Today is their last in the relative safety of Sangaku Outpost and, by unspoken agreement, all of Team Kakashi have decided to spend the day on separate ventures. Soon enough it’ll be back to being just their squad–best to get their fill of other company while they can.
Not that other company necessarily equates to better company, of course, especially given the way some of those stationed at the outpost still look at Kakashi with barbed, pointed glares, but there are a few people Shikako, at least, wouldn’t mind meeting with again in the future and she knows her teammates feel the same. At the very least, Kakashi certainly doesn’t mind the opportunity to summon his ninken in a more peaceful situation than he’d get to once they’re back on duty.
And so the team spends their last day at the outpost apart, helping out where they can or getting in some last minute training, before returning to their tent for the evening. They’ll leave at dawn, back to the camp that Ikoma-san runs and which Minato-san generally considers home base, before being sent out on their next mission.
And so Shikako isn’t surprised about being the first one back to the tent, late afternoon, nor does she feel at all bad about flopping onto her bedroll and immediately passing out. Exhausted after one last grueling training session for her and Wakakusa beneath Heijomaru’s steely hooves, Sembei-obaasan making less than helpful comments from the side.
A few hours later, she surfaces from the depths of unconsciousness at the proximity of other chakra signatures, but decides not to fully wake up when she recognizes her teammates. Still, their conversation filters down to her in her dozing state, words hushed but no less heated.
“–can’t believe you still think that! After everything she’s done?” Obito’s voice, the magma of his volcano bubbling ominously.
“Sensei thinks so, too,” Kakashi’s voice, a weak defense, barely any crackle in the ozone, “He said to watch her.”
“Because he thinks she’s some kind of secret fuinjutsu prodigy, not because she’s a spy!” retorts Obito.
Rin, as always, tries to break the tension, “Ikoma-san wouldn’t put her on our team if she were, and Minato-sensei approved it. He wouldn’t do that to us,” she reasons.
There is a moment of silence, Kakashi acknowledging and accepting her point, before he says, “Her story is inconsistent–what little of it she does tell us, anyway. How’d she end up near where our mission was? What happened to her previous team?”
The silence that follows this time is much longer.
Not because the answer is hard to think of, but because one particular answer comes to mind too quickly. Shikako can almost pinpoint the moment when each of her teammates stumble upon it: Obito’s volcano going dormant once more, temper doused immediately. Rin’s breath hitching, dual fire and water flickering and rippling in distress. Kakashi’s electricity flattening out the way it does when he knows he’s said something awful, but can’t apologize for it.
They are at war. There is one simple explanation for how a shinobi could end up all alone in enemy territory without any back up.
It’s morbid to think of as such, but how lucky for her that they’ve all come to the obvious, but wrong conclusion.
A/N: It takes significantly less time to break a good practice than to stop a bad one and that is no excuse. I’ll have to reform my daily writing behavior from scratch it seems
Sorry for the delay, @to-someplace-else!