Summary: In which Obito gets reminded of certain things, gives away some things he shouldn't have, and trains a bunch of kids without his chakra.
"Hope you don't mind having a training partner tomorrow," Obito said, then shoved his spoon into his mouth. He chewed thoughtfully. Then, as if finally noticing Naruto's confused stare, he finished his phrase, "cuz you're getting one."
Naruto dropped his spoon, then stared at his brother, mouth open. "...It's not Sasuke, is it?" The boy whispered, voice full of dread.
"What? No!" He wrinkled his brows in confusion. Because seriously, what? What did his estranged cousin have to do with this? "...Why do you think it's Sasuke?"
"I don't know," said the blonde, now frowning. It was a strange expression to see on his normally cheerful face. "You're the one who's obsessed with him."
His eyes widened in shock. Obsessed-? "Hey" Obito yelped, "! I am not obsessed with him - what the hell are you -"
Naruto scowled even more. He blinked. Oh. He had a feeling he knew exactly what was going on... "You - You're not jealous, are you?"
The boy paled suddenly. "W-why would I be jealous of a jerk like Sasuke?" He defended, albeit a bit unconvincingly.
...Looks like he hit the mark. Obito grinned. Seriously? Who would have thunk it? "I can see right through you, kid."
He had his suspicions, but he supposed it was better to get it from the source. "But why are you jealous of him, Naruto?" Sure, there was the obvious - Sasuke was beloved, hailed as a genius by his peers, loved by the girls and admired by the guys - everything Naruto was not, and wasn't that a familiar scenario. But that had never bothered Naruto before - at least, not to this extent - so... what was different about this time?
"...Why do you care about him so much?" Naruto asked finally, staring at Obito with large blue eyes. The rest was unspoken, but obvious to both parties nonetheless. What does he have that I don't?
Obito blinked, then sighed. "Oh, Naruto... Alright, I'll explain. And I promise, it has nothing to do with you. Look... have you noticed that Sasuke and I look alike?"
The boy rolled his eyes. "Duh. It's pretty obvious. You have black hair like him and you kinda do look a lot like him, but... Sasuke's family's all dead - right?"
"...Yes and no." Obito bit his lip. Should he tell him the cover story or the truth? On one hand, there was the security of the village to be considered, not to mention the inevitable questions that would arise... but on the other, this was his brother, blood or not. He settled for a mix of both. "Sasuke's my cousin. I wasn't in the village when... all the other Uchiha died, so I'm still alive."
Naruto's expression changed from shock at the initial revelation to something a bit harder to read. "...If he's your family, then why aren't you with him?" He spat.
"Well, he kinda hates me, for reasons I can't tell you right now -" Obito realized abruptly that was not the right thing to say. Naruto's expression darkened even more.
"You're only sticking around because nobody better wants you there with them," Naruto said, voice dead. "I knew it was too good to be true - why would anyone wanna be my family if they had a choice?" His voice broke off suddenly into a dry sob.
"Stop it!" Obito exclaimed, then engulfed his brother into a hug. "You're getting the wrong idea. It's nothing like that, alright? I'm freaking lucky to have you as my brother and there's no way I would leave you now, Sasuke or not. Sasuke's family, but you're family too. And I don't abandon family. I'm not obsessed with Sasuke, I just want to make sure he's doing alright. He's an orphan too." But Kakashi had been assigned to that department, making Obito somewhat unneeded. Not to mention that Sasuke was giving him some very unpleasant flashbacks to a certain arrogant silver haired prodigy.
"But he's your cousin," the boy argued.
"And you're my brother." Obito replied, voice matter of fact.
"It's not the same!" Naruto said mulishly. "Your mom and dad aren't my mom and dad - we're not even related, not like you and Sasuke -"
"Like that makes a difference! Blood is thicker than water, sure, but it isn't everything. Just because we aren't blood related doesn't mean you're my real brother, doesn't mean that I value Sasuke more than I value you." Obito scowled. "Anyways, my parents died before I actually got to know them. I was close enough to your parents that I saw them as mom and dad anyways, so -"
He paled. He... was pretty sure he wasn't supposed to say that. But then again, Obito always had a problem with saying more than he should have.
Naruto stared at him. Then slowly, he whispered, "you - you knew my mom and dad?"
Obito swore profusely - mentally, of course, he couldn't risk corrupting his baby brother! The Sandaime had been pretty adamant in this rule specifically - "Don't tell Naruto about his parents." But looking down into Naruto's hopeful, bright blue eyes, he couldn't help but think, just a little won't hurt, right? The kid already had to grow up all these years without knowing the slightest bit of information about his family - it wasn't the end of the world if he knew just a bit more, right?
...He had a feeling that certain other people wouldn't see it that way. But this was his brother, his responsibility.
"...I did," Obito said finally, and hoped that Naruto wouldn't do the math and asked him some incredibly awkward questions. Time travel did screw up a lot of things. "They were good people. The best." At least, to Obito, they were. He had never had much of a father figure in his life - and for that matter, any parent figure at all - and Minato-sensei and Kushina-kun were all he had. Not to imply that they were inferior in anyway - hell, they were probably some of the most precious people Obito had, if not the most precious.
"What was my dad like? Was he a shinobi - was he strong? Was my mom pretty? Was she nice?" Obito would have swore that the kid was bipolar. In the span of a second, Naruto's overall mood had flipped from depression to exhilaration. Even when he was younger, his mood swings weren't this huge. "Tell me everything!"
He hesitated for a moment, making sure whatever he said wouldn't give away details. There was probably a reason that the Sandaime didn't want Naruto to know about his father being the Yondaime and his mother being the previous Kyuubi jinchuriki. "Your dad was a shinobi. Yeah, he was strong -" He refrained from saying just how strong. Obito had a feeling that Naruto wouldn't exactly keep quiet over his father being one of the most powerful shinobi in known history. "He was kind and understanding and he would have been so proud of you. And your mom - she was one of the most beautiful people I knew."
The position of most beautiful was, of course, claimed by a certain brunette with purple tattoos on her cheeks and a love for flowers.
Naruto seemed entranced. Obito continued, "she was a really powerful shinobi. I think she could have matched your dad in that aspect," Obito continued. "She loved ramen. I still don't know how she could eat fifty bowls of ramen at one sitting."
Oh shit, was the kid tearing up? He was. "I - I love ramen too!" Naruto wibbled. Obito patted his head awkwardly.
"...Yeah, you're a lot like your mom. Personality-wise, at least. And as you might have guessed, you two have the same tastes in food. But I think you take more after your dad in looks." Obito had a feeling that once the kid grew up a bit, he would uncomfortably like a younger version of his Sensei.
"But - who were they?" Naruto demanded, a glint in his eyes. "Why haven't they come to get me yet?"
Obito paused. He knew for a fact that the kid had been told that his parents were dead. But again, he must have been told a lot false things about his parents too - nasty things, he guessed. Maybe Naruto hoped that his parents being dead was also a lie? "...I'm sorry, Naruto. Your parents are... gone. They died in the Kyuubi attack. They died protecting the village." Just... a lot more directly than was implied. You can't get more direct than "sealed the Kyuubi into you at the cost of their lives".
"...They died the day I was born," said Naruto with horrified realization. He bit his lip. "...Why. Why couldn't they have survived? We could have been so happy together." His eyes were shining with unshed tears.
Obito pulled him into a hug. "...I don't know, little bro." Actually, he did know - because a certain masked man who may or may not be Madara Uchiha had a vendetta against the village, and pulled Minato-sensei and Kushina-kun into it as well. If only the man not let the Fox out - well, life would be much different for one Naruto Uzumaki.
He felt a sudden rush of pure hatred for the masked man. Naruto could have been loved. He could have had parents, instead of a crappy older brother who had lie to him about such important htings.
But instead, Naruto Uzumaki was stuck in a village that hated him for something he couldn't help. He was alone -
No. He wasn't. Obito wouldn't let him be alone. Minato-sensei and Kushina-kun might be gone, but Obito was determined to take care of Naruto in their stead. He held no pretense that he would do as good of a job that they would have done, if they had surprised - but he would do his best.
...But if he ever got his hands on the bastard behind all of his...
Obito scowled. So what if Madara Uchiha was a legendary shinobi with power beyond his wildest imagination? Obito had always been determined. Once he was started on something, he didn't give it up. Not ever. And now, he wanted to make sure that the masked man never hurt anyone ever again.
Madara Uchiha better watch his back.
"Hey, Obito-nii," said Naruto, fidgeting in his new training gear. Obito wasn't going to let his little brother fight in a bright orange jumpsuit if he could help it, no way. "I just realized... you still haven't told me who my training partner is. It's not Sasuke. Who else can it be?"
Oh, right. Obito had spent the rest of the day trying to cheer Naruto up, which meant a trip to Ichiraku's, a few hours in the park, and a brief journey into a candy store, from which the boy had emerged almost completely covered in sugar. Needless to say, they hadn't gotten much done. "Her name's Sakura," he said. "I don't know if you know her, but she looked around your age, with pink hair."
Naruto's jaw dropped. "My training partner's Sakura-chan?"
"...You know her?" Obito quirked an eyebrow. Was that a blush? That was a blush.
"Yes! No!" His face was crimson. "How do you know Sakura-chan?"
Obito grinned slyly. Oh, this was too priceless. "Met her in the forest one day. What, she your classmate?" Yeah, a classmate for sure. Just like he and Rin were classmates...
"...Yeah. But... I don't want to hit Sakura-chan!"
He rolled his eyes. "Please. Like I'm going to make you two spar on the first day of training. You two should at least learn some taijutsu before you can get there. Besides... she can take it. If she can hit you, then you can hit her. There's no such thing as chivalry in the world of shinobi." Shinobi who refused to fight enemy kunoichi because of a stupid reason like that usually ended up dead, very quickly.
But this was interesting. Sakura herself didn't seem to have that much in common with Rin, to tell the truth - sure, they were kind and caring, but those were pretty broad traits. The pink haired girl was determined yet very unsure about herself. Rin, on the other hand, had always been quite self-confident from the first time Obito had met her, that first day of Academy.
Naruto definitely had some sort of crush on her. ...And from what Obito could tell, Sakura barely knew he existed.
Obito had experience - a lot of experience - with situations like this... he had spent years building up courage to confess to a certain teammate, after all. It was his duty to help out those unfortunates stuck in his previous circumstances - and it was his kid brother too, which just strengthened his resolve.
Training... wasn't exactly what Sakura Haruno had expected. She didn't know what she had expected, actually, but this definitely wasn't it.
"Alright. You two both have proper training gear, so that's good." Obito clapped his hands together with glee. "Let's get this started then."
"What kind of cool stuff are you gonna teach us this time, Obito-nii?" Naruto shouted, eyes wide with excitement. "Fireballs? The technique with the logs?" Obito didn't reply. The blonde faltered. "...Kunai? Shruiken?"
"Heh. This is your first training session, remember? We're going to start with the basics." He grinned. "Twenty-five laps around the field."
...Sakura's eye twitched. Sure, she saw the logic in that, but she really had been hoping for something a bit more exciting... Training to be a shinobi didn't necessarily bring an image of running to mind.
Naruto seemed to feel the same. "Eh?" He yelped, "But running's boring, Obito-nii! At least teach us taijutsu or something."
The older boy frowned. "...Kid, running might be boring, but it might just save your life one day. Sometimes a shinobi has no option but to run away. Anyways, you two need to get in shape. Knowing how to do flashy techniques doesn't mean anything if you don't have the chakra coils to use them - not that flashy techniques aren't awesome. Besides, you're not going to last long as shinobi if you have to stop for breath every few minutes." He grinned. "So, run."
The blonde grumbled, but did as he was told. Reluctantly, Sakura followed him.
She had never been physically inclined. In school, Sakura had always been at the top of her class, but unlike some others, she didn't do so well on the training field. It was no surprise to her that she was already out of breathe by the fifth lap and practically gasping for air by the tenth. This... was harder than she thought. And yet, Naruto was still jogging in front of her at the same pace at which he started.
Sakura stared. Alright, so she wasn't exactly fit. The distance was probably a piece of cake to a trained shinobi. But still, Naruto's stamina was remarkable, at least to her. She slowed down slightly, took a deep breathe, and ran. So maybe there was no way she could catch up to Naruto. That didn't mean she wasn't going to run until she physically couldn't.
She had always wanted to prove herself, and now she had the opportunity to, she was going to. She had to! And so Sakura ran, face red and legs burning from the exertion.
But even sheer will can't change reality. On the twentieth lap, she was feeling woozy - it was a large field, alright? - and she had a feeling that she was going to faint if she didn't stop soon. And yet, Naruto was still running, looking barely winded. Damn.
Exhausted as she was, Sakura didn't notice the small rock jutting out of the ground in front of her foot. One misstep later, she found herself sprawled on the ground, face pressed uncomfortably close to the grass, and breath knocked out of her. She groaned, made an attempt to get up, and thought better of it. Maybe it would be best if she just laid there for a few minutes...
"Sakura-chan!" Naruto shouted, sounding panicked, "a-are you okay? You're not dying are you?"
She moaned, then rolled over. "I'm fine, Naruto-kun."
"I need to get Obito-nii! Obito-nii, I think Sakura-chan's dying!" The blonde yelled. "Wait - Obito-nii? Where are you!"
Silence. Sakura brushed the sweat out of her eyes and got up gingerly. "Seriously, I'm alright." She patted the grass out of her clothing. "Wait, where is he?"
The field was empty. Sakura blinked. She swore Obito was standing right over there just a few moments ago...
Naruto blinked. "Sakura-chan... do you think Obito-nii was kidnapped?"
She shook her head. "I'm pretty sure your brother could handle himself..." But again, hadn't Obito told her that his chakra was messed up for some reason? She put the thought out of her head. "Let's look for him. He has to be around here somewhere."
They found him kneeling next to a bush near the edge of the field, grabbing at something inside. On closer look, it was... a girl?
Sakura stared. Wait, she knew this girl...
Naruto came jogging up. "Obito-nii!" He cried, "what are you doing over -" He stopped. "Hey! You're that weird girl who stares at me all the time!" Naruto pointed an accusing figure at the purple haired girl, who by now was looking quite faint.
Hinata Hyuga - for that was who she was - gave a muffled squeak and keeled over.
The trio stared for a while. Obito gave Naruto a look. "Great going, bro."
The blonde flushed red. "I didn't know she was going to faint!"
His brother rolled his eyes. "...You two know this girl?"
"She's a classmate," answered Sakura. "Her name's Hinata Hyuga."
"She's a total weirdo!" Naruto added, "She follows me around and stares at me, but whenever I try to talk to her, she squeaks and runs away! And - and she's always blushing too, maybe she has a disease or something."
Obito had an odd look on his face. "...Yeah, sounds like she has a disease alright." He smirked. "...She must have caught a love bug." This was said quietly, so only Sakura could hear.
Naruto blinked. "Wait, did you say something else?"
"...Nah, you were probably imagining it." Obito changed the subject. "So, we have an unconscious Hyuga on our hands. Any ideas?"
Sakura looked at Hinata closely. She had seen the girl in class, sitting by herself at lunch and perpetually hidden in the back row of the classroom. She never volunteered to answer questions, but gave the right answer whenever she was called on. Hinata never said anything other than strange little frightened sounds, and as far as Sakura knew, she didn't have any friends.
...And didn't that situation sound a bit familiar. She made a decision.
"We should ask her to join in," said Sakura. "Maybe that's why she's hanging around." ...Not. It was obvious that Hinata was here for only one thing - well, obvious to everyone except for a certain blonde Uzumaki. But she needed an excuse, and here was one ready made for her.
Obito gave her a significant look, then grinned. "I think that's a good idea. Sakura-chan, wake her up."
Hinata opened her eyes, and saw pink.
"Eep," she said, eyes wide.
"Hi," said the girl as she beamed at her, "my name's Sakura. Sakura Haruno." Hinata stared at her blankly. "...I'm in your class."
Oh, right. She had seen Sakura before - it was hard not to notice her, what with the bright pink hair. But what was she doing here? The last thing she remembered was Naruto-kun pointing at her and -
Oh. Oh. Hinata blushed fiercely. Great, she had made a complete fool of herself in front of her role model/crush/stalkee and his brother. But... what was this girl doing here with... with Naruto-kun? A horrified realization dawned on her. No... what if Naruto-kun had -
Her thoughts were interrupted by said pink haired girl. "You're Hinata Hyuga, right?"
She nodded dumbly.
"Well, we're wondering if you wanted to train with us." Seeing the look on Hinata's face, Sakura quickly backpedaled. "It's alright if you don't want to, I mean, I don't want to force you into anything -"
"No," said Hinata. "No," she said again, a bit more forcibly. "I-" She hesitated. It wasn't an easy decision. On one hand, she could get closer to Naruto-kun. On the other hand, did she really want to get closer to him? Hinata always felt safer watching from a distance. But again, she had always wondered...
Sakura waited patiently. Hinata swallowed. "I would love to," she managed, then clapped her hands over her mouth, as if she couldn't believe she had just said so.
The other girl broke into a big grin. "Great! I won't have to be the only girl anymore." She pulled Hinata up, and began dragging her away. "Obito and Naruto-kun are training over there - I think they're actually starting on something other than running -"
Hinata allowed herself to be pulled. It was a different feeling to be included. Not bad, just different. For a moment, she wondered. How would it feel like to have friends, to really talk to people out of her family? Sure, Neji might be considered a friend - a very, very distant friend - and maybe some of the other clan kids her parents forced her into meeting. But this was not like any of that.
A small smile appeared on her face. Maybe... this was something she could get used to.