Disclaimer: Naruto is created by Masashi Kishimoto.

Summary: What is actually going through Kakashi's mind as he confronts Sasuke after the incident at the hospital roof where Rasengan and Chidori almost clashed? Apparently there's more than meets the eye... A glimpse of what Kakashi really thinks during his conversation with Sasuke!

To refresh your memory a bit, this is a recap of what happened:
Feeling threatened by Naruto's rapid development, Sasuke challenged Naruto to a fight while he was still recovering from the deal with Itachi. They went to the hospital roof and finally faced off. In their attempt to decide the battle, both released their ultimate attack. Naruto and Sasuke charged. Sakura jumped in between them to stop the fight, and she would've been hit with two devastating forces of Rasengan and Chidori if Kakashi didn't caught the two boys and threw them to the water tanks atop the hospital roof. Kakashi left Naruto to Jiraiya, while he decided that it was time for Sasuke to get an earful…

You Don't Know…
One shot by MP, retelling of chapter 177

Ah, there you are… Hatake Kakashi said to himself as he spotted a boy's slender form on a branch of a big oak tree. His back was propped against the trunk, his shoulders slumped a bit. The silver-haired jounin saw his student's expression turned grim as the boy clenched his fist. Obviously he's thinking about his fight with Naruto… Sighing heavily, he started to move stealthily toward him. Now if I could just sneak up on him…

Uchiha Sasuke snapped out of his reverie when he detected someone's presence behind him. But by the time he was aware enough to react, it was already too late. Steel wire thin as a thread fastened his body to the trunk he was leaning against. Narrowing his eyes, he looked up to his attacker. If looks could kill, his attacker would have died from the malice and hatred Sasuke so visibly displayed on his face.

Unfortunately for him, Kakashi was no average person. Holding the steel wire between his forefinger and middle finger, the masked ninja just gazed down at him coolly without flinching at all despite Sasuke's unusually malicious demeanor.

"What is the meaning of this?" Sasuke growled, clearly irritated by his sensei's sudden appearance. But it was the way Kakashi 'greeted' him that insulted him more than the fact that his privacy had been invaded. Being trapped against a tree like a helpless prey only reminded him to the fact that he wasn't able to defend himself, that he was weak, that he couldn't defeat even Naruto, the dead last of the academy...

"If I didn't do this, you'd run away…" Kakashi didn't like it any better either. But he had to do it. For Sasuke's sake. For Naruto's sake. For Sakura's sake. And maybe for my sake also… He added that last thought bitterly. The scene at the hospital roof barely a half an hour ago flashed in his mind again. Naruto with Rasengan in his right hand and Sasuke with Chidori blazing brightly in his left hand charging at each other, Sakura jumping in between them in her desperate attempt to stop her teammates... He didn't want to think about what would've happened if he had been late for just a few seconds. Keeping his exterior calm, the jounin continued, "You aren't the type to listen quietly while I preach…"

"Cheh!" Sasuke snorted disdainfully. He gave up struggling as the steel wire would only cut into his skin if he did so.

If Sasuke hadn't been so consumed in his anger, he would've noticed Kakashi's subdued eyes as unbidden memories that had been locked deep inside his heart began to stir again. Blood spattered everywhere. The sound of flesh being cut. Desperate screams. Anger. Hatred. And… Stop it! Kakashi forced those thoughts out of his mind and managed to keep a straight face despite the raging emotion inside. You're not here to wallow in self-pity… You're here because there is somebody else who is about to make the same mistake as you did.

"Sasuke…" Kakashi's voice was not harsh, but one could not mistake the steel beneath his smooth tone. "Quit seeking revenge…"

It seemed impossible for Sasuke's glare to turn any nastier, but it did anyway.

Kakashi wasn't fazed at all by his student's impudent behavior. "In this line of work, I've seen just how bad guys like you can get." And tasted the bitter pill myself, mind you… He added silently before continuing his lecture. "In the end, those who tasted revenge were not satisfied. It ended in tragedy." Another image flashed in his mind. Two men burning with rage charging at each other. "Even if you are successful in your revenge, all you'll be left with is emptiness…"

"What the hell do you know?!!!!!" Sasuke finally snapped. He didn't realize that he was shouting at his sensei. And maybe he didn't care. "Don't talk to me like you understand!!!!"

"Hey, calm down…" It took Kakashi every ounce of his will not to slap the insolent boy in front of him. He wouldn't let his temper get the better of him. Not anymore… The only visible gesture that showed his inner struggle was his clenching fist.

But Sasuke, being in a frenzy state of mind, didn't notice it of course. His words were laced with venom as he coldly said, "What if I were to kill the one you love the most?"

There were not many things that could take Kakashi by surprise. He prided himself on being someone who rarely lost his composure. Even his eternal rival's repeated attempts to tease him usually ended with Gai cursing himself because of Kakashi's indifference to his rants. But what Sasuke just said struck a cord deep in his heart. He was taken aback, and for a brief moment, his mask slipped. And unfortunately for him, this time Sasuke did notice it.

Satisfied that he managed to crack the jounin's calm exterior, the young Uchiha smirked and continued to taunt his sensei. "How far would you stray from what you just said?" He couldn't have possibly known how deep his words hurt Kakashi. In his selfish ambition to have revenge for his family's death, he never stopped to think that he knew nothing about the older ninja's past. His lips curved into a smile, but his smile held no mirth at all. There were only evil and contempt in it. "I can make you feel true pain!"

You are still young and very naïve, Sasuke. You are the one who doesn't understand… His voice earnest, Kakashi nodded and said, "That would work. However…" In his mind's eye, he saw a dark-haired woman with her back facing him. Even after all this time, his heart still ached whenever he thought about her. He had been young, foolish and reckless. And he had also paid the price of his foolishness. He was still paying it, and maybe he would spend the rest of his life paying it. "Unfortunately, for me no such person exists."

Snarling angrily at his sensei, the genin's face twisted in rage. He was just toying with me…

Kakashi wanted very much to slap his young apprentice right now for his selfishness, for challenging and fighting Naruto without any sensible reason, and in front of Sakura nevertheless. He wanted so much to beat him into a pulp – and Naruto also, for that matter – because they neglected their teamwork and endangered Sakura's life just for the sake of their foolish pride.

But as much as he wanted to inflict some bodily harm to Sasuke, Kakashi knew that it wasn't what the confused boy needed. Violence would not help to ease his now troubled heart. What Sasuke needed was someone who understood him. And Kakashi knew he might be the person that understood Sasuke the most.

So he finally resolved to smile instead. Beneath that smile, there was bitterness that was born from a harsh life filled with struggle and pain. Nevertheless, it was still a genuine smile. It didn't falter even a bit when he said, "Those people have already… been killed…"

Sasuke was taken aback by Kakashi's answer. His eyes widened as he stared openly at his sensei's masked face, all the previous contempt and malice were gone from his face.

"Sasuke, I've also lived in a long, hard era." His eyes showed a hint of fondness for the younger ninja as he met Sasuke's gaze. Kakashi knew he could never change the past. But maybe… just maybe, he could save the future. "I understand how terrible true pain and loss are…"

For once, Sasuke sensed the pain Kakashi was hiding behind his gentle smile. He didn't know the full extent of the jounin's painful past, but he knew that of all people, Kakashi understood how he felt. Ashamed of his words earlier, Sasuke tore his gaze from him and lowered his eyes.

Kakashi watched his face silently for a while. "Well, we aren't the lucky ones… That's for sure." Then he added softly, "But we definitely aren't the worst off."

"Huh?" Sasuke looked up at him again.

This time, the smile that appeared under Kakashi's masked face was a happy smile. There were no trace of bitterness and pain in it as he went on, "Both you and I have found precious companions." He had never thought of it, but finding a trustworthy comrades and friends in the member of Team 7 helped him a lot to heal the scars in his heart. Maybe it would never fully disappear, but at least it's bearable now… I owe you, Sakura and Naruto for this. That's why I don't want to see you suffering like I did…

Sasuke didn't need to ask who Kakashi meant by 'precious companions'. His sensei was right, and he knew it.

From the look of Sasuke's face, Kakashi knew he was struggling inside and he was one that knew when to stop. I've said enough… The rest is up to him… Then he said aloud, "You should know from your loss… Chidori is a power given to you because you found things important to you. That power is not something to be used against your friends or for revenge. You yourself should know what that power should be used for." With a flick of his wrist, he released Sasuke from the steel wire that held him against the trunk of the tree. Turning to the direction he would be heading, he cast the boy a final glance. "Think hard on whether you can or cannot hold true to what I've said…" And with that said, he disappeared from the boy's view.

As he was leaving for his new mission, Kakashi couldn't help but thinking and worrying about Sasuke. You are the one who doesn't understand, Sasuke… You don't know the extent of the pain you were talking about. You don't know the depth of the hell I had to go through because I acted out of my desire to have revenge at the person who killed my loved ones. You don't know the price I had to pay for being selfish and foolish… and I pray that you will never have to know…

The sun was setting as Kakashi kept swinging agilely from one tree to another. Konoha's safety was his top priority, but the precious companions he had found in his Team 7, he would protect them with his life. He lost the people dear to him a long time ago, and he wasn't about to let that happen again. Suddenly he stopped moving. Perching on a branch, Kakashi looked back for a while to the direction where he left Sasuke. Feeling the gentle breeze brushing his unruly silver hair, he smiled under his mask. That's a promise… and this time, I will not fail…

Because you don't know, Sasuke… you just don't know…

- The End -

Author's Note:

- Never thought the day would come when I'd write a fic other than RK-fic. But anyway, this is my first try at Naruto. I hope you enjoyed it…

- You may have noticed that I made a few references to Kakashi's seemingly dark past. Up to now, the past of our favorite silver-haired jounin hasn't been revealed yet in the manga. Well, I have plans for a new Naruto fic that will deal with Kakashi's past. Since I'm pretty new to Naruto, would you mind telling me if you know any fic about Kakashi's past? I don't know where I should begin to look in sigh There are over 6K fics… Thanks in advance!

- Please do tell me what you think about this fic… I'd be very grateful… Thanks for reading (& reviewing )!