Title: Dreaming of Sunshine

Summary: Life as a ninja. It starts with confusion and terror and doesn't get any better from there. OC Self-insert.



Chapter 124



Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go. ~ T. S. Eliot


Kakashi-sensei peered down at our three hopeful faces on his doorstep with an expression that was more resignation than surprise.

"Good morning, sensei," I singsonged, ducking under his arm and into the apartment. It was still the same small, cramped space it had been last time I visited, though now it was piled with textbooks and note paper. "Are you already working?"

I tried not to sound delighted, but some of it probably slipped through. I'd been afraid he would revert back to the 'it's a waste of time' arguments that I didn't have the patience for. But apparently not. Maybe it was the implication that it might not have been the sharingan or the attempt to do something about it ourselves instead of leaving it in the hands of the hospital.

Kakashi drew back and flipped idly through one of the books left out on the table. "You know," he said, "a major cause of chakra irregularity is gate malfunction."

Sakura gasped in horror and covered her mouth.

Oh, jeeze. Actually, this was exactly like leaving a paranoid person with access to WebMD, wasn't it? You plugged in vague symptoms and suddenly you had cancer.

"The side effects of gate instability are pretty noticeable," I said dryly. "Like suddenly catching on fire." I paused. "Or dressing in green spandex and shouting about youth."

That was less of a pot-shot at Gai-sensei and more of a reminder that even in that very worst case scenario, we had resources to work with.

Some of the tension in his shoulders drained away. "That would be pretty noticeable," he agreed.

"Spontaneous combustion notwithstanding," I went on, "we've got a lot to do."

I felt like we were making progress, if nowhere near as dramatic as the previous day. We were interrupted about midmorning by an enthusiastic knocking on the door. Or rather, an enthusiastic shuddering of the front wall, presumably from someone knocking.

Kakashi-sensei hunched down into his seat. "He's been circling since dawn," he lamented, as though we could be reliably expected to know who he was talking about.

I blinked at him. I had felt the ebb and flow of people around us – unlike my house, Kakashi-sensei's apartment was, well, in an apartment building. And in the village proper. There were people constantly in my range of awareness, living here, or moving in the street, or travelling by rooftop – but I couldn't, with reliable certainty, say I'd sensed Gai-sensei 'circling'.

The door shuddered again. Kakashi-sensei still didn't move to open it.

I looked at Sasuke. He gave me a pointed look that amounted to 'not it'. Sakura started to fidget with the awkwardness that came from being around people who were violating polite etiquette.

I sighed, stood, and went to open the door.

"Good morning, Gai-sensei," I chirped as brightly as I could. "Kakashi-sensei is really happy you're here! Please come in!"

Gai-sensei beamed back at me with an amount of teeth that was slightly dazzling, and managed to get past me and inside the house without actually moving me at all. Given the size of the apartment and the fact that there were now five people plus the books covering the floor, that was no mean feat.


"Oh," Kakashi-sensei said, with the worst kind of disaffected surprise. "It's you." He waited a beat. "Why are you here?"

I flopped back down on the floor and let the Kakashi-and-Gai show continue on without me. Sasuke was ignoring them equally as much, but Sakura was staring vacantly into the air with an expression that faltered somewhere before reaching horrified.

Did she know Gai-sensei?

"You know Lee, don't you?" I asked, rhetorically. I was pretty sure she did. "This is his sensei."

Her expression completed its transformation and seemed to indicate that that information didn't make anything better.

I patted her on the hand. "You get used to it," I assured her. Really though, I would have thought that working at the hospital would have made her see way weirder things. And as far as ninja craziness went, I would take Lee and Gai's harmless exuberance over active creepiness or malice any day.

"- it pleases me to see that your beloved students are with you!"

"Ah," Kakashi-sensei agreed vaguely. "They are."

There was a long and expectant pause that he completely failed to fill with an adequate explanation. Gai-sensei rotated slowly and eyed us, and I felt the heavy weight of his regard demanding an answer.

I stared reproachfully at sensei. He wasn't going to make us lie to Gai, was he?

"Kakashi-sensei is teaching us about jutsu creation," Sasuke said, heaving a sigh.

That wasn't actually a bad excuse. "He is Konoha's foremost expert," I agreed. "And since Tsunade-sama forbid him from training with us we have to put him to work somehow."

Gai-sensei looked at our clearly medical textbooks and didn't outright call us on it or express any kind of disbelief.

Sasuke smirked. "Shikako isn't allowed to practice new jutsu without a medic-nin present after the shadow clone debacle," he said.

"Hey!" I protested, automatically. "That was one time, okay?"

"What shadow clone debacle?" Sensei asked suspiciously. "When was this?"

"It was nothing!" I insisted.

"Oh really?" Sasuke mocked. "Because I recall you insisting on getting Sakura-"

"That wasn't even-!" I reached out and shoved at his face and we kept bickering and fighting, dragging the conversation leagues away from whatever reason we might have to be in Kakashi's house studying medicine.

Not exactly what one would call a 'clean save' but it was something.

Once Gai-sensei had left, I asked, "he doesn't know?"

"I didn't tell him," Kakashi-sensei said which wasn't quite the same thing. Because everyone knew about the sharingan and chakra drain, and anyone who'd known him for a long time would probably be able to see that it was getting worse. The true scope of it might have been a surprise, though, like it had been to us.

"Are you going to tell him?" I asked, almost tentative.


And that was that.

Or… not quite. "You know that means you have to teach us about jutsu creation now, sensei," I said slyly. "To keep up appearances."



Working through the Uchiha records happened slowly. They were haphazardly organised, at best. Sasuke wasn't reluctant to hand them over so much as he was reluctant to consider them at all which was a position I sympathised with but was also not very helpful to us.

Even just skimming and setting aside took time and, though there were lots of interesting titbits, nothing that jumped out as 'here is the solution to your problem'.

We'd spent a week running through promising leads and ended up at a dead end that could be uncharitably described as 'right where we started'.

Given our initial leaps of progress, it was disheartening.

"There aren't any more records?" I asked Sasuke, trying not to feel desperate. Surely this couldn't have been everything. The Nara clan had so many that it was impossible the Uchiha had so few.

He shook his head. "Not that I know how to get to," he said, a little helplessly. And that… yeah. Our libraries were protected too. I couldn't get into our classified documents and that wouldn't change if tomorrow there was no more clan to stop me.

"Okay," I said, and lay starfished out on the floor to stare at the ceiling. "Let's take it from the top."

Maybe a recap would help us get back on track.

"We know it's the sharingan," Sasuke said, lifting a shoulder in a shrug that was half apologetic. The hope that it wasn't had fuelled us for a while, but had ultimately been a red herring. A red herring that had served the purpose of offering hope, perhaps, but futile all the same. "It's randomly drawing chakra but doesn't seem to be actually doing anything."

"But the draw doesn't seem to occur when the sharingan is being actively used," Sakura picked up, nodding to herself. "Either to copy or to cast genjutsu. Well, as far as we can tell."

Given the constraints of time and chakra and the fact that the spikes were random, we couldn't completely rule it out, but we'd tried.

"Would it be possible…" Kakashi-sensei asked slowly, "to override the chakra drain?"

"You mean with a seal?" I asked rhetorically. "I mean. Theoretically. But." I frowned. "It depends on what it's doing with the chakra, really. If it's just going to waste, then there wouldn't be a problem. But if it needs it for something… it's not really a good idea to deprive organs of chakra, you know?"

"We could run it past Tsunade-sama?" Sakura suggested tentatively. "Even if we don't have a complete solution, she'll be really impressed with what we've managed!"

There was a disconsolate silence. The idea of leaving it unfinished, of giving up, didn't sit well with me, even if Tsunade-sama could have put the information we'd painstakingly collected together to good use.

I sighed. "Let's sleep on it," I suggested. "Maybe someone will have a bright idea overnight."

I didn't.

I certainly tried. Turning the information over in my head, looking at it from as many different angles as I could. But there were too many blank spots, too many question marks and gaps.

I was running through my morning exercises with Shikamaru in the backyard when Sasuke's chakra turned up at the house. I kept going but enhanced my hearing just as mom invited him in for breakfast.

"No, I just wanted to talk to Shikako," he said, as though I wouldn't have met him in another half hour anyway.

He didn't seem agitated or impatient, though, so I finished up without hurrying. Being busy wasn't a good excuse to skimp on training – that was definitely something I'd regret.

"Morning," I greeted, raising an eyebrow in silent question.

Sasuke shook his head, hands in his pockets. "Had an idea," he said, vaguely. "Something I wanted to show you."

I grabbed food quickly and followed him, to his amusement.

"You could have eaten breakfast," he said, looking at me sideways. He led us not towards town but towards the old Uchiha district. "We're not in a hurry."

"Curiosity waits for no man," I declared. "Or meal. So, what have you got?"

He was silent, but I followed him anyway as we skirted past the training fields and towards an old shrine.

"You asked if there was any other information," he said as we stood inside it.

It was… a little creepy, if I was honest. Old and abandoned, but the faint lingering of old chakra brushed my senses like household spirits still protecting it – repeated rituals and grave seriousness marking them onto the world.

This had been an important place, back when the clan had been still alive.

"Here?" I asked.

Sasuke nodded, jerkily and swallowed. But he moved with deliberation, moving one of the tatami mats aside and revealing an empty space below. "Down here," he said softly and dropped.

I followed him.

It was dark below, but we lit it up with chakra. It was a rough space, bare and stone, dominated by a single large wall with inscriptions I couldn't read.

"It's sharingan code," Sasuke whispered, eyes flickering red. "It's about… about the secret of the sharingan."

The mangekyo.

"Okay," I said gently, just as quiet. Something about the space made me want to keep hushed, keep quiet.

He seemed to take that as prompting to go on. "The code gets more complicated at each layer," he said. "You have to evolve your sharingan to be able to read it. But it says… the eye that opens in battle sees all," he recited. "The eye that opens in experience copies all. The eye that opens in knowledge reflects all."

"The three tomoe," I said.

"The next-" he swallowed. "The next line says the eye that opens in grief knows the faces of the gods."

And I was expecting it – not the words, exactly, but I knew what was coming – and it still hit me like a freight train to the chest. It shouldn't have. I already knew this. I already knew this.

"Tsukiyomi," I whispered, feeling lightheaded. It was just this shrine that had me feeling like this, dislocated and out of place. "Itachi had this."

I could hear him swallow. It seemed to echo in the darkness around us. "He killed Shisui," he said, voice cracking. "They were best friends. And he told me-"

He cut himself off, breathing harsh and raw. I reached out, blindly, and gripped his arm, unsure of which of us I was trying to support.

"The Mangekyo Sharingan. This is the foundation of the great Uchiha clan," he said, bitterly, not continuing that thought. What he'd said was enough.

I breathed, steadily, and stared at that stone tablet. "In grief," I repeated.

Was it really so simple?

Had I really overlooked this?

Fact. Kakashi-sensei didn't have the mangekyo now. Fact. In that show, a lifetime ago, he'd had it after Naruto returned.

Somewhere between those two points-

He told me-

Had Sasuke said something, as he left, as he fought Naruto in the Valley of the End, about his brother and his clan? Had they simply investigated, afterwards, and found this anyway? Had there been a different mission, different actions, that had activated it once and for all?

Sasuke shifted. "What?"

"I think Kakashi-sensei needs to see this," I said slowly, trying to plan out a course of action.

"You think-" he started. "Huh. That could be…"

"It could be," I agreed.

Sasuke snorted, managing to chase off the hovering darkness with sheer attitude alone. "I guess you want to drag Sakura along too," he said.

"It's your call," I said, "I guess it depends on whether you think we need a medical ninja."

"To stare at a wall?" He replied dryly. "For us? Probably."

We scrambled out of the shrine, resetting the tatami mat floor and made our way to Kakashi-sensei's house. Sakura was already there, and they both looked suspiciously at us when we arrived.

"You're late," Sakura said.

Kakashi-sensei burst into giggles.

"Insert witty excuse here," I said swiftly and clapped my hands together. "Come on, on your feet people. We're going on a field trip."

"Field trip?" Sakura asked, frowning with worry. "Where? What are we doing?"

"Just taking a look at some rocks," I said breezily. "No medical jutsu involved. Totally within the scope of our assignment."

"Looking at rocks," Kakashi said. "My favourite activity."

They both seemed more interested the closer we got to the Uchiha compound though for very different reasons. Sasuke seemed to get more and more discomforted, which was understandable. I felt a little guilty, thinking that I should probably have been a bit more supportive of the whole 'revealing horrible secrets of my clan' instead of just leaping ahead to drag more people into it.

I caught his eye when we got to the door but he just shrugged. "Let's get on with it."

The space below the shrine was no more inviting the second time around. I lit up LED tags to brighten it but that only seemed to make it harsher.

"So, uh," I said, gesturing at the inscribed wall. "The Sharingan apparently has another level of ability, above the three tomoe form. It's what Itachi used…" I made a little back and forth gesture between myself and Kakashi-sensei. "These are apparently the… instructions? I guess."

"Do you think his sharingan is attempting to progress to that level?" Sakura asked, eagerly following the same train of thought. "We did note that the greatest use of chakra in Sasuke-kun's sharingan was when it was activating, not when it was in normal use. Oh! And Kakashi-san's sharingan didn't draw extra chakra while it was in use."

"I don't see why not," I said.

"The activation criteria is…" Sasuke said, eyes looking around searchingly, "specific. But it's possible that between the transplant and … life experiences there might be enough to kickstart it."

"But not complete it," Kakashi-sensei finished, looking at the wall like it might turn into a bunch of snakes and try to bite him.

"Or, well," I said. "You might be stopping it? Or not allowing it to complete itself? If it's like a technique that needs to be activated, the fact that you don't know that it's there might be enough to inhibit it."

Kakashi-sensei tilted his headband up.

"Um," Sakura said nervously. "Maybe we should get Tsunade-sama first?" she squeaked.

"The eye that opens in battle sees all," Kakashi-sensei read. His eye started to spin, around and around. "The eye that opens in experience copies all. The eye that opens-"

He blinked and staggered, slightly.

"Sensei?" I asked, alarmed, reaching out for him. His chakra dipped and wavered, alarmingly.

"His chakra level is falling," Sakura said, hands glowing green. "You have to stop."

"No, keep going," I disagreed. "The sharingan is drawing it. It's activating!"

"It's too much!" She said shrilly.

"-in knowledge reflects all," Sensei went on, barely a hitch in his voice. "The eye that opens in grief-"

I pulled my chakra, funnelled it through a transfusion jutsu and shoved it into him. His system almost ate it, hungry and empty.

"Grief," he croaked.

The black tomoe of his eye was twisting, shrinking and reforming into an angular three pointed shuriken.

"-knows the faces of the gods!"

"Stop!" Sakura said shrilly.

"The eye-" Kakashi-sensei choked. His sharingan spun and spun and spun.

The air in front of us started to twist, to distort, to warp, the center point heavier and blacker than the air around it, dragging us towards it with a gravitational pull.

I anchored myself to the ground but the pull was strong, stronger than any magnetism seal I'd managed to create. I slipped over the ground, chunks of it lifting up with me and flying into the maw to vanish entirely.

Then Sasuke was grabbing us and hurling us away from it, slamming Kakashi-sensei's headband down over his eye. The chakra flow cut off abruptly.

"Ow," I said, having bounced off the far wall and landed on the floor. "Sensei?"

Sakura was hovering over him fretfully but he was sitting up, propped against the wall, blinking heavily. He was okay; he was okay.

Sasuke looked between him and the wall. "Did you just create a black hole in my basement?" he asked with blank incredulity.

Sakura giggled hysterically.

I rolled to my feet, a little stiffly. "Well. I guess you don't get funky genjutsu coma powers with yours," I said, as lightly as I could.

"Pity," Kakashi-sensei rasped.

"I hate you and all your ideas," Sasuke said blithely to me and ran a shaking hand through his hair. "All of them. Forever."

"I honestly didn't think it was going to go like that?" I said meekly.

"Tsunade-sama is going to kill us," Sakura added brightly. She was shaking too.

Kakashi-sensei huffed. "Mah, mah, weren't you just saying she would be really impressed with us?"

"Before we nearly killed you," she said. "Nearly killed us!"

"And yet no one is dead," I said brightly. "I'd call that a win for Team Miracle!" I pumped a fist in the air, hopefully.

No one looked particularly impressed.

Kakashi-sensei rolled his neck so he was staring at the tablet again. "What was," he asked, "the last line about?"

"Last line?" Sasuke echoed, frowning.

"The eye taken from thy brother is eternal," Kakashi-sensei recited.

And Sasuke went white.



AN: So this arc was drafted ages and ages ago, to answer the very simple question of 'how did Kakashi get Mangekyo' which he never uses in Naruto but uses pretty early on in Shippuden. This was a pretty big topic of consideration, back in the day. *insert fandom grandma voice* This even fits reasonably well with the Rin reveal that happened after, though given Kakashi's life there's plenty of grief going around either way.