"The Game of Love" by SubtleQuirk

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Well, the first chapter to my Kakashi fic! Huz-zah! I've been working on this, tossing the idea around, and I finally grew the (temporary) balls to do it. I have no idea how this will turn out, but I'm gonna give it a shot.
Hopefully you guys will be gentle with me since this is the first time I've actually written a multi-chapter story in a long, long time. :D Just roll with me, haha.
Sorry for the crappy summary, my brain is about to 'splode.

[1] Your last name. Just because it makes it easier. :B
Scroll oo1: Normality

Bi-bip. Bi-bip.

You groaned inwardly and instinctively put your arm over your eyes, as if this would help you escape the irritating sound roaring from atop your dresser. Groggily, you managed to pick yourself up, your clumsy fingers fumbling for the stupid object. You knocked a water bottle over in the process so that it fell down and hit you in the head, promptly waking you up. You bit back a curse and let the rage settle before the devilish thing was finally wrapped in your deadly grip. You shut your alarm off, sighing deeply and staring at the ceiling for a few moments. Why? Why was it like this every. Single. Morning? You swung your legs over the side of the bed and hit a pillow so it flipped onto the carpet. Uh-oh. Man overboard.

After trying to get the crust out of your sleepy eyes and smacking your head to wake yourself up, you made your way to the bathroom. Better get started getting ready. It only took you about ten minutes in there before you finished, feeling refreshed but still not one hundred percent there. You put your hands on your lower back and cracked it, the sound louder than you expected in the heavy silence.

Something slick and furry rubbed against your leg. “Oh, jeez. I’m sorry, Shinju. I forgot to feed you, I forgot.” As an apology, you opened up a can of soft food and set it in her bowl. The kitten mewled in happiness and went for the food with glee. You scratched your head and went back to your room to get changed. Then you would eat a little something and leave to carry out some errands.

Every day was like this: you would wake up, get ready, check your mail, pay the bills, have some lunch, and run to Tsunade’s office to make sure you didn’t have any missions. Usually you did, but they were just little things that didn’t take much time. You finished missions in just a few hours, unless of course it required traveling. In those cases, you would pack up and leave, getting your neighbor to feed Shinju while you were gone.

Today was shopping day. How exciting! You rolled your eyes and started on your way down to the grocery store. You didn’t need much, just enough to get you by for the next week. Things were okay. Aside from a few battles and some training here and there, you led a pretty average and normal lifestyle, one that Nara Shikamaru would be envious of.

“Welcome!” the shopkeeper greeted you. “Oh, so it’s little (Name)-chan. Nice to see you again!”

You waved at him nonchalantly. “Hey, Bo-kun. Glad to see you’re doing well.” You avoided bumping into an elderly woman, who was walking towards the cash register, and headed for the aisles. Whoo-whee, this was going to be a blast!

You were sorting through your list, biting on the end of your pen, when you felt something brush up against you. You cowered a bit from being touched just because your guard was still up, you being a shinobi and all. The person turned to you and laughed a little bit, almost as if he was amused by all of this.

“Sorry about that, I suppose I should be more careful.”

“It’s fine.” You scratched off the last thing on your list. The stranger turned back to what he was doing and that was the end of that. You paid for your things, got the bags back home, and headed over to Tsunade’s place to see what was up.

You and the Fifth Hokage were on good terms, you could say. When she first came into the village, you weren’t skeptical of her credibility at all. Let’s face it — you mention her being one of the Sannin and you just know you picked the right person for the job. Plus, you got to see her temper in action when one of the chuunin questioned her, and wow. You were set on rooting for her.

“Hi, Tsunade-sama.” You bowed before entering the office. Shizune was the one who let you in, with a shy smile and an excited squeal from Tonton. You patted the piglet on the head before heading in. “Ooh, by the look on your face I can tell you’ve had a not-so-great day.”

She scowled, deep lines in her forehead and under her lip jutting out. If you ever said that, she would’ve killed you. “Yes, in fact, I have. Kids these days...they say they want to become ninja and they have the balls to...well, never mind about that.” She exhaled deeply. Hoho, seemed as though she was working on those breathing exercises you advised her with. You couldn’t help but laugh under your breath at were just spewing crap when you told her all that.

“Alrighty then, I guess I’m gonna ease your pain. What job do you have in store for me today?”

Tsunade shuffled the papers on her desk, sorting them out before she put them in the folder. “Well, I actually have to wait. You see, you have a partner for this mission. Unfortunately for you, he’s...late. As usual.”

“Partner...?” you muttered, eyes widening. Oh god, no. You wondered who it could be. Hopefully, it was someone you’d worked with before and you could actually tolerate. Tsunade knew that you were a lone wolf in most situations, so this mission had to be higher ranked than you thought. You glanced at the doorway, waiting for someone to come through...

What a glorious day! The sun was shining brightly, the room was nice and toasty, and Hatake Kakashi had absolutely nothing to do. He smiled and sat up, the covers falling from his chest and onto his lap. His face, usually hidden by those who knew him, was flaunted to the empty room. He scooted over to the edge and managed to pick himself up, stretching and yawning. Yes. Today was going to be a good day. He could just feel it.

He trudged over to the kitchen, exiting his room, and glanced at the clock. Well, it was only eleven o’ clock. He rubbed his eyes and plopped down at the table, his brunch sitting in front of him. He was a bachelor, and didn’t cook much, so cereal would suffice...again.

Kakashi was about to dig in when he decided to make sure the expiration date on the milk was fine. One glance at the carton and he sighed disappointedly. It was a week old...that wouldn’t do, would it? He would just have to go out and buy some more at the market. It wouldn’t take very long...besides, he did need to restock the fridge. How long had it been since he went out shopping, anyway? He couldn’t remember.

He took the long way to the store, of course, since he always did enjoy himself a stroll. Now that his team had gone off and tried to accomplish their own goals without him, it wasn’t as if any of them could scold him for taking his good old time.

He entered the store and got a wary look from the shopkeeper, also known as Bo. Kakashi wasn’t sure why the elder man was so suspicious of him; perhaps it was because he preferred the young women over other men, as was the case with most males.

Leisurely making his way to the dairy products, Kakashi finished his tour around and grabbed all that he needed. Milk was so expensive these days. Right when he reached over to grab a small carton that would last him long enough, his arm brushed up against you. You flinched; it was subtle, but he still took notice of it. With one glance of your hitai-ate he realized that you were like him — a shinobi.

“Sorry about that,” he chuckled. “I suppose I be more careful.”

You only said it was okay and went back to your grocery list. Didn’t people who brought lists actually buy more than those without? He smiled to himself and went back to lounging around near you. He wanted to introduce himself, maybe get a name. He could barely see your face to tell if you were interested though.

Eventually he gave up and decided it was a lost cause, heading for the cash register to pay for everything. He was a few dollars short, so he had to put away the snacks he tossed in the basket.

Another long walk and he was home. He didn’t have many things, so putting groceries in their rightful place wasn’t a problem. Finally, he plopped down at the kitchen table and poured himself a bowl. It was past noon now, but he wasn’t worried about the time. He ate as fast as he wanted (or not), often staring off and getting lost in his own thoughts. Following his meal came a well-deserved nap. He slept until someone banged on his door. He scratched his head, muttering to himself who it could be, and stared into the face of an angry Sakura.

“Kakashi-sensei,” she scolded. “It isn’t your day off. Tsunade-sama sent me to fetch you.”

He blinked and glanced at his calendar, which he had placed near the door. Oops. “ right you are. I’ll be right there.”

It took a lot of coaxing and persuading from his student to get him moving. She certainly was just as terrifying as Tsunade when she wanted to be.

He arrived at Tsunade’s and opened the door cheerfully. “Godaime-sama, how nice to see you~”

She growled, and he could almost feel his own vocal chords twinge at the noise she was making. “Cut the crap. Get in here, we’ve been waiting for you.”

You only glanced at him briefly. So this was the man that you were working with? You could hardly contain your excitement. It wasn’t that you hated were just annoyed that Tsunade sent you with someone so famous and well known. People from the five main villages could recognize him in the blink of an eye, and you being with him only put yourself in more danger than what was necessary. He was a good squad leader, yes, but at this point you were uncomfortable with him...

He stared at you for a moment before pointing. “Oh, you’re the one I bumped into earlier!” The look on your face made him laugh. “At the store...?”

“Nice to know you two are acquainted,” Tsunade interrupted his chipper remembrance. “Now, I have a mission for the two of you. Here is the case file.” She waved it up and down, letting your eyes follow the manila folder. “So let’s get started, shall we? The mission, just to let you know, is going to last about six months.”

You gaped. “Six...months? Holy hell, Tsunade-sama!”

She only glanced at you through caramel eyes. “I know. You’re getting paid a hefty fee though, so just sit down quietly while I explain.”

You scowled to yourself and crossed your arms. Jeez, she was chastising you like you were some sorta kid. You weren’t that young. Then again, she was probably more than twice your age by now. You almost snickered aloud, if it weren’t for the venomous glare she was shooting your way. Wow. She was in a really shitty mood.

“I usually don’t take longer missions because we do have so many things around here to be done, and we are short on ninja these days. However, the money is good, and you two will fit perfectly for the job. Kakashi, I chose you because of your expertise back in ANBU. Your team isn’t present like most of the other jounin, so you’ll be good to send. And (Name)...well, you’re the damned best woman here in terms of deception. So you’re good to go.

“The mission is this: you leave for a village here in Hi no Kuni and work undercover as a married non-shinobi couple. Then you can spy on the conspiracy group that is rumored to have been plotting against our village for the Otogakure no Sato nin. I’m confident that you two will complete this, and the reason why I’ve picked you is that although it seems simple, if the conspirators have any inkling that you two are deceiving the village, we will never gather them up since they will disband. Are we clear?”

You stared at her openly, trying to comprehend the information she just spewed at you. “Okay, so...this guy and I are leaving for a village...pretending to be a married couple? And we win the hearts over of the villagers so we can ‘join’ their little cult against Konoha?”

“Yes.” She handed the folder to you, and you outstretched your hand to grab it. “In there is a map to the village. You’ll have to leave tomorrow morning. You’re allowed to wear your ninja uniforms during the trip, but once you’re close to village limits you have to change into residential clothes. You can keep your names and aliases, but you have to memorize your fake backgrounds that I’ve provided there.

“Kakashi, your popular status in the shinobi world is a bit of a hindrance, but thankfully the village is more on the border, so people there won’t recognize you. If they do, get rid of them in any way possible in case they are to compromise the mission. Also, since it will be less easier for them to track you two down in case anything is familiar, your last names will be Hayashi[1]. That way no one will recognize the Hatake name.”

You shrugged. “It makes sense, I mean, there’s only one Hatake left, isn’t there? And Hayashi is extremely common...and the name Kakashi can be, too. Is that all, Tsunade-sama?”

“Yes. You two are free to make arrangements for the trip and to spend your last day here. Dismissed.”

You shut the folder and glanced at Kakashi before leaving the room. Well...this was certainly going to be interesting.

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