Kakashi had always known that Naruto had this unhealthy attachment to a certain male singer, Hayashi Akira. It was cute when Naruto was twelve, loudly denying her crush on the singer while her cheeks turned a deep red color. It was also fun to tease her about it. She would wear a black shirt with the singer holding onto a microphone while belting whatever song he sang on stage under her orange jumper. The shirt was a bit big on her, though, so she had to tie it on the side. She also had this metal bracelet with Akira’s sweetheart engraved on it. Which Kakashi thought was ridiculous.
But as the years went by, Naruto didn’t outgrow her celebrity obsessed phase, and honestly, Kakashi didn't understand her infatuation with said singer nor why she was so starstruck about him.
Sure, he admired Jiraiya as the author of his favorite book series, Icha Icha, but he was not in love with him the same way Naruto was in love with Akira. He just thought that Jiraiya-Sama had a certain vision that people simply couldn't comprehend the way Kakashi did.
But Naruto was eighteen, about to turn nineteen, and she was no longer her former child self. She was taller, her blonde hair cascaded down her shoulders like a golden waterfall and her eyes were bluer than any ocean Kakashi had ever seen. She was also stronger, faster, wiser and much more mature. Perhaps due to the years she spent with Jiraiya.
And that was precisely why Kakashi could not, for the life of him, comprehend why the girl was still went gaga over some guy who didn't even know that she existed. She needed a man whom she could depend on, someone who was physically there during her time of need and hardship, someone like…
The white haired ninja snapped out of his daze and turned to face the blonde haired teen.
“You promised we’d have dinner at Ichiraku’s after training.” She whined and poked harshly at his side.
That was right. They were currently training to face Akatsuki and stop them from obtaining the other Jinchūriki and prevent the Fourth Shinobi War from happening. It was a lot easier to get Naruko to start her training than it did when she was twelve, but spending time with Jiraiya-Sama had taught her that nothing comes without a price. So, Kakashi was to buy her dinner at Ichiraku’s Ramen.
“Fine.” The older of the two sighed, “You know, you really should address me with some formality. I was your teacher after all.”
“For like a year.” Naruto snorted. “But if it’ll make you feel better, I’ll call you senpai .” She chuckled at the deadpan expression Kakashi gave her.
“I would rather die than hear you call me that.”
That made Naruto laugh, the exact same laugh she had when she was twelve years old. A small smile grew on Kakashi’s lips under his mask as he briefly reminisced about the past where he trained team seven and Naruto would get in all sorts of shenanigans. It was exhausting at the time, what with Kakashi being only nineteen years old and was still grieving the loss of his friends and the fourth Hokage. But now, well into his mid-twenties, he missed the simpler times he had with team seven. Before Sasuke left and the rest of his team parted ways. He would never admit it out loud but he missed his little team. It was lonely without them.
“What’s up with you and that guy anyway?”
“Huh?” Naruto turned to glance Kakashi’s way and saw that he was pointing at her shirt with his eyes. It was the same shirt that she owned since she was eight years old. She bought it after she had received her first allowance from Iruka after successfully cleaning the Hokage monument the first time she sabotaged it.
Naruto was at some store she couldn’t remember the name of, looking for some shirts to buy when she saw it. Naruto didn’t know the singer at the time but he looked so majestic on stage. It was like the shirt had some hypnotic spell because Naruto found her way walking towards it and next thing you know, she was wore the shirt the next day and went tothe local music store to learn all she could about Hayashi Akira. And with each allowance she earned from Iruka, she would buy more of his CDs and merchandise.
Naruto looked down at her shirt. Once upon a time, this shirt would swallow her whole since the only size they had was in a medium. But after years of growing and filling out in certain areas, the shirt just barely covered her bellybutton.
“What do you mean?” She asked as they both continued their stroll through the village. Somehow, this had turned into a routine after Naruto had returned from her training with Jiraiya. They wouldn’t do it nightly, just on nights when they both had the time and energy for it.
“You’ve always been obsessed with that Akira guy.” Kakashi commented off handedly.
“I’m not obsessed .” Naruto snapped, her old fiery temper ignited just briefly before she evened her breathing and calmed herself down, “I just like him.”
“More like love him.”
Naruto rolled her eyes, “You don’t see me intruding on your love with Jiraiya.”
That made Kakashi choke on his spit, “I’m not in love!” If you had told the people that knew of the copy ninja that he almost shrieked at an eighteen year old girl, they wouldn’t believe you, “I just think that he’s very creative and talented.”
“Sure you aren't.” Naruto stated as she chuckled under her breath at the way Kakashi grumbled.
“But for real,” Kakashi spoke up again when they finally arrived on their favorite hilltop that overlooked the city, “Why are you so in love with him?”
Naruto shrugged. Her eyes never looked away from the shining stars as she muttered, “I just like him.”
It was quiet for a bit. Kakashi contemplated dropping the subject when Naruto spoke up, “He was there for me...I-In ways not many people have been.”
Kakashi didn’t reply. Instead, he waited for the teenager to finish what she was saying.
“Sure, I had Iruka, You and team seven with me but Akira...he was different. He never judged me.”
Kakashi wanted to mention that the singer wouldn't be able to judge her since he lived somewhere lavish in some foreign country where they spoke a fancy language but he held back.
“No offense but all of you had judged me at one point in your lives and I guess that’s human nature but it still hurts, you know.”
But I didn’t judge you. Kakashi wanted to say.
“When Akira sings, it feels like all of my troubles and worries just vanish, disappear in some unknown void. Yes, it was temporary, fleeting even, but it helped in so many ways.”
Kakashi could understand that. He feels that way when he read Icha Icha and they do help him destress. Especially after a long and exhausting mission.
“I didn't have anyone with me growing up but he was there through every aspect of my life that it’s hard for me not to fall in love with him. I was...I was so alone, Kakashi.”
Kakashi didn't know why, but the way Naruto’s voice gradually grew quieter towards the end and her whispering his name, made his heart squeeze painfully tight.
“But you have me.”
He didn’t mean to say that. He meant to say, ‘But you have us’. Us as in; Him, Sakura, Jiraiya, Iruka, Kiba, Gaara, Neji, Ino, Choji and Shikamaru.
Naruto chuckled, “Yes, I do.”
Those three words. Simple words affirming his statement caused for Kakashi’s heart to skip a bit.
“So why do you still love him?”
Naruto shrugged, “Old habit, I guess.” before she slowly pushed herself to sit upwards and face Kakashi.
Something in Naruto’s gaze was so intense, so passionate that Kakashi found it a bit difficult to breathe. His throat felt like sandpaper as he tried to swallow down the excess saliva in his mouth.
“Could you ever love somebody else?”
Naruto nodded, not realizing how the both of them subconsciously leaned in, “There’s room for one more in my heart.” Her breath tickled Kakashi’s masked lips warmly.
“That’s good to know.” He whispered quietly, fearing that he would break the moment.
Naruto hummed in agreement before she gently cupped Kakashi’s cheeks. Her eyes met his in a silent permission and, with a soft nod from his head, Naruto pulled Kakashi’s mask down.
They were unsure who closed the gap between them but they both agree that the kiss was magical. It was cliche but it was everything they yearned for.
The kiss was slow at first. Just a shy peck, a press against lips before Kakashi grew bold enough and cradled his fingers through Naruto’s golden locks and added pressure into the kiss, making it a bit more intense as the both of them poured out their emotions into this one little kiss. The kiss that they’ve never expected to happen but would gladly want more of if given the chance.
Kakashi and Naruto didn’t have time to fall in love-couldn't afford to fall in love. But there had always been some strange unspoken chemistry between them ever since Naruto had returned from her trip with Jiraiya and went on her almost suicidal mission to rescue her childhood friend and former teammate, Sasuke.
“That was.” Kakashi panted after they broke their kiss, his chest rose and fell dramatically.
“Yeah.” Naruto agreed, equally as breathless.
They leaned in a second time for another kiss, this one longer than their first one.
Neither of them knew how long they’ve spent bundled up in each other’s arms, sharing lazy kisses between them. But when Kakashi opened his eyes, the sun shyly peeked through the horizon.
Looking down, he saw that Naruto peacefully slept in his arms. Kakashi smiled and his heart swelled at the sight before him.
He didn't know what last night entitled, didn't know what the future held for them but he did know this; Kakashi would always be in Naruto’s heart, next to Akira.