Teamwork 2

If I'm going to mess up my chapter order, I'm going to do it in style! X'D This is a missing scene from Naruto's chapter, mostly because he was nowhere near that place when it happened. It's not really necessary to his chapter, though it does shed some light on some of Sasuke's behavior, but hey! Kakashi insisted.

Inutile Interrupting Interlude (Kakashi)

If Sasuke had been a little more patient, Kakashi would have been gone by the time he broke into his apartment; but Sasuke being who he was, Kakashi was still in the bathroom when he heard his student fiddle with the lock. Kakashi took the time to finish washing his hands, and then opened the bathroom door, leaned against the doorframe and gave him a lenient nod of greeting.

"Sasuke. Is there something I can do for you?"

If one day he decided to ditch the mask, Kakashi thought absently as he watched Sasuke switch gears and spin a -- rather convincing -- lie on the spot, he would have to learn to control his facial features all over again. It was just too easy to grin behind it. As it was, the mask obscured his features enough that Sasuke couldn't tell whether or not Kakashi had swallowed his excuse, and that was always amusing.

"More difficult jutsu, huh." Kakashi hummed thoughtfully as he stepped toward his coffee table. He started to fold his clothes negligently. "You don't mean A and S-rank jutsu, do you? You know I have to submit those to approval before I can teach them." He didn't add 'to you'. Most teachers were free, and even encouraged, to transmit any jutsu they knew to their pupils; but this was one of the restrictions against Sasuke that had never been officially raised.

Though sometimes he just happened to use one when Sasuke just happened to have his sharingan activated; if he hadn't, he was pretty sure Sasuke would be long gone. But there were some jutsu that no one would ever accept he'd 'just happened' anything with.

Sasuke's annoyance at the reminder wasn't faked, at least. There was a darker edge to it; Kakashi didn't know what it was from, but he could make an educated guess. Sasuke didn't like knowing that his people were vulnerable any more than Kakashi did.

"I know," Sasuke replied, and looked away.

Kakashi watched for a few seconds, as the young man stood tensely by his door, and then he sighed. "Ahh. Of course, of course. Nothing but the best for my cute little student," he added facetiously.

Sasuke slanted him a cynical look. "You know, calling us cute was already creepy when we were kids, but now it's downright disturbing."

Kakashi smiled genially, and stacked up his shirts, humming. "Is it? I would have thought it would be the other way around."

"...You like those 'Paradise' rags too much to be a pedophile," Sasuke retorted.

"Oi, oi. I buy them for the engaging storyline and brilliant prose."

He managed to pull a snort out of Sasuke, which really wasn't too bad these days.

"...I'll put in the request tomorrow."

Sasuke nodded. When he looked away from Kakashi, Kakashi took it as 'I would thank you if I knew how, but that would imply acknowledging that you're going out of your way for me'. Kakashi returned to his folding casually as a 'you're welcome'.

And Sasuke was still standing by the door, tense and visibly reviewing his options.

"Come in, come in. I'd offer you some tea, but I don't have any. Tap water?"

"I'm alright." Sasuke gave him a dubious look and ventured deeper into Kakashi's tiny apartment.

"So what brings you? For real this time." Kakashi wondered if Sasuke was going to tell the truth. Well, a truth, at least.

Though even if he did, Kakashi doubted it would be the main reason behind his presence here.

Sasuke twitched, probably considered playing stupid, and eventually shrugged it off. If he hadn't wanted anything else other than the jutsu, he would be long gone already and they both knew it. "... Just wondering where we're going to find a place, but you don't look like a realtor to me."

Interesting how Sasuke ordered the importance of his secrets. He already knew what Kakashi had to say on the subject of housing, and he knew he wasn't going to like hearing it again; but misdirections were better when they were also true.

So Kakashi played along. "I thought you already had a place, Sasuke."

Beside him, Sasuke went still. Kakashi picked up his clothes and started putting them away in the dresser to offer him some privacy.

"Kakashi-sensei..." Sasuke paused; tried again. "Why do you want me to go back there?"

"Do I?" Kakashi kept refolding his shirts and putting them away, with a care they hadn't known since leaving the shop he'd bought them from. "I just assumed you would, eventually. You wouldn't want your many children to grow up in a tiny apartment, would you?"

"Many?" Sasuke repeated disbelievingly. "You're making it sound like Sakura is going to have a litter."

"Heh. You'd make a wonderful father of twelve, I'm sure." Kakashi smiled teasingly over his shoulder, and then sobered up slightly. "I just have some trouble seeing you raising your children and grandchildren in some overpopulated downtown building."

Sasuke was quiet a while longer; Kakashi wondered if he had pushed too hard. No doubt the brat had never really envisioned his future that far.

"That... Yes. You're right." Sasuke's voice was a little too soft; Kakashi didn't turn back, even though he was now down to ordering his socks according to size. "I would have gone back anyway."

"It isn't a bad place to live," Kakashi continued casually. "Spacious. Pleasant. Peaceful. Easily defendable. And it has nice trees, too."

Kakashi knew what made Sasuke start, and it wasn't the trees. He puttered a few seconds longer, and then turned back around. By then, Sasuke's expression was cool and collected once again.

"That's a valid suggestion, I guess. I'll think about it." Sasuke straightened up, his bearing arrogant and self-assured once again, and nodded at Kakashi. "Thank you, sensei."

Kakashi waved goodbye casually as Sasuke turned and left, and then he stepped up to his bookcase and chuckled at the artful way the volumes had been spread, so they'd cover the hole the missing one had left. Cheeky little brat.


[The plan (a)] [The Plan (b)]