Chapter 16- An Anbu at the Door
Hikari regarded her friend, trying to watch her without being noticed. "Hikari, I love you. But will you stop watching me like I'm some bomb that's about to explode?" Asami appreciated her friends concern but needed things to be as normal as possible also.
"I'm sorry, Asami. I'm just worried about you."
"Hikari, you've known me for years now. If you have a question just ask."
"Ok then, I will. How are you doing?"
"I'm ok. I'm tired from wondering if he is ok though. And worried in the sense that I don't know what is going on but not worried that anything is wrong. We live in a ninja village, and I chose to fall in love with a ninja. Fortunately for me he's a very strong ninja. The hardest part is not being able to visit and know the updates. But I'm sure they wouldn't tell me anything anyway. I keep hoping Anko will come by with information but she must be busy."
"I'm glad you're ok. I can't imagine the state I'd be in if I were you right now. I'll skip the whole falling in love with a ninja thing, thank you very much. I'll settle for the fat butcher, or the old ugly baker, at least I'll know where they are at night."
Asami giggled at the thought of her beautiful assistant falling in love with the baker. "The baker? I think he sold my grandfather bread!" The two girls laughed together at the thought. "Hikari, I'm sure you'll meet the right guy. As much as we'd like it otherwise we don't get to choose the person we fall in love with. If he's a ninja then I will teach you how to be a ninja wife."
Hikari rolled her eyes at Asami, "gee thanks."
They finished up the days work and Hikari set off for home. Asami went upstairs for another lonely evening, wondering when she would hear anything about Kakashi. Kichirou had come by yesterday and told her that Jiraiya was back and he'd brought Tsunade with him, she'd been asked by the village elders to be the next hokage. She remembered Tsunade but she hadn't known her well. She wished she knew where to find Jiraiya so she could ask him some questions. Well, she thought, she could look for all the pretty girls in town, he probably wouldn't be far away but she wasn't in the mood to chase him all around town. She wondered what her father would think of Tsunade being hokage.
She had just finished her supper and was settling down in the living room with a cup of tea and a book when there was a knock at the door. She jumped up to answer it, trepidation filling her heart, would it be good news or bad news, or no news at all. Her heart slumped and her eyes filled with tears when she saw a ninja in the village anbu uniform standing there. Where they so short on ninja that they were using anbu to deliver messages now?
To her surprise the anbu stepped towards her and engulfed her in his arms, burying her head in his shoulder so she almost couldn't breath. "Kichirou?" She gasped, recognizing his arms.
He let go of her and stepped back taking off his mask as he did. "Yep! I got selected by the new Hokage. And I said I would visit when I had news to share." With that he stepped aside to reveal the fact that Kakashi was standing behind him.
Asami's shock communicated itself in a small shriek and her throwing herself into his arms. He laughed and gathered her up holding her closely. After a minute or so he put her down but she still clung to him for a moment. Then she realized that Kichirou was still there. "Oh! I'm sorry Kichi-kun, Kakashi. Have you guys eaten? I have but I can still make you something."
Kakashi marveled that she was always prepared to feed you, no matter the time of day or the situation. He figured he could show up, with his team, bloody and filthy from a mission at 4 am and she would offer to feed them. "I've eaten, but thank you."
Kichirou had mentally cringed at her nickname but Kakashi seemed so busy admiring her that he didn't seem to notice. "I've eaten also oni-san."
"OH! I'm sorry! I'm not supposed to call him by his nicknames in front of the other ninja." She explained to Kakashi. They had laughed about it but she figured this was a good way to let Kichirou know he knew not to say anything. "The last time he was here with Genma and Raido I did it and they made him miserable for weeks."
Kichirou smiled "It's no big deal. They stopped eventually."
They had all sat down in the living room at this point, Kakashi holding Asami next to him and Kichirou sitting across from them.
"It's ok Kichirou. Your secret's safe with me. And if Genma gives you a hard time about it again just ask him how comfortable that cabbage leaf was." (for the full story check out my story Cabbage Leaves and Pancakes, soon to be up on this site!)
Kichirou and Asami both looked at him as if he had lost his mind so he decided to explain. "Genma lost a bet to Kayo. He had to wear a cabbage leaf in his headband for a whole day. Raido gave him a pretty hard time. I'm surprised you didn't hear about it Kichirou. But then it was right before the invasion so it probably got dropped pretty quickly."
"Thank you for that little piece of ammunition Kakashi-sensei."
"You can just call me Kakashi. Although I am technically your sensei we are equals in many ways." He smiled at the younger man.
Kichirou smiled back, "thank you Kakashi. You're too kind to consider me your equal. Maybe someday I'll deserve that compliment." He rose as he was saying this.
"You already deserve it Kichirou. You're a talented ninja and a valuable member of the Anbu. We have different skills but we are both of great value to Konoha, neither one more than the other.
Kichirou fidgeted under the praise but inside he was glowing like a red hot ember. "Well, I have to be off. Besides I'm sure you two don't want a little brother, anbu or not, hanging around this evening." He leaned down and hugged Asami, and shook Kakashi's hand. He then replaced his anbu mask and took off for town.
When he had gone Asami buried her head in Kakashi's shoulder and inhaled his scent deeply while gathering her courage.
When she looked up at him she said "Kakashi, we need to talk."
Kakashi stopped her and said "I know. I have something to say also."
Asami wondered if he was going to tell her he didn't think they should be together because of the dangerous nature of his job but she didn't care what he was going to say. "Kakashi Hatake. I am in love with you! Nothing you say will convince me otherwise. I know how dangerous your job is and I don't care. I grew up with a ninja father and I understand the risks. I can handle it."
Kakashi wondered if he would be able to get a word in edgewise, he had a hunch she wasn't going to stop so he shut her up the best way he knew how. He pulled his mask down and kissed her. When he pulled away she was silent. He took the opportunity to talk before she started up again. "I know. I love you too Asami. I knew it the last time I was here and I waited to say it. I realize now that was a terrible mistake. I could have died in that battle and you would never have known how special you are to me. I don't ever want that to happen again."
Asami looked up at him in wonder. He had just said he loved her! No excuses about why they couldn't be together, just that he loved her. She was definitely dreaming. Well, she'd ask him about the battle, if she was dreaming then that might be what woke her up. "Can you tell me what happened? No one has told me a thing."
Kakashi studied her. It had been a pretty awful fight and he wasn't sure how much she could bear. As if she knew what he was thinking she said "I don't want to know details, just sketch it out."
Kakashi sighed with relief. "It was against Itachi Uchiha and someone named Kisame Hoshigaki."
Asami's eyes widened. She knew who Itachi was, she didn't recognize the other name. "Itachi?"
"Yes. He came here to...find someone."
"And did he? Was it Sasuke?" She had always wondered why he had let only Sasuke live in the slaughter.
"No, it wasn't Sasuke. And before you ask, I can't tell you who it was he was looking for. But he didn't find him."
"Will he be back?" She shivered. How had Konoha gotten so scary so quickly?
"I don't know for sure but probably not right away. He also had a run in with Jiraiya while he was out looking for Tsunade. Tsunade and Jiraiya's presence here will help keep them at bay for a little."
"Then Jiraiya is staying?" She wondered why he hadn't been around to see her yet.
"He will be back and forth." Kakashi knew if she found out Jiraiya was training Naruto that she would put it all together. Asami was a smart woman. He wondered how little he could say without her suspecting the truth. It wasn't that he didn't trust her with the information, he had been asked not to repeat it for now. He decided to distract her with another kiss.
When he pulled back to look at her she was content and smiling up at him. He was so glad to be here.
"How long can you stay?" She asked him. "Do you have a mission to go on?"
He didn't want to answer this question because the answer was yes. He had just found the woman he wanted to spend his life with and he was leaving in the morning on a mission. "I have a mission in the morning. It won't be long but unfortunately with the village at half strength I'll be busy." He remembered something that had been said in passing. "I heard Sakura brought you the news of my injury."
"She did. She was upset but very brave."
"I also heard that you didn't visit me. Did you have a reason?" He suspected that he knew but he wanted to hear it from her.
"I didn't visit. First of all, no one knows we've been seeing each other. So I knew that they probably wouldn't let me in or tell me anything which I knew would upset me more. Secondly, I wasn't sure where I stood with you, and I didn't want to make a scene that would embarrass either of us."
Kakashi smiled at her. He had figured those were here reasons. "Thank you for that. I don't mind sharing our relationship with the world but as you guessed I wouldn't have wanted to do it in that way. I will be sure that certain people know tonight about you. If for some reason I end up in the hospital from this mission tomorrow then you will be informed and able to visit me."
Asami beamed. "Thank you Kashi-kun."
"And please, just like Kichirou..."
She interrupted him, "I know, only in private."
They snuggled a little longer but it was getting late and Kakashi rose to leave. As much as he loved her he wasn't ready to spend the night, especially a night before a mission. "I have to get a good nights rest Asami. I'll visit whenever I'm home. I owe you a nice dinner."
"I know Kakashi. Pieces of a promise?"
He smiled down at her. "Always." He kissed her one last time and then let himself out.