Pick Me Up

A/N: (This was inspired by selle18! Thanks for the idea!)

Kakashi awoke from his slumber of many moons and learned that a strange fellow named Yamato had taken Sakura, Naruto and Sai off on a mission to retrieve Sasuke. Kakashi was miffed for a little while that they went on such a mission without him without his consent, but he quickly realized that he had been unconscious so it's not like they could have asked him.

So now Kakashi was lonely, just having been released from the hospital, and was waiting for someone to pay attention to him. Just when he thought all hope was lost, he stumbled across his good pals Asuma, Kurenai and Gai who were all on their way to the hospital to visit him with flowers.

Whence they discovered that he had been released, they all decided to go to the restaurant with the grill in the middle of the table so they could cook the food right then and there on the table.

"Wow," said Gai. "I can't believe it's been almost five years since I first met Lee."

"I can't believe it's been almost four years since we first got assigned our teams." Kurenai added.

"Yeah…" said Kakashi. "And almost three years since Sasuke left."

"And pretty much just three years since Shikamaru became a chuunin." Asuma finished off.

There was silence among the group.

"Asuma, I can't believe you just brought that up." Said Kakashi with a frown. But no one could tell. Cause of the mask.

"Why?" said Asuma.

"Yeah, why are you in disbelief that Asuma would bring that up?" said Gai. "He ALWAYS used to bring it up."

"But he stopped bringing it up ever since our students became chuunins too." Kakashi said.

"No, then he started bringing up the fact that Shikamaru became a chuunin FIRST out of everyone." Kurenai corrected him.

There was silence.

"It's true." Said Asuma. "Shikamaru WAS the first one to become a chuunin."

"Well," said Gai. "You want to know who was the first one our of our students to become a jounin?"

Asuma didn't answer.

"Do you?" said Gai as he poked Asuma.

"I KNOW who the first one was who become a jounin." Asuma crossed his arms and pouted.

"That's right." Said Gai. "It was NEJI. My student. My student was the first one to become a jounin."

"Aren't you just so special, Gai?" said Kurenai.

"In fact," he continued. "Lee is quite close to becoming a jounin as well. And I'll even go as far as to say that Tenten is not far behind."

"Oh come off it Gai, you know you're lying." Said Asuma.

"Okay fine." Said Gai. "But I wasn't lying about the part about Lee."

"Yes you were." Said Asuma.

"You're just jealous because one of my students is a jounin and all of yours are chuunins." Said Gai with a guffaw.

Everyone had to give Gai that one.

"Wait a second," said Kurenai as she sat up. "Wait…what did you just say?"

"All your students are chuunins." Gai answered.

"No, no, no…" said Kurenai as she slowly came to a realization and pointed at Kakashi. "That's not true!"

"She's right!" said Asuma.

"Oh come on—" Kakashi started.

"You still have TWO GENINS on your team!" Gai pointed and laughed.

"Guys, those don't count." Kakashi tried to look like he didn't care but you could tell that he did.

"Oh yes they DO count!" said Gai. "Naruto was away training so he never became a chuunin, and Sasuke is off in No Man's Land so OBVIOUSLY he never became a chuunin!"

"Do you guys have to be so cruel to me?" Kakashi questioned.

"I just think it's great." Said Gai. "Me…I have a jounin and two chuunins! You… you have a chuunin and two genins. Priceless."

"Whatever." Said Kakashi as he continued to act like he didn't care but he SO cared.

"I believe that brings the score to 106 to 106." Said Gai. "Once again, my eternal rival, we are tied."

"Wait, wait." Said Asuma, standing up. "Let's all not forget who it was who started all this."

"What?" said everyone.

"All this…you know." Said Asuma as he sat back down. "Training our students amazingly well so they eventually became strong enough to get higher ranked."

The other teachers blinked.

"Have you all forgotten ALREADY that Shikamaru was the first one to be promoted to a level ABOVE a genin?" Asuma said.

"How could we forget?" demanded Kurenai. "YOU keep reminding us!"

"I know." Said Asuma. "If I don't keep reminding you, you'll all surely forget."

"Speaking of reminding…" Gai said. "Let me remind you that it was ME who trained MY students so amazingly well that one of them reached the jounin rank. Yes. That was me. You're looking at the guy who did that."

"Well, my students have the best teamwork." Said Kurenai defiantly.

Everyone laughed in her face.

"It's true!" Kurenai argued. "They all became chuunins in the same exam! None of you can say THAT!"

"None of us need that to be our claim to fame." Said Asuma. "We all have REAL things to be proud of."

"Except for Kakashi." Said Gai. "He has nothing to be proud of."

"Well, my three students are each being trained by one of the three legendary sanin." Kakashi said.

His fellow teachers pondered that.

"You know, Kakashi," said Gai as he leaned in. "I don't know if you should use that as something to be proud of."

"And why is that?" said Kakashi. "They were hand chosen by the greatest ninjas alive today."

"Yeah," said Asuma. "But that just means that they were naturally gifted and you were not fit enough as a teacher to fulfill their training needs."

Kakashi paused and considered this.

"They're right, you know." Kurenai said uneasily.

"Um…" Kakashi said slowly.

He was sad.

"But don't feel too bad." Said Asuma, patting Kakashi on the shoulder. "I mean, not everyone can be such a good teacher that one of their students gets promoted to chuunin in the first exam they enter."

"Can't you find something new to be proud of?" Gai said, looking disgusted.

"Why bother?" said Asuma.

"Good point." Kurenai nodded.

"Guys, I'm feeling pretty depressed right now." Kakashi sighed. "I think I'm going to go and…I don't know… do something else."

"Kakashi, don't feel bad." Said Gai.

"Yeah, don't feel bad about other people taking your students off your hands because you weren't good enough." Asuma said endearingly.

"We've all thought about it for years, but only just now have said something." Said Kurenai as if that was supposed to make him feel better.

"All you have to do," Gai began. "Is get some NEW students that are bad at being ninjas, and then raise them yourself and not let anyone else take them away from you!"

"Um…thanks for the advice." Said Kakashi with a raised eyebrow.

"No problem." Said Gai.

"Well, we're glad you're out of the hospital, Kakashi." Said Kurenai.

"And we'll all come to Naruto's chuunin exam even though we don't have to because all of our students are already chuunins." Asuma said.

"Except for Neji, since he's a jounin." Gai added.

"And Shikamaru has been a chuunin the longest." Asuma went on, glaring at Gai.

"But that doesn't say anything because Neji is a jounin." Gai glared right back.

"You guys are just jealous because you don't have Shino on your team." Said Kurenai.

The teachers all looked at each other.

"Yeah…" they agreed as they bowed their heads in disappointment.