#1 Kakashi Hatake
summary: a thousand miles from your homeland and with nothing left of your old life except your katana, your best friend, and the name that's been tattooed to the inside of your wrist since you were born, you come to realize that Konohagakure is more than just a place of refuge.
PLEASE READ: it is important to know that for this au, i hc-ed that Minato and Kushina did die in Kyubi Attack on Naruto's birthday, but when Hiruzen left Naruto in the orphan system and then in the apartment by himself, the Uchiha Clan (re: Mikoto) pretty much said, "we're taking him in to honor our dead friends and if you have anything to say about it, you can talk to Fugaku's mangekyō" (don't look too closely at the logic here or else i'll break out into a rant about all the ways the massacre could've been averted) we’re also pretending that Hiruzen and Danzō already kicked the bucket pre-Konoha Crush but after Kakashi was assigned to teach his three terrors
word count: 4,266
part seven / extra one
[set three months after the events of part seven]
The marketplace in the eastern civilian sector sold the best vegetables.
It was something you’d come to know intimately over the course of the last few months, between Yūta’s bullheaded stubbornness about not wanting to go to grocery shopping and the litany of tips and recommendations you’d gotten from your newfound comrades, neighbors, and – dare you say – friends.
Though, you’d gratuitously welcomed Rin’s help above all others with the self-assigned solo mission you were on right now. She’d been not-so-subtly dropping hints about Kakashi’s favorite foods for weeks, and when you’d finally gotten the memo, she’d tracked down at least a dozen different recipes for you to try your hand at making.
Prior to coming to Konoha, you’d never been that much of a meal prepper, making a bad habit of relying on food rations and energy pills while Sora toiled away in burning half the food he came into contact with. Yūta had been decent at cooking, but somehow meal making had just never become something neither of the three of you had cared much for or really given a damn about since there had been plenty of restaurants and yatai in the capital that you didn’t really need to depend on your own abilities for it.
Now Yūta was practically getting daily kicks – and the odd projectile frying pan aimed toward the face when he laughed just a little too hard – out of watching you burn your fingers and ingredients as you tried to learn. You’d picked up on a few tricks though, whenever Aoba came over and tried to not wince at the charcoal remains on the stovetop.
You turned from the seller you’d just bought miso paste from and turned in time to see Sakura whack Naruto over the head, his shouting having startled her.
“Ow,” Naruto grumbled, but you chuckled as the trio made their way toward you through the market’s pedestrians. A large bag hung from Sakura’s shoulder, but the young girl didn’t look put off by the weight of the groceries within. Sasuke, on the other hand, looked a bit pink in the cheeks as he resituated the bag on his shoulder.
“I thought Kakashi had you three practicing suiton jutsus today,” you said by way of greeting, patting Naruto’s head when he tried peeking at your groceries in the linen bag you had over your own shoulder.
“He left halfway through the practice, so we did too,” Naruto informed you, the scars on his face stretching as he grinned at you.
Your brow furrowed – Iruka had told you Kakashi would be with the genin for most of the day today, leaving you ample time to attempt to make dinner before Kakashi was supposed to come to the apartment.
“Obito-sensei stole him,” Sakura spoke up, no doubt having noticed the furrow in your brow. “I think he lost his genin team in the north woods.”
Sasuke huffed, “I don’t know why the Hokage gave him genin.”
“Because Obito-sensei is awesome!” Naruto beamed, pulling on the hem of your shirt. “I once saw him burn an entire field with one breath – it was so cool!”
“I could burn an entire field,” Sasuke sniffed.
You saw Sakura biting back a laugh as she said, “But Sasuke, that bush at the Training Grounds –”
“I lit it on fire!” Sasuke interrupted, dark brows pulling together as his cheeks reddened, and his chakra signature flared with embarrassment.
“You lit a leaf on fire,” Naruto mumbled, and yelped as he dodged Sasuke’s swinging fist, using you as a barrier between him and his teammate.
“Okay, okay,” you raised settling hands even as you tried to not laugh at their antics. “I’m sure you’ll be burning entire forests one day and putting Obito to shame, Sasuke-kun.” The boy huffed again, but his signature thrummed with something a bit like pride as he no doubt imagined it. “Were you three given a mission?” you asked, gesturing to the bags that they each held onto, though Naruto’s was less bulky than the others’.
“Nope!” Naruto chirped, fiddling with one of his pockets before he thrust out a wrinkled strip of paper toward you. Through his fingers, you could make out cabbage, carrots, and katsuobushi written in a script that definitely did not belong to any of the three genin in front of you. “Kaa-san sent us out to pick up her groceries!”
“Mikoto-san is making dinner for us tonight,” Sakura said, and you didn’t miss the excitement in her voice. From Obito, you’d heard that his aunt’s cooking was incredible, and threats of withholding it had the power to tame even Obito’s rowdy cousin, Shisui.
“Kaa-san is making yaki udon,” Sasuke added.
Naruto tried peeking into your bag again, “(Y/N)-san, what are you making for dinner?”
“Well…” You winced a little, at your own expense, “nasu dengaku is the goal.”
Naruto stuck his tongue out, “I hate eggplants.”
“Baka!” Sakura kicked him in the leg. “It’s not your dinner!”
Sasuke rolled his eyes, “You don’t like anything that isn’t ramen, dobe.”
Naruto puffed up, argument clear on his face, but you gave him a soft pat on the head, and he hesitated, looking up at you. “Maybe Yūta can take you to lunch this week, Naruto,” you said. “Ramen is his favorite food too.”
The boy’s eyes went wide, and Sasuke’s insult was wholly forgotten as he shrieked, “Shishō-sama likes ramen too?”
You bit back the instinct to snort at the genins’ nickname for Yūta, bestowed upon him when they first decided to gang up on him and demanded that he teach them kenjutsu, and he’d given them a resounding no, not until they were chūnin – if only to buy himself time before your soulmate made his kids Yūta’s problem. That didn’t, however, stop them from following him to the Training Grounds or begging him for demonstrations whenever they could.
“You know, naruto is his favorite topping too,” you added slyly, already smirking as you imagined Yūta getting dragged down the street by the boy in front of you to the nearest ramen shop.
You might as well have just told the boy Yūta was going to personally teach him everything he knew starting tomorrow – Naruto’s eyes were as wide as saucers and the grin on his face was the brightest that you’d ever seen it.
“Shishō-sama is so cool!” Naruto yelled, shaking Sasuke’s shoulder. “He likes naruto – I’m Naruto!”
“Shishō-sama doesn’t like you, dobe!” Sasuke snapped back, trying and failing to pry Naruto off of him. “He likes fishcake!”
“Not much of a difference,” Sakura mumbled, making you laugh.
You reached to ruffle Naruto’s hair and Sakura’s, and then set a light hand on Sasuke’s shoulder as you rescued him from his blond teammate’s manhandling. “Alright you three, I have to get going, but make sure you get back to Mikoto-san before you crush her groceries.” You gave a pointed look to the cabbage leaves you could see sticking out of Sasuke’s bag, looking a bit worse for wear.
Sakura followed your line of sight and squawked at the crumpled leaves, bemoaning, “Not the cabbage – Sasuke!”
“Bye, (Y/N)-san!” Naruto shouted over Sasuke’s bickering with Sakura, and you gave the trio a backward wave as you set off toward yours and Yūta’s apartment. As you slipped through the crowd, you noticed a pair of dark haired shinobi standing not too far from the genin, each wearing the Police Force uniforms. The older of the two was distracted by Kakashi’s genin, amusement clear on his face, so only Itachi gave you a nod of greeting as you passed, to which you returned before you leapt up onto the roof of the nearest building and began to sprint.
It was your nerves’ saving grace that Yūta had left the apartment hours ago with Aoba, or else you probably would’ve set more than just an eggplant on fire if you had to hear his teasing coupled with your own panic.
Thankfully, you’d thought ahead and bought extra eggplants just in case, and the part of you that had always competed with Yūta and Sora for most of your life couldn’t help but feel smug about the plates in front of you. The miso glaze was a bit thick, but otherwise, the nasu dengaku looked more appetizing than anything else you’d concocted in the kitchen for the last month.
A glance at the clock mounted in the living room made you yelp, and you darted toward your bedroom, tearing off your uniform as you went.
Obito had warned you time and time again that Kakashi was notoriously late to anywhere he was expected to be – point proven by his tardiness to Raidō’s arguably entertaining birthday dinner – but since the very first time you’d met with him after that night, he hadn’t been late once.
Actually, you realized belatedly as you pulled a simple black shirt over your head, Kakashi was almost early every time you had these…dates with him. You’d agreed to try to have a meal together at least once a week when you could, between the A and B rank missions you were sent on and the C and D rank missions he took the genin on, and while the time together had at first come in moderation and with Yūta’s intense scrutiny acting as some kind of implied chaperone – it’d taken him two and a half months to get over the balcony railing incident – now whenever you and Kakashi were both in-village, there was less time that you didn’t spend together.
It made you smile slightly to yourself, as you slipped on a pair of shoes and then made your way back into the kitchen. You made quick work of picking up the plates and, when you were absolutely sure you weren’t going to drop them – Yūta would never let you live it down – you shunshinned to the roof of your apartment building.
You and Yūta had commandeered the roof, in a way, from the civilians that lived on the lower levels of the building. They mostly stored some boxes covered with tarps and you’d seen the odd bicycle, but it was mostly left empty, and they’d had no qualms in accepting the small table Yūta had brought up to the roof, and the two chairs he’d set around it.
It was on that table that you set down the plates, and, no sooner had you done so, you Sensed a spike in chakra behind you. You whirled around and swallowed the urge to outright grin at the sight of your soulmate.
He did smile, however, lips creasing his mask as you stepped into him, hugging him around the waist as he settled his arms over your shoulders and set his chin on your head.
“You’re late,” you said into his chest, teasing.
He squeezed you a little bit and then leaned back, enough to press his covered mouth to your forehead in a brief kiss before he replied, “Never for you.”
You couldn’t wholly contain the contented laugh that left you as you backed up. He was wearing his usual black standard uniform long sleeve and pants, the twin Uzumaki spirals like red brands on his biceps. He’d forgone his weapons pouch, but his brace of kunai was still strapped around his thigh, and his hitai-ate was pulled low over his left eye.
“You look tired,” you said once you’d looked him over.
His hands at your waist remained there as he shrugged slightly. “Obito had the bright idea to commission the Uchiha’s ninbyō to help him teach his genin how to track,” he told you, “so they’d taken the team farther than they were supposed to go, almost to the next town before we caught up with them.”
You blinked. “Obito commissioned the Uchiha’s ninbyō,” you repeated slowly, “to teach genin tracking?”
What you could see of Kakashi’s expression told you his initial reaction had been about the same.
You snorted and shook your head. “Are the genin okay?”
A short nod. “Exhausted and a bit chakra depleted, but I think they were just happy that we found them,” he replied, and then added dryly, “Obito hasn’t taught them survival skills yet.”
“Oh gods,” you muttered. Maybe Sasuke had a point.
Kakashi kissed your forehead again before he made to sit down in one of the two chairs. You knew he was smelling the dinner when he inclined his chin, head tipping to the side. It was something you found funny, once you’d spent enough time to pick up on his cue – he always smelled his food before he ate it. Out of inborn impulse or shinobi instinct you weren’t sure, but having a keen nose was something he’d told you about his clan a handful of weeks ago, when you’d finally worked up the nerve the ask him why he wore the mask.
Too many smells in the village, he’d said firstly, and you’d let the matter lie until he explained that he’d worn the mask for long enough – been through enough with it on – that not wearing it felt wrong. Uncomfortable.
“Did you –” His brow furrowed as he looked at the plates. “Did you make this?”
Immediately, you went on guard, crossing your arms over your chest. His tone wasn’t rude, or disbelieving, but…
“Yes,” you answered, watching his face for any degree of reaction.
He only blinked and then frowned as he looked toward you. “I would have brought you something if I’d known you were making dinner.”
Three months you’d known this man, and as much time as you spent with him, he still threw you off base at times. Not once had he underestimated you or made you feel as though he found you inadequate. When there was a gap in something you didn’t know about Konoha or its policies, he was patient to explain, and though you hadn’t fought with him to any degree as you had the night you chased him over the rooftops, he never doubted your ability to complete missions or made you feel like he thought he was more skilled than you.
Come back to me; those were his only parting words whenever you left the village without him.
“You –” You paused, and then laughed a little. “You brought yourself – that’s enough.”
He looked skeptical, but as you sat down across from him, you nudged his foot with yours.
“Question,” he said, and you looked at him, waiting. It was a system you’d come up with the first time you’d met with each other after Raidō’s birthday dinner as a way to get to know each other. It’d originally been a game, lobbing questions back and forth at each other and learning his favorite restaurants, and colors, and books, and then culminated into becoming an understood Serious Question, meant to be answered honestly – or passed up, if the answer wasn’t yet comfortable give. “Why did you make nasu dengaku?”
“Rin told me it was your favorite food,” you replied, propping your chin up on your hand. “It’s also getting cold, by the way.”
Kakashi blinked and then looked down at the plates. “At least now I know why Naruto warned me about eggplants.”
You raised an eyebrow as you picked up your chopsticks. “You saw Naruto?”
Kakashi nodded as he cut into one of the halves of the eggplant you’d put on his plate with his chopsticks. “I put him on Obito watching duty when I dropped the idiot off at the compound.” You snorted and didn’t miss Kakashi’s smirk as he continued, “I also heard that Naruto is apparently Yūta’s favorite?”
“Oh no, no,” you shook your head, checking yourself from eating your food and instead waiting for Kakashi to take the first bite. “I told him that Yūta would take him out for ramen soon and that his favorite topping was naruto, not Naruto-Naruto.”
Kakashi chuckled, raising the first bite to his face as he replied, “You might want to clarify that before there’s a mutiny, and Shishō-sama is torn into three pieces.”
You did him the respect of looking at your plate when he tugged his mask down, but couldn’t stop yourself from glancing up again, breath caught in your throat when you heard him make a noise.
His mask was up again, but you could see the restraint in his posture as he chewed the food slowly, almost like he was forcing himself to.
You frowned, “It’s bad, isn’t it?”
Kakashi did you the service, at least, of swallowing the food instead of spitting it out.
“It’s not bad,” he answered carefully, but you could Sense the discomfort in his chakra signature as he spoke. “It’s…” You waited. “…sweet.”
“Too much sugar in the sauce - no wonder it looked thick,” you groaned and dropped your head with a sigh even as you felt your face begin to heat with embarrassment. “I’m so sorry, Kakashi. I’ve never really been a good cook, but Rin kept saying you liked to cook so I tried and –”
Your garbled apology abruptly ended with your soulmate’s hand over your mouth, effectively silencing you. Kakashi was on his knee in front of you, one hand on the table and the other set over your face, a small smile showing through his mask. Your face heated for a different reason at his closeness, your fingers gripping the fabric of your pants as Kakashi withdrew his hand, only to put it on top of your thigh, over one of your own hands.
“The first time I tried making nasu dengaku, I put too much miso in the sauce and not even the ninken would eat it,” he said, his fingers slotting through your own, “and I burned the eggplant the second time I made it.”
You gave him a measured look, embarrassment abating. “I thought you said you were a child prodigy.”
He raised an eyebrow. “And that automatically means I know how to cook?”
At his sarcasm, you smiled, somewhat comforted. “Rin told me you used to make dinner for them when you were a team.”
Something darkened in Kakashi’s expression, and his fingers went stiff around yours, but then he blinked, and old grief was gone, swept back to whatever corner the shadows had peeked from.
“I did,” he replied, and then paused, as if debating on whether to keep speaking. You stayed quiet, letting him have the space to decide – “Before Obito’s…accident, during the war, I was in charge of making our meals when we could make afford to make a fire. Minato-sensei would catch birds or fish or sometimes rabbits so we wouldn’t only be eating the soldier pills and ration bars.”
Minato-sensei. It wasn’t the first time you’d heard Kakashi speak the man’s name. He’d gone still as a deer the day you’d looked up at the Hokage Monument and made an offhand comment about the resemblance Naruto bore to the Yondaime Hokage, and after he’d shunshinned with you to the privacy of his apartment, you’d learned why, exactly, Naruto Uzumaki lived in the Uchiha Compound. It had also explained the double chakra signatures you’d Sensed that day in Naruto, when he’d nearly overwhelmed Yūta’s katana, and Kakashi had grabbed your wrist to stop you from realizing the boy was a jinchūriki, not yet knowing that you were a Sensor.
You reached out, setting your hand over Kakashi’s face and drawing his attention fully back to you, out of the years past when Naruto’s parents were alive, and he didn’t yet believe himself to have failed to protect his loved ones. These things you’d learned about him slowly and weren’t about to force him to think about when he wasn’t ready to talk about them.
“I bet Obito would’ve burned the whole camp to ash if he’d been in charge of dinner,” you joked, and Kakashi’s expression lightened as he let out a soft laugh.
“There’s a scar on Rin’s ankle from him flinging coals around when he dropped a pot into our campfire,” Kakashi answered wryly. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen him look more pathetic after groveling to her for hours for her forgiveness, as if she was even mad at him in the first place.”
You laughed, thumb brushing over Kakashi’s masked cheek as you did. “I think I’ve only heard about Rin being mad at you.”
Kakashi hummed, turning his face slightly into your hand. “She’s gotten a few good hits in over the years.”
You decided not to mention the clipboard he got to the back of the head three weeks ago when he came back injured from a mission and Yūta had dragged him to the hospital – to Rin – before you’d even realized Kakashi was in the apartment.
You are so not bleeding out on my already shitty carpet, Yūta had snapped at your soulmate before shunshinning.
Kakashi suddenly stood up, pulling you up with him as he set his hands at your waist.
“What’re you doing?” you questioned, glancing down at your abandoned and too-sweet dinner even as your hands found their place on your soulmate’s chest.
“There’s a yatai near my apartment that serves tonkatsu that I think you’d like,” he answered, but then hesitated. “Unless you wanted to go somewhere else?”
You raised an eyebrow even as you chuckled. “That put off of by my cooking, Hatake-san?”
His nose curled under his mask at the formality, but he replied, teasing, “Only by your attempt to poison me with sugar, (L/N)-san.”
You tipped your head back and laughed, feeling the warmth of Kakashi’s hand on your back and Sensing his contentedness as he held you.
“Death by sugar would be the way to go, don’t you think?” you joked, looking back at Kakashi, but the breath caught in your throat when you saw that he’d tugged his mask down, the fabric now hanging around his neck as he stared at you, his left eye just hidden by the edge of his hitai-ate.
Slowly, you reached for his face, tracing the line of his jaw with your fingers, and cupping his cheek with your opposite hand. You felt the tension in his shoulders ease as you brushed your thumb over the bottom of his scar, where it peeked from beneath his hitai-ate.
“I don’t think I’m ever going to get over how handsome you are,” you breathed, fingers curling against his hair line as you studied his face.
He held you closer, keeping his hands at your waist as he let you touch him. “That’s how I feel when I look at you.”
You chuckled and touched the tip of his nose with your thumb. “Ever the charmer.”
He smirked, and you felt his cheek press into your palm as his lips pulled back to show the edges of his sharp teeth. “Only for you.”
He reached for your left hand, and you let him pull it from his face and tangle his fingers through yours. His gaze never left yours as he raised your wrist and pressed his lips against it, kissing his name there and sending bolts of heat through you as you watched, heart thumping in your chest.
“Wha–” You cleared your throat, suddenly at a loss for breath. “What’re you doing?”
He smiled against your wrist before he set your hand on his chest and returned his hand to your waist. “Thanking you for dinner.”
“Oh,” you exhaled, feeling like the only thing keeping you from melting into a puddle on the roof was his intense stare on your face. “You’re, um, welcome.”
He leaned closer and you shut your eyes as he pressed his lips to your forehead. It was such a familiar feeling but also foreign at the same time, the gesture always done before with the mask to act as a barrier. Warmth spread over your face as he pulled back, his hair gilded by the setting sun to the west.
“You know,” you mumbled as he tilted his face closer again, “the kids think that I still haven’t seen your face.”
Kakashi chuckled, a low sound in the back of his throat as his lips ghosted over yours. “As long as they think they still have a chance of seeing it first, they’ll stay on task when we spar.”
You started to smile, but Kakashi slanted his mouth over yours and you forgot all else, fingers curling in the fabric of his shirt and in the soft tufts of his hair as he held the small of your back and the side of your face. Again and again he kissed you, his tongue sliding along your bottom lip, and making you feel as though electricity was skittering up your arms and down your back as he swiped his thumb over your cheek and pulled you impossibly closer.
Falling in love with him, it was the easiest thing you had ever done. Every moment that you spent with him was bliss like nothing else, incomparable to any other kind of relationship you’d had, his meaning to you tied to something beyond bonds like friendship or camaraderie – to your very soul instead. You felt for him in a way where it was simpler to die than to begin to try to explain how much you cared for him, how far you would go to see him happy and at peace. His love was precious to you, more valuable than anything else, and you felt it in his actions and the way that he looked at you and spoke to you.
You were his equal – his soulmate – undeniably and wholeheartedly.
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Hiya! I doubt this will ever be completed, but for a while there I was writing an Obito-has-amnesia-and-turns-into-a-cat!AU. :D Here's the first chapter.
(send me a 📕 and I’ll send you a snippet of or idea for wip!)
It was night and there was pain. Pain, and fear, and — and a place that felt wrong, familiar yet not, buildings that were too large and streets that he saw from the wrong angle, and a body that didn’t obey him, that felt like his head was too far forward, simultaneously more and less stable than he was used to.
He didn’t know how long he’d been here, wandering these streets in the night, ducking away from the occasional footsteps and people that were huge; how had they become so large?
At last he reached a building that looked more familiar than the rest. He looked up, and up higher, and eventually saw an apartment window that called to him, although he had no clue why.
He leapt and stumbled against the wall and fell back down to the ground. And then, narrowing his eye at the wall, ran again and leapt, and yes, now this he understood, shaping his energy on the wall, so that he could run up it vertically, although he stumbled as he ran, uncoordinated with this unfamiliar body.
He reached the balcony he was seeking and went to the window; looked through; saw a shuriken-patterned bedspread.
He needed to get inside, but he didn’t seem to have hands in the regular sense, and there was no way to try and raise the windowpane.
He needed to get inside.
He pressed his body against the wall and felt his body stumble through the wall, and then he was in the room, with no idea how he had achieved this bizarre feat.
This room was far too big for a person, just like the world he had wandered through was also unnaturally large. He jumped onto the bedspread and curled up, and put his head in his hands, and smelt something familiar and comforting, and stayed there, not sleeping, still afraid, still completely fucking unsure about what had happened to him and where he was and who he was.
When morning reached the room, a face appeared at the windowpane. A man with silver hair and a cloth mask covering his mouth pressed his face against the window, and closed his eyes, and looked weary.
He remembered one thing, then. A name. This person was Kakashi.
It was just past dawn when Kakashi returned from his mission. He nodded tiredly to Kotetsu and Izumo at Konoha’s gates, who barely glanced at him, sitting with half-lidded eyes sipping their hot coffees that made swirls of mist in the brisk morning air. Then he took to the rooftops, because although he barely had enough energy to shape chakra to support his leaps across the tiles, he had even less energy to suffer through conversations with perky early morning risers (Gai, who made regular laps around the village at this time, was sure to draw him into a conversation and attempted contest, and although he normally enjoyed contests with Gai, he just couldn’t. Not today, after a week-long mission. After this week-long mission).
He reached the balcony outside his apartment window and leant his head against the window for a few moments, closing his eyes, trying to summon the energy to undo his barrier seals.
From inside his apartment, he heard a dim yowl.
Kakashi flicked his eyes open. On the other side of the glass, standing on the shelf that ran alongside his window, was a cat.
Had he come to the wrong apartment by mistake?
Kakashi looked around; checked the number of floors up and across. No, it was definitely his apartment.
He looked back through the glass. Yes, it was definitely a cat.
Why was there a cat in his apartment?
Gaining some energy through his curiosity, Kakashi released his barrier seals and opened the window, “Hello,” he greeted the cat from outside. “How did you get in here?”
The cat looked balefully at him and yowled again.
Kakashi slipped through the window into his apartment and turned to eye the cat again. It was big for a cat; bigger than Pakkun, although smaller than all of Kakashi’s other ninken. Is fur was mostly black, but there were lines of white along the right side of its face and dirty white patches across the right side of its body. It also only had one eye: a plain black one that was also on the right side of its face. And—
Kakashi sniffed the air and frowned. Then he looked closer, eyes now seeing through the dark fur what he had been able to smell easily.
The cat had been bleeding. There was matted blood on its neck, on its side, and even on its tail. He couldn’t see any sign of open injuries, and couldn’t see it favouring one side, but it had clearly got into some trouble recently to be covered in blood that hadn’t properly dried yet.
“What happened to you?” Kakashi murmured. “You look worse than I do coming back from a mission.” He reached out a hand — and then pulled it back quickly when the cat hissed at him and swiped out with a paw, its tail spiking up and all its fur standing on end.
Kakashi didn’t speak cat, but even he could tell that this was the Panicked, Aggressive pose.
Kakashi started at the cat and the cat glared at Kakashi.
Slowly, when the cat could see he wasn’t going to try again, its aggression lessoned, with its tail twitching down.
“I don’t know how I should help you,” Kakashi said to it eventually. “I’m a dog person, not a cat person. And all the dogs around me tend to just tell me what they want, in human language. Can you speak human language?” It wasn’t a completely stupid question. If the cat could get through his barrier seals, then maybe it was a Summon.
The cat meowed, then started, seeming a little surprised. It meowed again, then growled.
“No human language, then,” Kakashi observed.
The cat yowled again, sounding greatly dissatisfied.
“Can I — can I please touch you?” Kakashi asked. “To check whether you have injuries?”
It was probably a bit much to assume that a cat could understand him, but the only animals he’d interacted with recently were his ninken, so he wasn’t used to speaking to animals in any other way.
The cat looked at him for few moments, then took a tentative step closer.
Kakashi took that as a “yes” and reached out a hand slowly. The cat looked at him warily, but didn’t attempt to move, and then Kakashi was gently touching the blood matting the fur around its head, and then the rest of its body, searching for open wounds.
“You’re not injured,” he told the cat eventually. “You should be, though. You shouldn’t have healed this fast if you have this much fresh blood on you.” He snorted. “Unless you managed to kill something without gaining an injury to yourself and rolled around in their blood. But there’s too much blood to be a small creature that I’d expect you to catch. And somehow, you don’t look the type to kill a human.”
The cat shivered.
“So, why are you covered in blood without a scratch on you?” Kakashi asked.
All the cat could do was meow again.
Kakashi scratched it between the ears as he thought through this second curious occurrence, and blinked in surprise as the cat’s head twisted up to press in the direction of his fingers.
Aggressive, but also affectionate?
He really didn’t understand cats.
“Can I get the blood off you?” Kakashi asked the cat. “I know that cats aren’t supposed to like baths, but you would like to be clean, right? And you can’t exactly lick all of this off yourself.”
The cat didn’t respond, so he picked it up with both hands under its belly, and then quickly dropped it when it yowled again and scratched his arm with its claws. The cat fell, its limbs flailing wildly, and although it was only a metre from the ground it wasn’t able to land properly; it flopped onto the ground on its belly with one paw crunched underneath.
“That was a fair bit less elegant than I would have expected,” Kakashi observed, rubbing the new scratch on his arm with a wince.
The cat meowed again, stumbled to its feet, and looked angrily at him.
“If you don’t want to be picked up, then follow me,” Kakashi said mildly, and turned toward his kitchen sink.
Two steps in, he felt the cat jump somewhat ungainly onto his shoulder.
“There you go,” he said.
He walked with the cat toward the sink and popped the plug in and ran a half-tub of lukewarm water through it.
“Go on,” Kakashi said, pointing.
The cat leaned forward to peer off Kakashi’s shoulder, then unbalanced and careened forward, falling head-first into the water. It splashed the water wildly and then stuck its head out and wailed, and coughed, and eventually settled, standing in the sink appearing skinny with its fur wet pressed against its body, looking utterly betrayed.
“You did this to yourself,” Kakashi said mildly, and the cat hissed at him.
Kakashi took some soap from the bathroom and then washed the blood off the cat, who just barely put up with this treatment, and then let the water out of the sink and ran the tap like a shower and rinsed the remaining blood off its coat. Then he gently dried it with a hand-towel. Finally, the cat was clean, with hair now fluffy and sticking out in all directions.
He smiled at the cat and petted its head again. “There,” he said. “Wasn’t that worth it, to be clean?”
It felt nice, after returning from a long mission where he had killed people, bringing his mind back uncomfortably close to his ANBU days, to perform a kind act for this strange creature in his apartment.
Then Kakashi sighed, went to his front door, and opened it.
“Okay,” he told the cat. “You’re free to leave now. Go on back to your owner. Or, if you’re a Summon—” he still wasn’t sure, because even though the cat couldn’t speak, it seemed to know exactly what Kakashi was saying, and surely that wasn’t typical cat behaviour, no matter how smart they were supposed to be— “please unsummon yourself.”
The cat gave him a very unimpressed look from its position sitting on the kitchen countertop, and then looked meaningfully in the other direction.
“I’m sorry, but you can’t stay here,” Kakashi said wearily. “I don’t know how to take care of you, and even if I did, I’m not around enough to feed you when you should be fed. You won’t be safe with me here.”
The cat jumped off the countertop, this time only wobbling a bit on its landing. It looked briefly at the door, and then it padded away from it, toward Kakashi’s bed, and leapt up onto it. It moved to the right of a suspicious dark patch and curled its body up on the bed. It watched him with wary eyes.
“You’ve left blood on my bed,” Kakashi commented, pointing at the dark patch.
The cat met his gaze, unapologetic.
And Kakashi couldn’t help but snort a little. Despite not caring a whit about cats in general, there was something about this one that was more interesting than most. It was familiar, in a way.
Familiar? What could he find familiar about an uncoordinated creature with short, fluffy black hair who seemed to always be angry with him and had one single eye, on his left side?
“Okay,” Kakashi told the cat. “You can stay for one night. Only if I get to name you.” He smiled a little. “Can I call you Obito?”
Yes. For some reason, that felt right.
He looked up at Kakashi, so bizarrely large, but at least he knew the reason for that, and the reason was that Obito was a cat now, a fucking feline animal who couldn’t even talk to Kakashi to tell him that he should be human normally. Although he couldn’t remember much, he could at least remember that he was human, plus Kakashi’s name — and his own now, he supposed.
Kakashi somehow knew him from the past. Though not, from Kakashi’s sad and wistful tone, anymore.
Well, when he finally figured out to get back into his body again, he could at least tell Kakashi that he was alive, and that would surely stop his annoying sadness.
First things first, though. He needed to and try everything that he could to regain his memory and find out what had happened to him.
Although Kakashi seemed eager to get rid of him — and for some reason, that dismissal also felt both painful and annoyingly familiar — he couldn’t allow that. He needed to stay close to the only point of familiarity in this world, this person who made him angry and comforted in equal measure.