Kakashi doesn't follow the rules.

Pushing the Limits

He's only a Hatake, they said.

When he was three, Kakashi's received his first birthday gift from his father. Practical as the shinobi himself. A tiny shuriken.

Kakashi would toddle around, throwing it at the various targets his father set out in the backyard. And his mother wasn't there to put a stop to Sakumo's 'nonsense' (as she would have put it), since she had passed away in child labour a year before.

That was why Kakashi was raised by a neglectful nanny until his father finally decided to hire a proper tutor in order to train his young prodigy. The furniture was already suffering from the wild lashings of young Kakashi's chakra. And although Sakumo bragged to Jiraiya about his son's special, strong white chakra, he knew that without early training, Kakashi would end up doing extensive damage, not only to the house but also to himself.

And so, by the age of four, Kakashi was enrolled in the Academy, learning how to make bunshins and do the henge no jutsu before he could write. Raised by two men, Kakashi learned how to hurt, to maim, to kill before he learned how to heal, to grow, to love.

And when he graduated from the Academy at five years of age, Kakashi learned the first lesson.

Lines are only to be crossed.

Limits are only to be pushed.

He'll have to wait awhile – he isn't smart enough, they said.

But Kakashi managed to learn how to scrawl kanji (practice words like 'kill', 'men', 'jutsus' for mission reports) while receiving private tuition from the young sensei, Yellow Flash.

It was Yellow Flash, his genius sensei, the student of Jiraiya, the Sannin, who taught Kakashi survival, knowledge and the basics of good shinobi know-how. He let Kakashi go – and watched with proud (and anxious) eyes as Kakashi buried himself in the shinobi life – a way to avoid the unease of home.

Over and over again, Yellow Flash tried to teach Kakashi the importance of strategies and seeing beneath the beneath. And Kakashi soaked it up like a sponge. He took to wearing a mask. And looked at his sensei with proud eyes. After all, his sensei taught him how to grow.

Before the year was out, Yellow Flash was in front of the Sondaime, blue-green eyes flashing as he nominated his student.

"But Hokage-sama," a man muttered. "He's so young!"

"He'll die out there!"

"Is Hatake-sama AWARE of this?"

"To allow his only child to be sent out there."

"It's madness!"

"This must be stopped."
"How much do you bet he'll lose?"

"No bet. The odds are against him…."

Kakashi, out in the hall, waiting for his sensei, just sat there, still as stone with a sinking feeling in his guts as adults once again belittled him. Argued over him.

Was acknowledgement so far off?

What young Kakashi did not know was that all he wanted was to have a friend – but no matter how hard he trained and studied to be a good shinobi – nobody seemed to acknowledge him as a friend.

If he had looked deeply in himself, he would have seen what he truly wanted. What he truly needed. All he wanted was to play a game with them. All he wanted was his mother's arms around him. What he wanted he didn't know the name for.


But the others were just uneasy in the presence of the stern-eyed, solemn tensai ninja boy.

When he passed the Chuunin test at six, Kakashi proved once again.

Lines are only to be crossed.

Limits are only to be pushed.

He's a good boy, but blood will show, mark my words, he'll turn like his father, they said.

Kakashi set out to prove them wrong.

As a Chuunin working alongside his sensei, Kakashi enjoyed life as a ninja – except for the times he was scolded for his atrocious spelling and writing.

Except for the times when he saw the other young kids his age walking home with their parents, looking so happy.

Meanwhile, he walked home to an empty house.

Then, his sensei was given two more children – Rin and Obito.

Kakashi slowly learned to appreciate Rin's skills – her medicines, her practicality and the serenity she tried to bring to others. She taught him how to heal.

Obito was another matter.

And while Rin and Obito enjoyed the life of a Genin, returning home happily every night, Kakashi returned to a small apartment.

He had abandoned the family dojo, the day he had found his father dead in the study.

By then, loneliness was natural and Kakashi really didn't know any different. After all, his father hadn't been there for him during the past few years – more lost in a world of self-accusation.

The fateful mission had changed everything.

Kakashi had a fateful mission of his own to endure. But then, that is what war brings.

When he was inaugurated as a Jounin at twelve, Kakashi showed the ninja world once again –

Lines are only to be crossed.

Limits are only to be pushed.

Well, he's shown some sort of intelligence but his potential won't be better than his Uchiha teammate – after all, if the boy activates his Sharingan – well, how could a Hatake keep up? So they've got white chakra, but that's about it…. Well…. He's needed – make him a Jounin and that'll free up Yellow Flash, they said.

And so Kakashi and his team were sent, although mere children, into a war.

It was unfortunate that the scars of Kakashi and the immaturity of Obito had wedged in between the team. And due to second guessing, hard words and new found jutsus, Rin was saved, Kakashi received a priceless Jounin gift and Obito died.

In those minutes of recrimination and 'if only's, Kakashi realized that Obito had found a place inside him. That despite their eternal rivalry and continual arguments, they had found something called friendship between them. So deep Obito gave his life for Kakashi's – an act that sprang from something deeper than 'teamwork'. Obito had taught him love.

Which is why the silver-haired ninja visits the memorial everyday.

It is a reminder to live life in thanks to Obito – who had completed Kakashi's new jutsu.

And when Rin passed on (another casualty of shinobi life) and his sensei's soul belonged to the Death God, Kakashi learned how amazing his chidori was.

As an ANBU.

He cut out other hearts and felt no pain because his own heart (so newly found) was gone.

When he joined the ANBU at the young age of fourteen, Kakashi proved it all over again.

Lines are only to be crossed.

Limits are only to be pushed.

He's a tensai shinobi for sure – but after EIGHT (?) years of ANBU – there's no way he's sane – no way he'll make a good sensei, they said.

After twenty-two years of proving them wrong, Kakashi just shook his head. After all, they had said his Sharingan would never work. That his body would reject the implant. That his chakra would be wasted.

And here he was with one thousand jutsus under his belt.

His heart still felt numb – and as he watched his team bond – as he watched his comrades at the bar – he knew he was missing out on something.

He knew it by name, if not through a lot of experience.


And when Naruto blabbed on and on about being acknowledged as the greatest, a small part of Kakashi understood. He had worked hard himself to recover the family name – to be a great shinobi for Konoha. So that white hair and white chakra wouldn't be a sign of disgrace and cowardliness.

And when Sasuke glared and announced his obsession, Kakashi sighed over the killing intent of the young boy – and he understood. He himself as a young child had killed in the name of Konoha (and revenge). But in the end, it brought no relief – perhaps he could save this one boy from himself.

And when Sakura blushed and giggled over her dreams and desires – Kakashi, figuring out her objective pretty easily, sighed.

Young love.

That was foreign and strange to him.

It seemed like waste of time.

Sex, he understood. Straight or not – he had been there – at the place of cold – where just feeling another human being kept one from jumping off the cliff of sanity.

But puppy love? Romance?

He hoped that Sakura wouldn't come to him for advice – he had seen broken hearts before – but didn't know how to fix them.

So he worked with coughoncough his Team – shocked their socks off, irritated the hell out of them, scared them shitless and drove them nuts over his 'mysteriousness', chronic lateness and his invincibility.

Sakura's genjutsu strength and intelligence grew, Sasuke learned how to work with – friends – and Naruto learned to gain control of himself, to never run away or give up.

Iruka-sensei of Konoha's Academy had been shocked and pissed over the fact that Kakashi had nominated his team.

"They're too young… they need more time!"

Kakashi just considered it another limit to push, but he bit his tongue and pushed the hot-blooded sensei away and felt – oh, so alone.

When Naruto stood up, proclaiming himself a ninja (I may be still restless…) – as he and his team passed into the finals, Kakashi was proved right once again.

Lines are only to be crossed.

Lmits are only to be pushed.

What did we say? Unstable. Team 7 now disbanded – look at how Itachi beat him with his special Mangekyou! Kakashi may be a tensai ninja – but it looks like he's reached his full potential – no wonder the kids have moved onto better sensei! And look how the Uchiha boy turned out, they said.

Kakashi's eye only narrowed.

For a year and some, he had thought – hoped – that whatever was growing between them was what could be called 'friendship'.

What else could this be – that infinitesimal feeling of worry that crawled in his belly? It was about their welfare that much, he knew….

So he trained, aware that over the years as sensei and Jounin, he had lost his edge. He underwent rigorous regimes: thousands of laps around Konoha, thousands of pushups, thousands of chinups – new challenges with Gai and heavy duty sparring sessions with Genma.

And when he was alone, he worked hard with his perpetually hidden asset – talking with Jiraiya made him realize: the Akatsuki were the ones to fear.



The Mangekyou Sharingan.

He could still hear the calm dead voice of Sasuke's brother in his head. The traitor was right. Nobody without the bloodline of the Uchiha should be able to counter the improved Sharingan.

It was a Bloodline Limit.

Kakashi would prove him wrong.

After all, he was Hatake Kakashi – and all of Kakashi's life had been spent proving one thing.

Limits are only to be pushed.

Lines are only to be crossed.

So he lifted his hitae ate upward hoping that his training would not come to waste – feeling a small bit of pride as Naruto looked at him questioningly.

Between them, Gaara would be retrieved, Deidara killed and their mission completed.

After all, Kakashi knew Naruto understood.

Limits are only to be pushed.

Lines are only to be crossed.

Rules are meant to be broken.