Yooo...so...not dead?

Well it's only been *checks date* OVER A YEAR WHAT THE HELL! O.O

ehem...

sorry?

If you're interested, last year I moved colleges, so I didn't have much time as I was getting used to a new course, new people and the other shit that comes with changing school :| I know its not much of an excuse, and I'm sure it could have been entirely possible for me to continue writing sooner, but I just didn't have the motivation.

..again sorry :(

Anyway, here is a new chapter for you all, unfortunately it doesn't move the plot forward that much, but it goes into how all the characters are feeling about the situation right now. By complete coincidence it is also a great way for me to get back into writing the story, as I am re-familiarising myself with the characters.

I hope it isn't too boring a chapter to come back to. I could have done an action packed one, but I probably would have completely messed up the characters, and to be honest that is the most important part to me as this is a story about the relationships between the 4 main characters, not how many explosions I can do.

I think this A/N has been sufficiently long enough...

Onwards :)

Previously in Deep Cover: Naruto has been revealed to be ANBU captain Fox, the youngest ANBU in history. Together with his team Dog (Kakashi), Cobra (Anko) and Crane (Genma) he has been given the important mission of shaping and guiding the growth of the last Uchiha. To do this they must all take up their own identities and go under cover in their own village.

The late afternoon rush of people closing shop and heading home was in full force. Civilians called to each other cheerfully as children ran around yelling and laughing, letting loose all of the energy they'd gathered from sitting at a desk all day. A few Shinobi sat on the roofs above the streets, chatting or watching the pink tinged clouds float across the sky.

Kakashi Hatake was one such ninja. Although it looked like he was thoroughly engrossed in his usual orange book, his one eyed gaze would often leave the page and drag across the view that was his village in peacetime. Kakashi had lived through one war and he definitely preferred the atmosphere around the village now compared to then. Almost 13 years of peace had been a blessing for the village and it had prospered immensely. Kakashi watched appreciatively as a small group of children ran through the closing stalls disrupting the owners who yelled after them good-naturedly. The kids were young: no more than 8 or 9 years old and he could see innocence still shining through their eyes.

Kakashi already had blood stained hands at that age. With a sigh, the silver haired Jounin turned a page of his book but made no move to read the words there.

Kakashi had never been one to complain about his lot in life. He had always been mostly satisfied with being a living tool. He loved Konaha and had often placed his life on the line for the continued peace he saw before him. But for the first time he found himself…discontented.

Recently he had had the inkling that he was possibly the happiest he had been in a long time. He had noticed his latest trips to the memorial stone had been lighter and he didn't leave with such a strong feeling of regret. And it was probably due to the fact that the first time in years he was working with people who he trusted, liked and had an understanding with.

A year ago he would have been happy to leave ANBU. Kakashi was self aware enough to know that when he had first joined the ranks of Konaha's black ops, it had just been a way for him to bury his old self, to forget Kakashi and Kakashi's grief and just become Dog. But like all things that are repressed, they don't stay buried forever. And the feelings he had been trying desperately to kill had started to come back in full force. Being surrounded by masks and not having any bonds to rely on and support him, Kakashi had begun to crack. The continuation of ANBU missions would have left him burnt out. A year ago, he had been so close to breaking; he could feel it every time he slipped his porcelain mask on. Then he was placed on a team captained by the youngest ANBU agent the village had ever seen. So slowly that he hadn't even realised that it was happening, he had formed deep bonds with the three other people on the team. Somewhere between saving each other's lives deep in hostile territory and sharing dirty jokes through ANBU signing during a boring escort mission, the four of them had become more than just comrades or teammates. Kakashi had found a balance he hadn't known since Minito-sensei, Rin and Obito.

But now this new mission threatened everything. And even though the thought of turning it down hadn't even crossed his mind, he could help but feel mean spirited about the whole damn thing.

Kakashi's thinking, (he refused to call it brooding) was interrupted suddenly.

"DYNAMIC ENTRY!" The interruption shouted in a loud voice that could only be described as 'manly to the extreme'.

Kakashi's instincts took over and he ducked, barely missing a green clad leg that blurred through the space last occupied by his head.

"MY ETERNAL RIVAL! IT HAS BEEN TOO LONG SINCE WE LAST DID BATTLE!" The booming voice reverberated through Kakashi as he glanced up at the man standing above him.

"Gai," he drawled "Still as exuberant as ever I see." Kakashi slouched further down and stuck his nose back in to his little orange book. He was shocked when after a moment of silence a muscular hand pushed it down.

Maito Gai was loud, green and pretty much the opposite of the cool persona Kakashi slipped into to distance himself from his fellow shinobi. People never understood how two people so fundamentally different could be friends. What they didn't understand was that they both had a private side that they only revealed to the other, and even then, not very often.

Kakashi looked up and found himself gazing into the eyes of the person he liked to call 'Quiet Gai'. Someone who only surfaced in those odd times when they came across each other at the memorial stone.

"Kakashi, we need to talk." Gai's voice was low and serious.

Without hesitation Kakashi nodded and put his book back into his Kunai pouch. Gai sat down tucking his legs in, his back ramrod straight, the complete opposite to the image his comrade made next to him; slouched, with legs spread out.

"What happened?" Gai asked, his tone betraying nothing.

Kakashi glanced at the green clad man from the corner of his eye. If anybody looked up at the pair they'd have thought they were both sharing a relaxing chat. Much like the group of Chunin were a few roofs away.

While anyone who fought next to ANBU Dog could probably accurately guess his identity (the drawback of having a completely original Juitsu), Kakashi was the only one apart from the head of ANBU and the Hokage himself who knew the identity of the man behind the Tortoise mask.

Maito Gai had perfected the split between the two sides of his personality, better than Kakashi ever could. Nobody would ever guess that the beautiful green beast of Konaha had ever been on ANBU's personnel list. He rarely took missions anymore, not since he had received his Genin team, but he still would have been there the day before. He still would have seen the Hokage's little performance.

Kakashi shrugged lazily "Sometimes shit happens."

Gai frowned slightly at his friends 'unyouthful' language. He then pursed his lips, one of the hands resting on his knees twitched minutely in a silent question.

"Maa, did you know I'm going to receive my first Genin team?" Kakashi said breezily "Hokage-sama pretty much banned me from failing this lot."

He scratched the back on his head and squinted his eye into a u shape. "Something about being a responsible adult and actually giving the brats a chance."

Beside him Gai relaxed. Although to anyone else it would have seemed like Kakashi had completely changed the subject, Gai understood that the lazy Jounin was answering his unspoken question. Whatever had happened on that mission, it wasn't bad enough for the famous copycat ninja to loose the Hokage's faith. The entrustment of the minds and lives of the newest generation was something the village's leader took very seriously. And no disgraced Ninja would ever be given such a task.

Gai grinned suddenly, "YOSH! We must celebrate this momentous occasion!" It seemed like quiet Gai had left and normal annoying Gai was back in business.

Tears pooled in the loud man's eyes. "I am sure my eternal rival will be able to imbue his young charges with the fires of youth! Not even your cool and hip attitude can smother them! I will personally be the fan that whips the embers into a roaring maelstrom of YOUTH!"

Gai was now standing, towering over Kakashi with a hand fisted in the air, twin flames burnt in his eyes manically. Kakashi felt a drop of sweat work its way down his spine.

"E-er that's really ok Gai, you don't have to-" He tried to stutter out, but was interrupted when the green man grabbed him and wedged him under his arm.

"COME, I WILL SHOW YOU ALL THE BEST PLACES FOR TRAINING THE FIRES OF YOUTH!"

Kakashi let himself be dragged away by Gai Shunshin, lamenting the loss of his quiet thinking time due to irksome friends.

.oO Oo.

With a slight pout, the purple haired women readjusted her large chest and stood back to check her reflection in the mirror. A small frown puckered the skin between her eyebrows as she once again shifted the mesh top she wore, tugging it into place until it sat more snuggly against her. A sharp canine came out to nibble delicately at one corner of her still pouting lip.

"Eurgh, it'll do." Anko grunted. She turned away and pulled on her beige trench coat.

For some reason her usual clothes just didn't feel as comfortable as they normally did. With a sigh she realised it was probably due to the fact she hadn't actually worn them in around 4 months. She missed her ANBU uniform. Although it wasn't exactly the height of fashion, it still had the ability to make Anko feel far stronger than her mesh and coat duo had ever made her feel. For a second she played with the idea of getting out her green Chuinin vest that she hadn't worn in years, just to feel the comforting restriction of armoured fabric cocooning her torso.

With a violent snort Anko turned and walked out of her room. Before she was tempted to do something she would regret later.

As the Special Jounin hopped on to the nearest roof from her living room window she tried not to think of the shaped mask, currently sitting in the false bottom of her wardrobe. She had already spent enough time that morning staring at it. In a small corner of her mind she knew that it wasn't actually the uniform or the mask that made her become the competent amazing Shinobi that Cobra was known as. She was still that person, even when she was dressed in see-through mesh instead of a white vest. The rest of her brain however was sure that everything that had been going so well in her life in the last year was due to that small piece of reinforced porcelain. The Porcelain she was no longer permitted to wear.

Anko felt a soundless snarl shift her features and she put on another bust of speed, moving quickly enough to be mistaken for a beige blur to the untrained eye.

As she passed the academy her thoughts suddenly changed to her teams mates. Her Captain was undoubtedly in there right now, dumbing himself down and probably bored out of his mind. She had been slightly shaken when she realised just who she had been taking orders from. In the beginning, she had been quite interested by the blond Kyuubi container, the way he had been treated by the village had been so similar to how she was treated that she couldn't help but feel a kindred spirit with the young child. But once he had shown himself to be nothing more than a loud-mouthed idiot, her interest had waned. Every now and then she would hear of him letting loose a particularly messy prank and she would mentally give him a pat on the back. But apart from that, the brat didn't really feature in her thoughts.

It was then to her complete shock to find that one of the few people she completely respected and trusted had been the same gaki she had before so quickly dismissed. What sort of intelligence gatherer was she? To have missed something that big, all because she had been blinded by the villagers and her own misconceptions. Maybe she should swap jobs with Genma.

No sooner had she thought the brunet's name did he appear next to her, easily keeping up with the fast pace she had set.

"Woah, where's the fire?" he asked, customary senbon dangling from his lip. One of his eyebrows quirked as he took in the sullen expression on his teammate's face. "Or should the more appropriate question be: what crawled up your arse and died?"

Anko snarled again. "Kami help me, I am really not in the mood for your special kind of bullshit right now, Genma."

The bandanna wearing man frowned and reached out a hand to snag the purple haired women to bring her to a stop. Except he completely misunderstood just how much that wasn't going to happen.

With a squeak, Genma found himself yanked off his feet as Anko refused to stop. Soon he was being dragged along the tiled roof trying desperately to get his feet back under him.

"For kami sake Woman! Slow down!" He yelled

"Let go!" Anko countered, if anything speeding up.

"Slow down first then I'll let go!"

"I'm not slowing down, so unless you want to continue to make out with the roof, I suggested you let the fuck go!" She yelled.

"Not until you tell me what's wrong!" He ground out, trying to lift his face away from the tiles.

"You wouldn't understand."

"Did you forget who you are talking to?! I'm probably one of the few people who is guaranteed to understand!"

Anko stopped suddenly, Genma skidding to a halt behind her. The man slowly got to his feet and dusted himself down.

"I get it Anko, I do. I'm just as frustrated as you are about this kami awful mission. But you can't push away the only people who are in exactly the same position as you. We have to stick together." Genma said unusually seriously.

Anko let out a small breath and quirked a little smile.

"You're such a girl Genma" She chuckled, punching him on the arm.

"Well someone's got to be." He counted quickly, the serious expression melted away to be replaced with his usual teasing smirk.

Anko aimed a slap for the back of the brunet's head, which he neatly dodged.

"Can I also just say how impressed I am that you managed to not only keep that stupid senbon in your mouth but also didn't rupture your tongue on it during that little trip." Anko started to walk at a more sedate pace back the way she had come.

"What can I say, I have a very gifted tongue." Genma replied following her.

"…You totally used chakra didn't you."

" I have no idea what you're talking about."

Any good? Tell me if you think I've lost my touch, I haven't written for a year after all :P I hope some of my loyal readers from last year will still be around, sorry for keeping you waiting guys