Kakashi blearily opened his eyes and stared distantly at the ceiling. His could vaguely hear a voice calling out to him but....he was too numb to care. He sat up and ground his teeth in irritation. Why was he awake?
A sharp pain jolted from his mouth and he realized he must have bit his lip. He soothed the wound with his tongue and cringed at the taste of blood. He felt a pressure on his shoulder and growled in warning.
He gave a seething glare at the attacker and saw a shocked expression painted on his face. They withdrew their hand slowly, watching for a reaction. Kakashi just continued to glare at them. The boy gave Kakashi a concerned frown and turned away to talk to Tsunade who stood off to the side.
They exchanged a look and Tsunade sighed heavily, motioning for him to follow her.
"Granny, what's up with that? It's like he doesn't know who I am." He folded his arms across his chest and looked back at Kakashi, who had started looking around cautiously.
Tsunade pinched the bridge of her nose in despair. "Whatever this genjutsu was, it has completely messed up his mind. I was afraid of this. He's going to need at least a month or two to rehabilitate...Naruto?"
Said boy was watching in concern as Kakashi was trying to get out of his bed.
Naruto was at his side in an instant and reached out to stabilize him. Kakashi took that distraction and with lightning fast reflexes gripped Naruto's throat tightly with both hands. The forced knocked them both to the ground
"K-kakashi-sensei...!?" Naruto choked out, desperately grasping at his hands. He could feel the air leaving his lungs and his throat contracted painfully with the force.
There must have been a sliver of recognition passing through Kakashi's mind because he gave a horrified look and let go as if Naruto burned him.
He had the decency to look guilty as he stared down at his trembling hands.
"Kakashi-sensei..." Naruto sighed, rubbing his throat. Tsunade pulled him outside the room roughly by his arm. She motioned for three Anbu members to guard the door and left for the Hokage tower.
"This is a classified S-rank mission. Mostly because Kakashi is an elite jounin and I am worried about him using his strength against you. Also because if word got out that one of our best shinobi was mentally unwell it would damage our village's reputation. Not to mention his as well.
You three are to report to me within a month. I want weekly updates as well on Kakashi's status. Nobody is to know of this, understand Naruto?" Tsunade said, staring directly at said ninja.
Naruto scoffed, uncrossing his arms and pointing a finger at Tsunade accusingly. "Why am I the only one getting a lecture?! What about Sakura and Sasuke? It's so unfair!" He growled and gave Sasuke a glare over his shoulder.
"Knock it off Naruto! It's because you don't know how to be subtle, you obnoxious brat." She sighed and rubbed at her forehead in an attempt to stave off an oncoming headache.
"Um...Lady Tsunade, what exactly are we going to be doing on this mission? Isn't Kakashi-sensei in the hospital?" Sakura asked eyeing the two boys in the room with concern.
"Well Sakura, thank you for asking. Sakura, I'm going to train you in basic medical jutsu so you can heal your team if anything were to happen, just as a precaution. Sasuke, I want you to thoroughly research whatever this jutsu of Itachi's is, since you are the only one to have access to your clan's archives. And Naruto..." Tsunade smiled tightly at the blonde boy.
"You are going to guard and escort Kakashi. You will be assigned an Anbu guard as well, just in case anything 'unpleasant' were to happen again. We don't need a repeat of whatever that was."
Naruto shivered, the memory of his cold hands wrapping viciously around his throat. He rubbed absentmindedly at the bandages around his neck. Underneath were dark bruises that would take at least a day or two to wear off.
He frowned and stared at the floor below him. He was worried about his sensei.
"Alright then, that's all the debriefing you need. You're dismissed." She waved them away but noticed Naruto didn't budge.
"Granny...what happens if we can't fix it?" Naruto murmured, an angry frown on his face. Sasuke hesitated at the door, fingers clenched in a fist at his side. Sakura cast a worried glance around the room, biting at her nails.
"Then we just lost one of our best shinobi." She said matter-of-factly. She turned her chair to stare out the windows behind her. Naruto shut his eyes tight, as if in pain and stormed out the door after his teammates.
'He's not just a shinobi, Granny Tsunade. He is one of my precious people.' Naruto thought as he set off in determination.
He bid his teammates farewell and walked into the hospital, noticing Gai-sensei pacing near the waiting area, a worried grimace in place of his usual grin. He spotted Naruto out of the corner of his eye and rushed over to him.
"Have you seen Lee? I haven't seen him in almost 2 hours...it's like he disappeared..." Gai sighed dramatically, grabbing Naruto by the shoulders. Naruto cringed at the tight grip.
Naruto scratched his cheek and look away in thought. "Uh...well...maybe he needed some fresh air?" Gai perked up at that and smiled wide.
"Right of course! Why didn't I think of that? As expected of my young pupil's rival." Gai sped off, leaving a bewildered Naruto behind.
He blinked a few times at the retreating figure and continued towards the reception desk. He checked in and walked to his sensei's room. He nodded at the Anbu guards and opened the door.
Kakashi was sitting up on his bed staring down at his hitai-ate. Entering the room normally would have alerted him immediately, however he either wasn't aware of Naruto's presence or chose to ignore him.
The first thing Naruto noticed as he got closer was the shaking. The second was that Kakashi was holding the headband so tightly the metal was cutting into his hand. And the third was the look of absolute hatred in his eye as he finally looked at him.
Nobody said this was going to be easy, but Naruto could still feel the fresh pain in his heart when he realized what emotion was swimming in that eye.
An emotion he was very accustomed to, just not from this man.
He swallowed the hurt and chose to ignore the warnings in his head. He cleared his throat and spoke as evenly as possible.
"Kakashi-sensei...how? Um...what I mean is...? Are you..." Naruto trailed off not knowing how to talk to him and he struggled to keep eye contact. Kakashi gradually turned his attention back to his hitai-ate and sighed heavily.
"What are you doing here Naruto?" He spoke curtly, annoyance clinging to his words, with just a hint of something else. He stopped shaking and slumped back into his pillows in defeat.
"Well...Granny said I'm not supposed to leave your side until you're better..." Naruto scratched his cheek and simultaneously rubbed the back of his neck.
"...I see." Kakashi slowly opened his hand letting the headband fall onto his bed. He curled his fingers into a fist a couple times and sighed once more.
"Ahhhh! Sensei you're bleeding!" Naruto screamed and grabbed Kakashi's hand without thinking. Kakashi ripped his hand out of his grasp and held it against his chest protectively.
"I'm fine. Don't make such a fuss, this is nothing." He defended and gave Naruto a side-eyed glare. "But...you're bleeding." He insisted, a worried waver in his voice.
"I said it's fine didn't I!?" Kakashi growled, halting Naruto in his step closer. Naruto sucked in a breath and stepped back. He nodded in dismay and sat down in a chair at the foot of the bed. They sat there in silence and eventually an hour or so passed and silent breathing filled the room as Kakashi stared blankly out the window.
Naruto could feel the dregs of sleep as he watched the form on the bed. A click of the door alerted him as Shizune walked through the threshold. She smiled warmly at him and handed him a tray of food and left. Miso soup and a modest bowl of rice. As well as a mysterious bottle.
Naruto quirked his eyebrow at the bottle, but stood up and walked it over to Kakashi. He wheeled over the table and set down the tray and even though he definitely knew better, he cleared his throat and spoke.
"K-kakashi-sensei?" Naruto gulped when Kakashi leveled him with an emotionless stare. He spared a glance down at the food and looked away.
"...I'm not hungry." The trembling returned and Kakashi grit his teeth when his stomach betrayed him with a loud grumble.
Naruto barely held in a chuckle but the look Kakashi gave him made him shut up immediately. "Fine...just...leave it there and go." Naruto sighed.
"I'm not supposed to do that Sensei." He turned back to his chair and slumped over. He watched as the silver haired jounin took his chopsticks in hand, quivering. He grabbed some rice and brought it towards his face but stopped.
"I can't eat if you're staring at me like that." Kakashi said in a bitter tone.
"O-oh right! Of course." Naruto turned away at that and stared at the door. He heard fabric rustling and swallowed. If he just sneaked a peak he'd see what was under the mask but...
A soft clatter jolted Naruto out of his thoughts and he just barely remembered to shut his eyes.
"Kakashi-sensei? Everything ok?" Kakashi scoffed and picked up the chopsticks he dropped and tried to calm his nerves, however they still fell out of his fluttering grip.
"Damn it!" He muttered under his breath. He went to reach for the chopsticks again but tan fingers blindly felt for them before he could.
He stabbed at the rice a few times before he could get a decent amount and brought them forward towards Kakashi. The silver haired man sucked in a breath and looked between the offered food and the closed eyes of his young pupil.
Kakashi felt a surge of anger and smacked the hand away, knocking the chopsticks to the ground. He pulled up his mask quickly and pushed the tray away from himself.
"Forget it! I'll eat later." He turned away and continued staring out the window. He could feel the tension in the air. He peeked over his shoulder and withered a bit at what he saw.
'Stop looking at me like that.' Kakashi thought. Naruto had a depressed look on his face and looked like somebody just killed his....No! Don't finish that thought.
Kakashi swallowed the lump in his throat and tried his best to ignore the young genin in the room. Naruto bent down and picked up the utensils. He wiped them on the edge of his jacket sleeve and placed them on his tray. And curiously ran his finger down the orange cover of the few books sitting on his bedside table.
His finger came away covered in a thin layer of dust. Which was surprising since Kakashi read them almost religiously. But then he remembered that he was in a coma for a week or so. He frowned and picked up the book. He wiped off the remaining dust with the sleeve of his jacket and opened the dog eared pages.
Without so much as a twitch from his sensei, Naruto sat back on the chair and started reading Icha Icha Paradise. He was so involved in the book, despite his lack of understanding, he completely missed Tsunade and Sakura entering the room. As did Kakashi.
"I leave you out of my supervision for 3 hours and I find you reading that drivel in broad daylight!" Naruto looked up in fear but it was already too late. Tsunade brought her fist down none too gently on the top of his head.
"Ahhhhhhhhhhh! What did you do that for!?" He yelled while nursing the lump forming on the top of his head. Kakashi gave a bewildered look between Naruto, the book, and Tsunade. He held his hands up in defense.
That stopped Tsunade in her tracks. "Kakashi...why in the world are you bleeding?" Sakura gave a surprised gasp and Naruto looked away sheepishly.
Kakashi cursed inwardly and hid his hand behind his back in a fist. "What are you talking about? I'm perfectly fine."
Tsunade fought back the urge to smack him. "I'm not a damn idiot. Give me your damn hand unless you want me to put you back into a coma!"
Kakashi hesitated, but gave her his hand in defeat. The trembling hadn't subsided yet and Tsunade frowned. "I'll ask again Hatake. Why are you bleeding? This looks fresh, so tell me."
The room filled with silence and it was clear his sensei didn't want to tell them what happened. Naruto spoke without meaning to. "It was me. And he refused to let me help him, so..."
"This kid! Is that how you treat hospital patients? By attacking them?" Tsunade screamed, turning towards Naruto pointing at him aggressively.
Kakashi stared at him with confusion. Why did he lie like that?
"Anyways, Sakura I want you to do this." Sakura gently grabbed his hand and with the supplies handed to her, cleaned and dressed his wound. "Good! Now focus your chakra into your palms and try to heal his hand with it."
A green glow enveloped Sakura's hands and she concentrated for a good 5 minutes. The cut hadn't fully healed but it was significantly smaller. She gasped out loud when she exhausted her chakra. Her breaths came short.
She was about to go again but Tsunade put a firm hand on her shoulder. "It'll heal fine on its own now. You did a good job." Tsunade smiled at her and Sakura smiled back in awe.
"Woah! Sakura! That was so cool! Can you teach me how to do that?" Naruto exclaimed excitedly, pointing to himself. Sakura frowned in his direction.
"This isn't a game idiot. You could've really hurt Sensei!" She yelled and punched him on the top of his head again. Kakashi frowned again. Why did he lie? Naruto grimaced in pain and clutched his throbbing head.
"Kakashi. I'm releasing you from the hospital tomorrow morning." Kakashi let out a relieved sigh at the news.
"However. Your mental stability and psyche are severely damaged. Im ordering you a month's leave or until you are fully recuperated. I will not put my ninja at risk, do you understand?" Tsunade said, with her hands on her hips and nervously tapping her foot.
Kakashi was about to protest but Tsunade cut him off with a glare.
"Yeah...I understand." He slumped back into the pillows on the bed.
"Great! Oh...and before I forget. Naruto, you are going to live with him until he is fully rehabilitated. That's an order." Her and Sakura left abruptly after that, though Sakura gave him a sad smile before she left.
"...WHAT!?" Naruto screeched. He grabbed his hair in denial. "You've got to be kidding me!"
"Maa, don't look too excited." Naruto looked at him in surprise when he saw the infamous eye smile. His eyes crinkled at the corners a bit too harshly and the wrinkle in between his eyebrows gave it away. He was furious.
Naruto gulped and looked away. He brought the orange book back out and continued where he left off, it was about to lead to its first bedroom scene when it was yanked out of his hands.
"That's enough of that. I don't want to corrupt your mind any further. And we don't want that now do we?" Kakashi stood, hospital gown left haphazardly on the ground and his full jounin uniform in its place. Minus the hitai-ate. He gave it a once over and placed it in his tool pouch along with his books.
"Alright then, bye!" Kakashi leapt out the window and started running on the roofs.
"Ah....damn it!" Naruto cursed and ran after him. It took him a good couple minutes to catch up to him but when he did he was left in a poof of smoke. A shadow clone.
"Arghhh! Granny's gonna kill me." Naruto summoned 20 shadow clones and searched the entire village. It was near nightfall and still he couldn't find him. He was about to give up when he sensed his chakra near the training fields.
A loud boom of thunder jolted him and he looked at the sky in panic. Dark ominous clouds covered a majority of the sky and a few drops of rain fell on his face.
He ran as fast as he could to make it to his sensei. He stopped a few feet from his where he stood motionless in front of the memorial stone at team 7's training ground. He gasped and tried to breath in as much air as he could, black spots dotting his vision.
He had made it too late. Kakashi's hair was slicked down, weighed heavily by the torrent of rain. His uniform was much the same, drenched from head to toe, and shivering at the cold.
Naruto watched from afar as Kakashi mumbled to the stone for a good hour or so. He couldn't hear what exactly was being said, but he caught a few names. Obito. Rin. Minato-sensei...Father. What was a surprise was his name. Which had appeared more than half the time.
Kakashi's monologue was cut short when Naruto sneezed dramatically. A kunai was thrown with deadly accuracy and cut his cheek as he dodged to the side. "It's not polite to eavesdrop Naruto."
Naruto calmly stood up with his arms at his side. "I didn't hear anything." Kakashi sighed heavily and walked towards him. He placed his hand on his shoulder painfully as he was about to pass him.
"Then let's keep it that way, shall we." He gave him another death glare, disguised as a friendly smile and walked away.
Naruto trembled with fear, but continued following him at a distance. He still had a mission and he wouldn't run away. That was his nindo.