By Sadie DragonFire
Disclaimer: Naruto and all associated characters belong to Kishimoto-sensei and other people who aren't me. They make the money and they can keep it.
Warning: Violence and sexual assualt on a child. No actual rape.
Comments, criticism, and over-ripe fruit thrown at high volocities always appreciated.
"Well, that was stupid of me," Kakashi said thoughtfully.
The corpse didn't reply. The boy eyed it for a moment and then looked around at his surroundings. Somewhere between the ambush and taking off after a few fleeing enemies, Kakashi had gotten separated from the rest of his team. Very separated; the forest was devoid of any sounds of battle or humanity.
He breathed in through his mouth and grimaced. The blood from his broken nose had soaked into the mask, making each breath taste of copper and salt. Hopefully he'd have the time to wash it out before it dried stiff. Wiping his kunai off on his pants, he knelt down by the corpse and began stripping it of any useful weapons or rations. It still twitched with residual death-throes, an unpleasant scent tainting the air as the body's muscles went lax.
Kakashi touched the shuriken buried deep into the corpse's throat and chest, but decided not to take them, if only because the blood made them hard to grip and his hands were shaking slightly. Storing the pilfered items with the rest of his supplies, he grabbed the body by the shoulders and dragged it into the underbrush. A task made difficult by the fact that it was nearly twice his size. Still, he wanted to leave as little indication of his presence as possible, since he didn't know how many of their enemy was alive and wandering around. Any element of surprise he could gain was to his advantage.
Once the corpse was adequately hidden by shadow and foliage, Kakashi did a quick sweep of the area, smoothing dirt, shifting leaves, tossing broken twigs, and in once case, burying a puddle of blood. Done, he took off at an easy loop through the trees, re-tracing his way back to the ambush site. He turned up the sound on his radio briefly and wasn't at all surprised to hear only static. The order had been radio silence until they all met back at the rendezvous point and he intended to maintain that, even at the risk of fighting without back up.
The forest nightlife was quiet from the recent commotions, only now starting to pick up as Kakashi passed silently by. He liked it amongst the trees; would have been traveling up in their branches if the local species weren't so much smaller than the ones in his native village. He sighed. How impractical.
He'd left as little a trail as possible during his flight after his opponent, but the other man---a cutthroat, swift and capable with sword and club, but nothing compared to a Konoha chuunin---had not been so careful. It was almost disgustingly easy to follow it back to where they'd come from.
The ambush site was empty when he reached it, but signs of the fight were obvious. Though any bodies had been hidden or disposed of, the dirt was torn and scarred and splashed with dark streamers of blood. Trees and bushes bore the marks of the weapons that had cut into them and countless fresh green leaves had been torn from the trees to scatter the ground. Kakashi crouched on a thick tangle of roots and thought for a minute.
There had been twelve shinobi, three teams of four, hired to clean out the hundred or so bandits that had taken up residence in the region. All three teams had attacked the largest encampment only a few hours earlier---disabling and capturing when they could, killing when they couldn't---then split up to deal with the smaller groups stationed throughout the hills. As bandits went they were decent; lethal to ordinary villagers but barely a workout for a competent shinobi. If they had banded their numbers together there could have been trouble, but thankfully there was too much disharmony between the groups to allow for that.
Scouting missions had been unable to locate all the camps, which meant they'd probably be scouring the hillsides for days to come. The goal tonight was to take out as many as possible before the news spread and they went further to ground or started running off to safer hunting grounds.
Kakashi's own team had encountered a band of fifteen returning from a raid and had set an ambush, attacking them swiftly and decisively from the darkness. Most of the bandits had been wiped out at a distance, but they'd had to move in to finish off the rest and in a moment of carelessness, Kakashi had gotten his nose bashed in.
He grunted in self-directed annoyance and winced when his face decided it was time to throb painfully. Nice.
Prior to the ambush his team had been heading southwest along the slope, towards a ravine with a water supply that could be a possible camp. It would be best to continue on that path and hopefully he would meet up with them along the way. The only other option was to wander around looking for them, but that was just a waste of time. He'd have to keep his eyes and ears open for any sign of them and otherwise continue on with the mission as planned.
Satisfied with this decision, Kakashi straightened with a languid stretched and headed out again, feet whisper soft over the dead leaves.
An hour later he wanted to hit something. Or sit down somewhere comfortable with a good book and forget about this mission nonsense altogether. The ravine had turned out to be a dead-end and he hadn't seen hide or hair of his team anywhere. Which would have been great if he were an enemy, but he wasn't so it was just stupid.
Feeling increasingly grumpy with the world in general, Kakashi scampered lightly up a tumble of jagged rocks, aiming for the plateau that, according to the maps he'd studied, was somewhere above him. He'd rinsed his mask out back at the ravine, but of course the water had been anything but warm and he had no time to let it dry. His face was freezing. It was one of the few times he actually had doubts about wearing the thing.
At the top of the rock pile, the ground leveled out into a narrow trail. From there, the earth continued to flow upward until arching back into that plateau he'd been looking for. Kakashi balanced precariously on two of the rocks and examined the trail before stepping onto it. Though it may have started life out as a game trail it showed obvious signs of human travel, some as early as yesterday.
"Hmm, right or left?" Kakashi muttered to himself, looking up and down the trail. The most recent set of footprints where heading left..."So, left it is."
He moved fast but carefully, staying off the trail when the slope allowed and keeping his kunai conveniently in hand. Now if only this trail led to...ah ha! Jackpot.
Up ahead, the faint glow of a fire was visible through the trees. Kakashi shook his head in mock dismay. Really, these people; didn't they know they were being hunted? Too easy.
He slowed down as he approached the encampment, finding a secure place in the underbrush to watch them from. There were three of them, all adults ranging from twenty to thirty. Their armor was mismatched and battered, but it fit them well and they moved like they knew how to use the weapons they carried. Capable fighters.
In other words, a piece of cake.
Kakashi grinned slightly. Might as well be direct about things. He stepped around the knot of dead branches he'd been hiding in and casually walked right into their camp.
"Yo," he said, lifting his unburdened hand in a calm wave.
The bandits lunged their feet with matching expressions of shock, but to Kakashi's mild surprise, they didn't hesitate in attacking him. Most would have passed him off as a harmless child. Lack of attentiveness aside, they weren't entirely brainless.
Two of them hung back slightly as a tall, lightly built man in a sleeveless brown jacket went for Kakashi first. He wielded a long bladed spear, thrusting it forcefully at Kakashi's chest. Kakashi ducked down to avoid it and dashed in under the shaft, aiming for the man's stomach. Sensing the danger, the bandit dodged but not fast enough; Kakashi's knife sliced into his side, leaving a shallow cut along his flank.
Kakashi twisted, using the force of his shoulders to turn, and braced his left leg against the ground to check his forward momentum. He reversed his grip on the kunai, ready to stab the unprotected stomach before the man could recover, when the glint of a katana appeared in his peripheral vision.
He dropped straight down so that the sword passed over his head and then threw his weight to the ground, shoulder hitting hard as he tumbled out from between the two men. The spear struck the place he'd been standing at, barely missing the lose edge of his vest. Springing up onto his fingers and toes, he viewed his opponents again. The man with the spear and the katana-wielder were standing too close to each other, one ready to defend the other if the need arose---he'd need speed there---but the third man was far enough away that...
Not wasting time to finish the thought, Kakashi launched himself straight at them. The spear handler moved forward again, his partner two steps to the side and one step behind. Nice formation; shame it wouldn't work. Gathering the power in his legs, Kakashi phased to the right the second he was in spear range and darted around them to the third man a good dozen yards from his comrades.
He brandished a heavy, unyielding battleaxe, with the powerful shoulders and wide-legged stance typical of such fighters. The sort who relied on sheer brute force rather than speed.
Kakashi came to a full stop right in front of him. The man started and swung his axe, the blade passing right through the air where Kakashi's head would have been if he were adult-sized. Mouth quirking under his mask, Kakashi wasted no time in going for the all-important femoral artery left exposed by that stance. The force of his stab drove the kunai straight to the hilt into the bandit's inner thigh; he pulled down and back, tearing one long rent through skin and muscle.
The man howled, clutching at the wound and swinging his axe in a wild arc as he went down. Kakashi dodged again, the lethal edge nearly taking off his ear. There were two options here; he could leave this one to bleed or finish him off now. Even dying, an enemy might have enough energy to trip him up at the wrong point.
Best to finish it, he thought, moving his bloodied kunai between index and middle finger, while the other two were still getting their wits together. The man was already down on one knee; Kakashi stepped back out of the range of a mostly instinctive attack, then lunged forward again to punch fist and kunai right into his throat.
Flesh parted easily under the strike, blood pouring freely over his hand as the man made a thick gurgling sound like muddy water going down a pipe. The body jerked backwards and Kakashi released the weapon, muscles bunching together as he started to turn and face the other two.
The wooden pole caught him across the face before he'd completed the move.
Pain exploded anew from his already damaged nose, causing him to stagger and distracting him from the pole sweeping down to crack against the backs of his knees. He fell back onto the still shuddering body, one thought ringing clear through the sudden jumble in his head.
There had been a fourth bandit.
Dazzled, Kakashi wasn't quick enough to roll out of the way of the heavy hand that settled on his throat and dragged him off the body to the ground.
"Well now, aren't you a young one," the fourth man leered into his face, drabbing his heavy frame over Kakashi's slight one, "Quite the troublemaker for such a small brat." He positioned his staff across Kakashi's throat, leaning on it just enough to make the boy gag.
Kakashi struggled under the hold, cursing his stupidity. Strong or not, his body was still that of a child and he didn't have the power to overthrow this man without the right leverage. Shit. He'd been overconfident.
There had to be something near by he could use kawarimi no jutsu with. There was a log within a yard of him----if he could distract them for just a second...
"Toru, just take him out already," one of the remaining bandits snapped, walking over to the body of his fallen comrade, "The little fuck killed Kazuki!"
"Oh, I don't know, we could have some fun with this one," Toru said with a grin that exposed a lot of bad teeth. Kakashi stared up at him, clearly unimpressed. The bandit frowned and put more weight on the staff, causing Kakashi to let out an involuntary gasp and grab onto it in a futile effort to ease the pressure on his neck. He twisted his legs but it was no use, he didn't have the right angle to get a good kick in. He'd have to wait until this bandit---Toru---let his guard down.
"Bet you're really pretty under that mask," the bandit said lowly, shifting against Kakashi in way that made his skin go cold, "Your mama make you wear that mask, boy? Keep your pretty skin all nice and white?"
"Fuck, Toru," Kakashi distantly heard the katana-user mutter.
The man above him snickered unpleasantly, fetid breath blowing over his throbbing face. "Just real quick," Toru said, sounding far too excited by something for Kakashi's comfort, "Just real quick..."
Grabbing both of his hands, the bandit held them captive above his head in one massive fist and moved the staff out of the way. His free hand slid down Kakashi's chest, fumbling fingers searching eagerly for his waistband. Kakashi stiffened in confusion and discomfort. What did this man expect to find in his pants? He forced a deep breath to maintain his calm. To panic now was to invite death.
A low pleased grunt and Toru shoved his hand down inside the dark pants----Kakashi nearly bit his tongue, sealing his teeth against the cry that wanted to come out when the bandit roughly grabbed his crotch. That hurt.
"Ah, there we are," the man said thickly, "Nice and small...like that, huh?" Coarse fingers dragged painfully over his tender skin, the foul musk of stale sweat filling his nose. His chest tightened, stomach twisting up into a sick knot.
Kakashi struggled franticly, instinctively against the invasive touch, before containing the swell of fear and forcing himself to remain still. He couldn't wear himself out, he couldn't---a tight sob worked its way up from his chest as Toru rubbed him harshly.
"Yeah, real quick now," Toru was mumbling, pulling his hand free of Kakashi's pants and pushing himself up enough to yank at the ties on his own. The heavy trousers opened after a moment and were shoved far enough down to expose the swollen, excited flesh underneath. He was soon at Kakashi's clothes again. "...gonna like this..."
The fist closed around his wrists loosened just enough. Kakashi tore his right hand free of the grip and drove the tips of his fingers straight into the base of the bandit's throat with all of his might.
Toru recoiled violently, gagging and choking through a crushed windpipe. Kakashi pulled his now freed legs up and kicked the dying body hard in the chest to get it away from him. This didn't go unnoticed by the other two; the spear-wielder howled in fury, casting his weapon. It flew unerringly to its target---who, with a puff of pale smoke, was suddenly replaced by a log.
Kakashi used their distraction to dart through the tree around the campsite. He took the katana-wielder from behind, the heel of his sandaled foot striking hard at the base of his head, where skull met spine. The bandit went down and Kakashi followed the motion to the ground, landing in a crouch. He ripped the katana out of one spasming hand and hoisted it into an attack position over his shoulder. It was heavier and longer than the wakizashi he'd been trained to use, but he didn't let that hinder him.
The other one was still retrieving his weapon, cursing furiously. Kakashi pushed off hard, rushing him. The spear came free of cracked wood just as Kakashi was in range, but the intended swing was ineffectual, stopped by the razor edge of the sword. Kakashi batted the spear away and brought the katana around to bite deep into the man's side.
It went in halfway, stopped by the spinal cord. They froze like that for a minute, Kakashi balanced lightly on his feet, the man wide-eyed and gagging weekly, supported mostly by the blade in him. Kakashi straightened and stepped back, pulling the katana out with a slick wet sound. The body dropped to its knees first, then slumped forward to the soil, folding around the gushing wound.
Kakashi stood stiff and still, head turning as he thoroughly scanned the area. The only sound that reached his ears were of the dying and the normal forest sounds of shifting leaves and the calls of night birds.
No other enemy. He concentrated for a moment to regulate his quick pants into deeper, even breaths to recover his air and calm his heart. The katana dropped from attack position, the tip resting lightly on the churned up earth. Light from the bandits' slowly fading fire glimmered off its bloody surface.
"Cheap metal," Kakashi said in a casual voice, tossing the weapon onto the nearest body and vanishing back into the shadows between the trees.
Fifteen minutes later the adrenaline wore off and he found that walking was something of an issue. The memory of exactly why his groin was so sore assaulted him all at once and his legs quite suddenly gave out.
He knelt on the leaf litter for a while, breathing raggedly as his body shook. Delayed shock, he thought numbly to himself. Blood taste lingered on his tongue; his nose was bleeding again. His entire lower region ached like he'd been kicked, except it worse, because he imagined he could still feel blunt, jagged-nailed fingers gripping him.
No one had ever touched him like that before. A shudder racked him, fists clenching and unclenching at his sides. No one ever would again.
Eventually the tremors wore off, though he still felt cold and light headed. He pushed himself to his feet with some difficultly, brows drawing together as his underpants rubbed him uncomfortably.
He needed to find his team. Now.
Luckily they were looking for him too. One of the other teams had also gotten split and two of them had joined up with his group; all five were heading toward the rendezvous point in a zigzag fashion, locating who they could along the way.
Kakashi gave an abbreviated report to his squad captain about the bandits he'd killed. He must of looked like hell because the squad healer, Takeshi, called a five minute rest while he sat Kakashi down to check for wounds. Kakashi couldn't quite stop himself from tensing at the gentle but currently unwelcome touches. He answered Takashi's questions in a mildly bored tone, not volunteering any information, and was glad when his teammate dulled the pain in his nose with a low-level healing jutsu and left him alone.
Still, despite his "I'm fine" attitude, the captain had Takeshi escort him and Obito (who'd gotten a cracked elbow and several nasty gashes at some point) directly back to the rendezvous while the remaining three continued to take the long way around.
For once, Kakashi didn't argue the point.
"Kakashi, welcome back!"
Kakashi looked up from the wall he'd been studying and felt some tension leave his face. "Sensei," he said in greeting, letting his carry sack sag off of his shoulder.
The tall man who was as much father as teacher strode across the street to Kakashi's side, grinning in his usual easy, open way. "I heard the mission was a success. Congratulations!"
"Yeah," Kakashi said, blinking to clear the sudden blur over his vision. He must be more tired than he thought. His teacher hesitated, a concerned look coming over his face.
"Are you all right?" he asked, voice dropping into a softer tone, "I heard you got injured."
Kakashi titled his head back to take in that familiar and beloved face, blue eyes warm with caring and proud affection.
I'm not all right. I killed eleven men yesterday, sensei. I kept count. And one of them touched me before I killed him. Put his hand right between my legs and it hurt, sensei. Felt so bad I wanted to throw up and I can still feel it there. Why? Sensei, sensei, I don't understand. Please tell me.
He exhaled and breathed in, opening his mouth. He could tell sensei, of everyone in the entire world, he could tell this man.
"Excuse me, sir!" a voice shouted down from above them. Their attention was directed upward, to a young ninja leaning out an upper window. "The Third wishes a meeting with you in his office!"
"Tell him I'll be there as soon as I can!" his teacher shouted back, frustration clear in his voice. "Lousy timing," he grunted, "You were saying Kakashi?"
Kakashi closed his mouth.
And smiled, eyes turning up and squinting closed, so even sensei couldn't see what shone through them.
"I'm fine, sensei," he said cheerfully, "Just broke my nose." He reached up to lightly pinch the black covered tip, feeling the slight tenderness left behind. "I was careless," Kakashi admitted, allowing his tone to become sheepish.
Sensei frowned slightly and Kakashi could see the doubt in his eyes. "Are you sure? I've got a few minutes, if you'd like too---"
"Sir, he's really anxious to speak with you!"
"In a minute!"
Kakashi laughed and to his ears it was a false, empty sound. "You shouldn't keep him waiting too long, sensei."
The man sighed explosively and muttered something about overbearing, dried-up old monkeys. He fixed Kakashi with an all-to-perceptive eye and squatted down to his level. "Remember Kakashi, you can tell me anything. I'll always have time for you, even if I have to piss of the Hokage to do it."
Kakashi nodded agreeably in the way of someone hearing an oft-repeated speech. His chest felt thick and wet.
A moment of quiet study, then his sensei sighed again and straightened, once more smiling warmly. "Very well, I better see what the honorably Hokage wants. You can tell me all about your mission over sushi tonight, right?"
Kakashi's hidden smile became more real. "Only if you're treating."
A bright laugh, a wave of farewell, and the tall blonde strode purposefully through the double doors into the ninja headquarters.
Closing his eyes against the sight, Kakashi gathered up the tightness in his chest, the knot in his stomach, and the phantom touches ghosting across his skin, gathered them all up and pushed them all down. Down through his neck and past his shoulders, into his belly and splitting off into either hip, down to his feet where he pushed it out into the pavement. All the fear and all the memory, pushed it down hard till he wouldn't feel it anymore, pushed down until it was out and gone.
He never wanted to think about any of it ever again.
Sighing and opening his eyes, Kakashi hiked the sack back onto his shoulder and decided to go see if the bookstore had gotten a new shipment in yet.
It was better than standing around all day, anyway.