Warning: Some of this story may be hard to read.
Disclaimer: I do not own the characters or the world. I even borrowed the "waking up" sequence from the little-known Nick Whitby play "To the Green Fields Beyond". God, I am a nerd.
Kakashi makes a point of staying out of other people's business.
Sure, if someone asks for his help, he would help. He isn't heartless, far from it. Contrary to the Konoha rumor mill, he's not too cold to care. Kakashi just never saw the point of inserting himself into bad situations in the name of misguided friendship or loyalty or whatnot.
...And, really, he wasn't any good at finding comforting words or soothing heaving shoulders, especially with women. Good grief, he would never pretend to understand one of them, even relatively sane ones like Shizune.
Kakashi respects the need for privacy that comes with profound hurt because he knows what it feels like to make the impossible choice. He recognizes the occasional desire for absolute solitude, for empty rooms and long hours alone. He believes that time and space are better nursemaids than well-meaning friends. God knows that no one could find the right words to help him make sense of what happened to his father, or to Obito, or Rin.
...And, really, he doesn't even know Shizune that well, but he knows that she keeps her mouth closed more than any other person he has ever known with the possible exception of the Aburames, for whom silence is like a bloodline limit. Kakashi can't imagine that Shizune would ever want to "talk about it" or cry her pretty eyes out on his shoulder. She has never struck him as the type that does much crying in the first place.
In the end, Kakashi reasons, it is Shizune's business, not his, and she is more than capable of taking care of herself. Hell, she single-handedly keeps the Fifth's office, and subsequently the whole village, running like clockwork. She's the definition of reliable.
All the same, Kakashi finds that the words of his well-worn Icha Icha novel seem to skitter around like ants on the page because, admit it, he's worried because Shizune hasn't been to work for two days, so either something is very, very wrong or she's bucking a lifetime of slavish work ethic to become a first class lay-about, which is about as likely as Kurenai turning in her ANBU mask to become a housewife.
Normally, he would let someone else handle it, but nobody seems troubled by Shizune's absence. Tsunade even looks somewhat glad that her assistant isn't around to bully her into paperwork. She gleefully closes the office early. The jounin gang agrees to go out for drinks with the unexpected spare time. Kakashi would like to go with them, but he declines Gai's boisterous invitation with a dismissive wave because there's a knot tightening in his gut that makes it hard to swallow.
He knows where she lives, and he knows something else, something she never meant for anyone to find out and that he wishes he didn't know. He has a two-week mission that starts tomorrow and doesn't relish the prospect of this bad feeling gnawing at his insides for that much time.
Kakashi makes up his mind, sighs, puts his book away, and finds his way to Shizune's apartment.
They work well together, efficient and fast, all business. In the year since Naruto left with Jiraiya and Tsunade took over Sakura's training, Kakashi has gone on a string of highly successful missions with Shizune because neither of them belongs to a dedicated squad. Kakashi's Team 7 exists only as a placeholder in the registry books, and there's no talk of assigning him another genin group just yet. Shizune hasn't belonged to a regular team in over a decade. Eight years of traveling and the near-constant state of crisis in the Hokage's Tower precludes her from operating as a typical cell member.
It's the misfortune of the leftovers that puts them together again and again, but Kakashi doesn't mind at all. He rather likes being paired with Shizune. She's even-tempered, friendly enough, and strong. They fight well together, too. She handles long-range and defense while he does the close combat. She uses her poisons to disable, and he invokes any number of punishing, final blows to kill.
Today, Kakashi decides to practice his Sharingan.
The hem of Shizune's vest rises up to her ribcage as she stretches her arms over her head while tumbling through the air, laying down a metal rainstorm of death-tipped needles to corral their enemies so Kakashi can fix those annoying Mist ninja in his spinning iris. When she finishes driving them into a tight knot, Kakashi lifts his hite-ate and sees everything all at once, in seeming slow motion. The Mist ninjas' faces twisting in agony as they fall into his artificial nightmare world. The flight of seven geese headed northwest for the spring. The fluttering path of a falling leaf. The tight ball of nascent life swirling inside his teammate's exposed abdomen.
With the Sharingan's perfect clarity, Kakashi sees all the clues coming together at once: the tightness of her vest over swollen breasts, the tiredness around her eyes, puff of flesh just below the navel on the usually flat stomach. There is no doubt. She is pregnant.
Shizune spits out the nib of ginger root that she has been sucking on to keep nausea at bay, so she can blow a cloud of nerve gas over their stricken opponents. When she is done, she glances Kakashi's way and catches him looking. Her eyes drop. The color drains from her cheeks.
Kakashi looks away and adjusts his headband back over his eye.
"Let's get back, shall we?" he says cheerfully.
Shizune gulps, nods.
They don't say a word to each other on the way back to the village.
The apartment looks empty and dark, but Kakashi knocks on the door anyway. His imagination might be veering into the macabre again, but he thinks he can smell blood seeping out from under the door.
He tries again, pounding this time.
From inside, he hears a shuffle and the click of the lock. Shizune hangs on the door as she opens it. The metallic odor of spilled blood smacks Kakashi in the face, and the color of Shizune's skin reminds him of skimmed milk, unnaturally white with a trace of blue.
Kakashi takes one look into her glassy eyes and says, "I'm getting Tsunade."
She makes a grab for his arm, and despite the fact the she can barely stand, her grip is unforgiving.
"No. Don't," she half-orders, half-mumbles.
Kakashi shifts to counter-balance her weight as Shizune, too drained to steady herself, leans into him.
"I have to do something," he tells her. "You look like death."
Shizune's face twists. "In my office, on the wall...across from the window...a cabinet. Bring it...The top drawer...of the desk..."
Her eyes lose focus momentarily. Kakashi moves to sling her into a fireman carry to take her to the nearest med nin, but she resists and wriggles out of his grasp.
"Just go," she says.
Kakashi runs, making it to the Tower in just under half a minute. Once inside, he grabs the cabinet off the wall, yanks out the entire desk drawer, and sprints back to Shizune's apartment. The door isn't closed, just cracked, so he kicks it open and nearly trips over Shizune, who is balled up on the floor, on the way inside.
She gives him such a nasty look when he tries to help her up that Kakashi sets the stolen goods down on the floor next to her and backs away.
She fishes out a syringe from the drawer, pops the cap, and jams the needle into her thigh through her thin bedclothes. Kakashi watches as the color rises in her face, her eyes snap into focus, and her fingers fly through the pilfered medical supplies as the shot's contents take effect.
"What was that?" he asks.
"Adrenaline," she answers without looking up. "I need to stop the bleeding. Can you boil some water?"
Kakashi nods although she is too busy to see it.
The kitchen is as clean as an operating room except for the patches of blood on the floor and the mess of used gauze, soiled towels, and foul-smelling sludge in the sink. While he waits for the water to heat up, Kakashi notices a small box on the counter. It's labelled "Weight Loss Aid", but he already knows that it isn't anything of the sort. Kakashi has seen boxes just like it traded carefully at open air markets across Earth and Fire Country. Abortions aren't legal in any village that he can recall, but Kakashi knows they happen. Sometimes, they come from a skilled hand for women rich enough or lucky enough to find a sympathetic physician or midwife. More often, they happen in private homes through illegal herbal 'remedies'.
Yesterday, he would have thought that Shizune was too sensible to use a black market tincture to get rid of her baby. Even as a kid back the Academy, Kakashi heard the other youngsters trading urban legends about the awful side effects of those terrible cures.
The kettle sings. Kakashi pulls it from the stove, turns off the gas, and snags a mug to bring back to Shizune.
Back by the door, she accepts the kettle and cup. Her fingers blur as she measures and adds a dozen different ingredients to the empty container before pouring the hot water over it. She tosses pill after pill into her mouth and chases each one down with the bitter-smelling brew.
The scent of her medicine alone makes Kakashi feel like gagging. Her apartment reeks of gore. He wants to be anywhere else but here.
After Shizune drains the dregs, she reaches out a hand and uses the wall by the door to stand. She turns and follows it down the hall slowly, one step at a time, back to what Kakashi guesses is her bedroom.
"Will you be alright?" he asks.
"Yes. Thank you," she says. "I need to rest now."
The bedroom door clicks shut behind her before Kakashi takes his cue and flees the scene.
By the end of his two weeks on assignment, Kakashi thinks he has schooled himself to stop ruminating on annoying questions that are None of His Concern and No Really, Not His Problem.
He passes Shizune on his way out of the Hokage's office, and just to prove that everything is back to normal, Kakashi lifts a hand to wave at her. Her arms are laden with scrolls, and she gives him a tiny, apologetic smile in return.
He holds the door for her. She's so damn skinny that a hard stare could knock her over. He wonders if she's eaten anything at all in the past two weeks.
"Found them," she calls out to Tsunade as she goes into the Hokage's office. Her voice is raspy and small.
"About damn time! What the hell is wrong with you today?" Tsunade scoffs.
"Sorry," Shizune mumbles.
Kakashi lets go of the handle and the door closes, so he can't hear any more.
Kakashi tries to erase the memory of Shizune's pinched face with a long soak at the hot springs and an excellent supper at his favorite restaurant. It's no use. He's involved, and now he has to see it through. Kakashi flags down the waitress and orders three entrees at random from the menu to go.
Shizune answers her door right away, and he shoves the bag of take-out at her.
"You need to eat," he explains.
"It's that obvious, huh?" she sighs as she accepts his offering.
Kakashi opts for silence because it's not a question that needs an answer.
Shizune opens the door wider and looks to him expectantly. Against his better judgement, Kakashi steps inside.
They settle into a pair of wide-seated, wooden chairs on her tiny balcony. The pots of flowery herbs that line the railing and congregate in the corners fill the night air with their sweet, delicate scent.
Shizune cracks apart the twinned chopsticks that came with the bag and opens the topmost box of food. She raises a chunk of fried meat to her lips, chews thoughtfully, swallows.
"It's good," she remarks. She takes another bite. "How was your mission?"
Kakashi answers her string of questions in the interest of small talk, but midway through her inquiries, he figures out that she actually wants to hear what he has to say. She is really listening, processing his report, and adding the new data to the elaborate filing system in her mind. The conversation expands from a simple mission report to a frank discussion on the precarious state of Konoha's alliances.
Somewhere in the back of his mind, Kakashi always knew that Shizune was smart, but he has a hard time reconciling the frail woman unspooling an incredibly astute analysis of the multinational ramifications of the unfolding political debacle in Snow while absently snacking on fried rice with the mental image of her purchasing a kit of poison from some sleazy, backstreet vendor. She doesn't seem like a woman who would stumble into such trouble accidentally.
Some hours later, Shizune yawns and looks down at the emptied take-out boxes around her. She squinches up her nose in mild surprise before relaxing into an honest smile.
"I didn't feel hungry. Guess I was wrong," she says.
Kakashi concludes that Shizune is easily the most enjoyable company he has kept in a long time, awkward circumstances and all.
She draws her legs up to her chest and rests her chin on a knee.
"Kakashi," she begins, "I know that you deserve an explanation-"
"I don't," he cuts her off. "You didn't ask for my help."
"All the same, I'm sorry to trouble you with my problems," she says.
He feigns nonchalance. "It's no trouble."
"Let's not lie to ourselves, Kakashi," Shizune says sharply. "I didn't handle things well before, and it's pretty obvious that I'm not doing well now. It doesn't take a genius to figure out that I'm in bad shape if the notoriously aloof Copy Ninja is hand-delivering me take-out. I'm not proud of what I did, and I'm so, so sorry that you had to get involved."
"I'm not aloof. More like free-spirited."
"Kakashi," she chides.
He studies the nearest potted plant. It has long stems covered with thin, fur-like leaves. Tiny, purple flowers with petals like tissue paper adorn the tips.
"Shizune," Kakashi says slowly. "Were you forced?"
Cicadas drone from the treetops, measuring out the length of the painful silence between the two jounins.
Shizune stands and gathers up the empty boxes at her feet.
"Good-night, Kakashi," she says softly.
She turns up at his doorstep the next night with a stack of homemade bento boxes and that same apologetic smile of hers. Kakashi lets her in despite his personal law against visitors. He clears the mess from his table, and they discuss the news from Suna that Gaara has been named the new Kazekage over dinner. Talk of Gaara turns to talk of Naruto, which turns into an exchange of amusing anecdotes and laughter.
He opens all the windows to let the cool night air into his cluttered home, and she makes tea.
At the end of the evening, Kakashi walks her to the door.
"This was nice," he admits.
"Yeah," Shizune agrees. She shifts her bundle of empty lacquered boxes from one arm to the other before lifting her dark eyes to his singular one.
"I wanted you to know that if it was just an accident, I would have kept it," she tells him in a low voice.
Kakashi nods once and lets the door close behind her.
Their schedules keep them running for five days straight, but on the sixth night, Kakashi knocks on Shizune's door and tries to dazzle her with his most charming hidden grin when she answers.
"Gai wants to challenge me to a swimwear contest," he says with as much false cheer as he can muster.
She shakes her head. "Oh god."
"A little help?"
"I need to run an errand. Come with me. If Gai shows up, I'll run interference while you escape," Shizune offers.
"Couldn't you just drug him? I was looking forward to a good, long sleep-in tomorrow morning."
Shizune snorts. "You think I have a sedative strong enough to counter the Energy of Youth? You're dreaming, Hatake."
The errand turns out to be gathering wild-crafted plants from the Forbidden Forest. Shizune has no trouble finding what she needs in the soft glow of the full moon, but there isn't enough light to read by (Kakashi tries, twice). He has nothing to do but follow behind Shizune as she harvests and then carefully wraps each bundle of green in damp cloth before tucking them away in her basket. She hums absently as she works, wholly absorbed in her task. Kakashi, following her at a easy pace, discovers that he finds her beautiful.
On the way back to the Village, they pass by the training ground and stumble across Kiba Inuzuka and Ino Yamanaka trying to suck each other's faces off by the field of training dummies.
"Ow! Quit biting!" the blonde girl complains between frantic, messy smooches.
"Then stop squirming around so much!" the Inuzuka kid retorts and reaches for the nearest breast.
Akamaru snuffs a doggy sigh into his paws from a comfortable distance, and Shizune puts her hands over her mouth to stifle her laughter.
"Ah, to be young again," Kakashi remarks drolly once they get clear of the fields.
Shizune gives him a hard look over her shoulder. "You have got to be kidding. Look at us. We were never that young."
He walks her back to her apartment without thinking it through, so there's an odd moment outside of her door when she blushes a little and he wonders if he would do a better job of kissing a pretty girl than that dog nin kid.
"I have a mission tomorrow," he blurts out.
She bobs her head and smiles. "I know. Be safe, Kakashi."
"That's the general idea," he smiles back.
In that moment, he makes up his mind to reach for her when he sees Shizune's eyes go wild.
"Run," she whispers.
"Ah, Kakashi, my cool and worthy rival! I've been looking for you all night," Gai's voice booms out from behind him.
Kakashi takes to the rooftops.
"Gai, I'm so glad you're here!" he hears Shizune call out with false relief from below. "Can you help me with something? It will only take a minute..."
The mission lasts for just over six weeks, and Kakashi thinks about Shizune more than once in the gentle moments before sleep takes him. Sometimes he sees her quiet smile, but as the weeks drag on, he starts seeing ghastly visions of a dark, feral grin on a nameless fiend who holds her, screaming, under him.
As soon as the Hokage dismisses him back in Konoha, Kakashi orders enough food to satisfy an entire ANBU platoon, or one Naruto Uzumaki, and heads directly to Shizune's apartment without even stopping to shower first.
All the lights are on inside her place when he arrives. Shizune answers the door after the fifth or sixth time he knocks. Her hair is pulled back into a fancy, twisting braid, and she is wearing a sky-blue kimono that looks new.
"Hey! Welcome back!" she beams at him. From inside the apartment, a roar of laughter erupts. She rolls her eyes, not unkindly. "I invited some people over for dinner, and it kind of turned into a party. You want to...?"
She opens the door a little wider.
"Shizune! Do you have any more cups?" someone inside shouts.
Kakashi shifts the food bags behind his back and takes a step away.
"That's alright," he says. "I should probably just head home."
"Oh." Shizune frowns, then hides it quickly. "Thanks for checking in on me, Kakashi."
Back in his dim, untidy apartment, Kakashi leaves all the windows open while he takes a hot shower to let out the stale, musty smell of stilled air. He eats what he wants and shoves the rest of the take-out into his barren refrigerator before settling down with an Icha Icha novel.
He decides to be happy that Shizune is better.
Kakashi stumbles over a stack of books as he pulls up his mask on the way to the door because some idiot is pounding on it in the middle of the night.
"What is it now?" he asks, full of annoyance, when he yanks open the latch. The words are out of his mouth before he realizes that she is standing there in her night clothes, her hair a tangled mess around her face and looking down at the ground while biting her lip.
"I feel like I'm going crazy," she says. "I can't stop going in circles in my head."
He reaches out to put a hand on Shizune's shoulder and draws her inside. She seemed just fine earlier, but Kakashi knows that all ninja are good actors. In a way, he's not surprised in the least.
"I think you should stay here tonight," Kakashi tells her.
His apartment is large and designed like one big room, which sounded wonderful when he leased it. Very hip and minimalist with no walls to cut up the space. Kakashi failed to realize until he had moved in that there was no storage space to hid clutter, so no matter what he does, it always looks messy. His sparse furniture- a low table, a few book shelves, a set of chairs, and a futon- stand out like idiotic islands marooned in the sea of space.
There's nothing to be done about it now. He leads Shizune around the piles of clothes, clean and dirty, to his futon. He pushes back the tangled sheets and wonders when he last washed them. It's a silly thing to think at such a time. Shizune sniffs hard and crawls into his bed, all the way to the wall. She lays down on her side and folds into herself.
Kakashi drops down beside her, propping his head in one hand and reaching out to touch her elbow with the other.
"How stupid do you think a trained kunoichi has to be to let someone rape her?" she asks suddenly.
"Shizune. Don't," Kakashi says in a quiet, firm voice.
"I'm so stupid," she tells herself.
"No one thinks that," Kakashi murmurs.
"You don't know," she says.
"Tell me," he says.
"You can. Shizune, I'm right here."
She pulls tighter into a little ball of limbs, inhales, and begins.
There's an influenza outbreak in one of the border towns in Fire, and Tsunade sends Shizune to help as a gesture of goodwill.
For five days and four nights, she never leaves the clinic. She sees and helps an endless line of patients, and she doesn't lose a single one. Thanks in part to her services and the increased shipments of supplies from neighboring towns, a crisis is averted.
Instead of resting, she decides to head back to Konoha right away. She worries about a troubling situation brewing with Wind, and she suspects that Tsunade is traumatizing the newest office aide into an early resignation. Even though she feels exhausted, she leaves for home as soon as they dismiss her from the clinic in the dead, dark hours of the night.
She doesn't make it far before she misses a leap and breaks her ankle in the fall. She takes it as a sign, as punishment for pushing herself too hard. After she heals the bone, she goes to sleep. She doesn't set any traps. She doesn't hide her bed roll. She thinks that she'll be safe so close to Konoha. Even though she is weary through and through, she thinks that she will wake up if anyone tries to attack her.
She wakes up. Her head feels too large, and it throbs. She tries to touch it, but her hands are tied. Someone says something, leans over her, and she loses consciousness.
She wakes up. It's late afternoon, and someone is on her, grunting and panting. She tries to scream. He hits her in the head. Another man appears over her. She feels the prick of a needle in her right arm.
She wakes up. A thin woman forces her into a sitting position and rubs at her skin with a rough towel soaked in cold water. Her clothes are gone. The woman works fast. When she is done, the woman trades the cloth for a bowl of thinned mush. She grabs Shizune by the hair and makes her drink it.
She wakes up. Everything hurts. She tries to stand but falls. She knows that they are drugging her, but she can't think clearly enough to make her body purge the toxin from her systems. Outside, she can hear men arguing and a woman whimpering. There's the clatter of coin against coin. She suspects she has been picked up by slave traders. The thin woman appears and makes her drink gruel again.
She wakes up...
She wakes up...
She wakes up...
Once, she wakes up unbound. She can hear the ocean and panics. In the corner of the small room is a bucket of water. She drinks from it. She uses the fresh water to force out the poisons. There is food, but she doesn't trust it enough to eat. The thin woman is passed out in a corner. When she starts to come around, Shizune breaks her neck and steals her filthy dress.
In the hall is a guard. He's not even shinobi, just some guy. She kills him, too.
Along the corridor, there are other rooms with other women and girls inside. Shizune kills every guard she can find. She picks up a short knife from one, a sword from another.
Downstairs are offices and fat men with fat wallets. She kills them all and takes what money she needs.
Outside is a harbor and a boat. The sky is a perfect shade of blue. The ocean sparkles. Gulls scream.
It takes three days to get back to Konoha. She goes to her apartment first. Showers. Changes. She doesn't sleep. She goes to the Tower.
It's like nothing happened. No one knows. She finds a calendar. She's been gone for a little over a month.
Tsunade asks her how it went.
Fine, she says. Fine.
She doesn't even realize that she's pregnant until a month later, on a mission. She feels sick all the time, but she has lost track of time. She finds the truth reflected back at her when her partner looks at her with a red, swirling eye that sees more than it should.
After the mission, she discovers an entire shelf of options in the room of confiscated items at the hospital. She picks the biggest box. Back at her home, she follows the directions that she finds handwritten on a scrap of parchment inside. She knows the danger, but she doesn't much care if it kills her, too. When the bleeding starts the next morning and won't stop, she thinks that it may do just that.
She sends a note to the Tower that says she is sick.
No one comes for the next day and a half. She bleeds the entire time, right up until he knocks on her door.
At the end of her story, Kakashi wraps Shizune in his arms and holds on. She only cries a little. Hot tears dot his shirt.
"I told you," she says with a thick voice. "I was stupid. I should have set some kind of trap, at least. I should have-"
"No," he insists. He pulls her in closer, as if he can make her understand through his touch alone. "You want me to tell you that you made a mistake? You did. You should have told someone sooner."
"I couldn't keep it," she sobs, the dam finally breaking. "I just couldn't. It didn't deserve to be...oh god...I feel like I'm going to lose my mind."
There are no words that could make any difference. Kakashi holds Shizune until she falls asleep and keeps holding her for a long time after that.
He watches the lines of worry crease her sleeping face and thinks that if anyone tries to hurt her again, ever, he will kill them.
She is gone when Kakashi wakes up in the morning, and he doesn't know what to do.
So he does nothing.
The day is like any other, except not at all.
After work, she comes by his apartment. She is the one carrying the take-out this time. Kakashi is so relieved to see her that he nearly makes her drop the bags when he snaps her into his arms.
"I told Tsunade," she whispers into his shoulder. "She broke her desk and then told me that she loved me. She said that I'm like a daughter to her and that she feels like the whole thing is her fault for making me push too hard to get back to help her."
She pulls away and finds a smile for him.
"Thank you," she says.
Kakashi waits two full months before he kisses her.
They eat dinner together every night at one of their apartments when they are in Konoha, and when they go on missions, they are always on the same team. At first, Kakashi wants to chalk it up to Tsunade's protectiveness. It's no secret that Kakashi would do anything, even throw the mission, to save his team mates, and he's certainly in the Top Five of Konoha's strongest shinobi. Tsunade could trust him to protect Shizune, no matter what.
Before the third mission, Tsunade gives him a knowing nod as she hands over the scroll, and Kakashi suspects that, somehow, someway, the Fifth has figured out how he feels. His new theory is that Tsunade sends them out together because she knows that it would never occur to him to hurt Shizune.
After the fifth mission, Kakashi finally figures out that he has it all backwards. Shizune blushes hard through the debriefing while Tsunade keeps shooting her odd looks, and Kakashi wants to smack himself for not seeing it sooner. Tsunade wasn't pairing them up because she thought that Kakashi cared for Shizune. The Fifth sent them out together because she knew that Shizune wanted him.
As soon as the debriefing ends, he pulls down his mask and kisses her right in front of the Hokage, who nearly chokes on her sake in surprise. Shizune, thankfully, finds it highly entertaining.
He moves into her place right away because they spend all of their spare time together anyway, and Kakashi is more than happy to be rid of his dreadful apartment. She teaches him how to tend her herb garden, and he tries to talk her into getting a dog.
It wasn't all better just because they were together. Shizune has bad moments. Sometimes she wants to be left alone; other times she doesn't want him out of arm's reach. When she cries for hours after the first time they have sex, Kakashi wants to jump off the nearest bridge to die of shame and guilt. The next time is better. She heals slowly with time and love because, of course, he loves her.
Kakashi likes to think that he would have ended up with Shizune any way because she's so good for him and it feels so right that they are together. The idea that she had to endure so much just to get him involved makes him feel like calling down any deity that might exist and punching it in the mouth. But there's no denying that he came to Shizune's door that first night because she had been so unspeakably hurt, just like there's no denying that Kakashi would have never seen her condition in the first place without Obito's Sharingan. When he thinks too much about it, Kakashi sees an endless path of horrors that paved the way to their happiness, so he tries not think about it.
Instead, Kakashi makes it a point to show Shizune that he loves her as much as he can for as long as he can. For once, he is glad to be involved.