Kawarimi no Jutsu

Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto. The characters have been borrowed only for the purposes of the story.

Author's Notes: The title is the substitution jutsu (Body Replacement Technique) that is used every time anyone has been pierced by multiple kunai or shuriken. You know the one I'm talking about. It seemed a fitting one for the story. Sorry if they seem a little OOC, but I've infused a lot of my feelings into this one. Don't ask me what the sense in this is, because I don't know.


He once loved a man with silver in his hair and sorrow in his eyes, but that was a romance of yesterday.

Their union had been accidental, a chance word in the right context to spark something deeper. Amidst the deadly light that pulsated from their palms was a moment that emerged from the shadows.

The name slips from him, fragile as glass.

"Kakashi…"

He doesn't remember who kissed who, doesn't remember how they lost their clothes to the ground and each other's hands. The moon peeked from behind a cloud to watch their dance as the leaves overhead sang softly.

Foolish, foolish, foolish…

But he has lost himself in a maze of black and red, and until they reach the end there is no way out.

-----

Waking to the warmth of another person's body beside his own is one sensation he will never grow tired of. He twists his body languidly, not realizing how sensual the movement seems to the man beside him.

Propped up on one elbow, Kakashi watches Sasuke rub the sleep from his eyes and smiles. "Good morning."

Sasuke tries to answer, but is silenced by a yawn.

Kakashi laughs lightly and kisses his lover, enjoying this morning foreplay too much, knowing that it is too good to be true and too fragile to last. But the mouth beneath his opens and a wayward hand has settled between his legs, and he knows that they will not be out of bed until a much later time. His insignificant doubts melt into the rhythm of their bodies.

-----

There are days when he returns home – to their home – to find it suspiciously dark and seemingly lacking one infamous jounin.

"Kakashi?"

It's those days that he dreads, where an implacable fear rises in his chest for no logical reason.

"Kakashi?"

No matter how many times he calls, there'll be no answer. Anxiety gripping his heart with every door he pushes through, he'll always find him in the bedroom, sitting alone in the far corner, masked in darkness and silence.

It's only when he flicks on the light that Kakashi seems to even notice his presence.

"Oh, Sasuke…"

His voice is casual, sometimes even surprised. The beginning is always the same, but the rest changes. From silent apathy to violent rampages, he's seen it all. And at the end of the night, when the clock in the hall chimes 1 am and they're both so bleary-eyed it's like to kill them, Kakashi's muted cries and Sasuke's quiet words send them off to sleep in each other's arms.

Sasuke never mentions that it frightens him to return to a glowing red dot by the window, seeing straight past his soul. He never mentions that it hurts to be locked outside the door.

-----

"A duel on water?" Sasuke's eyebrow curved incredulously.

"That's right." Kakashi was obviously enjoying his disgruntled state. "You said you wanted to hone your chakra control, and this is the best way to do it. If you can still battle while staying afloat, that means you're able to focus your concentration properly."

When the boy still looked dubious, Kakashi jibed, "What? Afraid you'll lose?"

"To you?" The habitual Uchiha smirk was back on in a flash, the smirk he loved so well. "Not a chance."

The river ran swift with foam. It wasn't a perfect setting to train in, but the lush trees and seclusion were enough to make Sasuke feel at peace. They fought just above the spray, their bodies soaked within minutes of commencement. Too distracted by his balance, Sasuke didn't catch Kakashi's attack in time to divert it and ended up waist deep in water.

"No fair!" He protested, although he didn't know what he based his charges on. To prove his point, he grabbed onto the other man's leg and yanked, pulling Kakashi into the chilling stream.

His dark eyes shone merrily as Kakashi rounded on him. "You're saying I wasn't fair?"

"Now we're even."

"I'll show you even."

Kakashi launched kunai and Sasuke hurled some shuriken, and they continued until neither could grip a weapon on account of the cold. They made a small fire on the bank and stripped until there was naught left to take off. There was nothing to do while they waited for their clothes to dry so they started to duel again except this time when their bodies pressed together there was no moving them apart, and the tingling in their frozen limbs wasn't caused by the fire.

-----

When Sasuke has nightmares, nothing can reach him but the touch of the man he wants to kill.

"Sasuke." Kakashi's voice is firm as he shakes the boy into wakefulness, the moans of pain beside him more than he can stand.

Sasuke will wake, hair in disarray and drenched in cold sweat, the blankets like snakes around his waist.

"I—"

He never gets farther than that. He lets out a sigh of exhaustion and studies his knuckles, then gets up to retrieve a glass of water. Kakashi watches the light of the moon play on his bare back, each toned muscle evident through the shadows. He'll always venture a question on Sasuke's return, but that never goes well.

"Him again?" He's learned not to say the name by now, but sometimes Sasuke still reacts. His fist darts out, quick as lightning, and catches Kakashi in the jaw. Some nights he lets it pass, but some nights his own fist reacts before he can stop it, and the rest of the night they spend trading punches instead of words, grunts instead of sighs. By the time they stop, the sheets are a bloody mess and so are their faces. In the morning they'll both clean up and pretend nothing's happened.

Sasuke doesn't get nightmares for another 2 weeks or so, and Kakashi doesn't mention that it hurts to always take the blame.

-----

"I don't think we should see each other anymore."

The statement hangs by invisible threads. Sasuke feels strangely numb, though he couldn't have said why. Kakashi's face is stone, and his lips are miming some sort of reason for their failure, why they could never work it out.

Maybe we're just too different.

"I can get my stuff and move somewhere else—"

"No," he interjects quickly; it's the only phrase he's heard since the first. "It's your place. I'll get my stuff out tonight. If that's fine with you."

Kakashi nods stiffly, and they part as muddled as they began.

When Sasuke arrives at the doorstep at precisely 7 pm, he deems it polite to knock even though he has a key and waits for the door to open. Kakashi waves him in and never says a word, only watching as he puts his belongings into the box he's brought. There's a moment of awkwardness when he is done, when his eyes roam for any strays. He clears his throat and prepares to say goodbye.

Kakashi beats him to the punch. "So… where are you staying tonight?'

"Just at the inn." His throat feels constricted. "Anyway, I should go—"

But Kakashi's mouth is suddenly on his, and the weight is so familiar and comforting and he drops the box without ever knowing why.

You--

The eyes that look back at his are tinged with something he can't understand. Sasuke doesn't stay at the inn that night, though he almost does for many nights after. The cycle never ends, and each time leaves him more confused than before.

-----

When it finally becomes all too much, he follows the path he knows he should have taken a long time ago.

"We've been waiting for you, Sasuke."

The lair is as dark and creepy as he expected, although a lot cleaner. He suspects that is Kabuto's doing, since Orochimaru can't give a damn about burying a corpse. His cell was decorated with a bed and he hadn't seen the sun in weeks. Orochimaru had others "train" him and called him in to check on his physical condition from time to time, which was nothing more than a flimsy excuse to grope his soon-to-be body. Kabuto was the one who drilled him viciously, often pitting him against five opponents at a time and enjoying every moment of his pain. At the end, though, it fell to him to bandage Sasuke back up and make him presentable to the snake. The only pleasure he derived from his wretched existence was Kabuto's radiant fury whenever Orochimaru touched him.

The other day he had glimpsed the moon for only an instant as he was marched back from a new training ground, and the sight of it was enough to make him lonely.

Kakashi always watched the moon.

Every day he expected the jounin to retrieve him and hang him as a traitor, but each day brought new disappointment. He wondered what was left of them, if there had been anything to begin with. The anger and silences wore on his heartstrings, as did every separation. His box always stood in a corner, half empty, half full. They shifted like the lunar tide.

Maybe we're too much alike.

But he's sitting on a medical bed now, deep underground and as far from the moon as he's ever been. Standing beside the bed is a medical cart, and beside that is a man with silver hair and angry eyes.

"You're not improving quickly enough," Kabuto berated with more vehemence than usual, cutting some gauze with zeal. His right hand moves to push up his glasses, a motion Sasuke finds strangely reminiscent of something else. "All these wounds are unnecessary."

Sasuke smirked. "Orochimaru seems to agree. Maybe you shouldn't try to kill me, then."

Kabuto's eyes narrowed. "A-types like you are more suited to being underlings, that's what Orochimaru is trying to say."

He couldn't stop himself. "Underling? Who would I be under?"

He had never noticed it before, but there was something passing similar with the seething man before him. His appearance, his movements, his words… Kabuto had lifted a hand to strike him, but he had played this game before.

"Sure, now it's him you want to be under, but soon enough he'll be in my body and then you'll want to be under me."

The sound of the slap rang around the room several times.

"You wouldn't want to ruin my body, would you?"

The sight of the moon woke feelings he long thought dead. He punches Kabuto full in the face and kisses him before he can retaliate, which seems to stun the man more than Sasuke's fist.

Kabuto shoves him away violently. "What are you doing?" he hisses, wiping his mouth with the back of his hand.

"Don't you want to know what it's like, just once?" He links his hands behind Kabuto's neck. "Just pretend I'm him, and everything should be fine."

There's a flicker of uncertainty in his dark eyes, but Sasuke knows he has him.

The bed is sterile and not nearly as inviting as the grass beside the river. The shoulders are broader than they should have been, he notes, the silver hair longer as he undoes the tie holding it in place. In the darkness he discovers the body above his own with his hands, just as lean and toned but meatier than it was before. The hands that touch him are more callused, but the tongue that traces his nipple is just as hot. The unbidden memories make Sasuke groan. He knows the face will be fuller than the one he wants, and instead of one burning spot in the dark there are two red eyes, although it is not the pupil that burns. For once he's thankful for the darkness, because it hides all that he doesn't want to see.

There's no comfort in this lie, and Sasuke doesn't get to wake up beside a warm body. If he had regrets, it was too late to turn back now.

Kabuto opens the door silently. "I'll see to your injuries here tomorrow night."

Same time, same place. He wonders how long they can keep up this charade.

A breeze wafts in his face as the door closes in ringing silence. For the first time since he arrived, Sasuke thinks he hears a river and a song on the wind.

Foolish, foolish, foolish…

He once loved a man with silver in his hair and sorrow in his eyes, but that was a romance of yesterday.

END