Chapter 1- A chance encounter
Asami looked up from the onigiri she was making to see Kakashi standing in the doorway. "Well howdy handsome stranger" she said as she smiled at him. It had been years since they had seen each other, since the year she dropped out just before the chunin exam to be precise. She tried to think how long ago that was but was distracted by Kakashi.
"It has been a while Asami, hasn't it?" Kakashi's eye smiled at her. It unnerved her to not be able to see his whole face when he talked but that was Kakashi, what were you going to do?
For his part Kakashi had been standing in the doorway for an entire 15 minutes watching her form onigiri in deep concentration. Now, granted, she made the best onigiri in the village but he supposed it was a good thing she had given up on being a ninja early on, that level of inattentiveness would have gotten her killed very quickly.
"So what brings you by my kitchen Kakashi? Are you hungry?"
Kakashi was hungry but that wasn't why he'd come by. Now that he thought of it he didn't really know why he'd come by. Anko had mentioned Asami and he'd started thinking about her, which had led to him stopping by this afternoon.
"Of course I'm hungry" he replied. "I'm a strapping ninja defending the village and training the next generation! That would make anyone hungry."
Asami smiled to herself. Kakashi had changed, she didn't remember him being so playful in school, unless he had been making fun of her. She knew he'd gone through some tough times and that they had changed his attitude but she didn't know much more than that. Her onigiri stand took most of her time and to be honest she didn't keep up with ninja gossip. She hoped he took being a ninja seriously. She didn't know him very well but she still didn't want anything bad to happen to him. She tried to remember if Anko had ever said anything about his skill level but she couldn't. It was very likely that she hadn't, Anko didn't usually talk about work when they visited.
"What do you want in your onigiri then?" She asked him as she got a plate out.
Kakashi closed his eye and thought about it for a minute, "whatever you have is fine," he replied. "Ninja can't be picky eaters. I'm just glad it's not an insect." He watched her to see her reaction and was disappointed when she just smiled and served him two onigiri on a plate.
Asami placed the plate on the table and invited Kakashi to sit down. "I'll be right back, I just to need to bring these up front and check on things."
When she returned with some empty trays, which she placed next to the sink, she got both of them a cup of tea and joined him at the table.
"So, I'm pretty sure that you didn't come invade my kitchen for free onigiri. Did you miss teasing me? Should I get the scissors so you can try to cut my hair off?" There was more than a little sarcasm in her voice but she wasn't angry. Kakashi was a year ahead of her and had always teased her mercilessly and he had once tried to cut off a section of her exceptionally long black hair. Her Mom had always said that it meant he liked her but Asami was pretty sure she was wrong. There was no way Kakashi had liked her back in school, not the way he treated her and things probably hadn't changed.
Sadly, that had not been the case for Asami. She had adored Kakashi when they were young. He was so good looking and she'd always been a sucker for a bad boy. Kakashi wasn't really a bad boy, more like a bad boy who was really good, which was even better. What girl wouldn't have had a crush on him? But he didn't seem interested in girls at the time, focusing all his energy on becoming a ninja. Thinking back to her earlier thoughts she decided he probably was a good ninja after all. He had worked and studied hard enough anyway.
Kakashi swallowed the bite of onigiri that he had been chewing and looked at her in his lazy one eyed way. "Anko mentioned the picnic you two had last weekend and it got me thinking that I hadn't seen you in a long time. Maybe since..." Kakashi's voice drifted off, maybe he shouldn't mention her parents. Was she still upset? Kakashi mentally slapped his forehead, of course she was still upset you idiot.
Asami's parents had died in the nine-tail fox attack defending the village. As a young ninja he had not been there but he had heard from survivors how terrible it had been. Asami's father had been an anbu just as Kakashi had been for a while. Her mother had been a chunin but had dropped out before taking the jonin exam. When the attack occurred they, like everyone else with any skill at all, had turned out to defend the village and sadly they had both died leaving Asami and her baby brother as orphans.
Asami cast her eyes down at the table, "yes I was thinking the same thing. We haven't seen each other since the memorial service we had for everyone who died that day." She hoped she didn't cry. It's not that she still mourned their loss but rather that she missed them. She had been quite close to her mother and losing her had been a shock. Not that it hadn't been a shock to lose her father also. Although he had never shown affection to his family in public, he had loved them dearly in private.
Asami looked back up at Kakashi who was now looking like he thought he might have said the wrong thing and wasn't sure if he should try to fix it, or just cut and run. "I can't believe it's been almost 12 years. Sometimes it seems like yesterday."
Kakashi sighed inwardly, relieved that she wasn't going to melt on him. "It does sometimes, doesn't it?" He was surprised at the strength that her face showed but then she had raised her brother practically on her own after their parents had died.
"So how is your shop doing, Asami?" Kakashi wasn't sure why but he suddenly felt like he wanted to just sit and visit with her.
Asami's face brightened. "Oh, it's doing really well! Business is steady. It was nice when Kichirou was here to help but it's also good for him to grow up. He has his heart set on being an Anbu someday. Know anybody like that Kakashi?"
Kakashi smiled "I do, in fact. That's a noble ambition. How is he doing anyway?"
"Oh he..." Asami was interrupted by someone who stuck their head through the door that separated the front of the restaurant from the back and indicated that she was needed. "I'm sorry Kakashi, I'll be right back."
Kakashi watched her walk away, total confidence exuding from her. When did she grow up, he wondered? He remembered her as the little girl who giggled every time he walked by her and then blushed and ran away if he actually greeted her. He had laughed at her for her shyness and he wasn't sure why she didn't hate him for it today.
As he finished his onigiri he wondered why he was even here again. Was it just that since Anko had mentioned her he hadn't been able to get her out of his mind. Well now he had seen her and that would do the trick. He placed his plate next to the sink with the trays she had put down earlier and slipped out the door.
"I'm sorry about that. It was just a customer with a special order." Asami's voice dropped off when she noticed that Kakashi wasn't sitting where she'd left him, she glanced around the room looking for him. He must have left she thought to herself, if I didn't dream all that. She went over to the sink to wash the dishes before going home for the evening and noticed the plate he had eaten off of. Smiling to herself she thought, I didn't dream it, he was here.