The Hatake Legacy
Disclaimer: I do not own the universe, the characters, or anything in between because if I did it'd make a modicum of sense.
Notes: No real spoilers here, guys. This takes place after the end of House Calls and you all know how House Calls is going to end: with babies and marriage and rainbows.
"I'm sorry, Dad."
"I don't know… everything?"
Kakashi glanced over at his son, who was sitting with his head hanging as he chewed his lips and worried the fraying hem of his cropped trousers between his fingers.
A chip off the old block—though admittedly more Sakura's block than his own. From the pale pink of his son's shaggy hair to the precise chakra control that had made his mother a legend, he seemed every bit her son. But he was genius like his dad, a natural at anything and everything he tried. He flew through the academy at a speed to rival his father's, dazzling his teachers as he conquered everything thrown his way until he finally had to turn to his mother and her medical ninjutsu for a real challenge.
But there were rumors beginning to circulate centering on the boy and while Kakashi never cared much for gossip, he always kept an ear to the ground out of principle and was grateful now that he did.
Sakumo had refused a kill order. It wasn't unusual for a genin or a young chuunin to do this on the occasion, but this was getting to be a regular thing and it couldn't be ignored any more. Or that was the chatter. It hadn't affected the mission one way or the other—Kakashi guessed that Sakumo had made sure it wouldn't—and Naruto wasn't going to punish anyone, let alone a fourteen-year-old boy, for refusing to kill in cold blood, but it was raising a lot of questions about his future as a ninja. After all, even medics had to kill on the occasion.
Kakashi took a breath and lifted his eyes to stare across the empty training ground, the wood of the striking post pressed to his back and his son's shoulder pressed to his side. Finally, he looked down at his son again. "I heard about what's been going on."
Sakumo's shoulders sunk a little more.
"Is that what you were apologizing for?"
The boy nodded wordlessly.
Kakashi nodded as well and then lifted his hand, cupped the side of the boy's head in it and pulled him close. Sakumo stiffened, but only for a few seconds before he bodily slumped into his father and hid his face in the man's flak jacket.
"I ignored an order," the boy mumbled.
Sakumo laughed hoarsely and took a shaky breath. "You know what they're calling me?" he asked. "The Defective Hatake." He laughed again, the sound muffled again his dad's chest. "You and Grandpa and Mom are all legends and now you've got me and I can't even…" He trailed off, as he clenched his fists and added, with the conviction of someone much older, "But I don't have to. I'm going to be a ninja and I'm going to serve Konohagakure until I die."
For a long while, his father said nothing in reply as he stared into the middle distance, but with a shake of his head he came back to himself. "I don't want you to ever apologize for that sort of thing. You have to do what you feel is right and sometimes that means a little insubordination." He glanced over at his son. "I think I owe you an apology, though."
Sakumo jerked away, as if burned. "For what?"
Kakashi shrugged one shoulder. "I never realized the burden that your mother and I were placing on you when we named you after your grandfather. I know how people are; how things work. They all expect you to live up to your namesake's legend." He chuckled a little and lifted a hand to push his son's hair out of his eyes—the dark, tired gray eyes of a Hatake. "I think you expect you to live up to it."
The boy pulled away to sit a shoulder width away from his father, looking heartbroken. "You don't think I can, do you?"
"Oh, you could. But I don't want you to."
Sakumo's eyes darted up quickly to meet his father's. "What?"
Kakashi smiled, but only for a second before it faded into a much more somber expression. "It took me a long time to find my way," he said. "I had to lose my father and my best friend, I had to fight in two wars, and I died—" He smirked very briefly at his son's confusion at this—"Before I found out what mattered to me and figured out who I was. That's why I'm so proud of you for finding your way so soon." The man smiled again when his son's eyes went wide and reflexively he reached out to squeeze the boy's shoulder. "Sakumo, the only path I want you to take is the one that you're going to carve out for yourself." He held up his empty hands for show as he smiled again, brighter this time. "That's it. Understood?"
Sakumo was stunned silent at first and then he croaked out some kind of laugh to cover up a sob as tears began welling in his eyes and rolling down his cheeks. He quickly tried to hide them from his father, who pretended not to notice. After a while, when the boy could finally speak again, the only thing he managed was a quiet, but desperately heartfelt, "Yes."
Kakashi smiled, but before he could say anything more, a tagged kunai drilled itself into the ground between them.
Sakumo immediately threw himself to the side to get out of range, but Kakashi was unimpressed and just when the boy was starting to question his father's sanity, his will to live, and his general reputation as a genius, the tag exploded… with a very small and very impotent pop.
A trill of shrieking giggles followed this from somewhere in the trees behind them and Sakumo reflexively smashed his face into his palm. "You got me, Ran," he called.
Another giggle and a moment later a girl, maybe only eleven-years-old, landed in a crouch on top of the striking post Kakashi still sat with his back to. Her hair was pale gray like the Copy-nin's, cropped short, and left to stand haphazardly in every direction, except for one long braid she wore in front of her left ear. It reached nearly to her collarbones and was decorated with a jade bead and an explosive paper tag. "You make it too easy sometimes, Sakumo," she said with a smile before leaning forward and looking down at Kakashi, her bright green eyes sparkling. "Hey, Boss."
Kakashi smiled back at her. "How was your mission?"
"Wind Country was boring?" he wondered, reaching up and pulling her easily into his lap.
"With a capital or," she replied, sprawling dramatically out and throwing an arm over her eyes. "Konohamaru-sensei was all 'stealth' this and 'quiet' that—totally. Boring."
Kakashi shared a meaningful look with his son and then hefted himself up, easily lifting his daughter in the process and then dropping her onto her own feet.
Ran looked to her brother as she fell into step between him and their father, both of her hands folded around the Copy-nin's. If she had noticed her brother's wet cheeks or his furious attempts to remedy them, she gave no indication. "I heard someone call you something really stupid today when we were checking in at the mission desk," she said with a frown. "Some chuunin said something about you being a screw up or something."
"So I punched him in the throat." She beamed happily at her brother's almost horrified expression. "He won't be calling you nothing anymore if he's smart."
Sakumo stared at her and then, apparently deciding to be touched by the gesture, he wobbled his head a little in a nod. "Uh… thanks?"
"No problem!" she chimed. Then, suddenly and without any warning or reason whatsoever, she lunged ahead of them and began to turn somersaults across the training field with the same manic energy that found her occasionally doing hand stands on the roof and setting spring-loaded traps in the kitchen cupboards at home.
Kakashi watched her for a moment, contemplating how very badly he and Sakura needed to send Iruka something nice for not throwing the girl out of his class, before looking to his son again. He tipped his head in question when their eyes met. Sakumo nodded back, his lips creased in a small smile.
Kakashi worried for perhaps a split of a second about the path his son had chosen. It wouldn't be easy, it wouldn't be long before he was forced to question what he believed, and someday he would be forced to betray those ideals. But maybe, Kakashi thought with an ironic smile, a great deal of cynicism, and a tiny trace of hope, taking the most treacherous path was the Hatake legacy.
1. Because who don't like some KakaSaku babies? Meet Sakumo and Ran.
2. Sakumo is Sakumo rather than Obito for two reasons. First off, I wanted Kakashi to name his son after his father as a way of showing that he has completely come to terms with his father's death. Secondly, because there's a naming convention in Naruto where the names of the children reflect their parent's name and Sakumo and Sakura are adorably similar.
3. Ran is Ran for two reasons. First of all, Ran is just close enough to Rin to be a nod to her. Secondly, because the name "Ran", as I understand it, means something like "orchid" or the like and the flower theme-naming between her and Sakura is adorably similar.
4. Sakumo is supposed to be a version of "Blessed with Suck"-in HIS eyes at least. He'd rather not be talented at all and have an excuse not to be a ninja. Instead he's very, very good at being a ninja... he's just not crazy about the "killing" part of the job. He becomes a medic like his mom.
5. Ran's character can be summed up almost entirely by noting that the tag in her hair is indeed an exploding tag and can indeed be activated. All girls are cuter with hair decs after all... especially ones that explode.
6. And I'd explore her character a little more here, but depending on the response to this, there will probably be a part two addressing Ran's character conflict.
7. For all of my regular readers: House Calls will be updated eventually. It's not technically on hiatus and it will be attended to shortly. I've been having some health problems lately that have been preventing me from being very productive. If you're terribly curious, you can jump over to my DA page for an explanation in my blog. In the mean time, Blithe Spirits (yes, that one) will be updated within the next week.
8. Review please?