Chapter 51: Approval
To sum it up in a single sentence: life rolling calmly by.
Perhaps not too calm, given the secret second-life Kakashi led, but each day kept to familiar routines. In between attending the Academy and hours upon hours of Obito, Kakashi's second life fulfilled it's obligations dutifully in the background. Regular shadow clones were dispatched in the mornings while the main body attended class. The tasks were never strenuous - mostly orders to watch over shinobi on missions or keep an eye out on the stirrings of the ongoing war. It would do its thing until it eventually popped on its own, may it be from chakra exhaustion or fulfilled assigment.
Back in Konoha, however, life as Kakashi Hatake, the seven-year-old, was calm – or at least as calm as it could be with the presence of an energetic Uchiha in his near vicinity.
Much like past months, the moment Nimori-sensei finally dismissed his class for the day, Obito shot out from his seat and leap straight into Kakashi's personal space. "Ne, can I come over, Kakashi? Let's have fun before you go all grumpy!" he declared breezily, against all idea of proper etiquette.
Kakashi was more concerned about his logic. "Excuse me?"
"You know, that frown-y look on your face needs to go. Smile more!" Obito said. "So, can I come over?"
Kakashi sighed. He didn't know what the correlation between smiling more and coming over to his house was, but nevertheless, he tilted his head an inch as if contemplating the question. "I'll have to ask Minato first," he finally said, unable to deny the other boy anything. Because Kakashi had long realised staying out to play had always only been one objective of Obito's – rather, he just really didn't want to go home until there was no other choice. Kakashi had interacted enough with the Uchiha Clan (up until the massacre) to know what an uptight bunch they were, and it was obvious Obito, the black sheep of the family, was looked down upon by most, if not all, of the prestigious members who valued their clan's continual reputation.
Obito cheered. "Alright! Let's go!" the boy cried, hands clamped over Kakashi's arm. And then he proceeded to drag Kakashi all the way home.
This was an invasion of his personal space that Kakashi wouldn't have allowed the first time around. If Kakashi had still be that stoic, scornful child of the past, Obito would've been slammed down on his back by now, kunai by Obito's throat, and words of hate spat through his lips every breath. And that was just ridiculous because Obito clearly meant Kakashi no harm, other than, perhaps, drowning Kakashi in a flood of eager friendliness.
…and honestly, Kakashi didn't think he could call Obito annoying anymore, because somewhere along the lines he'd gotten used to it, much like his immunity to Naruto's blinding orange jacket.
"Maaa, slow down."
Obito grinned at him. "Jeeze, if you were any lazier, you wouldn't move at all. And then I could replace you with a mask," the boy added thoughtfully.
Kakashi scoffed before a fond thought tugged at the corners of his lips. "You mean you could replace me with two masks."
Obito paused mid-pull. "You don't!" he gasped. "Why are you wearing two masks? Doesn't it get hot under all that?!"
"Yes," Kakashi lied. "But how else am I going to evade nosy kids from trying to remove it?" he asked pointedly. The silver-haired boy rolled his eyes at the pouting look Obito sent at him. "Yes that includes you." And it really did. Obito wasn't as bad as that one day so long ago, when his genin decided to spend an entire afternoon plotting to sneak a peek underneath, but the Uchiha had his moments.
"You can trust me! I won't make fun of your buck teeth," Obito promised.
"Buck teeth?" Kakashi felt his lips twitch, remembering the guesses Naruto threw out to entice Sasuke to join into the cause (and just because they didn't know he was there didn't mean he wasn't). "Don't you mean my thick, blimp lips, or disproportional mouth?"
"Really?!" Obito gasped, "I'm so sorry for making fun of you! I didn't know you looked ugly under your mask!"
Sometimes Kakashi couldn't tell if the boy was being honest or simply mocking him.
Minato freed the living room in the Namikaze Complex for the two to work in. He moved his own scrolls into the kitchen, half-heartedly studying his own work as he observed the dynamics of the two boys.
Kakashi and Obito's relationship was an odd one, in Minato's opinion. Where Kakashi was stoic, quiet, and controlled, Obito was energetic, loud, and brash. If anything, the two kids were absolute opposites of each other, and it begged the question of how those two managed to get along so well.
There was a soft, pleased glow around Kakashi when Obito was around. The seven-year-old seemed unusually attached to the Uchiha, for someone who normally kept to himself. Minato supposed, perhaps, Kakashi saw himself in the boy. Kakashi was labeled with so many titles and preconceptions - everything from the White Fang's son, to the disgraceful Hatake. Yet, despite this, Kakashi did not let the words tie down his mind and limbs, breaking free to do whatever he pleased. Obito was similarly labeled, even though a stuffy, supercilious member of the Uchiha Clan was clearly everything Obito purposefully strove away from.
This friendship was good for the two of them.
They worked through half-an-hour's worth of homework time before Obito's dwindling attention span finally snapped and he broke the silence in the apartment unit.
"I'm so bored!" Obito groaned out, flopping onto the ground with his arm draped over his eyes.
Kakashi leaned across the small chabudai table their textbooks and worksheets occupied, staring at the other's written answers. "Your page is blank."
"I was reading," the boy whined prodding the thick textbook with his toe in his prone position. He jumped up a second later. "I need a break," Obito declared, suddenly sounding so much more energetic than seconds ago.
Kakashi waved him off with a sigh.
Obito pouted. "What kind of host are you, Kakashi? You never even offered me water." He made his way into the kitchen where Minato sat.
To his entrance, Minato looked up, rearranging the piles of scrolls around him. "Would you like a cup?" Minato asked, making to stand up. He supposed Kakashi never had friends over, and the boy tended to lack social skills.
"Nah," Obito shrugged, "He was nagging at me so I nagged back. I can get it myself," he said with a grin.
"I can hear you," Kakashi muttered from the other room.
Minato let out a chuckle as Obito bounded over to him. "So, what're you working on?" He stared uncomprehendingly at the mass of scrawls weaving in and out of each other like some sort of ancient language complied into a form of art.
"I'm trying to tie two different seals together."
Obito blinked cluelessly. "Can't you just put it on top of each other?" he wondered.
Minato shook his head indulgently. "It's more difficult than it sounds to draw them together and keep them stabilised. Especially two seals with fundamentally different bases."
"Huh," Obito said, trying and failing to sound enlightened.
Perspective as ever, Minato waved the boy off with a smile. "You just focus on your homework."
Obito scowled at the reminder of the wretched thing. "Ugh," he muttered to himself, before slipping back towards the cupboards of the kitchen. He randomly threw a few doors open, presumably trying to find the cups, before he was sidetracked. "Whoa Kakashi, Minato is awesome!"
Minato looked up from his scrolls in amusement. "Why thank you," he said casually, when the raven-haired boy turned to grin at him. "May I ask why I'm so awesome?"
"What did you find now?" Kakashi deadpanned.
There was rustling in the kitchen in lieu of an answer. Finally, the Uchiha leaped towards Kakashi, his arms spilling in bags of goods. "Look at all this candy stocked in the cupboards. It's heaven."
Kakashi stifled a chuckle, recalling Minato's reasons for buying the bulk in the first place. Had it really been nearly a year since then? "They're all expired, most likely," Kakashi pointed out before Obito could start stuffing his mouth.
"So what? Candy is timeless!"
"Unfortunately, your homework is not," Kakashi said pointedly, quickly pulling the boy back on topic before he forgot.
"Stop reminding me!"
It was a little later that Kakashi finally managed to get the other boy settled in and grab his homework out again, snacks littered around them (around Obito, really). Obito refused to leave until they finished their homework together. Or rather, Kakashi finished it in a second, and spent the next hours watching Obito stare blankly at his own page, doodling.
"That's still not homework," Kakashi tsked as the Uchiha let out a moan in frustration before he rolled away. "Obito, you've covered the whole table with garbage."
Obito gave another groaned from where he'd flung himself on the ground. Words were swirling around the page, trying to give him a headache, and he wanted to get away from it all. "Throw it away for me," the boy whined.
"Don't be lazy," Kakashi said promptly. Minato didn't quite hid a pointed cough at the boy's chide. Kakashi purposefully avoided acknowledgement of it because, though Minato didn't realise, there was a difference between pretending to be lazy and actually being so.
"Come on, Kakashi. My brain is melting from the homework. You don't want a brain-dead friend, do you?" Obito whined pitifully.
It was banter like this that Minato knew he didn't regret sending Kakashi to the Academy. Truthfully, Minato worried every day the kid was at school. Minato knew the kid's solitary behaviour, his dry humor, his odd quirks, and stoic personality. Even someone as inexperienced as Minato could see Kakashi was different from the other children his age. He worried if the seven-year-old wouldn't be able to fit in, wouldn't be able to experience a proper childhood before all the responsibilities that came with being an adult inevitably fell on Kakashi's shoulders.
Watching Kakashi and Obito banter with each other calmed Minato's heart and he knew he'd made the right choice. They were good for each other, those two. Minato had never seen Kakashi get along so quickly with someone new, especially not a kid his age (Minato recalled the play-date he'd set up a year ago, and the way Kakashi had stood off to the side watching the proceedings instead of mingling as all the other children had done).
There was just something about Obito. Obito seemed to bring out the best of Kakashi – like they'd been brothers before they'd ever met.
Minato completely approved of their friendship.
a/n: It's not that I don't remember to update; it's just that I procrastinate with editing. Anyways, I'll try for next week since you've been so patient with me.