Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto and its related characters.
I've moved to another country due to an illness in the family and had to find an apartment and job. So sorry for the really slow update, but please be patient with me.
Onegai shimasu m(..)m
Oh, I said that I would try to lighten up this chapter, but it went the complete opposite direction. Angst alert. I have a lot of things to deal with in the next couple of months, so it may stay that way for a bit.
Kakashi watched as his dream self committed heinous act after act to Sakura. Assassinating her, torturing her, sending her to countless deaths. With a grotesquely kunai mangled face, she looked straight at him and said the words he had heard many times over, "Why me? Why are you doing this to me?"
Kakashi woke with a start and had to feel his face to make sure that the ANBU mask wasn't there. That it was sweat, not blood dripping down his body. That it wasn't a genjutsu created to ensnare him, but another damn nightmare.
As soon as he reoriented himself, Kakashi was ashamed that he had allowed himself to move before gaining his bearings yet again. Thank god his subconscious mind didn't have a death wish and kept these occasions neatly tucked in his own bedroom. However, he also couldn't figure out what caused them. His exhaustion and stress levels seemed to have no correlation with the nightmares and Kakashi hated that. It was so much more frustrating for a perfectly good day and night to be strangled than for a shitty day to have an understandably shitty ending. If only he could predict when they would come…
Kakashi, for the most part, was resigned to the nightmares themselves. Yet he could not help but feel weak at his inability to suppress the course his mind inevitably took after them. The thick solid walls that were supposed to enclose his guilt and disgust suddenly became mere transparent membranes. And when that happened, Kakashi had no choice but to admit that he had become horribly twisted and warped through living the hard life of a shinobi…that his repressed memories bled together into a cesspool that fed off of his inability to cope with them.
The repressed memories/images/snapshots of horror, blood, and gore… It replayed over and over until he was sucked into a whirlpool of pain, anger, and loathing. The mix of emotions varied slightly from night to night, but the end result was always an overwhelming neediness that remained as a bitter aftertaste for several days. The need for tranquility, for love, for acceptance, for mercy, for a breath of humanity; it drove him crazy. Yet he knew that once he lost this reaction, he would have lost his loose grip on sanity also.
Originally, Kakashi had only the typical run of the mill ANBU nightmares. All rookies went through them and outgrew them. In fact, he had suffered quite less than the others. He had learned to suppress emotions and mechanically go through the revolting missions quite easily. Though he had been younger and supposedly more impressionable, his young mind was also better adapted to compartmentalizing his brain: ANBU Kakashi and his dreadful memories in a dark corner surrounded by thick walls; easygoing Kakashi in the rest. A great system until that murky corner slowly grew over the countless missions and began to encroach on the rest of his personality.
That's when Kakashi knew he would have to get out of the ANBU soon, or rethink his strategy for dealing with the growing shadows in his mind. Circumstances took care of that, but maybe he should have learned a new way of dealing with things anyways. In fact, looking back, he could admit that a part of the reason he passed Team 7 was that it offered a way to create a new life for himself. Being a gennin team's teacher was as far away from the harsh realities faced on ANBU missions as a jounin could get.
That's why it was quite ironic that the real nightmares had started after he became a teacher. In essence, the more "human" Kakashi had to be as a teacher, the more his tight control on all emotions loosened subconsciously. By the time he realized it, it was too late. He had stopped being an efficient killing machine with defined borders between his work self and real self. Those kids had blurred the lines and now he was having nightmares without any way to stop them.
Though it only took half a second to sense he was at home, another half hour passed before his heart rate returned to normal. On these nights Kakashi refused to go back to sleep for fear of falling into the same dreams; convinced that the next fall would cause the final avalanche that would plunge him over the edge. He was afraid to think lest it led to a path of self-destructive thoughts.
Kakashi had enough cuts on his body without adding any self-inflicted ones. Yet the urge was there. To punish himself for what he had done…to overwhelm the hurt in his heart with raw pain coming from his body. He knew from battle experience that the light-headedness of blood loss would cloud his mind and shield his heart.
He wasn't stupid though and managed to stop himself. Kakashi knew that it wouldn't change a damn thing except to lower his self-respect and his ability to perform his duties. But fuck, he had to deal with it somehow…learn not to hate himself for all that he'd done. Convince himself that despite everything, someone would love him. Not out of ignorance but even with truly knowing what horrors he was capable of inflicting. However, he wasn't going to hold his breath waiting for that to happen. Kakashi knew that he had no conceivable right to be blissfully happy after committing so many atrocities in the name of Konoha.
While it was impossible to escape the chaotic mess in his head, he'd found that singing a song out loud helped. It must've looked odd, a man waking with a start only to begin singing a song in the pre-dawn hours. On top of that, the only songs he could associate with safety were children's nursery rhymes that he'd learned before graduating from the academy: the end result being a former ANBU singing children's songs. Good lord, if the clients knew that this was what protected them, a loony man with his nursery rhymes. He could just imagine their reactions.
But then again, Kakashi never really had cared for what others thought.
And so he sang:
Ookina kuri no ki no shita de (Under a great chestnut tree)
Anata to watashi (You and I)
Nakayoku asobimashou (Let's get along and play)
Ookina kuri no ki no shita de (Under a great chestnut tree)
To Be Continued
So there it is. I know it's short (as always). I just can't do long scenes because I can't hold onto one emotion for a long time. I try to do something long, but it becomes fragmented as my mind changes its focus. Argh. I adore stories that have carefully woven chapters, but I'll never be the one to create them.
The song is a very common one in Japan. It comes with gestures and kids have great fun with it. To me, it reflects the innocence of children who can create their own simple world playing under a giant tree. I never thought I would include songs in any of my fics, but I couldn't get a mournful Kakashi singing children's songs out of my head. Was it completely random though?
I will continue doing the short spurts I can manage and hope that you will enjoy them. Any reviews will, of course, help keep me on track :) Maybe even get a happy chapter out of me.