Title: Kept Secret
Pairings: Kakairu, Sasunaru (sortof)
This is not ((NOT)) a part of the Running series that I have spent waaaay too much time writing. This idea popped into my head the other day; it's barely formed and will probably dissolve before I've gotten two sentences into the next chapter, so forgive me in advance.
I hope the first part is enjoyable, though I'm not sure….
With an irritable groan, Tsunade twisted her foot back and forth, trying to loosen the chain links that bound her ankle to the lower leg of her desk. Honestly, this is totally uncalled for! Even though she was notorious – at least to Shizune – for slacking on her work, she'd finally reached the mission files that were classified as top secret or higher, which meant that she was actually starting to enjoy reviewing the trials and tribulation of the previous Hokage. The binder let out a sharp snap as she closed it, and then she paused for a second, taking a long draught of tea before pulling the next one off the stack.
Tsunade stopped as the next binder slid to a halt, resting against her elbow. The dark brown cover, unlike all of the others, was stamped with the letters 'FOUO' – For Official Use Only. It was a method of classifying materials without actually classifying them, and did not belong with the stack of S-rank mission reports that rested on the blotter in front of her. Curious, she turned the pages back and studied the information enclosed, trying to understand how it had gotten mixed in with the others.
The first two pages were standard for the bound mission reports – the request for the mission and a description of the mission itself from the clients. The next page was blank white, except for the block red letters that marked the rest of the file with the highest classification. Tsunade's brows drew down in confusion. This was the first time she'd seen a file where the mission description wasn't classified, but the actual information about which shinobi had taken the mission and how it had turned out.
She turned the red-marked page over with growing interest, feeling surprise radiate from the center of her heart as she read on. "Unbelievable…."
In the confusion following the Sandaime's death, a few D-rank missions were passed off onto the remaining genin teams to show that Konoha's strength had not diminished, despite the tens of dead shinobi whose names had been added to the memorial stone.
As such, the early morning light found Naruto leaning against the light green, painted doors, yawning hugely, his eyes barely open. He straightened sharply as a familiar, black clothed figure made an appearance in the center of the street. Naruto shifted so that his back was to the other person, not wanting to make eye contact. Neither he nor Sasuke had spoken to each other since the fight on the hospital roof, and he certainly wasn't going to start now. He still didn't know what Kakashi had been thinking when they'd been given this mission.
In the Hokage's office…
'You're going to travel to the eastern outskirts of the village and help them repair some of their buildings in the forest where they keep their livestock.' Tsunade read the expression on Naruto's face and sighed quietly. 'I know this is a low level mission, but we have to make it look like we're still at full strength, and that means we need to take on even the smallest missions.'
Kakashi stretched forward his gloved hand to receive the mission scroll and glanced at it briefly before looking back up at Tsunade. "Only me and Naruto?"
"Sakura as well, but she couldn't make it to this meeting. She's helping at the hospital right now."
The Jounin tucked the scroll into the pocket in the front of his vest, "I'd like to take Sasuke as well."
Tsunade's eyebrow twitched slightly. "Alright." She raised a single finger and pointed it at Kakashi. "If you think it'll…."
"Yes." The word was said with a sudden finality.
Naruto gaped back and forth between the two adults, attempting to understand the subtext. He finally gave up, not interested in hearing more about Sasuke – he'd heard enough about the Uchiha in his life. It was at that point that he noticed that Iruka was not seated in his customary spot on the left hand of the Hokage at the mission desk.
Sakura landed on the ground next to Sasuke with a shout. "Ohayo, Sasuke-kun!"
Sasuke ignored her and stood with his arms crossed in front of his chest and glaring out at the general surroundings.
When Kakashi appeared in the midst of all three of them, he winced at the tension in the air, which was so palpable it could be cut with a knife. He could only hope that getting Sasuke out of the village and back on missions would help him deal with his feelings of inferiority.
Fine fingers twisted loops of wire around a smooth cylinder of layered paper that was covered in black writing. The shadowy figure stood and hung the lettered paper over a nearby tree branch that was close enough to the village to cause alarm, but not nearly close enough to cause any damage.
The hands folded together, forming a seal to gather chakra, then two fingertips touched the end of the wire, starting the ignition process. The wire would burn slowly down to the end, before lighting the main incendiary. The writing on the outside of the paper was there to provide the needed explosion and to make it slightly more interesting than it usually would be. The wire would also burn into the tree limb, providing more heat to the paper. Whereas the explosions would usually result in flashes of bright green light, the added heat would cause a broader spectrum.
The figure smiled slightly and stepped back, brushing its hands together and admiring its handiwork before vanishing back into the streets of the village.
Kakashi followed after his students with Icha Icha blocking most of his view of the street. Everyone around here was in a hurry to get somewhere, it seemed, and he was glad that their job would get them out of the center of the village. His lazy personality would feel much more at ease around people who were more laid back.
Something bumped his elbow, shaking the lines of text and making him lose his place. He spied the culprit out of the corner of his eye; a young woman, with long black hair and downcast eyes hurried along the side of the street, a basket tucked firmly under her arm and against her hip. Kakashi shrugged mentally, just another person who clearly had somewhere to be and didn't seem to want to slow down and enjoy the journey.
The woman glanced up and back down quickly when she realized who she had encountered. She focused solely on keeping her eyes down until she was out of his peripheral visions, afraid that if he saw her face he might read some of her intent. But even as she worried about the presence of the Copy-nin – she was sure she was supposed to be the only shinobi here – she was counting silently in her head.
She ducked under an overhang and into an adjoining side street.
The nearest door led through the back of a restaurant that brought her out onto on of the parallel streets to the one she had been on scarce seconds before. And her quarry lay on that street.
She halted in the doorway, just inside the threshold as she counted down the remaining seconds.
She leaned back, easing her hand against the door so that she could see out the narrow crack to watch people's reactions.
Naruto actually jumped straight off the ground when a large explosion rent the air. All four leaf-shinobi spun on the spot to see continued explosions from the very eastern edge lighting up the mid-day sky. Flashes of red, blue and green light appeared over the houses, and people reached up to shield their eyes. Kakashi blinked rapidly, seeing after images, and glanced around at the villagers, who remained frozen for a heartbeat, and then all raced forward towards the sight of the commotion.
Sasuke was staring out at the location where the explosions occurred. "Exploding note." He stated it with no emotion.
Sasukra nodded decisively, once, and Naruto just nodded fervently.
"Let's go." Kakashi told his team, and they took off, following the throngs of people.
As they crossed one of the side streets, Kakashi happened to glance over and caught sight of a single figure in the next street over running fast – and in the opposite direction as everyone else. "I'll catch up with you there." He called out to the genin. Naruto muttered something about useless jounins, but Sakura elbowed him, knowing full well that if Kakashi was leaving them right now, it was for a good reason.
The Jounin turned completely around, leaping up the side of the nearest building and onto the roof in one graceful movement. His single eye continued to track the unknown figure as he raced along the rooftops. His prey reached the edge of town before he did and disappeared into the surrounding forest. Without a second thought, Kakashi leapt from the edge of the last roof onto an overhanging bough.
When the figure came into sight, Kakashi was shocked to realize that it was the same woman who had jostled him earlier. Her hair streamed out behind her as she ran, held back in two braids that were bound with brown leather. The pale-blue yukata that she wore was hiked up around her legs to allow her to run faster and clutched desperately in her arms was a large scroll that looked akin to the Scroll of Sealing that Naruto had stolen all those years before.
Kakashi dropped down behind her, grabbing her by the back of her collar, and she was forced to either stop or attempt to choke herself with the front of her dress. When she stilled, Kakashi pulled her around roughly by her clothes and opened his mouth to demand an explanation as to what, exactly, she was doing. The woman's body was limp, complacent, and he figured that she had just taken advantage of the confusion and was now going to give up the scroll with no argument.
Without warning, she stiffened and brought her heel down sharply on his instep. Kakashi stifled a yelp of pain, but his grip slackened for just a second and with surprising speed, the woman tore herself out of his grasp and took off out of the clearing that he'd captured her in.
Snarling under his breath, Kakashi dove forward and grabbed her left forearm, using a taijutsu technique that the Yondaime had taught him years ago. His fingers dug into pressure points between the bones in her arm, and he heard her startled grasp as her whole arm went to sleep. It would be numb for almost a full day, bruised for several weeks, and would hurt like hell for a month. She dropped the scroll with a cry of surprise and pain, and he released her arm, watching it fall limply to her side.
As Kakashi bent to recover the scroll, the woman tossed a smoke bomb at their feet and disappeared into the cloud of purple smoke.
He waved it away irritably with a wind jutsu and swore colorfully under his breath before returning to the village and bringing the scroll back with him. But as he ran, he couldn't help but remember the woman's eyes, which had looked up at him before she'd escaped. They looked so…familiar.
"WHAT THE HELL WERE YOU THINKING!"
Kakashi stared, open-mouthed at the Hokage. What was he thinking? He was thinking that this woman was stealing, and she should have been stopped. Obviously.
"Of course…she…was stealing!" Tsunade rose from behind her desk, pinching the bridge of her nose in general frustration. "Do you have any idea how long we've been trying to get our hands on that scroll?! And now – no thanks to you – they're going to have it under guard, and that means it will take more time to steal it, and we can't spare…her… for that long."
Kakashi's brows drew down as Tsunade stumbled, once more, over the pronoun.
She yelled at him, almost incoherently, for another ten minutes before tossing him out of her office.
Kakashi closed his eyes and pictured the woman again – seeing narrowed, dark purple eyes beneath pitch-black bangs. She was a Konoha kunoichi? He knew that he had never seen her before, and she had worn no article of clothing that would identify her as a shinobi, not a headband or even a mask, like ANBU or the hunter-nins wore.
Tsunade ripped the door open – literally, leaving Shizune holding the remains of it just inside the office – and leaned out. "Since you're here; I need you to give this message to Genma."
Kakashi took the rolled message, hiding a sigh and slipped out of the building, stretching his chakra out to find Genma.
Genma looked up when Kakashi dropped into his apartment through the open window. "Yo, Kakashi-san. What do you want?"
Kakashi didn't respond, his forward motion stalled completely as his gaze stopped on the picture that was propped up on Genma's corner table.
"Oi." Genma waved his hand in front of Kakashi's face. "What is it?"
After reaching into his vest to retrieve the message, Kakashi handed it over to the other Jounin. "The Gondaime wanted you to have this. Who is she?"
"Eh?" Genma took the message and then followed Kakashi's pointing finger. "Oh." He chuckled, as if at a good memory. "Yeah, she was after your time at the academy. She wasn't in my class, but she showed up in everyone's class photo from about a year before me and Raido until about two years after us. No one knows who she is." Genma smiled, and gazed down at the picture, looking directly at the smiling, purple-eyed, black-haired girl who was leaning in over his shoulder on the very left edge of the picture and grinning impishly at the camera.
"Huh." Kakashi made a soft sound in the back of his throat. It was rare for a village to have shinobi that no one even recognized. She didn't even look like she could be the sibling or child of anyone in the village.
"Weird, isn't it?" Genma shook his head to emphasize the statement. "Everyone from those classes called her 'Hisoka.' And there was a big bet going on for people to find out who she was." He shook his head slowly. "No one ever did though."
Back at his apartment, Iruka hissed as he cradled his left arm against his chest and balanced the tin of salve on his knees. Feeling had finally returned to his limb this morning, much to his relief - he had been afraid he was going to loose it for several hours – but even so, he could barely move his fingers without blinding pain shooting all the way up to his shoulder joint. To make matters even worse, a line of finger-shaped bruises lay across his entire forearm, which meant that, despite the extreme heat outside, he was going to have to keep his sleeves rolled completely down for awhile.
Luckily, school at the academy was cancelled for the time being as they tried to repair the village, so he didn't have to worry about awkward questions from his students about why he wasn't moving his arm.
But that didn't make it hurt any less.
He sighed and dropped his forehead onto the table in front of him, using his good hand to slowly and gently massage the salve into his aching muscle. It was times like this when he wished he had been able to perfect some technique other than the henge.
AN: Hisoka, according to the Japanese name dictionary that I found it in, means secret. (If this is wrong, please let me know. I'd rather change it now than look stupid for the rest of eternity) It's also a unisex name, because I just couldn't be that mean and give Iruka a really girly name.
Please review. I don't know if I like this or even if I should keep going, or just scrap it and start over again.
((I promise if I continue, there will be Kakairu goodness, I'm just backing up and coming up with a new way to get them together))
Sunlight through Leaves