An alternate AU to this one that occurred to me just now
Team Seven take the mission to the Land of Waves. On the bridge, they fight Zabuza and Haku.
On the bridge, Naruto dies.
Something in Sasuke breaks, and he goes berserk. Haku and their ice mirrors scream as they flashboil in the black flames Sasuke summons forth, and it takes only a howl and a wild gesture to send Amaterasu blazing across the bridge to consume Zabuza and Tazuna as well. The stone melts underneath them, while Kakashi snatches up Sakura and flees, and it’s not until Sasuke feels the weight of wet clothes - crushing Naruto’s body to his chest, bloody and so absurdly hot - that he realises the bridge has disintegrated, and the water is burning.
It’s instinct and desperation that let Sasuke to douse the fires he’s conjured, and even then it aches and tastes like blood and acid, and he’s sinking when Kakashi whips across the surface to catch him, the moment the flames are gone.
Sasuke cries into Naruto’s chest, and refuses to let go. Sakura is cold and silent, and she neither speaks nor eats for the grim, slow trek back to Konoha. And it is slow, even further drawn out by the constant fluctuation of chakra from Naruto’s corpse, carried awkwardly and painfully by Sasuke alone.
It’s not Naruto’s chakra, of course. Kakashi dreads the inevitable questions, resolves not to lie when they come, and somehow their absence is even worse.
The moment they walk through the southern Konoha gate, there are Anbu all over them. They pry Naruto’s body from Sasuke’s arms, despite his shouting and kunai, despite the way Sasuke’s eyes ignite into blood red to fight-- But he doesn’t summon Amaterasu again, doesn’t expend the chakra he doesn’t have to try and kill their own. Sakura touches his shoulder, just two fingers, and her face is pale and hollow when she shakes her head, but it’s still more interaction than she’s allowed for the whole trip, and Sasuke obeys her. Blinks his eyes black, slumps in place, and then sags against Sakura.
She catches him, and he’s shaking, and she stares over his shoulder, unblinking, at the Anbu wrapping Naruto’s corpse in chakra-absorbing paper scrawled endlessly with Seals.
Kakashi isn’t sure what she sees, and he isn’t sure he wants to know.
One Anbu stays behind, and they instruct the gutted remains of Team Seven that the Hokage wants to see them. Kakashi can’t bring himself to intervene when Sasuke snarls and lunges, or when Sakura lets him. Doesn’t step in when Sasuke tells them to Fuck Off or when he punches them weakly in the chest - and the Anbu clearly thinks he’s simply not going to get involved, because when they try to catch Sasuke’s wrist they aren’t expecting Kakashi to move. Too fast to be safe, too fast for the chakra use not to burn.
Sasuke leans back into Kakashi as the Anbu trips, and Kakashi feels himself close his hands on Sasuke’s shoulders. “Don’t touch my kids,” he hears himself hiss, and if he doesn’t quite know when he accepted them as his then he doesn’t quite care either.
One of them is dead, and they won’t be permitted to mourn him properly because of the beast caged inside him without his knowledge.
The thought makes Kakashi sick. It all does, all of it. Konoha’s abuse of an innocent child, Kakashi’s complicitness in allowing it to happen. Hiruzen’s cruelty in allowing it also.
In allowing all of it.
Sasuke has lost enough.
The Anbu doesn’t need telling twice, and they leave Kakashi to cajole his kids into seeing Hiruzen. It takes more effort than he’d care to admit. Just physically, the three of them are a wreck - and it’s worse emotionally. Mentally.
“You let them take him.”
It’s the first thing Sakura has said since Naruto died - in a burst of blood and scarlet chakra - and Kakashi suddenly thinks he’s never felt anything so cold as her voice. When he meets her gaze, it’s like drowning.
“I had to. The Hokage will explain.” Because Kakashi is bound not to. By an oath that maybe he shouldn’t have taken, by a promise extracted by force. Why shouldn’t he tell them?
He doesn’t, of course. He scoops Sasuke up, and despises that Sasuke simply allows it, and offers Sakura a hand as they start walking. Sakura ignores it, striding ahead with her back too stiff and her hands clenched too tight. The walk to the Hokage Tower, while significantly shorter, is the same as the trip from Waves to Konoha.
Hiruzen ushers them into his office, tearful, and Sasuke struggles stiffly out of Kakashi’s grip. Red flickers and whorls through his eyes, and it’s impossible to know if he’s fighting to ignite his Sharingan or if he’s fighting not to.
“I’m sorry.” It’s low and mournful and wet. It’s insulting.
Sakura snaps. She flies into a rage, screaming obscenities. Her teammate is dead, and she’s never experienced loss like this before, and gods but she watched it happen, and no pitiful, pathetic ‘I’m sorry’ can ever undo that. That Hiruzen even tries sends her over the edge.
Nobody stops her. By the time she burns out, the office is torn apart, papers scattered everywhere and the desk overturned. Sakura has scratched her nails bloody against the woodwork. When she collapses to the floor and howls, Sasuke finally approaches her, sinks to her level, and wraps his arms around her.
Perhaps he understands, then. Perhaps a hug - so tight as Sakura clings back that it may be the only thing holding her together - is all he wanted after the horror of his clan’s slaughter.
Kakashi catches himself wondering if Sasuke ever got that hug, but he knows the answer.
Of course he didn’t.
Hiruzen explains to them what a Jinchuriki is. He explains the basic concept of a Bijuu, and gives them a short summary of the Nine-Tails. They take it blankly, too much to process over the top of their raw grief, but they look to Kakashi as if searching for confirmation and Kakashi nods. Tells them it’s true.
And then, because it’s not enough, it’s pathetic an explanation, he hears himself continue.
Because “He deserved better. We failed him.” Hears it spin, feels more than sees the way Sasuke and Sakura twitch and shrink, and then corrects himself. His own voice is like tar in his throat.
“You failed him.”
Sasuke and Sakura follow him out of Hiruzen’s office, and Hiruzen doesn’t try to stop them.
Kakashi sets the pack to watch them when they all end up at the war memorial. It wasn’t exactly a decision to go there, of course, but it never really is. All eight ninken are there already when they arrive, and they encourage Sakura and Sasuke to collapse and curl up with them, but Kakashi resists. He has something else to do.
And it’s dark by the time he comes back, his kids and his pack all bundled up in his far-too-tiny apartment, but he wakes them all the same. Demanding Naruto’s body back hadn’t been easy or clean, and the results of the chakra-draining done to preserve as much of the stray Nine-Tails chakra bleeding out of where it had torn free upon Naruto’s death is... messy.
Naruto’s body stays wrapped up the way Kakashi walked out of the Anbu Blue Vault with it. Only his head is visible, and his hair is knotted and matted with blood and oil, but it doesn’t stop Sakura from running her hands through it, or Sasuke from laying his head against Naruto’s chest.
Not enough people come to Naruto’s funeral. The whole fucking Village should mourn him, the child who protected them from the Nine-Tails for his entire, short life. His loss should have been overwhelming - it should have brought all of Konoha to a fucking stop.
But it doesn’t. Umino Iruka attends, and he’s quiet but he weeps ceaselessly the whole day. Sakura and Sasuke seem to welcome his presence, so Kakashi doesn’t nothing to discourage it.
Hiruzen shows up, perhaps halfway through. It takes all of Kakashi’s still-wan strength to hold Sakura back from trying to maul him, and Sasuke doesn’t fight one way or another when he lights up his Sharingan at the Hokage’s approach.
“Go. Away,” Sasuke snarls at him, and for just a moment it seems like Hiruzen might scold the boy, who’s been stripped of his family in half a dozen different ways, over and over again, as if he’s expressing his grief incorrectly, and that moment is all it takes for Kakashi to speak over all of them.
It’s the voice he used as the Hound. He hasn’t heard it for years. “You should go, Hokage-sama. You don’t want to make me choose a side here.”
Because Kakashi is loathe to fight Konoha at all, let alone its leader, but he knows without a doubt that he will. For Sasuke. For Sakura. If ever the decision must be made, Kakashi knows he will turn on Hiruzen in an instant if it would protect his kids from ending up like him.
Konoha would not make a broken blade out of Sasuke. It would not strip Sakura of her soul.
Orochimaru comes. He seeks out Sasuke, and the power he offers is too tempting for Sasuke to pass up - but he refuses to sneak away in the dead of night. Team Seven’s progress has halted in the aftermath of Naruto’s death; Hiruzen has tried several times to full the gap in their unit, but Sakura and Sasuke vehemently refuse to accept one, and Kakashi does not make them. He will not.
Naruto cannot be replaced. The gap can never be sufficiently filled.
And so comes the morning that Sasuke asks for their company in leaving. He’s been suffocating under Konoha’s weight for a long time, Kakashi realises that morning, and he’s finally reached his limit. Kakashi doesn’t try to talk him out of it; he won’t succeed. There’s no point. Revenge has been his motivation for so long that Sasuke will never quite learn how to give it up, and now he has so much more for which to seek vengeance.
It will only be Itachi first. After that, all of Konoha is culpable for Naruto’s death, and the endless suffering he endured before it. Kakashi is not fool enough to think he can change Sasuke’s mind.
Sakura agrees on the spot. She’s unrecognisable from the bubbly genin Kakashi took custody of from the Academy. She’s gaunt and messy and angry, and she’s forsaken her friends in order to follow Sasuke into the dark. She’s clinging to him, ferociously, in a different way than she’d tried to before.
She’s clinging to Sasuke the same way Kakashi had clung to Rin - how Rin had clung right back - after Obito’s death. Sasuke is her constant, her reassurance that Naruto’s absence won’t just be for nothing, that someone is going to pay for it. That she’s going to help make that happen.
You don’t want to make me choose a side, Kakashi had told Hiruzen, as if they were words of fucking prophecy. Because here are his kids, minds made up, choosing a side that Kakashi would rather flay himself than join - and yet, here he is too, and he knows already he’s going to go with them.
Choosing against Konoha tastes like ozone and fear and self-loathing, but choosing against Sasuke and Sakura is unconscionable. Even this, even this, Kakashi will do. Watching them die is a terror that keeps him up at night, a nightmare with its hands around Kakashi’s throat, a dread that’s getting ever colder. That this might lead to that outcome takes his breath away.
But the thought of not being there is even worse. Konoha forsook Sasuke when his family was wiped out, and Konoha forsook them both once again when they came home bloodied and shattered. Konoha has gone on the same as always, as if nothing even happened, and it always has when the whole world was supposed to shatter and didn’t - with Obito’s eye in Kakashi’s skull and Rin’s blood on Kakashi’s hands - and that truth does absolutely nothing to stay Sasuke’s hatred or Sakura’s wrath. They are young and angry and wounded, and there is no words Kakashi can say that will convince them to reject the power on offer, no matter how dangerous and untrustworthy the source may be.
And he refuses to let them do this alone. Everyone will want their heads, but Kakashi has fought and killed the best of them, and if - in the end - his only purpose is to protect his remaining kids, where he failed to protect the third, then perhaps the Hound yet serves a purpose still.
So Kakashi selects a kunai, and helps them score through their Konoha hitai-ite, and lets them lead him into hell.
97 notes · View notes
Bookends [3k, ongoing; AO3 link here]
book·end [ ˈbu̇k-ˌend ] n. a support, one of two usually similar things that begin and end something.
Summary: Kakashi Hatake is no stranger to taking in strays. But when his former comrade and friend mysteriously disappears after the murder of his entire family, leaving behind his little brother, Kakashi learns that there's more to getting lost on the path of life when you pick up an Uchiha brat along the way.
A modern adoption AU exploring various moments in the life of Kakashi, Sasuke, eight dogs, and one vengeful cat.
a/n: Did I expect to become obsessed with Naruto in my 30s? Short answer: no. I guess you could say I got lost on the path of life. XD
It’s the same thing almost every night lately.
“I picked up dinner on the way home. Hope you don’t mind.”
He doesn’t. Kakashi knows this by now. The passive hn of acknowledgement that greets him when he steps through the door and into their apartment tells him as much. If it really bothered him, he’d have made it known by now. What Sasuke lacks in words he more than makes up for in opinions - something he’s never short of.
The dogs, at the very least, are happy to see him.
“Yes, yes, I missed you too,” Kakashi says a little exasperatedly, holding the takeout bags out of reach for their overly excitable noses and trying to return their enthusiastic welcome without the use of his hands. Sasuke stays seated at the table, pouring over a textbook, and decidedly choosing not to offer any assistance. Beside him, Pakkun, the oldest and most loyal of his four-legged companions, raises his head from his crossed front paws. Sleepy eyes meet Kakashi’s for a moment, blink, then slip shut as he lowers his head and goes back to his nap.
It takes Kakashi a minute to break through the wall of dogs barricading him against the door after slipping off his shoes. They follow at his heels as he crosses over to the kitchen, tossing the keys onto the counter island that overlooks the living room before setting down the bags of food.
“I thought we’d go a little greasy tonight,” Kakashi continues, starting to unpack the bags. The small apartment is quickly filled with the sinful smell of fried food and seasoned vegetables. The dogs eagerly circling his feet quickly devolve into a panting mess.
“We’ve talked about this,” Kakashi chastises Biscuit, who is not nearly tall enough to reach the counter but nevertheless tries, standing on his short hind legs and nose snuffling frantically back and forth along the edge of the counter like it's being pulled by an invisible fishing line. He’s going to have to deal with them first if there’s to be any chance of getting the food safety to the table.
“Hey, give me a hand, will ya?” he calls to Sasuke as he wades through the dogs to get to the cabinet with the cups and plates. They get impossibly more hysterical at the sound of the clinking dishes, a tell-tale sign that they’re almost close to the main event. This isn’t the first time it’s occurred to Kakashi that this apartment is too small for two people, let alone eight dogs.
“Oh, for the love of- Sasuke.”
Sasuke, it turns out, isn’t listening - or so it would appear given that Kakashi’s appearance hasn’t prompted anything but deafening nothing since he walked through the door. However, Kakashi has lived with Sasuke for a couple years and observed him for longer. He’s learned to read the subtle shifts in the boy's silences. Sasuke has so much to say if one takes the time to listen.
Sating his (and the dogs’) appetite suddenly doesn’t seem so pressing.
“Alright, have at it,” Kakashi relents, dumping the contents of one of the take-out cartons onto the plate and setting it down at his feet for the dogs to fight over. He’ll clean up the mess later. For now, he grabs the carton of udon, a pair of chopsticks, and leaves the dogs to their feast, carefully stepping over them and making his way out to Sasuke.
He sits down, looking far more relaxed than his much younger counterpart. Sasuke’s eyes remain downturned and concentrated on his homework. Kakashi lets him be and turns his attention to his food. He can multi-task after all. He breaks apart his chopsticks and opens the carton, then picks at the noodles a bit before twirling them around and raising a helping into his mouth. It doesn’t quite pack the punch he’d been fantasizing about on his walk home from the shop.
“Trouble with homework?” Kakashi eventually asks, his tone light.
The pen in Sasuke’s hand stills. Then, after a moment - and without meeting his gaze - Sasuke slides a folder across the table with his free hand.
Kakashi’s chewing slows and he looks over his carton. Sasuke is content with providing no further explanation, already pursuing his assignment like nothing happened.
Kakashi doesn’t need to read past the over-the-top swirly cursive heading to know what’s soured Sasuke’s mood. The pink and read hearts dotting the top of the single sheet of paper tucked neatly in the folder’s pocket are a dead giveaway. He shuts the folder, then picks up the carton and digs into his noodles a little more enthusiastically than before.
“So… it’s that time of year, huh?”
Sasuke makes no indication that he’s heard his question. Kakashi understands. He would have had a similar reaction at his age. But he’d like Sasuke to be different.
“Should be simple enough,” he goes on, surreptitiously glancing up from his carton, but Sasuke is stubborn. And naive. Because Sasuke has already given himself up.
In some ways, Sasuke is exceptionally mature for his age. But at the end of the day, he is still a twelve-year-old boy and not immune to acting as such. He’s not above shutting himself up in his room and blaring his music at some wholly unnecessary volume until neighbors get involved (“This is the only apartment complex in Konoha that will take 8 dogs,” Kakashi is reduced to shouting through the door in his bathrobe and slippers at 1 in the morning. “Are you trying to get us kicked out?”), or staying out much too late roaming the streets and only slipping through his bedroom window when he thinks Kakashi is in bed (He’s not. He’s (once again) in his bathrobe and slippers waiting outside his bedroom door and prepping a lecture that is sure to be ill-received.)
In other words, if he truly wanted to avoid facing Kakashi, he wouldn’t be here.
So Kakashi waits.
“It’s so- annoying.”
Sasuke glowers at the space in front of him, refusing to look at Kakashi. It was a slip, one he quickly recovers from, however. The grip around his pen tightens and he attacks the page in front of him with conviction. He’s clearly annoyed. With himself, with the predicament Iruka has so unjustly put him in. Kakashi allows him a couple sentences to take his frustration out on his assignment before moving forward.
“I think it’s nice.”
Sasuke drops his pen and his head snaps up.
“Nice?” He says the word with such fierce disdain that Kakashi can’t help but chuckle. He merely picks at his noodles with amusement.
“Nice??” Sasuke repeats, eyes narrowing incredulously. “As if you would have ever lowered yourself to something so meaningless.”
Kakashi chews thoughtfully. He’s not wrong. Still, he simply shrugs.
“Sure, it’s a little silly. But there are very few things in life that are truly meaningless. What holds no value to one person could mean the world to another.” He pauses. The intensity of Sasuke’s stare doesn’t waver. “There’s nothing wrong with building relationships among your peers and having a little fun. A hard word for you, I know,” he adds dryly, poking at a mushroom, “But give it a shot. These opportunities won’t be around forever.”
“I don’t even like these people,” Sasuke mutters with a bitterness that most adults would find unnerving coming from a 12-year-old.
(He knows; his colleagues have told him as much.)
“That’s not true. You have Naruto and Sakura-”
“Annoying and annoying-er.”
Kakashi frowns a little at that. He sets the carton aside. “Look, I’m going to tell you what I told you last year. If you really don’t want to do this, I’m not going to make you. I’ll understand… but your friends might not. And despite what you say, when your classmates come to you with their cards, I think you’re going to realize too late that you might like to give them something in return.”
Kakashi lets the words sink in. Sasuke’s expression is unreadable. It takes some time - a long time, really - but eventually, his shoulders slump forward, and after a tense moment, he relents.
“Good,” Kakashi says, satisfaction evident in his tone. “I think we still have supplies leftover from last year somewhere in here,” he muses aloud, rising from the table and disappearing into the hall that leads to their respective bedrooms. The sound of him rummaging around in the hall closet fills the air until eventually a pleased Ah interrupts the silence. When Kakashi returns cradling an assortment of craft supplies in his arms, Sasuke looks as though he’s already regretting his decision.
“Here, I’ll even do it with you,” Kakashi says in a show of solidarity once he spreads out his findings on the table. There’s still several paper heart cut-outs leftover from the previous year. Kakashi’s hand hovers thoughtfully over the pile before making his selection and pulling them towards his end of the table.
A sharp, derisive snort comes from the seat next to him. Kakashi looks up.
“There’s no way you have that many people to give valentines to,” Sasuke retorts with all the bluntness of a kunai knife.
Kakashi blinks at him, then peers down at the pile, a puzzled frown tugging at his brow underneath his silver fringe like Sasuke’s right. That he’s made some sort of horrible mistake. A split-second later, his expression clears.
“Actually,” he replies, reaching across the table and grabbing an additional heart, “I missed one. How could I forget my most cherished pup?” He shakes his head somberly, giving Sasuke a meaningful look.
It takes Sasuke a moment to understand.
“You’re making valentines for the dogs.” It’s not a question, and there’s no mistaking what he thinks about that.
“Well,” Kakashi acquiesces, eyes crinkling, “I can’t play favorites.”
They hold each other’s gaze. Despite the pleasant smile Kakashi puts forward, Sasuke’s eyes remain cold and unfeeling.
In the end, Kakashi exhales a patient breath.
“Go get dinner, Sasuke.”
It's going to be a long night.
* * *
It’s when he’s sorting through his mail on Valentine’s Day that Kakashi runs into Iruka.
“Yo.” The word is barely out of his mouth before being promptly met with an angry grunt, after which Iruka slams his apartment door shut so violently that the decorative Cupid hanging there falls to the floor.
Kakashi slow-blinks down the empty hallway, hand halfway raised in greeting. With a small shake of his head, he sticks the mail under his arm and digs into his pocket for his keys.
The dogs are on him the instant he opens the door. Unfazed, he glances around the apartment expecting to hear the sounds of Sasuke’s self-imposed banishment to his room, the kind that expressly tells him that under no circumstances is he to be disturbed. Only there’s no pulsating bass. It’s quiet. And Sasuke’s not in his room but on the couch by the open sliding glass door, back propped against a slumbering Bull and a book open in his lap. He surprises Kakashi further when he deigns to look up.
“Hey,” Kakashi greets back, closing the door behind him. It should be a welcomed sight, but he can’t help but feel a little wary. It’s not often that he sees Sasuke so... at peace.
He walks over to the kitchen and drops the mail on the counter beside what can only be the fruits of his and Sasuke’s labor. He smiles to himself.
Popular as ever, I see.
With a sense of satisfaction, he sifts through the sizable pile of valentines, familiar names popping out at him. He pauses on one in particular. Sakura’s careful craftsmanship stands out from the rest, the evidence of her feelings clear as day. Kakashi only hopes that Sasuke didn’t say anything unkind.
Naruto’s stands out too - though, for entirely different reasons.
“I see Naruto’s scissor skills haven’t improved.” With two fingers, Kakashi picks up the pitiful thing and gives it a good once over. He can only assume that it was supposed to be a heart, though he can’t be sure. It’s a sharp contrast to Sakura’s, which Kakashi knows she probably spent days laboring over. A glob of glitter glue drips from Naruto’s abstract creation pinched between his fingers and drops onto the counter. He shakes his head and hangs it up on the fridge anyway, Sakura’s joining soon after. He lingers on them for a moment, eyes crinkling with a familiar fondness before he turns away to join Sasuke in the living room.
“I take it everything went well today,” he says, plopping down onto the adjoining couch and humming contentedly when he props his feet on the coffee table and leans back. Pakkun leaps up and settles himself next to him, a low, warm growl rumbling underneath his hand when he begins to massage his wrinkled head.
“You could say that.” Sasuke has his back to him, but Kakashi detects something in his voice.
There’s a pause before Sasuke shuts his book and looks over his shoulder at Kakashi. “Let’s just say I got what I wanted for Valentine’s Day.”
What Sasuke wanted for Valentine’s Day was for all its practices to be dismantled and done away with for the greater good of humanity - or so he claimed in a rare moment of awakeness on their way to the academy that morning. Somehow Kakashi doesn’t think exchanging a couple valentines with his classmates is responsible for this drastic - some may say, miraculous - shift in perspective.
“This wouldn’t have anything to do with Iruka, would it?” He jerks his thumb at the door. “I just ran into him in the hallway and he didn’t look too happy.”
The corner of Sasuke’s mouth twitches, but he only shrugs, facing forward and cracking open his book once more.
Kakashi exchanges a look with Pakkun whose doleful eyes stare up at him, equally suspicious and, if he’s not mistaken, wholeheartedly unimpressed. With some reluctance, Kakashi swings his legs off the coffee table and gets to his feet in one languid motion. He crosses the short distance to where Sasuke sits, plucking the book out of his hands as he comes up behind him.
“I’d like your undivided attention for this if you don’t mind,” Kakashi says calmly, perching himself on the arm of the couch, one foot on the ground, the other propped on the seat cushion. Sasuke glares at him resentfully, but keeps his mouth shut, albeit with the air of one whose time is being profoundly wasted.
“Ok,” Kakashi starts, folding his arms across his chest. “What happened at school today?”
“Nothing,” Sasuke repeats, drawing out the word. When Kakashi continues to stare at him, he huffs in irritation. “Tch, I didn’t do anything.”
“I didn’t say you did,” Kakashi replies smoothly. “However, it’s not like you to take pleasure at Iruka’s expense. I thought you liked Iruka.”
There’s a pause. Sasuke averts his eyes out the window, uncomfortable. A gentle breeze rustles the overgrown jungle habitating the balcony.
“Yeah, I do,” he confirms grudgingly.
“Ok,” Kakashi continues ever so patiently, “so what’s got you in such a good mood?”
There’s another long pause. However, this time it’s Kakashi who breaks the silence. The answer hits him over the head and leaves him feeling - if he’s perfectly honest - like a fool.
“What did Naruto do this time?”
Sasuke hasn’t looked away from the window, but Kakashi sees a flicker of something cross his face.
Sasuke mulls it over, then simply relies, “Naruto was very generous with his valentines this year."
An image of the limp heart dripping with barely dried glue on their fridge comes to Kakashi’s mind. “How generous are we talking?”
“500 ryō worth.”
Kakashi can see where this is going. He suppresses a sigh.
“And where on earth did Naruto get the money for such a selfless gesture?”
Sasuke’s eyes slide to meet Kakashi’s. “Iruka.”
A flash of annoyance flares in Sasuke’s dark eyes, again, like he’s wasting his time. In fairness, he is; the answer is obvious.
Kakashi leans his head back against the bookshelf behind him and briefly closes his eyes. A sigh falls heavily from his lips.
“Well, as long as he doesn’t come knocking on our door looking for money…” He glances down at Sasuke. “Was it worth it, at least?”
“Was what worth it?”
“Whatever it was that constituted stealing 500 ryō?”
Sasuke’s eyes narrow almost imperceptibly, but his reply is void of any feeling. “How should I know? I’m not Sakura. Now, do you mind? I was in the middle of something.” He holds out his hand then, waiting.
Kakashi regards him with patience, not entirely content to end the conversation there. It’s the familiar way in which Sasuke holds his hand out to him that cautions him to hold back. Patience, it whispers. Remember how you found him. Reading. At peace. At home.
He hands the book to Sasuke, who takes it without thanks, and thinks as he watches him leaf through its pages and settle against Bull that he could do with some light reading too.
29 notes · View notes