Teachers and their Students


Author's Notes: Um, so, someone requested this after reading my Hiashi x Neji chapter, so here I am, writing it? It's more like I'm using it as a semi-valid excuse to put off the Kurenai x Hinata chapter even longer...

Either way, I humbly present to you my Kakashi x Neji chapter.

Summary: Things in ANBU work a little differently, as Kakashi will soon teach Neji.

Warnings: Yaoi! Angst, but who cares about that? Violence and mild to moderate language. Traumatic situations.


ANBU's A Little Different

-

Admittedly, Neji was a little nervous. His arms were folded, his ever-present glare hidden behind his snake mask, and aside from shifting his weight a bit more often than necessary, he seemed perfectly normal. Occasionally, he pulled at a random part of his ANBU uniform, uneasy in the form-fitting material and the vest (which he, self-consciously, thought made him look kind of fat).

He had heard things about the Copy Nin, Kakashi. Mostly from Gai. Unimportant stuff, about their rivalry that he was fairly sure Kakashi didn't particularly care about. Not really, anyway. The man seemed to humor Gai often enough.

He had also heard the usual rumors about Kakashi- how the man took the nastiest missions, so other ANBU (who were all gutsy, but maybe not as gutsy as Kakashi) wouldn't have to. How Kakashi's Sharingan had been taken from his dieing friend. That the man wasn't entirely sane.

Neji shifted his weight again, pushing the rumors to the back of his mind. Hatake Kakashi was going to be his partner on his first ever ANBU mission; a teacher, if you will. Questioning the sanity of someone he was going to be spending the next five days with- and possibly longer- wasn't a good idea. He needed to at least be confident in his partner, if not to trust him.

There was a loose string dangling from the cuff of his sleeve, and he picked at it absently. Half of the stitches unraveled. Great. He wasn't even out of Konoha, and something was out of place. He pulled out a kunai to slice it off.

"Ahem." Neji looked up, saw Kakashi with his head cocked and a semi concerned look on his face at seeing him with a kunai poised so close to his wrist. He lowered the kunai, holding up the string.

"A loose seam," he explained, pocketing the weapon.

"Ah," Kakashi's eye crinkled and they watched as Neji let go and the black thread drifted to the ground.

Neji shifted his weight again, trying not to be obvious as he gave Kakashi a thorough look, gauging how insane he appeared as compared to the stories, then felt like an idiot for trying not to be obvious, since he was wearing his mask, and Kakashi wasn't the one who could see through walls. A moment later, when he'd decided Kakashi looked rather sane, a wave of guilt for doubting the fact washed over him and he shook his head to clear it.

Kakashi looked at Neji's masked face, shrugged and produced his own.

"I guess you'll want to go then?" he asked nonchalantly, snapping it into place. Gratefully, Neji unfolded his arms.

"Yes," he answered, "Let's."

Kakashi took off first, and Neji followed.

-

It was raining when Neji stepped into a dimly lit bar, followed closely by Kakashi. They were both sopping wet because they had stopped just outside the small village to change into civilian getup. Anything that marked them as either Ninja or from Konoha was tucked away in their packs. Faded red-orange lanterns swung silently in the downpour as the two nin found their seats.

"So," Neji stated after Kakashi had ordered a drink, ordering nothing for himself, "What exactly is our mission?"

Kakashi's one visible eye slid over to rest on Neji's profile, dripping wet and bent over the counter, frowning. He slid his drink across the bar to Neji.

"Drink up," he instructed, and Neji looked at him.

"I think it would be best if I didn't drink," he said slowly, eying the mug.

"And I'm Leader, so when I say 'drink up', you drink up," Kakashi answered pleasantly, visible eye crinkling into something reminiscent of a smile. Neji grimaced and took a long swig from the glass.

"Power abuser," he muttered, letting the glass fall with a thud. Kakashi just continued to smile at him, nodding gaily until the Hyuuga polished off the glass.

"Two more!" the copy nin ordered, and two more drinks were brought over. Neji groaned, but began sipping at his new drink, licking the flavor off his lips as he went. Kakashi turned his cup on the counter.

"Well?" Neji prompted, still within his senses. Kakashi shrugged, staring at the rows of drinks lining the back wall of the bar.

"It's simple, really," he began, and Neji took a slightly larger-than-necessary sip. "Simple" didn't bode well.

"And?" he prompted again, becoming impatient with Kakashi, who ordered him another drink.

"We've been sent to... execute... a certain being that is causing problems for their village," the elder explained carefully. Neji blinked, drinking more. "Your Jyuuken can assist in a swift and painless death for said person."

"Ah," Neji nodded, drinking more. "If it's something so simple then why has it been assigned to ANBU?"

Kakashi's head tilted to one side. "There are certain... details that non ANBU members might not be able to handle."

Neji hummed. "Such as?"

Kakashi looked at him, looked at the empty cup in his hands, then at the two empty cups set to his side. He could see the effects of the alcohol settling in already as Neji's eyes drooped and he swayed ever so slightly on his stool.

"First, another drink," Kakashi proposed, scooting his towards the Hyuuga. Neji took it and began absently sipping.

"That bad, huh?" he mumbled, and Kakashi's eye crinkled.

"Among what non ANBU might not be able to handle are the fact that both the Akatsuki and Orochimaru could be involved with said being and who is being executed," the copy nin explained.

"Mm," Neji murmured around the rim of his fifth cup- he had no idea where it had come from, but he wasn't complaining, because the alcohol wasn't all that bad. "Who're we executing, Kakashi-sensei?"

The eye crinkled into an arc, and a strong arm wrapped around his shoulders.

"You look tired, Hyuuga-san," Kakashi said, helping him up, "You should go to bed."

"I know what you're up to," Neji slurred, letting Kakashi lead him away, "You don't want me to remember well enough tomorrow to ask more questions. What could be so bad about this?"

"You're drunk, Hyuuga-san," Kakashi stated merrily, "You don't know what you're talking about."

"Hm," Neji hummed, "Whatever you say, Kakashi-sensei."

"Whatever I say," Kakashi smiled.

-

The next day Neji remembered the majority of the conversation at the bar, but kept that to himself. There was a mild headache, and things were a bit fuzzy, thanks to the alcohol, but Kakashi had taken him for more of a lightweight than he was. Their travel was hampered by his condition and he kept his questions and reservations concerning the mission to himself.

They carefully avoided any other towns as they approached their destination in Stone Country, setting up camp the second and third nights. On the afternoon of the fourth day, Kakashi ordered Neji to begin setting up camp while he went into town- the town where there target was held, Neji assumed. He watched silently as Kakashi changed into the ANBU garb while he started a fire.

"Well, I'll be back around sundown with instructions," Kakashi's eye arced, "You'll be fine?"

Neji scoffed. "Of course I will be."

"Hm," Kakashi hummed, turned on his heel, and traipsed away.

There were quite a few hours before sundown. It didn't take long for Neji to set up their sleeping bags (ANBU doesn't deal with tents, because, more often than not, ANBU has to make a quick departure, and ANBU can't afford to spend time with tents or to leave such things behind) or for him to have a nice fire going and the small portion of regular food they had purchased back at the first town roasting (there were no pots to boil it in, as those would have been cumbersome to carry).

Satisfied with the state of the camp, he changed into his ANBU uniform and settled against a tree to wait, wondering just what the details were that had had Kakashi trying to get him drunk. He couldn't think of anything that could possibly be all that terrible. Just an execution, and possibly a confrontation with Akatsuki or The Sound.

Kakashi arrived just past sundown when the stars were twinkling down on their campsite. Neither of them said anything as he sat cross-legged in front of the fire and took his portion of the food. Neji scooted over and watched him.

"Eat," Kakashi instructed. Neji, a little frightened by his sudden somber, all-business, let's-be-serious mood, quickly grabbed something and began nibbling at it.

"Kakashi-sensei?" he whispered, and Kakashi sighed.

"I have separate orders to take care of in his town, so I won't be going with you to assist in the... execution," the copy nin explained, producing a map and spreading it out on the ground for the Hyuuga to see. He pointed to a splotchy mark that might have been an "X" at some point and said, "That is where the mark is. One of the villagers will escort you, but only to the corner of the block. There are seals on the outside of the door that you will have to bypass-"

"Seals?" Neji parroted, "Is whoever is held there that dangerous?"

Kakashi shook his head and Neji frowned, confused.

"You'll see when you get there," he told him, "The villagers are just afraid because the one being held is a jinchuuriki."

Neji pursed his lips, but said nothing. It was a mission, and his personal opinions were best kept to himself. At least he knew now why Akatsuki and The Sound were involved.

"Anyways," Kakashi continued in a monotone, business voice, "It doesn't matter where I'll be, but we'll rendezvous back here-" he pointed to another, slightly off-colored, splotchy area that might have once been a circle, "-Got that?"

"Roger," Neji nodded, then blushed when he realized how immature that must have sounded (seeing as it was a habit acquired from Lee and Gai). If Kakashi thought anything of it, he didn't say, only rolled the map up.

"Eat," he repeated, "Then we leave."

Neji complied.

-

The town was eerily silent when Neji approached the main gates. Kakashi had separated from him before reaching the town- Neji assumed that was because his part of the mission was strictly Konoha business and not meant for the villagers to know- so he approached the two sentry at the entrance alone. They were burly village men. He nodded and they glanced away uneasily.

One of them gave a jerky signal that Neji took to mean "Follow me". They led him through the town that he already had memorized from seeing the map. Just as Kakashi had foretold, they both halted at the corner of one block, a particularly deserted appearing block, and Neji nodded to them again before continuing alone, once more.

This area of town, abandoned as it appeared, seemed louder than any other occupied area. Neji could hear the sound of paper seals flapping in the wind. A sharp mewl from a starving cat in a deserted alley followed by the sound of an empty trashcan overturning. Only by the exacting use of his shinobi skills was Neji able to keep his singing nerves from getting the best of him.

The location of the mark was not difficult to find, even if Neji hadn't had the map of the town with its splotchy marks memorized. The building was covered in seals, some old and weather-worn to the point where they were useless, some newer. Some of them Neji didn't even recognize, but thankfully, those were the older ones whose characters had been washed away with rain.

Somewhere a loose door creaked on its hinges, and Neji set to work disabling the randomly placed tags methodically and efficiently. In moments, they were all either blank- deactivated- or lying in pieces at his feet. The weathered wood of the door stood bare before him, gnarled and uncared for. Hesitantly, Neji opened it, slipping in and shutting it silently behind him.

"Hideki-nii-san?"

Neji's eyes snapped to the owner of the small, frail voice. His breath caught in his throat and he fell back against the door to support himself. The small girl with large, watery eyes tottered towards him, clutching the long dead body of a baby (Neji could only assume it had once been her living, breathing sibling). She was pale and gaunt, dressed only in a stain-smeared, tattered shirt that didn't even cover her starvation-distended stomach, much less anything else below that.

Surely this was not the mark. She was only a helpless child!

"Hideki-nii-san?" she repeated, voice wobbling. She stumbled and tripped, falling with her face in the floor, pale feet in the air. Neji noticed that she had deformed ankles, rendering her incapable of running. They must have been broken repeatedly when she was an infant.

"Hideki-nii-san," she cried, "Wh-wha's going on?"

"I'm..." Neji's words dried up as he watched her struggling to get up again. He wanted to help her, but she was the mark, and he was supposed to kill her. This helpless little child with her dead sibling cradled in her arms and her distended stomach and purposefully-deformed ankles that, admittedly, made Neji feel extremely queasy.

The girl finally got to her feet, only to waver and flop onto her side this time, and Neji felt his stomach heave as the girl flailed and the dead infant skidded across the floor to halt a few inches from his toes.

"Hideki-nii-san!" she wailed, fat tears sliding down her cheeks. Neji looked away.

I can do this, he reminded himself, I've killed before. It's just a mission. Don't think about it, don't think about-

Somehow she had writhed her way over to him and was clinging to the material of his pant's leg. Neji jerked away reflexively and the girl slid with him, breaking out in new tears. The sound of her crying twisted in Neji's ears until his mind swum in the sound and he pressed his hands to his ears.

"Sh-shut up!" he shouted, "Shut up, stop crying! Damnit!"

"Hideki-nii-" Of its own accord, his hand lashed out, striking a tenketsu at the base of her neck.

Neji stared wide-eyed at the girl now limp on the floor. Her hand disentangled from his pants and fell to floor in what seemed to be slow-motion. The dull thud when it hit the wood rang through the room, and then it was silent. Absolutely, utterly, silent. And Neji was suddenly terrified as he strained his ears for a sound, for anything.

I just- I just killed a child! A helpless child who wasn't hurting anyone, whose only fault was being a jinchuuriki! I'm, I'm-

I've killed before, just calm down. Go find Kakashi at the rendezvous point, get back to Konoha, drink it away, and never think about it again. Hell, maybe even quit ANBU!

Neji stumbled towards the door. When had he gotten so far from it? He tripped on the dead baby still lying on the floor and let out a yelp, shoving himself out the door without opening it. The old, dry-rotted wood splintered easily.

"Whoa, easy, Neji!" Kakashi caught him.

"Kakashi-sensei?" Neji gasped, looking up to see his sensei, "How- why- huh?"

Kakashi's expression was completely serious. "You were late, so I came to check on you. I assume you have completed your segment of the mission?"

Neji swallowed the bile his stomach spat up.

"Yeah," he croaked, getting out of Kakashi's arms and making his way toward the front gate. Kakashi made no comment that that was not the agreed route of departure and followed, melting into the shadows as often as he could because, technically, he wasn't supposed to be there.

-

They made it to camp without incident, and Neji collapsed onto his sleeping bag, not even bothering to pull the covers over himself or to change out of his uniform. Kakashi stood over him, finally reaching down and plucking the mask away. The Hyuuga's face was a carefully controlled mask of its own- unaffected, empty, detached.

He sighed and set the mask down next to Neji's head.

"Kakashi-sensei..." Neji whispered and Kakashi halted.

"Yes, Neji?"

"All that... all that- just because she was a jinchuuriki?"

Kakashi hesitated, choosing his words carefully. Neji beat him to it.

"The details..." he muttered, "She was just a kid. Did you know that? Couldn't've been older than four, maybe five. Starved and... they did something to her ankles so she couldn't run, and-"

Neji stopped when a soft hand squeezed his shoulder, urging him to look at his mentor. He did, brows furrowed, lips pursed.

"That's why they give missions like this to ANBU, Neji," the Hatake explained. "Details, like those. This isn't the worst of the missions we receive as ANBU."

Neji just stared at him blankly.

"Neji?" Kakashi asked, voice slightly tainted with worry.

"Understood," Neji mumbled. Kakashi sighed.

"Try to forget about it," Kakashi said, "Think about Konoha. Two days and we'll be back."

Neji frowned.

"Naruto-kun is very lucky. I never realized it, but after what happened to Gaara and then... this... jinchuuriki..."

Kakashi nodded, still massaging Neji's shoulder comfortingly.

"Just try not to think about it-"

"With all respect, Kakashi-sensei, that's hard to do."

Kakashi looked at him pensively, and Neji tried to meet his gaze, but ended up staring just past his ear. He tried to ignore it when Kakashi's hand shifted from his shoulder to his vest, deftly undoing the clasps as though he did this kind of thing often.

"I can help you with that," he whispered. Neji looked at him, slight confusion and disdain in his eyes.

"That's not allowed on missions-" he began, but Kakashi cut him off, pressing his still masked mouth to Neji's.

"Shh," he said, "Don't think about it."

Neji made a soft sound of disapproval, but relaxed as Kakashi continued to undo his vest, giving in to the distraction. It came off easily and surprisingly soft hands grazed his stomach. His muscles tensed at the foreign sensation as they traveled up his torso, taking the shirt with them. Moments later Kakashi had him out of it as well and was already kissing a trail down his chest, stopping at a dark spot to suck and lick.

The material of Kakashi's mask was rough against his nipples, but Neji didn't care because it still sent mind-numbing jolts of pleasure through him. Unconsciously, his fists gripped the blankets under him as Kakashi's hands undid the clasp on his pants, pulling them down to his knees. Neji hissed at the cold air on his erection.

Kakashi made to remove his mask and Neji looked away. He cried out when warm, moist lips were placed on his arousal, a tongue flicking out to lick the tip.

"W-wait," he panted, "What about you?"

"I always do seme, and we can't have you too sore tomorrow to run," Kakashi murmured against his cock, and Neji gritted his teeth against the groan that wanted to come out from the feeling of the silver haired man talking against his member, too caught up to take any offense in what Kakashi had said. Kakashi took the head in his mouth, running his tongue over the slit and sucking gently. Neji swallowed another moan, and Kakashi slowly took him the rest of the way into his mouth until his nose was buried in the dark curls at the base of Neji's groin. He hummed then swallowed carefully.

"Ah!" Neji exclaimed, bucking his hips. Kakashi quickly moved to hold Neji's hips still as he worked on the Hyuuga's cock, sucking and running his tongue over the vein. His head bobbed up and down in a steadily increasing pace as Neji gasped, "Faster, please!" and Kakashi complied.

The copy nin's fingers feathered up his torso to play with his nipples some more. Neji couldn't hold back a soft cry, arching his back into the touches, simultaneously changing the angle of his cock in the Hatake's mouth, deeper and warmer. Kakashi swallowed again, the walls of his throat constricting around Neji's member.

"Ah, Kakashi-sensei!" he cried out, releasing into the older man's mouth. Kakashi pulled away as soon as he was finished, pulling the mask back up so quickly that Neji could only assume he had swallowed the seed.

"Kakashi-sensei," he repeated tiredly.

"Shh," Kakashi reminded him, "Sleep. We'll start heading back to Konoha first thing tomorrow morning."

Neji could only nod and comply.

-

They traveled quickly and by late morning the second day were a half of a kilometer past the first town they had stopped at. It was then that Neji realized something was off. Activating his Byakugan, he grimaced and reported to Kakashi: "We're being followed."

Kakashi's visible eye narrowed. "Can you tell who it is?" he asked. Neji nodded, focusing in on the targets.

"Two, and it looks like they're Akatsuki. Wait, I recognize one. Gai-sensei fought him that time when we were retrieving Gaara."

Beneath the mask, Kakashi frowned deeply. "I remember him too, from a separate incident before that. His partner is probably Uchiha Itachi-"

"What?" Neji spat, "You're kidding! Is there any way to avoid a battle with them?"

"Depends. How close are they?"

Neji measured it up. "About three hundred meters, and closing."

"There's a chance we could outrun them, but it's slim. I say we set up a trap and prepare to fight."

"But-"

"Hyuuga-san, we're ANBU. Please have more confidence."

Neji shut his mouth and stopped one branch after Kakashi. The Copy Nin gave the hand signals for one of the numerous traps designed specifically for ANBU and Neji produced his portion of the materials. Quickly, the trap was set and they hid in the trees to wait.

The two Akatsuki approached.

"Haha, pathetic," the blue one laughed, "Such an obvious trap."

"Be quiet, Kisame," the other ordered, "They're still here."

"Right, right," Kisame grumbled, looking around. Neji stiffened when the man's beady eyes stopped on his hiding place. He had been sure he was fully concealed-

Itachi held two fingers before his mouth, inhaled, then exhaled a sphere of flames. It came barreling towards both ANBU members, and they shot out of the canopy, landing side-by-side a few branches away from their opponents.

"How useful is the Byakugan against the Sharingan?" Kakashi asked stiffly.

"I don't know," Neji admitted, sizing up Kisame, "I never got a chance to spar with Sasuke. It doesn't help us with staying out of genjutsu, if that's what you wanted to know."

Kakashi nodded. "I'll handle the Uchiha. Can you deal with the other?"

Neji glanced over Kisame once more, eyeing his oversized sword. He wet his lips. "Yes, I think so."

"Good," Kakashi smiled, raising his hitai-ate so it wasn't covering his Sharingan eye, "Because I'm trusting you not to die. That would look bad on my record."

Neji scoffed, and shot forward to engage his opponent, activating his Byakugan as he went.

"Damnit," he muttered when he saw that Kisame had abnormally large chakra reserves, coupled with the fact that his tenketsu were arranged in odd places. He couldn't just hit them out of reflex, now, because they weren't where he expected them.

The sword was whipped out faster than Neji had anticipated, and his shoulder was grazed before he could dodge. He winced, but started a kaiten. Kisame leapt backwards away from the whirlwind. Somewhere, Neji could hear the sound of birds and knew it was Kakashi's chidori. He didn't dwell on it long, however, because Kisame was charging again.

Neji could dodge all he wanted, but he couldn't get close enough to Kisame to do any damage, and Kisame undoubtedly had a higher stamina than him. He had maybe another half hour before he was too tired to dodge effectively. There had to be a way around that sword-

Kakashi screamed and Neji spun to see what was wrong. To his relief, the Kakashi who had screamed was only a clone, and disappeared in a puff of white smoke just as Samehada collided with his back. Neji couldn't hold back a cry of pain as he fell, just barely catching the branch with his hands, infused with a touch of chakra.

Damnit, he really needed to get rid of that sword.

Neji flipped himself back onto the limb just in time to catch Kisame's maniacal grin and roll away from the downward arc of his weapon. Neji watched in slight horror as Kisame wrenched it back out of the wood, leaving a large section smashed in. He didn't have long to gape before he was back to dodging, even more unsteady on his feet with his new injury.

Deciding to ignore Kisame for the moment, he focused all his attention on the sword, Samehada, trying to find a weak point and to think of a way to destroy it. There! A slight crack near the handle where the sword's chakra-absorbing abilities weren't present.

"Why won't you just stay still!?" Kisame roared, slicing at Neji with renewed vigor. Neji just barely ducked. "You're like an annoying little fish for me to catch!"

The sword came back so fast there was no way Neji could have avoided it. He fell into his divination stance as quickly as possibly and activated the sixty four strikes. Just as the sword was colliding with his shoulder, he began striking the weak point in the sword each time. Kisame roared something along the lines of, "Die!", but he wasn't listening.

"Sixty-four strikes!" Neji yelled, aiming the last barrage of attacks at the widening split in the weapon. It shattered with the second to last strike- the last one struck out on empty air- and hundreds of pieces rained down on the forest floor below.

Neji, panting and drenched in sweat, returned to the divination stance, regarding Kisame, who looked back at him with a mangled expression of pure hatred. They remained such until Kisame suddenly howled.

"Samehada!" he wailed, dragging his hands over his gilled cheeks, "My Samehada! You killed it, you killed it!"

Neji leapt at the opportunity, twisting to activate the one-hundred-twenty-eight strikes, to leave room for him to miss chakra points, considering the strange arrangement of Kisame's pathways.

"Shit!" Kisame exclaimed when Neji suddenly came at him, hands raised. He jumped back, but it was useless. He was more than well-within Neji's divination. When the attack was completed, Neji leaped away, breathing heavily. He reached up to wipe the sweat from his brow.

His Byakugan flickered, the veins beginning to recede, and he redoubled his efforts to maintain it. To his dismay, he hadn't closed off all the key points in the man's system (because his hands naturally wanted to strike the places where chakra points normally would have resided, but did not in Kisame). On top of that, Kisame's large reserves of chakra easily forced past the shut tenketsu. He tested out his arms, leering at Neji's crestfallen face.

"Kisame!" Itachi barked, and Kisame looked away, scowling.

"I was just having fun!" he complained, but when Itachi gave him a look, he sighed and followed his partner in retreat. He did take the time to twist and shout over his shoulder, "I'll get you for breaking Samehada!"

Neji slumped, and Kakashi caught him before he fell off the branch.

"Neji!" the elder called out, "Neji, are you alright?"

Neji shut his eyes, trying to tune out his sensei along with the pain radiating from his back and shoulder. Kakashi shook him, and he grunted.

"Neji, we still have to get back to Konoha- Neji!" Kakashi scowled and gathered Neji up into a rough kiss. Neji gasped, curling his hands into the coarse material of Kakashi's flak vest, a rather undignified yelp escaping as Kakashi's hand, attempting to support his back, dug into the wound there. Somehow, Kakashi's mask was down, and his tongue invaded Neji's mouth, causing him to gasp and shiver. There was blood in the kiss, and Neji realized Kakashi's lip had been split- probably in an effort to dispel a genjutsu.

Kakashi pulled away, letting go of Neji, who swayed slightly in a daze. "Back to Konoha?" he suggested. Neji nodded hollowly.

"Yes, let's."

-

Neji wouldn't let Kakashi carry him back to Konoha (it's not as though Kakashi had enough strength that it would have been any faster that way, anyways) so it took them until midnight to trudge back into the village. Kakashi made sure Neji went straight to the hospital- there had been quite a bit of blood loss from the injuries- before going home himself. Neji found that more than slightly hypocritical, not to mention dangerous to the copy nin's health, but said nothing.

Sakura hurriedly carted him up to the healing ward and went to work on his wounds. Sometime after the pain subsided, but the healing wasn't finished, he let himself fall asleep, enjoying the security of being back home, carefully edging around the memory of his first ANBU mission.

Kakashi visited him the next morning.

"I reported to Tsunade-sama for you," he smiled, "So you can just relax."

"Thankyou," Neji answered, gazing out the window. Kakashi shifted his weight.

"You look well," he said.

"Yes," Neji nodded, "Sakura-san did a good job. She is Tsunade-sama's prodigy, after all."

Kakashi bobbed his head, eye still arced in a smile.

"Is there something else you wanted, Kakashi-sensei?"

"Well, just a few words," the Hatake admitted, shrugging, "I need to talk to you about ANBU."

Neji waited for him to continue. Kakashi sighed and shuffled a foot.

"ANBU isn't like being in the regular ranks," he began, eye flicking to look out the window then back to a wall, and finally lighting on Neji. "We do things that maybe others couldn't so that those others can continue believing in the 'Konoha Way'. Can you still believe it, after your mission?"

Neji's brow creased, his hands gripped the sheets. "It is difficult. She was just a... a child. Helpless, harmless, confused."

Kakashi nodded, understanding.

"ANBU's... a little bit different, Neji," he explained, shuffling his other foot, "The normal rules don't apply to us, except to complete the mission and keep Konoha's secrets, at all costs."

"Do all ANBU try to just forget what they do?" Neji asked, "Like I... we..." He didn't quite know how to phrase it. Kakashi sighed.

"Most of us, but not all," he admitted, "Some wallow in what they've done and they..."

They go insane. Neji knew the rest of that thought.

"I see," he intoned.

"Neji, if you decide to leave the ranks, it's best not to talk about what you did-"

"No, Kakashi-sensei, I don't think I'm going to leave ANBU," Neji cut him off with a tired shrug, fisting the sheets again. "I don't think I could, if you understand."

"I get it," Kakashi told him. He'd once tried to retire, but found himself back in the organization only months later. Silence settled.

"Ah, well, I suppose you've got some well-deserved rest to catch up on," Kakashi said pleasantly, eye crinkling. He waved a hand, simultaneously producing his Icha Icha book. "Ja ne," he said, and disappeared with a puff of smoke. Neji sighed and relaxed into the pillows tucked behind him.

-

True to his word, Neji never left ANBU. Most of the time he took missions with Kakashi- his preferred partner- especially the really nasty ones Kakashi took on short notice so others wouldn't have to. It took a while before Kakashi felt comfortable doing more than they had on their first mission together, but Neji convinced him it was only fair, and that he would be fine (if not, Kakashi could always just carry him).

Neither of them would have ever admitted it, but they shared a kind of relationship. Tsunade caught on and continually paired them, though sometimes they were in a cell of three or four and then the "distracting" would get very... interesting. Still, ANBU was ANBU, and members did what they could to stay sane.

As with most, if not all, ANBU members, Kakashi was KIA at a relatively young age. Depressed and angry, Neji took numerous solo missions for ANBU, dreading the day that the Hokage would dump a rookie ANBU on him to teach. But, as all things go, the day came, and he met his subordinate.

She was short and slender. Frail, almost. Her short purple hair was pulled back in a ponytail and she wore the dog mask, which had previously been Kakashi's. She had a companion dog, and he realized she was Inuzuka Hana's daughter. She growled at him, and he glared back.

"Well?" she said, impatient as all Inuzuka were, "Are we going yet?"

Neji fixed her with a look, folding his arms. "Let me tell you something," he said coldly, "ANBU's a little different."


So, I just realized that, according to Neji's personality, he probably should have called Kakashi Hatake-sensei. But there's no way I'm going back to change all that, nuh-uh. I won't mention anything else I find OOC about him in this story, because you'll all disagree with me, as always...

Um, so it was more about ANBU and the mission than it was about Kakashi and Neji? I don't know, I'm lame? And I feel like the smut scene is reeeaaally, really, retarded. Like... egad, it's just... lame-ness!

If any of you have suggestions on how I can improve it, or anything that was incorrect or whatever else could have been off about it, please tell me! I want to improve my smut skills, so... yeah.

As always, thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed.