It starts with the numbness, Obito thought. He really didn't feel anything for the first few days after the Kannabi Bridge incident. He didn't see Kakashi at Rin's funeral. Of course he wouldn't be there. Obito was sure Kakashi hadn't been hesitant for a moment when killing Rin. Then it came, a hollow feeling-the hollowness gradually filled up with sorrow, rage and everything in between. It rose and rose till it became a visceral feeling, like vomit kept down only by will. He managed to walk away calmly, giving a tight smile to Minato sensei, who looked concerned. He all but ran back to his apartment. His place in the Uchiha district was under lock and key after his grandmother died. Bursting into the bathroom, he promptly emptied his stomach into the toilet bowl. Rin, sweet Rin, always smiling, even with Kakashi's hand through her chest. He vomited again, till he was dry heaving. He wondered asking Kakashi how he felt when he killed Rin. He could hear Minato sensei's tired but sincere voice chiding him slightly in his mind; it was no way to talk to his remaining team mate. He couldn't bring himself to feel sorry for him. All his energy sapped out, he curled himself into a fetal position on the bathroom floor and lost consciousness. "Obito, Obito! Wake up!" he woke up to cold water being sprinkled on his face. It was Kushina san. He thanked God that it was not Minato sensei, being around him felt really awkward after Rin's death. Despite being one of the loudest people he knew, after Gai, Kushina had a really strong intuition and tact which Minato sensei lacked sometimes, they complimented each other quite well. "Is the door broken?" it was better than directly asking if Kushina san had broken the door. He clearly remembered locking it after entering. "Um, yeah." Kushina said sheepishly, "But it is nothing a seal can't fix!" Obito made a mental note to visit the furniture repair shop in the market later. Kushina was already handing him a cup of tea and biscuits she had found from God knows where, He didn't remember having any in his apartment. "Eat. You vomited and lost consciousness because you didn't eat." "Minato was really worried about you after you left the funeral like that. I made him stay and came to your apartment to find you like this. I know things are awkward between him, you and Kakashi." Kushina cringed slightly when saying Kakashi's name, she knew it was a sensitive topic for Obito. Obito didn't answer. "Minato's going to be the next hokage you know? They'll make the announcement the day after tomorrow." she said in a desperate bid to change the topic before Obito shut her out too. "That's good to hear." Obito said without any emotion. Kushina wondered if Obito had comprehended her words fully. He showed no signs otherwise. "Say, Kushina san, can you tell Minato sensei sorry for me? I have already been assigned a mission from the mission desk. I know sensei has a lot on his plate right now. The last thing that should add to his jobs should be my own issues." Kushina was not good at these things. She knew telling this to Minato would only warrant more questions. But one look at Obito's face made her decide to just get on with it. The poor boy had just had a very bad shock. He needed all the support he could get in this situation. Walking back from Obito's apartment to her own, she wondered if she should visit Kakashi too. Even among his peers, he was an odd one, and Minato was the one to usually offer him closure. Had Rin been present, she would probably have done an even better job of comforting both of her team mates. She was the one who used to break their fights after all. She was a calm, quiet and mediocre girl, as opposed to Kakashi's genius and Obito's loudness. She had nevertheless, managed to worm herself into all their hearts, enough to be affected this badly, she thought, trying to keep her own tears at bay. Minato had silently cried on her shoulders after Rin's body was taken away for the burial preparations. But she was gone now; Kushina had no idea who would stop Obito and Kakashi's fights now, if they ever spoke to each other after this.

Obito left to assist a chuunin check post near Kiri the next day. He didn't wear his goggles. They were a proof of a time and person, both of which were gone. He wouldn't need them again. He left an apology note in Minato sensei and Kushina san's apartment for the former. He entered the check post with extra rations just in time to bump into Kakashi. The jounin was probably leaving with information regarding civilian immigrants from Kiri back to Konoha. They would immediately be added to the list of civilian citizens in Konoha, as the village would need as many people as possible who would be able to help with trade and weapons and ration supply, barring all active shinobi who were participating in the war. Kakashi stopped in his tracks on seeing Obito. His other eye, the one which Rin had transplanted with Obito's sharingan, was covered. The medics would say that he was incredibly lucky to have gained an eye again. Apparently some unlucky shinobi, who had died in battle, had asked his eyes to be donated. So Obito gained another eye despite giving away one of his to Kakashi. Even the eye color was so similar to Kakashi's grey one that it made them look like a pair of brothers with interchanged eyes. Obito hated it. "I hope you liked putting your hand through Rin's chest. After all, you never really cared what happened to us. You were too busy being a genius." he sneered. He shouldn't have said that, Kakashi had done nothing to provoke him. Yet he couldn't help it, he was so bitter, at himself, at the world, at Kakashi, their situation, their helplessness; everything. "I did my duty as a shinobi. Rin requested me to kill her. You were there when she said this." Kakashi murmured, without inflection. Obito stomped away, his shoulders shaking with barely concealed rage. Kakashi stood there for a minute, and then he left. A part of his mind said that Obito had no reason for telling him off like that, but the other part echoed that he deserved it for being cold to both of his team mates, alive and dead. He pushed them into the deepest corners of his mind and focused on returning to Konoha. He did his best to ignore the blood in his hands, which wouldn't go off no matter how much he washed them.

The mission desk was empty, there were two more chuunin there, waiting for their missions. Obito went to the desk and delivered his report into the designated box. Asuma grinned at him, Aoba was waiting with him. "Back from your mission, eh?" he said. "Yeah. You guys leaving for one?" "No. We came to book training ground 18. We need to hone our skills, else we'll get rusty. The chuunin on duty has left to get the permission form. Why don't you join us?" Aoba said. "Sounds good. Count me in." Obito answered. There was no reason to shirk training, especially if he wanted to get stronger and stop depending on others. On his way to the apartment, he was asked by a jounin to visit the hokage tower."All the better to get this over with." He thought. Minato sensei's smile was disarming. Who would say that the same man had decimated over a thousand of Iwa shinobi after his team was attacked at the Kannabi bridge? "Obito. It is good to see you back safe." His sensei, no, his kage said. "Yes sensei. Congratulations on your appointment as the Yondaime hokage. I am sorry I couldn't be there during the declaration." Obito said, he had been away from Konoha for almost four months. "It is okay Obito. You had a job to do. And my job as a hokage would have been endorsing the same for our shinobi population." The Yondaime hokage said. "You've booked training ground 8 with Asuma and Aoba, isn't it? I will sanction it. In your current form, constant training will see you becoming a jounin easily in two to three years. Rin wanted to see you as a jounin, don't disappoint her memory." Yet one of Minato sensei's psychological words, he employed these tactics with both him and Kakashi, though the latter was much less susceptible to them. "Would you do me a favor Obito, please go to Kakashi's apartment and send him to me. I think I'll make him join the ANBU, he would be excellent there." Sensei could have sent his ANBU guard to do the same, guess he really wanted both of them to make up. He couldn't tell the hokage no in his face, could he? In front of Kakashi's apartment, Obito knocked the door clearly, it swung open without any resistance. He still debated going in, Kakashi's apartment was absolutely booby trapped with normal weapons and seals, courtesy of Kushina san. The last time Rin and Obito had stepped into his apartment with their sensei, an accidentally broken seal had released a vicious katon on them which had singed off the edges of his hair, Minato sensei had to counter it with a well placed suiton of his own. "Kakashi, you in there?" Obito hollered. No answer. Obito tried again, there was no response. Gingerly, he stepped inside. He tried to be as careful as possible to avoid any traps. There was a faint hissing sound coming from the kitchen, Obito went in, only to see Kakashi attempting to burn off his hand with boiling water. Batting off the hissing kettle from his hand, Obito looked at him. Kakashi looked like he was in a sort of daze, seemingly indifferent of his hand, a good part of which was covered in second and third degree burns. "What the hell are you doing!" he hissed. Obito could have been irrationally angry at him, but he wasn't as heartless. He patched Kakashi as well as he could. A lifetime of practiced clumsiness and following Rin around when she was alive had led him to amass a decent amount of knowledge regarding first aid and healing in general. "You need to come to the hospital with me, then you will go to Minato sensei's office from there. He has called you." On seeing Kakashi cringe at the mention of hospital, he further said, "Otherwise I'll tell sensei that you are neglecting your health. You should know how scary he can be then." Kakashi had somehow returned to his original, almost catatonic state. "Kakashi! Can you listen to me? Okay, look at me Kakashi, look at me." He had to use his hands to actually turn his face at him, even then, his eyes remained unfocused, with a faraway look in it. A slap on his face finally got his attention. "We are going to the hospital, Kakashi. No buts. Don't you dare bail now. Else I won't promise that you won't be dragged there by an irate hokage. I also have to go to train. Come on." He stopped pulling Kakashi when he heard him mumbling something "Huh?" "The blood won't go away. I tried to wash it off so many times, it just won't wash off. The blood keeps getting redder and redder." Kakashi mumbled. "Surely you don't mean that." the bitterness had started to rear its ugly head. "But you don't understand. I killed, and the blood remains. Take this away. What if I kill sensei, Kushina san? You?" okay, Obito hadn't thought that Kakashi would react like this. His voice which had started as a hoarse whisper was gradually growing in volume till it sounded downright hysterical. No amount of imploring could calm him down. Obito was forced to use the last trick up his sleeve. He loosened the collar of his flak jacket and shoved Kakashi's face into the crook of his neck. Being a submissive beta, Obito was technically equivalent to a recessive omega. He could produce just about enough pheromones which made him something between a beta and an omega. He had learnt from Rin that an omega's pheromones worked to calm down a distressed alpha and vice versa. He was not a complete omega, but he hoped it would work. Apparently it did. He somehow managed to migrate himself with Kakashi onto the lone couch in the latter's more or less barren apartment. He was pretty much on Kakashi's lap as the former took intermittent sniffs of his pheromones. It would have been awkward if he were taller than Kakashi. The height difference helped in maintaining the position till Kakashi calmed down. Kushina burst into the apartment some time later, put two and two together and promptly left to inform Minato as well as Asuma of the situation and excuse them both for the day. She also brought a medic from god knows where who healed Kakashi's hand without a word. Obito didn't think Kakashi would have such an outburst; this made him wonder if the latter only felt extremes of emotions. Kakashi fell into an exhausted sleep in the evening. Obito went grocery shopping with Kushina for Kakashi. His apartment lacked edible things, he had no idea what he ate. While cooking dinner for his jounin team mate, Obito kept reminding himself that he was only doing this for Rin and sensei. But he felt otherwise, his traitorous mind was already starting to think of helping Kakashi as he was not in a sound state. Since he had already come this far, he would tell sensei to not make Kakashi join the ANBU. Most ANBU members had serious mental issues. There was a whole ward in the Konoha general hospital dedicated to such people with mental afflictions. He couldn't imagine Kakashi being there, looking blank and vapid. Sleeping only when sedated. He missed their bantering, he grudgingly admitted to himself. Back at his apartment, he decide he would talk to his sensei, no, the hokage the next day.