Promise Of Path

Chapter 1: The Promise

Kakashi could still remember how cold it was on that particular day. He was on his way back from a hard mission with his Anbu team. The entire day was raining and there was no end to it in sight. He could remember how relieved he was as he entered the Anbu central office. The first thing he did was to take a hot shower. The hot water felt so good against his cold skin that he never wanted to come out from his shower. All his team members had already gone home, as he finally finished his shower. He moved into the changing room and sat down to dry his hair. The Anbu central office... was his home. Nothing was left in his life - he had no other purpose in life except to serve his village. And so it was no wonder that he fitted into the shadow perfectly. He did the dirty work for Konoha and he couldn't count how many people or enemies he had killed in his Anbu days but it didn't matter anyway. A job was a job. Kill before you get killed, that was all that matters. If someone saw the things he had seen or did, they would turn out to be just as empty as him. Sometimes he asked himself, if he still had a heart because if it was there, he couldn't feel it anymore. For the sake of Konoha, that was all what mattered.

He dried his hair with a towel when the door of the changing room suddenly opened and a familiar face entered the room.

"Sempai," the boy who entered the room greeted and bowed his head respectfully before him.

He looked at the boy straight in the eyes and a small smile appeared under his mask, as he answered, "How often I have to tell you not to call me Senpai?"

The boy looked back, his black beautiful eyes were unusually emotional. "You'll be always my senpai. You helped me a lot in the last two years."

"Why are you here, it's almost midnight." He asked, not wanting to go deeper into that subject. Honestly, he was definitely the wrong person as a role model or something similar. He advised the boy to take a seat on the chair opposite him.

The boy complied and sat down as he said, "I want to talk to you about something."

He was not surprised by the seriousness in the boy's voice. Itachi Uchiha had always been serious and he was a genius. He was only thirteen years old then but he was more mature than a lot of adults. Sometimes he had wondered if this boy was ever a child before. "What is it, Itachi?"

"Kakashi Sempai," Itachi's black eyes were unfathomable when he looked straight in the other man's eyes. "I'm really thankful that I could work under your command for the last two years. I have never told you this before but after Shisui died... Since that day, I see you as a friend."

Itachi was eleven when he was being placed under Kakashi's team. For two years, the Anbu captain had tried to guide and advise his junior, but Itachi was more capable than anyone he had seen. He would go so far as to say that Itachi was even stronger and smarter than him. It honored him that the teen saw him as a friend, because he felt the same. Even when Kakashi was on good terms with all his subordinates, Itachi was a dear friend to him, maybe even his first friend after all his precious people died.

He smiled under his mask but it was no real smile. He couldn't smile sincerely anymore because he couldn't even feel his heart anymore and in some strange ways, he knew that Itachi's smile was fake too. Maybe as an Anbu, every emotion was fake, because an Anbu was expected to cast aside his emotions in order to fulfill his role as a tool to his village.

"What is it that you want to talk about?" Kakashi asked, straight to the point.

"I want to ask you for a favor. That's why I'm here." Itachi said in emotionless tone but his eyes betrayed him. His black eyes glimmered with emotions and Kakashi asked himself what was the real matter of this.

"If it's possible for me to help you, I will." Kakashi said and he meant it.

Itachi gave him a thankful nod. "It's about my brother... I'm worried what will happen to him if I'm no longer around. I'm worried about who will take care of him in that case."

Kakashi was surprised but his face didn't show it. He studied Itachi's expression and he could see so much pain in his eyes. He didn't know what caused Itachi's strange behaviour but he knew Itachi meant every word he said. Maybe he had to go on a dangerous mission and was a bit worried that he could die. But a shinobi put his life on the line in every mission. Itachi was a genius, he could almost fight and win against anyone.

"What's the real matter, Itachi? You're acting strange. Is everything alright?" Kakashi asked. "Do you have a mission? Is this why you're worried?"

Itachi shook his head. "I'm only thinking about Sasuke's future - what will happen to him when I can't look out for him anymore."

Kakashi knew about Itachi's younger brother. Sometimes the Uchiha had talked about the child. He had seen how Itachi smiled when he mentioned his brother, which meant he must've truly loved this child. But now, he couldn't really understand what Itachi wanted to tell him. "Even when you are not around him anymore, I'm sure your parents will take care for him."

"You don't understand, Sempai. I'm worried about what will happen when not only I or my parents but no one else from the Uchiha clan will be there for him." Itachi said in an even tone, but Kakashi noticed the light shaking in his voice.

"Itachi, your clan is really big. Someone will always be there for your brother." Kakashi said. Honestly, he was a little bit confused. He didn't understand what Itachi wanted to tell him with that.

"I mean who would care for Sasuke, if nobody from my clan can be there for him." Itachi said and Kakashi could see that the boy curled his hands into fists, because he was shaken.

"What are you talking about. You see..."

Itachi didn't let him finish. "Sempai, I see you as my friend. You're some of the people whom I would trust with almost everything. As my friend, I want you to promise me to take care of my brother, if nobody else could be there for him anymore."

"I don't understand why you want such a promise from me. You're acting strange. Are you sure that everything is alright?" Kakashi was really confused. He couldn't understand why Itachi asked him for something like that. Sure, he felt honored that Itachi saw him as a friend, deep inside he felt the same but he saw no sense behind Itachi's words.

"I love Sasuke more than anything else in this world... and the thought that, he could be completely alone, if I cannot look out for him anymore..." Itachi sighed. "I can't stand this thought. Please promise me, you will be there for him in that case."

He could see that Itachi meant every word. Something was definitely bothering Itachi, but Kakashi knew better than to ask him about something he didn't want to talk about. It was completely without sense. But he saw himself as Itachi's friend and when he ask him for a favour, Kakashi wanted do it for him and he could tell that Itachi was really serious.

"I don't know why you ask me about something like this and I'm sure the day will never come that your brother has nobody to look out for him." Kakashi said and Itachi wanted to say something but Kakashi interrupted him again. "But I see you as my friend too and I can tell this is important for you, that's why I promise you to look out for your brother."

A small smile appeared on Itachi's lips. "Thank you so much, senpai. I will never forget this."

"Slow down. I don't believe that the day will ever came that I have stand by my words." Kakashi said. He was still confused about Itachi at this moment but he decided not to ask any more questions. He had the feeling that Itachi did not tell him everything but he had learned a long time ago that sometimes it's better not to know everything.

"You never know what will happen in the future, senpai." Itachi said and in his eyes flickered in pain again. "Please never forget your promise."

"I will stand by my word." Kakashi said with a nod.

Itachi bowed his head, before he turned around and without another word, left the room. Kakashi stared at the place where Itachi had sat a moment ago for a long time. He couldn't really understand what the reason was, but Itachi's behaviour was definitely strange. But that being said, Itachi was always strange. He never acted like a thirteen-year-old boy and behind this emotionless face, he seemed to hide a lot of wisdom. He shook his head as he stood up and made his way to the outside. The question why Itachi wanted this promise from him never left his mind.

One week later, Kakashi had the answer. He couldn't believe what had happened. It was definitely one of the darkest days in his life. The entire Uchiha clan was massacred in one night. And Itachi was nowhere to be found. Sure, that boy was often a mystery for Kakashi, but he had never imagined that the boy would kill his whole family!

He still couldn't believe it, as he walked on the eerily quiet streets of the Uchiha district with his Anbu team. Dead bodies and blood were everywhere. Nobody was alive; the great Uchiha clan was wiped out. Kakashi gave the order to look for survivors. They looked inside every house too. But their effort was in vain. Everyone was dead.

Kakashi had seen much death in his life. He had fought in the war and he had killed countless people by himself. But this... This was cruel, too had always felt a special connection to the Uchiha clan, even when most Uchiha had despised and shunned him for his sharingan, which he got from Obito. Even so, he had felt this connection and not every Uchiha had despised him.

But now everyone seemed to be dead. His heart ached painfully in his chest and he realized that he was crying under his Anbu Mask. When was the last time he had cried? He didn't care. This view was definitely too cruel to bear any longer.

"Here's a survivor!" one of his teammates yelled and brought Kakashi out of his thoughts. He went over there instantly and gasped as he saw who the survivor was. Suddenly everything of what Itachi told him a week ago made sense. He looked down at the tiny figure of Sasuke Uchiha, Itachi's younger brother. The boy seemed to be hurt but his breathing seemed to be strong. Painfully he clenched his fists. It was impossible! The entire clan was dead but this seven-year-old boy was the only survivor from this tragedy, or in better words, from this massacre.

"I'll bring him to the hospital," his teammate said.

"No, I'll bring him there." Kakashi interrupted, kneeled down and scooped the boy in his arms. As he made his way over to the hospital, Itachi's words came back in his mind.

"Take care of my brother."

He had given his promise. And even now, he was determined to stand by his word. Not for Itachi, but for the Uchihas. This was the last thing he could do for Obito's family. Sasuke was alone now, exactly like how Kakashi was and he swore to himself that he would be there for this child.

A special Thanks to my beta een nihc. She helped me a lot.

And thanks to Pixie07 too, who had the idea to the title ,,Promise of path" :)

Please let me know what you think and review!