The earth rumbled beneath his feet. Horror filled his heart as he saw the tumbling rocks a moment too late. He would not make it in time to push him out of the way. “KAKASHI!” His voice echoed as his world began to fall apart.
It was too late and grief overwhelmed him as he spent his remaining energy tearing through the enemy forces till exhaustion took over and the last thing he remembered was Rin calling out his name and Minato sensei arriving.
The world he came back to was one of grey stormy skies and the war still looming over the village. It was also a world where the best friend he never admitted to having was no longer around. And it was his fault. Rin merely gripped his hand tightly as hot tears rolled down his face, not a single excuse at the tip of his tongue as his anguished cries filled the hospital room.
Something changed since that day. He was no longer a bumbling kid who was desperate for attention from Rin. He still held affection towards her but it had calmed down to a sort of sibling love. No one spoke out loud about the quiet change in the once loud shinobi. He began showing up on time, still helping others out but choosing to leave earlier in order to eventually be on time. He smiled less, talked less and while she never said anything, Rin had felt certain sadness in her at the change. And perhaps she too would never be the same when the group of four became three.
Obito would never mention how much he regretted not being nicer to Kakashi when he was alive. The wish to change things gnawed at him strongly, silently festering within him. Without telling anyone, he had begun a silent research in space time jutsu, to the point of secretly searching through old Uchiha scrolls. It would be a near impossible task but a part of him hoped so painfully that he wouldn’t forgive himself if he stopped. Sometimes, it was the only thing he could do to spend those sleepless nights when he woke up sweaty from yet another nightmare crying out that one name as he grasped blindly in the dark.
He wasn’t strong enough. She wasn’t strong enough. The dark sky above felt like it was mocking them as once again, a little more of their world fell apart. Rin knew what she had to do for the sake of the village. She could only wish that Obito would hold on strong even when she’s not around. I’m sorry, she thought, please don’t blame yourself.
“O-Obito...” she tried to smile one last time, staring back at his sharingan. There was no life left in her, Obito had landed the one fatal blow to her chest, minimizing her pain even as he felt like his own heart was being ripped out. It’s not your fault, I’m sorry; blood filled her throat, preventing her from saying little else as her world turned dark. Distantly, she could hear his anguished cries, reverberating through the rain then nothing.
At the very end, Obito himself had contemplated ending the agony ripping through his soul. A hole had been made within himself, so endlessly deep that he felt like he was drowning. The rain pelted down his face, his clothes stained red from enemies’ blood. The blood staining his hands though, felt like it could burn through his skin. This was Rin’s blood, it would never leave him. Even after gaining the sharingan he had failed to save the two closest to him. What would Kakashi say? He thought bitterly, I’m sorry I wasn’t strong enough. I’m sorry I failed. There was no voice left in him to cry out but the tears flowed endless, I’ll always be a cry baby. He could faintly make out more enemies entering the clearing but he was so tired and Rin’s body was turning cold in his arms. Perhaps this was the end and a part of him almost welcomed it.
There was nothing left to lose, I’m sorry Minato Sensei, and he wordlessly began forming hand seals as the enemies began closing in on him. It would probably turn out to be a failure, a jutsu not fully explored but it was now or never. Quietly, he prayed, it would either work or burn his chakra up, leaving him dead. He could feel his chakra being drained as suddenly, a bright light enveloped him and the world spun beneath his feet and turned black.
He gasped awake from yet another nightmare where Rin’s voice echoed in his head. Hastily throwing the covers aside, he wordlessly walked to the sink and began furiously washing his hands. He could almost swear that they were still covered in her blood. Obito would never forgive me, was his only thought as he scrubbed till his hands turned red, tears blurring his vision.
Unable to go back to sleep despite the minimal rest, he dressed and left the achingly empty apartment. There was only one place to go when the sun had not rise and the streets empty. The stone in front of him was all that was left of his best friend. He would never be forgive himself for failing; the sharingan in his left eye would forever remind him. Sometimes he felt like he would be willing to give up the world to make up for all his mistakes.
“Obito... Rin... I’m so sorry...”
A blinding light suddenly filled the dark morning sky, bringing up his guard. Something came crashing through the trees nearby and fearing an intruder, Kakashi immediately set off in that direction. What he came upon was the unconscious body of the one person that should have been dead 2 years ago.
When he finally came around, he was in a hospital room. It wasn’t a usual hospital room but he could tell it was one just from the strong smell of antiseptic. The unusual part was the fact that he could feel a chakra seal on him that prevented him from using his chakra and the fact that there was no window.
Panic gripped him hard, had he been captured by the enemy? Ready to be tortured for information he would not give even if he were to die? But just as he began to struggle against the seals, he also realised that most of his injuries were healed.
The creak of the door brought his attention as he saw some medic nin enter the room, calling out behind them, “he’s awake, notify Hokage sama.” Without telling him anything, they inspected his condition. It was then he realised they were wearing Konoha’s hitai-ate. They were allies yet why was he being treated like a criminal?
Before he could even ask though, they deemed him sufficiently awake despite still not fully recovered and left the room. Just as they left, another man entered the room. It was Minato Sensei.
“Sensei...!” his voice was raw and rough but just as he felt happy to see him, guilt crushed him that he had to reveal what he had to do to Rin. “I-I’m sorry... I c-couldn’t—wasn’t strong enough... Rin, she... s-she...”
“Calm down,” Minato placed a calming hand on his shoulder as a medic nin entered the room and handed him a chart and left again. Glancing through the chart, Minato’s shoulders lost some of its tension as his blue eyes softened. “You’re really Obito,” he almost sounded like he was in awe.
“W-what do you mean? Of course I’m Obito but sensei about Rin—s-she... She died, I couldn’t protect her just like I couldn’t protect Kakashi...” Hot tears began rolling down his cheek as he clutched tightly against the thin hospital blanket.
Minato frowned, sensing something off about the sequence of event. He already had his doubts when he noticed the fact that Obito had both his eyes when one of his eyes was supposed to be with Kakashi. At first he thought it was a poorly planned disguise by a spy but the medical report had sufficient prove that the boy in front of him was Uchiha Obito. He even looked a little older than the last time Minato saw him, reminding him painfully of how young he was when he died.
“Obito,” he said in the most calming voice he could muster, “I want you to calm down and listen to what I have to say.” Hiccupping through his tears, Obito could barely nod.
“I believe that you’re not from this world, what was the last thing you remembered?”
“I-I had been researching s-space time jutsus a-and...” Obito furiously rubbed his eyes, finally calming down a little, “and after Rin d-died, there were too many enemies so I had nothing to lose. It wasn’t complete but I attempted it. A-are you implying that it w-worked?”
Minato remembered when Kakashi turned up in his office, carrying a bloody body in his arms, voice nearly hysterical at his find. He could easily imagine that the same thing had happened to Kakashi to be so desperate for a way out that very day he lost yet another precious student.
“Yes, I believe it did.”
Hope flickered in Obito’s heart but he tried to hold it down, “a-are Kakashi and Rin—?”
“I believe that there was an ongoing war in your world,” Minato said slowly, hoping to deliver the news as gently as he could, “we’re also at war in this world. In this world you died saving Kakashi and perhaps in the same sequence that happened in your world, Rin died to save the village at Kakashi’s hand. But the war is ending and it might seem selfish of me but I’m glad you’re alive here.”
Obito felt that he couldn’t breathe. So Rin wasn’t alive in this world as well but Kakashi was... Kakashi was...
“Sensei!” The door slammed open, “is he awake?”
Two eyes met one. In that instant, no one said a thing as Kakashi swiftly crossed the room, passing Minato without a word as he immediately wrapped his arms around the stunned Uchiha in a rare show of emotion.
“Obito... Obito... I’m so sorry... Sorry...” The words were soft but their close proximity made it possible for Obito to hear. Slowly bringing up his arms to embrace back the silver haired nin as emotions engulfed him, Obito held back just as tightly. “I’m sorry too. So, so sorry...”
If what Minato sensei said was true and Kakashi had experienced the exact same thing from his death in this world and having to kill Rin, he could imagine the pain that was eating him away. Rin’s death felt inevitable no matter which world he was in but he knew he wouldn’t be able to blame Kakashi for he blamed himself.
Minutes must have passed before they slowly parted; just remembering that Minato was still in the room. The door opened and a medic nin entered, “Hokage sama, I would recommend the patient getting some rest now.”
Minato smiled tiredly, “okay, give me the paperwork to approve removing the seals, he’s not a spy.” The medic nin nodded politely and left.
Obito felt his cheeks burn at the embarrassing display in front of his sensei but did not say a word when Kakashi held onto his hand, as if to ensure himself Obito was not just an illusion.
“Wait did she just say Hokage sama?!”
After having the seals removed and moved to a regular hospital room, Obito stayed in the hospital for a couple more weeks. There had been a thoroughly awkward meeting with the clan head about the fact that his parents were no longer around in this world as well and his house had already been cleared. Kakashi was there when they brought up a suggestion of where to house him when Kakashi stepped in and said Obito could come and live with him if he didn’t mind.
Before anyone else could suggest anything else, he’d agreed. It was only after his clan people left that Kakashi admitted almost shyly that he’d kept some of Obito’s stuff back at his place. Fondness warmed his chest as he teased Kakashi about missing him but not going too far since he wouldn’t admit that he himself had done the exact same thing back in his world.
Kakashi visited regularly, along with others who’d been pleasantly surprised that he was around. But Kakashi visited the most. They shared stories, finding similarities and differences in their experience, forging a close bond that might have developed earlier if they had not been so stubborn before. Obito was secretly proud of his other self to have thought of giving his sharingan to Kakashi, something he was sure he would have done himself if the same thing happened in his world.
Minato sensei visited whenever his busy schedule allowed, often tagged along by Kushina who had engulfed Obito in such a tight hug that first visit that Obito was sure he would die from suffocation. She’d told them with the most splitting grin that she was expecting and all Obito could feel was awe that a new life was growing in her.
Rin left a gaping hole between them but the rift was healing, a certain part of it bringing them even closer together as the others just couldn’t fathom what they were going through. A part of them would forever blame themselves for her death but by forgiving each other, perhaps one day they would both be at ease.
Slowly, he was healing both outside and inside.
It was a tough task but with the help of his friends and some contributions from the Uchiha clan, Kakashi managed to make his small dark apartment into something more habitable for two people. The guest room was cleaned up and the sheets changed, Kakashi placed the small box of items he’d saved before Obito’s house was cleared onto the desk. The pantry was stocked with food, mostly from Gai who came by shouting that youthful people like themselves should eat more.
The day Obito stepped into the apartment, Kakashi felt an irrational fear that he might not like the place and decides to stay somewhere else. Obito looked around the relatively small apartment; walking up to the room that he knew was the guest room and would now be his room. Kakashi followed behind wordlessly, standing by the door of the room as Obito opened the box on the desk, lifting out his signature orange goggles that he lost when he came over to this world.
Looking at the effort put into the room and the apartment looking distinctly more presentable than what he remembered in the past, Obito turned around, hand still clutching the pair of goggles. His heart clenched at the thought of Kakashi actually going through all the trouble for him, affection bubbling in him. He wouldn’t admit it but that was probably the day he began to fall for the other teen. Looking at Kakashi in the eye, he put as much sincerity as he could in his voice as he said, “I love it here.”
Kakashi let out a breath he didn’t know he was holding before losing it at the blinding smile on Obito’s face. He wouldn’t admit it but that was probably the day he began to fall for the other teen.
Even though they were both healing, nightmares weren’t easy to leave. Kakashi still woke up gasping some days in the wee morning with phantom blood staining his hands and sight as he stumbled into the kitchen to scrub his hands. Other days he woke up crying Obito’s name, left eye itching furiously. He would proceed to stand by Obito’s door, checking that he was there, asleep and alive, till the sun rose up.
Obito had his own nightmares. He did not wake up with phantom blood staining his hands but some days his heart beat so hard he thought he was going through cardiac arrest, hot tears spilling forth as he cried like it was just yesterday when he lost the most important people in his life. It was days like that that he needed to see, to feel that Kakashi was truly still there. Silently, he would make his way to the other’s room, merely glancing through the crack of the door to check that yes, Kakashi was there. He dare not enter the room in fear of waking the other but a part of him needed to touch to make sure it wasn’t all just an illusion.
It was around a month after they’d begun living together that Obito happened to witness Kakashi thrashing in his sleep after he himself had been awoken by another nightmare. Without thinking twice, he’d pushed open the door, striding across the room and shaking Kakashi’s shoulder.
“Kakashi wake up, it’s just a nightmare,” his heart twisted at the look of agony on the copy nin’s face.
Kakashi gasped, eyes opening abruptly to the vision of a worried Obito. “I—Y-you—you were dead and I—.”
He grabbed Obito’s arm, digging almost painfully into his arm but Obito did not complain, remembering his own horrifying dream just minutes ago. Obito let himself be pulled into the bed, welcoming the tight embrace he could see coming even without the sharingan.
“I’m alive,” Obito whispered, his face pressed into Kakashi’s chest, clutching him back, “You’re alive too.”
They held onto each other till both drifted into the most peaceful sleep they’d ever had since losing each other. It was the first time both managed to sleep till the sun was in mid sky.
Neither mentioned the shift but slowly, they gravitated to each other’s bed during bedtime, not mentioning the need for contact as slowly but surely, the nightmares began to fade away.
“I heard that you’ve been cleared to have missions soon,” Asuma casually said at another usual gathering the group of them had at the local dango store. Obito chewed and swallowed before replying, “ya he is but Kakashi’s insisting that we be together for any mission.”
Kakashi, who’d been sitting next to him, snorted. “Only to make sure you don’t do anything stupid.”
“More like I’ll be saving your sorry ass,” Obito retorted. Despite growing closer, the two still bantered often much to the other’s amusement. It was rather late to realise this but Obito felt that perhaps this had been the one true connection they had years back.
“You two are just like a married couple,” Kurenai commented. Before either could reject that notion, she continued, “I’m glad.”
Everyone mentally nodded. They’d noticed the downhill turn in Kakashi since Rin’s death and how he’d came back to himself and maybe even better when Obito arrived.
Obito smiled, “well lucky for you Kakashi, Minato Sensei relented. Guess I’ll just have to be stuck with you from now on.”
When Naruto was born, the two were assigned guard duties. It was a painful delivery from the screams that could be heard but both baby and mother were fine in the end and they’d never seen the couple so happy before.
“I’m glad,” Obito later confesses to Kakashi, “that he’s born in a world without war.” He doesn’t mention the pain, tears and blood that stain their generation but Kakashi understands. He takes the others hand in his own despite Obito’s protest, holding on tightly as he replies, “I’m glad too.” He doesn’t mention that from now on, he would do his best to make sure that there will not be anymore pain, tears and blood but Obito understands.
By the time Naruto turns two, the village is flourishing under Minato’s guidance and peace treaties held any war at bay. It is times of peace where he finds himself falling head first in love. It’s a slow process but by the end of it Obito knows that he’s in so deep he wouldn’t be able to find his way out for the rest of his life.
He’d begun to love the sight of Kakashi first thing in the morning, annoying mask and all. Loving the warmth of his body pressing against his, especially on a chilly morning. Sometimes finding himself in those arms, cocooned so securely he felt safer than what he’d thought was possible.
He’d begun to love the sight of Kakashi last thing in the night, knowing that there would be no nightmares, that he was safe. Even during missions they’d slept next to each other.
He’d begun to love the teasing banter they could easily keep up, that Kakashi never seemed to be able to keep his hands off him. Always a hand on his shoulder or wrapping their pinkies together that once, Jiraiya who’d come back from yet another long trip had took one look at them and promptly asked who was doing who. They’d sputtered and turned bright red but even then Kakashi never took his hand away.
He’d begun to love the way he could always depend on Kakashi to have his back especially in battle. They were so in sync that Minato continued sending them on missions together even though he’d intended to separate them eventually, agreeing at the beginning simply because he knew they needed it at that time.
Yes, Obito thinks to himself as he opens his eyes to yet another new day with Kakashi by his side, he might be just 16 but he knows it to his bones, I love you.
It started as a dare, during yet another gathering at the dango stall. It was Shizune’s turn to pick the dare and she’d thought about it for all but a second to say, “Well then Kakashi, I dare you to kiss Obito for a full minute.”
The others had all agreed, pushing the two, who’d been sitting next to each other already, closer together. Obito was sure his face was as bright as a tomato as he complained, “that’s as good as daring me as well isn’t it?”
Asuma shrugged, “then since it’s my turn next I’ll dare you to kiss Kakashi for a full minute.”
Flabbergasted at his traitorous friends, knowing how he felt for the other teen since the other day Kurenai had told him seriously, “even Gai knows, Obito. And if he knows, pretty much anyone would know.” And yet they were doing this to him.
He turns to Kakashi, fully intent on telling him not to go through this dumb dare but the words died at the tip of his tongue as he met the intense gaze of the other teen. The gaze was intense, rendering Obito paralysed long enough for him to swiftly pull down his mask with one hand, the other gently gripping Obito’s chin. Before a single word could leave his mouth, Obito gasped as warm soft lips descended on his own, almost moaning softly at the pleasurably sensation.
God knows how many minutes had passed, distantly hearing Shizune muttering something about it being longer than a minute already with Gai shouting that it was about time springtime came to the youths. The lack of air forced them apart, both breathing heavily. Obito’s brain was not functioning properly but Kakashi apparently liked whatever it was that he saw for he leaned forward again, hand still cupping Obito’s cheek as he captured his lips gently.
Distantly, Asuma was telling them to get a room and Kurenai was asking for the bill. He wasn’t sure what happened after that or how they got home but Obito found himself pressed against the mattress. They’d gotten a bigger bed years back after a year of sleeping in a cramped bed together and the familiar sheets pressed against his back as Kakashi’s weight pressed him down. They did nothing more that night but it was yet another shift in their relationship.
Though there was no war, there were still dangerous missions out there that financed the village well. And being one of the best partners available, the two were often sent on dangerous missions. Minato never liked sending his two remaining students into clearly dangerous situations but he had faith in them to return unscathed.
In what had seemed like another typical battle against missing nin from other villages however, an unexpected water jutsu caught Obito off guard, pushing him in the line of attack of another nin. Automatically, Kakashi had pushed him out of the way, sustaining the injury to his side as he gritted his teeth at the searing pain and promptly disposed of that shinobi. After the last of them were defeated, Obito rushed to his side, immediately applying to the relatively deep wound.
Blood seeped between his fingers and frustration ripped its way through him, “w-why won’t it stop...!”
“Obito,” Kakashi gripped his hand tightly even as he felt himself grow weaker, “calm down I’ll be fine.”
“Konoha is a day’s trip away,” Obito said, eyes flickering between Kakashi’s pale face and the bloody red wound. His vision began to blur from the tears building up, “I’m going to bring you back right now, don’t you dare die on me! Damn it!”
Wrapping the wound tightly with basic first aid, Kakashi lifted one hand to wipe the falling tears. “Don’t cry, I’ll be fine. You’re such a cry baby...”
“Damn it, don’t talk you’ll only aggravate the wound,” Obito hissed as he gently carried Kakashi on his back, “and I’m not crying, it’s just some dirt got into my eye.”
Kakashi did not reply, having slipped into unconsciousness and panicking, Obito began racing back to the village, not daring to stop even once.
Both were hospitalised upon their return, one from severe wounds and the other from severe exhaustion. When Obito was well enough to get out of bed, the medic nin would find his seated next to Kakashi’s bedside.
“You’re never taking an attack for me in the future,” Obito declares in the strictest voice he can muster, both of them knowing that would never happen. He looks down, clutching Kakashi’s hand in his own as he continues in a softer voice, “don’t scare me like that ever again, I can’t lose you. I-I can’t.”
His grip tightens as he whispers, “I love you.”
Kakashi stiffens at those three words before taking his hand out of Obito’s grip in order to pull Obito into an embrace. He pulls down his mask to gently kiss the Uchiha on the forehead, then cheek, eyes, nose and finally the mouth. As he pulls away, barely a centimetre away, he whispers back, “I love you too.”
Sometimes, he wonders what Rin would say to see them come this far. Minato is still the Hokage with Naruto starting at the academy soon. Kushina is still as scary as ever when she wants to be, Kurenai and Asuma are dating, Shizune is still practicing medical jutsus and Gai is the same as ever.
There is one thing that he’s aiming to change though and he wonders if Rin would approve of it. Feeling the tiny velvet box in his jacket pocket, Kakashi looks at the stone with her name engraved on it and knows at that moment that she would approve of this. “Wish me luck,” he says to her as he turns and leaves before he’s late for their lunch date.
A date it might be but it was really Obito having a go at cooking yet again and demanding Kakashi to be present to be his guinea pig. Kakashi loves him, truly, but his cooking has a lot left to be desired. Nonetheless, Kakashi would always agree. He returns to their home, somewhere along the years it’s become a shared home, to the smell of slightly burnt lasagne.
“I’m home,” he calls out, a habit he’d never believe he’d have if one were to tell him those years ago.
“Welcome back,” Obito pokes his head out of the kitchen, “I’m just about done so you can go set the table now.”
Kakashi obediently does as told and soon they’re seated at the counter, two dishes of slightly burnt lasagne in front of both of them. It looks distinctly better than his last attempt. “Kushina’s taught me a bit,” Obito confessed.
They dig in, starting a conversation about mundane things like what mission to take up next; all the while the box feels heavier and heavier in Kakashi’s pocket. Finally the meal ends and Obito stands to clear the dishes. A hand on his arm stops him and he looks questioningly at Kakashi as he walks around the table to stand in front of Obito.
He kneels to the floor and Obito’s eyes widened as the next thing he knows, there’s a simple elegant silver ring being presented to him. It’s not the most romantic scenario but when the words “Obito, will you marry me?” leaves Kakashi’s mouth, he’s thrown himself into Kakashi’s arms, throwing both of them backwards, saying “yes” again and again and again.
No one would possibly know this but herself that Rin is there to observe the simple ceremony between the two most important people in her life. It doesn’t matter which world she belongs to for they are essentially the same person. At the beginning she mourns her cruel fate in both worlds but time has taken away her anger and now she feels nothing but peace and happiness. Here are the two boys who’d become men after much trials. And from now on till forever, they would be together, supporting each other and overcoming whatever comes their way.
“I do,” the words uttered in unison followed by the cheers of their friends brings a smile to her face.
“Obito, Kakashi,” she says, mostly to herself, “I wish you two happiness.”
And as their lips meet for the first time as a married couple, they are truly, truly happy.