A bolt from the blue - Chapter 28 - JustTrying2Write (2024)

Chapter Text

Minato did not have a good night’s sleep. Kushina, of course, cornered him the moment they came home and he had to tell her everything. To say she was worried would be an understatement. To be honest, he is worried as well. He called Fugaku, Shikaku and Inoichi in for an emergency early meeting. He called Jiraiya sensei and Tsunade-sama an hour earlier to listen to their report. By the time he woke up today having only an hour of sleep, Kushina is already awake. She’s in the kitchen cooking breakfast which means she is stressing.

He wakes up and goes to check on their kids. He opens Karin’s door first. They gave her the room on the ground floor closer to the entrance, so she doesn’t feel trapped. Seeing her sleeping peacefully, he smiles remembering how she talked about loving the festival and meeting new people. He makes a note to talk to her to ask if she is comfortable with them. He also enrolled her into the academy, she showed interest but he has to make sure she does want to be a ninja. He sighs. He and Kushina are due to have a long talk with her.

He yawns and opens Sumi-chan’s door only to find her bed empty. He doesn’t panic right away because he knows she sometimes sneaks into Naruto’s room at night. She never did tell them why she would do that and neither did Naruto. The kids don’t look like they did not get enough sleep, so they let it go. He does panic when he remembers Naruto isn’t home tonight.

“Kushina, did Sumi-chan wake up?”

He sees Kushina turn the corner with her apron still on and wiping her hands with a towel. “No. Why?”

He reads the panic on his face in an instant. “She isn’t in her room?”

He shakes his head in a no and he reaches for her hand, while jumping to the hiraishin markers he placed in Naruto’s room only to find it empty. Kushina looks into the room over his shoulder and suggests hesitantly, “Kakashi?”

That surprises him but he moves to his student’s room and opens the door as quietly as he can since Kakashi will wake up at the slightest disturbance. His mouth drops open because there is Sumi-chan buried underneath the puppy pile on Kakahi’s bed with her little hands curled into his strictest student’s night shirt. The image is made increasingly comical when he recognises that Kakashi is wearing the puppy print pajama set that Sumi-chan picked out for him the other day because she was bored of seeing him wear the same black ensemble day after day.

His lips curl into an involuntary, yet pleased smile. Kushina mirrors him. “Oh, they are adorable!” she whispers.

He agrees whole heartedly. His racing mind calms for the first time since he was approached by Obito’s cat bearing a foreboding message. Kakashi is fine. His children are fine. The festival did not encounter any public problems and anything that comes after, he can handle it. Kushina is with him and he also has sensei and Tsunade-sama who will support him. He takes a deep breath and lets it out. He slowly closes the door and faces Kushina. She seemed to have calmed down as well, family has that effect on people, he supposes.

“Let’s have breakfast before we meet the Sannin.”


Minato cannot believe his eyes, or, well, ears because the report both Jiraiya sensei and Tsunade-sama gave cast blame for yet another thing onto Shimura Danzo. But if it’s true, it also means that Orochimaru was innocent. Well, technically, at least, as he is not willing to turn a blind eye to the blatant torture and murder that happened in the shadow of the last war. But if the Sannin did believe he was ordered to do all those by the Hokage’s office, it means he can’t punish the man for following orders, however vile those orders might be.

He had read the earlier files when the Sandaime gave explicit permission to conduct experiments on prisoners of war and those were inhumane at best. Was it possible that the snake Sannin hadn’t received the orders of Sandaime at the end of the war to cease any and all experiments that are not of immediate importance? As displeased as he is, he has to admit that if Danzo intervened, it was certainly possible. By the end of the war, Orochimaru had more or less shut himself in his lab. Minato probably would have been motivated to dismiss this information as someone trying to escape conviction if the man had not saved Jiraiya-sama thereby exposing his loyalties to a very dangerous organisation of nukenin.

That begs the question. Where exactly are his loyalties? To Konoha or only his teammates? Minato isn’t so sure he knows.

“I understand he saved sensei but does that necessarily mean he is loyal to Konoha?”

“Of course, he is!” argues Jiraiya sensei but Tsunade-sama seems to be in deep thought.

“He has developed a resentment towards Konoha for chasing him out but it is you he hates, Minato because he believes you used his intelligence for research and discarded him after he served his purpose.”

Minato startles. “He continued his experiments even after leaving Konoha.”

Tsunade only shrugs. “That’s the only thing he knows to do best and he wasn’t bound by tbe village anymore.”

Minato frowns in displeasure. He’s not in any hurry to believe Orochimaru was completely deceived and had no knowledge of any deception on Danzo’s part. But why save sensei? That at least, proves that he cares for his teammates enough to let people think he’s still loyal to his village. It was a golden opportunity to let one of Konoha’s strongest shinobi die and he didn’t even have to lift a finger. All he had to do was watch but he not only intervened but also encouraged Tsunade-sama to treat sensei. It’s clear by their report that sensei would have died if Orochimaru did not get involved. He shudders thinking of enemies that could simply kill a Sannin. Just because of that, he is willing to give Orochimaru the benefit of the doubt.

“How can we know for sure that Orochimaru-sama told you the truth?” he asks sensei.

“Short of a confession from Danzo, I suppose if the elder kept the original reports that Orochimaru wrote or if he had a file on Orochimaru that we can find.”

Kakashi is still nowhere ready to infiltrate ROOT’s information storage unit. He decides not to tell his student just yet about any of this. But, there is enough suspicion to warrant an investigation. He will order Shikaku to comb through the reports that they had in storage that were supposedly submitted by Orochimaru which had mutated reports of his findings and methods used and also check for any discrepancies. If they don’t find any, he will consider the next step of discretely going through any reports on the issue Danzo might have kept. It won’t be an easy task.

“I still don’t believe it is true.” He gives the both of them a hard stare to tell them he won’t change his mind about this. “But it does call for a reinvestigation. I will have the reports rechecked. I don’t want Danzo to have an inkling of the fact that we have doubts about this, so, our conversation here is confidential from now on.”

They both meet his eyes with a determined stare of their own and nod respectfully. They are letting him know that despite his reluctance, they truly believe Orochimaru’s story. In truth, he wants the snake Sannin to be wrong. It would be easier if he was lying because otherwise, it would mean Danzo was able to trick one of the smartest ninja Konoha has had in recent times and coerce everyone else into believing the Sannin was in the wrong after his purposes were done. That would raise other questions of how many other shinobi did he manipulate? If Orochimaru could fall into his trap, it is very likely for others to not even realise they are being used. That presents a horrifying picture of Konoha and looking by the Sannins’ faces they are thinking on similar lines as himself.

He also wonders if there were experiments that weren’t reported at all. He looks at both of them and asks his question. “Would Orochimaru be willing to give me an account of all the experiments that he conducted? That would help us in cross checking the existing reports and we’ll know just how much has been under or unreported.”

The Sannin look at each other and he knows there is a serious conversation going on with their eyes. Tsunade-sama answers. “Yes.”

Jiraiya raises his eyebrows. “It’s not going to be easy, hime. He still believes, to some extent, that Minato wrongfully kicked him out of his home.”

It occurs to Minato that if Orochimaru is indeed telling the truth then he was ran out of his home unfairly. He doesn’t let himself explore that thought. He can’t afford to, just yet.

“Yes, yes, he has trust issues, we know. He’ll listen to you,” she says dismissively.

Sensei opens his mouth to argue but changes his mind. “Alright. It might take some time but I’ll get you the report.”

Well, that settles that. He changes the subject and briefs them about everything that went down last night. Their jaws drop open and he watches as they progressively hit the floor as he ends the story.

“And you’re sure Fugaku or the clan has no part in this?” asks Jiraiya.

“Very sure.”

Tsunade-sama sighs. “Will this be presented to the Council later today?”

“It will be. That brings me to the next point. You can represent your clan in the meeting. Tomoaki filed for you to take up the responsibilities of clan head again. They had a meeting the day you arrived and your clan members unanimously voted in your favour.”

“Tomoaki moves really fast. I was hoping to have a few days.”

“I believe that might be my fault. I was afraid something might go wrong in the festival, so, I made sure you can take over right away if needed.”

“So, if I sign it, I take over and can vote as you want in the coming meeting, is that it, Hokage-sama?” she says with a hard edge to her voice.

Minato doesn’t flinch. He does need it. “I would appreciate if you trusted me but your vote is your own, Tsunade-sama.”

“Alright, brat. No need to be so stiff. If you believe the clan had nothing to do with the incident, I believe you. You’ll have the Senju vote.”

Minato hesitates. Senju and Uchiha used to be bitter enemies after all. “Won’t your clan disagree?”

“No. If the general Uchiha are truly innocent, any punishment proposed against the clan will be a disrespect towards a founding clan and we cannot accept that.”

He smirks. “Already speaking like a clan head, Tsunade-sama.”

She rolls her eyes. They are interrupted when his students and his wife walk in. Kushina comes to stand beside him and he greets his students.

“Shikaku, Inoichi, Fugaku and Shisui will be here any moment. Is there anything you would like to tell me before that?” He looks pointedly at Kakashi but his student is unflappable.

Kakashi eye-smiles, “if you trust them, then it can be said in front of them, sensei.”

“Shisui?” asks Rin.

“Yes, he should have access to crucial information for Danzo to want to use him.”

Danzo has certainly taken interest in Shisui and is keeping the boy close but he still seems to be in trial period even after six months. Perhaps, Minato could provide a steady stream of information to the kid to slip to Danzo. Inviting him to this meeting was also part of that plan. Officially, Fugaku invited the man to the meeting along with his son seeing as he is one of the strongest Uchiha and trusted by the clan head owing to their familial relation as well as the ROOT operative’s close friendship with the clan head’s son. They will tell Shisui exactly what information to feed to Danzo. The Councilman has to know about what happened yesterday to trust Shisui. He most certainly will use anything he can against the Uchiha clan but unfortunately, they need this. He hopes this doesn’t backfire horribly. Shisui already gave a report to Danzo yesterday but that wasn’t as detailed as this one is going to be. While he’s deep in thought, rest of his guests arrive and he briefs them all as well.

Fugaku’s face is blank as usual but his chakra is more frazzled than it usually is and with good reason. He brought Itachi along since he was also part of last night. They brief the new arrivals. Their faces show various degrees of shock.

Shikaku turns his sharp eyes towards Fugaku, assessing the Uchiha. “Well, this is a right mess.” He then faces his students and asks, “Any details to add?”

Obito speaks first. “For how ill prepared the incident seemed, it was certainly pre-planned. All of them knew their positions and roles well.” He furrows his brows, “except for the ones who supposedly planned it. The seal was not anyone’s best work.”

Inoichi jumps in, “could they have had any outside help?”

Minato starts. That is not a good implication but possible. “Outside the village? Are you saying nukenin?”

Kakashi looks like he had thought on this possibility already. “If they did seek help from outside, they didn’t receive it.”

“How can you be so sure?” asks Shikaku.

“Because Inabi was checking the seal multiple times and wasn’t sure even till the end. If they hired professional help, he wouldn’t be so doubtful and unsure about it.”

“I’ll notify Ibiki. He’ll be able to find out,” says Minato and because he doesn’t want to dwell on this anymore, it would be useless, he turns his focus on Kakashi. “Are you finally going to reveal how you knew to use ANBU signs?”

His student’s demeaner remains suspiciously casual. “Ah, that. Danzo wanted me to know the signs, so I was taught those in the first couple of sessions.”

Minato can’t actually tell if Kakashi is lying. He turns to Shisui who hasn’t spoken until now. The Uchiha rubs his neck awkwardly not thinking he would be addressed.

“I did not teach Kakashi-san the signs but Danzo-sama did want that to be taught.”

Kakashi raises his eyebrow. “You know my curriculum?”

That was a valid question seeing how paranoid Danzo is which is why Minato is sure sending Shisui is working. “Not completely but I helped Danzo craft part of his plan to train you.”

“Thank you, Shisui, I’d rather your plan than his.” Shisui smiles at this.

Rin steps forward, “speaking of things you shouldn’t be able to do, Kakashi, when I was healing you, my chakra was very easily transferred to the places you most need it without me putting any effort at all.”

Kakashi chuckles and Minato’s gut warns him as his student goes on. “Maa, Sanbi is ridiculously good at that. He thought the process would go faster if you don’t need to exert extra effort to direct your healing chakra.”

If a pin dropped, it would echo.

Kushina has gone pale and Minato is actively trying to control his emotions. What is going through Kakashi’s head.

“He?” questions Shikaku at the same time Inoichi wonders, “thought?”

Minato’s anxiety spikes but Kakashi is as calm as always. “Well, he is a male and you of all people must know that biju can think, Inoichi-sama.”

Inoichi looks offended. “I know biju can think, Hatake-san, I just didn’t know you listened to it.”

He,” Kakashi stresses, “has good ideas sometimes.”

“I see,” says Inoichi, a bit strained. “What kind of ideas would they be?”

“For starters, he helped me deal with the poison. Biju chakra can flush out mild poisons. The one given to me wasn’t mild and it was pumped in large amounts, so he had some trouble. I am also to blame because I apparently made things difficult with my ‘noble intentions.’ By the time Rin came to heal me, Sanbi had already directed the poison to my less vital organs which is where he also directed Rin’s healing chakra. It would have taken time for her to run a full diagnostic and see where the poison was highest and it simply wasn’t needed.”

Minato doesn’t know what to think by this account. Before he can say anything, Itachi speaks for the first time. “You made a shadow clone to save me,” he says with shock written across his face. “That would almost double the speed of poison circulation.”

Kakashi gives the boy a kind smile. “Yes, Sanbi was not happy with that but it was necessary.”

Itachi for some reason goes red in the face. “No, it wasn’t! I would have handled it!”

Minato is slightly surprised by the outburst, especially since it is uncharacteristic of Itachi. Was Itachi worried? It certainly looks to him that his student gained the Uchiha heir’s trust.

Kakashi raises an eyebrow. “I don’t doubt it but I didn’t think Sasuke would appreciate it if he knew I let his brother burn half his body.”

Itachi again opens his mouth to argue but Fugaku places a hand on his son’s shoulder. “We are grateful, Hatake-san.”

Kakashi looks flustered. “I prefer to be called Kakashi,” he mutters.

Shikaku speaks again and Minato can’t read what he is thinking at all. The man looks at both himself and Kushina before turning to his student, “well, Kakashi, let’s get back to Sanbi. You are saying he helped you fight the poison voluntarily and not because of the seal.”

“That’s right.”

“Why would he do that?”

Kakashi grins at the pronoun use. “We are both stuck with each other until I die, so we decided to co-operate.”

Shikaku doesn’t look convinced. “Did you know about this, Minato? Kushina?”

Minato clears his throat. “We found out recently. In fact, Kushina even met the Sanbi.”

Everyone in the room look incredulous at this information. “Met?” asks Shikaku.

“Yes. Apparently, sharing chakra between jinchuriki allows them to access the mindscape where biju are kept. I can’t do it, since it needs the biju’s cooperation but Sanbi was perfectly pleasant,” answers Kushina.

“Pleasant?” says Shisui choking on the word.

Kushina shrugs. “He was very polite.”

“Are you sure you are talking about the biju, Kushina?” asks Fugaku astonished. They all remember how the kyubi cursed when he realised he was going to be sealed again.

Shikaku observes Kushina assessing her words. “Does that mean Kakashi can someday achieve perfect transformation with his biju?”

Kushina grimaces but answers. “That does seem likely, yes.”

“That’s good, isn’t it, Kushina? Out of the ten jinchuriki, only the Raikage’s brother was able to attain it.”

Kushina sighs. “It’s good but for perfect transformation, the trust between the host and the biju should be complete and implicit. It’s extremely easy for the biju to take control if it-he wants to.”

“In other words, there is the possibility that Sanbi is gaining Kakashi’s trust only to betray the host and free himself.”

Kushina nods. Shikaku addresses Kakashi once more. “What do you think, Kakashi?”

Kakashi shrugs. “I don’t think he will betray me. I’m not that easily manipulated, you know.”

Everyone looks at him doubtfully, including Minato. He doesn’t want to hurt his student, so he ventures hesitantly. “I’m not saying that you are, Kakashi, but you are mentally still thirteen. I know you were a mature thirteen-year-old but you must understand why we are sceptical.”

For the first time that day, he sees real emotion in his student’s face, er, eyes. Kakashi closes his eyes and his fists clench painfully. “I’m not.”

“You’re not what, Kakashi?” Rin asks softly.

“I’m not thirteen. You all act like I went to sleep at thirteen and just woke up one day but that’s not it.” His voice grows tight with restraint. “I knew that the world was moving on. I could feel the time pass.”

“What? Kakashi, please explain,” Minato urges.

Kakashi laughs but it isn’t pleasant at all. “I think I even died there for a bit. Saw the pure lands, met my father.” He shakes his head sadly. “Anyway, that was brief. Most of the time I was trapped in…memories, dreams and nightmares. The same ones again and again. I can’t even remember a lot of what happened for a couple of years before the mission.”

A lump gets lodged in Minato’s throat. What has his student been through? Kakashi’s eyes look defeated, broken, like he looked after his father’s death. Did he have to relive his father’s death? Did he see horrible things that didn’t even happen? Minato pushes through his horror. Kushina takes his hand under the table and squeezes it in support. “Wh-why didn’t you tell us any of this, Kakashi?”

Kakashi looks up at him and gives Minato a smile that he certainly doesn’t deserve. “When I woke up, I didn’t have recollections of them. I only remembered them as vague dreams. The nightmares came back slowly.” His student seems to catch Minato’s dark thoughts because he smirks, “there were some good ones too. Obito became Hokage.”

That confession startles Obito into saying, “Bakakashi, I can’t believe you dreamt of that after giving me hell for it.”

The people in the room look sufficiently distracted but Minato can’t get Kakashi’s face out of his mind when he talked about the nightmares and his father.

“What were the nightmares about, Kakashi?” he presses.

Kakashi hesitates, looks over everyone present. “I saw everyone in this room die.”

His office goes utterly silent for the second time that day. Minato closes his eyes and takes a deep breath. He remembers how Kakashi used to stare at them in wonder just after he woke up. He thought he was being discreet but Minato caught it sometimes. He mistakenly thought it was because Kakashi was surprised to see them all aged up but could it be because he was surprised to see them alive? His student accepted Minato’s help faster than he expected to and he is certainly more open to his friends as well. Is it because he’s worried something will happen to them?

“All of us? Was there a war or something?” asked Shikaku.

Kakashi smiled that sad smile again. Minato absolutely despises that rictus of a smile on his student’s face and will do anything to wipe it off. “That too sometimes but unfortunately, my psyche is much more creative than that.”

Rin and Obito rush toward Kakashi and stand at his sides. Rin takes his hand and says, “Oh, Kakashi, I’m so sorry I didn’t identify it.”

Kakashi shakes his head, perplexed. “It’s not your fault, Rin.”

“I am your doctor, Kakashi. I should have spotted your behaviour as trauma response, I just didn’t realise it stemmed from psychological trauma greater than a ten year coma. It makes so much sense.”

Kakashi looks around at the spectators again. “This meeting isn’t about me.”

Shikaku jumps in and goes back to their original topic. “You’re sure Sanbi had no hand in your… troubles?”

“Sanbi was probably more surprised than I was at seeing me awake in my mindscape, so, no.”

Kushina speaks firmly. “I believe Kakashi and I’ll see what I can do about letting him access more of Sanbi chakra but let’s rest the possible option of perfect biju transformation until he is in a better place, both physically and mentally.”

Kakashi pouts but everyone else nod their agreement. Before his youngest student can voice any dissent, Rin speaks in her medic tone. “You must go to therapy, Kakashi.”

Kakashi pales at the prospect of going to therapy but Minato knows Rin is right. He nods and Kakashi pouts again which turns into a frown. “What is it?” he asks the jinchuriki.

Kakashi crosses his hands across his chest defensively. “Sanbi says I shouldn’t argue because I desperately need therapy.”

He says it in a tone that reminds Minato of the eleven year old Kakashi complaining about not being able to use Chidori and he has to smile at the memory.

“I agree with Sanbi. You’re right, Kakashi, he has good ideas sometimes,” says Rin smirking.

Kakashi rolls his eyes and Minato resolves to talk to Kakashi after the Council meet is done. He clears his throat and puts forward the most important question.

“How will we present last night’s incident to the Council?”

A bolt from the blue - Chapter 28 - JustTrying2Write (2024)


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