Title: Failure
Author: Violet Garnets
Rating: PG
Warnings: Fluff, really. Nothing more. Well, also unbeta-ed.
Disclaimer: Masashi Kishimoto owns Naruto, and I am merely borrowing his characters for creative and entertainment purposes.
Summary: According to everyone else, Kakashi was a failure as a teacher to Team Seven, but Naruto doesn't really get it.

--

Kakashi was a failure as a teacher, and everyone knew it.

He paid too much attention to one and not enough to the others, some said.

Others said no, the one he favored was the best choice. The others weren't nearly as important.

But in the end, the village lost a prodigy— and not just any prodigy either. With the defection of the last Uchiha, Konoha felt aimless without its prestigious clan. Kakashi failed to lead Sasuke onto the right path, failed to create a leader in the one destined for greatness.

Kakashi was a failure as a teacher, and he knew it.

No, he never gave them many lessons outright. Maybe that one tree-walking exercise, and that was the extent of his tutelage. Sakura wanted to pursue her goal of becoming a medic-nin, and there was no way the copy-nin could help with that. Naruto wanted to become stronger, and traveling with Jiraiya opened up far more possibilities than staying with Kakashi in Konoha. Sasuke had always been blind to Kakashi's warnings and pleading. Orochimaru had a serpent's tongue (quite literally) and Kakashi, despite his smooth demeanor, never could find the right words to ease the youth's poor soul.

Kakashi was a failure as a teacher, but Naruto didn't really get it what everyone else saw.

When Kakashi had said, "Those who break the rules and codes of the ninja are called trash. But you know what? Those who fail to take care of their comrades…are lower than trash," Naruto had been inspired. Those words had only strengthened his resolve to become Hokage, to protect and defend the things and people he loved. Sometimes Naruto shivers at the idea of a different teacher, someone who would say something like "Forget your teammates. Focus only on the mission." He wonders just how he would have turned out.

Naruto, as well as Sakura, understood what kind of teacher Kakashi was. Similar lessons to the tree-walking one would have been useless. No, Kakashi led by example, worked diligently towards all missions with a gentle and firm kindness. Naruto saw in Kakashi the perfect shinobi, and struggled to become someone like him without needing any reminders. And he never really worked more with Sasuke; he simply worked with him first because Sasuke dangled closer to the edge than the other two. He needed to be saved. But Sasuke jumped over that edge willingly. It was never truly Kakashi's fault for that. Eventually, Kakashi got around to working with his other students, perhaps paid them more attention than he was ever able to give to the Uchiha. No, Naruto refuses to believe that Kakashi is a failure. Because he isn't.

Naruto's not the most eloquent person, but he tries. With every butterfly kiss he presses to Kakashi's scars under the covers at night, he tries to remind Kakashi just why he views him as a hero to be loved…why Kakashi wasn't, isn't, will never be a failure. Not to Naruto.

--