Kakashi sets up the next mission in Ta no Kuni by making some rumours, bribing some people to leave certain things in hidden places on certain days.

He also takes the time to scrawl some small arrows in the brickwork, from the huge admin building to the underground tunnel. The Ame chemist traveller can science all day with Orochimaru but they have zero sense of direction.

Kakashi isn't supposed to be doing this, but the Ame got trapped in their last mission for some time and it would waste intel if this doesn't get done soon.

There's been a rush of ASAP missions lately. Some travellers are getting cut off from targets, or sabotaged, or ambushed. It's certainly not a new thing, every once in a while they get unlucky and this will happen.

But it's been building to a concerning frequency, especially after the Kumo was grabbed by Konoha. The travellers did retaliate, Kakashi was very clear with his threat against (his comrades) the clan kids, and that gave people pause, but the other villages are arrogant enough to think Kakashi couldn't possibly get to their own children and bounced back far too fast.

The Suna squad that the First Kazekage sent back in pieces was the most ballsy move anyone had taken but the consequences were acknowledged and then shrugged off by the other villages. They all know and can see what's happening but they all believe that they'll be the ones to come out victorious.

The travellers have tightened security. They take on new personas when they infiltrate instead of old, well worn identities. They stop in at outposts more to log their positions. The S-ranks are coming out in full force. The Edo Tensei travellers are starting to leave Uzu more, venture further outwards.

Kakashi himself has been doing back-to-back missions lately, or else he's stuck at Uzu with either Orochimaru or Tobirama trying to cram more information into his brain because, as they've recently discovered, transplanted Sharingan hold memories from the past holder pretty clearly if you know how to access them.

He's probably the only non-tactician who gets to know the whole plan and all the important details, instead of just what he's taken control over because it falls under his specialties.

If all else fails, they'll pull out Kakashi's eye and pass it backwards, even further, maybe even start this whole thing before Kaguya ever gets sealed in the first place.

Probably to Hashirama, preferably before the man starts handing out tailed beasts like candy.

Just in case it does happen, on the way back to Uzu, Kakashi deliberately takes some time to record a pink field of daisies, a light sunshower and the small rainbow, and even a cute lizard he finds in a tree.

Kakashi knows that sometimes it's easy to get lost in it all, this massive, detailed timeline. The mission is to save the world, not just to kill that man or steal those documents.

To whoever gets this eye, Kakashi hopes that these small moments will help.

He hopes that the next person is an easily manipulated fool who does in fact care about weeds and refracting light and common skinks. If they ever regret or pull their punches, Kakashi hopes they see these quiet scenes and decide this delicate mundanity is worth fighting for.

That they hate themselves for rethinking the mission, for ever daring to second-guess saving the world through excessive, violent efficiency.

Kakashi stands underneath the massive trees of Hi no Kuni, staring up at the way the light plays through the shifting leaves.

Do you see this? Look at this, and know that if I don't succeed, you damn well better finish it.


Kakashi is eating lunch in the Den-5-5 outpost and flips a casual hand sign when the backdoor opens. The Shimo taijutsu traveller, smelling of Kakashi's lilac scent trap, signs back as he lopes into the room.

It's wrong.

It's the sign from last week, and had to be changed off schedule because the frog-tongued Kusa couldn't bend his pinky finger like that and they mocked him for it but still changed it.

Kakashi lets out a steady breath. "Hungry?"

Can Kakashi poison him?

"Not now," the fake Shimo muses, stretching out his arms across his body as he usually does, wandering over to the seat next to Kakashi at the dining table.

Kakashi drags his plate onto the notes he was taking, covering it up. "We have white chocolate, the kind you like."

The spy smirks, slumping down into the chair. "Yeah, alright, if I must."

The Shimo is obsessive about his diet and maintaining peak physical health. He doesn't eat snacks, ever, looks disgusted when others eat such things in front of him.

How audacious of this man to expect to walk in here and so easily pretend that he knows anything about the travellers. It's a joke - they have so much history together, know things about each other that no one in this timeline could ever match.

There's no recognition in this man's eyes, no respect when he looks at Kakashi.

"It's in the big cupboard though," Kakashi points out. "I can't reach that." As if he couldn't just use chakra to walk up there and get it. He points behind them at the top of the wooden cupboard.

The spy stands up and turns away. Kakashi stabs a kunai into his lumbar spine and then the base of his neck to finish him off when the falling body gets close enough to his height. The body hits the ground.

Outside, the genjutsu of a flower disappears with the death of the one maintaining it. The squad of ninja waiting further away immediately set out.

Kakashi shoves his plate away, burns the notes, and scrambles to pack up his gear and the important emergency supplies, strapping his tanto to his back.

Kakashi's head snaps up when he smells a sudden explosion of lilac.

More people.

A lot more people.