A few notes – italicized parts are either inner dialogue/feelings or thoughts/feelings from the past that are not in Kakashi Gaiden.
Rin had woken before first light.
She lay on the bed, exhausted, but not tired. Just...drained.
Rin had woken up like this since...since the end of that mission, the battle at Kanabi Bridge.
She sighed, and rolled out of bed. The small rowhouse was quiet, so there was no need for her to tiptoe to the bathroom. Her parents were out on missions, probably servicing the med tents along the battle lines.
Not usually such an early riser, Rin felt weak down to her bones. The whole mission had completely drained all the energy right out of her. Their sensei had requested that his team be given a few days off from training, and both she and Kakashi didn't object. Although she was sure Kakashi did training on his own anyway, she hadn't and it was showing already. Apparently, because of what had happened, the team was also excused from taking anything higher than D ranked missions for about a month.
I'm getting weak, slow...can't let this get to me.
After washing up, she went to the fridge and took the bouquet of flowers she had gotten from the flower shop yesterday evening. It had become her daily ritual now since Obito's funeral, to go there and get the fresh batch. Putting them in the fridge kept them relatively fresh for the next morning.
Her stomach growled a little and she sighed. She hadn't had the appetite to eat, but she intended to train this afternoon with Sensei and Kakashi. The plan to maybe get a bowl of ramen so Kakashi wouldn't destroy her during training sounded like a good idea. Funny how she thought that. Rin probably couldn't beat Kakashi even if he was sparring with her with two broken arms.
Kakashi left his small apartment and began to walk slowly to the Shinobi Memorial. He usually left later after the sun came up, but today he couldn't sleep. Plus he was a bit hungry, so he planned to grab something quick to eat before he and Rin met up with their sensei.
He flexed his injured shoulder. Almost as good as new. Rin, as usual, was able to make him whole again. But he had obeyed Rin's order for a few days of rest, and hadn't done anything since the mission ended. Kakashi felt...lazy and unmotivated. It would most likely show at training today. Ahh, well.
Kakashi felt strange over this feeling of ...apathy. Well, not quite apathy, but...normally he'd be serious about training, and nothing could deviate him from his strict routine.
Rin decided to stretch a bit before heading out. That way she'd be at least starting to warm up before she met with Sensei.
She walked briskly in the direction of the memorial. It was cloudy, foggy, and the air was humid. The day promised to be another sauna. She had memorized the way to the meeting place, so even though it was dark, she knew the route well. The clouds made it darker than it usually was at dawn.
As she approached the Memorial, she noticed someone was already there. The fog was still thick in the forest, and she slowed her walk considerably to avoid startling the person there.
Rin crept towards the monument, squinting to see if she knew who it was that came earlier than her. Frankly, she was a bit miffed, as she purposely came this early just so she could ensure she would be alone.
Her eyes widened when she saw the unmistakable crop of silver hair, and she froze.
Kakashi was kneeling, almost immobile. Usually sharp in detecting her presence, he didn't make any motions indicating he was even conscious of his surroundings.
Of course he'd be here.
Rin closed her eyes. Being with the team for about 4 years, she had become very attuned to the boys she worked with. Often Sensei went to her for a psychological evaluation of the team. Rin could tell when to not approach Kakashi, when Obito was actually serious, when Kakashi was pleased, or when Obito was troubled. She just knew.
In closing her eyes, Rin was able to determine why Kakashi was as still as a statue. He was reliving the moments of his supposed 'mistake,' and Obito's moment of truth...
"...Kakashi, come over here...we need to start this quickly!"
Rin had wiped her tears, but her eyes were wide with adrenaline. She had her medic bag out now, open and ready. The chakra was already forming in her able hands.
Kakashi looked away, hesitant. Shamed. But Obito spoke with a clear, decisive voice. He was at peace.
"...I'm already... going to die...but...I'll become your eye...and from now on, I'll be able to see the future."
Rin waited with anticipation, and waited for Kakashi to decide the depth of his friendship with Uchiha Obito. Obito took one last look at his friends.
Kakashi closed his remaining eye. When he finally reopened it moments later, it was with new resolve. He scooted closer to Rin as she got up from her haunches and witnessed as the two boys, at the end of their childhood, became one on the battlefield.
After it was done, Kakashi stood up and jumped up into the clearing of rocks above. Rin had taken Obito's hand and tried her best to comfort him in his last moments.
"Kakashi." Obito's voice was less clear now, less steady. He was slipping away. "Take care of Rin."
The stone nins were closing in, their rushes audible even to the now blind Obito.
Kakashi gripped his short sword with determination. "Right."
Suddenly he attacked.
His sword snapped with the force of the spin of the stone nin's wrist daggers.
Kakashi instantly formed the hand seals for the chidori and went all out against the larger man. The squealing of the '1000 birds' was deafening in the small cave and the intense chakra light glared in the shadows where Rin and Obito lay in wait.
A few seconds passed, then a loud thud. With the chidori no longer ignited, the cave and surroundings were eerily quiet. Rin gripped Obito's hand tighter in fear. Who..?
A man's face appeared at the mouth of the cave. Her whole body became rigid with fear.
It's not Kakashi! Oh God...!
Rin's hand still gripped Obito's tighter, her knuckles white with tension. Obito managed a small smile.
The man's face disappeared, and slowly, Kakashi's young figure appeared, panting. He got him!
Obito's smile faded as he listened for any more approaching enemies.
"Kakashi...take...take Rin...hurry...get out of here...the...enemy's reinforcements...are coming...for sure..."
Kakashi said nothing, only gazed at his fallen friend. By now, Rin had stood up, but still held Obito's hand.
Her face showed that she was emotionally torn. He doesn't deserve to die, not now...
Even blind, Obito could almost see Rin's pain at the implied conclusion of his request to Kakashi. He withdrew his hand quickly.
It was now Rin's turn to be speechless as she looked at Obito's crumpled body. Sobs were close to breaking free from her. She was trying to remember what he looked like before. She didn't want to remember him...like...like this.
Kakashi scooted close to the cave's entrance and reached down, calling for her.
She was still looking at Obito, unwilling to leave her friend. At the sound of her name, she jerked back into reality and looked up. Seeing Kakashi's outstretched hand, she hesitated. The realization of the finality of Obito's gesture hit her.
Obito, their teammate, no, their best friend...was going to die...alone.
Kakashi suddenly felt the presence of many ninjas nearby. No...
"Doton retsudo tenshou!" (Earth Release! Splitting Earth Force!)
The earth immediately began to shake violently. As if replaying the horrific scene from earlier, the large rocks surrounding the young team began to give way.
Shit! Kakashi was starting to panic. If we don't get out of here...
"Rin! Hurry, grab on!" His voice, normally calm and collected, was now uncharacteristically tight and urgent. This was it.
Rin was breathing fast now. She had to let go. Obito...why! We don't want to leave you...please...forgive us! Forgive Kakashi! Forgive...me!
The boulders were crashing down. Obito suddenly felt a wave of panic rush inside him. Rin!
The pain from the new weight of the rocks falling was excruciating. She was leaving him. She had to leave. But suddenly he wanted the feeling of Kakashi's calming air near...and ... Rin's warmth beside him. Oh Rin!
His cry for her tore Rin's heart. She looked back at him one last time, tears falling unbidden down her dirt-stained cheeks. She bit her lip to keep back the choking sobs.
Finally she grabbed onto Kakashi's outstretched hand and arm. The rumbling of the falling rocks was deafening. Explosions ripped through the space that was slowly filling up with stone, obscuring their view of their dying friend.
Rin cried out.
Rin blinked her eyes, ending the flashback. She wanted to forget, but then she didn't want to forget. It was burned into her memory. She looked at Kakashi and was sure he was most likely reliving the same splash of time she had just recalled. Will we be stuck with this feeling forever? The weight is almost suffocating.
She continued to walk towards Kakashi. Rin had thought about approaching with a bit of stealth, but it was obvious that Kakashi was so totally absorbed in his thoughts that it didn't matter. She was right behind him when she stopped, waiting for him to finish his vigil.
Kakashi stared at the memorial with the newly carved name of the hero of Konoha.
He had knelt there for a while, as if time was of no meaning. Suddenly, he clutched his chest, and the choking sobs shook him. The weight of the loss overwhelmed him, and he bowed his head to the ground, covering his new Sharingan eye with his left hand and grasping the grass on the ground with his right. He said nothing, but his shoulders shook as grief overcame him. He didn't even cry at the funeral service for his father, but he cried for Obito. His tears fell freely onto the grass, mingling with the fresh morning dew.
Why? Why do I feel this way? He annoyed me when he was alive...he dragged our team down...and yet he sacrificed his life for us? I don't understand...
He hadn't realized he had said anything out loud until a voice behind him startled him out of his grief for a moment.
"There's nothing to understand."
Rin stood there, cradling a small bouquet of flowers. Ah. So it was she who brought them everyday. He had wondered who had beaten him to the memorial every morning before dawn to place fresh flowers at the base of the stone. He thought it was for Obito, and now he was sure.
Kakashi slowly sat up on his haunches. He made no attempt to wipe his tears. If there was anyone who felt as much grief as he did, it was Rin. He had nothing to hide from her, but for her sake, he closed his eyes and took a deep breath to try to regain his composure.
Coming over slowly, she knelt down beside him. She placed the bouquet reverently at the base of the memorial and he watched her as she carefully prepared the josticks. Lighting one for Kakashi, she lit one for herself as well. When Kakashi took the jostick from Rin, she noticed that he was no longer visibly upset. The only conspicuous sign Rin could discern was the condition of his eyes. They were tired, swollen, and red from his tears.
After they prayed silently, they both bowed and offered the slow-burning sticks to their fallen friend.
Finally, Rin slowly stood up. Kakashi followed.
"Where are you heading?" he asked quietly. Seemingly surprised, Rin glanced sideways at him.
He hadn't spoken to her since Obito's funeral. He had met up with her in the family procession, and gave her a tight hug. To Rin, it felt like he needed it more than she did. Kakashi...are you alright?
Rin managed a small smile. "I'm probably going to get something to eat. My parents are out on missions, so they didn't leave much food in the fridge." Both Rin's parents were med-nins. For a girl her age, she received very good practice from her parents, and was very talented in her field. Aside from that, her other ninja skills were above average.
"Would you mind a companion?"
Rin's eyebrows rose a little. Kakashi had never spent any time with anyone outside of missions. She really was concerned.
"No, I mean, yes...I'd like a companion."
Rin had finished her bowl of ramen only a few minutes after Kakashi. Seemed like both hadn't eaten in a few days and it caught up with them.
She looked at Kakashi's unmasked face as he was wiping his mouth with a napkin. She thought back to their lack of conversation on the walk to the ramen stand and during the meal. It never really bothered her that he was reticent, as he was always a quiet, abrupt sort of boy. But she always wanted to know what he, the genius ninja of almost fourteen, thought about. Rin knew what the fellow chuunins and genins talked about - girls if you were a boy, and boys if you were a girl. But Kakashi never seemed to take any interest in girls, or anything, for that matter. Well, except for training and studying complicated jutsus. Rin's friends were always teasing her about being on his team and how lucky she was. She, of course, liked the aloof, distant boy in a nurturing, admiring way, and was one of the very, very few that got to see his face. Rin didn't realize that the feelings she harbored for him were of love until...
"This isn't a deep wound, Rin, there's no need...argh.." Kakashi grasped Rin's arm tightly in reaction to her careful examination of his wounded forearm.
"Yeah, Rin, he doesn't need any attention." Obito was standing off to the side, holding his left hand, which had sustained a minor kunai wound. If Rin could say so, it looked like Obito was pouting. "I'm bleeding here too, you know."
He quietly acknowledged that his wound was bloody, but not deep and wasn't as serious as Kakashi's, but he wasn't going to say that out loud. He took off his goggles, revealing his surprisingly discerning Uchiha features: their refined physical features, distinct dark eyes, raven black hair, and pale skin. If he wasn't so noisy and obnoxious, Rin would say he was an attractive boy.
"Don't worry, Obito, I'll get to you as soon as I take care of Kakashi. This will be most troublesome if it got infected."
"Yours is probably smaller than a papercut," Kakashi muttered through gritted teeth as Rin applied chakra to yet another wound. It was almost a habit now.
Rin was gritting her teeth too. Although Rin's chakra control was very, very good, Kakashi's many wounds always seem to tire her. It was a hot and humid day as well, and Rin felt sweat beads forming and beginning to sting her eyes.
A hand grazed her brow. What..?
She opened her non-stinging eye and saw Kakashi had reached out and wiped the sweat from her eyebrow. His eyes were heavy-lidded from the pain and exhaustion, but he had seen Rin's exertion and tried to comfort her. Their eyes connected for a few seconds, and she saw him release some tension from the rest of his body. His expression moved her. No one ever showed appreciation like that to her before.
Obito watched the moment in silence, then turned to slowly walk away. Sensei was watching as well, and noticed the dynamics of the trio in that moment. It was obvious he suddenly realized the raw chemistry the three had developed. He'd forgotten that they were not preadolescents any longer, but young adults with unexplored feelings and...hormones.
Kakashi must have noticed Obito's unexpected reaction and Sensei's curious gaze, because he slowly withdrew his hand, and the moment was over. Rin blinked. She had finished the chakra session and began to dress his wound.
"I need to redress this every morning and every night for about 3 nights, to keep infection at bay. Try not to overdo it, or the wound will reopen. Yes?"
Rin gave his forearm a pat of reassurance. Kakashi reached for his shirt and gingerly put it on.
"Thank you, Rin." His head, with the shock of silver hair, pushed through the collar. He looked at her as he rotated his arms to check his mobility.
She smiled a smile that reached her eyes. "You're welcome, Kakashi." Opening her eyes again, she looked for Obito.
"Obito! It's your turn!"
Obito didn't move from where he stood with his hands stuffed in his pockets.
"It's ok, Rin. I'm fine, really."
"Are you sure? Let me have a quick look..."
"No, really." He turned around now, and managed a smile. "You're exhausted. I didn't realize...that it took so much out of you." He pulled his left hand out of his pocket and presented the bandaged hand. "See? I did it myself - "
Rin saw that the blood had soaked through the thin layers of gauze. Obito's mouth hung in midair as his eyes started to water inside his goggles.
"My hand!" he cried, as he fell onto his bottom. Rin hurried over and fawned over him guiltily. Kakashi sighed and rolled his eyes.
"Obito, you should have said something! Here, let me do something for the pain..."
Sensei choked out a small laugh at the commotion, and began to make preparations for camp.
Rin had thought of that scene many times since then. She had to admit...that was the moment she started to have ...feelings...for Kakashi, and noticed that Obito had feelings for her.
It was strange, because Kakashi never displayed anything remotely close to that gesture again. And Obito never really outwardly showed his feelings for her. Maybe there were little things, like pushing the door open for her first, or letting her walk in front of him. But Kakashi did those things too if they were out casually and not on a mission. She just assumed that's what boys and men do for girls.
Rin broke out of her thoughts and looked at Kakashi again as he turned to reach into his pockets for money to pay for the meal. He still hadn't put his mask back on.
His face still had remnants of boyishness, but his gaze started to take on the appearance of maturity. His eyes were always heavy-lidded and deceptively gave an air of indifference when in fact he was very sharp and alert. The rest of his features were refined and almost delicate, if it weren't for the shock of silver hair that tended to clash with his quiet attractiveness. But Kakashi avoided affectation and kept that mask over his face to ensure it. She saw him place the money on the counter.
Rin then remembered she had a meal to pay for as well, and looked into her small bag for payment.
Kakashi reached over and lightly held her arm. By the time she looked up, he had put the mask back over his face. She frowned a little. What a shame...
"Rin, this will be my treat today."
"Eh? What's the occasion?"
They started to walk down the street. Rin remembered they had to meet with Sensei in about half an hour.
Kakashi simply looked at Rin in response. And Rin looked back at him, waiting.
But still, he said nothing. Instead, he steadily kept his gaze on her as they walked.
Rin obliged and returned his gaze, allowing her lips to curl slightly upwards in gratitude.
I wasn't too sure of Kakashi's age...I figured he was 12 in the gaiden, and I have him and the others as 14. Ah well. I look at 12-yr olds today and it's too hard to see them being so mature.
Many thanks to Leafygirl and Eris' Puppet for their critiques and review! Couldn't have done it without ya'll!