Summary: KakaskixRin. His past haunts him and has him backed into a corner, and there's nowhere left to run. Rin can't save him, because he has to save himself.
AN: First part of a three-part fic, and totally the fault of Kimi no Vanilla (GO READ HER STUFF, DAMNIT). This chapter is total gratuitous torture. So if that bothers you or if you're terribly squeamish, use that wonderful back button, yes? The next chapter takes place before this one, actually, which is strange, but it's for…reasons of aesthetics, y'see.
Yeah. Right. On with the fic. And the torture. Yo! Criticism, anyone?
There was a thin red line painted on his torso, and he didn't remember how it had gotten there. Didn't remember the fingers dipped in paint and dragged across his skin. Didn't remember that it had really been a knife, and that he was hanging in chains. Didn't remember Rin, and what she'd told him, and why he'd left.
All he remembered was Obito, and fire.
Hold him steady. Fuck, don't let him jerk like that!
Skin sounds so strange when it splits, like fat crackling over a fire. It feels so strange when it splits, a slick wet sliding against muscle and bone. It smells like copper and craven fear. And blood drips down like a macabre rain and douses the world in its sanguine tint and everything's fine, just fine, because blood is made of cells and proteins and it's not a part of him, not really.
He thinks he's tough, eh? Let's just see about that.
He reminds himself that screaming is unprofessional by the time they move to the sixth finger. He fucks the rules come the eighth and surrenders to the pain. And then all those little snap-snap-snaps are melodic more than macabre. And even though he can feel every individual splinter of bone as it twists asunder, even though he can feel every individual joint ground down to the surety of acidic agony, he doesn't want to acknowledge it.
Still nothing? Heh. I haven't had this much fun in a while.
There's ribbons laced across his torso like so many macabre presents, red-scarlet like the blood he shouldn't shed. At some point, someone had broken one of his legs, and the shinbone is protruding from the damaged skin, a strange pearlescent-red. The skin itself is raspy and papery, painful and still so precious. He can see the marrow in the bone and that almost amuses him, because his captors are fucking inarticulate. He's watched Ibiki create a masterpiece of his subjects, and he is amounting to nothing beyond a second-rate sandcastle, ready to crumble back to dust at the slightest discrepancy. He knows that these people could use more work.
Unfortunately, they think the same of him.
Fuck, what are you people, amateurs? Give me that knife, damnit.
And so he's jerked forwards, and his legs don't work very well, and one kunai slips into his hip just below the joint and effectively paralyzes his movements, and another knife slips under a pinch-mark of skin just under his ribcage and the interrogator works it up, up, up, and then across, viciously, violently. He bites his lip and makes himself bleed, because he can't let them have all the fun. And then he feels the knife slip between his ribs and he closes his eyes and hears Obito laughing.
It twists, and the sound is like nails on a chalkboard, bone against steel, harsh and grating and that's not pain he feels, because pain can break a man. By the time he's figured out what they're gonna do to him Oh fuck, they're gonna! it's too late, and all that's left is to scream. There's a squelch as the rib is torn from the cartilage that had kept it as a part of his body, and it clatters to the floor noisily and he's gagging on his own blood and screaming and crying and the interrogator shoves him back against the wall and fucking kisses him, and it's all blood and teeth and tongue and he's whimpering into the mouth of his torturer and it doesn't seem to matter because it's never going to change.
"He'll talk," the man purrs, and he switches the knife from hand to hand as Kakashi wonders fuzzily if he's ambidextrous. He tells himself to shut the fuck up, to focus, to breathe past the pain. And then the man lifts one of his hands, swollen and purpled and gnarled with bones forced in directions not intended by nature. He studies it a moment, kisses the swollen fingertips with their bloodied, empty nail beds, and straightens the fingers almost lovingly, but the bones twist against one another and coherency becomes a fondly remembered thought, like sunshine or pain-free life. Satisfied, the man slams his knife through the base of his palm and down into his wrist and he's screaming again.
He jerks the knife out after a moment and licks the blade, droplets of lacquered blood flecking across Kakashi's already-bloodied face.
The man steps back, wipes one hand across his mouth and smiles to savor the victory, and Kakashi can't see him very well at all in a haze of sharingan-red that comes more from pain than potential.
"Eventually," the interrogator concludes, and then they leave him in darkness.
They don't seem to realize he's been there all along.
The silence is cloying. It presses upon him, a miasma of gloom so full of secrets like a grave dug but never filled. One thing and one thing only registers in his mind, and that's the throbbing, aching, cuttingtearingrippingsensation of what has been done to him today and what will happen again tomorrow. And again and again until he breaks or until he dies and either option isn't looking particularly favorable from where he's standing, but he knows in the end he'll hold out for the reaper to take him in a loving embrace, enfold him into eternity, before he betrays his comrades.
And it was then, while he's helpless and hanging in chains that Obito comes to him.
"You're crying," he murmurs, and he wipes the tears away and makes a soft, chiding noise deep in his throat like a bird cooing, mocking the Chidori. "I thought you were better than that, Kakashi. Better than me."
Crying crimson crystals because there's nothing left to give. Kakashi looks at him crookedly because his good eye is sealed shut from a blow and his sharingan was left untouched to drain him of his chakra and he's looking at his dead best friend through an eye that should have died with him. Obito crouches down until they're nose-to-nose and he smiles a little, just a little.
"You're on your knees," he says in wonder. "I've never seen you so defeated, Kakashi. Would you like me to stay a while? I can't do much, but I can help you through the pain." He reaches out again, presses a hand to the gaping bloody maw in his side where they'd tore out a rib and he holds the injury closed with his porcelain-pale hands and blood spills over and through him in the same way that red wine soaks through a white tablecloth.
"After all, you were so helpful to me, when I was dying. I regretted it the moment I did it, and do you know why? You weren't worth it. I knew that, but my body seemed to move on its own." Obito leans closer and kisses his cheek and then his eyelid as the sharingan flickers closed and his lips are cold and harsh against the paling scar of his past and Kakashi whimpers and his injuries burn and he wants to run away but he can't because he's held and bound with chains and guilt and obligation and his fucking duty.
"They cut you, here," Obito murmurs, like he's talking about the weather. And he returns his hands and runs them over Kakashi's torso and to the gash across his shoulder that had taken him down, and he picks absently at the forest detritus that had gathered in the wound, because they'd dragged him here by his feet and he'd been closer to dead than to unconscious when they'd bound him with their puppeteer's strings.
"Does it hurt?" And his voice is a whisper, so soft and sure, a secret shared between best friends, the sort of secret that you die to protect, and Kakashi thinks that's not too far fetched. Obito smiles and presses harder, insistently, against his shoulder and against his side and how can he be so many places at once? "Does it? Scream, Kakashi. I always wanted to hear how you sounded."
And so he screams, because it's a small price to pay for the lives he's taken, and for the one he failed to protect.