Author's Note: The usual warnings, one this is a side fic, if you haven't read a decent way into "Minato Namikaze and the Destroyer of Worlds" you'll be confused, also, for completely utter and obvious reasons THIS IS NOT CANON.
It was October 10th, the leaves a heady orange and red, giving out their last cry before fading away into the depths of winter. The day, too, was fading into night, the celebrations winding down and the twilight elongating shadows and blurring the edge between realities.
So, that one could almost see the lanterns of the other world, in which this day was not like any other, but was instead a great festival of the yondaime hokage's last sacrifice for his people and the resealing of the Kyuubi.
It was a year after a day that had never happened, a day that glimmered in and out of the twilight if you could only stare long enough, and it was Namikaze Naruto's first birthday.
(Also, Obito, for what it was worth, was feeling oddly poetic and nostalgic. Like most things since the Kannabi Bridge mission, he blamed Madara, or perhaps like Lee-shishou tended to insist, he simply blamed the irrationality of the universe.
Mostly, though, he'd find himself blaming Madara.)
And whatever show Lee had put on for Minato and Kushina, perhaps even for Naruto, had long since faded after they had left the hokage manor. Instead, as she gazed out into the horizon, there was a strange inhuman masklike quality to her features, like everything human about them had been stripped away.
Finally, she said, "I don't think I'm supposed to be here, Obito,"
Maybe before, before, well, everything, he'd ask what she meant by that. Maybe he'd even insist that it wasn't true. Of course, he hadn't really known Eru Lee then, she'd always been on the periphery of sensei's life and the unknown beloved sister of Kakashi. When she wasn't there Kushina was, and when Kushina wasn't there she was, and sometimes all three of them were there together, but all the same other than a few fleeting thoughts about how weird she was he hadn't really given her much thought at all.
Obito would later regret that.
"Sometimes, I wonder if the universe isn't actively pushing me out. I am, after all, a foreign god. Worse, perhaps, I am the destroyer of worlds. I am a destroyer of worlds and villages in an era in which we hope to eliminate war entirely."
There was an odd tilt to her lips with this, it was a line he'd heard her use more than once, even that early into his apprenticeship, but he still felt like he was missing something. But he had glimpsed it by then, he'd seen more of it than probably anyone else would have, even Namikaze Minato, on October 10th one year prior.
And she wasn't wrong either.
The war hadn't been kind to Lee's generation, or Obito's for that matter, but now that it was over there were certain shinobi that you did not send out into the field unless you meant to ruffle feathers and cause panic.
Eru Lee easily fit into this category.
She was the yondaime's righteous sword, sheathed for now, always at the ready, but you didn't use that type of weapon unless you truly meant it.
She sighed, straightened, and said darkly, "I'm having that butter feeling, like butter scraped over too much bread."
She paused, then looked down at him, considering, "Obito, I'm planning on starting a space-time division, probably through ANBU."
"A space-time division?" he asked, eyebrows raised, furrowing the brow on the unscarred portion of his face and, well, the other side of his face just didn't move like it used to.
"Sure, you know, take one small step for man one giant leap for mankind, to find the summit of man's imagination and the pit of his fears, to boldly go where no man has gone before," Lee commented with a casual shrug, seeming to fall out of her own bout of nostalgia with the gesture, and into her preferred casualness.
He hadn't realized it until he'd met her, but really, at the end of things, Kakashi's nonchalance was nothing more than a cheap knock-off of his all but adopted older sister. It put a lot of Bakashi's weirdness into perspective.
"That's… That's Star Trek, isn't it?"
When one was apprenticed to Eru Lee they oftentimes found themselves recognizing a lot of references to English television and films. Or, in his sensei's case, if you just lived with them forever and had grown up with them.
"Good catch, young grasshopper," Lee said, seeming perhaps a bit too pleased, more pleased than she usually was by him mastering a jutsu or technique she'd laid out for him, which probably said more than enough about Lee as a teacher.
Then she paused and some of that sobriety returned from earlier, and when she looked at him it was as if she was looking through him, past the scars and his patchwork skin, past even the memories that he'd sometimes rather do without, to the very core of Uchiha Obito, "You've already learned enough to pass your jonin exams, and if you want to take them within the year I'll stay long enough to watch. However, that said, you're more than welcome to tag along if there's something you still feel needs to be learned or said."
She didn't offer much more than that at the time, not whether she thought he had more to learn from her (which he probably did), whether he was good enough to hold his own with the likes of Kakashi (which he probably could give him a run for his ryo), or what it was she imagined her space-time division would be doing.
Still, for his own reasons, the fifteen-year-old chunin, so very different from the thirteen-year-old newly minted chunin version of the same boy, Uchiha Obito, said yes.
They came walking out of the deep wilds of the desert, dressed in dark clothing, carrying thickly stuffed packs upon their backs, cloaks shielding their faces and necks and dark goggles obscuring their eyes.
And even then, even when they were just mirages on the horizon, blurred by the sun and the sand, Anakin knew that they weren't just sand people. That, in fact, they might not even be people at all.
For one thing, only sand people walked in and out of the desert on foot like that, anyone else used a speeder or at the very least a small hover craft. The desert was unforgiving, and even natives of Tatooine wouldn't last more than a few hours directly under the twin suns.
That said, even at a distance, staring into the twilight as the second sun began to set, they were too tall for sand people. And the closer they came the more their clothes stopped looking like the robes of the sand people and more like, well, Anakin didn't really know what.
Something off-world, foreign, at the very least.
And they were pale, paler than anyone who lived on the planet, paler than Anakin had thought possible in humans or even most species he'd seen. And that made sense, because for all that they looked human, there was something definitively inhuman about them.
He'd stood there, longer than he should have, long since he should have been headed back to his mother after the deliveries for Watto had been made, sitting on the beaten and bruised speeder staring off into the distance before the pair even reached the horizon.
The sense of something, he didn't know what exactly but something, approaching had been overwhelming.
And he'd watched, somehow without his eyes, feeling like he was staring into a third sun even as the other two set. The pair shrouded in… he didn't know what to call it, importance wasn't the right word, but it was the right idea. Like everything, the suns, the moons, the desert itself, trailed behind dutifully in their shadows.
Like just by stepping foot on the planet everything about Tatooine had changed.
When they finally reached him and the speeder, stopping, the taller of the pair took off their goggles and revealing a pair of startlingly green eyes. He wondered if trees were as green as those eyes, he'd never seen a tree in person before, after all.
For a moment those eyes stared at him, silently, and Anakin stiffened feeling that he was being judged, being pulled apart and put back together, and that there wasn't any feeling about it. He wasn't lacking but he also wasn't exceeding expectations, he was just…
"Koko wa doko?" Her words rang out despite how calmly and softly she said them, and for a moment despite his complete lack of understanding he almost understood, like he could understand the feeling or the thought of the words, even if the words themselves were unfamiliar.
She frowned, a slight expression, one not truly frustrated but certainly verging on it, "What do you call this place?"
The person next to her removed his goggles, revealing two extremely different colored eyes, one a dark flat black like that of a burned out ship and the other the same vibrant green as the woman's. Anakin started, noting that even with most of the other's face covered by cloth, by the goggles, the side of their face with the black eye was littered in thick pale scars.
The other, a man, muttered something to the woman, too fast for Anakin to catch syllables, all the same Anakin caught the feeling of 'don't bother' and 'you shouldn't expect him to understand'.
"You're on Tatooine," he stopped, flushed as the pair looked towards him, surprise on the man's… no boy's, he really wasn't that much older than Anakin's, features, and a sort of blank inexpressiveness on the woman's.
The woman then suddenly grinned, her lips twisting upwards, and she said something to the boy, again too fast and too unfamiliar for Anakin to really grasp while the boy's eyes narrowed in response.
Anakin liked to think that she was saying, "See, look at that, he isn't useless after all."
Anakin smiled at the pair and said, haltingly, feeling out of sorts with everything and like he was messing up something important (something that shouldn't even be happening, because while there was a feeling of importance there also was a feeling of wrongness, of confusion, of this isn't supposed to happen), "I'm um, Anakin. My name is Anakin, Anakin Skywalker."
He pointed back to Mos Espa, "I live there, in Mos Espa, with my mother. We…"
He didn't want to say it, didn't want to say he was a slave, not that they would understand but… He flushed them motioned to the speeder, "You shouldn't stay in the desert, and it will be dark soon, you won't make it in time on foot… I can take you back with me, to our house, if you need a ride."
The woman turned to the boy, saying nothing, and the boy threw his hands in the air like something had just been decided.
Then the woman motioned to herself, vibrant red curls escaping her hood, looking like an extension of the sunset itself, "Watashiwa Eru Lee desu,"
Then, with a dramatic arm gesture, she motioned to the boy who now looked painfully awkward and embarrassed by all this, "Soshite, koreha Uchiha Obito desu,"
She grinned and with a strange delicate grace she sat on the back of the speeder, placing the goggles back onto her face with that same sharp edged grin, the boy sighed readjusted his own goggles and offered Anakin a short and rather embarrassed bow before joining to sit behind the woman.
And that was how Anakin first met the jedi Eru Lee and her apprentice Uchiha Obito.
Of course, they never would call themselves jedi.
Obito stared out at the wide expanse of seemingly endless desert. Not Suna, though, or any familiar terrain in Wind Country. The sky was a brighter almost white blue, the sand a deeper red, and the dunes great towering waves of what must have once been an overwhelming ocean.
More, in the sky as he squinted up, there were two suns.
(Uchiha didn't do well enough with one sun, there were cases of truly nasty burns just from extended trips into Suna's territory or hell even too much time on the ocean in a place like Wave, Obito had no idea what the hell he'd even look like after having to contend with two of them.
Might as well just call him Obito the Lobster Man. He'd probably come out looking like he had one hell of a blood limit or one hell of a summoning contract, not that he didn't look like that already being half-man and half-plant. Add red into the equation and he'd start looking like English Christmas and Obito would be that much more terrifying to any civilian girl who crossed his path.
Let it be known that Obito was not popular with the ladies.)
"Well, this is exciting," Next to him Lee stood, hands on her hips, head tilted upwards, seeming a little calmer about the situation than Obito felt.
"Exciting?" Obito questioned, then motioned out in all directions, and the overwhelming feeling of emptiness encroaching from all sides, "Shishou, if you haven't noticed, we're in the middle of a goddamn desert!"
"Well, it wasn't unlikely," Lee said with a shrug, "Honestly, the fact that we're still alive I'd say does wonders for us. We could have appeared in deep space, we could have been crushed by a planet's gravity, we could have frozen to death in an ice dimension, drowned, been lit on fire, asphyxiated… The universe is dark, cruel, and unforgiving, my young apprentice. Really, considering everything, this isn't so bad."
"It's a desert! A giant desert! Maybe even a dimension that's only uninhabited desert!"
After all, there was an ice dimension, a mountainous one, then an entirely empty one, which wasn't even a dimension at all but was instead the dark edges of reality where great gods and demons who lingered out time devoured reality itself, why shouldn't there be one that's simply never-ending dunes?
"Alright, it's a little sandy, I'll give you that, not that I have anything against sand," Lee said as she surveyed their surroundings, "But really, not too shabby. And I do feel like I have boldly set foot where no man has gone before."
Because no one in their right minds would have done this, except for Lee, and him, because he'd decided to tag along because that was what Obito did these days.
(You knew your life was a little… strange, when Bakashi, in comparison, appeared to have normal hobbies and a normal career path. After all, for all Hatake Kakashi's random exploits and strange encounters, Obito was reasonably sure he'd at least never set foot off his own planet.)
"Who knows? Perhaps this is Arrakis," Lee said, looking oddly pleased by this idea, which made Obito ten times leerier about it.
"What is Arrakis and why does it frighten me?"
Lee grinned, now in full teaching-shishou mode, "Arrakis is a desert planet in Herbert Frank's Dune saga. It features an incredibly powerful shinobi with the ability to see many possible futures who takes over the universe in a holy war that kills billions of people. There are also giant sandworms."
"Oh, oh that is… great, sandworms, I've always wanted to see a giant sandworm." Obito wasn't even going to touch that holy massacre comment, he just wasn't. After all, it was far too close to home, to what could easily have been, for comfort.
"That's the spirit, my youthful and exuberant apprentice," Lee said with an overly exuberant grin of her own, clearly mistaking the extremely hesitant and swiftly growing sunburnt Obito for Maito Gai.
(Now there was a horrifying might have been, luckily, for whatever reason, or perhaps divine intervention, Lee had shown no real interest in Gai over the years and had left him, more or less, to his extremely green and youthful devices.
Unfortunately, Kakashi had been warped enough by Lee for an entire generation.)
Then without waiting for him to retort she grabbed his hand, pulled him forward down the dune they were standing on, and began to sprint at shinobi breakneck speeds through the desert, "Now come on, Obito, let's go explore."
Anakin had always been good with languages. It helped, being able to pick up things fast, most everyone was at least somewhat fluent in Basic but being able to speak Huttesse was almost essential on Tatooine, or, at the very least, it made things easier.
He'd never really thought how much he might need it though until he realized, after ushering the off-worlders into his house and introducing them to his mother, watching them set down their packs and remove layers of strange clothing to reveal more of that unbelievably pale skin, that neither of them spoke a word of Basic.
He'd thought everyone knew basic. Even in the outer rim, at the very edge of the galaxy, outside of the reach of the republic, they spoke Basic.
But somehow they didn't.
And he wanted to talk with them, so badly, more badly than he'd ever wanted to talk with anyone before.
Because the first thing she'd done, Eru Lee, when she'd entered the doorway and their small house was to create a kettle of tea out of thin air and pour a cup for each of them. Anakin had never had tea before.
The boy, Uchiha Obito, hadn't even blinked.
They stayed in their house, explored the village every now and then, didn't seem to work, didn't seem to have any need for supplies or things to trade with (in halted basic they'd explained early on that they carried pretty much anything they could ever need with them in the packs), sometimes Obito would be sent out with carved wooden furniture and would return with large stacks of flimsy containing detailed ink drawings of different parts of Mos Espa, sometimes they returned with things traded for at the market. Only, it could be anything and everything they'd bring back, from live fish to broken data pads.
It didn't seem to matter to them if it worked or not or if it was worth something, they'd bring it back, fiddle with it, ask Anakin or his mother what it was, how it worked, why it was built, how it was typically used, and more before sometimes taking it apart and putting it back together again.
Anakin would help with that, oftentimes finding himself standing over Obito's shoulder as the older boy cursed in his original language at a faulty chip or sparking piece of equipment.
They always brought back food too, better food than Anakin had ever eaten, never really explaining how they had managed to get it and where they had even found it.
And they wore swords, ancient metal blades with strange characters carved into the surface, the kind that was only in very old stories of primitive planets. And Anakin, when he first saw those, along with the small throwing knives they called kunai, couldn't help but think and wonder if maybe…
At any rate, Lee managed to beat Anakin to fluency, or rather, fluent enough to carry on actual conversations.
And even though she had tried to explain in the beginning, with drawings and hand gestures and pointing to the leaf carved into her metal headband that she and Obito would often wear, she'd explain again that she and her apprentice Obito were exploring on behalf of their own village on a planet very far away, that they were there to see the sights (although they wouldn't explain why they thought Tatooine was a place worth seeing) and that they'd stay until they felt their welcome worn out or else had other instructions from their leader, a man called The Shadow of Fire.
But that wasn't really what Anakin wanted to ask, or hear about, even if he was curious about where they'd come from and if ther were more like them, instead his first question, his first real question that he'd waited for understanding to answer, not 'are you going', 'what do you want for breakfast', 'do you want to see me pod race' was, "You're a jedi, aren't you?"
She'd been practicing with wooden swords against Obito, sparring again, and they did that a lot. Not always with swords, sometimes with small knives, sometimes with wire, sometimes with nothing at all.
Not blasters though, they never seemed to use blasters.
Now, finally done, Obito hunched over breathing heavily out, covered in sweat, waving his hands in the air to signal he was finished and lamenting something in his own language, "Why does that never get any easier, shishou?" with Lee giving her usual unsympathetic response of, "Because your kenjutsu still sucks," Lee turned to Anakin with raised eyebrows, a look she often gave her own apprentice, as she wiped the sweat from her own brow.
"That depends, what's a jedi?"
Anakin grinned up at her, "Knights of the republic, they go out and help people all over the galaxy, and carry light sabers with them!"
Lee looked down at her wooden practice sword with a frown, "A light sword? That sounds like the nidaime's sword. You know, it's kind of eerie how he manages to copy things he's never seen before… Or you guys stole it from him, and he went to space without even bothering to tell me about it… I should really talk with him."
She trailed off, her frown more pronounced, before it disappeared and she refocused on Anakin, "Right, anyways, do you have a more detailed explanation?"
Anakin blinked, "Um, I…"
"Because I'll be honest, if you're talking about space cops then Obito and I are by no means space cops." Lee said with a wave of her hand casually motioning to Obito who was trying and failing to not look winded and bruised, "Try more specific, do they use chakra, for example."
Anakin felt himself frowning, he'd heard that word before, Obito and she used it a lot, or she tended to say it a lot around Obito and he'd sort of smile and nod then scowl when he thought she wasn't looking, but they'd never really said what it meant either, "Chakra?"
"Natural energy of the universe… Ran into some that call it magic, in everyone, everything, sort of like… well duct tape, keeps everything together… You know, chakra." Lee said, as if this explained everything, which… well… it didn't.
"Shishou," Obito said, finally straightening up and giving his master an exasperated look, "What are you talking about? Is it chakra? Because he might not know what that is."
"Considering that he has about as much chakra as Kushina without the excuse of being an Uzumaki or a jinchuuriki I'd bet my ass he knows what chakra is." Lee snapped back in Basic for Anakin's benefit or Obito's annoyance.
Obito wrinkled his nose in distaste before pointing out in his own more broken Basic, "Shishou, I'm pretty sure that's not term, can't bet ass."
"Obito, as your illustrious and knowledgeable master I can bet anything I please," Lee's eyes darted to Anakin, and again he had the feeling as if she was looking through him, searching for something, before she said, "Regardless, even manipulating chakra does not a shinobi make. The wizards showed us that much."
Obito wandered over to where Anakin was sitting and offered him a rueful smile as he ruffled a sweaty calloused hand through Anakin's hair, "Never heard term jedi, don't think same."
Anakin knocked hand away, trying to look more annoyed than he was, which just caused Obito to laugh a little at his expression, and Anakin said more forcefully, "Well, I think you must be. Nobody else can do things like you."
Anakin, wished he could too. Because if he was like them, if he could move things just by looking at them or make things appear out of thin air or walk on walls or do any of the miraculous things that Lee and her apprentice seemed to do every day barely thinking about it, then maybe he and his mother wouldn't be slaves.
And maybe they'd finally leave, he'd be a pilot and they'd fly off into the distant stars of the galaxy and see all the planets and everything they had to offer.
Anakin's head jerked up, meeting Lee's eyes, which suddenly seemed far deeper than they had a moment ago and ten times more serious. She squatted down to his level then, taking her hands in his own, and they were calloused too, just like his were, like his mother's, like Obito, like they'd seen years of labor.
"Anakin, have you ever seen these jedi of yours?" Lee asked, and Anakin opened his mouth to say of course he had, he'd met them, more they lived in his house, but then closed it and shook it slowly.
Lee frowned and over her shoulder Obito's face, the expressive unmarred half, twisted painfully into something apprehensive.
"Have they ever made any indication that they would come here and come to find you?"
"No," He said, almost whispered, because he didn't understand. Why would they? What was she trying to say?
Obito said something quickly, too fast for Anakin to catch, in his own language but Lee didn't even look at him. Instead she closed her eyes, only for a moment, and all expression seemed to slip away from her.
(And something in the universe, some great underlying component resting in everything, made a great scraping shift.)
When she opened her eyes a look of determination burned inside of them, "Anakin, I won't lie to you and say that the life of a shinobi is an easy one or even a rewarding one. However, if you want, Obito and I will work to free you and your mother, and I will train you and take you and your mother back to Konoha."
He didn't say she must be wrong, mistaken, because there was nothing special like that about Anakin. And he hadn't even asked when they'd be leaving, because they'd always left that up in the air, and that thought had terrified him because he liked them.
He liked Lee's odd expressions, her carefree grin, her stories about daily adventures in Mos Espa and then stories of her home planet and stories about her home planet and all her friends there. Stories about her perverted teacher Jiraiya, her hopelessly talentless teammate Dead Last, her other teacher the kind and honorable Hatake Sakumo and his strange son Kakashi, and about Namikaze Minato, Lee's greatest friend in the entire world.
He liked how Obito always made time for him, would ruffle his hair, defend him from bullies and thugs in the street, taught him all sorts of neat tricks like how to juggle or do a handstand, and was like the older brother Anakin had never had. He liked how they were there, not just for him, but also for his mother.
Instead of any of this or anything he could have said, or question why they would ask him this, why they would pick him, and why they would say it now, he felt tears springing to the corners of his eyes and without a word he leaned forward and wrapped his arms around her, burying his face in her wild curling red hair.
Hesitantly, carefully she wrapped her arms around him.
And he believed her, somehow, without even thinking about it, he believed her.
The first time Obito really met Eru Lee, the first time it truly counted, where it really mattered and he saw her as something more than one of the most powerful if strange jonin in the village, as something other than a satellite which orbited around Kakashi or Minato-sensei, was after the Kannabi Bridge mission.
He'd been sitting there, barefoot, half of his body his own and half something patched together out of something that couldn't be human, chained to a rock, shivering, starved, hunched over himself, ignoring the yellow eyes and gossip of the Zetsus, and the darker more ominous eyes of Madara as he ranted about the village, the clan, Kakashi, and Rin, and the poison in the world which would destroy them all.
And then she'd been there, had stepped inside, and all their eyes had turned to her.
And she'd glowed, her hair like rays of twisting sunlight from the dawn, and her eyes that vibrant and overwhelming green.
He hadn't thought anyone was coming, no, he had known no one was coming, and Madara had confirmed it every single day. Konoha had abandoned him, Konoha had left him for the vultures and the dogs, Konoha sacrificed its children to the god of death and carnage.
(Kakashi hadn't wanted to leave, Rin had had to drag him away, and Obito had had to listen as their footsteps grew fainter and fainter and the sound of Kakashi's hoarse voice promising that he'd send someone, he'd send Minato-sensei, or his father, or even his sister, that he'd come back for Obito, even if it was only for his body and… And Obito couldn't even see them, see either of them again, because by that point he'd already given his eye to Kakashi to see the future for him.)
And somehow, even with his last memory of Rin's face, he'd never seen anyone look so beautiful as Eru Lee in that moment.
He imagined Skywalker Anakin was seeing something similar.
After all, she was wearing the same expression with him that she'd worn with Obito.
And the same one she'd worn with him weeks after she'd carried him back through Konoha's gates and into the hospital, as she stood outside the doors (when Obito had been lost and alone and uncertain of where he was supposed to stay, not inside the clan, not after dying and giving his eye to Kakashi) and informed him that as his genin team had been split apart in his absence, Kakashi having joined ANBU and Rin working as a medic nin, Obito was now her apprentice and they had work to do.
The boy was gone now, long since cried himself out in joy, his smile almost burning through his tears as he held on tightly to Eru Lee and everything she promised. He had then excitedly informed his mother who in turn had interrogated them both before frowning in either disapproval or doubt as Lee had repeated her words with the same unshakable conviction (if Anakin wants to be a shinobi, if he chooses this life, then I will do everything in my power and more to see it a reality), before the pair had finally returned inside to sleep.
And Obito and Lee, they stayed outside and stared at the moon and the unfamiliar stars, drinking the tea that she always provided for this sort of a setting.
"Shishou, are you sure about this?"
Lee's eyes slid over to his, still sober and determined, "Yes,"
"These jedi could very well be shinobi, something close to it anyways, or at the very least like the wizards, they might be waiting for him to be older."
She stared out past him, into the desert where they had come from, walking for far too long for Obito's comfort or ease of mind, and said, "Then he would know that, particularly someone with his levels of chakra. I can't imagine any sane hidden village would leave power like that for any foreign ninja to take."
And the boy was, Obito might not be the sensor that Lee was, so strangely in and out of tune with reality per her own convenience, but even he could feel just how overwhelming the amount of chakra the boy had was.
"Even if that's true, shishou… Using mokuton to make furniture, selling goods you make out of thin air, hell even stealing, that's all well and good for small market things but shishou, the Hutts… We're not supposed to draw that kind of political attention to ourselves." And they would, if they realized that Lee, that even Obito, could produce miracles for the money they'd need to free the boy and his mother and strip Watto of both of his sources of labor.
If they realized that single handedly, with barely a thought, Lee could transform their barren desert planet into a tropical paradise overflowing with water and life.
And these desert feudal lords, strange slug creatures that all but oozed greed from their skin, would certainly turn their attention to them.
And then… Well, Lee and he would be lucky if they could leave without a sizeable bounty on their head, and at worst they would leave with war and rebellion in their footsteps and a planet in chaos.
"Then we do it the long way, we have time, you still need to learn Basic, Anakin still needs to build that pod racer of his, I still need to find blue prints to space ships and battle fighters and anything in between to ship back to Konoha, and we still need to figure out exactly what this republic is and who the jedi are and why we've seen virtually no sign of either. We have time, Obito,"
(Yes, they did didn't they? It was a longterm mission, based upon the length and duration of the English mission which had taken place years ago now when Lee and Minato-sensei had still been teenagers and only freshly minted jonin.
It was hard to keep track in this strange world with its two suns, with its different length days and years, but they must be close to reaching Naruto's second birthday. Last time they'd checked in, a few months ago, Minato-sensei had brought Naruto to see them.
Somehow, even with Minato-sensei's hair and eyes, he also looked exactly like his mother. Especially his grin, that was all Uzumaki.)
"How? I can sell furniture, sure, but that would take years and…"
"Pod racing," Lee said shortly, pointing then to Obito's black eye, "With your sharingan I'm sure you'll make quite the pilot. And we can hire Anakin to race for us and collect winnings from that. There are also their gladiator arenas too, I can enter myself into those, we'll get the money."
And there would be absolutely no talking her out of it.
Maybe she had a point, really, taking Anakin in these sorts of conditions to be trained as a shinobi would have the stamp of approval even from the most cautious council members. Of course, that wasn't why she was doing it, that would be what she told them, but it wouldn't even be what she told the yondaime the next time they saw him.
The thirteen-year-old Obito, naïve in too many respects, wouldn't have even guessed what she might say. Of course, thirteen-year-old Obito had barely known her. Even early on in the apprenticeship, after finding himself back in Konoha with Minato-sensei as the yondaime hokage, moving in with Kakashi and his father because he wasn't legally an Uchiha anymore, he wouldn't have understood.
Really, it hadn't been until Minato-sensei had asked him to visit him one day, and had told him a story about his best friend, a god who had grown up inside of a cupboard, convinced that reality was nothing more than an illusion because she could not explain the thoughtless cruelty of the world she grew up in, who had one day decided to leave that world entirely because she saw no point in its existence, that he began to understand.
Anakin reminded her of herself.
And that was more than enough to compel Lee to train him, and maybe more than enough for Obito to hold his tongue, because he liked Anakin, the kid was eager and sweet and perhaps unsuited for shinobi life but hell Obito liked him all the same.
So, he just said, "You know, shishou, I've seen those pod racing accidents and… I really think I'm too young and pretty to die."
"Now, personally, I believe hand seals are bullshit, but the rest of the shinobi population uses them and who am I to argue with the majority of the shinobi population?"
Lee and Obito had suddenly become much busier, and Anakin discovered what Obito had whispered to him with a chagrinned and almost embarrassed expression and Lee had outright told him, that it wasn't easy being Lee's student.
Of course, Obito was off to the side right now, not really paying much attention to Anakin or Lee, whittling away at the furniture once again, shaping the wood with his hands alone, utilizing something called a kekki genkai and something else called senchakra, calling it mokuton.
He'd been doing that all week, creating more and more ornate pieces of furniture, tables, chairs, great wooden creations that were difficult to find on a desert planet like Tatooine and probably on most planets if the amount they sold for was any indication.
Lee had also started disappearing at night, a grim faced Obito watching her with hooded eyes, only to return in the morning with credits signed by the Hutts and blood stains on her borrowed, Tatooine, beige clothing.
(His mother commented, softly, supposedly out of Anakin's earshot, that she was sad that Lee was so unnaturally good at cleaning out blood stains.
Lee responded that if she wasn't she'd own nothing but red, and that made one a very large target in the field.)
They also stopped spending as much on small things, and the stack of metaphorical electronic money grew higher and higher, until one day Watto would have enough of a deal that he wouldn't even think of saying no to.
But now, during the early evening every day, after Anakin had come home from the shop or the village, Lee was entirely focused on him and teaching him how to be a shinobi like her and Obito.
"Now, there are five hand seals…"
Obito interrupted, "Twelve, shishou, there are twelve,"
Lee spared an annoyed glance at her apprentice, "Okay, there are twelve hand seals."
Lee then brought her hands together and began to slowly go through different motions, fingers brought together in different ways, "Let's see, there's rat, dog, I think there might be a cat in there..."
"Jesus Christ, shishou, it's based on the zodiac," Obito then turned away from his half formed chair to Anakin and rapidly worked his hands through the positions too quickly to be anything but ingrained muscle memory, "There's rat, dog, tiger, rooster, dragon, ox, ram, boar, snake, rabbit, monkey, and horse."
Then flushing as he caught Anakin staring at him, stood, put his hands on his hips, and gave Lee a truly reprimanding look that reminded Anakin eerily of his own mother, "Do you need me to do this for you, shishou?"
"I preferred it when you couldn't speak Basic," Lee offered blandly, before turning back to Anakin, "Right, what he said, and did… Those things are important,"
Obito continued to stare at her for a moment even as Lee turned her attention back to Anakin, then threw his hands in the air in defeat and turned back to the chair, "By the way, shishou, I really don't think you should be focusing on hand seals first thing,"
"I'm sorry, Obito, are you an S-ranked jonin who has 'flee on sight' written in every single bingo book ever printed since the end of the third war?" Lee asked with a too bright grin that had Obito balefully glaring at her over his shoulder.
"No, because somebody said we should explore space and other dimensions before someone else could take his jonin exams." Obito said rather testily before adding, "You should start on taijustsu, if anything, and maybe the leaf exercise. If he can't find his chakra then there's no way in hell he's doing any sort of ninjutsu."
"It always comes back to taijutsu, doesn't it?" Lee said before sighing, and saying, "Alright then, we're going to do something much more boring and with way less explosions, we're going to learn how to get leaves to stick to our skin."
Lee handed him a leaf, out of nowhere, and Anakin took it staring at it. It looked vaguely like what was inscribed on their headbands. They wore them most days, not every day and not all the time, but certainly times like now and when they were training they wore it.
Anakin had never seen a leaf in person before, it really was as green as her eyes were…
"Will I learn how to do that?"
Lee blinked, "Do what?"
He motioned to the leaf, "Make things out of air, like you do."
"Uh, well…" Lee trailed off, looking for once strangely uncertain.
"Probably not, shishou is… Special," Obito finished for her, rather lamely, "I don't think anyone can do everything shishou can."
"Oh," and that was all he could say to that, because he wasn't sure what else to say, and for whatever reason the topic seemed to be closed between them.
"Right, so your chakra reservoir, the source is inside of your stomach, and if you spread the right amount (not too much or too little) through to other parts of your body you can get leaves to stick to you…"
And it went on like that for some time, and to Anakin's embarrassment he wasn't good at it, in fact it took him a solid two weeks to get it down, and even then the leaves always trembled a bit as if they would fly off at a moment's notice.
Anakin had always been good at everything he did, he'd been great at everything he did, and throwing kunai he apparently was very good and same with katas once Lee had started him on those but that leaf exercise…
"Trouble is you have so much chakra," Obito explained one night after he'd watched Anakin screaming in frustration for about five minutes over the stupid piles of leaves that he couldn't get to stick to his body, "Even though you have great control you're going to have a tough time with the small stuff like this,"
And that seemed to be a theme, even when they started moving on to hand seals and basic jutsus, to creating basic clones and henges, things that should have been so easy but were so much harder than it looked because he just couldn't get the hang of moving the chakra like that and when he did it was like all of it rushed out at once.
But he was also happy.
Suddenly, after a few months of working on how to kick, punch, dodge, and even run away, Anakin thought that maybe he could stand a chance against someone like Sebulba. And each day Obito and Lee seemed to gather more and more money and suddenly Anakin didn't have to think that this would be the rest of his life.
He was going to leave, not just someday, not just when he was adult, but soon. He was going to leave and become a jedi knight in a far off village hidden in the leaves. He was going to meet people like Jiraiya, Sakumo, Tobirama, Hashirama, Kakashi, Rin, Shikaku, and Minato.
Minato who Lee talked about the most and most reverently of all.
(But when he dreamed at night the universe whispered, in its voice laced with senchakra, that there was something important still coming. Something he wasn't thinking about, was no longer waiting for, something important was coming.
Wait for it, the natural chakra of the world whispered.)
Author's Note: Because we needed a threeway crossover of NarutoxHarry PotterxStar Wars, it was destiny. At any rate this is written for the 100th review of "How I Met Your Other Mother" by invasionofprivacy who asked for a fic that takes place in the reality of that fic where Kushina didn't start a threesome. In other words, if Minato married Kushina instead of Lee, so we get Obito and Lee blowing things up in other dimensions. So obviously this isn't finished and expect more explosions and giant lectures about unnaturally unhealthy attachment (which Lee and Obito both admittedly have along with little adorable pre-angsty Anakin) next time.
Thanks for reading, review at your leisure as I do love me some reviews.
Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter, Star Wars, or Naruto