Kakashi didn't like mirrors. The dislike started after Obito died, when he had to look at himself with a blood red eye that wasn't his, an eye that would never fully close, that almost seemed to mock him- Kakashi I died for you, what are you doing to deserve it? And as the years passed, he saw more and more ghosts in his reflection, asking him the same thing-why are you still alive and we're not?

While many of the ghosts he knew all too well, more of them were just nameless apparitions, all with slit throats, broken necks, or some other manner of death still readily visible. All breathing the stink of death down his neck. And no matter how fast Kakashi would turn around trying to catch them, they would vanish, leaving only air to slip through his fingers.

XXXXXXX

Kakashi walked into ANBU headquarters after another solo mission. It was ungodly late and he could hear his ribs crackle slightly with each painful inhalation. But he wouldn't go get healed, because every time he looked to his right, there was a little girl following him, with a razor thin wire wrapped tightly around her neck, digging into her pale soft flesh, turning her lips blue. And despite Kakashi's best efforts, she had followed him all the way back to Konoha, even though he had run through the treetops as fast as he could.

Now in the empty locker room, he couldn't help but look into the row of mirrors that were directly across from the lockers. And there they were- the ghosts, crowding up behind him, ethereal hands trying to grab at him, shrieking their silent screams-dammit, why couldn't they just leave?

In a blur of motion, Kakashi broke every mirror there, and let out a short dry laugh. The glass falling sounded like singing, or tears falling. He wasn't sure which. He stormed out of the room, shoving past Genma, who had started to come in after hearing the noise. The other shinobi could only turn to wordlessly look at him, watching as Kakashi's hands bled, leaving perfect round droplets trailing after him on the floor.

XXXXXXX

Kakashi sat in his darkened apartment. He had broken his bathroom mirror too, and now twirled one of the larger shards of glass between his fingers. He pressed the point of the glass to his pale wrist, watching the redness well up underneath it. He wondered if he could bleed the insanity and inadequacy out of his body. He wondered if there would be anything left if he did. He wondered if he was destined to follow the same path as his father, a tanto sticking out of his abdomen as a final goodbye. He wondered how long it would be before anyone came looking for him.

Kakashi's hands shook, his whole body shook. He lay back on his small bed, numb fingers letting the piece of glass clatter to the floor. He couldn't stop shaking, and maybe it was because he hadn't slept in three days, or eaten in twice that long. More likely it was from being caught between the brutalities of his present and the nightmares of his past, from the crushing loneliness, the weariness that would never leave him, even when he managed to sleep. Kakashi curled himself up in his blanket, ignoring the dirt and congealed blood on his uniform and in his hair, the wound on his wrist that still sluggishly trickled. He looked up at the picture of his old team that sat on his headboard. He squeezed his eyes shut and remembered Obito's annoying laugh, Sensei's smile that could've outshone the sun, the few quiet nights alone with Rin, her whispers and delicate fingers. He had no tears left to grieve for them, no matter how hard he tried. Even Obito's eye couldn't cry anymore. It was getting harder and harder to remember them, like the threads tying him to them kept unraveling and getting thinner.

"I can't do this anymore," Kakashi whispered. And what was this exactly? Only the pathetic excuse his life had become. What he had let ANBU turn him into- something not even quite human, an animal with chakra chirping at its fingertips. Constantly looking over his shoulder. The endless cycle-hunt, kill, hide, run, always more blood to spill, always being so quiet, always alone, so alone. Silently looking into eyes as the light drained out of them. Praying that the pain would leave him.

Kakashi rolled over and picked up the glass from the floor. He looked into it, and all he saw were his mismatched eyes, the Sharingan spinning slowly. He sighed and closed his eyes. Obito, Sensei, Rin- these ghosts he would gladly carry with him till the day he died, but no one else.

Not anymore.