Return to Morning
-a Naruto drabble-

Fusagaranu kizuguchi mo gyu'tto dakishimete
Futari wa aruki-tsuzukeru ato ni wa modorenai kara
Ima demo kono mune no oku kesenai tsumi wa itamu kedo

(And together we'll keep on walking, because we still cannot return to morning
Even now, the inerasable sin deep in my chest hurts, but…
I remember the painfulness of the love I lost back then
I'm a little perplexed by the vivid blueness of this sky)
-Kesenai Tsumi (Inerasable Sin), Full Metal Alchemist OP

No one looked at Naruto and saw Naruto. You couldn't look at him without seeing something else.

The villagers saw the Demon. They saw nights of fire, and loved ones dead and bleeding on the streets; raw red energy blazing in the darkness, fading the sun, nightmare and myth emerged into reality. They looked at the boy and saw the Fox.

His classmates, his peers, they looked at him and saw an idiot. Here was the boy who could never get an answer right, or go through an exercise with any modicum of skill. Here was the boy the teachers sneered at, the boy their parents warned them never to be like. Here was the boy who didn't have a thought in his mind except those that had to do with making trouble for everyone else. But at least – and it was a 'east' – at least they saw a boy.

Kakashi looked at him and saw the past.

That sunbright hair – those features, gone rounded and smooth with baby-fat but refining into familiar angles more and more everyday – the wide white grin, even with slightly oversized canines – and those eyes. He'd seen them a thousand times, a hundred thousand times, before, in his childhood. But then they had been the items of worship for a young, adoring genin, they'd belonged to his chief and captain and god. They didn't belong – hadn't belonged– to a clumsy little boy.

He couldn't stand to see the boy who fidgeted and fell and failed. He couldn't stand to remember his dead god in this too-lively bundle of orange rage. And he couldn't stand teaching him; he always felt so awkward, like a piece gone wrong in a puzzle, teaching things that the Yellow Flash had taught him to the boy who could have been him come again.

'How do you dare presume to teach your master? How do you dare?'

He didn't dare. So he turned away, and focused instead on the boy who he could teach rightly, the boy who fit into the puzzle neatly and sharply.

And if those blue eyes looked at him in hurt and anger, he only had to shut one eye, and then he didn't see them anymore.

And when those blue eyes turned away from him, fixing instead – and here was a nice bit of symmetry – on Jiraiya, on the Legend, well, that was right too. Jiraiya had once upon a time taught another pair of blue eyes, and he would know how to teach this pair too, on how to see patterns in your enemy's attack, how to fight and kill and run, how to summon the wind to your hand and spirits to your aid.

The red-eyed boy went away to the Snake. The blue-eyed boy went away with Jiraiya, and came back looking more and more like the hero of Kakashi's youth. Now he could look at Naruto and not wince away; he could look at him and remember, and Naruto fit the puzzle of Kakashi's memory with the quiet click of something that is preeminently suited for its place. And his place, as the other's place had been, was Hokage.

He could look at Naruto. But Naruto no longer looked at him.

and together we'll keep on walking, because we still cannot return to morning

funny what you can get by rambling (in text). Naruto&Co. doesn't belong to me. Cos if he did, I'd whack Kakashi for what he done to Naru-chan, then I would huggle him to death for everything else.