Finding Peace

Chapter 6- Sushi for dinner!

Asami was washing the last of the dishes at the stand. She'd been very busy with the chunin exams going on and was glad that the day was over. She smiled to herself, hoping that Kakashi would have time to stop by one of these days. She was sure that he wouldn't later during the final exam but maybe during the forest of death. She was also sure that she wouldn't be seeing Anko until the entire event was done.

She put the last of the dishes away and turned to go home. Although she lived right upstairs she had to go outside and climb the stairs to get to her apartment. Mother had always disliked the arrangement, especially on rainy days. To her surprise and delight Kakashi was standing in the doorway watching her and smiling through his mask.

"Hello there" she smiled, genuinely happy to see him and hoping he was here to take her up on her dinner offer.

"How are you? I wonder if I might accept your dinner offer tonight?" Kakashi leaned casually against the door waiting for her answer.

"I was hoping that's why you were here" Asami said. "lets go upstairs. Are you starving or can I sit for a few minutes before I start?"

"You can sit all night if you like" he replied. "I don't have anywhere I have to be. My genin are eating insects in the Forest of Death tonight." Kakashi said it so casually that it seemed funny but Asami wondered if he wasn't a little worried.

They climbed the stairs and she opened the door to her apartment. It was a modest apartment but it was jam-packed with memories for her. Her parents sitting and chatting in the living room, her mother cooking in the kitchen, and Kichirou running up and down the hallway that led to the bedrooms. "Welcome to my home Kakashi."

Asami closed the door and headed towards the kitchen. "Would you like some tea before I sit for a bit?"

Kakashi followed her observing her home. It was pleasant and orderly. He decided that he liked it. "That would be nice." He leaned against the door jamb and watched her while she made it. She looked a little tired but then there were a lot of visitors in the village for the chunin exam and her stand was probably far busier than usual. "Have you been busy with the chunin exam going on?" He asked.

"Oh my goodness yes!" She exclaimed. "I know it's good for business but it can be exhausting also. The last time there was a festival and so many visitors Kichirou was able to come help but this time he is busy with work and training so, other than my hired help, I'm on my own. It's nothing I can't handle. It just makes my days a little longer than usual." She smiled over at him. "Lets take our tea in the living room where it is more comfortable."

She carried their tea cups into the living room and Kakashi followed, once there they settled down onto some soft pillows.

"So are you worried about your genin? The forest of death is a formidable test." Asami inquired.

"Not at all." Kakashi sounded confident in his reply. "My genin are a talented group and I am sure they can handle whatever comes their way. I can't remember. Did you take the chunin exam, Asami?"

Asami like the way her name sounded when he said it. "No. My sensei was going to recommend me for it the next time there was one but then the attack occurred and I walked away from it to take care of Kichirou and the shop. To be honest I wasn't really that interested in being a ninja and had no intention of going further than chunin anyway. My mother was a chunin and she felt that I should at least have that much training before moving on in life."

Kakashi nodded. He agreed with her mother, having the skills of a chunin gave someone an advantage in many ways. "What did your father think about it?"

"Father wasn't home all that often and by then he had his ninja hopes wrapped up in Kichirou. Kichirou showed promise from a very early age. He might not be a prodigy but he has a lot of skill and he is very good at chakra control." Asami was proud of Kichirou and how far he had come.

Kakashi nodded "I agree. I stopped by his training field yesterday and watched him for a bit. He is indeed a skilled ninja. I imagine your father would be very proud of him. Did you say he had his sights set on the Anbu?"

Asami nodded. "Not just his sights, his heart. I think in some way it helps him connect with father. He doesn't remember him at all."

"Not at all?" Kakashi inquired.

"No. Father was away on a mission when he was born and didn't return until he was almost a year old. And he was just 4 when they died." Asami sighed, it was still hard to talk about sometimes. "In between father had training and missions. The reality was that we didn't see him much. He made up for it when he was home but Kichirou was just too young to remember."

Kakashi thought about that. If he allowed himself to get close to Asami then she, and any children they might have, would have a similar existence. He decided not to worry about bridges that hadn't even been built yet. He looked at Asami, she looked exhausted. "You look so tired. Let me take you out to eat so you don't have to cook."

Asami smiled, he was so sweet. She knew he had the reputation of being reserved and distant but she guessed that he was just very private which was ok with her. "Well if you don't mind I have some sushi I made earlier today. I had intended to eat it for my dinner tonight but there's enough for both of us."

"Sushi sounds delicious." Kakashi thought he would have eaten just about anything. He was just enjoying sitting and chatting with her.

Asami went into the kitchen and came back with 2 plates of sushi for them and chopsticks and they dug in. To her surprise Kakashi pulled his mask down to eat as if he always ate at her house with his mask off. It was the first time she had seen his face that she could remember. She acted as if she didn't notice but thought he was very good-looking, both with and without the mask. They chatted amiably while they ate and when they were done Asami collected their plates and returned them to the kitchen. She returned with more tea to see that the mask had returned to its rightful place.

"Thank you for dinner Asami. Your sushi is just as good as your onigiri." Kakashi smiled at her. He was relieved that she hadn't made an issue of him removing his mask. Obviously he had to remove it now and then but everyone made it into such a big deal and it irked him to no end. He liked her relaxed, no nonsense approach to life.

"You're welcome, Kakashi."

"If you will excuse me for a moment, where's your bathroom?" Kakashi looked down the hallway.

"First door on the right." Asami answered. While she waited for him to return she reclined on the pillow she was on and closed her eyes. When she opened them Kakashi was back and sitting right next to her. She jumped and said "you know, it's not fair sneaking up on people like that!" She giggled a little and smiled at him.

"It might not be fair but it is a lot of fun. You look tired, I should be going."

Asami realized that it was getting late. She had been enjoying his company so much that she hadn't noticed. "I should probably get some sleep. Tomorrow promises to be another long day. I've really enjoyed our visit though. Thank you for coming over."

"I've enjoyed visiting also. The pleasure was all mine."

Asami blushed a little. "Please come by anytime. I love how you compliment my cooking." She walked him to the door and then turned to say goodbye. To her surprise Kakashi was standing immediately behind her. He hesitated for just a moment and then pulled her up into his arms in a hug, letting go just as quickly.

"I'll come by again soon." He said quietly. "Not only are you a good cook, you're good company as well." And with that he left.

Asami was in shock. Kakashi had just hugged her goodbye. The evening had been nice with him but a hug goodnight, well that was a pleasant surprise. She wondered what he was thinking about when he did it and she savored the memory, however brief, of his strong arms around her.

Kakashi hopped down the stairs from her apartment and sauntered off down the road. He wasn't sure why he'd hugged her goodbye but he was glad he had. Although she'd been surprised she'd not seemed upset by it. He wondered what had gotten into him? Wasn't he a confirmed bachelor? He was a ninja. He had to be free to leave at a moments notice, knowing full well he might not come back. But then that was what made her such a good match for him. She knew full well the cost of his job, she'd grown up with it.

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