KIA Killed In Action
KIA (Killed In Action)
The memorial stone. That was the place he spent most of his time. That was the place he had come to every day for the last thirteen years. If people went looking for him this would be the first place they would look. If he was nowhere to find elsewhere people knew what he was doing. Mourning. Mourning for those precious people he had lost. Some of them long gone, others had fallen in the battle against the Sand and Sound, and Orochimaru.
No one wanted or dared to disturb him in these moments. They knew what he had gone through all these years back and they respected him. Despite all his dearest people were taken away from him he still remained strong and calm. He was nothing like the Uchiha, who had his entire clan slaughtered, save for himself and his brother who led the entire destruction. His thoughts were not about vengeance. If people didn't know him they wouldn't believe it was he when they saw him. He was always looking so calm and normal like nothing bad had ever happened to him. Some people considered this far from normal. But yet he acted normal all the time.
The only thing, which was unusual about him, was his left eye. His left eye, which he only showed and used when absolute necessary. His left eye possessed the Sharingan, the powerful keikeigenkai of the Uchiha clan.
But this man was no Uchiha.
Only a few people knew how he had managed to get the Sharingan and those people also knew that he would rather not have it, even if it had saved his life many times, because they knew the price he had paid for it.
The Sharingan in his left eye had given him the reputation as 'the Copy Ninja'.
'The Copy Ninja', that was the disgusting nickname he had, given by his enemies. To them he was nothing more than a cheater, who copied other ninja's jutsu and used it against them.
Kakashi Hatake was his name.
He was a very skilled and respected shinobi among the people of the Hidden Leaf village. He had graduated from the academy at a very young age and made chuunin a year later and then jounin as a young teenager. People had never considered him an ordinary kid and they admired his abilities. Although no one has seemed surprised by Kakashi's talent and skills. His father, Sakumo Hatake, better known as the White Fang, was no ordinary shinobi either. Sakumo had extremely powerful abilities and was very talented and strong, people respected him as much as they respected the three legendary sannin. People assumed it had been Sakumo's training and teaching, which had made Kakashi as powerful as he was. After all people wouldn't expect less from being the son of the White Fang.
It wasn't just his abilities that amazed the people; it was also his young age. Due to his amazing skills and the lots of training he had received from his father, practically since his birth, he got enrolled in the academy very early and when he was only five years old he graduated with the highest scores in his class.
Due to his surprising young age he wasn't set on a genin squad like the others, well not right away, so he was trained by his father. His childhood was nothing like the other kids', while they were running around in the streets playing ninja (at that time Kakashi was already a real ninja, so he didn't have to play he was) and other games Kakashi was training or doing D- and C-rank missions (with his father of course, when Sakumo had the time, since such missions usually required three people), he didn't even play games with the others during recess, but that was also due to the age difference. Kakashi's childhood wasn't really a childhood.
When Kakashi was six, one year after he had graduated and become an official ninja, he entered the chuunin exams, even though he wasn't put on a real squad, another Leaf squad were only two due to their team mate didn't wanting to participate in the exams, so he got to enter with them. Being the extremely skilled and powerful ninja that he was, he passed all three exams easily and became a chuunin. That didn't surprise anyone; at least it didn't surprise the people of the Leaf village. Kakashi was the White Fang's son after all.
When Kakashi was eight something terrible happened which changed him forever. His father was out on a mission during the war and one of his fellow ninja were in danger. The shinobi rulebook stated clearly that the success of a mission is more important than personal feelings or the lives of those who complete it, but being the caring good-hearted ninja that he was, Sakumo abandoned the mission in favor of saving his comrade. The mission was a failure and people were highly against what Sakumo had done. In time the whole village saw him as a disgrace, a dishonored man, even those he had saved, and in the end he couldn't take it any more and he committed suicide, leaving his only son behind as an orphan.
After that Kakashi had a very difficult time getting over the death of his father and he became a different person. His father's suicide made Kakashi lose all the respect he had ever had for the man and he became a ninja who lived strictly after the rulebook, not wanting to be a disgrace like his father. That's how his first motto was born. 'Those who abandon missions are scum'.
Kakashi became very lonely, he was an orphan, and his father had practically been the only one who he had spoken to or associated with, and now when he was gone he had no one left.
He trained alone after that, no one put him in the orphanage, since Kakashi was more than capable of taking care of himself, thanks to his father's training. His mother was long gone, she died giving birth to him, so he lived alone in the big house his whole family had once lived in.
When people saw him on the street they whispered into each other's ears, it wasn't hard to guess they were talking about his father or something like that. Kakashi would often hear them talk, saying things like 'hey look, do you see him? Right there, the guy with the silver hair; he's the son of the White Fang, right? Poor kid, he's alone now and imagine living with being the son of such a dishonored ninja as Sakumo Hatake. Poor kid, I'm glad I'm not related to the White Fang, that would be so embarrassing'.
Later Kakashi stopped paying attention to what people were saying about him. He wished they wouldn't recognize him on the street so easily. He had looked in the mirror and the reflection he had seen had shocked him. It was almost like seeing the White Fang himself. Kakashi had heard people saying how much he looked like his father and how he was his splitting image, but he had never cared that much. When his father had been alive, before he became a disgrace, Kakashi had been proud of being his father's son and he had trained extra hard to become a powerful shinobi just like his father. His dream was to become like his father. But that changed after his father died. Not only did he die, he died in such a dishonorable way, he killed himself. After that Kakashi had sworn that he would never become a shinobi like his father.
Kakashi hated looking in the mirror because every time he did that, he was reminded of his father. Kakashi was like a miniature clone of his father – silver hair which was unruly, brown eyes, and sharp features – and Kakashi didn't want to look like the White Fang because then everybody would know just by looking at him whose son he was and Kakashi wanted to forget his connection to the White Fang. That was the reason he had got himself a dark blue mask to cover most of his face expect the eyes. He also tried to dye his hair once, brown, so that he wouldn't look like his father anymore but he didn't want it to be done at a hairdresser's so he tried to do it himself at home, but it didn't turn out good so he kept his hair its natural silver shade.
One year later when Kakashi was nine he met Minato Namikaze, who was amazed by his skills (who wasn't?), so amazed in fact that he wanted to train him. He approached Kakashi and asked to become his sensei. At first Kakashi refused, seeing no need for a sensei since he did fine alone, but after seeing Minato's abilities he agreed.
Later Kakashi and Minato grew to be close friends, even though Kakashi respected Minato as a sensei. Minato taught Kakashi many useful things, which Kakashi used a lot later on in his life.
When Kakashi was eleven he was put on a real three-man squad, under the lead of Minato as his sensei of course. His teammates were Obito, a member of the Uchiha clan, who in Kakashi's eyes didn't live up to his last name at all, being the too light guy and crybaby that he was, and Rin, a young medical-ninja and a kindhearted girl.
Kakashi wasn't happy about that at all, as he saw no need for being on a squad as he had already entered and passed the chuunin exams and he felt that they would only be in his way since they were mere genin and far less experienced than he was. But Minato had said that being on a squad would be good for him since it would give him a chance to make friends, do more missions and teach him the ways of teamwork. Kakashi hadn't complained further, knowing he had no say in the matter.
Two years went by and Kakashi, now thirteen years old, made jounin. He still hadn't made friends with Obito and Rin, but he did learn something about teamwork though. Minato's team was going on a really important mission. It was still war and they were to destroy a bridge. Kakashi and Obito weren't what you might call best friends at that time and both Rin and Minato used a lot of time to calm them down and keep them from fighting each other. Minato had another task to carry out and let Kakashi in charge of the team, since he now was a jounin too. Unfortunately Rin was kidnapped by enemy ninja who used genjutsu on her to get information. Obito, being the goodhearted caring guy that he was, even though he was known for being a goofy guy, immediately prepared himself to go out after her. But Kakashi was still affected by his father's dishonored actions, which later had led to his death, and refused, telling Obito that completing the mission was more important than Rin's life. Obito got furious and told Kakashi that those who abandon their comrades are even worse than scum who abandon missions. That was how Kakashi's new motto was born. Obito then told Kakashi something, which he would later remember and be grateful for forever, 'I think the White Fang was a hero'.
Obito disobeyed Kakashi and went after Rin. Kakashi then realized that Obito and his father were right. He went after Obito to save Rin.
Saving Rin was difficult, but they managed to do it, though they paid a price. Obito's life. Obito got crushed under some rocks. As a gift Obito told Rin to put his undamaged eye, which had just activated the Sharingan, into Kakashi's left socket, where his eye had been damaged when saving Obito from an enemy ninja's blade. He called it gift for making jounin. Kakashi then left with Rin before more rocks collapsed and completely smashed Obito and killed him.
Before he died Kakashi promised him that he would protect Rin. But he wasn't able to. Rin died one year later on October tenth when the Leaf village was attacked by the nine-tailed fox. She was killed like many other shinobi of the Leaf.
But Rin wasn't the only person close to Kakashi who died that day. Kakashi's sensei, Minato, who six months earlier had become Hokage after the Third had stepped down and retired, gave his life to save the village. Minato's wife, Kushina, had just born a son, whom was named Naruto, sadly she died right after she had given birth, and in order to save the village from the fox demon Minato used a jutsu to seal the fox's chakra into his son. Unfortunately the jutsu cost Minato his life and he too died. Before the Fourth Hokage breathed his last breath he made Kakashi promise to protect Naruto. That was a promise Kakashi intended to keep and in the years after that he kept a close eye on Naruto to make sure he was safe. He also became the sensei of Naruto after requesting it at the Third's office, since Minato hadn't pointed out his successor the Third Hokage had to take the job back. Kakashi had never told Naruto about his father.
That was why he, every day for the past thirteen years had visited the memorial stone. The names of the people he had lost were incurved on it. Though a few names were missing.
Thirteen years back, after Obito had died, he had started visiting the place in memory of his lost teammate. He and Obito had never been friends, not until the moment of his death where he gave him the Sharingan. Obito and Kakashi separated as friends – best friends. Every day Kakashi would step by the stone and stand motionless in front of it, paying his respects to his friend. It was very often that he lost track of time and ended up being late for all his engagements. Then he would use lame excuses nobody believed for being late, just like Obito had done when he was alive. First it had pained Kakashi to do so but as the years passed it became more of a habit. He was sure Obito would laugh at it from above.
As the years passed more names were added on the stone and Kakashi got a few more to pay his respects to when he visited.
Rin had been destiny's next target. Her death had been hard for Kakashi. They weren't that close but Kakashi had promised Obito to look after her and keep her safe. He had taken that promise death seriously and had sworn to protect Rin with his life. But he had failed. On October tenth the nine-tailed fox attacked the Leaf village and many people suffered and died, including Rin. Kakashi knew deep within himself that Rin's death wasn't his fault, he had been unconscious under the whole attack due to overuse of his Sharingan, which couldn't be called back because he wasn't an Uchiha and that wasn't his own eye he was using, but he couldn't help but feeling guilty. He had let his best friend down and let another friend die. And the worst part was that Minato wasn't there to comfort him when he found out. Even though Kakashi had practically lived on his own since he was eight and had grown away from needing a parent's comfort he still saw Minato as a kind of second father and he would have appreciated his company at the funeral.
But Minato wasn't able to comfort Kakashi or mourn with him, because Minato died the same day. He sacrificed his own life to seal the nine-tailed fox away into a newborn baby, which in that case was his own son; yet another name to write on the stone.
And then there was Hayate Gekko. He hadn't been close to the man but he remembered him from when they were kids. He remembered seeing all the kids his age play around and have fun while he was just training, doing missions and studying. He remembered seeing Hayate as one of them. It was unknown how exactly he was killed but he had been found with a deep cut, from an enemy blade it appeared. Hayate had appeared to have some kind of illness before he died. Every time he spoke it took twice the time it should because he had to stop mid-sentence to cough. Hopefully he was in a better place now, healthy as a fish. Hayate's name had been written on the stone as well.
That's how it was these days. More and more names were added. It surprised Kakashi there was room enough for all of them. But times like these were dangerous. You could easily be killed if you didn't watch your back. The most common death for a shinobi was to be K.I.A after all.
But it wasn't just the names written on the stone he paid his respect to. Every time he came to the memorial stone he thought about and mourned for those who had their names on the stone as well as those who hadn't – his father. That was something he had never bothered to do when he was a mere child. But what Obito had told him the day of his death had made him think and then realize that he had been right. Perhaps the White Fang was a hero after all.
The first time he had prayed for his father he had cried. Yes Kakashi Hatake had cried. He had bent down and pressed his forehead to the cool grass ground and cried. Not because he was hurt, sad or anything, or yes, he was in a way, but not for himself. He cried in regret, because he had refused to acknowledge his father's existence after he had died, he had cried because he was sorry, sorry for doubting his father like that and thinking badly of him. Kakashi cried and begged for forgiveness. That was the first time Kakashi had cried since he was a little boy.
Now when Kakashi was alone again everything went back to as it was before he joined Minato, though with one exception. Being on a team had changed him. Now he wasn't the cold-hearted not-caring shinobi he had been. Obito had touched something in him, made him remember something he had forgotten. He was the son of Sakumo Hatake, the White Fang of the Hidden Leaf village. And he should be proud. And he was. Once again he was proud to be the son of Sakumo, a true hero.
When Kakashi was sixteen he joined the ANBU and his dream was to protect the village his friends had all died for and he swore that he would not let anyone else die on him ever again, and this time he was able to keep his promise. Naruto grew up healthy and was now twelve, a newly made genin.
Every day Kakashi went to the memorial stone and prayed silently for his lost comrades, whether their names were on the stone or not. Kakashi's second 'motto' became: Whether your name is on the stone or not you're still a hero.