Disclaimer: Characters and setting are the property of Masashi Kishimoto. Plot, bad jokes, and any spare change are the property of this fanfic author.

Gai was actually late to their meeting today.

This fact disturbed Kakashi on some deep and fundamental level. Because if Gai was late, did that mean…. Kakashi was early? No, no… he was still late, he'd made sure of that… he was just less late than Gai.

He could deal with being less late than Gai. It was the thought of actually being early… however unintentionally… that sent an icy shiver down his spine.

Still, it was strange of Gai to be late. Usually Konoha's Green Beast prided himself on being places slightly early, the better to make a needlessly impressive entrance. He'd better not have decided to out-late Kakashi. It was all well and good to have an eternal rival, but some things were sacred.

Ah well. Back to his porn. His beautiful, lovely, wonderful little orange book of untold delights. Where he'd just gotten to the good bit, where they finally (after twenty pages of what could loosely be called plot) suddenly started flinging their clothing….

"Ah, my eternal rival!"


Kakashi looked up from his book and then down from his perch to stare dolefully at his green-clad friend.


"Kakashi-sensei, today you are early! Truly, this is a day of great and multitudinous significance!" Hm. Gai wasn't smiling. Instead, his countenance overflowed with earnestness.

And Kakashi Was Not Early.

He shoved the book in his back pocket, made a hand seal, and reappeared on the ground a second later facing Gai. "What's up?"

"Earlier, when performing my daily ablutions, I was astonished to discover THIS." Gai's hand shot out, forcing Kakashi to take a half step back to avoid being hit. Between his thumb and index finger dangled… a grey hair?

Kakashi stared at it. Then he carefully tipped his hitae-ate up, and stared at it some more with his Sharingan. Yep, still a grey hair. Now he was really confused. Even by "I'm interacting with a man who thinks that green goes with orange" standards.

"It's a grey hair." He said, slipping his hitae-ate back into place.

"In your hip and succinct manner, you have hit the nail on the head."

Kakashi continued staring at Gai, waiting for the bit where he made sense.

"I see you are as astonished as I. Are we not in the very Springtime of our Youth? And yet… this grey hair showed me how time has moved like the swiftest jutsu. Strange as it may seem, I fear we are now in the Autumn of our Virility!"

…still waiting…

"The time has come for us to renounce our wild, bachelor ways and find the special someone with which we shall spend our Autumnal days! And perhaps even to have offspring whom we shall raise as the next flower of Konoha youth!"

Kakashi was so busy trying not to picture Gai having any sort of wild, bachelor ways that the latter part of that statement took a minute to register.

"You're suggesting we both get married."

"Truly, my rival, your ability to think as quickly and clearly as I does you credit. But I see, as your mind travels the path mine has already tread, that your face clearly displays concern. Fear not! I have already foreseen your dilemma, and have solved it."

Actually, Kakashi's main current dilemma was that the mad ravings of this lunatic were preventing him from reading the good part of Icha Icha. The life of a ninja was indeed a cruel one. But before he could suggest that the fumes from Gai's hair oil had finally and inevitably overwhelmed his brain, Gai continued.

"For while I, as Konoha's Virile Green Beast, shall have no trouble finding some beautiful and virtuous maiden with which to share my life… you are… ah, we have known each other too long for me to need to mince words…. shy. And I see you already fear being left alone while I head into the sunset of domesticity."

"But fear not! For are you not my rival, and my friend? And so, I have sworn I shall not join myself with another until I have found you your special someone!"

Hm. To be confused by Gai's claim of irresistibility, insulted by Gai's suggestion that he was shy, or… he finally settled on being terrified by Gai's offer of help.

"Gai-sensei, really, that won't be necessary."

"No, I insist. I have already sworn a vow in front of my team to this effect!"

Shit. If Gai had announced to his team, made of three impressionable genins, that he would not rest until he'd found Kakashi someone… because Kakashi was shy and unable to find his special someone on his own…

Kakashi gave it ten minutes before every other genin team knew, twenty before every other jounin knew, and by this evening, every person in Konoha would probably know about Gai's vow.

It was at that moment Kakashi seriously began considering the benefits and drawbacks of life as a missing nin. (Benefits: very flexible scheduling, no wardrobe restrictions. Drawbacks: Loss of dental, chance of being hunted down and killed by team of Anbu.)

"To this end, I have decided to cancel tonight's competition and begin immediately! I know you will be disappointed by this, after you were so enthusiastic as to arrive prior to me. However, your head of grey hair indicates that I must proceed with all possible haste!"

And before Kakashi could explain that he'd always had this hair colour, and that it wasn't grey, dammit, it was SILVER, and by the way He Hadn't Been Early, but Gai had already run off, yelling something about Autumn and … Posters?

Years of experience in life or death situations had warning bells going off in Kakashi's head. This was Not Going To Be Good.

To Be Continued...
This chapter is dedicated to Kiki, who likes Gai as much as I like to write him.