Rest in Peace

By: Little Sharingan

Disclaimer:  Naruto and all affiliated characters are the property of Masashi Kishimoto, Shounen Jump, and possibly Toriyama's World.  No copyright infringement intended. 

Author's Notes:  This is another oneshot, speculating about Kakashi's life prior to becoming the famous Copy Ninja of Konoha.  In this particular short piece, I've placed Kakashi around thirteen years old.  Hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed writing it.  Thanks for reading.

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Beads of sweat and rain rolled down his sallow cheeks like the tears of frustration he would never cry.  His silver hair was matted to his head in dull gray streaks, the storm washing away any luster that might have been.  Yet as much as his muscles burned and ached for respite, there was no peace for the young jounin.  There hadn't been for awhile.

Punch.  Parry.  Sidestep.  Jab.  Jab.  Kakashi deftly swung the kunai in deadly arcs, swiftly killing the invisible foes that met his blade.  Images shimmered in his mind's eye, made somewhat solid by the rain that was mercilessly slain at the hands of one of Konoha's elite.  The complex moves were fluid and elegant like a dance practiced to lethal perfection for which all unfortunate partners found themselves unexpectedly quite dead.  It was a fatal sort of beauty. 

A foot faltered, the first mistake in nearly seven hours of intense practice.  Kakashi grit his teeth in irritation, his fists clenched by his heaving sides.  Unacceptable, he condemned himself harshly; to a ninja, a single mistake could very well mean death.  He knew that for a fact.  Almost unconsciously a guilty hand rose to graze the wet gauze that covered his left eye.  It throbbed like a sharp, physical reminder of a pain that ran far deeper than any wound a blade could make.  The risks of the dangerous procedure had been daunting at best, but Kakashi was never one to be quailed by the threat of mere death.  In the end, it had been worth it. 

He would never again see a world without Obito.  A sardonic smile formed unbidden beneath his black mask.  Obito would have laughed if he'd known just how sentimental his sullen teammate could be.  He would have undoubtedly understood the symbol of the gesture, however; and that thought alone was comforting.

Kakashi's strikes began to slow as the hours wore on and fatigue forced his limbs into numb weariness.  Keep going.  Don't stop. You can't stop. You have to grow stronger so that no comrade of yours will ever die again.  But the commands that had become a constant mantra since Obito's death bore no weight under the burden of his exhaustion.  With a final effort, Kakashi flung the last kunai at a distant target mottled with various other weapons.  It struck center with a solid thud just as he collapsed to his knees.

"Kakashi," a familiar voice chided gently from behind as he felt strong arms lift his small, lithe frame with ease.  "He won't come back, even if you work yourself to death.  Or is it that you're trying to join him?" 

Kakashi remained silent, breathing deeply as he relaxed involuntarily into the arms of his old teacher, the newly appointed Fourth Hokage.  He was more tired than he thought, Kakashi realized idly as his eyes began to close and the world drifted into a quiet blackness.  Vainly, he tried to resist the urge to sleep, but the comfort of the Fourth's presence offered no strength against the temptation.  It had been some time since he felt like he could stop fighting, training…..anything but think about how much he'd really lost.  But perhaps it was alright to stop running now, if only for a little while.

He heard the Fourth murmur softly as the young, silver-haired ninja slipped into a blissfully empty darkness.  "Rest, Kakashi.  And let Obito rest as well."

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Author's Notes:  So yep, Kakashi passed out after weeks of exhausting himself, rather than grieving like most people.  What can I say?  I don't think he'd be the kind to really like having normal heart to hearts, especially at this age when little boys are thoroughly convinced that it's not okay to cry.  Also, given the fact that he's a badass ninja, I don't see him breaking into tears and running into the welcoming, father-like arms of the Fourth (even if he'd wanted to).  Like?  No like?  Let me know.