A/N: To borrow my favorite Iruka line ever from 'Side Effects', "I'm not giving up. I'm just regrouping". Never fear, chapter 17 of 'Pieces' will be up before TOO much longer. Saturday morning at the latest. I have a lot I want to say about this story, but if I do it'll spoil the story! Thus, for once I'm going to have an endnote. In the meantime, enjoy this rather involved one-shot.
Um…Italics are flashbacks.
Warnings: This fic contains Shonen-ai. If you don't like it, don't read it.
Disclaimer: I don't own anyone in the Naruto universe. Pity, really.
A Slave To My Dreams
Tsunade sighed as she looked at the mission scroll on her desk. It was stupid to send a shinobi with a personal vendetta against the target. Their passions would blind them, make them take stupid risks. She was the Hokage, she knew this. To send a ninja who longed for revenge against their assigned target was essentially giving them permission to commit honorable suicide.
She looked up at the ANBU in front of her, his cold mask betraying nothing. The porcelain one covering his face made him difficult to read as well. He was the very best Konoha had to offer. Even if he did not return, he would make sure the job got done. Besides, if anyone deserved an honorable suicide, it was this man. He had waited far too long for death.
"You understand the assignment, shinobi-san?" She asked clearly, not allowing her voice to waver. She hated sending these kids to their death, but it was her job. Their job, too. They all signed up for this knowing it would one day kill them. Some of them, mostly those in ANBU, longed for it.
The man inclined his head, his voice betraying nothing in its coldness. "I understand perfectly, Hokage-sama. The targets are to be disposed of, and I am to leave no trace."
"To the best of your ability," she reaffirmed, eyes never leaving the face she couldn't see. There was a long pause before she spoke again. "If you don't feel up to this, you can tell me no. I am well aware of your emotional attachment to the situation, and if you feel you are to close, you can tell me. After all, Iru-"
"You'll be safe, won't you? I don't think I could stand to lose you. I love you."
"Iruka-sensei has been dead a long time now," the ANBU snapped, cutting her off. He didn't seem repentant for his rudeness, and Tsunade did not press. He knelt before her, head bowed, right hand raised to gently touch the tattoo on his exposed left shoulder. "I will do my best to complete my mission, Hokage-sama. On my mark."
"I will do my best, Iruka, but I have to protect my home. I have to protect you. You'll be safe, even if I'm not. I promise you, on my mark."
It took him several days to reach his destination, deep in Earth Country. The ANBU ran tirelessly through the rocky terrain, drifting from shadow to shadow. This is what he had worked for. He'd trained three years for this exact mission, when he would be able to take down the men that had slain his lover. They had stolen his world.
"Why do you love me, Kakashi? I'm not powerful like you are. I always thought you wanted someone who could equal you."
The killers were sitting among some of the stones. One of them was smoking while the other casually tossed a kunai in the air and caught it.
'There's supposed to be three,' the ANBU thought darkly, his senses suddenly on high alert. He had just enough time to dodge the katana that had been aimed for his back. It bounced off the metal of the dog tag that was not his own that he always wore around his neck. His own katana was in his hands immediately, the cold steel glittering in the moonlight. So, they'd been expecting him. Good. He wanted to see the terror in their eyes when they realized who it was that had come for them.
"Ruru-kun, if I wanted an equal in anything I wouldn't have even tried to get you. No, don't give me that look, just listen for a second. I never wanted an equal partner; I wanted someone who was better than me. And you are, in so many ways. You're all the warmth and laughter I never had in my life. All the love I didn't have to give turned human. You're so good, and kind, and I love you because, to me, you are love. You're everything I've given all my life to protect, and I would die if I couldn't do it."
He hadn't been able to do it, and the laughter and love had died. Because of these men. He'd lost everything, destroyed everything he'd loved, so he could put on this mask and avenge both of them. He smiled behind his icy porcelain mask as his blade cut neatly through the chest of his attacker with some grim satisfaction.
By now, the other two were on top of him. He dodged an earth jutsu send his way with nimble skill, watching the blood drip from his blade with icy detachment. He was the greatest Konoha had to offer. He would not fail again.
Using chakara to boost his movements, he vaulted with cat-like grace over their heads. His steel met one of theirs as the blocked his blow, but it was strong enough to send them crashing to their knees. He unleashed a shuriken in his other hand at point blank range. It sunk into the man's abdomen, and he stumbled back with a cry of pain. Good. He was out, for now, and he would kill him later.
Warm sunshine on his skin, and the smell of Konoha in summer. He lounged outside the academy, book in hand. His lover would be home from his mission soon. He was due back yesterday, but he understood missions sometimes went over. When he got back, there were a few new things he thought it would be fun to try…A shadow fell over his reading, and he looked up to see Kurenai standing there. She dropped a set of tags in his lap, not daring to meet his face.
"I'm so sorry," she whispered.
Konoha's greatest ninja grunted in pain as the sword dug deep into his flesh. With this man he was slightly outmatched, but he had expected no less. It would take a man of exceptional strength to kill everything this one had.
"You were his lover, weren't you?" The man smirked, dragging his sword through muscle down the ANBU's chest. "He was a pretty one, and put up a good fight. It took all three of us to take him. You'll beg me for death, by the time I'm done with you. Just like he did."
The katana was through the enemy's throat before either of them had thought about it, spraying them both with warm crimson blood. The Konoha ninja twisted his blade, causing the other man to gurgle as his lifeblood leaked out through his neck and frothed from his mouth.
"He never once begged for anything, and I know he wouldn't start with bastards like you!"
"Are you sure you want to do this?" Ibiki had asked him, dark eyes narrowed. He took up the katana and studied it as the interrogations specialist continued speaking. "You know well that revenge will destroy a person."
"I'm already destroyed," he murmured, sheathing the blade. "The least I can do is take a few of them down with me."
Ibiki nodded, handing him the mask. He put it on. It felt good.
He turned to the last man, ignoring the blood that was spilling down his chest from the wound he had received. The pain made him feel alive. It felt good.
The last man trembled, watching the fearsome Konoha beast stagger towards him, it blade glistening with the blood of his comrades.
"Beg me to spare you," it commanded, voice raspy and airy from the air that was leaking from his chest cavity. The man whimpered.
"BEG ME!" It roared, and the terrible missing-nin quailed.
"Spare me, please. Have mercy! They say you were a good man once. That you were once kind. Be so again." He threw himself at the ANBU's feet. He knew the ANBU was dieing, and hoped that he would have a sudden want for redemption.
The cold porcelain mask fell into his vision, it's terrible face coated with the blood of his friend. He looked up and froze at the utter fury in that dark gaze.
"You are responsible for the death of my kindness. It is far too late for either of us."
"You're dying," he cried, desperately. "You'll bleed to death before any one finds you!"
"Then I'll see you in hell," he whispered fiercely, his blade and the dog tag's flashing as he cut through the man's head.
"I don't know you anymore," Naruto whispered, looking up at him with fearful blue eyes. "You aren't the sensei I used to know."
"No, Naruto-kun, I'm not. I can't be anymore."
He didn't get further than twenty feet from the corpses before he collapsed. He was supposed to not leave a trace, but couldn't find it in him to clean up the massacre. Tsunade had said the best he could, hadn't she? Well, that had been his best. His very best. It had been too easy, and looking down at his blood covered gloved hands he realized he wasn't satisfied. If this is what revenge felt like, a part of him was glad Sasuke had never caught Itachi.
He had killed them all, mercilessly, and it still had not brought him back.
Tears sprang into his eyes as he curled up on the ground, burying his face in the mud. It was getting harder to breath, his body felt heavy. He felt like he was choking on the swiftly darkening moonlight.
"Would it be too much," he choked out, blood trailing from his dry lips, "to ask to see him once more before I go to hell? I know I've done some irredeemable things the last few years but…I want to see him…one more time…before we're parted forever…"
It may have been mere minutes, though to the dying man it felt like several life times, before he felt strong arms wrap around him. He opened his eyes that no longer felt so heavy, and looked up at the smiling face above him. The silver hair, the blue eyes, the pale skin and fine features he had memorized long ago. A hand on his jaw, pulling him up into a gentle kiss.
Kakashi smiled at him, wiping away non-existent tears from his lover's cheeks. "You did well, Iruka-kun. It's time to come home."
Iruka said nothing, instead flinging himself into his long-dead lover's arms. "If you're here, I am home."
End A/N: Uh…I feel like I should be hiding from you guys…yes, I killed them both. If you didn't get the story, and it's a little difficult to get, Kakashi was killed by these three ninjas. Iruka trained and went ANBU to be good enough to get revenge on them, and died doing so.
AH! Don't ask me! I just drew a picture of a blood covered ANBU Iruka (because I love ANBU Iruka) with Kakashi's dog tag that said 'No more tears now; I will think upon revenge" on it, and I decided it needed a story. Then I was listening to Cascada's "Never Ending Dream" song, and the line 'I'm hunting all the night, a slave to my dreams' stood out so…so I wrote this. I wanted it to be a long chapter fic with two complicated stories- one telling about Kakashi's mission that ended with Kakashi's death- and one about Iruka's training to be ANBU and eventually ending with this but…I would have to wait until I finished 'All the Broken Pieces and it sequel, but I didn't want to wait that long so…you got a one-shot instead. I hope you liked it! Ja mata!