Kakashi stood alone on the roof, staring out at the full moon. It had been two weeks since Itachi returned him to Konoha, and another since he was released from the hospital. He hadn't seen Itachi since the second day he had spent in the hospital, and he was missing Itachi greatly. He was so accustomed to life with his lover…he was used to having Itachi there to let him cry, to comfort him, to tell him he wasn't going to be hurt anymore…now he was alone, and he refused to let his tears fall. He hated looking weak, but with Itachi, it didn't matter. He could just let it out: now, though…
Kakashi heard Tsunade's heels clicking on the roof, but he ignored her, keeping his head down and his hands at his side. Tsunade's hand slipped into one of his own, and she came to stand in front of him.
Kakashi glanced up at Tsunade, and then turned away again. As much as he wanted the comfort, he couldn't accept it, not from Tsunade…he refused to love another.
"Kakashi, don't take this so personally, but I really do care about you," Tsunade started. "Just as a friend, though," she quickly added, knowing Kakashi's sensitivity. "I mean, I what Itachi meant to you…"
Kakashi nodded, looking away from his Kage. "He gave me exactly what I wanted," Kakashi murmured, "But I'm still not happy…"
Tsunade sighed. "Kakashi, when are you going to pull yourself together?" she asked, turning Kakashi's face to hers. Kakashi yanked his head away, folding his arms across his stomach.
"When someone else can accept me."
Tsunade sighed again and turned away. "Kakashi, you do know that if you keep this up, I'll have to intervene?"
"What's wrong with missing my lover?!" Kakashi snapped, suddenly more aggressive than perhaps he had meant to be. "Look, just because I loved him doesn't mean I can't function anymore! I'll live, Tsunade, and so will you!"
Surprised by the outburst, Tsunade took a step back. "Kakashi, that's not what I meant-"
"Just leave me alone."
Kakashi took off, leaping from the rooftop onto a tree branch and taking off. Tsunade considered going after him, but decided against it. If he wasn't back by morning, then she could look for him. It wasn't like it was freezing, and a night out wasn't exactly a night in a cemetery.
Even though that was probably where Kakashi was headed.
Tsunade exhaled slowly, and then began walking back to her own home. Kakashi couldn't get far.
Kakashi ran. He ran as far as he could, until finally he collapsed on the ground, too stunned to sob and too tired to rest. He just wanted Itachi back: while he didn't necessarily want to go back to Akatsuki, he certainly wanted Itachi next to him, holding him, kissing him, drying his tears-
"What are you doing out here in the cold?"
"It's hardly cold," Kakashi replied, before he even realized whose voice it was. His head came up, and as the first tear slid free, his lover rushed over to him , sweeping him into his arms and kissing him like they hadn't seen each other in years.
"No, none of that," Itachi said quickly, leaning forward to brush his lips against Kakashi's. "Shhhhh, none of that," he repeated, running his hand through Kakashi's hair. "I'm not your master, and never have been. Especially not now, since you're free…"
"Itachi-sama, I missed you…"
"I know, love…I know."
And for what seemed like several seconds, but was really a half an hour, the couple stood there, simply reveling in the pleasure of the other. Itachi found himself almost overjoyed to see Kakashi again, and to be able to hold him like this. Kakashi couldn't feel anything but relief now that Itachi was back: nothing had to be held back anymore, nothing had to be hidden…
"Kakashi…Kakashi, look at me."
Kakashi lifted his face to Itachi's, and the Uchiha ran his hand down the side of Kakashi's face, stopping at the mask. He gently slid his fingers into it, tugging it down and sliding his hand around to the back of Kakashi's neck. Kakashi wrapped his arms around Itachi's neck, and Itachi lowered his head to Kakashi's. The second Kakashi's lips made contact with Itachi's, everything else just seemed to fade away. Itachi just did that to him-it was like a spell. Kakashi melted into Itachi's embrace, giving himself to pleasure. Itachi gently pressed his tongue against Kakashi's lips, asking for entrance. Kakashi granted it to him, eagerly parting his lips. Itachi thrust himself into Kakashi's mouth, entwining their tongues and kissing him more deeply than before. Kakashi returned the kiss, sliding along Itachi's tongue into the Uchiha's mouth and allowing Itachi to push him to the ground. The two collapsed, still locked in a passionate kiss, and Itachi began running his hands over Kakashi's body, noting the condition of him as he did so. Kakashi's ribs were barely noticeable anymore; Tsunade had done a good job nursing him back to health. He traced Kakashi's sides, sliding his hands underneath Kakashi's shirt and feeling Kakashi's skin grow hot under his smooth palms. Kakashi moaned with pleasure and arched into Itachi's touches, tilting his head back and exposing his slender neck to Itachi. The Uchiha attacked it gladly, covering Kakashi's neck with gentle kisses and soft bites. Kakashi twisted and moaned, and Itachi found himself wanting this as much as Kakashi.
Suddenly, he was pushed away.
Kakashi pulled himself to his knees, shaking and whimpering. Itachi immediately got up and went over to him, putting his arms around Kakashi's shoulders. "Love, what's wrong?" he whispered, pulling Kakashi into his lap. Kakashi shuddered and leaned into Itachi's shoulder.
"Not that far," he whispered. "Don't do it…please, don't do it-"
"Kakashi, I would never do that to you!" Itachi gasped, tightening his grip on Kakashi. He placed a soothing kiss on the jounin's forehead, brushing his hair back as he did so. "Love, I would never…could never…I would never even dream of hurting you," Itachi finished, kissing Kakashi again. "You know that," he whispered, carefully pulling Kakashi's mask back up. "Come on," he whispered, standing up. "We need to get you home."
Kakashi nodded, and Itachi held out a hand to Kakashi. The jounin carefully slid his hand into it, and Itachi helped him up. "So, what are you up to these days?" Itachi asked, beginning to walk. Kakashi noticed that Itachi still held his hand in his own. Kakashi shook his head.
"Nothing much," he said. "Basically a lot of training to get me ready for missions again." He shrugged. "I dunno. I don't think they really think I'm okay…"
"Did you have to go up against Ibiki?" Itachi asked, glancing at Kakashi. His lover wordlessly nodded, and Itachi could see just from that one glance that the experience had been traumatic. "How'd that go?" he asked, hoping to gain a bit of insight. Kakashi merely shook his head again, and Itachi would have been stupid not to take the hint and drop it. He changed the subject.
"When do you think you'll be heading out again?"
Kakashi shrugged. "Days. Weeks. Months. Who knows."
Itachi smiled. "Just get better, okay?" he whispered, kissing Kakashi once more. Kakashi nodded, and Itachi took him right to the edge of the trees.
"Well, love, I can't go farther," he said, turning Kakashi to face him. "But I can give you one last thing to remember me by…" Itachi carefully pulled down Kakashi's mask again, cupping his face in his hands. Before Kakashi knew what was happening, he felt himself drawn into a gentle kiss. It was a bittersweet taste, and Kakashi knew what it meant. Itachi loved him to the ends of the earth, but it was time to let go. Kakashi also knew that it was time to move on. While he could still love Itachi and no one else, it didn't mean his life had to stop. He would never be the same, but he could be better.
Itachi pulled back a bit more from Kakashi, as if he heard something. "Love, I need to go," he said, placing one last kiss on his soft, slightly trembling lips. "I will see you again, I swear," he whispered.
And, just like that, he was gone.
Kakashi heard the footsteps approaching and quickly pulled up his mask. Tsunade came around from behind a tree, glaring.
"What happened?" she hissed. "I know he's here, Kakashi! Where is he?"
Kakashi shook his head. "He's not here," he said, turning away. "And I wouldn't tell you even if he was."
He slipped away once more, walking back to his room. As he walked, he stared up at the moon. It was beautiful, really: a full moon, casting beams of light across the deep shadows of night. Kakashi smiled, and realized what had really transpired that night.
Itachi had given him back his hope.
"Kakashi, come here for a second."
Kakashi leaned against the wall, not really caring much about anything at all. He hardly heard Tsunade's call from her office; the door was cracked, therefore blocking out most of the sound. However, Kakashi still heard it: he just chose not to react.
Kakashi sighed, but this time he straightened and walked into Tsunade's office.
Kakashi was almost immediately attacked by two hyper-active balls of energy, and greeted somewhat enthusiastically by a third. "Good to have you back," Sasuke said, almost smiling. Kakashi could hardly hear him over Naruto's and Sakura's cries of joy, but he managed to give Sasuke a small smile and a nod. The two shook hands, and Kakashi was suddenly struck by how tall Sasuke had gotten.
"Sasuke, you got tall," he commented absently. "Sakura, you cut your hair-again…Naruto, you're still the same."
Naruto pouted, glaring at Kakashi. The silver-haired jounin grinned and ruffled his hair. "Nah, just kidding," he said lightly. "You're taller, too…"
Naruto seemed much happier after this, and threw his arms around his sensei again.
"Missed you, Kakashi-sensei." Sakura smiled, blushed, and then wrapped her arms around Kakashi as well. "You're late coming back to us…as usual…"
"Well, what did you expect out of me?" Kakashi said, feigning shock. "I got lost on the way back!"
Sasuke sighed. "You're about as mature as Naruto."
Kakashi sighed. "If only you knew…"
"Alright, everybody, calm down," Tsunade said. Kakashi could have sworn there was a smile on her face as well. "Kakashi's still a little wiped out, so just take it easy for a little while, okay?"
Naruto gave no sign of hearing her; Sakura jumped off immediately; Sasuke eventually grabbed Naruto by the collar and dragged him off.
"Well, why are we here?" Kakashi asked, leaning against the wall again. Tsunade shrugged.
"Just to catch up, I guess," she said. "I thought you would want to see everyone…"
Kakashi nodded. "Where are Asuma and Kurenai?"
"Somewhere," Tsunade said with a sigh. "I invited them to come, but I think Kurenai's bent on getting pregnant…"
Kakashi snorted. "Going steady?"
Kakashi's one visible eyebrow rose. "My, my, it seems I have quite a bit to catch up on…"
"Yes, you do!"
Asuma and Kurenai walked in, each smiling and looking very happy. Asuma embraced Kakashi like a brother, Kurenai doing the same. "Missed you," she said, stepping back. "You look a little thinner, but that's about it…"
Kakashi nodded. "Well, it wasn't that bad," he said, trying to shrug it off. "Anyway, how have you two been?"
"Great!" Asuma said, wrapping an arm around Kurenai. "Married, and Kurenai just got pregnant last night!"
Kakashi's eyes widened. "Nice job!" he sputtered, shaking his head. "Well, congratulations both of you, and good luck!"
Asuma smiled. "Thanks. So, how's everything by you?"
Kakashi sighed. "I'm alive," he said. "Which is better than I had really hoped for at this point…"
Kurenai shook her head. "That bad?" she asked. Kakashi nodded, and Asuma whistled appreciatively.
"Well, welcome back."
Kakashi nodded, but kept oddly silent for a while. While there was nothing he could do to change the past, the present, or even the future, he could make the best of it. And that had been what Itachi was trying to tell him all along.
Itachi-sama…I owe you something…I just hope that I will be able to repay you in full as you gave to me.
A/N: Well, I think that's it! I'm definitely making a sequel, I would just like feedback. Who's going to read it, preferred rating, that kind of stuff. So, send it in via review or PM. Thanks all, and I hope you enjoyed the story!!