He was three when the first words appeared on his arms, some a bright blue and the others purple. He had shown them to his father with an excitement that could rival a playful pup, eyes shining and metaphorical tail wagging, and the man had ruffled his hair, giving a soft smile, before explaining that the words on his wrists weren’t magic, but his soulmates. Kakashi immediately insisted on being able to write back and understand the words, soaking up what he learned like a sponge.
He had perfected his writing before he even attempted to write to them, writing on his leg in a red marker and watching as it muted to a metallic color reminiscent of his father's tanto. “Who are you” Blue wrote back, handwriting sloppy and sideways, while Purple drew smile faces of sporadic sizes.
“Another soulmate!!!!” Purple wrote, the words shaky (and more expressive) but far better than Blue's.
“I didnt know you could have more than 1”
“*didn't” Purple corrected before doodling a star and Kakashi laughed as Blue started scribbling in what was probably irritation.
He found out- far too quickly- that he could not share specifics about himself, like the way he looked or where he lived, it was quite an upsetting revelation. He complained about it to his soulmates and they seemed to agree with the sentiment, agreeing with him through sad faces or scribbles. Still, they found loopholes in the system (as Shinobi do) and used ways to inform each other of certain details. “What is your favorite animal?” Blue asked one day, shortly after school had stopped.
“Dogs” Kakashi responded, doodling a breed that resembled Pakkun. Purple responded with stars of varying quality.
“Dogs are nice!!!”
“Thank you” He hesitated, “:)” Purple exploded. Exclamation points covered what was left of his arm before moving to his leg as one of his soulmates showed their absolute joy at seeing the use of a smiley face. Soon enough they stopped before writing again.
“Sorry got excited” Kakashi snorted. Understatement.
“I like cats” Blue eventually wrote before spending at least an hour drawing an in-detail cat that was surprisingly cute. Kakashi wanted to cry.
He was five when the next year in the academy started. He had been raised to a higher grade and was surrounded by children years older than him. He never really payed attention to any of them, so when two kids caught his eyes it surprised him. He could not remember their names, probably because he didn’t pay attention, but they seemed close. For some reason, Kakashi wanted to be a part of whatever was happening. The boy with goggles looked over to him and they made eye contact.
Kakashi’s smile was hidden under his mask.
He was never really one for socializing, he knew that, as a ninja, he would have to but… He just didn’t understand it. It irritated him beyond belief, the fact that he didn’t understand how to talk to people. He was supposed to be a genius but something that simple- something people younger than him could understand in a heartbeat- dumbfounded him. It was something that kept him from making friends, like others usually did, or getting his meaning across. Kakashi often managed to offend someone when attempting to say something nice- people have always been weird- or when trying to help, so, more often than not, he stayed quiet. Yet, somehow, that was also rude.
It was confusing. It was stupid.
“Graduating from the academy soon” He wrote to his soulmates. “I’m looking forward to getting a Jounin-sensei.”
“Already?” Blue asked, “Didnt you start last year”
“Yes” There was no response from his soulmates for a while until Purple came in.
“Congratz!!! I didn't know you could graduate so early!!”
Kakashi responded with a smiley face.
When graduation day came, he woke up with a drawing of one of those silly civilian graduation caps covering the whole of his wrist. He was hesitant to wash it away, but when he did he wrote a sincere thank-you note.
A year later, he got a wake-up call in the form of his father on the floor, curled around a bloody blade. A liquid coldness settled in his chest and made a nest out of feathers and blood.
Emotions got in the way of being a shinobi. Soulmates got in the way of doing his job.
He stopped writing to them.
“Kakashi,” Minato-sensei started, “have you been alright?”
“Yes,” He lied, “I’m fine.”
“Ah,” His teacher whispered, sounding almost disappointed, “You know I’m always there to talk to, right?” Kakashi ignored him and the heavy feeling in his chest as Minato’s shoulders sunk. “Right. I’ll.. Go now? See you later,” He pulled away from his teacher’s attempt at ruffling his hair, watching, from the corner of his eyes, as Minato’s hand hung in the air, hesitating, before he pulled it back, “Kakashi.” And the man he had known for years walked away.
“Silver?” Purple asked, over and over.
“Please answer us” Blue wrote, the words shaky and smudged with what he thought were tears.
“Silver silver are you there silver silver silver silver please respond please”
He held back the desire to respond to them, watching, on the quiet nights, as they wrote to each other. Purple and blue hues covered his limbs, smudged from water as he scrubbed, skin turning pink as he stained the towels with the worries of his soulmates.
Kakashi covered his skin, hiding all evidence of his soulmates, and kept everyone at an arm's length. The ice in his chest kept him from reaching for a new pen, from saying what he meant to say, from tears burning his skin.
Another year passed slowly and ignoring the writing on his skin became painfully easy. He lost the urge to write, the urge to read all they said before washing it off. Still, sometimes he would sit down and make sure that they were still alright, that purple still made silly doodles and uplifting messages, that blue drew sometimes, that whatever bad luck Kakashi had wasn’t affecting them. He would always relax afterwards, smiling softly as he breathed a sigh of relief.
The last time he had done that was a few weeks before Minato got two more students and when he read them he had frozen. They knew each other. He bit his lip and made a quiet sound. He would know who his soulmates were if he- If he- No. He grabbed a brush and scrubbed the ink off with unusual aggression.
The messages smudged as he shut out his mind.
His teammates seemed fairly close, smiling to each other without prompting, secret messages exchanged somehow, inside jokes. They had all that one could want in a friendship, all that he used to want- he still wanted- and yet refused to let himself have. They knew each other well and, annoyingly enough, managed to communicate to each other without letting anyone else know what was going on. Communication was key- what a hypocrite he was- to being a good shinobi.
On the date of his father’s suicide, the date that he stopped talking to his soulmates, his teammates seemed almost somber. It got him thinking, made him wonder and wonder and wonder, but his thoughts had no end; it was a useless endeavor.
Blue and purple, Obito and Rin were writing to each other, he could see the words appearing. Blue and purple words stared at him from on his teammates wrists, terrifyingly familiar to what was on his own that morning. When he got home, he pulled off his vanguard and his mind went blank.
It wasn’t until the next weekend that the realization that Obito and Rin were probably his soulmates finally hit him. He growled, low and feral, and threw his books, weapons, armor, at the walls, the floor. He destroyed his rooms until there was nothing left but disarray, broken furniture and folded pages. His nerves were on fire, fueled by the knowledge that all he did was for nothing. Yet, when he looked around for something more to break, the anger started to fall away. Everything was ruined and he was exhausted.
He felt stupid. So, so stupid.
He huffed and puffed, chest heavy yet empty, and stared at the mess he had made. He took a deep breath to steady himself, again, again, again, and unfolded the pages of the closest book.
He wasted all that energy in his anger, a rookie mistake.
He should have known better.
“I think they are my soulmates.” Six words and his teacher froze, six words and they made eye contact, six words and silence followed.
“What?” Minato’s voice had cracked, but he couldn’t be blamed; Kakashi rarely talked about soulmates, the few times he did, insults about those fated always seemed to follow. “Who?” His student hesitated before whispering something. “What?”
“...Rin,” He could barely make out, “and Obito.” Oh. Oh. No wonder something had been off with Kakashi lately. “What do I do, sensei?” Kushina had been quite forward when telling Minato that they were soulmates. Of course, Minato had known already, but he had been too shy to say anything.
“Be straightforward.” Sound advice, right?
He reached for his pen, the old faded marker that he loved to write in, and tucked it into his weapons pack. He had not used it in a long time and was unsure if it would still work, but.. Well. If it didn’t then he could just say he was curious or
steal borrow someone else’s. He took his time gathering the nerves, taking deep breaths and wiping his sweaty hands. Even if he was nervous, he had very little reason to be. If they didn’t want him as their soulmate then he wouldn’t want them either.
Simple as that.
Despite the half hour spent preparing, he didn’t talk to them until Minato gave him a look, something curious lurking. Kakashi walked up to the two and stared at them blankly. The two blinked at him as Rin gave a smile, “Hi, Kakashi-kun.” He looked at her, looked at Obito, and the fact that he had his own marker in his pouch went out the window. Kakashi grabbed the pen out of Obito’s hand, taking off the cap and drawing a line. He watched as it appeared in blue on his own hand and ignored how Obito froze, how Rin’s breath caught in her throat.
Clad in blue, Obito grabbed the pen out of his hand, drawing a swirl on Kakashi’s hand, vision going blurry as he began to cry.
“Hm,” Their silver says as if it wasn't a world breaking realization to know that their soulmate was alive, "Interesting." Arms wrapped around him, momentum making them fall to the floor with a shout.
“Y-you!” Blue cried, “We thought you died! You- You! I- ” Obito sat up and wiped away his tears, sniffling. That gave time for Kakashi to sit up as well, but Rin hit him over the head seconds later, glaring at him. He looked away, saying nothing.
“I’m so glad you’re alive.” Purple whispered, voice thick with tears. “We missed you so much. ”