All notes are at the bottom. I own nothing...
WARNING: There are a whole crap load of SPOILERS in this story so it would be best if you are caught up in the manga. However, one can easily take it as all being made up. Not all "fact-ish" things are real though, they were created intentionally for this piece. Also some things might just be plain wrong from what the manga is. Sorry in advance, I don't remember everything that went on.
He stood. His gaze was heavy as his hands dug into his pockets and scratched absentmindedly at the fabric coming loose at the bottom. His eyes didn't move as he gazed at what was before him; the only time they would flicker was when he decided that time was spent long enough, but before he could take a step, make a seal, make a breath, his gaze would flicker right back.
Hatake Kakashi was forty years old now. He had lived for at least ten years longer than he had ever dreamed of living and regretted every single moment of it. He wished honestly that he didn't live to reach the age of twenty-six; the year now, that in hind-sight, had been his mental and utter undoing.
This was the year that he received his team seven. It was the team that was ingrained within the memories of every living man, woman and child…and more so in a world beyond that. It was the team that contained the Kyuubi, the last Uchiha, the apprentice of the Godaime, the greatest hope of Konoha, the greatest threat to Konoha, a medical genius and the Rokudaime of Konoha.
Before that fateful age, he was a man who had nothing left to lose. He had lost and forgone his family, he had made decisions that killed his best friend and teammate, he had abandoned and left the other teammate to die, he had lost his teacher and there was simply no one left. He made friends, but none of them were weak and none of them ever even touched the walls of his heart. They were just the people he laughed with, but none of them knew what it was like to be the Copy-Nin. If he could have done it all over again, he would have never have gained the title in favor of having Uchiha Obito still by his side. But as that was never an option, the only love that Hatake Kakashi had left was the love for his village.
Hatake Kakashi closed his one eye and opened it again; this time another eye accompanied it. The black tomoe of his Sharingan span lazily as he continued to stare at the cenotaph before him.
Etchings on the dark stone had been made darker due to the light drizzle that had accompanied his visit. He stared at one name and now flickered his eyes slightly, roaming over the cenotaph as through it was a novel. Every name that appeared on that tablet, too many of them were those he had cared for.
He had failed every genin team before the age of twenty-six, and he never had planned on passing another one ever. But that year he had met his three students. Those genin that would eventually rip their way into and find shelter within his heart.
Kakashi's eyes softened as he continued to gaze at the stone. After that, everyone braved the frozen walls and soon enough it felt like the walls had never even been there. He loved his village and now had everything to lose lest it ever fall.
His genin, however, were not perfect. If anything they were far from it.
Both boys on the team had lost their parents at a very young age. Both boys were filled with sorrow, but that was where their similarities ended.
Uzumaki Naruto was a hyperactive boy who just wanted to be accepted. Having been from, nearly birth, been endued with the Kyuubi he had faced the world with little tolerance and had continued to smile through all of it. He acted on his heart, felt with his mouth and loved with every fiber of his being. Naruto was more like Uchiha Obito was than the true Uchiha of the team would ever have been.
Uchiha Sasuke was a morbid boy with little to say and even less expression on his face. His entire clan had been murdered when he had still been in the academy and this had left his mind in the tattered realm of vengeance. Sasuke was the type to do exactly as he wanted it, when he wanted without regard for any other person, especially that of the one female in the group.
Haruno Sakura, when he first met her, was a hopeless twit to say the least. His interest in her disintegrated quickly as she doted upon her hair more than her technique and obsessed compulsively over the Uchiha. The only thing she had going for her at that time was her crazy chakra control.
But his genin had surprised them by means that no other team had managed to do before them. They showed compassion in the face of the harsh world no matter the circumstance and before Kakashi realized it, he had himself a little team.
He trained them and let them get close to his heart. That had been a mistake.
Barely a year had passed before the team began to fall apart. The boy who he had put the most hope on had defected from the village. He joined one of the three legendary Sannin and it had to be the vilest one of all.
Kakashi grimaced as he remembered Sasuke's vile words. "How would you feel if I took everyone you loved away from you?"
Kakashi had replied, "All of them already have." He of course had been wrong in his statement, but at that time he didn't realize this implication.
Sasuke's conquest for power led him to killing Orochimaru and becoming the greatest threat to Konoha that anyone had ever known. But Kakashi still cared for him. The boy was still his student and the boy had been his responsibility when he had defected. Kakashi's heart broke in two when Sasuke had been declared dead. He had been beaten to death by his best friend, by his other male student, by Naruto.
Naruto had too left the village after Sasuke had been finalized to have joined with the Snake Sannin. He had left with the Frog Sannin on a journey that would bring him to become stronger and realize within him a much darker more dangerous power.
No one had known the extent of the power of the Kyuubi until Jiraiya had shown the star shaped scar much to close to his heart for the occupants of the hospital room to see, but now they understood.
Kakashi remembered how he had felt in those faithful moments. He remembered the imminent heart ache that shot across his chest. Power did things to people, power allowed them to make decisions that they otherwise wouldn't have. Naruto's ever growing power was going to be the death of him, just as Sasuke's conquest would be his.
In one of the confrontations with his estranged black haired student, he listened in horror as Naruto had proclaimed that one of the two would die in battle. Hatake Kakashi had realized then what he had done. The feelings that were swirling inside his gut, the unpleasant pressure of a incurable ache warned him, told him that what he had done only years previous had been one of the worst decisions of his life. He let them in and now he was bound to lose at least one of them all over again.
However, Naruto was a forced to be reckoned with but he would eventually gain control over his power. The Yondaime, Naruto's father, and the previous Kyuubi host, Naruto's mother, aided him with all their love in his retention of his power.
And then the deciding battle had finally arrived. Sasuke and Naruto had finally faced each other on the field. Sasuke had died that day, but Naruto had been wrong. Neither of them had come out of the battle alive. Kakashi still remembered Sakura cursing the world over the fact that Chiyo had not, and never would of had taught her forbidden life transferring jutsu to anyone else.
Kakashi remembered the ice that flood his veins and could only remember as days later, Naruto's name was carved into the cenotaph before him. Nothing else registered in his brain, nothing. But they hadn't all died, no there was one left.
Haruno Sakura. That name stuck a cord and Hatake Kakashi flinched as he blinked both of his eyes. His fingers started to twitch within his pockets and his muscles began to tense in a sensation he wished he did not feel, wished he never had to feel again. One lone tear ran down his eye, no more followed, Kakashi was not a man who expressed his sorrow in numbers, but in a single deliberate action.
His remembrance of Naruto had been unexplainably short, his remembrance of Sasuke even shorter. It seemed the less they had changed from when he first met them, the less he could remember why he missed them. Although miss them he did but because as people changed, they grew, and as they grew they would wind around the heart he remembered someone else so much more. And Haruno Sakura who had started off as a hopeless twit could not have changed anymore than she had.
Haruno Sakura was the one that was always left behind. Kakashi saw this and he knew this when she was at a younger age, but he had little to say or do about it. If she had allowed herself to be left behind, then she was the one at fault and not him. At least that is what Kakashi told himself years later when he looked at her and saw what she had become with the right teacher, the kind that saw some one trailing behind and picked them off the ground literally hurling them into the forefronts.
Kakashi had seen Sakura grow during the Chunnin exam. But he still did not consider her improvement enough. Sasuke and Naruto had done much more. They had passed the preliminary rounds; they had fought like weapons in their respective rounds. Sakura fought with purpose, but not as a weapon.
When Sasuke had left, Sakura was left to her own devices. No longer did her own childish dreams and wants apply, no longer could they exist and no longer did she delude herself into believing that he would help her. He could not help her, even if he wanted to, he couldn't bear himself to do so. So she had sought help and he had watched as his last student found refuge under the care of another, the last Sannin, the Slug Princess. In those two years from when Naruto left and returned, he did not care to see Sakura even once, he returned to Anbu and lived within his own delusion. He could be accused of hypocrisy and he wouldn't have minded, he knew his flaws, knew them perfectly.
The day Naruto returned was the day that Kakashi's eyes had been opened. It was not that two of his students were incredible, but his last one was too. As she had stared at him through those flying boulders of rock during the second bell test he had ever performed, he saw her defiance, he saw her fire and he knew that the one thing that Sakura had going for her when she was twelve was everything that was going for her now. He sincerely regretted not allowing the girl more of his attention, but he knew that what she would have learned from him would have never put a candle to how Tsunade had utilized her one-chakra asset and expanded the pink haired girls horizons beyond that of a mere combat kunoichi.
After that day Kakashi had become closer to the girl. Had taught her some of the techniques that only he as the Copy-Nin could show her and her smile was more radiant in that time than he had ever seen it when she had been a kid. When she had nearly killed her childhood love, because he couldno longer call it as just some childhood crush, and Naruto had declared that one or the other would die in their last battle, Sakura had fallen to pieces.
She had appeared at his doorway, dripping wet from the rain. He had just been woken up from some fantastic dream and had stared at her as her green eyes gazed down at the floor. She had looked up soon enough and all he could see within those eyes were longing. That day Sakura admitted to Kakashi how she felt about Sasuke and Naruto. "They love each other, Kakashi-sensei. Through everything they've gone to, through all the trouble they have caused, Sasuke will always be the first in Naruto's mind and Naruto will always be the first in Sasuke's." The pink hair girl flushed then before tears leaked down her cheeks. The insinuation was clear.
Kakashi did not say anything for one hour. He allowed her to cry, because she had every right to. They had sat there in silence and she tried to stifle her tears. He handed her a tissue every so often but could not hope to offer any more comfort.
When he felt like she had cried her last drop, Kakashi had told her, "What you have said is true. You aren't number one in either of their hearts and neither am I. However, I would say that you being the only one I can hope to care for so much is enough for you." That night Sakura had cried more tears as she nodded and hugged him. She was first in someone's mind. That was all she had to know. From there on out their friendship grew to massive proportions.
Her smile had sent stars to float behind his eyes and her laugh, her true laugh, was reserved for him only. Kakashi would spend day after day with her and everyday he couldn't help but not want to let her go even more. They trained together in epic proportions.
Then that day happened, they had slipped up on the training ground and he had accidently kissed her. Kakashi didn't remember the two seconds it took her to scramble out from under him and run away at the speed of an Anbu operative. All he could remember was her pink hair delicately brushing along his cheek.
"I love you!" Sakura clenched her first around the railing of the bridge and squeezed her eyes shut. She bit her bottom lip and opened her eyes for him to see. "I love you and I don't know why. I don't know why I feel these things for you and I don't care. I love you…"
He had paused. He hadn't replied. He had stared at her until her knuckles turned white and her eyes closed in despair. He loved her, but he had never been one to say it. He hoped beyond all reason that she would realize what he felt, what he desired the moment he touched her cheek, pulled down his mask and let her gaze at his face. Her eyes all but widened in contrast to her early closed ones. She smiled and was elated.
She had been nineteen at the time. He couldn't believe that Sasuke and Naruto had not had their match yet. But his thought came too soon and the gates of Konoha were blasted into oblivion.
Sasuke had invaded, with an army of Shinobi at his disposal. Tsunade had been lucky to survive one raid on Konoha, she was not lucky enough to survive a second. The world had been ridden of the Legendary Sannin. The final battle was only on the horizon.
Sakura and Kakashi along with the other of the Konoha 9 and the remaining force they had left subdued most of the invading forces with deaths and blood littering the blistering ground. Sakura was at her wits end fighting and healing and every time she lost a genin, chunin, jounin or friend her nerves would be torn apart. But all of that became nothing when the two heard the explosion within the center of the village. Stealing a glace at each other they raced to the commotion leaving behind the seven of the nine that were left standing; Neji, Tenten, Shino, Hinata, Kiba, Shikamaru and Chouji.
At arrival at the battle site, all that the duo could have hoped to do was ward off any of Sasuke's ensemble from trying to interfere and land a blow on their comrade. It took thirty minutes before the fight was over. No one had won the battle. They had won the war. Kakashi would never forget Sakura's screams.
The next day he had been offered the position of the official Rokudaimie in light of Tsunade's true death. He once again refused. That night he packed his bags and left. He didn't regret that he left behind his last student, he only regretted leaving behind someone he loved. She would be just fine without him. She would be better.
Five years after the battle he returned.
He had tried to push Konoha out of his mind. Tried to forget that he had lost more now than he had ever lost before, but knowledge was inevitable. He heard through the whispers that Konoha was once again at the risk of peril. The war that Sasuke had caused had destroyed the village, of its foundation and of its people. Of the seven who he had last seen only four happened to have reached the end of the invasion; Tenten, Shino, Hinata, and Shikamaru. The only thing he could not help but wonder, was who had taken the place of the Rokudaime. Naruto's dream of taking the title had shattered the moment his brilliant blue eyes had faded to nothing but white.
Upon entering the village he headed straight to the cenotaph. He was not surprised to find that Uchiha Sasuke was not on the list, though he had never been officially recorded as having defected from the village. However, Uzumaki Naruto was deeply inscribed within the rock and it seemed as though his name was constantly being renewed every day. All the other names surrounding his looked more worn out. He looked up and started at the Hokage mountain and his breath stopped short. That was where the Anbu squad had found him and that was when he met the Rokudaime.
She stared at him with green eyes. "What did you expect Kakashi? When you turned down the position? Shizune, who would have taken the position, had died and you had refused. Genma had also opted out in order to physically restore the village. Kurenai had a child and Gai was lost in the battle. I who was the Godaime's apprentice knew more about her job than anyone qualified and living, I who had been on the same team as he who should have been the Rokudamie. I, Sakura, who never wanted her face to be engraved on the side of the mountain must now look at it everyday and remember that it is not Naruto up there like it should be." She stared at him through hard eyes before they softened again and she laughed.
Lines of weariness appeared on her face as she sat down on the chair and motioned for him to do the same. She crossed her arms and looked up at him warmly. Her legs were crossed and he noticed that she did not don any of the attire of the Hokage. He saw that she looked very much like the Slug Princess but unexplainably more red and pink.
"You should be happy Kakashi that it was me who became the Rokudaime. Leaving when there is no Hokage could put you up as a missing-nin, you should be glad that I know you." She smiled at him in a way that no student would smile at his or her teacher. She still loved him, and he still loved her.
"You've returned Kakashi and for that I am happy," her eyes continued to soften, "Konoha will be under siege once more. That is why you are back I presume. Hopefully, this will be the last time in a long time." Her eyes did not as uncertain as his looked. "Suna will be on our side, the world won't be uniting anytime soon, but Suna is on our side. Gaara, in his old ties to Naruto had agreed to work together with me…" Sakura paused and amended, "with us," she gestured to the landscape behind her, "and protect what Naruto gave his life to protect." Something sparked in her eyes. She smiled at him, her eyes sad, "However, I will die…and you must accept to take my place Kakashi. You have to."
They just sat there staring at each other for the longest time. Before long his pink haired student and love began to laugh. "Promise me Kakashi that you will become the Shichidaime," she stuck out her pinky and he stared it in shock. She smiled at him and her dark green pools rippled with her feelings for him. He took her pinky reluctantly and agreed. She wouldn't die, he would make sure of it. Sakura sat back after their exchange and crossed her arms again.
They continued to stare at each other. They were very much still in love. That night Kakashi stayed with Sakura as she slept. The tension in her shoulders and the worry on her face dissipated as he ran his hands through her hair for the first time and kissed her intentionally for the first time.
The siege came but a week later and as was the Rokudaime's prediction, she had died saving the village. Her fist and her techniques allowed for the very little military they had left destroy the infiltration and allowed Suna within the walls in order to defend the village. However, she had been subdued and killed with little to no honor within her name when her chakra ran out. Sakura had specifically requested her usual guard squad to secure the rest of the village. Each of them had died before they could try to defend their leader. When she was killed though, it was with a smile on her face. It was over.
He hadn't been there for her. The Copy-Nin was marked as a specific target and he had his own battles. Once again he cursed his name as he heard the proclamation of the death of the Hokage.
Kakashi had held her body in the aftermath. By then it had turned cold. He cursed the promise he had made, simply because he couldn't believe that she would die as well. He cursed it because he had been present for the death of Chiyo, because he had seen her seals. Because none of this would have happened if at the moment of Naruto's death he had been thinking straight and so overwhelmed with grief in having lost two more people that he loved. Now he had lost his last. Again…
Kakashi sighed and pulled his hat back down so that it shadowed back over his face. It had been another five years since then. Konoha was only starting to pick up again. They did not have enough teachers for the roaring number of genin that had been born, placed and graduated the academy after the light of the last invasion. Since that invasion there had been nothing but peace. Something he hoped would never be broken.
Kakashi kneeled before the cenotaph and ran his fingers over the two darkest names on the stone.
Rokudaimie Haruno Sakura
Flickering his eyes he traced with his thumbs the names that were decades old.
Kakashi found himself standing up after four minutes of staring at etchings. Sakura would be disappointed in him if she knew that he was still spending most of his time at the cenotaph. He had things to do.
He as the Shichidaime, not only had the responsibilities of a Hokage, but was back to being a teacher for a genin team for the second in his life. Technically this would be his twentieth or so time but he still considered it ridiculous that as the Hokage he had to baby-sit a bunch of kids for even one day. It only ever was for one day. Kakashi made the teleportation seal and suddenly he was in training ground three. One of the genin that had been assigned to him was still tied to the pole. The other two had finished their bentos. He stared at them and quirked his lips up in a frustrated demeanor.
He never intended to pass another team ever again, even if they passed the bell test; he never wanted to learn to love another again. Everyone he loved died and it would remain his curse. The only thing he loved now was his village and his village only. Letting in his team seven had destroyed everything, loving had destroyed everything. He was a man who was not destined for love and that he now knew. He just wished that he could have another that was as good as his team had been during their first days so he could at least get another to train them.
Kakashi pointed at his team and said in his most lethargic voice, he didn't want them to hate the Shichidaime, "You have failed. Get out of my sight." He hadn't known to whom he was referring too.
I hope you enjoyed and I guess I have a couple of thing that might want explaining and some other things are just happy notes that can't be explained in the story due to the focus.
Kakashi and Sakura: This was originally supposed to be a KakaSaku story to start so the focus on Sakura is warned to be heavy. The way I wrote it might make it seem as though he cared less about Sasuke and Naruto when actually he does not. He is just focusing at that moment more on the last person to leave him behind that the ones who had left earlier. This is emphasized by how Kakashi was functional at Sakura's death and was not at the death of Naruto and Sasuke.
Konoha 9: The people I chose to die were all random except Hinata. I would like to think that she would never stop risking her life for the man she loves and would not die in a huge span of time before or after him.
Rin's last name: This is not her real last name (obviously) but for the affect of the piece I had to give one to her. The last name came from the markings of her face and though they are obviously different from that of Inuzuka Kiba, his sister and mother it can become believable. As like it was in the Hyuuga clan, there could have been branches in that of the Inuzuka clan that was represented by different markings. If she actually does have a true last name, you can inform me and I'll change it. Though in my searching, I have yet to find one. Also...I have no idea how Rin died...
If you feel there is more explanation needed just ask and I will reply as soon as possible.