A/N: Thanks to my beta, Kilerkki:) Enjoy the fic!
Undercover missions were not Kakashi's strong point. He trained as a fighter and a strategist, not a spy. While it was true he had gone undercover a few times when he was younger, those missions had called for a child, and children were allowed to get away with things adults never did. Not that Kakashi was an adult at the age of eleven, but he was far too mature to use the innocent act now – or so he liked to think.
Normally, undercover missions wouldn't be assigned to his team. It wasn't like his sensei was known for his subtlety or like Obito was anything other than loud. But undercover missions not directly related to the war tended to be of C rank. The real trouble was that two of his team mates were still genin. And as genin, they were only supposed to receive C and D rank missions. In these desperate times, their team had done their share of A and B rank missions, but lately it had been a run of C rank missions, which meant that when an undercover C rank mission came up, they had to take it.
It wasn't Kakashi's place to complain. Ninja were tools for Konoha to use as it saw fit, but a small part of him did wish they hadn't drawn this particular C rank mission.
They were to escort a minor official of Water Country and his entourage while he visited Rice Country. It was essentially a sight-seeing visit since there was nothing in Rice Country but a few well-known hot springs. There were no ninja there, so the worst they would encounter were some bandits. Unfortunately, the mission had additional requirements.
Water Country was an old-fashioned place. Their ninja were rumored to use training methods that had been abandoned decades before. It stood to reason that their upper class was the same. Tojo-sama, the official, traveled in the style of a daimyo from a hundred years ago. Namely, in two separate trains for men and women. And not only were they separate trains, but each train had different rules. The most important of which was that no man was allowed within fifty feet of Tojo-sama's wife except for him, and even he had to send her an explanatory poem twenty-four hours in advance.
Kakashi had been given many reasons why their team had to take the mission. Konoha had a man-power problem. Most of the teams were needed at the frontlines. Tojo-sama had refused to pay for more than a C rank mission. Their team was perfectly capable of completing the mission.
And they all were true. That was why when Obito had burst out laughing at their mission briefing he hadn't strangled the other boy with his stupid goggles. That was why he had only tried to glare a hole through his sensei's head when he caught Sensei smiling. And that was why he had tried not to stiffen in terror when Rin gave him a speculative glance and smiled.
'A ninja's duty is to complete his mission. A ninja's duty is to complete his mission.' He had been repeating it like a mantra in his head for a couple of hours now.
"Here's your yukata, Kakashi. Come back when you've changed so we can tie the obi. Oh, and take your mask off so I can put the makeup on," said Rin. She was trying not to laugh.
The mantra wasn't helping.
He headed off into the woods, ignoring Rin heading off in the opposite direction to change. In a trance, he pulled off his usual outfit. He wrapped the cotton yukata around his body and tied it in place with some wire he usually used for traps. Most of his weapons were replaced on his body in different places. It was amazing what the voluminous sleeves of a yukata could hide. Finally, he wrapped the left-over weapons in his old outfit, adding his mask and hitae'ate. Not giving himself time to think, he slipped out of his usual sandals and into a pair of geta.
He grabbed his things and headed back only to have the front of his geta snag on a root, sending him face first into the ground. He flushed, absurdly glad that Obito wasn't there to see. How did girls - and Jiraiya-sama - walk in these things? He took a few minutes to walk around and experiment with the strange footwear until he was satisfied he could walk, kick, and climb trees in them with no trouble. There were advantages to being a genius sometimes.
When he returned to their base camp, Obito was blushingly complimenting Rin on her own yukata. It was a deep green with a repeating pattern of ornamental pine trees and tiny white cranes. The obi and obi ita she held in her hands were a lighter green. Obito would probably have stared all day, but he heard Kakashi approach and turned to look at him.
"That's what you look like with your mask off? No wonder they wanted you to be the girl!"
Kakashi could think of twenty-three ways to kill him from this distance.
"Ah, Kakashi-kun. Just in time," said Sensei, jumping to his feet. "Watch me tie Rin-san's obi so you can do yours or her own later."
Kakashi nodded his understanding. He gave the obi tying the same concentration he usually gave to learning a new jutsu, and it was a good thing he did since it was ridiculously complicated. It was a full ten minutes before Sensei finished the butterfly obi. The blond stepped back and indicated it with a proud grin.
"Sensei!" said Obito. "Why do you know how to tie an obi?" It was a question the other two had been dying to ask.
A faint flush appeared on Sensei's face. He rubbed the back of his head nervously. "Well, you know… Jiraiya was… it was certainly an education…" He trailed off under his student's stares. "It's not important. Rin, do you think you can manage Kakashi's obi? I'll help if you need it."
Rin gave Sensei a cheeky grin before nodding her assent. Technically, as a girl, she should have known how to tie an obi before now, but ninja villages worked differently than regular villages and Rin had probably never had an opportunity to wear a yukata in her life. Kakashi knew she had had her mother teach her before she left.
The first thing she did was tug the fabric of his yukata around, fussing about smoothing down the tiniest wrinkle. He was a bit annoyed by her care since he had followed the diagrams he'd been given exactly in how to properly wear the yukata, female style.
"This is the perfect pattern for you," she told him conspiratorially. He gave her a blank stare. If there had been a choice, he would never have chosen the peach colored cloth with a pattern of butterflies and flower petals in a darker orange.
But if there had been a choice he would never have been dressed as girl for this mission in the first place. Their client, Tojo-sama, didn't want his wife to know that she was being guarded by ninja, so the two chosen to guard her would have to be undercover as hired handmaidens. Rin was an obvious choice, though she was enough of a tomboy that she had had to spend almost as much time as Kakashi studying how to be a proper handmaiden to a lady. There were no female chuunin available, so the role of leader fell to Kakashi. He had the authority and skills to protect the women's train with Rin's help. More importantly, he was young and disciplined enough to pass as a girl.
The Hokage was, in fact, cheating a little, since they weren't going to tell Tojo-sama that Kakashi was male. That was why they were changing here in the woods before they walked the last few miles to their destination.
Rin was slower to tie the dark orange obi than Sensei had been with hers. She paused once or twice, forgetting where to tuck and fold, and Kakashi impatiently helped her. He should have looked up obi tying before he left, but he had spent most of his preparation time studying the women around him, memorizing their speech patterns. Nothing would give him away faster than speaking like a boy.
"Seems like you both have it down," said Sensei, once she was finished. There was no sign of his usual smile, but he sounded amused. Kakashi gave the jounin a sour look.
"Hair first, then makeup," said Rin decisively. She pulled out a jar of something that looked a little like a cross between wax and rice gelatin, and handed it to him. "Rub this into your hair while I do mine. Make sure you get all of it."
Kakashi sniffed uncertainly at the jar. It smelled slightly like cinnamon. A pointed look from Rin made him hurry to rub it into his hair. Like magic, his silver hair wilted down against his skull. Rin finished her own bun quickly, then switched to his hair. His wasn't long enough for a bun, but she combed some hair forward and to the sides, then coaxed the rest back in a neat, short ponytail. Kakashi had a feeling he wouldn't be able to recognize himself.
"We'll have to redo it every morning, but we should be fine so long as some of the cream remains in your hair," she said. Kakashi nodded. The less he spoke on this mission, the less he would have to speak like a girl.
Rin studied his face then with an intensity that made him want to fidget for the first time in years. How long had it been since he had been out in public without his mask?
"I'll do your makeup first. You've got a perfect complexion and pale skin so all I need to do are your eyes and lips." She sounded annoyed about something.
Kakashi glanced away nervously, and saw Obito watching their transformation with fascination. "Just do it," he said.
She grabbed his chin and tilted it towards her. "Pay attention so you can do it yourself," she scolded when he closed his eyes. He opened them and dutifully watched as she dipped a small brush in a tiny lacquer container that contained a reddish-orange paste. It smelled faintly metallic. He could feel her outline his lips with it, then carefully brush in the wider parts so they were smooth. An even smaller brush and black paste was used to outline his eyes. She put a traditional dusting of red over his eyelids, then declared him finished. He went to sit down on a nearby log, trying to resist the urge to wipe everything off his face.
'A ninja's duty is to complete his mission. A ninja's -'
"Hey, Kakashi," said Obito, settling down beside him. "I bet you never thought you'd have to do something like this for Konoha." He was far too cheerful.
Kakashi snorted in disgust. Of course, he hadn't expected having to do something like this. What ninja would? But he would do his duty, even when his duty was so… humiliating.
"It's not so bad," said Obito. Kakashi shot the other boy a look. Was Obito trying to comfort him? "No one's ever going to connect the hard ass, Hatake Kakashi, with such a pretty silver-haired girl. I bet you'll even get hit on!"
Kakashi drove the wooden corner of his geta into the top of Obito's sandal, enjoying the other boy's howl of pain. Sensei was going to scold him, but at least he'd found another use for his new footwear.
A/N: Too continue, or not continue. That is the question...