Chapter 1: Just Today
Summary: Kakashi has a favorite day of the week.
*Set many years into Kakashi and Sakura's marriage
The crowded market was a delicious medley of steamed buns and cooked seafood; its aroma permeated through the narrow street that he caught a whiff of it with a long satisfied inhale.
There were a few reasons why Kakashi loved Tuesdays. His favorite food cart — conveniently parked along the same path he took for his weekly errands, always broiled an especially fresh batch of saury, same day, every week. His wife, who worked at the hospital, ended her shift early on Tuesdays. Twenty minutes after noontime, if she decided to do her quick shower at work. Half an hour earlier if she bee-lined straight home smelling of that distinct scent of fresh linens or hospital smell as she'd say in protest as he would reel her in for a tackling hug.
Hand in his pocket, and now a broiled take-out on the other, Kakashi continued his walk down the busy street, lightly whistling as he weaved through the usual shoppers and tourists.
Travel had definitely gotten popular in Konoha years after the last war. The friendly relations that had been safe-guarded by the Kazekage and their own Hokage had produced a very lucrative byproduct for both Konoha and Suna. Having enough prosperity to transition almost completely from Tenzou's wooden structure, their village had now expanded into newer streets and bigger architectures. It had thrived into a growing populace, with the unprecedented human bottle neck Kakashi was now patiently weaving through, a bustling evidence of what was now normal everyday foot-traffic.
The end of the congested market finally opened through a wider road. Taking advantage of the faster moving crowd, he maneuvered his way swiftly, hooking left to reach a side street, the same beaten one that led to the academy and to one more reason why Kakashi loved Tuesdays — an errand he was right on time for, at four pm. Always.
The absence of hurried people allowed him to walk a little slower as he swung the take-out bag idly, his steps taking him to a greener path where the dry crunching of leaves underneath his sandals mingled with the occasional sound of the wind.
It was remarkable how the old school stayed the same amidst the drastic changes around it; he marveled at the old stone wall, eyes gazing towards a window as he thought of three little academy children and an eraser falling on his head. It was a distant memory, and he wondered now if any of the new students were prepared for what was waiting for them outside the academy walls.
The usual waiting spot was in perfect view of the entrance to a small music school that was dwarfed by the shinobi school across it, and he set his take-out bag down to lean comfortably against an old tree. For a second, Kakashi considered whipping out his favorite book to burn through the few minutes till four pm, but his wife's voice echoed loud in his head—"If I hear one more complaint from a parent, Hatake!—" He wouldn't dare finish that thought.
It was a few more minutes when the door flung open, shuffling out a sea of excited five year olds in different shapes and sizes; their violin cases bumped against each other as they talked amongst themselves excitedly. A bouncy head of silver was what he was particularly looking for and he craned his head, frowning when the crowd of students finally thinned out with no daughter in sight.
Slightly worried, Kakashi peeked inside the classroom to see the music teacher putting away the scattered chairs.
"Hatake-san! How can I help you?" The petite middle-aged woman spared him a quick glance before hoisting a chair to a corner.
"I'm looking for Misaki," he answered, slightly puzzled.
The teacher finally stopped with a similar confused look on her face. "She never came to class. I assumed she was sick."
Kakashi was out the door, barely hearing her concerned inquiry as he tried to catch any sign of his five year old.
"Misaki!" he called out in case she'd been in the perimeter, and was about to sink his teeth into his thumb for a summon when a familiar head caught his attention - a few feet away, deeper into the forest grounds.
He found her sitting there, on a large rock, right underneath a swath of tree branches. Lovely short silver hair hung down to her hunched shoulders.
Hearing his footsteps, his little girl made a quick effort to wipe her face clean of what were obviously tears.
"Hey," he greeted, voice nonchalant despite his already burning curiosity.
Misaki kept staring at her feet, hugging two arms around her legs, not moving an inch even when her father took the spot next to her.
"Sensei told me you weren't in class today.."
"I didn't mean to skip class, I'm sorry," she whispered before her small hand pulled out a broken violin bow from underneath where she sat.
Washed with relief, Kakashi broke into a small laugh. "Come here," he said as gathered her close, his lanky frame bending low so his forehead rested atop her head as he took the broken piece from her hand, fiddling with it playfully.
"Don't worry about this. We can always buy—" His heads snapped towards the broken stick on his hand, sensing a faint trace of chakra along the jagged edges.
"Did Neji do this?" His tone was stern this time; it wouldn't be the first time the young Uzumaki had teased his little girl on her way to school. That brat had never ran out of ways to harass her. On some days, it would be to poke fun at her hand-me-down violin case. On other days, when the pesky genin was feeling especially creative, it would be variations of name calling—mostly inspired by the color of Misaki's hair.
It was truly a wonder of science, how two loving parents could produce such an insolent little brat. Perhaps it was tempting fate that Naruto and Hinata had named their son after one particularly pompous Hyuuga—known in his younger years for his genius and arrogance, much like a certain Uchiha. Of course, until Naruto, as Naruto would, changed Neji for the better and was remembered now as one of Konoha's bravest fallen heroes. It was a pity that the hokage couldn't impart the same values on his own son, showering him instead with toys and gifts easily accommodated by the Hyuuga's deep pockets.
"It wasn't Neji," she said, halting his inner ramblings. "I was the one who broke the bow."
Kakashi's eyebrows jutted disbelievingly. "You? You mean the chakra signature on this is yours?"
Misaki nodded, meeting his questioning gaze with her huge green eyes.
"How?" Of course, he knew exactly why chakra traces were found on certain objects, sharp weapons mostly. But how did his own five year old, a little girl who had never shown any inclination for the shinobi world, not even a foot inside the academy, managed to summon chakra and wield it?
"It started when he made fun of my hair like last time, but I ignored him— just like mom said I should!" she professed earnestly. But her daughter's countenance turned more sullen as she continued. "I think that might have pissed him off even more, so he knocked over my violin case to get my attention, popping it open. I was picking up the rest of the stuff that fell out of it when he decided to grab my hair.."
Kakashi grimaced at the visual but Misaki continued. "My bow was already in my hand, I think, but it felt...different. I didn't think it would be so sharp to pierce through the wall behind him. I..I only wanted to whack him, I promise!"
An innocent little whack on the head. The thought of a chakra infused blade wielding little girl decapitating a genin materialized in front of him. Even more disturbing was the fact he'd seen worse things.
A bitter unease started to settle at the pit of his stomach. Misaki was five. Kakashi had started academy at the age of four and became chuunin at six. There was no such thing as too young in the shinobi world, he knew this first hand.
And yet, the same two little words had somehow wormed into the back of his mind. He couldn't remember how or when, only that it had become a nagging voice inside him, persistent and sounding like the most important truth he could ever hang on to.
"I'm so sorry dad," Misaki apologized timidly before she was startled by two big hands holding her small frame.
"It's not your fault, okay?" He had her full attention right there, as he crouched in front of her. "But you shouldn't retaliate. Especially when it involves whacking people on the head. You're better than that, mm?"
She nodded silently as Kakashi picked up the broken bow, mentally calculating how much a new one would cost.
"I want to join the academy.." They were almost mumbled, but her words were like huge anvils finally descending on him, suspended for far too long with too fragile strands that his eyes involuntarily shut at the weight of it.
When he finally opened his eyes to meet hers, he saw nothing but conviction.
"Are you sure about this?" he asked, "If this is just to get back at Neji, I wouldn't—"
"No. I really want to learn."
"What about your violin?" It could be a father's biased opinion, but Kakashi always thought Misaki's music was the best thing he'd ever heard.
"I can do the violin lessons too!" she said plainly. "The academy only has class four days in a week. There's a Wednesday violin class I can take instead."
It was a pipe dream of course. Even if logistics allowed her to be a normal girl a few days in a week, the path she would take would eventually be a singular one. The thought of a violin playing shinobi however was kind of cool, Kakashi mused.
His daughter was beaming at his question now, breaking into an impossibly toothy smile.
Wielding chakra instinctively. She would surpass that brat Neji, and the rest of them. Easily. She would eventually surpass her parents too.
She nodded before echoing his own words in confirmation,"Wednesdays." Misaki didn't know it, but Kakashi would hold on to her word like a fragile promise.