“Not if I beat you there.” She grinned up at him, all the tension disappeared.
She started running to the bathroom, Kakashi right behind her. As she reached the door, Kakashi’s arms wound around her waist and he lifted her off the ground. She laughed and started to cry when he layed her on the couch and tickled her.
“Kakashi, stop!” She cried, tears streaming down her face.
“Stop what?” He laughed back at her. He stopped and picked her up again, binding her arms to her body. She struggled against the stronghold that was his arms, without much success.
Kakashi smiled, was grateful when the cool air touched his cheeks.
Brook struggled against his arms, but then she was suddenly still. Kakashi, who was always on guard, set her on the couch.
“Brook? What’s wrong?” He asked, worry etched across the lines of his almost-perfect face.
Brook bared her teeth and her body shook with pain. Her left hand traveled up to her right shoulder. Her fingers dug into her shoulder as she let a strangled moan escape her lips. Her fingers showed the cursed mark on her back, glowing a bright red.
“Come on. We have to get you to Tsunade.”
“No. I don’t want to. It’ll pass.”
“Brook please.” He pleaded.
“No.” Her voice was final.
He gritted his teeth. He couldn’t stand to see her in pain. It tore him to pieces. But, “hospital” and “help” were two words she never needed. She had spent the majority of her life alone. Her father had left her as soon as she could walk and talk. Until she was thirteen, Brook Storm was completely alone.
Kakashi’s hands balled into fists. Just thinking of her father mad him homicidal. The man had been his mentor for many years. Kakashi trusted him with his life. Roland Storm had been a father to him. He just couldn’t be one to her. The worst part to him was that he couldn’t tell Brook anything. So far as she knew, Her father was dead. In Kakashi’s opinion, he didn’t even deserve that.
As Brook’s breathing started to accelerate and she clenched her shoulder tighter, Kakashi picked her up.
“Come on. I’m taking you to see Lady Hokage whether you like it or not.”
“No…” She moaned, her head falling back.
“Yes…” He teased.
“But she hates me.”
“She can deal with it and so can you.”
He carried her through the streets, not getting curios glancing from passerby, considering there were none. It was nearly midnight, and Kakashi knew Tsunade would not be happy to be waken up.
As they walked up to the door, Brook mumbled that she hated him for bringing her here. “Yeah, yeah. I know.” He told her as he rang the bell, holding her awkwardly in one arm for half a second.
A minute later, Tsunade, the fifth Hokage, was standing at her door with a cup of coffee in her hand. By the looks of it, she had been up anyway.
“What do you want?” She asked, “It’s late-”
Then she noticed Brook in Kakashi’s arms, still holding her shoulder.
“Bring her inside.” She said, all sense of being tired gone.
Kakashi layed Brook on the couch and Tsunade went to work, simply placing her hand on the now slowly swirling mark. She pulled her hand back and started walking out of the house, motioning for Kakashi to follow.
Kakashi picked up Brook and she groaned in disapproval. “I’m sorry.” He told her as he walked out the door. She was starting to shake with the effort of keeping the mark in check while they went. “Are you okay?” He asked her as they jumped through the air, following Tsunade. She shook her head quickly; her eyes squeezed shut against the pain. “Try and hold in there.” He said, knowing the words meant nothing.
About half-way to the chamber where Tsunade was going to seal the mark, Brook told Kakashi to stop.
“Lady Hokage!” He shouted. She stopped and came to where they were.
“What is it? We don’t have much time.” She said impatiently.
“She told me to stop.”
He looked at Brook, who sat on the rooftop, taking slow, deep breaths. She stopped shaking and looked at him. Her eyes were a steely-blue now, a good contrast to the red they usually were.
“I’m okay.” She told them, and started to stand up. Kakashi put his hand on her shoulder, keeping her sitting. Tsunade moved Brook’s shirt, revealing the mark, black and motionless. There was still no seal on the cursed mark that Orochimaru had given her two years previous.
“On occasion, I can take care of myself.” She told them, standing up and brushing herself off.
“I know you can. I was just worried considering IT WAS MOVING.” Kakashi said.
She scowled at him, and he scowled right back. Her eyes changed back to red, meaning her mood had changed from calm to… not so calm.
“You should just let me seal it. You’d be better off.” Tsunade said as they walked back to her house. Kakashi and Brook stood very close together, not talking, silence said volumes.
“No way. I don’t like the idea of having something YOU made on my body forever.” She said, looking at the ground.
“Tch, Fine,” Tsunade said as she walked into her house.
Brook and Kakashi didn’t move for a second, then they burst out laughing. They walked slowly back to the house, taking many back roads to make the trip longer. Neither of them seemed to notice.
About half-way, Kakashi’s hand ended up in Brook’s, but she didn’t mind. The pace slowed more as they got closer, not wanting this to end. They talked and laughed about everything, Their voices getting quieter as the night drug on.
When they got to the door, Brook asked him, “Are you even tired?”
“Not even close.”
“Then why go inside?” She said. Her smile was as bright as the sun.
“Good question. Let’s just walk for awhile.” He smiled down at her, and she smiled back.
They walked around the village for hours, talking and being closer than was strictly necessary. Brook had taken Kakashi’s jacket, as it had been cold for her. They held hands again, their fingers entwined. Brook smiled and her eyes shined the brightest blue Kakashi had ever seen. She was happy right now, and Kakashi was happy because she was. He wanted it like this.
As they got to the edge of the village, they walked into the forest. As they wound deeper into the forest, Kakashi never wanted this to end. The sun shouldn’t come up today. Brook stopped beside him, looking at the ground. A shy smile lit her face.
“What is it?” He asked quietly, stepping in front of her.
“The sun’s going to come up soon.”
“I don’t want it to.”
“Maybe it won’t for another minute.”
She looked up at him, her mind utterly scrambled. “How?”
“I have an idea.” He looked down at her, and his hand reached up to his mask. He gently pulled it down, amused by Brook’s expression. She was awestruck, of course.
He leaned his face forward, and she gasped. But she went on her tip-toes to meet his lips with hers.
The outside world was gone to both of them, everything hazy except for them. His arms went around the small of her back, pulling her closer, giving him better access to her lips. He parted his lips slightly and felt her smile against him. She granted him access and he explored her mouth.
“Well, if this isn’t just heartwarming, I don’t know what is.”
Kakashi stiffened at the sound of the voice, lifting his mouth from Brook’s, who had stiffened too. Brook had stiffened because of the familiarity of the voice. Because the voice was her voice.
Kakashi immediately put himself in between this intruder and Brook, trying to make sure she didn’t see. He wasn’t very successful. Brook bent around him, looking at the man. She stopped breathing.
Brook stared into eyes identical to hers, flaming red. The face surrounding them belonged to Roland Storm.
Kakashi and Brook were faced with the most dangerous ninja the Hidden Leaf Village had ever produced.