Disclaimer: If I owned Naruto, I wouldn't be here writing fanfic about him.
This is for singeivoire, who I introduced to the crazy world of fanfic, and who is the only person in the world so far that I can have grammar wars with.
-baachan : "grandma, granny", a more familiar address for an older woman.
-chan : a common suffix used among good friends. Also used between boyfriends and girlfriends..
-hime : "princess"
Godaime : Fifth, as in Fifth Hokage
Kakaii : a shortening of "Kakashi", implying a greater familiarity and friendship—like calling someone named Robert, Rob or Bob.
-kun : a common suffix generally used for boys younger than the person speaking. A term of familiarity.
ne : equivalent to "eh" or "huh". Pronounced "neh."
neechan : "sister" but can also be used as an informal term for any girl.
-sama : a very respectful honorific, generally only used for the Sannin and Hokage in Naruto-verse.
-san : respectful, general honorific used for strangers or people you respect. Roughly equivalent to Mr., Ms., Mrs.
Tousan : "father"
Naruto and Sakura quickened their steps to reach the silver-haired jounin who was striding down the middle of the street, for once without his new book, Make-Out Tactics, in hand.
"Yo, Naruto, Sakura," Kakashi said, pausing as they approached. "What's up?"
Naruto grinned. "We thought you should take us out for dinner tonight. We let you escape after the bell test, but this time you're definitely going to treat us!"
Kakashi glanced at Sakura who, in the old days, would have disclaimed any knowledge of such a plan, but was now smiling just as wide as her blond teammate.
"Ah, I'd love to really," Kakashi said, "but I can't. Something's come up."
"Like what, a mission?" Naruto said, all but bouncing at the idea. "Why can't we come too? You've seen our new moves; we can handle anything!"
"Ah, no, not a mission." Kakashi rubbed the back of his neck. "I've got... other plans for dinner. A prior engagement."
Naruto blinked, his face blank. "With who?"
Understanding dawned in Sakura's eyes, and she latched onto Naruto's sleeve. "Come on, Naruto. We'll make him take us another time. Bye Kakaii-sensei, have fun! Tell her I said 'hi'."
"Uh, sure." Kakashi coughed and turned back the way he was walking, ears pink.
"But--!" Naruto's protest died away as Sakura dragged him with her chakra-enhanced strength down the length of the street until their silver-haired sensei was no longer in sight. Once she thought she had Naruto safely out of range, she let him go.
"Sakura-chan, why'd you do that? And what did you mean by 'her', did you know who he was meeting for dinner? Who could be more important than us?"
Sakura rolled her eyes. "You're still so dumb, Naruto. Couldn't you tell? Kakaii-sensei was too shy to tell you himself; he has a girlfriend. They're probably going out tonight."
Naruto's eyes bugged. "A-a-a girlfriend? Are you joking?"
"No, why should it be a joke?" Sakura shrugged. "Kakaii-sensei is still young, and he's not bad looking… well, at least I assume he's not when he takes off that mask."
Naruto's jaw dropped. "'Not bad-looking'!" His eyes narrowed at her in suspicion. "Hey, you're not going out with him are you?" The next thing Naruto knew he was flying through the air, the imprint of Sakura's fist in his jaw. Landing hard on the dusty street, he saw stars until Sakura marched down and dragged him up by his shirtfront.
"Don't be such a perv, Naruto! Of course it's not me! What do you think he is, a child molester? I'm a minor!"
"N-n-no, Sakura-chan…" he chuckled weakly, wiping a bit of blood from his lip. "It was just a joke, I swear!" Rolling her eyes, she let him down, her temper vanishing as quickly as it had come on.
Naruto stood, wincing at the tender feeling in his jaw, and turned to his pink-haired teammate with a nervous grin. "You're right, Sakura-chan. He's too old!"
Sakura laughed. "Just because he's got gray hair doesn't mean he's old, idiot. He's still in his twenties; that's not much older than we are."
Naruto accepted this bit of truth with a scowl. "Who could he be going out with?" He brightened with an idea. "I bet it's Kurenai-sensei; even Sasuke thought she was hot when we were kids—"
Sakura scowled. "Kurenai-sensei is married to Asuma-sensei, moron."
"Really? When did that happen?"
"While you were out training with Jiraya-sama. Sometime earlier this year."
Naruto scratched his head. "If not Kurenai-sensei, who else is there? There haven't been any new female jounin while I've been gone, have there?"
Sakura sighed. "She's not a ninja, Naruto, so give it up. If Kakaii-sensei wants you to know her, then you will."
Naruto's eyes narrowed. "But you know who she is! That's not fair! Not a ninja, hmm?" He tried to think back to all the non-shinobi females that he could recall from his youth, but it was difficult when his childhood had been mostly spent around ninja.
"Sakura-chan, is it someone he met on a mission? Like Koyuki-hime or someone like that, ne?"
Sakura looked surprised at the mention of the Land of Snow princess and shook her head. "No, it's nothing like that. Like I said, give it up, Naruto. I'm not going to tell you." She checked her watch. "Well, since Kakaii-sensei isn't treating us to dinner, I'd better pick up something on the go. I'm sure Tsunade-sama will have me on hospital duty or something. See you later, Naruto!"
Naruto barely acknowledged Sakura's wave, trapped in his own thoughts. Who could Kakashi-sensei be dating? He looked up at Sakura's retreating form. The hospital… That gave him an idea.
His target was approaching. On silent feet he jumped from the top of the water storage units to the concrete beneath. Peering around a flapping row of bed sheets, the scent of industrial laundry detergent in his nose, he saw Shizune's slender form cross the hospital roof and pause to turn her face to the breeze. Naruto jumped out from between the sheets and cupped his hands around his mouth.
Shizune whirled and in an instant she was there, one of her poisoned senbon at his throat.
"Aah!" Naruto jumped back instinctively into the row of bed sheets. Laundry lines snapped as he dragged half a dozen sheets down in his attempt to stay upright.
"Naruto-kun? What are you doing here? Don't scare me like that again. I could have killed you!"
When Naruto detangled himself from the linens, he saw Shizune standing over him, a scowl on her face and hands on her hips.
"Ah, neechan…" He stood, hopped out of the tangle of sheets, and stood in front of Shizune, crossing his arms. "Are you dating Kakashi-sensei?"
Shizune stared at him, her face turning a bright red. "No! I am not, Naruto-kun."
Naruto's eyes narrowed suspiciously. "Are you sure? What are you doing tonight?"
Shizune sighed. "I'm on duty at the hospital tonight, and I am not going out with Kakashi-san." She glanced at him. "Why do you ask?"
Naruto scowled. "Cause Sakura-chan won't tell me." His lip lowered into a pout. "She only said that she's not a ninja, so you're the first that popped into my head."
"Naruto-kun, I may not wear the Konoha headband, but I am a trained ninja. I made chuunin when I was thirteen, and I am a jounin now."
"Oh." Naruto sighed and folded his arms behind his head, thinking. If not Shizune, then who?
"See you later, neechan! I need to continue my investigation," Naruto said and hopped back up to the edge of the hospital roof. With a leap he was soon out of sight, jumping from rooftop to rooftop.
Naruto slouched toward Ichiraku, defeat slumping his shoulders. He'd been to all the single females that weren't students that he could think of. Inuzuka Hana had let one of her wolves chase him off, leaving a large chunk of his pant leg behind. After that he'd decided to use a more stealthy approach for his targets, but Mitarashi Anko seemed to be too busy with Hagane Kotetsu on the couch in her apartment to answer his questions. Besides, he reminded himself, she was a ninja.
The only other option left was Tsunade-baachan, but just thinking of her and Kakashi-sensei… Naruto shuddered at the memory. He had persevered, however, in pursuit of his quest for knowledge despite the nauseating idea that someone as old as Tsunade had a boyfriend. Naruto trembled at the thought of the glint in her eye when he approached her with that question--the look of imminent death on her face was one never wanted to see again. He'd fled the Hokage Tower without waiting for her verbal answer and was pretty sure he felt the building shake from her bellowed "Naruto!" as he left.
With a sigh Naruto parted the flags hanging down the front of Ichiraku Ramen and slid onto a stool. "Could I have two—no, make that three bowls of miso ramen please?"
"Sure, but it might take a little longer than usual. My daughter's not working tonight, so I'm short on hands," said Teuchi-san behind the counter and turned back to the pasta drainers.
Out of the corner of his eye, Naruto saw another customer sitting at the opposite end of the counter. He turned.
The silver-haired jounin raised his visible eye from the green-covered book he was reading. "Ah, Naruto. Nice evening, ne?"
Naruto scowled. "I've been all over the village, and I'm beginning to think that you're not dating anyone. You were just trying to get out of paying for our meal."
Kakashi stared at him. "All over the village?"
"Yeah, and you know what? No one seems to be dating you! Not Shizune-neechan, Inuzuka Hana, Mitarashi Anko, or Tsunade-baachan. There's no one left!"
Kakashi closed his book, leaning over until his forehead protector was resting against the countertop.
"Ne? Kakaii-sensei? What's wrong?"
"Naruto, please tell me you didn't ask the Godaime if I was dating her."
Naruto stared at the bowed head of his sensei, suddenly struck by a horrible thought. He backed away from the jounin, realization dawning in his blue eyes.
"Y-y-you're not dating women, are you Kakaii-sensei? You're dating men!"
Kakashi's head popped up, and he turned to look at Naruto.
"Oh boy," he sighed, rolling his eye. "If I said 'yes, I am' would you leave me alone?"
Naruto's jaw dropped, but before he could say anything Teuchi-san leaned over the counter, his noodle basket dripping scalding water. His face a mask righteous anger, he shook the basket at Kakashi as if it were a weapon.
"What did I hear you say?"
Kakashi held up his hands in a placating manner. "Ah, Teuchi-san, you've got it all wrong—"
"You like guys!" shrieked Naruto, stumbling back and falling over a stool in his haste to get away.
"No, I—Naruto, stop!"
"You've been fooling around with my daughter, for what? If you so much as—" Teuchi's face was purpling with anger.
"And I thought your trashy novels were bad!" Teuchi-san shook the basket in Kakashi's face, flecking the dark blue mask with steaming noodles.
"And you've let her read those books! What kind of perverted—"
All three men looked up at the feminine voice. Naruto, sprawled on the floor; Teuchi-san hovering dangerously over Kakashi, noodle basket still in hand, and Kakashi leaning away from Teuchi-san, noodles clinging to his face mask.
Ayame, the ramen chef's daughter, looked them over, a bewildered expression on her pretty face. "Tousan, what's going on here?"
"Nothing," Kakashi intervened while Teuchi's mouth worked silently, and stood to hold back the swinging gate that separated the behind-the-counter space from the restaurant area. "We were just enjoying a big joke. Haha! Right, Teuchi-san?"
Teuchi-san glared at Kakashi, his eyes uncertain and protective.
"Aaah!" Naruto jumped up, pointing at the woman. "You! Y-y-y-you're Kakashi-sensei's date? You're not a guy!"
Ayame looked from Naruto to Kakashi, her expression even more confused. Kakashi pinched the bridge of his nose and heaved a sigh.
"I think we'd better go, Ayame-chan," he said, after a moment. "Good night, Teuchi-san. I'll have her back by eleven as usual."
"You'd better," the ramen chef growled.
Naruto stared blankly at the retreating couple. Ayame tucked her hand into the crook of Kakashi's arm, and his head leaned down toward hers. After a moment, they both laughed, and Ayame leaned in closer to rest her head on the jounin's shoulder. Naruto sat back on his stool, knees suddenly giving out. He stared at the counter, for once at a complete loss.
Teuchi grunted and, as if remembering where he was, served Naruto his three bowls of ramen. "What's wrong, kid? Think he won't have time for your training?" He glanced back down the street, a scowl on his features. "He'd better still have time."
Naruto shook his head. "No, that's not it." He looked up into Teuchi's craggy face, his lower lip quivering. "Who's going to help you make the ramen?"
Shipping Kakashi with Ayame was singeivoire's idea, and her fics about this cute ship have taken over my brain. Go read them now!