|fallen_kakashi (fallen_kakashi) wrote in fallen_leaves,|
@ 2011-11-18 22:09:00
|Entry tags:||arakaki, kakashi, ryouma, sandaime|
Wise Men Keep Secrets [Kakashi, Ryouma]
[[Takes place the morning of October 21st, directly after Resting Easy.]]
The carpeting outside of the Hokage’s office smelled faintly of blood. The two flanking guards were spotless in their uniforms and blank-faced, but the chuunin assistant behind the receptionist’s desk looked a little pale.
Kakashi stood with his hands shoved into his pockets, freshly showered and shaved and dressed in jounin blues, and waited. On the other side of the thick, brass-handled door, muted voices argued back and forth. Occasionally, the Hokage’s steady murmur would break in.
“Hatake-san, you don’t have an appointment,” the chuunin said wearily. He was a short, slim man with slicked back hair and a white scar cutting across one cheekbone. “Sandaime-sama is busy.”
The chuunin blew out an aggravated sigh, returning to the heavy stack of paperwork in front of him. One of the guards looked fractionally amused.
The sun drew a slow arc across the floor, edging warmth up Kakashi’s leg as the apex caught him just before noon. He meditated on his feet, ignoring the rustlings and pen-scritchings of bureaucracy, the guards’ shift change, the scent of the chuunin’s bento-boxed curry lunch. Diplomats and council-members with appointments arrived and were politely turned away, informed that the Hokage’s morning meeting had run unexpectedly long. More than one of them threw a curious glance Kakashi’s way.
“Is that—” began an older woman, cutting herself off.
“Sakumo’s son,” muttered the elderly man accompanying her.
The woman looked very much like she wanted to spit; Kakashi wondered which family member she’d lost to his father’s mistake.
It was an hour past noon when the office door suddenly slammed open, startling the chuunin into dropping a pen. The guards didn’t blink. A tall, hawk-faced man stormed out, followed by two younger men, only to be brought up short by Kakashi in his way. The first man was wearing the grey and black diplomatic robes of an Iwagakure envoy, stitched with gold threads down the sleeves; his eyes widened slightly.
“You,” he snapped. He whirled back on the doorway. “Is this deliberate?”
The Hokage gave Kakashi the barest edge of a look that suggested he wouldn’t mind whacking him upside the head with his official hat.
“Merely a coincidence, Kanen-san,” he said, tucking his hands into his sleeves. “I believe Hatake-san has a separate issue he’d like to discuss with me.”
Hatake-san. Kakashi stayed expressionless. He hadn’t been Agent Hatake for three months, now.
Kanen snorted disbelievingly. “I’m sure he does. And he merely has excellent timing.”
“Actually, I’m normally late,” murmured Kakashi.
Kanen’s head came around, eyes narrowing. “Akio-san remembers you,” he said with a cutting edge.
It took Kakashi a moment to place the name. “He had his chance to kill me once,” he said. “He was out-voted.”
“Perhaps he’ll have better fortune next time,” Kanen snapped, jerking away when one of his followers put a restraining hand on his arm. He swept past Kakashi, narrowly avoiding hitting his shoulder, and strode through the broad double-doors that opened into the hallway. His retinue scrambled after him.
There was another pen clatter from the desk chuunin. “What on earth was that about?”
Kakashi neglected to answer him. The Hokage was equally unforthcoming. “Would you reschedule my appointments for the next hour, Shiroya? I believe I owe Kakashi some of my time.”
“But—the envoy,” the desk chuunin, Shiroya, said.
“You can send Kanen-san a message in a few hours, once he’s had a chance to cool down,” the Hokage said, sounding slightly weary. “We still have plenty to discuss.”
“Sir, with all due respect, four chancellors have been by to see you—”
“It will not hurt them to wait a while,” the Hokage said. “Perhaps you should take a break, Shiroya. You look a little peaky.”
Shiroya made a slightly throttled sound.
The Hokage turned back into his office, stepping past his advisers, Homura and Kotaru, who looked torn between exhaustion, exasperation, and a touch of amusement. They stepped aside as Kakashi followed the Hokage, feeling the slight catch of stiff muscles drag at his steps. The guards closed the doors behind him, and the Hokage dropped into the polished wooden seat behind his desk, letting out an aggrieved sigh.
“That wasn’t nice,” Kakashi said, ignoring the gesture that asked him to sit.
“Well, he shouldn’t fuss so,” the Hokage said, taking off his hat of office and laying it on the desk. He leaned forward and steepled his fingers under his chin, giving Kakashi a steady look. “I imagine you have questions.”
Kakashi did, but a more pressing one took their place. “Are we at war?”
The Hokage was silent for a long moment.
“No,” he said at last. “I don’t believe so.”
Six months ago Kakashi would have taken that answer at face value. Now he rested back on his heels, hands still in his pockets, looking at the man who knew the exact price for every shinobi life in Konohagakure, and thought I don’t trust you.