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Without Fear or Favor

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Kakashi had passed out on his way back to the village from his first mission as a jounin, the mission that had changed his life yet again. He'd been told, once he woke up, that Minato-sensei had used his Hiraishin to get Kakashi to his home and then the hospital before the Sharingan killed him. Because, of course, that had been the problem. The Sharingan drained chakra. Normally, a critical drain would cause the Sharingan to deactivate, but Kakashi's hadn't.

"Hatake-kun, you must let us operate to remove it!" Arakaki-sensei exhorted him, leaning over the side of his cot earnestly. "You aren't an Uchiha; your body can't handle it!"

"It was a gift." Kakashi folded his hands over his stomach, looking up at the ceiling with his own eye. The eye Obito had given him was now under a bandage with a suppression seal written on it.

Arakaki sighed and rubbed his forehead. Kakashi got that reaction from the medics a lot. "There might not be a choice, you know. The Uchiha clan has heard about this, and there's a summons waiting for you as soon as you can get out of bed again. You know they won't want their bloodline talent in the hands of someone outside their clan."

Kakashi didn't imagine they would, no. Just a week ago, he might well have accepted that. But Obito wouldn't have, hadn't, and so he wouldn't either. Not now, when he was all of Obito that was left. "When will you release me, then?"

"You're not going anywhere for at least two days." Arakaki gave him a stern look. He'd been Kakashi's attending medic before. "The north front is quiet and you're not setting foot outside these walls until I'm sure that eye isn't going to kill you!"

Kakashi nodded quietly. Two days, then. In two days, he would find a way to convince the Uchiha to respect Obito's will. He closed his eyes and sent himself down to sleep.

The Uchiha were the village's largest clan. They'd grown beyond a single compound, even one like the sprawling Aburame or Hyuuga complexes, and lived in their own district of the village.

At least half of them seemed to have something they wanted to say about Kakashi's new Sharingan.

"...far too great a risk to the boy..."

"...can't set a precedent like this! Before you know it the village would be stripping Uchiha bodies in the field!"

"...graft wasn't rejected, though, so he must be compatible; perhaps he could marry in..."

Kakashi sat in calm seiza, just off to the side of the clan head, Hideaki, and his heir, Fugaku. The long room nearly rang with the babble of Uchiha clan members shouting at each other, despite the high rafters and crowd of bodies.

"...can't control it, obviously..."

"He actually used it, within minutes of implantation! Those are some genes worth having..."

"...conflict of interest, if he's the last of his name..."

"...fact is, it's against our laws, and we don't dare let the village's law come before a clan's own control of its bloodline!"

Kakashi unfocused his eye a little, so he could watch the moment of the room as a whole. There were knots of opinion, but no consensus yet, nothing he could target yet. He would have stifled a sigh if he hadn't spent years training such revealing expressions out of himself. Instead, he sat still and watched the play of leaf shadows on the paper screens of the outside wall, and waited some more.

At last, Hideaki stood and called out, "Enough!" over the babble. It quieted slowly, and he sat back down. "I have heard your views," he said, rather dryly, and Kakashi was amused to see a number of the Uchiha flush. "Now I think I would like to hear Hatake Kakashi." Piercing black eyes caught Kakashi's, and he straightened a little. "Why did you accept the Sharingan, and why do you wish to keep it?"

"It was Obito's dying wish." Unexpectedly, Kakashi had to stop and discipline his voice to keep huskiness out of it. He continued, as formally as he knew how, hoping that would move a noble clan--no matter how much they were acting like a class full of pre-genin right at this moment. "He bequeathed it to me to protect the things he cared for. I accepted that charge, and I will not dishonor his memory by releasing it."

"Even though you can't fully control it?" Hideaki asked, sounding more curious than dismissive. "You'll have to re-train in all your techniques, both to use one eye and to use the Sharingan with a regular eye. You'll have a significant weakness, now, too. If any enemy realizes the drain the Sharingan is on you, they have only to take away your seal," he nodded at the eye-patch Kakashi had stitched a River Under Mountain seal into while he waited out the medics, "to incapacitate you."

"Closing the eye slows the drain," Kakashi said, keeping still and straight-backed. "Re-training will require an effort, but I believe my previous record indicates that it will not keep me out of the field for an unreasonable length of time."

"Hmm." Hideaki was watching him like he was a puzzle. Minato-sensei had watched him like that, sometimes, his genin year. "And what do you think Obito cared for?" he asked at last, quietly. "What have you dedicated yourself to protect in his place?"

Kakashi breathed freely for the first time in days. Hideaki-san understood. "The village. Our teammate, Rin." He spread a hand out toward the room. "His clan." He hesitated for a long moment, but the last answer tugged at him, and he had promised this to Obito also, even if he'd never said it out loud. Finally, Kakashi looked down at his hands and added, softly, "His friends."

"Uchiha Obito was a credit to us," Hideaki said gently, and Kakashi fiercely swallowed down the tightness of tears in his throat. "And Hatake Kakashi," he continued, louder, speaking to the whole clan, now, "has willingly taken up the responsibility to continue on that path. I say this is admirable, and that the codes of our clan must approve. Nevertheless, it is true that our laws say only members of Uchiha may bear the Sharingan." The listening clan members stirred, and Kakashi waited tensely to see what the price of his choice would be. Would they require a marriage? An adoption? He'd just started coming to some kind of terms with his father's legacy, he didn't want to have that covered up or taken away...

"Hatake Kakashi will be affiliated with us," Hideaki said calmly. "His name will be carried in the records of our clan. If he wishes to marry or father children outside the clan, he will require the same permissions as anyone born of our blood." A few people looked disgruntled, the ones who had been insisting most loudly that Kakashi not be allowed to keep Obito's eye at all, but most of the room was nodding, satisfied. Kakashi, on the other hand, had seen a tiny quirk at the corners of Hideaki's lips, and was waiting for what came next. "He will be carried in our records as one of us. But the fact remains that he was born to another line, and one that was long honored in our village. I say that, if it is his will, he may remain on the Hatake family register, rather than the Uchiha."

Kakashi couldn't help himself from drawing a long, shaky breath of relief at that, even as sharp exclamations burst out among the crowd. Hideaki raised his voice over them.

"Would you really have me take his name from him, when he has clearly been striving to do it honor? Is that the justice of our clan?" He frowned at his gathered clan members, most of whom subsided sheepishly. "It's decided then."

"Unconventional," Fugaku observed softly to his father, as people started to leave, talking quietly among themselves. "Some won't think it's enough."

"You'll find you can rarely make everyone happy, in any large decision," Hideaki returned, a bit wry. "We do the best we can, by the precepts of our clan."

Kakashi didn't think Fugaku entirely agreed, but he nodded quietly and slipped out after the last murmuring clan members. That left Hideaki and Kakashi, and he looked up at... well, his new clan head, he supposed. "What are my duties, as a... an affiliate of Uchiha?" he asked, wanting to offer something in return for the name Hideaki had left him.

Hideaki was watching him thoughtfully again. "Learn to use what you have inherited. Fulfill Obito's last wishes. I think, if you do that, you will make a fine clan member." His mouth quirked. "I don't think you'll need to think about marriage for some time, yet, but when you're older you should consider taking a lover from the clan once or twice; we would welcome your blood, and there are traditions we keep among ourselves you might like to learn." He stood and Kakashi followed, smoothly. "I'll assign Kazuo to tutor you in the uses of the Sharingan."

Kakashi nodded. "Yes..." he hesitated thinking and finally finished, "Toushu-sama." At least he thought that was what Obito would have called his clan head.

Hideaki's sharp, black eyes softened, and he laid a hand on Kakashi's shoulder. "Obito was a precious son of my clan," he said softly. "For all that his carelessness was sometimes the despair of his teachers, he delighted in the life around him, in all its beauty and detail. He would have been a very great shinobi, if he'd grown to pay as much attention to his duties as he did to good food and good company and the life of the village."

Kakashi didn't think it would serve anything for him to become careless. But appreciating the little bits of village life... perhaps he could do more of that, yes. In Obito's memory. He nodded again, quietly determined.

Hideaki patted his shoulder. "Remember that you can call on this clan as your own, now." He left Kakashi to make his own way out through the Uchiha district, freely as if he'd actually belonged there.

Kakashi had always been proud, and he'd never had called on the Uchiha, his second clan. But the offer had stayed with him, as a little warmth in his heart, for seventeen years.

For another seven after that, it burned as one more reminder of the things he couldn't keep.

In the end, though, when he had the chance to gift that belonging back to the last son of Uchiha, he decided he was glad to have had it.