Disclaimer: not mine, never will be.
Notes: Ok, I think this is going to happen quite often. I have too many ideas for this fandom and it all fits together far better in my head than it does on the page. There is such a thing as angst overkill, which is why this couldn't fit in chapter 7.
I was researching PTSD and world war cases of shell shock, because I didn't want anyone's insanity to be OTT. The most commonly found symptoms of shell shock were: hysteria and anxiety; paralysis; muscle contractions; blindness and deafness; nightmares and insomnia; dizziness and disorientation; loss of apetite. Military PTSD included flashbacks; memory and concentration problems; hyperarousal; abnormal startle responses; fragmented sense of self and identity. That spawned this.
If you've been following Butterfly in Reverse, it's a good idea to read chapter 7 before you read this, because of triggers/spoilers. That said, I don't think you have to have read any of my other stuff to get this! XD
Hatake Sakumo had killed himself while Kakashi was still very young. Though it had started before that, really.
Kakashi, though orphaned at seven years old, had always claimed that he had been much younger than that. He had never known his mother, and his father had taken over three years to actually die. After his disgrace – and let's face it, he would've been disgraced either way – Kakashi's idol, his hero, hadn't really been the same.
One day, about two months after the event, drawing up to Sakumo's remedial review, he had been visited by his team-mate, Mikkoku Tengu. When Tengu had knocked at the Hatakes door, Kakashi had been sent out to play – though despite the gradual forgiveness of the villagers, the young Hatake still had no one to play with, so he settled for throwing stones at the scarecrows in the ANBU training field behind his street. He'd probably be punished if he was caught – his father might even ground him – but it was so worth it to see how their heads fell off if he hit them hard enough. After a while, Kakashi rarely missed.
Evening came, but no-one came to collect him, and Kakashi began to worry. He fled home, thinking that his father had maybe had another nightmare, and was shocked to find the front door open. His father was lying on the living room floor, Tengu long gone. Hatake Sakumo didn't move for three days. A nurse had taught the child – who refused to leave his father even for school – how to boil water to keep him clean, and cook ramen. The nurse had even helped Kakashi drag a fold-up futon from the other room, so that they didn't have to move the infamous White Fang from his pathetic spot on the floor.
Sakumoremained inthat room for the rest of his life.
The insanity that had thereafter plagued Hatake Sakumo's mind had left Kakashi cold and efficient. At four years old, the boy had taught himself to wash, brush and dress himself; how to cook, clean, sew and mend – he had learnt how to best clean his father's soiled sheets in the morning after nightmares or fits; how to prevent himself from gagging at the horrid mix of blood, vomit, urine and faeces.
Kakashi had learnt to bite his lip to keep from crying as the weekly call-nurse roughly tugged his father about on the futon in the main room of their little house; forcing tubes and food and drips down his slack throat. Kakashi knew it wasn't really directed at him when the war-weary nurse berated the boy viciously for biting his lip, knew he shouldn't take it personally when she called him childish and weak, but he learnt to keep his mask on even at home, in case anyone called round. Even inside his own home.
Kakashi knew not to take it personally when Sakumo would throw his son's small body across a room, knew that his unseen enemies and personal ghosts received far more damaging hits when his father would thrash about, snarling horribly. Kakashi learnt quickly to drop whatever hot food he had been carrying to his father's side if the man did strike out – lest his scold his chest and stomach like the first time he had been caught unprepared, when he had been very young
Kakashi hadn't really wanted to be a ninja so soon, had wanted to stay in the safety of routine, the safety of his classroom; but Konoha needed soldiers and the rules did state that a deferred graduation needed the signature of a parent or guardian. Kakashi hadn't really felt inclined to explain to his chuunin-sensei that he couldn't get a signature - Sakumo would think the pen was poisoned, or that he was signing his own death warrant, or he had forgotten his own name.
Besides, Kakashi could probably use the money. He wasn't allowed to access his father's bank account and, at five years old, was far too young to find part time work, however liberal the village was. He was growing tired of his neighbour's sneers when he asked her sometimes for vegetables, so that he could eat something that wasn't ramen.
"Sakumo a disgrace and his son a beggar. Goes to show that it runs in the blood!"
Even when he'd been promoted to Chuunin, Kakashi had never fully comprehended how far gone his father was. Sometimes, Kakashi would sit with the man, hugging an arm while telling him all the cool things his sensei was teaching him. He would let Sakumo stroke his silvery hair until his gentle petting became a tight, angry grip he would have to carefully break. Sometimes, Kakashi convinced himself it was normal.
One night Kakashi had been woken by a heavy weight upon his neck and chest. His father, looming crazed above him, was snarling and growling as he tried to strangle his son, repeating some strange, desperate mantra over and over.
"What have you done with my child? Where is my son?"
Kakashi might have screamed if he could've breathed. Instead he delivered a swift, accurate kick to his father's groin, escaping to the rooftop when the man dropped like the bag of potatoes Kakashi could barely afford. His sensei noticed his silence the next day, and that evening the Sandaime Hokage himself appeared on the Hatakes' doorstep. Kakashi was nervous in the old man's presence, but dutifully made a strong cup of tea. They drank in the main room, where Sakumo curled up on his stained futon, still clutching himself, whimpering to himself.
Sandaime had watched as Kakashi had plumped his father's pillows, fed him, fed himself, andhe was shocked to find nothing to rescue to stubborn boy from, no wish to be saved from his situation, and so eventually, left. The Third Hokage would never bring it up in Kakashi's presence, would never let on about the enormous rows he had shared with his blonde successor over the boy's safety, his sanity and his well-being.
When Sandaime had left, Kakashi fixed a strong lock on his bedroom door.
Three months later, on a summer night, Kakashi came home from training. He was exhausted but exhilarated, having finally mastered some silly jutsu that had been evading him for months. He smelt his father's warm guts before he saw the body, was amazed as his own numb reaction even as he slipped on Sakumo's blood and crashed to his knees.
The thing that really floored him though, what really kept him locked in that position, staring numbly at his father's disembowelled form, was the stunning relief that coursed through his body at the sight of it. The relief that he was finally alone, that he no longer had to be father and child to a man that understood neither. That he could just be a shinobi now, and get on with it all.
Eventually Kakashi moved – plucking the ornate tanto from his father's hand. Judging by the strong rotted smell, the flies and the stiffness of his hand, Kakashi figured that the man had been dead for hours. How long did it take to die of blood loss?
His father's brief note was the only deviation from the classic suicide rituals of the Old Traditions. It read: "On my lucid days; I am chasing ghosts."
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