Title: Innocence Targeted.

Author: Lell.

Summary: Rites of passage of the bloodstained kind for Team Seven.

oOo

Kakashi crouched in the leaf litter at the base of a tree and, for once, didn't reach for a volume of cheap erotica to while away the time. Beyond the spreading boughs, water fell despondently. It was the first rainfall of summer and the parched ground soaked up the precipitation with the greed of a sponge. His cover was not perfect and, every now and then, a stray droplet fell neatly down the back of his neck.

He made no move to avoid this.

Beside him, Pakkun scratched an itch behind his ear with his hind paw. He snuffled around for a while in a doggy manner then peered up at Kakashi. "Remind me why we're here again while the kids are out there?"

The jounin didn't look down at his canine partner – his lonely eye was occupied with scanning the damp forest before them. "It's their mission to complete," he said simply.

The dog looked puzzled. "Kakashi, it's an assassination. There are guards to worry about as well." When his partner didn't respond, Pakkun's woof had a shocked tinge to it. "They're twelve, Kakashi, still pups!"

"Then it's late for them to be doing this."

"But--."

"Pakkun."

The little dog broke off with a snuffly sigh and placed his chin on his paws. The pair of them, both seasoned veterans, watched the rain in a silence that wasn't quite companionable.

"It's getting heavier," Kakashi noted after a while.

"It still won't wash the blood from their hands."

The jounin didn't say anything. He was too busy waiting for the children he'd sent out that morning to return as adults.