Finding Peace

Chapter 17- Hold Me Close, Please

Asami was in the village to get herself a few groceries when she suddenly felt her self being engulfed by strong arms that she knew could belong to only one man. She whipped herself around to give him a quick hug. "Kakashi! You're home!" She was so glad to see him. It had only been a few days since they'd both admitted their feelings to each other but it seemed as if the whole world was conspiring to keep them apart.

"I am. And I was just going to your house so I could take you out to dinner. I have no mission tomorrow so I can stay out as late as I want to. Or rather as late as I can keep my eyes open."

Asami smiled, she knew he must be exhausted. "If your too tired we could just go back to my place."

"No. I want to take you out." He was insistent. Partly because she had fed him every time he had shown up at her house and partly because he wanted to send a message, to her and to those who saw them together.

"Ok then, dinner it is. Where shall we eat?" Kakashi named a restaurant, she agreed and they headed off. Asami figured she could get her groceries after and then maybe he'd help carry them home. Or she could go first thing in the morning, it didn't really matter when you had a handsome masked ninja who loved you standing so close.

They were on their way home, groceries in hand, after dinner chatting casually about the village and the past few days. But Asami noticed that Kakashi seemed distracted. She decided to inquire "Kakashi, I want you know that you can tell me anything you want to tell me. Nothing you ever say will be repeated by me, ever, unless you ask me to repeat it. I understand that there will be things you can't tell me and I accept that. But I want your promise that you won't try to protect me just for the sake of protecting me. I can handle any news you give me."

Kakashi marveled at the treasure he had found in Asami. "Thank you for the reassurance. I had guessed most of that. I had a troubling conversation with Sasuke before I left and I keep going over it in my mind."

"Want to talk about it?"

"I do and I don't. Sasuke and Naruto had a fight that day and Sakura ran into the middle of it. If I hadn't arrived and intervened she might have really been injured. But later Sasuke and I talked privately, he's so angry and he's so sure that no one understands."

Asami looked up at Kakashi. She knew he'd had a hard life. He'd grown up so fast and most of it with no family to speak of. Honestly, it was a wonder he was here and so normal, well normal for a ninja. "He's young Kakashi. I know no one in this village understands what he's going through better than you but he did lose his entire family to his older brother."

Kakashi admired her again. He was glad he could unload to her, it helped a lot. They had arrived at her house and he was helping her unpack the groceries. "What he doesn't understand is that he doesn't have to do this on his own. Everyone here is behind him. He thinks he's a one man show."

"Like I said, he's young and he's a good ninja from what you've said about him. If I remember correctly it's typical of powerful young ninja to think they don't need help."

Kakashi knew she was referring partly to him and partly to Kichirou in that comment and it stung a little but he also knew she was right. "I know. I just wish I could help him more."

They spent the rest of the evening visiting and discussing Sasuke and it was late when Kakashi rose to leave. "I may not have a mission tomorrow but if I don't rest then Lady Tsunade will be bound to find one for me." He wrapped his arms around her and held her close leaning down to kiss her good night and letting himself out.

3 days later

Asami's evening had been pleasant. She had made dinner for Anko and they had caught up on everything that happened. Anko was very pleased with herself for the match she had made and teased Asami that within a year she would have a tiny silver haired copy of the copy nin himself to keep her company all the time. Asami had blushed at the thought and just shushed her.

Anko had gone home now and Asami had taken a shower and was in her nightgown and robe making sure the house was set for the night when she heard a knock at the door. She wondered who it could be this late. Although she had told Kakashi he was welcome anytime she hadn't actually thought he would show up in the middle of the night. She panicked for a moment thinking maybe something had happened to him, he'd been on a mission last night and was due back today. But she reminded herself not to live in the ifs and went to the door.

Kakashi stood at her door looking like he had been used to mop the floor somewhere. He was dripping in sweat and the exhaustion that lined his face was intense.

"Kakashi! Are you ok?" Asami looked him up and down for injury.

"I'm not injured Asami. Can I come in?" He noticed that she was ready for bed and he worried that he was imposing.

"Of course! You're always welcome."

Kakashi noted that it was the first time she had invited him in without offering him food.

"Do you need to eat?"

Well almost. "No. I just need you."

"Well why don't you start with a quick shower?"

"I don't have any clean clothes."

"I have some of Kichirou's here, you're about the same size." She retrieved a pair of sweat pants and a tshirt from Kichirou's old room and gave them and a towel to him while steering him towards the bathroom. "I'll be right here if you need anything."

When he came out he seemed a little more relaxed and a lot less sweaty. She was sitting in the living room and he sat down beside her. She noticed that he not only had no mask on but he also was not wearing his headband, choosing instead to simply keep his sharingan eye closed. "Can I see it? Your eye?"

Kakashi was surprised at her request but not offended by it. He simply said sure and opened it. She examined the scar that ran through it with her finger, touching it gently and wondered how old he'd been when he'd gotten it. Then she looked into his sharingan. "What can you see with it?"

"I can see chakra with it and it enables me to read my opponent moves as they choose to do them so I can copy them. Among other things. By the way," he said looking her up and down, "You have beautiful chakra."

She giggled, "I hope that's a compliment."

He closed his eye and pulled her close to kiss, "it's the highest of compliments."

When he had finished kissing her she pulled away and said "So do you want to talk about it?"

He looked tired again and she wondered if she shouldn't have said anything. But then he sighed, pulled her closer and said "Sasuke and Naruto tried to kill each other." The weariness in his voice was palpable.

"Really? They were intentional?" She knew spars could get rough between friends but she had never heard of anything like this.

"Well, Sasuke was intentional. I think Naruto just wanted him to come home and would have knocked him unconscious and dragged him home if he could have." He decided to fill her in a little more. "Sasuke ran away to Orochimaru the other day, after he and I had the talk I mentioned. Lady Tsunade sent Shikamaru out after him with Naruto, Kiba, Nejii, and Choji as his team. Everyone but Shikamaru is in the hospital as a result of their run in with the Sound Five and Sasuke almost killed Naruto. To their credit they did defeat the Sound Five, with the help of some Sand village Ninja."

Asami held Kakashi close to her. She knew he just needed to escape for a little. What was harder than being a ninja? Being the sensei of a ninja who thought he knew better than you. "I'm so sorry Kakashi."

"It's ok. I knew he was struggling. I just wonder if I could have done more."

"My mother always told me that I couldn't live in the ifs of life."

Kakashi looked at her questioningly.

"What she meant was that you can't worry about what if. You just do the best, be the best you can be today and take life as it comes."

"Your mother was a very wise woman. I think I would have liked her a lot." Kakashi looked down at her and knew he couldn't face leaving her tonight. "Asami, can I stay the night?"

Asami hoped he didn't notice her blush. "Ummm Kakashi."

"I don't want to be a bother." He wondered why she seemed so uncomfortable suddenly.

"No, it's not that. But I think you should know something."

Kakashi turned her head towards him so he could look her in the eyes. "Yes? What is it?"

"You're the only man who has ever kissed me."

Recognition dawned on Kakashi's face and in his overtired mind. Of course! She hadn't had time to date when Kichirou lived at home. Then he realized the full impact of what she was saying and why she was blushing so furiously. "I just want to hold you Asami, for tonight. I need you close to me."

Asami shifted so she was even closer to him, "you can hold me every night if you want to Kakashi. I need you close to me too."

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