Written for KakaSaku Month Week 3 Prompt: Soulmates AU
Hope you love angst!
A Stone Has Never Felt So Heavy
Eons ago, the Goddess Benzaiten visited the world and left a blessing upon the earth. Every baby born would have an amulet gifted to them from the Goddess herself, allowing the wearer to find their soulmate in adulthood. No one knew where the amulets came from, they appeared out of nowhere in the child's bassinette at birth. The amulets grew warm when you were near your soulmate, and were supposed to be a fitting match. During the Second Shinobi War, many people's soulmates died, leaving their stones cold and lifeless. They would become depressed and many took off their amulets, losing faith in the universe. Sakumo Hatake had been one of these poor souls. His wife died from a strange illness, and had ended up killing himself after losing her.
Kakashi Hatake on the other hand, never felt life in his at all.
Other kids in his age group had already felt it. The warmth that comes with the amulets finally being close enough to their mate that they grow warm. The first two were Kurenai and Asuma. No surprise there.
Kakashi was assigned a team, with Obito and Rin under Minato. Right away he hated Obito, Rin was smart so she was okay, but his amulet didn't warm when he was next to her.
"Kakashi-kun, doesn't your amulet warm when you're with me?" She had asked him one day during their training with Minato-sensei.
It was time to break the truth to her. "It doesn't."
"Oh. How strange. It always warms up when we're together! Like at team practice, and when we all hang out..."
"Have you ruled out Obito?"
"Well... no... but..."
He knew what she wanted to say.
I like you, Kakashi...
Please don't say it. Please don't say it.
"But he's not you."
He sighed and threw a kunai at one of the three posts across the training grounds. It almost hit Obito as he was retrieving his own weapon.
"Hey! You trying to kill me!?"
Kakashi remained silent as he walked away from Rin to grab his Kunai from the trunk. Rin's soulmate was Obito. I guess they could work, she's smart where he's stupid. He made the decision to stay out of it and ignore the feeling in his gut.
That he was lonely. The pendant felt heavy against his chest. The stone was ice cold and had never warmed even the slightest against his touch. Maybe there wasn't anyone out there for him.
He was promoted and they were on their first mission with him as captain. Obito had finally confessed to Rin apparently their amulets matched. They were a strange couple, but at least they were happy. Kakashi felt further detached than ever.
The stone was still ice cold against his chest.
When the stone crushed Obito, the guilt hit Kakashi like he had been the one crushed under the boulder. Rin was screaming and crying. And there was Obito being the stupid little boy who sacrificed himself for Kakashi's sake. He even gave Kakashi his Sharingan. Rin did the transplant, her workmanship impeccable considering her probably mental state at the time.
She was watching her soulmate die and there was nothing she could do about it.
They left to return to the village, neither saying a word as they ran. Rin stopped him, she said something was wrong, that she felt another presence inside her. They were being trailed by enemies and she asked him to kill her before they could get ahold of her for their evil plans.
Kakashi doubted that the feeling was the only reason she wished for death. Obito was gone and a void had opened in her soul. He summoned chakra to his hand for chidori and just as he was about to rush forward to the nearest enemy, Rin launched herself in front of his outstretched arm, impaling her chest with his attack instead the enemy. He tried not to blame himself. He tried.
But in the end he knew it was his fault. Rin might have fought back if Obito had been there with them. But Obito was dead now, and it was his fault. If he had been just a second faster. If he had done things differently she would have never been caught in the first place, they wouldn't have had to risk their lives saving her and Obito would have never had to die.
Kakashi couldn't remember the exact details of what happened afterward. Even now the memories were just bits and pieces, blurs of blood and smells. All he remembered was his hand killing her and his mind shutting down, only to wake later with Rin next to him, both of them lying in a pool of her blood. The coldness of death was already stiffening her body. Her blood was drying on his skin and making it crawl and itch. He wanted to scream. The universe had made his two best friends soulmates, brought them together, and now they were dead. His family. Kakashi knew he had to get back to the village but nothing could make him move. He was lost. He wanted to reach out and hold her hand. To bring her back. There was a sick black hole in the middle of her chest, and the smell of burnt flesh still hung in the air. Her blood was in his hair, on his hands, burnt onto his skin, staining his clothes. The smell of the blood was in his nose. And he couldn't get away from it. A tear smudged the blood on his cheek.
He was now truly alone.
When Kakashi finally returned home he erected a wall around himself, when people would speak to him he would respond minimally, and avoid any and all interaction. If his class mates asked him to join him for various events he always turned down or ignored the invitation. There was no sense in getting close to people if you just lost them in the end anyway.
Once he had returned to Konoha he decided he wouldn't let fate control him. He didn't want a soulmate to be stuck with him, scum like him didn't deserve a soulmate.
His amulet was cold and hard against his chest, a constant reminder of his lost friends. Kakashi took the amulet off and held it in his hands. The slightly crescent shaped stone with a little knob off the back was heavy in his palms, yet as cold as ever. He stuffed it in the back of his sock drawer. He tried to convince himself that without the amulet he could avoid the hurt. His chest felt tight and he rubbed a hand over his heart. The amulet may have gone but the weight on his chest felt heavier than ever. He looked at the picture propped up on his nightstand, depicting his team, alive and well. He flipped the picture down. Their faces haunted him. When he looked at her he no longer saw the happy girl who had just found her soulmate. Instead he saw the girl he had unintentionally killed. Blood spattered on her face and surrounding her in thick viscous pool, her eyes... blank, dull, lifeless.
Kakashi washed his hands seven times that morning.
And every day after. The dreams were a constant reminder of his past transgressions. His skin crawled when he woke up, the memories once again fresh in his mind. He did everything he could to take his mind off them. He was asked to join ANBU and did so willingly. He took the hardest and longest missions he could find, ones that even the senior members were wary of. Kakashi became so cold-blooded they called him 'Friend-Killer Kakashi', he didn't dispute the title.
In the end, it was true.
There were several instances where he almost died on missions. Only half the time he was happy about it, the other half were the times the medics had barely saved him, where people had spent too much time and energy making sure he survived.
Had they ever thought maybe he didn't want to be saved?
His mental state spiraled, he caught himself spending more and more time alone, detached from the village yet more loyal than ever. When Minato died he felt another little chip fall from his heart. Just one more loss.
He convinced himself he wouldn't lose anyone else.
Kakashi remained in ANBU, and took solo missions more than anything else. The missions were always conducted flawlessly to a 't'. His apartment became a place he slept for a night once every three months. The Hokage thought he was slipping and took him off of ANBU.
They even suggested a therapist.
As if he would ever accept. (If they had even a sliver of evidence for mental health issues a regulation stopped you from being on the active duty roster. Kakashi couldn't bear to let Konoha down like that.) Regardless the higher-ups decided he needed a change of pace and made him a mentor. He would be in charge of three genin, and teaching them to be upstanding ninja.
But I don't know how to be an upstanding ninja? The last time I was part of a permanent team, I lost my two closest friends.
I can't allow that to happen again.
Kakashi was given his first class and he instantly disliked them. They were reckless and stupid. He failed them with is very first test.
The Hokage assigned him a new team.
He failed them as well.
The next year, he was assigned a new team, yet again. The time Hiruzen came to him personally. He was to teach Minato's son, the last Uchiha and a girl. She was passed over as if an unimportant nobody. Haruno Sakura. What about you makes you so easy to look over?
Kakashi studied her file, she was the daughter of civilian parents, her mother didn't graduate the Academy and her father never made it past the Chuunin exams. She was bound to be boring, even if her grades were some the highest in her class.
The day they were all supposed to meet up, Kakashi was running late. It had become a sort of habit of his, after all if you care so little about everything in your life, why be on time? He slid open the door to the designated classroom, and an eraser fell on his head with a clap. He closed the book he had been reading and slid the door closed behind him.
Looking over the three kids, he decided they were just as stupid and reckless as the last two rounds. Minato's son turned out to be an idiot. How disappointing. The Uchiha boy had something in his eye, a rather strange quality that seemed out of place in someone so young. But he had seen his entire clan die in front of him so it made sense. And lastly the girl. Haruno Sakura. Her bright pink hair was probably the only interesting thing about her appearance-wise, she seemed incredibly average, and the fact she ratted out Naruto just made her a goody-two-shoes, if she couldn't be loyal to a teammate who would she be loyal to? Kakashi made a bet with himself that she would never make it past the chuunin exams.
They met on the roof later that day to introduce themselves. Naruto was to be expected: Ramen. Sasuke: Revenge and thoughts to kill his brother. Sakura: boy crazy. She actually thought that Sasuke was her soulmate. She clutched the amulet around her neck and scooted closer to him. The boy didn't respond, just subtly inched away from her.
Stupid little kids. To have that feeling of being close to your soulmate though, if Sasuke was truly her 'match', why wasn't he more excited? She's going to get herself killed for this boy.
He wasn't wrong. Time and time again he left the village, seeking power. The last time they went after him, Sasuke had almost killed her. She kept bringing up her stone, that it felt warm when they were together, that they were meant to be together. If his showed the same that he should come home and be with her. Sasuke had looked at the offending stone on his chest. He took it between two fingers and studied it, then wrapped his hand around the stone and yanked the amulet from around his neck. He threw the rock at Sakura and sneered.
"It's cold. Always has been and always will be."
Sasuke left, dragging Karin's body behind him. Sakura didn't follow. She looked so small, even if she was 18 now, it was almost as if he could see her heart breaking.
Once their former teammate was gone, Kakashi walked up to Sakura and placed his hand on her shoulder.
"But it was warm. It's always so warm when I'm with him!" She was crying, the hurt came clearly through her voice. She turned to him, her bright green eyes filled with tears.
He brought her in for a hug, why are you doing this, Kakashi?, "The universe works against us at every turn. You'll find the one, I promise."
You don't really believe that, asshole. Why are you feeding her lies? You know full well that the universe is a crazy bitch who loves to see people hurt. Why would you give her hope when you have none of your own?
"Do you really think so?"
Kakashi didn't respond. He couldn't bear to lead her on with more false hope.
They stood there in an embrace for way too long. But he didn't want to lose his grip on this fragile girl in his care, and she didn't move to break the loop of his arms. The smell of her invaded her nose, she smelled good. Too good for him. Kakashi finally loosened his grip on his student, realization hitting him that this was inappropriate. Why do I just want to hold her until the tears stop? Why do I care? She wiped the tears from her eyes and they left to return to Konoha. Empty-handed.
At the entrance of the village, Sakura turned and looked back at the gate.
"Are these amulets even reliable?"
"I wouldn't know, I stopped wearing mine, and before that it was always ice cold."
"Because... mine is still warm, and Sasuke is undoubtedly miles and miles away by now."
Kakashi's ears perked up. No. It couldn't be.
He gave Sakura a quick goodbye and poofed to his apartment. He climbed in through the window instead of taking the time to unlock the door. He had to know. He tugged open the drawers to his dresser. What drawer was it in? He tugged them all open and started rifling through his various clothes. Kakashi got to the last drawer and was getting almost frantic. When he pushed a few pairs of socks aside a heavy thunk made him slow down. He picked up a couple of pairs and pushed them to the side. There it was, his amulet.
Kakashi picked it up, his hands shaking. What are you doing? I thought you swore off of this sort of stupidity. Even if it were true, she would never accept you.
The stone wasn't warm.
Kakashi shoved the stone in his pocket and walked out of the apartment. He told himself that he needed fresh air and to think about what he would put in his mission report.
What he was really doing was trying to convince himself that the stone wasn't warmer than he last felt it.
It's just body heat. Yeah. That's it.
Kakashi decided to avoid Sakura for a while. Maybe these thoughts will stop if I don't see her. He felt bad about shirking his duties as her sensei and decided to come out of hiding one day and find her.
It had been something like three weeks since he had last seen her beautiful eyes.
Beautiful? When did that word come into play?
He found Sakura outside the Hokage tower, relaxing on a bench. She waved him over.
He gave her his two-finger wave and joined her on the bench.
"Kakashi-sensei, I have the greatest news!"
"Tsunade has agreed to take me on as her apprentice to learn medical ninjutsu!"
THE Tsunade? Has agreed to take on my student.
"That's great, Sakura. So I..."
"I know right! I think we start tomorrow, so I'm gunna go home and get a lot of rest before we start."
"I, uh... never mind, it's not important. Congratulations on having Tsunade teach you. Guess I won't be your sensei anymore then, huh?"
"You'll always be my sensei, Kakashi."
Why does my name sound so wonderful coming from her lips? It never did anything before.
"You can just call me Kakashi now," he mumbled nervously, "… I mean... if you want." Why the fuck are you nervous? She was your student! You have no business being nervous around her!
"Okay, Kaka-sen-… oops, sorry, Kakashi. It will take some getting used to!" She smiled at him and Kakashi felt a warmth in his chest. He didn't know what else to say, so he remained silent and pulled out his book. Sakura stood next to him and stretched. She turned around and may have said something but Kakashi was too absorbed in his book to hear anything. A finger pushed his book down. Sakura was bending down in front of him to get his attention. Her dress wasn't revealing in any way, but somewhere along the line, some things had grown. Her amulet hung down, the stone mostly circular, with what looked like a divot on one side. He looked up at her face.
"Kakashiii, don't ignore me, jerk. I'll see you around!" She smiled and walked away. You are not allowed to think about your student's... things. You are not allowed. Not. Allowed. Not. Allowed. Not. Allowed. Allowed. They are pretty great perky things, aren't they? NOT ALLOWED. NOT ALLOWED.
Kakashi felt his cheeks burn as he went back to his book.
Thank Kami for this mask.
He shoved a hand in his pocket and fiddled with the stone in his pocket, the strangle little crescent shape with a little knob off the back. It was smaller than he remembered, and was warm. Kakashi gulped. I'm so going to hell.
Kakashi took to carrying the stone in his pocket, in hopes that he would see Sakura every now and then, and might feel a bit of the stone's warmth seep into his cold, dead heart. She was just so good, and happy. His daily visits to the cenotaph were to tell Rin and Obito about his, dare he say it, soulmate. He hoped the connection wouldn't destroy her like it did his teammates. The weight of their deaths still weighed upon his soul, but it was as if they were just a tiny bit lighter now. It had been at least a year since he last had any sort of conversation with her, her training with Tsunade and hospital work took up all of her time. (And let's be honest, Kakashi avoided the hospital like the plague).
He visited the cenotaph again, that morning. This time someone was already there.
He walked up beside her and they stood in silence. The stone was hot in his pocket. He took it out and looked at it.
"I thought you didn't believe in these things, Kakashi?"
He held out the stone and showed it to her.
"It's warm." His voice barely audible.
Sakura looked at him, her eyes wide.
"Oh, thank Kami." She threw her arms around him and hugged him tightly. When she withdrew she pulled out her own amulet and showed it to him.
"I thought it might have been malfunctioning this entire time. But it was actually you!" Her eyes filled with tears. Was she sad it was me?
"So... are you okay with it being me? I know that I'm a bit of a damaged package."
She frowned and took his stone from his palm. With the other hand she took her own stone and fitted them together. A strange feeling flowed through them, almost an electrical current racing through his veins. Kakashi couldn't take his eyes off of the stones joined in her hands, they almost gave off a yellow glow. It was beautiful.
"Do you see this, Kakashi? The Universe may have decided that we should be together, but I decide what is right for me. And I have decided that you are the One for me."
Sakura threw her arms around his neck and planted a kiss on his lips. it was just a peck, and not near enough. He was still wearing the mask. She withdrew and stood on her tiptoes to put the amulet back over his neck.
Kakashi couldn't help the smile creeping across his face. He pulled down the thin fabric covering his skin and leaned down to kiss her. Her lips were sweet and he wanted to lose himself the feel of her. His hands came up to her neck and threaded into her thick pink locks. Kakashi broke the kiss, his head spinning and breathless. He pressed his forehead against hers and closed his eyes.
"So that's what your face looks like huh?"
He blushed and detangled himself from her hair, "yeah..."
"I've just never seen it before... your face. You're a very handsome man, Kakashi." She reached up on her tiptoes to whisper in his ear.
"Even that little mole, is so cute!"
She turned and started walking away, leaving him a steaming mush pile. Just a few seconds later, she turned back and looked at him.
"Well? Are you coming?"
He decided to let her have his heart. Kakashi jogged the few steps separating them and took her outstretched hand. May she never break it.