I really ought to write something like the next update for New Bond or, you know, do some homework. Or record something. Or do something other than procrastinate. But that's what I'm doing, and, lucky you (or perhaps unlucky you), you get to read the fruits of said procrastination. I don't like it much. But I rarely like anything that I post. So… well… here.
Prompts: 2957 and 2733 from Yaoi Bunny Farm. Ironically enough, this is not yaoi. Whatever. Enjoy!
Kakashi crouched on the floor, head tilted to the side, watching the tiny dog oddly. He found it hard to believe that the famed pack of the Hatake family was led by something so small. It looked like a dog had been shrunk down to puppy size- not just a puppy, because he wasn't really cute or playful seeming. "…You are a summon?" he asked curiously, much to the dog's disdain.
"Yes, I am a summon, brat. What exactly did you expect?"
The dog growled. "Well, so are you, human. You're Sakumo's kid, aren't you? You look like him… humph. I would've thought he'd teach his kid some manners."
Kakashi frowned and chose not to answer. Sakumo wasn't teaching him much of anything nowadays, but he didn't think that would be a good way to start off their conversation. "Do you have a name?" he asked instead, and the dog growled again.
"Do I have a name? What kind of a question is that? I'm surprised you're not stunned that I can talk."
Kakashi sighed heavily. So much for having a friendly summon. "What is your name, then?"
The dog looked him up and down carefully, as if on the fence about whether or not he should even bother with the boy who had summoned him, then groaned loudly. "Pakkun. My name is Pakkun. What's yours?"
Pakkun looked him over again, and Kakashi shifted uncomfortably. He didn't like it when people looked at him like that. "What?" he snapped, aggravated, and the dog glanced up to meet his eyes.
"You're a little young to be summoning, aren't you? And where's Sakumo? It's been a year and a half since he's called on me, and then suddenly his brat does? Something weird's going on. I can smell it."
Kakashi sniffed, too, but he didn't smell anything. Then again, his sense of smell was no where near as advanced as his father's. "I'm seven," he replied harshly, ignoring the questions about his father. "Seven, and a chuunin, for your information."
Pakkun seemed a little surprised at that. "Oh? Really?" he grunted. "Good for you. Should've guessed Sakumo would've spawned a prodigy. Why the mask, though?" He jerked his head at the dark cloth in question and snorted. "You seem too young to have all the scars and sob stories those repressed freaks who walk around wearing masks always seem to have."
"…I am not a repressed freak."
"Never said you were."
"But you-" Kakashi broke off, shut his head, then sighed again. "It doesn't matter. …My father won't be summoning you again. I am the pack's master now."
"What? You?" Pakkun chortled, and Kakashi frowned beneath his mask. "You? Look. The pack and I aren't going to take orders from some pint-sized ninja who I'm half-convinced is Sakumo playing a trick on me. You think you get to inherit us just because you're his kid? We aren't sworn to follow the Hatake clan. Just Sakumo. And I don't like you much, so I think I'll just wait for Sakumo's next orders."
"He doesn't need you anymore," Kakashi snapped, balling little hands into fists. "He's not a ninja anymore! And I don't want any Hatake relic. I'm done with my- his clan. I only summoned you because Sensei said he thought I was strong enough to try and told me you guys were really strong. And anyway, you have to follow my orders since I'm the one who summoned you."
"You think that's how it works?" Pakkun rolled his eyes. "I can chose to ignore you and tell the pack to do the same. I don't care who summoned me. Call us back when you're bigger than Bull and you've gotten an attitude adjustment."
"Hey, wait-" Kakashi reached out, trying to stop the dog from disappearing in a puff of smoke, then froze the moment his hand touched Pakkun's side.
Pakkun twisted to stare at him like he'd grown a second head. "What?!"
"…What?" Pakkun repeated, voice now surprised. "I'm… what?"
Kakashi nodded slightly and lightly traced his fingertips over his back. "You're soft. I didn't know dogs were this soft."
"What is your pro-" Pakkun cut himself off sharply when Kakashi began to slowly run his gloved hand up and down his back. Almost like he was- he was-
Oh, no. Pakkun was a summon. He was not a pet. And he most certainly did not get petted, even if the one doing the said petting was seven years old. He opened his mouth to tell Kakashi as much, then stopped.
Okay… made it did feel good. A little good, that is. But still…
"What are you doing?" he asked, and his voice came out less angry than he intended.
Kakashi shrugged. "I see Sensei doing this with the Inuzuka's dogs sometimes. …Is it not right? Do only the Inuzukas like it? Or… am I doing it wrong?" His hand stilled, and Pakkun valiantly resisted the sudden surge of affection. The kid was still annoying. Not endearing, annoying.
There was the distant sound of a door opening, and Kakashi instantly withdrew his hand, expression twisting into something akin to panic and fear. "Get out of here!" he hissed, making to shove him under the bed. "You have to leave!"
Pakkun jumped out of his reach and watched as Kakashi wiped at the tiny cut on his thumb and hid the summing scroll, erasing all signs that there had ever been a dog in his room. "What's going on?" he asked curiously, then sniffed. "Kid, it's just Sakumo-"
"I know who it is! That's why you have to go! He doesn't know I can summon yet!"
"What's your point?"
"You just have to go right-"
"Kakas… hi. Kakashi!"
Kakashi froze at his father's loud call. His voice was slurred and slow, sounding like he had just spent the better part of the night drowning in sake, and Pakkun watched as the silver-haired child before him winced at the sound. He stood immediately, cast a wary look back, then muttered, "Please just hide," before sliding out of his room and into the hallway.
Pakkun followed silently.
He trailed after Kakashi, jumping down the stairs and crouching in a dark corner, then frowning.
The Hatake estate was not at all the pristine, far too neat home that he last remembered. It was a mess, empty sake bottles lying here or there, the contents of a weapon's pouch spilled out across the couch, a dark stain or two popping up every few feet. It looked like it had fallen into a state of disrepair a long time ago, and photographs of his late wife and young son were on the floor or facedown on the table, frames shattered. Pakkun shifted uneasily. He had never seen Sakumo's home like this- and his son's odd behavior led him to believe something was seriously wrong.
And there was the man of the hour himself, Hatake Sakumo. Half his hair hung out of his usual ponytail, greasy and dirty against pale skin, his clothes were wrinkled and stained, and he absolutely reeked of sake. Pakkun had never seen his master like this before and watched with wide eyes as he swayed drunkenly, Kakashi standing still and watching him with a flat stare.
"Something… not right. Smell… not right." Sakumo tapped his nose and swayed again, and Pakkun was surprised when the arrogant, bratty boy just bowed slightly, no retort to give.
"I returned earlier from my mission and had a cut that was bleeding. Perhaps that is it?"
Sakumo shook his head violently. "No. Not blood. Dog- I smell dog. …Pakkun was here."
Pakkun slunk back further into his hiding place while Kakashi visibly stiffened. "You're drunk. I don't even know who or what a Pakkun is, but you're drunk and probably just imagining it. You should go to be-"
"Liar!" Sakumo spat, brandishing his hand in a broad gesture that ended up slapping Kakashi's across the face. Pakkun's eyes widened, especially when the arrogant child just took it without complaint. "I can smell. He was here. How… you summoned him, didn't you?!"
Sakumo frowned darkly and stumbled over nothing. "…Becoming stronger, all the time. Be a jounin soon. Doing all sorts of things for the village- the village… but you'll fail them. They'll hurt you, too. You have to be stronger than me."
Pakkun stared in disbelief. What on earth had happened in the past year and a half to transform Sakumo into… this?
His master stumbled forward, then abruptly swung his fist forward in a punch. Kakashi ducked smoothly but his dark eyes went wide, and Sakumo tried to hit him again. "Are you strong enough, Kakashi? Are you strong enough?"
Sakumo finally managed to land a hit in, and Kakashi tumbled head over heels, smashing into the wall and barely managing to land on his feet. The damage was done beneath his mask but now both Hatakes swayed, unsteady, while Pakkun watched in alarm. "You and the village… you won't be strong enough. You'll fail them and start a war and get hurt. Can't let that happen… make you st-str-stronger or… kill you. E-either way…" He swung another punch out again and Kakashi ducked once more.
Pakkun shifted, watching as the fight continued, both father and son spiraling into what could've been a training spar between a sensei and a student. But the blows were too hard, not aimed in the right places, for it just be a spar. Sakumo fought like the elite hero ninja that he was, drunk or not, and Kakashi- well, Pakkun no longer doubted that he was a chuunin.
As good as Kakashi was, though, he was clearly outmatched, not in skill but also in strength and size. Not matter how fast he was, Sakumo was faster, no matter how strong he was, Sakumo was stronger, and Kakashi could only fight on for so long.
And Pakkun didn't intervene, because he feared he would only make it worse. Not only that, but who exactly was he supposed to help? His master? Or the seemingly innocent boy he was brutally assaulting?
No… intervening would only make it worse.
Kakashi definitely put up a fight, and Sakumo was bleeding and gasping too when the masked boy finally slumped over onto his side. His mask was strained from where he was panting heavily for air, eyes opened wide with agony, arms held tight around his tiny, straining body like he was hugging himself. He coughed against the black fabric covering his mouth and spasmed, a trail of blood making its way out silver hair and dripping onto the floor.
Pakkun stared in horror.
Sakumo, who wasn't without his fair share of injuries, slipped to his knees and grabbed Kakashi by the hair. Before Pakkun knew what was happening, he tensed, preparing himself to go against his master- but Sakumo didn't hit his son again. He just hissed, voice trembling and slurred more than before but still steady, as if he had been caught in a rare moment of lucidity, "You are too weak. If you keep trying to become a ninja, you will fail everyone in this village and will die. You will d…die, Kakashi."
Pakkun watched silently as Sakumo shook his son before Kakashi slipped out of his grip to hit the floor. Sakumo blinked oddly at him, as if he didn't really understand where he was or what he was doing there, then stumbled against the wall. He hit the bloodstained surface with a loud thump, then managed to stand. He tripped his way over to the stairs, making it up halfway, then stopping again. He managed another step, and Pakkun just kept watching until he fell in a spectacular face plant just as he reached the second floor. He didn't get up.
Pakkun just kept staring, then bounded out of the house without another word.
Jiraiya cracked an eye open at the feel of someone licking his face.
How strange… he didn't remember going to bed with someone.
It licked his face again, then called his name.
What the…? Since when had he started going to bed with men?
Oh, he really had to stop drinking so much-
Wait a minute.. he knew that voice…
Jiraiya opened his other eye, rolling to see Pakkun crouched on the edge of his bed with an urgent air about him. He lay there for a moment, just wondering why on earth his old friend's summon was there, not when Sakumo hadn't been an active ninja in over a year. Then he cleared his throat and rolled onto his back, staring over at the dog. "Wha?" he mumbled intelligently, and the dog growled impatiently.
"It's Sakumo. Something's wrong- really wrong."
That woke him up. Jiraiya sat upright and blinked the sleep out of his eyes, staring down at Pakkun. "What are you talking about? What's going on?"
"I don't know, but- it's just not right. It was the Boss's kid who summoned me, and he lost it when Sakumo came home and told me to hide- and then they got into a fight. I have no idea what it was about but Kakashi's hurt. Bad. He needs help right now."
Jiraiya was rolling out of bed before he'd even fully processed what was going on. He was dressed and armed before he understood more than Sakumo, Kakashi, and wrong, and already out the window before he was able to make the connection that fight mean a physical fight. He was twenty feet away from his apartment when he finally understood that Sakumo had hurt Kakashi.
Then he slowed a bit, stunned into motionless shock. Pakkun caught up with him standing on a rooftop, staring across the dark sky in the direction of the Hatake estate, limp with disbelief.
"Hey," the dog growled. "You gonna move or not? The kid needs help. Now."
Jiraiya blinked, then shook his head. "No… no. Sakumo would never-"
"Look, I didn't believe it either, but that was definitely the Boss and that was probably his son that he beat half to death. Looked a hell of a lot like him, at any rate. Just come with me if you don't believe me yourself."
Jiraiya slowly shook his head again, weakly at first and then firmly. "If you're right, then something's wrong with Sakumo. …Pakkun, you know where my student lives?"
"I don't even know who that is!"
Frustrated, Jiraiya fumbled around in his pockets for a second, then withdrew a black pen and held it down for Pakkun to smell. "Here. This is his. He's in the village; find him and tell him what you told me."
Pakkun grudgingly obliged, and with one more worried look back at the Toad Sage he vanished into the night.
Pakkun had first been summoned into the Hatake estate at half past ten. Minato left said estate at five minutes to midnight, a still, bloody Kakashi curled up in arms. Jiraiya was waiting for Sakumo to wake up, but considering the destroyed state of the first floor and the fact that Sakumo, too, was hurt, it was pretty obvious what had happened.
One of the reasons Jiraiya had stayed behind and not Minato was because the Toad Sage was worried about what the Yellow Flash would do to Sakumo. After all, one just didn't hurt Minato's student and expect to get away with it.
One of the reasons Minato had willingly left was because Jiraiya wasn't going to let his old friend get away with it, either. It was just more likely Sakumo would survive an encounter with him than Kakashi's very furious teacher.
Minato occupied his mind with assessing Kakashi's condition, because if he let his thoughts wonder too much, they would turn to murderous fantasies about Sakumo, and that wasn't good. No matter what the bastard had done. His student had been injured worse before. But Minato didn't know whether to just be relieved that this wasn't the worst Kakashi had ever been hurt, or sad that a seven-year-old had had worse than broken bones, abdominal lacerations, severe bruising, and a windpipe that had just survived being crushed.
Thank god he was well enough to heal without a medic. He didn't know what he could tell Rin as an excuse for Kakashi's state, Tsunade was on a mission- and he couldn't bring him to the hospital. Not like this.
Pakkun was traveling along beside him, giving him the relevant details from the fight while casting pained looks back behind him every few second. "…punched him in the throat. Kid didn't make a sound after that. Sakumo kept up with his same message, throughout the fight. …Ended with his brat passing out. The Boss didn't really seem to understand what was going on at that point."
Minato tightened his hold on Kakashi and said nothing. They continued the rest of the journey in silence, and finally, the blond stopped at the window to his apartment, looking back at the dog. "…You're dismissed. We've got it from here. Thank you for your help."
Pakkun nodded, but didn't disappear.
Minato didn't notice.
Kakashi stayed well and truly unconscious as Minato carried him inside to gently set him down on his bed. His bed that suddenly looked very large, now with an eight year old child collapsed across it. Monstrous enough to swallow Kakashi whole, exceedingly simple for him to get lost beneath the sheets. Minato made quick work of his bloodied shirt, though hesitated when he saw that it was connected to his mask. With a quick shake of his head, Minato just yanked it off and tossed it to the floor. He had seen Kakashi's face before, he knew he hid it because he thought he looked like Sakumo. It was a pity, because Kakashi really didn't look like his father- everyone else just thought he did and blamed him for it.
Well, he certainly didn't look like Sakumo now, with his face swollen and blue and his chest red and purple, pale torso splattered with blood, both his and Sakumo's. Minato swore again that the former White Fang would pay for this, then quickly fetched his medi-kit and all the special medicinal remedies he had. So they were for A-rank mission-use only- didn't matter. Kakashi was more important than any mission.
Minato tried his very hardest to look at this if it were nothing more than a mission. He always hated any enemy that dared hurt Kakashi, dared hurt any of his team, and always just hated seeing them injured and bleeding- but, somehow, seeing Kakashi and knowing it was his father who did this to him… it hurt a lot more.
He managed to bandage and splint what he could, concluded that yes, Kakashi needed a medic if he didn't want permanent damage, and was just strapping a sling around hid student's limp arm when Kakashi's eye that wasn't swollen shut flickered slightly. Minato watched him carefully, still working slowly and gently on his broken arm. Kakashi's eyelid fluttered for several long moments before it slid open, revealing a dazed, almost confused gaze. He worked his jaw, trying to speak, then gave up with a gargled cough.
"Hey," Minato murmured, drawing his attention. "Don't try and talk right now. Throat injury. I want you to wait until I've got you to a medic before you try and speak, all right?"
Kakashi frowned a bit deliriously, raising a shaking hand to clumsily feel his face. Minato realized what he was searching for almost immediately and lightly caught his hand, bringing it back down to rest by his side. "Don't worry. It was just so I could treat you, and I won't let anyone who hasn't seen in here until you're wearing it again."
Kakashi smiled at that. His smile was white and red, several teeth stained with blood- and one missing entirely. Minato was alarmed for a moment, then it hit him.
It was a baby tooth. Sakumo had knocked out one of his baby teeth.
Or who knows, maybe it had fallen out on its own. The fact of the matter was, Kakashi was young enough to have still have baby teeth and something about that seriously bothered him.
While he watched, Kakashi's tongue licked through the gap in his teeth, exploring the empty space curiously before his mouth closed, his head lolling a bit on the pillow. Minato squeezed his hand lightly, trying to comfort him, or- something. He had no idea. What was he supposed to do? Situations like these, he wanted to respond with what he knew- and that was to kill Sakumo for daring to do this and then… well, there was no then.
Kakashi kept presenting him with situations that couldn't be approached in his usual manner, though. He couldn't respond as a ninja, because Kakashi was already a ninja. Someone had to teach him how to be human, too.
And it was now strikingly plain that Sakumo wouldn't be the one to do that.
Minato looked up with a start at the strained, hoarse voice. Kakashi looked like he was still trying to speak, but Minato didn't have time to hush him before he fell silent on his own, apparently giving up again. Minato swallowed the lump in his throat and nodded. He made sure Kakashi saw only what he hoped was a firm, confident expression, because he didn't think any of his unease, sense of betrayal, or hurt would help at all.
"I know what he did, Kakashi. Jiraiya's dealing with him. Don't worry about it."
Kakashi frowned, and he struggled to speak again. Minato let him, because he knew that a stubborn Kakashi got what he wanted. "No," he choked out, shaking his head with a wince. "Do-n't… hurt… hi-" Kakashi cut off by a gasping, painful cough, and Minato covered his mouth with his fingers, shaking his head firmly.
"Stop talking. You're only making it worse. And.. Jiraiya won't hurt him. I promise."
I'm not making the same promise for myself, though…
Kakashi relaxed at that, good eye fluttering closed and tense form falling limp. Minato sighed in silent relief, bowing his head and loosening his hold on his student's hand.
"If I ever catch you hurting Kakashi again, I'll kill you!"
"If I hurt him again, I'll want you to."
Jiraiya crossed his arms, towering over Sakumo's body that was sprawled across the floor. The former White Fang's hair was sopping wet with the gallons of water that Jiraiya had tossed on him to wake him up, bleeding wounds clearly smarting against the cold sting while the Toad Sage only watched on unsympathetically.
"You had better steer clear of Minato for a while," he warned, spitting the words out in disgust. "He already wants to kill you."
"Where does he live again?" Sakumo asked weakly with a pathetic imitation of a smile. He breathed in deeply, then winced. He rested a hand on his ribs before his face abruptly soured, and his hand dropped to fall against the wet wood of the floor.
"Kakashi's hurt a lot worse than you. Though, if I had my way, that wouldn't be true for long," Jiraiya remarked coldly, making no move to help Sakumo up off the floor. "…Why'd you do it? I don't care how drunk you were- the Sakumo I know would never, ever hurt his son."
"Perhaps I'm not the Sakumo you know anymore, then. Admittedly, what you remember is over a year old. People change."
Jiraiya paused, and though the accusation in Sakumo's words went unspoken, he still heard it, clear as day. Finally, he cleared his throat and let the comment slide. "That didn't even come close to answering why you did this."
"You know what? Fine. Don't answer," Jiraiya snapped. He turned on his heel, one foot already on the stairs. "It's not like we're letting him stay here with you again. It doesn't matter."
Sakumo didn't protest, and Jiraiya waited. But the man on the floor didn't even move, never mind speak, and a few moments dragged by in silence before the Toad Sage heaved a heavy sigh. "…Don't even care about that, do you?"
"He'll be better off with Minato."
Sakumo stayed quiet, then slowly shifted himself into a sitting position. He touched a cut on his cheek, then pulled his hand away to stare at the blood on his fingertip. "I- I don't even remember," he whispered finally, voice shaking and on the verge of being broken. "Just that I didn't want Kakashi to suffer like… me. I wanted to protect him from it. But he's already a ninja, and getting stronger everyday, and I- I just looked at him and saw no other way for him- either to suffer like me or die before he had to. I don't know what happened after that… I just had to stop him from hurting…"
Jiraiya's expression was literally blank. He could've been contemplating murder or sorrow for all it revealed, and Sakumo didn't seem too concerned by that. He looked like he wouldn't fight right now if Jiraiya raised a kunai to his throat.
When Jiraiya finally spoke again, his voice was heavy with regret. "Kakashi's going to keep being a ninja. You pretty much made certain of that- he doesn't see any other option. Hell, he doesn't know anything else. If you can't accept that-"
"I know that now. Figured it out somewhere between the time he fought back with ninjutsu or tried to stab me in the heart with a kunai. It's too late, he's…" Sakumo's voice broke, and he lowered his eyes to the floor before he shook his tiredly. "He's all I have left, now. And he hates me. Now more than ever, probably. If he doesn't care, then there's almost…"
As Jiraiya looked down at Sakumo, he realized, right then and there, that his old friend was worse off than he had ever realized. Kakashi was his only purpose left in life- and he absolutely hated him, going so far as to wear a mask so no one could see that they looked alike.
Jiraiya winced. He probably could've reached out to Sakumo before now, but…
What's done was done. Nothing was going to change what this horrible situation had evolved into, no wishing or hoping or praying. Giving in, letting Kakashi stay with Sakumo again, even after this- perhaps, perhaps… that could help?
If Kakashi still wanted to, that is- which Jiraiya doubted he would.
He would just tell Minato to start up some hardcore taijutsu training. Worst case scenario, if Sakumo came home drunk again, Kakashi would really be able to hold his own.
Jiraiya shook his head at himself. Worst case scenario? Sakumo had proved tonight that there was no point speculating such things. Just a few short hours ago, he never would've believed his old friend capable of what he had witnessed. And now…
Minato stayed with Kakashi that night.
It was a double bed, and, well, Kakashi just looked so tiny in it alone. His small stature was even further exaggerated by the fact that he was wearing one of Minato's shirts. He'd pulled it gently over Kakashi's head, then lifted a pair of pants- and stopped, when he realized his uniform shirt dangled on past his knees. The turtleneck collar was so big it covered the lower half of his face just fine, and he looked just like a child playing dress up.
Sometimes, he forgot that his students were just children. Not just Kakashi, but Obito and Rin, too. Kids taken and molded into killers because they were at war, because they needed shinobi, because…
Kakashi's father chose to betray the village.
It was moments like these when Minato really, really hated Sakumo, but he could never hate Kakashi the way the rest of the village seemed to. His wasn't his father. He wasn't responsible for Sakumo's actions and he shouldn't have to bear the weight of their results, the hatred and the cold stares and the constant whispers.
This, too. What had happened tonight. He shouldn't have to bear this, the results of Sakumo's depression. But he did anyway, always without complaint, because he was a shinobi at heart and shinobi lived with pain. Kakashi understood that- too well. He never once complained that it just wasn't fair, none of it.
Minato wished he could've helped, sometimes. But he hadn't realized until Kakashi was already buried in his life of shinobi, nothing but shinobi, hadn't realized that Kakashi needed help until it was far too late to give it.
And the next morning, when Kakashi woke and begged in a broken, strained voice to not report it and let him just go back and live with Sakumo, Minato would let him go. He didn't have the heart to say no. He was just Kakashi's sensei, anyway. What business did he have in this? Just Kakasih's sensei… He stayed silent, because this, surely, had to be rock bottom. It would only get better from here. Interfering, trying to change things and help- it was unneeded, because it could not get worse from here.
And when Kakashi would lash out at his teammates, fighting too hard in practice or flinching away when Rin or Obito would try to help him up, Minato still said nothing. He pretended to know nothing, because as much as he wanted to kill Sakumo, Kakashi would hate him for it. Kakashi was Sakumo's child, and even as much as Kakashi himself hated that fact, he still would never let anyone interfere. He still saw Sakumo as his own responsibility, and while Minato hated to watch him suffer like this… it wasn't his place to interfere. Besides, it couldn't get worse than this, right? It could only get better from there.
And when Minato found Kakashi sobbing over his father's dead body, he wished he had done something to help. Because it did not get worse than this.
He did help, then. But it was already too late.