Maze

Marriage of Hard Work and Genius Chapter 5

Title: Marriage of Hard Work and Genius

Author Notes: This is going to be one of the shorter chapters and because the reviews have been keeping me motivated and pointed out some flaws I need to fix I figured I would get this out and save the rest for tomorrow when I have more time. Also there is violence in this chapter as well. Just a recap, Kakashi = Dog, Hiro = Drill and Gai = Demon.

To start from the beginning

Title: Marriage of Hard Work and Genius

Author Notes: This is going to be one of the shorter chapters and because the reviews have been keeping me motivated and pointed out some flaws I need to fix I figured I would get this out and save the rest for tomorrow when I have more time. Also there is violence in this chapter as well. Just a recap, Kakashi = Dog, Hiro = Drill and Gai = Demon.


Kakashi seemed to, Hiro had noticed, thrive on assassinations. It's what he was best at, and though he wouldn't usually have a partner for an assassination, this was too big of a mission for just one man. Though Hiro had to leave the main target to Kakashi, he himself had plenty of people to play with.

Things were going smoothly, and the blood seemed to be running in a small stream through the ice and snow that covered the ground. Kakashi had finished, and now he was tearing through the guards, who'd come in response to the alarms, as if they were made of tissue paper.

They finished almost as soon as they'd begun, and Drill almost felt sad that Demon wasn't with them, because this was how it should be. This was who they were, and he found it a little depressing that Demon couldn't see, or accept that. Not the way he and Dog had.

Kakashi was trembling as the adrenaline wore off. It had been long, too long, time since he'd been able to do something like this, and though he'd gotten to use chidori on other missions, it'd never felt quite so good, sounded quite so right, as it did on an ANBU mission.

And now the white (so pure, and perfect) was stained red, and it was right, and it was just.

And he needed more.

Kakashi breathed out slowly, as he closed his eyes, he was tired though. Tireder than he knew he should be. He hadn't used the sharingan that much, so why did he feel so drained?

"That's it." Hiro's voice, though he was whispering, seemed deafeningly loud to Kakashi right now, and he nodded stiffly. The blood, he noticed, was freezing on his arm. Hiro picked their cloaks up, and held Kakashi's out to him. It was stained with blood. Kakashi put it on, and breathed deep, enjoying the scent of the blood. Enjoying the smell of fear.

From his location well hidden, Gai had observed the madness that was ANBU's at play. His thoughts were his own as he made note of different things as the assassination took place. Hiro's moaning as someone gave him a bit of a challenge before dying at his hand was expected. He reveled in his kills it seemed but no more so then he would normally. There didn't appear to be any signs of psychopathic tendencies that marked a ninja on the edge.

Nodding to himself Gai turned his attention to Kakashi and something about Kakashi's chakra gave Gai pause. Something wasn't right, he could tell from the body language but Kakashi was well trained not to portray any outward signs and so Gai just took note of the fixations that he observed. Gai always found it morbidly humorous how his Demon mask allowed him to feel the ruthless emotions of those that were his brothers, Drill and Dog. Demon could almost taste their love for this type of work and though they called him a monster Gai didn't revel.

Sensing interlopers Gai hunkered down and waited. He had his orders not to interfere unless death was close. Gai wondered blatantly if either man noticed the genjutsu that had been placed on them. It was quite pretty, Gai could admit. Nicely executed and seamless. Looking for the discrepancy in order to break this particular genjutsu was simply a case of semantics.

Counting in his head Gai wondered if either man had even started to feel the fatigue. As Hiro handed Kakashi his cloak Gai observed and mentally braced himself. He would bang the two men's heads together if they allowed themselves to be taken by the three ninja who currently had them securely bonded in their own minds for the moment.

Kakashi sighed strangely as he opened his sharingan, once again, he could feel the effects of it dragging him down already, but he thought he could take care of this before he was too weak. Once his sharingan was opened the genjutsu around them seemed to shimmer, to him at least. He realized he could easily dispel it, but that wouldn't allow for much of a fight.

"Did you notice," Kakashi drawled slowly as he drew his katana underneath his cloak, knowing he wouldn't have enough chakra to use chidori again, "how there are no shadows now, Drill?" Hiro looked around the area, and mentally cursed himself for not noticing earlier.

How could he have missed such thing, when shadows were his main fighting force. Hiro knelt beside Kakashi, as he drew his own katana, "I'm ready." he said looking up at Kakashi, who seemed much to his surprise, quite faint.

Using most of his remaining chakra to dispel the genjutsu, Kakashi and Hiro scanned the area, trying to locate the shinobi responsible for the genjutsu.

Gai winced when Kakashi dispelled the genjutsu. The enemy ninja had already layered it so chakra dispelling it triggered another layer to pop up. Having a passing familiarity with the technique involved, Gai had to give the enemy ninja credit. The subtly was beautiful.

Soon Kakashi and Hiro would get paranoid if they panicked. The three enemy ninja had basically set up a drain. Kakashi and Hiro's own chakra was fueling the genjutsu and the way the enemy ninja swaggered around told Gai that this wasn't the first time that this genjutsu had been employed successfully.

As the enemy ninja moved around the assassination location, Gai just watched his two marks. He wondered why it was taking so long for them to figure out how to get out of the jutsu. While causing pain wouldn't break the genjutsu, simply fluctuating chakra would get them out. Resolving that when this was over both Hiro and Kakashi would be in a genjustu refresher course and a kick to the pants.

Kakashi knelt slowly with Hiro, causing Hiro to give him a sidelong-look, Kakashi leaned close so that only Hiro would be able to hear when he spoke, "I think," he whispered as he raised a hand to lightly touch the other mans shoulder, "I'm getting too weak, too fast." Hiro, not seeming to understand, simply stared at the other man, until Kakashi pushed him away annoyed as he motioned around.

Finally seeming to understand that Kakashi wanted him to dispel the genjutsu Hiro nodded, as he carefully began to look around the area, they had to have started the genjutsu from some specific point. Some where too clean. Too white. Too... Hiro noticed, after a moment, that one area of the snow, where there should be blood, was perfect. Undisturbed.

"You're going to faint." Hiro said flatly, and Kakashi looked at him blankly, until he noticed where Hiro was looking. Standing up slowly Kakashi took a couple of steps forward, before falling face first into the snow.

Kakashi's chakra ran out across the snow, as he pressed his palm flat into the snow, sending disrupting waves into the genjutsu, causing it to waver, and ultimately break. Unfortunately for Kakashi, though, he was now left without the chakra he needed for jutsus. He'd have to use his katana.

Hiro leapt to his feet and rushed toward the men, who likely hadn't realized their genjutsu was down until they saw him moving, drawing his katana up he quickly brought it down through the air, slicing down through one of the men. Causing the other two to charge him as Kakashi climbed up onto his knees, but didn't move to help.

Gai watched the two failing to hold off their attackers but did nothing to help. It would make his life easier if they were beaten up a bit and were more receptive to his words. As he watched them take the beating and be dragged off, Gai followed quietly behind making note of where the two were being taken so he could see if it was a place that could cause a potential threat to Konoha at a later date.

Hiro knew, even as he brought his katana down that the man he was attacking wasn't real, merely a substitute. But he couldn't draw back, couldn't stop himself, almost as if he had stopped caring, and as low as his chakra reserves were he wondered if perhaps he really had stopped caring?

He realized too late as he blocked, and countered, trying despite his mind shutting down, that he had Kakashi with him. Gai's Kakashi. He had a part of the world here that he needed to protect, the same way Gai would have protected, and had protected, him.

He was getting frantic, and he could tell when Kakashi didn't come to help him, that the other man actually had fainted. His swings, which were usually precise and measured, were wide and completely missing his mark. It wasn't from fatigue, Hiro realized as one of the men caught his arm, it was fear.

How foreign such a feeling was to him now, he almost didn't remember what it felt like.

Hiro's breathing was becoming ragged as he jerked his arm free, dropping the katana to the snow, balling his trembling hands into fists, and swinging with all of the force he could summon, into the closest ninja, the man hit the snow, coughing, and the other two men grabbed his arms from behind.

It was eerily familiar, and try as he might, Hiro couldn't pull his arms free. He was too frantic, too hysterical.

The man he'd knocked to the ground jumped up as Hiro managed to get an arm free, picking a bō up that he'd dropped to the ground the man swung it around catching Hiro in the temple, and sending him crashing into the nearest ninja, unconscious.

It took two of the men to drag Hiro, as large as he was. The man dragging Kakashi, who recognized the two mens masks, joked to his comrades about them being the first to catch, and kill two of the most famous ANBU of Konohagakure.

Once they got to their hideout they drug Hiro and Kakashi into a small room, tying their arms behind them. The men stood around their captives, curiously discussing whether the two men would simply escape the ropes, until the youngest of the three pulled some senbon from his back pouch, and poked the two unconscious men in the shoulders, a sedative he explained.

The three adjourned to the main area, and began discussing what to do with the two men, (to kill them, torture, or bargain with.) They ultimately decided torturing them for information, and then killing them would be the best option- no matter how long it took to get any information out of the two men.

None of them seemed to have noticed Gai's presence

Listening to the three men talk Gai felt the need to roll his eyes. Really more than a bit irritated he wondered how long Dog and Drill would last if tortured and then Gai realized that it would be in his best interest to make sure that both returned in working order.

Shifting slightly Gai took out his kunai and threw them. Two men went down quickly and the third man tried to get away but Gai caught him quickly. Stringing the man up by his neck, Gai questioned the man a bit before ending his life. Walking into the cavern, Gai studied the two men in front of him.

From the third man he had gotten the information on the sedative used and knew neither man would be in working condition for a while. Leaving them tied up Gai tossed Hiro over his shoulder and tucked Kakashi under one arm. Making his way back to Konoha was slow going but once he arrived, Gai dropped both men off at the ANBU medic room before taking himself off to give his report as well as theirs.


Kakashi wasn't sure why, but he dreamed of flying while unconscious. When the medic woke him, he found out that one shouldn't dream while sedated. Perhaps, Kakashi mused as looked blearily at the ceiling, he was losing his mind.

When told that a third ANBU had brought him in, Kakashi was confused, he hadn't known another ANBU was in the area. He hadn't been paying attention, mentally scolding himself, Kakashi decided he needed to train more from now on. He was obviously getting sloppy. After he was given a soldier pill to recover from his chakra loss Kakashi stood warily in the corner and watched as they went to wake Hiro.

Hiro's mask was broken Kakashi noticed, and that gave him cause to wonder just how long he'd fought alone. He would also, he told himself, have to be more careful when using the sharingan from now on. Demon wasn't with them anymore, he reminded himself, he and Drill needed to realize their limits, and stop over exerting themselves.

Kakashi was pulled from his reverie by incoherent babbling from Hiro, only half conscious. The medics began to discuss something, as they turned away, and Kakashi frowned, as one of the medics quietly asked him to leave.

Leaving despite the overwhelming urge to stay and watch, Kakashi was barely half-way down the hall, one hand on the wall for support, when he heard a crash come from the medic room. Wincing Kakashi paused, before hesitantly making his way to the doorway. He'd see Gai, he decided. Later he would find out what Hiro had done, or what had been done to him. As Kakashi made his way home, he wondered why he had never before noticed how far out it was. After what felt like hours Kakashi stumbled in the doorway, he removed his cloak with trembling fingers, and looked down to see if Gai's sandals were present, before slowly, carefully lowering himself into a sitting position, and dragging his boots off.

Jutsuing home after his report, Gai dropped his ANBU clothes and changed into a pair of board shorts. Walking into the living room, Gai knelt next to Kakashi. Without a word he took Kakashi's weapons and put them to the side. Later he would sharpen it and check it for nicks.

"I have the shower running for you. You aren't getting in bed as you are." Gai spoke calmly. "Do you think you can make it?" Without prompting Gai also helped Kakashi out of his armor. Then moving slowly he put their equipment together on the dining room table for cleaning later.

Creating a clone Gai sent it off to check on Hiro. Then Gai focused his attention on Kakashi. Patiently Gai waited for some sign of Kakashi's response.

Kakashi looked up at Gai slowly as he began to speak, almost as if seeing the man there surprised him, after a moment he nodded, slowly, cautiously rising to his feet Kakashi gave Gai a strange look, as if expecting the man to say, or do something.

"I'm okay, Gai." Kakashi said quietly, obviously not okay, as he walked past the other man. He wasn't willing to admit it, or in anyway let Gai realize that he had been right, but Kakashi was slowly beginning to realize that Gai had been right. The ANBU was no place for him to be any more.

Pausing in the doorway, Kakashi gripped the frame tightly, "Uh, I think Hiro would benefit from your assistance at the moment then I would." Kakashi's voice was cold, distant. A way Gai had probably never expected to hear him speak after their ANBU days had ended.

"I am exactly where I need to be." Gai's tone had a dangerous edge and Kakashi stiffed instinctively. "It's a good thing a friendly picked you up or you wouldn't have made it back isn't it."

Turning slowly Kakashi regarded Gai wearily. "You were there?" Keeping his tone bland, Kakashi tried to tap down on his frustration but failed. "Why…"

Interrupting Gai yanked Kakashi's shirt over his head and off. Kakashi couldn't fight him off and found himself hustled into the shower. Before Kakashi could finish processing what had happened he was naked under the shower head and Gai was taking his clothes to be washed.

"When are you going to realize that being an ANBU was fine when you were alone but now you have to remember that you have someone to come home to." Gai's voice was hard and angry his eyes unusually dark and Kakashi had problems blinking the water out of his eyes. "You are getting older and your genius ways aren't going to take you far if you haven't put in the hard work to keep yourself together. I love you Kakashi but you need to realize that and learn to love yourself and life too." With a sad smile, Gai left Kakashi to broad.

Kakashi could only sit down on the bench in the shower in shock, his mind processing it all. Gai was really Demon, it wasn't just him copying something he had overheard. That tone of voice was the exactly the same and the words were exactly something Demon had told him once when he had almost died in Lightning.

Shaking Kakashi tried to get a hold of himself but found himself unable to function well enough to stand again. If tears ran down his face while the shower water was hitting him it was only because Kakashi had realized that through his worst days and his best, Gai knew him and loved him anyway and that was a glue Kakashi hadn't realized would hold him together. Finally after his resolve had returned Kakashi cleaned himself up and readied himself to ask questions. There were many things about Gai, he needed to clarify and know.




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