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[personal profile] oroburos69
Title: Rebirth
Beta:[profile] lady_of_scarlet
Rating: FRT/T
Summary: Kakashi dies. He wakes up to a second chance.
Author's Note: Written for the KakaSaku Lyrics Contest.


Kakashi was dying. He smiled under his mask when he realized, ignoring his twinge of irritation that he hadn’t finished the mission. The relief he felt was worth it. This day had been a long time com--

Something landed on his nose.

He opened his eyes.

The butterfly flapped its wings slowly, either showing off its dazzling colours or starting a storm in Lightning Country. He breathed and it flew away, a sparkling gem on the wind.

He’d fallen in a field of sakura trees, bright with flowers, the subtle swell of fruit behind the pink petals. The air was alive with honeybees and butterflies. An iridescent blue dragonfly buzzed by his face.

Thoughts of his mission, of Konoha, of all the friends he’d out-lived--all these disappeared, stripped in an instant. They weren’t dying--he was. Regret pierced him, hollowing through his chest and leaving him empty.

The new grass beneath him, the first flowers of spring, the blossom-laden branches of the cherry trees--all of it was brilliantly alive in the sunlight. He would never see any of it again. When his eyes closed for the last time--

Kakashi didn’t even know why the sky was blue. It seemed painfully inadequate to know a thousand jutsu and not know why the sky was blue.

His eyelids slid shut and he was too tired to open them. He struggled against the lethargy, wanting to see the sky again. How had he never noticed how beautiful it was?

The sun slipped out from behind a cloud and warmed his skin.

Kakashi didn’t know why the sun rose in the morning and fell in the evening. He spent his life pursuing knowledge and he still didn’t know a simple thing like that.

His breathing grew ragged and tasted like blood, but Kakashi thought he could smell the cherry blossoms through his mask. He pulled on it until it bunched around his neck, worried even now that whoever found him would think him odd looking, but wanting to be seen. Kakashi didn’t even know what he looked like, and that was worse than not knowing why the sky was blue. So many mirrors and he’d never looked.

They were silly regrets, but they were more acute than the lovingly polished memories of his failures. Their freshness burnt off his apathy as the sun burnt off morning fog, and Kakashi desperately bargained with all the gods he didn’t believe in. He still didn’t believe in them, but he’d certainly consider starting if he could somehow live through this.

Kakashi struggled to breathe, to smell spring on the breeze and taste the life in the air. He wasn’t ready! The world was amazing, beautiful--

Regret never kept a faltering heart going.

In the instant of his ending, all he wanted was more time.

***

Kakashi opened his eyes and saw Paradise.

Icha Icha, to be exact. The book rested comfortably across his chest, the edges of the cover and pages softened and blurred from years of love. He smiled. If he had his book, then the world was alright.

It only took a second to recognize the room. The tree outside had thick, glossy leaves that glowed with life, robust and healthy in the morning sun. Crisp white sheets covered him, not particularly warm, but very clean. The flowers on the side table were odd, he didn’t usually get those, but he was clearly in his favorite hospital room.

Kakashi paused for a moment, confused. He had died four months away from Konoha. Was this an afterlife? If so, why was he in a hospital room? He rubbed a finger over his nose, wondering if he’d have to apologize to whatever Deity had turned out to have been real. That would be awkward, he imagined.

He worried at his lip, safely hidden by his mask, and looked at the cheerful arrangement of daffodils. So many people had gone ahead of him. Kakashi had hoped that they would remember him when he came, but maybe the dead didn’t. That wouldn’t be such a bad thing. There were lots and lots of things he wished he could forget.

Though really, he’d like to know why he was at the hospital at all. It might have been his favorite room, but he didn’t actually like hospitals or anything. Kakashi wiggled his toes again, checking. He felt good. Better than he’d felt in ages.

A gasp startled him. He hadn’t heard anyone come in. “Kakashi-sensei!”

...Sakura was young. Bright as the flowers that she held, and young, had he ever seen her when she was so young? Kakashi swallowed, wondering if this meant that she’d died, too. She’d been fine when he’d left Konoha. Not happy, not quite whole anymore, but who was?

“You’re awake!” She smiled, and it was happy and pure and child-like.

He returned the smile. Sakura was so little! “Yo.” He waved.

For some reason that made her smile drop away. Sakura looked at the flowers she brought and shuffled forward, toward the vase on the side table. Was she the one who’d brought him all the flowers?

“Hey, what’s wrong?” Kakashi asked, sitting up. His head spun, but his body cooperated without a single protest. He felt young. The pains of life will disappear, he thought hopefully, brushing his fingers under Obito’s eye, wondering if it was still there or if it had gone home, too.

She added a red flower to the vase of daffodils, and arranged them fussily. “Naruto told me that he’s going to train with Jiraiya. So he’ll get strong enough to bring Sasuke back. He didn’t know how long he’d be gone.” Her voice was determinedly cheerful. “But I’m sure he’ll be fine!”

Kakashi was very glad that her back was turned, because he was fairly certain he looked like he’d been hit with a brick. “How long have I been...here?”

She looked confused. “Didn’t the healers tell you?”

“You’re the first person I’ve seen,” he said, running his fingers over Icha Icha Paradise. This was beginning to feel familiar in a strange way, though it hadn’t happened like this. “I don’t remember much...”

“Oh!” She looked to the door, but didn’t move toward it. “Um...I think it’s been two days since Sasuke...left. He, uh...Lady Tsunade said they don’t have the resources to bring him back. You brought Naruto back and then you collapsed. The healers said it was exhaustion.” She did such a terrible job of hiding her pain, nothing like the thirty-year-old woman he’d known who would have died with her poker face intact.

Kakashi’s gaze flickered to the window. The afterlife probably wasn’t a hospital. He shifted awkwardly, and sincerely hoped that his eternal reward or whatever didn’t include catheters. “And Sasuke...” he prompted.

“Do you remember? He left. Went to Orochimaru.” Her back was to him, but Kakashi could see Sakura’s shoulders shake. She was trying not to cry. “He’s not a missing nin, but it’s only because Lady Tsunade likes Naruto.”

“Oh.” This had been one of the worst weeks of his life, once. Kakashi wasn’t quite certain why he was here again, but there was a little girl sniffling over the flowers she’d brought him who was going through it for the first time. “Are you okay?”

Sakura nodded, her short pink hair bobbing up and down. After Sasuke’s funeral, she’d shaved it off and tattooed her scalp in celebration. “I’m good,” she said, her voice squeaking a little.

“Oh.” He thought it over very carefully. “Did anyone say what was going to happen to you?” Was she still his? Had she gone to Tsunade yet?

Sakura spun, and her eyes were red-rimmed with tears. “You won’t--are you--?”

Once upon a time, Kakashi had left on a mission with three students to his name, and come back to none. “Mah...when there’s only one member of a three man team left, they either become the jounin’s apprentice or get shuffled onto a new team. You don’t have stay with me. I know I’m not the greatest teacher--”

There were big shining tears dripping down her face, and her nose was getting red.

“Sakura?”

“Who...who are you going to send me to?”

Kakashi remembered Sakura, so strong that she punched through mountains, talented enough to breath life into a corpse, and glorious in battle. All of it due to Tsunade.

He’d never been greedy before, had just accepted that he wasn’t good enough to train legends and went on with his life as best he could. But maybe...Sakura had greatness in her. It wasn’t a matter of if, it was a matter of how.

“I’d rather you became my apprentice, but if you want better, I will find you someone else.” Kakashi smiled at her. “Your talents always matched mine more closely than either of the boys--” or rather they would, eventually. “--and I think I could...”

“Yes!” Sakura dropped the flowers and launched herself at him. “Yes!”

Kakashi laughed breathlessly, catching her before her knees could hit anything unfortunate. “Okay, so you want to be my apprentice?”

“Yes!” She wrapped around him the instant he let her go, sobbing onto his shoulder. “I thought you were gonna get rid of me!”

“Never,” Kakashi promised, resting his hand on her back. She was so little, breathing and alive. It was strange and wonderful to feel someone so close. Like his dogs when they slept beside him, but different somehow.

***

It took precisely three hours for the haze of joy and excitement to dissipate.

Tsunade watched him, leaning back in the Hokage’s chair like she owned it. She did own it. Because he was in the past, and Tenten wasn’t the Hokage anymore, which was...weird. Yeah, weird.

“So you’ve chosen to keep the Haruno girl on as your apprentice?” It hurt to hear Tsunade speak of Sakura so coldly. She’d doted on the girl.

“Yes.” Kakashi fidgeted in his seat, stopped himself, then started again. Everything was familiar, and not familiar at the same time.

“Is that wise? She shows no particular talent.” Tsunade shuffled her papers, and pulled one from the top. “The academy indicated that she’d be best suited to being a career genin.”

Kakashi blinked. “Sakura?” She’d had a sixty million ryo bounty on her head by the time she was twenty. By the time she hit thirty, she’d had the highest bounty in all five elemental countries. “But she’s got...” he fumbled, then continued gamely. “She’s got a lot of potential.”

Tsunade snorted. “As what?”

“What?”

“What does she have potential to be, Kakashi? All I’m seeing is a little girl with zero talent.”

He very nearly said that Sakura would be a medic nin. “She--” Kakashi’s stomach dropped. There was no way in hell he could train a medic nin. What the fuck am I doing? he asked himself. Sakura had been the greatest medic nin in the world when he died. She’d saved more lives...

“What are you going to do with a thirteen-year-old girl?”

“Train her. Make her--make her into a ninja.” Kakashi smiled weakly, and wondered how he could learn how to train a medic nin. Maybe if he kidnapped one? “I was going to make Sasuke my heir, but he’s not...” He looked at the ground and pretended to be hurting instead of apathetic. “He can’t be trusted. Probably ever.”

The ANBU stationed in the corners lost control of their chakra for a brief second, coinciding with Tsunade’s widened eyes. “An heir?”

“To my techniques.” Kakashi felt heat rising to his face. It wasn’t such an odd thing, was it?

Tsunade snapped open a folder that he recognized as his own. “You have two jutsu listed as your creations. Your fighting style...” she hummed thoughtfully. “I suppose that does count as unique, but one modified taijutsu style and two jutsu doesn’t exactly demand that you pass it all on to an heir.”

Right. He hadn’t started on jutsu creation for another five years. “I--” he scrambled to explain. “When the Third removed me from ANBU I started working on a few things. I got more to offer than just chidori. And I’ve the summoning contract to the canines, too.”

Much more, now that he thought about it. An awful lot of jutsu hadn’t been made until the war, and no one was likely to mind if he took credit for their future accomplishments.

“And these new jutsu aren’t recorded in your folder...why?” Tsunade’s interest focused in on him. “You do know of the laws regarding jutsu creation, don’t you?”

“Of course. I filed the paperwork months ago.” Lies, but misplaced paperwork was such a convenient excuse.

“Curious that it isn’t in your file,” she said, her honey-brown eyes watching him.

Kakashi shrugged. “Weird,” he offered. “Clerical error?”

“Hmmm. And the Haruno is the one you want for this?” Tsunade leaned forward, and her breasts pressed against the edge of her desk in a lovely manner. So...rounded.

Kakashi blushed and nodded. He had missed Tsunade. “Sakura has talent. I just...maybe a long mission away from Konoha? She has some bad habits, and it’d be easier to break them away from home.”

Kakashi had a nagging sense that he’d changed in the last eighteen years, become a different person. That wasn’t exactly a good thing in a ninja village. A vacation would do him good. Give him an excuse to have changed pretty much overnight.

Tsunade chuckled. “Pushy, aren’t you?” She grabbed a green sealed scroll from the basket beside her desk and held it out. “Our relations with Suna are thorny. We need a diplomat.”

“A diplomat?” Kakashi accepted the scroll, nearly dropping it. In all his long years, no one had ever trusted him with diplomacy. “Me?”

“Heh. You think I can’t see what you’re asking for?” Her smile was as sharp as a knife. “I am glad to see you taking your place in the world, Hatake Kakashi.”

What? He gripped the scroll, sweat seeping through his glove and dampening the paper. “Lady Tsunade?” It occurred to Kakashi that Suna had just attacked Konoha, damaging more than a quarter of the village. Gaara probably wasn’t even the Kazekage yet--Kakashi’s eyes widened as he remembered how batshit insane Gaara had been as a child. “Are you sure?”

“There are a thousand ways to the top of a mountain, and every one of them is a struggle. Don’t let me down, Hatake.”

“Of course not.” Her gaze was too direct, looking into him like he was made of glass. Kakashi gripped the scroll tighter, and didn’t grab Icha Icha from his back pocket, even though he desperately wanted to shift her attention away from him.

The conversation had changed from keeping Sakura as his apprentice to something Kakashi couldn’t name. His mouth was dry, his hands were sweating and his knees were weak. “Lady Tsunade?” he asked again, tucking away the mission scroll.

“Yes?”

“Do you know why the sky is blue?”

She only laughed.

***

Nothing felt familiar anymore. He’d gotten lost on the way home, trying to take a street that didn’t exist yet to an apartment he didn’t own.

He found his apartment mostly by luck and scent. It smelled like him, and the team photos matched the ones he was supposed to have at this point in his life. He was pretty sure it was his. The one-room apartment was bare and cold-looking, his collection of artfully designed quilts and afghans gone. Kakashi couldn’t remember when he’d started making them, but he missed them.

A great sigh escaped him, looking at the plain, boring walls. He was home. It was absurd to feel homesick. Kakashi shifted his attention to his table. He’d remembered its wobbly leg, but not the nicks and scars on the surface. Funny the things he’d forgotten.

Two scrolls were opened and sitting on it. One had been sealed with green paper. Tsunade had given it to him in her office. The other had been wrapped in black paper. He’d found it in his pocket after he’d walked out of the Hokage’s tower.

The green one had contained very simple instructions: start a war with Suna. The stamp at the bottom was Konoha’s.

The black one had an equally simple mission: don’t start a war with Suna. Tsunade’s stamp, the edges still fresh and new and crisp, was in bright black ink at the bottom. Below the mission instructions--written in her handwriting, which Kakashi was surprised to find he remembered--was a storage seal that had contained Diplomacy for Idiots: Suna Edition.

The green scroll crackled and lit on fire, a previously hidden seal flashing white then red. Kakashi flicked it onto a plate before it could burn his table and watched the paper turn to ash.

Both scrolls had agreed on one thing: he was leaving tomorrow. With Sakura, he reminded himself. It would be terrible if he forgot his apprentice so quickly.

Kakashi rubbed his chin, wondering if it would be okay to seek out Tsunade and maybe ask for some clarification or something. The first chapter of the diplomacy book had stressed self-reliance. Someone had even highlighted it with green ink.

A smile crept across his face. He’d read the book first, see if he could figure it out. Kakashi didn’t like wars. Peace was so much nicer, after all.

***

“My eternal rival!”

Kakashi choked, inhaling spit then trying to cough it back up. “Gai!” he wheezed, battling a dozen different reactions--he couldn’t hug the man--well he could, Gai would probably hug him back, but it would be suspicious.

The twinkle of Gai’s teeth was smug. “Enjoying the Sun of Spring Time?”

He still hadn’t caught his breath, or wrestled down the urge to hug Gai so hard that his ribs broke. Stupid self-sacrificing bastard. Being all green and cheerful and alive--Kakashi’s fingers twitched. He wasn’t going to hug Gai, and that was final.

“It is Truly a Delightful Day!” Gai swung his hand in a slow arc, as if showing off the wonders of the world. “The Birds are Singing, the Flowers are Blooming with Vigorous Youth, and the Fields are Alive with the Sound of Training!”

Kakshi tucked Diplomacy for Idiots into his belt pouch, and stood. The world was beautiful. He smiled so wide that it hurt his face, and tackled Gai, wrapping his arms around the Taijutsu master’s waist and knocking them both off the roof.

Almost immediately, Gai kicked free, his skin tingling with chakra as he prepared for landing. “Ha! You cannot catch Me, The Beautiful Blue Beast of Konoha, so Easily!”

Kakashi landed beside him, sandals kicking up a thick cloud of dirt and dust. “Mah. If you wanted down so badly, you only had to ask.”

“My Rival! You are so Hip, but I can Sense Your Depression!” Gai beamed sympathetically, holding his hand out in a supportive thumbs-up. “Upon My Return from my Heroic Questing through the Fire Swamps where I slew Rodents of Unusual Size, I Heard the Tale of Your Misfortune!”

Kakashi shoved his hands in his pockets and wondered what Gai was talking about. The diplomacy mission was secret. Perhaps something he’d forgotten about this time?

“Fear Not! Tonight we shall Drink Away Your Misfortune!”

“Eh...what?”

Gai’s eyebrows gathered like storm clouds. “I see through your Casual Demeanor, My Rival! The loss of your students is no Small Thing! The Ragged Edges of your Fierce yet Tender Heart are visible to Me!”

Fuck. Sasuke and Naruto. He was supposed to be sad about that. “Oh. That.” Kakashi sighed and stared pensively into the distance, thinking sad thoughts.

“Alas! Your Cool Facade hides a Troubled Soul!” Tears streamed down Gai’s face. “But I Swear on My Honor as a Konoha Ninja! Your Drinks are on Me, Tonight!”

Gai always had known how to make Kakashi feel better. “Well, if you insist...”

“I Do!”

“Okay!” He smiled cheerfully. “Let’s get started now. I have a mission in the morning.”

Gai laughed, loud and booming and so not-dead that Kakashi nearly cried. “I must inform My Youthful Student that I am Unable to Train Tonight! I shall meet you at the Cocktail Umbrella Bar and Grill when the Clock Strikes Two!”

Kakashi waved, then remembered that he needed to tell Sakura that she was moving to Suna for the foreseeable future. He gave himself a mental pat on the back. Future Sakura would be so proud of him. He always forgot stuff like that!

***

“Hmm...I’m not sure. Usually these mission last upwards of a year,” Kakashi told Sakura’s mother. “The scroll didn’t have a mission end date on it.”

“She--” Sakura’s mother looked ill.

Kakashi checked the clock hanging on the kitchen wall. Gai would leave if he was more than an hour late, and then he wouldn’t get free drinks. “Do you supposed Sakura will be back soon?” She’d run upstairs to grab her list of things to pack for a long duration mission so that Kakashi could look it over.

“Will she come back?”

“Of course.” Kakashi frowned in confusion. “Why wouldn’t she?”

“A year!”

“Well, if I do a good job it might last longer. You never know.” Kakashi laughed awkwardly, feeling strangely uncomfortable. He’d never met Sakura’s mother before. She was far less articulate than he’d expected--actually, he’d expected her to be a ninja.

The woman paled. “Will she be able to visit?”

Kakashi thought it over, then shrugged. “I won’t be able to tell until we get there. We’ll probably report back in person on a quarterly basis, at the very least.”

That seemed to calm her a bit. “And she’ll be safe?”

It was baffling, this assumption that a mission could be safe. Hopefully Sakura had not inherited it. “Chances are that we will not have to fight, much,” Kakashi offered, checking the clock again. “Mrs. Haruno--”

Sakura ran down the stairs, a slightly ragged piece of paper clutched in her hand. “Found it!” she declared breathlessly--she would need to work on her stamina. Her eyes sparkled, and there was a bright flush to her cheeks, Kakashi noticed with concern. He hoped she wasn’t getting sick.

“Let’s have a look.” Kakashi skimmed the page. “Hmmm. Less on the camping gear and food--we’ll only be travelling for three or four days. Once we arrive, we’ll be assigned an apartment in the diplomatic building--”

“You’ll be living with her?” Sakura’s mother’s voice became sharp and hard.

“Ah...yes?” Kakashi answered. “It’s standard procedure.”

“It’s not proper!”

“Mom!” Sakura sounded desperately embarrassed. “Kakashi wouldn’t--”

“It doesn’t matter if he would or wouldn’t, it matters what people think!”

Kakashi looked up from Sakura’s list, utterly confused. “What would I do?”

The hot scarlet blush on Mrs. Haruno’s cheeks matched that of her daughters. “Nevermind.” It was said grudgingly, as though he’d committed some great offence. Kakashi didn’t get it.

“Fine. Anyway, pack at least two weeks worth of clothes--Suna’s very strict about water usage, so you’ll need enough clothes to make a full load of laundry. You can buy most anything you’ll need in the way of personal items, so don’t stock-pile those--”

“Suna!”

“Ma’am, if you’d stop interrupting, this would go a lot quicker,” Kakashi pointed out.

“They attacked us only a month ago!”

“Yes, that’s why I have a diplomatic mission there.”

“That’s not safe at all!” she shrieked.

“Sakura is a ninja. The only safety she has is in her skills,” Kakashi pointed out.

“No, I forbid it!”

Kakashi paused, shocked that she’d said something so...traitorous. “Sakura is a ninja of Konoha. You cannot forbid her from taking a mission or from training.”

“Mom! Sit down, okay? I’m going to talk to Kakashi outside. I’ll talk to you later, okay?” Sakura said, grabbing Kakashi’s wrist and dragging him toward the door. She was quite strong, he noted with approval.

The door slammed shut behind them and Sakura dropped into a deep bow. “Forgive my mother. She worries.”

“Ah.” Kakashi filed it away under civilian things he was unlikely to understand. “It is fine. As I was saying, Suna is much like Konoha. If you could buy something here, you can probably buy it there. Bring clothes, weapons, something to read, and a supply of emergency money. This is not your mission, it is mine, so you will not be paid by Konoha for accompanying me. However, as my apprentice, I will provide you with a stipend.”

“I don’t know if I have a pack big enough--”

“You don’t know how to use a sealing scroll?” Kakashi asked, before remembering that she was only a genin. “I’ll bring one tomorrow. Collect everything tonight, and tomorrow I’ll show you how to seal it all away.”

“Really--?” She seemed so astonished that Kakashi felt vaguely guilty. He hadn’t been that bad of a teacher, had he?

“Of course. I’ll come to your house around six in the morning, so we can have an early start.”

“Thank you!”

“You’re welcome,” he replied automatically, even though he had no idea what she was thanking him for. “Now, if you’ll excuse me, I am forty-five minutes late to an appointment.”

Sakura giggled. “You better hurry, then.”

Kakashi smiled back at her, charmed by the mischief in her eyes. She was going to be such a good little student!

He formed the seals for teleportation and melted between Sakura’s front doorstep and the Cocktail Umbrella Bar and Grill.

***

The night passed in a blur of brightly coloured drinks, little umbrellas and skewers of fruit on sticks, laughing and talking to dead friends who were alive.

It was, in Kakashi’s estimation, a very good night.

***

“Shhhhh,” he told Sakura, swaying a little. He suspected that he might still be a trifle drunk. “Nice quiet walk to Suna.”

“Are you drunk?” she asked him, sounding much too bright for the morning. Nice sharp mind. So much potential, he reminded himself, holding a hand to his head to keep it from falling off.

“I might be,” he said. He’d faked sobriety for her mother and when he’d taught Sakura how to use a storage scroll, but now his head hurt. A lot.

“Oh.” She glanced up at him, a nervous smile crossing her face. “Um. What direction?”

Kakashi yawned and pointed west. “We’ll follow this road.” He thought for a second, then summoned Bull. “He’ll lead you.”

“Boss?” Bull asked. His voice was nice and low. Such a good, quiet dog.

“Morning, Bull,” Kakashi replied, smiling. He’d missed his dogs. He’d loved the ones who’d come after, too, but it wasn’t quite the same as his first pack.

“Are you drunk?” His enormous head bumped into Kakashi’s chest, nearly knocking him over.

“He said he might be,” Sakura answered for him, looking at Bull like he was magical--right. Talking dog. Hadn’t he introduced her to Pakkun, yet?

“You aren’t supposed to go on missions when you’re drunk, Boss.”

“Meh. It’s just the first bit. I’ll be sober by afternoon,” Kakashi promised, ignoring the fact that it was very nearly noon. He hadn’t made it to Sakura’s house until eight, and her mother had been furious, and there’d very nearly been nastiness.

The mastiff sighed, brown eyes mournful. “Are you sure?”

“I summoned you to watch over us,” Kakashi said, rubbing behind Bull’s ears. “I knew you’d take care of anything I couldn’t.”

Bull’s tongue lolled out.

Kakashi totally missed the moment when Bull leaned forward, knocking him onto the road. He must have blinked. “Maybe you should have a nap first, Boss.” The paw on his chest indicated that it was less a suggestion than an order. Bull had always been a bossy Beta.

Sakura giggled and sat down next to him. “Did you get any sleep last night?”

“No,” Kakashi said, grinning at the beautiful blue sky above him.

Bull sniffed at his mask then licked it, his huge tongue nearly dragging the fabric off. “You smell sweet,” he said, lying down, dinner-plate sized paw still firmly on his chest. Another lick, and a thick line of drool dripped down Kakashi’s ear.

“Bull!” Kakashi protested. “It’s just one of the drinks!” He’d spilled it when Anko--Kakashi grinned again, good mood recovered.

The great tongue slicked back his hair. “It doesn’t taste as good as it smells,” Bull concluded with a sigh.

Kakashi’s eyes drifted shut. “Let’s pretend it’s an early siesta,” he murmured.

“What’s a siesta?”

He pulled the diplomacy book from his bag and handed it to Sakura. She’d need to know the cultural details before they arrived. He was being a good teacher, giving her a break to study...

The sound of pages flipping lured him down into sleep.

 
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