Blind Spot
Kakashi has a blind spot and it's not his left eye.

Disclaimer: Naruto and all aspects of such belong to Kishimoto-sensei.

-o-

Kakashi has a blind spot and to his father, it has something to do with never having the guidance of a mother. Ever since he had been two days old, it was and had always been just Sakumo and Kakashi. From the day his only son could walk, Sakumo taught him self-perseverance. The child was trained every day, if not by himself (and this only occurred when he was on an extended mission), then by the Sannin Jiraya, one of his close friends.

Kakashi knew little of gentility; he was polite, impossibly so, but he was lacking in the empathy department. The elder Hatake knows that this was his own fault. The prodigy has never had much exposure to women (field trips with Jiraya didn't count, all it got Kakashi were some sore cheeks). Still, he has climbed the first rung on the ladder to becoming shinobi. Once in a while, Sakumo wonders if Kakashi was already too high up on the ladder, but he pushes the thought away and drills his son through another round of shuriken-combat. Four years later, Sakumo falls off the ladder and regrets that he was not able to heal Kakashi's blind spot.

-o-

Kakashi has a blind spot and to his sensei, it is compassion. Within two minutes of their initial meeting, Kakashi has already asked about what kind of ninjutsu he will be taught, where they will be training, what kind of missions he'll be doing, and how to improve his use of the tanto. When his sensei asked him how long he used to train as a child (which sounded ridiculous as it was, but Kakashi acted like the opposite of a child so it seemed appropriate), his new protégé replied that a usual day was from dawn until dusk with a twenty minute lunch break if he felt like it.

Sensei wasn't quite as ambitious as his charge (who never stopped to smell the ramen) and he wasn't quite enthusiastic about teaching a seven-year-old Chuunin-level techniques anyway, but seeing that face and hearing that story (which was told to him by the Sandaime), he knew that he was the only one who could teach the kid anything. Techniques and missions wasn't what Kakashi needed…he needed to be able to understand human emotion. And Sensei reckons that there was plenty of time to teach him that, so they could take it slow.

Two months later, Kakashi performs his first assassination without so much as batting an eyelash, stepping two steps up the ladder at once, and Sensei worries that he won't be able to heal Kakashi's blind spot in time.

-o-

Kakashi has a blind spot and to Obito, it is teamwork. You'd think that three thirteen-year-old kids would be trying to rely on each other and work together to complete a mission, but it's awfully hard when one of your teammates is a Jounin while you're still a Chuunin. Kakashi was always the leader and it didn't matter whether Sensei was there or not. He always produces the plans, and they execute them. And the most irksome thing, Obito decides, is that it doesn't matter whether or not all three of them agree on the plan because one of them thinks that its not logical or whatever; no matter what he or Rin thinks, the plan always works out flawlessly.

It'd be better, he thinks, if they could put in some thoughts once in a while; it might not always work out, but at least they'd learn something from it, wouldn't they? He tried getting this through to his teammates once, and all he got was a blank stare from Kakashi. Exasperated, he tried appealing to Rin for help, but all she did was look back and forth from Kakashi to Obito because as much as she wanted to accommodate everyone, it wasn't going to be happening anytime soon. So they went with Kakashi's plan, as was normal.

That's why, he decides, as he gets ready to pounce on the two Rock-nins who kidnapped Rin, that when he rescues her, they're going to find Kakashi and he's going to heal that blind spot and climb up the ladder, too.

-o-

Kakashi has a blind spot and to Rin, it is love. It's something that you can't quite describe, but she is sure that Kakashi has never felt it…and probably never will. Care and affection, perhaps, and protectiveness to an extent, but love…never.

It's a year after Obito's death and the Kyuubi is in the process of rampaging Fire Country on its way to Konoha, the final jewel on the crown, the final step on the road to complete and utter destruction. Kakashi and Rin have both been dispatched to the outskirts of Konoha, the former at the front lines and the latter at the back to treat the wounded and keep their forces strong.

It works for a little while, and Konoha's forces fight deep into the night, their tactics detaining, but not weakening the monstrous creature. Rin is beginning to think that they'll never defeat the Kyuubi when someone yells hoarsely, "The Yondaime! The Yondaime has arrived!"

Sensei always made everything alright; when the mission looked bleak, when Kakashi and Obito had a spat, when there was someone she could not save, and even after Kakashi almost forced himself into submission while battling the Rock-nin as Rin watched from below, helpless to do anything but hold Obito's hand and comfort him with words that she herself did not believe.

Kakashi appears soon after, looking as unreal as she has ever seen him. Blood is splattered all over his uniform, the moon making the red splotches appear black on his silhouette. He allows her to tend to his wounds, sitting soberly as she gingerly takes off each piece of armor, peels off the underarmor, and cleanses the many cuts and burns he's received on the battlefield. Rin is a diligent worker, her slim fingers working quickly and skillfully. When she finishes, he gives her a grateful look and she realizes that during this entire time, there had been no verbal exchanges between them. None were needed. She smiles to herself as he stands back up, eager to get back into the battle.

An explosion rocks the area just then. They are situated at the foot of a mountain and it was one of the Kyuubi's nine flailing tails that smacked into the mountainside, sending loose chunks of rocks and dirt raining down on them. Rin sees a flash of mutilated light and darkness as Kakashi flings himself on her, protecting her with his already half-broken form. He's surprisingly warm, something she would not have suspected of him (everything else about him was cold and gray), and the feeling of safety and security makes its way to her brain before she could blame it on the liberation of heat from his body from the sweat and still-warm blood on his uniform. His chin and lower jaw are pressed tightly against her forehead, and she slowly loses consciousness to the pulse of his hot, damp breath through the black mesh of his mask. It's the closest thing to love, she figures, that he will ever be able to feel and express.

Two hours later, the Kyuubi is gone and the Yondaime is found dead, a wailing baby boy, a spitting image of himself with a shock of blond hair and a blazing red swirl on his navel, clutched tightly to his breast. But Rin will never hear this news because at the moment, she can't make out what is what anymore. The only thing she is conscious of doing is clinging tightly to Kakashi's vest and letting the tears roll down as she slowly slips away, regretting that she is unable to help and to heal him any longer, but glad that he doesn't have to worry about caring for her too much any longer. The last member of Hatake Kakashi's team has fallen off the ladder, but she doesn't mind because maybe Kakashi's blind spot doesn't need healing after all.

-o-

Kakashi has a blind spot and to Jiraya, it is consistency. The little brat isn't even sixteen yet and already he's lost the four most important people in his life. So he's had a few happy memories, but they are completely outweighed by the tragedy and sorrow that seem to cling to him like a shirt on a wet woman. Except that wet women in clingy shirts were good things. Tragedy and sorrow were not. Even the Frog Hermit wasn't that shallow. Yet.

So, Jiraya reckons, it's time to find Kakashi something that will always be there for him, even if people are not. And he decides to hit the kid at his most vulnerable… right after the Yondaime's funeral. Of course Jiraya misses the Yondaime; the kid was his student after all and he wasn't able to believe it himself when he first heard the news. In fact, he almost fell off the Hokage Monument when the newly re-inaugurated Sandaime was kind enough to inform him of it.

Being the opportunist that he is, Jiraya finally ends up finding the brat (Kakashi might not remember his younger days, but Jiraya sure does. The kid had a natural talent for causing groin injuries.) at the memorial stone, muttering something suspiciously like an apology to some girl.

Discreetly, the great bear of a man makes a mental note of it as a possibility for his latest book…just imagine it! The wife of a very hot, often shirtless man has just died and as he stares down at her grave, another very hot, will-be shirtless woman comes and relieves his pain with some…ah…comforting words…in the bedroom. It will be his dirtiest book yet! It will be…

…He was getting off subject. The point was that this brat needed to be introduced to the wonderful world of adult smut, and if he wasn't going to find out himself, then who but the Great Sannin Jiraya would be better suited for the task of introducing it to him? And he would do it using his specialized "Presentation-no-jutsu," or so to speak.

After landing on the memorial stone, accompanied by impressively white and cloudy smoke, he struck a pose that would make the young Maito Gai positively green with envy…well…greener than he was already. He even flipped his mane of white hair around (he would survive the headache; this was just too good a chance to pass up) and uttered a battle cry that would make the Kyuubi quake in fear.

All he got was a raised eyebrow. …He would have to work on that, but deep down, he was positive that the brat really was impressed with his display of confidence and power.

Eventually, he did convince the kid to accompany him on a "mission shrouded in secrecy with flying projectiles and dangers the likes of which you have never seen," and as he guides him away, Jiraya can't help but think that even if Kakashi's blind spot isn't completely healed, it's at least patched up a little bit more.

-o-

Kakashi has a blind spot and to his fellow Jounin, it's something to do with repose and taking a little time to relax for a while. None of the Jounin can claim that they've ever seen the Hatake smile; the fact that he wears a mask doesn't count. That guy is so wound-up, even more so than Uchiha Itachi at times.

They've tried to make pleasant conversation before, oh, have they tried, but most of them are largely unsuccessful, getting only a one-word answer or an eye-roll in return. By Kami-sama, Kakashi isn't even there half the time, always securing himself month-long missions and the like.

Genma says that he glimpsed Kakashi in a bar once, but it is dismissed as a rumor. There is no way a socially-repressed ninja like him would even be caught dead in such a public place—he doesn't even shower in the HQ locker rooms.

Hayate notes with a cough that he probably has his own secret agenda or something, but Asuma disagrees, taking out another stick from the pack in his front pocket and lighting it, saying that he's probably out training by himself. Kurenai asks where he could possibly be training. None of them have ever seen him in the training fields, and the forests surrounding the main town were reserved for genin performing D-rank survival missions. The bearded man just shrugs, saying that it's none of his business.

Their discussion goes on for a while, with input from various other sources, until the Sandaime himself walks through on his way to the Chuunin Lounge. The Jounin mention Kakashi's blind spot and ask about where exactly he is on the ladder, but Sarutobi just sighs and tells them not to worry about it. Let Kakashi worry about Kakashi's problems; if he comes to them, then they can worry. They may see it as a blind spot, but Kakashi doesn't. At least, not yet. He is, for the most part, a sensible man and will be able to tell when he is climbing up the ladder with only one hand on the next rung.

-o-

Kakashi has a blind spot, and to Iruka, it is rationality. Looking at records of the Jounin's history with would-be genin, he is beyond shocked, to put it lightly, that out of the twenty-six teams he's tested, not one student out of the seventy-eight made it past him.

If anything, that is completely irrational. He's written notes in the margins too, with his untidy, cramped scrawl (and if anything irritates Iruka more, its messy handwriting), things like "should graduate in six years," "would fail a D-rank," and "exhibits the intelligence of a rock." He should not have gone as harshly on them as he had; they were still only children, after all, making mistakes and learning from them.

Personally, Iruka thought that a lot of the kids Kakashi failed had great potential. He would have known that if he had just given them a chance. The academy teacher can't help but think that the Sandaime is getting a little too senile; putting Naruto with the number one rookie and place them both on the team of one of the most meticulous instructors in recent Konoha history can't have been an extremely intelligent choice. Naruto just barely graduated, after all.

He has, of course, heard of Kakashi's legendary feats and how prestigious his ranking had always been, but that's not a good-enough excuse for Iruka. He doesn't want Kakashi to go easy on Naruto and place him above his station, but he wants even less for the Copy-nin to go too hard on the young boy and scar his spirit.

When the Sandaime laughs at Iruka's jaw dropping lower and lower with every name he reads, every name that's failed, the old man tells him that Kakashi knows his place on the ladder. Iruka nods numbly, but still can't help but think that the Jounin's blind spot won't be going towards Cel Seven's favor.

-o-

Kakashi has a blind spot and to his might-be team, it is that he doesn't know give them enough credit…AKA he isn't exactly merciful in his techniques. He's doled out a monstrous amount of punishment and physical pain to Naruto (even though its mostly his fault to begin with), traumatized Sakura with terrible illusions (its not fair to torment girls with images of their dream boys half dead and bloody all over; its just not chivalrous) and completely outmatched Sasuke (which, in Sasuke's opinion, is terribly unfair because the Jounin is about seven times as powerful as himself and he should have given the Uchiha the benefit of the doubt) both in combat and in the battle of wits.

When they first met him, he seemed as complicated as lint. But now…all three of them expect that Kakashi hasn't even unleashed his full potential; only Sakura has ever heard of the Copy-nin but the name doesn't even come to her mind yet because he's just so shallow. But they end up failing and to Sasuke, it…well, it just plain sucks. He has ambitions, more ambitions than this man could ever understand, and he deserves to become a genin so he could kill that man.

And yet…they are given another chance; after a lecture that leaves all three feeling ashamed of themselves, no doubt, but another chance it is nonetheless. And they plan on taking full advantage of it. But then all hell breaks loose.

Sakura knows that she shouldn't have fed Naruto, but against her good judgment, she did. And now they were all going to die! She would never get to be a Kunoichi, she would never get to kiss Sasuke, she would never…she would never…

All three twelve-year-olds blink stupidly as the sky suddenly clears and the white-haired-man suddenly looks benignly cheerful. The word "pass" enters slowly into their minds and with a bang, all three realize that Kakashi's blind spot didn't really exist to begin with. He really did give them a lot more credit than they deserved, and even if they don't know it, Kakashi thinks that it'd be kind of a disappointment to Sensei, Obito, and himself to fail them.

-o-

Kakashi has a blind spot and to Kakashi, it's a hole drilled so deeply in his heart that one can see straight through it to the other side. Sometimes he can feel it shrinking; sometimes it's torn open again. And, he figures, everyone can see what exactly his blind spot is but himself.

Kakashi has a blind spot, and it's not his left eye.

-o-

Author's Note: adbfoai ufwajefoasjfaskjgaekhwaejf. I'm on a huge writer's block at the moment, so I'm surprised I even got this done. Sure, it's been about three weeks, but still...I'm really glad. And...yes, it is another introspective piece on Kakashi. Those are, apparently, the only ones I can do at the moment. Let's just add this to the other bazillion I have stored on this website. -le sigh- I'm so uncreative, it hurts. And now to go and finish "Universal..."

P.S. ...It is his left eye, right?

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