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curiosity killed the cat

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Obito supposes he has finally lost his mind, which he’s surprised hasn’t already happened by now, or maybe the old lady back at the tea house has put some sort of hallucinogen in his oolong, even as judging by her wrinkly eye-smile and gentle voice that’s probably not the case. Either way, there’s a man walking down the street in the opposite direction, and he resembles Rin so much Obito can’t help but freeze mid-step and stare from behind his orange mask in wonder.

Fortunately, they’re standing in the middle of the main street of a touristic village near Konoha, dozens of people bustling and conversing around them, so when curiosity gets the best of him and he swirls away to a more secluded spot to observe the man, he remains mostly unnoticed.

It’s autumn, and the sky is looming, dark grey clouds threatening a downpour. The cold wind seeps through the threads of his black garments, the thin cotton material doing nothing to prevent goosebumps from raising all over his body (or the part which hasn’t been replaced by plant matter), and while he regrets immensely not wearing his Akatsuki cloak, he’s also extremely grateful for the protection provided by his scarf and the metal plates protecting his upper arms and thighs. He really can’t afford the risk of anyone recognizing the telltale pattern and associating him with one of the most dangerous criminal organizations of the shinobi world.

A single drop of water falls from the sky, hitting him heavily on the crown of his head, and he lets out a startled gasp. The dusty ground is slowly becoming spotted with every raindrop falling, and he vaguely registers the commotion of people seeking shelter as his eye follows attentively the man ducking inside a dango house and disappearing from sight.

He doesn’t even dwell on it, right eye swirling as he disappears from his hidden position on a rooftop only to materialize beside the entrance of the shop. He’s about to peek inside when he’s suddenly slammed hard against the wall, right arm twisted painfully behind his back as something hard comes pressing down on the nape of his neck. His line of sight is limited by his mask and missing left eye, but he can feel warm breath ghosting over the side of his face.

“Who are you?” his attacker asks, a hint of breathlessness in his voice, and he snorts, because as far as he's concerned he's the one being pressed against a wall by a complete stranger.

“That’s my fucking line,” he growls, trying to land a kick with the flat of his foot anywhere, preferably a shin, and curses under his breath when he only meets cold, humid air.

“Not when you’ve been following me for the past five minutes,” the stranger retorts, low and dark in Obito's ear, and prods Obito’s legs apart with a knee to hinder his mobility.

Oh. So the one that entered the shop was a shadow clone. When did he

In a blur of movements that manage to leave him slightly dizzy, Obito is suddenly spun around, single eye widening behind his mask as soon as he registers red and black staring right back at him. The man’s breath hitches, lips parting in surprise, and Obito supposes he must have noticed too, if the tightness in his expression is anything to go by.

“Where did you get that eye,” the man grits out, tone more demanding than questioning, and as much as he resembles Obito’s first love, light brown hair falling in tufts over his brow and purple make up covering his eyelids and cheeks, he is really starting to grate on Obito's nerves.

“That’s supposed to be my line again, asshole,” Obito spits, poorly controlled irritation clear in his voice, and in the split second the stranger uses to recover from his surprised state, he's already swatted away the arms keeping him in place and shoved him roughly with both hands. The man stumbles back, catching himself before he can fall on his ass on the muddy ground, and before he can second guess his decision, Obito activates his Mangekyo Sharingan and sucks the both of them in, right hand clutching the man’s forearm tightly.

He throws his attacker to the ground as soon as his feet land on a grey prism, and he follows the movement fluidly like the trained shinobi he is, landing on the stranger’s supine form like a feline falling on its prey.

He clutches the green robe tightly, slamming the man’s back hard against the concrete of Kamui’s dimension. “I’m asking you only once, so you’d better not make me repeat myself. Where did you get the damn eye,” he hisses, hoarse and threatening, and he lowers himself to bring his masked face only inches apart from the enemy’s startled one. Obito thinks it must be a touchy argument, judging by the way the man glances sideways and clenches his jaw, a droplet of cold sweat running down the side of his temple and disappearing into his hairline.

“It’s none of your business,” comes the reply, strained and barely louder than a whisper, and he’s totally ready to slam his fist against the side of the man's unfairly unmarred face, but─

“But,” a pause, “I guess, if you want to know that badly, it was a gift from a friend.”

Obito stills, spiky tufts of silver hair and snarky remarks uttered from behind a navy-blue mask flashing across his mind for a split second, but he stops before he can let himself indulge in sentimentality. “Bullshit,” he retorts, voice louder than before, almost panicked, “there’s only four living people with the Sharingan as of now, and you’re not in the list. I know for a fact yours does not belong to at least three of them, so─” he cracks, because despite everything, despite all the hatred and the disgust and the hopelessness, despite the ridiculousness of this cursed world, he would destroy anyone who tried to harm Kakashi, the boy, the man he gave his life for, without thinking twice about it. He doesn’t want to consider the possibility, after all when he last saw him two weeks ago he was well and unscathed, but Obito is not so naive to believe that a couple of weeks are not enough for anything to happen, not when his life went to utter shit in the mere span of a day.

“Is it Kakashi’s?” He asks in a low growl, fingers winding tighter in the fabric of the man’s robe as he heaves him off the ground. They’re a breath apart, mismatched grey and red eyes growing wide as saucers as the stranger registers the words, but as soon as he opens his mouth, he’s cut off. “I swear to god, if you even so much as dared to lay a finger on him, I’m gonna snap your spine in a half,” Obito hisses, anger seeping through him as his visual prowess provides him with unnecessarily vivid images of the worst case scenario.

Kakashi kneeling on the ground, clutching his left socket with both hands, a pained expression twisting his features as blood drips down the side of his face─

He shakes himself out of those thoughts, realizing the pointlessness of getting overwhelmed by conjured up images. He’s just going to have to go and check for himself, but for now─

The man pinned beneath him awkwardly clears his throat, one hand flying up to his hair and lightly tugging at it until the soft brown locks give way to a shock of silver hair, and Obito’s never been the most insightful person on earth, so it’s not exactly the first time he pulls an awkward stunt like this one, but he still has the decency to flush from behind his mask. He sputters, falling on his butt beside Kakashi and quickly backing up to put more space between them.

He points an accusing finger at the man glancing his way, rosy lips stretched in a curious, sheepish smile, and it’s with a gasp that he realizes the face he’s been staring at for the past ten minutes is actually Kakashi’s. “Y-you?!” Obito shrieks, and he tries his best to ignore the muscle beating erratically and somersaulting in his abused ribcage, he really does, but it’s hard when the man he’s been observing from a distance for the past sixteen years is sprawled on the ground barely a foot away, eyes crinkling at the edges in a surprisingly warm smile.

“So? Do I get to know the name of my secret admirer now that this,” he points at his left eye, “is out of the way?” Kakashi asks, amusement clear in his voice as he removes the two purple stripes stuck on his cheeks.

Obito sucks in a breath, suddenly extremely embarrassed, and he glances around in search of a distraction, not that there are many in a world made of grey cubes and a dark horizon. He supposes he should start questioning his skills as a ninja, because all of a sudden the space between his parted legs is being occupied by a smug looking Kakashi, and he barely sensed him getting there at all in his desperate attempt to get out of this predicament. He self-consciously scratches the back of his head with a gloved hand, an awkward laugh escaping his lips as he tilts his head to the side and slightly backwards. It’s a huge mistake, baring his neck and jugular like this to a potential enemy ─ and a jonin as skilled as Kakashi at that, but the feel of cold, slender fingers touching timidly the corner of his jawline is enough to make Obito freeze in place, and he tries to suppress the shivers of anticipation running down his spine and quaking his body.

Kakashi starts lifting his mask slowly, impossibly so, like he wants to savor every second of this, engrave every twitch of Obito’s trembling lips in his mind, and he stops halfway, his breathing becoming curter and shallower with every inch of Obito’s skin being revealed. Obito can’t really see what’s happening, the stretchy material keeping his mask in place still covering the upper half of his face, but suddenly there are shy fingers cupping both of his cheeks, a gentle thumb stroking the deep scars on his right side in wonder and following the line of a particular one starting from his chin and ending below his lower lip, and he knows Kakashi knows. There’s the ghost of a caress across his mouth, and he bites on his lower lip in a poor attempt at controlling the quivering of his whole being.

It dawns on him like a bucket of cold water, how completely exposed and vulnerable he feels in front of this man, even after almost two decades, and he panics, the desire to curl in on himself constricting his lungs. He blindly reaches for his mask, the pattern of his breathing suggesting he’s about to hyperventilate ─ because he can’t let Kakashi find out like this, can’t let everything he’s worked for for the past sixteen years go to hell because of a ghost of the past, but then there’s a hand holding his wrist tentatively, a silent plea ─ he knows, even though he can’t see the expression on Kakashi’s face, and he lets his arm be guided forward, towards the unknown.

Kakashi removes his glove, rolling Obito’s artificial fingers between his own before intertwining their hands together and placing a kiss on the pulseless spot of Obito’s wrist. It’s a strange feeling, and Obito doesn’t quite dare to say it in his mind, but it’s like Kakashi’s almost venerating his body, careful and soft and awestruck at best.

“Obi─ Obito,” he chokes out, and Obito realizes only now Kakashi must be crying. He presses his mouth in a thin, bloodless line, and fights the urge to yank his mask away and pull the man crouching between his legs against his chest. He releases a shaky breath when Kakashi lets go of his hand and places both hands on either side of his face, thumbs catching beneath the cloth of his mask and sliding upwards with utmost care, as if afraid Obito is going to vanish into thin air. He thinks he can understand that, because all things considered Obito has been living the life of a ghost for the past decade and a half, manipulating and pulling strings from the shadows of Kirigakure and its gullible leader, and it would be easy enough to just swirl away and never look back, but–

He focuses on Kakashi’s energy, the buzzing chakra reaching out to him like he’s slowly drowning and Obito’s his last lifeline, a lone boat riding the waves of a thunderstorm in the middle of the cold sea, and Obito thinks this man has already endured enough loss in his thirty years of life.

Porcelain falls with a loud clank on the ground, and Obito’s eye shyly flutters open, peering at Kakashi from beneath his lashes. The man looks utterly relieved and devastated at the same time, and he doesn’t know whether it’s a good sign or not, but then Kakashi is pressing himself so hard against his chest it gets harder to breathe, and nothing really matters anymore.

Obito,” Kakashi murmurs, the word vibrating in his chest, “where the hell have you been, you utter moron?” There’s dampness starting to seep through the cloth just below his collarbone, and normally he would be giving Kakashi hell for it, except nothing about this is normal and he finds that he can’t bring himself to care right now.

“Oh, here and there, you know,” he responds vaguely, a sheepish, raw laugh tearing itself out of his throat, trying to lighten the mood. He wraps both arms around the man’s quivering shoulders, hunching forward so that Kakashi’s head can lodge itself in the curve of his neck. He traces the line of his spine with sickly white fingers, halting his movement at the base of Kakashi’s neck to tangle his fingers in the soft strands of silver hair.

He feels Kakashi’s warm, humid breath tickling the side of his neck, and he can’t help the urge to turn his head and kiss the jonin’s temple. His mind must be in overdrive at this point, because he swears he hears Hatake Kakashi stifle a whimper against his shoulder and, to the utmost joy of his painfully constricted ribcage, squeezes Obito’s frame even tighter.

“Obito,” a pause, “Obito, about the promise I made─”

He sighs.

“Kakashi, I never thought I'd be able to say this one day, but will you please shut the fuck up?” He manages against the side of Kakashi’s head, hoarse and choked, the strands of spiky hair tickling his lips, and they’re so flushed together Obito can’t miss the way Kakashi tries to suppress a particularly violent shiver. “I know, you don’t need to worry. It wasn’t your fault, Kakashi,” he continues, and the sigh of relief that escapes the man’s lips sounds so liberating Obito thinks Kakashi has just had the biggest weight of his life lifted off his shoulders.

Kakashi raises his head, staring at Obito’s face, at his scars, at the closed eyelid covering his empty socket, and just as Obito’s about to duck his head in self-consciousness (because he knows he’s not pretty to look at, the deep lines marring one side of his face warping and pulling at his skin grotesquely, while Kakashi is incredibly beautiful, the thick scar running over his left eyelid and down his cheek and the delicate beauty mark beneath his lower lip making him even more so) Kakashi takes his face between his palms, looking at him like he’s a precious sight to behold, and Obito doesn’t even try to fight the blush spreading across the bridge of his nose and dusting the tips of his ears. He glances away, letting himself be pulled towards the man, and his breath hitches when he feels a soft kiss being pressed on his brow.

“I missed you so much,” Kakashi breathes against his forehead, “so fucking much.” There’s a second kiss on his left eyelid, another on his right one, one on the tip of his nose, and before he knows it he’s lost count. Obito muses Kakashi must have kissed every single inch of his face before he eventually stops against the corner of his mouth, lips lingering there and brushing over his skin in silent question. He barely shifts his head, and all it takes is the light stroke of his lips against Kakashi’s own to send sparks down his spine and warmth blooming across his chest like a wildfire, his heart slamming madly against his ribs.

He can’t recall the exact moment in which the need to take Kakashi’s broken form into his arms and whisper in his ear that everything was okay, that he was there and he wouldn’t be alone ever again, turned into the urge to grab his stupid face and kiss him senseless and never let go, and he doesn’t know how much longer this will last, but the knowledge that it’s finally happening at all is enough to make him feel in seventh heaven. His lips stretch on their own accord, and for the first time in almost two decades, he’s smiling from the bottom of his heart, teeth and all, and he thinks that maybe this world is still worth saving.