Dinner passed mostly in silence; Kakashi made several attempts at conversation, all of which ended quickly, and rather sadly, with a pointed blank stare from his Uchiha companion. Kakashi sighed, gathering the dishes from the table as they finished their meal. An ominous cracking signaled the thunder hovering above the two's retreat. "It's gonna rain, I guess," Kakashi said. Sasuke looked up to acknowledge the statement. "Obviously."

Kakashi paused as, sure enough, a sudden downpour could be heard beating down on the roof of the cabin. "Will we still go back if it's raining like this tomorrow?" Sasuke asked. Kakashi's wished he could've read the boy's tone a little better; he assumed the boy would be eager to return, but he didn't exactly sound hopeful. The trouble, Kakashi had come to notice, with not knowing what Sasuke wanted to hear, was there was no way of knowing if the teen would snatch your head off your shoulders for answering him wrong, and as it happened, Sasuke had seemed on edge anyway. Which Kakashi supposed could be blamed on the boy's injuries.

Sasuke eyed the jounin impatiently, but didn't repeat himself. That wasn't something Uchiha Sasuke did. "It won't be raining like this tomorrow," Kakashi said. That way he didn't have to give the Uchihas a definite answer either way. Avoiding the question, Sasuke thought, the words dripping with a sarcasm he would've loved to vocalize. Nice. "You sound so sure," The boy said, clearly having to settle for a different choice of words. Kakashi shrugged before responding. "It's highly unlikely."

A frown crossed Sasuke's features. "Whatever, I'm going to sleep," he said, getting up and stalking towards one of the two bedrooms. Kakashi sighed. That didn't go quite as I'd hoped, he thought. Then again, nothing involving Sasuke really ever does.

Sasuke stripped, with some difficulty, and climbed into his futon in nothing but a pair of black boxers. He was too hot that night for anything else, and it wasn't like it made a difference. He and Kakashi were the only two staying in the cabin at that time, and he has no intention of seeing his sensei again that night. The boy sighed contentedly, snuggling down into the inviting warmth of his futon and immediately dozed off, exhausted from the day's events.

A dream of him, of them. His neck burns in the place where Orochimaru left his mark on the pre-teen's flesh. That wretched curse mark. Sasuke's whole body, which seems to be that of an innocent child once again, begins to ache with the sensation. He opens his mouth, and releases nothing but a muted scream. He is silenced, helpless as he watches them fall before him again, a helpless mass of weeping child is all he is left as. Lying on the floor, once again, the vivid stench of his parents' blood filling his nostrils with it's sickening sweet presence. He tries to force himself not to breath it in, but his body gives in, and as he opens his mouth to pant and gasp for air, the haunting musk crawls down his throat as though it has a will of it's own. His mind spins, racing, but going no where fast, simply repeating the same words that he couldn't make out. He can hear his own cries ringing in his head, but he doesn't feel himself emitting them, as though he is outside his body, a displaced spirit, desperate to anchor himself before he is swept away in the tide of sensations that are so vivid they numb him. He doesn't move, every aching sensation quickly overcoming his ability to process thought and action. The feeling of his brother's fist on his body, a blind, fleeting pulse screaming at him to flee. He could never put words to that god-awful sensation. That stench still assaulting his nose, his head spinning in circles like a top, a wave of nausea hit's the boy. Mingling in the pit of his stomach along with the terrible, sinking prayer that begged this experience to be a dream.

But it wasn't. No, it was a memory. The same memory that haunted the genin every night. Tonight, however, was worse than usual. As the Uchiha was jolted into awareness, soaked in a cold sweat that chilled his lithe, over-heated body, he dry heaved, over the edge of his futon, pulling his body up onto his elbows in an attempt to ease the nausea that racked his insides. Climbing out of his make-shift bed the boy shuffled into the bathroom, running the hot water once again. He slipped out of his remaining clothes and into the inviting pool, heaving a small sigh of relief as the wave of comforting heat hit him. Slowly his nausea wore away under the influence of the bath water, as he'd known it would. He'd found that after five years of experiencing the same problems over and over, he'd quickly found the best way to deal with them, one of which happened to be baths. They were soothing to his aching, pulsing muscles as he tried to come down from his adrenaline high.

The booming of thunder coupled with the pound of rain on the rooftops and bolts of nearby lightning brightening the room at random intervals signaled the storm still raged outside. iJust as well, I guess. At least I'm stuck here with Kakashi, and not Naruto of Sakura./i He thought grimly. He paused, though. Kakashi never did answer my question outright. Sasuke frowned, a sinking feeling hitting the bottom of his stomach like a rock. Something about the prospect of leaving bothered the Uchiha, but he couldn't imagine why. The thought of Kakashi's hands on his skin drifted through his mind again, and, disturbing though it was, he let it linger. Let the imaginary fingers make their way lower and lower, deciding he didn't mind it so much. It wasn't until the boy found his own hand mimicking the actions that he drew the line, forcing himself hurriedly back into reality, and mentally smacking himself for the misplaced fantasy. Sasuke frowned scornfully down at his good hand, as the other still rested idly on the edge of the tub, the previous creeping sensations of pleasure making him feel dirty.

His body calmed, and Sasuke climbed out of the bathtub and wrapped himself, with some difficulty, in a towel before scooping up his underwear and heading back to his room to change. Once clothed, the boy crawled back into his bed and under his blankets, this time drawing comfort from the warmth. It was about an hour before the boy eventually drifted off, the sound of rain on his windows lulling him into another fitful sleep.

Kakashi woke to the sound of student's shouts. Heart pounding against his ribs like a desperate, caged creature, Kakashi tore from his bed and into the next room, shuriken already in hand, read to fend off the boy's tormentor. The silver haired jounin blinked, lowering the dagger as he came to realize Sasuke was the only on in the room. The boy lay, curled up on his futon, making pained little noises, though they'd greatly quieted from the last few moment's shouting. Kakashi set down his kunai and went to the boy's side, kneeling next to him. Seeing Sasuke in such a state disturbed Kakashi, he'd never seen the boy express so much pain.

Sasuke's eyes were shut tight, but Kakashi was confident he was crying. His face was distorted in displeasure and small beads of sweat traveled down his exposed flesh. Kakashi was of course struck by how sexy the scene might've been had Sasuke not been crying and in obvious pain, but he shook it off as he softly spoke the other's name in an effort to wake him. "Sasuke," He said, placing a hand on his shoulder to shake him lightly. "Sasuke!" He repeated. It didn't take much to jerk the boy from his restless slumber, coal black eyes opened in alarm, staring up at Kakashi full of pain and fear. Kakashi wasn't sure exactly what came over him, but he gathered the Uchiha survivor in his arms, placing a comforting hand on the boy's head. Sasuke didn't pull away, both to Kakashi's pleasant surprise, and dismay. On one hand, he hadn't made the situation worse, on the other, if someone as proud and as determined as Sasuke would allow himself to be coddled, he was obviously in very bad shape. Kakashi frowned as he rested his hand on the raven's fore head, he was burning up. The fever was, undoubtably, a result of his injuries, and probably the cause of the boy's nightmares. Not that Kakashi doubted Sasuke could've had nightmares without being feverish, but he seemed truly delirious. It was to Kakashi's even greater surprise that the over-heated teen gripped onto his shirt, in an almost hug, Sasuke had never tried to draw comfort from Kakashi before. No matter how hurt or upset he was. The jounin pulled the boy closer, and it was once again, allowed. Kakashi sighed quietly, running his fingers through the boy's sticky bangs. I guess I won't be taking you home tomorrow after all…

FINALLY! Bwahahaha!

Hmm... the last paragraph was really... stiff. I didn't feel it. : It's probably because I wrote it PERFECTLY. And then... lost it... and had to re-write it... ;.; W/e, w/e, we'll recover...


Sasuke & Kakashi (+ Naruto and Sakura) (C) Kishimoto

(P.S. I know I owe you guysanother chapter of Fascinating, too, keep your pants on. -.-)