Kakashi was told to stay home. He has been asked to do very many things in his life, but none of them quite as cruel as this.
Minato is at the hospital with Jiraiya and Tsunade. The presence of the two Sannin should soothe Kakashi's worries, but it doesn't. He can't help but pace, he wants to be there, he's a jounin, has been for years now. He could help if anything happened. He knows he doesn't stand a chance against the nine-tails on his own, but he could help.
Obito seems to agree, if the nervous tapping of his foot is anything to go by. “Do you think—” Obito starts, and cuts himself off, resumes the tapping.
“They are alright,” Kakashi says, and it’s more prayer than reassurance, they both know it. “They have to be.”
He knows, that were anything to happen, he couldn’t handle it, and neither could Obito. The mere thought of anything happening to Kushina and Minato makes his insides turn to ice.
“The baby will—” Obito starts again, his voice high and fragile. Kakashi stops his pacing, turns to settle on the floor right next to Obito. “Naruto will be fine,” he says, and gods, just saying his name makes it all feel so much more real. Kushina went into labour hours ago, in the middle of the night. That in itself might have been enough to scare Kakashi, but it was the look on Minato’s face that he will never forget. Kakashi has seen him face thousands of soldiers by himself, but he has never before seen the man so terrified.
“I think we should go there,” he says, desperate to do anything. He makes to stand up, but Obito stops him with a hand on his thigh.
“No, dad said they will send someone for us,” Obito says, and the word falls so easily from his lips that Kakashi feels a wave of jealousy sweep over him.
He has never been able to fully embrace this. Legally, on paper, Minato and Kushina are his legal guardians—his parents, but no matter how grateful he is, how much he loves them, it feels like a disservice to his biological parents to call them anything else but their names. It’s been years, and he does slip up sometimes, usually when he’s not thinking clearly, but no one ever comments on it, not even Obito, who teases him mercilessly for just about anything else.
He still remembers how much it hurt, when Minato had explained to him, one day, that he and Kushina would be taking custody of Obito. Even though it had not even occurred to him as an option before, he felt a terrible, painful stab of jealousy. Not Kakashi, but Obito, lazy dead-last Obito, abandoned even by his own clan.
He still remembers the bright grin on Obito’s face during the days that followed. Remembers going back to his empty, empty apartment and wondering, if it was his fate to always be well and truly alone.
For a month, he watched Obito become more punctual, his clothes almost always clean, his lunches colourful and delicious. For a month, he went home and stared at the ceiling, remembering how it felt to have his lunches packed and ready to go, how it felt to have his father embrace him every morning before going to school. For a month he fell asleep hating himself for being weak and jealous, for longing for something that could never really be his again.
Then, one day Minato and Kushina invited him to dinner and asked if he would do them the honour of living with them. He didn’t exactly burst into tears, but it was a close call. Instead, he gathered himself with all the strength he could muster and said, “I accept.” His voice didn’t shake.
Unlike Obito, Kakashi never became a Namikaze. He remained a Hatake, couldn’t do that to the memory of his father, couldn’t possibly erase the Hatakes from the world simply because he was selfish and so very achingly lonely.
Kushina hugged him then, her arms around him felt strong and sure, her hair smelled like sunshine and grass, and said that he will be her son regardless of his last name.
That was years ago, years of terrifyingly wonderful memories. Sometimes, he still wakes up in the middle of the night, convinced he simply dreamt it all up.
But now, here he is, fifteen, an adult by shinobi standards and so completely useless. He is half tempted to ignore the order from Minato. It would be easy, to disobey Minato the father, disobeying Minato the Hokage is another matter entirely, so Kakashi stays right where he is. Useless, and pacing. He’s making a particularly sharp turn when Katsuyu appears.
Kakashi feels his blood turn to ice at the sight of Tsunade’s summon. He was sure someone would come for them in person, to send a summons instead must mean that something has gone terribly wrong and their assistance is needed. Katsuyu’s voice tears him out of his panic-induced stupor.
“Steady yourself, child,” her voice is gentle and quiet and Kakashi finds himself following her advice, “all is well. You can come to the hospital to say hello to your baby brother.” With that, the slug disappears.
Kakashi sways on his feet, his panicked brain desperately trying to process the words, but Obito is way ahead of him. He grabs Kakashi’s wrist and tugs, “Come on Bakashi!”
They take to the roofs and arrive in the hospital in under a minute. They don’t need the staff’s directions, Kushina’s chakra calling for them like a beacon. Obito stops in the doorway of the hospital room and Kakashi barrels right into him. When he looks up, the sight that greets him steals the breath from his lungs.
Kushina, propped on a mountain of pillows, face flushed red almost the same shade as her hair, with a bundle of blankets in her arms. Jiraiya is the one who looks away first and beckons them closer.
Obito takes a shaky step closer, eyes glued to the infant held carefully in Kushina’s arms. There is a look of such wonder on his face, and Kakashi knows it must be reflected on his own, too.
“Boys,” Kushina says, her voice almost a whisper, and, any other time Kakashi would bristle at it, say he is not a boy, he’s a man, an ANBU captain, but, gods be damned, he does feel like a child right now. “Would you like to hold your brother?”
Kakashi sucks in a breath, sees Obito reach out, nodding his head eagerly and snaps, “Be careful, don’t drop him!”
Obito turns, face flushed in outrage, “Oi, Bakashi! As if I would!” He looks like he’s ready to continue, but Minato’s gentle, “Boys, please,” is enough to quiet him.
Then, the baby is carefully placed in Obito’s arms and the moment Obito looks down, Kakashi can see his eyes fill with tears. The baby makes a sound, just a soft, sleepy gurgle and Obito says, “Naruto,” his voice wet and so full of love and wonder, that Kakashi takes the few steps separating them and puts a comforting hand on Obito’s back. Obito sniffles a little, his face split with a grin and repeats, almost like a prayer, “Naruto,” then, “Gods, Kakashi, look at him,” and carefully turns to place Naruto into Kakashi’s arms.
For one terrifying moment, when he shifts his balance and stumbles, Kakashi is convinced that he will be the one to drop the baby, but he manages to steady himself, and then Naruto is in his arms. He’s so small, is Kakashi’s first thought. The baby is wrinkled and his skin is pink, the way all infants are, but to Kakashi, he is the most wonderful thing in the world. He shifts Naruto to rest in the crook of his arm more firmly and reaches out to tug down his mask, the moment he lets go of the child with one of his hands all adults gasp and reach out to steady him, but Kakashi takes a step back and puts his hand up in a calming gesture.
Naruto is balanced safely, not even stirring in his sleep. Kakashi tugs his mask all the way down and leans down to press a kiss to his brother’s forehead. He says, “Hi, Naruto. Welcome, we’ve been waiting for you.” Naruto doesn’t react, continues to sleep peacefully and Kakashi swears to himself that he will die before he lets anything harm his brother.