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Shinobi of the Sand

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Kakashi’s eyes open, but it takes a few seconds for his brain to register light. The white light made him flinch. He groaned softly. Slowly, shapes started taking form, but the white didn’t dim. It took a few more minutes to realize that everything was white.

He was in the hospital.

A beeping sound became louder as he tried to pull himself up, shifting around, ignoring the pain.

“Would you stop that?” His brain stopped. “That noise is loud.” Kakashi turns his head to see himself. He was sitting the bed next to him, reading. Not bothering to look up at him. His hair was shorter than he remembered ever having it, his frame, a bit fuller, stronger than his had been before he hit his twenties. And he didn’t have nearly as many scars. Kakashi sat up, grimacing. But his younger self was sitting reading Icha Icha. It was the easiest way to keep the nurses from bothering him. His younger self was bandaged tightly. His upper body and chest were covered in thick bandages. His arms and neck were lightly bandaged.

His younger self looked over to him. “You feeling okay?”  Kakashi almost fell off the other side of his bed. His eyes were green.

It wasn’t him. It was-

Memories started roaring back.

“Obi-Obito!” Kakashi started moving, the beeping becoming frantic. “Are you alright, are you-”

The boy was wincing. “Please calm down-the beeping.”

Kakashi looked around. He was attached to various machines. His mind absorbed everything before he turned back to Obito. The book-the book he gave them, was forgotten as the boy lightly gripped his head.

Kakashi painfully grappled the machines before unplugging them. The boy immediately sighed. After a moment, he grinned cheekily over to Kakashi, green eyes shining. “Thanks, but I don’t think the head doctor will be too happy with that.”

Kakashi stared dumbly at the boy, leaning a lot of his weight on his arms. “You...you look so much like me.” Obito’s grin faltered.

“I think...I think that’s genetics...eh, Kakashi-sir.”

Kakashi’s arm gave out, making him collapsed on the bed. He inhaled deeply as pain blinded him.

“Just-just lay there. You’ll hurt yourself more.” Kakashi adjusted himself slowly before the pain started ebbing away.

After a few more minutes of silence, Kakashi spoke weakly. “I never liked ‘sir.’” He turned his head, smiling. “And I really don’t want to hear that from you.” The boy flushed. “Regardless of genetics.” He added with a sigh. Kakashi turned back to face the white walls in front of him. He closed his eyes. He thought he might drift off to sleep when he heard the book close with a small snap. A few steady heartbeats later the boy laughed. “This is not how I imagined it would go.” Kakashi looked over to the boy, who was wincing slightly, holding his pierced side. “Not entirely sure how it would go but in a hospital room was not how I imagined it.”

Kakashi exhaled slowly, sifting in the bed so he was sitting straight up. It hurt like hell, but he managed to drag his legs to the side of the bed. He supposed now was as good of a time as any to talk to the kid.

Kakashi propped his elbows on his knees and rubbed his face. “I’ll be honest with you I never imagined it myself.” He shrugged, not looking at the kid. It was a bit of a lie, but in all actuality it really wasn’t something he’d seen himself being. Not since Sakura. “Though the amount of time I’ve spent in the hospital it only makes sense.” He peaked his ‘good eye’ at the boy between his fingers. “Thought you’d be younger.” He gave him a small eye crinkle. The boy opened his mouth to speak, but Kakashi cut him off. “Never imagined myself as a- a father. Literally...or even genetically.” The boy’s face was unreadable. “But...there are worse things in life, I suppose.”

“I didn’t really have a dad growing up myself. He...passed away when I was young.”

“Killed himself.” Kakashi jolted straight up, his vision going white with the pain. “Oh god! I’m sorry!” The boy’s panicked cries made the pain a little more bearable.

“It’s fine...just blunt.” Kakashi patted his front before collapsing on the bed sideways.

“Genetics?” Obito said after a while.

Kakashi let out a small grunt. “Yeah, I guess so.” He stared up at the white ceiling before closing his eyes. “More or less grew up alone. I did have Sensei for a little while, but at least you’ve got Mr. Tall and Smiliey.” Kakashi looked up, smiling. He would say the pain in his chest was the Chidori.

Obito stared at him blankly. “Gaara-jii?” The boy blinked, almost like he was pushed over. “Tanade-sensei?” Kakashi opened his mouth but the boy was quick. “The-the last time you were here! You saw her with Tanade-sensei! Yeah! No, no, no!” He shook his head, wincing. “He’s head of the poison’s division! She is one of her pupils!” They were silent for a moment. For a man who relished in silence, Kakashi felt it was too long. “She’s-she’s never, eh...had anyone around.” His eyes were shining as he spoke. “It’s just been the two of us. Tsunade-baa-chan would come sometimes and take her away. Or Ino.” He shrugged. “Only other man who’s ever been in our house is Gaara-jii.” He frowned in a way that made Kakashi uncomfortable. “You okay?”

“That’s the question, isn’t it?” Kakashi flopped back down on the bed. “That’s the question.”

Silence.

“...If it’s any consolation…” The boy started tentatively. “I just...I just wanted you to know, you know?” Kakashi sat up. The boy was looking down at his hands, looking suddenly very, very small. “I didn’t want anything from you. No-I didn’t want you to do anything with the information. I just-just wanted you to know.” He looked up at the ceiling. “And mom-” He smiled sadly, “She was just scared.” He shook his head and looked back to Kakashi. “Guess I can kind of see why though now, eh? Hindsight and all.” He patted where he’d been stabbed.

Kakashi frowned. Obito looked away. “I knew I shouldn’t have antagonized him-”

“You didn’t really-”

“I know what he did to her.” Obito said softly. He looked away. His hands dropped to his blankets. “It’s like what he did to me. But a lot worse.” He gripped his blankets tightly. “I got angry and instead of just brushing him off, I antagonized him. I wanted to hurt him. I wanted to kill him because even after all these years, she’s still hurting. She’s still afraid.”

The silence between them was heavy. Kakashi sighed. “Well, she sure as hell wasn’t afraid out there.” Kakashi’s mind went to the blur of pink he saw before he passed out. His mouth twitched. “She was not scared.”

The silence this time was almost comfortable. “What are you going to do about her?”

Kakashi’s mind wiped clean. “I don’t know what to tell you, kid.”

“You pretty mad?”

Kakashi’s stomach curled. “That’s certainly one way of putting it.” Loathful, spiteful, upset, hurt, some what betrayed? Kakashi sat up in the bed, putting his elbows on his knees. He looked at Obito. Obito of the Sand. Obito Haruno. Obito Hatake?

He wish he had his mask. The boy’s face was falling. His eyes brimming with tears, but Kakashi understood. Hell, he felt tears welling up in his own eyes.

“Why don’t-” Kakashi pushed his feeling down. Far, far down, where he normally kept them. “Why don’t we start by you telling me what you know about genetics, eh? I’ll fill in the details. Since we’re trapped here, we might as well make the best of it.” I’ve always been better about dealing with the past poorly rather than the present poorly. “I’m sure she’s told you some stuff about me,” or you’ve heard something at least, “Why don’t we start there?”

When Obito didn’t answer right away Kakashi frowned. Perhaps he was expecting more? He ignored the lump forming in his stomach, threatening to push his emotions up again.

“You’re-you’re not going to think I’m weird? Are you?” The boy’s voice was soft and meek. It made him shudder. He used to use that voice with Sensei. The boy sighed. “Because I’m a bit of a fan.”

Kakashi bit his lip so he won’t grin. Obito must have sense it because he went on. “The stories of Kakashi the Copy Nin, were always my favorite bedtime stories.” He fushed. “Whether at home, or here.” Obito bit his lip. “I’m sure I’ve heard them all, man,” his eyes were shining bright, “I’m sure I’ve heard them all a hundred times.” He recalled the first conversation he had with the closest thing he really had to a father figure, his sensei. How excited he was to finally meet him. His hero.Kakashi shook his head, brushing his thumb against his cheek. “How about first, you tell me about you, Obito.” He could hear his sensei’s voice in his head.

He was sure that the face Obito gave him was the same face he’d been given all those years ago.

And Obito started.

III

Obito was sleeping soundly. Before he had drifted off to sleep, he’d tossed Kakashi his old friend, his trusty book.

Oh what full circles we’ve come.

Kakashi was once again strung up like a marionette to the various machines. The nurses were on strict rules from ‘The Boss’ to take none of his nonsense.

It was his turn to fidget. He had yet to hear from this ‘Boss.’

He wondered if he would. If it was him-well...well he wasn’t a man for confrontation. He looked up from his book to the slumbering Obito. They gave him some kind of pain drug that made him pass out. Peacefully pass out.

Kakashi’s lip smirked. You’re a good kid…

He closed his eyes.

He didn’t realize that he fell asleep until he felt another presence in the room. Someone was watching him. It wasn’t the same as how Obito had been staring at him when he didn’t think he was awake. Kakashi slowly opened his eyes. As he blinked the blurriness away his butterflies erupted in his stomach.

“Sakura.” Her hair was pulled back in a long ponytail, much like Tsunade’s. Her green eyes shined as tears slowly started rolling down her cheek.

“Hey there…Kakashi…” Her smile was contagious.

“I had the wildest dream.” He murmured. Swallowing thickly. He noticed that her hand was gripping his tightly. “You appeared in a whirlwind and K.O.ed Sasuke.”

Her face dropped slightly before she started chuckling softly. “I couldn’t have him killing my baby.”

“Sakura, I always told you not to call me that, it’s weird.” He squeezed her hand as her face fell. “You’ve got a good boy.” He watched as she looked over to the other bed, smiling softly. “A bit stupid and reckless, but he’s a good kid.” Her smile drooped. He gave her hand another squeeze. “But that might just be genetics.”

She pressed her lips together. “I’m sorry.” She said softly. She opened her mouth and paused, looking over to him. “I’m sorry.” Tears were streaming down her face. “Not too much more I can say.”

He shrugged, looking over at the sleeping boy. “No, I guess not.”

They were silent, watching their son. Kakashi frowned.

“I thought...I guess it doesn’t matter what I thought.”

“No.” He said flatly. “But you can tell me if you want.”

“I was afraid for you. If I told you, Sasuke would kill you.”

“Thanks.” He wasn’t sure how he meant it. Sasuke’s rage wasn’t something to mess with, especially when it came to ruining his little ‘plan.’ But that was a long time ago. And Kakashi wasn’t young then, but he could have certainly held his own. Now…

“His family is here.”

Kakashi turned to stare at her. “How long have I been here?”

She shrugged, not looking at him. “Six days.”

He let out a low whistle. “Is Sasuke-”

“Stabilized. Unfortunately.” She let go of his hand and stood, moving to the bed next to him. “You have no idea how much I really hoped I had knocked his lights out.” She leaned over her son and gently brushed a few rogue strands of silver hair out of his eyes.

Kakashi looked away. “I-uh-appreciate you telling him about me.” He looked up to her before looking away. She wasn’t looking at him anyways. “You’re his father. He deserves to know about you.”

Hearing Sakura say ‘father’ shook Kakashi to the core. Like the final nail to seal his fate. He let out a nervous chuckle. Father. It felt weird, being directed towards him. Father. It was foreign, but maybe he could get use to it.

Maybe.

“I should have killed him.”

Kakashi let out a small hum.

They sat in silence for a few moments. Obito shifted in his sleep.

“This isn’t what I thought this would be…” Sakura sighed, turning her head to look at him. She was frowning. “I couldn’t tell you what it would be like, seeing you again, but I didn’t think this would be how it happened. How you found out about Obito.”

Kakashi shifted in his seat. “Me waking up with a hole in my chest and seeing you sitting over me seems like a pretty plausible way to cross paths again.” He smiled at her. “But him...well…”

“Depends on how long you’ve been out.” She smiled sweetly. Hesitating slightly before running her fingers through his hair almost fondly.

Kakashi raised a brow. “What?”

Sakura paused. She looked over to Obito. “Wait...how-”

“I was walking Pakkun in Konoha, right after covering for him after he was with Naruto’s daughter in the woods.”

Sakura’s hand dropped. Her face paled. “Excuse me?”

“It’s why I came.” Kakashi felt slightly smug. “I wouldn’t have taken a whole in the chest for just anyone.” He put his hand to his chin thoughtfully. “Though perhaps for Obito of the Sand I would have. He was always such a good kid. Besides the heavy petty with Mina-chan.” Kakashi felt Chakra pulse in the room. He could have sworn it shook the room. He couldn’t quite pin whatshe was mad about.

Obito shifted again, but didn’t wake.

“When-”

“I met Obito in the middle of the woods with a hole in my chest.” He nodded, almost sage like. It kept him from giggling. “Saved my life.” He eyed Sakura. “We did that you see. Saved each other’s life. It was bonding.” Six different emotions covered Sakura’s face before she settled with despair.

“Kakashi, I’m-”

“I should, ‘am’ really, angry at you.” He looked over to the boy. “I met the boy on many occasions and he did seem flustered for one reason or another. Maybe he had wanted to tell me, but, like you, he was scared.

“His fear would be rejection. But yours?” He looked over to her. “My life? I’m not that stupid.” He scoffed.

“But if you went after him, he wouldn’t just try to kill you. He’d try to kill me. To kill our baby, my baby, Kakashi. If you went after him, he’d know of his existence. That avenging anger would drive him to the ends of the earth-like before.” She sat straight. “And you have a habit of being reckless when it comes to saving others.”

Kakashi looked from her to Obito.

“So I have to live with everything. All of his questions, his looks, his loneliness. The guilt of holding this all from you. Of living with the what could have beens, while you got to live oblivious. But live. To...to meet Obito anyways.” She sighed heavily. “I can’t believe it.”

“Me either. He’s pretty well known in Konoha for his little scuffle with Sasuke a few years ago.” Sakura almost jumped to her feet, but Kakashi grabbed her arm. “It’s where this all started.” He said in an almost sing-song voice. “You really think this was all about you? Ah, Sakura-chan, I thought you grew out of that narcissistic phase.” Kakashi wondered if he was going to knocked unconscious again but she just sighed, pinching her nose. “And besides. I’m alive, he’s alive, you’re alive.” He patted her hand before pulling away. Her face fell slightly. “And someone taught me a long time ago that it’s never too late to start something amazing.”

III

Obito readjusted the grip on the cane. He had minor burns on his right leg that despised being touched, even by the muscles in his own leg. Mako stood to his left, and Hachiko to his right. He looked around the hospital room/make shift courtroom. The Kazekage stood at the foot of the bed, arms crossed, looking simply menacing. He made Obito want to squirm where he stood. Standing next to him was the Hokage, looking slightly less menacing, but equally as intimidating. Various high up members from either village scattered the room. Sasuke’s family sat at the bedside obediently. His wife’s head bowed while the daughter scowled at anyone that looked their way. Kakashi stood on the other side of the room, slouching heavily against the wall. Obito hadn’t seen him in a few days. Despite his room being on lock down, Kakashi had disappeared three days before. From the look of it, he didn’t seem to be much shape to be anywhere but bed. He was wearing his typical jounin attire, his face securely hidden. He had Icha Icha open in his hand. He looked terrible bored, but Obito kept feeling his gaze on him every few minutes or so. And every time he looked up he saw him glaring at the Uchiha.

“Sasuke Uchiha.” Gaara of the Sand’s voice boomed in the small room. “Are you comfortable.”

Sasuke, who was tucked into the bed tightly, his dressing gown matching the bed sheets and the strip covering his eyes, shrugged. “You will be banished from my village once you are able to walk out of here.” He looked over to the Hokage. “But I’d much rather see you dragged. For preying on my village.”

“Not your whole-”

“One or all, it makes no difference.” Gaara spoke firmly. “I will give you the benefit of the doubt, sometimes my shinobi do not act in the best interest of my village.” Obito quirked his eyebrow but Hachiko put a small hand on his, patting it gently. “You will be banished, never to Suna again. If I find you twenty miles from my village, I will personally kill you.” Gaara looked to the Hokage again. “This has been agreed.”

“Yeah…” Naruto scratched the back of his head.

“And the boy?” Uchiha spoke. “Will he be barred from Konoha?”

“Yes.” Gaara spoke.

“Gaara! We don’t have to be so-so brash-”

Gaara continued as if Naruto hadn’t spoken, staring hard at Sasuke. “The duration of his ban is based on the will of the Hokage. But he will not be leaving Suna for the time being.” Obito sighed. It’s not like he could be going anywhere for a while anyways. “Any conflicts you have with your peers is none of the business of Suna. Nor do we care.”

He looked over to Naruto. “Is this agreed upon?”

Naruto froze before finally conceding. “Yeah…” Naruto looked up to Obito and gave him a cheeky thumbs up once Gaara turned back to the Uchiha.

It was then when his mother slipped into the room. Obito watched as the Uchiha shifted in his bed. His wife stiffened and looked down to the daughter on her lap.

Kakashi flipped to another page in his book.

She walked up to the Kazekage and handed him a clipboard, whispering into his ear.

“Still slight internal bleeding. His leg needs to settle more before he can travel.”

“How long?”

She shrugged. “I would say he could travel in two or three days, but my medical opinion is that he needs at least six to travel safely.” She grimaced. “But I don’t care either way.”

“Thank you.” He whispered.

His mother turned on her heel and perked up the instant that she saw him. “What are you doing? Get back to bed!” The fire in his eyes made him press himself against the wall.

“We were discussing-”

“He is my patient in my hospital and he will do as I command.” She cut the Kazekage off. As she took a few steps towards him, his teammates took a few steps away.

He looked over to Kakashi, who was turning a page, but his eyes were cautiously looking at him.

He looked back to his mother, who stood over him with her arms crossed. “Now.”

He bowed, shifted awkwardly due to his crutch and started to hobble away.

Naruto started cackling. His mother didn’t bat an eye. “I have more beds, Naruto.”

She grabbed Obito’s shoulder roughly and trudged him out. Once they were out in the hallway, her grip loosened. “We have a lot to talk about.”

He grimaced. “You’re telling me.”

She sighed, her grip slipping. “I don’t need you’re tough attitude.”

He spun on his heel, almost falling. She looked steeled, ready. He wrapped his arms around her. “Love you, mom.” He whispered in her ear.

She engulfed him in a hug, despite her tiny size. “I’m sorry, Obito.”

“Well, all is not lost. I’m not dead. Kakashi’s not dead. Eh, Sasuke’s not-”

“Excuse me?” Obito was almost knocked off kelter again when his mother went into ‘doctor’ mode and spun on her heel.

It was Sasuke’s wife.

“Mine name is...Ibiko...Ibiko Uchiha.” Obito was afraid if his mother breathed too hard she’d break the poor woman in half. His mother was short, but this woman was still a head shorter. She was very slight, almost ill looking. Her eyes were almost as dark as night, and her smile was warm. She bowed deeply. “Thank you for saving my husband’s life.” Obito took a step back as his mother stared at the woman’s back. “It means so much to my family.” She rose, her back a bit straighter. “And I know of your history with him. Less than I would like, I’ll admit, but I do understand, and I know that a simple thanks will not be enough to express my gratitude.” She looked back. “He has...a lot of hate, and anger…” She nodded to herself and turned back to the head doctor. “But he also has kindness.”

Obito snorted.

“Obito!” His mother barked. He took a step back. “I know he does.” She said softly to Ibiko. “I am happy that you can see that in him. And I am happy that he has someone that can see that.” Her smile was radiant as she bowed again.

“Your son is quite brave. He has helped our village many times.”

“My son is quite stupid.” His sweet mother’s voice was quick. “Thank you.” She bowed.

Ibiko Uchiha slipped away.

They stood in the quiet hall. His mother still facing the smaller woman. When she disappeared into the room, Obito spoke. “So, he get’s the happy ending and you…?”

She turned and smiled at him, tears brimming in her green eyes. “And I’ve got you.” She embraced him, enveloping him, making him feel warm and safe. Like when he was so small.

But now she was the small one. He propped his chin on her head. “What happens now?” He eyed Uchiha’s door as it swung open. The two heads of village walked out, followed by his team. The Kazekage stalked towards them with purpose. Kakashi Hatake, his nose still in his book, slipped out the door. He couldn’t see from this distance if he eyed them or not, but he fell in step with Naruto and headed towards the exit.

III

When Obito returned home, the little tattered Icha Icha book was sitting on his dresser, where his grandfather’s ANBU mask typically sat.

III

Sakura was a woman who had seen many, many things in her life. She had been in charge of Suna hospital for not very long, but she’d done her share of field work and missions and seen everything under the sun in the operating room.

But the back of Sasuke’s neck as he knelt in front of her, that was something else.

“I have been the most dishonorable. Please accept my apology despite my disgraceful behavior to you…”

“To you…” Ibiko prompted. He was silent. The petite woman put a hand on his slumped shoulder. “And your…”

“And your family.” Sakura didn’t know what hurt more, those three words or when she punched him all those weeks ago.

The Uchiha matron let out a small cough. Sasuke physically shuddered. “I have disgraced my name sake and my ancestors.” The small woman’s hand came off his back and he stood. He looked her in the eye. She stood straighter. “Will you accept my apology?”

She wanted to punch him again. Through the chest. With something more solid than her fist. “No.” She said dispassionately. “But I’ll take your wife’s. She’s quite the lyricist.” She smiled cheekily to him. He looked back to his wife, who was smiling plainly and almost a bit oblivious. Sakura couldn’t quite tell if she was a pistol or so dainty he was afraid of crushing her so he kept her safe. She didn’t really care.

Gaara took a step towards them. “Now leave my village.”

Sasuke turned on his heel. His wife bowed deeply. Their daughter looked between her two parents before giving a quick bow and running to grab her father’s hand.

Naruto rushed Sakura, swooping her in a big hug. She couldn’t help but laugh. “Come see me soon, ya?” He  said as he put her down. She watched over Naruto’s shoulder to see Sasuke glowering at them. She smiled bright. “Yeah.”

Naruto and Gaara took a few steps away to give their own farewells.

Kakashi, who had been standing off to the side, took a few steps towards her. She forced herself to look at him as he approached. “Where’s your trusty book?” She said a little too awkwardly. Everything was a little too awkward. Far too awkward.

He scratched his masked cheek. “Oh, that wasn’t mine.”

“Oh.” The silence between them was thick. “Listen, when I come, I am coming, can I-”

“No.” Sakura was shaken at the finality of that one syllable. Her chest tightened slightly. It was understandable. Smiling, she shook her head. She opened her mouth to give her good byes when he spoke softly. “But if I’m passing through, I know where you live.” Her mouth dropped, gaping up at him. His hands were in his pockets as he looked around. “I kind of followed you home once.”

Her stomach dropped. “Kakashi-”

“But Obito assured me that the man I saw you with wasn’t your-boyfriend or husband or whatever.” He looked back to her. “And Obito already said the couch is much more comfortable than those hotel beds. Better breakfasts and such.”

She smiled brightly, flushing slightly. “That’s what I’ve heard…” She reached for his hand and her heart raced as he took it in his and squeezed gently. He leaned in. “I’m going to get my own revenge.”

Before she knew what was happening, Kakashi had pulled her close, pulled down his mask and kissed her hard. His lips pressed hard against her but she could feel their softness, smell his familiarity. There was no compassion, there was no love, it was just two people pressing a body part to each other. But she let herself indulge slightly. Her head swam as her heart and feet rose. Like a long lost piece to a puzzle, Sakura felt complete.

Her butterflies rustled happily in her stomach as she came back to earth, Kakashi setting her gently on the ground. His face, despite himself was slightly flushed. She pried the hand that had apparently gripped his flak jacket hard. Before she could take a step back, he swooped in one last time, kissing her ever so chastely.  When he pulled back, his eyes searched her soul for ten wild beats of her heart. “Goodbye.” He whispered. He hesitated before moving away. She watched in one quick motion his hand dipping into the pouch on his hip and pulling out a green Icha Ichabook. She watch his nose bury itself deep in the book, not seeming to pay attention to the others that gaped at him. Sasuke’s face swarmed with the looks of anger, confusion and something else that Sakura couldn’t piece together. She smiled as their back turned and headed back towards Konoha.

“That was quite the show.” The Kazekage’s voice gave away nothing of how he felt.

“I suppose it was.” She shrugged. “I wouldn’t want to be Naruto on that journey.”

Gaara chucked. They stood staring out at the vast desert until the forms disappeared in the haze. “Let’s go.” The Kazekage spoke softly. Sakura nodded in agreement as they turned and headed home.

III



Epilogue



Obito returned home from a rather long and grueling mission with the gritty taste of bloody sand in his mouth. His mission was somewhat successful, but if Mako didn’t get her head out of her ass, she wouldn’t survive the next one. He gently opened the front door. The last thing he needed was for his mother to see him like this. He’d have to buy some new clothes and dispose of these before she caught wind. She’d yell about how he didn’t come to the hospital.

He shuddered at the thought.

He gently placed his gourd by his shoes and tip toed through the hallway. Careful to listen for his mother. She should be at the hospital, but she was tricky like that. Obito’s eyes darted through the empty kitchen as he walked pasted before darting through the living room.

He froze.

It was mid afternoon and there were two things that caught his eye.

The first was the long, sturdy looking low sitting table that was a few feet from the couch. It was a dark wood that had a built in shougi table built in at the far side. He could smell the wood, despite the table already half cluttered with drink cans (on coasters), kunai and other assorted ninja gear.

And dog treats.

The couch was littered with dogs. But not his dogs. Obito stared at the pack of dogs all curled on the couch, some dozing, others blanetly ignoring him. And underneath (or rather squished between the dogs and the couch at some odd angles, was Kakashi.

Obito looked around, before his eyes landed on him again. He looked slightly ragged and exhausted (hence him not waking up when Obito came home). He snored softly under his blanket of dogs.

Obito smirked before continuing his trek through the house quietly, slipping into the bathroom to shower.

III

Sakura came home, crinkling her nose.

It smelled like wet dog.

Sakura slammed the door shut, teeth gritted together as she kicked off her shoes. She was about to scream her son’s name when four heads poked out of the living room.

They were not his gods.

It took a second for it click.

“Oh.”

A mixture of emotion exploded as she padded towards the living room.

That was empty.

She frowned. “What are you doing here?” She asked Bisuke who sat in front of her wagging his tail.

“In here!” She heard Pakkun call from the kitchen.

As she entered the kitchen she smiled as she watched the old pug wrestle with three of Obito’s smaller pups. She spied a letter on the kitchen table.

Training, we’ll be back by dinner time.

Sakura’s heart beat hard in her chest.

III

Life in the Haruno slowly changed. Granted, Obito didn’t spend a lot of time there, between missions and training and spending more and more time with the Kazekage (“leadership training” which was more of them sitting together on the roof in silence as they watched the sun set-or, as Obito got older, drinking and watching the sunset). Kakashi Hatake’s presence was becoming less sporadic, foreign food was collecting in their refrigerator. It didn’t really hit Obito as to what was exactly happening until he saw some of Kakashi’s clothes in the wash-and as far as Obito knew, he hadn’t been there in weeks.

It wasn’t until, one morning, while Obito was innocently eating breakfast and Kakashi appeared out of nowhere (i.e. his mother’s room) did what was happening set in.

He was having to not only share his space with someone else, but his mother.

As much as Kakashi slipped in and out of the Haruno home, it seemed that his mother was gone just as much. He didn’t have solid communication with Konoha, since he was still ‘barred’ (he was a highly skilled ninja-he had other places to go), but when those places conveniently intertwined with a place Mina was going, he heard his mother hadn’t been to Konoha.

Which he really didn’t care where she was going. He didn’t mind coming home to an empty house. It didn’t bother him to only have his dogs.

Well, after Kakashi coming out of her room, he really just didn’t want to know what she was doing.

Eww.

And it was nice having the famous Copy-Ninja around. He was able to learn from the second best (behind Gaara-jii) and learned how to properly use his dogs and evade and counter chidori’s.

And...ahem...learn to evade sticky situations when Mina spends the night and Kakashi spends the night. He is good at distracting Obito’s mother as Mina slips out the front door.

That really has to stop. All of it.

And it did…?

III

Obito was eating breakfast when his mother slipped into the kitchen. Typically she grabbed a cup of coffee (Obito didn’t care for the stuff but he did start a pot for her) before coming to the table and helping herself to a bowl of cereal or whatever Obito had laying out. Today, she came to the table and carefully sat down.

“Obito, we need to talk.”

He looked up to his mother darkly. “He doesn’t have to hide around the corner. I know he’s here.” Before she could open her mouth Obito spoke at his bowl. “I heard you.” Obito was almost nineteen, he wasn’t a child anymore by any means, but...it was his mother...

“Obito-”

“I have wonderful hearing.” He said shortly, frowning as his dissolving cereal. “Genetics...or something.” He stabbed at his bowl.

“Obito, look at me.” He looked up to his mother, who, despite his confession of being utterly mortified, seemed rather pleased with herself. “Obito, I’m-I’mpregnant.”

He dropped his spoon.

It was then that Kakashi slipped out of the hallway into the doorway, looking slightly ashamed. He gaped at them, staring between the two of them. His mother’s words echoed in his head as he willed his heart to stop beating so fast. He sighed, regathering his composure and his spoon. He stabbed at his bowl again, looking his mother straight in the eye. “Ew.”

Kakashi snorted.

He ate a large spoonful. Thinking perhaps he should have had rice this morning-it would sit in his stomach better later in the morning when he trained.

God, he was going to have to tell Mako and Hachiko.

He looked up to his mother again. “Aren’t you a bit old-?”

“Obito-” Kakashi’s voice warned. The look on his face was obvious-that had been his question too.

He looked to his mother, who had small fires burning in her eyes. “That’s just great. Congratulations? I’m not really sure what to say when my mom-yeah.” He was suddenly not hungry for some reason. He leaned back in his chair, the two front legs off the ground. He looked between the two older people. “What...whatcha gonna do?” He put his arms behind his neck.

He tried to stay composed, but he felt it was failing. Was she going to move? She couldn’t move. Not to Konoha. Everything is here, in Suna. He was here in Suna. He watched her watch Kakashi.

They were silent for a few minutes.

“You’re not...you’re not moving are you?” Obito slammed the chair back on the ground. “Like...with him? To Konoha? Because then I can’t even come see-”

“You’re banishment was lifted almost as soon as we got back?” Kakashi raised a brow.

“What?!” Obito banged his hands on the table. His eyes narrowed. Gaara-jii...why would he want me to stay out of? He looked back up to Kakashi. His heart fluttered slightly. “You’re moving aren’t you? You’re going back!” Obito felt his chest tighten.

Silence filled the room but Obito didn’t care as he brooded.

His mother was leaving him. He should have seen this coming. The only reason she stayed away from Konoha was because of stupid Uchiha. And now that Uchiha wasn’t going to bother them anymore...or her anyways...there was no reason for her to stay away. She could go back and pick up her life and be with her friends and family and Kakashi-

“No, actually.”

Obito’s mind stopped. He looked up at Kakashi, who was the one that spoke. “What?”

“That was a possibility, sure, but no.”

He felt a hand on his, an impossibly small hand. His mother’s grip matched her smile.

“No, Obito. I can’t do that. My work is here, my friends are here, my world is here?”

“What friends?”

“The correct question was ‘what world?’ and that’s you.” Kakashi said. “I retired a while ago-”

“I know-” He ignored his mother’s questioning gaze as Kakashi continued.

“And this is something I won’t miss again.”

Before it got awkward Obito spoke up. “Well, that’s great, really great.” He said a bit too fast. “So... now that that’s all settled.”

“The thing is, Obito-” Kakashi came and sat down, crowding the small table. “It’s quite a small house?”

Obito’s chair screeched as he jumped back. “You’re-you’re kicking me out? For some stupid baby?”

Kakashi coughed awkwardly, pointing a covered finger at Sakura.

“Not right away.” His mother said in a motherly tone that was too soft for the betrayal it was.

“The take nine months.” Kakashi said dryly.

“By the time the baby is born, you’ll be twenty.” She stood and rounded the table and gripped his hand tightly. “You can move out on your own, or get some roommates, or maybe find a girlfriend? You don’t have to worry about your mother anymore. You can focus on you.” He stared at her horrified. “I know you think that your mom is oblivious, but I’m not. I see things. I see how you’ve kept from bringing girls around or dating to protect me.”

“From what?”

“But you don’t have to do that anymore.” Her smile was bright as she looked back to Kakashi, who had his face covered, but his eyes were glowing with amusement. “You can start your own life.” She patted him on the chest. “It’s about time you got yourself a girlfriend anyways.”

Kakashi burst out laughing.

III

Mina,

Obito sat at his small cafe, staring blankly at the page.

Mina, There is a small creature that is living in my house. He started. It cries a lot. It screams a lot.

He cringed his face.

And for some reason, it makes my mother very, very happy. I wonder if I made her that happy? I wonder...He looked up and around at the few other patrons before going back to looking at the page. I wonder if I would have made Kakashi that happy as well. It seems he’s making up for lost time. He barely lets mother hold the baby. I want nothing to do with it. The last, and only, time I held it it barfed all over my chest plate. It will never smell the same again.

He smiled at the memory.

Despite her cuteness, I have to regretfully tell my mother, that I will be leaving. They were right. The house is getting small by the day, especially as this baby rolls it’s way around the house. Soon it will run and play and be a happy little thing. And I will be home often, because that will always be my home, I do feel that it’s time to leave.

I’ll be moving in with Mako and Hachiko. A two bedroom apartment near the ‘shinobi district’ where I will finally get a window. I start moving there soon. Gaara-jii thinks that I should move out on my own to get a bachelor pad (not his words), but I’ve always lived with someone, and when mother was always away...it was lonely. He frowned. He didn’t like the loneliness. So until they kick me out, that’s where I’ll be staying. You can come see it, if you like. He covered his blush.



Obito

He went to fold up the letter, but stopped, unrolling it. Scribbling furiously.

P.S. I forgot to tell you. Her name is Chiyoko.