Work Header

Force of Nature

Work Text:


Sakumo had always been aware that there was something… special about his son.

“Suck a bag of dicks, asshole! A fucking big bag of floppy giant cocks!”

“I’m so sorry,” Sakumo hefted Kakashi up under one arm. The five year old boy snarled in his rage, struggling, and Sakumo scrambled to adjust his grip on his groceries with his other arm. The man that Kakashi had started spitting venom at, gave them both a narrowed glare. “Really,” Sakumo insisted, “Very, very sorry. Excuse me.”

“Just cram them all in your stupid shitty mouth, you piece of trash!” Kakashi shouted as Sakumo took to the roofs. God, but did his son have a set of lungs on him, “It would be a better fucking use of those loose fucking lips you got there, cocksucker!”

“Kakashi!” Sakumo snapped to his son, stopping on a roof far, far away from anyone else. He set his son down, though Kakashi took it as a tumble and landed, with ill grace for a ninja child, hard on his ass. His son glowered up at him with dark eyes and a scowl so deeply etched that Sakumo almost believed his son was born looking that way.

“What has gotten into you recently?” He asked his glowering son. “That man didn’t even do anything! Why did you have to say that kind of stuff to him? Where did you even learn it from?”

Kakashi muttered something in that gibberish language he’d been speaking since Sakumo could remember and folded his arms tight over his chest. He stuck out his bottom lip too, but that pout wasn’t enough to spare him this time.

Sakumo crouched down beside his boy and sighed heavily, “Kakashi… Kakashi, please.”

His son looked away from him. “He deserved it.” He muttered, “He deserves a lot worse than that for calling you what he did.”

Sakumo closed his eyes and pinched the bridge of his nose. “What did he call me?”

More gibberish words. Kakashi was just being obstinate.

He looked down at his boy and sighed again. It was hard, so much harder than before, to deal with Kakashi these days. Every day he came home scratched up and bruised, with a sharp hatred growing in those dark eyes and a scowl on his face. He wasn’t sparring or training to get like that either. He was fighting- Picking fights with people older and stronger than him- People Sakumo was certain were going easy on the little boy because of his age, not because of his parentage.

Sakumo could barely muster the energy to go out shopping for food for the two of them, let alone stop him from fighting people. It was  hard enough to endure the whispering and pointed looks when he went to the mission office to see if he had any work, to see if they would take him off his “recovery” period and let him back into the field. But getting those same looks and mutters when out with his son…

“Dad,” Kakashi’s hands held his face. His son stood in front of him, looking at him earnestly. “Dad, listen to me.”

Sakumo gave him a half-hearted smile. It didn’t last. “I’m listening.”

“You are the kindest man I have ever known,” Kakashi said somberly, clearly. He sounded older than he should, with how serious his expression was. “You even beat out that stupid sky brat with how good a person you are. You’re a strong fighter and you are the best dad in every world.” He shook Sakumo suddenly, his voice rising, “Hey, are you listening to me? I’m being really serious!”

Sakumo covered his mouth with a hand to stifle his chuckles. “Sorry, I’m sorry. But you’re doing it again. That weirdly cute thing where you sound like an old man.”

“Stupid!” Kakashi smacked the side of his head, “Stop being stupid trash and fucking listen to me!” He threw up his hands, shouting in that other language of his again. Sakumo had heard enough of it to at least recognize the swear words. And there were plenty of those being shouted now.

“Kakashi,” He tried to take control of the conversation again. “You really have to stop talking like that. You’re a little kid. You shouldn’t know half the words you said earlier, and you shouldn’t say them even if you do know them.”

Kakashi rounded on him. Sakumo’s mouth snapped shut at that dark gaze.

It was the eyes. It was Kakashi’s eyes that always reminded Sakumo that his boy was unique. Not just a genius but… something else. Something different and special.

And often, something terrifying.

“He called you a traitor,” Kakashi spat out the words. “Called you a traitor even though your actions saved all the lives of your team and the other squad with you. He called you a bastard, daring to show your face in this part of the village, like you don’t belong here.”

Sakumo couldn’t look away from his son’s face or his small, trembling body. Kakashi’s eyes were clear, though, sharp and focused and filled with a rage beyond his little form.

“How dare that scum say such a thing about you,” Kakashi snarled. “In school they teach us to protect our teammates, that our squads are our allies and we shouldn’t betray them. So everyone should understand what you did was the right thing. Everyone should agree with you!”

“Kakashi, it’s not that simple-”

“One man does not start a war with one act alone!” Kakashi shouted. “If we are going to war with another famiglia, another village, then it is not your fault alone!”

Sakumo opened his mouth to speak, to say anything, but couldn’t find the words.

“I will fight each and every person who dares to say you should have thrown away the lives of your subordinates to put off the inevitable war a few more months. You had their loyalty, their trust! If they had fallen then, there would still be rumors of war and still be rumors about you!” Kakashi stomped a foot, turning sharply. He shouted in that gibberish again, throwing up a hand. With his back to Sakumo, the older Hatake finally managed to catch his breath and find some words.

“...You’re working hard, aren’t you, Kakashi?” He ran his hand through his hair, “Working so hard to protect your old man… What did I ever do to deserve a kid like you?”

In a second he had an armful of five year old boy. Kakashi wrapped his arms around Sakumo’s neck, clinging to him. He whispered words that Sakumo had learned of that other language, simply from Kakashi’s constant repetition of them and, one night a year ago, the boy’s hushed translation whispered into his ear. “La mia famiglia. Mio padre. Il mio branco.”

My family. My father. My pack.

“Kakashi,” he whispered. “Hey…” He put his arm around his son, pulling him closer. He was so small. So small and so fragile. Sakumo closed his eyes. He held his whole world in just one arm.

“Remember, Dad,” Kakashi muttered, “I’m here too. We are blood. We are family. I will always be here for you. That is what family does.”

“That is what family does,” Sakumo repeated back. “I love you, son.”

Kakashi’s grip tightened on him. “Love you too.”

Sakumo really smiled for what felt like the first time in weeks. When Kakashi finally pulled away from him, he laughed and said, “But could you please stop telling people to suck a bag of dicks? Honestly, they think you learned all that stuff from me!”

“Who cares what trash thinks?” Kakashi said, completely unconcerned. “Sucking dick at least puts their gaping mouths to better use.”

Shaking his head, Sakumo stood back up, pulling Kakashi up with him. His son settled in his arm, against his shoulder with the ease of years of practice. “It really says something that I’m used to hearing my adorable little son say such terrible things. You used to give your old man a heart attack whenever you said the word dick.”

Kakashi reached up and tugged his hair, “You’re not old. I’ve seen an old dad before. You can still pick me up so easily.” He gave a strange little smile, the kind that went too well with his too-old gaze. “You really are the best dad in any world.”

The way he said it, so serious and honest, made Sakumo believe him without even thinking about it. So what if it sounded, weirdly, like Kakashi had some experience being raised by another dad somewhere? His son was just that good at imagining things! Or perhaps empathizing. Or maybe just strange and special.

Whatever the case was, Sakumo was glad that Kakashi was his son. Konoha just wouldn’t be home without him.

“Dad, this is my team.”

Sakumo grinned at his small son, already a genin and with his own team. He was small, compared to the other two, and especially compared to their leader, but that made it all the more adorable. His little Kakashi was a roiling volcano of emotion wrapped into a small glass bottle, but it wasn’t just rage that made him boil over. It was things like this, too, team and family- loyalty and happiness.

“This is Rin,” he gestured to the girl, “She’s our healer and the best henge user on our team. This is Obito. He’s like a slightly more capable Tsunayoshi- I mean, he doesn’t trip over literally nothing even if he’s trash at being a ninja. And this is Minato. Way too optimistic and chasing a girl totally out of his league in looks.”

There was a chorus of “Kakashi!” from Minato and “Bakashi!” from Obito while Rin beamed. She looked at Kakashi adoringly, but Sakumo could tell his son didn’t even see that.

Or rather, he probably did but didn’t care. Which was fine, really. The boy wasn’t even ten yet. Sakumo was glad that, for all the oddly adult behavior his boy participated in, chasing girls wasn’t one of them. At least Kakashi would remain innocent that way for a little while longer.

“Nice to meet you two for the first time,” Sakumo said, “And good to see you again, Minato. My son isn’t too much of a handful, I hope.”

“Who is this ‘Tsunayoshi’ kid you keep comparing me to?” Obito shouted at Kakashi.

“Stop yelling at me, you haven’t got the right pitch, trash,” Kakashi grumped back at him. “You’re not a shark.”

“Sharks don’t yell!” Obito cried.

Minato put a hand on both of their shoulders and pulled them apart. When they shouted, they inevitably began to move towards each other until they were almost in each other’s faces. “Hey now, calm down. We’re here as guests to have dinner at Sakumo-san’s house, okay? So be polite.”

“You don’t have to be so damn careful around Pops,” Kakashi said dismissively, ducking out from under the hand and walking past Sakumo into the house, “He’s heard a lot of fucking shit by now. He’s used to it.”

Rin squeaked and even Obito’s mouth dropped open. Minato looked desperately at Sakumo, “...He talks like that in front of you? I thought it was something he’d picked up to be rebellious outside of the house…”

Sakumo laughed, turning to gesture for them to enter the house, “He’s always been like that. You’ll get used to it in the end. He doesn’t really stop so there’s not really any other recourse. Please, come in. Kakashi prepared a special meal for his new team.”

“Kakashi-kun made dinner?” Rin asked, stepping lightly into the house. “Oh… it smells good.”

“I’m hungry!” Obito bounced in after Rin. “What do you think he made?”

Minato paused as he passed Sakumo, “Thank you for having us over.”

“I’m happy to have company, but don’t mistake this as something I asked Kakashi to do. He just said over breakfast the other day that he was going to bring his team home to join the family.”

“Join the…? What?”

“Family is important,” Sakumo said sincerely. “Kakashi will do anything to protect his family.”

Minato blinked and then smiled. “He really is a good kid.”

“I know.” Sakumo thumped him on the back with his fist lightly. “Shame about his mouth, though.”

As if to prove what a shame it was, they heard Kakashi shouting from inside, “Don’t you fucking sneak a taste, trash! You sit in your goddamn chair and you wait for me to fucking serve you! Have some damn patience!”

Minato groaned, hurrying into the building to stop another volley of shouting. Sakumo followed him in, laughing the whole way.

“This. Is. Bullshit.” Kakashi muttered.

Back to back with him, Rin had to agree. “Total bullshit.”

They were surrounded in the woods by Iwa nin. Obito was next to them, kneeling on the ground, with lots of blood on his arm. They had held their ground to stay with him, instead of retreating back. Sometimes, Rin had to wonder if Kakashi knew what retreat was. He never seemed to mind throwing himself headfirst into battle.

Of course, once she had seen the burning glow in his eyes when he’d been just about to engage in battle, she figured she understood. Fighting wasn’t just something Kakashi was good at, it was something he enjoyed. A lot.

She kind of wished he would like her as much as he liked fighting but… she was beginning to lose hope on that fact.

“What are we gonna do?” She whispered to him. So far they were at a stalemate, mostly because every time someone came close enough, they found a kunai with an exploding tag at at their feet. She was running low on stamina, though. Thirst made her throat scratchy and her muscles ached from all the running they’d done to even get here.

She wished Sensei was there, even if technically it was Kakashi’s mission as team leader.

“I didn’t want to have to use these yet,” he said, “They’re really not fucking ready.”

He shifted, his shoulder pressing harder against hers for a second. His elbow brushed against hers as he reached for something in his pocket. He dropped his voice even lower, “As soon as I step away, tackle that trash there to the ground and keep him down. Don’t get up until I say. I don’t want to hit you by accident.”

Rin knew better than to question him. She could do that later if they both survived. Instead she nodded and waited for her cue.

There was a grit of dirt and then his warmth pulled away. She spun on her heel, dove for Obito, and bore him to the ground. He yelped and struggled for a second, but she clapped her hand over his mouth and hissed, “Stay still, Kakashi-”

Her voice dried up in her throat. The sky above them erupted in orange flame and booms like fireworks going off. She turned enough to see Kakashi soaring through the air, that manic gleam in his eyes, with orange flames dancing on his forehead. In his hands he held two weapons she’d seen before, but not ever in use. Kakashi had been wearing them for a few weeks now, though he’d never so much as used them in a sparring match.

Flames shot out from those strange weapons. Flames that propelled him through the air like a chakra jump. Flames that tore through their enemies, travelling faster than any kunai she’d ever seen go.

“Rin!” Obito shouted suddenly, “What are you doing! We have to help!”

“Kakashi said to stay down!” She elbowed him in the stomach to stop his wriggling. He grunted. “He doesn’t want to hit us accidentally.”

“What do you mean-”

A jet of flame burned the air over them, orange and warm but not, strangely, all that hot. Rin stared at it in wonder, feeling oddly at peace as it filled her vision. Then it was gone, slamming into the gut of a nin and ripping a hole in them the size of a fist.

When she finally caught her breath, she realized the fighting was done. Rin rolled off of Obito and sat up. Kakashi was about twenty feet away, kicking one of the downed ninjas. “You. Stupid. Trash! Making. Me. Use. My. Goddamn. Guns! They. Weren’t. Ready. Yet! And now look!” He brandished one of the weapons. “It’s fucking broken! Useless! You fucking worthless scum!”

“Kakashi?” She called out, “I think, um…” The nin he was kicking was very, very dead.

He turned to look at her, shoving those guns or whatever they were, back into the holsters under his vest. He zipped it back up, glaring at her. Or rather, he was glaring in general. She’d learned to not take his expressions personally. Kakashi could smile, but he only did it back home in Konoha. Out in the field, he was all sharpness and business.

“What was that?” Obito asked. Eyes wide. “I’ve never seen a jutsu like that before!”

“That’s because it wasn’t a jutsu,” Kakashi smirked. “Those were my flames.” He held out his hand. In a blink of an eye, orange flames danced in his palm. “See? I still got them, though it took ages to get my control back.”

“Woah! I can see your chakra!” Obito bounced to his feet, excited.

“Not chakra, moron,” Kakashi rolled his eyes. “Flames.” He flexed his hand, making the fire blaze and then made a fist, dismissing it. “Totally different thing.”

“How did you do that? What are they? Where did they come from?”

Rin got to her feet as well, brushing herself off. “Obito, let me see your arm.”

Instead of turning to her with that lovesick expression he always wore when she told him to come to her for healing, he simply stuck out his arm and kept asking Kakashi his questions. That was… surprising. Surprising and good. So good. She smiled brightly and walked over to tend his arm while they talked about whatever these flames were.

She had a feeling they were going to be The Topic of Interest for a while.

For Rin, though, she wanted to know more about those gun weapons of his.

One hand on the grip. One hand to support the first. Arms out, straight but not too rigid. Her body had to accept the recoil and not let it break her. Weapon lifted to shoulder height. Head turned to look down the sight if she’s got time- and she has time right now. Both eyes open.

Breathe in. Breathe out. Squeeze the trigger.

The gun in her hands bucked like it was alive, but this wasn’t her first time shooting so she managed it easily and fired again and again. The sound was incredibly loud, even behind the muffling ear protection she wore. The shots were fast, so fast, no one could stop them, no one would be able to even see them if they didn’t blaze with indigo flames.

Faster than the sharingan. Obito had said so himself.

(Although he had said that if he watched her eyes, her body, he could tell where she was going to shoot so that was almost good enough as seeing the bullet itself.)

Her flame shots were smaller than Kakashi’s, darker too, and she couldn’t fire for as long as he could. It took too much energy to fill her gun with her growing flames. Her stamina wasn’t anywhere near Kakashi’s. Not yet.

When her limbs began to tremble, she lowered the gun. Rin licked her lips and found herself smiling, smiling so hard it hurt. Remembering Kakashi’s instructions on the care of her weapon, she checked it over for any smoke or fire damage and then holstered it on her hip. By that time, Obito had made it down the range and back, carrying a the rolled up paper targets.

“Look! Look!” He shouted, reaching her. Unrolling them, he showed headshots in several and gutshots in others. Holes that were definitely fatal.

Rin paused, looking at them, at the shadow silhouettes of people that she’d been firing at- fake people true, but dead fake people- and found that her stomach didn’t flip flop anymore. There was no sinking gut feeling. She didn’t feel sick over even the possibility of shooting someone to kill them.

“Well I’ll be damned,” she said. She had really changed.

“Nice shooting,” Kakashi said with a grin. “You’ve gotten much better, Rin.” He held up her fist and she automatically lifted her own, tapping their knuckles together.

“Now, trash,” Kakashi turned to Obito, “You get your targets set up and get practicing. I don’t want to hear your whining that you don’t get to use your gun in the field! If you can’t manage to hit the broad side of a fucking barn then you don’t get your fucking gun! Practice more! Train harder! Got that?”

Obito had changed too, Rin realized. Instead of shouting back, he made a tight fist. His dark eyes were bright with the snap of his green flames. “Yes sir!” he shouted back, enthusiastic and ready, “I’m gonna do it! I’ll practice until I can get headshots every time!”

Kakashi grinned and punched Obito in the shoulder, sending him staggering back. Kakashi didn’t pull his punches, not even in showing affection. Everything he did came with the hard edge of barely contained violence. That didn’t scare Rin, though. Nothing Kakashi could do would scare her. He was their team leader, more often than not, he was their friend. He was their Family.

He is our sky, she thought, tightening her own hands into fists. She had, indeed, heard all about the flames. She could still remember the absolutely ecstatic grin Kakashi had given her when she’d produced her own wispy indigo flame for the first time. Kakashi was a sky and she was the mist that obscured the ground. Obito was charged lightning, and it showed with the way he bound down the range, faster than necessary, using sharingan and chakra and flames and all his energy all at once.

“Kakashi?” She asked, getting his attention. He lifted a brow and she looked at him seriously, “Can we spar? With flames too? I want to get better at my illusions.”

Kakashi grinned. With those feathers in his shaggy grey hair, and those sharp, too sharp canines, he looked feral and wild. Rin loved him- wasn’t in love with him, not like she’d thought she was before- but she loved him nonetheless. “Fuck yeah. Let’s go and give Obito some space.”

He turned to go, not even looking back to make sure she followed. He didn’t have to. Rin would go follow him anywhere.

They were supposed to be safe.

Minato’s kunai skittered across the edge of the tanto of his masked assailant.

Kushina was behind him, struggling between birthing and not-birthing their beloved little son Naruto, and everyone else around them was dead.

They were supposed to have been safe, out of the way, away from the village so they could protect others-

But of course, that isolation had only made them vulnerable in turn.

He couldn’t dodge an attack and felt the blade skewer the muscle of his forearm as he lifted it to defend himself. Perhaps, if he could teleport both he and his assailant out of there, get as far away from Kushina as possible-

There was sudden blazing orange light- orange flame- that was familiar to Minato but, at that moment, very strange. This was the first time the orange had burned with red deep at it’s core. He’d never seen that before.

His masked opponent probably had never seen the flames at all, from the way he lept back, cursing and looking wildly at the source of the flames.

The force of the flames tore open a hole in the wall, opening the hideaway in the cliff up to the elements outside. Rock crumbled and fell, the dust of it rising into the air and, slowly, settling on the ground.

Kakashi strode in, his boots, heavy as Minato knew they were, utterly silent on the ground. He held up his guns, those insane weapons he’d first started carrying around when he was eleven or twelve- Minato couldn’t remember exactly, now. And both of them were trained on the masked man.

“OI!” Kakashi shouted at him, “The fuck do you think you’re doing you piece of trash?”

Minato couldn’t help it. He laughed. Of course, of course, Kakashi would pick that exact moment for his dramatic entrance. “You’re a terrible ninja,” He couldn’t help but say to his student, “What kind of silent, sneaky approach is that?”

“Don’t even fucking start with me right now, Minato,” Kakashi snapped, his teeth bared. Minato swallowed. Whoops. He wasn’t sensei right now. Kakashi was absolutely livid. “I am going to beat you within a fucking inch of your goddamn life the moment I’m done riding the world of this garbage. How fucking dare you run off to the middle of the woods with your fucking pregnant wife to have my goddamn little brother born in secret?”

“Kakashi-” Minato started, because really. Naruto hadn’t even been born yet and Kakashi had already claimed him as family. It was both heartwarming and terrifying. Minato had seen Kakashi commit no less than a dozen crimes for the sake of those he considered his family. It was like there were no laws, no rules, when it came to Kakashi taking care of his family.

“This is entertaining but I still have some work to do.” The masked man shifted into a fighting stance and then, suddenly stopped, coughed violently. Blood dripped from the bottom of his mask and he turned, whirling around. His cloak flared around him and gave Minato a clear view of the young woman crouched behind him. Her hand was up, fingertips still flared green with medical chakra and there was an indigo glow to her eyes. Minato recognized Rin in an instant.

The masked man coughed again, but swept his hand down in an attack. Green lightning filled the room with light again as Obito blocked it with his charged tanto. Rin rolled back and vanished into thin air. Obito laughed, bright and sharp and happy, just like all those times Minato had heard him laughing over some stupid joke he’d made himself. The expression had Minato rooted to the ground, unable to move.

Rin stepped out of nothingness beside him and touched his arm, “Sensei,” she whispered, “please. We need to tend to Kushina. Let the boys handle that asshole. Kakashi won’t let anything happen to us while we work.”

Minato wrenched his eyes from the fight. Kakashi had joined in the fight, firing red-orange flames and baring his canines all the while. He and Obito worked in perfect tandem, almost like they were in complete harmony with each other’s style, each other’s thoughts, to keep the wounded masked man at bay.

“Right.” He joined Rin at Kushina’s side.

Rin smiled at him, “Don’t worry Sensei. I’ve delivered babies before. This’ll be a fucking sinch.”

“Rin,” Minato said, desperation edging his voice, “Please. Not you too.”

“Hm?” She blinked. “What?”

“Don’t pick up Kakashi’s mouth, please.”

“Minato,” Kushina said with a growl, “Pick some other time to scold your student over her language. I am having a goddamn baby! In the middle of a battle!”

“Sorry, sorry,” Minato apologized. He helped Rin with the delivery, monitoring the seal the whole time to keep it intact.

Several times, orange flames painted the wall, casting strange shadows. It took the third time before Minato realized why they were strange. He could see the shadow of Kakashi and Obito and the masked man, but he couldn’t see their shadows. It was as if that light passed right through him, Rin, Kushina and the bed that she lay on, to hit the wall without any indication of their presence.

He glanced to Rin when he noticed that and met her eyes. Indigo burned in them, making them seem almost inhuman with the dark flames. She gave a sharp smile and said, “It’s like a genjutsu, but you can’t dismiss it with a little chakra and a wave of your hand.”

Minato missed the moment that Obito and Kakashi tore a hole in the masked man. He figured that was fine, though. That was the moment his son was born, after all.

A meaty thump sounded behind him at the same time Naruto took his first breath and began to scream his first infant wail.

By the time he’s twenty, Xanxus has spent most of his time thinking of himself as Kakashi and, while he hasn’t forgotten the hard fought life he had had before, it no longer was his first frame of reference.

Obito had long since outgrown the shadow of Tsunayoshi that had haunted his footsteps whenever Kakashi had looked at him. Rin had grown past her timidity and became unlike many of the mists he had ever dealt with before. Minato’s sunshine personality, once viewed as some unholy cross between Tsunayoshi and Lussuria with his benevolence and his parental affection, was his own man as well- a hokage and a father and a teacher. Kushina, a late addition to his family, holds the most resemblance to those long lost Italian women that Kakashi has seen since his second birth. Yet, even she has no true comparison to anyone left behind.

Even Sakumo- no, especially, Sakumo- had found his own place in Kakashi’s heart and memories. The man outshone Timoteo in every possible way, from his compassion to his conviction to his loyalty. Not a week went by that he wasn’t grateful for Sakumo being his father in this world.

Not a week went by that Sakumo looked to him with absolute pride- Kakashi was his father’s world and he carried that world on his shoulders, hardly feeling the weight of it.

So far away was that other world from his thoughts, that it took him a long time, far too long a time, to realize what the fuck his utterly adorable little brother had fucking said.

Tiny fists held up a roll of cloth used in binding hands for protection, and big blue eyes looked up him with absolute pleading as the six year old repeated, “Big bro Kashi! Please wrap! Please! I wanna box! I wanna box to the extreme!”

His knees felt weak. Kakashi sank down heavily, nearly falling, catching himself with one hand. “Wh…. what was that?”

“It’s hard to wrap myself,” Naruto pouted. “My fingers are too little still! But big brother Kashi can help!”

“Too little-” Kakashi stared at him. “You want to box? Naruto-” Boxing wasn’t a thing. Boxing didn’t exist. There was sparring and different forms of taijutsu but-

“I love boxing!” Naruto shouted, “I love it to the extreme!” He punched his little fist in the air repeatedly.

Fuck. Fuck. Kakashi had given up years and years and years ago- Sure, he knew that his other life had been real, he had the flames to prove it but-

To have someone else- Even if it was that fucking idiot- Fuck it had been twenty years, what was his name, what was he called-

“Ryohei,” Kakashi said, “Sasagawa Ryohei.”

Immediately, Naruto’s eyes went wide, wide, wide. His mouth dropped open and they stared at each other in utter silence.

They were so quiet that Kakashi could clearly hear the footsteps of his father in the house behind him. He had been babysitting little Naruto out in the yard- Minato and Kushina were both busy and Kakashi didn’t mind- never minded- loved his little brother-

His little brother who was from that other world, like him.

His Italian was rusty, Kakashi mostly used it to swear or mutter or talk to Rin, who had picked up the language so they could gossip in front of others, but he remembered it now when he needed it. “Is it really you, Ryohei? Can you understand me?”

“THIS IS SO EXTREME!” Naruto shouted back at him in Italian. Kakashi felt tears prickling his eyes. No way. No fucking way. “Who are you?”

“Xanxus,” he said. “I’m Xanxus.”

Naruto shouted wordlessly, flinging himself into Kakashi’s arms. The wrapping tape went flying as the boy clung to him. “My big brother is Xanxus! This is so EXTREMELY amazing!”

Kakashi laughed and laughed. He scooped up Naruto and stood. He swung the boy around and around, spinning circles in the yard. “Fuck! I knew it was all real! I knew it. I knew it! And look at you! You’re still a stupidly happy little sunshine brat!”

Naruto laughed as well, whooping and kicking his feet.

“Kakashi?” Came the cautious call from the porch. Kakashi stopped spinning, slightly dizzy, and turned to look. Sakumo stood in the doorway, expression confused. “Son? ...You’re not teaching Naruto that weird language are you? It’s bad enough that you and Rin go on and on in it all the time…”

“Is big sis Rin one of us too?” Naruto asked in Italian. Kakashi shook his head.

“Nah, she just likes to learn things like that. Plus this way I don’t forget Italian. You can talk to her too,” Kakashi replied as he settled Naruto on his hip again. Switching languages, he called to Sakumo, “Hey is Naruto’s snack ready? We’re hungry, Pops!”

“Snack time!” Naruto shouted, following Kakashi’s lead and changing languages as well. “Yeah, yeah! Snack time with Uncle Sakumo!”

Kakashi swung Naruto up onto his shoulder and bound up onto the porch, grinning broadly. “You’re the best dad ever,” He said as he slipped past his father. Sakumo gave him that bemused and slightly bewildered smile he often wore when Kakashi did something particularly odd. “Seriously, the best father in every world.”

“Better than Nono?” Naruto asked, his fingers clinging to Kakashi’s hair.

“God yeah. Like, lightyears better. C’mon. We’ll eat our snack and then start up your boxing regimen. You’re gonna be the fucking world champ, kid.”

“Uwah!! The Extreme Boxing Champion of the World!” Naruto shouted over Kakashi’s laughter.

“....Boxing?” Sakumo asked.

“C’mon, Pops,” Kakashi said, “Join us for snacktime and I’ll tell you all about it.”

Kakashi laughed, leaning heavily against the wall of the bar that he and Obito and just stumbled out of. Obito, of course, had one hand up, middle finger raised as he vomited behind a trash can. When his friend finally lifted his head, he dragged the back of his hand over his mouth and spat out, “Fuck. You. Where the fuck do you get off on being so fucking sober? You drank more than me!”

“Experience,” Kakashi said with a smirk, “Years and years and years of experience.” He pushed off the wall and reached out to Obito. Clapping him on the shoulder, he said, “Don’t worry, some day you might catch up!”

“Fuck you,” Obito shoved at his chest. He stumbled from the force of his own shove and nearly fell. Kakashi caught him by the arm, hauling him upright.

“C’mon, let’s get your sorry ass back home.” Kakashi dragged Obito’s arm over his shoulders.

“Seriously though,” Obito said as they managed, between the two of them, to stagger out of the alleyway and onto the street. “What the fuck, Kakashi… How long have we been best friends? I feel like sometimes I don’t understand you at all…”

“Don’t strain yourself,” Kakashi said, hitching his arm a little tighter on Obito’s waist. “An idiot like you will never figure out my genius.”

“Ugh,” Obito slumped heavily against him, causing Kakashi to have to actually work to keep his weight up. “Asshole. You’re the worst. The worst!”

“Hey now,” Kakashi said, still smiling. It was hard not to smile around Obito. They had been friends and teammates for years. Obito was his right hand, Rin his left- In fact, she usually would be on Obito’s other side right about now, helping Kakashi take their sloshed friend home to his apartment. She only wasn’t there because someone had gotten hella picked up in the bar.

Kakashi probably had been the only one not surprised of the jounins there when the one that had taken the adorable and foul-mouthed Rin home was Mitarashi. He wasn’t blind. He knew what those kind of looks meant, what that kind of “special healing attention” was when it was Rin offering. Of course, this had left Obito in the lurch.

Not that Obito had had much of a chance with Rin after the three of them had all hit jounin. They were too close to siblings to be fuck buddies too. At least, that had been Rin’s claim. (Kakashi figured it was that and the fact that she was more into women in the first place that had lead to that announcement.)

“Don’t get all worked up, it’s bad for your heart.” Kakashi teased his friend, “You don’t want to start crying again, do you?”

“Shut up,” Obito muttered. Surprisingly, he pushed against Kakashi’s chest, struggling to actually get away from him. “Lemme go. I can walk on my own.”

“Hey-” Kakashi started. Obito managed to slip out of his grip and take a few steps before he had to catch himself on a light pole. “Obito, what the fuck? What’s wrong?”

Obito turned so that the pole was to his back. He was scowling, brows furrowed, and face flushed. He looked like shit, really he did, drunken, miserable shit. When he didn’t immediately say anything, Kakashi went out on a limb.

“Is this about Mitarashi and Rin? C’mon man, that’s been building for weeks. It was only a matter of time.”

“It’s not fucking Rin!” Obito shouted.

Kakashi’s smile faded. He looked at his friend somberly then, feeling a frown settle on his features. “Then what is it? I’m asking you seriously now.”

Obito ran his hand over his face slowly, dragging at his own features. “Rin wasn’t the only one who got hit on back there,” He finally says, hand over his eyes. “Or is your genius unable to notice when people are flirting with you too?”

Kakashi’s frown deepened. What was this now? Was Obito jealous of people being interested in him? Kakashi couldn’t help it if he had good features and drew people in. He was a sky, a practicing one even, and was so much more at ease in this world, in this life, than he had been before. Besides, Sakumo had good features, had married a beautiful woman and so, of course, his genetics had gifted Kakashi with ‘delicious’ features- if one were to believe the innuendo heavy flirtations he got, of course.

Really, if Obito was jealous about people hitting on Kakashi and not him, then he was the blind idiot. His annoyingly happy childhood behavior had matured into an easy charm that got him more than a little attention. Add that to his Uchiha good looks and Obito could have anyone he wanted.

“I can tell when people are interested in me,” Kakashi said stiffly, “Kind of impossible to miss when they’re feeling up my arms and fluttering their fucking lashes at me.”

“Yeah? Then do you know I like you too?”

Okay. Scratch that. Obito could have anyone he wanted who also wanted him back.

“Fuck, I didn’t-” Obito sank down, knees up to his chest, “I didn’t mean to say it like that. I was just- Every time anyone shows any interest in you, you just blow them off. Everyone. Male, female, young, old. Like it doesn’t matter how much they like you or even if they just want to sleep with you once- Like you don’t care if someone likes you. And I like you, god. I really do- I shouldn’t- I can’t believe I do- but I love you, Kakashi. And if all those people don’t even have enough of a chance to get a reason for why you won’t have them, can I really expect you to even give me a shot?”

“Christ,” Kakashi muttered, one of the few blasphemous swears that he couldn’t quite get rid of. There wasn’t even a Christ in this world -no Christians to speak of- but every now and then it still slipped out. A relic of a past that lingered in his brain along with decades of memories. “Obito. This really isn’t-”

“Isn’t the time?” Obito shouted suddenly. He dropped his hand from his face and looked up angrily at Kakashi. “Is that what you’re gonna say to me?” He pitched his voice oddly, mocking Kakashi’s voice as he said, “There’s a time and a place for your hysterics, trash, and now is neither the time nor the place. So suck up those tears and power through it.”

Kakashi clenched his jaw shut. Fuck. Obito and his fucking memory. He was too good at that, always throwing back repeated insults right at the worst fucking place. Worse than Squalo, Kakashi thought, and that thought hurt. Hurt so badly.

It had been a long time, such a long time, since he’d thought about his completely faithful friend. Loyal to the end. The right hand Kakashi- no, Xanxus- had extended again and again into the fire of his rage and his fights until it had burned right off.

“Obito,” he tried again, “Right now you’re ridiculously drunk-”

“Stop fucking talking like that!” Obito shouted again. This time, he pushed up off the ground, getting to his feet, swaying again, putting his hand on the the pole behind himself. “I don’t understand you when you talk like that- That stupid language you made up and taught to Rin- Taught her but not me- Don’t you- Kakashi- Don’t you even care about me?”

“Of course I do,” Kakashi very consciously focused on what he was saying. He didn’t have the luxury of accidentally slipping into Italian again. “You’re my teammate. We’re family, Obito-”

“But you don’t love me.” Obito said. The words were bitter, “You don’t love me do you? You’re too good for that. You’re better than everyone- Too good for love-”

Okay. That was fucking it. Kakashi crossed the distance between them in a blink. Drunk or not, Obito needed to remember his position in their relationship. His part wasn’t that of an enamored, drunken fool. He was Kakashi’s right hand. He was Kakashi’s replacement for Squalo- because Kakashi couldn’t find him- had looked for him after he had discovered Ryohei- but apparently Obito was a shitty replacement for that damn shark.

He grabbed the front of Obito’s shirt and shook him, hard. “I have known a greater love than you can ever fucking imagine, you drunken little shit,” He snarled into Obito’s face. “I. Gave. Everything. For him. Do you hear me? Everything. I broke and I bled and I died for him. You think you love me? You don’t know a goddamn thing about me.” He lifted Obito up. There were scant centimeters in height difference between them, but Obito’s eyes were wide with shock, his face white with terror and his knees had given out.

“I raised a city.” Kakashi said, the memories of Xanxus pouring through his head like a broken dam. He tasted sea salt on his lips. He felt smoke in his lungs. He felt the warm ache, the stretch of burnt skin of once-fatal wounds. “I killed people. I leveled buildings. I spent the last breath in my body, the last strength of my arms, pulling him from the edge of death. I gave my life for him. I loved him then. I love him now. I will never love anyone else the same way.”

Kakashi swallowed, his throat tight, his eyes burning with unshed tears. He let go of Obito, letting his friend slip from his grasp to land on the ground on his knees. “You can say you like me all you want,” Kakashi whispered, “You are my friend. You are my family. You can help fill those empty roles. But you cannot replace him. No one can except for him.”

Obito was crying. Not softly and not prettily, but with his brows arched up and his body shaking and snot beginning to drip from his nose. He sniffled and hiccupped and looked up at Kakashi utterly heartbroken, “I don’t- What do you mean- Who is he? When did you ever- I’ve known you since we were kids! When did this happen?”

Fuck. He had said way, way too much. Even Rin, having learned Italian and thus able to understand his and Ryohei’s private conversations, hadn’t heard him so blatantly talk about his past life. She was, perhaps, the only one who knew more than Obito, though.

Crouching down, Kakashi ruffled Obito’s hair. Fuck, how many years did he have on his friend, really? The twenty four he had spent as Kakashi plus the, what, fifty six?, he’d had before. And he really losing touch of the past if he can’t remember how old he had been when he’d died the first time. Obito seemed even more like a kid when he was crying like this, “Don’t worry about it. Let’s just get you home and into bed. You’re going to feel even worse later if you cry now.”

Shaking his head, Obito resisted getting up again.

“I will throw you over my shoulder if I have to,” Kakashi said. “Don’t make me do it. I don’t want you to vomit down my back.”

Obito rubbed at his eyes, “Can you tell me one thing?” He wouldn’t look up. “Please?”

“What is it?” Kakashi asked warily.

“What is his name?”

Kakashi paused. He licked his lips, trying to get his saliva back. Ever since his one conversation with Ryohei about Kyoya - “He went missing four years after you died. Just vanished. No one knows how or where… A lot of people thought he died, Xanxus, but not me. He had to still be alive. No one can kill Kyoya”- he hadn’t said his name out loud to anyone.

Obito grabbed his arm and looked up, pleading, “Won’t you, please?”

Kakashi ducked his chin a little. He closed his eyes and saw so clearly Kyoya’s face- the way he’d seen it last- pale and still, his dark hair soaked, the salt water on his skin like dew, his lips parted just enough that Xanxus could feel the breath from them when he’d leaned forward to kiss him one last time. The red blood that had been washed away by the tide but began to bleed from the wound at his temple as they had laid there, side by side, in the grey light of the rising sun.

“Kyoya,” he whispered. “Hibari Kyoya.”

“Wao.” The intruding voice made Kakashi jerk to attention. Drunk as he was, it was still the middle of the night and his emotions had been grated raw by Obito’s words. He had his gun in his hand without even thinking about it, though he kept it pointed down. He wasn’t going to aim it unless he had intent to kill.

A stranger walked out of nearby shadows. He had short, dark curly hair and eyes that were red with the sharingan. Passing the overhead light of a street lamp, his hitai-ate flashed from its position on his left upper arm. Kakashi’s eyes passed over his face quickly, avoiding the sharingan gaze out of habit, and then stuck and froze on the man’s wrist. Or more specifically, the weapons he held in his hands that ran up the outside of his forearm.

He knew those weapons. He knew them so well that this new body of his ached in sympathy to muscle memory of his long-dead body just at the sight of them. Tonfas. Those were tonfas. Shining and made of metal just like the hitai-ate.

He heard Obito shifting in front of him, turning and standing to also look at the man who walked towards them from some alley. Kakashi tore his eyes up from those tonfas- It could be a coincidence, after all, just a coincidence…

“Shisui?” Obito called, his voice thick from crying. “Shit. Fuck. What are you doing out?” Kakashi saw him rub at his face from the corner of his eye. “It’s so late.”

“Patrolling,” This Shisui said. His eyes bore into Kakashi, not looking away, barely blinking. “Public intoxication is a nuisance. As jounin you have no curfew, but loitering out in the streets and having shouting arguments disturbs the peace.” He lifted one arm. Kakashi couldn’t breathe. That half-ready battle stance- The way that tonfa settled right against Shisui’s arm just like- just like-

“Shit,” Obito grabbed for Kakashi, “We really should go. We don’t want to piss off Shisui or he’ll-”

“Bite us to death,” Kakashi said.

Obito blinked and stared at him, “Yeah. How did you know? Have you two met before?”

“The last time I saw him was twenty five years ago.” Kakashi said, absently reaching up to brush Obito’s hand off his arm.

“Uh…” Obito said slowly, as if Kakashi were the drunk one, “Kakashi? You do remember we’re not the same age. Right? You’re twenty four.” He gestured to Shisui, “Not to mention he’s only nineteen.”

“Obito,” Shisui said, cool and even. Kakashi shivered at the tone. No. The voice wasn’t the same, but that in it steel was.

The moment Obito met Shisui’s gaze, Kakashi felt a quick flare of chakra from Shisui. He had to lurch out of his daze to catch Obito, who was very suddenly asleep on his feet, from falling face first onto the concrete. Holding his friend, Kakashi felt a twist of nervousness in his gut as he looked up at Shisui.

He licked his lips. “Kyoya?”

Shisui gave him Kyoya’s smile. “Xanxus.”

Kakashi opened and shut his mouth several times. Nothing came out.

Shisui took one step towards him, bringing up his other tonfa, “What did I tell you about dying, Xanxus.” He spoke in Italian. Nothing had ever sounded sweeter.

Kakashi couldn’t help but grin, showing off the wild teeth of his Hatake born body. “I can’t remember. It’s been a quarter of a century after all.” He cocked his head to the side, “Remind me?”

“No one is allowed to put you down but me,” Shisui said and then, faster than Kakashi can blink, faster than he can see, he attacks.

They tear up the ground, set fire to a fence, knock down another wall, take out a street lamp and collapse an abandoned building in their fight, but by the end of it, all is calm once more. In the flickering light of the fence fire, Shisui has Kakashi pinned face down on the ground, with one arm twisted behind his back and the other pressed down beside his head. Kakashi pants heavily, sweating, bleeding, aching, and so, so happy.

“Never love anyone else the same way?” Shisui whispered into his ear. He’s heavy, this body broader than the one before. “No one can replace me except for me?”

Kakashi has to spit blood out of his mouth before he can talk. He turns his head enough to give Shisui a grin. “What? I told you I would love you forever. Do you think I lied?”

Shisui is silent. His weight shifts. His grip eases on Kakashi’s arms. There’s a touch of breath against his ear and he shivers because of it. “No,” Shisui murmurs, and speaking this soft he sounds just like Kyoya. It aches, aches so much, but it’s such a good ache. He doesn’t have to just remember anymore, he can continue his life with Kyoya again. “No. I thought you forgot.”

“Never,” Kakashi whispered fervently, speaking in Italian just to prove a point. “Not once. Not ever.”

Shisui kisses the side of his face, once, his lips dry and warm. Kakashi’s breath hitches in his throat. Twenty four years and the only people to kiss him have been his father on his forehead and Rin, on the cheek. Twenty four years and he hadn’t been able to forget the way Kyoya made him feel long enough to try and bed anyone else.

“Come home with me,” Kakashi said, still in Italian. “Tonight, come home with me tonight.”

But this is Kyoya, even if he bears the Uchiha name and a different face. Kakashi gets a brief, tight squeeze on his wrist and then Shisui is pulling away. “No,” he says. “I’ve this mess to clean up.”

Kakashi rolls over and immediately sits up, “Please-”

“Do not beg,” Shisui snaps, not slowing his stride as he walks away. “Take care of my drunken idiot cousin and go home. One more night won’t hurt.” Then he is jumping up onto a rooftop and has vanished into the night.

Kakashi groans and rubs at his face. Fuck. Fuck. “That damn bastard.”

He went to collect Obito and haul him home. His body ached and he felt nauseated from fighting while so damn drunk. He just wasn’t used to that in this life.

Even still, Kakashi smiled the whole way home.

Sakumo walks into his kitchen and stops dead in his tracks.

It’s early, though the sun is certainly already up, and for a moment he’s not sure if he’s really woken up.

It certainly looks like his kitchen at breakfast. There is his son, standing at the stove without a shirt on, yawning as he tends the pan of scrambled eggs he’s fond of making. Tea has already been made, though he knows Kakashi prefers coffee, and it’s cooling at the table, waiting for him. Breakfast isn’t just eggs but some rice, miso soup and a small platter of fresh fruit.

All of that is typical.

What isn’t typical is the Uchiha- and Sakumo is certain this shinobi is an Uchiha just from the set of his jaw alone- sitting at the table with a cup of tea in one hand and a stack of papers next to him. He’s reading the top one, holding it up slightly, when Sakumo looks at him and he looks up to meet his gaze.

Sakumo knows everyone that Kakashi considers part of the family. He always gets a formal introduction when they come over for dinner, first alone with him and Kakashi and then later on with other members of Kakashi’s growing little family. This man he has never met.

Or boy. He looked young. Not too young though. Perhaps eighteen? Twenty?

Whatever. In any case, he was an absolute stranger.

And he was wearing Kakashi’s favorite slate grey sleeping yukata.

The young man looked at him, his expression blank, and said nothing.

Sakumo cleared his throat, “Kakashi?”

“I’m almost done cooking,” came the reply. “Go ahead and have a seat, Pops.” Kakashi didn’t even turn around.

Quietly, Sakumo did take a seat. He eyed the stranger a little more and then decided, if Kakashi wasn’t going to introduce him, he could do it himself. “Welcome to my home,” he said dryly. “I’m Hatake Sakumo.”

There was a flicker of annoyance, as though Sakumo had repeated information that was already known to him. He sipped his tea and set it down with a little clink on the wooden table. “Uchiha Shisui.”

Sakumo’s eyes widened. His whole body tensed up. Caught somewhere between the instinct to bare his teeth and to spring to his feet to get a defensive wall at his back, Sakumo floundered in silence. His hands, resting on the table, tightened into fists.

Shisui smiled at him, his eyes half lidded. He said nothing, though. He simply sipped his tea again and turned the page of what must be a stack of reports. Sakumo addressed his son without looking away from the Uchiha. “Son? Why is this man in our house?”

“Hm?” Kakashi turned, lifting the pan from the stove. He plated the egg onto a separate dish and then brought the whole thing to the table. Setting it down, he drew close to Shisui.

To Sakumo’s utter shock, and growing horror, Kakashi bent down and kissed Shisui on the cheek. The younger shinobi held still and seemed to accept this gesture with nothing more than a tilt of his head to make it easier for Kakashi to kiss his cheek again. Then his son sat down at his own place. “Shisui is my lover,” Kakashi said simply. As though this were an obvious and commonplace fact.

“ did you two meet?” Sakumo asked. His hands didn’t shake as he served himself food, but that was only years of experience working in his favor there. Kakashi served not only himself but Shisui, as though he had spent enough time with him to know not only what kind of food he liked but how much he would want.

“Mmm,” Kakashi hummed thoughtfully. He glanced to Shisui, who didn’t even look up from his paperwork as he picked at the rice he had been served. “Obito and I got in an argument in the street the other night and he overheard. He came over and introduced himself.”

Sakumo stared at him. He remembered the most recent night Kakashi had brought the already passed out Obito back home. Their house was closer than Obito’s apartment and Kakashi had been beaten to a bloody pulp- though thankfully nothing was broken. Obito had been sullen the next day. Kakashi hadn’t stopped grinning for hours.

“...that was five days ago.” Sakumo said, “You have never had any interest in anyone your whole life Kakashi,” he couldn’t believe he was saying this, “And now you’re… with him?”

Shisui didn’t respond, as though he were far away, far beyond this conversation,  but Kakashi slowly set down his bowl. He gave Sakumo that sharp, too-old look. Sakumo shivered. It had been a long time since Kakashi had looked at him that way. He had thought it a worrying and somewhat creepy expression to see in the face of his child but those eyes set in an adult face were something else entirely.

Sakumo didn’t recognize his own son, when Kakashi looked at him like that.

“Is there something wrong with that?” Kakashi asked, his tone deceptively mild. “If there is, why, Father, please enlighten me.”

Sakumo drank from his cup, to buy time and wet his throat. He could count the times that Kakashi had called him ‘Father’ on one hand. He had to wonder where Kakashi got this skill, this level of intimidation, because Sakumo knew he didn’t have it. Had it been from Ayumi? Sure, his wife had had a temper, but nothing like this. It must have been in his training or from experience on his missions. He had been taking a lot of those with his team recently.

“It just seems rather quick.” Sakumo said carefully, not wanting to risk his son’s wrath, or even more frighteningly, Shisui’s displeasure. “And Shisui is still young. I’m worried you might be moving too quickly in your first adult relationship, Kakashi. Well, your first relationship ever.”

Kakashi’s stare didn’t abate. “Is that it?”

No. Of course not. Sakumo glanced to Shisui. His eyes were dark, still, and he only looked up long enough to pick up his bowl with his egg in it.

“Well?” Kakashi insisted, “Is that your only concern?”

Sakumo looked to his son. “No. There are…” He hesitated, “rumors.” He knew, if anyone in Konoha did, that rumors were so much smoke and mirrors. But in the ones he had heard of Shisui, there was some grain of truth.

Certainly, the impossible feats that had been laid at his feet were possible of a genius Uchiha. And, after all, it was true that the young man had entered ANBU from a young age, became captain quickly and moved up in skill and responsibility.

Sakumo had touched into ANBU for a few years, mostly as a captain, an specialty instructor, when Kakashi had first been a jounin. He hadn’t lost those contacts simply because he had stepped back out of ANBU and into regular jounin ranks. He hadn’t forgotten seeing Shisui, young then, young and just as somber, just as dark eyed, just as terrifying, standing amid a hallway splattered in blood and bodies without a scratch on himself and the bitten out, half muttered words of “worthless herbivores” from behind a white and black porcelain bird mask.

He had been eleven. A child. A child that had grown into this man that Sakumo hadn’t recognized. Yet even back then the other ANBU had whispered and called him the Demon Uchiha.

Kakashi looked from Sakumo to Shisui, “Rumors?”

“Herbivores have always been inherently prone to gossip,” Shisui said mildly, turning another report page over. “That does not change no matter which world you are in.”

Kakashi looked back to his father and repeated his question, “Rumors?”

“Some things I’ve heard,” Sakumo said, feeling strangely numb. Usually, he realized distantly, when he reacted this badly to something, Kakashi took it seriously too. That was not happening now. Kakashi did not see Shisui as a threat. At all. “Some things I’ve seen.” He licked his lips, “You do know that Shisui-san is listed as the Demon Uchiha in bingo books, right?”

“Fits him better than hellion ever did,” Kakashi said with a quirk of a smile. He glanced to Shisui and added smugly, “Does that mean I should have them change my title to Kakashi ‘Demon Fucker’ Hatake?”

“I’m not sure,” Shisui said with the barest of smiles, “That seems to imply you are nothing but my bedroom plaything. People might stop taking you seriously if they think you are just a toy.”

Kakashi laughed. “Then they would underestimate me! Although they do that already, with my Dead Eye moniker. They think I’ve got some sort of doujutsu going on when they hear that.”

Sakumo felt like he had stepped into some sort of bizzaro world. Shisui was nodding, smiling a little more at Kakashi’s words. He could only sit and watch the interaction in silent amazement.

“Then go ahead and attempt to get them to change your title. The vulgarity definitely suits you.” Shisui gave Kakashi a look that made Sakumo wish he was not at the table. “Your mouth is and always has been utterly filthy, amante.”

Sakumo stood up abruptly when he saw the look Kakashi gave Shisui in response to that. “Thank you for breakfast,” he said sharply. “I’ll see you later, Kakashi.” A pause and then, “Good day, Shisui-san.”

Kakashi waved him off. Sakumo turned and hurried out of the room. He wasn’t even through the doorway before he heard chair legs scrape across the floor and Kakashi growl out something in that other language he knew.

A shiver crawled down Sakumo’s spine as he heard Shisui respond in that same tongue.

Sakumo had always known that his son was special, had known it from the moment he had said his first word- taken his first steps- Had always been proud of his intelligent and strong willed son- even if he’d been difficult from time to time.

But it wasn’t a comforting thought to know that whatever made his son special was something he shared with a shinobi like Uchiha Shisui. God, no. That was terror incarnate to the single father.

Not that Sakumo could do anything about it. He had heard the rumors of Shisui- the ones that made shinobi twice the boy’s age avoid crossing his path or inviting his ire.

Sakumo knew without question that to try and separate Kakashi and Shisui would end badly- for him, not them. If Shisui made his son happy, and so long as Kakashi had no abrupt personality change indicative of Shisui’s rumored brainwashing skill, Sakumo would let them be.

Kakashi was his son, after all, and he wanted his boy to be happy first and foremost. Things were better for everyone in the family when Kakashi was happy.



 In the sixth summer of his second life, Kyoya becomes an orphan for the second time. He attends both the wake and the funeral with dry, dark eyes. Solemn whispers and sorrowful looks accompany him for the entire day but Kyoya only kneels, and waits for the time to be up.

He isn’t alone for one second that whole day, accompanied by aunt or uncle or cousin, passed from presence to presence until it is all he can do to keep his mouth shut and not snarl at them to back off, back the fuck off right now, give me room to breathe! One of his elder cousins ends up sitting with him the longest. This one he vaguely recognizes, separated from the other endless amounts of cousins, by the hitai-ate on his head and the faint glimmer of green that sometimes appears in his eyes when he is being particularly willful.

Kyoya has seen that look before.

This cousin, he learns, is Obito.

In the week following the death of his second set of parents, Kyoya is introduced to three separate families- each one a possible candidate to foster him. The first pair have a eight year old girl. The second is a pair of women with no children. The third family is one old woman and that cousin, Obito.

When Fugaku, the clan head, the head of the family, asks him who he would like to live with, Kyoya looks at him as though he is unimaginably dull and says, “With you.”

This was not expected.

By the end of the week, Kyoya has been welcomed into the head family. They are wary at first, unused to him, thrown off by his habits and his mannerisms in a way that his second parents had stopped being after six years of living with it.

The woman, Mikoto, has a young son, born when Kyoya was five, and he is all grabbing hands and soft whimpers. Mikoto holds him in her arms when Kyoya walks into the room. She motions for him to meet her son, his little brother after a fashion, and he steps over to do so.

The boy is small. He is quiet. He has the tiniest hands and a soft little mouth and big dark eyes and tiny, soft baby eyebrows that are puckered up like he is constantly confused by his surroundings. Kyoya kneels down beside Mikoto, takes the infant’s hand in his own and declares, “This is my brother. Mine. No one will ever hurt him.”

Mikoto beams at him. They stop being so wary after that.

The small baby grows into something not so small but no less cute. Kyoya continues to consider Itachi to be his even as they both age and he shoots up in height and Itachi, ever at his heel, follows suit. Itachi certainly isn’t a Hibird, but he acts far more bird-like than anyone else and he is quiet. His presence is unobtrusive, which Kyoya needs.

Namimori, while larger than Konoha, was also more spread out. Everyone in Konoha lives nearly on top of each other because there are no cars, only horse drawn wagons and walking.

And yet they have fridges. And movies. Kyoya is baffled to no end.

One of the things he misses the most is his motorcycle. The only decent overlook of the entire village is on top of a cliff he must climb himself to use.

Not that he can’t do it- Hibari doesn’t indulge in a second childhood by wasting precious years of physical development to sit around and enjoy the sunshine alone. He is eight the first time he climbs the monument alone. He is nine when he carries Itachi up there with him. He is ten when Itachi follows on his own two feet.

He discovers, quickly, that anything he pushes himself to do, Itachi will soon do the same.

Itachi is, simultaneously more than and less than Tetsuya. Kyoya is reminded of this fact most sharply when Mikoto has yet another son in the summer. Sasuke is red faced and just as small and perhaps half as cute as Itachi was at the same age. Kyoya watches this newest addition to the family with a solemn expression. Itachi adheres himself to Sasuke, taking everything he has learned from Kyoya in being a protective elder brother and repeating it down to Sasuke. Except with a greater devotion, a greater concentration.

Kyoya likes Itachi because he is calming and, when he was very little, small and defenseless like a little newborn wolf cub. Itachi like Sasuke because he is, as far as Kyoya can tell, helpless and adorable and his brother. Oh. And perhaps because Mikoto looked at him and said to him, “This is your little brother. You must protect him like your big brother has protected you.”

That fall, Kyoya accepts Fugaku’s suggestion to join ANBU- to bring prestige to the clan after the minor disgrace that was discovering a maddened Uchiha clansmen had attempted to kill or at least grievously wound the Hokage and his wife and unborn child only a month prior. Kyoya does not join for honor. Kyoya joins because ANBU is where the strongest shinobi go to be broken and reforged and strengthened.

Kyoya joins ANBU because, Fukagu murmurs to him, he must garner a name that is both feared and respected if he is to ever take over the police force in Fugaku’s stead.

Kyoya isn’t sure that position is what he wants, but he does know one thing. In ANBU he can behave as a proper carnivore again.

As he always does, Itachi follows Kyoya into ANBU.

Within a year, he leaves it again- though not at his own demand.

Fugaku requests it for him, begging the forgiveness of his friend the Hokage and the ANBU commander himself. His son’s skill may be that of ANBU quality, but his temperament is more befitting a teacher than a killer.

He is forgiven and Itachi is removed from the black ops group without any fanfare.

Itachi can’t understand why his own father would do such a thing when it was at that man’s insistence that he joined in the first place- “Do not be outshone by your elder brother. You are the clan heir, you will do this.”

It is Kyoya who explains to him, patting him once on the head as he speaks with the mildest tone of humor, “If you were to throw yourself repeatedly against a brick wall, would you expect me to stand by and let you do so until you could no longer move? Or would you expect me to prevent you from destroying yourself? You have fangs, Itachi, but they are not those of a carnivore.”

When he is thirteen, Kyoya becomes the youngest ANBU captain.

His body count has already exceeded seventy, although no one is sure of the definite number. Some expect it to be much, much higher. Kyoya doesn’t bother counting those who are food for the earth.

Itachi, on the other hand, has killed only four on ANBU’s records and two of those were assisted. As a simple jounin, he doesn’t kill another soul for at least three years.

Paranoia is an ugly thing. Ambition, Kyoya thinks, is Paranoia’s wretched little sibling. Jealousy, however, is perhaps the ugliest of them all.

He finds all three of these things within Danzo Shimura and rearranges them, makes a small Kyoya shaped hole with them and slots himself into Shimura’s mind.

It is the second time that he has used his eyes to do such a thing. It is the fourth time that he steps into the head position of organization- although the first two were in his previous life and in groups that he built up himself. As he did before with Fugaku, Kyoya leaves the man as the figurehead, the boss apparent, to only report to him once a week.

Kyoya is busy, after all. He has patrols to do.

And the ANBU Commander is looking to groom him as a successor.

Kyoya thinks he just might be satisfied with that.

It isn’t easy, watching the blond boy, the reincarnation of his very best friend, run past him on a self appointed jogging circuit of the village without saying or doing anything.

It isn’t easy, but nothing in Kyoya’s life has been easy.

So he allows the boy to run past him. He ignores the declarations to be the most extreme boxing champion.

He pretends to not realize sunflames burn in those eyes- or that sky flames burn in the grey eyes of that jounin his cousin Obito trains with, the one that taught Obito about his own lightning affiliation.

Simply because they were friends and lovers before, the former sun, the latter sky, does not mean they need to be again. Does not mean that he is remembered. Does not mean that he is needed.

(They will not come for you. No one will find you. No one cares where you went. No one will remember you. No one needs you. You are here. You are going to die here. But not yet. Not yet. There’s still so much blood that you owe us, Hibari. But don’t worry. We have plenty of time. No one will ever look for you here. No one wants a demon like you.)

The village, though, the village will always need him.

The past is the past. Kyoya leaves it there to die, expects it to die.

It refuses to.

Itachi, young and gentle and an old soul in a young body- how Kyoya wants to laugh when he thinks that- is the one who holds him when he comes home, shaking violently, after his fight with Xanxus in the streets. It’s the middle of the night and Kyoya did not intend to wake his brother, did not intend to do anything but strip out of his smoke smelling, charred clothes and curl up in his bed and shake like he was a willow in a typhoon. But Itachi wakes anyway. Wakes and appears in his room with those dark, concerned eyes.

Kyoya can’t speak. There are no words for how he feels.

Itachi lays with him, holds him in his arms. Kyoya hides against his chest, the protected one for once and finds some words, at last to explain everything and nothing to his eternally patient brother.

“They were wrong. They were wrong. He still loves me, always has. They were wrong and he still loves me.”

He has no nightmares that night, wrapped up in Itachi’s arms, with the memory of Xanxus-as-Kakashi whispering “I told you I would love you forever.”

“We’re doing it this way,” Kyoya grits out with blood in his mouth, one hand full of sort grey hair and the other nearly ripping cloth in an effort to get Xanxus stripped down. “Because this is the way that I want it.”

“I had to wait longer,” Xanxus snarls back and Kyoya suppresses a shiver. This new body of his has stupid hair but fantastic teeth. Kyoya has all sorts of things he wants to do with them. The first of which is hold Xanxus’s mouth open and force him to pant like a bitch in heat.

Kyoya shudders. He is hungry for this in a way he has not felt in years. There had been too much going on in this new world, this little village, to even contemplate such behavior.

And the memories, the nightmares, of his final year alive still haunt him too much to allow him much pleasure even in touching himself alone.

“It was an equal amount of time,” Kyoya snaps back. Their strength is nearly equal. They’re closer in age, closer in body type, both built for speed and quick, silent movements. Both fit and eager and wild. Perfectly matched in a way they weren’t ever quite before.

“Oh yeah? I was immediately put into the body of an infant,”  Xanxus hisses. “You got to traipse around as an adult for, what, five years until you finally kicked the bucket?”

Kyoya’s anger curls in his gut alongside his desire. It doesn’t extinguish it, though, just kicks it up higher, hotter. He notices, absently, that his sight has picked up that extra sharp quality to it. Xanxus has pushed him so far that he has reflexively activated his sharingan.


“You died,” Kyoya pulls with one hand, forcing Xanxus’s head back, his chin up, his throat exposed. The other man struggles, trying to disentangle and stay tangled simultaneously. He hooks up a leg, but once it slips between Kyoya’s he stops trying to kick and instead industriously rubs his thigh against Kyoya’s growing erection. This does not deter Kyoya from growling at him, “Do you really think I would consent to touch anyone the way I touched you? Do you think my affection so flighty, Xanxus?”

Xanxus struggles a little bit more and then something in Kyoya’s words must have hit a part of his brain that was actually thinking because he suddenly stops cold, fingers tightening, body stilling, eyes wide with shock. “Consent to touch? Kyoya- the fuck happened-”

Kyoya shuts him up by biting his neck hard enough to bruise and cut off his words with a cry. Drawing his head back up, he looked Xanxus in the eye from only inches away. “I was the target the day you died. They found out I had lived. They hunted me. They caught me. They held me for a year. There was no information they wanted. There was nothing I knew that they needed. It was just me. I was the prize. After a year of their crude torture, I finally managed to end it.”

They lay there, tangled on Xanxus’s new bed- much smaller than the one he had in the Varia, but Kyoya likes that- for such an achingly long time. Kyoya reads every emotion right off of Xanxus’s face, right out of his eyes.

Horror- for what was done to him. Rage- that he was caught, that he was tortured. Grief- he could do nothing, had done nothing but die too early. Pain- Sorrow- Wrath again- Guilt and, finally, his expression settled on determined and hard. Xanxus wasn’t some brittle lightning after all. He was a sky.

He could take what the world threw at him and would spit in it’s face, taunting and smug, asking “Is that all you got?”

“What happened to the ones who did that to you?” Xanxus asks, his voice is cold steel.

“How would I know? I died. They lived.” Kyoya gives him an incredulous glare, “You aren’t seriously thinking about finding a way back just to kill them, are you?”

“Tch,” Xanxus mutters, “Like I would give up this life. You have to meet my father. He’s incredible.”

“I have two brothers,” Kyoya offered up, “They are satisfactory, for an omnivore and a teething carnivore.”

Xanxus laughs and the steel is gone, the rage fading into the lust again. He squirms under Kyoya.

That is interesting, the fade of his wrath, the easiness of Xanxus’s mirth. This world really has done well by him. Kyoya lessens his grip in his hair slightly.

“Right,” Xanxus purrs, rolling his hips and thigh up, reminding Kyoya there was something very interesting going on before they’d stopped to talk. “Where were we?”

Kyoya reached down with one hand, easily slipping his fingers into Xanxus’s open pants and gripping one bare cheek. “This,” he growls into Kakashi’s ear, “You were gifting this to me.”

“Damn,” Xanxus groans, “Fuck and damn. And here I forgot to put a pretty pink bow on my ass for you.”

“Next time,” Kyoya says as he rids Xanxus of the rest of his clothes with the help of a kunai, “You’ll remember then.”

Xanxus fluttered his lashes. “Kyoya-san, please, be kind. It’s my first time with another man!” he said coquettishly.

Kyoya smirked. He finished his stripping of Xanxus and knelt up so he could look down at him. This new body was tanned, scarred and beautiful. Kyoya ran a nail up the underside of Xanxus’s flush cock and his smirk broadened into a grin at Xanxus’s moan.

“Don’t worry,” He promises, “By the end of the night, I will have had your first. Second. Third. Fourth and perhaps even your fifth time.”

“Oh that I would be so lucky,” Xanxus breathed out, his voice more reverent than anything else.

For the second time, Kyoya throws his virginity at Xanxus’s feet like a piece of discarded clothing, unimportant except for the fact that he is willingly giving it to Xanxus again.

For the first time, Xanxus can finally do the same for him.

“Hey Sakumo!” Minato talks in a rush, pushing past Sakumo into his house. He has Naruto under one arm and they are both splattered with pink and orange and bright green paint, “Thank you for letting us in! I really appreciate it, you’re such a considerate friend. Certainly the best! Don’t you agree, Naruto say thank you to your uncle!”

“Hello uncle Sakumo!” Naruto shouted gleefully, “Dad and I pulled the most extreme prank on Mama!”

Minato closed the door with one hand, but did not let go of his son. Sakumo realized why when he saw that Naruto wasn’t just splattered in paint, but was actively dripping with it. His clothing as soaked. He wore no shoes at all and paint dripped from his bare feet.

“I’m so, so sorry,” Minato gasped out. “But this was the only place I could think of that Kushina might not think of right away. I’ll help you clean up the floor, I just need to get him cleaned up so at least one of us lives to pass on the Namikaze genes!”

As he says this, there’s a loud thump from upstairs. Minato blinks. Sakumo puts his hand over his eyes. “That’s Kakashi,” he says.

“Big brother is here?” Naruto asks loudly. The boy has absolutely no volume control. Nor does he have much sense because he wriggles free of Minato’s grasp, smearing more paint on his father, and drops to the ground. He scrambles under Minato’s reaching hand and when Sakumo goes for him, he turns his run into a dive and a roll to escape. “BIG BRO!”

There’s another thump from up the stairs.

“Shit fuck,” Sakumo says completely without thinking. He blames Kakashi for his language. He wouldn’t be nearly as bad if his son had a leash on that tongue. “Naruto, wait! Don’t go up there!”

It’s too late. Pink and green footsteps lead into the house and to the stairs and there’s the steady thunk-thunk-thunk of him running up the old wooden steps. Sakumo groans.

Minato gives him an apologetic look. “Well, if he wakes up Kakashi, at least we know Kakashi won’t bite his head off for it.” Which is certainly true. Kakashi has a soft spot a mile wide for Naruto, and that counteracts the monster he becomes when someone wakes him up unnecessarily. However, that is not the problem today.

“Kakashi isn’t alone,” Sakumo says, the words dragging themselves out of his mouth. “He brought home-”

There’s a shout from upstairs that sounds vaguely like “KYO-KUN!” followed by an aggravated, “WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU COVERED IN, TRASH?”

“What?” Minato asks, his voice wavering, “Do you mean- Did Obito finally-” He stops at the expression Sakumo wears- whatever it is. “Who is up there with Kakashi?” Minato asks, paint completely forgotten, eyes wide.

Sakumo runs his hand through his hair, “Uchiha Shisui.”

“You’re fucking with me,” Minato says immediately. “Please. Did you already know about the paint prank? Is that why you’re saying this? I don’t deserve this, Sakumo. That is my ten year old son upstairs with that demon-” He stops talking, mouth shutting with a snap.

Kakashi, wearing low slung pants and nothing else, appears at the bottom of the stairs. He has paint smeared over half his body, a snarl stamped on his face, and stomps over to them. “What the fuck, Dad? I could have been cock deep in my boyfriend and you just fucking send Naruto up the stairs like that?”

“First of all,” Sakumo said, “You are my son and it’s bad enough that I can hear you fucking, I don’t want to talk about it too. Secondly, Naruto heard you were home and ran up to see you himself. We,” he gestures to Minato, “ were going to take him to the back yard and hose him off.”

“Well we can add my fucking bedding to the shit that has to be cleaned up.” Kakashi grouches, “Fuck. Goddamn it.” He drags his hand through his hair and stomps off to the kitchen. Sakumo exchanges a look with Minato, who glances away from him and up the stairs where Naruto disappeared to.

“Don’t worry about the paint for now,” Sakumo says, “Seriously. We can clean it up later.”

This does not ease the worry on Minato’s expression. But he nods and goes to the kitchen, “Kakashi?”

Sakumo follows him. They find Kakashi pulling out a beer from the fridge with one hand and some leftovers with the other. His back is to them, marked up with what can only be handprints, bite marks and scratches. Sakumo tries to reconcile this with the fact that just last week his twenty four year old son showed absolutely no interest in anyone at all- not even the obviously head over heels Obito. This isn’t the first time he’s tried to do that- he’s been trying for the last two days- and it’s no easier.

It would be if Kakashi was awkward about this. In any way. At all. But he’s not. He acts as though this is the most natural thing- as if it's Sakumo who is the one who changed, not Kakashi. The absolute ease and comfort between the two is almost as alarming as the things he has heard them say to each other in the quiet of the house.

If it was just dirty talk or gossip or anything, Sakumo could just put that out of his mind. But it isn’t. It’s something else. Something strange and worrying.

Sakumo shakes his head to clear his thoughts. Later, he’ll talk to Kakashi about it later. When Shisui has finally gone home (Will he ever, though? He’s been staying the night since Kakashi brought him home.) he’ll sit Kakashi down and talk to him.

“What do you mean, bonding?” Minato asks. Sakumo’s missed part of the conversation. He blinks and refocuses on his friend and his son. Kakashi leans against the counter, chomping into a steamed bun.

“As in I introduced Naruto to his new best friend and they’re upstairs bonding and shit,” Kakashi rolls his eyes. He is young in his expressions, but old in his mannerisms. He wipes his mouth with the  back of his hand, “What? You’re looking at me like I just sentenced Naruto to death or some shit. Fuck you. Shisui won’t hurt him. I mean, not like, hurt him kill him hurt him. But when Naruto’s older and he can spar properly, yeah then he’ll probably hurt him. I wouldn’t worry, though. The kid’s got better stamina and strength and with chakra to boost him and his sun flames to make up for any slack in his natural constitution, the kid’s going to be a good match for Shisui.”

He gives a lopsided grin, half showing his teeth and all amused, “Hell, that’s half the reason they’re friends after all. They can beat each other half to death and call it training then get up and get lunch together.”

Sakumo feels goosebumps rise on his skin. He’s doing it again, he thinks, glancing to Minato who is just utterly puzzled over all of this, and worried, and shows both on his face. He’s fucking doing it again. Talking like…. Like they know each other already. Shit. He rubs his mouth with his hand, at a loss for words. How do you ask your son if he- what- remembered a past life? Was connected mentally some how? Was a fucking time traveller? Sakumo has no goddamn clue.

“Kakashi,” he says, “hand me one of those beers, would you?” Kakashi laughs, does so, and Sakumo says, “Good son. Thanks.”

Minato looks at him in confusion too and then splutters, “Is no one going to explain how Shisui and Kakashi even met? And what about Obito?”

“What about my cousin?”

Sakumo half heard a footstep and a muffled giggle, so he’s not nearly as startled as he could be when Shisui walks into the room with Naruto clinging to him like a paint covered monkey. Shisui is wearing, again, Kakashi’s favorite yukata. It is also smeared with paint.

Naruto grins at them, arms around Shisui’s neck and hands linked together. He’s ten and much too old to be clinging to anyone, much less someone barely eight years his senior, but Shisui moves as though Naruto isn’t any heavier than the clothing on his back.

“Sensei thinks that if I hooked up with any Uchiha it should have been Obito, not you.” Kakashi says, still lounging, through a mouthful of food.

“Not exactly that,” Minato rushes to clarify. Sakumo eyes him, realizing that Shisui frightens this man, the hokage. And Minato is desperately trying not to look afraid in front of his son.

Sakumo downs half his beer. He’s going to need more than that soon.

“More like… Well Obito was very much interested in you, Kakashi. I figured if you were going to respond to anyone it would be him and uh, I didn’t even know you two knew each other, let alone, ah, friendly.” Minato laughs awkwardly, “When did you two meet?”

Kakashi and Shisui look at each other and Sakumo gets the distinct impression they’re communicating entirely silently. Not just that but their expressions hardly change. They come to some decision, ultimately, and Kakashi shrugs a shoulder, “A week ago. Or so. Feels more like… what, fifty four years?”

“Fifty six.” Shisui says. “You’re twenty four, remember.”

“Yeah, yeah. It feels… well I wasn’t under ice for eight years so, that’s definitely a bonus. I’m all matured at the same time.”

“Hardly,” Shisui remarks, eyeing the beer. “In any case… Naruto and I are going out to the back to clean off the paint. When you’re done, join us.”

Sakumo wonders about that pause before Naruto’s name. It wasn’t the ‘what-was-your-name-again’ kind of pause. It was more of a ‘your-new-name-was-what-now?’

I’m going mad, he thought suddenly. Absolutely mad.

Minato makes some sort of noise of helping Shisui with Naruto, clearly alarmed, clearly anxious, clearly also covered in paint and follows him outside. That leaves Sakumo alone with Kakashi. His son. But also a grown man. A grown man who, over a single week, seems to be someone Sakumo knows only the surface of. He looks at Kakashi, really looks at him, and sees humor sunken in his son’s eyes- a twist of the lip for his smile that never fades- and realizes that he has to ask. He has to know.

He will really go mad if he doesn’t.

“So,” he says, “Fifty six years you’ve known him, huh?”

And Kakashi grins, that big broad smile that Sakumo wonders if it started on another face, first, and that this face just has a second run at it. He grins and says, “Yeah. His name was Kyoya then. But not much else has changed.”

Sakumo takes another leap, inspired by the ‘you’re twenty four, remember’ and says, “How old were you when you first met? Twenty four?”

“Yeah, about that,” Kakashi’s eyes glint with some odd mixture of pride and amusement. “He was a lot less amicable then, but the situation was completely different.” He pauses, considers something, and then adds, “I mean, I was trying to kill him and his little friends, so. Obviously there would be some tension there.”

The killing each other part isn’t what catches Sakumo’s attention (he knows a lot of ninjas that go from hating to hate-fucking to married-with-kids-or-at-least-nindogs-and-happy). It’s the age.

He remembers his five year old son, standing on the roof across from him, shouting at him, declaring them family, telling him he was the best dad in every world. Those eyes that were too old. That language that was too developed. That understanding that was too deep.

He does the simple math in his head.

“Fuck,” He mutters, “Fuck. You’re eighty?”

Kakashi laughs and sets his empty bottle with a clink. “You know that saying? Youth is wasted on the young? It’s the trashiest goddamn thing to say, Pops, but it’s more true than anything else I’ve heard.” He pushes off the counter and says, “Now, I’ve got to help my boyfriend clean up and keep him from making Sensei die of a heart attack.” He walks up to Sakumo, pausing long enough to tap his closed fist against Sakumo’s shoulder.

“Really, I always meant it,” Kakashi whispers, smiling but differently, his gaze solemn, “You’re the best father I’ve ever had. The best one I’ve ever known up close. I’m proud to be your son.”

Sakumo can’t help himself. He pulls Kakashi into a tight, spine cracking hug. Kakashi wheezes out breathless laughter and hugs him just as tightly back. “You’ve always been too damn smart for your britches,” he mutters to his son, “I’m so goddamn proud of you.”

“Hey now,” Kakashi smirks, “What kind of language is that for a father to use in front of his son! I have young impressionable ears!”

“Fuck off,” Sakumo says, doing his best impression of his son’s gruff voice, and pushes him back. “Go clean up. And make sure you don’t traumatize Minato. Or… well … I guess those other two are like you, aren’t they?”

Kakashi nods, eyes glinting, and Sakumo shoves him out of the kitchen.

It’s only after he’s gone that Sakumo looks down at himself and realizes that now he’s got paint on his clothing too.

“God damn it,” he says emphatically.

Really though, his language has certainly loosened up because of Kakashi. He should find that to be a problem, he knows, but he can’t bring himself to care. His weird eighty-but-twenty-four year old son is proud to be his son and Sakumo can’t help but remember the little boy who pulled him from his depression and valued him even when the rest of the world spat on his name.

It’s weird. It’s good but it’s weird. Sakumo can live with that.

It was early in the morning, the sun having barely risen. The grass was wet with dew, dampening Neji’s shoes as he worked on his katas. It was silent except for his breath, the swish of grass against his feet, and the very distant call of birds. All of these sounds he could easily put out of his mind, focusing on his training his body instead. It was a peaceful way to begin the morning.

It wasn’t to last.

Suddenly, Hinata appeared a few feet away from him. Turning slowly, he caught sight of her and hesitated.

Usually, when she encroached on his space this early on, she still wore her pajamas. At eleven, Neji knew she should be old enough to get herself dressed and ready for the day if she was going to wake up before dawn. She rarely did so, instead lingering in her sleeping clothes until or even during breakfast, where her father’s slight frown would, typically, spur her into changing.

Today, however, she stood fully dressed, wearing the clothing she adopted for the training sessions she attended almost religiously. She wore dark purple and black, all her clothing as dark as her hair. The most striking thing about her was the glittering silver crown sitting on her head.

All of Neji’s Hinata-tuned instincts told him she was Up To Something and he, unfortunately, was going to have to be dragged along.

Sensei will forgive me missing classes this morning, he thought, It’s almost end of term and I’m doing fine. I’ll certainly graduate well, even with Hinata interrupting me.

She knew she had his attention when he straightened up. “I saw something interesting yesterday through my walls. I want to go investigate it.” She smiled, turning on her heel, and walked towards the garden wall. They were in the private garden of the Clan Head’s house, where Neji and his father lived with Hinata and hers. Neji’s father was the one dedicated to protecting the Hyuuga princess (a burden that Neji shared on occasions like this one) since the death of her younger sister several  years ago.

Technically, according to Hiashi, Hinata wasn’t allowed out of the compound. An attempted kidnapping, the passing of her mother and the murder of her infant sister had left Hiashi paranoid about his last living child. It was the reason she was guarded by the Clan Head’s brother and the reason she was given private lessons. Unlike Neji, Hinata did not attend the Academy.

It was fortunate that she also did not want to attend, as preventing Hinata from doing something she wanted to do was as difficult as stopping oneself from breathing while unconscious.

And so it was, despite the rules that clearly stated she was to stay within the compound, Neji found himself following Hinata over the wall of the garden and then out of the compound entirely. She went over every wall with absolute ease, using just enough chakra, and landed silently on the other side.

“What was this interesting thing?” He asked, hoping it was a restaurant. He was getting hungry and had a feeling they would be missing breakfast.

“Ushishishi,” Hinata laughed, turning her head enough so he could have the pleasure of seeing the princess smile- or so she had said many, many times before- and said, “It’s a boy.”

Neji stumbled over his own feet. “What?” No. It couldn’t be. “Princess-” She was only eleven! Neji was twelve himself and he still didn’t care about girls the way his father hinted that he was going to. “What boy?”

She came to a stop at the end of a street and pointed down it. “That one.” Neji stared at her hand first, noticing that she was gesturing with one of her silver knives, before he could look at this boy.

He couldn’t be any older than Hinata herself, as short as he was. He had bright blond hair, cloth wraps on his hands and wrists and jogged towards them down the street. He wore a dark blue hoodie and loose pants with a bandana around his forehead to keep the sweat from his eyes.

Blue eyes, Neji noticed as he came closer. Bright blue eyes, tanned skin, short blond hair- Neji knew this boy. It was the Hokage’s son.

The boy came to a stop a few feet away. He was breathing deeply, sweating, but not quite out of breath. “Hello!” He said cheerfully, “How are you this extremely good morning?”

Hinata grinned widely. Neji noted that this was a happy-to-see-you smile, not one of her say-hi-to-my-knife smiles. The hint wasn’t in her eyes, which were covered by dark bangs and thus hidden from sight, but the way she clapped her empty hands together excitedly. Her knives were away again. A good sign.

She laughed, that distinctive ushishishishi laugh of hers and the Hokage’s son, what was his name, Naruto?, stared at her. His eyes nearly bugged out of his head. This, for some reason, made Hinata even more pleased. She promptly opened her mouth and began to speak.

In absolute gibberish.

That Neji had never heard before in his life.

She’s gone mad, was his first thought. And then, to his utter shock, Naruto only grinned back at her and responded. It sounded like the same gibberish- which had to be some language they both knew.

Either they’re both crazy or I am, Neji realized as the boy gesticulated wildly with his fists, shouting in excitement as he spoke that other language to Hinata.

Has she been secretly meeting him this whole time? Who taught her that language? Does Uncle know? Does Father? What do I do? Should he try to separate them? No. That was a terrible idea. Hinata was excited looking as she spoke to Naruto. The only way to remove her from this situation would be to put her over his shoulder and run. That would leave his back vulnerable to her knives and Neji had no intention of enduring that again any time soon. Those knives were damn sharp. Besides, Neji liked all his blood being on the inside of his body.

Ok, so I just have to protect her while she’s with this boy. I can do that. He gave himself an encouraging nod. She’s safe as long as I’m with her. He gave another nod, making a fist in determination. If Naruto was the only interesting thing outside the compound this morning, they’d be headed back soon enough. Neji had seen the boy often enough around the Academy. He was loud and repetitive, going on about his weird extreme sport with a fixation that most of the other students put to being a ninja. You know, like one does when they attend an academy for training to become a shinobi.

Given enough time, Hinata would tire of the boy and-

Neji blinked.

He looked around, slowly. His heart began to race.

He stood, alone, in the middle of the street.

Neji swore.

Sakumo was quite used to his front door banging open at all hours of the day and night. Kakashi had the oddest sleeping hours. One was just as likely to hear him stomping up to his room in the middle of the afternoon as they were to hear him doing the same in the wee hours. Shisui, who had definitely moved in as far as Sakumo was concerned (He never brought boxes of things, no, but his clothes were there and he had taken over half of Kakashi’s bathroom and his minions, and fuck they were definitely fucking minions, came and went as they needed to), had just as irregular hours although his sleeping was just as likely to happen on the couch as it was up in the bedroom. Or out in the yard or on the porch and once Sakumo had found him napping on the roof.

Ever since Shisui had arrived, Naruto was in and out even more than usual- though he didn’t get the privilege of staying the night. But he was there every day after school to spar with either Shisui or Kakashi (or Rin or Obito, if they were around) and spend time with his elder brother. Even on the days where Shisui or Kakashi and his team were away on missions, Sakumo could find the boy in the backyard, practicing on his own.

Of course, Rin and Obito had had access to the Hatake residence since they’d been put on Kakashi’s team- though it had taken until they were chuunin for them to become used to that. They were often over to meet up with Kakashi and train, have lunch, or meet up in the evening before they went out together. After missions, Sakumo could find the three of them on the pull out couch, sometimes bleeding, often just exhausted and filthy.

That hadn’t changed, even with the onset of Shisui. Though Sakumo never saw the other Uchiha join the pile, he had caught him, once or twice, nearby, watching over them as if there was hidden dangers even within Sakumo’s own home.

Sakumo himself tried to keep a regular schedule, but sometimes a mission ran him home in the middle of the night. He slept when he could and did his best to keep the kitchen stocked- not just with ingredients but with made food saved for later. He never cooked just for himself anymore, or even just for two people. Meal times might be regular, but the attendees weren’t always.

So it was with a roll of his eyes and the addition of a few more eggs to the scramble he was already making that Sakumo welcomed Naruto and his new little friend, Hinata, for breakfast. The girl was cute, he thought, with a big broad smile and a little tiara in her hair.

He poured the scramble into the frying pan and asked, “Are you sure you’re old enough to have a girlfriend, Naruto? That body of yours is only eleven.”

The little girl laughed, a distinctive ushishishishi sound that made the hair on the back of his arms stand on end. He tried to ignore that. Shisui had given him the same feeling more than once the first few days he was around. Sakumo had gotten used to that, he would get used to this too.

The girl spoke to Naruto in that other language - Italian, Kakashi had told him, as though it wasn’t a big deal- and then Sakumo knew for sure. She was like Naruto, like Shisui, like Kakashi.

An adult from another world, reborn into a child, into this world, to live again.

Sakumo hadn’t really believed in reincarnation before. He had figured once one died their energy, their essence, returned to the earth and that was passed on after a fashion. But this? This was totally different.

He didn’t know why these four had been born this way (maybe they were chosen? But by who, or what?) but he couldn’t deny the proof when it was right in front of his face.

“Just because I brought a girl home doesn’t mean she’s my girlfriend,” Naruto said, a touch more serious than Sakumo expected. He eyed the boy. Kakashi had given him some of the details of his own life (mafia assassin what the fuck) but had insisted that the others would share their own lives, or not, as they wanted to. So Sakumo had no idea how old the boy had been before, but he had gathered the boy had had a little sister. The way he reacted on the topic of women -incredibly compassionate and understanding towards them, as well as fiercely protective and instinctively supportive- hinted to the fact and, when Sakumo had asked, he had confirmed it.

(“Her name was Kyoko,” Naruto said with a little smile, looking at the wall unseeingly. Sakumo paused in clearing the table of dishes, looking at the boy’s expression. It was wistful and, Sakumo had to admit, a little heartbreaking. “I hope she’s doing all right. I hate that I just… left her behind like that. But I’m sure she’s staying strong. Kyoko is incredible.”)

“Besides,” Naruto added, grinning like a little boy again, “Bel likes girls. Don’t you, eh?”

“Actually,” Hinata said, still grinning. She was playing with a thin silver blade while she waited for breakfast. Sakumo tried not to keep an eye on that, but it was difficult. Raised arm hairs. Cute but slightly creepy girl in his kitchen. The way he couldn’t see her eyes. Yeah. She was going to take some getting used to. “The princess has always liked men or women. Just because the prince dated a woman before doesn’t mean the princess will do the same.”

“EH?” Naruto’s jaw dropped. “But you- And Kyoko!”

Sakumo glanced up from the eggs. What was this now? Past life drama? He should tell Mikoto about it- she loved those soap operas so much. She’d get a kick out of this.

“Yes,” Hinata shrugged, “But I died. I can’t be with her while I’m here and she’s there. And I’m not going to sit around waiting for her, who do you take me for?” She smirked, broad and sly, “The boss?”

Ah, she meant Kakashi. That’s right, he hadn’t just been a mafia assassin (seriously, what) but had been the boss of other mafia assassins. (Apparently one of whom being this girl.) Well. It made sense. Kakashi was very, very good at assassination. Even with those flashy guns of his.

A banging at the front door interrupted the kids. Sakumo frowned. “Naruto, would you mind getting that?” Someone knocking meant either an irregular visitor- one who knew they’d be up at this time but not sure if they were welcome inside- or a stranger.

“Sure uncle!” Naruto hopped down and trotted out of the room.

Slowly, Hinata turned her face towards him. She grinned. Sakumo looked at her evenly. He would not be intimidated by an eleven year old girl- even if she was an assassin in her former life. So what? Technically, Sakumo was an assassin in his current life! He smiled back at her, “What would you like to drink, Hinata-chan?”

Suddenly her smile took on a completely different feel, warm instead of biting, and she bounced in her seat, “Milk!”

“All right,” He fetched some for her and poured a cup for Naruto as well. Milk was fine to have at breakfast.

“Uncle!” Naruto came bounding back into the kitchen, “Dad and some weird boy is here too! Should I set extra seats?”

Sakumo did a rough estimate- had he made enough scrambled eggs for two more people? He was still expecting Kakashi to wake up and join them, or at least Shisui to drift in and eat breakfast. “Sure Naruto.” Kakashi probably won’t mind waiting for him to cook again, if he needs to. Or he might simply head out and get breakfast on the town. “Who is this weird boy?”

“Probably  my cousin,” Hinata said with a laugh.

A moment later, Minato walked into the kitchen, ushering, of all things, a Hyuuga boy in before him. “It’s quite all right,” Minato was saying, “See, Neji-kun? Naruto is harmless! And he brought Hinata-san here to a very safe place! Right? Sakumo? Your house is very safe.”

Sakumo considered this for a long, long moment. He looked first from Naruto -a boxing ex-mafia assassin, to Hinata -probably a knife wielding ex-mafia assassin, before considering himself -one of Konoha’s finest, even if not one of her most popular- and then Minato. Who was the Hokage. Add the Hyuuga prodigy boy, one Sakumo had heard quite a bit about, and he gave a little nod. “Currently, my house is indeed very safe. The safest it has been in a while, actually.”

Minato looked grateful. The Hyuuga boy frowned and quickly went to stand behind Hinata’s chair. She laughed and flicked her knife through her fingers. “Princess,” Neji said, “please do not run off like that again. It was fortunate that I was able to find you so quickly, but you could have been in danger.”

“Ushishishi,” Hinata reached up and pat Neji on the cheek. “Naruto-kun wouldn’t have let anything hurt the princess! Not after she went and saved Kyoko-chan’s life!”

There was a beat of silence, filled with Minato clearly about to question this, Neji’s general confusion, Naruto’s expression becoming serious. It was cut off by the sharp whistle of the tea kettle. Sakumo took it off the heat and said, “Minato, Neji-kun, please have a seat. Breakfast is almost ready.”

“I couldn’t-” Neji began quickly.

“I’ve already had breakfast,” Minato said apologetically. “I’m only here because Neji-kun came to find me when Naruto took off with Hinata-san without him. Which,” he turned to Naruto, “You need to not, ever do that again, son. Neji is supposed to watch out for and protect Hinata-san. If you’re going to go with her somewhere, you must make sure that he comes along too.”

Naruto blinked but nodded, “Sorry Dad. I just got excited. I wanted Hinata to meet Big Bro.”


“What the fuck kind of shitty party is this?” Kakashi asked loudly as he stalked into the kitchen. His hair was tousled, his pants slung low on his hips and immediately after his question he yawned so widely his jaw cracked. “Who brought all these fucking kids over? Sensei, isn’t your brat too young to be in a genin team?”

There wasn’t any warning for what happened next. Hinata went from sitting calmly in her seat to standing, one foot on the table, as silver knives flashed out from her sleeves, into her hands and through the air at Kakashi. She laughed as she did it. Sakumo saw instantly her skill with the weapons was beyond what any eleven year old should have. At least, any Konoha born child- maybe a Mist brat would have had that kind of bloodlust.

“Princess!” Neji exclaimed.

“Hinata-san!” Minato started, reaching for her. Naruto lurched over, grabbing his father by the waist and preventing him from stopping her.

Kakashi, on the other hand, met Hinata’s laugh with a feral grin of his own. He dodged most of the knives and got nicked by one or two as he surged forward. Sakumo saw the twitch of his hand as he reached for a gun at his hip, but there was nothing. Instead, he snatched a knife out of the air to arm himself.

He grabbed her by one wrist, first pulling the arm wide and then using it to twist her around. He dragged her off the chair and back towards himself, his other hand putting the shining blade to her throat. He spoke low, in Italian, right into her ear. Hinata’s grin didn’t drop, didn’t change in the slightest. She just snickered in response to his words.

Kakashi pressed the knife in. A line of blood appeared on her neck. Neji shouted again, but before he could do anything, Hinata spoke, “You’re the boss, boss.”

Kakashi lowered the knife. “Seriously, brat,” he shoved her aside. Hinata caught herself easily, brushing off her shirt with a smirk. “You’re fucking lucky Shisui wasn’t here to see that.” He flicked her forehead and then flipped the knife around, hilt first, to give back to her. “And don’t fuck up my dad’s kitchen anymore. Knife play is for outdoors only. This house has been in my family for generations and I’m not gonna have any shitty little fucker like you fuck it up. Got that?”

“Sorry,” she said, clearly not sorry at all. She dropped back into her seat and turned a beaming smile to Sakumo. “Can I have my milk now?”

Today was the official opening date for the chuunin exams.

Kakashi loitered in the Hokage’s office, leaning against one of the thick paned glass windows with his arms folded over his chest. He stared out over the village, his eyes picking up on the familiar dark shapes of Shisui’s modified, ah, Disciplinary Committee.

(“This place isn’t ready for Foundation, yet,” Shisui had murmured. It was the middle of the afternoon and he was using Kakashi’s thigh as a pillow. “Shimura’s people are good replacements for the Committee but they don’t have the self-motivation to be Foundation members.”

“Don’t rush it,” Kakashi replied, stretching out in the sunlight. “We have so much time. We’re only twenty six. Well I am. Whatever.”

“It will happen when I need it to happen, no sooner, no later.” And that had been that.)

They still wore the ANBU masks of before, but with a modification. All of them were bird masks, with the differences coming in color and the symbol etched into the forehead of the mask. A smile tugged at the corner of Kakashi’s lips as he saw Shisui’s Flock spread out over the village to keep an eye on all the visitors.

A thump from the desk brought him out of his thoughts. Kakashi rolled his eyes and stepped up to the Hokage’s desk. Minato sat with his elbows on the desk, his hands on the back of his head and said forehead on the solid wood. Slowly, he lifted his head up and dropped it back down. “I’m an idiot,” he said.

“True, Sensei,” Kakashi said with a smirk. “But how so this time?”

Minato groaned. “The Mizukage and the Kazekage are both headed up here. Right now. At the same time.”

Kakashi blinked. “Wait. What? I thought that you were going to-”

“Yes. Yes,” Minato said, “I was supposed to pick which one to meet first but I never did. I couldn’t pick, Kakashi,” his head popped up suddenly, his expression conflicted between worry and regret. “I mean, if I picked Rasa, then Mei would have been offended that I chose him over her, right? She’d think I thought he was more important, which, I mean, we’re allies so that make sense. But! If she’s serious about the alliance she wants with us then wouldn’t it be best to meet her first?”

“And if you do that then Rasa will be affronted that you picked her over him,” Kakashi said, sighing heavily. “...I thought you made your decision about who to meet last week. What the fuck were you doing, Sensei?”

Minato glanced down at his desk. “Naruto was asking help for training… And you know I don’t get to spend much time with him since he became a genin…. Obito has them out doing missions all the time!”

“Yeah, because he wanted to get their asses in gear for these stupid exams.” Kakashi said. Really, field promotions were so much simpler. That’s how he’d become a chuunin himself, after all. Of course, those only happened during war and, well, Minato was not only anxious to prevent war but pretty damn good at doing so. “So what’s the problem with greeting them both at the same time? Equal treatment, equal respect. Sounds like the right solution.”

“If only,” Minato groaned. He let his head hit the desk again with a thump. “If only it were Mei and Rasa, perhaps that would be fine, but haven’t you heard about Mei’s right hand? That man has some sort of grudge against Rasa. If I put them in the same room and one of them starts some shit, what am I going to do?”

“Nothing, duh,” Kakashi said. “Fuck, sensei, don’t be an idiot. This right hand man won’t cause any trouble and Rasa will play nice too. Why? Because fucking Shisui is going to be here too. If they pull any shit he’ll bite them to death. They know that, it was in the documentation. They have to abide by the rules of Konoha if they want to be here.”

Minato was quiet for a while. Then, slowly, he turned his head and peeked up, “Kakashi, you won’t leave me alone with Shisui and the kages, right?”

“Goddamn it, sensei,” Kakashi kicked the Hokage’s chair. “You’re such a fucking child about this shit. Where the fuck else would I be? Someone has to keep Shisui from snapping. He hates crowds and he hates annoying herbivores most of all.”

Minato laughed weakly. “I always forget about that…” He sat up, rubbing at his face. “He does know that I’m a Kage, right? What kind of Kage is an herbivore?”

“All of them, as far as I know.” Kakashi shrugged. “He hasn’t met one that isn’t, though this will be his first time seeing the new Mizukage.”

“Well, I guess we’ll find out soon enough,” Minato said, “They should be here any-”

There was a muffled shout from the other side of the door as well as a loud thump and another sound that could only be the clash of metal to metal. “Fuck,” Kakashi said, whirling away from the desk and flashing to the door. Minato, more agile than all his desk sitting would suggest, vaulted over said furniture and was right on Kakashi’s heels.

They burst from the Hokage’s office to find a fight already starting in the hallway. Front and center was a tall, extremely blue man with long hair held back in a high ponytail. Though he had a massive sword strapped to his back, it was a much smaller blade that he held in his hand. He held it with two hands, holding back Shisui’s tonfa with his sword. Behind him was an incredibly attractive redhead that Kakashi took to be Mei, the Mizukage. Behind Shisui was Rasa, the Kazekage, who had his arms folded across his chest and an unfathomably smug look on his face.

It was the first time Kakashi had seen either kage in person, though he had corresponded or had been the scribe for Minato a few times when writing to the Kazekage. Immediately, the man’s expression rubbed Kakashi the right way.

“Shisui,” he asked, keeping his tone light. Pressuring Shisui now would only result in a lot more damage than this stalemate, “Do you care to explain why you’re attacking a blue man in the hallway?”

Shisui turned his head just enough to side eye Kakashi. His eyes were burning with the sharingan. “He drew his weapon on the Kazekage. While within Konoha, both visiting Kages are under my jurisdiction. Any who dare threaten them shall be bitten to death.”

There was a heartbeat of silence. Kakashi heaved a great sigh, about to say something, when the blue man suddenly acted. He drew back, shifting from an aggressive posture to a defensive one, “What the fuck did you just say?” He asked, eyeing Shisui- though not eye to eye. So blue man knew the sharingan was dangerous. At least he had that going for him.

“Tch,” Shisui lowered his arm, with obvious regret. The stress of the chuunin exams had gotten to him too. Kakashi knew he was itching for a fight, had been sparring with Kakashi more aggressively over the last few days, but nothing would cure his bad mood until everyone had gone back home and stopped crowding his village.

“He said put your weapon away,” Kakashi said mildly, “As a gesture of goodwill, Konoha has ensured the protection of both the Kazekage and the Mizukage while they are wihin our walls.”

“Not that,” the man said with a snap of sharp, sharklike teeth. He still had his sword out, still eyed Shisui suspiciously, “Did you just threaten to bite me to death?”

This time, Kakashi caught the look on Rasa’s face. Curious, suspicious, no longer smug. He was leaning in as if he needed he answer to this as well.

“Please don’t mind that,” Minato said, attempting to diffuse the situation, “Shisui just, ah, he likes to say that. It’s like a catch phrase?” He looked around, desperate to find a peaceful solution.

Mei cleared her throat, “That’s quite enough, don’t you think, Kisame? We came here to speak with Minato-sama and Rasa-sama. I don’t think a hospital room is very conducive to negotiating.”

“You’d be surprised,” Kisame muttered. He put up his sword and eyed Shisui some more. Shisui eyed him back, lowering his arm, but keeping his tonfa out. Kakashi, on the other hand, met and held Rasa’s gaze. The man was looking him over slowly, his eyes lingering on the feathers Kakashi wore and the guns tucked into their holsters at his hips.

Minato gestured for people to enter and Mei went first, Kisame hot on her heels. Rasa approached, still eyeballing Kakashi.

He couldn’t help it. Kakashi leered at the man, giving his body a full look over himself. Unremarkable in almost every way, from his boring hair to his plain face to his average body type and size. He held still, making Rasa have to walk close to him to get through the door, and said as he passed, “Go on, keep ogling. Making my boyfriend jealous always ends well for men like you.” And then he gave a pointed look to Shisui, who watched with red eyes from the hallway.

Rasa laughed nervously, “No, no. I’m not- I was just thinking… You look like someone I used to know.”

Kakashi opened his mouth to respond. Then his brain caught up with his ears and he ended up gaping at the man.

It had an accent, as though Rasa hadn’t spoken the words in so long he couldn’t pass for native anymore, but that was definitely Italian. Out of the corner of his eye, Kakashi saw Kisame jerk to a stop and turn around.

“Yeah?” Kakashi replied after that long silence, “Who is that?” He too spoke in Italian, much more familiar to him since he’d kept it up his whole life.

Rasa’s eyes widened. His gaze flicked to the feathers in Kakashi’s hair and then back to his face. “You look good without the scars, Xanxus.” He gave a little quirk of his lips, “If only your father could see you now.”

Oh that was very unhelpful. Kakashi narrowed his eyes, trying to figure out just how old Rasa was. When was he born? If Kakashi could figure out-

“Sawada, are you fucking serious?” That was the blue man, Kisame, also in Italian. Kakashi didn’t even look at him, though, because Sawada and older than me clicked in his head to shift right into.


Sawada Iemitsu.

Was the fucking Kazekage.

Who the fuck put this asshole in charge of anything ever?

“You’re kidding me,” he said flatly. “You’ve absolutely got to be fucking with me.”

Distantly, Minato called out his name. They were still standing by the door, Shisui watching, Kisame walking over. Kakashi didn’t care, couldn’t care.

“Ah. Afraid not,” Rasa said with a little smile. He scratched at the back of his head, and Kakashi saw it then. That was Iemitsu in there, certainly.

He was torn between attempting to kill him himself (Fucking Iemitsu had gotten off so light, too light, for all the shit he pulled before) and grabbing him until his teeth rattled in his head because what the fuck. Kakashi ended up doing neither one of those things because the Mist nin was on him then, grabbing him, by the shoulders and spinning him to stare at him.

“Xanxus?” Kisame said, and there was hope in those strange eyes, hope written all over his face. “Boss? Is that really you?”

Kakashi was on a goddamn roll because it clicked here too. Swords, shark like appearance, that long ass hair -though he had it tied up, not loose- and that strangled voice so fucking familiar even with the different sound. “Squalo?” he whispered, afraid to be wrong, “Is that you?”

Squalo had always been an ugly crier and it was no different in this new body. His whole face screwed up tight, tears streaming down his cheeks, and he hunched his shoulders. Kakashi blinked hard, again and again, to get the tears out of his own eyes. He stood, numb, as Squalo- er- Kisame pressed his forehead against his shoulder and cried.

“Shit,” Kakashi whispered. He brought his hands up and first just set them on Kisame’s shoulders. And then, all at once, he was pulling him into a tight embrace, “Fuck. Fuck. Where have you been all this time? Squalo-”

He was aware, distantly, that people were staring but he couldn’t give a fuck. At least, he didn’t until Shisui stepped up and pressed a hand against his back. He spoke low, in Italian as Kakashi and Kisame had been, “You two go to an office and pull yourselves together. I will stay and maintain the peace.”

Kakashi wiped at his face roughly, “Shisui-”

“I will not say it again,” came the steely reply. Harsh as his tone was, though, Shisui’s gaze was gentle. He ushered them out of the Hokage’s office, still huddled together, and went in, closing the door behind them.

Kakashi tried to dry Kisame’s tears. It was pretty much impossible, though. “Fuck, you’re such a mess,” he said, though his own voice was wavering. “What the hell. You’re not supposed to be such a crybaby.”

“I thought I’d never see you again,” Kisame said, pressing his face against Kakashi’s hand. His eyes were screwed shut, but that didn’t stop the tears. “And here you fucking are. What the hell, Xanxus? Do you know how long I’ve been waiting? How long I’ve been…”

“Alone?” Kakashi asked, because he had to. His heart ached in his chest. He had found Ryohei and Kyoya and even Bel- but Squalo-

He had only known about Iemitsu, it seemed. And what a shitty deal that was. “Hey,” he said, “Hey, I’ve got just the thing that will cheer you up.”

“What?” Kisame sniffed.

Kakashi grinned, “Come back to my place for a spar, just like old times.” He pat the gun at his side, “If we’re lucky, Pops’ll be around. He’s a hell of a swordsman, Squalo. I’ve always wanted to see you against him.”

Kisame’s eyes grew wide and he nodded emphatically. Then he jerked to a stop, “I… I’m here with Mei, I mean the Mizukage. Xanxus, I… I haven’t been idle, just waiting for you to show up. I’ve been preparing for you. Or at least… I thought I was.”

“They’ll be in there for a couple of hours. Minato likes to talk and Shisui will make sure that everything goes fairly for everyone.” He shook Kisame slightly, “Please? I want to introduce you to my father. He’s… god, Squalo, if he’d been my dad before, everything would have been different.”

“Yeah,” Kisame nods, smiling. And his teeth, Kakashi notices for the first time, really notices, are sharp. Shark sharp. He grins back, showing more of his own canine like teeth. He has his best friend back.

With Squalo at one side and Kyoya at the other, there isn’t anything Xanxus can’t do.

The table is absolutely crowded and not just with food. Sakumo had to drag in the chairs from the back porch to sit everyone and even then, the table is so small that shoulders touch and elbows bang all over the place. No one seems to mind, though, because the atmosphere is full of laughter and jokes, conversations being held in his own language and that of the one Kakashi brought into the house.

Sakumo carefully balances the two dishes on one arm, carrying a pitcher in the other, and feels more like a waiter or butler than anything else. That is, until Kakashi flashes him that proud, happy grin of his and Sakumo just feels like an immensely proud father.

It’s the night before the chuunin exam finals and everyone’s back in the village, finally. Obito’s sporting a healthy tan from the beaches to the south where he and Sasuke had been training. Anko and Rin are practically in each other’s lap, with little Hinata, still as adorable and as devilish as ever (some things don’t change, and that girl’s love of her knives is one of the absolute certainties in Sakumo’s life), right up next to them. They were her teachers for the month before the finals, though he has no idea what they taught her or where they went.

Even Naruto is there, though Sakumo feels a little guilty about keeping the boy from his parents on such a big night. But he wanted to be with his team and with Kakashi, who had been his personal sensei for that month away.

And what a strange month that had been- certainly one of the longest times he’s been without his houseful of people, without his son around. Kakashi took Naruto out into the mountains and even Shisui had gone after them, though he’d come back a week before. 

Shisui and his other cousin, Sasuke's elder brother Itachi, are the quietest pair at the table, but are no less happy than the others. Itachi's smile, though small, is constant. Shisui, sitting at the edge of the group to be as far from the crowding as possible, has the air of contentment that Sakumo can only compare to a smug alpha wolf looking over his healthy, happy, feasting pack. 

The newest addition to the famiglia, as Kakashi called it, as his fellow, ah, born-again friends called it, was the former Mist nin, Kisame. He’s huge, almost brutish in his size and strength, but Sakumo has had the pleasure of fighting him, sword against sword, honor against honor, and has found nothing wanting in Kisame. And he is undyingly loyal to Kakashi.

Sakumo takes away empty dishes and makes sure that Hinata gets the milk she likes and Anko gets her dango and Kisame gets that salmon dish and keeps an eye on Naruto, who has been attempting to drink Kakashi’s alcohol all night. He’s busy, bustling to keep everyone happy and to feed all those hungry mouths.

He doesn’t think he’s smiled this much in months. His face is beginning to hurt and he’ll be exhausted after dinner but that’s fine. Kakashi will make sure the dishes get done by someone and the group will spread out to enjoy themselves and relax before the big final tomorrow.

Sakumo catches Kakashi’s gaze again and his son grins again. He lifts his cup and shouts, “To the best dad in every world! To my famiglia, back and better than ever! To team seven! May you kick all the fucking ass tomorrow and do our family proud!”

The room shook with the cheering and Sakumo lifted his voice in a shout as well. He can’t imagine a happier moment in his life- though he’s certain, with the way thing have gone so far, this is only the beginning.