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Same Ghost Every Night [Kakashi, Katsuko][Jan. 21st, 2012|06:25 pm]
[[Takes place early on November 3rd, four days after As The World Burns]]

She’s burning, everyone’s burning, flesh melting away from blackened bones. Honoka’s standing over her, bleeding around the dagger in her throat, silent accusation worse than a death sentence. Daichi’s screaming, curled around the blackened stump of his leg—

It was ANBU headquarters; people were used to random noises at all hours of the night. When Katsuko flailed awake, falling out of bed with a resounding crash, the only thing the woman in 316 did was knock on the wall between their rooms and call, “You still alive?”

After a moment, Katsuko stopped panting long enough to form words. “Looks like,” she croaked.

“Try not to put any holes in things,” 316 advised, and that was that. Katsuko kicked the blanket off and sat up, closing her eyes and pressing the heels of her palms into them hard enough she saw stars against her eyelids.

There was insomnia, and then there was seeing dead and injured teammates every time she dozed off. Katsuko sighed, rubbing the back of her neck where the stress of several days of little to no sleep had built up.

Gods, it was times like these that she hated the burden of her chakra, hated the heavy weight of it as much as she did Kaminari. Each breath she took was a struggle to hold back the overflowing dam, the promise of burnout and flames licking at her heels. The control needed was constant, deliberate, the result of five years’ worth of practice. Sleeping pills hindered that control, trapped her in that hazy place where she couldn’t wake when she felt her hold slip.

The four walls of her room closed in on her, a prison instead of a sanctuary. Katsuko rose, shuffling over to her dresser and pulling open drawers at random. If she couldn’t rest, at the very least she could move to a place where she could see the open sky.

The liquor store around the corner was open twenty-four hours, didn’t ask questions, and had Bad Fucking Idea stamped all over it. Katsuko got a six-pack of cheap beer and a bottle of yellow-label shochu; the shinobi behind her in line had a bloodstained bandage wrapped around his bicep and several freshly-scabbed cuts on his face. Whatever he saw in her expression made him nod and raise his bottle of sake in wry camaraderie.

No one sane was out at this hour. Katsuko felt a little bit crazy, padding up the stairs to the apartment complex’s second floor. She stopped in front of Hatake’s door, rapping her knuckles on it three times and then adding in a fourth for good measure. Then she stepped back and waited, shifting her weight from foot to foot.
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