1. A Partridge in a Pear Tree (Jealousy and Rage)

Re-experiencing

"Kakashi!" Rin's shout rings through the rumble of the rocks, and Obito stops running and turns. Kakashi's fallen, probably unused to the loss of depth perception. For a split-second, Obito hesitates, waiting for Kakashi to get up. After all, if Kakashi's such a good ninja he can save himself, can't he?

Then Obito sees the rock above Kakashi come loose from the shaking. His brain has time to scream that Kakashi won't be able to get out in time, and as Obito finds himself running forward to help Kakashi up. But Obito's too slow, and the rock comes down heavily on Kakashi, trapping him. Crushing him. There's a roaringscreaming in his mind then, dimly; he sees Rin's mouth open in an O.

How could Kakashi get injured like that? This is a cave-in, not an intense battle against enemy-nin, and Rin is screaming, because Kakashi is hurt and bleeding and coughing and dying. Dimly, something says that Obito just as good as killed Kakashi- if he had been faster, if he hadn't frozen, if he hadn't been useless and grabbed Kakashi to move him out of the way-

the world goes crystal clear as Rin runs and kneels (moving oh so slowly, thanks to his Sharingan) beside Kakashi and her hands are shaking and glowing with chakra and she can't do anything-

Obito unfreezes, and runs forward to try to push the rock off Kakashi, but he's not strong enough, and he's as helpless as Rin, whose tears stream down her face, because she loves Kakashi, the way Obito loves her, and Obito can't do anything-

(It's Obito's fault for hesitating, because now Kakashi's dying dying dead.)

Obito knows rage, like when Kakashi refused to save Rin, but this is different. This is grief and guilt and it burns in his veins, sends him running out to kill the man outside, makes him bring the dead body to show Kakashi, but Kakashi is dying. Obito sees the world in too many colours; knows his Sharingan is still activated, knows every detail will be burned into his memory: Kakashi's coughs, all soft voice and blood and disdain, even through the pain-

(The way Kakashi's chakra pathways are flickering and dimming, and ohgod if he hadn't hesitated Kakashi wouldn't be trapped under that rock, and it's all Obito's fault he's dying-)

His Sharingan warps, twists, and the world slows some more, but Obito hardly cares, too busy listening to Kakashi, begging him to stay alive...

When Rin and Obito emerge, there're more enemy-nin, and Obito kills and kills (and it doesn't bother him that he's killing them just by looking at them, that they are screaming and twitching) because Kakashi's dead.

How could Kakashi, the best shinobi of his generation, Kakashi, the most likely to survive the third shinobi war with his genius-

(Kakashi who pretends not to care not to feel who has so much potential who-)

How could Kakashi-

die?

(Because Obito didn't save him like a good teammate, because Obito hesitated, because of Obito-)

When Sensei comes, there's only Obito and Rin left, andKakashi dead dead dead, and the scattered bodies of the Stone-nin, but their death is not enough to replace Kakashi.

Isn't even enough to make a good Jounin advancement present for Kakashi. Bodies are only useless baggage anyway.

(Sensei has to pull him away and slap him to get Obito to stop stabbing the bodies, and Rin is still crying because Kakashi is dead because of the stone-nin-)

But Obito killed Kakashi, didn't he? With his hesitation? If Obito hadn't hesitated...

It's not enough of a jounin advancement present when he completes the mission and destroys the bridge, because he can only see Kakashi, eyes closed in death, white hair bloodstained.


2. Turtle Doves (Friendship and Love)

Emotional Numbing

Obito survives the third shinobi war, like Kakashi would have if he hadn't persuaded Kakashi to go along, wouldn't have died if Obito hadn't asked him to, and if he becomes a little like Kakashi (always on time, colder, humourless) then there's nothing to be said about it, nothing to be done about it.

(He was too slow once. He won't be slow again.)

If he becomes bitter, really, it's nothing.

Rin and Sensei send him worried looks when he leaves straight after the memorial service, but Obito can only think of training to get better, and there's nothing to be achieved by hanging around the memorial. Kakashi's gone. He's not coming back.

(He refuses to go to the memorial stone, because that would mean acknowledging that he misses him, that he is dead and gone, and if he clings a little fiercer to Rin and Sensei, even when Sensei becomes Hokage, it means nothing.)

Sometimes he wonders what he would do if Rin had died instead.

Sometimes he wonders what he would feel if Rin had died instead.

(Why hadn't Rin run forward?

Maybe she killed Kakashi too.

But that's not fair, because how could Rin be expected to know what to do? It's Obito's fault, and he's trying to pass it onto Rin.

Obito's too much of a loser to take responsibility.)

Sometimes he wishes he had died instead. Then Rin wouldn't be broken, Kakashi would be alive, and Rin could love Kakashi-

And he doesn't love Rin, because she's Kakashi's. He'll look after her for Kakashi. He doesn't care for her now, really.

He doesn't care for anything now.

Rin and Sensei try to involve him in various activities, but all Obito can think of is training, because to laugh, to do anything but train, seems sacrilegious after Kakashi's sacrifice, after Kakashi's lesson, after Kakashi-

(don't think it. It means nothing.)

He distances himself from Rin sometimes, because Rin's heart was Kakashi's, and how could Obito have thought to intrude?

Rin would make a good jounin advancement present, anyway.

(Then again, she might not.)


3. French Hens (Resurrection and Devotion)

Avoidance

He never uses the Sharingan again, because Kakashi survived without the Sharingan, didn't he? He was great without the Sharingan. Obito can be great without the Sharingan.

Obito will be great without the Sharingan.

(Imagine how great Kakashi would have been with the Sharingan.)

He's only living in Kakashi's memory after all. (He never did give him a jounin advancement present. Maybe his life will do?)

He's not worthy of being an Uchiha. The Uchiha were supposed to be a group of elites, and Kakashi surpassed an Uchiha. Obito was only a loser. Kakashi was a great Jounin, and he didn't become one with a Sharingan.

(And when he looks in the mirror and activates it, the pin wheel, it only reminds him that Kakashi is dead and gone and-

Obito's a failure.)

It means nothing when he is disowned (for not having the Sharingan, or for not using the Sharingan, he stops caring at this point). He simply takes Kakashi's name for his. Hatake Obito. Sounds better than Uchiha Obito, ne, Kakashi?

(If he dons a mask, it is no one's business. Not Rin's. Not Sensei's.)

Then Rin goes, and Sensei goes, Sensei gone and dead by the Kyuubi, but Obito can't bear to face the reality. He's alone again. Can't bear to remind himself that he failed Sensei and Rin, didn't manage to protect them. Can't bear to remember how he's always been too weak, that Kakashi would have found a way to protect them, would have found a way to survive-

(You are alone.)

He throws himself into the missions, killing and killing until it's hard to remember how not to kill and every kill hammers in how much he is alone (and the rest are gone). He takes extended missions- missions that last half-years, years, and grows distant and cold to those that knew him (Kakashi was distant and cold).

He doesn't care. (He hasn't cared for years.)

Take a mission. Complete a mission. Take a new one.

He's alone. There's no Rin to look after him, to fuss over him, no Sensei to comfort him, and he becomes just another ANBU, nameless and faceless. Everyone (even the Uchiha) forget about a (boy) shinobi once named Uchiha Obito, and it suits him. When his team goes out for drinks and conversation, he always declines, doesn't bother to forge bonds, because bonds are weak weak weak, and will weaken a person, and will only lead to loss and more loss and hurt and grief and anguish-

There's no one he wants nor needs.

After all, Kakashi was alone, and he was the best of his generation, wasn't he?

(His teams have the highest mortality rate in ANBU, but every mission is successful, no matter its rank, and Kakashi was always a solo agent, anyway.

Teamwork is overrated. Didn't Kakashi prove that? Kakashi would be alive if he hadn't believed that teamwork was worth something.

You're better off alone.

There's no team left for him anyway.)

Obito will never be as good as Kakashi. Kakashi should have survived, would have known what to do, would be great-

Kakashi wouldn't have hesitated.

Take a mission. Complete a mission. Take a new one.

There's an infiltration mission in Stone, and Obito takes it, if only to get away from the worried gazes the Sandaime sends him. (Obito's mental state is no one's business.) He's not very well known as a ninja despite being one of Konoha's best operatives (only because he's left every enemy-nin dead, and dark hair and dark eyes are so common, not like Kakashi's white hair, pale even when darkened with blood)-

(and because when they ask his name, he says Hatake Kakashi, because his life is Kakashi's-)

Kakashi would be well-known. It was his nature, even though he didn't wish for fame. Even before he met Obito he was well known-

(and if he's bleached his hair white, it's none of their business-)

When he comes back, mission successful (like every mission he's taken so far), Stone destabilised, assassination complete, the Uchiha are gone.

(It doesn't hurt. It doesn't concern Kakashi anyway. He's a Hatake, after all.)

The Sandaime tells him that there's still an Uchiha alive, that he has a cousin, and Obito wonders what that has to do with him. Kakashi's father died, didn't he? And did Kakashi care?

Kakashi was alone.

(Bonds make you weak. Kakashi was alone and was the strongest of his generation. Until he became sentimental.)

He refuses to care for the kid, and snatches the next mission, and the next, and the next, until they all blur together in a haze of killingdeathdestruction-

Take a mission. Complete a mission. Take a new one.

(He gives his life to Kakashi.)


4. Colly Birds (The transition of the spirit)

Hyperarousal

He's forgotten how long he's been in the ANBU, only that he's one of the longest serving operatives, past the age where most retire or die. Often, the two go together.

He ignores the looks he's given in the ANBU hallways. Few know his real name, and his aloofness makes him a mystery, deepened only by his behaviour: always silent, always impersonal, a stickler for the rules and timekeeping, the most successful ANBU.

(So what? It means nothing.)

Take a mission. Complete a mission. Take a new one.

(He stands out, with his white white hair, normally bloodstained from the most recent mission because there's no Rin to force him to wash it out, no Obito to tell him how terrible it looks, no Sensei to force him to relax a little, no Kakashi to make a snarky comment...)

Some days he wakes up, and isn't sure who died in the cave: Obito or Kakashi.

Some days he thinks it was neither, because he's living for both of them.

Some days he thinks it was both.

(He would much rather Kakashi be alive, and some days, he wakes up convinced Kakashi is alive, because he's wished so badly for it. Then he knows that little-boy Obito is the one who lived, because what kind of idiot wishes?

Obito never learns, does he?)

He ignores the whispers that he can cast an unbreakable genjutsu by just looking at someone, because it doesn't matter to him.

Maybe it's true. But he avoids doing it, except when there's no other choice, because as much as his life isn't his own, he still has to kill enough for Kakashi's legacy. He can't let Kakashi die. The name Hatake is feared in ninja circles nowadays, as is deserved. Sometimes, he hears it linked to Obito, and it makes something burn in his chest. Why should weak weak weak Obito be linked to Kakashi?

Nowadays his vision is slightly blurred without the Sharingan, and he thinks it is from all the unshed tears.

(He won't use the Sharingan unless he can't avoid it. Kakashi survived without the Sharingan, didn't he?)

Take a mission. Complete a mission. Take a new one.

He can't remember what he's fighting for, the memory of Kakashi, calm and humourless, who would be great (who is great, whose name is feared among the the other villages, despite being dead dead dead for over a decade), or Sensei, equally calm and perceptive (who has had flee-on-sight orders on him, as dead as Kakashi), or Rin, sweet and friendly (gone), or Obito, carefree and cheerful (also gone). Maybe he's fighting for all. Maybe he's fighting for neither.

Maybe he's fighting because he doesn't know what else to do.

(Sometimes he thinks he's fighting for the adrenaline rush, because he's tense all the time, and it's only on missions that he can sleep.)

Take a mission. Complete a mission. Take a new one.

Obito dreams, like he does every night, of that moment, and his mind circles back to the fateful day, every second remembered in vivid colour:

"Kakashi!" Rin shouts, and-

-Obito blinks, and this time there is no hesitation: his body is moving before he can register the movement (too slow, too slow) as he picks and throws Kakashi out of the way. The rock falls, and crushes him, and it hurts hurts hurts, but it's nothing compared to the years pain, nothing compared to the guilt and the grief.

Nothing to the bitterness.

(Mental pain outweighs any form of physical pain.)

His mind screams that this is impossible, but another part says yes, yes, you do get a second chance, and wishes come true, and his lips are moving, and the regrets (magnified by the years, despite the years) are spilling out.

(Sometimes, he wishes he had died instead.)

"I was the only one who didn't give you a present for becoming a Jounin, Kakashi."

Kakashi will become great, and Obito will watch him.

Imagine how great Kakashi will be with the Sharingan.


Notes:

Written for the fourth day of Christmas, based on the song "The Twelve Days of Christmas".

Calling birds came from the term "Colly birds", which meant "black birds", meaning 'crows'.

Based on the symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

I was afraid that it might have been a bit too confusing, but I hope you liked this! (Hint, review, hint.)

Written by terrorofthehighway.