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Monday, January 21, 2013

Eye for an Eye

Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto or any of its characters and make no money from this.

Chapter One:

Every single one of Konoha's ninjas were currently sitting in the meeting hall of the Hokage's building, seperated by their ranks. The chuunin sat at the far right of the immense room, the jonin on the opposite, the ANBU behind the chuunins. The genins sat behind their teachers, while Danzo's root agents were lined up behind him. Kakashi hadn't thought they would be outnumbering his beloved city's current military force. Pein's attack had taken a serious toll on their numbers, too many good and loved ninjas had been mercilessly murdered that day.

The reason of this meeting was for Danzo, no, sorry, the Hokage, to announce how his village was to be led. Said man was truly a warlord, and an atrociously outdated one, so the Copy Nin had no doubts he would be temped to desert the village. Sadly, he was well aware he'd never be able to do that. Tsunade would wake up soon, right? Or worse, he might be pushed in the Hokage's shoes because finally, the elders would figure out Danzo wasn't the rightful owner of the position. For now, they'd have to deal with him. He had even considered praying to the skies for lightning to strike him down or something, but had refrained when he realized how silly he was being.

After his introduction speech, the heavily bandaged man lost no time in making his rules clear.

"Current and future genins will be required to take on an additional test to see if they are fit to be root members. If so should be the case, they will be sent to root's compounds for their training. If some of you are not clear with root's ways, they are very similar to the academy and ranks you currently know. These ninjas are trained to take on any task without letting emotion and compassion block their path.", he started, his voice even and a little hoarse. What could you expect from a man nearly as old as the Sandaime?

"Chuunins will be re-evaluated starting next week. They will get promoted, demoted or stay the same rank as we deem fit. No one will be an exception to this rule.", he continued, clearing his throat at the end and pausing to watch his audience. All of them had relatively impassive expressions, waiting for all of his speech to be over before reacting.

"Relations with fellow ninja villages will also be re-evaluated and treated as should be.", he added. The silver-haired jonin held in a scowl. Of course, barely any of their alliances would survive the incoming months.

"Medic-nins will now only be sent out on A- or S-class missions and are not to interfere with said missions other than to heal injuries in the smallest amount of time possible. Further information will be provided once you are summoned for such a mission." Kakashi couldn't help but throw a glance towards Sakura. She was in no way ready for S-class missions. There was a reason only jonin were allowed to partake in those.

"Also, all kunoichi will be restricted to intern missions and guard duty for an undertermined amount of time. Girls under the age of twenty will be required to be paired with a male jonin as legal guardian until they reach said age. Living under the same roof will be an obligation-", immediately the female populace of the hall began showing their discontentment.

"Silence!", the Hokage screamed. "Anyone who disobeys the Hokage is passible for execution. The decision will be taken between myself, the elders and a select few jonins.", the complaining died down quickly, replaced by fear. Was he really willing to be that extreme?

"You are now all dismissed. Jonin who wish to volunteer to be the legal guardian of the kunoichi under twenty will meet me at my office in an hour.", he added before turning on his heel and leaving the room.

As soon as was possible, Team 7 had reassembled outside the building, their grimaces telling all of how they felt of their current Hokage. His pink-haired student seemed the most pre-occupied and he had no doubt she had every right to be. These changes affected her the most, after all.

"Sakura, if you wish, I can offer my home.", he offered relucantly. He didn't want anyone else to live in his appartment, but he felt he had no choice. He had to help and protect her in every way possible right now. Who knows with who Danzo would pair her up with?

"Really? You could do that?", she let out, her voice full of shock. Her eyes seemed to spark a little at this, making the Copy Nin crinkle his eye and scratch the back of his head. At the least she was happy about it. It was probably her only fathomable option.

"Of course. I can't possibly let you under Danzo's care.", he answered mechanically, but truthfully.

Sai and Naruto watched him with equally surprised expressions, but Naruto didn't take long before grinning widely and giving a thumbs up.

"Of course he will, Sakura! If something happened to you, no one would ever let him live it down!", he said enthusiastically, pulling her in a tight hug.

"Does that mean you and Sakura are now a couple?", Sai asked blankly, obviously trying to understand the very complicated social dynamics that made this situation somewhat unexpected and even inappropriate.

"Of course not, you freaking idiot!", Sakura growled back, turning Naruto's hug into a struggle to hold her in place as she tried to free herself to punch the clueless bastard on the arm.

"But my book said that when a woman and man move in together, it means that they're settling in a stable and long-lasting relationship. I didn't even know you two were involed romantically at all.", he added, tilting his head to the side while his eyes showed he was deep in thought.

The jonin could tell his only female student about to rip the artist a new one, so he decided to intervene, placing a hand on her shoulder to calm her while he explained the situation to the other.

"What Sakura here is trying to say is that I am only doing this because we are somewhat forced to. I am the only male jonin that she is close to and can count on to allow nothing to happen to her under her new roof."

Sai nodded his head in semi-understanding. How did that not change their relationship status, he wondered. Before this could turn better or worse, Shikamaru interrupted them discretely.

"Everyone is meeting at the Hyuuga estate at eight. Be there.", he said evenly, passing like a breeze. It was low enough so that they would be the only one to catch it and from any bypasser it would look like the Nara boy had just been muttering something under his breath.

Team 7 immediately quieted down after this, wondering what was up. They would have to wait until then to find out though, as he had offered no details as to even what the meeting was about. It certainly wasn't a friendly gathering by the way the only jonin from the rookie nine invited them. Kakashi cleared his mind quickly, gearing into serious mode.

"Sakura, go gather everything you need from your mother's house. I'll meet you there in two hours, after I've settled your new living arragements with our peachy Hokage.", he ordered, giving a quick eye crease before leaving for Danzo's office.

"Are you going to be okay?", the blonde asked much more worrisome now. He knew Sakura wouldn't take well to being patronized this way, but there was nothing that he could do...

"She will be. Kakashi-sensei will take care of it.", Sai reassured, posing a hand on his teammate's shoulder and faking a smile, even going as far as closing his eyes to make the gesture seem warmer.

"You're so creepy, Sai.", the jinchurikii dead-panned, quickly stepping away from him. The black-haired boy opened his eyes, managing to look shocked.

"I was trying to show support to my team.", he justified, frowning a little. It was so hard to understand people. He was trying, really.

"Whatever, I'll be fine, guys. Really. But I've really gotta go get my stuff before Kakashi-sensei makes it home before me.", she let out, faking a smile before she started her way to her home.

Her mother was currently away from the village, on a business trip to Suna with her father. This would make it easier, the girl guessed. It wasn't a good-bye, but it certainly wasn't the way she had envisionned moving out for the first time. It barely took her more than an hour and half to gather everything she needed in two big rolling suitcases. Both were old and worn out. They were the ones her father had used for his frequent business travels before he had bought new ones last week for the most recent trip with his wife.

Of course, Kakashi was late. An hour late. Sakura glared daggers at him as he came into her sight, hands in pockets and slouching as usual. He better have good news.

"Yo. It's okay. You're assigned to me now. I will need to report your every moves to Danzo once a month, but that should be fine. Every six months, we'll need to pass an evaluation to make sure your living conditions are fine and that I am not allowing you too much freedom, in short.", he explained evenly, though the even more prominent lack of expression told her that he wasn't feeling any better about this than she was. He picked up one of your suitcases and immediately started a quick pace towards his place.

"We'd better hurry if we want to meet our friends tonight.", he announced, purposefully vague because he felt he might tailed by some root agent. Couldn't be too careful right now. He might be executed, after all. His student followed him without hesitation, head hanging low and dreadfully silent to his taste. He wasn't one for many words, but he knew the girl behind was and that her silence wasn't to accomodate him, but rather the display of how much her personal thoughts currently consumed her.

The walk to his appartment complex had been an excruciating thirty-two minutes. Not a word had been said. He would have offered to carry both her suitcases up to the fourth floor where he lived, but that would only insult her inhumane strength, so he kept to himself. He liked that the staircases leading to each appartment were on the outside of the building. This allowed extra windows in his appartment, which he still thought lacked some. He was a private man, but he liked having the option of closing his blinds or not. Though they were always closed. It was really just a rhetorical thing.

"I'll give you a key once I have one made, until then you can use the window as much as you want.", he said as he unlocked the door with the only key available. Once inside, he gave Sakura a quick tour of the place, without even moving from his spot. His home was quite small, after all.

"This on the left, is the kitchen and dining room.", he explained, pointing to the slightly elevated room that was the kitchen. The whole appartment was quite open, only a short railing on the edge of the kitchen's platform and the stairs seperated it from the living room. The kitchen was modest, having numerous cupboards for storage and the classic stove and fridge in the back. His dining set was simple and wooden, sitting between the rails and the kitchen equipment. There were two windows in the room, one right above the sink and the other midway between the cupboards and the rail. The latter was was relatively large, taking up about half of the wall in both height and width. This meant that they were on the far right of the building.

"This is the living room.", he said blankly, pointing to his feet. The room wasn't large, but it was just spacious enough to hold two small adjacent couches. They seemed old and worn out. A large square coffee table was placed in front of them, it was quite big, really. But it seemed to fit. The small television was placed in the far right corner of the room, on the same side as the door. It faced the small empty space between the couches so it could be watched comfortably by either. The girl really hadn't expected her teacher to set his living room this way, expecting it to be a style much more fitting to the seemingly eternal bachelor. There was also a large bookcase against the left wall, which was completely full. She didn't know he read so much. Except for porn, that is.

"The first door on the right is my bedroom. I don't think I need to make you visit it.", he added before nodding to the middle door. "That's the bathroom. My washing machine and dryer are also in there.", he continue before finally looking at the last door, which was just a few feet away from the small staircase that led to the kitchen. "That will be your bedroom. Good thing Yamato insisted on giving an extra room when he built this place.", he finished, turning back to her. The girl nodded shyly. She had never been to his place, wether it was this one or the previous one that had been destroyed by Pein. Her parents' had been spared, being lucky enough to be on the far edge of the village, on the opposite side that had been anihilated.

"Okay. Thanks for the... Tour.", she replied flatly. She really didn't know how else to react right now.

This was her new home for at least the next six months. Hopefully the next three years and a half. She didn't particularily wish to live with Kakashi for so long, but it was better than to be with a stranger, she assumed. A stranger who would pratically have control over her every move and breath. Danzo would pay one day. He would pay dearly for this.

"I wonder who Ino was paired with...", she wondered out loud as her head dropped lower and she
stared at the floor. "And Tenten, and Hinata..."

"I arranged for Ino to be sent to Genma. I know he'll take good care of her. Hinata won't move anywhere since she is part of the Hyuuga clan and is already watched pretty closely by the headmasters. Gai took responsibility of Tenten", he clarified while he moved her luggage to her room. His tone let her understand that he was no more comfortable with the situation than she was.

"I see. At least all my friends seem to be in good hands.", she let out, somewhat relieved that no one had to live with some robot of a root agent. The girl followed him in the room that would now be hers. It was a little bigger than the kitchen. She constructed the house plan in her mind quickly, assuming that the house was pretty much a rectangle. The kitchen and living room were both the a little longer than they were wide, consisting of the first half of the appartment with the living room taking a little more length. If Kakashi's room was the same size as hers, then the bathroom had to be pretty small.

Her room was quite simple. She had noticed that every wall was white. He musn't have wanted to waste time personalizing it or painting it. She couldn't imagine him doing that anyway. It would be so weird. She could just hear a commercial jingle with Kakashi doing a happy eye crease and a motto saying "Don't forget to watch How to DIY with the Copy Ninja, tonight at eleven!". She supressed a giggle before it could come out. The last thing she wanted was her companion to ask her what was so funny.

On the far left side was her bed, a single place one. Nothing out of the ordinary, just what she needed and what she'd had back home. On its right was a very large dresser. There were no closets in this appartment. There had only been a clothes hanger besides the entrance, she had noted. There was a bookcase at her left, which was empty. A hamper was besides it. That was it. The room was quite empty. Well, it was better than nothing, right?

"Make yourself at home, Sakura. I'll go fix us something for dinner.", he let out before bypassing her to go to the kitchen. He closed the door behind him to give her some privacy. Privacy. She was going to miss that. Her parents' house had been modest, but nonetheless large enough so she wouldn't bump into them on her way to absolutely every room. How could she possibly avoid seeing him constantly here? There were no halls, no nothing to hide. She would make sure to mourn it a little later.

She unzipped one of her suitcases and peeked inside. This was the one that held all her clothes. She didn't wear most of them very often, as she was nearly always in ninja garb, but she liked having them handy for whenever Ino would drag her out of her house to go out. All of them were quite conservative. Sakura didn't like to show herself off too much. It was just embarrassing. Whenever her friend had forced her into more revealing clothes, she had only received perverted comments as a result. She really didn't know how the girl could appreciate such attention. It just made her itch to punch through a wall or something.

It didn't take her too long to unpack this one, making sure to organize everything perfectly. She had a drawer for her shirts, yes, the six shirts that she owned, one for her bottoms, and other seperate ones for her undies, socks and then shoes as well as one she kept for personal belongings, wether they were hygienic or memories. The dresser also had a top half where she could hang a few clothes. That was where she put her dresses. Her mother had insisted on buying her those. There were far more than she wanted, but the woman had refused for her daughter to be unprepared. A woman had to have a dress appropriate for each occasion, she thought, and so had bought her one every now and then that would be fit for several different occasion. An elegant outing, a day out in the sun, one for formal parties, not that she would ever attend one, and so on. Her mother was so annoying with this.

The other luggage consisted of her ninja and medic equipment as well as said hygienic products and a few item she had an emotional attachment to. Like the picture of Team 7. The Uchiha was still out and about, she had even heard that he had finally killed Itachi. Maybe he would be back soon. He had already abandonned Orochimaru, so why not finally come back to his friends? She missed him so much... She placed the suitcases on the wall besides the door, making sure they wouldn't get in the way of opening it. Once she was done putting every in place, she admired her handiwork, hands on her hips. They fell pretty quickly though. She had nothing to decorate the room with, so it looked exactly the same as it had before, save for the suitcases behind her. Damn.

She made her way out of her new bedroom and looked to her right to see her sensei bending over the stove to check what he was cooking. It smelled like stir fry. He didn't react when he heard the door click behind her so she just moved on to the bathroom, assuming it wasn't ready yet. She was right, the bathroom was really small. Two people could barely fit in it. On her left were the washing maching and dryer, stacked on top of one another. A hamper next to it. On the opposite side, they were faced respectively by the toilet and sink, which was topped with a mirror. The back wall was occupied by the bath. It also served as a shower.

She checked herself out in the mirror quickly, fixing whatever stray hair she saw and inspecting her appearance as a whole. Sakura wasn't incredibly self-conscious about her looks, but she certainly appreciated being tidy and well kept up. She went to the hair salon regularily to keep it just perfect and had a few skin creams to keep it looking smooth and even. She didn't know if they really helped, but Ino and Tenten swore by them so she had taken up the habit of using them as well. Why not? It couldn't hurt, coul it?

She came out of the bathroom a few minutes later, checking up on her teacher again. He was setting the plates now. Good, she was just in time. She climbed the six stairs to the kitchen in a slight jog and peeked at what he hadd cooked. She was right, stir fry. She knew Kakashi was no health nut, but he hated sweets and anything fried, so it was inevitable that he would be eating lots of veggies, she thought. Half the plate was filled with said veggies, a quarter being rice and the rest was what looked like strips of chicken. He must have added a different sauce, because they were pratically red. She hesitated a little as she noticed the other plate was filled to the brim as well. There was no way she could eat all that. That was two full meals for a girl her size.

"Um, Kakashi-sensei?", she called softly, sitting down to face him.

"Yes? You aren't a picky eater, are you?", he asked, a slight frown on his face. He hadn't even acknowledged her presence before then.

"No, not at all. But I can't eat all of this. I'm sure Naruto and Sai probably eat even more than you, but I'd feel awful if I wasted your food.", she answered, picking up her chopsticks. "I can keep the rest of this for tomorrow's lunch, though."

"Oh. I guess. I'm not used to having a girl around.", he replied simply. Of course he wasn't. The only time that she knew he had spent time around a girl was when Team 7 was complete and still genins.

Back then, she was a child. It wasn't hard to know a child didn't eat nearly as much as an adult. She mentally huffed at the mention of them being genins. Technically, she was the only one to get promoted because she was the only one who had been able to be present at the exam. That certainly didn't mean her two teammates didn't surpass her. Sasuke was an S-class missing nin and Naruto was probably up to par with him.

They ate in awkward silence. Awkward because Kakashi had lifted his headband while commanding her to look at him. Her sudden hope to finally see him unmasked was quickly crushed when she looked up at him to see his sharingan spinning. He had cast a genjutsu on her. She was blind. She had screamed obscenities at him, knocking her chair back when she stood up abruptly to go assault him, but it had only resulted in her throwing herself down the stairs. He hadn't even bothered to help her up, only directing her back to her chair and pushing her chopsticks so they touched the tip of her fingers. After all, if he had allowed her closer to him, he knew he would have a broken arm by now.
She had calmed down quickly though, feeling guilty about throwing such a fit in his personal space. She picked at her plate randomly, having no idea what she caught until she took a bite of it. In a way, she found it interesting to eat like this, but it certainly wasn't an experience she was willing to expand to all of her meals.

Kakashi was eating his meal with little excitment. He had to find a way to hide himself while eating. Yes, he wolfed down meals in what seemed like one bite when out with his team, but he really didn't want to have to eat like that every day because she now lived with him. That always made his stomach churn uncomfortably after. It wasn't made to digest intact food. As soon as he was done, he dispelled the illusion after he had pulled up his mask.

He wasn't surprised that Sakura's eyes moved up to his face as soon as her vision was back, but he nonetheless chuckled at the disappointed expression she now wore. She pouted when she heard him but shifted her focus back to her food quickly. She hadn't even eaten more than a quarter of it yet. He stood up, not waiting for her to finish. It would take too long. He placed the dirty dishes in the sink and started washing them. He was a neat person. It annoyed him beyong comprehension when something was out of its place in his all, when everything was always in its set place and you were the only one to know those details, it made it easier to know when someone had sneaked into your appartment.

The kunoichi was about to offer to do it for him, but stopped herself to instead watch him do it as she munched on a bite of chicken. It was so peculiar, to see him to such a mundane thing. Sharingan Kakashi had lost a lot of his mystery and novelty since she had been on his team, but she couldn't imagine him having to cook and clean like everyone else. A smile touched her lips as she finished eating and set the plate on the counter beside him.

"Where are your containers?...", she asked hesitantly, leaning her head to the side slightly and keeping it a bit lower than usual. She was really embarrassed to have to ask him this. For a second, she imagined this is what it would feel like to be newlywed to the ninja. A blush spread across her cheeks at the thought. Kakashi turned to see her. It was a time like this he missed having two normal eyes. She was on his left and he had no peripheral vision on that side, he had to turn his head at the least ninety degrees to get a glimpse of her. He smirked a little at her slightly embarrassed look.

He took a moment to observe his student then. It had been a while since he had spent time with her.
Everyone had been so busy the past few months, heck, the past few years. Training had become extremely important with Orochimaru's comeback and then the Akatsuki menace. She had grown up nicely, he noted. Her face wasn't so childish anymore, it looked mature and determined. Young boys her age certainly found her beautiful and very attractive right now, he thought. Now wasn't the right time to wonder about that though, she was starting to frown and wonder why he was staring at her so intently.

"In the cupboard right in front of you, the bottom one.", he answered flatly and returned to his dishes.

She nodded quietly and retrieved them from the cupboard. Sakura held her breath as their arms brushed while she was pushing the food down in the little box. She didn't know what she expected to happen, but it didn't feel right to touch the Copy Ninja at all in circumstances that weren't deemed dire.

He heard her breath suddenly stop and right then he wished he could see her without making it obvious he was watching her. She made a simple brush of their clothed arms seem so dramatic. He hated having his personal space invaded, but this was an innocent situation enough that he'd let slip without a second thought. It's not like they had all the space in the world in his small appartment. He could tell she relaxed a little and continued with her breathing once he gave no reaction. Hmm, now that sure was interesting, he thought, making a mental note to use this against her some time later. He might be obligated by his teacher and friend duties to take her under his roof, but that didn't mean she didn't have to pay in one way or another. Luckily, she couldn't see the evil glimer of his right eye.

It wasn't long before he was done cleaning. He glanced to Sakura, who was sitting at the table, waiting for him. She clearly didn't feel comfortable to roam his place freely. He rubbed his hand dry on a spare towel that lay inside the cupboard under the sink before turning to her. Her eyes moved to his but she refused to move an inch.

"Well, I think it's about time we go meet our friends at this little gathering.", he let out, his eye crinkling as if he was enthusiastic about the idea. His female friend nodded apprehensively. It couldn't be good news. Shikamaru had come across something important and dangerous if he was bringing everyone together immediately after the Hokage's announcement.

Chapter Two: Click Here

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