All right! Here we go with the next chapter! Hurray! First off I'd like to thank my wonderful reviewers: cai-ann, Lupanari, ninbunny alchemist, AvatardsUnite MM, cardcaptor eternity, Prescripto13, Ashfire28, KakashiKrazed, Jumpingbeans480, pamellka, CandyGirl999, Kakashifangirl1000 and ONeill-Fan14! Thank you all so much!
From now on I'm gong to try and update two chapters of this story for every one chapter of Hidden Memories of the Past since this one should technically be finished first, but we'll see how that turns out. I seem to have broken my crystal ball, so I can't say anything for sure right now.
"Here we are!" Sakumo proclaimed loudly as he pushed open the door to their house. After being in the hospital for three days Kasumi and Kakashi had finally been given the all clear to come home. Now all the White Fang wanted to do was gaze at his newborn son.
"It's very kind of the Hokage to give you some time off like this," Kasumi said. She began breastfeeding Kakashi in the chair Sakumo had recently bought.
He smiled while placing an arm around his wife and kissed her on the cheek. "I suppose it's not every day one gets a baby boy!" Sakumo reached out and gently stroked the newborn's face. "He's going to be a fine shinobi some day—just like his parents."
Kasumi's expression hardened and she instinctively pulled Kakashi closer. "There will be no talk about that until he's of the proper age. Circumstances with Iwa are rough enough as it is, but until then I want our son to have as normal of a childhood as he can."
"Don't worry," Sakumo said quickly, placing his hands on both her shoulders. The two of them stared at each other for a moment before Sakumo said in a much calmer voice, "What happened to Misumi's son will not happen to ours."
Unwanted tears flowed down Kasumi's face. "It's just so hard," she cried. "I know our way of life is a difficult one, but Taiki was just a twelve-year-old genin on his first mission! If an entire team can be wiped out on a mislabeled C-rank mission—what kind of future will that hold for our son?"
"I don't know," The White Fan said softly, wiping Kasumi's tears. "But I do know that between the two of us, our son couldn't be in better hands. There is the possibility of war in the near future, but it will be nothing three Hatakes like ourselves can't handle." Kasumi stared at him for a moment before nodding slowly and Sakumo pulled her into a tight embrace.
Two days later, the Hatake compound was lively and cheery. Everyone was gathered in the center where there were numerous tables pilled with extravagant food and the decorations were so festive that one would think it was Ōmisoka (New Year's Eve). It was tradition that each addition to their clan was celebrated, and now more than ever because of the dwindling numbers.
The Welcoming Ceremony typically started off with a small children's parade that would end in front of the newborn. There they would present the child with a small, handmade gift to help them later in life or one that held a special meaning. By doing so they were accepting the child as one of them and promising to all stick together as one large family. Then it was time to eat the lavish feast prepared and enjoy each other's company. Later on, the elders would come forward for the special rite that the child would go through to become familiar with their Kekkai Genki. Afterwards the entire clan would travel to their shrine and pray for the baby's health, thank the gods for blessing them with another member, and ask for the gods' continued support and protection.
"It's a shame the boy is Sakumo's," joked Seito, Sakumo's elder brother. He and Sakumo were often mistaken as twins, with the only differences in their appearance being that Sakumo chose to style his hair with a long ponytail and Seito grew out the hair on the side of his head so it fell down to his chin. Anyone who knew them however, would argue that it was their personalities that separated them. "Poor kid will be traumatized for life."
"Is that so?" Sakumo asked. The parade had ended and most of the men were standing around and drinking sake, which was carefully monitored by their wives. "No reason to get filthy drunk at your own son's Welcoming Ceremony," Kasumi had warned.
"He'd be no better off with you, Seito," the White Fang goaded. "At least with me Kakashi will learn skills that will actually help him get out of trouble, and not have to rely on that so-called 'humor' of yours to get into trouble."
Seito chuckled heartily along with the others and patted his younger brother on the back. "I am what I am," he said before draining the rest of his drink.
"Such a beautiful child," Hazuki said, a few feet away. She was holding Kakashi as she and Kasumi sat at one of the tables.
"Thank you." Kasumi smiled at her sister-in-law. "I'm just finally glad to have one of my own."
Hazuki laughed as cheerfully as her husband, her fair skin that was alarmingly tan for a Hatake shining in the sunlight. "You say that now, but wait until he learns how to talk back. They're nightmares after that. Isn't that right, kids?"
"Yeah, sure mom. Whatever," Akina said as she rolled her eyes. She had inherited her mother's tanned skin and it made her red kimono all the more vibrant.
"Besides, it's the girls you want to look out for," said Tenchi, Akina's younger brother. He was in his last year of the Academy while his sister was a chuunin of two years. His comment was met with a playful punch from his sister that he was unable to avoid. "It's true!" he pouted, sticking out his lower lip.
"Says you," Akina smirked.
"All right, all right," Hazuki sighed. "Stop now or you're going to scare the baby." The two children stopped bickering long enough to send a slight bow to their mother and aunt before taking off to join the other children play games, arguing along the way.
"See what I mean?" Hazuki chuckled.
"They're so full of life though." Kasumi's smile faded. "We've got to few children left now in our clan."
Hazuki carefully place Kakashi in the hamper beside his mother and grasped Kasumi's hand firmly in her own.
"You're thinking about Taiki, aren't you?" Kasumi lowered her gaze, but Hazuki continued. "I know it was a harsh blow, and now that you're a mother these things will hit home harder than before. Believe me, I know. But you can't give up hope! We all do what we can to protect the young and we aren't always as successful as we'd like, but we try."
"I will protect Kakashi with my life," Kasumi said fiercely.
Hazuki smiled. "I know." She stood up and laughed. "You know, you are so much like Sakumo at times, being so serious and all. Lighten up—it's Kakashi's Welcoming Ceremony!"
"Thank you, Hazuki." Kasumi dried her eyes and glanced around. "I suppose Misumi isn't here then?"
Her sister-in-law's smile faltered and she rubbed her left arm slowly. "No. I went over to try and cheer her up, but I think this little party will do more harm than good. It's only been a week after all."
"I guess so." Kakashi started to fuss, so Kasumi picked him up and rocked him gently as she stood up. "How's Tenchi taking it?"
Hazuki sighed and rubbed her eyes. "As well as he can I suppose. Taiki was older but they spent a lot of time together." A small moment of silence passed between them.
Kasumi glanced towards her husband and noticed the three elders making their way over, adorned in the finest robes of anyone present.
"It's time!" Hazuki said excitedly, grasping Kasumi's shoulders. Kakashi's mother smiled in return before smoothing out her newborn's ceremonial red and silver robes. Then she made her way over to Sakumo and placed Kakashi in his hands. It was silent as everyone present focused their attention to Sakumo and the three clan elders, who surrounded the man and his child in a semicircle. Sakumo adjusted Kakashi in his arms so everyone could see him clearly. The newborn gazed at everyone with wide, black eyes.
"As of this day, the seventeenth of September," the head clan leader, Hibiki, began, "we wish to welcome Hatake Kakashi, son of Sakumo and Kasumi, into our clan. May the rest of his days be filled with bountiful blessings and good fortune."
The three elders then placed their hands a few centimeters above Kakashi and soon he was surrounded by a faint, white glow. To activate the white chakra that made up their Kekkai Genki there were certain procedures that needed to be followed. The first occurred within a week of a child's birth, and by surrounding them with white chakra early on they "awakened" the white chakra within the newborn. The infant would glow in proportion to how effectively synced they were with their white chakra. Five years later the process would be repeated, but instead of glowing, the young child would emit a powerful ray of white chakra. This showed that the Hatake was fully synchronized and could begin training with both their regular and white chakra. If a child tried to use their white chakra before they were ready and properly trained to use their normal chakra, the results would be disastrous and ultimately fatal.
Sakumo swelled with pride as Kakashi's skin took on a bright, white tint. The elders were also pleased with Kakashi's display and withdrew their chakra. The White Fang then proudly displayed his glowing son as everyone clapped with approval. Kasumi met Sakumo's eyes and smiled. Despite her fears for her son's future, she knew Kakashi's potential made Sakumo proud.
Suddenly Kakashi's body glowed brighter and as the onlookers watched in fear, a small beam of light shot out from Kakashi into the air. It wasn't very large, but it was denser than the white chakra dome that had been covering him earlier. It disappeared a few seconds later, but the damage had already been done. Everyone began whispering fervently, and the three elders struggled to discern a meaning in all this. Never before had anything like this happened. The beam of pure white chakra wasn't as powerful as they normally were in a five-year-old, but it happened all the same. What did this mean?
Sakumo stared at his son in shock. He couldn't tell if Kakashi's being so advanced was a good thing or not. Yet as he lifted his gaze to meet his wife's—Sakumo knew that the childhood Kasumi wanted for their son was unattainable.
What do you think? I've got a nice little theory all about the white chakra of the Hatake clan, and this is just a small sample of it. As Kakashi gets older, Sakumo will explain it in more depth and it will make more sense. It was also a lot of fun exploring some possible clan traditions since we don't get to see much of that in Naruto. I myself am not a scholar in Japanese traditions and religious rites, but I did my best to make it believable.
I feel bad (sorta) for making things so sudden, but these are dangerous times in Konoha and uh . . . -points at title- That pretty much explains it.