Chapter Forty One ~ Discoveries

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"And you didn't think to mention this sooner?" Kakashi asked, sounding astoundingly annoyed.

I shrugged my shoulders. "I meant to get around to it."

"This needs to be reported immediately," Kakashi said. "You need to come with me to the Hokage's office."

"Don't tell me what to do," I glared at him. "I'm busy."


"Yes, I know how important this is. The safety of the village and blah blah blah. But there's also literally nothing she can do. She's overbooked, overworked, and understaffed. And she also dismissed me for treatment before I could inform her of what I found out," I replied irritably. "But logical reasoning isn't good enough for you. So go tell Tsunade. I've got shit to take care of," I snapped, cutting him off.

Kakashi assessed me in a terse manner for a moment, before conceding. "Fine. You'll have to explain to Lady Tsunade in greater detail before we leave for the mission tomorrow."

"That I can do."


I had talked to my genin's individual instructors—though Shikamaru had taken more cajoling than I thought he would—prepared for the mission tomorrow, and eaten dinner.

There was one thing left to do.

When I arrived at Kento's house, I realized that he wasn't home. All the lights were out except for one in the living room, where his father was no doubt watching T.V. and having a beer. His mother didn't appear to be home—she was overworked at her job as a waitress and probably had a night shift.

Kento, though, should have been home and asleep; it was quite late. But his darkened room was noticeably empty.

That's when some clues that had been floating around my notice all suddenly came together. With a scowl I turned on my heel and left.

I had to find my stupid little wayward student.


I finally found Kento in the kitchen of a restaurant, washing dishes. For a moment, I was struck by how small he was, needing to stand on a stool to reach the sink.

I walked through the back door, leaned against the wall behind Kento, and loudly cleared my throat.

The dish Kento had been holding slipped from his hand in surprise, and I just barely caught it before it smashed into the ground. Mouth closed in a thin line, I handed the plate back to him before stepping away.

He took it hesitantly, glanced at me, then resumed washing the dishes. I remained silent, and finally he asked, "What are you doing here?"

I kept quiet, folding my arms as I watched him wash the dishes. He continuously glanced back at me and finally felt the need to fill the silence, as I knew he would.

"Look, sensei," he began, plunging his hands into the scalding water to hide their shaking, "It's really no big deal. It's just another job. The hours don't even interfere with training or missions! 9 pm to 5 am!"

With a sudden start I realized that I quite often made training start at 5 am in order to have the later hours of the day to myself and my own training. All those time Kento had been late and I had lectured or punished him... how hadn't I put the pieces together sooner? I even knew about his terminally ill sister, his overworked mother. I had all the pieces and yet I'd failed to see the picture.

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