Naruto and all of the series' characters do not belong to me. They belong to Kishimoto-san.
It was a beautiful and sunny day. Birds were chirping and landing atop the newly formed plateau that had been made days prior. They bathed in the sparkling water that flowed from a hole and not a river. The shout of a young man came from over the edge of the curiously placed water feature and caused the birds to scatter. They flew for their lives, not realizing that there was no real danger. Another shout from the same young man sounded; however, the voice seemed to have multiplied.
Suddenly, all the voices that had been previously letting out complaints began to disappear. Only one figure stood on a makeshift shelf of wood. It wobbled slightly right before taking one too many steps backwards. The figure stumbled off the shelf and fell. Luckily, the exhausted young man was caught be another and was brought safely to the ground. The savior settled the sleeping form against a tree, placing a palm beneath the blonde locks of hair and onto the forehead.
"How is he? Kakashi-senpai?" The one named Kakashi looks up from the blonde figure before him.
"I think he'll be fine, Tenzou." Kakashi stands up, lightly scratching his head through the thick mane of silver hair.
"I've asked you before, Kakashi-senpai. Please call me, Yamato." A brunette man comes to the Jounin's side and folded his arms.
"Right, right. Sorry, Yamato." Kakashi gives an apologetic smile that is visible even behind his ever present mask.
"Just as well, I suppose. I need a break." Yamato winces at the kink in his neck and sore shoulders. He was not used to sitting in one position for so long.
"I'm sure. You looked like you were counting down to the time that Naruto would pass out." Kakashi looks down at the sleeping blonde fondly.
"I was not, Kakashi-senpai… I was counting down to the time he'd finally cut the waterfall." Yamato grinds out calmly. He glances down at Naruto as well and smiles lightly. "I'm sure that will be soon."
"Yeah… he is something else." Kakashi slips his hands into his pockets and turns away. "Well, Yamato, since it's break time. I'm going to go take care of some very important business!"
"Eh? Kakashi-senpai?!" By the time Yamato whirls around, Kakashi's gone. "Honestly… what am I supposed to do here while he's gone and Naruto's unconscious?"
Yamato huffs quietly and sits on the ground. His muscles immediately begin to protest and the brunette appeases them by laying flat in the grass. It feels good to finally lie down and allow his body some rest. The clouds drift overhead and he contents himself by watching them. It isn't often that he can rest so peacefully. After some time, the blonde, Naruto, begins to rouse from his slumber. Yamato shoots into a relaxed sitting position when Naruto's eyes open.
"You're awake." Yamato states lamely with a small grin.
"Yamato-taichou?" Naruto mumbles out and glances around briefly. "Where's Kakashi-sensei?"
"Said he had something to do."
"Yeah, I'm sure." Naruto grumbles disappointedly.
The Genin stands up and stretches some. He looks around the training area with a boorish expression before looking down at the Jounin. Yamato is unable to stop himself from blinking at the look on the other's face. He has never seen such a dissatisfied grimace on the usually sunny face. Naruto yawns and walks over to sit directly in front of Yamato. He hunches over, folding his legs and propping his elbows on them. Yamato's not sure what to make of this difference in personality, but curiosity is a powerful thing.
So, he sits and stares at the younger man before him. Naruto stares straight at Yamato's face, leaving the brunette to feel rather uncomfortable. Eventually, Naruto tilts his head and his expression morphs into a more pensive one. A few more minutes of the silence pass by and Yamato's discomfort grows. He's never felt so uneasy when people stare at him like that. However, he supposes that's due to the little fact that when he receives those stares, he's wearing an ANBU mask.
"What?" Yamato finally breaks the silence.
"I'm still deciding." Naruto states as if it were obvious.
"Deciding? Deciding what, Naruto?" Yamato asks in relief to have the boy talking.
"If I like you or
Kakashi-sensei better." Naruto waves his hand and sits
"I… don't understand." The Jounin was certainly not expecting that for an answer.
"Well… you're both really great. I'm lucky to have both of you here for my training. Even if I've known Kakashi-sensei longer than you and have always liked him the most, I really like you, too." Naruto's lips gain a bright smile.
"Then why would liking one of better be an issue?"
"Why do you call Kakashi-sensei 'senpai'?" Naruto prompts suddenly.
"Um… well. We used to be on a squad together and he was there longer than I was." Yamato feels his eyebrows rise in concern that all Naruto was going to do was ask questions. It felt like an interrogation.
"But aren't you two about the same age?" The blonde tilts his head to the other side. For some reason, Yamato finds it to be a rather endearing motion.
"Um… yes, but he was a senpai to many more people than me. Some were even ten years older than he was." Yamato forces a smile.
"You're uncomfortable around people, aren't you, Yamato-taichou." Naruto again states out of the blue.
"Eh? Uh… Naruto? Why are you so curious all off a sudden?"
"I'm not as stupid as people think, you know." Naruto flops onto his back and looks up at the sky.
"I wasn't saying that." Yamato blink again despite himself.
"I know… but everyone assumes that I am. It's just easier to play along sometimes." Naruto folds his arms behind his head. "I failed the academy's ninja twice on purpose… the third time was an accident. I had been up the night before practicing and the next day, I didn't have enough energy to use my chakra properly."
"Huh?" Yamato's eyes are wide and he stares at the ninja that ranks only by name on the level of Genin.
"Strange, huh? How people can affect your personality?" Naruto smiles again and sits back up. "I really am a happy and determined person. I do get hurt by the hatred I feel from the villagers. I do some stupid things sometimes, but so does everyone else. However, I'm a lot smarter than people give me credit for. I just don't want you to know me the same way that Kakashi-sensei does."
Yamato still has no response. He stares, wide eyed and open mouthed at the blonde in front of him. He's never heard Naruto speak so level headedly or even appear so serene and just downright loveable. When he finally gathers himself back together to speak, Kakashi reappears on the scene. He walks up to them with snacks in hand and sets them down in between the two. Kakashi sits and smiles jovially. Yamato glances back at Naruto, who's now grinning like he always does when Kakashi's around. It's like the more mature Naruto was just a figment of his imagination.
"Yamato? Something wrong?" Kakashi taunts happily. "I brought something for us to snack on. Better hurry before Naruto gets it all!"
"Oh, right. Thank you, Kakashi-senpai." Yamato looks down and grabs one of the colorful packages.
"Thanks, Kakashi-sensei!" Naruto whoops and takes a bite of the snack he grabbed.
"You're both entirely welcome!" Kakashi smiles and grabs one of the packages himself.
When the snacks are finished Naruto jumps from his spot and rushes towards the wooden shelf. Yamato and Kakashi stand as well and walk over to their respectful places. Kakashi plops himself down on the bench and pulls out his book. Yamato sits down, forms several hand seals and holds his hand out. The symbol for 'sit' appearing on his hand as he prepares for another long sit. Naruto goes to work, creating enough clones to span the entire shelf. Yamato looks up at the back of the young blonde and begins to mull over the conversation they had just had.
"What was that, Yamato?" Kakashi's voice rings out and brings Yamato out of his own thoughts.
"Excuse me?" Yamato glances over at the silver haired man.
"You said something about Naruto." Kakashi sits up on the bench, lowering his book to look at his comrade.
"Oh… I didn't realize I said anything out loud." Yamato chuckles nervously.
"Hm? What were you thinking about that had you unaware of when you speak?" Kakashi stands up, giving Yamato a rather lazy look over curiosity.
"Just that I'm surprised how fast he's improving." Yamato gives a forced smile and looks back at the ninja they're speaking of.
"I'll admit, it's amazing, but you didn't seem so thoughtful of it before."
Yamato secretly curses the other Jounin for being so tuned in to people when he wanted to be. He spares a glance at the other man and nearly pouts, but manages to withhold it and replace it with a frown. Kakashi simply blinks and then his eye's shape changes slightly. It curves upwards and Yamato grimaces. That look can only mean one thing; Kakashi's smiling like a Cheshire cat under that blasted mask. The brunette turns his gaze away and wills himself not to be thrown by anything the man says.
"Do you like, Naruto?" Kakashi asks in a slightly childish tone.
"Eh!?" Yamato wasn't expecting that for a question at all and he wheels his head from Naruto to Kakashi and back to Naruto. Hopefully, Naruto can't hear them for where they are. "What kind of question is that? You need to stop reading those books, Kakashi-senpai."
"I need to know." Suddenly, Kakashi's carefree expression melts away into a more blank one.
Yamato stares hard at Kakashi for any signs of anything, anything at all. They remain still like that for a long time while Naruto's voice is heard in the background. A quick yelp from the blonde reaches their ears and Kakashi's head whips into Naruto's direction. Yamato looks as well and sees Naruto dangling from the shelf. Several of the clones help their fallen comrade back onto the shelf. Yamato sighs silently and looks back over at Kakashi. The silver haired Jounin's eyes are still trained on the young man on the shelf. That's when it hits him and he grins almost devilishly.
"Hmm… Kakashi-senpai?" Yamato watches as Kakashi tears his eyes away to look back at him. "You like, Naruto, don't you?"
"What?" Kakashi's visible eye widens ever so slightly and it's almost not noticeable if you're not looking for it.
"You do!" Yamato's grin turns into a wicked smile.
"Of course I like him, he's my stu-" Kakashi stops when Yamato's smile disappears and is replaced with a stern expression. "What now?"
"I just thought I'd let you know, Naruto said likes me more than you." Yamato says without a hint of malice or levity. He knows it's a little white lie, but what Kakashi doesn't know, won't kill him. Besides, it's time that he got Kakashi back for everything he's ever put him through. Also, the crestfallen look on Kakashi's face was positively priceless. Oh what fun this will be.