Of Tanabata and what

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Of Tanabata, and what makes a good romance Posted originally on the Archive of Our Own at http://archiveofourown.org/works/455428. Rating: Archive Warning: Category: Fandom: Relationship: Character: Additional Tags:


Teen And Up Audiences Choose Not To Use Archive Warnings, No Archive Warnings Apply M/M Naruto Hatake Kakashi/Uzumaki Naruto Hatake Kakashi Romance, Humour, Tanabata, Satire, Irony, Love Story, Icha Icha Paradise, Icha Icha Violence, Icha Icha Tactics, Icha Icha, Kyuubi Chakra Mode, Tanzaku, Hikobishi, Festival, Bells, memento - Freeform, legend, myth, A-anogawa Published: 2012-07-09 Words: 3916

Of Tanabata, and what makes a good romance by uzumaki_rakku (fuurin_senpai) Summary

Naruto didn't like most love stories because they somehow always ended up disappointing him, and even the "classic" ones had some fatal flaw. He also wasn't sure if he liked the Tanabata story, because even though it's sad that the lovers were separated and sweet that they wanted to be together he couldn't help but feel it was such a pity. And if he had been Hikoboshi, he would...


Birthday present (slightly late) for a friend, known as dreamer1084 on FFN. ^_^ Prompt given was "Tanabata".

The bamboo leaves a-rustle, shaking away in the eaves. The noble stars a-twinkle on gold-silver grains of sand. The five-colour strips of paper upon which I have written. The noble stars a-twinkle gazing on us from heaven.

Part one: of that which is not romantic Naruto didn't like love stories. They somehow always ended up disappointing him, one way or another, especially when even the "classic" ones tended to have some fatal flaw – and often literally fatal, too. Bleh. The sappy ones were sickening and full of clichés, the tragic ones were beyond depressing, and the melodramatic ones were... actually kind of hilarious, if he didn't try to take them seriously. —What did other people even see in those lame "romantic" tales, anyway? All he saw was two people (sometimes more, which was sometimes a good thing and sometimes catastrophic) agonizing over non-existent problems, making illogical decisions for the sake of "more plot" and creating even more problems along the way, when what they should be doing – if they loved each other – was to shut up and KISS, dammit! ...Not that he actually cared that much for those characters, especially if – especially when – they were being absolute idiots. But, well, he did maybe fancy himself a tiiiiiiiiiiny little bit of a writer, and it just didn't seem right that people and plots with such potential never really became what they could have been – A story of true love, a tale that was passionate and true and romantic for all the right reasons. Reasons which did not include randomly appearing roses and suspicious-looking hearts placed all over the book cover. And so, on a whim (and that's all it was – just a whim, only a whim) he decided to read through Ero-Sennin's porn books, seriously this time, in order to find out just what was so interesting to – was so interesting about those stupid books. Part two: of that which is not real Icha Icha Paradise. A romantic comedy stuffed with as many smut scenes as possible and plausible, with women falling all over the protagonist while he fell all over the one lady who wasn't interested in him. He rolled his eyes through all the scenes which usually made K— ...made its readers giggle and blush, wondering if there really was a meaning behind all the rabu-rabu after all. And then he blinked. The protagonist... didn't get together with the one he pursued? ...Such an ending did leave the character unattached and hence free to enjoy living that "paradise" full of attractive women, but somehow it all didn't seem quite right. (He tried his best to overlook the orgy which immediately followed, meant to be both a "grand finale" to the entire book and also as a distraction from the rather odd ending.) Somehow he just... really disliked the 'unrequited love' ending, for it could feel almost as bad as the 'bad end' in which one or both of the lovers end up dead. (Wouldn't such an ending be terribly lonely?) Icha Icha Violence. He read the explicit scenes more carefully this time, looking for anything hidden under the oohs and aahs and shamelessness which could hint at the ending and, more importantly, the meaning behind it.

But in the end there didn't seem to be one. The slap-slap-kiss relationship fell into a pattern that was almost too easy to predict, along with what usually came after the "kiss" part, but there never seemed to be any real progress in the main couple's love. And to him, it was frustrating. When a side couple jumped in and stole the show right at the very end, he was quite bewildered. (Although based on the general response to Icha Icha Violence, he wasn't the only one, and the second book was slightly less well received than the first.) While most readers, according to Jiraiya, chose to overlook the surprise ending in favour of the more 'exciting' bits and a small group chose to 'jump ship' over to support that pair of lovers, his feelings were quite different from all of them. The side couple had been generally assumed to be a stable (and hence boring, if not for the fact that both lovers were female)"beta couple" meant only to complement the volatile "alpha couple", yet they were the ones to emerge with 'true love' (and True Smut) at the very end, completely overshadowing the main characters. And though he did appreciate the wonderful True Love of the "beta couple", the ending only made him more frustrated (disappointed?) with the original pair. So, in the end, he was still terribly confused. Icha Icha Tactics. The unexpected final book of the series, Tactics. It was... different, to say the least. From front cover to back cover it was full of – amongst many other things – two people driving themselves and each other nuts, plotting to make the other fall in love with himself/herself when it was only too obvious that both had already fallen in, and fallen hard. The characters were also strikingly different, both incredibly complex yet unnervingly real. It was them versus the world, in a 'battle' that wasn't actually a fight but really just a glorious, glorious romp, wild and crazy and hilarious. And when the book finally reached its end, with complicated smut and simple love, even Naruto couldn't complain. He finally understood why Kakashi had stayed up all night reading it, and still read it again and again years after. For even after the book ended, the romance went on. But Tactics, while brilliant, was still not good enough. Because it wasn't real. Part three: of that which is romantic He watched Kakashi reading Tactics after the two of them stopped to rest for the night, and tried to be as inconspicuous as possible. Their mission, despite being fairly simple compared to what they usually dealt with, was expected to be rather tiring nonetheless. Naruto still hoped they would be able to finish it early and make it back in time for... er, for nothing in particular, but he just liked being in Konoha. And that was all. ...Although an entire mission with just Kakashi with him was kind of really nice, too. "Naa, Kakashi-sensei... do you like love stories?" He blinked immediately after asking the question, and fumbled for an explanation as Kakashi raised an eyebrow. "Uh – I mean, you're always reading Ero-sennin's books and stuff and I was wondering if I should maybe try to continue the series... a-and, um, well, I don't really like any of the popular romances out there so I don't really know what I should write. And it'd be weird to ask a girl, since girls generally don't seem to approve of Icha Icha and I really don't get what they find so nice about love stories, so..." He dragged out the last word and then laughed awkwardly, willing his face not to heat up. "I thought

everything might make more sense if you explained it to me, since it always does?" The jounin seemed amused by his long ramble, reaching over a hand to ruffle his hair while contemplating the green book in his other hand. "I haven't given it a lot of thought," he replied slowly. "But then again I never had a lot of interest in the well-known love stories. I'm not exactly someone who knows much about romance, Naruto," A brief laugh. "You know it's nothing like ninjutsu." Naruto hummed distractedly. He didn't know why, but he always really liked the way Kakashi said his name, and of course that wasn't supposed to be anything important at all. (But was it just his imagination, or was Kakashi's face – what was visible of it, anyway – slowly turning kind of pink...?) "Take the Tanabata legend, for example," Kakashi added, point at the stars above. "What do you think of—" "Tanabata!" Naruto exclaimed. "Gah, that reminds me – I saw bits of the festival starting yesterday night, while I was waiting for you, and it's going to last three days so that means we're definitely going to miss it, even if we complete this mission by tomorrow night, and... uh..." Kakashi stared at him. Naruto's brain caught up with his mouth. "Wait, what?" They looked blankly at each other in an increasingly awkward silence. "I didn't know you had a date," Kakashi said lightly, turning away from him to look at the night sky. "You could have applied for leave, instead of taking on missions nobody wants to take at this time of the year. It would be a pity to miss Konoha's festival, especially since you seem like you've been looking forward to it." "...P-pretend I never said all that," Naruto spluttered frantically in mortification. "And I didn't have a date." A sceptic one-eyed glance from Kakashi. "Honest! It's just, well, there's someone I would have liked to go... with... no, never mind." Kakashi said nothing. "So, um," Naruto hurried on, confused by Kakashi's odd mood. "You were saying something about the Tanabata story? The one with the weaving girl and the cowherd, separated by the river of stars..." "...and only allowed to meet once every year," Kakashi finished. "It's an old story, considered to be quite a classic tale. So, what do you think of that?" "Well... I don't really know," Naruto said thoughtfully. "I guess it's sad that they're separated and sweet that they really want to be together, yet I can't help but feel like it's such a great pity." At that remark Kakashi tilted his head inquiringly, a curious glimmer in his dark grey eye. "I mean," Naruto pressed on, his tone firm and earnest, "If I were him I wouldn't let anything stop me, even if it is the Amanogawa and crossing that star river seems absolutely impossible. I'd do the impossible, somehow, and swim across. Or make the moon my boat and keep rowing until I reach the other side. And, as for the children," He pointed at the two little stars next to their father, Hikoboshi. "I'd either find some way to take them along or fetch their mother over, 'cause I'm sure they'll want to see her too and I'd never leave them to fend for themselves. And if I were her I'd also try to make my way over as well, because... ah." He stopped, hesitantly flicking his gaze to

Kakashi. "It's completely weird, isn't it? All this stuff I'm saying." A sheepish chuckle. "I'm so against the idea of destined lovers separated by fate of all things that my ramblings are probably ruining the entire tale, sorry..." Kakashi made a noise of disagreement. "It's a rather... romantic notion, I suppose," he murmured, eye closing into a curve as he smiled. "Do you intend to write it into a book?" "Huh? – Oh right, yeah, I'd like something along that line, I guess." A sense of disappointment pulled at him, and for some reason refused to go away. "Though it probably won't sell." "Why not?" Kakashi arched an eyebrow. "The concept sounds somewhat similar to Tactics." "You read that a lot," Naruto muttered. "Are the smut scenes really that good?" He stared as Kakashi flushed with embarrassment. "They're... unique," he replied vaguely. "And the plot is more interesting than the other ones. But what makes Tactics stand out the most is the characterisation." "It's a true romance," Naruto grinned, amused at how Kakashi tried to hide his steadily intensifying signs of embarrassment, and somehow cheered by the fact that they shared the same interpretation of that novel. This is silly, he tried to tell himself. Yet he still held on to the warm feeling of that moment and so many others like it, keeping them and treasuring them in the centre of his chest – the centre of his heart. Part four: of that which is true, and real Their conversation drifted around a few topics before Kakashi told him to get some rest before his turn to keep watch. "You stayed up for almost the entire night yesterday," he pointed out when Naruto protested. "And you were practically falling asleep on my shoulder just now." Satisfied that Naruto was suitably distracted with that statement, the jounin tossed over a sleeping bag and settled into a somewhat comfortable position against one of the trees. "Make sure you get some sleep too, sensei," the blond muttered crossly as he unrolled the sleeping bag and wriggled inside. "Or you'll never hear the end of it tomorrow." Smiling softly, Kakashi watched him sleep. (And if he let himself pat the young man's golden hair or allowed his arm to be held captive as though it was a bolster, that was nobody's business but his own, and he certainly did not let Naruto know.) . The mission itself was fairly dull, especially compared to what they had discussed the night before, but one good point was that they finished much earlier than previously expected. Naruto finished repacking his bag and stood, ready to leave the small unfamiliar town. From the corner of his eye he caught a brief glimpse of a wish tree, its thin branches laden with tanzaku. Those colourful strips of paper fluttered gently as a light breeze blew past, and Naruto realised he had been staring.

"Do you want to stay for the festival?" Kakashi asked abruptly. Blue eyes looked up in surprise, and met the other man's piercing gaze. "It may not be held on the same scale as the one back home, but it can be something to make up for what you're missing out on." Kakashi inclined his head at the festival preparations in the distance as he spoke, tone bland and nonchalant. "The mission ended early, and I am known for being late." Naruto was silent for a few seconds, half surprised and half confused, before he shook his head. "Nah, sensei, it's fine. I'm not a..." The thought that Kakashi could possibly be treating him like a child made him pause, momentarily frustrated by the notion. "I'm not that fond of Tanabata anyway," he said instead. "And don't you want to get home soon, Kakashi-sensei?" "I'm not in any rush," Kakashi shrugged. "I'm not the one missing a date, and there's little to look forward too except our mission report." "And I'm not missing a date either," Naruto insisted. "I told you already. I just..." "Just what?" "It's nothing," he muttered, turning and walking away. "Let's just go." It took only a few strides of Kakashi's impossibly long legs (and dammit, he was getting distracted) to catch up with him. "If there's something on your mind," he said quietly, his words meaningful and patient. "You could talk to me about it, Naruto." It was a rare offer for someone as distant as Kakashi usually was to give, Naruto knew. It could only mean that Kakashi was as frustrated as he was about what was being left unsaid, and cared enough about him to ask. But despite all that – or because of it, he was confused already – there were some things he should not say. When he failed to respond after several long moments, there was the briefest flicker of disappointment and uncertainty and even hurt in Kakashi's dark grey eye before he leapt onto a tree branch, moving ahead of the blond. "Wait!" Naruto called after him desperately, following the jounin into the trees and trying to catch up. "Kakashi-sensei, I – " He wanted to say those things, dammit, all of them, confess his stupid little sentiments like I took this mission because I didn't want you to go alone and I wanted to spend time with you and I had hoped we could have celebrated Tanabata together— " – Oof!" And he crashed right into Kakashi, who had indeed stopped and waited on the branch right ahead. They fell off the tree in a mad tangle of flailing limbs and a loud yell of "GAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHH!" – though the landing was somewhat safe, after a number of Naruto's Kage Bunshin managed to cushion them at the last moment. Naruto took one look at Kakashi's dazed expression and flailed even more wildly than before. "HWAAAARGH SENSEI SORRY ARE YOU ALRIGHT SORRY GAH I'M REALLY SORRY I DIDN'T MEAN TO – OW!" "You said... to wait..." Kakashi remarked wryly after smacking him on the head, feeling rather

winded after having the extremely solid mass of one Uzumaki Naruto slam against his back. "And you're squashing me." Naruto immediately scrambled off, crimson with mortification. "Sorry!" Kakashi rolled over onto his back, finally catching his breath, and sighed. "It's alright. So, what was it that you wanted to say?" "I... um... that is..." Naruto hovered over him hesitantly. As a small box fell out of his equipment pouch and landed with a soft thud on the floor, the blond froze in horror and Kakashi raised an eyebrow. That box looked familiar. "Isn't that – " "Yes." Naruto quickly reached for it, most determinedly not looking at him. Kakashi sat up and grabbed the tiny box in one swift motion, flipping open the lid with one hand while his other hand pulled a pair of silver bells out from a pouch that was even smaller. Not expecting anything to be inside it, he surprised to see what looked a folded strip of coloured paper before Naruto's hand came up and snapped the lid shut. "I didn't know you still kept that with you." "I didn't know you still kept that with you." Both blinked. Naruto's hand was still on Kakashi's. "...Ah." Kakashi felt his face heat up, and was infinitely glad that he wore a mask – although the colour of Naruto's face was rather... magnificent. An embarrassed silence fell between them and the blond fidgeted, shifting around until he finally settled in a kneeling position, and stared intently at Kakashi. 'If I were him I wouldn't let anything stop me,' he remembered himself saying the night before, and finally, finally made up his mind. "Do you know why I insisted on going on this mission with you, sensei?" Naruto asked, heart pounding in his chest. "Or why I was so distracted when you mentioned Tanabata? Or even," there he laughed a little, fingers closing around the box in Kakashi's hand. "Or even why I would carry around a memento like... this." He picked it up carefully from that slim, gloved hand, remembering how it had been given to him at least a year back with a request to fix what was inside. He had not known, at that moment, how the contents of that box had been so precious and meant so much. Naruto raised his eyes to meet Kakashi's and the silver-haired man tilted his head, eye glimmering with amusement. "I may or may not know," Kakashi hummed thoughtfully. "But will you tell me, Naruto?" He ran his fingers lightly through those wild locks of sun-blond hair, so bright and eyecatching in the dusky evening light, and smiled. "If you tell me why you've been in such a strange mood," Naruto grinned back, almost giddy with the excitement bubbling in his chest. "And I'll tell you something else, too! Something really important." "Mou, I thought you had a date for Tanabata," Kakashi's tone was surprisingly – distractingly – light-hearted, almost playful. "But in the end it's just me." Naruto snickered at that, a small snort of

amusement turning into an uncontrollable bout of laughter. The jounin waited for him to finish, patiently at first, but changed his mind after the slightly hysterical laughter showed no signs of subsiding. He placed one hand in front of Naruto's face and squashed his whisker-lined cheeks, pressing on both sides with fingers and thumb. "Owwwww! Sen – oomph – sei – owww – my face – mff – ow!" Naruto rubbed vigorously at his face after Kakashi relented, directing an indignant glare at the unrepentant man. "Is that really how you should treat a face?" he grumbled. "I just found it funny that you of all people could be jealous!" "That's not important right now," Kakashi muttered, looking away from him with an expression that almost looked like a... Naruto hid his smile behind his hand. "Alright then, my turn. I'll tell you the answers you already know, because it's the same answer every time, the same reason – you. And I..." he trailed off for a moment, rubbing the back of his head with a sheepish grin. "I don't know how to say it, but I'll try. I don't know when it started or why, but somehow you've become someone... really important to me, really really precious, and I really care about – I feel – this is – you are... you matter to me more than anyone and anything else in the world." He tried to stop stumbling over his words, he really did, but only ended up making it more confusing than before. But Kakashi did not seem to mind, and he seemed to understand like how he always did even when Naruto was being utterly incomprehensible, so he tried one more time to really tell him. "It's like... My idea of a perfect love story is one which is real, in which two people stick by each other, just be there for each other so they are never alone, and silently for both their sakes they promise to stay alive... and this is how they live, live, live until one day one or both of them turn around to that one person who has always, always stayed by his side, and say – " there he finally paused for breath, crimson-faced and all of a sudden horribly nervous, and leaned close to Kakashi. "I love you." He found himself pulled into a tight embrace, warm and solid and real, and hugged back with a wild, indescribable joy just as the echo and response to his breathless words were spoken by his ear – "I love you too, Naruto. Just you, only you, always... you." He only realised that Kakashi had removed his mask after pulling away from a fierce kiss to see the silver-haired man smiling at him, and he thought his brain might have crashed for a moment, but it was way worth it. Part five: of Tanabata, and the place called home. "You know..." Naruto grinned suddenly. "We might still make it in time if we rush back now." Kakashi looked at him. "If we rush back." "Mmhm." "Right now." "Yup!"

He sighed, resigning himself to what was about to come, and pulled his mask back up. He knew Naruto could still see his embarrassment, even as he tilted his face up to look at the sky. "Don't crash us into anything along the way." With a whoop of delight Naruto grabbed him in a tight hug, and then the stars all blurred into streaks of silver-white as they disappeared in a brilliant flash of gold. And when they arrived back home just as the first of the fireworks burst open in the sky, Kakashi had to agree with Naruto's comment that Tanabata was rather nice after all. (So were the kiss and other things which came after, but he was a little too occupied at that time to comment on them.) . "Naa, naa, sensei~ can I use your Icha Icha's covers to make more tanzaku?" "No." "I'll write you something better!" "No." "Hmph. Then you'd better hope this one's enough for both of us." He unfolded a single piece of five-coloured paper and tied it onto the wish tree, where it swayed gently with the lightest breath of wind.

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Of Tanabata and what

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