this was no chicken. this was evil manifest. (darkeyedwolf) wrote,
this was no chicken. this was evil manifest.
darkeyedwolf

Welcome to Cynical Island, population: me.

Okay, then! To quote enarte, this one gets a fat ugly *SHRUG* from me. I knew how I wanted to start it, and I knew how I wanted to finish it, and then everything in the middle just kind of farted on itself. Your first attempt at fic in a new fandom is supposed to suck, right?

Right.

KakaSasu, about 3000 words, PG-13/R-ish for shota, non-graphic violence and the occasional filthy mouth. And by that I mean swearing, of course. Oh, and I, er, borrowed the phrase "fallen into something" from Squalid & Moving, but I have every intention of returning it.



A Place To Stand

***



He could yell. He could lecture. He could even punch him, because it's nothing less than he deserves. But when Kakashi peers through his window and sees a rain-drenched Sasuke sagging on his doorstep, all he does is bring him inside, wrap him a blanket and slowly feed him soup.

*

That night, Sasuke has violent nightmares. He wakes up shaking and crying three times, and he doesn't seem to realize where he is (Kakashi's bed) or why he's there (he almost fell asleep in the dinner bowl). The third time, Kakashi reaches out a hand without really realizing it -- and Sasuke unexpectedly freezes, going absolutely still, only able to stop himself from flinching back by tensing every muscle in his body. The nerves in his neck are so taunt they might snap.

"Don't," he says. His voice is loud and wavering and demanding and terrified. "Don't touch me. Don't ever touch me."

"Okay," Kakashi says. "Okay."

Sasuke clutches a blanket around his shoulders and stares out the window. Kakashi perches on the end of the mattress. They sit like that, silent and unmoving until dawn.

*

Kakashi wishes that if Sasuke had to've gone to Orochimaru, he could've done it before Kakashi realized how much his students meant to him, before Naruto went off to train with Jiraiya and Kakashi felt his loss every time he ate ramen. He wishes Sasuke had gone before he realized that his team was falling apart, before he could get used to the yawn of an empty house and meaningless mornings, and then it wouldn't've hurt, watching his life fall into deterioration, an emptiness of a teacher without charges, a father without his children.

*

Kakashi can tell, by the way Sasuke's slowly starting to relax, that he's scored points by not asking questions. Which isn't to say that he doesn't have them. Where he's been, what he's done, why he waited almost a year to come back -- Kakashi methodically goes through them all in his mind and discards them one by one, feeling, as he does, that Sasuke's picked the wrong person to come home to. But Kakashi's not going to ask why, why him. He's not going to push. He doesn't want to intrude. What he doesn't admit, even to himself, is that he's not sure he wants to hear the answers either.

*

He's on his way back from getting groceries when he sees Asuma, leaning on a wall, smoking a cigarette. He gives Kakashi a half-nod. Kakashi raises a hand in return. He refuses to acknowledge the ache in his chest, the fact that the Hokage had decided to reform the genin into four-man teams, that Asuma's kids were divided between the two withstanding groups -- that they're both officially teachers without students, but Asuma's out of a job because one of his became a chuunin, because he did something right.

Kakashi refuses to acknowledge any of that. Only when he steps inside his house, sees that someone has carefully wiped away the puddles in the hall from the night before, does he maybe recognize -- he could be in the process of doing something right, too.

*

Sasuke's still in the black outfit he wore when he first arrived, and it takes awhile for Kakashi to realize it's because he doesn't have any others. He winds up in the attic hunting for something Sasuke's size. He's only able to find one box, and even those aren't perfect. The pants are castoffs of a washing disaster and Sasuke has to roll up the legs three times to keep from tripping on them, but the waist is snug enough and he has a choice of long or short sleeves for a shirt to match it. He chooses long and lets them fall past his knuckles. He doesn't say thank you. He doesn't say anything at all. Other people might see this as a cause for concern, but Kakashi knows Orochimaru.

He also knows Sasuke. The way he carefully tucks the leftover clothes into one of Kakashi's drawers, as if they might break, is enough.

*

It isn't particularly appropriate, and it isn't the most comfortable arrangement, but Sasuke's never stopped sleeping in his bed and Kakashi isn't going to ask. It's comforting, hearing Sasuke's slow, steady breathing, and it's reassuring to feel his weight on the other end of the mattress. It lets him know that he's all right. That he's safe. And every time Kakashi rolls over, he sees the back of Sasuke's neck, thin and pale and oddly delicate in the moonlight, and his eyes travel over, to the curse seal. It sends a warm, urgent feeling to his stomach, a warning. Don't lose him again.

I won't, he thinks, and then: I can't.

*

Sasuke asks only once.

"Have you told anyone?"

And Kakashi doesn't look up from table, where he's spreading out mission reports and nursing a half-eaten bowl of squash with cinnamon. "It's not my arrival to announce, Sasuke."

Sasuke doesn't reply. He does, however, wash every dish, and he quickly turns his head away when Kakashi's visible eye crinkles happily, scowling that this doesn't mean he's thankful or anything.

*

They reach a kind of routine.

Kakashi slips out of bed, takes a shower, and wakes up, in that order. Sasuke's made the bed by the time he's through. They have breakfast. Sometimes they spend the rest of the day lounging around, playing Go or cards, but most of the time Kakashi goes into Konoha, for meetings or conferences or missions. He never accepts assignments that require longer than a day to complete. Tsunade's stopped asking.

He always holds his breath a little when he first gets back, but Sasuke's still there.

*

One night Kakashi wakes to the sound of retching. He stumbles into the darkness of the bathroom, flips on the light and sees Sasuke, pale and shivering and heaving, on his knees in front of the toilet. A hand on on his stomach. His skin is almost translucent against the tile. Kakashi crosses the room and presses a cool hand to the back of his neck.

It's only afterwards that he remembers "don't touch me" -- but Sasuke doesn't wrench himself away.

"All right?" Kakashi asks, when the heaves subside into coughs and it looks like the worst is over. Sasuke wearily rests his forehead on the bowl. He doesn't look up.

"Your tempura is shit."

" -- ah," Kakashi says. "Not a nightmare, then."

That earns him a glare. Given that he's weak, bone-white and still trembling faintly beneath Kakashi's palm, this doesn't quite have the effect he was looking for.

Apparently this shows on Kakashi's face.

"My life sucks," Sasuke declares, and manages to get in one last glower before climbing to his feet and heading back to into the bedroom.

*

Within the next twenty-four hours, Sasuke insults his house, his hair, and his choice in television programs, throws up twice ("what did you put in that crap?") and locks himself in Kakashi's bedroom for an hour. This must be the terrible twos, thinks Kakashi, and absent-mindedly touches his palm, which hasn't stopped tingling since Sasuke shrugged it off the night before.

*

The attack comes the next night.

They're ninjas from the Sound, three of them, and it's quick and bloody. No one speaks. Kakashi doesn't need his sharingan. The fight's in the living room -- the Sound had tripped up the wards on the front door, so Kakashi was able to surprise them there -- and it's soon a mess, sticky with bodies and disorganized from the chaos. The last attacker standing evades two blades by upturning the kitchen table in a last-minute shield and seems to think it merits bragging.

"I've trained under Orochimaru!" he cries, grinning. "Do you think a couple of shuriken can take me dow -- "

There's a sudden rush of wind by Kakashi's right ear. The man falls to his knees. His hands fly upwards as his eyes go wide and disbelieving. There is, ironically, a shuriken embedded in his chest, and Sasuke's standing at the doorway of the bedroom, arm still extended from the throw.

"Fuck," the man rasps, and looks, against all reason, more disgusted than dying. There's blood dribbling from his lips and his words only come in great gasps. "You two -- you two share a bedroom? Are you -- some kind of -- are you this pervert's boy toy?"

"You're dying," Sasuke says, coldly. "I'd spend my last moments praying."

The man gurgles unintelligibly. It sounds like he wants to laugh, but there's too much blood. As Kakashi watches, in a detached, morbid fascination, the man takes one last shuddering inhale and slumps sideways, against the wall. His eyes are open and focused on nothing.

Kakashi looks over. Sasuke's staring at his feet. They both instantaneously notice that his pants have come unrolled, and the hems are dragging on the ground. Sasuke starts to shake, flushed with adrenaline. His voice is wavering but hollow.

"I'm sorry," he says. "I got blood on your clothes."

*

By the time Sasuke's changed pants, Kakashi's determined that they're in no further immediate danger. The sound-nins were only scouts. They were unskilled, uninformed and only paired in threes -- and Kakashi doesn't hold himself in particularly high esteem, but Orochimaru wouldn't send three of his best men to be slaughtered. They were looking for something, something he didn't anticipate being hard to get back. Something he didn't expect to be well-protected. Something like Sasuke.

Sasuke makes a move as if to help him clear away the bodies, but Kakashi stops him. He says he can handle it. He suggests trying to catch a few more hours until sunrise. Sasuke nods, and sleeps on the couch.

*

It takes an hour to remove every trace of the attack, and by the time he's finished Kakashi still hasn't decided if he should report it. It's the right thing to do, he knows, since there's no doubt Orochimaru will send reinforcements when his scouts don't return, but Kakashi doesn't know how to explain it to Tsunade without revealing that Sasuke's living with him. There was nothing he could say even if he did mention Sasuke, anyway. "I faced three unknown assailants and forgot about the teenage criminal sleeping in my bed until he came and finished off the last guy for me."

He'd have to request a painless death beforehand, because she'd surely kill him.

It wasn't even the truth, was it? He hadn't forgotten about Sasuke. He'd just assumed he could take care of himself, and Sasuke had, in the end. It was a matter of trust and belief in his abilities. Kakashi wouldn't have left Sakura alone like that, or even Naruto. The latter would've taunted the three into blowing the entire house into bits.

It's a sobering thought, that he trusts Sasuke by his side, and also one that makes him completely, irreversibly proud. Sasuke is his student, after all.

*

That morning, over a late breakfast, the product of his pride says, "I killed a man last night."

"Ah," Kakashi says. Sasuke's tone is bland, stating the facts without a hint of horror of self-disgust, but it's also careful. He's testing the waters. Kakashi sort of half-nods in response, standing up and starting to clear away the dishes with a neutral air. He's not good at solemn heart-to-hearts and Sasuke isn't the type who'd appreciate histrionics during a confession. "I killed two."

Sasuke shakes his head. He's barely breathing. From the corner of his eye, Kakashi watches him clench the corner of the table hard enough to hurt. "That wasn't... the first time I have," he admits, slowly.

"Me either." Kakashi nods at Sasuke's plate. "Are you done?"

"You -- what -- yes, I'm done, but that's not the point," Sasuke snaps.

"Then what is, exactly?" Kakashi asks. He holds Sasuke's plate in his hand and looks down at him with a bored, lazy air. "We were attacked, Sasuke, in the middle of the night, and we're shinobi. Protecting ourselves and our comrades is what we do."

"I'm not just talking about last night!" Sasuke explodes. "God, are you listening to me? That guy, he wasn't the first one I've killed! And the others, they weren't in self-defense, or to protect someone, or any other of that 'shinobi code of honor' crap! I've killed people just because I was told to! How can you -- just standing there -- you -- how can you stand to keep me here, knowing what Orochimaru -- "

He abruptly falters, and his expression is furious.

"You don't understand," he finishes.

And Kakashi looks at him, feeling, for the first time, that he does. But instead of telling him as much, about the early-morning epiphany, how he believes in Sasuke to have his back with a trust that even Obito never had, Kakashi simply stacks their plates in the sink and gets out the liquid soap.

"I don't throw Pakkun on the streets with he misbehaves," he says, offering Sasuke a washrag, "and I'm not about to start with my students."

*

The sound-nin was right, they had shared a room, and the absence of Sasuke there leaves Kakashi feeling wrong. The mattress is too firm without the slight depletion on his side. It's too quiet without the sound of soft, rhythmic breathing beside him. There's an odd, uncomfortable ache in Kakashi's chest, and he can recognize the signs of loneliness, but it's stupid, really, because Sasuke hasn't gone anywhere, they've just moved to separate rooms, and this was how it should've been in the first place. This is proper. This is appropriate. This is Kakashi rolling over on his side and seeing the other side of the bed empty, and this, oh, god, this is Kakashi realizing that he's fallen into something with Sasuke.

*

To celebrate being unknowingly seduced by his thirteen-year-old student, Kakashi spends the next day getting thoroughly drunk. He goes to a bar. He doesn't think being intoxicated around Sasuke is a good idea.

He doesn't return home until well past two in the morning, but Sasuke's still up, sifting through some of his old scrolls on the floor by the hearth. He sniffs the air, gives Kakashi a look of deep resentment, and makes some acerbic comment about idiot drunken teachers, but when Kakashi wakes a few hours later with a pounding headache and a tongue like sandpaper, there's a glass of water on his bedside table.

*

The day is hot, sticky, and it finds Kakashi training in his backyard. It provides plenty of space to shake off the last of the alcohol-induced bleariness, and he can think of no better plan than working out until he's too tired to think. He doesn't wear his mask. It's too humid. He catches a glimpse of Sasuke's surprised expression when he goes inside for a bottle of water, but his mouth isn't open for half a second before he abruptly shuts it. He has his secrets, Kakashi thinks, and Kakashi has his, and for all Sasuke's self-absorption and childishness, privacy is something he can respect.

Before he can stop it, a warm glow worms its way into Kakashi's heart. Sasuke's never stopped pushing himself to bigger, better, stronger -- trying to win his father's affection, vowing revenge for his clan's massacre, being subjected to god knows what under Orochimaru -- and Kakashi always secretly thought that Sasuke's immaturity, his bratty behavior, was his own subconscious way of clinging to the childhood he wouldn't allow himself to have. But this, his acknowledgment and acceptance of the secrets between them -- it makes Kakashi think that maybe Sasuke's finally growing up, just a little.

*

The next time he heads out to the backyard, Sasuke asks if he can join him. Kakashi says yes without a moment's thought to the consequences. An hour into an overview of Sasuke's progress in taijutsu, Sasuke takes off his shirt; all his short-sleeved ones are dirty, and he complains that it's hot enough without extra clothes in the way. There's a long, thin scar running down his side that he didn't have before. And if Kakashi looks hard enough, he can still make out the orange bloodstains on the bottom of the pants. It makes Kakashi train him all the harder. Sasuke favors the challenge with a dark smirk. Eventually, Kakashi forgets the scar is there and the stains disappear in the depths of the fabric.

*

They're doing a modified version of the bell test (Sasuke said it was stupid, since there's only one bell and they're both confined to the limits of the backyard, until Kakashi pointed out that a good illusion jutsu would allow him to ease up on his self-imposed exile) when Sasuke comes from behind and kisses him.

The angles are awkward. Sasuke's chest is against the back of Kakashi's shoulders, his head tilted to the side with Sasuke craning his neck to press his lips against the side of Kakashi's mouth. It's also quick, though not fast enough to stop a slow burn from forming in the pit of Kakashi's stomach. Even after Sasuke pulls away, he can only stand there, striving to stay cool and untouched, thinking about the ways he can turn Sasuke down, searching for a casual but unsubtle way of expressing the inappropriateness of any kind of relationship they could have --

There's the faint ringing of a bell, and Sasuke's voice, breathless and triumphant, "The element of surprise, I never thought it'd actually -- "

-- and Kakashi's leaning backwards and kissing him, arm around Sasuke's neck, pinning him to the spot, and he's careful, extremely careful, remembering Sasuke's don't touch me don't ever touch me, and he can feel the friction, the heat of their bodies so close together, and he's thinking wildly, at the same time, I'll pull back if he does, I won't force him, I --

-- and Sasuke makes a little noise under him, and Kakashi starts to draw back in alarm, but then he realizes Sasuke's hand is on the back of his neck, pressing Kakashi into him, so fierce and desperate that Sasuke's knees are actually bending from the force of it, and the kiss grows rougher, deeper, and Sasuke's pulse is wild and erratic beneath his hold, fingers splayed against his soft skin of his neck --

-- and Kakashi imagines the curse seal under his grip, and that reminds him of who he is, who he's kissing, and he moves to break away, and Sasuke lets go, taking in a breath of air, and his eyes are wide and dark and drugged --

-- and everything stops.

*

Kakashi can tell, by the way Sasuke starts to look at him, that he's scored points by not asking questions. Which isn't to say that he doesn't have them. What he wants, if he's sure about it, how far he wants to go -- Kakashi methodically goes through them all in his mind and discards them one by one, feeling, as he does, that Sasuke's picked the wrong person to fall into something with. But Kakashi's not going to ask why, why him. He's not going to push. He doesn't want to intrude. Typically, Sasuke doesn't offer any answers. In fact, he doesn't say anything at all. They haven't kissed since the afternoon in the backyard. Other people might see this as a cause for concern, but Kakashi knows Sasuke. Sleeping in their bedroom together, facing each other, and Kakashi knowing that he could, if he wanted to, and Sasuke wouldn't push him away -- that's enough.
Tags: fic, kakasasu
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