Gai meets his doppelganger in another dimension. He's ecstatic. Kakashi thinks about committing ritual suicide. Wolfwood just thinks its funny.
How wrong could one person get?
He’d done okay at first, but that was because Itachi had wanted to play with him-because apparently, Uchiha’s were like playful kittens, only meaner. Kakashi had thought himself on the same level as the Uchiha boy, simply because Kakashi had his own Mangekyo. And then Itachi had driven Kakashi to his knees, showing him scene after scene of death-Obito, Rin, Asuma, Yondaime-sensei-and Kakashi had realized his folly. Lucky for Kakashi-oh ho lucky indeed-he had an ‘Eternal Rival’ that was horrified by the idea of Kakashi dying from anyone’s hand other than his own and, once again, Maito Gai had ‘saved the day’. He’d come bursting to the scene and beat Itachi back-same as before-and had introduced himself to Kisame, having forgotten him again-which had annoyed the shark shinobi to no end.
Kakashi hadn’t been thinking at the moment, but if he had been, he would have realized just how stupid it was to have used the Mangekyo in his state. He had managed to focus his eyesight on Itachi, had called his Sharingan forth and proceeded to blast the little brat into another dimension…at least that had been the idea. Instead Kakashi had felt some sort of twisting in his own head and suddenly Gai had been at his side, telling him to stop, that it really wasn’t a good idea to be doing this right now. Kakashi had muttered some sort of apology and had promptly passed out.
When Kakashi woke up, he was in a bed that didn’t smell of bleach. That was enough of a shock for Kakashi that he sat up in shock only to fall right back down when his head spun so badly that he went blind for a second. He lay silently for a moment, eyes closed-Kakashi could feel the absence of his mask and his hitae-ate was missing-and began to wonder why the bed did not, in fact, smell like bleach. There had been a fight with the crazier of the two Uchiha and his little shark friend, of that Kakashi was sure. He and Gai had been doing a damn good job and then Kakashi had called up his Mangekyo and then…
So, Kakashi was, a) hallucinating and he really was in a hospital room in Konoha b) Gai had been killed and Kakashi had been captured by Itachi and his partner and was being held somewhere in the Akatsuki headquarters or…c) or something had gone terribly wrong with Kakashi’s Mangekyo. Kakashi was rather sure the first was unlikely, hoped the second wasn’t true, and was nearly positive the last was the truth of the matter. Kakashi opened his eyes more slowly the second time around and the ceiling of the room came into view; all it’s rough hewn, natural wood splendor. Definitely not a hospital in Konoha then. Kakashi licked his lips-they were dry and water would have been a great thing right then-and he sat up, slowly, pushing himself up onto his elbows to let his head adjust to the sudden movement. The room seemed to be made of natural, unfinished, unpainted plank wood. It was a little bigger than Kakashi’s own room at home, but had more furniture-a dresser across from him, the bed he was lying in, a table next to the bed and a chair on the right wall. Kakashi glanced out the window next to his low lying bed-not a futon Kakashi noticed, but a real, honest to God bed-and glanced sand, rough hewn buildings of wood and stone and more sand. Hmm. Perhaps, somehow, Kakashi was in Suna. He wasn’t sure how it was possible for he and Gai to have gotten to Suna but…well Gai managed strange things sometimes. There was a creak, signaling the opening of the door on the opposite wall and Kakashi's finger had just start toward the weapon pouch on his leg-he would have been sorely disappointed to find it gone had his fingers ever made it.
A woman the size of a giant slipped into the room, stooping as she came. She was dressed as a man but managed to remain feminine, mostly because of the long, brown hair she sported. In her hands was a tray of what seemed to be bandages and a bowl filled with something that smelled, even from where Kakashi was sitting. The Copy-Nin had never seen a woman as big as she. Apparently Suna grew more than just crazy red heads; grew them very tall at that.
“Hi!” She said cheerfully as she shut the door with a foot and came over to his bed. “I’m Milly Thompson. Your friend says that your name is Kakashi.” He grin widened. “I’ve come to change your bandages. Your friend brought you in on his back. He was crying and…mourning the loss of youthful vigor, I think.”
“Yo.” Kakashi said finally, part of him still trying to catch up to the salutation part of his meeting this woman. She talked quite a bit, it seemed. The woman, Milly, only smiled and set the tray down on the table.
“Let me put some clean bandages on you, Kakashi-san and then you can go downstairs. Meryl, my partner at the Bernardelli Insurance Society, has made some really yummy soup that I’m sure you’ll like.”
Kakashi had no idea what the ‘Bernardelli Insurance Society’ was, had no idea who ‘Meryl’ was supposed to be, but just the thought of food was making him drool and so he decided to let this Milly do whatever it was she wanted. She cleaned all his wounds and rewrapped all of them-a heavy task that she seemed happy to take on-and then she pointed out a pile of folded clothes sitting on the end of the bed and left after making sure he was coming for soup.
The clothes, Kakashi was sure, were not shinobi gar in any way. The trousers were made of cotton and hung off of Kakashi’s hips at a strange angle, even when he put on the belt provided. The shirt was cotton as well, was white, and was worn just a bit at the elbows and had buttons on it. There were some stretchy bits with buttons on them too, but Kakashi wasn’t sure how he was supposed to put the y-shaped thing on, so he left it on the bed. Brown shoes-and socks-completed the outfit and Kakashi headed downstairs thinking that perhaps he wasn’t in Fire Country anymore. When he reached the kitchen, Kakashi was even more unnerved at the sight of Gai in an outfit like his own.
“You’re awake! Good! I was worried that I had lost my eternal rival to the ravages of his terrible wounds!” Gai’s face lit up and he grinned at Kakashi, his teeth shinging just slightly. He didn’t get up from his seat though, thankfully, but he did give Kakashi a ‘thumbs up’ sign and then beckoned him to the table. “Come and have some soup with my new friend Nicholas D. Wolfwood.” Gai gestured toward the other man at the table. Kakashi looked toward the man and wondered where in the hell they really were; Shinobi usually didn't dress like gangsters.
The man had on black trousers, a black jacket thing and a white shirt left halfway unbuttoned down his chest. He had black hair and black sunglasses on and a cigarette hung from loose lips and Kakashi was reminded of Sarutobi Asuma. He was tall and thin and he sat back in his chair with his legs on the table and looked cool and collected. Kakashi was slightly impressed and he smirked at the man, lifted his hand in greeting.
“Yo.” He said simply as he slipped into a chair next to the man named Wolfwood. Wolfwood inclined his head to him and smirked around the cigarette in his mouth.
“Yo.” He said in return and Kakashi felt better about his situation.
“There you are. I was wondering if you’d sleep all day, like that stupid Vash.”
Kakashi looked away from the man in black and found himself staring at a thin, short haired woman who couldn’t have been any older than twenty. She was smiling but didn’t seem nearly as friendly as Milly. She had a bowl in her hand that she set in front of Kakashi with a wink.
“Eat up.” She said and meandered back to the stove where she continued to stir something in a pot. Kakashi dug in readily to the food before him; his Mangekyo took a lot out of him and if whe as going to get him and Gai back to Konoha, he’d need all the ounce of strength he could get. Kakashi had his soup done in thirty seconds-his speedy eating was a habit he’d developed along with his mask-and he was turning to ask the woman at the stove-Meryl presumably-for more when the door to the kitchen opened. He looked toward the door as it opened to admit the strangest person Kakashi had ever seen-and he had seen a few.
He was tall and terribly thin, more a scarecrow than Kakashi would ever be. Blonde hair defied gravity as it shot up from the man’s head, spiky and thick and Kakashi wondered if maybe he could get his hair secrets. He wore buckled black leather from finger tips to toe tips and his boots were heavy and looked horribly dangerous. For some reason he was draped in a flowing red leather coat, buttoned up to his neck, looking almost like it was meant to hide his face. At his hip was a gun and to top it all off, the man wore sunglasses that shone with orange iridescence. He looked tough, and Kakashi wondered who the hell this guy was. Wolfwood shifted beside Kakashi and grinned around the cigarette in his mouth. Gai had a strange look on his face that didn’t bode well for the moment.
“Hey. Vash.” Wolfwood muttered and Kakashi arched a brow as the blonde haired man-Vash-turned his head just enough to peer out over his sunglasses. His face was serious and stoic and Kakashi would have smirked had it not been for the sheer danger that swept out of the man. Gai seemed impressed too, because he sat forward, eye intent on him.
“Such vitality!” Gai cried suddenly, his arm nearly snapping off with the force of his ‘thumbs-up’ sign. Kakashi felt like groaning, or maybe drowning himself in his soup. This Vash was cretainly not the type of guy to have a friendly chat with, especially if one could only talk about ‘the vitality of youth’ or ‘the fires of youthful passion’. Wolfwood seemed amused by it though. Vash only stared at Gai as though he hadn’t heard him.
And of course Gai had to try again.
“You burn with the fires of youthful vitality!” He cried and stood, gave his stupid ‘good-guy-pose’ and the shing was even more audible than last time.
“I burn with the fire of youthful vitality?” Vash’s voice was soft, controlled and nearly toneless and Kakashi suddenly wished that he had the ability to speak with such boredom. Gai was unperturbed by the man’s indifference and he nodded enthusiastically. Kakashi heard something come from Wolfwood and he glanced over at the priest, only to find that Wolfwood was attempting to fight back snorts of laughter.
Kakashi was apparently missing something here.
“Yes! The fires of youthful vitality! You are in the springtime of your life!”
At this last comment, something in the man’s face twitched and Kakashi thought about hiding under the table until the man ran out of bullets. But then Vash’s lips were curling up in what was unmistakably the grin of a Cheshire cat.
“Aaaah? Do you really think so?!” Vash was crying suddenly, a blush spreading across his cheeks, his blue eyes beginning to sparkle with the telltale signs of tears. Kakashi felt his mouth begin to go dry. Something wasn’t right here.
“Here we go.” Wolfwood muttered suddenly from Kakashi’s left.
“YES!” Gai cried and surged toward Vash, clasping him on the shoulder. “You shine with the wild explosions of youth! Who are you?” Gai was trembling with the force of his words, nearly in tears as he jabbed the man in the shoulder with the passion of his words. Kakashi felt sick.
“I am…” The man said seriously and then he struck a pose, standing straight, one arm wrapped around his stomach, the other holding his chin thoughtfully. “I am Vash the Stampede. I am a hunter of peace,” He smiled and suddenly cast out his hand, just as Gai had done, only to cross his two fingers in the man’s face. “Chasing the elusive mayflower known as love!” His cry was nearly as loud as Gai’s had been and had just as much gusto. He pulled his arm back, “Love,” and then thrust it back into Gai’s face, fingers crossed. “Peace!” He laughed. “Love and peace!” Again with the hand movement. The soup was starting to come back up Kakashi’s throat, threatening to come all the way up if this continued. Gai was acting like a puppy given a new toy.
“YES!” He cried and began to mime Vash’s movements, tears streaming down his face. “Love and peace! LOVE AND PEACE!” And suddenly the two men were clinging to each other, weeping like women and crying things like ‘Love and peace!’ and ‘Oh we are filled with the vitality of life!’
“It’s like they share a brain.” Wolfwood said suddenly, all laughter gone from his voice. Kakashi snuck a look at the man, saw the strained, sick look on the man’s face and knew he had found someone normal in this crazy world. “Your friend got half, and Vash got the other. No wonder that dumbass gets shot all the time.”
“How do you know each other?” Kakashi mumbled, sticking a hanf into the pocket of his trousers; he'd slipped his Icha Icha book in there before coming down. Vash and Gai were now skipping around the room hand-in-hand, declaring their love for peace and youth and fires…
“We’re rivals I suppose. Always manage to get into some sort of competition.”
Kakashi’s hand paused in the pocket where his precious book was, a shiver going up his spine. He glanced at Wolfwood, found the man staring at him over his own sunglasses. Kakashi pushed hair from his face, feeling that there was an understanding of minds about to happen.
“D’you read porn?” Kakashi said, tugging Icha Icha free.