Title: Mask
Author: Ugly.Beautiful
Genre: Romance / Angst
Rating: T
Pairing: Kakashi x OC
Spoilers: slight Kakashi Gaiden spoilers, but if you don't know what the pictures over his bed are of, trust me, you won't get it.
Summary: "You can't hide, Kakashi… Not from me…"
Word Count: 1,803

Disclaimer: Me no own-y.


Sometimes I wonder why I ever became a shinobi, Shyo thought to herself, as she meandered down the street, a bag of food in one hand and a set of directions clutched in the other.

-

"Don't let anyone see these," Tsunade had said, when she handed the twenty-five year old a piece of paper with a set of directions on it. "He doesn't like people knowing how to find him."

"So why are you giving them to me? Isn't this person gonna be mad when they find out you're too lazy to lazy to deliver stuff yourself?" Shyo asked, taking a bag of curry from Shizune.

The Hokage shrugged. "Probably. But who cares?"

"Obviously not you," Shyo muttered as she rolled her cerulean blue eyes and shook her short, dark hair out of her face. "Whatever you say, Tsunade-sama," she said louder. "But, can I just ask you why I'm delivering things?"

"Well, his students were involved in the… Sasuke incident, and he's a little upset, so-"

"No, no, no, not like that. Why am I delivering this? Surely some genin-"

"Would blab out these directions in five minutes. Shyo, just bring the food to him and don't ask questions."

She pouted. "Fine."

-

I can't believe I'm delivering curry to some angst-ing jounin! I did not become an ANBU for this! She huffed, and glanced down at the directions. And what's with the all the secret-ness? Who the hell hides where they live from… everyone? Some kind of crazy person. She gasped, her eyes widening. Oh please Kami don't let it be anyone I know.

By now she was standing on the doorstep to the apartment, unsure whether she wanted to know who was inside or not. With a resigned sigh, she knocked on the door. Nothing. She tried again. Still nothing.

Oh, screw this, she thought, picking the lock after shoving the directions into her pocket. After ducking the flurry of kunai that shot at her head and leaping across the trapdoor that was over the threshold, she kicked off her shoes and looked around.

"Hello?" She called. Silence. Geez, she thought, putting the curry away. It's like no one lives here at all. At least now I know it's no one I know. All the people I know are loud. She sighed. I might as well check on 'em for the old lady.

Seeing no bedrooms downstairs, she climbed the stairs and found one at the end of the hall. "Hello?" She tried again. "Tsunade-sama sent me to- oh crap." As she walked into the bedroom, she saw a familiar shock of hair peeking up from under the covers.

So this is where he lives, she thought, glancing around the room. He must be upset. He's sleeping like the dead. Her eyes fell on the headboard of the bed, which held two framed photographs. Stepping closer, she snatched something off the mantle, before staring at the pictures. "You were a cute kid," she said out loud, sitting on the edge of the bed.

-

He woke to someone talking, and for a moment he thought he was dreaming. And then his (delayed) shinobi instincts kicked in and told him to move. He had barely made the thought to attack the intruder when the person said, "Calm down, you idiot. It's just me."

I know that voice… Turning his head slowly, even as he reached up to grab his mask, he started to greet them. "Hey, Shyo, why-" And then his hand closed around air and he shot up in shock. "Where is it?!"

Shyo was looking at him, sky-blue eyes shining with amusement. Cocking one brow at him, she let her eyes slide from his, and then sweep over him as he sat in the bed, then back up to his face. Her eyebrow arched higher.

And that was when Kakashi realized three, very important, things. One: He was completely naked from his head to his waist. (No headband, no mask, no shirt.) Two: He still had that stupid crush on her. And three: She was staring at him.

With an undignified yelp, he snatched the blanket that was pooling in his lap and jerked it up to his nose. Not only did it hide what his mask (and his shirt) usually did, but it also hid the blush blooming on his cheeks caused from her sparkling eyes.

"Why do you wear that mask, anyways? S'not like you're disfigured or nothing." He didn't answer. She turned her back to him and started talking. "So Tsunade-sama sent me here with some curry. Actually, she said you'd be upset, but I didn't expect you to be wallowing in self-pity in your bed." She glanced over her shoulder at him. "I mean it's not like…" She trailed off as she saw his eye slide to Team 7's picture. "You think it's your fault," she said. His silence was all the answer she needed. "You do, don't you? You think it's your fault that Sasuke is a traitor and that Naruto is in the hospital."

"… I couldn't stop them."

"Kakashi, Kami himself couldn't have stopped those two boys. Sasuke is hell bent on his revenge and Naruto is so obsessed with him, sometimes I wonder just what goes on between them. You're lucky their friends are as stubborn as them, or else there would have been more casualties, instead of just injuries."

"I let them down."

He brows wrinkled at him. "Let them down? Kakashi, you brought Naruto back alive, that's all anyone could have asked you to do at that point. And Sasuke was-" Then she realized he was staring at the other photograph. "Oh." She smiled at the picture. "Kakashi, I know I wasn't on that mission with ya'll," she said as she turned to face him, one knee tucked under her, "but I know what happened, and you did not let them down. Sometimes the odds are just against you, Kakashi, and there's nothing you can do about it. But you tried, and that's what counts." She snorted. "Do you think I'd still be your friend if I knew you were the kind of person who didn't even try?"

"I doesn't matter that I tried, Shyo, I wasn't strong enough."

She rolled her eyes and grabbed his shoulders. She shook him once, making sure she had his attention, before saying, "Kakashi. I have known you since I was five years old. And you know what? You are the strongest person I have ever met, but there is always someone out there stronger than you. And everyone feels like this at least once in their lifetime."

He didn't accept or deny her statements, but just sighed and let his eyes slide from hers, to rest on the mask that was sitting in her lap. One arm peeked out from under the covers to take it from her.

"Forget about it," she said, tossing it across the room, his eyes following it. She snapped in front of his face to get his attention. "Listen to me. I've known you for twenty years, I know what that mask is to you. You might appear open and carefree to everyone else, even your students, but I know you hide your past from almost everyone. And since you can't clam up and turn into Sasuke or Neji, you wear the mask. It's a visual way to tell people to back the hell away because you're not saying nothing. I know, I get it." She sighed. "And I understand. Everybody, especially shinobi, have something to hide."

"It's still my fault," he mumbled, glancing back at Team 7's picture. "If I could have gotten there sooner or if I had trained Naruto harder, then maybe… this would have turned out differently."

"You know," she said, looking at the photo with him, "what my cousin's teammate used to say? He used to tell me, that there was no one that did not carry scars on their heart." She felt Kakashi turn his head to look at her, so she glanced his way, smiling at how silly he looked with the sheets still held up to his nose. "And if there were someone in the world like that," she continued, "he would be a shallow soul." She smiled at him. "And you are anything but shallow."

He stared at her silently for a second, before saying, "When did you get so smart?"

She mock-glared at him, before laughing, sending a flurry of butterflies off inside Kakashi's stomach. "Good connections," she said. "And besides," she added, bunching the sheets in her hands and drawing it towards her, slowly revealing Kakashi's face, "some brilliant jounin," the sheet fell to his chin, "who cares very much for his friends," his shoulders, "once told me," his stomach, "to see underneath the underneath." She smiled at him. He looked so lost without his mask, so she reached out and traced one finger down the curve of his jaw. "You can't hide, Kakashi… not from me…"

Kakashi felt his heart pound in his chest and his breath grow heavy in his lungs. Shyo's blue, blue eyes stared into his, smiling, trusting. She'd been a constant in his life for twenty years. Never leaving, never blaming him, always able to say what he couldn't. What would he do without her?

"Kakashi?"

She gasped when he suddenly grabbed her arm and crushed her to him. Her eyes were comically wide as she stared at his own tightly closed eyes as he kissed her roughly. And just as suddenly, he pulled back. Before she could complain, his head slumped onto her shoulder. She called his name again. "Just… let me stay here for a second," he mumbled into the curve of her shoulder.

"Kakashi… do you have a crush on me?" She singsong-ed. His head shot up and she laughed at the bright blush adorning his cheeks. She poked his nose. "Your mask might cover your pretty face, and hide your troubles and your past, but it cannot hide your heart." She placed a hand over his rapidly beating heart and he shivered. "And besides the fact that you have a good heart, I can tell how much you care for me."

He swallowed thickly. "And you? What does your heart say?"

She grinned at him cheekily. "It says, Tsunade-sama sent me here to feed you."

He groaned. So much for getting an answer out of her. "Is that your subtle way of telling me to get out of bed?"

She leaned towards him until her nose was mere centimeters from his and he blushed fire. Then, with a grin, she pecked him on the lips. "Yup!" And then she turned around and skipped out of the room, calling over her shoulder, "And don't forget your mask!"


A/N: This started out as purely Kakashi-centric, but it was SO bloody angst-y that I was like, I have got to add on OC in there to make it less emo. And then it just turned into crap. Blah……

And brownie points to whoever can tell me whose Shyo's cousin's teammate is. The quote she give, people. Took it word for word from some other anime.