The one and only time Rin tries to kiss Kakashi late at night.

A cut-scene written for Bite the hand that feeds's Chapter 7 of 'Butterfly in Reverse'. Very much suggest you read the first part of that chapter at least before/after this one, as it inspired the scenario, though it does stand alone.

Rated M: for general mindfckyness and angst, and sexual content, so there's your warning.

Written for Bite - because it was crazy the amount of time you took proofing this thing, and even crazier the level of enthusiasm. Plus because you're working so hard on 'Butterfly' you totally deserve a random diversion - ne?

Rin's home is empty and it always will be. She knows it, same as she knows her name, same as she knows the stars don't shine as bright as they did when she was little, and same as she knows she can't go home tonight. There's a little blood on her face, a lot in her hair, and more on her uniform, because she just got back from a long mission and killed fourteen or fifteen people. She's appalled she can't remember the number but it's hard to count people by their limbs alone and there had been so much blood and screaming and it had just been another day.

They were trying to kill her, and she was trying to save somebody, and none of it had worked out like either side planned. Rin's target was dead before she reached him - even a genius medic like her couldn't revive a corpse; and the unit guarding him hadn't been able to save themselves in his stead either. ANBU aren't allowed to let those who see them survive, and Rin's attempts at stealth for their own safety had been futile in the end. It hadn't been easy to kill them but it hadn't been hard either, and Rin still couldn't remember if it was fourteen or fifteen.

She files her report: mission unsuccessful. It wasn't her failure that the target was already dead, and from the looks of things when she'd gotten there perhaps it was just as well. Rin never used to believe in thinking like that, always used to hold fast to the idea that where there was life there was hope and with hope came the future. But the ideas are so much harder to keep straight in her head these days (just like fourteen or fifteen), and there's only one time when they clarify so she turns left instead of right outside ANBU HQ and walks the dark streets from the shadows. ANBU aren't meant to be seen off-duty, and Rin for one doesn't want to be seen as an ANBU - it's not something she ever wanted to be.

But she joined ANBU for a reason, same reason she turned left instead of right, down the silent streets away from her home. Despite that, everything feels cold to her as she slips up to the window outside Apartment 32B on Ichidou Street, and when she looks inside and sees him awake and padding into the shower she wonders if this is good luck or bad luck. It strikes her that it doesn't matter, and she disables the traps around the window like she alone knows to do. Kakashi never showed her how, but after the first time he's never changed them either and she knows for him that's as close to an open invitation as she'll ever get. It's not his fault, it's really not, but Rin can't help but wish for his sake and hers (because they were both the same thing now - even though she couldn't let Kakashi see that) that this could be different. Maybe it will be one day, but until then Rin can't escape the feeling that every time she comes here and does this she's digging a hole that will bury them both. Of course, maybe that's why she does it. Because she doesn't much care for the light of day right now and if she suffocates with Kakashi at least she's on familiar ground.

Slipping inside she resets the traps and silently stands in the small, bare apartment. There isn't much of anything here, just a bed with standard covers that she knows too well, and a dresser containing nothing but uniforms and maybe Obito's goggles. On the windowsill there's a photograph of their team, and Rin deliberately doesn't look at it and pushes it face-down with a small 'clack' so the nine year old kids and their grinning sensei won't see what's about to happen.

Wishing she could control herself, and somehow not have to do this like she does; Rin feels her heart in her throat as she pulls off her chest armour and ANBU issue footwear and silently drops her mask to sit over the toes. Treading silent through the apartment (it takes all of a dozen steps) she pushes open the bathroom door, takes a breath of the wet, heavy air and steps in.

He's waiting for her, because he hasn't tried to run, leaning back against the tiled shower wall and watching her with one eye - his Sharingan - narrowed to a slit. She wishes he wouldn't do that, but sometimes he does and she has to look at Obito as they do the things they do and later ask herself if that was the future Obito had imagined he'd see. She hasn't asked him why he looks at her with the wrong eye sometimes, she's probably scared of the answer. She thinks maybe Kakashi believes if it's Obito looking at her then its not him and he's not really here. Or worse, he's forgotten how to make the distinction. More than once she's been here and known it's Kakashi's version of Obito she's with but she can't stop herself any more than he can and she just hopes tonight won't be like those nights. She needs all of him tonight, not a facet, and please not Obito's part in him… please.

He's slouching there, naked and incredible and bleeding a little from a cut within a bruise across his side. The shower is running hot, and she can see his unnaturally pale skin blotching quickly in response to the heat. But it'll be getting the blood off him faster so that's probably alright.

Rin's got blood on her too, so she takes a few more steps (is it two or three?) and gets in with him - gasping a breath she didn't know she was missing as the hot water hits her cold skin - and wrapping her arms around herself to keep from reaching out before she has to.

Kakashi hasn't realized which eye he's looking at her with, though the red haze should be giving him a clue - he sees so much that isn't there these days it's probably better that he not draw assumptions. He'd known somehow, that she'd be coming tonight, and pretended he hadn't felt a jolt in his gut when he did. She'd crept in, gone through the usual pleasantries, and now she was in here with him.

She's looking up at him with those huge brown eyes, and he can see she's still a little in control of herself because they blink a little - perfunctory fashion - in the wet air. They're swollen with need and hunger - all but blind - so different from the empathy and kindness he used to always see. He realizes she's still in most of her uniform and automatically his eye drifts over her form - skin tight black fabric soaking through, letting him see her body without seeing it, though god knows what the Sharingan is showing him that he shouldn't be able to see.

He doesn't let Rin know, but when this happens Obito always shows him things he's not sure are there; and he knows it's because the child Obito will always be hates Kakashi for every second he spends touching her like it's his right to. Like he deserves her, like he isn't the last person on earth she should let do these things to her. Sometimes he falls away into those realizations and doesn't know what takes his place to try and sate her needs, but he tries not to dwell on it, and hopes she doesn't notice.

She asks me, Obito, he says inside his head as his eye starts to ache piercingly. She needs me and I can't say no I promised you I'd look after her… I promised Sensei and I promised her and I can't not… please don't be so mad at me…

With an off-centre jolt he falls out those familiar thoughts and sees a fresh cut bisecting her ANBU tattoo. She must have gotten it tonight, on a mission, why hadn't she told him? He should have been there to not let it happen - that's what he was alive to do, wasn't it?

He hears Obito hissing at him, about that being what he'd died for,and he agrees that she shouldn't have that mark on her skin. The cut or the tattoo. He can smell her blood on it, and feels a little dizzy because Rin's blood smells different and he realizes he's intimately familiar with the sweet, deep scent and he doesn't want to be. He doesn't want Rin to bleed, he's supposed to be leading her safe places, why won't she stop following him? He doesn't want to lead anybody anymore, especially not her, that's why he said 'yes' to ANBU… to go away and not be relied on anymore.

But she is relying on him, and he tries to clamp down the sick panic that sometimes makes him run and tells him she always will. Like she's relying on him to do this tonight, like she has before. Knowing where this is going, and not needing those nightmares later; he runs a hand through her hair and musses it a little to wash the blood off, until the water runs clear from her like it should. He lets his eyes trace the slashed ANBU spiral on her arm in frankly morbid fascination and wonder if it's supposed to look so raw on her honey skin. All the while, he tries to drown out Obito's angry, wordless voice with the spatter and hiss of the shower - something he'd only ever try to do for her.

To his amazement, it seems to work tonight.

Brushing her fingers delicately over his slowly seeping wound, Rin snarls quietly under the water, feeling the pounding in her heart snap for a second into rage and not need, and she wishes the person she knows Kakashi killed for this was alive - so she could kill them herself. She tries to concentrate the chakra to her fingers to heal it, to make it stop hurting, stop being a part of him; but he stops her with his other hand catching hers in a quiet, insistent grip she can't break.

Rin doesn't pretend to understand, but right now she can't make him take her healing gifts. As her fingertips brush past the tear in his skin she flinches when she knows he didn't, admits the pain he must be in. Because someone has to help him be human and that someone is her. She looks at, but doesn't touch the rest of his beaten and still mesmorising teenagebody just a finger's breadth away. Trying not to see art in the way his scars come together like the pattern of broken glass. Trying to be horrified but knowing she can't be; this is who Kakashi is and if she loves him too much to stop this, then she surely loves him too much to not need everything he is…

She doesn't know why but tonight Kakashi makes the first move, and shatters what small control she had when he suddenly runs his fingers down from her finally clean hair to her cheek and traces her stripes and she just can't take the distance anymore. Completely possessed (by him and maybe that's why it scares him) she knocks him back into the corner and the wall, out the water stream with her lips gentle and starving on his bruised skin, hands running around his sides and back and body end to end. But she doesn't try to kiss him, because he can't let that be what this is about and she knows it. All he knows to give is all she's got, so she tries to make this enough.

Kakashi answers back with his face buried in her shoulder and his mouth unconsciously stumbling over her soft skin. His hands trip and fumble - losing their grace under this pressure - as they tug the clinging black fabric off her shoulders and arms and hips and at some point he realizes the hot water has run out and they're standing under liquid ice.

It doesn't make a difference; even though both of them gasp a little at the sudden change. He's willing to just stay here, until there's nothing more, but she's been cold too long and she needs him because he can be warm as much as anything. She snags his wrists from around her and he lets her roughly pull him out from under the stream, and out into the apartment and into the bed.

It changes every time, how they do this, even though it always ends the same. Tonight she needs him -no she needs this - so badly the preamble is purely for biology's sake (sometimes they'll spend hours just touching each other, and he thinks those are the ones that hurt worst… but he can't stop until she does) and his worn and weary body can barely keep up with what she's begging, pleading, forcing, needing him to do.

But he does it, because she needs him to, and if it hurts then he deserves it, and if it makes him for just a second feel like she wants him for him and not for what he is then he doesn't notice. Just knows it hurts a different way.

Rin can't believe it how she's found herself here again. Kakashi's muscles are jumping away from her wet fingertips and he's warm and trying not to tremble under her weight, under her presence. But when she's with him everything is clear and she can put a touch to how much she loves him, can try and show him how much he'll always matter to her, can justify everything she's ever done to stay by his side because she loves him, she needs him, he completes her, and when she does this it always hurts but so long as it's Kakashi that's okay.

And it is Kakashi tonight, she can tell by the way he's acting - the small sounds he's trying not to make, the flickering light in his black eye. The relief at that much makes everything so much more desperate for her, and she doesn't notice she's scratched her own strings across his water-slicked stomach with her loving touch and slightly ragged nails.

She sees his face, silver hair flicking wet over his brow and mismatched eyes both now looking up at her with fever, and a kind of broken sincerity, and what she doesn't dare call love and she can't take it anymore. She just can't. She can't pretend anymore - oh god here she is making love with him and somehow it's pretending? Here he is with her and it's not because she matters to him?

No, no… she does matter, in the strongest way Kakashi knows or he wouldn't do this with her. It's just that it's not the same thing because he doesn't know how to - he doesn't understand - he isn't - oh god why is this happening to them? What did they ever do wrong? They only did what they were forced to do! They only ever followed orders and their duties and she can't let this be what he's turning this into she can't! She loves him, why can't that be alright? Why can't it… why does this always feel like they're both dying?

Lashing out against those thoughts, she dares to try and prove them wrong - she has to prove them wrong she loves him and she can't breathe- and forces herself past her fear to lean down and softly kiss him on his mouth. To break that unsaid taboo and make this real.

It only lasts the briefest fraction of a second, but she feels his whole body arch and fall still at the touch, and her heart leaps for just a second because he's letting her do this! He's saying it's okay! And he's -

Everything collapses into nothing as he gasps like it burns, shies away like it hurts and maybe it does. She sees he's squeezed his eyes shut and knows its to keep her from seeing the fear in his eyes - as if she couldn't see it on his perfect, hopelessly young face.

Seeing that, feeling her lips cold and dead and slightly parted, Rin realizes all she's done is break her heart even worse tonight and maybe his too. Letting him have it his way she buries her face against his shoulder and lets the tears bleed into the water on his skin. Clenches her fists and pounds them just once against his heart, and tries not to fall away from what she holds Kakashi to be.

Rin starts tounderstand that love is just too far beyond Kakashi's grasp. He doesn't know how, he doesn't understand why, and he's too afraid to try. She has to admit that in some way it's fair because Kakashi's fearless about everything else, he's allowed to be afraid of something.

But why did it have to be this? Why did it have to be her?

Holding onto her warm weight Kakashi grits his teeth and snarls at himself and wishes he could legitimately scream because he's angry and he's frightened and he thinks he doesn't understand what he thought he did... about what this was for both of them.

His heart hurts where she hit it, but he wishes she'd done worse. It's made up for a little by the fact that she's forgotten to keep her weight off his injured side and where her soft stomach presses down it hurts and bleeds enough to make him want to cry - if he did that kind of thing.

Rin gives a small, strangled cry for both of them into his shoulder and he stares up at the pale ceiling and wonders if somewhere, somehow, there are people living happy lives. He thinks Obito's life was mostly happy, for all the struggles and its brevity - he could always smile, couldn't he? He thinks Rin's was mostly hopeful, until the first night she came in here and took off his clothes and clutched him like she couldn't breathe and he was her oxygen. Like she was dying and he could save her. He thinks Sensei would hate him, maybe kill him, for what he's let himself become, where he's somehow led Rin, and more than anything wishes he could see that man one more time and let him ruffle his hair and smile back up at him and be what he should have been for him. That somehow if that happened all of this would be undone.

He misses them so bad, what they used to be, and tried to be, and were meant to be, and he finds himself clutching at Rin this time, holding her tight, and feeling more than a little justified about the way it aches like he's been stabbed again where her body presses harder against his injury.

Somewhere in there, once they pretend they've recovered and start with each other again, he thinks Obito just showed him something. It flickers like a candle flame; but he thinks he sees him and her walking slow down a sunny street, and him holding her hand - and finds himself reeling with emotions he doesn't know how to label because it's something he can never be and Obito always was.

At times like these Rin can see Kakashi in glimpses and catches, when he can't control himself as well as normal because of what they're doing. It's reassuring and it's human and it's the only time Kakashi can't help but let her see who he is - the boy she loves more than life, or sanity, or anything she's ever been. And bound up in there are things that he could never have helped and doesn't know how to deal with. His Hatake blood, Obito's eye, Sensei's restless ghost and the fact that she loves him all torture him in their own ways because he's not sure how else to relate to them. Kakashi is a self-destructive creature, because all he's ever done - all he's ever been allowed to do - is destroy things, and Rin understands that. It's why she doesn't hate him for the way he makes her feel when he does things like this to himself, just loves him more to try and make up for it. But after that kiss she's not sure that her love isn't just as dangerous to him as the blade that cut into his side tonight.

So Rin makes a decision, to try and change what he understands this to be. To all but kill herself if it will save him from himself for now.

She won't kiss him, she won't say those three words, and she'll pray when he's touching her -and she feels his cold nose nuzzle her skin and his instinctively genius fingers run down her back - that she doesn't seem too much like she'd die before she gave this feeling up. She can't stop coming, but she can pretend to stop loving, and maybe that will be enough for now. Maybe… maybe it will let him stop being so afraid.

I don't love you Kakashi… please don't be scared... I'll promise I don't...

Forcing herself to hold to that much - to rewrite her clarity for him because if she doesn't protect him nobody else will - she runs her fingers gentle and fast though his wet hair, twisting perfectly to kiss the side of his neck. Feeling his whole body shiver like it will every time she does that; and everything's back on track towards its inevitable conclusion.

How many times has she kissed him there? The exact number escapes her but somehow it becomes fourteen or fifteen.

It doesn't take long after that, and she wonders if it's her imagination or is Kakashi holding onto her a little more tightly than usual? Is his heart beating a little harder in its jagged rhythm? She watches him, eyes unblinking now, and just when things are all but over she watches him bite his lip fiercely to keep himself quiet. Wanting more than anything to kiss the tiny trickle of blood away, she finds herself instead talking to him with the smallest scrap of hope in her heart. The suffocation comes when everything becomes some inevitable parallel of tonight's mission - she sees the cold lines of logic forming along the scars she's tracing across his chest and arms and back, and she thinks at the very least she's yet to get here and find herself arriving too late - it's enough to give her hope. To keep her faith with him.

"Pick a number Kakashi, fourteen or fifteen," she whispers, trying not to choke on the words for a hundred reasons that shouldn't be connected but inextricably are and always will be.

He looks down at her, sees her pained and gentle eyes and can never understand that she's letting him define reality for her. That she'd follow him anywhere no matter where or how he led her. That there's more to love than just to lose, more to life than just to die. She looks so beautiful, so honest, so vulnerable that he doesn't think about his response and only just in time manages to breathe out the word "fifteen".