Kakashi opened his eyes to a blurry scene before him. He first noticed Guy staring out the window, but for some reason he looked older, like a lot older. Then, he saw Tsunade. She looked the same as she always had, but that wasn’t surprising considering who she was. But he had no idea why she was there, she hadn’t been in the village in years. Next, he saw two people he didn’t recognize. One was a blond guy with a jounin uniform, which was strange since Kakashi had no idea who he was.
The other was a pink haired woman in a doctor’s coat. He assumed she must be his medic, but he hadn’t seen her around before. Kakashi reasoned that it was probably because he avoided the hospital like the plague. She was the first to notice he was awake and she walked over to him with a relieved smile, “Kakashi, you’re awake! Thank kami, I was beginning to worry.”
She sat on the edge of his bed and Kakashi pulled away from her when she reached towards his arm. Why was she acting so familiar with him? But she didn’t seem to mind or notice and continued, “You know, you’ve been out for days since Guy and Naruto brought you back.”
Kakashi looked at her confused, “Naruto?” Who the hell was Naruto?
She gave him an odd look and glanced at the blond guy, “Yeah, Naruto. Remember he went on your mission with you and Guy?”
Kakashi thought back to his mission and shook his head at the medic, “Um, no, I don’t. It was just me and Guy. I don’t even know him.”
The blond guy, Naruto apparently, stepped towards the bed, “Oh come on, Kakashi. I know you got your ass handed to you and I had to save you, but that’s no reason to pretend I don’t exist.”
Kakashi narrowed his eyes at him, “But I don’t know you. And I didn’t get my ass handed to me. Guy and I just had a little trouble with the bandits that attacked us on our way back from the Land of Lightning.”
Guy was walking over to him now, too. His bushy eyebrows pulled together, “Land of Lightning? Kakashi, we were returning from the Sand.”
Kakashi chuckled and tried to get up from the bed, “Very funny, Guy. Don’t try and confuse me. I know what mission I was just on.”
Kakashi was pulling the sheets off of himself when the medic put them back and pushed him back towards his pillows. He glared at her annoyed and she looked back at him surprised. She set her jaw and asked him, “Kakashi, what mission do you think you were just on?”
Kakashi glanced at Guy before telling her, “I can’t disclose that.”
She huffed, “Yeah? Well, who can you disclose that to?”
“The Hokage,” He answered in a bored tone. What was with this medic?
“Sandaime,” Kakashi answered confused. Why was she asking him who the Hokage was?
Her eyes widened and she looked to Tsunade. Everyone was looking at him strangely now with a panic in their eyes. It annoyed Kakashi. What was going on? They all stared at him for a second, but then all their eyes seemed to land on the medic who was still looking at him with a shocked expression.
“What’s going on?” Kakashi asked, looking to Guy since he was the only person he really knew.
Tsunade took charge then, speaking in an authoritative voice, “Alright, Guy, you and Kakashi go over your mission details. Then, we’ll decide where to go from there.” She rose an eyebrow at Kakashi, “Is that alright? You can talk to Guy about it, can’t you? Since he was on the mission with you?”
Kakashi nodded respectfully, remembering Tsunade’s fierce reputation as a sanin. The room cleared, except for Guy. Kakashi noticed out of the corner of his eye that the medic looked back at him with a broken expression before someone tugged her through the door. Why did she look so scared?
Sakura pounced on Tsunade as soon as she stepped into her office where her and Naruto were waiting for her. After Kakashi talked with Guy, Tsunade asked Guy to explain what all he had said. But she hadn’t wanted Sakura to hear, because the mission was classified after all and she didn’t have the clearance.
“What did Guy say?” Sakura stood up from her chair. She had a small hope in her chest that Kakashi was just a little confused, but a part of her was telling her that there was more to it.
Looking at Tsunade’s worried expression, she knew she had feared right and she confirmed, “Kakashi has amnesia.”
“What’s the last thing he remembers?”
Tsunade looked at her sadly and answered, “A mission with Guy from…sixteen years ago.”
Sakura felt the strength of her knees give out and she would’ve fell to the floor if Naruto hadn’t reached out and caught her. Everything felt fuzzy and there was a sharp pain in her chest, but she tried to keep her mind clear.
“Sakura-chan, it’s going to be okay,” Naruto told her softly, helping her back into her chair. He turned to Tsunade, “Right, baa-chan?”
Tsunade closed the door to the office as she replied in a somber voice, “It might be. The mind’s a very tricky thing, Naruto. Kakashi could remember in the next five minutes. Or it could take weeks, months, years. Or…”
Sakura finished, staring off into the distance with her hand over her mouth in case she started sobbing, “He could never remember.”
Naruto looked back in forth between them, “What? No, that can’t be! He needs to at least remember Sakura!”
Sakura put a hand on his shoulder, “He doesn’t have any control over it, Naruto.”
Tsunade’s heart broke at the sight of her apprentice. Sakura must be going through so much, but she was still trying to put on a brave face and she couldn’t be more proud of her. Tsunade cleared her throat, “Well, I suggest you go look over him yourself. Unless you would rather me –“
Sakura stood up, “No, it’s fine. I want to do it myself.” She took a deep breath before walking out of her office with Tsunade and Naruto following behind.
“Did you tell him he has amnesia?” Sakura asked Tsunade.
Tsunade shook her head, “No, but I think it would be best if Guy told him.”
Sakura swallowed with a nod, “I do, too. Since Guy’s all he has right now.”
They stepped into Kakashi’s room with Guy, who had been waiting by the door for them. Kakashi looked up at them, looking both confused and on edge, “Will somebody tell me what’s going on? Did something happen with the mission after I got knocked unconscious?”
Sakura shook her head and stepped towards the bed. She went to sit next to him, but decided against it and stopped at the foot of his bed. “Nothing went wrong with the mission, Kakashi. But Guy’s going to explain something to you and I need you to stay calm.”
Kakashi gave her a strange look, but nodded. Sakura looked away from him as Guy started talking to him. She couldn’t stand having him looking at her like he had no idea who she was, like she was just some random medic. It was making her stomach twist painfully.
It took some convincing to get Kakashi to believe sixteen years had passed. But when Guy had told him to open his left eye and Kakashi found out his sharringan was gone, he was more convinced. Kakashi was overwhelmed and they were all wondering how much to tell him and how slowly to do it. Guy had only told him another war had passed and that Tsunade was the Hokage now.
Sakura’s hands were hovering over Kakashi’s head and her chakra was examining his brain. If there were any obvious injuries, then healing them might fix the problem. But Sakura had already healed him to the best of her abilities when he was brought in and she found nothing new. Kakashi looked up at her when she was finished and asked, “So, who are you? We must be friends, right? You act so familiar with me.”
Sakura didn’t meet his eyes as she answered with a smile, “Oh, we are friends. My name’s Haruno Sakura. Naruto and I used to be students of yours. About fourteen years ago.”
Kakashi nodded, leaning back against his pillow, “I guess that makes sense. But I really had students?”
Sakura forced a chuckle, “Yup, your first and last students. You almost didn’t pass us.”
“My bell test is very hard to pass,” Kakashi replied and she could see a small smile beneath his mask. But it was nothing like the ones he usually had.
Naruto cleared his throat behind them, “Sakura, can I speak to you outside?”
Sakura stepped away from Kakashi reluctantly, knowing exactly what Naruto wanted to talk to her about. She smiled at Kakashi, “I’ll be right back.”
After she closed the door, Naruto grabbed her hand and pulled her down the small corridor. A few paces away and he stopped. He gave her an incredulous look, “Friends? You used to be his student? Sakura, what the hell?”
Sakura met his eyes with determination, “And you’re not going to tell him anything different. Got it, Naruto? No one is.”
Naruto’s face fell, “Sakura, you’re married. How can you not tell him?”
“Naruto,” Sakura looked down at her feet, a few tears escaping her eyes, “Look, Kakashi may never remember me. And I’m not going to force him into something that he doesn’t even remembering choosing. The Kakashi now is very different from how he used to be sixteen years ago.”
Naruto still tried to argue and he grabbed her shoulders, “But Sakura, Kakashi loves you.”
She looked up at him, more tears streaming down her face, “I know he does, Naruto. And I love him back. But the Kakashi in that room didn’t fall in love with me, okay? He needs to adjust to the way his life is now and I’m not going to throw in a wife he doesn’t even know in to the mix. If he somehow finds out, then great. But I’m not going to tell him until I think he’s ready and that may be never.”
Naruto looked away from her and she could tell that his eyes were glossed over. He cleared his throat after a minute, “Okay, Sakura. I understand, I guess. This is your decision.” He looked back to her with a grin, “Is there anything I can do?”
Sakura wiped at her face and nodded, “Yes, Kakashi still has his old apartment for his own reasons that I don’t have the time to explain. I need you to go over there and hide anything that’s related to me. Pictures, clothes, and whatever else. There shouldn’t be much. And then, go to our house and grab all of his things. His clothes and his weapons.”
Naruto nodded and ran off to do as she told him after giving her a quick hug. Sakura took a deep breath and wiped away any remaining tears. When she walked back into Kakashi’s room, he looked up at her expectantly. His eyebrows pulled together when he saw her appearance, “Is everything alright?”
Sakura smiled at him, “Yeah, everything’s fine.” She wondered exactly what to do with Kakashi. She didn’t want to overwhelm him with a lot of new information, but he did need to know some things. He would just get very confused otherwise.
She leaned against his bed, “Well, Kakashi, I think it’s best if you slowly learn about the past. If you try and absorb it all at once, it’ll overwhelm you.”
Kakashi shook his head, crinkling his eyes with a smile, “No, I’ll be fine. I can take it.”
Sakura met his eyes searching for a warmth that used to be there when he looked at her. She bit her lip and looked away when she didn’t find it. His expression was so emotionless, hiding his honest feelings away. His smile was fake. It made Sakura sick to see him acting like that around her. He was always so open with her, even before they got together when they were just friends after the war ended.
Sakura looked back at him after a second with a frown, “As your medic and your friend, I’m telling you, you can’t. And we’ll give you information in chunks.”
Kakashi met her eyes, obviously annoyed at her telling him how it was going to be. But he sighed, looking out the small window, “Fine.”
Sakura wondered how long she could keep him here, before he tried to leave. She was sure his hatred for hospitals was still there, it didn’t seem like he was ever going to grow out of it, even today. Even with all of Naruto’s shadow clones, he still needed at least an hour to get Kakashi’s apartment ready for him.
“I’m going to keep you here for a couple more hours, run a few more tests, then I’ll walk you home,” She told him, knowing there wasn’t any more test for her to run.
Kakashi scoffed, “I don’t need you to walk me home. I may have amnesia, but I’m a grown man.”
Sakura rolled her eyes, “Yeah? Well, big macho man, during the war, most of the village was destroyed, including your old apartment building. You live somewhere else now.”
“Oh,” Kakashi replied, looking away from her.
“Yeah, oh,” Sakura chuckled. She stepped forward to ruffle his hair, like she always did when she thought he was adorable. But she stopped herself with her hand awkwardly in midair. Kakashi gave her an odd look, raising his eyebrow in question.
Before she could come up with an excuse, Tsunade saved her, “Well, Sakura, let’s go over some details about Kakashi’s case and run those tests. I’m sure Guy won’t mind keeping him company for a while.”
Guy grinned with a nod, “Of course, my lady Hokage! I will stay by my dear rival’s side in his time of need!” He shot her an award-winning smile and a thumbs up.
Sakura laughed lightly and looked at Kakashi, “At least some things never change.”
Kakashi chuckled, giving her a more genuine smile than before, “Guess not.”
Sakura stepped out of the room with Tsunade and they walked back to her office. When they got there, Tsunade went over to her desk and opened the bottom drawer. Before Sakura could ask her what she was looking for as she rummaged around, Tsunade pulled out a bottle of liquor with a grin, “Ha, I knew this was still here from when I was the head medic!”
Sakura rolled her eyes as Tsunade looked around for some cups. After pouring Sakura some sake in one of those triangular shaped paper cups, she met her eyes with a sad smile, “So, you’re not going to tell him, huh?”
Sakura took a long drink, emptying the small cup and held out her hand for more, “No, and I don’t want anyone else to either.”
Tsunade nodded, “Got it. I’ll make sure everyone knows not to.”
“Thank you,” Sakura told her, taking a smaller sip this time.
“What if he never remembers?” Tsunade asked her, leaning back against the desk.
Sakura collapsed into her chair, looking down at the wedding ring that sat happily on her left hand, “I don’t know. But right now Kakashi doesn’t even know me and if I were to tell him, he would just push me away and we won’t be like we were before anyway. I know him pretty well to know how he’ll react.”
Tsunade frowned and looked down at her cup before looking back to Sakura, “I’m sorry that this happened, Sakura.”
Sakura tried to give her a smile, “There’s not anything you can do, shishou.”
“I wish there was,” Tsunade told her seriously, “But even if we were to try, the brain is so delicate, anything could happen.”
Sakura sighed, “I know.”