Disclaimer: Gah, another one? Noooo……Screams and runs away, leaving behind a simple note "Nope, not mine."

You guys should get the latest data book, a wealth of information! Or rather, I am just waiting for the translated version to come out, currently the only reference that I can understand are the statistics of the various attributes of the characters -.-

And of course, thank you for the reviews :)

Chapter 5: The Wheel Turns

Reiko stared at him in shock.

S-rank mission...

True, she knew that she had not taken any missions for many years now, but in essence, how missions were ranked would not have changed much. Since many of the missions taken up by the ninjas of Konoha were requested by third party, it was only natural that the village itself had to rank the missions. She was once rotated to administration duties and had to grade missions accordingly, and she was given a general guideline when classifying missions…

S-rank missions.

General classification: Outcome of the mission may affect the political and military state of the village and/or the country.

Mission parameters (including but not only the following): Elimination of politically sensitive targets, elimination of hardened military targets, transportation of vital communication…

Expected oppositions: Ninjas of other villages, expected strength – veteran Chuunins, ANBUs, Special Jounins and Jounins.

Risk analysis: High possibility of death. Completion of mission objectives will normally take precedence over survivability of operatives.

For a moment, there was only silence in the room as the other Jounins contemplated the seriousness of such an act.

S-rank mission, only one ninja…

"Very well, Hatake, follow me then." There was the tiniest hint of solemnity in the officer's voice. However, it was almost an afterthought to Reiko as the Copy Ninja nodded and started to stroll towards the door, his gaze not once resting on her. In fact, it seems as if he was avoiding her.

Almost certain death…

She wanted to scream, to pull the silver-haired man back before he could reach the door, to pull him back into the perceived safety of the room. The weather outside was perfect, he should be out enjoying the sun, not…not volunteering himself for an assignment he may very well not survive!

He stepped out of the room.

She looked at the door as if it was some kind of gate, one that accepts doomed soul with glee. She wanted to say something, but there was nothing to be said.

You better come back alive, idiot!

She clenched her fists, trying to prevent the sickening feeling in her stomach from overwhelming her.

Idiot!

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Said idiot was currently walking along the corridor, both hands placed in his pant pockets as he looked out the windows.

"I must admit, I did not understand your action, nor am I able to understand it now," The briefing officer offered quietly, pacing himself besides the silver-haired Jounin.

Kakashi turned his face towards the man, his face having a blank expression as he mumbled a reply, "Hmmm?"

They continued to walk for a while in silence as both men rounded a corner, the stoic faces of the past Hokages now looking down at them through the windows.

"You do realise the…survival rate of the ninjas undertaking solo S-rank missions, yes?"

Kakashi waved his half-gloved hand in a dismissive gesture.

"Mm, I survived, no?" His visible eye creased in amusement. The officer merely shook his head as he ran some numbers in his mind.

75 percent fatality rate for those undertaking an S-rank mission alone.

To survive two of them would be…

"You are overestimating your chances, Hatake."

…6.25 percent…

Not to mention that the more one goes to, that number will drop dramatically…

Another dismissive wave as they arrived at the Hokage's office. The Jounin then turned towards the officer, his masked face unreadable before he replied.

"I'll manage."

The officer nodded then opened the door, allowing the Jounin to walk in before he too followed and closed the wooden door behind him.

Kakashi looked around the carpeted room. In front of him was the Hokage's desk, on it piles of paperwork were stacked up like a mountain. The room itself was cozy, with shelves of books lining up the walls. Of the Hokage? She was nowhere in sight.

The officer cleared his throat.

There was a blur of yellow as Tsunade sat straight up behind the desk. Kakashi noted the still-focusing eyes and some slight depression on her arms and concluded that she was –

"I was er…resting for a moment," She managed without sounding too embarrassed. She looked at the officer, then at Kakashi, her tone turning serious.

"He is here for the mission, I assume?"

"Yes, Hokage-sama."

"Very well, Kakashi, take a seat." The last visage of her nap disappearing as she eyed the Jounin. The silver-haired man pulled a seat from the desk and sat down wordlessly, his expression, if there was any, hidden by the mask.

"Now, before I brief you, you need to be absolutely sure that you want to take the mission. Once the information is given to you, you can't back out." She kept her tone formal, wanting him to know that this was serious.

He nodded.

"You should also know that the fatality rate of such missions is…high"

He nodded again.

Tsunade shook her head, then managed a sad smile as her expression softened. "I expect no less of you, Kakashi, always ready to fight for Konoha…"

38 S-rank missions…

276 A-rank mission…

413 B-rank missions…

Other than the Sannin, no other living ninja in the Hidden Leaf has such an impressive record…

"I do what is needed, Hokage-sama," Kakashi's eyebrows creased in a smile, though Tsunade froze momentarily.

Even his smile…

…Is the same as Sakumo…

She could still remember the White Fang, his status in Konoha and the other Villages was on par with the legendary Sannin.

A good man…forced into death due to circumstances…

To be honest, she knew nothing about Hatake Kakashi even after Sakumo's death. That changed when Kakashi was taken into the wings of the Fourth. The Fourth, of course, was Jiraiya's student, and that sort of made him his grand-student.

And that pervert loved to gloat about it…

…Still, he had the rights after all…

… Two geniuses under him.

She shook her head inwardly before taking out a file from one of the desk drawers and handed it over the pile of paperwork to Kakashi. She then leaned back on her couch as she rested both her arms on the armrests.

"To make long things short, Kakashi, we found the camp."

The silver-haired man looked up, the file half-opened, his visible eyebrow raised slightly in inquiry.

"Of where these 'raids' were sent from, Hokage-sama?"

She nodded grimly before speaking, "It was pure luck if you look at it from a certain angle. A team of Chuunins were returning to Konoha from a mission stumbled upon the camp, there, they recognised some of the supplies that were suppose to arrive in Konoha."

Kakashi waited.

Her tone…there is more…

She sighed softly, then continued, "Only two of them came back."

He inhaled sharply, then his eye narrowed.

"Not only their organisation, but their skills…They far surpass mere bandits."

It was more of a statement than a question.

The blonde woman wrapped her hands together in front of her as she leaned forward, her expression deadly serious, "We are not entirely sure of the origin of the camp, but if they are truly ninjas, the implications of their identity will have far-reaching consequences…"

She trailed off, leaving the obvious unsaid.

If they are truly ninjas sent by another village…

It could mean another War…

The silver-haired Jounin unconsciously tightened his grip on the file.

"I'll need you to scout out the camp, Kakashi. Find any evidence or proofs of their identity and origins. If you find any intelligence regarding their activities, that must also be returned. Your secondary objective, is to gauge the threat level of this camp… If necessary, you will need to eliminate it." She paused for a moment.

"However, I'll stressed that you do it if only it is of utter importance and delay cannot be afforded. If not, you will report back so we can send in teams to eliminate it, understood?"

The Copy Ninja gave a nod.

"Relevant information can be found into that file, you depart two days from now at 2300 hours, dismissed."

As she watched the Jounin walked out of the room, a tint of sadness graced her expression.

You have already risked yourself so many times for Konoha…

…yet you still continue to volunteer for such missions…

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Reiko brushed the hair behind her ear as she stepped out of the briefing room last. She touched the forehead protector with her left hand, her fingers feeling the carving on the metallic plate.

An active Jounin once more…

She traced the line that formed the symbol of the Hidden Leaf with her delicate fingers, mixed emotions forming in her heart as she closed her eyes.

Pride, at being an elite of a village worth sacrificing for…

Sorrow, at the events that had led her to be on indefinite leave before…

Joy, at the comrades she will meet again…

Sadness, at the comrades who were no longer there…

Obito, Sensei…

Footsteps.

She lowered her hand quickly, opened her eyes and turned towards the source of the sound.

Hatake Kakashi.

The silver-haired man stopped mid-stride and looked up from the file, a momentary look of surprise crossed his face before his expression became unreadable again.

"Reiko."

At that moment, the air seemed stilled, the corridor around them muted as she tried to form a coherent sentence.

Damn it, speak, mouth, speak!

"Kakashi, I…er…"

I want to apologise!

Her mouth decided to take over.

"Why on earth did you volunteer for such a mission!" She managed not to blush at the outburst, her lack of tact was simply appalling…

His visible eye crinkled in a gentle smile as he spoke, "Of all the Jounins in that room, I had the best chance of getting out of it alive, Reiko."

His voice held no trace of pride, arrogance or boastfulness. It was a simple fact. Asuma, Gai and Kurenai were all out with their respective teams, and some of the other elites were already dispatched on missions.

Her expression softened.

No, Kakashi-san, I doubt any of the Jounins are stronger than you, not to mention those in the room…

"How have you been, Reiko?" The gentle smile remained on his face, though she thought she detected a hint of sadness behind that voice.

"I-I have been fine…" She managed, still unsure of what else to say to him.

Both of them fidgeted at the silence that accompanied her words, both unsure what to say.

Finally, the Copy Ninja spoke.

"I need to go. It was…nice seeing you again." He started to walk away, his footsteps light and sure. He avoided looking at her when he passed her, his face looking straight ahead. Her knuckles tightened.

Say something before he goes away!

"Kakashi?"

He stopped, not looking back. She bit her lips, before speaking, a shade more gentle than usual.

"Good luck."

She watched as he nodded, then walked away, disappearing from her view.

Come back alive…

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Finally finished chapter 5…had a lot of things to work out.

I really should write longer

I will try! I really will!

Edit: Thank you Concetta for pointing out that mistake :) And no, I have not lose interest in the story :)