Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto. If you recognize anything or anyone from the anime, I'm just borrowing. If you don't recognize it, then it's mine because I made it up. Set during the time-skip/pre-Shippuuden.

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Chapter 1


Hinata headed for her favorite training ground. No one practiced at night, so she was sure to have peace and quiet. Just to be sure, she activated her Byakugan and scanned the area; the energies of a few sleeping animals and an owl glowed. In the distance there was a much larger outline, though the energy level of the creature was very low.

Curious and cautious, Hinata crept to the figure that looked like a weak human of sorts. She stepped into a thick copse of trees and found a male figure lying on the ground. He was definitely a shinobi because he was wearing a shinobi vest. But his chakra was so low…

Hinata gasped. There was no mistaking that shock of silvery hair and the Konoha forehead protector slanted over one eye. It was none other than Kakashi-sensei, Naruto-kun's friend and teacher. But he looks so weak! Can it really be him?

With a quiet step, Hinata moved next to the figure and knelt down to scan Kakashi-sensei with her Byakugan. This was no illusion. He was exhausted and his chakra was severely depleted. There were also a number of shallow cuts and scrapes all over his body.

Hinata managed to pull Kakashi over her shoulders in a fireman's carry, though their height difference made it very awkward. A soft moan escaped his lips and Hinata winced, afraid she had further injured the man. She took a step, and then another. After a while she was able to ignore the discomfort and settle into a slow rhythm. When the two were almost at the gates of Konoha, Kakashi stirred and mumbled something.

"Where am I?"

"We're almost home," Hinata reassured him.

A soft sigh was her answer.

"Kakashi-sensei, what happened to you?"

"An S-rank mission. Success, but…" he trailed off.

"I'm taking you to the hospital."

"No, it's nothing serious. I'm just tired…just need to sleep…sleep…"

"But I don't know where you live, and the hospital doctors will take good care of you."

"Live right down this street…third house on the right…blue door. Just want to rest at home," he murmured.

Hinata frowned, but she decided to follow through with his request. The apartment door was locked.

"Kakashi-sensei, it's locked," she whispered.

Kakashi tried to fumble for the key, but his extreme tiredness and awkward position made it difficult.

"Where is it?" Hinata asked as she carefully lowered Kakashi so that he was standing, though still leaning heavily against her.

"Extra key," Kakashi frowned. His limbs were too exhausted to obey his commands. He could barely think straight, let alone manipulate secret compartments.

Hinata managed to find the key by pushing on a shingle that Kakashi seemed to be glaring at with a baleful expression. She turned the knob and managed to maneuver him into the apartment. It was simple and tidy, if a bit dusty, as if the owner was used to not spending much time in it. There was a small kitchen off to the side of the living room. For a second, Hinata considered plopping Kakashi-sensei on the couch, but it was a loveseat and wouldn't be very comfortable for him.

They made their way through the darkened doorway that Hinata assumed led to a bedroom. She was correct. Although her night vision was excellent, now both shinobi were exhausted; they bumped into the side of the bed, and Hinata almost fell over as she scrambled to help him onto it. He collapsed gratefully on his back, and Hinata slumped in the dark by his side for several minutes as she regained her breath. Her favorite training ground was almost two miles from the apartment, and Kakashi was a tall, healthy man. While he was by no means overweight, he was definitely very heavy for that last half mile.

Hinata lifted herself and lit the bedside lamp. As it sputtered to life, she took stock of Kakashi's injuries. None were very serious, but all required care. Luckily, she always carried a pot of her ointment with her.

After raiding the bathroom, Hinata set about cleaning Kakashi's wounds with a washcloth and a basin of warm water. There was a cut on his stomach, several on his legs, one on his forearm, and one right across his cheek.

His mask was ruined, so Hinata simply cut it away. Kakashi never stirred as she went about her ministrations. When he was sufficiently covered in ointment and bandages, Hinata wiped the back of her hand across her brow and blew out the lamp before leaving quietly.


The next morning, Hinata brought a basket to Kakashi's house. She stood uncertainly outside. If he was awake, then she should knock first, but if he was still asleep, she didn't want to wake him. Finally, she decided to use her Byakugan to scan for his figure. He was still lying down, so she quietly let herself in through the front door.

In the light of day, the apartment looked just as stark as it had the previous night. There were no pictures on the walls or in frames. The bedroom had a small desk and a large wooden cabinet. The kitchen was sparse, though there was a large box of dog biscuits on the counter.

Hinata reapplied ointment to Kakashi's wounds and rebandaged them. Then she filled a glass with water and set it on the bedside table along with the rice balls she'd brought. Kakashi never stirred, though he was definitely breathing. His chakra was still incredibly low, especially for a shinobi of his caliber. Hinata drew the blanket over his form and let herself out.


"Good morning, Hinata," Chouji greeted cheerfully. They were both heading across the street at the same time.

"Good morning, Chouji-kun."

"Are you doing your grocery shopping, too?"

"Something like that," Hinata grinned shyly. "I need some ingredients for a medicine."

"Oh, I see. What are you looking for?"

"I have the list somewhere…" Hinata searched her jacket pockets until she found what she was looking for.

"How is your training going, Hinata?" Chouji inquired as they stood looking at bunches of spinach.

"It's going well. Thank you for asking. And yours?"

"My Dad's been working with me a lot."

"That must be nice, getting to spend extra time with him," Hinata smiled. Inside she felt a whisper of sadness, but she brushed it away.

"Yeah, it's great. He always treats me to ramen afterward."

Hinata giggled at a memory of Chouji and his father facing Naruto and a flustered Iruka at a ramen eating contest.

Chouji sweetly helped her select the best ingredients from the produce section, giving her helpful advice on how to find the freshest products.

"Arigatoo, Chouji-kun," Hinata waved. "If I can ever help you, just let me know."

"Bye, Hinata!"


Hinata carefully carried the thermos and basket as she made her way through Konoha's busy streets. It was actually past dinnertime, but for some reason many people were still out and about. She hadn't bothered replacing the key, so she simply went in, cautious as she edged around the door so as not to drop the basket.

Though Kakashi had shifted his position slightly, he was still breathing slowly and evenly with his eyes closed. Hinata set down her burden and gently reapplied the ointment to his legs and arms. When she lifted his shirt to have access to that wound, she thought for a moment that his breathing had shifted a little. It wasn't until she was running her finger along his cheek that she realized he was awake. His right eye studied her sleepily.

Hinata gasped and blushed a little.

"Are you feeling better, Kakashi-sensei?" she inquired shyly.

"A little. Still very tired."

"You used up most of your chakra, so that's not abnormal. Here." Hinata held out the thermos and unscrewed the lid.

Now Kakashi's right eye looked downright skeptical.

"It doesn't taste as bad as it looks."

Kakashi wasn't convinced, since the gloop in the container was dark green and a bit…frothy.

"It should help you recover your chakra a little. It's my own recipe."

The Great Copy Ninja was actually considering copping out, but Hinata was already helping him to sit up, so he sighed and took the thermos.

He eyed it. Still green and frothy. But he was a shinobi of Konoha, so he bravely took a sip, trying not to wince in anticipation.

His visible eye widened in surprise and he took a deeper draught. (A/N: Imagine Green Machine.)

"It actually tastes pretty good," he remarked. "Refreshing." He could feel the increased chakra flow immediately.

Hinata watched as the color infused Kakashi's face, and she smiled when he smacked his lips thoughtfully.

He looked quite impressed, actually. "Hinata, this is an amazing medicine. You made this yourself?"

"Mm-hmm," she nodded. "I've been developing it over the past couple of years."

"My chakra is almost completely replenished."

"Good," she smiled. Then she moved to pick up the basket. "I brought you some dinner."

"You didn't have to," Kakashi insisted.

Hinata shook her head. "It was no trouble."

"Thank you again for the rice balls. When I first woke up, I definitely didn't have the energy to go shopping, and I don't have any food in the apartment at the moment," he shrugged sheepishly.

"I'm happy you liked them," Hinata grinned. "You should rest some more. And I've brought you some more ointment. You need to reapply it two or three times a day, okay?"

Kakashi thoughtfully reached a hand toward his own face. His face turned a bit pink when he realized he didn't have his mask on.

Hinata flushed red. "Oh! I'm sorry about your mask. It didn't seem like it could be mended, so I cut it off to clean the wound. I can replace it!"

Kakashi shook his head looking amused. "There's no need for you to apologize. I'm very grateful for what you've done for me already."

"It was no trouble," Hinata smiled. "I'll come and check on you tomorrow with another batch of the chakra replenishing drink."

"Thank you, Hinata."

"Goodnight, Kakashi-sensei."

Memories were filtering back to him. The little Hyuuga girl, the one that everyone—even the members of her own clan—thought was weak and timid and useless, had carried him more than two miles and patched him up expertly. She had even come back to check on him several times, which revealed her thoughtfulness and thoroughness. On top of everything, she had developed a revolutionary chakra-replenishing medicine. There was much more to this young woman than most people saw.

Well, a good shinobi looks beneath the underneath…

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