Not Needed

Kakashi sat at the counter of the bar alone. Just a lone figure, slumped over on his stool, raising a cup to his lips. Gai knew that there was no way Kakashi was celebrating. Kakashi didn't drink to celebrate.

Gai approached the bar and sat down. "What's the matter?"

Kakashi looked up at Gai with careless posture. "Naruto doesn't need me anymore."

"What do you mean?"

Kakashi raised his cup of sake. "This is a bittersweet moment, Gai: the day that the student finally surpasses the master. This day I never got the chance to see between myself and Minato-sensei." He cradled his cup and looked down into it. "I hear it's a moment of triumph, of accomplishment and pride. I want Naruto to have these things." He set down his cup harder than he meant to, sloshing some sake onto the counter. "But I have no idea what it feels like." He looked up at Gai. "All I know is that I'm not needed anymore."

"You're wrong," Gai said.

"Naruto doesn't need me. Trust me."

"Simply because your student has surpassed you does not mean you are not needed anymore," Gai said. "You will always be Naruto's friend, and a source of guidance and support."

"I was never his friend, I couldn't guide anyone, and I am equally incapable of providing any support."

Gai thought for a few minutes. "I need you."

Kakashi pulled down his mask and gave Gai a sloppy kiss that tasted like sake.

Gai liked it anyway.