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this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

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“It’s changed,” Tobirama says quietly, looking down on the village. He hadn’t paused long enough to look, when they were first called back, and…maybe that’s for the best.

Here and now, seeing the differences so clearly against the image he’s always kept close in his mind, it’s entirely unsettling.

Beside him, covered in a hooded cloak, his companion hums, neither agreement nor contradiction. “Are you sure I can't convince you to stay with me any longer?” Orochimaru asks lightly, and Tobirama wonders if he really thinks that he’s going to get a different answer than all the other times he’s asked.

“I appreciate your mind,” he says, because it’s true enough. Orochimaru is brilliant and clever and understands the science of things far better than anyone Tobirama has met before, but it’s not enough to tempt Tobirama into staying in the depths of Rice Paddy Country just to keep experimenting. Konoha is his home, and has been since the day of its founding. “There is too much to be done, however.”

Orochimaru inclines his head, accepting that, and if he doesn’t look overly pleased, that’s fine. He may have brought Tobirama back to like a second time, with Edo Tensei and a cloned body and some altered version of his own body-switching jutsu, and Tobirama is grateful for it, but he’s never forgotten that Orochimaru is a missing-nin. One from Konoha, from Tsunade's team, from Saru’s team. Responsible for Saru’s death, as well, and Tobirama can't dwell on it for long or the cold-hot rage starts to kindle deep in his gut.

“The Will of Fire is always burning,” Orochimaru says, less like he believes it and more like he’s repeating something he heard many times. “I hope you’ll excuse me if I leave you here, Nidaime-sama. Tsunade made her position on my presence clear.”

Tobirama raises one brow, unimpressed. “You may not have been the only trigger for events, Orochimaru,” he says flatly, “but you were one regardless. If you truly wish to show you’ve had a change of heart, it will take more than this.”

Golden eyes narrow, but surprisingly Orochimaru weighs his words for a moment. One of the perks of hero worship, Tobirama thinks, vaguely amused, as he watches thoughts flicker across Orochimaru’s face.

Finally, Orochimaru tips his head, tugging his hood down a little to shadow his face. “I think,” he says, polite but with the barest edge of venom under it, “that I've had enough of Konoha's influence on my life. You are a great man, Nidaime-sama, but this village—it’s everything I hate.”

Tobirama studies him for a long moment, then looks back at the sprawl of the village beneath their feet. “You don’t strike me as a threat any longer,” he tells Orochimaru bluntly. “But if you ever think to become one again, I will destroy you. There will be no more returns from the dead when I'm through with you.”

He can see his threat strike home, the flicker that would be fear in a lesser shinobi. As it is, Orochimaru inclines his head again, then turns on his heel and vanishes into the trees with a whisper of cloth. Tobirama doesn’t bother to watch him go; he meant it when he said the missing-nin doesn’t seem like a threat to him. Not anymore, at least, after whatever had happened to him that shifted his loyalty. To his student, of all things, and an Uchiha, though Tobirama will admit that part is slightly less surprising. Sasuke likely isn’t any direct relation to Kagami, but—well. For all the boy’s passing similarities to Izuna, Tobirama could see echoes of Kagami in him even more clearly.

He wonders, now, if the boy’s talk of revolution has amounted to anything. Wonders, a little, if he should want it to succeed. From his vantage point he can see a darkened section of Konoha, still and lifeless—the Uchiha compound, he assumes, and it makes his lip curl in disgust. The doing of Danzō, too afraid to step into the light but more than willing to play puppet-master from the shadows, and the knowledge that one of his students led to the massacre of an entire clan—and the Uchiha in particular—makes nausea curl in Tobirama’s gut.

Returning to Konoha is coming home, but it’s also an attempt at some small edge of reparation to a broken boy. A dangerous one, more than capable of turning on Konoha just as easily as saving it, and surely that means it’s Tobirama’s duty as the former Hokage to help him find a path. Naruto will already be trying, and Tobirama is certain of that, but—

Sasuke was cold and sharp and furious, and Tobirama knows that state of being all too well.

The lights of Konoha are coming on in the dusk, like stars against the shadows, and Tobirama pauses, standing atop his brother’s carved stone face as he looks over the village. Change has touched every part of it, but at a single glance Tobirama can tell that the foundations are still there. The Will of Fire, loyalty, teamwork, sacrifice in the name of the future.

Love is something large, with a thousand facets, and Tobirama only knows very few of them, but of all the world’s wonders Konoha is the easiest for him to love.

Taking a seat on the stone, Tobirama gathers a touch of chakra, shifts his focus slightly sideways. The world ripples, colors coming clear despite the fading light, and he watches the ebb and flow of chakra, caught up in humans and seals and wards, twined in the very trees. They still feel of Hashirama’s power, and Tobirama has to smile just a little. Orochimaru only deigned to bring him back, hoping for a scientific mind to help him with a new project just as much as he was applying himself to the challenge of resurrection, and as ever Hashirama’s absence aches. Still dead, even if it feels less permanent now that Tobirama knows there's something on the other side.

He watches the tide of chakra below, not for any greater purpose than the joy of observation, of feeling the peace. The war that killed him is long over, and though Konoha is recently come from another, it’s not the same. There's no endless wearing horror, months and years of fighting. No broken promises to Hashirama, that Tobirama would keep their village safe. Konoha might not have been at peace all these years, but there hasn’t been outright war for at least a decade, if what Hiruzen said was true. That may as well be the same thing in the shinobi world.

Because he’s paying attention, the quiet crunch of shinobi sandals over loose stone isn’t a surprise, and Tobirama doesn’t bother to stand or even turn his head. They approach carefully, pausing right at the edge of the carved face, and then pause.

“Well,” someone says lightly, though there's a note of tension underneath. “Someone’s not feeling very creative.”

Tobirama lets himself smirk, just faintly. That chakra is easy to recognize, after all—as bright as lightning and as sharp as a blade, held at a low, steady thrum that belies the depth of the reserves waiting. Chakra has always been a good metaphor for the person it inhabits, and Tobirama doesn’t think this is an exception.

“I thought it was quite creative, myself,” he says, and finally turns, arching a brow at the white-haired shinobi behind him. “Certainly just as much so as my last return.”

Because he’s looking for it, Tobirama catches the flicker of shock that darts across Kakashi’s face as the lack of Edo Tensei marks become apparent. He pauses, braced at the edge of the rock, and for a moment it looks like he doesn’t know whether to lunge or bow.

“Nidaime-sama,” he says finally, though dark eyes are still wary. Tobirama would think less of him if they weren’t. “You're looking…less dead.”

Tobirama snorts, turning to look out over Konoha again. If he looks a little more closely, he can pick out the raging bonfires kindled amidst all the rest—Naruto, Sakura, and Sasuke, he knows, and he’s glad to see they're all three still in the village. Orochimaru assured him they were, but it’s possible that Mito had a point all the times she accused him of being a suspicious bastard.

“I would like to say I feel less dead,” he says dryly, “but I do miss the invulnerability. Papercuts are an aggravation I could have done without.”

There's a long pause, and then a quiet breath of laughter. A moment later, Kakashi settles on the stone next to him, one leg pulled up to his chest and the other dangling over the edge. “I usually go for the Yondaime,” he says, tipping his head at the carved face near the end of the line.

Tobirama glances over, and can admit the view of the village is probably better from that angle. “A habit, I'm afraid. When I started coming up here my brother’s was the only face, and after they added mine—it felt strange, to use it as a seat.”

Kakashi makes a sound of amusement. “A point I hadn’t considered,” he says lightly, and then stops for a long moment. “Tsunade is going to be overjoyed.”

She’s one of the main reasons Tobirama came back, even beyond Sasuke and his duty to the village. Tobirama smiles a little, easily able to find her chakra signature amidst the chaos of colors below. Earth, he thinks. Like Hashirama, but steadier. His brother was the wild joy of new growth in spring; Tsunade is the warm earth in summer, steady and strong and kind.

“Family is what makes the village a home,” he says, and then, remembering Kakashi’s care for his three students, even Sasuke, he adds, “Whether they happen to be blood or not.”

Even in the low light he can see the slant of Kakashi’s smile through his mask, the way his eyes crinkle around the edges with warm humor. “I think we’ve all been reminded of that,” he says, and pushes to his feet in a smooth motion. His hand touches Tobirama’s shoulder, lingers for an instant in a point of heat against the cool night air, and then drops away. Camaraderie, easy and unhesitating, given freely. “Are you ready to come in and stop giving the Barrier Squads a heart attack?”

Tobirama sorts, but he rises as well, letting the rainbow burn of sensor’s vision slide away into the muted shades of dusk. “I practically knocked. They have no reason to be panicking.”

“None at all, of course,” Kakashi says, dust-dry. His own chakra whirls out, low and controlled in an obvious signal-flare, and he casts Tobirama a cheerfully mischievous smile before he leaps lightly off the edge of stone.

Well, Tobirama reflects, humor rising warm and steady in his chest. That was more or less an invitation, and he would have to be a fool to ignore it. Konoha is where he wants to be, after all, and one of its strongest jounin just dared him to follow.

He leaps, closes his eyes to the rush of the wind as he falls, and doesn’t care where he’s going to land.



The next time Kakashi deliberately seeks him out, it’s in the brightness of midday a few weeks later. Tobirama hasn’t quite settled into all of the differences between this Konoha and the one he remembers, but—it’s better, certainly. Tsunade helps.

Family helps. Tobirama wasn’t lying when he said those words.

He doesn’t bother to look up at the flicker of chakra in the tree above him, a subtle shunshin carefully tweaked to make it seem like spontaneous appearance in unexpected places. Given his specialty, Tobirama approves, and is also mildly impressed. Changing an utterly basic jutsu around just for the sake of dramatic entrances and surprise attacks is crafty and very clever.

“You can't be tired yet,” he tells his three students as he checks the wrapping around his knuckles. It hasn’t even started to come loose yet; clearly he isn’t trying hard enough.

Sprawled over a log with his face in the dirt, Naruto groans loudly, and it takes effort to suppress the twitch of a smile, though Tobirama manages. “You're old,” the boy complains, but he gets an elbow underneath himself and pushes up a little. “Why aren’t you even sweating?”

Sasuke, still on his feet even if he’s clinging to a tree, makes a sound of aggravated agreement. He lifts his head, mismatched eyes narrowed in offence, and demands, “Stop fucking smirking.”

“Chakra rationing,” Sakura accuses, eyes closed and head tipped back against the trunk of the tree. She’s a good ten feet above Sasuke's head, all but collapsed on a branch, and breathing hard. Given her endurance, Tobirama considers that something of an achievement already. “You keep shutting parts of your chakra away and making us think you have less than you do.”

“I'm not making you think anything,” Tobirama says coolly, arching a brow at her mostly to see the face she pulls. “Whatever conclusions you draw are your own business.”

Naruto groans, loud and unhappy, and lets himself drop back into the dirt.

Quiet chuckles from the tree above him make Tobirama lift his head, and Kakashi’s eyes crinkle as he waves a hand in greeting. “Torturing my cute little students?” he asks cheerfully. “I thought that was my job.”

Tobirama can't quite suppress his smirk. “Hardly torture,” he says, though the arch tone probably loses something to the amusement he can't entirely smother. “Sasuke requested a spar, and Naruto decided he wanted to know more about the Hiraishin. I believe Sakura was recruited when they felt overwhelmed.”

Sasuke huffs, but tellingly doesn’t deny it. “The Hiraishin is cheating,” he says flatly, and gives Tobirama a dark look. “You didn’t do this well against Madara.”

Tobirama rolls his eyes. “Madara was well-accustomed to fighting me,” he retorts, and it still stings more than a little, the way Madara so nearly destroyed him in the Fourth War. Expected, maybe, because Madara was always stronger, but—unpleasant. “If you're looking to build that skill, it will take the same twenty years it took him.”

A loud sound of despair comes from the direction of Naruto, and even Sakura looks put out. Sasuke looks from one to the other, pauses, and then says grumpily, “If we didn’t care about leveling the village we could take you easily.”

The point of the exercise is that they do care, but if Sasuke was the one to frame damaging the village as a negative Tobirama clearly isn’t going to point that out. “Power means nothing if you can't control it,” he offers instead. “Do you think my brother was so powerful just because he could level towns on a whim?”

Sasuke doesn’t say yes, but the agreement is clear in his eyes.

Tobirama shakes his head, remembering years upon years after Hashirama’s power manifested, tangles of Mokuton whenever he felt upset, crushing waves of wood and green when he’d been trying to create instead. He never quite feared himself, but—there were moments when Tobirama thought he would.

“Raw power means nothing,” he says quietly, and then, struck by a thought, he glances up again. “You would say the three of you together are more powerful than your teacher?” he asks mildly.

Kakashi tips his head, but it’s clear in his gaze that he already knows what Tobirama is thinking. Something like a challenge flickers through his eyes before they crinkle in a smile, and he glances back at his team expectantly.

There's a faintly embarrassed silence from all corners, and Sakura and Naruto exchange glances, looking abashed. Tobirama can practically hear their thoughts—one Tsunade-trained medic with monstrous strength, one jinchuuriki with full control of his abilities, one Uchiha with the Mangekyo and the Rinnegan, all against a jounin who doesn’t have the Sharingan anymore.

“Uh,” Naruto says sheepishly.

Betrayal,” Kakashi says, making all three of them wince. He leaps down, landing lightly beside Tobirama, and offers his students a cheerful wave. “I'm so insulted that my cute little students have no faith in me. I might not have your chakra levels, but I more than make up for it in experience and control,” he says, appropriately dramatic as he rounds on Tobirama. With his back to the three teenagers, he beams, and it’s bright and crafty and entirely agreeable. “Well, Nidaime-sama? What odds were you playing for?”

Sasuke makes a sound of deep offense, but before he can protest Tobirama raises a cool brow at Kakashi and asks, as though this wasn’t the plan all along, “You're so certain you can beat me, Hatake?”

“I’ll try anything once,” Kakashi says lightly, still smiling.

Tobirama has to hide a smile of his own. “We weren’t playing for odds, but seeing as you're so confident, perhaps we should change that.”

“Maybe we should,” Kakashi agrees.

There's a pause, and then Naruto sits up fully. “I thought you were training with us,” he says loudly, sounding offended.

“I'm sacrificing myself to give my adorable former genin a break,” Kakashi informs them, though he doesn’t look away from Tobirama. “How about a jutsu trade? The loser has to teach the winner something interesting.”

Tobirama blinks, suddenly far more invested in this game. Tsunade let him page through her Bingo Book, and Kakashi’s entry lists him as knowing a thousand jutsus. There's bound to be something new and intriguing in such a large repertoire. “Agreed,” he says without hesitation. “Limits?”

“Human endurance,” Kakashi says cheerfully, and lunges, low and fast.

Tobirama knows this game, though. He used variations of it with his team for years, honing reflexes and awareness, and the subtle shifts of body language are all the warning he needs. The Hiraishin is instantaneous, instinctive; the moment Kakashi starts to move he’s gone, the darkness between dimensions passing too fast to register. He reappears out of nothing beside Sakura's tree, kunai already flashing out to deflect another, and shifts his weight back sharply, sliding feet-first under the shunshin’s whirling leaves. In the same instant, Kakashi changes direction, following half a step behind, and it’s too close for comfort.

Another step, a jump, and Tobirama hits the branch of a tree, flips over as he leaps, and flicks a senbon straight into the clone dropping down from above. It bursts into smoke, obscuring his vision for half a second, and he ducks a grab, twists around a kick, and lashes out with a kunai only to hit a log instead.

Basic jutsu, he thinks, and it’s a little surprising, but Kakashi uses them deftly, and countering them is still a challenge. More so than Tobirama would have expected, really—in the war, facing Obito, he had fought like this, but he’d also had Kamui. For all the Sharingan’s potential, this is far more interesting.

A flicker of movement has Tobirama spinning, kunai flashing up to parry another, and the blow is hard enough to drive him back a step, muscles straining as he keeps Kakashi at bay. Across their blades, Kakashi smiles at him, cheerful and wicked, and asks, “Are you holding back, Nidaime-sama?”

“Only because you haven’t given me reason to try harder,” Tobirama retorts, and with a thought and a spark of chakra he’s gone, landing on the railing of the bridge outside the training ground. Half of his attention shifts sideways, the ripple of chakra-sense sliding out to color the world, and Kakashi feels like lightning on a mountaintop, clear and precise as his shunshin drops him on the end of the bridge. No leaves, no whirl of air, but the chakra pattern is unmistakable, and Tobirama drops low, sweeping one foot out as Kakashi flips over his head. He flicks a handful of senbon behind him, darts sideways, and drops down towards the river.

From above him, there's a curse, and a hand just skims Tobirama’s sandal as he twists, hands coming together. The river rises to meet him in a wave, dragon’s head shaping itself as it lifts, and the construct swallows Tobirama, roars and turns and tries to grab for Kakashi, but the man is gone in a second, and Tobirama can feel lightning spark from high above. It’s the same movement that killed him the first time around, when the Kinkaku Squad trapped him in a river, but Tobirama only ever makes a mistake once. He calls up a shadow clone, grabs for the Hiraishin seal he just landed at, and reappears on the bridge. A single hand gesture brings water roaring out of thin air, an open-mouthed dragon headed right for Kakashi, and Kakashi doesn’t even spare the time to curse before he substitutes himself, reappearing on the grassy back and immediately vanishing again.

Clever, Tobirama thinks, amused. Not quite enough, given his range as a sensor, especially in an area that’s mostly empty. He ducks the fist that flies at his face, kicks an ankle out from under Kakashi’s steady stance, dodges the kunai that stabs up at his throat. Kakashi clearly believes that potentially deadly blows are fair game in a spar, and Tobirama most definitely approves; it’s a level of respect, a belief that one’s opponent is good enough to counter, and Tobirama would be a little insulted by anything less.

The clone in front of him pops as he slams a kunai into its chest, but the earth behind him erupts, hands catching his feet and wrenching him down. Tobirama slams his chakra into a kunai, laying his seal on it, then flips it up in the same motion. Half a second to let it get enough height and he grabs for the seal, drags himself up to it and pulls Kakashi right along with him. Kakashi doesn’t even pause, ducks a kick to the face and drops, a fireball roaring up in his place.

It’s a strong attack, worthy of an Uchiha, and Tobirama doesn’t pause to feel the impact; Hiraishin whirls him away, spitting him out on the roof of the nearest building, and he turns to leap down—

Right in front of him, a stone disappears, and in its place Kakashi lunges, sudden enough that Tobirama barely has time to dodge. He can't even avoid the move entirely—Kakashi has a hand on his arm, and there's a clone behind Kakashi, whirling air condensing in his hand. Tobirama remembers Minato's move in the war, devastating and powerful, flips over backwards to put Kakashi between himself and the jutsu and reaches for another seal.

Chakra touches his, wraps around it, and when Tobirama lands on top of the Hokage Mansion Kakashi is right there with him. They leap apart, and Kakashi immediately drops into a ready crouch, flipping a kunai up and catching it deftly. He’s smiling, more than a little smug, and his eyes are bright.

“Impressive,” Tobirama says, studying him narrowly. “No one has ever tried that before.”

Kakashi chuckles. “Not when they were fighting against you,” he agrees, and—

Well. He must have remembered that Tobirama could carry anything connected with his chakra through the technique, because Tobirama used the ability several times in the war. But to use it as a sneak attack, quick and still ready when they landed, speaks of even better tactics than Tobirama had accounted for.

The promise of a new jutsu is rather less intriguing than the challenge of a fight, for once.

“You know,” Kakashi says lightly, and just by the look in his eyes Tobirama can tell he’s smirking. “If you keep staring at me like you’re trying to undress me, someone might get the wrong impression.”

Flirting. Not a tactic Tobirama would have defaulted to in order to catch someone off guard, but he assumes that it would work on plenty of people. Kakashi is a handsome man, after all, even with half of his face covered.

“Planning to change the nature of our wager?” he asks dryly, refusing to allow the implication to fluster him. “Truly diabolical.”

Kakashi has the nerve to level a pout at him, even as he brings one hand up in the beginning of a jutsu. “I don’t need a wager for that, how rude,” he protests.

Tobirama snorts. “The erotic literature says otherwise.”

“I’ll have you know the Sandaime appreciated the same romantic adventure novels that I do,” Kakashi tells him, tipping his nose up in offense, though he doesn’t quite let his gaze slide off of Tobirama.

Hiruzen did? Somehow, Tobirama is entirely unsurprised. “Saru was a man possessed of a great many things, but an excess of taste was not among them,” he drawls. “Clearly.”

The derision just makes Kakashi smile. “Well, if we’re changing wagers, maybe that should be mine,” he says, ever so faintly wicked. “You have to read the entire Icha Icha series if I win.”

Given that Tobirama prefers scientific texts to novels even under the best of circumstances, that sounds rather like an extended bout of torture to him. “Most people don’t care to share their pornography,” he counters.

“Maybe I'm trying to find out what gets you hot under the collar, Nidaime-sama.” Kakashi beams at him, perfectly innocent. Dark eyes flicker down over the simple shirt Tobirama is wearing, lingering on where his throat is exposed by the lack of his usual armor. Tobirama shed it as soon as he was back in the village—armor is meant for war, not home, after all. It’s certainly more revealing, though, which Tobirama had hardly considered before this moment.

For a long moment, Tobirama weighs his responses, studying Kakashi in return. Tempting to write it off as a joke, but—

He remembers the touch of Kakashi’s hand the night he returned. The pressure, the heat, the acceptance without hesitation. Maybe Kakashi only meant it as a moment between comrades, a silent welcome back that Tobirama hadn’t realized he needed, but Tobirama looks at him now and wonders what it would be like to try for more. The worst that could happen is a lack of interest, and by the way Kakashi’s gaze just slid across his skin, Tobirama is less than convinced that that will be a problem.

Tobirama doesn’t bother with hand signs; he drags water out of the air in the shape of needles, hurls them at Kakashi even as he twists aside. A kunai skims his cheek, but he reaches for the seal he laid on the back of Kakashi’s flak jacket, feels the flickering change of the Hiraishin working, and appears with a hand already braced on Kakashi’s spine. Kakashi jerks, twisting, but Tobirama is quicker, kicking him in the backs of the knees and knocking him forward as his legs buckle. They hit the ground hard, Tobirama twisting around Kakashi’s sharp elbows and quick jerks, and he gets a hand on the back of Kakashi’s neck, lays a kunai against his pulse, and—

Kakashi wrenches around, body coiling like a spring, and flips them both. Tobirama only just manages to keep his grip on his kunai as his back hits the roof, gets a leg up to knee Kakashi hard in the ribs and spits a needle of water right at his face. Ducking it, Kakashi twists, rolling with him, and Tobirama’s spent far too long wrestling with Hashirama not to know how to deal with being pinned by a heavier opponent. He slams an elbow at Kakashi’s nose, throws his weight into rolling them again, and brings his kunai up in a sweep that ends with the point just scraping the underside of Kakashi’s chin.

There's a breathless moment of stillness, Kakashi frozen with one hand on Tobirama’s shoulder and a knee between his legs, Tobirama with a hand on his left wrist to pin it to the roof and a drop of blood beading at the end of his kunai. For a second Tobirama waits, braced for another attack, another trick, but just as the tension starts to crest Kakashi blows out a breath, muscles going lax as he relaxes under Tobirama. 

“Neatly done,” Kakashi says, eyes crinkling in a smile. “Ah, but now you won't know the joys of Icha Icha’s carefully crafted romance and—”

“Thinly veiled fantasies featuring my grand-niece, written by her teammate?” Tobirama finishes dryly. “A true tragedy.” When Kakashi makes a face that’s probably intended to be offended, Tobirama rolls his eyes, sets the kunai aside, and leans forward, bracing his hand on the stone next to the wild white hair. He’s close enough to see the way Kakashi’s breath hitches, how dark eyes flicker from Tobirama’s down to his mouth and then back up again.

Hypothesis proven, Tobirama thinks, and it’s more than a little smug.

“Seeing as you were more than willing to change our wager halfway through—” Tobirama starts.

Before he can finish, the hand on his shoulder tightens, and they’re rolling again. Kakashi catches the automatic punch Tobirama throws, gets a hand around his wrist, and pulls Tobirama’s knuckles up to his covered mouth as his other hand splays on Tobirama’s chest. Dark grey eyes are perfectly steady as he leans over Tobirama, but Tobirama can feel the heat of his breath through the mask and it makes him want to shiver.

“You should tell me if I'm reading this wrong,” Kakashi says, and the words are mild even as he presses his lips to Tobirama’s curled fingers. A breath, warm and rough, and he glances up to hold Tobirama’s gaze. “I’d really rather not drown on top of the Hokage's house because I misread a cue.”

Tobirama breathes out a sound that’s almost a laugh, but it rasps in his throat and comes out inaudible. “The worst thing you could do right now is stop,” he says, and pushes up on one elbow to close the distance between them. He doesn’t have the patience to pull Kakashi’s mask down first, fits their lips together through the thin fabric, but it’s anything but chaste. Kakashi groans into his mouth, tugs him up and in and gets a hand free, and then a moment later the mask is gone. Callused fingers catch his face, and Tobirama leans into the touch, into the heat as their mouths slide together. He gets his hands under Kakashi’s flak jacket, to soft shirt and then smooth skin beneath, and Kakashi’s breath hitches. He pushes forward, topples them back to the ground to kiss Tobirama harder, and Tobirama arches into it, drags his fingers up Kakashi’s ribs until the bunching fabric thwarts him and he can't help an annoyed huff.

Against his mouth, Kakashi makes a sound of amusement, tips his head to deepen the kiss even more. A break, just for a moment, and then his lips are back, quick, biting kisses to leave Tobirama hungry for more. He groans impatiently, uses his grip to hitch Kakashi up, and feels that leg between his thighs slide higher, almost

Kakashi lifts his head with a groan, breaking the kiss and sitting back, tilting his face up like he’s trying to gather his composure. Tobirama wants to protest, because kissing, but he gets distracted by the line of Kakashi’s throat, the beat of the pulse he can see, the way his breath is coming hard and fast. It’s enough to test his composure, and he has to close his eyes for a moment, trying to remember how to think around the ebb and flow of overwhelming want.

“This,” Kakashi says, aiming for light but coming out ragged, “is probably not the best place to do this.”

A very, very large part of Tobirama wants to scoff and say fuck propriety and location. The more sensible part registers the fact that they're on the roof of Tsunade's home right now, and she sometimes ends up here for lunch if she has the time. There are probably better ways for her to realize he’s attracted to her top jounin than walking in on them.

“Agreed,” he says, less than pleased, and sits up. When he makes to slide out from under Kakashi, though, a hand catches his wrist, pulling him up onto his feet and then right into a kiss.

When they separate, Tobirama a good bit more breathless than he was a minute ago, Kakashi is smiling again. “It’s probably bad form not to at least have lunch first,” he says, but Tobirama has witnessed enough rants from the jounin with Mokuton and Kakashi’s own students that he knows better than to take that at face value.

“Does that mean you’ll pay, or are you going to stick me with the bill like everyone else you eat with?” he asks skeptically, and gets the world’s most innocent smile in return. With a loud huff, Tobirama rolls his eyes, but he doesn’t protest when Kakashi leans in to kiss him one more time.

“You did win,” Kakashi reminds him. “Shouldn’t you be virtuous and generous in your victory?”

Tobirama considers arguing, but—

Well. He already proved he’s faster than Kakashi. When the time to pay comes, he’ll just have to stage a distraction and steal his wallet. Underhanded tactics are entirely fair, as long as shinobi are the ones using them.

“I suppose I could be convinced,” he says, and doesn’t bother to hide a smirk.

For a long moment, Kakashi stares at him. Then, very obviously, he swallows and looks away. “Then I suppose I can put aside the indignity of being beaten by an old man,” he says airily. “Just this once.”

Tobirama eyes Kakashi, then the edge of the roof, and seriously contemplates pushing him over. He’s definitely going to steal his wallet now. “How fortunate for me that you're attracted to old men,” he says, as dry as dust. “I suppose I'm lucky you didn’t go for Madara as well.”

It’s entirely worth the pain of contemplating the image just for the way it makes Kakashi blanch.

“You're cruel to me,” Kakashi protests, but he lets their shoulders brush as he steps past, and just before he leaps he turns, casting a smile over his shoulder. It’s swift but warm, edged with just enough challenge to make it interesting. “Last one there has to share a jutsu?” he proposes, and before Tobirama even has time to answer he’s gone in a showy swirl of leaves.

Tobirama leaps after him, and this time he knows precisely where he’ll land.