Persistance of Vision
Quite literally, Kakashi's always got somebody keeping an eye out for him.
Written for all my reviewers over the past few months since I started writing Naruto fanfiction. Thanks so much guys, you always make me happy, and sometimes you make me proud.
Thanks to: chibified kitsunes, Curlybear, princessares, crimson nightmare, Kunoichi, tournesol, ..., Sweet Anime Fan, MP1, Chevira Lowe, MommyRogers, cutemara, kimi no vanilla, springninja, Tomoe2, esther, Clemence, faith b, Kakashi's Girl, Pink Starz, Seventenks the Ultimate F, 0, SkySpade, DragonHeart52, Natsume, Kilerkki, alliedoll, Blue Tajiri, hirochan, Only Secret, Nezuko, Glorfindel Silverleaf, Kimara, Bite the hand that feeds, Aemkea, Anything, Queen Dopplepoppleous & Rurouni Gochan
You all rock.
Written in a few hours because my muse and me totally got rockin' on it.
Obito knew exactly what he was doing when he ran back to save Kakashi's life and got himself crushed by a rock. He also knew exactly what he was doing when he practically ordered Kakashi to take his Sharingan eye. It wasn't just that he couldn't bear the idea of the damn thing being lost so soon after it was gained, but it was the fact that Kakashi needed all the help he could get if he was going to survive this war. Obito could see it in his face, in the way that normally sleepy eye was painfully, brutally awake and aware of the fact that he was watching his best friend die in front of him.
Because even if they fought like a cat and dog, and even if they disagreed on everything (except, eventually, the fact that Rin was worth anything), they were still the person they spent the most time with. They were still the person they'd talked to most, fought for most and needed around most. Kakashi had thrown himself infront of a kunai to save his life and gotten his eye slashed out in return - you didn't do that for someone who didn't matter to you. Realizing that, Obito had watched him stubbornly not just refusing to cry or writhe in pain but refusing to bleed as he cast around in the treetops for that monstrous Rock assassin. Watched him muttering analysis and strategy while clutching his ruined eye and knew that, terrible as it was, he was looking at the best chance Konoha had of surviving this godawful war. Saw for the first time that Kakashi really was the weapon Konoha needed, not because he wanted to be or worked to be but because he was made to be and there was nothing he could do to save himself from it.
But maybe a friend could.
Right then he realized he was looking at someone he couldn't afford to ever lose -and all those things he'd said became real in that one instant when he turned on his heel and stabbed into the enemy's chest with eyes that could finally see what his heart had been telling him all along.
He was needed out here, to watch over Kakashi if nothing else, because he deserved to have someone tell him he was a human as well as a weapon.
Obito didn't want to take that away from Kakashi when he'd only just realized how important it was.
So he looked right into that wide, brutalized eye (it was amazing how much he could see with the Sharingan now, how much in those lazy black eyes wasn't anger but concern, how much wasn't superiority it was responsibility, how much wasn't invincibility it was vulnerability, and only now could he see how hard Kakashi worked to hide the truth) and he told him that this wasn't excess baggage and it was something he trusted Kakashi with because he was an amazing Jounin and he wanted to do something to make him even more amazing.
He told Kakashi that as his eye he'd be able to see the future, and the look of determination that settled in Kakashi's black eye at those words assured Obito for now and for forever it would get done.
Rin somehow found that amazing strength of hers and summoned the chakra and the skill to perform the operation. A part of Obito never left the last moment he looked up at her, saw her pretty face and her wonderful brown eyes and knew that this way, maybe, she'd be able to smile again because she had Kakashi with her. Obito knew Rin cared about Kakashi in a way she couldn't control, it was the same with him to her, and as he lay there dying he decided it was okay and that this was for the best. He loved the feeling of her hands around his - so glad it was the last thing he'd ever know - but forced her to let him go when Kakashi started calling her name.
Because Kakashi could protect Rin, and Obito knew he probably couldn't.
Because Rin could save Kakashi, and Obito didn't realize he just had.
Because Rin needed protecting and Kakashi needed saving and Obito loved both of them so it was okay that he needed losing.
But as Kakashi's eye Obito sees the future. He sees all the blood and the pain and the unwilling glory brought down on Kakashi's name. He sees Rin's dedication to every living soul save a hundred lives, he sees her brave, humble smile in the sunshine and the starlight and he knows he was right to love her. Finally he sees the day that Sensei is standing there having saved the village from the war and wearing a white, flame traced jacket that proclaims him the Fourth Generation Fire Shadow for everyone to see.
He sees Kakashi standing beside Rin that day, because Kakashi pushed his hitae-ite up so he could watch too. It was the day the war ended and Kakashi and Rin spent it together walking in circles around the training areas because they weren't sure what to do next. Obito was so happy he cried and shouted at them to go get ice-cream or see a movie or go swimming or do something normal and fun like they were always meant to, like he was always bugging them to when they were together. Kakashi kept wondering why his eye wouldn't stop watering. That night Rin and Kakashi and Sensei all sat out in the open, like they'd never been safe to before, staring up at the stars and thinking about him and Obito was right there beside them.
A year later Obito sees Sensei leave in a flare of light and glory and sacrifice just like him and the two of them watch sadly through Kakashi's painfully frayed eyes as he and Rin try to pick up the pieces and find, to their shock, that they maybe can. Maybe it hurts more than they think they can bear, but they can and if they're together they'll make it.
They watch in amazement as Kakashi falls in love; and maybe its not right, and maybe its doomed from the start, and maybe it hurts Obito to watch but he and Rin connect like they were meant for each other and for a time that turns out to be measurable in hours - they have the life together they always deserved.
Eventually, too soon, Rin's with them too. It wasn't Kakashi's fault she died and there was nothing he could have done to save her even if he'll still insist there was in his head. Obito and Sensei think its fitting, if not fair, that she sacrificed herself for the sake of innocent people- like she somehow remained until the very end. Even though she's crying for the fact that she and Kakashi are apart she holds Obito's hand and refuses to let him go this time and its okay because she doesn't need to let go nothing can hurt them anymore.
Except watching Kakashi collapse without her healing hands at his sides and blindly, stubbornly drag himself onward, repeating their names over and over in his head until some days he can't even remember his own. They all realize then just how fragile he is, how brittle and young and small -even as he was being sent to do work you need a heart of steel to see through to the end. And Kakashi starts to fall apart, starts to stumble and fall and lose himself but he never loses them.
He never loses them and he talks to them every day, more than he talks to anybody left alive in his life. He talks to Obito every morning at the memorial stone, he talks to Sensei every day when the bright sun's up high and he talks to Rin every night when the stars come out.
Everybody notices that Kakashi isn't right in the head (Obito wonders how they could honestly expect him to be and around about then realizes the incredible injury these expectations have done to Kakashi's life) and he refuses to take the medication they prescribe him. He can't look most people in the eye, he hasn't been out in daylight in years, he doesn't sleep until he passes out, he spends alot of his time shaking (not often outside, but always inside) and looking at things that aren't there when he isn't slaughtering or stealing with that unearthly grace and merciless talent of his. He also won't let anybody near him to heal his injuries because that was something Rin always did and his heart's too broken to deal with the fact that she can't be there anymore. People talk, like they talked about his father, and the things they say don't do much to Kakashi because he's too far gone away from himself, into being a silent, faceless, nothing of an ANBU, to listen.
Jiraiya sticks up for him though, when he's sure Kakashi won't notice, and tells them to leave the Hatake boy the hell alone unless they want a Legendary Sannin on their ass. He's not the only one; Gai hears someone mouthing off about his Eternal Rival's clearly disintegrating sanity and punches him in the head hard enough to knock him out for a week. Then he goes and pesters Kakashi for six weeks straight because he kinda knows they're right and it does Kakashi some good to be reminded there's someone still around who relies on him as a human being and not a mindless killing machine. Obito's glad Gai's around, especially when Kakashi doesn't have the energy or wit to escape his challenges and is forced into some decent human interaction time.
It's not much, but it's something and as Rin tells him, with Kakashi anything's something.
It's an ugly set of years, but it all breaks one day when Kakashi's seventeen and he's trying not to shake as he steps under the shower in ANBU HQ to get the blood off his ghostly pale skin. The whole time he can't stop shivering slightly and his eyes are focussed on something only he can see (not even Obito can see the things Kakashi sees when he shakes after missions and he feels guilty for being glad). Eventually the water runs clear off his shoulders so he blinks whatever he's seeing away and gets out.
Obito sees that, as per usual, everybody's avoiding him; because the Sharingan eye is a terrifying power and coupled with Kakashi's natural lethal grace there stands a scrap of human wreckage with the potential and swirling bloody-eyed promise to create mountains more. Obito feels a twist in his heart because that's not what he gave Kakashi his eye for, but at the time he didn't know all these things would happen, that he'd be left all alone, that he would spend most of his time with his chakra-chirping hand lodged in people's chests.
Kakashi's pulling his shirt back on when one of his fellow ANBU, some wiseass from the founding days of the unit, decides he's had enough of being terrified of a kid half his age and archily informs him he's gone just as crazy as his father and Obito waits for something horrible to happen.
But Kakashi seems to think about it for a little while, something untwists and brightens in his eye and he just smiles that broken, sideways smile of his and says one word.
And he shakes the water out his hair like a wet dog would, slings his katana and armour into a locker and resigns from ANBU the next day.
Obito's so proud of him Kakashi can feel his eye twinging for days after.
Things get better after that, and Kakashi starts to grow and doesn't shake inside or out anywhere near as badly as he used to. He goes out in the sunlight again and remembers times when he was actually content in the sunshine. He unwinds a little bit and its weird how much more goofy than Obito or even Sensei he is when he does. It makes Rin smile, and makes Sensei relieved, and makes Obito wish he'd known because there was plenty to tease Kakashi about and it hurts to realize after the fact that they were more alike than they knew.
Eventually Jiraiya leaves, and Kakashi misses him a little even though he doesn't let it show. Gai's still mercilessly omnipresent though, and is manfully heartened every day to see Kakashi walking around in the sunlight and doing things that are hip and modern even though they piss him off no end. In short order Kakashi has a new addition to his schedule: which now includes 'annoy Gai' in amongst 'missions', 'eat' and 'sleep'.
Kakashi recieves a book in the mail and it makes all three of them laugh like crazy when he gets totally addicted to the 'Icha Icha' series. They've got plans to tease him like crazy when he's with them again. Obito for one is going to thoroughly enjoy himself.
And things keep moving and get a little brighter and he still talks to them every morning and every day and every night but he doesn't only say 'I'm sorry', sometimes he says 'thank you' and sometimes he says 'I did this today...' And sometimes he just thinks about them; and even though he winces when he remembers how he was, he's slowly learning not to hate himself so much for it. He's slowly realizing that he couldn't help the way he was made and that what matters is what he's doing with himself now. Because his team gave him a choice and they gave him a chance.
He's still afraid though, afraid of letting people in incase he fails them, because even though he's only technically gotten Obito killed, Rin and Sensei and his father are all mixed in there too - just under Obito's name to make it simpler. He still goes out alone on most of his missions, and he still gets edgy in other people's company but he's very good at not letting it show and gradually he gets used to the idea that he can have a conversation with someone and not have death from on high crash down on their heads because of it.
As a result Asuma and Genma discover he has a completely obscure, yet thoroughly amusing, sense of humour, Kurenai decides he's an utter space-case of an idiot, and Anko figures he's an entirely worthy target of her decidedly dangerous practical jokes. Gai realizes exactly how aggrovatingly random and irritating his Eternal Rival knows how to be and nearly hospitalizes himself three times with high blood-pressure before Kakashi realizes he needs to tone it down a little. And the Academy teachers like Iruka, Suzume and Ebisu fear the day he actually winds up teaching some poor kids.
Obito watches all of this and figures its the best show on Earth. Even better is the fact that on his own, when he's going to sleep, Kakashi doesn't fret as much as he used to, and sometimes accepts help when its offered,and more and more these days he just closes his eyes and falls asleep like a normal person.
He's even started to sleep in.
One morning Obito sees three kids who are just as bratty as he ever was as Kakashi lets him take a peek from his hiding spot. They're in Training Area 3 and it looks like another crowd of brats have been assigned to Kakashi for him to fail. Obito realizes that the one thing that hasn't changed about Kakashi is his strictness, even if that strictness is being applied to different principles these days, and figures this is just another crop ready to be sent back for more training.
He sees a girl who's almost as cute as Rin (almost because nobody could ever be as cute as Rin, ever) chattering and stropping and yelling and laughing and flirting like Rin was never able to. He sees a boy he can't help but root for with a face alot like Sensei's and a heart alot like his who does stupid things and says even stupider ones (but sometimes he says what everybody needs to be told). And he sees a boy who doesn't say much of anything and can't control the malice and hatred cultivating in his heart (how can another Uchiha be so very unlike him?) but somehow still has a spark of decency fighting through.
He sees them fail so badly it sets his teeth on edge. And then he's amazed to see Kakashi give them a second chance - one he never had, one none of them ever had - and when he does everything starts to change.
Obito watches all of this and tells Rin and Sensei what he sees. It goes horribly wrong in some parts and amazingly right in others and Kakashi admittedly doesn't totally know what he's doing but he is trying his best. He's doing like he learned, like he suffered to discover. He's taking the hits for these kids like Sensei did for them; he's trying to protect them from themselves like Rin always did for him; and he's trying to encourage them to be who they are like Obito's life still does for him; and little by little all those breaks and pains and bloody nightmares his own team had rained down on their heads are justified a little.
Because Team 7 are going through hell and high water but they are going to make it.
And they'll change the world when they do.
Kakashi still comes to the memorial and he still talks to them morning, day and night and its not always good news he brings. But he's found some good companions in these kids, people he can care about and people he'll dare to think he can protect. He'll dare because he's never allowed himself to forget or forgive the things he and his team went through and even if the fact hurts him it's going to save those three kids.
He puts Sensei and Rin and especially Obito in his teaching every day, and sometimes he can see them in the things Team 7 does and says and stands for.
Once he saw Obito in Sakura's strident insistence that they just be human as she bopped Naruto on the head, flirted with Sasuke and yelled at him in the space of the same sentence.
Once he saw Sensei in Naruto's understanding of what has to be done as he agreed to kill Haku on Tazuna's bridge.
Once he saw Rin in the way quiet concern had Sasuke encourage Sakura about her genjutsu abilities.
And more than once he's seen himself say the right thing, teach the best lesson, make everything okay, and be a person they look up to and care about. An obscure, slightly cocky, genius with a dodgy sense of humour and the loyalty of a stubborn dog.
Kakashi can see himself that way with them, and he's realizing that this is who he was meant to be.
So watching him all the time, watching out for him even if there's not much he should be able to do, Obito sees the future through Kakashi's eyes and figures that not only was it definitely worth the fight; but he's not really as dead as all that because he can see himself in so much of what Kakashi tries to do.
Obito's sees the future, and smiles.
Let me know what you think.