Naruto: Childhood Memories

Is a collection of one-shots focusing on Naruto's and the other main characters' childhood. Many different moments in their life, which helped them defining who they are today, will be showcased in my one-shots and that is also why the genre will vary.

Hopefully there is going to be a little something for everybody. Enjoy this one-shot!


Summary

What great lengths, would Kakashi go in order to get his hands on a good book? This is a love story about Kakashi and his one and only...
(The unofficial entry to Fanofthisfiction's 'Show Me the Love Summer One-shot Challenge')


Kakashi: Never Judge a Book by Its Cover!
Published: 26th June 2018
Genre: Humor


Spring had finally arrived in Konohagakure. Trees that were once naked now stood robust with leaves around the village, and lawns that were once snow white lay dewy and emerald green. People welcomed the change of seasons with joy outside in the sun — but not Kakashi Hatake. After just coming back from escorting the cat of the Feudal Lord's wife for three weeks, the young chūnin was behind Konoha library's four walls with only one thing on his mind, finding a new book to read.

It was a fact that the silver-haired boy enjoyed reading literature and taking in information when not practicing taijutsu and studying in his spare time. A pleasure he had in common with his late father. Though after years of disappointment from reading fictional literature that were supposed to be "amazing", "spectacular" or "one of kind" but literally turned out to be cliché and predictable, in other words, trash, Kakashi had become extra cautious when approaching new works.

Among his mates, he was known to be a picky reader, but Kakashi didn't see himself like that. It was by no fault of his, he had basic criteria for novels and they didn't. They should know better, he thought.

To win a war at a time like this it was important to strengthen the mind. Just like a sword, the mind needed to be sharpened and to keep its edge, reading books of high-quality was a necessity. Thus, the boy genius would spend upon hours in scouring the shelves to find the perfect book, even though it was a tedious job. It was either that or another excruciating reading experience. Unfortunately, spending hours upon hours at the library didn't necessarily mean that he was guaranteed to find the prized book. Often, he wasted the entire afternoon finding nothing but bad quality books. Consequently, when he finally found one to his liking just three weeks ago, he couldn't have been more excited. 'The Land Where a Hero Once Lived', was one of the greatest stories he had ever encountered. He had enjoyed it so much, that he was even nearly finished with it after the first couple of days. Unbelievably, just when he was at the part nearing the end of the mission, the cat of the Feudal Lord's wife decided to grab the boy's book and promptly peed on it as if it was a cat litter box, to everybody's enjoyment but Kakashi's. Thus, he desperately needed a new book as a replacement. Once again, he found himself standing at the entrance to the fictional section, sighing deeply.

Judging on how long it took to find the last good read, just how long would it take me to find another worthy of my time?!

In the hopes of getting it right the first time, the young boy went directly to the section filled with the most popular Shōnen books. He took the first novel he saw from the shelf and started reading the summary and skimmed through bits of it. After a short while, he read another one, his mood decreasing as he rejected books one after another. Two hours later, he had gone through dozens of books, all of which had different storylines, but none appealing to him.

A pirate king? What does that even mean? The weird smiling characters and the plot should have been in a toddler's picture book instead! ... Admittedly, the book about the Shinigami sounds interesting but what is up with the title? It's named after a detergent? ...

The more summaries he read the more he realized that there were no books that could replace 'The Land Where a Hero Once Lived'. If it wasn't because the canon had been discontinued due to the war, he would have bought a copy and finished it by now. Thus, he wouldn't have been in this situation that the cat of the Feudal Lord's wife had put him in.

Just at that moment, his thoughts were interrupted by a tall yellow-haired man who approached him from behind weilding a bright smile that could fell villages in one bright flash. "Kakashi, I thought it was you! Still no luck on searching for a book to read, I assume."

Kakashi recognized the voice. With a dejected expression, he turned around to face Minato, his sensei. "Yeah, I have been here since the library opened. They don't have more copies of 'The Land Where a Hero Once Lived' available. Hence, the reason why I'm standing here. Bookless."

"I'm sorry to hear that, Kakashi. I know how much you enjoyed that novel."

"Mmmh."

"You could have borrowed my copy if Kushina wasn't in the middle of it. Can you believe it, after these years she still hasn't read the classic novel?" Kakashi responded by humming once again, slightly disappointed that Kushina was quite slow of a reader. "I'll let you know when she's done," Minato smiled at his student and patted him on the shoulder.

"Thank you, Sensei. Much appreciated," The boy said aloofly, putting back the book he looked at before grabbing another one, but he stopped halfway in the middle of his movement when a thought came to mind, "Minato-sensei, you don't happen to have a novel that you think is worth reading, do you?"

Immediately, Minato hit the palm of his hand with his fist, "Of course!" his sensei exclaimed optimistically which he got shushed for by the other borrowers. He apologized sheepishly before continuing, "I have the perfect story for you to read. Why didn't I think about it earlier?"

Before getting his high hopes up, he let his Sensei finish speaking.

"While also being a Sannin, Jiraiya-sensei is quite the keen writer himself. His work is actually one of my favourites. I would even dare to say that it's better than 'The Land Where a Hero Once Lived'." Minato smiled.

"What is the novel about?" Kakashi became more eager as he started to find the conversation a bit more interesting.

"The story is about a ninja, who has a goal to break the "curse" which represents the circle of war, conflict and hatred which have terrorized the ninja world for centuries. It's not an easy task but given his stubbornness, he never gives up." Kakashi wrinkled his eyebrows which Minato couldn't help but notice, thus, he quickly continued, "Yeah, I know what you're thinking. The story sounds like something that has been written before, but the plot development, the main character and the messages are all truly original and moving. Especially, the main character, who reminds me of Sensei. I guess you can say that the book is sort of an autobiography given that the journeys the main character takes are also very much similar to Jiraiya-sensei's."

Since his sensei warmly recommended it, and the story was written by one of the Sannin based on his own experiences, he was curious to know how good the book actually was. It couldn't hurt to have a peek, because if he didn't like it, at least he got to know the story of one of the Sannins. In the end, it would be a win-win situation for Kakashi.

"What's the title of the story?"

(- - -)

"'The Tale of the Utterly Gutsy Shinobi' written by the Legendary Sannin, Jiraiya." The silver-haired boy read the title printed in gold on the smooth beige dust jacket of the book out loud in his living room.

Sitting comfortably in his arm chair, he started turning the front cover, finding the prologue. Reading with the utmost concentration, the silver-haired boy went quickly through the first page followed by another one. Each and every word he stumbled upon was absorbed like a sponge, and within a short time he had read the whole prologue. He stared into midair for a couple of seconds, frowning.

Kakashi couldn't believe that this was written by the same man, who in his spare time got beaten up by women for harassment. At first glance he wouldn't associate Minato's Sensei being a magnificent writer, but apparently looks can be deceptive. Jiraiya, the legendary Sannin, was truly an artist. With his pen, he literally painted lively inner pictures with words and metaphors. It was so vivid and detailed that Kakashi felt like he was entering the spirit of the nameless first-person narrator. While he was pleasantly surprised, one thing the silver-haired boy noticed instantly after completing the prologue was that the theme of 'war' did not appear at all, which confused him. Minato told him that it would be exciting already in the beginning of the story. Indeed, but where were the battles, the conflicts or the devastation that he was promised. Instead the prologue was more about the meeting between the first-person narrator and a mysterious woman. It focused a lot on the woman's personality, especially her body shape and feminine features. Normally, the 11-year old was not interested in reading about human relationship but the description in the story was too captivating to let go. Just like the narrator, Kakashi genuinely wanted to know more about this woman. Swiftly he concluded that she must play an important role in the war that had yet to be introduced properly in the novel. Kakashi was sure about it, otherwise he didn't understand the comprehensive description of the mysterious woman. After some thorough thinking he continued reading.

He turned pages after pages and as the chapter unfolded, the war was slowly introduced. However just like the prologue, the first chapter focused mostly about the mysterious woman, who met the first-person narrator at a bar while he was secretly trying to get some intel.

After putting her unconscious body on her bed, I went straight to the bathroom. I took off my shirt and used soap to wash off the vomit and the sour stench. Why did she have to drink so much? Why did she have to torture herself like that? All these years, she could have left the war and run away with me to find paradise!

Unexpectedly, I heard her calling out for me. I realized how stupid I was! Obviously, this was a trap.

Kakakshi's hands were sweating. He couldn't believe that the main character's life was at stake already in the first chapter.

There she was, on the hotel bed. All lively and looking innocent and sweet. But I knew better. I was being careful.

"Is it just me or is it too warm in here?" She waved her hand to catch a breeze in the most sensual way I have ever seen. In the short span of time I was in the bathroom, she had changed into a red silky negligée.

Taking a sip of water, she slopped the water all over her, making the silky fabric cling to her body. I didn't know if it was on purpose or not. Without thinking I went straight to her. Now face to face, her hands caressed my battle scar on my right biceps. I tried to back off but I couldn't resist. The man in me had urges.'

From excitement to puzzlement. Kakashi read the last two sentences over and over again aloud but did not understand the meaning of it. Technically, he was a man, or soon-to-be a man, but he was not familiar with what the book was telling him, "Shouldn't he be more careful about the trap than his... urges?"

The touch of her hands was incredibly soft and gentle. Slowly she pulled off the strop from her shoulder and let the negligée fall to the bed, only to reveal her glistering desirable naked–

At once the silver-haired boy closed the book. He did it so fast, the thud echoed through the empty living room. He then quickly tossed it on the side table next to him. A sudden warmth rushed through his entire body while his cheeks became more red. Even though there were no people around, he wanted to dig a hole and hide in it. If anybody knew what he had just read, he wouldn't be able to face them anymore. Nobody could know about this. His reputation would be ruined if people found out.

What was Sensei thinking when he recommended me 'The Tale of the Utterly Gutsy Shinobi'? His favorite book? What is wrong with him?!

Kakashi always thought that Minato was a better man than that. The young boy kept thinking how wrong it was of his sensei to read such filthy and low-class material. And worst of all, Kakashi couldn't get over the thought that his sensei recommended it to him, a 11-year old boy!

Crossing his arms, with a frown on his face, he stared disgustedly at the novel. Just as he did that, the last scene, he read, popped up into his head on repeat. He tried to stay angry and disappointed with Minato, but every time his mind would jump back to the bed scene when the mysterious woman took off her negligée. The image of her wet naked body was burnt into his mind and there was no way to get rid of that image. The boy knew that it was wrong of him to have those pictures in his head but he quickly realized that there was a part of him that enjoyed it. Like a ninken, Kakashi had tasted blood, and now, he wanted more. A fuzzy impulsive feeling coursed through his body.

After letting out a frustrated cry, he realized he couldn't fight his desire any longer. Instantaneously, Kakashi grabbed the book and started where he left off. His eyes sparkled. The boy knew right away that he made the right decision.

Glued to the book, he plowed through the pages as if it was a bag full of snacks while giggling filthily like one of those guys in a dark alleyway who was up to no good.

"That's huge!"

"Stop talking and get back to work!"

"For the love of God, I can't take this anymore!"

The more he read, the more he kept wiping his nose for blood and it didn't take long until the floor was covered with tissues soaked in nosebleeds. When he finally had the nose bleeding under control by stuffing rolled tissue in his nostrils, which made his mask fit unevenly, the doorbell rang. He hissed. Without looking properly, he placed the book on the edge of the side table causing the book to fall down to the floor. The dust jacket came off. As he picked it up, Kakashi discovered that the dust jacket concealed something written on the beige cover. A closer look, Kakashi recognized the familiar handwriting. It was his sensei's and it said:

Icha Icha Paradise (draft)

Suddenly everything made sense, why the plot wasn't like Minato described it; why the writing was so exceptional good and why the dust jacket from Jiraiya's book was concealing the real title written by Minato – The book he was reading was written by his sensei and he had gotten it by mistake!

Knowing that his sensei wrote his own erotic romance novel did not come as a surprise anymore, not after finding out about his guilty pleasure. Minato was after all Jiraiya's student and their relationship was like a father and son. Thus, Jiraiya must have had an influence on Minato's manner and behavior over the past years.

The doorbell rang again. Hurriedly, Kakashi put back the dust jacket on the book, placed it on the side table and pulled out the two rolled tissues from his nose. He ran towards the door, and speak of the devil, behind the door was Minato, looking apologetically.

"Kakashi, sorry. I have just realized that I have given you the wrong book. Have you started reading already?" Minato asked nervously. Kakashi could tell that his sensei was a hiding something but instead of exposing him he simply played along.

"No, unfortunately, I have been busy stopping my nosebleed…" Kakashi replied.

"Good! … I mean, good you didn't waste your time on the wrong book, that is." Minato said relieved, "Are you okay by the way? You do look a bit pale."

"Yes, thanks for asking Sensei." The silver-haired boy said dejectedly.

"Here is your 'Tale of the Utterly Gutsy Shinobi'."

"Right," Kakashi sounded disappointed. He just wished he could have finished 'Icha Icha Paradise' before handing it back to him. "I'll be back with yours." After a couple of seconds, he came back with the book and the dust jacket intact. "Here it is, Sensei," Kakashi said a bit wistfully which Minato didn't catch.

"Thanks. Sorry for the mix up." Minato said sheepishly with a smile, "By the way, Kushina wanted me to invite you, Obito and Rin over for dinner tonight. She knew how boring our mission was so she decided to treat us all with her home cook meal."

"That's very kind, Sensei but I just want to be by myself today. You know, catch up with some reading," Kakashi held up the novel he received from Minato.

"I was also supposed to tell you in case you turned down the offer, that she will cook your favorite salt-broiled saury." Kakashi pricked up his ear, "It's going to be fun with all of us there, and you know you have to eat at some point."

Kakashi knew that if he turned down Kushina's offer, Minato's wife would personally drag him to their home and feed him her food until his stomach would burst. He did like her delicious cooking but he just wanted to be alone on his day off.

"I'll think about it, Sensei."

"Okay. I'll tell her I tried. Hope to see you though." Minato smiled, "Enjoy your book."

"Thank you."

As he bid Minato farewell, he closed the door and went back to sit in his armchair with the new book in hand. This was the third novel in a month that he had started without finishing. It was like the universe was trying to tell Kakashi that he and books were not meant to end up together. He instantly thought about how the ending of the main character and the mysterious woman in 'Icha Icha Paradise' would be. Kakashi would probably never get to know about their fate, unless Minato decided to publish it or Kakashi decided to ask his sensei for the book, but that would expose himself as a pervert too. Either way he didn't see any of those possibilities happening. Since it was only a book and the book was already taken away from him, the silver-haired boy took a deep breath and sighed for the last time before starting the prologue of 'The Tale of the Utterly Gutsy Shinobi'.

'"… Even if you bring me down, another assassin will attack the village. As long as we are cursed to live in this ninja world, there will be no peace!"

"Then I'll break that curse. If there is such a thing as peace, I'll seize it. I'll never give up"

"Who are you?"

"I'm–"

Kakashi saw and read the words from 'The Tale of the Utterly Gutsy Shinobi' but he couldn't make sense of the sentences. Just like earlier, he tried to focus on the novel but every other second his mind would jump back to 'Icha Icha Paradise'. He giggled creepily by the thought of the juicy scenes in the novel. It suddenly hit him that the book was not just a book. It meant more to him than any other book he had ever read before. Never had he had such an incredible enjoyment and so many fond memories just by reading a bunch of pages. He couldn't just simply let it go. He had found his true book and he was not planning on leaving it in another man's hand. If all the drama and tragedy from 'Icha Icha Paradise' had taught him anything, it would be to fight for what you love. Yes, that was a cliché that had been seen many times before but it had not resonated with Kakashi until this very moment. One way or the other, Kakashi Hatake was going to retrieve the book of his life and read the ending of it, no matter what cost. But how?

He quickly realized that the upper lords might have given him a second chance to do so.

(- - -)

"I'm so glad you came after all Kakashi." Rin looked at the silver-haired boy, who was sitting next to her at the table, with a smile on her face. "It's so nice to gather around a dinner table instead of a campfire, don't you think? Especially, when Kushina-san is cooking for us"

"Hmm." Kakashi wasn't in the mood of chatting. He just wanted to start his plan as soon as possible after the dinner.

"Kakashi! Rin asked you a question! At least reply with a sentence," Obito called Kakashi out.

"Obito, it's alright. Perhaps Kakashi is tired. It was a long mission after all," Rin snapped at his friend.

"That's not an excuse to treat you like that!" the spiky black-haired boy was now pointing at Kakashi. If looks could kill, the young chūnin would be dead by now.

"Quit it, right this instance!" Kushina came behind Obito and hit him on his head with a fist which made him let out a small cry, "I didn't invite you boys over so you could bicker. You are making sweet little Rin uncomfortable. Now, say sorry to each other — and say it like you mean it, dattebane!"

"But, he started it," both of the ninja spoke in chorus and showed a grumpy face but when they saw Kushina's facial expression change, they stopped complaining. "I'm sorry."

"See, that wasn't that bad was it? Now we can all sit and enjoy the wonderful meal, I have prepared for you." Kushina said, putting another side dish on the table before taking her seat next to Obito.

"Itadakimasu!"

"Hon, why is there another bowl on the table? Is it for Jiraiya-sensei?"

"Yes, sorry I forgot to tell you. He will be…"

While the others were chatting and enjoying the homemade food, the silver-haired boy kept to himself, shoveling only jasmine rice down his throat. Not one time did he touch Kushina's salt-broiled saury even though it smelled and looked amazingly. If he could start finding his book as fast as possible, then that was the sacrifice he had to make.

After a short while, Kakashi was done with his bowl of rice and quickly excused himself, which surprised his sensei and the others.

"Kakashi, are you going already? There are still a lot of side dishes left on the table." His sensei commented, "You've barely even touched the saury!"

"Is there something wrong with how I cooked it?" Kushina looked bewildered at the dish, turning it from side to side on the table and tasted it once more.

"If he's not eating, then that means there's more for us!" Obito said greedily, taking more bites of the saury with his chopsticks.

"Be careful you don't get constipation from all the food you are eating," Kakashi replied to Obito, who glared intensely at Kakashi. "No, to answer your question, Sensei, I just need to go to the bathroom."

"Are you alright?" Rin asked worriedly

"Yes, I'm fine. I'll be back," Kakashi assured them with a smile in his eyes before leaving the table.

While he walked down the corridor that led to the bathroom, the dining room was yet again filled with talk and laughter. Grabbing the doorknob to the bathroom, he turned his head to see if they could see him from where they were sitting. They couldn't. Instantly, he let go of the doorknob and sneaked swiftly over to the closed door across the corridor instead, the door to Minato's office. Slowly he turned the doorknob and opened the wooden door. It squeaked, sending shivers down Kakashi's spine. The silver-haired boy stopped instantaneously and listened with care. Minato and the others were still talking and laughing in the dining area. To avoid making more noise, Kakashi squeezed in between the gap he created. He closed the door behind him slowly before leaning up against it.

Rushing to the office desk, he turned on the desk lamp, and opened the upper drawer where he saw his sensei taking out the book earlier today. He rifled through it for a couple of seconds, and found folders and documents in a pile, but no book. Wrinkling his forehead, he inspected the other drawers but was met with same results. It was perhaps idiotic to think that Minato would place it back at the same place but he had to start somewhere.

Where has he hidden it? It can't be in his bedroom. That would be too risky. But then again, the most dangerous place is the safest place!

He turned around to face the bookshelves, all filled with books that Minato had collected over the years. He searched from one end to the other. But sadly, it didn't take him long to come to the conclusion that the draft for 'Icha Icha Paradise' was not there either. The silver-haired boy took a step back to get an overview of the room. There weren't many places in the office his sensei could have hidden it. Besides the bookshelves and the desk, there were a sofa, a rug and portraits hanging on the walls. Out of desperation, he rummaged the entire office, not letting a square meter slip away his view. However, yet again, he found nothing. He sighed deeply.

"Even though it's convenient, he couldn't possibly hide it via a Transportation Technique. That would just cause a stir and set up the smoke detector in the house." Kakashi murmured to himself.

Sitting on the sofa feeling like giving up, he starred in midair before his eyes wandered to the light on the desk. He began thinking about how weird it was of his sensei to place a book in a drawer in the first place. He could understand if his sensei was in the middle of reading it, but he wasn't. What was more peculiar was, the book, he received, turned out to be 'Icha Icha Paradise', not only that, but with the dust jacket of 'The Tale of the Utterly Gutsy Shinobi'. Kakashi couldn't help wondering if that had to do with 'Icha Icha Paradise' hideout.

Of course, the mix-up between the two works could have been an honest mistake from Minato's side, but the more he thought about that, the more skeptical he became. The silver-haired boy couldn't make sense on how the two books could have crossed paths with each other in the first place. Unless Minato was pretending to read Jiraiya's book so he can swap between the two works whenever necessary at the office if someone entered his office. That would explain the strange behavior of storing his favorite book in the drawer. That would explain the duplicate dust jacket. It was a double cover up, a distraction! Although a very smart strategy, Kakashi did see a minor flaw. If the draft was temporarily stored in the drawer, it had to, whenever possible, be placed in its cache to avoid people finding and flicking it through. His sensei probably forgot that he had the draft stored in the drawer thus resulting in the mix-up.

If this hypothesis of his was shuriken proof, to have a quick and smooth exchange, the cache for 'Icha Icha Paradise' would have to be near the upper drawer. However, the only object that was near the upper drawer was the desk itself. The silver-haired boy had already checked. There was nothing hidden. It was all cleared.

...Or was it?

Frowning, he rushed to the desk, pulled out the upper drawer and let his fingertips run through the drawer underneath. To his surprise, he felt a hole near the end of the handle. Immediately, he took out the pile of documents and folders, placing them on the desk. When he looked down in the drawer, it was intact.

"As expected!"

At once, Kakashi found a very thin pen from the pencil holder on the desk and inserted it through the hole. The moment the pen resisted, the bottom inside the drawer rattled. As expected, it had a fake bottom. His black eyes shone like the brightest stars in the evening sky when they spotted the content hidden behind the fake bottom, 'The Tale of the Utterly Gutsy Shinobi'. He was positive that this was it, but to be completely certain he ripped of the dust jacket from the book. The silver-haired boy felt tears welling in his eyes.

"Icha Icha Paradise (Draft)! I found you" He snuffled underneath his mask. "Finally, you're mine!"

Sitting down on the floor with the light facing towards him, he promptly flicked through the pages and found the page where he left off. Not taking him long to get into the mood, the kid was once again totally absorbed in the dramatic and tragic love story. It was like he and the novel had never parted ways. Giggling turned into sobbing and sobbing turned quickly into more disturbing giggling which was, at this point, out of the kid's control.

There weren't many pages left and the climax was about to unfold. This time he was going to complete the draft once and for all. Nobody could stop him now.

"You wrote me letters?" She said bewilderedly.

"Yes, you bet I did. I never stopped giving up on us – on our future!" I need to face my demons and just tell her straight away. "I love you!"

There, I finally said it. She heard it. But she did not show any emotions whatsoever to my declaration.

"It's too late now." She just stared into my eyes.

"It's never too late!" With the remaining energy I had, I grabbed her around her waist and pushed her up against my sore beat-up body and started kissing her. She hit me on the back with a tremendous force with her fist multiple times. It hurt, but soon she too couldn't ignore the passion between us. She started unbuckling my belt and pulling down my pants.

Holding his hand up against his mouth, Kakashi giggled creepily. This was it, the last passionate scene of the story. So far up till this point the scenes had surpassed the previous ones. Clearly this one would be no different. The silver-haired boy couldn't wait. He turned the page in excitement and let out another creepy snicker.

Just then the light of the office was switched on, sending shockwaves through the young boy's body. Trembling, he stuck his head up behind the desk and faced the people he least wanted to see, at that very moment.

"Kakashi, what are you doing in the office giggling like that?" his sensei asked him curiously before his eyes widened when he saw the upper drawer of his desk opened. Seeing his sensei's face turn white, Kakashi knew that Minato was aware of what he was doing. Obito, Rin and Kushina who were next him did not understand the situation that was going on however.

"Oh, what are you reading Kakashi?" Seeing him holding a book in his hand, Rin approached Kakashi with a smile.

"What?!" The boy asked confused. At once, the silver-haired boy closed the book. "Nothing, nothing that concerns you!" Kakashi said with a shaken voice. Pulling a long face Rin stopped approaching him in the middle of the office.

"Teme, Kakashi. Rin was just asking you a question. You don't have to be that rude all the time!" Obito said angered. Kakashi's heart was pounding faster and faster. It felt like it would burst out any second.

"Kakashi," Kushina interfered, "What are you doing with that book and why were you making such a creepy sound? Obito thought it was a ghost haunting our house!"

"No, I didn't!" Obito exclaimed instantly to Kushina's statement. His face quickly turned red.

There was a long exchange of eye contact between Kushina and Kakashi. The silver-haired boy could tell that she wanted an answer and she would not leave him alone until she got it.

"Hey everybody, let's go back to our food before it gets cold," Minato said to the others sheepishly while leading the way back to the dining table. "Come everybody, follow me!"

At once, Kushina grabbed her husband by the ear, which caused him to cry for pain. "You're staying right here mister! It seems like you know what is going on here and I want an explanation." Her eyes then turned to Kakashi. "So Kakashi, I'm asking one more time. What are you doing?"

Their eyes were glued to him, causing him to put on a strange smile with flatness in the middle. Slowly, his skin prickled, sweat ran down his forehead and his face became red, redder than Obito's reaction earlier.

"I-I-I…" For every millisecond that went along, Kakashi felt his entire outfit gradually become soaked in his own sweat. He looked at Minato for help but his sensei was in a bigger trouble himself. For a split second, Kakashi considered using his Earth Release: Double Suicide Decapitation Technique to conceal himself underground for eternity. He wished he hadn't read the book. He looked at the book in his hand. Quickly, he regretted what he just thought.

No, Wait! What am I saying? This is the best book I have ever read! I have nothing to be ashamed of. Nothing! So what if the book is perverted? So what if they are going to judge me? I like it and that that's the most important thing. People can look down on me but I can't look down on myself. I need to stand up for what I believe! That is what the main character would do!

"I was reading an erotic romance novel, written by Minato-sensei!" Hearing himself saying that in that determined and confident voice, Kakashi felt like a burden had been lifted from his shoulder but he still felt a bit awkward. When the kid looked back at them, everyone's skin color was white as chalk. Standing there frozen, their mouths hung with lips wide apart, and eyes bugged out.

"WAIT! WHAT?" Obito was the first one to break the silence. He had a smile on his face. "That's so typical of you, Kakashi, keeping all the good stuff for yourself."

Hearing that Obito was interested in dirty adult novels too, must have shocked Rin, because in the next second, she rolled back her eyes and collapsed. Luckily, Obito managed to catch her before she hit the floor.

"Rin!" Kushina and Minato rushed to her side immediately. After putting Rin on the couch to rest, Kushina grabbed Minato's ear. This time even tighter.

"Now, is it true what Kakashi just said, Minato? You wrote an erotic romance novel behind my back and allowed Kakashi to get addicted to it? Are you trying to corrupt him? He's just a kid." Kushina raised her fist to indicate how angry she was. Out of fear both Kakashi and Obito hid behind the desk and the couch, respectively. "Did Jiraiya-sensei encourage you to write it?!"

"Did somebody just call my name?" Jiraiya suddenly arrived with a smirk on his face. He took a quick look around the office and the group of people inside it. "What is going on in here?"

"Jiraiya-sensei, thank Lord you came. Kakashi found the draft in my drawer. Please explain to Kushina that you are the one who wrote it. And please, let someone else proofread this one. I beg you for my life." His head was still tilted due to Kushina holding him, like a dog in a leash.

"Wait, Kakashi, you found the draft?" Jiraiya sounded excited when he asked the silver-haired boy. The young chūnin nodded. "Have you by any chance read it?"

"Yes sir, I have" Kakashi's face turned red once again. He felt stupid for thinking it was his sensei who wrote the novel. But then again, everything pointed at him.

"Well boy, what do you think of it?" The tall man with the long white hair asked the kid impatiently.

"Honestly, so far," Kakashi took a deep breath before he continued, "The bittersweet drama, the brutal fights, the sad tragedy, the evil secrets, and the love between a man and a woman is truly wonderful. Never have I read anything that was so – beautiful!"

"Really?" Obito asked curiously all of sudden with a low voice.

"I see," Jiraiya said proudly before he broke out in laughter. "If a picky reader like Kakashi, likes it, that can only mean one thing. I'm going to be rich! Minato, let's celebrate it with the finest sake you have."

"Don't you think you have already caused enough bad influence for today, Jiraiya-sensei!" Kushina exclaimed at once.

While Rin was still passed-out on the couch, the three adults unraveled all the misunderstandings regarding 'Icha Icha Paradise'. The three grown-ups were so absorbed by their fierce discussion, they completely forgot about Kakashi and Obito being around, not that it bothered the two young boys. Because under Minato's office desk, Kakashi was sharing 'Icha Icha Paradise' with Obito and together they read the draft with a smirk on their faces. If Kakashi had learnt anything from today's events, that would be one thing.

"Never judge a book by its cover!"


Author's Note


When I rewatched the omake between ep. 1-2 of Shippūden, I knew I had to write about Kakashi's encounter with 'Icha Icha Paradise'. And just like food writing, it was fun writing about novels. The dialogs from 'The Tale of the Utterly Gutsy Shinobi' are acquired from ep. 128 of Shippūden. Otherwise, everything else was my take on it with inspiration from the fandom. I hope you enjoyed my version of 'Icha Icha Paradise' and my references/tributes. I thought it would be nice to include the references in a one-shot about books and for the sake of nostalgia. God, I miss that era! Also, I made a cover for this one-shot 😁

Trivia: 'The Land Where a Hero Once Lived' (Jap. Eiyū no Ita Kuni) is actually the title of chapter 20 and ep. 11 of Naruto.

A shout-out to my two β-readers, Fanofthisfiction and Jazeoth 2.0, for giving me great suggestions on how to improve this one-shot and for proofreading. I would also like to thank the followers and reviewers. It fills my heart with joy and excitement whenever I see an email from you. So please, hit the following button and let me know what you think by leaving a review! Don't be shy. Any length will do.

And speaking of reviews. Let's get ready for Summer by promoting the positive constructive reviews! Check out Fanofthisfiction's community 'Show Me the Love Challenge Stories' and its official entries written by other amazing authors for this year's Summer challenge. ❤️

Support reviewing and constructive criticism, Support FanFiction Review Movement! #FanfictionReviewMovement #FRM 👍

~MLLu