Chapter 1: Rin's Birthday
Author's Note: Happy birthday, ChibiJinchuuriki. I hope you enjoy this story - it's dedicated to you.
Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto.
"Sorry I'm late, guys!" A black-haired, goggle-wearing boy called out from the distance as he frantically sprinted toward his ninja teammates.
The boy was drenched in sweat, almost as if he'd been running for a while. This caused his goggles to fog up and impair his eyesight, which in turn led to him blindly running into Kakashi Hatake, a teammate and longtime rival of the boy's. Minato, the duo's blonde-haired sensei, watched, laughing as Kakashi tried to force his friend off of him.
"What's wrong with you, Obito? Why are you always so late?" Kakashi asked angrily to the black-haired boy, more commonly known as Obito Uchiha.
Obito smiled sheepishly. "Sorry, Kakashi, I must have somehow forgotten to set my alarm clock last night. But hey, you know, it's probably better this way, because now I'm well rested for our mission!"
Kakashi rolled his eyes, "Whatever, Obito. If this were the first time this happened I'd feel differently, but you're late every day. If you don't start waking up on time, I'll wake you up my—"
Minato held his hand and motioned for Kakashi to be quiet, "Now, boys, let's not fight. After all, what's more important: a little bit of lost time or your friendship? It's impossible to restore time by fighting. All you can do now is work with what you have."
Kakashi sighed. He hated to admit it, but his teacher was right. " Alright, sensei... Let's get started."
Obito nodded and took the time to examine the training area. Everything looked the same as ever, but at the same time it felt like something... or someone was missing.
"Where is Rin?" Obito asked, still looking around for said girl. Rin was the third and final member of his and Kakashi's three-man squad.
Before Kakashi could answer, Obito stopped looking and let out a hearty laugh.
"Looks like I wasn't the last to show up this time!" Obito teased, playfully punching Kakashi on the arm.
"Actually, no," Kakashi corrected. "Don't you remember our conversation yesterday?"
Obito looked confused. "What happened yesterday?"
Kakashi sighed, exasperated, but he still explained, "We're planning a way to surprise Rin for her birthday, so we told her there was no training today so we could work on planning out the party."
"Oh," Obito said sadly. Deep down, he had really hoped for Rin to show up.
"Anyways," Kakashi continued, "we need to pick out something for Rin's birthday, so let's head out. We're going to my house to think up a good gift for her."
Obito smiled at this news. This was finally his chance to show Kakashi up! After all, he knew more about the girl than anyone else on his team. He'd make sure that Rin had the best birthday possible.
"Minato, are you going to keep an eye on Rin and make sure she stays away from us until 3:00?" Kakashi asked as he looked down at his wrist watch. "Its 6:37 now, so we'll have until then to make the preparations."
"Sure thing, but are you sure you have enough time? Planning a good birthday party may take longer than you think," Minato said.
"Not sure. It would have been nice to have an extra half hour, but because of you-know-who, we'll have to make do with what we have." Kakashi explained.
Obito felt like saying something, but thought better of it. He was smart enough to know that Kakashi was talking about him, but the last thing he wanted was to resume his fight with Kakashi from earlier.
For someone who lived alone, Kakashi seemed to do a great job at keeping his house spotless. This was the opposite of Obito's place, which was a lot more cluttered and disorganized. It always took Obito hours to find anything in his home. He wondered if that was why Kakashi picked his place over the Uchiha's to plan for Rin's birthday.
Obito immediately made himself comfortable sitting at the dining room table. Kakashi, on the other hand, went into a drawer and took out a pad of paper and a pen.
"Okay, to figure out a gift for Rin, let's first list things that she likes," Kakashi suggested as he took a seat beside Obito.
"Well, Rin likes being nice," Obito said.
"Nice doesn't count. Come on, Obito, you know her better than I do."
"Rin is pretty," Obito said, blushing.
Kakashi sighed. "We need to list things that would lead us to finding a present that she would like, not just character traits. Rin is a medical ninja, so maybe we should get her something a medical ninja would like."
"Oh," Obito said. "Well, Rin enjoys reading."
"She does?" Kakashi asked.
"Yeah, haven't you noticed? She has a ton of fiction books. Sometimes she brings them with her on our missions," Obito said, beaming. He felt happy that for once he thought of something before Kakashi.
"Well, if she likes reading then maybe we could get her the newest volume of Icha Icha," Kakashi teased. "If she likes it, then I may actually consider asking her to be my girlfriend. If not... Well then, I'll just ask for it back. Either way I win."
"You're a horrible person to even say something like that!" an offended Obito shouted. "Why Rin even likes someone like you is something I'll never understand!"
"Relax Obito, I was only kidding," Kakashi said. "Anyways, I think we should go to the book store and see if there are any good stories for Rin."
Kakashi and Obito soon arrived at the ninja bookstore. It was a big place with books of every sort that ranged from topics like genjutsu all the way to gardening.
Kakashi and Obito went straight for the romantic fiction section and began search there. Obito searched through the assortment thoroughly. Every so often, he'd pull a book off the shelf and read the back cover, then he'd put the book back. Although there were so many options, none of them seemed, well... right. Sure, there were a few good selections here and there, but were they something Rin would find hard to put down?
Even some of the year's best-sellers didn't seem right. Vampire Heart was supposedly really popular amongst girls. It was a trilogy about a teenage girl who fell in love with a vampire.
Obito spent a long time with that book in his hands. He couldn't help but wonder if it were really the best choice. Surely there had to be a better story, something that Rin could easily relate to.
It was around that moment that Kakashi made his way up to Obito. He instantly took note of the romance novel in the Uchiha's hands.
"Good, I'm glad you were finally able to find something," he said.
Obito looked down at the book with a mixture of shock and confusion. "O-oh this... I don't think Rin will really like it that much."
"Come on, we don't have much time as it is. Let's just take this book and get out," Kakashi said, taking the novel out of the boy's hands.
"No, I really don't think Rin would like this!" Obito retorted, snatching the book back.
Kakashi sighed. "We don't have much time as it is. Let's just take the story and go. If Rin doesn't like the gift, she can just return it."
"But I want to make sure we get her the best gift possible," Obito explained.
Kakashi groaned and took a moment to think over a new plan. "Alright, how about you stay here and look around some more, while I do the rest of the shopping by myself. I'll come back and we'll head to the training field together to set up."
Obito nodded. "That sounds like a good idea."
So that was what they did.
It took a lot more searching, but Obito finally found a book he was happy with. It was a story called Toki Sakura No Aki. It was about a teenage boy and girl who both had a crush on each other, but were too shy to confess their feelings.
The cover had a red rose on it. This led Obito to believe that the story had a happy ending, and he liked happy endings. He thought this book fit Rin perfectly.
Now all that was left was to purchase the book and wait for Kakashi to return. Obito wondered if Kakashi was having as much luck as he was having.
At that moment, Kakashi was sitting down at a bakery waiting for his number to be called. He was just relieved that today wasn't a very busy day. The only person before him was a man with white, spiky hair.
"I can't believe no one was here to celebrate my birthday!" the man complained to Kakashi as the two waited together. "I spent a few years away from the village and now it seems like the people forgot about their old toad sage."
"That sucks," Kakashi said, trying to seem sympathetic. In all honesty, he wasn't sure why this strange man was talking to him, but he sort of enjoyed the company. "What did you do?"
The man blushed and started to laugh, which came out more as an awkward sounding noise. "Well, I did what I usually do when I feel lonely. I spied on some pretty girls and wrote out ten new chapters for my book."
Kakashi backed away a bit from this guy. "That's, uh... really nice," he said, forcing a smile to show through the creases of his mask.
The white-haired man was about to reply when a woman walked out with two cakes.
"Numbers five and six," she called, handing the cakes to the ninja. "Thank you, and please come back again some time."
After that, Kakashi was off again. He made it back to the book store just in time to witness Obito's purchase. Then together, the two went to a party store to buy decorations.
When they got back to Kakashi's home, Kakashi ordered Obito to visit the training field and decorate for the party while he called up some of Rin's friends from the Academy.
Kakashi now stood by himself in the kitchen, looking through an old phonebook for some familiar last names. The fact that many people seemed to share similar clan names like Uchiha or Senju didn't seem to help much.
The phonebook was filled with dozens of Aburame living in this area alone. Kakashi decided it might just be an easier idea to visit the friends instead. So Kakashi left in search of Rin's friends.
Most of the visits seemed to go by painlessly. So far, with the exception of a few people that were away on missions, everyone was easy to find and available for the party.
It wasn't until Kakashi came to the house of Rin's childhood friend Inuzuka Mai that he began to run into trouble. The visit started out normally. Kakashi knocked on her door and she invited him in.
As Kakashi walked in, he was quickly greeted by the smell of fresh sweets and the sound of Mai's dog Haruki. It wasn't until shortly after that that Kakashi noticed the brown-haired girl sitting on Mai's couch, shoveling a slice of banana bread into her mouth.
"Who's at the door?" the girl called from the couch.
"Rin, what are you doing here?" Kakashi asked, failing to hide his surprise.
Rin gave Kakashi a confused look. "... Is there any reason why I shouldn't be?"
It just so happened that Minato picked that very moment to step out of the kitchen with two cups of tea. He took one look at Kakashi and cringed. Then he looked back to Rin and handed her and Mai the drink. After that, Minato and Kakashi left the room to talk more.
"I'm sorry," Minato whispered. "Rin really wanted to visit Mai and I couldn't tell her no or else she would have been suspicious."
"So you played tea party instead?" Kakashi replied also in a whisper.
Minato sighed. "I guess you could say that. But I told Mai about the party. She'll be there. Now you should go and help Obito; it's almost time."
Kakashi nodded, "Thanks, Sensei, but what will you say to Rin?"
Minato smiled slyly. "Don't worry, I've got it covered. Now hurry."
About two seconds later, Minato walked back into the room only to meet Rin's curious gaze.
"Where's Kakashi?" she asked.
"He just needed to ask me something, but he's gone home already," Minato fibbed.
Rin frowned and let out a small sigh. She had really been hoping to get to spend some time with Kakashi too. Why did it always seem he was too busy for her, even on her birthday?
Obito wasn't a very experienced decorator, and anyone in Konoha could have told you that just by taking a look at his bedroom. So it perplexed him to no end as to why Kakashi had put him in charge of decorating.
Obito could list a number of reasons why the two should have simply switched jobs from the start. However, the boy knew that since decorating was his job, he'd do his best to please Kakashi and he'd do it for Rin.
Obito thought about a banner that Kakashi had given him saying the words 'Happy Birthday.' That would be the easiest to find a place for first. He knew it needed to go up high, but he wasn't sure how to hang it.
Then Obito noticed the large sakura tree in front of him. If he could get up there, it would be the perfect place. People would be able to see the banner from miles away.
Unfortunately, climbing was another thing Obito wasn't very great at. He had a great fear of heights and hated to be any higher than two feet. Nevertheless, Obito tried.
It was pretty easy at first. He remembered his Sensei's tree climbing activities and tried to mimic his movements from before. Once the banner was hung, the only problem would be getting down.
Obito looked toward the ground. Part of him wondered how he made it up so easily. The other half cursed at him for getting into this mess in the first place.
Thankfully, Kakashi was quick to the Uchiha's rescue. He instantly took notice of the boy in the tree and tried his best to coax him back down before joining in on the decorating.
Kakashi and Obito finished decorating the training field just in time; Rin's friends were now showing up. Before the group knew it, Minato also showed up with Rin and Mai.
Rin's eyes lit up at the sight of every one of her friends standing in the decorated clearing. The biggest smile her friends had ever seen her wear covered her face.
"HAPPY BIRTHDAY, RIN!" everyone cheered, and if possible, Rin's smile grew even larger.
-phantom130 5 (March 2011)