The Obito=Tobi/Madara conspiracy theories (and the delicious/ridiculous t-shirt above) inspired this story, written just for all of you at I Are Awesomeness. You guys are awesomeness and you inspire me…and so I (IbikiTeishi) couldn’t let Halloween pass without writing about a haunting. Hope you enjoy.
If you’re not familiar with the theory, this vid shows the gist.
But the better bit is from Jeremiah’s post.
Most of the story is under the cut, to protect all those sharingan eyes. It’s about 1,500 words and suitable for anyone who reads the manga.
Swirling wind gusted at Kakashi’s ankles, tossing the husks of fallen leaves against the memorial stone. He shoved his hands deeper in his pockets and hunched against the chill. Branches whipped until the dried out remnants of summer leaves whispered protest, and the wind in his face tried to smooth his hair with icy fingers.
The full moon rose like a great baleful eye whose orange surface never blinked in the face of things like death or the black reflective surface of the cenotaph.
Two weeks until her birthday. Another year had come and gone without him getting her name on the stone. Red tape and politics had kept her from that place of honor, and he hadn’t fixed it yet. This year. This year would be different, but the promise had been going on so long it felt like a vacant lie.
Obito’s name, darker against the darkened stone, stared at him unwaveringly, and he couldn’t look away. He blinked; a tear from his left eye eased into the damp patch on his mask. Such things had always been better left to Obito.
A rustle behind him tightened his spine and put a ripple of adrenaline down his shoulders–into his hidden fists. Tentative footsteps closed in from down wind.
Who would be out here tonight, with a harvest festival in town?
Someone who didn’t want to be seen right away—someone who had waited until the wind was at Kakashi’s face, then came up from behind—and on the left. The strategy or accident in that approach remained to be seen.
He gathered chakra in his left hand, just in case; the buzz of hidden lightning shivering along his skin. Turning slow, sniffing for clues about the intruder, he only caught the hint of deadened turf and decaying leaves.
A single man in a dark cloak eased toward him, the black hood obscuring his face. The man paused under Kakashi’s gaze, held his gloved hands out from his sides and…laughed like an idiot.
Tension curled in Kakashi’s gut, warning him to keep his wits; this hidden man seemed to mean no harm, but something about him niggled.
Known and unknown.
Familiar yet foreign.
He couldn’t place this man anywhere, and Kakashi rolled through sharingan memories; something would be there, he felt it.
“Hatake Kakashi, why are you still here?” The man laughed again, a hollow sound that reminded him of false passages in an endless cave.
“Do I know you?” Kakashi breathed.
He’d heard that voice not long ago, but it had been a chance encounter. Where? When? His mind raced to put a picture to the sound. Should he power up raikiri? Or stand down?
Who was this person?
“Knowing? Being? Feeling? Isn’t it all just a matter of perspective and time?”
Kakashi took a steadying breath, not certain how to respond to madness.
“Hm. You talk like you think you know me, but don’t realize I have no patience in this place.”
Truth was he had too much vulnerability here. Truth escaped his lips here. Truth surfaced into his thoughts and leaked out through left-eyed tears that had been veneered into submission everywhere but here.
The laugh tickled his ears again, and the cloaked man stood within his arm’s reach. Either he wasn’t a shinobi or he came after trouble. Kakashi felt his right eye narrow and considered revealing the other eye.
“This wind makes you look even more like a scarecrow,” the man murmured, voice rumbling just over the crackle of dead leaves. “Sad really, that you have accomplished so little…and yet you stand out here in the falling leaves and wish it had been you on that stone.”
Adrenaline coiled for a strike, but Kakashi breathed through it. Rage led to blindness, and make no mistake, that comment had sparked a rage which could only come from wounded truth.
“Again, you have me at a disadvantage. I would hate to accidentally strike a friend. Or are you starting something with me?” Kakashi slouched, kept his dark eye hooded his red eye bound, but gathered more chakra.
“Starting? Oh, me?” More laughter. “Clearly I have you at a disadvantage if you use that word. And yet, I didn’t come to finish either.” Shoulders shrugged under the cloak. “Scattered, I guess. I don’t know why I came.”
Kakashi placed him then, and an ominous sense of dread closed around his heart. He knew that under the hood of the cloak, the face would be masked and the single eyehole would reveal a sharingan eye.
Raikiri chirped and whistled in the wind as he lunged toward the figure’s heart—only to have his fist travel straight through.
His breath caught, eye rounded as the hooded man caught his wrist and spun him away.
“That wasn’t very nice.”
“You need to leave this place,” Kakashi hissed through gritting teeth.
“I’m not making any trouble, though. I’m here to honor the fallen of Konoha. You’re the one dishonoring the dead.”
Kakashi adjusted his hitai-ate, revealed the sharingan eye—the other man’s eye glinted red under the cloak.
Widening his stance, Kakashi reached for more chakra, felt the hairs on his arms lift and dance in the wind and electricity.
The cloaked man laughed. He turned his back on Kakashi and walked away. He should chase him; keep him from the village; chase him far from town. But unruly feet planted as the leaves around him swirled on wind like a sigh. The familiarity shifted into place a second time, and the realization stole his breath.
Insane. Not possible.
The imprint of the masked sharingan user’s hand burned on his wrist; the chakra felt familiar, but the memory of it lay buried in a memory from long ago. The feel distant and faint, like a dream from yesterday left unfinished and half-remembered on waking.
Eerie wind had set his mind on edge. Insane.
He forced himself to move, racing up behind the man, working hard to summon his chakra as fast as his foot speed—refining the boiling lightning, stopping just before the light and sound could be sensed.
His opponent turned, hood thrown back to reveal the one-eyed mask; right-eye against left-eye like a matched set, sharingan glowed red in the silvery dark.
Kakashi reached down and steadied the lightning again, brain still rifling through memories of opponents and near-opponents. Because it just couldn’t be. A miss? Had he missed a target in the past and not known?
One more attack, two at the most, and he would know better how the other man’s jutsu worked.
Time-space. That seemed to be the way of it. Like…his own mangekyo. And that opened so many possibilities. Made the insane possible.
The hollow laugh—familiar and also completely foreign—rose over wind-whipped branches.
He feinted right, spun, lunged left with raikiri, knowing it would pass right through, but the jutsu only provided a distraction for the follow-through kick. The lack of resistance shocked, as his foot passed straight through as well; he spun to keep upright, sliding back over the leaves, gasping for air, balancing his stance by dragging a palm through fallen leaves.
Nubbly black hair spiked out above the mask, bent a bit on the wind. So familiar.
Insane. Maybe he had fallen asleep on the cenotaph and he only dreamed?
Kakashi bobbled then froze, as a pale, narrow hand settle on his arm. Genjutsu? No, there was no genjutsu at work. Shock settled deep in his guts, turning his bones to jelly.
Soft brown eyes under auburn hair, clan marks down her smooth, young cheeks—she had not aged a day.
“Rin,” he whispered, not caring if his masked opponent was about to strike.
“How can you strike at him, Kakashi?” Her voice rose on the wind, clear and cold, like a prayer bell. “When you owe him so much?”
“Yes, Rin, my thoughts exactly,” the other man answered, his chakra building.
Kakashi reached for Rin and grappled only with air, catching nothing more substantial than a puff of wind. It was too late. Both of them melted away, into the dark. Forms dissolved into nothing without the decency to flash smoke and announce their leaving.
“Rin.” He swallowed against the lump in his throat. “Obito.”
Only the swirling leaves at the edge of the trees answered him. Dark wings of an owl passed over the glinting moon, the ghostly beating of its feathers drowned by the harsh rustle of fallen leaves.
The moon had risen high enough to lose its orange glow, blanching to the color of Kakashi’s ashen face or his wind-abused silvery hair.
Shoving his hands deep in his pockets, he turned from the cenotaph and headed home, more haunted and alone than ever before.