before we leave, or shall we just get going?”

They decided to get going, though Kakashi handed Yamato a bottle of wine before they set off down the road. It turned out Sakura lived nearby, a ten minute walk, and they took small sips out of a shared bottle as they walked down the road.

“I really like Thursdays,” Yamato said suddenly, in a pause after Yamato had been explaining a new stem cutting technique he had learnt. Unlike with the old man, Kakashi enjoyed hearing Yamato talk about plants, though he suspected it was more to do with Yamato talking than the plants.

“Me too,” Kakashi admitted. And he did, despite visiting the graveyard. He loved pushing the door open to Yamato’s shop, loved inhaling the sweet smell of flowers. The florist shop was the embodiment of eternal spring, and it seeped over Yamato, cloaking him in bright, delightful scents. Kakashi loved seeing the smile that graced Yamato’s face whenever he saw him, loved the way his hands would move over the record books and the way his deep voice would dip when he discussed his latest purchase, or when he asked Kakashi how his day was going.

“I wasn’t sure if I made the right decision when I took over the shop,” Yamato said quickly, head ducked as Kakashi guided them onto Sakura’s road. Yamato tilted his head, shooting a glance in Kakashi’s direction, and gave a soft laugh. “I know I made the right one now though.”

In response, Kakashi wrapped an arm around Yamato’s shoulder and handed him the wine bottle. He felt Yamato stiffen, a million thoughts no doubt whizzing through his mind, before he relaxed, slipping the arm carrying the wine around Kakashi’s waist.

That was how Sakura found them when she opened the door, swaying slightly as she peered into the darkness. There was a pause as her eyes fixed on Yamato, but she beamed as soon as she saw Kakashi, pulling him into a hug.

“Kakashi-sensei!” she shouted, and laughed loudly. “Naruto said you were coming, but I didn’t believe him.” She pulled away and turned to Yamato, looking at Kakashi for an explanation.

“This is Yamato,” Kakashi said, and Sakura raised a brow. “He’s my florist,” Kakashi continued, and Yamato held out the potted plant.

“It’s not much, but I only knew it was your birthday around lunchtime today,” Yamato said, and his words sounded sincere. Sakura took the plant with a soft smile, thanking Yamato.

“I see I have you to thank for the gorgeous flowers then,” she said, and Yamato gave a low chuckle, nodding slightly.

“I hope I’m not intruding,” he said, and Sakura shook her head, flashing a meaningful smile in Kakashi’s direction. She’d already guessed the real reason Yamato was here, and that we was more than just a florist to Kakashi.

“A friend of Kakashi-sensei’s is a friend of mine!” she said, emphasising the word friend as she stepped aside to let them in.

It seemed their entire office floor had crammed into Sakura’s house, and Kakashi made a quick round of obligatory greetings before he returned to find Yamato and Naruto in deep discussion.

“So what else shouldn’t I give plants?” Naruto said, and Yamato shook his head with a laugh.

“You should come by the shop and I’ll give you a list,” Yamato said kindly, and Kakashi felt a flicker of happiness pass through him. Yamato was getting on well with his friends, already part of the group if the way Naruto carried on talking was any indication. He was a keeper, Kakashi’s instincts were telling him, and he really wanted this to work.
Kakashi joined them quietly, and soon Yamato had made conversation with most of the people who shared Kakashi and Sakura’s friendship circles. He was a hit, especially when people asked him various flower meanings as a game (it evolved into a drinking game soon after the initial questions), and he would always turn back to Kakashi with a soft smile, cheeks flushed as he became more and more inebriated.

“Right!” Sakura shouted suddenly, hands on her hips as she stood on one of the stairs, high enough that everyone could see her. “I’ve booked about a million taxis so get your shit, we’re heading out!”

With a laugh, Sakura slid to the floor and dragged the closest person – Ino – with her. They lay on the floor laughing, and Kakashi felt Yamato lean against him, laughing with a few other people.

“I’m having fun,” Yamato said, and Kakashi grinned. He was having fun too, and he made sure they got in a taxi together, slipping into a bar with ease and reuniting with a few others in their huge group.

Kakashi didn’t remember too much from the rest of the night, aside from a sweaty dancefloor (he couldn’t really believe he had actually danced, but his aching feet and dreadful hangover the next morning were enough to convince him it wasn’t a lucid dream) and a lot of drinks. Somehow he’d managed to get home though, and he wasn’t too surprised when he found Yamato asleep on his sofa, dogs happily piled around him.

Kakashi let him sleep and did something smart. He grabbed a glass of water and some painkillers and returned to bed, setting them on the counter for Yamato to see when he woke. He’d deal with everything later, and Kakashi fell back asleep easily, despite the sick feeling in his stomach and the soreness behind his eyes.

The next time he woke, Kakashi could head someone in the other room. The TV was on, and upon further inspection, Yamato was in a huge pile of dogs, watching some awful film. He laughed, and Kakashi smiled to himself, moving to the kitchen.

“You should come watch this film, it’s ridiculous,” Yamato said. His voice was a little croaky and he looked a little pale, but he seemed in high spirits. Pakkun was nestled firmly in his lap, the rest of the dog pack sandwiching him against the sofa.

“I don’t think there’s any room,” Kakashi said, and Yamato laughed, turning around slightly. He opened his mouth to speak, but the words never came out.

“Are you okay?” Kakashi asked automatically, and Yamato shook himself out of his silence.

“Of course,” he said quickly, smiling and closing his eyes for a moment. “You’re just not wearing your mask. It took me by surprise.”

Kakashi smirked, knowing full well that the surprise had been a good one for Yamato.

“Would you like something to eat?” Kakashi asked, and Yamato nodded, making to stand. A whine sounded from one of the dogs, and Kakashi looked over. “You keep them distracted and I’ll let you off the hook for not helping,” he said, and Yamato rolled his eyes, knowing it was hardly a real job, but a treat. Still, since he settled back on the sofa (occasionally throwing glances at Kakashi), he seemed to be in agreement.

They ate and sat for a while, pressed close together on the sofa. Both of them had booked the day off work, so there was little else to do but watch terrible films and soak in each other’s presence. At some point, Kakashi’s head ended up in Yamato’s lap, Yamato playing with his hair absentmindedly. It felt so right and so comfortable, and Kakashi didn’t realise he’d drifted asleep until he was shuffled awake.

“Sorry,” Yamato said, looking down at him with a grimace. “I needed the toilet.”

Kakashi stretched out, catching Yamato’s hand without much thought and placing a soft kiss to the side of it. He watched as Yamato’s mouth opened, his breath hitching a little.

“I really need the toilet,” he said quickly, pulling away from Kakashi. Kakashi settled back on the sofa with a frown, unsure whether that was a good sign or not, and a cold, empty feeling settled in his stomach.

“Sorry,” Yamato said, and Kakashi glanced in his direction, though he wasn’t able to see him over the back of the sofa. “It wouldn’t have been pretty if I’d stayed.” He pushed Kakashi’s head up and slid back into place, his hand returning to massage Kakashi’s scalp. He sighed, closed his eyes, and smiled.

“I like you,” he said simply, and Yamato’s hands didn’t even pause in their movement. Kakashi cracked an eye open to see Yamato smiling down at him, and he curled over awkwardly, kissing Kakashi gently.

It was a strange kiss, mainly for the fact they were at strange angles, but Kakashi corrected that quickly, sitting up slowly and straddling Yamato. He looked into Yamato’s eyes for a moment, felt Yamato’s breath against his skin, before he closed the space between them, kissing Yamato the way they should have started this off.

“Do you want to give this dating thing a go?” Yamato said softly as they pulled apart, and Kakashi nodded silently, running a thumb over Yamato’s cheek.

It was a break in routine, a lazy day, but Kakashi knew he wouldn’t change it for the world. Perhaps a change of routine was good, he thought, and, judging by the look Yamato was giving him, their evening was about to get a lot more interesting.

.

Three weeks later saw Kakashi standing in the middle of the florists, eyes wide as he listened to Yamato shout to someone down the phone. The old man was at the counter, eyebrow raised and a cheeky grin on his face, and he beckoned Kakashi to come closer.

“We’ve had a fuck up,” the old man said, shaking his head as he laughed. “He’s been on the phone all day, but they’ve just passed him round and round.”

It wasn’t funny, not really, but the old man’s laughter was infectious, and Kakashi couldn’t help himself. It wasn’t like Yamato to get angered by anything, Kakashi had learnt, so hearing him shout down the phone sounded a little ridiculous. And when Yamato came out, cheeks flushed and frown firmly in place, he took one look at Kakashi and turned to his grandfather.

“It’s bad enough you’re laughing at me,” he said, though the tension seemed to seep out of him and he moved to Kakashi’s side, giving him a quick kiss on the cheek.

“They messed up our order this morning. I’ve hardly been able to do any bouquets today, though only yours is needed for today and they’ve promised a redelivery in the morning.” Yamato sighed, shaking his head. “I don’t have the flowers you need.”

Something twisted in Kakashi’s stomach, but he let out a breath and shrugged, hoping it came off as carefree as he wanted it to. He didn’t think it did, not if the look Yamato gave him was anything to go by.

“I can ring around to some other local florists,” Yamato said, heading for the phone again. The old man waved them off, returning to the house behind the shop without a word. “I’ll get you the flowers, don’t worry.”

There wouldn’t be enough time, Kakashi knew. No florist would be able to put together his order in time and wait for him to collect it, and Kakashi didn’t want it to be another florist, if he was truthful. Yamato was the one who supplied his flowers, and he’d only take Yamato’s flowers to their graves.

“Make me another bouquet,” Kakashi said, and Yamato paused, hand pausing in dialling numbers. He put the phone on the counter slowly, fixing Kakashi a hard stare.

“Are you sure?” he said firmly, and Kakashi nodded. He appreciated that Yamato understood his routines and never pushed. He knew how important they were to Kakashi, but circumstances were out of their control.

Besides, Kakashi had an idea.

“I want you to choose this week,” Kakashi said quietly, and Yamato’s hands stilled. He leaned in closer, eyes wide, and Kakashi continued. “If you’re free tonight, I’d like you to come with me to their graves. I think it’s time they met you.” He tried for a smile, and while Yamato wouldn’t have been able to see it anyway, it didn’t come out very reassuring.

“Kakashi,” Yamato said softly, and he straightened his back, moving off to the storage room at once. “I promise you this will be the most beautiful bouquet you’ve seen,” he called out, and Kakashi nodded to the empty shop, not once doubting Yamato’s skills.

He wasn’t disappointed either. A pale bouquet, larger than Kakashi’s usual one, was waiting for him. It held a variety of flowers, and Yamato shook his head at them.

“I worked with what I had, not what they meant,” he explained with a worried look, plucking at the string of the bouquet, as if he was tempted to unravel the entire thing and start again. Kakashi didn’t care though, and he said as much.

“Obito and Rin didn’t even know a daisy from a buttercup,” Kakashi said fondly, and Yamato’s head snapped up. “Whatever they mean, they won’t mind. They would have just wanted to meet you,” he finished, wanting to say that they would have loved Yamato, but he let the words remain in his throat. Maybe he’d tell Yamato that one day, but he needed to meet them first.

They drove in almost silence, the radio playing catchy pop tunes to fill the lull in conversation. When they arrived at the graveyard, Kakashi exited the car first, waiting for Yamato. It was Yamato who helf the flowers, and Kakashi explained his routine slowly.

They visited Kakashi’s father, and Yamato took a while to select a flower, placing two peach begonias down. He bowed his head in respect, knowing that Kakashi’s relationship with his father hadn’t been the best towards the end, and they moved on. When they came to Rin and Obito’s graves, Kakashi took a deep breath and looked at Yamato.

“They died saving me,” he explained, gesturing to the scar over his eye and shaking his head. “Obito saved this eye too.”

Yamato didn’t move to comfort him, hardly looked at him, and Kakashi watched as he split the remaining flowers in two, placing almost half on each of the graves, holding a few flowers back.

“Thank you for saving him,” Yamato said sincerely, and the words hit Kakashi hard.

There had been no one else to thank Rin and Obito for what they had done apart from Kakashi, but he’d always felt too guilty to truly mean it. He should have died and they should have lived is what he had believed, but hearing Yamato thank them from the bottom of his heart made Kakashi wonder if it really was okay. They had died for him, they didn’t deserve that and Kakashi missed them terribly, but it didn’t mean Kakashi couldn’t live happily.

“I will do my best to look after him,” Yamato continued, and he bowed his head again, turning to Kakashi when he was done.

“They are lucky to have someone like you,” Yamato said, taking Kakashi’s hand. He set the remaining flowers – pale purple larkspur – into Kakashi’s hand and curled his fingers for him, pulling him close. “I’m lucky to have someone like you,” he said into Kakashi’s ear, pulling back enough to look him in the eye.

“So am I,” Kakashi whispered, and kissed Yamato softly, wrapping his arms around him, mindful of the flowers.

Things wouldn’t magically get better, but Kakashi understood now that his routine could be altered. What had happened had been terrible, but he could still love Rin and Obito, and know that they would always love him. Guilt still wrapped around Kakashi’s shoulders, but that was okay too. Healing took a long time, and Kakashi was only making babysteps.

The important thing was he had someone here and now who loved him. He had someone who understood him and respected him. Kakashi had someone, a very handsome someone, who thought the world of him, and he thought the world of Yamato too.

They walked back to the car, Kakashi’s arm around Yamato’s shoulders, Yamato’s arm around his waist. Kakashi blinked as he realised a question he had never asked Yamato.

“What’s your favourite flower?” he said, and Yamato leaned his head on Kakashi’s shoulder, reaching for the hand hanging over his shoulder and pulling one of the flowers from Kakashi’s grip.

“Larkspur,” he said, and, really, Kakashi should have known. Yamato would never have picked a random assortment of flowers, even with a limited choice. He knew his flowers, and had given everything he had in that bouquet.

“I think I like it the most too,” Kakashi said simply, and he had a feeling he’d be adding an extra order to his routine, one just for Yamato.