Yondaime, three bickering Chuunin, and what might or might not come to pass.
Note: An uchiwa is a round, paddle-shaped fan. If you think the word sounds familiar and are now wondering if Kishimoto made another of his bad puns with the Uchiha family's name, you would be correct.
This story was originally written for the 2006 Naruto Rabu fanworks exchange at the Livejournal community of the same name. Check it out, it's full of great stories.
The air hangs heavy and wet over Konoha this July afternoon.
In one house, there is a young man sprawled out over the cool wooden floor of the parlor, mussing his blonde bangs as he wipes the sweat from his brow. In his other hand is clutched an uchiwa with which he lazily fans himself; a tall glass of iced lemonade sits next to his head, dripping condensation carelessly down onto the floorboards.
He who will one day be called Fourth greeted the day this morning by groaning and rolling over to bury his face in his pillow.
He is not a lazy man by nature -- no, indeed, he is generally known for his boundless energy -- but hot humid days and grueling missions simply don't mix. He has just returned from spending a week in Rain Country, where there was so much water in the air he nearly convinced himself he was swimming a few times. Nevermind what he was doing there, save that it required him to add a great deal more water to the atmosphere in the form of his own sweat. Today is the first day of the Summer Festival, and he'd hoped to join his team of young Chuunin as they enjoyed the festivities; but he arrived home late and, for once, simply could not find the energy. One musn't push oneself too hard, after all. (Though truth be told, he'd almost gotten up and started to dress anyway when his three Chuunin came to see him, but then Rin gave him a look that promised terrible violence if he were to move so much as an inch. There's always tomorrow, she said -- but his students wouldn't be there tomorrow!)
Nevertheless, eventually he dragged himself out of bed, pulled on a light summer kimono, found something yummy to drink, and padded out into the parlor; and here he shall brave the miserable heat until his students find their way home. They have standing orders to tell him if there's anything really cool in the festival stalls this year, like... baby frogs or giant statues made out of gummy rice or something. And he's hoping they'll hurry up about it, because at the moment listening to their incessant bickering would really be a nice change from lying here sweating in grumpy silence.
As if on cue, the dulcet music of a twelve-year-old boy loudly growling for a certain other boy to say that again, why don't you, reaches the Jounin's ears. He smiles as they round the bend, partially visible now through the windows: a brown head, a black head, and a silver one trailing behind, watching their backs. Team Yellow Flash enter their teacher's home with a truly delightful lack of decorum.
"I'm not kidding, dammit! If you don't stop being such a jerk, I'm gonna kick your snooty snow-white ass, /jerk!/" Obito declares, walking in backwards so he can glare at Kakashi as he speaks; he nods at the end of the sentence as though he's just said something profound, doing an about-face to continue through the doorway. Rin just sighs and shakes her head a little as she holds the door open for them, waiting on Kakashi, who seems to be juggling a few packages in his arms -- some small boxes and... is that a goldfish? The Jounin blinks a little, surprised. He's never known his long-time student to take an interest in such things; but there it is, suspended in the little plastic bag clutched in Kakashi's fist, swimming slow fearful circles around the water.
"Welcome back," their teacher says with a tired grin, sitting up to wave at them cheerfully as they stop and slip their sandals off. "Did you guys have a good time?"
"Oh, man, sensei, it was awesome!" He has no idea where Obito finds that kind of enthusiasm in this kind of weather. The young Uchiha rushes over to him with a grin, already mid-explanation. "Lemme tell you about this -- see, there was this new sweet seller from Lightning Country and me and Rin totally pigged out, oh man -- of course Kakashi didn't 'cos he's a stick in the mud but anyway, we all got you stuff, and then there was this other--"
He lets Obito talk, his eyes flickering over to where Rin is opening up the boxes at a nearby table, dividing up what are indeed some very tasty-looking sweets; and after a few moments he can feel Kakashi's presence behind him, can hear a faint rustle of cloth the boy doesn't bother to conceal for once as his student sits down. Rin joins them holding a box and a box-lid piled with sticky rice confections and what look like strawberry cookies, setting them down in front of her teacher. He grins his thanks, not wanting to interrupt the narration, and picks one up for an experimental bite. Obito and Rin each take one for themselves without bothering to ask.
"--and then Kakashi went and tried to catch a goldfish," Obito snickers.
The Jounin rolls over to grin at the student on his opposite side, holding up one of the sweets. "Wanna cookie?"
"No," Kakashi grumbles, scowling, "I don't like sweets, and the goldfish is for /Rin/, not me." He holds up the bag still clutched in his hand for emphasis, half-looking like he wants to simply throw it into Rin's lap. She grins a little embarrassedly.
"No, Kakashi, I meant you should get one for yourself!" She reaches over her teacher to pat her teammate tentatively on the shoulder. The Jounin just lays flat on his back and munches Kakashi's unwanted cookie. "To have a pet you could nurture," Rin continues, tearing a piece off her gummy riceball with some effort and popping it into her mouth.
"Who are you kidding? I'll just end up killing it," Kakashi mutters, rolling his eyes. Obito agrees with a vigorous, knowing nod, earning himself a dirty look from his silver-haired teammate.
"No, I think you'd be good with it! You take good care of your dogs, don't you? But since they're summons you don't get to see them all the time. You can have your goldfish around all day long." Rin smiles.
"Well, it's not really the same thing, y'know?" Obito frowns thoughtfully, helping himself to another of his sensei's sweets. "Goldfish aren't exactly warm and fuzzy and cuddly. I bet Kakashi can't get to sleep at night without cuddling one of his fuzzy dogs," and a grin sprouts on the boy's face as he continues with a line of thought he already knows to be utterly untrue, "or his /baby blankie/..."
"That's rich coming from the Uchiha who can't get to sleep if his mommy doesn't tuck him in," Kakashi retorts, the sneer audible in his voice. Obito bristles directly on cue, thrusting an arm over his teacher's head to poke threateningly at the air in Kakashi's general direction.
"My mom does not tuck me in, asshole!"
"Well, I don't sleep with a /baby blankie/, moron."
"So you do sleep with your /fuzzy doggies/, then?"
"Why do you care, need a replacement for your /fuzzy teddy?/"
"Tch, yeah right! I'm not some five-year-old, unlike you/, the guy who /obviously sleeps with a bed full of puppies/, now /don't you?"
"What the hell business is it of yours if they get /cold?/"
"/HAH!/ I knew it! I knew you had to--"
The Jounin shuts his eyes for a moment, and enjoys the sweet music of two preteen boys bickering with each other. Rin just sighs, shakes her head, and has another cookie. And meanwhile, the abandoned glass of lemonade keeps dripping onto the wooden floor.
In ten years time, when they've all grown and gone their separate ways... days like these, the teacher thinks, will be the ones that he remembers.