A boy about five years old with spiky silver hair stood outside the ninja academy trying his best to make his headband fit. He was a Genin now despite his young age, but he didn't seem enthusiastic. He looked up at the window of his class room then shrugged. He began to walk away when he heard some one yell his name, "Kakashi! This isn't over." He looked up, there was a weird kid with bowl cut hanging half way out the window. "You think you're so great! Graduating before me and leaving me here all alone but you'll see! I'll show you. You're gonna be my eternal rival you..." He sniffed, " You hear me!... Kakashi!..." Then the eight year old broke out into sobs, as the other boy casually walked away. "Kakashi..." he heard him whisper. He walked a little faster but tried to keep his pace casual so his friend couldn't see the tears stroll down his cheek...

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Twenty-one years later, the present, Kakashi lay in his apartment little more than half awake and a lot more than injured when the door opened he groaned, "What is it now?" There was a deep chuckle for the door and he opened an eye, smiling under his mask, "And what is it now my 'eternal rival'?"

"Just checking in. Gotta make sure my rival is regaining his strength so I can top him at his best. Either that or my victory will mean nothing." Gai entered the room and turned to make sure the door was securely shut. "I'm sorry I wasn't here sooner, I came when I heard you were awake." he turned, true concern in his eyes at the state of the Copy Ninja. "So how are you?.. Really..."

"Much better. I've had a swarm of visitors. I remember a time when you wouldn't ask me that... You'd say 'Get better so I can beat you, you big baby.'"

Gai smiled at him, "I also remember that time. It was a long time ago."

"Two decades of challenges. Let me see... I was a Genin at five and a Chunin at six. You joined our squad at... What was it... Twelve?"

"Eleven and three quarters." He grinned and sat in the chair next to his bed, "At least I pasted the Chunin exam the FIRST TIME."

"Oh, touché. But the only reason I took it again was because they thought I was to young and that I should come back when I have a few more missions under my belt. Of course I came back at the second one and knocked their socks off."

He sighed, "Yeah I know." Then there was a silence, however it wasn't awkward. They just kind sat with each other for awhile. Then Kakashi sat up.

"I never did get a chance to thank you."

"Kakashi-"

"No I mean it. I really should thank you. Itachi meant serious business and I couldn't stand up to him and look where trying to got me." Gai didn't say anything but looked at his hands, "Hmpf, modest as usual. Happens anytime I get sentimental." gai looked up to protest but was silenced by a soft look from the younger chunin and for a while all they did was stare at each other. Kakashi sighed then smiled, "We will never learn, fifteen or twenty-nine you are just like you were back then."

"No, I was smarter back then. I knew to keep you at a distance. And that's where I should have kept you. But... You know me."

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Gai is tied to a tree, no less than fourteen years old glaring at a pebble next to his foot. Next to him also tied to the tree is an eleven year old Kakashi. He staring up at the clouds absently. Gai kicked the pebble and it soared six to seven meters, "Ha! Beat that Kakashi!"

Kakashi sighed hopelessly, "You know, that is the EXACT behavior that got us tied up. I wish I knew what your problem was. All I did was try and help you up. Is it so hard to except a helping hand every once in a while?"

"I'll never except help from you." He glared. "Then you'll have bested me."

"Fine then I guess I best you at being the bigger person."

Gai was silent for a moment, bushy eyebrows raised in surprise, then they furrowed in anger, "Damn you, Kakashi. Okay you win that one but I still have two wins on you."

"How about we play the Quiet Game. First to talk loses."

"You're on. We start after the next time I say go... Ready... And... GO." Then they were quiet Kakashi closed his eyes. FINALLY. He could nap in peace. Gai however stared at the eleven year old siting at the base of the tree, his silver hair glittering in the sunlight his face peaceful in sleep. He was frozen in a state of awe and repulsion as his head lulled to the side landing softly on his shoulder. He shook his head and stared at the pebble next to his foot but his eyes wandered back to the younger Chunin. "KAKASHI WAKE UP!"

He groaned, "What Gai?"

"No sleeping. None! None at all!"

"What's it matter? You just lost."

Again his face went from shock to anger, "Damn."

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"Still just as stubborn though. Fifteen you up and switched teams. Lot of good that did."

"Think I was happy switching with Kurenai and then you two hooking up after you became Jounin? My eternal rival happier than me? I don't think so."

"You can hardly call THAT happy. She was worse than my mother."

"But you couldn't screw your mother." He said deviously.

"Shut up. As I recall it didn't work out. Just one of the many women I must disappoint."

"I know what you mean. Thousands of disappointed single women must carry on without me in there lives."

"Well they can help MY millions cope." There was a pause. Then they burst out laughing. Kakashi clutched his stomach in pain. Then apologized wearily, "I'm sorry Gai, but I'm about to fall asleep sitting up here. Perhaps we can reminisce at a later time... Same as today only tomorrow work for you?"

Gai smiled fondly at him, "Always has. Sleep well. If you heal up quick enough maybe I'll take you out for some miso soup... With eggplant."

"You spoil me. I assume this will be a mere outing between a pair of comrades?"

"It has to be doesn't it. That was our arrangement." He then took his hand and squeezed it. Then he stood and walked to the door. Before exiting he looked back at Kakashi, who was laying back down under the covers. He waited until he was sure he was sure he was asleep, "Until then, my love." He smiled then opened the door and walked down the hall.

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"Okay Kakashi, a drinking game it is, in celebration of you turning twenty-one!" Gai said, grabbing the tankard and staring down his comrade. "Name your terms."

"Every time a commercial comes on selling food take a drink. Every time that lady at the end of the bar orders a tequila take a drink, and every time a female walks into through the door take a drink."

"You're on." Thus began the stupidest of all Gai's challenges and the worst of Kakashi's ideas. Because everyone knows that consuming large amounts of alcohol is not only murder on your liver but it impairs the judgment of the consumer. Soon Kakashi and Gai were hooting and hollering at their table next to the bar, drunk as hell. That's when Kurenai and Asuma walked in. Laughing together at some joke that had been made previous to entering the bar. They stopped abruptly when they saw Kakashi and Gai take large gulps, due to the female Shinobi's entrance. They slammed down there flasks and laughed some more and Gai clasping Kakashi around the shoulders.

"What in all creation are you two doing?"

"Drinkin' o' course." Gai said, his words slurred with liquor. "Join us 'Suma." He removed his arm from the Copy Ninja and Kashi looked at him oddly.

"You are very drunk my friend." Kakashi said, his words still rather distinct despite the alcohol he had in taken. His gulps had been smaller and he was obviously winning. To ad they had forgotten about the contest entirely, "Kurena' you up to it."

She smirked, "You bet your ass I am." She took a seat across from Kakashi, and signaled the barkeep for another round.

Asuma sighed, "Might as well make it two." He sat down next to Kurenai, across from Gai who eyed him from behind his mug with a fond smile.

Kakashi glared at Gai, then looked to Kurenai, "I didn't know you drank."

"Yeah, I'm a whiskey girl myself. I've always been rough around the edges, like that."

Kakashi gave Gai another glare then smiled at Kurenai from under his mask, "I like 'um rough." And he grinned even wider when Gai spit out all his drink on Asuma.

Kakashi awoke the next morning in his apartment with a massive head ache, and unsure how he got home or even what took place at the bar after the first three or so rounds. One swig blurred into the other and the rest was a blank. He sat up and stretched when someone shifted in the bed next to him. He looked down to see a sleeping Kurenai lying peacefully. His eyes widened, "Oh SHIT..."