Quiet Revolutions - Chapter 9 - Anjelle (2024)

Chapter Text

The world of Lightning’s mountaintops is a whole different beast from the humid head of Konoha’s forests, and Kakashi’s whole body curls in on itself as the shinobi acting as his entourage set up camp in a cavern. He’s too weak to fend them off or try an escape, but lucidity returned to him in short bursts this morning. Though his head’s a fog, he can at least see now. Two have dark skin, one with silver hair, the other blond. The woman is short and stocky, muscles visible in her forearms as she sets more kindling over the fire. Something about her presence reminds him of Dad, and he doesn’t know why. Her eyes are red, coming alive with the dance of the flames. She looks at him and sighs, as though resigned to her fate, whatever it may be.

The blond is the youngest of the three, unrolling their sleeping bags and stretching as the third, a pale man with dark hair, gets their provisions out of a storage scroll. That last one tends to glance at Kakashi like he’s a paper bomb ready to go off, though Kakashi doesn’t know what he did to earn the man’s ire. He’s been sick and delirious, and honestly can’t remember how they found him, or why they’re bringing him along to the village.

He thinks it has to do with the blond.

Kakashi leans against the cavern wall, bundled in a thick blanket. His sense of smell is still lost to him, and he’s never been this sick before. Dad fell ill once last year, and he was out for a whole month. His sense of smell didn’t return for two, though, and he wasn’t allowed on missions that whole time. But Kakashi was still a student back then, and he enjoyed having Dad around the house more.

He should have told his team that he was getting sick. He should have told Dad. Anyone.

The blond nods at his work once the sleeping area is set up. It looks like this cavern is a regular stop for Kumo-nin, the walls covered in carved-out messages and painted artwork. It’s colourful and bright, and Kakashi wonders why they do that. He knows the snow storms here can last a long time in the winter. Do they sometimes get trapped in there?

The thought of being stuck in here for days with the enemy scares him.

“Yo, Konoha-bro!” the blond greets. Sometimes he rhymes badly for a solid four hours, and other times he’ll say one thing like that, then talk like a normal person the rest of the day. Kakashi’s decided that he’s strange, uncomfortable to be around, and probably not a threat. “How you holdin’ up, Kid? Your fever going down yet?”

Kakashi holds the ends of the blanket tighter around himself and eyes the man in lieu of an answer. This guy asks him questions a lot, but he’s worried he’ll say something he shouldn’t if he speaks to the enemy. Kakashi never spent any time around shinobi from other villages. Are they all weird like this? Will he be betraying the village if he converses with them?

Why haven’t they killed him yet?

The man waits, and waits, and waits, and then sighs, scratching his head. “Man, I thought this time for sure. Kuromi, what ya thinking? Is he getting better?”

The woman claps her hands together, brushing off debris from the firewood, and wanders over to Kakashi with a sigh. She crouches before him, gives him a sniff, and wrinkles her nose. “Well, he still smells like sick. Lemme see.” She places a hand on Kakashi’s forehead. Usually he flinches, but he’s getting used to it now. Soon, the green glow of medical ninjutsu bounces off her skin. “Fever’s there, but better. He’s still congested, though, and his chakra network’s all over the place. The hell kinda virus did you contract, Kid?”

Kakashi doesn’t know. He’s not sure when he got sick or why. Usually, he’s really healthy. Dad makes sure he eats well, and that he doesn’t overdo it on training.

The pale guy rolls his eyes and points rudely at him. That one, he thinks, is the one who wanted to abandon him. “You better not get B sick,” he threatens. “A will have my head if his precious little brother goes home with so much as a scratched knee.”

Kuromi rolls her eyes, pulling back and standing up. “Oh, shut up. He will not. Remember when B escaped and ran into those Iwa-nin?”

“He wasn’t beat up, though. They were.”

“Yeah, well.” The woman shrugs, throwing her arms behind her head. “Kids get sick, and he’s just as at risk of it in Kumo as he is out in the wilds. Don’t worry so much.”

“How are you so chill right now, Ro? Look at that thing,” another rude gesture at Kakashi, “that he’s picked up! What do we do with that?!”

“Give it food, water, and plenty of sunlight?”

“He’s not a f*cking plant!”

“I’m the medic here,” Kuromi teases. “I think I’d know how to keep a brat alive better than you would, Sen.”

As their back-and-forth continues, the pale one cooking some food over the fire, Kakashi and B watch side-by-side in silence. They fight a lot. Every time they run their mouths, it devolves into petty name-calling. At least they’re trying to keep it down in the cave (sort of). Kakashi imagines not only being trapped in here with them, but trapped under snow, too, and feels true terror.

B slumps back against the wall, his face blank as the arguing goes on, and stretches out. He’s all gangly, like his body is growing faster than his muscles can keep up, but something about him feels sturdy, too. “Don’t grow up to be like them,” he says. “Let’s do our best not to.”

Then B holds up a fist, and Kakashi, having slowly come to know this strange man through his fever-induced haze, presses his own fist against it.

The two of them nod in solidarity. If Kakashi grows up to be such a petty adult, he won’t be worthy of his father’s name.

Yugito sleeps in a lot these days. She tends to do that when she’s in a mission slump, and when the house is empty. A’s been stuck in Raikage tower most of this month, working out a response to the growing tension with Iwa, no doubt, and Kakashi’s on vacation.

She wonders what sort of mission it is that’s pulled Kakashi away, how it’s going, and when he’s coming back home. Sure, they bicker a lot, and when they spend any length of time together, their arguments devolve into petty name-calling. But they’re siblings close in age, and it’s their right.

Besides, Kakashi starts it. He’s a terrible teacher, and doesn’t have the patience to explain ninjutsu or taijutsu to someone who isn’t a certified genius. There was a time when Yugito looked up to him like he was the greatest shinobi to ever live. But the starlight wore off once they got to know each other, and once he agreed to take her under his wing. He’s always been a bossy little brat, but he was worse as a child. Now, he’s just petty. For a man so obsessed with canines, he sure acts like a cat.

Yugito drags herself out of bed sometime after noon, brews a pot of coffee, and retrieves the copy of Kumo Rising left at their front door. But next to it are letters. Three of them.

Curiously, she turns them over, and is surprised to find her brother’s doctor’s scrawl handwriting on the back, one addressed to each member of their household. Weird… Kakashi’s not usually the type to send letters. Well, he’s normally not gone for so many months, either. Maybe he’s missing home. Or, more likely, Yugito’s cooking. When he has downtime, he sponges off her good nature like the brat he is, and as soon as he lays on the compliments, she supposes it wouldn’t hurt to cook enough for two or three. Killer B tends to mooch off both their efforts in that regard. Kakashi uses lip service to get the free meal, but B just comes around when all the work is done and reaps the rewards.

Yugito shuts the door and wanders back into the kitchen, setting the newspaper down as she retrieves a letter opener from one of the draws. She digs out the contents of the envelope addressed to her. There’s only one paper inside. What, no postcards? Souvenirs? Cheap as ever.

Yugito,

How are the mountains? Has it started getting stormy yet? I likely won’t be back before the rainy season hits, so you’ll have to reinforce the village barriers in my stead. Have fun!

She rolls her eyes as she pours fresh coffee into a mug, and she finds she’s yet again made enough for an extra cup. Killer B is always off doing whatever, like a force of nature no one can predict, and A’s the Raikage. Because of that, the two of them tend to stick together when they’re both home (which is probably why they fight the way they do). She’ll brew coffee for them both in the mornings, and he cleans the house in the evenings. It’s always weird when he’s gone like this. Does she miss him? Well…

It’s complicated.

Fire Country is beautiful. A bit too humid for my liking, but you’d like Konoha. There are wares being sold from as far as Wind here, and I guess it makes sense. Fire Country is easily accessible, and at the heart of the Elemental Nations, which makes for good trade. No wonder they’re always ahead of us. They have such a blatant advantage. What cheaters!

Yugito laughs despite herself, leaning over the table and propping herself up on her folded arms. Kakashi’s good at lightening up the mood. He gets it from B, she thinks, because no one can stay mad at that man for longer than twenty minutes (excluding A, who can get very mad for days). Kumo doesn’t get a lot of foreign trade, honestly. Most of their supplies are local, everything from their food to their weapons and seals. Most merchants aren’t willing to brave the mountains, and many can’t without chakra therapy to acclimate them to the extreme altitude. They’re in the clouds, after all, and the locals naturally weave chakra to help their bodies adjust. It’s not something they have to think about.

Kakashi used to get sick a lot as a kid. Well, Yugito wasn’t around for the worst of it, but she heard from Darui and B. His body refused to acclimate the way most did, and there was regular work on his network for years until finally, his body started to naturally follow suit.

Kakashi’s from Konoha, isn’t he? She always forgets about that.

Some things have happened. I met my father. Kakashi of the Cloud, son of the White Fang! Who knew?

She arches an eyebrow and stares at the title curiously. The White Fang was Konoha’s hero of the second war, right? Was he a Hatake?

Well. I knew. Sort of. It’s complicated.

Everything’s complicated with Kakashi.

I also made a friend! Sometimes, I hate him. Quite thoroughly, even. There’s this little gremlin man, Obito, who follows me around like a lost puppy, all because your brother is so charismatic and alluring (and quite possibly because he was assigned to me by the Hokage). He’s a chūnin stuck in a rut, but it seems like he knows his stuff. When I bring souvenirs home, if you don’t like them, blame Obito. He brought me out to look for some stuff for you. Call it a date, I think he’d like that. Poor thing, what’ll he do when I leave?

What a drama queen. Well, Yugito is used to this. Kakashi’s never actually shown any interest in women (and Yugito has never taken interest in men, so that’s entirely fair), and the brief few times she caught him with a crush, it was always on some nice boy with a cute face or a really cool jutsu he wanted to steal. (Kakashi is Kakashi, even when he’s in love.)

Curiously, all those crushes were one-sided, and none lasted longer than two weeks. Kakashi's never had someone feel all that strongly about him up here, to her knowledge. He's been fine with that, too, and likes being alone. Well, he might be joking around, and this Obito guy is literally just a guard the Hokage glued to him during his stay. Sometimes, when he's bored, he stretches the truth a bit to mess with people.

The souvenirs better be good. If she's not allowed to leave Lightning Country, Kakashi needs to at least give her a taste of what lies beyond it.

I hope B isn't sulking too much. Do me a favour and make sure he's keeping up with his training? If I'm not there to nag him, I know he’ll slack off.

He’s been slacking, alright. B has been waxing poetic for three days, meaning he wrote down three days worth of material and exhausted it. No doubt, he's back on some mountain top somewhere, scrawling in one of his notebooks like always. Yugito will check on him, as per Big Brother’s request. She has to deliver the letters, anyway.

Fire County is nice, but I miss Kumo. I only ever feel at home in the mountains, and the time away is starting to get to me. I hope this vacation won't overstay its welcome. But at the same time, when I go home, I feel like I'll be leaving something behind.

I think I've missed Konoha, too.

Yugito stares long and hard at those words, and sighs. Somewhere, deep in her heart of hearts, she admits that it's lonely without him here. One day, she hopes A will let them go on a mission together. Then maybe Kakashi won't long for home so much, nor will Konoha sink its claws into him.

“It makes sense,” she mutters. “It’s home to you, or it was, once.”

When he gets back, she'll make homemade dumplings. Those always cheer him up.

One morning, Obito wakes up and can’t see.

He stares at a wall, but his eyes don’t feel right. So he yawns, rubs at them, and stumbles out of bed. His foot lands on a wolf tail, and he stumbles back in fear of the summon snapping at him. It doesn’t. Even if it did, he has Kamui, but—

But as the wolf turns to him, he realizes he can’t make out much of its face. Everything is a mushy mess of colour. At first, he thinks he might not be fully awake yet, so he stumbles into the bathroom and takes a shower. The writing on the bottles is nothing but blobby lines to him, and he groans, rubbing at them yet again. One is worse than the other—the one he needs to teleport himself—and understanding dawns on him.

Ah, crap. How long has it been since he went in for network therapy? One… Nah, two months and some change. Not quite three months—he had it done right before his mission to Taki, which was three months ago on the dot.

Sakumo and Minato are gonna tear him a new hole when they find out.

Maybe they don’t need to know.

As he towels off and fishes clothes out of Kamui—sh*t, he really needs to stop using it now—he makes peace with the fact that his eyes have been steadily worsening since before Kakashi showed up. They were already starting to go fuzzy by his Kumo trip, though. Usually, the change is pretty gradual and easy to miss. He doesn’t worry about it much because he has routine maintenance done on his pathways, but there are times when it’ll just suddenly come on like this.

It’s usually right around the time the Sharingan causes permanent damage.

Obito covers his face with his hands and pointedly does not scream.

When he heads downstairs, breakfast is already laid out. He can smell it as he stumbles his way to the sitting room. It’s early (he thinks) but Sakumo has something to do first thing this morning, so he probably got it out of the way. This also means that Kakashi won’t have an alternate babysitter for the day, so Obito can’t run off to the Uchiha district to beg Aunt Mikoto to take him in without an appointment. He’ll just… live with it for today, he supposes. It’ll only get worse if he uses his Mangekyō, and it’s not like he can use that in front of Kakashi anyway. Plus, he’s not blind… His vision is just failing. A lot.

Obito rubs his eyes a third time for good measure and sits down at the chabudai. Kakashi’s already eating, and he greets Obito with a lazy wave.

It’s been around three weeks since this f*cker started living here, and they’ve found a strange sense of normalcy. Honestly, Kakashi’s not… that bad. Not really. He’s a terror when he wants to be, but he’s just as likely to laze around the house for two days and sleep in the sun as he is to ruin Obito’s day.

“You’re up late today,” Kakashi observes as he steals more side dishes for his plate. “Are you feeling alright?”

“Never better,” he mutters bitterly. Obito narrows his eyes on the food, and it’s pretty hard to tell what’s what. If he had a Hatake nose, this wouldn’t be an issue… He’ll make assumptions based on colour and shape. Thankfully, Sakumo rarely, if ever, makes spicy food (Obito has a low tolerance, and even the ramen he eats is mild) and he doesn’t have any food allergies to worry about.

He can’t see Kakashi’s face well, but he feels eyes on him as he picks at breakfast. The worst part is that this f*cker has the eyes of a predator and nothing escapes him. Kakashi has a bit of a sixth sense. The amount of times he’s almost walked in on Obito teleporting over these past few weeks is alarming. (Three. It was three times. But that’s three too many!)

“What’re your plans for today?” he asks, as he does every morning, pointedly looking down at the table.

Kakashi hums and finishes his meal, setting his plate aside as he leans forward. He better not already be onto Obito. “I’ve been feeling a bit stiff, so I wanted to train and get some exercise. Care for a spar?”

sh*t.

Obito rubs the back of his neck, making a face. “Yeah, I dunno about that. I’m just a chūnin. Highly doubt I’d be a good match against an ANBU.” Saying that with his own mouth is painful and wrong, but he’s used to it by now. The only people who know about his actual status are the Hokage, Kushina, Sakumo, Shisui, Itachi and Tenzō. Shisui used to be one of his teammates before the kid retired from ANBU to take on standard jōnin training, and he’s worked with Itachi and Tenzō now and then on joint missions. They’re still active, like he is. Er, was.

“I wouldn’t say that,” Kakashi counters lightly. It doesn’t sound like he’s teasing, or fishing for information. This tone is softer than the one he normally takes. He’s not… being genuine right now, is he? Kakashi, that Kakashi? Impossible. “I don’t know how well you fight, but you’re knowledgeable, and sometimes that can be the difference between victory and defeat.”

Obito rolls his eyes, propping his chin up on his hand. After stuffing his face, he gives Kakashi some attention, trying to meet eyes he can’t really see. “Ain’t gonna help me all that much in a practice match, though, will it?”

“Maa, you never know, Obito. And if you’re taking that promotion, it might be a good time to try.”

Sage, this guy is really stuck on that, isn’t he?

Over the past few weeks, this f*cker has brought it up at least once every few days, wearing him thin, and accepting retirement from ANBU is starting to feel inevitable. He’s had time to sit with it now, and ruining his status as ‘village secret’ doesn’t seem as daunting as it once did. And if he accepts, well… Keeping Kamui a secret won’t matter anymore. Hiding from Kakashi will be a thing of the past. He could get his network therapy, fix up his vision. Have that spar.

But the thought of signing up as a jōnin-sensei makes him feel sick.

Something pokes his cheek, and he jolts out of his thoughts, his head snapping towards the finger looming there. He can’t identify the expression Kakashi’s wearing.

“Obito?”

Obito’s shoulders slump, and he rubs at his eyes uselessly before gathering their breakfast plates.

“I’m gonna start on dishes,” he says numbly, rising off the floor cushion. “I’ll bring you to one of the open training grounds later, and you can have at it. The one by the Uchiha district isn’t meant for teams and doesn’t require sign-ups.”

“Sure.”

Obito retreats to the kitchen, scraping leftovers into containers and turning on the tap. He looms over the sink as it fills, staring down at his vague reflection in its soapy water, and runs a hand through his hair.

Yugito finds the first of her brothers atop Mount Kaminari. It’s the highest point near the village, standing taller than even Raikage Tower, and is probably the tallest mountain in all the Elemental Nations. Civilians can’t make this trip without assistance because the air is too thin. This can be mitigated with certain chakra control techniques that help the body run under harsh conditions, and it helps them stay up in the clouds as well as below water. But it takes more control, even if it doesn’t actually drain chakra, and most people can’t keep up with it on their own power, so medics are used. Killer B’s a pro by now, seeing how he’s always up here. It’s the first place she checks when he’s dropped off.

“B!” she calls. Her brother’s lying in the grass, staring up at the sky, his book closed beside him. He looks up towards her voice and waves.

“Yugito, yo! Came to hear my flow? ‘Cause you know, I’ll put on a show. Just watch me go.”

She rolls her eyes and digs the letter out of her bag. Sometimes, she wishes Killer B would take life more seriously. It’s hard talking to him when he’s been hit with a wave of inspiration, or when he’s being stubborn and forcing his rhymes. Kakashi finds it entertaining, but she likes to think of it as a character flaw.

She holds out the offering, her hand on her hip. “Kakashi sent letters. Mind if I read over your shoulder?”

Killer B takes the envelope, turns it over in his hand, and smiles. “My brother sent a letter? Steller. C’mon, Sis, let’s open this. Kakashi’s got stories to share. Take a seat over there.”

A lazy rhyming day, she decides then. The worst kind. It’ll just be bad couplets with no real rhythm. Then again, this is day four, and it’s no surprise his well of inspiration is running dry. At home, he doesn’t actually play these games all that much, saving his material for when he’s out in the world. But they’re both in a slump, most likely because Kakashi’s out of the village long-term and A doesn't want to have to worry about the rest of them.

What a pain.

Yugito takes a seat on one of the rocks up there, holding her coat tight around herself as freezing winds beat against her. She leans in, resting her head on her brother’s shoulder as he tears open the envelope and unfolds its contents. Already, she sees a little doodle at the bottom of the note. Killer B gets special treatment, apparently.

Hello, B! You miss me?

I had the thought of waxing poetic for this letter, but frankly I can't be bothered. Feel free to pretend I did, though, and feel warm and touched over how thoughtful your baby brother is. I accept all compliments and donations.

Killer B grins, and Yugito sighs. Good to see he’s just as annoying in this letter as he is in hers. If he actually took one of them seriously, he wouldn't be Kakashi.

On my way here, I came across the place where we met. There's a tavern there now, and a small settlement around it. I'm starting to feel old. Time really does change everything, doesn't it?

Yugito doesn't know the full story of how Kakashi came to live in Kumo. He's adopted, like they all are, but he's the only one of their siblings who was born beyond Lightning Country. Apparently, Konoha made him a chūnin at five. That's appalling, no matter how much promise he showed or how skilled he was. It's bad enough that kids twice his age are sent into battle, but what do they expect of a kid barely out of diapers? Here, Kakashi was prevented from taking missions until he was sixteen, partly because the council still didn't trust him and partially because of A’s over-protective nature.

I’m staying with my father at the moment. He’s Konoha’s White Fang. Isn’t that cool? Honestly, I didn’t remember. I knew he was important to the village, but I guess time took that away. It’s been decades, after all, and I was only a pup back then.

She’s not sulking as she thinks of how open and honest Kakashi is with B. Really, she’s not. Yugito is the baby, and her brothers have a tendency to tease her rather than share all their insecurities. She gets it. But maybe she’s still a little bitter.

The silver lining is that she can be sure Kakashi’s more open with her than he is A. That man can be such a chore to talk to.

I’ve made a friend! I think. You’d like him. He’s quite funny, even if he’s not trying to be. His name is Obito, and he’s been glued to my hip ever since I arrived in Konoha. I think he’s scared of me. Am I intimidating? No, right?

Obito again, huh? Well…

Yugito remembers the boy who stood up to the Raikage, himself, bearing sharp teeth at his benefactor for the sake of a young jinchūriki, and tilts her head. No, Kakashi never felt intimidating to her.

Other people are a separate matter.

Konoha’s pleasant, and I hope I can bring you along next time. I suppose that’ll depend on how this vacation goes, and if I overstay my welcome. They might not let me back in. Oh well. Be good for A while I’m gone. When I’m back, let’s go on a trip. The Raikage doesn’t need to know.

See you soon, Brother.

Something’s wrong with Obito, but Kakashi can’t place it. His guide has been disoriented all morning, and as Kakashi follows behind, staring at Obito’s back, he realizes he’s concerned. It brings him back to decades ago, being sick and bottling it up, stacking his problems until he could no longer make out the future behind them. But if he were to ask, would Obito open up?

Unlikely.

They’re on their way to the Uchiha district because there’s a training ground just beyond it that they can use, and Kakashi wants to be excited, but isn’t. Obito’s odd silence this morning is nagging him. This is a chance to meet more members of the clan and potentially see their combat skills, and he can’t enjoy it.

As they walk, Obito makes a turn, and then another, and Kakashi tilts his head. He swore they had to take the other street if they wanted to head to the Uchiha district… At first, he thinks nothing of it. Obito’s a local and would know shortcuts that he wouldn’t, so he trusts his guide’s judgment. But the longer they walk, the further they get, and Obito starts hesitating.

Obito is lost.

Kakashi takes wide strides until he stands before Obito and rounds on him, eyeing this man who’s been strange since breakfast. But it doesn’t feel like Obito’s meeting his eyes.

“Obito,” he calls, “can you not see?”

The Uchiha makes a face, his hands tucked into his sleeves as he folds his arms. “The hell you talking about, Dog-boy?”

“This isn't the way,” Kakashi says flatly. “You made a wrong turn, and now you’re lost.”

Obito rolls his eyes, shoves past Kakashi, and marches on. “It’s called a scenic route. Heard of it before? You’re the one who says you wanna see your homeland, so I’m showing it to you. Slow down and smell the roses, Hatake.”

What a load of crap. Kakashi drops it, though, when Obito looks around and veers down a different road, back on track. He must’ve gotten his bearings and figured out his position with his mental map of the land. But the fact remains that something is wrong with his eyes, and that he’s not surprised by it, meaning it’s been a long time coming.

Is this why Obito refuses to accept his jōnin promotion? If he can’t see and has no abilities that can circumnavigate the disadvantages of that, he won’t be able to continue on as a chūnin, either. Getting lost in one’s own village is sobering, and there’s a very real possibility that the mission he’s on now will be Obito’s last.

Kakashi’s own mission falls to the back of his mind as they enter the Uchiha district. He stares at the stalls here, different from the ones in the market downtown, and hooks a hand around Obito’s elbow, dragging him towards one. After sharing a few words with a suspicious Uchiha lady and parting with some pocket change, Kakashi presents Obito with a bag of senbei. Obito notices it, awkwardly grabbing the sides of the bag, peering inside. He must be able to tell from scent what it is, and makes a face.

“What’s this for?”

“You like sweets,” Kakashi states. Obviously. Most senbei are savoury, but the stall sells a few different varieties, and the less-suspicious-when-she-saw-his-change-pouch Uchiha was happy to offer up exactly what he was looking for.

Obito pulls out one of the rice crackers, tilting it in his hand as he stares. “But why?”

“Why not?” Kakashi sees the frown Obito wears, and sighs. “I wanted to. That’s all. Maa, not everything has to have a deeper meaning, Obito. Just take the treat. It’s not the first thing I’ve bought you.”

Obito’s lips twitch, and awkwardly, he starts down the path again, picking at his snack. He looks a little red in the ears, and Kakashi’s relieved. The current situation is upsetting, but if he can still feel flustered, he must not have fallen too deeply into his pit of despair.

Were Kakashi to walk through the Uchiha district alone, he would draw the eyes of everyone there in a heartbeat. But curiously, by Obito’s side, he doesn’t get a single glare. It’s like his new buddy has a cloak of invisibility that hangs over their shoulders, and they can sneak in whenever they desire. If Obito had done this with Sukea, perhaps Kakashi would have made strides in his mission a lot sooner. Oh well.

Kakashi does warm-ups when they get to the training grounds. There are a few other shinobi here, but the ones practising aren’t Uchihas. Oh, there are Uchihas. They’re just gravitating towards the bench that Obito’s taken over. Shisui and Itachi hover around him like vultures to carrion, encroaching on his personal space, one next to him and the other leaning over his shoulder. Kakashi has good hearing, but they're keeping their voices down, and it's hard to make out more than the vague hum of dialogue. Now and then, he’ll catch a word or two.

“—to spar—”

“—eyes?”

“—ikoto?”

Kakashi frowns. It's not enough. He could read their lips, but that would make it too obvious he's eavesdropping. So instead, he cuts his losses, pulls out a kunai, and goes through basic formations. Seriously training might be a bad move, especially if the target happens to be Shisui, who matches No-face’s height. It won’t do to spill all his secrets in front of the Uchihas. But holding back too much is probably no better.

Over the course of twenty minutes, Kakashi destroys five of the training dummies with various raiton, drawing the eyes of some other shinobi on the field. He doesn’t want to do too much damage, and honestly, attacking static targets is boring. Back home, he always has one to three training partners to go to, and he genuinely wants to see what Obito is capable of. But now, that likely won’t be possible. Obito can’t even see him train right now, can he?

“—’s pretty good,” Shisui says, a little louder than before. They must have finished talking about Obito’s eyes, then.

Obito raises his head curiously, searching the field, but doesn’t find Kakashi. “Yeah?”

“Nothing special, though,” Shisui shrugs. Hm. That’s interesting. If Shisui were the ANBU from that night, he would know Kakashi’s face, and at least a little of what he could do, tracking-wise. He remembers his playmate being uneasy around him.

Shisui isn’t the one he’s looking for. Itachi is too short. Obito is now a half-blind chūnin who never awakened his Sharingan. On their walk here, Kakashi scanned the crowds, looking for people who matched the height and build of the spy. No one felt quite right. That was why Shisui was his best bet.

Hm.

Another option could be that the ANBU is out of the village, back to stalking Raikage Tower in Kakashi’s absence, or on another mission. He doesn’t think No-face intended to do any harm at the time of their encounter. More likely, he was asked to do reconnaissance, like Kakashi is now, albeit more discreetly. The Leaf wouldn’t want a war breaking out with the Cloud, but A’s been pushing the boundaries of Konoha’s good graces for a while now, and it wouldn’t be too far off to suspect that their Hokage is reaching the limit of his patience. Minato sent that man to see who was behind the Hyuga kidnapping attempts. Which is, of course, the Raikage.

What a precarious situation.

When Kakashi looks over to the clansmen, Shisui smiles and waves. “Looking pretty good out there!”

A little patronizing. Kakashi smiles anyway. “Maa, it would be more fun if you joined me.”

Shisui laughs. “Me? Nah. Itachi and I were going at it for three hours before you got here. Besides, probably not a good idea when our villages aren’t allied.”

Therein lies the problem. Though Kumo and Konoha are on ‘friendly terms’, those terms mainly extend to not attacking one another. There’s not much trade between Fire and Lightning, they don’t assist each other on missions or in cross-village conflicts, and mostly, their stances on one another are neutral. The Raikage keeps pushing the Hokage’s buttons, and the Hokage’s ANBU keeps thwarting all his plans. Neither side wants a war, and A is entirely in the wrong here, but he’s only taking desperate action because he feels backed into a corner.

“Of course,” Kakashi says, keeping his voice neutral. “But let me know if you change your mind.”

“Sure thing.”

He turns to Itachi next. “What about you?”

“I feel the same,” Itachi says. “I don’t mean to offend, but It would be irresponsible for us to share our combat skills with an outsider.”

“No offence taken.” Well. Maybe a little.

When those two leave, he gets a few more hours in, glancing occasionally at a very bored Obito on the bench. He feels a bit bad as he looks around at the emptied field, brings his hands together, and produces a lightning clone. Obito doesn’t notice, or isn’t really paying attention. He’s been quiet all afternoon.

The clone’s henge is convincing, taking on the outward appearance of a certain outcast Uchiha before it disappears in a body-flicker. Kakashi sighs. Normally, he doesn’t like taking advantage of someone’s moment of weakness. But he’s ANBU, and this is a mission, even if it doesn’t always feel like one.

Kakashi sits down next to Obito on the bench, leaning into him, and is swatted away. Obito’s used to the skinship and normally accepts it, but with his eyes like that, it must be uncomfortable.

“You were fine yesterday,” Kakashi says. “What happened?”

Obito deflates, pressing the heels of his palms to his eyes. “It’s nothing. My eyes are tired, that’s all.”

“Obito,” he calls flatly, “you’re not fooling anyone, and you’re a terrible liar.”

The chūnin groans in defeat. “I’m… not fine,” he confesses, “but I will be. Just don’t make a thing outta it. Please?”

“Alright.”

Kakashi hates how easily he takes to people. It makes it so hard not to worry, even for someone standing in his way. Sakumo is a bleeding heart, too.

Maybe it’s genetic.

A sits in his office behind mounts of reports that need filing and documents awaiting his signature. There’s a petition to start work on the new bottom levels of Kumo they’ve been discussing for the past six years, and though he wanted that done a long time ago, he hasn’t signed off on it. The threat of Iwa’s doton specialists looms overhead, and whenever he thinks it might be safe to start on that, he remembers the collapsed tunnels of the third war, and all the structural damage it caused.

Next to the mounds of work he’ll never finish is a letter, freshly delivered by his little sister. He scowls at it, sure that seeing its contents will make him angry, because that’s Kakashi’s biggest trait. It’s not about the mission, otherwise it would have been sent via the boy’s summons, so whatever’s inside is nothing more than fluff. Knowing that kid, he must be thinking of this trip as a vacation, ignoring the threat to their village.

A’s been in talks with the Tsuchikage about the recent trouble along the border and the threat Iwa’s been posing to Lightning Country, but the old bastard insists his village isn’t at fault, never mind the symbols of Earth brandished on the instigators’ hitai-ate. It’s just like the tension before the start of the last war, and he’s miserable at the thought of pulling his village into another years-long conflict when it’s been barely over a decade since the last.

What does it matter if Kakashi’s letter makes him angry? He’s already pretty pissed. What’s the worst the brat could do?

Tearing open the envelope, A finds two papers attached with a paperclip and eyes the first. He still struggles to read Kakashi’s chicken scratch sometimes.

Honourable brother, I hope this letter finds you in good health.

Kakashi doesn’t talk to him like this. He’s taking the piss.

My trip brought me to Konoha, and I happened to run into my father. Did you know the White Fang was of Hatake descent? Well, he doesn’t look much like my clansmen, to be sure. Less so than even I do. I don’t suppose he would be welcomed into the pack if he ever visited, knowing how they are. Kuromi might like him, though. He’s an upstanding man, and I could see them sharing sake and roasted game out in the wilds.

A knows. Kakashi probably doesn’t remember, but A ran up against the White Fang during the war. They didn’t have a full confrontation, and neither side could be said to win or lose their half-fought battle. But when he returned to Kumo after his mission, the boy was there, freaking out over the scent still clinging to him. At first, A didn’t know what had the kid so on edge, and it wasn’t until later, much later, that he realized what Kakashi’s relationship was to that man.

By then, their family had bonded, and he didn’t have the heart to pry them apart.

Naturally, the village is suspicious of my presence, and I was sent to meet your favourite person. The Yellow Flash is quite friendly. I wish you had told me.

A’s lip curls, and he resists the urge to crumple up the letter. Damn it all.

Lord Hokage was kind enough to offer me a guide, meaning he’s being guarded. He keeps calling me derogatory names.

I’ve enjoyed my stay thus far. I always wondered about my birthplace, but I’ve avoided it for so long. Part of me was scared that if I returned, I wouldn’t be able to return home. As though Konoha would latch onto me and never let go. But as it stands, I don’t think there will be any issues with my leaving. They’ve been accommodating, and quite hospitable. The White Fang’s cooking is unfairly good. I wonder where he learned.

As for that souvenir you wanted, I’m searching, but it’s not as straightforward to find as I anticipated. There are a lot of counterfeits about. But I’m weeding through them with time, and I know it’s here somewhere. True to my word, I’ll bring it back with me.

A huffs. So the brat’s been working, after all. Well, he expected it to be difficult, which is why he gave Kakashi a six-month window. The Sharingan isn’t an always visible Kekkei Genkai like the Byakugan, and not every member of the clan awakens it. Konoha is crawling with Uchiha, and with all those set-backs, picking out the right one isn’t going to be a fun time. But Kakashi likes playing puzzle games, and when he gets annoyed enough, he’ll get the job done.

Attached is something else I think you’ll love. I went to great lengths to get it, and even enlisted the help of my estranged father. Take good care of it, Brother. I’m sure you’ll cherish it for all the days to come.

The Raikage pulls the second paper, free of the clip and growls his furry when the smiling face of the Yellow Flash greets him from a well-framed photograph, a signature scrawled across it in black ink, and on the back, a little note.

To Kakashi’s brother,

Thank you for raising him. I’m happy to know he’s been safe all these years, and that he didn’t face this world alone.

Sincerely,

Minato Namikaze, The Yellow Flash.

He crumples up the photograph and throws it at the wall.

No one fuels his anger quite the way Kakashi does.

When the sun sets, the clone finds himself on a roof in the Uchiha district, watching the bodies mill about below. Even without a cloak, no one bats an eye at him. He’s seen plenty of Uchiha just sit up in high places and stare at the moon like strange little owl men, and the idea of Obito doing the same makes him smile. Maybe it’s a clan thing. As a Hatake, Kakashi growls, and he used to bite as a child, and that was the norm. Even the clansmen who refused to accept him as a Hatake exhibited those behaviours.

Granted, he doesn’t think he started doing any of that until he came to live in Kumo. Perhaps it’s an issue of nature versus nurture.

Kakashi sniffs himself, satisfied at the neutral smell of Konoha he’s taken on. The scent neutralizers work impeccably well, he’s pleased to note. Sure, the Uchiha aren’t a clan of trackers, but there are others in the village who are, and it pays to be cautious.

“You’re out late,” a voice calls from behind. Kakashi doesn’t need to look; he smelled Shisui before the man landed there on the roof. “Thought you were stuck hanging off the Kumo guy.”

Kakashi thinks back to Obito’s manner of speech and the way he moves. They’ve spent a lot of time together now, and it’s easier. Playing this part wouldn’t have been possible a few weeks ago. “Yeah, well.” He shrugs. “I pawned him off on Sakumo for a bit. He’s leaving on a mission tonight. Figured they could use the bonding time or something.”

“So he really is the White Fang’s boy? Damn.”

Again, he shrugs. Kakashi doesn’t know how Obito feels about the White Fang’s blood-related son popping into existence out of nowhere, so he doesn’t want to make any strong statements one way or the other. Obito’s pretty dismissive, anyway, so it shouldn’t look strange.

Shisui slides down the roof tiles and comes to sit next to him. A few houses down, there’s a pair of young Uchiha girls doing the same. Seriously, why? Are they descended from birds of prey? What do they find so appealing about being dark and brooding on tall perches?

Well. Kakashi tends to nap on rooftops, too, in all fairness.

“How are your eyes?”

Kakashi frowns, thinking back to the time he spent with Obito before separating as a clone, analyzing the man’s mannerisms. “Everything’s out of focus,” he settles on, staring at his hand. “I’m having trouble making out faces, among other things, and I got lost earlier. It’s harder in the dark.”

Shisui nods, as though already aware. He gives Kakashi’s shoulder a squeeze, and Kakashi keeps himself still. “We’ll get you taken care of,” he says. “Just bear with it for now.”

Kakashi nods. He wonders how, exactly, they’ll take care of Obito’s vision loss. But symptoms like that can crop up for any number of reasons. Obito could have a seal on him, or a curse mark. He could have network damage, or a blockage along his pathways. All of those things are treatable. Maybe they’re waiting for a certain medic to return to the village, or for a seal master who specializes in curses.

“Afterwards, what’re you gonna do? I hear Lord Fourth wants to bump you into the spotlight and make you a jōnin-sensei.”

So Shisui knows, too. Obito must not have mentioned it, so…

“Who told you?” he asks.

“The Fourth’s brat.”

“Naruto, of course,” he nods. He seems like the type to run his mouth. “I don’t know. I’m not that enthused about it.”

“It’ll be good for you,” Shisui assures, staring up at the sky. “I know it’s hard at first. It was when I left, too. But I don’t think it’s healthy to remain stuck where you are. That kind of work… it hollows you out. Before long, I looked up, and I realized that I didn’t even know where I was anymore.”

Kakashi breathes in, his mind on a mask he hasn’t touched in months, and nods.

Obito has a secret.

Quiet Revolutions - Chapter 9 - Anjelle (2024)

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