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Branches

By Mockingbird

Humor / Adventure

Talking to Trees

One minute Kakashi was standing in a tree, and the next minute he was on a roof.

Now, Kakashi wasn't exactly normal himself, but even he knew that random teleporting was pretty unusual. The baffled shinobi looked around, trying to pinpoint his location.

"Huh," he said. "Fuck." Slowly, methodically, Kakashi worked his way through every insult and profane word he could think of. After he finished insulting the parentage of everyone in listening range, Kakashi took a deep breath.

"Alright," he mumbled to himself. "There has to be an explanation for this. Either someone decided to deface the monument by removing every Hokage after the fourth, or I'm trapped in a genjutsu. And since Naruto's not in Konoha at the moment, it's probably the second."

Kakashi flared his chakra wildly and blinked. Nothing changed. Odd. Why didn't that break the genjutsu? he wondered. Tsukiyomi? No, everything isn't red and black, and I'm not being tortured at the moment.

"Senpai! What's wrong?" Kakashi turned to see ... Tenzo?

"Tenzo, what are you doing here?" Actually, why were any of them here? Weren't they supposed to be fighting a war at the moment?

"Are you alright? I felt your chakra from the other side of the village!" His younger friend's signature emanated worry. Kakashi squinted in response. Wait, Tenzo looked way too young. Weird.

He frowned as he raised his hitai-ate. Why did he still have the Sharingan? What happened to his other eye? The world came into sharp focus as he scanned the surrounding area. Everything looked fine—and genjutsu free.

Sighing, Kakashi laconically drew a kunai. Tenzo stiffened but looked on with wary curiosity. Without a trace of hesitation, Kakashi plunged the weapon into his own arm. Pain was another effective way of dispelling most genjutsu, if you were controlling the pain.

"Senpai!?"

Kakashi ignored him and stabbed his leg with the kunai. He could feel the pain quite clearly. He poked the wound and examined the blood. It definitely felt real. He was about to try again, but Tenzo grabbed his wrist.

"What the hell are you doing?"

"Stabbing myself. Isn't that obvious?" he said blandly.

"Wh-why?"

"I like pointy objects. Now, if you'll excuse me." Kakashi prepared to flicker away, but a sudden hand on his shirt stopped that action. Reflexively, he twisted the hand and tossed the culprit onto the floor.

"Sorry Tenzo!" Kakashi said cheerfully. He hopped down from the rooftop and cast a henge, now appearing as a nondescript shinobi. His leg and arm throbbed, and Kakashi grimaced. He'd been a little overenthusiastic with the kunai. Silently, without attracting any attention, he made his way to his favorite tree behind the memorial stone.

"I could have sworn you were burnt down," he murmured to the tree. "Do you know what's going on?" In one fluid motion, he made his way to the top of the tree. As he gazed upon the unbroken and bustling village, Kakashi's confusion increased. This doesn't make sense. Konoha looks like it did before the nine-tails attack. Suddenly, Kakashi froze, and his eyes widened. For the second time, he fell out of a tree.


Kakashi's first word upon waking up was a ridiculously undramatic "Ouch." He blearily blinked, closing his Sharingan eye out of habit. His head felt like a thousand Naruto shadow clones were bouncing around in his skull. "Why does my head hurt?"

"Kakashi! You're awake." Kakashi eyes focused, and he stared at the person who had spoken. A wave of relief crashed into him.

"Sensei, we won?"

Minato's brow wrinkled. "Won what?"

Kakashi rolled his eyes. "The war. What else would I be talking about?" He examined his former sensei. "So you're still here. I was half-afraid that you would be ... de-resurrected, I guess. What happened to Naruto and the others? Are they alright? And what happened to my eye?"

His former sensei stared at Kakashi before reaching out and placing his hand on Kakashi's forehead. "You don't have a fever... but maybe I should call a nurse just in case." Kakashi pushed the hand off.

"Worry about my health later. Sensei, did we win the war?"

Minato examined him with concern.

"Kakashi, the Third Shinobi War ended eleven years ago."

Kakashi almost fell backwards in shock. Third Shinobi War? What the hell? He took a slow breath to calm himself. Shinobi Rule Number 29: When confused, bullshit your way out.

"Aha, of course." Kakashi gave his patented eye-smile. "I had a dream of the war again. I was just a bit confused, that's all. I'm fine now."

"Right." The dubious expression on his old teachers face was almost enough to make him fidget. "Well, if you're fine now, why don't you explain to me what's going on?'

That's my line! I'm the one who's confused! Kakashi blinked apathetically at his teacher. "What do you mean?" he said evenly.

"Explain to me why you stabbed yourself with a kunai, nearly knocked Tenzo out, and fell out of a tree unconscious."

Kakashi looked Minato straight in the eye. "I have absolutely no idea what you're talking about."

"Kakashi." A deadly expression appeared in his sensei's face, the one that usually preceded someone dying or becoming severely traumatized. Or both.

"Honestly! My memory is blank."

"Do you want me to bring a Yamanaka to fix that?" Minato glared at his former student.

Kakashi blanched. "No no no, that's not necessary. Not at all."

"Then tell me. Look, I don't really care about Tenzo or the tree. I want to know why you felt it was necessary to hurt yourself." That was brutally honest, thought Kakashi, smirking. Poor Tenzo. His expression sobered when the Yondaime's glare intensified.

"There was a bug. So I stabbed it, but I missed. Twice."

The silence that followed was smothering.

"See, this is why I forced you to take a break." Minato's voice became vaguely paternal. "You're letting the stress get to you, but I didn't realize it was this bad. Listen carefully, or I'll assign you D-ranks for the rest of your life. You will relax for one week. Read a book, watch a movie, go on a date with Itachi—"

Kakashi fell out of the hospital bed.

"What!?" he screeched.

Minato's lips twitched. "Admit it, Kakashi. You need a girl in your life. And Itachi is the only one who meets your ridiculous standards. She's pretty, at least as smart as you are... hey, she'll probably become stronger than you in a few years. Sure, she's eight years younger than you, her parents will never allow a relationship, and the Uchiha clan will try to kill you, but what's life without a little adventure?" He paused. "Actually, if you marry Itachi, then you'll technically become an Uchiha. Then the Sharingan will only be in the Uchiha clan again..."

At this point, Kakashi stopped listening. Itachi-Itachi-Itachi-is-alive-what-the-hell-Itachi-is-a-girl-girl-girl-Itachi-Itachi-what-Minato-is-trying-to-set-me-up-with-a-zombie-mass-murderer-who-isn't-really- a-mass-murderer-Itachi-Itachi—and his brain just broke.

"Minato-sensei?" said Kakashi slowly, interrupting his teacher's rant on their compatibility. "I am going to sleep now, and when I wake up, I expect this dream, this nightmare, to end. Goodnight."


When Kakashi woke up, he was still in a hospital. Grimacing, he tore of the customary restraints that strapped him to the bed. With the ease of a man who had done this a hundred times, Kakashi slipped out the window and made his way to the apartment he had lived in for most of his life. He frowned at the seals on his apartment. Kakashi didn't recognize them at all. Thankfully, they were also inactive.

Deftly, he unlocked the window and jumped in. Kakashi rolled to avoid the spray of senbon and fell into an attack position.

"What the hell are you doing in my apartment?" Genma glared at him grumpily, chewing on his weapon of choice.

"Your apartment?"

"Dammit, are you drunk? You nearly gave me a heart attack! No, I'm not going to give you sugar, or milk, or whatever the hell you need. Do your own grocery shopping." Genma blinked and looked closer at his friend. "Wait a minute, aren't you supposed to be in the hospital? I heard something about you cutting your hand off with a kunai."

"As you can see, my hands are still intact. I'm perfectly alright. "

Genma eyed the bandages around his arm and leg. "Sure you are. And if you're really perfectly alright, then get out of my house before I call the Hokage and tell him where you are."

Wincing, Kakashi climbed out the window. Even his house was different. Kakashi sighed and extended his senses, trying to find his chakra signature. After a few minutes, he located his apartment. Kakashi deactivated the woefully-weak wards keyed to his signature and walked in. After giving his home a thorough once-over, Kakashi decided that it wasn't so bad. Of course, it could use a few improvements.

Three hours later, Kakashi had upgraded all the seals in his apartment to satisfy his war-time paranoia. Satisfied, he pulled out a piece of paper and began writing what he knew.

Problems: World is fucked-up. Minato is alive and not a ghost-zombie-jinchukiri, Genma lives in my apartment, Tsunade was never Hokage, the Third Shinobi War was eleven years ago, and ITACHI IS A GIRL AND ALIVE AND (PROBABLY) NOT HOMOCIDAL

Causes: Falling out of a tree? Sharingan? Madara? Genjutsu? Dimensional travel? Insanity? Naruto?

Explanations:

Solutions:

Kakashi glowered at the paper. With a quick fire jutsu, he burned it and tossed the ashes into the trash. He sighed and stretched. He'd need more information before he could make any conclusions.


After observing several people (stalking), borrowing information from the Shinobi Archives (stealing), and appropriating files from the Hokage's desk (more stealing), Kakashi came to the conclusion that this world was bat-shit insane ... and quite different from his.

For one thing, the Uchiha clan hadn't been wiped out by Itachi and still operated as the police force. The Hyuuga clan, on the other hand, had been decimated by Orochimaru. The current heir was Neiji; Hinata and her sister had been demoted to the branch house. Apparently, the remnants of the clan had wanted to have a strong heir to 'rebuild the clan.'

Kushina had still died, but Sarutobi had sacrificed his life to seal the Ninetails into Naruto, leaving Minato to reign as Hokage. Danzo, sadly, still existed and was probably plotting a way to take over Konoha.

The weirdest thing he had discovered (other than Itachi being a girl, because that took the cake) was that Tsunade and Jiraya were married. Married. Jiraya was married. To Tsunade. What the ever-loving fuck?

Kakashi groaned and rubbed his head. Why couldn't he have just ended up in the past? But no, the universe just had to dump him in a different dimension (or a seriously freaky genjutsu; he hadn't ruled that out yet). All the knowledge he had was effectively useless.

Well, maybe not completely useless. Kakashi still retained all the combat knowledge and additional jutsu he had learned, and he knew the weaknesses of many opponents. Briefly, Kakashi wondered if he could activate the Mangekyo Sharingan. Sure, it caused blindness, but the ability to travel to dimensions was pretty useful when you were stuck in another dimension.

He'd have to train like hell, though. His physical chakra pool was absolutely pathetic. Oddly enough, the spiritual component was overflowing. Consequence of dimensional traveling? Clearly, Kakashi wasn't in his thirty-something year old body anymore. Perhaps the soul had switched places or something. Hell if he knew.

He would do more research, maybe even ask Jiraya. Thankfully, that old pervert was alive in this freaky dimension, even if he was married. Finding a way to travel between dimensions—with the Sharingan or without—would take a ridiculous amount of time. Kakashi would be stuck here for a while.

He frowned and started making some plans. Might as well make the best of the situation. He could maybe meet up with his no-longer-dead friends, and perhaps even beat up that bastard Orochimaru to make him pay for everything. And he couldn't forget Danzo, could he?

Kakashi grinned. This place might not be so bad after all.

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