Summary: Everyone has a season. Kakashi's is winter.
A/U: This is a spin off of 'Springtime'. I suggest listening to 'A Warm Place' by Nine Inch Nails while reading this, its completely instrumental.
Life begins in winter. Spring sprouts from beneath its chilled shell, spreading its wings and bursting forth from the cold, new and unblemished. Summer grows from the spring, coming to maturity and leaving its warm golden touch on everything. Fall slowly makes its way onto the stage, creeping in and gradually overcoming the remains of summer. For a brief moment life flutters in one last attempt to fly, and winter sets in. Winter is cold, cruel and heartless. Bitter and white it kills everything in its path. Frost holds the remaining leaves tight, stealing once welcoming green away into lifeless brown. In winter, life ends.
People have seasons, much like the earth. Most start in spring and progress from there.
His students are no different.
Sakura is in spring. She has not quite realized her full potential, but she is getting there. When he looks at Sakura, he sees the future; bright young shinobi leading the falling village into a new found glory. He sees men and women recovering from disease and debilitating injury to live another day. He sees the flowers bloom and how the world will be- the first warming rays of day. He sees a naivete in life he never will know.
Naruto is in summer. Just coming into his purpose, his potential realized but the path clear. When he looks at Naruto, he sees what Konoha can become. He sees a just ruler, and an indomitable power, not used to intimidate but to protect. He sees life giving photons, bright and powerful; the world as it should be, but is not. He sees a determination in life he doesn't know.
Sasuke is in autumn. He doesn't know why Sasuke is autumn. Perhaps it is the potential lost when the leaves fall, or as the last embers of a sleeping sun dip under the horizon. Maybe its the way his future holds only death, a destroying entity with a single goal... or possibly some other unfathomable reason. The Uchiha heir is still autumn. In Sasuke he sees a finish in the life he never has known.
Kakashi is winter. Waiting for a glimmer of sunlight to break the ice and night. In him, everything is long dead, rotting away under a frozen exterior.