Summary: He can't sleep and can't see without stumbling, and the demons are out to catch him as he falls. Kakashi-oneshot
A/N:...KABOOM. Thanks to Chevira Lowe for beta-ing, go check out her stories, liek woah. No..seriously. Do it, please.
It's only his reflection, and it means the world.
It's only the illusion that clouds his mind's eye.
It's only the fact that he has his eye.
It's the only reason he keeps on living.
In his nightmares, there are no corpses. There is no blood or gore to see, no familiar faces, no compassion or caring, nothing at all. Somehow Kakashi is content to leave it as thus - his nightmares, his solace - in more way than one.
In his nightmares, he doesn't know any of those people's faces and he doesn't even try to care. There's a mark washed off their foreheads, features are invisible to his naked eye, in fact Kakashi doubts they're even real. There's no recognizable clothing, or even a voice that stands out in the crowd. They don't hold weapons or hatred towards him, they hardly notice the man who walks in their ranks. So it doesn't matter when he pulls down the hitai-ate and the mask, and he strolls freely in the crowd.
He isn't Hatake Kakashi anymore.
In his nightmares, there is a lot of yelling. He can't seem to comprehend why exactly, but there is. He will wait by a small creek, his senses blazed aware when he did not will them to, he thinks instantly, 'Shinobi instinct.' But there's yelling, there always is, and there's the sound of him panting endlessly. They echo everywhere, the yells, and he tries to follow them. It's only sound, and sound can be heard by the human ear, but everytime he ends up empty-handed. He can't stop running, he can't stop listening, and the sweat that glistens on the side of his face seems real when he tastes it.
In his nightmares, he can distinguish between good and bad. There's black and white in his eyes and nothing else in between, so he's like the child he never was and never can be. There isn't colour to blind him, no what-ifs or maybes just a definite. He can't find a weak spot in this little world that he has created, he can't find one inch of gray to console. He's stuck on one side, whether his mind lets him or not, and he chooses the side that seems right.
There's a difference between what's right and what's easy, Sensei used to tell him.
And in between those worlds is where he finds a dot of gray.
In his nightmares, he has no team. Kakashi doesn't know what the word 'team' means, and he doesn't show any wanting to. He's not a teacher (although he vaguely wonders why he thinks himself as one) and he's not one-third of a puzzle (even though the pieces seem hard to place), he's Hatake Kakashi, and that's all he ever will be. He is just a man, a human, with no physical strength beyond normal, or anything special to his name. His is normal, used in the most pliable sense of the word, and no one is there to smite him for it.
In his nightmares, the names: Sasuke, Sakura, and Naruto don't ring a bell. They're nothing, nothing at all, but he forms a placid memory telling him otherwise. The sounds, the syllables echo in his ear, they have a voice, they have life. There's always the voices speaking, murmuring into his very thoughts. There's a 'Chidori!', and a 'Rasengan!' and the noise of earth crumbling and a certain type of yelling he remembers. It's filled with 'Don't die on me, dobe!' and 'Baka! Be careful, I don't want to have to stitch you up twice!' and sometimes, only sometimes, 'Kakashi-sensei! Kakashi-sensei! Kakashi---.'
There are no such people named Sasuke, Sakura, and Naruto.
In his nightmares, he is content. He doesn't know why, but he is, and that strange peace keeps his mind still. He doesn't ramble on, he doesn't hurt, and he doesn't have to see what others do. He has two normal eyes, two normal eyes that seem lazy and happy in the sun. He can finger his face, ridden away from his mask, and touch perfectly smooth skin. It's when he reaches the cheek underneath his right eye, its texture jaded and hard. He strides next to the creek he's always nearby, and can't figure out why the skin feels so rough, if nothing's there.
It is what wakes Kakashi up from his nightmares and into his dreams. He screams, and collapses, because he can't find it.
The socket of his eye is bare and rotting without anything to fill it, and even though somewhere in his mind is stored such data, he can't take it. He knows he's seen people die in gruesome ways, horrible, terrible, gruesome ways, and this just makes him scream. His screaming turns into yelling, and that's all he's hearing for a while.
He screams his name.
"..Is he going to be alright?...I mean Kakashi-sensei."
"...I can't say."
"But Sakura-chan aren't you a medic-nin, I mean, you can tell us what's happening right? Sakura-chan, please!"
"Naruto, shut up."
"KAKASHI-SENSEI WAKE UP YOU BASTARD WAKE UP!"
"Naruto, calm down,."
"WAKE UP, DAMNIT WAKE UP!"
When he was little, Kakashi never played with swords. He can't remember quite frankly what he did with his life, after he was born. His first memory is handling a katana made just for him. It wasn't anywhere near Sakumo's own sword -- his Fang -- but just light enough and flexible for a four year old to grasp. It wasn't a ninja's sword either, but of a high caliber samurai, which did everything save being useless. So when Kakashi was young, and about ready to face the world, he traded it in for a hand-crafted sword, one where he could showcase just more than fancy swipes. Its handle rough and could be opened for storage, the handle was also wide, it could work when he was scaling walls (if he prefer not to use charka) and the metal was made to slice through flesh.
Overall it was the perfect ninja's sword in his eyes.
It broke after his tenth killing.
In reality, he used it against his master.
But he doesn't like to remember.
In his dreams, there's panting and the need for air. Kakashi doesn't ask, but there's lips on his mouth breathing for him and only him, and he doesn't want to wake to whatever is saving him, so he keeps his eyes shut. Eventually, the breathing stops and he starts choking for air again. It continues again and again in a cycle and he feels so helpless.
Her hand's as cold as ice, but the oxygen she breathes into him is warm. Her name is distant and he tries to remember, but she's clogging his memories. He thanks her, but the aching in his eyes jolts him out of this state.
His name is unknown.
There's a stigma, a stigma that lies in Kakashi's past as a reminder as to what he should be today. There's blood dashed everywhere sprayed and poured, and there's black and white draping his eyes and there's a pretty little light that dims when he nears it. It glows brightly but he doesn't dare touch it, and when he is tempted there's always a blade by his side to make sure he stays away. His hands are always stuck in a prayer, even though he doesn't believe in a god or any for that matter.
It's because that stigma is only his, and no one else's.
Whether Kakashi loves his father or hates him, there is one thing he knows.
He thanks his father for giving him life.
In his relapse, there is a ghost that wanders through and through his mind, yelling his name. There's a pair of goggles on that phantom's head and his body is visible but torn. There's blood dried and matted everywhere, and his smile seems tired rather than sad. There's a hitai-ate on his forehead and a distant almost eerie glint in his eye. There's only one, black as the night and dull. The boy is yelling Kakashi's name again and again, a hand to his mouth, trying to desperately to raise the volume of his voice.
In his nightmares, this doesn't happen.
In his reality, he isn't there.
But in his conscience, he meets with the only friend he had.
Kakashi's voice is strangled when he says words he couldn't quite swallow down.
"Who are you?"
The little phantom smiles, a grin that belongs to only him, and whispers.
Kakashi isn't sure where he is right now.
"NARUTO CALM DOWN!"
"DOBE, STOP IT!"
They don't want to hear what Naruto has to say next.
So he sits down in the presence of a ghost that watches him sway from side to side. There isn't anymore yelling, save perhaps his own, he wants to scream and let himself out of this dream or fantasy, he knows it's not a nightmare. So Kakashi grips his hands and bites his lip, trying to find peace in his pain. The ghost giggles at him, tauntingly, and puts a finger to his forehead.
"Are you scared, Kakashi?"
He doesn't reply.
"Are you afraid?" He adds with a smirk that seems foreign on his childish face.
"...Your eye." The ghost continues to murmur, "It's gone."
"It never was here." Kakashi replies plainly. The ghost finds amusement in his tortured voice.
"How is it Kakashi..to be a coward?" He inquires with an arched eyebrow.
"You live in too deep, running away from your dreams and fears. And once again..Kakashi where is your eye." The statement is less of a question and more of a command, that of which Kakashi cannot obey.
"I don't know."
"Kakashi I gave you that eye for a goddamn reason!" The ghost puffs out angrily, his cheeks full and one eye glossy. "For a reason, damnit. Why must you be coward? Kakashi breathe for yourself why don't you! Answer me! WHERE IS YOUR FUCKING EYE, KAKASHI!"
Kakashi is silent, because frankly, he doesn't know. There's a ghost grabbing his collar, and suddenly he isn't a man, he's a boy.
"WHERE IS YOUR FUCKING EYE, TELL ME!"
And the statement stings when it all comes back far too fast, the blood rushing to his head, straining and stinging.
"I'm sorry.." He chokes out reluctantly, unlike the Kakashi he once knew himself to be.
"Where is it? Sorry means nothing! Kakashi where is it?" The ghost yells into his ear, so loud it makes Kakashi twitch involuntary.
"I don't know you."
Kakashi is thrown to the ground, and he stares at his hand that he never noticed were covered in blood.
"Yes ?" The ghost asks, turning around once more, smiling with no hint of malice or anger.
Kakashi collapses into the phantom who catches him, and like the ghost he says he is, he disappears.
Kakashi wakes up sobbing.
A week later Hatake Kakashi is staring into a mirror. His face looks fatigued and scarred, but at least he's got two eyes, one black and one red. He can't help but feel helpless, and can't help but feel happy.
At least he's got a soul.
A white flower on the ground bids good-bye and hello.
The puddles from rain show only reflections of sunlight.
Team Seven yells their master's name.
And he follows.
There's the calling of his name and the scar beneath his eye that remind him.
No demons come to haunt him.
Only his ghosts.