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Story Notes:
This is a very old piece that I'm still fond of, for whatever reason. Space is very emotional, somehow.

Minato-sensei was running really, really late.

Kakashi had been kind enough to point that out to Obito, along with the comparison that if Obito was here before him, then their teacher must've been miles behind schedule. Obito had shrugged it off, citing an arboreal mermaid as his excuse for being late. Not that it seemed to matter, since Rin wasn't there, either.

He didn't blame her. Who wanted to spend a late summer evening doing nighttime stealth drills with Kakashi? Gross.

Leaning against one of three wooden pillars set into the packed earth of the training ground, Obito blew out a sigh. He'd have a better chance of making light conversation with the cicadas than the boy currently sitting atop another one of the pillars.

Boooring... Adjusting his goggles, he lifted them away from his forehead, glancing upwards. The sun had set at least an hour ago, and his night vision was excellent to begin with... but maybe there was something particularly special about a clear night. He could see the stars stretch on forever, dappling the soft, dark sky.

Leaning his head back, Obito kept looking. It was like a flat horizon: he felt that if he kept looking, there was no limit to how far he could see. With a view like that, it was easy to think away from the sun-warmed earth under his feet, to be drawn to a cold, full moon low in the northeast.

"Hey... Kakashi... what do you think it's like, up there?"

"You really can't be quiet."

"It's just a question... you know, to make the time go by faster." Since Minato-sensei is late. Of all the people to get stuck with! Obito didn't care if they were teammates, or if they had been for a while, or if they would continue to be for even longer: he didn't get along with Kakashi. It was no secret, but at least he tried to be friendly, which was more than a certain uppity brat did...

The armor plates lining the younger boy's arm glinted, as he scratched his face. "... I don't know."

The Uchiha perked up, surprised to get a follow-up response. "Hm? Don't know what?"

"What it's like, in space," Kakashi shot him a sidelong glance, critical as usual. "That's what you were rambling about, wasn't it?"

"Oh, yeah..." He grinned, overlooking the embedded insult. "You can see everything really clearly out here, away from all the street lights and windows... I was just thinking about it. There's nowhere here on the ground that's anything like the night sky, is there?"

"The ocean is kind of similar... but there are islands, so I guess not."

"It's supposed to be cold. In space, I mean." Idly, he snapped the band on his goggles, gaze fixed on the stars above. "I don't get the point of a place like that existing, anyway..."

He trailed off, and it was quiet again, for a moment. The singing insects had never stopped, but they once again sounded like the loudest thing around.

Surprisingly, it was Kakashi who interrupted the quiet.

"It must be a lot like being a shinobi."

"Huh?"

"When you're a little kid, your parents tell you stories about great shinobi, having fantastic adventures and winning amazing battles..." Kakashi stared out at the darkened training ground, the summer night completely still. "But when you finally graduate from the academy, it's not like that at all."

Obito turned, trying to get a better look at his teammate. ...? Is a genius like him honestly that unhappy?

"You also hear about rabbits, princesses, and all kinds of spirits living among the stars... but I bet it's just as unforgiving up there as life is out here."

He had a point.

Not that Obito would ever admit it. It was a cynical view, one that belonged to someone with more experience, many more years, and a whole foot taller. It was easy to forget how young shinobi were getting in the middle of this war, and Kakashi was even younger than most. Apparently, being a prodigy gave you all kinds of advantages. Not that Obito would ever admit it.

"You're a whole year younger than me, at least," The Uchiha grinned, waving a hand at him in a gesture of mockery. "I bet your mama still tells you those stories!"

Kakashi didn't answer, although Obito could've sworn his masked chin dipped just a bit lower. What did I say now? As if he didn't dislike me enough already. Geez.

"I was just joking... man, you sure are cranky at night," The Uchiha put his hands behind his head, struggling to play off what he realized now might have been a hurtful joke. "Even if it's really harsh, we could make it in space. I mean, it makes sense, if we can make it down here... then we'd be alright. Why are you such a pessimist all the time?"

"... I'm a realist. There's a difference."

"Yeah, whatever."

Chapter End Notes:
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