During the time I had spent watching the Naruto series, I can't help but feel not so slightly disappointed by Kakashi
AN: During the time I had spent watching and reading the Naruto series, I couldn't have helped but feel ever so slightly disappointed with Kakashi. When he first appeared with his philosophy of teamwork, I had been intrigued and frankly overjoyed by Team 7 getting such a good and 'cool' teacher so early on … However, as the story progressed after the Wave arc, it became apparent that Kakashi was not exactly what I had cracked him out to be. Don't get me wrong, I do like Kakashi's personality and his little quirks, but the stupid decisions that he made as Team 7 sensei and his slightly hypocritical actions almost made me really dislike him. So, this fic was born because of the question "what if?". If Kakashi had been more motivated as a teacher, how would have Team 7 turned out?
PS. I know that the 'bell test' was first invented by Sandaime or maybe even Shodaime; but as this story is an Alternative Universe, Yondaime will be refered to as its 'inventor' in this universe, ok ?
Also, this chapter was heavily edited. I give thanks to my beta, Sokkas Instincts 2.
Disclaimer : The boring stuff. I neither own nor probably will ever own Naruto series. They are the property of Masashi Kishimoto, the lucky bastard.
Chapter 1 : Enter Hatake Kakashi
Hatake Kakashi was leisurely walking along the peaceful streets of Konohagakure, reading his greatly loved novel Icha-Icha and basking in the warm rays of the sunny afternoon's sun.. It didn't worry him in the slightest that he was late to the meeting in the Tower of Fire, seat of the Hokage, the meeting that was obligatory for every jounin chosen to be a sensei of the new batch of genin. Well, not true genin, as they had to pass the test their respective jounin-sensei made them do, before they would have the right to call themselves genin of Konoha.
However, Kakashi didn't expect his new team to pass. As a matter of fact, he had failed every genin team for whom he had been chosen as a jounin-sensei. He hadn't passed a single team for five, almost six years.. It wasn't that he didn't want to be a jounin-sensei. No, not at all ! He considered the status of the guide of the new generations a great honor. It was simply that his genin hopefuls couldn't meet his high expectations or rather, pass his famous and hideously difficult 'bell test'. The 'bell test' was a test composed by Yondaime Hokage, Kakashi's late sensei, also better known as Konoha's Yellow Flash. The test itself focused mainly on teamwork and largely ignored individual skill, even though it didn't completely disregard it.
Although Kakashi had passed it as a youngster, he had forgotten the values it taught when it was most important. If he hadn't forgotten teamwork on that damned mission all those years ago, then Obito would have been still alive and Kakashi's greatest regret would have never happened. 'What if, what if. What a futile and terrible question' thought Kakashi bitterly but only a sigh escaped him. It was because of his sorrowful experience that Kakashi absolutely refused to teach any brat that couldn't understand the idea of teamwork. To his mind, teamwork was vital to shinobi's survival. And for that claim, he had proof.
Fifteen minutes later, as Kakashi entered the largest meeting chamber in the grand Tower, he was met with many exasperated and even a few angry stares. It was the opinion of many of the jounin that the Sandaime Hokage was too mild in his dealings with Kakashi. If they had their way, he probably would have been severely punished, and maybe even demoted to chuunin for his 'irresponsible' ways. Unfortunately for them, Sandaime Hokage wasn't disgusted by Kakashi's constant lack of punctuality, and he merely occasionally gently chided Kakashi as he had long ago came to the conclusion that Kakashi wouldn't stop his habit concerning lateness. Hatake Kakashi was an elite shinobi, a type of ninja that Konoha was beginning to lack in recent time, and in his defense he did bother to show up on time for high level missions and war sessions. Not to mention that Hokage knew the reason behind Kakashi's tardiness and thus was only sometimes annoyed by it. However, most of the time he was only amused by other people's outraged reaction to Kakashi's behaviour.
"Ah Kakashi, so you finally join us. Hmmm ... you are only an hour late? Well, that's a pleasant suprise. I didn't expect you for at least two more hours. What terrible thing might have happened to make the ever confusing road of life so clear this day?" mused the old Hokage as he serenely smoked his long, artfully crafted pipe, his eyes containing a little of the mischief that he was known for in his youth. Not that many were aware of that fact, as there were not many old enough who could remember the dignified and legendary warrior that was Hokage in his early days.
Kakashi, suspecting a bait in the elder shinobi's question, ignored the Hokage's question and merely bowed his head and murmured his apology.
Sandaime smiled knowingly and tried again to prompt the tall, white-haired jounin before him: "Ho, Kakashi-kun? You are quiet today. No witty comments to amuse this old man?"
In answer, Kakashi wiped out his erotic book and started reading. Several exclamations of disbelief and anger were silenced by the loud and hearty chuckles from the Sandaime's throat.
"No?" asked the laughing Hokage. "That's alright. If not, then let's continue with our little discussion. I believe we were confering about the suitable sensei for Team 4."
Hokage was sitting on a simple throne carved from hard and durable oak wood, its only decorations intricate glyphs, symbols and kanji colored in bright hue of fiery red. A small, square table was set before him. It was of a far more beautiful and remarkable object, work of a master carpenter. On its lacquered surface stood an ancient artifact, a viewing ball which looked as if it had existed for centuries. As, Sandaime Hokage knew, it likely had. It was one of his most prized possessions, and it was with this object that he knew almost everything that happened in Konohagakure, much to the dismay of all around him. Next to the ancient artifact, lied several scrolles made of fine paper. Hokage was holding one opened in his hands when Kakashi had first entered the chamber through thick, reinforced doors. On the either side of Hokage's throne seat stood the secretive and fearsome Anbu, two on each side of Hokage. They were wrapped in long, black cloaks, with bone-white animal masks hiding their faces. They were silent, almost resembling ethereal spectres of the dead in their rigid postures and constant quiet. Chosen at relatively early age and put through long and rigorous special training, they held a definitive edge over the most ordinary shinobi. The elite assassins and master combatants, the Anbu served as Konoha's most trusted guardians and fighters, and were almost exclusively sent on only the deadliest of assigments.
Before the Hokage and the four Anbu, stood a few dozen of the newest jounin sensei. Only those selected as the sensei of the potential new generation of genin were present. They consisted of men of mostly younger age, with only a few women added to the mix. The jounin, all of them from first to last dangerous ninja, were those shinobi who had passed countless tests, skirmishes, missions and dangers and had climbed through the shinobi ranks of their homeland until they have reached, after the title of kage, the highest ordinary position of ninja military organizations. They were often considered to have become masters of ninja art. This, while not true, showed just how much they were respected and highly regarded. The great majority of the jounin present wore military vests of forest green characteristic for Hi no Kuni and had clothes in dark tones, colors ranging from brown and dark green to black and gray. They carried various weapons and shinobi tools with them inside the spaceous room, an occurrence that would be very strange and curious to any number of civilians and a example of folly to shinobi of any other nation.
However, such was the unique practice in the shinobi nation of Konoha. It was this calculated show of trust as well as others of its kind, along with the Konoha's one of a kind philosophy that bred fierce loyalty, warm comradeship and non-bending steadfastness that the shinobi of Konoha were famous for.
After glancing shortly around the room, Kakashi concetrated his lone visible eye on his Icha Icha book. He disliked long meetings. Especially those that concerned him as a jounin-sensei. Although he would never admit it to anyone else, deep inside of himself he always felt a sharp pang od dissappointment and sorrow whenever he failed his newest team after deeming them unworthy. So, each new year brought only new pains to Kakashi's heart. Pains, that Kakashi had had enough. He had tried to convince Hokage not to nominate him for a sensei, but time after time, Sandaime stubbornly refused.
"A shinobi of your skill and power must pass over his knowledge. To do otherwise would be a waste that Konoha could not handle. Not now. I am certain Kakashi-kun, that some children would eventually meet your expectations. This, you can trust me."
"Somehow, I doubt that, Hokage-sama."
Neither he, nor the Hokage had changed their opinion since the last time he had tried to persuade Sandaime not to give him a new team. He then returned to his, his ears listening to the conversation in the chamber in case something happened. He had just finished the next to lst chapter when the last sentence of the aged Hokage forced his one eye wide open.
"Well, since that's settled, let us go on to the next team. Team 7: Haruno Sakura, Uchiha Sasuke and Uzumaki Naruto. Kakashi's team ..."
Sandaime felt a certain morbid humor at Kakashi's expense, as the gangly one-eyed jounin stared with a petrified expression on his face.
"What?" Kakashi managed to somehow utter through his lips.
"Your new team Kakashi. Team 7." answered the somber leader of Komohagakure.
Kakashi felt like a breeze could knock him over. His thoughts swirled in his head without order or form. Quickly, he composed himself and uproarisly thought:
'He's giving me them?! Sensei's legacy and the last of the Uchiha? Shit, I forgot that they also graduated this year!
How on earth did I get them?' But Kakashi had his doubts. While being one of the most skilled of Konoha shinobi alive, Kakashi was also trusted by Sandaime and the elder Hokage valued his opinion. It was a form of ultimate trust that he was given the position of sensei of both the Konoha's jinchuuriki and the Uchiha survivor. He was also the only one able to properly teach the Uchiha, or at least as far as Sharingan was concerned. Each of them by themselves were huge problems. Put together, they were one so great a problem that it was even tiring to think of it. Then he remembered the Sandaime's stubborness when he practicaly begged him not to nominate him as a sensei any longer. 'So that's what he had had planned all along, eh? He should have warned me ...'
Kakashi's thoughts were stopped by Hokage's solemn words as he spoke:
"We will speak further about this after the meeting, Kakashi."
The ancient, bittersweet smile on Sandaime's face and the understanding in his eyes relaxed Kakashi immensely, who found himself nodding. He started glancing around the room and concetrating on anything else except his new tenure as the sensei of Team 7. Sandaime noticed this, and just gravely shook his head and then continued in a more normal voice:
"Now, on with the teams. Team 8 will be Aburame Shino, Hyuuga Hinata and Inuzuka Kiba …"
Several hours later, Kakashi was silently standing in the Hokage's somewhat small and cozy office where they have gone after the meeting had ended. For once, he wasn't reading his perverted novel. Too much was on his mind to even pretend that he was reading the book. Instead, he was staring at the cream-painted walls, trying to come to the terms with his new responsibility. Sandaime watched him for several moments, then quietly said:
"Kakashi, you know, or at least suspect why are you hear. We need to discuss your new position in greater detail. Now before you say anything, I want you to know that you were the only one I could trust with something like this."
"Why" asked Kakashi, his tone and face unnaturally blank.
"You see, Kakashi, the true reason why is three-fold and in no way simple. The first reason, it is because of Naruto. You know the lengths I have gone to protect him and aid him in any way I can. Sadly, I have accommplished little, so very little. You might have heard, or even know, how is he treated. You also know how should he be treated. You may have heard that he is a quite spirited boy, one full of energy, energy which he uses for his pranks. I believe you may have saw the last one. Also, by now I think that everyone has heard about his dream of replacing me" said Hokage with a little grin on his face.
Kakashi had to smile. The monument joke had been quite hilarious. And the boy's dream, while being an ambitious one, was also an admirable one. Seeing Kakashi's nod and smile Sandaime continued :
"He appears to be a person that never broods or is depressed, despite his many failures, disappointments and the harsh life he had led. He appears to always smile and laugh, and that the villagers' glares don't affect him. The problem is Kakashi, it only appears to be so. What he wears is a mask, a mask not perfect but believable enough. And nobody seems to notice this. No one except me and perhaps Umino Iruka, one of the chuunin-sensei who work at the Academy. He is quite fond of Naruto, so much that their relationship is becoming like that of an elder and younger brother. I am afraid nobody except me and Iruka sees Naruto's mask. I am agraif that nobody except us sees it because nobody else cares. The only ones left who are at least a little friendly to him are the holders of a nearby ramen stand called Ichiraku, ran by father and daughter. Naruto is hurting deep inside and no one cares. I am afraid what will become of him if this continues much longer. His pain may become hatred and rage and he might start becoming a beast that villagers falsely accuse him to be. They don't understand that they themselves are creating the demon. I couldn't live with myself if his blue clear eyes become the demonic red of the Kyuubi. He might be stronger then that, or his hope and dream might preserve him, but even the kindest and best of humans have their limits. He needs help, Kakashi, very much so."
Kakashi was deeply troubled by this. He sometimes saw the kid on the streets, but every time he saw him he was satisfied to see him strong and laughing. Now it seems that he also was fooled. Sandaime continued:
"Second, Uchiha Sasuke. Out of all young men in whole Konoha, he alongside Naruto worries me the most. The fate had been cruel to him, very much so. To have his entire clan killed, including his father and mother, by the very person he admired most in the world, and then mind tortured by that same person ... it was beyond devastating for him. It shattered both his mind and heart. His mind mostly recovered … heart not so. The only thing that matters to him now ais vengeance … vengeance and the power to achieve that vengeance. He is cold, anti-social, brooding and often arrogant and insulting to his peers. I don't want another Orochimaru being created before my very eyes and me not doing anything to stop it." Sandaime concluded, his face set in stone and voice hard as steel.
Kakashi stood quiet for some time before asking:
"What about the girl, Haruno Sakura ?"
Sandaime smiled beningly: "Sakura is a bright young child, with a normal past and more or less happy childhood. While her knowledge is good, her practical skills are rather bad. She also has some amorous feelings for Sasuke, which he doesn't return. On further note, Naruto has a crush on her, which she doesn't return because of her feelings for Sasuke. It would be quite an amusing love triangle actually, if one wouldn't know the pasts of Naruto and Sasuke." said Sandaime chuckling and shooking his head,
"And the third part of the real reason for me to train them ?"
"The third reason is that you are the only one both skilled enough and connected with them enough to be their sensei. The task that I entrust to you is of great importance to Konoha. I ask you to make tremendous shinobi of them, since the time will come when a jinchuuriki and last loyal Uchiha will be ours aces in the sleeve in case of war and any other crisis and they would be pressured to become Konoha's finest weapons. I told you their problems, I want you to help them with those problems, I want you to teach them how to be human again and how to mature, how to build or rebuild their lives, in essence to guide all three of them. And finally, I ask you to teach them how to care after one another, let them be the siblings that not one of them has. After all of this had been said, do you now understand fully your assignment? Do you agree to be the sensei of Team 7?"
Something pulled at Kakashi's attention and he turned his sight upon the wall behind the Hokage. There stood portraits of the past leaders of Konoha. He felt their eyes on his face, none more keenly than the eyes of his own sensei and hero of Konoha, Yondaime Hokage. Suddenly, without any doubt or reconsideration, Kakashi knew his answer.
Kakashi eye was deathly serious and wide open as he locked it with Hokage's wise and ancient ones.
"Yes." said Kakashi, all of his determination poured into that one single word.
A large smile spread on Hokage's face as he answered:
"Good, they will be expecting you tomorrow at 9 o' clock."
As the duster hit him on his head after being courteous enough to only be late two hours instead of three, Kakashi couldn't help but become really annoyed as he watched the obnoxious blond falling to the floor laughing. Watching as the blond goofball called Naruto continued to shake with laughter, and the pink girl as she quite unconvincingly tried to apologize for her teammate's 'attrocius behaviour' and the silent boy watching him with dumbfounded disappointment Kakashi also couldn't help but develop a large tick on his right temple. He forced his voice to say as neutral as possible as he said :
"Well, my first impression of you is … that I hate you."
AN: Well, I hope you like it. If not, tell me what's wrong and review! Oh, and this isn't going to be a yaoi story.