Disclaimer: Nope, unfortunately Naruto is not mine. However, the new characters and plot are :p

Chapter 1: Of Memories and Rain

It started off as a usual day in Konoha, the Village of the Hidden Leaves.

The morning sun shone through the clouds high above in the sky, caressing the village with its warming touch as the inhabitants woke up from their sleepy slumber throughout the night. The first of the villagers came forth from their homes to attend to their daily routines, filling the village with activities.

The stoic faces of the Hokages, forever a testament to Konoha's history, looked like guardians watching over their charge, protecting and defending it with the legacy of their wills.

Bright emerald eyes swept over the cliff, stopping for a moment over the Fourth's face. They closed in remembrance.

Sensei…

Delicate fingers brushed away strands of brown hair as the morning breeze gently caressed them. Seeing her intended location not far from her, the young woman walked in. Surrounded by flowers, she took in a deep breath, and a gentle smile appeared as the glorious scent filled her sense and soul.

"Good morning, Reiko! Buying flowers again?" greeted a blond girl by the counter.

"Good morning, Ino. I would like the usual, please? " Reiko replied, giving Ino a warm smile.

"Okay! Hang on for a sec!"

The young woman stood near the window of the shop, basking in the warm glow of the morning sun as she waited for the young girl to find what she wanted.

"Here you go!"

Ino handed her a bundle filled with different varieties of flowers. Reiko simply nodded and paid her, before stepping out of the shop.

"Have a nice day!"

Reiko signed, looking up at the sky. A slight frown appeared on her face as she noted the varying movement of the clouds. It is going to rain…Shaking her head, she walked on, the bundle of flower safely cradled in her arms.

Nice day? No…

Today…

Brings back too many bad memories…

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The Memorial Stone, an obsidian piece of object that honors all those who died to protect the village, ensuring that their sacrifices would not be forgotten.

A lone figure stood in front of it, as he had always been, his mind deep in thought.

Every time I come here…

I thought of punishing my old, foolish self…

His right hand rose from his side, touching the cool surface of the black stone, feeling the names engraved on it. As if guided, it stopped on one particular name. Obito.

Perhaps…perhaps if I had been less arrogant…

You would still be alive…

Running his hand through his silver hair, he looked up at the darkening sky. Rain. He always wondered if it was pure coincidence that it always rained this day of the year. Sighing, he walked off, just as the first drop of rain fell from the heavens above.

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"Why am I so stupid?" Sakura muttered under her breath. She knew Kakashi-sensei was going to be late. She knew and yet in her haste to be punctual, she forgot to bring an umbrella as she rushed towards the bridge, Team 7's usual meeting place. Of course, if they went for a mission, getting wet would be the least of their worries, but she could always hung on to the tiny hope that by the time the mission started, the rain would be over, and she would still be the dry, clean girl that she was just a few minutes ago.

How long is this rain going to last? Sakura wondered as she walked past some trees into the clearing leading towards the bridge. Noticing a figure already waiting there, she instinctively raised up her hand to greet Sasuke, assuming that he was, as usual, the first one there.

"Good morning, Sas–" Huh? Kakashi-sensei?

"K…Kakashi-sensei? But…but you were never early!" She pointed at him almost accusingly. He seemed not to have heard her, his eye looking straight ahead, looking at some place far away from the bridge. Kakashi-sensei…he looks almost…nostalgic? But he always seems so emotionless and –

"Sakura, please tell Naruto and Sasuke that there will be no mission for today."

She blinked. Her mind not fully yet recovered from the shock of seeing him early. Huh?

With that, the tall jounin began to walk away, his back facing her with a palm in the air vertically, the other one tucked in his pocket. A flash of lightning crossed the sky, and the rain seemed to pour down with more fervor. Sakura stared at her sensei's fading silhouette until it was completed obscured by the rain. Kakashi-sensei really seems different to day…I wonder why…

"Sakura-chan!" A bubbly voice shouted from behind her. She turned to find Naruto bouncing towards her, his ever-present grin plastered on his face.

At least someone's mood is not dampened by this rain…

Trailing behind the blonde silently was Sasuke, his face still frozen in that state of no-emotion.

"Erm…Kakashi-sensei had already left. He told me that there isn't missions for us today," said Sakura, awaiting their reaction, especially from the loud-mouthed genin.

"W-WHAAAT!" was Naruto's reply. Even Sasuke was giving her a surprised look.

"KAKASHI-SENSEI? EARLY? HECK, HE HAS NEVER EVEN BE PUNCTUAL BEFORE! ARE YOU SURE THAT WAS OUR SENSEI?"

Sakura rolled her eyes. "Yes Naruto, I am positive. Shall we all go home now?" The pink-haired girl suggested, hoping to get out from the cold rain to the warmth of her home. Especially a nice hot bath! Yes! I definitely will have a –

"NO!" Naruto shouted. He wanted to find out why Kakashi-sensei was so early today. Maybe then he can prevent him from being so damned late next time! "I mean, we should follow him to find out why he is being so early today. Don't you want to know?"

Inner Sakura was screaming YES! YES! YES! But Sakura was still hesitant, her primary concern now was that nice, hot bath waiting at home. "But Naruto, I mean we…"

Too late. The loud boy was already hurrying off, headed towards the direction that Kakashi took. Sasuke merely gave a shrug and followed. Deep down, he too was curious about Kakashi's punctuality, or the lack of it. Indeed, they knew not much about their sensei, perhaps other than his abnormal fascination with 'Come Come Paradise'.

Sakura looked at her two teammates' disappearing backs, before taking off after them.

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They found Kakashi at the training ground, not that distant from the Stone. However, he was not alone.

"ETERNAL RIVAL KAKSHI! I AM HERE TO CHALLENGE YOU! I WILL NOT ALLOW OUR RECORDS TO BE TIED AT 51-51! TODAY, WE SHALL DETERMINE WHO IS SUPERIOR!" The man wearing a green suit proclaimed loudly.

"ARGH! IT IS THICK BROW'S THICKER-BROWED SENSEI!" Naruto some what shouted out the obvious, to be rewarded with a smack on the head from Sakura, "Keep it down! And stopped being so rude! He is Gai-sensei, a jounin-sensei just like Kakashi-sensei."

Sasuke looked at the two of them, shaking his head. Sakura, you are also stating the obvious…

"Not today, Gai," said Kakashi quietly, his usual deadpan voice even more monotonous.

"WHAT? ARE YOU REFUSING AN HONORABLE CHALLENGE? ARE YOU A COWARD, KAKASHI-"

The edges of Gai's lips lifted as he blocked off a spinning kick from the silver-haired jounin. Kakashi twisted his body, and his left leg came back up from the other direction, aiming for the opposite side of Gai's head. The taijutsu expert brought up his other arm to deflect the kick inches from his face, and at the same time his right knee came up, going straight for Kakashi's chest. Team 7's sensei used both his hands to cushion the blow, and using its momentum, leapt back to where he had being standing just a few moments ago.

The three genins stared at them, stunned speechless by the display before them. One moment the two jounins were ten meters apart, and suddenly Kakashi was upon Gai, doing a double spinning kick and then blocking off a counter-attack, all in a space of two, no, one second. Naruto's mouth was wide open. I know Kakashi-sensei was fast, but seeing it with my own eyes, it is just am-

"Amazing…" Sakura whispered, sharing the same sentiments as Naruto. She looked at Kakashi-sensei as if seeing him for the first time. Sasuke, also surprised by the display of speed, commented, "F…Fast…"

The bowl-haired jounin spoke, his tone soft in contrast with his usual passionate cries, "Finally…a fight…"

Kakashi, still silent, crouched down and pulled up his forehead protector to reveal his sharingan. He briefly ran his middle finger over the scar across his left eye, and flexed his fingers before form them into a fist, his right arm still by his side, unmoving.

This fight, Obito…

Though Team 7 could not see his lips under that omnipresent mask of his, they could hear his next words clear enough…

…is for you.

"Let's go."

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Finally, the first chapter of my first fanfic done!

Please read and review, all comments and criticisms (you do know that there is a different between flame and criticism, no:p) are welcome!

Thank you.