Title: Obito's Legacy, Chapter Eleven: Rin
Warning: AU, angst, language, PTSD, post rape/abuse/child endangerment, slash/het relationships.
Disclaimer: We don't own Naruto or Harry Potter, JK Rowling and Masashi Kishimoto own them. We are not making any money from this fan fiction.
Notes: We haven't abandoned this. We probably never will, seeing as we have fifty million idea's for OL (and we may or may not have several thousand words in story format that occur in the future about ten years from now...).
Everyone has fallen silent, and Rin observes a slightly sniffling Hiri in her teammates arms. Kakashi is stroking his back very gently as Seijun watches them with sorrowful eyes. Rin doesn't really know what to say, how to add to the comfort Kakashi is providing for Hiri, and that kind of hurts. She doesn't want to be on the outside.
With that thought in mind, she walks across the floor and crouches by Kakashi. Hiri turns his head to look at her and Rin smiles at him. The boy is so strong it makes her feel a little weak. She doesn't know how a toddler, how such a young child with such a horrible past, can be this strong. She's seen shinobi with less inner strength than this boy.
"Hiri-kun," she murmurs, "Are you alright?"
Hiri sniffles a little, but his eyes are no longer leaking tears and he nods into Kakashi's chest. Rin isn't sure she believes that he's being truthful, but the lack of tears counts for something.
"Perhaps we should wrap it up for today?" she hears Minato say lightly, and she feels the two couples stiffen behind her. Rin can't even imagine how hard it must be to be denied taking their newly found grandson home, knowing he'll never live with them.
"Obaa-samas and Oji-samas are leaving?" Hiri asks, squirming a little in Kakashi's grasp. Her teammate reluctantly lets him go, putting him to the floor with a stabilizing hand to his back. Hiri looks up at his grandparents, at Seijun especially, and frowns a little. Rin wonders at the pain she sees in Kakashi's eyes, at how possessive he is of the boy, and knows that will need to be dealt with. Because it's not healthy to be so attached to a person that you can't share them with others.
"Only for now, Hiri-kun," Seijun smiles down at them, but Rin can see how hard won that smile is.
"Okay," Hiri smiles back at his grandfather and escapes Kakashi's hands to hug Seijun's legs tightly. Seijun's broken smile gets a little easier to look at and Rin feels pretty happy that they've managed to help Hiri enough that he's touching people he doesn't know well on his own.
Jiyuuri, Natari, and Hiro all get to their knees and Hiri - almost - gleefully hugs them all. Jiyuuri goes to kiss his cheek during their hug and Minato clears his throat loudly, making her pause and look up at him. Rin's sensei subtly shakes his head at the brunette woman and Jiyuuri flicks her fingers in ANBU code to tell her Hokage that she understands.
Rin wonders when a sensei at the academy would ever have time to learn ANBU hand signals.
Maybe Jiyuuri was ANBU when she'd been younger. Or maybe she'd worked with ANBU, but not been a part of it. It doesn't happen often, attaching regular shinobi to the Black Ops, but it does happen. Either way, it's not something to ask about in the open - or at all - but Rin is sure she's not the only one who noticed the exchange.
She sneaks a glance at Kakashi, who is staring at the Uchiha woman thoughtfully. She wonders if the fact that one of Hiri's grandparents may be ANBU is upsetting or reassuring to Kakashi, and hopes for the latter. It would be good if Kakashi could learn to trust the people he will be sharing Obito's son with.
"We will see you later, Hiri-kun," Natari murmurs lazily, tapping the tip of Hiri's nose with a fingertip before she rises. Hiri follows her ascent with big eyes, nodding eagerly before yawning widely.
"And you should probably get some sleep," Hiro adds, a trickle of laughter in his voice that has the air in the room growing less tense. Rin frowns though, because here again is the evidence that something is wrong with the child. Hiri shouldn't be tired yet. He hasn't been up for that long.
She tries very hard not to show any outward signs of her concern when Hiri yawns again, rubbing at his eyes with closed fists as he toddles back to Kakashi and snuggles back into the teenager's chest. If she shows even a hint of worry, Kakashi will pick up on it, and she doesn't want that. So she smiles widely at the boy, nodding, and then Kakashi wraps his arms around Hiri, shifting him in his embrace before standing up.
"Yes, lets go get some sleep, shall we?" she says, and she feels Minato's eyes bore into her. Perhaps her words were a tad too bright.
Hiri just nods with her, smiling and Rin can feel her heart clench. Her tests have shown nothing is wrong with Hiri; that the little boy is completely healed. Other than the fact that he's poisonous.
Not poisoned, but poisonous.
As the team makes their way back to Minato's house, Rin wonders when Minato's sensei's team will be back in Konoha. Now that they know that Orochimaru is not the man who hurt Hiri, she really wants them back in the village. Tsunade-sama would be a great help in finding out how to help the boy.
Inside the door, Rin decides to gauge just how possessive Kakashi is of Hiri and steps between Kakashi and the stairs, holding her arms out, "Here Kakashi-kun, I'll put Hiri-kun to bed."
Kakashi's eyes flash at her and his arms tighten around the boy, though not enough to cause Hiri any discomfort. "No," he grounds out, "I'll be fine putting him to bed."
As soon as Kakashi is around the corner at the top of the steps, Rin turns to Minato and looks at him with both worry and disapproval. She bites her lip and shakes her head, hissing quietly so Kakashi doesn't overhear her, "That isn't right, Minato-sensei. Kakashi shouldn't be so attached. It's not good for either of them."
"Rin," Minato's eyes are tired and she feels a little bad about pointing out yet another thing that will have to be dealt with, "Hiri is the only thing left of Kakashi's lover other than his left eye. Of course he's going to be too attached. I'm sure that it'll get better once Kakashi is more used to Hiri being around."
Rin can't help but flush at the gentle reproach in her sensei's tired voice. He's right, she knows, and maybe she's exaggerating her worry about Kakashi's behavior, but things like these are better to catch in time before they truly become a problem.
"I suppose," she murmurs, folding her arms. Minato reaches out, clasping her shoulder gently, before he leans back and appraises her. Rin straightens automatically, like she does when Minato-sensei assesses the team before a mission and Minato purses his lips.
"So what's really bothering you, Rin?" he asks in a firm voice, eyes gentle but probing. Rin can't help but be surprised that he'd so easily caught onto the fact that something was bothering her, though she knows she should have expected it. Minato wouldn't have become Hokage without being perceptive, and more than that, he knows her personally.
So she lets the worry bloom into her eyes, relieved that she doesn't have to hide it or carry it alone. "There is something - wrong, with Hiri-kun," she says softly, feeling her stomach shift as she speaks the words aloud. Then she swallow painfully, chuckling weakly, "More than the obvious, I mean."
"Wrong how?" Minato asks quietly and she doesn't want to worry him, because as he drags a hand through his blond, spiky hair, he looks as tired as she's ever seen him.
But he's the Hokage. He's Minato-sensei. She has to tell him, both for professional and personal reasons. "Poison."
"Slow acting?" Minato's gaze turns sharp as he asks.
Rin shakes her head, still confused over this issue, "No- Yes- Well, see, Hiri's not poisoned. But he's got poison in his body. I don't want to scare you, but it's in his blood, bones, and heart."
Minato raises a hand to his chest, placing it over his heart and kind of gawks at her, "And how is that not supposed to scare me?" He asks, incredulous, "You're telling me that Hiri has poison in him and I can see that you're not sure if that's bad, or if it's curable, or what it's even doing to him in the first place."
"That's just it, Sensei, I don't know why he's not dead." She keeps her tone even and her voice quiet. She's really not trying to scare her teacher, but she has to talk this out, figure this out.
"Dead?" Minato almost yelps, "Why would he be dead?"
"Because it's deadly!" She hisses at him, "The poison in him is one of the deadliest poisons the hospital has ever seen and it's in his heart." She stops and makes herself calm down, "It's in his heart and from what I could tell at the exam, it's actually coming from his heart and spreading out into the rest of his body. But there's nothing in or near his heart that could produce the poison."
Minato looks as confused as Rin feels, "How is that possible?" He asks her softly, "If it's coming from his heart-" He pauses and his head tilts to the side. "... Could his body be making the poison? Could it be... natural for Hiri?"
Rin takes a mental step back and thinks about that. Well, that idea seems impossible, but- "Maybe..." she trails off.
It would make some twisted kind of sense, she supposes. But she'll have to do more tests to determine if that's really the case. For all she knows, it could be a poison that has somehow attached itself to Hiri's heart, or perhaps merged with the tissue...
"Should we tell Kakashi?" Rin asks slowly, folding her arms as she continues to ponder the strangeness of the situation and trying to contain her worry. She'd really like to do more tests right away, but Hiri obviously does need to sleep.
"Not yet," Minato says, one of the corners of his lips drawing up in an attempt to smile. "Let him have the evening nursing the realization that Hiri chose him to be his family; that his lover's son chose him." The last part is added quietly and Rin looks away, nodding even as she draws a steadying breath. She wants more time to digest the fact that her two teammates had been in love, wants to talk to - or at least try to talk to - Kakashi about it. Wants to know why he'd never told her, even as her pursuit of him must have been more than an annoyance, given that he'd been in a relationship.
She mentally shakes those thoughts away for now, "Do you think... Harri... might know more about the poison?" she hedges. She doesn't dislike the alter per se, but she's not really eager to see those too-old eyes and that wary body language again. That said, if there is even the slightest possibility that Harri might know something about whatever may - or may not - be hurting Hiri, then she won't hesitate.
Minato shifts a little, serious eyes glittering as they probing her and then her sensei sighs. "It's possible, but whether Harri would be willing to share..." he sighs again, rubbing a large hand over his forehead.
And that's really the question: whether Harri will be willing to share. He hasn't been willing to share a whole lot about anything, but Rin has to hope that he does see that they're trying to do their best by him and his host.
She pauses her thoughts and runs that last one again. Harri and his host. That's not the right way to think of it, she knows, but it's hard not to see Harri as someone completely different from Hiri - who is too innocent and naive because even though he knows he's been hurt, it's more abstract with him. Harri is harsh and demanding and just by being, he's in their face that Hiri isn't well. Not at all.
"So then," Rin gathers her thoughts as she speaks, "We'll leave it until tomorrow since it's not doing Hiri any harm that we can tell. I just wonder..." She trails off and bites her lip. Minato looks at her with the curious eyes of someone invested in learning everything about what she has to say, "If Hiri gets hurt, if he cuts his finger or skins his knee, I don't know what that would do to the poison. I don't know if that would be dangerous for others to touch."
"Can the poison be leached through skin?" Minato asks, eyes dark in thought. He's probably thinking the same things she had thought when she'd figured out that Hiri was poisonous. She didn't want to be responsible for Hiri's poison accidentally killing someone - maybe even Kakashi - because of a lapse in her judgment.
"I don't know, we didn't get that far. I don't know if it's a contract poison or an injection one. We only really tested the poison against blood samples."
"I see," Minato licks his lips and nods, "So if he gets hurt before we figure out what exactly is going on with it, we'll just have to wear gloves when we put a bandage on him."
She nods with him as she considers the poison again. It had seemed so minor when she'd found it in his body during the exam, but when she'd gotten the sample to the hospital and started testing it, it seemed stronger. She didn't know of any poison that got stronger away from the source. "Be careful, Minato-sensei. It's stronger when it's not inside him."
Minato's eyebrows arch in surprise. "Do you have any idea why?"
Rin shakes her head. She has several theories, but she'd not willing to start throwing out guesses without a proper base to stand on. Maybe the poison reacts to air? That would explain why it grew stronger outside Hiri's body. That could mean that it might continue growing stronger the longer it's out in the open. She'll need another blood sample collected in an airtight container if she wants to see how the poison acts recently taken from the source.
Kakashi walks down the stairs just as Rin is about to tell their teacher that more tests will need to be done, and she closes her mouth. "Any idea about what?" he asks, looking distracted. Rin wouldn't be surprised if he is feeling a bit overwhelmed - Kakashi has experienced such emotional upheaval these past few days that she's surprised he hasn't collapsed yet. Especially since he's so unused to dealing with emotions.
"Nothing," Rin says blandly, continuing before her teammate has the chance to pick up on her hidden tension, "Is Hiri alright?"
Kakashi looks up, and she sees his mask crease as he frowns. "He's as well as can be expected."
"Good," she smiles genuinely at him, "That's good." At least she hopes it's good.
"Is something supposed to be wrong?" He asks, intent and wary. He always has been suspicious, even by shinobi standards.
He's also always been one to see underneath the underneath, she thinks to herself. Before she can deny anything, Minato speaks up, "Hiri-kun is asleep?"
Kakashi's eye glitters a little and she can see the smile under his mask, "Yes." He looks down to his hand, "He- He wouldn't let go of my hand. I had to wait until he was asleep to get him to let go."
Minato grins, "That's what children do, Kakashi," His expression turns serious then. "Kakashi," Rin's sensei sounds like he always does before he tell someone something very important, "You have to remember now that you're Hiri's guardian. He's going to be looking to you for everything; clothing, food, shelter- love."
"I can do that," Kakashi nods his head, "I have money - the Hatake estate is still large..."
"I know," Minato says, "But what are you going to do about missions? You are currently in ANBU."
Rin can't help it. For all she's been through a shock after finding out that Kakashi and Obito were together, the way Hiri had called him 'Kaa-sama' is just to much of an opening for her to pass up, "Maternity leave?" She suggests in her most innocent tone.
Kakashi gapes at her and Minato chokes and has to clear his throat. He covers his mouth his his hand as he coughs a few times, trying to regain his somber countinence but she can see him subtly wiping tears of laughter from his eyes.
In a few moments, he's composed again, but Rin can see his lips twitch, even as he stares at Kakashi thoughtfully.
"It's not a bad idea," he says finally and both Rin and Kakashi turn to him with incredulous expressions. Even if Kakashi had been a biological parent, she strongly doubts that the council would have granted him maternity leave without fuss. Unless Minato intends to wield his political sword as Hokage and just force that decision though. Even then, though, she's not sure they'd be all that cooperative; Kakashi is the youngest ANBU to ever had risen that quickly in the ranks, and too valuable a shinobi to just put aside. "That's not exactly what I meant," Minato holds up placating hands at their looks, grin breaking through as he again tries to stifle laughter. It's nice to see a little of the weariness fade out of his eyes, and Rin feels her shoulders relax.
"What did you mean, then?" Kakashi folds his arms across his chest, looking at their sensei through a narrow, annoyed eye. There is no hostility in his gaze though, so Rin knows he's not truly annoyed. She's sure that, as much as Kakashi must be distracted by his new guardianship, he hasn't missed that Minato is growing tired.
"Paternity leave?" he shrugs a little, and at first Rin thinks it's another joke, but Minato's face is serious. Kakashi's face shifts, and Rin thinks he just raised an eyebrow in question. Apparently Minato agrees, because he shrugs again, shifting to lean back on the wall while he explained; "It was utilized every now and again during the war, since it was becoming rarer for children to have both parents around," his words are soft, and Rin looks away for a moment. She knows - everyone knows - that 'not around' means 'dead', and it's upsetting that so many parents would have been killed that special laws had to be created as the routine in such cases.
"How long would the leave last?" Rin asks after a beat of silence. Kakashi looks at Minato with the kind of intense gaze that she usually connects to battlefield awareness and wonders what that perceptive mind of his has figured out.
"Depended on the age of the child," Minato's eyes turn to her, and his smile is gentle. He's always been very gentle for being such a badass shinobi.
"And for a three year old?" Kakashi's voice is low and curious and Rin finds herself just as curious. She's never heard of paternity leave before now.
"There are a lot of other factors as well," Minato expands, "Whether there is any other family that can take the child, what kind of missions the parent takes, living conditions of the father-"
"Uh," Rin half raises her hand, looking at Kakashi, "Don't you live in a bachelor loft when you aren't staying with Sensei?"
He nods, "Yes." Given Kakashi's short answer, she's very sure he doesn't want to talk about it, but Minato doesn't give him the opportunity to refuse.
"That isn't at all appropriate for a child, Kakashi," Minato frowns, "You still own your father's house, correct?"
Kakashi scowls at the wall, his visible eye distant, "Yes, Sensei."
"Well," Rin steps in to mediate between them because although they've never had a beat-down, drag-out fight, anything to do with Kakashi's father... raises his hackles. "Kakashi's been staying here since he found Hiri. Maybe," She pauses and looks to Minato with wide, innocent, and pleading eyes, working her budding, teenaged, feminine wiles for all they're worth, "-maybe he could stay here with you for a bit longer?"
Minato blinks at her, an amused glint in his eyes even as he looks to be considering the suggestion seriously and Rin meets Kakashi's startled gaze with a slightly smug smile. She's managed to startle him out of his abrupt funk, and apparently the suggestion she'd laid forward wasn't one he'd considered himself. Or perhaps he didn't think he could ask for such a favor.
Her teammate had a way of taking everything onto himself and trying his best to complete things without the help of others when possible, as sad as that is. He's gotten better though, since Obito's passing... Every cloud has a silver lining, Rin thinks sadly. This cloud is too large and dark to have the silver lining make up for it, though.
"That's a possibility, as long as Kakashi is agreeable," Minato concedes, eyes sliding from her to Kakashi. The genius Hatake blinks and then tilts his head to the side, rather like his ninken, looking to be considering the option seriously. "That being said... Kakashi, while I don't mind having you and Hiri living here," Minato pauses, smiling warmly before continuing, "You do need to look into other options for housing."
Kakashi nods immediately, shifting a little. "I know. Otherwise I'll be an unreliable guardian, one who has to rely on someone else to provide for him." There is an unhappy twist to his lips under his mask that Rin doesn't like, and Minato's smile fades and blooms into a frown.
"Kakashi-kun, there is nothing wrong with accepting the help of others. Nobody expects a teenager your age to know the first thing about parenting, so rather than this labeling you as 'an unreliable guardian', it would be considered an appropriate response to an unfamiliar situation."
Kakashi thinks about that for a moment before nodding. He's only fourteen and Rin doesn't know anyone else that young with a child, so no one could reasonably expect him to be perfect right off the bat. Minato is their de facto guardian until they're sixteen, so Kakashi has at least two years where he can rely on their sensei without anyone saying a single word about it.
"Sensei," Rin shifts, the silence getting a little uncomfortable. She's a people person, she likes to hear others speak and she likes to talk herself. Kakashi isn't shy, but he does enjoy the quiet and Minato is usually more than content to let silence sit for a while when he's thinking something through. "What about Hiri's grandparents?" She kind of wants to know more about them because it's exceeding rare for a Uchiha to marry outside of their clan and these two have done exactly that all but in name.
"I think it's a good idea to let Hiri get a little more settled before letting them spend very much time with Hiri-"
Kakashi cuts Minato off, "No-" He swallows and shakes his head when the blond looks at him in question, "No, I think... They were willing to let me have almost unrestricted access to Hiri, if they had gotten custody. I'm not going to cut Obito's parents out of their grandchild's life. I can't do that to Hiri."
Rin has to smile because Kakashi is kind of adorable, trying to make sure that Hiri isn't ignorant of his family. She is a little worried about how he keeps bring up Obito though, because this isn't about him, this is about Hiri.
She doesn't want Kakashi to see Hiri as nothing but Obito's proxy, but she's not sure how to bring that up without insulting him. Maybe she's just imagining it, or overreacting - and even if she isn't, it wouldn't be totally unreasonable for her teammate to try and keep his late lover alive in his son. Still, the thought makes her uneasy. She knows that growing up in Obito's shadow, no matter how well-intentioned Kakashi may be, wouldn't be good for the toddler.
But Kakashi wanting Hiri to have contact with Obito's parents, she takes as a good sign because that means that however uncomfortable Kakashi may be with a situation, he'll put aside his personal feeling for Hiri's sake. She hopes dearly that it will last.
Minato watches Kakashi, and that uncomfortable silence is starting to turn the air oppressive again, but before Rin can come up with something to break it, Minato turns towards Kakashi.
"Kakashi..." Minato hesitates for a moment, and then indicates the kitchen door with a hand. When they're seated around the kitchen table, Minato continues, "Kakashi, I know that you are a very private person," he pauses again, and Rin wonders what is making the man so hesitant. He's never had any problem talking to them, or questioning them when he feels it necessary. Like a good Hokage would. Like a good commander would. Like a good parent would.
She also finds it interesting that Minato doesn't look so much worried or disturbed - like when bringing bad news - as he seems... flustered.
"I feel the need to ask you a bit more about your relationship with Obito," he says softly and Rin feels Kakashi stiffen at her side. Which is worrying, because Kakashi should be comfortable with their relationship by now, shouldn't he? Or perhaps he'd never managed to accept his... inclinations? Rin forces back a blush at the thought of her teammate in some inappropriate position and focuses back on the way Kakashi's body is so very still. Perhaps his trouble isn't with accepting himself, but with the fact that his first lover was the one to die. Perhaps he hasn't quite managed to accept that part of Obito's death, even when he'd accepted the passing of a teammate and a friend?
"What do you want to know?" the genius asks stiffly, and Rin wants to say: Everything. She wants to know everything about how they'd fallen in love, how they'd managed to hide it, if they'd been happy...
Minato leans forward, placing a hand carefully over the one Kakashi has fisted on the tabletop. Her teammate doesn't quite pull back, but his white-knuckled fist doesn't soften either.
"When did you first realize - ?" Minato asks carefully, gaze gently searching and Rin tries her best not to stare. She doesn't want Kakashi to feel cornered, but she's very interested in his answer.
"I- always knew he was attractive," Kakashi looks at the table studiously so he doesn't have to look at their sensei or her and Rin is horrified to feel a giggle coming on. She shouldn't be giggling whilst Kakashi talks about his dead lover! "We didn't- I-" Kakashi stutters a bit, trying to explain what he's thinking, what had happened, "We weren't... together for very long before the rock fall. It was fast, and short, but-" He ducks his head, "He changed me. So much." He's silent for a moment and then his speaks again, anguished, "I wish he were still alive, still here, with- us."
Rin can't help but want to hung Kakashi. There hasn't been a lot of explanation, but it's enough to know that Kakashi really did love Obito. She scoots her chair around the table so that she's right beside her teammate and she wraps her arms around him.
He lets her hug him and it's the first time since forever that he hasn't shrugged her off and walked away.
Minato sits back in his chair, regarding Kakashi and her and Rin gives him a curious look.
"Kakashi, did Obito ever tell you about his parents? I noticed that you were surprised about their lifestyles."
Kakashi blinks and shrugs, "Like I said, Sensei, our being- together while Obito was still alive was short. I only heard him speak of his family in broad terms, either mentioning his parents as a whole, or the Uchiha clan as one."
"I see," Minato frowns faintly and Rin wonders why. When he continues questioning her teammate, she understands, "Did you have time to come to terms with your orientation while Obito was still alive?"
Rin watches Kakashi's face blank and thinks that maybe he hadn't had time. Now that he's admitted to his relationship with Obito, he has to face up to being at least bisexual and Rin has seen how hard it is for some people, even geniuses or shinobi to come out. Hell, she'd just seen two examples this afternoon with the Uchiha's. Fugaku certainly wasn't gay-friendly, but he seemed to respect and not look down on his two clan members for their orientation and yet they still had to live outside of the compound.
Kakashi doesn't say anything for several moments, and Rin can see his eyes shifting from left to right and back again. She wonders if he's trying to think up lies, maybe, or trying to explain his orientation away somehow. Minato isn't doing anything to encourage him to speak though; instead waiting patiently for Kakashi to answer of his own volition.
"That - it wasn't - It was just Obito," he finally mutters and then sags back into his chair, continuing in a quieter voice, "Only Obito." And Rin wonders if her teammate thinks that Obito was an exception to his heterosexuality, or if he means Obito is the only one to have ever - aroused him. Who he's ever been attracted to, romantically. Sexually. And she thinks she's going to stop contemplating that right now, or she really will blush. Which would be somewhat telling, and might even put Kakashi off speaking further.
Rin doesn't want to be the reason her teammate draws back into his shell, not now when he's finally opening up. And then she wonders if Kakashi is opening up because he's felt the need to speak about this for a long time. Perhaps he's been trying to work up his courage to tell them. Perhaps he'd been doing that since before Obito died.
...Maybe that was why they'd fought so often towards the end? Because she doubts Obito would have been uncomfortable with his orientation, with his family dynamics as they are. And he'd never been to good at keeping secrets (well, secrets outside of their work, anyway), so maybe he'd wanted to tell them. Wanted them to be a couple openly. If that's how it was, it would probably add a whole other layer to Kakashi's guilt, Rin thinks and tries to hold back a wave of pity for her teammate.
Kakashi never responded well to pity. Most people don't, she supposes, especially those who made a living off being lone wolves. (Though Kakashi obviously hadn't really been a lone wolf.)
"Kakashi, there is nothing wrong with your and Obito's relationship," Minato says in a very matter-of-fact voice and Kakashi nods jerkily, his gaze boring into the table. Rin doesn't think he believes their teacher, and when she looks closer, she sees a slight blush creep over the edges of the mask. Kakashi never blushes.
Minato sighs lightly, his eyes sad as he looks at his student. Rin too, finds it sad that for all his genius, Kakashi still can't accept himself.
"I know," He murmurs and Rin can tell that he doesn't believe what he's just said. "I'm worried about how Hiri will react tomorrow morning when he wakes up and has processed everything that happened today."
"Hiri will be find with it," Rin pipes up. She doesn't like the way that Kakashi looks, the despair in his eye, "Hiri loves you. he chose you over his blood relatives because he loves you and you love him and he knows you will never hurt him." Rin's face falls and she swallows back tears, "Hiri-kun needs that, Kakashi. He needs to know that you will always be on his side, that you will always love him and never hurt him, no matter what."
"I won't," Kakashi promises to her, as though she were a stand in for Obito, for Hiri's blood parents, "I won't hurt him. I'll do my utmost best to make sure that he's always safe and loved and cared for."
She has to say this, just once; to his face just once, "You have to love him for him, Kakashi. You can't love him just because he's Obito's son."
Kakashi frowns with something in his expression that she's never seen before and she thinks that it might be incomprehension, "What do you mean, love him because he's Obito's? I love him because he's Hiri."
She won't say anything else about it right now, she'll let him think about it, and about how he's treating and talking about Hiri. Once he goes over his behavior, he'll see what he's doing. If need be, Minato-sensei will be able to knock some sense into him. Without unduly hurting him, anyway.
It's obvious that Kakashi himself hasn't actually realized how he's been treating Hiri. At least now she's put the cards on the table; there is nothing more to be said about the issue at the moment. The fact that he abruptly shifted subjects from his and Obito's relationship to Hiri probably needs to be dealt with further, though. She won't let her teammate feel ashamed of what he and Obito had shared. That would taint the memories, she thinks.
So she plunges in with all the courage and caring she has for Kakashi. (She would have added 'love' to that, but somehow that doesn't really seem appropriate.)
"Kakashi," she says, wondering if she might be able to spin this in another direction, "It wouldn't be good if Hiri grew up believing that his father's relationship with you was something bad."
Kakashi looks up from where he'd been focused on his hands, and again he stills. It's unnerving to see someone as stoic as her teammate so obviously uncomfortable, and for something that he shouldn't be uncomfortable about.
"Hiri doesn't need to know the details about - about Obito and I," he answers, squaring his shoulders. Rin tries not to gape at him in shock, because Kakashi can't be intending to keep something this important a secret from Hiri. From his and Obito's son.
"Kakashi..." Minato murmurs, brow creasing as he closes his eyes for just a moment. She can see how this is hurting him, but for once, she doesn't think Kakashi can. Their sensei leans forward, clasping both of Kakashi's fists in his hands and Kakashi looks up at him reluctantly, eyes sliding from the downward gaze to meet their sensei's eyes. Whatever he sees makes him flinch and Rin isn't sure if she wants to hit him or cry. Oh, Kakashi.
"All he's known of homosexuals are that they're willing to hurt him," he repeats what he'd said earlier that day and Rin grimaces. It's true, but Hiri hadn't reacted badly to finding out that Kakashi had been in a relationship with his father, or that his grandparents were both - all? - gay. She says as much, and his shoulders twitch in a failing attempt to shrug. A beat of silence passes.
"What will happen if you ever fall for another man, Kakashi-kun?" Minato finally inquires softly, making a logical argument that Rin hopes will get through to her teammate. She doesn't want Hiri to grow up believing that he has to hide - be ashamed of - the fact that his father had been in a same-sex relationship.
Kakashi's face goes startlingly white and Rin thinks for a moment that he's going to hyperventilate, but then the color starts to come back and he shakes his head.
"Highly unlikely, Sensei. Obito was the only one I'll let that far into my life."
Minato looks as pained as Rin feels. Kakashi can't be serious, she thinks; he can't be swearing off all romantic entanglements! He's only fourteen, for gods' sakes!
"Kakashi," She touches his shoulder gently, drawing his attention, "You can't hide yourself away- you can't stop yourself from looking for another partner. I know that it'll be difficult with Obito's... death in your past, but you can't let that stop you from-"
"It's not about Obito anymore," Kakashi interrupts her, "I won't give Hiri a reason to think that he's being replaced as the most important person in my life. And Obito was the only boy I've ever even vaguely considered sexually. I doubt that I'll ever look at another boy that way."
Rin can feel tears in her eyes. Kakashi has so many troubles right now; adopting Hiri, finding a place to call home, eschewing romantic relations, denying he's bisexual...
He lays a gentle hand on her hair and she feels horrible about pushing him into admitting anything because she doesn't want to hurt him.
But she also doesn't want Hiri hurt, and by growing up with a father who denies his own sexuality, it could be worse for Hiri. After all, Hiri's father and grandparents are gay; what's to say that he won't be as well? She knows that there are studies that say that homosexuality isn't hereditary, but come on. Just looking at Obito's family, one could see the correlation between a child's sexuality and their parents'.
"It's okay, Rin," Kakashi tells her softly. "I know you're just trying to help, but... I-" She can feel his body move as he shakes his head, "I need more time. Can you give me that?"
"Hai," Rin nods into his sleeve. She can give him a little more time. After all, he never had to think about it after Obito died and now there is someone else involved, someone fragile. She knows that he doesn't want to hurt Hiri as much as she doesn't want the baby boy hurt.
"Kakashi, we will let this go for now, but someday soon we will have to discuss it further," Minato closes the discussion with those words, and Rin leans back from Kakashi's arms, rubbing at her eyes.
Kakashi nods, slowly, eye dark and inscrutable.
It's only the middle of the afternoon, but Rin is tired. She can understand why Hiri would be tired as well, but it still worries her that he's been sleeping practically all the time. She'd also like to keep talking with her team, but she has a shift scheduled at the hospital from five until one and she needs to leave now so that she has some time to get ready for it. If it's slow enough, she might be able to do some more tests on what's left of Hiri's blood sample.
She hugs Kakashi again, and then Minato, and says her goodbyes. As she leaves Minato's house, she heartily wishes that she were able to stay.
Rin wanders back to Minato's house, rubbing her face tiredly. She hadn't gotten much sleep this past night. Not that she'd really expected to, not with everything going on.
"Minato-sensei?" she calls out, knocking on the door before inviting herself in. She removes her shoes at the door and looks up, hearing the light steps of an unguarded shinobi, a whisper away from silent.
"Kushina-san!" Rin jumps up, surprised, when the redhead grins at her. "We weren't expecting you to be back for a few days yet!" Kushina grins wider at those words, opening her arms for an embrace. Laughing, Rin hugs her.
"I figured you would be missing me too badly to stay away for much longer-ttebane," she answers slyly and Rin quirks an eyebrow at the woman. She was sure the 'you' in that sentence meant 'Minato', and equally sure Kushina only said it to tease her lover.
"How was your mission?" Rin asks Kushina curiously, knowing she won't get any details, but politely curious nevertheless. Kushina shrugs a shoulder and sits, shifting to accommodate Minato wrapping an arm around her waist.
"It was alright, nothing special," she comments and turns to kiss her lover's cheek. Rin is very happy to see Minato's eyes sparkle. Kushina never fails to cheer him up. She has a lot of presence, the redhead does. Never does one ignore her when she enters a room or a conversation, and like Obito, she has a stubbornly optimistic streak a mile wide. Rin can't help but ponder if that is why she and Kakashi's relationship has become more comfortable lately - because she reminds him of his lover.
She would have said something in response, if Kakashi hadn't appeared at the top of the stairs with a frightened look in his eye, bringing everyone's attention to him.
"Kakashi?" Minato frowns and stands up from the couch, staring at the teenager as he slowly descends the stairs.
Rin feels a bit of fear rise when Kakashi stares at their sensei blankly and speaks in a tone empty of emotion, "Hiri refuses to come out of his room."
Rin sucks in a breath. Had she been wrong? They had all thought that Hiri had taken to his homosexual grandparents quite well, but maybe he hadn't. Maybe it was too much for him now; now that he's had some time to consider it.
Minato is across the floor and at Kakashi's side in less then a moment and he takes Kakashi's elbow to steady Rin's teammate when his body wavers, "Kakashi?"
"He- he's scared of me. He flinched from me..." If Rin didn't know any better, she'd say that Kakashi was about to cry. But he isn't, because Kakashi doesn't cry. Never has, never will.
And that brightness in his eye is a trick of the light, just a trick of the light. She takes a step forward anyway, so she's almost within arms reach.
"Kakashi, it's not your fault," Minato says soothingly, "You've done nothing wrong." He looks worried though, exchanging a glance with Rin and flicking his eyes up the stairs. Clearly he wants her to see what is wrong, and it hurts, but she almost protests that - because Kakashi is who Hiri trusts the most. "Did he say why he's refusing to come out of his room?" Their sensei continues when Kakashi just keeps staring blankly. He looks like the world has fallen down over his ears and Rin just wants to go over and hug him and assure him that everything is alright. But right now, whatever is wrong with Hiri - if Hiri is afraid of his grandparents after all - is more important.
Oh. Perhaps Kakashi also believes that that is why Hiri is refusing to come out. A flash of despair curls in her heart, because if that is how it is, Kakashi will never accept his orientation. Ever. Not if that risks Hiri's love - Hiri's feeling of safety - with him.
"No," her teammate shakes his head slowly, "He buried himself under the blankets just before I left the room." His voice is soft and bland, as blank as his expression, and again Rin can't help but think that her worry was correct, that he's getting too attached. He's practically out of commission by the mere thought - suspicion - that Hiri doesn't want to be with him anymore.
"I go see if he'll talk to me," Rin tells Kakashi in a soothing voice and he winces and suddenly she knows that he's thinking. Hiri isn't going to be afraid of her because she's not gay.
She hadn't meant to insinuate that she was better with Hiri than him; she hadn't meant to make it seem as though Minato and Fugaku had been wrong in letting Kakashi adopt Hiri.
Finally he nods, and tries to smile, but it's flat and she wouldn't have ever thought that it was real even if she didn't know him. "Thank you," he whispers to her as she steps past him and she can feel him watch her ascend to the second floor and disappear around the corner.
Rin stops outside of Hiri's door and listens closely. She can't hear Hiri crying, but he might not be.
In fact, she might not be dealing with Hiri.
That thought pauses her for a moment, because she doesn't want to see Harri right now. Doesn't want to know that Hiri had been so uncomfortable and afraid that his alter had come out. That would feel like a confirmation, and she doesn't want a confirmation.
Then she knocks on the door - not because she's expecting him to allow her in, but to warn her that she's coming. Warn Hiri, because otherwise he'll be terribly frightened. Or Harri, because otherwise he might regard her entrance as the coming of an enemy.
"I'm coming in," she adds, and slowly twist the handle down, giving the boy ample time to prepare himself.
When she enters the room, it's dimly lit and all she can see in the bed Hiri is supposed to lie in is a pile of covers. She can feel his chakra though, coming in bursts from inside the pile. Can feel it spiking erratically, though she's not sure if it's a terrified Hiri or an angry and defensive Harri.
She walks forward, but stops well ahead of the bed, crouching down. "Hiri?"
He doesn't answer. The bundle of material over his body shakes a little and then the boy stills. Rin reaches out very slowly and touches the blankets and pillows that Hiri has made into a fort.
"Hiri-kun?" She keeps her voice soft, "Are you okay?"
There's silence for a bit and then she can see his green eyes through a whole in the blankets that Hiri makes to look at her. She isn't surprised to see flecks of sharingan red in his eyes. "Is the monster gone yet?" He asks and Rin just about dies.
Hiri thinks that Kakashi is a monster? Gods...
She swallows her horror quietly, wondering what she can say or should do to fix this. And she's not entirely sure that this wouldn't have been easier with Hiri's alter, since Hiri himself is as a three year old should be, and thus has a three year old logic. Or lack of logic, as it is. She doubts she'll be able to convince him with logical arguments in any case.
Rin doesn't dare try to draw the covers off of the boy, since that might set of a panic attack. Rin blinks as a realization clears her mind; a panic attack would also lead to the pulse speeding up and pumping blood - and poison faster through the body. She hadn't even considered that up until now, but she'll need to be extra careful in case an excess of the poison could be harmful for Hiri. Even if the 'normal' amount of poison doesn't seem to hurt him, that just might.
She sits down with her legs crossed, placing her palms flat against the covers. "Hiri, may I ask why you think he's a monster?" she asks very carefully, infusing her voice with the slightest amount of calming genjutsu. Hiri's green eyes blink at her, the traces of red fading as she looks, and a small hand comes up to clutch at the bunched up edges of the hole.
"He's inside people," Hiri's hand withdraws, and the covers shift as he pulls them closer to his body. Rin closes her eyes, despair threatening to break through as tears, before she manages to stem the flow. Gods damn it. Of course Hiri would think that someone who has been inside someone else is a monster. But gods, she doesn't want this to happen. Doesn't want to go downstairs and tell Kakashi that.
She's also not sure why Hiri would think that Kakashi has been inside Obito, rather than the other way around, though she supposes that makes sense to her as well. Kakashi is the one here after all, not Obito. Hiri hasn't seen a lot of people survive, if any other than himself, after having had someone inside of them. It's blunt force logic that Kakashi must have been the 'husband' in the relationship because he's still alive.
"Hiri-kun, he's not a monster," She tells him in a soft voice, "I know that it might not seem that way to you right now, but he's not."
"I don't believe you," Hiri mumbles through his protective, handmade fort. "He's bad. He... feels bad." She can barely see his eyes and they're shuttered and Hiri is hiding inside of himself. "He feels bad," He repeats, muttering.
Curious despite herself, Rin wonders in what way Hiri can feel Kakashi; if it's his chakra that he feels, or something else entirely. After all, Hiri hadn't used chakra to heal Minato's face after having that episode in the kitchen a few days ago.
"Hiri-kun, can you trust me? Will you trust me and Minato-sensei that we'll never let him hurt you? Please, Hiri-kun," she strokes the side of the fort as though she were touching Hiri directly and the pile shakes again, quivering under her fingers.
Hiri finally reaches out and lets her take his hand, "You protect me, Rin-sama?" He sounds so childish and innocent and even though the fear is mostly gone, Rin hates that she can feel hatred for those who hurt Hiri, and elation that Hiri trusts her so very much. But there's nothing she can do about that right now so she focuses back on Hiri and not her inner turmoil.
If she can convince Hiri that she and Minato will keep him safe from Kakashi, who isn't a threat in the least, maybe Hiri will start to trust the young jounin again soon.
Rin slowly pulls Hiri out of his fort, careful to make sure he's not resisting and allowing her to draw him of his own free will. Then he's seated in her lap, and she strokes his back gently. "We'll protect you, Hiri-kun. Always." Hiri hunches his shoulders but he's also snuggling into her, so she keeps her arms wrapped around him.
"Would you come with me to see him?" she asks after a minute of calming silence, keeping her voice light and without pressure. She doesn't doubt that Hiri would follow her down to see Kakashi if she told him to, but it has to be his choice.
"What if he goes inside me?" Hiri asks, voice tight with fear and Rin feels her breathing stutter. She can't believe everything has gone to hell so quickly, not with how everything had turned out so well yesterday, with the adoption and all.
"Hiri-kun, he won't do that," Rin assures him, trying so hard to keep her voice from wavering, or from strangling him in her arms. She wants him to feel safe. She wants him to feel safe with Kakashi. How are they going to be able to make a family like this?
"Because you will protect me?" Hiri asks, and Rin wants to say No, not because I will protect you. Because you won't ever need protection from Kakashi. But she keeps her mouth shut and nods. She doubts Hiri would believe those words right now.
"I will always protect you," She finally tells him. She can't bring herself to say that she'll protect him from Kakashi because she knows she'll never have to, but he needs to know that she'll be his protector. It's probably the only way she's going to be able to get him out of this room and downstairs.
It takes a little longer before Hiri relaxes enough in her arms that she thinks he's ready to go. She bites her lip for a moment before inwardly shrugging. What would anyone in the house care that Hiri was in a pair of sweatpants and one of Kakashi's shirts? Hiri is three, no one will even look twice.
Absently she wonders just what Minato and Kakashi are telling Kushina about Hiri and his past. She hopes that the older woman will be less exuberant than she usually is because she doesn't want Hiri to be scared of Kushina, of Minato's partner.
She stands and Hiri winds his arms around her neck and buries his face into her collar. She shushes to him gently and settles him on her hip, rocking lightly back and forth, trying her best to keep him calm. The calmer he is, the less she has to worry about his heart.
Hiri refuses to look up from her neck as she steps into the hallway and starts to the stairs. She can feel his body tense, but he doesn't start to shiver or shake so he's only scared, not terrified.
She's seen him terrified and she never wants to see it again.
The closer they get to the stairs, the tenser Hiri gets, and when she starts walking down, she can feel his breathing pick up just a little. She stops where she is and hums to him, aware that all activity in the little group has stopped and that they're all focused on the two of them.
"I'm scared," Hiri whispers into her ear, and all Rin can think of even as her throat constricts is how glad she is that Kakashi didn't hear him say that. She doesn't want to know what kind of expression her teammate would have reacted with, but she's sure it would have stayed in her mind for a very long time afterwards.
"You needn't be, Hiri-kun," she whispers back at him and continues their descent, wrapping her arms around him tightly, "I'm here with you." Gods, but she hates how frightened he is, she hates how she can't do anything to help other than promise him things that makes her want to cry.
They finally come to stand at the base of the stairs, and Rin feels Hiri's tiny arms clench around her as he fairly burrows his face into the side of her neck.
"Hiri-kun, we're glad to see you here," Minato's tone is warm and calm, but his eyes are not. Kakashi has moved further back, standing by Kushina with his face half-turned away. It's clear he can't quite bring himself not to look at Hiri, and equally clear that it hurts him to see his son in her arms, knowing that Hiri is afraid of him.
Hiri murmurs into her throat and Rin gives her sensei a pained smile. Minato's look says he understands and the blond steps towards them. Hiri doesn't flinch from Minato and Rin thinks that that's a good thing.
"Hiri-kun, I know you're scared right now, but may I introduce a good friend of mine?" Minato speaks quietly and Rin wonders at a moment as to why he's not telling Hiri his relationship with Kushina, but then feels like slapping herself upside the back of the head. Seen from the outside, Minato is the dominant in that relationship, being the man, and she doesn't think that Hiri would be able to separate that from the seme in a homosexual relationship.
Hiri peaks out from her neck and glances in Kakashi's direction for a second, completely ignoring Minato. His eyes go wide and he buries he head in her neck again with a tiny whimper. "He's- feels mean," he moans into her skin and she rocks him gently.
"He won't hurt you, Hiri-kun, I swear." Rin cuddles Hiri to her and the look in Kakashi's eye is painful for her to see.
"But he's inside-" Hot tears smear over her neck and she cuddles Hiri a little closer to her, "He's inside and he's so dangerous..."
"I've never been inside anyone," Kakashi bursts out in a low, intense voice, trying to prove his innocence to his son and Rin feels a little shocked. She knows that he's talking to Hiri, telling Hiri that he's not a danger to him, but finding out that Kakashi is still a virgin in that manner is a surprise and she blinks at him with incomprehension. She's certainly not a virgin, not at her age; but then again, Kakashi's not really a virgin is he? He's just never been seme.
"Kakashi," There is a warning in Minato's voice that most would never ignore, but Kakashi is his student, has been raised by him for nine years. He knows the consequences of disobeying and he must think that this is worth it.
"I've never been inside anyone, Hiri-kun," the teenaged boy repeats, "Obito was the only one that- I only ever received from Obito."
Hiri uncurls a little from her and Rin shifts to accommodate his movements. Minato is looking at Kakashi with an unreadable expression and Kushina is all but staring, mouthing something under her breath. Rin can sympathize with her shocked expression, because she hadn't been expecting that either. Not blushing is becoming more difficult for her the more Kakashi insists that he's never been seme.
Kakashi takes another step forward, and though Hiri doesn't flinch back or try to get away, he's also not leaning towards her teammate like he usually does. Minato is watching the proceedings with a frown, but he doesn't step in to interrupt. Rin can tell he's not pleased, however.
"Hiri-kun," Rin sees Kakashi swallow just before he stops moving ahead, and it hurts that he feels he's not welcome. She'd tell him to come closer, but she doesn't want to exacerbate Hiri's fear. Doesn't want Kakashi to see that fear. "I've never been inside anyone," he repeats, very softly, but with eyes so intense they're practically burning. Rin thinks that Kakashi must be willing Hiri to understand and accept his words and hopes it'll work. Kakashi shouldn't wear an expression of such naked desperation.
"Okay?" Hiri says, unsure, and Rin doesn't think the boy believes the words. Apparently Kakashi doesn't either, because his face falls and his body tightens. It's horrible to watch, and Minato approaches to stand next to him, a hand on his back. Rin doesn't think that support will be enough.
Kakashi staggers towards Hiri slowly so as not to startle the toddler and thankfully, Hiri never flinches from him. He doesn't reach for Kakashi but he does allow Rin to hand him over to his newly adopted father. Kakashi cuddles him to his chest and Rin feels her heart relax, just a little. Hiri is trusting Kakashi not to hurt him in their presence, at least. That's good.
"Hiri, I will never hurt you, I will never, ever hurt you," Kakashi whispers into the boy's ear and Hiri nods, resting his cheek on Kakashi's shoulder.
"Okay," Hiri repeats himself, this time with more belief in his voice than the first time. After a moment, Hiri raises his head from Kakashi's shoulder and looks towards Kushina, the only person in the room he hasn't met yet.
"Heya there, kiddo," Kushina smiles brightly, her purple eyes bright with curiosity that Rin knows she won't air right now. Kushina knows how to do discreet, even if it doesn't seem like it.
Hiri's eyes trail over the woman and Kushina lets him observe her, catalog her, and try to figure out if she's dangerous to him. She cocks her head to the side and tucks a long lock of deep red hair behind her ear. Hiri's eyes are drawn to the movement and Rin abruptly remembers that Hiri said his mother had red hair. Maybe that similarity will help Hiri to trust Kushina more readily.
"Hi," Hiri breaths out his greeting.
Minato steps back into the picture and Hiri is startled enough by his sudden movement to tear his eyes from Kushina for a moment before turning back to watch her like a hawk.
"Hiri-kun, this is my very good friend, Uzumaki Kushina," Minato smiles lovingly at Kushina and she rolls her eyes at him. "Kushina, this is Kakashi's adopted son, Hatake Hiri."
"Uchiha," Kakashi interrupts Minato and Rin blinks in surprise, then again in understanding. Kakashi doesn't want to take Hiri's father from him in anyway that Obito is still here, so Hiri will be keeping the Uchiha name.
"-Uchiha Hiri," Minato corrects himself, not bothering to get into it right now. This is no time to be getting into a fight about last names, not when Hiri is still dealing with his feelings in regards to Kakashi having been in a homosexual relationship.
"Pleased to meet you, Hiri-kun," Kushina gives Hiri a little wave and Hiri smiles shyly back, wiggling his fingers at her over Kakashi's shoulder.
"Pleased to meet you, Kushina-sama," Hiri murmurs. Then he turns his attention to Minato and in a completely serious tone asks, "Can the demon escape the pretty lady, Minato-sama?"
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