WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR WHOLE SERIES UP TO CH.643
Disclaimer: Cover image belongs to とり | Pixiv ID 411393. Naruto belongs to Masashi Kishimoto.
Summary: The war is over, and Naruto has found the way to peace, but no one is left to enjoy it. Including himself. Dying and unable to give up, Naruto does the only thing he can: give the last living member of Team 7 a second chance. Whether Kakashi want's it or not. [Time Travel Fic (with a twist?)]
Author's Note: This was born out of a desire to see a time travel fic where Tobi is Obito and not Madara, and the goal is stop Obito from going insane (not just dying) and exploring the long reaching consequences of it not happening. I will warn you: Kakashi and Obito will not immediately become friends (it would be unnatural for them to at this point), some things will still happen while others will not, and I'm not afraid to mix anime canon with manga canon. This fic will not focus on romantic relationships, although there will be some in here. If there will be any pairings besides the established ones, I don't know when they will appear nor who will be in them. (All other notes at the end of the fic.)
Dedicated to 4himkjv1513 (crimsonsiren23), who encouraged me to write this, listened to my questions, and gave me advice.
That day had finally come: the one he had been secretly dreading since the moment he uttered the words, "You pass!"
Hatake Kakashi made his way to the hastily cleared area that had by some unspoken agreement been cleared for the injured. They didn't have time to raise a tent; didn't have time to save the majority of the people being brought in. They were dying faster than they could be healed. There simply wasn't the chakra left to save everyone.
It was a sight he had seen before, known he'd see again. He had only hoped he would never see one of them here.
Uzumaki Naruto lay off to the side, a respectful, almost privacy the gathered Alliance medic had given him. This was, after all, the savior of their world. The tragedy was that it would ultimately be at the cost of his own life. Naruto's injuries were beyond their abilities to heal. But all rights, he should have been dead several times over, but the very longevity that gave him so much life was now only prolonging his suffering.
As he approached, a head of long, dark hair rose, and Kakashi recognized the Hyuuga girl, Hinata. The girl had been with Naruto since the end of the war, he own exhaustion and injuries ignored in the face of what was to come. Kakashi wouldn't be surprised if she planned to remain there until the Uzumaki's death.
A part of Kakashi wondered if Sakura would wake up before it was too late. Her pale, slack face had given not even the slightest hint of waking the last time he'd checked on her, and he feared she would be too late, if she woke at all.
Hinata blinked up at him, face almost surprisingly pale considering her normal reactions to the boy laying before her. She was this calm, even though she had his hand in her own. It was a pity her crush had matured to this point at such a late point in their friendship. "Kakashi-sensei."
Kakashi nodded in response to her greeting, gingerly settling himself down to sit at her side. "How is he?"
He almost wished he hadn't asked, the way her whole face crumpled. Not long then.
The teen himself cracked open an eye, seeking out his sensei. Naruto smiled upon seeing him, and despite the fact that it was weak, it was still him: all warmth and light. Even at Death's door, Naruto was no one other than himself.
Kakashi's heart ached to think he would never see it again, even as he couldn't help but take comfort from it.
Naruto opened his other eye, looking up at Hinata. A knowing spark passed between them, and the teenage girl nodded. To Kakashi's slight surprise, Hinata began to rise. Was it time for final goodbyes already?
She'd barely gotten her feet under her, when Naruto squeezed her hand, rather than letting go. Startled, she paused. "Naruto-kun?"
He turned that smile on her, even as they saw the vague sadness creep in under the genuine happiness.
Kakashi wondered when she had confessed.
"Thank you, Hinata."
Naruto's words were quietly spoken, but unbroken. Whatever it had cost him, he didn't let it show.
Hinata froze for a moment in indecision. She bit her lip, and it seemed she would leave it at that. Instead, she took a deep breath to steel herself, before leaning over to press a light kiss to Naruto's forehead.
Despite his grogginess, Naruto still found the sense to blush and stare at her in surprise. Kakashi was silently amused that she had done it. He hoped it would help with any regrets.
Hinata, bracing herself with an entirely different kind of courage, placed Naruto's hand on his chest and rose to her feet. With a nod in Kakashi's direction, she left.
A silence fell, broken only by Naruto's soft, wet breathing. Part of Kakashi didn't want to do this again, to sit by as another teammate far too young died, but he ruthlessly squashed it down into the pit of his heart. He had failed at every turn leading up to this moment. If Naruto still wanted his company at the end of his life, it was the least he could do for him.
"Are you alright, sensei?"
Kakashi stared down at him, a million responses going through his mind before he noticed the way Naruto's eyes were lingering on the bandages visible through his flak jacket. The older of the two smiled, more for show then genuine as he tried to give off an air of unconcern. "It's nothing to worry about. None of them were severe." He didn't say how Obito running him through had nicked an artery and by the time he'd returned, he'd been dangerously close to bleeding out.
Naruto closed his eyes, content with the knowledge, and they fell into a brief lull again; Kakashi with nothing he could say and Naruto gathering his strength to say whatever their final words would be.
"Do you think the world will really head towards peace, sensei?"
Kakashi raised an eyebrow, a little surprised by the philosophical nature of the question. Even knowing about the search the teenager had inherited from Jiraiya and Minato, he somehow hadn't expected it.
Kakashi looked out among the people, the dead and the living, around them. Their clothing was different and they wore distinctive styles native to their respective nations, they moved around each other as if they had done so all their lives. Here, on the battle field, there were no individual nations, just the one united, shinobi alliance. These people were forever changed by the alliance, and they would take that home with them. It would be back home, however, that the real test would begin. While these people had been through life and death together, and knew who the people of the other nations really were, the people back home still had the same impressions and animosity they had before the war.
"If we remember what happened here, and can keep that resolve, it will be a step in the right direction." He peered down at Naruto to see if the blond had gotten what he was trying to say, and was pleased that at least something got through. "But we still have a ways to go."
Naruto stared off at something only he could see, uncharacteristically lost in thought. "Would we have been able to get this far without this war?"
Kakashi tilted his head at the question, a little lost at the direction this conversation was taking. "Perhaps. Perhaps not. I'm not really one to ask."
"Is it worth it, if our precious people aren't around anymore?"
Kakashi briefly closed his eye, thinking of just how many people weren't here to see this day. It was a hole he could fall into and never claw himself back out of, if he thought about it too deeply.
"Someone's precious person is going home tomorrow, even if they aren't our own. Although, one day, they might be."
Naruto nodded, catching the reference to how to survive losing bonds. If he was soon to be one of those lost bonds, he didn't show it.
"Sensei? Would you trade this to save those precious people?"
Kakashi frowned, finding the question a little cruel in principle. He'd be willing to trade a lot of the things to save the lives of the people he'd lost over the years, but what did it matter when he couldn't? He'd learned long ago, the dead were gone for good, even with techniques like Edo Tensei being thrown into the mix.
Naruto seemed to take his silence as all the answer he needed. He turned his head to the side, eyes narrowing in on Sakura's comatose form across the clearing. "I found the path to peace, but I couldn't save my precious people to share it with." Kakashi opened his mouth, maybe to say that there was nothing saying Sakura stay like this, that she could wake up, to say nothing of the rest of Naruto's friends who were various states of just fine. They'd lost a great deal of people (over half the people the started with. Sasuke), there were people still alive, but Naruto interrupted him, "But that doesn't mean you can't."
Naruto's hand snapped out and then grabbed hold of Kakashi's wrist with more strength and speed the teen's condition should have allowed him. He held tight against Kakashi's instinctive attempt to pull free. Before the older of the two could think to seriously put effort into an escape attempt, markings unlike anything he'd ever seen spread out them, lighting up and rooting Kakashi in place.
Naruto's smile was disarming; that same goofy smile that reminded Kakashi of who Obito used to be all those years ago. The lack of malice in his student's actions had never did anything to abate his concerns over how very wrong they could go. "I badgered Kurama until he taught me this one." The smile turned serious and the hairs on the back of Kakashi's neck rose. "He promised this wouldn't hurt you. This is the only thing I could think to do for you."
The light intensified, gaining more attention from the people around them. One medic attempted to approach them, but hit an invisible wall. Naruto had raised a barrier. When had he even learned how to cast a barrier? Or was it the Kyuubi, Kurama, doing this?
Most importantly, if Naruto still had this kind of power, why wasn't he trying to save himself?
"Sorry I wasn't a better student, sensei. Maybe I'll be a better one the next time around."
Whatever Kakashi thought of that foreboding statement was lost as whatever this technique was took hold. It felt like something had hooked itself onto his very soul and pulled. It was little comfort, as he began to lose consciousness, that there was not pain, at least. If Naruto was still alive, if Kakashi woke up, he'd almost be tempted to give the boy a lecture rather than any kind word of goodbye.
His last thought before the darkness swallowed him was that Naruto was still the number one unpredictable ninja and how Kakashi was sorry they'd most likely never meet again.
Waking up with a splitting headache wasn't an unfamiliar feeling, although it might have been a surprise that he had woken up to begin with. Truthfully, the only surprising thing about waking up was just how soft the bed was and how peaceful the room was. Whatever Naruto's and Kurama's technique had done, it must have knocked him out long enough for the medics to him transport back to Konoha. Secretly he hoped Might Gai hadn't gotten it into his head to bring him home again. He could only handle the Piggy Back From Hell™ so many times in one life time.
Gingerly, Kakashi cracked open an eye, wincing as the bright morning light came in through the room's window. He wasn't in his own room, the window wasn't in the right place, but he also wasn't in a hospital room. It didn't have the right smell or look or even feel to it. In fact, there was something about the room that nagged at him as he inspected it, like it should be familiar but he couldn't quite place it...
Sitting up, he came to the realization that the room looked an awful like the bedroom of his first apartment. He'd moved into it when he'd left (fled) the house he and his father had lived after the latter took his own life, because it hurt too much to stay in that house with his father's ghost and to still keep his head. It was such a perfect replica, right down to personal effects he hadn't seen in years, let alone remembered before that moment, that he couldn't stop himself from raising his hands and attempting to break a genjutsu.
The room didn't change, but his voice had. Or rather, it had changed back. He hadn't sounded that high pitched since before he hit puberty.
Naruto's foreboding words echoed through his mind like a damnation, and slowly he looked down at his hands. The surreal aspect of the sight them (too small; not enough scars; not his, but undeniably his) was almost too much. It was with morbid fascination that he raised one of his-not-his hands to the left side of his face, almost knowing what he'd find.
His face was smooth. The scar was gone.
He was bolting for the bathroom, almost tumbling to the ground as his legs (too small; weaker) caught in the blankets. Although he was expecting it, even as his mind worked through the shock, he still almost didn't believe it. His mind wanted to rebel against the sight because it was impossible.
And yet, that was his face staring back at him: unscarred, too young, and undeniably his face. Almost against his will, the left eye he instinctively kept closed opened, and his training must have really been kicking in full time because it was with a kind of dull acceptance that he took in the lack of Sharingan.
He stood there for several long moments just staring at the face in the mirror, torn between the desire to give into urge to run around screaming in panic, because time travel, and going back to bed and waiting for this dream to be over. He forced himself to take a deep breathe, closed his eyes, and reached for that calm center that had gotten him through (just about) anything life had thrown at him. Holding onto that calm by the skin of his teeth, he took stock of his situation.
This hadn't been a genjutsu and his chakra wasn't disturbed. In fact, it felt like he had the same level he had on normal basis, which didn't make sense with the fact that he just been exhausted from fighting a war, forget the fact it was too much for a child. He set the thought aside for later inspection, wanting to explore it later. His head ached far too much for this to be a dream, and he didn't recall seeing any red moons with creepy eye techniques embedded into them, but as it was day time, it was a little hard to double check that assumption. Another thought to play with later.
So, either this was a new level of punishment Obito had constructed for him (because why else would he be aware that this might be a genjutsu if the Uchiha had cast an Eternal Tsukiyomi while no one was looking), he had lost it (because it was bound to happen sooner or later and why not relive his past failures while he was at it), or Naruto had really done it this time, the little brat.
Feeling he was in control again, at least somewhat, Kakashi navigated the apartment to where he was fairly certain he remembered keeping a calender. As he did so, he pushed down the general off signals his new-old body was sending him. If he really was in the part, he wasn't looking forward to being in the past nor was he looking forward to going through puberty (ugh, the voice cracking phase, joy) again.
Oh god, if this was real, he was a pre-teenager again with the hormones and the angst... He would almost wish this was the Eternal Tsukiyomi or that he'd lost it, rather than going through that hell a second time, but well, that would mean they'd lost or he was in a padded room somewhere and neither option was all that much more appealing.
Kakashi found his calender (not where he remembered; he'd have to re-familiarize himself with his things, just great) and had to close his eyes as his control threatened to slip. He wasn't one to cross out days, so he didn't know the exact date, but the month and the year was enough. He was twelve and he was a Chuunin and it would be six months before he made Jounin; before the Kannabi Bridge mission; before Obito 'died' but didn't die, and instead fell into the hands of a lunatic. It was ten months before Rin's death and Obito's decent into madness. It was nineteen months before Obito unleashed Kurama on Konoha resulting in the Yondaime's, Kushina's, and so many other people's deaths.
Something tightened in his chest as the full weight of the task unraveled before him. Naruto had placed the weight of theentire future on his shoulders, entrusting him with diverting the almost annihilation of the human race. Maybe even finding whatever Naruto had thought was the way to peace, and he didn't even want to think about attempting to do that because he was no where near delusional enough to think he was the right person to find that path.
When Kakashi pulled his head off the wall (when had he given in, just for a second, and leaned on anything?), he had resolved himself to the fact that there was little he could do at the moment but to go with the flow and gather more information. While he wasn't convinced this was real yet, it was unlikely that he was actually in a Tsukiyomi of any kind. The bight, shining sun was out, the sky was blue with a few milling clouds, and there was no black moon or red sky. That left insanity or time travel, and although he was fairly everyone was insane to a degree there was nothing he could do with that theory, so that left time travel.
Plan in mind, he set out to attempt to find an exact date. He glanced around the room, hoping against hope he'd find something to clue him in. While he wasn't surprised to find nothing, he couldn't help but feel annoyed with himself. Meticulous to a fault (at least in this case), he had never needed to write down training times or meetings or the start of his mission, he very good memory allowing him to retain dates and times without the need for a written reminder.
Despite what he had lead his students and friends to believe, he never actually forgot the exact time he was supposed to meet them.
He vaguely pondered what the Yondaime (he'd have to remember it was just Minato-sensei or sensei now) and the other two would think if they had seen the person he'd become. It wasn't the first time he had wondered it, but it was the first time it had been a very real possibility.
Well, he wasn't going to find any answers here and he'd never been one to avoid unpleasantries. If he wanted to know his full situation, he'd have to venture outside and gather intelligence. It would also be a nice excuse to get used to his new-old body.
Resolve as firm as it would ever be, Kakashi too to the task of freshening up and getting dressed. In a way, it felt like dressing for a familiar part he hadn't played in a long time. Nostalgia and a warm, familial feeling washed over him at the sight of his father's unbroken tantou. He wondered if his father's soul would be back at that little camp site in the middle of the nowhere that was limbo or if the dead were unaffected by the machinations of the living. It was a philosophical question he knew the philosophers would have a field day with, if he ever asked them. He was amused over how easy it was to slip it's holder on, and slid it into place, even after all these years.
Costume in place, he left the apartment, and then took to the roofs, a neighbor was treated to the odd sight of him nearly sailing over the building instead as he overcompensated the chakra needed to propel his smaller, adolescent body as opposed to his heavier adult one. He only stumbled a little as he landed, and by the time he was making his next jump he had already found the correct mix chakra and muscle to make the journey.
The village before him, he mused from a favored vantage point he'd found still existed even eighteen years into the past, was most definitely the Hidden Leaf Village, but it wasn't just the Konoha from before Pain's attack. It was the one before Kurama's as well. Although there was a war going on, and he could feel in the underline tension in the day-to-day activities, it was bustling in a way he hadn't realized he missed.
These people did not know what it felt like to be attacked by one of their own. It was almost too easy to want to make the promise that they wouldn't this time around, if he had anything to do with it, but he had long since learned that there was never any guarantee that people would remain the same as they grew older. He could name quite a few examples, and only one of them was Obito.
Time froze, and he was back in Obito's genjutsu in Obito's pocket dimension, fighting to keep a level head even as too many emotions barraged him at once. He fought back the urge to double check that he was awake and this was real, and was thankful for his mask, even if it covered less of his face that day.
With an almost grueling slowness, Kakashi leaned over enough to look down at the person who'd called his name.
Uchiha Obito all of twelve years old and whole in body and mind, stared up at him flabbergasted. A little voice in the back of Kakashi's mind pointed out how easy it would be to just kill the boy now, before he could fall into insanity. How many people would be still be alive if he did? Forty thousand? Fifty? All the blood shed to come would never happen, because there would be no Kyuubi attack, no hunt of the Jinchuuriki, no Fourth Great Shinobi War.
Even as the thought crossed his mind, however, the image of Naruto as he faced down Sasuke at the bridge that was supposed to be the Uchiha's grave and refused to give up on him, no matter what challenge rose in his way appeared before him as if the boy were there, frowning upon him and the thought. Kakashi was no Naruto, and Obito was no Sasuke, yet he couldn't shake the absolute knowledge that wasn't the whole fucking point of this to save his precious people?
Beside Obito, the elderly woman peered up at him. It was more than likely she owned the bags the boy was carrying, and it was never that Kakashi doubted Obito was telling the truth, so much as he had always viewed it as an excuse. She squinted, more from the distance than the morning light, her eyes failing her in her old age. "Is this the Kakashi you spoke of, Obito-kun?"
The woman's seemingly innocuous question caused the dark haired teen to suddenly appear nervous, even as the boy stubbornly refused to break eye contact. Judging from the amused expression on the woman's face, she was teasing Obito, who more than likely had said some not-very-nice things about Kakashi in the past.
Kakashi debated responding with his younger self's personality. It would be less bothersome and so much smarter, especially in his vulnerable state, but... Naruto had sent him into the past to change things, hadn't he? He had done some insane and crazy things for the blond in the past, why not add another thing to the list.
Once upon a time, Uchiha Obito had changed his life for the better and the least he could do in return was finally save him.
His heart must have already made the decision his mind was slow to come to, because even as he told himself to move, he was already jumping down to land in front of the duo. Obito tensed as if expecting a fight, and the woman appeared to be nothing more than curious.
Kakashi turned his attention on the woman. He couldn't recall ever meeting her and judging from her advanced age, he wasn't surprised. Although he knew and encountered countless people in his lifetime, there were so many more that lived and died without meeting him, even here in Konoha. "Hatake Kakashi," he introduced with more politeness than he usually made the effort to show he had the capacity for. "It is nice to meet you."
The woman beamed and Obito was going a little bug eyed behind his goggles. He looked like he was torn between being openly suspicious or just plain confused.
"Kuramoto Kaori. What a polite young man you are."
To the side, and just out of Kaori's sight, Obito had turned an interesting shade of blue, as if he had choked on his own tongue. Kakashi entertained the idea of carrying on the charade (because upon further inspection of the mischievous gleam in the woman's eyes, it was a charade), before deciding to take pity on his former-current teammate. If pushed too hard, Obito might think he really was an impostor, and that was the kind of attention he didn't want.
Kaori, perhaps sensing the change in mood, gestured with the hand not braced on her cane towards what was undoubtedly her home. "If you don't mind my borrowing your teammate a little longer, I'll give him back to you. Obito-kun has always been such a nice boy to me."
The Uchiha in question was frowning and glaring, as he expected Kakashi to tell him to drop the bags right then and there and stop breaking the rules with this 'distraction.' His old self just might have done so, old woman be damned.
"Please lead the way."
The woman was pleased with the response, and began her walk home. Kakashi and Obito fell into place beside her, the latter of the two with a little hesitation and eyeing Kakashi like he'd never seen him before. He was obviously itching to ask him something, but was managing to hold it back. No doubt he'd have to play twenty questions once Kaori was safely tucked away at home.
Kaori pulled Obito back into whatever conversation they'd been holding before Obito had seen him. Kakashi kept half his attention on the conversation while taking in as much of his surroundings without openly giving away he was doing so. Most of the people out and about at this time of day were civilians shopping and complaining about the rise in prices since the beginning of the war. Although one woman came close to giving him an actual date ("My brother's birthday is the 29th, do you think we should throw him a party?"), no one actually said it. Kakashi marveled over the fact that not one single person said it in the entire hour it took to take Kaori home.
It was hardly the most challenging information gathering mission he'd ever undertaken, but it still would have been nice if it had really been that easy for once.
The teen himself was just seeing Kaori inside with her bags, the elderly woman assuring him she could handle putting the bags away since he had been so kind as to carry them home for her. She shoo'd him away, saying, "You've helped this old woman enough. Go get to where ever you're supposed to be. You're probably late as it is."
Obito scrunched up his face, most likely over the thought of the inevitable lecture to come for being late yet again. It wasn't hard to guess he was expecting the before mentioned lecture to come from Kakashi himself, if the dark looks being cast his way were any indication. Kaori paused before closing the door, her eyes oddly old and somber for what had seemed a cheerful person. "You boys look after each other. You're teammates are invaluable."
Obito nodded as if he'd known this all along (and really, he had). Kakashi wanted to tell her that he understood in the same way she more than likely did: because he'd lost them along the way. Maybe something showed in his body language - the old were always able to read the young, no matter how skilled they thought they were - because she closed the door with the air of contentment that came from a lesson well learned.
For several minutes, Obito and Kakashi merely stood there, staring at the closed door. The longer the Uchiha didn't turn on the Hatake, the more explosive Kakashi imagined it would be when he did and he wondered if he wasn't thinking of a certain blond instead.
Obito's outburst, when it did come, could hardly be explosive, but it certainly demanded his attention. The dark haired teen all but invaded his personal space by jabbing a finger at his face. "Alright, what do you want? You're not here to give me another lecture are you?"
Kakashi thought of what his younger self would say right then, if such an occurrence such this one had happened. More than likely the lecture about keeping time with something insulting thrown in there just to show the boy what he thought of him. While he could give that kind of lecture again, because if he could make the decision to kill his own student, he could certainly hurt this boy in front of him, but he knew in his heart that he just didn't want to.
So, instead, he asked, "What day is it?"
Obito paused, visibly thrown by the lack of a lecture. "March 21st."
Kakashi did the math. Little under six months to change Obito's fate. The date itself didn't tell him what they were supposed to be doing today, so he asked in the same monotone of the first question, "And what is today?"
That annoyed pout Obito had worn almost 95% of the time he had been around Kakashi, since Kakashi's throw away insult about Obito's tardiness the day they met at the academy, was back. "We're supposed to be training today. Sensei had a free day and wanted to train with us." A brief flash of guilt crossed his face at wasting their sensei's time, but he covered it up with pointing accusingly at Kakashi. "I know why I was late, but what were you doing? I thought you'd drop dead before breaking your precious rules."
Kakashi tried to picture what Obito would do if Kakashi told him he was trying to get his barrings after his student with a too big heart had sent him eighteen years into the past. More than likely jump on the 'Kakashi's lost it' bandwagon right along with him, especially if he thought Kakashi somehow meant it as a joke.
"I came to make sure you didn't get lost," he settled on.
Obito wasn't sure what to do with that statement. He obviously thought Kakashi was lying, and he was right, but the teen didn't appear to have a better explanation. Finally, simply shook his head, clearly not wanting to deal with him. Muttering something that sounded like not needing a baby sitter, the dark haired teen took to the roof tops and then took off in the direction of the training grounds. If he noticed that Kakashi let him take the lead, he probably just brushed it off as the silver haired not-teen making sure he didn't get lost or something.
Kakashi followed on autopilot, taking the time to allow himself to prepare for the 'reunion' to come with those two. He hadn't seen Rin, the real Rin, in almost eighteen years and he had completely missed the reunion with the Edo Tensei resurrected Yondaime during the last few days. it was one thing he'd regretted, even as he knew he feared it.
He also pondered how best to go about befriending Obito and getting them ready for the Kannabi Bridge mission. He'd also need to gradually introduce his real personality. Long term undercover missions took their toll after a while. He had the training and the skills to do it if he needed to, but it would raise a ton of questions when he inevitably fell out of character a year into the future, because he was going to do everything he could to keep Obito with them and Rin alive. It would be a project to work on in the days to come while trying not to actually go insane from the wait.
As the training grounds came into view, Kakashi pulled himself from his thoughts. He was going to need all of his wits if he wanted to survive this next encounter, and his nerves were already frayed from the trails of the last few days as it was.
Although nothing in the air held a hint of malice, Kakashi couldn't shake the feeling he was head off to meet his judgement day.
NEXT: Kakashi meets up with Rin and Minato and wasn't prepared in the least.
On the timeline: Kishimoto broke my brain between ch.599 and the original ages. The guide book said Kakashi and Obito were both 13 when Obito died. I don't know if Obito is older or younger than Kakashi (it could easily be either), but I wrote the story under the assumption that Obito was older. There is no date for Rin's death (Oct 10 was a translation typo, I've read the original and it was "Minato and Kushina," not "Rin and Kushina." I'll admit it was very tempting to leave it, but I had no realistic way to pull it off), so I made a general assumption based off the length of Obito's hair from "death" to the trip down La La Lane.
And I hope that made sense to someone, because, again. Brain breakage. OTL
On the use of Japanese: I will not go hog wild with the Japanese, so everyone can breathe there. BUT... I will be using some. Honorifics are important to the social structure of the Japanese language and it does play a part in the Naruto series, even if Naruto himself tends to take some liberties with them. Heh. All techniques will also remain in Japanese, as I'm too lazy to look up all the official English translations. Other than that, I believe 'maa' will be the only randomish Japanese word I ever use, as there's no real translation for it. :| Sorry about that.
The story title and chapter title are from the song "Bullet Train (feat. Joni Fatora)" by Stephen Swartz. If I can get away with it, most, if not all, chapter titles will be lyrics from this song. Maybe one or two breaks. I kind of like the idea of a title called "these bruises make for better conversation."