Naruto does not belong to me, this fic does.

Take and my ninja border collie goes after you.



The first time he met the three of them their presences were so distinct that it almost seemed as if they were actively trying to push the other two away. Especially Naruto, whose aura was always an odd combination of daring people to get close and supposing that they wouldn't, anyway. Sasuke's held itself apart, cold and contained. Sakura's was less intense than her teammates' presences, but still distinct.

Naruto's presence is bright gold, smelling of grain ripening in a hot August sun, and the scent of something small and furry being stalked by something larger and fanged. He is the hunter, and yet the hunted. The sun baking the grain, and the grain ripening. It's all very strange, and Kakashi has learned not to question how he senses people's auras, just that he can and it's a damn good thing, too.

Sasuke's is cool like a winter night; not cold, as much as he thinks Sasuke would like it to be, just cool and waiting and patient. He is like frozen earth holding seeds that will bloom in spring, and the seeds waiting to bloom, cradled by dark and cold. Blue with flashes of bright white impatience and temper. Kakashi is actually glad of the temper, as odd as that may seem; he has seen enough to worry more about people who hold their emotions perfectly in check.

Sakura's presence is not as strong as her teammates', probably because she will never be quite at their level, and if she ever manages it, it will be because she is too stubborn to give up trying. It tastes of spring and crisp winds blowing ice away, a pink the color of cherry blossoms, and the sharp new green covering the earth. She tries to hide her temper and her inner thoughts, but he can tell them anyway. It amuses him that she even tries, but then again, he knows that she is trying her best to be a girl. She is a female ninja, though, and he thinks she is beginning to understand the difference. She is oddly maternal, in her own way, sharp and impatient like a vixen with her cubs. Both the boys submit to her mothering, even if they do not admit it; Kakashi thinks that they almost enjoy it. Stop being idiots, don't you dare, she says, and they stop obediently. They do not have sisters, do not have parents, and Sakura is becoming mother and sister to them both.

They are hiding from him now, an exercise supposed to test their stealth but really to let him see how they are melding as a team. He can sense where the three have hidden from him, each by themselves, but instead of the sharp distinctions of before, there is a combined presence that would make an experienced ninja like himself more wary than if he had sensed merely three other ninja. Each carries the stamp of the others within, and the presence that surrounds him is bright gold and blue and green. It is the scent of grain ripening, the scent of the frozen earth, and the scent of the spring wind blowing the ice away. It is the sharp snap of a vixen scolding her cubs, the rustle of something stalking prey, and the scent of a winter den with a tail curled over your nose that might not be your own tail but still belongs there, a warm flank curled against your own.

Like a haiku, he thinks, satisfied, a poem in three lines.


A haiku is a Japanese poem that uses three lines and seventeen syllables arranged 5/7/5 -- which makes them a bitch to write in English and I bet even harder to write in Japanese. They usually are aimed at producing a mood or a feeling based on nature. Thus the heavy use of imagery. ._.; I'm actually pretty ok at haiku and tanka [its longer cousin], but I can't write drabbles. Go figure.