Obito sensed the chakra that enveloped not only himself, but the entire hospital room. He could make out four distinct ninja, out of plain sight. It was almost a compliment that even in his current condition, the higher-ups of the Hidden Leaf still deemed him dangerous enough to require constant ANBU surveillance.
Obito ran his fingers over his stomach - the nurse responsible for his care had removed all of the bandages this morning and replaced them with a large cotton patch front and back. She had remarked at how fast Obito was healing but it still wasn't fast enough for him. He needed to get up and go somewhere – do something! All of his life had been spent training or fighting and being confined to a bed was sending him stir crazy. He had never been so… sedentary.
Obito had expected to be released that morning. To his displeasure no one had come and seen him yet. He toyed with the possibility that the Hidden Leaf had changed their mind. They were just holding him there until he was ready to be taken to the Blood Prison, however. He wondered what the other ninja in the prison would be in there for.
Surely for lesser crimes than myself.
A sudden conversation outside of his door shattered his train of thought. Obito focused on the conversation, eager to know when he would be free.
"Have you located Kakashi yet?" Obito made out the voice to be that of the Fifth Hokage.
"I'm afraid not Lady Fifth. My Rival is elusive, even to me!" replied a voice Obito recognised as belonging to Might Guy, the Hidden Leaf taijutsu master and high ranking Jonin.
"He was meant to be here at the hospital over an hour ago! From our conversation yesterday it seemed apparent that Kakashi was insistent that the safety of Obito be secured, and yet he is not here to accept his release… Where on earth is he?" Tsunade's impatience was obvious.
Kakashi petitioned for my release? What?
"What are we to do with him then? I think it unwise to release him at all, but if he must be allowed to go, surely he is to stay at the hospital until we can locate Kakashi?"
"No. That won't be necessary. Have him escorted to Kakashi's address. Shizune! Go give him his belongings. I won't wait around all day! If Kakashi refuses to be punctual, then I refuse to be late."
Obito heard the shuffling of feet, hurrying towards the door. In his minds' eye, he saw the scowl on the Hokage's visage and sensed the fear of the soul closer to his room than any other.
"Y-yes my lady." Shizune nervously responded, her words barely audible.
Obito propped himself up on his elbow as the door opened. He observed the highly-trained medical ninja and the Fifth's personal assistant, slowly make her way into his room. He watched as she shuffled around to the other side of the bed, avoiding Obito's penetrating glare. He could make out the beads of perspiration on her forehead, somewhat amused that the ninja was unable to hide her fear.
"Are you scared of me?" Obito mocked.
"No." the lady replied, but the tone never matched the intent of the words.
"You should be. You and every other ninja in this village."
Shizune paused briefly, caught off guard by Obito's intimidating presence. He sounded so menacing and aggressive, and she began to wonder why someone as wise as the soon-to-be leader of the village would have anything to do with such a wastrel.
The bonds of friendship must run deep… Very deep indeed.
With an air of fake confidence she put a small bag down at the end of the bed and immediately stepped back towards the door.
"You are being discharged today. In that bag you will find the belongings that you arrived with. Please change into your clothing. Once you are ready, you will be escorted to your new address." With that said, Shizune averted her gaze, sighed deeply and hurried out of the room. Her discomfort was palpable.
Obito picked up the bag and shook the contents out onto his bed. He was surprised to find that someone had mended his clothing for him. Attached to his robe was a brand new sleeve and all of the tears had been sewn. He stood up, slid the purple robe over his muscular figure and tied it up at the waist.
He made his way to the door and flung it open. Lady Tsunade was lent against the wall, arms folded. Obito matched her stern gaze.
"Hello Obito." her complete lack of emotion amused him – so different to just a few moments previous.
"Hokage." he replied, with feint courtesy.
"I see that your physical condition has improved dramatically. I am here to personally discharge you from the hospital. I have organised one of our finest ninja to escort you to where you will be staying. You must understand that we cannot take any chances."
Obito had expected an escort, Shizune had told him as such. In fact, he would not even hesitate to believe that he would have ANBU tracking him for the rest of his days in the village. Though with an ability like Kamui at his disposal he could be very hard to track.
"One last thing Obito. The other villages allowed us to spare you on the condition that you are never to leave the village. You would be wise to follow those instructions. For everyone's sake." Tsunade concluded.
Obito made his way to the end of the hall. As he turned he was met with the face of Yamato. How ironic that someone that was once his prisoner was now in control of him.
"Just you then?" Obito questioned.
"Just me." Yamato replied as he began to walk forward.
Though Obito originally expected multiple escorts he understood why Yamato was the only escort present; after all he had witnessed his chakra firsthand and his control over the First Hokages' DNA. Obito himself used Yamato to create an incredible army of Zetsu clones, before the one he referred to as Guruguru, or Spiral Zetsu had used him as a puppet. He had also heard that Yamato was also heavily involved in subduing the Nine Tails before Naruto had control, a link to Hashirama no doubt. He could still feel the ANBU closing in around him. Even so he was a little disappointed that a missing-nin of his renown had one 'public' escort. Clearly this mission had discretion as a focal point.
As they made their way out of the hospital Obito's eyes were inundated by sunlight. As his eyes slowly adjusted, he was met with a sight he never thought he would see again. The town had grown so much since the last time Obito lived within its walls, but at the same time it was just as he remembered; from the shops he frequented, to the eateries he dined at and not forgetting the Ninja Academy itself. As he continued to follow Yamato down the long winding street, he felt the many stares from villagers who unfortunately found themselves within his vicinity. Try as he might, he could not ignore the hurried whispering of villagers who immediately recognised him and warned the villagers around them. Villagers begun to retreat into their shops and homes in fear. Obito could feel the rage build up inside him.
"Calm down Obito, I can feel your anger building but it's not like they don't have a right to feel the way they do. So many of them lost loved ones owing to a war you created! It wasn't that long ago that Pain and the Akatsuki attacked our village, and we have had to rebuild yet again. Many of them have heard rumours that you have been responsible for previous upsets in our village too, you have to understand this won't just disappear." If Yamato had appeared conciliatory, Obito had missed the point entirely.
"I see that there have been many people talking about me. Did any of them care to mention that without me they would all still be stuck in their dream world? Do they know that I have saved their much beloved Kakashi Hatake, not once but twice?" Obito raised his voice, hoping the villagers could hear.
Obito realised that Yamato was not going to humour such a bait as that. He focused on the surroundings. He wanted to remember exactly how they got here. He didn't want to have to rely on anyone else. He didn't need anyone.
It wasn't long until they arrived at a grey, modest building. Yamato stopped outside and gestured to Obito.
"Here is Kakashi's apartment. Number four on the third floor. I am sure he will be back to greet you shortly. If you need anything from the Village let us know, and it will be accommodated." Yamato nodded and took his leave.
Obito made his way up the stairs to the second floor. He was eager to be somewhere less exposed. He needed time to reflect on the events that had unfolded – alone. He noticed two ninja sitting by one of the apartment doors.
"Look! That's Obito Uchiha" one of the ninja said to the other.
"Trust Kakashi to take him in. Now we have someone who went on a murderous rampage and started a war living in our apartment complex. What a wonderful time to be alive." The second ninja spat.
"Well, Obito Uchiha." The first ninja continued as he stood up. "I hope you find our apartment complex to your 'satisfaction'. Though compared to a cave I feel it is definitely an improvement! I would like to say that I hope to see you again, but that would be a lie. The medical ninja were wrong to waste their time and our villages' resources on you!"
The second ninja jumped up and started to follow his brazen friend down the stairs.
"Are you crazy?" he yelled. "Do you seriously want to die?"
Obito listened to their conversation and sighed. These children were simply not worth the time. Turning away, he waited until they were lost in the hustle and bustle of the village. He made his way up to the third level and approached apartment four, examining the handle and unsure whether or not to walk inside. He had no idea what was waiting for him inside and that made him nervous, a feeling he detested. Vulnerability was weakness, and he felt weaker than he ever had. Slowly he pulled on the door handle only to find that it was locked. He slouched against the door and closed his eyes. Adjusting to this way of life was going to be no easy feat. He didn't know if he could do it. As he had listened to the previous ninja talk about him in such a way, he had envisioned all of the interesting ways that he could kill him. Deep down Obito did want to change, but even so some changes would take longer than others. However, he had never let go of that inner child who wanted to become Hokage. He was such a broken man, so truly inept to normality that he just didn't know how. For so long fighting, killing and manipulating others was all he had ever known. Living in a village as a normal person, this would make him his own worst enemy.
Even if Obito could act like a normal ninja, the villagers hated him. There was no way he could get a job to afford somewhere to stay, or even to clothe and feed himself – after all it's not as if he could have become a traditional ninja once more. His feelings were made worse by the fact that he not only had to live with Kakashi, but for the time being at least, would be completely dependent on him for everything. Admittedly, as part of Team Minato they had worked well together when they had to during the War. But the events of Kanabi Bridge and its aftermath meant that teamwork and friendship meant nothing to Obito when he saw Kakashi at the hospital. The sight of his old team mate alone filled him with such hatred. Obito despised Kakashi. He had the life that Obito had dreamed of. What made it even worse was that he had that life because Obito sacrificed his own for him – twice!
"Stupid Kakashi!" Obito growled slamming his fist above him through the door. His eyes widened as he looked up to see his intangible hand resting through the door. No matter how much control Obito had over Kamui, any time he suffered extreme emotions such as pain, anger or hatred it was out of his control. Obito removed his hand from the door and brought it back in front of his face. How could he not have realised that he could just walk through the door. He stood up and faced the door. With a deep breath he made his way into Kakashi's apartment.
Obito was met with a sight that he completely expected. Unlike his own childhood apartment, Kakashi's was completely clean. He walked through the perfectly maintained if seldom used lounge and kitchen and made his way to the bathroom. Hesitantly he observed his reflection in the mirror. It was the first time that he had viewed himself since before the war. His hair had darkened again thanks to the improved chakra flow in his body. His left eye still bruised from the rough removal of his Rinnegan for his original Sharingan; a move by Madara that still confused Obito. Seeing enough of himself for one day, he made his way back to the lounge, sitting cross legged on the couch facing the door. Waiting. Seemingly endlessly.
The lights from the village illuminated Kakashi's apartment as Obito continued to wait. After what felt like hours his body began to tense as he felt Kakashi's chakra from a distance. He could sense Kakashi slowly make his way inside the building and up the two sets of stairs before finally pausing at his apartment door. Obito knew that Kakashi could sense his chakra inside his apartment. Eventually the door slowly creaked open. Obito's felt his Sharingan spin uncontrollably as he observed Kakashi enter the room.
"Hello Obito!" Kakashi ran his fingers nervously through his hair as he smiled sweetly.
"You're finally here, Friend-Killer Kakashi." Obito sneered.