A Dead House ramble

Fic by: 007 (Firedancerhanyou)

Pairing: None. Arashi/Shisui if you perceive so.

(Arashi POV)

Shisui once told us that he was afraid of thunder.

It was at dinner, in the big dining hall; miso ramen night, I think. Sasori and I were talking, and Shisui, well, he wasn't really doing anything. That bothered me, obviously, because Shisui always gets the most animated at dinner. It was just weird to see him like that, dinner untouched, staring at the floor and fidgeting. So I kinda leaned over and asked him what was wrong.

"Hey Shisui, what's eating you? You're being really quiet. Are you sick? You ate that mushroom on patrol didn't you? I told you not to."

He kind of jumped and looked at me slowly. His expression was hard to read.

"Nothing, I'm just thinking, no, and you know I don't like mushrooms."

"Oh." I frowned and turned back to Sasori.

"I know less than you do," he stated simply. This was true; I've known Shisui longer than he has, after all.

I turned back to my food and noticed something odd. Shisui looked like he was shivering. I was more curious than worried at the time, so I let it go. Later, I saw him talking to Sasori outside the dining hall. Sasori was leaning up against the wall, with his arms crossed. He looked really serious, and he was speaking to Shisui in a very persuading manner. Shisui's mood had seemed to have lightened though, and he was waving his hands, and laughing. Only when I approached them, did I recognize that as Shisui's nervous laugh; all his moods were easy to memorize. That's when I got concerned, and I moved closer to speak to them.

"I don't believe you. There's something you're not telling me. I'm just worried for you Shisui," Sasori was saying.

"What is it? Is he okay?" I addressed Sasori, pointing to the Uchiha in question. Shisui's hands flew up defensively, and he shook his head, laughing still.

"I told you guys, I'm fine. I was just thinking back there….." He trailed off. I think he figured we weren't buying it. His hands lowered, but he kept his smile. Something was weird about it; it was almost like a grimace, or just a sad smile.

"Okay, you got me. See, thing is, Head's going to do a weather sim tonight. And he's going to do a thunderstorm," He flinched, "found out from Haku. He was doing some snooping and he found out."

I stared blankly at him. Why was a storm so bad? "And?"

Sasori remained silent; he leaned in a bit though.

"And I'm, well I'm sort- sort of scared of thunder…"

That was it? All I remember was thinking, geez Shisui, you scared me, and that Sasori just kinda smiled. We didn't talk about it much after that. We just sort of assumed that it was case closed. But, as fate would have it, Shisui forgot to tell us one important detail.

He didn't tell us how scared of thunder he was. Sasori and I thought that it must have been like my fear of spiders. They creep me out, but I'm not terrified of them.

We were so wrong. And we found out the hard way.

It must have been the crashing sound that woke me up the first time. It was a loud bang, and I remember thinking at first that it might be thunder, so naturally, I went back to sleep. Or I tried to, anyway. Around right when I was about to fall asleep, I heard another sound. This sound still makes me shiver a little; it sort of sounded like a wail, or a choke.

The three of us had recently received our own rooms, and the sound was coming from the room on my left.

That's Shisui's room.

I was out of bed so fast I was dizzy, and in his room even faster.

At first, I couldn't see. Shisui had the curtains pulled- these big, red curtains- and all the lights were off. The light from the hall was really dim, so it didn't help much, so I waited a few seconds for my eyes to adjust to the dark.

Shisui wasn't on his bed. Instead, he was on the floor, between his bed and this big writing desk he has. He was pressed up against the wall, his head on his knees and his arms around his legs. He was shaking like a leaf; his long, dark hair untied and framing his face, shielding his eyes from view. Staring at him, I recognized the sound that had brought me in his room in the first place.

Shisui was crying. I was frozen in place for a moment, awestruck. Shisui wasn't cold or emotionless in any sense, but he was definitely the person I'd least expect to ever hear crying; even over Sasori. Why was he crying? I racked my brains for an answer, now realizing that he was completely unaware of my presence. Then it hit me.

"I'm soft of scared of thunder…"

I don't know what drove me to it. It didn't feel like something Shisui would've particularly wanted me to do, but it seemed like the right thing to do. My body moved on its own anyway.

I got down on my knees and spoke quietly to him, in the tone you might use to calm a small child. "Are you okay, Shisui?"

He jumped and hit his head on the edge of the desk. He started to cry harder, and covered his face with is hands. At this point, he did remind me of a child; huddled in the corner, scared to death. Shisui's only seventeen, the same age he was when he died, but he's not a kid- or immature- by any means. He must have been terrified to an unimaginable point to be reduced to this state.

I moved slowly towards him. "I'm so sorry Shisui," I apologized, "I didn't mean to scare you. Can you tell me what's wrong?" I hoped I didn't offend him, speaking to him in that way; he didn't seem to notice and instead, answered me back in a soft mumble.

"….'m scared…….."

An especially loud crack of thunder sounded directly outside the window. Shisui jumped again, and started swaying back and forth, mumbling and crying hysterically. That's when it happened.

I guess it was Naruto. The fact that I had never been able to be there for him, maybe pent-up paternal instincts or something, I don't know. There's another feeling behind it that I've never quite been able to grasp. All I know was that I could see this person in front of me, who I cared very much about, suffering. I couldn't have that. No way.

I leaned in, and wrapped my arms around him. I thought that he might try to pull away, but instead he grabbed the front of my nightshirt, and rested his head on my chest, still crying softly. Somehow, I managed to pick him up put him on his bed. I leaned up against the headboard with Shisui curled up against me, running my fingers through his hair. He didn't speak, mostly just cried or made sounds that I couldn't understand. He didn't look at me much, but when he did…He didn't need to say anything. His eyes said it all, "Please. Please protect me…."

It took a full hour to calm him down. He stopped crying at first, and then another loud clap of thunder would come from outside the window and he would freak out again. It was real hard to watch, because I knew Shisui was conscious enough to know that he couldn't control himself. At one point, he was sort of half-sitting on my lap and I was kind of rocking him, like one would a child, and rubbing his back. He had started to calm down and finally turned his head up to look at me, eye to eye. He had sort of this guilty look on his face, and was blushing. He nuzzled his face into my shoulder and mumbled something inaudible, then turned a bit and whispered the only thing he said that night.

"You're….'mazing Arashi…..thank you…"

After that, he fell asleep. I crashed shortly after.

The following morning went a lot smoother than I expected.

I woke up, and Shisui was nowhere to be seen. I sat up, realizing that I had in fact fallen asleep in his room. I looked at the clock, and, noticing it was 11:30, I threw myself off the bed and moved toward to door. That's when he walked back in.

"Arashi?" He almost hit me with the door.

He was fully dressed and had his hair pulled back up, "You're okay?" I was almost afraid to ask. His race reddened a bit, and he looked at the floor.

"Thanks to you, yeah, I'm fine now." He looked at me. I'll never forget that look, like he had just lost something really important; namely, his dignity.

"Where's Sasori?" I just wanted to see him smile.

"Ah. He was…he…was in here earlier…I …you were sleeping." He sighed. "He, kinda heard me last night and," His face's hue now rivaled the hair of the man in question, "He came to check on me. He's at watch. Oh god…."

"It's nothing to be ashamed of," said a voice came from the door.

"Oh, S-Sasori!" Shisui jumped slightly, his voice cracking.

"It's nothing to be ashamed of," the puppeteer repeated, "You obviously have a severe pathological fear of thunder. It's not within your control, so there's no reason to be embarrassed. Oh, and they let me off watch early." Sasori smiled. Shisui hung his head and stared at his feet. When he looked back up at us, there were tears running down his face, but he was smiling.

"Thanks, guys."

It was winter, but the whole room was warm. I looked at Sasori; he nodded back. He must have been just as worried, if not more so. We were quiet for a minute, and slowly our day began to fall back into place.

"I have admin duty today," I said, scratching the back of my head.

"I'm going to go to the library, since I'm done with watch."

"I have patrol, so…" Shisui smiled.

"See ya!" We chimed in unison. I was turning to head to admin-what a pain-, when I heard footsteps behind me. No one else was in the hall at the time, but before I could turn to see who it was, the person ran into me from behind. A pair of arms wrapped around my neck in sort of a backwards hug.

"Thank you, Arashi. You're amazing, y'know?" I smiled; I didn't even have to guess.

"What are friends for?"

A quiet laugh.

A smile and a nod.

We went to our posts. We finished our day. Both Sasori and I spoke to The Head about the thunder sim, and after we whined for like an hour, he said he pass it on that there were to be no more storm sims in our ward. Both of us breathed a sigh of relief, and went to dinner; we met up with Shisui there, and were delighted to here that his day had gone fairly well. He's like a little brother to be. Or something else. I don't know, but he means a lot to me, and I'd never want to see him all helpless like he was that night ever again.

That's the end of my story. But hey………..

I wonder what they're gonna say when I tell them that I'm afraid of ghosts.

End fic.

This was really fun to write. I based it on a dream I had, so I know it's probably a bit…uhh, odd. I like writing odd fics, though ;; NO FLAMES PLEASE! Otherwise, read and review.

Have a good day. Or night. Whatever. 