Wish You Were Here
Written by Hanane EL Mokkadem
He'd come to the sad realization that people, no matter how much you may try to keep them from doing so, leave.
It didn't even really matter where they went, be it to death or missing-nin status, at the end of the road, they leave. Or, leave him, at least. Other people he knew didn't seem to have such a problem with keeping their precious people close, like he did.
He was starting to think it was his fault.
First it was his mom. One day she had a simple cold, the next, she was dead. It came completely out of nowhere.
The second was his dad. Hatake Sakumo was literally all Kakashi had left in the world, until he came home one day to find his father with his guts spilled out all over the floor, tanto still clenched in his hand. It was until this day still one of his most traumatic memories.
The third was Obito. Obnoxiously loud Obito that taught him the value of not leaving a comrade behind. If only he could have followed his own rules. Obito gave him his eye something Kakashi was still unsure of if it was a blessing or a curse.
The fourth was Rin. There wasn't much to be said about Rin only that he had a big part in her leaving. After his mom, dad and Obito, Kakashi just didn't want to lose anyone else, and figured that the best way to accomplish that was to cut himself off from the people around him. Minato-sensei refused to let Kakashi do it, but Rin, she'd always had such a hard time connecting to Kakashi, that it worked almost effortlessly. He had meant to protect himself from her but what he hadn't known was the guilt he'd feel when her new team-mates brought her lifeless body back to Konoha.
The fifth was Minato-sensei. He really didn't have anything to say about his death, only that after all the other people in his life left, it wasn't a big surprise to him as it ought to have been. Sensei died in a way that made Kakashi proud, a way that was fitting for the Yellow Flash of Konoha. He literally saved everyone. And even if it hurt Kakashi to lose his mentor, almost like how it felt to lose his father all those years ago, Kakashi was also secretly a little relieved to have it all over with.
He was relieved that there was no one else in his life that was irreplaceable in the way those five people were.
It meant he could live his life without having to worry about losing anyone precious to him, and he looked forward to meeting them in death, as he was sure they were waiting for him on the other side.
He believed that, until he spoke to Jiraiya, and listened as he explained to him exactly what the sacrifice his sensei made truly meant. That he would never be able to see his Sensei again, not in life or death. That conversation made Kakashi feel like he lost Minato-sensei all over again.
Years past, and Kakashi took every dangerous ANBU mission he could get his hands on. The more risk, the more he wanted the job. The Sandaime knew Kakashi was trying to kill himself. Kakashi would give every mission his all, and he'd do anything to come back alive, but it was only a matter of time before he came across something that he couldn't beat.
The Sandaime simply couldn't allow Minato's last living student to end his life so callously, so he tried to saddle Kakashi with a genin team, hoping to temper the shinobi a bit.
It never worked. Kakashi failed team after team, sending them all back to the academy. He didn't want a genin team, but if he was going to be forced to take one, it would be a team that understood that leaving a comrade behind was the gravest of sins.
When he came across Haruno Sakura, Uzumaki Naruto, and Uchiha Sasuke, he believed they had the potential to understand his rule. He drilled it into them every chance he had. Made it second nature for them to not leave anyone of their team behind. Ever.
With all their fighting, with all their antics, he honestly believed they understood his message. He should have known that having three new precious people was a sure way to set himself up for disappointment.
The sixth person the leave him, was Sasuke. He should have known, really. It was so obvious. But there must be something true about being blind to the faults of the people you love.
Naruto left not long after. Kakashi understood why Naruto left, training with the Toad-sage, no matter how perverted he may be, was a wonderful opportunity, too wonderful to pass up, especially if you knew it was your only chance to bring Sasuke back. He couldn't fault Naruto for taking it, he just wished it didn't have to hurt so damn much.
What he did after that was pretty much unforgivable. He went back into ANBU, again only taking the hardest missions, leaving Sakura all alone. It was still one of his biggest regrets. She needed him, he knew it too, it wasn't as if he was unaware. Her big green pleading eyes that followed him whenever he saw her around the village told him as much, but he simply couldn't stay and take the risk that she would leave him too. He was a coward when it came to matters of the heart.
In the end it turned out alright. Sakura took his avoidance as a sign that she wasn't good enough, and took actions that turned her into the greatest Kunoichi of her generation. She was a student to be proud of, he only wished he'd been brave enough to take that journey with her. Then maybe he'd be able to stop flinching whenever she called him Kakashi-sensei, a title he in no way deserved.
When the Godaime Hokage took the broken pieces of team seven and re-named it Team Kakashi, it was a bittersweet moment. He knew in his heart that Team Seven, Team Kakashi, would never be complete without Sasuke, and that Naruto and Sakura would never stop trying to bring their wayward team-mate back into the fold. Kakashi likewise would never stop trying, but he wondered how far Naruto and Sakura would go to get Sasuke back.
Sai's addition to the team, even with all the initial suspicion, betrayal, and trouble it brought, was like a match made in heaven. It was strange because there was a lot of arguing, murder attempts and violence added to an already shaky team, it should have put too big of a strain on them and they should have snapped like a twig. Only they didn't. On the contrary, even with everything, Sakura and Naruto took to Sai like a duck takes to water.
It was probably the completely cluelessness of the boy, and his inability to show genuine emotion, it brought out the best in his two students, turning Sai from an enemy and a person that tried to take the place of someone who was irreplaceable to someone who needed to be protected and taught.
Kakashi tried to teach Sai about comrades and not leaving them behind, and even though there were times where Kakashi didn't believe the boy got it, he proved that he did understand the rule in the end, and even went so far as to follow Sakura and Naruto down a path Kakashi was pretty sure Sai would never have walked on his own.
When Sasuke attacked Danzo while he was on his way back to Konoha from attending the Kage summit, everything came to head.
He didn't remember much from that fight, only that Sasuke lost and Danzo was slowly killing him. Kakashi couldn't do anything about it as he drifted into unconsciousness during the battle. When he woke up from his coma nine days later, it was not to find Sakura sitting by his bed-side like she usually would be. It worried him at first, but not enough to actually think anything of it. It was just another break in routine, something he should have been used to by now. Sakura was probably with another patient, or she was at home, asleep.
Gai was the one who came and told him where Sakura was and why she wasn't sitting in the uncomfortable chair by his side, yelling at him about him not taking care of himself.
When Danzo tried to kill Sasuke, Naruto intervened, attacking Danzo, who was appointed as the sixth Hokage by the Daimyo himself after Tsunade-sama's coma. An act like that was considered treason and would have you executed without a moment's notice. Naruto and Sasuke were both thrown into a holding cell, pending their execution.
When Gai told him this Kakashi almost had a heart-attack. He demanded that Gai tell him what happened to his student and Gai quickly complied, not even going through the trouble of acting like the idiot he always portrayed himself to be.
Sasuke and Naruto were to be executed in five days, and Sakura was forced into becoming Danzo's aid as she was the only one, beside Shizune, who was too busy taking care of the comatose Tsunade, with any experience.
It was obvious to Kakashi it was only one of Danzo's schemes to keep Sakura close and make sure she didn't intervene with the pending executions. Kakashi knew that with Sakura out of the way, and Tsunade-sama in a coma, there was no one left to fight for Naruto and Sasuke's lives. No one but him.
'I have to get out of the hospital!' The thought almost made him smile. It was usually the first thought he had when waking up in a hospital bed, how to get the hell out without Sakura killing him. Usually it was because he couldn't stand to be in place that, for him, represented death. This time, he didn't think Sakura would mind him leaving without being released. Much. You could never tell with Sakura, she was unpredictable that way.
He turned to Gai with a serious look. "Get me out of here," he ordered
After discharging himself from the hospital, which didn't take very long since he simply walked out without saying anything to the doctors. He started working on getting Naruto and Sasuke out of a holding cell, or just postpone their death sentence at the very least, since he was pretty sure it wasn't going to be easy to get them out of jail, especially not Sasuke.
He tried contacting Sakura, but Danzo kept a tight leash on her, and Kakashi never got to see her. When that didn't work he cashed in every favor owed to him, and asked others for many favors to influence the council to at least consider postponing his students' death until Tsunade-sama awoke from her coma.
Sadly, every road he took resulted in a dead-end. Danzo's influence on the council was larger than his could ever hope to be. There would be no deterring them from putting his two students to death.
Three days before they were to be executed, around the same time Kakashi was starting to think of other alternatives to save Naruto and Sasuke from their execution, word reached him that they had escaped.
It turned out that while he was working his ass off at securing Naruto and Sasuke's lives the legal way, Sakura took a completely different route, and staged a jail-break.
It surprised him, but on the other hand, it completely didn't. He was after all starting to think of doing the same after he came to the conclusion that legal means weren't going to stop the execution. Sakura was a smart girl, she would have seen what he was trying to do, and created a back up plan just in case his way wouldn't work, which it clearly didn't.
What did surprise him though, was Sai. Kakashi had tried speaking to Sai about trying to get Naruto out of jail, wondering if there was anything Sai could do that he couldn't, but the answer he received from his pale team-mate was not encouraging, to say the least. Sai had told him quite plainly, that Sasuke was a traitor to Konoha and deserved any punishment he would receive, and though it pained him to hear of Naruto's pending execution, it was the logical thing to do from Danzo's standpoint. Naruto did try to kill the Hokage after all, that was no small crime.
To hear that Sai not only helped Sakura in getting Naruto and Sasuke out of their holding cell, but escaped Konoha with them, was a testament of how much he changed since being assigned to their team.
If Danzo was angered about Sakura pulling off her plans right under his nose, it was nothing compared to how furious he was about one of his own Root soldiers betraying him in order to save two traitors. It was obvious by how large the ANBU hunter-nin team he sent after them was. Although Kakashi had to admit it probably also had to do with the fact that his team-mates were the best and brightest this village had to offer, and sending only a couple of nin after them would pretty much be pointess. Naruto's demonic house guest probably played large part in Danzo's decision as well.
Kakashi was just relieved that the hunter-nin sent after his team-mates hadn't found a single clue of their whereabouts, or even a single hint about what possible direction they took. Sakura had been very thorough in planning en executing out her ideas, it made him feel like a proud parent, seeing his son or daughter walk for the first time.
Kakashi was questioned by Danzo, of course, he was the first one to be hauled in by ANBU-Root. But since he honestly didn't know anything about any of Sakura's plans, and Danzo had kept him away from her and under ANBU Root's watchful eye at all times from the second he woke up from his coma, Danzo couldn't prove Kakashi had anything to do with Naruto and Sasuke's escape.
Kakashi was the first to be called into T&I, but certainly not the last. Many of Sakura's friend's were called in, but all denied to have anything to do with the escape.
Somehow, Kakashi doubted it.
It were the smug looks exchanged between Yamanaka Ino and Inuzaka Kiba, the relief that simply radiated from Hyuga Hinata. The other members of the Konoha Eleven simply hid it better, but Kakashi could still see it, they played a part in Naruto and Sasuke's escape.
He honestly didn't know how to feel about that. Sure he was grateful and relieved that Naruto and Sasuke were safe, or out of their prison at the very least, but he didn't understand why Sakura didn't include him in her plans. Why didn't she come to him instead of asking for outside help? Even Sai helped, so why didn't she ask him?
He couldn't help but wonder if Sakura simply didn't trust him to help her. The thought pained him, but it seemed to be the only logical conclusion.
He couldn't understand where he went so wrong with his students, if they really believed he wouldn't have helped them out of any trouble they got into. He was the one that insisted on never leaving a team-mate behind, wasn't he? What was it about him that gave them, or even just Sakura, the idea that he would be a liability to their escape plans? Possibly even a hindrance. Did she think he would rat her out to Danzo? The thought almost made him nauseous.
Kakashi simply didn't get it.
After the initial relief he felt about their escape, it kind of just hit him, he was alone again. His team-mates...his friends...just left the village and they weren't coming back.
In the end Kakashi could only conclude that history was doomed to repeat itself. People leave.
He thought that if he taught them to never abandon a comrade, that maybe this time, he wouldn't be left behind again. It seemed like they understood what his rule meant, and did everything they could not to break it, including going missing-nin, but somehow the rule just didn't seem to apply to him, because they sure as hell left him behind.
He didn't understand. Did they honestly believe he wouldn't have gone with them into exile? They even took Sai, but left him behind. Was he not part of their team? It didn't make any sense. It had to be his fault somehow. Maybe something he did, or didn't do.
He thought about trying to look for them but somehow he didn't think he'd have any more luck than the countless hunter-nin sent after them. Even if he thought he could find them, he didn't think he should. They left him out of the loop for a reason, be it a good reason or bad, he didn't know. But searching for them wasn't a good idea, especially not with Danzo watching every move he made.
He would be a liability instead of help. His team had already shown him and everyone in Konoha that they were good enough to flee the village without leaving behind a trail after breaching a secured facility to free two people sentenced to death. They could take care of themselves, as they clearly had shown, and if they had wanted him to come with them, they would've included him in their plans.
As much as he wanted to be with his team, he couldn't. He would ignore his instinct that screamed at him to go out and find his kids, and instead maybe try to get used to being alone again. For their sakes and his own sanity, if nothing else.
Three months after team Kakashi defected from Konoha, Senju Tsunade died in her sleep, without ever waking from her coma.
Danzo was pleased, Kakashi could easily tell.
If it wasn't for Shizune guarding Tsunade-sama fiercely, like a lioness protecting its cubs, Kakashi would have suspected foul play. He wouldn't put it past Danzo to resort to assassination, but Kakashi knew from experience how impossible it was to be allowed inside Tsunade-sama's room at the rare times Shizune was away from her Hokage, let alone when she was by her side.
In the months after her death Kakashi stood by helplessly as he watched the village he loved, the village that Minato-sensei gave his life for, turned into something unrecognizable.
He was not the only ninja appalled by the direction Danzo was taking this new Konoha. Kakashi could practically feel the discontent radiate off his fellow ninjas. It was often that someone would say; 'if Naruto were here this would never have happened. We need Naruto,' to his friends, speaking especially loud so that Kakashi would hear it.
He couldn't help but agree; Konoha needed Uzumaki Naruto.
Danzo knew it too, that's why he was so quick to appoint the death sentence not so long ago, and why he was working the ANBU hunter-nin squad to the ground trying to find Naruto, and kill him before he could endanger his position as Hokage.
He sat alone in silence perched in his favorite tree, watching the world pas him by.
A scratching sound at the foot of the tree brought him out of his referee, and Kakashi was shocked when he looked down to find a cat looking at him with big green eyes. An envelope was clenched between the cat's teeth, making Kakashi's gut flutter in excitement.
He knew that cat, it was one of Sakura's summons, the one she used as a messenger between her and the rest of the team. He quickly climbed down and fell to his knees beside the cat, ripping the envelope he held between his teeth from his mouth.
Kakashi ripped it open and stilled when he found a picture of a mound with two graves and a big sword that should be behind one of the graves, but wasn't, bringing back long-forgotten memories about a bridge builder, a missing-nin, and his loyal apprentice.
There were only four people in the entire Leaf village who would recognize the graves in the picture, and three of them were currently missing-nin. Had anyone else found this picture they wouldn't have been able to make heads or tails out of it, but he could. He knew exactly where these graves were located.
He turned the picture around when he saw there was something written on the back of it.
A grin formed behind his mask as he read the words, hidden from everyone who might be watching him. He felt happy, lighter than he'd felt in a long time. His team may have left him behind, but they clearly didn't intend to leave him alone.
He was all too happy that they really did take his lesson to heart.
He took one last look at the familiar pink scrawl at the back of the picture before setting it on fire with a controlled burst of chakra.
He watched with a big, contend smile on his face as the words 'Wish you were here!' slowly burned, before turning to leave.
Time's a-wastin'. He had places to go, and people to find, after all.
A/N: I hope you'll let me know what you think? This was my first foray into Naruto fanfiction.
What did you think of Kakashi? Did I write him okay?
Any constructive criticism you might offer would be welcomed. It'll only help to make me a better writer.
Hanane EL Mokkadem