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Like a Shotgun (I Can't Be Outdone)

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“Goddamn fucking backwoods piece of crap—”

“Woah there, Tobi,” Deidara says cheerfully, pulling a bandage tight around her calf. “Someone might take that for sexual frustration if you're not careful, un. Has Hatake not been doing his job?”

With a groaning, creaking screech of old metal, the hood of the ancient pickup truck finally comes free, and Obito levers it up with a grunt, propping the rifle—now empty, and taken off one of the men who was shooting at them—underneath to keep it from falling on his head. “Fuck off, Bomber,” he huffs, “and if you're not too busy prettying yourself up, hand me a piece of wire and then put the damn thing in neutral.”

“Are we even sure this thing will start?” Konan asks mildly, easily scaling the side of the truck to sprawl out on her stomach on top of the cab, semiautomatic slung over her back and binoculars against her eyes. She scans the edge of the forest, twists to follow the edge of the field in front of them, and announces, “Clear for the moment.”

“It had better, or we’re in for a long fucking walk.” Obito leans around the edge of the hood, waving a hand pointedly, and Deidara slaps a few inches of wire into his palm. With a grunt of thanks, Obito shoves the scavenged screwdriver between his teeth and starts digging around for the necessary cables.

Deidara groans at that, hitching her leg up to rest on the passenger seat. “No walking, please,” she begs. “Running ten miles of nature trails from hell was bad enough, and I'm bleeding.”

“Like a stuck pig,” Sasori agrees from the ratty and molding backseat, bent over their radio transmitter. His eyes are narrowed in concentration, and Obito can read mounting frustration in the tight line of his mouth, just about all he can see around through a large, rusted hole in the hood. “I'm surprised they haven’t found us by now, given the trail you left.”

“Oi!” Deidara protests. “I was covering your distracted, ungrateful ass, danna! Show some gratitude, un!”

Sasori grunts skeptically but doesn’t look away from his work, apparently dismissing the conversation. Before Deidara can throw a fit—normally entertaining, but now is really not the time—Obito chucks the rifle to the side, slams the hood shut, and moves around to the driver’s side, ordering, “Get over. Angel?”

“Believe me,” Konan says dryly. “If I see something, you’ll be the first to know, Tobi. Unless you want to come up here and take over for me?”

“Are you forgetting what happened last time we put Tobi on watch?” Deidara demands. “Lookouts should have two functioning eyes. That’s just common sense, un.”

Obito flips her off, wriggling his way under the wheel and shoving the screwdriver into the gap where the steering column meets the wheel. “Zetsu’s ideas are always terrible,” he says grumpily, as close as he’ll ever come to acknowledging that Deidara is right. It’s bad enough that his depth perception is nonexistent, though he’s trained himself to work around it; putting him in a position where people are relying on his field of vision is just asking for bad things to happen. There’s only so many times he can turn his head before something gets past him.

“No argument,” Deidara agrees, watching him bang off pieces of the cover. “We should probably count ourselves lucky that this is an older truck—you're shitty at hotwiring the newer ones.”

“Oh, like it’s my fault that all these damned things have microchips coming out of their asses now?” Obito retorts. Wire spark, and he yanks his hands back with a hiss. “Bomber, are you going to die before we get an extraction?”

“Ooh, using the leader-voice. You really do care!” Sounding immensely cheered by this fact, Deidara hauls out her pack and starts digging through it. If Obito recognizes the look in her eyes correctly, she’s about to start making things that explode. “I'm fine, un. Just no more marathons down the sides of mountains, yeah?”

“Not if this piece of shit actually turns over,” Obito agrees, eye narrowing. He mutters a curse, because of course the one vehicle they manage to find abandoned beside an old barn is a model he has no idea how to actually hotwire, forcing him to do things the hard way. “Puppeteer, anything?”

Sasori huffs. There's a beat, a low sound of victory, and a crackle of static from their formerly dead comms. “Short-range communications should be back on line right—”

“—just saying, the strippers at this place are hot enough that even Tobi won't complain. And they're mixed, so we can all enjoy ourselves!” Kisame’s voice comes through with unfortunate clarity, and Obito scowls, jabbing his screwdriver into a gap with more force than is entirely necessary. He can guess all too easily what this conversation is about.

Nagato makes a supremely doubtful noise. “I still say we would be better served taking him to that upcycling exhibition,” he points out. “He’d appreciate it more.”

“My wallet would appreciate it more,” Kakuzu puts in sourly. “I've seen you lot drink—if we’re looking to get everyone wasted, we’ll need more than one bar, and I'm not paying for it.”

With a low, rasping laugh, Zetsu adds, “Don’t think Hatake would appreciate having to arrest his fiancé a few hours before the wedding. Or that Tobi would appreciate waking up in the drunk tank after we’re through with him.”

Hidan scoffs. “It’s a goddamned party,” he protests. “This isn’t about him appreciating it, this is about him taking one last opportunity to get his rocks off looking at someone else before it’s off-limits.”

“‘Sides, last person Tobi dated before Hatake was you, Pein,” Kisame points out. “And then he jumped right to Policeman Ken. Only thing that’s missing is Officer Barbie and Hatake’d fit perfectly on the doll shelf. This might give Tobi a bit of perspective, yeah?”

That is so patently untrue that Obito snorts, because he can think of a lot of words and phrases to describe his fiancé, but that little speech didn’t include any of them. If Kakashi is Policeman Ken, Obito is Miss Universe.

“How fantastic to hear that you're all in one piece and still kicking,” he growls, and doesn’t even attempt to make it sound sincere. “Also? Fuck you, Beast. And on that note, if anyone even considers throwing me a bachelor’s party, I swear I will take every single one of you back through hand-to-hand training from square one.”

There's a long moment of silence where Obito can practically hear all five men blanch, and then Nagato says quickly, “We would never, Tobi, I promise.”

“Uh-huh,” Obito drawls. “Status? Have you gotten in touch with Queen of Hearts yet?”

“Nope.” There's a clatter of metal, and Kisame grunts. “Still gone down the rabbit hole. You're the first we’ve heard from anyone. She contact you yet?”

More sparks fly, and Obito wrenches back, accidentally slamming his head into the edge of the seat. “Shit,” he hisses, and then spits, “Queen has a goddamn helicopter. If we’d gotten in touch with her, do you really think we’d be sitting here in the middle of the god-forsaken woods trying to get fucking Old Bess to turn over?” He leans back in, and through watering eyes wrenches off the last chunk of brittle old plastic, then slams the flat tip of the screwdriver home and pries up a bit of metal casing. The positive battery cable is clear, and he mutters a grudging thanks to whatever pissy god is watching as he presses the metal end of the screwdriver across both the cable and the solenoid. Power sparks, and with a chortling groan the engine coughs, splutters, and then turns over.

“Old Bess?” Nagato asks, clearly bemused.

Obito growls, shoving himself out from under the wheel. “It’s an old, rusty, battered hunk of crap, and if it’s from any later than the 70s I’ll kiss Priest. With tongue.”

“But it’s running,” Konan points out. “And just in time. Tobi, company. Ten o’clock.”

This day just gets better and better. Obito slithers out of the cab, staying low, and risks a glance around the door. Four figures, clearly some of the thieves Akatsuki was sent to deal with by their clothes, are just emerging from the trees, more than a little worse for wear. For brief moment, Obito weighs their options, then orders, “Angel, get down here and start it moving. This thing won't go much over forty unless we’re aimed downhill, but take the wheel. I’ll distract them.”

Agreeably, Konan drops down beside him just as one of the men shouts. No bullets come flying their way, which is a plus—given all the potshots these bastards took at them in the woods, though, Obito is willing to bet they're out of ammunition—but running footsteps are approaching rapidly.

“No guns,” she reminds him. “There could be others looking for us.”

Obito snarls, but it doesn’t have quite the venom it could. A dirty, no-holds-barred fight is just what he needs to get rid of some aggression. “I know what I'm doing, Angel,” he snaps. “Puppeteer, keep trying to raise Queen. Bomber, eyes on the goods.”

“Aye, Tobi.” Deidara salutes him cockily, but Obito doesn’t pause to respond. He throws himself around the edge of the door, tucks into a roll, and comes back to his feet with a trench knife in each hand.

The closest man is less than ten feet away, moving fast, and Obito lunges low to foul his feet, then whirls around and slams the metal finger-guards on the knife’s hilt into his temple twice in quick succession. The man goes down, and Obito spins under a high punch, twists past a stab from a hunting knife, and answers the latter with a sharp downward slash. The woman with the knife yelps, fingers spasming around the hilt as blood splatters, but she aims a kick at Obito's side without pause. 

Ducking away, Obito catches her around the throat, and locks an arm around her neck in a sleeper hold. When the other two men rush him from either side, he’s forced to abandon that plan and twists away, kicking her into the nearest one. The other he punches in the face, then knees in the balls, and the thief goes down with a choking whimper. Grinning, Obito leaps over him, lashing out to the left. The blade of his knife scores a deep line across the last remaining man’s stomach as he tries to jerk away. He cries out, going staggering back, and Obito turns just in time to grab the woman by the arm and throw her over his hip, right into the wounded man.

The two go down in a heap, just as a clatter of metal and the roar of a heavy old engine sounds. The truck thunders towards them, and Obito barely gives Konan time to stop before he hurls himself into the bed and shouts, “Go!”

Konan floors it, and it’s admittedly not very fast, but for a hotwired relic in a bumpy old field? Obito will take it. Just like Deidara, he’s had more than enough of running for his life in a forest for today.

Over the comms, Hidan offers, “We’re about a mile east of the extraction point, working our way down the river towards it. What's your position?”

“The middle of fucking nowhere,” is Deidara’s helpful contribution. “Mountain on our left, un, but beyond that I think we’re flying blind.”

Crawling blind,” Konan corrects, shifting gears and hurtling them around the edge of a bramble patch and over the lip of an irrigation ditch. There's a lurching, wrenching moment of freefall before the truck slams back to earth with a scream of aged metal, nearly knocking Obito from his perch. “Gardener, got any flares?”

Zetsu snorts. “We generally don’t need them on stealth operations,” he points out. “I'm coming up empty. Priest?”

“I have one,” Nagato cuts in. “And I think we can safely retire any illusions of us maintaining the advantage of stealth. Worth the risk?”

Obito ducks a particularly threatening low-hanging branch as it scrapes across the cab, trying to spot any sign of pursuit behind them. He’s pretty sure that they already took out whatever dirt bikes and ATVs this group had during their agility course in the forest, but it’s better not to make assumptions. “Given that we haven’t got a damned idea where we’re going, yeah,” he says. “Are you in a defensible spot?”

There's a snort, and Kisame says, “Since we’re about to leg it for the extraction point, we won't be sticking around long enough to need it. That window Queen gave us is about to close. Get here fast.”

Checking his watch, Obito mutters a low curse. They're cutting it close as it is, and since they’ve been running in zigzags across a mountain range since midnight and have no idea where exactly they are, getting to the spot on time will be tricky.

“This is why I like goddamned deserts best,” Obito huffs, then catches a flash of movement out of the corner of his eye. Instinct has a throwing knife in the air before he can even contemplate the movement, and as Konan thunders them around the next corner he can just see the man falling, radio tumbling from nerveless fingers. “Pein, put up the flare. I think they just spotted us.”

“Fantastic,” Sasori says blandly. “Bomber, do you still have that signal booster?”

“Casualty of our nature hike, un,” Deidara reports. “Unless you can make it work with a bullet hole in it, danna.”

Sasori mutters a curse under his breath and then orders, “Hand it over, I’ll see what I can do.”

If anyone can get it working in this situation, it’s Sasori. Still, if they can't let Rin know they need a pickup, things are going to get very complicated, very fast. “Pein, flare. Now,” he repeats, pulling one of his guns from its shoulder holster and checking how many bullets he has left. “And as a public service announcement, if you assholes get us stranded in the backwoods of Kusa and make me miss my wedding, I am going to kill you all.”

“There's still a week!” Kisame protests. “Flare in three, two, one—”

A jet of red light, rising above the trees. Obito gauges the distance even as he shouts, “Angel, hard right to three o’clock! Pein, we’re about ten minutes away. Don’t wait for a pick-up, head for the point. We’ll keep trying to raise Queen.”

“She might have seen the flare,” Kakuzu points out. “If nothing else, she’ll know we’ve been made.”

“I thought all the gunshots gave that away,” Hidan laughs. “Yo, more of these fuckers incoming. Three just slipped past us.”

“What do we even have you on the team for?” Zetsu complains. “Lazy bastards. Beast, left—Pein, on your six.”

Nagato hisses out an oath, and there's a momentary thud of bodies colliding, followed by the muffled pop of a silenced gun and then running footsteps. “Move faster,” the redhead orders. “If these bastards can catch us when we’re running, we don’t deserve our title.”

Kisame gives a theatrical groan. “We won't deserve that one trophy, either, and I like having it in our office,” he says. “That Uchiha fucker is always too uppity—nice to steal it right from under his nose.”

“Hey!” Obito snaps.

“Not you!” Kisame corrects hurriedly. “That one bastard—Kagami.”

Obito snorts, even as he hears the roar of a motor growing closer to them. “His team’s good,” he allows, eye narrowing as the first flash of color becomes visible through the thick trees. Really, who the hell thought a red paintjob was the way to go for forest stealth? “We’re better.” He fires off a shot, watching in satisfaction as the motorcycle and rider both go down. “And if you hate Kagami that much, why the hell did you invite him and his entire team to the wedding?”

“Because that one chick is hot,” Hidan cackles, right over top of Kisame’s muttered explanation. “And she knocked him on his ass last time our teams sparred together. Think someone’s got a crush.”

“Utatane?” Konan asks, suddenly interested. “You’re right, she is hot. She’ll be there?”

“As best man, aren’t you supposed to know that?” Obito asks. “We’re parallel to the road, and there's a break in the trees ahead—cross us over. I’ll take care of any tails, but we need to go faster.”

Konan wrenches hard on the wheel, cutting sideways through a hedge of brambles and the jerking straight on the rutted dirt road. “I was too busy trying to keep some people from picking lime green and orange for your colors,” she says pointedly. “And making it so you wouldn’t have Venus flytraps for your flowers.”

“Those decorations were awesome,” Hidan protests.

“And cheap,” is Kakuzu’s input.

“Hate you collectively,” Obito mutters. It’s become something of a mantra in the last few weeks. He catches sight of another colorful bike just rounding the corner, rolls his eye, and pulls the trigger. The bike spins out of control, crashing off the edge of the road and tumbling into the river, and he demands, “Do I even want to know what you did pick?”

“Dark blue and silver,” Konan answers promptly. “Your aunt agreed that it was a tasteful choice. Which you would know, Tobi, if you ever came to one of our meetings.”

Like hell is he going to sit down with Konan, his aunt, and whatever hapless victim they manage to sink their claws into so that he can talk about colors. “Whatever you picked, I don’t care,” he says, almost losing his balance as they bounce over some particularly deep ruts. “As long as the whole thing happens before I come to my senses, it doesn’t matter what it looks like.”

“Romance at its finest,” Sasori says dryly. “I'm forever grateful that I have no interest in such things.”

“If anything ever changes, let me know, un,” Deidara offers cheerfully. “You're hot, danna.”

Sasori lifts his head long enough to raise a brow at the blonde. “Do you often proposition the asexual?” he asks, but despite the flat tone Obito can read amusement in the quirk of his mouth. “Given your dating history, I would have to say I'm not surprised.”

“Mean!” Deidara protests. “Danna, you're mean! I date all the time, un! And you know I'm just joking!”

The redhead hums noncommittally, then says, “I think I'm picking up Queen’s frequency. Give me a moment to amplify it…”

Because patience has never been his strongest virtue, Obito barely gives it a count of ten before he tries, “Queen of Hearts, you there? Calling the Queen, can you hear me?”

There's a long moment of silence, a crackle of static, and then a blessedly familiar voice says, “Loud and clear, Tobi. We saw the flare, and I'm on my way. ETA is five minutes.”

Obito doesn’t think it’s exaggeration to say that every last one of the team breathes a sigh of relief at the sound of Rin on the comms. They lost all communication sometime around two this morning, and not having it has been nerve-wracking. He’d say they were getting soft, working on the side they are, but in reality they’ve only improved since Rin took them on.

“You're a goddamn miracle, Queen,” he sighs, dragging a hand through his hair. “We’ve got the stolen files, and we’ve whittled their forces down a bit, too. Did you get the camp coordinates Puppeteer sent you before our comms blackout?”

“We’ve got the woods cordoned off, and teams are moving in now,” Rin confirms. “Status?”

“A Team is on foot, minor injuries only, five minutes out,” Pein reports. “Pursuit has been taken care of.”

“B Team has a vehicle. Kind of.” Obito grunts as they hit another bump. “Bomber shouldn’t be walking, the rest of us are fine. Intermittent pursuit, but I can't see any right now. Closing in on the extraction point now.”

“Someone put Tobi on lookout?” Rin says, somewhere between teasing and horrified. “Are we forgetting what happened last time?”

With a groan, Obito hunkers down in the bed, keeping his gaze on the road behind them. “No,” he snaps, “no one is forgetting what happened last time. But Angel is driving, Bomber is hurt and sitting on the prize, and Puppeteer was working on the radio.” A flash of color, and he brings his Glock up and fires twice, eye narrowing in satisfaction as the figures in black drop. “If you have a better solution, I'm all ears.”

“Here’s one: stop whining,” Rin says dryly. She pauses, clearly listening to something else, and then adds, “Team 9 just nabbed the ringleaders, and they're singing like birds. I think you scared them.”

“Anyone would be scared of Tobi without his morning coffee,” Konan points out, desert-dry, as they jerk off the road and into a wide, grassy field. The truck rumbles to a halt and she shuts off the engine, then leaps out, carrying her sniper rifle. “Anything?”

“Not yet,” Obito answers, then taps his comm. “Pein, warn us when you're nearby. Angel and I are both feeling a little trigger-happy right now after our nature hike from hell.”

“Copy,” Nagato confirms. “In that case I’ll send Zombie and Priest first.”

Kakuzu squawks in indignation, even as Hidan starts swearing viciously, and Obito snorts. The heavy, concussive hum of helicopter blades draws his attention, and he glances back to see the sleek black body of Rin's favorite Blackhawk model approaching from the south. He waves, and a moment later wind whips the field as she comes in for a landing. Just a beat behind, Nagato says, “On approach, don’t shoot,” and Obito catches sight of red hair through the trees.

“Copy. Retrieving package.” He ducks around to where Deidara is throwing open the door of the truck and loops an arm under her shoulders as she climbs out, taking the weight off her leg. Sasori is right behind her, and grabs the heavy duffle bag that contains their prize as he emerges. “Angel?” Obito calls.

Konan ducks back to the rest of their team, taking Deidara’s other arm. “No sign of movement beyond the others,” she reports, then adds into her comm, “Beast, watch your six. I can't see anything, but my line of sight is terrible right now.”

“Nothing moving,” Kisame reports. “Think we got the majority of them, Angel, so stop fretting.”

“The remainder can kill you just as dead if they have a sniper,” Sasori retorts, raising his voice to be heard over the engines as he tosses the duffle in, then follows it. Reaching back, he takes Deidara’s hand, hauling her up and towards the back. “Hurry.”

Obito pauses, even as Konan slides past him into the bay. The rest of the team is just emerging from the trees at a run, Nagato in the lead with Zetsu behind him. Hidan and Kakuzu are next, with Kisame bringing up the rear, and it’s a relief to see that they're all moving fine. Akatsuki’s past means that “minor wounds only” frequently translates to “won't bleed out immediately, let’s ignore the massive head-wound spurting blood in time with my pulse”. Watching Rin's reaction to things like that is generally amusing, but not worth the shouting they’ll be subjected to afterwards.

“Strap in and let’s go!” Rin orders from the pilot’s seat. “It’s a long flight back to Konoha, and I don’t want to hear Tobi bitch about possibly missing his wedding if we have to stop and refuel.”

“I'm not that bad!” Obito protests, waiting until the others have filed past him and are settling down before he ducks in, sliding the door closed behind him. “And unless you're a really crappy pilot, Queen, I don’t think it’ll take us a week to get back.”

“Yeah, but my ass is going to go numb is we have to sit like this for more than two hours,” Kisame complains, shifting where he’s leaning back against the wall. “No seats, Queen? You’re so cruel to us.”

Rin snorts, even as the engines start humming again and the helicopter lifts off the ground. “You’re lucky they didn’t send a bunch of ATVs to pick you up,” she retorts. “I appropriated one of the cargo transports from the nearest military base so I could come pick you up myself.”

In Rin-speak, that means she bullied her way into the operation when she was supposed to stay back at the staging area. Obito rolls his eye, seating himself next to Konan, with Deidara in the lone seat to his left. Hidan is poking at the wrapping on the blonde’s leg, looking unimpressed.

“Do you want to die of gangrene, tomboy?” he demands. “You barely even cleaned this!”

“We were getting shot at, un!” Deidara protests. “I’d like to see you do better, Priest!”

“Fine,” Hidan huffs, reaching for his pack and the large first aid kit he always carries. “You can either drop your pants or I'm cutting them off.”

“Fuck you,” she spits. “I'm not giving you an eyeful. Somebody hand me a knife.”

“For your pants, or for stabbing Priest?” Obito asks dryly, but he pulls one of his trench knives from its sheath on his arm without waiting for an answer and passes it over. Hidan flips him off, sinking back on his heels as Deidara begins slicing through the leg of her cargo pants. As soon as the bullet graze is clear, he starts pulling out antiseptic and bandages, looking put-upon.

Obito tunes out their bickering, taking his own catalogue of bruises and various scrapes. His right ankle is a bit tender and his ribs on the left side feel bruised, but it’s nothing serious. Nothing that can't be cured by time and seeing Kakashi again.

With a low sigh, he tips his head back against the vibrating wall, closing his eye. They’ve been on the move for almost twenty-four hours now, trying to find and then evade a band of thieves who nabbed a bunch of the CIA’s classified, hard-copy-only files, and he’s exhausted. There's barely a week until the wedding, which is likely only magnifying his stress, and this mission was an emergency call that they couldn’t refuse. He wouldn’t have accepted it, knowing all the many things that could go wrong and delay them, if there had been any other choice. Kakashi was as understanding as ever, but Obito still doesn’t have to like it.

“Anything that needs to be taken care of, Tobi?” Hidan asks, moving to crouch in front of him. Obito opens his eye to give him a look and shrugs.

“Got some painkillers?” he asks. “Minor stuff.”

“Which is why your ankle is probably swelling in your boot,” Hidan says dryly, but passes over a two pills before Obito can protest. “Shut the hell up, I saw you limping. Ice it when we land. I'm not dragging your ass out to find another tux that will fit over a cast, bastard.”

“Fuck off,” is just about the only retort Obito can manage. He swallows the pills dry, then slumps back against the wall again. Konan just shakes her head when Hidan looks at her, and tips sideways to rest her cheek on Obito's shoulder. Blue hair tickles his jaw as he rests his head against hers, and he can feel her sigh. Nagato’s team had it relatively easy—they took out a secondary camp that was more distraction than anything. Obito's team spent all night hauling ass over a mountain in the dark with people shooting at them.

“Deserts are better,” Konan mutters into his shoulder holster. “I like flat ground.”

Obito fishes a particularly pokey stick out of her hair and flicks it away. “Definitely,” he agrees, and then opens his eye again to squint at an amused-looking Nagato, who’s sitting across from them. “If pictures happen, I’ll kick your ass,” he threatens, and Nagato holds up his hands in clear surrender. Appeased, Obito sweeps his glare around the interior of the helicopter, making sure everyone has gotten the message, and then relaxes back. Konan curls a little bit closer, warm and steady, and Obito breathes out. He thinks of Konoha, of pavement and his apartment, of Kakashi waiting, and can't fight a faint smile.

Deidara’s hand drops into his head, and fingers that smell like gunpowder and explosive clay stroke through his hair. Obito doesn’t have to look to see that the blonde is drifting off, too—Sasori has stuffed himself into the corner and is practically asleep already as well. It’s all right; they're on their way home, mission done except for the debriefing, and it’s safe to relax. The others can keep watch, since it’s clear they got at least a little sleep last night. Obito's more than ready for unconsciousness.

He pats Deidara’s thigh absently, breathes out, and lets himself drift down into soft darkness.



The lack of noise wakes Obito sometime later, and he stirs reluctantly, lifting his head from where it’s been resting against Konan's. She’s still asleep, the hyperawareness of a sniper mentally exhausting on top of all the physical exertion, and he remains where he is so as not to disturb her, glancing around the nearly-empty helicopter. Only Zetsu is present, tearing into a granola bar, and when Obito's movement catches his attention he looks up.

“Just a brief stop,” he says quietly. “Queen got permission to fly us directly back to Konoha, but we needed to refuel. The others are getting some food and stretching their legs.”

Obito nods, unfolding his own legs and grimacing at the stiffness that’s set in. His ankle throbs dully, but it’s ignorable, and he feels leagues better after even a short nap. A glance outside shows that the sun is high; it must be noon or a little after, he thinks, and carefully brings up a hand to rub at his face. “Deidara?” he asks, matching Zetsu’s volume.

The infiltration expert shrugs. “Pretty boy’s fine. He’s off getting drinks. Take a look at your hand.”

Obito blinks at him, then pulls his fingers away from his face and glances at them. Nothing on his palm, so he flips it around, and immediately rolls his eye. “Bastard,” he mutters, glaring at the sparkly blue polish now adorning his nails. “I’ll fucking chop off all of that pretty blond hair.”

Zetsu snickers, holding up his own hand to show off the matching coat he’s sporting. “He got all of us,” he confirms. “Next time I say we raid his bag for the damned stuff.”

That sounds vaguely tempting, except there's no possible way to find all of the hidden stashes Deidara has squirreled away, and he seems to think that the successful completion of a mission calls for celebration via bullying the rest of the team into letting him paint their nails. Obito groans, rubbing at his forehead, and complains, “Did he forget that I'm getting married in seven days? This shit is fucking impossible to get off.”

“I think he picked the shade specifically to match the theme,” Kisame says with a grin, hauling himself into the helicopter, one arm loaded down with wrapped sandwiches.

“It will,” Konan mutters into Obito's shoulder, peering at her own nails through one slitted eye as she holds her hand up to the light. “Though the sparkles are a bit much.”

“It’s called ‘Across the Galaxy’, un,” Deidara puts in, bouncing across the tarmac to them. He’s grinning, and the graze on his leg doesn’t seem to be hampering him much at all. Obito is betting that Hidan slipped him some stronger painkillers than ibuprofen. The man’s a bastard, but he doesn’t like seeing those close to him hurt. “It’s super pretty, right?”

Obito sighs, exasperated, and fixes the blond with his most menacing glare. “Someday I'm going to shave you bald,” he threatens. “And absolutely no one will be able to say you didn’t have it coming.”

Several steps behind Deidara, Sasori eyes his own sparkly nails, then lifts a hand. “I will volunteer to hold him down,” he says blandly, snags a bottle of bright green soda from Deidara’s armload, and retreats to his corner.

It takes effort not to grimace when the hacker pops the tab. “You do know that stuff actually qualifies as a chemical spill when it hits the ground?” Obito points out. “Do you have any idea what it’s doing to your body?”

Sasori doesn’t roll his eyes, but the thought is obviously there. “It contains sugar. And caffeine. I require both if I'm to survive another thirty minutes in cramped quarters with all of you.”

Kisame snorts, and before Obito can retort chucks a sandwich at his face. “Here, Tobi. No free-range meat, but their vegetables were organic, so I grabbed you the veggie special.”

“And a bottle of fair-trade iced coffee for the princess too, un,” Deidara laughs, passing over the glass bottle.

“Fuck off,” Obito huffs, taking it, but can't quite fight a smile. “Where’s Priest?”

“Here,” the man says, climbing in the other side and sitting on the edge as Kakuzu and Nagato join them in the helicopter, accepting their own meals. “Injury report?” When Obito nods, already tearing off the paper wrapping his sandwich, Hidan offers, “Bomber got the worst of it with that graze. Beast has a couple of lumps on his head, but his skull’s so fucking hard he barely noticed. Gardener picked up a few ticks, Pein got a rash from something, but besides your tweaked ankle that’s about it. Speaking of which—”

“I’ll ice it when we’re home,” Obito cuts in, and grimaces. “Goddamn it, I hate the woods. Those kinds of things never happen in the city.”

Knuckles rap against metal, and all nine of them glance up to see Rin standing just outside the door. Her expression is tight, her eyes hard, and Obito feels his spine pulling straight with a sudden surge of adrenaline. He knows that look, and the next words out of her mouth are going to be—

“We’ve got a situation,” she says, right on cue. “Back in Konoha. The director called us personally. Remember the Gold and Silver brothers?”

“Those armored car thieves Itachi took down?” Obito asks, surprised. “Yeah. They were supposed to get moved to—” Suddenly able to see where this is going, he cuts himself off and grimaces. “God damn it. They escaped?”

“Not quite. A bunch of their followers tried to break them out,” Rin corrects, hoisting herself into the cockpit. “And when that failed, instead of doing the smart thing and surrendering, they decided to take over the police station and hold it hostage until Kinkaku and Ginkaku are released.”

Kakuzu groans and drops his head onto his knees, waving his bottle of water both expressively and despairingly. “Were we the only smart criminals?” he complains. “Are all the other vaguely intelligent ones dead?”

“Apparently,” Nagato says dryly. “I assume they're having a difficult time of it?”

Rin nods, eyes on her pre-flight check. “Yeah, but the director wants us there anyway—he seems to think we’ll have a better chance of rooting them out while the police are occupied with securing the lower floors. From what we can tell, most of the force is either trapped in the garage or on the upper floors, and the attackers are keeping them from advancing in either direction.”

Obito wonders where Kakashi is. Knowing him, right in the thick of things. Not dead, he tells himself firmly, calming the growing roil of nausea in his stomach. He wouldn’t do something that stupid.

I think.

I hope.

Automatically, he reaches for his pack and digs out his mobile, powering it on. It’s a miracle that it’s not sporting any bullet holes this time—Obito loses more phones that way in a year than most people would go through in a decade. The lock screen brightens a moment later, another picture of Kakashi and himself close together with the night sky behind them, and Obito takes a breath and opens his call log.

Nothing. A call from the caterer, a handful of texts from Sasuke complaining about his homework, one from Izuna complaining about Madara—but nothing from Kakashi.

Logical, Obito forces himself to think. He knows I'm on a mission, well out of service range, with no concrete idea of when the mission will end. Of course he wouldn’t call.

It doesn’t help. Obito debates for a moment, then pulls up his messaging and texts, If you get yourself shot one week before the wedding, I’ll kill you myself. After another second of deliberation he hits send, then sinks back, resting his phone on his thigh and picking unenthusiastically at his sandwich. It’s good, and he’s starving, but—Kakashi. Kakashi is in danger, and they're still half an hour away. Rin will try her best to get them there faster, but even she can't bend space and time.

It’s an impossible relief when, barely a minute later, his phone vibrates, and he grabs it to see a response. Don’t fret, dear. I think they went to the Storm Trooper Academy of Marksmanship. Are you off work?

Of course Kakashi would play down a hostile invasion of his workplace. Obito rolls his eye and answers, Keep your stupid head down. They only need to get lucky once, and I won't love you anymore if you get a hole in your skull.

How shallow, Obito. I’d love you no matter what. Even if you do have atrocious taste in coffee.

Obito splutters. I DO NOT. You’re just a wimp. I'm coming to pick you up, so sit tight.

Having taste buds isn’t wimpy, Obito. Neither is wanting to keep them. Did the caterer call you? They’ve been trying to reach me, but I haven’t had a chance to answer.

“Why am I marrying him again?” Obito despairs to Konan. “He’s an idiot. He’s a suicidal moron.”

“Take out life insurance for him,” is her helpful suggestion. “Can we land on the roof?”

Obito hates his team. He gives her a sour look, then asks, Roof clear? We’ve got a standard Blackhawk.

There's a long pause. Iruka thinks so. Door is barred, though.

Given that they have Deidara with them, locked doors will most definitely not be a problem. Keep everybody clear, Obito orders. We’re about twenty-five minutes out. Can you hold that long?

They’ve got MC locked on the tenth floor, Kakashi answers. Everyone else is in the basement or trapped in one of the gyms. No one’s going anywhere, but they don’t seem to be pushing forward. Also, funny story: they're calling themselves Akatsuki.

Obito bristles with indignation. “What?!” he demands, jerking upright, and when Nagato makes a concerned noise Obito chucks the phone at his face. “These fuckers are going to die.”

Nagato blinks at him, then glances down at the message and growls. “They're using our name to break out some two-bit criminals?” he hisses, and seven sets of deeply offended eyes snap over to him instantly. “Let’s destroy them.”

“Seconded,” Kisame says, fingering the long, wide knife sheathed along his leg.

“Is it even a question?” Konan asks darkly, one hand finding her rifle.

“Fucking asshole motherfuckers,” is Hidan’s contribution.

Deidara makes a faintly sad sound. “We can't just bomb the whole place?”

No,” Rin snaps. “It’s a police station, Bomber, with people still in it.”

Obito pats the blond’s arm consolingly. “Locked door,” he offers. “That will definitely need your type of art.”

That gets him a grin and a hug. “Aw, Tobi, you know how to win a boy’s heart, un!”

Obito's phone chooses that moment to chime again, and Nagato tosses it back with a roll of his eyes.

I’ll assume, judging by that mass of letters you just sent, that they're not affiliated in any way?

Oops. Obito must have button-mashed without meaning to. NOT ON YOUR LIFE, he texts back. Leave these assholes to us. It’s personal now. Hesitating, he adds, And don’t make anyone shoot you. I have plans for tonight.

The reply is practically instantaneous. They wouldn’t happen to include that jar of honey dust you bought, would they?

It takes effort not to flush crimson. THAT IS FOR THE HONEYMOON, KAKASHI. NO.

Maa, maa. A guy can dream, can't he?

Dream about a nice dinner and that bottle of wine Izuna gave us, NOT THAT.

Kakashi sends him a sad-face emoji in response, and Obito grits his teeth, shoots off, WE’LL BE THERE SOON, ASSHOLE, DON’T GET SHOT, and then locks his phone and shoves it into his pocket.

“He’s fine,” he grits out when he realizes everyone is watching him. Even Rin, and surely she has better things to be keeping her eyes on. “We should be able to land on the roof. Major Crimes is on 10, with everyone else holed up in the gym or the parking garage and the invaders in between. Once we’re inside, we should separate and work our way around towards the center. That’s where the leader probably is.”

“You just want to meet up with your boyfriend,” Kisame says, unimpressed.

“Fiancé,” Obito retorts. “And fuck off. We’re more than a match for these idiots, and I'm pretty sure we all want a piece of them. This is just common sense.”

“I like it,” Konan volunteers with a faint, terrifying smile, fingering her rifle again.

Hidan makes a rude sound. “Yeah, well, we’re not all ninja-chicks who can turn invisible,” he huffs. “But I'm not about to say no to some one-on-one. Those thieves were fucking pansies. I want a real fight.”

“Same,” Kakuzu agrees, cracking his knuckles with a creepy grin. “Bet I can get more than any of you bastards.”

“You're idiots,” is Sasori’s unimpressed estimation. “Tobi always wins this game.”

Zetsu laughs. “But this time he’s going to be distracted by his boy-toy,” he points out. “We’ve finally got a chance. How about…winner gets to help Angel write her best man speech?”

There is absolutely no possibility that anything they come up with will be any more damaging to his dignity that whatever Konan already has in mind, so Obito rolls his eye and doesn’t protest. “I'm still going to win,” he says grumpily. “So it’s a moot point. Just give up already.”

“Never,” Kisame swears, grinning like a shark. “This time we’ll beat you for sure, Tobi.”

Obito trades unconvinced glances with Konan. Even Deidara doesn’t look swayed, and he’s usually the first to jump on a bet like that. Konan just shrugs one shoulder, then calls, “ETA?”

“Eighteen minutes,” Rin answers over the comms. “Fifteen if I break some laws.”

“The director will forgive us,” Obito reminds her. He checks his knives, then his guns, and can't fight a sharp-edged grin. “Well. I've always wanted to terrify an entire police station. Haven’t you guys?”

Nagato laughs, Kisame bares his teeth, and Deidara whoops. Even Sasori smiles slightly, eyes bright with challenge, and Obito sits back and thinks of a plan.



“You're a damned idiot,” Obito complains the second they step through the twisted wreckage of the roof door, the rest of the team filing past him and immediately separating. “What part of keep everyone back was so hard for you to comprehend?”

Kakashi just arches a wry brow at him, slipping forward out of the shadows. He reaches out, and Obito reaches back without even thinking about it, letting Kakashi grab his hand and pull him in to a tight hug. Obito wraps his arms around Kakashi in return, breathing out carefully, and takes comfort in the gentle, steady rise and fall of Kakashi's chest. He smells like their soap and fabric softener, comforting and familiar, and after the stress of the last thirty-six hours Obito feels no remorse pressing into Kakashi's chest, curling his hands around the man’s shoulders, and leaning up to kiss him. Kakashi answers without hesitation, hands cupping Obito's face and tongue curling against his, and Obito sighs against his lips as they pull apart.

“Welcome home, Obito,” Kakashi murmurs into his ear. “I missed you.”

“I missed you too, Kakashi,” Obito returns, and gives him a quick once-over. “You're okay?”

Grey eyes crinkle with humor. “Of course. And you?”

“Sick of mountains,” is Obito's answer. “And ready for bed.” Seeing Kakashi open his mouth, he kisses him again before he can say anything that Obito will have to hit him for, then pulls away. Kakashi follows him, taking another kiss, and Obito doesn’t resist, leaning into it. He nips at Kakashi's lower lip, feels a thumbnail trace lightly down his spine and shivers, lets a hand rise to cup—

In perfect unison, Iruka and Nagato both clear their throats. Obito rolls his eye, but reluctantly pulls away to give the redhead a glare, and gets an arched brow in return.

“Killjoy,” he mutters, but puts a few prudent inches of space between himself and his ridiculously gorgeous fiancé before he can be tempted to do anything more.

“I would think,” Nagato says with devastating mildness, “that that would be better applied to the numerous angry men with guns.”

“It’s not like they're on this floor,” Kakashi points out, hooking his fingers into Obito's shoulder holsters and pulling him right back in. Grey eyes flicker over him, and then Kakashi says in a low voice, “Have I ever told you just how sexy you are like this?”

“It might have come up once or twice,” Obito says, a touch breathlessly, though he’s going to ignore that part. He assumes it’s akin to him seeing Kakashi in his dress uniform: very distracting.

“It’s not the only thing that did,” Kakashi says with cheerful mischief.

With an aggrieved groan, Obito thumps a fist against his chest. “Okay, mood ruined,” he complains. “Akatsuki, move out. You know where you're supposed to be.”

“No quickies in the elevator, Tobi!” Kisame shouts back as he heads down the hall. “Even if they’ve shut the security cameras down—urk!”

A throwing knife embedded in the drywall cuts off the end of that particular sentence, and Obito gives Kisame the evil eye as the man jerks back and disappears around the corner. Then he shakes his head, and turns to look at Kakashi's partner. “I'm heading for the elevators,” he says. “The shafts are going to be the quickest way between floors, at least until the team gets the stairwell doors unlocked. Want to come?”

“I will,” Kakashi says promptly.

Iruka gives him a droll look. “And the audience is shocked,” he says dryly. “Thank you, Obito, but I've been coordinating with several of the other officers, and I should stick with it. They’ll be relieved to hear the FBI has arrived.”

Obito sincerely doubts that, but doesn’t try to correct the detective. “Have you heard from Itachi or Izuna?”

Iruka's expression edged towards pained. “The Captain isn’t with us,” he says. “He was, er…” Apparently floundering for an explanation, he just waves a hand and says, “The, uh, Assistant District Attorney came for a lunch meeting.”

No further justification is needed. Obito has heard several drunken odes to ADA Tōka Senju’s legs. And her brain. And even more to her ability to throw people headlong down staircases when they try to grope her, which is how she and Izuna met—he was supposed to be the arresting officer, but ended up laughing so hard at that particular asshole’s misfortune that Tōka had to sit on the man for a good half hour before Izuna had sufficiently recovered himself.

Obito does not even pretend to understand his family’s courting rituals, but he’s beginning to be able to pick out a pattern.

“He got distracted,” Obito concludes with a sigh. “So which bathroom are they locked in this time?”

“I didn’t check,” Iruka admits. “But Itachi is somewhere on the fifth floor—they caught him in the stairwell, and then the cameras went down. I think he’s trying to take that floor back by himself, but I haven’t heard anything.”

It must be fate that Kisame is headed for the fifth floor as well. Apparently the man will get his introduction to Itachi after all. Controlling a smirk, Obito nods his thanks and reaches up to touch his comm. “Moving out,” he informs the others. “Sound off.”

“Angel, north stairwell, heading for 3,” Konan reports.

“Bomber on 4, ready to blow the north stairwell door.”

“Beast on the fire escape, headed for 5. Lookouts near the windows, be aware.”

“Puppeteer on 10, hooking into security. Give me…seven minutes to take control.”

“Zombie on 8, starting sweep. Dead so far.”

“Gardener on 7, almost got the door open.”

“Pein heading for 6, south stairwell.”

“Priest, same side, headed for 4.”

Obito nods to himself. “Tobi headed for 9, taking the elevator shaft on the west side. Boy-Toy is with me.” Without waiting for a response, he heads left.

“…I think I should be offended,” Kakashi says mildly, following closely. “Boy-Toy?”

Casting a smirk over his shoulder, Obito pulls out his knife, leaning over a discrete metal box set into the wall several feet down from the elevator. “Don’t look at me,” he tells Kakashi, sliding the blade into the plastic bottom. “They're the ones that came up with the name.” A sharp jerk sideways cuts through the plastic like butter, and Obito catches the drop key as it tumbles loose.

“I get the feeling you didn’t protest much, either.” Kakashi sounds amused. “So, is there a plan beyond the obvious?”

Obito shoves the key into the small hole in the elevator doors and turn it, then hooks his fingers in the gap and hauls one side open. The car itself is several floors down, but in the dull glow of the emergency lights, the ladder set into the side of the shaft is clear. A moment of rummaging in his pockets produces a glow-stick, and Obito cracks it and shoves it between his teeth. Giving Kakashi an arch look, he grabs onto the sides of the ladder, hooks his feet around the rails, and slides downward.

It’s only a handful of feet between floors, and Obito catches the edge of the doors on the ninth floor, leaning in close to listen for voices. He can't hear anything—not that he really expected to, because these assholes are also idiots, and this particular bank of elevators is fairly far from anything important—so he fits the drop key into the keyhole again and turns it slowly.

“You know,” Kakashi murmurs as he comes to a stop beside him, so quietly that Obito can just barely make it out, “if you keep being that sexy I'm going to have a reaction that’s very inappropriate for this situation.”

Obito snorts softly. “Your responses are your own business,” he breathes in return, and casts Kakashi a pointed sideways look. “Coming up with plans of your own for tonight, Kakashi?”

“I've had them since you left,” Kakashi points out, eyes crinkling as he smiles. “Now they're just getting more…detailed.”

“I'm a fan of details.” Obito flicks his fingers, gesturing for silence, and eases the closest door open slightly. Where there’s no sudden flurry of gunshots, he braces his feet, palms a knife, and throws it open all the way as he dives through. There's just enough time to catch the expression of shock on the faces of the two men guarding the door before Obito kicks the feet out from under one, slams a fist into the gut of the other, and then knocks out the first with a blow to the temple from his knife’s hilt. The other he grabs before the imposter can shout, locking him in a sleeper hold. It takes a long minute, but the man slumps, going limp, and Obito lets him drop.

“Clear,” he tells Kakashi quietly, and shifts left, scanning the hallway. He’s been in the police station many times, visiting his relatives or meeting Kakashi, and even though this isn’t Kakashi's floor, his cousin Hikaku works here. They’ve met for lunch twice, and from that Obito is familiar enough with the layout to head left, towards the main rooms and the most-used elevators. Ninth is Narcotics, and the bullpen is near the center of the building. Obito suspects that the leaders of this idiotic venture will be congregating there.

Footsteps echo down the hall, making Obito tense, and he and Kakashi both duck for doorways on opposite sides of the corridor, pressing themselves back and out of sight. Obito listens for a moment, then flashes four fingers at Kakashi, who nods in agreement. He also raises a brow at the sparkly blue nail polish, eyes mirthful as he gives Obito a discrete thumbs up, and Obito glares, flipping him off.

By then, the patrol is only a few yards away, and Obito tightens his grip on his knife, then spins out of his hiding spot. The leader yelps, bringing his gun up, but Obito dodges left, goes low, and comes up from his roll right between the four. Kakashi is right behind him, taking out the first with an impressive uppercut, and Obito dodges between the remaining three, sliding to the side before they can hit him. Guns are a liability so close together, which they seem to recognize, but instead of trying to work together they're just fouling each other, almost tripping as they try to move. Obito lays around him with the hilt of his knife, breaking two noses and knocking the third man out, and while the former two are distracted by the pain he puts them down with a few quick punches.

“Five,” he murmurs into his comm. “Keeping up?”

Hidan curses viciously. “Three,” he huffs. “Goddamn it, Tobi. Are you counting Boy-Toy’s too?”

Obito snorts. “No. Do you want me to? I thought you needed a bigger handicap than that, princess. Gardener, Zombie, Beast, feel free to chime in. Still think I'm going to be too distracted to win?”

“Fuck you, Tobi,” Kisame hisses. “Three.”

“Two,” Kakuzu sighs.

“Same,” Zetsu mutters.

A flash of movement catches Obito's eye, and he lunges, taking out the next invader just as he comes around the corner. “Make that six,” he corrects. “Come on, guys, at least make this challenging.”

“Squad room up ahead,” Kakashi warns him. “Did they hit you anywhere?”

Nagato scoffs, clearly hearing the question. “Hasn’t he learned yet that no one hits you?” he asks wryly. “I feel like we should invite him to one of our workout sessions so he can get the picture.”

“Yeah,” Kisame says, dust-dry. “Nothing like having four of us getting our asses kicked without even being able to land a hit. ‘S my favorite. What I want for my birthday too, team, make a note.”

Obito rolls his eye. “They're assholes,” he informs Kakashi, “and I'm fine.”

Kakashi smiles, raising a brow. “If I didn’t know better, I’d say you have a fondness for assholes.”

“One in particular.” Obito smiles back. “Squad room, right? Puppeteer, anything off of security yet?”

“I just got past their firewall,” Sasori reports. “Two minutes and I’ll have everything back online.”

Yeah, no. Obito's not about to hang around in the hallway for two minutes like a dithering schoolgirl. He grabs his other knife from the sheath on his arm, hooks his fingers through the metal guards, and leans in to give Kakashi a quick, dirty kiss. “After all this excitement, our honeymoon’s going to be ridiculously dull,” he points out.

Kakashi chuckles, pulling a bandana from his pocket and wrapping it around his right knuckles. “Oh, I don’t know. I'm pretty excited for that honey dust, myself.”

“All of the things I never fucking needed to hear,” Kisame laments. “Four, ha!”

Obito rolls his eye, waits for Kakashi to throw the door open, and then hurls himself past the man, right into a knot of impossibly surprised idiots who thought they could threaten what’s his.



“Well!” Rin says cheerfully, sitting on the edge of the ambulance as a paramedic wraps a shallow knife-wound on Obito's bicep. “That wasn’t nearly the disaster I thought it would be. Go team.”

Holding an icepack to his rapidly swelling nose, Hidan groans. “Absolute fucking tragedy,” he complains. “Can't believe I only got six of the bastards.”

“Eight,” Kakuzu offers, almost as mournfully. “Zetsu?”

Zetsu makes a face like he just bit into something nasty. “Ten.”

“And to think,” Obito says dryly, “you thought I was the one who would get distracted.”

Kakuzu, on the other side of the ambulance getting a head-wound wrapped, shoots a vicious glare in the direction of Kisame, who is currently doing his best impression of a 6’4 Labrador puppy as he trails behind Obito's cousin. Itachi, for his part, is staring up at Kisame like the former terrorist is the most glorious thing he’s ever seen, though his calm expression hasn’t shifted much—it’s all around the eyes, but Obito can recognize that starry expression well enough.

Last time Obito tuned in, they were discussing the best model of grenade launcher. When Kisame bashfully volunteered the knowledge that he could construct one himself, Obito kind of thought Itachi was going to propose right then and there, or maybe bend him over the nearest desk. He can't decide whether the whole scene is hilarious or horrifying, and judging by the way Kakashi is eyeing both of them, he can't either.

As the paramedic finishes tying off the bandage and moves on to checking Zetsu’s broken finger, Obito leans sideways into Kakashi, who wraps an arm around his shoulders and presses a glancing kiss to his temple. “And what was your final score?” Kakashi asks, and though his tone is curious Obito can see the glint of mischief in his eyes. “I think I lost count somewhere around nineteen.”

Obito grins at the bitter glares being sent his way and answers, “Twenty-three. How’s your hand?”

Kakashi flexes it, dismissing the bleeding knuckles with a shrug. “It’s been a long time since I went hand-to-hand with that many,” he says, brushing off the comment. “Good practice, though.”

“I had fun,” Konan agrees, sitting cross-legged on the pavement and cleaning her rifle. There's a small, cat-smug smile on her face, and a bloody paper flower tucked behind one ear. Obito knows better than to ask.

Nagato hums in agreement, attention on his phone. “Yahiko is on his way,” he says, rising to his feet. “Konan, would you like a ride home?”

Konan gives him a disdainful look. “And watch you two eye-fuck all the way to our neighborhood? Pass. I’ll take the subway.”

“Danna’s taking me home, un,” Deidara puts in cheerfully. “I want to see those brats of his again. Little Gaara's getting so cute!”

“He’s seventeen,” Sasori says flatly. “Don’t call him cute.”

Ignoring the hacker, Hidan looks at Deidara and says with utmost seriousness, “I’ll pray for you.”

Sasori glares, Deidara grins, and Kakuzu snorts. He straightens with a wave, brushing off the medic’s protestations that he should take it easy, and offers, “Later, assholes.”

“Rehearsal dinner on Friday,” Konan reminds him. “Show up, or I’ll make you.”

“I think that’s our cue,” Kakashi says dryly, offering Obito a hand up. “Home?”

“Don’t fuck on the street!” Zetsu warns, grinning. “Bailing you out would put a cramp in our planning.”

Flipping him off, Obito tucks his free hand into Kakashi's, and doesn’t let go even after the man has pulled him to his feet and tossed his blazer over Obito's shoulders. “Rin, thanks for getting us home on time.”

Rin just smiles, waving him off. “Good night, Obito, Kakashi. I’ll see you at the rehearsal. Don’t get into too much trouble.”

With one last wave behind him, Obito lets Kakashi pull them down the street, skirting the crowd of reporters and onlookers. The rest of the street is quiet, traffic blocked off, and Obito sighs a little in contentment as they turn towards the parkway. Kakashi squeezes his fingers gently, casting him a quick sideways smile, and Obito doesn’t even try to fight his smile in return.

“I called ahead for Chinese,” Kakashi tells him. “We can pick up on the way. Then…I think you said something about a bottle of wine?”

“Mm,” Obito hums in agreement. “Izuna has pretty good taste. And I bet it would taste even better if I drank it off of you.”

There's a long moment of silence before Kakashi clears his throat. “We’ll reheat the food,” he suggests. “I have a lot of details I want to work through.”

Obito grins at him, lacing their fingers together. “How lucky for both of us. I am definitely a details man.”