|Finding Your Soul
Author: 1CarinoInu PM
With peace comes time for reflection and time to take stock of what is truly important in life. When Hatake Kakashi decides it's time to settle down, his search for a wife finds him looking where he least expected. Within his own team.Rated: Fiction M - English - Romance - Kakashi H. & Sakura H. - Chapters: 9 - Words: 37,564 - Reviews: 82 - Favs: 62 - Follows: 132 - Updated: 04-27-13 - Published: 08-25-12 - id: 8464939
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Warning: Possible Spoilers – if you're not up to date on Shippuden and don't want to know, don't read. I am manipulating people and events, taking guesses as to what happens. The characters may run OOC. I also do not have a Beta, so please be patient with my errors.
Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto, or any of the characters of. I make no money from writing fan fiction based on those characters.
The war was over. The Allied Shinobi forces had banded together against Uchiha Madera and Yakushi Kabuto and had succeeded in their destruction, along with their army of reanimated ninja and mass numbers of white Zetsu.
It had been a long war for all of the countries and all sides had seen their losses, yet their villages had been spared. This was especially good for the Village Hidden in the Leaves, Konahagakure, since they were still recovering and rebuilding from the destruction from their battle with Pain and the Akatsuki.
The returning shinobi of Konoha had seen more death than they ever had in their lifetime. Those who had been alive for the last Great War felt it more than others, especially with the recent losses of longtime friends.
The Fifth Hokage, upon the return of everyone from the war, had ordered a week of mourning following the burials of those shinobi that had given their lives. While the village hadn't stopped completely running, those that had been a part of the war were given leave for quiet contemplation, meditation and time to deal with the loss of friends and comrades.
Small groups of ninja could be found talking solemnly about those who had been lost, but also taking the time to remember the good times. Shinobi bars were crowded as some congregated to reminisce or to drown their sorrows.
After the week of mourning, construction for rebuilding recommenced and life went on. Missions picked up once again, teams were restructured where needed and training began again. Even though things seemed to be normal, they were far from for many individuals.
Hatake Kakashi, hands in his pockets and trademark slouch in place, walked through the busy streets of Konoha without a destination in mind. Although he would usually carry one of the many volumes of Icha Icha reading as he went his merry way, today he felt it unnecessary. His mask effectively hid his face and leaf headband covered the Sharingan, leaving only his single right orb open to view. That eye would not reflect the current turmoil of his thoughts if anyone had taken the time to look. He was a master at hiding his emotions well.
No one should see the amount of death he had in an entire lifetime. The life of a shinobi was a brutal one he knew that well. But it was also a very lonely one. Kakashi contemplated his life and where he was at this point in his life. He never wanted to be anything more than what he currently was, a ninja for Konaha. He was the best at what he did and was content with that.
The fact that he had almost been named Hokage with the demise of Danzo had been an experience that he did not want to relive. Although he hadn't shown it, he had been relieved that Lady Tsunade had awoken from her healing coma just moments before Kakashi had been named the next Hokage. It had been a close call and it was a responsibility he really had not wanted to undertake. Had things been different and she had not awakened, he would have worn the esteemed mantle and done his duty to the best of his ability.
It didn't mean he would like it.
The recent war had made him relook his life. Meaningless one-night stands and too many black outs due to over imbibing was all he could see in his recent past. Sure he had completed hundreds of missions and even trained one genin team, but really, that was all he had to show for it.
Kakashi had never thought that he'd want to have a relationship with someone, much less create a family, but with the latest war and now the peace that came with the end of the latest menace, he was feeling the itch. Usually a loner by choice, he enjoyed his privacy. However, at the age of 30 he was actually contemplating continuing the Hatake line.
He hadn't had much of a family life, with the suicide of his father followed shortly by the death of his mother, and had never had a real relationship outside of the few friends within the village. He wasn't sure if he was really capable of holding onto a partnership of sorts and he knew it wouldn't be easy. But Hatake Kakashi was determined to try.
There were few, if none, times that Kakashi entertained the thought of actual marriage. Life as a Konoha shinobi was not conducive to keeping a healthy relationship let alone a permanent one. Their lives were constantly in danger and to leave a spouse behind and even possibly a child was not palatable.
But in the long run, it was definitely necessary. Bloodlines needed to be continued along with bloodline limits. He would be doing the village a great disservice if he did not do his duty and procreate. The Hatake family line would end with him and he didn't want to be like Sasuke and die before ensuring that his family name lived on.
He had no scores to settle like the last Uchiha and for someone in his line of work it was pretty incredible. Sure, his face and name were in all of the Bingo Books across the lands. Even Sakura, his ex-16 year-old student, was in the books thanks to the battle she and the elderly Lady Chiyo waged against the Akatsuki member Sasori.
Kakashi chuckled at that. Who would have known his cherry blossom would find her way into such a class of Shinobi?
Kakashi looked at his options at this time in his life and he did not feel that it was a duty or an obligation. He desired and even craved the companionship that a mate could bring. After seeing what Kurenai and Asuma had in a relationship, Kakashi wanted to experience the same. They were both so much happier when they were together. Even apart, they had a better focus on their lives, a purpose other than the protection of their village. Even with Asuma's eventual death, leaving a child and wife behind, Kakashi felt a longing deep within his soul to search for someone.
The inevitable question, though, was whom he would find to be his wife and mate? Who would stir his heart and mind and body and put up with his more endearing habits? He was only 30 but he was pretty much set in his ways and didn't want someone who would try to change him. She, yes a female, although many would question whether he was truly interested in any sex, would have to be young enough to still bear children. A woman intelligent enough to challenge him, strong enough to stand up to him, yet kind of heart like his mother had been. She would have to be a shinobi as well as there was no sense in bringing a civilian into his world. They just didn't understand the life of a ninja.
He decided he would give himself time to find the female that he would make his, even though he could lose his life at any time. But with the newfound peace between the Countries, he had a feeling the risks would be fewer. Kakashi continued his stroll through Konoha with a new purpose and direction and a lighter heart.
On the opposite side of the village, a pink-haired girl of 16 was found within the tented walls of the makeshift hospital healing the many patients that lay there. Her light jade green eyes belied the fatigue she felt while her body hunched over in exhaustion as she continued to lay her chakra laden hands on those in need. She hoped that the new hospital would be completed soon, that the patients would have real beds to lie on and the privacy needed to truly heal.
It had been days since she had slept a full night as evidenced in the darkened circles beneath her eyes. Even with the peace that had been found with the end of the war, no one had seemed to notice that she hadn't left the hospital walls for a couple of weeks. She would catch a catnap in one of the vacant cots until she was awakened by someone who needed direction or with the arrival of a new wave of injured men and women.
For Haruno Sakura, this was her means of hiding from her pain. In losing herself in her work she was able to hide from her anguish over the death of her parents and one Uchiha Sasuke.
Bandits while on the road from another village had killed Sakura's parents. With the destruction of their home and their place of business during the Akatsuki attack, the Haruno's decided that while their store was being rebuilt that they would see about sourcing new suppliers of cloth for the clothing they made. It was on their way back, wagon full of varying values of fabric that they were attacked and killed.
They had been the first to be buried in the newly built cemetery. They giant stone that carried the names of shinobi lost to battle was reclaimed from the destruction and placed in a position of honor. Sakura's parents, not being shinobi but civilians, were not added to the stone. They did, however, have a headstone that Sakura paid to have engraved with their names; a memorial to her loving parents.
She hadn't had the time to properly mourn her parents before the war had begun. Knowing it was her duty; Sakura pushed her feelings deep in her mind and gave her all for her village. She knew her parents would be proud of her and her accomplishments. She could survive on that.
Sasuke had stood against Naruto at the height of the war; the last Uchiha had still wanted revenge against Konoha for the death of his clan. By destroying Naruto, the village's most powerful shinobi and the keeper of the Nine Tail Fox, Sasuke knew the destruction of the village would follow.
He hadn't planned on Naruto's increased strength, nor had he counted on the fox within the boy to work with Naruto as a cohesive unit. Sasuke's underestimation had ultimately been his downfall.
Sakura did not blame Naruto for Sasuke's death. In fact, she was glad that her teammate and friend had been the one to deal the killing blow. She knew that the Uchiha was no longer the boy she had fell in love with what seemed so long ago, but a stranger. She had always tried to see beyond Sasuke's disinterest, his broodiness and wrote it off to having experienced such a terrible loss at such a young age.
Sakura had always been extremely forgiving, almost to the point of not seeing things clearly for what they were and thereby being walked on and taken advantage of. The last few years had opened her eyes to the reality and she learned to stand up for herself.
She had to give credit to her Shishou, the current Hokage, Lady Tsunade for taking her under her wing. Training with the Legendary Sannin had opened up Sakura's inner strength and brought her out of her rose-colored world. And while she saw things a little more clearly for what they were now, it didn't protect her from the pain of the loss of her first love.
Sakura didn't know how to deal with the loss constructively and chose to lose herself in her work devoting herself to the care of those in need. Even during the forced week of mourning, she continued to work through the days and nights, allowing the other medics to take the mandated time off, grateful that the long white coat she wore was able to hide the fact that she wasn't eating enough, and finding ways to avoid Shizune. Sakura knew that Shizune would figure things out and tell Tsunade. She couldn't let that happen.
Sakura would only leave the hospital for a couple of hours 2 or 3 days a week to train with the current team Kakashi: Naruto, Sai and Kakashi. It was mainly out of habit and to keep their skills up, but had also given them the opportunity to socialize on a small level. Even though training wasn't a necessity, there was always the chance they could be sent out on a mission and it was best to keep in top physical and mental condition.
During their recent trainings, Naruto had not appeared to notice the changes in his friend, but Sai and Kakashi had. The males had kept it to themselves, opting to watch and wait to see if she would worsen or get better. The quick glances the shinobi made at each other communicated their concern over their female teammate, each promising the other to keep a close eye on her.
It wasn't until a month after the end of the war that Sakura's body had finally had enough, causing the girl to pass out from exhaustion and lack of nourishment that it was discovered what she had been doing. Sakura had been working over a particularly difficult case when she collapsed. A shinobi had been brought in with a gaping hole in his stomach with only a quick dressing over it to try to staunch the blood flow. He came in with the last wave of injured from the cleanup efforts and Sakura was actually looking forward to the reprieve. She dug in as usual, frustrated that the triage unit hadn't done better at prepping him before traveling with him, and put forth her best effort to heal him even though her chakra levels were slightly lower than they should be. It was then that she blacked out.
"Sakura!" One of the medics cried when he saw the young Kunoichi collapse where she had been sitting over a recently brought in-patient.
The cry got the attention of Shizune who jumped into action, immediately followed by another medic. Shizune knelt by the obviously exhausted girl and began checking her over. What she saw concerned her.
"Someone take over the care of this patient!" she barked out to the surrounding medics as she pointed to the male shinobi Sakura had been working on. "And somebody get Lady Tsunade, quickly! Tell her that Sakura is ill!"
Shizune and another medic moved Sakura to a cot and proceeded to strip the girl down from the oversized clothing, gasping at the sight of the very thin girl underneath.
"Sakura," she whispered. "What have you done to yourself?"
Her question was met with silence, which didn't surprise the medic nin. She barked out orders for fluids and an IV drip to feed the obviously starved and most likely dehydrated girl. Shizune looked her over noting the bruising on her arms, legs and torso, a few on her hips and hoped that they were from the training sessions she had been continuing with her team. She made a note on the chart that had been started by one of the other medics to make sure to ask if that was the case. She couldn't rule out physical abuse.
After redressing the girl in a gown and putting a light blanket over her, Shizune sat and waited for Lady Tsunade to arrive. How would she explain to the Hokage that her apprentice had been basically starving herself to death and working herself to the bone? Why hadn't anyone noticed? Granted everyone was busy with rebuilding not only the village but also their lives, but they should have seen the way the girl was dwindling away. Although, Shizune knew that it would have been difficult to tell since Sakura wore the loose medic coat and would have hidden the obvious signs.
Looking at the girls pale complexion and dark circles, Shizune shook her head. How could anyone not notice?
"Get out of my way!" barked the obviously angered Lady Tsunade. "Where is she? Where is Haruno Sakura?" Even though there were patients trying to rest and heal, the worried Hokage couldn't hide her fear at that moment. She saw Shizune and made a beeline for the woman.
She stopped when she was inches from the cot that her pink-haired apprentice laid. Her chakra levels were erratic and too low. She kneeled next to the cot and saw the girls' condition and frowned.
"Shizune. What have you determined?" Tsunade asked her voice lowered once she took stock of the situation.
Shizune sighed, thankful that her mentor had calmed herself. "The most I can tell is that she's exhausted, half-starved and dehydrated. She's also drained her chakra to almost the point of killing herself," Shizune ticked off. "Lady Tsunade, these bruises…" the med nin lifted the blanket, keeping Sakura covered for modesty's sake, and moved the gown to show her Shishou the bruises and marks on the girl's body.
Tsunade gasped and the black and blue and purple marks. "What could have caused them?" she asked, her golden eyes conveying her horror at the sight.
"I know that Sakura continues to train with Team Kakashi. Maybe they got in more hits than usual?" Shizune offered.
Tsunade scoffed, "She would have healed herself."
"If she could," Shizune pointed out. "The girl has been starving herself and working day in and day out. Even on the days of mourning you required people to take, she worked."
"Stupid girl," Tsunade whispered as she gently pushed pink hair out of Sakura's face and behind her ear. "What were you trying to prove?"
At the temporary site of the only ramen restaurant in Konoha sat the village hero Naruto. The village citizens gave him the title for his service to their home, saving what remained and destroying Pain and reducing the strength of the Akatsuki by two more members. The villagers didn't know how he did it, but those that had lost their life during the carnage had miraculously come back to life and for that, they had given Naruto their heartfelt gratitude.
Naruto was concerned about his friend Sakura. The signs of weight loss and the bags under her eyes told him that something was seriously wrong with her. He had never in the four years that they had been teammates seen her in such a state. He felt like he needed to go and talk to her and shake her out of whatever was causing her to whither away like she was, but he knew that his usual way of approaching things would not get him very far. If anything, he'd probably find himself in a world of hurt courtesy of Sakura's chakra infused fists.
The blonde visibly shivered at the thought, stopping him in the middle of his meal of ramen.
"I-is everything alright, Naruto?" the terminally shy Hinata asked her boyfriend. She had sat next to him enjoying her own bowl of ramen when she saw Naruto stop eating.
Hinata had finally got her man after many years of watching and wanting. All it took was a kiss at the end of the war to win the dense male over. In her relief to find that he survived the battle against Sasuke, the usually reticent female ran up to him, wrapped her arms around him and kissed Naruto on the lips, shocking everyone who saw it. The stunned blonde gave into the feeling of the soft female body against his own and the warmth of her lips on his. Following her declaration of love back when Pain had attacked, Naruto finally had put two and two together and they had been glued to one another ever since.
The usually vibrant and loud Naruto was strangely subdued as he replied, "There's something wrong with Sakura."
"What do you mean?" Hinata asked. "Is she ill or something?"
"I'm not sure, Hinata," he told her, blue eyes staring into the quickly cooling bowl of ramen. Hinata knew something was up if he wasn't eating. "She's lost a lot of weight and even though she's still as strong as ever when we train, there's a level of tiredness and sadness there that she's trying to hide."
"Naruto, didn't she just lose her parents right before the war? And then the recent loss of Sasuke?" Hinata observed. "She can't have had enough time to really mourn their losses."
Naruto looked at the beautiful black-haired Hyuuga female with male pride. She was so observant! "You're right, Hinata!" he exclaimed with typical enthusiasm. "Now all we have to do is figure out how to cheer her up!" And with that idea in place, he attacked his cold ramen with gusto.
Hinata smiled a small smile. She was sad that he truly didn't understand, but in his own way Naruto would try to help his friend in her time of need.
When Naruto and Hinata had finished their meal they split directions with Hinata making her way to the Hospital to help in the healing of the latest influx of wounded. She hadn't told Naruto that he'd find Sakura there, as she'd been there day in and day out, only leaving to train. The pink-haired Kunoichi practically lived at the hospital since the end of the war, still not having a home of her own since it was destroyed, preferring to stay close to where she was needed.
Hinata knew that Sakura was in emotional pain. The loss of her parents had to have been hard on the young female, only to be thrown into a war and watch the boy that had been the love of her life killed by Naruto. The Byakugan user had no idea what it was like to loose someone so close to her, but she had a feeling that if Naruto had been killed at any time, she would be devastated.
The dark-haired girl walked the dirt streets of Konaha observing the changes in the village of her birth. The destruction had been cleared away and newly constructed buildings lined up one by one. It was a slow process, especially with the loss of Tenzou during the war, but progress had been made.
Hinata thought about the loss of one of Team Kakashi's members. Yamato, or Tenzou, was a wood style user and was able to call wood out of the ground to construct buildings. He had actually begun the process of re-building Konoha right after the end of the conflict with Pain and his regenerated disciples.
Humanity was amazing in how when confronted with aversion or conflict, they managed to get back up on their feet and move on. It wasn't an easy course but a necessary one none-the-less.
Hinata stepped within the tented walls of the temporary hospital, amazed at the organization there. Cots were neatly lined up according to severity of the injury: immediate attention, moderate attention and post op. Triage was usually completed outside before being brought in and sorted to their appropriate section within the tent. There were still quite a number of patients from what she could see, but the numbers seemed to dwindle from when she had been there a few days before.
Seeing Shizune near the entrance, the young girl approached her. "Shizune, where do you want me to start?"
"Oh, Hinata! I'm so glad you're here," the flustered medic exclaimed. "With Sakura sick, we're short-handed. You can start over there," she pointed in the direction of the moderate attention area. "We really need you to begin working on those patients there. They are all stable but need follow-up care," Shizune explained.
Really wanting to know what was wrong with Sakura, Hinata made her way to the section she was directed to and looked over the charts to see what needed to be done. It was then that she encountered Sakura's chart. Hinata looked up and around to try to locate her boyfriend's teammate and discovered her in a far corner away from prying eyes.
Hinata looked over the chart, dismayed by what she was seeing. "Multiple contusions brought on by training," she noted the question mark next to that notation and wondered what was being questioned. "Severe weight loss and dehydration, anemia…" The girl read on astounded at how the usually strong Kunoichi could let herself degrade so quickly.
She sighed, reviewing the rest of the charts planning whom she would need to see first.