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The Talking Cure [Kakashi] [Feb. 5th, 2012|05:20 pm]


[Begins on May 15th, a week after To Fit the Crime and a month after Ryouma's disappearance.]

Shira Yumon tapped his fingers gently on his desk, and studied the ID photograph paperclipped to the upper corner of the open file. A stony-faced, masked young man with mismatched eyes stared back, looking directly into the camera. Hatake Kakashi, the White Fang’s only son. Twenty years old, ANBU Hunter for five of them.

It was going to be an interesting day.

“Tell me a little about yourself,” Yumon invited, starting things easy.

The blank stare he got in return was, at best, slightly off-putting. Hatake Kakashi was a wall of black, dressed head to foot in dark, nondescript clothes, with his arms crossed over his chest and absolutely no expression on his face—what little of it Yumon could see, anyway. The only hints of colour were the silver in his hair, the pale skin of his half-gloved hands and the visible quarter surrounding one eye, and the white bandage wrapped around his head. He was carved in monochrome, like ANBU armour brought to life.

And decidedly non-verbal. )
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The Truth of the Matter [Ryouma, Kakashi, Katsuko] [Jan. 30th, 2012|11:20 pm]

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[[Takes place the morning of November 3rd, a few hours after Same Ghost Every Night.]]

There was a wolf in his dream.

He’d been trout-tickling at his favorite spot on an anonymous little creekbank in Lightning Country, except the trout grew legs and teeth and fought back, and his grandfather and Shiki and a grey-haired man with yellow teeth sat on the other side of the bank, drinking yellow-label rotgut shouchuu, and calling advice to the fish. Ryouma was too busy scraping fish-men off his arm to drive them off, but advice turned to taunts, and the teeth grew longer and sharper and sank into his flesh, and the clear water of the creek began to run red—

The wolf came wading upstream, chest-deep in blood, and the men on the other bank went silent. The wolf lowered its head and bit one of the fish-men off Ryouma’s arm. The fish-man stretched like a leech and then snapped with a tiny scream, and the wolf crunched it and swallowed.

The other fish-men dropped away with tiny plops, like real fish jumping. Ryouma took a deep, unsteady breath. “You shouldn’t have eaten that,” he said. “Fish bones can be dangerous.”

“I know,” the wolf said. It scrabbled heavily up the bank and lay down close beside him, radiating heat. “It’s okay,” it said. “Everything’s okay.” It swiped its tongue over Ryouma’s bloody fingers, then pinned his wrist with an enormous paw and began to work its way steadily up his lacerated arm. Its tongue was rough as sandpaper, and tickled in the raw wounds.

'You can't eat ME,' Ryouma said. )
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Waiting for Silent Sunrise [Asuma, Ibiki, Kakashi, Ginta] [Jan. 28th, 2012|04:12 pm]

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[Takes place immediately following Somewhere a Clock is Ticking]

The medic was about as cheerful as a sack of wet mice, but at least she was good at her job—and she’d divested the landscape of Ibiki, which was no bad thing.

Asuma held his half-lidded trance, humming soft and tuneless in the back of his throat as he pushed heat into Hatake and Ginta, sweat prickling at his temples and down his spine. Ibiki’s fire was bright and healthy, making the shadows dance, another good source of warmth.

“Cracked skull,” Saiyuri muttered to herself, in the same low way she’d said broken orbital socket; broken nose for Ginta. Her glowing hands were still wrapped around Kakashi’s head, doing who-knew-what to whatever piece of damage was lurking under all that blood-matted hair.

“Is his brain bleeding?” Asuma asked quietly, because that was a career-ender right there, if it didn’t snuff Hatake’s life out completely.

She shushed him.

Asuma bit his tongue.

A little snow drifted down outside, hissing as it landed in the fire, but the sky was still clear and star-spangled, lit up silver by a sickle moon. Ginta’s breathing rasped, soft but even. Pakkun crawled into Asuma’s lap, banished from his master with a stern word and a sharp glare. Asuma rumpled his ears with a free hand, sparing a twist of heat for the little dog.

And waited. )
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Same Ghost Every Night [Kakashi, Katsuko] [Jan. 21st, 2012|06:25 pm]
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[[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. )
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As The World Burns [Kakashi, Katsuko, Ryouma] [Jan. 21st, 2012|05:25 pm]
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[Takes place on October 30, seven days after Nothing To Fear]

After her conversation with Ryouma in the cafe, after she’d finally reassured herself that he was alive and well and not a figment of her imagination, Katsuko had parted ways with him at a nearby intersection and started making her meandering way back to HQ. A glint in the display window of a nearby pawnshop had caught her eye and she’d stopped to look at it, curious.

What she found there made inspiration spark.

The refitters had said it would take a week to get the inscription done, so at ten in the morning—seven days after she’d bumped into Ryouma in an elevator and found out he wasn’t dead—she knocked on the door of one Hatake Kakashi’s apartment and waited, holding a wrapped package in her arms.

She’d forgotten to eat, as usual, and her stomach growled faintly as she shifted her weight from foot to foot. Idly, she wondered if Ryouma would be willing to let her rifle through Hatake’s kitchen. Surely a living legend would have a few spare granola bars laying around?
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A Light That Never Goes Out [3/3] [Kakashi & Ryouma] [Jan. 21st, 2012|02:07 pm]

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[Follows directly after A Light That Never Goes Out [2/3], the day before Nothing to Fear]

“Ow,” said Ryouma, much later. “I think I sprained something.”

“I think you deserved it,” Kakashi told him, watching narrow-eyed as little Jin walked stumble-footed up the garden path to a ramshackle house, hand in hand with Orin. Makoto and his red-headed friend, Saburo, had already gone. Saki was half-asleep on Ryouma’s back. “Are you sure it’s safe here?” Kakashi murmured.

It smelled like disuse and sweat and something rotten.

On Ryouma’s other side, Hanato nodded decisively. “Orin is Jin’s cousin,” he said. “She’ll look out for him.”

Kakashi glanced sidelong at Ryouma.

Ryouma just looked tired, suddenly, and a little sad. “She does a better job than I could. C’mon.” He turned, hefting Saki, who gave a quiet mumble and kicked one foot against his side. “Where’re you staying these days, Hanato? Still with your uncle?”

“Yeah,” said Hanato, flat. His eyes skated to Kakashi, clearly unwilling to discuss things with an interloper around.

Ryouma’s teeth bit into his lower lip, scent curling uncertain for a long enough moment that Kakashi almost offered to take Saki so that Ryouma could just go and talk to his furious little lieutenant, but then Ryouma came to his decision. “I’m tied down here in Konoha for the next month at least, til I’m mission-fit again and they decide what to do with me. I'll try to come down here more regular, but if you need to get in touch, don’t bother trying talk to ‘em up at HQ. Kakashi's putting me up right now—”

He paused and glanced at Kakashi, and Kakashi realized Ryouma probably didn’t know the address. )
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A Light That Never Goes Out [2/3] [Kakashi & Ryouma] [Jan. 21st, 2012|01:59 pm]

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[Follows directly after A Light That Never Goes Out [1/3], the day before Nothing to Fear]

The cheapest jacket Threads had to offer was a plain navy blue hoodie that Ryouma picked up without a second glance and slung on the counter.

Kakashi rolled his eyes, returned it to the rack, and went to the back of the store. It took him a second to find what he was looking for—broad shoulders and a slim waist made a trickier combination when you added height as well—but he knew he’d picked right when Ryouma’s eyes flicked wide.

“This one,” Kakashi said, holding up a heavy leather jacket dyed espresso-dark. He eyed it consideringly. “Looks sturdy enough to turn a blade.”

“That costs as much as half a B-rank,” Ryouma said, slightly strangled.

“Good. Then you know it’s strong enough to put up with all the abuse you’ll give it.” And it had the rock star edge Ryouma coveted, which Kakashi knew looked good on him. He tossed it to Ryouma, who caught it reflexively. “Try it on.”

Ryouma hesitated, fingertips brushing the leather, then set his mouth and shrugged the jacket on with a touch of a dramatic flare, like a man donning armour. He zipped it halfway and flexed his shoulders, twisting at the hip. The jacket was just a little loose, leaving enough room for the muscle Ryouma wanted to put back on, but it moved like water. “Feels good,” he said, a little surprised, a little longing. “Warm. How’s it look?”

Like sex on legs. )
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A Light That Never Goes Out [1/3] [Kakashi & Ryouma] [Jan. 21st, 2012|01:46 pm]

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[Takes place immediately after Stranger in a Strange Land, and the day before Nothing to Fear.]

Somewhere in the warm glow of mid-morning, Kakashi woke up and realized Ryouma wasn't there. His scent was still there, weaving through the air and the sheets like a living ribbon, and relief came in the shape of he’s alive, I’m not crazy, but there was still a hole in the world where Ryouma should have been standing.

He’d had bad dreams. Maybe he was walking them off.

And maybe good things happened to nice people.

Kakashi was up, half dressed and three-quarters panicked when the lock turned against the latch and Ryouma walked through the door.

"Morning!” he said cheerfully, kicking his boots off and hefting a cardboard box that smelled like sugar. “Shirtless is a good look on you. Cake?"

It would have been counter-productive to murder him with a coat-hanger, but for a moment Kakashi was severely tempted. )
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Somewhere a Clock Is Ticking [Asuma, Ibiki, Kakashi, Ginta] [Dec. 9th, 2011|02:02 am]

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[Takes place May 3, immediately following Tiny Little Fractures and approximately six hours following All Fall Down]

As mission partners went, Morino Ibiki ranked somewhere between creepy and bitchy, but at least he didn’t get seasick. The boat ride from Kuroihama to Hima was long, cold, and mostly boring. Asuma used the time to catch up on sleep in the hold, wedging himself between a netted stack of boxes and a dozen oiled canvas bags filled with sheepskins.

Ibiki stayed up on deck, brooding against the railing.

At least, it had looked like brooding. Maybe he’d been going over his grocery list.

When Asuma dragged himself yawning back to the deck, hours later, and forced a cigarette to light against the wind, the weather was icy. Unseasonably so for freakin’ May, even as far north as Lightning Country.

He found Ibiki still brooding, but on the opposite side. )
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Wise Men Keep Secrets [Kakashi, Ryouma] [Nov. 18th, 2011|10:09 pm]

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[[Takes place the morning of October 21st, directly after Resting Easy.]]

The carpeting outside of the Hokage’s office smelled faintly of blood. The two flanking guards were spotless in their uniforms and blank-faced, but the chuunin assistant behind the receptionist’s desk looked a little pale.

Kakashi stood with his hands shoved into his pockets, freshly showered and shaved and dressed in jounin blues, and waited. On the other side of the thick, brass-handled door, muted voices argued back and forth. Occasionally, the Hokage’s steady murmur would break in.

“Hatake-san, you don’t have an appointment,” the chuunin said wearily. He was a short, slim man with slicked back hair and a white scar cutting across one cheekbone. “Sandaime-sama is busy.”

“I’ll wait.”

The chuunin blew out an aggravated sigh, returning to the heavy stack of paperwork in front of him. One of the guards looked fractionally amused.

The sun drew a slow arc across the floor, edging warmth up Kakashi’s leg as the apex caught him just before noon. He meditated on his feet, ignoring the rustlings and pen-scritchings of bureaucracy, the guards’ shift change, the scent of the chuunin’s bento-boxed curry lunch. Diplomats and council-members with appointments arrived and were politely turned away, informed that the Hokage’s morning meeting had run unexpectedly long. More than one of them threw a curious glance Kakashi’s way.

“Is that—” began an older woman, cutting herself off.

“Sakumo’s son,” muttered the elderly man accompanying her.

The woman looked very much like she wanted to spit; Kakashi wondered which family member she’d lost to his father’s mistake.

It was an hour past noon when the office door suddenly slammed open, startling the chuunin into dropping a pen. The guards didn’t blink. A tall, hawk-faced man stormed out, followed by two younger men, only to be brought up short by Kakashi in his way. The first man was wearing the grey and black diplomatic robes of an Iwagakure envoy, stitched with gold threads down the sleeves; his eyes widened slightly.

“You,” he snapped. He whirled back on the doorway. “Is this deliberate?”

The Hokage gave Kakashi the barest edge of a look that suggested he wouldn’t mind whacking him upside the head with his official hat.

“Merely a coincidence, Kanen-san,” he said, tucking his hands into his sleeves. “I believe Hatake-san has a separate issue he’d like to discuss with me.”

Hatake-san. Kakashi stayed expressionless. He hadn’t been Agent Hatake for three months, now. )
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All Fall Down [Ginta, Kakashi] [Nov. 14th, 2011|12:57 am]

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[Takes place May 3, immediately following Off the Edge of the Map]

Half an hour passed before the shivering set in, while Ginta waited for Kakashi to do anything other than breathe. Cold from the floor, cold from shock, cold from unstemmed bleeding. The oppressive darkness turned hazy and gray, reducing Ginta’s world to Kakashi, unmoving but warm in his arms, and the icy dizziness trembling up from within. Baiji whined a worried sound when Ginta swayed, and tucked himself up close, sheltering both ninja against a broad, rough side.

A few chunks of ruined masonry fell, a groan rattled through the rubble, but their false cave held its shape.


The mastiff turned his massive head and licked at the blood on Ginta’s chin with another anxious whine.

From somewhere deep within, resolve reasserted itself. He could sit here and bleed to death, or he could deal. No. There wasn’t a choice. He would deal.

He eased one arm away from Kakashi and found a second roll of bandage )
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Resting Easy [Kakashi and Ryouma] [Nov. 8th, 2011|08:08 pm]

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[[Takes place October 21, the morning after Find Me On High Ground.]]

Ryouma woke to sunlight stretching a wide ray of warmth across his face and chest, a bush warbler’s liquid chirping trill in the trees outside the window, and a lean, muscled arm thrown possessively over his ribcage. Kakashi was a solid heat at his back, one foot hooked over Ryouma’s ankle. His breath tickled Ryouma’s ear.

For a long, delicious moment Ryouma lay still, eyes half-slit against the sunshine. He hadn’t dreamed it. And this was no genjutsu, either; no Suna nin would think to add the delicate detail of the bush warbler’s autumn song. He was safe in Konoha, waking up in Sharingan no Kakashi’s bed, and the rest of his life stretched out before him.

He drew a deep breath--sweat, cotton, a faint lingering aroma of last night’s stir-fry, Kakashi--and grinned ridiculously to himself. Then, caught by a sudden thought, twisted to his other side and wriggled up onto his elbow. Kakashi’s grip tightened a little, but he didn’t stir.

Ryouma had watched him sleep before. Sat vigil, more like, in the hospital and once, memorably, in a hotel room, after Kakashi took a double dose of a drug meant for Ryouma. He’d counted breaths until he lost track somewhere in the high five hundreds, hummed, sung, massaged limp limbs to prevent blood pooling, talked aloud to Kakashi and to himself. For all that, he realized, he’d never actually spent much time watching Kakashi. The mask was there, for one thing, and even when it wasn’t a vague sense of decency still constrained him; you didn’t stare at Kakashi’s naked, vulnerable face any more than you rifled through his underwear drawer.

Seeing as how the rest of Kakashi was just as naked, though, Ryouma felt fully justified in a little aesthetic appreciation. )
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Find Me On High Ground [Ryouma and Kakashi] [Nov. 6th, 2011|01:26 am]

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It was autumn in Fire Country.

He hadn’t expected that. He still didn’t have a very clear idea of how much time had passed; no one had told him, and he didn’t dare ask. The two ANBU who’d been sent to escort him home seldom talked to each other, and even less frequently talked to him. Careful, precise orders: Wake up. Eat this. We’ll stop for the night now. They didn’t know how badly his brain was damaged; they weren’t trained to deal with it. He caught glints of fear, sometimes, in the hesitation before they touched him, in the awkward tilt of a masked face as they refused to meet his empty gaze.

They were ninja; they didn’t fear death. He was something out of every shinobi’s nightmares.

He wondered, sometimes, why the Hokage had bothered to bargain for him. Had the Kazekage clarified in his first--no doubt very politely worded--messages that the injured Konoha ninja who had just happened to appear in Sunagakure no Sato was a drooling idiot, or had he merely made vague mentions of serious injuries and gestures of good will and the possibility of opening up channels of communication between the two villages? A ninja crippled in combat was still owed something by his village, some return of his loyalty: rescue, healing, a tiny pension. A ninja who lost his mind would never know the difference.

The ANBU hadn’t known. It was clear from the shock in their rigid shoulders when they’d stepped through the doorway into his clean, white-washed room, seen him sitting on his bed, and stopped. One of them had known him, he learned later, listening to their murmured conversation by the campfire. Only briefly, from one mission last December--his first training mission, as it happened--but he’d been impressed with the rookie, then. He’d thought the boy had potential.

“He didn’t even make it to six months,” the woman said, eyeing him across the fire. “Poor bastard. What the hell is he supposed to do now?”

Tousaki Ryouma stared blankly into the heart of the flames, and wondered the same thing. )
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Off the Edge of the Map [Kakashi and Ginta] [Feb. 9th, 2011|08:25 pm]

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[Follows immediately afterwards Tiny Little Fractures, on May 3rd.]

It had been more than three hours.

Kakashi blinked awake and found himself wrapped like ivy around Ginta, one arm thrown across a lean chest, forehead pressed hard against an ANBU tattoo. Every breath drew in a throatful of hard-sleeping scent: sweat and lead and charred flowers.

Slowly, Kakashi lifted his head.

Ginta was turned slightly towards him, laid out in an oddly contained sprawl. One leg kicked out, one hand curled loosely around Kakashi’s wrist. Every soft exhale clouded visibly in the cold air.

Without moving, Kakashi slid his gaze over to the tent flaps. Pakkun was curled up there, close to their feet, ears cocked towards the outside world. His eyes were closed. Outside the tent, dawn had given way to early morning, bright and grey and cold.

It had been six hours at least, probably closer to eight, and Kakashi had spent it asleep in the arms of the wrong man. )
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Off the Reservation [Ginta, Arakaki, Kakashi] [Jan. 1st, 2011|09:54 am]

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[Takes place May 3, approximately a month following All My Regrets Are Nothing New, three weeks weeks following This Time It's Different and two weeks following Hair of the Dog.]

Ginta was concerned. In fact, more than concerned. In fact, if you considered the pace at which he was limping down the hall, he was downright alarmed. He'd been home in his own apartment for three weeks, and in all that time he'd seen no sign whatsoever of Ryouma or Kakashi. Which, well, that was their business and he was staying out of it from now on, but they were his friends, dammit, whether or not either one of them thought so. So he'd been keeping an eye out for them, and not just because he knew Kakashi was still recovering and Ryouma was playing a dangerous game with chakra pill abuse.

The thing was, both apartment doors stayed locked, and both men were listed as "on mission." And not with one another. But there was at least a little flicker in Kakashi's status: he'd be "on mission" and then "in debriefing" and then "available" for half a day, before "on mission" went back up by his name on the status board. Ryouma was just continuously on mission, but the date he was expected back had been changed, Ginta was sure, a couple of times, before it was obliterated with a heavy black censor bar and replaced with "classified."

When he analyzed the other missions and who was assigned to them, though, it painted a disturbing picture. Because in amongst the various assignments that composed ANBU's mission load, there was a flavor of urgency, and a suspicious pattern of team make-up, with non-ANBU Inuzuka and Aburame trackers assigned on teams with field medics and heavy muscle, over and over, in little four and five day bursts. It looked like — disturbingly like — a search and rescue operation. And Ryouma was the only agent on that board who was neither deep cover Intel nor S-ranked jounin whose return date was classified.

It was when, on a bright early May morning, Ginta checked and found Ryouma's status itself had been changed from "on mission" to "classified", that he'd really started to worry. Then he'd gone digging. He had time on his hands, with nothing to do but work on regaining his strength and stamina now that the cast was finally off his leg, and there was only so much training he could do in a day before it started to hurt enough he wanted to reach for a bottle of pills. So he had both the time and a lot of connections — in Intel, in the mission assignment office, in documents and forgeries, in mission support services — that he used to put together a nightmare puzzle.

Ryouma was missing, had been missing since the fifteenth of April, and there was no sign of him.

Ginta went with a sick heart to do what he should have done three weeks ago )
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Let's Be Enemies [Genma & Kakashi] [Oct. 4th, 2010|02:46 pm]

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[Backstory: Takes place [Backstory. Takes place early October, four years post-Kyuubi, approximately two weeks following the end of Have a Little faith]

Genma spent a week in the hospital getting his poison-ravaged chakra system doctored back into health. In that time he endured three separate brain scans by the resident Hyuuga medic, and two hours-long sessions of painstaking work to repair the damage Kakashi and his desperate field-attempt at a chakra sieve had left behind. He was visited several times by three different debriefing agents in crisp Intel grey — mostly short meetings to clarify details he’d already given them, but one intense session covering every wretched moment of his mission and captivity. He’d run a fever that night, earning himself an extra day of observation when all he wanted was to go home and sleep in his own bed.

He also sat through far too many hours of conversation with a plain-faced woman from psych who knew the details of his life story better than he did, and asked him questions to which there were no right answers. She’d been summoned that night after the big debriefing, to sit quietly with Genma and make small talk, like she was a friend. When Genma suggested that what he’d really like would be to see an actual friend — Rina, for example, or Ginta — she’d been sympathetic in her refusal. The whole situation was classified to the highest level. No one, not even Genma’s most trusted friends, could even know he was in hospital, let alone why.

At least she’d told him what she could about Kakashi. Still a captive, but negotiations were going well. Two or three days into Genma’s hospital stay, the news had finally come: Kakashi was released and on his way home. Uninjured beyond what Genma had already known about.

The psych woman had asked probing questions about Kakashi, too, and Genma’s estimation of Kakashi’s mental health. Those hadn’t had any right answers, either.

Eventually he’d heard that Kakashi was back in Konoha, but undergoing medical evaluation. And no, Genma couldn’t visit him. When they’d finally turned Genma loose to recuperate at home, he learned only that Kakashi had been deemed fit for duty. And that pending passing a physical, so was he.

So maybe some of those questions Genma’d answered had had right answers after all. )
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Have a Little Faith [Genma & Kakashi] [Oct. 1st, 2010|04:04 pm]

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[Backstory. Takes place late September, four years post-Kyuubi, the morning following Working by Hindsight]

Sometime between midnight and dawn, before the oil lamp guttered out but after Kakashi and he had both nodded off sitting up and scattered their unfinished game of cards, Genma woke enough to ease his sleeping teammate down onto one of the mattresses, cover him with one drab, scratchy blanket, and then lie down himself, close to Kakashi but not touching him. For a moment he lay on his side, eyes fixed on the stitched, scab-crusted wound on the back of Kakashi's close-cropped head. Fatigue made him tremble, so that every heartbeat felt like the rocking of waves, and sleep soon overwhelmed his exhausted body like an invasion force. It kept him pinned down until well after the sun rose again.

They were both so tapped out that neither stirred, even when the double-locked door opened and three figures entered. It wasn't until Genma felt the sharp prick of a needle inserted into a raised vein in his forearm that his eyes snapped wide. He sucked in a sharp breath, rigid with tension, and found himself on his back, with Kumoto's assistant leaning over him inserting an intravenous line. More terrifyingly, Kumoto himself was on his other side, kneeling next to Kakashi, bandaging Kakashi's burned hand.

Genma's own hands jerked away, but the assistant held grimly on to his arm. "Please don't do that, ANBU-san," she said quietly. "I don't want to have to restrain you."

The paralyzing jutsu they'd used the day before — had they done it to Kakashi? )
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Working By Hindsight [Kakashi & Genma] [Sep. 28th, 2010|07:28 pm]

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[Backstory: Takes place following Break Me Back Together]

Kakashi woke up when a sleepy shift dropped his hand from his face, and light struck his eyelids. Awareness came sharp and instant, bracketed by a carefully slow breath and tension hitting all the long muscles down his spine. He opened his unscarred eye. They were still in the cell. Genma's chest was still beneath Kakashi's head. Nothing had changed.

Except there was daylight.

Genma was asleep, head tipped sideways and down at an angle that was probably giving his neck a serious crick, chin resting a hair's breadth away from the stitches in Kakashi's scalp. His breath was slow and even, settled into the long-haul pattern of a man determined to stay unconscious for a while yet. Which was good -- he certainly needed it.

Kakashi licked cracked, dry lips and resisted the urge to stretch. Both of Genma's hands rested on his body: one wrapped around Kakashi's upper arm, the other splayed open between his shoulder blades, as if Genma hadn't been able to decide between holding and soothing, and had chosen both. Kakashi wondered how long it had taken for Genma to get to sleep. How he'd managed to get back to sleep himself -- and more importantly, how he'd stayed there.

It probably had a lot to do with those hands. )
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Break Me Back Together [Kakashi & Genma] [Feb. 24th, 2010|01:28 am]

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[Backstory. Takes place in the early hours of September 19th, several hours after Don't Like It But I Guess I'm Learning.]

They slept for hours, until it was dark and the cell chilled down enough that both ninja curled up tight beneath their blankets, hands and feet pulled in, heads tucked down. Twin cocoons of self-made warmth. The room was utterly silent, broken only by quiet breathing. They were left undisturbed.

Then Takajin came back.

There was no warning -- the cell door didn't clang open, alien chakra didn't shiver, no scent change hit Kakashi's nose. There was just sleep, unbroken and dreamless. Then there was Takajin's hand clenched around Kakashi's throat.

He woke with a throttled gasp, eye flying wide, choked silent when another hand clamped over his mouth. The cell was pitch black. Kakashi struck out blind, hitting something that felt like pure muscle. There was a quiet grunt, then the grip around his throat tightened brutally and hauled him up. He kicked, aiming for a knee, a thigh-muscle, anything breakable; grabbed wildly for Takajin's face, couldn't find it, and scrabbled at the twin holds around his mouth and throat. They didn't flinch.

He couldn't warn Genma -- he couldn't get air.

His back slammed into stone. Warm, solid weight pinned him there. There was no slow-burning cigarette glow, only Takajin's breath on the side of his face. Hot and damp through cloth.

"Did you think we were done?"

Panicked, Kakashi tried to drive a knee up into the bigger man's groin. )
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Don't Like It but I Guess I'm Learning [Genma & Kakashi] [Feb. 20th, 2010|08:24 pm]

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[Backstory. Takes place September 18th, four years post-Kyuubi. One and a half days after Learn the Hard Way, and only a few hours after Mightier Than The Sword]

Low light, hushed voices just out of hearing range, the scent of alcohol blended with chemicals and blood, and the fact that he felt as utterly ill as he ever had in his life told Genma he was in a hospital. For several heartbeats he lay unmoving on his back, trying to remember why. Then he wished he could forget. He tried to move his arms, and found his hands shackled and aching, one to each side, anchored to cold metal bed rails. His ankles, too, were strapped down, with his feet cramped and his legs wrenched apart. Belly up and vulnerable. It felt like night, but he had no idea how much time had passed since he'd last been conscious. Or what time of day that had been.

Someone came in. A young woman with long blonde hair and elfin features. She didn't smile. Not even a little. Her lips were stained a garish shade, waxy and wrong for her in a way that emphasized flaws in the symmetry of her face. She glanced at Genma, pressed a button, and raised the head of his bed. Then she snapped on a television set, added something to the IV in Genma's arm, gave him another cold, unreadable look, and left.

For the next long stretch of time -- long enough that Genma couldn't tell if it spanned hours or days -- he was left almost entirely alone.

The room was not in Iwa's hospital, Genma determined, but a medical treatment cell in their prison. )
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