Crossed Wires

A couple of years before Crossed Wires.

Kakashi : Discharged

Kakashi hasn't slept a lot in the last three weeks. There was no time. There rarely is, when your society does its best to implode and you're stuck doing damage control. So when he drags himself out of his apartment after a six-hour-long night -- sinfully long -- he isn't exactly what one might call alert.

He trips on the young man sitting in the staircase, and takes a nosedive. His reflexes are on a cruise somewhere in the Pacific, along with his spatial awareness and all the sleep he hasn't been getting, and he reflects with some vague annoyance that his plans didn't include spending the next month in the hospital.

A hand presses against his chest, halting his fall, supporting him like he weighs nothing at all. He catches the handrail, wobbling dangerously over his unexpected obstacle. They give each other an upside-down look.


Kakashi sighs and pulls himself upright with the handrail, letting the young man get up. "I didn't expect you here."

UG-7-SA is one of a dozen Uchiha police-bots who were posted at his police station when that Secret Services unit went rogue and started terminating all other Uchiha units it could get its hands on. Last Kakashi heard, SA is also the only one left, due to the other units going out on patrol and never coming back. No one knows how SA keeps dodging the bullet. Not that they really have much time to think on this mystery, what with their country deciding that this is the best time of the year to riot.

Their rookie android is on Kakashi's doorstep and not, as he should be, on patrol or at the station. And if he were carrying a message, he would have knocked.

He's not wearing a badge.

Kakashi might be half-asleep, but he knows what this is about even before the rookie-bot says it. Their superiors don't think he's going to dodge the bullet forever, and they don't want him to be anywhere near by when the rogue unit finally comes to fix its oversight.

Maybe Kakashi should have expected it, both the dismissal and SA turning up on his doorstep -- very few cops treat the brand-new Uchihas as anything but machines; not that this is unexpected, because it takes them a while to behave as anything but. Kakashi treats the rookies the same as the older Uchihas, though, the same as the other, human cops. It doesn't cost him anything, and it helps them reach the AI threshold faster.

He might be fond of them, too, a little.

"Sir, I..."

The rookie-bot frowns, clearly confused -- lost. He doesn't have a clue how to say, 'Help, I don't know where to go'. He doesn't even seem to have a clue why he came to Kakashi in the first place.

Kakashi goes back to his door and unlocks it. "Come in," he says, before the kid can get frustrated by his inability to explain. "You can stay as long as you need, Sasuke."