Inspired and framed within the story of Red Crow's "Second Chances." This is only a little humorous side story –written with her consent, of course. Refer to the beginning of chapter twenty-four for references to the filler event below…involving Kakashi and a very cute, very evil shit-zu.

If you haven' t read the story, then you're life is devoid of meaning…and this tale probably won't make a lot of sense.

But he couldn't very well have argued with the Hokage.

So, without further ado, he fell unceremoniously –though still with the impossible, inherent grace of those born to his profession—into the chair immediately adjacent to the kid's room, resting while the Hokage relayed orders to fellow ANBU members and patiently awaiting his own turn.

And he contemplated.

First, he considered pulling out some literature and brushing up on the latest intrigue –or lack thereof—in Jiraiya's Paradise, but reluctantly tucked that thought away again almost as soon as it had surfaced; he had more serious, pressing issues which needed his attention. It was distressing, really; he'd planned on using his acquisition of Team 7 to squeeze in some quality reading time, but Naruto's ostensibly sudden freak talents and the subsequent discovery of his past –parallel?—existence had created quite a tumult, and now everything was so confused that he'd hardly had time to even crack the book open.

Instead, he turned his mind to other matters. Such as: how exactly had Naruto managed to come back –if that was even that right choice of words for it—from whatever reality he had lived previously? If he'd had any doubts, they'd been erased when he'd broken into the kid's mind and –every bit the shinobi he had been raised to be—garnered what he'd believed to be necessary information. That kid that should have –and had—been his student had endured horrors the like of which he couldn't even begin to imagine, but with which he could certainly empathize. The life of a shinobi was never without hardships, and seldom without tragedy, a piece of hard-earned wisdom that Kakashi had picked up from living it. Unconsciously, his left hand adjusted the hitaite covering the evidence of that insight.

He redirected his darker thoughts quickly, as unbidden, an idea occurred to him. He wondered, absurdly (but then, wasn't this whole situation absurd?), if perhaps the Kyuubi, and Naruto's odd connection to said demon was responsible for what appeared to be a jump back in time, through space, and just to the left of anything resembling sense. He'd seen more of that damn fox in the past few weeks…there was some correlation there, he knew. Or was at least reasonably sure that he knew. Something was up with that annoying kitsune, at the very least.

Resisting the urge to frown because he realized the gesture would be lost on the wall across from him, Kakashi settled on a lazier, less energy-consuming, more familiar expression as he sighed quietly and lightly rested his chin atop his newly arched hands. He recalled Naruto's nigh desperate insistence that the Kyuubi not be touched, or, more specifically, killed after the kid released the demon. He also remembered-- with a touch of annoyance which he couldn't prevent from wrinkling his brow—how quickly (and how easily) Naruto had reacted once the fox appeared; it unnerved him how tight the kid's grip had been (firm though yielding, as if there were a latent trust in the action, a trust reserved for the sensei that had been and was not him) –far too strong for a twelve year-old. More unsettling, however, was the knowledge Naruto possessed of his most secret and unique attack –one which he had actually planned to teach at some point to the remaining Uchiha, in whom even from afar, he had seen some of himself.

And some of Obito.

He grinned to himself, though, when the accompanying image of Naruto snapping his other hand out to put a choke-hold on the Kyuubi popped into his head. With that came the memory of Naruto's young, old voice brazenly commanding the once-fearsome –and still powerful—demon to 'sit,' which was followed by an equally amusing show of boldness as he proceeded to call the creature a 'mangy excuse for a chew toy.' In lieu of being able to destroy his own former sensei's bane and burden, Kakashi imagined he'd be taking a special, secret delight in that little spectacle for a long time to come.

"Oi, Kakashi-bastard." Speak of the devil…he turned a grave eye to the source of that now hauntingly familiar voice, and almost –almost—started at the sight of a poofy cinnamon shit-zu with exaggeratedly blue eyes. The expressive nature of those eyes nearly sent Kakashi dissolving into wild giggles; behind the innocent sapphire of that cute pup was careful dignity, mild irritation, and now, simmering anger. His one eye wrinkled with mirth at the sight of the tail stub waggling furiously (and probably unconsciously) behind the stump of a dog. The icing on this cake was the overly-large and elaborately-tied ginger bow around the little creature's neck.

"Yo." He managed, torn between the desire to kick the tiny canine into the nearest wall to hear it yelp and wanting to fall onto the floor in hysterics. The dog appeared to have read all of this, as it very blatantly dropped the 'I'm-a-cute-innocent-puppy' act and glared at him, it's tiny lips pulled back in a snarl to reveal the long, sharp fangs of a fox.

"Thought I'd drop by and check on the idiot kit." The shit-zu, very obviously the Kyuubi, made as if to saunter past, but Kakashi was on his feet in an instant, blocking its path into Naruto's room. He spared a fleeting thought at the Kyuubi's moniker for the kid, but was focused primarily on barring the demon's entrance.

"Don't mess with me, Kakashi-bastard. Even at a fourth my capacity and a millionth my size, I could still make life difficult for you. I wonder how useful an ANBU member would be with no Achilles' tendon?" The puppy's head cocked delicately to the side, as if in deep thought. "Step aside." It commanded after a moment, humour draining out of its face to twist into a sneer. It may have been a more imposing sight if the former terror of Konoha hadn't been barely bigger than fist-sized, with a garish orange bow secured around its tiny neck and large, adorable blue eyes nigh popping out of its diminutive skull.

"Naruto's not accepting visitors right now; not even from close friends." The Kyuubi seemed put off by the insinuation, but otherwise undeterred.

"I'm sure he'll make an exception for me; we've been inseparable for years now." The demon informed him smugly, edging to the left to sidestep the silver-haired shinobi.

"Hn." Kakashi considered, and then his voice fell an octave. "I won't let you use Naruto forever, Kyuubi." The fox turned shit-zu turned its mouth up into a feral smirk.

"Be reasonable, the kit and I are good chums now. We've got a perfectly amiable relationship worked out. I lend him the occasional appetite for some good old-fashioned carnage, heal up some scrapes and bruises, and a little while down the road, I'm free to burn and pillage again as I please." Kakashi was, perhaps, about to be snarky and suggest that the Kyuubi may actually just die whenever Naruto kicked the bucket, but the demon beat him to the punch. "And even if you disagree with this close, personal relationship I've got with the bean-headed moron, at least I don't plan on digging around in his eye-sockets post-mortem." Kakashi's one grey eye opened wide in shock, before narrowing dangerously. "Don't be so surprised, Kakashi-bastard. I know everything."

There was an instant of white-hot fury in which Kakashi wanted nothing more than to pick the little shit-zu up and squeeze its little furry head until it popped. In the interim, he shifted his weight easily onto one foot and then kicked, hard, at the offending little creature, as his earlier designs had intended. In his version of events, the tiny demon would fly most spectacularly over the heads of everyone in the immediate vicinity, rebound violently off some rough –and preferably sharp—surface, crumple onto the floor, and, after a series of severe spasms and wheezing coughs, drown in its own blood and die.

Except that what actually happened was quite different.

Despite the Kyuubi's current form and size, it was still deceptively agile, as it managed to maneuver effortlessly past Kakashi's ill-meaning appendage, and then duck underneath his heel on the return. Then, with poorly concealed glee, the fluffy canine rolled its tiny head to the side and clamped jaws that were too big to fit into the head of that small creature around the shinobi's ankle. The sharp cry of pain and subsequent misbalance of easily one of the greatest ninja Konoha had to offer drew the attention –finally—of the current Hokage, who quickly and curtly dismissed the ubiquitously-masked members of his Dark Squad before turning stridently on his heel to separate the vying parties.

Irritation creased his brow and added still more wrinkles to a face already littered with them as he stopped only a few feet before Kakashi, who was still thrashing his left leg about wildly in attempt to extricate his ankle from the apparently vise-like grip the fuzzy animal had on it. He cleared his throat loudly. The two or three other people –probably staff—in the room studiously pretended not to notice the exchange.

When, after several seconds, neither responded, he instead bent fluidly, fisted his right hand into the scruff of the Kyuubi turned puppy's neck (only slightly daunted by the ridiculously-sized bright ribbon), and lifted none-too-gently until the creature at last released his shinobi. The instant he was free, Kakashi was back in his chair, quietly favoring his wounded ankle (and pride), glaring heatedly out of his visible eye at the new bane of his existence. A blood-stained, smirking muzzle was the only response he received from the annoying, evil kitsune. The Copy-ninja felt more than a little betrayed by the Hokage.

Sandaime sighed dramatically as he placed the Kyuubi back on its feet, where it smugly began to make tracks toward Naruto's room again.

"Kyuubi," he started, and the creature bristled, turning stormy ocean-blue eyes back at his addressor, "wait for a bit. I need to speak with Naruto-kun first, and then you can feel free to…do whatever it is that you do with him, I suppose." Kakashi looked immediately triumphant. The fox, meanwhile, looked about to protest, but the Third was having none of it. "You will wait, Kyuubi, and keep an eye on my injured shinobi." There was a gleam of unmistakable and sadistic delight in those too-innocent azure orbs, but the Hokage ignored it, as well as the beginnings of an objection from the usually reticent Kakashi, and stepped past them both into Naruto's room, starting to draw a pipe from within his long robes as the door closed carefully behind him.

The Kyuubi and the shinobi were left in an unnatural silence in his wake. The dog looked smug, despite the unpleasant aftertaste in his mouth from nasty Kakashi-bastard flesh. Meanwhile, the murderous intent emanating from Kakashi was almost tangible it was so thick.

Deciding to postpone his sulking for Naruto, he gloated,

"So, you taste like hentai."

Kakashi glowered.


For Red Crow and my unhealthy love of Everything Kakashi.