Cure my Tragedy
AN: They really need a mindfuck genre on this site. Either that, or I need to stop writing them. Um. Hints of Kakashi/Rin, btw. And Kakashi Gaiden spoilers. I'm…unsatisfied with this fic. Gah. Much thanks to the wonderful Kimi no Vanilla, who inspired and helped me with the damnable thing. Hugs to you, dearling!
Kakashi doesn't visit Rin every day, because Rin isn't dead. It's always been easier to measure fallen soldiers by their virtues instead of their faults, but Rin is twenty-two, locked in a room, far from faultless and very far from dead.
When he remembers Obito, Kakashi doesn't remember that he was always late or that he was always annoying or that he was never good enough. Kakashi remembers smiles and sunshine, and the best friend anyone could ever have, dying in darkness-dying for him- and that's the only thing that matters or ever could matter.
He does it because he wants to be remembered the same way. Not by the lives he's taken but by the one's he's saved. He finds it only faintly ironic that the numbers don't balance out quite the way he wants them to.
He couldn't save Rin. He tried, in the beginning, and it was probably more his fault than anyone's that she's where she is today. So he forces himself to go, forces himself to look at her and to know that he could and should have done more to save her.
For the first few years, he went to see her every day, just before he'd stop and visit the monument, because his rational side argued with his irrational side that because she was still alive, she took precedence. And then he started going once every three days, instead, because she'd tried to claw his eyes out that one time and he'd almost wanted to let her and…
Now he goes once a month. Sometimes. When he's not away on missions, and the fact that he wants to accept the ones that keep him away for long periods of time isn't helping him any. His conscience nestles on his shoulder, smug and satisfied, red eyes dusted with contempt and Kakashi hates himself a little, or maybe more than a little, because his relief outweighs his shame.
They make him sign a form every time he visits her, a form that states that he won't hold the ward responsible for any injuries that the patient manages to inflict on him. His signature is done automatically, and he has to laugh at the fact that they think he'd actually care if she hurt him or not. Surely what he's done to her is ten times worse than anything she could return…
She'd given him her love, and he'd given her a life of pain.
It's a bad trade.
He takes his hitai-ate off, because it's all about the subtle nuances with Rin, and he takes a deep breath and he releases the seals on her door and he enters, leans against the wall and doesn't stare too much at what she's managed to do to herself now. Nothing really surprises him these days.
Rin smiles at him, for once. Smiles and holds her arms out like she wants to be picked up and held like a child, and he won't –won't- look at the gnarled, twisted remnant of her left hand, broken and shattered so she could never again perform her jutsu. The scars are still in all the right places, and there are some new ones he doesn't recognize, particularly that one across the bridge of her nose, the inelegant scrawl of a skeletal phantom that exists only in her mind.
"Hello," Rin says cheerfully. She talks strangely because she's missing some teeth on the right side of her jaw. "You're dead."
Kakashi snorts at that, and sits carefully across the room from her, legs crossed and arms resting on his knees. She looks annoyed that he's thwarted her, and she lowers her arms slowly, because maybe those crisscross scars still cause her pain. She studies him with her one functional eye, and the muscles in the empty socket of the other one twitch accordingly. He breathes, because it's easier than screaming.
"I just wanted a hug…" she murmurs. "Just one. There's nobody here at all. Kakashi doesn't love me any more, did you know?"
"What are you talking about…?" he controls his flinch, forces himself to speak and is glad, not for the first time, of his mask. It does more than hide his smiles, and he's biting his lip hard enough to bleed. "Of course he does."
"I don't think he ever did, Obito. I think he was just lying to me. He was always so cold to me…and…and then, when you died…" Rin trails off desolately and sniffles and goes back to what she'd been doing when he walked in. She's gouging at her arm with her mostly-undamaged hand, and the blood is running rivulets down to her twisted fingertips, dripping on the porcelain-white floors with barely-audible little plips.
His sharingan eye burns with tears, and he doesn't wipe them away. Let his dead best friend mourn in his own way. It's only fair, after all.
"You shouldn't do that," he tells her carefully. It's never helped in the past, never made her stop, but at least it's something to do and something to say and even if it means nothing to either of them, it's better than keeping silent. Because silence scars deeper than words. Or so he's found, anyways.
"What's it like?" she asks, not looking up at him. He knows he should stop her, but…he can't. It's more painful to watch. And even though it's immoral, what's one more bad decision in a life of wrong turns, lost chances and a cacophony of regret?
"Being dead, and all," she says in the same practical, no-nonsense voice that she used to use when she was a medic. Kakashi wonders if the balance of lives lost versus lives saved is less skewed for Rin. Probably. She was just as good at her job as he was at his. She keeps digging into her flesh, making little 'tch, tch' noises every so often, like it hurts but she doesn't know how to stop. Like there's a monster under her skin and she's trying to claw it out with her bare hands.
There's a monster in everyone. Some people are just better at being oblivious to its presence.
"It's not so bad," he whispers. The tears from Obito's eye slide down what little of his cheek is exposed and are absorbed in the resilient fabric of his mask. Absorption, assimilation, it's what happens to all of them eventually, isn't it? And so Kakashi doesn't think of it as crying, because that's not what he came here to do.
"Do you see Kakashi any more? Or I am the only one you visit?" She lifts her head, plays her bloodied fingers up her arm to her cheek, and then across her lips. Her tongue flicks out to catch the sanguine droplets, and he looks away. Can't watch and knows he has to. It's a peculiar sort of penance.
"Sometimes," he allows, leaves out the every time I look in a mirror… and decides that if she's seeing him as Obito today, then he'll let her. It's better than when she knows who he really is, because when that happens…
"I miss him," she tells him, like it's a secret, like she'd never told anyone before in her life, but she tells him all the time, and it's never gotten easier to hear. "I called for him. I thought he'd save me. I thought that because I loved him, he'd come."
"He wanted to." And his throat constricts and his vision blurs and he can't see straight or think straight and he knows he's going to have to go home and get spectacularly drunk because he doesn't want to remember this, even though he knows that alcohol is a piss-poor anesthesia and if he wants to forget everything he's seen, a kunai to the heart would be a far better option.
But that'd be cheating.
"Well that doesn't matter, does it…?" She lifts one arm over her head and it makes a singularly disgusting grating noise, the sort that happens when you force a joint in directions for which it was never manufactured. She doesn't seem to notice, and her single eye stares into nothingness. "Life should have been perfect. And then you died, and you loved me, didn't you? I'm sorry I didn't love you back. I thought that Kakashi…that he was everything I'd ever wanted but then he left me and I hate him and !"
She pauses. And slowly, slowly, her eye turns back to him, re-focuses and sharpens, and then her expression changes in an instant from carefree and whimsical to deadly and dangerous and she lunges at him, hissing and snarling like a mountain cat, and he can only just catch her wrists in time to keep her from killing him.
"You!" she spits the word like a curse. "I told you never to come back here!"
He flinches again and transfers both her small, emaciated wrists to one hand, and she's fighting him still but six years of inactivity have done nothing for her strength, and with his now-free hand, he takes his mask off. Let her see the monster in me, he thinks.
She's crying now. Great, bitter, wracking sobs that shake her whole body and set her shoulders to trembling and he pulls her into a sort of half-hug, seeing as how he's still gotta watch out for her hands, and she lets herself be held, for once. She buries her face against the crook of his neck and would probably sob her heart out, if she had one to give. "Hateyouhateyouhateyouhateyou," she chants like a mantra, but she's letting herself be held, and he thinks, just briefly, that maybe it's an improvement.
"You left me to die!"
"I trusted you!"
"You should have died for me!"
Yes, he acknowledges briefly, bitterly. I should have. I would have, if I had it to do over again…
But Rin doesn't care about that. She doesn't care about any of that. She would have forgiven him once, but everyone has their faults, after all, and who is he to hold her in contempt for something he can't do either?
They say that ninjas aren't supposed to cry. That they are, in essence, emotionless killing machines. He's not emotionless yet, but he's headed that way fast. Maybe these visits are doing him more good than he'd thought.
Forgive me, he thinks but doesn't say, because he doesn't deserve it, and because she doesn't care. And so he holds her against him until she stops moving, and he wonders when he'd gotten so proficient at killing his best friends.
Kakashi doesn't visit Rin any more, because he doesn't need to. She haunts him regardless.