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Akatsuki Babysitter's Club

Chapter Text

It all fell apart because of stupid Bakashi.

Obito expected Kakashi to give up, give into despair and he would truly see this world as the cruel and incurable hellhole it was.

But he… never expected this.

Kakashi insisted on taking care of Naruto. He pushed against everyone and everything and used every underhanded tactic and lingering sense of sentimentality from Sarutobi to hang on to the last shred of his family.

Despite everything, Kakashi was still hanging on. Barely. It was a thread that could snap any second, but the thread remained.

Obito could snap it, but.

Obito watched as Kakashi sat in front of the Memorial Stone again, cradling a sleeping baby, talking to ghosts. Any remaining rage in him all but collapsed at the sight.

"I brought Naruto with me today, Obito."

Obito couldn’t help himself; he stepped out from behind the tree.

"I just—I wish you were here. I wish you could be here with me."

He walked quietly closer.

"You'd do so much better than me. Well, no, I remember that story your cousin Shisui told me about when you dropped Itachi in a pond. So maybe not that much better."

Obito pulled off his mask.

"But it would be funny, right? We could both stumble our way through this."

"Yeah," Obito said, "it would be pretty funny."

Kakashi tensed all over. Naruto opened his eyes briefly but yawned and fell back asleep.

Kakashi, ever so careful, turned his head and looked up. "Obito...?"

"Hey, Bakashi."

"You're here," said Kakashi in a tone that sounded so devastatingly hopeful.

"I'm here," Obito answered as he sat down next to Kakashi. He felt his stomach kind of flip-flop. He tried to ignore it. “Sorry I’m late.”

“You’re really here?” Kakashi said again, reaching out with a tentative hand, as if afraid he would pass right through Obito.

Obito met him halfway. "I'm here," he responded, as Kakashi stared wondrously at their clasped hands, "...because you're shit at raising kids."

"I'm perfectly capable," Kakashi lied outright.

Obito snorted. "How many babysitting D-ranks did you ever complete? Have you ever held a baby even once before this?" he asked.

"I don't see how that's relevant," Kakashi said blithely, playing with Obito’s fingers.

Obito rolled his eyes. “Right. So I just thought I’d check in—”

Obito made to get up when Kakashi grabbed his wrist in a punishing grip. "Don't. Don't leave me again," he rasped.

Obito knew he was on the cusp of something irreversible. So many plans he made would be completely ruined. But maybe….

Maybe he could still play along in this dream for awhile.

(Maybe Rin would want this instead.)

"I won't leave, I promise."

Zetsu was going to be pissed.

----

“And I swore that little shit Shisui to secrecy—don’t laugh at me, Bakashi!”

----

Okay, so he may have given Kakashi shit for it, but Obito also had no fucking clue how to deal with babies. Kakashi and Obito were both barely adults and oh who was he kidding he was going to fuck this up.

However, if he was going to pretend this whole thing was real, at least he did have some Responsible Adults on his payroll he could bug for advice.

"Konan!" Obito hissed, beckoning her over to a particularly dark and secluded corner of their hideout.

Konan raised an elegant eyebrow. "Madara."

"It's—well, it’s Obito actually, but I need your help!"

Konan raised the other eyebrow. “...Obito?” she asked, her eyes then narrowing in mounting suspicion.

Obito waved a hand. “Ignore the name thing, and don’t tell Zetsu I told you that, but anyway what do you know about babies?”

"...Babies."

"Yeah. You're the only one I really considered asking."

"Because I'm a woman?" she asked, with an expression that could curdle blood.

"No, because you seemed like the only person in this organization with any sensible advice regarding anything. You think I'd ask Sasori? Hidan?"

"Hm.” She eased up on the blood curdling. “Point taken.”

----

Obito snuck Konan to Kakashi’s apartment the next day via Kamui. Nagato tagged along too, as best he could with all those chakra rods rammed in his back.  

They looked down at Naruto sleeping in his bassinet, cuddling a dog plush. Even Nagato would have cooed, if he were anyone else.

Konan tore her eyes away to critically assess the apartment. “It’s small, and not the safest place for a child, especially once he becomes mobile.” She picked up a few kunai from behind the couch with a raised brow to prove her point.   

Obito came to Kakashi’s defense. “He was working with what he had. I think he was treading water just keeping Naruto clothed and fed. He’s in high demand for missions, too. I honestly think he only had his dogs available to watch the kid before I stepped in,” Obito said as he shrugged.

“But you did step in.” She looked almost approving, like she started to believe that Obito wasn’t a completely heartless dick. Ironic.

Then she frowned again. "This will still be a challenge. Does your friend have any other relatives?"

“Kakashi’s on his own, but,” Obito tried not to hesitate in answering, "Jiraiya is the kid's godfather."

"Jiraiya," said Nagato flatly. Konan frowned harder.

"He's supposed to be, anyway,” Obito said. “He's off… somewhere.” Over in Wind Country if Obito’s spies were worth anything. “He's definitely not in Konoha."

“Of course he’s not,” said Nagato, the barest hint of bitter.

Konan looked back at Naruto for a long moment. He sneezed in his sleep. She tilted her head and said, "I could be his godfather."

Whatever Obito expected her to say, that was not it. "I, well, okay? There's also still the option of godmother—"

"I'm the godfather now," said Konan.

----

It turned out the Paths of Pein made for great baby proofers, who knew. And Konan was right, the place was a bit of a deathtrap. Kakashi probably got away with raising Naruto as a single parent solely because the kid was the happiest and chillest baby ever. Obito was fairly sure babies weren’t supposed to be this easy-going, but hey, he wasn’t going to complain.

He should have been more suspicious.

On the day everything almost went to hell, Naruto was decidedly Not Happy. It was made worse that apparently the Akatsuki were the worst gossips and Hidan and Sasori of all people wanted to help out with the baby. Or at least see if the rumors were true.

Naruto kept getting fussy until he was full-blown crying. Obito tried desperately to figure if he’d somehow broken Naruto as the boy shrieked non-stop in his ear.

Sasori didn’t flinch but was holding the toy he was whittling in a death grip.

“What in the fuck is his problem?” Hidan hollered over the noise, covering his ears.

“Sometimes babies are just unhappy.” Konan said, somehow not wincing.

“Or it’s colic,” Nagato added.

“Is this some sort of test, Rin?” Obito asked himself as Naruto cried and cried. Obito probably did something to deserve this. Then he saw the puffy gum where the kid’s first canine would come in. “Shit.”

Konan hunted around for a teething ring while Obito let Naruto gnaw on his weird plant matter fingers. Sasori had locked himself in a cabinet ages ago to avoid the noise.

Naruto finally, finally fell asleep in Obito’s arms, but threatened to wake up whenever Obito tried to lower him into his crib. Obito resigned himself to holding a baby for the next five hours.

This was definitely a test from Rin.

They gathered back at the kitchen table. Nagato slumped tiredly over in his wheelchair. "The world will know true pain of colic," he mumbled.

“He’s just teething, Nagato.”

Nagato slumped further. “Whatever.”

“Yahiko would laugh if he could see us now.” said Konan, with a bit of a yawn, but the barest smile was tugging at the corner of her lips. Nagato smiled back.

Hidan rubbed the side of his head. “Fuck that kid can yowl, makes my goddamn ears bleed,” he said with a whisper, because even he wasn't masochistic enough to wake Naruto back up. Then his eyes lit up, “Bleeding ears… Hey, I could take him with me in a fight and—”

“No, bad,” Konan pulled a roll of paper off herself and bopped Hidan with it. “You know the first rule.”

“First rule? What first rule?” asked Obito.

No one answered him.

----

But one averted disaster led to another. Naruto was only asleep for thirty minutes when Obito heard the front window unlatch. Kakashi was home way too early. What the hell?

Even worse, Naruto chose that moment to wake up again and start to fuss. Obito whipped his head around and hissed, "Everybody hide!" as he futility tried to keep Naruto from crying again.

Sasori and Konan ducked under the table. Nagato wheeled himself behind the far side of the fridge.

Hidan hid behind the curtain.

Obito wanted to put his head in his hands.

Kakashi stalked in and made grabby hands for Naruto. Naruto dropped his sleepy scowl and his whole face lit up. He squealed in delight and wriggled in Obito's arms.

"Glad to be home?" Obito asked, trying to sound casual as he handed Naruto over.

"Yes," Kakashi sighed as he held the baby close and nuzzled him. Naruto giggled and pawed a bit at Kakashi's hair.

Kakashi didn't bother to look up from Naruto when he said, "Obito, who are these people in my kitchen?"

"Uhhh, what people?" Obito lied, wide eyed.

Kakashi looked at the lumpy curtain and back to Obito, deeply unimpressed.

Obito thought quickly. "They're part of a... club... for babysitters."

‘Nice save,’ Obito thought.

"A club," said Kakashi, flat.

"Yep. A... babysitter's club."

"I see," said Kakashi, who clearly didn't see at all.

"Yeah, the clouds on the coats are supposed to be a soothing visual for kids?" Obito said, as he decided to dig himself deeper.

"In red and black."

"Okay, the color scheme could maybe stand to be changed," Obito conceded. He heard Konan snort from underneath the table.

He glanced briefly at Hidan, who was now shaking his shoulders, and the entire curtain, laughing at Obito. What an asshole.

----

Introducing the Definitely-Not-Akatsuki went better than expected.

"We've been helping Obito with learning how to care for a child,” said Konan.

"I made the toys," said Sasori, holding up cheerful wood blocks and... an unsettling fox marionette.

"I assisted in baby-proofing your home; don’t ask me how," said Nagato.

“I was gonna make some bitchin’ dinners you can reheat so you don’t have to cook.”

They all turned and stared at Hidan.

Hidan hunched up his shoulders, defensive. “Fucking what? Babies take an assload of work and I’m not a shitty cook! That’s Kakuzu!”

----

With that settled, Obito could assure Kakashi that Naruto was in good hands while he worked. And really, Obito didn’t mind taking care of Naruto while Kakashi was out on missions.

But. The missions.

Obito did not like Kakashi in ANBU. He hated every time Kakashi put on that porcelain mask and jumped out the window. The irrational, terrified part of Obito thought it might be the last time he ever saw Kakashi again, the last time he could stare at every inch of his stupid masked face, the same paralyzing fear that gripped Obito in his darkest and most silent moments stuck in that cave.

So maybe he asked Nagato or Konan or somebody to watch Naruto for a bit while he followed Kakashi once. Or five times.

And he maybe took out a few enemies for Kakashi. Just a few.

Obito thought he was rather sneaky about it until Kakashi cornered him one evening. Obito was busy jangling a ring of dull painted shuriken above Naruto when he heard Kakashi snap his book closed.

“Obito.”

“Hm?”

“I’ve got an interesting story for you.”

“Yeah?”

“On my last few missions, I’ve had the strangest feeling someone was following me. This, coupled with a few mysterious enemy deaths that my team were not responsible for, I have to wonder: am I being paranoid or is something going on?”

“Huh, wow, that is weird,” Obito lied.

“Yes. So imagine my surprise with my latest mission when I not only met no resistance whatsoever, but that my target was already decapitated before I arrived, exactly as my mission brief ordered it.”

“Um.” Maybe if Obito jangled the shuriken harder he could pretend he couldn’t hear this.

And that I also happened to catch a scent that new chocolate you’re fond of, currently local only to Konoha.”

Shit.

Kakashi grabbed Obito’s wrist, stilling the shuriken. “What do you think you’re doing?”

“Visual stimulation is important for infant—”

“You know what I mean. Why are you interfering in my missions.” Kakashi actually looked angry.

“Interfering? What, no, I’m, uh—”

“Do you think I’m that weak?” Kakashi said lowly as his hand trembled. “Is… is this about Ri—”

“No!” No no no oh no Obito was not going there. Shit, this wasn’t what Obito meant at all. He thought about making a break for it to Kamui but blurted out, “I just don’t want you to.”

“Don’t want me to what?”

“Be in ANBU.” Not where that creep Danzō was nearby, the skulking prick. Not where Kakashi would get the worst sort of suicidal missions. Not when Obito could lose him.

“How would I support Naruto then? By becoming a farmer?”

Obito almost wanted to say yes, but that would be insulting to Kakashi’s skill, his talents and finesse as a fighter and hunter. Obito could watch Kakashi kill people all day.

Kakashi continued, “We’re shinobi. I’m a jounin. My missions will almost always be dangerous no matter where I am.”

“I just—” Obito looked away. “I wanted to be there. To be sure you come back.”

“Obito,” Kakashi said, his gaze softening, “I’ve got your eye, haven’t I?”

Obito looked up. “Yeah?”

Kakashi cupped his scarred cheek. “Then you’ll always be there with me.”

Oh.

Kakashi patted Obito’s shoulders. “Now stop following me on my missions. You’re making my reports a nightmare to write.” He turned to tickle the sides of a laughing Naruto before picking him up. “Is it time for dinner, pup? I think it is.”

Obito watched Kakashi saunter off. He felt all squirmy and weird, with the echo of Kakashi’s hand on his cheek. Actually, his whole face felt kinda hot and something strange in his chest somersaulted and—

Oh. Oh no.

----

So, Kakashi was still in ANBU. Obito still had a strong opinion about it. Their argument, whenever it flared up, seemed to run in circles.

"I have to prove to the Council that I'm able to support Naruto financially," was always Kakashi's tired excuse.

'I run a terrorist organization that rakes in millions; I could support you and Naruto anywhere for literally forever,' Obito always bit back from saying.

He didn't think Kakashi would exactly appreciate the "terrorist" part.

His thoughts would also then veer dangerously close to a househusband fantasy and then Kakashi in nothing but a kitchen apron. Obito would quickly change the subject.

----

In other news, Kakashi was also made an honorary member of the shinobi mom club. He found out when Inuzuka Tsume literally dragged him to his first meeting.

Kakashi said he'd tolerate it; at least they didn't treat Naruto like a pariah.

And Obito wasn't stalking him again, okay; he was just making sure Kakashi was doing alright and nobody would give him a hard time.

Tsume beat him to it. "Anyone gives you trouble, kid, and I'll tear out their throats." She smiled with all her teeth.

But it was Uchiha Mikoto who stepped in as Kakashi's biggest supporter; she offered advice, encouragement and the promise of future playdates with her son, Sasuke.

"It's what Kushina would've wanted," she said, bittersweet.

Obito's not-dead heart clenched, for some weird reason. He ruthlessly crushed it.

The other women shared shinobi gossip and laughed about the latest goings-on and bets in Konoha. Kakashi didn't say much, but nobody minded that, and Obito watched his best friend’s shoulders hunch a little less.

"I do hope you keep coming to the meetings. This is a place to decompress, swap tips, and, for a lot of us, to take a break from our significant others," Mikoto said with a wink. She then glanced up out the window.

To stare directly at Obito.

Kakashi started to go to more meetings and Obito wisely stayed home.

----

"Have you considered a baby shower," said Kakuzu as he set down his pen.

"I don't think you can do a baby shower when the baby's already six months old," said Obito, tired. Their ledger this month was a mess.

"A house warming, then. Free gifts, and you save money."

"What house? Are you going to keep bringing this up until I give in?" asked Obito.

"No."

Obito narrowed his eyes at him. "You already sent out invitations."

"...Yes."

Obito did not slam his head against the table, but he was sorely tempted.

Fine. Kakashi and Naruto could use a bigger apartment, anyway.

----

“Pay attention,” Konan snapped. “Before we leave to get ready for the party, let’s make this perfectly clear: what is the first rule?”

“Oh!” Kisame raised his hand. "The first rule is not to mess with the boss's boyfriend and kid."

"The boss's what?" Obito did not shriek.

Konan ignored him. “And the second?”

“Don’t tell Zetsu,” everyone chorused.

----

The baby-shower/housewarming was going... okay. Obito was on edge with this many missing-nin smuggled into their new three bedroom apartment. At least nobody broke any furniture yet; everyone was too busy taking turns cooing over how cute Naruto was.

Naruto eventually started to fuss, and Kakashi said, "I'll go feed him and lay him down for a nap. I'll be back in a bit."  

About five minutes later, Obito spotted—

"Who invited Orochimaru?!" Obito hissed to his subordinates.

Sasori was uncomprehending. "He's a member of Akatsuki."

"He promised to bring a housewarming gift when he sent his RSVP," Kakuzu added.

"Okay but helping him of all people sneak into Konoha?" Obito took a deep breath. "Just. Don't let Kakashi see him, seriously."

Orochimaru took that moment to zero in on Obito. He stared at Obito, unblinking. He was also holding a houseplant.

"You have had the nine-tails jinchuuriki in your possession. This whole time,” he said without preamble.

"First of all, his name is Naruto. And second of all, he had nobody to care for him!” Obito said without a hint of irony. “Jiraiya was supposed to, but—”

" Jiraiya?" Orochimaru hissed. "That moron was trusted to take care of an infant?”

"Well, he sure as shit wasn't here when Naruto needed him!"

"Exactly," said Orochimaru, nodding, "exactly; that idiot is never around when you actually need him."

There was definitely a story behind that, and Obito wasn't sure if he wanted to know it.

"We replaced him. Well," Obito amended, "Konan is officially the godfather."

"That is... sensible." The Snake Sannin paused for a moment, and then asked, "May I be the godmother?"

An eavesdropping Kakuzu gasped in outrage, “I wanted to be godmother!”

An argument broke out. Obito worried about all of their new potted plants becoming potential casualties.

Kakashi's voice carried from the hallway. "Maa, what's the fuss? You'll wake Naruto from his nap."

Obito hastily shoved Orochimaru under a table seconds before Kakashi walked in. Everyone else froze, and Kakashi peered around, suspicious. "What's going on?"

Everyone looked at each other. Nagato spoke up, "We realized you haven't chosen a godmother for Naruto, and now everyone wishes to stake a claim."

Kakashi shrugged. "Why not let everyone be a godmother? There's no rule that there has to be just one."

They all muttered grudging agreements to that.

"...Wait a fucking minute," Hidan said, "if anybody can be a godmother then I also wanna be a godfa—"

"No," Konan declared, "there can be only one godfather." Hearing a few meager protests, she added, "Do you care to fight me for the title?"

No one tried.

----

“Obito, may I speak with you for a moment?” Nagato asked in the aftermath of the party, with most of the guests gone. Obito looked up from where he was picking up pieces of pottery—he was impressed that only a single houseplant was smashed—and nodded.

They shoved themselves into a far corner of the living room. “As you know,” Nagato began, “the Akatsuki has become... distracted with indulging in your domestic life. However, our pursuit of peace should remain at the forefront.”  

Obito remained silent. If Nagato dared suggest anything against Kakashi or Naruto, Obito was going to rip out Nagato’s eyeballs and—

“That said, some of my ideals…” He trailed off as he glanced over at Konan across the room, bouncing Naruto on her hip as she chatted with Kakashi. “Well. With this indulgence, it may be that the path to my goals has changed.”  

Oh.

“I also have a desire to alleviate some of my personal situation,” Nagato said as he tipped his chin to gesture to all of himself.

Hoo boy.

“Yes,” said Nagato, seeing the slight grimace on Obito’s face. “I had resigned myself to the use of the Paths for mobility, but perhaps someone such as... Tsunade of the Senju could help change that.”

Fuck.

Tsunade wouldn’t be too difficult to track down. Convincing her to come to Konoha was another story altogether.

----

Obito followed the trail of increasingly agitated gambling den owners to find Tsunade wasted in a seedy bar.

“What in the fuck do you want?” Tsunade grumbled, facedown on a suspiciously sticky bartop. “Go the fuck away.”  

“Tsunade,” Obito began, “I need you to come back to Konoha—”

Fuck no,” she growled, lifting her head to glare at Obito.

Just to visit Hatake Kakashi. He’s got a baby, and—.”

Hatake? Sakumo’s kid had a kid? He’s what now, twelve?”

“Sixteen, actually, and would you listen? The baby is Naruto. Uzumaki Naruto.”

Tsunade stilled. “...An Uzumaki?”

“Yes, and for months, Kakashi had no one else to help. He could use all the family he could get.”

“Oh come on,” Tsunade snorted, “it can’t possibly be that no one else in that village can help.”

“Your sensei Sarutobi was going to simply declare him an orphan. Naruto’s parents had named Jiraiya as godfather, but—”

Tsunade choked on her drink. “Jiraiya? Seriously ?” she coughed out. “And the dumbass up and ran off instead, is that right?” She looked down at her drink, swirling it. “I guess I could say the same for myself,” she said to herself bitterly, getting lost in thought and old ghosts.

Obito held his breath, waiting for her to come back.

After a few minutes, her gaze cleared. She then made a face. “If this is a bullshit ploy to make me Hokage—”

“Ugh, no. Fuck no. I don’t even care if you stay long. I just want you to visit Kakashi and Naruto… and also do a consultation for a colleague of mine.”

“A consultation,” said Tsunade, skeptical.

“A paid consultation. Just a physical therapy recommendation,” said Obito, massively underselling Nagato’s outrageous health problems.

“...No blood?” Tsunade asked.

“No blood.” Probably.

Obito watched as she considered the pros and cons of visiting Konoha for a cute baby relative and a paid gig. He decided to sweeten the deal. Kakuzu would try to strangle him for this, but: “We could also pay off all your debt—”

“Done,” Tsunade interrupted and stood up, shockingly steady on her feet. “I’ll get Shizune and my bags. When do we leave?”

----

“That’s a neat trick,” said Tsunade as Obito dropped her and Shizune through to his living room via Kamui. She turned to spot a wary Kakashi peering out from the kitchen. “Alright, Hatake, where’s the kid?”

“Tsunade-sama,” said Kakashi, straightening from his defensive stance in surprise. “What are you doing here?”

“Just visiting. But I’ve got to be there for family, haven’t I?” she asked with a self-deprecating smile.

As they walked towards the nursery, Kakashi looked over at Obito curiously. Obito gave him a discreet thumbs-up.

Tsunade looked Naruto over as Shizune observed. “He seems healthy, within the right weight, but you two have been taking him to doctor’s visits, right?”

Obito kind of forgot about the medical appointments. He turned to Kakashi.

Kakashi’s answer was… enlightening. “Sort of. Tsume found another Inuzuka to help.”

“Inuzuka? A vet?”

“None of the doctors were interested in seeing Naruto when I first adopted him, so…” Kakashi hung his his head, appearing all the world like a kicked puppy. Obito wondered how much he was playing it up, the devious little shit. Considering the bone-chilling look on Tsunade’s face, it worked.

Naruto gained another godmother.

----

Tsunade may have kicked in a load-bearing wall in her rampage, but Konoha’s hospital now had a new medical director, too.

----

When Tsunade made the house call to see Nagato a week later, they could all hear Tsunade’s shriek through the door: “What the fuck did you do?”

Then it was quiet. Konan looked ready to snap in worried tension. Even Shizune looked unnerved by the quiet. After another tense fifteen minutes, Tsunade opened the door and allowed Nagato to wheel out to the waiting eavesdroppers.  

“So?” asked Obito. Konan looked on, anxious.

“This is more than a consultation, you little shit,” Tsunade seethed. “You’re fucking lucky I’m choosing to stick around.”

“But can you help him?” Konan asked, pursing her lips in worry.

Tsunade looked at Konan with a slightly more sympathetic expression. “Well, it will take extensive work to undo the physical damage he’s done. It’s likely he’ll never be fully healed but I’ll do what I can. The only reason he isn’t dead already is because he’s an Uzumaki.”

“I’m a what,” said Nagato.

----

Nagato earned a title upgrade from Godmother to Uncle, to his delight.

Hidan asked, “Can I also be an—”

“No,” said Nagato and Konan at the same time.

“Son of a bitch!” Hidan bellowed as he kicked over a trash can.

Chapter Text

Another week passed and Jiraiya was outside the apartment.

Jiraiya, who then barged in on one of Nagato’s physical therapy sessions.

Jiraiya, who definitely saw their Akatsuki coats slung over the side of the couch.

Jiraiya, who immediately put two and two together and identified his former, presumed dead, students as wanted terrorists.

Nagato tensed, ready to strike. Konan erupted in a flurry of paper, her face blank but death in her eyes. Obito let his Sharingan whirl to life with a sigh. At least Naruto was safe in the nursery. He idly hoped they wouldn’t wake Kakashi from his after-mission nap. Or get blood on their new carpet.

But before anyone could murder each other, Tsunade put Jiraiya in a headlock.

“You idiot,” she chided, “don’t you know how to knock?”

“Hime, they’re—”

“Yes, I see you’ve met the Babysitter’s Club,” she said, sardonic.

“These are the Akatsuki. They’re terrorists,” Jiraiya stressed.

Tsunade stared him down, then said with a mocking smirk, “Huh, that’s odd. They seem like babysitters to me!”

Babysitters? Hime, please, Naruto could be in danger—”

Tsunade picked up Jiraiya one-handed. “Naruto? You and me,” she hissed, “are going to talk about Naruto.” She bodily dragged Jiraiya through the front door and it slammed behind her.

Obito watched Tsunade stomp down the street and then surveyed the paper all over the floor. He’d just… let Konan take her time to collect herself.

“Obito? I heard shouting.” Kakashi wandered sleepily out, a flak jacket thrown over his bed clothes and a tanto in his hand.

“It’s okay,” Obito said, “Jiraiya just left.”

“Ah,” said Kakashi, blinking wider awake. “Jiraiya was here? Really?”

“I’m not sure why he bothered to show up now, but we weren’t what he expected. He was… quite surprised to see us here,” said Konan thinly. Nagato’s face was tight as he slowly returned from the nursery with Naruto in his arms.

“I’m surprised he even showed his stupid face here,” Obito grumbled.

“It’s peculiar.” Kakashi shuffled to the cabinet to grab a few mugs for tea. “Though, I suppose it would be a shock for him to come face-to-face with people he presumed dead. Unless he was surprised by something else?”

Obito tried not to sweat. “I don’t know what his problem is. There’s nothing wrong with a couple of not-dead babysitters running a club!”

Kakashi’s hand paused for the barest fraction before he sat down a dog-patterned mug on the counter. “...Of course there isn’t.”

Obito was glad Kakashi agreed.

----

Barely twenty minutes passed when Jiraiya was at the door again, with a wild look in his eyes and a shoeprint denting his face. “Hime wasn’t serious, right? A vet?”

Nagato ignored him. Konan just stared at him. Obito opened his mouth but Kakashi just shook his head and beckoned them all to the kitchen table.

Jiraiya sat there, dazed. “I—it was that bad? Shit, kid, shit.”

Kakashi raised a lazy eyebrow as he sipped his tea through his mask. “A succinct summary of the first four months, yes.”

“And you,” he looked at his former students, “you had more than enough reason to do nothing, but you’re here. And I…”

They remained silent, watching him.

“And I left!” Jiraiya put his face in his hands. “What would Minato say to me? Kushina?”

Kakashi’s grip on his mug tightened. Obito stared at the fascinating wood grain of the table.

“I have to change. I need to be a godfather that kid deserves.”

“Maa, that would be nice,” said Kakashi, “but you’re not the godfather anymore.”

Jiraiya looked up. “What?”

Kakashi hummed. “The position’s been refilled. You could be a godmother instead.”

Refilled ? Who the hell is it now?” Jiraiya demanded.

“I am,” said Konan, smiling. It wasn’t a nice smile.

Jiraiya blanched and turned back to Kakashi with a nervous grin. “So... what was that you said about being a godmother?”’

----

True to his word, Jiraiya stuck around, and even kept his mouth shut about the “Babysitter’s Club.”

Though that was tested when a certain someone made a visit during one of Tsunade’s house calls.

“Thanks for fitting Naruto into your schedule,” said Obito. “I suppose he could have bumped his head pretty hard.”

Naruto had rolled himself off a cushion and bonked his head on the floor. Jiraiya, currently in time-out in the bathroom for irritating Tsunade with his fretting, was the only one who really panicked. He actually ran full tilt across the village to find her.

Tsunade flapped a hand. “Better safe than sorry. I’ve got people covering for me. I might have another late appointment stop by here anyway.”

On that cue, they could hear someone enter through a secret door of the apartment.

“We’re back here!” Tsunade called out.

Orochimaru’s voice carried through the hallway as he approached. “Really, Tsunade, I have snakes and an impeccable home; I don’t understand how you could suggest Kabuto would get fleas of all things—”

“Then don’t ask me to try and diagnose your damn kid over a summons message,” she snapped back.

Jiraiya slammed open the bathroom door. “Wha—Teme!?”

Orochimaru smirked. “Oh, the idiot has finally arrived. How rude of you all to leave that out of your missives.”

Tsunade smiled back, malicious. “I know how much you love surprises, Oro.”

“What are you doing here? Are you stealing children now, too?” Jiraiya accused.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” said Orochimaru, hiding a solemn boy behind his back.

“This asshole’s just getting a check-up for the brat,” said Tsunade. “Get off his back.”

“You too, Hime?”

“Me too, what, Jiraiya? That I’m going to do a medical check for a child? You gonna tattle to Sensei?”

Jiraiya actually looked to Obito for help, which was just a poor choice on his part. “You’re really going to let him stay here?”

“Why not?” said Orochimaru, “I do have reason to visit Naruto, after all.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?” Jiraiya said, dangerously low. “If you think you’re going to experiment—”

Enough, both of you,” Tsunade snapped, annoyed. “Or do I need to prescribe more kicks to the face?”

Orochimaru laughed lightly. “It’s just cute that he finally cares, Tsunade,” he said, conversational.

Obito rolled his eyes as they continued to snipe at each other. “Can you believe they’re all supposed to be adults in their fifties?” he whispered conspiratorially to the kids. Kabuto covered his mouth with a hand, trying not to smile. Naruto grinned and shoved his fist in his mouth.

Obito then called out, “Raise your hand if you’re Naruto’s godmother.”

The Sannin all raised their hands.

“Well, isn’t this awkward,” Orochimaru said with a wicked smirk.

‘You said I was the godmother,’’ Jiraiya said to Obito, sounding betrayed.

“You’re a godmother, yes. There’s nearly a dozen at this point,” said Obito.

“But I got to be godmother first,” Orochimaru preened.

“At least I got to be godmother before Jiraiya,” Tsunade countered.

“What the hell! Was everyone godmother before me?” Jiraiya complained.

“Ye~es,” Tsunade and Orochimaru sing-songed together.

Obito shared another pointed look with Kabuto and the little boy finally laughed.

----

Obito forgot about Zetsu long enough for it to bite him in the ass.

Akatsuki meetings had turned remarkably awkward, considering the new rule to not tell Zetsu about what Obito was up to, which had since devolved into not telling Zetsu anything.

After one aggressively pointless meeting—Hidan managed to waste an impressive three hours with a Jashinism seminar—where Obito lurked in the periphery, Obito found Zetsu looming over him.

“What do you think you’re doing?” Zetsu asked.

“Well, I was thinking about whether to reorganize my weapons by size or color—”

“No, What have you told them?” Zetsu pressed.

“What have I told them?” Sheesh, Zetsu was being so pushy.

“They know something. What have you revealed?”

“Nothing much really? Nothing important.” His name and life weren’t that important, right? “Everything’s fine.” Obito’s chest started to itch.

“Enough with your obtuse act! What is this? Are you abandoning our plan, what we’ve worked so hard for?”

“Of course not. I’m still doing the plan!” Kind of. Not really. Obito had maybe actively avoided thinking about it for the past three months. Did he still want to do it? He thought he did, that he’d always eventually achieve that goal, but then… ever since the Memorial Stone...

“You’ve done nothing! You think I wouldn’t find out? Is this what you want? You want to let her down?”

Obito blinked.

What would Rin want?

“Well, she’d probably think—” In a flash, Obito slashed a knife out from the palm of his hand to behead Zetsu. Or he would have, if his entire body hadn’t seized up, frozen, his heart beating wildly out of his chest.

His heart with a certain seal on it.

Oh, dammit.

Zetsu tsked. “Such a lack of loyalty. It breaks my heart. Or yours, actually,” he said as he pressed a hand to Obito’s chest with a flare of chakra.

Obito collapsed in a heap, his heart sputtering out and unable to move, not able to do a damn thing about it. “Fucking—shit—”

“Boss!” Apparently they weren’t as isolated as Zetsu thought. Kisame and ran over to Obito, with Nagato not far behind. Kisame took a swing at Zetsu, who pulled back and skittered away into the depths of the cave. “Boss! What did he do?”

Obito pointed at his heart with a gasp, and tried to pantomime hitting it as his vision started to black out.

But Kisame must be a master at charades, because he just said, "Got it," and reared back his fist.

Obito gurgled.

“Wait,” said Nagato, “is that really the best way to—”

"This'll hurt," Kisame said, and even sounded a little sorry about it.

Because it did hurt.

It hurt a lot.

----

"Obito.”

He heard someone say his name above him.

“Obito.”

Hey, he knew that voice. He knew that voice way too well.

Oh, shit. Obito might have died.

He sat up slowly, to take in the image of his friend, his first love, the person he was doing all of this for. "Rin?"

"Yes, it's me." Rin smiled... and punched Obito square in the face.

"Kushina says hello," she said as she flexed her hand.

"Augh," Obito replied. He gingerly touched his throbbing nose. "I—ow, I deserved that," he said.

"I don't disagree. I’ve been watching you. What were you thinking, Obito?" Rin frowned.

What was Obito always thinking? Always seeing when he shut his eyes? "I watched you die, watched Kakashi forced to kill you. I would’ve given anything to see you again, in a world where you all wouldn’t have to suffer."

"But it wouldn't truly be us. It wouldn’t be real,” Rin stressed, “you know it wouldn't."

Obito stayed silent. Hearing it from Rin… he just didn’t have it in him to deny it anymore.

She continued, “Besides, you were lied to by Zetsu, Obito. The plan wouldn't save anything. It would’ve just killed everyone on the planet.”  

Ah. Yikes.

“Would you want that to happen? There’s suffering, yes, but there are still so many good things in that world, Obito. Moments worth fighting for. People worth staying for.”

Obito couldn’t help but picture Kakashi and Naruto. Naruto laughing, trying to babble his first words. Kakashi smiling softly, looking at Obito sometimes like he could quite believe he was real, like he was something precious.  

Rin smiled. “See? Deep down, you already know that.”

Obito didn’t deserve her smile. He looked down at his hands. "I'm so sorry, Rin."

Her smile turned sad. "At least there's that. It'll be okay. Just... be there for Kakashi and Naruto. Do some good in the world. Go out and be better." She then pinned Obito with a glare, "And don't you dare come back here early!"

Obito winced and nodded, emphatic. "Don’t worry. I'll plan on being late this time." He then paused, recalling what Rin said earlier. "Wait, you’ve been watching me the whole time? Kakashi too? What did you hope to see?" he jokingly leered.

"Obito!" She laughed, startled, and smacked him lightly on the arm. “Don’t be weird! Now, let’s give Nagato a helping hand to get you out of here,” she said as her fingers glowed green.

Obito finally smiled back. He could do this. He could fix everything for Kakashi and Naruto and Rin.

Even if he had to burn the world down and build it back up in a whole new way.

----

"Ow," hissed Obito when he returned to the land of the living, feeling his chest literally knit itself back together. Gross.

Kisame leaned over him and cocked his head to the side. "Oh, you're alive again," he said, cheerful as ever. Nagato gave a shaky smile from where he leaned on Kisame, his eyes closed from the stress of the Rinnegan.

"Yes. And—thank you both for your help," Obito wheezed, as he sat upright.

Kisame pulled him to his feet. "Never been thanked for punching a hole through someone's chest before."

"Life's full of surprises," Obito deadpanned.

Kisame chuckled a little. "Seems so." Then he said without preamble, "Zetsu escaped."

Fuck. "Fuck."

“What was he trying to kill you for, anyway?”

“He was... he was lying about the whole thing, Kisame,” said Obito, omitting the fact his dead friend had to tell him so.

Kisame’s expression hardened.

Nagato coughed. “So, it seems we were all not on the same page with our priorities to the Akatsuki.”   

Obito and Kisame looked at each other.

“But at the very least,” Nagato carried on, “now we know where that thing’s priorities truly lie: not with us.”

"Yeah. And he probably didn't get far. But you might want to check in on your boyfriend just in case," Kisame added.

"Kakashi is not my boyfriend," Obito automatically corrected.

"Oh, right. You might want to check in on your best friend you're obviously in love with," Kisame amended. Nagato tried not to smile.

Obito sighed as hard as he could but didn't deny it. He was too worried about his best friend that he was obviously, painfully, in love with.

----

"Where were you?" Kakashi rushed over and grabbed Obito the moment he phased into the apartment. “Your friends kept checking in on me; did something happen?”

“Kakashi!” Obito said with relief. “You and Naruto are okay?”

"Are you? You didn’t tell me where you were going."

“Oh, you know, just had to go deal with a thing,” and kind of died in the process, but whatever.

“What do you mean ‘kind of died ?’” Kakashi said, nearly hysteric.

Shit, he’d said that out loud. "Just temporarily! It turned out fine."

Kakashi’s grip tightened. “What if it wasn’t? You could’ve been dead for good and you’d be gone again and I wouldn't be able to—" Kakashi cut himself off.

"Wouldn't be able to...?" Obito asked, totally lost.

"I—" Kakashi paused. Then, with a frustrated snarl, he yanked down his mask and pressed his lips against Obito's.

Oh. Oh.

Obito tilted his head and let Kakashi deepen the kiss. Obito had never kissed anyone before. And he certainly never made out frantically with his best friend before. Obito was painfully aware of his own inexperience as he let Kakashi take the lead. Kakashi didn't seem to mind as he licked and bit and kissed along the left side of Obito's jawline and down his neck, with too-sharp teeth. All the while, Kakashi’s fingers caressed the scarred right half of his face and body, reverent.

Kakashi... he wanted Obito.

He then pushed Obito into the wall, grabbed his ass, and rolled their hips together.

Okay, wow, Kakashi really wanted Obito.

"Bed?" he panted into Obito's ear.

Fuck yes.

----

"I can't believe you were only hiding a mole under your mask," Obito said later, when they were lying together in Kakashi's thoroughly rumpled bed.

"When did I say I was hiding anything?" Kakashi asked, amused, as he played with Obito's hair.

"A cute mole," Obito continued, "a fucking beauty mark."

"Why are you so hung up on this."

"Put it in the Bingo Books: Beauty-Mark Kakashi."

"I regret kissing you."

"Nah, you love me," Obito teased.

Kakashi remained silent a beat too long.

"...I do, I think," Kakashi finally said, bewildered.

"You—really?" Obito asked.

"Yes."

Obito thought he was too fucked up to ever be loved. Maybe Kakashi was just fucked up enough to love him.

"...I think I love you too,” said Obito.

Maybe two fucked up people together could equal one un-fucked up being. Obito held Kakashi a little tighter. To have that… it seemed worth staying for.

----

'I wonder if Rin watched us bang,' Obito later thought absently.

----

With Zetsu on the loose, the Akatsuki took to having weekly clandestine meetings in the apartment when Kakashi was off with Naruto at his mom club.

“I just don’t think we need to spend so much on name brand razor wire when generic will do,” Kakuzu said.

Hidan scoffed. “That generic shit can’t even slice through fucking bread, let alone a femur!”

“Well, maybe if you actually used it correctly—”

Somebody knocked on the door. Obito looked out. It was… Shisui? And little Itachi?

Shisui knocked again. “Hey, I know you’re in there! Mikoto said Kakashi was seeing somebody and his mystery guy would be home!”

“What should we do about him?” Konan asked.

“We can kill him before he has a chance to scream,” Kakuzu suggested.  

Wow. “No, it’s just my family. I’ll handle this.” Obito opened the door and ushered his cousins inside. “Enough already. You not only tell Bakashi all of my secrets, but you shout all our business to the neighborhood, too? The hell kind of shinobi are you, Shisui?”

Shisui scoffed as he and Itachi walked in. “Yeah, well, you’d lose out on fewer secrets if you’d actually answer your door in less than five min—” he suddenly seemed to register who he was talking to. “Holy shit!”

“Language,” said Itachi.

Shisui covered Itachi’s ears with his hands. “Holy shit, how are you still alive.”

Obito shrugged a shoulder. “Oh you know. The boulder didn’t quite take, and the withered husk of Madara tucked me away in a cave for a year where he grafted plant matter onto me.”

“Please tell me you’re joking.”

Obito stared at him.

“...Wow. And who are these—are you all missing-nin?” Shisui screeched.

“We’re a club for babysitters,” said Sasori, bland.

Shisui looked at the Akatsuki, and then to Obito, incredulous. “That’s a load of horseshi—”

“I want to join the club,” Itachi interrupted.

Obito blinked. “Uh, I don’t think that’s the best idea.”

“I have experience. I help with my brother Sasuke all the time,” the child argued.

Shisui tried to reason with his little cousin. “Itachi, really, I don’t think this club is actually—”

"I want to join the club," Itachi then laid down his trump card, "or I'm telling Mother about when you dropped me in the pond."

Obito and Shisui paled. Aunt Mikoto was never to find out about that day.

----

Five-year-old Itachi was now an official member of Definitely-Not-Akatsuki. They made him a tiny coat and everything. The boy proudly wore it while carrying his baby brother around. Kisame took it a step further and hoisted the kids onto his shoulders, spinning them around while Shisui looked seconds away from succumbing to a heart attack.

Hidan and Kakuzu laughed themselves sick in the corner.

Chapter Text

If Rin wanted Obito to be better, he was going to damn well be better. He'd drag the rest of the world, kicking and screaming, to a brighter future.  

He also owed Kisame for sticking around after being lied to about… practically everything. Getting the opportunity to punch Obito through the heart probably helped mitigate resentment.

So if Obito couldn’t quite manage a world without lies for him, he could attempt a village. And why not try with Kiri?

(Obito might’ve also just remembered he was still holding the Mizukage under a genjutsu. Whoops.)

“Hey, Kisame,” Obito said, “how do you feel about visiting Kiri with me?”

“Like that’s the last thing I’d ever want to do,” Kisame said without hesitation.

Obito paused, then asked, “...Would you do it anyway?”

“Why do you want me to go to Kiri?”

“Well, our original plan may be a bust, but that doesn’t mean we have to totally abandon the idea behind it. We could make the world a better place, but we start small.” Obito waved his fingers out. “A village without lies.”

Kisame gave Obito a flat look.

Obito held up his hands. “For real this time!”

Kisame cut to the quick. “Don’t you still have the Mizukage under a genjutsu? What was your plan to deal with that?”

Obito grimaced. “Drop the genjutsu and run for it?”

“That sounds like a terrible plan.”

Still, Kisame ultimately agreed to follow Obito. They dropped down into the Mizukage’s home and loitered near him.

“I don’t think there’s any way to do this gently.” Obito muttered. Unless… “Wait. I have an idea.” Obito would have to bend the truth pretty hard. Again. “Please don’t kill me for this,” he added.

“No promises,” said Kisame. Well. At least Obito could rely on him to be honest.

“First, stay near Yagura. Second, give me your hitai-ate.”

“Kisame pulled it off his head, while asking, “What do you plan to do with—hey!”

Obito snatched the headpiece from his hands and ran to the other side of the room, where he immediately chucked it into Kamui. Goodbye missing-nin evidence.

Obito then hastily broke the genjutsu before Kisame could run over and crush his head like a walnut. Yagura blinked a few times, and shook his in confusion before his vision sharpened on Kisame. The air became oppressive from the rising tide of the jinchuuriki’s chakra.

“You…” Yagura said lowly, “was it you who held me under that genjutsu all this time ?”

Kisame blinked and simply said, “No.”

“Yeah, he definitely didn’t do it; Hoshigaki Kisame is on your side!” Obito hollered from the other side of the room.

Yagura straightened up, the oppressive chakra waning. “Well. If it wasn’t you, then who do you claim did it?”

Kisame glanced at Obito. “It was—”

“The truth is it was technically placed by Uchiha Madara.” Obito interrupted. It wasn’t a lie; he was going by that name at the time, after all. Kisame frowned at Obito in warning but Yagura startled.

“What? Uchiha Madara?” Yagura said, shocked. “Isn’t he dead?”

“He’s dead now and will stay dead,” said Obito, firm. Probably. Hopefully. Maybe.

(Obito really should deal with Zetsu at some point.)

“...And so I broke it and you’re free, the end!” Obito finished.

“That may be so, but,” Yagura tightened his grip on his staff, “there’s so much to do; I’ll have to see what’s all been done in my altered state and who else has been compromised.”

“Damage control with your public image might be a good start. You were kind of acting like an asshole,” Obito hedged.

“Considering the rampant corruption and talks of genocide, that’s a complete understatement,” said Kisame, unimpressed with Obito’s waffling. Yagura was starting to look horrified, the crushing aura building up around him again.

“But hey,” Obito said, desperate for a distraction, “You still have someone who knows the whole truth in your corner. Kisame here is all about honesty and killing traitors.”

Yagura turned to look at Kisame. His gaze lingered for a beat too long. “Are you, now?” he asked, in growing interest.

Kisame chuckled, bashful, “I do love killing people who lie to me.”

“He sure does,” Obito interjected. “I know that first-hand!” Or more like fist-chest.

“And how would you handle a jinchuuriki?” Yagura asked, taking a step towards Kisame.

Kisame rolled his shoulders. “I think I could hold my own.”

“They call him the Tailless Tailed Beast!” Obito added, though he was getting the feeling he was being ignored.  

Yagura stepped even closer to Kisame with a heated look in his eyes. “You do look like you could actually take me in a fight.” He pet one of Kisame’s arms appreciatively. “I like that in a sharkman.”

“I wouldn’t mind a fight,” Kisame grinned. “I could show you Samehada.”

“How generous of you, though that wouldn’t be the only sword I’d like to—”

Obito coughed loudly. “So! Did you still need me here, or...”

Kisame blushed a horrible purple as he turned to look at Obito. “I’d really prefer it if you left now.”

“Got it.” Obito whirled away into Kamui as fast as humanly possible. He would check in later. Much, much later.

With that, the genjutsu broken and Kisame up to god-knows-what with the Mizukage, Kiri would turn out just fine.

...Probably. Rin would call it good effort, right? The important thing was that Obito tried, he reasoned to himself.

But, Obito pondered, speaking of jinchuuriki...

----

Obito sidled up to Konan the next day and said, "I think we should revisit the jinchuuriki idea."

"Explain," she said.

"I don't mean collection, I mean recruitment. Sanctuary. They're treated pretty horribly for something basically forced on them. Half of them are just kids."

Konan’s expression didn’t change, waiting for Obito to continue.

"Plus one of them is Naruto's age," Obito threw in. "We could probably go get him first."

"You're asking me to help you kidnap a child." It wasn't a question.

"Technically, yes," Obito admitted, "but I think of it as liberation from an abusive situation."

"Did you discuss this with Kakashi?"

"What?" Why would Obito ever bring up Akatsuki plans with Kakashi?

"Most couples make the decision together if they want to have more children," Konan said slowly, like Obito was a fucking idiot.

He had no idea what she was on about. "...But you'll help me kidnap the kid, right."

----

Obito was a fucking idiot.

The kidnapping itself went off without a hitch. It just didn't register with Obito what he'd exactly done until he was back in Kamui, looking down at a grumpy Gaara, who was all of one year old. Someone would have to raise him, and Obito had essentially volunteered himself.

"Ah, shit."

He tried to sneak quietly back into the apartment with a squirrely child poking at him with sand when Kakashi shot out of their bedroom and zeroed in on them.

"Is that a baby," Kakashi said, face deliberately blank.

"Uh," Obito said intelligently. Gaara jabbed him in the cheek with sand.

"Is that... the Kazekage's son?"

"Yeah, but he's also the jinchuuriki of the Ichibi."

Kakashi gave Obito a withering look.

Obito almost managed not to wince. "...Surprise?"

"Are you kidding me? You can't just go around kidnapping—wait." Kakashi paused and pushed up his hitai-ate and peered at Gaara with his Sharingan. After a few moments, Kakashi said, "His seal doesn't look right. It's... incomplete."

Obito looked down at Gaara. "Incomplete how?"

"If I'm looking at this right, it'll cause a leak of the tailed beast’s chakra into his system, and could eventually be physically or mentally destabilizing, if it isn't already."

"You can fix it?"

"Maa, probably. I've looked enough into Naruto's seal matrices that I could whip up something."

"So..." Obito asked, "can we keep him?"

"Well. I'm not in the mood to cause an international incident tonight."

"...Are you in the mood for anything else?"

"You're sleeping on the couch."

Obito deserved that.

----

Gaara was a very shy and prickly child. He also slept what would be a worrying amount for other babies, but he apparently had a year's worth of sleep to catch up on thanks to that half-formed seal. If Tsunade wasn’t too worried, Obito wouldn’t be worried.

Obito did worry about Gaara being spotted and recognized out and about in Konoha, but Kakashi’s mom club came to the rescue.

“They’re spreading a rumor that we found him in the Forest of Death, where he was being raised by giant raccoons,” said Kakashi after one of his meetings.

“And people believe it?” Obito asked, incredulous.

“People believe a lot of things,” Kakashi responded, tone oddly pointed.

Obito just figured he was still mad about the whole “I forgot to tell my boyfriend I was bringing home a new child” thing.

Having a baby that could throw tantrums with sand was also... a challenge. Bath-time took tactical planning.

"You could give him dust baths, like a chinchilla," suggested Sasori as he peered into what used to be the bathroom.

Obito shoved a caulking gun into the puppeteer's hands. "Just help me fix this before Kakashi gets home."

On the upside, Naruto and Gaara adored each other. They became two peas in a jinchuuriki pod. And Kakashi tried to deny it, but he was also totally smitten. Obito caught Kakashi dancing around with a giggling Gaara in the living room on more than one occasion. Gaara, in turn, deigned to be only held by Kakashi. Gaara hadn’t forgiven Obito yet for the botched bath attempts. Obito couldn’t believe someone that early on in cognitive development could hold a grudge for that many weeks, but here he was, being snubbed by a baby. At least Naruto still liked Obito, but Naruto liked everybody.

However, and most importantly of all, Kakashi finally allowed Obito back into the bedroom.

Obito had to admit: real life was pretty okay.

----

Obito then remembered he should get around to dealing with Zetsu. And that asshole Danzō, who was now blocking a potential peace treaty between Konoha and Kiri. Fixing that would make for a nice wedding gift for Kisame and Yagura.

----

The plan to deal with Danzō came from none other than Orochimaru, because he was a melodramatic bastard. Obito immediately agreed to it, because a melodramatic bastard plan was absolute catnip for any Uchiha.

That had to be how Mikoto managed to find out about it and join in.

“For Kushina,” she said to Obito, resolute.

“Mm hm,” Obito agreed a bit too loudly.

“And perhaps you and your family can come by for dinner after you stop playing dead,” she added. “Itachi loves when he gets to see you and your little club.”

Convincing Konan and Nagato to join in was just as easy, in hindsight.

Obito went to pay them a visit in Ame. “Hey, Konan, Orochimaru wants to—oh, who’s this?”

A little girl with green hair peered from behind Konan with a smile. “Hi!” she said with a wave. Obito waved back.

“This is Fuu, we adopted her,” said Nagato, never sounding prouder. He was also covered in glitter.

“Congratulations on the kid; when did this happen?” Obito asked.

“Konan mentioned your escapade to Suna, and your jinchuuriki idea…”

“So we discussed it, took a trip to Taki, and here we are,” Konan said with a little smile as she threaded her fingers through Nagato’s.

Nagato smiled back. “Yes. To truly care for children, to show them love despite the pains of life, to change the generations that follow us for the better… perhaps that’s the true path to peace.”

“Yahiko would like that,” Konan said, her face soft and warm as she leaned into her partner.

“Yeah,” said Obito, “imagine where you’d be if Danzō never helped orchestrate a plot with Hanzo to kill him and destroy the Akatsuki.”

They both turned to look at him.

“...Didn’t I tell you about that?” Obito asked.

“No,” Konan said, frigid, “no you didn’t.”

----

Itachi got the Very Important role of helping Shisui babysit the kids during the plan.

“Well, I guess I can watch them for a couple hours. How hard can that be?” Shisui asked.

Obito coughed awkwardly.

The apartment was a madhouse in short order, with Akatsuki running about and sand already getting everywhere. Itachi refused to let anyone else hold Sasuke. Kabuto accidentally let loose a few venomous snake “pets” he snuck in from Orochimaru’s hideout. All the kids got to play Sit in the Center of the Kitchen Table and Not Die for a tense thirty minutes while they hunted the snakes down. Naruto was happily screaming for no reason when Konan and Nagato finally arrived with Fuu in tow.

“Let’s play!” Fuu said, running up to a harried Shisui as glitter started to tumble from her hands. Kabuto observed from where he was now hiding behind the couch, fascinated.

“No, Fuu, glitter is an outside activity; you know not to do that indoors if you can help it.” Konan chided. She then paused, and added, “But you may pelt Shisui with glitter every time he swears,” she declared.

“What?” Shisui squawked, pointing to Hidan, “What about him? He swears every other word!”

“I fucking do,” Hidan agreed, genial.

“I don’t want to have to vacuum every two minutes instead of ten if he comes to visit. Besides, someone in this organization ought to be a good role model.”

“What—”

“Glad you agree,” Konan said, beatific.

“...I think I just accidentally joined your not-terrorist thing,” Shisui said faintly to Obito. Obito patted his shoulder in sympathy.

“Did you want a coat too, Shisui?” Itachi asked.

“I’ll pass,” Shisui said, pained.

----

An hour later, Obito blanketed his strongest genjutsu over the participants, and tucked himself in the corner of the Hokage’s office as he waited for everyone to get into position.

Orochimaru kicked it off. He waltzed into the Hokage’s office like he was never exiled, taking Hiruzen and Danzō by surprise.

“Oh dear, am I interrupting something?” Orochimaru asked in faux concern.

“Orochimaru,” Hiruzen said, grave.

“You’d be so arrogant to walk into Konoha alone?” asked Danzō.

“You call me arrogant?” Orochimaru asked with a scoff. “Wouldn’t my dear sensei love to know the extent of your dealings.”  

“No matter. You’ll be dealt with in short order,” said Danzō, activating a security seal.

For a moment, nothing happened. Then a counter-seal matrix flared up on the wall as a few ANBU shinobi slammed headlong into the now-locked window like confused birds.

Orochimaru smirked, not taking his eyes off his targets. “I don’t intend to be interrupted.”

So of course the door burst open to reveal the rest of the Sannin.

“Gasp! Orochimaru! What are you doing here?” cried Jiraiya, overdramatic. Tsunade kept a straight face, though her eye twitched.

Hiruzen’s eyebrows raised a fraction. Danzō didn’t seem to notice.

“Ah, Jiraiya, Tsunade," said Orochimaru, "I’m merely correcting an oversight on our dear sensei’s part.”

“Oversight?” Hiruzen asked. “And what would that be.”

“Sensei,” Orochimaru chided as he tipped his head to the side, “You can’t honestly think Danzō ended his fun with Root just because you asked.”

Danzō interrupted, “You’re actually entertaining the ramblings of this madman? Who experimented on our village’s people?”

“Who’s to say I’m still that madman?” Orochimaru challenged. “People change, find a new direction in life. Perhaps I’ve… turned over a new leaf.”

Tsunade coughed to cover up a laugh and Hiruzen looked at him with complete incredulity.

Orochimaru continued, undeterred, "In any case, Danzō orchestrated those experiments anyway; I have the evidence to prove it," He threw a file on Hiruzen’s desk. “These are copies of my experiment documentation and correspondence that connect back to him and Root.”

Danzō scoffed. “How can we possibly trust these forgeries?”

“You can when it’s corroborated with our intel,” said Jiraiya, dropping his act.

Tsunade smiled with a nasty upturn of her lips, “Oh, for example, medical records and death certificates that didn’t add up, and comparing any that “disappeared” to my secret back-up copies. That can be so awfully revealing.”

“You’re working with Orochimaru, then? You’re all traitors!” Danzō cried.

Jiraiya snorted. “Yeah, says the dickbag still going behind the Hokage’s back with Root.”

Obito dropped the genjutsu hiding the others, one by one, as they accused Danzo.

“He sided with Hanzō. He was responsible for Yahiko’s death,” Nagato hissed as Konan looked on with cold fury.

“He pinned the Kyuubi attack on all of the Uchiha!” Mikoto spoke up, outraged.

“He asked me to kill the Sandaime,” Kakashi called out. “I literally snitched on him, but Danzō’s somehow still here and not rotting in T&I.”

“Wait, seriously?” Obito asked. “You never told me that.”

Tsunade turned to stare at her former teacher. “What the fuck, sensei?”

Danzō attempted to make a break for it, but the rest of the Akatsuki blocked the exits.

“Give it up, Danzō,” said Jiraiya. “We’ve got you dead to rights.”

“Are you all mad?” asked Danzō. “Working with these terrorists? These agents to undermine our village?” He turned to Hiruzen. “Don’t you see, Hiruzen? What I did was for the good of Konoha!”

“But at what cost, Danzō?” said Hiruzen, pale.

“Cost? To protect against terrorist organizations such as them!”

“I have no idea what he’s talking about,” Obito lied outright.

“Yeah, sensei,” said Jiraiya, “these guys are just a bunch of babysitters.”

Babysitters ?” Danzō cried, “These are the Akats—ARGHH!”

Mikoto shot forward and stabbed Danzō through his face with a viscious thrust of her sword. He fell over dead in an undignified heap. “That’s enough of that,” she said. She gave Obito a little wink.  

Hidan whistled lowly. “Nice.”

“Oh...That was it?” Sasori asked.

“I didn’t get to kill anything,” Kakuzu grumbled. The other shinobi murmured in agreement. Hiruzen sat silent at his desk, white as a sheet.

Obito had an impulsive thought. Since everyone was here, already itching to fight, why not go and find...

----

The moment Kakashi said, “Wait, where did Obito go?” Obito fell back into the Hokage’s office via Kamui, with a snarling Zetsu in tow.

“Quick, kill it!” Obito shrieked.

“What the hell is that thing?” Tsunade shouted as she threw a full bookcase at Zetsu.

Kakashi’s hand lit up in lightning, and he slammed through Zetsu’s side while Hidan took a swipe with his scythe from overhead. Zetsu pulled away, reforming, as Sasori and Kakuzu went in to attack.

“Mikoto!” Obito shouted to get her attention. She took one look at him and nodded. Together, Mikoto and Obito let loose their strongest fire techniques, finally capturing Zetsu between a column of flames.

“Mother, I’m sorry!” Zetsu cried out as he burned. “I could not free you from your lunar prison!”

“Really breaks my heart,” Obito said, sarcastic.

Zetsu looked pretty dead, but Obito set the ashes on fire again to be sure.

“That was all for his fucking mother ?” Hidan asked, appalled.

“His mother,” Kakazu repeated, just as horrified. “Not for the money, or anything else.”

Mikoto, on edge, Sharingan swirling, bared her teeth at them, “What’s wrong with that?”

Hidan and Kakuzu quickly averted their eyes.

“And what did he mean by lunar prison? The moon?” Orochimaru mused.

“It was probably something fucked up, like aliens.” said Tsunade. “Grandma had some wild stories.”

There was a beat of perturbed silence.

Hiruzen took that moment to survey the carnage in his office. He pulled off his hat. "That's it. I'm done."

"Done? So who will—"

"Pick anyone, who cares." He dropped the hat on the desk and strolled out the office doors, past an assistant.

"Uh, sir, where are you going?"

"I'm getting fucking drunk and reconciling with my son!" Hiruzen called out over his shoulder.

The rest of the shinobi stood awkwardly in the Hokage's office, circled around Danzō's corpse and Zetsu's smoldering ashes.

"Uh. Who's going to be Hokage, then?"

"Not it," said Tsunade and Jiraiya simultaneously.

"I want to be Hokage," said Orochimaru.

"Maybe later, if you're good," said Tsunade.

"I'm technically already leading Ame," Nagato said, apologetic. Konan shrugged her shoulders.

Kakashi looked at Obito. "I know you wanted to be Hokage someday, but—"

"Yeah. I'd probably need to ease people into the fact that I'm still alive, first." Also running the Akatsuki while acting as the adoptive father of two jinchuuriki already took a fuck-ton of work.

Hidan spoke up, "I could—"

"NO," everyone shouted.  

"Honestly," Mikoto finally huffed, and picked up the hat as she walked around the desk and sat down.

"I'm the Hokage now," she said.

----

And that was that.

----

It was around Naruto's fifth birthday when Obito finally admitted he ran a sort-of-terrorist organization.

"I know," said Kakashi.

"You know?"

"I was just humoring you with the "Babysitter's Club" when you refused to back down on it. You think I can't recognize S-rank missing-nin? The Akatsuki? I know. I know you've orchestrated peace treaties throughout the Elemental Nations, staged liberation of other jinchuuriki to Kiri and Ame, and that Orochimaru was at our fucking housewarming party."

"Oh." Obito didn't really know what to say.

“I didn’t care. It didn’t matter.” Kakashi opened both his eyes to look at Obito. “You still came back. You came back to me, Obito.”

“Kakashi…”

"Besides, you are absolutely the worst liar I've ever met," Kakashi said fondly, as he pressed a kiss to the corner of Obito's mouth.

Obito grinned, besotted. “Maybe you just know me too well."

Kakashi peppered his face with a few more kisses. "Mm, I do, my adorable crybaby loser."

"I'd do anything and everything for you, you beauty-marked asshole." Obito leaned his body closer into Kakashi.

"I have a few ideas for what you could do for me now." Kakashi's hands roamed lower as he whispered in Obito’s ear, “How about I go put on the kitchen apron?”

"I—I'll get someone to babysit the kids," Obito moaned.

----

It all fell apart because of stupid Bakashi, but it fell together again.

Obito’s glad he stayed.

----

----

----

Much, much later, in the afterlife:

"Obito, why is Kushina running at you like she's about to kill you again?"

"Oh fuck, Kakashi, there was something I forgot to tell you—"