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Be My Rain

No one could say a word
Of what had passed or should be said
As if time stood silent,
The dawn never came
And the skies are empty


There are different ways of coping with loss in Konoha. Oftimes, a good cry will do the trick. For those who don't know how to cry, there are therapies. For those where crying isn't enough, there are medicines.

But when it comes down to it, the real cure is memory. Some just forget about it and the loss, being so complete and so far-reaching, is easier to accept than the partial ghost that lingers after a dead body. Some never let go and the ghost becomes a wound that never closes, an everlasting source of pain for the masochistic mind. It is hard to tell which method is more effective; neither guarantees absolution of guilt.

Anko doesn't know how to cry. The ability was beaten out of her by her sensei and has never returned even in his absence. She can't forget. Wiping her mind clean is like wiping at a dirty window. She presses too hard on one dark smudge and the glass breaks. Hospitals are no good because they're too white and she can't take pills because the likelihood of addiction is too high.

She has no friends to turn to, none that are alive anyway and none whom her hands haven't already slaughtered at her ex-sensei's orders. She has no home. It was burned down in an enemy attack and when her ten-year-old self ran outside, her mother remained screaming in the living room and when the second floor collapsed, well, that was the end of that.

At sixteen, Anko feels like her life is crap and considers suicide nearly everyday but her optimism, or the scraps that are left of it anyways, holds her back every single time like a leash on a rabid dog.

She's too strong to think of giving up and even after being ignored, abandoned, tortured, ostracized, hated, smiles come easily to her face because there is a certain pleasure in being despised. She lives for tomorrow because it holds danger and the promise of excitement and adventure and she dreams about such things even in the middle of nightmares.

Anko wants to live even when she has nothing because she can't stand being weak. She wants to live because it is in her blood and noone can take that away from her now (because the one person who could decided to leave her bleeding instead)

She wants to live,

except on nights like these, when the string tying her to sanity threatens to unravel in the dark and the curse seal burns like crazy because for some damn reason, she can't forget that guy's face and it pisses her off that an asshole like him had the nerve to--

She drinks her fifth cup of vodka and it slides like hot rain down her throat, promising temporary memory loss. She is underage, but there is a kunai up her sleeve for anyone who objects.

The person sitting next to her is far ahead, on his tenth cup, and the minute she turns to looks, he turns his head to stare back.

She is startled by the light-hearted expression underneath his mask.

Yo. Aren't you too young to be here?

In their childhoods, he had never smiled like that.

It makes him look like he's happy to be alive and she tells him so rather harshly.

After a moment of silence, the lines on his face harden ever so slightly and she knows the mood has changed. He says my, my isn't she the smart one but did she know that in Anbu, teammates are not permitted to see the faces beyond the masks and how odd that she would say what she said because yes, he is happy to be alive especially since all the strangers in his team are dead and today he was able to see their faces for the very first time after burying them and isn't that a damn good reason for celebration.

The onslaught makes her cheeks burn with embarrassment and she clutches her glass tightly, as the rest of her self-respect slides down the drain. His cheerful sarcasm stings, like a rough kiss on a black bruise. His confession, so unexpected, is shattering.

But Anko grins back because she's suddenly too afraid of him to scowl and too tired to say sorry, Lucky you. Somebody died for me today, and she brutally wipes the dripping alcohol from her lips, I'm celebrating, too.

Lucky you, HatakeKakashi replies, smile so unwavering that it's unnatural and creepy but when he raises his cup, she lets hers clink gently – nervously - against it and it's almost an honor to be drinking with one of Konoha's best ninjas even when he seems a few clowns short of a circus.

By the time he leaves, it is raining outside. He stands in the downpour, looking upward for the longest time that Anko, watching and dry inside the bar, wonders if he's praying and to whom.

When she hits her eighth cup, she wonders why Anbu members can't see each other's faces.

When she hits her ninth, the answer doesn't seem to matter because either way, it still hurts and no matter how much she drinks, she's never going to get over Hatake's words or that expression her savior had when his heart stopped, all stunned and terrified and pleading the way a ten-year-old should never look because children should never die like that—children—should—neverdie—like—that

Her hands are shaking.

His shoulders are shaking.

She is drunk to the brim and breaking.

He is soaked to the skin and laughing; it is a weary, soft noise that blends in with the sound of the rain and then stops when he pulls on his Anbu mask and disappears.

Inside, Anko swallows her tenth drink and waits for her own good mood to start.

…be my rain, make me forget…