Rin stalked down the hospital corridor, trying to get her emotions under control. It wasn't that she was actually angry at Sensei, it was more that she was angry that he was right and she didn't want to believe it.
Since Rin wasn't sure which patients Naoki wanted her to check in on, she went back to restocking the medical supply carts.
Minato may have been correct about the futility of brooding over the past, but Rin knew that if she'd been paying more attention that day, her teammate might still be alive. Her mind hadn't been fully on the mission as it should have been. Instead of focusing on the dangers rife in enemy territory, she had been thinking about the obscure medical scroll she'd been studying before the mission.
Knowing that she would never be able to keep up with her teammates in the field, Rin had sought to surpass them in the only way that she could. In that she had succeeded. A mere genin should not have been able to perform a successful eye transplant unsupervised, especially outside of a medical facility. On the other hand, Rin thought savagely, even a genin should know that not paying attention during a mission is a good way to get yourself killed.
She had counted on her teammates to be able to protect her. She had thought being a medic-nin was enough to keep her safe. She had never been so wrong.
In the midst of her brooding, Rin didn't notice Shizune trying to get her attention.
"Rin. Rin! Rin are you listening?"
"What?" she asked, turning to face her jounin instructor. "I'm sorry, what were you saying?"
"I asked what you were still doing here. You should be at home."
"But my shift isn't over yet, Shizune-sensei," Rin told her, confused.
"You just got attacked, Rin. You need to go home."
"The Hokage said that I could stay…"
Shizune snorted and rolled her eyes. "Minato's not a medic-nin, and thinks getting attacked on the job makes it more interesting. And he's the Hokage now and has to think of the good of the whole village. You may have been one of his pet genin, but he knows medics are in short supply, so he's certainly not going to tell you to go home if you don't ask to. Trust me, I was on a team with him for years and his new rank hasn't changed him one bit. However, I am your jounin instructor now, and I am telling you to go home early. Get some rest, and don't stay up all night brooding over that Uchiha. And don't be surprised if you get a summons for a hearing tomorrow. Minato will not take kindly to a grown man attacking a twelve year-old girl at the hospital."
"Yes, Shizune-sensei," Rin said meekly.
"Sensei, why are we going to Rin's parents' tea shop?" Kakashi asked as the two ninja strolled down the street.
"There are some things you need to know about your friend, Kakashi. It will be easier to explain once you have seen her family."
"She's not my…" Kakashi began. He paused. "I guess she is my friend," he finished quietly. Kakashi had always denied having friendships; he felt those ties could only hold him down. It was always colleague or teammate, never friend. But Rin… Rin must be his friend. Why else would he go to the trouble to make sure she got dinner during her hospital shifts? Why else would she have made sure his laundry was mended and the dishes clean?
"I see you're finally understanding. For a genius, you can certainly be thick sometimes," Minato teased his former student as he propelled him though the door of the tea shop.
"I'm sorry, we're closing in a few minutes," an older lady wearing a lilac dress with an apron informed them. She looked up from her sweeping to guide them back outside before recognition dawned in her eyes. "Forgive me, Hokage-sama," she said with a deep bow, "I did not realize who had come in. Please have a seat, and my daughter will be right out with your tea."
"Rin has a sister?" Kakashi whispered as he began to examine the tea shop.
"She has an older sister and a younger brother," Minato informed him, sitting at one of the tables near a small household shrine. "Her brother is obviously still in school, and her sister helps her parents out here."
Kakashi came over to sit with his teacher when a young woman walked out of the back room carrying a tray. She looked to be several years older than Rin, with the same mousy brown hair. Unlike Rin, her sister's hair went halfway down her back, with little flowers braided into a strand hanging down the right side of her face. With a small bow she placed the tray between the two ninja.
"Enjoy your tea, Hokage-sama, Shinobi-san," she told them.
Minato smiled and thanked her, but it was at that moment Kakashi spied the picture nestled in the back of the little shrine.
"What is Rin's picture doing in there!" he demanded, louder than he realized.
"I am sorry to say that my younger sister passed away recently," the young woman informed him, looking slightly concerned by Kakashi's reaction.
"What do you mean?" asked a shocked Kakashi. "We saw her less than an hour ago!"
Rin's sister looked embarrassed, quickly excused herself, and fled from the room as she saw her mother bearing down on the table.
"My daughter chose a life of pain and killing over her family. She is dead to us now," the older woman haughtily informed them. "As I said before, we are closing in a few minutes…"
"Yes, we're very sorry to be taking up your time like this," Minato apologized, placing a far greater sum of money on the table than the tea could have possibly cost. "We're just leaving."
With that, Kakashi found himself being towed out of the tea shop by his arm.
"What was that all about?" he asked his Sensei when his arm was finally released a few blocks later.
"I told you, there are some things you should know about Rin, and they become far clearer once you have seen what her family is like. I had hoped that our encounter would go a bit more smoothly, but I think you saw what you needed to see in there."
Realizing that he would never be able to avoid the lecture that was inevitably coming, Kakashi simply followed Minato through the late night crowds. He silently accepted the dango that Minto handed to him after a stop by a street vendor, and continued to follow until they came to a small park. After picking a clear spot on the grass, Minato resumed his explanation.
"Unlike you and Obito, Rin was not born into a great ninja family. From the moment you were born, it was expected that you would go to the Academy and become a great shinobi. Rin had to choose that life, and in doing so she gave up a great deal. In choosing to enter the Academy, she gave up any chance of a normal childhood. When most children were learning their multiplication tables, Rin was learning how to throw shuriken accurately. When most children were learning algebra, Rin was learning which poisons are undetectable in food. When most girls are beginning to really notice boys for the first time, Rin was learning how to seduce a man and get him to spill secret information without him even realizing it."
Kakashi's eyes widened at the last statement. He had graduated the Academy too early to have taken any interest in what the older girls were learning in their special classes. He was going to have a very healthy respect for kunoichi from now on…
With a small laugh at Kakashi's expression, Minto continued the lesson. "I don't think Rin ever really told her parents much about what she was learning at the Academy. I think she probably told them that she was learning to become a medic, and they accepted this without much thought. With two other children and a tea shop to take care of, they were probably just happy that their younger daughter got good grades and never got into trouble.
"After the war started, everything changed. Rin wasn't just practicing in the village with her team or working shifts at the hospital, she was leaving on missions for weeks at a time. She couldn't tell them about what she was doing, because even the lower ranking missions are classified to civilians. Konoha was at war, so they couldn't forbid her from being a ninja, but they finally realized what being a medic-nin was really about. It wasn't about delivering babies in a nice clean hospital; it was about trying to save dying ninja without getting killed in the process.
"But when the war ended, Rin's parents wanted her to quit being a ninja. They didn't realize that it isn't something that you can just leave behind. You don't vow to give your life to protect the village, and then decide later that you've changed your mind."
"Shinobi 'til the day you die," Kakashi said quietly.
"That's right," Minato said as he placed a hand on Kakashi's shoulders. "You know that, I know that, and Rin knows that. It's one of the first things you learn in the Academy, but Rin's family will never understand that. To them, being a shinobi is just like any other job."
"They could not be more wrong," Kakashi whispered, finally understanding what his teammate had had to contend with to get where she was. Maybe he was the lucky one to have no family trying to hold him back out of some kind of misguided delusion they claimed to be love.
Note: Sorry again for the super long updates. (And such a short chapter too!) I'm not entirely happy with this chapter, mostly because of all the liberties I took with Rin's family. I hope her mother didn't come on too strong with the whole "she's dead to us" speech.
As always, reviews are greatly appreciated.