A/N: In which Kakashi just can't catch a break from his past, Sakura is vaguely amused, and Tsunade is definitely not paid enough.
This will be about a 25, 000 word story once it's finished. If you liked it, please let me know! Reviews are so appreciated, especially if it's to help me further develop a character or to point out a mistake I made. Thank you guys for continuing to read my stories!
Sakura tipped her head back under the warm jet of the shower, massaging the foamy shampoo from her locks. The water soothed her sore muscles, which were aching still from yesterday's mission. As she moved on to condition her hair, she hummed to herself absentmindedly, already planning her day off. It wasn't often that she got a reprieve from the constant work, especially as the Hokage's apprentice. For her, long, political-based missions were becoming more of the norm; while she didn't mind the journeys so much, the regular ambushes and assassination attempts on her life were a little tiring. That's just what you got for being so close to the Fifth Hokage, she'd soon realised. Most of the time it was unavoidable.
When the last of the conditioner had been washed from her hair, she turned off the shower, standing still for a moment as steam rose up around her. She wrapped a towel around her torso, taking a moment to brush her wet hair and dry it as best she could before leaving the bathroom. She continued to hum to herself as she went about getting dressed, pulling on a red civilian dress which she usually didn't get a chance to wear.
As she stood in the kitchen, waiting for the kettle to boil, she heard a scratching at her door. Her senses were on high alert immediately. She edged silently down the hall towards the front door, pulling a kunai from her mug cupboard as she went. The scratching at the door grew louder. It sounded as if... someone was trying to unlock it.
Sakura frowned as she closed her hand around the doorknob. In one swift movement, she pulled the door open, kunai held at the ready.
At the sight of her sensei, she jumped backwards in surprise, automatically dropping the kunai. He looked just as surprised as she was.
"Kakashi-sensei." she blurted out by way of greeting. "What are you doing?"
He stood warily by her door, holding a small key. As her eyes flickered over it, he tucked it quickly into a pocket of his pants, ignoring her question.
He looked... different, though she couldn't put her finger on what it was. He was wearing ANBU gear, and his hair seemed shorter than usual. That wasn't the most strange thing, however. Though he'd gotten back from the same mission as her yesterday, unscathed as far as she knew, he stood before her now bleeding profusely from a cut above his visible eye.
The medic in Sakura snapped quickly to attention, and she pulled him inside without hesitation.
"What have you done to yourself?" she asked, closing the door behind him. He merely stared at her as she began to tug him down the hallway, into the main room. He shrugged away from her hand on his upper arm, backing up defensively. They stared at one another for a long moment, both in total bewilderment. There was no recognition in his visible eye.
"Kakashi-sensei...?" Sakura queried, raising one pink brow.
"What are you doing in my apartment?" He asked finally, his voice edged with wariness. She paused and sighed as understanding filled her eyes.
"You've gone and given yourself a concussion, no doubt." she mused, mostly to herself. "Honestly, we've only been home one day and already you're bleeding all over my apartment."
Without waiting for an answer from him, she grabbed him firmly by the wrist and pulled him over to the kitchen sink. She rummaged around in a draw for a moment before finding her medical kit.
"I'm just going to sanitize the cut before I heal it up." she murmured, pouring a generous amount of disinfectant over a white cloth. She glanced back up at Kakashi, who was head and shoulders taller than her, and gestured for him to sit on the couch in the middle of the room. He didn't budge an inch. His uncovered eye was scanning the room rapidly, almost frantically, taking in every detail of her apartment. He looked as if he was ready to bolt at any moment. Definitely concussed, Sakura decided, resisting the urge to roll her eyes. He didn't seem as if he was going to sit down of his own accord any time soon, so she pulled him over to the couch herself, and pushed him to sit down. He at least complied to that, seeming to decide that she wasn't about to try to kill him.
"Now, stay still." she instructed, her voice taking on the tone she often adopted in the hospital - calming and professional, so as not to scare any disorientated shinobi.
With steady, deft hands, she cleaned his cut, noting with a sigh of relief that it was shallower than it had appeared at first. Once it had been disinfected, she summoned the green medical chakra to her hand with ease, hovering over the cut on his forehead as she healed it back together. At the sight of her green chakra, Kakashi grew very still.
"Okay." she began, satisfied that the cut was healed up. "I think you have a concussion, so I'm going to have to examine your head. Please try not to move around."
She moved both her hands to his temples, using medical chakra to probe for injury. She couldn't feel any evidence of concussion - but something definitely felt off with Kakashi's brain. She had treated him for head injuries before, and had always felt the same warm flutter as her chakra probed his chakra system. Today, his chakra felt defensive, as if he didn't welcome the intrusion of hers into his head. Not to mention the strange ANBU gear he was wearing. She frowned, sending her chakra deeper into his brain tissue to find the source of the disruption.
Without any warning, he grabbed her wrists, hard, leaping up off the couch and pushing her back. Frozen momentarily with surprise, she tumbled to the floor, landing on her hip. She quickly regained her footing, however, scrambling up in the nick of time. Tsunade's apprentice was nothing if not adaptable.
"Kakashi- what-" she began, attempting to get through to him. He didn't reply, instead racing towards her to deliver another blow. She barely dodged in time and stepped back towards the kitchen, trying to edge to one of the spots where she'd hidden her kunai. He advanced slowly towards her, seeming to think he had her trapped now that she had backed into her kitchen.
From the front door came a sharp, pounding knock. Both Sakura and Kakashi froze. There was a long moment of silence before the knock came again, louder this time.
"Sakura!" called a voice, edged with alarm. Her eyes widened. Wasn't that...?
"Ka...kashi-sensei?" she forced out, eyes still on the Kakashi standing before her. He looked similarly alarmed, his eyes wide and posture defensive.
"Who are you?" Sakura whispered, trying to edge towards the front door, where she could hear her real sensei calling her name. The fake Kakashi before her simply stared. He didn't move a muscle as she backed down the hallway and reached the front door, her eyes on him the whole time. With increasing trepidation, she reached behind her and squeezed the door handle, seeking reassurance in the familiar feel of the metal. She opened it slowly, letting Kakashi step in behind her. She backed up against the wall to allow him to enter the apartment; she felt him tense as he took in the sight of - well, himself.
For several seconds, no one spoke. The three nin stared at each other, two silver haired, one pink. Eventually, it was the fake Kakashi who broke the silence.
"What the fuck," he began, "is going on?"
She barely registered the flicker of motion as her sensei darted forward and knocked the impostor out cold. His face was unreadable, but she could tell he was unnerved. If she was honest, the encounter had left her a little shaky, too. What kind of a ninja could replicate not only appearance and the sound of someone's voice, but also their chakra signature? Whoever the impostor was, they had to assume they were dangerous.
Kakashi promptly proceeded to tie the man up with his own chakra strings and sling him over his shoulder.
"We're going to the Hokage's office." he instructed, already leading her out of her apartment. Sakura quickly pulled on her favourite boots and locked the door behind her, following Kakashi outside. They headed towards Tsunade's office across the roofs to avoid civilians, who would probably raise a few brows at the sight of two of the village's most renowned ninja carrying a body through town.
"Are you hurt?" Kakashi asked evenly as they neared the building. Sakura shook her head. "He didn't get much of a hit on me." she replied, forcing nonchalance. "It's a good thing you got there when you did, though. What were you doing at my door in the first place?"
Kakashi shrugged, shifting the man on his shoulder to redistribute the weight.
"I was going to ask you if you'd mind writing up the report for the last mission, but when I got there I could sense a fight. Ah well, it doesn't matter now."
Sakura decided to ignore the fact that he had been planning to dump his paperwork on her, focussing instead on swinging herself down from the roof and onto the ledge outside the Hokage's window. She tapped on the glass politely, thanking a perplexed-looking Shizune as she opened the window for them.
So much for my day off, she grumbled internally.
As they stepped into the familiar settings of Tsunade's office, Kakashi slung his passenger down onto the floor none-too-gently, stepping back to face Tsunade. Sakura was a little more tactful.
"We're sorry to interrupt, Tsunade-sama." she apologised quickly, shooting Kakashi a stern look of disapproval for his lack of manners. "We thought it would be important to report in straight away."
Tsunade steepled her hands and leaned forward slightly over the desk, inadvertently exposing most of her cleavage. Sakura suppressed a snicker at Kakashi's pointedly uncomfortable expression.
"Yes, I did gather that when you climbed through my window carrying a body." she replied blithely. "What's the story?"
Kakashi looked to Sakura for her to explain. She frowned, considering the man lying unconscious on the floor between them.
"This man tried to break into my apartment this morning," she began. "Though he did seem to be acting a little differently than usual, I believed it was Kakashi-sensei coming to see me to heal up a cut on his head. I assumed that he also had a concussion, as he was saying something about me being in his apartment. When I tried to treat the head injury he attacked me."
Tsunade's face hardened as she mentioned that detail.
"Kakashi-sensei then knocked on my door after sensing our fight. I let him in and he incapacitated the attacker. We brought him straight here."
Sakura glanced at Kakashi for confirmation that she'd remembered all the details. He was staring, wide-eyed at the man on the ground. Tsunade took in his confusion.
"What is it?" she asked. He frowned.
"It's interesting that he knew that I used to live in your apartment." he muttered.
Sakura raised her eyebrows in surprise.
"You used to live in my apartment?" she asked. He nodded, not really paying attention to her.
Their exchange was cut short by a small groan from the man on the floor. The four nin in the room immediately reacted. Kakashi crouched down beside the man, pressing a hastily procured kunai to his covered throat. Shizune and Sakura both moved to stand either side of their Hokage.
It soon became evident, however, that the man was not going to be getting up any time soon. As he blinked his visible eye open, staring around the room warily, Sakura noted the angry, dark bruise which was already blossoming on his temple. If he didn't have a concussion before, he probably would have now.
"Where's the Sandaime?" he asked abruptly.
Sakura blinked quickly in surprise.
"Don't play with us." Tsunade said firmly, making her way around the desk to stand over him. "And get rid of that ridiculous henge. We have enough Hatake on our hands as is."
The man simply stared up at her in frustrated confusion. Sakura couldn't help but feel a little sorry for him.
"You heard the Hokage." Kakashi growled from where he was crouched beside him. "I don't particularly like having a copy of me walking around either. It's impressive that you managed to copy my chakra signature, though. Care to explain that one?"
At that moment, her sensei looked truly frightening. She'd seen him kill men in battle before, seen him send other shinobi screaming for their lives. Never in her life had he sounded more nonchalantly dangerous than right now, however. I guess he really doesn't like being impersonated, she mused, tucking the thought away to ask him about later.
"I'm not a copy of anyone, idiot." the impostor growled in reply, seemingly unintimidated by Kakashi-sensei's spiel. "Untie me. If this is another one of Danzo-sama's training exercises, you can just tell him I failed."
At the mention of Danzo, Kakashi's eye widened. He pulled up his hitai-ate in one deft movement to uncover his spinning sharingan.
The three kunoichi watched silently as he trained it on the other man, before reaching out and yanking up the impostor's hitai-ate as well.
At the sight of an identical sharingan spinning wildly in the impostor's eye socket, Kakashi recoiled as if he'd been burned.
"You can't replicate a sharingan." he explained unnecessarily, avoiding the stares of the Hokage and her apprentices.
Tsunade leant down and picked up the impostor by his shirt in one fluid motion.
"Who are you?" she asked. She sounded slightly unnerved.
"Hatake Kakashi." he replied shortly. "Who are you? And where's the Sandaime Hokage?"
Sakura and Shizune gaped at the man's rudeness. Tsunade was not known for her calm temperament, and he was already pushing the limits of her patience - they could tell by the tense set of her shoulders that she'd be either yelling or asking for a drink any moment now.
Tsunade drew herself up to her full height, a fierceness entering her eyes.
"I'm Senju Tsunade, the Fifth Hokage. The Third is dead." she stated bluntly in reply to his question.
"D-dead?!" The man stared at Tsunade in horror. If he's acting, Tsunade noted internally, he's doing a damn good job.
"Yes, dead." she replied, keeping her face impassive. "Are you a little more willing to answer my questions now?"
"But he can't be dead." the man interrupted. "I was with him just an hour ago."
At that, Tsunade grew very still. She seemed to consider something for a moment, a thoughtful expression flashing across her face.
"Hatake." she murmured, glancing at Kakashi. "How would I be able to tell if this was actually you?"
"You don't mean to say that you believe this story?" he asked, voice hard. Tsunade shrugged.
"Stranger things have happened in Konoha." she replied, gesturing to the man she was still holding by the collar. "He definitely thinks he's telling the truth."
Kakashi considered the man for a long moment.
"He definitely has my chakra signature." he admitted finally, eyes narrowed. "He looks exactly like I did when I was in ANBU. That was years ago, though."
Tsunade's eyes were filled with the strange light which she only got when she was thinking very hard about something. She lowered the man back to his feet a little more gently, and cast her gaze over him once more.
"Hatake, ask him something only you would know the answer to." she ordered briskly. Kakashi hesitated. Eventually he sighed in defeat.
"Why do you wear the mask?" he asked finally. Sakura held her breath as she waited for the man's answer. Honestly, the mask was something she'd wondered about ever since she'd met her sensei.
"Fuck off." the other man growled, glaring at Kakashi. Sakura stifled a gasp, waiting for the inevitable fight. It didn't come.
"Yep, that's me." Kakashi voiced sourly, stepping back from the captive man. Tsunade nodded, moving quickly to break the chakra strings which he was still bound with. The moment he was released, the stranger Kakashi bounded away from the four of them, moving to stand on the opposite side of the room. Tsunade seemed to accept the transgression, walking back round her desk to sit in the chair once more. At least he's not running away, she thought with some relief as she sank back into her chair. If my theory is correct, having him on the loose could fuck a lot of shit up.
"What year do you think it is?" she asked casually, turning to the stranger Kakashi. He avoided her gaze sullenly before replying. The members of her office raised their brows collectively as he named the date... this time nine years ago.
"Well, that answers my question." Tsunade sighed. "Welcome to the future, Hatake. Care to explain how you got here?"
Kakashi resisted the urge to glower at the four nin standing before him. It was bad enough that he'd somehow ended up in the freaking future, if what they were saying was true (and to be honest, he hadn't come up with a better explanation himself); what was worse was that an older version of himself was standing before him, glaring at him as if he was scum. Not to mention the fact that he hadn't been able to land a hit on the pink-haired girl standing before him, even though he'd caught her off guard. It didn't help that she was undeniably attractive - now all he could think about was the fact that she must be entirely unimpressed with him. Besides, if he couldn't even beat up a medical kunoichi, what the hell was he good for?
It was definitely not shaping up to be a good day so far. The pretty girl who'd escorted him here was certainly a positive aspect, but the way she was staring at him, you'd think he'd grown an extra head.
"I have no idea." he replied tonelessly, running a hand absently through his hair. Sakura's eyes tracked the movement - it was a nervous habit which Kakashi-sensei often reverted to when he was stressed. To be totally honest, the whole time travel thing was really freaking her out. He continued in the same impassive voice, but his posture indicated he wasn't as relaxed as he'd like to have them believe.
"I was sent on a top secret mission by the Third to investigate a chakra disturbance outside the village borders. I remember reaching a cave, and seeing a purple light, coming from within, and then I woke up in a training field. I went straight back to my apartment to get some medical supplies."
His voice took on a strange, almost flirtatious edge as he continued. "As pleasant as it was to be greeted by a beautiful girl at my doorstep, I was a little concerned as to why she was in my apartment." He turned to Sakura. "My apologies for trying to kill you, by the way."
To her credit, the little kunoichi seemed to take the apology well, a hint of blush reaching her cheeks.
"I probably would have done the same." she admitted with a tiny smile. And that smile... wow. Kakashi didn't know this woman at all, but he already knew he'd move mountains for that smile. He felt the beginnings of a grin enter his own eyes, delighting in the blush which was deepening in her cheeks.
"Ahem." His older self interrupted their exchange with an embarrassed cough, bringing his attention back to the Hokage.
"Ah... yes. Right. Well, that's all I remember. Next thing I know I'm waking up in the Hokage's office to find out that my current Hokage is dead. Pretty standard mission, really."
Kakashi-sensei groaned inwardly at his younger self's blatant sarcasm. I didn't think I'd ever have to see this version of myself again, he thought sulkily.
Sakura, however, seemed to think it was slightly amusing. His eyes flashed to her face as she fought to suppress a smile.
Tsunade sighed, massaging her temple with one hand.
"Well, it seems like an accident that you were sent to this time." she stated, the shadow of a frown crossing her face. "I'm sure that once the Third realises you're missing, he'll send a team to investigate. The best we can do at the moment is find out as much as we can for ourselves."
Sakura nodded. From what the younger Kakashi had said, he'd simply been caught in the crossfire of some kind of time travel experiment. The Hokage would probably assign someone to search through the books and scrolls in the library for any mention of the incident in the past. Those were the only logical steps they could take at the moment. She didn't envy the poor nin who would get stuck with the task, however.
"Sakura, I'll leave you in charge of the research? And you'll look after him today? Excellent." Tsunade beamed before Sakura could even begin to form a protest. She felt her face fall.
"Why me?" she complained with a pout.
Christ, she looks cute when she pouts, Kakashi mused, not bothering to listen to the conversation.
"Because Hatake- our Hatake," she clarified with a frown, "has a mission of his own as of one hour from now. I'm certainly not going to babysit our little time traveller all day. And as the Hokage's apprentice, I know I can trust you with important, sensitive information such as this. I'm sure I don't need to tell you that this information is fully classified."
Sakura raised one eyebrow impressively, but didn't protest any further.
"Fine." she agreed, turning to grab the younger Kakashi by his upper arm. He seemed far less jumpy than he had only an hour ago, and willingly let her pull him from the office. At the door, Sakura turned to bow to the other three, letting go of Kakashi's arm. He took the opportunity to blatantly check out her ass, a move which was not missed by the older Hatake.
"Watch it." he warned his younger self lowly, shooting him a baleful glare. "I know what you're- what I- what we're like. She's a student." He looked pointedly at Sakura, who flickered her gaze between the two Hatakes in confusion.
The younger rolled his eyes.
"When did I become so boring?" he muttered darkly, turning to take his leave with Sakura. He and the girl left before Kakashi-sensei could reply.
There was a long moment of awkward silence as they closed the door behind them. It was broken by an amused snicker from Tsunade.
"Wow, Kakashi," she teased, smirking at him. "Looks like you were quite the ladies man a few years ago." She broke into laughter then, unable to suppress it at the murderous look in Kakashi's eyes.
"I was a brat." he muttered in perfect imitation of his younger self. Tsunade fell into hysterics at that point, laughing till a tear rolled from her eye. Shizune looked mildly concerned for her master's sanity, but held her tongue.
When Tsunade's snickers finally faded out, she handed him a mission file detailing an exchange of encrypted information scrolls with Suna. He accepted the mission without comment, turning towards the door.
"Oh, Kakashi." Tsunade called as he swung it open. "Little Hatake won't get into any trouble, will he?" She posed the question nonchalantly, but he could tell she was truly considering his answer. He shook his head with a sigh.
"Honestly, I wouldn't put it past myself." he admitted ruefully. He was glad when he could finally leave the office.
"So you don't remember anything else?" Sakura asked, glancing up at the man as they walked. He'd adopted a henge as they strolled through the village, and he currently looked like he had black hair and civilian clothes on. She couldn't help but admire his attention to detail - he'd even changed the appearance of his shoes. He shook his head.
"All I remember is waking up in one of the training grounds after that."
Sakura nodded thoughtfully, her mind already running through a list of any possible jutsu that could even come close to transporting a person through time. So far it was a very short list. She sighed, steering Kakashi around a corner towards the Torture and Interrogations building. She felt him stiffen beside her as he realised their destination. To put him at ease, she shot him a reassuring smile.
"Relax." she said, pulling him back into stride with her. "This is where they recently moved the high-clearance records room to. If there's any mention of what happened to you from the past, we'll find it there."
Kakashi visibly relaxed, and gave a short nod before following her through a side door and into the inconspicuous looking building. A Yamanaka man looked up, startled, as she sailed through the door, but waved her on when he recognised her. He spared a quizzical glance for Kakashi, but she ignored him. She could often be found poring through some stack of records or another for Tsunade, and had become a bit of a regular fixture in the building.
Sakura strode down the long hallway towards room B, seemingly unaware that both Kakashi and the Yamanaka were staring at the sway of her hips as she walked. She couldn't keep a tiny, amused smile off her lips as she realised what they were doing, but she didn't comment. Let them think I'm oblivious, she smirked to herself.
They spent hours sifting through old mission files - or, more accurately, she did. Kakashi spent the time half heartedly flicking through some of the cases she tossed at him, and attempting to flirt with her. She couldn't help but laugh at some of his innuendos, though she had the feeling his older self wouldn't take too kindly to the knowledge. He really had changed a lot in between this time and the time she'd met him. He wasn't as polite and mild-mannered as the sensei she knew, nor did he seem to care that she would be his student in his future. There was something else though, a vaguely haunted look in this man which she hadn't seen for a long time in her sensei. She pretended not to notice when she caught him looking through a case file on his genin team, becoming suddenly very interested in a file detailing an incident in the Akimichi clan several years back.
The problem with finding the right file was that it had been an 'off the books' mission given personally by the Sandaime. Without any official paperwork detailing the events, they had to trawl through masses of mission files, searching for the one which would be a cover for Kakashi's mission. At first, she'd restricted their search to anything containing the words 'time travel'. When that search turned up approximately zero results, she'd expanded their search to include any mission from that year which had been flagged as 'details unresolved' in the data bank. Unfortunately, that meant that they had a giant mound of paperwork to cover, and only two people to do it. They made a small dent in the files that day, stopping only once for a food break, at which point Kakashi had to henge back into the civilian persona he'd created as they left the building.
By the time she called the session to an end for the day, her mind was exhausted. She was no stranger to paperwork, but even for her that had been a heavy session.
It was with a sigh of relief that they left the Torture and Investigation building that night. The sky was already dark and the streets were filling up with Konoha's bustling nightlife. As they stopped for some food at a street vendor, accepting the rice balls gratefully, Sakura realised she didn't know where Kakashi was supposed to stay that night. She hadn't even thought to ask the Hokage - would she keep him confined?
"Um, I just realised, we need a place for you to sleep." Sakura said abruptly, pulling them to a halt. "We should check with the Hokage."
Kakashi seemed to realise the problem too, and nodded, following the kunoichi as they turned in the opposite direction, back towards the Hokage tower.
Tsunade was less than impressed to see them again.
"Did you bring sake?" she asked, arching an eyebrow. Sakura sighed.
"Tsunade-sama, you know that Shizune has forbidden you to drink while in the office." she scolded lightly, casting an affectionate look at her shishou. Tsunade pouted, slumping forward in her seat in a display of mock hurt. Sakura rolled her eyes.
"Anyway, shishou, we were wondering where Kakashi-sensei- ah, Kakashi, will be sleeping tonight. I believe there's a free holding cell in the-"
Kakashi stared at her, aghast. Even Tsunade looked mildly surprised at her apprentice's suggestion. Sakura stopped talking at the sight of their expressions, confused.
"What?" she asked defensively. Tsunade rolled her eyes and sat up straighter in her chair.
"We have no reason to believe that Hatake is dangerous. Well, aside from the obvious, of course. But I doubt we need to lock him up." she admonished wearily, casting a longing glance at the streets outside. She considered for a moment.
"You can look after him." she announced triumphantly, suppressing the urge to snicker at the expression on Sakura's face. "Find him a place to sleep at your apartment. I know from experience that the couch is pretty comfy."
Kakashi gaped at the exchange. For the first time, he considered the possibility that these women may not be all that stable.