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Icha Icha Love

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Kakashi folds his spindly legs beneath him as he slides down to his knees in front of the Monument Stone. It's Sunday at sunrise, which means he starts his week the same as he's done for the past 15 years: self-flagellation.

He can hear Obito scowling and he's pretty sure Minato-sensei would be sighing right now. He's certain Iruka would be upset if the teacher knew Kakashi had that thought, but this is something the jonin must do. It's his ninja way.

His failures have the cost the lives of many and the world is a darker place because of it. It's his responsibility to acknowledge what's been taken and forever lost. The session begins based on emotion instead of anything logical.

Uchiha Obito's death meant the loss of a true friend. The first of many. Nohara Rin was the next friend to fall on Kakashi's sword. Technically, Minato-sensei's death was due to the demon fox but if Kakashi had been stronger, faster, better.

He shakes his head of the thoughts, pushing that notion into the recesses of his mind.

Without them, the young jonin had to face loneliness on a grand scene he wasn't prepared for. After a childhood of relying on himself, Kakashi's entire worldview twisted in on itself when Minato-sensei and his team taught him what it was like to have comrades he could trust, people he could love. To lose his team so suddenly, so swiftly, one after the other. It had caused a great deal of distress to Kakashi.

But this exercise isn't about him, it's about the world.

Obito would have been the kind of ninja that toppled empires. Rin, with her budding medical expertise that could have rivaled Tsunade, would have saved thousands. And the less thought about Minato-sensei, the better.

Kakashi exhales once and redirects his thoughts to the Konoha shinobi memorialized on the stone in front of him.

Ooka Emiri was a young chunin when she was assigned to an escort mission. It should have been a simple C-Class assignment and it would have if Kakashi hadn't been chasing a rogue Konoha jonin.

Arakida Raijin had stolen confidential documents from Sandaime's office and Kakashi had been tasked with retrieving them and eliminating all traces of the theft, especially Raijin.

Their battle raged far too long and Emiri had the misfortune of walking into a clearing full of fresh craters. Raijin saw an opportunity and tried to hold Emiri as collateral - her life for his. The words had barely tumbled from his lips when the chunin had stabbed the foe with a poisoned senbon. The move cost her her life, but it had slowed Raijin down enough for Kakashi's Chidori to finally hit its mark.

Days after Emiri's death, Kakashi investigated her life. She wasn't a particularly strong fighter but her jonin-sensei believed Emiri had a real talent for botany and poison-making. There's no telling where her skills could have led her but Kakashi knows it would have been onto exceptional work.

The next casualty he thinks of is an unknown victim. The jonin had been trailing a suspected Iwa assassin hiding out in Sand territory. When his cover had been blown, the Stone nin had used civilians as shields.

Many of them died, including a small teen, no older than 12. The Iwa scum plunged a kunai across the boy's throat and used the blood to summon a horde of vicious bears. They weren't ninken, just mindless beast hungry for carnage. Kakashi completed his mission using an advanced-level sand jutsu that sucked most of the summons and the Iwa nin into a sandy grave.

It was only when he went through the boy's scare belongs did Kakashi find the crossed-out Waterfall hitai-ate. He was a genin who fled the shinobi life, a boy who didn't want to die by a ninja's hand so he sacrificed everything to escape.

There's no limit to the possibilities of what that boy could have become. A civilian with chakra training, however little, could have become a protector for an entire village.

If Kakashi was a cruel man, he would have laughed at the irony. Instead, he returned to Konoha and craved a single line down the stone, a mark for an unknown ninja dead because of Leaf Village ineptitude.

The sun has risen enough to cast an uncomfortable sheen of sweat on the back of Kakashi's neck. He ignores the discomfort; he's a trained shinobi - he's survived more than just sun. Trailing a pale finger down the chilly sable stone, Kakashi lets his mind return to his self-inflicted punishment.

The next nin to pop into his mind is Jiraiya-sama. The death of one of Konohagakure's infamous sannin shook the ninja world. Kakashi had mourned for the fantastic man, but in truth, he bemoaned the unfinished Icha Icha Icha series more. Jiraiya-sama had just released the second part of a trilogy and Kakashi knew the white-haired man had planned out the conclusion. But now the story will never be finished.

Kakashi sighs and lets a wave of shame crash through him. A legend died and he's lamenting shitty erotic. He looks up, estimates that he's been here for about an hour and decides to call it a day. Normally he spends anywhere from two to three hours at the stone, but Iruka has been dropping subtle hints that Sundays should be spent together.

Between his missions and Iruka's never-ending responsibilities, they rarely get time together. With his mind made up, Kakashi taps two fingers to the sleek black obelisk and teleports away.