The silver haired man woke up, all at once, with total awareness of his surroundings. For some reason he felt that was good, the way it should be. Despite the searing pain in his left eye. He covered it with his hand and examined the room one-eyed. The room was small and white, all white like the inside of a glacier, and with as much warmth. Not that it was cold, but the air had a dead, climate controlled, filtered, quality. He was lying on a white, plastic covered mattress in a corner of the room. A padded cell. Somehow he knew that was what it was, although he was fairly sure that he'd never seen one before.

The front wall of the room was a single expanse of glass with a sturdy steel door on one side. He couldn't see through it well because the room he was in was brightly lit, and the corridor beyond was dim by comparison. The silhouette of a man, seated on a chair, was just visible on the other side of the glass. Standing a little shakily, he walked over to the glass wall.

"Do you know who you are?"

The man had spoken to him on the other side of the glass but his voice came from a speaker set high on the wall behind them both. He spun around towards the source of the sound automatically, before turning back to look more closely at the man. By pressing himself against the transparent wall he could make out his features quite clearly: dark heavily scarred face, cloth-covered head, and almost black imperturbable eyes.

"Who do you expect me to be?"

"I asked first."

"You're the one who wants an answer."

The man stood up. He was tall, solid, a force to be reckoned with.

"I need to know what you know, before I tell you anything. If you're honest with me then I'll tell you everything."

He felt dizzy, drugged. Walking back to the mattress he sat down on it clumsily, still facing the man. It didn't shift as he lowered his weight onto it, as if it was glued securely to the floor.

"Will you tell me why I'm a prisoner here?"

The man sat back into his chair.

"You aren't a prisoner. When you first regained consciousness you were… violent. We had to restrain you and this is the safest place. You won't be able to hurt yourself here."

So they already knew that he was dangerous, pity.

"You mean I won't be able to hurt you."

"Yes that too. Now will you answer my question?"

He lay down. Sitting upright was too taxing.

"Which one?"

"Do you know who you are?" The man repeated.

"Yes." He lied.

"Will you tell me?"


"Is there someone you will tell?"

He paused deliberately, as if giving the question due consideration.


"Why not?"

"In case you aren't who I think you are." He closed his eyes, they hurt in the bright light and made him tired, especially the left one. "I'm going to sleep some more."

There was a grunt from the speaker on the wall as he allowed the darkness to swallow him into an uncomfortable, restless sleep.

The scarred man was joined by a woman, who's eyes betrayed wisdom far beyond her apparent age.

"So Ibiki-san, what do you think?

"He's too good, makes it impossible to tell. He's acting like someone with no memory at all, but that's exactly how he would behave if he thought he was a prisoner being pumped for information. Always was paranoid as hell and he must know that he's been sedated." The interrogator rubbed the taut scarred skin on his face. "Any progress with an antidote?

Tsunade shook her head. "The trace of poison in his blood and on his fingers isn't enough to analyse. We'll have to see if Gai and team 7 can find the needle. Easier to find one in a haystack. Go and get some rest Ibiki, I'll have someone else watch him for a while. We'll wake you up if there's anything new."

When he woke up again it was because there was someone in the room with him. He lashed out a hand at lightning speed and grabbed a wrist. The movement provoked an anxious hiss.

"Hatake-san, please let go. If anyone finds me in here with you they'll be hell to pay."

He was holding the right arm of a dark haired man, who was kneeling next to him, holding a gauze pad in his right hand.

"I just wanted to tape this over your eye. You seemed so uncomfortable and I know you always keep it covered."

He looked at the white muslin pad, in the brown hand, in his white fingers, and slowly released his grip. The man took a sharp intake of breath then slowly withdrew a reel of surgical tape from his jacket pocket with his other hand. He held it up for him to see, then very gently taped the pad over his left eye. It was more comfortable, a blessed relief in fact, as the pain gradually subsided. Now he could focus the other eye better. The man had kind, soft brown eyes and his hair was tied in a high bushy ponytail. There was a single horizontal scar across his face, an unusually pleasant face.

"But won't they know anyway, that you did this? When they see?"

The man chuckled, a throaty mischievous sound.

"Yes. But once they see that you feel better and you haven't escaped, or killed me, or anything, I'm hoping that the Hokage will let me off with nothing worse than a stern lecture about being so stupid."

He grabbed both tan hands in his, forcing the man to lean over him, very close. So close that he could feel the heat of his body through his simple paper-like jumpsuit, the only thing he was wearing. The dark haired man blushed, intensifying the heat deliciously.

"What makes you think I won't escape, or kill you, or… anything?"

He watched soft lips moving and felt hot breath against his face as the other replied. His voice calm and gentle.

So he hadn't picked up on the implications in that last word.

"Because I trust you. You can't open the door unless I tell you the seals and I don't believe that you're willing to hurt me to get them."

No, not hurt. He had an almost overwhelming desire to see that pretty face flushed with pleasure. A few inches closer and he'd be able to dart his agile tongue between those tempting lips. He released one wrist and traced a forefinger over the scar. Then he licked his finger and traced it across the full lower lip, which trembled slightly in response. In two moves he could have this sweet thing face down beneath him, stripped almost naked.

He sat up, forcing the man to sit on the floor next to him and pushing the temptation further away. Then he released him to feel the pad over his eye.

"Why didn't the others do this, if they know it hurts."

The man was shaking, but not in fear. "They wanted to but weren't sure how. They were afraid you might use an eye patch or a bandage as a weapon, or a noose. I cut up the gauze into little pieces and wadded them up, even you would have a hard time joining them back together."

So he was resourceful as well as kind.

"Will you tell me your name?"

"I… I'm not allowed to do that, to give you any information. You're very clever, you would use that information to trick us into thinking you're ok when you're not. And that could be dangerous… for everyone."

"You know a lot about me, do I know you?"

The man blushed deeper. "No."

So he wanted him to. He brushed the back of a pale hand against a hot cheek. "Then I'd like to, I'd like it a lot."

"I… I shouldn't be in here. Will you turn around so that I can open the door?"

Damn, he'd come on too strong too fast. He turned to face the back wall of his cell and waited until he'd heard a door open and close again before turning back. The drugged feeling had eased but he was still weak, and his coordination was shot. He lay down and slept deeply.

Ibiki came to take over a few hours later.

"Did he wake up at all?"

"Yes, we had a brief conversation but I didn't tell him anything."

The silver haired man was woken by the whispering and sat up suddenly. He recognised both voices.

"My name's Hatake."

Ibiki spun around to face him. "Do you remember?"

"No. I don't remember anything, your friend let it slip when I startled him."

Ibiki shot a look at the man beside him and shook his head slowly.

"Why are you willing to admit this now?"

"Because I can tell that he trusts you, and I trust him. He put this on my eye, said I usually keep it covered."

Ibiki looked from one to the other while he grasped all the implications.

He snorted. "I'm surprised he didn't cover your face for you too."

The younger man blushed, he seemed to do that a lot. It was cute.

"Er, you usually wear a mask. I've never seen your face before, hardly anyone has."

His pale hands leapt to his face, covering his cheeks. "Am I that ugly?"

The young man laughed, an explosive happy sound, even better than the blush.

"Hell hardly." He shot him a glance, ripe with meaning… and possibility. Then scooped up a pile of papers from next to the chair, laughter still dancing in his eyes. "Well I'd better get going, wouldn't do for me to be late."

The stern scarred man turned back to him. "You were poisoned, some kind of neurotoxin. Obviously your memory is for shit, but we don't know what else. We're working on an antidote."

He lay back down on the uncomfortable bed. "Hmm, that would explain why I can't stay awake."

The next time he woke it was in the stale antiseptic air of the hospital. He could feel the secure restraints around his wrists, ankles and chest. So they still didn't trust him, he really couldn't blame them. His eyes blinked open.

"Is Naruto ok? He didn't get hit did he?"

Tsunade's voice came from beside him. "He's fine Hatake, you didn't let your comrade die. You caught the needle and killed the assassin. If the poison that went through your skin did this much damage, a hit would have been lethal." She paused. "Can you remember now."


He could, everything. His team had been looking for a lost diamond ring in the forest when they'd run into a missing Cloud nin, who'd hurled a handful of needles. One had headed straight towards the startled boy. The skin still seemed to tingle between his middle two fingers where he'd caught it. He smiled, D class missions weren't supposed to be so hazardous, but a ninja's life was full of uncertainty.

"That's good. I don't see any signs of permanent damage so you should make a full recovery very soon. All you have to do is rest. Is there anything you would like us to get you?"

She started to unlock the restraints.

He was still sorting through his recent memories. Another, fonder smile curled his lips as he reached up and touched the fresh bandage over his left eye.

"Yes there is. Would you ask Umino Iruka to visit when he has time? I'd really like to see him again."