A Study in Secrets


AN: Written in under thirty minutes. Yay for butchered characterizations!


Kakashi is synonymous with mystery, in Obito's truncated experience. No matter how long they've been teammates (and really, it's been so many years he's lost count), Obito doesn't know his favorite color, his favorite food, hell, doesn't even know if he's afraid of the dark.

Kakashi's content to stay that way. He wreathes himself in turgid shadows, mythic and solemn and entirely too annoying. Obito wants to see underneath the underneath and all that riotous crap, but how the hell's he supposed to try if his teammate won't give him the chance?

So the first time he surprises Kakashi in the showers, expecting to see his face, he's both annoyed and …well, more annoyed at the fact that Kakashi had raised a facecloth conveniently to cover the lower half of his face.

Foiled, Obito thinks. Foiled again.

For the next four months, he stalks his teammate religiously. It's a routine, one he's never late to fulfill (surprise, surprise) and one that's as fruitless as brushing his hair in the mornings.

Because Kakashi is a pretentious wanker with a stick so far up his ass that it could probably double as his tongue, and no matter what Obito does, he's always been that way.

Rin just rolls her eyes and calls him crazy. And maybe he is. He's an Uchiha, after all. An untalented little whelp and he knows it, even though he wants to change it. Nobody asks about his bruises when he displays them proudly, maybe wanting pity but probably just wanting to look masculine. Nobody notices when he trains harder and longer than the precious little prodigy Kakashi Hatake. Nobody notices Obito.

It annoys him. But he's grateful, in a way, because when everyone's watching Kakashi, there's always room for Obito to screw things up. He does it a lot, and figures maybe he should just be a wee bit grateful for the fact that Kakashi draws all the fire.

So, with all the sneaky casualness a ninja can manage, he follows Kakashi into the woods one day, curious and careless, and the next thing he knows he's been pinned to a tree and Kakashi's giving him that level-eyed, heavy-lidded look that spells out trouble, t-r-o-u-b-l-e just like that, see? And Obito's trying to think of an excuse but there ain't one good enough to deter that annoying glare.

"What are you doing?" Kakashi asks him, with a hint of that pretentious, holier-than-thou attitude.

Obito struggles, without result, and suddenly Kakashi lets him go and he can breathe again, and he's really got to learn that neat trick that the jerk did with his knuckles there because man, he really had no air at all. And he glares back. "None of your damned business!" He huffs. Sort of.

Kakashi folds his arms. "You're following me. You've been following me. For a long time. What do you want?"

Obito twitches, because he really had thought that maybe Kakashi hadn't noticed, which was foolish of him because Kakashi's got better eyes than any Uchiha, and then he's angry. They're teammates! They're supposed to be friends! Whatever they are, it certainly isn't friends. Not even rivals, because Obito doubts that Kakashi has ever looked far enough down to notice him.

I just…I just want you to acknowledge me.

Of course, he'd never tell him that.

"I wanted to catch you without your mask," he says, and it's not quite what he wanted to say, but there's not really any point in lying because Kakashi's eats that underneath the underneath rhetoric for breakfast and he can probably smell a lie a mile away, even with the mask.

Kakashi eyes him. Incredulously. And then snorts. "You're pathetic."

"Hey, man! That's not nice! I don't ever try to hide anything from you guys and it really sucks that you keep secrets like you do! Asshole!"

Kakashi's facial expressions are very subtle, and while Obito isn't really all that observant, years of having the same sort of cycle shoved down your throat is bound to make it familiar eventually. So when Kakashi's eyes narrow just so, and his hand twitches for his dagger just so, Obito's pretty sure it's time to run. Very fast.

He doesn't run. Instead, he plucks his goggles off his eyes and rubs at them 'cause the damned things are watering again and isn't that just peachy?

He can feel Kakashi's contempt. Yeah, so what, Obito thinks rebelliously. I ain't perfect, go ahead and laugh. Bastard.

Kakashi doesn't laugh. What he does do is punch Obito in the stomach, rather harder than was necessary, leaving him gasping and startled and rarin' for a fight of his own. "HEY!" he shouts, and he tries to punch back but before he knows it, Kakashi's already danced out of his reach.

He reaches up—ohshit, he's going for the dagger! and, rather deftly, he takes the mask off.

Obito gapes. Just a little.

Okay a lot.


Kakashi shrugs. Just shrugs, like he doesn't know why he did it either. And so Obito approaches him cautiously, like some weird animal in the wild, and Kakashi doesn't move. Watches him, though. It's amazing how him not having a mask seems to make him look more expressionless, but it's true. His eyes say everything, even when his head would rather tell them to shut the hell up. Like they're portals to some mysterious other realm or something whacky like that.

Obito almost thinks that's cool. Like maybe Kakashi Hatake has a weakness after all. It's not as good as finding out he's afraid of the dark, but it's something. Finding any chink in that shining armor is tantamount to…well, mastering (or maybe actually getting) his sharingan.

"Cool!" He makes an idiot of himself and knows it, by running around Kakashi in a concentrated little circle. The prodigy allows this, arms folded, mouth a thin line. And then Obito stops in front of him and pokes him square on the nose, not disfigured and ugly like Obito had theorized…and kinda hoped all this time, because wouldn't that be the perfect flaw…?

Kakashi wrinkles his nose and goes cross-eyed and sneezes.

Obito blinks.

"There's a reason I wear the mask, idiot," he says darkly, and then he pulls it back up and hooks it back wherever, and he's suddenly Kakashi again, not some strangely pale, vulnerable boy. Whew. It's almost a relief.

"Reason? Eh?" Obito can't help but ask. Even though he knows that Kakashi has just given him more information about him in a few minutes than he's had for years, but hey, why ruin a streak of good luck?

Kakashi frowns. It's just something in the way his eyes narrow just so. And then he sighs. Doesn't reach for his dagger, but sighs. Strange. This day is going down in Obito's record books as one of the weirdest days ever. And that's including the time Rin created a special jutsu that turned her into a boy, and went off to hit on another girl. Strange, strange girl. But, back to Kakashi. He's looking like he doesn't really want to answer. So just as Obito's about to wave it off, he speaks.


"Oh…" Obito scratches at his head, under the band for his goggles 'cause it itches sometimes. And then he grins. "Cool! Hey, I'll tell you a secret, too." He leans closer conspiratorially and grins. "I'm afraid of the dark!"

Kakashi's eye –the left one- ticks, and he punches him again. Not nearly as hard as he had the first time. And hell, he's smiling.

So Obito smiles too, and he starts to think that maybe Kakashi isn't such a bad guy after all.

"Just…uh, don't tell anybody."

Kakashi walks away laughing. Just so.